Thursday, January 01, 2009

China Undercutting Price Of Military Hardware To Capture Markets In Africa From Russia / China's Tanks Aircraft Challenge Russian Sales In Africa

China Undercutting Price Of Military Hardware To Capture Markets In Africa From Russia / China's Tanks Aircraft Challenge Russian Sales In Africa
(NSI News Source Info) HONG KONG - January 1, 2009: Ghana traditionally has been a client country of Western weapons manufacturers. It does have some Russian equipment in service, however, including SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles, Zu-23-2 air defense machine guns and D-30 122-mm howitzers. The People's Republic of China is now promoting its latest gun-launched laser-guided projectiles on the African continent.
At least one African country is already equipped with the Chinese-made GP1 155mm laser-guided projectiles, which are a Chinese version of Russia's Krasnopol GLLGP, the technology for which was transferred to China by Russia's KBP Design Bureau in 1997. Chinese arms are also actively penetrating North Africa's Arab countries. Algeria has been a typical purchaser of Russian equipment. The Algerian army has 320 T54/55 Main Battle Tanks and 350 T72 Main Battle Tanks, as well as AT-3, AT-4 and AT-5 anti-tank missiles, 289 BMP-1/2 IFVs and SAM-7, SAM-8, SAM-9 and SAM-14 ground missiles. The Algerian air force is armed with 43 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MFs, 30 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23B/Es, 28 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23Fs, 20 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29s, 10 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25s, 38 Sukhoi Su-24Ms, approximately 60 Mi-17/171s and 31 Mi-24s. The Algerian navy has two Kilo submarines, three Nanuchka II missile swift boats and three Project 1159.2 frigates. The Algerian navy also has three Chinese Project C-802 missile boats, built in 2002, with C-802 ship-to-ship missiles fitted on-board. These are the first such boats to be exported to Africa.
As their economic strength continues to grow, African countries will need weapons of better quality and performance.
Russia will still find a huge market for its high-tech equipment in such countries as Ethiopia, Angola, Libya, Yemen and Algeria. In recent years, it has begun to sell advanced platforms like the Sukhoi Su-30MKA, the Sukhoi Su-27SK and the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29SMT to these countries. The Algerian air force has ordered 28 Sukhoi Su-30MKAs, which will be the most advanced Russian fighter aircraft on the African continent. The Bars phased array radar and AL-31FP TVC engines fitted on these aircraft are of the same standard as those on the Malaysian air force's Sukhoi Su-30MKM. The Ethiopian air force has at least 10 Sukhoi Su-27SKs, which have been seen at its Bebre Zeyt Airport. These inevitably will need upgrading. Also of interest is the fact that two Sukhoi Su-27 fighters were seen at Asmara International Airport of Eritrea, despite the fact that Russia never officially exported Sukhoi Su-27 fighters to this country. Eritrea enjoys very good relations with the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, however. Yemen received 32 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29SMT fighters from Russia in 2006-07. Its air force also has 66 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 fighters that will need repair service. In the future, China's J-11B and FC-1 will be possible alternatives to Russia's Sukhoi Su-27 and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29SMT fighters.
The low price of Chinese fighters, supported by China's strategy of trading arms for oil, determines that Russia will continue to face a powerful competitor in the African aviation market.

U.S. Air Force F-15 Fighter Jet In Afghanistan

U.S. Air Force F-15 Fighter Jet In Afghanistan
(NSI News Source Info) January 1, 2009: A U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jet does a low-level flyby over Forward Operating Base Bostick in eastern Afghanistan January 1, 2009.

China Navy's Main Goal Is To Escort Ships During Somalia Mission

China Navy's Main Goal Is To Escort Ships During Somalia Mission (NSI News Source Info) BEIJING - January 1, 2009: A military scholar believes China is doing the right thing by dispatching a naval task force to escort ships and to protect them from pirates in waters off Somalia.A ceremony is held before a Chinese naval fleet sets sail from a port in Sanya city of China's southernmost island province of Hainan on Dec. 26, 2008.
Colonel Ge Lide, researcher at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), was quoted by the weekly newspaper, Youth Reference, as saying, "As a responsible member of the international community, China is obliged to implement the United Nations Security Council resolutions to curb piracy on the high seas and protect the safety of marine routes." The Chinese naval task force, which is made up of two missile destroyers and a supply vessel, set sail on Dec. 26. It is now on the Indian Ocean. The PLA navy promised to escort Chinese merchant ships, which were harassed by pirates seven times in 2008. It will also escort foreign vessels on request. Colonel Ge said, "With the discreet and aboveboard naval deployment, China doesn't have any intentions of challenging the security or commercial interests of other countries in the region. We are simply interested in guarding the international waters from armed pirates, our common enemies." The task force's commanding officer said their primary job would be escorts, not actively engaging pirates. He, however, did not rule out possible fire exchange. The 800 or so Chinese crew include about 70 members of the PLA Navy special forces. "I certainly believe the Navy would win against any threats and fulfill its lofty duty," Colonel Ge said in the newspaper.

Sri Lanka Army 'Takes Key Crossing' / Sri Lankan Army Regains Town From Tamil Rebels

Sri Lanka Army 'Takes Key Crossing' / Sri Lankan Army Regains Town From Tamil Rebels (NSI News Source Info) January 1, 2009: It is difficult to confirm battle reports and casualty lists as journalists are barred from the war zone The Sri Lankan military has seized a strategically crucial crossroads from separatist Tamil Tiger control, the army has said. Government troops on Thursday captured the Paranthan crossing in the north of the island, following intense clashes which the army says left at least 50 rebel fighters dead. Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, a spokesman for the Sri Lankan military, said the fall of Paranthan would open up a new front in the battle for Kilinochchi town - a key Tiger stronghold that lies just 4 km to the south. The military said capturing Paranthan will also effectively cut off the Tiger's main supply route to Kilinochchi and other strongholds. The army said that since Tuesday at least 50 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fighters had been killed - and twice as many wounded - in heaving fighting. Sri Lanka's defence ministry did not say if government forces suffered casualties, although the Associated Press news agency reported that Nanyakkara confirmed four soldiers had died in the fighting. Separatist battle The Sri Lankan government has pledged to defeat Tamil fighters by the end of 2008 in an attempt to end the 25-year separatist campaign. However, government officials made the same promise in 2007 but faced stiff resistance from Tamil fighters. A defence ministry statement issued Thursday described the fighting as "fierce and prolonged for hours until the terrorists were completely beaten by the determined soldiers". The Tigers made no comment on the military's statements, but said on Wednesday that civilians had been killed in the fighting. It is difficult to verify battle accounts and casualties as reporters are barred from the war zone. The rebel Tigers have waged a long war for independence for Sri Lanka's minority Tamil community, who have suffered marginalisation by successive governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority. Around 70,000 people are thought to have been killed since separatist fighting began in 1972.

FBI Provided Evidence Of Pakistani Militants To Islamabad / Pakistan Has FBI Evidence Of Mumbai Links: India

FBI Provided Evidence Of Pakistani Militants To Islamabad / Pakistan Has FBI Evidence Of Mumbai Links: India
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI - January 1, 2009: India said on Thursday the FBI had presented strong evidence to Islamabad of Pakistani links to November's militant attacks in Mumbai that killed 179 people. India has blamed the assault on the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which was set up by Pakistani security agencies in the 1980s to fight Indian rule in the disputed Kashmir region, but was officially banned in 2002. Pakistan has condemned the Mumbai attacks and denied any state role, blaming "non-state actors." "We have been told that there is some strong evidence available to FBI and they have shared it with Pakistan," Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in an interview with the NDTV news channel. He added that U.S. pressure on Pakistan to act on that evidence had not yielded "tangible results" so far. India's accusation of a Pakistani link to the attack has revived old hostilities between the nuclear-armed countries and raised fears of conflict. Mukherjee's comments came a day after the Wall Street Journal said a LeT leader, captured last month in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, had confessed to being a main planner of the attack on India's financial hub. The Journal, citing a Pakistani security official, said his admission was backed up by U.S. intercepts of a telephone call he had with one of the attackers during the assault. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has told President George W. Bush anyone found involved in the attack would be dealt with. Mukherjee repeated India's calls for Pakistan to hand over the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, saying Pakistan was obliged to do so under various international arrangements. "(An) extradition treaty is not required to take action on these issues," he added. Pakistan launched raids on militants on its soil in the aftermath of the attack. But, it says India has yet to provide evidence and has ruled out sending Pakistanis to India for trial. President Bush made separate calls to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan's Zardari on Wednesday, urging cooperation in the investigation. Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 and came to the brink of a fourth after gunmen attacked the Indian parliament in December 2001.

Pakistan Arrested 28 Islamic Militants In Conjunction With NATO Supply Route Operation

Pakistan Arrested 28 Islamic Militants In Conjunction With NATO Supply Route Operation (NSI News Source Info) Peshawar, Pakistan - January 1, 2009: Pakistani security forces arrested 28 rebels and killed three civilians as troops backed by helicopter gunships continued a major operation against militants for a second day on Wednesday, a senior official said. Supplies to NATO and US forces in Afghanistan via the historic Khyber Pass remained suspended because of the operation, local administration chief Tariq Hayat told a news conference. The offensive in the lawless Khyber tribal region near the Afghan border was launched at dawn on Tuesday after a series of attacks by suspected Taliban militants on foreign military supply depots in northwest Pakistan. Hundreds of NATO and US-led coalition vehicles were destroyed in the militant raids in December. "The operation will continue until the militants are flushed out and the supply route is secured," Hayat said. A total of 28 suspected militants have been arrested and 19 houses belonging to those harbouring Taliban militants have been demolished, he said. Three civilians were killed Wednesday when their home was hit by "mistake", he said adding that the government had decided to give cash compensation to their families. Five people were killed in the operation on Tuesday, officials said. Hayat said 116 Afghans living in Shakas town had been rounded up and put into Jamrud jail. He gave no details. A curfew remained in force in Jamrud town, the gateway to the Khyber Pass, and traffic was suspended on the highway linking Peshawar to the border town of Torkham, he said. Educational institutions in the region will remain shut "until the objective of the operation is achieved," he said. The bulk of the supplies and equipment required by NATO and US-led forces battling the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is shipped to Pakistan's largest port, Karachi, in the south. From there, the containers of food, fuel, vehicles and munitions are taken by truck to depots outside Peshawar before being transported to Afghanistan via the Khyber Pass. But the fabled road passes through the heart of Pakistan's lawless tribal zone, where extremists sought refuge after Afghanistan's hardline Taliban regime was ousted in a US-led invasion at the end of 2001. Two weeks ago, several haulage companies in Pakistan working for foreign forces refused to ply the 50-kilometre (30-mile) route between Peshawar and Torkham, saying their drivers' lives were at risk.

NATO Seeking Airspace Deal With Russia For Flights To Afghanistan

NATO Seeking Airspace Deal With Russia For Flights To Afghanistan (NSI News Source Info) Brussels - January1, 2009: NATO is seeking to seal an agreement with Moscow to allow the military alliance to fly equipment over Russian airspace to Afghanistan, an official said Wednesday. "Both sides are already aware of the fact that an air agreement would be desirable," the NATO official told AFP. The talks "at many levels" are able to take place now following the end of a four-month freeze the alliance imposed after Moscow sent troops into Georgia. Envoys from NATO and Russia are set to hold top-level talks next month where the question could be raised. Moscow agreed in April to allow "non-lethal" NATO supplies to transit Russian territory by land on its way to Afghanistan. This must be done largely by train and involves obtaining similar transit agreements with other countries in the region such as Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, the official said. "This is part of the Russian-NATO cooperation regarding Afghanistan. We have the land agreement and now of course one important thing is also to have an air transit agreement." Some individual countries, including Germany, already have such an agreement for supplies to Afghanistan. The NATO official said there was no timetable for the talks or decision on the precise nature of the supplies which may be involved. NATO's relations with Russia are mending slowly after the war in Georgia in August brought tensions to a head. Moscow's subsequent decision to recognise the independence of the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has become a particularly sensitive issue. Russia has been angered by NATO's open-door policy in regard to former Soviet states Georgia and Ukraine. Alliance leaders have indicated the countries will eventually join the organisation, even if they have for the moment ruled out a fast-track approach. Russia -- and Serbia -- have also vehemently opposed international recognition of the declaration of independence from Kosovo, a former Serbian province. NATO heads up a peacekeeping force in Kosovo. Moscow has also threatened to counter the extension into Europe of a US missile shield by renewing its own missile programme. NATO allies, for their part, have expressed concern about Moscow's decision to freeze a major Cold War arms treaty.

India Plans Homeland Security Buys Worth $10B

India Plans Homeland Security Buys Worth $10B (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - January 1, 2009: India will purchase more than $10 billion in homeland security weapons and equipment on an emergency basis in the next two to three years, Defence Ministry sources here said. The decision comes in the aftermath of the Nov. 26 Mumbai terror attacks. The Defence Ministry has asked the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Army to draw up a wish list of homeland security equipment. The list could include a variety of UAVs, including combat UAVs; transport aircraft and helicopters; secure communication systems; high-speed boats and interceptor boats for the Coast Guard; specialized weaponry like the Trevor gun; multi-utility vehicles and other equipment to fight terrorist attacks in urban areas. The Home Affairs Ministry has also asked paramilitary forces and police forces to give a list of equipment they need for homeland security missions. A diplomat based here said the move to purchase such systems will eventually lead to multiple joint ventures and memoranda of understanding between Indian and overseas defense companies. A senior Home Affairs Ministry official said a paradigm shift is needed to provide internal security, which will require India to establish an apex body responsible for homeland security. The Defence Ministry has floated requests for proposals worth more than $9 billion during 2008 to buy weapons. In 2009, fresh bids will be floated for purchasing weaponry for homeland land security, a senior Defence Ministry official said.