DTN News: Russian Air Force Resumes Su-24 Flights After A Short Suspension
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - July 7, 2009: Russia's Air Force has resumed Su-24 Fencer attack aircraft flights after a 10-day suspension following two crashes in mid-June, a Defense Ministry official said on Monday. The Sukhoi Su-24 (NATO reporting name Fencer) was the Soviet Union's most advanced all-weather interdiction and attack aircraft in the 1970s and 1980s. The two-seat, twin-engined aircraft carried the USSR's first integrated digital nav/attack system. In many aspects, the Su-24's configuration is similar to that of the F-111. It remains in service with former Soviet air forces and various export nations. About 1,400 Su-24s were produced. Substantial numbers of ex-Soviet Su-24s remain in service with Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. Roughly 577 are currently operational with Russian forces, split 447 with the Russian Air Force and 130 with the Russian Navy.
The Su-24 is a two-seat, twin-engine fighter-bomber similar to NATO's Tornado and Mirage 2000 planes.
"The Air Force commander issued an order on Monday to resume Su-24 flights, which had been halted after two consecutive crashes of these aircraft," the official said.
A Su-24 plane crashed on June 19 in the Rostov region of southern Russia, with both pilots ejecting safely. Another Su-24 aircraft crashed on June 17 on a runway as it landed at an airfield in the Murmansk region in the far northwest, but both pilots also ejected safely.
Pilot error has been identified as the cause of the June 17 crash, while the June 19 accident probably resulted from a failure in the Su-24 wing positioning system, a flight safety official said on Monday.
"The cause of the Su-24's crash has been established. It was a pilot error made during the landing," Lt. Gen. Sergei Bainetov said adding that the investigation into the Su-24 crash in the Rostov region continued.
Ten pilots have died in the last decade in 13 Su-24 aircraft crashes in Russia.
The plane has been in service with the Russian Air Force since the mid-1970s. However, in recent years Russia has gradually been phasing out the planes, which have a patchy safety record.
According to the Defense Ministry, the Su-24 will be gradually replaced with new Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft, which has the potential to become the top plane in its class for years to come.
(NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM, Israel - July 7, 2009: A scandal has arisen out of the United States military establishment after Pentagon pressure on Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to withdraw from a massive aircraft tender for the Indian Air Force leaves competing American aerospace companies in prime position to win it.
On the table: a $12 billion Indian Ministry of Defense tender for 126 multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) for the Indian Air Force.
In a bid to win the tender, IAI was offered a partnership with Sweden's Saab AB to jointly develop an advanced model of the JAS-39 Gripen jet fighter. Israel was to build the electronic systems for the craft, including communications, electronic warfare and radar systems.
The Pentagon contacted Israel's Ministry of Defense, ordering them to force IAI out of contention, citing concerns that Israel would integrate American technology into the fighter jets.
However, two of the remaining four bidders are American companies, leaving Israeli officials speculating that the actual reason for the demand was America's interest in winning the bid without having to compete by lowering prices, according to Israeli officials quoted in Israeli media
Lockheed Martin's F-16 and Boeing's F-18 Hornet are still in the running, as well as Russia's MiG-35 and the UK's BAE Eurofighter.
The United States has a history of intervening to thwart Israeli military contracts, to America's benefit. Last summer, Israel's defense establishment backed down from a $500 million Turkish tank tender in order not to compete with the Americans.
In 2006, the IAI lost a $2 billion South Korean Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) tender after the US imposed technological and commercial restrictions, which prevented Israel from meeting the terms of the tender.
In 2003, the US opposed a $1 billion AWACS contract between Israel and India, citing India's stance against the US war in Iraq. The US offered Israel $1 billion in US military goods to back down from the agreement. However, Israeli officials speculated that the US may have opposed the deal for commercial reasons.
DTN News: President Barack Obama Urges Progress On U.S.-Russia Relations
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - July 7, 2009: The United States and Russia must overcome the mistrust and rivalry that dates back to the Cold War and forge ahead with a renewed relationship, U.S. President Barack Obama told students in Moscow on Tuesday.
Speaking at the New Economic School, Obama said the two countries are not "destined to be antagonists" in the 21st century. US President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the graduation ceremony of the New Economic School in Moscow on July 7, 2009. The United States wants a strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia, US President Barack Obama said in a keynote speech urging the development of democracy and curbing of corruption in the country.
"The pursuit of power is no longer a zero-sum game," the president said.
Obama has been using his trip to Moscow in an attempt to renew relations between the U.S. and Russia.
But any "fresh start" in U.S.-Russia relations can't just happen at the government level and must have the support of the people, Obama said.
The status of the relations between the two countries will largely be determined by citizens, he said.
"You get to decide what comes next. You get to choose where change will take us," Obama said. "The future does not belong to those who gather armies on a field of battle or bury missiles in the ground. The future belongs to young people with the education and imagination to create."
'Progress must be shared'
Obama — who is not well-known in Russia and whose trip has gone largely under the radar in the country's tightly controlled media — focused his speech on defining the United States' place in the world. He said the U.S. and Russia share interests and that "progress must be shared."
Obama told the graduating students that Russia and the United States share similar interests in halting the spread of nuclear weapons, confronting violent extremists, ensuring economic prosperity, advancing the rights of people and fostering co-operation without jeopardizing sovereignty.
During the first day of the two-day summit — the first between the two countries in seven years — Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed an agreement to cut their nuclear weapons stockpiles by as much as one-third within seven years.
The U.S. and Russia must also stand united in resisting North Korea's attempt to become a nuclear power and Iran's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons, he said.
Obama added an end to Iran's nuclear efforts would eliminate the need for a missile defence system in Europe. Russia has demanded the U.S. plan be scrapped before implementation of any replacement for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), which expires on Dec. 5.
Meeting with Putin
Getting rid of weapons of mass destruction is the "nuclear challenge of the 21 century," Obama said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Obama met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for a private two-hour discussion over breakfast. US President Barack Obama meets with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin outside Moscow in Novo-Ogarevo on July 7, 2009. Obama praised Vladimir Putin's "extraordinary work" as Russia's president and now prime minister, but admitted their two nations still do not agree on everything.
The two talked about Georgia and Ukraine "and generally about the post-Soviet area," said Yuri Ushakov, an aide to Putin.
Obama is also scheduled to meet with former Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev, civil and business leaders and members of opposition parties.
Obama is travelling with his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Sasha and Malia, during the week-long trip.
Following Obama's meetings in Russia, he will travel to Italy for G8 meetings and will then head to Ghana to deliver a speech.
(NSI News Source Info) BEIJING, China - July 7, 2009: Police fired tear gas to try to restore order today as hundreds of Han Chinese armed with clubs marched through the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi, smashing shops and knocking over food stalls run by Muslims.
A crowd of Han Chinese carrying shovels, sticks and metal rods are stopped by Chinese soldiers wearing riot gear march towards the end of the city occupied by ethnic Uighurs in Urumqi in China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region July 7, 2009. China said a riot that shook the capital of the western Xinjiang region on Sunday killed 140 people and the government called the ethnic unrest a plot against its power, signalling a security crackdown.
The city, where rioting and ethnic clashes killed 156 people two days ago, was extremely tense, with security officials breaking up a separate protest near the railway station.
Muslim women in traditional headscarves also faced off with armed Chinese police, wailing for the release of their sons and husbands detained after the riots.
Police used loudspeakers to appeal to the Han Chinese crowd to stop, but a group of about 300 protesters were joined by two other columns of marchers on Jiefang Nan Road. They appeared to be heading for the Grand Bazaar, the predominantly Muslim area of the city, but were blocked by police.
The crowd, which took up several blocks of the five-lane road, chanted “Unite” and “Modern Society”, and waved wooden sticks, lead pipes, shovels and hoes in the air.
As they headed down a back street toward a mosque, several loud explosions rang out followed by rising white puffs of smoke – and then the smell of tear gas.
The Han Chinese march follows a protest by about 200 people, mostly women from the Uighur minority group, who protested against the security crackdown which has led to more than 1,000 arrests in Urumqi following Sunday’s riot, the area’s worst ethnic violence in decades.
The women said police came through their neighbourhood last night and strip-searched men to check for cuts and other signs of fighting before hauling them away.
“My husband was detained at gunpoint. They were hitting people, they were stripping people naked. My husband was scared so he locked the door, but the police broke down the door and took him away,” said a woman, who gave her name as Aynir.
She said about 300 people were arrested in the market in the southern section of town.The protesters briefly scuffled with paramilitary police, who pushed them back with long sticks before both sides retreated. The 90-minute protest played out in front of foreign reporters on a government-guided tour.
Outside the city’s southern railway station around midday, groups of 10 or so Uighur men with bricks and knives attacked Han Chinese passers-by and shop owners until police ran them off, witnesses said.
“They were using everything for weapons, like bricks, sticks and cleavers,” said a Mr Ma, an employee at a nearby fast food restaurant.
“Whenever the rioters saw someone on the street, they would ask ’Are you a Uighur?’ If they kept silent or couldn’t answer in the Uighur language, they would get beaten or killed.”
Muslim ethnic Uighurs protest in Urumqi in China's far west Xinjiang province on July 7, 2009. Police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of Han Chinese protesters armed with makeshift weapons and vowing revenge, as chaos gripped this flashpoint city riven by ethnic tensions following rioting that claimed at least 156 lives. Authorities ordered a night curfew and thousands of heavily armed police deployed across Urumqi.
It was not immediately clear if anyone was killed in those reported attacks.
The violence and protests expose the tensions between the minority Uighur people, largely Muslim, and the ethnic Han Chinese in Xinjiang – a strategically vital region which shares borders with Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries. The region has been one of China’s fastest growing, buoyed by oil and gas industries, attracting Chinese migrants.
Yet many Uighurs resent the influx and say they are not benefiting from the growth, and they say their religious freedoms have been restricted as well.
Without the foreign reporters present, today’s protests might not have become known. The government is restricting mobile phone services, has blocked Twitter, whose servers are overseas, and is heavily censoring Chinese social networking and news sites, as it blames Uighur exiles for fanning resentments against Chinese rule.
Urumqi Communist Party secretary Li Zhi told a news conference that more than 1,000 people had been detained as of early today and suggested more arrests were under way.
A woman (bottom L) holds a baby amongst a group of other women in the middle of a road in front of Chinese soldiers and policemen, in the city of Urumqi, in China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region July 7, 2009. Riot police on Tuesday fired tear gas to try to break up rock-throwing Han and Uighur protesters who clashed in the capital of China's Muslim region of Xinjiang two days after bloody clashes killed 156 and wounded more than 1,000.
“The number is changing all the time,” Mr Li said. “We will let those who did not commit serious crimes go back to their work units. But to those criminal suspects trying to flee, we will never let them off.”
The official Xinhua News Agency said earlier today that 1,434 suspects had been arrested, and checkpoints had been set up to stop rioters from escaping.
Officials at the news conference said they could not give a breakdown of how many of the dead were Uighurs and how many were Han Chinese. State television has shown predominantly Han Chinese victims, while overseas Uighur groups say the death toll is much higher for Uighurs.
DTN News: Canada TODAY July 7, 2009 - Japanese Emperor Meets Governor General During State Visit
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) OTTAWA, Canada - July 7, 2009: The emperor of Japan praised Canada's urban green spaces and clean living Monday before he planted a tree at the Governor General's residence during an official visit steeped in pomp and ceremony. Emperor Akihito of Japan, seen here reviewing an honor guard, and Empress Michiko began an official visit to Canada Monday to mark the 80th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
"We are most impressed with the effort the people of your country make in order to maintain nature in metropolitan areas and try to lead a healthy lifestyle," Emperor Akihito said through an interpreter.
"We hope to deepen our understanding of your country where those who have lived here for generations and those who have moved here from various countries recognize and respect their mutual cultures and strive to create, harmoniously, the Canada that is today."
Akihito and Empress Michiko shovelled earth on a hemlock tree planted in their honour on the grounds of Rideau Hall as Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean cooed "wonderful, wonderful."
She told Japan's royal couple that the hemlock will one day grow taller than the canopy of trees high above it.
"It will grow very tall," Jean said. "Sixty to eighty feet. So, it's going to be a very strong Canadian and Japanese tree.
"We have a good future."
The official visit began when a landau carrying Akihito and Michiko rumbled up Rideau Hall's winding lane to the waiting Governor General.
Akihito briefly inspected the Governor General's ceremonial guard before entering her official residence.
They spent about an hour talking inside a large drawing room with Jean's secretary, the Canadian and Japanese ambassadors and the emperor's grand master of ceremonies.
A small contingent of mostly Japanese journalists captured the first moments of the meeting.
Jean leaned in toward Akihito and thanked him for visiting Canada.
"It's very important for Canada and Japan to really reinforce their connections and relations ... especially in these uncertain times," she said.
"This is a time when we have to push down barriers and go beyond borders and join our efforts to find the solutions."
The emperor smiled but said nothing.
The emperor last visited Canada in 1953 when he was the heir to the throne. He's making up for lost time by travelling to Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria on a 12-day tour.
Later in the day, Akihito and Michiko returned to Rideau Hall to met Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen.
The two men briefly made small talk before the cameras.
"It's wonderful to have you. It's been 50 years," Harper said.
"Fifty-six," the emperor corrected.
"Fifty-six," Harper said.
Akihito was to dine with Harper, Jean and other dignitaries at Rideau Hall on Monday evening.
The visit to the Governor General's residence drew a crowd of Japanese, who came with fluttering paper Japan flags to greet the emperor and empress.
But in the Land of the Rising Sun, the royal visit appears to be a mere blip on people's radar screens.
"I have talked to my cousins and they said, 'Oh really? They are going (to Canada)?' They didn't know," said Noriko Davy, who came to see the emperor.
"Maybe there are some people who are very much interested in the ... royal family of Japan," explained Kazue Furuya. "Then probably they will follow whatever they do.
"But the ordinary people, especially the younger generations, they are not much interested."
DTN News: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Israel Would Dismantle 23 Illegal Outposts*Source: DTN News / IMEMC News
(NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM, Israel - July 7, 2009: Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with US Middle East envoy Senator George Mitchell in London on Monday, for their second meeting in the space of a week. During his meeting with the US Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, stated that Israel would dismantle 23 illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank in the coming weeks or months. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and special US envoy George Mitchell prepare to begin a meeting on June 30, 2009 in New York, New York. Barak travelled to New York in an attempt to reach a compromise with the Obama administration over the issue of continuing expansion of settlements in the West Bank.
During the London meeting, the second in one week, Barak said that a progress had been reached on settlements issue but added that ‘there is still a long way to go’ before reaching understandings.
Israeli sources reported that the ‘progress’ in talks includes ‘clarifying Israel’s position regarding the construction in existing Israeli settlements, and its readiness to hold peace talks with the Palestinians and the Arab world in exchange for normalization with Israel’.
He yet reiterated the Israel demand that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jews, and that they should acknowledge that a future agreement with the ‘Jewish state’ would mark the end of the conflict.
He also demanded the Palestinian to provide an answer to the status of Hamas movement and the Gaza Strip, Israeli Ynet News reported.
After a previous meeting with Mitchell in New York last Tuesday, Barak said that he is optimistic about the chances of launching a comprehensive peace process.
Barak demanded the Arab world to normalize with Israel in exchange for advancing peace talks with the Palestinians.
This maneuver, first presented by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, aims at having Arab countries sign permanent peace deals and normalize with the ‘Jewish state’ before a comprehensive peace deal is signed with the Palestinians.
In 2002, Arab leaders presented the Arab peace Initiative in which Arab states offered normalization and peace with Israel in return for its full withdrawal from the Arab and Palestinian territories illegally capture in 1967, including East Jerusalem.
Israel refused to accept the deal as a full package, the same way it refused to recognize the Road Map Peace plan as a whole package.
Israel still rejects to recognize the internationally guaranteed Right of Return of the Palestinian Refugees, refuses any withdrawal from Jerusalem, and refuses to hold talks on other main issues such as borders and natural resources.
Israel also insists on keeping its big settlements and settlements blocs in the occupied West Bank as it demands that those settlements would always be part of the ‘Jewish State’ under any peace agreement.
The International law and the Fourth Geneva Conventions regard settlements as war crimes, as an occupying power should not settlement part of its own population in territories it occupies. This is beside the basic fact that occupation itself is considered a war crime.
DTN News: Afghanistan ~ The Re-emergence of the Taliban and US new offensive - Operation Khanjar
*Source: DTN News / Asian Tribune By Andrin Raj
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - July 7, 2009: Afghanistan ~ a country in turmoil during the reign of the Taliban – seems to be re-emerging in its strength and political ideologies crossing over even to the boarders of Pakistan into the Swat Valley. The Taliban labeled as a “terrorist organization”, have regrouped and are more confident than ever to regain its power in Afghanistan as well as in neighboring Pakistan. U.S. armoured vehicles patrol the site of a roadside bomb attack in Kunduz province July 6, 2009. Four foreign soldiers with NATO-led forces were among six people killed by a roadside bomb in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan on Monday, a spokesman for the alliance and an Afghan police official said.
The fall of the Taliban in 2001 swapped away the regime and significantly ouster the regime out of control. This also led to the “spill-over” effect into Pakistan, where the real danger has been lurking. During 2001 to 2005, a large number of Taliban militants fled to Peshawar in Pakistan while trying to evade capture by the US forces.
The fact remained that the current regime and the United States did not really consider the Taliban to regroup in such a short period and to re-emerge in Pakistan, was a lesson to be learnt. The Taliban – as much as it is an “extremist religious” regime – was not going to let their guard down by the defeat in 2001.
Peshawar was the Taliban’s “safe haven” to regroup over the years and till today the Taliban still operates from this region. On the other hand the Pakistani forces saw no interest in addressing the “spill-over” effect during those years .Currently the Taliban is still in control over certain parts of Afghanistan and especially in the Helmand province.
The Helmand province is the largest producer of opium in the world and this is infact the sole economic power of the Taliban to source for material goods as well as for weapons. The Helmand province is out of security forces and government control and is considered a stronghold of the Taliban operating in Afghanistan. The current regime and the US forces did not take seriously the threat of the Taliban and its capabilities after the initial fall in 2001.
The US failure in addressing the cultural and societal environment of Afghanistan in the earlier offensive in 2001 till the end of the Bush Administration is also another factor contributing to the escalation of unrest amongst the Afghan people. As stated in a prior operational article published in the Counter Terrorism Journal, it states that most Afghans live in a “primitive” dwelling of the fourteenth century ancestry of the British society. This clearly indicates the need to address the Afghan people in “winning the hearts and minds” in order to defeat the Taliban.
The current deployment of US troops to Afghanistan, totaling nearly four thousand under the Obama’s Administration, set out to defeat the Taliban and its re-emergence is timely as the threat of terrorism is escalating and the re-emergence of several terrorist groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah in Southeast Asia, whom most of its new recruits are being trained in the boarders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, are beginning to threaten the Southeast Asia region more than ever. The current threats to Southeast Asia are the security of the regions waterways as well as the escalating threat in Southern Thailand the Mindanao Island of the Philippines and the Sulu waters where weapons smuggling is rampant.
Operation “Strike of the Sword” or dubbed “Operation Khanjar” is making a new start for the Obama’s Administration to address the Taliban threats and to initiate a new dimension in fighting the “war on terror”. The offensive is backed by Afghan and British troops working closely in the operations. The Obama’s Administration has declared the Taliban threat in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan to be the main foreign threat to US soil. The operation marks the first big test of Washington’s new regional strategy to defeat the Taliban and its allies and stabilize Afghanistan. This is inline with helping to secure Afghanistan in the upcoming Presidential elections to be held in August of 2009.
The new approach to “Operation Khanjar” will ensure the safety of civilians and limit casualties as well as to “winning the hearts and minds” of the Afghan people. The Obama’s Administration has wowed to send in more humanitarian aid and relevant agencies to assist on the ongoing re-construction of Afghanistan when it finally secures the country. The approach will also address the issues pertaining to understanding cultural and societal ways and working closely with the people of Afghanistan.
In a statement by Brigadier General Larry Nicholson, the commanding general in Afghanistan, “Operation Khanjar is different from other major offensives that have occurred before, such as its massive size of the force introduced and the speed at which it will insert”. It would also see US troops remaining in place, building and working toward a transition of all security responsibilities to Afghan forces.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is finally on the offensive in coordination with the U.S. and Afghanistan. They are deploying more troops to the border to prevent the Taliban refuge when fleeing from the new onslaught. This comes on top of the Pakistan Army greatly pressing Taliban fighters along the border the past weeks. More now than ever, Pakistan is acting as if it is committed to fighting the Taliban. The military in recent days has expanded a high-stakes offensive along the Afghan border, while the government enjoys wide public support, even as casualties and refugees mount. The Pakistani military has since taken back the Swat Valley and shifted its sights to such tribal regions as Waziristan.
The decision to give the Swat Valley to the Taliban earlier this year, was in reality Pakistani’s way to lure non-Taliban members to leave the valley and hence to solely concentrate to target and defeat the Taliban. This however had it share of failures but the initial stand proved to be of a success in engaging the Taliban at a disclosed province. With the current offensive by the US and the engagement of the Pakistani military in the boarders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, is the days of the Taliban seem to be coming to a step closer to a defeat? Lastly, the US would still need to actively engage more cautiously and provide assurance to the transition and security of the Afghan people when it finally stabilizes the country.
Andrin Raj is Director/Security and Terrorism Analyst for Stratad Asia Pacific Strategic Centre (SAPSC) and Director for Chapter-SEA for the International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals.
DTN News: U.S. President Barack Obama And Russian President Dmitry Medvedev To Sign Joint Statement On Missile Defense Issues
*Source: DTN News / THE WHITE HOUSE ~ Office of the Press Secretary ~ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 6, 2009
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - July 7, 2009: Joint Statement by Dmitry A. Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, and Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, on Missile Defense Issues
In accordance with the understanding reached at the meeting in London on April 1, 2009, Russia and the United States plan to continue the discussion concerning the establishment of cooperation in responding to the challenge of ballistic missile proliferation. Our countries are intensifying their search for optimum ways of strengthening strategic relations on the basis of mutual respect and interests.
We have instructed our experts to work together to analyze the ballistic missile challenges of the 21st century and to prepare appropriate recommendations, giving priority to the use of political and diplomatic methods. At the same time they plan to conduct a joint review of the entire spectrum of means at our disposal that allow us to cooperate on monitoring the development of missile programs around the world. Our experts are intensifying dialogue on establishing the Joint Data Exchange Center, which is to become the basis for a multilateral missile-launch notification regime.
The Russian Federation and the United States of America reaffirm their willingness to engage in equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation with all interested countries that share their assessments of the danger of global proliferation of ballistic missiles. We call upon all countries having a missile potential to refrain from steps that could lead to missile proliferation and undermine regional and global stability.
DTN News: Lockheed Martin Awarded $23 Million For Production of JASSM-Extended Range Test Missiles
*Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin
(NSI News Source Info) ORLANDO, Fla. - July 7, 2009: Lockheed Martin was awarded a $23 million contract for production of 12 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) test missiles to be used in flights tests. Six of the missiles will be used to complete the development test flight program, with the remaining six to be used in operational tests.
The JASSM project began in 1995 after the cancellation of the AGM-137 TSSAM project. The TSSAM was designed as a high precision stealthy missile for use at stand-off ranges, but poor management of the project resulted in rising costs. Since the requirement for such weapons still existed, the military quickly announced a follow-up project with similar goals. Initial contracts for two competing designs were awarded to McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed Martin in 1996, and the missile designations AGM-158A and AGM-159A were allocated to the two weapons. Lockheed Martin's AGM-158A won and a contract for further development was awarded in 1998. The AGM-158A is powered by a Teledyne CAE J402 turbojet. While carried the wings are folded to reduce size, flipping out on launch. There is a single vertical tail. Guidance is via inertial navigation with updating from a global positioning system. Target recognition and terminal homing is via an imaging infrared seeker. A data link allows the missile to transmit its location and status during flight, allowing improved bomb damage assessment. Accuracy is has been questionable and the program has been over funded resulting in considerations to drop the program entirely. The warhead is a WDU-42/B 450 kg (1000 lb) penetrator.
The JASSM will be carried by a wide range of aircraft - the F-15E, F-16, F/A-18, F-35, B-1B, B-2 and B-52 are all intended to carry the weapon.
All of the missiles will be tactically configured with an added test instrumentation kit. The missiles are assembled in Lockheed Martin's award-winning missile assembly facility in Pike County, AL.
"These tests will demonstrate the maturity of the JASSM-ER design, and support the Milestone C decision to proceed with low rate initial production of the missile," said Alan Jackson, director of the JASSM and JASSM-ER programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. The AGM-158 JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) is a standoff cruise missile developed in the United States. Finland planned to purchase JASSM missiles for the Finnish Air Force as part of modernization plans of its F/A-18 Hornet fleet. In February 2007 the United States declined to sell the missiles, while agreeing to proceed as planned with other modernization efforts (the so-called Mid-Life Update 2, or MLU2). This episode led to speculation in the Finnish media on the state of Finnish - American diplomatic relations.
The Defense Acquisition and Program Administration (DAPA) of South Korea has announced that it is planning to purchase and equip ROKAF's fleet of F-15K Slam Eagles with JASSM by 2010 to 2011.
The flight tests will be launched from a B-1B aircraft and engage various tactical targets. JASSM-ER has a 100 percent success rate, currently four-for-four in developmental flight tests.
The development and procurement of JASSM-ER is a key element of the B-1B reinvestment strategy.
The additional range provided by the JASSM-ER variant benefits the B-1B with responsive, precision-engagement capability, while remaining clear of highly-defended airspace and beyond the range of long-range, surface-to-air missiles.
One of the primary JASSM-ER program objectives is to provide the Warfighter with a significant operational capability more than 2.5 times the baseline missile range. The JASSM-ER maintains the same outer mold line, survivability and lethality of the baseline JASSM missile.
A 2,000-pound class weapon with a dual-mode penetrator and blast fragmentation warhead, JASSM cruises autonomously in adverse weather, day or night, using a state-of-the-art infrared seeker in addition to the enhanced digital anti-jam Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to find a specific aimpoint on the target.
Its stealthy airframe makes it extremely difficult for air defense systems to engage. The JASSM-ER missile design will be compatible with the threshold B-1B platform, as well as the B-2, B-52 and F-16 aircraft that currently employ JASSM.
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.
DTN News: Force Protection, Inc. Awarded $70 Million Of Contracts To Install Cougar Independent Suspension Upgrade Kits
*Source: DTN News / Force Protection, Inc. On Monday July 6, 2009, 8:30 am EDT(NSI News Source Info) LADSON, S.C. - July 7, 2009: Force Protection, Inc., a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of life saving survivability solutions and provider of total life cycle support for those products, yesterday July 6, announced that it has received contracts for both Phase 1 and Phase 2 installation of specifically redesigned TAK-4 independent suspension kits for 1,317 Cougar MRAPs. Proven combat survivability is the key to sending personnel out with a go anywhere, do anything
and get home to tell about it attitude. The advanced ballistic and blast-protected MRAP Cat I
Cougar boasts an outstanding occupant survival rate. The Cougar 4x4, which can transport up to
six passengers plus equipment, has been a workhorse for the U.S. Marine Corps combat engineers in Iraq since 2004. The Cougar is the paragon of troop transports in Iraq and Afghanistan, where it has withstood literally thousands of IED/landmine attacks. As for the survivability of the Cougar itself, not only is the vehicle built to drive into danger, its reparability typically allows it to return to service within a matter of hours. The Cougar’s reliability has gained it global notoriety and is being sold to foreign allies in Canada, Iraq and the UK.*
The Phase 1 award under modification to Contract M67854-07-D-5031 from the United States Marine Corps Systems Command was made on June 16, 2009 for $21.4 million and the Phase 2 was awarded on Friday, July 2, 2009 for an additional $48.9 million. The work is expected to be completed prior to February, 2010 and will be performed by both Force Protection’s staff of field service representatives (FSR) and by FSRs from Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK - News) under subcontract to Force Protection. The modification for the purchase of the hardware associated with this installation work was awarded on April 8, 2009 in the amount of $158.1 million, bringing the total cost for this independent suspension upgrade program, thus far, to approximately $228 million. The awards under these contract modifications are subject to definitization.
Michael Moody, Chief Executive Officer of Force Protection, commented, “We are pleased to have received these awards to install this much needed, high-performance mobility upgrade package for approximately a third of our deployed fleet of Cougar MRAPs. This award demonstrates our ability to capture a range of opportunities to provide service, support, spares and training. We are excited to leverage our recent investment in our Kuwait-based logistics and service depot, which we believe has significantly increased our ability to serve our customer and the war-fighter with faster response and more comprehensive service.”
About Force Protection, Inc.
Force Protection, Inc. is a leading American designer, developer and manufacturer of survivability solutions, predominantly blast- and ballistic-protected wheeled vehicles currently deployed by the U.S. military and its allies to support armed forces and security personnel in conflict zones. The Company’s specialty vehicles, the Cougar, the Buffalo and the Cheetah, are designed specifically for reconnaissance and urban operations and to protect their occupants from landmines, hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs, commonly referred to as roadside bombs). The Company also is the developer and manufacturer of ForceArmor™, an armor package providing superior protection against explosively formed projectiles (EFPs), now available for a wide range of tactical-wheeled vehicles. The Company is one of the original developers and primary providers of vehicles for the U.S. military’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, vehicle program.