Archive for category War Machines

Chernobyl Scrap Metal

Abandoned Russian army scrap metal

Hundreds of pieces of Russian army hardware is left on the small field right near to Chernobyl. All this machinery has participated in Chernobyl accident liquidation and is radioactive from top to toe. Now it dies out under the open skies of deserted Chernobyl. You can get a Google Sat view of it too here.

Abandoned Russian army scrap metal 1

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German Commandos Withdrawn From Afghanistan

October 9, 2008: Germany is pulling its commandos out of Afghanistan. The KSK commandos have been there for most of the last seven years. Many Germans, especially leftist politicians and journalists, have not been happy with that. This has resulted in several unflattering, and largely inaccurate, articles about the KSK in the German media. There was also an investigation of several KSK men, accused of kicking an Afghan prisoner. While the KSK were allowed to fight, they also operated under some restrictions. They generally could not fire at the enemy unless first fired upon. This led to at least one senior Taliban leader getting away from the KSK. The fleeing Taliban honcho was not firing at the pursuing KSK, so the commandos could not take him down.

Germany sent 120 KSK commandos to Afghanistan in late 2001. They were not given their own area of operation, but worked with American special forces and commandos as needed. The KSK commandos are the first German troops to engage in combat since 1945 (not counting some communist East German military advisers who may have had to defend themselves in places like Africa. German peacekeepers in the 1990s Balkans have not had to fight.) KSK’s achievement was celebrated in late 2001, when a supply of quality German beer was flown in for the troops.

The KSK were respected by their fellow special operations soldiers, and particularly liked because the Germans were sent beer rations (two cans a day per man). The KSK troops would often share the brew with their fellow commandos, which sometimes resulted in favors in the form of special equipment or intel data. Even with the restrictions, the KSK saw lots of action, but little of it was publicized, lest it generate more criticism back home.

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Standard Missile 3

Standard Missile-3 is being developed for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) as part of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). The Aegis BMD system integrates SM-3 with the Aegis Weapon System (AWS) aboard U.S. Navy cruisers to provide an umbrella of protection against short to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. SM-3 is compatible with the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) deployed on many U.S. Navy and international surface combatants.

As a ballistic missile threat rises above the horizon, ship’s radar acquires, begins tracking, and the weapon system begins calculating the engagement solution. Upon command from the ship’s weapon system, the SM-3 boosts out of the launcher and establishes radio communication with the ship.

After MK 72 booster burnout, the MK 104 Dual Thrust Rocket Motor (DTRM) ignites. In-flight communications from the ship guide the missile toward the predicted intercept point. After MK 104 burnout and separation, the MK 136 Third Stage Rocket Motor (TSRM) ignites, propelling the third stage out of the atmosphere. Throughout its flight, the missile continues to receive in-flight target updates from the ship to refine the intercept guidance solution. The TSRM contains two separate pulses that can be initiated to optimize the engagement timeline. During flyout, the third stage pitches over and ejects the nosecone, exposing the SM-3 Kinetic Warhead (KW). Following TSRM burnout roughly 30 seconds before intercept, the SM-3 KW separates from the third stage and immediately searches for the target based on pointing data received from the ship. The KW acquires the ballistic missile warhead with its long-wavelength imaging infrared seeker. The KW’s Solid Divert and Attitude Control System (SDACS) precisely maneuvers the KW to enable a hit-to-kill intercept. As the KW closes on the target, it will identify the lethal payload area and shift its guidance aimpoint to ensure a lethal hit, destroying the target with more than 130 megajoules of kinetic energy, or the equivalent of a 10 ton truck traveling at 600 miles per hour.

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M4 Round Has Strong Competitors

Eugene Stoner and ArmaLite designed and built a lightweight, powerful, small-caliber shoulder weapon after the Army asked for help to develop a 5.56x45mm chambered military rifle in 1957.

The Army, looking ahead to a jungle war in Southeast Asia, picked the lightweight design to equip its new, highly-mobile soldier. But the Army did not fully adopt the specific design requirements that made the original AR-15 operate effectively.

No one recognized that the ball powder substituted by the Pentagon had a greater fouling effect on the AR bolt assembly and chamber area. In addition, troops were not properly trained on how to clean their new rifles. The result was a weapon that was susceptible to jamming in the field, giving the new rifle a bad reputation right off the bat.

The poor initial performance, together with the marginal incapacitating ability of the 5.56 round, led to doubts about the Stoner design that linger today. But the mobile warriors of today are frequently getting in and out of vehicles and need a shorter weapon. The loss of active barrel length in the M4 further cuts the overall effectiveness of particular loads of the 5.56 round that many already considered to be too small and weak.

Recognizing the dilemma, military and civilian manufacturers are developing rounds for the AR platform that could bridge accurate lethality and shorter barrels. Two different approaches are strong contenders: the 6.8 SPC (Special Purpose Cartridge) and the 6.5 Grendel.

Both the 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendel have a greater potential for immediate lethality than the 5.56, based on a heavier bullet traveling at a comparable speed. During tests, shots taken at distances ranging from 50 to 75 yards with the 6.5 Grendel at medium-sized wild hogs produced many first-round lethal hits, as well as immediate incapacitation. The bullets did not exit but fragmented during passage through the tissue.

The accuracy of 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 SPC was excellent. The groups for each caliber met or exceeded previously published data. The ability to stay on target during full-auto fire was achievable and far exceeded any similar .308-caliber weapon on hand for controllability. Our overall conclusion is that both the 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 SPC demonstrate superior effectiveness when compared to the 5.56 — transferring more energy using a larger, purpose-formed bullet.

The 6.8 SPC is a well-engineered combination of velocity, accuracy and reliability for combat engagements up to 500 meters. With a trajectory very similar to the .308 WIN, the 6.8 SPC provides almost 50 percent more downrange, terminal-energy than the 5.56 NATO at 100-200 meters. However, at distances greater than 400 yards, performance of the 6.8 SPC is inferior when put up against the .308 Win or the 6.5 Grendel.

The 6.5 Grendel bullet is designed for energy retention during flight and has about twice the mass of the 5.56 NATO, with ballistics superior to the soviet-era 7.62×39 mm round. It maintains a devastating impact on tissue at longer ranges. The flat-shooting round has demonstrated one minute-of-angle accuracy beyond 600 meters, where the performance of the 6.8 SPC falls off.

Overall, both the 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 SPC offer similar hard-hitting short-and-intermediate range performance with .308 accuracy out to intermediate ranges. The 6.5 Grendel has the edge past 600 meters. Given a choice, I would take the better ballistic bullet of the 6.5 Grendel, which has incapacitating lethality for most tactical situations from CQB to out beyond 600 meters. However, the logistical support for the 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 SPC has been inconsistent. In addition, the demonstrated ability of the 5.56 green-tip to penetrate light armor and steel plate better than the 6.5 Grendel or 6.8 SPC will be of interest to operators who might have to take on technicals when under fire.

Although no single caliber will provide the operator with a solution to every tactical problem, many warriors interviewed would still take the M855 5.56 due to overall satisfactory performance and ammo availability. One of the important aspects of the “is the M4 good enough” argument is to ensure that the “real” trigger-pullers have the loudest voice and overriding opinion about what works in the field.

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The Kommando Spezialkräfte (Special Forces Command, KSK)

The Kommando Spezialkräfte (Special Forces Command, KSK) is part of Germany’s Special Forces. Organized under the Special Operations Division (Div. Spezielle Operationen, DSO), it is closely modeled on the British Special Air Service (SAS).History

Prior to KSK’s formation in 1996, Germany, and before it West Germany, placed little emphasis on special operations beyond the counter-terrorist police unit GSG 9. At the time, the airborne brigade commandos and Fernspäher companies were the only army units comparable to Special Forces (the navy already had its Kampfschwimmer company for years). All the early specialised army units except for one Fernspähkompanie have been disbanded or merged into the KSK since its activation on April 1, 1997.

Like all German military units, KSK deployment requires parliamentary authorization, providing evidence of operations in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Afghanistan. Specific operational details, such as success or casualty rates, are top secret and withheld even from members of parliament. This practice drew heavy criticism, resulting in plans to increase transparency and accountability by relaying mission details to selected members of the Bundestag.


The fighting units are divided into four commando companies of about 100 men each and the special commando company with veteran members, taking supporting tasks. Each of the four commando companies has five specialized platoons:

* 1st platoon: land insertions
* 2nd platoon: airborne operations
* 3rd platoon: amphibious operations
* 4th platoon: operations in special geographic or meteorological surroundings (e.g. mountains or polar regions)
* 5th platoon: reconnaissance, sniper and counter-sniper operations
* Command Platoon

There are four commando squads in every platoon. Each of these groups consists of about four equally skilled soldiers. One of each group is specially trained as weapons expert, medic, combat engineer or communications expert respectively. Additionally a group can contain other specialists, e.g. heavy weapons or language experts.

Selection and training

Initially, only officers and non-commissioned officers of the Bundeswehr could apply to the KSK. The basic Bundeswehr Commando course (“Einzelkämpferlehrgang”) was a prerequisite for application. Since 2005, application is also open for civilians and enlisted personnel, who have to complete an 18-month Long Range Surveillance training before the KSK selection phases.

The selection is divided into two phases, a three-week-long first phase with a fitness and psychological test (about 50% pass rate) and a three-month-long second phase testing physical endurance (8 – 10% pass rate). The KSK use the Black Forest as a testing area for this phase. In this time the candidates must undergo a 90-hour long distance cross-country run. Then they have to go through a three week international survival, escape and evasion course called Combat Survival Course at the German Special Operations Training Centre (formerly the International Long Range Reconnaissance School) in Pfullendorf.

If candidates have passed these tests, they can begin their 2 to 3 year training in the KSK. This training includes about 20 Jungle, Desert, Urban and Counter-terrorism specialist courses at over 17 schools worldwide, e.g. in Norway (Arctic), Austria (Mountains), El Paso/Texas or Israel (Desert), San Diego (Water) or Belize (Jungle).

According to press releases from May 2008, the Bundeswehr aims to advance the attractivity of service in the KSK to women[1]. This is in part due to the fact that the KSK could never reach its targeted number of troops in the past[2]. Although the KSK wasn’t explicitly restricted to male troops since the Bundeswehr opened all units to women in 2001, so far no woman has been able to pass the physical requirements of the KSK.


* H&K P8 semi-automatic pistol
* H&K USP Tactical
* H&K Mark 23
* H&K 416 assault rifles
* H&K G36 assault rifle with AG36 grenade launcher, in different versions including the G36C
* H&K G3
* H&K MP5 submachine gun in various versions including the H&K MP5K
* H&K MP7 submachine gun
* H&K UMP submachine gun
* G22 sniper rifle
* G24 sniper rifle
* H&K PSG-1 sniper rifle[citation needed]
* Panzerfaust 3 rocket propelled grenade
* H&K MG4 squad automatic weapon
* H&K 21 general purpose machine gun
* Rheinmetall MG3 general purpose machine gun
* H&K GMG automatic grenade launcher
* Mercedes-Benz G-Class utility vehicles
* AGF (Light infantry vehicle)
* Snowmobiles
* Klepper canoes
* Round parachute and HALO/HAHO equipment.

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War Spurs Change in Sniper Gear, Tactics

The conflicts stemming from the attacks on 9/11 showed America’s military snipers were badly in need of modernization. Their gear, operational doctrine and training needed an update — and fast. As the war evolved, units with combat experience shared lessons learned, identifying new requirements for a unique conflict. Fortunately the services took notice and began to revamp the sniper community in numerous ways.

Problem: Inadequate/outdated doctrine.

Solution: Small-unit leaders began to develop employment strategies that earlier training never covered, based on the current situation and environment. This, coupled with after-action reports, lessons learned and the general sharing of information, led to comprehensive sniper planning, support and employment-things like providing security for the sniper team during movement and relying on the sniper to provide the real-time intelligence for on-the-spot combat decisions.

Probably the biggest change was when-and-how to bring the snipers to bear for the desired result. Unit leaders learned that snipers could control large areas, create enemy reluctance and force enemy movement in a desired direction. There was a gradual recognition of how valuable assets like snipers and designated marksmen could be when properly utilized.

Problem: Inadequate equipment.

Solution: A number of commercially procured items became popular, including the Eberlestock pack, which allows the sniper to carry his rifle on his back protected and concealed while he carries a battle rifle for his own protection during movement. Other items such as rests, tripods and various bipods were procured to meet the varied terrain and conditions.

The issued spotting scope and tripod did not perform as needed in environments where ranges were either very long or very short, and precise optical definition was an absolute requirement for friend-or-foe identification. High-end spotting scopes such as the Leupold 12-40x60mm Mark 4, Zeiss 85mm, and Swarovski ATS 80’s were quickly procured along with better quality tripods/mounts. Hydration systems, too, became a crucial ingredient in the sniper’s pack.

The sniper of today is vastly better outfitted than he was six years ago. Individual and organizational efforts outside of official channels to provide free equipment/gear to snipers played a huge role in sniper evolution as well. Groups such as “Adopt a Sniper” ( collected and pushed large quantities of equipment to operators in the war zone and provided a conduit for specific requests from the field. In most cases the equipment was donated by industry or provided at a huge discount.

Problem: Inadequate optical sights.

Solution: Early on the word went out to procure optics for a variety of uses from crew-served weapons to M4 carbines. Many snipers purchased or procured variable-power optics for use on their sniper systems to allow them to open up their field of view while retaining the zoom capabilities.

In other cases higher-power optics were procured to allow the snipers to engage at extended ranges. The Marine Corps was in the process of selecting the Schmidt & Bender PMII (a.k.a. M8541), which has proved to be an outstanding product. Many Army units procured the Leupold Mark 4 M3 LR/T 3.5-10X as a replacement for the fixed 10X Leupold M3 “Ultra.” Many other optics companies such as U.S. Optics and Nightforce saw increased sales of their products in an effort by the military to meet field requirements.

The acquisition of new optics also opened up the need or desire for mission-enhancing accessories. Devices such as the “angle cosine indicator” from Sniper Tools and a variety of mounting solutions like the Modular Accessory Rail System from Remington became popular and are now in widespread use.

In addition to the new optics, mounts and accessories, this new war brought interest in new reticule systems such as those offered by Horus Vision, Leupold, Nightforce and U.S. Optics, which provide different or enhanced approaches to range estimation, hold offs, elevation/windage changes and firing solutions.

Problem: A shortage of snipers and precision weapons.

Solution: Simple things such as adding an optic to an M4/M16, which previously had been considered “Hollywood,” became the norm with the widespread purchase of the Trjicon ACOG. While not by itself a “sniper” system, units quickly discovered that troops with above-average shooting ability and snipers could extract a heavy toll on the enemy with such a system. It was this revelation that helped define the concept of the designated marksman – basically a soldier with slightly more training than the average grunt, equipped with an optically sighted rifle to engage targets at ranges the “typical” shooter could not.

Problem: Modernization of existing SWS (Sniper Weapons Systems.)

Solution: Around 2004, Remington introduced its M24A2 as an upgrade to the M24. This included a new stock, variable power optics, an optics rail that allows the use of in-line night vision IR lasers and a sound suppressor. While being very popular with the snipers, funding and authorization have never materialized. The U.S. Navy worked with Sage International to procure the Enhanced Battle Rifle, which is a modified M14 placed in an aluminum chassis that features multiple rails and a collapsible stock. They found this combination, although somewhat heavy, to be very effective. The Corps has conducted a variety of experiments with adding suppressors to their M40A3’s but to date these suppressors are not in widespread use.

Problem: Rate of fire.

Solution: This problem gave rise to the development by the Army of the Semi-Automatic Sniper System solicitation. This effort was intended to procure a 7.62 semi-auto system that provided the accuracy of a bolt system in addition to the rapid firing capability of a semi. The Army eventually selected a system which they are now beginning to field in small quantities. The original concept was to replace all of the bolt-action systems with the new autoloading system. But it now appears that snipers need both capabilities. The USMC and USAF are currently reviewing the concept to determine which direction they will go.

Problem: Weight and the inability to engage targets at ranges beyond 1,000 meters.

Solution: Early solutions included the application of the .300 WinMag, but the availability of ammo was an issue. Many U.S. allies fielded systems chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum, which has gained considerable popularity among U.S. snipers. It remains unclear as to what direction this will take, as both industry and the services themselves are exploring alternatives.

The benefit of the current conflict in terms of equipment and technology development has been vast and modernization efforts in this area will likely continue. As in any war, necessity has been the mother of invention and snipers have never been as educated and well equipped as they are today.

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Gowind Corvettes, France

35 to 60 crew
15 to 25 passengers
Hull Design
Steel Monohull

85m-105 m (depending on variant)
1,000t-2,500t (depending on variant)

2 to 3 weeks between replenishments at sea
22kt to 27kt

Diesel engine, propeller or waterjet propulsion

DCNS of France first announced the Gowind family of corvettes in 2006. Since the initial announcement, DCNS has enlarged the Gowind family to four corvettes with length from 85m to 105m and displacement from 1,000t to 2,500t.

The Gowind family of corvettes includes: the 1,000t Sovereignty Enforcer Gowind control corvette, the 2,000t High Seas Master Gowind presence corvette, the Deterrent Warrior Gowind action corvette, and the 2,000t Multi-Mission Combatant Gowind combat corvette.

The ships, of sea-proven steel monohull design, accommodate 50 to 75 crew and passengers and have a maximum speed of 22kt to 27kt. The Gowind has an endurance of two to three weeks on patrol missions between at-sea replenishment.

The corvette is designed for simplicity and for easy customising to the client navy’s requirements including local in-country shipbuilding under technology transfer agreements.

The Bulgarian Navy, which is considering the acquisition of up to six multi-role corvettes, has examined the capabilities of the Gowind corvettes. It is expected the first of class Bulgarian corvettes would be constructed at the DCNS Lorient ship yard and the following ships would be built under a license agreement at the naval shipyard near Varna on the Black Sea.

Gowind missions

The Gowind corvettes are ocean-capable vessels with capability for emerging missions such as anti-piracy, sea control and denial, combat, counter-terrorism, drug interdiction and anti-smuggling operations, oil and gas platform protection, search and rescue, fisheries protection, environmental protection and humanitarian support.

The corvettes can be configured with the capability to deploy special forces and accommodate a range of commando equipment. The self-protection level can be selected from remotely controlled guns up to missile systems. The communications suites with satellite communications interface to the customer’s specified maritime surveillance networks


The ships have high manoeuvrability with excellent sea-keeping capability. The special forces operations capability includes a quick launch and recovery stern-launch system for two rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) or unmanned surface vehicles (USVs).

The aviation capabilities, including automatic decking, allow safe operation of a helicopter and unmanned air vehicles.

Command and control

The vessel’s multi-function radar is installed in the integrated mast. The design of the bridge allows 360° panoramic surveillance. The combat systems are suited to the customer country’s requirements. The communications systems allow tactical information to be shared with other assets and land-based operations centres.

The Gowind’s combat management system, SETIS, is based on the SENIT CMS designed by DCNS and Thales and incorporates commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) open systems architecture. A wide range of combat systems can be integrated into SETIS, which can be reconfigured to accommodate new and upgraded mission systems through the ship’s operational life.

Gowind weapons
The corvettes can be armed with the weapon systems tailored to the customer country’s mission requirements. The weapon systems include: water cannons, 12.7mm remotely controlled machine guns, 20mm machine gun, 76mm naval gun on the forward gun deck, anti-ship missiles, ship self-defence system and electronic warfare suite.


The propulsion is based on a diesel driven propeller and waterjet system. The Gowind design does not incorporate a conventional funnel and instead has a waterline engine exhaust system. The configuration contributes to the ship’s low thermal signature and also allows the 360° vision capability from the bridge.

Gowind control corvette – Sovereignty Enforcer

The 1,000t Gowind control corvette (Sovereignty Enforcer) is designed for patrol and sovereignty enforcement in littoral and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) waters. Missions include special forces and commando fast deployment.

The hull length is 85m. The ship is armed with a 76mm cannon and can deploy a high-performance, high-capacity, rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB).

Gowind presence corvette – High Seas Master

The 2,000t Gowind presence corvette (High Seas Master) has a sustained capacity for long-range intervention and long period at sea, and can remain at sea for up to three weeks. The corvette is fitted with a helicopter hangar.

Gowind action corvette – Deterrent Warrior

The Gowind action corvette (Deterrent Warrior) is equipped with a suite of anti-air and anti-surface sensors and weapons systems, for example the VL Mica vertically launched short-range air defence missile system and the Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles.

Gowind combat corvette – Multi-Mission Combatant

The Gowind combat corvette (Multi-Mission Combatant) is equipped with full-scale mission systems for multi-threat response including a full anti-submarine warfare (ASW) suite with a towed array sonar. The ship configuration includes improved stealth and survivability features.

The combat corvette is suitable for Nato task group operations.

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F125 Frigate, Germany

Two crews of 100 plus 50 aircrew

Crew Rotation
Two crew rotated every four months

Full Load Displacement


Range at 33km/h

Gas Turbine
1 x 20MW LM 2500
Diesel Engines
4 x MTU 20V 4000 M53B (12.06MW)
Electric Motors
2 x Siemens (9MW)

The German Navy’s new F125 frigate will have the capability to be deployed worldwide for up to two years before returning to the home base and can be in operation for up to 5,000 hours a year, including under tropical conditions.

The main mission of the F125 frigate is taking part in joint assignments, including multinational assignments in network-centric operations. The 5,500t displacement frigate has a new and stealthy design of hull and superstructure, which appears to be based on a highly modified Meko-D configuration.
The German Navy started to plan a successor for the F122 Bremen Class frigates in 1997. The German Navy operates eight Bremen Class F122 frigates, which entered service between 1982 and 1990.

The concept of the replacement frigates was originally as a multi-role combatant but, by 2005 the requirement for the F125 was based on a capability to counter asymmetric threats and perform stabilisation operations with lethal and non-lethal intervention. The German Navy announced that the F125 would be armed with land attack systems and air warfare point-defence equipment but would not be equipped with sonar.

In June 2007, ThyssenKrupp announced the Arge F125 consortium had been contracted by the Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) for four F125 frigates. The Arge F125 consortium comprises the industrial leader, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (including Blohm + Voss and Nordseewerke) with Lurssen Werft. Construction is expected to start in 2011 and delivery of the first of class F125 is scheduled for 2014. Deliveries are expected to take place at one-year to two-year intervals with completion of delivery of all four frigates between 2017 and 2022.
F125 crew

Each frigate has two crews of typically 105 to 120 people, who are changed every four months. The number of crew represents an approximately 50% reduction in crew compared to previous generation frigates and is achieved partly through a high level of automation.

The frigate also accommodates 50 special forces and their equipment. The special forces’ transportation can be two helicopters or four armed boats.
Command and control

In March 2006, EADS was contracted to supply the F125 command and control and weapons deployment system, FuWES (Fuhrungs-und Waffeneinsatzsystem). The contract covered the development and delivery of the system, including the complete software, hardware and infrastructure and the FuWES testing and performance verification for all four frigates.

The FuWES system has an open and modular structure allowing flexibility to accommodate future additional or modified systems. In order to provide tactical data exchange and a high level of interoperability with other joint and combined military platforms, the communications systems, link 11, link 16 and link 22 are integrated into F125 command and control system. The combat management system is operated from the Atlas Elektronik OMADA consoles, designed specifically for the F125.

The ship is equipped for defence against air attack and also for land attack.

The F125 is also armed with non-lethal weapons, such as water cannons and searchlights for non-provocative deterrence and defence.
F125 guns

The ship is fitted with ten guns, 12.7mm to 155mm, which allow fast automatic engagement.

The BWB awarded Oto Melara contracts for the supply of five 127/64 LW Alleggerito lightweight naval guns, four for installation on the F125 frigates and the fifth for training.

The gun is installed on the forward gun deck. The turret of the 127/64 Alleggerito has a low radar cross section.

The gun has two automatic feeding devices (AFDs), one for the charges and one for the projectiles, the rounds being automatically assembled before entering the turret, and can fire long-range Vulcano ammunition. The guns have a 35-rounds-a-minute rate of fire and a range of 23km against surface targets and 8.6km against airborne target.

The German Navy has also selected the Oto Melara remote controlled 12.7mm HITROLE naval turret in the naval tilting (NT) option for the F125. The contract covers the supply of 25 systems, five for installation of each of the four frigates and five for installation on land for training.

Two quadruple missile launchers for the Boeing RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile are installed amidship on the missile deck forward of the funnel. The Harpoon missiles are armed with a 227kg warhead and use active radar homing. The missiles have a high subsonic speed (Mach 0.9) and a range of up to 130km.

The F125 has two 21-cell mk49 launchers armed with the Raytheon RIM-116 rolling airframe missile (RAM). The RAM point defence missile is a lightweight infrared homing surface-to-air missile for deployment against incoming anti-ship cruise missiles. The forward launcher is installed immediately forward of the bridge and the aft launcher is installed on the roof of the helicopter hangar just forward of the helicopter deck.

The frigates have no conventional on-board sonar but instead have a diver and swimmer detection sonar to counter terrorist and special forces threats. The frigates are equipped with a 360° infrared surveillance system installed on the front surface of the tower mast at a position just lower than the air and surface search radar.

Radar systems will include an EADS TRS-3D air and surface search radar, navigation and fire control radars. The TRS-3D radar carries out automatic detection, track initiation and tracking of all types of air and sea targets.

The navigation radar is installed on the roof of the bridge.

Much of the electronic warfare suite has not been announced but it will include four Rheinmetall MASS multi ammunition soft-kill systems. The MASS decoy and mini mortar dispensers are installed on the port and starboard sides above the bridge and on the helicopter hangar roof.


The frigate has a 490m² aft helicopter deck and a hangar for two NH-90 helicopters. The NH-90 helicopters have a range of 790km.

The frigates are fitted with a new combined diesel electric and gas (CODLAG) electrical propulsion system with a 20MW General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine, four MTU 20V 4000 M53B diesel engines providing 3,015kW each (total 12.06MW) and two Siemens electric motors providing 4.5MW each (total 9MW).

The main machinery will run for 30,000 hours between major overhauls. The F125 is fitted with bow thrusters for precision dockyard manoeuvring without assistance.

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Bye-Bye Pave Low, Hello Osprey

The deployment of the CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to North Africa this month for Operation Flintlock 09 overshadows the retirement of the long-serving MH-53 Pave Low helicopter. The final Pave Low mission was flow in Iraq in September by the Air Force’s 20th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron.

Once numbering 39 helicopters, the Pave Low fleet was employed around the world for low-level missions to insert and take out special forces as well as for Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR) operations. The Sikorsky H-53 series is the largest helicopter flown in the West, with the largest (three-turboshaft) H-53E variants also flown by the U.S. Navy (MH-53E) and Marine Corps (CH-53E).

The Air Force retired the last MH-53M Pave Low IV variants — all upgraded from earlier models — in September. The Air Force is acquiring 50 Bell-Boeing CV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft for the special operations role. The CV-22 and MH-53 are roughly the same size (but with very different configurations); however, the Osprey is much faster and has a greater range, and is provided with an in-flight refueling capability. (In July 2006 two MV-22s flew across the Atlantic in the first trans-ocean flight of the aircraft.)

The Marine Corps has already forward deployed its Osprey variant, the MV-22. In October 2007 the Marines sent ten MV-22s to Iraq, where they continue to operate. The Marines have a requirement for 360 MV-22s for the assault and combat support missions, replacing the long-serving CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter. (The original Marine requirement — developed during the Cold War era — was for 552 MV-22 aircraft.) The Marines currently have four MV-22 deployable squadrons plus a transition squadron, with a schedule to activate two additional squadrons per year.

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Su-35 Multi-Role Air Superiority Fighter Aircraft, Russia


Maximum Take-Off Weight
Weapons Payload

2 x Sturn /UFA AL-31F 117S
86.3kN each
Thrust with Afterburn
142.2kN each

Maximum Level Speed
2,390 km/h, Mach 2.25
Maximum Altitude
Range, Internal Fuel
Range, Drop Tanks

The latest version of the Su-35, Su-35BM, is an advanced capability multi-role air superiority fighter developed from the Su-27. The aircraft has high manoeuvrability (+9g) with a high angle of attack and is equipped with high-capability weapon systems that contribute to the new aircraft’s exceptional dogfighting capability. The maximum level speed is 2,390km/h or Mach 2.25.
The Su-35BM was unveiled at the Aerosalon MAKS air show in Moscow in August 2007 and its first flight was in February 2008. The aircraft will enter service with the Russian Air Force in 2010 and Sukhoi has announced that the aircraft will be available for export deliveries in 2010.

The aircraft is being developed, tested and introduced into serial production by the Sukhoi Design Bureau, based in Moscow, and will be manufactured by KNAPPO of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Both companies are part of the Sukhoi Aviation Holding Joint Stock Company.

Su-35 cockpit
The cockpit has a central control column and is fitted with a Zvesda K-36D-3.5E zero-zero ejection seat which allows the pilot to eject at zero speed and at zero altitude.

The aircraft has a quadruplex, digital fly-by-wire control developed by the Avionika Moscow Research and Production Complex JSC (MNPK Avionika).

The cockpit is fitted with two 230mm×305mm high-resolution MFI-35 liquid crystal displays with a multifunction control panel and a IKSh-1M head up display with a wide 20°×30° field of view.

The pilot has two VHF/UHF encrypted radio communications systems and a jam-resistant military data link system between squadron aircraft and between the aircraft and ground control. The navigation system is based on a digital map display with a strapdown inertial navigation system and global positioning system.

Fighter construction
Compared to the Su-27 design from which it is derived, the front fuselage diameter of the Su-35 has been increased to accommodate the larger 900mm-diameter antenna of the Irbis-E radar.

High-strength, low-weight, composite materials have been used for non-structural items such as the radomes, nose wheel, door and leading-edge flaps. Some of the fuselage structures are of carbon fibre and aluminium lithium alloy.

The aircraft has 12 hardpoints for carrying external weapons and stores.

Each wing has four hardpoints – one on the wingtip and three under-wing stations. There are two hardpoints on the underside of the fuselage on the centreline and one under each engine.

The aircraft’s air-to-air missiles can include the Vympel R-27 (Nato designation AA-10 Alamo), the Vympel radar-guided medium-range R-77 (AA-12 Adder) and the Vympel short-range infrared-guided R-73E (AA-11 Archer).
The aircraft’s air-to-surface missiles include the Molniya Kh-29 (AS-14 Kedge) tactical missiles, the Kh-31P (AS-17 Krypton) anti-radiation missiles and the long-range Kh-58UShE (AS-11 Kilter) anti-radiation missiles.

The Su-35 anti-ship missiles include Kh-31A, the long-range Kh-59MK (AS-18 Kazoo), the long-range Kalibr and the NPO Mashinostroenia heavy long-range Yakhont missile.


The Su-35 can be armed with a range of guided bombs, including the KAB-500Kr TV-guided bomb, KAB-500S-E satellite-guided bomb, LGB-250 laser-guided bomb, Kab-1500Kr TV-guided bomb and KAB-1500LG laser-guided bomb.

The aircraft can also be armed with 80mm, 122mm, 266mm and 420mm rockets.


The Gryazev-Shipunov 30mm GSh-30-1 gun is fitted in the starboard wing root with 150 rounds of ammunition.


The X-band multimode phased array Irbis-E radar is supplied by Tikhomirov Scientific-Research Institute of Instrument Design (NIIP), based in Zhukovsky. Irbis-E is a high-performance radar designed for the Su-35 aircraft.

The 900mm passive phased array antenna is mounted on a hydraulic actuator for mechanical steering. The electronic steering provides azimuthal and elevation coverage of 60°. With both mechanical and electronic scanning the coverage is 120°.

The radar can detect low-observable and stealth aircraft, unmanned air vehicles and missiles with a radar cross section of 0.01m² at ranges to 90km. Radar modes include air-to-air, air-to-ground, air-to-sea, mapping, Doppler beam and synthetic aperture radar modes. It can detect and track up to 30 airborne targets with a radar cross section (RCS) of 3m² at ranges of 400km using track-while-scan mode.

Infrared search and track
The infrared search and track fire control system, OLS-35 IRST, includes an infrared sensor, laser rangefinder, target designator and television camera. The accuracy of the laser rangefinder is 5m CEP (circular error probability), to a maximum range of 20km against airborne targets and 30km against ground targets. The OLS-35 is a high-performance system with ±90° azimuthal and +60°/-15° elevation coverage.
The system’s acquisition range against a non-afterburning target is 50km forwards and 90km rearward. The Su-35 can also be fitted with a UOMZ Sapsan targeting and laser designation pod


The aircraft’s electronic warfare suite includes a radar warning system, radar jammer, co-operative radar jamming system, missile approach warner, laser warner and chaff and flare dispenser.


The aircraft is powered by two Sturn / UFA AL-31F 117S turbofan engines with thrust-vectoring nozzle control, each supplying 86.3kN thrust or 142.2kN with afterburn. The engines were developed jointly by Sukhoi, Saturn and UMPO.

The total fuel capacity is 14,350l. In order to increase the unrefuelled range and endurance compared to earlier models the Su-35 incorporates additional tailfin and fin-root tanks. The fuel tanks are of aluminium lithium construction and are located in the wings, fuselage and in the square-tip twin tailfins. The unrefuelled range on internal fuel is 1,580km.

For in-flight refuelling the aircraft is equipped with a refuelling probe on the port side of the nose. Two external fuel tanks, type PTB-2000, provide an additional 4,000l of fuel. The ferry range with two external tanks is 4,500km.

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