(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - February 7, 2009: The U.S. Air Force has ordered 15 C-17 military transport planes from U.S. manufacturer Boeing valued at $2.9 billion, the Pentagon announced Feb. 6. "The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract to McDonnell Douglas Corporation of Long Beach, California, for an amount not to exceed $2.95 billion ... for the procurement of 15 C-17 aircraft," the Department of Defense said in a statement.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. The contract revives the fortunes of the C-17, the heart of the U.S. Air Force's fleet of long-range transport planes. Boeing had been on the verge of scrapping C-17 production in 2006 when orders for the plane dried up.
Friday, February 06, 2009
Kashmir Key In Indo-Pak Ties: Gilani
(NSI News Source Info) Islamabad - February 7, 2009: Pakistan PM Yousaf Raza Gilani has said that "Kashmir is central" to Pakistan-India relations, reports our Pakistan correspondent. "We need to resolve the lingering Kash-mir dispute.
Kashmir dispute is central to Pakistan-India relations and holds the key not only to regional but also to global peace," he said. "The world powers have, once again, reiterated their concern on the centrality of this festering dispute to the peace efforts and called for its early resolution. We fully support, and indeed encourage, international efforts to this end," Mr Gilani said. Additional Info: Related News ‘1,450 Pakistan Soldiers Killed In Military Operations In Tribal Area NWFP’ Islamabad: At least 1,450 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in the tribal areas fighting the militants, official figures said, reports our Pakistan correspondent. "1450 have died while over 3,500 wounded in the operations in tribal areas in NWFP (North-West Frontier Province)", the official figures released on Friday said.
The Pakistani military has suffered more losses of lives in the fighting against militants in NWFP and tribal areas than the 37 nations that are part of the coalition force in Afghanistan, the official report said.
BAE's Hi-Tech UAV To Debut At Aero India
(NSI News Source Info) February 7, 2009: Bangalore : BAE Systems will have its biggest-ever presence at Aero India 2009 with the British aero major launching its newly developed autonomous air vehicle, Mantis, for the first time at an international air show. This is significant as ADA India is heavily into UAVs with the launch of its indigenous Nishanth.
BAE Systems' theme for the event is `Autonomy - specifically autonomous air vehicles'. Apart from Mantis, the new autonomous Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) being developed by BAE Systems, Herti, another UAV, will hold pride of place outside the BAE Systems pavilion.
Defence experts point out: "India has already gone in for the Hawk from BAE. An UAV like Mantis would be very useful in terms of technologies that we can learn. While Nishanth is good, we hear Mantis is highly sophisticated. There is a good chance that we can collaborate with BAE on UAVs."
With an entire pavilion for itself, BAE Systems will be displaying products from across our aerospace capabilities, including the Typhoon and Hawk. There will be products not displayed in India before, such as special seating for helicopters that protect aircrew from spinal injuries in crashes and hard landing -- the leading cause of injury to heli pilots.
The Mantis itself is a technology demonstrator programme and brings together technologies, capabilities and systems that will demonstrate the potential of a large unmanned autonomous aircraft.
Phase one of the programme will see BAE Systems working alongside the UK MoD and industrial parties, including Rolls-Royce, QinetiQ, GE Aviation, SELEX Galileo and Meggitt.
Mark Kane, managing director of autonomous systems and future capability at BAE Systems, said: "Mantis is another important step forward in the development of UAS capabilities.
The aim is to prove that the integrated technologies on Mantis, that build on several years of autonomous UAS experience within BAE Systems and the wider UK industry, can provide the tangible military capability and levels of performance required for the future."
Africa: Most Acceptable Currency Over The Continent, Is The AK-47
(NSI News Source Info) February 7, 2009: First it was guns and gangs, now it’s drought. For years the government’s main worry in the Karamoja region was cattle-raiding by gangs with a lot of automatic weapons. Karamoja is one of Uganda’s poorest areas and some of the raiders, when arrested, told the military and police they were stealing to survive.. The “weapons turn in” program had mixed results but the area became a bit more peaceable. Now severe drought afflicts Karamoja and stealing to survive may really become a necessity. It's estimated that 970,000 people in Karamoja could starve (to be specific, the people are in an “at risk” situation). February 4, 2009: The government said that Ugandan soldiers serving with peacekeeping forces in Somalia did not kill “dozens of civilians.” Authorities in Mogadishu, Somalia had accused the Ugandans of firing into a crowd and killing 36 people.
Uganda has around 1600 soldiers serving with AMISOM (acronym for the African Union;’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia) and has announced it plans to add another battalion (around 700 soldiers) to its peacekeeping contingent sometime this year. The Ugandan contingent has been serving in Somalia since March 2007. Six Ugandan soldiers have died while performing peacekeeping duties in Somalia. February 2, 2009: The government said the Ugandan Army operating in the Congo had rescued 119 Congolese who were abducted by the LRA. The number represents the total number of rescued since December 2008. January 29, 2009: A UN investigation confirmed that LRA guerrillas had killed 100 civilians in the village of Tora (in Congo on the south Sudan border). The murders took place on January 16. January 25, 2009: The government and several oil companies believe Uganda has a “world class” oil field.
The oil field, named “Buffalo-Giraffe” (hey, this is Africa), may have 400 million barrels of recoverable oil. The oil field is in the Lake Albert Rift Basin. Ugandan commentators fear that Uganda could catch “the oil disease” – oil cash going into the pockets of corrupt elites rather than being used for investment. January 21, 2009: The government continues to wrestle with the problem of “reintegrating” former LRA fighters. Many of them are former abductees, in other words, victims of the LRA themselves. A few, however, are guilty of what are clearly war crimes: theft, murder, arson, and rape.
The government wants to make certain the northerners who had sentimental attachment to the rebels’ calls for a separate northern state don’t feel punished.
The government wants re-settled former fighters to become economically productive (hence the “farm skills training” programs the government is funding).
However, a lot of Ugandans think the criminal acts should be punished. January 20, 2009: The Congo-Uganda joint offensive against the LRA has failed to nab LRA commander Joseph Kony. Ugandan Army (UPDF) “underestimated” the size of Kony’s forces inside Congo. Based on the LR movements since mid-December, it also appears that the LRA had prepared plans to withdraw from a large-scale Ugandan attack on its camps inside Congo, with the Central Africa Republic (CAR) a possible refuge. January 16, 2009: The LRA has conducted a series of vicious attacks on towns and villages in the Congo. Since January 1, LRA fighters have also attacked several villages in South Sudan.
The Congolese government claims at least 500 Congolese citizens have been killed by the LRA since mid-December, when the “joint” Congo-Uganda counter-LRA offensive began.
Tajikistan Ready To Aid U.S. With Supply Transit
(NSI News Source Info) DUSHANBE - February 7, 2009: Tajikistan said Feb. 6 it was ready to allow U.S. and NATO supplies for Afghanistan to transit its territory, after neighboring Kyrgyzstan ordered the closure of a vital American airbase. The decision by the Kyrgyz government to shut down the Manas airbase has troubled Washington, which had used the facility as a vital route for flying in supplies for coalition forces in Afghanistan. Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon said after meeting the U.S. ambassador that his country was ready to allow supplies including construction materials, medicines, fuel and water to transit its soil by road. "Tajikistan is ready to offer the United States and NATO countries help with the transit of humanitarian and commercial supplies to Afghanistan," he said in a statement. He said the supplies would be of a non-military nature and should be not just for the benefit of coalition forces. "They should be destined not only for the military but it is also important they are used for the reconstruction of Afghanistan," he added. U.S. ambassador Tracey Ann Jacobson said the transit would take place by land and would employ a new bridge over the Panj river funded by Washington that opened in August 2007 and links the south of Tajikistan with Afghanistan. She said a delegation from the United States would soon come to Tajikistan to discuss the issue. Tajikistan, an impoverished former Soviet republic that is currently experiencing severe electricity shortages, has a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Afghanistan. The U.S. has been seeking to increase the number of supply routes to Afghanistan, including in post-Soviet Central Asia, as extremist attacks have plagued the main transport corridor through Pakistan. But its ambitions were dealt a severe blow when the Kyrgyz president announced on a visit to Moscow that he would order the closure of the base. His announcement came the same day Russia announced a loan and aid package worth over two billion dollars for his country. The Kyrgyz government said Feb. 6 the closure decision was final and it was now in talks with the Americans about when exactly it will be shut down. "The government of Kyrgyzstan has taken its final decision about the closure of the American airbase," government spokesman Aibek Sultangaziev told AFP. "The issue is now with parliament which must cancel the agreement on the base with the United States." The head of the Kyrgyz national security council, Adakhan Madumarov, also scotched US hopes of talks to change Bishkek's mind, saying there were "no negotiations with the American side over the bases." "The fate of the air base has been decided," he said. The Manas base, operated by about 1,000 troops including small French and Spanish contingents, was set up to support coalition forces fighting to oust the Taliban in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the decision "regrettable" Thursday but said U.S. operations in the region would continue to be effective. The closure of the base would strain U.S. supply lines at a time when President Barack Obama is preparing to nearly double the 36,000-strong force in Afghanistan. But Russia also said that it would allow the transit of non-military supplies as soon as the U.S. detailed what items needed to move across its soil for NATO forces in Afghanistan. "As soon as that happens we will give the corresponding permission," said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, according to Russian news agencies. He said this permission would activate an agreement signed in April 2008 between Russia and NATO for the transit of non-military supplies across Russian territory for NATO forces in Afghanistan. Lavrov also played down the importance of the Kyrgyz base closure for NATO forces. "There are a mass of possibilities about how to increase the potential of the anti-terrorist coalition," he said.
DSI Touts T-91 Tank Proposal For Iraq
(NSI News Source Info) February 6, 2009: In compliance with the Status of Forces Agreement, U.S. and Allied forces must leave Iraq by December 31, 2011, meaning that Iraq has only a small window of time to reconstitute self-sustaining military forces.
The Iraqi Ministry of Defense has indicated the government’s intention to rebuild the military’s fleet of armored vehicles to levels that existed prior to the April 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein (two thousand tanks as compared with 149 tanks today). With the eyes of the world watching, the reestablishment of the Iraq military is clearly an issue of vital importance to the international community.In January 2009 U.S. defense companies and Pentagon officials announced that the Iraqi Army is planning to buy up to 2,000 retrofitted Soviet-era T-72M tanks. Redesignated as T-91s, the tanks would form the heavy core of a reconstituted force meant to be able to defend its country after most U.S. forces leave in 2011. The tanks would be bought from Eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia, and then stripped to their frames and rebuilt under a contract managed by Defense Solutions of Exton, Pa with advanced gun systems, modern armor, and fire control systems to levels almost similar to the M1A1 Abrams. This proposal has sinced been discredited by Pentagon sources.
“We build armies,” says Colonel (Ret) Timothy D. Ringgold, CEO of Defense Solutions Holding, Inc., an international project management, executive consulting, and business development firm headquartered in Exton, PA, with branch offices on four continents. “If security forces use it, wear it, train with it, or operate it, we can supply it—along with the services to support it.”
With a registered office in Baghdad, Defense Solutions is one of a few American companies working directly with the Iraqi government. The company’s program is based on rebuilding tanks from former Eastern Bloc countries, taking them down to their hulls—which accounts for approximately 80% of the tank’s mass— and remanufacturing and upgrading their battlefield capabilities to include digital, thermal, and laser technologies.
New Abrams tanks will cost between $10 and 15 million per vehicle. By comparison, the rebuilt and modernized tanks provided by Defense Solutions will cost slightly more than $3 million per unit. More importantly, because they are about 50% lighter, the Defense Solutions’ T-91 tanks will be able to operate in Iraq without causing significant damage to the country’s roads, bridges, and dams.
Defense Solutions’ principal offerings are rebuilt and upgraded armored combat vehicles, spare parts, ammunition, and other equipment. The firm prides itself on a business model that includes end-to-end integrated logistics, training, and maintenance. The company is also involved in maritime and port security, having recently won the contract to provide port security consulting services for the Port of Baltimore.
“Our effort to provide Iraq with a self-sustaining military force has been a long and rigorous process,” says COL Ringgold. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help rebuild a fledgling democracy and America’s newest ally in the Middle East.”
Humvee Reports Ignored....Is Humvee A "Deathtrap"?
(NSI News Source Info) February 6, 2009: The nation should be outraged by the news that military officials knew as far back as 1994 that the Humvee vehicle was a "deathtrap" against roadside bombs. According to a new inspector general's report, the Pentagon knew the Humvee didn't have enough armor to protect its occupants against improvised explosive devices, a shortcoming that later had devastating effects against American military personnel in the Iraq war. The inspector general's report says that officials from both the Army and Marines assessed the Humvee performance following the first Gulf War and the U.S. expedition into Somalia and found it lacking, to say the least. A 1994 report found the Humvees "even with a mine-protection retrofit kit developed for Somalia remained a deathtrap in the event of an anti-tank mine detonation." The assessment proved to be chillingly accurate. Troops in Iraq have sustained four times the casualties from roadside bombs while riding in Humvees than in the newer Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. With the information available 15 years ago, why didn't the Pentagon act upon it then and start development of a Humvee replacement? Defense analyst John Pike of globalsecurity.org told USA Today that development of a mine-resistant vehicle in the 1990s wasn't seen as a "good career move." The military already had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the Humvees. Military planners back then also assumed future wars would be fast-moving blitzes rather than long ground campaigns. This was a tragic miscalculation. Do those who made those bad decisions back then have trouble sleeping now at night? If they don't, they should. Unfortunately, the devotion to the Humvees — with their low clearance, flat bottoms and light weight — didn't end in the 1990s. The recent report looked at the Marine Corps response in the early years of the Iraq war. Despite repeated requests from field commanders in 2005 for MRAPs, the Marine's Combat Development Command didn't either create a plan to field the vehicles or obtain funding for them. The inspector general is now looking into the Army's response during the same time period. Is it possible to hold anyone to account for these wrongheaded decisions? If so, let's do it. Additionally, the Pentagon must take these reports to heart and learn from past mistakes. Our troops, their safety and our military objectives should take precedent over blind loyalty to expensive equipment, especially the ineffective kind.
Is Humvee A "Deathtrap"? Of Course Not!!!!!!!! The Whole Issue Has Been Politicalized
British Forces existing modified Land Rover (Photo/Image By NSI: Land Rover aforementioned) being maintained in Iraq and Afghanistan. The viewers can judge for themselves whether Humvee or Land Rover are protective vehicles.
Obama Taking First Air Force One trip As President
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON — February 6, 2009: Suffice to say, President Barack Obama likes his new ride. Before taking off today on Air Force One for his first trip as president, Obama told reporters traveling with him that the plane is "spiffy" and showed off his new crew jacket with his name stitched on it.
"It's pretty nice," he told House Democrats tonight in Williamsburg, Va., in an after-dinner speech. "Thank you for giving me a reason to use Air Force One." The president spoke after a 31-minute maiden voyage on the specially outfitted 747 that will be his airborne home and office for the next four years. U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to reporters during his first flight aboard Air Force One February 5, 2009. Obama was traveling to Williamsburg, Virginia, to speak at the House Democratic Issues Conference. Moments before taking off from Andrews Air Force Base, Obama visited the press cabin in the rear of the plane to show reporters his Air Force crew launch jacket, his name stitched on the breast. "What do you think about this spiffy ride?" he asked reporters. "It's not bad." It's the kind of impression the massive blue-and-white plane makes wherever it goes. Obama said he'd been a guest on the plane with former President George W. Bush — though he couldn't recall on which of the two identical 747s in the Air Force's presidential fleet. Before his inauguration, he also flew from Chicago to Washington on one of the fleet's smaller jets. But it wasn't called Air Force One then — the moniker is used only when the president is on board. Obama was clearly impressed finally to have the full experience. The helicopter ride from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base also got the nod. "Very smooth, very impressive," Obama said, adding that the view is "spectacular." "You go right over the Washington Monument and then you kind of curve in along the Capitol," he remarked. The flight from to Williamsburg, Va., was a brief one. Just time enough for an onboard meal of a cheeseburger and fries, according to aides. The purpose of his maiden journey outside Washington was to push his economic rescue package through Congress, a telling choice for a president who took office at a time of deep economic uncertainty. "He's saying that he's willing to go anywhere and talk to anybody in order to get a recovery and reinvestment plan that moves this economy forward," press secretary Robert Gibbs said. Departing from the South Lawn, Obama broke from tradition as he boarded Marine One, the presidential helicopter. He seemed to stun the Marine standing at attention by reaching out to shake his hand. The Marine obliged, shaking the president's hand before returning to a steady salute. Then at Andrews, Obama climbed the stairs and headed straight on the plane — without the traditional wave to onlookers. As for other recent presidents, George W. Bush's first flight as president may sound familiar. Two weeks after his swearing-in, and following the bitter 2000 recount battle, he went to a resort near Pittsburgh to talk to skeptical Democratic lawmakers. The subject was his tax cuts. For Bill Clinton, the first flight was to Detroit for a televised town hall meeting, a format seized on during the 1992 campaign. Calling on the first questioner, Clinton said: "I suspect this is going to be about, well, 'It's the economy, stupid."' In 1989, Bush's father, a former Navy pilot, took his first Air Force One trip as president to the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia. Long before his son's notorious "Mission Accomplished" speech, Bush spoke on an aircraft carrier — about wasteful military spending. Ronald Reagan, at 69 the oldest man to assume the presidency, took a more leisurely approach. His first out-of-town trip was by helicopter to a restful weekend at Camp David in Maryland. His maiden Air Force One trip was to California — and a restful weekend at his ranch in the Santa Ynez mountains. Presidents invariably reveal their personality on board. The garrulous Clinton would restlessly roam the jet, chatting with aides and reporters or sitting down to play hearts. The younger Bush usually stayed put up front and hardly ever saw the press compartment; aides had warned him offhand remarks there could cause trouble. It's an open question whether Obama will continue visiting reporters as his administration hits the inevitable turbulence. Also unclear is when the new M&Ms will arrive. Air Force One has long stocked boxes with the presidential seal and facsimile signature. But stewards said those bearing the new president's signature are still likely months from arriving.
Russia Allows Transit Of U.S. Supplies For Afghanistan
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW — February 6, 2009: Russia said Friday that it will start allowing U.S. military supplies for Afghanistan to cross its territory, while Kyrgyzstan said it will not reverse its decision to close a key U.S. air base. Kyrgyzstan's National Security Council chief appeared to dash any U.S. hopes of securing a last-minute reprieve for the Manas air base. Russia's move is unlikely to make up for the loss of the base, home to air operations like refueling and medical evacuation. But Russia's opening of routes for non-lethal supplies could provide an important alternative to roads through Pakistan that are increasingly threatened by militant attacks. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov did not specify if Russia would provide land or air corridors but the U.S. and other NATO have mostly been interested in land routes that would let them to more cheaply move bulky cargo. By welcoming the transit of U.S. supplies, Lavrov appeared to send a signal to Washington that Russia is ready to help on Afghanistan if the U.S. deals with Moscow when it comes to Central Asia. Russia last year signed a framework deal with NATO for transit of non-lethal cargo for coalition forces in Afghanistan and has allowed some alliance members, including Germany and Spain to move supplies across its territory. Lavrov said in remarks broadcast by Vesti 24 television that Moscow had now agreed with a U.S. request that Russia allow transit of non-lethal supplies to Afghanistan. Ground routes through Russia would likely cross into Kazakhstan and then Uzbekistan before entering northern Afghanistan. "We are now waiting for the American partners to provide a specific request with a quantity and description of cargo, and as soon as they do do that we will issue relevant permissions," he said. Kyrgyzstan 's president announced the closure of Manas on a visit to Moscow Tuesday, just hours after securing more than $2 billion in loans and aid from Russia. U.S. officials said the move came as a result of pressure from Moscow, but Russia and Kyrgyzstan denied that. Russia has been increasingly impatient with the U.S. military presence in energy-rich Central Asia, which Moscow considers its strategic backyard. In addition, Kyrgyzstan has repeatedly complained the United States is paying too little to lease the base. The facility, located with the Manas civilian airport near Kyrgyzstan's capital, which is home to tanker planes that refuel warplanes flying over Afghanistan. It also supports airlifts and medical evacuation operations and houses troops heading into and out of Afghanistan. Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan do not share a border. The closure of the Manas base would pose a serious challenge to President Barack Obama's plan to send up to 30,000 more U.S. forces to fight surging Taliban and al-Qaida violence in Afghanistan. It comes as increasing attacks on transportation depots and truck convoys in Pakistan have raised doubts about its ability to protect vital supply routes. About 75 percent of U.S. supplies to Afghanistan currently travel through Pakistan. The Kyrgyz parliament delayed a vote on the government's decision to close the Manas base until next week, and some Kyrgyz officials indicated they may discuss the issue with the United States in what could signal their desire to start a bidding war between Washington and Moscow. But Kyrgyzstan's National Security Council chief Adakhan Madumarov said Friday the decision to close the base was final, adding he was sure of winning parliamentary support for the move.
Boeing Eyes USD 31 billion Worth Defense Deals With India
(NSI News Source Info) February 6, 2009:U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co is looking to bid for defense projects worth up to $31 billion over the next 10 years in India, as strategic ties between the two countries deepen.
"It is a $31 billion market for us to bid in the defense sector and rising," Vivek Lall, India country head of Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), told Reuters on Wednesday.
"There is a tremendous growth prospect in India and it is no longer about buying and selling, it is now about being a fabric of the country, being a partner and a preferred partner," Lall said in an interview in New Delhi.The company has also submitted a bid for six medium range naval warfare aircraft contract, weeks after it signed a $2.1 billion contract for eight P-8I warfare planes.
"It is a P-8I derivative and is a good fit for the navy to consider it," Lall said.
The Indian Navy is keen to replace its aging fleet of aircraft with state-of-the-art fighters with latest technology.
Lall said the P-8I contract was the perfect example of how India is getting the latest technology for its defense forces.
"It is a shining example of something unprecedented, we have the U.S. Navy and the Indian Navy receiving the aircraft at the same time," Lall said.
Boeing plans to make inroads into the South Asian defense market and has already submitted a bid for a contract to supply India with 126 multi-role fighter jets, potentially worth more than $10 billion.
Lall said Boeing's India projection for defense projects could get revised as the defense sector opens up further, following a landmark Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear deal signed last November.
The deal gave New Delhi access to civilian nuclear fuel and technology on the international market for the first time in three decades, helping boost business confidence in India.
"The bridging of the Indo-U.S. relationship has really helped us. Things that are happening in the defense sector now, we could not think about it a few years ago," Lall said.
India, fast becoming one of the world's biggest arms importers, wants to modernize its air force, the fourth largest in the world, to cope with possible security threats in the region, security experts said.
India is looking to spend $30 billion on imports over the next five years to modernize its largely Soviet-era arms by introducing new weapons systems.Separately, Boeing is focusing on the services sector in India in 2009, by providing spare parts and software to India along with its subsidiary companies.
The company has already submitted a detailed proposal to the Indian government to help build the country's aerospace industry and transfer defense technology to meet government conditions for defense contracts.
"We want to establish a strong India footprint, regardless of the platform sales and that is a very important dimension to our company in 2009," Lall said.
From just one office in 2005, the company now has nine offices in India and will expand further, Lall added.