Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Apache Of The Future Takes Off (NSI News Source Info) August 20, 2008: The prototype of the AH 64 Block III Apache helicopter gunship took its first flight. The army will be upgrading all of its 634 AH-64s to the new Block III standard, a process that won't be completed until 2020. The first Block IIIs won't enter service for another three years. Block III has a more powerful and fuel efficient engine, as well as much improved electronics. Block III will also have Internet like capabilities with other aircraft and ground troops. Block III will be able to control several UAVs, and launch missiles at targets spotted by its UAVs. The Block III radar will have longer range and onboard computers will be much more powerful. The electronics will be easier to upgrade and maintain. The 7.5 ton AH-64D carries a pilot and a weapons officer, as well as up to 16 Hellfire missiles (plus the 30mm automatic cannon). Sorties average three hours. The AH-64 can operate at night and has a top speed of 260 kilometers an hour.
Turkish firm to upgrade elderly Pakistani F-16s (NSI News Source Info) August 20, 2008: Pakistan is paying a Turkish firm to upgrade elderly Pakistani F-16s from Block 15 configuration to Block 40 (about halfway to the highest upgrade level for an F-16). Now that the U.S. has lifted its arms embargo on Pakistan, there are many firms competing for all the work needed to update older American weapons still used by Pakistan. The Turks have long had good trade relations with Pakistan, and have also developed, with the help of the U.S. and Israel, a growing aircraft maintenance and upgrade industry. Most of the F-16 work will be done in Pakistan, using Turkish engineers and technicians supervising some local workers, and using largely imported (from Turkey and elsewhere) components. Turkey has long maintained one the largest F-16 fleets outside of the United States.
The PLA Air Force (PLAAF) and PLA Naval Air Force (PLANAF) operate a total of about 2,300 combat aircraft
The PLA Air Force (PLAAF) and PLA Naval Air Force (PLANAF) operate a total of about 2,300 combat aircraft. August 20, 2008 NSI News Source Info Aircraft The PLA Air Force (PLAAF) and PLA Naval Air Force (PLANAF) operate a total of about 2,300 combat aircraft, including air defence and multirole fighters, ground attack aircraft, fighter-bombers, and medium bombers. An additional trainers and older fighters and bombers are assigned to PLA flight academies or R&D. The two air arms also possess approximately 450 transports and over 90 special mission aircraft. About two thirds of the aircraft are based in the east part of the country. Fighters. Since the first Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker fighter entered service in 1992, the PLAAF and PLAN have received a total of 78 Su-27s and 100 Su-30MKKs. Licensed co-production of the Su-27SK has produced 95 examples, bringing the total number of the Sukhoi fighters in the PLA’s inventory to 273. The indigenous Chengdu J-10 entered service in 2003, with around 80 examples delivered so far. The productions of the J-10 and J-11B (Su-27) are likely going to continue beyond 2015, and a fourth-generation fighter is also in development. Additionally, the PLAAF and PLAN are still equipped with approximately 800 J-7 and J-8 fighters. Ground Attack Aircraft and Bombers. The most advanced ground attack asset of the PLAAF and PLAN are about 70 examples of the indigenous JH-7 two-seat fighter-bomber. The PLA re-opened the production of the 40-year-old H-6 (Tu-16) medium-range bomber in the 1990s due to the lack of a suitable successor. Around 60 H-6s in different variants are believed to be still operational. For the same reason the PLAAF and PLANAF have to continue operating their obsolete Q-5 attackers which have been upgraded with precision strike capability. Transport Aircraft. The PLAAF is equipped with 14 examples of the Russian IL-76 jet transport aircraft for medium- to long-range airlift missions. The two services are also equipped with 200~300 indigenous Y-8 and Y-7 turboprop transports, and 8~10 H-6 aerial refuelling aircraft. China ordered an additional 30 IL-76 transport aircraft and 8 IL-78 aerial refuelling tankers from Russia but the delivery has been seriously delayed. Special Mission Aircraft. The PLAAF and PLANAF have 90~100 surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft with photographic, surface search, and airborne early warning sensors. Helicopters. The Army Aviation Corps of the ground forces operates 500~600 helicopters of various types, with the majority being over 200 Russian-made Mi-17 transport helicopters and 200~250 indigenous Z-9 multi-purpose helicopters. The PLANAF also operates a small number (~60) of shipborne helicopters for ASW and SAR roles.
Reforming The Indian Military Industrial Complex For The 21st Century (NSI News Source Info) Kolkata, India - August 20, 2008: India's new Defense Procurement Procedure, unveiled early this month, like its predecessor focuses on vitalizing India's indigenous defense capabilities and moving away from the decades-old practice of importing almost all its defense requirements. However, in the attempt to make the country's defense procurement process more transparent in the murky world of arms deals, the new procedures seem to unwittingly favor foreign vendors. From promising foreign vendors brownie points for the money they would pump in for setting up bases in India, to shutting middlemen out of defense deals, to making the country's defense procurement "more investor-friendly," the new policy, which takes effect Sept. 1, offers everything to make it easy for foreign investors to participate in India's defense procurement, experts say. For instance, the rules have been revised to include offset credit banking, a key request of foreign vendors. This means that money a foreign vendor may pump in to set up a manufacturing base in India would be considered as an investment, satisfying the offset clause in the new policy. In its bid to modernize the local defense equipment industry, India in 2005 introduced the "Offset Policy," which is basically a counter-obligation that India places on foreign vendors for buying defense equipment from them. It states that foreign vendors must invest at least 30 percent of all deals they bag from the government. This can take any form, including setting up a manufacturing base or training facilities, sourcing components, sharing technology or making use of information technology services from India-based global service providers. Under the new procedure, investments made in India by foreign vendors before bagging a deal would be treated as banked offset credits for the tenders to be floated within two and a half years from the date of investment. Moreover, if a vendor should create more offsets than his obligations under a particular contract, the surplus offset credits could be banked as well and would remain valid for another two years following the closure of the first contract. "This (new offset credit banking facility) enables foreign industry and their Indian offset partner to have long-term arrangements to discharge offsets and will thus enhance the capacity of the Indian industry to absorb offsets," said Defense Minister A.K. Antony. According to Laxman Behera, a fellow at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, offset credit banking is "perhaps the most significant aspect of the new DPP that provides the opportunity to a foreign vendor to partner with the Indian industry and, more importantly, facilitates them to do business with the private sector." But if permitting foreign vendors to bank offsets toward a future contract liability is a "sweetener," the real music to foreign ears is that there is no place for middlemen anymore in India's defense deals. After all, from the Bofors gun deal and the HDW submarine deals of the mid-1980s to the scandal regarding the purchase of Barak missile systems from Israel that surfaced in 2001 and still remains unresolved, scandals, kickbacks and controversies have become hallmarks of India's defense procurements. These scandals have been primarily a result of the existence of hundreds of shady middlemen and facilitators who grease the corridors of power. In fact, lately defense deals, and thus indirectly foreign vendors, have suffered due to these scandals. For instance, succumbing to the pressures of the opposition, the Indian government had to scrap almost $1 billion worth of defense deals in 2007 after years of trials and negotiations. "We have learned a lot of lessons from the past, and we don't want to repeat the mistakes. That is why every now and then, we are trying to improve the Defense Procurement Policies," said Antony. "We are very clear that we will not allow middlemen in defense deals."
China to launch Venezuela's first satellite: Chavez (NSI News Source Info) Caracas - August 20, 2008: China is to launch Venezuela's first satellite in November which will serve to relay telecommunications data and television signals over Latin America, President Hugo Chavez said. The orbiter, named "Simon Bolivar" after a 19th century Venezuelan independence hero, was built under contract by a Chinese firm and will be sent into space on November 1, Chavez said in his weekly radio program on Sunday. He added that his country planned to have China put a second, reconnaissance satellite above Earth in 2013. Chavez, Latin America's leftwing firebrand and a fierce critic of the United States, has recently embarked on a spending spree of Russian weapons and military aircraft. Uruguay, which ceded the geostationary orbit position above Ecuador to Venezuela for the November launch, will have a 10-percent share in the Simon Bolivar satellite and use of its functions, Venezuelan Science Minister Hector Navarro said in April. "This launch is a further step towards sovereignty. The Simon Bolivar satellite implies a transfer of technology and the use of communications for the people," Chavez said.
Lockheed Martin C-5m Super Galaxy Completes Flight Test (NSI News Source Info) Marietta GA (SPX) Aug 20, 2008: The Lockheed Martin C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) flight test team has successfully completed developmental testing of all three C-5 RERP test aircraft. The testing included verification of performance and reliability enhancements to the propulsion system, utilities and subsystems, flight controls, airframe and avionics systems. "This significant milestone is yet another step in ensuring the C-5 continues supporting our customer's strategic airlift requirements for many decades," said George Shultz, vice president of the C-5 Modernization Program at Lockheed Martin. "Completing this test profile represents the hard work, cooperation and professionalism of our combined USAF and Lockheed Martin test team. The modified C-5M performed great throughout the test program, demonstrating consistent and reliable performance allowing this team to execute all test points as planned." Now that RERP developmental flight test is complete, preparations get underway to deliver the three test aircraft to the Air Force in support of Operational Test and Evaluation, scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2009. The C-5M Super Galaxy is the result of a two-phase modernization effort. The first and ongoing phase is the Avionics Modernization Program (AMP), which provides a state-of-the art glass cockpit and a digital backbone to support the RERP modifications. Forty-three C-5 aircraft have completed the AMP modifications. The aircraft, already returned to the fleet, have logged more than 38,000 hours of operational use. RERP is the second phase, which adds new GE CF6-80C2 commercial engines and 70 other enhancements or replacements of major components and subsystems. The modification significantly increases systems reliability and improves availability. The additional 10,000 pounds of thrust per propulsion system creates 40,000 pounds more thrust across the platform, significantly improving operational performance. These reliability enhancements dramatically reduce total ownership cost for the USAF, and the more fuel efficient CF6-80C2 will offer an additional fuel savings benefit. The C-5 fleet has been the backbone of strategic airlift in every engagement since it entered service. It is the only aircraft capable of carrying 100 percent of certified air-transportable cargo, with a dedicated passenger compartment enabling commanders to have troops and their equipment arrive in an area of operation simultaneously. The C-5M can carry twice the cargo of other strategic airlift systems and the modified C-5M Super Galaxy will continue to be a force enabler through 2040.
Russia says U.S. missile shield in Europe prompts arms race (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW August 20, 2008: U.S. agreements on deploying elements of its missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic provoke an arms race and do not provide for European security, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday. "It is worth stressing that the deployment of the third site in Europe with genuine anti-Russian potential by no means enhances security on the continent," a statement from the ministry said. "Such measures provoke mistrust and prompt an arms race on the continent and beyond its borders." The deal to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland was reached last Thursday and formally signed Wednesday by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. It followed the signing of an agreement on July 8 by the Rice and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg to station a U.S. radar in the Czech Republic. Moscow has consistently expressed its opposition to the U.S. missile shield in Europe, saying it threatens its national security. The United States says the shield is designed to thwart missile attacks by what it calls "rogue states," including Iran. However, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said again last week that Moscow has no doubt the missile shield's third site is aimed against Russia. The United States has sited interceptor missiles in California and Alaska to protect against possible attacks from the Pacific, particularly North Korea.
Oil supplies to Turkey to resume after Baku-Ceyhan pipeline blaze (NSI News Source Info) BAKU August 20, 2008: Oil supplies from Azerbaijan to Turkey, cut following a recent fire at the Turkish section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, will be resumed shortly, the Turkish operator said on Wednesday BOTAS International limited said the section had been repaired and was currently being tested. The blaze occurred at a compressor station in the province of Erzincan on August 5, raging at a height of up to 50 meters. Azerbaijan holds vast oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea, which it exports to neighboring Georgia, Turkey, and Europe through three pipelines - Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan via Georgia to Turkey, Baku-Novorossiisk, which links the Azeri capital with the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, and Baku-Supsa to Georgia. A total of 1.2 million barrels of oil a day are shipped to Turkey via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
Russian troops continue Georgia pull out - General Staff (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW August 20, 2008: Russia continues to withdraw its troops from Georgia despite the tense situation in the South Ossetian conflict zone, a senior Russian military official said Wednesday. "The Russian armed forces act strictly in accordance with the international agreements and continue the withdrawal of troops to places of previous deployment," said Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the Russian General Staff. Russia began pulling back troops from Georgia on Monday in accordance with a six-point plan drawn up by the Russian and French presidents. It has criticized Georgian troops for not following orders to leave the South Ossetia conflict zone. Nogovitsyn said tensions in the area were being exacerbated by NATO's role in rebuilding the Georgian army. "We consider such 'peacemaking' [on the part of NATO], when the aggressor, which was earlier abundantly armed, is being restored, a clear factor provoking a new blitzkrieg," Nogovitsyn said. He warned that the Russian military would take "appropriate measures" to neutralize such a threat. Russia will also insist on creating no-fly zones for Georgian aircraft and giving its peacekeepers the right to carry out reconnaissance missions, Nogovitsyn said. "If the zone is under peacekeepers' control, nobody else should fly there," he said, adding that another Georgian unmanned aircraft was downed in South Ossetia on Tuesday. Asked about Russian military losses in South Ossetia, Nogovitsyn said 64 service personnel had been killed and another 323 injured. "The number of those killed has been revised downward - from 74, as announced on August 10, to 64," he said, without elaborating. Georgia lost 215 of its nationals in the conflict, including 13 policemen, 133 military personnel and 69 civilians, said Givi Targamadze, who heads the Georgian parliament's defense and security committee. Targmadze said 1,469 Georgians had been wounded and 70 servicemen were currently missing. The number of missing Georgian civilians has not so far been disclosed. Authorities in Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia said Wednesday that 1,492 of the province's residents were killed in Georgia's August 8 military offensive, according to revised data.
King of Jordan to visit Russia on August 21-24 (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW August 20, 2008: King Abdullah II of Jordan will visit Russia on August 21-24, the Kremlin press service said on Wednesday. The monarch will hold talks with President Dmitry Medvedev on August 24. An agreement on the visit was reached in July, when Medvedev and Abdullah II met in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. King Abdullah II last visited Moscow in February, to discuss the situation in Iraq, Iran and the Middle East with then-President Vladimir Putin.
Bouncing Death From China (NSI News Source Info) August 20, 2008: Chinese made Airburst anti-personnel RPG rockets have been discovered in Afghanistan, after first being encountered in Iraq, where they were used by Iranian supported Shia rebels. The Chinese made RPG rocket is optimized for anti-personnel effect. To accomplish that, the shell bounces up about six feet, after first hitting the ground. Then the 5.7 pound warhead explodes, releasing hundreds of metal fragments. Casualties can be caused nearly fifty feet away. Because the warhead explodes in the air, and is full of metal fragments, it is more than three times as likely to kill or injure than the usual RPG warhead (which is designed to penetrate armor). The "Airburst Anti-Personnel" rocket also has a longer range (over 1,500 meters, more than twice that for the anti-armor rocket). Iran buys these rockets from China, or maybe even makes its own copies. Iran denies supplying weapons to the Taliban or al Qaeda (which are violently opposed to the Shia brand of Islam practiced throughout Iran and southern Iraq.) But in the past, Iran has aided al Qaeda, and Iranian gunrunners will sell weapons to anyone who can pay.
USAF Confident About CSAR-X Progress (NSI News Source Info) August 20, 2008: The U.S. Air Force is still confident a design will be selected as planned this fall for the armed service's controversial rescue helicopter replacement program, even though forthcoming draft findings of a Defense Department inspector general (IG) investigation could slow the process of announcing a winner. Maj. Gen. Scott Gray, USAF director of acquisition for global reach programs, said he doesn't expect the IG's findings to impact the schedule of the contract award announcement. "We've heard nothing from the DOD IG that causes us concern," he told Pentagon reporters. Service officials are folding lessons from Government Accountability Office's findings in the beleaguered aerial refueling tanker contest into future acquisition programs. In the case of CSAR-X, "we feel pretty confident that there was nothing...that needed to be fixed," Gray said. The new aircraft are needed to replace aging HH-60G Pave Hawks now in service. Gray says that as of 2006, 7 percent of the Pave Hawk fleet of 101 helicopters was past its service life of 7,000 hr. He projects that in 2015, 58 percent will exceed their service life. Initial operational capability is now set for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 at the soonest, Gray said, a delay of earlier plans to field the first aircraft in fiscal 2012. The delay is a result of the protest period and time to conduct the present competition. This period has also cost the Air Force about $1 billion, including the money needed to keep the Pave Hawk fleet relevant in today's operating environment. The acquisition strategy still calls for a Block 0 capability with objective features fielded in a later Block 10. Teams led by Boeing, Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin are vying to sell 141 Combat Search and Rescue-X (CSAR-X) helicopters to the Air Force for a deal worth up to $15 billion. This fall's winner will be the second awarded; losing bidders Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky launched multiple protests after the selection of Boeing's Chinook-based design in November 2006. Lockheed and AgustaWestland offered a US101 derivative while Sikorsky proffered a S-92-based option. GAO found irregularities in the acquisition process, specifically errors were found in how the Air Force calculated lifecycle costs of competitors. The forthcoming selection will be made based on proposals in response to a request for proposals that was amended six times. Boeing's development contract has been on a stop-work status since the protests were launched shortly after the award. In the course of the recompetition, the inspector general began an investigation to look into changes to the requirements for the aircraft; some observers of the program claimed the requirements had been altered to keep Boeing's Chinook design in the competition. In parallel with the IG review, the Office of the Secretary of Defense is also examining the Air Force's source-selection process next month.
Medvedev: Russian troops to pull out from Georgia by Friday
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW August 20, 2008: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday Moscow will withdraw its troops from Georgia by Friday under the terms of a French-brokered peace plan, the Kremlin said in a statement. "Some of the peacekeepers will be pulled back to the temporary security zone by Aug. 22," Medvedev told his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy by phone.
"The rest of the (Russian) military contingent, which was sent to reinforce peacekeepers, will be withdrawn to South Ossetia and Russia," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Medvedev as saying. Russia declared a halt to its military offensive in Georgia last Tuesday after days of conflict in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia. Medvedev on Saturday signed the peace plan, under which Georgian troops should return to their bases and Russian forces should pull back to its previous positions. Russian troops and armored vehicles have begun to pull out from the Georgia on Monday.
Musharraf to stay in Pakistan after resignation August 20, 2008 NSI News Source Info STORY HIGHLIGHTS ·Musharraf said on Wednesday that he would stay in Pakistan after resignation. ·"Musharraf said ...he will stay along with his family in Islamabad," Geo TV reported. ·Musharraf on Monday announced his resignation for the interests of Pakistan. (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD August 20, 2008: Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said on Wednesday that he would stay in Pakistan after resignation, local TV channel reported. "Musharraf said he has no plans to leave the country and will stay along with his family in Islamabad," Geo TV reported. Musharraf made the remarks while meeting a 40-member delegation of former ruling party Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), according to the television. Musharraf on Monday announced his resignation for the interests of Pakistan. There have been mounting speculations that he might leave Pakistan after resignation.
Indian Navy acquires state-of-the-art Australian Minesweeping System news (NSI News Source Info) 20 August 2008: The Australian Minesweeping System (AMAS), developed by Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), has secured a major export order with the Indian Navy now becoming the latest client for its innovative system that protects ships from underwater mines. The organisation said that the sale to India was the largest single overseas order for this technology since its first export in 1992. The system is now in service with the navies of Australia, USA, Denmark, Poland, Japan, UAE, Indonesia and Thailand. It is marketed by Thales Australia on a global basis.The DSTO-designed system is the world's first operational sweep which emulates magnetic signals of ships, causing sea mines to detonate prematurely, and safely, out of range of target vessels. The technology has been further improved in collaboration with Thales Australia.
The Australian Minesweeping System was used during the 2003 Gulf War when it was used by the Royal Navy to clear smart mines from the port of Umm Qasr. The system requires no form of power from the towing platform and can be towed by a variety of platforms for autonomous and remote control minesweeping operations. AMAS is a systems approach to minesweeping, comprising a magnetic, acoustic, and electric multi-influence sweep; a sweep tracker monitor system; mission planning support system software; an ECDIS based minesweeping navigation and control system; a remote controlled minesweeping system and a range of integrated logistic support products and services including a shorting band kit and deployment containers. The sweep can be deployed from mine counter-measure vessels (MCMV), naval support craft, remote controlled drones and Craft of Opportunity, such as fishing vessels.
India places $2 billion missile order: report (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW August 20, 2008: The Indian army has placed a two billion dollar (1.36 billion euro) order for cruise missiles from the Russo-Indian company BrahMos, the Interfax news agency said Tuesday. "The order by the Indian armed forces comes to two billion dollars," the firm's chief executive Sivanthanu Pillai was quoted as saying by the Russian Interfax news agency. BrahMos Aerospace is a joint Russian-Indian venture established in 1998 to design, develop, produce and market a cruise missile. The BrahMos missile has a range of 280 kilometres (175 miles). Russia is India's main arms supplier. New Delhi was one of the key allies of the erstwhile Soviet Union.
Northrop Grumman Completes Center Fuselage for First U.S. Navy F-35 Aircraft
(NSI News Source Info) PALMDALE, Calif., August 20, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) today completed -- on budget and on schedule -- the center fuselage for the first U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II aircraft, an aircraft carrier-capable variant designated CF-1. Northrop Grumman has completed the center fuselage for the first U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II, a carrier variant designated CF-1. Northrop Grumman celebrated the completion of the center fuselage for the first U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II with a brief ceremony Aug. 19 at its Palmdale F-35 assembly facility. In the photo, Mark Tucker, VP and F-35 program manager for Northrop Grumman addresses the audience of more than 200 employees. The company celebrated the production milestone with a brief ceremony at the Palmdale facility where it assembles center fuselages for F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin. More than 200 Northrop Grumman employees shared the historic occasion with executives from the U.S. Department of Defense's F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, and F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin. "Today's event represents not only the completion of a major aircraft assembly for the F-35 program, but also the delivery on a promise by Northrop Grumman," said Mark Tucker, vice president and F-35 program manager for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. "We've shown that we can design and produce a common center fuselage that will meet the operational and logistic support requirements of all three variants of the F-35. And that we're ready to transition to the production phase of the program." The CF-1 center fuselage will be the seventh of ten center fuselages that Northrop Grumman plans to deliver to Lockheed Martin this year, he added. "Meeting this delivery commitment on time helps ensure that the F-35C Lightning II will begin flight test on-schedule in 2009. This important step is vital to our commitment to fielding the F-35C for the U.S. Navy as planned in 2015," said Maj. Gen Charles R. Davis, the Defense Department's F-35 Lightning II Program Executive Officer. "The F-35 carrier variant will give the Navy a powerful, multi-role strike fighter that can begin to assume the duties of the F/A-18 Hornet A/B/C/D aircraft that have been successfully protecting and extending the reach of the U.S. fleet since 1983." The CF-1 center fuselage is one of 19 center fuselages that Northrop Grumman is producing for the system development and demonstration (SDD) phase of the F-35 program. To date, the company has completed center fuselages for 12 aircraft, including AA-1, a conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant and the first F-35 aircraft to fly, and BF-1, the first F-35B short take-off/vertical landing (STOVL) variant to fly. The remaining seven SDD center fuselages are currently in the assembly flow in Palmdale. Northrop Grumman is also currently producing center fuselages for the first two phases of the F-35 low rate initial production program. The F-35 Lightning II is a stealthy, supersonic multi-role fighter designed to replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft. It is being produced in three variants -- CTOL, STOVL, and a carrier variant (CV) -- to meet the diverse performance needs of the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Navy and allied defense forces worldwide. The three variants use a high degree of commonality to meet strict affordability requirements. Northrop Grumman uses disciplined design, manufacturing and assembly processes to ensure the performance and reliability of the F-35 center fuselage. The structure's all-composite inlet and aft ducts are produced in El Segundo, Calif. then mated in Palmdale with the upper and lower subassemblies of the center fuselages, which include the fuel tanks. The aircraft's outer skins, also made from composites, are then applied and drilled using automated, high precision drilling machines. Final systems installation and testing of hydraulics, actuator doors, the power thermal management system and wire harnesses complete the center fuselage assembly process. As a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 global industry team, Northrop Grumman plays a critical role in the development and production of the weapons system. The company's contributions include: producing and integrating a major section of aircraft's structure; producing key radar and electro-optical subsystems; producing key avionics and communications subsystems; developing mission systems and mission-planning software; developing pilot and maintenance training systems; and developing logistic support hardware and software. The F-35 team also includes BAE Systems. Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
Marine during a training exercise to face in future deployments in Iraq or Afghanistan. August 20, 2008 NSI News Source Info Marine help another Marine scale a wall during a training exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Aug 12, 2008. The training is designed to simulate urban combat situations that the Marines will face in future deployments. The Marines are assigned to Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division. U.S. Marines from Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division move from point to point during an urban warfare training session as part of an exercise in the simulated town, known as combat town, at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Aug. 12, 2008.
India eyes new-generation Russian tank (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW August 20, 2008: India could consider plans to produce a new-generation tank jointly with Russia, the managing director of the BrahMos Aerospace joint venture said on Tuesday. Sivathanu Pillai said that while the new tank had yet to be developed, it could be built in Russia. He offered no indication of when the project could be launched, however. Russian experts earlier said Russia and India could launch production of a new tank in the near future. India currently assembles T-90S main battle tanks under a Russian license. The T-90S version is in service with the Indian Army, and the local production of T-90S Bhishma tanks started recently in India. In 2001, India bought 310 T-90S tanks from Russia. Established in 1998, BrahMos Aerospace designs, produces and markets supersonic missiles, whose sea-based and land-based versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian army and navy.
Syria says ready to consider Russian air defense deal - paper (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW August 20, 2008: Syria is ready to discuss deploying Iskander missile-defense systems on its territory, but it has not received any proposals from Russia, the country's president told a Russian business daily. President Bashar Assad, who arrived in Russia on a two-day working on Wednesday, said in an interview with Kommersant before his trip: "Our position is that we are ready to cooperate with Russia in any project that can strengthen its security... I think Russia really has to think of the response it will make when it finds itself closed in a circle." Israeli media reported on Monday that Russia was planning to place Iskander surface missiles in Syria and its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, in a response to a U.S. missile shield in Central Europe and U.S.-Israeli military aid to Georgia. When asked if Syria, a major importer of Russian arms, would agree to consider the Russian air defense offer, Assad said: "In principle, yes. We have not yet thought about it." He said the issue of installing Iskander missile-defense systems had been raised by Syria several years ago. Speaking on the recent conflict between Georgia and Russia over Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia, Assad said: "On this issue we fully support Russia. The war, which was unleashed by Georgia, is the culmination of attempts to encircle and isolate Russia." Georgia launched a major offensive to seize control of South Ossetia on August 8, prompting Russia to send several hundred tanks and thousands of troops into the region. Moscow announced the end of its operation to "force Georgia to peace" on August 12. "We oppose all these attempts, as we think that this is a continuation of U.S. Cold War-era policy. What Russia has done is to defend its legitimate interests," Assad told the newspaper. The Syrian president said that Russia is facing a situation similar to that once faced by Syria. "Georgia started the crisis, but the West is blaming Russia. Everywhere there is total disinformation, distortion of facts, and international attempts to isolate Russia." Answering a question on whether Russia could become a "rogue state," Assad said: "The resolution of the important problems in Central Asia, the Caucasus and Europe is impossible without Russia... I think that after the crisis with Georgia, Russia has become only stronger." "It's important that Russia takes the position of a superpower, and then all the attempts to isolate it will fail," Bashar Assad said.
Russia rejects UN draft on Georgia (NSI News Source Info) UNITED NATIONS August 20, 2008: Russia has blocked a UN Security Council draft resolution calling for an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, saying the document contradicts a previously agreed peace plan. The draft, submitted by France on Tuesday on behalf of the European Union and backed by the United States, did not go to a vote at the Security Council, where Russia has the power of veto. Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said: "The Russian Federation cannot support this... Putting it to a vote would be a waste of time." He said the draft omits four parts of the six-point peace plan brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Moscow, while distorting the remaining two points. "Taking separate parts of the Moscow plan and reinterpreting them for political propaganda - this is not a constructive route," he said. Notably, the Moscow plan recognized Russia's right to take necessary security measures, and did not call for an "immediate" withdrawal, Churkin said. Earlier on Tuesday French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who had also visited Moscow to mediate in a peace deal after Russian troops entered Georgia following Tbilisi's offensive in breakaway South Ossetia, accused Moscow of breaking its promise to withdraw troops. Explaining the new draft, French Deputy Ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix told the Security Council that while Paris still backs the plan agreed by Sarkozy and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, "in order for this plan to be implemented, there is an essential prerequisite which is the withdrawal of Russian forces." The draft also calls for Georgian forces to return to their positions before the conflict, which broke out in the early hours of August 8 when Georgia began a major ground and air offensive on South Ossetia, in which Russia says 1,600 civilians were killed. The draft would have committed Security Council members to "the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders." However, Russia has said that South Ossetia, along with Georgia's other rebel province Abkhazia, must be allowed to make their own decisions on their status. The Security Council's emergency session came hours after NATO froze ties with Russia, saying "business as usual" could not continue until a complete Russian withdrawal from Georgia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hit back at NATO's statement on Tuesday, calling it "biased" and aimed at supporting Georgia's "aggressive regime." "NATO is trying to turn an aggressor into a victim, is attempting to whitewash a criminal regime and save a fallen regime, and is taking a course toward re-arming the current Georgian leaders," he said. The Sarkozy-Medvedev six-point plan stipulated renouncing the use of force, halting all military action, providing free access to humanitarian aid, the return of Georgian Armed Forces to their bases, the return of Russia's Armed Forces to their positions prior to combat, and the start of international discussions on the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and on ways to ensure their security.
Southwest China hit by new earthquake (NSI News Source Info) BEIJING August 20, 2008: An aftershock measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale struck China's southwest Yunnan province on Wednesday, causing buildings to collapse, Xinhua said. The quake struck the county of Yingjiang at 5:35 a.m. local time (21:35 GMT), the agency said resulting in the evacuation of around 1,200 people. No reports of casualties have been reported. Many houses collapsed in the epicenter, about 46 km from Yingjiang, and several neighborhoods have reported damage, which is being evaluated by the authorities. The latest tremor occurred just one day after China marked 100 days since the country's southwest Sichuan province was hit by a massive earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale, the most powerful to hit the region in thirty years. At least 70,000 people were killed and 10 million displaced. Chinese authorities said on Tuesday that China's Sichuan province would not be hit by a similar quake for 1,000 years in a move to try and attract investment into the region. Direct economic losses from China's May 12 earthquake have exceeded $150 billion.