Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Bell announces next gen attack, reconnaissance, and intelligence helicopter - the Bell 360 Invictus


BELL - Next-generation rotorcraft is designed to provide attack, reconnaissance, and intelligence to shape the tactical environment and deliver operational overmatch in highly complex multi-domain operations

Fort Worth, Texas (October 2, 2019) – Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, has announced a new rotorcraft, Bell 360 Invictus, as the company’s entrant for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Competitive Prototype program. Bell’s innovative approach to designing the Bell 360 Invictus combines proven low-risk technologies with advanced processes to deliver soldiers an affordable, agile and lethal solution to win on the modern battlefield. The Bell 360 Invictus meets or exceeds all requirements as laid out under the FARA contract.

“The Bell 360 will deliver advanced battlefield situational awareness, as well as lethal options, in support of the maneuver force at an affordable cost” said Vince Tobin, executive vice president of Military Business at Bell. “The multi-domain fight will be complex, and our team is delivering a highly capable, low-risk solution to confidently meet operational requirements with a sustainable fleet.”

The Bell 360 Invictus’ design emphasizes exceptional performance using proven technologies to fulfill the Army’s FARA requirements at an affordable cost and on schedule. One example is the Invictus’ rotor system. This design is based on Bell’s 525 Relentless rotor system which has been tested and proven at speeds in excess of 200 Knots True Air Speed (KTAS). By incorporating proven designs and the best available technologies from commercial and military programs, Bell delivers a low-risk path to a FARA program of record.

This advanced aircraft will have a transformative impact through next-generation flight performance, increased safety and greater operational readiness—all to deliver decisive capabilities.

Some of the key 360 Invictus features include:

Lift-sharing wing to reduce rotor lift demand in forward flight, enabling high-speed maneuverability
Supplemental Power Unit increases performance during high power demands
Robust articulated main rotor with high flapping capability enabling high speed flight
Fly-by-wire flight control system—synthesizes technologies, reduces pilot workload and provides a path to autonomous flight
Speed: >185 KTAS
Combat radius: 135nm with >90 minutes of time on station
Achieves 4k/95F Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE)
Armed with a 20 mm cannon, integrated munitions launcher with ability to integrate air-launched effects, and future weapons, as well as current inventory of munitions
Provisioned for enhanced situational awareness and sensor technologies
Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) enabled by a Digital Backbone from Collins Aerospace
Robust design integrating lifecycle supportability processes early to ensure high OPTEMPO availability in multi-domain operations
Design-as-built manufacturing model and digital thread enabled tools to enhance affordability, reliability, and training throughout the lifecycle of the aircraft.




"Bell is committed to providing the U.S. Army with the most affordable, most sustainable, least complex, and lowest risk solution among the potential FARA configurations, while meeting all requirements," said Keith Flail, vice president of Advanced Vertical Lift Systems at Bell. “360 Invictus is an exciting opportunity for us to continue our support of Army modernization. This is the next solution to ensure soldiers have the best equipment available for the multi-domain fight.”



Bell has decades of experience providing attack and reconnaissance aircraft to the warfighter, such as the Kiowa Warrior which delivered high reliability and availability through more than 850,000 flight hours. The Bell 360 Invictus design builds from that legacy, Bell’s commercial innovations, and from the success in the development and manufacturing capabilities required for Future Vertical Lift (FVL) as part of the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) over the past six years.



To learn more about Bell 360 Invictus and FVL, please visit our booth at the AUSA Annual meeting (#2124) or bellflight.com/.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

How Iran would respond if attacked ..

NI:

Like the rest of the Iranian Armed Forces, the Iranian Air Force was crippled by postrevolution purges. Although numerically and technologically superior to the Iraqi Air Force, Iran was unable to achieve air superiority and unable to accurately strike targets deep within Iraq.

In response, Iran purchased a number of Soviet R-17 (“Scud B”) short-range ballistic missiles from the Libyan government. These strikes, as well as retaliatory strikes by Iraqi ballistic missiles, constituted the so-called “War of the Cities.” The lack of accuracy of the missiles made cities the easiest targets, and both Iranian and Iraqi civilians bore the brunt of the crude missile campaign.

The wartime need for ballistic missiles, as well as Iran’s historical enmity with Israel, led Iran to develop its own missile industry. The first missiles were copies of existing Scud missiles. The Shahab (“Shooting Star”)-1 missile is based on the Scud-B; the Nuclear Threat Initiative estimates Iran maintains an inventory of two to three hundred missiles. The liquid-fueled Shahab-1 can loft a two-thousand-pound high-explosive or chemical warhead up to 186 miles, but like the original Scud-B, its accuracy is lacking. Just half of the warheads from a Shahab-1 would land within a half mile of the target—the rest landing even farther away. Another version, Shahab-2, has a range of 310 miles. Both versions are likely being phased out in favor of a new generation of solid-fuel rockets.

A third missile, Shahab-3, is actually a variant of North Korea’s Nodong-1 missile. Also developed from the Scud, the Nodong-1 has its origins in Pyongyang’s desire to hit U.S. bases in Japan from the Korean Peninsula. There are differing claims to the distance the Shahab-3 can deliver payloads. The Nuclear Threat Initiative states that it has a maximum range of 621 miles, which falls short of the Nodong-1’s range. The Center for Strategic and International Studies states that the Nodong-1 has a range of 932 miles, but credits the Shahab-3 a range of 1,242 miles, a significant improvement.

While the Nodong-1/Shahab-3 offers greater range than previous missiles, it is miserably inaccurate, with half of warheads expected to fall within 1.5 miles of the target and the other half even farther away. The first Iranian test of the Shahab-3 was in 1998, and the missile was declared operational in 2003. Arms-control experts theorize North Korea sold Iran a complete Nodong assembly line, while others believe Iran received approximately 150 missiles in return for financing development of the missile.

The Shahab-3 has spawned at least one variant, the Ghadr-1, which has a slightly shorter range but is reportedly much more accurate, to within six hundred feet. A new warhead developed for both missiles, known as Emad, appears to bring even greater stability, maneuverability and accuracy to Iran’s medium-range ballistic missiles.

Iranian missile development took a giant leap with the fielding of the Sejil medium-range missile. Unlike previous liquid-fueled missiles, the solid-fueled Sejil does not have to be fueled before launch and can be stored ready to fire. A Sejil missile in the field also does not need a telltale convoy of refueling vehicles that can be spotted by enemy forces. Iran’s solid-fuel expertise is thought to have come from China in a late 1980s technology transfer.

First tested in 2008, the Sejil carries a one- to two-thousand-pound warhead and has a range identical to the older Shahab-3. Sejil may in fact be a replacement for the older missile. While the Sejil’s accuracy is unknown, it could hardly be worse than its liquid-fueled predecessor. There are unconfirmed reports of longer-range variants. A missile named Sejil-2 was reportedly tested in 2009, and a three-stage Sejil-3 with a 2,400-mile range is reportedly in development.

According to a 2005 report in Germany’s Bild Zeitung newspaper, Iran imported eighteen Musudan intermediate-range missiles in kit form from North Korea. The existence of these missiles was disputed for years, but an April 2017 launch was said by U.S. government officials to be a Khorramshahr, allegedly the local name for the Musudan. The Iranian missile apparently flew for six hundred miles before it exploded, a level of success North Korea itself did not experience until its sixth Musudan test. This is an unusual discrepancy, and could be indicative that the test was of another missile type entirely. Unlike its other missiles, Iran has never publicly displayed a Musudan-type missile.

In the meantime, Iran has gone back and updated its fleet of short-range, or battlefield short-range, ballistic missiles. Tehran’s latest missile, the Zulfiqar, is also based on Chinese solid-fuel technology. The Zulfiqar can carry a thousand-pound high explosive or submunition warhead that Iran claims is accurate to within fifty to seventy meters. The missile has a range of 434 to 466 miles. While it has a smaller warhead than the Shahab-1 and -2, the Zulfiqar is much more accurate and has a greater range, making it a viable replacement for the older, liquid-fueled missiles.

Iran does not currently have an intercontinental ballistic missile. Could Tehran’s missiles someday reach Washington, DC? North Korea has demonstrated that even a determined country of limited means can build a credible missile program. The Nuclear Threat Initiative lists Shahab-5 and -6 missiles as possible ICBMs that have been mentioned in Iranian literature, but these names seem to be assigned to notional design goals and not operational missiles. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran has agreed to halt its nuclear-weapons development. Resumption of ICBM research and development would be a clue that Iran’s nuclear ambitions have reignited, something that would put the country on a collision course with the United States.

Iran’s ballistic-missile program began from a wartime requirement for a strategic terror weapon, and progressed to the development of nuclear delivery vehicle. Iran, like North Korea, is proof of the dangers of ballistic-missile proliferation, and how trade in even short-range missiles like the Scud can lead to the development of far more dangerous weapons down the road.


Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami. This first appeared back in 2017 and is being reposted due to reader interest

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

US Identifies Iran cruise missile launch sites

The United States has identified the exact locations in Iran from which a combination of more than 20 drones and cruise missiles were launched against Saudi oil facilities over the weekend, a senior U.S. official told CBS News national security correspondent David Martin on Tuesday. The official said the locations are in southern Iran, at the northern end of the Persian Gulf.

Saudi Arabia's air defenses have been aimed south for months, to protect against missile attacks launched by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, so they were useless against the missiles and drones coming in from the north, the official told Martin.

One of the missiles flew through Kuwait's airspace and the U.S. is working with a number of other countries to analyze data on the attack, which could help make the case against Iran.

A U.S. team has been on the ground at the oil facilities and identified the specific types of drones and cruise missiles fired, Martin reported. The wreckage was moved to a facility outside the Saudi capital of Riyadh, where it will be used to make what one U.S. official called, "a very compelling forensic case" that Iran launched "a complex and coordinated attack" on Saudi Arabia.

In addition to the wreckage, the forensic case will include radar tracks reconstructed after the fact that show the cruise missiles and drones coming out of Iran.

U.S. officials have already blamed Iran for the attack, but President Trump has appeared this week to lower expectations of a U.S. military response. On Monday night, one day after tweeting that the U.S. was "locked and loaded" in response to the attack on Saudi Arabia, the president told supporters in New Mexico not to panic about oil supplies.

Today, we got a lot of oil," Mr. Trump said at his rally. "We got a lot of gas."

"A few years ago, if we had a problem like you saw two days ago in the Middle East, we would've been in a panic," the president added. "Although not if I were your president — we never panic."

Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump stopped short of blaming Iran for the attacks on two Saudi oil plants, but he said the country was likely responsible.

"We want to find definitively who did this," he said. "It certainly would look to most like it was Iran."

The president's Secretaries of State, Defense and Energy have all blamed Tehran in tweets. A Saudi Arabian military spokesman said the weapons were Iranian, but was unclear on where the attack originated.

All options appear to be on the table when it comes to Mr. Trump's response. At one point, the president practiced restraint, claiming, "I don't want war with anybody, I'm somebody who would like not to have war." But he also kept open the possibility of U.S. military action, and even suggested a lethal retaliatory strike would be a proportionate response.

Former CIA acting director Michael Morell said the U.S. may have little choice. "It's not only Iran that's under pressure here, they can put pressure back on us," he said. "We have to deter them."

On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has requested a briefing for all House members on the attack on the Saudi facilities, and Democrats are urging caution on any next steps.

"I don't think we need to be the protector of Saudi Arabia," said Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia.

Mr. Trump has also announced that a team led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will head to Saudi Arabia, and said the U.S. is talking to other countries in the region as he decides how to respond. United Nations inspectors have also traveled to Saudi Arabia to investigate, while the U.S. works on declassifying information to share publicly.

Iran continues to deny any involvement, and the nation's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ruled out talks with the U.S. at any level.
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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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