Monday, October 26, 2009
DTN News: U.S. Military Using MQ-9 Reaper UAVs To Patrol Somali Coast And Watch On Pirates *The U.S. military is using its UAVs to help try and reduce the number of pirate attacks *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) DUBAI, UAE - October 27, 2009: United States military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drones normally used for missile attacks or reconnaissance are now protecting the Somali coast from a recent increase of piracy. (Image/photo: MQ-9 Reaper) The military now has its MQ-9 Reaper UAV patrolling in the Indian Ocean, marking the first time UAVs have been used for safety patrols. Specifically, the MQ-9 Reaper, a 36-foot long craft that can fly up to 16 hours, has been used for coordinated strikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The UAVs utilize laser, radar and infrared, and have the ability to carry up to 12 guided missiles and munitions. The drones patrolling Somalia aren't equipped with weaponry as of yet, but depending on thenumber of hijackings, it's a future possibility, military officials told the Associated Press. “What we hope will happen is that they will get much earlier warning of suspicious vessels or suspected [pirate] mother ships that can then be targeted by the naval vessels. Or alerts and broadcasts can be sent out indicating the positions of these ships [and] indicating they should keep as clear a distance as possible," said London International Maritime Bureau, Cyrus Mody. The U.S. military has used 3-foot-long drones in Somalia before, but this is a significant step forward to try and stifle dangerous pirate attacks. An international group of warships from the United States, Japan, China, South Korea and other nations are patrolling near Somalia, but the pirate attacks are still occur.
DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 27, 2009 ~ Pakistan Offensive Death Toll To 227 According To Military Spokeperson
DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 27, 2009 ~ Pakistan Offensive Death Toll To 227 According To Military Spokeperson *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - October 27, 2009: Pakistan's military has said the death toll in a major military assault on the Taliban has risen to 227, reporting heavy losses in the battle to control a village en route to a Taliban bastion.Pakistani police officers stand guard as a man, who has been displaced from Bajur tribal region due to fighting between security forces and Taliban militants, leaves after receiving food stuff from a food distribution point of World Food Program on outskirt of Peshawar, Pakistan on Monday, Oct. 26, 2009. Thousand families are still living in Jalozai camp, which is being supported by donor agencies. Nineteen militants were killed during the last 24 hours, a military statement said, bringing the overall number of insurgents killed to 197 during what is now a 10-day ground offensive backed by warplanes and helicopters. In addition, six soldiers have been killed in the offensive around South Waziristan, where authorities say scores of Al Qaeda and Taliban-linked attacks have been masterminded, bringing the overall number of dead soldiers to 30. None of the information provided by the army is possible to verify with communication lines down and access banned to journalists and aid workers.Pakistan paramilitary soldiers patrol a street in Karachi on October 26, 2009. Pakistan partially reopened schools shut nationwide following a suicide attack on a university campus and a spike in Taliban-linked attacks in which nearly 200 people have died this month. The heaviest fighting was reported on the advance towards Taliban stronghold Sararogha after the military claimed its first major success in capturing Kotkai, the home town of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud. In the fight to secure Ghalai village, on the main road from Kotkai to Sararogha, six soldiers and 10 militants were killed, the military said. Troops also secured an important road junction en route to Sararogha and the ridges that dominate to the east and west. Around 30,000 troops are taking part in the offensive against an estimated 10,00 to12,000 militants in the semi-autonomous and lawless tribal belt. Relief workers say that around 200,000 people have been displaced by the fighting. Numerous previous offensives in the tribal belt have had limited success, costing the lives of 2,000 troops and ending generally with peace agreements that critics say gave the insurgents a chance to re-arm.
DTN News: Canadian Navy Frigate Deploys On 6-Month Counter Terrorism Mission *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) HALIFAX, N.S. - October 27, 2009: Canada's latest contribution to the war on terrorism and piracy slipped out of Halifax harbour in driving rain Sunday on a six-month deployment to the Middle East. Before it left, family and friends gathered on the deck and in the helicopter bay of HMCS Fredericton for a couple of hours to bid an emotional farewell to the 245 crew members who won't be returning until next spring.HMCS Fredericton leaves Halifax on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009. The ship and crew headed out on a six-month deployment and will join the standing NATO Maritime Group providing security operations in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan As Evan and Bianca Entwhistle hugged, their 20-month-old son Finn sandwiched between them, it was hard to distinguish the tears from the rain. "The sad part with this little guy is how much they change," said Bianca kissing her son on his curly red head. "He knows when Evan's gone. I don't think in the long term he'll remember this but he'll be talking by the time dad gets home." Entwhistle said he knows he signed on for the job - this is his third deployment overseas - but that didin't make it any easier. "It's the first time I'm doing a trip like this with the little guy and I'm more concerned about how it's going to run back here," he said, acknowledging the help of military support services and what he called "a great circle of friends." The Fredericton will be integrated into the standing NATO Maritime Group providing security operations in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean until late April. Cmdr. Steve Waddell said he had a lot to think about as captain of a navy ship about to leave on a lengthy mission. "I'm thinking about the mission ahead, the weather today, just getting the ship off the wall safely, and about my own family on board," he said. "This will be my fifth deployment to the area and every time I've gone it has been very much different . . . anything can happen so we have to be ready for anything." The Fredericton will make a few diplomatic port calls before it arrives in theatre sometime mid-November where it will spend the first couple of months on anti-piracy duty off the Horn of Africa. As he walked about shaking hands and wishing sailors well the head of the east coast navy, Rear Admiral Paul Maddison, said it was important that Canada contribute to ensuring the freedom of the seas. "What we see happening off Somalia and the risks that are growing at sea we will see growing in other parts of the world," he said. "This illicit activity puts pressure on the freedom of the sea which is so important to democratic countries like Canada because 90 per cent of the global economy floats." Maddison said he believes the effort of like-minded navies over the past year has shown results. "With the navies that have been there since the problem really spiked in 2008 we have put a significant dent in the ability of Somali pirates to operate," he said. "I am absolutely convinced that they were not as successful over the past year as they would have hoped." Several dignitaries, including New Brunswick Lt.-Gov. Graydon Nicholas, were on hand for the Fredericton's departure. They offered best wishes and safe return to the ship that carries the name of the province's capital city.
DTN News: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Unsatisfied With Pace Of Defense Modernization *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - October 27, 2009: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday he was not satisfied with the pace of the development and modernization of Russian defense sector. Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev stands next to a Russian-Indian Bramos missile during a visit to the NPO Mashinostroyenia (Scientific Engineering production facility), a rocket design bureau on October 26, 2009 in Reutov, 2 km east of Moscow, Russia. The Russian President has stated that he is dissatisfied with the defence sector's modernization rate. "Over the past few years, a lot of money has been invested in the modernization and development of the defense sector. However, the results are not high, I would say," said the President at a conference on the defense industries. "We continue the hole-mending policy. The outrun technological re-equipment goals have not been reached," the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying. As the structural reforms of Russian Armed Forces are to end in two months, said Medvedev, the defense sector have to work hard to catch up. "The structural reform of the Russian armed forces will end in two months. Then we will have a more complicated mission -- modernization of the armed forces. The defense sector will have to do a lot," he said. "A foundation of the armed forces modernization must be laid down by 2012," he added. Shortly after a brief war with Georgia, Russia unveiled military reform plans in September 2008 aimed at modernizing and improving the efficiency of Russian troops as well as their standard of living.
DTN News: India Is Funding Taliban Fighters, Claims Pakistan *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - October 27, 2009: Interior minister Rehman Malik has once again claimed that India is fomenting unrest within Pakistan through steps such as funding Taliban fighters based along the border with Afghanistan. Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik, (R) meeting with three-member U.N. commission, Heraldo Munoz, (2nd R) , Peter Fitzgerald, (3rd L) and Marzuki Darusman (2nd L) at Pakistan's interior ministry in Islamabad July 16, 2009. A three-member U.N. commission arrived in Pakistan on Thursday to conduct an inquiry into the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Conspiracy theories abound over who was behind the suicide gun-and-bomb attack that killed Bhutto after an election campaign rally in the city of Rawalpindi on Dec. 27, 2007. Malik said he was "convinced" India is among "certain hostile agencies" that are backing the Taliban to create instability in Pakistan. Asked during an interview to a TV news channel as to who was backing the Taliban, he said: "There are certain hostile elements against Pakistan and there are certain hostile agencies which do not want Pakistan to be (stabilised)." In response to a question on whether India is among the hostile agencies, Malik said, "Yes, of course, I am convinced. I have no doubt about it. I was very open. I have given the full details. "If the interior minister of India or anyone else wants to confront me, I will be very happy to confront them because I know what I am saying," he added. Malik had said last week that Pakistan has "solid evidence" of India's alleged involvement in fomenting unrest in Balochistan province and this can be shared with Indian ministers or representatives at any forum of their choice. "I invite their interior minister or anyone else (to come to Pakistan) and I will put on record all the material about India's interference in Balochistan. I'll prove it to the world," he had said. Disclaimer statement Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.
DTN News: White House Set For Afghanistan, Pakistan Strategy Review *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - October 27, 2009: President Obama is scheduled to meet Monday with his national security team to discuss U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the White House. The meeting is the sixth in a series of high-level administration discussions being held in part to forge a new consensus on how best to confront Taliban and al Qaeda militants threatening the governments of both countries.University students during a demonstration in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009. Hundreds of Afghans shouted anti-US, NATO and Afghan government slogans and burned a effigy of the President Barack Obama during a rally to protest a rumor that U.S. forces had bombed a mosque and burned a copy of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, in nearby Wardak province in mid-October. Authorities say Taliban supporters spread the false report to stir trouble. U.S. officials are weighing a reported request from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, for as many as 40,000 additional troops for the fight against the Taliban. The meeting is expected to include Vice President Joe Biden via videoconference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Other expected attendees are national security adviser Gen. James Jones, deputy national security adviser Tom Donilon, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and John Brennan, assistant to the president for counterterrorism and homeland security. US soldiers sit on their armored vehicles as the patrol the streets of Kabul on October 25, 2009. A US soldier and several Taliban rebels were killed at the weekend in the latest deadly violence to hit insurgency-hit Afghanistan, NATO and Afghan authorities said October 25.The US soldier was killed on Saturday, the third American to lose his life since Friday. A Danish soldier also attached to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was killed October 23. The strategy review is being conducted against a backdrop of rising U.S. casualties in Afghanistan and political turmoil surrounding a planned November 7 Afghan presidential election runoff. In Afghanistan on Monday, 14 Americans died in two separate helicopter crashes, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said -- 10 in one incident and four in the other. It was the largest number of Americans killed in Afghanistan in a single day in at least three years, according to CNN records. ISAF ruled out enemy fire in the crash that killed four Americans and said that enemy action was not thought be the cause of the other.Afghan Pashtun tribal elders sit in a traditional meeting to discuss American and Canadian military actions on their lands October 26, 2009 in the village of Hazi Madad in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan. American and Canadian troops in the area have been trading blows with Taliban militant fighters in recent battles, but local tribal chiefs complain that civilians have been caught in the crossfire. Separately, ISAF said a joint international security force killed more than a dozen enemy fighters while searching a compound. The site was thought to harbor insurgents tied to narcotics trafficking in western Afghanistan. The militants were killed in a firefight when insurgents confronted the joint force, ISAF said. As the runoff election nears, U.S. military forces are trying to help provide security for the presidential campaign, which is becoming increasingly contentious. Abdullah Abdullah, the main challenger to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said Monday that he wants the removal of the country's election chief and 200 other staffers of the election commission to ensure a fair runoff. Abdullah told reporters that he will submit his conditions to the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the country's Independent Election Commission -- and give them until month's end to comply. Abdullah has long contended that the head of the Election Commission, Azizullah Lodin, is aligned with Karzai. He has called for Lodin's removal. On Monday, he once again reiterated his demand, saying Lodin has "no credibility." Abdullah and others have charged that massive fraud occurred in the first round of voting on August 20. The initial results gave Karzai the win, but a subsequent review by a United Nations-backed panel of election monitors threw out nearly one-third of Karzai's votes because of "clear and convincing evidence of fraud." The result left Karzai short of the 50 percent need to avoid a runoff. After a flurry of meetings with U.S. and U.N. officials, the Afghan president agreed to the November 7 vote.
DTN News: Russia, Iran And The Biden Speech *Source: By George Friedman and Peter Zeihan STRATFOR (NSI News Source Info) KOTTAKKAL, Kerala, India - October 27, 2009: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden toured several countries in Central Europe last week, including the Czech Republic and Poland. The trip comes just a few weeks after the United States reversed course and decided not to construct a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system in those two countries. While the system would have had little effect on the national security of either Poland or the Czech Republic, it was taken as a symbol of U.S. commitment to these two countries and to former Soviet satellites generally. The BMD cancellation accordingly caused intense concern in both countries and the rest of the region. While the Obama administration strongly denied that the decision to halt the BMD deployment and opt for a different BMD system had anything to do with the Russians, the timing raised some questions. Formal talks with Iran on nuclear weapons were a few weeks away, and the only leverage the United States had in those talks aside from war was sanctions. The core of any effective sanctions against Iran would be placing limits on Iran's gasoline imports. By dint of proximity to Iran and massive spare refining capability, the Russians were essential to this effort -- and they were indicating that they wouldn't participate. Coincidence or not, the decision to pull BMD from Poland and the Czech Republic did give the Russians something they had been demanding at a time when they clearly needed to be brought on board. The Biden Challenge That's what made Biden's trip interesting. First, just a few weeks after the reversal, he revisited these countries. He reasserted American commitment to their security and promised the delivery of other weapons such as Patriot missile batteries, an impressive piece of hardware that really does enhance regional security (unlike BMD, which would grant only an indirect boost). Then, Biden went even further in Romania, not only extending his guarantees to the rest of Central Europe, but also challenging the Russians directly. He said that the United States regarded spheres of influence as 19th century thinking, thereby driving home that Washington is not prepared to accept Russian hegemony in the former Soviet Union (FSU). Most important, he called on the former satellites of the Soviet Union to assist republics in the FSU that are not part of the Russian Federation to overthrow authoritarian systems and preserve their independence. This was a carefully written and vetted speech: It was not Biden going off on a tangent, but rather an expression of Obama administration policy. And it taps into the prime Russian fear, namely, that the West will eat away at Russia's western periphery -- and at Russia itself -- with color revolutions that result in the installation of pro-Western governments, just as happened in Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine in 2004-2005. The United States essentially now has pledged itself to do just that, and has asked the rest of Central Europe to join it in creating and strengthening pro-Western governments in the FSU. After doing something Russia wanted the United States to do, Washington now has turned around and announced a policy that directly challenges Russia, and which in some ways represents Russia's worst-case scenario. What happened between the decision to pull BMD and Biden's Romania speech remains unclear, but there are three possibilities. The first possibility is that the Obama administration decided to shift policy on Russia in disappointment over Moscow's lack of response to the BMD overture. The second possibility is that the Obama administration didn't consider the effects of the BMD reversal. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the one had nothing to do with the other, and it is possible that the Obama administration simply failed to anticipate the firestorm the course reversal would kick off in Central Europe and to anticipate that it would be seen as a conciliatory gesture to the Russians, and then had to scramble to calm the waters and reassert the basic American position on Russia, perhaps more harshly than before. The third possibility, a variation on the second scenario, is that the administration might not yet have a coordinated policy on Russia. Instead, it responds to whatever the most recent pressure happens to be, giving the appearance of lurching policy shifts. The why of Washington decision-making is always interesting, but the fact of what has now happened is more pertinent. And that is that Washington now has challenged Moscow on the latter's core issues. However things got to that point, they are now there -- and the Russian issue now fully intersects with the Iranian issue. On a deeper level, Russia once again is shaping up to be a major challenge to U.S. national interests. Russia fears (accurately) that a leading goal of American foreign policy is to prevent the return of Russia as a major power. At present, however, the Americans lack the free hand needed to halt Russia's return to prominence as a result of commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Kremlin inner circle understands this divergence between goal and capacity all too well, and has been working to keep the Americans as busy as possible elsewhere. Distracting Washington While Shoring Up Security The core of this effort is Russian support for Iran. Moscow has long collaborated with Tehran on Iran's nuclear power generation efforts. Conventional Russian weapon systems are quite popular with the Iranian military. And Iran often makes use of Russian international diplomatic cover, especially at the U.N. Security Council, where Russia wields the all-important veto. Russian support confounds Washington's ability to counter more direct Iranian action, whether that Iranian action be in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq or the Persian Gulf. The Obama administration would prefer to avoid war with Iran, and instead build an international coalition against Iran to force it to back down on any number of issues of which a potential nuclear weapons program is only the most public and obvious. But building that coalition is impossible with a Russia-sized hole right in the center of the system. The end result is that the Americans have been occupied with the Islamic world for some time now, something that secretly delights the Russians. The Iranian distraction policy has worked fiendishly well: It has allowed the Russians to reshape their own neighborhood in ways that simply would not be possible if the Americans had more diplomatic and military freedom of action. At the beginning of 2009, the Russians saw three potential challenges to their long-term security that they sought to mitigate. As of this writing, they have not only succeeded, they have managed partially to co-opt all three threats. First, there is Ukraine, which is tightly integrated into the Russian industrial and agricultural heartland. A strong Ukrainian-Russian partnership (if not outright control of Ukraine by Russia) is required to maintain even a sliver of Russian security. Five years ago, Western forces managed to short-circuit a Kremlin effort to firm up Russian control of the Ukrainian political system, resulting in the Orange Revolution that saw pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko take office. After five years of serious Russian diplomatic and intelligence work, Moscow has since managed not just to discredit Yushchenko -- he is now less popular in most opinion polls than the margin of error -- but to command the informal loyalty of every other candidate for president in the upcoming January 2010 election. Very soon, Ukraine's Western moment will formally be over. Russia is also sewing up the Caucasus. The only country that could challenge Russia's southern flank is Turkey, and until now, the best Russian hedge against Turkish power has been an independent (although certainly still a Russian client) Armenia. (Turkish-Armenian relations have been frozen in the post-Cold War era over the contentious issue of the Armenian genocide.) A few months ago, Russia offered the Turks the opportunity to improve relations with Armenia. The Turks are emerging from 90 years of near-comatose international relations, and they jumped at the chance to strengthen their position in the Caucasus. But in the process, Turkey's relationship with its heretofore regional ally, Azerbaijan (Armenia's archfoe), has soured. Terrified that they are about to lose their regional sponsor, the Azerbaijanis have turned to the Russians to counterbalance Armenia, while the Russians still pull all Armenia's strings. The end result is that Turkey's position in the Caucasus is now far weaker than it was a few months ago, and Russia still retains the ability to easily sabotage any Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. Even on the North European Plain, Russia has made great strides. The main power on that plain is the recently reunified Germany. Historically, Germany and Russia have been at each other's throats, but only when they have shared a direct border. When an independent Poland separates them, they have a number of opportunities for partnership, and 2009 has seen such opportunities seized. The Russians initially faced a challenge regarding German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel is from the former East Germany, giving her personal reasons to see the Russians as occupiers. Cracking this nut was never going to be easy for Moscow, yet it succeeded. During the 2009 financial crisis, when Russian firms were snapping like twigs, the Russian government still provided bailout money and merger financing to troubled German companies, with a rescue plan for Opel even helping Merkel clinch re-election. With the Kremlin now offering to midwife -- and in many cases directly subsidize -- investment efforts in Russia by German firms such as E.On, Wintershall, Siemens, Volkswagen and ThyssenKrupp, the Kremlin has quite literally purchased German goodwill. Washington Seeks a Game Changer With Russia making great strides in Eurasia while simultaneously sabotaging U.S. efforts in the Middle East, the Americans desperately need to change the game. Despite its fiery tone, this desperation was on full display in Biden's speech. Flat-out challenging the Central Europeans to help other FSU countries recreate the revolutions they launched when they broke with the Soviet empire in 1989, specifically calling for such efforts in Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Armenia, is as bald-faced a challenge as the Americans are currently capable of delivering. And to ensure there was no confusion on the point, Biden also promised -- publicly -- whatever support the Central Europeans might ask for. The Americans have a serious need for the Russians to be on the defensive. Washington wants to force the Russians to focus on their own neighborhood, ideally forgetting about the Iranians in the process. Better yet, Washington would like to force the Russians into a long slog of defensive actions to protect their clients hard up on their own border. The Russians did not repair the damage of the Orange Revolution overnight, so imagine how much time Washington would have if all of the former Soviet satellites started stirring up trouble across Russia's western and southern periphery. The Central Europeans do not require a great deal of motivation. If the Americans are concerned about a resurgent Russia, then the Central Europeans are absolutely terrified -- and that was before the Russians started courting Germany, the only regional state that could stand up to Russia by itself. Things are even worse for the Central Europeans than they seem, as much of their history has consisted of vainly attempting to outmaneuver Germany and Russia's alternating periods of war and partnership. The question of why the United States is pushing this hard at the present time remains. Talks with the Iranians are under way; it is difficult to gauge how they are going. The conventional wisdom holds that the Iranians are simply playing for time before allowing the talks to sink. This would mean the Iranians don't feel terribly pressured by the threat of sanctions and don't take threats of attack very seriously. At least with regard to the sanctions, the Russians have everything to do with Iran's blase attitude. The American decision to threaten Russia might simply have been a last-ditch attempt to force Tehran's hand now that conciliation seems to have failed. It isn't likely to work, because for the time being Russia has the upper hand in the former Soviet Union, and the Americans and their allies -- motivated as they may be -- do not have the best cards to play. The other explanation might be that the White House wanted to let Iran know that the Americans don't need Russia to deal with Iran. The threats to Russia might infuriate it, but the Kremlin is unlikely to feel much in the form of clear and present dangers. On the other hand, blasting the Russians the way Biden did might force the Iranians to reconsider their hand. After all, if the Americans are no longer thinking of the Russians as part of the solution, this indicates that the Americans are about to give up on diplomacy and sanctions. And that means the United States must choose between accepting an Iranian bomb or employing the military option. And this leaves the international system with two outcomes. First, by publicly ending attempts to secure Russian help, Biden might be trying to get the Iranians to take American threats seriously. And second, by directly challenging the Russians on their home turf, the United States will be making the borderlands between Western Europe and Russia a very exciting place. This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to www.stratfor.com Disclaimer statement Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.
DTN News: Airlines News TODAY October 27, 2009 ~ Norwegian Air Shuttle Orders Six Boeing Next-Generation 737-800s
DTN News: Airlines News TODAY October 27, 2009 ~ Norwegian Air Shuttle Orders Six Boeing Next-Generation 737-800s *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) SEATTLE, USA - October 27, 2009: Norwegian Air Shuttle has ordered six more Next-Generation 737-800s from Boeing, the two companies announced Thursday. With the order, Norwegian has 48 Next-Generation 737 airplanes on direct order and 22 on order through leasing companies.(Image/photo: Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-800 ~ Boeing photo) "As we expand our markets and provide more low-cost options for our rapidly growing customer base, it makes strategic sense that the 737-800 forms the bedrock of our fleet," Bjorn Kjos, chief executive of the Oslo-based low-cost carrier, said in a news release. "We are also pleased because the airplanes have one of the best environmental profiles in the industry, significantly reducing emissions and noise." Norwegian, founded on Sept. 1, 2002, has more than 200 routes to 90 destinations and carried more than 10 million passengers over the past 12 months, Kjos said. Aldo Basile, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of Sales for Europe and Russia, said: "Norwegian's repeat order is a strategic move that confirms the suitability of the 737-800 to the low-fare airline model, providing unmatched levels of efficiency and utilization." Norwegian will be one of the first airlines in Europe to incorporate the new 737 Boeing Sky Interior starting at the end of 2010, Boeing said. It said the interior, inspired by design research on the 787 Dreamliner, will feature the soft, blue-sky-like overhead lighting, contemporary sculpted sidewalls and window reveals designed to draw eyes to the windows. Norwegian has opted for a 186-seat configuration in the 737-800s, whose full capacity configuration has 189 seats. The carrier uses Recaro seats.
DTN News: Bolivia To Host Servicing Center For Russian Aircraft *Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti (NSI News Source Info) BUENOS AIRES, Brazil - October 26, 2009: A technical support and repair facility for Russian aircraft in Bolivia will be built at a former U.S. base near the town of Chimore in the center of the country, Bolivian President Evo Morales said. "The Russian government has proposed to create a servicing center for Russian aircraft flying in Latin America. This center will be built here, in Chimore...and will later become an international airport, the largest in Bolivia," the Bolivian Patria Nueva radio quoted the president as saying at a Saturday meeting with his supporters prior to December 6 presidential elections. Morales said the initial investment in the construction is estimated at $5 million and the length of the existing runway will be extended by three times "to receive the most modern aircraft." Morales discussed last week the delivery of Russian aircraft with Nikolai Patrushev, chief of the Russian Security Council. Russia's Ilyushin Finance Co. leasing company is planning to deliver about 60 An-148 regional passenger jets in the next decade. Russia received in August a request from the Bolivian government for a $100-mln loan to finance the purchase of a new presidential plane and a variety of Russian-made military equipment, including Mi-17 Hip multipurpose helicopters to combat terrorism and drug trafficking. During the talks in February, Moscow and La Paz signed a bilateral agreement on military-technical cooperation.