World defence update

US DoD defends surveillance ship’s actions in South China Sea


A US Military Sealift Command surveillance ship that jostled with five Chinese vessels in the South China Sea on 8 March did not violate international laws, according to the US Department of Defense (DoD). A Pentagon official told Jane’s on 11 March: “We conducted military operations in accordance with international law

Super Hornet IRST completes initial flight trials


The new infrared search and track (IRST) system development for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet has successfully completed a series of risk-reduction flight-tests, Boeing reported on 11 March. The flights demonstrated the compatibility and effectiveness of the IRST system on the aircraft. Developed for Boeing by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, Florida, this IRST is a passive, long-range sensor system using an 8-12 µm mercury cadmium telluride detector array, which searches for and detects IR emissions within its field of view


Su-33 talks twist and turn as China seeks carrier-borne fighter

Negotiations for the sale of Sukhoi Su-33 carrier-capable combat aircraft to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) are still continuing with both sides interested in coming to a final agreement, Russian industry sources have told Jane’s . “Previous reports that these discussions are at an end or that the ‘contract has been cancelled’ are incorrect,” said a Russian source close to the programme


Libyan Coast Guard boosts patrol fleet


The Libyan Coast Guard is considering further acquisitions after taking delivery of the six Croatian-built PV30-LS fast patrol craft and a small hydrographic survey vessel that were ordered in batches from 2005. The 30 m fast patrol craft were built by Zagreb-based Adria-Mar Shipbuilding at shipyards in Kali and Bakar Bay, with deliveries starting in August 2006


US shoots down Iranian UAV near Iraq’s tense Camp Ashraf


An Iranian drone shot down in late February by coalition aircraft in Diyala province is the second to have been brought down in the airspace near Camp Ashraf, home to some 3,500 Iranian exiles, according to a representative of the dissident People’s Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI). The aborted surveillance effort comes as the Iraqi armed forces stepped up their pressure on the camp, in line with a pronouncement by National Security Advisor Mowaffaq al-Rubaie in January that the camp would be closed by late March


Terma to win regardless of Danish fighter choice


Boeing and Terma have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which the Danish company will secure a minimum of 30 per cent of industrial co-operation investments if Copenhagen selects the F/A-18E/F Block II Super Hornet to meet its combat aircraft requirement. Terma has signed agreements with each of the three international participants seeking to meet the Royal Danish Air Force’s New Combat Aircraft requirement for 48 aircraft to replace the ageing Lockheed Martin F-16AD units JSF project could be worth $38bn to UK industry Industrial participation could generate business valued at USD38 billion for United Kingdom businesses through the system development and demonstration and production phases of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft programme, programme leader Lockheed Martin estimated. The United States group added: “Much, much more value will be generated through any follow-on production and sustainment work.” The comments came on 18 March, following the announcement that the UK – the only level one partner in the international programme – will move ahead with its plan to purchase its first three F-35 aircraft despite significant pressure on the country’s procurement funds


Belarus develops new family of military trucks


Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant has completed development of a three-axled prototype of a new family of modular military trucks, known as MZKT-6001. The family of vehicles was designed to maximise commonality across chassis configurations ranging from 4×4 (MZKT-5001), through 6×6 and 8×8 (MZKT-6002) to 10×10 (MZKT-6003), looking to meet Belarus’s truck requirements up to 2018


China develops cluster bomb to target power supplies


China has developed a cluster bomb loaded with carbon fibre filaments that is expressly designed to attack and disable a nation’s electrical power grid. The new weapon, the 250 kg Carbon Filament Cluster Bomb (CFCB), is being offered for sale by the Beijing-based Poly Technologies: one of China’s state-controlled arms export agencies Source: Janes defence journal

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