Sunday, May 16, 2010
DTN News: U.S. To Transfer Perry-Class Frigates To Pakistan Navy
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - May 17, 2010: Pakistan has signed a $65 million deal with the United States for the "hot transfer" of refurbished American frigate USS McInerney by August 31. The contract for the "hot transfer" of the USS McInerney, a Perry-class guided missile frigate, was signed by senior officials of the two countries. Under the agreement, the Pakistan Navy will take over the vessel on August 31.
The sale of the frigate, which would be inducted into the Pakistan Navy as PNS Alamgir at a ceremony in the US, was approved by the United States Congress in September 2008. Commissioned in 1979, the frigate would be handed over after a refurbishment that includes anti-submarine capability that has been paid for with the foreign military aid provided by the United States to friendly countries.
On completion of the refurbishment in January next year, the vessel will sail to Pakistan to join the country's naval fleet. Pakistani officials described the deal to acquire the warship a major "milestone" towards further strengthening the wide-ranging Pakistan-US relationship.
"The successful completion of this contract will pave the way for acquisition of more vessels of the same class for the Pakistan Navy to raise a squadron of eight Perry-class frigates," a spokesman for the Pakistani embassy said.
"This will greatly enhance the operational readiness of the Pakistan Navy," he added. In the last couple of years USS McInerney has been mainly involved in successful counter-drug operations. Pakistan plans to raise a squadron of eight Perry Class Frigates.
The frigate is being transferred under the Foreign Assistance ACT and the Arms Export Control Act in which Pakistan is considered a major non-NATO ally and is able to receive older unneeded US military equipment.
DTN News: Romania Indecisive On F-16, Eyeing New Fighter Jets
(NSI News Source Info) BUCHAREST, Romania - May 17, 2010: Wooing Romania's lawmakers, Eurofighter pledged that more than 5,000 skilled jobs could be created in the country if Bucharest shelved plans to buy Lockheed Martin's F-16 fighter jets, opting instead for the Eurofighter Typhoon. The proposal was sounded by Maurizio De Mitri, a senior vice president at Alenia Aeronautica, the unit of Italy's Finmeccanica group, which is a member of the Eurofighter consortium. His proposal comes about two weeks after Romania approved a deal to buy 48 F-16 combat aircraft for $4.5 billion. Under the deal, half of the batch would include F-16C Block 50 planes with the rest include used models reconditioned to F-16C Block 25 standards. The upgraded F-35 model initially considered by Romanian military officials was scrapped because of budgetary constraints that would have strained the country's economy by an additional $4 billion. De Mitri outlined plans to sell Romania 24 Tranche 1 Typhoons, some of which have been flown by the Italian air force for the last seven years. Defense News reported that the Eurofighter price, including logistical support and training, would be $1.3 billion. That would match the purchase price for the half of the Lockheed Martin F-16s that have been ordered. Romania's Supreme Defense Council approved the F-16 deal in March but this week the Senate Defense Commission called in representatives of Eurofighter and rival Saab "to hear," as it said, competing options. Sweden's Saab has already pitched its flagship Gripen fighter. Officials said in April that they could sell Romania 24 new Gripen for roughly the same price pitched by Lockheed Martin for its F-16s. The deal would also include training, logistics support, 100 percent offset and easy payment terms. Eurofighter's de Mitri this week matched that bid, arguing that the 100 percent offset deal, as well as technology transfer and local industrial participation, could generate 5,000 jobs locally. "Romanian industry could be involved in a logistical support program similar to that seen in other Eurofighter partner nations, which is leading to record performances for the aircraft," a Eurofighter spokesman told Defense News. "Our price also includes logistical support and training and we are also offering long-term repayment," de Mitri added. It is understood that Romania could take delivery of the Eurofighters by as early as the end of 2011. A final decision rests with the Romanian parliament. But Bucharest is not the only government seeking to save money on F-16 deals. Five years ago, Chile bought 10 new F-16s from the United States for an estimated $50 million each. It also purchased 18 used F-16s from the Netherlands for one-fifth of the price for each plane.
DTN News: Chinese Navy Obtains Illegal Aircraft
Source: Startegy Page
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 17, 2010: Satellite photos recently revealed that the Chinese Navy has received J-11 jet fighters. These are illegal Chinese copies of the Russian Su-27. This plagiarism has been a source of friction between Russia and China for over five years. It all began, legally, in 1995, when China paid $2.5 billion for the right to build 200 Su-27s. Russia would supply engines and electronics, with China building the other components according to Russian plans and specifications. But after 95 of the Chinese built aircraft were built, Russia cancelled the agreement. They claimed that China was using the knowledge acquired with this Su-27 program, to build their own copy of the Su-27, the J-11. Russia kept the piracy issue quiet, and warned the Chinese that simply copying Russian technology would produce an inferior aircraft. Apparently the Chinese did not agree, and are continuing their work on the J-11, using only, what they claim is, Chinese technology. The J-11 is believed to now include better electronics and some other Chinese design modifications. China can manufacture most of the components of the J-11, the one major element it must import are the engines. China believes it will be free from dependence on Russia for military jet engines within the next 5-10 years. Currently, China imports two Russian engines, the $3.5 million AL-31 (for the Su-27/30, J-11, J-10) and the $2.5 million RD-93 (a version of the MiG-29s RD-33) for the JF-17 (a F-16 type aircraft developed in cooperation with Pakistan.) Meanwhile, Chinese engineers have managed to master most of the manufacturing techniques needed to make a Chinese copy of the Russian AL31F engine. This Chinese copy, the WS10A, was part of a program that has also developed the WS-13, to replace the RD-93. China has long copied foreign technology, not always successfully. But in the last decade, China has poured much money into developing a jet engine manufacturing capability. The Chinese encountered many of the same problems as the Russians did when developing their own engine design and construction skills. But China has several advantages. First, they know of the mistakes the Russians had made, and so were able to avoid many of them. Then there was the fact that China had better access to Western manufacturing technology (both legally and illegally). Finally, China was, unlike the Soviets, able to develop their engine manufacturing capabilities in a market economy. This was much more efficient than the command economy that the Soviets were saddled with for seven decades. The navy already has a regiment of 24 Su-30s (an advanced version of the Su-27), so they have experience with this type . The J-11s will apparently join the Su-30s in defending Chinese naval bases. The navy's offensive airpower comes in the form of J-8s (a two engine version of the MiG-21, which is no good as a fighter, but proved adequate as a bomber) and even older copies of Russian bombers. The J-11 can also be equipped with anti-ship missiles, and may eventually replace the J-8 and other missile carrying naval aircraft. The J-8 is an 18 ton, two engine, variant of the MiG-21. This was China's first attempt at building their own aircraft design. But it was not a very original or successful effort. The J-8 first flew in 1969, and didn't get into service until 1980. It was quickly realized that this was a turkey. Fewer than 400 were built. The F-8 carries about three tons of bombs, and is not very maneuverable. China decided to make the most of it, and used the J-8 as a reconnaissance and electronic warfare aircraft. Thus the navy adopted it as well. It was a J-8 that collided with an American EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft off the coast in 2001. The J-8, which made the mistake of maneuvering too close to the much slower (propeller driven) EP-3, and crashed. The EP-3 survived and made an emergency landing in China, kicking off months of diplomatic tension. The J-11 is a continuation of the J-8 effort, but using more modern technology, and three decades of experience building warplanes. Russian concerns about Chinese inexperience are unfounded. The Chinese have a track record in this area, and the J-11 is apparently the best locally manufactured combat aircraft they have yet produced. With the growing Chinese skill in building jet engines, China has entered the big leagues of warplane manufacturing.
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DTN News: Thailand TODAY May 17, 2010 ~ What's Happening In Turbulent Thailand? Source: DTN News compiled by Roger Smith, info & partial article from Reuters (NSI News Source Info) BANGKOK, Thailand - May 17, 2010: Thai anti-government protesters have ignored an ultimatum by the government to pack up and leave their Bangkok encampment, dashing hopes of a swift end to a violent and debilitating standoff. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has withdrawn his offer of a November 14 election and says he will offer no more olive branches to the red-shirted demonstrators after their refusal to budge from their protest site in an upmarket shopping and hotel district.
GETTY IMAGES 5 HOURS AGO
Abhisit and his army-backed government now have few remaining options for how to settle the latest crisis, which has battered tourism and sent consumer confidence to a nine-month low. WHY HAS THE DEAL COLLAPSED? The red shirts agreed to Abhisit's five-point reconciliation plan and the November 14th poll date, but insist the premier and his deputy, Suthep Thaugsuban, be prosecuted for ordering troops to break up a rally at their previous protest site at the Phan Fah bridge on April 10, a botched effort that left 25 dead and more than 800 wounded. Suthep reported to law enforcement authorities on Tuesday to hear complaints from the victims of the dead, but the red shirts said that was not enough. They have demanded his arrest, and that of Abhisit when parliament takes a recess on May 21, and he no longer has parliamentary immunity. Abhisit said the deal was non-negotiable and ordered the red shirts to leave. They have refused and his government says it will scrap the polls -- which were due to take place more than a year early -- but proceed with the reconciliation plan without the red shirts on board. WHAT OPTIONS DOES ABHIST HAVE LEFT? Not many. Since the red shirts are refusing to leave and the government says the peace deal is now off, Abhisit can either wait for the rally to fizzle out -- which could take months and inflict huge damage on the economy -- or use the army to forcibly evict the demonstrators from the ritzy Rachaprasong intersection. The latter is an option the military, perhaps Abhisit also, seems unwilling to take. A crackdown at a heavily fortified and well-guarded site could turn out to be another bloodbath, with heavy casualties on both sides. It would no doubt be a chaotic battle that security forces have no guarantee of winning Abhisit has repeatedly said the government has the authority to "take necessary action" against the protesters but his threats have so far been hollow. The red shirts know that and are probably calling his bluff. WILL THIS DAMAGE ABHISIT'S CREDIBILITY? It looks likely. His reconciliation proposal won him plaudits from almost all parties and saw his opinions ratings soar, with the Oxford-educated economist painted as a peacemaker keen to heal rifts, protect the monarchy and avert a civil war. But nine days later, he is back on the rocks. Even if Abhisit orders a crackdown, it cannot be guaranteed the police will cooperate and doubts remain as to whether the aloof and soon-to-retire army chief Anupong Paochinda will agree to it given his stand that the standoff can only be settled politically. Tuesday's embarrassing U-turn on plans to cut off power and water supplies and cellphone signals around the protest site to force the red shirts out further dented Abhisit's reputation and he will likely face pressure to either act decisively and follow through with his ultimatums, or step down. HOW WILL THE LATEST TWIST IMPACT MARKETS AND THE ECONOMY? Foreign investors have turned negative since violence flared in April and have sold 17.4 billion baht ($539 million) in Thai shares over the past five sessions, cutting their net buying so far this year to 21 billion baht as of Tuesday. Tensions and uncertainty have now increased and selling is likely to continue. Thailand's finance minister on Tuesday said the crisis could trim 0.3 percentage point off Thailand's targeted annual growth rate this year of 4.5 to 5 percent. Consumer confidence fell in February and March, after hitting a 21-month high in January, due to political turmoil, sinking to its lowest since July 2009, with sentiment eroded by political unrest and the possibility of a crackdown.*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
DTN News: Two North Korean Naval Boats Intrusions Into South
(NSI News Source Info) SEOUL, South Korea - May 16, 2010: TWO North Korean naval boats briefly crossed the tense western sea border with South Korea in the first such violation since a South Korean warship sank in the area following a mysterious explosion in March, the South's military said Sunday. A North Korean patrol boat sailed about 1.6 miles (2.8 kilometres) into the South-controlled waters on Saturday night but quickly retreated after a South Korean broadcast warning, according to Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff. In less than an hour, another North Korean patrol boat intruded across the border but returned to its waters after another warning broadcast and two shots from the South Korean vessel, a Joint Chiefs of Staff officer said on condition of anonymity citing department policy. There were no injuries reported, he added. The Korean maritime border is not clearly marked, and violations by North Korean military and fishing boats are not unusual. But Saturday's incursion marks the North's first border violation since the 1,200-ton South Korean warship went down near the area on March 26, killing 46 South Korean sailors. Seoul has not directly blamed North Korea for the sinking, and Pyongyang has denied involvement, but suspicion has focused on the North given its history of attacks. The two Koreas remain technically locked in a state of war because their three-year conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, in 1953. Their navies fought three bloody sea battles near the disputed sea border since 1999. South Korea has said it will take stern action against anyone responsible for the sinking - one of its worst maritime disasters. The government was to announce the results of its investigation in the coming week. On Sunday, Yonhap news agency reported that South Korean investigators have obtained unspecified evidence showing North Korea's involvement in the sinking. Yonhap citing an unidentified government source as saying South Korea's military was considering issuing an anti-North Korea statement after the investigation outcome is announced. South Korea's Defence Ministry and Joint Chiefs of Staff said they could not confirm the report because the investigation was still under way.
DTN News: Iran TODAY May 16, 2010 ~ Iran Discusses Nuclear Fuel Swap
(NSI News Source Info) TEHERAN, Iran - May 16, 2010: IRAN said on Saturday it was willing to discuss a venue to swap uranium that needs to be enriched for a nuclear research reactor if it obtains 'concrete guarantees,' Al-Alam television reported. The Arabic-language channel quoted foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying that Teheran struck a deal on the amount of uranium to be exchanged and the modality of the swap - simultaneously or in batches. 'There is an agreement on the time and the volume of the fuel to be exchanged,' Mehmanparast said according to Al-Alam, without elaborating on the deal or with whom it was reached. 'But there is still the venue (to be decided) and if there are concrete guarantees, Iran is willing to discuss the location,' he added. The remarks came as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was due to arrive in Teheran for a nuclear summit that major powers have said might prove to be Iran's last chance to avoid tough new UN sanctions. Lula, who is expected to land at midnight (1930 GMT or 3.30am Sunday S'pore time), told reporters in Moscow on Friday he was 'optimistic' and hoped to be able to persuade Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to reach an agreement with the West. The International Atomic Energy Agency proposed in October a plan whereby Iran would hand over its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Russia for enrichment to the required level of 20 per cent. The material would then be processed by France into the necessary fuel rods for the Teheran reactor, which makes radioisotopes for medical purposes such as the treatment of cancer. Citing a 'lack of confidence,' Teheran rejected the proposal and offered an exchange of fuel simultaneously and in smaller quantities within the borders of country, but the West rejected its counter-offer.
DTN News: Canadian Fighter Jets Scrambled After Bomb Threat On Cathay Pacific Plane Source: DTN News / Defense News
(NSI News Source Info) VANCOUVER, Canada - May 15, 2010: Canadian fighter jets were scrambled to escort a Cathay Pacific airplane en route from Hong Kong to a safe landing at Vancouver International Airport on Saturday after a bomb threat on board the aircraft. Police searched the aircraft and luggage after the flight landed at Vancouver International Airport, but found no suggestion of explosives, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They would not release details of the threat but Canadian media reported that it was made by phone. Television images showed the plane on an isolated stretch of tarmac where it was towed after landing, before passengers were allowed to disembark. No arrests have been made. Two Canadian CF-18 Hornets were scrambled from a military base on nearby Vancouver Island to escort Cathay Pacific flight CX838 in response to the threat, and flew alongside it until it landed around 1:40 p.m. local time (2040 GMT).
A Cathay Pacific passenger plane sits on the tarmac at the Vancouver International Airport on Saturday, May 15, 2010. Two Canadian fighter jets escorted a Cathay Pacific passenger plane to Vancouver International Airport after a bomb threat Saturday, authorities say.
“As a precaution, NORAD fighters escorted the aircraft until it landed safely in Vancouver,” said North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Major Holly Apostoliuk. A passenger told Canada’s CTV News after disembarking the flight. “They told us there was some sort of terrorist problem and the baggage would be held up.” When asked if he was aware that the flight had been escorted by military jets into Vancouver, another passenger said: “No, no idea. That’s news to me.”