Tuesday, July 08, 2008

India projected to spend $30 billion on defence hardware

Defence procurement policy set to be revised
July 08, 2008 NEW DELHI: With India projected to spend a whopping $30 billion for acquisition of military hardware and software from abroad during the 11th Plan period (2007-2012), the defence ministry is now finally all set to revise its defence procurement policy (DPP). The new DPP, which will try to cut down on procurement delays, bring in more transparency, rework the "offsets" clause and provide for "offset banking", is slated to be approved by the Defence Acquisitions Council headed by defence minister A K Antony on Wednesday. Introduced for the first time in the 2005 DPP, the "offsets" clause mandates that a foreign vendor who bags a deal over Rs 300 crore must plough back at least 30% of the contract value back into India or source defence products or services from the country of that value. There is likelihood of the defence ministry actually increasing the offsets obligation to 50% in the new DPP. The RFP (request for proposal) issued last year for the mother of all defence deals, the Rs 42,000-crore project to acquire 126 multi-role fighter jets for IAF, in fact, lays down a 50% offset provision. While offsets are the norm internationally, armament manufacturers and others have petitioned the defence ministry that its policy of allowing only "direct" offsets — that is, only in the defence arena - is restrictive and needs to be re-examined. "The offsets policy will be fine-tuned but allowing of 'indirect offsets' is unlikely since the ministry is extremely keen to build the indigenous defence sector," said an official. The ministry, in fact, feels India's "high" purchasing power should be leveraged to boost the fledgling domestic defence industry, and the best way to do it is through the successful implementation of the offsets policy.

Airbus beat Boeing on commercial orders

Airbus beat Boeing in latest round of commercial orders
July 08, 2008: Airbus, the world's largest maker of commercial aircraft, said it won a net 487 orders in the first six months, 12 more than Boeing. Airbus also delivered 245 planes, the Toulouse, France-based company said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement, four more than its U.S. rival. The European planemaker predicts orders this year may drop 50 percent compared with 2007, when it and Boeing took a record 2,754 combined. Demand is dwindling as slowing economies and spiraling fuel prices push airlines toward losses that the International Air Transport Association says may reach $6.1 billion with crude at $135 a barrel. Airbus attracted 525 new orders and lost 38 contracts that had booked previously through cancellations. That left it with a total of 323 orders for single-aisle planes, 161 for widebody A330, A340 and A350 models, and three for the double-decker A380s. The company, a division of European Aeronautic, Defense and Space, delivered 201 single-aisle planes, 40 widebodies and four A380s. Boeing, based in Chicago, won 475 net orders in the first half and delivered 241 aircraft. Boeing has said shipments may reach 480 planes this year from 441 last year, while Airbus has been forecasting it will deliver around 470, up from 434. Both planemakers are likely to announce orders from several customers at the Farnborough International Air Show that begins July 14 in Britain.

Singapore, Israel Purchasing Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Singapore, Israel Mulls Purchasing Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft
July 8, 2008 Air Force Major General Charles Davis said that Singapore has shown interest in possibly buying up to 100 of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft over coming decades, matching Israel's tentative plans.
Lockheed's chief F-35 subcontractors are Northrop Grumman Corp. and BAE Systems Plc, with two rival, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development, one built by United Technologies Corp.'s Pratt & Whitney unit; the other by a team of General Electric Co. and Rolls-Royce Group Plc. Separately, the eight countries that have joined the United States to co-develop the plane appear to be largely sticking to their plans to buy some 730 of their own. Development of the F-35, a family of radar-evading aircraft, was co-financed by Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway. The United States currently plans to buy a total of 2,443 F-35 models, including 1,763 for the U.S. Air Force and 680 for the Marine Corps and Navy together. It is the costliest U.S. arms program ever at a projected $299 billion. F-35 competitors include Saab's Gripen, the Dassault Rafale, MiG-35 and Sukhoi Su-35, and the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by a consortium of British, German, Italian and Spanish companies. 2015. The F-35C version is due to fly for the first time in about October 2009, Davis said.

Mega order 400 New Helicopters for Indian Armed Forces

Indian Armed Forces will get 400 new helicopters; 200 of them would be bought in ‘flyaway’ condition July 08, 2008 Bangalore: The defence ministry is working on a plan to acquire 400 light helicopters for the Armed Forces to replace its ageing Cheetah and Chetak fleet, which the army and air force have been using for more than three decades. India is expected to buy half of the helicopters from a yet-to-be decided foreign vendor and the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) will be asked to design and build the remaining. New entrant: A file photo of the new version of the Dhruv helicopter during its flight at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd base in Bangalore. “There is an urgent need (of helicopters) for the army. This (plan) is to ensure that there is no further delay,” said one person familiar with the matter, who did not want to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the deal. The defence ministry had initially planned to issue a tender for 384 helicopters. In December, it withdrew a contract for 197 helicopters awarded to Eurocopter, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., following complaints by rival US-based Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. that its bid was rejected on “flimsy” grounds. Under the new plan, about 200 helicopters would be bought in flyaway condition, or without any local integration, from vendors such as Bell Helicopter, British-Italian firm AgustaWestland, Russia’s Kamov and Eurocopter. India would not insist on local production under licence as that would be time-consuming. HAL, meanwhile, has six years to design and build a home-grown light observation helicopter in the 2.5-3 tonne class, and help replenish the remaining fleet of Cheetah helicopters, said people familiar with the development. Light helicopters weigh around 3 tonnes. The new plan will have foreign helicopter makers sourcing aero components and systems of half of the contract value from local vendors under the offset policy for defence deals. The policy mandates vendors to source 30% of the value of contracts worth Rs300 crore or more from local players in a bid to boost India’s defence manufacturing industry. Analysts say that the army needs light helicopters urgently to replace the Cheetah choppers. “It should have been bought yesterday, not today,” said Ratan Shrivastava, director for aerospace and defence at research firm Frost and Sullivan. “Aircraft is replaced if it is of vintage or due to usage. Both the airframe and engines of Cheetah is over 30 years old,” he said. Defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar would not confirm this development, but said the ministry would issue a request for proposal (RFP) shortly for the light helicopters. “Only when the RFP is issued, we will know the exact details,” he said. HAL has built two indigenous helicopters—Lancer, a light attack helicopter based on the Cheetah platform, and Dhruv, the twin-engine advanced light helicopter in use with the Armed Forces. It is also designing and building a helicopter gunship, the first flight of which is expected this year.

Firefox - Info Tech News

Firefox download record official July 08, 2008 Mozilla has officially made history with a new Guinness world record for the largest number of software downloads in a 24-hour period. The final record breaking 8,002,530 downloads for web browser Firefox 3.0 took place in June. "The enthusiasm and creativity of Firefox fans was key to making this happen," said marketing head Paul Kim. Gareth Deaves of Guinness World Records called it "an extremely impressive accomplishment". The official figure was confirmed after logs from download servers were audited and checked to ensure duplicate and unfinished downloads were not counted. Mr Kim told the BBC News: "The notion of going for a world record, as... nutty as it may have sounded, was a really sticky idea. "It was an idea that translated really well across national borders and to all different kinds of people around the world." Marketing manager Mary Colvig said no party was planned to celebrate the record until the actual certificate was presented by Guinness World Records in London next week. "Here at Mozilla headquarters (in Mountain View) I think most of us are just going to try and get to bed early now that we have the confirmation. We are all tired." Security flaw On launch day some of the shine was taken away by security firms claiming to have found the first flaws in the new software. Within five hours of Firefox 3.0 making its debut, DV Labs/Tipping Point reported a flaw that potentially let an attacker take over a PC if a user clicked on a booby-trapped link. Mr Kim told the BBC News: "Firefox users are safe. We have a patch in the works and hope to release it very soon." Mozilla says the number of downloads surpassed their expectations Another potentially disastrous glitch ahead of the world record attempt came when servers handling the downloads collapsed under the weight of visitors checking to see if the new version of the browser was available. Once they were all up and running the clock started counting down. At their busiest, the servers were handling more than 9,000 downloads per minute. Within five hours the number of downloads for Version 3.0 exceeded the 1.6 million set by Firefox 2.0 in October 2006. Market share increase Another boost for the open source browser comes with the announcement that it has increased its market share to more than 19% making it the second most popular browser after Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE). Statistics firm Net Applications said a chunk of the gain seemed to have come from rival IE, although much of the growth came in users upgrading. The company said while IE reached a record low last month, it predicted Firefox would break the 20% share bar sometime this month. Mr Kim said: "We offer the best browsing experience and this shows people are getting the message and voting with their browser choice." Meanwhile, Mozilla has shipped a high priority update for Firefox 2.0, warning that there are at least five serious vulnerabilities that could lead to code execution attacks. Mr Kim said Mozilla would continue to support Firefox 2.0 until the middle of December. After that users will be expected to switch over to Firefox 3.0, which since its launch over two weeks ago boasts 28 million downloads and counting.

JLTV offered by Northrop & Oshkosh

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Undergoes Successful Armor Testing
July 08, 2008: The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) family of vehicles offered by Northrop Grumman Corporation and Oshkosh Defense has undergone successful armor testing as the U.S. Department of Defense nears its selection of competing JLTV teams. Oshkosh and Plasan USA, which was selected to design and engineer the vehicle's armor, conducted ballistic and mine-blast testing on the team's JLTV prototype. After the first round of testing, they found the armor passed all threshold capability and achieved several objective-level force-protection requirements. Plasan is using an advanced composite-technology armor system that maximizes crew protection while keeping weight impact minimal. "Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh have designed a vehicle of unique performance and protection that can provide value to the warfighter today yet is flexible enough to meet the combat requirements of tomorrow," said Joe Gray Taylor, vice president of Ground Combat Systems at Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector. "We particularly took on the challenge of armor volume, applying some of our most innovative thinking to the balance of performance, protection and payload. The results of the armor testing validate our design and prove we are ready to move smartly to the next stage of the development process." One advantage the team has in developing its JLTV armor is the incorporation of a diesel-electric drive system, which eliminates the need for a transmission and conventional drivetrain. This allows for the creation of improved blast protection for the crew. "The innovative use of a diesel-electric system reduces the number of vehicle components and frees up space to allow for increased survivability for the soldiers in these vehicles," said John Stoddart, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president of defense. "Our work with Plasan will provide, as it has in the past, the best crew protection possible." The armor testing was conducted at a world-class testing facility in the United States, used U.S. Army research-laboratory standards and was based on government specifications for the JLTV. The Defense Department is expected to decide soon which industry competitors will continue into the 27-month Technology Development phase for this $40 billion program. Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh Corporation joined forces to compete for the JLTV program on Jan. 8. If selected, Northrop Grumman will be the prime contractor and systems integrator. Oshkosh Corporation's Defense Group will be responsible for designing, engineering and manufacturing the vehicle. Northrop Grumman integrates a broad spectrum of critical joint combat and C4ISR platforms, including serving as the prime contractor for the Army's Command Post Platform, Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2)/Blue Force Tracking (BFT), and Command and Control Personal Computer (C2PC) programs. Oshkosh has nine decades of proven experience developing advanced automotive systems, on/off-road capabilities, extreme-duty vehicle platforms, military vehicles and integrated armor solutions. Oshkosh has advanced on-board vehicle power capabilities on two prototype vehicles: the Marine Corps' Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) and the U.S. Army's Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT).

Pakistan Army & Pervez Musharraf

Pakistan denies Musharraf, army sent centrifuges to North Korea July 8, 2008: Pakistan's top nuclear authority Saturday rejected claims by disgraced atomic scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan that the army and President Pervez Musharraf sent centrifuges to North Korea in 2000. Lieutenant General Khalid Kidwai, head of the Strategic Planning Division (SPD), told a select group of reporters there was "enough evidence" about the proliferation network that Khan had run from 1987. Kidwai reiterated that there had been no involvement by the army, Musharraf, SPD or the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency in the transfer of centrifuges to North Korea. The briefing followed media interviews with Khan in which he made the claim which Kidwai said was damaging the national interest. "Technically, yes it happened in his (Musharraf) tenure, but giving an impression that he or the army was aware or supervised it is wrong," Kidwai said. "I would like to categorically say it is absolutely wrong, false." He said they had evidence about Khan's network which was dismantled more than four years ago and "we can produce it in camera at any level--- court, parliamentary committee, tribunal or any group of people." Kidwai said a dozen centrifuges -- used for enriching uranium -- were sent to North Korea by Khan's network in 2000 and one was sent several years earlier. He said the government got suspicious about Khan's activities around the same time which finally led to his termination as head of the country's main nuclear research laboratory in 2001. Khan was pardoned by Musharraf in 2004 after making a televised statement admitting to passing nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya but has not been allowed out in public. However, after Musharraf's allies lost general elections in February, Khan retracted his confession and said that it was forced. The new government has recently relaxed restrictions on Khan, including allowing him to meet friends at a scientific institute and take phone calls, although he remains effectively confined to his house.

Toyota Motor - News

Toyota To Equip Prius With Solar Panels Tokyo July 08, 2008: Japan's Toyota Motor plans to add solar panels to its popular Prius hybrid early next year to power the vehicle's air conditioning, a newspaper report said Monday. As part of a complete design makeover, the Prius will be fitted with rooftop solar panels on its high-end models, the Nikkei economic daily said without naming sources. If it happens, Toyota, in a close race with General Motors for the title of the world's top automaker, would be the first major carmaker to use a solar power generation system on a mass-produced vehicle. Toyota rolled out the Prius in 1997 as the first mass production petrol-electric hybrid. It was redesigned in 2003 and a third-generation Prius is widely expected to come soon. Toyota declined to confirm the Nikkei report. "We cannot comment on our product planning," a company spokesman said. The Nikkei said the solar panels on the roof would supply part of the power needed for the vehicle's air conditioning. The carmaker plans to produce some 450,000 Priuses at home in 2009, up 60 percent from 2007, the Nikkei said.

The Human Brain

New Map IDs The Core Of The Human Brain (NSI News Source Info) July 8, 2008: An international team of researchers has created the first complete high-resolution map of how millions of neural fibers in the human cerebral cortex -- the outer layer of the brain responsible for higher level thinking -- connect and communicate. Their groundbreaking work identified a single network core, or hub, that may be key to the workings of both hemispheres of the brain. The work by the researchers from Indiana University, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, and Harvard Medical School marks a major step in understanding the most complicated and mysterious organ in the human body. It not only provides a comprehensive map of brain connections (the brain "connectome"), but also describes a novel application of a non-invasive technique that can be used by other scientists to continue mapping the trillions of neural connections in the brain at even greater resolution, which is becoming a new field of science termed "connectomics." "This is one of the first steps necessary for building large-scale computational models of the human brain to help us understand processes that are difficult to observe, such as disease states and recovery processes to injuries," said Olaf Sporns, co-author of the study and neuroscientist at Indiana University. The findings appear in the journal PLoS Biology. Co-authors include Patric Hagmann and Reto Meuli, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne; Leila Cammoun and Xavier Gigandet, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne; Van J. Wedeen, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical Center; and Christopher J. Honey, IU. Until now, scientists have mostly used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology to measure brain activity -- locating which parts of the brain become active during perception or cognition -- but there has been little understanding of the role of the underlying anatomy in generating this activity. What is known of neural fiber connections and pathways has largely been learned from animal studies, and so far, no complete map of brain connections in the human brain exists. In this new study, a team of neuroimaging researchers led by Hagmann used state-of-the-art diffusion MRI technology, which is a non-invasive scanning technique that estimates fiber connection trajectories based on gradient maps of the diffusion of water molecules through brain tissue. A highly sensitive variant of the method, called diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI), can depict the orientation of multiple fibers that cross a single location. The study applies this technique to the entire human cortex, resulting in maps of millions of neural fibers running throughout this highly furrowed part of the brain. Sporns then carried out a computational analysis trying to identify regions of the brain that played a more central role in the connectivity, serving as hubs in the cortical network. Surprisingly, these analyses revealed a single highly and densely connected structural core in the brain of all participants. "We found that the core, the most central part of the brain, is in the medial posterior portion of the cortex, and it straddles both hemispheres," Sporns said. "This wasn't known before. Researchers have been interested in this part of the brain for other reasons. For example, when you're at rest, this area uses up a lot of metabolic energy, but until now it hasn't been clear why." The researchers then asked whether the structural connections of the brain in fact shape its dynamic activity, Sporns said. The study examined the brains of five human participants who were imaged using both fMRI and DSI techniques to compare how closely the brain activity observed in the fMRI mapped to the underlying fiber networks. "It turns out they're quite closely related," Sporns said. "We can measure a significant correlation between brain anatomy and brain dynamics. This means that if we know how the brain is connected we can predict what the brain will do." Sporns said he and Hagmann plan to look at more brains soon, to map brain connectivity as brains develop and age, and as they change in the course of disease and dysfunction.

Beijing's pollution problems

Beijing 'failing pollution test' July 08, 2008 Officials say the city's air will be clean enough for the Olympics Just a month before the start of the Beijing Olympics, the city is still failing to meet international air quality standards, the BBC has found. When Beijing bid for the Olympics in 2001, it said its air would meet World Health Organization (WHO) standards. The BBC put this to the test using a hand-held detector to test for airborne particles known as PM10. We found that the city's air failed to meet the WHO's air quality guidelines for PM10 on six days out of seven. These particles are caused by traffic, construction work and factory emissions. They are responsible for much of this city's pollution. On one of these days, the pollution reading was seven times over the WHO's air quality guideline. By comparison, recent readings done in London - the site of the 2012 Games - all fall within the WHO's guidelines. Beijing insists that there is still time to get things right. Later this month it is imposing a series of emergency air-quality measures which will take cars off the streets and shut down building sites. One official has told the BBC that he is confident that Beijing will still fulfil its clean air promise. But this city does not have all that much time left.

India - China News

Indian Prime Minister meets Chinese President Hu Jintao Press Trust of India Sapporo (Japan), July 8, 2008 China today condemned the suicide bombing on the Indian embassy in Afghanistan in which 41 people, including two Indian diplomats and two ITBP personnel, were killed. " summit. Militants rammed an explosives-laden car into the heavily fortified Indian embassy's gates in Kabul yesterday, killing at least 41 people, including Defence Attache Brigadier R D Mehta and Counsellor Venkateswara Rao. Hu also thanked the government and people of India for its help in relief and reconstruction in the Sichuan province of China which had suffered a massive earthquake recently. He recalled that India had given USD five million for assistance. The prime minister reiterated India's profound condolences and sympathy for those affected in the earthquake and said he had no doubt that the Chinese people had the capability to overcome the impact of the disaster. In this measure, he said, India had been privileged to offer small help. He also expressed India's deep admiration for the way the Chinese handled the earthquake. Meanwhile, there is no firm assurance from China to help India get the IAEA approval.

India Sells Helicopters to Ecuador

India Sells Helicopters to Ecuador New Delhi, July 08, 2008: India's state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. signed a $51 million deal to sell seven high-tech Dhruv light helicopters to Autoridad Ecuatoriana de Aviacion. The Indian Defense Ministry officials said the accord stipulates a 15 to 24 month delivery, allowing Dhruv helicopters enter a market so far exclusive to US, Russian and European technology. PTI news agency reminded of India's loss two years ago of a sale of the same technology to Chile, who at the last minute agreed with a US contender.

UK MoD Unveils New Protected Vehicles

UK MoD Unveils New Protected Vehicles London, UK Jul 07, 2008....In addition to the 150 RIDGBACK vehicles on order, the MoD is purchasing more than 85 new VIKING and JACKAL protected vehicles for troops in Afghanistan and has unveiled two new vehicle types, RIDGBACK and PANTHER, Baroness Taylor has said. Fourteen extra VIKING - tracked, amphibious vehicles, which are capable of swimming in deep water while fully laden with Marines and equipment - have been ordered from BAE Systems in a pound14M contract. In addition, the awesome firepower of the Army's all terrain JACKAL received a boost with the news that a further 72 have been ordered from Babcock Marine. The JACKAL is already demonstrating its worth in Afghanistan with its ability to tackle the harsh terrain at speeds of 80mph due to its adjustable suspension system. Making the announcement at DVD, Baroness Taylor also unveiled the Army's new RIDGBACK urban patrol vehicle, little brother to the hugely popular Mastiff which has already proved its worth in Iraq and Afghanistan. The MoD has bought 150 of the vehicles which will undergo an integration programme that will see additional protection, weapons, communications systems and specialist electronic counter-measures equipment added to turn the Cougar 4x4s into RIDGBACK. Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Baroness Taylor said: "Getting the right equipment to the Armed Forces is my priority. I am always looking for the newest technology to address the ever-changing threats, and offer the greatest protection, mobility and firepower while giving our Commanders the choice of vehicles they need to carry out the tasks they face. "I am pleased to unveil the new RIDGBACK protected patrol vehicle, brother to the hugely popular Mastiff, and announce we have ordered a further 72 JACKAL and 14 more VIKING combat vehicles to support our operations and maintain the strength of our Armed Forces. "Together with industry we are turning around new technology and upgrades to existing kit under the UOR scheme, delivering core equipment projects like PANTHER and ensuring our forces are well-equipped and battle ready. JACKAL is a very good example of how we procure kit quickly under Urgent Operational Requirement procedures. The prototype was on display here last year at DVD - now it is on operations proving its worth in Afghanistan." Also on full display at DVD was the new command and liaison vehicle, PANTHER. With its ability to operate in all weathers, day and night using thermal imaging equipment that "sees" in the dark PANTHER will be a valuable addition to the Army's vehicle stock. The vehicles are protected against a range of threats and the majority are fitted with a sophisticated weapon system that allows the user to operate the machine guns with a camera and joystick from inside the vehicle Chief of Defence Materiel and the head of MoD DE and S General Sir Kevin O'Donoghue said at the show: "This event is an excellent example of how we work closely with industry and the Armed Forces to deliver and support the equipment the front line needs. The variety of vehicles available to UK forces on operations gives commanders the ability to choose the best suited vehicle for the terrain, the threat and the agility required for an operations" "Support to operations is an essential part of our business and involves more than just armoured vehicles. Other examples of the support we provide include increased capability for our medical teams and improvements to clothing and food on operations." RIDGBACK is just one of a whole range of protected vehicles being used on operations including MASTIFF, VIKING, BULLDOG, WARRIOR, VECTOR, and SNATCH. The variety of vehicles available to UK forces on operations gives commanders the ability to choose the best suited vehicle for the terrain, the threat and the agility required for an operation. The total number of new protected vehicles we are delivering to support operations in Afghanistan and Iraq now stands at almost 600.

Australia Sees Successful Upgrades To FA-18 Hornet Capability

Australia Sees Successful Upgrades To FA-18 Hornet Capability
Australia (SPX) Jul 07, 2008 Minister for Defence, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP has announced that Australia's air capability has been further enhanced by the successful trialling of a new radar warning receiver and acceptance by Air Force of the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) 'Smart Bomb'. The first production configured F/A-18 Hornet fitted with a new Radar Warning Receiver has successfully flown at RAAF Williamtown, only 18 months after the decision to acquire the equipment. As part of the Hornet upgrade program, Australia's fleet of F/A-18 aircraft are being fitted with upgraded Radar Warning Receivers, countermeasures systems and radar jamming systems. Earlier this year the Royal Australian Air Force accepted the Operational and Technical Airworthiness of the JDAM 'smart-bomb' on F/A-18A/B fighter aircraft. The JDAM 'smart-bomb' provides RAAF F/A-18A/B fighters with a state-of-the-art weapon capability, allowing them to accurately employ air-to-ground weapons during day or night and in all weather conditions through the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. "These upgrades to the F/A-18 Hornet will provide the Royal Australian Air Force with leading-edge technology, ensuring the Hornet's continued ability to operate as Australia's frontline fighter aircraft," Mr Fitzgibbon said. "The upgrade to the Hornet's Radar Warning Receiver is a significant achievement for the Defence Materiel Organisation as it has only been 18 months since the Raytheon ALR-67(V)3 Radar Warning Receiver was approved as part of the Hornet's Electronic Warfare Self Protection upgrade." During the 18 months since approval, the project acquired the Radar Warning Systems, completed the design, integration and testing required to install and operate the new system on the Hornet. The project is within budget and on-track to deliver the complete electronic warfare self protection upgrade to the entire Hornet fleet by late 2012. "Given the complexity of the project, the ability to deliver within schedule and budget has been a big success for the Defence Materiel Organisation," Mr Fitzgibbon said.