Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Says Pakistan Will Not Accept Conditional US Aid
(NSI News Source Info) MULTAN - April 12, 2009: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Saturday that Pakistan would not accept such conditions attached to the US aid which go against the country's interests. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani speaking to the media in Multan. Gilani said that Pakistan wants friendly relations with all the neighbouring countries be it India, Afghanistan or Iran.
'Pakistan is a sovereign country, a self-respecting nation and front line ally in the war against terrorism and will not accept such conditions that are against the interests and stature of the country,' he said.
The Prime Minister was speaking to the media at the SBP Multan auditorium soon after chairing a ceremony to mark the launch of South Punjab Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SPWCCI), the first ever chamber representing women business entrepreneurs in the country.
Gilani said that Pakistan wants friendly relations with all the neighbouring countries be it India, Afghanistan or Iran.
To a question on the Swat peace agreement, the Prime Minister said that Swat was a Princely State before its amalgamation into Pakistan and it had its own customs and tradition.
'People of Swat want a system for speedy justice and martyred PPP leader Benazir Bhutto had also given incentives to them when she was the Prime Minister of the country,' he said.
The Prime Minister said that matters pertaining to 'Nizam Adl' have not been approved by the President so far and would be taken to the parliament for a decision. He said that the parliament is the appropriate forum to discuss it.
UK MoD Orders Wolfhound Armored Support Vehicles / Order Placed For Wolfhound Armoured Vehicles
(NSI News Source Info) April 12, 2009: A new breed of vehicle, the Wolfhound, which will give troops increased protection as they support missions in high threat areas, is now on order following the signing of a £90m contract.Wolfhound Armored Support Vehicles: Force Protection Industries, drawing on field experience with its combat-proven Cougar, Mastiff, and Ridgback line of protected vehicles, has developed the Tactical Support Vehicle System (TSV) to provide survivable logistics support capability essential for mobile operations. Based on the successful Cougar/Mastiff 6X6, TSV is a multi-mission adaptable platform that can be configured to address a wide range of support tasks.
Integrated Survivability Technologies Limited (IST) will build the Wolfhounds, a truck variant of the acclaimed Mastiff armoured troop carriers.
Wolfhound will provide a highly protected, load carrying vehicle to carry out a variety of tasks such as moving bulky stores for use in the construction of forward bases; as a Gun Tractor and Gun Limber for the Royal Artillery's 105 Light Gun and finally to carry general stores like ammunition, food or water.
Integrated Survivability Technologies Limited (IST) is a joint venture company between Force Protection Inc and Coventry-based NP Aerospace. The contract is for the supply of over 90 heavy tactical support vehicles based on the Cougar (American vehicle of which the British Mastiff is an up-armoured variant) design. The development will create 50 new jobs within NP Aerospace and the supplier base. Dr Andrew Tyler, Chief Operating Officer for Defence Equipment and Support said:
"I am proud to announce the order of the Heavy Support Vehicle, Wolfhound which, with the proven protection capabilities of the excellent Mastiff and Ridgback vehicles, will be a vital asset to battlefield commanders in supporting the front line.
"This contract is an excellent example of how we are continuing to work with British Industry to secure highly skilled jobs and retain valued expertise in this ever changing market."
"With the proven protection capabilities of the excellent Mastiff and Ridgback vehicles, [Wolfhound] will be a vital asset to battlefield commanders in supporting the front line."
Dr Andrew Tyler
Wolfhound will be armed with a 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) and the normal fit of radio and electronic equipment. Its commonality of design will ensure that the support solution is already in place, and that the training bill for troops using the fleet is minimised.
DE&S project manager, Nick Fox, added:
"The capacity, performance and outstanding protection afforded by the vehicle will be much welcomed by front line troops. Supplied as part of the Tactical Support Vehicle programme, building on lessons learnt from previous Urgent Operational Requirements and working closely with the new joint venture company, Integrated Survivability Technologies (IST), an improved capability will be delivered."
Force Protection Chief Executive Officer and chairman of IST, Michael Moody, said:
"Much like the Wolfhound vehicle requirement, Force Protection and NP Aerospace have come a long way in a very short time. We have established a partnership in the United Kingdom that we believe will become the base for growing our relationship with the UK Ministry of Defence."
Wolfhound, will join its sister vehicles Husky and Coyote as part of the £350m Tactical Support Vehicle programme announced last year which will buy over 400 new armoured support trucks to accompany our existing patrols carrying the essential supplies such as water and ammunition.
China, Uruguay Signed Agreement On Military Cooperation
(NSI News Source Info) BEIJING - April 12, 2009: Chinese and Uruguayan defense ministers held talks here Tuesday, agreeing to push forward military exchanges and cooperation.
Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie told his Uruguayan counterpart, Jose Bayardi, that the latest meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez in March had greatly advanced ties.
Liang, also a state councilor, stressed that China is willing to make joint efforts with Uruguay to boost pragmatic exchanges and cooperation between the two armed forces.
In the meeting with Liang, Bayardi said, "President Vazquez's state visit to China has produced fruitful results," adding that Uruguay is ready to further military exchange and cooperation with China.
The two defense ministers also exchanged views on such issues as peacekeeping cooperation, personnel exchanges and military training.
Bayardi started his eight-day official goodwill visit to China from April 5.
(NSI News Source Info) April 12, 2009: Zhanjiang citizens look around on the visiting Admiral Vinogradov submarine chaser of Russian navy in Zhanjiang, south China's Guangdong Province, April 9, 2009. Several hundreds of local Chinese paid a visit to the Admiral Vinogradov submarine chaser that opened to public here Thursday. The warship and the Boris Butoma tanker is on a five-day visit in Zhanjiang since April 6, 2009.
British Police Release Terror Suspect; Pakistan Demands More Info
(NSI News Source Info) April 12, 2009: British police have cleared the youngest of 12 men arrested in connection with what officials call a "very big" terrorist plot.
Police say the 18-year-old was released without charge Saturday and is now being questioned by British immigration officials.
British police officers guard a house on Galsworthy Avenue in Manchester, northern England April 9, 2009. Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer Bob Quick quit on Thursday after his security blunder forced police to bring forward a major operation to thwart a suspected al Qaeda plot. Quick was photographed openly carrying a secret document and hours later, police arrested 12 men in unusual daylight counter-terrorism raids across northwest England. Officers also searched eight addresses in Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire.
Meanwhile, a court ruling is giving police another week to interrogate the other suspects, most of them Pakistanis in Britain on student visas. Police detained the men Wednesday in a series of raids across northwestern England and continue to search 10 sites in Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire.
British authorities have not released details of the alleged plot but secret documents photographed by the media before the raids show authorities suspect the it was linked to al-Qaida. Pakistan's interior minister said Saturday that Pakistan wants to verify the identity of the suspects.
Rehman Malik told reporters Pakistan wants to bring the culprits to justice, especially if they had any ties to al-Qaida.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown telephoned Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari this past week to discuss terrorist threats from Pakistan. Mr. Brown said Thursday that Pakistan needs to do more to handle the threat.
Pakistan's High Commissioner to Britain, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, said Friday that his country is doing all it can to deal with the terrorist threat and that it is Britain that needs to do more.
Britain's Home Office said Friday that all foreign students are closely investigated -- including checking their fingerprints -- before being issued student visas. The office said those procedures have been tightened recently.
The security lapse forced police to act on their investigation earlier than they had planned and prompted the resignation of Britain's top counter-terrorism officer.
Britain says it has foiled two major bomb attacks since July of 2005, when attacks on London's transit system killed 52 people. Authorities said all of the plots had links to Pakistan.
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - April 12, 2009: Asif Ali Zardari gives the overall impression of an accidental president who still has an uncertain grasp on power, writes a senior Washington Post writer David Ignatius who met the president in Islamabad last week along with a group of other senior American journalists.
‘He is politically weak, and sounds disinclined to push the military to wage war against the Pashtun tribes in the mountains,’ writes Matthew Kaminski, a member of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board who also met the president with this group that accompanied US special envoy Richard Holbrooke and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. ‘He is politically weak, and sounds disinclined to push the military to wage war against the Pashtun tribes in the mountains,’ writes Matthew Kaminski.
‘The fragile democratic government of Asif Ali Zardari … seems unwilling to admit the extent of the problem’ confronting Pakistan, writes Joe Klein of the Time magazine who was part of this group.
All three writers, however, also note that Mr Zardari appears ‘sincere’ and ‘convincing’ while talking about ‘the cancer of extremism,’ which caused the death of his wife, Benazir Bhutto.
‘But on some major security and intelligence issues, he claimed no knowledge or sought to shift blame to others, and the overall impression was of an accidental president who still has an uncertain grasp on power,’ writes Mr Ignatius.
The Washington Post writer points out that part of the problem in Pakistan is the gap between what officials say in private and what they can admit openly. ‘Pakistani leaders know the Predator attacks help combat the Taliban in remote Waziristan, but they don't want to seem like American lackeys. So they protest in public the very strategy they have privately endorsed. One way or another, that gap has to be closed.’
Mr Kaminski quotes Ambassador Holbrooke as saying that the Pakistani president ‘deserves credit for his personal courage’ in holding the job. Mr Holbrooke also welcomed the ‘statesmanlike’ resolution of a recent political feud with rival Nawaz Sharif over the reinstatement of a Supreme Court judge.
The fight could have resulted in ‘civil war on the one hand or assassinations on the other,’ Mr Holbrooke told the journalist.
Mr Klein of the Time magazine quotes Mr Zardari as telling the journalists that ‘the germ (of terrorism) was created by the CIA.’
‘True enough, but somewhat dated,’ the journalist comments. ‘Your government called them the ‘moral equivalent of George Washington,’ Mr Zardari says, referring to the mujahedin who defeated the Soviets.
‘True again — and US complicity in the creation of al Qaeda shouldn't be forgotten — but the game changed after the Russians were kicked out of Afghanistan and the terrorists focused their attention on both the US and Pakistan, where they now reside,’ the journalist observes.
In the interview Mr Zardari insists that the presence of Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar on Pakistani soil is not his fault. ‘They were pushed [into Pakistan] by your great military offensive [in Afghanistan],’ he says sarcastically. ‘For seven years nothing has happened, and now we are weak and you are unable to do anything about it ... I've lost my wife, my friends, the support of my countrymen ... and in eight years you haven't been able to eliminate the cancer.’
WSJ’s Mr Kaminski notes that ‘among Pakistani politicians, Mr. Zardari speaks most clearly about the threat emanating from the country's west’ but is unwilling to allow US military incursions into Pakistan.
The journalist then quotes Mr Holbrooke as saying that America too is unwilling to cross this ‘Red Line.’
‘Some people say to me, particularly after a few drinks, ‘Why don't we go in there with our troops and just clean it up?’ Ambassador Holbrooke tells the journalist. ‘First of all we can't without their permission, and that would not be a good idea. Secondly, cleaning them up in the mountains of Pakistan's tribal areas, as anyone can see from the search for al Qaeda in Afghanistan, is a daunting mission. It's the same kind of mountains. A few weeks ago I flew up through the deepest and remotest valleys imaginable. You could see tiny villages in the crevices in the mountains. You don't want American troops in there. So that option is gone.’
The Post’s writer ends his piece on a positive note: ‘If there's a positive sign in all this chaos, it's that the Pakistani army isn't intervening to clean up the mess,’ he writes. ‘Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, the army chief of staff, has been telling the feuding politicians to get their act together. But he seems to understand that the route to stability isn't through another army coup, but by making this unruly democracy work before it's too late.’
Oshkosh Receives $122 Million Order To Provide TAK-4 Independent Suspension System For MRAPs
(NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. — April 12, 2009: Oshkosh Corporation announced April 9., that its Defense business received a $122 million order to supply its TAK-4® independent suspension system for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. The supply order was issued by Force Protection Incorporated (FPI) as a result of a contract action from the MRAP Joint Program Office (JPO).
TAK-4® Independent Suspension System—Improved off-road capability. Increased payload. Unmatched combat performance.
Oshkosh’s patented TAK-4 suspension allows for faster stopping, better cornering, and is far more off-road capable than most straight-axle vehicles. It is combat-tested and combat-proven, having demonstrated proven performance in both Iraq and Afghanistan theaters.
*Improved ride quality
Oshkosh’s patented TAK-4 Independent Suspension System has experienced tremendous success on more than 8,000 tactical trucks since its introduction on the Marine Corps MTVR (Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement ) in 1998. That success has also been proven on thousands of custom fire trucks built by our fire truck subsidiary, Pierce.
The order will equip MRAP 4x4 and 6x6 axle configuration vehicles with the Oshkosh® TAK-4 system for improved off-road mobility.
Under the purchase order, Oshkosh will provide the military with its patented TAK-4 independent suspension upgrade kits for installation on existing MRAP vehicles. This same innovative Oshkosh independent suspension system is featured on over 10,000 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) chassis for the U.S. Marine Corps.
The MTVR is renowned for its survivability and off-road capability in severe environments, including conducting missions on Afghanistan's rugged terrain while maintaining high readiness rates.
“The Oshkosh TAK-4 system has undergone more than 400,000 miles of government durability testing and will significantly improve the off-road mobility of MRAP vehicles.
We are proud that our suspension system has been recognized for its strength and durability, while enhancing vehicle mobility in the toughest terrain,” said Robert Bohn, Oshkosh Corporation chairman and chief executive officer. “We are committed to providing our military customers with the most advanced vehicles and technologies to best serve the Warfighters in the field.”
The Department of Defense is continuing to evaluate the Oshkosh TAK-4 system for suitability on additional MRAP models. The Nevada Automotive Test Center (NATC) and MRAP JPO tested early-fielded MRAPs upgraded with TAK-4 and determined the enhancement significantly improved the vehicle's mobility. Based on this successful testing, Oshkosh worked with FPI to develop a field installable kit to upgrade the vehicle.
About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons.
Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit www.oshkoshdefense.com.
About Oshkosh Corporation
Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corp. manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, BAI®, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, Geesink™, Norba™, Kiggen™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to www.oshkoshcorporation.com.
DTN News: British Forces Snipers In Afghanistan, New Thermal Imaging Kit Can Hit Targets At Long Range In Complete Darkness
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - April 12, 2009: The Sniper Thermal Imaging Capability (STIC) – an urgent operational requirement which is managed by DE&S' Dismounted Soldier Systems team – enables sniper teams to engage targets in all light where image intensified night sights can't operate. New thermal imaging means British snipers in Afghanistan can hit targets at long range in complete darkness. Sniper teams can now see targets in any light, including complete darkness.
Snipers usually work in pairs, with one behind the rifle and another performing a spotting role with a handheld or tripod-mounted scope. STIC accommodates both functions, allowing the pair to share a thermal view of the world.
The system is capable of being attached to a number of different rifles – L96, L115A1, L115A2 and the new L115A3 sniper rifle.
"Following initial trials, the user identified a couple of issues related to human factors and rifle integration," said Olly Wells, the team's STIC project manager.
"Thanks to co-operation between sniper instructors, the Infantry Trials and Development Unit, contractor Qioptiq Ltd, and various teams inside DE&S, these issues were all resolved successfully.
"Users were hitting man-sized thermal targets at significant ranges in complete darkness."
Olly Wells, STIC project manager
"Final trials last year showed the system to be easy and intuitive to operate, and users were hitting man-sized thermal targets at significant ranges in complete darkness."
Team leader, Colonel Bill Pointing, added:
"STIC is an excellent example of what the Individual Capability Group is doing to get good equipment into the hands of the user quickly. The project team and industry are to be congratulated for their agility and determination."
Qioptiq managing director David Marks said:
"The STIC project has demonstrated how industry, DE&S and the user community can work closely together to deliver the right solution in a cost effective and timely
(NSI News Source Info) April 12, 2009: Somali pirates have hijacked a tugboat in the Gulf of Aden with 16 crew members on board - 10 of them Italians.
Maritime industry sources say the tug was towing two barges at the time of the attack at 0800 GMT. The crew are said to be unharmed. The US merchant ship Maersk Alabama steers past a ferry boat at the entrance of the port of Mombasa on April 11, 2009. The US-flagged container ship Maersk Alabama and its American crew, seized briefly by Somali pirates earlier in the week, docked in Mombasa, its original destination in Kenya.
Meanwhile pirates holding a US captain hostage have warned that using force to rescue him could result in "disaster".
They said they hoped to put Capt Richard Phillips on a larger vessel. US ships are on their way to the area.
He is being held by four pirates in a lifeboat hundreds of kilometres off Somalia.
In other developments:
*Sailors on a Panama-flagged bulk carrier repulsed a pirate attack with water hoses. Nato officials on a nearby Portuguese warship said an unexploded rocket-propelled grenade landed in the commanding officer's cabin
*On Friday, one Frenchman and two pirates were killed in a rescue operation by French troops on another vessel captured off Somalia. Four others, including a child, were freed from the yacht
Earlier reports suggested that a group of Somali elders were preparing to mediate between American officials and the pirates for Capt Phillips' release, but there has been no news of any progress.
The US national was taken hostage on Wednesday after pirates hijacked his ship, the Maersk Alabama, as it sailed towards the Kenyan port of Mombasa carrying food aid.
After a long struggle, crew members regained control of the ship. It is thought Capt Phillips offered himself as a hostage in order to save his crew.
The Maersk Alabama arrived in Mombasa late on Saturday.
"He's a hero," one crew member shouted as the ship moored, referring to Capt Phillips.
The BBC's Karen Allen at the port says there is unprecedented security.
FBI agents are on board the ship.
Maersk President and Chief Executive Officer John Reinhart told journalists the ship was now a crime scene and the crew would have to stay on it during the investigation.
They would all be repatriated as soon as possible, he added.
There has been rising concern in the US over the fate of the captain - Defence Secretary Robert Gates told reporters in Washington on Friday that his safe return was a "top priority".
FBI experts are helping negotiate his release, but analysts have said the process could be lengthy.
Capt Phillips tried to escape on Friday by jumping overboard and swimming towards a nearby US ship, but was recaptured.
Reports in the US say the pirates are demanding a ransom of $2m for his safe release.
The US Navy destroyer, USS Bainbridge, is at the scene of the confrontation with other American warships on the way.
Stories circulating in Somalia claim that extra pirate ships are also making their way towards the area.
The pirates say they hope to transfer Capt Phillips to a bigger and better-protected vessel.
The Pentagon is also said to be considering other options, including possible military force, US sources say.
But the Somali pirate commander warned against any forcible intervention.
"I'm afraid this matter is likely to create disaster because it is taking too long and we are getting information that the Americans are planning rescue tricks like the French commandos did," Abdi Garad said.
The attacks have renewed international focus on hijackings in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.
Florent Lemacon, the owner of the French yacht and father of the child who was on board, was killed during the rescue operation.
French Defence Minister Herve Morin said on Saturday that officials "cannot rule out" that Mr Lemacon was killed by French fire.
But he said the raid was "the best possible decision," and that an investigation would determine what happened on board the Tanit.
The four released hostages - Mr Lemacon's wife Chloe, their three-year-old son Colin, and two other adults - are due to arrive in Paris on Sunday, he said.
Somalia has been without an effective government since 1991, fuelling the lawlessness which has allowed the pirates to thrive.
Pirates typically hold the ships and crews until large ransoms are paid by the shipping companies. Last year the firms handed over about $80m (£54m).
Efforts to stop the pirates have so far had only limited success, with international naval patrols struggling to cover the vast areas of ocean where pirates operate.
UN, Japan Agree To Draft Statement On North Korean Rocket Launch
(NSI News Source Info) April 12, 2009: The U.N. Security Council's five permanent members and Japan Saturday reached an agreement on a draft statement about North Korea's long-range rocket launch on April 5.
Diplomats say the statement "sends a clear message" to North Korea, but details, which were worked out in a Security Council closed door session, were not immediately released. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) and Japanese PM Taro Aso (R) arrive to hold their meeting at Pattaya, Thailand, 11 Apr 2009.
The agreement comes less than a day after Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak met on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Thailand to discuss a compromise.
Japan had been seeking a new Security Council resolution. But Mr. Aso said after the meeting, his country would consider a Security Council presidential statement instead.
The compromise was seen as an effort to send a quick and unified message to North Korea.
The Security Council had been deadlocked for almost a week over what kind of response to issue. Japan had wanted the stiffer resolution, but China favored the lighter reprimand of a presidential statement.
Lockheed Martin SBIRS Team Advancing To Follow-On Production Phase
(NSI News Source Info) SUNNYVALE, Calif - April 12, 2009: The Lockheed Martin Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) team has submitted its proposal for the program's follow-on production phase and has completed a major Preliminary Design Review (PDR) milestone with the U.S. Air Force.
The SBIRS program is designed to provide early warning of missile launches, and simultaneously support other missions including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness.
The SBIRS Follow-on Program, which will complete the SBIRS constellation, will add the third and fourth highly elliptical orbit (HEO) payloads as well as the third and an option for a fourth geosynchronous orbit (GEO) spacecraft.
The proposal, submitted on March 22, builds on the experience of prime contractor Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., and payload integrator, Northrop Grumman, Azusa, Calif. in providing the SBIRS development program for the Space Based Infrared Systems Wing at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.
“With the submission of the full production proposal for the SBIRS follow-on program, the joint government-industry team is another step closer to making the planned constellation of this critical system a reality," said Col. Roger Teague the U.S. Air Force SBIRS Wing Commander. “I salute the entire SBIRS team for their dedication and hard work and look forward to future mission success."
Working under an initial $370 million contract for advanced procurement phase, the team has successfully completed PDRs for the HEO & GEO payloads and systems along with critical components and subsystems. With the completion of the SBIRS follow on program PDR phase, the program team will transition to the Critical Design Review (CDR) stage, followed by the production phase.
“Successful completion of the PDR phase will allow us to move efficiently into the next phase of this essential program," said Jeff Smith, Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS Vice President. “We look forward to building on our close customer partnership as we strive to achieve operational excellence on this critical system.”
Lockheed Martin's current SBIRS contract includes the two HEO payloads now on-orbit, two GEO satellites, as well as ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. Contract award for the additional GEO spacecraft and HEO payloads is expected in late 2009.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.