(NSI News Source Info) BENGALURU, India - May 20, 2010: The official first flight of India’s Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is set for May 23. Designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the light chopper had its unofficial first flight on March 29. Since then, HAL’s Helicopter Complex has test flown the chopper as many as 20 times to check various flight parameters. The LCH is based on the Dhruv platform and features a glass cockpit. HAL Chairman Ashok Nayak told AVIATION WEEK that the “designers, engineers and pilots are extremely happy with the performance so far. We are confident of flying the second prototype of LCH in August or September this year.” Several other aircraft will precede the LCH during the event. According to insiders, the Intermediate Jet Trainer Sitara from the limited series production (LSP) block will be first to fly, followed by the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas LSP-3. “Then the Hawk [trainer] built from the raw material phase at HAL will grace the skies followed by an upgraded Dornier with glass cockpit,” an official coordinating the show says. “The first Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv from the 159 order block [105 Army, 54 IAF] will be next in line, and finally the baby of the moment, LCH, will enter.” The Indian air force’s aerobatic helicopter display team Sarang (formed by Dhruv helicopters) has been summoned from Sulur air base to escort LCH in formation. The LCH will be piloted by Wing Cmdr. (ret.) Unni Pillai, HAL’s chief rotary wing test pilot, with Group Capt. (ret.) Hari Nair as co-pilot. Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony is leading a group of top officials who will observe the first flight at HAL’s military air base here in Bengaluru. “The Su-30 MKI was to perform some aerobatics as per the initial plan, then the idea was dropped owing to air safety concerns considering the thick population in and around HAL airport,” a source says. “Now it will be on a static display only.” The LCH team is expected to perform some limited maneuvers during the flight.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
DTN News: Indian Light Combat Helicopter LCH Eyes First Official Flight
DTN News: US Delivers New Helicopters To Pakistan
(NSI News Source Info) RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - May 20, 2010: The US delivered two helicopters to Pakistan Tuesday to help the Pakistan Army in its counter-insurgency efforts, the US embassy said. US Army officer Brig. Gen. Michael Nagata handed over two Bell 412 EP helicopters to Brig. Gen. Tippu Karim, commander of Pakistan’s 101 Army Aviation, at a ceremony at Qasim Army Air Base near here, Xinhua quoted an embassy spokesman as saying. The US recently purchased the two enhanced-performance utility helicopters, valued at $24 million, to assist Pakistan anti-insurgency operations. It also provided $20 million in spare parts, tools and other equipment for the helicopters. “The purchase of the aircraft demonstrates the US’ full commitment to a stable, long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan, one based on shared interests and mutual respect that will continue to expand and deepen in future years,” Nagata was quoted as saying. During the last three years, US civilian and security assistance to Pakistan has totalled more than $4 billion, the spokesman said. The assistance includes medical aid, school refurbishment, bridge reconstruction, food distribution and agricultural and education projects. The US also provided Pakistan 14 F-16 fighter aircrafts, 10 Mi-17 helicopters, over 450 vehicles for paramilitary troops, night vision goggles, radio sets, protective vests and first-aid items, the spokesman said, adding that 370 Pakistan army officers have also been trained on leadership and development programmes including counter-terrorism, intelligence, logistics, medical, flight safety, and military law. Related News US to give Pakistan Army two transport choppers US hands over two Bell 412 EP helicopters to Pak for counterinsurgency efforts
DTN News: Indian Coast Guard To Procure 14 Choppers For Surveillance
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - May 20, 2010: In a bid to strengthen surveillance in the maritime zone, Coast Guard is planning to procure 14 twin-engine helicopters capable of operating from patrolling vessels. "We are planning to procure 14 shore-based helicopters for maritime surveillance and search and rescue operations," Coast Guard officials said here. The helicopters would be above medium-weight class and the twin engines on them would help in providing additional safety to the air crew while operating over the sea.
The global tender (request for Proposal) to procure the choppers was in the process of being formalised and will be released soon, they said. On the specifications of the choppers, officials said they should have a minimum range of 200 nautical miles and be capable of providing 360 degree surveillance, detection and reconnaissance. They should be able to carry out operations both day and night.
The Coast Guard is also planning to have data link capabilities in the choppers so that data can be exchanged between the different aerial assets in air and the shore and ship-based command centres. The choppers will also be equipped with light and medium machine guns, they said.
Coast guard, which has a fleet of Cheetah/Chetak and ALH Dhruv helicopters, is strengthening its rotary wing aerial surveillance capabilities after the Mumbai attacks and is in the process of acquiring several light and medium weight surveillance choppers.
Most of the new acquisitions are part of government’s efforts to strengthen the presence and capabilities of the Coast Guard in coastal areas and to prevent terrorists from using sea routes to attack cities. To strengthen the coastal security mechanism, several fast-track acquisitions worth thousands of crores of equipment such as fast attack crafts, patrolling vessels, Dornier surveillance aircraft and helicopters and coastal radars were sanctioned by the government.
DTN News: Lockheed Martin Wins Contract To Manage Tools To Help Nuclear Regulatory Commission Track Radioactive Material
DTN News: Lockheed Martin Wins Contract To Manage Tools To Help Nuclear Regulatory Commission Track Radioactive Material
*Corporation to Support NRC’s Integrated Source Management Portfolio
(NSI News Source Info) ROCKVILLE, Md., - May 20, 2010: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has awarded Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] a 10-year, $77.4 million contract to provide secure software tools to manage data on radioactive materials, including transactions involving radioactive materials, and the materials licensing process. Under the Integrated Source Management Portfolio (ISMP) Program, Lockheed Martin will provide the NRC Office of State and Federal Materials with a secure and effective set of automated tools to house and maintain information on licensees, nationally tracked sources possessed by licensees, and licensee transactions. The Portfolio consists of three systems, two that are in the planning stages the License Verification System (LVS) and the Web Based Licensing (WBL) System; and one system already in operation the National Source Tracking System (NSTS). Lockheed Martin will be responsible for development, deployment, hosting, user support and maintenance of this portfolio of systems. “The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has the vital responsibility of ensuring the safe and secure civilian use of radioactive materials,” said Frank Armijo, vice president of the Energy and Environment line of business in the Corporation’s Information Systems and Global Services business area. "Lockheed Martin is proud that our information technology systems and tools will help the NRC track nuclear materials and uses to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety, promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment." Lockheed Martin has supported the NRC’s mission since 2001 providing software maintenance and operations service for 95 legacy systems and helpdesk support in a certified facility. Lockheed Martin built, maintains and hosts NRC’s first high-level security system designed to track nuclear sources nationwide. In addition to supporting the NRC, Lockheed Martin is working with its customers to address the nation’s challenges in the areas of energy efficiency, management, next-generation alternative energy generation and environment and climate monitoring. The Corporation provides a full range of energy solutions to the government and regulated industry, including the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, state and regional energy organizations, utilities and businesses. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion. Media Contact:
Anna DiPaola Gemolas,
DTN News: Qatar Airways Takes Delivery of Boeing 777 Freighter
(NSI News Source Info) EVERETT, Wash.,- May 20, 2010: The first Boeing (NYSE: BA) 777 Freighter to enter Qatar Airways' fleet completed a 16-hour flight from Boeing's Everett, Wash., Delivery Center to Doha, Qatar, and has been placed into service. The airplane was delivered May 14. "The 777 Freighter will expand on the great track record that Qatar Airways' 777 passenger airplanes have established," said Marlin Dailey, vice president of Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The airplane's proven economics and efficiencies will provide Qatar, already a respected leader in the aviation industry, with a significant advantage in the air cargo market." Qatar Airways ordered three 777 Freighters in May 2006, for deployment on Far East and European routes. The 777 Freighter's entry into service has been very successful, with a dispatch reliability of 99.1 percent since entering service in February 2009. Qatar Airways' 777 Freighter is the 23rd delivery overall. The 777 Freighter is the world's longest-range twin-engine freighter and features the lowest trip cost of any large freighter. It features a payload capability of 225,200 pounds (102 metric tons), a range of 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 kilometers) and 10-foot (3.1-meter) interior height capability. The 777 Freighter is powered by General Electric's GE90-110B1L/115BL and meets QC2 noise standards. Twelve customers have ordered a total of 73 777 Freighters. Qatar Airways currently operates 17 passenger 777s. Contacts: Bob Saling
Boeing Commercial Airplane - Seattle
firstname.lastname@example.org Carrie Thearle
Boeing Commercial Airplanes – Everett
email@example.com Saffana Michael
+ 971 4 3210 077 (Ext: 1222)
DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated May 19, 2010 Source: U.S. DoD issued May 19, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - May 20, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued May 19, 2010 are undermentioned;<> CONTRACTS ARMY ~General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., Poway, Calif., was awarded on May 14 a $195,510,000 fixed-price-incentive-fee contract for the procurement of supplemental hardware, low-rate initial production in support of the Extended Range Multi-Purpose Unmanned Aircraft System and hardware in support of Communications-Electronic Research Development and Engineering Center. Work is to be performed in Poway, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, CCAM-AR-A., Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-10-C-0068). ~Lockheed Martin Corp., Missiles and Fire Control-Dallas, Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded on May, 13 a $91,258,623 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This contract is for replacing a purchase order for long-lead critical and French facilitization material, Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Full Rate Production V. Work is to be performed in Grand Prairie, Texas, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-10-C-0270). ~Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on May 12 a $71,728,245 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 1,847 rocket propelled grenades protection kits. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. TACOM, CCTA-ADCA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111). ~Caterpillar, Inc., Mossville, Ill., was awarded on May 12 a $34,006,324 firm-fixed-price contract for 160 motorized graders with Type A kits. Work is to be performed in Mossville, Ill., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2012. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with two bids received. TACOM-Warren, CCTA-ADE-C, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-D-0037). ~Conti Federal Services, Inc., South Plainfield, N.J., was awarded on May 14 a $26,467,572 firm-fixed-price contract for flood control and coastal emergency No. 96X3122, construction general. Work is to be performed in Plaquemines Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of July 28, 2011. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web with two bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hurricane Protection Office, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0077). ~R.C. Construction Co., Inc., Greenwood, Miss., was awarded on May 14 a $23,160,074 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of short take off vertical landing simulated carrier practice landing deck. Work is to be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and Duke Field, Fla., with an estimated completion date of July 15, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 11 bids received. U.S. Corps of Engineers Mobile Regional Contracting Center Mobile., Ala., is the contracting activity (W91278-10-C-0063). ~Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on May 12 a $21,514,590 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 554 rocket propelled grenades protection kits. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. TACOM, CCTA-ADCA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111). ~David Boland, Inc., Titusville, Fla., was awarded on May 13 a $19,472,000 firm-fixed-price contract for Lake Pontchartrain and vicinity, “Flood Wall Construction Hynes Blvd LPV 105.02,” Orleans Parish, La. Work is to be performed in Orleans Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of May 26, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities and Army Single Face to Industry Web sites with nine bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hurricane Protection Office, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0079). ~IAP Worldwide Services, Inc., Panama City, Fla., was awarded on May 13 a $17,776,078 firm-fixed-price contract. The purpose of this contract is to provide permanent reliable power in response to Forward Operating Base Dwyer’s critical situation. Work is to be performed in Forward Operating Base Dwyer, Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of May 1, 2011. Four bids were solicited with three bids received. U.S. Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W912BU-10-C-0020). ~Pocal Industries, Scranton, Pa., was awarded on May 12 a $16,062,628 firm-fixed-price contract. This procurement exercises remaining option quantities available for the M299, M702, and M752A1 mortar ignition cartridge. Work is to be performed in Scranton, Pa., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web with four bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52PJ-07-C-0028). ~The Sheridan Corp., Fairfield, Maine, was awarded on May 12 a $15,064,038 firm-fixed-price contract to replace the KC-135 maintenance hangar for the Maine Air National Guard located in Bangor Maine. Work is to be performed in Bangor, Maine, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 19, 2012. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web with eight bids received. National Guard Bureau, USPFO for Maine, Augusta, Maine, is the contracting activity (W912JD-10-C-0001). ~L7A Contracting Co., Hattiesburg, Miss., was awarded on May 13 a $15,998,648 firm-fixed-price contract for Lake Pontchartrain and vicinity, Citrus Lakefront Levee construction requirement for a levee reach. Work is to be performed in Orleans Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of July 21, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with 16 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hurricane Protection Office, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0070). ~American Registry of Pathology, Washington, D.C., was awarded on May 12 a $10,076,837 cost-no fee contract for medical, research, and consulting services, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C. Work is to be performed in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2011. One bid solicited with one bid received. Center for Healthcare Contracting, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, is the contracting activity (DAMD17-00-C-0034). ~McKnight Construction Co., Inc., Augusta, Ga., was awarded on May 14 an $11,468,350 firm-fixed-price contract to construct a standard design multi-purpose training range. Work is to be performed in Fort Benning, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 12, 2011. Four bids were solicited with four bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-07-D-0013). ~Armtec Countermeasures Co.., Coachella, Calif., was awarded on May 13 a $9,853,606 firm-fixed-price contract for the exercise of Option Year 1 for W52P1J-09-C-0055 for M206, MJU-7A/B in support of the infrared countermeasure flares. Work is to be performed in Milan, Tenn. (50 percent), and East Camden, Ark. (50 percent), with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2011. Bids were Web-based with two bids received. Department of the Army, Rock Island Contracting Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-09-C-0055). ~Kilgore Flares Co., LLC, Toone, Tenn., was awarded on May 13 a $9,054,085 firm-fixed-price contract for the exercise of Option Year 1 for W52P1J-09-C-0056 for support of M206, MJU-7A/B and MJU-10/B. Work is to be performed in East Camden, Ark., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2011. Bids were Web-based with two bids received. Department of the Army, Rock Island Contracting Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-09-C-0056). ~Au’ Authum Ki, Inc., Chandler, Ariz., was awarded on May 12 an $8,923,320 firm-fixed-price contract for one Soldier and Family Assistance Center and administrative facility for the Warrior in Transition Complex located at Fort Hood, Texas. Work is to be performed in Fort Hood, Texas, with an estimated completion date of July 28, 2011. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web with eight bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-10-C-0044). ~AAI Corp., Hunt Valley, Md., was awarded on May 13 a $7,229,690 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to increase funds and authority on the Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft systems performance based logistics contract. Work is to be performed in Hunt Valley, Md., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2010. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command/CCAM-AR-A), Aviation & Missile Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-10-C-0006). NAVY ~Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded an $85,499,548 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive/award-fee contract (N00019-07-C-0097) in support of the Joint Strike Fighter air system low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot II. This modification provides for the procurement of the additional special tooling and special test equipment required under LRIP II to meet the anticipated production ramp. Work will be performed in Ft. Worth, Texas (35 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (24 percent); Lancashire, United Kingdom (17 percent); Turin, Italy (4.5 percent); and at various continental U.S. locations (19.2 percent) and locations outside the continental U.S. (0.3 percent). Work is expected to be completed in April 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $25,786,266 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. ~Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $58,000,000 modification to the previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-08-C-0028) for technical services required to meet production ramp rates in support of the Joint Strike Fighter air system low-rate initial production Lot III aircraft. Work will be performed in El Segundo, Calif. (55 percent); Lancashire, United Kingdom (18 percent); Fort Worth, Texas (12.6 percent); and various continental U.S. locations (13.5 percent) and locations outside the continental U.S. (0.9 percent). Work is expected to be completed in January 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. ~Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $22,892,637 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-5437) for engineering and technical services in support of the MK15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon System. Phalanx Close-In Weapon System is a fast reaction terminal defense against low- and high-flying, high-speed maneuvering anti-ship missile threats that have penetrated all other ships’ defenses. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by September 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $5,342,758 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY ~Graybar Electric Co., Inc., Saint Louis, Mo., is being awarded a maximum $74,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for maintenance, repair and operations supplies for the Southwest region, Zone 1. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was Web solicited with seven responses. The date of performance completion is May 18, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM500-04-D-BP07). ~Science Application International Corp., Fairfield, N.J., is being awarded a maximum $60,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for maintenance, repair and operations supplies for the Southwest region, Zone 2. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was Web solicited with seven responses. The date of performance completion is May 18, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM500-04-D-BP08).
DTN News: Boeing-led Team Submits Test and Training System Proposal to US Air Force
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, - May 20, 2010: A team led by Boeing [NYSE: BA] submitted a proposal to the U.S. Air Force on May 5 for Phase 2 of the Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System (CRIIS) program. CRIIS will help improve the accuracy and realism of joint-service test and training activities. "Our best-of-industry approach to CRIIS puts cutting-edge technology into existing aircraft and weapon systems that remain cost-effective, while enabling our warfighters to accurately test and train," said Mark McGraw, Boeing vice president of Training Systems & Services. "CRIIS is designed to integrate with ground soldiers; low-dynamic ground and air vehicles; watercraft; and highly dynamic and maneuverable aircraft. It will be used by all service branches on a wide array of test and training activities for decades to come." In 2008, Boeing was one of two companies awarded the first phase of the CRIIS program, with the objective of demonstrating technology that delivers enhanced time, space and position information (TSPI); datalinks and encryption. Phase 1 will be complete in June and the Phase 2 contract award is expected in September. By providing a test capability in a training environment, CRIIS represents the first step toward realizing the Secretary of Defense’s vision of airborne test and training interdependence. The system will replace the Advanced Range Data System, which is approaching the end of its design life and cannot be effectively updated to overcome obsolescence or resolve deficiencies identified by end-users. Boeing is drawing on technology support from multiple divisions -- including Boeing Test and Evaluation and Mission Systems Support -- to complete Phase 1 and capture Phase 2. The company's teammates include L-3 Com’s Nova, Interstate Electronics Corp., Telemetry West, Geodetics, ArgonST, Harris Corp. and DRS Technologies. 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. Contact: Alison Sheridan
Boeing Training Systems & Services
Office: 314-232-8187Mobile: 314-614-4823
DTN News: U.S. Industry Hit By LCA Clearance Problem
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - May 20, 2010: India is turning to Europe for support of the naval version of its Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) after its initial choice of the U.S. was stymied by an inability to gain the requisite approvals from Washington. India selected Lockheed Martin as the winner of a bid for consultancy work on its naval LCA, but failure to secure U.S. State Department licensing approvals — at least in a timely fashion — now has resulted in EADS being in negotiation for the work. This is not the first time regulatory issues have tripped up U.S. ambitions in India. In April 2009 EADS picked up flight test work on the air force LCA as a result of Boeing being forced to withdraw. The U.S. manufacturer had been tapped for the project in 2008, but an inability to gain the required approvals from the U.S. administration forced it to pull its bid. The naval LCA is being designed for short take-off, but arrested recovery (Stobar), with a first flight of the naval variant by December. Neither EADS nor Lockheed are willing to comment beyond general statements. The U.S. company says it “continues to work with the U.S. government to support the LCA program. EADS, beyond confirming it has a consultancy contract (for the air force aircraft), says “both sides have agreed they will not disclose any details.” In March, the Indian government told Parliament that “deficiencies have been detected in the airframe and other associated equipment of the naval LCA [navy]. The Defense Research and Development Organization [DRDO] is working out [approaches] with various organizations for rectifying these deficiencies by suitable modifications to the engine/airframe design.” The consultancy is intended to support this effort. The consultancy on the naval LCA involves auditing the aircraft’s current configuration and optimizing the aircraft’s landing gear and arrestor hook design. The intent is also to reduce the aircraft’s all-up weight by around 1,000 lb. Sources involved with the program indicated that Lockheed’s inability to begin the consultancy on time had impacted the development effort, but the program itself was on schedule and progressing well. When ready, the naval LCA will primarily operate off Indian-built aircraft carriers, the first of which is under construction in Kochi. The sources also said that with almost all of the LCA’s equipping and cabling complete, the first prototype is scheduled to roll out of its hangar by mid-July. Three months of integration tests will follow, including ground vibration tests, structural coupling tests and other test routines before a first ground run and taxi test scheduled for October. If all goes well, the first prototype will fly in December. The front fuselage of the first naval prototype is identical to the fighter trainer (PV-5) that began tests in November 2009. The only part of the front fuselage in the naval prototype that will require a full routine of tests is a small additional control surface near the wing roots that is absent on the air force version. The naval variant will also have auxiliary air intakes. Program officials admit that there have been multiple challenges in the design and configuration of the landing gear and arrestor hook assembly, especially in optimizing the aircraft’s sink rate, but were confident that it would prove itself during flight tests. Apart from conventional takeoff and landing tests, the aircraft will undergo short takeoff and arrested landing tests at the Shore-Based Test Facility under construction at the Indian naval air station in Goa.
DTN News: Iranian Nuclear Threat Spurs Mideast Arms Sales
(NSI News Source Info) UNITED NATIONS - May 20, 2010: The United States, and most of the Western world, have transformed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into a virtual bogeyman, thereby spreading fear throughout the neighbouring countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A nuclear-powered Iran, so the argument goes, is a danger to all of these mostly affluent Arab countries, plus nuclear-armed Israel. But either directly or indirectly, the Iranian threat also has a hidden agenda because it is being implicitly viewed as good for business: the lucrative arms business.
The Western world is unloading some of its most sophisticated weapons - including state-of-the-art fighter planes and anti-missile defence systems - in the Gulf region, clinching multi-billion-dollar arms deals.
According to an analysis by Forecast International Inc. (FI), a leading U.S. defence market research firm, the GCC countries will account for about 60 percent of all defence spending in the region in 2010. The prediction is that all six Gulf countries will invest over 63 billion dollars toward their armed forces and security this year, with two-thirds of the total coming from Saudi Arabia.
"The GCC members continue to cast a wary eye across the Gulf at Iran," says Dan Darling, FI's military markets analyst for Europe and the Middle East. Under the perception that Iranian hegemonic ambitions constitute their principal and most immediate strategic threat, these countries have been focusing on air, missile defence and naval equipment, he added.
"The result of these ambitions has been an annual level of defence spending by GCC members that is disproportionate to the relatively small size of their militaries," Darling told IPS. At a summit meeting of three heads of state last week, Ahmadinejad struck a deal with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to ship roughly half of Iran's nuclear fuel to Turkey, thereby declaring his country's intentions not to develop nuclear weapons.
Although the deal was expected to undermine U.S. plans to move a fourth Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Iran, the administration of President Barack Obama said Tuesday it will go ahead with the resolution, apparently with the backing of Russia and China. If the resolution is adopted by the Security Council later next month, it will further strengthen the Western argument that Iran is on the verge of going nuclear, reinforcing existing fears in the Middle East.
Pieter Wezeman, a researcher with the Arms Transfer Programme of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), told IPS that perceptions of Iran's intents and capabilities are certainly a major reason for the high military sales to several of the largest arms importers in the Middle East: Israel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
"Israel perceives Iran as a major, if not the most important, current threat to its existence and many of its arms procurements are driven by this perception," he said.
In particular, Wezeman said, the Israeli procurement of 102 F-16I combat aircraft with long-range strike capabilities and related advanced weapons, all from the United States, have improved Israel's capacity to hit targets at long distances, including in Iran. However, other concerns also drive Israeli arms procurement, in particular its conflicts with Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria, and to a lesser extent worries about potential future developments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Similarly, in Saudi Arabia there is a strong suspicion towards Iran, and this is undoubtedly an important factor driving its latest series of major arms procurements, such as an order for 72 Typhoon combat aircraft from the UK, said Wezeman. Internal tensions in relation to conflict in Iraq and Yemen may also explain some of Saudi Arabia's major arms procurements, such as an order for 724 Piranha armoured vehicles from Canada.
"Finally, for the UAE, internal tensions cannot explain its position as the fourth largest (arms) importer in recent years, and its arms procurement seem to be primarily related to assumptions about Iran," he said.
However, considering the many prestige projects in the UAE, such as the Burj Khalifa, the prestige factor may also play a role in UAE arms procurement, he added. Darling of Forecast International told IPS, "The splurge in Middle East arms purchases over the past half-decade has certainly been fueled by fears of Iran, but also by other factors, including significant energy revenues and internal security worries."
For instance, concern over the protection of energy pipelines and other vital infrastructure from terrorist attacks has fueled investment by the Gulf countries in internal security forces and surveillance assets – such as Saudi Arabia's multi-billion-dollar border surveillance system. Meanwhile, the United States has aimed to create a strategic bulwark against the potential threat of Iran, evidenced by the previous administration's introduction in 2007 of a 20-billion-dollar package of government-to-government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) proposals intended for the Gulf Arab states.
It should not be forgotten that arms sales in the Middle East have also risen in the past few years due to the complete rebuilding of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) from scratch, Darling noted. During a visit to Saudi Arabia in March, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates pledged to help most of the Gulf countries shore up their defences against their potentially nuclear-armed neighbour, Iran.
The United States also deployed special warships off the coast of Iran with anti-missile systems in at least four Arab countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. Wezeman of SIPRI told IPS that decision makers in countries in the region and in the arms supplying countries will have to consider carefully how a large flow of conventional arms will actually provide protection against any presumed aggressive intentions by Iran.
They will have to consider how their high levels of armament, combined with the major presence of U.S. military in the region, are needed to deter Iran, and to which extent further arms procurement may fuel Iranian fears about the intentions of its neighbours, he pointed out.
This in turn, Wezeman said, could fuel an Iranian assessment that its conventional arsenal is inadequate to defend against overwhelming conventional forces of potential opponents.
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DTN News: Europe Faces Historic Test In Euro Crisis Says German Chancellor Angela Merkel
(NSI News Source Info) BERLIN, Germany - May 19, 2010: Europe faces an "existential" test in its effort to shore up the euro, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday, as she pushed for tougher regulation of markets and tighter public finances across the region. Merkel told lawmakers that closer oversight of the financial world was needed to assert the "primacy of politics" amid the debt crisis. "It is about no more and no less than the preservation of the European idea," she told the lower house of parliament. "That is our historic task; if the euro fails, then Europe fails." Parliament was meeting to consider the euro750 billion ($1 trillion) rescue package to help eurozone nations avoid default -- with Germany to contribute at least euro123 billion in loan guarantees. It is expected to vote on Friday. Merkel made clear that the root cause of the debt crisis was insufficiently competitive countries living above their means. "Europe needs a new culture of stability," she said, with faster and more effective punishment for countries that habitually run excessive budget deficits. Those could include withholding European Union structural funds and temporarily withdrawing voting rights from repeat offenders, she added. Merkel said that markets, while not the original cause of the crisis, poured oil on the fire -- raising "the question of how we can assert the primacy of politics." It is up to governments and parliaments to intervene "to keep the risks controllable," she added. Merkel renewed a pledge to push for taxation of financial markets -- either a financial transaction tax or another form of levy -- in Europe and beyond. She pointed to her government's decision on Tuesday to ban so-called naked short-selling of eurozone government debt and shares of major financial companies, and said that would remain in place until wider European rules are drawn up. Naked short-selling involves a trader selling shares or investments he doesn't own. The move, which market regulator BaFin said was aimed at upholding financial stability, initially unsettled markets and helped push the euro down on Tuesday night. Parliament is considering the eurozone rescue package two weeks after a smaller, separate package for Greece, which was unpopular in Germany.
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DTN News: Russian Warship To Escort 5 Merchant Vessels In Gulf Of Aden
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - May 19, 2010: Russia's Marshal Shaposhikov destroyer will escort a convoy of five commercial ships through pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast, the Defense Ministry said on Tuesday. "The convoy will consist of five vessels and the Russian warship will ensure their safe passage," a spokesman for the Defense Ministry said. The Russian Pacific Fleet task force comprising the Marshal Shaposhnikov, the MB-37 salvage tug and the Pechenga tanker arrived in the Gulf of Aden on March 29 to join the anti-piracy mission in the region. Navy commandos from the Marshal Shaposhnikov freed the Russian Moscow University tanker during a 22-minute operation on May 6. Ten attackers were detained and one was killed. None of the crew members was injured. The Marshal Shaposhnikov made a port call in Djibouti on Monday where it replenished food and water supplies. The Russian Navy will use the Djibouti port, located in the Horn of Africa, as its temporary base for anti-piracy operations in the region. The current task force is the fourth group of warships from the Russian Pacific Fleet engaged in the anti-piracy mission off Somalia, with the previous three task forces led by the Admiral Vinogradov, Admiral Panteleyev and the Admiral Tributs destroyers. The Northern and Baltic fleets have also sent task forces to the region.
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DTN News: Chinook Chases Cougar Out Of Afghanistan
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 19, 2010: The Netherlands has rotated its helicopter contingent in Afghanistan, sending three CH-47D "Chinooks" to replace five Cougars. The Eurocopter Cougar EC725 is an 11 ton aircraft with a useful load of 5.5 tons, a top speed of 324 kilometers an hour, a range of about 850 kilometers and can stay in the air for about five hours per sortie.The Cougars have been in Afghanistan since last October, and flew 271 missions, and spent 1,069 hours in the air. An-124 aircraft are used to move the helicopters to and from the Netherlands. The larger CH-47D "Chinook" is a 22 ton aircraft with a max load of ten tons. It can carry up to fifty troops, and is preferred in Afghanistan because of its ability to operate effectively at high altitudes. The first CH-47s entered service in 1962, able to carry only five tons.
Some 750 saw service in Vietnam, and 200 were lost in action. Between 1982-94, 500 CH-47s were rebuilt to the CH-47D standard. SOCOM operates 31 MH-47Ds and Es, which have additional navigation gear. These are being upgraded to MH-47F standards, and the fleet expanded to 61 helicopters. As a result of all this, the CH-47 will end up serving at least 75 years. The CH-47F upgrades and new builds will not be completed until 2018. New CH-47Fs cost about $35 million each. The Netherlands has ordered nine CH-47Fs.
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DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY May 19, 2010 ~ Taliban Attack American Base Outside Kabul
Source: DTN News / NYTimes By DEXTER FILKINS
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan- May 19, 2010: Taliban insurgents launched a brazen assault on the American base at Bagram on Wednesday morning, sparking a large and confusing gun battle that left at least five American soldiers wounded and seven guerrillas dead. Taliban leaders claimed that seven suicide bombers had blown themselves up at the gates of the base, clearing the way for more than 20 other fighters to get inside. The Taliban reports appeared exaggerated, as they often are. But American officials confirmed that the base, one of the largest in Afghanistan, had come under an ambitious and unusual assault. An American official said that the base had come under attack by as many as many as 30 insurgents. Another American spokesman, Col. Wayne Shanks, said that no suicide bombs had exploded and that no insurgents had entered the base. “At no time were Bagram defenses breached,” he said. American officials said that the attack had ended by midmorning. Still, details were sketchy. The main road leading to the base was sealed, and helicopters could be seen flying over the area. Local residents reported hearing gunfire around the base. The Bagram base, located about 50 miles north of Kabul, the capital, is one of the main hubs of the American campaign in Afghanistan. Bagram serves as the headquarters for the military’s efforts in eastern Afghanistan. It is ringed by several layers of defenses. The assault on Bagram comes on the heels of an attack Tuesday by a suicide bomber in Kabul, who rammed an explosives-laden bus into an American convoy, killing 18 people, including five American soldiers and a Canadian officer. That attack — and the one on Bagram on Wednesday — appeared to be part of a larger campaign directed at the capital and its environs. In recent days, the Taliban have smuggled five suicide bombers into the area, an American military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The back-to-back attacks came as American and Afghan leaders were preparing to launch a major offensive in the city of Kandahar to break the hold of the insurgents in southern Afghanistan.
DTN News: Thailand TODAY May 19, 2010 ~ Thai Protest Leaders Surrender After Deadly Clashes
(NSI News Source Info) BANGKOK, Thailand - May 19, 2010: Four senior Thai anti-government protest leaders surrendered to police on Wednesday after troops stormed their encampment, sparking clashes that killed at least four people, as violence rocked other areas of the city. Using armored vehicles and firing semi-automatic weapons from an overpass, soldiers made an early morning advance on an area occupied for more than six weeks by thousands "red shirt" demonstrators in Bangkok's commercial heart. As they moved close to the main protest site, top protest leaders offered to surrender on the main stage as supporters urged them to fight on, many screaming and crying as gun fire rang out nearby. Moments later, live television showed the four in police custody, urging supporters to go home. The army spokesman said in a television broadcast the protest site was under army control and the military had halted operations. As the leaders were surrendering, three grenades exploded outside the main protest site, badly wounding two soldiers and a foreign journalist, a Reuters witness said. Protesters were also burning tires in other areas of the city. Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the military had successfully gained control of the Lumpini Park area south of the protest site. Unrest was spreading to other areas of Thailand. Protesters also stormed a town hall complex in the northeastern city of Udon Thani, setting a building ablaze. Three journalists were among 50 people wounded and one Western journalist, identified as an Italian was killed, a hospital said. Troops and armored vehicles broke through three-meter-high barricades of tires and bamboo in an operation to squeeze thousands of anti-government protesters from their fortified camp in central Bangkok. Troops fired tear gas and automatic rifles at the red-shirted protesters but halted the advance before reaching a stage where an estimated 3,000 demonstrators were rallying. Two bodies were found on Ratchadamri Road, which leads to the main protest site after troops followed the army vehicle into the encampment, a Reuters witness said. They appeared to have been shot. The "red shirts" fired back, witnesses said. BLACK SMOKE Protesters ignited walls of tires as the troops arrived, causing thick black smoke to billow high over skyscrapers and hiding thousands of demonstrators who have occupied the heart of Bangkok's commercial district for more than six weeks. Protesters have already taken over intersections at two other places in the capital of 15 million people, one of the world's more popular urban tourist destinations. The mostly rural and urban poor protestors broadly support former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a graft-convicted populist billionaire ousted in a 2006 coup and living in self-imposed exile to avoid jail. Thaksin raised the specter of insurrection in a telephone interview with Reuters on Wednesday. "There is a theory saying a military crackdown can spread resentment and these resentful people will become guerrillas," he said, but declined to say where he was speaking from. He denied an accusation by a top aide of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva that he was the stumbling block for failed talks between the government and the "red shirt" leaders. The military offensive came a day after the collapse of a proposal for talks aimed at ending five days of chaotic street fighting that descended into urban warfare that killed 39 people and wounded more than 300. Two buildings were on fire on the periphery of the protest encampment, a bank and a government building. The red shirts accuse the British-born, Oxford-educated Abhisit of lacking a popular mandate after coming to power in a controversial parliamentary vote in 2008 with tacit backing from the military. They have demanded immediate elections. Troops over the past few days had thrown a cordon around the protest site, a "tent city" at the Rachaprasong intersection, paralyzing the heart of Bangkok. Hundreds of women and children have taken refuge in a temple inside the protest area. Protesters have stockpiled food, water, and supplies in the encampment since Thursday when the assassination of a major-general allied to the red shirts, and an army operation to pressure them, sparked the latest wave of violence that has killed 68 people and wounded more than 1,700 since the demonstrations began in mid-March. (Additional reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan, Michael Perry and Ambika Ahuja; Writing by Jason Szep; Editing by Bill Tarrant)
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