June 20, 2016

Don't Give Russia Access to Avenger (Predator C) 6th Generation Technology


COMMENT

The US should consider India's request (see BACKROUND below) for the Avenger - Predator C very carefully. This is because India is close to Russia in many high-tech military equipment areas, from stealth jetfighters (PAK FA) to even leasing a Russian Akula class SSN (INS Chakra).

The Pentagon or US Congress should not believe "we will not pass on technology" clauses. In terms of sensitive weapons trade and sharing India and Russia have been closer, far longer, than India and the US.

As the Avenger may develop into a vital UAV/UAS component in a future US 6th generation weapon system the risks need to be minimised that technology is secretly (or by a bit of an accident) passed to Russia.

The Russians are usually considered years behind the US in advanced UAV systems. The US Congress should not help Russia skip years of UAV development effort and costs by passing the technology to one of Russia's closest high tech "non-aligned" allies.

Also the US does not want to find that once Russia receives Avenger technology, Russian factories then turn out Russian Avengers cheaper and in export competition with the US.

Russian access to Avenger technology would also be very useful to Russia in building counter-measures against the US 6th generation fighter "herding" UAS' strategy. 

Furthermore America's friends and allies (UK, Australia, Israel, East European and Middle Eastern Arab allies) don't want to be on the receiving end of airstrikes from Russian (or Iranian) built Avengers that were originally designed in America.

BACKGROUND

1.  Aviation International News AINonline, June 14, 2016, reports:

“India’s likely accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) [in July 2016] may clear the way for acquisition of armed Predator C jet-powered UAVs made by California-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI). [India] first expressed interest in the drone, also named Avenger by California-based GA-ASI, [in September 2015]. India has also made inquiries about the Predator XP, but this export version is licensed only for surveillance.

“MTCR was the first step. Now things can be discussed. The U.S. Foreign Military Sales process is lengthy and it has to be also cleared by the U.S. Congress,” an Indian defense ministry official told AIN…The jet-powered Predator can carry a payload of up to 6,500 pounds and has a range of 1,800 miles, flying at up to 50,000 feet.” [SEE WHOLE AINonline ARTICLE]

2.  General Atomics reports June 13, 2016 An Improved Avenger that can carry a MS-177 Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor that “dramatically alters the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance [ISR] landscape,” is being developed. Improved Avenger will extend the aircraft's already impressive endurance from 15 hours to 20 hours…[and] will provide an optimal balance of long loiter ISR and precision-strike capability, supporting a wide array of sensors and weapons payloads to perform high-speed, long-endurance, multi-mission ISR and ground support missions. 

 Noting the DARPA artwork above. Russian access to Avenger technology would also be very useful to Russia in building counter-measures against the US 6th generation fighter "herding" UAS' strategy. 
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3.  DARPA’s [sixth generation] Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program…intends to focus in particular on developing and demonstrating improvements in collaborative autonomy between 6th / sixth generation jets and advanced UAVs / UAS' / UCAVs.

SUBSEQUENT ARTICLE

On June 28, 2016 The Diplomat reported on an Indian flotillas visit to the Russian Pacific Fleet Base of Vladivostok. The report also indicated:

"India and Russia already have a strong defense relationship as part of their broader strategic partnership, with both sides engaging not just in exercises and exchanges but more advanced areas like joint research, development, and production of defense technologies and systems. As an Indian government press release on the warships visit noted, varying degrees of progress on projects such as the BrahMos missile system, joint design and development of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, licensed production of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks, and the induction of the aircraft carrier Vikramditya into the Indian Navy are some tangible examples of this."

Pete

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,

Hope this finds you in good heath.

It appears the cold war is still going on in the minds of a few people.

A few things:

'The Pentagon or US Congress should not believe "we will not pass on technology" clauses':
Are there any specific clauses you would recommend that are believable? Or are you just suggesting that the Indians cannot be trusted? If anything, there seems to be a lack of trust in the USA by the Indian govt, rather than the other way around.

'The US is not passing India 5th Generation stealth technology(the F35) for sound reasons..':
As opposed to 'passing on' the stealth technology to whom? If by the above statement you mean not offering to sell the aircraft, I think you may be off mark, check out:

http://topnews.in/usa/us-makes-strong-pitch-f-35-fighter-jets-india-213477

http://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-60286320111103

Also, it isn't "non-aligned" anymore it's now "multi-aligned".
And the Russians have most likely got their hands on US drone technology already, for example:

http://times.altervista.org/iran-hands-over-captured-us-drone-technology-to-russia/

What exactly do you think is the likelihood of the UK and Australia coming under (drone?)airstrikes of Russia/Iran in the foreseeable future? Please do tell.


Regards,
Sujith.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Sujith

Some great 'n curly questions.

They are being considered in the Halls of Power, way up atop Defence Central, Russell Hill, Canberra.

Regards

Pete