Monday, February 23, 2009

Idex 2009: Arms Deals Being Signed Despite Economic Slump

Idex 2009: Arms Deals Being Signed Despite Economic Slump
(NSI News Source Info) February 23, 2009: Despite low oil prices and a global economic slowdown, within an hour of the opening of the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi, several multi-million deals were signed, the local newspaper The National reported. The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engined delta-wing highly agile multi-role fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. The Rafale is being produced both for land-based use with the French Air Force and for carrier-based naval operations with the French Navy. It has also been marketed for export. While several countries have expressed interest in the Rafale, there have been no foreign sales as of yet. The UAE has signed an agreement with U.S. manufacturer Raytheon for the delivery of the company's anti-aircraft missiles that can be launched both on the ground and in the air.
In addition, the UAE Air Force will become the first in the region to acquire the latest and most advanced version of Raytheon's medium-range air-to-air missile as part of the country's modernization plan aimed at establishing a multilayer missile defense system. Many of the Sunni Islamic countries along the southern coast of the Gulf fear the increasing influence of Shi'ite-dominated Iran, and are concerned that due to their close relations to the U.S. they will become targets in possible future armed conflicts between Tehran and Washington. Meanwhile, French defense minister, Hervé Morin, announced that France would open its military base in the UAE by May as part of his country's re-establishment in the region. Last year France and the UAE signed an agreement to establish a 500-man French base in the country.Previously, France sold the UAE 60 Mirage fighter jets and 400 tanks, and the two governments are reported to be in talks about the sale of the more advanced fighter jet Rafale, produced by the French manufacturer Dassault.

Northrop Grumman Receives U.S. Navy MQ-8B Fire Scout Contract Award For Third Year Of Low Rate Initial Production

Northrop Grumman Receives U.S. Navy MQ-8B Fire Scout Contract Award For Third Year Of Low Rate Initial Production
(NSI News Source Info) SAN DIEGO - February 23, 2009: Northrop Grumman Corporation's MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) program moves closer to Operational Evaluation (OpEval) with a recent U.S. Navy modification award to a previous firm fixed-price contract for the procurement of three VTUAV systems. This award, for an amount not to exceed $40 million, is the last of three planned low-rate initial production (LRIP) buys. MQ-8B: Although progress on the project had been regarded as satisfactory, the Navy decided the Fire Scout didn't meet their needs after all, and cut funding for production in December 2001. However, the development program continued, and Northrop Grumman pitched a range of improved configurations to anyone who was interested. As it turned out, the U.S. Army was very interested, awarding a contract for seven improved "RQ-8B" evaluation machines in late 2003. In 2006, it was redesignated "MQ-8B". The MQ-8B features four-blade main rotor, in contrast to the larger-diameter three-blade rotor of the RQ-8A, to reduce noise and improve lift capacity and performance. The four-blade rotor had already been evaluated on Fire Scout prototypes. They boost gross takeoff weight by 500 pounds to 3,150 pounds (by 225 kg to 1,430 kg), with payloads of up to 700 pounds (320 kg) for short-range missions. The MQ-8B is fitted with stub wings as well. The wings will serve both an aerodynamic purpose as well as an armament carriage location, to include weapons such as Hellfire missiles, Viper Strike laser-guided glide weapons, and in particular pods carrying the "Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS)", a laser-guided 70 millimeter (2.75 inch) folding-fin rocket, which the Army sees as ideal for the modern battlefield. The Army is also interested in using the Fire Scout to carry up to 90 kilograms (200 pounds) of emergency supplies to troops in the field. The MQ-8B is being modified to permit rapid swapout of payload configurations. The current sensor configuration of a day/night turret with a laser target designator will of course remain an option. Alternate sensor payloads in consideration include a TSAR with Moving Target Indicator (MTI) capability, a multispectral sensor, a SIGINT module, the Target Acquisition Minefield Detection System (ASTAMIDS), and the Tactical Command Data Link (TCDL). The Army wants the Fire Scout to operate as an element of an integrated ground sensor network as well. The Army interest revived Navy interest in the program, with the Navy ordering eight Sea Scout MQ-8B derivatives for evaluation. The Navy authorized an LRIP 1 contract to Northrop Grumman for the Fire Scout VTUAV program in June 2007. The program achieved a series of program milestones and the Navy awarded an LRIP 2 contract in September 2008.
Under this LRIP 3 contract, the company will provide the Navy with three complete MQ-8B Fire Scouts with electro-optical payloads, three ground control stations, three light harpoon grids, three UAV common automatic recovery systems and six portable electronic display devices. Work is expected to be completed in March 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. "Completing the LRIP 3 requirements will put the Fire Scout program one step closer to achieving Initial Operating Capability and supporting expansion of the Fire Scout program to both Littoral Combat Ships and other surface combatants," said Doug Fronius, MQ-8B Fire Scout VTUAV program director for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. The Navy plans to conduct Technical Evaluation of the Fire Scout program in early 2009. OpEval is scheduled for later in the year. The Fire Scout program will reach Initial Operating Capability soon after OpEval in 2009. 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.

Pentagon Fields 10,000th MRAP Vehicle / Military Fields 10,000th Mine-resistant Vehicle To Troops In Iraq

Pentagon Fields 10,000th MRAP Vehicle / Military Fields 10,000th Mine-resistant Vehicle To Troops In Iraq
(NSI News Source Info) BAGHDAD - February 23, 2009: The U.S. military fielded its 10,000th mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle in Iraq today during a ceremony on Camp Liberty, just 22 months after it was introduced into the theater of operations. Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicles sit in a row on the Camp Liberty, Iraq, fielding site, Feb. 20, 2009. The day marked the introduction of the 10,000th vehicle into Iraq.
U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Gaylord Service-members and civilians from across Victory Base Complex gathered among rows of MRAPs at the largest fielding site in Iraq to acknowledge the success the vehicle has had in protecting thousands of troops from blasts caused by roadside bombs.
"This is a historic day that represents the enduring power of our military industrial base,” Army Lt. Col. Ron Fizer, commander of the 402nd Field Support Brigade, said. “This type of effort has been indicative of America's manufacturing capability, but it has not been demonstrated in such a fashion since World War II.
"The teamwork demonstrated through the combined efforts of military, civilians, and contractors … has been exceptional,” he continued. “This has set a new standard for the development, fielding and sustainment of capabilities required by our warriors for today's battlefield and future conflicts."
The first MRAP was fielded in Iraq in April 2007. Since then, more than 11,700 vehicles have been fielded across the U.S. Central Command area of operations. In Iraq alone, this marks the 10,000th vehicle fielded and more than 22,000 personnel trained. "MRAPs save lives every time they go out,"
Army Brig. Gen. Michael Lally, commander of the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Brigade, said at the ceremony. Lally shared an instance in which three soldiers in his unit walked away uninjured when an improvised explosive device damaged the entire front half of their vehicle. "The whole front of the MRAP was destroyed, and all three people walked out the back with no injuries," Lally said. Army Lt. Col. Greg Rawlings, chief of the force management division in Multinational Corps Iraq Operations, was an honored guest at the ceremony for his role in the distribution of MRAPs to Army units throughout Iraq.
Rawlings was recognized and applauded for building distribution plans for the dispersal of new equipment based on unit requirements and the threat in certain areas of the country.
"I'm basically the guy who doles [MRAPs] out," Rawlings said. "I give 50 to this unit and 50 to that unit, based on who needs them most."
Rawlings mentioned that adding armor as a result of the threat of what the military calls “explosively formed projectiles” – roadside bombs made from shaped charges designed to pierce conventional armored vehicles -- is an example of changes based on his assessments.
In its 22 months of use in Iraq, the MRAP has undergone numerous modifications that have increased troops' confidence in theist ability to keep them safe. The program continues to adapt the vehicles even as they are produced and fielded, with improvements such as upgraded armor, better suspension systems, improved seats, safety harnesses, and gunner restraints and improved night driving capability. At the same time, they have maintained a 95-percent operational readiness rate.
"My fellow soldiers and I feel very confident in [the MRAP's] ability to contain an IED blast," said Army Pfc. Derek Sharp, who arrived in Iraq in early December as part of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Lally presented Sharp with a ceremonial key and recognized him as the operator of the 10,000th MRAP in Iraq.
Troops know when they go “outside the wire” they're in the best-protected vehicle with which they can be provided, Lally said.
“They know they'll get from Point A to Point B, and it's not going to break down on them," he said. "The MRAP team has done a phenomenal job over here. There was a lot of training that went on here for our operators, maintainers and crews to safely and effectively operate this piece of equipment."
Spencer Sims, the Camp Liberty fielding site's lead manager, said said soldiers talk about the safety the MRAPs provide.
"I had a couple of soldiers that came in and were getting some work done on their vehicle,” he said, “and they said they had been hit seven times with IEDs, and that very next week they were going on leave. I think it's a great testament to the whole team involved."

BAE Launches New Variant Of RG-31 MRAP / BAE Systems Launches New Variant Of South Africa’s Most Successful Export Mine Protected Vehicle

BAE Launches New Variant Of RG-31 MRAP / BAE Systems Launches New Variant Of South Africa’s Most Successful Export Mine Protected Vehicle
(NSI News Source Info) ABU DHABI, UAE - February 23, 2009: BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa, has launched the latest version of its acclaimed RG series of mine resistant personnel carrier vehicles.
The new vehicle, the RG31 Mk6E, is making its international debut at the IDEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi (22-26 February 2009).
Since receiving a Canadian armed forces order for RG31 Mk3 vehicles in 2003, the South African company’s RG-series of products have boosted the country’s exports by more than $430 million with a steadily increasing series of additional orders for vehicles, spares and support from new customers around the globe.
It has also created over 300 new jobs at its factory near Johannesburg and many more throughout its supplier network. The Special Operations Command (SOC) in the UAE operates 76 RG31 Mk5 vehicles, of which 70 are Armoured Personnel Carriers and 6 Command vehicles. These vehicles have been in service since July 2007.
“We are confident that this latest development will further confirm our South African business as the world leader in mine protected vehicle technology,” said Johan Steyn, Managing Director of BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa. “The RG series builds on the three decades of experience we have gained in South Africa, through vehicles such as the Casspir, Mamba and Mfezi.
Its success is a result of our ongoing investment into ever improving vehicle protection levels. We achieve this by applying new concepts and designs influenced by customer and operator feedback and simulation,” he explained. Among the latest developments incorporated in the RG31 Mk6E are new anti-mine seats.
These provide enhanced protection to the occupants from lumbar spinal injuries which can be caused by the shock-waves associated with land mine detonations. The seats incorporate shock attenuation crushable elements developed at Land Systems South Africa.
Tests have shown that these absorb some of the vertical impulse associated with mine blasts, reducing the likelihood of injury during large landmine explosions. Since 2004, BAE Systems has sold over 2,200 RG31 vehicles, including a series of major orders for the US military which operates both the RG31 and its stable-mate RG33, in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Of these, more than 1,300 RG31 mine-protected vehicles have been delivered to the US and Canadian forces. The US RG31s are manufactured by Land Systems OMC and also under licence by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada. In addition to ongoing US orders, several European countries are expressing interest in RG31 mine protected vehicle for their forces, and a recent order from Spain for 100 vehicles, confirms this interest.
BAE Systems is the premier global defence, security and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. With approximately 105,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £18.5 billion (US $34.4 billion) in 2008.

Bangladesh Plans Major Defence Procurement

Bangladesh Plans Major Defence Procurement
(NSI News Source Info) February 23, 2009: PM Sheikh Hasina's new government in Bangladesh has decided to launch a massive defence procurement drive to strengthen the armed forces and to equip them with modern weapons and military hardware.
Planning Minister Air Vice Marshal (retd) AK Khondoker told parliament on Sunday that the purchases would be made during the current and next fiscals.
He said the forces would be made well equipped and trained in line with the country's financial capabilities. "For equipping the army, plans have been taken to procure helicopters, tanks, APCs (armoured personnel carrier), anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, sniper rifles, different types of modern radio systems, explosives, night vision and related hardware, other types of weapons and vehicles in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010," he told the house. A process was now underway to procure three new frigates to earn the "three dimensional" capabilities for the navy to face the 21st centuries challenge, he said.
"A process to sign a procurement deal has been completed to buy appropriate anti-ship missiles for Bangladesh Navy's ultra modern frigate while it is now awaiting the government's final nod... Works are underway to install anti-aircraft missile in the ship (frigate)," Khondoker said. Moreover, Khondoker said, international tenders were already floated to procure helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft to intensify vigil in the sea and establish a three dimensional navy.
"The government also planned to modernise the air force for better air defence and enable it to carry out salvage and relief campaign during disasters at home and abroad, assist the military and navy with air support and intensify air vigil through procuring modern aircraft and air force hardware. "These plans will be implemented in phases," he added.

US worried about 'Taliban shelters in Quetta'

US worried about 'Taliban shelters in Quetta'
(NSI News Source Info) February 23, 2009: There is growing concern among US officials, even as CIA drones pound targets in FATA, about alleged Taliban havens in Balochistan, The New York Times reported on Monday. Americans are increasingly focusing on Quetta, from where Taliban leaders are alleged to stir violence in Afghanistan.
Taliban operations in Quetta are different from operations in the Tribal Areas. As the United States prepares to pour as many as 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan, military and intelligence officials say the effort could be futile unless there is a concerted effort to kill or capture Taliban leaders in Quetta to cut the group's supply lines into Afghanistan.Afghan and US commanders have long said Taliban leaders, including Mullah Muhammad Omar, guide commanders in southern Afghanistan from the city.
"When their leadership is where you cannot get to them, it becomes difficult," said Gen Dan K McNeill, who until June was the senior American commander in Afghanistan and recently retired. "You are restrained from doing what you want to do."
Quetta is close to the provinces in southern Afghanistan where the war's fiercest fighting has occurred. American intelligence officials said that the dozen or so militants who were thought to make up the Taliban leadership in the area were believed to be hiding either in Afghan refugee camps near Quetta or in some of the city's Afghan neighbourhoods.
One former intelligence official with years of experience in Afghanistan and Pakistan likened the situation to America's difficulties during the Vietnam War, when Vietnamese guerrillas used a haven in Cambodia. For the past year, the top American goal in Pakistan has been to press Islamabad for help elsewhere -- in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan.
But NATO generals and diplomats have long complained that the command and control of Taliban fighters, distinct from Al Qaeda insurgents, may lie in southern Pakistan, and that Pakistani security services ignore the threat. "We've made progress going into the Tribal Areas and Northwest Frontier Province against Al Qaeda, but ... not ... against the Quetta shura," said a senior Obama administration official.
Some current and former American intelligence officials are sympathetic to difficulties that the government in Islamabad faces in rounding up Taliban leaders. Balochistan has long been an area hostile to government control, and even Pakistani spies have difficulty building a network of sources there, they said. So offer the Balochis a deal: they get independence from Islamabad if they in turn wipe out the al-Qaeda and Taliban in their territory.
The influence of the Taliban leadership over operations on the ground in Afghanistan is a matter of some debate among analysts. "The Quetta shura is extremely important," said Lt Gen David W Barno, a retired former commander of American forces in Afghanistan who is advising General Petraeus on a strategic review of this region, including Pakistan and Afghanistan. "They are the intellectual and ideological underpinnings of the Taliban insurgency."
But Gen David D McKiernan, currently the top military commander in Afghanistan, said in a speech in Washington in November that any assessment that said the Quetta shura's dictates were closely followed by field commanders "gives the Taliban far too much credit for coherency at the operational and strategic level. They don't have that."

Syrian And Yemeni Are Getting Cosy!!!!

Syrian And Yemeni Are Getting Cosy!!!!
(NSI News Source Info) February 23, 2009: Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and his Yemeni counterpart Ali Abdullah Saleh review the honour guards in Damascus February 23, 2009. Saleh is in Syria for a two-day official visit.

Raytheon Says UAE To Buy Advanced Missiles

Raytheon Says UAE To Buy Advanced Missiles
(NSI News Source Info) ABU DHABI - February 23, 2009: The United Arab Emirates is buying 224 advanced version missiles from Raytheon Co. for its F-16 Block 60 fighter aircraft, a senior Raytheon official said on Sunday. The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM (pronounced am-ram), is a modern Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM) capable of all weather day and night performance. It is also commonly known as the Slammer in USAF service. When an AMRAAM missile is being launched, NATO pilots use the brevity code Fox Three. The UAE and the U.S. government have executed a letter of offer and acceptance for the purchase of Raytheon's AIM-120 C-7 missiles, equipping the UAE with the most advanced version of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air missile (AMRAAM). "The value of the deal is sizeable and deliveries will start mid to late 2011," P.T. Mikolashek, President of Raytheon Middle East & North Africa told Reuters, declining to state the value. "There are other countries in the region such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and Oman that are looking at upgrades of their missile programmes," he said at the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX), the Middle East's largest military show that began on Sunday. Raytheon is the U.S. No. 5 defence contractor. (Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; Editing by Erica Billingham)

UAE Seen Buying Lockheed, Boeing Military Planes

UAE Seen Buying Lockheed, Boeing Military Planes
(NSI News Source Info) ABU DHABI -February 23, 2009: The United Arab Emirates plans to buy at least 15 military transport aircraft from two U.S. manufacturers to enhance its airlift capabilities, sources close to the deals said on Monday. The contract for purchase of the aircraft from Lockheed Martin and Boeing is expected to be announced on Monday or Tuesday during the International Defence Exhibition. "Both sides have finalised the deal, it is a matter of formally announcing it," the source told Reuters, asking not to be named due to confidentiality reasons. The UAE is buying around 10 to 12 C130 J Super Hercules airlifters from Lockheed Martin and around four Boeing C-17 aircraft. Officials from both Lockheed Martin and Boeing confirmed talks were ongoing, but declined to give details. The airlifters are used to lift equipment, paratroopers, stretchers for medical evacuation and other purposes with capacity to lift around 40,000 to 45,000 pounds. Qatar has ordered four of the C 130J's with deliveries to start in 2011, said James Grant, Vice President of Air Mobility, Lockheed Martin. The deal was valued at $393 million. "There is great interest from the UAE, Oman and Kuwait and we are in serious dialogue," he told Reuters. "Many countries in the Middle East are looking at replacing their airlifters." (Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; Editing by Andrew Hammond and Rupert Winchester)

Elbit Systems Awarded $55 Million Contracts In Europe

Elbit Systems Awarded $55 Million Contracts In Europe
(NSI News Source Info) Haifa, Israel - February 23, 2009: Elbit Systems Ltd. announced today that it was awarded $55 million contracts in Europe.
In Slovenia, it signed a contract to supply overhead remote controlled weapon stations and unmanned turrets as well as other electronic and electro-optical systems and components for the Slovenian Armored Vehicle Program. Elbit Systems' portion of the Program is valued at approximately $ 40 million, with deliveries scheduled to take place through 2011. The Patria AMV (Armored Modular Vehicle) is an 8x8 or 6x6 multi-role military vehicle produced by the Finnish weapons manufacturer Patria. The first prototype was produced in 2001 and the first vehicles were delivered to the Finnish Army in 2003. Serial production was started in 2004. The main feature of the AMV is its modular design, which allows the incorporation of different turrets, weapons, sensors, or communications systems on the same carriage. Designs exist for different APC (armoured personnel carrier) and IFV (infantry fighting vehicle) versions, communications versions, ambulance versions and different fire support versions, armed with large caliber mortar and gun systems. One very important feature is that the AMV has a top-class mine protection and can withstand explosions up to 10 kilograms (22 lb) TNT. The AMV has protection levels up to 30mm APFSDS frontal arc. Elbit Systems' selection is pursuant to cooperation with Patria AMV, owned by the state of Finland and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space company EADS N.V. Patria, together with the Slovenian company Rotis d.o.o, was selected by the Slovenian Ministry of Defense to be the prime contractor for the supply of the Slovenian Armored Vehicle Program. The Program covers 135 vehicles. Elbit Systems' portion of the Program includes laser detection systems and the delivery, integration and installation of 30mm Unmanned Turrets and 12.7/40 mm Overhead Remote Controlled Weapon System (ORCWS) onboard Patria AMV 8X8 vehicles. In Romania, Elbit System was awarded lately a contract to supply unmanned turrets and electro-optic systems valued at approximately $15 million, with deliveries scheduled to be performed over the next three years.
The Romanian Government selected Mowag GmbH, of the General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems Group, to be the prime contractor in this project, and it will supply the Piranha III vehicles for the program. Elbit Systems' portion of the program includes the delivery of 12.7 mm unmanned turrets and various electro-optic and electronic subsystems, including the DTV- Driver Thermal Viewer and other systems.
The majority of the work will be performed in Romania by Elbit Systems' subsidiary Elmet International srl., with the collaboration of the Romanian company Pro-Optica S.A. Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, Corporate V.P. and General Manager of Elbit Systems' C4I & Land Systems Division, said: "The selection of our systems for the projects attests to our ability to provide a completely integrated configuration for fighting/patrol/surveillance vehicles, including Unmanned Turrets equipped with missiles fire control and threat detection systems.
Machlis added: "We are proud to be selected to take part in those important projects. The selection of our unmanned turrets constitutes a breakthrough in an emerging international market emanating from a shift in the modern battlefield. "

Canadian Forces' Acquisition of New CH-148 Cyclones Helicopters

Canadian Forces' Acquisition of New CH-148 Cyclones Helicopters
(NSI News Source Info) February 23, 2009: In July 2004, the Canadian Forces (CF) selected the H-92 Superhawk variant of Sikorsky's S-92 as the winner of the MHP, and designated the aircraft as the CH-148 Cyclone.
On 23 November 2004, Canada's Department of National Defence announced the award of a C$1.8 billion contract to Sikorsky to produce 28 helicopters, with the first aircraft scheduled to be delivered by November 2008.The first flight of the first production CH-148, serial number 801 (FAA registration N4901C), took place in Florida on 15 November 2008. Additional complications in the programme have delayed the aircraft from entering service until 2010.
Deliveries in November 2010 will allow testing and training to begin, but the Cyclone fleet will not be fully operational until 2013 according to Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC).
The CH-148 Cyclone is a variant of the four-bladed, twin-engine, medium lift H-92 Superhawk helicopter manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for the Canadian Forces' (CF) Maritime Helicopter Project.
The CH-148 is designed for shipboard operations and is intended to replace the venerable CH-124 Sea King, which has been in operation since the early 1960s. The helicopter will be operated by the Air Command and will conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW), surveillance, and search and rescue (SAR) missions from Canadian warships. It will also provide tactical transport for national and international security efforts.

Rolls-Royce Wins Two U.S. Helicopter Contracts

Rolls-Royce Wins Two U.S. Helicopter Contracts
(NSI News Source Info) NEW YORK - February 23, 2009: Rolls-Royce Group Plc announced two new contracts on Sunday -- a $35 million deal with the U.S. Army and a deal worth up to $400 million with Bell Helicopter -- and said it expects more than 15,000 turbine helicopter deliveries over the next ten years. The deal with the U.S. Army is a contract modification for Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) services covering Model 250-powered (Photo/Image: Bell 407 Helicopter) military helicopter fleet, the British engine maker said. The deal with Bell Helicopter is for the supply of Model 250 engines for Bell 206 and 407 helicopters through 2017. Separately, Rolls-Royce expects "near-term softness followed by a resumption of growth" in the market between 2009 and 2018. It also said the rotorcraft market "will exhibit strong demand by 2013." Rolls-Royce expects overall helicopter deliveries to be valued at about $130 billion for airframes and about $12 billion for engines. The company also expects about 9,000 civil helicopter deliveries, and about 6,000 new military helicopter deliveries, during the ten-year period. Rolls-Royce said its 10-year projections are up slightly from its 2008 projections.

Boeing In Pact With India's BEL For New Facility

Boeing In Pact With India's BEL For New Facility
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI - February 23, 2009: Indian state-run firm Bharat Electronic Ltd has signed an agreement with U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co to jointly set up a facility to help modernise India's defence forces, the company said in a statement on Saturday. The proposed analysis and experimentation centre will be staffed with local personnel who will work with India's Defence Ministry, the statement said. India is looking to spend $30-40 billion on imports over the next five years to modernise its largely Soviet-era arms by introducing new weapons systems. It is allowing state-run and private firms to tie up with foreign defence equipment makers to scale up domestic production. Boeing along with Lockheed Martin Corp, France's Dassault Rafale, Sweden's Saab are vying for a contract to supply India with 126 multi-role fighter jets potentially worth more than $10 billion. Earlier, the Boeing India head said the firm was looking to bid for defence projects worth up to $31 billion over the next 10 years in India, as strategic ties between India and United States deepen.

Russian Navy Trying To Reclaim Past Glory

Russian Navy Trying To Reclaim Past Glory
(NSI News Source Info) February 23, 2009: The Russian Navy has not only shrunk since the end of the Cold War in 1991, but it has also become much less active. In the last three years, only ten of their nuclear subs went to sea, on a combat patrol, each year. Most of the boats going to sea were SSNs (attack subs), the minority were SSBNs (ballistic missile boats). There were more short range training missions, which often lasted a few days, or just a few hours. But the true measure of a fleet is the "combat patrol" or "deployment."
The Russian Navy has 14 Bars Class project 971 submarines known in the West as the Akula Class nuclear-powered submarines (SSN). A number of Russian Akula class submarines are deployed in the Pacific region. The submarines were built by the Amur Shipbuilding Plant Joint Stock Company at Komsomolsk-on-Amur and at the Severodvinsk shipbuilding yard. Seven Akula I submarines were commissioned between 1986 and 1992, and three Improved Akula between 1992 and 1995.
In the U.S. Navy, most of these last from 2-6 months. In the last three years, U.S. nuclear subs have carried out ten times as many patrols as their Russian counterparts. Currently, Russia only has 14 SSBN (nuclear ballistic missile sub) boats in service, and not all of them have a full load of missiles.
Some lack full crews, or have key systems in need of repair. Russia has only 14 modern, 7,000 ton, Akula SSNs (nuclear attack subs) in service. These began building in the late 1980s and are roughly comparable to the American Los Angeles class. All of the earlier Russian SSNs are trash, and most have been decommissioned. There are also eight SSGN (nuclear subs carrying cruise missiles) and 20 diesel electric boats. There is a new class of SSGNs under construction, but progress, and promised funding increases, have been slow. Currently, the U.S. has six of the new, 7,700 ton, Virginia class SSNs in service, four under construction and nine on order. The mainstay of the American submarine force is still the 6,100 ton Los Angeles-class SSN. Sixty-two of these submarines were built, 45 of which remain in front-line service, making it probably the largest class of nuclear submarines that will ever be built. The Seawolf-class of nuclear attack submarines stopped at three from a planned class of twenty-nine.
The 8,600 ton Seawolf was designed as a super-submarine, designed to fight the Soviet Navy at its height. Reportedly, it is quieter going 40 kilometers an hour, than the Los Angeles-class submarines are at pier side. The peak year for Russian nuclear sub patrols was 1984, when there were 230. That number rapidly declined until, in 2002, there were none. Since the late 1990s, the Russian navy has been hustling to try and reverse this decline. But the navy budget, despite recent increases, is not large enough to build new ships to replace the current Cold War era fleet that is falling apart. The rapid decline of Russia's nuclear submarine fleet needed international help to safely decommission over a hundred obsolete or worn out nuclear subs.
This effort has been going on for nearly a decade, and was driven by the Russian threat to just sink their older nuclear subs in the Arctic ocean. That might work with conventional ships, but there was an international uproar over what would happen with all those nuclear reactors sitting on the ocean floor forever. Russia generously offered to accept donations to fund a dismantling program that included safe disposal (of the nuclear reactors). Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, most of the ship building money has gone into new nuclear subs. Six Akulas have been completed in that time, but the first of a new generation of SSBNs, the Borei class was delayed by technical problems, a new ballistic missile that wouldn't work, and lack of money. The first Borei class boat, after many delays, is finally ready for service, and ended up costing over two billion dollars. The Russian admirals made their big mistake in the early 1990s, when the dismantling of the Soviet Union left the second largest fleet in the world with only a fraction of its Cold War budget. Rather than immediately retire ninety percent of those ships, Russia tried to keep many of them operational. This consumed most of the navy budget, and didn't work.
There were too many ships, not enough sailors and not enough money for maintenance or training at sea. The mighty Soviet fleet is mostly scrap now, or rusting hulks tied up at crumbling, out-of-the way naval bases. While Western nuclear subs can last for about thirty years, Russian models rarely get past twenty. That means two new SSN or SSGN has to be put into service each year to maintain a force of forty boats. Unless the sub construction budget get billions more dollars a year, that is not going to happen. Right now, the priority is on producing a new class of SSBNs (11 more Boreis are planned or under construction).
These Boreis are critical, because they carry SLBM (Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles) that provide a critical (they are much harder to destroy in a first strike than land based missiles) portion of the nuclear deterrent. The rest of the Russian armed forces, like most of the navy, is in sad shape, and unable to resist a major invasion. Only the ICBMs and SLBMs guarantee the safety of the state. So the way things are going now, in a decade or two, Russia will end up with a force consisting of a dozen SSNs and a dozen SSBNs. The current fleet of nuclear subs is tiny, and the Russians would rather keep them tied up at dock most of the time. The crews can do a lot of training at dockside, and only go to sea a few times a year to check on their state of training. Given the number of accidents their subs have had in the past decade, the training the crews are getting now is not sufficient.

Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV): Technology Breakthroughs In This Factor

Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV): Technology Breakthroughs In This Factor
(NSI News Source Info) February 23, 2009: If ever there was an idea ahead of its time, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) might fit the description. “Marines recognized the need for this vehicle since World War II, but it’s only in the last two decades that we’ve had the technology to support it,” said Colonel Keith Moore, EFV Program Manager. He and his team at Woodbridge, Va., are leading the acquisition program for the EFV, a program that falls under the purview of the Marine Corps’ Program Executive Office Land Systems. According to EFV program officials, the vehicle will be the primary means of tactical mobility for the Marine rifle squad during the conduct of amphibious operations and sustained ground combat operations ashore. It will replace the Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV). Fielded in 1972, the AAV will be more than 40 years old when the EFV is fielded.
An Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle moves at high-water speed undergoing cold-weather testing in Alaska's Prince William Sound. Program experts said the EFV enables the Navy and Marine Corps team to project power from the sea base in a manner that will exploit intervening sea and land terrain, achieve surprise, avoid enemy strengths and generate never before realized operational tempo across warfighting functions. For many years EFV was a concept waiting for a vehicle. Meanwhile, gap fillers were called in to fill the need. At the time the Marine Corps fielded the AAV, it was already viewed as only an interim solution. The Corps needed a fighting vehicle that could self-deploy or be transported ashore rapidly from Navy amphibious assault ships off the coast. However, the AAV’s slow water speed — the same 6 to 8 knots as the Corps’ World War II amphibious tractors — limited the buildup of combat power ashore from a sea base. Marine Corps leaders knew even before acquiring the AAV that the ideal vehicle would be a high-water-speed amphibian that also could be effective in combat operations on land. That ideal remained a dream because the sophisticated technology required to achieve such a combination were immature or did not exist. The turn of the century, Moore said, heralded technology breakthroughs everyone has waited for. As a new set of prototypes are prepared for delivery in 2010, the vehicle’s reliability growth program can proceed. Projections call for EFV fielding to start in 2015. The Colonel looks forward to the day the Corps will have over-the-horizon deployment capability. That means the amphibious vehicles can deploy from ships more than 20 nautical miles from shore. Offering a much smaller profile for enemy artillery and traveling much faster than the AAV — more than 20 knots compared to only 6 or 7 — the EFV’s arrival on the beach would be almost stealthy by comparison. “We’ll have a vehicle designed for the fight of the day,” the Colonel said. “EFV is customized for the folks who need high-speed transit toward the beach. It will also carry those who don’t have seats in other tactical vehicles.” Moore noted that the EFV will seat 17 warfighters, not coincidentally the same number of people who comprise “a true assault echelon — a reinforced Marine rifle squad — the Marines’ smallest tactical unit. We are the heart of the conventional forces of the Marine Corps, the enabler for joint forcible entry. The EFV also gives us the flexibility to transition from high-intensity to low-intensity conflicts.” The EFV is essential to the Marine Corps mission, according to General James Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps. He said, “There are programs that are absolutely and vitally important. One of those is our EFV. Navy ships are not going to go closer than 25 miles to another nation’s shore for reasons that have to do with the security of the ships and the safety of the Marines and Sailors aboard. “The EFV is actually a sea skimmer,” he said. “It gets up on a plane at about 30 knots or so and gets us to where we need to go pretty quickly.” Speed represents just one of the EFV’s technological advances. Its once insurmountable design challenges involved its engine, water jets and lightweight composite armor. The vehicle’s powerful compact diesel engine is a turbocharged version of that used on Germany’s Leopard 2, the United Kingdom’s Challenger, France’s Leclerc and Israel’s Merkava tanks. The basic 1,500-horsepower engine was boosted successfully to the 2,700 horsepower needed for the EFV’s high water speed by adding two turbochargers. This makes it the most powerful diesel engine in the world. The vehicle’s water jets were largely the result of technology base work done at the Navy’s David Taylor Research Center at Carderock, Md., 10 to 15 years ago. The three-stage water jets are the most advanced in the world. The EFV’s armor had to be as light as possible to allow the vehicle’s high water speed yet offer a high level of hull protection from enemy machine gun fire and artillery fragments. The answer was composite armor panels made of ceramics, S2 fiberglass and a Kevlar-like woven fabric in three separate layers. The combination weighs less than 20 pounds per square foot compared to typical rolled steel armor that weighs 56 pounds per square foot. “We’re preparing for where the next war’s going to be,” the EFV Program Manager said. “After years of research and preparation, we’re anxious to put the prototypes through their paces.”

Facts About Air Wing Of Tamil Tigers

Facts About Air Wing Of Tamil Tigers
(NSI News Source Info) February 23, 2009: Tamil Tiger rebel planes bombed Sri Lanka's main tax office in the capital Colombo on Friday, killing at least two people and wounding 40 in another display of their ability to strike far from the northerly war zone. Zlin-143 light aircraft: Pictures released by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka indicate they operate Czech-built Zlin Z-143 single engine, four-seater light aircraft modified to carry four bombs mounted on the undercarriage. It is not clear whether the Tigers have extensively modified the aircraft, which military sources believe may have been bought from a source in South Africa and Czechoslovakia. The Tiger "Air Force" carried out a 9/11 style suicide attack on 20/02/2009 using two of these aircraft. Under heavy anti-aircraft gun fire one of these aircraft was crashed into a tall buiding in Colombo and the other shot down near an airbase. The Z-143 has a maximum speed of 265 km/h (162 mph) and as such it makes it a relatively difficult target to detect and intercept by a force that lacks airborne early warning or an extensive defense radar network when the aircraft is flown at low level. However at around 4am on 9 September 2008, the Sri Lanka Air Force reportedly scored its first air to air kill by successfully intercepting and bringing down an Air Tigers Z-143 over Mullaittivu. The last two aircraft were shot down over the Colombo and Katunayake skies between 10PM to 11PM on 20 February 2009 by Sri Lanka Air Force. The attack is the 10th carried out by the "Air Tigers" since they launched their first in March 2007. Here are some facts about them: * Security experts say the ramshackle force of single-engine propeller planes flown by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) may be the only combat air fleet operated by an insurgent group or any group on U.S. and E.U. terrorism lists. * In March 2007 a single aircraft dropped homemade bombs on a barracks in an air force base next to the international airport in Colombo, killing three airmen and wounding 16 in an attack that shocked the world. * On Oct. 28, two planes carried out separate raids that struck a power station in Colombo and an army base 250 km (150 miles) north of the city, wounding one soldier. * On Sept. 9, a rebel aircraft bombed a military base in Vavuniya, just south of the front lines, in conjunction with a ground attack by "Black Tiger" suicide fighters that killed at least 25. * After that attack, the air force said it had shot the aircraft down, which the rebels denied. No evidence has been made public by either side. The previous inability of the air force to catch the small planes despite vastly superior air power had been a longstanding source of embarrassment and frustration. * Five other attacks comprise: an April 2007 attack that inflicted minor damage on Colombo oil storage facilities; an attack the same month on an airbase in northern Jaffna that killed six soldiers in combination with artillery fire; an October 2007 attack on an airbase in Anuradhapura in north-central Sri Lanka that killed nine and wounded 20; an April 2008 run at a military forward operations base in Welioya that damaged nothing; and an Aug. 26 attack on the navy base at the eastern port of Trincomalee that wounded 10 sailors. * Sri Lanka's military has said the Tigers are flying three single-engine Zlin-143 light aircraft, believed smuggled onto the island in pieces and reassembled. During the rapid military advance that has now hemmed the Tigers into 87 sq km (34 sq miles), troops found at least seven airstrips, but no planes. * The Zlin-143 has a small profile that makes it easy to fly at a low level to avoid radar detection. Since the military has put up anti-aircraft radar and stepped up combat air patrols, the rebels have usually kept their flights short. That has enabled them to strike and then land in camouflaged jungle hideouts before air force jets can intercept them.

Saab To Use Sepura STP8000 For Military Exercises

Saab To Use Sepura STP8000 For Military Exercises
(NSI News Source Info) February 23, 2009: SAAB Training Systems - Sweden, which develops advanced military training systems that simulate real combat scenarios, is to use the Sepura STP8000 TETRA radio in army training exercises. The radio’s rugged construction, easy handling and outstanding sound quality, assists in a communications system that is both portable and flexible.
The STP8000 radio’s high transmitter power overcomes weaknesses in network coverage. This, together with very high audio output, provides exceptionally clear communications, even in environments where there is significant ambient noise such as those found in combat situations. The radio is ideal on military exercises because it withstands heavy impact and has unparalleled water and dust resistance.
It has a robust connection underneath protective clothing, via a remote speaker microphone. Furthermore, large and well-spaced keys assist gloved users, which can typically be the case in training exercises. The radios are being supplied by Swedish Radio Supply, Sepura’s distribution partner in Sweden and a long-term partner of SAAB Training Systems. TETRA solutions are replacing analogue system in communications equipment that is easily transportable between training zones, thanks to the Damm TetraFlex infrastructure system. Tommy Andersson, Key Account Managerat Swedish Radio Supply, said: “The new radio is an ideal solution for use in a situation that requires the very highest performance. We have substantial experience in working with SAAB on projects in the military sector.”. Kenneth Hubner, Sepura’s Regional Director for Scandinavia, said: “This is another instance of Sepura and our STP8000 answering the needs of our customers. Indeed, the STP8000 offers substantial scope for military organisations.”.

India: Coast Guard Planning To Procure Urgently Used Choppers For Coastal Surveillance

India: Coast Guard Planning To Procure Urgently Used Choppers For Coastal Surveillance (NSI News Source Info) New Delhi - February 23, 2009: Faced with shortage of helicopters for carrying out surveillance in coastal areas, the Coast Guard is planning to procure used aircraft to plug gaps in its capabilities. "Government has recently cleared a proposal for procurement of around 30 helicopters for us on an urgent basis and with helicopters not being available off-the shelf, we are looking for inducting used ones also," Defence Ministry sources said. Soon after the Mumbai attacks, the Cabinet Committee on Security cleared various proposals for acquiring, hiring and leasing naval and aerial assets for the ICG. The agency is looking to induct helicopters of five-tonne class for carrying out surveillance and is in talks with various global manufacturers in this regard. "We have been approached by ICG and they told us that they wanted these helicopters urgently. We did a check on our helicopters flying in India and identified that we would be able to give the agency four of them currently flying here," European helicopter-manufacturer Eurocopter's senior vice president Norbert Ducrot said. Eurocopter's machines flying in India are of Dauphin-class, which fall in the medium weight category of helicopters as sought by the CG. "We are enquiring with other manufacturers also if they can spare their helicopters for our needs," a Defence Ministry source said. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) built Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv also falls in the same weight-class. "After meeting the present requirements of the CG, more orders for the indigenous helicopter can be placed for future requirements," the source said. At present, the Coast Guard has a fleet of 17 Chetaks, 24 Dornier-228, and four ALHs and is also in the process of procuring and inducting six Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMMA), which would augment the existing fleet of Dornier-228 aircraft in the near future, as envisaged in its Perspective Plan. The agency's aviation arm undertakes coordinated operations in support of its surface assets towards protection of the vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), extends assistance to fishermen and mariners in distress, preserves and protect marine environment and assists local authorities during natural calamities.

US Attacks Inside Pakistan After Verifying ISI-Taliban Link / Swat Ceasefire To Be Reviewed: Pakistani Taliban

US Attacks Inside Pakistan After Verifying ISI-Taliban Link / Swat Ceasefire To Be Reviewed: Pakistani Taliban
(NSI News Source Info) February 23, 2009: The US national security agency (NSA) has intercepted messages to indicate that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence was in "complete coordination" with the Taliban, according to a US journalist.
New York Times' White House correspondent David E Sanger has claimed in his latest book that the US decision to launch air attacks inside Pakistan's western borders was taken after "one such high-level conversation was intercepted" in which a speaker said the Taliban was a "strategic asset" for Pakistan.
SHEMGAL VALLEY, AFGHANISTAN - FEBRUARY 22: Soldiers with a joint U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) keep cover February 22, 2009 in the Shemgal Valley, Afghanistan. The team was inspecting the viability of a new road project in the area which has a history of Taliban activity. As the security situation continues to challenge coalition forces, President Obama is sending an additional 17,000 American troops to Afghanistan this spring and summer, adding to the 36,000 Americans currently in Afghanistan.
Excerpts of the book 'The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the challenges to American power' were published by Pakistani newspaper The News. The daily said former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf called a press conference recently to "repeatedly deny" allegations in the book that he had held a series of parleys with slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto about her security, following which she returned to Pakistan.
The book also claimed that NSA had intercepted messages indicating ISI officers of helping Taliban in planning a big bomb attack in Afghanistan although the target was unclear. After some days, Kandahar jail was attacked by Taliban and hundreds of their militants were freed, it said, adding that the US decision to invade Pakistani territories was taken "after CIA reached a conclusion that the ISI was absolutely in complete coordination with the Taliban".
According to the Pakistani daily, Sanger also wrote that the telephones of all senior army officers, including its chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, were bugged by NSA and CIA.
The author "claims that American intelligence agencies were intercepting telephonic conversations of army officers and the decision to attack Pakistan through drones was taken after one such high-level conversation was intercepted claiming the Taliban as a 'strategic asset' for Pakistan", it said.
The US scribe "seemed to have been given direct access to the secret record of several meetings held at the White House before George Bush left on January 20," the daily said. The book said NSA had picked up intercepts like someone giving advance warning of what was coming to Taliban when the Pakistan Army was getting ready to hit places in tribal areas.
According to 'The News', the book also claimed that the Americans were in "full knowledge of the facts on the ground and they started attacking territories inside Pakistan as they thought the Pakistan army and intelligence agencies were no more interested in fighting the Taliban."
It also speaks of a two-star general as saying that supporting Taliban was absolutely necessary as "Indians will rein when Americans pull out".
The Pakistani daily said it had sought a detailed response from the Inter Services Public Relations to its report and promised to give it "equal and similar space".