Thursday, January 15, 2009

Iraq: Sectarian Violence Keeps Sunnis and Shias Apart

Iraq: Sectarian Violence Keeps Sunnis and Shias Apart
(NSI News Source Info) January 16, 2009: Sunni Arab radicals aren't finished with Iraq. Having run the region for centuries, many Sunni Arab Iraqis are willing to die rather than let the Shia majority rule. But as the number of fanatics shrink, and the government security forces grow larger and more competent, it has become more difficult to carry out bombing attacks.
This has caused a shift to using women and children as suicide bombers. Especially in the Sunni Arab community (which refused economic aid for years) there is lots of poverty. Then there are the widows and orphans created by men who went off to fight the newly elected government and got killed. These widows and orphans are easier to recruit.
And kids as young as nine or ten can be trained to carry an explosive vest, and detonate it at the right moment (or have that done for them remotely by a nearby adult controller). This sort of pointless fanaticism is still admired by many in the region, especially Iraq. Here, the Shia sect is basically founded on the concept of a lost cause that will ultimately be put right. For whatever reason, most Iraqis shrug their shoulders when they hear about the women and children being used as suicide bombers.
For one thing, there are far fewer attacks than a year ago. Then there is the hatred the majority (about 85 percent of Iraqis are not Sunni Arab) have for the Sunni Arab minority. The decades of harsh rule by Saddam Hussein (one of many Sunni Arab tyrants over the last few centuries), followed by seven years of Sunni Arab terrorism has merely convinced any doubters that the Sunni Arabs are bad for Iraq and not to be trusted.
While the Sunni Arab political parties pledge their support for the government, it's obvious that the Sunni Arab terrorists are finding sanctuary in some Sunni Arab neighborhoods, and as long as that continues, so will the harsh security measures (searches and checkpoints) in those areas. This is all being done by Iraqi security forces. If American troops want make a raid they have to (since January 1st) get a court order from an Iraqi judge. Much of the Sunni Arab violence is in Kirkuk province, an area long contested by Sunni Arabs and Kurds (along with several minorities that want to hold onto whatever they have). These northern areas were largely Kurdish (for centuries) until Saddam Hussein began forcing Kurds out and bringing Sunni Arabs from the south to take over the Kurdish homes and businesses. Thus the Iraqis who have lived in the area for 10-20 years are being confronted by the previous Kurdish owners, and these confrontations often get ugly.
The Sunni Arab terror groups are attacking the Iraqi police and soldiers, as well as Kurdish militias. The Shia dominated government doesn't want to back the Sunni Arabs in their claims to stolen Kurdish property, but the Shia politicians also don't want the Kurds to get control of all the oil fields in Kirkuk province. As with politics anywhere, if you want to find out what's driving events, just follow the money. While most Sunni Arabs want to live in peace, that's about all they can agree on. There are dozens of factions within the Sunni Arab community, ranging from secular to Islamic radicals. The latter tend to predominate. Sunni Arabs still see themselves as victims, and the revenge filled rants of Islamic radical politicians and clerics still resonate.
Shia politics is not much different, and the national elections at the end of the month are expected to change the composition of the Shia coalition that controls the government now. All nations in the region are watching how democracy plays out in Iraq, for they see it as a model for the Islamic world in general. Many Moslems don't believe democracy can work in Iraq, and that eventually a religious or secular tyrant will take over. Turkey believes that its Winter campaign against the PKK Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq has been a success. The constant bombing, and occasional commando raids, into northern Iraq has destroyed the bases that the rebels use as cold weather shelters. Late last year, the Turks believed there were 3,000 PKK operatives in northern Iraq, and another 2,000 in Eastern Turkey (living in small groups among an often friendly Kurdish population.)
The loss of the northern Iraq bases has forced most of those 3,000 PKK fighters to disperse to Kurdish villages, or even urban areas. But this meant that much equipment, and many weapons, had to be left behind. In addition, hundreds, perhaps over a thousand, of the dispersed PKK men appear to have simply walked away from the terrorist organization. This was partly because of growing pressure from the Kurdish government of northern Iraq, which has made a deal with the Turks to help dismantle the PKK operations in Iraq. Iraqi border guards are coming under assault by opium and heroin smugglers, trying to get these drugs from Afghanistan to lucrative European markets via the Iran-Iraq-Turkey route. The border guards are being hit with bribes, not bullets, and some are accepting the offer. American intel analysts can spot where it is likely that border guards are accepting bribes, by the pattern of smugglers caught, and intel on smuggling activity elsewhere.
At the moment, the Iraqi government is leaning on the border guards to stop the drug smugglers, but those big bribes are hard to resist. It's pretty easy to discover which border guards are on the take, as the bribes are usually quickly spent. So any border guards who suddenly have a new house, a car or a flat screen TV, probably didn't win the lottery or come into an unexpected inheritance. The U.S. has recently completed, and moved into, the largest U.S. embassy ever built. This one covers 104 acres, cost nearly $600 million and houses 1,200 people working for the State Department, and 13 other U.S. government agencies. Iraq has become the 186th nation to join an international agreement to not develop, produce, stockpile or use chemical weapons. In the 1980s, Iraq became the first major user of chemical weapons in combat since World War I (Italy used them in Ethiopia in the 1930s, Japan in China in the 1940s and Egypt in Yemen in the 1960s, but mostly against civilians and irregulars). Iran responded, and both nations fired enormous quantities of mustard and nerve gas at each others troops. Iraq became the first nation to use nerve gas in combat.
Many Iraqis still believe these chemical weapons (production of which can be resumed within months using the many Iraqis who now know the technology for it) is their ultimate defense against foreign invasion (by Iran or Turkey, both of which have defeated Arab armies many times in the past).

French Muslim Troops Refuse Afghan Duty

French Muslim Troops Refuse Afghan Duty (NSI News Source Info) January 16, 2009: French Muslim soldiers have refused to serve in Afghanistan, saying their faith forbids them from fighting fellow Muslims, a military spokesman confirmed to AFP. "The refusal to be assigned to a mission for religious reasons is a micro-phenomenon concerning fewer than five cases per year," said Colonel Benoit Royal, confirming a report on the website of left-wing daily Liberation. Liberation's respected "Defence Secret" blog reported Wednesday that an infantry soldier in eastern France had in October refused to be stationed in Afghanistan but later agreed, after meeting with a Muslim chaplain. Soldiers who refuse a mission face disciplinary action and in most cases are discharged from the army, Royal said. The army spokesman said the refusal by some soldiers showed a "lack of understanding of their commitment which is to bear arms for France to defend its interests and values at all times and everywhere." France has 2,600 troops serving in NATO's Afghan mission to shore up the weak government of President Hamid Karzai and battle the Taliban, who were driven out of Kabul in late 2001. France's force is one of the largest there, after the United States, Britain, Canada and Germany. In all, 25 French soldiers have died on the mission, with casualties increasing since they were reinforced last year.

Eurofighter Reports Tranche 2 Deliveries / Tranche 2 Deliveries

Eurofighter Reports Tranche 2 Deliveries / Tranche 2 Deliveries (NSI News Source Info) January 15, 2009: Whilst 2008 saw the start of Tranche 2 deliveries to nations - 16 aircraft delivered in total -, 2009 started with GS032 (Germany) delivered on Monday the 12th January and BS043 (UK) handed over today. Eurofighter Typhoon F2, RAF single-seat fighter variant. The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine canard-delta wing multirole aircraft. It is being designed and built by a consortium of three separate partner companies: Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems, and EADS working through a holding company Eurofighter GmbH which was formed in 1986. The project is managed by NETMA (NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency) which acts as the prime customer. The series production of the Eurofighter Typhoon is underway, and the aircraft is being procured under three separate contracts (referred to as "tranches"), each for aircraft with successively greater capabilities. The aircraft has entered service with the UK Royal Air Force, the German Luftwaffe, the Italian Air Force, the Spanish Air Force and the Austrian Air Force. Saudi Arabia has signed a £4.43 billion (approx. €6.4 billion c. 2007) contract for 72 aircraft.
Just to summarize, the first aircraft delivered to the nations were:
-- BS040 (UK) on 10 October 2008 followed by SS012 (Spain) on 24 October and IS020 (Italy) on 13 November.
-- The first Tranche 2 aircraft for the German Air Force was AS008, handed over on 18 December 2008.
-- With revision of the Austrian contract, nine Tranche 2 aircraft originally planned for Austria will go to Germany and keep their designation, as the German aircraft in service with the Austrian armed forces.
At this point we think a brief explanation is appropriate, what delivery or handover for us on the industrial side in the Eurofighter consortium really means.
After a thorough and detailed check procedure for each individual aircraft a special form is signed by the partner company delivering the aircraft and the air force taking it. With this signature the air force takes ownership of the aircraft. This for us means handover or delivery. There can be discrepancies in dates, when an air force sets up a handover/delivery event or flies the aircraft out of the industrial facility at a later time and these dates then are being communicated or looked at as the actual handover dates.
Nevertheless, we at PR & Comms in Eurofighter and the Partner Companies actually do rather care about the fact as such: Another aircraft delivered!!! So have a good new year 2009 and let's continue counting.

Navistar Wins US Army Contract, Sees New Markets / TACOM Awards $79 Million Contract For WorkStar Based Vehicles

Navistar Wins US Army Contract, Sees New Markets / TACOM Awards $79 Million Contract For WorkStar Based Vehicles / Navistar Defense Vehicle Platform Provides Strong Foundation For Future Growth (NSI News Source Info) WARRENVILLE, Ill. - January 15, 2009: The U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command awarded Navistar Defense, LLC nearly $79 million to provide 605 vehicles for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The award demonstrates the company’s ability to leverage its existing commercial vehicle platforms for continued success.
The company also received a new foreign sales award from Canada on January 9, 2009, to provide up to 1,300 military vehicles. The Canadian Department of National Defence contract was Navistar’s first award in 2009 for vehicles based on the WorkStar platform.
“Navistar’s core strength is its ability to leverage its engineering, manufacturing and sustainment expertise across a large portfolio of products,” said Archie Massicotte, president, Navistar Defense. “Our existing commercial platforms allow us to rapidly modify vehicles for the military, as well as customize them for specific mission types.”
Navistar International Corporation’s growth strategy is to grow in sectors beyond the company’s core commercial truck market. As part of this strategy, Navistar Defense will continue to pursue new U.S. and foreign military sales to sustain a $2 billion business annually. Navistar has already won military contracts to provide vehicles to U.S. allies such as Israel, Taiwan and Canada.
Since 2004, Navistar has delivered thousands of units based on the WorkStar. While this commercial platform has played a significant role in the company’s success, other adaptable vehicle platforms offered by Navistar Defense include the International PayStar and MXT. Navistar also produces multiple variants of its International MaxxPro MRAP vehicles, which are also built on the WorkStar base.
Under the new contract, Navistar will provide the Army with 328 fuel trucks and 277 water tankers - all customized from the WorkStar platform. Work for the contract will be performed at the company’s West Point, Miss., plant. Approximately 40 percent of the order will be delivered in 2009 with the remaining units to be delivered by the end of July 2010. The award is in addition to the $2.3 billion in military contracts for 2009 announced on January 5.
Navistar Defense is an affiliate of Navistar International Corporation, a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates produce International brand commercial and military trucks, MaxxForce brand diesel engines, IC brand school and commercial buses, and Workhorse brand chassis for motor homes and step vans.

Russia Trails U.S. In Pursuit Of A Fifth-Generation Fighter Jet

Russia Trails U.S. In Pursuit Of A Fifth-Generation Fighter Jet
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - January 15, 2009: Russia lags behind the United States in aerospace research and development. It has yet to produce decent competitors to America's two new, fifth-generation fighter jets, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter and the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor. The main Russian rivals to the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightnings are the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-35 (NATO designation Fulcrum F) and the Sukhoi Su-35 (NATO designation Flanker). The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-35 is an upgrade of the MiG-29M/M2 and the MiG-29OVT. Both are fourth-generation jets. The Russian government has been eagerly selling the Sukhoi fighter jets to its friends, so these aircraft are likely to be found in areas where the potential for conflict is greatest, while financing development of the fifth-generation fighter from these export revenues. Russian analysts like to note that the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning JSF, with a maximum speed of only 1,200 mph, is slower than both the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker -- maximum speed 1,680 mph -- and the MiG-35 Fulcrum -- maximum speed 1,587 mph. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning's range of 1,320 miles is below the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker's range of 2,260 miles as well. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a fifth-generation, single-seat, single-engine, stealth-capable military strike fighter, a multirole aircraft that can perform close air support, tactical bombing, and air superiority fighter missions. The F-35 has three different models; one is the conventional takeoff and landing variant, the second is short takeoff and vertical-landing variant, and the third is a carrier-based variant. The F-35 is descended from the X-35, the product of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Its development is being principally funded by the United States, with the United Kingdom, and other partner governments providing additional funding. It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems as major partners. Demonstrator aircraft flew in 2000, with the first flight on 15 December 2006. While these measures make the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter seem inferior, they are actually fully consistent with its projected mission: F-35s are designed to operate in tandem with Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptors, which would clear the way for F-35s in real combat.
Moreover, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning JSF's reported service ceiling of around 57,000 feet is superior to the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-35 Fulcrum's 56,000 feet and the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker's 55,000 feet. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning JSF also claims a significant advantage in maneuverability because of its smaller size, advanced materials and lightweight construction. On the record, Russian defense officials insist their Sukhoi and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG fighters can stand up to their American rivals. But a Russian Defense Ministry expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told that Russia "patches" its fourth-generation modifications to extend their lifespan, while most of its fifth-generation fighter program has largely remained on paper. In fact, statistics are only the broadest indicators of an aircraft's performance. Combat performance analysis includes maneuverability, stealth, tactics, training, avionics, situation awareness, weapons, countermeasures, interoperability and supportability as major factors. Stealth is a major discriminator between a 5G fighter like the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter and "Gen 4 plus plus" competitors like the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-35 Fulcrum and the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker that are essentially modernizations of their respective progenitors, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 and the Sukhoi Su-27. No operational Soviet or Russian stealth aircraft has ever been reported to have entered service. A U.S. analyst who requested anonymity said that while the Russians have some good specific system technologies, their ability to effectively integrate them often lags behind that of the West, and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter takes integration of off-board intelligence to a step well beyond proven Russian capabilities. "From the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union until crude oil prices recently rose to $100 per barrel, the ability of Russian aircraft designers to transition their advanced scientific knowledge through RDT&E (research, development, test and evaluation) into production-ready systems has been restricted, with funding available almost solely from sales of its legacy 4th Gen MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters to other countries," the analyst said. With oil prices collapsing, the challenges of serial production of advanced aerospace weapons systems remains, while the Russian highly skilled military space and aviation industry labor force is pushing 60 -- beyond the life expectancy of an average Russian male. Sukhoi Su-30 fighters bought by China and India were more advanced than those in Russian air force service, which were procured only in small quantities. Progress in completing the production development of the PAK-FA T-50, Russia's first 5G fighter design, remains dependent on Indian funding. While notable improvements have been made in the reliability and supportability of Russian aircraft systems, they still fall far short of Western standards. This is particularly true of aircraft engines. Russia has a long way to go to catch up with the United States in the prestigious new generation fighter competition. Only domestic politics, such as in Europe; declining economic fortunes of potential partners; and high production costs of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter may slow down its triumphant march.

Pakistan: President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani Briefed On JF-17 Fighter Project

Pakistan: President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani Briefed On JF-17 Fighter Project
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD - January 15, 2009: President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani on Wednesday vowed to strengthen the defence of the country. Co-chairing a meeting at President House on the project of the JF-17 Thunder fighter jet, President and the prime minister said the government will equip the armed forces of the country with latest equipment to meet new challenges.
The PAC JF-17 Thunder, also known in China as the Chengdu FC-1 Fierce Dragon, is a single-seat, multi-role fighter aircraft jointly developed by China and Pakistan. The "JF" and "FC" designations stand for "Joint Fighter" and "Fighter China" respectively. The first two aircraft were delivered to the Pakistan Air Force on 12 March 2007. The JF-17/FC-1 is designed to be a cost-effective aircraft which can meet the tactical and strategic needs of air forces of developing countries. On 22 January 2008, Pakistan started serial production of the aircraft at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra.
The meeting was also attended by Ch. Ahmed Mukhtar, Federal Defence Minister; Shaukat Tareen, Finance Advisor; Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed; and senior officials.
Giving a briefing on the project, the PAF chief said JF-17 Thunder is a light weight all weather, multi-role fighter aircraft, jointly developed by China and Pakistan.
The aircraft has been designed for high performance at low cost. The meeting was informed that the aircraft will have an edge over its contemporary aircraft, particularly Indian light combat aircraft (LCA) in terms of cost, early availability and supportability.

India Army Says Pakistan Deployed Troops On Border /Military Option With Pakistan Still Open: Indian Army Chief / Indian Army Ready For War

India Army Says Pakistan Deployed Troops On Border /Military Option With Pakistan Still Open: Indian Army Chief / Indian Army Ready For War If Diplomatic Options Fail (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI - January 15, 2009: India's army chief said on Wednesday Pakistan had deployed extra troops along their common border since the Mumbai attacks but India had not responded in kind. General Deepak Kapoor said some Pakistani troops had come east. ‘They have come to the eastern border of Pakistan with India,’ he told reporters. Pakistan's military has denied any build-up of forces on the Indian border and said it moved a ‘limited number’ of soldiers off its western border with Afghanistan ‘for defensive measures’ as tension rose with India after the attacks in Mumbai. A near-daily exchange of tough words since the attacks on Mumbai has added to the tension as India, frustrated with what it sees as Pakistan's failure to take action, has tried to pile international pressure on Pakistan. Once again upping the ante on the already charged atmosphere between India and Pakistan, post 26/11, Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor today said the military option against the neighbouring country was open even now. Speaking to the press at his annual press conference on 'Sena Diwas' Gen Kapoor said if diplomatic and economic options fail to get the desired result from Pakistan, on the Mumbai attacks, India has kept the military option open. Stressing that it was an open secret that the 26/11 Mumbai attackers had come from Pakistan soil, which led to massive tension building between the two countries, Gen Kapoor said, ''We have kept all options open. If diplomatic and economic options fail then war is the last resort.'' The General, however, added that the decision would be taken by the country's political leadership. Accepting that Pakistan indeed shifted some of its troops from the Afghanistan border to the Indian border, the Army chief said all this had been taken into consideration while deciding the military option as the last one. To a pointer whether the country had lost an opportunity to slam terror outfits in Pakistan, in the wake of the atmosphere generated after the Mumbai attacks, Gen Kapoor said in any dispute use of force remains an option, but whether that has to be used or not will have to be decided by the political leadership of the country. ''But if all options fail and means exhaust, then war is certainly the last resort,'' the Army chief stressed. On the recent movement of 'special troops' in the Pokharan and Mahajan ranges in Rajasthan, Gen Kapoor denied such steps were bolstering war hysteria between India and Pakistan and said not much should be construed in these 'routine movements'. ''The movement was part of the normal readiness procedure on the part of the armed forces which any force maintains,'' he said

Pakistan Urges US For Early Supply Of F-16’s / Pak Urges US For Early Supply Of F-16's To Meet Defence Requirements

Pakistan Urges US For Early Supply Of F-16’s / Pak Urges US For Early Supply Of F-16's To Meet Defence Requirements
(NSI News Source Info) Islamabad - January 15, 2009: Sensing the need of strengthening its air defence amidst high tension, and rising war fears with India, Pakistan has asked the United States for an early delivery of F-16 fighter jets. Pakistan Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar has urged the United States to help Pakistan meet its security requirements, including the provision of F-16 aircraft, The Daily Times reported.
Two-ship Pakistani F-16A formation, #84704 and #84705 - note the slightly different color scheme. Pakistan has ordered a total of 111 F-16A/B aircraft. Of these, 71 were embargoed by the US due to Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. Of these 71, 28 were actually built but were flown directly to the AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB for storage. Over the years, various plans were conceived for these 28 aircraft: Pakistan wanted to get the aircraft or their money back; they were offered to various nations, none of which were interested; ultimately, the US Navy and USAF entered them into service as aggressor aircraft. After Pakistan's help in the war on terror, the US lifted the embargo. In 2005, Pakistan requested 24 new Block 50/52 F-16C/Ds (with option for as much as 55 aircraft). At this moment, it is still debated in the US wether these aircraft will be delivered.
Mukhtar met US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson, and informed her about Pak’s military requirements. “The Minister informed the US envoy about the defence requirements of Pakistan particularly the provision of F-16 aircraft,” a statement issued by the Pakistan Defence Ministry said.
The United States had agreed to provide Pakistan F-16 fighter aircrafts in July last year at no cost, except transportation charges from US to Pakistan.

Swarms of Tiny Unmanned Vehicles Mimic Insects / Unmanned Vehicles Mimic Insects

Swarms of Tiny Unmanned Vehicles Mimic Insects / Unmanned Vehicles Mimic Insects
(NSI News Source Info) January 15, 2009: Gaggles of mechanical grasshoppers, flies, bees and spiders--each a relatively dumb creature--can be networked into very smart networks to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. In the last decade, remote sensors arrays have been changing from somewhat obvious, hard-to-mask, mechanical objects to autonomous, self-propelled, insect-like devices that can climb walls or jump up stairs and then lie dormant until motion, noise or vibrations trigger their activation. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of "WolfPack"--a coffee-can size, air-dropped network of ground sensors--include fast-moving spiders, high-jumping grasshoppers, bees with detachable surveillance payloads and sensor-equipped dragonflies. Development of BAE Systems' WolfPack worked out the dynamics of connecting a series of low-cost, not-so-smart sensors to create a very smart network. That network could, for example, monitor and analyze nearby communications and map the information flow. It then could trigger electronic jamming or even the injection of a data stream of algorithms that captures low-power traffic, attacks communications protocol stacks and otherwise manipulates a foe's flow of information. A second-generation WolfPack added a propulsion system to manipulate the modules and recharge the batteries. "Advanced communications can move intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) around the battlefield in real time," says Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, the U.S. Air Force's Deputy Chief of Staff for ISR. "These ISR sensors now are transformed into the nodes of a truly global, net-centric weapons system." But autonomy, networking and flight are no longer enough. The introduction of camouflage, deception, autonomous processing and advanced robotic microsystems are being used to design the much more sophisticated offspring of WolfPack. The research is supported by a series of company-led Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) and Collaborative Technology Alliance initiatives. Mechanical bug development, which also draws on biology, animal psychology and designs from nature, is part of an Army research lab-funded, five-year, $37-million development program that was won by BAE Systems, says Aaron Penkacik, chief technology officer for the company's electronics and integrated systems. A group of small businesses, subcontractors and universities provide specialized materials, technology and research. The military is already anticipating how to absorb the new data sources. Researchers elsewhere are studying the efficiencies of biological designs with an eye to operating devices with as little as one-thousandth of the energy they now consume. For example, a whale uses no more than 12 volts to push 1,000 liters of blood through more than 100 mi. of veins and arteries with a single pulse of its heart, according to a recent report. The University of Maryland is using the hearing mechanism of flies--a pair of mechanically-coupled ears--to create miniature acoustic receivers for an "artificial fly" micro-UAV that can navigate into otherwise inaccessible locations. The surfaces of plants and animals are being examined for both naturally occurring friction-free and adhesive qualities. "We're trying to expand our capability by integrating traditional ISR with the new technologies," Deptula says. "In five years, I'd like the term 'nontraditional ISR' to go away. If it's ISR, it doesn't matter what platform it comes from." What the articulated critters, operating in groups, will eventually look like will be determined by ongoing system-level trades. The spiders, grasshoppers, bees and dragonflies may give way to something else. Regardless of the final biological shape, MAST products will have some similarities to WolfPack. For example, electronic order of battle-type missions--including signals and communications intelligence-gathering (sigint) and analyses--will be MAST capabilities. But each element will be much smaller and somewhat less capable than in WolfPack. Research goals include: introducing insect swarming behavior--communicating and working for a group purpose--into the battlespace; capturing biologically inspired mobility associated with insects and birds; and adapting university research on very small, biologically inspired robots. "Think about the way a hummingbird flies," Penkacik says. "The aerodynamics are very different than on aircraft or even small UAVs. Wingtip vortices become what you're worried about instead of standard pressure differentials and lift indices of a wing. So the question is, can we emulate biological-mechanical functions in building some of these small robots?" A team from Harvard has built and demonstrated a mechanical dragonfly. "How do we now take something like that dragonfly and put a payload on it that has some military significance?" Penkacik asks and then answers. "It could be a small sigint package, an imaging sensor, a chemical or biological agent detector, acoustic device or magnetometers." A second group developed a mechanical grasshopper. "They demonstrated how far it could go in a single jump--it's pretty amazing," he says. "We're also taking a look at how crawling insects climb a wall and if there's a way to mechanically simulate the surface of [a spider's] legs so we can produce the adhesion to the wall that you get in nature. Those things are understood." Researchers here are examining these very complicated features with systems analyses and trade studies models to determine what a swarm of these creatures would look like and how it would operate. A mission that is fed into the simulation is to penetrate an urban building that is down the street and around the corner. "You want to monitor activity someplace, because you think bomb fabrication is going on," Penkacik explains. "What would the swarm look like that you deploy to provide surveillance for a week? It would involve a flying robot with an imager that would perch on a building across the street. It would probably be in a sleep mode until an acoustic or seismic sensor on a crawling robot [inside the target building] detects a vehicle arriving. Through the ad hoc network, the sensors will wake up and begin the surveillance mission. You can track the activity and introduce additional robots into the swarm." Decentralized data fusion is being examined as a way to build even more intelligence into the swarm. If each robot provided a separate data stream, it would overwhelm the operators' BlackBerry-size control devices. The effort to convert the mass of surveillance data into a refined stream of useful knowledge through distributed processing is being worked through BAE Systems Australia at the University of Sydney. "Everybody does a little piece of processing and you may have larger algorithms executed by multiple micro-scale processors," Penkacik says. "It's analogous to using home computers to help solve enormously complex mathematical problems rather than buying a Cray [high-speed computer]." But that also means additional system trades. How much processing is done by the robots and how much can be done by the swarm operators' hand-held communications devices? That equation dictates the bandwidth needed to push the data to the intelligence analysts and operational users. "What if countermeasures and things you need to do the jamming were already [at the target]? We've got to start thinking about how to be a node in a network. The things you need aren't on the [aircraft], they're somewhere else. It could be something you shoot, air drop or that walks into the area of interest," says an EW specialist. "We're administering a $40-million program for the Army that is developing micro-mechanical robots. You make robots imitate biological objects of that size and it gives you new ways to deliver payloads," says Karl Brommer of BAE's innovation center for EW. "I've got a thumb-sized Ipod Nano with two gigabytes of memory, digital signal processor, power amplifier and you can't break it--all for $40. We can do things analogous to that in the EW world. We're trying to ride that trend of cheap commercial technology like engineered materials that are LEDs imprinted into a polymer or painted on with computers and have power built in. It can be printed by the roll and you just tape it [to the delivery device of choice]." The MAST effort is also looking at the use of even smaller-scale nanotechnologies such as miniature radios with very-low power consumption. These are important for the robot bugs and insects, as are wings with solar cells and legs that function as antennas. Electronics offer an associated set of issues including significant processing in small packages, mission-specific electronics and control circuitry for moving objects, and they all need to be integrated into small robots. "The system-on-a-chip world, which integrates RF, power and digital electronics, is going to be very important to us," Penkacik says. "We're already seeing applications in EW and communications which have common building blocks. The company investment is to build the customized pieces that allow them to be applied to various applications such as local oscillators, digital RF memory jammers, filters and architecture."

Marine Corps Deploys First UH-1Y Helo / Marine Corps UH-1Y Helicopter With Northrop Grumman Integrated Cockpit Deploys In 13th Marine Expedition Unit

Marine Corps Deploys First UH-1Y Helo / First Marine Corps UH-1Y Helicopter With Northrop Grumman Integrated Cockpit Deploys In 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (NSI News Source Info) WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. - January 15, 2009: Northrop Grumman Corporation's Integrated Avionics System (IAS) and the company's integration support were key parts of preparing the UH-1Y Huey helicopters for initial deployment early in 2009 with 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The UH-1Y's IAS provides the helicopter with an interoperable glass cockpit and an avionics system that is fully integrated by Northrop Grumman. Critical mission data is available to the pilot and co-pilot on the four displays, reducing workload, eliminating delays, and increasing aircrew situational awareness. The glass cockpit is anchored by two of the company's open systems architecture mission computers, the heart of the IAS, that allow easy system upgrades as new technology is developed.
Under the US Marine Corps H-1 programme, 100 UH-1N Huey utility helicopters are being remanufactured by Bell Helicopter to the UH-1Y grade and 180 AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters to AH-1Z grade. In April 2005, the USMC decided that the helicopters will be built as new rather than remanufactured, starting from the third low-rate initial production (LRIP) batch in 2008.
Northrop Grumman supported the team that achieved Initial Operational Capability on Aug. 8, 2008 demonstrating that an aircraft has met all flight requirements and that the aircraft, pilots and air crew are ready for deployment. The pilots and crew had worked with the aircraft for a year at a Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303 before they were assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit to prepare for this deployment.
“The UH-1Y program team surmounted the challenges presented by all new military platforms,'' said Ike Song, vice president of Northrop Grumman Navigation System Division's situational awareness systems business. “Northrop Grumman's close work with its industrial teammates and the Marine Corps and Naval Air Systems Command users helped meet those challenges and deliver the helicopters for the fleet deployment.''
Northrop Grumman is part of an industry team that is led by Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., the manufacturer of the helicopter, and includes Thales, and FLIR Systems Inc. Northrop Grumman personnel have worked closely with Bell Helicopter and government team members from both the Naval Air Systems Command's H-1 Program Office in Patuxent River, Md. and the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, Calif., supporting flight testing of the aircraft at a number of military locations.
Part of the H-1 Upgrades program, the Marine Corps' UH-1Y Huey, replaces the aging UH-1N Huey that is currently fielded and in combat. According to program officials the UH-1Y doubles the range and payload of the UH-1N and provides significant improvements in maintainability and reliability, and its 84% commonality of parts with the AH-1Z reduces lifecycle costs by decreasing the aircraft's logistics footprint for both aircraft.
The total program requirement for the UH-1Y is 100 helicopters; however the Marine Corps is requesting an additional 23 aircraft to meet its Grow the Force initiative. Delivery is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.
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.

Russia Has 3 Export Orders For Ka-52 Helicopters - Manufacturer

Russia Has 3 Export Orders For Ka-52 Helicopters - Manufacturer (NSI News Source Info)MOSCOW - January 15, 2009: Russia has received export orders for the delivery of Ka-52 Hokum-B combat helicopters from three countries, the manufacturer said on Tuesday. The Ka-52 is a twin-seat derivative of the Ka-50 Hokum-A attack helicopter, and is designed primarily for reconnaissance and target designation purposes. It is similar to the U.S. AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. The Ka-52 is another modification of the basic Ka-50 design. It features a two-place side-by-side cockpit and is designed to detect targets and redistribute them among supporting Ka-50. In comparison to the original Ka-50, it has a somewhat "softer" nose profile due to the wider cockpit, reduced cockpit armor, and large nose-mounted radome. Equipment includes radar with two antennas - mast-mounted for aerial targets and nose-mounted for ground targets, and "Samshite" day-and-night TV/thermal sighting system in two spherical turrets (one over the cockpit and second under the nose). The Ka-52 retains the side mounted cannon and six wing mounted hardpoints of the original Ka-50. Development of Ka-52 was started after 1994 in Russia. Economical and political problems prevented the Ka-52 from going into full scale production. Currently only few of them exist. Serial production of "Ka-52" was started at autumn 2008. "We have received orders for these helicopters from three countries," said Yury Denisenko, general director of the Progress aircraft manufacturing company. "We are studying these orders and will provide the names of the countries that ordered the aircraft if the contracts are signed," he added. Denisenko also said that the Russian Defense Ministry would remain the key customer for Ka-52 helicopters, although he refused to disclose the number of aircraft ordered by the military, citing confidentiality. The Russian government approved the production of Ka-52 attack helicopters at the Arsenyevsk plant in Russia's Far East in December last year. According to Russia's Air Force chief, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, deliveries of the first 12 Ka-52 Hokum-Bs to the Russian Air Force will start in 2009.

Russian Air Force To Get 34 Warplanes Rejected By Algeria / Russian Air Force Receives 34 MiG-29 Unaccepted By Algeria - Report

Russian Air Force To Get 34 Warplanes Rejected By Algeria / Russian Air Force Receives 34 MiG-29 Unaccepted By Algeria - Report / Russia To Acquire MiGs Rejected by Algeria (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - January 15, 2009- Russia's Air Force will receive later this year 34 modern MiG-29 SMT and MiG-29 UBT fighter jets that Algeria refused to accept under an earlier contract, a Russian Defense Ministry source said on Tuesday. Russian arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport had signed a $1.3 bln contract to deliver 29 one-seat MiG-29SMT fighters and six two-seat MiG-29UB fighters to Algeria in March 2006 as part of an $8 billion military cooperation agreement. However, after receiving 15 MiG fighters, Algeria refused further deliveries in May 2007. It then froze all payments under contracts with Russia in October 2007, requiring that Moscow first take back the 15 MiG-29s due to their "inferior quality." The aircraft were eventually returned to Russia last April. Some Russian media sources reported that Algeria had asked Russia to deliver 14 to 16 Su-30 Flanker fighters in exchange for the MiG-29 Fulcrum aircraft it was supposed to receive under the contract.