Archived posts from category ‘Things with Wings’

Zach’s Things with Wings

India Buys AH-64s
India, now among the world’s largest and most lucrative defense markets, has ordered 22 new AH-64D Apaches, among the most technologically advanced helicopters in the world. The sale, one of several high profile U.S.-India aircraft deals, is one more indication of closer military/security cooperation as India updates its military. India has turned down several prospective deals involving U.S. technology, having not forgotten the military embargo imposed by the U.S. after India’s nuclear tests. Of particular note are the Pakistani and Chinese responses to the sale, which have thus far consisted largely of silence. Two U.S. companies are among others bidding on a highly lucrative deal for 126 advanced fighter aircraft.

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Zach’s Things with Wings

Afghanistan is an Air War
Airborne weapons are back in fashion amongst ISAF troops in Afghanistan. In a trend followed closely by Wired’s Danger Room, the number of air attack missions has gone up substantially to levels not seen since the 2001 invasion. Though former commander General Stanley McChrystal greatly restricted the use of air strikes in Afghanistan, ISAF under General David Petraeus is now reporting an average of 28 bombings a day. Air strikes were previously restricted in an attempt to gain popular support from the Afghan populace, which generally sees air strikes as misguided and dangerous; previous air strikes have killed large numbers of civilians. The dramatic uptick in air strikes is symptomatic of ISAF’s more aggressive approach as troops move into Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan and of Taliban inroads into previously-safe parts of the north.

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Zach’s Things with Wings

USMC Unmanned Rotary Contract Divided
The U.S. Navy announced on Thursday that a large contract for unmanned rotary airlift services would be split between the two main competitors. Kaman will receive nearly $46 million to provide unmanned airlift to the Marine Corps in Afghanistan, while Boeing gets roughly $29 million. Kaman will provide an unmanned version of the venerable K-Max, an aging design originally designed for piloted heavy lifting. Boeing will send their new A160 Hummingbird, a new multipurpose design. Both manufacturers will send two aircraft and three ground stations to Afghanistan, where they will be tested operationally. The challenge of deployment is intended to verify the unmanned concept as much as the systems themselves; the U.S. military, which has long operated unmanned aircraft for reconnaissance and airstrikes, is slowly exploring new capabilities for unmanned aircraft. The U.S. Navy has previously used the manned K-Max for ship-to-ship transfers, whereas the A160 has been quietly in development for use by Special Forces, but this represents the first public deployment of either aircraft to a war zone. The success or failure of these new systems is virtually certain to be a prelude to more extensive roles for unmanned aircraft.


Zach’s Things with Wings

“Does Buying Combat Aircraft Lead to Trouble?”
Combat aircraft made up about a third of worldwide arms purchases in time 2005-2009 timeframe. A new report by the renown Swedish International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) examines detailed buying trends and resulting political problems, and asks just what precedes what. Does buying sophisticated combat aircraft destabilize a country’s relations with neighbors? (H/T to Ares)

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