Thursday, December 04, 2008

Il-78 Tankers Arrive in Pakistan

Il-78 Tankers Arrive in Pakistan (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD - December 5, 2008: Two Il-78MP Midas tanker aircraft have arrived in Pakistan, apparently the first of four purchased from the Ukraine. Though the Pakistan Air Force declined to comment, the two aircraft landed at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on Dec. 2, and were clearly visible from the observation lounge in their low-observation-gray PAF livery.Though it was unusual that the two military aircraft did not land at the nearby Masroor or Faisal air bases, their presence validates November reports in local media about their impending arrival. But reports that Cobham was to equip Pakistan's Il-78s with refueling pods were incorrect. A Cobham official said at last week's biannual Pakistani defense exhibition, IDEAS2008, that the pods were still the Soviet-designed UPAZs, and that the refueling kits on receiving aircraft, such as the newly upgraded Mirage-IIIs, were likely to be South African in origin. The Il-78s will give the PAF its first airborne refueling capability. They will help train Pakistani crews in mid-air refueling techniques, and once operational will be used to refuel the Mirage-III and eventually JF-17 Thunder. Air Force officials did confirm the $108 million order of 100 MAR-1 anti-radiation missiles from the Brazilian company Mectron, a deal signed in April but only now revealed. Few details are known about the MAR-1, and for many years its existence was denied. With confirmation of the deal, Pakistan appears to be the first export customer for the missile, which is also in service with the Brazilian air force.

China Reorganizes Aerospace Industry

China Reorganizes Aerospace Industry (NSI News Source Info) Source; Forbes - December 5, 2008: New operations and company mergers aim to increase China's global competitiveness. China is reorganizing its aerospace sector again in a bid to increase competitiveness and raise its profile. This reflects national ambitions to develop a range of world-class indigenous products and to take on more challenging collaborative programs. The reorganization has seen the merger of the two state aerospace companies, AVIC I and AVIC II, effectively returning the industry to where it was in 1999, when the original state monolith was divided to encourage competition and increase efficiency.
Activities. The new AVIC will be responsible for both civil and military aircraft, and have five main businesses, namely: --air transport manufacturing --general aviation --helicopters --engines --aircraft systems
These will be more clearly focused on discreet product and sectoral activity. The aim is to create distinct centers of excellence, facilitating the development of 'national champions.' AVIC will now control the bulk of Chinese aerospace research activities, including the provision of civil and other market forecasts for manufacturing subsidiaries. Comac. A separate operation--the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac)--now oversees the development of China's $7.1 billion indigenous 150-seat jet airliner program. China hopes to have its new 150-seater airliner in service by 2020 and is aiming at a potential domestic market of 2,200 narrow-bodied airliners. This would provide a massive launch pad to attack world markets, although it would face stiff competition from Airbus and Boeing. Military production. Military production is located in Xian, retaining a separation of civil and military development activities. (This could help China work more closely with Western companies affected by political constraints on technology transfer.) The Defense Division remains under the full control of AVIC, and it will be fully responsible for programs such as the Chengdu J-10 fighter as well as AVIC's guided weapons business. Longer term, China appears to want to develop a defense systems company comparable to BAE Systems or Lockheed Martin, and in the future AVIC's Defense Division may incorporate other aspects of China's defense industrial base. Outlook. The future for China's general aviation and helicopter sector appears promising. The economy is still growing strongly, which should raise commercial flying. Business flying is likely to develop, as should activities such as search and rescue operations or in support of exploration and the extractive industries. China's main weaknesses lie in engine and systems technology, although international collaboration on the 150-seat airliner will go some way to raising capabilities. The U.S. government will continue to oppose transfers of sensitive, dual-use technology associated with engines and systems. However, the creation of a single center for engine development will help China meld its collaborative and indigenous experiences. The new systems division faces the hardest task in merging existing firms comprising over 40 factories and research centers. It is also an area where the extensive links between civil and military development may make collaboration with Western suppliers more difficult.

Mexico To Buy Antidrug Aircraft With U.S. Funds

Mexico To Buy Antidrug Aircraft With U.S. Funds
(NSI News Source Info) December 5, 2008: Aircraft will be among the first equipment purchased by Mexico with funds provided by the U.S. government under the Merida Initiative to provide assistance in combating drug trafficking in the region. The initial $197 million of $400 million in fiscal 2008 funds approved by Congress for the initiative were released on Dec.3 after the signing of a letter of agreement between the Mexican and U.S. governments. Merida is planned as a three-year, $1.4 billion initiative, with the majority of funding going to Mexico for equipment, technology and training and a smaller amount going to Central American allies. A significant portion of the FY '08 and '09 funding will go towards acquiring or upgrading aircraft used by Mexico for counternarcotics and counterterrorist surveillance and support. The Mexican navy is to receive $200 million for four EADS Casa CN-235 maritime patrol aircraft, with the Mexican government planned to buy another six with its own funds. The aircraft will have the same configuration as the HC-144A Ocean Sentry variants flown by the U.S Coast Guard under the Deepwater program. The CN-235s will augment seven maritime-patrol EADS Casa C-212s operated by the navy and replace three ex-Israel Northrop Grumman E-2Cs that have been retired. The Mexican air force is to get $104 million for eight Bell 412EP utility helicopters to augment four already in service and provide a complete squadron to support rapid-reaction forces. Mexico's Federal Police Force likewise is to get $106 million for three Sikorsky UH-60 transport helicopters, while the Office of the Attorney General is to receive $2.8 million to refurbish two Cessna Citation IIs used to intercept drug-running aircraft.

Bulgaria To Orders Gowind-200 Corvettes From DCNS?

Bulgaria To Orders Gowind-200 Corvettes From DCNS?
(NSI News Source Info) December 5, 2008: Following his October 2006 meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev initially gave the go-ahead for negotiations to buy 4 Gowind corvettes. A French-Bulgarian working group was then set up to finalize the estimated EUR 900 million (then about $1.25 billion) contract before the end of 2007, but Bulgaria subsequently backed out, saying that it could not afford the contract. Instead, in December 2007 the Bulgarian navy spent EUR 54 million on a pair of used frigates and a minesweeping vessel from Belgium.
One of the two Gowind 200 corvettes that Bulgaria will purchase from the French company Armaris is to be produced in the shipyard in the city of Varna
Still, one should never underestimate the power of diplomacy. A July 2008 trip by President Sarkozy appears to have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. DCNS’ 103m, 1,950t (338 ft., 2,150 ton) Gowind corvettes are directly derived from the design and technological lead advances of the new Franco-Italian FREMM multi-mission frigates – and they could also help give new life to another French weapon. The Gowind Class Corvette Gowind is designed to deploy Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) and Underwater Unmanned Vehicles (UUVs), though it lacks the full mission module system in Denmark’s Standard Fle 300 corvettes or the USA’s Littoral Combat ships. An aft deck has been provided allowing for up to 10-ton class helicopters, or even Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) launch. The weapon system builds around a Setis combat system with a multi-functional radar, and 16 vertical-launch cells that can hold Aster 15, Mica-VL, or Crotale-VT1 anti-air missiles. It can also be armed with 8 MM40 Exocet or Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and carries a naval gun. Gowind corvettes are shaped for stealth. Its single central mast that replaces several sensor masts in other ships, and provides both improved signature and a 360-degree view for radars and other sensors. The ship’s propulsion system is based on Combined Diesel and Diesel (CODAD) but has no gas exhaust chimney, channeling exhaust into the water-jets in order to create maneuverability in shallow waters, high-speed performance, improved infared signature, and improved visibility for its top-mounted sensors. The ships come in several sizes. Gowind-200 ships are distinguished from the Gowind-120 and -170 ships by their larger size, which allows them to carry a suite of anti-submarine warfare equipment in addition to their other armament. The Gowind corvette deal may have wider ramifications for Bulgaria than the role it will play in that country’s military modernization. There are reports that only the first ship will be built in Lorienne, with the other 3 built in Varna by Bulyard Shipbuilding Industry, and equipment installed by the Bulgarian ship repairing yard Terem-KRZ Flotski Arsena. Dozens of Bulgarian engineers and technicians would need be trained in France as part of these arrangements, and French unions have already expressed concerns that outsourcing to Bulgaria’s cheaper shipyards may become permanent build locations as DCNS works to sell these ships abroad.

Russia Arms Exports To Hit Record 8 Bln Dollars In 2008: Report

Russia Arms Exports To Hit Record 8 Bln Dollars In 2008: Report (NSI News Source Info) Moscow - December 5, 2008: Russia’s military exports will exceed $8.5 billion in 2008, a senior government official said here. Russia has doubled annual arms exports since 2000 to $7 billion last year, becoming the world’s second largest exporter of conventional arms after the US. Military exports “are planned at $8.5 billion this year (2008), and I think we will fully meet the plan, and even exceed it,” Mikhail Dmitriyev, head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, told a news conference. Russia exports weapons to about 80 countries. Among key buyers of Russian-made weaponry are China, India, Algeria, Venezuela, Iran, Malaysia and Serbia. “Our foreign customers are queuing up for new Russian-made weaponry,” Dmitriyev said. “Among our main 10-15 customers are China, India, almost all Middle East countries, Algeria, Morocco and Venezuela.” The most popular types of weaponry bought from Russia are Sukhoi and MiG fighters, air defence systems, helicopters, main battle tanks, armoured personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles. Russia also maintains traditionally strong positions in sales of small arms, and anti-tank and air-defence missile systems. Dmitriyev said Russia’s defence companies were overloaded with orders and urgently needed to increase capacity to meet existing orders and ensure future growth in arms exports. “I think our defence industry can handle this situation,” he said. Additional Info - Related Previous Posting Link;

Singapore To Supply Armored Vehicles To U.K.

Singapore to Supply Armored Vehicles to U.K. (NSI News Source Info) LONDON - December 5, 2008: Singapore Technologies Kinetics has secured a deal to supply its Bronco armored all-terrain vehicle to the British military. Negotiations on the sale of just over 100 vehicles have been completed in the last 48 hours, government sources said. The contract is expected to be announced officially by the MoD within the week. Bronco All Terrain Tracked Carrier by Singapore Technologies. (SINGAPORE TECHNOLOGIES)
The Ministry of Defence denied the deal had been completed. In a statement it said, "Discussions are still ongoing as to the vehicle type to fulfill the Warthog requirement for operations in Afghanistan. We will procure over 100 new vehicles with deliveries starting at the end of next year." A spokeswomen for STK declined to comment. The selection is a major setback for armored vehicle supplier BAE Systems. The company's Viking all-terrain vehicle has been in service with the Royal Marines for several years. It's also been in use in Afghanistan by the British Army. BAE's Swedish subsidiary, Hägglunds, bid a Mark 2 version of the Viking but failed to overcome its Singaporean rival who offered a higher payload and more capacity to transport troops. Bronco deliveries are expected to start next year. The vehicles, to be known as Warthogs in British service, will replace Vikings currently being operated in southern Afghanistan by the British military. Bronco is already in service with the Singaporean armed forces, but the British deal will be the first export win for STK. Thales UK is expected to be the vehicle integrator for the British Broncos. As the Singaporeans prepare to conclude the deal, it emerged earlier this week that BAE had secured an urgent operational requirement to upgrade the Viking fleet in Afghanistan with increased protection against mines and roadside bombs. About 120 vehicles are having armored belly plates and other measures fitted.

South Korean Says Bye Bye To Iraq

South Korean Says Bye Bye To Iraq (NSI News Source Info) December 4, 2008: South Korea is withdrawing its peacekeeping troops from Iraq by the end of the year, after having been there since 2004.
Only 500 troops remain, although the South Koreans once had as many of 3,300 troops stationed in northern Iraq. South Korean soldiers stand at attention during an end of mission ceremony in their military camp in Arbil, 310 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad, December 1, 2008. South Korean soldiers officially ended their four-year military mission in Iraq on Monday, and plan to bring back all of their remaining troops before Christmas, a U.S. military official said The South Koreans were in the Kurdish part of the country, and there was little violence. So the South Koreans spent most of their time doing reconstruction work.
They helped run a hospital, and built 280 facilities. The South Koreans will leave behind 18,000 items of equipment, and a base, all of which they are donating to the Iraqi government.
The South Koreans made a good impression on the Kurds, and Iraqis in general, both for their generosity, and apparent readiness to deal with any violence that might come along.

Special Ops CV-22 Ospreys Self-Deploy to Africa for Multinational Exercise

Special Ops CV-22 Ospreys Self-Deploy to Africa for Multinational Exercise (NSI News Source Info) HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. - December 4, 2008: Four CV-22 Ospreys from the 8th Special Operations Squadron here returned after completing their first operational deployment supporting Exercise Flintlock 2009 in November in Bamako, Mali.
The aircraft supported the training exercise in the Trans-Saharan region designed to build relationships and capacity and to enhance African nations' ability to patrol and control their sovereign territory.
The exercise included personnel from 15 countries, and the CV-22 served as a platform for multinational training. Specifically, the aircraft was used to transport Malian and Senegalese special operations forces and their leadership teams.
"We did long range, vertical lift, and dropped (teams) off at a landing zone," said Capt. Dennis Woodlief, an 8th SOS pilot. "They practiced their ground movements, then we brought them back."
Missions like this allowed the CV-22 to take advantage of its unique capabilities as a tilt rotor aircraft, said Lt. Col. Eric Hill, the 8th SOS squadron commander.
"The tyranny of distance in the African continent is amazing," he said. "We were able to go over 500 nautical miles, infiltrate a small team for them to run their exercise, and bring them back all the way to home base without doing an air refueling stop.
And we were able to do that in the span of about four hours. " "It would take the MH-53 (Pave Low) twice, sometimes three times as long (to do these missions)," Captain Woodlief said. "And we did it with just one aircraft." Colonel Hill said the CV-22 is an "unprecedented capability." And with the new capability, there were also new lessons to be learned. "We learned some lessons like we always do on different equipment we'd like to have and requirements that we'll have in the future," he said.
Many of those lessons revolve around tailoring maintenance packages for future deployments. Members of the 1st Special Operations Helicopter Maintenance Squadron deployed to Bamako in support of the 8th SOS.
Because the exercise was held at a remote location rather than an established base, one of the maintenance challenges was self-deploying with all the parts and equipment they needed to keep the CV-22s operational for the entire exercise, and for the cumulative 10,000 nautical mile transatlantic flights.
"We have a laundry list about three pages long of things we'd like to take next time," said Master Sgt. Craig Kornely, the squadron's lead production supervisor.
"As we grow into the machine, we realize our needs for equipment and resources." But despite the challenges of operating a new aircraft for the first time overseas and in an austere environment, the squadron had a perfect mission success rate during the exercise.
"We had zero maintenance cancels, zero delays, and we executed 100 percent every time," Captain Woodlief said. "I think we went above and beyond everyone's expectations."

Boeing-Led Team Completes Major Upgrade For NATO AWACS Fleet

Boeing-Led Team Completes Major Upgrade For NATO AWACS Fleet (NSI News Source Info) Seattle WA - December 4, 2008: A team led by Boeing has completed a major mission-system upgrade for the NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet under the $1.32 billion Mid-Term Modernisation Programme. Modification of the 17th and final AWACS aircraft was completed on schedule Nov. 3 by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), as an industry partner and subcontractor to Boeing. Boeing also delivered two NATO AWACS mission simulators it had modified into the Mid-Term configuration. "Achieving this milestone represents the culmination of a true international effort by many talented people from across North America and Europe, including the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Programme Management Agency, Force Command, the NATO E-3A Component, the U.S Air Force and more than 15 key subcontractors from 12 nations," said Lee Strom, NATO AWACS programs manager for Boeing. "This has been, and will continue to be, a prime example of how great companies and their customers can work together on a global scale to field a world-class product," Strom added. "NATO AWACS is now the premier airborne surveillance aircraft." The enhancements provide a superior view of the battlespace by integrating data from various AWACS sensors and other sources, as well as an increase in the number of targets the system can manage at one time. This highly capable mission system allows NATO AWACS aircraft to receive mission orders from remote locations and updates via satellite data links, and to electronically integrate this information. The system offers increased interoperability with other AWACS platforms as well as with fighter aircraft, ground stations, ships and satellites. The enhancements include: + New situation display consoles with flat-panel displays and user-friendly navigation + An open-architecture mission computing system, allowing cost-effective future upgrades to the hardware and software + Multisensor integration that improves the reliability and accuracy of target tracking and identification, and eases operator workload + Digital communications systems to improve crew access and use of radio links, including improved over-the-horizon communication via satellite + Broad-spectrum VHF radios that will support increased operations with Eastern European nations' air and ground forces + An improved friend-or-foe identification system compatible with emerging international air traffic control systems' requirements + Upgraded aircraft navigation that takes advantage of the latest Global Positioning System technology.

China Set To Buy Up Big Before The Cash Runs Out

China Set To Buy Up Big Before The Cash Runs Out
(NSI News Source Info) Hong Kong - December 4, 2008: Ukraine and China have been engaged in negotiations on the joint design of a large military transport aircraft, according to sources in Ukraine's Antonov Aircraft Co. The agreement was expected to be signed this month, with the aircraft project to begin soon afterward. According to a source in the Ukrainian military industry, the basic design concept of the aircraft already has been finalized. The Chinese military transport aircraft will adopt different design concepts and technologies than the Antonov An-70 transport aircraft designed by the former Soviet republic of Ukraine and the Russian Federation, the source said, and will be powered by four jet engines. Additional technical details of the transport aircraft are to be finalized after the signing. In recent years the People's Republic of China has greatly reinforced its strategic military ties with Ukraine in a variety of areas, but this is the two countries' first collaboration in developing a large aircraft. A source from the Russian aviation industry told United Press International that China did not ask for Russian assistance on this project, suggesting that China is shifting its design cooperation away from Russia and toward Ukraine. It also indicates that the new aircraft will be an upgrade of the Antonov An-70 air transport rather than a duplication of it. China expressed keen interest in the Antonov An-70 air transport as early as the mid-1990s, when the aircraft was undergoing flight tests in Russia and Ukraine. The aircraft did not get off to an auspicious start, however. The first Antonov An-70 prototype was tested in Kiev, Ukraine, in December 1994, but the same plane crashed the following year. The second prototype was damaged in an accident at Omsk, Russia, in 2001. In 2002 Russia and Ukraine agreed to each take a 50-percent stake in the project, and two more prototypes were manufactured. But by April 2006, following the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, Russia decided to withdraw from the project. The Antonov An-70 air transport is still being tested. The Ukrainian air force appears to be the only buyer, having announced its intent to procure five of the An-70 aircraft. China's decision to design its own large military transport aircraft on the foundation of the Antonov An-70 technologies is apparently intended to take advantage of the extensive testing the aircraft already has undergone, to save research and development time. The Antonov company source has confirmed the Chinese military transport aircraft will not be fitted with the Antonov An-70's D-27 engine, though it did not disclose what type of engine will be used. The D-27 engine has an output thrust power of 14,000 horsepower, maximum payload of 47 tons and a flight range of 4,050 miles with a payload of 20 tons. China recently imported 240 D-30 KP-2 engines from Russia to use in upgrading its own, home-produced H-6K bombers. It is unlikely that this engine would be used for the military transport plane, however. Russia is already replacing some of the D-30 KP-2 engines on its Ilyushin Il-76 air-lifter with upgraded D-30 KP-3 or PS-90 engines. The D-30 KP-2 does not meet Europe's latest noise control standards, so the Ilyushin Il-76 military air transport powered by these engines are not allowed to land at European airports. Why China still can't get its Russian Il-76 air transports
The dispute over a deal involving China's import of 38 Russian aircraft -- 30 Il-76 transport aircraft and eight Il-78 air-to-air refueling tankers -- has not been completely resolved. The Russian side insists the price of the aircraft, agreed on in a 2005 deal, is no longer viable. The Ilyushin Il-76 military air transport is still the mainstay export platform for the Russian Federation. Hence the Kremlin has not agreed to transfer its production technology for the large aircraft to the People's Republic of China, nor have the two sides initiated negotiations on this particular issue, according to a source from the Russian aviation industry. It is because of this that China has turned its attention to Ukraine to try to purchase the Antonov An-70 air transport instead. Alexander Mikheev, vice president of Rosoboronexport, Russia's official defense industry exporter, told United Press International in a recent interview at a British air show that China still intended to pursue the negotiations on the Ilyushin Il-76 military air transport and on the Ilyushin Il-78 air-to-air refueling aircraft, and that the contract for both these purchases was still in effect. "We demanded to re-discuss the price of the aircraft," said Mikheev. He denied that a price had already been agreed upon, however. "We are only demanding that the new price should be in line with the international standard," he said. Regarding the timeline of resuming production and assembling the aircraft, he stressed that Russia had already allocated funds to build a new factory at Ulyanovsk, and the production of the Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft would begin in 2011. China does not have much experience in the design and production of large transport aircraft, nor are its current projects in this area proceeding smoothly. An example is the Y8F-600 medium-sized military transport plane, for which the Antonov company in Ukraine agreed in 2002 to provide design assistance. Even though reports from China claim the plane already has been tested, a source from the Ukrainian aviation industry told UPI that its maiden flight has been put off repeatedly and has yet to take place. According to the original design, the Y8F-600 is powered by four PW150B turboprop engines produced by Pratt & Whitney Canada, with British R408 propellers. Test engines have been delivered to China from Canada, purportedly for use in civilian aircraft. Yet because of pressure from the United States to restrict exports of military technology to China, it is questionable whether Canada ultimately will allow the export of enough Pratt & Whitney engines to meet China's production needs. Under this circumstance, China will have no choice but to use Russian or Ukrainian engines in its military transport aircraft.

Russia Welcomes NATO Decision To Resume Dialogue

Russia welcomes NATO decision to resume dialogue (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - December 4, 2008: The decision by NATO foreign ministers to resume dialogue with Russia shows the alliance is taking a more realistic stance on world affairs, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. NATO foreign ministers agreed on Tuesday in Brussels to gradually resume contacts with Moscow, suspended after Russia's armed conflict with Georgia in August. "We have noted the proposal by foreign ministers from the North Atlantic alliance to resume a political dialogue with Russia in the Russia-NATO Council format. Although several conditions have been attached to this process, we believe that the alliance is returning to a realistic position," the ministry said in a statement. The ministry also welcomed NATO's decision to delay Ukraine and Georgia's admission to the Membership Action Plan (MAP), a key step for entry into the military alliance. At Tuesday's NATO meeting, Western European powers led by Germany put the dampeners on U.S. plans to fast-track the two post-Soviet countries' entry into the alliance. However, Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the alliance would "beef up" the NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia commissions to help speed up reforms needed for the countries' eventual membership. "The fact that no decision was made on admitting Georgia and Ukraine to the Membership Action Plan reflects, in our opinion, an acknowledgement of risks related to quickly pulling these countries into the alliance," the ministry said.

India, Russia Discuss Military-Technical Cooperation

India, Russia discuss military-technical cooperation (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI - December 4, 2008: A recently-formed Russian-Indian joint commission on monitoring bilateral military-technical cooperation has held a two-day meeting in New Delhi, the Indian Defense Ministry said on Thursday. The decision to set up the commission was adopted in September at a meeting of the Russian and Indian defense ministers in New Delhi. The commission is expected to improve regulatory and technical aspects of military cooperation. The meeting was held on December 2-3. "The sides discussed issues related to the implementation of various joint projects, including a fifth-generation fighter, a multipurpose transport plane, T-90 tanks, an AWACS plane, the modernization of the Su-30MKI fighter, the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, and medium-class helicopters," the ministry said in a statement. During the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to India, which begins on Thursday, Russia and India could sign a number of contracts in the sphere of military-technical cooperation, presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko earlier said. Russia's Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov is to accompany the president on his visit to India.

First Flight of CN235 ASW Aircraft for Turkey

First Flight of CN235 ASW Aircraft for Turkey
(NSI News Source Info) ANKARA - December 4, 2008: Thales announced today that the Turkish Navy’s future CN235 maritime patrol aircraft made its first flight this week.
Modified by Thales and industrial partners TAI, Havelsan, Aselsan and Milsoft, the aircraft features the AMASCOS system (Airborne MAritime Situation and COntrol System) to provide Turkish naval forces with advanced anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
This new milestone further consolidates Thales’s European leadership in maritime surveillance and patrol systems. Meltem is the most ambitious maritime surveillance and patrol programme conducted in Europe over the last decade.
For Meltem II, Thales is modifying three CN235s for Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance missions by the Turkish coastguard and six CN235s in anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) configuration. For Meltem III, Alenia is integrating Thales’s AMASCOS system on ten ATR-72 ASW platforms.
The ATR-72 ASW aircraft developed jointly by Alenia Aeronautica and Thales is being proposed to naval and air forces around the world, for example in Algeria, Greece, Italy, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.
“The mission system is closely integrated with the aircraft’s avionics, making this the most comprehensive solution on the market today, and the most competitive in the anti-surface and ASW turboprop segment. It is backed by Thales’s and Finmeccanica’s global network and with Alenia we are expecting favourable decisions on many of the current procurement programmes,” says Jean-François Henrio, Vice President, Mission Airborne Solutions.
The Meltem contract, awarded to Thales, is one of Europe’s largest maritime patrol and surveillance programmes. Maritime surveillance aircraft are deployed for monitoring territorial Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters, for detecting all forms of illicit trade and trafficking, accidental pollution and oil dumping, and for search-and-rescue operations.
This latest-generation system will provide the customer with an effective maritime patrol and surveillance capability for the coming years. Nine systems will be integrated into existing CN235 aircraft operated by Turkish armed forces (Meltem II) and a further ten into Alenia ATR-72s (Meltem III). Thales is a leading international electronics and systems group, addressing defence, aerospace and security markets worldwide.
Thales’s leading-edge technology is supported by 22,000 R&D engineers who offer a capability unmatched in Europe to develop and deploy field-proven mission-critical information systems. Thales employs 68,000 people in 50 countries with 2007 revenues of EUR 12.3 billion.

IDEAS 2008: Eight Countries Interested In JF-17 Thunder Planes

IDEAS 2008: Eight countries interested in JF-17 Thunder planes (NSI News Source Info) Karachi - December 4, 2008: Ministry of Defence Production Secretary Shahid Siddiq Tirmizi informed journalists on Friday that as many as eight countries have shown interest in procuring newly launched JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft that was developed jointly by defence industries of Pakistan and China.
The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has been using eight JF-17 fighters to complete trials and technical evaluation of the newly launched jet, he said. He said that once agreements for sale were reached, 800 or even more JF-17 fighters could be produced.
Indonesia also has expressed interest in the French Dassault Mirage 2000-5 and Rafale fighters, the Chinese Chengdu J-10 and the joint Chinese/Pakistani FC-1 Fierce Dragon/JF-17 Thunder fighter.
The Secretary Defence Production along with Minister for Defence Production Abdul Qayyum Jatoi, State Minister for Defence Production Sardar Salim Hyder Khan, and Director-General Defence Export Promotion Organisation (DEPO) Maj General Muhammad Farooq were speaking at a press conference at fifth and concluding day of International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS-2008) here at Karachi Expo Centre. The official said that through IDEAS, Pakistani defence products were showcased to prospective international buyers, who showed a keen interest in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), air defence systems, tank simulators, and anti-tank guided missiles developed by Pakistan.
He said that the negotiations held at IDEAS could lead to more joint ventures of Pakistan for defence production with international defence industries and friendly countries like Turkey, France, and Germany.
According to him, various participating delegations, prospective buyers, and exhibitors had reached some 11 broad understandings for defence production and procuring arms and related equipment.Tirmizi said that from 2006 to 2008 Pakistan had exported defence products worth $400 million and this figure is bound to increase after IDEAS-2008. Minister for Defence Production Qayyum Jatoi responded to a question about Pakistani capability to counter drone attacks by saying that Pakistan has the necessary defence capability but its top priority is to resolve the issue through diplomatic and political means.
Regarding the strained bilateral ties between India and Pakistan, especially in the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, the minister said the government is hopeful that India would not attack Pakistan, but Pakistan was capable of countering the attack in such an eventuality. Maj. Gen. Farooq, organizer of the event, said that prospective international defence manufacturers had already started showing their interest in participating in the sixth IDEAS scheduled to be held in 2010.

India-Pakistan Border At Wagah....Daily Ceremony #2

India-Pakistan Border at Wagah....daily ceremony #2 (NSI News Source Info) December 4, 2008: Pakistani and Indian border guards faced each other during a ceremony at the border near Lahore, Pakistan. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in New Delhi amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan following last week's Mumbai terrorist attacks. Ms. Rice said that Pakistan has a "special responsibility" to cooperate with the investigation into the deadly Mumbai attacks. Pakistani (left) and Indian border guards faced each other (in full diligent anger though to grab each other) during a ceremony at the border near Lahore, Pakistan

Rice Demands Robust Response From Pakistan

Rice Demands Robust Response from Pakistan (NSI News Source Info) December 4, 2008: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is increasing pressure on Pakistan’s government to help get to the bottom of the terror bombings in next-door India. After expressing US condolences for the more than 170 deaths in India, Rice is in Pakistan for meetings with civilian and military leaders.
The US wants Pakistan to do more to go after terror cells rooted in Pakistan. Rice traded places with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen, who was pushing the same message in Pakistan on Wednesday. He’s now in the Indian capital.
On the plane ride to Islamabad, Rice told reporters Pakistan must provide a robust and effective response to the attacks in the Indian commercial capital of Mumbai. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sought Wednesday to refocus India and Pakistan on a common fight against terrorism and away from their mutual suspicions of one another, but neither country seemed willing to go along.
Rice made an emergency condolence visit to India a week after a coordinated terror assault on Western or financial targets in the Indian commercial capital of Mumbai.
The attackers targeted symbols of the city’s wealth, tourist appeal and Western outlook. Six Americans were among the 171 people who died.
Rice spent the day urging cooperation between the nuclear rivals, but the rhetoric in both countries only grew hotter. The US wants broader sharing of intelligence and a commitment by Pakistan to root out terror groups that have found a comfortable perch in the Muslim country.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, right, shakes hands with U. S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. Rice said the Pakistani government must mount a "robust response" to the terror shooting in India, which blames the carnage on terrorists operating from neighboring Pakistan
"I informed Dr. Rice that there is no doubt that the terrorist attacks in Mumbai were perpetrated by individuals who came from Pakistan and whose controllers are in Pakistan," Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.
That left Rice to say Pakistan bears a ‘’special responsibility” to help get to the bottom of the attacks while awkwardly declining to finger Pakistani militants outright. Mukherjee said the view that the Mumbai attacks were based in Pakistan is broadly shared around the world, putting Rice on the spot.
She said she would not prejudge an investigation into the attacks. While Rice was assuring India of US help in fighting terrorism the top US military officer was next door in Pakistan for closed-door talks. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was meeting civilian and military officials of both India and Pakistan during the trip, a senior defense official said Wednesday on condition of anonymity.
The official declined to give details and spoke privately because the meetings were still under way, saying only ”It’s all about a cooperative approach to regional security.” Pakistan’s president Asif Zardari indicated on Wednesday he would not hand over 20 suspects wanted by India and said they would be tried in Pakistan if there were evidence of wrongdoing.
Indian muslims marched in the streets of Mumbai Wednesday Dec. 3, 2008 to protest against the recent attacks on their city and to condemn Pakistan. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Islamabad has a "special responsibility" to cooperate with the investigation into the attacks, which Indian and U.S. officials have blamed on militant groups based in Pakistan
Thousands of Indians — many calling for war with Pakistan — gathered in Mumbai for a vigil to mark one week since the beginning of the deadly rampage. More than 2,000 students marched through Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, on Wednesday, shouting anti-US and anti-Indian slogans. The Bush administration has had varying success in reframing its relationship with both countries, which have fought three wars with one another.
In Pakistan’s case, a new civilian government has replaced a military government that was a strong ally of President George W. Bush in fighting terrorism. In India, a troubled nuclear cooperation deal finally came through this fall and both nations have said it signaled a fresh start after years of lingering Cold war distance.
Additional Info
Outside View: Pakistan's Mumbai alibi
(NSI) December 4, 2008: Since the terror attacks on Mumbai five days ago, Indian security sources have promoted evidence that the attackers were trained by elements of the Pakistani military. While the field training took place at a camp run by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency near Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, fluency in the handling of ordnance was taught at another ISI safe house on the outskirts of Karachi. Pakistan has done little to create deniability about these connections or earlier links discovered by U.S. intelligence agencies between the ISI and the July 7 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Many analysts see the top priority of Pakistani intelligence as reversing India's path toward social stability and economic growth. Still, why were so many telltale clues left behind in these attacks that enraged the Indian public and made the world aware that India is among the softest terrorist targets of the major democracies? The hope of those who planned last week's attack was that India would respond to the attacks the way it did to the attack on its Parliament in 2001 -- by mobilizing troops on the Pakistan border and creating an expectation that a full-scale, conventional India-Pakistan war was imminent. At that time Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee's unwise decision to "bluff" the Pakistanis into cooperating with India by the threat of war boomeranged on New Delhi. Foreign missions evacuated their nationals in a panic and business confidence plunged. Even at that time, it was known to policymakers in most major capitals that India was bluffing, and that the genial Vajpayee would never actually go to war. Yet they participated in the hysteria, especially the United States, where there is a thriving industry of so-called conflict-resolution specialists whose declared mission is to stop India and Pakistan from going to war with each other. Both countries are aware that a war would be suicidal for Pakistan and severely damaging for India. So the specialists will be able to toast their imagined success in keeping the peace, thereby securing more funding from their less-informed patrons. Those within the military establishment in Pakistan who enabled the Mumbai operation are now waiting for the government of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to go the way of Vajpayee and send additional Indian troops to the border. In anticipation of such a move, they already have frozen selected deployments of reinforcements to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas -- the frontier region of Pakistan that has become the new home of al-Qaida -- and issued provisional orders for sending additional forces and equipment to the border with India. The reason is simple: Having no desire to eliminate al-Qaida, these military commanders are seeking to use the "threat from India" as an excuse for inaction on the western frontier. They will seek to explain their patent unwillingness to engage the terrorists by pointing to the need to bolster defenses against an Indian attack. Unfortunately for them, this time around there is zero chance of India repeating the mistake of 2001, which was to mobilize when it was clear that war was never going to be an option. Also, intelligence agencies worldwide have better reach into the Pakistan military than previously. In reality, the next war involving Indian and Pakistani troops is likely to be both sides acting together to take out the jihadis. But this will have to await a cleansing of the pro-jihadi elements from the officer corps of the Pakistani army, a necessary process that the present army chief is resisting. Those Western commentators and analysts cultivated by the Pakistani army have begun churning out analyses speaking of "heightened tensions" between India and Pakistan. Foolishly, U.S. President George W. Bush has fanned the flames of such inspired speculation by inserting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice into the region, rather than adopting an attitude of "business as usual." Rice, in desperate need of some -- any -- perceived diplomatic success, can be expected to follow the playbook of the South Asia crisis management specialists by hinting at substantive tensions that do not in fact exist, at least on the Indian side. Aware that both Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani are blameless with regard to the Mumbai attacks, the Indian government of Manmohan Singh has been careful not to place any blame on the civilian leadership in Pakistan. The Mumbai attack was a Pakistani military operation, in which even the navy was involved, as reported by India Today. The civilian government had no role in it, nor was it informed of the planning and execution of the attack. By continuing to regard the present Pakistani military as part of the solution to the problem of global terrorism rather than as a principal target, the United States and its NATO allies are creating the conditions that will allow jihadis to breed in the region in sufficient numbers to be able to launch attacks against targets in the United States and Europe. The civilian administration in Pakistan, led by Zardari, needs assistance to secure control over the military. Next the jihadi elements must be purged from the Pakistan officer corps if the country is to be rescued from the jihadist nightmare into which it has fallen, undoubtedly due to major policy errors of the Western powers since the 1980s. Recent statements by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama reveal a dangerous incomprehension about ground realities in the region. No solution is possible over Kashmir or other pending India-Pakistan issues until the Pakistani military comes under civilian control and is cleansed of the jihadi elements that control much of its officer corps. Those who planned the Mumbai attacks to create an alibi for their refusal to take out al-Qaida in the tribal regions will be disappointed. This time India will not fall into the trap laid by the Pakistani military by sending additional troops to the border and creating war hysteria that would divert attention away from the ongoing campaign against al-Qaida. (Professor M.D. Nalapat is vice chair of the Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO peace chair and professor of geopolitics at Manipal University.) (United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)