Russia and Indonesia sign defence co-operation agreement

The presidents of Russia and Indonesia have signed a defence co-operation accord in Sochi, it was reported on 19 May.

Full details of the agreement signed by presidents Vladimir Putin and Joko Widodo were not disclosed. But the heads of state said in a joint statement that they had agreed to widen contacts between defence ministries and security agencies and to conduct an exchange of intelligence information. Continue reading

Past inattention, present budget woes mean US Air Force must keep its aging warhorses flying

As the US Air Force technology becomes outdated, it becomes more expensive to maintain. Ironically and unfortunately, cuts have been made mostly in newer tech which only further compounds the problem of an aging military power.

For decades, the U.S. Air Force has grown accustomed to such superlatives as unrivaled and unbeatable. These days, some of its key combat aircraft are being described with terms like geriatric, or decrepit.

The aging of the U.S. Air Force, a long-simmering topic in defense circles, made a brief appearance in the presidential debates when Republican nominee Mitt Romney cited it as evidence of the decline of U.S. military readiness. His contention that the Navy is the smallest it’s been since 1917 got more attention, thanks to President Barack Obama’s quip that the Navy also has fewer “horses and bayonets.” Continue reading

How to Defeat the Air Force’s Powerful Stealth Fighter

Day by day, America is losing its edge in military superiority. Alarm bells should be ringing.

The fast, stealthy F-22 Raptor is “unquestionably” the best air-to-air fighter in the arsenal of the world’s leading air force. That’s what outgoing Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz wrote in 2009.

Three years later, a contingent of German pilots flying their latest Typhoon fighter have figured out how to shoot down the Lockheed Martin-made F-22 in mock combat. The Germans’ tactics, revealed in the latest Combat Aircraft magazine, represent the latest reality check for the $400-million-a-copy F-22, following dozens of pilot blackouts, and possibly a crash, reportedly related to problems with the unique g-force-defying vests worn by Raptor pilots.

The results were a surprise to the Germans and presumably the Americans, too. “We were evenly matched,” Maj. Marc Gruene told Combat Aircraft’s Jamie Hunter. The key, Gruene said, is to get as close as possible to the F-22 … and stay there. “They didn’t expect us to turn so aggressively.”

Gruene said the Raptor excels at fighting from beyond visual range with its high speed and altitude, sophisticated radar and long-range AMRAAM missiles. But in a slower, close-range tangle — which pilots call a “merge” — the bigger and heavier F-22 is at a disadvantage. “As soon as you get to the merge … the Typhoon doesn’t necessarily have to fear the F-22,” Gruene said.

It remains to be seen whether the Raptor and its AMRAAM missiles can reverse these trends. If long-range tactics fail, the F-22 force could very well find itself fighting up close with the latest fighters from China, Russia and other rival nations. And if the Germans’ experience is any indication, that’s the kind of battle the vaunted F-22s just might lose.

Full article: How to Defeat the Air Force’s Powerful Stealth Fighter (Danger Room)

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia “hits afterburner” on stealth tech: PAK FA fighter to enter combat duty in 2015, PAK DA strategic bomber projected to enter service by 2025; modernizes Soviet-era inventory, upgrades for Blackjack and Backfire-C bomber fleets by 2020

All of the upgraded combat aircraft will remain in service until the Tupolev Design Bureau develops Russia’s fifth generation, stealth-based strategic bomber, PAK-DA, with the expectation that the first will enter combat duty in 2025.

Under the snappy title, “Russia hits afterburners on stealth tech,” Shane McGlaun and Trent Nouveau write: “It comes as little surprise that Russia has significantly accelerated development of its stealth program in recent years, and remains on track to debut an operational Sukhoi PAK FA twin-engine stealth jet fighter sometime in 2015.”

Full article: Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia “hits afterburner” on stealth tech: PAK FA fighter to enter combat duty in 2015, PAK DA strategic bomber projected to enter service by 2025; modernizes Soviet-era inventory, upgrades for Blackjack and Backfire-C bomber fleets by 2020 (Once Upon A Time in the West)