Issue N° 33 – May / June 2017
Eu r o p e a n D ef en ce R e v i e w Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier in action : French Navy role in the Battle of Mosul PROSUB Proceeds on Time Towards operational laser effectors? Foxtrot One Two Three… Current air-to-air NATO missiles
Eu r o p e a n D ef en ce R e v i e w
Issue n o. 33
Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier in action : French Navy role in the Battle of Mosul By Babak Taghvaee,
Fourth A400M handed over to the Royal Malaysian Air Force – By Babak Taghvaee
Foxtrot One Two Three… Current air-to-air NATO missiles By Jean-Michel Guhl
24 30 38 46
European Minnows Flying High By David Oliver
Towards operational laser effectors? By Paolo Valpolini
PROSUB Proceeds on Time By David Oliver
Irkut Corporation develops advanced export-oriented combat aircraft By Dmitry Fediushko
Russian combat aircraft much demanded on global market – By Nikolaï Novichkov Publisher: Joseph Roukoz Editor-in-chief: David Oliver European Defence Review (EDR) is published by European Defence Publishing SAS www.edrmagazine.eu
EDR – May / June 2017
© French Navy
P French Navy CDG carrier with all
of its aircraft consisted of 24 Rafale Ms, two Douphins, a Caiman and two Hawkeyes while the Alouette III had been used for taking this picture during operation Chammal.
Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier in action
French Navy role in the Battle of Mosul By Babak Taghvaee,
ince 1st October 2016, the French Navy Charle De Gaulle aircraft carrier group and its 24 Rafale Ms performed airstrikes against ISIL / Daesh terrorist group in Syria and Iraq as a part of French Military Operation Chammal which went on-going since 19th September 2014 as part of International campaign during war on terror in West of Asia. Earlier in 2015, in response to 13th November Paris attacks, the French authorities intensified French Military role in the war on terror which led to deployment of the French Navy Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf on 23rd November 2015. Previously in that year on 14th January 2015, French President François Hollande had declared that the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle would deploy to the Persian Gulf which couldn’t happen until Paris attacks! 4
Supporting the Battle of Mosul Started on 30th September 2016, the French Navy Carrier Battle Group (Groupe Aéronaval) joined Operation Chammal for the third time to support operation Inherent Resolve which had started two years before. The aircraft carrier with a fleet size of 30 aircraft consisted of 24 Rafale M Multirole Combat Aircraft, two E-2C AWACS airplanes, two SA365F1 Dauphins, a SE316 Alouette III, an a NH.90NFH Caiman was being accompanied by anti-air warfare frigate, Cassard (D614) with a 36F Squadron’s AS565SA helicopter on-board; replenishment oiler, Marne (A630); AntiAir Frigate / Lead Ship Chevalier Paul (D621) with a NH.90NFH on-board; anti-submarine frigate, Jean de Vienne (D643) with two Lynx HAS.4 helicopters on-board; a Rubis-class submarine together with May / June 2017 – EDR
US Navy Destroyer, USS Ross and German Navy Anti-submarine frigate Augsburg with a Super Lynx Mk88A on-board. On 1st October, the GAN (Groupe Aéronaval) carried out its first combat missions against ISIL from East of Mediterranean Sea while was located in the South of Cyprus. The first airstrikes hit an ISIL fighting position in Northwest of Ramadi, central Iraq while simultaneously one of two E-2Cs Hawkeyes of the carrier was performing surveillance mission. In same day a French Navy Atlantique 2 Maritime Patrol Aircraft with 23 serial number from Jordan, and a GAN’s Rafale M carried out three ISR sorties over Iraq and Syria. To support the GAN operations, French Navy had forward deployed second ATL2 of 21F squadron with 28 serial number to an airfield in the East of Mediterranean Sea while the first ATL2 with 23 serial number had been deployed to Muwaffaq al-Salti AB in Jordan since 10th February 2016.
7th and 13th October, seven more ISR sorties were carried out by the French Navy Rafale Ms and ATL2s, while two E-2Cs of the CDG carried-out 5 airborne command and control and EW missions. In same time 44 combat reconnaissance, strike and preplanned sorties were carried-out by French Navy’s Rafale Ms which destroyed various ISIL fighting positions within six airstrikes. Also between 17th and 20th October, nine ISR sorties were performed by means of French Navy ATL2s and French Air Force’s Rafale Cs.
Targeting ISIL’s infrastructures
© French Navy
One of the most important airstrikes performed by the CDG carrier Rafale Ms took place in the nights of 15th and 16th October 2016. During the airstrike three French Air Force’s Rafale Cs together with four Rafale Ms of the Navy launched eight SCALP EG (General Purpose Long Range Standoff Cruise Missile) missiles at an ISIL’s IED factory within 30km in the south of Mosul while simultaneously an E-2C was monitoring airspace over area of the operation. Between 17th and 21st October, the CDG aircraft carrier operations stopped after it went to the Port of Limassol, Cyprus for resupply and replenishment while its personnel were resting in the Island. But soon after returning to its position in the South of Cyprus, its Rafale Ms together with the French Air Force’s Rafale Cs logged a total 68 armed reconnaissance sorties during which 64 targets N Rafale M 15 serial number armed with four
M Rafale M 14 serial serial number while was
located with four LGBs ready for take-off from the CDG aircraft carrier during operation Chammal.
© French Navy
AASM Hammer bombs after launch from the CDG aircraft carrier during Operation Chammal.
Between 1st and 6th October, a total 63 combat sorties were carried out by the French Navy’s Rafale Ms and ATL2s and the French Air Force’s Rafale Cs from BA.104 Al-Dhafra consisted of 7 ISR sorties of Rafale M and ATL2s; 50 Armed/ Combat reconnaissance and pre-planned CAS sorties by the Rafale Ms which resulted in destruction of 19 targets within 15 airstrikes. In the next days, between EDR – May / June 2017
were destroyed within 49 airstrikes between 21st and 28th October. In same period, 9 ISR missions were carried out by the two ATL2s based in East of Mediterranean Sea and Jordan as well as Rafale Ms of the CDG. On 31st October, during a massive air raid performed by 20 fighter airplanes of seven OIRCJTF (Operation Inherent Resolve – Combined Joint Task Force) members, two French Navy’s Rafale Ms accompanied by four French Air Force’s Rafale Cs carried-out an airstrike against an ISIL’s weapon manufacturing and storage complex in Hadithah region in Iraq. In that night a total eight SCALP-EGs were launched at the target by the Rafales. Before the operation, one of the French Navy’s ATL2s had performed ISR sortie over the target while after the airstrike, aircrew of another ATL2 carried-out a BDA (Battle Damage Assessment) mission.
Time for Urban CAS The Iraqi security forces operation for entering the city of Mosul began on 1st November from Mosul’s eastern Karama district via artillery barrage, tank and machine-gun fires at ISIL positions. Subsequently all air forces of the coalition including USAF during Operation Inherent Resolve, RAF during Operation Shader (a Tornado GR.4 with ZA601 tail code), and French Air Force and French Navy during operation Chammal started provision of CAS for the ground forces which were trying to enter the city.
Between 28th October and 2nd November, 98 combat sorties were logged by both French Air Force and French Navy during operation Chammal during which 17 airstrikes including 13 CAS sorties were performed in support of Iraqi Forces trying to enter Mosul on 1st and 2nd November. Between 5th and 10th November, while ISIL jihadists used VBIEDs and human shields beside blocking main roads of Mosul by concrete walls and rubbles to reduce speed of the offensive in the Mosul, the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga reached Tel-Afar and liberated Bashiqa town respectively. In this period French Air Force and Navy provided air support for them as well as Iraqi Special Forces and Army which were fighting with ISIL in main axis in Mosul. A and total 70 combat sorties were performed by them consisted of nine ISR sorties by ATL2s and Rafale Ms, five airborne command and control sorties by the E-2Cs, and 56 armed reconnaissance sorties by the Rafale Ms and Rafale Cs during which 11 targets were detected and destroyed within 10 airstrikes. On 16th November, the German Navy Frigate Augsburg, and US Navy destroyer USS Ross left the GAN and the General Purpose Frigate La Fayette (F710) which had returned from its mission in Indian Ocean joined the GAN while the anti-air Frigate/ Lead ship Forbin (D620) took place of Chevalier Paul (D621) and received its NH.90NFH with 17 serial number. Between 17th and 21st November, the CDG aircraft carrier which had now the anti-air Frigate/ Lead ship Forbin (D620) instead of Chevalier N The CDG aircraft carrier can be seen from © US Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Theron J. Godbold/Released
the deck of USS Ross on 25th October 2016.
May / June 2017 – EDR
FORMATION - CONSEIL - ASSISTANCE
© Natcom - www.natcom.fr - 01 47 30 31 32 - Photos : Sirpa Terre, Mer et Air – DCI
LE LABEL DES FORCES ARMÉES FRANÇAISES
© Babak Taghvase
Paul (D621) as escort frigate together with the FS Cassard (D614) docked in the port of Limassol again for resupply and replenishment between 16th and 21st November. On 16th November while the CDG carrier was docked, the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) liberated Tal-Afar airport via killing huge number of ISIL terrorists, it took two more days until the airport was fully cleared of the Jihadists. On 20th November, Iraqi Army troops arrived at Tal-Afar and reinforced PMF position there to prepare for retaking the town. Speed of the advance into the city of Mosul war later reduced more than before but still ISIL was losing ground slowly. In total 50 combat sorties were carried-out by French combat aircraft between 21st and 24th November among the six ISR sorties were carriedout by ATL2s and Rafale-Ms, one sortie was carriedout by E-2C, and 44 armed reconnaissance sorties were carried-out by Rafale Cs and Rafale Ms during which 14 targets were destroyed within 13 airstrikes including seven in the Mosul and three in the North of Raqqa, Syria in support of Kurdish forces which had started an offensive against ISIL earlier in that region to drawing attention of ISIL to its Syrian fronts in-order to reduce the pressure on Mosul fronts. Between 24th November and 1st December, during operation Chammal, total of 97 combat sorties carried out consisted of five ISR sorties, seven airborne command and control sorties by two E-2Cs of the aircraft carrier, and 85 armed reconnaissance sorties resulting in destruction of 24 targets within 14 airstrikes (11 in Iraq and three in Syria). Among total 11 airstrikes in Iraq, ISIL fighting positions, mortar positions and a VBIED assembly line were destroyed within nine airstrikes in Mosul. On 29th November, a Rafale M of the CDG carrier performed a strike mission against a weapon factory and storage facility complex of ISIL near Raqqa, Syria. 8
M French Navy aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle (R.91) can be seen in the Port of Limassol on 17th November 2016.
On Tuesday, 29th November 2016, four French Air Force’s Rafale Cs and two French Navy Rafale Ms successfully launched eight SCALP-EG cruise missiles against several important facilities of Daesh in southwest of City of Raqqa. This strike destroyed a Chemical weapon laboratory or factory and a weapon storage facility of ISIL in the city. The mission was commanded and supervised by the OIR-CJTF’s HQ at Kuwait while the CAOC (Combined Air Operations Center) Headquartered at Al-Udeid, Qatar performed this operation. By the end of November, less than 30% of the Mosul area east of the Tigris had been liberated, and Iraqi Armed Forces had taken control of 19 neighbourhoods in Eastern Mosul during the month. On 30th November, PMF announced that they had liberated 12 villages from ISIL/ Daesh in the Tal Afar area over the past five days.
Being opportunist over Cyprus The Republic of Cyprus, in the East of Mediterranean Sea, didn’t only host the French Navy’s GAN multiple times, it provided its Air Defence systems for the French Navy’s Rafale M pilots during a military exercise to practice how to defeat them in case of military confrontation with Russian and Syrian armed forces in Syria. Joint Military exercise TALOS-1/2016 was held on 30th November and 1st December in Nicosia FIR and over large tracks of the island. May / June 2017 – EDR
© US Navy
M The CDG aircraft carrier NH-90 with 08 serial
number lands USS Ross DDG 71) Sept. 24,2016. Ross, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, was providing multi-warfare defence support of Operations in the Eastern Mediterranean against identified ISIL positions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
During the exercise Cyprus National Guard Air Force Command participated with several SA-15 or Tor M2 SAM systems stationed in Limassol and Larnaca and subsequently practiced how to track and find and subsequently intercept French Rafale Ms, while the Rafale M pilots renewed their skill about how defeating the SAM systems via flying in low and medium altitudes over the cities. During the exercise both sides gained skill and exchanged their knowledge.
The GAN’s aircraft fleet on Focus The French Navy Carrier group has total of 26 airplanes and eight helicopters from seven different squadrons of four French Naval Aviation bases. The CDG carried 24 Rafale Ms with 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 19, 21, 26, 28, 30, 31, 32, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45 and 46 serial numbers from 11F and 12F squadrons (Landivisiau Naval Air Base); two E-2Cs with 2 EDR – May / June 2017
(US Navy By Number: 165456) and 3 (US Navy By Number: 166417) serial numbers from 4F Squadron (Lanvéoc-Poulmic Air Base); a SE.316 Allouette III with 219 s/n from 22S Squadron (Lanvéoc-Poulmic Air Base); two SA.365F1s with 313 and 318 serial numbers from 35F Squadron (Hyères Le Palyvestre Airport); and a NH.90NFH with 8 s/n from 33F Squadron (Lanvéoc-Poulmic Air Base). Another 33F Squadron’s NH.90NFH Caiman with 17 s/n was deployed with FS Forbin, while two Lynx HAS.4s including one with 802 s/n from 34F Squadron (Lanvéoc-Poulmic Air Base) were deployed with FS Jean de Vienne, and a single AS.565SA with 486 serial number dedicated to anti-submarine operations was deployed with FS La Fayette. Because of not having any C-2 Cargo airplanes as the U.S. aircraft carriers are benefiting to keep connected to the land for carrying supply, personnel and other necessary things, the CDG has only an NH.90NFH which provides limited but useful logistic support for the carrier. During its deployment the NH.90NFH was flying regularly between the carrier in the middle of Mediterranean Sea and Larnaca International Airport, Cyprus two to three times a week to transport personnel who were going home, in France or transferring small loads of cargo such as postal packages, and in several cases spare parts for the aircraft on board of the carrier, the ones which had been ended in large spare part storage of the carrier. When there was no need to large helicopter in size of Caiman for logistic supports between the 9
© Babak Taghvase © Babak Taghvase
M Here the
Atlantique 2 with 28 serial number can be seen before during a surveillance flight for monitoring the Russian Navy Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier.
M The recently delivered A400M of the French Air Force with 0037 serial number and F-RBAJ register was used to bring spare parts for the Atlantique 2 with 28 serial number on 31 October 2016.
carrier and land, the Lynx helicopters of the FS Jean de Vienne were used for transport flights to the Cyprus. Also Lynxes and the sole Panther of the AS.565SA of FS La Fayette together with the NH.90NFH of the FS Forbin were used to establish logistical support line between the ships and the Republic of Cyprus during the deployment via two weekly flights. Always during the sea operations of the French Navy Rafales from the CDG, the sole SE.316 Alouette III of the carrier was hovering beside the carrier to quickly provide MEDEVAC (Medical Evacuation) and SAR (Search and Rescue) for pilots of any 10
crashed Rafale M in daylight while two Dauphins of the carrier were doing the same job but at-night because of being able to fly IFR. Like many of aircraft carriers in the world, the CDG has its own fleet of AWACS airplanes consisting of two E-2Cs of the French Naval Aviation’s 4F Squadron which has three of these aircraft in its service. They are always airborne when even a single Rafale M of the carrier is performing combat mission in-order to monitor airspace around it to protect it from danger of unwanted confrontation with Syrian Arab Air Force, Russian Air Force and Turkish Air Force warplanes in Iraq and Syria’s airspaces. Each flight sortie of an E-2C was lasting almost ten hours! Deployment of the French Navy Carrier Battle Group to the East of Mediterranean Sea was ended on 15th December 2016 and the carrier headed back to France before Christmas and New Year, but the French Navy Aviation continued its presence in Operation Chammal by means of an ATL2 based in Jordan which is not only able to be used in ISR and BDA missions rather it can be used in armedreconnaissance missions because of its ability to carry and use four GBU-12 Paveway II LGBs in its bomb-bay for precision bombings. J May / June 2017 – EDR
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© Babak Taghvase
M Fernando Alonso delivers a plate to Malaysian Minister of Defense
and RMAF’s commander in chief in memorandum of 2,000 flying hours logged by the RMAF’s A400Ms.
Fourth A400M handed over to the Royal Malaysian Air Force By Babak Taghvaee Finally after a nine months delay which was mainly due to the technical work and redesign of some components of the gearbox of Europrop TP400-D6 Turboprop engines, Airbus Defence delivered the fourth and last Airbus A400M of the Royal Malaysian Air Force which was officially handed over during a ceremony at LIMA 2017 airshow in Langkawi Island, Malaysia on 22nd March 2017.
MAF’s Chief of Air Force, General Dato’ Sri Affendi Buang RMAF was present at the ceremony as well as Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister of Defence of Malaysia who took delivery of the fourth Airbus A400M military transport aircraft on behalf of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF). General Dato’ Sri Affendi Buang RMAF said, « We are very proud to take delivery of our fourth A400M, which is equipped with the latest tactical 12
capabilities. Our fleet of A400Ms ensures that the RMAF is well placed to respond to, and undertake, a wide range of military and humanitarian operations within Malaysia and in the region. » During the ceremony, Fernando Alonso, Head of Military Aircraft, Airbus Defence and Space, gave a plaque to the Minister to symbolise the official handover of the aircraft. EDR’s had an interview with Mr. Alonso regarding to the A400M fourth and last delivery to Malaysia, here it is: May / June 2017 – EDR
Are the Airbus A400Ms of RMAF modified based on the operation’s needs of the air force to operate in hot and humid climate of the Malaysia? No, the airplanes are the same, similar to the ones delivered to Turkey, Germany, France and UK. So it is the same airplane. So when the airplane was undergoing its testing, we did expose the airplane to all sorts of weather condition: high altitude, high temperatures, low temperatures, High humidity, so this airplane knows these weather conditions. It has been designed, built and tested to make sure it can stand in these weather conditions, but what I can say is that in the last two years while the Malaysian air force has been operating the airplane, they never were faced with any specific needs for operating the airplane in special weather condition of Southeast of Asia. Not only the Royal Malaysian Air Force but other operators of the Airbus A400M had been struggling with a problem in the gearbox of the airplane’s engines, please tell us how this problem is now solved especially on the fourth and last A400M of the RMAF? The gearbox of this airplane is a massive piece of mechanical equipment which transmits the power of the engine to the propeller; earlier last year the engine manufacturer discovered an issue which was a small crack developing in the PGB (Propeller Gearbox) EDR – May / June 2017
© Joseph Roukoz
By now, what the Royal Malaysian Air Force has achieved with by its fleet of four Airbus A400M cargo airplanes? We delivered the first Airbus A400M to Malaysia back in 2015, and two years ago during the previous LIMA, we celebrated delivery of the first one, and two years later we celebrated delivery of the fourth airplane. Today also I gave a momento [plaque] to the Malaysian Air Force to celebrate 2,000 hours of initial operation of the airplane, so they are basically operating the airplane for transport mission, and logistic mission. The early phases of the entry into service of a military aircraft like this is about integrating the airplane with the normal procedures of the Air force [RMAF], training its people, so I think from now on we have a complete fleet and we will see a significant ramp up in number of flying hours of these airplanes [in RMAF].
M Mr. Fernando Alonso explains about delivery
of the last and fourth RMAF’s A400M. and until we found the solution for this, the airplane had to go through inspection every 50 hours, since the engine manufacturer has identified the fix, that fix was certified in the middle of last year and now all the airplanes coming from our production line and off-course this one (fourth Malaysian A400M) which has come from our production line earlier this year have the modified gearboxes, and on top of that all the other airplanes in service have already been retrofitted, most of them with the new gearbox, so there is no longer a limitation on the number of hours it has to fly before an inspection, in-fact they need to go through inspection every 600 hours which is about once every year, so it is perfectly acceptable. Now 22.Skn “Pegasus” of the Royal Malaysian Air Force based in the RMAF Subang is the operator of all four Airbus A400Ms. These A400Ms have not only provided heavy transport or logistic capability for the force but two of them are projected to be equipped with aerial refuelling pods to be used as long range and heavy tanker airplanes to assist the small f leet of four KC-130Ts of the RMAF which are now in service with 20 Skn in RMAF Subang. Now beside the fleet of four Airbus A400Ms, the RMAF operates nine C-130H-30s, and a C-130HMP (Maritime Patrol) for Medium Transport in 14 Skn and 20 Skn, which all together with the four KC-130Ts will be upgraded by Rockwell Collins to be used as medium transport airplanes in service with RMAF until mid-2020s. J 13
P Depiction of a Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF
launching an ASRAAM all-aspect short range air-to-air missile. First trials of this missile designed by MBDA for the RAF were made recently in the USA.
Foxtrot One Two Three… Current air-to-air NATO missiles By Jean-Michel Guhl
As it is largely reckoned today, the air-to-air missile has seemingly once and for all taken the lead over the aircraft-mounted gun in aerial combat. The days of the epic dogfight are now well behind us in turn nurtering the lines of historical stories from the 20th Century. During one of the most recent and advertised occurrences of an air-to-air missile action, on the morning of 24 November 2015, a Turkish Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon shot down in flame a Russian Su-24 “Fencer” which had repeatedly violated its airspace on the border with Syria. 14
May / June 2017 – EDR
©M © Wikipedia
M A Turkish Air Force Lockheed Martin
M No less than five MBDA Meteor BVRAAMs are pictured
F-16D Fighting Falcon pictured taking off for an armed patrol north of the Syrian border. The aircraft carries a pair of Raytheon AIM-120C7 medium-range AAMs and an pair of close-range AIM-9X.
tucked under the belly and wings of a Swedish Air Force Saab JAS 39 E Gripen. The hypersonic 100-km range air-to-air missile is Europe’s most potent air combat weapon. It has been selected so far for the Gripen, Rafale, Typhoon and Lightning II fighters.
he culprit was only much later admitted to be a decisive “Fox One” shot… a Raytheon AIM-120C-7 “advanced Sparrow” missile fired from some 2030km range. Apparently, although the Su-24 has a comprehensive radar warning, missilelaunch warning, and active ECM suite, the missile did not provide any warning to the Su-24, especially since the latest AIM-120C-7 does not require permanent radar locking on a target, something which would have alerted the Su-24 crew that it was coming under attack. In NATO parlance “Fox One” indicates the launch of a medium range semiactive radar-guided missile (such as the Raytheon AIM-7 Sparrow or Matra Super 530 and MBDA Mica EM), “Fox Two” is used for short to medium range infrared missiles (like the Raytheon AIM9 Sidewinder or MBDA Magic or Mica IR) and « Fox Three » indicates the firing of an active radarguided missile (such as the AIM-120D AMRAAM – Advanced Medium-Range Air-To-Air Missile – or MBDA Meteor, all with beyond-visual-range (BVR) capability). Earlier even the term “Fox Four” was used to describe air-to-air or air-to-surface cannon fire. It might be used again in the future to describe high-energy laser weapons… who knows?
Going further in range and precision Meanwhile, since the early days of the 21st Century, missile designers have made huge progresses in that field, in priority thanks to key advances in propulsion and navigation systems, not to mention EDR – May / June 2017
smart fuses and counter-measures deceptive means all aimed at improving their kill probability. As the centenial of the terrible Battle of Verdun was celebrated recently, it is interesting to recall that missile or rather unguided rockets – the famous Le Prieur rockets – were first fired in anger by French Army Nieuport biplanes at German observation ballons and airships in 1916. Well, if success rates were low and the unguided rockets were dangerous to handle, they nevertheless made history by destroying a few “blimps” from unimaginable close range, often below 100 metres! Guidance being the DNA of the modern airto-air missile, only after the Korean war of 19501953 did they appear in the inventory of the most prominent air arms, their first proven use in combat being over the Straight of Formosa on 24 September 1958 when RoCAF F-86Fs and Communist China MiG-17s engaged in a clash where one of the Sabres shot an AIM-9B IR-guided Sidewinder with no clear result… Only less than a week later, in a second engagement, did a Sidewinder make a bulls-eye in a MiG-17 exhaust pipe however without exploding! Meanwhile on both side of the Iron curtain, US and Soviet engineers toiled on a fast stance to improve the new weapon leading to the development of prominent missile-toting interceptors like the Northrop F-89 Scorpion, McDonnell F-101 Voodoo and Convair F-102 Delta Dagger in the USA or the Sukhoi Su-9/Su-11 “Fishpot” in the Soviet Union. Early infra-red detectors used on the airto-air missiles of the Sixties had poor sensitivity, so could only track the hot exhaust pipes of an aircraft. This meant an attacking aircraft had to manoeuver to a position right behind its target 15
seen toting its complement of six short to medium range AAMs; two Mica IR on the wingtips and four radar-guided Mica EM under the fuselage and wings. The Mica developed by MBDA is now the standard AAM of the French Air Force. It is also used by quite a many air arms flying late-models Mirage 2000s.
© U.S. Air Force
© K. Tokunaga / Dassault Aviation
P A French Air Force Dassault Rafale C
M A glimpse into the weapons bay of a U.S.
Air Force Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor showing a single Raytheon AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) rigged near a pair of Boeing GBU-39 SDB inert glide bombs used only for kinetic drop tests.
before it could fire an infra-red guided missile. Indeed, first combat records of air-to-air missiles used in Vietnam proved they were not satisfying at all… and this is why the USAF legacy F-4C/D Phantom II soon had to abandon the ring to the much better “gunfighting Rhino”: the F-4E toting a 20mm Gatling gun which meant the fast demise of the First and Second generations AAMs. We are now close to 60 years later, and air-toair missiles have now reached what is called the “Fith generation”. Most noted countries designing and producing this kind of weapons today are, besides the USA and Russia the trendsetters, France, Germany, Italy and UK (often united within the MBDA concern), Israel, China and Taiwan, with Brazil, India, Iran and South Africa playing as outsiders on a much smaller stand. To make things short: guided missiles operate by detecting their target, either by radar or infrared methods, and then “homing” in on the target on a collision course. Nothing has changed in that field. Infrared (IR) missiles are much more affordable than electromagnetically (EM) radar guided missiles which clearly rank at the upper end of the scale, both in range and price tag. Radar guidance is normally used for medium- or long-range BVR missiles, whereas the infra-red signature of the target would be far too faint for an infra-red detector (generally May / June 2017 – EDR
© U.S. Air Force
O A U.S. Air
Force ordnance specialist secures a live AIM-120 advanced mediumrange air-toair missiles (AMRAAM) onto a weapons jammer before loading it into an F-35A at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in January 2017. too small in size) to track. There are three major types of radar-guided missile : active, semi-active, and passive. A point of attention : missiles are often cited with their maximum engagement range, something which is very misleading. Indeed the effective range of any modern missile is dependent on paramount factors such as altitude, speed, position, and direction of the target aircraft… as well as those of the attacking aircraft.
Over the years short-range air-to-air missiles used in air combat have been usually classified into “generations” according to their historical technological advances. Most of these advances were in infrared seeker, the most accurate and flexible guidance system used for “dogfighting”. • First generation – Early short-range missiles such as the early Sidewinder and K-13 (aka NATO AA-2 “Atoll” just missiles had infrared seekers with a narrow (30-degree) field of view and required the attacker to position himself behind the target like a traditional gun pass. This meant that the target aircraft only had to perform a slight turn to move outside the missile seeker’s field of view and cause the missile to lose track of the target (“break lock”). EDR – May / June 2017
© U.S. Air Force
IR, looking for the hot spot
M Maintainers from the 18th Aircraft Maintenance
Squadron and pilots assigned to the 44th and 67th Fighter Squadrons conduct a mass aircraft generation exercise in August 2106 at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Maintainers loaded AIM-9 sidewinder missiles, AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-toair missiles, flares, and M-61A1 cannon rounds onto Boeing F-15 Eagles.
AAM at a USAF base. The Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder is one of the most widely used missiles in the world: as it is equipping most westernaligned air forces, as well as indirectly many nations which received the Soviet K-13 missile which is nothing than a reverse-engineered copy of the AIM-9B.
• Second generation – Second-generation missiles utilized more effective seekers that improved the field of view to 45 degrees. • Third generation – This generation introduced “all aspect” missiles, because more sensitive seekers allowed the attacker to fire at a target which was side-on to itself, i.e. from all aspects not just the rear. This meant that while the field-of-view was still restricted to a fairly narrow cone, the attack at least did not have to be from behind the target. • Fourth generation – The Russians were the first to come with a new generation dogfight missile in 1985, it was the Vympel R-73 missile (NATO AA-11 Archer). Using a focal plane array IR advanced system, this missile employed a seeker with improved resistance (IRCM) to decoy flares that had been introduced in the US and Israeli inventory, and increased off-bore sight capability to in excess of 60 degrees, i.e. a 120 degree field of view. To take advantage of the increased field-
© U.S. Navy
© U.S. Air Force
M USAF ordnance men learn to lift a Sidewinder
M An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Eagles”
of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115 launches from the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), during Exercise Valiant Shield 2016. Valiant Shield is a biennial, U.S.-only field-training exercise with a focus on integration of joint training among U.S. forces. This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas. Most conspicuous is the AIM-9L carried on its wingtips. of-view that now exceeded the capabilities of most aircraft radars also meant that helmet mounted sights gained popularity. Many newer missiles include what is known as «look-down-shoot-down» capability, as they can be fired onto low flying planes that would formerly be lost in ground clutter. These missiles are also much more agile, some by employing inovative thrust vectoring measures. • Fifth generation – The latest generation of shortrange missiles again defined by advances in seeker technologies, this time electro-optic ald imaging infrared (IIR) seekers that allow the missiles to “see” images rather than single “points” of infrared radiation (heat). The sensors combined with more powerful digital signal processing not avaliable before provide the following benefits: greater infrared counter countermeasures (IRCCM) ability, by being able to distinguish aircraft from IRCM countermeasures such as flares; greater sensitivity means greater range and ability to identify smaller low flying targets such a the smaller and more discreet UAVs; more detailed target image allows targeting of more vulnerable parts of aircraft instead of just homing in on the brightest infrared source like the over-heated exhaust(s) pipe(s) like older missiles. O U.S. Navy aviation ordnancemen remove
© U.S. Navy
an AIM-120/AMRAAM missile from an F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during a SINKEX evolution as part of Exercise Valiant Shield 2016 in the Philippine Sea in September 2016.
May / June 2017 – EDR
pictured in air superiority mode carrying a total of eight air-to-air missiles, all of the most potent kind available today in the Russian Air Force (VVS) inventory and manufactured by Vympel. From left to right (under the right wing): a R-73 (AA-11 “Archer”) short-range AAM, two R-77 (AA-12 “Adder”) medium-range BVRAAMs and one large R-27 (AA-10 “Alamo”) medium range BVR missile identified by its big size and the inverted trapezoidal foreplanes. Arrangement in inverted on the left wing.
The current AAMs used by NATO air forces
Examples of fifth-generation missiles, mostly developed between 1985 and 2005, include: in the USA, the Raytheon AIM-9X Advanced Sidewinder and the AIM-120 AMRAAM; in Russia, the Vympel R-73 (NATO AA-11 “Archer”) and R-77 (NATO AA-12 “Adder”); in France, the MBDA Mica; UK, the MBDA ASRAAM; in Germany, the Diehl IRIS-T; in Japan, the AAM-5; in China, the PL-10 and PL-12; in India, the Astra; and in Israel the Rafael Python-5, not to forget the A-Darter developed with South Africa. © Indian Air Force
M A Russian multirole MiG-35 demonstration fighter
For many years on the highest level of NATO standardization appears to have been in the AAM field with only Britain, France and Germany depending as well on nationally produced weapons, most other member nations fielding preferably less expensive U.S. supplied missiles, like the ubiquitous AIM-9 Sidewinder produced in thousands by Raytheon for USAF and U.S. Navy aircraft – principally AIM-9B, AIM-9L and now AIM-9X – and the larger AIM-7 Sparrow family of active variants and later AIM120 semi-active variants AMRAAMs. The AIM120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) developed by Raytheon has proved its combat capabilities during missions in Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo. Multi-shot capability, immunity to countermeasures, and low smoke solid-fuel rocket motor make the AIM-120 one of the world’s best AAMs. Advanced air-to-air missiles such as the MBDA Meteor, Diehl IRIS-T and AIM-9X Sidewinder nowadays form the core weaponry used in any airto-air scenario facing the Alliance. The French Mica (Missile d’Interception, de Combat et d’Autodéfense) is a flexible short- and BVRAAM system developed by MBDA for the Rafale and advanced variants of
O A Vympel (former Molnya NPO) R-77 BVRAAM being
hoisted below an Indian Air Force Su-30MKI multirole fighter. Normally four such missiles are carried, two below the fuselage and two under the wings. 20
May / June 2017 – EDR
© U.S. Air Force
aircraft, bombers, attack and military transport aircraft. The R-73E/R-73EL missiles are today fitted to the MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-22 of the Polish Air Force. The fire-and-forget missiles employ all-aspect infrared homing guidance system for engaging the targets in cluttered and enemy active countermeasures environments. Its solid-fuel rocket engine enables the missile to carry an 8kg continuous-rod warhead for a maximum range of 30km. Another former Soviet missile is the R-77 (NATO: AA-12 “Adder”), a mediumrange air-to-air missile also developed by Vympel. The R-77’s multi-purpose target engagement capabilities and resistance against countermeasures are reckoned to be among the best in the world. The R-77 (RVV-AE) is deployed on MiG/Sukhoi fighters. The R-77 carries a 22.5kg multi-shaped charge rod type warhead for a maximum distance of 80km. An inertial/radiocorrected navigation system guides the missile during the initial flight phase, while a multi-function dopplermonopulse active radar seeker is employed in the terminal phase.
M The Polish Air Force is one of the last former Warsaw-
Pact air arms to field the impressive Su-22M (“Fitter”) fighter-bomber which normal AAM self-defence complement is made of R-73 all-aspect IR missiles. the Dassault Mirage 2000 (Dash 5 and 9). The Mica is fitted with a focused splinters HE warhead and is compatible with any advanced fighter aircraft. Its lightweight and compact dimensions allow for integration of up to six missiles on medium to lightweight fighters. The British ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile) is designed by MBDA for within visual range (WVR) combat missions specified by the Royal Air Force. The missile is also fielded by the Royal Australian Air Force on its Boeing F/A18 Hornets and Super Hornets. It is also compatible with aircraft fitted with AMRAAM or Sidewinder missiles. The ASRAAM is guided by an advanced focal plane array Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) seeker and gathers the target data using the aircraft sensors. It integrates a high lethality blast fragmentation warhead with impact and laser proximity fuses. The low signature rocket motor fitted to the missile enables high speeds throughout the flight, while the guidance system ensures the engagement of targets in highly cluttered and countermeasures environments. Amazingly enough, Russian AAMs are also part of the active NATO inventory! The R-73E/R-73EL (NATO code name: AA-11 Archer) short-range airto-air missiles are produced by the Russian State Machine-Building Design Bureau OKB Vympel. These lethal missiles are capable of intercepting fighter EDR – May / June 2017
Recent IR developments European development in the field of advanced “dogfight” missile is noteworthy. They go along a consequent modernisation of NATO air arms fleets. Performed successfully in March of this year, the very recent trial of the MBDA Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) on a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet witnessed a change of era in the aviation world as it was the very firt time a British-designed missile has been launched from the Joint Strike Fighter, and the first time any non-US missile has been fired using this advanced aircraft as a test-bed. Conducted from both Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland and Edwards Air Force Base in California, the endeavour has seen both flight trials and air-launched firings of the ASRAAM bear frution just as planned. The European MBDA concern, garnering the best of the Old Continent’s missile technology, is currently under contract to produce this new infrared (IR) guided air-to-air missile for the British F-35B STOVL fighter fleet which it to be shared shared between the land-based Royal Air Force and 21
N A live Vympel R-27 missile (AA-10 “Alamo”) launched
the carrier-based Royal Navy. The ASRAAM’s large rocket motor and clean aerodynamic design gives it a high kinematic capability that delivers superior endgame performance compared with other countries’ in-service IR missiles. The trials were conducted by the integrated test teams working at Pax River NAS and Edwards AFB, which include Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, MBDA and Northrop Grumman. The development trials are being conducted under the integration programme for ASRAAM onto the UK’s F-35 aircraft. This effort is currently progressing to plan and these integration activities will allow the Initial Operating Capability of the aircraft by the UK. MBDA is also under contract for the ASRAAM Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP) to build replenishment missiles for the Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. The CSP effort makes use of ASRAAM’s commonality with the CAMM missile family, also being bought by the Royal Navy and British Army, to deliver cost savings across the UK Armed Forces. The missile detects the reflected signal from the target with a high gain antenna in a similar fashion and steers the entire missile toward closure with the target with improved precision. The missile guidance also samples a portion of the illuminating signal via rearward pointing waveguides. The comparison of these two signals enabled logic circuits to determine where the true target reflection signal is even if the target were to eject radar-reflecting decoy flares.
Going into BVR missiles All current active radar (AR)-guided missiles on the market carry their own radar system to detect and track their target. However, the size of their radar antenna is limited by the rather small diameter 22
© U.S. Air Force
from a Luftwaffe (ex-NVA) MiG-29 shortly after the German reunification. At that time countries like Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria were still flying the “Fulcrum” in numbers.
M Last users of the MiG-29 “Fulcrum” within NATO
air arms nowadays are Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia. All still keep their stock of original R-73 and R-27 missiles in readiness state for peace-time air policing sorties. Here a Bulgarian Air Force MiG29 is seen breaking before landing revealing the launching ramps for a total of six missiles. of most of the missiles (between 20 and 50cm) limiting their range. Something which typically means that such missiles are always launched at a predicted future location of the target, often relying on separate guidance systems such as GPS, INS or a mid-course update (using TDL) from either the launching aircraft or any other system that can communicate with the missile to bring it close to the adversary. All current BVRAAMs belong to this category whatever their propulsion systems is made of: solid jet fuel or liquid. Semi-active radar homing (SARH) guided missiles are simpler and more common. They function by detecting radar energy reflected from the target. However, this means that the launch aircraft has to maintain a “lock” on the target (keep illuminating the target aircraft with its own radar) until the missile makes the interception. This limits the attacking aircraft’s ability to manoeuver, something which may be necessary should threats May / June 2017 – EDR
to the attacking aircraft appear. An advantage of SARH-guided missiles is that they are homing on a reflected radar signal, so accuracy actually increases as the missile gets closer because the reflection comes from a sole source: the target. Newer missiles contain logic circuits in their guidance systems which prevent them to start an erratic final course if ever lured (by flares or evasive tactics) by the time they approach their target. Certainly the world’s most potent entry in the BVRAAM is the Meteor developed by MBDA in Europe. A full European missile involving the work of no less than seven nations (with France, Germany, Italy and UK) it is an active radar-guided hypersonic missile capable of destroying with pin point accuracy target well behind the horizon line. According to MBDA, the Meteor has three to six times the kinematic performance of current airair missiles of that type. The key to the Meteor’s performance is a throttleable ducted rocket or ramjet manufactured in Germany and derived from the company’s ASMP-A equivalent propulsion system. The Meteor features a state-of-the-art active radar seeker, a two-way data link communication, and a blast fragmentation warhead with proximity and impact fuses for optimum lethality. The Meteor will offer a multi-shot capability against long range manoeuvering targets even when set in a heavy ECM environment, with seemingly no escape zone at all’ as probability kill is close to N One of the first live firings of the MBDA ASRAAM
© U.S. Air Force
missile from a U.S. Air Force test F-35B Lightning II. This missile will arm both the British and Australian models of this advanced aircraft.
99 percent! It’s range is given as being in excess of 100 kilometres. The new missile entered service with the Swedish Air Force in April 2016 on that country’s Saab JAS 39 Gripens. It officially achieved initial operating capability (IOC) with the Flygvapnet in July 2016, and with the JAS 39s of the Czech Air Force recently. Over the coming months and years it will arm not only the Eurofighter Typhoons of the Royal Air Force as well as those of the Royal Saudi Air Force and Kuwaiti Air Force, but also those of the German Luftwaffe, the Italian Aeronautica Militare and the Spanish Ejército del Aire. French Air Force Rafale F3s as well with’s the F3R models of the air forces of Egypt, India and Qatar should in due course be equiped with the Meteor as their main long-range AAM. British and Italian F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter will as well carry the Meteor BVRAAM tucked deep in their armament bay. From the outset, the Meteor programme has been the main catalyst for the consolidation of the European complex weapons industry. Of the seven European companies who responded to the initial Request for Information (RFI) from the UK Ministry of Defence, either individually or as part of a team, five are now part of MBDA and the other two are major risk-sharing partners on the programme. The selection of this powerful hypersonic BVRAAM ended a long-running and hard-fought competition between Europe and the United States and certainly gained Europe a significant foothold in a market sector largely dominated by the U.S. industry. That NATO possess today some of the best air-to-air missiles in the world makes sense. In that field it obviously provides the air arms of the Alliance with a high chance of defeating any adversary in combat. J
EDR – May / June 2017
N The Grob G 117 Tutor is used by RAF
University Air Squadron and Air Cadet Air Experience Flights.
© Crown Copyright
European Minnows Flying High By David Oliver Although European aerospace production is dominated by Airbus, two low-profile manufacturers based in Germany and Austria have produced a remarkable total of more than 8,000 aircraft. Grob Aircraft AG A German engineering business was established by the Grob family in 1928 and began aviation production in 1971 since when it has built more than 3,500 aircraft. Having filed for bankruptcy in 2009 Grob Aircraft AG was formed following the purchase by H3 Aerospace of significant elements of the original company’s propeller-powered range of aircraft. These were all two-seat training aircraft of composite construction. The Bavarian-based company continued to produce the G 115, an aerobatic two-seat trainer powered by a 134 kW (180 hp) Lycoming AEIO-BiF/B piston engine, of which a total of 122 were built for the UK Ministry of Defence to serve with RAF University Air Squadron and Air Cadet Air Experience Flights. Named the Tutor, the fleet included 23 EFIS-equipped aircraft. In 2016 24
twenty-eight of the Tutors were sold to the Finnish Air Force while the rest of them are due to be replaced by Grob’s latest two-seat trainer, the G 120TP. Developed from its G 120A piston-engine elementary trainer that is operated by Canadian, French and Israeli air forces, the G 120TP is powered by a 456 shp (340 kW) Rolls-Royce 250B17F turboprop driving a five-blade propeller and equipped with Martin-Baker Mk 15B ejection seats and HOTAS dual controls. The glass cockpit has three Elbit EFIS screens with training displays that include virtual radar, virtual RWR, tactical situation and stores management and debrief. Grob claim that the G 120TP is a highly effective and low cost way to train flight students in the use of todays fast-jets, helicopter and multi-engine aircraft mission avionics without the use of more expensive training platforms. May / June 2017 – EDR
M The United States Army selected
the G 120TP to provide initial and recurrent training under a CAE USA contract.
Budget constraints are forcing air forces to rethink how they train pilots, according to Grob Aircraft AG CEO André Hiebeler. “One hour on a jet buys 30 hours on a turboprop like ours.” With the G 120TP’s basic price of around US$4 million, Grob has already attracted orders for the G 120TP from six air arms and is in negotiations with several more. More than 100. Have been sold to the Argentinian, Jordanian, Indonesian, Mexican and Myanmar air forces, and to the United Kingdom and United States. Named the Prefect, 23 G 120TPs will be part of the future UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme that will provide British military pilots elementary training. Managed by service provider Affinity, the system replaces separate flying fixed-wing and rotary training programme for the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and Army Air Corps. The United States Army selected the G 120TP to provide initial and recurrent training for more than 600 U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force fixed-wing pilots annually, covering transition of army rotary-wing aviators and training of army initial-entry fixedwing students. Together with CAE USA, Grob Aircraft will provide turnkey training services including academic, simulator, and live flying training with a total of 6 EDR – May / June 2017
aircraft, one Flight Training Device (FTD) and a single Procedures Trainer at a new training centre to be built at Dothan Regional Airport in Alabama. Grob Aircraft AG selected Frasca International to provide flight simulation technology and expertise under a Long Term Supply Agreement (LTSA) for the new FAA Level 6 or EASA Level 2 G 120TPSIM FTD. The company’s newly established Aircraft Simulation Department is responsible for the simulator cockpit with avionics, controls and furnishings, and the aircraft data package. Frasca is providing the base assembly, control loading and the Instructor/Operator Station (IOS), plus associated simulation software models, visual image generators and the visual database. The first six orders placed under the LTSA are currently in development and production, which will result in G 120TP FTDs being delivered to customers, with an additional FTD for use by Grob Aircraft AG’s own in-house training system. In addition to its range of two-seat training aircraft, Grob Aircraft AG is planning to relaunch the G 520, one of the world’s largest fully composite manned and unmanned aircraft, providing a system platform for Optionally Piloted Vehicle/ Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (OPV/UAV) applications. The flexible payload-bay concept of the G 520 can 25
M The Myanmar Air Force operates
a fleet of 20 Grob G 120TP basic trainers. accommodate multiple mission systems for both civilian and military applications and operations with a minimum of integration and modification lead-time. Originally developed and certified in 1991, the G 520 Egrett is one of the world’s largest fully composite manned aircraft with extremely high aspect ratio wings. Designed to carry a surveillance mission equipment payload of 1,000 kg (2,204 lb) to a loiter altitude of 15,240 m (50,000 ft), the G 520 is being marketed as the perfect platform for today’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) needs. The G 520 is the world’s only CS/FAR 23 aircraft certified to fly at 50,000 ft. Based on its proven airframe and systems reliability the G 520 mitigates development risks for future UAV and/or system developments. Powered by a 750 shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-67 turboprop engine the G 520 is the cost efficient performance platform for the OPV/UAV requirements of the 21st Century, both in the high-altitude long endurance (HALE) and medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) performance/application sector.
According the CEO André Hiebeler, Grob Aircraft AG’s continuing mission is to develop, manufacture, sell and support industry-leading aircraft, through the use of advanced technology, an innovative and flexible corporate culture, and the highest possible quality standards.
Diamond Aircraft Industries GmbH When the Dries family acquired HOAC, Diamond’s predecessor, in 1991, they joined the aviation pioneers who came before them. Their goal for Diamond Aircraft was elegant in its simplicity, to use the H36 fun-tofly motor glider and its innovative use of composite materials as the foundation for a modern family of aircraft that would not be bound by the past, but instead would set new standards for innovation, styling, performance and safety for the future. A quarter century later Diamond remains the only manufacturer to deliver a full line of aircraft that combins innovative airframe technology, advanced N The G 120TP Prefect has been selected to provide elementary pilot training UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS) programme.
© US Air Academy
MDOSS Aviation’s Diamond DA20 two-seat
© David Oliver
training aircraft provides initial Flight Screening for the USAF.
M A Diamond DA42 Multi-Purpose Platform (MPP)
used to support ISR experience for British Forces training in Kenya. avionics systems and modern electronically controlled jet fuel piston engines. Along the way there were many firsts and triumphs, as well as some setbacks and disappointments. Through all the trials and tribulations one thing has remained constant, its unwavering commitment to innovation for the sake of improved safety, performance and efficiency. To date, Diamond has delivered more than 4,000 composite airplanes. In January 2004 Diamond Aircraft Industries GmbH opened a new 117,000 sq ft composites production centre at Wiener Neustadt where an airfield was established in 1909. In April 1910 Karl Illner succeeded in flying the prototype of the Etrich Taube at Neustadt, which became the first German Scout and in 1915 the Austrian aircraft factory AG (OEFFAG) was established which produced the Albatros D.II and D.III Scouts until the end of 1918. During World War Two, the aircraft plant, then known as Neustädter Flugzeugwerke GbmH mass-produced the Messerschmitt Bf 109. For Diamond Aircraft’s charismatic chief executive, Christian Dries, aviation was always a hobby having EDR – May / June 2017
learned to fly at 17-years old. He ran one of the largest businesses in Europe importing Mitsubishi cars. The English translation of Mitsubishi is ‘three Diamonds’ which inspired Dries to adopt the name for his aviation company. The most successful Diamond aircraft to date is the DA40, a four-seat single 123.5 kW (168 hp) Austro AE300 diesel-engine light plane that first flew in November 1997. Developed from the two-seat DA20, more than 1,800 DA40s have been built, including 170 in China by Diamond’s joint-venture company. Many of the DA20s are in use with flying schools including the 1st Flying Training Squadron in Colorado (the gateway to USAF aviation operated by DOSS Aviation), and the Ecuadorian Air Force while the DA40 serves as a basic trainer with the Bolivian Air Force. The DA42, a four-seat twin-engine development of the DA40, first flew in 2002 with 857 produced to date. Powered originally by Thielert diesel engines, and after the company’s insolvency, by Austro Engine AE300s, the DA42 Multi-Purpose Platform (MPP) launched in 2007 was rapidly adopted by armed forces around the world and a multi-engine trainer and light ISR platform. It is operated by the air forces of Burkino Faso, Ghana, Thailand and Venezuela in the training role, and Ghana, Niger, Turkmenistan and Ukraine air forces and special forces, and the UK armed forces as an ISR platform. The most recent additions to the Diamond range are the 5/7-seat DA62, the maiden flight of which was performed by Christian Dries on 3 April 2012, and the DA50-V prototype single-engine 5-seater first flown in March 2017. Although aimed primarily towards the civil/commercial market, an MPP 27
of its new twin-engine 5/7-seat DA 62 in 2017. version of the DA62 is under development as an ISR platform offering a comprehensive rang of sensors, communication and datalink installations. Powered by two standard AE330 with an on-top infrared-and noise-reduction exhaust system, and equipped with GARMIN G1000Nxi avionics, FLIR Star Safir 380 HD camera, digital LOS bi-directional datalink and BLOS Ku-band sitcom, the DA62MPP is set to become a highly effective light ISR platform. In 2016 Diamond Aircraft Industries GmbH has surprised the industry by developing a lowcost turboprop basic trainer. The Diamond Aircraft Reconnaissance Trainer (DART)-450, the first allcomposite tandem, two-seat trainer with a sidestick and pneumatic ejection seats made its first flight on 17 May 2016. The +7/-4G aerobatic aircraft, is powered by 331 kW (450 hp) Ivchenko-Progress/Motor Sich AI-450S turboprop engine driving a five-blade MTPropeller, and equipped with a GARMIN avionic system. The maximum endurance of the DART-450 is eight hours plus reserve and it has already been flown direct from Moscow to Austria. It will have a maximum speed of 250 knots. CEO Diamond Aircraft. Diamond Aircraft DART Project Leader Clemens Knappert told EDR: “We achieved our target from the first drawings to the first flight in one year.” Two prototypes are currently have flown a total of 150 hours to date into the 350-hour flight test programme towards civil certification in 2018, and a third production-spec aircraft is in production at Neustadt which will be equipped with Martin-Baker Mk.16 ejection seats and Garmin 3000 avionics.
M Diamond launched an MPP version
Although in competition with the Grob G 120TP, Christian Dries told EDR that with its FADEC engine, the DART’s fuel consumption will be 15 percent less that the G 120TP, have a better low level performance all at a lower price. It can also be equipped with a sensor turret that will be shielded from heat haze from the engine exhaust. The aircraft is being aimed at the African and Asian markets and Commercial Military flight schools, although Dries said that there is a possibility of establishing production of the DART in customer countries. He added that there is already a launch customer for the aircraft. In April 2017, Diamond Aircraft announced that it was entering the helicopter with the DART 280 light-single engine rotorcraft concept. Having overcome problems with engine supplies and performance, Diamond established a subsidiary, Austro Engine to manufacture the AE300 diesel powerplants for its aircraft, as well as a dedicated division, Diamond Airborne Sensing, to support the growing market for special mission aircraft. In Diamond’s mission statement, Christian Dries states that “We believe we’re at the beginning of a technical revolution in personal aviation. Continued advancement of technologies, especially in computing, propulsion, energy storage and management, will enable features that today may seem as farfetched as the iPhone did in 2005, but in reality may not be that far away. Although there is much concern about our ever-decreasing pilot population, our view is that new advances will open the possibility of personal flight to a new and larger group of people. J
M Two Diamond Aircraft Reconnaissance Trainer
(DART)-450s are conducting a 350-hour flight test programme prior to certification in 2108.
Towards operational laser effectors? To neutralise or destroy any system the most common way is to concentrate on it a sufficient amount of energy… And this can be done in different ways. In the military field the most common until now has been the physical impact of a projectile, which energy and mechanical properties ensured sufficient damages to the target to put it out of order, zeroing or considerably reducing its fighting capabilities.
ne of the drawbacks of this type of approach is that in order to hit a moving target one must estimate how much lead is needed in order for the projectile to meet the target, as depending on initial velocity and distance certain time will elapse between the firing and the hit. Having a projectile that virtually zeroes the time of flight is the dream of any soldier. This weapon however already exists: its name is LASER, the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation – a way to concentrate energy on a target through a beam of light that travels at the “speed of light”, thus the lead problem is inherently solved. As no ideal system exists, to use a “laser” as a weapon needs to address other issues; the amount of energy discharged on the target is proportional to the power of the laser emitter and to the amount of time the beam remains on the target. The lead 30
© P. Valpolini
By Paolo Valpolini
M This 30 kW laser installed on a Skyshield turret
is part of Rheinmetall’s proposal for the so-called “Below Patriot” concept. problem is thus replaced by tracking. The power of the system brings along other issues, such as dimensions and power consumption, as usually the military needs mobile systems, thus those “laser effectors” need to be integrated into a platform. Having an extremely high output power with low consumption and limited dimensions remains a dream, at least for the time being. This said, in Japan an experiment known as LFEX (Laser for Fast Ignition Experiment) was carried out a couple of years ago, a 2 petawatts beam, which means a power of a quadrillion (1015) watts; the beam was active for an extra-short period of time, one picosecond (1012 seconds), and according to the Japanese scientists the energy required was equivalent to that needed to power a microwave for two seconds. At this point one should shout Eureka! As all problems seem to be solved. Not true: the drawback comes in May / June 2017 – EDR
the form of dimensions, as to amplify the power beam to obtain the 2 petawats energy the LFEX required a 100 metre long casing. That said, numerous companies that are developing laser systems are coping with the power-energy-dimensions equation in different ways, thus weaponisable systems are appearing while the psychological resistance towards this new category of weapons seems to decrease.
M To neutralise IEDs Rheinmetall proposes for the
Leopard 2 ugprade a 3 kW laser effector which is installed in the remotely controlled weapon station. N For demonstration purposes Rheinmetall
integrated a 5kW laser effector in the Boxer 8x8 armoured vehicle; it demonstrated more than once its capacity of downing a micro-UAV. © P. Valpolini
In Europe the two main groups that are looking at High Energy Lasers (HEL) as possible defensive and offensive weapons are Rheinmetall and MBDA. In the fall of 2013 the German group carried out a comprehensive demonstration at its Swiss proving ground in Ochsenboden, with HELs installed on different types of platforms. The Mobile HEL Effector Wheel XX was based on a Boxer 8x8 armoured vehicle fitted with a 5kW laser, a 10kW being also installable as its dimensions are the same of the 5kW one, the Mobile HEL Effector Track V saw a 1kW HEL installed on an M113 armoured personnel carrier, while the most powerful mobile system was the Mobile HEL Effector Container L, where a 20kW HEL was fitted to a Drehtainer container mounted on a Tatra truck.
© P. Valpolini
Germany at work
O A close-up view of the laser effector installed
© P. Valpolini
by Rheinmetall Defence on a Boxer APC.
As for static defence, a 30kW HEL was integrated onto a Skyshield gun turret. The wheeled system proved its capability of neutralising a UAV at distance, up to 1,500 metres, and was also used to detonate belt fed ammunition of a “technical” jamming its heavy machine gun. As for the tracked system, this was used to neutralise IEDs and clear battlefield obstacles such as a barbed wire remaining at standoff distance. The more powerful containerised system was used to disrupt optronic systems at up to 2km distance. Finally the gun-mounted HEL managed to deflagrate an 82mm mortar bomb at 1km distance maintaining the beam on-target for 4 seconds, and was then used to shoot down simulated 82mm mortar bombs fired in ripples, with a reliability of 90%. It also engaged and destroyed three jet powered UAVs. Rheinmetall continued to push further the development of direct energy effectors, and at IDEX 2017 a number of new systems and applications were visible. According to Rheinmetall experts, in the last five years the acceptance of laser-based weapon systems by the market has considerably improved. Depending on platforms, military qualification procedures are moving very close to those used for optronic systems. “As for land systems, we can consider that we are around TRL 5-6,” underlining that a further effort must be done in terms of SWAP, the biggest work remaining 32
being that related to system safety. However things are moving up pretty quick, and “in the last eight years we did what was done for rifles in the last 600 years”, we were told. Beside the land domain, Rheinmetall is also working on the naval side, and in 2015 a laser weapon was tested on board of a grey ship, this being the first test in Europe in a ship-to-shore role. Within its “Below Patriot” concept Rheinmetall includes among missile and gun effectors also the HEL installed on the Skyshield turret; the tunable 30kW laser is mostly used to counter UAVs, and is especially effective against swarm attacks. Against such air vehicles, especially against light ones which might represent the greatest “Below Patriot” threat, a 20kW beam is considered to be sufficient to cause unwelding at distance, thus disrupting electronic cards within the UAV, or to cause a disastrous failure in the materiel, the energy needed depending on the latter qualities. Accuracy required is that of a 2€ coin (3cm) at 1km distance, which is feasible according to Rheinmetall, the company foreseeing a Class 1 effector in service within two to three years. A 10kW laser effector was installed on top of its new Sea Snake-27 stabilised shipborne 27mm gun mount. An example of laser use proposed by Rheinmetall is the cut of the opponent’s radar mast or radio antennas, the laser equivalent of a gun May / June 2017 – EDR
United Kingdom’s endeavours
© P. Valpolini
In early January 2017 the UK Ministry of Defence announced the finalisation of an agreement with an ad-hoc industrial team, known as Team Dragonfire, for the development of a laser directed energy weapon capability demonstrator. Team Dragonfire is led by MBDA and was formed from a recognition that no one company could deliver the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) programme in isolation. It thus brought together the best of UK industry expertise: MBDA will bring prime weapon system delivery experience and advanced weapon system C2 and image processing capability and will coordinate the efforts of QinetiQ (laser source research and demonstration expertise), Selex/Leonardo (advanced optics, pointing systems and target tracking), GKN (innovative high power storage capability), BAE Systems and Marshall Land Systems (maritime and land platform integration advice respectively) and Arke (independent support to through life cost and DLOD considerations).The demonstrations planned for 2019 will show that the Laser weapon system is capable of engaging representative targets at range in land and maritime environments.
M Towards the future: a 10 kW laser effector
warning shot. A similar laser was also seen on the demonstrator of a super-light remotely controlled turret, all made of carbonfibre, which weighs only 80kg with actuators and optronics, providing a 150kg payload capacity. Last but not least, the smallest laser system on show was a 3kW HEL installed on a remotely controlled weapon station fitted on the turret of an upgrade proposal of the Leopard 2. In that case the laser effector would be mostly used to disrupt IEDs. According to Rheinmetall for the time being the market is looking at Class 1 laser systems, maximum power not being an issue add systems can be build up according to a modular concept, fitting for example two 50kW or three 30kW emitters to reach higher power levels. The company is also working on technologies capable to partly compensate the weather impact on the beam effect. High power, around 100kW, is being considered for C-RAM purposes as well as for dazzling optronic systems at a considerable range, scalable output being considered for the latter role in order to save energy for repeated “shooting”. Rheinmetall is in very close discussion with the German Bundeswehr for the development of a new HEL-based effector. EDR – May / June 2017
© P. Valpolini
installed on a super-light all-carbon weapon station, uneviled by Rheinmetall at IDEX 2017.
M Naval forces are driving the laser effector
development; here Rheinmetall installed a 10kW laser effector on a Sea Snake 27 stabilised naval turret armed with a 27mm gun. 33
M MBDA’s latest development will be tested
again, this time firing the high power laser beam, in late 2017-early 2018.
M For testing its new laser effector
demonstrator Rheinmetall choose the Baltic coast. First trials were only aimed at checking the tracking system.
The £ 30 million contract (EUR 35 million) will allow the industrial team to explore different technologies and to test the system capability in detecting, tracking and neutralising targets at different ranges, in changing weather conditions, both on land and water. The aim is to provide the UK with a significant capability in high energy laser weapon systems. This will provide the basis for technology-driven operational advantage with 34
the freedom to export such systems in support of the Prosperity agenda as advocated in the UK’s 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. The Dragonfire programme will mature the key technologies for a HEL defensive weapon system and includes a series of tests, forecasted in 2019, with the engagement of representative targets in land and maritime environments. Demonstrations will include initial detection and engagement planning, handover to the beam director, pointing and tracking, engagement and battle damage assessment – and the demonstration of follow-on engagement capability. The project will inform decisions on the future of the programme and help the MoD’s DSTL establish a road map to an in-service capability, that, if tests are successful, is forecasted around mid-2020s. Beside the Dragonfire programme, UK’s DSTL is running a complementary programme for testing the effects of laser directed energy weapon (LDEW) on different types of potential targets, first tests having been conducted on an 82mm mortar bomb. May / June 2017 – EDR
O A pictorial showing
the integration of MBDA’s laser effector on a ship. Also in Germany the Navy is the driving force behind laser weapon developments.
Germany again Within the European missile company MBDA, Germany is definitely the element that worked the most on laser effectors. Starting from the technology demonstrator of 2010, it first used a 5kW single beam, then it mechanically coupled two of them to obtain a 10kW system. In 2012 the new roof-top laboratory demonstrator was fitted with four coupled 10kW lasers to carry on C-RAM experiments. A trial was done in late 2012, integrating that demonstrator in a series of containers for a series of trials in the Alps, but it was definitely not a mobile system. The next step was thus to develop a demonstrator that could be easily deployed in the field, which kept the scientists and engineers of the Schrobenhausen site busy from 2014 to 2016, when the first experiment with the new system took place in October. Trials were carried out at the Putlos training facility on the Baltic Sea and were mostly aimed at testing the beam guidance and tracking system, with a simulated engagement of targets at a variety of ranges, a quadcopter being used as airborne target. The choice of that range had to do first with safety considerations, and also with the fact that navies are currently the driving forces behind laser EDR – May / June 2017
effectors development. The new demonstrator is fitted into a 20” container; the reason for that is cost saving, as no major integration effort is needed as it would have been the case if the system had to be installed into a military platform. That said, the laser system does not need all the room inside the container. Another cost saving measure was the decision not to integrate the power supply into the demonstrator itself, however the room available would allow to do it if required. The extra room might also allow to add a lowering system for bringing the laser beam director head within the container shape, allowing for easy transport. But these would be possible solutions for a true operational system. For the time being MBDA Germany is looking forward at the next trial step, which will be the testing of the whole system, including the power laser. This should happen in late 2017-early 2018. The new demonstrator is based on a beam generating system and a beam director, the two being mechanically decoupled one from the other. The source is currently a single 10kW fibre laser, which is fitted into the container together with all computers hardware and software, thermal management, etc. The fibre ends into the static part of the system, the beam being projected into 35
M A picture of tests carried out in
the Alps in 2012 with MBDA’s first technology demonstrator. the beam director system. This exploits MBDA’s knowledge; however some parts have been designed specifically for a laser system, allowing much higher accuracy, angular speed and acceleration compared to standard systems. Decoupling the two elements also allows to have a 360° continuous azimuth capability, while elevation goes from +90° to negative angles, thus covering overall more than 180°. To optimise the beam director, this integrates also the telescope. Acceleration and angular speed become a key factor when dealing with high manoeuvrable targets, such as microand mini-UAVs, and when a reaction against swarm attacks is needed. The other key element is power, as the higher the power the shorter the time needed to destroy/neutralise the target. To this end the new demonstrator is well capable of accepting multiple laser sources to be coupled together to increase the output power; moreover the decoupling between the laser source and the beam director allows to accept in the future new types of laser sources, which should have a higher 36
energy density, thus allowing to pack more power into a smaller package, MBDA Germany closely following the evolution of power sources, beam quality remaining a key factor. According to the company the current beam director has an inherent considerable growth potential. As it was the case with the roof-top demonstrator, only mirrors have been used, which can deal with high power much easily than lenses, the latter being banned from the system due to problems with thermal effects. The director can thus withstand over 50kW of power, although a theoretical limit of 120-150kW seems realistic. MBDA Germany considers that a counter-UAV system should have an output of 20 to 50kW, the same amount of power being needed to counter speed boats, a target of choice for the Navy. The company invested heavily on tracking system technologies to cope with UAVs of less than 50kg TOW. As for C-RAM, which was initially considered as one of the main scopes of laser effectors, customers realised that the development of such systems based on lasers remains for the time being quite challenging, priorities having thus changed in most military communities. The new system under testing is considered at TRL-5, “technology validated in relevant environment”. To become May / June 2017 – EDR
developed by MBDA; initially roof-mounted at Schrobenhausen, it was then containerised for trial purposes. a full prototype the system needs some further steps in terms of ruggedisation, while some of its components being COTS need to be qualified for military purposes. For the time being MBDA Germany is defining the next round of testing that should take place by year end or in early 2018, this being done in close contact with the Bundeswehr which partly finances the activity. Time on market for an actual development contract to finalise the operational system, which will provide not only funding but also clear requirements. Should such a contract be filed soon, MBDA Germany considers that a system might be available in early 2020s. J EDR – May / June 2017
In the United States numerous laser effectors were developed. In 2014 the USS Ponce deployed to the Gulf with an on board system known as LaWS (Laser Weapon System). This 33 kW laser effector developed by Kratos was effectively tested against small boats and drones. Lockheed Martin developed in the same timeframe its Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) system, a prototype effector designed to defeat close-in improvised rockets, UAVs and small boats. It proved to be able to track targets at over 5 km and to destroy them at up to 2 km. In late 2015 Lockheed showed a new 30 kW ground weapon, the Athena, based on the ADAM technology. Not much is known about Russian laser weapon programmes. In January 2017 Russia’s defence minister Yuri Borisov recently said that his country is busy in developing laser and other high-tech weapons, and that Russia’s scientists did considerable breakthrough in the field of laser issues. No further details were provided.
© Lockheed Martin
M A picture of the first generation demonstrator
OUT OF EUROPE
M The effects of Lockheed Martin Athena
on a car. Work on laser effectors is being carried out in most first tier countries.
P The new southern area shipyard and naval
submarine base being built in Sepetiba Bay at Itaguai in the State of Rio de Janeiro.
PROSUB Proceeds on Time By David Oliver The building of Brazil’s first Scorpène-class diesel-electric attack submarine, Riachuelo, being assembled under the Brazilian Navy Submarine Development Programme (PROSUB), has reached an advanced stage of construction.
ith a total area of 3.6 million square metres Brazilian territorial waters through which 95 percent of its national foreign trade passes and where 88 percent of its oil production is located, the Brazilian Navy was able to convince the government to fund the largest programme in its history. PROSUB was established with a 2009 overarching contract between the Brazilian Navy and Consórcio Baía de Sepetiba formed by French State-owned shipbuilding company DCNS, Construtora Norberto Odebrecht Defence and Technology Group, and Itaguaí Construções Navais (ICN). The contract, valued at more than BRL30 billion (USD9.9 billion), included seven commercial contracts for the materials and manufacture of four conventional SBRs; materials and manufacture of 38
a single SN-BR Almirante Álvaro Alberto nuclearpowered submarine; DCNS F21 torpedoes and countermeasure systems; the construction of a new naval shipyard and base; management, planning, and co-ordination of the contracts; transfer of technology (ToT) and offsets. The contract did not include the transfer of nuclear propulsion technology that is being developed indigenously in Brazil. The PROSUB facilities comprises three parts, a large shipyard, a naval base divided into northern and southern areas as well as the Steel Structures Manufacturing Unit (UFEM) covering a total area of 750,000 square metres. A major part of the PROSUB complex at Itaguai in the State of Rio de Janeiro was the construction of the 90,000 square metre UFEM where each part of the submarines are being built and equipped separately in 12 workshop bays that make up the main building. It has the largest hydraulic May / June 2017 – EDR
© David Oliver
press in Latin America, an 8,000 ton Schuler press developed for shaping special steel plates used in the construction of the submarine hulls. The UFEM comprises 45 buildings that includes an industrial warehouse and administrative area housing offices, a welding school, changing rooms and a cafeteria. The hull sections will be transported from the UFEM to the shipyard through a 700-metre long 14-metre diameter tunnel. The shipyard and southern area of the naval base situated at Sepetiba Bay in Itaguai is where the sections joined and final assembly of their systems will be completed. It will also be where they will be launched and tested, and the operation of the conventional and nuclearpowered submarines will be protected. The southern base will have 10 piers and two 140 metre-long docks in addition to workshops and administrative building. The facilities will allow docking of up to 10 submarines, one submarine rescue vessel, three port tugs, one diving support launch and a torpedo retrieval boat. The nuclear complex will allow fuel to be loaded on to and removed from the nuclear-powered submarine. The northern area of the naval base is located 3.5 km from the UFEM and will be connected to the shipyard and southern part of the naval base through a tunnel under the hill that separates the two areas. It will include a hospital, radiation decontamination 40
M The bow of Brazil’s first Scorpène-class
diesel-electric attack submarine was built in France and is being assembled in the UFEM. centre, a motor transport station, Brazilian Navy Quartermaster Centre and other services offering infrastructure necessary to accommodate officers and visitors. To date some 65 percent of the shipyard and naval bases have been completed. The Restinga de Marambaia peninsula that limits access to the maritime region naturally protects Sepetiba Bay, the location of the shipyard and naval bases. The small cove of Madeira Island, located behind a hill, ensures the security of the complex. The base has been built to resist any tidal waves triggered by volcanic eruptions or underwater explosions. The hull of SBR-1 was laid down at the DCNS shipyard at Cherbourg on 27 May 2010 and is being assembled at the new Brazilian Navy Shipyard in Itaguai. The other three Scorpène-class conventional submarines will be built entirely in Brazil. At 66.4 metres in length and displacing 1,717 tons, the SBRs are slightly larger than the baseline Scorpène submarines. On 16 March 2017, following the construction of the hull of SBR-1, the handling and storage module May / June 2017 – EDR
© David Oliver
M The hull section of SBR-2 being built in the UFEM
will be transferred to the new shipyard for assembly in November 2017. for the torpedoes was fitted to the interior of the bow section. According to the Brazilian Navy, this is the first large piece of shipboard equipment that will load the torpedoes on board and position them in the cradles. At sea, this system removes the torpedoes from the cradles and loads them into the torpedo tubes. Held in the main building, the event occurred within the planned schedule and represents an important industrial milestone in the shipment phase of equipment for submarine construction. Also planned for this year is the continuity for the submarine integration, as well as the subsequent transfer of the hull sections to the construction site in the new shipyard complex in the southern area of the naval base in July this year. The launch of the Riachuelo is scheduled for July 2018. While SBR-1 is in an advanced state of construction, SBR-2, 3 and 4 are at different stages of build within the UFEM. SBR-2 Humaita, the first to be built entirely in Brazil, is due to be launched in September 2020 followed by SBR-3 Tonelero in December 2021 EDR – May / June 2017
and SBR-4 Angostura in December 2022. The first operational Brazilian Navy SBR unit will be commissioned by 2019. In April 2017, DCNS and the Brazilian company Fundacao Ezute signed a new contract that covers the training phase of an Ezute team in France as part of the knowledge and the ToT programme for the SBR, the Brazilian Submarine Combat System within PROSUB. The team will accompany the Combat System acceptance trials which will take place at the Combat System Shore Integration Facility (SIF) in Brazil. DCNS has also employed technology transfer and trained a large team of engineers and technicians from the Brazilian Navy in the design of the nuclearpowered attack submarine (SN-BR) at its Submarine Design Training Centre based in France. The Brazilian strategic defence company Amazul is involved in the project related to the Brazilian Navy Nuclear Programme (PNM), the Brazilian Nuclear Programme (PNB) and PROSUB. The company’s primary mission is to develop and apply technologies and co-ordinate projects and processes required for the development for the SNBR under Brazilian Navy co-ordination. According to the Brazilian government, construction of the nuclear-powered submarine is vital for the protection of the countless wealth of its maritime 41
© David Oliver
O The tail section of SBR-3 built in the UFEM.
was an initial estimate of the qualifications of the SN-BR was to start in 2018, with the launch of the submarine in 2027 and, after a series of tests, be transferred to the Brazilian Navy in 2029. However, there is an awareness of the obstacles in developing
© David Oliver
territory, it Blue Amazon, and to assure Brazil’s sea sovereignty. To make PROSUB possible, Amazul participates in the PNM which has enabled Brazil to carry out the entire nuclear fuel cycle and develop an electric-generating nuclear plant. At the Navy Technological Center in Sao Paula (CTMSP), company technicians are involved in a number of projects including the construction of a land-based reactor with the purpose of developing indigenous technology for small reactors of up to 100 MW. Amazul has a workforce of only 120 people in the administrative area and some 1,800 employees in its target activities, and this is set to grow to 2,500 in the next five years. Regarding the nuclear plant, which is entirely a Brazilian Navy project, the national companies will act in the development and production of all the equipment and systems required for nuclear propulsion. The equipment includes capacitors, steam generators, pumps, cooling towers, pressurisers, mechanical structures of the fuel element, fuel elements of uranium and the main housing of the nuclear reactor in addition to the neutron airf low sensors and power control systems. The principal object of the complex SN-BR development programme was the design phase and feasibility study that was completed in 2013. There
O The major hull section of SBR-3 in an advanced stage of construction in the UFEM.
May / June 2017 – EDR
© Brazilian Navy
O Installing internal
© David Oliver
equipment into the hull of the SBR-1 at the UFEM.
M The completed multi-winch lift to be used
to launch and recover submarines at the southern area naval base. this advanced technology will arise and have to be overcome depending on the economic situation of the country. The schedule is constantly being carefully examined so as to suit the available budget and reflect the future prospects of the economy. Despite programme setbacks in 2015 and Brazil’s continued financial issues, the navy expects no further delays. The general co-ordinator of the NuclearPowered Submarine Programme, Fleet Admiral Gilberto Max Roffé Hirschfeld, said that PROSUB is based on three pillars: absorbing technology, training personnel, and nationalization. The participation of Brazil’s industry comes from the use of the country’s existing technology for building industrial infrastructure including materials, systems, equipment, machinery, and inputs, and from training domestic firms so that they are able to become autonomous, independent suppliers during future projects. 44
The Brazilian Navy Nuclear programme (PMN) is divided in two phases: development of nuclear fuel production cycle and development of a nuclear-electric generation laboratory (LABGENE) with 11 buildings currently under construction in Aramar, São Paulo state. The programme also includes the development and construction of a prototype pressurized water reactor (PWR) that will be used for the propulsion of the first SN-BR to be built in Brazil, and an upgrade to the Navy’s Technological Center in São Paulo (CTMSP). The PMN operates through activities and projects developed by the CTMSP in partnerships with universities and research institutes along with national industries. Achieving a nuclear submarine force is the Brazilian Navy’s top modernization priority and could become a reality in the next 20 years. At a recent conference in Washington, the Commander of Brazil’s Navy, Admiral Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira said that he has a ‘dream’ of having a fleet of six nuclear-powered submarines in the future. However, bearing in mind that the first one is already five years behind schedule, this may be remain a dream. J May / June 2017 – EDR
Irkut Corporation develops advanced export-oriented combat aircraft
By Dmitry Fediushko
© Nikolai Novichkov
n the 21st century, combat aircraft remain the backbone of air forces and no action is possible without sufficient air support. The planes secure skies and lend a hand of help to ground troops. At present, an aircraft is a multifunction tool that can accomplish almost all types of air support missions on the battlefield. The competition on the global market for combat aircraft can be described as a fierce rivalry. All major aerospace players offer their designs. For instance, the US Lockheed Martin promotes the F-16V fighter, Eurofighter – Typhoon, Sweden`s Saab – Gripen. However, the Russian-originated Su-30 family of fighters remains extremely popular in such an aggressive environment. The Irkut Corporation`s (a subsidiary of the United Aircraft Corporation, UAC) backlog of
O 1-Su-30SM fighter.
orders for Su-30s has exceeded 470 jets. The Su30MKI fighters form the backbone of India`s combat aviation. Over 270 Su-30MKI aircraft have been ordered with about 230 planes already brought into service. India`s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited corporation produces new fighters of this type and overhauls the previously supplied ones. Russia, Malaysia, Algeria, and Kazakhstan have received Su-30-family fighters that develop the Su-30MKI concept. The deliveries have been continuing. Today, Irkut offers two types of fighters – Su30MK and Su-30SME respectively. The Su-30MK multirole twin-seat fighter jet can accomplish a wide range of combat missions at a considerable distance from the airbase round-the-clock in all weather conditions and in contested environment. The Su-30MK is designed to engage aerial targets (to gain air superiority, to protect troops and pieces of infrastructure against air attacks, and to conduct escorting), as well as ground (to isolate combat area and to engage enemy`s troops and logistics facilities) and surface (to engage enemy`s ships) ones. The Su-30MK aircraft equipped with a wide range of armaments and an up-to-date avionics and electronic suite can engage aerial targets (including the ones with low radar signature) in close combat and conduct preventive actions at long distances. The aircraft can strike ground and surface targets by guided and nonguided weapons in tactical and operative depths of enemy`s defense. Su-30MK has a combat payload of up to 8,000kg that is attached to 12 hardpoints. The plane`s powerpack incorporates two AL31FP jet engines with afterburners. The combined thrust of 25,000kgf in afterburner ensures horizontal flight at a speed of M=1.9. Unlike its predecessors, the avionics suite of the Su-30MK comprises a range of new-generation systems including an integrated radar targeting May / June 2017 – EDR
© Nikolai Novichkov
complex that can detect and track up to 15 aerial targets and to engage four of them simultaneously. The aircraft can be fitted with infrared and laser targeting pods to detect and engage small-size ground targets. Su-30MK features an automated flight in various modes capability, including flight at low altitudes and individual or group combat missions against aerial, ground, and surface targets. The fighter is fitted with an automatic flight control system coupled with the navigation suite that allows flying along the routes, target approaching, return to base, and landing approach in automated mode. According to the specifications of the Su-30MK by the Irkut Corporation, the aircraft has a normal take-off weight of 24,900kg, a maximum take-off weight of 34,500kg, a normal/maximum fuel supply of 5,270kg/9,640kg respectively, a maximum flight range with full fuel supply of 1,270km near the ground, of 3,000km at cruise flight altitude, and of 5,200km with one aerial refuelling, a maximum speed near the ground of 1,350km/h, a maximum speed of M=1.9 (at altitude), a service ceiling of 17,300m (without external load), a length of 21.9m, a wingspan of 14.7m, and a height of 6.4m. The Irkut Corporation has also developed the Su-30SME export-oriented fighter. The Su-30SME supermanoeuverable multipurpose twin-seat fighter is designed to engage aerial and ground (surface) targets and to train pilots. The fighter features an excellent manoeuverability and high landing/takeoff performance owing to its integral aerodynamic configuration and the thrust vector control. Su-30SME can conduct a range of unique manoeuvers to gain superiority in close combat and to repel missile attacks. The plane`s powerpack is comprised of two AL31FP jet engines with afterburners. The combined thrust of 25,000 kgf in afterburner ensures horizontal flight at a speed of M=1.75. EDR – May / June 2017
M Su-30SME fighter model.
The combat payload of the Su-30SME (up to 8,000kg) is attached to 12 hardpoints. The aircraft can use a wide range of guided and non-guided weapons including air-to-air, air-to-surface, antiship, and anti-radiation missiles, smart and freefall bombs, and unguided rockets. Su-30SME is also equipped with an integrated aircraft cannon. The Su-30SME`s avionics suite comprises a number of new-generation systems including an onboard radar station; an optoelectronic targeting-navigation system; a helmet-mounted target designation system, a head-up display, multifunctional liquid-crystal colour indicators; and a satellite navigation system (compatible with GLONASS and NAVSTAR). According to the specifications of the Su-30SME by the Irkut Corporation, the aircraft has a normal take-off weight of 26,090kg, a maximum take-off weight of 34,000kg, a normal/maximum fuel supply of 5,270kg/9,300kg respectively, a maximum flight range of 1,280km near the ground at a speed of 800km/h, of 3,000km at altitude at a speed of 900km/h, and of 5,600km with one aerial refuelling, a maximum speed near the ground of 1,320km/h, a maximum speed of M=1.75 (at an altitude of over 11,000m), a service ceiling of 16,100m, a length of 21.9m, a wingspan of 14.7 m, and a height of 6.4m. Russia`s aerospace industry continues the boosting of Su-30`s performance. The newest BRAHMOS-A missile is being integrated with the Su-30MKI aircraft; such a combination is supposed to expand the export capabilities of the aircraft. The analysts suppose that the system is especially attractive for a number of potential customers, among which are coastal states with large territories and developed maritime communications and the states that operate Su-30MK fighter jets built by Irkut. J 47
Russian combat aircraft much demanded on global market oday, Russia`s self-sustainable ability to produce the most sophisticated types of weapons witnesses the evolution of the national defence industry. Moreover, the creation of hightechnological aircraft systems for Russia`s Aerospace Forces (VKS) is among the major achievements which require the input of financial, material and human resources in R&D as well as the mastering of innovative manufacturing technologies by the various defence entreprises, the Director General of Rosoboronexport Alexander Mikheev told European Defence Review. “The importance of combat aircraft on the modern battlefield could hardly be overestimated. The wars and conf licts of previous years have shown apparently that aviation is the mean toward operational ends. Aircraft can conduct both massive and selective strikes by high-precision weapons against enemy avoiding inherent losses. The aircraft of Russia`s VKS have demonstrated it clearly in Syria. Defense experts from several countries have highly estimated the effective usage of the service`s aviation,” the head of Rosoboronexport pointed out. According to him, the Russian defence industry develops and produces a wide range of military hardware. Rosoboronexport, a subsidiary of the Rostec state corporation, offers its customers the aircraft and air-launched weapons now in the highest demand in various regions of the world. “Along with export deliveries, Rosoboronexport offers various ty pes of militar y-technical cooperation including the joint development of aircraft and related systems, as well as their upgrade and maintenance, manufacturing and promotion on the global market,” Alexander Mikheev said. 48
© TASS Agency
By Nikolaï Novichkov
M Director General of Rosoboronexport
Alexander Mikheev. At present, the world`s request for modern and capable aircraft and air-launched weapons is growing, and Rosoboronexport considers this factor with attention, Mikheev emphasized. “Russia`s combat aviation is in high demand, owing to its unique combat features and advanced specifications, as well as the requirements of many countries to upgrade their aircraft fleet,” Rosoboronexport`s head pointed out. “Russia`s modern combat aircraft can effectively engage aerial, ground and surface targets by guided and guided weapons round-the-clock, in all types of weather conditions and terrain and in an environment contested by enemy`s electronic May / June 2017 – EDR
© Sukhoi company © Sukhoi company
M Su-34 frontline bomber.
© Yuri Smityuk
© Aleksey Mikheev
M Su-35 fighter.
M Ka-52 attack-reconnaissance helicopter .
M Mi-28N attack helicopter.
countermeasures and counter-firing at considerable distances from home bases and provide cover to civil and defence infrastructure against enemy`s aerial attack and surveillance assets,” Mikheev pointed out. Despite the challenging international atmosphere, Russia holds the second position in the Top-5 list of arms suppliers having exported defense hardware worth well over $15 billion in 2016. Defence materiel export contracts to the tune of over $9 billion were signed last year. It should be mentioned that the development of comprehensive after-sale support services and establishing/refitting of maintenance centres “at home” for foreign customers.
In 2016, Russia signed 18 international militarytechnical agreements, while Russian hardware was being delivered to 52 countries. The number of the country`s military-technical partners has exceeded 100. In the structure of Russia`s 2016 defence export, Asia takes the first place (53% of the combined annual volume) followed by Africa (42%), North and South Americas (3%), and Europe (2%). Combat aircraft accounts for 50-55% of Russia`s defence export combined volume. The interest of potential foreign customers in Russian aviation hardware has grown over the past years owing to the successful use of combat fixed-wing aircraft and attack and transport-combat helicopters in Syria. J
EDR – May / June 2017
European Defence Review European Defence Review (EDR) is the first magazine in English focusing on defence issues with a European perspective and one which is fully managed by well-known journalists specialised in defence and security. EDR addresses every topic of the defence sector: equipment and industrial issues, armed forces and operations, but also strategic and political news concerning defence and security issues. Although the articles will be mainly focused on European topics, the review also discusses the main countrie’s partners of Europe and emerging markets: Russia, the Middle East, Brazil, India… EDR distributes during the major international defence trade fairs. The readers include military decision-makers, both political and industrial, from European countries as well as traditional or potential partners of the European defence community. Finally, EDR covers all of the major defence exhibitions worldwide; privileged accasions where policy makers, military and trade-related, are attending.
European Defence Review (EDR) is the premier English-language journal focusing on defence-related issues from a distinctly European perspective. EDR is produced by the defence industry’s most prominent and distinguished journalists. J Regular contributors include: Jean-Pierre Husson, François Prins, Jean-Michel Guhl, Nikolay Novichkov, Paolo Valpolini, Luca Peruzzi and Andrew Drwiega. Graphic design / layout by: Da TRAN – firstname.lastname@example.org J Advertisers in this issue: Dassault [C4] • MBDA [C3] • ST. Engenerring [C2] • DCI  • Thales  • Eurosatory  • IMDEX  • Singapore Airshow  • Expo Densa  • Russian Weapons 
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OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU Armed forces face increasingly complex engagement scenarios where there is no room for error. In this demanding environment you can count on our expert teams who are committed to bringing you cutting edge, combat-proven technology and autonomy in defence. AIR DOMINANCE
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PEMA2m - Photo F. Robineau - Dassault Aviation
Rafale carries out different complex combat assignments simultaneously. This makes it different from so-called “multirole” or “swing-role” aircraft. Higher systems integration, advanced data fusion, and inherent low observability all make Rafale the first true omnirole fighter. Able to fight how you want, when you want, where you want. Rafale. The OMNIROLE fighter
Published on May 3, 2017