Monday, December 15, 2008

Israeli Hi-Tech "Fast Spotter" Radar

Israeli Hi-Tech "Fast Spotter" Radar
(NSI News Source Info) December 16, 2008: For over a decade, Israel has been improving its artillery-spotting radar to increase the speed with which incoming shells or rockets can be spotted, identified and tracked back to where they were fired from. This began with efforts to defend the southern town of Sderot, which has been the target of Palestinian rockets, from Gaza, for nearly a decade.
This effort sought to quickly calculate the trajectory of the incoming rocket (Palestinian Kassams from Gaza, or Russian and Iranian designs favored by Hizbollah in Lebanon) and determine if the rocket trajectory indicated it was going to land in an uninhabited area. If it was determined if the rocket was headed for an inhabited area, some warning (10-15 seconds), which enabled people a chance to duck into shelter. Over 90 percent of these rockets landed in uninhabited areas. The new version of this "fast spotter" radar is meant to provide sufficient time for nearby artillery to get a shell onto the launching area within 30 seconds. The Palestinians are on to this, and often set up the launchers with a timer, that will fire the rockets after the crew is safely away.
In response to that, Israel has missile armed UAVs circling over potential firing sites, looking for signs of launch activity. Ideally, these UAVs will fire a missile at Palestinians setting up rockets. But with the new radar, the UAV operators will be instantly alerted to a launch, and where it was.
The UAV can then hunt for the fleeing launching crew, and put a missile on them. The Palestinians have also tried to put their launchers in residential areas, to either discourage Israeli counter-fire, or produce dead civilians ("involuntary martyrs" is how the Islamic terrorists describe this) for propaganda purposes. The civilians know what's up here, and will flee if they see launchers being set up nearby.
But since most of this activity is at night, many Palestinians simply refuse to live near potential launching sites in northern Gaza. But the Palestinian terrorists are getting longer range rockets, that enable them to launch them from densely populated areas in central Gaza. So while the new radar helps, it is no panacea. The other side will always react to counter any new development.

Mexico: Rampant Crime And Corruption

Mexico: Rampant Crime And Corruption
(NSI News Source Info) December 16, 2008: This month, about 26 people a day are dying from criminal and terrorist violence a day in Iraq. That's a bit lower than the death toll in northern Mexico, which on a bad day (like last November 3rd) saw 58 people killed. The police are generally helpless, hundreds of thousands of middle-class Mexicans have fled the border region, often to the United States (if they had dual-citizenship, which many do). Those without money must hunker down and wait for someone to win this war. The drug gangs show no signs of weakening, although the army believes that it can prevail in the next year or so. December 14, 2008: So how is the Cartel War going, two years on? President Felipe Calderon -- the man in the cauldron-- sees progress. In a recent speech Calderon addressed what he saw as the deep challenge in Mexico -- corruption. "Instead of faltering," Calderon said, "we have taken on the challenge of turning Mexico into a country of laws." Corruption in the police and judiciary provides the "dirty space" for all types of crime, but the drug cartels essentially began carving out "drug duchies," which is one reason Calderon decided to use the Mexican military. Calderon saw a situation similar to that in Colombia, where at one time the rebel FARC organization openly claimed territory. FARC started out with political aims and still claims political aims, but the people of Colombia came to know it as a criminal gang in the narcotics and kidnapping business. Mexico's drug cartels skipped the political stage though they love buying politicians. Calderon sees his war as a war for modernity, for systemic change. This is why he also speaks of economic transformation (eg, opening the oil business to foreign investment) and "structural reforms" (something of an all encompassing code word for reforming the police, the judiciary, and politics). His own words drive the point home:"Nowadays we are experiencing the consequences of years of indifference to the cancer of crime, impunity and corruption. This scourge became a threat to the peace and well-being of Mexican families and constitutes a challenges to the state's viability." Calderon's government says that it seeks change in five major areas. It calls them, (1) Rule of Law and Security, (2) a Competitive Economy that will Create Jobs, (3) Equal Opportunities, (4) Environmental Sustainability, and (5) Effective Democracy and Responsible Foreign Policy. December 10, 2008: The government wants foreign investors to help reverse Mexico's decline in oil production. The government hopes foreign oil companies will be interested in exploring the Chicontepec basin in eastern Mexico. The government currently estimates the basin has at least 12 billion barrels in it, but could hold tens of billions more. The problem is that the geology is complex and recovery requires "advanced technologies." Mexico has budgeted money (up to $30 billion) to develop the field, but that may not be enough. The government pointed to Chicontepec as an immediate example of the need to modernize energy investment laws in order to attract capital. It was one reason some legislators decided to support Calderon's energy investment reforms. Mexico produces around 2.75 million barrels a day, but its older fields are producing a lot less oil today than they were even four or five years ago. December 5, 2008: According to the US Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the city of Houston, Texas is the "top source" for illegal firearms entering Mexico. The Gulf Cartel is particularly "connected" in Houston and according to the BATF has at least "three cells" in the Houston area. December 2, 2008: Authorities found nine headless bodies in Tijuana (Baja California). The victims were likely part of a gang war going on in the city. Mexican police said approximately 350 people have been killed in drug gang-related violence in and around Tijuana during he last two months. December 1, 2008: Mexican media reported that November 2008 was the deadliest month in Mexico's now two-year old Cartel War. Over 700 people (one source reported 701 to be precise) were killed in November. 669 were killed in October 2008. That brings the death toll for 2008 to somewhere between 4900 and 5100 murders. One source reported 4961, another 5024. Still, the Mexican government can point to some progress in reducing kidnappings since launching an anti-kidnapping initiative as part of its August 2008 national security accord. The government reported that kidnappings since September have averaged 72 a month. This is down from an average of 90 a month (January through August 2008). But remember several things about all of these numbers -- they rely on reported and investigated crimes. That said, the 2008 death toll is another indicator that Mexico is a country at war.

Russia, Ukraine To Hold Talks On Black Sea Fleet Base In Q109

Russia, Ukraine To Hold Talks On Black Sea Fleet Base In Q109 (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - December 16, 2008: Russia and Ukraine have agreed to hold the next round of talks on the future of Russia's naval facilities in the Crimea in February-March 2009, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday. Moscow and Kiev held a meeting at the level of deputy foreign ministers in Kiev to discuss key issues of bilateral relations, including "the presence and operation of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine." "The sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the subcommittee on the Black Sea Fleet in February-March 2009 in Kiev," the ministry said in a press release posted on its website. Russia's Black Sea Fleet uses a range of naval facilities in Ukraine's Crimea, including the main base in Sevastopol, as part of a 1997 agreement, under which Ukraine agreed to lease the bases to Russia until 2017. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko announced in the summer that Ukraine would not extend the lease of the Sevastopol base beyond 2017, and urged the Russian fleet to start preparations for a withdrawal. Although the agreement for Russia's use of the base foresees a possible extension of the lease, and Moscow has repeatedly said it wants negotiations on the issue, Ukraine reiterated its position in October that it would not permit an extension of Russia's naval presence in the country after 2017. Meanwhile, Russia is considering opening a base at Ochamchira, a seaside town in the separatist Georgian republic of Abkhazia, which has been recently recognized by Russia as an independent state, as a possible replacement for the Sevastopol base.

Russian Destroyer To Visit Portugal December 19-22

Russian Destroyer To Visit Portugal December 19-22 (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - December 16, 2008: Russia's Admiral Levchenko missile destroyer and a support ship will begin a visit to Lisbon on Friday, a Navy spokesman said on Monday. The Udaloy-class destroyer is part of a task force from Russia's Northern Fleet led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, which is currently on its way to the Mediterranean. "The visit will last until December 22," Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said. Following the visit, the task force will pass through the Strait of Gibraltar, visit several ports in the Mediterranean, and participate in joint exercises with Russia's Black Sea Fleet. Dygalo earlier said that Russia currently has three naval task groups on tours of duty in the world's oceans. Another naval task force from the Northern Fleet, led by the Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered missile cruiser, is currently on a tour of duty in the Caribbean. The Admiral Chabanenko missile destroyer and two support ships from this task force will visit Cuba on December 19-23. Meanwhile, a task force from Russia's Pacific Fleet, comprising the Admiral Vinogradov, an Udaloy class missile destroyer, a tugboat, and two tankers, is in the South China Sea heading to the Indian Ocean to take part in the INDRA-2009 joint naval drills with the Indian navy. Russia announced last year that its navy had resumed and would build up a constant presence in different regions of the world's oceans.

Dassault Wins “Rafale Care” Maintenance Contract

Dassault Wins “Rafale Care” Maintenance Contract
(NSI News Source Info) SAINT-CLOUD, France - December 15, 2008: SIMMAD, the Integrated Maintenance Organisation for French MoD aircraft, recently awarded Dassault Aviation a 10-year contract to provide maintenance for all of the equipment within its work-scope for the 120 Rafale aircraft ordered to date by the French Air Force and Navy. This contract marks a key milestone in the operation of the Rafale in the armed forces over the coming years.
Rafale is a twin-jet combat aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of short- and long-range missions, including ground and sea attack, air defence and air superiority, reconnaissance, and high-accuracy strike or nuclear strike deterrence The State’s targets for fleet operational availability and reduction of Rafale maintenance costs, have been satisfied thanks to a global, long-term maintenance contract based on payment per flying hour, with a commitment by Dassault Aviation to ensure that the amount will be regressive in future years.
This "Rafale Care" contract covers all the functions of the aircraft with the exception of the engine and the radar, countermeasures and weapon systems.
This broad scope of application allows Dassault Aviation to align itself with the State’s Airworthiness requirements (Decree 2006-1551 and associated orders dated 7 December 2006).
Beyond general overhaul and repair activities, "Rafale Care" offers a high-level service which contributes to meeting the availability and cost targets of the armed forces.

Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) Helicopter Demonstrator, USA

Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) Helicopter Demonstrator, USA
(NSI News Source Info) December 15, 2008: The Boeing unmanned Little Bird (ULB) demonstrator is a modification of the MD 530F single-turbine helicopter, designed for both manned and unmanned flight. The ULB can be remotely operated or programmed for autonomous operations in any of its three operational modes: dual pilot, single pilot or unmanned flight operations. The high payload capacity allows missions to include long-endurance intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions using heavy, high-capability sensors. Boeing's unmanned Little Bird (ULB) helicopter demonstrator successfully completed its first flight in September 2004 and the first autonomous take-off and landing was carried out in October 2004. During this phase of testing an on-board test pilot monitored the helicopter's performance but did not actively fly the aircraft. The first truly unmanned flight was completed in July 2006. "The Boeing unmannedLittle Bird demonstrator (ULB) is a modification of the MD 530F single-turbine helicopter." The business operations centres responsible for development of the Little Bird include Boeing Rotorcraft Unmanned Systems based in Mesa, Arizona, Boeing Advanced Systems, the Boeing Company in St Louis, and Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, St Louis. The unmanned Little Bird demonstrator aircraft has safely conducted more than 500 hours of UAV technology flight testing since its first flight in September 2004. The demonstrator has supported the definition and qualification of US Army manned and unmanned aircraft operations. The ULB demonstrator won the American Helicopter Society's AHS 2005 Grover E Bell award for the best advancement in rotorcraft research for that year.
Boeing's unmanned Little Bird (ULB) helicopter demonstrator successfully completed its first unmanned flight in July 2006
The unmanned variant being internationally marketed by Boeing is based on the A/MH-6M aircraft. The A/MH-6 helicopters which are used by the US Army Special Forces are based on the MD 500 series. A/MH-6X The A/MH-6X is an optionally manned or unmanned aircraft which is a hybrid of the ULB demonstrator and the A/MH-6M mission-enhanced Little Bird which is used by US Army Special Operations Command. The A/MH-6X completed its first flight in September 2006. The payload capacity of the A/MH-6X is 1,543kg, nearly 50% greater than that of the ULB demonstrator. The glass cockpit of the A/MH-6X includes advanced avionics systems such as multi-sensor data fusion, digital mapping, high bandwidth signal processing, data storage, digital radio and Ku band (11.0GHz to 14.5GHz) communications. Little Bird missions For the US Army, the missions of the manned / unmanned A/MH-6X Little Bird could include surveillance, as a wideband communications node, resupply of troops in battlefield forward positions, the extraction of stranded soldiers in the battlefield and the rescue of downed pilots. Helicopter design The unmanned Little Bird helicopter air vehicle is based on the combat-proven MD 530F light helicopter which was first flown in 1982.
The Boeing ULB can be remotely operated or programmed for autonomous operations in any of its three operational modes: dual pilot, single pilot or unmanned flight operations
The helicopter is fitted with an articulated five-bladed main rotor of diameter 8.33m. The retention pins are removed to fold the blades for storage. Mission payloads The ULB helicopter can be fitted with a range of surveillance, communications and weapons to fulfil different mission requirements. The payload capacity is 1,090kg.
The A/MH-6X which combines the A/MH-6M mission-enhanced Little Bird (MELB) with the UAV technologies of the Little Bird demonstrator, making a first flight in September 2006
The flight tests of the ULB helicopter have been carried out with payloads of an L-3 Wescam MX-15 electro-optical and infrared sensor together with an L-3 Communications tactical common datalink (TCDL). "The unmanned Little Bird demonstrator aircraft has safely conducted more than 500 hours of UAV technology flight." Weapons The ULB helicopter can be armed with 2.75in rockets, the Viper Strike stand-off precision-guided munition (SOPGM) supplied by Northrop Grumman and a 12.7mm GAU-19 Gatling gun. The Viper Strike SOPGM is a gliding munition for stand-off precision attack which uses GPS-aided navigation and a semi-active laser seeker. It is intended for operations that require a flexible (steep or shallow) angle of inclination, particularly in mountainous terrain or urban areas. The munition's small size and precision provide low collateral damage in cluttered urban environments. ULB guidance system Boeing developed the ground control station and the air vehicle's guidance and navigation systems. The air vehicle uses a conventional automatic take-off and landing procedure.
The Little Bird seen with the BoeingAH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter. Tests in April 2006 demonstrated the Apache's ability to remotely control the ULB's weapon payload Engine The 485kW Rolls-Royce 250-C30 turboshaft engine is mounted on an incline in the rear section of the fuselage.

Season's Greetings from NSI News Source Info

To Our Readers & Viewers
Wishing You A Wonderful Season's Greetings
And A Year That Is Filled With Peaceful, Quite Moments
Best Wishes
Staff & Management of NSI News Source Info

Airlift The Key To True Superpower Capability

Airlift The Key To True Superpower Capability (NSI News Source Info) Washington - December 15, 2008: In the world of superpowers, it's military airlift capability that separates the world's two heavy hitters -- the United States and Russia -- from all the wannabe second division powers. India and China are both building world power military forces with major air forces and navies. Both countries also are working hard on expanding their military industrial sectors. But both are still dependent on the United States, Russia and major European nations for many of their more ambitious systems. Nowhere is this more true than in the area of heavy military transport aircraft, where both Delhi and Beijing still look to Moscow. When the terror crisis erupted in Mumbai, India's only national anti-terror squad had to use an Ilyushin Il-76 bought from Russia to transport the force from the capital. As UPI's Andrei Chang has documented, Russia and China remain deadlocked over China's desire to buy large numbers of Il-76s and eventually to construct them for themselves. The Il-76 is one of an increasingly long list of first-class Russian weapons systems that the Kremlin has proved extremely reluctant to sell to China. As a result, Chang reported, the Chinese are now exploring the possibility of buying the Antonov An-70 heavy air transports from Ukraine. But the An-70 has been plagued with development problems, and it remains extremely uncertain whether it can pose a serious sales challenge to the Il-76 in the international military air transport market. In both exporting military transports and in providing the largest airlift capability for its own forces, the United States still reigns supreme. Around the world, the most numerous and still most popular military transport remains the ubiquitous and ageless Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules. C-130Js with advanced avionics are still coming off the production line for the U.S. Air Force. The U.S. fleet of giant C-17 Globemasters is growing more venerable and is still unmatched anywhere in the world. This is exceptionally important because even for otherwise formidable, middle-class regular powers with impressive militaries like Britain and France, as for the rising Asian giants of China and India, a lack of large airlift capacity for rapid deployment of significant numbers of troops to trouble spots around the world remains a major Achilles heel. China even has ambitious long-range plans to create air armies that theoretically could be deployed rapidly in friendly countries where Beijing's skillful, patient diplomacy and massive financial and industrial clout already have wooed friends and influenced people. But this ambition looks to be at least a decade off, possibly much longer, depending on whether the People's Liberation Army can finally buy off the shelf the aircraft it needs from Russia or develop its own successful assembly lines to home-produce them. Both options look unlikely in the near future. The unrivaled U.S. military airlift capacity means that the United States remains the unrivaled giant, or Atlas, of NATO. Even when nations like Germany, Britain and France are willing and able to come up with significant numbers of ground troops to operate out of theater alongside the United States in Iraq or Afghanistan, they either are greatly limited by their small airlift supply capabilities or they are forced to rely on the U.S. Air Force, putting additional strains on the world's best, but enormously overworked, military airlift capabilities.

Japanese, Chinese leaders Lock Horns Over Territory

Japanese, Chinese leaders Lock Horns Over Territory (NSI News Source Info) Fukuoka, Japan - December 15, 2008: Leaders of Japan and China on Saturday locked horns over disputed territory in the East China Sea, in a sign of lingering tensions despite efforts to repair ties. The long-standing territorial spat cast a shadow over a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao before they were joined by South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak for a rare three-way summit. Aso told Wen that it was "extremely regrettable" that two Chinese ships recently intruded into waters that Japan considers its own, according to a Japanese official. Japan said the ships were spotted six kilometres (four miles) southeast of the uninhabited Senkaku, or Diaoyu, islands in the East China Sea, claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan. "It does not have a positive effect on Japan-China relations as the incident happened when the two nations... are striving to build strategic, mutually beneficial ties," Aso said, as quoted by the official. Wen maintained the Chinese stance that the islands were "Chinese territory since ancient times." But he added "China wants to solve the issue appropriately through dialogue so as not to affect the recent good bilateral relations," the official said. The two leaders were united on the economic front, with Wen agreeing to Aso's remark that it was important for the three countries to break out of the global economic crisis, the official said. It was the sixth summit this year between Japan and China, which have been mending ties since 2006 as their economies become increasingly interlinked. China and South Korea refused high-level contact with Japan during the 2001-2006 premiership of Junichiro Koizumi, who annually visited a shrine to Japanese war dead including war criminals from Tokyo's invasions of Asia.
Additional Info - Related Topic
70th Anniversary Of The Nanjing Massacre
(NSI News Source Info) December 15, 2008
Chinese soldiers and citizens gathered in Nanjing to observe the 70th anniversary of the massacre there, gathering at the memorial hall of the victims. China's government has tempered this year's commemoration of Japan's wartime mass killing of Chinese civilians, reflecting a drive to improve relations with Tokyo and avoid inflaming nationalist passionsAnniversary ceremonies for the Nanjing massacre, long known in the West as the Rape of Nanking, brought the city to a standstill. During the massacre in 1937, Japanese forces killed 300,000 Chinese civilians and raped tens of thousands of women

Brazil To Join Nuclear Submarine Club In 'A Few Years': President

Brazil To Join Nuclear Submarine Club In 'A Few Years': President (NSI News Source Info) Brasilia - December 15, 2008: Brazil is to join the small group of nations possessing a nuclear-powered submarine within "a few years," President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in a statement read by his defense minister Thursday. The president pointed to the recent discoveries of vast Brazilian offshore oil fields as a driving factor in investing in building a nuclear submarine. "Agreements to build Brazil's first nuclear-propelled submarine are firming up more every day," Lula said, according to Defense Minister Nelson Jobim. "With this, in a few years Brazil will be part of the select group of countries that possess this crucial element in building an effective deterrent ability," Lula was quoted as saying. The president pointed to the recent discoveries of vast Brazilian offshore oil fields as a driving factor in investing in building a nuclear submarine. "The growing importance of this country on the world stage as well as recent discoveries of enormous reserves of oil and gas... make it imperative that we have a strong and prepared Navy with a strong deterrent power," Lula said in his statement. Brazil is currently negotiation a strategic partnership with France that will include cooperation agreements in defense. One of the accords being discussed is using France's conventionally powered Scorpene submarine as the basis for Brazil's nuclear-powered sub project.

Dutch To Augment UAV Force

Dutch To Augment UAV Force
(NSI News Source Info) December 15, 2008: The Netherlands is hoping to award a contract in January to increase its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capacity in Afghanistan. The objective is to have the new unmanned aircraft operational in March 2009, which requires a January contract award, the state secretary for defense, Jack de Vries, told the Dutch parliament. The timeline is "very tight," he warned and any delays would affect operational availability in the combat area. The tactical UAV is supposed to be used to help detect improvised explosive devices and to give commanders better situational awareness. At least six hours a day of UAV coverage are required. The Netherlands is looking to acquire service using the Elbit Hermes 450. The UAV would be operated by British civilians, de Vries points out. The United Kingdom already operates the system in Afghanistan, and Thales is in talks with the French government to take similar action. The contract is valued at between 25-50 million euros.

Iraqi Air Force: Now NVG Capable

Iraqi Air Force: Now NVG Capable (NSI News Source Info) December 15, 2008: The Iraqi air force has now completed its first night-time helicopter mission since having been reconstituted. The flight, using night vision goggles, took place on December 3, according to the U.S. military. The mission involved stops at several of the Baghdad-area landing zones, LZ Washington (the entry point for the Green Zone) and LZ Liberty, one of the jump-off points near the Baghdad airport. The mission also went to the Besmaya range for NVG gun training. The flight involved one of the Iraqi air force’s Mi-17s. The helos belong to Squadron 4, but are also operated by crew from Squadron 15, which has a special operations focus but doesn’t get its own helos until next year. During Aviation Week’s latest visit to Iraqi this summer, NVG training was just getting started. Training took place at Taji air base, which is where the Iraqi air force Mi-17s are based. Basic flight training takes place in Kirkuk. Night vision goggles were delivered to the Iraqi air force in June, with initial training taking place on OH-58s.