Thursday, August 28, 2008

Boeing, US Navy Offer Super Hornet for Denmark Fighter Competition

Boeing, US Navy Offer Super Hornet for Denmark Fighter Competition (NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS - August 28, 2008: Boeing and the U.S. Navy delivered a proposal Aug. 15 offering the advanced F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to the Royal Danish Air Force as part of Denmark's New Combat Aircraft competition. Boeing received a Request for Information from Denmark in May. The stated initial requirement is for 48 aircraft. "The winner must present a good balance of capability, cost and risk, and be able to provide Danish industry with a viable and competitive long-term partnership," said Dan Korte, vice president and general manager for Global Strike Systems, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "We believe the Super Hornet is the best-value option and offers a winning solution for Denmark's fighter requirements."
After India and Brazil, Boeing has offered the F-18E Super Hornet to Denmark, hoping to capitalize on delays in the Joint Strike Fighter.
The Super Hornet variant offered to Denmark is based on the F/A-18E/F model flown by the U.S. Navy and the 24 F/A-18Fs currently being produced for the Royal Australian Air Force. The Block II Super Hornet is the first operationally deployed strike fighter incorporating next-generation capabilities, including the Raytheon-built APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. "The Super Hornet has been a model acquisition program for the United States and the U.S. Navy, one that has continued to add capability while decreasing cost over its lifetime," said U.S. Navy Capt. James Kennedy, F/A-18 International Business deputy program manager. "The Super Hornet, with its small logistics footprint and high mission-readiness rates, will stand well in the competition since it enhances effective deployment in international operations. With the AESA radar now fully onboard, the two-seat F/A-18F is providing unmatched aircrew situational awareness and taking air combat capabilities to new levels, as we can now seamlessly execute same-time air and ground missions. This is truly an aircraft that delivers tomorrow's capabilities today." Boeing has delivered more than 360 Super Hornets to the U.S. Navy, all on or ahead of the original production delivery schedule. Australia has ordered 24 Super Hornets to bolster its fleet of F/A-18 Hornets, and Boeing is in discussions with several other international customers about their interest in procuring the Super Hornet. On July 30, Boeing delivered a proposal to the Brazilian Air Force offering 36 Super Hornets for Brazil's F-X2 fighter competition. On Aug. 4, Boeing submitted a comprehensive industrial-participation proposal to the government of India in support of the company's offer of 126 Super Hornets to the Indian Air Force for India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft program. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32.1 billion business with 71,000 employees worldwide.

Russia Tests ICBM Designed To Overcome Missile Shield

Russia Tests ICBM Designed To Overcome Missile Shield (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - August 28, 2008: Russia said it test-fired an intercontinental missile designed to avoid detection by missile-defense systems, raising the temperature in a tense stand-off with the West over Georgia. The Topol RS-12M intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia and flew 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) to hit a target on Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east, a military spokesman said. The test was meant "to develop equipment for potential combat use against ground-based ballistic missiles," Alexander Vovk, a spokesman for Russia's strategic nuclear forces, said in televised remarks. The test came barely a week after the United States completed an accord with Poland on basing anti-missile interceptors in the east European country and as Russia accuses NATO of building up its naval presence in the Black Sea. But analysts said the launch was likely planned in advance and not directly linked to soaring tensions with the West over Russia's conflict with ex-Soviet Georgia. The stand-off has deepened since President Dmitry Medvedev's announcement that Russia was recognizing South Ossetia and another rebel region, Abkhazia, as independent states.
SS-25 Sickle (RS-12M/RT-2PM/Topol)
Russia has been upgrading its Topol missiles in response to U.S. plans to develop a missile-defense shield using ground-based interceptors, analysts said. "Russia is saying once again that has the opportunity to overcome U.S. missile defense," Anatoly Tsyganok, a retired colonel and head of the center for Military Forecasting, told AFP. But he ruled out any possibility that the test was timed to coincide with tensions over Georgia. Independent defense analyst Pavel Felgenauer said it was improbable: "Such tests are planned in advance... Maybe, but it's unlikely." The Topol was first tested in 1983 but Russia has in recent years been adapting it to include countermeasures against missile defense, with the last test-firing in December 2007. "Experience shows the most economical and quickly achievable countermeasures against the development of a missile-defense system are so-called asymmetrical measures," nuclear forces spokesman Vovk said, quoted by Interfax news agency. Those measures include the missile being less detectable and its path less predictable, he said. "Most likely this is an old Topol, maybe slightly modernized," analyst Felgenauer said. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Aug. 26 promised a "military response" to the U.S.-Polish agreement on interceptors. "These missiles are to be stationed alongside our border and they are a threat to us... We have to respond somehow to this situation, and naturally enough we have to take a military response," he told Al-Jazeera television. Washington's plan to site elements of a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic has angered Moscow despite U.S. assurances that the plan does not threaten Russia and is meant to protect against "rogue states" like Iran.

Georgia.... Today's in Pictures

Georgia....Today's in Pictures August 28, 2008 NSI News Source Info A Georgian soldier wiped his eyes while digging a mass grave for unidentified Georgian soldiers killed in fighting over South Ossetia, during a military funeral in Mukhadgverdi, west of Tbilisi. Funerals for 46 soldiers returned to Georgian authorities began with 26 buried on Thursday in graves marked "Unknown Soldier." The remaining 20 will be buried later, a defense ministry spokeswoman said. A woman cried at the coffin of one of the Georgian soldier killed in South Ossetia, during the mass burial ceremony for the 26 soldiers. South Ossetian men comforted each other near the destroyed buildings where they used to live in Tskhinvali. Tensions in the region heightened as Russia tested an intercontinental missile, and France said the European Union could slap sanctions on Moscow over the Georgia conflict. Georgian soldiers threw earth on the mass grave for unknown soldiers killed in fighting over South Ossetia at a ceremony outside Tbilisi attended by a few people, some soldiers and an honor guard.

Al Riyadh (F3000S Sawari II) Class Multipurpose AAW Frigate, Saudi Arabia

Al Riyadh (F3000S Sawari II) Class Multipurpose AAW Frigate, Saudi Arabia (NSI News Source Info) August 28, 2008: Three Al Riyadh (F3000S) class multipurpose anti-air warfare frigates have been built by DCN of France for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces. The frigates, based on DCN's stealth frigate design, are about 25% larger than the French La Fayette class frigate and have additional capabilities, for example enhanced anti-air warfare and anti-submarine capability, to achieve the operational requirements of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces. "The Al Riyadh (F3000S) class multipurpose anti-air warfare frigates have been built by DCN for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces." The ships have been built at DCN's Lorient shipyard. The first of class, HMS Al Riyadh (812), was commissioned in July 2002. The second, HMS Makkah (814), was launched in July 2001 and was commissioned in April 2004. The third, HMS Al Damman (816), was launched in September 2002 and is undergoing sea trials prior to commissioning in 2007. In April 2007, DCN became DCNS. This followed an agreement in which Thales became a 25% shareholder in the new company and DCN acquired the naval business of Thales France (excluding naval equipment). The contract for the first two ships was agreed between France and Saudi Arabia in 1994 under the Sawari II agreement. The contract for the third ship was placed in 1997. The prime contractor was Thales (now DCNS) which is responsible for the vessel architecture, propulsion systems and combat systems integration. Main contractors include: SFCS (a subsidiary of Armaris, now owned by DCNS), responsible for the ship's combat systems; MBDA which is supplying missiles; and Sofinfra, which is responsible for the construction of 20,000m² of infrastructure facilities including a school and workshop in Jeddah. NAVFCO, the training organisation within the French Navy, is contracted to carry out crew and engineering training for over 700 trainee personnel under the Sawari II programme. AL RIYADH STEALTH FRIGATE DESIGN The ship's construction is carried out through the assembly of prefitted hull blocks. The hull has an overall length of 133m and a beam of 17m. The ship has a full load displacement of 4,500t and carries sufficient fuel and stores for a range of 7,000nm between replenishments. Maximum speed is 24.5kt. The sides of the stealth frigate are sloped at 10° to minimise radar cross section, surfaces have been coated in radar-absorbent paint and the profiles of external features have been reduced. The vessel has a computer-controlled fin-and-rudder stabilisation system which keeps the flight deck operational for 10t class helicopters up to sea state 6. SFCS AUTOMATED COMBAT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS "HMS Al Riyadh (812), was commissioned in July 2002." The ship's highly automated combat management systems have been developed by SFCS, a subsidiary of Armaris. The SENIT 7 combat system is based on the Thales Tavitac 2000, with additional elements of the SENIT 8 system in service on the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. Weapons control is provide by the DCNS CTM radar / infrared system, which includes the Thales Castor 2J I-band pulse Doppler radar and an infrared tracking system. AL RIYADH WEAPON SYSTEMS The ship is being built to carry two eight-cell Sylver vertical launch systems for the Eurosam (MBDA and Thales) Aster 15 surface-to-air missile. Aster 15 is effective at ranges from 1.7km to 30km and to an altitude of 15,000m. Missile guidance is inertial with data uplink and active radar terminal homing. For increased manoeuvrability in the terminal phase, the missile uses a 'PIF-PAF' direct thrust control system with gas jets. All three frigates have been taking part in trial firings of the Aster SAAM (Surface-to-Air Anti Missile) system. Successful firings were conducted by Al Damman in March and Al Riyadh and Makkah in September 2004. The frigate is armed with eight MBDA Exocet MM40 Block II surface-to-surface missiles. The anti-ship missile has a 165kg shaped charge warhead and a range of 70km and approaches the target in sea skimming mode at high subsonic speed, approximately 0.95 Mach. "Al Riyadh carries two eight-cell Sylver vertical launch systems." The ship's main gun is the Oto Melara 76/62 Super Rapid gun which can fire up to 120 rounds a minute to a maximum range of 20km. There are also two 20mm Giat 15B guns. There are four 533mm aft torpedo tubes. The ship is armed with the DCNS F17 heavyweight anti-submarine torpedo.
Three Al Riyadh (F3000S) class multipurpose anti-air warfare frigates have been built for the Royal Saudi Navy. The first of class, HMS Al Riyadh (812), was commissioned in July 2002. The second of class, HMS Makkah (814), was launched in July 2001 and delivered in April 2004. Stealth features have been included in the design to reduce the radar cross section and infrared, acoustic and electromagnetic signatures. The ship is built to carry two eight-cell Sylver vertical launch systems for the Aster 15 surface-to-air missile, which has a range up to 30km.
SENSOR SUITE The sonar suite is the Thales Underwater Systems CAPTAS 20 towed array sonar. CAPTAS (Combined Active Passive Towed Array Sonar) is a low-frequency variable-depth active sonar. The round radome of the Thales Arabel 3D I-band surveillance and fire control radar is installed on the pyramid mast forward of the hangar and between the two funnels. The Arabel carries out the fire control function for the Aster missiles. Thales long-range air search radar, DRBV 26D Jupiter operating at D band, is forward of the main radar mast. Two Sperry Marine Decca navigation and helicopter control radars are also fitted. COUNTERMEASURES SYSTEMS The electronic warfare suite has been supplied by Thales and includes: DR 3000 Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Altesse communications intercept system, Salamandre B2 radar jammer and TRC 281 communications jammer. Two Sagem Défense Sécurité (formerly EADS Defence & Electronics) Dagaie decoy launchers are also fitted. "The frigate is armed with eight MBDA Exocet MM40 Block II surface-to-surface missiles." DCN SAMAHE HELICOPTER HANDLING SYSTEM The helicopter deck at the stern has a single landing spot for a medium size helicopter, such as the Eurocopter AS 365 Dauphin or the larger AS 532 Cougar or NH90 helicopters. The deck is fitted with the DCN Samahe helicopter handling system. A fully equipped hangar accommodates one helicopter. CODAD PROPULSION SYSTEM The vessel's CODAD (Combined Diesel and Diesel) propulsion system is based on four SEMT Pielstick 16 PA6 STC diesel engines, rated at 5,700kW (7,740hp) each. The diesel engines drive two shafts with Rolls-Royce Kamewa controllable-pitch propellers. DCN has a licence agreement to manufacture these propellers for the Al Riyadh frigates.

US Contractors Eye Gains from Polish Shield Deal

US Contractors Eye Gains from Polish Shield Deal (NSI News Source Info) August 28, 2008: The US has spent more than $120bn on missile defences over the past 25 years since former president Ronald Reagan's famous 'Star Wars' speech in Poland's hosting of part of a US missile shield for Europe should generate sales for American defence contractors. However, critics say the whole effort amounts to a multibillion-dollar sham. Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters, investigates.1983.
The new system in Europe, which includes ten interceptor rockets in Poland and a sophisticated radar complex in the Czech Republic, should cost another $4bn over the next few years, according to the US Missile Defense Agency. "US efforts to develop integrated missile defences had made huge strides over the past six years." Missile defence programme Cost overruns typical in nearly every US defence programme could easily drive the price higher, said some defence analysts and critics of the missile defence programme. While details of any specific contract awards must still be worked out, the deal will clearly result in additional work for US defence companies at a time when US defence spending is expected to begin to level off. But missile defence critics, including the former top US weapons tester, Philip Coyle, say all that spending has produced scant progress. The missile defence programme has generated "a lot of profits for defence contractors, but no real addition to US security," said John Isaacs, who heads the Washington-based Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Coyle said the new European missile defence system would do little, if anything, to protect Europe against enemy missile attacks. "It's too easily overcome by an enemy," he said, noting that even US defence officials acknowledged that the system would be able to defend against one or two missiles launched from Iran, not dozens, and that current technologies would not be effective if they faced a swarm of decoy missiles. "It's all a lot of sword-rattling, but, it's a sham," he said. The Polish agreement The United States and Poland signed the agreement on Wednesday, over the strong opposition of Russia. The Czech Republic had previously agreed to participate. The parliaments of both Poland and the Czech Republic must approve the deals. The European system is meant to defend Europe and the United States from a future missile threat from Iran, according to Washington. Riki Ellison, president of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, called the agreement with Poland a 'phenomenal achievement' that reflected the growing threat of ballistic missiles. He said that US efforts to develop integrated missile defences had made huge strides over the past six years. 'Ink still wet' Chicago-based Boeing, prime contractor for the US ground-based missile defence system, will supply the rockets to be placed in Poland, but the Army Corps of Engineers will manage construction of the site, a US official said. "The missile defence system would be able to defend against one or two missiles launched from Iran, not dozens." Boeing had no immediate comment on the potential value of the deal, but said in a statement that it would work closely with the US military and its industry partners to extend missile defence capability to Europe. Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon built the powerful X-band radar now based in the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, which will be moved to the Czech Republic. Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin said its system to integrate separate missile defence elements and provide a common view of the 'battlespace', known as command, control, battle management and communications (C2BMC), would play a key role in the European missile defence site. But John Holly, a top Lockheed official and former deputy director of the US Missile Defense Agency, said it was not yet clear about the effect on company revenues, or whether the US-Polish agreement would result in more sales of Lockheed's Patriot advanced capability (PAC-3) missiles. "We just don't know yet. The ink is still wet," Holly told reporters, noting it was not yet clear if the Patriot missile battery would come from existing US stocks. Raytheon, also a prime contractor for the Patriot air and missile defence system, declined comment on any project sales resulting from the Polish agreement.

Colombia: The Islamic Influence Next Door

Colombia: The Islamic Influence Next Door (NSI News Source Info) August 28, 2008: Iran's growing commercial ties with Venezuela are bringing with it Iranian intelligence operatives and Hezbollah members seeking to expand Islamic radical operations in South America. Hezbollah has long had a foothold in several local Arab immigrant communities in South America. But Venezuela gives them a secure local base of operations. It is feared that Hezbollah and Iran will seek to carry out terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets in South America, using these new Venezuelan bases. Iran has done this in the past, but backed off when local police came down hard, and the diplomatic fall out proved to be too intense. August 17, 2008: Two bombs went off in supermarkets in the capital, but there were no injuries. This may not even be a FARC attack, but merely a commercial dispute (the stores are French operated, and providing stiff competition for locals, and a large target for criminal gangs seeking extortion opportunities.) Such tactics are a side-effect of over half a century of civil disorder and civil war. The rule of law has been trampled on for so long, it's taking a while to restore a civil society. August 15, 2008: The economy continues to grow, with oil production up ten percent (to nearly 600,000 barrels a day) in the last year, and natural gas production up nearly 20 percent. FARC and ELN efforts to sabotage energy production have not succeeded. These two leftist organizations are still slipping further towards complete destruction. Leftist supporters in North America and Europe have been unable to get the police and military pressure off FARC and ELN, especially with so many damning documents, and former terrorists, showing up and providing endless accounts of leftist atrocities. The violence was pretty bad all around, but most Colombians just want it all to stop. However, too many of the leftist rebels know no other life, or are intoxicated with the wealth available from the cocaine trade. The fighting is going to continue for a while, perhaps 5-10 more years. August 14, 2008: A bomb went off in the northwestern town of Ituango, during a festival, killing seven and wounding over fifty (mostly children). FARC was suspected, because the leftist rebels have been terrorizing the region for a while, and such bombings are increasingly popular with FARC (which no longer has the manpower to attempt a takeover of a disputed town.) This is the worst FARC terror attack so far this year.

MRAPs for Poland

MRAPs for Poland (NSI News Source Info) August 28, 2008: Forecast International reports that an Aug 20/08 land mine attack that killed 3 Polish soldiers in their Hummer is causing the same kind of rethink that other advanced armies have been experiencing. In response, reports in the Polish press indicate that Poland is seeking an emergency buy of 40 MRAP vehicles, with deliveries to conclude before the end of 2008. The contenders are reported to be BAE OMC’s RG-31 Mk5E extended version, or KMW’s Dingo 2. This early buy is expected to be followed by a follow-on tender for 140 vehicles, using more standard tender procedures.
Dingo 2
Germany was an early adopter of mine-protected vehicles within the NATO alliance, and KMW’s Dingo vehicles are playing a growing role in its future force. The Dingo-2 has also been featured in a number of international competitions, losing some but picking up wins in neighboring Austria (20), Belgium (352), The Czech Republic (4, facing issues including delivery delays), and Luxembourg (48). The RG-31 was designed in South Africa, which pioneered mine-resistant vehicles several decades ago. It has been deployed by the UN, Canada, the Netherlands (on loan from Canada), and the US military, who considers it their favored MRAP vehicle for Afghanistan. Spain has also ordered RG-31s, but has yet to take delivery.

Pentagon Contract Announcement

Pentagon Contract Announcement(NSI News Source Info) August 28, 2008: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Marietta, Ga., is being awarded a $129,259,000 not-to-exceed undefinitized contract action (UCA) for the fabrication and delivery of 13 P-3 Outer Wing Assembly (OWA) kits in support of the P-3 recovery plan. Work will be performed in Marietta, Ga., and is expected to be completed in December 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity (N00019-08-C-0066). The USA’s aging aircraft problem spans a number of fleets, from aerial tankers, to fighters, to tactical transports. One may argue, however, that its most severe problem lies with its fleet of Lockheed Martin P-3 maritime patrol aircraft. Not only was the global P-3 fleet produced between 1962-1990, the aircraft have often been flown at low altitudes in a salt-spray environment. This is not a recipe for aircraft health. Rear Adm. Holmes’ 2005 interview confirms the seriousness of the situation. The US Navy keeps retiring aircraft, and is trying to hang on until its P-8A Poseidon/ BAMS UAV successors are fielded. That is proving to be difficult, to the point that Boeing is reportedly being asked to speed up P-8 production and fielding. Meanwhile, the P-3 Recovery Plan is part of a range of efforts designed to keep the P-3s in the air. A pair of contracts over the last week provide a glimpse into the program’s scope:

Boeing Awarded US Army Contract for 191 CH-47F Chinook Helicopters

Boeing Awarded US Army Contract for 191 CH-47F Chinook Helicopters
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS - August 28, 2008: The Boeing Company has been awarded a five-year U.S. Army contract valued at $4.3 billion for 181 CH-47F Chinooks and 10 additional Chinooks under Fiscal Year 2008 supplemental funding. There are options in the award for an additional 24 aircraft over the course of the contract. "This multiyear award will yield a cost savings of more than $449 million for the U.S. Army and taxpayers," said Jack Dougherty, vice president, Boeing H-47 Programs. "This also builds security into our production schedule for the next five years, stabilizing the work force for Boeing and for our supplier partners in more than 45 states." "The Army is committed to providing an outstanding CH-47F Chinook aircraft to our soldiers in the field," said Col. Newman Shufflebarger, Army project manager for Cargo Helicopters. "This multiyear award not only allows the Army to field this important aircraft at a substantial savings, but enabled the contractor to enter long-term agreements for specialty metals, to include titanium, which significantly reduced long-lead times for these critical materials. The Army was able to reduce the lead time associated with a new-build aircraft by six months." Also from the U.S. Army, Lt. Col. Thomas H. Todd III, product manager for CH-47F, said, "This multiyear settlement is the result of the tireless efforts of government and Boeing representatives. It ensures that our soldiers will maintain a technological advantage over our adversaries when it comes to heavy-lift missions." "A long-term contract commitment is good for the warfighter, the Army customer and U.S. business," said Ken Eland, chief engineer for Boeing Tandem Rotor Programs and capture team leader for the company's CH-47F multiyear pursuit. "This award enables Boeing and our Team Chinook partners to make capital investments to reduce lead times for parts and components, improve parts availability and provide for a more accurate delivery schedule, which will enable greater precision in fielding the Chinook to U.S. Army units." Boeing Rotorcraft Systems has delivered 48 CH-47F helicopters to the U.S. Army to date and has fully trained and equipped two units, with a third unit scheduled to stand up in August. Since the aircraft received its combat-ready certification from the Army in 2007, the F-model has completed several thousand flight hours, including deployments to Liberia in support of U.S. President George Bush, and is currently undergoing its first deployment to Iraq. As with its predecessors, the CH-47F continues to excel across the full spectrum of operational missions, including air assault, combat re-supply, humanitarian relief, search and rescue, and transport operations. Built at the Boeing Rotorcraft Systems facility in Ridley Township, Pa., the CH-47F helicopter delivers greater mission-critical capability for the warfighter with a newly designed, improved airframe, a Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit, and a BAE-designed Digital Advanced Flight Control System (DAFCS). The CAAS greatly improves aircrew situational awareness, and DAFCS provides dramatically improved flight-control capabilities through the entire flight envelope, significantly improved performance and safety in the harshest of environments. CAAS also incorporates an advanced digital map display and a data transfer system that allows storing of preflight and mission data. Improved survivability features include the Common Missile Warning and Improved Countermeasure Dispenser systems. Powered by two 4,733-horsepower Honeywell engines, the new CH-47F can reach speeds greater than 175 mph and transport more than 21,000 pounds. The CH-47F, with the Robertson Aviation Extended Range Fuel System, has a mission radius of more than 400 nautical miles. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32.1 billion business with 71,000 employees worldwide.

Brazil Restarts Big-Ticket Procurement with an Eye to the Future

Brazil Restarts Big-Ticket Procurement with an Eye to the Future (NSI News Source Info) NEWTOWN, Conn. - August 28, 2008: Although Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has no doubt been stirred by Venezuela's military buildup, he also recognizes the need for his own country to rectify its deficient level of armaments in order to strengthen Brazil's position as a regional leader. He has increased pressure to make funds available for two ambitious military programs, previously sidelined due to funding problems, in order to fulfill some of the armed forces' pressing equipment needs. In addition, a new strategic plan is being drafted that will garner long-term economic and military benefits for the entire nation. Between 2006 and 2007, the two largest programs for the armed forces were pushed to the back burner and essentially dropped altogether because of funding problems. After years of consecutive budget shortfalls, the ambitious nuclear submarine and fighter jet plans for the Navy and Air Force, respectively, were scuttled. However, the government, finally recognizing the urgent need for these requirements, has allocated funding for each program. One such program, the Air Force’s fighter requirement, was resurrected in November 2007, with the selection process initiated in January 2008. An initial budget of $2.2 billion has been designated for procurements. New plans have been drafted for the requirement, and the program has been renamed project FX-2. The new plan calls for the entire fighter fleet to be replaced, with the first batch of 36 fighter aircraft to be procured by 2013. In addition, the Navy's nuclear submarine plans have been dusted off in recognition of Brazil's need to protect its naval interests. The long-term priority of the Navy has been the development of a nuclear propulsion program. The discovery of large oil reserves in Brazilian waters has focused attention on Brazil’s need to protect its offshore oil platforms. Finally, in February of this year, the government announced that Argentina and Brazil will jointly develop the nuclear reactor for the submersible program; France will provide the basic design of the submarine. The design and construction of the hull alone will take between 12 and 14 years, with the overall program not yielding tangible results until sometime between 2020 and 2024. In a show of commitment, $82 million has been designated for the program in the 2008 budget. Still, despite these ambitious programs, all three branches of the armed forces are saddled with aging equipment. The government has asked each branch to draft revised procurement plans based on necessity. Also being drafted is a new "Strategic Plan for National Defense," which will be presented on September 7, 2008. "Plans are expected to shift defense priorities away from the southern borders to the Amazon region in the north, the Atlantic coast, and air space," said Rebecca Barrett, Forecast International analyst and author of the study. "Plans will also involve the armed forces and the domestic defense industry in long-term technological and economic growth. Furthermore, plans are to focus on a rapid deployment model, with modular regional brigades that could quickly reach an area of contention at any given moment." Also expected to be outlined in the new strategic plan is the government's interest in including technology transfer along with future procurements, which will have long-term economic benefits for the military, as well as industry. In this regard, the Brazilian government views this spate of modernizations as being highly beneficial on two fronts: the military itself will benefit from new equipment, and the national economy will be bolstered by a more advanced industrial capacity. Forecast International, Inc., is a leading provider of Market Intelligence and Analysis in the areas of aerospace, defense, power systems and military electronics. Based in Newtown, Conn., USA, Forecast International specializes in long-range industry forecasts and market assessments used by strategic planners, marketing professionals, military organizations, and governments worldwide.

Afghans take over Kabul security

Afghans take over Kabul security
(NSI News Source Info) Kabul - August 28, 2008: A lot of money is being spent on training Afghan troops. Afghan security forces have begun taking over command of the capital, Kabul, from the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf). With this, the security operation in the capital will become Afghan-led. It is a largely symbolic move and there will be little immediate impact on foreign forces still patrolling parts of the city. Isaf is keen to play down the transfer of power for fear that insurgents will try to destabilise the process.
Little difference President Hamid Karzai announced in June that responsibility for the capital's security would be handed over to the Afghan government, but there is no ceremony planned for the handover process, which the Afghan ministry of defence says will take a few days. More than 60,000 foreign troops are deployed in Afghanistan. It is a symbolic move to show the confidence in Afghanistan's security forces. There will be little difference to the number of Afghan and international troops on the streets of Kabul. The police and intelligence personnel at the National Directorate of Security are already credited for reducing the number of suicide attacks in the capital and for preventing insurgents from getting a foothold in Kabul. There are more than 60,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan and an intensive programme has been put in place to train and mentor an Afghan army of 80,000 by the beginning of 2009. Efforts to train and equip the Afghan National Police are much further behind, but billions of dollars are being ploughed into the security forces - an investment which it is hoped will eventually allow international forces to pull out of the country.

Russia seeks support from China, Central Asia in Georgia dispute

Russia seeks support from China, Central Asia in Georgia dispute (NSI News Source Info) DUSHANBE - August 28, 2008: Russia's president said on Thursday he expects China and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to support Russia's role in Georgia following the recent conflict. Western powers have warned Russia that it faces "international isolation" over its continued security presence in Georgia, three weeks on from Tbilisi's attack on breakaway South Ossetia, and over its recognition of Georgia's rebel regions as independent. Dmitry Medvedev, in Tajikistan for a two-day SCO summit, said: "We are confident that the position of SCO member states will produce an appropriate resonance through the international community, and I hope this will give a serious signal to those who are trying to justify the aggression that was committed." The security bloc, seen as a counterweight to NATO's influence in Eurasia, comprises China, Russia, and four Central Asian states - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

S.Ossetia says Georgian drone shot down over capital

S.Ossetia says Georgian drone shot down over capital (NSI News Source Info) TSKHINVALI - August 28, 2008: A Georgian unmanned reconnaissance plane was shot down early on Thursday over the South Ossetian capital, a local Interior Ministry official said. "A Georgian drone was flying from south to north over Tskhinvali at 00.10 Moscow time (20.10 GMT). South Ossetian military units opened fire at the UAV and shot it down," said acting Interior Minister Mikhail Mindzayev. He also said several illegal armed groups were operating near the capital under orders from Georgian authorities to conduct subversive activities and terrorist acts. "To prevent these activities, South Ossetian security-related forces, including police, are forming special counter-terrorist units," Mindzayev said. On Wednesday, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of Russia's General Staff, said a Georgian reconnaissance drone made a flight at 3.15 p.m. Moscow time [11.15 GMT] over South Ossetia, spying on places of deployment and movement routes of Russian military detachments, in violation of existing agreements. Numerous flights by reconnaissance drones over South Ossetia were reported by Russian peacekeepers before Georgia launched its devastating military offensive against the region on August 8. Russia officially recognized South Ossetia, along with breakaway Abkhazia, as independent countries on Tuesday.

Western powers condemn Russia over Georgian rebel regions

Western powers condemn Russia over Georgian rebel regions (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - August 28, 2008: Seven of the world's leading industrialized nations have condemned Russia's decision to recognize Georgia's breakaway republics as independent, while calling on Moscow to withdraw its troops from Georgia. Russia officially recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia on Tuesday despite Western warnings, saying the move was needed to protect the regions following Georgia's August 8 offensive against South Ossetia. "We, the Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom, condemn the action of our fellow G8 member," the statement, released by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday, said. "We deplore Russia's excessive use of military force in Georgia and its continued occupation of parts of Georgia. We call unanimously on the Russian government to implement in full the six point peace plan brokered by [French] President [Nicolas] Sarkozy on behalf of the EU, in particular to withdraw its forces behind the pre-conflict lines." Russia insists that it is in full compliance with the six-point peace deal, which allowed Russia to take extra security measures to prevent further violence. Three weeks on from the conflict, Russia maintains peacekeepers in a 'buffer zone' between Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The ceasefire deal, signed by Russian President Medvedev, made no mention of Georgia's territorial integrity. Moscow has said Georgia lost its right to Abkhazia and South Ossetia when it launched its ground and air offensive against South Ossetia's capital, killing large numbers of civilians, mainly Russian nationals. The Western diplomats' statement said Russia's recognition of the provinces "violates the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia and is contrary to UN Security Council Resolutions supported by Russia." The current standoff, in which ties between NATO and Russia have been frozen, has sparked media speculation that the seven leading industrial powers could oust Russia from the Group of Eight. However, the statement avoided any hint of such a move, and British Foreign Minister David Miliband stressed on Wednesday that there were no such plans.

Russian analyst points to link between Georgian attack and Iran

Russian analyst points to link between Georgian attack and Iran (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - August 28, 2008: A senior Russian military analyst said on Wednesday that the U.S. and NATO by arming Tbilisi used the conflict in Georgia as a dress rehearsal for a future military operation in Iran. Col. Gen Leonid Ivashov, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Studies, told a news conference at RIA Novosti, "We are close to a serious conflict - U.S. and NATO preparations on a strategic scale are ongoing. In the operation the West conducted on Georgian soil against Russia - South Ossetians were the victims or hostages of it - we can see a rehearsal for an attack on Iran. There is a great deal of "new features" that today are being fine tuned in the theater of military operations." He said the likelihood of a war against Iran was growing with each passing day, "As a result, the situation in the region will become destabilized," and added "causing chaos and instability" was becoming Washington's official policy line. Ivashov said it was difficult to predict how other countries would react to a conflict with Iran, but according to him, "old Europe" would be reluctant for events to develop and to some degree would become Russia's allies. With regard to the Georgia-South Ossetian conflict, he said that one of the principal goals of NATO's "geopolitical operation" was to neutralize Russia as a global player. South Ossetia was attacked by Georgian forces on August 8. Hundreds of people died in the assault, and Russia subsequently launched an operation to expel Georgian forces from the republic. Moscow concluded its operation to "force Georgia to peace" on August 12. President Dmitry Medvedev signed decrees on Tuesday recognizing Georgia's breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Western political leaders have condemned Russia's decision leading to fears of a renewed Cold War. U.S. President George Bush said in a statement on Tuesday: "Russia's action only exacerbates tensions and complicates diplomatic negotiations."