(NSI News Source Info) January 31, 2009: Boeing on Thursday welcomed the Obama administration's mention of its C-17 transport plane on the White House website, the only weapons programme in production singled out by name, but said it was still awaiting word on possible orders in fiscal 2009 and 2010. Jean Chamberlin, vice president of global mobility systems for Boeing and C-17 programme manager, told Reuters she remained hopeful that the company's ahead-of-schedule performance, continued cost-cutting efforts and strong airlift demand would translate into more orders in coming years. The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large American airlifter manufactured by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. The C-17 is operated by the United States Air Force, the British Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Canadian Forces, while NATO and Qatar have placed orders for the airlifter. In addition, Boeing has already spoken with a number of countries to offer C-17 aircraft as substitutes for the EADS A400 military transport, given significant delays in that programme, Chamberlin said in an interview. "We certainly have talked to a number of different nations," Chamberlin said. "We're ready to help with an interim solution while they wait for the A400M to be fielded." Airbus parent EADS this month said the plane built for seven European Nato countries, already two years late, could fall three to four years behind schedule. Britain's defence procurement minister this week refused to rule out cutting back Britain's order of 25 A400M aircraft, saying his country needed the strategic capability. Chamberlin said Boeing officials were available around the world to talk with A400M customers, but declined to name any specific countries with which talks had already taken place. Three assessments She declined to predict how many additional orders Boeing could get from the US Air Force over the next few years, or from international customers, and said much would depend on three separate assessments currently planned by the US military. The White House website refers to the C-17 and the KC-X air refuelling aircraft as 'essential systems' in its defence agenda. KC-X is the name of the competition for a new refuelling plane. One congressionally mandated look at strategic airlift needs is due to be completed by the independent Institute for Defense Analyses next month, while a mobility capabilities study is not expected to be finished until the fall. In addition, the Pentagon is also gearing up to study all its major efforts as part of the Quadrennial Defense Review conducted once every four years. Chamberlin said the high operational tempo in the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, proposed troop increases in the Army and Marine Corps, and ongoing need for humanitarian and disaster relief all point to growing demand for airlift, and possibly additional C-17 orders. Boeing already has orders from the US Air Force for 190 C-17 transport planes, and expects to get an additional order next month for 15 more planes approved in the fiscal 2008 war spending budget, Chamberlin said. The Pentagon initially planned to cap the C-17 programme at 180 planes, but lawmakers, keen to maintain high-paying jobs in their districts, where Boeing plants and suppliers are located, have repeatedly added funding for the programme. Boeing has invested large sums of its own money to keep suppliers on line until those orders are finalised. The fiscal 2008 orders will keep the C-17 production line running through the third quarter of 2010, Chamberlin said, noting Boeing also hopes to secure orders for 15 additional planes in the supplemental war budget for fiscal 2009. Further savings possible The fiscal 2010 budget prepared by the outgoing Bush administration did not include any C-17s, she said; but Defense Secretary Robert Gates this week said the new administration would review that proposal and submit its own to congress in the spring, possibly by the end of March. Given repeated mentions by President Barack Obama of the C-17 programme during his campaign, and most recently on the White House website, Chamberlin said Boeing was hoping for some additional C-17 orders in fiscal 2010. She said Boeing had given Obama transition officials data about the C-17 program but did not know the plane would be singled out: "We're encouraged by it, and surprised..." Boeing was working on a possible multiyear proposal that would extend production for several more years and offer the Pentagon even more cost savings, Chamberlin said. The C-17 line employs 30,000 people at Boeing and its suppliers. She declined to estimate the extent of possible discounts but said the company was continually working to reduce its production costs. "We certainly can offer options that will be affordable to the Department of Defense," she said. Analyst Joe Nadol at JP Morgan on Thursday said he expected Boeing's defense units to show modest top-line growth in 2010, but he predicted 'further risk to performance in 2011 and beyond, particularly on C-17' and future combat systems.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Analysis: Obama Unlikely To Widen Afghan War By Anne Gearan - The Associated Press
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON — January 31, 2009: President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to redirect U.S. troops and resources to Afghanistan from Iraq, but he has done little so far to suggest he will significantly widen the grinding war with insurgents in Afghanistan. On the contrary, Obama appears likely to streamline the U.S. focus with an eye to the worsening economy and the cautionary example of the Iraq war that sapped political support for President George W. Bush. “There’s not simply a military solution to that problem,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said last week, and Obama thinks “that only through long-term and sustainable development can we ever hope to turn around what’s going on there.” Less than two weeks into the new administration, Obama has had little to say in public about what his top military adviser says is the largest challenge facing the armed forces. He did say Afghanistan and Pakistan are the central front in the struggle against terrorism, a clue to the likely shift toward a targeted counterterrorism strategy. After Obama’s first visit to the Pentagon as president, a senior defense official said the new president surveyed top uniformed officers about the strain of fighting two wars and warned that the economic crisis will limit U.S. responses. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama’s meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff was private. Obama said he wants to add troops to turn back a resurgent Taliban, but he has not gone beyond the approximately 30,000 additional forces already under consideration by the previous administration. Those troops will nearly double the U.S. presence in Afghanistan this year, but they amount to little while Obama recalibrates a chaotic mishmash of military and development objectives. Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week warned of grandiose goals in Afghanistan, prescribing a single-minded strategy to prevent Afghanistan from being a terrorism launch pad. “Afghanistan is the fourth or fifth poorest country in the world, and if we set ourselves the objective of creating some sort of Central Asian Valhalla over there, we will lose,” Gates said, referring to a haven of purity in Norse mythology. “Nobody in the world has that kind of time, patience or money, to be honest.” Obama has ordered a fast internal review of his military, diplomatic and other options in Afghanistan before he makes decisions that define how aggressively he will answer the growing threat of failure in Afghanistan. Along with that review, coordinated by the National Security Council, Obama will have results of a just-completed classified Joint Chiefs of Staff assessment of a largely stalemated fight against the Taliban and counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaida and affiliated groups along the Pakistan border. That report, which has not yet gone to the White House, talks broadly about tamping down expectations in the Afghan war. Instead, it suggests that key goals should be to make modest gains to stabilize the governance and to eliminate terrorist safe havens, senior defense officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the report is secret. It also calls for military commanders to better articulate what their objectives in Afghanistan are because only then can leaders determine what types of troops should be deployed and how many. The Joint Chiefs review also stresses that the strategy must be driven by what the Afghans want and that the U.S. cannot impose its own goals on the Afghan government. Also coming: Army Gen. David Petraeus’ wider survey of both the Afghan and Iraq wars and other issues in the Middle East. Petraeus, military architect of the “surge” of U.S. troops in Iraq, is not likely to recommend a similar increase in Afghanistan. Like Gates, Petraeus has argued that the U.S. cannot shoot itself into victory in Afghanistan. And waiting for Obama when he arrived was an unreleased assessment by the Bush White House that sketched grim options in a war that the Bush administration once thought was all but won. “It is clear that 2009 will be a crisis year in Afghanistan,” said Anthony Cordesman, a close student of military developments in Afghanistan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Fundamental changes are needed in U.S. strategy, force levels and aid effort to reverse years of inadequate and incompetent efforts.”
Russia And Cuba Appear To Rekindle Their Cold War Alliance
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - January 31, 2009: The presidents of Russia and Cuba on Friday signed documents aimed at rekindling their faded Cold War alliance, pledging to expand cooperation in agriculture, manufacturing, science and tourism but studiously avoiding a public discussion of military ties. It had been nearly a quarter century since a Cuban leader had set foot on Russian soil, and President Raul Castro's visit to Moscow this week had little of the pomp and propaganda of the Cold War days, when he and his brother, Fidel, were greeted with parades on Red Square. But a decade and a half after a crumbling Soviet Union hastily withdrew financial and ideological backing from Cuba, Russia is seeking to expand economic ties with the island and possibly forge stronger military relations in an echo, as yet still faint, of an alliance that lasted 30 years. It is part of a larger Russian push into Latin America to secure new markets and also to swipe at the United States for what Moscow considers Washington's meddling in Russia's historic sphere of influence, particularly in the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia. "Your visit opens a new page in the history of Russian-Cuban relations," President Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting with Raul Castro at the Kremlin on Friday. Neither Medvedev nor Castro spoke publicly about possible military cooperation, perhaps out of a desire to avoid antagonizing the new Obama administration, analysts said. Since Obama's election last November, both Russia and Cuba appear to have called a unilateral truce with Washington.
War on Terrorism Over?
Author: John Feffer
(NSI News Source Info) January 31, 2009: Last week, shortly after being inaugurated, President Barack Obama ended the "global war on terror" (GWOT). Or so The Washington Post reported. The new president countermanded the Bush administration's extralegal approaches by mandating the closure of Guantánamo within a year, outlawing the use of torture in interrogations, and putting the CIA out of the secret prisons business. Obama announced that he wanted to "send an unmistakable signal that our actions in defense of liberty will be as just as our cause." Sounds good. But the Post's declaration might be just as premature as President George W. Bush's infamous "mission accomplished" speech on the USS Lincoln that signaled the "end" of the Iraq War. On the civil liberties front, for instance, the administration retains the right to use renditions, by which the CIA secretly abducted suspects and transferred them to third countries without trial. "I think it's a glaring hole," Vincent Warren of the Center for Constitutional Rights said last week on Democracy Now! "I think that one way that the Obama administration could have dealt a more decisive blow to the illegal Bush policies and even the rendition policy, which originated under Bill Clinton, is to specifically reference this and to say that we are going to disavow this." Also, the inmates at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, which holds more prisoners than Gitmo, and the thousands held in Iraq won't get the case-by-case review accorded to their counterparts in Cuba. Non-military agencies like the CIA, after a six-month review, might get "additional or different guidance" on interrogations -- and who knows what that means.
And, as Politico points out, the guy in charge of the 30-day review of Gitmo is the same fellow who was in charge for the last two years -- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. That's not exactly a recipe for reform. But even if Obama holds to his word on torture, closes Guantánamo within the year, applies the same yardstick to detainees at Bagram and in Iraq, and eliminates the Clinton-era policy on extraordinary rendition, the death of the "global war on terror," as Mark Twain once said of his own prematurely published obituary, is greatly exaggerated.
Indeed, on the day after it published GWOT's obituary, The Washington Post reported on two U.S. unilateral air strikes in Pakistan that killed 20 suspected terrorists. Although it observed an uncharacteristic silence over these strikes, the Pakistani government has previously expressed outrage at these violations of its sovereignty. Then there's Afghanistan, which will be the new epicenter of U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Here's the relevant excerpt from the official White House statement on foreign policy: "Obama and Biden will refocus American resources on the greatest threat to our security -- the resurgence of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
They will increase our troop levels in Afghanistan, press our allies in NATO to do the same, and dedicate more resources to revitalize Afghanistan's economic development." Why does Obama believe that he can escape the same outcome in Afghanistan that Bush faced in Iraq? As former Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern argued in a recent appeal for a five-year "time-out" on war, "In 2003, the Bush administration ordered an invasion of Iraq, supposedly to reduce terrorism.
But six years later, there is more terrorism and civil strife in Iraq, not less. The same outcome may occur in Afghanistan if we make it the next American military conflict." So, is this a kinder, gentler GWOT? Certainly the new Obama administration is more concerned about observing international law. It's more prudent in its willingness to use diplomacy over force. But so far at least, the new president still treats terrorism as a war to be won rather than an endemic problem to be dealt with patiently and largely by law enforcement agencies. We're still at war in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and for the time being in Iraq.
We're still selling arms to Indonesia, Israel, and Colombia as part of an overall counterterrorism approach. The Pentagon's new Africa Command (AFRICOM) still looks at counter-terrorism through a military lens.
U.S. Navy Retires Last Lockheed Martin S-3B Viking From Fleet Service; Carrier-Based Multi-Mission Aircraft Completes 35-Year Career
U.S. Navy Retires Last Lockheed Martin S-3B Viking From Fleet Service; Carrier-Based Multi-Mission Aircraft Completes 35-Year Career
(NSI News Source Info) NAS JACKSONVILLE, Fla., - January 31, 2009: The U.S. Navy retired the last Lockheed Martin S-3 Viking from fleet service in ceremonies here this morning, closing out the aircraft's distinguished 35-year Naval career. Development of the S-3 began in August 1969, and first flight occurred on January 21, 1972. Sea Control Squadron 41 (VS-41), the S-3 training unit known as the Shamrocks and the first operational S-3 unit, received its first aircraft in February 1974. A total of 187 S-3s were built (eight test and 179 operational aircraft) between 1971 and 1978. Over its career, the Viking served with 18 Navy squadrons and accumulated approximately 1.7 million flight hours.
The Lockheed S-3 Viking is a jet aircraft originally used by the United States Navy to identify, track, and destroy enemy submarines. In the late 1990s, the S-3B's mission focus shifted to surface warfare and aerial refueling. After the retirement of the A-6 Intruder and A-7 Corsair II, the Viking was the only airborne refueling platform organic to the Carrier Air Wing(s) until the fielding of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. "The S-3 Viking was known as the 'Swiss Army Knife of Naval Aviation' and served the U.S. Navy well in a wide variety of roles over the course of its operational service life," said Ray Burick, Lockheed Martin vice president of P-3/S-3 programs. "The Viking has played a critical role in carrier-based anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, as well as overland operations, refueling, targeting, and electronic surveillance. And of course Lockheed Martin is proud of the role it will continue to play in support of these critical Navy carrier-based missions, as many of these missions will eventually be carried out by the F-35C Lightning II." The first S-3 was built at the then-Lockheed Aircraft Co. plant in Burbank, Calif., and was trucked to the company's facility in Palmdale, Calif., for first flight. Company pilots John Christiansen and Lyle Schaefer were at the controls, kicking off a 26-month test program. Among its notable firsts, the S-3 was the first antisubmarine warfare (ASW) platform to have a computerized acoustic system. Sea Control Squadron 29 (VS-29), known as the Dragonfires, made the first S-3 deployment aboard the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-67) in July 1975. The S-3 fleet surpassed 100,000 flight hours less than two years after that first deployment. Several variants of the S-3 carried out a range of missions for the U.S. Navy. Seven aircraft were modified to US-3A Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft, capable of carrying 4,250 lbs. of cargo. The ES-3A Shadow was designed for fleet electronic surveillance, replacing the EA-3B. Sixteen aircraft were modified to ES-3A configuration, and the first mission capable Shadow flew in May 1991. Development of a KS-3A tanker variant began in 1979; although the KS-3A was never produced, it did prove the concept of "buddy tanking" (aerial refueling using a wing-mounted pod), which most S-3s later performed. At the height of combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom, S-3 crews transferred nearly eight million pounds of fuel to Coalition aircraft. The significantly improved S-3B was developed in the early 1980s to better detect quiet Soviet submarines, identify targets and carry standoff weapons. The S-3B flew for the first time in prototype form in September 1984. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, an S-3B from VS-38, the World Famous Red Griffins, carried out the first S-3 attack mission, disabling Saddam Hussein's ocean-going yacht with a laser-guided Maverick air-to-surface missile. In 2003, an S-3B from VS-35 became the first aircraft ever to have the Navy One call sign when it carried former President George W. Bush to the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). Under the S-3 Integrated Maintenance Program (IMP), Lockheed Martin and Navy personnel worked side-by-side to perform scheduled depot maintenance and repairs on the S-3s to return the Vikings rapidly to the operational fleet. The program began in 2001, primarily as a means of reducing the backlog at Naval Aviation depots. IMP increased S-3 aircraft operational availability by 53 percent and reduced maintenance tasking by 47 percent over the depot-level maintenance plan. IMP also resulted in significantly reduced costs to the Navy. A total of 149 aircraft were processed through the IMP inspections, and nearly all of the aircraft were redelivered to the Navy on or ahead of schedule. The program concluded in 2007, as the Viking fleet was being drawn down. "The S-3 Viking will long be remembered for its mission capability, its flexibility and its reliability," said Burick. "The aircraft has served the U.S. Navy admirably for more than three decades. We salute all who have flown and supported the Viking." The NASA Glenn Research Center near Cleveland, Ohio, currently has four S-3B Vikings, performing aircraft icing research missions. It is likely that four S-3Bs will remain in Navy service, although in a support role providing range surveillance at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at Point Mugu, Calif. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 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.
Land Rover Evolves From Jeep Out Of Necessity for Civilian Use, After WWII (NSI News Source Info) Allenwood, NJ, - January 31, 2009: Maurice Wilks’ Jeep had reached the end, and this war surplus vehicle was so useful on his farm that he really wanted a replacement. He was the technical director for Rover Cars in 1947, and detected a strong demand for utilitarian ex-military 4x4s. He felt sure that a British designed and built agricultural vehicle would have great potential. The first Land Rover was conceived, built and designed within a year and launched in April 1948, at the Amsterdam Motor Show. Innovation and resourcefulness were instilled in the brand right from the beginning, as in post-war rationed Britain, aluminum replaced steel and paint left over from a fighter plane factory was used. With a Rover Cars’ engine, a lightweight chassis and permanent four wheel drive, this really was a unique little vehicle. Land Rover is an all-terrain vehicle and Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) manufacturer, based in Solihull, England, now operated as part of the Jaguar Land Rover business owned by Tata Motors, India. Originally the term Land Rover referred to one specific vehicle (see Land Rover Series), a pioneering civilian all-terrain utility vehicle launched on 30 April 1948, at the Amsterdam Motor Show, but was later used as a brand for several distinct models, all capable of four-wheel drive. Ten years later, Land Rover brought out a new model that featured a long list of modifications. The changes made the Series II easier to drive without sacrificing durability. With a new 2.25 liter gasoline engine, orders flooded in from over seventy countries and an international brand was well and truly established. From the beginning, Land Rover was the choice of pioneers, explorers and anyone with a spirit of adventure. Numerous expeditions ran thanks to the gutsy Land Rover – including the first overland trip from London to Singapore. In this new millennium, at age 60, these trusted Land Rover vehicles can be kept going by replacement parts bought on the Internet. It’s hard to conceive that ordering your rover parts out of the ether, paying for them with a piece of plastic, and having them delivered to your doorstep by a delivery person, would have been imaginable right after WWII. If a range rover headlight is needed, or a Land Rover one, different sorts of headlights have been developed for use in these modern times. These include high intensity discharge and halogen bulbs. The rugged design of Land Rover machines offers tough off-road navigation and elegant interior appearances. But all their parts have to work correctly and be of durable construction. That’s often why people buy Range or Land Rovers like Maurice Wilks developed after WWII – he wanted to keep a rugged, durable and strong vehicle to use on his farm. The Land Rover headlight is among the most important element on the automobile for hazard-free travel on unlighted streets or in stormy conditions or over rough terrain, either in the city or on a farm. When someone buys a Land Rover, they are buying a vehicle with great performance and outstanding looks. The headlamps should be switched out as they appear to become dim or are broken. Keep a vehicle in good condition and any unnecessary driving dangers will be kept to a minimum. Each time the brakes are used on any vehicle, this damaging heat abrades away the brake components until they must eventually be changed - optimally well before the other components start to take damage. As the brake pedal is applied, the land rover pads are pushed against the car's brake rotor and the momentum and energy of the car or truck is exchanged for heat energy. Braking a car requires a number of components cooperating in tandem - the brake pedal, brake rotors, brake lines, and brake pads.
Fake Internet Drugs Risk Lives And Fund Terrorism
(NSI News Source Info) London, UK - January 31, 2009: People who buy fake internet drugs could be risking their lives and supporting terrorism, according to an editorial in the February issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice. Editor-in-Chief Dr Graham Jackson, a UK-based Consultant Cardiologist, has called for greater public awareness of the dangers and consequences of the counterfeit drugs market, which is expected to be worth Pounds 55 billion by 2010. "Harmful ingredients found in counterfeit medicines include arsenic, boric acid, leaded road paint, floor and shoe polish, talcum powder, chalk and brick dust and nickel" he points out. "In one scheme, Americans buying fake Viagra on the internet were actually helping to fund Middle East terrorism, unknowingly jeopardising the lives of men and women serving in their own armed forces." The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency estimates that nearly 62 per cent of the prescription only medicines offered on the internet, without the need for a prescription, are fakes. "Alarmingly these include fake drugs that could have devastating consequences, like counterfeit medication for potentially fatal conditions like cancer and high blood pressure. Others can include no active ingredients or harmful ingredients like amphetamines." Although some internet pharmacies are legitimate, a significant number are illegal and often operate internationally, selling products of unknown content or origin. "Counterfeit drugs may originate from many different countries, where governments have little or no controls in place, and be then imported into other countries without being inspected" says Dr Jackson. "In 2004 Pfizer investigated one Canadian online pharmacy and discovered that the domain name was hosted in Korea and registered in St Kitts. Orders placed on the web were dispatched in a plain envelope from Oklahoma City with a non-existent return address." The challenge of combating these criminal and potentially life-threatening activities is a major concern, he says. However efforts are being hampered by a lack of resources, manpower, adequate legislation and coordination between countries. Dr Jackson stresses that raising public awareness is essential, as lives are clearly at risk. "Patient groups need to be motivated to educate men and women about the dangers of buying medication outside the healthcare system" he says. "Prescription only medicines are just that, so being able to buy them without a script is a sure sign of illegal practice. "The best way to avoid counterfeit drugs is to use a reputable and regulated pharmacy that dispenses with a legal prescription."
Ukrainian Army Received Upgraded Oplot MBT
(NSI News Source Info) January 31, 2009: According to an announcement made by the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are ready to place an order for ten Oplot main battle tanks (MBT), three Atlet Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicles (ARRV) and 10 BTR-4 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC).T-84 Oplot — T-84U with new western-style turret, but retaining the 125mm gun. The Oplot tank features a new welded turret with separate crew and ammunition compartments with blowout panels on the ammunition compartment, a new bustle-mounted autoloader. A small number is in service with the Ukrainian Army.
The upgraded version of the Oplot main battle tank is undergoing government trials, which include comprehensive testing of the tank's firing, mobility and protection capabilities. After completion of the trials, if successful, the Oplot will enter small-scale production, with the first batch of 10 vehicles planned to be produced in 2009. The production will take place at the Malyshev Plant in Kharkov. The upgraded Oplot MBT differs from the basic Oplot version in having a commander's panoramic sight incomporating daylight and thermal imaging channels, new-generation explosive reactive armour based on a new principle of defeating kinetic and chemical energy attacks (with special focus on increasing the hull side and turret side protection level to enhance the tank's survivability in urban conditions), more environment-friendly 1200 hp 6TD-2E diesel engine instead of original 6TD-2 engine, complex movement control system with a new steering wheel and an upgraded digital panel for the driver, new radio equipment, and more powerful (10 kW rather than 8 kW) auxiliary power unit.
Russian Cruiser Pyotr Veliky Leaves India
(NSI News Source Info) MORMUGAO (India) - January 31, 2009: Russia's Pyotr Veliky missile cruiser has left the port of Mormugao in the Indian state of Goa and headed for African waters. The Pyotr Veliky arrived in Mormugao on an unofficial visit January 29 after participating in a PASSEX-type naval exercise in the Indian Ocean with the Indian guided-missile destroyer INS Delhi. Mormugao is the only port on India's western coast that allows visits by nuclear-powered ships. After the two-day visit, during which supplies of food and water were taken on board, the Russian cruiser headed for the Somali coast to participate in the second stage of the INDRA-2009 joint naval drills with the Indian Navy, which involves practicing joint anti-piracy operations. The Pyotr Veliky will join up with a task force from Russia's Pacific Fleet, comprising the Admiral Vinogradov, an Udaloy class destroyer, a tugboat and two fuel tankers, which are carrying out anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden. The Russian Navy said on Wednesday that the Northern Fleet's Admiral Levchenko destroyer will also participate in the INDRA-2009 exercise. Pirates have been increasingly active in the waters off Somalia, where over 110 ships were attacked in 2008, with 42 vessels seized and 815 crew members abducted. Up to 20 warships from the navies of at least 10 countries are involved in anti-piracy operations off the coast of the lawless East African nation. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution last December authorizing countries and multinational organizations involved in tackling piracy to "undertake all necessary measures in Somalia, including in its airspace" to prevent "acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea."