Friday, December 19, 2008
Czechs Donate Mi-35M Helos to Afghan Air Corps / Transition Command Helps to Build Afghan Air Corps (NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - December 19, 2008: The Afghan National Army Air Corps has received the first three of six Mil Mi-35 attack helicopters, adding to its growing capabilities. The helicopters, donated by the Czech Republic, were refurbished by members of Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan. The Afghan air corps provides trained and ready airmen and soldiers to execute critical air support to the Afghan National Army. When directed by the Afghan Defense Ministry, the corps also supports Afghan civil authorities at all levels. "Air power is extremely important in this operational environment that we are in right now,” said Air Force Col. Dan Miller, vice commander of the Combined Air Power Transition Force and the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing. "It makes sense because of these rocky mountains, the lack of good roads or railroads, the forbidding terrain that covers much of the country and the threat of [improvised explosive devices], that you should fly." Ten months ago, NATO allies flew 90 percent of the missions in support of the Afghans. Today, Afghans fly 90 percent of their own missions as a result of air corps development. The Combined Air Power Transition Force, in coordination with the Afghan Defense Ministry and the air corps, is helping to build the Afghan air corps by recertifying trained Afghan pilots and using refurbished Soviet aircraft that are familiar platforms to Afghan pilots and crews, officials said. "Right now, the ANAAC has 34 planes. Back in 2007, when we stood up, there were only 13," Miller said. " This task force is to build this air corps up, and we have a campaign plan that takes us out until 2016. We're building air power, organizing training equipment, simultaneously building their command and control, and we're also building bases, infrastructure and simple things we take for granted in our military. “We are doing this simultaneously while this war is going on so we can walk away knowing they are fully independent and operationally capable,” he continued. With more than 300 pilots of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, the corps has contributed to the fight, setting records this summer with more than 220,000 pounds of cargo and nearly 10,000 personnel transported, officials said. In the next seven years, Combined Air Power Transition Force officials plan to strengthen the air corps from 2,000 personnel to more than 7,000, teaching and training them to counter insurgencies and putting the Afghans in the lead. The corps will receive 61 Mi-17V5 helicopters in the future, Miller said, adding that the V5 model is able to haul more troops and cargo, and air corps pilots already know how to fly the aircraft. Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan servicemembers also train maintenance personnel, with more than 300 students trained to date, officials said. After 16 weeks of training at the Kabul Military Training Center, they attend the Kabul Air Corp Training Center, an aviation branch school for the air corps. They train in basic air corps orientation and development of specific skill sets. "Although the effort started rather late, it's very gratifying to see the efforts of CSTC-A and CAPTF featured in the growing capability of the ANAAC," Air Force Brig. Gen. Joshua Givhan, commander of the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, said. "It's a Phoenix risen from the ashes." That Phoenix soon will support the entire Afghan theater, Miller noted. "The Kabul Air Wing will eventually house approximately 3,500 personnel, and the Kandahar Air Wing will house nearly 2,500 when the ANAAC matures to its 7,000 strong," Miller said. "And then there will be a mix of three regional support squadrons and two detachments, which will support all of Afghanistan."
Cyprus MoD Orders Three AW139 Helicopters / The Ministry of Defence of Cyprus Signs Contract for Three AW139s (NSI News Source Info) December 19, 2008: AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the Ministry of Defence of Cyprus has placed an order for three AW139 medium twin engine helicopters. The Cyprus MoD’s AW139s will be used to perform search and rescue and utility-EMS duties, covering the Cyprus Flight Information Region (FIR).
The Ministry of Defence of Cyprus is the first customer for the AW139 in the country and this order marks further success for the best selling medium twin helicopter in the SAR market. The 15 seat AW139 is a new generation medium twin-turbine helicopter setting new standards in its class.
As the sole new generation helicopter in its class, in service today, designed with inherent multi-role capability and flexibility of operation, the AW139 can fully comply with the latest stringent requirements in terms of performance and safety. Its Pratt & Whitney turbines together with a state-of-the-art 5-bladed main rotor provide unequalled performance even in demanding hot and high conditions, with an outstanding one engine inoperative capability and power to weight ratio.
The availability of modular role kits allows easy and quick conversion to/from various configurations. When configured for SAR/EMS purposes the AW139 is able to carry up to four litters and six attendants. Advanced dedicated equipment, outstanding performance and the most spacious cabin in the medium twin class make the AW139 the helicopter of choice for SAR requirements.
A large number of customers have ordered or are already operating the AW139 for SAR/EMS duties in many countries including the UK, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Japan, Republic of Korea and Malaysia. Orders for over 430 AW139 helicopters have been placed by more than 100 customers from over 40 countries to carry out a number of missions including EMS/SAR, law enforcement and homeland security duties, utility, fire fighting, VIP/corporate transport and offshore transport.
Dutch Pick JSF; Say Costs Are Lowest / JSF Scores Best In Candidate Comparison (NSI News Source Info) December 19, 2009: A month after Norway, the Netherlands have also confirmed their choice of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The F-35, better known as the Joint Strike Fighter, best meets the requirements drawn up by the Netherlands for the successor to the F16. This emerges from the findings of the candidate comparison that the State Secretary for Defence, Jack de Vries, today sent to the House of Representatives. “The F-35 is the best multi-role combat aircraft and by around 2015 will certainly be able to carry out all six main missions successfully.” The F-35 also has the greatest operational availability. In addition, the capital costs of the F-35 are the lowest and it is anticipated that the total life-cycle costs will also be the lowest. The completion of the candidate comparison marks the fulfillment of the commitment made to the House of Representatives to carry out such a comparison prior to the definitive acquisition of the two JSF test aircraft. This is planned to take place by the end of April 2009 at the latest. The candidate comparison follows on from the candidate evaluation of 2001, from which the Joint Strike Fighter also emerged as the best aircraft for the best price. In 2002 the Cabinet decided to participate in the development of this fighter aircraft. This decision was largely based on the wish to give the Dutch aviation industry an opportunity to win orders in this project. In the present government coalition agreement it is stated that in 2010 the cabinet will take a final decision regarding the replacement of the F-16 on the basis of a comparison of quality, price and delivery time. The Joint Strike Fighter scored the best for all three criteria. The comparative study, between the Advanced F-16, de F-35 and the Gripen Next Generation, was carried out in cooperation with TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) and NLR (Netherlands Aerospace Laboratory) and was monitored by the audit services of the Defence organisation and the Ministry of Economic Affairs). At the request of the House of Representatives, the firm of RAND Europe also followed the course of the comparative study. In their reports, both the audit services and RAND consider that the candidate comparison was carried out transparently and objectively and that the reports contain an accurate account of the results of the comparison. On account of the lengthy period of thirty years over which the project will extend, the calculation of total life-cycle costs includes an allowance for uncertainties.
For A Good Cause: Fight Against Somali Pirates Could Mend U.S.-China Ties / Somali Pirates Days Are Numbered
For A Good Cause: Fight Against Pirates Could Mend U.S.-China Ties / Somali Pirates Days Are Numbered & Headache Over (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - December 19, 2008: China's plans to join the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia could lead to a renewal of military exchanges between Beijing and Washington, a top U.S. military official said Dec. 18. Adm. Timothy Keating, head of the Pacific Command, held out hopes for a revival in military relations after China said it was preparing to send warships to the Gulf of Aden in response to a pirate attack on a Chinese vessel. "I hope the Chinese do (send ships to the Gulf of Aden) and we'll work closely with them," Keating said. "I think this could be a springboard for a resumption of dialogue between PLA forces and U.S. Pacific Command forces," he said. China suspended military contacts with the U.S. in October in protest over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan valued at $6.5 billion. Relations between Taipei and Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province, nevertheless have warmed since President Ma Ying-jeou assumed office in Taiwan in May. Keating said his command has been in touch with other agencies and military commands to provide information to the Peoples Liberation Army should it decide to deploy warships in Gulf of Aden. The U.S. wants "to make sure they are aware of the lines of communications that are available to them... should they desire to send ships to the area of piracy most prevalent which is of course the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia." Since the start of the year, about 100 ships have been attacked by Somali pirates who are holding 240 sailors for ransom.
Russia's Yury Dolgoruky Submarine To Start Sea Trials By Yearend (NSI News Source Info) SEVERODVINSK - December 19, 2008: Russia's first Borey-class strategic nuclear submarine will start sea trials by the end of 2008, a defense industry source said on Thursday. The fourth-generation Yury Dolgoruky was built at the Sevmash plant in northern Russia and was taken out of dry dock in April 2007. It will be equipped with Bulava ballistic missiles upgraded from Topol-M (SS-27) missiles. "The successful testing of the submarine's nuclear reactor, conducted on December 16 by Sevmash and Northern Fleet specialists, enable us to say confidently that Yury Dolgoruky will start sea trials by yearend," the source said. The submarine is 170 meters (580 feet) long, has a hull diameter of 13 meters (42 feet), a crew of 107, including 55 officers, a maximum depth of 450 meters (about 1,500 feet) and a submerged speed of about 29 knots. It can carry up to 16 ballistic missiles. Two other Borey-class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, are currently under construction at the Sevmash shipyard and are expected to be completed in 2009 and 2011. Russia's Navy commander, Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky, said in July that the construction of new-generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile and attack submarines is a top priority for the Russian Navy's development. Under the Russian State Armaments Program for 2007-2015, the Navy will receive several dozen surface ships and submarines, including five Project 955 Borey-class submarines, two Project 885 Yasen nuclear-powered attack submarines, and six Project 677 Lada diesel-electric submarines.