04 Nov 22. Second Russian/Chinese/SA naval exercise set for February.
Today (Friday, 4 November) sees the conclusion of the main planning conference for a second tri-nation naval exercise involving China, Russia and South Africa. South Africa is, SA National Defence Force (SANDF) social media communicator Warrant Officer 1 Oupa Moraile posts, the host nation with Russia named lead nation. Apart from acknowledging the presence of senior Chinese PLAN (Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy), Russian and South African naval officers, he does not give either dates or venues for the exercise. A defenceWeb enquiry to the SANDF Directorate: Corporate Communication (DCC) resulted in this publication being informed the exercise will happen in February in “KwaZulu-Natal province”. More information will apparently be forthcoming after a final planning conference set for next month (December).
The exercise remains nameless with the first joint Russia/Sino/South African exercise in South African waters in November 2019 named Mosi by the SANDF.
While the South African naval fraternity welcomes the exercise, as it does all opportunities to hone skills and learn from interactions with other navies, such as the just completed Exercise Ibsamar (with India but not Brazil), one strongly opposed to it is Kobus Marais.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister for Thandi Modise’s Department of Defence and Military Veterans, using the Russian foray into Ukraine as his motivation, points out the SA National Defence Force in the form of its maritime service, will “happily participate in a so-called tri-national naval exercise with the Russian Navy while Ukrainians live in fear of when the next bomb drops or rocket strikes”.
He has harsh words for Modise, saying the exercise decision is “a terrible error of judgement” by her and the South African government. This is in view of the world’s opposition to Russian military transgressions in Ukraine and “potential consequences for greylisting”. This term is used by Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international anti-money laundering organisation aiming to halt, among others, financing terrorism. In economic terms, greylisting refers to global attempts to prevent illicit funds being channelled to terrorism. It is also an indication of risk the world attaches to a country’s companies and individuals as counter-parties to transactions.
“Participation in this exercise confirms without doubt the South African government’s support of Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine. The UN (United Nations) and countries around the world publicly condemned this invasion, yet the South African government, which considers itself a human rights champion, has not,” he said.
Marais is critical of the exercise cost pointing out there are “huge” constraints in the defence budget making it “mind boggling” for the SANDF to spend money on the tri-nation naval exercise.
“There is not nearly enough money available for maintenance and acquisition of essential prime mission equipment, essential resources for soldiers deployed in hostile environment and for them to protect the territorial integrity of South Africa. Government, including Modise and the SANDF Commander-in-Chief, President Cyril Ramaphosa is clearly prepared to sacrifice the safety of our soldiers and our citizens to their bowing to please the Russians,” he said, adding South Africa is now portrayed “as a country that sides with Russian war criminals”. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
31 Oct 22. Nato concludes two-week vigilance activity Neptune Strike 22.2. The multi-domain vigilance activities aim to ensure improved force readiness to maintain peace in the region. Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) and the US Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT) have successfully completed the vigilance activity Neptune Strike 2022.2 (NEST 22.2).
Held between 14 and 28 October, NEST 22.2 is the eighth phase of Nato’s Project Neptune.
The two-week long activity proved the alliance’s joint capability and reinforced their commitment towards deterrence and territorial defence.
It involved participation of 19 allied nations, including the UK, France, Germany, the US, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Portugal, Canada, Norway, Poland, Belgium, among others.
As part of NEST 22.2, the Nato service-members from various allied nations worked together to design, prepare and carry out several complex multi-domain evolutions.
It specifically included maritime and interdiction activities, air-to-air refuelling and rehearsal events in the allied airspace as well as performing air-to-land integration with allied countries, such as Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary and North Macedonia.
Furthermore, the activity saw the George H W Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG), Albanian and Croatian vessels sailing in formation in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.
The three nations’ vessels were also joined by members of the UK’s Littoral Response Group (LRG) and Standing Nato Maritime Group (SNMG) 2 and Standing Nato Mine Countermeasures Group (SNMCMG) 2.
Such evolutions and scenarios aimed to determine CSG’s interoperability within Nato’s command-and-control architectures.
One of the key elements of NEST 22.2 was Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg’s visit to the US Navy’s Nimitz-class vessel USS George A W Bush (CVN 77) on 25 October.
Stoltenberg said: “[Neptune Strike-22] is a perfect example of transatlantic bond – Europe and North America working together in Nato.
“[Nato’s] strength helps to prevent any miscalculation by sending a clear message: Nato will protect and defend every inch of allied territory.”
28 Oct 22. Turkish Aerospace combat aircraft for Niger, Chad pack Aselsan sensors. Turkish Aerospace Industries has signed a contract to deliver two Hurkus-C light trainer and combat aircraft to Niger and three to Chad, a senior company official said.
Atilla Dogan, TAI’s deputy general manager, told media that the firm will deliver the aircraft to Niger by the end of the year, and to Chad in the first quarter of 2023.
Company officials contacted by Defense News at the SAHA defense and aerospace exhibition in Istanbul on Wednesday would not reveal the contract value for either deal, citing commercial secrecy. However, industry sources say the price for a single Hurkus-C is about $40 m to $50 m.
The contract with Niger follows the sale of 12 Hurkus-B aircraft to the African nation under a deal signed in 2021. That was TAI’s first export contract for the combat trainer.
The latest deals enhance Hurkus-C’s penetration into the African market. In May, the Libyan Air Force signed an agreement with TAI for the acquisition of the Hurkus-C. No details were given on quantity or delivery timeline.
The Hurkus-C is a tandem two-seat, low-wing, single-engine, turboprop aircraft that can perform close ground support missions. It is able to carry a 1,500-kilogram payload, including Cirit laser-guided missiles, Roketsan’s UMTAS anti-tank guided missiles and Mizrak anti-tank missiles.
The aircraft is also equipped with an advanced forward-looking infrared sensor built by military electronics specialist Aselsan, Turkey’s largest defense firm, and it has a maximum speed of 574 kph (357 mph).
It has external fuel tanks and can carry Aselsan’s electro-optical/infrared pod, dubbed the Common Aperture Targeting System.
The Hurkus-B is an advanced version of the Hurkus-A, with integrated avionics. The cockpit avionics of the “B” variant have a layout similar to the American F-16 and F-35 fighter jets. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
28 Oct 22. Chile kicks off push for locally made training aircraft.
The Chilean Air Force has officially launched a program to acquire 33 Pillan II training aircraft, to be developed and produced locally by state-owned Empresa Nacional de Aeronaútica (ENAER), under a contract worth 142m. The award of the deal to ENAER follows the project’s kick-off last April during the FIDAE International Air Show in Santiago city. As a proof of government support, the program’s launch ceremony was presided by Chilean Defense Minister Maya Fernandez.
The new aircraft will replace around 30 T-35 Pillan training aircraft, developed by ENAER with assistance of Piper and produced locally in the 1980s, that are currently operated by the Chilean Air Force.
The option to procure an off-the-shelf aircraft from the international market was previously considered and studied. But in the end the choice was to proceed with the development and production of an indigenous design, “in order both to preserve and to build up the industrial and technological capacities of ENAER and other firms in Chile’s local industry,” said ENAER chief executive Henry Cleveland.
Work on the current project started in 2012, using the experience gained by ENAER between the late 1990s and 2004, when a new wing was designed for T-35 Pillan, a prototype fitted with a turbo-prop engine was tested, and studies were made for the modernization of the cockpit.
According to Pablo Astica, engineering director at ENAER, “besides including aerodynamical improvement and a major use of composites instead of metallic parts, the main characteristic of the Pillan II will be the fitting of an advanced glass-cockpit and avionics suite.”
The upgrades as designed to replicate the interior of new-generation combat aircraft that trainee get familiar with what they will find when progressing to fly tactical types, he added.
For cost and efficiency reasons,the Pillan II will be powered by a piston engine, but it will be upgraded to four-blade propeller.
The aircraft will be the center of an Integrated Flight Training System for the Chilean air service, which will also include synthetic training using flight simulators as well as flight pre-planning support. Those elements are already in advanced stage of development by Desarrollos de Tecnologias y Sistemas (DTS), another Chilean company subsidiary of ENAER.
The program of development and production of Pillan II will run for eight years. The phase of definition of requirements and design, already completed, will be followed by a phase of engineering and production of a prototype, which is expected to be ready to perform its first flight in 2025. A subsequent testing phase is expected to end in 2026, giving way to serial production, with deliveries to start from 2027 and to continue until 2030.
But production of Pillan II will not necessarily end in 2030. ENAER also expects that Pillan II will replicate the success of the original T-35 Pillan, which was also exported to Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Salvador, Spain and Panama, countries where it is still in use with military and paramilitary forces.
While those users will also need to replace their machines and could choose Pillan II as the solution, an effort will be made to find new customers abroad, according to the company. (Source: Defense News)
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