In August 1990, Iraq’s Air Force had more than 500 aircraft in their inventory. The IqAF was decimated in 1991, after Saddam invaded Kuwait and ended up facing the US military and its allies. What remained was hobbled by extensive, and expensive, no-fly zones, until the war formally concluded in 2003 with a US-led invasion that eliminated Saddam’s regime. Rebuilding the IqAF under the new Iraqi government has been a slow process.
The C-130 Hercules was an early player in Iraq’s rebuilt air force, which remains small and focused on transport and surveillance missions. Positive experiences with the IqAF 23rd Sqn.’s 3 refurbished C-130Es, which fly from Baghdad International Airport, led Iraq to make a formal sale request for new C-130J-30s in July 2008. That was followed by a series of contracts for the planes, and the things that go with them. Deliveries, on the other hand, have taken until 2012. Even so, the most important deliveries under the contract are not planes.
According to the WSJ the FAA plans to introduce rules that will drastically limit practical use of commercial UAVs in the US. For one, drone operators would have to be certified pilots of manned aircraft.
In 2005, Greece terminated its $6 billion Eurofighter contract in favor of F-16s. Now that sale has taken the next step, as Greece has submitted its order for the aircraft and ancillary electronics, spares, and weapons, to match rival Turkey’s recent F-16 purchases and upgrades.
On October 25/05, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) formally notified Congress [PDF] of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Greece of 40 F-16C/D Block 52+ aircraft as well as associated equipment and services. That sale continues to move forward, item by item; the total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $3.1 billion. Greece’s full “Peace Xenia IV” order request now features:
The latest annual report [PDF] to the US Congress by its US-China Economic and Security Review Commission notes that submarine-launched ballistic missiles give China its “first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent”:
“The JL–2’s range of approximately 4,598 miles gives China the ability to conduct nuclear strikes against Alaska if launched from waters near China; against Alaska and Hawaii if launched from waters south of Japan; against Alaska, Hawaii, and the western portion of the continental United States if launched from waters west of Hawaii; and against all 50 U.S. states if launched from waters east of Hawaii.”
China’s new CX-1 supersonic anti-ship and strike missile may look somewhat like the Russo-Indian BrahMos, but AIN explains why the experts don’t think it’s a copy.
Japan is looking at designing a “big, long-range fighter to defeat superior numbers”, reports AviationWeek.
Russia is reported to have just over 115 IL-76 medium-heavy strategic transport planes, but they’re leftovers from the Soviet era. On Oct 1/12 they unveiled the modernized “IL-476” variant, and within days Russia’s Defense Ministry had signed a RUB 140 billion contract to begin recapitalizing the VVS fleet, alongside the 60 AN-70 medium tactical transports ordered in August 2012.
The order also launches the IL-476 as a competitor in the global medium-heavy transport market. Production of Ilyushin’s design will be undertaken by state-owned UAC’s Aviastar subsidiary in Ulyanovsk.
At a hearing held by the US House intelligence committee yesterday, NSA/USCYBERCOM director Adm. Michael Rogers said China and a couple other countries (whose name is classified) have the capabilities to possibly shut down critical/industrial systems in the United States such as part of the electric grid. AP | C-Span video (segment 29 minutes in).
The WSJ notes that it’s been a big diplomatic week for China, with deals with Australia, South Korea and the US.
But at the same time Russia and China agreed to conduct joint naval exercises not just in the Pacific, but also in the Mediterranean next year, reports the International Business Times. CMC vice chairman Xu Qiliang said military cooperation with Russia was a priority.
The West Australian has some pictures of the 4 Russian ships which visited the Coral Sea (without entering Australian waters) during the G20 summit. There’s also a video below from the Royal Australian Air Force.
Indian Prime Minister Modi addressed a joint session of the Australian Parliament to urge the two countries to get closer, including on security matters in the Indian ocean. Anthony Bergin at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute thinks this makes a lot of sense, but the two nations are also pursuing other important bilateral ties, including with Japan. Is the distance between India, Japan, and Australia and liability or an asset for their trilateral relationship [The Diplomat]?
Mac Thornberry [R-TX] was selected [Breaking Defense] by the Republican steering committee to chair the House Armed Services Committee. He had been seen as the contender most likely to succeed retiring chairman Buck McKeon. Randy Forbes [R-VA] was also interested in the position. Thornberry volunteered to head an acquisition reform effort late last year.
According to Reuters RD Amross – a tiny joint venture between Russian engine maker NPO Energomash and United Technologies – has been making millions of dollars in markups by importing and reselling RD-180 engines to the US Air Force with little apparent added value.
Australia’s 25-year, A$ 600 million Project AIR 9000 Phase 7 – Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) will replace the Navy’s Airbus AS350BA Ecureuils, and the Army’s Bell 206-B1 Kiowa fleet, with 15 new Airbus EC135 T2+ helicopters. The new helicopters use twin 634shp Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 engines, and have improved maximum takeoff weight compared to earlier EC135 models. They will provide basic training before pilots graduate to Australia’s S-70, MH-60R, MRH-90, or CH-47 squadrons. The contract also includes flight simulators, and a training ship with a landing deck for Navy training. The team includes Boeing Australia, Thales Australia, Airbus, and Turbomeca.
Vladimir Putin is losing [Time] even German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who pointed out [WSJ] during a speech in Sydney how Russian meddling is extending far beyond Ukraine:
“This is not just about Ukraine. This is about Moldova, this is about Georgia, and if this continues then one will have to ask about Serbia and one will have to ask about the countries of the Western Balkans [link to DW added by DID].”