Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Turkish Forces New Rifle The Mehmetçik-1

Turkish Forces New Rifle The Mehmetçik-1 (NSI News Sources Info) November 5, 2008: Turkey has selected a new assault rifle, choosing one that the U.S. Army rejected, but that the U.S. Army Special Forces (and the rest of SOCOM) have adopted. The new rifle is a slightly modified version of the HK 416. This weapon is basically the U.S. M4 assault rifle, with some of the components from the U.S. Army XM8 assault rifle (also rejected by the army). The new Turkish rifle will be called the Mehmetçik-1. It's manufactured with the cooperation of the German firm Heckler & Koch (HK).
Back in 2005, the U.S. Army's design for a new assault rifle, the XM8, was cancelled. But the manufacturer incorporated one of the key components of the XM8, into M4 rifles, and produced a hybrid, the HK 416. Heckler & Koch (H&K) designed the XM8, which was based on an earlier HK rifle, the G36. SOCOM is using the 416, but no one else is (except for a few police departments, and now Turkey). The XM8 had one major advantage over the M16. The XM8 (like the G36 and 416) uses a short-stroke piston system. The M16s uses gas-tube system, which results in carbon being blown back into the chamber. That leads to carbon build up, which results in jams (rounds getting stuck in the chamber, and the weapon unable to fire.). The short-stroke system also does not expose parts of the rifle to extremely hot gases (which wears out components more quickly). As a result, rifles using the short-stroke system, rather than the gas-tube, are more reliable, easier to maintain and last longer. HK developed the 416, for SOCOM, at the same time the XM8 was being evaluated by the army. SOCOM got the first 416s in 2004, a year before the army cancelled the XM8. The 416 looks like the M4, for the only thing that has changed is the gas system (that automatically extracts the cartridge after the bullet has been fired, and loads the next round.) SOCOM can buy pretty much whatever they want, the U.S. Army cannot. SOCOM listens to what its troops want, the army often doesn't. The Turks tested 9,000 of the Mehmetçik-1's (built by local firm MKE) first, and the troops liked the weapon. Production is being increased, and the transition will begin next year. The Mehmetçik-1 is your basic 8 pound, 5.56mm weapon, with mounting rails for scopes, a hand grip forward of the magazine and using 30 round magazines.

India May Ease FDI Limits in Defense Production

India May Ease FDI Limits in Defense Production (NSI News Source Info) November 5, 2005: As part of the drive to shore up investor confidence and give thrust to manufacturing, government will consider relaxing rules for foreign direct investment in defence production, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said. The issue would be taken up by the Union Cabinet in the near future, Kamal Nath said on Tuesday. "India can become a great manufacturer of defence items. So, we will like to see some easing up there," the Minister told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting organised by business chambers with visiting Belgian King Albert II. He said the Cabinet would consider options to provide new thrust to the manufacturing sector. Besides, streamlining the procedures for FDI would be on the government agenda. Currently, 26 per cent of FDI is permitted in the defence sector. Nath said despite troubles in the world economy, India continued to attract FDIs and the target of USD 35 billion for 2008-09 fiscal would be achieved. In September this year, FDI inflows went up by 259 per cent to USD 2.56 billion, against USD 713 million in the same month last year. For April-September period this year, the inflows went up to USD 17.21 billion from USD 7.25 billion in the comparable period a year ago, showing a rise of 137 per cent. The government has made concerted efforts in the last few weeks to limit the impact of shrinking global credit on the Indian economy. The Reserve Bank has injected liquidity in excess of Rs 260,000 crore, besides reducing the overnight lending rates. The prices of aviation turbine fuel have been cut along with scrapping of the import duty. The banks are considering lowering interest rates as well.

Ministry of Defence: The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent Capability

Ministry of Defence: The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent Capability (NSI News Source Info) November 5, 2008: The programme to maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent beyond the life of the current system, with the introduction into service of the first of a new class of submarines in 2024, is at an early stage, but the Ministry of Defence has made good progress establishing programme management arrangements and engaging stakeholders. The timetable is challenging, however, with very little room for delay, and the MoD needs to manage key risks if continuous nuclear deterrence is to be maintained. The programme is currently in a two-year initial concept phase for the new class of submarines. This requires a series of important and difficult decisions to be taken by September 2009 to keep the programme on track. The MoD has appointed a Senior Responsible Owner to co-ordinate these decisions and other work to inform future decisions and to allocate funding to the various elements of the programme. The current predicted cost of procuring the new nuclear deterrent is between £15 billion and £20 billion (2006-7 prices), as outlined in the 2006 White Paper, “The future of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.” The operating costs for the deterrent once the new class of submarines comes into service are estimated to be similar to those of the current deterrent. These are initial estimates, however, and the MoD recognises the need by September 2009 to produce robust estimates of whole-life costs. There are major areas of uncertainty in the budget, including the provision for contingency and VAT, which need to be resolved. The submarine industry is a highly specialised industrial sector with a number of monopoly suppliers and there are real difficulties in providing the right incentives for these suppliers to deliver to time and budget. The tight timetable set for ensuring the seamless transition from the present Vanguard class of submarines to the future class is challenging. The Vanguard class is likely to start leaving service from the early 2020s and the programme requires the future nuclear deterrent to be in service by 2024. The MoD needs to establish now how far the service life of the Vanguard class can be safely extended. A further risk to the programme timescale – of which the MoD is well aware - is a shortage of nuclear-related skills in industry and within MoD - potentially aggravated by competition from civil nuclear projects. Tim Burr, head of the National Audit Office, said today: “Much groundwork has been done in the two years since the Government decided to embark on a programme to maintain the country’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent capability beyond the life of the current system. Critical decisions about the design of the future submarine class and the commercial strategy required to incentivise monopoly suppliers now need to be taken so that the Ministry of Defence can stick to its demanding schedule and assure value for money over the life of the programme.”

Sweden and Norway Sign Cooperative Agreement for the Development of the Archer Artillery System

Sweden and Norway Sign Cooperative Agreement for the Development of the Archer Artillery (NSI News Source Info) November 5, 2008: The Archer truck-mounted howitzer is becoming the focus of expanded defense cooperation between Norway and Sweden. The Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) and its Norwegian equivalent FLO signed a cooperative agreement last week regarding development of the Archer system and acquisition of the sensor/weapon station Protector. The development of Archer will be ongoing until 2010 and the first serial delivery is planned for the autumn of 2011. When Håkan Espmark from FMV and Asle Kjelsberg from FLO signed the agreement it was the first step in an intensified cooperation between Sweden and Norway in areas such as artillery. The time being it is a question of two contracts: an agreement on joint development of the Archer artillery system and an agreement to procure the Norwegian remote-controlled sensor and weapon platform Protector. Several agreements are in the pipeline: one on the procurement and one on the maintenance of Archer, one in the field of artillery ammunition, and one regarding a joint control and management system for indirect fire. “This is the beginning of the fulfilment of the MoU that was signed by the countries in May 2007,” says Håkan Espmark, head of Land Procurement at FMV. “I am looking forward to intensive and fruitful cooperation within these two cooperative agreements and those that will come in 2009,” says Asle Kjelsberg, head of FLO Investment. Development work is now proceeding until 2010. FMV and FLO will begin negotiations with the Supplier BAE Systems Bofors on the assignment to complete the development and delivery of the series of Archer artillery systems. FMV started technology studies in the mid-1990s in order to find a replacement for Haubits 77B. Several foreign systems were tested in parallel, all of which were dropped on the basis of high costs or because they did not meet requirements. The system has been rigorously tested with the help of two demonstrators. The Archer system is built from recycling of parts of the classic Haubits model 77B and Volvo’s waist-controlled dumper A 30D. This makes the project cost-efficient. Modification for splinter and mine protection have created a safe work environment for the three to four soldiers who do not have to leave the cabin when getting ready to fire from a transport position within 30 seconds. The Norwegian sensor and weapon platform Protector gives the operator the possibility to tend to the close-range protection of the unit. There are also sensors and other equipment for reconnaissance, observation and homing. The sensor and weapon platform Protector, apart from Archer, will also be used on other vehicle platforms in the Swedish and Norwegian defence forces that need their own protection.

Taiwan Marines Flex Muscles

Taiwan Marines Flex Muscles (NSI News Source Info) November 5, 2008 -Taipei: Taiwan's Marine Corps displayed amphibious beach assault capabilities and special warfare skills during a one-day exercise at Tsoying Naval Base, Kaohsiung, on Oct. 31. The exercise began with a demonstration by six new AAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles during a simulated beach assault. Taiwan acquired 54 rebuilt AAV-7A1 RAM/RS (Reliability, Availability and Maintainability/Rebuild to Standard) amphibious assault vehicles in 2006 from the United States. The purchase included four AAVC-7A1 Command Vehicles and two AAVR-7A1 Recovery Vehicles. The AAV-7 vehicles now make up two companies in the 66th Marine Brigade in Linkou, northern Taiwan, and the 99th Marine Brigade at Tsoying Naval Base, southern Taiwan.
AAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles
The Marines still operate four companies of 84 aging LVTP-5A1 vehicles acquired in the 1970s. At one time, Taiwan had 300 LVTP-5s in its arsenal. United Defense LP Ground Systems won a $156 million contract in 2003 to supply the AAV-7s to Taiwan. The company provided remanufactured hulls, material support and test equipment, appliqué armor kits and litter kits. Work was done at the U.S. Marine Corps Logistics Command Depot in Albany, Ga. The second part of the exercise involved the Marine Corps' Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB) at the Urban Simulation Center. The facility is made up of a variety of buildings for close quarter combat. In a simulated assault, three teams belonging to the ARB's Special Service Company (SSC) landed by rubber boats along the coast. The teams climbed a rock face and attacked several buildings. ARB's 600 troops make up seven companies: four reconnaissance, one underwater demolition and two SSCs. Over half of the ARB members are "aboriginals," one Marine official said. "They are just tougher than city recruits. They volunteer and are eager for a military career," the official said. Aboriginals come from mountainous areas and are "used to the rural life." About 458,000 aboriginals make up 14 tribes in Taiwan. They are linked genetically and linguistically to the Austronesian peoples and are famous for their early tradition of head-hunting, now abolished. The ARB also displayed a two-man sniper team that demonstrated camouflage techniques. They were armed with a Remington M-24 sniper rifle and a Colt M-4A1 Carbine assault rifle. ARB was created in 1995 when several Marine special operations units, including the SSC, were placed under the ARB as part of an overall force restructuring effort.

Moscow denies Pentagon claims of 'stolen' Russian nuclear weapons

Moscow denies Pentagon claims of 'stolen' Russian nuclear weapons (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - November 5, 2008: Russia's Foreign Ministry denied on Friday claims by the U.S. defense secretary that large amounts of Russian nuclear weapons had been stolen or misplaced. Speaking in Washington on Tuesday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Robert Gates expressed concern that some Russian nuclear weapons from the former Soviet arsenal may not be fully accounted for. "I have fairly high confidence that no strategic or modern tactical nuclear weapons have leaked beyond Russian borders," Gates said. "What worries me are the tens of thousands of old nuclear mines, nuclear artillery shells and so on, because the reality is the Russians themselves probably don't have any idea how many of those they have or, potentially, where they are," he added. "Such allegations are entirely groundless," the ministry's press and information department said in a statement. "Despite all the difficulties that our country faced in the early 1990s, Russia maintained very high standards of ensuring the safety and physical protection of its nuclear arsenals," the statement said. "In this respect, we would like to reiterate that in a joint statement on nuclear security signed by the Russian and U.S. leaders in Bratislava in 2005 both sides acknowledged that the protection of nuclear facilities in both countries meets modern norms and requirements," it said. In his remarks, Gates also supported the necessity of new talks with Moscow on further strategic arms reductions, which have been advocated by both current U.S. presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama. Negotiated and signed in 1991, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is scheduled to expire on December 5, 2009. Under that accord, the United States and Russia have significantly reduced their number of nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles. Many experts believe that if START expires without replacement verification measures, the two countries will be "flying blind" in their nuclear relations.

Russian Air Force to buy 12 Ka-52 helicopters in 2009

Russian Air Force to buy 12 Ka-52 helicopters in 2009 (NSI News Source Info) KRASNODAR - November 5, 2008: Russia's armed forces plans to buy up to 12 Ka-52 Hokum-B combat/reconnaissance helicopters in 2009, the Russian Air Force Commander Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said on Tuesday. "We plan to buy up to 12 Ka-52s in 2009 providing we complete tests and are satisfied that the machine meets all the demands agreed and required of it," Zelin said in Krasnodar on Tuesday during celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the Serov College of Higher Military Aviation and Engineering in Krasnodar, southern Russia. Zelin said that in addition to the Ka-52, designed primarily for reconnaissance and target designation, the main helicopter in service with the Air Force will be the Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopter gunship. "These machines will complement, not replace, one another," the Air Force chief said. "The Air Force budget has increased in quality and quantity, therefore I think that everything planned in the defense program ... new hardware, aircraft, helicopters, modernized equipment, we should receive." Zelin also said the development of a new-generation fighter, which will eventually replace the MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker combat aircraft, was proceeding on schedule. Tests of the new fighter are expected to start in 2009 and the combat plane is due to enter service with the Air Force in 2013. Zelin also touched upon the issue of sweeping military reforms, which are expected to cut 150,000 officer posts in a restructuring program that will see oversize divisions and regiments replaced by smaller and more agile combat-ready units. Zelin confirmed that regiment numbers would be reduced but the number of districts would remain unchanged. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said earlier that Air Force units are to be cut from the current 340 down to 180 as part of the reforms. In addition, each military district will have an airborne brigade as a quick-reaction operational-level unit.

Russian nuclear missile cruiser visits French base

Russian nuclear missile cruiser visits French base (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - November 5, 2008: A Russian heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser called on Wednesday at a French naval base for the first time in the history of bilateral relations, an aide to the Russian Navy commander said. Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said the Pyotr Veliky had dropped anchor off Toulon on Wednesday morning, adding that the visit would last through November 8. He earlier said that the Russian Navy commander, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, would meet with the French Navy chief of staff. The Pyotr Veliky is the lead ship in a task force from the Russia's Northern Fleet that also includes the large ASW ship Admiral Chabanenko. After port calls and training at sea in the Mediterranean, the Northern Fleet warships will head for the Caribbean to hold exercises in November with Venezuela's navy. Another Northern Fleet task force, led by the missile cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, will conduct joint exercises with Black Sea Fleet warships in the Mediterranean in December.

Russia to deploy Iskander missiles near Polish border - Medvedev

Russia to deploy Iskander missiles near Polish border - Medvedev (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - November 5, 2008: Russia will deploy short-range Iskander missiles in its exclave of Kaliningrad next to Poland in response to U.S. missile plans for Europe, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday. "An Iskander missile system will be deployed in the Kaliningrad Region to neutralize if necessary the anti-ballistic missile system in Europe," Medvedev said in his first state of the nation address to parliament. Moscow has repeatedly expressed its opposition to Washington's plans to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and an accompanying radar in the Czech Republic, saying they threaten Russia's national security. The United States claims the new bases are needed to counter missile attacks by "rogue states" such as Iran. Medvedev also said that Russia had cancelled plans to take three missile regiments out of service in a region to the west of Moscow. "We earlier planned to remove three missile regiments of a missile division deployed in Kozelsk [Kaluga Region] from combat duty and disband the division by 2010. I have made a decision to withdraw these plans," Medvedev said, noting that Russia had been forced to take this measure. The division has RS-18 Stiletto intercontinental ballistic missiles with a range of 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles). The U.S. signed deals on the missile shield with Warsaw and Prague during the summer. Polish and Czech lawmakers have yet to ratify the agreements. The planned missile shield has been one of the main points of contention between Russia and the U.S., former Cold War foes. Russian officials earlier said Moscow could also deploy its Iskander tactical missiles and strategic bombers in Belarus, and warned that Russia could target its missiles at Poland. Medvedev said in his address that Russia would not be drawn into an arms race, but would continue to ensure the security of its citizens. He said that Russia was faced with threats and challenges in particular "the emergence of a global missile defense system, the surrounding of Russia with military bases, unrestrained NATO expansion and other 'gifts'." "We will certainly not allow ourselves to be drawn into an arms race, but we are forced to take these into account," he said.