Monday, July 15, 2013

Russian air force puts X-38 air-to-surface missile into service

The Russian Air Force has put the advanced X-38 air-to-surface missile into service. Although the short-range missile was developed for the T-50 fifth generation fighter jet, the existing bombers and fighter jets, including Su-34 and MiG-29 CMT will be equipped with these missiles.
The missile was tested in great secrecy in 2012, and was commissioned in late December. The delivery of missiles will be started shortly. The new missile will be equipped with independently guided warheads. This solves various tasks and increases the striking power of T-50 multipurpose fighter jets. The missiles will be placed inside the jet that is being developed using stealth technology, says editor-in-chief of the “Independence Military Review” magazine Victor Litovkin.
“A fighter jet may have special characteristics, including non-visibility to radar and other detecting equipment, but it is just an aircraft. But when it is equipped with high-precision guided missiles, this is a high-precision aviation complex. That can be considered a fifth generation fighter jet. The fact, that the missile on board the jet increases its low visibility,” Victor Litovkin said.
The missile will not reflect on the radar screen. It has another advanced feature. It can orient itself during the flight using the GLONASS space navigation system. The recent armed conflicts, including in Afghanistan and the Middle East have shown that it is difficult to discover targets from air even with the guidance from the ground because advanced camouflaging systems have been developed. These missiles will be guided to the target by a GLONASS satellite, says Victor Litovkin.
“The missile’s accuracy increases owing to the GLONASS satellite that sees the target and missile and combines these two points. When taking into account the fact that this is a supersonic missile, a complicated task is solved, a missile that is flying at a high speed is guided to a target. In short, this is a great achievement of Russian missile designers,” Victor Litovkin added.
The X-38 missile is capable of hitting manoeuvering armoured vehicles and hideouts at a distance from 3 to 40 kilometers. These missiles will upgrade the combat capacity of the Russian Air Force. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Exercise Rapid Trident 2013 opens in Ukraine

8 July 2013, Yavoriv, Ukraine
 Land forces from 17 nations began two weeks of collective training in a ceremony July 8 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center here to mark the official start of Exercise Rapid Trident 2013.
Rapid Trident is a U.S. Army Europe led, U.S. European Command Joint Training and Exercise Program designed to enhance interoperability between forces and promote regional stability and security.
“Over the last several months Ukraine has set the highest of standards, and supported by dedicated planners from our partner countries, has set the conditions for excellent training,” said Exercise Co-Director U.S. Army Col. Alfred Renzi during his remarks at the opening ceremony.
Approximately 1,300 troops from 17 countries including host Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Turkey and the U.S. will participate in this year’s exercise.
The exercise is focused around a week-long field-training exercise (FTX), during which the multinational force will conduct operations against a simulated enemy. In preparation for the FTX, units will undergo one week of situational training exercises that focus on key tasks such as countering improvised-explosive devices, convoy operations and patrolling.
This year’s exercise is the 11th iteration of Rapid Trident, which was previously conducted under the name “Peace Shield” from 1998 to 2002. 
U.S. units participating in the exercise include an airborne-infantry company from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Observer Coach Trainers from the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, 21st Theater Support Command, U.S. Army Europe and the California Army National Guard.

Monday, July 8, 2013

One of the world's biggest open iron ore deposits is located close to Poltava

Komsomolsk is a purpose-built mining city in central Ukraine, located on the left bank of the Dnieper river, 120 km. away from Poltava. The city is pretty young, it was founded in 1960 as the residential and civic area for the Poltava Mining and Extraction Combinat. Nowadays it is controlled by the Ferrexpo - the most important iron ore-mining company in Ukraine.

Ferrexpo is a Swiss-based iron-ore producer operating in Ukraine. The business was founded by the Soviet government in 1960 as the "Poltava Mining and Extraction Combinat" to exploit iron ore reserves in Komsomolsk, Ukraine. The business was privatised in 2001 by the Ukrainian Government. In 1977 it started selling its product in the form of pellets. It was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2007. The Company sells most of its product to the steel mills of Eastern Europe.

80% of the city residents are employed by the mining industry. There are two gigantic open pit mines (up to 350 meters depth) and several spoil tips on the city territory, to the north-east and south of the residential area. 


The industry is served by several railway stations. However, the passenger service was discontinued and the city relies on intercity and suburban bus links. The combinat operates its own freight river port. Due to the profitability of mining, small city of Komsomolsk usually ranks high in all-Ukraine city rankings of birth rate, living standards, (un)employment and housing.