South Korea to buy 36 AH-64E Apaches

Boeing has won a contract to supply South Korea with AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, defeating the Bell AH-1Z Zulu and Turkish Aerospace T-129B for the 36 helicopter AHX requirement.

“Boeing is pleased with the announcement that the Republic of Korea has selected the AH-64E Apache as its new heavy-attack helicopter,” the US airframer said in an email to Flightglobal. “We look forward to working with the US Army and the Republic of Korea Army as they finalise the Foreign Military Sales contract for 36 AH-64E Apaches.”

According to US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notifications in September 2012, the Apache deal is worth $3.6 billion, considerably higher than the proposed AH-1Z contract, which was valued at $2.6 billion.

“The heavily-armed attack helicopters will replace aging helicopters deployed by the army to counter threats by the North Korean military’s armoured units and deter provocations,” Seoul’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration spokesman Baek Yoon-Hyeong was reported as saying.

Industry sources close to the competition had expected a decision in late 2012, but this was delayed by South Korea’s presidential election in December 2012.

This is Seoul’s second major acquisition in a month. On 10 April it selected the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) to upgrade its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16C/D fighters.

Once the US government gives the go-ahead, Raytheon will deliver 134 of the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar systems to South Korea. Deliveries are expected to start in late 2016, after the company completes development work.

Industry sources say that Seoul is likely to make a decision on the F-X III competition for 60 fighters in June. The three contenders for the deal, possibly the world’s biggest fighter buy this year, are the Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle, Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighter and Eurofighter Typhoon. The type will replace Seoul’s obsolescent fleet of McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantoms.

Heightened tensions with North Korea this year have prompted Seoul to push forward key defence purchases, industry sources say.


Northrop’s SABR ‘well positioned’ to clinch USAF F-16 radar upgrade effort

Northrop Grumman says that its Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) is “well positioned” to secure contracts to upgrade US Air Force and Taiwanese Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons with a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) system despite a recent loss to rival Raytheon in South Korea.

“The US Air Force and Taiwan are working hand-in-hand together,” says Joseph Ensor, Northrop’s vice president for its targeting systems division. “They’re a separate programme from what Korea did with their competition.”



 Lockheed Martin

South Korea conducted a commercial source selection for their new radar, ultimately selecting the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar which will be integrated onto the F-16 by BAE Systems.

The USAF, meanwhile, has selected Lockheed to be its prime integrator for the combat avionics programmed extension suite (CAPES) upgrade. The service has left it up to the company to choose a new radar for the USAF’s 300 healthiest F-16s.

“I think we’re well positioned based on the technology and our offering,” Ensor says. “Nothing’s a given, we have to compete and win that programme, but I still believe we’re well positioned.

Ensor says that the USAF’s CAPES programme will be the starting point for future F-16 upgrade foreign military sales (FMS) contracts, including the Taiwan upgrade effort. “Taiwan will be one of the launch customers for this F-16 AESA upgrade,” he says.

Northrop expects that Lockheed will pick a radar for the CAPES programme in August, Ensor says.

Picking the SABR would offer many benefits for the USAF and Lockheed, Ensor says. The SABR is highly common in terms of hardware and software with radars Northrop is already building for the USAF’s fifth-generation fighter fleet comprised of Lockheed-built F-22 Raptors and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

For future upgrades, that means software developed for the Raptor’s APG-77 radar and F-35’s APG-81 system can be ported over to the SABR with only minor tweaks, Ensor says. Moreover, pilots transferring from one airframe to another would be familiar with many of the displays, company officials say.

Korea remains as divided as ever

The Korean Peninsula has been divided for almost 70 years. However, observers do not expect a reunification any time soon. Not only are the two states politically at odds, their economies are worlds apart.

When the new millennium began there were still high hopes for Korea. President Kim Dae Jung said a new era had begun after his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jung Il in Pyongyang in June 2000. Kim Dae Jung received the Nobel Peace Prize for his “Sunshine Policy” which was akin to Willy Brandt’s “Ostpolitik.”

He was the first president to offer Pyongyang economic support without strings attached. He made it clear that Seoul wasn’t interested in reincorporating the North. His goal was equal relations and peaceful coexistence. The idea was that trade and investment would propel North Korea’s transformation into a market economy. A middle-class would emerge and so would a multi-party democracy – as had happened in South Korea.

No transformation through rapprochement

North Korean farmers work at their rice fields AFP/AFP/Getty ImagesMany North Koreans survive on very little food a day, they sometimes eat only rice

The South could and wanted to help the North and the North could accept the help because after four decades, it had become clear whose system had triumphed, which economic system was superior. After the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the enemy and rival North Korea became a state in need of help. But up to now, the expectations of the rich brother in the South have not been fulfilled.

The North accepted shipments of fertilizers, rice and crops. It got hard currency from the joint Mount Kumgang Tourist Region and the industrial complex Kaesong.

However, Kim Jong Il did not go to the South as promised. He equipped his country with nuclear arms and carrier rockets.

When South Korean President Lee Myung-bak came to power, he said there would only be further help on the condition of return trade-offs from Pyongyang. Relations have been icy ever since.

Nationalism in the North

South Korean marines patrol on Yeonpyeong island REUTERS/Yoon Tae-hyun/YonhapThe South Korean army is on alert

North Korea considers itself as the only party able to unify the Korean nation. It sees the South as nothing more than a lackey of the US. The founder of the state Kim Il Sung said from the start that the North was interested in a strong, unified Korea. He termed the Korean War a patriotic war of liberation and stage-managed himself as the patriarch of the Korean nation.

But “reunification” has remained merely a slogan in North Korea because the regime has linked it to certain conditions which could not be fulfilled. Pyongyang wants the withdrawal of US troops from South Korea. It wants a Communist Party to be allowed in the South and it wants the formation of a confederation with a joint government.

On the other had, it does not want there to be more contact between the two states. It has no interest in the North Korean population finding out that South Korea is the more attractive part of the Korean Peninsula. Therefore, isolation is actively promoted and any thaw comes with automatic limitations.

Differences with Germany

The situation on the Korean Peninsula now is much different than the situation was for Germany right before and during its reunification. In Germany’s case, there had always been contact between the East and the West. East Germans knew a lot about West Germany because of television and telephone conversations with relatives. They also had a relatively realistic image of the advantages and disadvantages of life under market conditions.

South Korean soldiers work on their K-9 self-propelled artillery vehicles AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)US and South Korean soldiers often engage in joint exercises

In North Korea, it is illegal to possess South Korean DVDs of films or television shows. It is also illegal to listen to South Korean radio stations. Moreover, if a South Korean has any contact with the North or with North Koreans without permission, he is likely to end up in jail. The fact that there had been no change through rapprochement prompted the South to drop the idea of reunification from its political agenda – it was clear the process would be very slow and would be difficult to achieve in both political and economic terms.

In terms of population, when the Berlin Wall fell, there were four West Germans for every East German. There are currently two South Koreans for every North Korean. The North is 17 times poorer than the South per capita and four times poorer than China. One reason the South continues to support the North’s economy is to mitigate the costs in the event of reunification.

No one expects to see the Koreas reunite as suddenly as the two Germanys did. Journalists in Seoul are told there are no plans for anything like that to happen.


US deploys sea-based radar amid North Korea tensions

By on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013


The United States has deployed a sophisticated radar off the coast of Japan capable of tracking North Korean missiles and has sent a second destroyer to the region, officials said Tuesday.

The Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX), which resembles an enormous balloon mounted on a large oil rig, is designed to track ballistic missiles and feed data to a separate command that can fire interceptors.

Pentagon spokesman George Little stressed the deployment of the SBX system had already been scheduled and was not related to the ongoing tensions surrounding North Korea.

“The SBX is undergoing scheduled sea trials. Decisions about further deployments have not been made at this point,” Little said.

“It’s incorrect to tie the SBX at this point to what’s happening on the Korean Peninsula right now.”

Earlier, US officials confirmed that the anti-missile destroyer USS John McCain has been deployed to the region. The Pentagon at first said that a similar type of destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, had been deployed.

Later on Tuesday Little said the USS Decatur anti-missile destroyer had also been sent to the Pacific region.

“It’s arrived at a predetermined location in the Western Pacific to perform a missile defense mission,” he said, stressing that reports saying US ships would be based off the North Korean coast were “incorrect.”

“Those assets also help protect our own interests, our own troops in the region and other allies, to include Japan,” he said.

“Our response, and the mix of assets we have supplied to our responses, is prudent, logical and measured.”

“Let me be very clear that the United States’ position is that we want peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

In recent days the United States has sent its most sophisticated weapons to the region in a display of gunboat diplomacy.

The United States previously took the unusual step of announcing test bombing by nuclear-capable state-of-the-art B-2 bombers.

It has also deployed F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to South Korea as part of a US-South Korean military exercise — dubbed “Foal Eagle” — which is scheduled to last until April 30.

The Korean peninsula has been caught in a cycle of escalating tensions since the North’s February nuclear test, which followed a long-range rocket launch in December.

Subsequent UN sanctions and annual South Korea-US military exercises have been used by Pyongyang to justify a wave of increasingly dire threats against Seoul and Washington, including warnings of missile strikes and nuclear war.

South Korea Requests F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

By on Friday, April 5th, 2013


The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress March 29 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Korea for 60 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $10.8 billion.

The Government of the Republic of Korea has requested a possible sale of (60) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft. Aircraft will be configured with the Pratt & Whitney F-135 engines, and (9) Pratt & Whitney F-135 engines are included as spares.

Other aircraft equipment includes: Electronic Warfare Systems; Command, Control, Communication, Computer and Intelligence / Communication, Navigational and Identification (C4I/CNI); Autonomic Logistics Global Support System (ALGS); Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS); Full Mission Trainer; Weapons Employment Capability, and other Subsystems, Features, and Capabilities; F-35 unique infrared flares; reprogramming center; F-35 Performance Based Logistics.

Also included [are]: software development/integration, aircraft ferry and tanker support, support equipment, tools and test equipment, communication equipment, spares and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documents, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics and program support.

The estimated cost is $10.8 billion.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by meeting the legitimate security and defense needs of an ally and partner nation. The Republic of Korea continues to be an important force for peace, political stability, and economic progress in North East Asia.

The proposed sale of F-35s will provide the Republic of Korea (ROK) with a credible defense capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with U.S. forces. The proposed sale will augment Korea’s operational aircraft inventory and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defense capability. The ROK’s Air Force F-4 aircraft will be decommissioned as F-35s are added to the inventory. Korea will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this aircraft system and support will not negatively alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, Texas; and Pratt & Whitney Military Engines in East Hartford, Connecticut. This proposal is being offered in the context of a competition. If the proposal is accepted, it is expected that offset agreements will be required.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Korea involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, program management, and training over a period of 15 years. U.S. contractor representatives will be required in Korea to conduct Contractor Engineering Technical Services (CETS) and Autonomic Logistics and Global Support (ALGS) for after-aircraft delivery.
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