Saturday, January 10, 2009

DTN News: India - Aircraft Carrier / The Navy Of Any Great Power ... Has The Dream To Have One Or More Aircraft Carriers

DTN News: India - Aircraft Carrier / The Navy Of Any Great Power ... Has The Dream To Have One Or More Aircraft Carriers
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - January 10, 2009: India's sole aircraft carrier, the 29,000 ton INS Viraat, is in the midst of a 16 months visit to a shipyard, where it is getting maintenance and upgrades. The work will be interrupted briefly this year so that the Viraat can celebrate fifty years of service. INS Viraat (Sanskrit "Giant" ) (R22) is a Centaur-class aircraft carrier currently in service with the Indian Navy. INS Viraat is the flagship of the Indian Navy.
The Viraat began life in 1959 as the HMS Hermes, and served in the Royal Navy for 26 years. In 1986 the Hermes was purchased by India and recommissioned as INS Veraat. It underwent several upgrades until it got a major (21 month) refurbishment, that included a ski jump flight deck for its Harrier vertical-take-off jets. The Veraat was to have been joined in 2010 by the refurbished Russian carrier, the 44,000 ton Gorshkov (as the INS Vikramaditya). Under this plan, the INS Viraat was to be retired in 2012, after 53 years service.
But now the INS Viraat is getting its engine and hull refurbished, and its electronics upgraded, so that it can serve for up to ten years more. That would mean sixty years in service. Such long service is becoming more common for warships and combat aircraft (like the B-52, Tu-142 and P-3). This is all possible because of advances in engineering and equipment design over the past half century. There are now more reliable techniques and sensors for evaluating the condition of old ships and aircraft. There are new materials and equipment to replace the older stuff and keep the old warriors serving for decade after decade.
Meanwhile, India has agreed to pay more money, and wait longer, to complete the delayed refurbishment of the Russian aircraft carrier Gorshkov. The Russians not only demanded more money, but also admitted that a labor shortage would delay delivery until 2012. The Russians have also admitted that the project also suffers from shoddy workmanship. The new deal will cost $2.5 billion. This includes the purchase of the Gorshkov, and Russian shipyards performing repairs, modifications and upgrades. Another $800 milliom is to be spent on aircraft, weapons and equipment. Building a Gorshkov type carrier today would cost about $4 billion, and take several years more. India is building another carrier, from scratch, but that 37,000 ton vessel won't be ready until 2015.
The Admiral Gorshkov entered service in 1987, but was inactivated in 1996 (too expensive to operate on a post Cold War budget). The Indian deal was made in 2004, and the carrier was to be ready by 2008. But two years ago reports, began coming out of Russia that the shipyard doing the work, Sevmash, had seriously miscalculated the cost of the project. The revised costs were more like $1.1 billion for the $700 million refurb. The situation proceeded to get worse, with Sevmash reporting ever increasing costs to refurbish the carrier.
The Indians were not happy, and at first insisted that the Russian government (which owns many of the entities involved) make good on the original deal. India sent its own team of technical experts to Russia, and their report apparently confirmed what the Russians reported, about shipyard officials low-balling the cost of the work needed. This is a common tactic for firms building weapons for their own country. It gets more complicated when you try to pull that sort of thing on a foreign customer. The Russian government will cover some of the overrun cost. The Sevmash managers who negotiated the low bid are being prosecuted.
Once refurbished, the Gorshkov, renamed INS Vikramaditya, should be good for about 30 years of service. That's because, after the refit, 70 percent of the ships equipment will be new, and the rest refurbished.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:
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MiG-21 Was One Of The Best, Reliable And Cost Effective Jet Aircraft / No Aircraft Has Influenced Military Aviation After World War II Than MiG-21

MiG-21 Was One Of The Best, Reliable And Cost Effective Fighter Aircraft / No Aircraft Has Influenced Military Aviation After World War II Than MiG-21
(NSI News Source Info) January 11, 2009: An icon of the Cold War, the MiG-21 came to symbolize the military might of the Soviet Union as it squared off against the West in conflicts from Vietnam to Africa and the Middle East. Now, exactly 50 years after it entered service, the jet fighter is approaching the twilight of its career in frontline service - with NATO, the former Soviet Union's main rival. The rugged and agile jet earned a reputation as a versatile and effective short-range interceptor with low operating costs and excellent performance. Just like the Kalashnikov AK-47 automatic rifle - another robust and reliable weapon that epitomized Soviet power - the MiG-21 holds a unique place in military history. "It was one of the best fighters ever, very reliable, and a real challenge to all pilots who fought against it," said David Ivry, a former chief of the Israeli Air Force who battled MiG-21s as a squadron leader in the 1967 Six-Day War and as a commander in the 1973 and 1982 wars. MiGs derived their name from the initials of their designers, Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich. Codenamed Fishbed by NATO, the MiG-21 gained fame during the Vietnam War, where it was used by the North Vietnamese air force to intercept American bombers. Although heavily outnumbered, the small Fishbeds could evade radar and ambush U.S. formations with hit-and-run attacks in which many U.S. jets, including top-of-the line F-4 Phantoms, were downed or forced to abort their missions. "The MiG-21 was lighter and more agile than the Phantom, which gave it a better chance to survive in a dogfight," wrote Russian aviation historian Vladimir Babich, who analyzed the MiG's performance in Vietnam. The U.S. Air Force first gained vital insight into the Mig-21s capabilities after a defecting Iraqi pilot brought one to Israel in 1966. The Israelis also exploited their findings during the 1967 Six-Day war, when their surprise air strikes destroyed the Arab air forces on the ground. Although the plane's performance was enhanced over the years, designers never succeeded in overcoming the limited fuel capacity, stemming from the design's small size. Another weakness was thick windshield framing that reduced the pilot's forward visibility, a serious problem during aerial combat. Still, more than 10,000 MiG-21s were built, making it the most widely produced jet fighter ever built. The delta-winged Mach 2 interceptor - Mach 2 is double the speed of sound - was widely exported and became the backbone of about 50 air forces in Europe, Africa and Asia. It was used in a dozen armed conflicts in the past 30 years, more than any other fighter in history. In the 1970s, the U.S. introduced two jets which outperformed the MiG-21 - the new F-15 Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons. The Soviets countered with MiG-29s and Sukhoi-27s. By the 1980s the aging Fishbeds were relegated to second-line duties, like reconnaissance. Russia has long since retired the MiG-21, but it remains operational with numerous air forces around the world. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the USSR's former East European allies joined NATO, bringing more than 200 of their aging MiG-21s into the Western alliance. Most have since been replaced, but the old warhorse soldiers on in NATO members Romania and Bulgaria, and in Croatia, scheduled to join the alliance in 2009. All three plan to retire the Fishbed over the next three or four years. Alen Warnes, editor of Air Forces Monthly, a specialized British publication, noted that the MiG-21 is the last fighter from the 1950s to remain operational and that no other fighter has achieved such longevity. "No aircraft has influenced military aviation in post-World War II Europe more than the MiG-21," Warnes said.

Tskhinvali Says Georgia Moves Troops To S.Ossetia Border

Tskhinvali Says Georgia Moves Troops To S.Ossetia Border (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - January 11, 2009: The Defense Ministry of South Ossetia said Friday Georgia was moving troops towards its border, the republic's information and press committee said. The committee cited South Ossetian Deputy Defense Minister Ibragim Gasseyev as saying that four Georgian armored vehicles and 16 trucks had approached the village of Mereti, Gori district. "Considering that each vehicle has at least 20 people, Georgia has moved at least 300 people to Mereti," Gasseyev said. At the same time Gasseyev voiced concern over the stance of the EU monitoring mission tasked with ensuring security along the border with two breakaway republics, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Both republics have refused to allow EU observers on their territory. "Why don't they ask why Georgia is moving troops to the South Ossetian border? In the light of the recent events the place and role of EU monitors is unclear to us," he said. Earlier on Friday, local security agencies had reported that Georgia was preparing provocations against the South Ossetian security forces and the Russian troops stationed in the area. Gasseyev said: "If Georgia is preparing provocations, it should think of possible consequences before it starts carrying them out." Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states on August 26 after a five-day war with Georgia, which launched an attack on South Ossetia to try and regain control of the region. The two republics have had de facto independence since they broke away from Georgia in bloody post-Soviet conflicts in the early 1990s.

India: Nag Land Version Begins Final User Trials / Nag Uses Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) Guidance

India: Nag Land Version Begins Final User Trials / Nag Uses Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) Guidance (NSI News Source Info) January 11, 2009: A series of final user trials of the land version of India's Nag (Cobra) anti-tank guided missile started on 25 December 2008 at the Indian Air Force ranges near Pokhran, Rajasthan, with a successful firing against a derelict tank. The missile carried a live warhead and successfully penetrated the tank's armour. Nag was developed by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation. Image: A NAG round leaves the launcher of the Namica tracked vehicle. (Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation)

Israeli Offensive Seeks 'New Security Reality' In Gaza / Overnight Strikes Target Hamas Fighters, IDF Says

Israeli Offensive Seeks 'New Security Reality' In Gaza / Overnight Strikes Target Hamas Fighters, IDF Says / Lebanese PM Condemns Rocket Attack On Israel
(NSI News Source Info) January 10, 2009: Israel is aiming to "create a new security reality in Gaza" through its offensive in the Gaza Strip, even as it seeks a ceasefire agreement that will incorporate a mechanism to monitor arms smuggling to end the operation that began on 27 December 2008. "The message of this operation is that Israel is willing to respond disproportionately for every rocket coming out of Gaza," a senior defence source told. "We want Hamas to consider this before they will fire again." Israel continues to intensify its wide-scale ground assault against the Gaza Strip in an effort to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish State. Despite initial widespread reluctance within both the military and political establishments to confront Hamas, amid concerns about achieving a decisive outcome, the first two weeks of fighting have wrought substantial destruction on the Hamas governmental infrastructure and its military capabilities. Two years of extensive training and preparation supported the initial air strikes into Gaza, which have taken substantially into account the lessons learned from the 2006 conflict in Lebanon with the militant Hizbullah organisation. The level of co-operation between air and ground forces, with the Israel Air Force (IAF) almost serving as the operational front line, is unparalleled, intelligence sources said. Further, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has deployed its entire alignment of intelligence-gathering sensors to ensure accuracy. Intelligence gathered with the assistance of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank enabled the surprise opening strike on 27 December. A second, land-based phase of Operation 'Cast Lead' began on 3 January in support of three objectives: to prevent rocket fire in the area of operation; to eliminate as many Hamas operatives as possible; and to capture Hamas prisoners.
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Overnight Strikes Target Hamas Fighters, IDF Says (NSI News Source Info) CNN - January 10, 2009: The Israeli military said it carried out air attacks on 40 targets in Gaza and killed 15 Hamas fighters in battles overnight and Saturday morning. Smoke rises Saturday over Gaza City from artillery strikes. Five Israeli soldiers were "lightly wounded," the Israel Defense Forces said Saturday. Five rockets launched from Gaza landed in Israel on Saturday morning, the IDF added. A CNN crew witnessed a Qassam rocket hitting near a fuel station in Sderot, about 3 km (2 miles) from the Gaza border, Saturday morning. The impact left a crater two meters wide in a heavily traveled road, but no vehicles were hit and no one was hurt. Palestinian medical sources said at least 800 people have been killed in Gaza since the Israeli offensive began two weeks ago. The dead include 235 children, 90 women and 12 medics, the sources said. Another 3,225 people have been wounded, they said. Thirteen Israelis, including 10 soldiers, have died in the fighting.U.N. soldiers on Thursday inspect the site in Lebanon thought to be the source of rockets fired into Israel. Lebanon's prime minister condemned the firing of rockets into northern Israel after an attack wounded two Israelis on Thursday. He said his government is trying to determine who was responsible. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel was disregarding the U.N. vote because the resolution will not be heeded by "murderous" Palestinian groups. The firing of rockets from Gaza into southern Israel on Friday, he said, "proves the U.N. resolution is not practical." "The state of Israel has never agreed that any outside body would determine its right to defend the security of its citizens. The [Israel Defense Forces] will continue operations in order to defend Israeli citizens and will carry out the missions with which it has been assigned in the operation," Olmert said. The Cabinet also decided to continue humanitarian activity in Gaza and keep up efforts "to prevent the smuggling of war materiel into the Gaza Strip." The Cabinet was briefed on meetings that Israeli Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad had with Egyptian officials over a proposed Egyptian-French truce plan. Hamas also rejected the resolution, the Paris, France, daily newspaper Le Figaro reported. The resolution "does not serve our interests nor that of the people of Palestine," said Hamas official Raafat Morra, speaking from Lebanon. "It does not take into account the aspirations and the principal objectives of the Palestinian people." Israel has repeatedly defended its offensive, which it says is meant to stop Hamas militants from continuing to use the territory to lob rockets into southern Israel. The Security Council called overwhelmingly for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza late Thursday, expressing "grave concern" at a mounting humanitarian crisis and heavy civilian casualties in the Palestinian territory. Fourteen of the council's 15 members voted in favor of Resolution 1860, with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice abstaining from the vote on behalf of the United States. Rice said the United States prefers to wait on the results of ongoing Egyptian-brokered talks in Cairo between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Watch why U.S. abstained from Security Council vote » (Click to watch video) The resolution "stresses the urgency of, and calls for, an immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire which will lead to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza." Although the resolution does not mention Hamas by name, it does condemn "all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism." A resolution from the council, particularly one that passes with such large support, can put international pressure on parties involved in a conflict. But they are in no way binding, and many in the past have been ignored by warring factions. The IDF said aircraft attacked more than 70 targets in Gaza identified as terrorist sites as Israel's offensive against Hamas stretched into its 14th day. Watch an ambassador denounce Hamas attacks » (Click to watch video) The IDF said its ground forces found a "rigged house containing a number of land mines" and struck "terror operatives who fired anti-tank rockets at them." "In addition, the house used by terrorists that shot and killed Sgt. Amit Robinson yesterday was shot at by IDF forces today," the military said. The 70 targets included 20 "terror operatives," rocket launching areas, three houses of Hamas operatives that had been used to store weapons, two weapons smuggling tunnels and "a vehicle with armed terror operatives." In another attack, Israeli helicopters obliterated the house of a Hamas military commander in northern Gaza City on Friday, sources in the Hamas movement said. Aqsa TV identified the man as Abu Farouk Dababesh. The Hamas sources said Dababesh's house was among 15 houses targeted by Israel on Friday. Palestinian medical sources said 22 Palestinians were killed Friday. The IDF said its missiles hit five Gaza sites where Hamas was launching rockets into Israel Friday morning, including one that was adjacent to a mosque. The Israeli military said more than 30 rockets from Gaza landed in southern Israel on Friday, including two Grad missiles that fell on Beer Sheva. Two rockets hit Ashkelon and one landed at Ashdod. No damage or injuries were reported, the IDF said. Israel took steps before Friday prayers to head off any possible violence in Jerusalem. West Bank entries into Israel have been halted through Saturday night and men younger than 50 were banned from entering Jerusalem mosques. Also Friday, the U.N. said it would resume its suspended aid operations in Gaza. The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees suspended food delivery operations Thursday to 750,000 Palestinian refugees after strikes by Israel killed one of its drivers and wounded another. The U.N. said the aid workers "had received Israeli clearance."

Dominican Republic Buys 8 Super Tucanos

Dominican Republic Buys 8 Super Tucanos
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON - January 10, 2009: Embraer has confirmed the sale of eight Super Tucanos to the Dominican Republic in a deal that was finalized at the end of 2008, the Brazilian plane maker announced Jan. 9. The turpoprop-powered aircraft is to be used by the Dominican Air Force for internal security and border patrol missions, primarily in the fight against drug traffickers. The Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, also named ALX or A-29 is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter insurgency (COIN) and pilot training missions, incorporating modern avionics and weapons systems. It is currently in use by the air forces of Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Embraer has plans to sell it to other countries in Asia and the Middle East. Besides pilot training, it is heavily employed in monitoring operations in the Amazon region. The deal represents a significant increase in capability for the Caribbean nation, which shares a border with Haiti. Fixed-wing aircraft in the Dominican Air Force at present are limited to a handful of T-35B Pillan trainers and a small number of light transport aircraft. Embraer declined to release any information on the delivery schedule. The deal is the third export success of the aircraft following sales of 25 aircraft to Colombia and 12 to Chile. To date, 63 aircraft have been delivered to the Brazilian Air Force. In all, 144 Super Tucanos have been sold. The aircraft is an upgraded version of the Tucano basic trainer, of which about 650 are in service with 15 air forces across the world.