DTN News: Lockheed Martin Delivers 50th Fully Missionized MH-60R Multimission Helicopter To The U.S. Navy
*Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin
(NSI News Source Info) OWEGO, NY, - February 10, 2010: Lockheed Martin [NYSE:LMT] has formally delivered the 50th MH-60R helicopter, fully equipped for its mission to protect the U. S. Navy fleet from hostile submarines and surface ships. MH-60R Multimission Helicopter ~ Lockheed Mattin provides the mission systems integration for the U.S. Navy's multi-role MH-60R helicopter, which combines anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare in an all-new weapon platform.
The newest member of the SEAHAWK® family of maritime helicopters is designed and manufactured by Sikorsky, with advanced mission systems integration by Lockheed Martin.
“I am extremely proud of the MH-60R team, which has enabled this important milestone in the Romeo's continued introduction to the fleet,” said Rear Adm. Steve Eastburg, Program Executive Officer Air ASW, Assault and Special Mission programs. “The enormous multimission capability of this platform continues to be leveraged by the warfighter in new and innovative ways. It is truly a game-changing platform that will deliver powerful capabilities, ranging from low-end to high-end warfare, in the years ahead.”
During the February 3 delivery ceremony at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors facility in Owego, NY, Rear Adm. Paul Grosklags, vice commander, Naval Air Systems Command thanked Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky employees and other key suppliers for their contributions to this important program.
“The MH-60R has evolved over 30 years, through lessons learned during developmental testing, fleet deployments and maintenance on these rugged airframes and mission systems, in the harshest maritime environments,” said Grosklags. “It stands now as the premier multimission helicopter in operation today. The U.S. Navy is grateful for the tremendous teamwork and experience you bring to deliver this remarkable weapon system.”
This week, an aircrew from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven Zero (HSM-70) will fly the 50th aircraft from the Owego, NY, facility to its new home at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fla. The aircraft is the 10th MH-60R delivered to HSM-70, which was established in February 2009.
HSM-70 will deploy with 11 MH-60R aircraft aboard the USS George H.W. Bush carrier strike group (CVN 77) in 2011. To date, the U.S. Navy has established and equipped four MH-60R squadrons, with plans to fill out 16 more through the purchase of 300 aircraft.
“The 50th delivery is a great opportunity to reflect on the success of the MH-60R within the fleet, to look forward to the expansion of the MH-60R throughout the helicopter community and to recognize the organizations that have brought this tremendous capability to the Navy,” said Captain Dean Peters, the U.S. Navy's MH-60 program manager. “Today, these highly integrated platforms are building a situational awareness picture of the surface and undersea domains that is proving invaluable to fleet operators.”
As mission systems integrator for the Sikorsky-built MH-60R, Lockheed Martin is responsible for integrating the helicopter’s digital cockpit, a multi-mode radar, acoustic sonar suite, long-range infrared camera and other advanced sensors to detect, identify, track and engage surface and subsurface targets. Lockheed Martin also integrates a self defense system to protect the aircraft from missile threats.
“The highly integrated nature of the Common Cockpit™ avionics suite and the mission systems allows the aircrew to spend less time interpreting data and more time prosecuting the target,” said George Barton, Lockheed Martin’s director of Naval Helicopter Programs.
U.S. Navy test squadrons concluded 1900 hours of rigorous MH-60R flight and mission systems evaluations in 2005. Since full rate production began in early 2006, Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky have delivered all MH-60R aircraft to the U.S. Navy ahead of schedule.
The companies expect to deliver up to 27 fully-missionized MH-60R aircraft in calendar year 2010 to the U.S. Navy as part of a five-year contract for 139 MH-60R aircraft through 2013. Extra production capacity exists to deliver an additional 20 aircraft each year for sale by the U.S. Government to international navies.
The U.S. Navy deployed with 11 MH-60R aircraft for the first time from January to July 2009 with the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) carrier strike group. During exercises in the western Pacific, the MH-60R proved to be an exceptional sub hunter and surface warfare weapons platform, accomplishing a 95 percent sortie completion rate, and showing it can perform utility and search and rescue missions among other secondary missions.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion.
DTN News: Yemen al-Qaeda Leader Threatens US
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) SANA`A, Yemen - February 10, 2010: Saed Elshari, al-Qaeda's number two in the Arabian Peninsula, has called for attacks against US interests "everywhere".The messsage was contained in an audio tape released on Monday and posted on a website often used by Islamist groups.Elshari also congratulated Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda's leader, over the apparent attempted bombing on a US plane on Christmas Day.
"American and Crusader interests are everywhere and their agents are moving everywhere," Elshari said.
"Attack them and eliminate as many enemies as you can."
Elshari added: "I swear to God, we will open up for them doors of hell on the ground, which will be the key to our victory, where we will cut the tails of the crusaders; destroy the dreams of crusade and ruin the desires of the Jews in the region."'PR tape'Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, said: "It was a classic al-Qaeda type of PR in which he [Elshahri] congratulated the leadership of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri about what he described as a successful attempt by the Nigerian, Omar Farooq, to blow up the US aircraft."
"I swear to God, we will open up for them doors of hell on the ground, which will be the key to our victory"
Saed Elshari, al-Qaeda's number two in the Arabian PeninsulaUS authorities detained Farooq after he allegedly attempted to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner using explosives stitched into his underwear on December 25.Our correspondent added that Elshahri "denied reports that emerged weeks ago that most of the leadership [al-Qaeda's] in the Arab Peninsula was killed in attacks by the end of December"."He [Eshari] used the audiotape to tell the followers and people across the Muslim world that you have to be careful about what he described [as] tactics by the crusaders. Of course, he's referring to American troops in this part of the world," said Ahelbarra.Elshari was released in 2007 from the US Navy's detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to his native Saudi Arabia.Arab states criticised
There he graduated from a "rehabilitation" programme before fleeing the country to join anti-government fighters in Yemen. He quickly rose to become al-Qaeda's second-in-command in the Arabian Peninsula.
In the audio tape, Elshahri accused Saudi Arabia and Egypt of "preserving the interests of Jews and Christians" by supplying them with oil and allowing them access to the waters surrounding the Peninsula.
He accused Arab states of helping "crusaders" and "Jews" to "wage a war on Muslims in the Arabian Peninsula."
Elshahri also said the US and other international powers are "indirectly waging war on several fronts" in Yemen by collecting intelligence with unmanned drones, "turning Muslims against each other ... and distorting the image of the mujahideen" fighters.He praised Somalia's anti-government fighters for fighting "the leader of the international infidels, America," and called on Yemeni tribes to "stand up like men," and not to co-operate with those "who conspire against Muslims".
DTN News: Dubai TODAY February 10, 2010 ~ World's Tallest Tower The Burj Khalifa In UAE Closes*Source: DTN News (compiled) By Roger Smith
(NSI News Source Info) DUBAI - February 10, 2010: The world's tallest skyscraper in Dubai has unexpectedly closed to the public a month after its lavish opening, the tower's owner said.
The Burj Khalifa was closed due to "unexpected high traffic," and "technical issues with the power supply", Emaar Properties said on Monday.
The indefinite closure of the $1.5bn skyscraper on Sunday comes as Dubai struggles to revive its international image as a cutting-edge Arab metropolis amid nagging questions about its financial health.
The Gulf emirate had hoped the 828m high Burj Khalifa would be a major stimulant to boost its tourism economy. In recent weeks, thousands of tourists have lined up to buy tickets for viewing times often days in advance that cost more than $27 each - or $110 for a queue-jump pass.
But the closure will now prevent those tourists gaining entry to the observation deck and casts doubt over plans to welcome its first permanent occupants in the coming weeks.
Agents were accepting bookings for next week, though there has been no confirmation the tower will reopen then.
Tourists affected by the closure are being offered the chance to rebook or receive refunds. The shutdown comes at a sensitive time for Dubai, facing a slump in tourism - which accounts for nearly a fifth of the local economy - while fending off negative publicity caused by more than $80 billion in debt it is struggling to repay.
"It was the one thing I really wanted to see," one Slovenian tourist said. "The tower was projected as a metaphor for Dubai. So the metaphor should work. There are no excuses."
Dubai officially opened the skyscraper on January 4 in a blaze of fireworks televised around the world.
The building had been known as the Burj Dubai during its construction, but the name was suddenly changed on opening night to honour the ruler of neighboring Abu Dhabi.
Work is still ongoing on many of the building's floors, including those that will house the first hotel designed by Giorgio Armani that is due to open in March.
The first of around 12,000 residential tenants and office workers are supposed to move in this month.
The observation deck, which is mostly enclosed but includes an outdoor terrace bordered by guard rails, is about two-thirds of the way up on the 124th floor.
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY February 10, 2010 ~ Afghan Avalanches Kill 24, Up To 40 Missing Says Officials
*Source: DTN News / By Waheedullah Massoud (AFP)
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - February 10, 2010: Avalanches triggered by heavy snow killed at least 24 people on a treacherous mountain pass in northern Afghanistan, injured dozens and left up to another 40 people missing, officials said.*Afghans get into an army truck Tuesday Feb. 9, 2010, after being evacuated from the avalanche which struck the Salang Pass, some 100 kms noth of Kabul, Afghanistan. Officials said the avalanches have killed at least 28 people and left another 1,500 stranded in a snow-blocked mountain pass, with the Defense Ministry releasing a statement saying another 70 people have been injured as rescue efforts continued to dig out hundreds of vehicles stuck on the pass north of Kabul.
A blizzard struck the busy road connecting the capital Kabul to the north of the country on Monday, precipitating an avalanche that buried people in vehicles on a strategic pass.
"The bodies of 24 of our compatriots have been found so far," Interior Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar told reporters.
"There could be up to 40 more still stranded and unfortunately they might have died already. That is the best estimate that we have at this moment," the minister added, speaking in English.
Such deadly avalanches are rare in Afghanistan during winter, but are more frequent in the spring when heavy snows melt.
Northern Afghanistan has traditionally been removed from the worst of the eight-year Taliban insurgency ransacking the south and east of the country.
Afghan officials have released varying tolls for the disaster, with the public works ministry listing 15 dead and the defence ministry saying 30 were killed when an avalanche of snow trapped people in their vehicles.
"These figures do change as we get more and more information as a result of the rescue operation. What is confirmed is 24 dead," Atmar said.
He fended off questions about why the road was open in the first place, insisting the situation had appeared manageable until the storm struck out of nowhere as traffic continued through the pass as normal.
"All of a sudden, a storm hit the area which resulted in a number of avalanches hitting the main highway and closing the road for up to 3.5 kilometres (two miles)," Atmar said.
"So far the rescue operation has been aimed at (a) getting the stranded people out of that area, and (b) recovering the dead bodies and to taking the injured to hospitals," he said.
The defence ministry announced that 1,500 people stranded by an avalanche had been rescued, but that 30 people died and 70 others were wounded.
The public health ministry said 65 people were injured and that most were evacuated to the nearby Chaharikar city hospital.
Acting public works minister Sohrab Ali Safari was in Salang to oversee the reopening of the southern end of the pass, which had been blocked by the avalanche, the ministry said.
Heavy snows have hit many parts of mountainous Afghanistan in recent days, following months of drought that raised fears for the country's vital agricultural sector.
Authorities said Monday that at least 20 people died in snow and rains mostly in southern and southwestern regions.
Hundreds of mud-brick houses were destroyed in floods caused by heavy rain in southern Kandahar province, where the defence ministry said military helicopters evacuated dozens of stranded villagers.
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DTN News: Iran Enrichment Plans Cast Doubt On Nuclear Program - Russia
*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - February 10, 2010: Iran's announcement that it is starting production of 20%-enriched uranium creates doubts about the peaceful nature of the country's nuclear program, Russia's security chief Nikolai Patrushev said on Tuesday.
Tehran insists its nuclear program is for civilian power generation.
"Iran declares that it is not seeking nuclear weapons and is developing peaceful nuclear technologies. But its actions, including the recent announcement that it started to further enrich uranium to 20%, raise concerns among other states, and these doubts are reasonable," the secretary of Russia's Security Council said.
A long-standing dispute over Iran's nuclear activities, which Western powers fear are aimed at building weapons, might result in a military conflict, Patrushev said during a press conference at RIA Novosti in Moscow.
"Theoretically, there is [a possibility of war], and a number of states do not rule out military actions," he said.
Patrushev's remarks were the first reaction from Moscow to Iran's announcement it was starting on Tuesday production of 20%-enriched uranium at the Natanz nuclear facility.
Production of 20% enriched uranium started at 13:00 local time [09:30 GMT] in the presence of the head of the Iranian nuclear agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, and officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Low-grade uranium has been loaded into centrifuges and will be processed through a number of cascades to become 20% enriched nuclear fuel.
The Russian security official also said that Iran had failed to provide Russia with full information on its uranium enrichment plans. Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, "just did not come" to a meeting with Patrushev, which was scheduled to take place shortly before the announcement.
Iran's move to enrich uranium could spur the UN Security Council to agree on a fourth set of sanctions over the country's nuclear activities.
Patrushev reiterated that Russia, which along with China earlier opposed to further sanctions against the Islamic Republic, might soften its stance if tensions continue to grow. However, he said, Russia was still in favor of a diplomatic approach.
"Everything has its limits, including patience. We are still interested in dialogue, in receiving an explanation of what is going on, but it is not always taking place," he said.
Though an agreement on the IAEA-proposed plan seemed to be reached last week, Iran notified the UN nuclear watchdog of plans to produce higher enriched uranium on Monday, saying it could not wait any longer.
Under a plan drawn up by the UN nuclear watchdog last October, the Islamic Republic was to ship out its low-enriched uranium to Russia for further enrichment and subsequently send it to France where it would be made into fuel rods.
Related ArticlesIran starts production of 20%-enriched uraniumIran says starting production of higher-grade nuclear fuelIran begins production of high-grade nuclear fuel - ReutersIran notifies UN watchdog of higher uranium enrichment plans
DTN News: Russian Military Calls US Missile Defense A Threat*Source: DTN News / By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV (AP)
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - February 10, 2010: U.S. missile defense plans are a threat to Russian national security and have slowed down progress on a new arms control treaty with Washington, Russia's top military officer said Tuesday.
Gen. Nikolai Makarov said that a revised U.S. plan to place missiles in Europe undermines Russia's national defense, rejecting Obama administration promises that the plan is not directed at his country.
"We view it very negatively, because it could weaken our missile forces," Makarov, the chief of the Russian military's General Staff, said in televised remarks.
Makarov's comments are the strongest yet on the revamped U.S. missile effort and signal potential new obstacles to an agreement on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that expired Dec. 5.
The U.S. has insisted that the missile defense plans should be separate from talks to forge a new agreement on cutting the two nations' nuclear arsenals. Moscow and Washington hoped that they would sign a new treaty by the end of December, but talks have dragged on.
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters Tuesday that U.S. missile defense moves in Europe are a reaction to Iran's missile threat and "are in no way directed at Russia." He said U.S. officials have been open about missile defense plans and have talked with Russian officials generally about the issue.
President Barack Obama's decision to scrap Bush administration plans for missile defense sites designed to shoot down long-range missiles from rogue states such as Iran drew praise from the Kremlin, which had fiercely opposed the earlier plan as a threat.
Experts have said the new plan is less threatening to Russia because it would not initially involve interceptors capable of shooting down Russia's intercontinental ballistic missiles.
In December, Moscow urged Washington to share detailed data about the reconfigured sea- and land-based systems to replace the old plans.
Russian officials at first reacted calmly to U.S. plans to deploy Patriot missile systems in Poland, but have grown increasingly critical in recent weeks.
Romania last week approved a proposal to place anti-ballistic missile interceptors in the country as part of the revamped American missile shield.
Asked Tuesday about the plans in Romania and Poland, Makarov called the U.S. missile defense plans a threat.
"The development of missile defense is aimed against the Russian Federation," he said.
Romania's Foreign Ministry maintained in a document that the proposed system is "strictly defensive ... it just defends against any attack."
No radar would be placed in the country for the missile-defense system and no interceptors would be put on ships in the Black Sea, the ministry said. The ministry also said that Russia could participate in the system if it chose to do so.
The ministry said the shield would include four phases. First, radar and Standard Missile-3 ballistic missiles would be placed on ships in southeastern Europe, along with a radar base, by 2011.
The second phase, by 2015, would include placing ground interceptors and a new radar base in southeastern Europe. The third phase would cover the whole of Europe by placing ground interceptors in northern Europe and developing new SM-3s to be placed on the ground and on ships, by 2018.
In the fourth phase, by 2020, the system would include protection against intercontinental ballistic missiles, the ministry said.
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DTN News: Boeing Highlights Commitment To India At Defexpo 2010
*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - February 9, 2010: Boeing [NYSE: BA] will present world-class products and services including the F/A-18IN Super Hornet, C-17 Globemaster III, P-8I, AH-64D Apache and CH-47F Chinook to Indian government officials, military officers, and other valued stakeholders at Defexpo 2010. The exhibition takes place Feb. 15-18 at the Pragati Maidan complex in New Delhi.
"This is an important year for Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) in India," said Vivek Lall, BDS vice president and India country head. "Many of our products and platforms are currently in competition or under active consideration by the government, and we are looking forward to demonstrating how they will quickly contribute to India's defense modernization and bring long-term industrial benefits to the nation."
Boeing is kicking off its Defexpo participation with a preshow briefing for the media at noon on Thursday, Feb. 11, at the Taj Mansingh Hotel. During the show, BDS executives will invite stakeholders into an F/A-18IN Super Hornet cockpit simulator to demonstrate the aircraft's advanced features, including its superior air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities. Boeing also will provide media briefings on the C-17 Globemaster III and on two Boeing Rotorcraft products in current competitions -- the CH-47F Chinook and AH-64D Apache. An Airborne Battle Management briefing will cover Airborne Early Warning and Control as well as the P-8I long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft. India selected the P-8I for its navy last year; the first of eight aircraft is scheduled to enter the fleet in 2013.
Boeing's online press kit at www.boeing.com/bds/mediakit/2010/defexpo will be updated throughout the show with presentations from the briefings and schedule changes, if any. The site also contains program backgrounders, executive biographies and a link to high-resolution photos. Note: All briefing times are local to New Delhi.Thursday, Feb. 11 – Taj Mansingh Hotel
1200: Boeing India overview with Boeing India President Dinesh Keskar and BDS Vice President and Country Head Vivek Lall
Tuesday, Feb. 16 – Defexpo Conference Hall
1445: C-17 Globemaster III briefing with Business Development lead Patrick Druez
Wednesday, Feb. 17 – Defexpo Conference Hall
1200: Rotorcraft briefing with Business Development leads Dean Millsap and Wes Spreen
1400: Airborne Battle Management briefing with New Business Development Director Tim Norgart
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security 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 Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.
DTN News: Pakistan TODAY February 9, 2010 ~ Taliban Confirm Hakeemullah's Death*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) KARACHI, Pakistan - February 9, 2010: The Taliban based in Orakzai Agency confirmed on Tuesday that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakeemullah Mehsud is dead. Former Taliban chief Hakeemullah Mehsud sits with his commander Wali-ur Rehman.
However, Alam Tariq the offiicial Taliban spokesman has not yet made a statement.
Sources said that Maulvi Noor Jamal has been nominated as Mehsud's succesor. Government officials too have confirmed his death and have said that he was killed in a Shaktoi drone strike last month.
American and Pakistani officials had been saying Mehsud was dead since the past few weeks.
Police say they have arrested six suspected Taliban militants, who were allegedly on their way to attack U.S. tourists at a five-star hotel in Pakistan's cultural capital with a suicide vest and hand grenades.
A Pakistani police officer stands with alleged militants, who stand hooded in police custody on Monday, Feb. 8, 2010, in Lahore, Pakistan.
Police display explosives and drugs confiscated from six arrested Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan members during a news conference in Lahore February 8, 2010. Police arrested the six, which includes a would-be suicide bomber, from Shahdara area in Lahore on Monday, Pakistan's media newspaper reported.
DTN News: Boeing 747-8 Freighter Successfully Completes First Flight*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) EVERETT, Wash., - February 9, 2010: The Boeing (NYSE: BA) 747-8 Freighter successfully took to the sky for the first time yesterday Feb. 8., before more than 5,000 employees, customers, suppliers and community leaders. The flight begins a test program for the world's most efficient freighter.
With 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein and Capt. Tom Imrich in the flight deck, the newest member of the 747 family took off at 12:39 p.m. local time from Paine Field in Everett and landed at Paine Field at 4:18 p.m.
"It was a real privilege to be at the controls of this great airplane on its first flight, representing the thousands of folks who made today possible," said Feuerstein. "The airplane performed as expected and handled just like a 747-400."
Today's flight was the first of more than 1,600 flight hours in the test program for the newest member of the Boeing freighter family. The airplane followed a route over Western Washington, where it underwent tests for basic handling qualities and engine performance. The airplane reached a cruising altitude of 17,000 feet (5,181 m) and a speed of up to 230 knots, or about 264 miles (426 km) per hour.
Powered by four General Electric GEnx-2B engines, the 747-8 Freighter will transition its testing program to Moses Lake, Wash., and Palmdale, Calif., where the other two test airplanes will join it in the coming month.
"This truly is a great day for The Boeing Company and the 747 program," said Mo Yahyavi, 747 program general manager and vice president, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "It's the culmination of the hard work and dedication of our employees, suppliers and customers. While there is still much to do, I am excited to begin the flight-test program, which will demonstrate the capabilities of this airplane."
The 747-8 Freighter is the new, high-capacity 747 that will give cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any freighter. The airplane is 250 feet, 2 inches (76.3 m) long, which is 18 feet, 4 inches (5.6 m) longer than the 747-400 Freighter. The stretch provides customers with 16 percent more revenue cargo volume compared with its predecessor. That translates to an additional four main-deck pallets and three lower-hold pallets.
"The 747-8 Freighter continues the leadership of the 747 Freighter families, which carries more than half of the world's air freight, making it the standard of the air cargo industry," Yahyavi said.
Boeing launched the airplane on Nov. 14, 2005, with firm orders for 18 747-8 Freighters: 10 from Cargolux of Luxembourg and eight from Nippon Cargo Airlines of Japan. All told, Boeing has secured 108 orders for the 747-8, of which 76 are orders for the new freighter. Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air all have ordered the 747-8 Freighter.