DTN News: Missile Strike Kills Top Al Qaeda Leader ~ ReportsSource: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - March 18, 2010: An Al Qaeda leader believed to have played a key role in the bombing of a CIA post in Afghanistan last December was apparently killed by an American missile strike last week, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.
The counterterrorism official said Hussein al-Yemeni was believed killed in a strike in Miram Shah, the main town in North Waziristan. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.
Drone strikes in Pakistan's border region, largely conducted by the CIA, have escalated in recent months, proving an effective way to target Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders hiding in the rugged mountainous border. While Pakistani officials have criticized the strikes, it is widely believed that Islamabad privately supports the attacks and works with the U.S. to provide intelligence.
CIA director Leon Panetta said the stepped-up campaign has driven Osama bin Laden and other leaders deeper into hiding and left Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan's tribal regions in disarray.
"Those operations are seriously disrupting Al Qaeda," Panetta told The Washington Post in an interview. "It's pretty clear from all the intelligence we are getting that they are having a very difficult time putting together any kind of command and control, that they are scrambling. And that we really do have them on the run."
Al-Yemeni is considered an important Al Qaeda planner and explosives expert who had established contact with groups ranging from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to Afghan and Pakistani Taliban militant groups. He is also known as Ghazwan al-Yemeni.
The counterterrorism official said al-Yemeni was in his late 20s or early 30s and was a conduit in Pakistan for funds, messages, and recruiting but that he specialized in suicide operations.
A jihadist Web site linked to Al Qaeda recently announced his death, said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who now is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center.
"This is another sign that drone operations and stepped-up efforts against Al Qaeda are having an impact in the tribal regions," Riedel said Wednesday. He said al-Yemeni served prison time in Yemen in 2005 before being released and has since moved through Afghanistan and Iran and was a trainer for the Taliban.
In the CIA base attack, a Jordanian suicide bomber killed seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer. The bomber, a Jordanian doctor identified as Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, detonated his cache of explosives at Camp Chapman, a tightly secured base in Khost.
CIA officials has cultivated al-Balawi in hopes of obtaining information about Al Qaeda's second in command, but he turned out to be a double agent. In a video broadcast after his death, the bomber said the attack was meant to avenge the death of the former Pakistani Taliban leader in a CIA missile strike.
DTN News: F-35 Does First Hovering TestSource: DTN News / Reuters
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - March 18, 2010: Lockheed Martin Corp's (LMT.N) first F-35 short takeoff, vertical landing Joint Striker Fighter aircraft demonstrated its hovering capability Wednesday, the company said.
Lockheed said the flight was a significant test ahead of the first vertical landing of the F-35B, one of three radar-evading models in the Pentagon's costliest acquisition program.
The F-35 is being built for the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, eight foreign partner countries and other potential overseas buyers. Its average cost has soared 60 percent to 90 percent in real terms beyond what was projected in 2001, when development began, Pentagon officials told Congress last week.
The Marines are due to start using the jump-jet version being tested at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, in 2012.
"Today's successful tests are the latest steps in demonstrating the F-35B's ability to conduct operations from small ships and unprepared fields, enabling expeditionary operations around the globe," Joe Stout, a Lockheed spokesman, said in an emailed statement.
(Reporting by Jim Wolf; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
DTN News: Northrop Grumman Awarded Planning Contract For The Refueling And Complex Overhaul Of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)Source: DTN News / Northrop Grumman
(NSI News Source Info) NEWPORT NEWS, Va., - March 18, 2010: Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC - News) has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Navy initially valued at $80.1 million to accomplish planning work for the refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). If all options of the contract are exercised, the full potential value of the contract could reach $678.6 million. The company's Shipbuilding sector is the prime contractor for the work, which includes planning, design, documentation, engineering, material procurement, shipboard inspections, fabrication and preliminary shipyard or support facility work.
"Lincoln's RCOH will be a large and complex project," said Jim Hughes,Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's vice president of aircraft carrier overhaul and carrier fleet support. "Advance planning for a project of this size is critically important to the success of the overall effort. A group of experienced shipbuilders will partner with the Navy using lessons learned from the four previous RCOHs accomplished at our Newport News shipyard to ensure the successful completion of this project from the planning stages to redelivery of the ship."
Christened in 1988 and delivered to the Navy in 1989, USS Abraham Lincoln is the fifth Nimitz-class carrier built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, the nation's sole designer, builder and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. It will also be the fifth ship of the class to undergo this major life-cycle milestone. More than 1,000 employees will support the planning effort.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.
DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated March 17, 2010Source: U.S. DoD issued March 17, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - March 18, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued March17,2010 are undermentioned;
DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY~Cardinal Health, Inc., Dublin, Ohio, is being awarded a maximum $206,434,187 requirements-type, prime vendor contract for distribution of pharmaceutical items. Other locations of performance are North Carolina and California. Using service is the Department of Defense. The original proposal was solicited on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with four responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is a 20-month base with two 20-month option periods. The date of performance completion is Feb. 28, 2012. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM2DX-10-D-0027).
~Cardinal Health, Inc., Dublin, Ohio, is being awarded a maximum $150,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity, prime vendor contract for pharmaceutical items for the U.S. Naval fleet, USNS Mercy, and USNS Comfort. Other locations of performance are Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Washington, New Jersey and California. Using service is the Department of Defense. The original proposal was solicited on the Federal Business Opportunities Web 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, 2012. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM2DX-10-D-0001).
~Coastal Pacific Food Distributors*, Stockton, Calif., is being awarded a maximum $18,000,000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, sole-source contract for full-line food distribution. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. 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 Sept. 13, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DESP), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM300-09-D-3280).
~World Fuel Services, Inc., dba World Fuel Services of FL, Miami, Fla., is being awarded a maximum $9,606,443 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other locations of performance are in Hawaii. Using services are Army, Navy and Air Force. There were originally two proposals solicited with two responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2014. The Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0040).
~Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., is being awarded a maximum $7,157,519 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for transfer transmission. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 12, 2015. The Defense Logistics Agency -Warren (DSCC-ZG), Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (SPRDL1-10-D-0020).
~DMS Pharmaceutical Group, Inc.*, Park Ridge, Ill., is being awarded a maximum $2,245,907 requirements-type, prime vendor contract for distribution of pharmaceutical items. Using service is Department of Defense. The original proposal was solicited on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is a 20-month base with two 20-month option periods. The date of performance completion is Feb. 28, 2012. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM2DX-10-D-0130).
NAVY ~Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc., Newport News, Va., is being awarded an $80,886,408 cost-plus-fixed-fee, level-of-effort contract for fiscal 2010 advance planning to prepare and make ready for the refueling complex overhaul of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and its reactor plants. This effort will provide for all advanced planning, ship checks, design, documentation, engineering, procurement, fabrication, and preliminary shipyard or support facility work. The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $678,568,820. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be complete by February 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-2110).
~BAE Systems Land & Armaments, LP, Santa Clara, Calif., is being awarded $74,090,258 for firm-fixed-priced delivery order #0006 under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5026) for the purchase of Marine Corps transparent armor gun system kits, battery powered motorized traversing unit - manual traversing unit kits, and turret assemblies. Work will be performed in Santa Clara, Calif., and is expected to be completed by September 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $4,740,748 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.
~Lockheed Martin Corp., Maritime Systems and Sensors, Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $26,604,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-04-C-6207) to exercise a cost-plus-incentive fee/award-fee option for engineering and technical services for the acoustic system improvement and integration in support of the commercial-off-the-shelf Acoustic Rapid Insertion System (A-RCI) program. Work will be performed in Manassas, Va., and is expected to be completed by June 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $1,759,160 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.
~DCS Corp.*, Alexandria, Va., is being awarded an $11,499,976 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N68936-05-D-0002) to provide weapons and systems integration support services to the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division’s integrated product teams and weapons support facilities, and their associated weapons. The estimated level of effort for this modification is 176,017 man-hours. Work will be performed in China Lake, Calif. (90 percent), and Pt. Mugu, Calif. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in August 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity.
~Oasys Technology, LLC*, Manchester, N.H., is being awarded a $10,726,660 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for hand-held thermal binoculars. The thermal binoculars are used for detection, targeting, and surveillance in low visibility environments. Multiple lenses are available for use to modify the field of view for broader or more focused detection as required. The thermal binocular systems will allow the operators to fulfill their mission more quickly, efficiently, and safely. The thermal binoculars are thermal imaging devices that can be used as either a hand-held detector or a mounted detector. Work will be performed in Manchester, N.H., and is expected to be completed by March 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site, with one offer received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-10-D-JQ65).
ARMY~Atlantic Diving Supply, Inc., Virginia Beach, Va., was awarded on March 12, 2010, a $45,576,936 firm-fixed-price contract for the delivery order to purchase Generation III extreme cold weather clothing system kits. Work is to be performed in Newark, N.J. (24 percent); Mayagüez, Puerto Rico (24 percent); Lansing, Mich. (18 percent); Fall River, Mass. (10 percent); Tullahoma, Tenn. (10 percent); Virginia Beach, Va. (5 percent); Post Falls, Idaho (5 percent); North Conway, N.H. (2 percent); and Mukilteo, Wash. (2 percent), with an estimated completion date of Dec. 20, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. U.S. Army RDECOM Contracting Center, Natick Contracting Division, Natick, Mass., is the contracting activity (W911QY-07-D-0003).
~General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on March 12, 2010, a $37,380,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the modification P00142, exercising an option for systems technical support for the ABRAMS tank program. Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 19, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM-Warren, AMSCC-TAC-AHLC, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-C-0046).
~AC First, Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded on March 12, 2010, a $25,688,609 firm-fixed-price contract for the Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program telecommunications systems program management, information technology planning, logistics, and field support service, in support of Project Manager Network Service Center, Project Director Defense Communication Systems-Southwest Asia. This requirement was competed amongst the unrestricted suite of contractors covered under Task Area 12, within the Field & Installation Readiness Support Team multiple-award indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity. Work is to be performed throughout various locations worldwide with focus on Southwest Asia - primarily Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Iraq - with an estimated completion date of March 14, 2011. Fifteen bids were solicited with one bid received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W911SE-07-D-0004).
~Elite CNC Machining, Largo, Fla., was awarded on March 12, 2010, a $20,038,550 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 1,628,827 M918 projectile assemblies in support of the M918 target practice cartridge. Work is to be performed in Largo, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2013. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with two bids received. Army Contracting Command, CCRC-AL, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-09-C-0044).
~Laser Devices, Inc., Monterey, Calif., was awarded on Mar. 10, 2010 a $6,940,000 firm-fixed-price contract for a sustainment order 10,000 PEQ-15A multi-functional aiming lights for the U.S. project manager soldier sensors and lasers. Delivery of all units will be completed by January 2011. Work is to be performed in Monterey, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited by limited sources justification with one bid received. U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-05-D-0029).
MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY
~Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Systems of Woburn, Mass., is being awarded a sole-source modification for $17,421,524 under contract HQ0006-03-C-0047. The modification includes both fixed-price and cost-plus-award-fee line items. Under this contract modification, Raytheon will continue concurrent test, training, and operations support unit integration (Phase II) for AN/TYP-2 X-Band radar. The work will be performed in Woburn, Mass. The performance period is through November 2010. Fiscal year 2010 research, development, test and evaluation funds will be utilized for this effort. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity (HQ0006).
~Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., of Canoga Park, Calif., is being awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee change order modification for $14,222,473 under its contract, HQ0006-08-C-0044. Under this contract modification, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will complete risk reduction efforts to demonstrate the technology and improve the technology and manufacturing readiness of the components needed in a high performance interceptor liquid fuel upper stage system. The work will be performed in Canoga Park, Calif. This performance period ends in March 2011. The amount obligated on this action is $12,300,000 using fiscal year 2009 research, development, test and evaluation funds. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity.
AIR FORCE~United Launch Services, Littleton, Colo., was awarded a $15,065,010 contract which will provide for the acquisition of launch vehicle propellants and gaseous commodities for Air Force space missions. At this time, $15,065,101 has been obligated. SMC/LRSW, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8816-06-C-0002, P00194).
~Aleut Facilities Support Services, LLC, Aurora, Colo., was awarded a $6,876,579 contract which will exercise the fourth option year, to provide non-personal services for customer support; infrastructure and facility maintenance; physical plant operation; and environmental and property management for Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colorado. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 21 CONS/LGCAB, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is the contracting activity (FA25174-06-C-5005, P00027).
DTN News: Boeing Receives Authorised Engineering Organisation Certification For Australian Super HornetsSource: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) AMBERLEY, Queensland,- March 17, 2010: Boeing Defence Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA], has received accreditation from the Commonwealth of Australia as an Authorised Engineering Organisation (AEO) for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet Weapon System.Boeing Defence Australia now is authorized to provide engineering services to support the RAAF’s 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft through a combination of local engineering services and U.S. capabilities based in St. Louis.
RAAF Wing Cmdr. Jason Murray, chief engineer of the Tactical Fighter System Program Office, presented the AEO certification to Murray Brabook, Boeing Defence Australia director of Platform Maintenance, on March 2.
“AEO certification is a significant achievement, as it acknowledges Boeing Defence Australia’s compliance with the RAAF Technical Airworthiness Regulatory framework and will enable the company to provide critical engineering services to the Australian Defence Force,” Murray said.
“Becoming an AEO is an important component of Boeing Defence Australia’s Super Hornet support capabilities, and is the result of excellent teamwork and collaboration between Boeing and the Commonwealth,” Brabrook said.
Subcontracted to Boeing under the Commonwealth’s Super Hornet Sustainment Contract, Boeing Defence Australia will deliver sustainment operations at its facilities at RAAF Base Amberley.
Australia became the first international Super Hornet customer in 2007 with an order for 24 aircraft. The first contingent will arrive in-country this month, and Boeing is on schedule to deliver the remaining fighters to the RAAF throughout 2010 and 2011.
Boeing Defence Australia also is an AEO for Australia’s F-111 Weapon System and F/A-18A/B Hornet Weapon System.
Boeing Defence Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company and a business unit of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, is a leading Australian aerospace enterprise. With a world-class team of nearly 2,000 employees at 13 locations throughout Australia and two international sites, Boeing Defence Australia supports some of the largest and most complex defense projects in Australia.
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: Boeing Announces New Names For Boeing 702 Satellite SeriesSource: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) EL SEGUNDO, Calif., - March 17, 2010: Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced today that it will begin marketing the Boeing 702 satellite under two names: the Boeing 702HP for the high-power version, and the Boeing 702MP for the medium-power version.
"In 2009, we announced a medium-power variation of the very successful Boeing 702 high-power satellite -- a variation that was the result of more than four years of research and development," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "This modified design -- originally called the Boeing 702B and now called the Boeing 702MP -- drew from the flight-proven technologies inherent in the Boeing 702 and added new capabilities that not only enabled us to re-enter the medium-sized satellite market, but also resulted in a more affordable and more technically adaptable design. Our approach was validated when Intelsat became the first customer for this satellite design with an order for four spacecraft in July 2009.
"Today's name change aims to rebrand the Boeing 702," Cooning added. "Since we introduced it more than a decade ago, the Boeing 702 has continuously evolved. The renaming reflects the evolution of the 702 family and its ability to accommodate a wide variety of customers from the commercial, civil, defense and intelligence communities."
The 702HP configuration carries a modern lithium-ion power system and other features designed to operate at power levels of greater than 12 kilowatts. This higher-power capability is required for satellite telephone systems and fixed satellite services. The 12-kilowatt-range 702MP is powered by a bipropellant system and can accommodate a wide range of payloads and hosted payloads for commercial, civil and government customers with lower power requirements.
The 702 systems will continue to accommodate both analog and digital payloads. Boeing is an industry leader in providing digital payloads, which give customers greater flexibility by allowing on-orbit reconfiguration of payloads to respond to changing business and mission needs.
"Boeing has sold 28 Boeing 702 satellites, and those in service have accumulated 867,000 hours of service life for both commercial and military customers," Cooning said. "The Boeing 702 -- high-power and medium-power -- has emerged as a powerhouse of capability, flexibility and reliability."
Boeing has kept the 702 satellite affordable in part by emphasizing commonality in electronics, supplier agreements, the design approach and the production process.
"Our legacy is built on technical excellence and product diversity," Cooning said. "But today's market demands higher affordability, broader technical options, and more creative design approaches. We've devised ways to eliminate some of the higher-cost items, such as deployable radiators, in order to improve our ability to compete. We've taken the necessary steps to update and streamline our satellite factory in order to contain costs and increase throughput, and we've regained the confidence of our many customers, both government and commercial. It's a new decade, and we're ready."
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: Benjamin Netanyahu And Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Best Of Enemies?Source: DTN News / Reuters
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - March 17, 2010: As adversaries go, Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are oddly well-suited.
The hardline Israeli prime minister and the fiery Iranian president seem to feed each other rhetorical ammunition to whip up fears that bolster them in domestic politics and beyond.
Between them, they are stubbornly testing the limits of U.S. power in the Middle East and undermining the "new beginning" in relations between America and Muslims that President Barack Obama proposed in an eloquent Cairo speech nine months ago.
Netanyahu contends that Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb to fulfill Ahmadinejad's declared wish for Israel's destruction. Confronting it, he argues, eclipses the importance of U.S.-led attempts to revive peacemaking with Palestinians and Arabs.
For Ahmadinejad, who says Iran's nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful, any breakdown of U.S. mediation backs up his doctrine that armed resistance, not negotiations, is the only way to regain Israeli-occupied land, especially Jerusalem.
His emotive calls for Muslims to defend the city, which is also holy to Jews and Christians, resonate across the Arab and Islamic worlds, as well as with many Palestinians.
So Israeli plans to build 1,600 more homes for Jews on West Bank land annexed to Jerusalem -- announced last week during a visit to Israel by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden -- enraged Ahmadinejad's audience of choice. They also brewed a diplomatic storm with Washington, whose minor success in nudging the Palestinians toward indirect peace talks may have vaporized.
Abbas indicated on Wednesday that there would be no "proximity talks" unless Israel froze all settlement building.
Netanyahu offered regrets for what U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called "insulting" behavior, but did not scrap the plan. Instead he rejected any curbs on Jewish settlement in and around Jerusalem in a defiant parliament speech on Monday.
"Ahmadinejad is justifiably thrilled," wrote Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar in the liberal Haaretz newspaper. "Jerusalem is the preferred arena for Iran and its regional allies to clash with the United States and its Mideast allies."
Iran projects influence in the region partly by backing Islamist militant groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinian Hamas movement, which mock peace talks between Israel and Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
SPOILER OR HERO?
A U.S. failure to broker resumed peace negotiations of any sort would be a victory for Ahmadinejad, who casts himself as a resistance leader against U.S.-Israeli "hegemony" in the region.
And a flare-up over Jerusalem can only make it harder for Washington to canvas Arab support for tougher sanctions on Iran.
Obama sees Middle East peace talks as vital to broader U.S. interests, including efforts to combat al Qaeda; stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan; block any Iranian quest for nuclear arms; and reset U.S. relations with Arabs and Muslims across the world.
Renewed tension in the Middle East complicates Obama's bid to tamp down conflict there, while he grapples with a host of other challenges jostling for his attention at home and abroad.
"I don't think the president has the time or energy for this now. He has a whole economy to save," said Lebanese political analyst Osama Safa, adding that Washington wanted to buy time on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so it could focus on Iran.
"They are trying to muster an international consensus and impose sanctions, which are bound to get a violent reaction from the Iranians. So if you can keep the peace process at least cruising on auto pilot, even though not achieving anything, you are at least quietening that front," Safa argued.
But a row over Jerusalem that fuels the wider confrontation between Iran and Israel may suit Netanyahu and Ahmadinejad.
It may help the Israeli leader keep his rightwing coalition afloat and boost his appeal to Israelis who fear Iran -- though many would be alarmed if his policies damage ties with America.
Ahmadinejad uses the threat of an Israeli or U.S. military strike on Iran's nuclear sites to rally nationalist sentiment and brush aside opposition challenges to his legitimacy.
Obama's predicament, meanwhile, becomes ever more acute as he seeks to avoid war with Iran and salvage some momentum toward settling the Middle East conflict, with Jerusalem at its heart.
He has seen his offers of dialogue and nuclear deals rebuffed by Ahmadinejad, prompting the United States to seek harsher sanctions, if only to dissuade Israel from attacking Iran, an act that would risk igniting a regional conflagration.
Netanyahu has also proved unbending. His stonewalling of Obama's demand last year that Israel halt all settlement building, in the interests of peace, only confirmed for many Arabs that the United States would not stand up to Israel.
Now, America's credibility and its own interests are again at stake in its handling of a conflict that stirs emotions and sways governments far beyond the Holy Land.
"Clearly the tensions, the issues and so forth have an enormous effect," U.S. General David Petraeus, whose Central Command area includes Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and much of the Arab world, said of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle on Tuesday.
"They set the strategic context within which we operate in the Central Command area of responsibility."
(Editing by Dominic Evans)
DTN News: Belarus To Build Air Defense For Venezuela In Oil Trade
Source: DTN News / PressTV
(NSI News Source Info) CARACAS, Venezuela / MINSK, Belarus - March 17, 2010: The President of Belarus promises to assist Venezuela build a national air defense system as Caracas agrees to supply crude oil to Belarusian refineries. "We can do this in a very short period of time," Alexander Lukashenko said following talks with his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez.
Lukashenko added that with the new technology Venezuela will be able to live "peacefully" without worries about enemy conspiracies.
He made the offer during a two-day visit to Caracas aimed at solidifying industrial, commercial and diplomatic cooperation between the two nations.
Relations between Minsk and Caracas have strengthened dramatically in recent years.
Belarus and Venezuela trade about 1 million tons of crude a year (20,000 barrels a day), but beginning next May, the oil-rich South American nation will start exporting 80,000 barrel of oil a day to oil-thirsty Belarus.
DTN News: Boeing Sees Modest Growth In Space Over Five YearsSource: DTN News / Reuters
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - March 17, 2010: Boeing Co (BA - News) said on Tuesday it expects only modest growth in its space revenues over the next five years with commercial orders seen accounting for a growing share as government orders decline.
Government orders comprised about 90 percent of Boeing's space business now, but would shrink to around 70 percent as defense spending flattened out, Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing's space and intelligence systems, told reporters at the Satellite 2010 conference.
He said commercial sales would increase from 10 percent to around 30 percent of the total, bolstered by the need for many satellite operators around the world to replace aging spacecraft in coming years.
On the government side, Cooning said Boeing hoped to sell more of its Wideband Global Satellites (WGS) in coming years, noting that the Air Force had issued a request for proposals for up to six more WGS satellites and two were already included in the fiscal 2011 budget.
The company also saw some "opportunities" in the classified sector, he said, without giving any further details.
Overall, he said, Boeing would have 10 satellites available for launch this year, including two delayed from last year.
Stephen O'Neill, president of Boeing Satellite Systems International, told conference participants later that his company foresaw few if any new starts for either military or civilian government agencies.
Satellite orders had likely peaked around the world last year, but would likely stabilize at 20 or fewer longer-term, and the days of "Battlestar Galactica government programs" were likely over, O'Neill said.
O'Neill forecast greater government interest in so-called "hosted payloads" or sending specific sensors into space on other satellites. That would help the Pentagon meet its needs at a cost of just tens of millions of dollars versus hundreds of millions for new dedicated satellites.
Companies like Boeing were trying to innovate by responding to the military's changing needs and a shift in focus on more single-mission, single-customer satellites than the complex multimission spacecraft shared by multiple agencies that had sene problems in the past, he said.
He said industry was also doing its part to prevent the constant adding of new requirements by the military that had led to cost overruns and schedule delays in the past.
Cooning said Boeing was confident that it could "harvest" some of the capabilities developed for the now-canceled $26 billion secure, high-capacity Transformational Satellite program, and add them to the WGS satellite.
These included enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, mobile communications and anti-jamming, Cooning said. He said costs ballooned on the TSAT program due to the military's requirement that the spacecraft and systems could continue to function after a possible nuclear explosion.
The Pentagon spent about $3 billion on various technology demonstration projects for the TSAT program with Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT - News), and officials have said they expect to use technologies developed for that program on existing satellites, including Boeing's WGS and Lockheed's Advanced Extremely High Frequency program.
Boeing also expected the Air Force to issue a draft request for proposals for a follow-on Space-Based Surveillance Satellite (SBSS) as early as April, Boeing officials said.
Cooning said Boeing offered the Air Force a fixed-price contract for a second SBSS satellite at a significant savings of more than 10 percent. The first satellite cost around $800 million, including nonrecurring development costs, he said.
Such a deal would have allowed Boeing to maintain its production facility and personnel, saving money and allowing faster work on the second satellite, Cooning said, but the Air Force decided it needed to stage an open competition.
Boeing also stands to benefit from NASA's new drive to commercialize space transportation through its own work and a rocket launch joint-venture with Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT - News).
DTN News: Cubic Receives $30 Million Contract To Supply Small Arms Trainers To Saudi Arabian National GuardSource: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) SAN DIEGO, CA - March 17, 2010: A defense unit of Cubic Corporation (NYSE:CUB - News) has been awarded a contract worth more than $30 million to supply small arms training systems to Saudi Arabia.
Cubic will provide its EST 2000 Engagement Skills Trainer to the Saudi Arabian National Guard under a contract from the U.S. Army's Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI). The contract is Cubic's largest ever involving a foreign customer for the EST 2000 small arms trainer.
Manufactured by Cubic's Simulation Systems Division in Orlando, EST 2000 uses digital video projectors, high-definition screens, game-based computer graphics, and ballistically accurate simulated weapons to create lifelike virtual combat scenarios. The systems are used for teaching and maintaining marksmanship skills, team and squad training, and for "shoot/don't shoot" simulations for soldiers and security teams.
The Saudi Arabian National Guard will use an enhanced version of EST 2000, incorporating a new graphics engine that produces graphics that are detailed and realistic. The SANG systems will also operate in English or Arabic as selected at startup.
"Cubic is honored that the Saudi Arabian National Guard has chosen the EST 2000 as its small arms training system," said John Naff, Vice President of Business Development for Cubic Defense Applications. "The systems will be deployed across the Eastern, Central and Western Provinces, for training members of the National Guard."
Cubic is teamed with a local company to provide the building infrastructure to accommodate the EST 2000 systems, as well as 12 months of maintenance support.
Cubic has fielded more than 1,000 EST 2000 systems to the U.S. military and to customers around the world.
Cubic Simulation Systems, Inc. is part of the Defense Systems business of Cubic Corporation. Cubic Corporation is the parent company of three major business segments: Defense Systems, Mission Support Services and Transportation Systems. Cubic Defense Systems is a leading provider of realistic combat training systems and defense electronics. Mission Support Services is a leading provider of training, operations, maintenance, technical and other support services. Cubic Transportation Systems is the world's leading provider of automated fare collection systems and services for public transit authorities. For more information about Cubic, see the company's Web site athttp://www.cubic.com/.