F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Goes Supersonic on 69th Flight, Hits Mach 1.05
(NSI News Source Info) FORT WORTH, Texas - November 17, 2008: The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flew supersonic for the first time yesterday, achieving another milestone. The aircraft accelerated to Mach 1.05, or about 680 miles per hour. The test validated the F-35 Lightning II's capability to operate beyond the speed of sound and was accomplished with a full internal load of inert or "dummy" weapons on the one-hour flight. "The F-35 transitioned from subsonic to supersonic just as our engineers and our computer modeling had predicted," said Jon Beesley, Lockheed Martin's chief F-35 test pilot. "I continue to be impressed with the aircraft's power and strong acceleration, and I'm pleased that its precise handling qualities are retained in supersonic flight, even with a payload of 5,400 pounds (2,450 kilograms) in the weapons bays." Beesley said it was also a significant achievement for a test aircraft to fly supersonic for the first time with the weight of a full internal load of weapons. The milestone was achieved on the 69th flight of F-35 aircraft AA-1. Beesley climbed to 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) and accelerated to Mach 1.05, or about 680 miles per hour, over a rural area in north Texas. The F-35 accomplished four transitions through the sound barrier, spending a total of eight minutes in supersonic flight. The flight was preceded by a high-subsonic mission earlier in the day. Future testing will gradually expand the flight envelope out to the aircraft's top speed of Mach 1.6, which the F-35 is designed to achieve with a full internal load of weapons. F-35 AA-1, a conventional takeoff and landing variant (CTOL), and F-35 BF-1, a short takeoff/vertical landing variant (STOVL), together have combined for 83 test flights. The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation stealth fighter. Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136. Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2007 sales of $41.9 billion.
JSF is a joint, multinational acquisition program for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and eight cooperative international partners. Expected to be the largest military aircraft procurement ever, the stealth, supersonic F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) will replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied defense forces worldwide. The program’s hallmark is affordability achieved through a high degree of aircraft commonality among three variants: conventional takeoff/landing (CTOL), carrier variant (CV) and short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft.
Thanks for the additional info ----hesslei
India Delays Final Bid Date in Helo Purchase
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI - November 17, 2008: The procurement of 197 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters for the Indian Air Force and Army has been further delayed, as the last date for submission of bids has been postponed.
Sources in the Indian Defence Ministry said the postponement of the last date to submit technical and commercial bids has been extended by two months, from Oct. 24to Dec. 19. Sources said the submission date could be extended further as the competitors are finding it difficult to file their bids with complete details about mandatory offset requirements.
In the $750 million bid floated in July, the Defence Ministry increased the level of mandatory defense offsets from the current level of 30 percent to 50 percent.
The request for proposals has been send to Eurocopter of France, Bell Helicopter, Sikorsky Aircraft, Boeing of the United States, AgustaWestland of Italy and Kamov Design Bureau.
The Defence Ministry had promised the users that the procurement of 197 helicopters would be done on a fast-track basis and the entire procurement completed by 2011. The minimum numbers of helicopters to be inducted will be 30 per year, beginning 24 months after the contract is signed.
As per the initial plans, the Ministry of Defence decided to evaluate technical bids and the trials are expected from February 2009.
The Indian government decided to rebid the program after canceling an initial plan in which EADS had emerged as the front-runner. The government took that step following allegations of a lack of transparency in the selection process by competitor Bell Helicopter.
A total of 384 helicopters are being procured for both the Air Force and Army. Of these, the current tender is for the purchase of 197 helicopters off the shelf while the remaining 187 would be manufactured in India by state-run Hindustan Aerospace under technology transfer.
Remote-controlled weapon stations delivered to the Bundeswehr on time
(NSI News Source Info) Kassel - November 17, 2008: Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) has carried out the first partial delivery of seven light FLW 100 weapon stations to the Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB). The contract signed in July of this year allows for the production and delivery of 230 light (FLW 100) and 190 heavy weapon stations (FLW 200) in all.
Only four months after signature of the contract, the first weapon stations, which can be mounted any type of vehicle, have now been handed over to the Bundeswehr.
This was only possible because all participating firms, under the leadership of KMW, began advance production immediately after the selection decision at the end of 2007, at their own financial risk, in order to meet the planned delivery deadlines. With the prompt delivery of the first seven weapon stations, KMW has been able to make a valuable contribution to the security of Bundeswehr soldiers in their missions abroad.
In order to respond to the resulting increased need for protection, the Bundeswehr decided to equip its vehicles with light and heavy weapon stations of the types FLW 100 and 200 in the framework of its ‘GFF’ (“protected command and role-specific vehicle”) procurement programme. KMW was thus able to convince the Bundeswehr as to both modular weapon stations in a comparative test, and prevailed against competing international products.
Remote-controlled weapon stations
Both the FLW 100 and the FLW 200 can be operated by remote control by the vehicle crew from within the armoured interior, using a monitor with integrated day- and night-vision devices. A further technical feature of the system is the so-called gyroscopic stabilisation, which enables an extremely precise and controlled deployment of the weapons even during high-speed movement through rugged terrain. In addition, the stations permit a rapid change in armament. The respective equipment range – from machine guns up to automatic grenade launchers – is automatically recognized, and the station adapts its ballistics accordingly.
A further advantage is that the system can be mounted on the vehicle without making roof openings, due to its modular design. This means that no moving parts are located in the interior of the vehicle and the level of protection of the vehicles is not reduced by the integration. The integrated security system of the weapon stations also takes the vehicle silhouette, the vehicle-specific arrangement of hatches, doors and body areas, into account. The weapon station will thus not fire on the vehicle itself by mistake.
Congress Allocates $2 Million for iRobot to Develop its Next - Generation Robotic Platform Warrior 700
(NSI News Source Info) November 17, 2008: iRobot Corp. announced that Congress appropriated $2 million to further develop the company’s Warrior 700, a powerful and rugged robot for use in danger zones and inaccessible areas.
“This funding will allow iRobot to expand its product line, which continues to evolve as the need for unmanned ground vehicles grows worldwide,” said Joe Dyer, president of iRobot Government and Industrial Robots.
Melissa Wagoner, a spokeswoman for Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), said that projects such as iRobot’s “will enhance Massachusetts’ role as a leader in the defense industry,” and added: “Our courageous men and women serving overseas deserve the very best protection our nation can provide.” Sen. Kennedy, Massachusetts’ Sen. John Kerry and Congressman John Tierney championed the appropriations.
Recognizing the importance of unmanned systems in the reduction of soldier casualties, Congress increased funding to speed the development of unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles as part of the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009.
The iRobot Warrior will perform a variety of critical missions, including providing real-time video, audio and sensor readings to combat troops and local law-enforcement SWAT teams. The robot will feature an advanced digital architecture and a multi-mission chassis that supports up to 150-pound (68 kg) payloads.
iRobot Warrior’s unique payload-positioning system allows radical changes in the robot’s center of gravity for unprecedented mobility in rough terrain, while still suitable for use in an urban environment. The first production units of iRobot Warrior will be available for purchase in the third quarter of 2009.
iRobot has delivered more than 2,000 PackBot robots that make a difference everyday by conducting dangerous missions that keep warfighters out of harm's way.
Russia may use 'overkill' missiles to counter U.S. shield
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - November 17, 2008: In addition to deploying tactical missiles near the Polish border, Russia could use precision-guided air-based weapons to counter U.S. missile defense plans, a Russian military expert said on Monday.
"Iskander [missile system] is not the most effective combat asset to be used against the ground targets that are now being deployed in some European states. We also have the Air Force, which has precision-guided weapons," said Gen. Pyotr Deinekin, former Air Force commander.
He said strategic aviation had, in particular, Kh-55 (AS-15 Kent) long-range cruise missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, with an effective range of 4,500 kilometers.
He did not explain why such "overkill" missiles would be needed to engage targets in Central Europe.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates dismissed on Thursday Russia's proposal that the two countries abandon their plans to deploy missiles in Central Europe.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with French daily Le Figaro published on Thursday that Russia would be willing to abandon its plans to deploy short-range missiles near Poland if the U.S. agrees not to set up a missile shield in Central Europe.
Gates said Medvedev's recent threat to deploy Iskander missiles in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad was "hardly the welcome a new American administration deserves," and that "such provocative remarks are unnecessary and misguided."
Washington earlier said it had provided new proposals to ease Russia's concerns over the planned deployment of 10 U.S. interceptor missiles in Poland and a tracking radar in the Czech Republic, which the Bush administration has said are needed to counter possible attacks from Iran's long-range missiles.
Russia views the missile defense system as a threat to its national security, and has said that a security agreement based on respect for common interests would remove the need for a missile shield.
Moscow dismisses reports of drone crash in Georgia
(NSI News Source) TBILISI/MOSCOW - November 17, 2008: Moscow dismissed reports on Monday by Georgia's Interior Ministry that a Russian drone had crashed on Georgian territory killing two and wounding eight service personnel.
The ministry said that the Russian unmanned reconnaissance plane had violated Georgian airspace and crashed in the Gori district to the south of the Georgian breakaway republic of South Ossetia.
"When a squad of sappers from the Georgian Interior Ministry arrived at the scene, the drone exploded killing Georgy Skhvitaridze and Marat Nozadze," the ministry said adding that eight other service personnel had been wounded in the blast.
The Russian Defense Ministry denied the reports as "further information propaganda on behalf of Georgia."
Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in August after Tbilisi launched an offensive in an attempt to regain control of breakaway South Ossetia. Moscow subsequently recognized the republic along with another separatist region, Abkhazia, as independent states.
Euro-MP questions whether EU able to ensure S.Ossetia security
(NSI News Source Info) BRUSSELS - November 17, 2008: A European MP from Latvia who visited South Ossetia and its capital on October 26, has questioned whether the EU is ready to ensure security in Tskhinvali.
Russia handed control of buffer zones adjacent to two Georgian breakaway republics, over to EU and OSCE monitoring missions in Georgia on October 8. The measures are part of international efforts to stabilize the region following Georgia's invasion of South Ossetia in August, which triggered a five-day conflict with Russia.
Tatyana Zhdanok said, following reports of gunfire from the Georgian side on Tskhinvali, that South Ossetia has no EU-manned checkpoints in South Ossetia.
South Ossetia's authorities confirmed that there had been a resumption in shooting on South Ossetia territory, as well as the abductions of local residents.
The EU mission is tasked with ensuring security along the border with Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, who were recognized by Russia as independent states on August 26. Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia have refused to allow EU observers on their territory.
The Russian and French presidents, Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy, agreed in September that Russia's full withdrawal from undisputed parts of Georgia must take place by October 10. EU monitoring teams were deployed in Georgia on October 1 in preparation for the handover.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s amid armed conflicts that claimed thousands of lives.
Now Admiral Gorshkovow., When Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya?
(NSI News Source Info) November 17, 2008:
Admiral Gorshkov was a modified Kiev class aircraft carrier of the Russian Navy, originally named Baku. In 2004, she was sold to India for conversion into a STOBAR carrier to be named INS Vikramaditya.
Russia is risking its reputation as a reliable source of weapons, and related services, over a botched deal to refurbish an old Russian aircraft carrier (the Admiral Gorshkov) for the Indian Navy. The latest twist in this four year old saga has Russia threatening to give the Gorshkov back to the Russian Navy if the Indians don't, again, come up with more money. All this is a sad tale of bungling, corruption, greed and lost blueprints. Work on the Gorshkov is about half completed. The 44,000 ton Gorshkov, was supposed to be delivered this year, and renamed the INS Vikramaditya. But now delivery has been delayed until 2012. The Russians admitted that this project suffered from inept planning, shoddy workmanship, and poor management.
The original price for the refurbishment of the of the Gorshkov was $1.5 billion. Building a Gorshkov type carrier today would cost about $4 billion, and take eight years. Last year, the Russians admitted there were problems, and demanded another half billion dollars to make it all right. India went along with that. But this year the Russians raised the price again, and now want $3.5 billion for the job, and an additional four years. The Indians refuse to pay, and the Russians are playing hardball with one of their biggest arms export customers.
Given that India currently has $10 billion worth of Russian military items on order, and has been Russia's biggest, and most profitable customer for military equipment for decades, the Gorshkov is looking to be an error of gigantic proportions. The boss of Sevmash naval shipyard, when the Gorshkov deal was negotiated, has been fired and is under criminal investigation, on suspicion of financial mismanagement.
Naturally, the Indians were not happy, and at first insisted that the Russian government (which owns many of the entities involved) make good on the original deal. India sent its own team of technical experts to Russia, and their report apparently confirmed what the Russians reported, about shipyard officials low-balling the cost of the work needed. This is a common tactic for firms building weapons for their own country. It gets more complicated when you try to pull that sort of thing on a foreign customer. The Russian government initially offered to cover some of the overrun cost. But now they insist that India cover all the costs, or lose the ship entirely. There's no word on whether or not the Indians would get any of their money refunded.
The Admiral Gorshkov entered service in 1987, but was inactivated in 1996 (too expensive to operate on a post Cold War budget). India is building another carrier, from scratch, but that 37,000 ton vessel won't be ready until 2015. India's sole aircraft carrier, the 29,000 ton INS Viraat, is currently spending 16 months in a shipyard getting maintenance and upgrades, leaving India with no carrier capability. This was to have been avoided by the timely arrival (this year) of the refurbished Russian carrier. If that had happened, the INS Viraat would have been retired in 2012, after 53 years service (for Britain and India). But now the INS Viraat will get its engine and hull refurbished, and its electronics upgraded, and possibly serve for another decade.
Unless the Russians suddenly backtrack and offer to eat the overruns, this is not going to end well for anyone involved. Indian officials believe that they can persuade the Russians to make a deal that will be more acceptable.
Armored Vehicles Are A Essential Factor To Armies In The World
(NSI News Source Info) November 17, 2008: If you look at the history of armored vehicle design over the last 70 years, you'll note that victory tends to come to the side with the better crews, not the superior vehicle designs. For a long time, this played little role in the design of new armored vehicles. But now it is becoming a crucial factor.
We are living in a watershed era as far as armored vehicle design is concerned. The vehicles that entered service at the end (1991) of the Cold War are still with us. Little new is in the works. Older designs, especially wheeled armored vehicles, are coming back into fashion. The U.S. Army Stryker is a variant of the LAV vehicle the U.S. Marine Corps acquired two decades earlier. Europeans have been building and selling (worldwide) such vehicles since the end of World War II.
There is plenty of talk and speculation about radical new tank designs, but nothing has really been done. Part of the delay is financial. The end of the Cold War led to a sharp drop in military spending, especially the funding of armored vehicle design and development. Then there is the flood of new technologies, many of which have been difficult to combine into a convincing new vehicle design.
In short, the big tanks, and high tech infantry fighting vehicles of today are difficult to replace. The current vehicles get the job done, and proposed new designs offer high risk (of battlefield failure) and low probability of successfully replacing what is already available.
Meanwhile, we have a nagging problem with superior people always beating superior technology. There are many examples. Early in World War II, the Germans had inferior tanks, yet they won spectacular victories using better trained and led crews, in 1940 and 41. Then comes 1944, when the U.S. was fighting the Germans in France. There, superior American crews, using inferior tanks, defeated the German tanks.
In the 1956 and '67 Arab-Israeli wars, the Arabs had superior tanks, and more of them, but were quickly defeated by superior Israeli crews. At the very end of the Cold War, in Kuwait, the world saw what superior tanks, and crews, could do.
Thus the future of armored warfare would appear to depend more on crew, than vehicle, quality. Given the current lack of radical new tank designs, and budgets to move them through development, crew quality has become the new decisive weapon for armored forces.
Pakistan forces given ‘licence to kill’ to protect NATO supplies
(NSI News Source Info) Peshawar - November 17, 2008: Pakistan government is learnt to have given a shoot-to-kill order for those trying to disrupt the NATO supplies to Afghanistan. The order comes in the wake of recent incidents whereby insurgents hijacked as many 15 trucks loaded with supplies for NATO and American forces in Afghanistan, though they were later recovered.
Troops of Pakistan paramilitary forces escort trucks carrying supplies for NATO and U.S. forces to neighboring Afghanistan through Pakistan's tribal area of Khyber Pass near Peshawar Monday, Nov. 17, 2008. Pakistan reopened the supply route critical to NATO and U.S. troops battling the Taliban
The vehicles will henceforth be escorted by security officials to help them pass through Khyber Agency in a convoy, the Daily Times quoted a senior Pakistan government official as saying.
The Peshawar-Torkham road, one of the routes linking Pakistan and Afghanistan, is expected to be reopened today for moving NATO supplies to Western forces in Afghanistan, said sources in Pakistan government.
According to the paper, hundreds of trailers and containers had been stranded on the route, which was closed last week after Taliban hijacked more than a dozen trucks carrying NATO supplies on the road through the Khyber Pass. Political Agent Tariq Hayat said a “Quick Response Force” had been formed to guard the Afghanistan-bound containers.
Although NATO supplies were formally suspended on Saturday, drivers said they had been denied entry into Khyber Agency since November 11. “We have been made to wait here for the last six days under no security cover,” said a driver on condition of anonymity. Sources said the Peshawar-Jamrud road was also closed for the vehicles carrying NATO supplies on the recommendations of the NWFP government.
According to NWFP police chief Malik Naveed Khan, there were three criminal gangs in Khyber with direct links to terrorist groups.
Boeing to Add New Technology to US Air Force GPS IIF Ground Segment
(NSI News Source Info) EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - November 17, 2008: Boeing announced today that it will add improved capabilities to its technology for the U.S. Air Force's Operational Control Segment (OCS) satellite ground-control system. The new technology will allow the system to operate the new Boeing-built Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellites in addition to the current on-orbit GPS fleet, and provide advanced encryption and data-protection capabilities. The first of 12 GPS IIF satellites is scheduled to launch in the third quarter of 2009.
"Boeing and the U.S. Air Force GPS Wing's seamless deployment of the OCS in September 2007 introduced the beginning of a new era of GPS operational capabilities to support our warfighters and civilian users around the world," said Air Force Col. David Madden. "This additional technology will help us enhance the performance of the new GPS IIF satellites and the current GPS constellation."
The OCS system, also known as the Architecture Evolution Plan, is a distributed-server-based system designed to improve operations, increase efficiency and provide a foundation for new capabilities.
"This is the first step in enabling the advancements that the GPS IIF satellite brings to the GPS constellation," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "The flexible design of the OCS system enables it to accommodate technology improvements as they become available."
Boeing Adjusts 747-8 Program Production and Delivery Schedule
(NSI News Source Info) EVERETT, Wash. - November 17, 2008: Boeing on Nov. 14, announced an adjusted schedule for production and delivery of the 747-8 Freighter and Intercontinental airplanes.
The revised schedule is based on a production and flight-test plan developed in conjunction with the company's suppliers that provides additional time for addressing issues that have slowed the program's progress. Those issues include supply chain delays driven by design changes to the airplane, limited availability of engineering resources inside Boeing, and the recent Machinists' strike that halted production in the company's factories.
Delivery of the first 747-8 Freighter will move from late 2009 to the third quarter of 2010. The first 747-8 Intercontinental passenger jet delivery moves from late 2010 to the second quarter of 2011.
"Our entire team has worked hard to mitigate growing schedule risk on this program but have been unable to overcome the collective impact of work statement increases to the original design, a tight supply of engineering resources, and the recent Machinists' strike," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Scott Carson. "We are clearly disappointed in what this schedule change means for our customers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders. However, it is the appropriate and prudent decision to ensure a successful program, and we are committed to working with our customers to mitigate any disruption it causes them."
The revised schedule is the result of a comprehensive assessment of the production system and flight-test plan that began in late August and concluded with the incorporation of the impact of the recent strike.
"The remaining work on the 747-8 program is well defined," said Ross R. Bogue, vice president and general manager -- 747 Program and Everett site. "This schedule adjustment provides the time we need to finish that work and bring both airplanes to market successfully for our customers."
The risk of a schedule adjustment on the program was previously identified and was provisioned for in Boeing's third quarter financial results. The company will provide updated financial guidance and a post-strike assessment of the schedule for all its commercial airplane programs at a later date.
(NSI News Source Info) EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - November 17, 2008: The A-10 Thunderbolt II, nicknamed the Warthog and known for its close-air support superiority and the ability to carry large and varied ordnance, is now on its way to delivering a new capability to the warfighter.
A pilot from the 40th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with support from people with the 46th Test Wing, Boeing and a host of other units, flew a quick yet historic mission early in November. For the first time, a Guided Bomb Unit-54, the Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition, or LJDAM, was dropped from an A-10C.
"There is a strong need to destroy moving targets in the AOR," said Capt. Kirt Cassell, the lead A-10C flight test engineer. "The Laser JDAM has shown to be very effective at destroying moving targets on other (aircraft) and Air Combat Command (officials) wanted to bring that capability to the A-10C for an upcoming deployment."
Captain Cassell and team members from the 40th FTS began planning this test mission in early October. That's a short timeline for a test mission, according to Captain Cassell. Plus, the team was challenged with ensuring the LJDAM worked correctly. To do this, the plan was to drop the bomb on a GPS target and then lase the weapon to another target downrange.
"The test was very successful!" Captain Cassell said. "The weapon functioned properly and released successfully, impacting the target almost exactly where the laser spot was located. We were able to demonstrate that the GBU-54 can successfully be integrated and dropped from the A-10C."
Maj. Matthew Domsalla piloted the historic mission. He's been flying the A-10 for more than eight years and knows that this added capability will make the A-10C even more lethal and more valuable to warfighters needing some firepower assistance. "
The LJDAM provides the pilot the ability to update the targeting if the target moves while the weapon is in flight," he said.
The A-10C has already demonstrated tremendous capability in supporting the war on terrorism. According to Lt. Col. Evan Dertien, the 40th Flight Test Squadron commander, putting this bomb on the aircraft "will give the A-10 an outstanding precision targeting capability that will help the Air Force continue to provide precision engagement."
And while making Air Force history is a great feeling for the 40th team, Colonel Dertien says the rewards of a successful test are more far reaching.
"When the weapons are proven in combat and you get feedback from the deployed flying units that a capability worked as expected and made a difference in the fight, that's the big payoff," he said.
The next step for the A-10C and LJDAM is to undergo operational tests to develop tactics and techniques for employing the weapon. If those tests prove to go as well as the first, Eglin's test team may have their feedback as early as January. The goal is to have this new precision capability deployed to the area of operations by early 2009.
Chinese Official Asserts Right To Carrier: Report
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON - November 17, 2008: A top Chinese military official asserted his country's right to build an aircraft carrier in a British newspaper interview Nov. 17, without commenting directly on whether it had decided to do so.
Maj. Gen. Qian Lihua, director of the Foreign Affairs Office at the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, told the Financial Times that if China did build a carrier, it would only be used for offshore defense.
"Navies of great powers with more than 10 aircraft carrier battle groups with strategic military objectives have a different purpose from countries with only one or two carriers used for offshore defense," he said, apparently in reference to the United States which has 11, according to the FT.
"Even if one day we have an aircraft carrier, unlike another country we will not use it to pursue global deployment or global reach."
The interview comes amid widespread speculation inside and outside China that Beijing is planning to acquire an aircraft carrier.
Earlier this year, the head of the U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Timothy Keating, was reported to have said that Chinese military leaders were intensely interested in such an acquisition.
In March 2007, a Beijing-backed Hong Kong newspaper reported that China could have its first aircraft carrier by 2010.
This would likely trigger serious fears, especially in the United States, about China's global ambitions. The FT notes Qian's remarks were unlikely to address concerns over how it would affect a conflict involving Taiwan.
But the Chinese official noted that on a wider scale, it was "unreasonable" for Western countries to continue to call on Beijing for peacekeeping missions but at the same time maintain curbs on arms exports imposed in 1989.
"U.S. and EU countries on one hand ask us to send more troops to peacekeeping operations overseas, while on the other, they still have such arms sales embargoes on China. I think that is quite unreasonable," Qian said.
Zardari seeks From US to provide the predator technology to Pakistan
(NSI News Source Info) November 17, 2008: Washington: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has reportedly urged Washington to provide the predator technology to Pakistan instead to enhance its ability to fight terrorism.
Zardari made this demand while expressing his disapproval of the US’ drone attacks on Pakistani areas along the Afghan border, reported the Daily Times.
He also voiced hope that the incoming Barack Obama administration would recognise Pakistan’s key anti-terror role as well as understand the fact that his country has been a victim of terrorism as well.
“We think we need a new dialogue, and we’re hoping that the new US government will understand that Pakistan has done more than they recognise and was a victim of the same insurgency the US was fighting,” the paper quoted him as saying.
North Korea Remains Calm And Stable As Kim Wastes Away
(NSI News Source Info) November 17, 2008: The global media have been discussing the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il since September, after he failed to show up at several important official events, including celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. This sparked rumors of illness and a possible stroke.
In reality, nobody, except several top North Korean officials, knows anything about the health of Kim Jong Il. However, alarmist rumors and allegations concerning his bad health and imminent death imply that a bloody power struggle might erupt between the Workers' Party of North Korea and the army or inside the Kim Jong Il clan.
The authors of these rumors are also discussing North Korea's complete collapse. They believe China might decide to deploy troops in the country, that the United States would retaliate, and that another Korean war would flare up.
Despite these rumors -- actively circulated by the Western media -- one thing is certain: The North Korean sociopolitical situation remains absolutely calm and stable.
Indeed, the possible appointment of a new North Korean leader in the foreseeable future will not cause a nationwide collapse or any other major upheavals.
The outside world knows nothing about Kim Jong Il's possible successor and is forced to speculate whether he will be replaced by one of his sons, his daughter or his wife.
Many analysts are talking about collective leadership but are divided on its lineup. Some believe that the new government will be dominated by generals in line with the recent "army-priority" policies. Still others think that the Workers' Party of North Korea is reinstating its leading role and that the country would be run by a party-controlled collective leadership.
It appears that power in North Korea will change hands in line with a preliminary scenario. Although we do not know its contents, this scenario obviously exists. Consequently, all changes will be calm, with the North Korean government retaining control over the situation.
Domestic policy and foreign policy continuity will be preserved. The new North Korean leadership will steer toward gradual and extremely cautious market-oriented reforms and will search for ways of completely normalizing relations with the United States and Japan.
This theory is supported by Barack Obama's victory in the latest U.S. presidential elections. Pyongyang hastened to state its readiness to mend relations with Washington, if the latter reciprocated. Obama has also voiced his intention to negotiate with the North Korean leader after he is inaugurated.
Consequently, there is no reason to worry about possible destabilization on the Korean Peninsula, rising tensions and a hypothetical regional armed conflict.
In this connection, all the concerned parties must display tact and restraint while commenting on Kim Jong Il's health and discussing future relations with new North Korean leadership.
Any negative scenarios would be caused by external, rather than North Korean, developments. For instance, relations between the Republic of Korea and Pyongyang could continue to worsen, because the administration of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has revised the heritage of his two predecessors and the entire North Korean policy.
Any manifestations of hysteria in connection with possible North Korean changes and the drafting of hostile contingency plans on this basis can seriously complicate relations with Pyongyang from the very outset and force it to implement tougher domestic and foreign policy measures.
Washington and Seoul are now actively discussing various military-political scenarios under the Concept of Operations Plan 5029 for dealing with the possible collapse of the North Korean regime.
Pyongyang is becoming more concerned and distrustful in the context of U.S.-South Korean attempts to convert this document into Operations Plan 5029.
South Korean analysts close to national government agencies are calling on Seoul to take advantage of possible North Korean problems caused by a hypothetical reshuffle in high places and to facilitate Korean reunification in line with the South's terms.
In the last few months South Korean non-governmental organizations have been using balloons to drop propaganda leaflets over North Korea beyond the demilitarized zone. Such actions are also aimed at changing the Pyongyang regime.
After Seoul ignored repeated North Korean warnings, Pyongyang decided to close the land border starting Dec. 10. This will inevitably impair the steadily dwindling inter-Korean cooperation.
Some analysts are saying with reason that Seoul, which is stating its desire to salvage and expand bilateral cooperation, nonetheless has diametrically opposite plans.
Such actions could induce Pyongyang to implement tough defensive measures and would spell negative prospects for reformist plans being implemented since 2002.
However, Pyongyang would continue to gradually modernize its socioeconomic system if other countries display a tranquil and friendly attitude.
Late North Korean leader backed nuke-free world: report
Declassified Chinese papers reveal North Korea's late founding leader Kim Il-Sung expressed his desire for denuclearisation just months before backing China's atomic ambitions, a report said Sunday. Yonhap news agency, citing a Chinese dossier from Beijing's national archives, said Kim's wish to rid the world of nuclear weapons was set out in a letter to then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1964. But in correspondence the following year, Kim congratulated China on its successful atomic tests and advocated Beijing's nuclear development as a defensive measure against US nuclear threats, Yonhap said.
"Eternal President" Kim Il-Sung, who died in 1994, is the father of Kim Jong-Il, the current leader of the communist state, a self-declared nuclear power since a 2006 atomic test. In a declassified letter dated October 30, 1964, Kim senior told Zhou that North Korea favoured banning and destroying all nuclear weapons. "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) has consistently maintained that nuclear weapons should be completely banned and nuclear weapons should be thoroughly destroyed," Kim said in the letter, according to Yonhap.
"The Korean people will stand shoulder to shoulder with the peace-loving people of the whole world for the realisation of the complete ban and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons." However, Kim Il-Sung wrote on May 17, 1965 to then Chinese leader Mao Zedong following Beijing's second successful nuclear test: "China's achievements will play a big role in coping with nuclear threats from the imperialist US and protecting the peace of the people of socialist countries." The letters were included in diplomatic documents declassified by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Yonhap said. A Chinese foreign ministry statement said the time needed to process an application to see the documents was 20 working days.
Gadhafi Goes Shopping In Old Eastern Bloc
(NSI News Source Info) Moscow - November 17, 2008: Russia is unlikely to get what it wants from Libya.
Before Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi came to the Russian capital, Moscow, on a state visit last week, analysts thought he would sign military contracts worth between $2 billion and $4.5 billion with Russia. However, while the Kremlin staff was busy searching for a place to build a Bedouin tent for Gadhafi, the "son of the desert" was thinking about his bargaining tactic in the former Soviet republics of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.
Russians view the three countries as fraternal, but Gadhafi sees them as the "Slavic bazaar" where he can induce them to compete against each other.
The colonel's itinerary was carefully plotted, from Russia to Belarus and to Ukraine, because in Moscow the Libyan leader saw the full range of Russian military items for sale, such as the Kamov Ka-52 Alligator helicopter, the Sukhoi Su-35 multirole fighter, the T-90 Main Battle Tank and the latest version of Russia's advanced S-300 anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic-missile air defense system.
Even the Russian army lacks most of these novel systems, which definitely are not cheap. Russia has other cheaper, simpler arms for sale. It inherited them from the Soviet Union, just as Belarus and Ukraine did.
I was a military translator in Libya in the mid-1980s, and I know the Libyan army had Soviet arms made in the 1960s and early 1970s. They proved highly effective during war games, as well as in wars. Gadhafi was fighting a war in Chad at that time, which Libya did not advertise.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko offered Gadhafi Soviet-made weapons.
Two factors -- the price and the buyer's feeling about the seller -- are crucial at a bazaar where sellers offer similar goods. Gadhafi is an experienced politician who has held power for close to 40 years, and he has a personality comparable to those of Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Belarusian President Lukashenko.
It is therefore not surprising that during their visit to Minsk the leaders of Russia and Belarus spoke about their countries' similar positions and the need to build a multipolar world. Gadhafi recalled that it was Belarus that "extended a hand of friendship" to Libya when international sanctions were imposed on it.
Gadhafi first met with Lukashenko in 2000, when the Belarusian president was in Libya on an official visit during which the two leaders created the groundwork for bilateral relations. Gadhafi told Lukashenko on that occasion that he was always welcome in Libya, and the Belarusian leader promised to come to Tripoli again.
New Russian armored vehicles in action
(NSI News Source Info) November 17, 2008: Special demonstration drills with live firing took place at the Kubinka military training ground near Moscow. Journalists could see new Russian armored vehicles, including T-90 tanks, BMP-3 armored personnel carriers and a special Terminator tank support combat vehicle (BMPT) in action.
Chavez says Russia to build nuclear reactor in Venezuela
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - November 17, 2008: Russia will help Venezuela build its first nuclear reactor in the northwestern province of Zulia, President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday.
Chavez had announced on Friday that Venezuela was in talks with Russia on nuclear energy cooperation, and the issue is likely to be discussed during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit later this month.
"A nuclear reactor, to produce energy for peaceful purposes, will soon be built in Estado Zulia and named in honor of the Venezuelan scientist of the last century Humberto Fernandez Moran," Chavez told supporters in Maracaibo, the capital of Zulia state.
"Brazil has several nuclear reactors, as does Argentina. We will also have our own reactor," the president said.
Medvedev's trip to Venezuela on November 26 will be the first visit by a Russian president.
Russian nuclear power plant constructer Atomstroyexport, established in 1998, has completed or is working on reactors in Iran, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, China and India.
Indian Air Force to Setup First Sukhoi Squadron in Punjab by 2011
(NSI News Source Info) November 17, 2008: In a move to provide teeth to its Air Force fleet along the Indo-Pak border, India will deploy two of its air superiority Sukhoi fighter squadrons in Halwara air base in Punjab by 2011. The Indian Air Force's (IAF) sword-arm Western Air Command (WAC) has drawn up a two-year plan and is preparing to host the Sukhoi squadrons at the Halwara fighter base near Ludhiana."We will get the first of the Su-30 squadrons to be based under the WAC by 2011 at the Halwara air base," WAC chief Air Marshal Pranab Kumar Barbora said. The IAF has already started the work to develop the infrastructure for deploying the squadrons with the most potent fighter aircraft in its fleet at the air base, which currently hosts the MiG-23 BN squadrons."We have started developing infrastructure for the Su-30 MKIs' deployment there. Work on the runway and other facilities has started and its going to be fully prepared for the aircraft in the next two years," Barbora said here. The two Su-30 MKI squadrons would be deployed at Halwara simultaneously once the MiG-23s are phased out early next year.These would be the first Su-30 MKI squadrons under the WAC, the largest of IAF's five operational commands in terms of area.
India to Test Laser Guide Missile System in Chandipur, Orissa
(NSI News Source Info) November 17, 2008: After registering significant success with conventional missile systems, India is all set to test its first laser-guided missile at the Interim Test Range, Balasore, Orissa. The missile, Sudarshan, is the latest weapon system developed indigenously to occupy the niche of a precision delivery mechanism. It can neutralise any target in a 800-1,000 km range with a zero margin of error.
Developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment, Bangalore, Sudarshan is a versatile missile that can be used by the army, navy and air force. It suits the requirements of the artillery for a long-distance strike weapon. The navy can also fire it from an onboard launcher."The first version will use a ground-based launcher. However, subsequent ones could be fired from a flying fighter or drone. This will enhance the range," a source told to this website's newspaper.Sudarshan will use a laser of a specific frequency bandwidth to locate the target. The laser creates a heat signature on the target. The missile recognizes the signature and homes in on it even if the target is moving, sources said. "The target can be spotlighted using laser beamed from a ship or air. The on board systems can light it up and the missile follows the reflected light to reach targets that need pinpoint accuracy," said the source.However, unlike the practice of giving continuous laser guidance to a missile using an aircraft or a handheld designator, Sudarshan’s instrumentation enables it to chase a target once the navigation systems lock in on it.The ADE is equipping the missile with global positioning system technology. Like all modern missiles, it will have a three-dimensional locking mechanism using latitude, longitude and elevation.The preliminary trials, the sources said, were satisfactory. A dummy target was lit up using a laser fired from a battle tank. The missile's navigation system picked up the light and eliminated the target. Sudarshan's final trials are expected to take place within three months.
Pakistan criticized on US$7.6 bil. IMF bailout
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - November 17, 2008: Analysts and opposition leaders warned Sunday that Pakistan’s decision to borrow US$7.6 billion from the International Monetary Fund to stabilize its economy at a time of rising militant violence could lead to a public backlash.
Pakistani leaders had hoped their nation’s front-line status in the fight against al-Qaida and Taliban militant would lead the international community to come to its rescue.
Pakistan’s top finance official Shaukat Tareen speaks during a press conference in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 15. Pakistan has agreed to borrow US$7.6 billion from the International Monetary Fund to avoid adding an economic crisis to its struggle against Islamic militants, Tareen said
However, with the global economy in turmoil, the government was forced to turn to the IMF after even close allies such as the United States, China and Saudi Arabia snubbed its requests for significant bilateral aid.
Opposition lawmakers fear the IMF will impose austerity measures that will hurt ordinary Pakistanis, two-thirds of whom live on US$2 dollar a day or less. But the IMF said the package included steps to protect the poor from cutbacks.
Ahsan Iqbal, a spokesman for the main opposition party, said the government should admit its economic plans had failed, Dawn, a respected English-language paper, reported Sunday.
“The government should immediately tell Parliament what strings are attached to the IMF package,” the newspaper quoted Iqbal as saying.
Like other observers, Iqbal said the government had damaged its image by expanding the Cabinet when austerity was needed, not to mention sending a reported 200 people along with President Asif Ali Zardari to Saudi Arabia on a recent aid-seeking mission.
Murtaza Mughal of Pakistan Economy Watch, a network of economists, said Sunday that the country should still seek other options to shore up its economy. Cumbersome IMF spending rules could further slow development and upset the public, he said.
“We should avoid this loan,” Mughal said. He suggested that Zardari and other Pakistani leaders set an example by bringing into Pakistan bank money they held in banks elsewhere.
Pakistan’s finance chief said Saturday that the IMF agreed to the bailout after endorsing plans to tackle the country’s huge budget and trade deficits. The loan will boost Pakistan’s foreign currency reserves, which have seen a rapid decline that raised the prospect of a run on the local currency and default on the country’s foreign debt.
“We have fulfilled our commitment that Pakistan will never default” on its debt, Shaukat Tareen, finance adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister, said at a news conference.
Pakistan is one of a number of countries including Hungary and Ukraine seeking IMF assistance in the wake of the global credit crunch.
However, nuclear-armed Pakistan’s strategic importance in the U.S.-led war on terror makes its financial and political stability of particular concern to the international community.
Pakistan’s northwest, especially its wild tribal belt, is used by al-Qaida and Taliban militants to stage attacks on U.S. and NATO troops across the border in Afghanistan.
The Muslim nation is currently pursuing military operations in the tribal areas, including one in the Bajur region said to have killed more than 1,600 people since August.
Pakistan’s economy, which enjoyed fast-paced growth under ex-President Pervez Musharraf, is threatened by gross imbalances caused by the soaring costs of imported oil and food.
Tareen said Pakistan would apply formally for the emergency loan this week and an IMF statement said its board would consider the matter shortly.
With Pakistan’s currency having fallen some 20 percent since March, Tareen said Pakistan was hoping to receive a substantial first tranche from the fund before the end of the month. He said the loan carries an interest rate of between 3.5 percent and 4.5 percent and that Pakistan would have five years to pay it back, starting in 2011 or 2012.
(NSI News Source Info) November 17, 2008: With uncertainty still reigning over Georgia’s hopes to one day become a member of NATO, in the aftermath of its conflict with Russia, the alliance’s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer re-stated the military group’s desire to see Ukraine join its ranks at a high-level conference being held in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, on November 13. In his opening speech, de Hoop Scheffer said the talks were taking place at a special moment in NATO-Ukraine relations.
“Let me remind you that at the Bucharest Summit earlier this year, NATO heads of state and government welcomed Ukraine’s Euro- Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO and agreed that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance,” he said. At subsequent press conferences, de Hoop Scheffer told reporters: “The long-standing partnership with Ukraine is not diminishing one iota.” He was joined by Ukrainian Defence Minister Yuri Yekhanurov and US Defence Secretary Robert Gates in stinging criticism of Russia’s recent actions, including suspicions that it was attempting to meddle in the affairs of other nations.
“Ukraine must be free to choose its own path and its own future, free from outside interference, and free from outside pressure of any kind in any direction,” de Hoop Scheffer said. Yekhanurov said the regional security environment had changed. “The world has become less stable and less predictable. The serious developments in Georgia have dispelled the idea that war in Europe is impossible,” he said. “The major issue was what to do next - will we agree to play dangerous imperialistic games of the 19th and 20th centuries and return to spheres of influence or will we follow that basic principle that European democracies have a right to choose their own way to security?” he asked.
Yekhanurov admitted that further progress needed to be made in Ukraine before it could be accepted as a full NATO member and said his country was suffering from an “overdose of democracy” creating political instability. However, he laughed off a mass brawl in the Ukrainian parliament as “testimony to fighting spirit of Ukraine.”
Gates unleashed the strongest denunciation of Russian actions while urging Ukraine to show the sustained commitment needed to join the alliance. Gates said countries in Eastern Europe were on edge due to Russia’s incursion into Georgia. “Russia’s recent behaviour has been troubling. Within hours of the conclusion of the American election, President (Dmitry) Medvedev responded by threatening to place missiles in Kaliningrad - hardly the welcome a new American administration deserves.”
“Such provocative remarks are unnecessary and misguided,” Gates added. Such rhetoric was associated with a bygone era, Gates stated, before suggesting that the only real emerging threat on Russia’s periphery was Iran. “I don’t think the Iskander missile has the range to get there,” he said laconically. Gates was also less measured in his reaction to the question of Ukraine’s and Georgia’s NATO Membership Action Plans (MAPs) than de Hoop Scheffer had been. The American diplomat referred back to the Bucharest summit in April when the two countries were granted their MAPs. “In a way the application has already been signed and sealed at Bucharest,” Gates said. That contrasted with de Hoop Scheffer’s earlier statement that NATO foreign ministers will make their first assessment of MAP in December and that it was too early to say what the outcome would be.