Russian Cruiser Moskva Will Cover Air Groups in Syria With Fort Air Defense

Moskva missile cruiser in the Mediterranean


Russian cruiser Moskva which has a maritime analogue of S-300 systems in Latakia is able to destroy any potentially dangerous target in the air, Russian Defense Minister Shoigu said.

“The Moskva guided missile cruiser outfitted with S-300F Fort anti-air systems took position off the coast of Latakia. Its early warning systems and air defense array will provide adequate cover for the Russian Aerospace Forces elements in Syria,” the source said.

It was reported earlier that Russian fighter jets would accompany all of Moscow’s missions against Islamic State targets in Syria. Prior to Tuesday’s attack, Russian bombers were conducting their missions without air cover.

Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian Su-24M bomber aircraft that Turkey said had violated its airspace. Both pilots ejected, and one was fatally shot while parachuting to the ground, the Russian Defense Ministry later confirmed.

Moscow has insisted its aircraft was not in Turkish airspace and posed no threat. The Russian Defense Ministry has suspended military contact with Turkey over the plane downing, which President Vladimir Putin called “a stab in the back.”


India Successfully Test Fires Ship-Based Nuclear-Capable Missile

Testing of the Dhanush missile. File photo.


The Indian armed forces successfully test-fired a new short range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile, Indo-Asian News Service reports, citing the country’s military R&D agency DRDO.

The missile, dubbed the Dhanush, was test fired at approximately 11:45 am Tuesday local time from the Indian Navy’s INS Subhadra patrol vessel in the Bay of Bengal off the country’s east coast.The Dhanush, which has undergone extensive testing since 2012, is a naval variant of the Prithvi III, an Indian-made tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization, the national agency charged with military research and development.

The missile is capable of holding both conventional and nuclear payloads of up to 500 kg, and is capable of targeting both land and sea-based targets at a range of 350 km or less.

DRDO sources confirmed that the test was successful, with the missile reaching its designated target.

The missile has already been introduced to the country’s armed forces.


Russia, India to hold naval drills in early December — source

Taking part in the drills from the Russian side will be a missile cruiser, a destroyer, a large sea tanker, a tugboat and two naval helicopters

© ITAR-TASS*/Yuri Smityuk

NEW DELHI, November 24. /TASS/. Russian ships will arrive at Visakhapatnam port on the southeast coast of India in the state of Andhra Pradesh on December 6 to take part in the Indra joint naval maneuvers, a source close to the Indian Ministry of Defense told TASS on Tuesday.

“The exercise will be held from December 7 to 12 this year; the welcoming ceremony for the detachment of the Russian Navy ships is planned for December 6,” he said.

According to him, taking part in the drills from the Russian side will be a missile cruiser, a destroyer, a large sea tanker, a tugboat and two naval helicopters, and from the Indian side – a multipurpose frigate, a destroyer, an anti-submarine plane, a Coast Guard plane, two training planes and a helicopter.

“The maneuvers will focus on drilling antisubmarine defense of ships, gun practice on surface and air targets. Also, it is planned to conduct anti-terrorist operation drills to rescue a ship seized by hypothetical terrorists in which assault teams, supported by helicopters will be landed on board the ship,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Indra joint exercise of ground troops that involved more than 500 soldiers from both sides was held in the north-western Indian state of Rajasthan. The exercise focused on drilling joint actions within a combined peacekeeping battalion, including blocking of a hypothetical conflict area and neutralisation of illegal armed groups. The troops also drilled defusing explosive objects and improvised explosive devices, as well as rendering first aid.

The two countries’ Navies now also hold their Indra series of naval wargames once a year. Indian and Russian air forces held their air combat exercise, Ex Avia Indra, for the first time at the Astrakhan region near the Caspian Sea in August-September last year. In sharp contrast, India and the United States have held more than 80 joint combat exercises over the last decade.

Russian Navy Testing Advanced Stealthy Frigate

Admiral Sergey Gorshkov Frigate


Russia is continuing tests of an advanced frigate totally invisible to radar. A series of warships of this class are expected to be built for the Russian Navy, assistant Navy commander-in-chief Andrei Surov said.

The frigate “Admiral Gorshkov” which is currently undergoing tests may become the flagship in the Navy because of a number of its unique engineering features.According to Surov, the vessel was designed to be invisible to enemy radio-radar systems.

“The frigate we are now testing – the Admiral Gorshkov – is a ground-breaking one, with a number of cutting-edge technologies. The vessel is a flagship which has no match among its predecessors. She has something from corvettes, including stealth technologies and its overall design,” Surov told Echo of Moscow radio.

Vessels of this type are protected – first of all – against radio-radar and optical systems.”Most protruding parts and antennas of the ship are covered. The frigate also features a radio-absorbing design,” Surov added.

According to him, the Russian Navy is expected to receive a series of vessels of this class.

The Admiral Gorshkov was laid down in early-2006 and launched in autumn 2010. The first tests were held in November 2014. The frigate has a displacement of 4,500 tons and can reach speeds of 29 knots. It is armed with 16 Oniks or Kalibr missiles as well as the Poliment-Redut anti-aircraft missile system.


Russia Notifies Lebanon, Turkey, Cyprus of Mediterranean Manoeuvres

Moskva missile cruiser in the Mediterranean


The Lebanese transport minister said that Russia notified authorities of Lebanon, Turkey and Cyprus that its navy would begin exercises in the Mediterranean Sea at midnight on Friday.

 Russia notified authorities of Lebanon, Turkey and Cyprus that its navy would begin exercises in the Mediterranean Sea at midnight on Friday, the Lebanese transport minister said.

“We, Cyprus and Turkey are informed of the fact that Russian manoeuvres will begin today at midnight,” Ghazi Zeaiter told Al Mayadeen TV channel.

Russian officials have not commented on the issue yet.

Earlier on Friday, Zeaiter said Lebanon was unable to satisfy Moscow’s request to reroute civilian aircraft flying over a coastal region over the three-day Russian military drills planned in the Mediterranean, as the country’s civil aviation had no alternative routes.


Russian Warships Could Provide Combat Cover for French Aircraft Carrier

Flight deck crew work on Rafale fighter jets aboard the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle before its departure from the naval base of Toulon, France, November 18, 2015


Russia’s warships deployed to the Mediterranean are rumored to be tasked with providing combat cover for the French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, heading to Syria as part of expanded anti-ISIL efforts, reports in Russian media suggest.

The deployment of the nuclear-powered flagship of the French Navy comes days after ISIL militants conducted multiple terrorist attacks in Paris, leaving 129 people dead and hundreds wounded. France has since pledged to boost its counterterrorism operation in Syria.

nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle before its departure from the naval base of Toulon, France, November 18, 2015

Earlier, ISIL claimed responsibility for the crash of a Russian passenger jet over Sinai. The terrorist act in Egypt claimed the lives of all 224 on board.

“The Russian Navy ships in the Mediterranean Sea will be primarily tasked with ensuring combat sustainability, meaning [they will provide] all types of defense – air, antisubmarine, counter sabotage, etc.,” a source in the Russian Navy told RIA Novosti.

Russian ships could assist the French naval group in rescue operations, he added. They could also inspect vessels suspected of transporting cargoes for ISIL.This information has not been officially confirmed or denied.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian forces in the Mediterranean to “establish direct contact with the French and work with them as allies.” The General Staff and the Defense Ministry will work out a plan for joint activities at sea and in the air.

Missile Cruiser Moskva
Missile Cruiser “Moskva”

In a telephone conversation, Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande agreed to ensure military and intelligence cooperation between Russia and France. The two leaders also agreed to meet during Hollande’s visit to Moscow on November 26.The joint center aimed at coordinating efforts of Russian and French ships should be set up on the Moskva missile cruiser stationed in the Mediterranean Sea since Moscow is playing a major part in counterterrorism efforts in Syria, Сapt. 1st Rank (Ret.) Mikhail Nenashev told RIA Novosti.

French and Russian warships “will primarily exert psychological pressure on terrorists,” he noted.


End of Top Gun? Navy Sees Future Not in F-35s, But in Unmanned Aircraft

Will future Maverick and Goose wannabes merely end up as drone operators? Navy pilots' dog-fighting days may be numbered as the department's secretary says the F-35 joint strike fighter (JSF) will be the last the last manned strike fighter aircraft the Navy should commission.

Will future Maverick and Goose wannabes end up as mere drone operators? Navy pilots’ dog-fighting days may be numbered as the department’s secretary says the F-35 joint strike fighter (JSF) will be “the last manned strike fighter aircraft” the Navy should commission, pointing to drones as the future of naval aviation.

Coincidentally, the Navy announced that the yet-to-be-operational F-35 would be its last manned jet the day after an Armed Services subcommittee learned about the latest slew of malfunctions plaguing the fighter jet — which is now the most expensive military equipment project in history.In development since 2001, the F-35 program is expected to cost well over $1 trillion and has yet to achieve even “initial operational capability” for any branch of the military.

The Navy — unlike the Air Force — currently does not have armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), but Navy Secretary Ray Mabus made it clear that, despite having positive things to say about the F-35, the future is pilotless.

“Unmanned systems, particularly autonomous ones, have to be the new normal in ever-increasing areas,” Mabus said at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space 2015 Exposition.

“For example, as good as it is, and as much as we need it and look forward to having it in the fleet for many years, the F-35 should be, and almost certainly will be, the last manned strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly.”

All apologies to the Ice Men of the world, but even the best pilots are still a liability, and going unmanned removes that liability, as Mabus explained, inadvertently making a theme of Jerry Bruckheimer’s planned Top Gun sequel eerily prescient.

“With unmanned technology, removing a human from the machine can open up room to experiment with more risk, improve systems faster and get them to the fleet quicker.”

To that end, Mabus announced the creation of both a new deputy assistant secretary position and a Navy staff position — N-99 — analogous to the existing surface and air warfare directorates — “so that all aspects of unmanned – in all domains – over, on and under the sea and coming from the sea to operate on land – will be coordinated and championed.”

So far, the Navy’s UAVs have operated within intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), and the department is currently developing their first unmanned carrier-launched aircraft. Their goal is for that aircraft to be able to provide ISR, strike capability and air support in complex war environments.

Similar to the F-35 program itself — which has struggled to incorporate the disparate priorities of various branches of the military — the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance-Strike (UCLASS) program has suffered delays and raised debate about what features should have priority given cost and available technology.

Currently, Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are working up different versions of the carrier for the Navy to decide between.

F-35: Over Before It’s Even Begun?

While Mabus declares F-35 the last of its kind, the Navy, the Marines, and the Air Force are still waiting for their first crack at deploying the fighters.

The Marines are first in line, with IOC for their version scheduled for July 2015, but even that is starting to look overly-optimistic. The laundry list of problems with the F-35 — from software to engine troubles — leaves many skeptical that the planes will ever fulfill the promise of being a versatile, technologically cutting-edge replacement for fighters across the military.
Among the admissions at the most recent congressional hearing on Tuesday were that the F-35s much-touted software system for monitoring maintenance was indicating false positives 80% of the time when being used to check on the fitness of the jets.

In another blow to the program’s reputation, the Defense Department’s director of operational testing, Michael Gilmore, testified that the F-35 would never be able to provide the kind of support for ground troops that the already 40-year-old A-10s deliver. Gilmore cited “digital communications deficiencies” as well as faults in the F-35’s threat detection systems.

Gilmore’s 2014 annual report, released earlier this year, had concluded that despite improvements to the F-35’s threat detection system software “fusion of information from own-ship sensors, as well as fusion of information from off-board sensors is still deficient. The Distributed Aperture System continues to exhibit high false-alarm rates and false target tracks, and poor stability performance, even in later versions of software.”

The Armed Services hearing was to review the project’s budget and affordability as the Pentagon plans to step up production of F-35s from 24 jets in 2015 to 120  in 2021.

That kind of production push would require an average of $12.7 billion a year for more than 20 years, Michael Sullivan, the GAO’s director for acquisition and sourcing management testified, admitting that “something has to give, and a lot of times it’s quantities.”

The program has already nearly doubled its original budget to $400 billion in spending — making it the most expensive plane in history. And that doesn’t take into account the $5 billion or so the military has spent to extend the existing fleets this plane was supposed to replace or  the $650 billion or so in maintenance costs the Government Accountability Office has estimated will be necessary, which would bring the total cost to well over $1 trillion over the next few decades.

Many attribute the difficulties of the program with the overzealous demands from all branches of the military to incorporate features to suit their particular needs all in one plane, with some calling it the Flying Swiss Army Knife. The F-35 is supposed to be a bomber, a fighter, and capable of performing ground support, but some of those capabilities have contradictory needs. Add to it a load of highly complex computer systems and by trying to please everyone, it may end up performing for no one.