Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DTN News: Boeing Wins $750 Million Contract to Support B-52 Fleet

DTN News: Boeing Wins $750 Million Contract to Support B-52 Fleet
*Sources: DTN News / U.S Department of Defense; issued June 29, 2009 *DTN News....Thanks Defense-Aerospace for excellent news coverage on Defense factors
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - June 30, 2009: The Air Force is awarding a firm-fixed-price contract to the Boeing Co., Wichita, Kan., for $750,000,000.
Boeing has been awarded a $750 million extension to its fleet support contract for the US Air Force’s B-52 strategic bombers. (USAF photo) This action is a follow-on to the B-52 fleet support contract and will provide recurring and non-recurring engineering services, including: drawing and technical data maintenance, systems engineering support, technical analyses, government furnished property maintenance, detailed design engineering system and subsystem integration, hardware and software support, technical order updates, flight safety analyses, reliability and maintainability analyses, ground and flight test support, engineering feasibility studies, material deficiency report analysis, field problem investigation, and in-flight emergency response.
At this time, $9,605,869 has been obligated.
327th Aircraft Sustainment Group Contracting Division, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8107-09-D-0001).

DTN News: Boeing Joins The Wing To Body For First 747-8 Freighter

DTN News: Boeing Joins The Wing To Body For First 747-8 Freighter *Sources: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) EVERETT, Wash., - June 30, 2009: Boeing has completed another milestone in the assembly of its first 747-8 Freighter by joining the wing to the fuselage. Workers attached the 40-foot (12 m) fuselage section to the center wing box in the final assembly bay at the factory in Everett, Wash. The wing and center section are now being prepared for final body join, when the assembly will be connected to the forward and aft fuselage sections. The 747 Program has secured 78 orders from leading cargo operators for the new 747-8 Freighter. Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air all have placed orders for the airplane. "We continue to gain momentum on the assembly of the first 747-8 Freighter," said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and general manager of the 747 Program. "The airplane is coming together well and will be ready to fly later this year as planned. This will be a great freighter, which will build on the 747 family's leadership in the cargo market." The 747-8 Freighter is the new high-capacity 747 that will give cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any freighter airplane, while providing enhanced environmental performance. The 747-8 Freighter will offer 16 percent more revenue cargo volume than the 747-400 Freighter. The airplane will carry forward its predecessor's efficiency, with nearly equivalent trip costs and 16 percent lower ton-mile costs than the 747-400 Freighter. In fact, the 747-8 Freighter will enjoy the lowest ton-mile costs of any freighter. The 747 Program has secured 78 orders from leading cargo operators for the new 747-8 Freighter. Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air all have placed orders for the airplane.

DTN News: Iraqis Take Control As U.S. Troops Leave Cities

DTN News: Iraqis Take Control As U.S. Troops Leave Cities *Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BAGHDAD, Iraq - June 30, 2009: Iraqi forces prepared to take control of towns and cities nationwide on June 30 as American troops withdrew in a milestone for the country's recovery six years after the U.S.-led invasion. Iraqi army tanks take part in a parade in Baghdad's Green Zone, June 30, 2009. U.S. combat troops left the last of Iraq's cities on Tuesday, restoring to the country a proud sense of sovereignty that many applauded even though some fear it may leave them more vulnerable to attacks. Baghdad's streets were quiet and traffic much lighter than usual as people stayed at home for a national holiday to mark the June 30 pullback, ahead of a complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq by the end of 2011. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the nation's joy at the handover was mixed with sorrow for "beloved friends and relatives" who had been "targeted by terror." But he also took aim at critics of the Iraqi security forces, saying the nation's army and police were up to the task of defending the country in the wake of the U.S. pullout. "It is a big mistake for people to think that the Iraqis will not handle the security issue," Maliki said. "It is an offence to the Iraqis. The people who said that the foreign troops would never withdraw and would keep permanent bases in our country were giving a green light to the terrorists to kill civilians." Iraqis had celebrated into the night on June 29, but soldiers and police were out in force to prevent insurgent groups spoiling the party as American troops left their posts in urban centers. President Jalal Talabani, meanwhile, thanked U.S. forces for the sacrifices they made in overthrowing now executed dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, and in the years of violence that followed. "They bore the burden and dangers against the most cruel regime and against the mutual enemy - the terror," Talabani said on state television. The handover coincided with a U.S. Army announcement that four of its soldiers died from combat-related injuries on June 29, taking to 4,321 the number of American troops killed since the invasion. The pullout is part of a landmark security agreement signed in November between Baghdad and Washington covering the fate of the 133,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq. In the wake of bombings that have already killed more than 200 people this month, all leave for Iraqi security personnel has been canceled. Motorcycles, a favored form of transport for several recent bombers, have also been banned from the streets. Across Baghdad, tanks and armored vehicles manned by soldiers and police were decorated with artificial flowers, flags and banners, as nationalistic songs and popular music played. "We are happy to receive the security responsibilities and we are able to totally protect our citizens," said policeman Ibrahim al-Mashhadani. Abu Mustapha, a carpenter, added: "I believe that the security of the nation will improve when the U.S. forces leave." On Monday, the former defense ministry building in the capital, taken over in the wake of the invasion, was handed back to the Iraqi government. "This marks the end of the rule of the multinational force," said Gen. Abboud Qambar, the head of Baghdad Operation Command. The security shake-up was celebrated by huge crowds in Baghdad's largest park on the evening of June 29. Revelers had to undergo three security checks to enter but no one seemed to complain amid a jubilant atmosphere, where an onstage banner declared that Baghdad's sovereignty and independence had been recovered. Even policemen joined in the fun, dancing with the partygoers. Maliki warned earlier this month that insurgent groups and militias were likely to step up attacks in the run-up to June 30 in a bid to undermine confidence in Iraq's own security forces. There have been several huge bombings since, the deadliest near the northern oil hub of Kirkuk on June 20 when a truck loaded with explosives was detonated, leaving 72 people dead and more than 200 wounded. Only a small number of U.S. forces in training and advisory roles will remain in urban areas, with the bulk of American troops in Iraq quartered elsewhere. The Status of Forces Agreement, which set the pullback deadline, says U.S. commanders must seek permission from Iraqi authorities to conduct operations, but American troops retain a unilateral right to "legitimate self-defense."

DTN News: Israel Prepares F-15 Jets For Long Range Attack

DTN News: Israel Prepares F-15 Jets For Long Range Attack
*Sources: DTN News / (IsraelNN.com)
(NSI News Source Info) TEL AVIV, Israel - June 30, 2009: The Israel Air Force’s F-15 fleet is undergoing an upgrade, with systems that make it better equipped for complex long distance attack scenarios. The systems are being installed in both the F-15 and the F-15I -- a model of the F-15 that was developed by its U.S. manufacturer specifically for the IAF. The F-15I is deployed by the Israeli Air Force where it is known as the Ra'am. It is a dual-seat ground attack aircraft powered by two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engines, and is based on the F-15E. After the Gulf War, in which Israeli towns were attacked by SCUD missiles based in Iraq, the Israeli government decided that it needed a long range strike aircraft. In 1993, Israel issued a Request for Information (RFI) asking any aircraft companies interested in producing the new Israeli fighter for their proposals. In response, Lockheed Martin offered a version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and McDonnell Douglas offered both the F/A-18 Hornet and the F-15E. On 27 January 1994, the Israeli government announced that they intended to purchase 21 F-15Es. The F-15E design was modified to Israeli requirements, including the DASH Helmet Mounted Sight and was renamed F-15I. On 12 May 1994, the US Government authorized the purchase of up to 25 F-15Is by Israel. In November 1995, Israel purchased 4 more F-15Is, bringing them to the US imposed limit. 25 were built from 1996 to 1998. According to IDF journal BaMachaneh, the F-15I model is currently being fitted with two new systems – one called “Barad Pelada” (“Steel Hail”), and another named Lightning. The Barad Pelada advanced weapons system has been operational in the IAF’s F-16s for almost four years, but had to be modified in order to fit the F-15. Barad Pelada is an advanced Israeli armament that operates like a smart bomb. “The system is unique in that it is able to plan the bombing in an accurate way by identifying the target from above,” a knowledgeable source in the IAF explained. “After the identification, the system carries out guidance to the target and only then is impact made.” The Lightning advanced attack system has also been in use in the IAF’s other jets. Until now, the F-15I jets had to rely on the older Inbar system, which used to be fitted in all of the IAF’s jets but was gradually phased out. The Inbar system is capable of providing an operational solution in some ranges, but other attack scenarios require advanced systems like the Lightning, IAF sources said. “The need for the new system led to an accelerated procedure of development of advanced means,” a source in the IAF’s Weapons Department explained. “Once the testing at the Flight Experiment Center is finished, we will complete the system’s integration in the aircraft.” A combination of two systemsFor the time being, however, the F-15I jets will not part with the older Inbar systems. “From now on, the aircraft will enjoy a combination of both attack systems and will enjoy a meaningful advantage in their operational activity,” the sources said. The F-15 jets, meanwhile, recently received a new weapon system named “Barad Kaved” (“Heavy Hail”) and used it for the first time during operation “Cast Lead” in Gaza in early 2009. IAF sources said the use was a success. The F-15 fighters used Barad Kaved in attacks with zero malfunctions, and “we are very pleased with its performance in the operation,” the sources said. Pilots' Course graduation ceremony (Israel news photo: IAF website). 'Sharp as a razor'
“The reelection of Iran’s president, his grave utterances regarding his will to harm the state of Israel and Iran’s continual effort to achieve unconventional weapons require us to maintain an army that is coiled and ready to spring into action, and an Air Force that is skilled and sharp as a razor, that will stand up to any enemy and remove any threat from our citizens and residents,“ IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Thursday in an IAF ceremony for new pilots at the Hatzerim Air Force Base.

DTN News: INDIA....A First ~ Foreign Interest In ARJUN Main Battle Tank By Colombia

DTN News: INDIA....A First ~ Foreign Interest In ARJUN Main Battle Tank By Colombia *Sources: DTN News / Hindustan Times By Rahul Singh Email Author New Delhi, June 29, 2009
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - June 30, 2009: Seeking to build up its armoured warfare capabilities to crush a potential threat from Venezuela, its Latin American neighbour Colombia has shown interest in buying India’s indigenous Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun. With the handing over of a batch of 16 indigenously designed and developed Arjun Main Battle Tanks (MBT) to the Indian Army, its 43rd Armoured Regiment has now received a full complement of 45 tanks. This ensures that the Arjun is now inducted in the army at full regimental strength- an autonomous, fully functional, combat unit. The tanks were handed over to Lt Gen D Bhardwaj, director general mechanised forces (DGMF) by Dr A Sivathanu Pillai, chief controller, research & development and distinguished scientist, DRDO, at a function in Avadi today. The army has already placed a confirmed order for 124 of these tanks. It is expected that the remaining 74 tanks will be handed over to the army by March 2010. The first ever expression of interest from abroad in the MBT Arjun could translate into an export order worth Rs 1,700 crore, with Colombia wanting to raise at least two regiments of main battle tanks. “Bogota has expressed interest in the MBT Arjun. The Colombian army has an immediate requirement for 10 tanks to be followed up with the induction of another 100 over five years,” said a senior official, on the condition of anonymity. The competitors for the Colombian order include France (MBT Leclerc), US (MIAI Abram), Israel (Sabra), Korea (KI AI) and China. India’s reluctance to export military equipment could tip the scales in the favour of international suppliers. The ministry of external affairs had recently turned down a Bolivian request for a line of credit to buy seven Dhruv advanced light helicopters worth over Rs 300 crore from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

DTN News: India's Saina Nehwal Says World Championships Next Target ~ Yonex-Sunrise Contracted Player

DTN News: India's Saina Nehwal Says World Championships Next Target ~ Yonex-Sunrise Contracted Player *Sources: DTN News / ANI (NSI News Source Info) HYDERABAD, India - June 30, 2009: Saina Nehwal returned home on June 28, Sunday to a rousing welcome after winning her first Super Series title in Indonesia. Saina said she has now set her eyes on bigger events like the World Championships at home in August and the All England Championship. Many fans were present at the airport to greet Saina, who said the victory in a world class event has given her the confidence that she can be among the world's top five soon. "It is really great and fantastic. Now I think I will be able to win more Super Series events," Saina told reporters. "I was in good form in Indonesia and backed myself to win the title," she said. Saina was aiming to win back-to-back titles at Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold, but lost to a Chinese qualifier Xin Wang in the quarterfinals. Saina said she felt a bit tired after playing three tournaments. "I was a little bit tired in Malaysia. I played all top players in the earlier tournaments and it was really hectic. When I went to Malaysia first two games were really tough. I just couldn't move on the court in the quarterfinals." Saina said her immediate focus is to put up a strong performance at the World Championships here in August. Yonex-Sunrise sponsore of BWF World Championships Super Series "This victory has given me confidence. I am looking forward to win events like World Championships and the All England Championship." Saina upset World No.3 Chinese Lin Wang to become the first Indian to win an elite badminton event since her coach Pullela Gopichand won the prestigious All England Championships in 2001. Before that former world no.1 Prakash Padukone had won the All England title in 1980. Saina, however, is only 19 and has risen in the ranks in world badminton fast. Her ranking has gone up one place to World No.7 after the victory.

DTN News: Lockheed Martin Awarded $16.5 Million For Paveway II Enhanced Laser Guided Training Rounds

DTN News: Lockheed Martin Awarded $16.5 Million For Paveway II Enhanced Laser Guided Training Rounds
*Sources: DTN News / Lockheed Martin (NSI News Source Info) ARCHBALD, PA, - June 30, 2009: Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $16.5 million order to deliver paveway II Enhanced Laser Guided Training Rounds
(E-LGTR) to the U.S. Navy. This award represents the fourth option to a 2005 indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, valued in excess of $114 million.
The Lockheed Martin Paveway II Enhanced Laser Guided Training Round (E-LGTR) provides realistic Paveway II Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) (GBU-10/12/16) tactical employment training as an alternative to expending operational Paveway II LGB assets. The E-LGTR accurately emulates the laser guided bomb envelope, flight characteristics and guidance system of the Paveway II system. Live-fire training permits aircrews to practice delivery tactics in a real-mission environment and experience actual weapon characteristics with today's range limitations. The E-LGTR provides significantly improved CEP (within 3 meters) and CE90 performance against challenging airborne lased tactical target environments. Since its deployment in 1992, Lockheed Martin has sold over 50,000 units to the U.S. Navy and international customers, providing a cost effective and optimal training solution for semi-active paveway II laser guided weapons. Since the completion of the enhancement program in 2006, over 2,000 units have been delivered to the U.S. Navy. Under the award, Lockheed Martin will extend production deliveries of E-LGTRs to the U.S. Navy during 2010. This will bring the total quantity of LGTRs awarded on this contract to over 50,000. “It is critical that our Warfighter has the tools to train exactly as they fight. Lockheed Martin’s E-LGTR is a proven, combat representative munition that provides the Warfighter with operationally realistic and cost-effective direct-attack weapons employment training,” said Capt. Mat Winter, U.S. Navy Precision Strike Weapons Program Manager. “From the training ranges to the battlefield, I have received positive feedback on the E-LGTRs impact on the Warfighter’s mission effectiveness. With this contract award, I look forward to our continued partnership to ensure the Warfighter is ready to fight, and win.” The paveway II E-LGTR is used to maintain aircrew proficiency and eliminate consumption of paveway II Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) inventory when training aircrews in live-fire exercises and weapons delivery. Recognized worldwide as the only available live-fire training solution for Warfighters, the E-LGTRs are a cost-effective training solution for all paveway II laser guided weapons. The E-LGTR is fully compatible with F-16, FA-18, AV-8 and multiple international platforms. Lockheed Martin has delivered over 82,000 units to U.S. Navy and international customers since 1992, representing a savings in excess of $1.3 billon when compared to training with paveway II tactical weapons. Paveway is a generic term, developed by the U.S. Air Force, for laser guided weapon systems. Lockheed Martin is a fully qualified provider of paveway II LGB and Dual Mode Laser Guided Bomb kits and provides these systems to the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and international customers. Lockheed Martin also supports paveway weapon systems by being the sole source provider of the paveway II E-LGTR. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.

DTN News: Navantia Launches Two Ships For Venezuela

DTN News: Navantia Launches Two Ships For Venezuela
*Sources: DTN News / Navantia ~ dated June 24, web-posted June 30, 2009 (NSI News Source Info) SAN FERNANDO-Puerto Real shipyard, Spain - June 30, 2009: On 24th. June, Navantia launched, at the San Fernando-Puerto Real shipyard, the first of the four Economic Zone Patrol Boat (PVOZEE) and the third of four offshore patrol boats (OPV’s) that are being built for the Venezuelan Navy. The vessels were named “Caribe” and “Naiguatá” and were christened by Dinorah Villasmil de Mata and Alma Pura Blanco de Padrón. Attending the ceremony were, among others, the Vice-chairman of SEPI, Federico Montero, and the San Fernando-Puerto Real shipyard's General Manager, Fernando Miguélez. The PVOZEE has a length of 98.90 meters, a displacement of 2,200 tonnes and a maximum speed of 25 knots. The missions are the control of the economic exclusive zone, search and rescue and also anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.The OPV has a length overall of 79.90 metres and the capacity to displace 1,500 tonnes and reach a maximum speed of 22 knots. These ships will be able to carry out a wide variety of missions such as coastal surveillance and protection, protection of maritime traffic, health assistance to other ships, external firefighting, the fight and control of marine pollution, transport of personnel and provisions, search and rescue operations, rapid intervention, frogmen support, surface defence and passive electronic warfare. The contract for these 8 patrol boats, whose construction will mean 5 million work hours (1,456,900 for Navantia and 3,580,700 for auxiliary industry), was signed on 28 November 2005. Their deliveries are scheduled to take place between October 2009 and July 2011.

DTN News: U.S. Army Selects Northrop Grumman, Cobham Team To Provide VIS-X Vehicular Intercom Systems / Northrop-Cobham Win $2.4Bn US Army Order

DTN News: U.S. Army Selects Northrop Grumman, Cobham Team To Provide VIS-X Vehicular Intercom Systems / Northrop-Cobham Win $2.4Bn US Army Order
*Sources: DTN News / Northrop Grumman
(NSI News Source Info) BALTIMORE - June 30, 2009: Northrop Grumman Cobham Intercoms LLC (NGCI LLC), a company formed by Northrop Grumman Corporation and Cobham, has been selected to provide the VIS-X Vehicular Intercommunication System Expanded for the U.S. Army's Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM). Under the terms of this indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract, the NGCI team is required to be able to deliver up to 500 VIS-X systems per month during the first year following completion of First Article Testing and up to 2,000 systems per month in subsequent years. The total value of the 10-year ID/IQ contract has an anticipated not-to-exceed ceiling of $2.4 billion. VIS-X will provide vehicle crew members and occupants with improved speech intelligibility and hearing protection. It will also provide vehicle crew members and occupants with increased command and control of the on-board and external communication assets, connection to future Internet Protocol (IP)-based digital communications networks, VoIP services, and an increased number of user interfaces for use by crew and next generation IP radios. VIS-X can be used in both new production and legacy vehicle platforms, allowing the warfighter to utilize the same state-of-the-art equipment regardless of vehicle type or age. "The enduring partnership between Northrop Grumman and Cobham is one that will continue to benefit our warfighters by providing them with cutting-edge technologies on the battlefield," said Jeff Palombo, sector vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman's Land Forces Division. "Providing enhanced situational awareness and IP-based digital communication networks will better protect our troops and allow them to fight smarter." "VIS-X will allow soldiers and other vehicle mounted troops to communicate faster, safer and more securely with greater understanding of the operational situation during the most demanding missions," said Steve Collier, vice president Cobham Defense Communications. "The new teaming agreement between Cobham and Northrop Grumman strengthens the 15 year relationship between our two companies supplying the existing VIC-3 system." Northrop Grumman and Cobham will continue to supply VIC-3 systems to support the large installed base of more than 85,000 vehicles. Cobham's products and services have been at the heart of sophisticated military and civil systems for more than 70 years, keeping people safe, improving communications and enhancing the capability of land, sea, air and space platforms. The Company has four divisions employing more than 12,000 people on five continents, with customers and partners in over 100 countries and annual revenue of more than 1.4 billion pounds sterling / U.S.$ 2.1 billion. Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

DTN News: BAE Systems Selected As Supplier For Air Warfare Destroyer Hull Blocks Contract

DTN News: BAE Systems Selected As Supplier For Air Warfare Destroyer Hull Blocks Contract
*Sources: DTN News / BAE Systems Australia
(NSI News Source Info) WILLIAMSTOWN, Victoria - June 30, 2009: The selection of BAE Systems Australia as the supplier to build hull blocks for the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program reflected the company’s shipbuilding experience and capability, Jim McDowell, Managing Director, said today. Australia's naval forces include surface combatants (destroyers, frigates and patrol boats), submarines, amphibious forces, minewarfare and clearance diving forces, afloat support vessels and hydrographic ships. The most capable of our surface combatants will be the three air warfare destroyers (AWD), which will be able to operate for extended periods against high-level air, surface and sub-surface threats. They will be supported by the less capable frigates and in some cases patrol boats. The destroyers' combination of great endurance, offensive and defensive weapons, flexibility and versatility will see them become the warships of first resort in the full spectrum of conflict and in support of the ADF's diplomatic and constabulary roles. For example, the destroyers will be able to operate for long periods at considerable distances from home. In the absence of the necessary land bases to support fighter aircraft, the destroyers will be able to provide autonomous air defence for protracted periods against high-level threats, through their own long-range air surveillance radars, multi-channel fire control radars, surface-to-air missiles and closer range self-defence weapons and countermeasures systems. Even where bases are available, land-based air defence aircraft will rarely be able to respond quickly enough to threats developing at sea. In these cases, the ever-present destroyers will be the main providers of air defence. Mr McDowell said ASC Pty Ltd had reconsidered BAE Systems Australia's offer in recent weeks and the two companies had negotiated to achieve a positive outcome. “We always felt that we had submitted a very competitive bid, one that was backed up by our proud naval shipbuilding record, our strong balance sheet, and our highly skilled workforce,” Mr McDowell said. “Now, we are ready to get on with the job. BAE Systems is pleased to be involved in the AWD construction program; on top of contracts we have already secured to supply the maritime satellite communications terminals and Mark 45 deck guns for these warships.” Mr McDowell said that the latest contract would secure work for up to 400 highly skilled BAE Systems employees at its Williamstown shipyard for the next five years. “This contract creates the critical mass needed to sustain the shipyard for the medium term,” he said. Over the period of the contract, BAE Systems will build a total of 36 blocks for all three destroyers. These blocks comprise the hull machinery compartments, and bow and stern sections of the ships which represent the most complex parts of the hull. To deliver the program, BAE Systems will upgrade the infrastructure at its Williamstown shipyard. Major elements include the construction of Australia’s largest wholly enclosed blast and paint facility, new construction halls and automated fabrication systems. This will create a flow on effect for employment in the Victorian construction industry. “I am also very grateful to the Victorian Government which is contributing towards the infrastructure upgrade cost for Williamstown,” Mr McDowell said. Work is scheduled to begin on the first of the blocks towards the end of this year. About BAE Systems: BAE Systems is the premier global defence, security and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. With approximately 105,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £18.5 billion (US $34.4 billion) in 2008.

DTN News: First Pakistani-Built JF-17 To Fly By Year's End

DTN News: First Pakistani-Built JF-17 To Fly By Year's End
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - June 30, 2009: Pakistan's Chief of the air staff, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, told graduates at the thirty-eighth Combat Commander's Course at PAF Base Mushaf, Sargodha, that the first Pakistani-built JF-17 Thunder multirole combat aircraft will begin construction this week, and fly by the end of the year, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan. The first operational squadron of JF-17s is based at Peshawar and is set to fully enter service by the end of the year. The Peshawar-based JF-17s initially are to be tasked with the air-to-air role, with air-to-ground capabilities being retrofitted at a later date. However, these aircraft were manufactured in China and flown to Pakistan as air freight before they were reassembled. The Pakistani-built aircraft initially will have some components delivered from China, but with increasing indigenous content as production progresses. It is planned that the second batch of JF-17s will have a large degree of Western sourced systems, reducing Chinese input further. However, according to retired Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail, domestic JF-17 production heralds for Pakistan, "cutting-edge technology in the hands of Pakistani engineers and technicians." He further stated, "Since the production is being done at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex [an Air Force outfit], it also helps the Air Force gain first-hand experience in aircraft production, which is not a bad thing at all, even though aircraft production has usually been a civilian domain worldwide." Domestic production also means that in the long term, potential upgrades would be implemented faster due to reduced bureaucratic red tape from dealing with foreign companies, especially if aircraft had to be sent overseas. A more short-term effect, however, would be to boost national morale in seeing "a locally manufactured aircraft taking to the skies," he said. The program itself is also set to receive a boost from seeing "an all-Pakistani aircraft, rather than a part-Chinese-part-Pakistani one, becoming operational, as there have been some detractors across the border [in India] who have not been able to digest the success of the JF-17 project, particularly when compared to the Tejas Project," he said. National pride aside, however, Tufail said the most important aspect was that the Air Force will not "have to worry about sanctions when we have production in our hands." This has been the overriding Air Force concern since U.S sanctions nearly crippled the F-16 fleet in the 1990s. With more than 250 JF-17s planned to replace the A-5C, F-7P, Mirage-III, and Mirage 5 combat aircraft, Pakistan's defensive potential is unlikely to be harmed to such a degree whatever the future international political climate.

DTN News: Germany Army Orders EuroSpike Missiles

DTN News: Germany Army Orders EuroSpike Missiles *Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) BONN, Germany - June 30, 2009: The Federal Agency for Defence Technology and Procurement in Koblenz has contracted with EuroSpike GmbH of Röthenbach, Germany, to supply the Bundeswehr with SPIKE LR guided missile systems worth around EUR 35 million.
EuroSpike – the world's most advanced antitank missile system. Automatic and manually operated 40 mm grenade launchers are typical infantry support weapons. Specifically developed to meet the needs of the infantry, Rheinmetall Defence's DM12 40 mm dual-purpose cartridge is a shaped charge projectile with high lateral fragmentation, designed for engaging lightly armoured and soft targets. Accurate even at long ranges, it produces a high degree of lethality. It can be fired from a variety of grenade launchers; the zone of fragmentation produced poses no threat to the firer. Apart from service and practice rounds, the Rheinmetall Defence range of 40 mm x 46 and 40 mm x 53 ammunition features a variety of special cartridges, including illumination and signal ammunition, coloured smoke, smoke-obscurant and impulse rounds as well as flash-bang and tear gas cartridges. Used to provide short-term protection or to disorient and surprise–especially in urban settings–pyrotechnic weapons are now standard infantry equipment. Rheinmetall Defence offers a comprehensive portfolio of pyrotechnic items, ranging from the fast-acting bi-spectral Spirco smoke/obscurant grenade to flares, signalling devices and coloured smoke grenades, as well as riot-control products and flash-bang grenades for SWAT teams. The contract encompasses 311 lightweight multipurpose guided missile systems (MELLS) for the German Army's new Puma infantry fighting vehicle as well as infantry units and special operations forces. EuroSpike GmbH is jointly owned by Diehl subsidiary Diehl BGT Defence (40%), Rheinmetall AG of Düsseldorf (40%) and the Israeli company Rafael (20%). EuroSpike GmbH is responsible for marketing, sales and programme management of the SPIKE guided missile family in Europe. Furthermore, the contract contains an option for the procurement of an additional 1,160 MELLS guided missiles, worth around EUR 120 million. In December 2008 the Budget Committee of the German Parliament authorized integration of the MELLS into two pre-production Puma IFVs, allocating around €68 million for the project. Requested by the German military, the decision to integrate MELLS systems into the Puma significantly expands the vehicle's operational scope, providing it with a full range of battlefield capabilities. The SPIKE LR guided missile meets the needs of the modern military perfectly. Combining maximum lethality with a substantial standoff, it enables pinpoint accuracy in a variety of tactical situations and terrain while simultaneously assuring an extremely high level of force protection. A multipurpose guided missile, the SPIKE LR's advanced seeker and missile guidance technology enables pinpoint, round-the-clock engagement of armoured and soft-skinned vehicles as well as helicopters, bunkers, mortar and artillery positions. State-of-the-art signal processing and a dual-mode seeker (visible light + infrared) mean that it can operate in all weather conditions. The fibre optic link between the gunner and missile during flight offers unique tactical and operational advantages in contemporary asymmetric threat scenarios and/or military operations in urban terrain. SPIKE LR is unique in meeting all of the customer's core requirements: --Range: 4,000 metres --System weight: < 45 kg (infantry version) --Deployable in concealed positions and enclosed spaces, ensuring maximum survivability for dismounted gunners and/or fighting vehicles. --It is possible to abort the mission and/or change targets in mid-flight owing to the fibre optic link (fire & observe mode) --Armoured vehicles can be engaged from above in top attack mode. Since cooperation between the contractors began in 1997, key development and production work packages have been allocated to the German partner companies on a licence basis. Rheinmetall Defence Electronics builds and integrates the weapon station for the guided missiles in Bremen, and is also in charge of logistics and training. Diehl BGT Defence carries out final integration of the SPIKE guided missiles at its plants in Maasberg in the Saarland and Röthenbach near Nuremberg, where it also manufactures the warhead, the energy supply components and launch canisters. Additional high valued-added work packages such as the control, guidance and seeker assemblies are performed at the company’s plant in Überlingen. The serial production order for SPIKE LR ensures that Germany maintains key capabilities in the production and integration of missiles and optronic seekers (70% German work share) as well as safeguarding high-tech jobs long term. It also enables German defence contractors to play a major part in developing and perfecting new lightweight missiles made by EuroSpike GmbH.

DTN News: Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Unit To Market Israeli Mini-Robot In US

DTN News: Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Unit To Market Israeli Mini-Robot In US *Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) CLINTON, Tenn. - June 30, 2009: Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) subsidiary, Remotec Inc., based in Clinton, Tenn., has signed an agreement with ODF Optronics LTD, Tel Aviv, Israel, to be the exclusive worldwide manufacturer and sole provider of ODF's Eye-Drive mini-robot in the United States and Canada.
EyeDrive is an observation and surveillance remote-controlled mini-robot that provides continuous real-time 360-degree audio and video surveillance. It includes a unique touch screen operator control unit featuring ODF's proprietary Point 'n Go(tm) navigation. This innovative system allows the user to simply touch a location on the control unit's panoramic view to direct the robot, making deployment intuitive and easy. At about five pounds, EyeDrive can be easily carried, deployed and controlled by a single operator.
"EyeDrive is an innovative system with great synergy to our Andros product line, providing unique capabilities to our first-responder and military customers. It is lightweight and durable enough to be thrown through windows, over fences or into other hard-to-reach locations," said Mike Knopp, president of Northrop Grumman's Remotec subsidiary.
"With this agreement, Northrop Grumman Remotec strengthens its lead in the U.S. robotics market in all weight classes. Remotec and ODF are a formidable team determined to help our valued customers keep danger at a distance."
Both Remotec and ODF Optronics produce an array of combat-proven robots."The EyeDrive was designed from the ground up with innovative features that meet exacting requirements and has been validated in combat with excellent user feedback," said Josef Fishman, president and chief executive officer of ODF Optronics.
"Remotec is a natural partner for us given their reputation for customer satisfaction and excellent performance. The agreement with Northrop Grumman is considered by ODF as a major step toward successful introduction of ODF products to the North American and global strategic markets."
For more than 25 years, Remotec has served the military, explosive ordnance disposal units, hazardous materials units, and other first responders as a leading provider of mobile robotic systems for application into a variety of undesirable, hazardous, and potentially life-threatening environments.
ODF Optronics Ltd. develops and manufactures innovative and cost-effective situational awareness and image understanding systems that serve and protect military, law enforcement and security professionals engaged in low-intensity conflict and anti-terrorism activities in urban environments. ODF Optronics products are in use by many military, police and government agencies in the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia and Israel. The company is also active in developing and producing customized special-order products for Special Forces.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

DTN News: NATO Selects Sherpa From Renault Trucks Defense / Renault Trucks Defense ~ NATO Selection

DTN News: NATO Selects Sherpa From Renault Trucks Defense / Renault Trucks Defense ~ NATO Selection
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BRUSSELS, Belgium - June 30, 2009: NATO is choosing the vehicle Sherpa from Renault Trucks Defense as the suitable armoured vehicle dedicated to reconnaissance and liaison.
The Renault Sherpa 2 is a light tactical military truck intended for projection forces. It is designed to be highly mobile on difficult terrain and has a payload of 2 to 3 tons.
At the end of the international tender "Blast and Bullet Proof Protected Vehicle Rough Terrain - PVRT -" issued in 2008, the NAMSA has chosen the Sherpa from Renault Trucks Defense, in its armoured version, to meet NATO protected liaison and reconnaissance needs.
The vehicle is the Sherpa light scout.
Following the recent success in 2007 and 2008 of the Sherpa as shelter carrier and tactical vehicle for NATO and the last order by the French authorities of the tactical Sherpa Syracuse III, the Sherpa range confirms its reliability with this new International reference.

Monday, June 29, 2009

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY June 29, 2009 - Pakistani Army Trying To Eliminate Self Created Monster 'Taliban'

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY June 29, 2009 - Pakistani Army Trying To Eliminate Self Created Monster 'Taliban'
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - June 29, 2009: Pakistani aircraft bombed Taliban on Sunday in their bastion of South Waziristan on the Afghan border after the militants attacked two military camps, killing two soldiers, officials and residents said.
Pakistani paramilitary soldiers observe area from a rooftop of a checkpoint at Abbato Karaz village near Chaman, a town in Pakistan, southwest along Afghanistan border, Sunday, June 28, 2009. Pakistani authorities beefed up security and vigilance to nab Taliban militants fleeing neighboring Afghanistan.
The military, near the end of an offensive in the northwestern Swat Valley after two months of fighting, is preparing to launch a new drive in South Waziristan, where Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud is based.
The decision to go on the attack against the militants came after Taliban gains raised fears of the militants gradually taking over more of the country and even posing a risk to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.
The campaign has broad public support and has also won the praise of close ally the United States, which needs Pakistan to go after the militants as it tries to defeat al Qaeda and stabilise Afghanistan.
Sunday's air strikes were on two villages in Laddah district, a Mehsud stronghold, and two militant compounds were destroyed, said a government official and residents.
It will take a concerted and long-standing effort to rid Pakistan of the extremists. The latest deadly bomb attack in the Pakistani city of Lahore has once again highlighted the threat posed by the Taliban. The militants now face a much more determined government, people and army - but there is a long way to go, argues guest columnist Ahmed Rashid.
"It was a heavy bombing. Two militant compounds and several houses have been completely destroyed," said the government official in South Waziristan's main town of Wana, who declined to be identified.
The air strikes came after militants attacked an army and a paramilitary camp east of Wana on Saturday night, killing two soldiers and wounding four, said the government official.Intelligence officials later said eight militants had been killed.
The government has said Mehsud, who carries a $5 million U.S. reward on his head, and his force of thousands of followers must be defeated.
The government posted in a newspaper on Sunday a reward of 50 million rupees ($615,000) for Mehsud, and 75 million ($920,000 ) in rewards for 10 of his top men.Mehsud, who security analysts say has become increasingly close to al Qaeda, has been accused of a string of attacks in Pakistani towns and cities including the December 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Mehsud is allied with Afghan Taliban fighters but they concentrate on attacking U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan and are not the focus of the Pakistani offensive.With an increase in military attacks on Mehsud in South Waziristan, about 45,000 people have fled from the area, according to military estimates.
Nearly 2 million people have fled from fighting in Swat and other parts of the northwest since late last year but aid workers are not expecting a huge exodus from South Waziristan as the population there is relatively small.
Also, many people have winter homes on the lowland to the east and traditionally migrate to higher-altitude South Waziristan with their flocks for summer grazing.High civilian casualties in the fighting would raise the risk of an erosion of public support for the offensive.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday now was the time for decisive action against the militants, while a Taliban spokesman from Swat said they would never give up.
"We'll continue our fight until we achieve our goals," the spokesman, Muslim Khan, said by telephone.
Khan, who said he was speaking from Swat, said Taliban leaders were alive and determined to fight on.
"We retreated according to our plan. We'll carry out guerrilla attacks ... It's a long battle," he said.

DTN News: Slovak Army Orders 10 Iveco-Built LMVs

DTN News: Slovak Army Orders 10 Iveco-Built LMVs *Sources: DTN News / Iveco
(NSI News Source Info) BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - June 29, 2009: Iveco Defence Vehicles announces that on June 23, 2009 the Slovak Army and Iveco signed a contract for a batch of 10 Light Multirole Vehicles to be delivered by the end of the year. The LMV is a purpose built military vehicle which nonetheless benefits from the use of many commercial components. Rugged and highly mobile, it is designed as a chassis cab which permits the installation of many different modules including a cargo platform, an ambulance and a weapon carrier.Anti-mine protection has also been given a high priority, with the over-riding aim being to ensure the survival of the crew. Since LMV’s first deployment to Afghanistan, IVECO’s integrated solution has ensured the survival of all of its occupants. whenever the vehicle has been attacked.The LMV was selected for front line duties by the following armies: Italy (1260 units), UK (401 units), Spain (120 units), Norway (60 units), Belgium (440 units), Croatia (10 units), the Czech Republic (21 units) and, most recently, Austria (150 units). Flavio Marchesoni, Sales & Marketing Director of Iveco Defence Vehicles said: “This contract win builds on the success of the LMV which has been selected for front line duties by 9 armies to date”. Designed to incorporate high tactical mobility with high maximum road speed and optimal off-road and cross-country performance, the LMV has high protection levels against anti tank and anti personnel mines with an emphasis on crew protection rather than vehicle integrity. High reliability, ease of maintenance and low through life costs were key considerations during the design of LMV. Built in and external diagnostics allow timely identification of impending malfunctions, allowing preventive maintenance to be undertaken, whilst the facility to collect functional data allows effective whole fleet management. The use of COTS (Commercial off the Shelf) main assemblies such as the gearbox and engine ensures that performance and reliability have been proven over many millions of road miles in demanding environmental conditions. This provides an outstanding level of reliability and consequently excellent fleet availability. The LMV is suitable for numerous weapon system installations such as 7,62mm or 12.7mm remote weapon stations as well as 40mm grenade launcher and is therefore well adapted to any peacekeeping and patrol mission. The provision of anti-mine protection has also been given a high priority, with the over-riding aim being to ensure the survival of the crew. To this end, a normal control cab has been used and the results of the latest research into mine protection has been incorporated, including a vee-shaped vehicle bottom. This can be up-armoured as required to meet the appropriate level of threat. The overall structure of the vehicle has been designed in accordance with the ‘crashworthiness’ concept. The design of the vehicle itself and the materials which have been used in its construction are specifically designed to manage and absorb the blast energy generated by a mine detonation. Since the beginning of operations in Afghanistan, the high protection of the LMV has proved its worth in saving the life of the crew in many occasions.

DTN News: Boeing, NASA And NOAA Receive 1st Signal From GOES-O Satellite Following Successful Launch

DTN News: Boeing, NASA And NOAA Receive 1st Signal From GOES-O Satellite Following Successful Launch *Sources: DTN News / Boeing Company
(NSI News Source Info) EL SEGUNDO, Calif., - June 29, 2009: The Boeing Company, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have received the first on-orbit signals from GOES-O, indicating that the Earth-observation satellite is healthy and operating normally. Controllers confirmed initial contact with the spacecraft at 12:25 a.m. Eastern time at a ground station on the Diego Garcia atoll in the Indian Ocean. A new weather satellite – one that should bolster hurricane predictions – was scheduled to be launched from Cape Canaveral this evening. Alas, the space shot has been delayed a minimum of two months. Once fully operational, the GOES-O satellite will send back high resolution images of tropical storms (and other severe weather systems).That should help forecasters improve both track and intensity predictions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says. However, the satellite won’t be available to help out the National Hurricane Center this season, center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said. “It will actually be in standby mode,” he said. The $499 million satellite will settle into orbit 22,000 miles above Earth. NOAA, parent agency of the National Hurricane Center, hopes it remain in good working order for the next 10 years.* "We are very pleased to report that GOES-O is performing as planned, and we will continue to support this satellite through handover to NOAA so that it can fulfill its mission of providing critical, life-saving weather information,” said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "The launch of GOES-O is a testament to the collaborative teaming and commitment of our employees to provide best-of-industry, next-generation environmental systems to NASA and NOAA." GOES-O was launched on a Delta IV rocket yesterday at 6:51 p.m. Eastern time from Space Launch Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Boeing commercial launch business Boeing Launch Services procured the vehicle and mission services from United Launch Alliance. Today's signal acquisition marks the second successful launch in the GOES N-P series and the latest step in enhancing NOAA’s Earth-observation and weather-monitoring capabilities. GOES-O, which is designed for a minimum orbit life of 10 years, will be placed in on-orbit storage and may replace an older GOES satellite in 2010. Together with GOES-13 (formerly GOES N), which launched on May 24, 2006, GOES-O will provide complete coverage of the Western Hemisphere. The three-axis Boeing 601 spacecraft includes an imager that produces visible and infrared images of the Earth’s surface, oceans, cloud cover and storm developments; a multispectral sounder that provides vertical temperature and moisture profiles of the atmosphere; and a solar X-ray imager that monitors the sun’s X-rays for early detection of solar flares. GOES-O also carries space environment monitoring instruments that will measure X-rays and extreme ultraviolet and particle emissions, including solar protons, alpha particles and electrons. The GOES-O communications subsystem also includes a search-and-rescue capability to detect distress signals from ships and airplanes. Boeing built GOES-O for NASA and NOAA at the company's satellite manufacturing facility in El Segundo, which encompasses 1 million square feet of assembly, integration and testing facilities. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.

DTN News: Northrop Grumman And U.S. Air Force Unveil Next-Generation Of High-Flying Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft

DTN News: Northrop Grumman And U.S. Air Force Unveil Next-Generation Of High-Flying Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft
*Sources: DTN News / Northrop Grumman Corporation (NSI News Source Info) PALMDALE, Calif., - June 29, 2009: Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and the U.S. Air Force unveiled the next-generation of high-flying unmanned aircraft - the RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk - in a ceremony today at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility. The first of 15 Block 40 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft reconnaissance system is unveiled by Northrop Grumman and U.S. Air Force officials June 25 in Palmdale, Calif. This newest addition to the Air Force's growing fleet of Global Hawks carries an advanced, all-weather multi-platform radar technology insertion program (MP-RTIP) sensor capable of detecting, tracking and identifying stationary and moving targets. "This unveiling of the first of 15 Block 40 aircraft is a significant step to fielding Global Hawk to Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, in 2010 and reaffirms our excellent track record of delivering Global Hawks since low rate production began," said Duke Dufresne, sector vice president for Northrop Grumman Aerospace System's Strike and Surveillance Systems Division. "Carrying an advanced, all-weather multi-platform radar technology insertion program (MP-RTIP) sensor, the Block 40 aircraft will provide game-changing situational awareness for our warfighters with its unprecedented capability to detect, track and identify stationary and moving targets." Use of the MP-RTIP sensor on the Block 40 Global Hawks marks the first time the active electronic scanned array (AESA) technology has been used on a high-altitude unmanned aircraft. AESA technology provides all-weather, day-night synthetic aperture radar mapping and ground moving target indicator capability. "The Global Hawk system is in high demand by joint warfighters overseas, having successfully flown more than 31,000 hours since 2001," said Steve Amburgey, Global Hawk program director for the 303rd Aeronautical Systems Group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. "Congratulations to the entire Global Hawk team for continuing to provide our service men and women with a reliable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system." Designated AF-18, this Block 40 aircraft was the 27th Global Hawk built since the program's inception in 1995 and is scheduled to begin flight testing next month. "This magnificent aircraft represents the future of Grand Forks Air Force Base. This and the rest of the Block 40 fleet will make significant contributions to the safety and security of our nation for years to come," said Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota. "I look forward to seeing this airframe on the Grand Forks ramp next year." Global Hawk's range, endurance and large payload capabilities are well suited to support a variety of customers and missions, including environmental and Earth science research, homeland security, border and coastal patrol, hurricane and fire monitoring, and other disaster relief support activities. Global Hawk effectively provided imagery of the California wildfires in 2007 and 2008, and of Hurricane Ike in 2008. Flying at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for more than 32 hours per sortie at speeds approaching 340 knots, the MP-RTIP-equipped Block 40 Global Hawk can persistently see through most type of weather, day or night. As the world's first fully autonomous high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system, Global Hawk is the platform of choice for a wide variety of sensors, foreign and domestic, meeting the global need for persistent ISR. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the Global Hawk and MP-RTIP programs and continues to move these technologies forward under the stewardship of the Air Force's Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the Electronic Systems Center, located at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. Northrop Grumman's Norwalk, Conn., facility is the principal MP-RTIP radar developer along with principal subcontractor, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, El Segundo. The development MP-RTIP sensor is undergoing a radar system level performance verification on a surrogate aircraft, and will be integrated into AF-18 for an operational evaluation. Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk program is based at its Aerospace Systems' Unmanned Systems Development Center in San Diego, Calif. The company performs Global Hawk sub-assembly work at its Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss., and final assembly at its Antelope Valley Manufacturing Center in Palmdale. The principal Global Hawk industry team includes: Aurora Flight Sciences, Bridgeport, West Va. (V-tail assembly and other composite structures); L-3 Communications, Salt Lake City (communication system); Raytheon Company, Waltham, Mass. (ground station); Rolls-Royce Corporation, Indianapolis (engine); and Vought Aircraft Industries, Dallas (wing). Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

DTN News: First Flight Of Refurbished C-130 For Royal Netherlands Air Force

DTN News: First Flight Of Refurbished C-130 For Royal Netherlands Air Force *Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) CAMBRIDG, UK - June 29, 2009: The first of two C-130 Hercules transport aircraft that are being refurbished and modernized for the Royal Netherlands Air Force has successfully made its first flight. Both aircraft are to be shortly delivered to the air force. The Ministry of Defence acquired the two aircraft because of its intensive participation in peacekeeping missions. These aircraft will double the number of C-130s in Dutch service to four. The first flight of the second refurbished aircraft will take place later this year from Marshall Aerospace, which is carrying out the refurbishment and upgrade program with Lockheed Martin, the original manufacturer. The cockpit of the aircraft has been extensively modernized, and all of its analogue displays have been replaced by digital displays, with the latest technology. The modifications help to reduce the crew workload while improving situational awareness and safety. Director Martin Broadhurst of Marshall Aerospace said : "This is one of the most complex tasks we have ever carrier out." Thanks to the modifications, the aircraft satisfy the current requirements in the field of maritime and electronic warfare. Modernisation was required since the previous owner, the US Navy, retired the aircraft in 1991. After beginning dismantling in 2006, the aircraft were transported to the Marshall Aerospace factory in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Over the coming weeks, Dutch aircrew will gain experience on the aircraft during several test flights.

DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Awarded Contract And First Delivery Order For HEMTT A2 Engines

DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Awarded Contract And First Delivery Order For HEMTT A2 Engines *Sources: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation (NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - June 29, 2009: Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, has been awarded an indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity contract from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to supply the U.S. Army with a minimum of 100 engines and a three-year maximum of 525 for the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) A2. Under the contract, potentially valued at more than $31 million, Oshkosh Defense Aftermarket will provide the Army with the HEMTT A2’s 8V92TA DDEC engine. Work is expected to be completed by June 2012. The first delivery order for 100 engines has been awarded and is valued at more than $5 million. “Oshkosh Defense Aftermarket’s FAST Parts and Services Network provides our military customers with an extensive parts supply to help keep their fleets at peak readiness,” said Mike Ivy, Oshkosh Defense vice president of Aftermarket. “With field service representatives stationed around the world and a broad range of services available any minute of the day, our Aftermarket capabilities provide support anytime, anywhere.” With factory-trained technicians, Web-based parts support and service centers worldwide, Oshkosh customers are covered 24/7 whether their vehicles are in the field or in garrison. The Army has fielded more than 20,000 HEMTTs since Oshkosh began its production in 1982. Even as the Army fields the latest version of this heavy tactical truck, the A4, Oshkosh continues supporting the earlier versions, including the A2. Oshkosh support for these trucks will continue through their life cycle. The next-generation HEMTT A4 features a fully air-conditioned and armor-ready cab, more powerful drivetrain, upgraded suspension, safety improvements, and other enhancements. The vehicles are long term armor strategy (LTAS) compliant and come off the assembly line fitted with upgraded suspensions and integral (“A” kit) armor. They also will be ready to receive an add-on (“B” kit) armor appliqué that can be quickly and easily installed in the field. About Oshkosh DefenseOshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit www.oshkoshdefense.com. About Oshkosh CorporationOshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corp. manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, BAI®, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, Geesink™, Norba™, Kiggen™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to www.oshkoshcorporation.com.

DTN News: Honduran President Says Military Kidnapped Him / Honduran Military Ousts President Ahead Of Vote

DTN News: Honduran President Says Military Kidnapped Him / Honduran Military Ousts President Ahead Of Vote *Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - June 29, 2009: Soldiers seized the national palace and flew President Manuel Zelaya into exile Sunday, hours before a disputed constitutional referendum. Zelaya, a leftist ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said he was victim of a coup. Soldiers surround the presidential residency in Tegucigalpa, Sunday, June 28, 2009. Soldiers arrested Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya and disarmed his security guards after surrounding his residence before dawn Sunday, his private secretary said. Protesters called it a coup and flocked to the presidential palace as local news media reported that Zelaya was sent into exile. Hours later, Congress voted to accept what it said was Zelaya's letter of resignation, but Zelaya said the letter wasn't his and vowed to remain in power. The Supreme Court said it was supporting the military in what it called a defense of democracy, and the Honduran ambassador to the Organization of American States said the military was planning to swear in Congressional President Roberto Micheletti — who is next in line to the presidency — to replace Zelaya. Zelaya was arrested shortly before polls were to open in a referendum on whether to change the constitution. The Supreme Court ruled the referendum illegal and everyone from Congress to members of his own party opposed it. Critics said Zelaya wanted to remove limits to his re-election. Tanks rolled through the streets and hundreds of soldiers with riot shields surrounded the presidential palace in the capital, Tegucigalpa. Zelaya, at the airport in the Costa Rican capital, San Jose, called the military action illegal. "There is no way to justify an interruption of democracy, a coup d'etat," he said in a telephone call to the Venezuela-based Telesur television network. "This kidnapping is an extortion of the Honduran democratic system." A majority of members of Congress voted with a show of hands to accept a letter of resignation that Congressional Secretary Jose Alfredo Saavedra said was signed by Zelaya and dated Thursday. The letter said Zelaya was resigning because of "the polarized political situation" and "insuperable health problems." Honduran soldiers arrive at the presidential residency in Tegucigalpa June 28, 2009. Witnesses said Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya was detained at home by troops in a constitutional crisis over his attempt to win re-election. CNN's Spanish-language channel later quoted Costa Rican officials as saying he was in Costa Rica and seeking political asylum. But Zelaya told CNN the letter was "totally false." He told Telesur he would not recognize any de facto government and pledged to serve out his term, which ends in January. He said he would attend a scheduled meeting of Central American presidents in Nicaragua on Monday. He siad Chavez, which is also going, would provide transportation. Chavez, who along with the Castros in Cuba is Zelaya's top ally, said Venezuela "is at battle" and put his military on alert. President Barack Obama said he was "deeply concerned" by Zelaya's expulsion and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the arrest should be condemned. "I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter," Obama's statement read. Zelaya told Telesur that he was awoken by gunshots and the shouts of his security guards, whom he said resisted troops for at least 20 minutes. Still in his pajamas, he jumped out of bed and ducked behind an air conditioner to avoid flying bullets, he said. He said eight or nine soldiers in masks escorted him onto an air force plane that took him to Costa Rica. Chavez said troops in Honduras also temporarily detained the Venezuelan and Cuban ambassadors, beating them. Zelaya called on Honduran soldiers to desist, urged citizens to take to the streets in peaceful protests, and asked Honduran police to protect demonstrators. Zelaya ally Rafael Alegria, a labor leader, called for protests. "We demand respect for the president's life," he told Honduran radio Cadena de Noticias. "And we will go out into the streets to defend what this has cost us: living in peace and tranquility." About 100 Zelaya supporters, many wearing "Yes" T-shirts for the referendum, blocked the main street outside the gates to the palace, throwing rocks and insults at soldiers and shouting "Traitors! Traitors!" "They kidnapped him like cowards," screamed Melissa Gaitan. Tears streamed down the face of the 21-year-old, who works at the government television station. "We have to rally the people to defend our president." Honduras has a history of military coups: Soldiers overthrew elected presidents in 1963 and 1972. The military did not turn the government over to civilians until 1981, under U.S. pressure. Micheletti has been one of the president's main opponents in the dispute over whether to hold the referendum. The head of the Supreme Court was also opposed to the nonbinding referendum, on whether to ask voters whether they want to convoke an assembly to rewrite the constitution. It appeared that the vote would no longer take place.

DTN News: North Korea Threatens To Shoot Down Japanese Planes

DTN News: North Korea Threatens To Shoot Down Japanese Planes
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) SEOUL, South Korea - June 29, 2009: North Korea warned June 27 that any Japanese plane entering its airspace would be shot down for spying, as recent surveillance suggests Pyongyang may be preparing to fire more missiles. A Korean Airlines plane carrying South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak taxies at Tokyo International airport in Tokyo, on June 28, 2009. President Lee is on a one-day visit to Japan for talks with Prime Minister Taro Aso, with simmering tensions over North Korea's nuclear programmes topping the agenda. "The air force of the Korean People's Army will not tolerate even a bit the aerial espionage by the warmongers of the Japanese aggression forces but mercilessly shoot down any plane intruding into the territorial air of the DPRK [North Korea] even 0.001 millimeter," the North Korean Air Force said in a statement. It said a Japanese AWACS aircraft made a long shuttle flight into airspace between the cities of Wonsan and Musudan-ri on June 26. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and visiting South Korean President Lee Myung-bak hold a joint press conference at Aso's official residence in Tokyo on June 28, 2009. South Korea and Japan "will never tolerate" a nuclear-armed North Korea, Lee said after talks with Aso. Similar aerial espionage was committed June 25, it said. The North used Musudan-ri for its three previous long-range missile launches, in 1998, 2006 and April 5. North Korea will likely fire short- or mid-range missiles in waters off its east coast from which it has banned shipping, a senior South Korean government official said June 24. The North has warned foreign ships to stay clear of an extensive area for 16 days starting June 25 because of unspecified military exercises. South Korean students look at a uranium monitor at the Seoul Science Research Institute in Seoul, South Korea. After repudiating negotiations on dismantling its plutonium-based nuclear program, North Korea admitted in June 2009 to having an even more worrying way to make bombs. After nearly seven years of adamant denials, North Korea announced it can enrich uranium, a simpler way to build nuclear weapons than using plutonium. The Korean letters read: "Uranium Atomic Nucleus." Yonhap news agency, quoting a government source, said the communist state would probably fire Scuds with a range of up to 500 kilometers (312 miles) or ground-to-ship missiles with a 160-kilometer range into the Sea of Japan, or East Sea. Washington has said it is prepared for the possibility that the North could also fire a long-range missile toward Hawaii, perhaps July 4, which is U.S. Independence Day.

DTN News: Is Iran More Democratic Than Thailand?

DTN News: Is Iran More Democratic Than Thailand?
*A painful comparison for the "thinking mind"
*Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media / Asia Sentinel by M.L. Nattakorn Devakula
(NSI News Source Info) BANGKOK, Thailand - June 29, 2009: When angry demonstrators recently took to the streets in Iran, the seething masses claiming that they had been robbed of true democracy recalled recent protest scenes in Thailand.
An obvious and dangerous trend in international politics is that when any demagogue-type politician wins a landslide election, the opposition claims vote fraud and in many cases sends its supporters into the streets to stir unrest.
Nobody has yet appointed a color to Iran's street revolution, but the storyline of angry supposedly pro-democracy demonstrators is now familiar, and in many instances represents a graver threat to democracy than the supposedly authoritarian leaders they are protesting against.
Vladimir Putin's election triumphs in Russia have been widely lamented by opposition critics and foreign media, who have claimed he aims to become a new age Czar or latter-day Stalin bent on reestablishing the Soviet empire.
Hugo Chavez's election wins in Venezuela have likewise been lamented by some outside the country due to his populism and export of anti-American policies in Latin America. But it is in Thailand, where angry street mobs have for the past three and a half years challenged the legitimacy of successive democratically elected governments, that the structural parallels are starkest with Iran.
Former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who notched two thumping election victories and a legally contested third, was criticized by his detractors for establishing a parliamentary dictatorship through his consolidation of power and was toppled in a 2006 coup. In a true democracy, an elected leader does not lose his legitimacy just because he is opposed by powerful minority forces, nor do those forces have the right to extra-constitutionally remove a democrat leader.
Whether Iran may be considered a functioning democracy depends on the presence of functioning accountability mechanisms able to challenge the ruling establishment led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iranian voters head to the polls every four years to elect their president and 290 members of a unicameral legislature.
However candidates for parliament or president are vetted by a 12-member Guardian Council that allows the religious establishment to decide who runs in elections. Iran's Guardian Council is dominated by loyalists to the Supreme Leader, who directly appoints six of the body's 12 members. The other six are appointed by the elected parliament, but with choices pre-screened by the head of the judiciary, who is also appointed by the Supreme Leader.
In effect the Guardian Council, which plays the role of deciding the country's electoral choices, is directly answerable to the Supreme Leader. The Guardian Council's veto powers are in some ways analogous to the situation in Thailand. For instance, Thailand's election commission is essentially appointed by a group of judges. The presidents of three main courts, two other judges selected by another group of judges, and two elected politicians from the ruling coalition and the opposition make up the Thai commission's selection committee.
The five-to-two domination by unelected judges, officially appointed by an unelected head of state over those with democratic accountability make for an undemocratic screening process dominated by the conservative legal establishment. Hence the role of judges in Thailand, in some ways, mirrors that of the Guardian Council in Iran.
But Iran's Guardian Council is not its most undemocratic institution; that role is reserved for Khamenei, who has the power to appoint the heads of the judiciary, state-owned broadcast networks and the armed forces; he also has final say over defense and foreign policy as commander-in-chief.
Iran's Supreme Leader wields powers akin to those of an ancient monarch or modern day dictator. It is Khamenei's unelected status that is behind the opinion that Iran needs to go through a political revolution to undo the excesses of its 1979 religious revolution. It is thus interesting, from a pro-election perspective, that the top governing structure of Iran's Islamic theocracy has its democratic aspects ‑ at least in the electoral sense.
While Iran's Supreme Leader is widely portrayed in the mainstream media as an unelected dictator, Khamenei spent decades moving up the ranks as a religious scholar. Through his perceived learnedness among peers and senior title holders, he earned a coordinating political role from influential clerics.
He later served eight years as president under Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 revolution, proving his leadership skills, religious expertise and devoutness. With all that in mind, prior to becoming Supreme Leader, Khamenei's qualifications were put to an 86-member Assembly of Experts for consideration.
That assembly, which also has the power to remove the Supreme Leader, is a deliberative body of Islamic scholars elected directly by the general public every eight years. Assuming that these Islamic scholars perform their representative role, in the political sense they have the power and ability to check the "absolute" powers of the Ayatollah Khamenei.
Though it is often argued that in practice the Assembly of Experts have never exercised their powers to challenge or check the Supreme Leader's decisions (though the minutes of their twice-yearly meetings are not published, so this is debatable), in technical terms the Iranian Constitution provides for a checking and balancing mechanism that reflects the country's religio-cultural traditions within the framework of a modified conservative democracy.
Iran's Assembly of Experts is also in charge of supervising, dismissing and electing the Supreme Leader, and in the event of his death, resignation or dismissal, the body is vested with the power to take steps in the shortest possible time to appoint a new leader.
According to the Iranian Constitution, "Whenever the Leader becomes incapable of fulfilling his constitutional duties, or loses one of the qualifications mentioned in the Constitution, or it becomes known that he did not possess some of the qualifications initially, he will be dismissed." Thus it could be argued that Iran's leadership transition plan is more democratic than the soft and hard dictatorships and monarchies of Asia and Europe. While it may be argued that Iran's cultural uniqueness requires that the state be ruled by a semi-democratic theocracy, there is no such cultural or historical guidance in the case of the Thai Kingdom.
The line of separation between church and state is clear in Thailand, and Buddhist teachings do not advocate the application of its doctrines in the Constitution or laws, unlike Sharia law in Islamic republics. Yet even in European constitutional monarchies, where the lines separating church and state have been less clear throughout history, there are virtually no remaining monarchy ruled states.
Where monarchies remain in the world, the semi-authoritarian tendencies are often well-veiled and limited. In comparison, the Islamic Republic of Iran's mechanisms for checks and balances, including the crucial role of the Assembly of Experts, demonstrates a more highly evolved democracy, even with Islam integral to its rule and operation. Despite drawbacks on human rights and the support of terrorism by state authorities, democratic transitions in Iran since the 1979 revolution until now have been orderly and peaceful.
For as long as Islam remains Iran's state religion, the role of Ayatollahs will always be respected and influential. Can the same be said for Thailand's unelected institutions and personages? Some argue that the much-touted national sense of "Thainess" has been promoted by the state-controlled school system, which inculcates students with a pro-establishment bias.
But is Thailand's semi-democratic rule, which is supposedly guided by divinity and arguably managed by nominees, truly cultural or imagined? That is where the democratic difference between Iran and Thailand lies.
The completion of Thailand's long democratic evolution, dating to the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932, is not inevitable without the support of the majority of the electorate. For politically aware competing street protestors in Thailand, and among astute news consumers, the realization of Thailand's democratic deficit is there; for most it remains hidden from view, obfuscated by both state-controlled and private media.
The street protests in Iran have shown that Khamenei's political standing is not unassailable. If he were to abuse his power, including a role in the rigging of election results, the elected Assembly of Experts presumably could exercise its power to remove him. The question for Thailand is whether it has even such minimal democratic checks and balances.
The street protests in Iran have shown that Khamenei's political standing is not unassailable. If he were to abuse his power, including a role in the indirect manipulation of the election outcome, the elected Assembly of Experts has the power to remove him. Perhaps Iran does have its democratically elected checks and balances. The events now transpiring in Iran could in the future have particular relevance in Thailand. The significance in the present time could only be imagined through a painful contrasting exercise by the not so proper, nor superficial, thinking mind. The results of such an exercise is something that Thais must come to grip with, whatever the answer may be.
Nattakorn Devakula is a news analyst for Thailand Channel 11's "Newsline" and "NNT News Bulletin". He is also a regular international news commentator on Thailand's 24-hours cable news network, TNN.

DTN News: Israel's President Shimon Peres Leaves For Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan

DTN News: Israel's President Shimon Peres Leaves For Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan *Sources: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) TEL AVIV, Israel - June 29, 2009: President Shimon Peres on Sunday embarked on what his office terms "historic visits" to the Muslim states of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. The visit to Azerbaijan is the first official visit by a high-ranking Israeli dignitary. Israeli President Shimon Peres and Azeri President Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev take part in the official welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace June 28, 2009 in Baku, Azerbaijan. President Peres will visit both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan on a four-day trip to advance Israel's ties with those countries. Although Beit Hanassi put an embargo on publicizing the visits prior to his departure, reports that the visits were to take place began appearing in the media of both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan as well as media outlets in other countries more than a month ago. Not everyone in Azerbaijan is happy about Peres's arrival. According to various Internet reports, some of the elders of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan have protested the visit. "We are against the visit of the leader of the criminal Zionist regime and we express our protest against the invitation, sent to him. We demand categorically that the Azeri leadership cancel this visit," says a statement, released by the Nardaran believers. "The Israeli president's visit to Baku will damage Azerbaijan's international image as a Muslim state and will be an insult to the Islamic world," the statement continues. "Building ties with the Zionist regime, hostile to the Muslims, could damage Azerbaijan as part of the Islamic world. We urge the government to prevent the visit as a sign of respect for the Islamic religion." Foreign Ministry officials in Baku attribute the statement to meddling by Iran. According to the Pakistan Daily, Peres will be in Azerbaijan "to consolidate energy and military ties with Baku which began in 1992." The visits by Peres are intended to upgrade Israel's relations with both countries, each of which prides itself on having treated its Jews well and as having served as a haven for other Jews during World War II. Peres is scheduled to travel with a large entourage, including Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer; National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau; Science, Culture, and Sport Minister Daniel Herschkowitz and Defense Ministry Director-General Pinchas Buhris, along with several CEOs of Israel's defense industries and 60 heads of major companies. In Kazakhstan, Peres is slated to be the guest of honor at the Third Congress of leaders of World and Traditional Religions, where he is to deliver the keynote address. He is also scheduled to hold meetings with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, whom he has met on previous occasions and whose singing voice, leadership and hearty personality he has publicly praised at various Kazakhstan functions in Israel. He is also expected to meet with other prominent Kazakhstan officials. Israeli President Shimon Peres and Azeri President Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev take part in the official welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace June 28, 2009 in Baku, Azerbaijan. President Peres will visit both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan on a four-day trip to advance Israel's ties with those countries. The businesspeople accompanying Peres plan to participate in a bilateral business forum in Astana. As part of the forum, cooperation agreements on peaceful space exploration and in areas of foreign policy, as well as on a Kazakhstan-Israel business forum, are expected to be signed. Azerbaijan's priority fields for cooperation with Israel are agriculture, management of water resources, medical training and hi-tech. As in Kazakhstan, agreements are expected to be signed between the three ministers and their Azeri counterparts. The visits to the two Muslim countries are a collaborative effort between Beit Hanassi, the Foreign Ministry, the Israel Export Institute, and the Israel Manufacturers Association. In addition to the meetings with Azeri and Kazakh officials, Peres is expected to meet with members of the Jewish communities in both countries. In Kazakhstan - where Jews have lived for centuries - he is scheduled to attend the inauguration of a new synagogue. He will also use the visits as a platform to make Israel's policies and aspirations for peace better known to that part of the world.