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MODERNIZATION OF GREECE’S F-16 FIGHTER JET FLEET

Pressure from Hellenic Air Force chiefs has Greece looking at modernizing and adding to its fighter jet capability by upgrading its existing F-16 fleet, with dreams of investing in 20 fifth generation F-35’s from American aerospace company Lockheed Martin. The decision is partly fuelled by Turkey’s plan to order 24 Lockheed Martin F-35s to replace its F-16 fleet.

The move undoubtedly unsettled Greece and in September 2016 during the Thessaloniki International Fair Greek Defence Minister, Panos Kammenos, stressed the need for Greece to update its fighter jet capability to answer to Turkey’s modernization of its fleet. Kammenos told Greek newspaper Kathimerini that this would allow Greece to restore a sense of balance with regards to military capabilities in the Aegean.

A Letter of Request (LOR) has been sent by Greece to the U.S. to upgrade its F-16 Block 52 and Block 52+ to F-16 Block 60s, with an expected time frame of 7 years and an estimated cost of several billion dollars. The LOR further explored the possibility of Greece participating in the F-35 programme. It is clear that Greece is aiming to sustain the numbers and quality of its fighter aircraft to be able to compete with Turkey who is expecting to receive 100 F-35s from 2018 to 2025.

F-35’s are pricey coming in bare bones at an estimated $109,88 million each (in FY2016). Compared to F-16s, which are tailored for maneuverability in combat situations, the F-35 is specifically designed for taking out advanced Integrated Air Defense Systems (IADS) such as the Russian S-300 and S-400. The F-35 Lightning II is a fifth-generation fighter combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations, and advanced sustainment. Three variants of the F-35 will replace legacy fighters for the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and 10 other countries around the world.

Greece currently has a total of 155 F-16C and F-16D fighter aircraft. Apart from the fighter jet modernization, Greece wants to maintain its S-300 missiles, which will cost around $9.5 million as an upgrade to S-400 cannot be done due to European economic sanctions on Russia. Greece is also looking to invest in drones, weapons maintenance, training, and more with a plan that if executed could easily cost $10 billion.

Hellenic Air Force’s Current F-16 Fleet

F-16C/D Block 30, 50 Fighting Falcon

Single-seat, single-engine, multirole fighter designed for all weather operations and capable of carrying a variety of weapon systems. Greece has in its air arsenal about 70 F-16s – Block 30 and Block 50.

In 1989, Greece purchased 40 Block 30s under the Arms Programme Peace Xenia I. In 1997, an additional 40 Block 50s were delivered as part of Peace Xenia II.

The Hellenic F-16s Block 30 and Block 50 are based at Larissa Air Force Base (110 Combat Wing – 346 Squadron Iason) and New Anchialos Air Force Base (111 Combat Wing – 330 Thunder, 341 Arrow, and 347 Perseas Squadrons).

All the Hellenic F-16s wear the Aegean Ghost camouflage.

F-16C/D Block 52+ Fighting Falcon

The Hellenic Air Force is the first Air Force in the world to operate this advanced F-16 type. The aircraft is the improved version of the Block 50 with advanced electronics and upgraded engine. The Hellenic Air Force’s Block 52+ are based at Souda Air Force Base (115 Combat Wing – 340 Fox and 343 Star Squadrons).

F-16C/D Block 52+adv Fighting Falcon

Improved version of the Block 52 with advanced electronics. The Hellenic Air Force’s Block 52+ Adv are based at Araxos Air Force Base (116 Combat Wing – 335 Squadron Tiger).

 

Written by Sylvia Caravotas (Satovarac Consulting) for OIDA

THE MILITARY SATELLITE MARKET – ON A STEADY, EVOLUTIONARY PATH

The military satellite market is far from stagnant and according to analysts will continue to grow at an expected compound annual growth rate of 5.6%. Satellites play an important role for militaries providing intelligence gathering, communication, and navigation services. They are essential in delivering real-time data of troop movements and weaponry, tracking enemy incursion, and transferring high-bandwidth communication. Secure and efficient communications are a priority for militaries and C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) systems are being strengthened to provide better global coverage.

Satellites are not cheap and currently only six nations have the funding to design, develop, and place satellites into orbit with even fewer able to place multiple satellites in a single flight. Leaders in the military satellite market are the U.S, China, U.K, Russia, India, Germany, and France. In Europe and through the European Space Agency (ESA), 22 European nation members coordinate resources to undertake space programmes they would not have been able to accomplish alone. Countries like Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa are mindful of space technology and will undoubtedly keep an eye on the military satellite market.

India is making great strides in the satellite market and expanding its military use of space. Under the Indian Space Research Organisation and Antrix, a number of successful and low cost launches have been completed. In 2016, India launched 20 satellites into orbit in a single mission including satellites belonging to the U.S, Canada, Germany, and Indonesia certainly appealing to those looking at launching military satellites. India made history this month when it launched 104 satellites into space in a single flight, establishing itself as a key player in a growing market.

New developments will always affect the satellite market and a game changer will be the launch of the OneWeb project, which includes investors such as Airbus Defence & Space, Virgin Group, and Qualcomm. OneWeb aims to inject 648 satellites into orbit to provide instantly deployable connectivity or long-term access solutions. In early 2018, they will launch an initial 10 production satellites followed in six months by their full launch campaign, providing low latency broadband access as early as 2019. OneWeb will address the most demanding global connectivity challenges and sudden infrastructure crises.

March 2017 will see the launch of the WGS-9 (Wideband Global SATCOM), which will provide enhanced communications capabilities to both U.S. forces and international partners. It is the only military satellite communications system that can support simultaneous X-band and Ka-band communications with crossbanding, giving a much-needed communications edge to operators.

The military satellite market is set to see sustained growth in established markets and developing countries with ongoing modernisation programmes. An example of modernization programmes is Japan who launched its first communications satellite in January 2017 to upgrade its defence communications network. The satellite is one of three defence ministry operated communications satellites to be used by Japanese troops, which currently rely on civilian satellites. Technological developments will continue to influence the market, as will the needs of military commanders on the ground and in the air.

 

Written by Sylvia Caravotas (Satovarac Consulting) for OIDA

PARAMOUNT GROUP, THE NEW LEADER OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENCE INDUSTRY

Paramount Group was founded by African industrialist and businessman Ivor Ichikowitz in 1994 during South Africa’s transition. Over a 23-year period, Paramount has established itself as Africa’s largest independently-owned defence and aerospace business. At the onset of the new millennium, Paramount experienced a shift becoming a prime contractor selling surplus South African National Defence Force (SANDF) equipment. Fast-forward six years and we see the business delve into innovation by developing and launching the Marauder (armoured vehicle) in addition to acquiring a fleet of Mirage F1s from the South African Air Force (SAAF). Over the next few years, Paramount expanded into combat systems launching the Matador and Maverick armoured vehicles. More recent innovations include the Mbombe 6X6 in 2010, a high level ballistic and mine protected vehicle with a flat bottom hull. The Mbombe 6X6 was selected by the Jordanian Armed Forces in February 2015. The Mbombe series has continued to evolve with the launch of the Mbombe 8X8 in 2016.

With unprecedented growth, it was inevitable that Paramount would fully take to the skies by purchasing a stake in Aerosud and developing their aerospace offering with the launch of the AHRLAC concept (a light reconnaissance and counter-insurgency aircraft) in 2011. Paramount now has one of the strongest aerospace offerings in Africa comprising supersonic fighter aircraft solutions, air force establishment, systems integration, avionics, UAVs, sighting and mission sensors. The current construction of an aircraft factory set to produce the Mwari aircraft (AHRLAC) will be the most advanced of its kind in Africa.

Paramount continues to generously contribute towards veteran and conservation efforts. It has supported conservation efforts through aerial platforms, combat training programmes for park rangers, and the establishment of South Africa’s largest K9 facility that trains detection and ranger dogs for anti-poaching patrols. Paramount has donated several aircraft to national parks in Africa.

Collaboration is a large component of Paramount’s success and the future continues to look promising. Partnerships have been at the core of Paramount’s growth allowing the company to thrive in a highly competitive environment and to expand into markets beyond Africa with headquarters and facilities in Europe and Central Asia (Azerbaidjan and Kazakhstan mainly) and local manufacturing partners in the Middle East (especially in Jordan).

PARAMOUNT GROUP PROFILE

FOUNDED: 1994

HEADQUARTERS:

  • Midrand, South Africa
  • Cyprus, Europe
  • Kazakhstan, Central Asia

FACILITIES: 16

April 2015: Modernises production facility in Isando to 25 000 m².

June 2015: Develops state-of-the-art naval vessel production facility in Cape Town.

January 2016: Production commences at new 15 000 m² armoured vehicle factory Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering in Kazakhstan.

June 2016: AHRLAC production facility under construction.

EMPLOYEES: Over 3000

REVENUE: Paramount does not divulge its finances, but it has been reported that its revenue is approaching $1 billion, if not at that mark already.

COMPLIANCE: Paramount works in accordance with international compliance regulations and governments in good standing with the UN and the international community.

PARTNERS:

  • Aerosud (part of Paramount Group, supplies parts to Boeing and Airbus)
  • Airbus Group
  • Armor Group (USA)
  • Aselsan
  • Ashok Leyland (for Indian market)
  • Austal
  • BAE Systems
  • Boeing
  • DCNS (nowadays very limited)
  • Griffon Hoverwork
  • Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering
  • KADDB Investment Group
  • Leonardo
  • Martin-Baker
  • Navantia
  • Paramount Aerospace Azerbaijan
  • Pilatus
  • Pratt & Whitney (for AHRLAC)
  • QinetiQ
  • Safran
  • Spirit Aerosystems
  • Thales
  • Zodiac Aerospace

ACQUISITIONS

2013: Industrial and Automotive Design (IAD), Advanced Technologies & Engineering (ATE), and Nautic Africa.

September 2014: Acquisition of Aerosud Aerospace Systems (now Paramount Aerospace).

Veecraft Marine was acquired through Paramount subsidiary Nautic Africa, providing Paramount with the means to build vessels from eight to more than a hundred metres in length.

April 2015: Acquired DCD Protected Mobility’s manufacturing facility in Isando, South Africa and some industrial assets to significantly increase the production capacity of its armoured vehicle range with a potential output of 400 vehicles per year. Paramount Combat Systems became the new name of the group’s expanded Land Systems business unit.

October 2016: Acquisition of Austral Marine.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

July 2014: MOU signed with Boeing to jointly develop opportunities in key international markets. Platforms being explored under the collaboration include various Boeing rotorcraft, unmanned aerial systems and related support services, as well as Paramount’s portfolio of land vehicles and aerospace systems capabilities.

September 2014: Acquired Veecraft. Signed MOUs with Aselsan.

February 2015: MOU signed with Ukraine’s Motor Sich JSC for helicopter modernisations.

March 2016: Boeing and Paramount Group signed an agreement to cooperate on an advanced mission system for a variant of the Advanced, High Performance, Reconnaissance, Light Aircraft (AHRLAC). Under the agreement, Boeing will develop a mission system for Mwari, the military variant of AHRLAC. It will also provide training and through-life support.

September 2016: MOU signed with The Armored Group (TAG) for the promotion of vehicles in selected markets.

CAPABILITIES

LAND

  • MBOMBE 8 (8X8 INFANTRY COMBAT VEHICLE)
  • MBOMBE 6 (6X6 INFANTRY COMBAT VEHICLE)
  • MBOMBE 4 (4X4 INFANTRY COMBAT VEHICLE)
  • MARAUDER (ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER)
  • MAVERICK (INTERNATIONAL SECURITY VEHICLE)
  • MATADOR (ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER)

SEA

  • 8.5M GUARDIAN (HIGH SPEED PATROL AND INTERCEPTION VESSEL)
  • 11M GUARDIAN (HIGH SPEED PATROL AND INTERCEPTION VESSEL)
  • 15M GUARDIAN (FAST RESPONSE VESSEL)
  • 17M SENTINEL (CREW AND PATROL VESSEL)
  • 22M SENTINEL (CREW AND PATROL VESSEL)
  • 24M SENTINEL (CREW AND PATROL VESSEL)
  • 58M FRONTIER (PATROL VESSEL)
  • 85M FRONTIER (OFFSHORE PATROL VESSEL)
  • 8.5M SILVER SURFER (UNMANNED SURFACE VEHICLE)

AIR

  • MWARI (LIGH RECONAISSANCE AND ATTACK AIRCRAFT)
  • SUPER 17 (TACTICAL TRANSPORT HELICOPTER)
  • NIGHT HAWK (MI-24 HELICOPTER GUNSHIP)
  • MIRAGE F1 (FIGHTER AIRCRAFT)
  • MWEWE (UAV SYSTEM)
  • ROADRUNNER (UAV SYSTEM)
  • VULTURE (UAV SYSTEM)
  • CIVET (UAV SYSTEM)

MISSION SYSTEMS

  • PAT HMSD (HELMET MOUNTED SIGHTING DISPLAY)
  • FLASH (MULTI-PLATFORM MISSION SYSTEMS)
  • LIGHT ATTACH MISSION SYSTEM
  • FIGHTER JET MODERNISATION
  • SIGHTING SYSTEMS
  • ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS

 

Written by Sylvia Caravotas (Satovarac Consulting) for OIDA

 

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Please note that this website should not be used as an investment tool nor does it provide any investment advice. OIDA Strategic Intelligence SASU can accept no liability whatsoever for actions taken based on any information that may subsequently prove to be incorrect, inaccurate or omitted and publicated in this website.