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15 Feb 19. South Korea begins building prototype of next-generation fighter aircraft. Korea Aerospace Industries, or KAI, is starting production on the first prototype of a next-generation fighter jet.
On 14 February, South Korea’s biggest aerospace company held a ceremony in order to celebrate the start producing of the first bulkhead, which is the main part of the forward fuselage of the next-generation Korean Fighter Xperiment (KFX) aircraft.
“A bulkhead is a structure that is designed to prevent an aircraft from being deformed due to pressure generated by high-speed flights”, the aerospace company announced Thursday.
A KAI representative said that the first prototype of the KF-X advanced multirole fighter aircraft, so-called 4.5-generation fighter, will be finished in April 2021. Currently, KAI has completed 15 percent of the total design drawing for KF-X and will complete more than 80 percent after September when a detailed design review is completed. KF-X passed a system requirement review and a system function review in 2016. System development for the aircraft started in December 2015.
The KF-X program aims for production around 120 advanced fighter jets to replace the Air Force’s aging F-4 and F-5 combat aircraft.
The KF-X project is expected to play an important role in revving up the Korean aviation industry in terms of technology accumulation and job creation.
The KF-X project currently involves a total of 112 institutions — 16 domestic universities, 11 research institutes and 85 companies. When the development of the prototype gets in full swing, an additional 35 institutions will join the project. (Source: Google/https://defence-blog.com)
14 Feb 19. U.S., India seek to boost trade ties in energy, defence. The United States and India plan to boost bilateral trade in energy, aerospace, defence, pharmaceuticals and healthcare as part of a continuing commercial dialogue, officials from both governments said on Thursday. They have set up seven working groups of chief executives with top U.S. and Indian firms that will focus on financial trade and investments as well as bring together small and medium enterprises (SME) from the two countries.
“The working groups have been formed among the CEOs. They will be providing recommendations to the government,” Kenneth Juster, U.S. Ambassador to India, told reporters at a briefing on the sidelines of the talks. India and the United States have developed close political and security ties. But bilateral trade, which stood at $126bn in 2017, is widely seen to be performing at nearly a quarter of its potential.
“We resolved to facilitate two-way trade and investment to build on such growth,” Indian Trade Minister Suresh Prabhu said in a tweet.
Executives participating in the discussions included Tata chairman N. Chandrasekaran and American Tower CEO James Taiclet, an Indian government statement said.
U.S. and Indian officials pressed on with talks on Thursday to resolve differences over trade and investment, Indian government sources said, after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called off his visit because of bad weather at home.
Ross addressed the forum in Delhi through teleconference after his flight was cancelled, a government statement said.
Chief executives of top U.S. and Indian firms raised the issue of data localisation, Juster said, but it was not directly addressed by Indian and U.S. government officials, rather left to private discussions being held separately.
Last year India announced proposals to force foreign companies to store more of their user data locally so as to make it accessible to any legal investigations.
U.S. lobby groups voiced doubts, saying this made it difficult for firms to do business in India.
The two governments were also discussing U.S. tariffs imposed blast year on steel and aluminium imports, he said.
India and the United States are at odds over a range of trade issues, from India’s new rules on e-commerce that affect firms such as Amazon and Walmart to Indian data localisation and tariffs that U.S. President Donald Trump says are exceptionally high.
Washington has also had a longstanding grievance with India over its large trade deficit with the United States and what it sees as the Indian government’s lax intellectual property enforcement.
New Delhi defends the measures on e-commerce as a way to protect the interests of small businesses and says it has been cutting tariffs gradually to give local industry a level playing field and create jobs for a very large youth population.
The meeting coincides with a USTR review of India’s eligibility as a beneficiary of its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), under which the country has enjoyed zero tariffs for about 2,000 goods worth $5.6 billion exported to the United States.
Reuters reported last week that the USTR was considering withdrawal or scaling back of these tariffs because of the lack of reciprocity from India on its tariffs, its tightening curbs on online sales and its insistence that foreign payment card companies, such as Mastercard and Visa, store data in India. (Source: Google/Reuters)
11 Feb 19. India points to possible increase in foreign investment. India’s minister of state for defence, Subhash Bhamre, has revealed new statistics on defence-related foreign direct investment (FDI), indicating a potential increase against previously reported figures. In comments to parliament on 11 February, Bhamre confirmed that the country’s defence sector attracted just INR11.6m (USD162,849) in FDI over the past three years. This foreign investment, he said, was calculated under “three National Industrial Classification (NIC) codes [for the defence sector] as informed by the DIPP [Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion]”. However, Bhamre went on to reveal that additional FDI – worth INR2.37bn – has been received by six companies in the national “defence and aerospace sector since April 2014”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Feb 19. Indian military concerned about budget shortfall for modernisation programmes. The Indian Navy (IN) and Indian Air Force (IAF) have expressed “grave concern” over what they describe as a “severe shortfall” of modernisation funds in India’s defence budget for fiscal year 2019/20 (FY 2019/20). The budget, which was announced on 1 February, allocates fewer funds to the IN and the IAF for modernisation than what these services already owe in terms of ‘committed liabilities’ – annual payment of instalments for previously acquired equipment – thus leaving no funds for materiel procurements and upgrades. The IN, for instance, is set to receive INR231.56bn (USD3.26bn) as capital expenditure for FY 2019/20, while its outstanding balance for committed liabilities and various ongoing upgrade programmes amounts to INR254.61bn, leaving a deficit of INR23.05bn. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Feb 19. China Eyes Building Next-Generation Fighter Jets By 2035. China will not fall behind in the global race toward sixth-generation fighter jets and is expected to build its own next-generation fighter jets by 2035, said a leading Chinese fighter jet specialist. China’s sixth-generation fighter will come into being by 2035 or earlier, said Wang Haifeng, a chief architect at Chengdu Aircraft Research and Design Institute who also participated in the development of the J-20 and J-10, reported Ordnance Industry Science Technology, a Xi’an-based periodical on national defense industries, in January. Some new features of a sixth-generation fighter jet include the ability to command drones, artificial intelligence and even higher stealth capability through aerodynamic design, the periodical reported. New technologies, such as laser, adaptive engines, hypersonic weapons and swarm warfare, might also be part on the new aircraft, Wang said, noting that China will choose some of these features and add others that best suit China’s needs.
France and Germany announced that they will jointly build a next-generation combat jet system, which is expected to be operational by 2040, Reuters reported last week.
The UK unveiled its sixth-generation fighter jet development program named Tempest in July 2018, and will invite India to join its co-development aircraft program, the Business Standard reported on Friday. Other countries including the US, Russia and Japan are also reportedly developing their own sixth-generation fighter jets. Although they remain in the concept stage, the new fighters are likely to emerge in the 2030s or 2040s, the National Interest reported. A generation gap means the sixth-generation warplanes would easily top fifth-generation ones including the US’ F-22 and China’s J-20, analysts said. Although China has yet to officially reveal a plan on its next-generation fighter jet, which hardly comes as a surprise as the country seldom announces any in-development weaponry, it may have already started related research and development, a Beijing-based military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Monday.
“China’s tradition is to have one generation in service, a new one in development and a next-generation under study. Now that the J-20 is already in service, the development for a new aircraft is also underway,” the expert forecast.
The generational standards for fighter jets have been defined mainly by Western countries but not future standards, said J-20’s chief designer Yang Wei in a China Central Television program, noting that China will design very different aircraft in the future through true innovation. China has also constructed a 6,620-ton, 17,000-cubic-meter FL-62 continuous transonic wind tunnel that will be critical in “shaping China’s future fighter jet,” said a statement released by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China in September. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Global Times)
11 Feb 19. Naval Group clinches $35bn Australian submarine deal. France’s Naval Group and Australia on Feb. 11 signed a $35bn contract to build 12 Attack-class submarines for the Australian navy. Negotiations over the ownership of technology and details of the industrial partnership had been underway since Australia selected the French group in April 2016 as its preferred bidder over Japanese and German offers for the country’s biggest-ever defense contract.
This Strategic Partnering Agreement governing the transfer of Naval Group’s “know-how” and “know-why” to Australia was signed in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. It sets out the principles of cooperation between the two partners not only for the next 50 years but for any future contracts in the framework of the program.
According to these principles, Naval Group will deliver 12 Attack-class submarines – with construction on the first scheduled to start in late 2023 and to be fully mission-ready for the navy in late 2034. The pact also positions Naval Group to deliver new technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities to Australia.
Australia initially selected Naval Group in April 2016. Work on the submarines thus far has taken place under the so-called design and mobilization contract signed in September 2016. Since then pre-sizing of the future submarine has been completed as has the feasibility study to ensure the submarine meets functionality, scheduling and cost requirements. This phase was undertaken in Cherbourg, France, with the support of Australian engineers who were relocated there to learn how to carry out the detailed design of the future submarine. The next group of engineers will arrive in France next month.
In addition, the first sod was turned last year at the construction yard in Adelaide. Phase 1 of the construction, which will create at least 600 jobs, will focus on site establishment, earth works and piling for the new facilities. Procurement has begun of capital equipment, including machining equipment, painting booths, a rotating cradle and machines for plate rolling, plasma cutting, water jet cutting and milling.
Suppliers of the top five submarine components – the main motor, diesel generators, switchboards, batteries, and weapons discharge systems – have been reviewed and will be announced before the end of this year. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
11 Feb 19. Iran flouts US sanctions to continue missile programme. President Rouhani strikes defiant note on revolution anniversary. President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will continue its missile programme and regional policies in defiance of US sanctions as millions of Iranians gathered in cities across the country to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution. “The US had announced to make Iran kneel down [but it] did not happen,” Mr Rouhani told a crowd in Freedom Square, referring to the US threats and sanctions over the past year. “We have not asked for anyone’s permission and will not ask to build different kinds of missiles,” he said, adding that “Americans and Zionists . . . should know that no plan could be implemented in the region without Iran”. The crowds packed into Tehran’s Revolution Street and Freedom Square chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” while holding aloft portraits of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the charismatic cleric who led the 1979 uprising that toppled the last shah, amid a sea of national flags. Revolutionary and nationalistic music as well as the latest pop songs were played along the rally route. The occasion was a significant milestone for the Shia clerics who were swept to power in 1979 after students, merchants, religious leaders and workers came together in an uprising that toppled the shah. It provided a rare opportunity for the country’s leaders to project a united front in the face of adversity and put on a show of support for their theocratic system of rule as Tehran is under intense US pressure. Mahin, a 50-year-old housewife, said she was even ready to go to a war with the US if need be. “The US can die by seeing our revolution is 40 years old now,” she said while waving a “Down with US” placard. “This big crowd today means resistance at any price.” (Source: FT.com)
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