Sunday, December 21, 2008

Russia And China Signed Intellectual Property (IP) Rights Agreement

Russia And China Signed Intellectual Property (IP) Rights Agreement
(NSI News Source Info) December 22, 2008: On December 11th, Russia and China signed an agreement, in which China promised to stop stealing Russian military technology. It appears that the main function of the new "military technical cooperation" agreement is to stop China from exporting their copies of Russian equipment, and competing with the Russian originals. For the last five years, the Russian government has been trying to deal with the growing problem Russian defense manufacturers have had with China tolerating, or even encouraging, Chinese manufacturers to steal Russian military technology. It's not entire weapons systems the Chinese are stealing (like aircraft or ships), but components. Radars and electronic systems in particular were being copied, often using samples and technical data provided by Russian manufacturers, in anticipation of a sale. What often happened was that there was no sale, and then, a few years later, the Chinese came out with a copy, often a blatant copy, of the Russian radar, missile or electronic warfare gear.
The Chinese have produced several copies of Russian artillery systems (like the 2S19M1 self-propelled 155mm gun or several multiple rocket launcher systems.) The Chinese used their status as a major buyer of Russian aircraft and warships to deflect demands that the copying cease. The Russians feared that the Chinese would copy major systems, like aircraft or ships, and continue to ignore Russian demands that their intellectual property rights be respected. This is ironic for the Russians. During the Cold War, much Western military and civilian technology was blatantly copied, including microprocessors and computers themselves, by the Russians.
Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has been more careful about this, because the collapse of the Soviet Union opened up the Russian defense labs, and their large store of discoveries that had not been developed into anything useful yet. American manufacturers were eager to get rights to this technology, once they got a good look at it. The Western firms paid, and the billions of dollars that entered the Russian economy that way forced the Russians to reciprocate, and pay for Western technology they wanted. The Chinese have been forced by the West to cut back on some of their blatant theft of foreign technology, except for Russian military stuff. The Russians were getting fed up, and the government was under growing pressure to crack down on the Chinese theft. Russia, flush with oil revenues and a booming economy, was not as desperate for Chinese arms business as they used to be. So for the last year, Chinese purchases of Russian military equipment have declined, as the Chinese were increasingly offering stolen Russian technology for export sales. Finally, Russia threatened legal action on an international scale. Thus the new agreement was a Chinese effort to avoid that sort of legal entanglement.

Israel And Hamas Cease-Fire Not Extended

Israel And Hamas Cease-Fire Not Extended (NSI News Source Info) December 21, 2008: The end of a six-month cease-fire between Hamas and Israel could hamper the long-term peace process in the region. As if the threat of a nuclear Iran and the challenge of rising violence in Afghanistan weren't cause enough for concern, Barack Obama's incoming administration was dealt the news Thursday that Hamas doesn't intend to renew its expiring cease-fire with Israel. The end of the six-month cease-fire, coming only a month before President-elect Obama takes office, could complicate his administration's efforts in the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The cease-fire, which has been broken sporadically, was negotiated with the help of the Egyptians. It was set to expire Friday, but escalating violence along the border in recent weeks -- including a barrage of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip over the past few days -- signaled the agreement likely would not be extended. Israeli Army officers ran past a pair of tanks maneuvering at their forward base on the border with Gaza near Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel. A six-month cease-fire between Israel and the militant Islamist organization Hamas expired this morning, with senior Israeli government officials warning that a military offensive in Gaza would be unavoidable if the rocket fire from the territory continued
A demonstrator jumped into the air to avoid a tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah. Israel says the barrier is necessary for security; Palestinians call it a land grab
A Palestinian boy wearing an Islamic Jihad headband beside a Palestinian militant during an anti-Israel rally in Gaza. Armed Islamist factions in Gaza put their men on alert on Friday, but calm prevailed

Jet Fighter Aircraft Competitions Could Make or Break Contractors

Jet Fighter Aircraft Competitions Could Make or Break Contractors (NSI News Source Info) December 21, 2008: Within a couple of years, some aerospace companies and industries might be eliminated from fighter markets where they have competed for decades, facing, at best, a hard and uncertain road back into the business. All eyes are on Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark, seeking a replacement for their F-16s. Norway needs 48 new aircraft, the Netherlands nominally 85, Denmark 24. Norway is moving toward a decision as early as this month. The Netherlands is expected to decide early in 2009, Denmark later in the year. It’s remarkable that these nations are holding competitions at all. The F-16 program forged industrial and military bonds with the U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin, and all three countries were early partners in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). JSF is driving the timing of these decisions. If this was an off-the-shelf purchase, the customers would not have to make a decision yet, since none is looking at initial operating capability (IOC) before 2016. But Lockheed Martin says it needs to ramp up production now to hit cost targets and wants to bind its partners into an early, large and contractually enforceable joint commitments to their 2012-16 buys. Before 2007, there seemed little doubt that Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands would lead the way into such a deal. Ironically, it was Eurofighter that started to change the picture in Norway, lobbying aggressively for an open competition, before pulling out of Norway and Denmark early this year. But Sweden has taken the offensive: The Gripen Next Generation (NG), a paper concept in 2006, is now a fully funded program, including a flying prototype and major ground demonstrations, backed up by a Swedish government undertaking to buy the aircraft if export customers commit. Saab regards all the competitions as real—even in the Netherlands, regarded as the toughest nut to crack—and has offered an industrial participation (IP) program that Norway’s industry nominated as its favorite. IP is one of the “wedge issues” in the Netherlands/Norway/Denmark theater. In 2007, a weak dollar started to make local industries wonder how they could hope to win and maintain high-tech shares in the JSF program. Saab offered a fixed share, not just a chance to compete. Saab has also been pushing the Gripen’s fuel economy—it’s half JSF’s size—and low maintenance costs, which are largely known since it combines a modified airframe with a proven engine. The influence of U.S. politics and progress with the JSF program will be important, perhaps decisive. So far, the schedule slippages in the JSF program have not reached the point where they imperil export IOC dates, but neither has their cost impact been fully gauged. The schedule between now and mid-2012—when the U.S. Marines are supposed to hit IOC—is tight. The Air Force and U.S. Navy both face funding crunches. Lockheed Martin wanted to close a bulk-buy deal long before a new administration arrived in town, but this turned out to be impossible.
(JAS 39D Gripen takes off from Emmen air base in Switzerland, armed with Amraam and IRIS-T missiles.)
Whether all this will be enough for Gripen to win is an open question. Pro-JSF preference in the Netherlands is entrenched, and the U.S. has permitted Lockheed Martin to offer low fixed prices to secure its first batch of export orders. (The Pentagon itself, by law, cannot order a multiyear production batch until operational testing is completed.) While the JSF’s ability to carry four internal advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles was barely mentioned a year ago, project officials are now talking about (unproven) six- or eight-missile loadouts. But Gripen has maneuvered JSF into a “must-win” scenario. The program could tolerate a loss in Norway or Denmark, but to lose both—or, horrors, a Dutch defection—would be a shock that would encourage opponents in Australia and elsewhere. And Saab can lose and still win. Even if the JSF prevails, the Gripen will be the aircraft that placed second and posed the most serious competition to the big guns of the U.S. team, in three nations with respected, professional air forces. The Gripen team will continue to support the NG until several other contests are decided. Among these are Switzerland and Brazil. The former has downselected to Gripen, Rafale and Typhoon; the latter to Gripen, Rafale and the F/A-18 Super Hornet. Switzerland has evaluated all three aircraft in-country and expects to make a decision in the third quarter of 2009. Other than India, they are the only near-term contests where the European twins are engaged. Also, Brazil included the Super Hornet in its downselect, while the fighter was pulled out of Switzerland—even though it is a current Hornet operator, and Boeing’s only Super Hornet export so far was based on the ease and low cost of transition from the “classic” to the new aircraft. The Swiss air force has placed a priority on short takeoff and landing, maneuverability and good performance in the intercept role; all three contenders are better at high Mach than the Super Hornet. Brazil showed some interest in the Sukhoi Su-35, but eliminated it (according to Russian sources, because Russian industry could not compete on IP), and is showing political balance: its choices are the Rafale, which is free of U.S. content, Gripen—with a lot of important parts from the U.S.—and the all-U.S. Super Hornet. All, however, have potentially powerful offset programs, and there is a possibility that a Rafale order could be linked to the transfer of French nuclear submarine technology. After Switzerland and Brazil are decided, the Rafale is down to India. Typhoon is in play there, with longer-shot prospects in Korea and Japan. So far, however, the market seems to be taking its cues from the fighters’ sponsors in the U.K., Italy and France and their tepid support for both programs. The advantage in that respect belongs to Rafale, which has not been hampered by endless negotiations over every production batch of aircraft, and should benefit from a French government decision next year to buy 60 more aircraft and integrate active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. Both European twins suffer from high price tags, being more expensive than the projected price of JSF and more costly than the Super Hornet. And although fighters are Dassault’s heritage, it’s easy to forget that the company’s main business is selling corporate jets. The company has no incentive to give the Rafale away. Boeing, as a competitor in Brazil, is working to eke out the Super Hornet line, which is supposed to close in 2014 as the Navy ends production in favor of the F-35C. But Boeing has taken advantage of a stable Navy production program to turn the Super Hornet into a model of efficient production. (A Luftwaffe Typhoon taxies at Emmen during recent Swiss evaluation flights.) Within the Navy, the Super Hornet program office has been known to talk up the idea of extending orders by two or three years, which invariably means a corresponding delay in the start of F-35 production. It is an appealing idea to the black-shoe Navy—the surface fleet—since the deferred cost of introducing the F-35C in those years can be transferred into the cash-strapped shipbuilding program. It has reached the point where Congress has cut two early F-35Cs from low-rate initial production, and Pentagon leaders are warning that the move could result in a separate, later test program for the Navy. The same game is playing out in Australia, where Boeing is proposing another 24 Super Hornets—or even a Super Hornet/Growler mix—in the event that JSF is delayed. Results in these near-term competitions will influence future contests. If Switzerland and Brazil don’t yield a win for Rafale, Typhoon or the Super Hornet, it is hard to see why they would emerge better placed in India, for example; and in Japan and Korea—possible Typhoon targets—the question is always whether the interest is serious, or whether the Europeans are being kept in play to keep competitive pressure on the U.S. A Gripen win in either, though, would add to its strength in India, and boost its already strong position against the F-16 in the new NATO countries, where Vladimir Putin is emerging as the best marketing representative for Western fighters since the end of the Cold War. The biggest potential win is in Romania, which is looking for 48 aircraft; Croatia is looking for 12 fighters, and the Slovak Republic 14, with Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania also in prospect. Whether it was Niels Bohr or Yogi Berra who said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future,” some outcomes from this complex picture seem more likely than others. Barring catastrophe in the JSF program, it will still be an upset if Gripen wins Norway or Denmark, and an earthquake if the Swedes win in Holland. That said, it seems likely that Gripen will score more successes, like Switzerland and Romania. And that means, in turn, that the Typhoon, Super Hornet and Rafale are in contention for the remaining market, which may be big enough for two, but not for three.

Russian Troops Return To Georgian Village To Prevent Violence

Russian Troops Return To Georgian Village To Prevent Violence (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - December 21, 2008: Russian troops have returned to Perevi village along Georgia's border with South Ossetia to prevent growing tensions in the area, the Foreign Ministry said Friday in response to criticism by EU monitors. The troops had briefly entered the southern part of the village initially to try and verify whether a checkpoint was geographically located in South Ossetia or Georgia, which was in line with the French-brokered peace deal, the ministry said. "However, the Georgian leadership staged a new provocation by sending commandos into the village in violation of the peace plan and the EU monitoring mission's mandate...The move was accompanied by an active propaganda campaign, when foreign reporters were invited." "The Russian command made a decision that Russian troops should return to the checkpoint to curb growing tensions," the ministry said. Russia reported a complete pullout from undisputed Georgian territory ahead of an agreed October 10 deadline. Russian troops have been replaced by an EU monitoring mission tasked with ensuring security along the border with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia have refused to allow EU observers on their territory. Russia has also retained a presence in Akhalgori, however, as Moscow insists the area is part of Abkhazia that had been occupied by Georgian troops. Russia has also kept a checkpoint in Perevi, on the border with South Ossetia. Georgian authorities said Russian military refused EU envoys, who were in Perevi on a familiarization mission, access to the village on December 13. The French ambassador said it was a "violation of the [French-brokered] agreement on the part of Russia." Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states on August 26 after a five-day war with Georgia, which launched an attack on South Ossetia to try and regain control of the region. The two Georgian breakaway republics have had de facto independence since they broke away from Georgia in bloody post-Soviet conflicts in the early 1990s.

Daily Describes Activities of ISI in India

Daily Describes Activities of ISI in India
(NSI News Source Info) Article by Wilson John: "ISI Fangs" - December 21, 2008: PAKISTAN'S INTER Services Intelligence (ISI) has done what its Army can never do.
It has captured the vitals of the nation, its tentacles are spread across every nook and cranny-from Gujarat to Assam, from Kashmir to Kerala. It can trigger blasts in remote places, fuel communal riots in peaceful cities and blow up railway stations anywhere it wishes to.
It can spread terror wherever, whenever. Its control is full and final. There is not a city in the country which doesn't have either an active or a sleeper agent of the ISI.
This agent can be your friendly next door neighbour or the local tailor or a businessman. They have been brainwashed or inculcated into the fold by the ISI either by financial allurement or in the name of religion.
Whatever might be the provocation, the ISI agents are motivated enough to carry out the orders of their masters in Islamabad. The ISI has taken more than 28 years to implement its plan of action.
After the 1971 bifurcation of erstwhile Pakistan into two nations, the ISI, which works under the overall control of the Pak Army, has been working with the sole objective of avenging the defeat and balkanise India. The plan was conceived by President Ziaul-Haq and was called Operation Topac.
The objectives of Operation Topac were; a) to disintegrate India; b) to utilise the spy network to act as an instrument of sabotage; c) to exploit porous borders with Nepal and Bangladesh to set up bases and conduct operations. A close look at the ISI structure as it exists in Pakistan will reveal the extent of Islamabad's nefarious designs.
The ISI is headquartered in Islamabad and works under a Director General, a serving Lieutenant General of the Pakistan Army. There are three Deputy Director Generals-designated DDG (Political), DDG (External) and DDG (General).
The ISI is staffed mainly by personnel deputed from the police, para-military forces and some specialised units of the Army. There are over 25,000 active men on its staff. The largest wing of the ISI is the Joint Intelligence Bureau; it covers areas like political parties, anti-terrorism, VIP security, labour and students.
The bureau has specialised sections-one dealing exclusively with India, another on Communist countries and the third on Africa and West Asia. This wing is primarily responsible for appointment and posting of personnel at missions abroad. The second most important wing is the Joint Signal Intelligence Bureau which looks after the communication network of the ISI and collects Intelligence through monitoring of communications channels of neighbouring countries. A sizeable number of the staff is from the Army Signal Corps.
It has its units in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. It monitors, clicks photos and intercepts wireless communication. Its main activity, however, is to keep track of troop movements along the Indian border.
During the 1971 operations, it had over 200 clandestine radio stations on the war front. The third significant wing of the ISI is the Joint Counter-Intelligence Bureau which, as the name suggests, keeps a surveillance on foreign missions and the ISI personnel. The branch which deals exclusively with India is the Joint Intelligence North (JIN).
Its primary responsibility is to carry out operations in J&K and Afghanistan. It has been the main fund-raiser for J&K militants. The wing has also been providing arms and ammunition and operational guidance besides training Kashmiri youth in PoK camps.
The ISI's main target has been Jammu and Kashmir where the first seed of terrorism was planted in the early '80s. It began with indoctrination and an India-hate propaganda. There were innocuous signs of militancy on the street walls where the most timid graffiti read: "Indian Dogs Go Back". These graffiti were soon replaced by street bandhs [strikes] and protest rallies and by the beginning of '90s, active terrorism had begun to creep up the pristine valleys of Kashmir.
The ISI proactively trained frustrated youth, bribed and funded the so-called political and society leaders and subverted the law and order system in the State so much that the Indian Government had to send in the Army. The ISI had achieved first of its objectives early in the '90s.
Kashmir had become an international issue with terrorism taking a deep root in its streets and bylanes. Orchestrated propaganda within and outside the country kept the Kashmir issue alive in international for an objective which gave Pakistan a fake legitimacy of being the underdog. The plan to take over J&K was drafted in the mid-80s. The blueprint was prepared by the ISI chief in 1984 to aid and abet militancy in Kashmir. Amanullah Khan, chairman of the J&K Liberation Front, was consulted, Mohammad Rauf Khan, senior vice-president of the JKLF a terrorist outfit since banned, was sent to the valley in 1978-88 to mobilise youth to join ISI camps across the Line of Control of arms training. Over 20,000 persons infiltrated into Pakistan.
After pushing in militants, initially under the banner of JKLF, ISI floated several organisations-Hizb-ul-Maujahideen, Hizb-ul-Islam, Allah Tigers, Al-Umar Mujahideen, Muslim Mujahideen, Harkat Ul Ansar and Jamaat Hurriyat Conference. Besides funding, the ISI supplied both assault rifles and other sophisticated arms to the militants which included Draganov sniper rifles, anti-aircraft missiles and remote explosives. It also flooded the Valley with Improvised Explosive Devices which, till this date, continue to take a heavy till on security forces deployed for counter-insurgency operations.
The ISI has been concentrating on Punjab, especially after Bhindaranwale inspired terrorism was quashed by KPS Gill and his band of supercops. Since then, the ISI has been promoting various terrorist groups like the International Sikh Youth Federation led by Lakhbir Singh Rode, Khalistan Commando Force, Babbar Khalsa International and Khalistan Liberation Force of Pritam Singh Sekhon.
The ISI has been working in the North-East and Southern parts of India. Its links with North-East insurgents are well documented. It has not only been funding some out of the militant outfits but also been providing them with arms and ammunition and training facilities in neighbouring Nepal. The ISI's hand in the Mumbai and Coimbatore blasts has proved that it has been working quietly in spreading a terror network all over India. So while our soldier are fighting the enemy. Its agents are moving around freely, setting up bombs and creating communal rifts with impunity.
Has ISI's Operation Topac succeeded? This is a question which every citizen of this free democracy should be asking today. [Description of source: The Pioneer--Independent daily with a reputation for strong coverage of domestic issues and thoughtful editorial positions; owned by the Thapar Group]

Russia Continues To Test Bulava SLBMs

Russia Continues To Test Bulava SLBMs (NSI News Source Info) December 21, 2008: Despite several successful tests in the last two years, and the decision to put its new Bulava SLBMs (Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles) into production, Russia just announced that several more tests would be performed before the missile was actually put into service. Despite the many test failures, the Russians were confident in the basic technology in the Bulava. They knew there would be test failures, and believed they were facing no more problems that the two most recent U.S. SLBMs. These had had a 13 percent (23 tests of the Trident I) and two percent (49 tests of Trident II) failure rate. What did make many Russians nervous was the fact that the Bulava is replacement for an earlier SLBM that had to be cancelled during development because of too many test failures, and too many design and equipment problems that could not be fixed. Thus the Bulava is basically a navalized version of the successful Topol land based ICBM. The reliability of the Topol is the primary reason the Russians moved forward with Bulava. The Bulava will equip the new Borei class SSBN (nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine). The first one is about ready to enter service. The Borei class boats would replace the aging Cold War era SSBNs, which are being retired because of safety and reliability issues and the high expense of running them. Nuclear submarines are one area of military spending that did not get cut back sharply after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The 45 ton Bulava SLBM is a little shorter than the Topol M, so that it could fit into the missile tube on the sub. Thus Bulava has a shorter range of some 8,000 kilometers. Bulava has three stages and uses solid fuel. Currently, each Bulava is being configured to carry ten 150 kiloton warheads. The warhead is also shielded to provide protection from the electronic pulse of nearby nuclear explosions. The Bulava could also carry one 500 kiloton nuclear warhead, plus decoys. Many Russians are obsessed with trying to defeat American anti-missile systems. Russian doubts about Bulava are consistent with long time problems with their submarine launched ballistic missiles. These problems were largely kept secret during the Cold War, but since then, more information has emerged. Apparently the Russians want to increase the reliability of the Bulava before they make lots of them for arming the new Borei boats. This may delay deployment of the first Borei boat by a year or more.