DTN News: Russia To Buy Navy Ship From France*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - November 1, 2009: Moscow plans to buy a French amphibious assault ship, the first such purchase from a NATO country, as the Kremlin seeks to reaffirm Russia's global reach, a Russian news agency reported Saturday. The first of the Mistral amphibious assault ship (LHD) was commissioned in 2006. Two of these ships are in service with the French Navy, named Mistral and Tonnerre. The third ship will be ordered in 2009 and forth is planned. Primary mission for these ships are amphibious landing operations. They also provide command and force projection capability. The Mistral class vessels are the largest combatants in the French Navy service after the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. They replaced the Ouragan class LSDs.
The new vessel uses four mechanized landing craft (LCM) or two hovercraft (LCAC) in the stern deck to deliver troops and vehicles ashore. It can carry a full tank battalion with up to 40 Leclerc MBTs, or up to 70 lighter vehicles. Ship provides accommodation for 450 marines, however surge capacity is 900. The Mistral class LHD has six helicopter landing spots. Up to 16 medium (NH90, Tigre) or 35 light helicopters can be carried and stored in the hangar deck. It is worth mentioning that every helicopter, operated by the French military, can land on these ships. Currently this class can not operate V/STOVL aircraft, as it has got no ski-jump bow associated equipment.
The Defense Ministry also plans to license the production of four more ships of the Mistral class in Russia under the guidance of French engineers, Navy Admiral Oleg Burtsev was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.
A Mistral ship is capable of carrying more than a dozen helicopters along with dozens of tanks and other armored vehicles and is fit for missions intended to project Russian naval power to distant areas.
Burtsev said the ships will be part of Russia's Arctic and Pacific fleets.
The Kremlin increasingly has sought in recent years to reaffirm Russia's global involvement and prestige in world affairs.
It has sent its warships to patrol pirate-infested waters off Somalia, and in the fall of 2008 dispatched a navy squadron to the Caribbean where it took part in joint maneuvers with the Venezuelan navy and made several port calls.
The Caribbean deployment, aimed at flexing muscles near the United States in a tense period after the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, was the most visible Russian navy deployment since Soviet times.
But despite the Kremlin's ambitions, the post-Soviet economic meltdown has left the Russian navy with only a handful of big surface ships in seaworthy condition.
Russia currently has only one Soviet-built aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, which is much smaller than the U.S. aircraft carriers and has been plagued by mechanical problems and accidents.
The rumors of the purchase have fueled concern in Georgia and other ex-Soviet nations that Russia may use the French-built ship to strong-arm its neighbors.
DTN News: New Russian Combat Robot To Replace Soldiers (Watch Video)*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - November 1, 2009: A Russian-made robot that can simultaneously fire three types of weapons against enemy soldiers, fortifications and even tanks was displayed at the 13th INTERPOLITEX-2009 International Exhibition of State Security Technology.
No videos found for “New Russian Combat Robot To Replace Soldiers”
DTN News: Russian Tactical Missile Self-Destructs During Live-Fire Drills*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - November 1, 2009: A Tochka-U short-range ballistic missile self-destructed on Thursday shortly after a practice launch at training grounds in northwestern Russia, the Defense Ministry said.
The accident occurred during life-firing drills at the Luga training grounds in the Leningrad Region. No casualties or damage have been reported.
"The missile self-destructed at the height of 1,000 meters [about 3,280 feet]," Col. Alexei Kuznetsov said.
The official added that the missile was carrying a dummy warhead because its service life has expired and it was due for destruction.
Nevertheless, an investigation into the accident will be launched, Kuznetsov said.
According to the official, the second Tochka-U missile, which was launched during the same drills, hit the designated target.
The Tochka-U (SS-21 Scarab) short-range tactical ballistic missile is a 1989 modification of the Tochka missile system that went into service with the Soviet military in 1976. It has an effective range of 120 km (70 miles).
Tochka-U is a high-precision weapon that can be used for strikes on enemy tactical targets, such as control posts, bridges, storage facilities, troop concentrations and airfields. It can carry conventional and nuclear warheads.
At least 15 Tochka missile systems were reportedly deployed by Russia during the five-day war with Georgia in August 2008.
DTN News: US President Barack Obama Still Undecided On Afghan War Strategies*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - November 1, 2009: US President Barack Obama remains undecided over the strategies for the war in Afghanistan as the conflict is taking increasing toll both on civilians and coalition forces. President Barack Obama remains in doubt about Afghan war strategies and seeks more delibrations with his armed forces chiefs.
During a private meeting at the US president's office in Washington on October 30, Obama demanded more choices in order to manage the controversial war in Afghanistan with lower military expenditures and slighter consequences for American troops, an unnamed senior Obama administration official told journalists on Friday.
The US president reportedly expressed his government's "very robust commitment in Afghanistan" during the seventh joint session with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the official added.
However, after reviewing the existing state of affairs for troops under US command, Obama reportedly asked for additional deliberations with his national security team and heads of the US armed forces in order to come up with a decision on America's troop level in Afghanistan which has been ravaged by eight years of alleged war against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants.
Despite briefings by US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines chiefs, the president still harbors doubts regarding the recommendations of top military commander, General Stanley McChrystal, who has asked for an additional 40,000 troops in the war-torn country which has been suffering the dire consequences of Washington's 'war on terror' doctrine.
Afghan civilians have been the main victims of the long-fought war and the government of the President Hamid Karzai has been at loggerheads with Washington over the increasing number of people killed in indiscriminate attacks by the US-led coalition forces in his country.
McChrystal had earlier ruffled feathers in the US chain of command with his bleak predictions that his country's efforts against the guerrillas would end in failure unless his calls for additional troops are met.
The US, along with its allies, invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to arrest or kill Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden after the 9/11 events. Washington, the first military power in the world, says efforts to arrest or kill the leader of a the terrorist group and eradicate the militancy has been of no avail.
The United States currently has around 68,000 boots-on-the-ground in Afghanistan, aided by an estimated 50,000 other soldiers from 28 NATO member-countries and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
The United States military has also come under mounting pressure over the number of US troopers killed in action and thousands more wounded.
The US Department of Defense has also been criticized for the rising number of suicides and cases of war trauma among US troops due to lengthy stays in the danger zones.
DTN News: Taliban, al-Qaeda Sling US, German Guns ~ Media Report*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) PESHAWAR, Pakistan - November 1, 2009: Pro-Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants have reportedly been outfitted with state-of-the-art American arms and other weaponry made in the US-allied states, including Israel, Germany and India. (Image/Photo: H&K MP-5)
The pro-Taliban militants in Pakistan were equipped with expensive and expertly-crafted firearms made by the German arms manufacturer Blazer, Deutsche Welle reported on Wednesday.
The rifles are priced at USD 2,960 (EUR 2,000) a piece and are characterized with heavy-duty outer parts and 'lifelong' durability. The weapons are well suited for operational purposes in mountainous areas such as the tribal Pakistani region of South Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan.
The northwestern militant-infested area has for long troubled the Pakistani military. Islamabad is currently engaged in full-scale military operations against the gunmen.
The German broadcaster named the other armaments in militant possession as the German-made "Walther P1 handguns, automatic weapons made by another German defense manufacturer Heckler & Koch (H&K), handguns build at the Austrian weapon producer the Glock, the American M249 machine guns and the Israeli-made Uzi submachine guns." Some of the weapons are worth USD 2,072 (EUR 1,400).
The report added that militant gangs were training with German G3 assault rifles. The latest version of the gun is valued for its durability and pinpoint precision.
Questions remain as to how the al-Qaeda-linked terrorists acquired the weapons.
Heckler & Koch (H&K) is rated as one of the defense industry's 'Big Five' and a mainstay trading partner to the German military. Last year, the company, the volume of whose exports are yet to be specified, sold USD 267 million ( EUR 181 million) worth of weapons.
The company as well produces weapons for the United Kingdom, Norway and Greece and has been contracted to equip the French army. The company has survived the global economic crisis almost unharmed.
Every 14 minutes a person reportedly dies by a H&K-made weapon.
DTN News: Indian Air Force Signed Contract For 5th Generation Fighter Jet With Russia*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) PATHANKOT, India - October 31, 2009: In a bid to add more teeth to its existing armoury, Indian Air Force has signed a contract with Russia recently to procure the fifth generation fighter aircraft under its modernisation programme.MiG-35 is a new export variant that combines the modern systems of the MiG-29M2 with an AESA radar. The fighter plane has the thrust vectoring of the MiG-29OVT as an additional option. Improved avionics and weapon systems, notably the new AESA radar and the uniquely designed optical locator system (OLS), make the aircraft less dependent on ground-controlled interception (GCI) systems and enables the MiG-35 to conduct independent multirole missions.
MiG-35 is compatible with Russian and foreign-origin weapons applications and an integrated variety of defensive systems to increase combat survivability. The fighter plane is being marketed globally under the designation MiG-35 (single seat) and MiG-35D (dual seat). MiG Corporation made their first official international MiG-35 presentation during Aero India 2007.
"As a modernisation programme of the IAF, we have recently signed an official agreement with Russia for procurement of fifth generation attack aircrafts," air chief marshal PV Naik told reporters on the concluding day of his two-day visit to Air Force Station, Pathankot today.
"This deal is a part of the modernisation plan under which 126 Medium Multi-role combat Aircrafts, which are coming will translate to 10 new squadrons," Naik said. He added that IAF is in the process of procuring MMRCAs, C-79 aircrafts, C001 aircrafts, new airborne early warning systems, attack helicopters, aerostat radars, VVIP helicopters, heavy load helicopters besides upgrading MIG-29, AN-32, Sukhois and Mirage fighter jets.
Referring to the upgradation programme, the COAS said, "What you cannot get from elsewhere needs to be upgraded. If there is residual life left in any system, you cannot throw it out, but upgrade it." Planning is done on four basic pillars of modernisation, Naik said adding that first is to develop systems including satellites and radars to see enemy movements first and communicate fast.
Second pillar is to have a "reach", he said adding,"When you see, you should reach the farthest place. So for this, we have fighter jets and air-to-air refuelling in place". The third is to "hit" at adversary and fourth is to save and safeguard the country, he said adding that this planning needs to be fool-proof and accurate.
On a question about his recent statement that India has one-third of China's airpower, Air Chief Marshal Naik said, "Why should we compare with China. We have nothing to do with it.I will focus on building my own capability." To another question about Chinese air-power, he said, "There is nothing to worry. We are capable."
"The Long-Term Perspective Planning will shape IAF in next 10 to 15 years. We have also focus on the space warfare, which is emerging as major sector of the defence security," he said.
On Pakistan getting new aircrafts and other defence systems in their existing fleet, he said,"Nobody should undermine IAF's capabilities. If our neighbours are purchasing new aircrafts from the US, India is also procuring MMRCAs, attack helicopters, radars, AEWSs."
"The IAF is constantly updating and evolving new techniques and training well. We should be well prepared to meet any external threat," he said and pointed out at IAF's special training exercises recently with the US and Oman.
"Currently one more exercise is going on," he said adding that the IAF has performed very well.Indian Air Force will complete technical evaluation of the six foreign fighter jets by April next year before procurement.
"The test trials and technical evaluation of the six fighter jets will be completed by April next year. They are being subjected to different terrain and weather conditions in Bangalore, Jaisalmer and Leh," Naik told reporters.
Naik said that test trial of the F-16, F-18(USA), Rafael (France) and MIG-35(Russia) has been completed and for the rest it is going on. Besides these, other fighter aircrafts under process of technical evaluation are Gripen(Sweden) and Eurofighter(UK). "After test evaluation is completed, we will move further for procurement," he said.
DTN News: Russian Mi-17 Helicopters Are Common Denominator In NATO Outfit*Source: Strategy Page
(NSI News Source Info) KOTTAKKAL, Kerala, India - October 31, 2009: Nine NATO members (including Czech Republic, Albania, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) will cooperate in upgrading their Russian Mi-8, Mi-17 and Mi-171 helicopters, so that will meet NATO requirements.
This will make it possible for these nations to use these helicopters in places like Afghanistan, where there is a growing need for that type of helicopter.
Helicopters are also in demand for all peacekeeping operations, and the Russian aircraft have proven themselves quite capable of meeting the demand.
The Mi-17 is the export version of the Russian Mi-8, a twin-engine helicopter, roughly equivalent to the U.S. UH-1. But the Mi-8/17 is still in production and is the most widely exported (2,800 out of 12,000 made) helicopter on the planet.
The Mi-8 is about twice the size and weight of the UH-1, but only hauls about 50 percent more cargo. However, the Mi-8 had a larger interior, and can carry 24 troops, versus a dozen in the UH-1. The UH-1 was replaced by the UH-60 in the 1980s, while the Mi-8 just kept adding better engines and electronics to the basic Mi-8 frame.
But the UH-60, while weighing twice as much as the UH-1 (4.8 tons), could carry as much as the 12 ton Mi-8. But the Mi-8 costs about half as much as a UH-60, and the larger interior is popular with many users. Russia also offers lower rates for training pilots and mechanics.
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.
DTN News: M-ATV, First Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected All-Terrain Vehicles For U.S. Armed Forces Arrived In Afghanistan
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - October 31, 2009: The first mine-resistant, ambush-protected all-terrain vehicles designated for southern Afghanistan arrived here, Oct. 22 by air transport.A new mine-resistant, ambush-protected all-terrain vehicle, built specifically for the mountainous Afghan terrain, parks next to a larger MRAP, MaxxPro Dash. The first M-ATVs designated for Southern Afghanistan arrived at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, by air transport, Oct. 22, 2009.
After months of government testing, the Defense Department awarded a contract in June to Oshkosh Corp. to supply an initial order valued at $1.05 billion for more than 2,000 of the vehicles, known as M-ATVs.
"This is a very different environment than Iraq, so as we came in and continued to fight the fight in Afghanistan, we realized it requires a little bit different equipment or modification than what we have," said Lt. Col. Richard Haggerty, the Regional Command South deputy director for acquisitions, logistics and technology.
With an independent suspension system designed for off-road mobility, the M-ATV is built specifically to navigate Afghanistan's rugged landscape.
"The M-ATV really answers some of the challenges of the terrain, high altitudes and the real unevenness of a lot of the terrain out there," Haggerty said.
The M-ATV seats four passengers and one gunner, and features an armor system with a "V" shaped hull engineered to protect occupants from enemy attack.
"It looks like a modified, huge, heavy-duty Jeep," said Anthony Deluca, the Kandahar site lead for the mine-resistant, ambush-protected, or MRAP, program. "It's got very good suspension systems, and everyone raves about how well it functions in the field."
While some original MRAP vehicles may weigh nearly 60,000 pounds, the M-ATV weighs about 25,000 pounds, including standard equipment and fuel.
"We're trying to get the soldier exactly what he needs to be successful in the battlefield," Haggerty said.
The initial eight vehicles will be used to train drivers and mechanics with units selected to receive M-ATVs.
DTN News: Italian Air Force Deploying AMX Fighter-Bomber Aircrafts In Afghanistan By November 4, 2009
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ROME, Italy - October 31, 2009: The Italian Air Force will deploy four AMX fighter-bombers to Afghanistan on Nov. 4, the Air Force said Oct. 30.
The aircraft will be based at Herat and take over reconnaissance duties from two Italian Tornado aircraft based at Mazar-e-Sharif.The AMX fighter-bomber aircraft is in service with the air forces of Brazil, Italy and Venezuela. The first AMX aircraft was delivered to the Italian Air Force in January 1989 and to the Brazilian Air Force in 1990. Production involved assembly lines in Italy and Brazil. In total, 192 aircraft, 155 single-seater and 37 AMX-T two-seater, have been delivered to Italy (110 AMX, 26 AMX-T) and Brazil (79 AMX, 15 AMX-T). The AMX programme originated from a requirement of the Italian Air Force for single-seater and two-seater combat aircraft for surface attack missions. In 1982 a memorandum of understanding was signed by Italy and Brazil and the joint development and production programme was subsequently conducted by AMX Consortium, based in Rome, through the Italian companies Alenia Aerospazio, now Alenia Aeronautica, (46.5%) and Aermacchi (23.8%) and the Brazilian company Embraer (29.7%).
The main role of the AMX is ground attack in visual and marginal weather conditions, with primary roles in long range strike and air interdiction, close air support, reconnaissance and armed patrol. The aircraft is also highly effective in air defence missions and the lead-in fighter role. Italian Air Force AMX fighters were deployed as part of the Nato forces in Operation Allied Force against Serbia in 1999.
In December 2002, the Venezuelan Air Force signed a contract with Embraer for 12 AMX-T. However, the USA blocked the transfer of US-built components and the order was cancelled.*
The AMX aircraft, from the Italian Air Force's 51st Wing, will deploy from their base at Istrana in northern Italy. Italian AMX fighters participated this summer in the U.S. Green Flag and Red Flag exercises.
"The mission is not changing," said Gen. Daniele Tei, chief of the Italian Air Force. "Pilots and technicians have been trained and are ready to undertake their mission, as they showed during Green Flag and Red Flag."
The AMX will take about a month to reach full operational status in Afghanistan, at which time the Tornadoes will return to Italy, an Air Force official said. The AMX aircraft will use the same Rafael RecceLite pods on surveillance missions as used by the Tornadoes.
Italian officials also have said they will have permission to fire their cannons if required, as with the Tornadoes.
The Tornadoes have flown 350 missions in Afghanistan, surveying 800 objectives during 900 flight hours, the Air Force said.
DTN News: Airlines News TODAY October 31, 2009 ~ Air France Receives Its First A380*Airbus’ 20th A380 delivery to date
*Source: DTN News / EADS
(NSI News Source Info) HAMBURG, Germany - October 31, 2009: Air France has taken delivery of its first Airbus A380. The French carrier is the first European airline to fly the all-new double-deck aircraft on scheduled services. The aircraft is the twentieth A380 delivered by Airbus. The aircraft was handed over in a delivery ceremony today in Hamburg, Germany, to Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, Chief Executive Officer of Air France KLM and to Jean-Cyril Spinetta, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Air France KLM, by Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO, and in the presence of James Moravecek, Engine Alliance President. At the ceremony Air France unveiled its spacious and comfortable cabin, featuring 538 seats in a three class configuration (nine First, 80 Business and 449 Voyageur Economy). The cabin features innovative mood lighting with several different lighting scenarios to create a calm atmosphere and environment for its passengers.
“Each A380 will enable Air France to save 12 to 15 million euros a year, which, in today’s depressed economic climate, provides the Company with the means to withstand the crisis” said Pierre-Henri Gourgeon Chief Executive Officer of Air France KLM.“Air France will therefore be able to offer customers even greater comfort, while keeping costs under control. Furthermore, the performance of the A380 is in line with our environmental commitments”, he added.
“This delivery marks another milestone in the longstanding history and partnership between Air France and Airbus," said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. “It fills us with great pride that our first ever aircraft customer is now also the first European airline to operate the A380.We are convinced the A380 will greatly contribute to Air France’ continued success”.
The aircraft is powered by four Engine Alliance GP7200 engines delivering up to 72,000 lbs of thrust each. The A380 has an unmatched fuel efficiency, consuming less than three litres per 100 kilometres per passenger. Thanks to excellent aerodynamic performance, the A380complies with today’s strictest noise limits, and also makes it the quietest large aircraft flying today. The all new double deck aircraft generates only half as much noise on take-off and landing as the previous largest passenger aircraft. The A380 provides also vital extra passenger capacity without increasing the number of flights, and is therefore part of the solution for sustainable growth at congested airports
The aircraft’s efficient performance and industry leading technology result in higher operational flexibility and outstanding operational economics. With a range of more than 15,000 km/ 8,000 nm and seat-mile costs 20 per cent lower than its closest competitor.
Air France ordered 10 A380s in June 2001 and added another two in 2007.
Air France’s first A380 will start its commercial service with inaugural flights on the 20th and 21st November on the Paris - New York - Paris route. As the largest Airbus operator in Europe with a fleet of 183 aircraft, the airline currently operates 34 A330 and A340 aircraft as well as 149 A320 family aircraft. Air France took delivery of the first Airbus aircraft in 1974 and was also the first carrier in the world to operate aircraft from the entire Airbus Single-Aisle A320 Family.
The new Air France A380 is the 20th A380 delivered by Airbus – 10 are already flying with Singapore, five with Emirates and four with Qantas. These aircraft are connecting four continents on 13 major international routes. Today 12 major international hub-airports around the world regularly welcome the A380 including: Auckland, Bangkok, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Paris, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto.
Up to now, the A380 fleet has accumulated over 75,000 revenue flight hours in over 7,900 commercial flights. Over 2,5 million passengers have already enjoyed flying the A380.
Airbus has won 200 firm A380 orders from 16 customers worldwide, including Air France.
Anne Galabert Tel.: + 33 5 61 93 10 00
Tore Prang Tel.: + 49 40 743 724 13
Jacques Rocca Tel.: + 33 5 61 93 10 00
Airbus SAS www.airbus.commailto: firstname.lastname@example.org
DTN News: Photo Release -- Northrop Grumman Begins Producing First International F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
*Milestone Adds Momentum to Early Production Phases of Multi-National Fighter Program*Source: DTN News / Northrop Grumman
(NSI News Source Info) PALMDALE, Calif., - October 31, 2009: Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has begun producing the center fuselage for the first international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an F-35B short take off, vertical landing (STOVL) variant for the United Kingdom designated BK-1. The center fuselage is the core structure around which the F-35 aircraft is built.
A photo accompanying this release is available at http://media.globenewswire.com/noc/mediagallery.html?pkgid=6782
Northrop Grumman has begun producing the first international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an F-35B short take off, vertical landing variant for the United Kingdom. In the photo, technicians at the company's Palmdale Manufacturing Center guide the first assembly for the plane's center fuselage, an all-composite air inlet duct, into a special tooling structure called a jig. The center fuselage is the core structure around which the F-35 aircraft is built.
The assembly process began Oct. 26 at the company's Palmdale Manufacturing Center with the loading of an all-composite air inlet duct into a special tooling structure called a jig. This first assembly process, one of approximately 18 major steps in assembling an F-35 center fuselage, consists of attaching metal frames around the duct. The frames serve to brace and position the duct properly within the center fuselage.
"Jig loading the BK-1 center fuselage for the United Kingdom's first F-35 demonstrates that the program is delivering on its promise to produce a fifth generation, multi-role fighter that meets the common air combat requirements of the U.S. and its allies," said Mark Tucker, vice president and F-35 program manager for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "Through a disciplined approach to managing costs and engineering changes, we're continuing to reduce program risks, which will help the F-35 industry team put jets on the ramp on or before the initial operational need dates of our international partners."
Tucker noted that the company had started assembling the BK-1 center fuselage three days sooner than the date indicated by the F-35 program's master schedule.
Northrop Grumman is a principal and founding member of the F-35 industry team led by Lockheed Martin. To date, the company has delivered 25 center fuselages -- 19 for the system development and demonstration phase, six for the low rate initial production (LRIP) phases of the program. BK-1 is being produced as part of LRIP3. The program is scheduled to produce 138 F-35Bs for the United Kingdom.
Final assembly of all F-35 jets is performed by Lockheed Martin at a facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The process includes mating a Northrop Grumman-built center fuselage to an aft fuselage produced by BAE Systems, and the forward fuselage/cockpit and wings produced by Lockheed Martin.
Northrop Grumman is responsible for the design and production of center fuselages for all three variants of F-35 aircraft: conventional takeoff and landing; short takeoff, vertical landing; and the carrier variant. The F-35 Lightning II program expects to build more than 3,100 aircraft.
As a member of the F-35 global industry team, Northrop Grumman is central to the development, production and support of the F-35 Lightning II. The company designed and produces the aircraft's center fuselage, radar and other key avionics including electro-optical and communications subsystems; develops mission systems and mission-planning software; leads the team's development of pilot and maintenance training system courseware; and manages the team's use, support and maintenance of low-observable technologies.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.
DTN News: Raytheon Completes Acquisition Of BBN Technologies*Source: DTN News / Raytheon
(NSI News Source Info) WALTHAM, MA - October 31, 2009: Raytheon has completed its acquisition of BBN Technologies, a world leader in research and development and provider of critical solutions for national defense and security missions. The purchase price is approximately $350 million, subject to post-closing adjustments.*Boomerang has been successfully tested in a U.S. military MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) training facility.
“BBN has tremendous technological capabilities, and we see immediate opportunities for applying its technologies to enhance our products,” said Colin Schottlaender, president, Raytheon Network Centric Systems. “The depth of scientific and engineering talent inside BBN is very impressive, and we look forward to better serving our customers through the strengths of our combined organizations.” BBN will become part of Network Centric Systems and operate as Raytheon BBN Technologies.*
The Boomerang shooter detection system pinpoints incoming small arms fire from the shooter. Boomerang is available to U.S. military, law-enforcement agencies, municipalities, and to other approved U.S. domestic and foreign entities. Government contractors can incorporate Boomerang into their systems or platforms.
Combat Proven and Award Winning
Boomerang is currently employed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. And in 2005 Boomerang won both the DARPA "Significant Technical Achievement Award" and an MITX award.
Quiet, Passive Operation
Boomerang uses passive acoustic detection and computer-based signal processing to locate the shooter. When mounted on a vehicle, the system operates when the vehicle is stationary or moving. Boomerang uses a single mast-mounted, compact array of microphones to detect incoming fire.
Best Performance and Best Value
Boomerang performs best and costs less than competitors. And Boomerang is the only shooter detector shown to operate successfully in urban terrain (MOUT*) on moving vehicles.Effective Even at Maximum Ranges
Boomerang detects incoming supersonic small arms fire for bullet trajectories passing the mast, and for shooters firing at maximum effective weapons' ranges. It detects and reports incoming fire and the relative shooter position (including elevation) quickly.
Auditory and Visual Indicators
Boomerang indicates the azimuth of incoming small-arms fire by actuating a light to show the clock direction, and Boomerang announces that direction using a recorded voice. Boomerang indicates the range and elevation on an LED screen display. The lighted displays can be dimmed.
Detailed and additional Information will be made available to vendors.
BBN’s diverse portfolio encompasses a range of technologies including advanced networking, speech and language technologies, information technologies, sensor systems and cybersecurity.
Robert G. (Tad) Elmer, BBN president and CEO, said, “Becoming part of Raytheon is good for our business, our customers and our employees. Together we will be able to transition very advanced technologies quickly into larger programs, creating both the most advanced systems possible for customers and rich opportunities for our scientists and engineers.”
DTN News: Rheinmetall Defence And Israel Aerospace Industries To Provide ISR Services For German Armed Forces In Afghanistan*Source: DTN News / Rheinmetall Defence
(NSI News Source Info) DUSSELDROF, German - October 31, 2009: Rheinmetall Defence and the German Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement (Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung – BWB) signed a service provider contract today to provide the German Bundeswehr with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities through the deployment of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system. This bridges the gap prior to the "SAATEG (System zur Abbildenden Aufklärung in der Tiefe des Einsatzgebietes)" acquisition programme. Under the current multimillion-euro contract, the Bundeswehr will lease the UAV system for one year with an option for a two year-extension.
This SAATEG Interim Solution programme will significantly contribute to comprehensive situational awareness within the scope of networked command and control in Northern Afghanistan, a region for which Germany is responsible, by providing wide area real-time reconnaissance and surveillance data for German ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) troops. Flight operations will commence by mid March 2010. Compared to UAV systems currently in service with the Bundeswehr, the UAV system to be deployed is capable of covering a substantially larger footprint, while its high-performance sensors can provide reconnaissance data at even severe weather conditions.
Rheinmetall Defence and its partner Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will provide IAI's Heron MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) UAV system, including full in-theatre logistical and maintenance services performed by Rheinmetall Defence. Missions of the UAV-System will be performed and controlled by Bundeswehr personnel.
"Following the deployment of Rheinmetall's KZO tactical UAV system by the German Army in Afghanistan earlier this year, SAATEG is set to make another important contribution to protecting our soldiers and their allies as they carry out their vital mission", declares Heinz Dresia, Member of the Executive Board of Rheinmetall Defence, adding that "Rheinmetall's responsibility for performing the complete package of service, repairs and maintenance for the SAATEG system positions us as a competent full-service supplier of logistic services in the field of aerial reconnaissance systems." Itzhak Nissan, President and CEO of IAI, said: "We are proud to provide along with Rheinmetall our operationally proven UAV systems to the German Armed Forces. Our fruitful cooperation with Rheinmetall allows for the integration of the two companies' capabilities to the benefit of both of our customers, and presents new marketing opportunities of UAVs and other airborne systems."
The Heron UAV can carry a wide variety of sensors and information systems for gathering data for intelligence analysis to protect the friendly forces during operations in theatre. Depending on its mission configuration, the sensor package provided to the German Armed Forces includes a day/night electro-optical and SAR payload. By utilizing satellite communications the system covers the whole area of operations of the German ISAF contingent. With a wingspan of 16.6 meters and a takeoff weight of 1,200 kg, the Heron can reach an altitude of 30,000 feet and can loiter for over 24 hours.
The Canadian, Australian and French Armed Forces are already relying on the Heron as one of their main ISR sources in Afghanistan.
All logistical and maintenance services for the German Heron system will be performed by Rheinmetall Defence, which will operate a 24/7 maintenance and support centre in the theatre.
About IAI / MALAT:
MALAT division of IAI's Military Aircraft Group spearheads the design and manufacture of unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs) systems. MALAT offers a family of systems that vary in size, endurance, mission profile and onboard sensors, covering the full spectrum of operational requirements by providing micro and mini systems as well as tactical and Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) systems.
MALAT's systems are in operational service with more than 40 worldwide customers deployed on four continents and have accumulated over 500.000 flight hours.
DTN News: Boeing To Upgrade CV-22 Trainer With Virtual Reality Enhancements*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS - October 31, 2009: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA], with partner Bell Helicopter, has received a contract from the U.S. Navy to upgrade the CV-22 Cabin Part Task Trainer (CPTT) with modifications including an Aircrew Flight Simulation (AFS) that deploys a fused reality system that fuses video images with virtual reality. The upgrade will be delivered to Air Force Special Operations Command, 58th Training Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, N.M. Financial terms were not disclosed. The V-22 Osprey is a joint-service, medium-lift, multi-mission tilt-rotor aircraft developed by Boeing and Bell Helicopters. Boeing is responsible for the fuselage, landing gear, avionics, electrical and hydraulic systems, performance and flying qualities. Bell Helicopter Textron is responsible for the wing and nacelle, propulsion, rotor, empennage (complete tail system), ramp, overwing fairing and the dynamics. The aircraft operates as a helicopter when taking off and landing vertically. The nacelles rotate 90° forward once airborne, converting the aircraft into a turboprop aircraft. The aircraft can provide VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) with a payload of 24 troops, or 6,000lb of cargo at 430nm combat range, or VTOL with a payload of 8,300lb of cargo for a range of 220nm. "The V-22 Osprey is a joint-service, medium-lift, multi-mission tilt-rotor aircraft." The helicopter is self-deployable worldwide, with a ferry range over 2,100nm. Normal operating range is up to 1,100nm.
The CPTT is a full-fuselage device that is used to train flight engineers on the CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. The AFS process integrates real and virtual environments in an image processor. This enables the student to view both the interior cabin environment and the simulated outside world in a composite picture sent to the student’s helmet-mounted display.
"This is an innovative approach that allows students to train on 'real time' cargo air drops, parachute drops and emergencies, including wing fires, hydraulic leaks and engine smoke," said Mark McGraw, Boeing vice president of Training Systems & Services. "This modification opens the door to future upgrades that could enable simulated mission operations with separate cockpit flight simulators, where the CPTT could 'fly' with the cockpit simulator on a common mission."
The team's latest effort is part of an ongoing development program for the CV-22 CPTT, which also includes trainer concurrency, providing on-budget, on-schedule, tactically relevant training to the warfighter.
The V-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft manufactured by Boeing Rotorcraft Systems and Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. [NYSE: TXT] company. Bell and Boeing are teamed in a Strategic Alliance Agreement for the design, production, and sustainment of the V-22.
Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global work force serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries. More information is available at www.bellhelicopter.com.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems. More information is available at www.textron.com.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.
DTN News: Lockheed Gets $474.2 Mln F-22 Fighter Contract*Source: DTN News / Defense News
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - October 30, 2009: Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) has been awarded a $474.2 million U.S. Air Force contract for four more F-22 fighter aircraft and related work as production heads toward an end, the Defense Department said Thursday. F-22 Raptor – the world’s premier 5TH generation fighter. The F-22 is the only fighter capable of simultaneously conducting air-to-air and air-to-ground combat missions with near impunity. This is accomplished with a never-before-seen standard of survivability even while facing large numbers of sophisticated airborne and ground-based threats. In addition to being America’s most prominent air-superiority fighter, the F-22 evolved from its original concept to become a lethal, survivable and flexible multimission fighter. By taking advantage of emerging technologies the F-22 has emerged as a superior platform for many diverse missions including intelligence gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic attack. The Raptor is operational today, protecting our homeland and combat ready for worldwide deployment. Two squadrons of F-22s are assigned to Air Combat Command’s 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Va. And two squadrons are assigned to the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Raptor pilots and maintainers train at Tyndall AFB, Fla., while operational testing is conducted at Edwards AFB, Calif., and Nellis AFB, Nev. New F-22s continue to roll from the production line and will soon operate out of Holloman AFB, N.M., and Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
Under the fiscal 2010 defense authorization act signed into law Wednesday by President Barack Obama, the United States is capping production at 187 of the premier U.S. fighter aircraft.
(Reporting by Jim Wolf; Editing Bernard Orr)
DTN News: Information Technology News TODAY October 30, 2009 ~ China Claims Supercomputer Among World's Fastest*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) SAN FRANCISCO, USA - October 30, 2009: China announced its fastest supercomputer yet on Thursday in the country's latest show of its goal to become a world leader in technology.
China's National University of Defense Technology, a military academy, unveiled the machine that would have ranked fourth in the most recent Top500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers, state media said. The supercomputer, named Milky Way, can theoretically perform more than one million billion calculations per second, Xinhua news agency said. That figure, measured in "flops," or floating operation points per second, would make it China's first petaflop-class machine.
The machine's data has been submitted for ranking in the Top500 list, which is next due out in November, Xinhua said, citing faculty at the university in China's inland Hunan province. The computer will be used for bio-medical computing, seismic data processing during oil exploration and for the design of "aerospace vehicles," it said.
The computer has over 11,000 microprocessors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices and cost at least 600 million yuan (US$88 million) to build, the agency said. It will be moved to a supercomputing center in the northeastern city of Tianjin later this year, Xinhua said.
Dawning, a Chinese government-backed hardware maker, is separately designing a petaflop supercomputer it hopes to deploy next year. That system is planned to use Godson CPUs, also known by the name Loongson, a domestic chip line designed with government funding to expand China's pool of domestically owned technology.
China-made CPUs will also be added to the Milky Way supercomputer in the future to further boost its speed, Xinhua said.
DTN News: Airlines News TODAY October 30, 2009 ~ First A380 Delivery To Air France
*Source: DTN News / Airbus
(NSI News Source Info) HAMBURG, Germany - October 30, 2009: Air France will be the first European airline receiving an A380 when its no. 1 aircraft is accepted during a ceremony at Airbus' Hamburg, Germany delivery centre on 30 October.
Live video streaming of the event is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. French time
(10:00 a.m. GMT) on the www.Airbus.com website.
Video stockshots will be available for members of the news media on 29 October,
followed by downlink transmissions of the 30 October delivery ceremony and the A380’s
subsequent departure from Hamburg to Air France’s Paris home base:
Thursday 29 Octobre – Stockshots
Transmission on Eutelsat W2 (@ 16° East) from 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM GMT
Downlink: 12676.83 Mhz (TXP F6 – Channel A)
Symbol Rate: 6.1113
Transmission on DVBS QPSK 4.2.0
Format SD 625 16/9
Friday 30 Octobre - A380 delivery ceremony
Transmission on Eutelsat W3 (@ 7° East) from 09:45 AM to 11:15 AM GMT (PGM)
Downlink: 10976.5 Mhz (TXP B2 – Channel 2D6)
Symbol Rate: 4.4340 FEC: 7/8
Transmission on DVBS QPSK 4.2.0
Format SD 625 16/9
Audio 1 & 2: International version
Audio 3: French version
Audio 4: English version
Friday 30 Octobre - Air France A380 take-off from Hamburg, Germany to Paris, France
Transmission on Eutelsat W2 (@ 16° East) from 12:30 to 1:30 PM GMT
Downlink: 12676.83 Mhz (TXP F6 – Channel A)
Symbol Rate: 6.1113 FEC: 3/4
Transmission on DVBS QPSK 4.2.0
Format SD 625 16/9
Audio 1 & 2: International version
Audio 3: French version
Audio 4: English version
DTN News: Oshkosh Corporation Awarded Contracts To Support M-ATVs In Afghanistan
*Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation
(NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - October 30, 2009: Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), announced today that through its Defense division, it has received two contracts valued at more than $28 million for spare parts and support of its MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV) in Afghanistan.Oshkosh Corporation, announced today that through its Defense division, it has received two contracts valued at more than $28 million for spare parts and support of its MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV) in Afghanistan.
The contracts include a $16 million order from the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for spare parts and a $12 million order for aftermarket support from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC).
“Oshkosh Corporation’s broad range of offerings, including our parts supply network and fully trained field service team, will provide our Armed Forces with an unparalleled level of support,” said Robert G. Bohn, Oshkosh Corporation chairman and chief executive officer. “Our in theater M-ATV service and support will help ensure these highly mobile vehicles operate at full capability in very challenging conditions.”
Under the contract, Oshkosh Defense will provide M-ATV spare parts to the DLA to be used as in the field replacements after the parts delivered with the vehicles have been consumed. These parts will ship without delay as vehicles arrive to maintain optimal readiness rates.
Additionally, Oshkosh field service representatives (FSR) will support the M-ATV program in-theater through September 2010. Oshkosh Defense provides the complete spectrum of service and support to the M-ATV fleet in the Afghan theater. Building on its experience from Operation Iraqi Freedom, Oshkosh FSRs can operate service facilities on any of the forward operating bases that might require more support than internal assets can provide.
Oshkosh will complete production of the current M-ATV contract, valued at more than $2.7 billion, for 5,219 vehicles in March 2010. The company has delivered ahead of schedule each month since the contract award on June 30, 2009, and expects to ramp production up to 1,000 vehicles per month in December. The first Oshkosh M-ATVs were delivered to Afghanistan on Oct. 1, 2009, just three months after Oshkosh was awarded the M-ATV contract.
Oshkosh Defense teamed with Plasan North America to provide an advanced armor solution for the M-ATV. Plasan also developed the armor system used on more than 5,000 legacy MRAPs and thousands of Oshkosh Armored Cab MTVRs already in theater.
About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit www.oshkoshdefense.com.
About Oshkosh Corporation
Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corp. manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to www.oshkoshcorporation.com.
DTN News: Lockheed Martin Demonstrates First Successful Flight Test For paveway II Plus Laser Guided Bombs*Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin
(NSI News Source Info) ARCHBALD, PA, - October 30, 2009: Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] successfully completed the first in a series of flight tests of the paveway II Plus Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) guidance kit. The paveway II Plus LGB uses an enhanced laser guidance package, significantly improving precision when compared to existing paveway II LGBs.
The flight test consisted of two GBU-10s released from a U.S. Navy Super Hornet at the Navy’s China Lake, CA, test ranges. Each weapon included the new paveway II Plus MAU-209C/B Computer Control Group. Both weapons, which were also equipped with telemetry instrumentation, were released using a set of pre-determined flight conditions, initiated laser guidance as planned and successfully guided to direct hits on the target.
“The paveway II Plus is a revolutionary performance improvement to the paveway II LGB weapon system,” said Joe Serra, senior manager for Precision Guided Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Our team fully embraced the challenge to cost effectively improve the precision of this mature weapon system without impacting logistics. The paveway II Plus provides significantly better impact accuracy without any changes to the aircraft platform or weapon employment.”
Lockheed Martin is a qualified provider of the paveway II LGB, of all three variants of the paveway II MK-80 series LGBs, and is the sole provider of the paveway II Enhanced Laser Guided Training Round and Dual Mode Laser Guided Bomb.
Paveway II LGB guidance kits improve weapon accuracy and reduce risk to U.S. and allied ground forces by converting gravity weapons into precision-guided munitions. Each kit consists of a computer control group, which is the front-end guidance system, plus an air foil group which adds stability fins on the back of each weapon.
Lockheed Martin’s LGB kits can be carried on U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and most international aircraft platforms currently authorized to carry and release LGBs. Kits are fully compatible and interoperable with existing paveway II LGB logistics infrastructure, equipment, procedures and aircrew operations.
Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 55,000 LGB kits to the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and international customers. Laser-guided bombs have been used successfully in Operation Iraqi Freedom and current overseas contingency operations.
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 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.
DTN News: Boeing Receives Follow-On Contract To Upgrade B-1 Bomber's Avionics Software
*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) LONG BEACH, Calif., - October 30, 2009: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced it has received an $84 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for additional upgrades of the B-1 bomber fleet's avionics software.
The award continues a software-sustainment program that has continually updated and improved the B-1's operational capabilities since the aircraft entered service in 1989. This new contract authorizes Boeing to start work on Sustainment Block 16 (SB 16).
Each software sustainment block includes changes to navigation; weapon delivery; radar; electrical multiplexing; communication/navigation management system software; and controls and displays. Boeing engineers in Long Beach and Oklahoma City deliver the latest avionics software once a year for the Air Force's fleet of 66 B-1s. SB 14 is in flight test at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and will be delivered to the Air Force in 2011. SB 15 will be delivered in 2012, and design and development work for SB 16 will begin immediately.
"We are honored to continue providing these upgrades to the Air Force and are excited about all the B-1 potential that will be provided with SB 16," said Mahesh Reddy, B-1 program director for Boeing. "This major block will enhance the aircraft's color cockpit displays, data link, radar and navigation in ways that will significantly improve B-1 aircrews' ability to execute their missions."
Another B-1 milestone that Boeing accomplished this year was the July 30 first flight of a B-1 upgraded with the Fully Integrated Data Link (FIDL). This upgrade includes new processors, color displays and communications architecture, enhancing B-1 crews' situational awareness and communications capability. The FIDL aircraft is also in flight test at Edwards.
The multi-mission B-1 has been carrying the largest strike payload in the Air Force inventory since its combat debut. Its low radar cross-section, variable-geometry wings, advanced avionics, and afterburning engines combine to provide long range, maneuverability, high speed and survivability.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.
DTN News: Russia May Offer More Help In Afghanistan ~ NATO*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) BRUSSELS, Belgium - October 30, 2009: Russia may provide assistance in training and equipping the embattled Afghan government security forces, alliance spokesman James Appathurai said today.
NATO's Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is scheduled meet with President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin when he visits Moscow on Nov 15 for a two-day visit. They will discuss areas of joint interest, primarily Afghanistan, Appathurai said.
"There is the possibility of Russian support for equipping the Afghan security forces (and) possibly offering other kinds of training," he said.
Relations between NATO and Russia have warmed steadily since they were briefly frozen in the aftermath of the Russo-Georgian war in August 2008.
Moscow has repeatedly expressed its willingness to help the war effort in Afghanistan, because it fears any return to power by Taliban extremists would destabilise Central Asia and endanger Russia's own security.
DTN News: US Quietly Expedites Aid For Pakistan Military Operations ~ NY Times*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) KARACHI, Pakistan - October 30, 2009: The United States has quietly rushed millions of dollars worth of military equipment to Pakistani forces in recent months, the NYTimes quoted American and Pakistani officials as saying.‘We are doing everything within our power to assist Pakistan in improving its counterinsurgency capabilities:’ official.
Prior to the Swat operation in the spring, Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani asked that the US quickly deliver 10 Russian-built Mi-17s. According to the US newspaper, both US President Barack Obama and US army chief Admiral Mike Mullen personally intervened to fulfil his request; four copters were leased in June and the remaining provided to Pakistan under various authorities.
The report (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/world/asia/29weapons.html?ref=world) says that a whole range of other weapons, hardware and sensors have been provided to the Pakistan army. These include spare parts for Cobra helicopter gunships, night vision goggles, body armour and eavesdropping equipment.
Presently, American military surveillance drones are supporting the Waziristan operation by feeding video images and target information to Pakistani ground commanders. The Pentagon has also quietly provided the Pakistani Air Force with high-resolution, infrared sensors for its F-16 warplanes, which Pakistan is using to target its attacks on Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan.
‘We’ve put military assistance to Pakistan on a wartime footing, as up to now it has been in a peacetime process,’ the paper quoted Lt. Col. Mark Wright, a Pentagon spokesman, as saying. ‘We are doing everything within our power to assist Pakistan in improving its counterinsurgency capabilities.’
The number of American Special Forces soldiers and support personnel who are training and advising Pakistani Army and paramilitary troops has doubled in the past eight months, to 150.
Despite the expedited assistance, Pakistani officials are still upset with the pace of disbursement of all kinds of aid. Pakistani officials are particularly unhappy about the US’s refusal to share some sought-after high-tech military equipment, like Apache helicopters and Predator drones.
Pakistani authorities are also reluctant to publicize the aid they have been receiving for the ongoing operations, the report notes. It points to army spokesman Athar Abbas’s statement that the South Waziristan action was a purely Pakistani enterprise, unaided by the US. ‘Let us finish the job on our own,’ he told reporters,
However, the report indicates that the US govt does not have a problem with the Pakistani authorities downplaying its involvement. An American adviser in Pakistan, who was granted anonymity to discuss internal United States policy, said, ‘US current military assistance either demonstrates US resolve and offsets anti-Americanism, or is deliberately underplayed to boost Pakistani military and political credibility, and the latter meets our policy objectives more closely.’ — NYTimes (www.nytimes.com)
DTN News: Airlines News (Part #2) TODAY October 29, 2009 ~ Ryanair Threatens To Pull Boeing Orders In Price Spat*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) HAMBURG, Germany - October 29, 2009: Ryanair Holdings Plc, Europe's biggest discount airline, said it will cancel existing aircraft orders with Boeing Co. if the U.S. manufacturer doesn't cut the asking price for a new batch of planes.
Negotiations with Boeing over a contract for as many as 200 short-haul aircraft are progressing "slowly," Chief Executive Officer Michael O'Leary said today at a briefing in Hamburg. Ryanair may respond by shelving the requirement and scrapping and deferring some current contracts, he said.
"There would certainly be cancellations," O'Leary said. "We're only committed to whoever sells us the lowest-price airplanes. We're not wasting any more time."
Ryanair had a fleet of 199 Boeing 737-800 jetliners as of July 31, with another 113 planes on order for delivery over the next three years, equivalent to 5 percent of the 737 backlog. O'Leary said today that Airbus SAS, which has previously regarded Ryanair as a solid Boeing customer, should take his airline's requirements "more seriously" and enter talks.
The CEO said that if Dublin-based Ryanair can't buy new planes at the right price he'll rein in growth plans and focus on preserving cash.
Boeing spokesman Jim Condelles in Seattle said the company doesn't comment on discussions with customers.
"My instinct is that they will eventually reach an agreement, though that doesn't mean you won't see Ryanair throw their toys out of the pram in the meantime," said Gerald Khoo, an analyst at Arbuthnot Securities in London with a "neutral" rating on the stock.
Khoo said O'Leary's bargaining position is plausible.
"The slower growth strategy that Ryanair has suggested they may pursue is a credible alternative, even if it is not the preferred alternative," the analyst said.
Ryanair closed down 4.5 percent at 2.97 euros in Dublin as European stocks fell the most in three weeks. Chicago-based Boeing was little changed at $47.65 at 12:52 p.m. in New York.
DTN News: Airlines News TODAY October 29, 2009 ~ Azerbaijan Airlines Orders Four Boeing Jets*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) BAKU, Azerbaijan - October 29, 2009: Ex-Soviet Azerbaijan's flagship carrier AZAL said Wednesday it had ordered four new Boeing airplanes for its growing fleet, including two of the US company's 787 Dreamliner long-haul jets.Boeing and Azerbaijan Airlines have finalized an order for two Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ERs and two 767-300ERs. The order is valued at $449 million at list prices. One of the 767s is a substitution for a previously ordered 787, as reflected today on Boeing's Orders and Deliveries Web site.
"Two Boeing 767s will be delivered to Azerbaijan in 2011-12. The date for the arrival of the two more Boeing 787s is not yet known," Azerbaijan Airlines spokesman Maharram Safarli told AFP. He refused to disclose any financial conditions of the deal.
"These airplanes have proven their quality internationally. Most importantly, Boeing's conditions are more acceptable to us," he said.
AZAL has expanded in recent years amid a major economic boom in energy-rich Azerbaijan. The company's last big purchase was of four Airbus A-319 passenger airliners in 2005.
Boeing launched the Dreamliner program in April 2004 and the highly anticipated long-haul aircraft is seen as key to the US aerospace giant's future. But the project has been plagued by repeated delays, with Boeing announcing the fifth postponement earlier this year.
Boeing is facing stiff competition in the aviation market from Airbus, a unit of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company.
DTN News: Economy News TODAY October 29, 2009 ~ Extra-Fast Recovery In India, China, Australia-IMF
* Recovery especially rapid in India, China, Australia-IMF
* IMF comments suggest three face pressures to tighten
* Monetary policy not best response to asset price growth-IMF
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) SEOUL, South Korea - October 29, 2009: The IMF said on Thursday the economies of India, China and Australia were recovering especially rapidly, suggesting it notices growing pressures for authorities there to tighten monetary policy ahead of others in the region.
"In a few special cases...the recovery is advancing so rapidly that output gaps are already starting to close and pressures are already emerging," the International Monetary Fund said in a regional economic outlook report, released in Seoul.
It called the three economies special cases, while adding a tightening of monetary policy seemed unnecessary elsewhere in the region in the near future.
The comments add to growing expectations among global traders that some major emerging economies would start to raise interest rates and remove stimulus measures far ahead of advanced economies.
Australia's central bank already raised its interest rate this month, becoming the first major economy to tighten monetary policy since the financial crisis started.
The Indian central bank on Tuesday laid the groundwork for a rise in interest rates by tightening credit to the commercial property sector, lifting its inflation forecast and warning of the threat of asset price bubbles.
The IMF upgraded economic growth forecasts for Singapore for 2009 and 2010 from its previous projections announced on Oct. 1, but did not elaborate.
The IMF said the recovery in the region was tentative and that the pick-up in economic activity had so far been supported by factors that were either temporary or could turn out to be so.
"The risks of inflation at present are low. In most countries, large output gaps are likely to persist for some time and are even expected to widen next year in many cases, as growth is projected to remain below potential," it added.
It also advised Asian central banks not to raise interest rates only to calm asset price growth, saying lifting rates ahead of advanced economies could attract "carry trade-type" capital inflows and aggravate asset price pressures.
"For all these reasons, it would seem preferable, at least initially, to address incipient asset price pressures through targeted prudential measures rather than the blunt instrument of monetary policy," it said.
The Washington-based organisation did not specify economies facing particularly serious asset price pressures.
DTN News: Financial News TODAY October 29, 2009 ~ US Economy Likely To Post First Growth In Year
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - October 29, 2009: The US government is set to report that the recession-wracked economy grew in the third quarter after a year of contraction following the worst financial crisis in decades.A portrait of George Washington is seen on the front of the one dollar note. The US government is set to report that the recession-wracked economy grew in the third quarter after a year of contraction following the worst financial crisis in decades.
Markets braced for the first official estimate of gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the output of goods and services, for the July-September period after economic data this week rattled hopes that a sustainable recovery is taking root.
The Commerce Department is due to report the initial GDP estimate at 8:30 am (1230 GMT) Thursday.
Most analysts expect the reading to show GDP rose an annualized 3.2 percent in the third quarter.
After shrinking a severe 6.4 percent in the first quarter, the world's largest economy has been showing signs of life in response to authorities' multibillion-dollar emergency stimulus and support measures. The contraction eased to a 0.7 percent dip in the second quarter.
"While the report is backward-looking, it is closely watched due to its comprehensive nature and potential impact on monetary policy," said Charles Schwab & Co. analysts.
Grim reports on consumer confidence and new-home sales this week unnerved investors, stoking fears that the green shoots of recovery are withering.
On Wall Street, stocks plunged to their worst loss of the month Wednesday.
As bearish data led economists to slash their GDP estimates, "traders decided to brace themselves for the worst ahead of tomorrow's preliminary GDP report, and most equities spent the day swimming in red ink," said Elizabeth Harrow of Schaeffer's Investment Research.
The anxiety was palpable beyond financial markets amid high unemployment that could continue to drag down any recovery. The jobless rate rose to 9.8 percent in September, a 26-year record, and is expected to rise into double digits even after the economy recovers.
According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll published Wednesday, Americans are growing increasingly pessimistic about the economy after a mild upturn in attitudes in September.
Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed in the October 22-25 poll said the downturn would get worse, up from 52 percent in September and back to the level of pessimism expressed in July.
The "main concern, naturally, is about the sustainability of the US recovery," said Ed Yardeni, chief investment strategist of Yardeni Research.
"A frequent question is: 'What happens when your fiscal stimulus wears off?'"
Analysts point out that much of the growth will be the result of businesses rebuilding inventories following sharp production cuts, and from government stimulus efforts that may not be sustained.
Some project the expansion will slow to a rate of around 2.0 percent in the fourth quarter.
Ann Sonders and Brad Sorensen, analysts at Charles Schwab, said they remain optimistic because of the potential of even a modest uptick in the demand side of the economy.
"While some worry that the economic recovery will take a step back after government stimulus programs expire, we see signs that the 'coiled spring' represented by significant declines in inventories, production and jobs could be getting ready to pop."
The United States officially entered recession in December 2007 but whether it is over is a more complex question.
The economy may linger for months in a "no-man's land" in which GDP is expanding but no one is sure if the recession is "officially" ended, because of the way business cycles are defined in the United States.
For decades, the US government and economic community have recognized a panel of academicians with the private National Bureau of Economic Research as the official arbiter of business cycles.
The NBER panel does not use the definition employed in many countries of recession as two consecutive quarters of declining GDP.
NBER says a recession is "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales."
DTN News: Computer Game Deployed To Combat Phishing
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - October 29, 2009: State Department employees are being encouraged to play a computer game to familiarize themselves with the global threat posed by phishing, an increasingly sophisticated form of identity fraud that can entice unsuspecting computer users into divulging sensitive personal information.
The game, called Phil by Pittsburgh-based developer Wombat Security Technologies, is designed especially to train employees of security-conscious organizations to be aware of the devious and sublime methods used by fraudsters to persuade computer users to reveal information they use for logging into secure government sites, financial domains and other sensitive Internet locations.
Most of these domains are usually considered off limits to unauthorized computer users.
Wombat said Phil, the training game, will be made available worldwide to all 55,000 employees of the U.S. Department of State.
Phishing is a broad term used to describe a range of techniques used by fraudsters to hoodwink computer users who may be in a position of influence or power, or have wealth the phishers have their eyes on.
A typical phishing e-mail is disguised as an official message from a fictional bank or organization. The sender attempts to trick the recipient into revealing confidential information by "confirming" it at a Web site purporting to be the genuine article but usually a fake one set up by the phisher.
Although anti-phishing campaigners warn potential victims to look out for spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, security sources say that phishing now is far too sophisticated for that kind of tell-tale notion of fraud.
Even the prospect of catching a phisher through a suspicious Web site address has been dealt with by fraudsters that can replicate the Uniform Resource Locator of a genuine Web site.
Although phishing began as an e-mail scam, it has now spread to instant messaging and other media, including social networking Web sites and devices such as phones and mini-computers, security sources said.
Phil is an engaging training game packed with fun that was originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and is now commercialized by Wombat. The game has been shown to be significantly more effective at training people to recognize phishing attacks than more traditional training solutions used in the computer security industry, Wombat said.
The company cited a rise in phishing attacks over the past several years and the ability of the attackers to defeat anti-spam software and other security measures.
"We are honored to add the U.S. Department of State to our rapidly growing list of customers," said Norman Sadeh, founder and CEO of Wombat Security Technologies. "With the continuing increase in sophistication of phishing attacks, it is critical for government organizations as well as private sector organizations to turn to more effective ways of training their workforce."
Wombat Security Technologies says it is a global leader in cybersecurity awareness and training.
DTN News: Israel Drones To Be Used By Germany In Afghanistan*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM, Israel - October 29, 2009: Israel Aerospace Industries said Wednesday it would supply unmanned spy planes to Germany that will see action in Afghanistan early next year.An Israeli army Heron unmanned drone aircraft, used for surveillance missions, flies during a display at the Palmahim Air Force Base, Israel. Israel Aerospace Industries said Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009 that it will supply unmanned spy planes to Germany that will see action in Afghanistan early next year.
The Heron drones will be deployed by the German air force in northern Afghanistan in early 2010 for reconnaissance missions, the company said in a statement.
It would not reveal how many drones were sold or for how much but said it was a multimillion dollar deal.
Germany's Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement confirmed it had signed an agreement to purchase the aircraft.
Israeli drones have previously been supplied to coalition forces to gather intelligence data on Islamic militants in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Heron is Israel's largest surveillance drone, with a 54-foot wingspan and an ability to fly for as long as 30 hours at a time at a speed of 140 mph (225.3 kph) and a height of 30,000 feet (9,144 meters).
DTN News: Dmitry Donskoy Submarine Prepares For Future Bulava Missile Tests*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - October 29, 2009: Russia's Dmitry Donskoy strategic nuclear-powered submarine returned on Wednesday from a short sea test run to prepare for upcoming test launches of the troubled Bulava missile.
"The sub left the base in Severodvinsk on Monday to test the readiness of the equipment for future launches of the Bulava missile," a Severodvinsk administration official said, without specifying the date for the next test of the missile.
The Typhoon-class submarine, based at a naval facility in northern Russia's Severodvinsk, is the only vessel in service with the Russian Navy capable of testing the new Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
The Russian military expects the Bulava, along with Topol-M land-based ballistic missiles, to become the core of Russia's nuclear triad.
However, the Bulava's development has been dogged by a series of setbacks, which has officially suffered six failures in 11 tests.
The latest Bulava failure during the launch from Dmitry Donskoy in the North Sea on July 15 was caused by a defective steering system in its first stage, a defense industry source said on Monday.
The future development of the Bulava has been questioned by some lawmakers and defense industry officials, who have suggested that all efforts should be focused on the existing Sineva SLBM.
But the Russian military has insisted that there is no alternative to the Bulava and pledged to continue testing the missile until it is ready to be put in service with the Navy.
The Bulava (SS-NX-30) SLBM carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). The three-stage solid-propellant ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borey-class nuclear-powered submarines.
DTN News: Russia Sells Special Purpose Weaponry To NATO According To Rosoboronexport
*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - October 29, 2009: Russia supplies weaponry and equipment for police and special purpose military units in several NATO countries, state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said on Wednesday.
"Our main customers are ex-Soviet states, the Middle East, Latin American and African countries, but we also deliver special purpose weaponry and equipment to several NATO countries," said Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov, an advisor to Rosoboronexport general director.
More than 300 Russian companies, including 23 defense firms, are participating in the Interpolitex 2009 International Exhibition of State Security Technology in Moscow October 27-30.
According to Ovchinnikov, foreign clients are mostly interested in weaponry for anti-terrorism police task forces, optical and infrared equipment, means of individual protection and non-lethal weapons.
The official said that at least four foreign delegations at the show have expressed interest in purchasing several types of Russian-made equipment.
"The negotiations have entered an active phase and this work will continue after the show," Ovchinnikov said.
Delegations from Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Canada, The Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan and Ukraine are participating in Interpolitex 2009.
DTN News: Boeing Ready For Production Of Fighter Jets In India*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - October 29, 2009: After successfully completing trials for the contract of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft with India, US firm Boeing Wednesday announced its intention to transfer technology to build F/A-18IN Super Hornet fighter jets in India.The combat-proven F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine, multi-mission, tactical aircraft. It converts between air-to-air fighter missions and air-to-ground strike missions while on the same sortie with the flick of a switch. Currently serving the armed services of eight nations, the F/A-18 fulfills the following types of assignment: fighter escort, suppression of enemy air defenses, reconnaissance, forward air control, close air support, and day and night strike missions.
We fully intend for Super Hornet to be built in India, said Boeing Military Aircraft Integrated Defence Systems president Christopher M. Chadwick here.
While Russia has been giving technology transfer to India more readily, US firms have a strict code when it comes to technology transfer to their customers.
We plan to build 18 aircraft in the US and from the 19th aircraft it will be built in India…. we will continue transfer of technology to India so that they not only assemble but make lots of part of the aircraft in India…. actually building the aircraft here, Chadwick added.
With the approval of US Congress required, the transfer of technology could actually be a key element in deciding the winner of the competition for the whopping Indian contract.
Boeing’s F/A-18IN has completed first two phases of trials for the Indian Air Force.
The first phase was completed in the US and the second at Bangalore, Jaisalmer and Leh.
The third phase trials will be held in February 2010 in the US.
The other aircraft in the fray for the IAF’s $10 billion order are the Lockheed Martin F-16I Super Viper, the Dassault Rafale, the Saab Gripen, the Russian MiG-35, and the European consortium EADS Eurofighter Typhoon.
The IAF plans to acquire 18 aircraft in fly-away conditions, with the rest being manufactured by HAL under a technology transfer deal. The aircraft are meant to replace the IAF’s ageing fleet of MiG-21 that were inducted in the 1960s.
DTN News: SPECIAL REPORT Interview With Mikhail Simonov - The Inventor Of The Sukhoi Jet Fighters*This online supplement is produced and published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia), which takes sole responsibility for the content.
*Source: DTN News / Russia Now Dmitry Litovkin, Izvestia
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - October 29, 2009: Mikhail Simonov has been developing the Sukhoi family of jets since 1969. Mikhail Simonov, designer of the iconic fighter jets Su-27 and Su-30, has been at the forefront of aircraft design for more than 50 years. To celebrate his 80th birthday this month, we hear from the man who gave Russia the edge in aerial combat. The sky's no limit: a Sukhoi jet fighter. The new fighter jet will be a fundamentally new machine, not just a modernized version of an old pursuit plane. The competition of world's biggest superpowers to develop the fifth generation of pursuit planes still continues. Russian specialists intend to build such a jet, or an aviation complex, as engineers say, in five or seven years. Technical details of such developments are being kept top secret, although Russian aircraft designers decided to expose several solutions of theirs.
Many would need two lifetimes to accomplish the things that Mikhail Simonov has packed into his 80 years. His Su-27 jet fighter – which has become as well known as Kalashnikov's AK-47 assault rifle – is recognised as the best jet fighter of the 20th century and brings billions of dollars into the Russian economy.
A virtuoso in the skies
When the International Aviation and Space Salon – MAKS – announced it would be showing the Su-27 in flight… people crowded at the edge of the airfield. The blue-grey “Su”, with red stars on the wings and tail, leant toward its landing wheels as if welcoming the audience, turned on the afterburner and quickly took off.Mikhail Simonov, designer of the iconic fighter jets Su-27 and Su-30, has been at the forefront of aircraft design for more than 50 years. To celebrate his 80th birthday this month, we hear from the man who gave Russia the edge in aerial combat.
The sharp ascent was greeted with a universal sigh of admiration, but the truly awe-inspiring spectacle was yet to come. The 30-ton machine, with the ease of a ballet dancer, began performing aerobatics: two and a half loops within 800 metres of the ground with a “flip” at the end; vertical rolls; 90- and 270-degree loops.
Finally, the jet suddenly gained speed and lifted its nose – but did not fly up as everyone expected. Instead, at full speed and leading with its fuselage, it carried on forwards. A moment later, the angle increased from 90 to 120 degrees; the jet looked as though it was falling on its “back” while rushing with its tail forward.
Professionals call this military manoeuvre “dynamic braking”; the pilot needs it to sharply drop speed, while still have an advantage over the enemy. Moreover, the pilot is able to simultaneously launch a missile from behind his back. No other aircraft in the world is capable of this.
"Why don’t you go to your wife…"
“Our jet fighter came out late,” admits Simonov. “The American F-15 was already operating when our machine was only in its design stages.”
T-10 was the prototype of a future Su-27; it first flew on May 20, 1977. But despite all the efforts of the designers and engineers of the Sukhoi Company, it was worse than the American jet.
“This was bad news for us,” he recalls. “The jet was already being produced. Some were making space for military awards on their jackets, while thinking about how they would spend their state prizes.”
But he recalls mustering the courage to go to the minister of aircraft industry, Ivan Silayev, to tell him that the aircraft did not come out as planned, and it would need more work.
“‘It’s a good thing, Petrovich, that today is not 1937,’ said the minister. “OK, I’ll redesign it…” I replied.
“It was a true scandal. I came to the ministerial meeting. I began presenting my report and explaining that in order to improve the flight characteristics of the jet we would need to move the stowage compartment from the bottom on to the ‘back’ of the aircraft. Then, suddenly, the aircraft designer Arkhil Lyulka – a cheerful and a kind man – stood up and began yelling at me, nearly cursing me in Ukrainian. ‘Why don’t you, Mikhail Petrovich, go to your wife and ask her to move her breasts onto her back?! We’ll see how useful she will be then!’”
The conflict with the engine designer was only the beginning: the transfer of the stowage compartment meant redesigning the body. And that implied a scandal with another serious institution – Central State Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI).
As a result, Simonov travelled to TsAGI overnight in secret, so as to not to let the management know he was designing new fighter jet models. According to him, they were in such a rush they decided to start working on the first model that looked acceptable. And, it was that model that proved to be superior.
How the Arabs helped ‘Su’
Simonov insists that perestroika allowed the Su-27 to become the best of the best. A lack of money in the Nineties forced the Sukhoi Company to make a desperate move – to try to sell the jet abroad. The first place they looked was the United Arab Emirates.
“At that time, their air force was headed by Colonel Khalid,” recalls Simonov. “He wasn’t a flexible man. As he looked at and flew our fighter jet, he said: ‘It’s not bad, but can it sink a destroyer?’ But these were two different things… It’s one thing to conduct air combat, and completely another to destroy underwater and ground targets.”
This could have been the end of the conversation. Intead, Simonov proposed the Arabs formulate their demands for the machine: “If you want the fighter jet to be able to hit targets at a distance of 100km – that can be done. You want it to sink destroyers – it will do.”
So, the Su-27 became a multi-function fighter – though the Arabs did not buy it. Khalid admitted that the Americans would not have allowed them to do so. It is often said that the Su-27 and Su-30 are the best, but they have not been used in a single war. So how could their superiority be proved?
“That is, of course, a secret,” smiles Simonov.
This display of equipment was not simply advertising, but a comparison with competitors – at least with the French Mirages that were part of the UAE inventory. How could they be compared? Two of their best pilots took turns flying the aircraft, the Mirage and Su. All flight information was documented and the information analysed.
The best jet fighter of the 20th century
The Su-30MKI is considered an unbeatable fighting machine. This has been borne out in air battles with potential adversaries. The first time it was done was in the early Nineties, when Su-27 pilots were invited to take part in military training with the F-15.
The rules of the “battle” required the Russian planes to get on the tail of the American jets, then the opponents changed places. In a real battle, this would allow directing a missile and hitting the target. In both scenarios, Sus were victorious. According to someone who took part in those exercises, chief of the Lipetsk Air Force Training centre Major General Aleksandr Harchevsky, due to its high manoeuvrability and thrust-to-weight ratio, the Su-27 gained speed on the upward trajectory faster than F-15.
The F-15 constantly needed to make a kind of a “step” – fly along a straight line for a certain period of time. The Russian pilots took advantage of that – they persuaded the Americans to go upward, at which point they lost speed, and the Sus, having made a sharp turn, found themselves on the tail of the enemy. A moment later and the target was “destroyed”.
Thus, when the Americans learnt that India had acquired the more advanced Su-30s, they decided to pay them a visit. In their exercises they decided to use the improved F-15. The result of the meeting was 6:4 in favour of the Su-30. However, instead of the Su-30MKI, the Indians used the ordinary training Su-30, a machine without the new radar or thrust vector control. The next time Americans arrived in India, they brought the improved F-16.
“This fighter jet is smaller and lighter than our Su-30,” says Simonov. “Thus, logically, it ought to be more manoeuvrable and win in close combat. But everything was exactly the opposite. Su-30MKIs were used. The defeat was unquestionable.”
Supersonic for presidents
At one aerospace show, while watching flight demonstrations of civilian aircraft, Mikhail Simonov turned to journalists and made a surprising statement: “Fighter jets are nothing; here is our future!” In his office, I understand what he means. Next to his desk stands a two-storey model aeroplane, designed for 1,000 passengers, the KR-860 “Krilya Rossii” (Wings of Russia).
“They’re afraid of constructing such machines,” says the designer with a sigh of disappointment. “Even though we do have factories capable of implementing this project, and we could make necessary agreements on engines.”
It wouldn’t be the first time that big-plane projects have run into difficulty. Although all necessary components are present – governmental approval, money, factories – series production of the globally demanded An-124 heavy transport plane “Ruslan” stalled after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Simonov is not one to give up, however, quoting the great Soviet aircraft designer, Roberto Bartini, who believed that the aviation design bureau should be like a conveyor belt, with new, trial aircraft at the beginning, and mass-produced aeroplanes falling off the end. Today, there are three model supersonic passenger aeroplanes standing on Simonov’s desk.
“I see on television how our leaders move from one region of the country to another,” he says. “But they do this with subsonic machines – slowly. A great amount of time is lost this way.”
Simonov’s supersonic aircraft will be given a name only after it starts being produced. Such is the tradition, so as not to “jinx” it. One of the three models is a 40-seat airliner, capable of flying at twice the speed of sound. The second model is smaller – 12-passengers – but flies faster.
The third aircraft is an even faster design – but it’s still a secret.
Sukhoi continues to fly high in both military and civil aviation projects
The Sukhoi Company is one of the world's leading aircraft firms. Its fighter jets are used by dozens of countries. In August, at the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS 2009, the Russian air force bought 48 Su-35s. The Indian air force wants to acquire, in addition to its existing 105 Su-30MKIs, 50 more units.
The current CEO of Sukhoi, Mikhail Pogosyan, is successfully implementing the ambitious project of the regional passenger aircraft, Sukhoi Superjet: before the end of the year, the first mass-produced machine will begin flying on regular airlines. Overall, the company plans to build more than 1,000 units. The sky is immense - there will be enough space. . .