Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dutch Navy’s Future Holland-Class Patrol Frigate

Dutch Navy’s Future Holland-Class Patrol Frigate
(NSI News Source Info) December 10, 2008: The Holland Class Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Royal Netherlands Navy are foreseen to be bought for the ever changing task of a navy. These ships are armed for low to medium combat activity and patrolling shores, but can also be tasked to patrol in deeper waters like the North Sea or the Caribbean. The ships are called patrol vessels, but due to their size they are more look like corvettes or even frigates. However, planned armament does not justify this designation. (A computer-generated right side photo of the Dutch navy’s future Holland-class patrol frigate). However seen in sensors and displacement the could be well seen as a frigate or corvette, but they are being classified as offshore patrol vessel. The projected number of ships for the class is four. Commisionings will take place during 2009-2012: P840: HNLMS Holland P841: HNLMS Zeeland P842: HNLMS Friesland P843: HNMLS Groningen On December 20, 2007 the contract was signed for 4 ships at a cost of around € 600 million.

BAE Wins RAN Frigate Support Contract

BAE Wins RAN Frigate Support Contract
(NSI News Source Info) SYDNEY, Australia - December 10, 2008: BAE Systems has been awarded a five-year contract to provide engineering, maintenance and supply support to the Royal Australian Navy’s four guided missile frigates (FFGs).
BAE Systems will assume the Integrated Materiel Support service delivery for the Adelaide Class frigates, HMAS Darwin, HMAS Melbourne, HMAS Newcastle and HMAS Sydney from 1 January next year.
The performance-based contract is expected to generate approximately $60 million in revenue over the life of the agreement.
The scope of the contract will see BAE Systems:
-- Managing integrated materiel support including quality management;
-- Undertaking engineering analysis, changes and support;
-- Planning for all maintenance activities, preparing work instructions, responding to defects and preparing technical documentation, and
-- Providing inventory analysis and planning, management of spares and other supply support. BAE Systems Australia’s Managing Director Jim McDowell said today that the contract would also significantly enhance the company’s strategic footprint at the Garden Island naval facility in Sydney.
“This new contract will require BAE Systems to create 60 new jobs at Garden Island and North Ryde, more than doubling the size of our existing workforce there,” Mr McDowell said. “The awarding of this contract is another example of BAE System’s capabilities in providing the best possible through-life support for the RAN.

EADS Details New Order for UH-72A Light Utility Helicopters

EADS Details New Order for UH-72A Light Utility Helicopters
(NSI News Source Info) ARLINGTON, VA - December 10, 2008: EADS North America has received a contract from the U.S. Army for 39 additional UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters, extending production under contract of the twin-engine rotary-wing aircraft through 2010.
This latest acquisition, valued at $207.7 million, brings the total number of UH-72As ordered by the Army to 123. The contract modification includes the additional 39 production aircraft, mission kits to equip some of the Lakotas for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and VIP logistics operations, along with pilot, maintenance and procedural training.
The Army plans to acquire 345 Light Utility Helicopters through 2016, with missions ranging from homeland security to drug interdiction, support and logistics flights. The UH-72A is based on Eurocopter's EC145 multi-role helicopter, which has been proven worldwide for use in law enforcement, paramilitary and security agencies, as well as emergency medical service providers, offshore operators and private corporations.
Production of the UH-72A is performed at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Columbus, Miss., under the management of American Eurocopter, an EADS North America business unit. "EADS North America will continue to meet -- and exceed -- the company's commitments in providing a helicopter that is vital to the Army's rotary-wing fleet modernization," said EADS North America Chairman and CEO Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. "Our UH-72A deliveries to date have been on time or ahead of schedule, and we are pleased that the Lakota has become a benchmark example of a well-managed military aircraft program."
The new order will continue EADS North America's sustained production and delivery rates for the Lakota, which is averaging three to four helicopters per month -- with the capability of reaching five aircraft monthly. Lakotas first entered service in 2007, marking one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the U.S. Army's history.
Forty-nine UH-72As have been delivered to Army and National Guard units and are in service with units in California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Lakota has attracted interest from other U.S. military services -- including the U.S. Navy which ordered five additional UH-72As through the Army contract for use in pilot training at the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md. In addition to their continental U.S. basing assignments, overseas deployments of UH-72As are anticipated for the U.S. Army in Europe, Japan and the Pacific region.
The UH-72A's phase-in enables aging National Guard OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft to be retired, while Lakota deliveries to the active component of the Army free up UH-60 Black Hawks for assignment to warfighting missions. As part of EADS North America's expansion of its U.S. industrial presence, the company has established a full-scale production facility for the Lakota in Columbus, Mississippi.
The Light Utility Helicopter's production facility is a 220,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art addition to American Eurocopter's rotary-wing aircraft center of excellence in Columbus. The total number of employees in Columbus will surpass 200 as UH-72A production is fully transferred to the facility.
The Columbus site's annual payroll exceeds $15 million, providing an important economic stimulus for Mississippi, opening new ties between industry and the state's educational institutions, and bringing high-value technological capabilities to the region. Beyond its direct employment, this industrial activity also provides an estimated $36 million in contract work for approximately 150 vendors within the state of Mississippi.
In its basic configuration, the UH-72A is operated by a crew of two pilots and accommodates six passengers. The helicopter carries VHF/UHF radios for military and inter-agency communications with emergency and first responder personnel.
Some UH-72A Lakota's are delivered in MEDEVAC or VIP transport configurations to meet specific mission requirements. Other mission-specific systems may be incorporated on Lakotas, including an Army National Guard equipment package consisting of a forward-looking infrared sensor (FLIR), searchlight, digital map and air-ground data link.

Lithuania Receives Second C-27J Spartan

Lithuania Receives Second C-27J Spartan
(NSI News Source Info) December 10, 2008: The second of the three C-27J “Spartans” bought by Lithuania landed in the Lithuanian Air Force Aviation Base Siauliai Military Airfield in the evening of December 6. Contract between the Lithuanian Armed Force and Italian Company Alenia Aeronautica S.p.A. on procurement of three C-27J “Spartan” aircraft was signed in June 2006.
The third aircraft will be sent to the Lithuanian Armed Forces in 2009. Total value of the contract amounts to 75m Euros (spare parts, logistic equipment, special equipment for VIP cabin, training for pilots and maintenance personnel). Alenia Aeronautika S.p.A. Training Centre in Turin has already prepared two teams for operation and maintenance of the aircraft, and another two are on the way.

Navair Orders $55M Upgrade for MV-22 Osprey

Navair Orders $55M Upgrade for MV-22 Osprey
(NSI News Source Info) December 10, 2008: Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $55,605,664 modification to a previously awarded fixed price incentive fee contract (N00019-07-C-0066) to incorporate Engineering Change Proposal #708R2.
Tasking under this effort includes the production of kits, recurring engineering, and installations for nine Lot 5 MV-22 aircraft to be converted from a Block A to a Block B configuration.
Work will be performed in Cherry Point, N.C., (65 percent); Amarillo, Texas, (20 percent); Philadelphia, Pa., (10 percent); Oklahoma City, Okla., (3 percent); and Mesa, Ariz., (2 percent) and is expected to be completed in May 2009.
Contract funds in the amount of $47,910,772 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.
Additional Info: Related Topic
Recent DID articles have conveyed doubts about the V-22 Osprey’s attributes in the search-and-rescue (SAR) category, beginning with our original in-depth coverage and analysis of the $8-10 billion, 141-helicopter CSAR-X/PRV competition and continuing into our coverage of recent V-22 evaluation reports. The US Navy, which has placed its buy of 48 HV-22s for the SAR role on the deep back-burner in favor of the MH-60 helicopter, said a lot on this subject without saying a lot. On the other hand, a recent article in DefenseNews noted that as DID had predicted, the US Marines were making a push for the V-22 in order to expand the USA’s tilt-rotor fleet. That decision is now out of their hands, however. In an Oct. 20 press release, the Bell-Boeing PRV-22 team said that it has made the decision not to submit a proposal for the U.S. Air Force CSAR-X competition: “After thorough review of the revised Air Force request for proposal, it was clear that the CSAR-X program’s requirements and funding profile did not call for the advanced speed and range offered by the V-22 Osprey, and instead leaned toward capabilities found in more-traditional helicopter-type aircraft.”

Pakistan's Mumbai Arrest: Will It Satisfy India?

Pakistan's Mumbai Arrest: Will It Satisfy India?
(NSI News Source Info) December 9, 2008: After a week of breathing fire on Pakistan for failing to crack down on the militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), which India blames for orchestrating the lethal Mumbai attacks of last month, New Delhi reacted with caution to reports of a Pakistani raid that led to the arrest of an alleged Mumbai mastermind. Indian security analysts are concerned that the move may be a feint by Pakistan's all-powerful military to buy time. "If the reports are true, the raids show some movement forward," says defense expert C. Uday Bhaskar. "But given how the civilian and military establishments are aligned in Pakistan, it is always a case of two steps forward, one step backward."
The raid in Muzaffarabad, the capital of the Pakistani half of the disputed territory of Kashmir, targeted the main local office of the Jama'at-ud-Da'awa (JuD), a charitable organization that terrorism experts say became the legal front of the banned LeT. Soldiers entered the office after a 3 p.m. deadline for its occupants to surrender had passed. Some 30 people fled. Local residents report that they heard fighting and machine-gun fire but no heavy weapons. The army has refused to comment. Latif Akbar,
(Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi speaks during a rally) a leader of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party in Muzaffarabad, told TIME that he's "very worried about the law-and-order situation. There will be retaliatory attacks [by militants] for sure." Among those reportedly taken into custody was Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who India believes was in charge of training LeT operatives for suicide attacks. Indian authorities refused to comment on the reports, saying they were awaiting official confirmation from the Pakistani government that they had acted on a diplomatic protest served on the Pakistan High Commissioner to New Delhi on Dec. 2, seeking "strong action" against those responsible for the Mumbai attacks.
Pakistani police officers patrol the street on their motorcycles ahead of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. Security forces raided a camp used by militants blamed for the Mumbai attacks and arrested more than a dozen people in Pakistan's first known response to the assault, militants and an intelligence official said Monday
Indian security analysts, meanwhile, were not only reticent but also skeptical of both the Pakistani authorities' ability and their willingness to crack the whip on the many terrorist groups operating on Pakistani soil. Mistrust of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) runs deep among Indian intelligence and security circles — far more than in the U.S. — particularly since the late 1980s, when the ISI was accused of aiding a fierce insurgency in India's border state of Punjab. Many believe that the ISI-Pakistani-army nexus holds the country in a vise, severely curtailing any civilian government's power to take any meaningful action against the many terrorist movements operating in Pakistan, whether on the border with Afghanistan or in Kashmir. Vikram Sood, former head of India's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), is even more skeptical and thinks the raid may only be a means to buy time. "It would be quite surprising for the Pakistani army to do this," he says. "The LeT has been their favorite." He points out that no raid has taken place at the JuD headquarters in the city of Muridke near Lahore. The LeT allegedly morphed into the JuD after 2001, when the LeT was banned by Pakistan after it was accused of masterminding a botched yet deadly attack on the Indian Parliament. The JuD denies it is the same organization. However, it continues to be headed by Hafiz Saeed, the LeT founder who figures on India's most-wanted list.
Pakistani female police officers patrol the street as people are seen in a market ahead of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha in Multan, Pakistan, Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. Security forces overran a militant camp on the outskirts of Pakistani Kashmir's main city and seized an alleged mastermind of the attacks that shook India's financial capital last month, two officials said Monday
A day before the raid, TIME spoke with Muhammad Yahya Muhahid, the JuD's secretary of information, who defended Hafiz Saeed, saying he is merely a religious scholar and cleric, denying his role in any of the terrorist acts. "Our organization has again and again made it public that it has no relations with the Lashkar-e-Toiba," Muhahid said. "Hafiz Saeed does not head the Lashkar-e-Toiba. The Jama't-ud-Da'awa does not consider any activity, carried out by any person, group or state, in any place, anywhere in the world, in which unarmed civilians and public places are targeted, to be right. We have already condemned the Mumbai attacks." Muhahid said that "India wants to implicate him just to protect its own Hindu extremists." Responding to speculation that India might stage military strikes against institutions and camps it believes may be LeT-militant strongholds in Pakistan, Muhahid said, "If our educational facilities are attacked, we will put pressure on our government to respond to India in the same coin." In India, there is pressure for continued pressure on Pakistan. Even so, says former Indian intelligence chief Sood, things will get a lot worse before they get any better. "Just today there's been an attack on 160 NATO vehicles in northwestern Pakistan," he says. "I expect more bombings, even in Pakistan. There's going to be no let-up. There may be more suicide bombings." He says the task of ridding Pakistan of terrorists cannot be left to the Pakistani authorities. "It should be taken up by an international force," he says. Many analysts are doubtful about the significance of the Muzaffarabad raid because they believe Pakistan's past attempts to crack down on terrorists have been merely cosmetic. "They have banned organizations, taken their leaders in custody, then put them under house arrest, only to release them and let them get back to their activities," says B. Raman, former head of the counterterrorism wing of the R&AW. "They need to show us that this time it will not be a farce. They should either deport those accused of the Mumbai attacks or allow an Indian police team to visit Pakistan and interrogate them." Raman believes greater pressure from the U.S. and from Israel, which lost nine citizens in the Mumbai carnage, may make a crucial difference this time. "As of now, there is tremendous anger among the Americans and the Israelis," he says. "But we need to see how things will be two, three months later."

Russian Naval Task Force Heads For Indian Ocean On Tour Of Duty

Russian Naval Task Force Heads For Indian Ocean On Tour Of Duty (NSI News Source Info) VLADIVOSTOK - December 9, 2008: A task force from Russia's Pacific Fleet left its main base in Vladivostok on Tuesday for a tour of duty in the Indian Ocean, a fleet official said. The task force comprises the Admiral Vinogradov, an Udaloy class missile destroyer, a tugboat, and two tankers. "The current tour of duty will demonstrate the ability of the Russian Navy to protect the country's interests in the world's oceans," said Capt. 1st Rank Roman Markov, a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet. According to the official, the task force will pay a visit to the Indian port of Mormugao and participate in the joint naval exercises INDRA-2009 with the Indian Navy in January. INDRA is a biennial Russian-Indian exercise aimed at practicing cooperation in enforcing maritime law and countering piracy, terrorism, and drug smuggling. INDRA-2009 is the fourth such exercise since 2003. The task force will also conduct joint exercises with a task force from Russia's Northern Fleet, led by the Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) nuclear-powered missile cruiser, which will arrive in the Indian Ocean after a current tour of duty in the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Following the exercises, the Admiral Vinogradov will replace the Neustrashimy (Fearless) missile destroyer from Russia's Northern Fleet in the Horn of Africa to protect commercial shipping from pirate attacks off the Somali coast. Vice Admiral Konstantin Sidenko, commander of the Pacific Fleet, earlier said that Russian warships from the fleet would make several long-range training sorties in the South Pacific and Indian oceans in 2009, and participate in a number of exercises involving live-firing drills. Russia announced last year that its navy had resumed and would build up a constant presence in different regions of the world's oceans.

Russia Against U.S. Missiles In Any European Anti-Missile Plans

Russia Against U.S. Missiles In Any European Anti-Missile Plans (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - December 9, 2008: Any European missile defense network that includes elements of a U.S. missile shield in Poland and the Czech republic would be aimed against Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday. Moscow has fiercely opposed the planned U.S. deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, saying they will pose a threat to its national security. Washington has said the bases are necessary in order to counter possible strikes from "rogue" states such as Iran. "According to the final communique of the NATO foreign ministers [after a December 2-3 meeting in Brussels], any version of the NATO missile defense network in Europe will include the elements of the U.S. global missile defense placed in Poland and the Czech Republic," spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said in a commentary posted on the ministry's web site. "This statement allows us to conclude that the so-called 'integrated' European missile defense network will be aimed against Russia," Nesterenko said. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier threatened to deploy Iskander-M short-range missiles in the country's Kaliningrad exclave, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, if the U.S. missile defense system was deployed in central Europe. However, Medvedev subsequently said in an interview with France's Figaro newspaper that Russia could "reconsider this response if the new U.S. administration is ready to once again review and analyze all the consequences of its decisions to deploy the missiles and radar facilities." Washington has provided new proposals to ease Russia's concerns over the planned European missile shield. New confidence-building steps, in particular, would allow Russian monitors access to missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia called the new U.S. proposals "insufficient" and insisted that the U.S. abandon its missile shield plans in Europe altogether. A new round of talks in Moscow to discuss missile defense and other issues, including a new U.S. proposal to further limit strategic nuclear weapons on both sides is expected later this month.

Launch Of Ariane 5 Rocket From Kourou Postponed Until Dec. 21

Launch Of Ariane 5 Rocket From Kourou Postponed Until Dec. 21 (NSI News Source Info) PARIS - December 9, 2008: The launch of an Ariane 5 carrier rocket with two telecoms satellites from the Kourou space center in French Guiana has been moved to December 21, French media said on Monday. The sixth launch this year of an Ariane 5 rocket had been planned for December 11 between 12:35 and 1:45 a.m. Moscow time (21:35-22:45 GMT December 10). The launch is now scheduled for 12:51-1:50 a.m. Moscow time (21:51-22:50 GMT December 20). The rocket is due to put into orbit two satellites, HOT BIRD TM-9 and W2M, for the European communications and satellite television operator Eutelsat. The French media cited the European space concern Arianspace SA as saying that the launch had been delayed due to mass protests in French Guiana against high gasoline prices. Kourou is located 50 km (31 miles) from the town of Cayenne on the Atlantic coast of South America. The European Space Agency launch facility is mainly used to launch geostationary satellites into orbit. The first launch of a Russian Soyuz-ST rocket from Kourou is due in late 2009. The center's proximity to the equator will allow the modernized Russian rocket to orbit heavier satellites than from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan and Plesetsk in northern Russia.

Russian Carrier Conversion Moves Forward

Russian Carrier Conversion Moves Forward (NSI News Source Info) December 9, 2008: A former Russian aircraft carrier under conversion for India is afloat again after three years in drydock. The former Admiral Gorshkov is afloat again after three years in drydock. (Sevmash) The former Admiral Gorshkov was refloated on Dec. 4 at Sevmash's northern Russia shipyard in Severodvinsk, Sevmash reported. The ship had been in drydock since December 2005. Now known as the Vikramaditya, the ship is being refurbished for India's Navy. The 45,000-ton Gorshkov was completed in 1987 as a modified Kiev-class ship intended primarily to operate helicopters and vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft. Under a January 2004 agreement, Sevmash is rebuilding the vessel to become a more conventional aircraft carrier, with an angled deck for takeoffs and landings and a ski-jump forward to launch aircraft. New propulsion, weapons and electronic systems also are being fitted. The extensive conversion has been more complex and expensive than first envisioned, and negotiations with the Indians have become more difficult. India is not expecting to get the ship before 2012. Sevmash reported that the operation to refloat the Vikramaditya began on Nov. 11. Although the ship became waterborne on Nov. 25, weather conditions prevented it from being moved from drydock to a fitting-out berth until Dec. 3.