(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - March 15, 2009: Lockheed Martin Corp is being awarded a much-anticipated U.S. Navy contract to refurbish 12 submarine-hunting aircraft for Taiwan, the Pentagon said Friday. The $665.6 million deal was announced after Washington protested what it described as Chinese harrassment on Sunday of the Impeccable, a U.S. Navy surveillance vessel operating in China's Exclusive Economic Zone in the South China Sea. Taiwan sealed a government-to-government deal in December 2007 for the turboprop-driven P-3C Orion aircraft, which are U.S. Navy surplus and no longer in production. They are used for maritime patrol, reconnaissance, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine missions. The U.S. Navy, acting as middleman, said last month it had reached a tentative refurbishing deal with Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's No. 1 contractor by sales. The upgrades will include new avionics, or electronic brains, and service life extension kits to extend the aircrafts' service life for an additional 15,000 flight hours, said Tierney Helmers, a spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors business unit. The first modernized P-3C aircraft will be delivered to Taiwan in 2012, she said. The work is expected to be completed in August 2015, according to a Pentagon contract digest. The P-3Cs were part of a landmark arms package approved by former President George W. Bush for possible sale to Taiwan in April 2001. In addition to the refurbishing contract, the deal is expected to include support, maintenance, spares and other services that would bring its total value to about $1.3 billion, said a Navy official who asked not to be named because of the matter's sensitivity. The P-3 is the primary maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft operated by the U.S. Navy and 18 international allies. Its roles include anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance, search and rescue, drug interdiction, economic zone patrol, airborne early warning and electronic warfare.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
US In Deal To Refurbish Aircraft For Taiwan / Lockheed Martin Will Update 12 U.S. Navy P-3Cs To Taiwan
US In Deal To Refurbish Aircraft For Taiwan / Lockheed Martin Will Update 12 U.S. Navy P-3Cs To Taiwan
U.S. Army Awards Deal For Cheetah M-ATVs To Force Dynamics
(NSI News Source Info) LADSON, S.C., - March 15, 2009: The U.S. Army has contracted Force Dynamics for its Cheetah vehicles as part of the mine-resistant ambush-protected all-terrain vehicle program. Force Dynamics, a joint venture of Force Protection Inc. and General Dynamics Land Systems, was awarded a $1 million contract for two of its Cheetah vehicles under the Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command M-ATV program. Force Dynamics' Cheetah M-ATV, a lightweight tactical vehicle based on Force Protection's original Cheetah vehicle, is a response to the Army's solicitation for a more mobile vehicle to withstand the rugged terrain of Afghanistan operations. "Delivery of these first test vehicles and the subsequent sale to TACOM is an important milestone gate in the M-ATV competition," Damon Walsh, Force Dynamics program director, said in a statement. "We have long believed that there was a need for a lightweight, highly mobile and highly survivable tactical wheeled vehicle to supplement the current fleet. We are proud to have foreseen -- through the development of the Cheetah -- the need to evolve the category with enhanced mobility to navigate the rugged terrain and wider variety of missions that characterize the conflict in Afghanistan."
Boeing Holds 'Major Join' Ceremony For 12-Nation Strategic Airlift Capability's 1st C-17
(NSI News Source Info) March 15, 2009: Boeing today marked a key milestone at its C-17 final assembly facility in Long Beach -- the "major join" ceremony for the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) consortium's first C-17 Globemaster III. The unique SAC approach to shared use of the strategic airlifter was hailed as a model for the future acquisition and management of defense capabilities for NATO and European Union (EU) missions. Hungarian Minister of Defense Dr. Imre Szekeres drives the ceremonial rivet at the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) C-17 major join ceremony on March 13. Hungary has agreed to host the Heavy Airlift Wing at Pápa Air Base, where the first SAC C-17 will be based. During major join, the C-17 airlifter's four major sections -- the forward, center and aft fuselages and wing assembly -- are integrated, and the aircraft begins to look like a C-17 for the first time. Hundreds of C-17 employees looked on as senior members of SAC and representatives of the government of the Republic of Hungary, NATO, and Boeing drove ceremonial rivets into the aircraft's fuselage. Hungarian Minister of Defense Dr. Imre Szekeres played a special symbolic role in the ceremony, since Hungary has agreed to both host the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) at Pápa Air Base, where a total of three C-17s will be based, and to register the aircraft under the Hungarian flag. "SAC is a great example to see that cooperation and mutual finance strengthen capabilities and efficiency both within NATO and two EU countries outside NATO. It is a model for future cooperation," said Szekeres. "Strategic airlift is critical in responding to today's global challenges," said Peter Flory, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment. "SAC1 represents a big step forward in strengthening our ability to support NATO, EU, United Nations and other military, humanitarian, disaster-relief, and peacekeeping missions around the world." The SAC1 C-17's first flight is set for June, with delivery tentatively scheduled for early July. SAC includes 10 NATO nations -- Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, United States -- and Partnership for Peace members Sweden and Finland. They will share acquisition and operating costs for three C-17s over the nearly 30-year course of the agreement. As chairman of the SAC Steering Board, Brig. Gen. Richard Johnston, U.S. Air Force, shared his thoughts during the ceremony: "No nation today is independent of those around it," he said. "These two Partnership for Peace and 10 NATO nations will succeed in bringing airlift to meet their national needs while working together through unwavering cooperation and partnership." "We have more than 70 airmen and families from the SAC nations working and living in Pápa, and our personnel strength grows each week," said the HAW's first commander, Col. John Zazworsky, U.S. Air Force. "With loadmasters and pilots already in training, we are on course for multinational flight operations as planned this summer." The colonel has been at work at Pápa Air Base since October. "The C-17 is the only tactical aircraft capable of performing all SAC airlift missions, including strategic, tactical, military and humanitarian missions, as well as brigade airdrops, aeromedical evacuations, and landings and takeoffs from standard runways or austere airfields," said Tommy Dunehew, Boeing International C-17 program manager. "SAC's commitment to the C-17 is yet another example of the value the C-17 has to international customers." Acting on behalf of SAC, the NATO Airlift Management Agency (NAMA), led by General Manager Gunnar Borch, signed an agreement with the U.S. government in November for the acquisition of three C-17s, one of which will be provided by the United States. NAMA provides acquisition, financial and human-resources support to the HAW, and has also been active since the fall in bringing this new concept to life.
Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Program Completes Infrared Search And Track System Tests
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS - March 15, 2009: The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Infrared Search and Track (IRST) program has successfully completed a series of risk-reduction flight tests that demonstrated the compatibility and effectiveness of the IRST system on the Super Hornet strike fighter. A Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet flies with an Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system integrated in the front section of the aircraft's center fuel tank during system flight testing. IRST is a passive, long-range sensor system that searches for and detects IR emissions within its field of view. It can track several targets simultaneously and provide an effective air-to-air targeting capability, even when facing advanced threats equipped with radar-jamming technology. Boeing, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, and General Electric developed a prototype IRST sensor that was installed in the front section of a modified 480-gallon fuel tank. The U.S. Navy conducted six flight tests at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and four at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif. Chris Wedewer, F/A-18E/F IRST program manager for Boeing, said the flight tests allow for low-risk entry into the development phase of the program. "Boeing and Lockheed Martin successfully demonstrated transfer alignment, long-range target detection, and the ability to operate in a fuel tank," Wedewer said. "Boeing also demonstrated integration of the IRST into the F/A-18E/F's multisource integration algorithms, allowing for the fusion of IRST tracking data with data from other sensors." Wedewer added that the demonstration ensures effective and efficient progress as the IRST program moves into development and production. IRST is part of the Navy's F/A-18E/F Block II Super Hornet Flight Plan, which is a series of planned capability enhancements that ensures the Super Hornet will continue to outdistance known and emerging threats over the coming decades. The Block II F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a multirole aircraft able to perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions. Equipped with the APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, the F/A-18E/F seamlessly conducts simultaneous air and ground missions.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Open To Russian Strategic Bombers Using Venezuelan Island
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - March 15, 2009:Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has proposed to Russia using a Venezuelan island for temporary hosting of Russian long-range aviation, a top-ranking Russian Air Force official said Saturday. "There is such a proposal on the part of the Venezuelan president. Chavez proposed to us a whole island with an airfield that we can use for temporary basing of strategic bombers," said Maj.-Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, the chief of the long-range aviation staff. The Tupolev Tu-160 is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber designed by the Soviet Union.Some experts say that it is superior in configuration to the B-1 Lancer and significantly faster at altitude with a greater combat range and payload capacity. Entered service in 1987 with the 184 Guards Bomber Regiment, based at Priluki, Ukraine, the Tu-160 was the last strategic bomber designed by the Soviet Union but remains in production, with at least 16 currently in service with the Russian Air Force. Pilots of the Tu-160 call it the “White Swan”, due to its maneuverability and antiflash white finish. Although several civil and military transport aircraft are bigger, the Tu-160 has the greatest total thrust, and the heaviest takeoff weight of any combat aircraft, and the highest top speed as well as one of the largest payloads of any current heavy bomber. "If there is the relevant political decision, the island ... could be used by the Russian Air Force," Zhikharev told journalists. He said the temporary basing opportunity could be used for air patrol missions. In September 2008 two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack multi-mission strategic bombers arrived in Venezuela after a 13-hour flight over the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. There were no nuclear weapons on board the aircraft. After that, they carried out a patrol mission over the Caribbean. The Tu-160 Blackjack is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber, designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theaters of operation.
Royal Air Force's Nimrods May Retire Sooner Due To Fatigue
(NSI News Source Info) March 14, 2009:Britain is withdrawing all of its Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft from overseas, until all can have problems with fuel leaks and air circulation fixed. This is a major problem in Afghanistan, where the Nimrods have been very useful in providing ground surveillance and electronic monitoring. It was hoped some Nimrods could be kept in service overseas, but the need for repairs proved more urgent than expected. The main cause of the problems is age related. The Nimrod is a 1960s design that uses the airframe of the 1950s era Comet airliner. There has been work on a replacement aircraft, but money shortages, and disagreements over specifications, have delayed this. Crews have complained about the problems for years. The repair program was largely motivated by a Nimrod crash in Afghanistan in 2006, because of fuel leak problems, and the remaining 18 Nimrods are considered too old to be fixed by anything short of a complete rebuild. This is underway, but the first rebuilt Nimrod won't be available until next year. Three of the Nimrods are the R1 variant, and used as signals intelligence aircraft, and are considered essential over Afghanistan. Britain needs the electronic monitoring aircraft now. So they leased two U.S. Air Force electronic monitoring aircraft (RC-135 Rivet Joint) to fill in because of shortages.
The aircraft will have joint British and American crews, but will be painted in Royal Air Force colors. Britain is also buying three RC-135s from the United States, at $350 million each. Most of this money is for the electronics. The aircraft itself is a rebuilt KC-135 tanker.
Thailand Is A Tourist Paradise, Its A Has Fair Share Of Militants Problems In Southern Part
(NSI News Source Info) March 14, 2009: In the last few days, there's been another spike of violence in the south. Three soldiers were killed while on patrol, and several civilians were wounded elsewhere, by attackers seeking to intimidate informers or local police. The government is sending another 4,000 troops and police to the south, making a total of 64,000. Despite a gradual reduction in violence in the south, the killings continue.Thai soldiers stand guard at the site of a bomb blast triggered by suspected separatist Muslim militants in Sri Sa Korn district, in Thailand's restive southern province of Narathiwat on January 23, 2009. Suspected separatists detonated a road side bomb as Thai soldiers were patrolling, injured two of them. More than 3,500 people have been killed since unrest erupted in Thailand's Muslim-majority southern provinces five years ago. Not as many as before, but 700 have died in the last year, and 3,700 in the last five. That's about two people a day, in an area with a population of two million. That's about five times the murder rate in the rest of the country. The rate of violence has decreased as the police and army have gained the upper hand, but many of the Islamic terrorists are willing to fight to the death. There is increased Islamic violence against southern Moslems suspected to assisting the police. More southerners are doing just that, sensing that the Islamic radicals are a dead end. The Islamic terrorists also make themselves unpopular by their attacks on schools and threatening to impose lifestyle restrictions on the population. In the last five years, nearly a quarter of the 300,000 Buddhists in the south have fled. This has been another goal of the Islamic terrorists down south, who want to separate the three Moslem majority provinces into an Islamic state (to eventually include all of Thailand, Malaysia and other nations in the region.) The army is buying a portable aerostat system for use in the south. A truck carrying the gear can inflate the aerostat within an hour, and get it up to an altitude of 1,000 feet (which means its cameras can see out to about sixty kilometers.) The aerostat can carry day or night cameras (including a thermal sensor). In rural areas, the aerostat enables security forces to quickly get persistent aerial surveillance over a large area (2800 square kilometers.) A camera with a powerful zoom lens enables the operator to get a close look at anything down there. Adding to the stress down south, there is a drought. The government has brought in water transportation and distribution March 7, 2009: In the south, two college students were killed and their bodies burned. Islamic terrorists are suspected, but there has always been more violence in the south because of the smuggling gangs. But elsewhere in the south, two army rangers, two Buddhists (a village chief and another civilian) were murdered, apparently by Islamic terrorists.
Russia Considers Temporary Air Bases In Americas
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - March 14, 2009: Russia could use bases for its strategic bombers on the doorstep of the United States in Cuba and Venezuela to underpin long-distance patrols in the region, a senior air force officer said March 14. "This is possible in Cuba," Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, chief of the Russian air force's strategic aviation staff, told the Interfax-AVN military news agency. The comments were the latest signal that Moscow intends to project its military capability in far-flung corners of the globe despite a tight defense budget and hardware that experts consider in many respects outdated. Zhikharev indicated that Russia was looking only at occasional use of the facilities - not setting up permanent bases in the region. He noted that the Venezuelan constitution prohibited establishment of military bases of foreign states on Venezuelan territory and described the Russian possible use of the facility there as "we land, we complete the flight, we take off." Zhikharev said Cuba had a several air bases equipped with the long runways needed by the heavy bombers and said the facilities there were "entirely acceptable" for use by the Russian aircraft during long-distance patrols. "If the will of the two states is there, the political will, then we are prepared to fly there" to the bases in Cuba, the agency quoted Zhikharev as saying. The general also said that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had offered to let Russian strategic bombers use a military airfield on La Orchila island, a military base off the west coast of the country. "Yes, there has been such a proposal from the Venezuelan president," Zhikharev said. "If a relevant political decision is made, this is possible," he added. Russia resumed patrols by its long-distance strategic bombers in August 2007 after a 15-year hiatus, noting at the time that it was mirroring the United States, which never suspended its global bomber patrols after the Cold War. Last year, Russia temporarily based a pair of Tu-160 bombers at an airbase in Venezuela in a carefully-choreographed display of force regarded by as a warning message to the United States. A Russian flotilla led by the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great also joined Venezuelan navy vessels for maneuvers in the Caribbean late last year, timed to coincide with a visit to the region by President Dmitry Medvedev. The previous U.S. administration of George W. Bush officially shrugged off the Russian aviation and naval moves in Latin America, characterizing them as more for show than anything representing a military worry for the United States. In July, however, a top U.S. air force officer warned that Russia would cross "a red line" if it were to base nuclear capable bombers in Cuba. "If they did, I think we should stand strong and indicate that is something that crosses a threshold, crosses a red line for the United States of America," Gen. Norton Schwartz said on July 23. The Interfax report said there were three types of Russian aircraft capable of long-distance bomber patrols: the Tu-95MS, the Tu-160 and the Tu-22. It was Tu-160 strategic bombers that were sent to Venezuela for temporary basing last year. Each aircraft of this type is capable of carrying 12 cruise missiles that can be fitted with nuclear warheads.
U.S. Eyes Super Tucano For SpecOps Work
(NSI News Source Info) March 14, 2009: The U.S. Navy's new Irregular Warfare office has been looking at an agile Brazilian observation and ground-attack turboprop to provide an "organic" close air support aircraft for special operations forces. The Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, also named ALX or A-29 is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter insurgency (COIN) and pilot training missions, incorporating modern avionics and weapons systems. It is currently in service with the air forces of Brazil, and Colombia, and has been ordered by Chile and the Dominican Republic. Embraer has plans to sell it to other countries in Asia and the Middle East. Besides pilot training, it is heavily employed in monitoring operations in the Amazon region. Under the classified "Imminent Fury" program, the Navy has already leased, tested and armed at least one Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, according to Capt. Mark Mullins, a naval special warfare officer serving as the deputy director of the Navy Irregular Warfare Office at the Pentagon. "This is a close air support, manned aircraft with a pilot and sensor operator. The idea here is that SOF needs an organic capability that can stick with them while they're doing their mission," Mullins said. "We're not buying them; we're leasing them right now. That's an important point." Speaking March 12 at an exposition on expeditionary warfare in Virginia Beach, Va., Mullins said the intent is to put four of the single-engine aircraft into the fight as quickly as possible. "Now we're in an operational pause, trying to figure out how to get to Phase II. We need about $44 million," he said. "Back to the method of venture capitalism, we're working with the Air Force and Marine Corps, socializing it with those guys to see if we can get money invested and get to Phase II, where we're taking four aircraft into theater." The EMB-314 is flown by the military forces of Brazil and Colombia, according to Christine Manna, communications director at Embraer's office for North America in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. As well, Manna said, Chile bought 12 planes and the Dominican Republic bought eight, but the planes have not been delivered yet. The Super Tucano has a flight endurance of more than six hours, carries several sensors, can be armed with a heavy machine gun in each wing and has mounts for bombs, cannon and rocket pods, according to Jane's All the World's Aircraft 2008-9. Calling it a "fascinating piece of kit," Mullins said "the proof of concept" is complete after a year of testing. But he described Imminent Fury as his new office's "most contentious project," mostly due to wariness from naval aviation. "You can imagine the SOF guys and Marines really love this," he said. "The challenge here, and why it's so contentious, is it falls into the seam where it's really not clear whose bailiwick it is. It's not a marinized aircraft. It doesn't fly off the carrier." Mullins said the Super Tucano can be landed on an unimproved airstrip such as a road, refueled in minutes and sent right back into the fray. A briefing slide on the Imminent Fury project obtained by Defense News sister publication Navy Times identifies the need for a "tactical fixed wing [intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance] platform to provide expeditionary, organic Find/Fix/Finish operations for SOF Forces in a maneuverable, long range, low heat signature platform." The project began following a visit by Navy Secretary Donald Winter with naval special warfare task forces in the Central Command area in October 2007, according to a similar brief. "It's not about flying in from 1,000 miles away, dropping some thousand-pound bombs and leaving," Mullins said. "It's about working with [the ground force], doing the intelligence preparation of the battlespace, doing a [communication] relay, close air support, eyes on target and if there's squirters leaving the target, keeping up with them and tracking them down and doing [bomb damage assessment] at the end." Although Mullins said the project is awaiting funding to move forward, a slide in Mullins' presentation indicated it's sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Naval Air Systems Command and the Navy. "Imminent Fury is a classified Navy initiative to address urgent warfighter needs," said Lt. Sean Robertson, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon. "Initial developmental testing has been promising, and the Navy is currently conducting discussions with our Joint partners on various courses of action as this initiative moves forward." Mullins delivered an unclassified brief, but details of Imminent Fury remain classified, Robertson said. The Irregular Warfare office, part of the Navy staff at the Pentagon, was established in July under the direction of Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations. It's headed by Rear Adm. Mark Kenny, a submariner. "Our goal is to rapidly deliver capabilities and effects," Mullins said. "And we are the CNO's lead for irregular warfare."
Russia Earmarks Funds For Mi-38 Development / 3 Billion Rubles For The Project Of Mi-38
(NSI News Source Info) March 14, 2009: JSC Kazan Helicopter Plant expects to receive in the upcoming Federal Target Program (FTP) for the development of civil aviation technology in Russia until 2020 three billion rubles, including 1.5 billion rubles provided [by] the State, [and] 1.5 billion rubles provided [by] OPK Oboronprom, [according to] Tass.In close collaboration with Mil Design Bureau and Eurocopter, "Kazan Helicopters" continues development and production of Mi-38 helicopter prototype. The Mi-38 helicopter meets FAR-29 requirements and European JAR-29, category A and B. The engine of the helicopter has been developed by Pratt-Whitney/Rus and is being designed to meet the requirements of European JAR-E Regulations. The helicopter is intended for day and night operation, under any weather conditions in a range of temperatures from - 60C up to + 50C.
The funds will be directed towards the completion and launch in serial production of the Mi-38. Previously, the Mi-38 project was included in the same Federal Target Program, but with little financing.
Currently directors of OPK Oboronprom made to achieve to the project Mi-38 was included in the Federal Program for the development of civil aviation equipment for 2010-2011 with significant amounts of funding.
Serial production of the Mi-38 should begin at the Kazan Helicopter Plant in 2010. Plans are to complete flight tests of the Mi-38 in 2009 and to begin mass production in 2010, [Tass] reports.
Pakistan Is The Most Dangerous Place On Earth: US Expert
(NSI News Source Info) Washington - March 14, 2009: Calling Pakistan 'the most dangerous place on earth', Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call's executive editor Mort Kondracke has suggested that the Obama administration should give 'top priority' to the South Asian nation in its Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy. Amir Izzat, center, spokesman of pro-Taliban cleric Sufi Muhammad, briefs the media about the negotiations between Muhammad and the government officials in Mingora, capital of troubled Swat valley in Pakistan on Sunday, March 1, 2009 in Pakistan Taliban militants in the valley have extended a cease-fire, strengthening a peace process that Western governments say risks granting a safe haven to extremists close to the Afghan border. Muhammad gave deadline of March 15, 2009 to impose Islamic laws. "US intelligence officials say Pakistan is the likeliest source of terrorist attacks on the United States. It's the most dangerous place on earth: nuclear-armed, menaced by terrorists, economically in crisis and mired in political turmoil," said Kondracke. He said protecting Afghanistan from Taliban advances is important - and US troop commitments will be a major domestic concern - but preventing chaos in Pakistan is vital to US security.
US President Barack Obama's promised Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy is to be delivered to the April 3-4 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit.
"For more than 20 years, US aid has been almost entirely military and even that was not used to establish a counter-insurgency capability but to buy conventional weaponry that Pakistan's military wanted to counter India," Kondracke said.
While Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has declared himself America's ally in the war on terror and has permitted the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to use Pakistani territory to stage missile strikes on Al Qaida targets, "he has not been able or willing to crack down on extremist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which perpetrated last year's Mumbai terrorist attack".
Noting that "those groups originally were created by Pakistan's military intelligence service, the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), to stage attacks" in Kashmir, Kondracke said: "They are widely believed to still have ISI connections."
It may well cost a lot of money and effort to rescue the Pakistani economy, invest in education and infrastructure and persuade the army to concentrate on fighting terrorists instead of India, he said.
But all this seems a reasonable investment- assuming the money is not squandered - in view of what it might forestall, Kondracke said, noting: "If we're worried about Iran's developing a nuclear weapon, contemplate Lashkar-e-Taiba in command of an entire arsenal."
U.S. Military Keeping Close Eye On Developments In Pakistan
(NSI News Source Info) March 14, 2009: U.S. officials are keeping a close watch on the current unrest in Pakistan, a country that is key to NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday.
Pakistani lawyers and activists are marching on Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, calling for an independent judicial branch. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said on PBS’s “Charlie Rose Show” that American officials are watching the events and the Pakistani government’s response closely.
Pakistani police officers hold their weapons as they escort the convoy of Shahbaz Sharif, brother of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, at Kamoki village, near Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 11, 2009. Pakistan banned protests in two provinces and arrested scores of lawyers and opposition leaders Wednesday ahead of planned rallies threatening to batter the already-shaky rule of its pro-Western government.
“I’ve been engaged from the standpoint of understanding what’s going on there, and I know that their people are concerned that this could degenerate into a situation that could very possibly generate a crisis, which may cause actions to be taken on the part of the military,” Mullen said. The possibility that the Pakistani military will move is remote right now, but it has taken a hand in politics before, Mullen noted.
Former President Pervez Musharraf was a Pakistani army chief who took control of the country. Mullen has met with his Pakistani counterpart, Army Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, 10 times since the chairman took office in October 2007. “He is committed to a civilian government; he is committed to the democracy that’s there,” Mullen told Rose. “And in my view, the last thing in the world he wants to do … is takeover as President Musharraf did.”
The Pakistani military wants to stay out of politics, and Kiyani wants to do what is right, but is in a tough spot, Mullen said. “I’m just hopeful that doesn’t turn into another crisis in Pakistan,” he said. At the heart of the security uncertainty in Pakistan is the Taliban, which is using the country’s western border to rest and refit for combat against NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The Taliban also are exerting control in the Swat Valley -- formerly a tourist spot some 70 miles from Islamabad. Kiyani “recognizes that he has an extremist threat in Pakistan,” Mullen said. “They’ve lost many, many citizens. He recognizes there’s a serious extremist, terrorist threat inside his country and, in fact, his forces have fought very hard this year up in Bajaur, and Mohman, up on the western border.”
The terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, in November further complicated the situation, Mullen said. Terrorists are believed to have planned the attack in India’s financial capital from Pakistan, and the small-group attack chilled relations between the two nuclear-armed countries. Following the attack, Kiyani had to turn his attention to his country’s border with India.
“He’s a chief that’s got threats coming from both directions,” Mullen said. In the U.S. perspective, diplomacy is needed for relations with India, and more troops are needed for the actions against the Taliban.
Mullen said that many people around the world are worried about ties between Pakistan’s intelligence agency and the extremists. “They have been very attached to many of these extremist organizations, and it’s my belief that in the long run, they have got to completely cut ties with those in order to really move in the right direction,” the chairman said.
Kiyani has appointed a new intelligence chief with the mission to bring the agency under control. Mullen said he is encouraged, but change will take time. The Taliban and al-Qaida safe havens in Pakistan are the most difficult problems facing the region, Mullen said.
“We have this safe haven in a sovereign country that is threatening, plotting against Americans and other Western countries, and it must be eliminated,” Mullen said. “Ideally, that would come through the pressure that the Pakistanis bring to eliminate that threat.”
But if the terrorists manage to launch an attack on the United States or its allies, that would change the equation. America and its allies would be forced to respond. “What we’re working hard on is trying to make sure that doesn’t happen,” the chairman said.
Obama Set To Supply Helicopters To Mexico
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - March 14, 2009: President Barack Obama was set on Friday to notify Congress of his first planned overseas arms deal, a Bell helicopter package to help counter drug-runners and other criminals in Mexico. The Obama administration is proposing to send Mexico five Bell 412 EP twin-engine helicopters, valued at $93 million, as part of an anti-drug plan called the Merida Initiative, said a person with direct knowledge who asked not to be named because of the matter's sensitivity. Established last year under former U.S. president George W. Bush, the Merida Initiative aims to help Mexico and Central America combat narcotrafficking, transnational crime and terrorism. Fort Worth, Texas-based Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc unit, would be prime contractor.
The notice of such a potential sale is required by law. It does not mean a deal has been concluded. The U.S. Joint Forces Command said in a recent study that criminal gangs and drug cartels had put Mexico's government, police and judicial infrastructure under "sustained assault."
US Bill Ties Aid With Access To A.Q. Khan
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - March 14, 2009: Already reeling under terrorist violence and political turmoil, Pakistan came under increased US pressure on Thursday when lawmakers introduced a legislation aiming to cut off military aid to the country unless American officials were able to question Dr A. Q. Khan. The US claims Dr Khan headed a network of nuclear proliferators and some US politicians want to question over his alleged involvement in providing nuclear know-how to Iran, Libya and North Korea. The United States claims Dr Khan headed a network of nuclear proliferators and some US politicians want to question him over his alleged involvement in providing nuclear know-how to Iran, Libya and North Korea. He was placed under house arrest after the unearthing of the alleged network but was released in early February. ‘Khan is again a loose nuke scientist with proven ability to sell the worst weapons to the worst people,’ said Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman, a lead author of the bill. The legislation would also tie continued US military aid to assurances from Islamabad that it is monitoring Dr Khan’s movements and activities. ‘Hopefully, appropriate Pakistani officials worry as we do that their civilians could become nuclear targets — as could Nato soldiers in neighbouring Afghanistan or civilians in any number of Western countries,’ said Rep. Harman. The United States had stopped military and economic assistance to Pakistan in 1990, following a dispute over its nuclear programme. Diplomatic observers in Washington, however, say that it would be difficult to bring such sanctions against Pakistan at this stage when the United States wants the allied nation to increase its role in fighting terrorism. Pakistan is already resisting Washington’s offer for greater US involvement in training the Pakistani military. Senior US officials and lawmakers — such as Vice President Joe Biden and Senator John Kerry, who heads the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee — have described the previous sanction against Pakistan as a mistake and opposed any future sanctions. US officials say that the previous sanction, known as the Presslar Amendment, reduced their influence in Pakistan, particularly in the military, and has left bitter memories in that country.
Obama Look-Alike In Azerbaijan Becomes Local Celebrity
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - March 14, 2009: A man in Azerbaijan bearing a striking resemblance to U.S. President Barack Obama has become a celebrity in the ex-Soviet Caucasus state, a popular Russian daily said on Friday. Asif Mustafayev, 31, an artist with tanned skin and curly hair, is called "our Obama" by his fellow villagers, who often drop to his place with their guests from the capital, Baku, to show off the local look-alike of the world's No.1 leader, Vremya Novostei said. Mustafayev earns his living by painting advertising hoardings, decorating schools and sprucing up the tourist centers that abound in the picturesque mountainous area, but has now often to leave his workshop to pose for a picture with fellow villagers and visitors, the paper said. He does not seem to mind his neighbors' frequent intrusions and invitations like "Hey, Obama, let's have tea and a heart-to-heart chat." Asif enjoys his new popularity and has even changed his artist's smock for a decent suit, the paper said. He has grown more interested in politics since his resemblance with Obama was noticed by village elders, who keep up to date with world news, the paper reported. In an interview with an Azerbaijani television channel, Asif said he dreamt of meeting with Obama one day to tell him about Azerbaijan and his view of its dispute with Armenia over Nagorny Karabakh. Asif's village is in the Gabala region, which hosts a Russian anti-missile radar monitoring the Middle East. The radar could become a point of contention between Moscow and Washington as Russia's lease agreement expires in 2012.
Russia To Deliver 40 Tons Of Humanitarian Aid To Afghanistan
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - March 14, 2009: A Russian plane carrying 40 metric tons of humanitarian aid is expected to arrive in Afghanistan on Friday night, an emergencies ministry spokesman said. The humanitarian load for the impoverished state comprises essential goods "from food and medicines to tents and clothes," the spokesman said on Friday. Meanwhile, Russia continues its deliveries of wheat flour to Afghanistan, where about 300 people died last year of hunger and cold during an unusually severe winter. Some 18,000 metric tons of flour in 275 rail carriages are expected to be delivered. As of March 13, a total of 140 rail cars, or 50%, have arrived in the Afghan city of Hairaton on the border with Uzbekistan, while another 70 are on their way. Under favorable conditions the deliveries of high-quality flour to Afghanistan are expected to be completed by mid-April. Russia also plans to give the Afghan government 50 Kamaz trucks later this year.
Raytheon-Led Team Wins NextGen Contract - Innovative System To Address Capacity At Nation's Busiest Airports
Raytheon-Led Team Wins NextGen Contract - Innovative System To Address Capacity At Nation's Busiest Airports
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - March 14, 2009: Raytheon Company has been awarded a contract to develop the NextGen Terminal Data Distribution System, which will make more efficient use of the crowded airspace in the U.S. The contract was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration. The Volpe Center provides key support to the Federal Aviation Administration on NextGen. The TDDS will automate flight information, resulting in improved capacity in the nation's airspace. It will facilitate the exchange of net-enabled data between disparate systems and integrate multiple data sources to better manage the airspace. It will be the first-of-its-kind terminal system applied in the FAA's System Wide Information Management program. The SWIM program will enable increased common situational awareness and improve the National Airspace Systems' ability to deliver the right information to the right place at the right time. "Raytheon is continuing to lead and support NextGen with innovative solutions," said Andy Zogg, Raytheon Network Centric Systems vice president of Airspace Management and Homeland Security. "We see TDDS as an important first step in helping address the capacity issues in our nation's airspace." TDDS will facilitate the exchange of NAS flight data with multiple existing systems, allowing them to better manage in-flight and airport traffic flow. As aircraft fly through airspace, they pass through different tracking systems. The tracking systems transmit data and communicate with each other using point-to-point interfaces, each with a unique communication link and special purpose protocol. This makes adding new interfaces and capabilities costly and time-consuming. The SWIM program requires cost-effective deployment of new capabilities to manage airspace more effectively and efficiently. TDDS will replace the point-to-point interfaces with SWIM-compliant, service-oriented architecture. The team, led by Raytheon's Network Centric Systems, includes Lockheed Martin's Transportation and Security Solutions Division, Intelligent Automation and Dnutch Associates. Raytheon Company, with 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 87 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.
Raytheon Announces $128 Million Patriot Missile Contract
(NSI News Source Info) March 14, 2009: Raytheon Company, March 10., has been awarded a $128.1 million U.S. Army contract for engineering services for the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System. Issued by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, the contract calls for Raytheon to provide systems analysis, software and hardware engineering, testing and logistics support. "This contract represents a continuation of the U.S. government and Raytheon's commitment to ensure that Patriot systems deployed by the U.S. Army and 11 international partners are maintained in the highest state of readiness," said Sanjay Kapoor, vice president of Patriot Programs at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). In addition to U.S. Patriot systems, Raytheon will be supporting Patriot systems for Germany, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Israel, Kuwait, Spain, Taiwan, Greece, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates under the Foreign Military Sales program. Raytheon IDS is the prime contractor for both domestic and international Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems and systems integrator for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles. Integrated Defense Systems is Raytheon's leader in Global Capabilities Integration providing affordable, integrated solutions to a broad international and domestic customer base, including the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Armed Forces and the Department of Homeland Security. Raytheon Company, with 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 87 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.
South Korea, Japan Warn North Korea On Missile / North Korea's Rocket Launch Aimed At Developing Missiles - Expert / Japan Says 'Ready To Shoot Down
South Korea, Japan Warn North Korea On Missile / North Korea's Rocket Launch Aimed At Developing Missiles - Expert / Japan Says 'Ready To Shoot Down North Korean Long-Range Missile'
(NSI News Source Info) March 14, 2009: Japan is ready to intercept a North Korean rocket if it appears to threaten the country's security, Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said on Friday. Pyongyang has notified global agencies of its plans to launch a communications satellite on April 4-8, indicating that the first stage of the carrier rocket would fall into the Sea of Japan and the second stage would splash down in the Pacific Ocean. The USS Chafee, a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer, is anchored at a South Korean naval port in Donghae, about 190 km (118 miles) east of Seoul, March 12, 2009. The destroyer equipped to intercept missiles arrived in South Korea to take part in a naval drill which is part of the Foal Eagle portion of the annual Key Resolve/Foal Eagle military exercises by the U.S. and South Korea. North Korea has given global agencies notice of its plans to launch a satellite from April 4-8, an official said on Thursday in a move Washington has called "provocative" and views as a disguised test of a missile. "If the rocket launch threatens to harm our country in any way, we will take decisive countermeasures," Nakasone said, adding that Japan would certainly "take up the issue at the UN Security Council." The communist state announced plans last month to launch a satellite using a three-stage rocket from the newly constructed Musudan-ri launch pad on the country's northeast coast. Seoul and Washington believe the real purpose of a satellite launch would be to test a long-range Taepodong-2 missile, which is thought to have a range of 6,700 kilometers (4,100 miles) and could possibly reach the U.S. states of Alaska and Hawaii, as well as South Korea and Japan. Pyongyang first tested a long-range missile in 1998, when it launched a Taepodong-1 over northern Japan and claimed that it carried a domestically-developed satellite. In 2002, Pyongyang and Tokyo agreed to a moratorium on missile tests, but the secretive regime has continued research on ballistic missile technology. In 2005 North Korea announced that it had nuclear weapons and in July 2006 test-launched a Taepodong-2 long-range missile and later staged an underground test of a nuclear device. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 1718 on October 14, 2006, which forbids North Korea from conducting further nuclear tests or launches of ballistic missiles. "Even if it is a satellite launch, as North Korea insists, it will be a violation of a UN Security Council resolution. The United States and Britain share our opinion [on this issue]," Nakasone said. Some analysts believe, though, the impoverished country is not capable of developing a domestic space program, and that the planned rocket launch is simply an attempt to draw the attention of U.S. President Barack Obama's new administration to the issue of the stalled six-party talks on North Korea's controversial nuclear program. The six-nation talks, involving North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States, were launched in 2003 after Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Marines Back “Essential” Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle / Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle — Failure Not An Option
Marines Back “Essential” Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle / Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle — Failure Not An Option
(NSI News Source Info) MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. - March 14, 2009: Our Corps’ position remains unequivocal — the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is essential to what we do and is our top acquisition priority. It is a mistake to let past technical difficulties shape the future of the program.The US Marines say past technical difficulties should not affect the future of the “essential” Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program. (USMC photo)
Operational experience has repeatedly demonstrated that the rapid projection of Marine Corps combat power ashore is the key to success in all amphibious missions across the range of military operations. The tremendous flexibility and utility, both across the littorals and deep inland, make it a significant addition to joint commanders’ employment options.
Even if the landing force could avoid fixed defenses, comparative analysis has shown that shuttling personnel carriers on landing craft air-cushioned would delay the build-up of combat power ashore to the extent that the landing force would incur significant casualties from an enemy counter-attack.
Additionally, anti-ship cruise missiles are lethal ship-killers, as demonstrated when Hezbollah struck an Israeli warship during the Lebanon crisis in 2006, but neutralizing these weapons is facilitated by keeping ships over the horizon. The Navy and Marine Corps have therefore pursued a complementary mix of over-the-horizon capabilities, to include rotary-wing and tilt-rotor aircraft, LCACs, and the EFV.
A surface amphibious fighting vehicle that self-deploys from a ship at high speed provides the joint commander the ability to quickly mass combat power ashore while overcoming projected anti-access threats. The Joint Requirements Oversight Council validated the requirement for the EFV, which is to provide rapid combat power build-up ashore from over the horizon.
It’s important to understand that when DoD programs exceed planned cost and schedule, Congress requires the secretary of Defense to make certain certifications.
The EFV underwent a complete review in spring 2007, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense certified, among other things, that “the EFV program is essential to national security and there are no alternatives which will provide equal or greater military capability at a reduced cost.” The EFV continues to make significant progress. A recent major design review assessed the predicted reliability as 61.5 hours mean time between operational mission failures, exceeding the established criteria of 43.5 hours. Further developmental and operational tests will be conducted on seven prototypes currently in fabrication to validate the reliability of the EFV.
This nation requires the ability to rapidly project combat power ashore from U.S. Navy ships to ensure our security against international threats. The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle remains a vital capability to accomplish that amphibious mission and is the commandant’s top ground combat priority.
A400M Customers Push Off Go/No-Go Decision
(NSI News Source Info) PARIS - March 14, 2009: Defense ministers of the seven European launch countries for the A400M have agreed to a three-month suspension of a contract clause that allows them to cancel the airlifter program. The move allows time to adopt a common position in negotiations with industry, French Defense Ministry spokesman Laurent Teisseire said March 13. France asked for the contract "moratorium" at a March 12 confab on the margins of an informal EU defense ministers meeting in Prague, Teisseire said. "We are pushing back a contract rendezvous point," he said. The A400M contract allows OCCAR, the arms procurement agency that manages the program, to cancel the program - or individual aircraft - because no first flight occurred within 14 months of the contracted date, Teisseire said. The deadline for OCCAR to decide to cancel is April 1, EADS Chief Executive Louis Gallois told a March 10 press conference. The moratorium bars the agency from canceling the program in the next three months, but maintains the right to kill it after that period ends. EADS, A400M's lead builder, said it is unlikely the program will be axed. Company officials want to renegotiate the contract to cover revised plans for production ramp-up, penalties, the aircraft standard that is acceptable for delivery, and other contract clauses. The current agreement allows six months between delivery of initial and full operational capability. EADS wants to extend that time, noting that full capability depends on the availability of software from suppliers. If OCCAR cancels the program, EADS would refund 5.7 billion euros ($7.3 billion) made as predelivery payments, EADS officials said in a statement about the company's 2008 results. The March 12 meeting also was attended by Turkey, which is not an EU member but is an A400M launch customer, along with Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany and Spain. The meeting took place in Prague because the Czech Republic holds the six-month rotating EU presidency. Air Force Gen. Vincenzo Camporini, the Italian military's chief of staff, said March 12 that Italy made a "wise" decision in 2001 to opt out of the A400M program during prelaunch negotiations, despite criticism at the time.
Czechs to Buy 107 Pandur IIs from GD / Czechs Agree To Buy 107 Steyr APCs For CZK 14 Bln
(NSI News Source Info) PRAGUE - March 14, 2009: The Czech defence ministry said March 13 it had signed a deal worth 539 million euros ($700 million) with U.S. giant General Dynamics for the purchase of 107 Pandur II armoured vehicles. The Pandur II 8 X 8 is an improved modular all-wheel-drive version of the Pandur 6X6 APC wheeled armoured vehicle. It was developed as a private venture by the Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeuge and is currently in production for the Portuguese Armed Forces. Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeuge is part of General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems, which is also the parent company of Mowag of Switzerland and Santa Bárbara Sistemas of Spain. The vehicles will be made by Austria's Steyr Daimler Puch, a General Dynamics subsidiary. A first batch of 17 Pandur II will be delivered to the Czech army by the end of the year, with the remainder to be rolled out by 2013. "It is symbolic that we are signing this contract as the Czech Republic is marking the 10th anniversary of joining NATO," said Deputy Defense Minister Martin Bartak after the signing ceremony. Prague initially signed a 798 million euro deal in June 2006 for 199 armored vehicles but it scrapped the order in December 2007 because of problems during testing. Early last year, the government decided to give Steyr Daimler Puch a second chance but scaled down the order. The Pandur II is to replace the outdated OT-64 armored vehicle which the then communist-run Czechoslovak army introduced in the 1960s. It will be used by Czech army units on domestic and overseas assignments, the ministry said.
Russian Air Force Withdraws 90 MiGs: Report / Russian Air Force Withdraws 90 Faulty MiGs - Report
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - March 14, 2009: Ninety of Russia's MiG-29 fighter jets have been rejected by military inspectors during checks after a crash in December, an air force spokesman said March 13, quoted by Interfax. "So far from the overall fleet of MiG-29s, about 200 planes have been examined, of which 100 have been permitted to fly. About 90 MiG-29s have been withdrawn from flying," Col. Vladimir Drik said. He added that checks were continuing on the rest of the MiG-29 fleet and that faulty planes would be repaired and put back in service as funds became available. Interfax estimated Russia's total number of MiG-29s at 300. Russia suspended MiG-29 flights in December when one of the jets crashed in Siberia, killing its pilot. The crash was attributed to a technical fault and followed another MiG-29 crash in October in the Chita area. First produced in the 1980s, MiG-29s have been exported through much of the world, notably being used by India's air force and by Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War. Despite a revival in Russia's financial position in recent years, the country's military has continued to suffer embarrassing technical failures, most notably with its accident-prone submarines.
Eurofighter Team: Cut Costs, We'll Make Order / Eurofighter reorganizing To Be Compatible And Acceptable: Reports
Eurofighter Team: Cut Costs, We'll Make Order / Eurofighter reorganizing To Be Compatible And Acceptable: Reports
(NSI News Source Info) March 14, 2009: The four Eurofighter partner nations have said they could decide by the end of March to order 45 percent of the third tranche of the planned total order of 620 aircraft, if manufacturers cut life-cycle costs on weapon systems. The deal to stagger the planned order of 236 third-tranche aircraft by Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain has long been in the works. But at a March 12 meeting, government officials linked that option to driving down the price. In a statement released after the meeting, the German Defense Ministry said: "The nations agreed to adjourn negotiations to the end of March 2009. The NATO agency NETMA, responsible for execution of the program, has been instructed to negotiate with the industry up to this time, in order to bring significant reductions to the life-cycle costs of the weapon system. "On the basis of appropriate results, it will thereafter be decided whether to proceed with a Part-Tranche 3A. This would represent approximately 45 percent of the original Tranche 3, 107 of 236 aircraft." The U.K. Defence Ministry, which was represented by procurement minister Quentin Davis at the meeting, declined to comment on the talks. Wolfdietrich Hoeveler, a spokesman for the Eurofighter industrial consortium, said a split in the tranche is "possible" if all four European customers agree to common terms. He argued, however, that the total four-nation order should remain fixed at 620 aircraft, and that the continuity of production should not be interrupted. Hitherto, the Italian Air Force has suggested it would like to cut its order back. The head of Italy's industrial partner, the Finmeccanica group, warned that if individual partners cut their order, it could mean a rearranging of the industrial workshare divided between firms. "We are interested in maintaining our present share, as well as promoting exports," Finmeccanica CEO Pierfrancesco Guarguaglini said March 12. "In Saudi Arabia, there is a chance of increasing the order, and there is also Romania and Oman," he said. "I am sure they will find a solution while considering the companies' interests."