Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY February 24, 2010 ~ Pakistan Got $18 Billion Aid From US Since 2001

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY February 24, 2010 ~ Pakistan Got $18 Billion Aid From US Since 2001 *Source: TOI (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - February 24, 2010: Post 9/11, Pakistan has received nearly $18 billion as aid from the United States, including $11.5 billion as military assistance, according to Congressional documents.
A Congressional compilation of US aid to Pakistan says Islamabad has received $6 billion in civilian aid after the September 11 terrorist attack in New York.
The Obama Administration in its latest annual budget has proposed $1.6 billion in military assistance and about $1.4 billion as civilian assistance to Pakistan.
This takes the total US aid to Pakistan to more than $20.7 billion post 9/11, according to the data compiled from information received from the Departments of Defence, State and Agriculture and US Agency for International Development.
Of the military assistance, the maximum amount $7. 345 billion has gone to Pakistan as Coalition Support Fund (CSF), which many do not consider as foreign assistance as this is reimbursement that Pakistan receives for its support of the US military operations in Afghanistan.
This is followed by $2.164 billion as foreign military assistance.
After coming to power, the Obama Administration has so far provided $1.1 billion ($400 million in 2009 and $700 million in 2010) for Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund/ Counterinsurgency Capability Fund.
For the year 2011, Obama has proposed to the US Congress $1.2 billion for Pakistan under this category.
Non-military assistance to Pakistan has increased considerably to Pakistan under the Obama Administration, which is mainly attributable to the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill which grants $7.5 billion to Pakistan in five years beginning 2009.
Post 9 /11, Pakistan has received $6 billion as civilian assistance, most of which -- $4.7 billion - is under the category of Economic Support Fund.
In the year 2011, Obama has proposed to the Congress to give $1.322 billion to Pakistan.
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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: Afghanistan TODAY February 24, 2010 ~ U.S. Afghan Death Toll Hits 1,000

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY February 24, 2010 ~ U.S. Afghan Death Toll Hits 1,000 *Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - February 24, 2010: The number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan has reached 1,000, an independent website said on Tuesday, with deadly bombings in the south and east highlighting the struggle to stabilize the country.During a medevac mission by the U.S. Army's Task Force Pegasus, flight medic Sgt. Bryan Eickelberg, left, directs Marines as they carry two wounded comrades to a waiting helicopter, following an attack on their armored vehicle by a planted improvised explosive device, in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Tuesday Feb. 23, 2010. Pegasus crews are providing daily the fast medical evacuation of those wounded in Marjah, as U.S. and Afghan troops take part in an assault on the Taliban stronghold. The Pentagon disputed the figure, saying 916 had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan combined since late 2001 when the Taliban fell. "It's significantly less than 1,000 in Afghanistan," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman when asked to comment on the latest death toll provided by the website www.icasualties.org, which tracks casualties. Civilian and military casualties hit records last year as violence reached its worst levels since the Taliban were ousted, with foreign forces launching two big offensives in the past eight months to stem a growing insurgency. The website said 54 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year, raising the total to 1,000 since the Taliban's fall. This compares with eight this year in Iraq, where 4,378 have been killed since 2003. Afghanistan is high on President Barack Obama's foreign policy agenda and more American casualties or a military campaign that fails to bring stability to the country in an increasingly unpopular war could harm his presidency. Also on Tuesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said he had signed into law changes that remove foreign observers from the electoral watchdog tasked with reviewing voting fraud. That could put Karzai in conflict with Western donors who have said they will not fund September 18 parliamentary elections without electoral reforms, following a 2009 presidential poll beset by massive fraud. "The Afghan government for long has wanted to 'Afghanize' the electoral process and 10 days ago, the cabinet ratified the amendment and the president endorsed it," Karzai spokesman Siamak Herawi said. Free and fair elections are part of a Western strategy to stabilize the nation, alongside military plans to push the Taliban out of its strongholds and give control of them to the Afghan government. BLAST KILLS CIVILIANS The Islamist militants have made a comeback, operating out of strongholds in the south into the east and north, and are resisting efforts by Karzai's government to impose control. The second of the offensives, Operation Mushtarak, was launched by NATO-led troops 10 days ago to flush militants out of the Marjah district of Helmand, where they had set up their last big stronghold in Afghanistan's most violent province. Western forces say they have broken the Taliban's grip and only face pockets of resistance, some of it fierce, in Marjah. But violence is continuing. A bomb that killed at least seven civilians and wounded 14 near a government building in Helmand's capital, Lashkar Gah, underscored the vast security challenges facing NATO and Karzai's U.S.-backed government. "The blast was caused by explosives attached to a bicycle and was controlled remotely," said Dawud Ahmadi, spokesman for Helmand's provincial government. Karzai condemned three separate bombings in the past 24 hours, including a suicide attack which killed 16 people in eastern Nangahar province. Ghulam Ghamsharik, a former commander in the war against Soviet occupation troops, and a provincial refugee ministry official were among those killed. The latest Helmand operation is an early test of Obama's plan to add 30,000 troops to win control of Taliban bastions and hand them over to Afghan authorities before the start of a gradual U.S. troop withdrawal in 2011. In an example of the Taliban's tenacity, U.S. Marines who pushed 3 miles east of Marjah said they were engaged in a firefight lasting more than eight hours on Monday as they picked their way through rudimentary fortifications. They called in two strikes by Cobra attack helicopters, which fired Hellfire missiles on dug-in insurgents. "The clearance went quicker than expected, even though the resistance was more than anticipated," Marine Lieutenant Mark Greenlief told Reuters on Tuesday. Greenlief said "a lot" of militants were killed but would not say exactly how many. He said Monday's patrol uncovered "multiple" roadside bombs, weapons caches and enemy fighting positions. "We enveloped the insurgents," he said. Marjah is a prime example of the challenge facing U.S. troops and their NATO allies. The operation's success hinges on whether they can keep Taliban fighters from re-capturing the area and make sure Afghan forces can secure the area on their own. (Additional reporting by Sayed Salahuddin and Hamid Shalizi in KABUL and Adam Entous in WASHINGTON; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Bryson Hull and David Fox)

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated February 23, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated February 23, 2010 *Source: U.S. DoD issued February 23, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - February 24, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued February 23, 2010 are undermentioned;
~McKesson Corp., San Francisco, Calif., is being awarded a maximum $977,318,000 firm-fixed-price, prime vendor contract for replenishment pharmaceuticals and other authorized supplies. Other location of performance is Arizona. Using service is Department of Defense. The original proposal was solicited on the Federal Business Opportunities wb site with two responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Feb. 28, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM200-03-D-1666).
~UNICOR, Washington, D.C., is being awarded a maximum $23,991,000 firm-fixed-price, sole-source, total set-aside, indefinite-quantity/indefinite-delivery contract for cold weather trousers. Other locations of performance are South Carolina, Kentucky and Florida. Using service is Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-10-D-F012). NAVY ~Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc., Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $19,400,942 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2100) for planned and growth supplemental work for the accomplishment of the fiscal year 2008 extended drydocking selected restricted availability (EDSRA) of USS Enterprise (CVN 65). EDSRAs are similar to overhauls in that they restore the ship, including all subsystems that affect combat capability and safety, to established performance standards. Additionally, an EDSRA provides an opportunity to perform hull inspections, recoating and other maintenance related evolutions below the waterline that cannot be accomplished while the ship is waterborne. The EDSRA provides sufficient time to perform more extensive repairs and testing than are possible during an extended selected restricted availability. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by March 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $19,400,942 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity. ~Canadian Commercial Corp., Ontario, Canada, is being awarded an $18,210,720 basic long term requirements contract for repair support of exhaust frames on the F404 engine. This contract contains a three-year base period and two option years which, if exercised, bring the estimated value of the contract to $32,005,920. Work will be performed in Ontario, Canada, and work is expected to be completed by February 2013. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with two proposals solicited and one offer received. The Naval Inventory Control Point, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (N00383-10-D-005M). ~Bell Helicopter, Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded $14,067,100 for ceiling priced order #7001 under previously awarded contract (N00383-09-G-002N) for repair for items to support the H-1 aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed by May 2011. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the fiscal year. This contract was not competitively awarded. The Naval Inventory Control Point, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity. ~SyQwest, Inc., Warwick, R.I., is being awarded a maximum $9,650,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the repair, restoration and replacement of large spherical array (LSA) and wide aperture array (WAA) outboard electronic bottles (OBE). The OBE is an integral part of the submarine sonar system. Each LSA and WAA OBE contains electronics to provide amplification, filtering, analog-to-digital conversion, and input signal encoding. Digital acoustic data for all hydrophone channels processed within the OBE are transmitted via serial data lines to the inboard system. Work will be performed in Warwick, R.I., and is expected to be completed by February 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $50,000 will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities Web sites, with one offer received. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, R.I., is the contracting activity (N66604-10-D-1170). AIR FORCE ~ALION Science and Technology Corp., Chicago, Ill., was awarded a $14,492,749 contract which will provide for research for the Naval Operational Logistics Support Command integration and modernization of logistic support systems which provide data feeds to modeling and simulation software products for distribution optimization programs and ship loading. At this time, $300,000 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (N61339-03-D-0300). ~Science Applications International Corp., McLean, Va., was awarded a $639,452 contract which will provide research for the development of XPAtch radar simulation code and development of innovative signature database development and signature analysis methods for recognition applications. At this time, $639,452 has been obligated. AFRL/PKSR, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-10-C-1700).

DTN News: Oshkosh Corporation Receives $640 Million Award To Supply 1,460 Additional M-ATVs

DTN News: Oshkosh Corporation Receives $640 Million Award To Supply 1,460 Additional M-ATVs *Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation (NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis.- February 24, 2010: Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) announced today (Feb. 23) it has received an additional $640 million award from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC) to deliver 1,460 MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV). To date, Oshkosh has received awards valued at more than $4.74 billion for 8,079 M-ATVs, as well as spare parts kits and aftermarket in-theater support. "Our Armed Forces have Oshkosh's full assurance that these highly mobile, life protecting vehicles will continue to be a top priority because we understand the urgency of the situation," said Robert G. Bohn, Oshkosh Corporation chairman and chief executive officer. "From day one, Oshkosh Corporation and our employees have been committed to meet or exceed the M-ATV delivery requirements, while simultaneously producing our other quality advanced tactical wheeled vehicles and meeting all other contractual obligations." The Oshkosh® M-ATV is the newest MRAP model, developed in response to an urgent need in Afghanistan. The vehicle is specifically designed to operate on the country's harsh mountainous terrain and unimproved roads while providing protection levels equal to or better than those of legacy MRAPs. Able to overcome steep, rocky and rugged terrain, the vehicle uses the Oshkosh-patented TAK-4® independent suspension system for superior cross-country mobility, including a 70 percent off-road profile capability and 16 inches of independent wheel travel. Oshkosh has received orders to supply more than 2,400 TAK-4 systems for legacy MRAP upgrades for improved off-road mobility in Afghanistan. The company has received orders to provide replacement parts and spare-parts kits concurrent with M-ATV production, as well as to provide field service representative (FSR) support in Afghanistan. With global operations that include service, repair and parts distribution, Oshkosh is able to support the M-ATV program's full life-cycle sustainment as needed. Existing Oshkosh facilities have the capacity, highly skilled workforce and proven manufacturing capability to deliver this M-ATV order and vehicles for all other Defense programs, including the U.S. Army's Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), as well as the capability to meet any surges in production. About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh 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 http://www.oshkoshdefense.com/. About Oshkosh Corporation
Oshkosh 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®, 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 http://www.oshkoshcorporation.com/. ®, ™ All brand names referred to in this news release are trademarks of Oshkosh Corporation or its subsidiary companies.

DTN News: Force Protection Receives Order For Cougar Mastiff Vehicles

DTN News: Force Protection Receives Order For Cougar Mastiff Vehicles *Source: DTN News / Force Protection, Inc (NSI News Source Info) LADSON, S.C. - February 24, 2010: Force Protection, Inc. (NASDAQ: FRPT), a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of survivability solutions and provider of total life cycle support for those products, today announced that it has received an order for 23 Cougar Mastiff Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) variants to be delivered to the United Kingdom via a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract from Marine Corps Systems Command. The undefinitized contract has a value not to exceed $16.1 million. The work will be performed in Ladson, SC and is expected to be completed prior to April, 2010. The first 5 Mastiff EOD vehicles were delivered on February 8th, 2010, 20 days after contract award due to long lead funding previously received towards work on the contract.
Michael Moody, Chief Executive Officer of Force Protection, commented, “We are delighted with the Cougar Mastiff’s performance with the United Kingdom’s forces. The Mastiff has proven time and again to be a life saver and an excellent value for our customer. These EOD Mastiffs will enable bomb disposal units in the current theater of operations to perform their missions safely and effectively. We thank our United Kingdom customer for their continued confidence in our products and we look forward to continuing to build on our strong relationships with the Ministry of Defence to meet other current and future survivability needs for British forces.”
About Force Protection, Inc.
Force Protection, Inc. is a leading American designer, developer and manufacturer of survivability solutions, predominantly blast- and ballistic-protected wheeled vehicles currently deployed by the U.S. military and its allies to support armed forces and security personnel in conflict zones. The Company’s Mastiff vehicle, and its other specialty vehicles, including the Cougar, the Buffalo, Cheetah and Ocelot, are designed specifically for reconnaissance and urban operations and to protect their occupants from landmines, hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs, commonly referred to as roadside bombs). The Company also is the developer and manufacturer of ForceArmor™, an armor package providing superior protection against explosively formed projectiles (EFPs), now available for a wide range of tactical-wheeled vehicles. The Company is one of the original developers and primary providers of vehicles for the U.S. military’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, vehicle program.
For more information on Force Protection and its vehicles, visit http://www.forceprotection.net/.
Safe Harbor Language
This press release contains forward looking statements that are not historical facts, including statements about our beliefs and expectations. These statements are based on beliefs and assumptions of Force Protection’s management, and on information currently available to management. These forward looking statements include, among other things: the growth and demand for Force Protection’s vehicles, including the Mastiff vehicle; the rate at which the Company will be able to produce these vehicles; its expected work completion dates for the vehicles and the ability to meet current and future requirements; and the Company’s expected financial and operating results, including its revenues and cash flow, for future periods. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update any of them publicly in light of new information or future events. A number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Examples of these factors include, but are not limited to, the ability to effectively manage the risks in the Company’s business; the ability to develop new technologies and products and the acceptance of these technologies and products; the ability to obtain and complete new orders for its vehicles and products; the Company’s ability to identify and remedy its internal control weaknesses and deficiencies and other risk factors and cautionary statements listed in the Company’s periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the risks set forth in the Company’s 2008 Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, as updated in the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2009.

DTN News: Boeing, NASA Complete Key Reviews For Tracking and Data Relay Satellite Series K-L

DTN News: Boeing, NASA Complete Key Reviews For Tracking and Data Relay Satellite Series K-L *Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) EL SEGUNDO, Calif., - February 23, 2010: Boeing [NYSE: BA] and its customer NASA today announced that the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) K-L program successfully completed its system-level Critical Design Review (CDR) and Production Readiness Review (PRR) in El Segundo on Feb. 19. When TDRS satellites K and L join the operational TDRS constellation on orbit, they will provide voice, data and communications relay services to Earth-orbiting spacecraft, such as the International Space Station, several launch vehicles and the Hubble Space Telescope. The CDR and PRR bridge the design and manufacturing stages of the TDRS program. The reviews validate that the TDRS K-L system design will meet NASA's requirements, is backed with solid analysis and documentation, and will operate effectively when the satellites launch in 2012 and 2013. Based upon this successful review, Boeing will begin assembly of the K and L satellites. "The K-L series of spacecraft are critical for ensuring the continued availability of high-bandwidth communications necessary for the success of many NASA missions," said TDRS Project Manager Jeff Gramling at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "This is a major step toward developing a new generation of tracking and data relay satellites that will deliver high-resolution images, video, voice and data from Earth-orbiting spacecraft to the ground for vital Earth- and space-science missions," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "The extraordinary effort by the NASA and Boeing members of the TDRS team to conduct these successful reviews is a testament to the enduring partnership between Boeing and NASA." The CDR and PRR, held from Feb. 16 to 19, were attended by NASA project, program and headquarters officials. Both reviews were presented to an independent board that evaluated the design aspects of TDRS K and L, including spacecraft assembly and systems integration, testing and safety requirements. TDRS K and L are the 11th and 12th satellites to be built for the TDRS system. Together with the Boeing-built TDRS 8, 9 and 10, which launched in 2000 and 2002, TDRS K and L will help to replenish the aging TDRS constellation, which was established in 1983 to replace NASA's worldwide network of ground tracking stations. 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: Israel Unveils New Drone Fleet That Can Reach Iran

DTN News: Israel Unveils New Drone Fleet That Can Reach Iran *Source: DTN News / By Tia Goldenberg (NSI News Source Info) TEL NOF AIR FORCE BASE, Israel - February 23, 2010: Israel's air force on Sunday introduced a fleet of huge pilotless planes that can remain in the air for a full day and could fly as far as the Persian Gulf, putting rival Iran within its range. Israeli air force unmanned plane in the Tel Nof base, central Israel, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010. Israel's air force has introduced a fleet of large unmanned planes that it says can fly as far as Iran. Air force officials say the Heron TP drones have a wingspan of 86 feet (26 meters), making them the size of passenger jets, which can fly 20 consecutive hours, and are primarily used for surveillance and carrying payloads. The Heron TP drones have a wingspan of 86 feet (26 meters), making them the size of Boeing 737 passenger jets and the largest unmanned aircraft in Israel's military. The planes can fly at least 20 consecutive hours and are primarily used for surveillance and carrying diverse payloads. At the fleet's inauguration ceremony at a sprawling air base in central Israel, the drone dwarfed an F-15 fighter jet parked beside it. The unmanned plane resembles its predecessor, the Heron, but can fly higher, reaching an altitude of more than 40,000 feet (12,000 meters), and remain in the air longer. "With the inauguration of the Heron TP, we are realizing the air force's dream," said Brig. Gen. Amikam Norkin, commander of the base that will operate the drones. "The Heron TP is a technological and operational breakthrough." The commander of Israel's air force, Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, said the aircraft "has the potential to be able to conduct new missions down the line as they become relevant." Israel's military refused to say how large the new fleet is or whether the planes were designed for use against Iran, but stressed it was versatile and could adapt to new missions. The plane's maker, state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, has said it is capable of reaching the Persian Gulf, which would put Iran within its range. Israeli defense officials said the Heron TP could be a useful tool against Iran. It could provide surveillance, jam enemy communications and connect ground control and manned air force planes. The officials requested anonymity because they were discussing sensitive military technology. Israel considers Iran a strategic threat because of its nuclear program, long-range missiles and repeated references by its leaders to the Jewish state's destruction. Israel has hinted at the possibility of a military strike against Iran if world pressure does not halt Tehran's nuclear program. Israel and the U.S. believe Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons; Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes. In past conflicts, various types and sizes of unmanned planes have been used in missions like long-range surveillance and attacking enemy targets with guided missiles in conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan, where anti-aircraft systems are rudimentary. They have proven much less successful in conflicts where the opponents possessed better anti-aircraft weapons. During NATO's aerial onslaught against Serbia in 1999, for example, Serbian quickly forces shot down 42 U.S. drones, drastically reducing the effectiveness of the bombing campaign. "We are aware of the dangers such an aircraft can meet in the battlefield, and we do whatever we can to protect it," said air force Lt. Col. Eyal. Eyal, whose last name was not disclosed in line with military guidelines, would not comment on how the plane could protect itself from anti-aircraft systems. Israeli defense analyst Shlomo Brom, a retired general and security expert at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, called the new drone a breakthrough. "Its staying power and the height it can reach means it is able to cover ground continuously and it is able to cover large territory," he said. Israel's military was the first to make widespread use of drones in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon, according to Mark Daly, an expert on unmanned aircraft at Jane's defense publications in London. Israeli companies are considered world leaders in drone technology and now export unmanned aircraft to a number of armies, including U.S.-led forces that have used them in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Heron TP has been in development for about a decade, but the aircraft first saw action during Israel's offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip just over a year ago. Drones were seen as crucial to the Gaza onslaught by giving soldiers eyes in the air, keeping watch over rooftops and alleyways in congested urban areas — notifying troops of threats or obstacles in their path. Palestinian witnesses have long claimed that Israeli drones fire missiles in Gaza, both before and during the Israeli offensive. Israel has never confirmed that its unmanned aircraft are capable of firing missiles. The military says the huge new drone will give an added element to Israel's ability to control its borders.

DTN News: Modest Brazil Warplane Fitting Into Nations' Plans

DTN News: Modest Brazil Warplane Fitting Into Nations' Plans
* Several Latin American nations are buying the Super Tucano for use in anti-drug and counterinsurgency efforts. Even the U.S. and Britain are looking into the propeller-driven craft. *Source: DTN News / By Chris Kraul The Los Angeles Times (NSI News Source Info) QUITO, Ecuador - February 23, 2010: Unsleek and unsupersonic, the Super Tucano hardly fits most people's concept of a modern warplane. But Brazilian manufacturer Embraer is finding a growing market for the retro "light attack" propeller-driven aircraft among nations looking to secure their borders, fight drugs and support counterinsurgency operations.
Ecuador is one such customer. The two Super Tucanos that flew into Manta air base late last month were the first delivered on a 24-plane order that President Rafael Correa placed shortly after Colombian armed forces entered Ecuador's airspace in March 2008 to kill a high-ranking FARC rebel leader, Raul Reyes.
Although the $250-million purchase was seen as a reaction to Colombia's violation of its sovereignty, Correa in his weekly television address Feb. 6 said that the aircraft acquisition didn't signal an arms buildup. Rather, he said, the planes were replacing Ecuador's fleet of mostly 30-year-old A-37 Dragonfly aircraft made by Cessna.
But Correa is wrestling with a problem that the planes can help him confront: the persistent presence in his territory of guerrillas with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or, FARC. Without specifically mentioning FARC, Correa said the aircraft would help support the Ecuadorean military as it fights "regular and irregular forces" inside the country's borders.
(It was a Colombian air force Super Tucano that dropped the "smart bomb" that killed Reyes, then second in command of the FARC, as he slept at a camp a mile inside Ecuadorean territory.)Relations between Colombia and Ecuador have improved since the 2008 incursion, when Correa briefly mobilized troops and froze trans-border commerce. Recently, the neighbors have reestablished diplomatic ties and resumed cooperation concerning drug interdiction and the FARC.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in 2008 justified the air operation, saying that Ecuador looked the other way when it came to the presence of the FARC. More recently, he thanked Correa after Ecuadorean armed forces killed three suspected FARC rebels in Ecuadorean territory Jan. 18.
The two-seater Super Tucano's top speed is only about 350 mph. But it has a 620-mile combat radius and can stay aloft for six hours. Introduced in 2003, the plane can be outfitted with two heavy machine guns as well as 2 tons of guided bombs and rockets, said Robert Munks, an Americas analyst for IHS Jane's military consultants in London.
With their uses in training, surveillance and offensive campaigns, the Super Tucanos fit the bill for many Third World countries, and at $10 million each, are relatively cheap, Munks said.
After five years in service with the Colombian air force, the planes have proved their worth in anti-drug and counterinsurgency operations, he said.
Chile and the Dominican Republic have bought Super Tucanos. An Embraer spokesman declined to comment on reports that Indonesia and Peru have also placed orders.
The Pentagon is considering buying 200 of the aircraft, and Britain's Royal Air Force is weighing the possibility of replacing its fleet of Harrier vertical takeoff jets with Super Tucanos instead of Lockheed Martin F-35Bs, which cost 10 times as much.
If the Pentagon buys the planes -- 100 each for the Navy and Air Force, according to reports -- the order would equal the total number of Super Tucanos that have been sold to date. The principal customers have been the air forces of Brazil, with 99, and Colombia, which bought 25.
Promoting Super Tucano sales is part of Brazil's ambitious campaign to raise its profile as a military power, as well as a manufacturer. In its strategic defense plan unveiled in 2008, Brazil said it was doing so to diversify its economy while protecting its natural resources.
In joint deals with France, Brazil has embarked on technology-sharing projects to build its own fleet of helicopters and submarines.
The nation is also in the process of deciding between French, Swedish and U.S. jet aircraft manufacturers for a new multibillion-dollar fleet of fighter jets.
Embraer probably would have a role in building the aircraft. Embraer is also developing a new military transport plane called the KC-390 that will compete with Boeing's C-130 Hercules. France has promised to buy several of them.
Kraul is a special correspondent.

DTN News: Israel TODAY February 23, 2010 ~ Israel Relies On A Deadly Specialty

DTN News: Israel TODAY February 23, 2010 ~ Israel Relies On A Deadly Specialty *Source: DTN News / By Edmund Sanders ~ LATimes (NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM, Israel - February 23, 2010: Reporting from Jerusalem - When Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman faced questions Monday from European diplomats over Israel's suspected role in the Dubai assassination of a Hamas militant, he responded with familiar indignation: Why is Israel always the first to be blamed, he asked. Perhaps no other country's use of assassinations has been more scrutinized, condemned and celebrated than that of Israel. The policy is not likely to change, analysts and diplomats say, because such killings, from Israel's point of view, have proved effective in fighting a nonconventional enemy. And despite legal questions and international backlash, Israel has usually emerged unscathed. Confronting a hostile region, Israel sees targeted killings as an essential tool in decapitating militant groups or putting them on the defensive, experts say. "They seem to be extremely focused on this kind of tactic," said Aaron David Miller, former U.S. negotiator in the Middle East and now scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. "This is the price of living in the neighborhood," he added. "It's a symptom of the ongoing confrontation and their perceptions about the long war. Both sides perceive that acting, even with the negative consequences to image and public diplomacy, is still effective and it's going to continue." Israel is certainly not the only nation to engage in targeted killings. Despite presidential orders to restrict political assassinations, the U.S. has killed terrorism suspects in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, usually with airstrikes. European spy agencies have also been accused of assassinations. In 2001, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine killed Israel's tourism minister at a Jerusalem hotel. Two months earlier, Israel had assassinated the group's leader. Israel has been relatively open and public in defending its use of targeted killings. In 2006, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled the practice justified in some instances under international law. In addition, countless books and movies have mythologized the Israeli spy agency Mossad's knack for revenge. But when such activities occur on foreign soil, and evidence emerges implicating Israeli agents, the nation has found itself under fire.After the exposure of a 1997 attempt to poison Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Jordan, Israel was not only pressured by the Jordanian king to deliver an antidote, it also agreed to release another imprisoned Hamas leader as part of the apology. But Israel had the last word, one might say. The released man, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, was assassinated in an Israeli airstrike seven years later. In the Dubai killing, Israel has refused to confirm or deny its role, though Dubai authorities say they've collected evidence implicating the Mossad. Israel resorts to assassination, analysts say, because its superiority in military might only goes so far in defeating underground cells of militants. Such limits were apparent in the perceived failure of the 2006 war with Lebanon and the mixed results of the Israeli military's offensive in the Gaza Strip a year ago. "Targeted killings is a tool that is sometimes necessary," said Yoram Schweitzer, senior fellow at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies. "It's a very delicate instrument, but as long as it is not used that often, it works." He said the Mossad's reported 1978 assassination of Palestinian militant Wadie Haddad, who was said to have been poisoned by a box of tainted chocolates, led to the collapse of Haddad's terrorist cell.Critics, however, question the legality of Israel's use of targeted killings and say the violence only leads to retaliation. Though international attention usually focuses on attacks taking place on foreign soil, Israel's military has killed several hundred suspected militants in Gaza since 2000, according to the Jerusalem-basedhuman rights group B'Tselem. The group says the killings are at best a moral and legal gray area and at worst extrajudicial executions. "The biggest problem is it's completely nontransparent," said B'Tselem Executive Director Jessica Montell. "They are killing people and saying [the person] was a senior operative. But we don't know, because nobody has access to that information." Israeli commentator Guy Bechor says the hoopla over Israel's role in the Dubai assassination has actually helped Israel by striking fear in enemies about a "crazy" aggressive nation that should not be messed with. Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud Mabhouh was killed in his Dubai hotel room in January by assassins whose pre- slaying moves were captured on a security video. Eleven people using fake European passports allegedly entered Dubai to carry out the killing of Mabhouh, who has been accused of smuggling arms from Iran and of involvement in the capture and killing of two Israeli soldiers in the 1980s. Many here expect that despite the diplomatic protests from Britain, Ireland, France and Germany, whose passports were forged for use by the assailants, international outrage will fade -- though the mesmerizing security camera video of the operation lives on. "After 9/11, people understand that democracy sometimes has to be not as clean as we would like it to be," said former Mossad agent Gad Shimron. Behind the scenes, Israel's intelligence agency works closely with Western nations against joint threats, Shimron said. So though foreign governments might lodge public complaints, he said, "when the door closes, they'll wink." edmund.sanders@latimes.com.

DTN News: India, France To Finalise Upgrade Of Mirage Jets In Rs 10,000 Crore Project

DTN News: India, France To Finalise Upgrade Of Mirage Jets In Rs 10,000 Crore Project *Source: DTN News / Rajat Pandit, TNN, Feb 23, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - February 23, 2010: India and France are now finally close to inking the around Rs 10,000 crore project to upgrade the Mirage-2000 fighter jets in the IAF combat fleet after protracted negotiations. The first four to six IAF Mirages will be upgraded in France, while the rest 50 will equipped with new avionics, weapon and sensor suites to enhance their combat edge by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in India under transfer of technology in the project. "It (the project finalisation) should happen shortly,'' IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik told TOI on Monday. This will be the second such big programme with the upgrade of 63 MiG-29s already underway under a $964 million contract inked with Russia in March 2008. It will also be the second big defence deal to be inked with France after the ongoing Rs 18,798 crore project to construct six Scorpene submarines at Mazagon Docks, which incidentally is running two years behind schedule amid huge cost escalation. "The scope of Mirage upgrade will be much larger than the MiG-29 one...it will be more high-end. It will cost half of the fighter's worth. After the upgrade, the Mirages will serve us for another 15-20 years,'' said another officer. The multi-role fighters will be `souped-up' with new avionics, radars, mission computers, glass cockpits, helmet-mounted displays, electronic warfare suites, jam-proof communication with data links, weapon delivery and precision-targeting systems, including the all-weather, fire-and-forget MICA (interception and aerial combat missiles) systems. "A French team will be coming again in early-March to finalise the details. The CNC (contract negotiation committee) should conclude in another two months. The Cabinet Committee on Security's approval will then be sought,'' he added. The inking of the deal could be well be timed with French President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposed visit to India later in the year. The project has been hanging fire for the last few years because the package offered by French companies Dassault Aviation (aircraft manufacturer), Thales (weapons systems integrator) and MBDA (missile supplier) was around 30% higher than what India was ready to pay. Having first inducted 40 Mirages in the mid-1980s, India had procured over 20 more in later years. With the Mirages successfully conducting `targeted bombings' during the 1999 Kargil conflict, IAF had some years ago even pitched for the advanced Mirage-2000-Vs for its gigantic $10.4-billion project for 126 new medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA). But even as France shut down its Mirage assembly line, the defence ministry also told IAF to go in for `a global tender' for the MMRCA project. Now, the French Rafale is competing with American F/A-18 `Super Hornet' (Boeing) and F-16 `Falcon' (Lockheed Martin), Russian MiG-35 (United Aircraft Corporation), Swedish Gripen (Saab) and Eurofighter Typhoon (consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies) in the hotly-contested MMRCA race. Faced with a depleting number of fighter squadrons (each has 16 to 18 jets), down to just 32 from a `sanctioned strength' of 39.5, IAF is going for a mix of upgrades and new inductions like Sukhoi-30MKIs to maintain its combat readiness.

DTN News: Airlines News ~ A Slow Start To The Year For Airbus And Boeing, No Recovery Until 2011 Or Beyond

DTN News: Airlines News ~ A Slow Start To The Year For Airbus And Boeing, No Recovery Until 2011 Or Beyond *Source: DTN News / Centre For Aviation (NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - February 23, 2010: Neither large manufacturer expects much in the way of new orders this year, with a barren start of 2010 for Airbus and Boeing. The remarkable ordering boom between 2005 and 2008, when the manufacturers took a combined 8,200 orders (more than in the preceding ten years combined), is now in the distant past. Airbus has taken a small early lead, with 11 A320 family aircraft ordered in Jan-2010 (ten by Yemenia) and Hong Kong Airlines signing an MoU for six A330-200s in early Feb-2010. Orders for Boeing have been similarly slim, with just ten B737s sold to an “undisclosed customer” for the year to 16-Feb-2010. The slow start to the year underscores the forecasts from both manufacturers that aircraft ordering will not begin to pick up until 2H2011, at the earliest, with 2012 looking more likely. While economies are beginning to show more signs of life, the aircraft ordering cycle is likely to lag the economic recovery cycle by a significant margin. Airbus is still however confident of a “V” shaped recovery. Airbus expects to take 250-300 orders this year, after booking 310 gross orders in 2009 (271 net, after cancellations). Boeing has not announced an order forecast, but it booked 262 gross (144 net) orders last year. Production for both manufacturers is expected to be marginally lower, with both companies easing output levels on some models. Boeing expects to deliver 460-465 aircraft in 2010. Early 2010 aircraft deliveries have continued much in the vein of 2009. Airbus delivered 29 commercial aircraft in Jan-2010, including two A380s, one to Emirates and one to Qantas. The manufacturer hopes to double A380 deliveries this year, to 20 aircraft. 23 A320 family narrowbody aircraft were delivered during the month, along with four A330s. The only type not to appear on the delivery list is the A340, which has just two outstanding orders, for A340-600s to Iberia. Boeing delivered 28 aircraft in Jan-2010, with single B777s going to Emirates, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific and GECAS. 23 B737s were delivered, including eight to Ryanair, and three to Xiamen Airlines. EADS’ share were flat yesterday, with Boeing up 0.6%.