Saturday, November 01, 2008

Valuk Light Armoured Vehicle, Slovenia

Valuk Light Armoured Vehicle, Slovenia (NSI News Source Info) November 1, 2008: The Valuk Light Armoured Vehicle, manufactured by Sistemska Tehnika of Slovenia, is in full-scale production following a series of competitive performance tests carried out by the Slovenian Army. Contracts have been placed for the supply of 85 of the 6x6 wheeled Valuk for the Slovenian Army. The first 30 have been delivered. The VALUK is manufactured under a licence manufacturing agreement with the Austrian company, Steyr Daimler Puch Spezialfahrzueg (now part of General Dynamics Land Systems - Europe) and is based on the Pandur vehicle.
The Stalker Armoured Reconnaissance and Scout Vehicle (ARSV)
STALKER ARMOURED SCOUT RECONNAISSANCE VEHICLE (ARSV) Sistemska Tehnika, with Rafael of Israel, have developed the Stalker Armoured Reconnaissance and Scout Vehicle (ARSV), based on the Valuk with the Rafael Remote Control Weapon Station (RCWS) and a surveillance system based on Rafael's Toplite day/night targeting and acquisition system. Toplite includes 3rd generation FLIR, CCD TV and laser rangefinder and is capable of both manual and automatic target tracking. A Battle Management System (BMS) can slave the RCWS to the Toplite targeting system. WEAPON STATION The vehicle is equipped with a stabilised Overhead Weapon Station supplied by the Rafael Israel Armament Development Authority. The Overhead Weapon Station OWS-25 is armed with a 25 mm Bushmaster Cannon and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun. The gunner can survey, acquire and track a target, aim and fire from inside the turret with a closed hatch or in a head-out position. The gunner's station is equipped with a day and night periscope sighting and observation system. The day periscope sight has a unity magnification window with a collimated aiming circle and an 8x magnification sight with a ballistic reticle. The night periscope sight has a unity magnification window and an image intensifier x7.5 magnification passive night elbow. The weapon station can also be fitted with externally mounted TOW long-range anti-tank guided missiles. SELF-PROTECTION The standard armoured protection is rated to withstand 7.62 mm armour piercing rounds through a full 360 degrees, and 12.7 mm armour piercing rounds over a 30 degree frontal arc. Rafael has supplied a passive add-on ceramic armour kit for the Valuk which provides 12.7 mm AP round protection over the full 360 degrees. The crew door at the rear of the vehicle is equipped with a periscope sight. The crew is protected against anti-tank and anti-personnel mines and a full nuclear, biological and chemical warfare protection system is fitted. The crew compartment is fitted with an automatic fire detection and fire fighting system with 3 fire sensors and three Halon 1301 gas containers. A version of the Valuk has been built with a rear ramp with an emergency door instead of two doors. The vehicle can also be equipped with a capstan type cable winch. ENGINE The Valuk is equipped with a Steyr 612.35 6-cylinder turbo diesel engine and a hydrodynamically controlled automatic transmission with a torque converter and lock-up clutch with 5 forward and 1 reverse gear. The engine provides a power to weight ratio of 20.4 kW per ton. The 6x6 wheels have automatic tyre pressure regulation with a central tyre inflation system. The independent suspension system has telescopic shock absorbers on each wheel. There are coil springs on the first and second axle and torsion bars on the third axle. The drive train and steering linkages are protected within the hull of the vehicle. MOBILITY The turning radius is 8.5 metres and the maximum speed is typically 110 kilometres per hour. The ground clearance is 430 mm. The vehicle can negotiate natural and man made obstacles such as trenches up to 1.5 metres wide, vertical obstacles to 0.5 metres high, gradients of 70 per cent and side slope to 40 per cent. The Valuk can ford water to a depth of 1.2 metres. The combat weight is 13,300 kilograms

More Analysis Needed on Destroyer Plan says Pentagon

More Analysis Needed on Destroyer Plan says Pentagon (NSI News Source Info) November 1, 2008: Chief Pentagon arms buyer John Young said he still had questions on Thursday about the US Navy's decision to halt the DDG-1000 destroyer programme at three ships and build older model DDG-51 destroyers instead. "There's a substantial amount of additional analytical work to be done," Young told reporters at his Pentagon office.
DDG-1000 destroyer programme
Any move by the navy to build just a few more DDG-51 destroyers would be "very expensive," he said. The newer DDG-1000 hull offered some benefits, including a lower radar signature and quieter operation, over the older hull of the DDG-51s, he said. Young, who oversaw the DDG-1000 programme when he was the navy's acquisition chief, said he found the recent decision to back away from the new destroyer, which was to be the lead ship in a new class of destroyers, "a little unusual." The navy in July said it would halt the DDG-1000 programme after just two ships, instead of building seven as planned, but it later bowed to congressional pressure and said it would buy a third DDG-1000 ship. Citing changed military requirements, the navy said it would buy eight more DDG-51 ships and acknowledged restarting the line would incur additional costs. General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman are building the first two DDG-1000 destroyers, DDG-1000 and DDG-1001. Both also built the DDG-51 warship. Young held up the DDG-1000 programme as an example of a major weapons programme that has largely met its cost and schedule targets. The two lead ships were under contract for about $2.5bn each, with additional ships slated to cost about $2bn each, he said. When navy officials explained their decision to Congress in July, they said each of the first two DDG-1000 ships would cost $3.2bn, while it would cost about $2.2bn to buy the first of the new batch of DDG-51 warships. Young said the Navy had legitimate concerns about the cost of the DDG-1000 destroyers, but further analysis was needed, suggesting that additional efforts could be made to further lower the cost of the DDG-1000 destroyers. If the current decision stood, Young said it was clear that splitting work on three DDG-1000 ships between two shipyards "could be punitively expensive to the taxpayer," he said. Raytheon, which is working on the combat system for the destroyer, is fighting the navy decision. Lockheed Martin Corp built the combat system for the older model DDG-51 destroyers.

India-Pakistan Fighting Common Enemy....Islamic Militants

India-Pakistan Fighting Common Enemy....Islamic Militants
(NSI News Source Info) November 1, 2008: With the decline of Islamic terrorists from Pakistan (because of the tighter border security), a larger proportion of the terrorists killed in Indian Kashmir are Islamic militants from India. Frequently, the families of these Indian terrorists refuse to accept the bodies of their dead sons for burial. Most Indian Moslems are loyal citizens, and well aware that Moslems in neighboring states are worse off, politically and economically, than the Moslems of India. But Islamic radicalism appeals to the young and poor, and many seek to fight for the establishment of an Islamic religious dictatorship in India. In Pakistan, the army and police have arrested thousands of suspected Taliban and al Qaeda during several months of fighting along the Afghan border. In Bajaur, nearly a thousand arrests have been made, and about a third of those were foreigners (mainly from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.) These captives have been an excellent source of information on the inner workings of the Taliban, which turn out to be not as well organized as was generally thought. There are several major Taliban factions, and they don't all get along. The Afghan Taliban have become much less dependent on the Pakistani Taliban because of the growing financial support from the Afghan drug gangs. But the Taliban are unsure about working with the drug gangs, who come across as a bunch of greedy hedonists. Not very Islamic, but the drug gangs have lots of guns and the Taliban cannot afford to offend them, too much. The U.S. has told Pakistan that it will not make any more raids on Pakistan that involve troops on the ground. But there has also been an increase in Predator and Reaper UAVs attacking terrorist targets inside Pakistan with missiles or smart bombs. During the first seven months of the year, there were only five such attacks, while in the last three months, there have been about twenty. Indian police, pursuing those responsible for recent Islamic terrorist attacks, have uncovered a network of militant Hindu groups responsible for similar terror attacks on Indian Moslems. This sort of thing just makes it easier for the Islamic radicals to recruit young Indian Moslems. The police are rounding up the leaders of both Moslem and Hindu radical groups. October 31, 2008: In India's northeast, 18 bombs went off nearly simultaneously in four towns of Assam state, leaving 70 dead and nearly 400 wounded. Terrorists operating from nearby Bangladesh were suspected, but it turned out that these terrorists had moved into Assam and were recruiting among the illegal migrants from Bangladesh, who have long been the target of attacks from local tribal separatist groups. The migration, of Hindus from other parts of India, as well as Moslems from neighboring Bangladesh, has enraged the dozens of tribes living in the rural region, and sustained a half century of terrorism. India has a lot of terrorist activity that is not much heard about outside India. There are nearly 200 terrorist groups in the country, most (about 60 percent) of them in the northeast. About 30 terrorist groups, many supported by Pakistan, are in Kashmir. October 27, 2008: In Pakistan, a two day conference of tribal leaders from Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to peace talks with the Taliban, but only if the Taliban agreed to abide by the laws each country. The Pakistani Taliban have been asking for peace talks, and may be able to persuade the Afghan Taliban to join in. The Pakistani Taliban need help, as the army has been attacking for the last three months. The Taliban have lost several thousand fighters (killed and arrested), dozens of senior leaders and much equipment. Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban have sent reinforcements, but these have taken a beating as well. The Pakistani Taliban are running out of places to retreat to, and some have moved across the border into Afghanistan. There, a shortage of Afghan and foreign troops enables the fleeing Taliban to find some relief. The Pakistani Taliban have also lost control of much territory, and the income (by "taxing" local businesses) it provided. As all this is happening at the beginning of Winter, the Taliban are going to be preoccupied with survival until next Spring. October 25, 2008: In Pakistan's Bajaur valley, the army captured the headquarters of the local Taliban, in the town of Loi Sam. So far, over 1,500 Taliban have been killed in Bajaur, along with 73 soldiers. Some of the local tribes, fed up with abuse from the pro-Taliban warlords and tribal militias, have organized their own militias to fight for the government forces. This has not always gone well, as the Taliban have been organized for war for years, and the new tribal militias are not. There are also problems with coordinating operations with the army. Even with that, the tribes are now fighting each other, and it gets very personal. Unlike the army, the tribesmen know where everyone lives, and a favorite tactic is to attack the home of Taliban leaders, drive everyone out into the cold and burn the compound down. This is bad for Taliban morale, and a distraction.

U.S. and Russia Dispute Over Arms Sanctions

U.S. and Russia Dispute Over Arms Sanctions
(NSI News Source Info) November 1, 2008: The U.S. has imposed trade sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (which is responsible for keeping the clerical dictatorship in power), Rosoboronexport (the organization that controls all Russian arms exports) and companies in Venezuela, China, North Korea, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, and Syria. As a result of this, the U.S. government is forbidden, for two years, from assisting the sanctioned companies, and U.S. firms have a more difficult time doing so. This makes it more expensive, and time consuming, for the sanctioned companies to operate. The sanctions were imposed because the companies had been caught exporting equipment or technologies that aided in the construction of weapons of mass destruction, or their delivery systems (like ballistic missiles.) Russia is threatening to take this to an international court. But they probably won't, because the American evidence would be embarrassing, at the very least, and not likely to cause judges to look favorably on Russia arms exports policies. Sanctions like these are growing increasingly frequent, and have a growing impact on the ability of terrorists and rogue states to get the weapons and equipment they require for their operations.

Oshkosh Awarded Over $1.2 Billion Contract to Supply the US Army with FHTV Heavy Trucks

Oshkosh Awarded Over $1.2 Billion Contract to Supply the US Army with FHTV Heavy Trucks (NSI News Source Info) November 1, 2008: The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) awarded Oshkosh Defense (a division of Oshkosh Corporation NYSE:OSK) an order for the supply of more than 6,000 upgraded vehicles to the U.S. Army’s Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicle (FHTV) fleet. The upgraded FHTV family of vehicles includes increased horsepower and performance features due to power-train and suspension upgrades. All three vehicle families will be Long Term Armor Strategy (LTAS) compliant and come off the assembly line fitted with upgraded suspensions and integral composite (“A” kit) armor. They also will be ready to receive an add-on (“B” kit) armor appliqué.
8x8 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT) from Oshkosh
The first order under the new three-year contract is valued at $1.2 billion and delivery will start in November 2008. This order follow earlier contracts awarded this year for initial delivery of 1700 heavy trucks. This award somewhat sweetens the bitter news for the company this week, as the Oshkosn-Northrop Grumman team failed the selection for the technology demnostration selection phase of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle competition (JLTV). FHTV III variants include the 13 ton payload Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT), 16.5 ton payload Palletized Load Systems (PLS) and PLS trailers (PLST), and Heavy Equipment Transporters (HET) capable of transporting main battle tanks and other tracked combat vehicles weighing up to 70 tons. As part of the contract, Oshkosh Defense will supply the U.S. Army with the next-generation HEMTT, the HEMTT A4, and will soon introduce the A1 models of the PLS and HET, offering increased horsepower and performance features due to power-train and suspension upgrades.Earlier this week Oshkosh was awarded a $46 million contract by the US Marine Corps Systems Command, for the supply of 173 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) and their armor kits.

US Navy outlines amphibious training plans for West Africa

US Navy outlines amphibious training plans for West Africa (NSI News Source Info) November 1, 2008: The US Navy's (USN's) amphibious transport dock, USS Nashville, is scheduled to arrive in the Gulf of Guinea in January 2009 to support the Africa Partnership Station (APS) on a five-month tour of duty. APS is an initiative led by US Naval Forces Europe (NFE) under the auspices of the newly operational theatre command, AFRICOM, to promote maritime safety and security in West African states. Nashville will be the second small deck amphibious vessel to join APS following the deployment of USS Fort McHenry in late 2007. However, the mission of the ship will be very different to its predecessor as it will provide advanced training in a select number of countries. Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon will host the 17,244-ton Austin-class ship, which has onboard training teams available to give lessons in basic seamanship, small boat handling, VBSS (visit, board, search and seizure) techniques, search and rescue, data management and how to run an operations centre. While in the Gulf of Guinea, Nashville will send a Landing Craft Unit to Liberia with Seabees (USN construction battalions) and Marine Corps training teams on board to facilitate training and development, although Nashville itself will not visit. Image: USS Nashville will deploy to the Gulf of Guinea in January 2009 for five months on Africa Partnership Station duties (USN)

True-To-Life Training: British Army Tests Deployable Simulation System In Kenya

True-to-life training: British Army tests deployable simulation system in Kenya (NSI News Source Info) November 1, 2008: The British Army successfully trialled Saab Training Systems' new Deployable Tactical Engagement Simulation (DTES) system in Kenya for the first time in October. A support team and company's worth of individual soldier fits were deployed as part of the British Army Training Unit Kenya's (BATUK's) latest Exercise 'Grand Prix', the first battle group (BG)-level exercise of a newly accelerated training regime. Under this, BATUK is now responsible for seven BG-level exercises a year, up from three in 2007, as part of a British Army requirement to increase the amount and fidelity of light role infantry training in a "contemporary operating environment", according to Lieutenant Colonel Rex Sartain, BATUK commanding officer. As the name would suggest, DTES is a deployable version of the TES instrumented simulation system installed on Salisbury Plain in the UK, modified with lighter-weight soldier harnesses linked together with modular, transportable radio masts. According to Bevan Roberts, Saab's DTES team leader deployed in support of the exercise, two 21 m masts were sufficient to "bathe the whole 50-60 km Lolldaiga exercise area" in coverage. He adds that the masts could be dismantled and transported to a new location within hours. The individual soldier fit comprises a harness and helmet rig with hit sensors - sufficient to warn the wearer of hit location and severity - as well as a battery pack, weapon fit, GPS receiver and a radio-frequency package to transmit location and status information back to exercise control (EXCON). It also features a small, solid-state memory package that records all of that data as backup and to track events when a soldier moves out of radio or GPS coverage, uplinking it back to control when coverage returns. Roberts adds that existing, instrumented structures can be 'plugged' into DTES EXCON coverage and new buildings, caves and other GPS blackspots can be instrumented relatively quickly to ensure continuous coverage of movements and indoor fire effects, should that be necessary. Versions of the system have already been trialled on three exercises in the jungles of Belize, but this marked the system's first use with a company-sized group of equipment with BATUK.

Analysis: Reducing F-35 purchase could save UK up to USD5.8bn

Analysis: Reducing F-35 purchase could save UK up to USD5.8bn (NSI News Source Info) November 1, 2008: As the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) struggles to cope with the budgetary pressures of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and a massive equipment modernisation process, major cuts in one or more programmes appear to Jane's to be inevitable. The global financial crisis and the UK's subsequent response in October (including the multi-billion pound buttressing of the banking system and a commitment to increase public spending to offset recession) has since added to the strain felt by the Treasury. Lingering hopes that extra funding would be made available to supplement the defence budget in the short to medium term appear to have been dashed. Despite already scaling back programmes such as the UK Royal Navy's (RN's) Type 45 destroyer (which has dropped from an initial requirement of 12 ships to six at present) and the UK Royal Air Force's (RAF's) Nimrod MRA.4 maritime patrol aircraft (the originally envisaged 21-aircraft order has since dropped to 12), further cuts are expected to be announced in order to address the deficit in the defence budget. Speculation over which projects are most at risk is continuing. Jane's Defence Forecasts believes that one programme that could see drastic cuts is the Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) programme through which the RAF and RN intend to acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II multirole fighter. According to the MoD, the UK's current planning assumption is to purchase up to 150 short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft. Jane's believes this total is likely to be reduced down to around 85-100 aircraft when the production contract is finalised, creating savings of at least USD4.5 billion (GBP2.7 billion) to USD5.8 billion in acquisition costs alone. The potential for cutting the programme stems from the fact that JCA is the only high-profile, high-cost project that the MoD could scale back significantly without detrimentally affecting the capabilities of the UK's armed forces in future. A reduction in the number of F-35s procured to as few as 85 aircraft would allow the RAF to maintain its current fast jet combat aircraft inventory levels while at the same time increasing the capability and flexibility of the force.

Report: Libya Offers Home for Russian Base

Report: Libya Offers Home for Russian Base (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - November 1, 2008: Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi, who visits Moscow on Oct. 31 for the first time since 1985, will offer to host a Russian naval base in his north African country, a Russian newspaper reported. "Libya is ready to host a Russian naval military base," the Kommersant reported, citing a source close to the preparations for Qadhafi's first visit here since the days of the Soviet Union. The base could be located at the port of Benghazi, the source said. "The Russian military presence will be a guarantee of non-aggression against Libya from the United States, which is not in a hurry to embrace Qadhafi despite gestures of reconciliation," the newspaper said. Qadhafi's offer could also "ease the Kremlin's dissatisfaction" over his failure to fulfill agreements reached in April during a landmark visit to Tripoli by then-President Vladimir Putin, Kommersant said. During the visit, Moscow agreed to cancel billions of dollars of Libyan Soviet-era debt in exchange for major contracts with Russian companies. Those agreements included a promise by Tripoli to buy Russian arms, but "despite the agreement, Qadhafi still has not bought a single tank or airplane," Kommersant reported. Russia was also disappointed that energy-rich Libya did not agree to join a "gas OPEC" along with fellow gas exporter Qatar, Kommersant said. Qadhafi is scheduled to visit Russia through Nov. 2. Relations between Russia and Libya, a former pariah state that has pushed to get back into the international fold in recent years, showed signs of significant warming this year after a long chill. Earlier this month, a Russian warship docked in Tripoli as part of a global show of force that is set to include joint naval exercises between Russia and Venezuela in the Caribbean in November. In April, Russian gas giant Gazprom signed a cooperation agreement with Libya's national energy company while Russia's rail monopoly signed a 2.2-billion-euro contract to build a railway line in Libya. Libya bought many of its weapons from Moscow during the Cold War.

Russian Navy to Hold War Games in Indian Ocean

Russian Navy to Hold War Games in Indian Ocean (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - November 1, 2008: The Russian navy will hold war games in the Indian Ocean in a bid to boost its global presence, a navy spokesman said Nov. 1, announcing Moscow's latest move to flex its military muscle."Ships from the Pacific Ocean Fleet and forces from the Northern Fleet will meet and carry out joint military exercises in the Indian Ocean basin," navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said in a statement.
Dygalo did not specify when the exercises would take place, but he said warships from Russia's Vladivostok-based Pacific Ocean Fleet would leave "shortly" for the Arabian Sea, docking in various ports on the way. He called the Indian Ocean maneuvers part of an effort to raise the Russian navy's worldwide profile before the end of the year. "In the remaining months of 2008, Russian Navy Central Command will increase the presence of Russian Navy forces in the world ocean in the interests of strengthening stability and security in its various regions," he said. This month, a flotilla of Russian warships from the Northern Fleet, based in the Arctic port of Severomorsk, are to hold exercises with the Venezuelan navy in the Caribbean Sea. The flotilla, led by the massive nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great, stopped in Libya last month as part of a global show of Russian might not seen since the Cold War.