Boeing Receives Contract for C-17 Aircrew Training System
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, Aug. 13, 2008 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has been awarded a U.S. Air Force contract to provide a C-17 Aircrew Training System (ATS) to Dover Air Force Base (AFB), Del. The system will provide training to Air Mobility Command and Air Force Reserve Command C-17 crew members. Financial terms are not being disclosed.
Boeing has developed, operates and supports nine continental U.S. C-17 ATS sites and expects to expand to three more within and outside the continental United States by 2010. With a tradition of successful C-17 aircrew training delivery to the U.S. Air Force since 1992, Boeing has also become the C-17 training provider of choice for customers from the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
The key elements in the ATS are the Weapons Systems Trainer (WST) -- a highly realistic, full-motion simulator used for pilot training -- and the loadmaster station, which is a training device used by loadmaster students to perform preflight operations, operate aircraft systems and practice emergency procedures
The WST in Dover's ATS will be the 20th to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force. "The WST is a critical component to the ATS, which is a proven training system with a long history of producing highly qualified and effective pilots and loadmasters," said Tracy Mead, C-17 ATS program manager for Boeing.
The contract also includes an option for an additional WST to be delivered to Charleston AFB, S.C. If the option is exercised, it will be the fourth WST Boeing has delivered to the base.
"The Charleston WST will be the first Air Force trainer we deliver that has simulated avionics instead of physical aircraft avionics," said Mead. "We plan to upgrade all of the existing WSTs with this technology, which means that we will be able to return the aircraft avionics to the C-17 aircraft program, allowing it to increase its spares inventory."
The C-17 ATS provides instruction to more than 1,500 new pilot, co-pilot and loadmaster students each year while maintaining continuation training for more than 8,000 active, reserve and Air National Guard aircrew.
Boeing Tests Entire Weapon System on Advanced Tactical Laser Aircraft
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, Aug. 13, 2008 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has successfully completed the first ground test of the entire weapon system integrated aboard the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft, achieving a key milestone in the ATL Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program.
During the test Aug. 7 at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., the ATL aircraft, a C-130H, fired its high-energy chemical laser through its beam control system. The beam control system acquired a ground target and guided the laser beam to the target, as directed by ATL's battle management system. The laser passes through a rotating turret on the aircraft's belly.
"By firing the laser through the beam control system for the first time, the ATL team has begun to demonstrate the functionality of the entire weapon system integrated aboard the aircraft," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. "This is a major step toward providing the ultra-precision engagement capability that the warfighter needs to dramatically reduce collateral damage."
After conducting additional tests on the ground and in the air, the program will demonstrate ATL's military utility by firing the laser in-flight at mission-representative ground targets later this year.
On May 13, the high-energy laser was fired aboard the ATL aircraft for the first time, demonstrating reliable operations previously achieved in a laboratory. During that test, an onboard calorimeter captured the laser beam before it left the aircraft.
ATL, which Boeing is developing for the U.S. Department of Defense, will destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations. Boeing's ATL industry team includes L-3 Communications/Brashear, which made the laser turret, and HYTEC Inc., which made various structural elements of the weapon system.
China And Russia May Co-Design New Passenger Plane
(NSI News Source Info) August 13, 2008: Russia may launch a joint venture with China to continue the development of a new passenger airliner, MS-21, the head of a Russian state-run aviation corporation said on Monday.
"We will come to a decision with Chinese manufacturers next year on the possibility of setting up a joint venture to design a new mid-range passenger aircraft, MS-21," Alexei Fyodorov, the CEO of the United Aircraft Building Corporation, said at the Farnborough-2008 air show in Britain.
The MS-21 plane is being developed by Russia's major manufacturing companies - Ilyushin, Tupolev and Yakovlev - to replace the aging Tu-154, which currently services some 80% of Russia's passenger and freight traffic, and also the Airbus A-320 and Boeing 737 aircraft.
The new passenger jet, due to enter service in 2012, is expected to be 10-15% more efficient than its class's Boeing and Airbus. However, its target price will be just $35 million, $20 million below that of the similarly-sized Boeing 737-700.
Fyodorov said the financing of the project, expected to total about $6.5 billion, would be evenly split between the state and private investors.
He said that China was already developing a program to build a similar type of aircraft and that a meeting with a Chinese working group was expected in the near future to discuss prospects for cooperation.
Fyodorov also said Russia would soon announce international tenders for the production of MS-21 components.
"We will announce global tenders with the participation of leading foreign and domestic companies to manufacture components for the MS-21, the most ambitious Russian project in the sphere of civil aviation," Fyodorov said.
The single-aisle MS-21 family of passenger aircraft is designed to seat between 150 and 220 passengers and to fly up to 5,000 kilometers (3,125 miles), or 6,350 kilometers (4,000 miles) in the case of the longer-range model.
Together with the Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger plane, the MS-21 may potentially satisfy 80% of Russian air carriers' demand for new aircraft.
Russian troops roll into strategic Georgian city
(NSI News Source Info) OUTSIDE GORI, Georgia August 13, 2008 — Russian troops and paramilitaries rolled into the strategic Georgian city of Gori on Wednesday, apparently violating a truce designed to end the conflict that has uprooted tens of thousands and scarred the Georgian landscape.
In Washington, President Bush said the United States planned a massive humanitarian effort involving American ships and aircraft, includiung a C-17 military cargo plane loaded with supplies that landed on Wednesday.
He said Russia must ensure that "all lines of communication and transport, including seaports, roads and airports," remain open to let deliveries and civilians through.
Georgian officials said Gori, a central hub on Georgia's main east-west highway, was looted and bombed by the Russians before they left later in the day and camped nearby.
Moscow denied the accusations, but it appeared to be on a technicality: a BBC reporter in Gori reported that Russians tanks were in the streets as their South Ossetian separatist allies seized Georgian cars, looted Georgian homes and then set some homes ablaze.
"Russia has treacherously broken its word," Georgia's Security Council chief Alexander Lomaia said Wednesday in Tbilisi, the capital.
An AP reporter saw dozens of trucks and armored vehicles leaving Gori, roaring southeast. Soldiers waved at journalists and one soldier jokingly shouted to a photographer: "Come with us, beauty, we're going to Tbilisi!"
But the convoy turned north and left the highway about an hour's drive from the Georgian capital, and set up camp a mile off the road. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russian troops were near Gori to secure weapons left behind by the Georgians.
To the west, Russian-backed Abkhazian separatists pushed Georgian troops out of Abkhazia and even moved into Georgian territory itself, defiantly planting a flag over the Inguri River and laughing that retreating Georgians had received "American training in running away."
The developments came less than 12 hours after Georgia's president said he accepted a cease-fire plan brokered by France. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday that Russia was halting military action because Georgia had paid enough for its attack last Thursday on South Ossetia.
Bush said he was skeptical that Moscow was honoring the cease-fire.
"To begin to repair the damage to its relations with the United States, Europe and other nations and to begin restoring its place in the world, Russia must keep its word and act to end this crisis," Bush said.
The EU peace plan calls for both sides to retreat to the positions they held prior to the outbreak of fighting late Thursday. That phrasing apparently would allow Georgian forces to return to the positions they held in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and clearly obliges Russia to leave all parts of Georgia except South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili criticized Western nations for failing to help Georgia, a U.S. ally that has been seeking NATO membership.
"I feel that they are partly to blame," he said Wednesday. "Not only those who commit atrocities are responsible ... but so are those who fail to react. In a way, Russians are fighting a proxy war with the West through us."
Russian at first denied that tanks were even in Gori but video footage proved otherwise.
About 50 Russian tanks entered Gori in the morning, according to Lomaia. The city of 50,000 lies 15 miles south of South Ossetia, where much of the fighting has taken place.
Some of the Russian units that later left to camp outside the city were camouflaged with foliage. The convoy was mainly support vehicles, including ambulances, although there were a few heavy cannons. There were about 100 combat troops and another 100 medics, drivers and other support personnel.
About six miles away from the camp, about 80 well-equipped Georgian soldiers were forming what appeared to be a new frontline, armed with pistols, shoulder-launched anti-tank rockets and Kalashnikovs.
Sporadic clashes continued in South Ossetia where Russians responded to Georgian snipers.
Georgia borders the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia and was ruled by Moscow for most of the two centuries preceding the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. Russia has handed out passports to most in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and stationed peacekeepers in both regions since the early 1990s. Georgia wants the Russian peacekeepers out, but Medvedev has insisted they stay.
Russia's Lavrov lashed back after Bush's comments Wednesday, calling Georgia's leadership "a special project of the United States. And we understand that the United States is worried about its project."
He was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying that at some point, the United States will have to choose: "either support for a virtual project, or real partnership on issues that really demand collective action," referring to U.S. cooperation with Russia in the U.N. Security Council on Iran and other world tension spots.
Meanwhile, Georgia's security chief also said Russian forces targeted three Georgian Coast Guard boats in the Black Sea port of Poti, and Georgian television showed boats ablaze in the harbor.
Bush expressed concern that Russian forces have entered and taken positions in Poti, that Russian armored vehicles are blocking access to that port, and that Russia is blowing up Georgian vessels.
Lavrov denied that Russian troops were anywhere near the city.
In the west, Georgian troops acknowledged Wednesday they had completely pulled out of a small section of Abkhazia they had controlled.
"This is Abkhazian land," one separatist told an AP reporter over the Inguri River, saying they were laying claim to historical Abkhazian territory.
The fighters had moved across a thin slice of land dotted with Georgian villages.
"The border has been along this river for 1,000 years," separatist official Ruslan Kishmaria told the AP on Wednesday. He said Georgia would have to accept the new border.
Nogovitsyn admitted Wednesday that Russian peacekeepers had disarmed Georgian troops in Kodori — the same peacekeepers that Georgia wants withdrawn.
Abkhazia lies close to the heart of many Russians. Its Black Sea coast was a favorite vacation spot in Soviet times and the province is just down the coast from Sochi, the Russian resort that will host the 2014 Olympics.
For several days, Russian troops held the western town of Zugdidi near Abkhazia, controlling the region's main highway. An AP reporter saw a convoy of 13 Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers in Zugdidi's outskirts Wednesday. Later in the day, Georgian officials said the Russians pulled out of Zugdidi.
"They just don't want freedom, and that's why they want to stamp on Georgia and destroy it," he declared to thousands at a jam-packed square in Tbilisi.
Leaders of five former Soviet bloc states — Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Ukraine — also appeared at the rally and spoke out against Russian domination.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko issued a decree Wednesday saying that Russian navy ships deployed to the Georgian coast will need authorization to return to the navy base Russia leases from Ukraine.
The World Food Program sent 34 tons of high-energy biscuits Wednesday help the tens of thousands uprooted by the fighting.
Russia has accused Georgia of killing more than 2,000 people, mostly civilians, in South Ossetia. The claim couldn't be independently confirmed, but witnesses who fled the area over the weekend said hundreds had died.
Georgia says at least 175 Georgians have died in Russian air and ground attacks.
The Russia-Georgia dispute also reached the international courts, with the Georgian security council saying it had sued Russia for alleged ethnic cleansing.
The rights group Human Rights Watch said Wednesday it has witnessed South Ossetian fighters looting ethnic Georgians' houses and has recorded multiple accounts of Georgian militias intimidating ethnic Ossetians. The report was important independent confirmation of the claims by each side in the Russia-Georgia conflict.
At the Beijing Olympics, Georgian women rallied Wednesday to beat their Russian counterparts in beach volleyball, the first head-to-head clash of the two nations.
"Russia and Georgia are actually friends. People are friends," said the Georgian beach volleyball team leader, Levan Akhtulediani. "But you know, it's not, in the 21st century, to bomb a neighbor country, it's not a good idea."
"I say once again, its better to compete on the field rather than outside the field," he added.
A Russian military convoy near Gori, Georgia, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008. Russian tanks rolled into the strategic Georgian city of Gori on Wednesday then pressed deeper into Georgia territory, smashing an EU-brokered truce designed to end six-day conflict that has uprooted 100,000 people and scarred the Georgian landscape.
Paramilitary troops secure a Russian military convoy near Gori, Georgia, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008. Russian tanks rolled into the strategic Georgian city of Gori on Wednesday then pressed deeper into Georgia territory, smashing an EU-brokered truce designed to end six-day conflict that has uprooted 100,000 people and scarred the Georgian landscape.
Soldiers ride atop an armored personnel carrier as a Russian military convoy proceeds near Gori, Georgia, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008. Russian tanks rolled into the strategic Georgian city of Gori on Wednesday then pressed deeper into Georgia territory, smashing an EU-brokered truce designed to end six-day conflict that has uprooted 100,000 people and scarred the Georgian landscape.
US Navy's LCS Offers Transformational Capability
(NSI News Source Info) Washington DC August 13, 2008: The first of the Navy's littoral combat ships, LCS-1 Freedom, got underway for builder trials on Lake Michigan on July 28. Builder trials test the ship's propulsion, communications, navigation and mission systems.
The LCS is designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
"LCS is a transformational program. It provides the first capability we've had to really be able to perform in littoral regions the way we believe we're going to need to over the next many years given all the challenges that we see worldwide in littoral regions," said Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter.
He went on to add that he wanted to make the visit to get a better feel of how the ship is coming along and make a statement of how important he thinks this program is.
After the completion of builder trials, the Freedom crew will begin preparing for acceptance trials.
Russian Arms Exports To Exceed Eight Billion Dollars In 2008
(NSI News Source Info) Moscow - August 13, 2008: Russia's military exports will exceed $8.5 billion in 2008, a senior government official said on Tuesday. Russia has doubled annual arms exports since 2000 to $7 billion last year, becoming the world's second-largest exporter of conventional arms after the United States.
Military exports "are planned at $8.5 billion this year , and I think we will fully meet the plan, and even exceed it," Mikhail Dmitriyev, head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, told in a news conference.
Russia exports weapons to about 80 countries. Among key buyers of Russian-made weaponry are China, India, Algeria, Venezuela, Iran, Malaysia and Serbia.
"Our foreign customers are queuing up for new Russian-made weaponry," Dmitriyev said. "Among our main 10-15 customers are China, India, almost all Middle East countries, Algeria, Morocco and Venezuela."
The most popular types of weaponry bought from Russia are Sukhoi and MiG fighters, air defense systems, helicopters, main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.
Russia also maintains traditionally strong positions in sales of small arms, and anti-tank and air-defense missile systems.
Dmitriyev said Russia's defense companies were overloaded with orders and urgently needed to increase capacity to meet existing orders and ensure future growth in national arms exports.
"I think our defense industry can handle this situation," he said.
US Paid More than $85 Billion for 190,000 Iraq Contractors/Contractors in Iraq
(NSI News Source Info) August 13, 2008: Contractors play a substantial role in supporting the United States’ current military, reconstruction, and diplomatic operations in Iraq, accounting for a significant portion of the manpower and spending for those activities. CBO released a study today, conducted at the request of the Senate Committee on the Budget, on the use of contractors in the Iraq theater to support U.S. activities in Iraq. CBO found: -- From 2003 through 2007, and converting the funding into 2008 dollars, U.S. agencies awarded $85 billion in contracts for work to be principally performed in the Iraq theater, accounting for almost 20 percent of funding for operations in Iraq. Including funding for 2008 itself, the U.S. has likely awarded $100 billion or more for contractors in the Iraq theater. -- More than 70 percent of those obligations were for contracts performed in Iraq itself. The Department of Defense awarded contracts totaling $76 billion, and the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of State obligated roughly $5 billion and $4 billion, respectively, over the same period. -- Contractors provide a wide range of products and services in theater. Most contract obligations were for logistics support, construction, petroleum products, or food. -- Although personnel counts are rough approximations, CBO estimates that at least 190,000 contractor personnel, including subcontractors, work on U.S.-funded contracts in the Iraq theater. About 20 percent are U.S. citizens. -- The United States has used contractors during previous military operations, although not to the current extent. According to rough historical data, the ratio of about one contractor employee for every member of the U.S. armed forces in the Iraq theater is at least 2.5 times higher than the ratio during any other major U.S. conflict, although it is roughly comparable with the ratio during operations in the Balkans in the 1990s. Private security contractors have been a particular focus of attention. Our analysis shows: -- Total spending by the U.S. government and other contractors for security provided by contractors in Iraq from 2003 through 2007 was between $6 billion and $10 billion. -- About 10,000 employees of private security contractors work directly for the U.S. government. Another 15,000 to 20,000 work for the Iraqi government, other contractors, and other customers, bringing the total to approximately 25,000 to 30,000 employees of private security contractors operating in Iraq. -- The costs of a private security contract are similar to those of a U.S. military unit performing similar functions. During peacetime, however, the private security contract would not have to be renewed, whereas the military unit would remain in the force structure. Regarding the legal issues associated with contractor personnel, CBO finds that military commanders have less direct authority over the actions of contractor personnel than over their military or civilian government subordinates. In addition, the legal status of contractor personnel in Iraq is uncertain, particularly for those who are armed.
Congress Details Massive Use of Private Contractors in Iraq
(NSI News Source Info) August 13, 2008: WASHINGTON - At the height of last year's military surge in Iraq, the United States had roughly 168,000 troops deployed in the country. But America's armed forces have been outnumbered by what some see as a private army funded by the federal government: contractors that provide a wide array of services, from security operations to rebuilding projects to logistical support. Peter Orszag heads the Congressional Budget Office, which issued a report on the costs of private contractors in Iraq. "The federal government has awarded $85 billion in contracts for work in [the] Iraq theater through 2007. If you included this year, the total would exceed $100 billion: roughly one of every $5 for the cost of the war in Iraq," he said. Orszag says the use of private contractors in U.S. military engagements is not new. What is new, however, is the extent of the reliance on private firms. The Iraq war marks the first time in which the number of private personnel has equaled or exceeded the number of military personnel. By contrast, the CBO report notes that, during World War II, military personnel outnumbered private contractors by a ratio of seven-to-one. The CBO says most private contracts for Iraq have been awarded through the Department of Defense and the State Department. According to the report, the yearly cost of maintaining a single private contractor in Iraq can approach half a million dollars - far exceeding the annual pay of even the most senior military commanders. But the CBO estimates that, when combat pay, benefits, and troop rotations are factored in, the cost of a private contractor is roughly equivalent to that of a soldier performing the same function. Pentagon officials openly admit that, even with extensive use of private contractors, America's lengthy engagement in Iraq has placed heavy burdens on the military. Peter Orszag says, without the contractors, the strain would be even more severe. "We are really running our military at a much harder rate without the kind of rest and retraining that the military itself says is necessary. Given the level of operations we are engaged in, were it not for the contractors, we would presumably be running an even less-sustainable pace of activity for military personnel," he said. Orszag says one advantage of using private contractors is the ability to rapidly terminate funding when services are no longer required. By contrast, military personnel enlist for years at a time and remain on the payroll for the duration of their service. But the CBO director also noted that private contractors have come under scrutiny for allegations of fraud and abuse in Iraq, and employing them necessitates vigilance and oversight to ensure that funds are not misused.
Afghanistan seeks funding to increase army strength
(NSI News Source Info) 13 August 2008: The Afghanistan government has requested funds to increase the size of the Afghan National Army (ANA) to 120,000 by 2013.
A US Department of Defense (DoD) spokesman announced on 8 August that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was backing the plan, which is yet to be officially approved. The ANA's expansion would cost an estimated USD17 billion, he said, although that figure also takes into account the financing of ANA operations over the next five years and investment in the Afghan Air Corps.
The spokesman added that the US would seek to share the cost of building up the ANA with other NATO allies.
In April Afghan government representatives attending the NATO summit in Bucharest lobbied hard for the ANA's strength to be increased to 120,000. The ANA currently has around 65,000 troops and is on course to reach 86,000 - its original mandated strength - in 2009.
According to David Livingstone, associate fellow of the international security programme at Chatham House, investing in the ANA is the right thing to do so long as it results in NATO forces "going back into barracks" and translates into "a reduction of US forces on the ground".
Taking foreign troops out of the equation at the earliest sensible opportunity is key to restoring security, he said, while acknowledging that NATO forces would have to "continue to sit on the ANA's shoulder" at least in the medium term.
Image: Afghan National Army soldiers will increase in number to 120,000 over the next five years
Israel, Canada Ink UAV Deal
(NSI News Source Info) 13 August, 2008: JERUSALEM - Israel Aerospace Industries has signed a contract to supply unmanned aerial drones to Canada for use by its special forces, Israel's Ynet news service reported Aug. 13.
The Heron-TP drones each have a wingspan of 26 meters (85 feet) and can remain airborne for 36 hours at a time at an altitude of up to 1.5 kilometers (about a mile).
The first batch of aircraft, worth an estimated $90 million, would be delivered by 2011, with another series furnished in the following three years at a cost of $35 million, Ynet said, without stating how many aircraft are involved in the deal.
An official at the aerospace company confirmed the agreement had been signed but declined to give further details.
The company is hoping to sign another contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars to supply similar drones to Germany, the official said.
THAAD, Aegis Radars Cooperate in Anti-Missile Test
(NSI News Source Info) 13 August, 2008: Traveling thousands of meters per second, a 20-foot Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor missile destroyed an advanced, separating warhead dummy target just beneath the 60-mile envelope of the Earth's atmosphere off the cost of Hawaii during a June test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai.
A THAAD interceptor missile fires at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.
The test intercept marked the first time the THAAD and Aegis radar systems worked together in a tactical scenario against a separating warhead, Missile Defense Agency (MDA) officials said.
"A separating warhead is not like a Scud which is a unitary warhead but rather a separating target which means it releases its warhead. It is more like the North Korean No-dong missile," said Rick Lehner, an MDA spokesman.
In the exercise, the THAAD and Aegis missile defense radar systems worked in tandem and cued one another rather than separately scanning a 360-degree field, MDA officials said. The Aegis radar enabled the THAAD radar to zero in on the target.
"THAAD uses transportable X-band radar which can get a cue from a variety of sources. The X-band radar can perform very precise tracking of a warhead. The THAAD radar was able to direct and cue the Aegis radar. It was very significant for the missile defense infrastructure to be able to pass along radar cues to other platforms like Aegis," said Lehner.
"The overall goal is to be able to integrate all of the radars and command-and-control systems so that you have a truly layered missile defense," he said.
Lockheed Martin engineers have been working with MDA on further integrating different elements of the missile defense system.
"We have been progressively integrating more of the ballistic missile defense system. Aegis took a cue from THAAD. The intercept itself was well within the needed specifications," said Tom McGrath, Lockheed vice president and THAAD program manager.
The integration between THAAD and Aegis is key to defeating more advanced separating warheads.
"Longer-range threats separate from the booster. Any of the longer-range and medium-range threats all have separating re-entry vehicles for greater velocity. We demonstrated the radar information used to discriminate between what is a booster and what is the target. X-band radar can provide precise tracking and discrimination, then the on-board seeker takes over and that is how you are able to kill the target in the terminal phase," said McGrath.
"The seeker will decide what the re-entry vehicle is and go kill it. This gives you much more robustness in execution in making sure you kill the lethal object by using both RF [radio frequency] and IR [infrared]," he said.
THAAD, designed with high-speed hit-to-kill technology, is engineered to intercept incoming missile threats in the final or terminal phase of its trajectory when it is closest to its target. In previous tests, THAAD has also demonstrated the ability to intercept incoming targets at the lower end of the "midcourse phase" beyond the Earth's atmosphere.
THAAD's mobile launcher is an Oshkosh Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck A3 with on-board electronics able to fire in less than one minute when necessary, McGrath said. The launcher holds up to eight missiles.
"This is a deployable asset," said McGrath.
A production contract for the first two THAAD fire control units was awarded to Lockheed Martin in late 2006. Production of the THAAD launcher and fire control and communications unit is under way at Lockheed's manufacturing facility in Camden, Ark., and interceptor production is being conducted at Lockheed's Pike County Facility in Troy, Ala.
The Army will deliver THAAD by September 2009; the first deployment will come between 2010 and 2012 depending upon funding, Lehner said.
The next test, slated for September, will fire two THAAD interceptors at a separating target in a realistic, tactical scenario, Lockheed officials said. In addition, upcoming flights tests in 2010, 2011 and 2012 are planned to prove the interceptor's ability to discriminate targets from decoys.
Russia had no choice but counterattack in S.Ossetia - Gorbachev
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, August 13, 2008 - Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Russia had no choice but to launch a counterattack to Georgia's offensive in breakaway South Ossetia, but it is still possible to find a political solution to the crisis. "What happened on the night of August 7 is beyond comprehension," Gorbachev said in an article The Guardian published on Wednesday. "The Georgian military attacked the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali with multiple rocket launchers designed to devastate large areas."
"Russia had to respond. To accuse it of aggression against 'small, defenseless Georgia' is not just hypocritical but shows a lack of humanity," he said in the article.
"Nevertheless, it was still possible to find a political solution. Clearly, the only way to solve the South Ossetian problem on that basis is through peaceful means. The Georgian leadership flouted this key principle," Gorbachev, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said.
Gorbachev told the paper that the Georgian authorities could only undertake the offensive "with the perceived support" of a much more powerful force - an apparent reference to the United States, which has trained Georgian troops and backed the country's bid to join NATO.
Now that the military assault has been routed, Gorbachev said, "the Georgian government and its supporters should rethink their position."
Gorbachev said some Western nations' positions prevented the UN Security Council from acting effectively at the start of the conflict. He also said that by declaring the Caucasus region that is thousands of miles from the American continent a sphere of its "national interest," the U.S. made a serious blunder.
"Of course, peace in the Caucasus is in everyone's interest. But it is simply common sense to recognize that Russia is rooted there by common geography and centuries of history. Russia is not seeking territorial expansion, but it has legitimate interests in this region," The Guardian reported him as saying.
Gorbachev said the international community should in the long term seek to create a sub-regional security system to make the possibility of crises impossible, which requires cooperation with regional countries and fair and unbiased stances of nations outside the region.
"A lesson from recent events is that geopolitical games are dangerous anywhere, not just in the Caucasus," he said.
"Already, thousands of people have died, tens of thousands have been turned into refugees, and towns and villages lie in ruins. Nothing can justify this loss of life and destruction. It is a warning to all," Gorbachev said.
Georgia and Russia agreed on Tuesday to a modified version of a French-brokered interim peace plan, which requires an immediate ceasefire and the pullback of forces to their previous positions. The European Union approved the plan on Wednesday.
Georgia's territorial integrity and the return of refugees would be the focus of the next stage of talks, French President Nicolas Sarkozy earlier said.
However, Russia's military said Tuesday that Georgia is failing to completely abide by the ceasefire and sniper attacks are continuing, and Russian peacekeepers have to respond to provocative attacks.
Georgia also reported the continued movement of Russian troops inside its territory. Russia denied the reports.
Russian troops down Georgian drone over S. Ossetia
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, August 13, 2008 - Russian peacekeepers shot down a Georgian unmanned reconnaissance plane over the capital of breakaway South Ossetia on Wednesday, a Defense Ministry official said.
"Despite Georgia's assurances that it would end military action, a Georgian unmanned drone was detected over Tskhinvali on Wednesday. ... Russian peacekeepers shot it down," the official said.
The spokesman said the drone was downed around 17:30 [13:30 GMT] and was the second reconnaissance aircraft to be shot down over the region since last night.
At least eight flights by reconnaissance drones over the separatist republic were reported by Russian peacekeepers last Thursday, a day before Georgia launched its devastating military offensive on South Ossetia August 8.
Moscow says some 70 Russian soldiers killed in S.Ossetia
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, August 13, 2008 - A top Russian military official said on Wednesday that 74 Russian military personnel died during recent fighting with Georgian troops in breakaway South Ossetia.
"At least 74 servicemen were killed, 171 were wounded and 19 are missing in action as of Wednesday morning," said Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy head of the General Staff.
Wednesday was declared a day of mourning in Russia.
Russian officials earlier said about 1,600 civilians were killed and more than 30,000 have fled South Ossetia since Georgia attempted to regain control of the region by launching a large-scale offensive last Friday.
During the subsequent Russian military operation to force Georgian troops out of the de facto independent republic and to reinforce its peacekeepers, Moscow sent some 10,000 troops and several hundred armored vehicles into the area.
Nogovitsyn said figures for Georgian losses were currently unavailable.
Georgia's National Security Council said on Wednesday the country has started talks with Russia on the exchange of military personnel captured during the conflict. The total number of prisoners taken by both sides has not been yet reported.
Nogovitsyn said Russia has made its own proposals on the exchange of prisoners and bodies and was waiting for Georgia's reply.
Georgia and Russia agreed on Tuesday to a modified version of a French-brokered six-point peace plan, which requires an immediate ceasefire and the pullback of forces to their previous positions.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the peace plan would be discussed by EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, and that a legally binding agreement should then be signed. Georgia's territorial integrity and the return of refugees would be the focus of the next stage of talks.
However, Nogovitsyn said Georgia is failing to completely abide by a ceasefire in South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers have to respond to provocative attacks.
"Sporadic sniper attacks are continuing, and although the Russian side is supposed to remain within the boundaries of peacekeeping activity, we must respond to such provocations, as was unambiguously announced by the commander-in-chief," Nogovitsyn said.
Georgia has also reported the continued movement of Russian troops inside its territory. Russia has denied that its troops are moving from the city of Gori in the direction of the Georgian capital.
Russia has meanwhile sent over 1,700 rescue workers and hundreds of medical personal to the devastated South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, the emergencies minister said on Wednesday. Two field hospitals have been set up in the city, and rubble is being cleared and sanitary measures taken to prevent a pandemic.
Russia slams Ukraine decree on Black Sea Fleet as anti-Russian
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, August 13, 2008 - The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that a decree issued by the Ukrainian president requiring prior notification for naval movements of Russia's Black Sea Fleet is a 'new serious anti-Russian step.'
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed the decree Wednesday stating that Russia was required to notify the Ukrainian authorities of all movements by naval vessels and aircraft from its Crimea-based Black Sea Fleet.
"The new directives are aimed at creating a serious obstacle for the day-to-day operations of the Fleet and contradict the 1997 agreements between Russia and Ukraine on the status and terms of the Russian Black Sea Fleet's presence on Ukrainian territory," the ministry said in a statement.
According to the decree, Russia must seek permission from Kiev for the movement of its warships and aircraft beyond Ukrainian borders. Permission is to be sought no later than 72 hours prior to any planned maneuvers.
"This unilateral step delivers another blow to talks on the issue of the Black Sea Fleet as well as the whole range of bilateral relations," the statement said.
The ministry also said "Russia regards the Ukrainian leader's actions as contradicting the spirit and letter of the named agreements and the 1997 Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine."
Ships from Russia's Black Sea Fleet patrolled the waters off the Georgian coast during Russia's "peace enforcement" operation that began after Georgia launched an offensive in breakaway South Ossetia on August 8.
Yushchenko signed the document after returning from Tbilisi, where he took part in a mass rally in support of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili amid fighting with Russia. Both leaders have pursued pro-Western policies, seeking to join NATO and the European Union and reduce Russian influence.
Russia's Black Sea Fleet uses the Sevastopol base under an agreement signed in 1997. Yushchenko announced earlier this year that Ukraine would not extend the lease beyond 2017.
In early June, Russia's lower house of parliament adopted a resolution saying the Russian-Ukrainian cooperation treaty could be declared invalid if Ukraine joins NATO.
Ukraine's pro-Western leadership has been pursuing NATO membership since Yushchenko's 2004 election. Ukraine failed to secure an agreement on a NATO Membership Action Plan, a key step toward joining the alliance, at the organization's summit in April, but was told the decision would be reviewed in December.
Boeing's 1st P-8A Poseidon Moves From Final Assembly to Preflight
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, Aug. 13, 2008 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) and Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) employees gathered today in Renton, Wash., to celebrate the completion of final assembly on the first P-8A Poseidon for the U.S. Navy and its move to preflight work.
IDS and BCA are building the P-8A, a military derivative of the 737-800, on a third final assembly production line in Renton. The third line takes advantage of the proven efficiencies, manufacturing processes and performance of the highly reliable Next-Generation 737.
"We're proud to have completed final assembly on the first P-8A Poseidon," said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and P-8 program manager for BCA. "Our objective on the P-8 program is to provide the Navy with the world's most advanced maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. BCA and IDS working together as one team will be able to do just that."
IDS will now focus on calibrating the flight-test instrumentation onboard the aircraft before moving it to Boeing Field in Seattle early next year for systems integration and additional testing.
"Program milestones, both big and small, are met daily thanks to our outstanding Poseidon team," said Bob Feldmann, vice president and P-8 program manager. "Since the start of final assembly in late March, the team has met all assembly milestones, including wing-to-body-join and start of the moving line in May, completion of full-power testing and engine installation in June and, most recently, engine run."
The Navy plans to purchase 108 P-8As to replace its fleet of P-3C aircraft. Initial operational capability is slated for 2013.
India's Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) Project
(NSI News Source Info) August 13, 2008: The nuclear haves are increasingly relying on sea-based nuclear deterrence in preference to land and air segments. India has a number of foreign-produced cruise missile systems in its arsenal, to include Exocet, Styx, Starbright, Sea Eagle, and perhaps the Russian Sunburn supersonic missile. It also has some indigenous cruise missile systems under development to include the Sagarika and Lakshya variant.
The Sagarika (Oceanic) began development in 1994 as a submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) which will have a range of at least 300 kms (a few claim 1000 kms); it was projected for deployment around 2005. The program has met with considerable delays and the missile is not expected to become operational before 2010. Tt will probably arm India's nuclear submarine, the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV).
India is a nation that fights for entering the select group of countries that build nuclear powered submarines. Its program ATV, or Advanced Technology Vessel, was initiated in 1974. But aftre three decades it still had not presented results that could modify the current picture of the navies with nuclear propulsion.
India has been working actively since 1985 to develop an indigenously constructed nuclear-powered submarine, one that was based on the Soviet Charlie II-class design, detailed drawings of which are said to have been obtained from the Soviet Union in 1989. This project illustrates India's industrial capabilities and weaknesses. The secretive Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project to provide nuclear propulsion for Indian submarines has been one of the more ill-managed projects of India.
Although India has the capability of building the hull and developing or acquiring the necessary sensors, its industry has been stymied by several system integration and fabrication problems in trying to downsize a 190 MW pressurized water reactor (PWR) to fit into the space available within the submarine's hull. The Proto-type Testing Centre (PTC) at the Indira Gandhi Centre For Atomic Research. Kalpakkam, will be used to test the submarine's turbines and propellers. A similar facility is operational at Vishakapatnam to test the main turbines and gear box.
According to some accounts India planned to have as many as five nuclear submarines capable of carrying missiles with nuclear warheads. The Indian nuclear powered attack submarine design is said to have a 4,000-ton displacement and a single-shaft nuclear power plant of Indian origin. Once the vessel is completed, it may be equipped with Danush/Sagarika cruise missiles and an advanced sonar system. However, according to some analysts the most probable missile for the Indian submarine would be the Yahont anti-ship cruise missile designed by NPO Mashinostroyeniya.
With the participation he accomplishes of involved Russian scientists and technician in the diverse phases of the program, has possibility of that the first Indian submarine with nuclear propulsion, with 9,400 tons of displacement when submerged and 124 meters of length, can be operational in 2009, will have been launched in 2006-2007.
By 2004 it was reported that the first ATV would be launched by 2007. At that time it was reported that it would be an SSGN and displacing some 6,500 tons, with a design derivative of Russia's Project 885 Severodvinsk-class (Yasen) SSN. The ATV multirole platform would be employed for carrying out long-distance interdiction and surveillance of both submerged targets as well as principal surface combatants. It would also facilitate Special Forces operations by covertly landing such forces ashore. The ATV pressure hull will be fabricated with the HY-80 steel obtained from Russia.
This way would have the possibility of multiple performance: it could use missiles of cruise of average reach (1,000 km), ballistic missiles of short reach (300 km), torpedoes and mines, besides participating of operations special. If it will have success in this taken over on a contract basis, will be valid to assume that the Indian Fleet will count on four to six of these submarines until the year of 2020.
Vessel Type: Submarine
Program: Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV)
Total Number: 4-6
Unit Cost (US$): 1B (Est.)
Builder: Vishakapatnam Naval Dockyard (VND) with assistance from Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL). Displ. Tons; 5,500 – 6,500 (Est.)
Length: 100m (328ft) (Est.)
Beam: 15m (49.2ft) (Est.)
Draft: 9m (29.5ft) (Est.)
Nuclear: one pressurized water reactor (PWR) using 20% enriched uranium fuel (160-190MW); one turbine (47,000hp/70MW); one shaft; one 7-bladed, high-skew propeller. (Est.)
Speed (Knots): 12-15 (surfaced) 30-34 (submerged). (Est.)
Diving Depth: 300 m (984.2ft). (Est.)
Weapons: Torpedoes: Six 21 inch (533mm) torpedo tubes. Mines. A total capacity (mines, torpedoes, and missiles) of 30 weapons. (Est.)
Missiles: Submarine launched cruise missiles (SLCM) using either a vertical launch system or a torpedo tube launch, surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs), and a submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM). (Est.)
Singapore, Australia sign defense pact
(NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE, August 13, 2008 - The prime ministers of Singapore and Australia Tuesday signed an agreement to further strengthen bilateral defense ties.
During the signing ceremony and in their meeting, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who is in Singapore for a one-day visit, and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong characterized the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Defense Cooperation as a natural progression in the expansion of bilateral defense ties.
They expressed their shared conviction that the MOU will enhance the defense relationship between Australia and Singapore, said a joint statement.
The broad pact aims to expand military cooperation between the two countries, and will promote the sharing of resources and the development of military expertise.
"Both countries will also cooperate through exercises and operations, in areas such as humanitarian and disaster relief, search and rescue and peace support," said an individual statement by Singapore's Defense Ministry.
The pact also advocates cooperation in defense technology research and calls for annual meetings to be held between officials from the Australian Department of Defense and the Singapore Ministry of Defense.
The agreement "demonstrates the importance both countries place on bilateral military interactions and the political support from both countries for the various training arrangements between their armed forces," Singapore's Defense Ministry said.
Singapore and Australia have been partners in the Five Power Defense Arrangements since 1971, and Singapore's Armed Forces trains regularly in facilities in Australia.
Hawks Built in India Cost Less: Defence Ministry (NSI News Source Info) 13 August, 2008: NEW DELHI - India has built the British Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) at facilities of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) at rates nearly 20 percent less than those built by BAE Systems, said a senior Indian Defence Ministry official.
The first HAL-built Hawk is ready for delivery to the Indian Air Force on Aug. 14, the official said, adding that the cost of the HAL-built Hawk is about $14.2 million per aircraft while the Hawks built by BAE cost more than $20.2 million.
As part of a $1.7 billion contract signed between HAL and BAE in 2004, 66 Hawks were to be acquired for the Indian Air Force: 24 would be supplied in fly-away condition and the remaining 42 are to be assembled and license-produced at HAL. The entire project will be executed in eight years.
In June, HAL also bagged an order to build an additional 54 Hawk AJTs for the Navy and the Air Force.
So far, BAE Systems has flown in 12 Hawks to India. The aircraft are stationed at Air Force Station Bidar, in the southern state of Karnataka. All 24 Hawks were to have been delivered by June, but that schedule has been delayed.
Georgia sues Russia over 'ethnic cleansing'
(NSI News Source Info) TBILISI/THE HAGUE, August 13, 2008 - Georgia has filed a lawsuit against Russia at the International Court of Justice over alleged ethnic cleansing, the Georgian National Security Council secretary said.
"The suit contains material showing that Russia has committed ethnic cleansing against Georgia [during three interventions in South Ossetia and Abkhazia] from 1993 to 2008," Alexander Lomaya said.
He said the suit, which was submitted Tuesday, was immediately accepted for consideration and a preliminary investigation had already started.
The court in The Hague, Netherlands, confirmed the filing, in which Georgia requested it order Russia to comply with an international genocide convention, halt military operations in Georgia, including South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and pull out its troops.
On May 15 this year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution acknowledging ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia and called for the return of Georgian refugees. Some 300,000 Georgians fled Abkhazia during a vicious war in the early 1990s that led to the region's de facto independence.
For its part, Russia has accused Georgia of committing "genocide" by launching an offensive last Friday to regain control of the separatist province of South Ossetia.
Russian prosecutors have been gathering evidence to support allegations of genocide by Georgia against South Ossetians, most of whom hold Russian passports.
Russia's Novolipetsk Steel to buy U.S. John Maneely for $3.5 bln
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, August 13, 2008 - Novolipetsk Steel [LSE: NLMK], one of Russia's largest steel producers, said on Wednesday it had signed a final agreement to acquire the U.S.-based pipe manufacturer John Maneely Company (JMC) for $3.53 billion.
Under the deal, Novolipetsk Steel will acquire the U.S. steel pipe and tube producer from a group of shareholders, including global private equity firm Carlyle Group and the Zekelman family, on a debt free, cash free basis. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be closed in the fourth quarter.
"The acquisition of JMC fits with NLMK's stated strategy of portfolio diversification and downstream integration in the core markets of the company. It strengthens NLMK's position in North America and provides an entry point into an important and high-margin end market," Novolipetsk Steel said in a statement.
Established through the merger of John Maneely Company and Atlas Tube in 2006 and headquartered in Ohio, JMC operates eleven plants in five U.S. states and one Canadian province. The company has annual production capacity of over 3 million metric tons of steel pipe and tube, Novolipetsk Steel said.
In the 12-month period ending on June 30, 2008, JMC shipped 2.1 million metric tons of pipes and generated revenue of $2.4 billion, Novolipetsk Steel said.
Novolipetsk Steel currently has two production assets in the U.S.: Duferco Farrell Corp. and Sharon Coating, LLC.
Russian ship joins NATO anti-terror operation in Mediterranean
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, August 13, 2008 - A Russian Black Sea Fleet warship has joined a NATO-led counter-terror operation in the Mediterranean, the fleet's press service said on Wednesday.
"The Ladny [a Krivak-class guided missile frigate] of the Russian Black Sea Fleet has moored at Akzas Karagac, a Turkish naval base, thus starting its participation in Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean," the service said.
NATO's Operation Active Endeavor was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. Under the operation, NATO ships and aircraft monitor and escort shipping across the Mediterranean to prevent terrorist activity.
Russia joined the operation in 2005 and also regularly participates in the Black Sea Harmony counterterrorist operations in the Black Sea.
After Operation Active Endeavor, the Ladny will take part in IONIEX-2008 bilateral exercises with the Italian navy.
In 2007, Russian naval ships took part in nine joint exercises with foreign navies, including Blackseafor with Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Georgia, and Open Spirit 2007, involving Germany, Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belgium, France, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Estonia.