Monday, January 26, 2009

Rwanda-Congo Force Pushes Into Militia Zone

Rwanda-Congo Force Pushes Into Militia Zone
(NSI News Source Info) KINSHASA, Congo - January 27, 2009: Rwandan and Congolese troops pushed deeper into zones in Congo held by Rwandan Hutu militiamen Sunday in a joint military operation designed to crush armed groups that have destabilized central Africa, a military spokesman said.
A government soldier holds her weapon at Mushake in eastern Congo, January 26, 2009. Congolese Hutu rebels said on Sunday they had clashed for the first time with a Rwandan-Congolese force deployed to crush them and civilians expressed fears they would be caught up in the violence.
Rwanda and Congo have been enemies for years, but the two neighbors suddenly changed tactics and began cooperating last week to disarm groups each nation had previously backed as proxies.
Eastern Congo has been wracked by violence since Rwanda’s 1994 genocide spilled war across the border. Hutu militias that participated in the massacres of more than 500,000 mostly ethnic Tutsi civilians sought refuge in Congo.
Rwanda invaded Congo twice in the 1990s to eradicate the militias, though it was accused of plundering the neighboring country’s vast mineral wealth instead. The militia’s presence in Congo also gave birth in 2004 to a Tutsi rebellion led by Laurent Nkunda, who was allied to Rwanda.
But Rwandan troops turned on Nkunda and captured him Thursday as part of a breakthrough deal that saw at least 4,000 Rwandan soldiers enter Congo to hunt down the Hutu militias. The move is a risky gamble for Congo’s President Joseph Kabila because the Rwandans are deeply unpopular and some believe they may provoke more violence.

India's Republic Day Parade On January 26, 2009 In New Delhi, India

India's Republic Day Parade On January 26, 2009 In New Delhi, India
(NSI News Source Info) January 27, 2009: T-90 Bheeshma tanks, missiles, helicopters, many various aircrafts and military products were paraded during the Republic Day Parade on January 26, 2009 in New Delhi, India. India celebrates its 60th Republic Day with its annual parade. The parade is an opportunity for India to display its military might, progress and cultural diversity.

US Cuts Payment To Pakistan For Fighting Taliban-al-Qaeda

US Cuts Payment To Pakistan For Fighting Taliban-al-Qaeda (NSI News Source Info) Source; Rantburg - January 27, 2009: The United States has deducted 55 million dollars out of the 156 million dollars bill sent by Pakistan for rendering its military services to fight against Taliban and Al-Qaeda in volatile bordering tribal areas adjacent to war-torn Afghanistan. Shaukat Tarin, a financial adviser in the prime minister's office, said the US had "changed the format" for money released under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for Islamabad, resulting in a "massive" deduction.Pakistani para military forces patrol in street after a clash with protesters in Quetta, Pakistan on Monday, Jan. 26, 2009. In Pakistan's southwest. Gunmen shot dead the leader of a small Shiite political party in the main city of Quetta on Monday, triggering protests during which several hundred people torched vehicles and a bank, said Mohammed Khan, an area police official.
Pakistan, a key US ally in the fight terrorism, has mobilized its more than 100,000 troops in tribal areas to contain Islamic militants launching cross-border attacks on international forces in Afghanistan, and bills US for the expenditure.
The cut in its reimbursements is a setback to the civilian government led by President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto.Tarin said Islamabad had taken the matter of the deducted money with Washington.
Pakistan joined the US-led international alliance against terrorism after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, with Islamabad getting some 297 million dollars every year since 2003, in the form of Foreign Military Grants to quell the Taliban militancy.
But the authorities in Washington have said repeatedly that Islamabad was not doing enough to control Islamic insurgency in its ungoverned tribal region.
The new US government, led by President Barack Obama, has vowed to focus more on Pakistan in its policy to defeat Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. In its efforts, the new administration would link Pakistan's aid with the security in the border region in Afghanistan, the White House said in a policy statement last week.
Pakistan, which has recently avoided default by obtaining a 7.6 billion dollar loan package from the IMF, is relying heavily on US to revive its economy.
The US has so far provided between 10 and 11 billion dollars of aid for social development as well as in form of military aid. But Pakistan says it has suffered financial losses many times more than it has collectively received aid from American and its western allies after becoming front line state in the ongoing war against terrorism.

Jordan: King Abdullah Has A Good Grip On His Country

Jordan: King Abdullah Has A Good Grip On His Country
(NSI News Source Info) January 27, 2009: King Abdullah of Jordan fired his head of intelligence, Mohammed Dahabi, for getting too cozy with Hamas. Dahabi had been ordered to maintain a dialog with Hamas, but the king believed Dahabi had forgotten who he worked for. Dahabi was replaced by his deputy, who has a reputation for professionalism, and staying out of politics. The kings attitudes are influenced by the fact that most of the population considers itself Palestinian (or at least descended from Palestinian refugees). Despite that, Jordan has suffered very few al Qaeda attacks. This is mostly due to the efficient police force, who are dominated by the Bedouin minority that runs the kingdom. One aspect of that control is to allow people to say, and believe, what they want. While the Palestinian majority may not like the monarchy, they know that the Bedouins would respond violently to any uprising. That has happened often enough in the past half century to convince most Jordanians that, while you can shout nasty things at the king, don't take a shot at him. That said, the current king of Jordan, and his late father, went out of their way to be nice to their Palestinian citizens, as long as there was no violence against the government. The occasional violation of this understanding is met with a swift, and sometimes violent, response. Nevertheless, Jordan has long had to be careful with how it deals with the Palestinians. In 1970, the government expelled Palestinian militants who sought to overthrow the monarchy ("Black September"). Thousands of the militants were killed, or driven out of the country, along with their families. In 2001, the Hamas leadership was ordered to leave, for security reasons. Jordan is not a police state, but it is very well policed.

Japan: Defense Forces In Military Exercise

Japan: Defense Forces In Military Exercise
(NSI News Source Info) January 27, 2009: Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force helicopters fly in the sky during an annual new year military exercise in Narashino, east of Tokyo January 11, 2009. Some 400 troops and 19 aircraft took part in the exercise.

US Navy Taken Delivery Of Its first Operational EA-18G

US Navy Taken Delivery Of Its first Operational EA-18G
(NSI News Source Info) January 27, 2009: The US Navy flies the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, and has just taken delivery of its first operational EA-18G Growler electronic warfare & strike aircraft.
The Boeing EA-18G Growler is a carrier-based electronic warfare version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet. It began production in 2007 and is slated for fleet deployment in 2009. The EA-18G will replace the US Navy's EA-6B Prowler. An electronic attack version of the F/A-18F, the EA-18G Growler will replace EA-6B Prowlers in service with the US Navy. An F/A-18F "F-1" was re-fitted with ALQ-99 electronic-warfare system, and successfully completed an initial flight demonstration of the EA-18 Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) concept aircraft flight on 15 November 2001.
These buys are actually managed out of a common multi-year procurement (MYP) contract, which also manages many of the EA-18G’s support costs since it’s derived from the Super Hornet and many of the required maintenance items are common to both planes.
The contract covers 42 aircraft per year, split between Super Hornets and EA-18Gs, with a variation quantity clause permitting up to 6 additional aircraft per year under the same terms. FY 2008 marks year 4 of the 5-year MYP-II contract.
This year 2009, therefore, a new electronic warfare aircraft is scheduled to make its appearance – one based on a new airframe, with strong self-defense capabilities as well as electronic attack potential. The EA-18G Growler is based on Boeing’s 2-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet multi-role fighter and has 90% commonality with its counterpart, just as its predecessor the EA-6B was based on Grumman’s robust A-6 Intruder attack aircraft. At present, the EA-18G is slated to be the only dedicated electronic warfare aircraft in the USA’s future force – and since the USA is the only western country with such aircraft, it would become the sole source of tactical jamming support for NATO air forces as a whole.

India Buying Israeli Barak Missiles

India Buying Israeli Barak Missiles
(NSI News Source Info) January 26, 2009: India is buying another 300 Israeli Barak missiles, at a cost of about $1.6 million each, for the Barak anti-aircraft missile/aircraft systems it has already bought. The Barak missiles weigh 216 pounds each (with a 48 pound warhead) and have a range of ten kilometers.
Barak is an Israeli surface-to-air missile designed to be used as a point-defense missile on warships, defending against aircraft, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs. The Barak SAM is designed to replace gun-based CIWS platforms, such as the Phalanx CIWS, with a more flexible SAM model. In January 2007, after several months of intense negotiations, India and Israel signed a US$330 million deal to co-develop an all new generation of the Barak SAM, which was to be known as the Barak II. The new missile, which will be based on the original Barak, is expected to feature a more advanced seeker, in addition to an extended range. The joint development offer was first made by Israel during Indian Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash's visit to Tel Aviv in 2004.
The missiles are mounted in an eight cell container (which requires little maintenance) and are launched straight up. The radar system provides 360 degree coverage and the missiles can take down an incoming missile as close as 500 meters away from the ship. Each Barak system (missile container, radar, computers and installation) costs about $24 million. Israel weapons have a solid reputation for reliability and effectiveness. Israeli success in several wars adds to the appeal of their armaments. U.S. and Israeli arms manufacturers often work together, which also gives Israel an edge when selling their equipment. The Barak II was originally bought because of delays in producing the similar Indian Akash system, which has been in development since the 1980s. Akash was recently declared ready for service, and actually purchased by the Indian Air Force. The Barak system was also purchased to do what the Indian made Trishul was designed to do. Barak works, but Trishul is made-in-India, and that counts for a lot. Trishul has been in development for over twenty years. First test firing took place in 1991, and the manufacturer declared test firings completed by 1998.
The armed forces, however, rejected the missile, as not ready for service. So development continued, until 2003, when the project was cancelled. But the project, which has cost nearly $200 million so far, had political friends. Development was allowed to continue, even though neither the army or the navy wants it. The missile has a range of some nine kilometers, and has suffered mainly from reliability problems, particularly with its guidance system.

Boeing Wins Patriot-Upgrade Job from Taiwan

Boeing Wins Patriot-Upgrade Job from Taiwan (NSI News Source Info) January 26, 2009: Raytheon announced another win for its Patriot missile systems Jan. 26, a contract worth up to $154 million to upgrade Taiwan's Patriot missile systems. The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the primary of its kind used by the United States Army and several allied nations. It is manufactured by the Raytheon Company of the United States. The Patriot System replaced the Nike Hercules system as the U.S. Army's primary High to Medium Air Defense (HIMAD) platform, and replaced the MIM-23 Hawk system as the U.S. Army's medium tactical air defense platform. In addition to these roles, Patriot has assumed the role as the U.S. Army's anti-ballistic missile (ABM) platform, which today is Patriot's primary mission. Patriot systems have been sold to the Republic of China (Taiwan), Egypt, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and Spain. The Republic of Korea is also in the process of purchasing several second-hand Patriot systems after North Korea test-launched several ballistic missiles to the Sea of Japan and went ahead with underground nuclear testing in 2006. In August of 2008, the United States and Poland signed an agreement to temporarily station a US Patriot battalion to help deter attacks from rogue states and to guard the US missile defense complex in Poland. The contract follows two smaller contracts awarded last year to upgrade Taiwan's Patriot systems. Under the contracts, Raytheon will upgrade Taiwan's Patriots to "configuration 3," the same upgrade the company is completing for the U.S. Army. Configuration 3 is Raytheon's most advanced Patriot system and allows the use of Lockheed's PAC-3 missiles and allows missile launchers to be placed miles in front of the radar of the system, rather than right next to the radar as in earlier Patriot systems. Raytheon is looking to expand Patriot business to additional countries in the Middle East and Asia, said Sanjay Kapoor, vice president of Patriot programs. Raytheon currently has Patriot deals with the United States and 11 other countries. Raytheon recently won its biggest contract ever for the Patriot program - a deal worth up to $3.3 billion to provide configuration 3 Patriot missile systems to the United Arab Emirates. The Taiwan deal "is just the latest contract and the latest tangible evidence of what we call the resurgence of Patriot worldwide," said Joseph "Skip" Garrett, vice president and deputy, Patriot programs. "This is all part of our ongoing business of Patriot around the world."

Russia infusion Cash In Fighter Aircraft Industry To Maintain Its Growth - Report / New Cash Injection for Russian Fighter Maker

Russia infusion Cash In Fighter Aircraft Industry To Maintain Its Growth - Report / New Cash Injection for Russian Fighter Maker / JSC “UAC” Plans to Increase Its Charter Capital in 2009-2010
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - January 26, 2009: Joint Stock Company “United Aircraft Corporation” (UAC) announces its plans to conduct an additional share issue in 2009-2010.
Pursuant to Decree №140 of the President of the Russian Federation of February, 20th, 2006, “On “United Aircraft Corporation, JSC” and Decree №69 of January, 19th, 2009, “On the Issues concerning Joint Stock Company “United Aircraft Corporation”, and for the purposes of completion of the consolidation process of the aircraft-building industry, UAC plans to conduct its additional shares issue in 2009-2010.
The Sukhoi Su-35 is a 4.5 generation heavy class, long-range, multi-role, air superiority fighter and strike fighter. Due to the similar features and components it contains, the Sukhoi Su-35 is considered to be a close cousin of the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, a specialized version of the Su-30. It has been further developed into the Su-35BM. The Su-35 is in service in small numbers with the Russian Air Force with 12 in service as of 2008.
The shares are to be placed under the closed subscription in favour of the Russian Federation and a number of private shareholders.
In the course of the planned UAC shares issue the state is to contribute the state-owned stakes in the aircraft industry enterprises, and further to allow the private shareholders in the UAC`s subsidiaries to swap their shares to the UAC additional shares. Besides, it is possible that certain financial institutions may participate in the shares issue and pay for UAC additional shares in cash.
The Russian Federation is to pay for UAC’s shares in cash as provided by the law on the Russian Federation Budget for 2009-2011 at the amount of not less than 6 billion rubles, as well as in the following blocks of shares: 1.17 % of JSC “Aviation Holding Company “Sukhoi”, 0.22 % of JSC “Voronezh Aircraft Manufacturing Company”, 17.31 % of JSC “Ilyushin Finance C°”, 28.69 % of JSC “Finance Leasing Company”, 100 % in PJSC “Russian Aircraft Corporation “MiG” and 100 % in JSC “Kazan Aviation Production Association named after S.P. Gorbunov”.
By the end of February, 2009, UAC’s Board of Directors should approve the principal terms of the shares issue: amount of the shares to be issued, the type of shares distribution, the list and the price of assets eligible as means of payment for UAC shares. UAC’s Board of Directors will also call for an extraordinary shareholders meeting for the end of March, 2009, to approve the Board’s decision on additional shares issue.
Subject to receiving all necessary corporate approvals, UAC will announce the principal shares issue terms by the end of February, 2009. The prospectus to be published and the commencement of the shares placement are planned for June, 2009.
The placement period is being set at its most possible duration of 1 year and the shares are to be allocated by May, 2010.

Lockheed Rolls Out First Avionics-Equipped F-35 / First Avionics-Equipped F-35 Rolls Out at Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Rolls Out First Avionics-Equipped F-35 / First Avionics-Equipped F-35 Rolls Out at Lockheed Martin
(NSI News Source Info) FORT WORTH, Texas - January 26, 2009: Lockheed Martin has completed the first F-35 Lightning II equipped with mission systems, a milestone that will lead to the first avionics testing on board an F-35 aircraft.
The short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) F-35 variant left the factory on Wednesday, Jan. 21, and goes to the fuel facility for functional fuel system checks before it is scheduled for delivery to the flight line by the end of January. Its first flight is expected this summer.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a fifth-generation, single-seat, single-engine, stealth-capable military strike fighter, a multirole aircraft that can perform close air support, tactical bombing, and air superiority fighter missions. The F-35 has three different models; one is the conventional takeoff and landing variant, the second is short takeoff and vertical-landing variant, and the third is a carrier-based variant. The F-35 is descended from the X-35, the product of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Its development is being principally funded by the United States, with the United Kingdom, and other partner governments providing additional funding. It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems as major partners. Demonstrator aircraft flew in 2000, with the first flight on 15 December 2006.
Mission systems, or avionics, are the on-board sensors that enable the aircraft to detect, locate, identify, track and target adversaries from long ranges; detect fast-moving incoming threats such as missiles; and receive and transmit large amounts of battle-space information through secure data links. These 5th generation sensors and data links will be integral to providing the warfighter in the air and on the ground a fused picture of the battlespace.
"Testing of this aircraft will represent the fourth tier of our avionics validation process, comprising ground-based laboratory testing, airborne lab testing of individual sensors on surrogate aircraft, airborne testing of the fully integrated mission systems package on the Cooperative Avionics Test Bed, and, finally, airborne testing of the integrated system on an actual F-35," said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager.
The aircraft, called BF-4, will carry the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar and Integrated Communications, Navigation and Identification suite, and the BAE Systems Electronic Warfare system. The Block 0.5 mission systems software, which incorporates more than half of the combat-ready Block 3 software, will drive the system. BF-4 will be updated with additional equipment and software through Block 3, the last block in the System Development and Demonstration program.
The jet is the latest addition to the fleet of five F-35s already undergoing testing. Earlier aircraft are validating F-35 subsystems and flying qualities while retiring technical risk. BF-4's first flight is planned for mid-year 2009, following a comprehensive series of ground tests. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.

Estonian Navy Received Third Sandown-Class MCM From U.K. - Report / Third Sandown-Class Mine Hunter Delivered to Estonia

Estonian Navy Received Third Sandown-Class MCM From U.K. - Report / Third Sandown-Class Mine Hunter Delivered to Estonia (NSI News Source Info) January 26, 2009: EML Ugandi, the last of the Sandown-class mine hunters acquired from the United Kingdom, was today delivered to the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Estonia in Babcock’s Rosyth dockyard, Scotland. In a formal ceremony in Babcock’s Rosyth dockyard, the vessel was officially handed over to Mr. Riho Terras, Permanent Undersecretary of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Estonia, by Commodore Charles Stevenson, the Naval Regional Commander for Scotland and Northern Ireland, and a stern flag of the Estonian Navy was hoisted on EML Ugandi. The Sandown class is a class of minehunter originally built for the British Royal Navy (RN). Sandown-class vessels also serve with the Royal Saudi Navy and the Estonian Navy (Merevägi). The first vessel commissioned into RN service on June 9, 1989 and all the British ships are named after coastal towns and cities. These small (53 m) fibreglass vessels are single role mine hunters (SRMH) rather than minesweepers. 12 ships were built for the RN and 3 ships were exported to Saudi Arabia. Three RN vessels were decommissioned following the Strategic Defence Review in 2003; HMS Sandown (January 2005), Inverness (April 2005) and Bridport (July 2004). A further ship, HMS Cromer, was decommissioned and transferred to a training role at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England in 2001 as Hindostan. The three decommissioned vessels were sold to Estonia in September 2006. They will be re-equipped with TCS (Tactical Control System) and the Atlas Elektronik Seafox ROV for mine disposal. The sonar system will be also be updated. The first ship, delivered in 2007, has been named the Admiral Cowan, the second, delivered in 2008, has been named Sakala and the last is scheduled for February or March 2009. When taking over EML Ugandi, Mr. Terras stated that the event represented an important benchmark in the development of the Estonian Navy, the objective of which is better coping in a contemporary security development. “All three mine hunters, which were acquired, will help to clear Estonia’s territorial waters of mines that were launched during the two world wars, and also offers new opportunities for international joint operations with our NATO allies,” Mr. Terras said. The Permanent Undersecretary reminded those present that the first mine hunter purchased from the United Kingdom, EML Admiral Cowan, sailed in the ranks of the NATO Response Force in the Mediterranean last year, becoming the first vessel of the Estonian Navy to operate so far south. Mr. Terras also thanked the staff of Babcock dockyard and the officers and civil servants of the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom for close co-operation. According to an agreement, concluded with the United Kingdom in September 2006, Estonia bought three Sandown-class mine hunters in total. The total value of the three vessels is 800 million Estonian kroons, which includes the repair and maintenance works of the vessels and the training of the crew members in the United Kingdom. Sandown-class mine hunters use Seafox type underwater robots to detect and destroy mines. Unlike the first two vessels, EML Ugandi is equipped with Klein 5000 series sidescan sonars and a 23 mm cannon. These vessels are among Estonia’s most significant defence procurements since joining NATO and will significantly increase the capability of the Estonian Navy. They will be used for the locating and disposing of sea mines and other ordnance, which were deposited in Estonian’s exclusive economic zone during the two world wars. The vessels will also be used in NATO joint exercises and operations. The special ceremony was attended by the Commander of the Navy, Navy Captain Igor Schvede, and higher officials and army representatives from the Estonian and British defence ministries. The first Sandown-class mine hunter, EML Admiral Cowan, was handed over to Estonia in April 2007 and the second vessel, EML Sakala, in January 2008.

Upgraded Raiding Craft For Royal Marines / Marines' Raiding Craft Is Up-Armoured and Up-Gunned

Upgraded Raiding Craft For Royal Marines / Marines' Raiding Craft Is Up-Armoured and Up-Gunned (NSI News Source Info) January 26, 2009: Royal Marines from 539 Assault Squadron put on a display of their latest up-armoured and up-gunned Offshore Raiding Craft in the choppy waters of Plymouth Sound yesterday, Thursday 22 January 2009. Royal Marines demonstrate their new up-armored and up-gunned Offshore Raiding Craft in Plymouth Sound.
The Marines, whose traditional role has always been to maintain law and order on the high seas, put the new mid-console variant of their Raiding Craft, known as the 'racing car' of the amphibious fleet, through its paces at speeds of more than 20 knots.
The Royal Navy has a large amphibious fleet and the Raiding Craft represent the smallest and most manoeuvrable elements of this fleet. Their role is to allow Royal Marines from the fleet to close with the enemy either at sea or on land. With the latest upsurge in piracy this role could not be more pertinent.
But protection is just as important to maritime equipment as it is to equipment used in the land environment, especially when undertaking dangerous engagements such as intercepting potential pirates. And the new craft have been designed following experiences in southern Iraq, when Marines came under attack from local insurgents, with improved armour and more firepower added.
Colour Sergeant Baz Fowler gave his thoughts on the new craft:
"The main difference for me is that there is better all-round visibility from the craft. We now have 360-degree arcs of fire all round, which we can bring down to within a metre of the craft. In a river or sea environment we can produce intimate fire support close in. Modifications have added weight to the craft but the fire support we can now provide is a good trade off." Manufactured by Holyhead Marine in Anglesey, the lightweight air transportable boats are powered by twin Steyr diesel engines linked to Rolls Royce waterjets. They cost around £200,000 each, can be carried by C-130 Hercules aircraft or underslung beneath a Chinook helicopter.
The new craft carry a crew of seven, with two coxswains now situated in the centre. Two gunners are at the front, using twin general purpose machine guns, while there are three more gunners on the stern, two on the guns, one on fire control: "For the two coxswains aboard, the craft gives better protection all round," says Lance Corporal Tom Lockyer.
"And having them further forward has given them better visibility. It will be fantastic when we start using the craft for what they were designed to do."
At the stern the craft carry more general purpose machine guns along with 0.5-inch calibre heavy machine guns or grenade machine guns depending on mission requirements:
"This is a good bit of equipment," says Captain Matt Pinckney. "It is very manoeuvrable and ideal for what we need to do. It moves at 20 knots one minute, and then can stop dead still to allow us to lay down effective fire.
"Royal Marines' landing craft are always at the forefront of military operations in the river environment. Now we have a much greater capability to take the fight to the enemy. The guys can feel very confident of going into these areas to complete the tasks they have been set. "There was a sense of urgency after Operation Telic where there was a huge threat environment and we needed more armour and firepower. Equipment is improving all the time with investment from the Government. Royal Marines are training to go into any situation – we can now go in and do an even better job."
Introduced into service in 2005, the Raiding Craft have proved a success in the squadron's tasks of landing from sea on hostile shores and providing support and reconnaissance to other UK forces in the river environment.
Two of the new fast craft will be debuted on Exercise Taurus in the Far East in February:
"Our initial feedback is that we are certainly heading in the right direction," continues Colour Sergeant Baz Fowler. "The craft and its weapons systems have never been in doubt. It's now a case of putting them all together in operational use."

US Air Force Deploys 24 F-22s To Asia As Decision Nears / Largest Deployment Of F-22s Under Way

US Air Force Deploys 24 F-22s To Asia As Decision Nears / Largest Deployment Of F-22s Under Way
(NSI News Source Info) HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii - January 26, 2009: Twenty-four F-22 Raptors and hundreds of Airmen deployed to the Pacific region for a three-month deployment in support of the Pacific global deterrence mission.
The US Air Force has deployed 24 F-22s to Guam and Japan to demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities. This is an unusual shot of an F-22 fitted with long-range drop tanks.
Twelve F-22s deployed from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, arrived Jan. 18 to Andersen AFB, Guam, and the week prior 12 F-22s from Langley AFB, Va., began arriving at Kadena Air Base, Japan.
The F-22s and Airmen are part of ongoing rotations of forces to ensure security and stability throughout the region. Members of both squadrons will conduct air combat training with Air Force and other U.S. military assets in the region.
F-22s are the Air Force's newest and most advanced fighter, combining stealth, maneuverability, supercruise capability and superior avionics to provide the U.S. with unmatched air dominance.