Iran Downs U.S. Drone

Iran's military said it shot down a U.S. Army drone inside its territory near the Afghan and Pakistani borders on Dec. 4, and threatened to retaliate for the violation, Iranian media reported.
The NATO-led military force in Afghanistan said the drone reportedly shot down by Iran "may" belong to the United States.
"The UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to which the Iranians are referring may be a U.S. unarmed reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week," the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said. "The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status," the statement said without elaborating on the type of drone.
Iran's Al-Alam Arabic language satellite channel, quoting a military source in Iran's joint chiefs of staff, said late Dec. 4 that a RQ-170 unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down "a few hours ago."
The Fars news agency, which has close ties to the Revolutionary Guards responsible for Iran's air defense and ballistic missile systems, said the drone had made an incursion into Iran's eastern airspace.
"Our air defense and electronic warfare units managed to identify and shoot down an advanced unmanned spy aircraft - an RQ-170 - after it briefly violated the eastern border territory," Fars said.
Quoting an unnamed military source, Fars said the drone "was downed with slight damage."
"It is now under the control of our forces."
The source warned that Iran's armed response would "not be limited to our country's borders" for the "blatant territorial violation."
No images of the drone said to have been shot down were immediately published by any of the media carrying the reports.
The RQ-170 Sentinel is a high-altitude reconnaissance drone whose existence was revealed in 2009 by specialized reviews and later confirmed by the U.S. Air Force in 2010.
In January, Iran announced that its forces had downed two U.S. drones after they violated Iranian-controlled airspace. It said it would put the aircraft on display to the public, but there has been no indication it ever did so.
In June, Brig. Gen. Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Guards' aerospace unit, said Iran had shown Russian experts the U.S. drones in its possession.
"Russian experts requested to see these drones and they looked at both the downed drones and the models made by the Guards through reverse engineering," he said.
Hajizadeh did not specify how many U.S. drones were shown nor give any details of the copies Iran was said to have made of the aircraft.
The U.S. military and the CIA routinely use drones to monitor military activity in the region. They have also reportedly used them to launch missile strikes in Yemen as well as in Afghanistan and in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt.
The latest report comes as relations between Pakistan and the U.S. have hit anew low after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in an air strike near the Afghan-Pakistani border last month, prompting Pakistan to boycott Monday's Bonn conference on Afghanistan's future.
It also comes at a time of heightened political tension over Iran's nuclear program, with speculation rife that Israel is mulling air strikes against Iranian atomic facilities, with or without U.S. backing. Iranian officials and Guards commanders, who regularly boast about Tehran's military capabilities, have warned against any such military action targeting the Islamic republic.

Pakistan nukes not safe: Qureshi

Pakistan's former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has alleged that the country's nuclear weapons are not safe under the present PPP dispensation. Mr Qureshi's comments evoked an angry response from the government, which rejected his contention as "baseless".

Mr Qureshi, who is President Asif Ali Zardari's former ally, made these remarks at a public rally at Ghotki in Sindh where he announced joining hands with cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party. He is the highest ranking Pakistani politician to comment that the country's nuclear weapons were not safe.

His remarks come on the heels of warnings by Western experts that Islamabad's nukes could fall into the hands of Taliban terrorists.

Though Mr Qureshi did not give details of how Pakistan's nukes were in danger, he promised to talk about this in detail at the next public gathering in Karachi. He said, he had been foreign minister and thus understood the issue well and knew the pressures and stresses Pakistan was facing over its nuclear programme. He also came down hard on the government's alliance with the US as well as US policies towards Pakistan.

Reacting angrily to Mr Qureshi's remarks, the Pakistan government rejected his contentions as it declared there would be no compromise on a programme which is integral to the country's defence.

India Navy Wants 24 P-8Is

The Indian Navy now wants to double their order for American P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft to 24. Earlier this year, the navy was allowed to buy another four P-8Is, largely in response to growing Chinese naval activity in the Indian Ocean. Three years ago, India ordered its initial eight U.S. P-8s, for about $220 million each. The growing expense of maintaining their Russian Tu-142M reconnaissance aircraft, and the need for a more capable recon aircraft led to that initial order. The first P-8I will arrive in 2014. What has made the Indian admirals so enthusiastic about an aircraft that first flew two years ago and is still undergoing testing is its ancestry. The equipment and techniques come from the half century old P-3. Arguably the most successful maritime patrol aircraft ever, the P-3 equipment and experience are being merged with the equally admired Boeing 737 air transport to create the P-8.
The Indian decision to switch to U.S. maritime recon aircraft is rather recent. Four years ago India received another Russian built Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft. Beginning in 1988, when it received three of these aircraft, India has bought more and now has a fleet of eight in service. The Tu-142, which was introduced in the 1970s, is the maritime patrol version of the Tu-95 heavy bomber. The Tu-95 aircraft entered service over half a century ago, and is expected to remain in service, along with the Tu-142 variant, for another three decades. Over 500 Tu-95s were built, and it is the largest and fastest turboprop aircraft in service. Russia still maintains a force of 60 Tu-95s, but has dozens in storage, which can be restored to service as either a bomber or a Tu-142.
India requires aircraft like these for patrolling the vast India ocean waters that surround the subcontinent. India wanted to upgrade the electronics on its Tu-142s, but has been put off by the high price, and low performance, of what the Russians offered. There was also some question of whether the Russians could meet their schedule and cost assurances.
The Americans have a much better reputation in these areas. Moreover, India will get a version (P-8I) customized for their needs. Although the Boeing 737 based P-8 is a two engine jet, compared to the four engine turboprop P-3, it is a more capable plane. Cruise speed for the 737 is 910 kilometers an hour. This makes it possible for the P-8 to get to a patrol area faster, which is a major advantage when chasing down subs first spotted by sonar arrays or satellites. The P-8 has a crew of 10-11 pilots and equipment operators, who operate the search radar and various other sensors. The 737 has hard points on the wings for torpedoes or missiles.
The B-737 is a more modern design than the Tu-142, and has been used successfully since the 1960s by commercial aviation. The Boeing 737 first flew in 1965, and over 5,000 have been built. The P-8A will be the first 737 designed with a bomb bay and four wing racks for weapons. The U.S. P-8 costs more, about $275 million each, because of different equipment carried.


Secret war against Iran

The recent attack on the British embassy was apparently carried out by members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The U.S., and most Western nations, considers this outfit to be a terrorist organization. The IRGC is more than just the "royal guard" of the Iranian dictatorship. Originally founded to do the clerics' dirty work, and keep an eye on the Iranian armed forces, and population in general, the IRGC has grown to become a state-within-a-state. The IRGC not only has 150,000 armed members, but also controls billions of dollars-worth of businesses inside Iran, and runs numerous terrorist operations outside the country. The IRGC has not been shy about its foreign activities, and boasts of its efforts to destroy Israel and the United States. The IRGC scoffed at the American countermeasures, but the sanctions have real bite. The U.S. has enormous control over the international banking system, and has developed ways to use this power. Once the United States tells the world's banks that they will be cut off from access to the U.S. banking system if they do business with the IRGC, the Iranians suddenly find that many of their criminal activities are much more difficult, if not impossible, to carry out. IRGC bank accounts are frozen, and some assets are seized. The American sanctions would be accompanied by U.S. government officials detailing IRGC crimes, and abuse of the international banking system. This tends to convince many, if not most, major international banks that it was not worth the trouble, and risk, to do business with the IRGC. This makes it more expensive for the IRGC to operate. It's also very embarrassing, if only because sanctions also identify IRGC leaders that are to be denied the right of travel to many parts of the world. The listing, and the sanctions, would also interfere with Iran's nuclear weapons program, which is largely controlled by the IRGC. In response to all this external pressure, the IRGC has sought to increase its power within Iran. The attack on the British embassy, which was criticized by some of the senior clerics (who hold veto power over most government decisions), demonstrated how the IRGC can, increasingly, do whatever it wants. This is what bothers many outside Iran, because if Iran gets nukes, the IRGC will control them.
Despite IRGC willingness to help out, the Iranian government has decided to pull back on support for the pro-Iran government in Syria. Months of demonstrations, which continue despite the use of troops and deadly force, have weakened the Syrian government. Apparently Iran is trying to limit its losses here, as it would still like to have an arrangement with a new Syrian government to supply pro-Iran Shia Hezbollah in Lebanon. That's a long shot, but is a possibility.
The government claims that its anti-drug efforts have led to more than twice as many drug gangs being taken down this year than last. At the same time, the government admits that, in addition to the growing supplies of opium, heroin and hashish from Afghanistan, more LSD, cocaine, methamphetamine and new synthetic drugs are coming in from the West, or being manufactured in Iran. In addition to several million addicts in Iran, more and more Iranians are being caught outside Iran, working to export drugs from Iran. There has always been a lot of smuggling in and out of Iran, and now a major item being moved is drugs. On the Afghan border, the traffic goes both ways, with drugs coming into Iran and weapons and other contraband going to Afghanistan. The Afghan border has been a war zone for over three decades, as the government fights the smugglers. There are currently over a thousand casualties a year in the Afghan border, because the Afghan smugglers are armed and willing to fight past the border guards to deliver their valuable cargoes.
Satellite photos of the November 12 explosion at a military base outside the capital show much more damage than previously thought. Iran continues to describe the explosion as an accident; it is also part of a growing number of similar incidents. These include the untimely deaths of key personnel in the weapons development organizations. There appears to be an organized effort to disrupt Iranian weapons development, especially their ballistic missile and nuclear bomb programs. Iran officially denies that this is the case.
December 8, 2011: The government displayed what appeared to be an American RQ-170 jet powered UAV, which landed intact in Iran two weeks earlier. This UAV showed up in Afghanistan and South Korea two years ago. The U.S. Air Force then admitted that this was the RQ-170, a high altitude reconnaissance UAV developed in secret by Lockheed-Martin during the previous decade. It has a 26 meter (80 foot) wingspan. The RQ-170 is believed to be a replacement for the U-2 and a supplemental aircraft for the larger Global Hawk (which has a 42 meter wingspan.) RQ-170s have been operating over Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran for at least a year. Exactly why this UAV came down, and how damaging the loss of aircraft and sensor technology is, won't be known for years. Losses like this have occurred for decades, and do have an impact. For example, U.S. cruise missiles that crashed in Pakistan (on their way to Afghanistan) in the 1990s clearly influenced the design of a Pakistani cruise missile. American warplanes that crashed in North Vietnam during the 1960s provided some tech for China and Russia, but nothing decisive.
December 4, 2011:  The government claimed that it had intercepted the radio control of an American UAV and forced it to land in Iran. The U.S. later admitted they had lost contact with one of their UAVs in Afghanistan, something that usually happens because of equipment failures. Iran has been known to interfere with satellite signals (mainly to keep material from those with illegal satellite video receivers). Hacking an encrypted satellite signal to a UAV is quite another matter. Possible, but rarely done or even openly talked about.
December 3, 2011:  France has decided to temporarily reduce the size of its embassy staff in Iran (which numbers about two dozen people.) This is in response to the recent attack on the British embassy.  The British pulled all their diplomatic personnel out of Iran and ordered Iran to do the same with its diplomats in Britain.
December 1, 2011: The UAE (United Arab Emirates) has ordered 600 American bunker buster smart bombs. The UAE already has an advanced model of the F-16 to deliver such a bomb, and the only likely target is Iran.
November 30, 2011: Norway closed its embassy in Iran, but has not evacuated its diplomats yet.
November 29, 2011:  In the capital, a mob of nearly a thousand young men invade the British embassy compound, causing extensive damage. The police simply stood by. Britain has been portrayed as an enemy of Iran for the last few centuries because the British have done to Iran what Iran has done to its neighbors for thousands of years (bully them and interfere with internal affairs). The Iranians do not like having the tables turned this way. Although Turkey, Russia and the United States have also done this sort of thing, the British have done it the most, and that makes the attack on the British embassy popular with many Iranians. Unfortunately for Iran, the rest of the world considers the attack on an embassy a major breach in international etiquette. This sort of thing (a government sanctioned attack on an embassy) rarely happens and it is universally condemned.
November 28, 2011: There was a large explosion in the west Iranian city of Isfahan. The explosion was near a nuclear facility and military base. Iran played down the explosion in the media.
November 27, 2011:  Angry at British support for increased sanctions against Iran (because of the Iranian nuclear weapons program), the Iranian parliament passed a law ordering Britain to reduce the size of its embassy in Iran. Anti-British propaganda has been increasing in Iran over the last few months. 


Iran's Big Little Fleet

Iran announced that they have put another three of their Ghadir class submarines into service. This is another example of Iranian resourcefulness in the face of embargoes. Since 1996, when Russia agreed to stop selling them submarines, Iran has been working on their own designs. After ten years of trial and error they produced the 115 ton Ghadir (Qadir) class vessels in 2005. Iran claims to have a fleet of 17 of these small diesel electric subs in their arsenal and no less than four have been shown together and photographed. The Iranians are not releasing specification sheets to anyone but Ghadirs look very similar to the Italian made Cosmos SX-506B, submarines that Columbia has operated since the 1980s. The 100-ton SX-506Bs are only large enough to carry commandos and mines. However released news footage shows what looks like to be two torpedo tubes on the Iranian Ghadirs. The Iranians claim that the Ghadirs carry torpedoes.
It should be remembered that Cosmos exported a number of larger vessels to Pakistan in the 1990s. Dubbed the SX-756 they may have been the design basis for the Ghadir. It should also be acknowledged that the North Korean Sang-O class submarine closely approximates the Ghadir type. In 2007 North Korea gave Iran, outright, four of its Yugo-type midget submarines. These Yugos were well worn 90-ton 21 meter (65 foot) craft but Iran accepted them all the same.
A one-off design, dubbed the Nahang, was produced in 2006. At about 500-tons it is the same size as and closely resembled the old German Type-206 class. The Type 206s were produced in the 1960s for operations in the confined shallows of the Baltic. Denmark, Norway, Germany, and now Indonesia used variants for forty years. The Type 206’s size enabled it to carry eight torpedo tubes with no reloads. The Iranian version does not seem to be a success and little has been seen of this craft.
Under construction is what will be the third indigenous Iranian design. Laid down in 2008, the Qaaem will be a 1,000 ton craft and historically should be large enough to handle a full set of torpedo tubes along with a reload. They could be the possible replacement for Iran’s Kilos. The Kilo platform has a lifespan of 30-years and they are more than halfway there. But Iran has a mixed record when it comes to warship construction and the Ghadir boats are reported to be troublesome to use and not safe. The Iranians are enthusiastic about having more subs, but developing that capability is very expensive and time consuming.
Iran took the big leap in the early 1990s when they acquired three Kilo 877/636 type diesel electric submarines from Russia. The 2300 ton Kilos are long range subs capable of operating throughout the Indian Ocean (from South Africa to Australia). The Kilos have six 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tubes and 18 torpedoes (including one or more Shkval rocket torpedo) or 24 mines. Very similar to the world-standard diesel submarine, the 1800-ton German Type 209, the Kilo is a formidable foe and can stay at sea for up to 45 days, which makes it capable of long range patrols, like a recent one in the Red Sea. That, in fact, was the farthest any of the Iranian Kilos have ever travelled from home. The Ghadirs are strictly for coastal work or missions out into the Persian Gulf. 


Bangladesh Air Force ordered 16 F-7BGI aircraft to replace the old A-5C attack

According to Russian military messenger, Nov. 18 reported that the Bangladesh Air Force Ziao Rahman recently in London at the '2011 International Fighter conference,' said China has ordered the country's 16 new F-7BGI light aircraft will be delivered beginning in 1012, but he did not disclose other details about the transaction information. Analysts pointed out that these F-7BGI may be used to replace Bashar Meng Air Force Base (located near Dhaka Mon 21 Squadron equipped with the old-fashioned Chinese-made A-5C attack aircraft. Meng said the Air Force Commander, F-7BGI China's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group Company F-7-based research and development of new models, equipped with improved airborne equipment, including 'hand throttle lever' (ie 'hands on the bar 'control device, three multi-function cockpit displays and a HUD. The machine also has GPS system for navigation bomb throwing ability due to Bangladesh's orders, the legendary MiG-21 fighter production will continue to 2012 
Bangladesh Air Force in 2006, equipped with 16 F-7BG fighters and four FT-7BG coach - fighters, while in the earlier 1989-2000 period, Meng also received the Air Force installed 16 F-7MB fighter and 8 FT-7MB trainer aircraft - fighters these fighters (now there are 23 still in service were single-seat fighter and trainer aircraft were currently eight equipment in the MENG 5th and 35th Air Force squadron.
Meng also said the Air Force commander, purchasing F-7BGI is the new generation of fighter aircraft in the Air Force before the transitional measures adopted in the next 13-15 years, 20-32 Meng Air Force plans to buy new fighter aircraft, and most promising candidate models, including the U.S. F-16 and Russia's MiG-29SMT. In addition, Sweden's JAS-39 and Russian Su-30 may also participate in the competition. It is reported that Meng Air Force also plans to purchase in 1999 of its 10 MiG-29 fighter jets to modernize modification, and will also purchase a new trainer to replace the existing fleet of old L-39.
In addition, the Bangladesh Air Force will purchase a number of new trainer aircraft, used to replace the existing fleet of L-39, while its equipment in 1999, 8 Russian-made MiG-29 fighters will be in the next few years been upgraded

India is to develop its own operating system (OS) For Security

India is to develop its own proprietary operating system (OS) rather than use "bugged" Western systems.

The Indian government is still intent on developing its own operating system so it can own the source code and architecture rather than rely on Western technologies.

Dr V K Saraswat, scientific adviser to India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said that the Indian OS is needed to protect India's economic framework. While we admire India's decision to write its own OS, the decision seems to be driven by paranoia about Western technology.

Saraswat said earlier this month that Western hardware and software are likely to be "bugged". By bugged, he doesn't mean that Windows is chock full of unsecure hackable exploits. Saraswat specifically thinks that our technology is bugged so we can spy on India.

"Unfortunately even today we import most of these items. They are coming from various countries. So there is possibility that these hardware parts are already bugged," said Saraswat.

"So we have started doing design and development of our own hardware. We are trying to build it in our own country," he said.

"Second part is software. Most of us use commercial software available in the country. We have got Windows and some use Linux. These software packages are likely to be bugged."

Aside from overseeing development of the OS, Saraswat's main role is looking after India's missile defence system, so paranoia and security are second nature. At the time Saraswat made the OS announcement, The INQUIRER reported that the Indian government had been leaning on RIM so it could access communications on Blackberry smartphones.

The concerns about Western expansionism and spying are clear. But lumping open source technology with closed source software systems is surprising, given the popularity of open source projects in India.

In 2008 free software founder, Richard Stallman popped over to India to see a new Indian open source operating system called E-Swecha being rolled out in educational faculties. The project was overseen by the Free Software Foundation of India, but Stallman said the government wasn't chipping in.

India also has another, bigger open source OS that it built up from Debian Linux. This year, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing developed Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS), a GNU/Linux distribution with advanced server features.

Unfortunately, India didn't want to use BOSS as a foundation to roll out a nationwide government stamped OS. Instead, it's sticking to designing something from scratch with 50 scientists and IT specialists located in New Delhi and Bangalore spearheading a national effort to create the OS.

As we've said, we have nothing but respect for India's attempt to control its own technological destiny. But, if its products, specifically its OS, are developed out of a culture of paranoia and fear, then everything we have to offer gets tarred with the same brush.

The philosophies behind closed and open source software aren't even in the same postcode. Despite that, it seems that India is unwisely denying itself access to the benefits that open source technologies can provide.

Turkey's Next Generation Anti Tanks Missile

The Medium Range Antitank Missile that will be deployed by Land Forces Units in order to eliminate or stop Armored and Mechanised enemy units is designed by ROKETSAN. The weapon system is developed to be used on a tripod or a land vehicle. It will also provide the user direct and top attack modes, fire-and-forget and fire-and-update firing modes, which can be selected on the weapon system before firing. 

MRAT could also be fired in confined spaces without harming the user.
Inheriting the technology of LRAT, with which it belongs to the same family, MRAT will be equipped with an Imaging Infrared Seeker and will be deployable in day and night and adverse weather conditions, in addition to its capability to update target or hit point with its two-way RF Data Link. In order to increase the hit probability, MRAT also has lock-on after launch capability, and in this mode a mid-course guidance provided by MEMS based Inertial Measurement Unit will be used.

IAF Takes Delivery Of First C-130J

Taiwan Navy Opens Anti-ship missile base in eastern Taiwan

The nation's navy opened yesterday a military base with Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles in eastern Taiwan to the media for the first time.

Officers and their men gave a demonstration of operations concerning installing and hanging the missiles onto the right positions 

for launching as well as removing them from missile racks afterward.

The naval missile base, called “Guhai” (“fortifying the sea” in Chinese) military base, is nestled in a mountain region in eastern Hualien.

With a camouflage that disguises the military base as an area for ordinary building compounds, the roof tiles of the structures have the special effects of deflecting satellite searches by unfriendly forces or parties.

There are housing units for residents and commercial hotels for tourists near the base.

The structures housing the missiles and troops can be easily mistaken for villas at a tourist resort.

Some of the missile facilities are concealed and some others are mounted on heavy-duty trucks for high mobility.


Troops handling Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles have regularly taken part in large-scale military exercises, including live fire tests in war games.

But this is the first time the navy has let reporters make an onsite tour of the military facilities.

The Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles measure 4.8 meters in length and can hit targets more than 100 kilometers away.

Turkey to Design, Produce its Own Jet Fighter Aircraft

ANKARA: Turkey has tossed aside plans to purchase the Eurofighter Typhoon and is pursuing an ambitious endeavor to design and produce its own fighter jet instead. The decision, announced by Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, is seen as not only an industrial move, but one aimed at boosting national pride with its “Made in Turkey” fighter.

“The decision we have taken now calls for the production of a totally national and original aircraft,” Gonul told reporters last week after a meeting of the powerful Defense Industry Executive Committee decided to nix plans to purchase 60 of the latest Typhoon jet fighters. “This move by the committee effectively is a decision for making Turkey’s first fighter aircraft,” Gonul said. “The Eurofighter is off Turkey’s agenda.”

According to reports, the new aircraft would replace the aging US-made F-4, which had been upgraded by Israel to last well into the next decade, as well as newer F-16s. The expected roll out date for Turkey’s twin-engine combat jet would reportedly be about 2023.

Ankara has already announced it plans to procure some 100 of the next-generation F-35s Joint Strike Fighter aircraft in a deal worth about $15 billion. The first JSF jets are expected to be delivered around 2015. According to Defense News, however, Turkey would take the approximately 30 F-16 fighters only as a “stopgap” measure.

The decision to fly solo in developing a fighter jet comes as Turkey distances itself from its North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners in Europe and North America, and seeks closer ties with its Middle Eastern neighbors. In November, Turkey disputed NATO plans for a missile shield against a possible Iranian attack and has objected to the alliance sharing information with Israel.

Turkey assembles the F-16s on contract from Lockheed Martin at a Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) plant. The government named state-controlled TAI, based on the outskirts of Ankara, as the general coordinator of the new fighter jet project. The Turkish Defense Industry’s Procurement agency SSM has allotted some $20 million for a two-year conceptual design study.

“It’s a large endeavor. I’m skeptical that they would be able to do the project on their own since Turkey didn’t have the adequate technological know-how,” said one aerospace executive intimately involved with the design and production of the Israeli fighter jet Lavi in the 1980s.

“But it’s not just technological know-how. Developing a fighter jet requires billions and billions of dollars. It’s certainly not the same as assembling an aircraft. It takes a very long time to develop the technology and then you need to have the influx of funding to bring it all together,” the executive, who spoke on condition he not be named, told The Media Line.

Turkish industry officials told The Media Line that the government decision didn’t make sense. Turkey was currently so heavily engaged in joint international aircraft design projects such as the F-35 that it wouldn’t be feasible to embark on such a costly and risky venture, the officials said.

While hardly world class, the Turkish defense industry is growing and modernizing. But it remains dependent on foreign technology. TAI has designed the Hurkus, a basic training aircraft, but it has yet to make its maiden flight. It has also rolled out an unmanned aerial vehicle this year called the ANKA.

“Development is very, very expensive. Israel was a small country without a big defense budget. Even when we had the infrastructure we decided to give up on it because it was just too expensive,” the executive said, adding that any development today would likely be more successful with international partners.

Israel eventually scrapped the Lavi — built to be a competitor with the F-16 –under heavy US pressure and from a lack of funds.

Defense Minister Gonul said Turkey might cooperate with South Korea, which was developing the KF-X fighter jet with Indonesia. However, that project has sputtered due to lack of funding.


A Story of Israel's Threat to Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal

After the Israeli attack on Iraq’s under-construction French-built nuclear Osirak-type reactor, Tammuz-I, south of Baghdad on 7 June 1981, Pakistan felt that it would be the next target of an Israeli misadventure. The Israeli Air Force (IDF/AF) had, at first, explored the possibility of such a plan and, later, put together operational plans for a possible air strike against Kahuta in the 1980s using satellite photo and intelligence information provided by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). These operational plans are still kept updated in the Headquarters of the IDF/AF and pilots of some specially assigned IDF/AF F-16 and F-15 squadrons are given special training exercises to carry out mock attacks on Kahuta. So much so that a full-scale mock-up of the Kahuta facility was built in the southern Negev Desert for the IDF/AF pilots to train on.

The Kahuta plan was made concurrently with the plan to attack Osirak using the same pilots of the Iraq mission, if it went through successfully. The Israelis planned to either use Indian airbases or fly non-stop from Israel to Kahuta while refuelling their aircraft using airborne tankers. Israeli Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft would jam Pakistani air defence radar while the Israelis took out Kahuta - or at least attempted to do so.

To this effect, India had played its part in cajoling and trying to convince Israel to carry this ill-advised plan through. However, Israel was insisting on using Indian air bases but India was reluctant to allow them such a facility for fear of sparking of another Indo-Pak war. According to a paper published by the Australian Institute for National Strategic Studies, “Israeli interest in destroying Pakistan’s Kahuta reactor to scuttle the "Islamic bomb" was blocked by India's refusal to grant landing and refueling rights to Israeli warplanes in 1982.” India wanted to see Kahuta gone but did not want to face the blame or the retaliation nor bear any responsibility. Israel, on its part wanted it to be seen as a joint Indo-Israeli strike so that responsibility could be shared. The Reagan Administration was against this plan, not out of any love for Pakistan’s nuclear programme, but because at that time it was busy fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and considered Pakistan a key ally in the conflict. It informed Israel and India that it could not support such a plan. This plan, therefore, never materialized and was indefinitely postponed, and rightly so, after Pakistan reminded the Israelis that they were not the Iraqis and the Pakistan Air Force was not the Iraqi Air Force. Through indirect channels, Pakistan had also conveyed the message to Israel, if Kahuta was attacked, Pakistan would lay waste to Dimona, Israel’s nuclear reactor in the Negev Desert.

Pakistan, however, was not taking any chances. Soon after the Osirak raid in 1981, then President Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan directed PAF Air Headquarters (AHQ) to make contingency plans for a possible Israeli attack on Kahuta. In lieu thereof, the PAF Chief of Air Staff issued an Air Tasking Order to the Air Officer Commanding of the Air Defence Command to take suitable measures for the air defence of Kahuta and prepare a contingency plan for a retaliatory PAF strike on Dimona, in case Kahuta was attacked. As a follow-up to this directive, a special Operations Room was established at AHQ, Chaklala to oversee the task of defending Pakistan’s strategic nuclear facilities at Kahuta and Karachi. A study of the air defence ground environment of Kahuta was carried out and gaps and weaknesses in the air defences were filled and strengthened. On 10 July 1982, a special contingency plan was issued. In the event of an Israeli attack on Pakistan's strategic installations, plans were drawn up for a retaliatory Pakistani strike on Dimona. The strike would be carried out by Mirage III/Vs. When Pakistan received 40 General Dynamics Block F-16A/Bs from the US from 15 January 1983 onwards, this new weapons system too was incorporated in Pakistan’s contingency plan to carry out retaliatory strikes on Dimona.

In the backdrop of the above scenario, it was, therefore, not surprising that in the aftermath of the Indian nuclear tests of 13 May 1998, Pakistan felt that there was a strong possibility of a joint Indo-Israeli strike against Pakistan's nuclear installations. The PAF had an essential role to play in defending Pakistan's strategic installations and airspace to thwart any such plan. The tensions were so high that a PAF F-16 flying low over the Ras Koh test site in the Chagai District of Balochistan on the eve of the Pakistani nuclear tests was, for a moment, mistaken by the personnel on the ground, to be an Israeli warplane. The incident sparked off a diplomatic squabble between Pakistan and Israel, with the Israeli Ambassador in Washington D.C. denying the existence of any such plan.

Then Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations, Ahmed Kamal told CNN that Pakistan had reliable information about Indian intentions to launch air strikes against Pakistan's nuclear test facilities. Kamal told CNN that if India strikes, Pakistan's response would be "massive" and would "bode ill for peace."

"We're involved in this threat and in making sure that it does not arise because if it does, the world must understand that Pakistan is ready, that it will react, that the reaction will be massive and dissuasive, and that it would lead us into a situation which would bode ill for peace and security, not only in the region, but beyond," Kamal said.

As soon as the decision to conduct the nuclear tests had been taken, the PAF was ordered to assume air defence duties over Chagai and the strategic nuclear installations of Pakistan, including Kahuta, Nilore, Fatehjung, Chashma, Khushab and Karachi.

Operation Bedaar ’98: PAF Squadron Roles during Chagai

The PAF operations for the defence of Pakistan’s strategic nuclear installations during the May 1998 nuclear tests were codenamed “Operation Bedaar ’98” by the PAF.

This was a unique operation in which all four PAF command sector Headquarters (HQ) were involved, namely:

(a) HQ NORSEC (Northern Sector) based at PAF Chaklala (Rawalpindi, Punjab) and falling under the control of the Northern Air Command (NAC) at Peshawar;

(b) HQ CENSEC (Central Sector) under the Central Air Command (CAC) and both based at PAF Sargodha (Punjab);

(c) HQ WESSEC (Western Sector) based at PAF Base Samungli (Quetta, Balochistan) also falling under the command of CAC; and

(d) HQ SOUSEC (Southern Sector) based at PAF Faisal (Karachi, Sindh) and falling under the control of the Southern Air Command (SAC), also based at Karachi.

No. 6 Air Transport Squadron (ATS) Squadron, equipped with C-130 “Hercules” medium-lift tactical transport aircraft and based at PAF Base Chaklala, commanded by Group Captain Sarfraz Ahmad Khan, extended the necessary logistical support to the rest of the PAF squadrons that were being redeployed for air defence alert (ADA) duties. The Squadron carried a total of 12,66,615 lbs. loads in 71 separate sorties during the nuclear tests.

No. 7 Tactical Attack (TA) Squadron, equipped with ex-Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Mirage III EAs having recently undergone Retrofit of Strike Element (ROSE I) upgrades at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Kamra and based at PAF Base Masroor (Karachi, Sindh), commanded by Wg. Cdr. Shahid Mahmood were moved to PAF Base Shabaz (Jacobabad, Balochistan) for day-night ADA duties. This squadron is now due to be transformed into a multi-role squadron following the ROSE upgrades and after being equipped with new radar.

The PAF’s elite No. 9 Multi-Role (MR) Squadron “Griffins” (falling under No. 34 Wing led by Grp. Capt. Shahid Shigri), equipped with F-16As, commanded by Wg. Cdr. Azher Hasan, was deployed at PAF Samungli (Quetta, Balochistan) on 27 May 1998 to provide night-time air defence cover to the nuclear test sites at Ras Koh and Kharan.

No. 11 MR Squadron "Arrows" (No. 34 Wing), equipped with F-16A/Bs commanded by Gp. Capt. Akhtar H. Bukhari was moved to PAF Shabaz for day-night ADA duties on 24 May 1998.

No. 14 MR Squadron “The Tail Choppers”, equipped with F-7P aircraft and based at PAF Sargodha, commanded by Wg. Cdr. M. Jamshaid Khan, was deployed at PAF Base Chaklala for the point defence of KRL, Kahuta; PINSTECH, Nilore and NDC, Fatehjung.

No. 17 Air Superiority (AS) Squadron "Tigers" (falling under No. 31 Wing led by Grp. Capt. Rashid Hasan Bukhari), then equipped with F-6 aircraft and commanded by Wg. Cdr. Muhammad Jamil Memon carried out standing day-time Combat Air Patrol (CAP) missions from its parent base, PAF Base Samungli and its Forward Operational Bases (FOBs), PAF Bases Shahbaz and Sukker (Sindh) respectively. No. 17 Squadron was re-quipped with F-7PG aircraft from China on 27 March 2002.

No. 23 Squadron "Talons" (No. 31 Wing), then equipped with F-6 aircraft and based at PAF Base Samungli, commanded by Wg. Cdr. Ghulam Mustafa Abbasi was deployed at PAF Base Sukker for about a week for day-time ADA duties. Members of the Squadron who participated in the ADA duties included Wg. Cdr. Irfan Idrees, Sqn. Ldr. Khan Maqbool, Flt. Lt. Anwer Karim, Flt. Lt. S. Atta, Flt. Lt. Waqas Moshin, Flt. Lt. Zeeshan Saeed, Flt. Lt. Aamir Shaukat, Flt. Lt. Ali Asher, Flt. Lt. Nadeem Afzal and Flt. Lt. Nasir Jamal. No. 23 Squadron is also scheduled to be re-quipped with F-7PG aircraft from China later this year.

At PAF Base Samungli, F-6 aircraft belonging to the re-equipped No. 25 MR Squadron (now a SAGEM-upgraded Mirage V EF (ROSE II) squadron) and which were being kept in reduced flying status (hot storage) by the Field Maintenance Unit (FMU) at the Base were also activated and made operational in a day’s notice for emergency back-up if the need arose.

No. 314 Ground Combateers Wing of the PAF, located at PAF Samungli was tasked with providing enhanced ground security cover to the F-16s of Nos. 9 and 11 Squadrons deployed at the Base.

No. 481 Control & Reporting Centre (CRC) based at PAF Base, Lahore, along with seven Mobile Pulse-Doppler Radar (MPDR), was deployed at designated sites till the exercise was called off on 1 June 1998. No. 482 CRC based at PAF Base Malir (Karachi) deployed its MPDR-45 radar in the Sukker area at short notice on 21 May 1998. The radar handled a number of CAP missions that were launched to counter any aerial threat to the nuclear installations. No. 484 CRC based at PAF Chaklala remained on usual alert for the point defence of Kahuta. No. 486 CRC based at PAF Chaklala since November 1985 has been exclusive assigned to the task of defending Pakistan’s nuclear installations. It deployed its MPDR-90P radar at Pasni, Balochistan at short notice to detect any attack approaching from the sea. No. 403, a mobile Squadron based at PAF Base, Lahore and equipped with TPS-43G high altitude surveillance radar also participated in Bedaar’98. No. 408 Squadron based at PAF Malir, (near Karachi) and equipped with FPS-20A high-altitude long range static radar and TPS-43G high altitude radar successfully controlled a number of hot CAP mission and intercepted US Navy aircraft flying close to Pakistan’s 12 nautical mile wide territorial sea. Incidentally, this was the same squadron that participated in the several joint PAF/USN exercises called "Inspired Alert" between 1994 and 1997 in which the Squadron had experienced an opportunity to intercept aircraft like the F-14s and F-18s. No. 410 Squadron equipped with TPS-43G radar provided round-the-clock operations and controlled 26 high altitude CAPS during Operation Bedaar’98. No. 4091 Squadron based at Kirana Hills near Sargodha and equipped with Siemens MPDR-90 low-level static radar located at a height of 1,600 feet, provided a surveillance capability for the point defence of Sargodha Air Base and the Central Ammunition Depot (CAD) with its ability to detect aircraft flying at low level at extended ranges.

No. 541 Squadron, a mobile Surface-to-Air-Missile (SAM) squadron based at PAF Chaklala, and equipped with Crotale 2000 performed its duties for the point defence of Kahuta. No. 904 Squadron, based at Murree and equipped with MPDR-90S radar provided both independent and hooked-up mode operations with No. 486 CRC by providing early warning on low and medium level ingressing aircraft towards the national vital points from Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir. No. 451 Squadron, a mobile SAM squadron based at PAF Chaklala, and equipped with the Crotale 2000 SAM system provided air defence to the Kahuta and Nilore area. No. 454 Squadron, a mobile SAM squadron based PAF Chaklala, and equipped with the Crotale 2000 SAM system provided air defence cover to the national vital points. No. 455 Squadron, a mobile SAM squadron, deployed in the Kilo area and equipped with the Crotale 4000 SAM system provided air defence cover to the national vital points. No. 242 Squadron, a mobile SAM squadron, based at PAF Base Rafiqui, and equipped with the French Mistral SAM system provided air defence cover to PAF air bases. No.471 Squadron, a SAM squadron, based at PAF Chaklala and equipped with the Black Arrow (Chinese Red Flag II) high-altitude SAM system provided day-night air defence coverage upto 80,000 feet over the Kahuta, Nilore and Fatehjung area.

It was felt that a joint Indo-Israeli attack could target not only Pakistan's nuclear installations but the nuclear test sites at Ras Koh and Kharan as well. According to intelligence reports, US and Indian intelligence did not know about the Kharan Desert site, which came as a total surprise to them. To counter any high-level threat emanating from the west or south-west, a TPS-43G high level radar had been permanently deployed in the Quetta area since October 1982. The same radar was, therefore, used to provide surveillance on all flying aircraft in the Chagai area.

Dalbandin Airfield had an important role to play during Pakistan’s May 1998 nuclear tests. In fact, two names gained prominence around the world during the tests: (i) Chagai Hills and (ii) Dalbandin airfield. Dalbandin is located among sand dunes some 30 km south-east of the Chagai Hills near the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border. The Koh Khambaran Massif in the Ras Koh Mountain Range, the site of Pakistan's nuclear test, lies south of the Chagai Hills and Dalbandin.

The airfield at Dalbandin was constructed in 1935 to serve as a satellite for Samungli Air Base at Quetta. During the Second World War, it was made operational by the Royal Air Force in order to counter a possible Russian invasion through Iran and Afghanistan. During the 1970s, Dalbandin remained a disused airfield. Although the airstrip is visible from extremely high altitude, pilots making landing approaches often find the airstrip disappearing from view, with sand dunes and sand collected on the runway obscuring it - like a natural camouflage. Dust storms are frequent and cause delays in take-off and landing schedules. The airfield was taken over by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in 1985, it received a major face-lift and overhaul, which provided modern navigational aids, air traffic control facilities, a passenger terminal and a paved runway. There are regularly scheduled Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) services to the airport. While not a military facility, this airfield is available to the PAF for emergency landing and recovery of aircraft during peacetime and wartime. During May 1998, Dalbandin air field became the centre of activity for all personnel, military and civilian, flying to and from the nuclear tests sites to the rest of the country.

The nuclear devices were themselves flown in semi-knocked down (SKD) sub-assembly form on two flights of PAF C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft from PAF Chaklala in northern Punjab to Dalbandin airfield, escorted even within Pakistani airspace by four PAF F-16As armed with air-to-air missiles. At the same time, PAF F-7P air defence fighters, also armed with air-to-air missiles, were on CAP guarding the aerial frontiers of Pakistan against intruders. Both the nuclear devices (the bomb mechanism, the HMX explosive shields and casing) and the fissile material (the highly enriched uranium components) were divided into separate consignments and flown on separate flights of the Hercules. The PAEC did not want to put all its nuclear eggs in one basket in case something adverse was to happen to the aircraft. The security of the devices and the fissile material was so strict that that PAF F-16 escort pilots had been secretly given standing orders that in the unlikely event of the C-130 being hijacked or flown outside of Pakistani airspace, they were to shoot down the aircraft before it left Pakistan’s airspace. The F-16s were ordered to escort the C-130s to the Dalbandin airfield in Balochistan with their radio communications equipment turned off so that no orders, in the interim, could be conveyed to them to act otherwise. They were also ordered to ignore any orders to the contrary that got through to them during the duration of the flight even if such orders seemingly originated from Air Headquarters.

On 30 May 1998, when Pakistan sixth nuclear device shook the ground in the Kharan Desert, Operation Bedaar '98 had accomplished its mission - that of deterring any misadventure by either India or Israel to strike at Pakistan's nuclear infrastructure.

But how real was the possibility of a joint or unilateral Israeli or Indian raid on Pakistan's nuclear installations during May 1998? The answer is that we really don't know. The threat is of such a nature that it can neither be overestimated nor underestimated. Overestimation may lead to minor diplomatic embarrassment, but underestimation will surely lead to catastrophe for Pakistan. So Pakistan prefers to overestimate the threat and pay the price of minor diplomatic embarrassment rather than underestimate it and face the prospective annihilation. This is not to say that the threat was never there during May 1998. Pakistan preferred to be safe rather than sorry. Furthermore, there is concrete evidence that India and Israeli have been planning exactly such an operation to neutralize Pakistan's nuclear capability. It is only the PAF and the risk of nuclear retaliation that is holding them back.

According to an Indian official, Subramaniam Swamy, a former member of the Hindu fundamentalist and extremist Bharati Janata Party (BJP) that rules India today, Israel in 1982 asked him to sound out other Indian leaders to see if India would grant Israeli warplanes landing and refueling rights were they to undertake an Osirak-type raid against the Kahuta nuclear reactor in Pakistan. India refused, probably for a combination of reasons. As one expert on South Asia speculated:

"First, the Kahuta facility is well-protected and is thus a hard target to destroy. Second and more important, India expects that any first strike by India against Kahuta would be swiftly followed by a Pakistani attack against India's nuclear facilities. Such an exchange would leave India worse off, since any potential deterrent capability against China would thereby be eliminated. Finally, India would be wary of launching such an attack against Pakistan as it would cause not only great death and destruction to Pakistan, but could blow radioactive fall-out back over India. Such an attack against Pakistan would also alienate the Muslim Middle Eastern states whose amity India has assiduously cultivated."

In a meeting in Paris in July 1985, senior Israeli diplomats and a personal envoy of the late Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi reportedly examined the option in detail. As an incentive, Israel held out an offer to cooperate with India on military intelligence, defence production and transfer or technology. Yitzhak Rabin, then the Israeli Defence Minister, reportedly pinned a lot of hope on that meeting. But India, which had not yet forged diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, ultimately rejected the proposal, ostensibly because of the fear of possible nuclear retaliation by Pakistan and for fear of a possible backlash by Islamic states, including an oil embargo against it by the Muslim member-states of OPEC.

In 1991, India and Pakistan signed a treaty pledging that neither would preemptively attack the nuclear facilities of the other. However, as India’s and Pakistan’s animosity grows, this treaty has been rendered toothless and is unlikely to be adhered to by either side.

In the early 1990s, reports surfaced in London claiming Israel had repeatedly tried to pressure India into launching a joint strike on Pakistan's nuclear weapons development plant at Kahuta. The reports claimed Israeli and Indian pilots would be aided by detailed satellite photographs of Kahuta provided by convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

According to a report in The Washington Times, citing US officials, Pakistan’s then Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed had notified the US government and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that Israeli and Indian warplanes, equipped with long-range refueling gear and operating out of India, had planned to attack Pakistani nuclear facilities at dawn on Thursday, 28 May 1998.

It is possible that for Kahuta, the Israelis will use F-15 Strike Eagles to carry out the actual attack with F-16s providing air cover - a reversal of the roles in the operation against Osirak. Furthermore, it is almost certain that if Israel ever attempted to take out Pakistan’s nuclear weapons facilities, Kahuta will not be the only target and it is highly likely that the Plutonium Reactor at Khushab and the National Development Complex (NDC) at Fatehjung, among others, will be additional targets high on the priority list of the Israelis.

Senior Israeli military intelligence officials had, of course, dismissed the notion that any kind of attack was being contemplated against Pakistan. Pakistan and India "are coming out of the closet and they are trying to drag us with them," one senior intelligence official said. "We have nothing to do with it. They are trying to force us into being a party in this. "The official also maintained that Pakistan's infamous espionage and counter-espionage agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was acting on "faulty intelligence." The Israelis maintained that the misinformation may have been propaganda fed to them from some other body, the Iranians perhaps. "They took it seriously. They could have believed it, but they did the responsible thing and checked it out with the Americans," the official said. Not that the Americans could be trusted, given the fact that it was the United States which has supplied all the information and satellite photos of Pakistan's nuclear installations to both Israel and India.

The assessment in Israel is that it does not believe that Pakistan sees the Jewish State as its enemy - not directly and at least not in the short-run. Israeli intelligence officials also do not believe that Pakistan has transferred nuclear or missile technology to nuclear-wannabe Iran. Moreover, they have no proof that Pakistan is or intends to engage in any nuclear cooperation with any other country. An Israeli defence analyst commented to this effect, "Pakistan will not transfer nuclear know-how to any other Muslim country, not out of fear of Israel, but because that would diminish its own importance in the Islamic World. Today, Pakistan is the Islamic world's sole nuclear power, if there are two, Pakistan's position would be reduced. So it is using its nuclear prowess not only as a deterrent against its enemies but also to bolster its relationship with its strategic friends".

Shai Feldman, Director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University in Israel once stated, "I am certain that the Pakistanis have enough trouble on their hands and would refrain from doing something that would actually increase Israel's incentive to cooperate with India. Why would they buy another enemy when the situation is as bad as it is?" Feldman said. "They are not stupid, and they probably know that if we had any evidence of transfer of technology to one of our adversaries then Israel would react and it wouldn't be very pleasant," he added.

And vice versa, Mr. Feldman.

Russia's New Mi-38 Transport Helicopter.

Mi-38 is a transport helicopter designed by Moscow Helicopter Plant. Originally intended as a replacement for the Mi-8 & Mi-17, it is being marketed in both military and civil versions.

IAF to Chose From Eurofighter and Rafael: MRCA

After exhaustive trials of six fighter jets, Indian Air Force (IAF) has made its choice clear to the Government on the kind of fighter jets needed. Frontrunners for the force are French fighter Dassault Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon built by the European consortium. Bernhard Gerwert, Chief, EADS, says “If you are taking into account the portfolio of EADS we can bring the bridge between civil aviation and military aviation.” But the Americans and Russians have lost out. Boeing’s F18 no longer a frontrunner and Sweden’s Gripen too falling off the Indian radar.

Despite MiG 35s big thunder, its engine failing to impress while the F-16, according to the IAF has no future. Another reason favouring Rafale and Eurofighter is political. Thomas Matussek, German Ambassador, “We regard India as a strategic security partner and this is why we do not insist on an end user monitoring agreement period.” So when the mother of all defence deals is signed for the 126 Multi-Role Combat Aircraft either Rafale or the Eurofighter will fly away with the Rs 42,000 crore deal.

China deployed J-11B jets in Tibet to counter India’s recent movement of Su-30MKI jets near China.

China deployed J-11B jets in Tibet to counter India’s recent movement of Su-30MKI jets near China.

Chinese Type 022 Missile Boat

Ten years ago, the U.S. Navy set about building a new class of small, cheap, numerous Littoral Combat Ships meant to dominate dangerous coastal waters. But after a decade of politics and design-by-committee, the LCS has turned out to be anything but small, cheap and numerous. LCS is the “wrong ship at the wrong time,” retired Navy Cmdr. John Patch wrote.
On the other side of the Pacific, the Navy’s biggest maritime rival, faced with the same requirement for small, cheap, numerous ships, quickly produced exactly that. The result is the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s triple-hull Type 022 missile boat, a “thoroughbred ship-killer,” according to Patch.
To some observers, the PLAN missile boat — or, more to the point, packs of these boats — poses yet another major Chinese threat to U.S. power in the Pacific. Eighty-three Type 022s firing more than 640 anti-ship missiles in quick salvos represent a “serious cause for concern,” according to retired Navy Cmdr. George Root.
To others, the diminutive Type 022s look like mere juicy targets for American helicopters and submarines. They cite the extremely poor combat record of small-missiles boats doing battle with larger vessels and aircraft.
One thing is indisputable. The Type 022 is “a potential success story on how to field small combatants,” Patch wrote. Its merits in combat remain to be seen, but at least the ship exists to perform a combat role. The same cannot be said of the huge fleet of LCSs the U.S. Navy thought it would have by now.

Seven-Year Sprint

In just seven years, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy has built 83 of the 400-ton Type 022s at an estimated cost of $40 million per ship. And production continues at a high rate in several shipyards. The U.S. Navy, by comparison, has finished just two LCS in the same span of time, each at a cost of more than $600 million.
The Chinese ships sport eight anti-ship missiles apiece plus defensive guns and surface-to-air missiles. The American vessels, lightly armed in their own right, are designed to accommodate “plug-and-play” weapons kits, none of which are complete.
To some critics, even 83 Type 022s are so much fodder for submarines and air power. Small missile-armed boats have fared very poorly in major naval battles — so poorly that the late naval historian Antony Preston said they were “among the world’s worst warship designs since 1860,” according to Navy Undersecretary Bob Work.
Work, back when he was a mere analyst at the Washington, D.C., Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, summarized the experiences of Iranian and Iraqi “Fast Attack Craft” in combat with U.S. and allied forces in 1988 and 1991. “U.S./coalition forces: 40 FACs destroyed, 2 disabled; enemy: 0 U.S. or friendly forces hit, much less sunk.”
“This data suggests the weakness in focusing in on a simple fleet-on-fleet salvo model in modern naval combat,” Work wrote, “primarily because the preferred method of engaging enemy surface targets is now through asymmetric attacks (e.g., aircraft and submarine attacks against surface vessels).”
In other words, it doesn’t matter how many missile boats you build, if your opponent can bring submarines and missile-armed aircraft to bear against them.


China Reveals Fighter Aircraft Carrier Ambitions

China has stated publicly for the first time its intention to acquire two or more indigenously designed and built aircraft carriers for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

A brief reference to the strategy has appeared in an annual report from the the State Oceanic Administration (SOA). Although it was published in May, the reference was buried at the end of the 570-page document and has only now been picked up by news outlets in the Asia-Pacific region.

A translation of the SOA's 2010 Ocean Development Report, published by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post on 19 December, stated: "In 2009, China put forward an idea and plan for building aircraft carriers. These indicate China has entered the historical era of building a maritime superpower."

The translation continued: "Building China as a maritime power is the mission of China in the whole 21st century, and 2010 to 2020 is the critical period for accomplishing this strategic mission, with the goal to place China among mid-tier maritime powers."

In addition, unconfirmed reports published by the several newspapers in the region are suggesting that construction of a conventionally powered carrier (CV) may have started.

Japan's Asahi Shimbun stated on 17 December: "Construction has already begun at six military affiliated companies and research institutes in Shanghai and other locations."


Pakistan To Build Radar For JF-17 Thunder Fighter Jet

The chief of staff of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has told Jane's that Pakistan has built its first facility to manufacture radars for fighter aircraft.

Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman said the indigenously produced radar, built with China's assistance at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), in Kamra, north of Islamabad, would equip the JF-17 'Thunder' fighter aircraft jointly produced by the two countries.

"This is a major step forward. This will be the first such [radar manufacturing] facility in Pakistan," ACM Suleman said in an interview on 21 December at PAF headquarters in Islamabad. He confirmed that the radar would be fitted on the JF-17, which, along with US-supplied F-16 Fighting Falcons, is set to be the PAF's front-line combat aircraft.

Previous reports suggest that the radar to be manufactured will be the Chinese-built CETC/NRIET KLJ-7 radar set.

At the 2010 Farnborough Air Show, at which two JF-17s made their debut in the West, Jane's reported that the KLJ-7 had received full marks from the JF-17's designers at PAC.

A PAC programme officer told Jane's : "I have flown with this radar and with other models that we have looked at fitting to this aircraft, such as the Thales RC400, and the Chinese radar is every bit as capable as its contemporary analogs."

India orders study on J-20

Two days before retiring from service, Air Marshal SC Mukul, the chief of India's Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) has instructed a Group Captain-rank officer at HQ IDS to prepare a report on the recently revealed Chinese stealth fighter prototype. The report will be India's official assessment of what, by all accounts, is a Chinese fifth generation platform.

The study will, of course, rely mostly on open source material -- photographs, graphics, unofficial assessments -- on the J-20, though a source of mine indicates that the the officer entrusted with authoring the report will also take inputs from the IAF Directorate of Operations, the Directorate of Naval Aviation, the advanced projects and AMCA divisions of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), the Aircraft Research & Design Centre at HAL, apart from the R&AW. The report will be provided to the Indian Air Force and the office of the National Security Advisor. The HQ IDS orders studies on foreign weapon programmes as a matter of routine. These assessments, obviously remain classified though files on Pakistan's air force strength did leak in 2007.

Countering IAFs 5th Generation Fighter Aircraft

In the next decade all Air Forces are focusing on the Stealth Technology available in the 5th Gen aircraft. The IAF burnt by colossal failures with reference to indigenous aircraft and engine manufacturing was left with a huge gap. It has tried to fill the void which was left by the inability of the IAF to produce the LCA. That void is being filled by three level of purchases, the MCRC, the purchase of Russian PAKFA (called FGFA in Bharat) and possible direct purchase of aircraft from the US.

Within the next quarter century, the IAF is projected to have many 5th generation fighter aircraft. The Chinese Ari Force is Light Years ahead and faces no threat from Delhi. The PAF has taken note of the IAF numbers and is taking appropriate measures to deal with the situation.
The IAF in 2025 will have the PAKFA in service, provided the Russians can produce the aircraft and provided that they are not another generation of Flying Coffins.

The PAF Countermeasures are as follows:
  1. Begin the slow progress of mastering the technology so that it can be inculcated into existing Aircraft.

  2. Jointly design and build Aircraft with China with approach 5th generation and beyond.

  3. Purchase US aircraft with a bit older technology, and then upgrade those aircraft at lesser cost.

  4. Work with Indonesia, and Turkey in developing local military technologies to counter the threats.

  5. Use less expensive ways to deal with the incoming threat.

  6. Bank on Missiles to counter the threat.

  7. Bring incremental improvement to the JF-17 Thunder in Blcoks of fifty. This will keep the JF-17 thunder infused the latest technology for the next fifty years.

  8. Start production of the FC-20s based on the J-10B and work with the Chinese on the production of the J-11s.

  9. Enhance the UAV technology to the next level and design and produce Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAVs),

  10. One expensive option is to build X-47 Pegasus class, to counter India’s military aviation threat to Pakistan.

  11. Work with the Chinese to jontly build the WS-13 engine so that it can be used on the UCAV’s.

  12. Continue development of the Babur Cruise missile and use to to build UCAV’s.

  13. This mixture of response will not only be a potent defense against the IAF, but it will be eliminate the attempt of the IAF to intimidate Pakistan.

The first UCAV’s were autonomous cruise missiles, something that the U.S. and Germany have been fielding since the 1940′s. In Europe, several UCAV’s are known as robotic warplanes ( the Neuron, the Barrakuda and the Corax) are under development. These UACV concepts had their origins in the US,  and Europe wants to remain competitive with the American Aviation industry. All the programs have stealth features playing in the same league as the American J-UCAS (Joint Unmanned Combat Aerial System). The US  program includes the Boeing X45C and the Northrop Grumman X47B Pegasus . These European projects are the first foreign competitors for the American UCAV.
These major UCAV’ systems are in play:
  1. The six nation $480 million European effort has a produced a flying prototype.

  2. The joint German-Spanish, Swiss, Barrakuda conducted its first taxi tests on the 26 January 2006.

  3. The British Corax UACV. The UK perceives the Joint Strike Fighter as the last manned platform for its Air Force, which will eventually replaced by an UCAV. The Corax, which undertook its maiden flight already in 2004.

  4. China is making UCAV by adopting the old F-7 designs. China is using the J-6 and J-7 into target drones. Pakistan which already has the old F-7s can to this cheaply.

The UACVs have the following advantage:

  • Greater maneuverability – in modern day fighter aircraft human tolerance is the limiting factor for the number of g forces the plane can pool during rapid manoeuvres, with UACV this bottleneck is eliminated so they can be very manoeuvrable indeed.

  • Less weight – this can affect many things like endurance time, acceleration, payload and so on. One or two pilots and all the stuff you put in the cockpit can weight quite a bit.

  • Better aerodynamics – you don’t need the cockpit canopy.
    Situational awareness – as Clerik said you can create very good virtual cockpit on ground that is superior to anything you can fit in an aircraft. SA is most important for air superiority missions, I think, and as air-to-air battles are pushed to BWR there is no benefit of having your Mark I eyeball on the actual aircraft.
    No crew fatigue – on the ground pilots can control their UACVs in greater comfort and rotate during mission.

  • Lower price – often the flying unit can be made cheaper. All that fancy plane-human interface gear, life support, ejection seats and whatnot costs big $, but in case of UACV you only need the plane-human interface part and with that it is one for many planes and can bee cheaper as it doesn’t have to endure all the stresses and such. You need gear for communicating with UACVs instead, but some means of communication are already in place, so no big change there.

  • Pilots are out of harms way – UACVs will save pilots lives. Pilot is very expensive to train and hard to replace quickly.

  • Long Range Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Combat

  • Short Range within Visual Range Combat:

  • Low Costs:

  • Quantity versus Quality:

  • Kamikaze possibilities

The Disadvantages of UCAVs
  • Tackling the Problem of Jamming:

  • Human Element

  • Lag – radio communications can travel only so quickly but reaction time is critical for air engagements.
    Single point of failure – if the enemy takes out the command centre, all the UCAV’ are neutralized too.

Those who espouse following the C-47 route for the PAF are living in a fools paradise. The US will not share that technology with Pakistan and it will be too expensive for the PAF. The best route for the PAF will be to work with the Chinese and the Europeans to develop these unmanned systems.

Courtesy: Rupee News