Mar 13, 2013 12:40 UTC
Latest updates[?]: Updates from UPI, as Algeria's military budget rises; Algeria buying well beyond Russia; Article improvements.
A February 2006 report noted that a $4 billion arms sale was brewing between Algeria and Russia involving fighter aircraft, tanks, and air defense systems, with the possibility of additional equipment. Those options came through the following month, as a high-level Russian delegation in Algeria closed up to $7.5 billion worth of arms contracts. The Algerian package remains post-Soviet Russia’s largest single arms deal. As an instructive comparison, annual Russian weapons export orders from all customers were just $5-6 billion per year in 2004 and 2005.
Reuters South Africa quoted Rosoboronexport chief Sergei Chemezov as saying that “Practically all types of arms which we have are included, anti-missile systems, aviation, sea and land technology.” The actual contents of that deal were murky, though DID offers triangulation among several sources to help sort out the confusion. A number of these deals have evolved over time, and other public-source information has helped to sharpen the picture a bit. The subsequent crash of Algeria’s MiG-29 deal, and its ripple effects, are also discussed.
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Mar 11, 2013 15:00 UTC
Latest updates[?]: Italian Tornado fighters get their upgrade contract; DOT&E critical of AARGM, worries of funding shortfall; Article improvements.
The AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) is a medium range, supersonic, air-launched tactical missile whose primary job is to attack and kill enemy radars. AARGM is a US Navy major acquisition program, with around 1,750 expected orders from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The Italian Air Force is expected to buy up to 250 of these successors to the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile, and Germany may also join.
So, why is AARGM a big deal? Perhaps the story of how a Serbian unit using an antiquated SA-3 battery managed to survive the 1999 NATO air campaign – and shoot down an F-117 Nighthawk stealth plane – will help put things into perspective. DID recounts those events, explains the new weapon, and offers updates on contracts and key milestones.
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Jan 20, 2013 16:45 UTC
Latest updates[?]: Multi-year production contract; Thailand places its order; CY 2013 multinational support contract; DOT&E results; Article improvements.
The RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) is used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft, and is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. Compared to the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, ESSM is effectively a new missile with a larger, more powerful rocket motor for increased range, a different aerodynamic layout for improved agility, and the latest missile guidance technology. Testing has even shown the ESSM to be effective against fast surface craft, an option that greatly expands the missile’s utility. As a further bonus, the RIM-162 ESSM has the ability to be “quad-packed” in the Mk 41 vertical launching system, allowing 4 missiles to be carried per launch cell instead of loading one larger SM-2 Standard missile or similar equipment.
This is DID’s FOCUS article for the program, containing details about the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missile family, and contracts placed under this program since 1999. The Sea Sparrow was widely used aboard NATO warships, so it isn’t surprising that the ESSM is an international program. The NATO Sea Sparrow Consortium includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the USA – as well as non-NATO Australia. Foreign Military Sales customers outside this consortium include Japan, Korea, and the United Arab Emirates, and will soon include Thailand.
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Jan 15, 2013 13:33 UTC
Latest updates[?]: Funds released again; New supplier in town.
AIM-120C from F-22A
(click for test missile zoom)
Raytheon’s AIM-120 Advanced, Medium-Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) has become the world market leader for medium range air-to-air missiles, and is also beginning to make inroads within land-based defense systems. It was designed with the lessons of Vietnam in mind, and of local air combat exercises like ACEVAL and Red Flag. This DID FOCUS article covers successive generations of AMRAAM missiles, international contracts and key events from 2006 onward, and even some of its emerging competitors.
One of the key lessons learned from Vietnam was that a fighter would be likely to encounter multiple enemies, and would need to launch and guide several missiles at once in order to ensure its survival. This had not been possible with the AIM-7 Sparrow, a “semi-active radar homing” missile that required a constant radar lock on one target. To make matters worse, enemy fighters were capable of launching missiles of their own. Pilots who weren’t free to maneuver after launch would often be forced to “break lock,” or be killed – sometimes even by a short-range missile fired during the last phases of their enemy’s approach. Since fighters that could carry radar-guided missiles like the AIM-7 tended to be larger and more expensive, and the Soviets were known to have far more fighters overall, this was not a good trade…
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Nov 18, 2012 14:45 UTC
In November 2012, the Royal Thai Army signed a contract with Thales UK to become the STARStreak air defence missile’s 3rd customer, after Britain and South Africa. Introduced in 1997, the dual-stage High Velocity Missile flies at Mach 3+. Its uses laser guidance to home in on fast-flying aircraft, pop-up helicopters, or UAVs, then shreds them with 3 individually-guided hit-to-kill projectiles. Numbers and amounts aren’t specified, beyond a “multi-million pound” deal, but the number of 3-missile Lightweight Multiple Launchers (LML) is probably relatively low.
The STARStreak system’s combination of extreme speed, laser guidance approach, kill method, and low maintenance costs offers a number of advantages over peer systems like the American Stinger, French Mistral, and Russian SA-18. The flip side is that its manual all-the-way guidance approach places a premium on operator training. That can be a disadvantage in some quarters, and the firm’s natural customer set was pre-empted by competitors who introduced their wares during the Cold War. Interest in these weapons is slowly picking up again, and Thales says that STARStreak/LML’s high profile deployment at the London 2012 Olympics “has led to increased interest in the system around the world.”