Tuesday, September 02, 2008

China is becoming a big oil consumer

China is becoming a big oil consumer (NSI News Source Info) September 2, 2008: Chinese oil consumption (most of it imported) continues to rise, to 7.4 million barrels a day (global demand is over 80 million barrels a day, the U.S. accounts for a quarter of that). The government controls fuel prices, and raised them over the Summer. This did not reduce demand as much as expected. Oil use has largely kept pace with annual increases in economic activity (10 percent a year for nearly two decades), and that has been a major factor in the world price of oil more than tripling in the last decade. But this has made China more dependent on sea routes to the Persian Gulf and Africa (where China gets most of its oil). Thus the growing interest in expanding the size of the fleet. China is no longer a self-sufficient "continental" power, as it had been for thousands of years. Now China is dependent on international trade to keep its economy going. As the U.S. has cracked down on terrorists using the international banking system. In response, the terrorists have sought out countries that would allow their banks to deal with terrorists, and are immune to pressure from the United States. Chinese banks have thus become the favorite of international terrorist organizations, at least those that do not operate in China, or are hostile to China.

U.S. Air Force developed LJDAM

U.S. Air Force developed LJDAM (NSI News Source Info) September 2, 2008: The U.S. Air Force has, after three years of development, introduced the LJDAM (Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition). The main difference between JDAM and LJDAM is the sensor unit. There are now two sensors, one for GPS guidance, and a laser seeker sensor, turning the JDAM into the LJDAM. The aircraft dropping the bomb can now use its laser designator to track a moving target, and the LFDAM bomb hits it. A LJDAM can hit a vehicle moving at over 60 kilometers an hour. LJDAM was supposed to enter service last year, but there were several small reliability problems that had to be fixed. The main reason for developing LJDAM was to give the air force an inexpensive weapon that can be used against enemy vehicles. Most specifically, against Iraqi terrorists who are discovered planting a roadside bomb, and then jump into their pickup truck and speed away. The smallest LJDAM, one using a 500 pound bomb, costs about $40,000. A 670 pound laser guided Maverick missile costs $150,000. Britain developed a version of the laser guided, 106 pound Hellfire (called Brimstone) that can be launched from "fast movers" (jet fighters), that costs about half as much as Maverick. The U.S. never adopted Brimstone. Hellfire size weapons are the preferred way to destroy fleeing enemy vehicles. That's because only a few pounds of explosives are involved, limiting the casualties to any nearby civilians. U.S. helicopters and UAVs carry Hellfire. A 500 pound bomb contains about a hundred times as much explosives (280 pounds) as a Hellfire.

North Korean 007 uncovered

North Korean 007 uncovered
(NSI News Source Info) September 2, 2008: For decades, South Korea believed that North Korea would try to sneak spies into South Korea by having agents pretend to be refugees. But none of these agents was never caught, until now. A 35 year old North Korean woman, Jong Hwa Won was recently arrested after being observed by South Korean intelligence for three years. The South Koreans were hoping Won would lead them to other North Korean spies, but she appeared to be operating alone. Won was a professional, and was sent to northern China a decade ago to help the Chinese identify North Korean refugees (who were then sent back to North Korea, where they were punished, and sometimes killed.) Won had a secondary mission, to arrange the kidnapping of South Korean businessmen, and transporting them to North Korea (for what purpose is unknown, apparently even Won did not know). The kidnapping mission was cancelled before it could be carried out, and Won was ordered to get into South Korea as a refugee from the north. She did this in 2001 by the simple expedient of marrying a South Korean man doing business in China. As soon as Won got to South Korea, she divorced her husband, and offered her services to the South Korean army as a lecturer on conditions in North Korea. Won is apparently quite convincing in whatever she does, and she was soon going around to South Korea military bases lecturing on the evils of communism. Won's main mission South Korea was to locate high ranking North Korean defectors living in the south, and kill them. She was never able to make much progress in that area. She was able to collect a lot of low level intel on the South Korean military. She did this by getting friendly with South Korean officers and used sexual relationships to get obtain classified information, especially anything on high level North Korean defectors. This is apparently how she was found out, but at least one officer, a captain nine years younger than Won, continued passing along classified info even after he figured out she was a North Korean spy. Won would travel to China to pass information to North Korean intelligence officials, who would carry it back to North Korea. As far as the South Korean can tell, she never got anyone into bed who had access to really useful stuff. There are over 14,000 North Korean refugees living in South Korea, and they number arriving each week has gone from 30 to nearly a 100 in the last five years. Many more are getting out of North Korea, but it's difficult to get from China to South Korea. This is usually done by travelling across China to a Southeast Asian nation, like Thailand, and asking for political asylum there. That usually results in the South Korean government stepping in and transporting the North Korean refugees to South Korea. China does not want to encourage North Koreans to sneak into China, by making it easy to get to South Korea from China. There are believed to be at over 300,000 North Korean refugees in northern China, all of them there illegally. A survey of these revealed that 40 percent of them had never encountered any foreign food aid, and that nearly all of them left North Korea because of food shortages.

U.S. Marines with new SMAW II

U.S. Marines with new SMAW II (NSI News Source Info) September 2, 2008: The U.S. Marine Corps is getting a new and improved SMAW II, to replace the current SMAW rocket launcher. The marines found the LAW and AT/4 warheads (2.2 and four pounds, respectively) often too small, and bought the Israeli B300 (renamed SMAW, for Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon) in the mid-1980s. This is a 17 pound launcher that costs $14,000, but is not disposable, and each launcher can fire hundreds of 14 or 15 pound rockets, up to 500 meters, before it wears out or gets broken in action. The warhead is about twice the size of the AT/4s. The marines particularly liked the thermobaric (fuel-air explosive) rocket for the SMAW. These proved very useful during the 2004 battle of Fallujah. Thermobaric warheads, when detonating in a room, first disperse a combustible mist, which is then ignited, producing an enormous explosion, that often destroys small buildings, and kills everyone in the room, and adjacent rooms and hallways. The SMAW II launcher will weigh 11 pounds and the rockets will be more accurate, more reliable, more destructive and have a range of 600 meters. SMAW II won't be ready for service for at least three years. While SMAW I was developed by Israelis, SMAW II is being developed by a Norwegian firm.

ITT Receives Full-Fielding Recommendation For It's FRCS

ITT Receives Full-Fielding Recommendation For It's FRCS (NSI News Source Info) Brighton UK - September 2, 2008: ITT has announced it has completed successful testing, and has been granted a full-fielding recommendation, for its Field Replaceable Connector System (FRCS) from the U.S. Air Force (USAF). The FRCS is a jam-resistant weapon interface connector for use on F-16 MIL-STD-1760 weapons. The connector system was developed to mate with W.L. Gore and Associates' high performance umbilical assembly for the USAF F-16 fleet. Together, the jam-resistant weapon interface connector and the umbilical assembly offer low and consistent ejection loads. Umbilical assembly life has been demonstrated and certified in an excess of 100 ejected releases. The new 'push to fit' design does not require any modification to the mating weapon or aircraft, allowing legacy interfaces and bespoke weapon test equipment to be retained. ITT's FRCS overcomes weapon separation issues seen by traditional connector systems. "ITT has been working closely with W.L. Gore and Associates for a number of years to develop low-risk technical solutions," said Paul Hills, managing director of ITT's Integrated Structures division. "By drawing on the complementary expertise of both companies, we have strengthened our position in the increasingly complex and expanding stores interface market."

Russian general promises to 'destroy' any enemy: report

Russian general promises to 'destroy' any enemy: report (NSI News Source Info) Moscow - September 2, 2008: The Russian army is capable of destroying any enemy, even one supported by the United States or Europe, a Russian general was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying on Monday. "The operation aimed at enforcing peace in Georgia showed to the world that regardless of the aggressor and whether he receives support from Europe or from beyond the Atlantic, we have everything needed to destroy him and he will be destroyed," General Valery Yevnevich said. He spoke after the opening of joint military exercises between Russia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan in the Ural region of Chelyabinsk. Russian troops overwhelmed Georgia's small, US-trained army after launching an incursion August 8 to crush an attempt by Tbilisi to restore control over South Ossetia, a Moscow-backed separatist province. Russia has not withdrawn all its troops from Georgian territory in line with a French-brokered ceacefire deal.

German convoy comes under fire in Afghanistan: Berlin

German convoy comes under fire in Afghanistan: Berlin
(NSI News Source Info) Berlin - September 2, 2008: A German convoy came under fire in Afghanistan on Monday, a defence ministry official said less than a week after a deadly attack on German troops fuelled an anguished debate over the future of the mission. The vehicles encountered handgun fire nine kilometres (six miles) north of the city of Kunduz where the Germans have their base, a defence ministry spokesman told a news conference. "Explosions whose cause was not known were also seen near the patrol," he said, adding that no one was injured. The assault came amid mounting violence in the relatively calm north of Afghanistan. Last Wednesday, an eight-vehicle convoy patrolling the outskirts of Kunduz was hit by a booby trapped bomb, killing a German soldier and injuring three others. Taliban insurgents reportedly claimed the attack. On Sunday, another German patrol was targetted by a bomb west of Kunduz. No one was injured and the vehicles incurred only minor damage. Another deadly incident Friday made major headlines here amid growing opposition to the German deployment in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Afghan and German troops killed two children and a woman by opening fire on cars that failed to stop at a checkpoint. The German defence ministry denied a report in Monday's Financial Times Deutschland newspaper that German troops had failed to follow guidelines. The escalating violence has led left-leaning opposition parties and some Social Democrats, partners in Germany's ruling coalition, to call for Berlin to pull its around 3,300 troops out of the strife-ravaged country. A top official at the defence ministry slammed the campaign as "highly problematic". "If every deadly incident is followed by demands to withdrawal the troops then it weakens the position of NATO and the soldiers on the ground," parliamentary state secretary Christian Schmidt told the Passauer Neue Presse. "The issue is far too serious to become a political tug-of-war."

Russian bombers again cloud skies in Europe's far north

Russian bombers again cloud skies in Europe's far north (NSI News Source Info) Bodoe Airbase, Norway - September 2, 2008: In scenes reminiscent of the Cold War, Russian bombers have returned to the skies in Europe's far north after years of absence, putting NATO's jet fighters on alert once again. At the Bodoe airbase, above the Arctic circle, two F-16s are always on call, ready to take off in less than 15 minutes for stand-offs with surprise visitors from Norway's eastern neighbour. "We have noticed a clear rise in Russian aerial activity over the past year," said base air commander general Per Egil Rygg. "This has given us a lot more to do," he added. In 2006, Norwegian F-16s carried out 13 emergency take-offs to "identify", as the military jargon goes, 14 Russian planes. A year later, the number of emergency take-offs leapt to 47, with a whopping 88 Russian planes "identified". The increase appears to be largely due to a decision by then-president Vladimir Putin to relaunch strategic bomber flights "on a permanent basis". Despite Russian troops being tied up in the Georgian conflict, the Norwegian air force says there has been no slowdown in the number of Russian bombers spotted. To keep up with the Russian planes, two fighter pilots and four mechanics remain on high alert at the Bodoe base 24 hours a day. Stationed in a small building near two shelters each housing an F16, one pilot slumbers fully-dressed while the other stands guard, waiting for a bright-red telephone to ring. As soon as NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre in Denmark gives the order, the pilot on guard sounds the alarm and the six men make a dash for the two jets on call, which make it into the air just minutes later. Only after they are airborne do the pilots receive their mission orders. While such manoeuvres and the frequent drone of the Russian bombers may provoke Cold War flashbacks in Bodoe, most airmen here say they are not too concerned. -- 'We make sure to mark our territory' -- "They (the Russian planes) remain in international air space at all times without violating Norway's sovereignty. They have every right to do this," Rygg pointed out. "We make sure to mark our territory, but this doesn't really worry us," he added. The government in Oslo is also rather laid-back. The reappearance of the Tu-95 "Bear" and Tu-160 "Blackjack" bombers, it says, is primarily a sign that Moscow has gained more budgetary wiggle-room, enabling it to carry out more training missions. While Norway plays down the notion that the Russian flights are a muscle-flexing demonstration, other countries have had a hard time seeing purely coincidence when Russian bombers last year for instance stroked the outer limits of Dutch airspace when the Netherlands was hosting an important NATO meeting. Or when they, also in 2007, hovered near British airspace at the height of the tensions between London and Moscow. Located just some 600 kilometres (373 miles) from the Russian border, Bodoe has always been a strategic geopolitical location for the United States and its allies, something the town's aviation museum is quick to point out. The museum, located just a stone's throw from the airbase, is home to a rare specimen of the same American U2 spy plane as the one shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960 during a secret mission that had been scheduled to end in the small Norwegian town. The Cold War tensions of that era today appear to have dissipated at the airbase, where smiling guards laxly inspect visitors before letting them out to the concrete shelters camouflaged by thick grass that house close to 40 F-16s. A good-natured 31-year-old captain, who asks to remain anonymous, explains that he is one of the fighter pilots who is regularly sent up to face-off with the Russians. "We avoid any kind of provocation," he insists. "We come from the back and we keep our distance all the time, no less than 500 feet (152 metres) from them. They proceed with their mission normally. They don't do anything special just because we're there," he adds. Unlike in one of his favorite films, "Top Gun", which he has seen at least 50 times, there are no insulting gestures or provocative moves during the high-altitude encounters, the captain said. "They take pictures and we take pictures. Sometimes we even wave at each other," he said.

Gripen NG Fighters for The Netherlands

Gripen NG Fighters for The Netherlands (NSI News Source Info) September 2, 2008: Following the submission of its proposals in response to the Dutch MoD’s F-16 Replacement programme, the Saab/Gripen team held a press conference in Den Haag to outline its proposals. The Saab proposal is a comprehensive response to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-16 fighter replacement Questionnaire. Saab is offering an all-inclusive package comprising eighty-five (85) fully compliant NATO interoperable Gripen Next Generation (NG) true multi-role fighter aircraft with unrivalled availability, tailored for the future Net Centric (NCW) operational environment. Gripen NG will meet the demanding operational requirements of the RNLAF over the next 50 years and its unrivalled multi-role capability will provide the RNLAF with tactical flexibility in an unknown future. Gripen NG offers operational dominance and flexibility with outstanding mission survivability. Air-to-air superiority is guaranteed with METEOR, AMRAAM, IRIS-T, AIM-9X, 12 missile capability, supercruise and Gripen NG’s superior situation awareness is delivered through an AESA radar, IRST, HMD, leading edge avionics design, next generation data processing and a state-of-the-art cockpit. These features, coupled with Gripen NG’s inherent Net Centric Capabilities including advanced data communications, dual datalinks, satellite comms and video links, coupled with increased range and thrust from its General Electric F414G turbofan engine. Saab is also offering a support solution that includes optimized key functions such as maintenance, training, supply and clearly defined support resources. The package includes Role Equipment for 85 aircraft including aircrew equipment, helmet-mounted displays, fuel drop tanks, pylons, EW systems, IRST systems and chaff and flare dispensers. In addition, the package includes mission support equipment, including mission planning and evaluation systems, digital map generating systems, threat library support systems, radio frequency planning systems and maintenance ground support system. The training and logistics element includes mission simulators, desktop and computer-based training systems, pilot and ground crew training as well as ground support equipment, spares, publications and aircrew and ground crew support. The Gripen NG solution meets the operational requirements of the RNLAF, delivers true multi-role capability and state-of-the-art technology. Owing to its outstanding reliability, maintainability and supportability Gripen will deliver at the most affordable acquisition and operational costs, compared to the known or predicted costs of alternative platforms. Gripen’s credible and fixed acquisition cost is based upon firm orders and known programme timescales. For the Netherlands, this would imply significant cost savings over 40+ years operation in comparison to alternative platforms. With experience from over 100,000 flight hours, current Gripen users have proven the unbeatable Life Cycle Costs of Gripen, which will be further improved in Gripen NG. Gripen industrial co-operation has a proven track record around the world. Saab AB has a successful track record from more than 20 countries and has always succeeded in fulfilling industrial co-operation commitments, as proven in for example the Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, Czech Republic, South Africa and Norway. In the Netherlands, Saab has co-operated with over 90 Dutch companies directly, or through industrial networks, with an offset delivery of 181 MEUR to date. Gripen International, through Saab AB, guarantees to deliver more than 100% of the contract value. Gripen NG fulfills all Dutch requirements and will keep the RNLAF at the leading edge of military capabilities through 2050. Gripen NG meets all of the RNLAF operational requirements, has unbeatable low acquisition, operation and support costs and with technology transfer, will provide unrivalled access enabling autonomy and increased national security. With the full support of the Swedish government, the backing of world-leading defence industrial partners, Gripen NG is the fighter for the Netherlands.

Taiwan to Scale Back Missile Development, Media Reports

Taiwan to Scale Back Missile Development, Media Reports (NSI News Source Info) September 2, 2008: Taiwan has relinquished plans to develop a missile capable of hitting Shanghai because of improving cross-strait relations, the local Chinese-language China Times claimed on Tuesday. The article, quoting unnamed sources in the military, said the National Security Council and the Ministry of National Defense had agreed not to develop a missile that could reach targets more than 1,000 kilometers away. Instead, the military would focus on the two current versions of the Hsiung Feng II E attack cruise missile with a more limited reach, the paper said. The HF-2E is a surface-to-surface missile based on the HF-2 anti-ship missile. The military released a brief statement on Monday saying that in principle, it only researched and developed defensive weapons to defend the territory, and did not attack civilian targets. The government's policy amounted to Taiwan sitting still and waiting to get hit, opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Chai Trong-rong charged in a news release on Monday. The military had abandoned its strategy of maintaining a "credible, effective deterrent," and was focusing on simple defense, Chai said. According to unnamed authorities quoted by the China Times, there are two versions of the HF-2E currently in preparation. The first has a 600-kilometer reach and will be listed for production in the military's 2009 budget. Early this year, a breakthrough was achieved developing a second version with an 800-kilometer radius. The new missile was tested successfully but is not ready for production yet, the paper said. Originally, the military had wanted to continue research and develop a version that could hit targets more than 1,000 kilometers away, but improving relations with China changed its thinking into a more protective mode, the paper claimed. Instead of developing a new version, research will now focus on strengthening the missile's accuracy and reliability, the China Times said. Because the breakthrough in developing the missile with an 800-kilometer reach happened at the beginning of the year, just before the handover of power, the issue turned into a test case for President Ma Ying-jeou's policies of improving relations with China, the paper said. The new government decided to go ahead with the production of the cruise missiles, but with China's coastal areas as their main targets, according to the China Times. The paper quoted unnamed National Security Council and military officials saying that the new policy would benefit relations with both China and the United States.

Enhancing Training for Royal Engineers

Enhancing Training for Royal Engineers (NSI News Source Info) September 2, 2008: The MoD has signed a major new deal to enhance training for the Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) at sites in Kent, Hampshire and Oxfordshire. A 30-year Public Private Partnership, worth some £3 billion pounds, will improve essential training and provide significant investment for new and refurbished soldier accommodation, delivering around 1700 soldier bedspaces. The sites affected are the RSME Headquarters and Construction Engineer School in Medway, Kent, the Combat Engineer School in Minley, Hampshire and the relocation of the Defence Explosives Ordnance Disposal School and National Search Centre from sites in Medway, to Bicester in Oxfordshire. From January 2009, military trainers will oversee private sector experts who will teach Royal Engineers skills such as bricklaying, construction and plumbing. This arrangement will free up 300 military personnel to the Field Army from the Training Division. The RSME Contract has been awarded to Holdfast Training Services, a consortium led by Babcock and Carillion. The consortium will be responsible for the delivery of training support, including equipment support, transport, retail, catering and leisure facilities across all sites. Defence Minister, Bob Ainsworth, said: "This is a landmark deal for the Royal School of Military Engineering, which secures the future delivery of world class training for the Army's engineers. "It also provides significant investment in soldier's accommodation, which is part of the overall transformation programme underway across the defence estate. These sites will now transform into efficient centres of excellence, with brand new facilities." Lt Gen Nick Parker, Commander of Regional Forces for the Army, said: "The RSME PPP contract combines our best military engineering training with best practise in the commercial sector. This will deliver improved training, for the Royal Engineers in particular, that will feed directly into front-line support." Mr John McDonough, Chief Executive, Carillion, said: "We look forward to delivering improved facilities to meet the existing and future requirements of the RSME. This builds on the excellent relationship we have developed with the MoD across a range of contracts, the most notable of which is the £12 billion Allenby Connaught project. " Mr Peter Rogers, Chief Executive, Babcock International Group said: "We have worked in close partnership with the Ministry of Defence for a number of years to bring this major project to a successful conclusion. We look forward to working with our partners to provide world-class training and facilities management services for the RSME. "This contract significantly strengthens our order book, which now stands at over £5 billion, and underpins the long term performance of our business." The changes also include the relocation of two units - the Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal School (DEODS) and the National Search Centre (NSC). The units will move from their current location at Lodge Hill and Chattenden in Medway, to Bicester in Oxfordshire. The land released in Medway will allow the development of a new, sustainable community as part of the Thames Gateway Regeneration Initiative. BACKGROUND NOTES: 1. The RSME PPP contract brings together the very best in military engineering training with best practise from the commercial sector to deliver modernisation and improvements to training over the longer term, together with better Single Living Accommodation for Service personnel, coupled with improved value for Defence. 2. Although in excess of 400 civilians will transfer to the contractor these will be handled in accordance with existing legislation; we do not envisage any redundancies arising out of this transfer. 3. The breakdown of new and refurbished bedspaces at each of the sites is as follows: Medway 400; Minley 1000; Bicester 300. The capital spend figure on Single Living Accommodation new build and refurbishment with the RSME PPP Project is some £152.5 million. This sum does not include the lifecycle cost over the 30 years. 4. The mission of the Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) is to provide well-trained and motivated Military Engineers to meet the operational requirements of the Armed Forces. (The RSME mission also includes the delivery of military working animals and their handlers, but this activity is outside the Project). The RSME is an operating division within the Army Recruiting & Training Division, which is responsible for the recruitment and individual training of all officers and soldiers in the Army. 5. The RSME PPP Project is a 30 year partnering arrangement - with Holdfast Training Services - which will involve rationalisation of the RSME estate, with significant new build and refurbishment of the existing soldier accommodation. There is therefore, significant capital investment within the proposed solution. 6. The RSME comprises a headquarters and a number of schools. HQ RSME and the Construction Engineer School are based in Medway, Kent, and the Combat Engineer School at Minley, Hampshire. The RSME occupies 12 sites in Medway and 2 sites at Minley. The Defence Explosives Ordnance Disposal School (DEODS) and the National Search Centre (NSC), under the command of the Defence College of Logistics and Personnel Administration (DCLPA), are included within the scope of the project. 7. DEODS and NSC will relocate to St Georges Barracks, Bicester, Oxfordshire. 8. The site at Bicester allows for additional expansion if operational demand requires it. Bicester is also close to the Army School of Ammunition at Kineton which forms the third element of the Defence Explosives Munitions and Search School of which DEODS and NSC are a part. Bicester is also closer to some of the Army's operational EOD units and the link between training and operations should be strengthened by the move.

National Remote Sensing Agency becomes an ISRO Centre

National Remote Sensing Agency becomes an ISRO Centre (NSI News Source Info) September 2, 2008: Considering the importance of the activities carried out in the area of aerial and satellite remote sensing, the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), an autonomous society under Department of Space (DOS) has been converted into a full-fledged Government organisation called National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) from today (September 1, 2008). NRSA was established as a registered society under the Department of Science & Technology in 1974 with the objective of undertaking and facilitating remote sensing activities in the country. The administrative control of NRSA was transferred to the Department of Space during early eighties and with the growth of indigenous efforts in space borne remote sensing, NRSA played a major role in the ground segment under the Indian Remote Sensing Programme. NRSA, through its training establishment Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Dehra Dun, has become an institution of international repute for capacity building. It is expected that, with the conversion, NRSC will, as part of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), fully integrate with other ISRO Centres in the development and operations of the ground segment of the large constellation of India Remote Sensing Satellites and will also take a bigger role during the R&D phase of IRS programme. NRSC as a Government entity, is expected to fulfill its goals playing a major role in important national programmes, through linkages with all concerned Government departments/agencies such as Ministries of agriculture, water resources, urban development, Home Affairs, etc., including the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). Dr V Jayaraman has been appointed as Director, National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad and he took charge from Dr K Radhakrishnan, the out-going Director. Dr Jayaraman holds a Bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering from University of Madras, Master of Science in electrical engineering from IIT, Madras and a Doctorate in Physics from Bangalore University. He is recognised for his contributions in the areas ranging from spacecraft systems engineering to applications development and positioning of policies & regulatory framework for integrating the high technology inputs into national development. Dr Jayaraman has brought coherence amongst technology, research and applications of direct relevance to Earth science. Dr. Jayaraman is a fellow of institution of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineers, Fellow of Indian Geophysical Union, Member of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing, Indian Society of Geomatics and Astronautical Society of India.

Saudi Defence Industry Strategy Takes Shape

Saudi Defence Industry Strategy Takes Shape (NSI News Source Info) September 2, 2008: Plans to develop military aircraft production in Saudi Arabia are moving ahead following the Kingdom's agreement to purchase Typhoon fighter jets from BAE Systems. The new deal calls for most of the aircraft to be assembled in Saudi Arabia. In March, Defence and Aviation Minister Crown Prince Sultan laid the foundation stone at King Abdulaziz Air Base in Eastern Province for a new centre to update and assemble systems for Saudi military aircraft. The complex will be developed on a 300,000sqkm site will include a range of hangars, stores for hazardous materials, workshops, fuel storage, a water desalination plant and power station as well as other utilities and infrastructure. Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to purchase 72 Typhoon Eurofighter in September 2007. The purchase, for which BAE Systems is prime contractor, is likely to be valued at up to $40bn or more in the long term as a result of additional support contracts. The aircraft purchase, designated Project Salam, follows on from the Al Yamamah agreement forged between the UK and the Kingdom in 1985 that has involved the supply of Tornado fighters, Hawk and Pilatus trainer aircraft, warships, munitions, training and support services. The agreement, which has generated an estimated $75bn of business for BAE Systems and associated sub-contractors, is now largely completed apart from ongoing support. Its successor, Project Salam is to be supported by substantial logistical and training packages' including the opportunity for British and Saudi air crews and ground technicians to train alongside each other in the UK. This will deepen the UK's involvement in the operational capability of the Saudi air force bringing the latter's training standards on a par with those of one of Nato's leading members. BAE Systems is also committed to developing a 'home market' operation in the Kingdom by creating an indigenous industrial capability for both local consumption and export markets. Following delivery of the first 24 Typhoon aircraft to the Kingdom over the next 18 months, plans are moving ahead to complete the final assembly of the remaining 48 Typhoon aircraft in Saudi Arabia. Negotiations are believed to be under way that would see an additional 24-48 Typhoons assembled locally. BAE Systems is already one the largest private sector employers in the Kingdom with over 4,600 personnel, half of whom are Saudis. The company says that the kingdom's economic reform programme and new laws attracting foreign direct investment have made it easier to plan for a more advanced stage involving both equipment assembly and original equipment manufacturing in addition to repair and maintenance. Key partnership organisations in Saudi Arabia are said to be Alsalam Aircraft, Advanced Electronics, Aircraft Accessories and Components and Saudi Development and Training. A logistics management operation is being set up and Granada Enterprises, 'a property management vehicle,' has also been established it says. BAE believes that as it develops its own engineering capability in the Kingdom, the support of international associates and suppliers is also drawn in. “This ability to act as a magnet for further growth is a key outcome of sun-rise industries. In turn, attracting component suppliers in the defence sector spawns further knowledge and technology transfer.”

US commits increased aid for Israeli missile defence

US commits increased aid for Israeli missile defence
(NSI News Source Info) September 2, 2008: The US will provide Israel with aid to face a range of emerging threats, especially long-range guided missiles from Iran or Syria. No official statement has yet been made by the US or Israeli governments. However, in August Israeli press reports stated that US aid to the Arrow 3 programme - an upgraded version of the current Arrow 2 system - is currently planned to include USD750 million until the system becomes operational in 2013. The Arrow 3 will have a longer range than the current system and be able to intercept incoming Shahab-class missiles some 500 km from Israel, about twice the range possible with the Arrow 2. The Arrow 3 system will include a new Elta Systems Black Pine radar and a new interceptor missile. The latter will be built at IAI's MALAM factory in Be'er Ya'aqov. The total programme cost (including initial procurement items) has been estimated by the Israeli Ministry of Defence as USD1.5 billion, according to Israeli press reports. Little information is available on the Arrow 3. According to US press reports, Washington has pressed Israel to use the US-developed Raytheon SM-3 system, currently operational on Aegis warships, rather than developing the Arrow 3 system. Israel declined to procure the SM-3 to replace the current Arrow system, these reports claimed, but is interested in possibly acquiring two (or more) warships that may be armed with the SM-3. Image: Israeli press reports in August said that US aid to the Arrow 3 programme - an upgraded version of the current Arrow 2 system (pictured) - is currently planned to include USD750 million until the system becomes operational in 2013. (State of Israel)

Japan 'postpones naval drills' with Russia

Japan 'postpones naval drills' with Russia (NSI News Source Info) TOKYO - September 2, 2008: The Japanese government has decided to postpone joint exercises with the Russian Navy citing recent events in the Caucasus and tensions between Russia and the West, a Japanese defense source said on Tuesday. The 10th joint sea search-and-rescue exercises near the Japanese naval base at Sasebo were scheduled to begin on September 9. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told RIA Novosti that Japan had followed a decision by NATO countries, which earlier decided to suspend all joint military maneuvers with Russia. However, he said Russia should not jump to conclusions over Japan's decision. "The Japanese government highly appreciates the fact that Russia does not equate the development of air and missile defenses around Japan to the placement of a U.S. missile shield in Europe," the source said. Meanwhile, the spokesman for Russia's Pacific Fleet, Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov, told RIA Novosti on Tuesday that Russia had not received any official statement from Japan regarding the postponement of the exercise. "The large ASW ship Admiral Panteleyev is ready to sail to the Sea of Japan on September 5-6 to participate in the joint exercise," he said. Japan and Russia have been conducting annual joint search-and-rescue exercises in the Sea of Japan since 1998.