Georgia....Today's in PicturesAugust 24, 2008 NSI News Source Info Russia declared its complete withdrawal from Georgia, but France and the United States said Russia had not gone far enough. A column of Russian troops moved from Tskhinvali toward Russia near the village of Dzhava, South Ossetia.
Russian soldiers rode an armored personnel carrier, near Igoeti, on the road from Tbilisi to Gori, Georgia. Despite a pledge by Moscow to completely withdraw from Georgia by Friday, Russian units said they had orders to fall back only as far as South Ossetia and some platoons were still dug in near roads outside Gori, while Russian troops bearing new peacekeeping badges dominated the main east-west highway.
Women in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, Ukraine, greeted the first Russian navy ship to return from Georgia.
As Russian tanks and troops swept along main highways out of Georgia on Friday, Georgian police officers waited for a road to be reopened near Gori. While Russia pulled back from most of what it considers to be Georgian territory, and quit the main cities it had occupied, it is likely to maintain a longterm presence in the disputed enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and control of the country's main roads.
(NSI News Source Info) PALMDALE, Calif. – August 24, 2008: Lockheed Martin plans to conduct more test flights of the first short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (STOVL) F-35B this week to evaluate propulsion systems doors and nozzles in flight before temporarily grounding the aircraft until early next year, pending installation of a redesigned Pratt & Whitney F135 engine.
The planned 10th flight of BF-1, the first F-35B, is expected to take place Aug. 20 or shortly after, according to Tom Burbage, Lockheed executive vice president and general manager of F-35 program integration. “We will open the nozzle doors and other STOVL propulsion system doors in flight,” he said.
The F-35B allows this below air speeds of 250 knots even if no STOVL operation by the engine or lift fan is initiated. By performing as many of the peripheral STOVL propulsion system handling quality tests as possible now, the Lockheed-led industry team hopes to save some test time early in 2009 when STOVL tests will resume. Pratt & Whitney is expected to ship the first, fully-qualified engine for flight tests to Lockheed around Jan. 9, 2009.
Meanwhile, the long-delayed ferry flight to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., of the first F-35, AA-1, could now come by the second week in September. But the exact timing depends on the outcome of work to improve the reliability of nacelle vent fans that, in the non-representative initial test aircraft, are “buried deep” in the fuselage, Burbage said.
Once at Edwards, AA-1 is due to conduct in-flight engine shutdown and re-lights, as well as verify overall noise characteristics.
Burbage spoke earlier this week at a ceremony for Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, Calif., facility to mark the completion of the first center fuselage for the U.S. Navy’s F-35C carrier version (CV), the CF-1. At the same time, Lockheed completed assembly of the second F-35B, which is due to join the flight test effort early next year. The CF-1 fuselage should be delivered to Texas by the end of September and will roll out as a finished aircraft in the first quarter of 2009.
“We have to do the ground vibration tests, and flutter before getting to first flight before October 2009. But that’s an important date to the carrier variant because we have to fly before then and demonstrate it to bring funding for it into LRIP [low rate initial production] 4,” Burbage said.
Northrop, meanwhile, is starting assembly of center fuselages for the first LRIP 2 aircraft in Palmdale. The first fuselages for LRIP 1, two conventional take-off and landing aircraft AF-6 and -7, were “loaded” into jigs over the past few months. Work on AF-8, the first LRIP 2 aircraft, began in July. In all, Northrop will build 19 center fuselages during the system development and demonstration (SDD) phase, of which 12 have been delivered so far. A further seven SDD fuselages are still in the assembly flow. Including three units already delivered, Northrop will ship 10 F-35 fuselages to Texas this year.
Mark Tucker, Northrop vice president and F-35 program manager, said the first Navy fuselage was completed on time despite encountering interference issues with the final assembly in the mating with the Lockheed-built forward fuselage. The problems were discovered ahead of time using the digital pre-assembly design system and corrections were made by adjusting the tooling.
Tata Motors goes head to head with Land Rover for Indian military ordersAugust 24, 2008 NSI News Source Info(NSI News Source Info) August 24, 2008: Tata Motors has displayed a new range of tactical and armoured vehicles at India’s Defence Expo 2008, where it launched its Tata Light Specialist Vehicle (LSV), in direct competition for army orders with the Defender range on offer from its intended acquisition, Land Rover.Tata Motors has been providing defence equipment for over 50 years. The Tata LSV, with a 1.2 tonne payload, is like the Land Rover a single platform adaptable to diverse missions such as reconnaissance, counter insurgency operations for special forces and as an ambulance.
Indian Army Troops Travel to U.K. for Exercise
(NSI News Source Info) 24 August, 2008: NEW DELHI - For the first time, Indian and British mechanized infantry troops will conduct joint training and exercises in the United Kingdom.
The three-week battalion group-level exercise will start Aug. 29 at the British Army's Land Warfare Centre, located on England's Salisbury Plain.
"India and the U.K. are key strategic partners and enjoy a close defense relationship," the Indian Defence Ministry said in an Aug. 22 statement. "This exercise is a great step for the armies of two democratic countries to train together and gain from each other's experience. The U.K. Army had earlier participated in joint training with Indian troops in India last year, and this exercise is reciprocal to U.K. forces training in India."
The Indian contingent comprises 126 troops of all ranks, including the command elements, of the Indian Army's 16 Mechanised Infantry Regiment, while the British troops are from the 3rd Mercian Regiment. The 3rd Mercian Regiment is an amalgamation of old British units and served in India during the mid-19th century.
Before the joint exercises, the participants will undergo familiarization and interoperability training. followed by two joint operational maneuvers, named Exercise Lions Strike and Exercise Wessex Warrior.
Gen. Deepak Kapoor, commander of the Indian Army, is scheduled to visit Britain on Sept. 8 and will witness the demonstration and joint maneuvers.
A senior Indian Army official said this is a great opportunity for the Indian mechanized contingent to pit their skills with the mechanized forces of the British Army and to have a closer look at the state-of-the-art training and simulation facilities available at Britain's Land Warfare Centre. The British Army in turn will benefit by interacting with the Indian Army contingent, enhancing interoperability between the two militaries, the Indian official said.
Medvedev says Moscow, Kiev should protect 'historic ties'
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - August 24, 2008: Moscow and Kiev should take each other's interests into account when drawing up foreign policy, and should work to resolve the issue of Russia's Black Sea fleet, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday.
"Our states are unified by many centuries of religious, cultural, and historic ties, as well as kindred national characters and traditions. Our main task is, as I see it, not to allow this valuable asset, passed on to us by previous generations, to go to waste," Medvedev said in a congratulatory message to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on the event of Ukrainian Independence Day.
"In connection with this, our joint efforts should be directed towards a tangible strengthening of bilateral relations and a long-term economic partnership. Of no less significance however is that we jointly take into account each other's interests in the area of foreign policy and security."
Medvedev went on to say that he considered a solution to the issue of the Russian Black Sea fleet, currently deployed in Ukraine's Crimean port of Sevastopol, one of the most pressing.
Ships from the fleet left the base to support Russia's recent operation to "force Georgia to peace," following an attack by Georgian forces on breakaway South Ossetia on August 8. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko later signed a decree requiring prior notification from Russia of all movements by naval vessels and aircraft from the country's Black Sea Fleet base in Sevastopol.
The Russian Black Sea Fleet currently uses a range of naval facilities on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula under an agreement signed in 1997. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko recently ruled not to extend lease terms beyond May 2017.
Ukraine's pro-Western leadership has been pursuing NATO membership since 2004, when President Viktor Yushchenko came to power. Ukraine failed to secure an agreement on a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP), a key step toward joining the alliance, at the organization's summit in April, but was told the decision would be reviewed in December.
Russia strongly opposes Ukraine's plans to join NATO, saying the move would jeopardize its national security.
S.Ossetia to ask Russia to set up extra posts on Georgia border
(NSI News Source Info) TSKHINVALI - August 24, 2008: The breakaway Georgian republic of South Ossetia is to ask Russia to set up extra observer posts on its de facto border with Georgia, the republic's acting prime minister, Boris Chochiev, said on Sunday.
"There are divisions of the Georgian army and police in villages in the border Leningorsk Region. We do not know the total amount of men there at present," he said.
He added that the republic's authorities would ask Russian peacekeepers to place extra observer posts specifically in this area.
The republic's defense minister also said that he was in possession of information indicating that Georgian forces were being boosted in the Leningorsk Region.
Georgia attacked South Ossetia on August 8 in an attempt to take back the separatist republic, which split from Georgia in the early 1990s. Most citizens of South Ossetia have Russian citizenship and Moscow subsequently launched an operation to "force Georgia to peace." The operation was concluded on August 12.
The deputy chief of Russia's General Staff said at a news conference on Saturday that Russia had set up 18 peacekeeping posts in South Ossetia.
South Ossetia has appealed to Russia to recognize its sovereignty. Both chambers of Russia's parliament are expected to consider the appeal by the republic on Monday.
Train hits mine near military base in Georgia
(NSI News Source Info) TBILISI - August 24, 2008: A train hit a mine on Sunday morning near the Georgian city of Gori, a Georgian Interior Ministry official said, adding that there were so far no reports of casualties.
The incident took place next to an abandoned Georgian military base occupied by Russian troops during recent fighting over breakaway South Ossetia.
"The explosion occurred when a goods train carrying heating fuel was passing the military base. We have no exact information at the moment, but preliminary reports suggest the track was mined," said Shota Utiashvili.
"We have no information on casualties at present," he added.
Russia for further development of trade with Jordan - Medvedev
(NSI News Source Info) SOCHI - August 24, 2008: Russia is interested in the further development of trade and economic ties with Jordan, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday after talks with King Abdullah II.
Opening the talks with the Jordanian monarch, Medvedev noted that this was already their third meeting in six months, adding that the fact was evidence of good relations between the countries.
"Economic ties are developing and trade turnover is increasing, although we would like it to grow even more intensively," Medvedev said, going on to say that "the discussion of a range of issues of international importance" was also developing.
Medvedev also thanked the king of Jordan in advance for his country's intention to supply humanitarian aid to war-torn South Ossetia.
The Jordanian king said that relations between Russia and Jordan were important for the entire Middle East.
He added that the two countries had healthy economic relations, and that there were good prospects for further cooperation in the "coming months and years."
Russian senator's house attacked in Ingushetia, no casualties
(NSI News Source Info) NAZRAN - August 24, 2008: The residence of a member of Russia's upper house of parliament was attacked by unknown assailants armed with automatic weapons in the Russian republic of Ingushetia early on Sunday, police said.
The senator in question is Issa Kostoeva, and the attack occurred close to Nazran, the republic's largest city and its former capital.
No casualties have been reported.
"The incident took place in the Ekazhevo village at around 1.50 a.m. [21.50 GMT Saturday]. A group of unidentified people drove up to the senator's house and opened fire with automatic weapons and a grenade launcher," a police source said told RIA Novosti.
The assailants then fled the scene.
A search is underway for the attackers.
Ingushetia neighbors troubled Chechnya, and has seen an increasing number of attacks on the authorities by armed militants of late.