Thursday, September 18, 2008
Eurocopter Fires Spike Missile From HAD Tiger (NSI News Source Info) El Arenosillo, Spain (SPX) September 19, 2008: As part of the development of the HAD (support and destruction helicopter) version of the Tiger, Eurocopter successfully completed a firing campaign using the Spike air-to-ground missile. This campaign was conducted at the El Arenosillo firing range in Spain, which belongs to the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA). For air-to-ground missions, the Spanish helicopters will be equipped with the fiber-optic guided Spike missile developed by the Israeli company Rafael. Spain is currently one of two customers for the HAD version of the Tiger: the Spanish armed forces have ordered 24 of these aircraft, and France has ordered 40 HAD version Tigers. For air-to-ground missions, the Spanish helicopters will be equipped with the fiber-optic guided Spike missile developed by the Israeli company Rafael. Seven missiles were fired in El Arenosillo. Five were launched without their main propulsion units, as the sole aim was to validate the helicopter/weapon integration concept and to clear the firing envelope, ensuring that the weapon separated cleanly from the helicopter during firing. This was checked in hover and in forward flight. The other two missiles were able to hit their targets six to eight kilometers away as these infrared guided missiles were equipped with their propulsion units. The first missile was fired in the lock on before launch (LOBL) mode and the second in the lock on after launch (LOAL) mode. Six of the missiles were fired by an all-Eurocopter crew, and the seventh (fired in LOBL launch) by a crew made up of a Eurocopter pilot in the front seat and a Spanish gunner-commander in the rear. All of the missiles were fired successfully.
Japan shoots down test missile in US: ministry (NSI News Source Info) Tokyo (AFP) September 19, 2008: Japan said Thursday it had shot down a mock missile in the US desert, taking another step to build a shield with the United States against a possible North Korean attack. Japan became the first country other than the United States to test the new US-developed Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3), a surface-to-air missile that tracks and hits incoming targets, the defence ministry said. In the test Wednesday in the southwestern US state of New Mexico, Japan's air force shot down a mock missile that was launched from 120 kilometres (75 miles) away, a defence ministry spokesman said. "The success of the test was significant as it proved that Japan's missile defence system will function effectively," the spokesman said. In an irony of history, the White Sands range of Wednesday's missile test stands on the site where the United States conducted a key 1945 test to make the atomic bomb, which was later dropped on Japan. Japan has been officially pacifist since defeat in World War II but has increasingly sought to play a larger role in security. Washington and Tokyo have been working jointly to erect a missile shield against possible attacks from North Korea, which fired a missile over Japan's main island in 1998 and tested an atom bomb in 2006. A South Korean newspaper said this week that North Korea, at a standstill with the United States over a disarmament deal, had carried out an engine ignition test for a missile believed capable of reaching the US west coast. US military forces stationed in both Japan and South Korea have deployed PAC-3 missiles. Japan in December carried out on a separate test in the Pacific Ocean of a Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) sea-to-air missile. Japan plans to complete its missile shield by early 2011, deploying the PAC-3 missiles at 11 bases and setting up SM-3 missiles on four Aegis warships.
South African Defence Minister Hands Over Gripens to Air Force (NSI News Source Info) September 19, 2008: In a spectacular ceremony at AAD, Africa’s premier aerospace show, South African Gripen fighters are welcomed into the South African Air Force. Today, on the first day of the biennial Africa Aerospace and Defence show, being staged at AFB Ysterplaat in Cape Town, South Africa, history was made when Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota officially handed over the first of the country’s fleet of new generation Gripen fighters to Lt. Gen. Carlo Gagiano, Chief of the South African Air Force. The occasion was marked in style with a fly past of four of South Africa’s fleet of twenty-six Gripen fighters, with the spectacular backdrop of Cape Town’s famous Table Mountain providing some memorable photo opportunities. Following the fly past, the four aircraft landed at Ysterplaat and taxied to a position in front of Defence Minister Lekota, Lt. Gen. Carlo Gagiano and other VIP guests from the Government, Air Force and industry and the media. The pilots, including South Africa pilots Musa Mbhokota and Charl Coetzee, then de-planed and joined in the ceremony which saw Gen. Gagiano officially accept the first Gripen fighter from Minister Lekota. South Africa has ordered twenty-six Gripen fighters of the latest C/D standard, 9 two-seaters and 17 single seaters. Deliveries commenced this year, with four aircraft already in-country, and the remainder scheduled to be delivered progressively until 2012.
Lockheed Martin Inducts First C-5A Into Avionics Modernization Program (NSI News Source Info) September 19, 2008: The first C-5A Galaxy has entered the Avionics Modernization Program (AMP), which has already upgraded 42 of the planned 111 aircraft. (USAF photo)MARIETTA, Ga. --- The Lockheed Martin C-5 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) reached another milestone this week with the induction of the first U.S. Air Force C-5A into the program. "The combination of hardware and software afforded through AMP allows Air Force crews to fly unrestricted anywhere in the world," said George Shultz, Lockheed Martin's vice president of C-5 Modernization. "Modernizing the C-5As today with new avionics further ensures this unique national asset will continue to support the warfighter for many years to come." The AMP replaces the analog cockpit instruments and systems in the C-5 with digital displays and equipment. It also provides the necessary communications and navigational avionics to comply with Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) requirements, the new set of international standards for aircraft movement and reduced separation in flight. There are 111 C-5s to be modified through AMP with 42 production airplanes completed to date. The AMP installations are taking place at Dover AFB and Travis AFB and are scheduled to be completed in second quarter 2014. The C-5 AMP fleet has flown more than 9,400 sorties and 40,000 operational flight hours. The Air Force had the C-5As re-winged in the 1980s, increasing their structural service life to the equivalency of its C-5Bs. The C-5 has been the backbone of strategic airlift in every military engagement since it entered service and has supported U.S. humanitarian relief efforts around the globe. It is the only aircraft capable of carrying 100 percent of certified air-transportable cargo, with a dedicated passenger compartment enabling commanders to have troops and their equipment arrive in an area of operation simultaneously. Lockheed Martin is a pioneer in sustainment initiatives, offering a number of flexible and individually tailored support solutions. The company is a major supplier of logistics systems and services to military and civil government customers, and provides solutions for platform maintenance, modifications and repair, material readiness and distribution, and global supply chain command and control. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2007 sales of $41.9 billion.
Report: Russia May Sell Venezuela More Arms (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - September 19, 2008: Russia plans to sell Venezuela anti-aircraft systems, armored personnel carriers and fighter jets, the head of a Russian state industrial corporation was quoted as saying Sept. 18. Russia and Venezuela "are holding talks on the supply of anti-aircraft systems, modern armored cars including BMP-3 armored personnel carriers," Sergei Chemezov, head of Russian Technologies, told the Kommersant daily. Chemezov, whose corporation oversees Russian arms exports, said Venezuela was also interested in buying Su-35 fighter jets which are due to be produced beginning in 2010. Referring to a visit by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to Cuba and Venezuela this week, Kommersant said the three countries were discussing "alliance relations" as a rebuff to U.S. policies in the former Soviet Union. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said he will visit Moscow next week. The countries boosted military ties last week, when two Russian bombers landed in the South American country. Officials also are announcing plans for joint naval exercises. Venezuela has already bought Russian fighter jets, tanks and assault rifles.
U.S. Navy Accepts First LCS, Anti-Sub Module (NSI News Source Info) September 19, 2008: The U.S. Navy took delivery Sept. 18 of its first littoral combat ship, the Freedom, one of two late-week milestones in the Littoral Combat Ship program, along with the scheduled rollout Sept. 19 of the anti-submarine mission module in San Diego. "This is a truly exciting day for the Navy. Today marks a critical milestone in fulfilling the need and realizing the vision we began just a few years ago," said LCS program manager Capt. James Murdoch in an announcement Sept. 18. "Despite our challenges, the Navy and industry have continued to press on to build and deliver the first ship of a unique class, a ship class that will give our nation our own asymmetric advantages against future maritime threats." The 3,000-ton, 378-foot Freedom is the first of the Navy's warships that accept interchangeable equipment to handle three different missions: anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures and surface combat. The Sept. 19 arrival of the ASW package - which includes new sensors; Mk 54 torpedoes for the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter; and a robot submarine - was expected to signal that the Navy had finished development work on each mission module. The steel, monohull Freedom, built by Lockheed Martin, is one of two competing designs for LCS, along with the aluminum trimaran Independence, built in Mobile, Ala., by General Dynamics. Both ships are behind schedule and more than 60 percent over budget. They represent a drastic break with the way the Navy has traditionally operated. Each LCS will have two core crews of 40 sailors apiece, which will alternate tours aboard the ship. Each mission module will have its own crew that will go aboard an LCS to operate the specialized equipment. The ships also will take aboard an aviation detachment, as do today's surface warships. All together, this will make for a comparatively small ship's company of about 75 sailors, the Navy hopes, possible because each LCS is so highly automated that many spaces will be unmanned. The first members of the Freedom's Blue Crew were expected to begin moving aboard on Sept. 18 from its shipyard in Marinette, Wis. After more shakedown testing in Lake Michigan, the Freedom will sail to Milwaukee for its commissioning Nov. 8, and then out into the Atlantic, for stops at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., and Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City, Fla., to test mission modules.
Russian strategic bombers return home from Venezuela (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - September 19, 2008: Two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers returned to their base in central Russia early on Friday after a 15-hour flight home from Venezuela, a Russian Air Force spokesman said. "After a 15-hour flight two Tu-160 strategic bombers landed at their home base in Engels at 01.16 Moscow time on Friday [09.16 GMT Thursday], Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said. The bombers arrived in Venezuela on September 10 and were accompanied by NATO fighters during their 13-hour flight to the South American country. According to Drik, the bombers were carrying dummy missiles without warheads and their primary mission was to practice patrol sorties in a tropical climate. The journey back to Russia was the longest flight in the history of Russian strategic patrols, and was conducted over neutral waters in the Atlantic and the Arctic oceans. During the flight, the aircraft conducted night-time aerial refueling for the first time in recent years. Commenting on the results of the patrol mission, the deputy commander of the Russian Air Force's strategic aviation, Maj. Gen. Alexander Afinogentov said the experience of the mission would help reassess the capabilities of Tu-160 bombers and hone the crews' skills in prolonged instrumental flights. Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by then-president Vladimir Putin. Russian bombers have since carried out more than 90 strategic patrol flights and have often been escorted by NATO planes. Russia has repeatedly stated that all strategic patrol have been performed in strict accordance with international rules on the use of airspace over neutral waters, without violating the borders of other states. In addition, Russia's Foreign Ministry earlier said that the landing of strategic bombers in Venezuela did not mean that Russia had established a military base in the South American country. "Russia does not have military bases in Latin America," Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said. "The landing at the Venezuelan airbase was carried out in line with prior agreements between Russia and Venezuela." U.S. State Secretary Condoleezza Rice was biting in her remarks on Thursday concerning a patrol carried out along the South American coast by the Russian bombers during their mission. "We are confident that our ties with our neighbors ... will in no way be diminished by a few aging Blackjack bombers visiting one of Latin America's few autocracies," she said. The Tu-160 supersonic bomber with variable geometry wings has been manufactured since 1984 and was adopted by the Air Force in 1987. The bomber is designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theatres of operation. The aircraft has all-weather, day-and-night capability and can operate at all geographical latitudes. Its two internal rotary launchers can each hold 6 Raduga Kh-55 cruise missiles or 12 Raduga Kh-15 short-range nuclear missiles. Russia currently has 16 modernized Tu-160 bombers in service with the strategic aviation. They feature a new set of fire-control systems, overhauled navigation equipment and avionics.
Russia successfully test launches Bulava missile from submarine (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - September 19, 2008: The Russian Navy on Thursday successfully tested a Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile, which hit targets on testing grounds in Kamchatka in Russia's Far East, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry said. The Bulava, designed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, is carried by Borey-class Project 955 nuclear-powered submarines. Fourth-generation Borey-class nuclear-powered submarines armed with Bulava missiles will form the core of Russia's fleet of modern strategic submarines. The first submarine in the series, the Yury Dolgoruky, was built at the Sevmash plant in the northern Arkhangelsk Region and will soon join the Russian Navy. It will be equipped with 16 Bulava (SS-NX-30) ballistic missiles, each carrying up to 10 nuclear warheads and having a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). Two other Borey-class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, are currently under construction at the Sevmash plant.
Iran completes large-scale Air Force, air defense drills (NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN - September 19, 2008: Iran has completed a three-day series of Air Force and missile defense exercises throughout the country, the Air Force commander said Thursday. "The exercise, named Defenders of Velayat, is successfully completed," Brigadier General Ahmad Mighani said. "We have accomplished all set tasks of the maneuvers." Iran has conducted several high-profile war games this year, while promising a powerful retaliation in the event of any act of aggression against the country. The United States and Israel have consistently refused to rule out the possibility of military action against Iran over its refusal to halt its nuclear program. Iran recently took delivery of 29 Russian-made Tor-M1 air defense missile systems under a $700 million contract signed in late 2005. Russia has also trained Iranian Tor-M1 specialists, including radar operators and crew commanders. In July, Iran successfully launched an upgraded Shahab-3 ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km (1,240 miles), and several missiles with a range of 350 kilometers (217 miles) as part of the Great Prophet III military exercise in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, drawing a new wave of international criticism. Iran is currently under three sets of relatively mild UN Security Council sanctions for defying demands to halt uranium enrichment, which it says it needs purely for electricity generation despite Western accusations that the program is geared toward weapon production.
Pantsyr S1 Air Defense Missile / Gun System, Russia (NSI News S0urce Info) September 18, 2008: Pantsyr-S1 (also known as Pantsir) is a close-in air defence system designed to defend ground installations against a variety of weapons including both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, ballistic and cruise missiles, precision-guided munitions and unmanned air vehicles. It can also engage light-armoured ground targets. It was designed by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau of Tula, Russia, and is manufactured by the Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant, Ulyanovsk, Russia. "Pantsyr-S1 (Pantsir) is a close-in air defence system designed to defend ground installations against a variety of weapons." The system is undergoing trials with the Russian Air Force, with first deliveries of production systems due in 2008. In May 2000, the United Arab Emirates ordered 50 Pantsyr-S1 systems, half to be mounted on tracked GM-352M1E vehicles from Minskiy Traktorniy Zavod of Belarus and half on wheeled chassis. The first batch of was delivered in November 2004. However a new radar was requested by the UAE and first deliveries of the completed system are planned for 2007. Final deliveries are scheduled for 2009. It has been reported that Syria has placed an order for 50 Pantsyr-S1 systems with deliveries to begin by the end of 2007. Jordan has also place an order for an undisclosed number of systems.
Firing of the two 30mm 2A72 guns
The Pantsyr-S1 air defence system.
ARMAMENT Pantsyr-S1 carries 12 57E6 surface-to-air missiles on launchers. The missile has a bicalibre body in tandem configuration, separable booster and sustainer with separation mechanism. The sustainer contains the warhead and contact and proximity fuses. The fragmentation rod warhead weighs 16kg. The missile weighs 65kg at launch and has a maximum speed of 1,100m/s. Range is from 1km to 12km. Two 2A72 30 mm guns are fitted with 750 rounds of a variety of ammunition - HE (High Explosive) fragmentation, fragmentation tracer, armour-piercing with tracer. Ammunition type can be selected by the crew depending on the nature of the target. Maximum rate of fire is 700 rounds per minute. Range is up to 4km. FIRE CONTROL The Pantsyr-S1 fire control system includes a target acquisition radar and dual waveband tracking radar, which operates in the mm and cm waveband. Detection range is 30km and tracking range is 24km for a 2cm² - 3cm² target. This radar tracks both targets and the surface-to-air missile while in flight. As well as radar, the fire control system also has an electro-optic channel with long-wave thermal imager and infrared direction finder, including digital signal processing and automatic target tracking. A simplified, lower-cost version of Pantsyr-S1 is also being developed for export, with only the electro-optic fire control system fitted. "The radar tracks both targets and the surface-to-air missile while in flight." The two independent guidance channels - radar and electro-optic - allow two targets to be engaged simultaneously. Maximum engagement rate is 12 targets a minute. The Pantsyr-S1E systems for the UAE will be fitted with a new MRLS fire control radar. MRLS is a phased array radar operating at 40 GHz (K-band), with a range of up to 28km. VEHICLE Pantsyr-S1 is mounted on a 10t Ural-5323 truck chassis with a turret that houses the armament, laying drives, sensors, control equipment and crew. The Ural-5323 truck is four-axle, 8 x 8 all-wheel drive with single tyre wheels. The first and second axle wheels are steerable. The engine is an air-cooled diesel Ural-745.10 providing 290hp. The dual-plate mechanical clutch has a pneumatic booster and three-range five-speed gearbox. A two-stage transfer case has lockable symmetrical interaxle differential. Suspension is by rigid-axle bogie on longitudinal semi-elliptical leaf springs. Front suspension is fitted with hydraulic shock absorbers. The Ural-5323 can ford up to 1.75m of water. A shelter-based version of the Pantsyr-S1 is also being developed.
King Abdullah of Jordan's growing arms ties to Russia
(NSI News Source Info) Moscow - September 18, 2008: Three events have come together independently. But they produced an intrigue that has hooked both politicians and media in the Middle East. Here is what happened. First, Moscow hosted MVSV-2008, an international show of weapons and military equipment. Then King Abdullah II of Jordan visited the show, met with designers and producers, and had a discussion with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. A few days earlier, President Bashar Assad of Syria had flown in for talks with Medvedev. The press and television in Amman, Damascus and Tel Aviv made much of the events, especially the Syrian visit. Israeli media claimed Assad had arrived on a purchasing spree, and his main aim was to buy the Iskander-E tactical missile system, in addition to Pantsyr-S1 and Buk-M2 ground-to-air missile systems and Sukhoi Su-30, MiG-29SMT and MiG-31E fighters. The Iskander missile had been promised to Damascus in 2001, and only a personal request by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to former President Vladimir Putin put a stop to its sale to Syria. But now that Israel has helped to train Georgian commandos and equip the Georgian army that attacked South Ossetia, Moscow is within its rights to "repay the debt" and provide Damascus with the system, the media in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv said. Yet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters during Assad's visit that Moscow "is ready to supply Syria only with defensive weapons, ones that do not upset the balance of strength in the region." This means Syria, as Moscow promised to Tel Aviv, will not get the Iskander system. Regarding ground- and air-based air defense units, including interceptor fighters, they are not considered offensive armaments and are immune from Russian-Israeli agreements. It is another matter that military technical cooperation between Moscow and Damascus needs re-evaluating. Syria owes Russia $3 billion for weapons supplied to it, and this on top of Damascus' $10 billion debt for armaments sold in Soviet times that Moscow forgave, incidentally, for a pledge to spend another $2 billion on arms purchases from Russia. Contracts currently being negotiated include Pantsyr and Buk missile systems, as well as Sukhoi and MiG fighters, but not Iskander missiles. The parties are also discussing the expansion of a Russian naval maintenance base at the Syrian port of Tartus. Any movement of Black Sea Fleet forces from Sevastopol to Syria, as some Middle East publications suggest, is, of course, out of the question. But a supply and maintenance center for warships on missions in the Mediterranean will come in handy for Moscow. In the Soviet era, the Soviet navy's 5th Mediterranean Squadron made full use of this port. The visit to Moscow of King Abdullah II of Jordan did not produce as much excitement as the trip by Assad to Sochi, perhaps because problems between Jordan and Israel are not as serious as between Tel Aviv and Damascus. Discussions mainly focused on military-technical cooperation between Moscow and Amman, rather than on Middle East issues. This cooperation is now on the rise, Medvedev said during the meeting. "Our relations are making good headway; this is our third meeting in six months, and that points to the intensity of our contacts and good-neighbor relations," the Russian president said, opening the discussion. "Trade between our countries grows steadily, although both countries would like to see it develop more quickly."
Kaman Begins Hunt for Seasprite Buyers (NSI News Source Info) September 18, 2008: Kaman has begun marketing the Super Seasprite naval helicopters being returned by Australia following termination of the SH-2G(A) program in March. The U.S.-based test aircraft will be displayed at a Black Sea defense trade show in Bucharest, Romania, at the end of September, with Kaman eyeing new Eastern European NATO members as potential customers. Under the agreement reached with Australian government, ownership of the 11 Seasprites is being transferred to Kaman and the company has guaranteed to pay Canberra at least $37 million over three years regardless of whether it sells the helicopters (Aerospace DAILY, March 6). Title transfer is being worked through the U.S. State Department and is "imminent", says Kaman Helicopters president Sal Bordonaro. The other 10 aircraft are at Nowra airbase in Australia. Kaman is offering to deliver the renamed SH-2G(I) Super Seaspites to a new customer or customers "within six months," he says, and at "a great cost advantage" over competing small-ship naval helicopters. The Australian program was terminated after prolonged delays in achieving full operational capability because of problems developing the integrated tactical avionics system (ITAS). But Bordonaro says the helicopters are ready for delivery to another customer. When termination was agreed "we were just months away from delivering the full capability offered to Australia," he says. Australia never formally accepted the ITAS software, but it had been through "a robust, comprehensive test program. We are now cleaning up the software with [integrator CSC Australia]," he adds. Kaman is taking over not only the helicopters, but also a full-motion simulator, operations and training manuals, and spares and support equipment. These could be used to set up a regional support center if the helicopters are sold more to than one country within a region, such as the Black Sea, says Bordonardo. Kaman needs to sell the helicopters to help meet its commitment to pay at least $25 million to Australia by March 2011, followed by $6 million payments in 2012 and 2013.
Sats Help Special Ops In Hunt For Terrorists
(NSI News Source Info) September 18, 2008: Images from high-resolution military spacecraft, combined with powerful change detection software at ground processing facilities, is enabling the space-based identification and tracking of specific Taliban and al Qaeda individuals in the isolated villages and rugged terrain of Afghanistan. This imagery is being passed to U.S. Army Special Forces and Navy Seal teams looking for individuals, even down to specific bomb-makers hiding out in mud huts in the region. The imagery is being carried by these commando teams as they move from village to village in Afghanistan trying to sort genuine civilians from the enemy. The capability is operational, but on a limited basis because the tasking is already high on Advanced KH-11 type spacecraft involved in the imaging. More revolutionary capability is under final development at the new ATK Space Division in Beltsville, Md., where the Air Force Research Laboratory TacSat-3 spacecraft to be launched later this year is being equipped with a hyperspectral imaging system. Once in orbit it will be tasked by commanders in the field for the delivery of one-meter resolution hyperspectral data with far more intelligence data content than comparable optical images. The system is being developed by the ARTEMIS (Advanced Responsive Tactically Effective Military Imaging Spectrometer) project.
The US Navy’s Stiletto demonstrator September 18, 2008 NSI News Source Info The US Navy’s Stiletto demonstrator, which combines a top speed of over 50 kts with a draft of 2.5 feet, has completed a 7-month operational deployment in the Caribbean.
Spain Buys South African's RG-31 APC (NSI News Source Info) September 18, 2008: Spain has bought a hundred RG-31 (Nyala) armored vehicles for about a million dollars each. The 85 APC (armored personnel carrier) versions will have a remotely (from inside the vehicle) operated 12.7mm machine-gun. Dozens of RG-31s have given good service recently in Afghanistan, used by Canadian troops. Three have encountered Taliban bombs, leaving a total of eight passengers injured, and one dead. One Nyala, after getting hit by a powerful roadside bomb, was able to get home under its own power, with a crew that was shaken, but not injured. The Nyala is a South African vehicles, designed to resist landmines and roadside bombs. It was developed from the earlier Mamba armored personnel carrier, and has an excellent track record. The wheeled (4x4) vehicle weighs up to 17 tons, and can carry 3.5 tons of cargo and up to eleven people. Although armed only with a .50 caliber machine-gun, the Nyala earns its way by being the first one down roads where mines or roadside bombs may be encountered. The Nyala is becoming popular with NGOs operating in dangerous areas, as it does not look particularly military (especially if the machine-gun is removed), even though it is definitely a combat ready vehicle. Spain is also getting ten ambulance and five command post versions.
India Deploys More Fighter Jets in Kashmir (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI - September 18, 2008: India has deployed its top fighter jets in its part of disputed Kashmir bordering Pakistan, officials and a report said Sept. 17. At least six Soviet-built Sukhoi-30MKI jets, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, have been deployed at Avantipura air force base near Kashmir's largest city, Srinagar. The base is equipped with crash-prone MiG-21 jets, which India first imported from the Soviet Union in the 1960s. "The Sukhois had been held deep down our strategic corridor in Pune, and their deployment in Kashmir will address any perceived threat," an air force official said on condition of anonymity. "But this is a defensive stance." Air Marshal P.K. Barbora, commander of India's Western Air Command, was quoted by the Hindustan Times newspaper as saying the deployment was "temporary." India acquired 60 Sukhoi-30s in 2001. The twin-seater frontline jets can carry eight tons of armaments, including nuclear bombs, and cruise at a speed of 3,200 kilometers (1,988 miles) an hour. The air force official said the Sukhois would patrol Indian borders extending up to China and fly across Kashmir's rugged Kargil peaks, where India and Pakistan fought a mini-war in 1999. The Indian air force is also planning to deploy up to 40 Sukhoi jets in the northeast close to the border with China, the official added. The Kashmir deployment comes amid strains in the India-Pakistan peace process, with New Delhi accusing Islamabad of renewed support for cross-border militancy and cease-fire violations along the Line of Control dividing Kashmir. The two countries have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since their independence in 1947. Each holds the region in part but claims it in full.
Patriot Missiles Delivered to S. Korea (NSI News Source info) SEOUL - September 18, 2008: South Korea said Sept. 17 that it has taken delivery of Patriot missiles to protect against attack by North Korea and they would be operational within two years. The delivery is part of Seoul's plan to build its own defense system against North Korea's major missile capability. "We have set 2010 as a target year for deploying Patriot missiles for operational use," defense ministry spokesman Won Tae-Jae told a briefing. "We are in the middle of taking them over." He said the Patriots were being checked before deployment but refused to reveal how many had been delivered or when or where they would be deployed. South Korea previously announced plans to buy 48 secondhand PAC-2 Patriot missiles from Germany starting this year. The U.S., which bases 28,500 troops in South Korea, has upgraded its Patriot batteries there with advanced PAC-3 missiles to better protect its troops and bases. The U.S. and its allies regard the North's missile development as a major threat to regional security, on top of its nuclear ambitions. North Korea has deployed two types of Scud missile with a range of 300 to 500 kilometers (187 to 312 miles), as well as Rodongs, which have a range up to 1,300 kilometers. It is developing longer-range Taepodong missiles that could theoretically reach Alaska. Defence officials in Seoul believe the North has 300 to 500 Scuds or Rodongs. The North alarmed the region by test-firing a Taepodong-1 in 1998 over Japan. It test-launched a Taepodong-2 in 2006 but failed. The communist state is building a new launch site for long-range missiles on its west coast and reportedly carried out an engine ignition test for the Taepodong-2 there this year. Army Gen. Walter Sharp, the U.S. troop commander in South Korea, said in April that the country was vulnerable to North Korean missile attacks and should develop a "systematic" missile defense system. Despite being a longtime U.S. ally, South Korea has not joined the U.S. and Japan in efforts to develop joint missile defenses.
Malaysian AF Pushes for AEW&C Aircraft (NSI News Source Info) Taipei - September 18, 2008: Malaysia plans to acquire up to eight airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, Armed Forces chief Gen. Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal said Sept. 15. The requirement has existed for more than 10 years, but budget constraints have made it impossible. It appears the Air Force is pushing forward with a reported increase in the budget, but there remain skeptics who say Malaysia has a long history of mismanaging its defense procurement. The requirement for an AEW&C has grown as its Air Force fleet expands with new Su-30MKMs joining a mixture of aircraft, including MiG-29Ns, F/A-18D Hornets and aging F-5 E/F Tiger IIs. Abdul Aziz said the AEW&Cs procurement would "incur huge expenses," but the Air Force needed to be able to coordinate air, land and sea operations. A U.S. defense official said Malaysia was only looking at two to four aircraft, and the only two platforms now being seriously considered were the Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye and the refurbished Swedish Saab 2000s equipped with a spine-mounted Erieye PS-890 side-looking reconnaissance radar. Other sources point to the Brazilian Embraer EMB 145 aircraft as a possible competitor. The U.S. official said Malaysia was considering overhauled E-2C aircraft from Israel Aircraft Industries' Bedek Aviation Group. Mexico bought three from IAI in 2004. However, an IAI spokesperson said there are no discussions at present with Malaysia. The Pakistan Air Force ordered six Saab 2000 aircraft with Erieye radar in June 2006, but due to budget constraints the number has reportedly been reduced. Thailand's Air Force selected two Saab 340 aircraft with only one equipped with Erieye in October 2007. Despite Malaysia's growing need for an AEW&C, there is a long history of delayed procurements and program mismanagement. "AEW&CS planes have been on the Malaysian Air Force requirements list since 1995," said a skeptical U.S. defense contractor in Malaysia. "The biggest issue is that they do not have the money. They can't even kick start the Batch II Frigate program and are still struggling with the Nuri [helicopter] replacement. I'm told this latter one will slide again despite proposals having been submitted."
Russia scraps another six Topol systems under START-1 treaty (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - September 18, 2008: Russia has dismantled another six outdated Topol mobile ballistic missile systems under a major international treaty on strategic arms reduction, the Strategic Missile Forces said in a statement on Thursday. "We scrapped six outdated Topol mobile systems. This is the third such procedure conducted this year," the statement said. The first two batches totaling 12 Topol systems this year were scrapped in March and May. All of the systems were based in the Udmurt Republic in the eastern Urals. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-I) was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union on July 31, 1991, five months before the Union collapsed, and remains in force between the U.S., Russia, and three other ex-Soviet states. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have since disposed of all their nuclear weapons or transferred them to Russia, and the U.S. and Russia have reduced the number of delivery vehicles to 1,600, with no more than 6,000 warheads. The treaty is set to expire December 5, 2009. Topol (SS-25 Sickle) is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) approximately the same size and shape as the U.S. Minuteman ICBM. The first Topol missiles became operational in 1985, and at the time the START I Treaty was signed, the Soviet Union had some 290 Topol ICBMs deployed. Although the service life of the SS-25 was extended to 21 years after a series of successful test launches last year, the missile will be progressively retired over the next decade and be replaced by a mobile version of the Topol-M (SS-27 Sickle B) missile. The Strategic Missile Forces press service earlier said 36 mobile Topol ICBMs were dismantled in 2007 under close monitoring by U.S. inspectors.
Russian strategic bombers leave Venezuela for home base (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - September 18, 2008: Two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers have left an airfield near Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, on a 15-hour flight home, a Russian Air Force spokesman said on Thursday. The bombers arrived in Venezuela on September 10 and were accompanied by NATO fighters during the 13-hour flight from their home base in Engels, in the southern Saratov Region. "The aircraft, which have successfully carried out a patrol mission along the South American coast, took off from an airfield in Caracas at 10:00 Moscow time [06:00 GMT] and are heading to their home base in Engels," Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said. The Tu-160 Blackjack is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber, designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theaters of operation. According to Drik, the bombers are carrying dummy missiles without warheads and their primary mission was to practice patrol sorties in a tropical climate. Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by then-president Vladimir Putin. Russian bombers have since carried out more than 90 strategic patrol flights and have often been escorted by NATO planes. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in mid-August that the Bush administration was unhappy with flights by Russian strategic bombers near U.S. borders and accused Moscow of playing a "dangerous game." Russia has repeatedly stated, though, that all strategic patrol have been performed in strict accordance with international rules on the use of airspace over neutral waters, without violating the borders of other states. In addition, Russia's Foreign Ministry earlier said that the landing of strategic bombers in Venezuela did not mean that Russia had established a military base in the South American country. "Russia does not have military bases in Latin America," Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said. "The landing at the Venezuelan airbase was carried out in line with prior agreements between Russia and Venezuela."
Russia rebuilds Soviet-era military-technical ties with Africa (NSI News Source Info) CAPE TOWN - September 18, 2008: Russia has successfully reestablished military-technical cooperation with African countries, which saw a decline after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the head of Russia's state arms exporter said on Wednesday. "We have recently revived our contacts with all African countries that used to be traditional buyers of Soviet weaponry," Rosoboronexport General Director Anatoly Isaykin told a news conference at the Africa Aerospace & Defence-2008 (AAD-2008) exhibition near Cape Town. Russia's arms trade customers in Africa include Algeria, Libya, Angola, Ethiopia, Uganda, Morocco, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique and Burkina Faso. African countries are attracted to the reliability and competitive prices of Russian arms. Russian-made helicopters have traditionally met with high demand in Africa. According to various sources, Russia has supplied over 700 helicopters, including Mi-24/35 Hind attack helicopters, to African countries. At present Rosoboronexport, while expecting new sales contracts, plans to prioritize the establishment of helicopter maintenance centers to provide repair services for helicopters that had been previously sold to African customers. "We are offering a variety of post-sale services to our traditional customers, prioritizing maintenance of helicopters as well as MiG-23, MiG-27, MiG-29 and Su-24 combat aircraft, and also pilot training," the Russian official said. He also said Russia is ready to offer potential customers in Africa "alternative and flexible" forms of payment for purchased military equipment, including the creation of joint ventures, exclusive rights for exploration of natural resources in African countries, and deliveries of traditional goods such as diamonds, cotton and coffee. "These offers give our African customers additional opportunities to acquire Russian-made military equipment," Isaykin said. Russia has been striving in recent years to regain its competitive edge in the global arms trade. The country has doubled annual arms exports since 2000 to $7 billion last year, becoming the world's second-largest exporter of conventional weapons after the United States. Russia exports arms to about 80 countries. Among the largest buyers are China, India, Algeria, Venezuela, Iran, Malaysia, and Serbia.
Russian Navy to remain off Abkhazia until U.S. ships leave region (NSI News Source Info) BRUSSELS - September 18, 2008: Russian warships will continue patrolling waters off the coast of Abkhazia until all U.S. ships leave the Black Sea, Russia's NATO envoy said on Wednesday. Russia sent warships from its Black Sea fleet to ensure security along the coast of Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia following an attempt in early August by Georgian forces to retake South Ossetia, another breakaway republic. "I think our ships will stay near the coast of Abkhazia as long as it is necessary to ensure security [in the region]," Dmitry Rogozin told a news conference in Brussels. On August 20, the Turkish government gave permission to three U.S. ships to enter the Black Sea as part of relief efforts in Georgia. They stayed in the region for 21 days, in line with the terms of the 1936 Montreux Convention, which governs passage through the Bosporus straits, and according to Washington have already left the Black Sea. The fourth ship, the USNS Pathfinder (T-AGS 60) oceanographic survey ship, which is owned by the Military Sealift Command and has a civilian crew and scientists on board, is currently anchored in the Sevastopol harbor at the invitation of the Ukrainian government. Russian intelligence believes that U.S. ships are spying on the Russian Black Sea fleet and that along with humanitarian aid delivered military equipment to Georgia, including new air defense systems. Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on August 26 and signed friendship and cooperation treaties with them on Wednesday. The move came after a five-day war between Russian and Georgia over South Ossetia. President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that Russia would not permit any new Georgian aggression against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and that Moscow was ready to render the republics support, including military.
Russia accuses NATO of encouraging further Georgian aggression (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - September 18, 2008: Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that NATO's drive to strengthen ties with Georgia is effectively encouraging the Tbilisi regime to carry out new acts of aggression in the future. Georgia's goal of NATO membership and U.S. support for Georgia's military have been major sources of tension with Russia in recent years. Russia accused NATO of rearming Georgia after last month's conflict over South Ossetia, and has threatened to fully sever ties with the Western alliance. "We can only regard the alliance's moves to strengthen relations with Georgia as encouraging Tbilisi to carry out more reckless acts," the ministry said, following a two-day visit to Tbilisi by a top-level NATO delegation. NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, heading a delegation of envoys from all 26 members of the military alliance, arrived in Georgia on Monday on a two-day visit to discuss plans for Tbilisi's possible NATO membership, and met with President Mikheil Saakashvili. The Russian ministry said: "Given the current circumstances, we consider the alliance's meetings in Tbilisi to be ill-timed and not in the interests of stabilizing the situation in the region." The five-day conflict between Russia and Georgia followed Georgia's August 8 artillery attack on South Ossetia. Two weeks after the conclusion of Moscow's military operation to "force Georgia to peace," Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another separatist republic, as independent states. Most Western powers condemned both the recognition of the rebel regions and Russia's "disproportionate" response to the Georgian attack. Russia-NATO ties were frozen after the conflict. The ministry statement said that "instead of drawing serious conclusions from the failed attempt of [Georgian President] Mikheil Saakashvili to solve the long-running conflict through use of force, NATO once again showed its support for its campaign of disinformation, and made promises to restore the military potential of this country." "The anti-Russian sentiment" behind the NATO meetings in Georgia "is obvious," the ministry said. Russia regrets that Scheffer did not pay a visit to Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, to get "a more objective picture of the events in early August," the statement said.