Thursday, October 30, 2008

Russian Akula II SSN (nuclear attack submarine) on Sea Trials

Russian Akula II SSN (nuclear attack submarine) on Sea Trials (NSI News Source Info) October 30, 2008 The second Russian Akula II SSN (nuclear attack submarine) is now undergoing sea trials in the Pacific. The first Akula II was finished in the 1990s, but two others had work suspended on them for a decade. Then there were rumors that, three years ago, that India had arranged to lease two Akula IIs, for $65 million a year per sub.
Russian Akula II SSN (nuclear attack submarine)
The 7,500 ton Akula IIs have 14 torpedo tubes (including six that are outside the pressure hull, 40 torpedoes or missiles, and a crew of 51. Russia officially denies that there is a lease deal with India, but there has been a lot of activity on the Indian end to indicate preparations to receive one or two Akulas (training, base building). India did lease a Russian nuclear sub (a Charlie I class) from 1988 to 1991.

No reconciliation with Mullah Omar: Pentagon

No reconciliation with Mullah Omar: Pentagon
(NSI News Source Info) Washington - October 30, 2008: The United States supports Afghan government efforts to reconcile with insurgents but not with Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban leader who harbored Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday. "We as a government do not believe that Mullah Omar is somebody you reconcile with," said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary. "Mullah Omar has the blood of thousands of Americans on his hands, based on the support he provided to Osama bin Laden. So we do not reconcile with Al-Qaeda," he said. Morrell's comments were the most pointed rejection yet of a negotiated peace with Omar, who protected bin Laden before and after the September 11, 2001 attacks and is today a key figure in a resurgent Taliban. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has initiated contacts with the Taliban through Saudi Arabia amid growing concerns over rising violences and signs that insurgent groups are coalescing against his government. The president's brother Qayoum Karzai was part of an Afghan delegation that met with former Taliban leaders in late September in Saudi Arabia. "We are trying so that our brothers, those Afghan Taliban who have taken the gun against their people and country, and their leader Mullah Omar, can return back to their country and work for peace," the president said September 30 after the talks. General David Petraeus, who assumes command of US forces in the Middle East on Friday, said earlier this month that the United States should be prepared to talk with its enemies. "The key there is making sure that all of that is done in complete coordination, with complete support of the Afghan government and with President Karzai," he said. "If there are people that are willing to reconcile, then I think certainly that that would be a positive step in some of these areas that have actually been spiraling downward throughout the course of this year," he said. Morrell acknowledged there has been a renewed emphasis on reconciliation "that we are working to support." "We are talking about reconciling with -- with insurgents within Afghanistan -- not foreign fighters but insurgents within Afghanistan," Morrell said.

Three industry teams selected to develop Humvee replacement

Three industry teams selected to develop Humvee replacement (NSI News Source Info) Washington - Octobere 30, 2008: The Pentagon on Wednesday selected industry teams led by Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and BAE to develop light tactical vehicles to replace the Humvee. The three teams have until January 2011 to develop and test the vehicles for the army and marines, positioning them to compete for production contracts that could ultimately be worth 40 billion dollars. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration was awarded a 35.9 million dollar development contract, General Tactical Vehicles received a 45 million dollar contract, and BAE Systems Land and Armaments-Ground System Division won a 40.4 million dollar contract. General Tactical Vehicles is a joint venture between General Dynamics Land Systems and AM General. The army and marine corps are expected to buy as many as 60,000 of the vehicles over the next few years as they replace the estimated 160,000 Humvees now in service.

Australia’s M113 APC Family Upgrades

Australia’s M113 APC Family Upgrades (NSI News Source Info) October 30, 2008: The M113A1 family of vehicles was introduced into service in Australia in the mid 1960s, and arrived in time to see service in Vietnam. Additional vehicle variants were added until 1979, and there are 766 M113A1 vehicles currently in the Australian Army fleet. By February 2005, however, only 520 remained in service.
M113A1 & M1A1s, 1AR
A number of upgrades have been suggested for Australia’s APCs over the years, with a number of reviews and proposals for upgrades submitted for consideration. Many of Australia’s M113s remain in M113A1 configuration, with some having undergone repair and overhaul at 25,000 km. Bushmaster wheeled mine-resistant vehicles have replaced some M113s, but the M113’s lightweight tracked mobility remains important to Australian mechanized formations and externally-deployed troops. A plan approved in the late 1990s involved a “minimum upgrade” of 537 vehicles from 1996-1998, at a cost of about A$ 40 million in 1993 dollars, with a major upgrade to follow. That was derailed mid-stream by an unsolicited contractor proposal to combine the 2 phases. The end result was Australia’s LAND 106 project, which aimed to perform major upgrades to 350 M113 APCs. That program suffered from problems in its early stages, delaying any fielded modernization until 2007, but the program is said to be back on track now. The new Labor government has just added emphasis to that assessment, by expanding the program as part of Australia’s push for a “Hardened and Networked Army.”

Troop Buildup in Afghanistan May Double

Troop Buildup in Afghanistan May Double (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - October 30, 2008:Military planners now think they may need to send more than double the number of extra troops initially believed needed to help fight the war in Afghanistan. The buildup in the increasingly violent campaign could amount to more than 20,000 troops rather than the originally planned 10,000, two senior defense officials said Wednesday on condition of anonymity because no new figures have been approved.
U.S. Military patrolling in Afghanistan
The newest calculations reflect growing requests from field commanders in recent weeks for aviation units, engineers and other skills to support the fighting units, the officials said. Officials had been saying for months that they needed more people to train Afghan security forces and two more combat brigades - a total of some 10,000 people. Commanders later increased that to the trainers and three combat brigades - or some 15,000, when extra support is included. Now, military planners say that the number may have to grow yet again by another 5,000 to 10,000 support troops. They would be helicopter units, intelligence teams, engineers to build more bases, medical teams and others to support the fight in the undeveloped nation, where forces have to work around rugged terrain and a lack of infrastructure. The growing numbers being quoted for the buildup in Afghanistan are not unusual. President Bush announced in January 2007 that he would send up to 20,000 additional troops to Iraq for what since has become known as the "surge." But the number eventually grew to 30,000 by the time commanders added requests for all the military police, additional aviation needs and other support they wanted. In Afghanistan, it is far more difficult for troops to operate in the undeveloped nation, which lacks roads, runways and facilities to support troops. And commanders in Afghanistan do not consider this a short-term surge in troops but rather the number that will be needed over a longer period, one official said. It is unclear whether the number will win approval. Some officials believe it's unwise to build too large a force in Afghanistan, where there is long-held hostility to the presence of foreign forces. If that large a force is approved, it's also unclear where the Pentagon would get that many extra troops for the Afghan campaign - and how quickly they could be sent. The Defense Department already has approved the deployment of about 4,000 people - one additional Marine combat battalion and one Army brigade to be sent by January. But with some 150,000 forces committed in Iraq, the U.S. has not had the available troops to send to Afghanistan. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has often noted that in Afghanistan "we do what we can, in Iraq we do what we must." The military shortfall in Afghanistan has been a common complaint from commanders. The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan has grown from fewer than 21,000 two years ago to more than 31,000 today. At a Defense Department press conference later Wednesday, press secretary Geoff Morrell didn't offer a number. In response to a question about the latest figures, he became animated in defending Pentagon efforts to get commanders more troops. "Unfortunately, we don't have them all ... sitting at the ready, waiting just for the beck and call and we can send them overnight," Morrell said, adding officials must weight needs in Afghanistan with needs globally. "They are coming," he said of the reinforcements. "They have been coming. They will continue to come." "It would be a mistake to suggest that we have been sitting on our hands while the commanders in Afghanistan have been screaming for more forces," Morrell said.

Indian Air Force to Induct LCA Tejas Fighter Jets by 2010: Defence Minister

Indian Air Force to Induct LCA Tejas Fighter Jets by 2010: Defence Minister
*Indian Air Force to Induct LCA Tejas Fighter Jets by 2010: Defence Minister (NSI News Source Info) October 30, 2008: Union Defence Minister A K Antony today said that the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) would be delivered to the Indian Air Force by 2011. Talking to media during his visit at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Antony said, "The final operational clearances for the indigenously developed aircraft will be given by 2010."
Tejas Light Combat Supersonic Fighter....the aircraft has eight external hardpoints to carry stores, with three under each wing, one on the centre fuselage and one installed under the air intake on the port side.
Antony, who also witnessed an air show in which latest aircraft including LCA, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and SARAS showed their capabilities and strength, said that LCA and ALH 'Dhruv' would be the prized induction in Air Force. He also cleared all doubts about the engine used in LCA and the development of engine 'Kaveri' and the LCA prototype will take place simultaneously.Expressing happiness over the functioning of the ALH, the Chief of the Air Staff, F.H. Major said that the process of weaponisation of the helicopter is taking place and the process is on.

Romania Awards Lockheed Martin Contract To Provide 17 Radar Systems

Romania Awards Lockheed Martin Contract To Provide 17 Radar Systems (NSI News Source Info) EAGAN, Minn. - October 30, 2008: Lockheed Martin has completed installation of an air defense and communications network modernization project for the Romanian Air Force. The project, completed by Lockheed Martin and several Romanian subcontractors, enhances the air defense and command and control capabilities of Romania's Air Sovereignty Operations Center (ASOC) by extending the air space management system's radar, voice, and data link communication network to provide an enhanced air surveillance picture covering the entire country. TPS-79 Multi-Mission Surveillance Radar systems "This project provides the Romanian Air Force with significantly improved situational awareness as well as modern command and control capabilities that are interoperable with other NATO assets," said Rick Udicious, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin's Tactical Systems business. In November 2004, Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract by the Romanian Ministry of Defense (MoD) to extend and enhance the capabilities of the ASOC that Lockheed Martin initially delivered to Romania in 1998. With the program's successful site acceptance tests on Sept. 19, 2008 - including flight tests - the backbone of this network modernization project was completed on schedule and within the planned budget. Among the sensors that currently provide data for the Romanian air defense system are five Lockheed Martin AN/FPS-117 long-range radars which, under a separate 2007 contract, are ahead of schedule for upgrade to state-of-the art technology by the end of this year. Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin and the Romanian MoD signed a contract for the co-production of 17 TPS-79 Multi-Mission Surveillance Radar systems for Phase II of the Air Force "Gap Filler" upgrade program. Once completed, these systems also will plug seamlessly into Romania's enhanced air defense network. Since 1997, Lockheed Martin has installed ASOC airspace management and air defense systems - compatible with a variety of sensors - in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania. 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.

Australia Orders 293 Bushmaster MRAPs, Will Upgrade More M-113s

Australia Orders 293 Bushmaster MRAPs, Will Upgrade More M-113s (NSI News Source Info) October 30, 2008: The Minister for Defence, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP, today announced that a contract has been signed with Thales Australia for an additional 293 Bushmaster vehicles.
The latest order brings to 737 the number of Bushmaster armored patrol vehicles ordered by the Australian Army.
“The Bushmaster has demonstrated its ability to provide a high level of protection for our soldiers,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. “This protection, coupled with exceptional mobility at speed and in desert conditions, provides a capability that is unparalleled by any comparable vehicle in operation in the world.” First deployed to the Middle East in 2005, the Bushmaster has acquitted itself well in Iraq and Afghanistan, proving to be a highly relevant and capable vehicle that has captured the attention of coalition armed forces. Bushmasters have been exported to the Netherlands and United Kingdom, and a number of other countries have also shown a keen interest in the Protected Mobility Vehicles. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is providing protected mobility to Australian troops with the acquisition of a further 293 Bushmasters to meet Protected Mobility Medium requirements for Land 121 Project Overlander Phase 3. These vehicles will provide protection by replacing trucks where troops are required to travel in the rear of the vehicle. The Overlander Phase 3 requirement also includes additional vehicles to enable the Enhanced Land Force. “An enhanced acquisition process and close cooperation between the Australian Government and Australian industry has resulted in a world class product for Australia, and has received international interest,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. These additional Bushmasters will increase the total number of vehicles being acquired under Land 116 Project Bushmaster Phase 3 to 737. (ends) Government Approves Additional Armoured Personnel Carriers The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, today announced that the Government has approved a $220 million project to upgrade 81 additional M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) to improve the protection, mobility and firepower of the Australian Army. LAND 106 is already delivering 350 upgraded M113 APC vehicles. This project is now back on track and delivering a reliable vehicle that provides increased firepower, protection and mobility. The Government has decided to upgrade an additional 81 APCs to improve the capability of the Army’s Mechanised Infantry units, 7 RAR, a recently established battalion, and 5 RAR, both of which are currently based in Darwin. “These high priority upgrades will provide improved protection, mobility and firepower to Australian soldiers, allowing missions to be carried out more efficiently, safely and effectively,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. These enhancements will include the stretching of the M113 vehicles, add-on armor kit, spall liners, the addition of a new Australian designed and built turret and new weapon, replacement of the drive train and suspension and the adoption of measures to improve the comfort of troops in the vehicle such as heat mitigation measures and better stowage of equipment. “The increased number of vehicles to be upgraded by BAE Systems Australia will see the production line at the Bandiana production facilities in northern Victoria remain open until July 2011,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. BAE Systems Australia is also opening additional facilities in Williamstown, Victoria and Wingfield, South Australia to ensure all of its delivery commitments are met.

DTN News: J-10 Fighter Jets To Debut At China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition

DTN News: J-10 Fighter Jets To Debut At China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (NSI News Source Info) October 30, 2008: The Seventh China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition will be held from November 4 to 9 in Zhuhai. Top-notch equipment including the orbital module of Shenzhou VII will make its debut at the exhibition, but the biggest attraction this year will be the aerobatic show by J-10 fighter jets, Guangzhou Daily reported. Highlight No. 1: Debut of the orbital module of Shenzhou VIIReporters learnt from the exhibition's organizer that Shenzhou VII's orbital module will make its debut at the exhibition. According to the organizer, this is the premier showing of the main and core parts of the Shenzhou spacecraft and the first time in history that the public will be able to have close contact with the orbital module.
The China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) will also display models of the disposable re-entry module and the Long March II F carrier rocket, showcasing the comprehensive relationship between the carrier rocket system and the spacecraft system.
In addition, the organizer has sent invitations to Shenzhou VII taikonauts Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng, and arrangements for their attendance at the exhibition are being organized. Highlight No. 2: Display of China's missile defense systemMissiles on display at the exhibition include long-distance, high-altitude, low-altitude, surface-to-surface, ship-to-air, ship-to-ship missiles, and the exhibits feature weapons from low to high altitude, comprising China's comprehensive missile defense system.
Highlight No. 3:
J-10 fighter jet aerobatic showThe People's Liberation Army Air Force will participate in the exhibition for the first time and will have a number of advanced planes performing as well as featuring the Air Force Sky Diving Team. The two widely-popular J-10 fighter jets have arrived at the exhibition, and will not only be on display, but will also perform in an aerobatic show.