Sunday, November 02, 2008

U.S. Army Ordered 27 Buffalo A2 Route-Clearance Vehicles

U.S. Army Ordered 27 Buffalo A2 Route-Clearance Vehicles
(NSI News Source Info) November 2, 2008: On Oct 24. Force Protection, Inc. announced that it has received an additional order under contract W56HZV-08-C-0028 for the delivery of 27 Buffalo A2 route-clearance vehicles. The undefinitized contract modification carries a dollar value not to exceed $26.2 million and fulfills an urgent operational need. These vehicles are to be delivered prior to June 2009. Michael Moody, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Force Protection, commented, “We are very pleased to be in a position to respond to incremental needs for the vitally important Buffalo route clearance vehicle. We believe that the unique nature of the vehicle and the importance of the missions it performs will enable us to continue at current rates of production well into the future.” About Force Protection, Inc. Force Protection, Inc. is a leading American designer, developer and manufacturer of life saving survivability solutions and equipment, predominantly ballistic- and blast-protected wheeled vehicles currently deployed by the U.S. military and its allies to support armed forces and security personnel in conflict zones. The Company’s specialty vehicles, the Cougar, the Buffalo and the Cheetah, are designed specifically for reconnaissance, forward command and control, and urban operations and to protect their occupants from landmines, hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs, commonly referred to as roadside bombs). The Company also is the developer and manufacturer of ForceArmor™ an armor package providing superior protection against explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) now available for a wide range of tactical-wheeled vehicles. The Company is one of the original developers and primary providers of vehicles for the U.S. military’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, vehicle program. For more information on Force Protection and its vehicles, visit Safe Harbor Language This press release contains forward looking statements that are not historical facts, including statements about our beliefs and expectations are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on beliefs and assumptions by Force Protection’s management, and on information currently available to management. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update any of them publicly in light of new information or future events. A number of important factors could cause actual result to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Examples of these factors include, but are not limited to, our ability to fulfill the above described order on a timely basis, our ability to effectively manage the risks in our business; the reaction of the marketplace to the foregoing; and other risk factors and cautionary statements listed in the Company’s periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the risks set forth in the Company’s 2007 Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007.

Russia wants to compromise with Japan on disputed islands

Russia wants to compromise with Japan on disputed islands (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - November 2, 2008: Russia wants to reach a compromise with Japan on the territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands, the foreign minister told Japanese reporters on Saturday. Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to visit Japan in early November to discuss the signing of a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities, which has been delayed due to the ongoing dispute over the South Kurils, a former Japanese territory annexed by the Soviet Union after WWII. The four southernmost islands of the Kuril chain, which stretches from Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula to the north-east coast of Japan's Hokkaido Island, remain Russian territory. "We have the desire to solve this problem. A compromise is needed for the resolution of various issues," Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted Lavrov as saying. "It is important for our nations not to get stuck in problems of the past, but to turn their attention to the potential of the future cooperation, and to form public opinion in a spirit of good-neighborliness," Lavrov said. During his visit, which includes stops in Hokkaido and Tokyo, Sergei Lavrov will meet with his Japanese counterpart Hirofumi Nakasone to discuss the territorial dispute. The foreign ministers will also consider the possibility of holding a high-level meeting between the Japanese and Russian leaders in November at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Peru. The plans by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to pay a visit to Japan later this year as part of agreements reached at the G8 summit will be also on the agenda of the forthcoming talks.

Russia, EU to sign deal on Chad peacekeeping operation Nov. 5

Russia, EU to sign deal on Chad peacekeeping operation Nov. 5 (NSI News Source Info) BRUSSELS - November 2, 2008: Russia will sign an agreement with the EU on participation in a peacekeeping operation in Chad and the Central African Republic on November 5 in Brussels, a Russian diplomat said on Saturday. A staffer at the Permanent Mission of Russia to the EU in Brussels told RIA Novosti that the document will be signed by Russian EU envoy Vladimir Chizhov and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. Russia's Air Force is ready to send a helicopter group with more than 100 servicemen to Chad. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree in early September on sending a Russian military contingent to Chad and the neighboring Central African Republic in support of a UN mission in the region. The Russian peacekeeping contingent, totaling up to 200 servicemen, and four Mi-8MT helicopters, will be deployed in the conflict zone for up to a year. Clashes between Chadian rebels, allegedly supported and armed by Sudan, and government troops have been devastating the region since 2003 when a loose coalition of three opposition groups attempted for the first time to oust President Idriss Deby. The groups' leaders accuse Deby, who seized power in 1990, of embezzling millions of dollars in oil revenue. The foreign ministers of the 27 EU member states approved in April a plan to send a peacekeeping mission to Chad and the Central African Republic. The EUFOR contingent, comprising 3,700 servicemen from 14 EU countries, began a yearlong UN mandate in March to help facilitate humanitarian work and protect Sudanese refugees and internally displaced Chadians. Russia has already deployed a helicopter support group in neighboring Sudan. It currently comprises 120 personnel and four Mi-8 helicopters, reequipped to UN and international standards. The group provides transport for UN military observers in Sudan, while also transporting and accompanying cargoes. It also carries out rescue operations. Chad gained independence from France in 1960. Since 2003, Chad and Sudan have accused each other of inciting conflict on their common border, which includes most of the troubled west Sudanese region of Darfur.

Nicaragua to fix ties with S.Ossetia, Abkhazia at later date

Nicaragua to fix ties with S.Ossetia, Abkhazia at later date (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - November 2, 2008: Nicaragua, which joined Russia in recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, will have contact with the republics via Russia and later establish direct diplomatic relations, the foreign minister said. Nicaragua is the only country other than Russia to have recognized the Georgian separatist republics. Russia recognized them on August 26, two weeks after its five-day war with Georgia that followed Tbilisi's attack on South Ossetia. Foreign Minister Samuel Santos Lopez told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow: "The decision to recognize these two republics was just and appropriate. They need time for self-organization, and when the moment is right we will agree on the conditions or opportunities for establishing direct diplomatic ties." Lavrov expressed his thanks to Nicaragua for the country's recognition of the two republics, calling it "a step aimed at supporting justice in international affairs, the rights of peoples to their development, and activities to block attempts to solve conflicts by force." Western nations have strongly criticized Russia for its "disproportionate" response to Georgia's attack and the subsequent recognition the republics. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who led a Soviet-backed government that battled U.S.-supported Contra rebels in the late 1980s, has sharply criticized the West for attempting to surround Russia and investing millions of dollars through NATO to "build a military fence against Russia."

U.S. Air Force Hiring Pilots

U.S. Air Force Hiring Pilots (NSI News Source Info) November 2, 2008: The U.S. Air Force is making a major effort to get 900 reserve pilots to switch to active duty, mainly to operate UAVs (like the Predator and Reaper), but also for intelligence jobs in general. Some 15 percent of these reservists had recently participated in a voluntary downsizing program, and transferred to the reserves. In the last year, pressure from the other services, and the new Secretary of Defense, caused the air force to increase its efforts to put more UAVs into service, and to halt its downsizing program. Now the air force is increasing its strength from 324,191, to 330,000 over the next two years. Most of the new troops, and more besides, will be assigned to reconnaissance and intelligence work, as well as UAV and nuclear weapons units.
Reaper, (also known as Predator B) an outgrowth of the combat proven Predator A UAS, became operational in 2007 and as it began flying combat missions over Afghanistan. This Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAV overcomes most of the difficulties encountered with previous UAVs that commonly must compromise between conflicting demands for payload, speed, altitude, speed and persistence. With an operational ceiling of 50,000ft, and higher cruising speed, Reaper can cover a larger area, under all weather conditions carrying payloads of more than 1.5 tons. The aircraft is powered by a single Honeywell TP331-10 engine, producing 950 shp, provides a maximum airspeed of 260 kts and a cruise speed for maximum endurance of 150-170 kts.
Since 2005, the air force had been reorganizing and downsizing, and that included the junior officers who are usually immune to such cuts. In the last two years, 2,000 lieutenants were dismissed The air force had planned to cut their strength by 5,400 personnel this fiscal year (which began last October). The downsizing was halted as of this Summer. The air force has long been accused (by members of the other services) of operating more like a corporation than a military organization. That's a little harsh, because the air force is the most tech minded of the services, and has always taken the lead in adapting commercial innovations to military use. But both the air force and navy decided on downsizing in response to the impact of technology, outsourcing and automation, in a process similar to that faced by many civilian firms. Unlike previous downsizing efforts, where many troops were fired, most of the reduction this time around is from retirement and people not re-enlisting. Higher standards for re-enlisting were used to make cuts, by making it more difficult to stay in. This had a side benefit of improving the overall quality of the force. The air force is still going to lose jobs that are no longer needed. Most of the personnel in surplus jobs will be retrained. The original impetus for the cuts was money. Each active duty airman costs over $100,000 a year. The money saved was to go towards purchasing more technology. A year ago that means more F-22s, but now it's more likely to be more UAVs and transports. After three years of cuts, the U.S. Air Force has fewer people on active duty than at any other time in its history. However, if you add in reservists (181,000), strength is a bit higher than it was when the air force was formed (from the U.S. Army Air Force) in 1948. The air force also has slightly more officers on active duty today (65,000) than it did in 1948, but that's a reflection of the growing importance of technology. Air Force personnel today have much more education than they did sixty years ago, and that is reflected in higher pay and, on average, higher rank.