Jan 15, 2013 16:24 UTC
EADS’ CN-235 & C-295
In December 2005, fresh from an expedition that tentatively sold $2 billion worth of military hardware to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez regime, Spain’s Defence Minister made the neighboring state of Colombia an offer. A combination of sales and aid transfers would give the FAC another 21 light tactical transport planes – and if they’d buy, he’d throw in 4 helicopters for free.
It was a peace gesture of sorts, but it failed to appease the USA, who blocked the Venezuelan aircraft by using US military export laws against key equipment. Even so, it was a smart marketing move. Colombia was already an EADS-CASA customer, thanks to previous transfers of Spanish C-212 Aviocar light STOL transports as anti-terrorism aid, and a 2002 buy of CN-235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft. In the end, Colombia bought at least some of what Bono was offering, and they’ve continued to add to that fleet over time.
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Jan 15, 2013 15:18 UTC
In January 2013, the Colombian Ministry of National Defence awarded a $65.3 million contract to General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, for 24 of the firm’s double-V hulled LAV-IIIs with add-on armor. In the USA, this LAV-III is known as the M1126 Stryker DVH, but Colombia’s new armored personnel carriers won’t have the same internal electronics fit-out. They’ll also swap in RAFAEL’s Samson RCWS weapon station up top. The contract was signed through the Government of Canada’s CCC export agency, and deliveries will be complete by May 2014.
The Ejercito Nacional de Colombia operates a very broad mix of APCs: M1117 ICVs from Textron, Russian BTR-80s, Brazilian EE-9 and EE-11s, and old US M113 tracked vehicles. None have the LAV-III DVH’s ability to survive land mine blasts. That’s becoming a bigger part of Colombia’s defense planning lately: Oshkosh’s Sand Cat vehicle was picked as a light patrol MRAP in December 2012.
Jan 15, 2013 14:29 UTC
Latest updates[?]: High number of Hermes crashes concerning; Report on program size and delays; Article improvements.
Britain has given the green light to the Watchkeeper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Program. The initial August 2005 contract award to Thales UK’s joint venture was worth around GBP 700 million, and the program expected to create or sustain up to 2,100 high-quality manufacturing jobs in the UK. The Watchkeeper platform is based on Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450 UAV platform, which is serving as a contractor-operated interim solution on the front lines of battle.
Watchkeeper will be an important system, working as the likely medium-range mainstay within a complementary suite of manned (vid. ASTOR Sentinel R1) and unmanned (Buster, Desert Hawk, MQ-9 Reaper) aerial Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition Reconnaissance (ISTAR) systems. This will make it a core element of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Network-Enabled Capability strategy.
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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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