Persian Gulf & Middle East Military News, Reports, Data, etc.




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Dubai Airshow – November 14, 2017 –
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, the global enterprise applications company, today announced that the aerospace and defense technology company
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, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, has selected
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as its core solution to manage key company operations and manufacturing projects. The IFS solution includes Finance, HR, Supply Chain, Project and Document Management modules to support the development of all major Calidus projects, including the manufacturing of the new B-250 light attack aircraft which is currently being unveiled at the Dubai Airshow, November 12th-16th.

Following its rapid business and project growth in the last two years, Calidus recognized the need for a solution which could scale alongside and meet the requirements of the fast-moving company. IFS Applications will allow Calidus to automate key end-to-end processes to increase productivity, reduce costs, and provide management with a 360-degree view of operations to make better business decisions. The industry-specific and agile nature of IFS Applications removes the need for customization and a long implementation timeline.

One of the recent successful Calidus projects supported by the IFS solution, the B-250 light attack aircraft, is being launched during the Dubai Airshow 12th-16th November 2017, stands A34 and A35.

Calidus management selected IFS because of its recognized industry leadership in enterprise software as well as its strong track record with other defense manufacturers. As a fast-growing technology and development company, it was essential for Calidus to partner with a software provider that could adapt at the same rate as the business. The flexibility and agility of IFS Applications will scale alongside the aggressive Calidus growth strategy.

Luis Ortega, Managing Director, Middle East, Africa & South Asia at IFS added, “The selection of IFS to support such a fast-moving company demonstrates the agility of IFS Applications. With such quick expansion, it is essential for Calidus to have a 360-degree view of its operational processes to make informed, data-driven business decisions. Aerospace and defense manufacturing and maintenance is a rapidly growing industry in the Middle East, and Calidus joins a growing number of customers in the region which recognize the industry expertise of IFS.”

About Calidus

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is a new technology development company based in Abu Dhabi. Through partnerships with some of the most innovative companies in the aviation field, Calidus aims at providing cutting-edge, mission-oriented and cost-effective solutions to its clients.

About IFS
IFS develops and delivers enterprise software for customers around the world who manufacture and distribute goods, maintain assets, and manage service-focused operations. The industry expertise of our people and solutions, together with commitment to our customers, has made us a recognized leader and the most recommended supplier in our sector. Our team of 3,500 employees supports more than one million users worldwide from a network of local offices and through our growing ecosystem of partners. For more information, visit:
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Antonov, which is under UkrOboronProm, is showcasing the An-70 medium-heavy airlifter and An-132D light transport and utility aircraft at the 2017 Dubai Air Show.

The An-132D is a collaborative effort between Antonov and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City of Science and Industry (KACST) and Taqnia Aeronautics Company.

An upgrade of the venerable and once ubiquitous An-32, the An-132D is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PW150 turboprop engines. It had its maiden test flight in March. The An-132D has a cruise speed of 500 km/h and maximum payload of 9,500 kg.

Other commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) subsystems onboard the An-132D include Dowty R408 propellers, Liebherr oxygen generating systems, Zodiac air conditioning and Honeywell Primus Epic 2.0 avionics.

Since it is a co-production effort, Saudi Arabia will eventually
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18% of the An-132D’s airframe, though Ukraine will manage final assembly. The An-132D has an
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of $30 million U.S. The An-132D is being positioned as a transport and as a special mission aircraft platform.

UkrOboronProm has been eager to revive the An-70 strategic airlifter, which had been beleaguered with technical complications through its development in the 1990s and 2000s. Moreover, Kiev’s collapse in ties with Moscow have resulted in the An-70 losing a key launch market.

Designed to compete with the Airbus A400M and Lockheed Martin C-13, the An-70 has a payload capacity of 47 tons and ferry range of 3,000 km with that load. The An-70 is powered by four Motor Sich D-27 propfan engines. With a payload of 20 tons, the An-70 can take-off and land at 600-700 m.

In July, Antonov announced that it was seeking U.S. industry support to upgrade the An-70 (under the An-77 designation), which could open the platform to modern electronics subsystems available on the An-70’s competition, such as the Lockheed Martin C-130J, Airbus A400M and Embraer KC-390.

At the 2017 Paris Air Show, UkrOboronProm’s Director General, Roman Romanov, claimed that the An-70 was drawing interest from several prospective overseas clients.

The Gulf Arab states are a key market, not least from the fact that Saudi Arabia helped bring the An-132D to fruition, but also with the burgeoning interest on the part of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the aviation industry. The UAE has already
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talks with Russia’s Irkut to co-produce and market the MC-21-400 civil airliner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market.

While there might be possible to have the MENA region support large aircraft platforms, Ukraine will have to compete with the Russians and Chinese. For Ukraine, competitiveness in cost and flexibility in terms of transfer-of-technology and production workshare will be integral to gaining market-share.

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Dubai, U.A.E, November 13, 2017

Global Aerospace Logistics, LLC (GAL), a subsidiary of Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC) and AAR Corp (AAR), an international aviation aftermarket service provider, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop enhanced support services for the UAE Armed Forces. Since GAL is expanding its role with the Joint Aviation Command to include Performance Based Logistics (PBL), agreements with companies like AAR provide unique and relevant past performance and proven processes that can be transferred to GAL and the UAE. This has enabled AAR to be a global leader in PBL support. Under this agreement, AAR will provide working knowledge of PBL programs to reduce overall risk and to greatly enhancing the ability to increase operations tempo with fully mission capable aircraft at an overall cost savings enhancing both companies’ ability to support the UAE Armed Forces.

GAL is a key supplier of professional aerospace and defense maintenance services and support for the UAE, and the execution of this agreement further enhances its role as a provider of routine and urgent customer support services for the UAE Joint Aviation Command – including new spare parts, repairs, training and technical publications.

“GAL is extremely pleased to work with AAR as a flexible partner with a history of success.” said Mr. Ammar Al Ozaibi, GAL’s Chief Executive Officer. “GAL believes very strongly in leveraging the experience of global leaders, such as AAR, to build capabilities in the distribution, repairs, and support of military operators. AAR brings a level of sophistication and experience to GAL that reduces both risks and costs for the end user. Working together will allow GAL to use AAR’s extensive experience and as a result, this will shorten GAL’s initial start-up time which will undoubtedly prove invaluable to GAL, EDIC and the Joint Aviation Command. ”

Al Ozaibi added that the extended relationship ensures GAL and AAR will meet and exceed operational needs of the UAE Joint Aviation Command, ensuring efficient and effective fleet maintenance of the entire fleet of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft operated in the United Arab Emirates.

Global Aerospace Logistics LLC (GAL) is an Abu Dhabi based Emirati owned company providing professional aerospace services. The Company is a subsidiary of Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC).

GAL holds several maintenance and integrated logistics services contracts across the UAE, and continues to expand its support capabilities to customers throughout the region.

Services Portfolio:

  • Engineering and technical services
  • Maintenance services for aircraft and defense systems
  • Logistics and supply chain management
  • Components & System Overhaul/Repair
  • Aircraft Sales
  • Aviation Consulting & Project Management
For more information about GAL and its activities, visit the company’s website:
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Jeff Head

Staff member
Super Moderator
I do not expect that the UAE will be able to get both the SU-35 and the F-35. it is not likely that the US will allow that to go forward. The UAE is most likely going to have to decide between the two.

And that is understandable. The US does not want Russian technicains who undoubtedly will be in the UAE in the case of an SU-35 sale anywhere near te F-35s, or working with anyone in the UAW who has access to them. There's far too much at stake for the US and its allies who have invested in the F-35 in its capabilities to allow them to be put in that situation.
The talk of the SU-35 may be the UAE's way of trying to tak down the F-35 price or the SU-35 price.

I believe they are going to find that they simply will have to choose between the two and the best price they cn get...and to do so in such a way as to not "poison the well."
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Lieutenant General
Registered Member
Loaded for bear ! and not surprising ESSM in this case replace Mica VL 32 vs 16

UAE Navy Orders Two Gowind Corvettes from France

French President Emmanuel Macron announced today that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ordered two Gowind corvettes from French shipbuilder Naval Group (formerly DCNS). President Macron made the announcement during a press conference in Dubai.
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I am wondering what system they used to down it? ...
"... cooperation started with partners building a common picture from multiple air- and sea-based sensors, information which was transferred in sufficient time for Saudi Arabia’s ground-based Patriot system to intercept the threat."
according to 5th fleet commander: intel-sharing clear barrier to military cooperation
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now Raytheon: Saudi-based Patriots intercepted over 100 tactical ballistic missiles since 2015
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Saudi Arabia-based Patriot batteries have intercepted more than 100 tactical ballistic missiles launched from Yemen since the Saudi-led war against Iranian-backed Houthis began in 2015, according to U.S. prime contractor Raytheon.

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could not be independently confirmed and is much larger than publicly available data from think tanks, the Saudi government or the other eight Mideast and African nations fighting in the Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed militias loyal to former Yemeni President Al Abdullah Saleh.

The Missile Defense Project of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies shows 40 interceptions and 18 strikes since the war began Saudi-Iranian proxy war began in March 2015. However, the group did include the latest Patriot intercept of a Yemen-launched tactical ballistic missile on Nov. 4, which indicates its data is not completely up to date or inclusive.

Accounts sympathetic to the Yemeni cause posted on social media have assessed tactical ballistic missiles launches at 93. But that figure does not distinguish between strikes and successful interceptions and is widely believed to be inflated.

Nevertheless, Raytheon executives interviewed here at the Dubai Air Show repeatedly referred to “100+ tactical ballistic missiles intercepted in combat since 2015” to underscore the success of a continuously upgraded system originally designed to defend against aircraft.

“We are constantly tailoring the product to the threat,” said Joe DeAntona, “Some of our very important partners in the Middle East have been engaged in conflict with an enemy that has ballistic missiles. And during that time, over 100 successful engagements using the Patriot missile systems to defeat incoming missiles have occurred.”

Of those 100-plus intercepts of Yemen-launched threats, Raytheon executives here credited more than 90 to the firm’s PAC-2 Guided Enhanced Missile-T (GEM-T), whose powerful blast fragmentation warhead neutralizes incoming missiles by exploding itself on or near its target. Saudi Arabia deploys Raytheon’s Pac-2 interceptors as well newer Lockheed Martin-built hit-to-kill PAC-3s, which are designed to destroy targets by sheer force of impact.

When asked why the Raytheon interceptor has scored such tremendous success relative to the more advanced PAC-3, Timothy Cahill, Lockheed Martin vice president for integrated air and missile defense noted that the firm just started delivering the newer missiles to Saudi Arabia last summer.

“I don’t know the precise numbers, and if I did, I wouldn’t say because the governments consider that information to be closely held. What I can say is that PAC-3s are not fully deployed there yet. So it’s more a matter of shooting what you have out in the field,” Cahill said.

The Lockheed executive insisted that the ostensible disparity in intercept successes should not be misconstrued as any failure or “issue” on the part of the Lockheed Martin PAC-3. “I am aware of no problems at all in any shape or form. You use what you have. And considering the number of high-level people we’ve talked to this week — and believe me, we’ve talked to everyone — I would have heard about it,” he said.

Cahill said he did not know when Riyadh would be ready to declare initial operational capability of its Patriot PAC-3 force.

Washington approved some 600 PAC-3 missiles and associated support equipment to Saudi Arabia in July 2015; a potential sale estimated at $5.4 billion. And last October, Washington cleared a potential sale of 360 Lockheed Martin-produced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) hit-to-kill missiles, 44 launchers and associated fire control stations and radars in a package assessed at $15 billion.

In parallel to that potential U.S. deal, during an early October visit to Moscow by Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud Salman to Moscow, Saudi Arabia announced an agreement with Russia to procure the S400 air and missile defense system. According to U.S. and Russian executives interviewed in Dubai, neither deal has been formally concluded.
very interesting claim (middle, right):
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ooh la la

Saudi use of US, Russian air-defense systems will create ‘serious challenges’
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The simultaneous operational deployment of a U.S. and a Russian air-defense system in Saudi Arabia will be “difficult and will pose a problem,” according to Lockheed Martin’s vice president of air and missile defense systems.

Saudi Arabia has reached agreements to reinforce its missile defense capabilities with the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system and the Russian S-400 Triumf.

“The U.S government would clearly have to make a serious decision regarding this matter,” Lockheed’s Timothy Cahill said in a press briefing at the Dubai Airshow.

Obstacles identified in the joint deployment include interoperability, data sharing and communication between the two systems.

“We will be faced with some serious challenges, especially that two different companies are producing air-defense systems,” said Dan Norton, the vice president of strategic business development at Lockheed. “Crossing of classified data will be the biggest issue. Segregation of data during joint fire missions will be of critical significance.

“The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense is in its delivery process to the UAE, while Saudi Arabia is considered to be the second international customer to acquire the system.”

When asked about human rights concerns surrounding Saudi-led action in Yemen and the transfer of missile technologies to the kingdom, Cahill said: “THAAD is considered a defensive system, so it does not have an offensive capability nor carry a warhead. It’s lethal to incoming missiles, but nothing else. So generally speaking, THAAD is not typically caught up in terms of delivering offensive capability.”

The THAAD system is currently deployed in South Korea by the U.S Army.

The THAAD system will be operational alongside the Patriot Advanced Capability — 3, as Saudi Arabia didn’t procure the latest version of Patriot, the Missile Segment Enhancement.

Washington has approved some 600 PAC-3 missiles and associated support equipment to Saudi Arabia in July 2015. And last October, Washington cleared a potential sale of 360 Lockheed Martin-produced THAAD hit-to-kill missiles, 44 launchers, and associated fire-control stations and radars in a package assessed at $15 billion.

In parallel to that potential U.S. deal, during an early October visit to Moscow by Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud Salman to Moscow, the kingdom announced an agreement with Russia to procure the S-400. According to U.S. and Russian executives interviewed in Dubai, neither deal has been formally concluded.

“We are just delivering PAC-3 to Saudi Arabia. Particularly for the region, the Patriot provides an excellent point of defense while THAAD will provide more powerful radar capabilities and a larger missile that has greater range,” Cahill said.
ooh la la again:
Pentagon eyes intimate R&D tie-up with UAE based on US-Israel model
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U.S. and Emirati defense officials will meet next month in Abu Dhabi to continue discussions on technology security protocols that aim to elevate the level at which Washington can share and ultimately co-develop sensitive technologies with one of its most prized strategic partners in the region.

In interviews here at the Dubai Airshow, U.S. executives supportive of more intimate ties with their Emirati partners cited UAVs, sophisticated munitions and innovative means of coastal defense as examples of potential projects for joint development once the United Arab Emirates codifies and implements a technology security and export control regime.

“We want them to create their own watchdog similar to our DTSA,” Danny Sebright, president of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council said of the Pentagon’s Defense Technology Security Administration.

“Of course they will adapt it to their own conditions, but if we’re going to take this partnership to a higher, fifth-generation level, they need a system that really monitors and controls classified information and technology, has the authority to conduct inspections, and makes sure that what we entrust to them for specific purposes will remain that way.”

Sebright, a former Pentagon official who spent two years in Israel during the first Gulf War before serving for a decade as the Israel desk chief in the U.S. Defense Department’s policy shop, said the effort should eventually lead to levels of strategic cooperation similar to what the U.S. had in place with Israel in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“We really want to see if we can do joint R&D cooperation like the Arrow back in the day,” Sebright said of the first major U.S.-Israel cooperative project that has continuously expanded into the multitier missile defense and interoperability program that exists today.

After a slight pause, Sebright qualified his Israel comparison by saying: “In fact, it won’t be like the joint R&D we do with Israel, where the lion’s share of funding comes from our own budget. Here’s a chance where we can work with the Emiratis on some common problems to the benefit of both militaries and get them to pay a fair share of the bill.”

The U.S. has invested billions of dollars on cooperative missile development programs with Israel and has committed to building upon the foundational Arrow program and its offshoots with annual spending of $500 million over the coming decade.

In a Nov. 12 dinner gathering of Emirati officials and U.S. government and business leaders, Ellen Lord, U.S. undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said a defense cooperation agreement signed last May provides the framework for intensified cooperation between the two defense establishments.

“Currently, we are seeing an acceleration in our ties,” she said.

Citing the upcoming biannual meeting in Abu Dhabi, Lord said the high-level forum would address ways the two countries are working to build “technology security protocols and a more robust export control infrastructure” that will allow Washington to sell increasingly sensitive front-line weaponry.

“This institutional development is critical not just for ensuring that advanced U.S. technology we release to our partners remains secure, but it will also benefit the Emiratis as the UAE’s domestic defense industry takes off and becomes a force in the global marketplace,” she said.

Fahad Mohammed Al Mheiri, an executive at the Emirates Defence Industries Company cited indigenous development and production of UAVs, advanced weaponry, naval systems and cyber as sectors for the nation’s long-term industrial goals.

However, in the short-term, Al Mheiri said EDIC was focused on more modest goals of merging disparate companies and capabilities into a truly integrated, cost-effective organization that will be able to serve as the backbone of the UAE industrial base.

Interviewed here at the Dubai Airshow, Al Mheiri said EDIC is legally mandated to be the umbrella organization for cultivating the manufacturing practices, technological capabilities and business culture needed to provide for national industrial needs. “In the world of defense, we have four companies focused on the needs and expectations of our end user, the UAE Armed Forces,” he said. “Right now, those expectations are relatively modest, with a focus on added value and sustainability. But here in the UAE, we always look to the future, and of course increasingly sophisticated indigenous development is part of our plan.”

Steve Bryen, the U.S. official who founded DTSA in 1985 under the Reagan administration, said it makes sense the UAE is being groomed as the second country in the region behind Israel for such intimate cooperation.

“They have been and will be great partners. They are obviously challenged from Iran from the threat of terrorism in all its forms. We share very strong and common interests, and they should be given more capability and responsibility,” he said.

Specifically in regard to a UAE version of DTSA, Bryen said the two sides must put in place clear rules of disclosure and guidelines for export licensing as well as guidelines to maintain long-term controls. “DTSA was always involved as much with disclosure as with export control. People have to be trained properly to understand what is allowed and not allowed; and it must be a system that is empowered to coordinate across all relevant sectors of government and industry,” he said.

He noted that years after such standards and guidelines were instituted with the Israelis, serious concerns remained that slowed or halted the natural progression of strategic cooperation. “The big issue with Israel for many years was China, and that held up the process for an extended period of time. It took many rounds of intense negotiations and corrective measures until those big issues were finally resolved.”

Sebright said that unlike the many knots that had to be untangled with Israel, the UAE has “a zero record of ever giving away U.S. technology or selling it unlawfully.”

“We had some isolated instances of things getting lost in action, but we believe they will be receptive to what needs to be done on our end to allow us to help them build up their defense industrial base,” Sebright said.

In a report published last month by the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, Sebright elaborated on three key areas in which the UAE has contributed to U.S. national security interests in the region and beyond:

1. Active partner in U.S.-led coalition operations: While the UAE did not join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, it is the only Arab country to have participated with Washington in multilateral operations in six countries, including Somalia, Bosnia-Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya and the campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

During the initial air campaign against ISIS, Emerati Air Force pilots ― including the country’s first female pilot, Maj. Mariam al-Mansouri ― carried out more strikes in Syria than any other country besides the U.S.

2. Accommodating host to some 5,000 U.S. forces: Under a newly expanded defense cooperation agreement signed in May, the UAE will continue to provide a home to the U.S. Air Force’s 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Dhafra Air Force Base in Abu Dhabi. Al Dhafra serves as the only overseas base for F-22 jets and is home to U.S. Air Force Central Command’s Air Warfare Center, which operates an integrated air- and missile-defense center, search-and-rescue training, and advanced tactical leadership courses.

As for sea power, two key deep harbor ports — Jebel Ali and Fujairah — will remain accessible U.S. aircraft carriers. In recent years, the UAE has been host to a sizable number of special operations forces from U.S. Central Command.

3. Counterterror Cooperation: Routinized intelligence sharing and a bilateral financial counterterrorism task force heads the list of nonkinetic manifestations of counterterror cooperation. The UAE was first in the region to join the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency’s Container Security Initiative, allowing U.S. and Emirati officials to work together inside Emirati ports to inspect U.S.-bound containers. Similar arrangements are in place with the U.S. Department of Energy to improve detection of nuclear materials in cargo containers, and with the U.S. State Department to halt shipments associated with weapons of mass destruction.

The two countries also operate a pre-clearance program that allows inspections of U.S.-bound commercial passengers at Abu Dhabi International Airport prior to departure. This multifaceted counterterror program has been credited with foiling a number of terror plots, including a 2010 plan by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to send explosives into the U.S. via cargo planes. Finally, Abu Dhabi in recent years has helped Washington reduce terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay by agreeing to take custody of several Yemeni and Afghan detainees.




Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) brought its marquee fighter, the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E, to the 2017 Dubai Air Show as part of a broad effort to secure new markets for its big-ticket items in the Middle East and to regain entry to legacy markets which had bought Russian through the Cold War.

The Su-35 is
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from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which, according to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, is
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for an unspecified number of the fighter. Russia hopes to close a sale by the end of 2017 and, ideally, expand it to “
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” Flanker-Es.

However, UAC is also eager to generate interest for the Mikoyan MiG-35 Fulcrum-F, a twin-engine multi-role fighter equipped with the Zhuk-AE active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar. UAC and MiG are pitching the MiG-35 for its competitive acquisition and life-cycle costs, which MiG claims are 20% and 30-40% lower, respectively, than competing Western fighters.

With a focus on legacy MiG-29 users,
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, the Russian Aircraft Corp. MiG’s Director General, Ilya Tarashenko
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that talks are taking place with more than 30 countries. Bangladesh, India, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Malaysia and Serbia are among the MiG’s prospective customers.

The Almaz-Antey S-400 long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system is making in-roads in the regional market as well, with Turkey signing on recently. Saudi Arabia has also
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for the S-400, with Bahrain also
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in the system. For Russia, the S-400 seems to have become its entry-ticket to accessing markets that continue to lean heavily on American and Western European armaments.

In an interview with
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, the Director of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS), Dmitri Shugayev outlined Moscow’s defence export objectives, citing the Dubai Air Show as a major event. The FSVTS defines Russia’s defence export policies.

Shugayev also spoke of Pakistan, with whom Russia had relaunched defence relations in 2015. The FSVTS head reiterated that the central focus of those ties was counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism oriented, but also suggested that there are no explicit limits to scope of armament sales to Pakistan.

“With Pakistan, we have an agreement now on military-technical cooperation: I signed it on behalf of the Russian government this year. To be specific, we will supply the Mi-35 [helicopter] and we will see how events develop further. Our relations are based on a common goal of combatting terrorism, so in the future I also do not exclude any new export sales.”

Russia is also working to position itself as a factor in the defence industry development goals of its current and prospective customers. At the Dubai Air Show, UAC
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that it has begun talks with the UAE to potentially to co-produce the Irkut MC 21 airliner. UAC also
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an memorandum-of-understanding with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) to “implement joint design and production in the field of civil aviation.” TAI’s General Manager Temel Kotil
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in developing a 100-seat airliner.

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Airbus Defence & Space (DS), Leonardo and IOMAX are pitching current and prospective Middle Eastern customers solutions designed for asymmetrical sub-conventional warfare, especially counterinsurgency (COIN) and counter-terrorism (CT) operations. With emphasis on affordable acquisition and operational costs, the industry is aiming to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and precision-guided strike capabilities using a range of different platforms, from drones to transport aircraft.

With 50 Falco unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in service globally, Leonardo announced that it completed the delivery of its improved Falco EVO to an undisclosed user in the Middle East. Like its predecessor, the Falco EVO – with a payload of 100 kg and endurance of 20 hours – is an ISR platform meant for building situational awareness as well as target identification and acquisition.

However, for strikes, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has strong portfolio of armed UAVs. Among these is the
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, a jet-powered UAV available in three variants: image intelligence (CS-1), electronic intelligence (CS-2) and reconnaissance-strike (CS-3). The CS-1 and CS-2 each have an internal payload of 200 kg. The CS-3 can carry 400 kg, which is available through four hardpoints.

Having made inroads in the regional market through the United Arab Emirates (UAE), IOMAX is hoping to secure additional sales for its Archangel Strike Platform. Like competing turboprop-based attack
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, the Archangel – powered by a single Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67F – establishes value as a lower-cost option to fast jets for deploying guided munitions in low-intensity combat environments.

With the Thrush S2R-660 as its base platform, the Archangel can deploy over 1,300 kg in payload through six wing-based hardpoints. Load options include laser-guided bombs, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and laser-guided rockets. To bolster its versatility, IOMAX is also offering its Flexible Pod integrated with an electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret, video data-link, countermeasures systems and points for connecting other ground-facing sensors, such as synthetic aperture radar with ground-moving target indicator (SAR/GMTI). IOMAX is hoping to secure additional UAE orders, while also adding Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kenya and Egypt as among its customers.

Airbus DS is showcasing its newly launched C295 Armed ISR. While demonstrating the C295’s strengths as a versatile special mission aircraft platform, Airbus DS is aiming to give prospective air arms an analogous close air support (CAS) and area-suppression asset to the venerable AC-130. The C295 Armed ISR comes with a Rheinmetall BK27 27 mm cannon and compatibility with laser-guided ATGM, rockets and bombs.

Although the C295 Armed ISR is not as heavily armed as the AC-130, it is an accessible platform in terms of both market access and cost. In fact, the latter is a key positioning point for Airbus DS as it pitches the C295 as a base platform for a variety of multi-mission solutions, be it transport, ISR, CAS and others. Airbus DS can sell countries on maintaining streamlined logistics and maintenance infrastructure while fulfilling many distinct requirements. Moreover, current C295 operators are potential C295 Armed ISR customers.

Notes & Comments:

For the industry, fulfilling apparent requirements for COIN operations appears to be a major opportunity area. The aforementioned are a subsection of the options available on the market to prospective air arms.

For example, in the turboprop-powered attack aircraft space, IOMAX is competing with Sierra Nevada Corporation and Embraer, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Air Tractor and within the UAE itself through Calidus. There is limited variance in the cost of powerplants as most (if not all) of these aircraft use a PT6 variant, but cost of manufacturing airframes and sourcing sensors, avionics and weapons could be areas where these companies will compete on cost.

Likewise, the armed and ISR drone market has also become dense with ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations)-free options, especially in China, but in Turkey, South Africa and potentially other countries as well. Interestingly, the proliferation of drones might accelerate growth in the communication satellite (SATCOM) industry, be it satellite design, manufacturing and launch or SATCOM services. Drone vendors, including China, are respecting the range limitations of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) by capping the radio line-of-sight ranges of their drones to below 300 km. However, UAVs and satellites are separate industries, some countries might aim for beyond-line-of-sight range by acquiring SATCOM. The key limiter in this respect could be the SATCOM transponder industry (connecting UAVs to SATCOM).

Regarding the C295 Armed ISR, it is unclear how much utility a light gunship would have if the same buyers have turboprop attack aircraft and UAVs. The armament payload of the C295 is relatively limited (as these weapons are loaded to the wing, attached to the fuselage or side doors). It is unlikely that these would be at the center of CAS operations. Airbus DS is cognizant of this fact, hence its decision to designate the platform as ‘Armed ISR’ – i.e. hinging the aircraft to primarily ISR, but with contingency attack capabilities.

Pakistan has been
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C-130B/Es equipped with FLIR Systems Star Safire III EO/IR turrets with BRITE Star II laser target-designators for ISR and target acquisition (ISTAR). Moreover, these “FLIR Herks” carry army personnel to view the EO/IR turret’s sensor feed in real-time. It would be interesting if Airbus DS extends this concept (if it has not already) by configuring the C295 with EO/IR and SAR/GMTI sensors integrated to onboard human-machine-interfaces and tactical data-link feeds. This platform could serve as a robust ISTAR asset to support dedicated attack platforms and coordinate ground operations.