(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - February 20, 2009: Russia's Sukhoi aircraft maker confirmed on Thursday that the advanced Su-35 Flanker multi-role fighter would enter service with the Russian Air Force in 2011. Russia's new state-of-the-art Su-35 Flanker multirole air superiority/strike fighter successfully completed its first demonstration flight on Monday. Deliveries of the new aircraft, billed as "4++ generation using fifth-generation technology," to foreign clients will start in 2011, the chief executive of the Sukhoi aircraft maker said earlier on Monday. "The current progress of the Su-35 testing program confirms the earlier announced timeframe for the deliveries of the aircraft to Russian and foreign customers in 2011," the company said in a statement. The first two Su-35 prototypes have successfully conducted 87 flights since July 2008, demonstrating the aircraft's superior technical and combat characteristics. Sukhoi is planning to add a Russia's Su-35 fighter to the testing program in 2009, and boost the current number of test flights to 150-160. The Su-35 fighter, powered by two 117S engines with thrust vectoring, combines high maneuverability and the capability to effectively engage several air targets simultaneously using both guided and unguided missiles and weapon systems. The aircraft features the new Irbis-E radar with a phased antenna array, which allows the pilot to detect and track up to 30 air targets, while simultaneously engaging up to eight targets. It is equipped with a 30-mm cannon with 150 rounds and can carry up to eight tons of combat payload on 12 external mounts. The company earlier said it planned to produce the new aircraft, billed as "4++ generation using fifth-generation technology," over a period of 10 years up to 2020. The company is expecting to export at least 160 Su-35 fighters in the future to a number of countries, including India, Malaysia and Algeria.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Israel: New IDF Armored Vehicle Gets Trial By Fire In Gaza....Part 2
(NSI News Source Info) February 20, 2009: Last month, Israel used several of its new Namer IFV (infantry fighting vehicle) in Gaza. This was the first combat experience for the Namer , and it performed as expected. One was used for a forward command post, enabling officers to get close to the fighting and, using several radios and sensors in the Namer, to quickly shift forces and call in air support. The Namer is based on the chassis of older Merkava I and II series tanks that are being retired. Thus Namer will have the thick armor of the Merkava. With the turret removed, a remotely controlled (from inside the vehicle) heavy machine-gun has been added. The Merkava lends itself to this kind of modification, because the engine is mounted in the front and there is already a door in the back of the vehicle. The Namer heavy APC is fitted with modular armor and Trophy active protection system. For the first time active protection system is used as an integral element. Vehicle is also fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems. The Namer offers the same protection level as the Merkava Mk.4.* While the Israelis liked the speed of the Stryker, which they considered ordering, they felt they will still be fighting in urban areas, against Palestinian terrorists, in the next ten years. There, the Namer has an edge, because of its thicker armor. Out in the open, the Stryker has an edge. If the Israelis cannot afford to build enough Namers, they will add armor to their existing supply of M-113 APCs. But based on tests, and the first experience in Gaza, troops prefer the Namer. The Namer carries eleven people (a driver, gunner, vehicle commander and eight infantry). The passenger compartment is also equipped with a stretcher, that enables one casualty to be carried along with a full load of 11 troops. In addition to the remotely controlled 12.7mm machine-gun, there is also a roof hatch on the left forward part of the vehicle, for the commander to use, and also operate a 7.62mm machine-gun. The vehicle also has the Merkava battle management system, as well as four cameras providing 360 degree vision around the vehicle. The remotely controlled machine-gun has a night vision sight. The vehicle also has a toilet, an addition based on troop feedback (and many missions where they had to stay on board for up to 24 hours at a time in combat zones.) Israel has over two hundred Merkava I tanks, the oldest are at least 25 years old. Removing the turret leaves you with a 44 ton Namer, the heaviest IFV ever built. Earlier, Israel had experimented with using T-55 and Centurian tanks as IFVs. This did not work because the engines in these vehicles were in the rear, where the exit doors of AFVs usually are. Thus troops had to enter and exit via top hatches. This was not a good idea in combat. When the older Merkavas became available, IFV conversions were an obvious application. Israeli troops were not happy with their elderly and poorly protected M113 APCs (Armored Personnal Carriers), and were eager to get a safer vehicle. Nearly 40 Nemers have already been delivered, and now Israel plans to produce over a hundred more, in order to equip two combat brigades. The existing Nemers are being used for training. Note that Nemer is sometimes spelled Namer, in case you want to go searching for more information on the subject.
Clinton Arrived In South Korea
(NSI News Source Info) February 19, 2009: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is escorted by Han Duck-Soo, Seoul's new ambassador to Washington, upon her arrival at a military airport in Seongnam, south of Seoul on February 19, 2009. Clinton arrived in South Korea for talks focusing on ways to revive stalled nuclear disarmament negotiations with North Korea.U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, second right, shakes hands with an unidentified South Korean government official as Han Duck-soo, South Korean ambassador to U.S., right, looks on, upon her arrival at the Seoul Military Airport in Seongnam, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009.
LockMartin Upgrades Ship Defense System On Turkish Navy Frigates
(NSI News Source Info) February 19, 2009: The U.S. Navy recently awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to upgrade the MK 92 Fire Control System on Turkey's G-class guided missile frigates. The system upgrade will support the introduction of the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), providing enhanced self-protection capabilities for this class of surface warships. G class is one of the frigate classes of the Turkish Navy. They are heavily modernized and modified versions of ex-Oliver Hazard Perry class guided-missile frigates, mainly designed for air defense with a weapons configuration that is optimized for general warfare. A total of eight G-class frigates are currently operated by the Turkish Navy. They are named as TCG Gaziantep (F 490), TCG Giresun (F 491), TCG Gemlik (F 492), TCG Gelibolu (F 493), TCG Gökçeada (F 494), TCG Gediz (F 495), TCG Gökova (F 496) and TCG Göksu (F 497). G class frigates have undergone an indegenous (Turkish designed and manufactured)modernisation prgram named the GENESIS (Gemi Entegre Savaş İdare Sistemi) advanced combat management system, The first GENESIS upgraded ship was delivered in 2007, and the last delivery is scheduled for 2011. The GENESIS advanced combat management system includes the following characteristics and abilities:
*A modern and reliable system; *High performance; *Open architecture; *Capacity of watching more than 1,000 tactical targets; *Modern digital sensor data fusion; *Automatic threat evaluation; *Weapon engagement opportunities; *Link-16/22 system integration The modernization program also includes (but is not limited to): (1) the addition of an 8-cell Mk-41 VLS for Evolved Sea Sparrow, including the upgrade of the Mk 92 Fire control system by Lockheed Martin Inc. (2) the retrofitting of a new advanced 3D air search radar (3) The addition of a new long range sonar. The Mk-41 VLS will be fitted in front of the Mk.13 launchers, similar to the Adelaide class frigates. The "short hull" ex-Perry class frigates that are currently being operated by the Turkish Navy were modified with the ASIST landing platform system at the Istanbul Naval Shipyard, so that they can accommodate the S-70B Seahawk helicopters. The MK 92 system, originally developed by Lockheed Martin, provides integrated X-band radar surveillance, target tracking and weapon fire control capability for naval gun and missile systems. Under the new Navy contract, Lockheed Martin will design, develop and integrate modifications necessary to support the new missile capability. "The MK 92 upgrade represents the first U.S. Navy-sponsored sale of our solid-state continuous wave illumination transmitter to support ESSM deployment by navies around the world," said Stan Ozga, Lockheed Martin's director for Naval Radar Programs. "Building on our successes with systems already in use by Norway and Australia, Lockheed Martin will deliver, with this latest variant, a major improvement to the guided missile frigate anti-air warfare capability and continue more than two decades of support to the operational needs of the Turkish Navy." The upgrade, when combined with Lockheed Martin's MK41 Vertical Launching System, will allow increased self defense capacity through the MK25 Quadpack canister allowing four ESSMs to be loaded in each MK41 cell, resulting in enhanced self-protection capabilities for this class of surface warships. ESSM is a medium range quick reaction missile designed to defeat stressing anti ship cruise missiles. More than 125 shipboard MK 92 systems have been produced and deployed with nine different navies around the world. It has been installed on more than 70 guided missile frigates, as well as on a variety of other surface ships including coast guard cutters, corvettes and fast attack craft.
Maltese Armed Forces Order Patrol Craft Fleet
(NSI News Source Info) February 19, 2009: Austal has secured its first European defence contract with an order for four 21.2 metre inshore patrol craft - including training and spares support - with the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM).The vessels will be built at Austal’s Australian facilities and are scheduled for delivery by the end of the year. Intended to assist the AFM with surveillance and border protection throughout Malta’s coastal waters, the vessels will have a maximum speed of more than 26 knots and will be capable of supporting 7.62mm and 12.7mm guns. The new order adds to Austal's current patrol craft contracts comprising six high speed vessels for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard and three patrol catamarans for the Queensland Police. Austal also has contracts to design and build the US Navy’s 127 metre Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and 103 metre Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). Managing Director Bob Browning said Austal was fielding increased interest from nations seeking fast and economical aluminium patrol craft for protection against modern-day coastal border security threats. “Following significant patrol boat deliveries to countries including Yemen, Kuwait and Australia, Austal is pleased to add Malta to its growing defence customer base while making important inroads into the traditionally self-reliant European defence market,” Mr Browning said. Austal was awarded the contract following a competitive international tender process, which called for a proven design that addressed specific AFM requirements, as well as meeting a demanding delivery schedule. Once completed, the order will bring Austal’s total number of defence vessels to more than 60, including the 14 Armidale Class patrol boats built for the Royal Australian Navy, 10 vessels for Yemen and eight Australian Customs vessels. Austal Vice President - Global Defence Sales, John Caccivio said Austal’s advanced aluminium defence platforms - typified by their speed, shallow drafts, flexibility and reduced maintenance costs - were finding increased global relevance. “To now extend our reach to the European defence market – a market that usually shows preference towards domestic builds – underlines not only the uniqueness of the Austal product but also the evolution of maritime security challenges, such as piracy and terrorism, within global littoral waters,” Mr Caccivio said. By utilising a planing aluminium hull, the 21.2 metre inshore patrol craft combines economical performance at all operational speeds with superior seakeeping in varying sea conditions. Speaking at yesterday’s contract signing ceremony in Malta, AMF Lt Col Martin Sammut said the vessels were a logical progression from the AMF’s current fleet. “These patrol vessels will enhance the border surveillance capabilities owing to better sea-keeping characteristics, extended range of operations, and better endurance than the current inshore patrol boats. These aluminium vessels will be operated by a maximum crew of 8 personnel and will be a major improvement in crew comfort and safety owing to better crew accommodation and enhanced catering and messing facilities,” Lt Col Sammut said. AFM responsibilities include maintaining Malta’s territorial waters through combating terrorism and illicit drug trafficking, conducting anti-illegal immigrant and anti-illegal fishing operations, operating Search and Rescue (SAR) services, and physical/electronic security/surveillance of sensitive locations.
Is Pakistan Finally Getting Serious About Fighting Terrorists? By Andisheh Nouraee
(NSI News Source Info) February 19, 2009: One of the things average Americans most loathe about political leaders is their inability to speak clearly. "I screwed up" becomes "Mistakes were made." "I caused a problem" becomes "We have a problem." "I am one of the two or three worst presidents in American history" becomes "Ultimately, it'll be up to historians to decide." Next time you get irritated at an U.S. politician for using responsibility-shirking language, be thankful Pakistan's Interior Ministry Chief Rehman Malik isn't a member of our government. On Feb. 12, Malik kinda-sorta finally admitted that last autumn's big terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, was planned in Pakistan. "Some part of the conspiracy has taken place in Pakistan," he said to reporters. Can you imagine living with this guy? "Hey, Rehman, did you eat all my chapattis?" "Some part of the household flatbreads were consumed in Pakistan, dear." The "conspiracy" to which Malik referred: On Nov. 26, 2008, 10 men armed with guns and explosives attacked 10 civilian targets around India's financial and cultural capital. The attackers reached Mumbai, on India's west coast, via boat from Pakistan. More than 160 people were killed and 300 injured. Among the victims: guests going about their daily biznass at two of the city's nicer hotels, diners hanging out at the popular Leopold Café, and the rabbi at a large Orthodox Jewish community center. The rabbi's wife also was killed. She was six months pregnant. The attack didn't trigger, as many feared, another round in India and Pakistan's six-decade, on-again-off-again war. But it did have serious military consequences. India massed troops along its border with Pakistan to pressure Pakistan into cracking down on its militants. Pakistan responded by moving troops away from its border with Afghanistan so they could face India's troops. Taliban rebels in Pakistan and Afghanistan were thus given freer rein to, um, Talibanize. As a result, Taliban attacks in Pakistani and Afghan cities have gone up since Mumbai. When I first heard the report that a top Pakistani government official had admitted his country was the home base of the attack, my initial reaction was to blurt out a sarcastic fake headline: "Chief of Pakistan's Ministry for Stating the Completely Obvious tells Duh! magazine something everyone else knew to be true two months ago." Not the most original jokey fake headline, I realize, but I was tired and stuck in traffic at the time. Cut a brother some slack. When I got home, though, I dug into the matter and noticed that, wishy-washy or not, Malik's statement was a genuinely big deal. The BBC says it's the first time Pakistan's government has openly admitted its country was the home base for an act of international terrorism. And Malik's statement came at a huge political cost for Pakistan's U.S.-friendly top leadership. Within Pakistan's government and military, there's a large and powerful constituency that revels in conflict with India. They believe India deserves to be attacked by Pakistani militants because of what they characterize as India's oppressive control of the disputed province of Kashmir. Kashmir is a majority-Muslim province that straddles the India-Pakistan border. Pakistan believes it belongs to them because the population is mostly Muslim. Indians believe Kashmir belongs to India because Kashmir's leader chose India over Pakistan when the two countries gained their freedom from the Brits in 1947. To the Pakistanis who want to fight for Kashmir, Malik's statement was a humiliating act of cowardice; the South Asian political equivalent of Roberto Duran's infamous "No más" surrender to Sugar Ray Leonard back in 1980. Pakistan's hardline nationalists believe the current government has caved to unreasonable Indian and American demands that Pakistan stop supporting militants who attack India because of Kashmir. Vague as it was, Malik's statement is an opportunity. For the sake of telling the truth and fighting terrorism, Pakistan's government exposed itself to political attacks from the country's powerful nationalists. India and the U.S. should act quickly to reward Pakistan's ailing government: with pleasantries, gestures, cash, Best Buy gift cards, whatever; anything that will help the nice people in Pakistan get leverage over the jerks.
Syria May Be Developing Chemical Weapons
(NSI News Source Info) DAMASCUS, Syria - February 19, 2009: Satellite images show evidence Syria is developing the ability to make chemical weapons, Jane's Intelligence Review reported Wednesday. Photos available from commercial providers of satellite images show heavy defenses and significant construction at the al-Safir site in northern Syria and a neighboring missile site, Jane's said. "Construction at the al-Safir facility appears to be the most significant chemical weapons production, storage and weaponization site in Syria," said Christian Le Miere, editor of the Intelligence Review.
"Its presence indicates Syria's desire to develop unconventional weapons either to act as a deterrent to conflict with Israel or as a force enhancer should any conflict ensue. The satellite imagery that IHS Jane's has examined suggests that Damascus has sought to expand and develop al-Safir and its chemical weapons arsenal." A military checkpoint guards the entrance to the facility, Jane's said, with checkpoints for every section inside. That suggests the facility is not an industrial chemical plant.
Defence Force For NATO
(NSI News Source Info) February 19, 2009: A 3,000-strong permanent defence force for NATO will be proposed today when defence ministers meet in Poland, the Financial Times has reported. In an interview with the business daily, British Defence Secretary John Hutton said the force would reassure eastern European members that NATO would defend them from attack, following Russia's incursion into Georgia last year. A dedicated security force could also persuade some reluctant NATO countries to sent troops to Afghanistan, by offering them assurances that there were enough troops to defend alliance territory, he suggested. "I hope it might make it easier for NATO to do more in Afghanistan, certain now in the knowledge that there is a dedicated homeland security force that will have no other call on its priorities than European homeland security,'' Hutton told the Financial Times. He said the proposal could resolve the long-running debate about the NATO Response Force (NRF) - a rarely-used contingent that could quickly be sent to world troublespots. Plans to deploy the NRF stalled because NATO members could not agree whether it should be for homeland security or take a more active role, he said. "It's just not acceptable to go on having endless debates about the NRF without making progress on it,'' he said. NATO defence ministers meet in Krakow, Poland, today to discuss strategy in Afghanistan. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates is expected to pressure allies to step up efforts against the Taliban.
Pakistani Officials On Board For Drone Attacks: Reports/WSJ
(NSI News Source Info) NEW YORK - February 19, 2009: Although Pakistan's leaders have publicly denounced US missile strikes as an attack on the country's sovereignty, but privately Pakistani military and intelligence officers are aiding these attacks and have given significant support to recent US missions, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday quoting officials from both countries. Tribesmen gather at the site of a drone missile attack in Tappi, a village 20 km east of Miramshah. American unmanned Predator aircraft have killed scores of militants in Pakistan in more than 30 missile strikes since August, provoking outrage in the South Asian nation. Two in the past four days have killed more than 50 suspected militants. Yet, with the Taliban pushing deeper into the country, Pakistan's civilian and military leaders, while publicly condemning the attacks, have come to see the strikes as effective and are passing on intelligence that has helped recent missions, say officials from both countries. As a result, ‘the Predator strikes are more and more precise,’ a Pakistani official told WSJ. The newspaper said that eleven of al Qaeda's top 20 commanders have been killed or captured since August because of the Predator missions conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to the Pakistani official, and current and former US intelligence officials. Dennis C. Blair, the new US director of national intelligence, said last week that ‘a succession of blows’ to al Qaeda in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas have thrown the group off balance, forcing it to promote inexperienced operators to leadership posts. The Journal said among those killed include al Qaeda military's chief, Khalid Habib; Abu Layth al-Libi, whom US officials described as ‘a rising star’ in the group; Abu Khabab al-Masri, al Qaeda's leading chemical-weapons expert; and Usama al-Kini, who was believed to be involved in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and later planned attacks in Pakistan. Drones help in surveillance and target identification as well as strikes. On Jan. 22, Pakistani paramilitary forces arrested Zabu ul Taifi, a Saudi national and alleged al Qaeda operative, in an operation described by a Pakistani intelligence officer as ‘a direct result of better cooperation’ with the US. An officer from Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's premier spy agency, said Mr. Taifi was located at a safe house in the Khyber Agency, one of the tribal areas that run along the border with Afghanistan, through a combination of human intelligence from Pakistani agents, informants on the ground and aerial surveillance by US drones. Once authorities were confident Mr. Taifi was in the walled, mud compound, Pakistani paramilitary forces backed by helicopters grabbed him, the officer said. Throughout, Predator drones hovered overhead and would have attacked if Mr. Taifi or other suspects had tried to escape, the officer said. In all, Mr. Taifi and six other men —Afghans and Pakistanis —were nabbed in the raid. Maj. Gen Akhtar Abbas, a spokesman for the military, said Pakistan and the US ‘has a long history of military cooperation and intelligence sharing.’ But he said it doesn't include the missiles strikes. ‘We have made our opposition clear,’ he said. ‘The strikes are counterproductive.’
UAE UAV In Lead For Pakistan Project
(NSI News Source Info) ABU DHABI - February 19, 2009: An unmanned platform produced in the United Arab Emirates has been the frontrunner in a tender for Pakistan's navy.Officials said the Pakistan Navy has been evaluating up to 15 UAVs formaritime missions.
Schiebel is a company based in Vienna that is one of the most significant suppliers of mine detectors and is currently also producing helicopter UAVs, which are in use in the United Arab Emirates and have been used by the Austrian Interior Ministry in late 2006 for test purposes.
They said a leading competitor was the Schiebel S-100Camcopter UAV, produced in the United Arab Emirates."The S-100 contains advanced Western technology, and its production inthe UAE affords Pakistan easy access to maintenance and other services," anofficial said.