DTN News: Iran TODAY June 26, 2009 - Iranian Cleric ~ Protesters At War With God / Iranian Cleric Says "Rioters" Should Be Executed*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media / AP
(NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN, Iran - June 26, 2009: A senior Iranian cleric has called on the government to punish the leaders of the country's post-election protests cruelly and without mercy.
In a sermon at Tehran University on Friday, Ahmad Khatami described the demonstrators as rioters who wage war against God ("moharem"), a crime in Islamic law, punishable by death.
He also accused foreign journalists of instigating the protests.
The street demonstrations that took place nearly every day since the election have largely subsided due to a heavy police presence. But on Friday groups of Iranians visited a Tehran cemetery to pay tribute to a young woman named Neda (Aghad Soltan).
(Aforementioned photo: Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami delivers Friday prayer sermon, at Tehran University campus, 26 Jun 2009) The opposition says she was killed by Iranian security forces during the demonstrations, and a video of her death on the street in Tehran was widely circulated.
Meanwhile, the relatives of citizens detained by authorities sent a letter to the head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Shahrudi, and Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani, expressing concern for the detainees' well-being. The letter says they are concerned the detainees, who include prominent reformist politicians, are being pressured to confess to crimes. Iranian authorities have arrested hundreds of people since the election.
On Friday, Iran's Guardian Council rejected allegations of fraud, calling the disputed June 12 presidential election the cleanest vote the country has ever had.
The official IRNA news agency said the Guardian Council found no major violations in the vote which declared incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner by a large margin.
Both the Guardian Council and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have said the results will not be annulled.Defeated presidential candidate and reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi vowed on Thursday to resist pressure to end his challenge of the election outcome. He also urged supporters to continue protests in a way that will not create tension.
With the post-election demonstrations, Iran has seen the largest unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran's crackdown has included heavy restrictions on reporting and the arrest of university professors, journalists and ordinary citizens.
The official death toll from post-election violence is 17, but witnesses say it is much higher. State media reported Thursday that eight members of the pro-government Basij militia also were killed.
DTN News: U.S. Providing Weapons To Somali Government ~ Report*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - June 26, 2009: The United States is providing weapons and ammunition to Somalia's transitional government as it fights al Qaeda-linked Islamic militants, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Thursday. Veiled Somali women brandish their weapons during a protest rally against a U.S. draft Security Council resolution plan in Mogadishu. Despite a U.N. arms embargo on Somalia, the Horn of Africa nation is awash with weaponry from all over the world that has fuelled one of Africa's longest-running conflicts. In the latest cycle of civil war, militant Islamists have been fighting the Somali government for the last two years and 18,000 civilians have been killed in the crossfire. Weapons are captured, sold and recycled constantly between both sides, experts say. Many arms have come from Ethiopian soldiers who intervened in Somalia between 2006 and early 2009.
"At the request of that government the State Department has helped to provide weapons and ammunition on an urgent basis," he said.
"This is to support the Transitional Federal Government's efforts to repel the onslaught of extremist forces which are intent on destroying the Djibouti peace process."
Kelly said the weapons shipments are in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions, which ban some arms shipments to Somalia.
There is growing concern that Somalia could be the next base for al Qaeda as U.S. forces pound their positions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. CIA Director Leon Panetta recently said that the intelligence agency is keeping tabs on the region as a possible destination for fleeing al Qaeda operatives.
"Our concern right now is that likely safe havens are areas in the Horn of Africa, like Somalia and Yemen, that are countries that because of their political status can be attractive to al Qaeda in order to operate there," Panetta said earlier this month.
"We are focusing on those countries as well in order to ensure that there is no safe haven for al Qaeda as we continue to pressure them, continue to push them, and hopefully continue to make the effort to destroy them, not only in Pakistan but throughout the rest of the world."
Somalia is not new territory for al Qaeda, according to CNN's terrorism analyst Peter Bergen.
"Al Qaeda was running training camps in Somalia in the early and mid-1990s," he said. "If this is now coming back, this is something that al Qaeda has already done and it's worrisome for the future. ...
"The fact that we're seeing evidence of this already happening in both Yemen and Somalia suggests that, A, the drone program in the tribal areas of Pakistan has been effective, but, B, you know it's pushing al Qaeda into areas where they'll build up larger operations." Somali goverment forces ride on a truck mounted with an anti aircraft gun, Saturday, June 20, 2009 during fighting between Islamic fighters and goverment forces in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Somali lawmakers pleaded Saturday for international military intervention to help fight Islamic insurgents in the lawless African nation, where heavy fighting left at least 10 people dead in the capital. Parliament passed a resolution saying it needed foreign countries to send troops immediately, Speaker Sheik Adam Mohamed Nor told journalists, without giving details of the vote. President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, who is also a member of parliament, did not take part.*
Somalia recently called on its neighbors to send military forces to help government troops stop hard-line Islamist militants from taking over. The call for help came hours after a third top politician was killed this month in ongoing fighting.
The deaths included Mogadishu's police chief and Somalia's internal security minister, who was killed in a suicide car bombing in the central city of Beledweyne.
A Pakistani militant who is a high-ranking official in al Qaeda is leading the fighting in Somalia against the government, said Sheikh Adan Madowe, Somalia's parliament speaker.
Madowe warned that militants will spread fighting into the rest of the region if they topple the government in Somalia.
The United States is concerned that Somalia's weak government could fall to the Islamist insurgency, as it did in 2006 before Ethiopian forces ousted the militants from power later that year.
"We think this government ... represents Somalia's best chance for peace, stability and reconciliation," Kelly said Thursday. "This government is the best chance they've had in the last 18 years."
Somalia's current President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed is a former member of the Islamic Courts Union, which took part in the 2006 coup.
His decision to renounce the bloody insurgency and try to establish peace in Somalia has put him at odds with Islamist hard-liners who are still battling for control of Somalia.
Residents and journalists in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, have reported seeing foreign fighters among Al-Shabaab, the radical Islamic militia that is battling to overthrow the weak transitional government. Those foreign fighters recently distributed recorded messages from al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden calling for the overthrow of the government.
Al-Shabaab, also known as the Mujahideen Youth Movement, was officially designated as a terrorist organization by the United States in March 2008. It is waging a war against Somalia's government in an effort to implement a stricter form of Islamic law, or sharia.
DTN News: Pakistan TODAY June 26, 2009 - Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani Vows To Reassert Control In FATA Region Tribal Belt
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - June 26, 2009: Pakistan's army chief on Thursday vowed to reassert government control in the lawless tribal belt, as the premier took a visiting US security advisor to task over deadly drone attacks in the region. Pakistani Army Chief, General Ashfaq Kayani meets with a soldier during his visit to South Waziristan. Pakistan's army chief on Thursday vowed to reassert government control in the lawless tribal belt, as the premier took a visiting US security advisor to task over deadly drone attacks in the region.
The army is wrapping up a two-month-long operation against Taliban rebels in northwest Swat valley, and preparing to launch a second front against militant chief Baitullah Mehsud and his network in tribal regions.
Washington alleges Al-Qaeda operatives who fled Afghanistan after the 2001 US-led invasion are holed up in South Waziristan, plotting attacks on Western targets, while the Taliban control swathes of the mountainous area.
A military statement said General Ashfaq Kayani spent the day in semi-autonomous South Waziristan on the Afghan border, where he met troops and commanders and held prayers for soldiers killed in fighting.
"(Kayani) stated that Pakistan army is executing a deliberate 'campaign plan' to achieve the desired end state of re-establishing the writ of the state while ensuring minimum loss to life and damage to property," it said.
"He appreciated the support of local tribes and urged them to use their full influence to rid the area of terrorists," it added.
South Waziristan is the stronghold of Mehsud, and Pakistani fighter jets have been pounding Taliban positions in the region for weeks, although it is unclear when a full offensive involving ground troops will begin.
On Tuesday, two US drone strikes in South Waziristan reportedly killed about 50 people as suspected Taliban militants gathered for a funeral, military and administration officials have said.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday told Washington's visiting top security adviser James Jones that the United States must halt the string of drone attacks on its soil.
Jones was in Islamabad as part of a short regional tour that has already taken in Afghanistan to assess the United States' new strategy in the region. A Pakistani security officer stands on the rubble of houses destroyed during a military operation against Taliban militants in Sultanwas village in Buner district on June 19, 2009. Pakistani security forces launched an offensive to dislodge Taliban guerrillas from three northwest districts around Swat valley in late April, after militants flouted a peace deal and thrust towards the capital Islamabad.
The Barack Obama administration has put Pakistan at the heart of a strategy to tackle Al-Qaeda and other extremists.
Gilani "called for stopping the drone attacks in order to ensure success of Pakistan's strategy for isolating the militants from the tribes," a statement issued from his office said.
Analysts, however, speculate that the Pakistani government may give complicit backing to the strikes by unmanned US drones, but loudly denounce the deeply-unpopular attacks in public.
Jones, who also met President Asif Ali Zardari and Kayani, in a statement made no mention of any rift over the use of drones.
"Together, the US and Pakistan are enhancing border cooperation, trade, energy and economic development to help Pakistanis face the challenges posed by extremists," Jones said in a statement from the US embassy in Islamabad.
"Terrorism is not simply the enemy of America -- it is a direct and urgent threat to the Pakistani people."
US officials have voiced strong support for a Pakistani military offensive to clear Taliban militants from swathes of the northwest.
In its daily update, the army said forces were carrying out mopping-up operations in Swat valley.
But UN officials urged authorities to ensure the conflict zone is secure before millions of displaced people return home.
About two million people have fled a punishing ground and air assault against Taliban fighters in and around Swat valley, which began in late April after insurgents advanced towards Islamabad.
"It's very important that IDPs (internally displaced persons) who come back have an appropriate set of conditions including security, safety, food, water, education, sanitation," said UN humanitarian coordinator Martin Mogwanja.
"We're concerned about security. We have to assess the situation not only on the main roads but also in villages," he told reporters.
Also Thursday, militants blew up a girls' school just outside South Waziristan's main town of Wana.
Local officials said no one died but the explosion completely destroyed the school building in the latest of hundreds of attacks on northwest schools by militants trying to impose a harsh brand of Islamic law.
DTN News: Germany Army Orders Mortar Vehicle For Afghanistan*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) BERLIN, Germany - June 26, 2009: Rheinmetall AG of Düsseldorf has just been awarded a EUR 54 million contract to equip the German armed forces with a state-of-the-art mortar system. The system’s newly developed 120mm mortar track and associated support vehicles make an important contribution to the mission-oriented modernization of the Bundeswehr armoury.
This important order encompasses eight Wiesel 2 (Weasel) vehicles, each of which is armed with a 120mm mortar (lePzMrs). An option exists for an additional two vehicles configured for a command and control role, and worth some EUR 7.5 million. Delivery is slated to take place in 2011.
Combining impressive firepower with advanced command and control technology, Rheinmetall’s highly mobile Mortar Combat System significantly enhances the Bundeswehr’s combat effectiveness, enabling it to respond to new threats in situations where it has hitherto often lacked the necessary capabilities. On the international plane, this state-of-the-art system places the Bundeswehr on the global cutting edge.
Based on Rheinmetall’s tried-and-tested Wiesel 2 lightweight tracked armoured vehicle, various configurations of which have already been successfully fielded, the air-portable Mortar Combat System is specially designed to support infantry and airmobile operations in scenarios where protection is required. It supersedes obsolete, manually operated Tampella-type mortars, which have long since ceased to meet today’s operational needs. Furthermore, some existing stocks of mortar ammunition are now over 25 years old, and thus no longer authorized for use.
The vehicles just ordered constitute a mortar platoon which will be used to support ongoing operations in Afghanistan. In particular, the system is expected to play an important role in countering asymmetric threats to Bundeswehr bases and convoys in this challenging area of operation. Thanks to its enhanced range, heightened precision and optimized lethality, the system also lends itself to operations in difficult terrain and in urban areas.
The complete Mortar Combat System can be airlifted in a CH-53 cargo helicopter or Transall C 160. Rugged yet flexible, it is designed to deliver maximum mobility even in tough terrain, as well as substantially increasing the firepower, combat effectiveness and accuracy of units deployed in harm’s way.
Force protection also features more prominently than in previous systems: the Wiesel 2 provides its 3-man crew with effective protection against ballistic threats and NBC agents.
Fast and flexible, the Mortar Combat System is able to respond very quickly to emerging threats even in a constantly shifting operating environment, aided by efficient and effective use of newly developed, enhanced range, high-precision mortar ammunition. The system is ready for action just 60 seconds after breaking cover, and can fire up to three rounds in less than 20 seconds. Moreover, since the lePzMrs mortar track can evacuate its fire position approximately 15 seconds after completing a fire mission, it is able to take cover before the rounds it has fired have reached the enemy position.
This kind of "hide, hit, run, hide” tactic makes enemy reconnaissance much harder, thus adding to the safety of the soldiers on board the Wiesel 2.
Although the tracked mortar can also be deployed autonomously, one of the most salient characteristics of this “system of systems” is its outstanding networkability with all relevant command echelons. Linking the individual vehicle systems into a unified information network – with a constant exchange of operationally relevant data – enhances the Mortar Combat System’s overall operational effectiveness and ability to react quickly. It all comes down to teamwork: targets are detected and identified, information analyzed and processed, options weighed and fire control data generated; finally, the lePzMrs Wiesel 2 mortar track goes into action. Rheinmetall’s new 120mm mortar ammunition can hit targets up to approx. 8,000 metres away, a substantial increase in range; it is also significantly more accurate and effective. The use of terminal phase-guided munitions should lead to a further increase in performance. New smoke/obscurant and infrared illumination rounds are also planned.
DTN News: Defense-Contract Discs Sold In African Market For $40 ~ Northrop Grumman And Pentagon Data Dumped
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - June 26, 2009: Dumped hard drives with US defense data have turned up for open sale in a West African market.
A team of Canadian journalism students bought a hard drive containing information on multi-million dollar contracts between military contractor Northrop Grumman and the Pentagon for just $40 in a market near Accra, Ghana. The exercise was part of shooting a documentary on e-waste by Vancouver journalism students, researching what happens to the West's discarded and donated electronics.
"You'd think a security contractor that constantly deals with very secret proprietary information would probably want to wipe their drives," Blake Sifton, one of the three graduate journalism students told CBC. The team bought seven hard drives at a market in the port of Tema, a major point of entry for electronic waste from Europe and North America into Africa.
Northrop Grumman is reported to be investigating how an unencrypted hard drive containing sensitive data on the firm ended up on an African market, in violation of its established kit disposal procedures.
"Based on the documents we were shown, we believe this hard drive may have been stolen after one of our asset-disposal vendors took possession of the unit," Northrop Grumman told CBC.
A documentary of the students' research, Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground, aired in the PBS program Frontline/World on Tuesday. The disposal of electronic waste is controlled by European and US regulations but spare - often broken - kit often finds its way to Africa and other regions of the developing world where it is dumped. Cannibalized parts end up on markets while the rest of the kit is piled together and burned.
Sifton recalled seeing seven fires spewing "black, sticky, acrid smoke" at one Ghanian dump. "The ground is just scorched absolutely everywhere. Everywhere you walk, there's shards of plastic and metal and glass protruding from the ground."
The fires are used to extract scrap metal, valued at just 50 cents a kilogram, which locals use to scratch out a meager existence. It's the effect on the local environment and people of the West's throw-away culture around electronic kit - rather than the information security element, which is well understood - that Sifton and his colleagues are trying to highlight.
Sifton added that he did visit universities in Ghana supplied with computers donated from the West that would have otherwise been unaffordable. ®
DTN News: The Music Icon ~ Stars In Shock At Michael Jackson's Death
*Sources: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) LOS ANGELES - June 26, 2009: Celebrities and stars around the globe have been paying tribute to pop icon Michael Jackson, praising his contributions to the music world as they reeled from the news of his sudden death.
Madonna said she was left in tears at the news that the world had lost "one of the greats" of pop music.
"I can't stop crying over the sad news," the veteran pop star told celebrity website People.com.
"I have always admired Michael Jackson. The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever."
As crowds of people gathered at the Los Angeles hospital where Jackson was rushed for treatment and later pronounced dead, some of the biggest names in the entertainment world were grappling with the news of his death.
Actress Elizabeth Taylor, one of Jackson's closest and longstanding friends, was "too devastated" to issue a statement, her spokesperson said, according to People.
Record producer and former Jackson collaborator Quincy Jones said he too was "devastated" by the news that the "King of Pop" had died at age 50, apparently after suffering a heart attack at his Beverly Hills home. People hold up Michael Jackson pictures at UCLA Medical Plaza in Los Angeles, California
"I just don't have the words. Divinity brought our souls together and allowed us to do what we could do through the 80s," Jones told US television network NBC.
"To this day, that music is played in every corner of the world, and the reason is because he had it all -- talent, grace and professionalism. I've lost my little brother today and part of my soul has gone with him."
The star's first wife Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, said his death had left her speechless.
"I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible. I am heartbroken for his children, who I know were everything to him, and for his family," Presley told MTV News in a statement.
"This is such a massive loss on so many levels. Words fail me."
Pop star Justin Timberlake said in a statement that the world had "lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only pop music, but of all music."
"He has been an inspiration to multiple generations and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him on stage and all of the things I learned about music from him and the time we spent together."
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lamented the loss of "one of the most influential and iconic figures in the music industry."
There were "serious questions" about Jackson's personal life, Schwarzenegger noted, adding, however, that he and his wife Maria Shriver joined "all Californians in expressing our shock and sadness over his death."
Uri Geller, a close friend of the star, said: "I'm just devastated, very, very sad. I pray that his soul is up there now." Jackson was best man when the television psychic renewed his wedding vows in 2001.
Geller told the BBC that he was "absolutely shocked," as Jackson had been in good shape training for his comeback tour due to launch on July 13 in London.
Celebrities from Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda to hip-hop icon and fashion mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs to cycling champion Lance Armstrong used micro-blogging website Twitter to express their sadness.
"Michael Jackson showed me that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life!! He made me believe in magic. I will miss him!" said Combs.
Even British Foreign Secretary David Miliband joined the Twitter tributes, saying: "Never has one soared so high and yet dived so low. RIP Michael."
Many paid tribute to Jackson's influence on the world of music and dance.
Jackson's album "Thriller" remains the bestselling album of all time with more than 41 million sales. And his iconic moonwalk has passed into dance legend.
"Just as there will never be another Fred Astaire or Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley, there will never be anyone comparable to Michael Jackson," director Steven Spielberg told Entertainment Weekly.
"His talent, his wonderment and his mystery make him a legend."
Jackson's former publicist Michael Levine told AFP the entertainer's sudden death had not come out of the blue.
"I must confess I am not surprised by today's tragic news," Levine said.
"Michael has been on an impossibly difficult and often self-destructive journey for years. His talent was unquestionable, but so too was his discomfort with the norms of the world."
DTN News: UK Defence Sector Well Poised For Growth Despite Global Recession, Says Frost & Sullivan*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON - June 26, 2009: The UK defence industry remains insulated from global recession compared to other market verticals, with government defence spending fixed into long-term programmes and immune from short-term economic cycles. Unlike small low-spending countries whose defence budgets will be severely impacted, the UK will sustain spending levels over the long term. Moreover, "because defence technology and product expertise have strong parallel opportunities in commercial aviation and homeland security, they are well positioned to offset decline in one segment by limiting exposure to a particular market," according to Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst James Cooper.
The possibility of favourable acquisition of Tier 2 / Tier 3 defence companies which offer high margins and gross profit; access to long-term projects providing sustained recurring revenues; as well as limited exposure to programme losses all offer opportunities for growth in current market conditions. In addition, access to long-term sustained income is ensured as defence companies are increasingly sought as financing partners by national governments.
"The UK defence industry should tap into important growth markets like India which is expected to spend $100 billion on defence procurement alone during the next ten years," states Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Marko Lukovic. In 2009, India's defence budget will exceed that of the UK for the first time, positioning it among the top three spenders, behind the US and China.
Additional growth opportunities stem from government cost-cutting measures which open up new market sectors, including after market services and incentive based contracts. Industry players can expect recurring revenues, up and down the supply chain, and look forward to long term (sometimes 30, but usually 10 year) PFI outsourcing contracts.
Finally, significant cross-over opportunities exist for firms to transition their defence expertise into other markets. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin already compete on UK IT contracts for the NHS, the Home Office, the Post Office, among others. Other examples of successful transition include: BAE Systems, which made a number of acquisitions in the US to become a major Land Systems integrator
(particularly Armor Holdings); the VT Group, once a naval manufacturer and now a major government and military services contractor experiencing rapid growth through clever acquisition and recruitment in the US market; and Ultra Electronics and Cobham - both Tier 2 companies that have forged a strong presence in the US while maintaining high profit margins from their equipment business because they did not attempt to become a lead system integrator.
If you are interested in more information on Frost & Sullivan's analysis of the UK Defence Sector, please e-mail Monika Kwiecinska, Corporate Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company e-mail address, company website and country.
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best in class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best practice models to drive the generation, evaluation, and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 35 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit http://www.frost.com.
DTN News: India TODAY June 26, 2009 - Sarabjit Singh Held In Pakistan Jail For Past 18 Years, As A Political Pawn
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - June 26, 2009: Indian national Sarabjit Singh, awarded capital punishment in Pakistan, has been shifted from death row to a normal cell in a Lahore jail, raising hopes that he might not be executed.
Family members of Sarabjit Singh hold his picture to appeal for his release during a demonstration in the northern Indian city of Amritsar June 25, 2009. Pakistan's Supreme Court dismissed on Wednesday an appeal by Singh, an Indian man seeking a review of a death sentence imposed on him 18 years ago for spying and carrying out bombings.
Pakistani TV channel Geo news reported that the move may be an indication that the Sarabjit, convicted for triggering blasts killing 14 people in Pakistan in 1990, would not be hanged. However, there was no official word in this regard so far.
Sarabjit, whom Pakistani authorities call Manjit Singh, has been on death row since he was convicted for alleged involvement in four bomb attacks in Punjab province in 1990.
Sarabjit’s family, which visited Pakistan in 2008 seeking his release, insists that he was wrongly convicted for the attacks.
DTN News: Boeing AH-64D Apache Block III Demonstrates Level IV UAS Control
*Sources: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) MESA, Ariz., - June 26, 2009: Boeing on June 23, announced that the AH-64D Apache Block III prototype helicopter successfully demonstrated Level IV unmanned aircraft system (UAS) connectivity on June 8 during a flight test over the Arizona desert. An AH-64D Apache and AH-6U Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) fly over the Arizona desert near the Boeing rotorcraft facility in Mesa, Ariz., in this file photo. An Apache and a ULB flew together June 8 during testing to demonstrate Level IV Unmanned Aircraft System connectivity and control. Photo Credit: Boeing photo by Bob Ferguson
Level IV UAS connectivity is one of the key technology enhancements being developed for the U.S. Army's Apache Block III attack helicopter program. At this level, the Apache crew is able to fully control the navigation of an assigned UAS. The capability provides enhanced situational awareness and over-the-horizon, beyond line-of-sight reconnaissance, improving survivability for the crew and the aircraft. (Level I connectivity is receipt and transmission of secondary imagery or data, Level II is receipt of imagery or data directly from the UAS and Level III is control of the UAS payload.)
During the test, the Apache proved capable of controlling the UAS via a Tactical Common Data Link connection. The Apache crew received real-time video from the UAS, controlled the UAS's three navigation-loiter patterns -- orbit, racetrack and figure eight -- and altered the UAS's airspeed and altitude.
For this demonstration, Boeing, under Army direction, used a Boeing AH-6 helicopter as a surrogate for Sky Warrior, the Extended Range/Multi-Purpose UAS that is not yet available.
"Integration of UAS control is a key technology for the Apache Block III helicopter as we prepare for the limited user test scheduled for later this year," said Scott Rudy, Boeing Apache Block III program manager. "The members of Team Apache -- the U.S. Army, Boeing and our industry partners -- are proud to have achieved this critical capability."
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.
DTN News: General Dynamics Provides Communications Link For Lunar Mapping Mission
*Sources: DTN News / General Dynamics
(NSI News Source Info) FAIRFAX, Va. - June 26, 2009: General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems is providing the communications link for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission launched on June 18, 2009. The mission will use General Dynamics-made transceivers to communicate with ground control as it maps and studies the lunar environment. Artist's concept of LRO in orbit around the moon. Credit: NASA Four days after leaving the Earth, LRO will reach the Moon and ignite its engines for a nail-biting maneuver that amounts to a make-or-break moment in the $504 million mission. The engine firing slows the spacecraft's speed and allows LRO to enter into orbit around the Moon. If all goes well, the satellite should swoop into an elliptical "commissioning orbit" of 30 by 216 kilometers (18.5 by 134 miles).
LRO will fly to the moon atop an Atlas V rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and go into orbit, turning its suite of instruments towards the moon for thorough studies. The spacecraft will also look for potential landing sites for astronauts.
“The LRO mission continues General Dynamics’ decades-long history of providing communications links to space for many of NASA’s most important missions,” said Lou Von Thaer, president of General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. “Our transceivers will help ensure the success of the mission and relay the critical spacecraft data that will help map the moon and identify available resources.”
The LRO mission will use General Dynamics’ Advanced Multi-Mode Transceivers that have been modified specifically for this mission. The transceivers will send health and status updates and receive command instructions from NASA. LRO will communicate at S-Band frequencies through the NASA Ground Network and Deep Space Network.
General Dynamics has provided the critical communications link between Earth and space since the mid-1950s. In all, General Dynamics has produced over 400 space transponders including over 150 Deep Space, Near Earth and Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) transponders and transceivers for NASA missions. Examples include the Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977, which carries two Deep Space Transponders that are still functioning, and the two first generation TDRSS user transponders flying on the Hubble Space Telescope that continue to operate trouble free after more than 19 years of service in space.
General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems designs, develops, manufactures, integrates, operates and maintains mission systems for defense, space, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, homeland security and homeland defense customers. Headquartered in Fairfax, Va., the company specializes in ground systems; imagery processing; mission payloads; space vehicles; maritime subsurface, surface and airborne mission systems; and tasking, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination programs for national intelligence. More information is available online at http://www.gd-ais.com/.
General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 92,900 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies.
DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded Contract By U.S. Navy For Aircraft Radomes
*Sources: DTN News / General Dynamics
(NSI News Source Info) CHARLOTTE, N.C. - June 26, 2009: General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, a business unit of General Dynamics, has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Navy’s Naval Inventory Control Point for the refurbishment of radomes for the EA-6B fighter jet. The initial award value is $2 million with a total potential value of $10 million over five years if all options are exercised.
According to Senior Program Manager Daran Eastridge, “We produce a wide array of radomes ranging from fighter and cargo aircraft noses, wings, tails and fuselages to commercial nose weather radomes and radomes for specialized applications. Our experience on both commercial and military aircraft creates value for our customers.”
Engineers at General Dynamics’ Marion, Va., facility will refurbish existing EA-6B radomes. The work will include quality inspection, cleaning, fabrication and painting. The refurbished radomes will be used onboard EA-6B aircraft for both the Navy and the Marine Corps.
General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products' site in Marion produces a wide variety of products to support commercial and military aerospace applications. Work at the site includes the design, development and manufacturing of aircraft radomes, advanced aircraft composite structures and mobile shelter systems. Products include: aircraft radomes, missile and ground-based platforms, control surfaces, fairings, engine components, landing gear, weapons bay doors, primary helicopter structures, and lightweight composite vehicle-mounted shelter systems. The site spans three state-of-the-art facilities which house approximately one million square feet of manufacturing space. More information is available online at http://www.gdatp.com/.
General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 92,900 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies. More information about General Dynamics is available online at www.generaldynamics.com.
DTN News: Boeing Ships Next-Generation GPS Satellite To Cape Canaveral For Tests*Sources: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) EL SEGUNDO, Calif., - June 26, 2009: Boeing has shipped a Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to conduct a series of key tests for the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation satellite navigation system.
Built at Boeing’s El Segundo satellite factory, Space Vehicle 2 (SV-2) is undergoing ground testing to prepare for the launch of SV-1, the first of 12 GPS IIF satellites. SV-2 arrived at Cape Canaveral May 7 aboard a C-17 Globemaster III.
SV-2 is being used to execute a consolidated system test (CST), which is a set of one-time, system-level design validation tests involving the space vehicle, the ground-based control segment, and user equipment. SV-2 is also being used as a "pathfinder" to validate satellite transportation processes and equipment, and to validate the launch site test program, procedures and equipment. After completion of the CST and pathfinder activities, SV-2 will return to El Segundo to prepare for its own launch from the Cape.
“The shipment of this pathfinder satellite keeps GPS IIF on track for its first launch, and continues Boeing’s long, successful history of building GPS satellites for the U.S. Air Force,” said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. “The GPS IIF system will bring more capability and improved mission performance to the GPS constellation.”
GPS IIF is the product of Boeing’s experience with 39 successful satellites from the GPS Block I and Block II/IIA missions and more than 30 years of teamwork with the Air Force. GPS IIF features twice the navigational accuracy of heritage satellites, more robust signals for commercial aviation and search and rescue, and greater resistance to jamming in hostile environments. It will form the core of the constellation for many years to come.
GPS is a space-based, worldwide navigation system providing users with highly accurate, three-dimensional position, velocity and timing information 24 hours a day in all weather conditions.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.
DTN News: Embraer Delivers An Embraer 175 Jet To Brazil's TRIP Linhas Aereas*Sources: DTN News / Embraer
(NSI News Source Info) Sao Jose dos Campos - June 26, 2009: Embraer holds a delivery ceremony, today, at the Company's headquarters in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, of an EMBRAER 175 jet to TRIP Linhas Aereas, the largest Brazilian regional airline.The Embraer 170 was the first version produced. The prototype was rolled out on 29 October 2001, with first flight 119 days later on February 19. The aircraft was displayed to the public in May 2002 at the Regional Airline Association convention. After a positive response from the airline community, Embraer proceeded with the launch of the stretched E-175 in June 2003. Certification for the 170 took nearly 2 years after the public debut; delivery of the first aircraft to the launch customer LOT Polish Airlines was in March 2004.
The company has five firm orders for the EMBRAER 175, in a deal that includes options for another ten aircraft and purchase rights for 15 more.
"We are very proud and happy to receive TRIP as our new E-Jets customer in Brazil," says Frederico Fleury Curado, Embraer President and CEO. "We are certain that together, Embraer and TRIP will make a big contribution to the Brazilian air transportation system."
The new aircraft that will be delivered will join TRIP's fleet, which currently has another two EMBRAER 175 jets - and this E-Jet model is operating in Brazil for the first time - all of which are configured to comfortably accommodate 86 passengers in a single-class layout. The airplanes are being financed conjointly, in Brazilian Reals, by the National Social Development Bank (Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Social - BNDES) and the Bank of Brazil.
"We began operating in the regional market 11 years ago, with a pre-owned 30-seat EMB 120 Brasilia, when modern services seemed like a distant dream. Today, we are the leader in the regional market and, with the acquisition of the jets by Embraer, a company that has marked our history as a great partner, we have become the regional airline that most invests in Brazil," states Jose Mario Caprioli, President of TRIP. According to Caprioli, the total investments in technology, linked to a team of professional partners throughout this entire time, have made the difference.
DTN News: SAIC Awarded Blanket Purchase Agreement, $357 Million Task Order To Support Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Operations
*Sources: DTN News / Defense Media
(NSI News Source Info) SAN DIEGO and MCLEAN, Va.- June 26, 2009: Science Applications International Corporation today announced it has been awarded a prime single award blanket purchase agreement (BPA) by the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) to support the Joint Program Office (JPO), Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle by providing MRAP Joint Logistics Integrator (JLI) and Operational Readiness Services. The first task order under the BPA has a one-year base period of performance, one twelve-month option, and one six-month option, and is valued at more than $357 million if the options are exercised.
Work on the task order will be performed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and at locations throughout the U.S. as required. MRAP vehicles support urban combat operations, multi-mission operations, and mine/IED clearance operations and explosive ordnance disposal.
Under the task order, SAIC will provide planning, management, and analytical support to all levels of the MRAP JPO team.
SAIC will provide logistics services as well as services in support of JPOs oversight and management of original equipment manufacturers during activities associated with fielding, training, and sustainment operations. Additionally, SAIC will enable JPO MRAP to rapidly perform logistic engineering analysis and provide timely insight into fleet readiness and sustainment.
"SAIC has supported MRAP operations for the past 17 months," said Jim Cuff, SAIC senior vice president and business unit general manager. "As we transition from a subcontractor role to that of the prime contractor, we look forward to continuing our support of the Army and the critical MRAP program as the joint logistics integrator."
SAIC also supports Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Combat Systems, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) programs for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), providing prototyping, integration and logistics services supporting C5ISR for more than 300 distinct variants of MRAP vehicles.
SAIC is a scientific, engineering, and technology applications [whose] approximately 45,000 employees [generated] annual revenues of $8.9 billion for its fiscal year ended January 31, 2008.
DTN News: U.S. SouthCom Head Warns Of Iranian Influence In Region
*Sources: DTN News / Defense Media
(NSI News Source Info) MIAMI - June 26, 2009: Iran's growing influence in Latin America is a "potential risk" to the region, the newly-appointed head of the U.S. Southern Command has warned.
U.S. Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, who took charge of U.S. military operations in 31 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean on June 25, expressed "real concern" about the Islamic Republic's links with "extremist organizations" in the region.
"The real concern is not a nation-to-nation interaction, it is the connection that Iran has with extremist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, and the potential risk that that could bring to this region," Fraser told journalists ahead of taking up the post.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has forged close ties with several leftist Latin American leaders in recent years, most notably Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuban leader Raul Castro.
Commenting on Iran's ties to extremist groups in the region, Fraser said: "It is a concern, and it is an issue we will continue to monitor for any increasing activity."
He cited Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which has links to Iran and is accused of being behind a suicide bombing that killed 200 U.S. marines in Beirut in 1983 and the 1996 bombing of the Khobar towers in Saudi Arabia, which killed more than 20 people.
The group has denied playing a role in those attacks and the bombing of Israeli and Jewish targets in Buenos Aires.
Fraser, who was deputy commander at U.S. Pacific Command, said the illicit trade in arms drugs and people was worrying, and indicated it would be the focus of his work.
"The major concern is the illicit trafficking and the impact that that is having in the security and the stability, especially through the northern part of South America through Central America and the Caribbean, and through Mexico and the United States."
He added the U.S. needed to ensure links between narcoterrorism and illicit trafficking do not become more pronounced.
Fraser played down talk of a conventional threat in the hemisphere, but said Venezuela's military stance was concerning.
"I'm concern with the military buildup in Venezuela because I don't understand the threat that they see," he said. "I don't see a conventional military threat in the region. So I don't see why they see a need to build their military to the point that they are pursuing."
Fraser, who lived in Colombia for three years as a teenager, said Southern Command would continue to help that country combat leftist guerillas like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - the FARC - and narcoterrorist groups.
"The FARC is not defeated and we need to continued that effort. That's been a focus for a very specific reason," he said.
"But Southern Command has been engaged with all the militaries within the region, with the exception of Cuba," he continued. "My intent is not to focus on one nation or the other because it is together that we build that capacity."
Fraser is the first Air Force officer to take the helm of the Southern Command.
He replaces U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis, who has been tapped to become NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.
DTN News: U.S.-Kyrgyz Deal Allows Military Cargo Shipment
*Sources: DTN News / Defense Media / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - June 26, 2009: A new agreement that allows the U.S. to retain a key air base in Kyrgyzstan will still let it ship military cargo as it did before, a senior U.S. official told AFP on June 25. US welcomes Kyrgyz base agreementThe United States on Tuesday welcomed a deal with Kyrgyzstan on the transit of supplies to Afghanistan that will effectively keep open a US airbase that Kyrgyz authorities had ordered shut. "We're happy about the agreement," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters. The Central Asian state had thrown a wrench into US President Barack Obama's plan to intensify the campaign against the Taliban when it ordered the closure of the Manas airbase, a key transit point for Afghanistan operations. But Kelly said: "I don't have the details of... what was spelled out financially in the agreement," when asked to confirm whether the United States was now paying three times as much as before. Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Kadyrbek Sarbayev said Washington would pay Bishkek 60 million dollars per year for renting the base, a significant increase on the previous annual rent of 17.4 million dollars. The deal involves non-lethal supplies like building materials, food and medicine, clothing and water, officials said. Bishkek had long complained that it was not receiving a fair rent for Manas, which also serves as the ex-Soviet republic's main international airport. The United States would also pay Kyrgyzstan more than 36 million dollars for improvements in infrastructure at Manas and 30 million dollars for new navigational equipment, Sarbayev said. On top of that, Washington pledged 20 million dollars for development in Kyrgyzstan; 21 million dollars for fighting drug traffickers; and 10 million for fighting terrorism, he said. Sarbayev called the deal "temporary" and said it would be in effect for a period of one year. The Kyrgyz parliament was expected to vote Thursday on ratifying the deal. Manas airbase is used to ferry tens of thousands of troops in and out of Afghanistan each year and also hosts planes used for the mid-air refuelling of combat aircraft.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said that despite reports to the contrary, the U.S. air base at Manas would continue to be used to send military cargo to Afghanistan.
"It still will allow us to transit the kinds of cargo with logistical support and personnel that we need," he told AFP on the sidelines of a NATO regional security summit being held in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.
"It's a broad umbrella and it includes what we have been doing under the previous agreement."
Kyrgyzstan - an impoverished Central Asian state - changed course this week after ordering the U.S. base to close in February, a decision that would have been a blow to U.S. efforts in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban.
Under the agreement, which was ratified by the Kyrgyz parliament June 23, Washington will more than triple the rent it pays for the base as part of a financial compensation package worth about $177 million.
Kyrgyzstan had long complained that the rent it was receiving for the base was too low.
The key functions of the Manas Air Base are the ferrying of tens of thousands of troops in and out of Afghanistan each year and the hosting of planes used for the mid-air refueling of combat aircraft.
Under the new agreement, the U.S. official said, those operations would continue, effectively putting to rest months of diplomatic wrangling as Washington sought to firm up its Afghan supply routes.
A majority of 75 lawmakers in the 90-member Kyrgyz parliament voted to let the U.S. maintain a "transit center" at the air base, which sits just outside the capital Bishkek.
None voted against the agreement, which was signed by U.S. and Kyrgyz officials earlier this week.
Since the agreement was announced, Kyrgyz officials have publicly insisted that it amounts to a base closure and that from now on Manas will only be used for the transit of "non-military" goods.
"This is no longer a military airbase, the coalition soldiers must leave now. The dismantling of the base infrastructure can begin," said Kabai Karabekov, a lawmaker from the country's ruling Ak Zhol party.
"This is nothing more than a corridor for transit," he added, speaking after Thursday's ratification vote.
But despite Karabekov's comments about evicting soldiers, the agreement allows U.S. personnel to remain and Kyrgyz officials have said they will be permitted to carry weapons.
And in fact, the agreement places no restrictions on what U.S. forces may ship through it.
The U.S. government and its personnel may bring "any form of personal property, equipment, provisions, materials, technology" into and out of Kyrgyzstan, according to the text ratified by parliament.
Moreover, U.S. flights into and out of Manas may not by be searched by Kyrgyz authorities, the agreement says.
Kyrgyzstan announced that it would evict the U.S. air base in February, on the same day that Moscow promised more than two billion dollars in loans and aid to the ex-Soviet republic.
Moscow has long complained about the presence of U.S. military bases in Central Asia, which it says lays within what President Dmitry Medvedev has called Russia's privileged sphere of influence.
DTN News: U.S., Israel, Russia Absent At Cluster Bomb Talks*Sources: DTN News / Defense Media / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) BERLIN, Germany - June 26, 2009: Over 80 countries pledging to destroy their stockpiles of cluster bombs met in Berlin on June 25, but several major nations that have spurned an international ban stayed away. A Colombian bomb disposal expert gets ready to start the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb.
"Cluster munitions are among the most problematic and vicious types of ammunition used in contemporary warfare. The long-term effects of their use are disastrous," German Deputy Foreign Minister Gernot Erler said.
"We see a new momentum in nuclear disarmament, and commend our American partners for their new approach. Let us hope ... that this momentum will also be extended to conventional disarmament."
A cluster bomb is a weapon fired by artillery or dropped by aircraft that splits open and scatters multiple - often hundreds - of smaller submunitions, or bomblets, over a large area.
Often many of the bomblets fail to explode immediately and can lie dormant for many years, killing and maiming civilians - a quarter of them children, campaigners say - long after the original conflict is over.
First employed by the German Luftwaffe on the English town of Grimsby in 1943 and by the Red Army the same year, their use took off in the U.S. bombing of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in the 1960s and 1970s.
More than three decades later, 300-400 people are killed in Laos every year by the 80 million submunitions estimated to be still undiscovered, Laotian Deputy Foreign Minister Bounkeut Sangsomsak told AFP in Berlin.
"In the past 20 years we have cleared only 0.02 percent of the contaminated land. It's not going to take centuries, but a thousand years," he said.
Most recently they were deployed by both sides in Georgia's 2008 war with Russia, rights groups say, in Israel's bombardment of southern Lebanon in 2006, and by the U.S. and its allies in Iraq in 2003 and in Afghanistan in 2001-02.
They were also put to deadly effect by NATO in Serbia in 1999, by the British in the Falkland Islands in 1982, during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, by Ethiopia and Eritrea, and by Morocco and Sudan, campaigners say.
According to a 2006 report by Handicap International, there have been at least 11,000 recorded and confirmed post-conflict casualties and the actual number - levels of reporting being low - may be as high as 100,000.
Last year around 100 countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Australia and Japan, agreed to ban the use, development, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster bombs, creating the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).
Ten countries have since ratified the CCM. Once 30 have done so - as campaigners hope they will by the end of 2009 - the treaty comes into force, giving the 98 signatories eight years to destroy their stockpiles.
It also requires clearing areas of unexploded submunitions within 10 years, and establishes a framework for assistance to victims. The two-day Berlin conference was aimed at focusing on how countries would destroy their stockpiles.
But the U.S., which has as many as one billion cluster munition bomblets, according to campaigners, has not signed up. Nor have China and Russia, which are thought to have around the same amount.
The U.S. has argued that destroying its stockpiles would put the lives of its soldiers at risk, and that cluster bombs often result in less collateral damage than bigger bombs or larger artillery.
Other notable non-signatories absent include Israel, India, Pakistan, South Korea and North Korea, as well as Turkey, Georgia, Iran, Libya, Syria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan and Sri Lanka.
Norway's deputy defense minister said that the convention creates a stigma that will make non-signatories "think twice" before using the weapons in the future.
"It establishes a norm that goes beyond the limits of the signatory states alone. We have seen that materially already," Espen Barth Eide said. "There are people alive now who would have been killed (without the CCM)."