Saturday, August 09, 2008

Airbus pays tribute to 100th anniversary of first Wright flights in Europe

Airbus pays tribute to 100th anniversary of first Wright flights in Europe - A380 low pass fly-by over Hunaudieres horse-racing track, Le Mans
(NSI News Source Info) 9 August 2008: On 8th August at around 17:00 an Airbus A380 will perform a low pass fly-by over Hunaudières horse-racing track at Le Mans. This is to pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the first European flights by Wilbur Wright on 8th August 1908 at Le Mans. A commemorative celebration will be held on the site with a series of flight demonstrations including a flight by a replica of Wright’s original aircraft, Flyer III. This aircraft along with the A380 demonstrates the evolution of innovation through a century of achievements in the aeronautical industry where the A380 sets the standards for the 21st century. Being greener, cleaner, quieter and smarter, the A380 is already setting new standards for air transport and the environment. In addition to offering unequalled levels of passenger comfort, space and quietness in the cabin, the A380 has unmatched levels of operating costs and fuel efficiency, consuming less than three litres per passenger per 100 kilometres. The A380 not only complies with today's noise limits, it is also significantly quieter than any other large aircraft flying today. With a range of 8 200 nm / 15 200 km, and seating 525 passengers in a standard three-class layout while being much more eco-efficient, the A380 is the ideal equipment to alleviate traffic congestion at busy airports, while coping with growth.

Boeing Awarded $153 Million U.S. Navy Contract for Countermine System

Boeing Awarded $153 Million U.S. Navy Contract for Countermine System (NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, Aug. 09, 2008 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has been awarded a $153 million U.S. Navy contract to design and develop the Countermine System (CMS) for the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City, Fla. The CMS, part of the Navy's effort to field a comprehensive Assault Breaching System, will help minimize mine-related combat losses during amphibious landings. "The CMS will neutralize mines in the beach and surf zone in advance of an amphibious assault by the Marines," said Keith Burns, Boeing CMS acting program manager. "This capability will greatly enhance the sea service's ability to project power and successfully complete a Ship-to-Objective maneuver." The unique CMS warhead uses the combat-proven Joint Direct Attack Munition guidance set to accurately position the weapon above the mines. The warhead is designed to dispense its payload of more than 4,000 neutralizer "darts" at a predetermined altitude, clearing the way for safe beach landings. U.S. Air Force strategic bombers will use the CMS to clear assault lanes while Navy tactical fighters perform localized mine neutralization. The technology, developed in conjunction with the Office of Naval Research's Mine Obstacle Defeat System program, has allowed the Navy to proceed with the CMS System Design and Development phase. The Navy plans to field the system in 2016. The Boeing-led team includes General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems for mine neutralizer testing, alternate neutralizer design and the modular payload system; Lockheed Martin for the baseline explosive neutralizer; and Nammo-Talley Defense Systems for the dispenser system.

Belarus is Planning to Buy in Perspective Russian MiG-35 Fighter Jets

Belarus is Planning to Buy in Perspective Russian MiG-35 Fighter Jets (NSI News Source Info) August 9, 2008: The armed forces of Belarus are considering the possibility of acquiring Russian MiG-35 fighters, said on Wednesday at a press conference in Minsk the commander of the Air Force and Air Defence troops of Belarus, Igor Azarenok, informs Gudok.RU. "We plan in the medium term to rearm the air force with new aircrafts of the type of the multifunctional MiG-35," said the commander. In addition, Azarenok reported that Belarus would continue the modernisation of the fighter aircraft aviation, "which today has potential for modernization." The Commander informed about the plans "after 2010 to consider switching to new types of transport aircraft." "Currently, these aircrafts of the transport aviation are undergoing tests in Russia and in this case it may be the type of aircraft IL-114," he said.

Russian troops take control of South Ossetian capital

Russian troops take control of South Ossetian capital August 9, 2008 NSI News Source Info
The Russian army Saturday took full control of the capital of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia from Georgian forces.

Canada looks to Mi-8 helicopters while waiting for Chinooks

Canada looks to Mi-8 helicopters while waiting for Chinooks (NSI News Source Info) 09 August 2008: Canada intends to lease six to eight Russian-built Mil Mi-8 large transport helicopters for operations in Afghanistan while waiting for delivery of Boeing CH-47 Chinooks from the US. Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced the decision but did not provide any details as to the country or company that is supplying the aircraft, nor the cost. The Department of National Defence also refused to provide any other information such as when the helicopters will start operations and who will be crewing them. However, Colonel (retired) Alain Pellerin, executive director of the lobby group Conference of Defence Associations, said the helicopters will be provided by a private company and operated by civilian crews. He said the helicopters "are not certified to handle troops unless it's an emergency ... so it's purely for transport of materiel".

U.S. Army directs traffic on a road leading into Baghdad, Iraq, on July 31, 2008

(NSI News Source Info) August 9, 2008: U.S. Army directs traffic on a road leading into Baghdad, Iraq, on July 31, 2008.

India: Is this real....Mayawati as Prime Minister of India!

Mayawati says successor chosen, declines to reveal name (NSI News Source Info) Lucknow, August 09, 2008: UP Chief Minister Mayawati in the party’s convention in Lucknow on Saturday revealed she has chosen her successor, but declined to name him. “I have chosen my successor but I won’t disclose the name. The person is 18 years younger to me and is a Dalit. The name will be disclosed only when I am dead. Apart from me only two other people know the name," she said. "I have penned down his name in a sealed packet left in the safe custody of two of my close confidantes. These two people have been told to open the packet and disclose the name of this successor either in the event of my sudden death or if my political adversaries succeed in their vicious gamelan of sending me to jail on trumped-up charges," she further added. The disclosure was the chief highlight of a speech in which she ridiculed Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Parliament during the trust vote, reiterated she would be the PM of the country one day and lambasted her political rivals. The claims of having named a successor, came with allegations that her political rivals may get her killed in the guise of a naxal or terrorist attack. She gave other details about her successor. He is a dalit and from a poor family. But in her speech she made it clear that he was not from her family. However, he is not going to come before the public anytime soon. Mayawati is not about to reveal his name till she is fit and able to work.

More Sales of Bushmaster Vehicles

More Sales of Bushmaster Vehicles (NSI News Source Info) Aug. 9, 2008: The Dutch Army has ordered more Australian Bushmaster vehicles, and the British Army an initial batch of 24. Greg Combet, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement, today congratulated Thales Australia on its recent sale of additional Bushmaster vehicles to the Netherlands Army. “The Netherlands has ordered a further 13 Bushmaster vehicles on top of its purchase of 36 Bushmasters. The United Kingdom has also recently ordered 24 of the vehicles,” Mr Combet said. Mr Combet has been promoting Australian defence industry capabilities during recent visits to the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. “I have been promoting Australian defence industry capabilities to our allies and I think there are further global market opportunities for the Bushmaster vehicle.” “At least one other European country is known to have a requirement for vehicles of the Bushmaster type and presents a potential market opportunity,” Mr Combet said. “The Bushmaster is currently deployed overseas with the ADF and it has performed remarkably well. Operators of the vehicle have commented to me on both its high level of operational performance and protection level.” “The Bushmaster vehicle is built at Thales Australia’s Bendigo (Victoria) facility. There are currently 7 variants within the Bushmaster family of vehicles. To date 443 Bushmaster variant vehicles have been sold and contract negotiations are in train for approximately 250 additional vehicles for the Australian Defence Force.”

Israel slams Turkey over Ahmadinejad plan to visit

Israel slams Turkey over Ahmadinejad plan to visit (NSI News Source Info) 9 August, 2008: Israel has officially protested against the planned visit of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Turkey next week. Israel's ambassador to Turkey, Gabi Levy, presented the protest to officials in Ankara, and the Turkish ambassador to Israel was summoned to Jerusalem. "Israel is disappointed that Turkey has invited for an official visit a leader who denies publicly the Holocaust, and thus grants him legitimacy," was the message given to the Turkish ambassador to relay to his government. Iran's president has sought an official invitation to Turkey for four years, but every time such a visit was scheduled, it was postponed. In recent months ties between Ankara and Tehran grew closer as Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan attempted to play mediator between the Iranian regime and the United States. Erdogan offered the Americans indirect negotiations with Iran in Turkey, along a model similar to the Turkish mediation between Israel and Syria. Ahmadinejad's planned visit also drew severe criticism in Turkey because of the Iranian president's criticism of the founder of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk. As a way of containing the furor, Ankara downgraded the visit from "official state visit" to "working visit."

A tale of Russian aircraft carriers

A tale of Russian aircraft carriers (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW. August 9, 2008 - Sealed and decided: Russia will build aircraft carriers. After years of debate the naval command and the national leadership seem to have agreed that the navy should have such ships. But this has not always been the case. To understand current thinking, it is necessary to take a look at the history of aircraft carrier building in Russia. The Russian navy first used seaplanes in World War I, when its Black Sea Fleet used them to bombard enemy ports. The possibility of building full-scale aircraft carriers was first mooted in Russia after the Civil War. Plans were drawn up to convert some ships - the training ship Komsomolets, the battleship Poltava and uncompleted battle cruisers of the Izmail class - into a new type of vessels. However, the economy and industry were at such low ebb that the programs had to be postponed until better times. The next step was taken in the late 1930s, when Soviet naval architects came up with two new projects: Project 71 (a light aircraft carrier with 45 planes) and Project 72 (a heavy aircraft carrier with 62 planes). The work got under way, but World War II intervened. After the war the naval chiefs again raised the issue, but Soviet leaders did not share the admirals' enthusiasm for this class of vessels. Nonetheless, the shipbuilding program the country adopted in the 1950s provided for the construction of two light aircraft carriers, to gain operating experience and test their capabilities. But when Stalin died, construction of large surface ships practically ground to a halt: the new leadership did not believe in traditional fighting services and opted for missile and nuclear weapons. The question was shelved for 10 more years. In the late 1960s, the navy got its first helicopter cruisers, Moskva and Leningrad. But they were specialist craft intended for very specific missions, and could not operate as regular carriers. Meanwhile the Nevsky PKB, the country's largest producer of surface ships, was pondering plans for a carrier of 45,000 to 50,000 tons. Intended to provide air cover for groups of surface ships and submarines, it was to carry a complement of 35 to 40 planes, including of deck-based MiG-23 fighters, early warning aircraft, and helicopters. The ship's own armaments were meant to deal with aircraft and submarines. But instead of a fully operational carrier, the navy again got a dud - the Nikolayev shipyard began building a series of Project 1143 ships. These so-called "heavy aircraft carrying cruisers" were to be equipped with hunter-killer helicopters and Yak-38 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) planes. Bazalt anti-ship missiles provided an additional capability. Still, the idea of a full-blooded aircraft carrier was slowly but surely forcing its way into the open. It had high-placed patrons: Minister of Shipbuilding Boris Butoma, who was interested in big orders from the navy, and Defense Minister Andrei Grechko, who quite undiplomatically requested that industry build aircraft carriers like the USS Nimitz. It was decided that with completion of the two Project 1143 heavy aircraft carriers Kiev and Minsk, the first carrier of Project 1160, with a displacement of 80,000 tons, would be laid down. But the anti-carrier lobby prevailed, and instead of starting a new series a third Project 1143 ship, Novorossiisk, was laid down. The good work, however, was continued - by 1967 the Nevsky PKB had completed plans for a Project 1153 ship, which, though smaller than the previous 1160 project, was still a true carrier and, importantly, had a nuclear power plant. But the deaths of Grechko and Butoma put paid to the undertaking. After the Novorossiisk was launched in 1978, Nikolayev started construction of a fourth Project 1143 carrier. The new vessel was named the Baku and was to be fitted out with then non-existent Yak-141 fighter planes. But the lame philosophy of Project 1143 was clear to everyone - twice as large as British Invincible class light carriers equipped with Sea Harriers, the Russian vessels little differed from them in capability. The missiles they carried, while increasing displacement and adding to costs, did not redeem them - the ships proved cumbrous and under-armed either as missile cruisers or light aircraft carriers. Normally-configured aircraft, moreover, required a total redesign of Project 1143 ships. The upshot was that, in 1982, when the Baku hit the water, the Nikolayev yard laid the keel of a vessel capable of carrying a full-bodied air wing of MiG-29 and Su-27 jets. Yet the ship, initially christened the Riga, proved another messy compromise: it had a ramp instead of a catapult and 12 Granit anti-ship missiles in vertical launch silos to complement the organic aircraft. Even before she was launched, the first full-blown Soviet aircraft carrier changed her name from the Riga to Leonid Brezhnev. In 1987, she was renamed the Tbilisi and in 1990, Admiral Kuznetsov. The Kuznetsov has remained the only Soviet-built carrier. Its sister-ship Varyag, which was laid down two years after the Kuznetsov, was launched but remained unfitted, while the Ulyanovsk, a larger vessel with catapults and a nuclear power plant, was cut up on the blocks. The Kiev, Minsk and Novorossiisk also suffered a sad fate. In 1993, they were decommissioned and sold to China as floating entertainment centers, while the Baku, renamed Admiral Gorshkov and sold to India, is currently being refitted as a standard aircraft carrier at Severodvinsk, Russia. In the 1990s, few if any debated the subject. The theme re-emerged in the mid-2000s, when it was declared that Russia needed several aircraft-carrying ships in its Northern and Pacific fleets. The numbers mooted ranged from two or three to six or eight. Now plans envisage building five to six carriers over the next 20 years. Construction proper is expected to start after 2012. Much as we might wish to believe in the feasibility of these plans, there remain several unanswered questions. What missions will the aircraft carriers and their escort groups fulfill? When and with what funds will Russia re-engineer (or build from scratch) the infrastructure of its naval bases for new ships? What types of planes will be based on them? How are their crews to be staffed? And lastly, how long will it take to build these vessels and their escorts, especially with the current personnel squeeze in the shipbuilding industry? It is my fond hope that the navy's command and national leaders know the answers to these questions. Otherwise, we will get at best a couple of unprovided-for ships, which will have to be sold after 10 to 15 years of service, or at worst, nothing. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

Pakistan: President Pervez Musharraf to decide future strategy soon

President Pervez Musharraf to decide future strategy soon (NSI News Source Info) Saturday, August 09, 2008 - ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf has said that he was reviewing political developments in the country and will decide future course of action after considering allegations leveled by the ruling coalition.Musharraf was talking to Pakistan Muslim League-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain who called on him here. Shujaat asked President Pervez Mushrraf to face the impeachment. PML-Q President said that country couldn’t afford confrontation any more. According to Geo News, Shujaat told Musharraf that if the President would face impeachment democratically, then the PML-Q would stand by him. However, Chaudhry Shujaat made it clear that if the President tries to use 58-2(b), then he will have no support from PML-Q. Shujaat suggested Musharraf that he should step down before the start of the impeachment proceedings and the president should avail the opportunity to make an honorable exit.

Pakistan army to ask Musharraf to resign

Pakistan army to ask Musharraf to resign (NSI News Source Info) 9 August, 2008 London: Pakistan's Army is planning to ask embattled President Musharraf to relinquish office in a week, as its top brass do not want him impeached, a news report said today.Quoting a senior official from the ruling government coalition partner, the Pakistan's People's Party, 'The Daily Telegraph' said that Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Kiyani has already "whispered in Musharraf's ear that it is time to leave.""Over the next few days they will make it clear to him (Musharraf) that a protracted battle (against impeachment) is not in Pakistan's interests," the unnamed official claimed.One of the main arbiters of power in Pakistan, the Army has already publicly declared that the military would take a "neutral" stand on the country's domestic politics."The Army is neutral but is expecting him to resign. It will then influence his honourable safe passage as the Army's senior leadership do not want him punished," a former military aide to the President told the British daily. Senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, a close aide of Sharif, yesterday claimed that the combined strength of the coalition parties was around 300 members. Despite Iqbal's claim, anti-Musharraf parties, including the Jamaat-e-Islami and some Balochistan based nationalist parties currently sitting in opposition benches in the Senate, have a total of 274 members 235 in the National Assembly and 39 in the Senate which is short of the required number.According to the latest count after by-polls in June, the ruling PPP has 124 members in the assembly, PML-N 92, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam six and Awami National Party 13.In the opposition PML-Q-dominated Senate, the PPP has 10 members, PML-N four, the Jamiat and its allies 18 and the ANP two, plus five others.Several dissident PML-Q members and Baloch groups in the Senate are expected to throw their weight behind the impeachment motion. Observers also believe the 27 independent members in both houses of parliament, particularly those from tribal areas, will play a crucial role.The coalition has claimed it has the support of 16 parliamentarians from the tribal areas and two of them participated in the news conference addressed by Zardari and Sharif to announce the move to impeach Musharraf.Mushahid Hussain Sayed, secretary general of the opposition PML-Q which has vowed to defend Musharraf, had alleged that the coalition was resorting to horse trading by trying to "buy" the votes of parliamentarians.Senior PPP leader Raza Rabbani, the leader of the house in the Senate, rejected the allegation, saying the coalition was "not short of numbers" and had no need to go in for horse-trading.

Russia says Georgian forces expelled from S.Ossetian capital

Russia says Georgian forces expelled from S.Ossetian capital (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, August 9, 2008 - Russia's peacekeeping command said on Saturday the country's troops have driven Georgian forces from the capital of the separatist republic of South Ossetia. "Tskhinvali has been fully liberated," a spokesman said. The city has suffered major destruction since the start of Georgia's ground and air onslaught that began early on Friday. Russia says 1,500 people have so far died in the violence, and 30,000 South Ossetians have fled across the border into Russia. Chief of Government Staff Sergei Sobyanin told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting in the Kremlin earlier on Saturday that "a real humanitarian catastrophe" is developing. South Ossetian Prime Minister Yury Morozov confirmed that the city is now under the control of Russian troops, but warned that the death toll may rise. He told Russian TV channel Vesti-24 that thousands of people have been injured, and that numerous residents remain trapped under the rubble of bombed-out buildings, making it difficult to assess the number of fatalities. Medvedev announced earlier that the country's troops had begun a military operation in South Ossetia to force Georgian troops to cease violence. Paratroopers from Russia's Ivanovo, Moscow and Pskov airborne divisions have been sent to Tskhinvali, and international news agencies have reported Russian air strikes on the Georgian town of Gori, near South Ossetia, the Black Sea port of Poti, and on two military bases. The current conflict is a culmination of years of tensions between Russia and Georgia, which has accused Russia of trying to annex South Ossetia along with another rebel region, Abkhazia. The pro-Western leaderships in Georgia, along with ex-Soviet Ukraine, have angered Moscow in recent years with their efforts to gain NATO membership. Russia's Foreign Ministry accused Ukraine on Saturday of encouraging Georgia to launch an offensive against South Ossetia. "The Ukrainian state, which has in recent times been misguidedly arming the Georgian army, and in so doing directly encouraging the Georgian leadership to engage in intervention and ethnic cleansing in South Ossetia, has no moral right to preach to others, let alone to seek a role in regulating the conflict," the ministry said in a statement.

Pakistan: Militants kill Pakistani police

Pakistan: Militants kill Pakistani police (NSI News Source Info) August 9, 2008: Eight Pakistani policemen have been killed in an attack in the Swat Valley in the north-west of the country. Reports say gunmen stormed into a police station in the Bonair district and shot the officers during the night. The Swat Valley has been the scene of a series of clashes between the security forces and Taleban fighters. Last week Pakistani officials said at least 94 militants, 14 soldiers and around 28 civilians had been killed in clashes in the area. The peace process across the north has been placed under strain by the ongoing clashes. The military has said it will soon launch an all-out offensive against militants in Swat, shattering a fragile deal between the two sides signed two months ago.