DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded National Air and Space Intelligence Center Contract
*Source: DTN News / General Dynamics
(NSI News Source Info) FAIRFAX, Va. - July 11, 2009: The National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) has awarded General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems an Advanced Technical Exploitation Program (ATEP) contract. This five-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract has a ceiling value of $600 million to be competed among the three awardees who received contracts. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems is a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD).
With this award, General Dynamics will provide around-the-clock intelligence analysis, software systems development and support, and sensor exploitation research and development of space-based and airborne sensor data. General Dynamics’ solutions will directly support national priorities, including the Overseas Contingency Operations and missile defense, with timelines to meet that range from minutes to hours.
The National Air and Space Intelligence Center serves as the national and U.S. Department of Defense executive agent for the processing, exploitation, analysis, integration and dissemination of measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) data collected from radar, electro-optical and infrared technical sensors. It prepares signatures of threat targets, develops analytical tools for technical analysis and provides these techniques for the fusion of MASINT data in direct support of operational missions of the Department of Defense and mission partners throughout the intelligence community. General Dynamics has been serving NASIC as a prime contractor since 2001.
“General Dynamics will continue to deliver our broad set of advanced sensing and exploitation capabilities to help NASIC meet their mission of ensuring that national decision makers and our armed forces can monitor and assess existing and evolving capabilities of our nation’s adversaries,” said Lou Von Thaer, president, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. “The breadth and depth of our team’s experience in geospatial, advanced sensor and exploitation technologies uniquely positions us to deliver the next generation of MASINT solutions to NASIC and our nation.”
The majority of work will be performed in Dayton, Ohio.
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. More information about General Dynamics is available online at www.gd.com.
DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Awarded Two Contracts To Continue Research Of Advanced Vehicle Technologies
*Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation
(NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - July 11, 2009: Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, announced it has received two contracts from the Office of Naval Research for research of next-generation vehicle technologies.
These contracts will help advance diesel-electric and hybrid-electric drive technologies to improve fuel efficiency and on-board power capabilities. In collaboration with the Office of Naval Research, Marine Corps PEO Land Systems is providing technical and program support for each effort. Work for both contracts is scheduled to go through 2011.
“Oshkosh Defense is a leader in military vehicle technology development and these contracts will further the innovative work we have done for future military fleets,” said Andy Hove, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Defense. “Building on existing diesel-electric and hybrid-electric technologies will help Oshkosh develop more efficient, powerful and versatile vehicles.”
Under the first contract, Oshkosh Defense will conduct hybridization and repower research efforts for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR). These efforts are targeted to improve the vehicle’s fuel efficiency and deliver industry-leading exportable power while maintaining the MTVR’s mobility, performance and effectiveness. In addition to integrating a lighter, higher-powered engine and maximizing common intake, exhaust and cooling system components, Oshkosh will incorporate a capacitor-based energy storage system to store energy during vehicle deceleration and idle periods. These advanced technologies will reduce engine and fuel demands during acceleration.
Under a second contract, Oshkosh will develop an advanced and lightweight synchronous generator that can be used on diesel-electric military vehicles. The goal is to reduce the generator’s weight by 40 percent while maintaining the vehicle’s performance and power qualities. A second component of this contract includes the development of a next-generation traction system for improved off-road mobility with increased efficiency of operation.
The Oshkosh diesel- and hybrid-electric drive technologies offer fuel economy improvements over conventional power trains, and provide enough electricity through an on-board generator to power a command center, airfield or city block.
About Oshkosh DefenseOshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit www.oshkoshdefense.com.
About Oshkosh CorporationOshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corp. manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, BAI®, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to www.oshkoshcorporation.com.
®, ™ All brand names referred to in this news release are trademarks of Oshkosh Corporation or its subsidiary companies.
DTN News: Boeing/Iridium Team Completes High Integrity GPS Program M
*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS - July 11, 2009: A team led by Boeing with support from Iridium Satellite LLC today announced that it has achieved two major milestones to further develop and demonstrate capability enhancements to the High Integrity Global Positioning System (GPS) program for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.
The first milestone, completion of the Enhanced Narrowband (ENB) software modification to computers on Iridium satellites, enables second-generation GPS-aiding signals to be broadcast through the entire Iridium constellation. These broadcasts will enable rapid, more accurate GPS position fixes anywhere in the world. The GPS-aiding signal will allow appropriately equipped warfighters to quickly lock on and maintain a GPS signal, even while operating in restrictive environments such as urban areas, forests, mountains and canyons, as well as under enemy jamming attempts or amid battlefield radio frequency noise.
"The completion of this on-orbit software enhancement to the Iridium constellation represents a significant step toward delivering aiding signals with embedded GPS data anywhere in the world and on demand," said David Whelan, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems chief scientist and vice president/deputy general manager, Boeing Phantom Works. "This will provide warfighters with improved GPS anti-jam and time stability transfer capabilities."
The second milestone was a demonstration of the acquisition of a GPS signal under substantial jamming while moving.
"When a military GPS receiver is jammed, it cannot obtain a position fix, and movement only makes the situation worse," said Whelan. "Even from a cold start, it took only minutes for the High Integrity GPS-aided receiver, in a moving vehicle, to receive the GPS signal while being jammed. Without assistance from the High Integrity GPS system, a position fix would never have been obtained."
"GPS has become an indispensable tool for military operations, so we are pleased that we have reached these milestones with Boeing," said retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. John Campbell, executive vice president of Government Programs, Iridium. "Because of the unique design of our global satellite network, Iridium is able to help deliver such added precision and robustness to this important capability used in U.S. Department of Defense mission-critical operations."
The principle behind High Integrity GPS, also known in government circles as "iGPS," uses satellite signals from the Iridium low-Earth orbit telecommunications system and the U.S. Air Force-operated GPS mid-Earth orbit navigational satellites. Iridium provides a high power signal and rapidly changing ground track to accelerate an initial position fix by users. The GPS system provides navigational data in time, location and velocity. The result is an augmentation to GPS that provides iGPS receivers with improved navigation, higher signal integrity, precision accuracy and more jam-resistant capabilities. High Integrity GPS also has the potential to provide geographic positioning data to within centimeters, a vast improvement over current stand-alone GPS, which provides data within meters.
The ENB software upgrade was completed on schedule and within budget, and will support a system-level demonstration later this year.
The team includes Boeing Phantom Works' Advanced Network and Space Systems, Iridium, Rockwell Collins, Coherent Navigation and experts from academia.
Iridium Satellite LLC (http://www.iridium.com/) is the only mobile satellite service (MSS) company offering pole-to-pole coverage over the entire globe. The Iridium constellation of low-Earth orbiting (LEO), cross-linked satellites provides critical voice and data services for areas not served by terrestrial communication networks. Iridium’s subscriber growth has been driven by increasing demand for reliable, secure, global communications. Iridium serves commercial markets through a worldwide network of hundreds of distributors, and provides services to the U.S. Department of Defense, and other U.S. and international government agencies. The company’s customers represent a broad spectrum of industry, including maritime, aeronautical, government/defense, public safety, utilities, oil/gas, mining, forestry, heavy equipment and transportation. Iridium has launched a major development program for its next-generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT, which will result in continued and new Iridium MSS offerings. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., and is currently privately held.
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: Boeing Awarded $1.2 Million Air Force Contract To Demonstrate Cyber Command And Control Solutions*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) ARLINGTON, Va., - July 11, 2009: Boeing recently was awarded a $1.2 million contract by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, N.Y., to study and demonstrate improved situational awareness, visualization, and automated course-of-action processing for network environments during cyber attack. Boeing will analyze network operations, develop procedures and processes, and apply tools that will enhance network command and control capabilities. The results of the study will be demonstrated at the Air Force Research Laboratory.
"This award recognizes Boeing's ability to support the Air Force with the solutions they need to improve command and control of their network assets," said Steve Oswald, vice president and general manager of Boeing Intelligence and Security Systems. "Boeing's technology solution provides the Air Force with tools to enhance their network architecture, giving them secure, positive measures to ensure mission success."
Boeing, along with subsidiaries Federated Software Group (FSG) and Tapestry Solutions, will demonstrate a test system that maintains positive command and control of cyber assets through automated alerts and actions. The system will enable the Air Force to perform its missions under all network conditions.
Technical and programmatic leadership of the program will be accomplished at Boeing facilities in Anaheim, Calif., and Herndon, Va., building on cyber architecture and technologies developed for a variety of internal and government customers.
The system will include Boeing's Common Enterprise Mission Oriented Architecture, a network service-oriented architecture middleware solution that allows easy generalization of network interfaces and automated services and provides seamless integration of new features and capabilities without network disruption.
Tapestry and FSG are among several companies Boeing acquired in 2008 that support the company’s growth strategy in operations support and technology development.
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: President Barack Obama Receives Hero's Welcome On Ghana Visit
*Source: DTN News
(NSI News Source Info) ACCRA, Ghana - July 11, 2009: Barack Obama said Ghana could be a model of success for other African countries as he arrived today after the G8 summit for a visit meant to show that "Africa is not separate from world affairs". President Barack Obama does a pass and review of members of the Ghanaian military at the Presidential Palace in Accra, Ghana, Saturday, July 11, 2009. In his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office, President Barack Obama is seeking to lift up the continent of his ancestors while keeping its emotions in check.
On his first trip to Africa since taking office, the US president was given a hero's welcome in the country's capital, Accra.
Thousands of people wearing Obama T-shirts thronged the streets, cheering and waving as his motorcade swept past.
Walls and utility poles were plastered with posters of Obama and John Atta Mills, the country's president, as well as the word "change" – the mantra of Obama's presidential election campaign. Other posters showed the president and his wife, Michelle, with the greeting "Ghana loves you".
Obama and his family arrived late last night from the G8 summit in Italy, where the world's richest nations agreed on a $20bn (£12.4bn) food security plan to help poor nations feed themselves during the global recession.
Speaking in Italy before he left, Obama said: "There is no reason why Africa cannot be self-sufficient when it comes to food."
Today, Obama is to address Ghana's parliament with a speech that is expected to emphasise that the key to prosperity is democratic, accountable government.
Last night, Obama portrayed Ghana as a success in a continent beset by corruption and poor governance. "Part of the reason that we're travelling to Ghana is because you've got a functioning democracy, a president who's serious about reducing corruption and you've seen significant economic growth," he said.
The Obamas will visit Gold Coast Castle, a former British slave trading post. Michelle Obama is a great-great granddaughter of slaves. John Atta Mills, the president of Ghana, walks alongside US President Barack Obama upon arrival at the Presidential Castle in Accra, Ghana, on July 11, 2009. The visit marks Obama's first to subsaharan Africa as president. Obama, who will address parliament Saturday, said before the trip that he had chosen Ghana as his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa because it was an example of a "functioning democracy" in the conflict-scarred continent.
The visit comes as the US plans a much more assertive policy in Africa, using both diplomacy and the threat of force to end the protracted conflicts in Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria, which are seen as two of the main obstacles to the continent's progress.
"This is both a special and an important visit for him personally as president, but also for our country to articulate a vision for Africa," said Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman.
Despite the enthusiastic reception from ordinary Ghanians, no major public events have been planned during Obama's 21-hour visit, for fear it could cause a celebratory stampede, as almost happened during a 1998 stop by Bill Clinton.
DTN News: Boeing Ready To Buy F-18 Parts In Brazil To Win Sale
*Source: DTN News / Bloomberg By Andre Soliani and Joshua Goodman
(NSI News Source Info) BRASILIA, Brazil - July 11, 2009: Boeing Co. is prepared to have Brazilian companies supply a “big portion” of components for its Super Hornet jetfighter, creating as many as 5,000 local jobs, to sell 36 of the warplanes to the Latin American nation. Jim Albaugh, the head of Boeing’s defense unit, said agreements have been signed with 27 Brazilian companies that are capable of producing parts for the F/A-18, including Empresa Brasilieira de Aeronautica SA, the world’s fourth-largest airplane maker. The pledge comes as Boeing maneuvers against competitors Dassault Aviation SA and Saab AB to win the sale.
“A big portion of the F-18 will be built here,” Albaugh, 58, said today in an interview in Brasilia. “For every dollar that goes toward that airplane, that money will come back to Brazil as manufacturing, software, avionics, and electronics.”
Boeing, the second-biggest defense contractor in the U.S., is counting on foreign military sales to make up for an expected slowdown in orders from the Pentagon. At the same time, Brazil, Latin America’s biggest economy, is beefing up its military after years of neglect and seeking to rebuild its arms industry. Through the 1980s, Brazil was the world’s 11th biggest weapon exporter.
Brazil’s tender for the fighter jet is the fourth-biggest foreign bid Chicago-based Boeing is competing for this year, Albaugh said. Defense sales provide about half of Boeing’s revenue. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is expected to award the contract, which analysts say could be worth as much as $4.5 billion, as early as next month.
Competition is stiff. Saab AB, the Swedish maker of the Gripen warplane, is prepared to shift as much as 50 percent of future Gripen production to Brazil, Bob Kemp, marketing chief for the $50 million plane, said July 7.
The other contender is Paris-based Dassault Aviation SA, which is pitching the Rafale. Dassault’s Mirage 2000 is currently Brazil’s most-advanced warplane. French officials have “clearly stated their openness” to cooperate with Brazil in the technology field, Yves Robins, vice-president corporate communication of Dassault Aviation, said in an interview this week.
Under the tender guidelines, the company that wins the contract is required to transfer technology to Brazil equal to the full purchase price of the planes.
“Our main goal is technology access,” Brazil’s Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said yesterday.
That favors Boeing’s competitors who are less burdened by U.S. restrictions on arms exports, said Richard Aboulafia, vice president at Teal Group, a Fairfax, Virginia-based consultancy. U.S. rules may include demands for on-site inspections and approval of any sales to third parties over the plane’s 40-year flying life, he said.
“Certainly it’s a process that you have to go through with the United States and it can be a process that takes time,” Albaugh said. “But ultimately our customers get what they need, get what they want.”
To replace its aging fleet, Brazil may order total of 120 fighter jets. India plans to order 126 warplanes, while Denmark may buy as much as 42 and Greece 40, Albaugh said.
The sale is Dassault’s to lose, said Alexandre Barros, head of Early Warning, a Brasilia-based political risk firm. The French have been Brazil’s top arms supplier since 1978, when President Jimmy Carter banned U.S. arms sales to Latin America, fearing an arms race among the reigning military juntas. The policy was reversed in 1997.
“The French have no qualms about transferring a lot of technology,” said Barros.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has lobbied for the deal, which would be the Rafale’s first international sale after failed bids in Morocco, South Korea and Singapore. During a visit last December, he signed contracts worth 8 billion euros ($11 billion) to build 50 Super Cougar helicopters and five submarines.
Lula invited Sarkozy as Brazil’s guest of honor at its independence day Sept. 7. After meeting him in Paris this week, Lula said he hopes to sign new defense accords at that time.
The F/A-18’s biggest advantage against the Dassault is a longer track-record, especially in environments like coastal Brazil, said Aboulafia.
Economies of Scale
Currently the F/A-18 is being produced at a rate of 43 per year, compared to 13 per year for the Rafale and 5 for the Gripen, so Boeing is able to win on cost per unit, Aboulafia said.
The Gripen is the weakest of the three candidates, says Michel Merluzeau, an aviation analyst at G2 Solution in Kirkland, Washington. Deliveries and production for the single- engine plane are falling, making its survival dependent on more financing. Sweden’s annual defense spending of $5.5 billion is less than 1 percent the $623 billion U.S. market, he said.
Boeing rose 0.8 percent to $39.65 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has dropped by more than half since Feb. 28, 2008, the day before the company lost a $35 billion U.S. tanker competition to a group including rival European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. The stock has also been hurt by delays to the company’s newest commercial aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner.
To contact the reporter on this story: Andre Soliani in Brasilia at firstname.lastname@example.org
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - July 11, 2009: We are accustomed to seeing Afghans through bars, or smeared windows, or the sight of a rifle: turbaned men carrying rockets, praying in unison, or lying in pools of blood; boys squabbling in an empty swimming pool; women in burn wards, or begging in burkas. Kabul is a South Asian city of millions. Bollywood music blares out in its crowded spice markets and flower gardens, but it seems that images conveying colour and humour are reserved for Rajasthan. British soldiers firing at Taliban positions in Afghanistan's Helmand province Photo: NEW YORK TIMES
Barack Obama, in a recent speech, set out our fears. The Afghan government "is undermined by corruption and has difficulty delivering basic services to its people. The economy is undercut by a booming narcotics trade that encourages criminality and funds the insurgency... If the Afghan government falls to the Taliban – or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged – that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.
"For the Afghan people, a return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralysed economy, and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people – especially women and girls. The return in force of al-Qaeda terrorists who would accompany the core Taliban leadership would cast Afghanistan under the shadow of perpetual violence."
When we are not presented with a dystopian vision, we are encouraged to be implausibly optimistic. "There can be only one winner: democracy and a strong Afghan state," Gordon Brown predicted in his most recent speech on the subject.
Obama and Brown rely on a hypnotising language that can – and perhaps will – be applied as easily to Somalia or Yemen as Afghanistan. It misleads us in several respects: minimising differences between cultures, exaggerating our fears, aggrandising our ambitions, inflating a sense of moral obligations and power, and confusing our goals. All these attitudes are aspects of a single worldview and create an almost irresistible illusion.
It conjures nightmares of "failed states" and "global extremism", offers the remedies of "state-building" and "counter-insurgency", and promises a final dream of "legitimate, accountable governance". It papers over the weakness of the international community: our lack of knowledge, power and legitimacy. It conceals the conflicts between our interests: between giving aid to Afghans and killing terrorists. It assumes that Afghanistan is predictable. It makes our policy seem a moral obligation, makes failure unacceptable, and alternatives inconceivable. It does this so well that a more moderate, minimalist approach becomes almost impossible to articulate.
Every Afghan ruler in the 20th century was assassinated, lynched or deposed. The Communist government tried to tear down the old structures of mullah and khan; the anti-Soviet jihad set up new ones, bolstered with US and Saudi cash and weapons from Pakistan. There is almost no economic activity in the country, aside from international aid and the production of illegal narcotics. The Afghan army cannot, like Pakistan's, reject America's attempt to define national security priorities; Afghan diplomats cannot mock our pronouncements. Karzai is widely criticised, but more than seven years after the invasion there is still no plausible alternative candidate; there aren't even recognisable political parties.
Obama's new policy has a very narrow focus – counter-terrorism – and a very broad definition of how to achieve it: no less than the fixing of the Afghan state. Obama combines a negative account of Afghanistan's past and present – he describes the border region as ''the most dangerous place in the world'' – with an optimism that it can be transformed. He assumes that we have a moral justification and obligation to intervene, that the US and its allies have the capacity to address the threat and that our global humanitarian and security objectives are consistent and mutually reinforcing.
Policy-makers perceive Afghanistan through the categories of counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, state-building and economic development. These categories are so closely linked that you can put them in almost any sequence or combination. You need to defeat the Taliban to build a state and you need to build a state to defeat the Taliban. There cannot be security without development, or development without security. If you have the Taliban you have terrorists, if you don't have development you have terrorists, and as Obama informed the New Yorker: "If you have ungoverned spaces, they become havens for terrorists."
These connections are global: in Obama's words, "our security and prosperity depend on the security and prosperity of others." Or, as a British foreign minister recently rephrased it, "our security depends on their development". Indeed, at times it seems that all these activities – building a state, defeating the Taliban, defeating al-Qaeda and eliminating poverty – are the same activity. The new US army and marine corps counter-insurgency doctrine sounds like a World Bank policy document, replete with commitments to the rule of law, economic development, governance, state-building and human rights. In Obama's words, "security and humanitarian concerns are all part of one project".
This policy rests on misleading ideas about moral obligation, our capacity, the strength of our adversaries, the threat posed by Afghanistan, the relations between our different objectives, and the value of a state. The power of the US and its allies, and our commitment, knowledge and will, are limited. It is unlikely that we will be able to defeat the Taliban. The ingredients of successful counter-insurgency campaigns in places like Malaya – control of the borders, large numbers of troops in relation to the population, strong support from the majority ethnic groups, a long-term commitment and a credible local government – are lacking in Afghanistan.
General Petraeus will find it difficult to repeat the apparent success of the surge in Iraq. There are no mass political parties and the Kabul government lacks the base, strength or legitimacy of the Baghdad government. Afghan tribal groups lack the coherence of the Iraqi Sunni tribes and their relation to state structures: they are not being driven out of neighbourhood after neighbourhood and they do not have the same relation to the Taliban that the Sunni groups had to "al-Qaeda in Iraq".
Afghans are weary of the war but the Afghan chiefs are not approaching us, seeking a deal. Since the political players and state structures in Afghanistan are much more fragile than those in Iraq, they are less likely to play a strong role in ending the insurgency.
Meanwhile, the Taliban can exploit the ideology of religious resistance that the West fostered in the 1980s to defeat the Russians. They can portray the Kabul government as US slaves, Nato as an infidel occupying force and its own insurgency as a jihad. Its complaints about corruption, human rights abuses and aerial bombardments appeal to a large audience. It is attracting Afghans to its rural courts by giving quicker and more predictable rulings than government judges.
Like some government officials, the Taliban has developed an ambiguous and sometimes profitable relationship with the drug lords. It is able to slip back and forth across the Pakistani border and receive support there. It has massacred Alokozai elders who tried to resist. It is mounting successful attacks against the coalition and the Afghan government in the south and east. It is operating in more districts than in 2006 and controls provinces, such as Wardak, close to Kabul. It has a chance of retaking southern towns such as Musa Qala and perhaps even some provincial capitals.
But the Taliban is very unlikely to take over Afghanistan as a whole. Its previous administration provided basic road security and justice but it was fragile and fell quickly. It is no longer perceived, as it was by some in 1994, as young student angels saving the country from corruption. Millions of Afghans disliked its brutality, incompetence and primitive attitudes. The Hazara, Tajik and Uzbek populations are wealthier, more established and more powerful than they were in 1996 and would strongly resist any attempt by the Taliban to occupy their areas.
The Afghan national army is reasonably effective. Pakistan is not in a position to support the Taliban as it did before. It would require far fewer international troops and planes than we have today to make it very difficult for the Taliban to gather a conventional army as it did in 1996 and drive tanks and artillery up the main road to Kabul.
Even if – as seems most unlikely – the Taliban was to take the capital, it is not clear how much of a threat this would pose to US or European national security. Would it repeat its error of providing a safe haven to al-Qaeda? And how safe would this haven be? And does al-Qaeda still require large terrorist training camps to organise attacks? Could it not plan in Hamburg and train at flight schools in Florida; or meet in Bradford and build morale on an adventure training course in Wales?
Furthermore, there are no self-evident connections between the key objectives of counter-terrorism, development, democracy/ state-building and counter-insurgency. Counter-insurgency is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for state-building. You could create a stable legitimate state without winning a counter-insurgency campaign (India, which is far more stable and legitimate than Afghanistan, is still fighting several long counter-insurgency campaigns from Assam to Kashmir).
You could win a counter-insurgency campaign without creating a stable state (if such a state also required the rule of law and a legitimate domestic economy). Nor is there any necessary connection between state-formation and terrorism. Our confusions are well illustrated by the debates about whether Iraq was a rogue state harbouring terrorists (as Bush claimed) or an authoritarian state that excluded terrorists (as was the case).
It is impossible for Britain and its allies to build an Afghan state. They have no clear picture of this promised "state", and such a thing could come only from an Afghan national movement, not as a gift from foreigners. Is a centralised state, in any case, an appropriate model for a mountainous country, with strong traditions of local self-government and autonomy, significant ethnic differences, but strong shared moral values? And even were stronger central institutions to emerge, would they assist Western national security objectives?
Afghanistan is starting from a very low base: 30 years of investment might allow its army, police, civil service and economy to approach the levels of Pakistan. But Osama bin Laden is still in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. He chooses to be there precisely because Pakistan can be more assertive in its state sovereignty than Afghanistan and restricts US operations. From a narrow (and harsh) US national security perspective, a poor failed state could be easier to handle than a more developed one: Yemen is less threatening than Iran, Somalia than Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan than Pakistan.
Yet the current state-building project, at the heart of our policy, is justified in the most instrumental terms – not as an end in itself but as a means towards counter-terrorism. In pursuit of this objective, Obama has committed to building "an Afghan army of 134,000 and a police force of 82,000", and adds that "increases in Afghan forces may very well be needed." US generals have spoken openly about wanting a combined Afghan army-police-security apparatus of 450,000 soldiers (in a country with a population half the size of Britain's).
Such a force would cost $2 or $3 billion a year to maintain; the annual revenue of the Afghan government is just $600 million. We criticise developing countries for spending 30 per cent of their budget on defence; we are encouraging Afghanistan to spend 500 per cent of its budget.
Some policymakers have been quick to point out that this cost is unsustainable and will leave Afghanistan dependent for ever on the largesse of the international community. Some have even raised the spectre (suggested by the example of Pakistan) that this will lead to a military coup. But the more basic question is about our political principles. We should not encourage the creation of an authoritarian military state. The security that resulted might suit our short-term security interests, but it will not serve the longer interests of Afghans.
What kind of anti-terrorist tactics would we expect from the Afghan military? What kind of surveillance, interference and control from the police? We should not assume that the only way to achieve security in a developing country is through the restriction of civil liberties, or that authoritarianism is a necessary phase in state-formation, or a precondition for rapid economic development, or a lesser evil in the fight against modern terrorism.
After seven years of refinement, the policy seems so buoyed by illusions, caulked in ambiguous language and encrusted with moral claims, analogies and political theories that it can seem futile to present an alternative. It is particularly difficult to argue not for a total withdrawal but for a more cautious approach.
The best Afghan policy would be to reduce the number of foreign troops from the current 90,000 to perhaps 20,000. In that case, two distinct objectives would remain for the international community: development and counter-terrorism. Neither would amount to the building of an Afghan state. If the West believed it essential to exclude al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, then it could be done with special forces. (The West has done it successfully since 2001 and could continue indefinitely, though the result has only been to move bin Laden across the border.) At the same time the West should provide generous development assistance – not only to keep consent for the counter-terrorism operations, but as an end in itself.
A reduction in troops and a turn away from state-building should not mean total withdrawal: good projects could continue to be undertaken in electricity, water, irrigation, health, education, agriculture, rural development. We should not control and cannot predict the future of Afghanistan. It may become more violent, or find a decentralised equilibrium or a new national unity, but if its communities want to work with us, we can, over 30 years, encourage the more positive trends in Afghan society and help to contain the more negative.
Such arguments seem strained, unrealistic, counter-intuitive and unappealing. They appear to betray the hopes of Afghans who trusted us and to allow the Taliban to abuse district towns. No politician wants to be perceived to have underestimated, or failed to address, a terrorist threat; or to write off the ''blood and treasure'' that we have sunk into Afghanistan; or to admit defeat. To suggest that what worked in Iraq won't work in Afghanistan requires a detailed knowledge of each country's past, a bold analysis of the causes of development and a rigorous exposition of the differences, for which few have patience.
The fundamental assumptions remain that an ungoverned or hostile Afghanistan is a threat to global security; that the West has the ability to address the threat and bring prosperity and security; that this is a moral obligation; that economic development and order in Afghanistan will contribute to global stability; that these different objectives reinforce each other; and that there is no real alternative.
The exact assumptions were made in 1868 by Sir Henry Rawlinson, a celebrated and experienced member of the council of India, concerning the threat of a Russian presence in Afghanistan: "In the interests, then, of peace; in the interests of commerce; in the interests of moral and material improvement, it may be asserted that interference in Afghanistan has now become a duty, and that any moderate outlay or responsibility we may incur in restoring order at Kabul will prove in the sequel to be true economy."
The new UK strategy for Afghanistan is described as: "International... regional... joint civilian-military... co-ordinated... long-term...focused on developing capacity... an approach that combines respect for sovereignty and local values with respect for international standards of democracy, legitimate and accountable government, and human rights; a hard-headed approach: setting clear and realistic objectives with clear metrics of success."
This is not a plan: it is a description of what we have not got. Why do we believe that describing what we do not have should constitute a plan on how to get it? In part, it is because the language is comfortingly opaque. A bewildering range of different logical connections and identities can be concealed in a specialised language derived from development theory and overlaid with management consultancy. What is concealed is our underlying assumption that when we want to make other societies resemble our (often fantastical) ideas of our own society, we can.
In 1868, Rawlinson's views were defeated. Sir John Lawrence, the new viceroy, persuaded Lord Derby's government that Afghanistan was less important than it appeared, that our resources were limited, and that we had other more pressing priorities. Here, in a civil service minute of 1867, he imagines what would happen if the Russians tried to invade: "In that case let them undergo the long and tiresome marches which lie between the Oxus and the Indus; let them wend their way through poor and difficult countries, among a fanatic and courageous population, where, in many places, every mile can be converted into a defensible position; then they will come to the conflict on which the fate of India will depend, toil-worn, with an exhausted infantry, a broken-down cavalry, and a defective artillery."
He concludes: "I am firmly of opinion that our proper course is not to advance our troops beyond our present border, not to send English officers into the different states of Central Asia; but to put our own house in order, by giving the people of India the best government in our power, by conciliating, as far as practicable, all classes, and by consolidating our resources."
A modern civil servant might express such an argument as follows: "The presence of Nato special forces, the challenging logistical and political conditions in Afghanistan and lack of technological capacity, are likely to impede al-Qaeda from posing a significant threat to UK or US national security. Instead development in South Asia should remain the key strategic priority for the UK government."
Lawrence might have been expected to have a more confident or arrogant view of British power than policy-makers today. But he believed that the British government lacked power, lacked knowledge (even though he and his colleagues had spent decades on the Afghan frontier) and lacked legitimacy ("the Afghans do not want us; they dread our appearance in the country... will not tolerate foreign rule").
The argument is contingent, cautious, empirical and local, rooted in a very specific landscape and time. It expresses a belief not only in the limits of Russian and Afghan threats but also in the limits of British power and capacity.
This is an edited extract from an article that first appeared in the London Review of Books (www.lrb.co.uk)*RORY Stewart has been a soldier, diplomat and academic and has travelled extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As a student at Oxford, he was a summer tutor to Princes William and Harry. After a short period with the Black Watch, he joined the Foreign Office. He was British Representative to Montenegro in the wake of the Kosovo campaign. After the coalition invasion of Iraq, he was appointed deputy governor of Maysan and senior advisor in Dhi Qar, two provinces in southern Iraq.
His first book, The Places in Between, a New York Times bestseller, was an account of a walk across Afghanistan in the winter of 2001/2. In 2005, he founded an NGO in Afghanistan and moved to Kabul. He is Ryan Family Professor of the Practice of Human Rights and the director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
DTN News: China ~ Xinjiang Unrest Continues And Raises Death Toll To 184
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) URUMQI, China - July 11, 2009: China has raised the death toll from ethnic rioting in its far west to 184 and detailed for the first time the ethnicity of those killed, while tension lingered over the city at the center of the strife. Chinese paramilitary police patrol on a street in the Uighur district of Urumqi in China's Xinjiang region on July 11, 2009. Deadly unrest in China's Muslim-populated far northwest has highlighted deep tensions felt by dozens of ethnic groups across the vast nation that pose a growing problem for the government, analysts said.
The official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday that 137 of those killed in the mayhem on July 5 in Urumqi, regional capital of Xinjiang, were Han Chinese, who form the majority of China's 1.3 billion population, including 111 men and 26 women.
Forty-six were Uighurs, the largely Muslim people of Xinjiang who share cultural bonds with Central Asian peoples. All but one of them were men. Uighurs make up 46 percent of Xinjiang's 21.3 million people, according to government statistics.
Xinhua said the other person killed in the attacks that erupted last weekend was a member of the Hui ethnic group, which is Muslim but culturally akin to Han Chinese.
The brief report did not say whether the death toll included rioters who may have been killed by security forces.
The reaction on Urumqi streets to the official death toll reflected the deepening ethnic divide in Xinjiang, with Uighurs expressing disbelief in the number.
"That's the Han people's number. We have our own number," said Akumjia, a Uighur resident, as he eyed security forces who had cordoned off a street where there was an outburst of protest near a mosque and then arrests on Friday. A security forces helicopter buzzed overhead.
"Maybe many, many more Uighurs died. The police were scared and lost control."
Close to where he stood, what appeared to be a spray of bullet holes could be seen on the glass front of a Bank of China office. There were no bullets among the shards. The government has not said what kind of forces was used to suppress the bloody rioting. Many Uighur residents say they heard or saw gunfire.
Chinese authorities had delayed releasing the ethnic breakdown of the dead, possibly out of concern it would further inflame the situation.
Several Han Chinese residents said distrust toward Uighurs was likely to stay.
"This [new number] at least shows that the victims weren't only Han people," said Zhao Hong, a Han resident who said she saw some of the bloodshed from her home window before hiding.
"Uighurs also died ... But then they blame Han for being so angry about the killing and looting."
"A TOUGH BATTLE TO PROTECT STABILITY"
Beijing cannot afford to lose its grip on the vast territory that borders Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, has abundant oil reserves and is China's largest natural gas-producing region. Chinese security forces patrol the streets in Urumqi, China, Saturday, July 11, 2009. Thousands of Chinese troops have flooded into Urumqi to separate the feuding ethnic groups. China raised the death toll from riots in its Xinjiang region to 184, state media said Saturday, giving the first ethnic breakdown of the dead nearly a week after communal violence broke out in this far western city.
Zhou Yongkang, the top domestic security official in China's ruling Communist Party, said the country now had to "vigorously prosecute this tough battle to protect stability in Xinjiang," the Xinjiang Daily reported on Saturday.
Human Rights Watch said that the government had deployed some 20,000 troops in Urumqi since the riots of July 5, which broke out after security forces broke up a protest over the deaths of Uighur workers in far southern China.
"The government has promised a thorough investigation into the violence but has so far presented a skewed and incomplete picture of the unrest," said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
"This raises serious doubts about its commitment to investigating all aspects of the violence rather than presenting a pre-determined version of the events."
Urumqi is still tense, with thousands of troops and police deployed throughout the city. A brief demonstration broke out on Friday, the main Muslim day of prayer, after some mosques were opened briefly.
On Saturday, anti-riot troops continued to keep a close watch on Uighur residents, and loudspeakers on vehicles blasted warnings that they should stay at home and accept the government's line on the unrest.
The Uighur language is related to Turkish, and some Uighurs refer to their desert and forest homeland as "East Turkestan."
On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called the killings in Xinjiang a "genocide."
In Washington, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning the "violent repression" of the Uighur people by China. It was unclear how soon it would come to a vote in the House.
DTN News: Israel Orders U.S. Stealth F-35 Fighter Aircrafts To Counter Iran, Syria Threat
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) TEL AVIV, Israel - July 11, 2009: Israel has ordered at least 25 U.S. F-35 stealth fighter aircraft to counter any potential threat from the delivery of Russian advanced air defense systems to Iran and Syria, an Israeli daily said on Friday. Nine nations are partnering in the F-35’s SDD phase: The United States, United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Australia. Partnership in SDD entitles those countries to bid for work on a best value basis, and participate in the aircraft’s development. Additionally, Israel and Singapore have agreed to join the program as a Security Cooperation Participants.
Lockheed Martin is the F-35 prime contractor, while Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems are principal partners in the project. Final assembly of the F-35 will take place at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, Texas. Northrop Grumman Corporation in Palmdale and El Segundo, California will manufacture the center-fuselage, and the aft fuselage and tails will be manufactured by BAE Systems in Samlesbury, England. Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth will manufacture the forward fuselage and wings. Flight-testing will be conducted at Fort Worth, Edwards Air Force Base, and Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Additionally, the STOVL and CV variants will undergo sea trials aboard American, British and Italian aircraft carriers.
Tel Aviv earlier said that the purchase of F-35 fighters would effectively eliminate the threat from Russian-made S-300 air defense systems because a series of computer simulations had clearly demonstrated that new U.S. stealth fighters outperform the Russian missiles.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), manufactured by Lockheed Martin, "will be one of the most-advanced fighter jets in the world and will enable Israel to phase out some of its older F-15 and F-16 models," the Jerusalem Post said.
The paper said an official Letter of Request (LOR) to the Pentagon was sent this week, but talks on a final price for the plane, estimated at over $100 million, and technical details of the deal would continue.
"Israeli demands have focused on three issues - the integration of Israeli-made electronic warfare systems into the plane, the integration of Israeli communication systems and the ability to independently maintain the plane in the event of a technical or structural problem," it said.
The contract is expected to be signed in early 2010 followed by the delivery of the first F-35 fighters to Israel in 2014.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli Air Force plans to purchase an additional 50 aircraft in the future, some of them with vertical take-off and landing capabilities.
Meanwhile, Israel has intensified its efforts to prevent deliveries of Russian S-300 air defense systems to Iran under a 2007 contract.
Israel and the U.S. insist that the delivery of advanced air defense systems to Iran would undermine the military balance in the region, and Russia has until recently delayed the implementation of the deal.
Although Russian sources said in March that Iran had not yet received any S-300 air defense systems and the deal needed approval from the Russian leadership, Moscow has reiterated its commitment to fulfill the contract, which is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The latest version of the S-300 family is the S-300PMU2 Favorit, which has a range of up to 195 kilometers (about 120 miles) and can intercept aircraft and ballistic missiles at altitudes from 10 meters to 27 kilometers.
It is considered one of the world's most effective all-altitude regional air defense systems, comparable in performance to the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot system.
DTN News: President Barack Obama In Accra Welcomed And Greeted By Huge Crowds
*Source: DTN News
(NSI News Source Info) ACCRA, Ghana - July 11, 2009: At the age of 78, stooped and slow but still full of energy, Constance Ankrah was determined not to miss this moment.
She donned her best Sunday dress, put on her pearl necklace, powdered her face, bought a U.S. flag and a bouquet of artificial flowers, and headed to the airport to wait for Barack Obama. U.S. President Barack Obama arrives with his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha in Ghana's capital Accra, July 10, 2009. Obama flew into Ghana on Friday on his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office as the first African American president of the United States.
“I'm very happy to see the first black president of the United States visiting Ghana,” she said, beaming as she joined a crowd of nearly 1,000 singing and dancing fans of Mr. Obama at the airport in Accra Friday night.
“I told all my friends that I was coming to the airport. I'm so happy to give him a welcome to Ghana.”
Mr. Obama arrived on Air Force One after a flight from Italy, where he was attending the G8 summit. He and his wife, Michelle, walked down the airplane's stairs at 9:20 p.m., holding hands with their daughters, Sasha and Malia. They were greeted by Ghana's President, John Atta Mills, and a long line of dignitaries in traditional Ghanaian dress.
The U.S. President might be the most popular celebrity ever to visit Ghana. Even the dignitaries were taking photos of Mr. Obama with their cellphones as they waited to greet him on the red carpet.
Before entering his armoured limousine, Mr. Obama took a slight detour to watch a performance of traditional dancers and drummers on the airport tarmac.
Thousands of Ghanaians lined the streets of Accra last night, hoping for a glimpse of Mr. Obama's limousine.
Police and security personnel were everywhere, watching every street corner. An estimated 10,000 police have been deployed during Mr. Obama's visit. For security reasons, every stop he makes will be tightly controlled and limited to invited guests, with no opportunities for ordinary Ghanaians to see him. U.S. President Barack Obama greets Ghana's President John Atta Mills and his wife Ernestina Naadu Mills in Accra, Ghana, July 10, 2009. Obama was given a hero's welcome in Ghana on Friday on his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office as the first African American president of the United States.
At the airport, hundreds of excited Obama fans waited up to six hours for the arrival of Air Force One. Many sang songs of praise for the President, and some waved signs with his election slogan, “Yes we can.” Hawkers in the crowd were selling a range of Obama T-shirts, U.S. flags and even Obama fly swatters.
When the crowd discovered a 12-year-old boy who bore a striking resemblance to a young Barack Obama, they swarmed around him with their cameras. The boy, Felix Agyaba Afriyie, had travelled from the city of Kumasi, nearly 300 kilometres from Accra, to welcome Mr. Obama. Wearing a shirt with Mr. Obama's portrait emblazoned on it, he beamed with pride as the crowd mobbed him.
DTN News: Submarines Add Depth To Singapore Defence Arsenal
*Source: DTN News / By Richard A. Bitzinger
(NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - July 11, 2009: Singapore's recent acquisition of submarines with air-independent propulsion is being matched by similar purchases by other regional navies.
While such submarines do not necessarily upset regional military balances, they are part of a larger trend in regional naval expansion which could have far-reaching repercussions. The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Archer class of diesel-electricsubmarines consists of the RSS Archer and RSS Swordsman. The two submarines were originally launched as the Swedish NavyVästergötland class submarines HMS Hälsingland and HMS Västergötland respectively in 1986 and 1987. The two were sold to Singapore in November2005, and relaunched in June2009 after extensive modernization by Kockums AB, which included a refit to Södermanland-class standards, the insertion of a new hull section with an air independent propulsion system, and additional climatisation for use in tropical waters.
Recent reports about the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) acquisition of two used but refurbished Archer-class submarines from Sweden were not particularly newsworthy. The well-publicised purchase was consummated four years ago.
There was, however, one noteworthy admission by the RSN that was nearly buried in the news. These submarines have been outfitted with special engines for air-independent propulsion.
This is a means of powering conventional diesel-electric submarines without using their batteries or having to surface to recharge. It permits the sub to remain submerged for much longer periods, two to three weeks, as opposed to just a few days on battery power.
What is particularly astonishing about this disclosure is that these RSN submarines were not originally outfitted with such a capability. So, the RSN did not simply acquire these engines by happenstance of purchase.
Obviously, the Singaporean navy paid the Swedish submarine builder Kockums to do a retrofit, which involves literally cutting the hull in half and inserting these engines — no small feat.
In other words, this was a conscious effort by the RSN to get the most advanced conventional submarine they could. Singapore, therefore, has become the first country in the southern Asia-Pacific to acquire submarines with this capability.
There are basically three kinds of air-independent propulsion technologies. First, the Swede-designed Stirling engine which uses a closed-cycle engine — meaning no exhaust — based on heat exchange.
Second, the French-developed Module d'Energie Sous-Marine Autonome (Mesma) system using a steam turbine power plant to generate heat that runs generators to power the engine.
Third, the German fuel cells system that uses proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity.
By no means, however, will the RSN's acquisition be the only one in the region. Other Asian-Pacific navies are also acquiring similarly capable submarines.
Japan is currently building the new Soryu-class of diesel-electric submarines, which are outfitted, like the RSN Archer, with the Stirling engine. At least four boats in this class are envisioned.
South Korea is constructing, under licence from Germany, three fuel cell-equipped Type-214 submarines, with options on six more.
India recently signed an agreement to acquire six Scorpene-class submarines, which will be constructed under licence at the country's Mazagon Docks shipyard. The last three subs in this buy will have the Mesma module installed.
Not to be outdone, Pakistan has ordered three Type-214 submarines from Germany as well.
Australia, which plans to double its submarine fleet from six to 12 boats by 2030, will likely acquire the technology, probably the Stirling engine, given its long-standing association with Kockums of Sweden.
Finally, rumours abound that China may soon acquire the technology for its new Yuan-class diesel-electric subs. Which engine the Chinese will employ is still unknown, however, but it will probably be a variant on the Stirling engine.
The coming “mini-proliferation” in such submarines could have an impact on the way subs are employed regionally. In and of themselves, such submarines do not disturb the overall military balance in the Asia-Pacific.
True, they do extend the operational endurance and range of conventional diesel-electric submarines. However, all air-independent propulsion systems are only auxiliary power sources, intended to supplement normal diesel-electric propulsion. They do not have the speed of an electric motor or the endurance of a nuclear-powered submarine, which can remain submerged almost indefinitely.
It is, therefore, probably best suited for long-endurance silent running, hiding from threats and hunting prey. This gives the subs expanded capacities for operations like anti-submarine warfare or trailing surface ships.
They are also more capable of projecting power farther out into the open ocean. Consequently, they can do a better job patrolling sea lanes of communication or protecting exclusive economic zones.
At the very least, air-independent propulsion greatly expands the range of options and opportunities for the submarine forces of regional navies. At the moment, the number of such submarines, current or planned, does not appear to threaten a new mini-arms race.
Malaysia, which is acquiring two Scorpene submarines, has not bought the Mesma-equipped version (although after the Archer deal, future Malaysian sub purchases, if any, could include this option).
Indonesia had once considered acquiring several Russian submarines, but this deal fell apart over infrastructure financing: Jakarta had wanted to use Russian export credits to build a sub base, which Moscow refused to fund.
Still, there is always concern about the impact of injecting new capabilities into regional military balances. These new submarine acquisitions are part of an overall trend in qualitative improvements to regional navies.
Such upgrades will result in increased capacities in long-range force projection, stealth, amphibious operations and precision-strike.
All these trends add up to something much more than the “mere” modernisation of naval forces. Depending on how these forces are utilised, they could have far-reaching repercussions on regional peace and stability. As such, these developments need to be studied for possibly negative consequences as well. — Roger S.
DTN News: Indonesia Government To Raise Defense Budget By 20 Percent
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) JAKARTA, Indonesia - July 11, 2009: The government is planning to increase its defense budget by 20 percent next year to Rp 40.6 trillion (approximately US$4 billion), part of which will be used to replace the country’s aging weaponry.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono rides a new armored vehicle produced by the state owned firm PT. Pindat in Bandung during the handover ceremony of 40 military armored vehicles to the Defense Ministry on July 10, 2009. Indonesia will increase its defence budget by 20 percent next year to compensate for years of low spending, Yudhoyono said following the July 8 elections.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in Bandung on Friday that the government would propose to the House of Representatives an increase of Rp 7 trillion (approximately US$700 million) in the country's defense budget for the 2010 fiscal year from the current Rp 33.6 trillion.
"We will incorporate it [the defense budget increase] in our draft for the 2010 state budget. We'll be finalizing the plan within the next two weeks," Yudhoyono said after witnessing the hand-over ceremony of 40 armored personal carriers (APCs) from state weaponry manufacturer PT Pindad to the Indonesian Army.
"We will then systematically head toward what we call the minimum essential force, which is equal to between Rp 100 trillion and Rp 120 trillion." The increasing defense budget, Yudhoyono said, will be made in accordance with the country’s economic growth particularly post the global economic crisis.
"This year we predict that our economy will expand by between 4 and 4.5 percent. And with our state budget having exceeded Rp 1,000 trillion, we can raise our defense budget so that there will not be such a wide gap between the allocated budget and the minimum essential force," he said.
Yudhoyono said the government had been unable to allocate a proper amount to the defense budget because it had struggled to revive the country's economy and people's prosperity since the 1997 Asian crisis.
(NSI News Source Info) July 11, 2009: China is now, on average, the world’s fifth largest arms exporter, after the traditional leading suppliers: the United States, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom. In fact, in 2007 it was fourth in terms of global arms transfer agreements, ahead of France, Germany and Spain . Nearly all of China’s arms transfers are to developing countries, and in this arena the Chinese defense industry is emerging as a formidable competitor. In fact, China ranked third in terms of arms deliveries to the developing world in 2007 . China's largest markets are in Asia, the Middle East, and particularly Africa. In fact, during the period 2004-2007, China was the single largest seller of arms to Africa; and its major customers include Pakistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Iran, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
All these signs point to China returning to the global stage as a major player in the international arms market. In fact, China has not enjoyed sales this large since the 1980s, when it sold to both sides in the Iran-Iraq War. In 2007, Beijing signed arms exports agreements worth $3.8 billion, its highest sales figures in more than a decade . In recent years, Chinese overseas arms sales have averaged more than $2 billion a year , considerably higher than during the 1990s, when Beijing averaged less than $1 billion annually in arms exports . Despite these glowing sales figures, however, China faces the continual challenge of remaining competitive in a highly cutthroat business. There are no guarantees of an enduring upswing in Chinese arms exports. Leading Chinese weapons exports include:
• The K-8 trainer jet: China has exported nearly 250 of these lightweight trainer/attack jets since 2000, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) database on arms transfers . Its biggest client has been Egypt, which bought 120 K-8s, most of which were assembled locally from kits, between 2001 and 2008. Other customers include Ghana, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, while Venezuela is in negotiations to purchase up to 24 K-8s.
• The F-7MG fighter jet: This aircraft is the export version of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force’s F-7E, itself an upgraded adaptation of the MiG-21. The F-7MG features a larger wing and, reportedly, a British radar . China has sold more than a hundred of these fighters to Bangladesh, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, according the SIPRI Arms Transfers database, since the mid-1990s .
• The JF-17 Thunder fighter jet: The JF-17, also known as the FC-1, is a lightweight multi-role combat aircraft similar in design to the U.S. F-20 Tigershark. The JF-17 was co-developed with Pakistan, which is currently producing the fighter for its air force; estimates are that Islamabad could buy up to 250 of the aircraft. The aircraft is being specifically marketed to developing countries who need replace aging MiG-21, F-7, or F-5 fighters. Azerbaijan, Sudan, and Zimbabwe have all been reported to have interest in buying the JF-17 .
• The C-801/C-802 antiship cruise missile (ASCM): These missiles, also known as the YJ-8 and YJ-82 (YJ stands for Yingji: "Eagle Strike"), respectively, are similar to the very effective French Exocet (the C-802 version being equipped with a solid rocket booster for extended range). These ASCMs can be launched from ships, land, or aircraft. Recent customers for these missiles include Algeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Thailand .
• The WZ-551 armored personnel carrier: Although not a particularly high-tech system, the WZ-551 is notable for being sold widely around the world, including countries like Argentina, Gabon, Kenya, Kuwait, Nepal, Oman, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Tanzania .
Finally, it is worth noting that China has sold a number of small and medium-sized transport aircraft, mostly to African states. These include the Y-12 (to Kenya, Nepal, Uganda, and Zambia) and the MA-60 (to Ghana, Nepal, and Zambia) .
A Tenuous Standing?
Still, China’s current high standing in the global arms marketplace remains tenuous. Most of China’s biggest arms sales come from only a handful of customers, particularly Pakistan. The 2007 figures were high mainly because the data included a couple of big deals with Pakistan, like the JF-17 fighter for instance (which Pakistan is co-producing with the Chinese) and four Jiangwei-class frigates. It is not certain, therefore, that China will maintain such high levels of arms exports for the next several years. For example, Myanmar [Burma] was a big buyer of Chinese arms during the 1990s, but its purchases have tapered off significantly in recent years, in favor of weapons from Russia, India and Ukraine .
For the most part, China can still offer only a few advanced weapon systems (e.g. trainer jets and antiship cruise missiles) that are competitive on the global arms market, and its customers still remain basically the poor (e.g. African states) and the pariahs (e.g. Pakistan and Iran). Additionally, a large chunk of Chinese arms exports includes small arms and ancillary equipment, such as trucks, uniforms, and field equipment. Finally, many of China’s arms deals are still done at “friendship prices,” that is, selling arms at a discount, either for political purposes (i.e. cementing alliances or promoting cordial relations) or, increasingly, to secure links with oil-and mineral-rich nations, such as Nigeria, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Finally, it is important keep in mind that ranking fifth, fourth, even third as the largest arms exporter should not be exaggerated. While China delivered $1.2 billion worth of arms to the developing world in 2007 to capture the number three position, the number one-ranked United States exported more than six times as much, or $7.6 billon, while Russia (number two), exported $4.6 billion, nearly four times as much as China . Additionally, while China exported $7.8 billion worth of arms globally between 2000 and 2007, the United States exported over $92 billion worth; Russia was second with $36.2 billion worth of arms exports, and the United Kingdom third with nearly $34 billion worth. Even Germany out-exported China by nearly 60 percent . One good sales year does not necessarily presage a bright future.
Prospects for Big-Ticket Sales
In order to remain a leading arms exporter, China needs to come up with more competitive products. The JF-17 fighter jet has already been mentioned as a possible big seller to countries needing a low-cost replacement for their aging inventories of MiG-21s or F-5s; the JF-17 reportedly costs between $15 million and $20 million apiece, much cheaper than a U.S.-built F-16, for example .
An even more promising prospect for significant overseas sales is China’s new J-10 fighter jet. This aircraft is a cousin to the Israeli Lavi (upon which it is based) and roughly equivalent in capabilities to the U.S. F-16C flown by several air forces around the world. The J-10 started development in the mid-1980s and finally entered production for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) about three or four years ago. It is certainly a vast improvement over the 1960s- and 1970s-era Chinese and Soviet fighters that have filled out the PLAAF for decades, although probably not as good as the Su-27 or (particularly) the Su-30s acquired from Russia. There has in fact been considerable speculation that the Chinese might try and flood the global arms market with the J-10. This aircraft could be a good buy, as it would probably be offered at cut-rate prices, certainly below the F-16, the Swedish Gripen, and other smaller combat aircraft. Pakistan and especially Iran have been mentioned as prospective buyers .
Other potentially marketable products include the C-701 short-range antiship cruise missile (already sold to Iran and, reportedly, Hezbollah) , the FN-6 man-portable surface-to-air missile (exported to Sudan), and the KS-1A surface-to-air missile (sold to Malaysia) .
That said, the capabilities of most Chinese weapons systems remain unknown. The J-10, for example, may be a very good aircraft, but its performance and reliability cannot be independently confirmed, and many countries may not wish to take a chance on it. For its part, the JF-17 is a rather unremarkable aircraft, technologically speaking; buying used F-16s—of which there is currently a global abundance, given the downsizing of many air forces around the world—may be seen as a cheaper and more capable alternative.
Finally, keep in mind that countries do not necessarily buy the cheapest weapon systems available—capabilities and effectiveness count, especially when it comes to military products. Many countries, given the choice, will still pay a premium price to get a premium product. For example, when Pakistan decided to acquire new submarines, it bought from France and Germany, not China, and while it is buying Chinese fighters, it is also purchasing F-16s from the United States.
Even during the current global economic crisis, many potential buyers will still be hesitant to seriously consider Chinese weaponry more than they might normally, since they may have to live with these weapons for the next twenty to thirty years. Instead, these countries are more likely to delay any big-ticket arms purchases in general, and wait until the economy recovers—like most Asian countries did during the financial crisis in the late 1990s.
One product area where the Chinese do have a considerable technological edge is ballistic missile systems, such as the DF-11 and B-611 short-range ballistic missiles. The DF-11 (also known as the M-11) has been sold to Pakistan, while Turkey has acquired the B-611 . Sales of longer-range missile systems, however, are restricted by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), to which China has agreed to abide.
Chinese Arms Sales: Still an Uncertain Bet?
China is still extremely constrained when it comes to potential customers, the types of arms they may want to buy, and the types of arms it can sell. Yet, Beijing will increasingly promote its arms on the global market and in the process it will score some coups when it comes to overseas sales. Certainly, expanding arms exports continues to be a key business strategy for Chinese defense firms, but as much as it is for almost every arms manufacturer around the world. Given the global overcapacity in armaments production and economic pressures to keep factories open and preserve jobs, everybody wants to get in on the arms-export business. China will not be soon supplanting or joining the United States and Western Europe as a large supplier of sophisticated arms.