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31 Aug 10. Britain and France are preparing to reveal unprecedented plans to share the use of their aircraft carriers in a controversial step to maintain military power in an era of cost-cutting. In a potential threat to thousands of shipyard jobs, the move would make it easier for Britain to scrap or downgrade one of the two replacement carriers which are already under construction at a cost of £5.2bn. David Cameron and President Sarkozy are expected to outline the proposal in a November summit, which will lead to British and French flagships working together and protecting the interests of both countries. The arrangement, expected to come into force soon after the announcement, would ensure that one of three ships — one French, two British — was always on duty patrolling. (Source: The Times)
15 Jul 10. One question for Saab’s Gripen Next Generation (NG) project has always been: Why should export customers buy an aircraft when its home customer has not committed to it? In discussions in June at Saab’s Linkoping, Sweden, headquarters, it became apparent that the NG is firmly in national defense plans, but a formal announcement is being delayed for domestic reasons.
“Sweden has committed to using the Gripen beyond 2040,” says Hans Rosen, head of Gripen marketing and campaigns. “The question is when to acquire the Gripen NG, and how many.” The program calls for the new variant to enter Swedish service around 2018, but Sweden has told export customers—some of which expect deliveries in 2014—that it will adjust its schedule so Sweden deploys the NG before they do. Rosen’s comments on the future of the Gripen in Sweden echoed remarks made by Defense Minister Sten Tolgfors at an air power conference at Malmen in June. Tolgfors said modernization of the Gripen force is proceeding according to plan with conversion of a final batch of 31 JAS 39A models to the 39C standard. This leaves the air force with 100 fighters, fewer than at any time during or since the Cold War. Sweden will offset the reduction by maintaining the force at a high technical standard. The next step will see all JAS 39C/D fighters modernized to a common configuration known as Materiel Standard (MS) 20, already under contract. Also approved is the integration of a new radar-guided missile, the MBDA Meteor, regarded by Saab as a massive improvement in lethality over the AIM-120C advanced medium-range air-to-air missile. The next configuration, MS 21, is being defined, but it is clear that MS 21 is in fact the NG, with the General Electric F414G engine; modified airframe; Selex Galileo Raven ES-05 active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar; Skyward-G infrared search and track (IRST) system; and new core avionics. Selex’s Raven 1000P radar prototype is flying on the Gripen Demo and a ground rig is testing the innovative avionics in which flight-critical functions are partitioned so mission capabilities can be added more quickly through the fighter’s life. (Source: Aviation Week)
01 Sep 10. A source close to BATTLESPACE suggested the following scenario following the Carrier announcement. (See: REVISED ‘ENTENTE COR