Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terror in Mumbai

Terror in Mumbai
(NSI News Source Info) Source STRATFOR - November 27, 2008: Fire in the dome of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai on Nov. 26 Summary If the Nov. 26 attacks in Mumbai were carried out by Islamist militants as it appears, the Indian government will have little choice, politically speaking, but to blame them on Pakistan. That will in turn spark a crisis between the two nuclear rivals that will draw the United States into the fray. Analysis At this point the situation on the ground in Mumbai remains unclear following the militant attacks of Nov. 26. But in order to understand the geopolitical significance of what is going on, it is necessary to begin looking beyond this event at what will follow. Though the situation is still in motion, the likely consequences of the attack are less murky. We will begin by assuming that the attackers are Islamist militant groups operating in India, possibly with some level of outside support from Pakistan. We can also see quite clearly that this was a carefully planned, well-executed attack. Given this, the Indian government has two choices. First, it can simply say that the perpetrators are a domestic group. In that case, it will be held accountable for a failure of enormous proportions in security and law enforcement. It will be charged with being unable to protect the public. On the other hand, it can link the attack to an outside power: Pakistan. In that case it can hold a nation-state responsible for the attack, and can use the crisis atmosphere to strengthen the government’s internal position by invoking nationalism. Politically this is a much preferable outcome for the Indian government, and so it is the most likely course of action. This is not to say that there are no outside powers involved — simply that, regardless of the ground truth, the Indian government will claim there were. That, in turn, will plunge India and Pakistan into the worst crisis they have had since 2002. If the Pakistanis are understood to be responsible for the attack, then the Indians must hold them responsible, and that means they will have to take action in retaliation — otherwise, the Indian government’s domestic credibility will plunge. The shape of the crisis, then, will consist of demands that the Pakistanis take immediate steps to suppress Islamist radicals across the board, but particularly in Kashmir. New Delhi will demand that this action be immediate and public. This demand will come parallel to U.S. demands for the same actions, and threats by incoming U.S. President Barack Obama to force greater cooperation from Pakistan. If that happens, Pakistan will find itself in a nutcracker. On the one side, the Indians will be threatening action — deliberately vague but menacing — along with the Americans. This will be even more intense if it turns out, as currently seems likely, that Americans and Europeans were being held hostage (or worse) in the two hotels that were attacked. If the attacks are traced to Pakistan, American demands will escalate well in advance of inauguration day. There is a precedent for this. In 2002 there was an attack on the Indian parliament in Mumbai by Islamist militants linked to Pakistan. A near-nuclear confrontation took place between India and Pakistan, in which the United States brokered a stand-down in return for intensified Pakistani pressure on the Islamists. The crisis helped redefine the Pakistani position on Islamist radicals in Pakistan. In the current iteration, the demands will be even more intense. The Indians and Americans will have a joint interest in forcing the Pakistani government to act decisively and immediately. The Pakistani government has warned that such pressure could destabilize Pakistan. The Indians will not be in a position to moderate their position, and the Americans will see the situation as an opportunity to extract major concessions. Thus the crisis will directly intersect U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan. It is not clear the degree to which the Pakistani government can control the situation. But the Indians will have no choice but to be assertive, and the United States will move along the same line. Whether it is the current government in India that reacts, or one that succeeds doesn’t matter. Either way, India is under enormous pressure to respond. Therefore the events point to a serious crisis not simply between Pakistan and India, but within Pakistan as well, with the government caught between foreign powers and domestic realities. Given the circumstances, massive destabilization is possible — never a good thing with a nuclear power. This is thinking far ahead of the curve, and is based on an assumption of the truth of something we don’t know for certain yet, which is that the attackers were Muslims and that the Pakistanis will not be able to demonstrate categorically that they weren’t involved. Since we suspect they were Muslims, and since we doubt the Pakistanis can be categorical and convincing enough to thwart Indian demands, we suspect that we will be deep into a crisis within the next few days, very shortly after the situation on the ground clarifies itself.
Additional Info
Political India responds unitedly Harish Khare (Source: The Hindu) (NSI News Source Info) New Delhi - November 28, 2008: Political and official India reacted calmly and unitedly to the terrorists’ assault in Mumbai. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went on the air, talked tough, asserted that a group “based outside the country” carried out the Mumbai attacks, and warned “neighbours” of consequences if they continued to allow the use of their territories to these terror groups. Authoritative sources in the Prime Minister’s Office told The Hindu that there would be no negotiations with the terrorists holding hostages. Politically, the principal Opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, as well as other parties extended support to the Manmohan Singh government in what they all described as a grave moment for the nation. The Prime Minister, the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, the Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar and the Samajwadi Party leader, Amar Singh, flew to Mumbai on Thursday evening. Originally all the leaders, including the Leader of the Opposition, L.K. Advani, were to fly together; but practical considerations made Mr. Advani take an earlier flight. Officially, the Prime Minister’s establishment marshalled all available resources to deal with the situation. National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar ensured that all necessary Army, Navy, intelligence and police resources and assets were made available for the anti-terrorist operation. The mobilisation of trained anti-terror resources, in fact, began late on Wednesday night, as it was evident to senior security officials that it was a grave national crisis. The Union Cabinet met on Thursday morning at the Prime Minister’s residence. Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who had flown to Mumbai early this morning (along with an NSG contingent) and returned some hours later, gave a preliminary assessment of the nature of the terrorist threat. Subsequently, the Cabinet committees on security and political affairs met jointly to finetune the government’s response. Mr. Pawar, who joined the meeting late, gave “quality” inputs, an authoritative source said. The political response to the Mumbai development seemed free from grandstanding or one-upmanship of any kind. Political leaders refrained from finger-pointing and did their best to present a united political face to the country.

ESA Ministers Pledge 10 Bn Euros for Space Programs

ESA Ministers Pledge 10 Bn Euros for Space Programs (NSI News Source Info) Source: European Space Agency - November 27, 2008: The Ministers in charge of space activities in the European Space Agency's 18 Member States and Canada today concluded a successful two-day Council meeting in The Hague, agreeing to undertake new initiatives in several fields and endorsing the next phases of a set of ongoing programmes. Today’s decisions are a further step towards giving Europe the means to respond to global challenges. In keeping with the European Space Policy, designed in cooperation with the European Commission, the measures will further strengthen Europe’s role in the development and exploitation of space applications serving public policy objectives and the needs of European citizens and enterprises. These decisions have particular relevance at the present time, showing as they do Europe’s determination to invest in space as a key sector providing for innovation, economic growth, strategic independence and the preparation of the future. Recognising that space is a strategic asset and that it is of fundamental importance for the independence, security and prosperity of Europe, the Ministers also adopted four Resolutions: --first, “The role of Space in delivering Europe’s global objectives”, covering the political and programmatic highlights of the Council; --second, a resolution establishing the Level of Resources for the Agency to cater for Space Science programmes and basic activities in the period 2009-2013; --third, the renewal of the contribution of ESA Member States to the running costs of the Guiana Space Centre - Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana (South America); and --fourth, a resolution outlining the future evolution of the Agency, spanning its financial management reform, decision-making processes, industrial and procurement policies and the further development of site infrastructures for ESA programmes. Decisions on programmes/activities On the programmatic side, the Ministers took decisions concerning the full range of the Agency’s mandatory and optional programmes. The decisions taken concern the following: a) The Agency’s mandatory activities: Funding of the Level of Resources for 2009-2013 covering the Scientific Programme and basic activities. b) Continuation of ongoing optional programmes and start of new programmes: --Subscriptions for the Launcher programmes, including funding of the Guiana Space Centre, Ariane 5 and Vega accompaniment technology programmes, Ariane 5 evolution and the future launchers preparatory programme. --Subscriptions for the Earth Observation activities, including the second segment of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security Space Component programme, the Meteosat 3rd generation development programme and a novel Climate Change Initiative on the provision of essential climate variables. --Subscriptions for the human spaceflight, microgravity and human exploration programmes including exploitation and evolution of the International Space Station, on-board research in life and physical sciences and definition studies on the evolution of a returnable transfer vehicle. --Subscriptions to robotic exploration programmes (the ExoMars programme and preparatory activities on future Mars robotic exploration). --Subscriptions for Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES), focusing on technologies, applications and mission demonstrations and including preparatory work for a European Data Relay System (EDRS), an air traffic management satellite system (Iris) and Integrated Application Promotion combining usage of telecommunications, Earth observation and navigation satellite systems with terrestrial information and communications systems. --Subscriptions for the programme on the evolution of the European Global Navigation Satellite System, to continue the improvement of Galileo. --Subscription to the start of a Space Situational Awareness programme to provide the information to help protect European space systems against space debris and the influence of adverse space weather. --Subscription to the continuation of the General Support Technology programme to provide in a timely way technologies for a wide range of new space programmes. Space is an enabling tool which gives European decision-makers the ability to respond to critical challenges such as global climate change and global security. It brings a significant contribution to Europe's growth and employment; it provides indispensable enabling technologies and services for the knowledge society; it increases the understanding of our planet and Universe; and it contributes towards European identity, cohesion and security, providing inspiration for future human potential and bringing young people into scientific and technical education. Through this meeting the ESA Ministers have seized the opportunity to capitalise on the recent successes and achievements of Europe in space and to translate the political impetus into new programmes able to deliver knowledge, services and competitiveness and to shape ESA to assert itself as a global space agency, indispensable to the world in contributing to global policies.

Marines Test New Mine-Field Breaching Vehicle

Marines Test New Mine-Field Breaching Vehicle
(NSI News Source Info) MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - November 27, 2008: On Nov. 23, the Marines with 2nd Combat Engineers Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, fired the M58 A3 line charge from the Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV) for the first time since the ABV hit the fleet.
The line charge, a 350 foot long string of C4 explosives, is launched by an MK 22 Mod 4 rocket mounted on the ABV. The rocket’s purpose is to stretch the charge to its full length. Once the charge is stretched out, Marines detonate it, creating a lane eight meters wide and 100 meters long.
After the charge is detonated, the lane is free of any mines, improvised explosive devices, or other hazards the Marines may face.
“This equipment is vital to us because clearing obstacle fields is one of the four tenants of combat engineering,” said 2nd Lt. Michael D. Barry, ABV platoon commander.
The line charge is packed with 1,750 pounds of C4, and with that much explosive, combat engineers have the ability to breach bigger lanes. This allows Marines to get through with heavy equipment, and bring more fight to the enemy. Staff Sgt. Justin K. Hickman, platoon sergeant for ABV platoon, said he believes with the new capability they have a great advantage.
The ABV, which has only recently hit the fleet, was designed for combat engineers, more specifically for lane breachers. It looks like an M1A1 Abrams battle tank without the turret, but has a few extra add-ons.
“This was what the vehicle was designed for but didn’t make it out of the testing phase until recently,” said Hickman, an Orangeburg, S.C., native. Besides the ability to launch line charges, it has a full width mine plow, a lane marking system, remote control system and a protective weapon system.
“We can clear a path through a large area, move more quickly, we can get to the enemy without losing Marines to IED’s or mines,” said Hickman. The vehicle is run by a two man crew but has the option to be remotely operated.
With its new capability to launch line charges, it will help the survivability rate of our troops, and increase our ability to quickly get through mine fields and other complex obstacles.
Although clearing an area can still be a long and arduous process, the 2nd CEB Marines now have one more weapon they can turn to when called upon to solve a situation quickly and safely.

General Atomics Wins $115M for 16 Reaper UAVs

General Atomics Wins $115M for 16 Reaper UAVs (NSI News Source Info) Source, US Department of Defense - November 27, 2008: The Air Force is awarding a Firm-Fixed-Price Contract to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, San Diego, Calif. Not-to-Exceed $115,158,656.
This effort is for 16 Global War on Terror, MQ-9 Reaper, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
At this time $52,927,284 has been obligated. 703 AESG/SYK, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, is the contracting activity (FA8620-05-G-3028).

IAI Wins Israeli Advanced C2 Contract

IAI Wins Israeli Advanced C2 Contract
(NSI News Source Info) BEN GURION INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Israel - November 27, 2008: The MLM Division of the Systems Missiles and Space Group of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has been awarded a $28 million contract from Israel’s Ministry of Defense for advanced Command and Control (C2) Systems.
IAI's knowledge and experience in the field of C2 and C4I systems span decades and continues to deepen as development of newer systems proceeds. It is expected that this will enable IAI to win additional local and international programs, in both military and civil markets. Itzhak Nissan, IAI's President and CEO commented: "This significant contract is a vote of confidence in IAI’s MLM Division and its employees who conducted highly-rated design reviews and demonstrations prior to signing of the contract. This award is one of many international achievements in the development and marketing of C4I systems which will continue to strengthen IAI's position as a world leader in this discipline".
Israel Aerospace Industries sales for the third quarter of 2008 reached $877 million, compared with $797 million for the third quarter of 2007, an increase of 10 per cent.
IAI's back log of orders totaled approximately $7.44 billion as of September 30, 2008.
MLM Division of the Systems Missiles and Space Group is the leading systems integration house of Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI). As a multifaceted design, development, and systems engineering organization, MLM has the experience, knowledge and capabilities to leverage its cutting-edge technologies to deliver systems that are among the most advanced in the world.

Canada Upgrades LAV III Armored Vehicles

Canada Upgrades LAV III Armored Vehicles
(NSI News Source Info) GATINEAU - November 27, 2008: The Minister of Public Works and Government Services, the Honourable Christian Paradis, and the Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, today announced that the Government of Canada awarded a contract to EODC Engineering, Developing and Licencing Inc. of Ottawa for Add-on-Armour kits, modules and spares for its LAV III vehicles. LAV III vehicles are state-of-the-art combat vehicles that are used to transport infantry on the battlefield while providing defensive protection and firepower.
“The Government of Canada is committed to the Canadian Forces,” said Minister Paradis. “Our government is proud to use Canadian companies to procure the finest tools for our Canadian Forces.”
“Our Government's policy is to provide the best possible equipment for the men and women of the Canadian Forces," said Minister MacKay. "The added armour on the LAV III will allow our Forces to conduct their duties in a safer vehicle."
The contract, with an estimated value of approximately $68 million, includes kits, modules, and spares for the supplemental armour for the LAV III vehicles, as well as the repair and overhaul of their current modules and kits.
An additional contract an estimated value of $13.5 million was also awarded to EODC to provide an Improvised Explosive Device Protection Kit for the protection of the LAV III Vehicles. EODC is the only Canadian company that could provide this kit, as it owns the intellectual property rights.
The Government of Canada awarded a two-year contract with two one-year options to EODC Engineering, Developing and Licencing Inc. of Ottawa for Add-on-Armour kits, modules and spares for its LAV III vehicles.
LAV III vehicles are state-of-the-art combat vehicles that are used to transport infantry on the battlefield while providing defensive protection and firepower.
DND has a requirement for supplemental armour kits and modules for its LAV III vehicles to improve protection for soldiers. These kits and modules will improve operational survivability. As there were only two qualified suppliers in Canada, a Request for Proposal was directed in May 2008 to both these companies.
After thoroughly evaluating the two industry proposals, PWGSC determined that EODC, which had the lower bid, would also provide best value for Canadian taxpayers. The EODC contract is valued at approximately $68 million and includes supplemental armour kits, modules and spares for its LAV III vehicles, as well as the repair and overhaul of its current modules and kits.
An additional sole-source contract with an estimated value of $13.5 million was also awarded to EODC for an Improvised Explosive Device Protection kit (IEDPK) for the LAV IIIs. The supplemental armour and the IEDPK will help to protect the men and women of the Canadian Forces for their missions.

Pakistan to Buy German Submarines

Pakistan to Buy German Submarines (NSI News Source Info) Deutsche Welle German radio - November 27, 2008: Pakistan, which has relied on French defense suppliers, is buying German-made submarines for the first time, but is still technologically behind its nuclear rival India. Pakistan has formally agreed to buy three Type 214 German submarines under deal worth more than $1 billion (773.7 million euros) that the two countries are expected to sign within the next few months, according to a media report on Wednesday. The German shipbuilding company Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW) will construct the diesel-electric submarines in a shipyard in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi, Pakistan's English-language daily The News reported. "The commercial contract has been finalized up to 95 percent," said Walter Freitag, the chief executive officer of the HDW, the largest conventional submarine maker in the world. Freitag, who was interviewed by the newspaper during a defense products exhibition called IDEAS 2008 in Karachi, said that once the contract is signed, the first submarine would be delivered to the Pakistan navy in 64 months, with the rest delivered in the following 12 months. Pakistan has traditionally relied on French submarines for its naval defense. This is first time that Karachi has opted for German boats. Earlier, the French firm Armaris, a subsidiary of Thales group, had lobbied for the sale of three Marlin type submarines. The company delivered the last one to Pakistan in 2006. "The Pakistan navy understands submarines and ours are the best," Freitag said. "We use higher grade steel material, which allows greater diving depth. Also, we have fuel cell AIPs and can integrate Harpoons with the Type 214." The non-nuclear Type 214 is a 65-meter-long boat which can dive more than 25 meters, but it lacks the technology to avoid detection. Pakistan's quest for new submarines was prompted by its traditional nuclear-armed rival India reaching a 1.5-billion-euro deal in 2005 with a French company for seven Scorpion submarines.

Qaeda Focusing on Pakistan, Top Marine Says

Qaeda Focusing on Pakistan, Top Marine Says (NSI News Source Info) November 27, 2008: Pakistan has become Al Qaeda's "strategic focus," the Marine Corps Commandant says. And Pakistan still isn't trying all that hard to quash the terror group. "Iraq is now a rear-guard action on the part of al Qaeda," Gen. James Conway tells the Wall Street Journal. "They've changed their strategic focus not to Afghanistan but to Pakistan, because Pakistan is the closest place where you have the nexus of terrorism and nuclear weapons." Gen. Conway said Pakistan's best troops were deployed along its border with India and weren't being used in the fight against the country's militants. Pakistan's leadership doesn't yet seem to accept that terrorism poses an existential risk to the country's future, he added. "Pakistan has to understand there's a dire threat there that they have to act against," he said. Pakistan's failure to take concerted action against the Islamist fighters has led the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. military's secretive Special Operations Command to launch a wave of missile strikes against insurgent targets inside Pakistan. The government in "Islamabad has given tacit approval to the strikes," fired from Predator and Reaper drones, the Journal notes. But the military still seems itching for a fight over the robotic aircraft. Last week, Pakistan's army practiced drone shoot-downs. Now, air force chief Air Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed says he's ready to knock the aircraft out of the sky; the country's political leaders just need to give the thumbs-up. "The air force is ready for any type of air defense," Ahmed tells Reuters. "First this nation, you people, our parliament, our government, has to debate how we have to engage the foreign UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). Whether we have to engage them diplomatically and politically to resolve it or engage them militarily."

Rheinmetall Develops USV For German Navy

Rheinmetall Develops USV For German Navy (NSI News Source Info) Bonn, Germany - November 27, 2008: The German Navy has contracted with Rheinmetall Defence to retrofit and supply it with a robotic boat capable of carrying out a variety of missions. In developing the Unmanned Sea Vehicle (USV), Rheinmetall is transferring its tremendous expertise in the field of unmanned terrestrial vehicles to new maritime applications. The order is worth around EUR1.3 million. Under a research and development contract awarded by Germany's Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement, Rheinmetall is integrating robotic components into a Watercat M8 fast attack boat made by Marine Alutech Oy Ab of Finland. Initially to be used for evaluation purposes, the boat will be capable of manned and unmanned operations. In contemporary operations where the main threat is often asymmetric, the special capabilities of the USV mean that it can make a valuable contribution as a reconnaissance asset, carrying out sustained monitoring and/or interception of hostile speedboats. Equipped with appropriate mission modules, unmanned sea vehicles can conduct operations where deploying human beings is extremely hazardous, e.g. capturing drifting contact mines. The system thus makes a tangible contribution to force protection at sea. Weighting just under two tons and measuring approximately eight metres in length, the boat has a top speed of 35 knots. It can operate in manned mode, autonomously, or in remote control mode, and also features automatic waypoint navigation. Moreover, the boat's comprehensive array of sensors significantly expands the surveillance coverage of the carrying vessel. At a later stage, following sea trials, Rheinmetall hopes to supply the armed forces with several of this versatile craft.

U.K. Hawk Delivery Slips

U.K. Hawk Delivery Slips (NSI News Source Info) LONDON - November 27, 2008: Delivery of the first Hawk advanced jet trainers destined for Britain's Royal Air Force have been delayed until 2009, planemaker BAE Systems confirmed. The British company should have delivered the first Hawk 128 to the RAF training base at Valley in October. The contract schedule required BAE to deliver 10 aircraft by the end of the year. A company spokesman said the delivery program had slipped a number of weeks behind schedule as a result of delays caused by "supply chain and resource issues." He said the delay will not "unduly impact on our customer's training program." BAE said in a statement, "Six Hawk 128s have now been delivered to Warton from Brough for flight test and paint, and we aim to have seven aircraft to offer for customer for acceptance by year-end." Deliveries of these and subsequent aircraft to RAF Valley will commence in early 2009. The RAF has been a long-time user of the Hawk. This latest version has been updated with a digital cockpit, new avionics systems and other improvements to make the aircraft compatible with new-generation fighters now coming into operation with the RAF such as the Eurofighter Typhoon. The aircraft are built at BAE's Brough site and readied for customer acceptance at the company's prime air systems factory at Warton. "An initial support package is already on contract and a large quantity of initial provisioning warehouse at RAF Valley. Technicians from our main sub-contractor at Valley, Babcock Defence Services, have started their training, and RAF pilots will start their Mk128 conversion training in the neat future," the statement said. BAE secured the MoD contract in 2004 to develop the new Hawk in controversial circumstances. Geoff Hoon, the defense minister of the day, ignored the advice of officials and ordered the Hawk 128 without a competition. The company was warning at the time it would have to run down the Brough Hawk operation without an RAF order. That would have put at risk a deal with India and other potential sales. Hoon was vindicated when BAE later secured the Indian deal. The British eventually ordered 28 aircraft in 2006 in a deal worth 450 million pounds ($688 million). The Hawks will provide the advanced training element of the Military Flying Training System program now coming together in a partnership arrangement between the MoD and Ascent, the Lockheed Martin-VT Group venture.

Brazil Reveals Helicopter Purchases from Russia

Brazil Reveals Helicopter Purchases from Russia (NSI News Source Info) RIO DE JANEIRO - November 27, 2008: Brazil revealed that it had bought 12 attack helicopters from Russia on October 23, after a visit here by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Nov. 26. The deal, which had not previously been announced, appeared in a memorandum of understanding signed by the Russian leader and Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. "The parties recognize as a promissory accord ... some activities outlined during the celebration of the supply of the 12 Mi-35M helicopters for the Brazilian Air Force," part of the text read. Brazil and Russia "declare their conviction of the mutual benefits that can come from the continuation of the cooperation started with the negotiations relative to the fleet of attack helicopters." The Brazilian government confirmed the purchase in a joint statement released after Medvedev's departure. Medvedev signed accords to deepen military cooperation with Lula in Brazil earlier, but they did not close concrete agreements. After the meeting the Russian president traveled to Venezuela - which has adopted Cuba's role as the leading anti-American voice in the region - as Russian and Venezuelan warships conduct joint military maneuvers.