Saturday, July 04, 2009

DTN News: British Airways Cuts Spending And Delays Airbus Orders Amid Passenger Downturn

DTN News: British Airways Cuts Spending And Delays Airbus Orders Amid Passenger Downturn *Source: DTN News / Telegraph UK By Garry White
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - July 4, 2009: British Airways has cut its spending plans by 20pc and will reduce the number of available seats in its summer schedule as it prepares for a prolonged downturn. Europe's third-largest airline said that it carried 3.8pc fewer passengers in June when compared with last year Photo: PA The company said it now planned to spend £580m in the current year, down from £725m, and maintain spending at this level next year. These cuts in expenditure include delaying orders for 12 new Airbus A380 aircraft for up to two years. The delivery schedule for the first six A380 double-decker aeroplane will be delayed for five months, with the first delivery still due in 2012. The final aircraft is now expected to be delivered in 2016. Europe's third-largest airline said that it carried 3.8pc fewer passengers in June when compared with last year, including a 14.9pc fall in premium traffic, which includes business and first class. Economy traffic fell just 1.3pc over the month. The company's load factor, which is a measure of how full the group's aircraft are, slipped 1.8 percentage points to 79.6pc. The biggest fall in passenger numbers was seen in the Asia Pacific region, where the total number of people carried fell 15pc over the month. In Europe, passenger numbers were down 4.3pc and in the Americas fell 1.3pc. "Market conditions continue to be very challenging with trading at levels well below last year", the airline said in a statement. "However on an underlying basis both premium and non-premium volumes and seat factors have now been stable for more than three months." Shares in British Airways finished up 6.5 at 121.8p.

DTN News: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ~ US-Russia Ties Will Improve If US Halts Missile Defense Plans

DTN News: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ~ US-Russia Ties Will Improve If US Halts Missile Defense Plans
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - July 4, 2009: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says U.S.-Russian relations will move forward if the United States gives up its plans for deploying a missile defense system in Central Europe.
Mr. Putin stressed his country's readiness for effective cooperation. But he said relations will improve if the United States would give up what he termed "its bloc mentality" and halt its approach to expanding military alliances, a clear reference to NATO. His comments in Russia's southern Krasnodar region, came just days before U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart are to open a summit in Moscow.
Thursday, in an interview with the Associated Press, Mr. Obama said Mr. Putin still has a lot of influence in Russia. The U.S. president and said he will tell Mr. Putin that old Cold War approaches to U.S.-Russian relations are outdated.Mr. Putin rejected Mr. Obama's comments saying he always looks to the future.
Earlier Friday, Sergei Prikhodko, a key advisor to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, said the two presidents will sign a framework declaration on arms reductions at the summit.
Prikhodko said the declaration will outline key instructions to negotiators of both countries working on an agreement to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that expires in December. He also expressed hope for agreement on the new treaty either by the end of this year or early in 2010.
The Russian official said the two leaders also will sign an agreement on transit across Russia of U.S. military cargoes to Afghanistan.
President Obama meets with Mr. Medvedev Monday and Mr. Putin Tuesday.

DTN News: India Plans Hot Chilli Grenades

DTN News: India Plans Hot Chilli Grenades
*Source: DTN News / BBC (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - July 4, 2009: Indian defence scientists are planning to put one of the world's hottest chilli powders into hand grenades. They say the devices will be used to control rioters and in counter-insurgency operations. Researchers say the idea is to replace explosives in small hand grenades with a certain variety of red chilli to immobilise people without killing them. The chilli, known as Bhut Jolokia, is said to be 1,000 times hotter than commonly used kitchen chilli. (Indian scientists say the chillis will immobilise but not kill people) Scientists at India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are quoted as saying the potent chilli will be used as a food additive for troops operating in cold conditions. And the powder will also be spread on the fences around army barracks in the hope the strong smell will keep out animals. Other forms of pepper spray are commonly used for crowd control in many parts of the world.

DTN News: Philippine TODAY July 4, 2009 - Philippine Soldiers Are Going South To Eliminate Insurgency

DTN News: Philippine TODAY July 4, 2009 - Philippine Soldiers Are Going South To Eliminate Insurgency
*Sources: DTN News
(NSI News Source Info) MANILA, Philippine - July 4, 2009: Soldiers board a military plane at the Villamor air base in Manila July 3, 2009 as they prepare to deploy in the Basilan, Jolu, Sulu province, to hasten the elimination of insurgency and to crush lawlessness violence in the southern Philippines.
Soldiers put on their gear before boarding a military plane at the Villamor air base in Manila July 3, 2009 as they prepare to deploy in the Basilan, Jolu, Sulu province, to hasten the elimination of insurgency and to crush lawlessness violence in the southern Philippines. Muslim rebels want the Philippine government to halt an offensive in the southern Mindanao region and revive peace talks to end a decades-old conflict that has killed more than 120,000 people, rebel leader Mohaqher Iqbal said on Wednesday.
Muslim rebels want the Philippine government to halt an offensive in the southern Mindanao region and revive peace talks to end a decades-old conflict that has killed more than 120,000 people, rebel leader Mohaqher Iqbal said on Wednesday.

DTN News: US Ready For North Korean Missile ~ Military Commander General Victor Renuart

DTN News: US Ready For North Korean Missile ~ Military Commander General Victor Renuart *Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - July 4, 2009: The United States is ready to intercept any North Korean long-range missile, a top US military commander said Thursday, as Pyongyang further tested international patience with fresh launches. "The nation has a very, very credible ballistic-missile defense capability," the commander of US Northern Command, General Victor Renuart, told The Washington Times. "Our ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California ... give me a capability that if we really are threatened by a long-range ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) that I've got high confidence that I could interdict that flight before it caused huge damage to any US territory." Washington has said it is not ruling out the possibility of a North Korean long-range missile launch toward Hawaii on or around July 4, the US Independence Day, although the Pentagon has expressed doubts about such a scenario. But Renuart, commander of US NORTHCOM and the missile launch-monitoring US-Canada North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), warned "we ought to assume there might be one... and continue to be prepared and ready." This undated handout photo released by the Korean Central News Agency on January 5, 2009 shows a missile-firing drill at an undisclosed location in North Korea. North Korea on July 4, 2009 test-fired two more short-range missiles following similar launches earlier in the week, according to South Korean military sources quoted by Yonhap news agency. His comments came as South Korean military officials said Pyongyang test-fired four short-range missiles Thursday, further fueling tensions sparked by the North's nuclear standoff with the international community. The launches were "not unexpected," said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman. "North Korea is looking for attention," added a US defense official who requested anonymity. It was the first military action by the hardline communist state since the United Nations on June 12 imposed tougher sanctions for its May 25 nuclear test. President Barack Obama had assured in late June that the United States is "fully prepared" for a potential North Korean missile launch toward US territory. In addition to long-range interceptors in Alaska and California, the United States also has ground- and sea-based defense systems in the Asia Pacific, including ground-based Patriot anti-missile defenses in South Korea, and US Navy Aegis system missile-defense ships deployed to waters close to Japan. Thursday's North Korean missile launches came as a US delegation met Chinese officials in Beijing for talks on boosting UN sanctions imposed in June after the Stalinist state's May nuclear test.

DTN News: Signing Peace Agreements With Militants Few Months Earlier, Now Pakistan Army Will Chase Militants Wherever Needed ~ Mehmood Qureshi Says

DTN News: Signing Peace Agreements With Militants Few Months Earlier, Now Pakistan Army Will Chase Militants Wherever Needed ~ Mehmood Qureshi Says *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - July 4, 2009: Pakistan's Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi says that Islamabad will chase terrorists to rid the country of the menace of terrorism.
Talking to reporters on Friday, Qureshi said that military operations will be carried out wherever needed, adding that “we will have to face the terrorists wherever they are and chase them to defeat terrorism”, a Press TV correspondent reported late Friday.
The minister said that a well thought-out strategy was adopted in Malakand and Swat by virtue of which tribal people are supporting the government, while they have formed Lashkars (civil militia) and are asking the miscreants to leave the area.
"That is how the operation will move ahead," he added. He also said that if foreign elements exist in the Waziristan region, they will also be chased.
Meanwhile, the country's Interior Minister Rehman Malik said a Waziristan operation is targeting Tehrik-e-Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud and his accomplices.
Malik said the operation is against the militants and it would continue until the complete elimination of terrorist elements. The Pakistan army says that it had killed over 1,600 militants in a two-month long offensive against the Taliban in the area.

DTN News: Analysis ~ Why Sanctions Aren't Working In Myanmar

DTN News: Analysis ~ Why Sanctions Aren't Working In Myanmar
*Source: DTN News / CNN (Click All) (NSI News Source Info) HONG KONG, China - July 4, 2009: Be it Iran or North Korea, economic sanctions are a well-used weapon in the diplomatic arsenal for dealing with international disputes. But do they work? Workers at TOTAL's project in Burma unload pipe for the 1996 construction of the Yadana pipeline. Consider the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar. Ruled by the military since 1962, the state (formerly known as Burma) has been under sanctions from Western nations for more than a decade. Despite years of tightening economic pressure, military rule in Myanmar continues. "I think sanctions have very little effect on the economy (of Myanmar) because they have very little in the way of international trade," said Sean Turnell, author of Fiery Dragons: Banks Moneylenders and Microfinance in Burma and an economics professor at Macquarie University in Australia. While the U.S., European Union and Australia have banned new investment, non-sanctioning countries are taking advantage of business opportunities in Myanmar, which is rich with natural resources like natural gas, timber, jade and rubies. China, Thailand, India and Singapore already have lucrative deals in place with Myanmar's military government. Neighboring Thailand depends heavily on Myanmar's offshore natural gas and hydroelectric dams to provide power to the Thai population. China has signed a deal to build a natural gas pipeline from the west coast of Myanmar into western China. Thailand buys about 30 percent of its gas from Myanmar and uses gas to generate about two-thirds of its electricity. Despite the American and European sanctions currently in place, U.S.-based Chevron and French-based TOTAL are doing business in Myanmar today because their contracts were signed with Myanmar's military government before international pressure was tightened. The Yadana natural gas project, off the coast of Myanmar, involves three foreign firms: TOTAL, Chevron and the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT). TOTAL has the biggest investment with a 31% stake in the project. TOTAL told CNN it paid $250 million in taxes to the Myanmar government in 2008. Chevron did not respond to repeated phone and email requests for comment on this story, but Chevron's Web site said the company's local community projects benefit the people of Myanmar. Western corporations have faced criticism for doing business in a country run by a government accused of human rights abuses. But these companies go to where the oil and gas lie -- often in unstable regions of the world. "What we provide is a different example of work, of business and what good governance should be about," said Jean-Francois Lassalle, vice president of public affairs for Total. "Our employees have benefits from social pensions, employee representation, holidays and good contracts. We function in Burma the same way we do in Europe. In that sense, we're trying to be an example." The company employs 250 permanent and more than 600 subcontracted workers in Myanmar, Lassalle said. TOTAL provides free medicine and education to the local population, along with funding for hospitals and orphanages. The company estimates its community projects affect 50,000 people in Myanmar. Fact Box
Yadana Project Corporate Partners
(Petroleum Authority of Thailand) 25%
M.O.G.E. (Myanmar state-owned utility) 15%
French-based TOTAL says it paid $250 million in taxes to Myanmar's government in 2008. Taxes are based on the percentage of participation in the joint venture. U.S.-based Chevron did not respond to any of CNN's questions about the venture.
85% of the gas produced from the Yadana project is sold to Thailand. This gas makes up about 20% of Thailand's energy consumption.
SOURCE: CNN research Yet Myanmar remains one of the poorest countries in Asia. According to some estimates, more than 30 percent of the population live under the poverty line. The military regime has suppressed democracy movements for the past several decades. Myanmar's most famous citizen, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi -- whose party won the majority of seats in the 1990 election -- has been kept under house arrest and is currently on trial for alleged violations of her detention. It is another indication of the military's tight grip on power, despite sanctions. Some experts say more should be done to hit the military regime where it hurts: their personal bank accounts. The Myanmar military elite have millions in overseas bank accounts, experts say. Southeast Asia expert Jamie Metzl of the non-profit Asia Society, said freezing personal assets of the military generals was a good idea but cautions it would be an uphill battle. Metzl believes that any such move would need the support of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which includes Thailand -- a major trade partner -- and Singapore. "If sanctions [of freezing personal assets] were put in place and if ASEAN states including Singapore were on board, then conceivably, there could be a way to reach some of those assets, although the generals could move them elsewhere." Metzl noted that ASEAN tends to favor a policy of engagement with Myanmar: In other words, soft diplomacy rather than the harsh bite of economic sanctions. Unless all countries play ball, it is clear that economic sanctions can only do so much.

DTN News: Afghan Army Chief To Visit India To Strengthen Strategic Partnership

DTN News: Afghan Army Chief To Visit India To Strengthen Strategic Partnership
*Source: DTN News / ANI (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - July 4, 2009: Afghan Army Chief General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi will be on a four day official visit to India from July 6 to July 9 in order to build up a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan and to strengthen strategic partnership.
General Bismillah Khan on the left, and former U.S. Army General John Abizaid on the right. - 2005 General Bismillah Khan Mohammadi (or simply Bismillah Khan) is the Chief of Staff of the Afghan National Army since 2002. Before the fall of the Taliban, he was the Northern Alliance's Deputy Minister of Defence, under Ahmad Shah Massoud and later Mohammed Fahim. After the fall of Kabul to the United Front, he was appointed commander of the 2000 man Kabul police force, and a member of the Kabul Security Commission. He is an ethnic Tajik from the Panjshir Valley. General Mohammadi will call upon his Indian counterpart General Deepak Kapoor and visit military installations in Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune during his weeklong visit. He is also likely to visit the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Pune. The academy has trained Afghan cadets in the past. General Mohammadi is also scheduled to pay tribute to the Indian Martyrs at ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’. A cultural visit to Taj Mahal - a symbol for eternal love and peace is also planned. The Afghan Army Chief’s visit is expected to open a new chapter in the military relationship between the two countries, which at present is restricted to humanitarian projects.

DTN News: Japan's Plan For Troops On Yonaguni Island Not Aimed At Taiwan ~ MOFA

DTN News: Japan's Plan For Troops On Yonaguni Island Not Aimed At Taiwan ~ MOFA *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) TAIPEI, Taiwan - July 4, 2009: The plan of Japan's Defense ministry to encamp troops on a controversial island was not targeted at Taiwan, said an official from Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday. The ministry's affiliated Association for East Asian Relations Secretary-General Peter Tsai said that since Yonaguni Island is a part of Japan's territory, other countries have no right to interfere with the decision. The move is not directed against Taiwan because Taiwan and Japan have amicable relations all the time, said Tsai. Yonaguni Island is 110 km from Taiwan's eastern county of Hualien. With 1600 inhabitants, the Japanese island is also 170 km away from the Diaoyutai Islands, of which the sovereignty is claimed by Taiwan, Japan, and China. The plan of encampment is listed in the "National Defense Program Guidelines" set to be published by the end of year, said Japan's defense ministry. Tsai also denied speculation that the encampment aimed to assert sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands, saying the islands are far from each other. The Fisheries Agency under the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture also said in a statement yesterday that the troop stationing is not connected to fishing protection because few fishing disputes happened near the Yonaguni Island, one of the important fishing grounds for Taiwanese fishermen, following a temporary enforcement line drawn in 2004. In recent years, fishing disputes between Taiwan and Japan have still occurred around the Diaoyutai Islands over issues of unresolved sovereignty.

DTN News: U.S. Soldier May Be Held By Taliban, Military Fears

DTN News: U.S. Soldier May Be Held By Taliban, Military Fears
*Source: DTN News / New York Times By Richard A Oppel Jr. Published: July 2, 2009 (NSI News Source Info) KANDAHAR/KABUL, Afghanistan - July 4, 2009: A young American soldier who walked off his remote combat outpost in a volatile region of eastern Afghanistan has been captured and is believed to be in the hands of the Taliban network led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, American military officials said Thursday. American and Afghan forces fanned out in eastern Afghanistan to shut down routes the kidnappers could use to transport the soldier, officials said. A senior American defense official said that there had been no direct negotiations with the kidnappers but that American forces were reaching out to tribal leaders and local government officials for help. It was not clear when the soldier left the base. One official said other soldiers reported that he was missing at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, while another said that his absence was discovered during a morning formation on that day. Military officials contacted by The New York Times said they did not believe that writing about the kidnapping would increase the danger to the soldier, including any of the details published in this article. At the military’s request, The Times agreed that it would withhold publishing the soldier’s name if reporters learned it. The Times, along with other news organizations, withheld news of the kidnapping of one of its reporters, David Rohde, and two Afghan colleagues, out of concern that publicity in that case would endanger them. The military is in touch with “people on the ground who understand who the power brokers are to help us through this,” the senior defense official said. The military believes that the region where the soldier is being held “is pretty boxed in, with not a lot of room to maneuver” for the captors, he said, and that the goal is to prevent the kidnappers from moving him. “We have no doubt he is in Taliban hands,” he said. The official was unaware of any ransom or other demands made by the kidnappers. It is believed to be the first time in more than two years that an American service member has been reported missing or has been captured in either Iraq or Afghanistan. An Afghan police commander, Gen. Nabi Mullahkhiel, said the soldier was missing from a small base in Paktika Province, a rugged region on the Pakistani border where the Haqqani network is powerful. The location could not be confirmed, and American officials declined to identify the location of the soldier’s base, other than to say it was a small outpost in eastern Afghanistan. They also declined to identify the soldier by name, but they said that his family had been notified. One military official described the soldier as a private first class who walked off the base voluntarily for reasons that were unclear. The soldier left his weapon behind, said the official, adding that it was not clear whether he left wearing his military uniform. “We don’t know if he was taken by locals and sold, or if the bad guys got him immediately,” the official said. He also emphasized that “no stone will be left unturned in the efforts for his safe recovery.” A spokeswoman for the United States military command in Kabul, Capt. Elizabeth Mathias, declined to provide other details of the soldier’s capture, except to confirm that the soldier was based in eastern Afghanistan and that his kidnapping was unrelated to the military operation in Helmand Province in southwestern Afghanistan. “A U.S. soldier missing since June 30 from his assigned unit is now believed to have been captured by militant forces,” Captain Mathias said. “We are exhausting all available resources to ascertain his whereabouts and provide for his safe return.” Some reports indicated that a previously unknown Taliban commander had claimed responsibility for capturing the soldier in Paktika. But a well-known Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, said: “I can’t comment on anything about the American soldier for now, as we don’t know yet. It is not confirmed whether the Taliban have got that U.S. soldier or not.” Muhibullah Habib contributed reporting from Kandahar, Afghanistan, and Abdul Waheed Wafa from Kabul.

DTN News: Deadly Military Crash In Pakistan

DTN News: Deadly Military Crash In Pakistan *Source: DTN News / BBC
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - July 4, 2009: Up to 26 Pakistani security personnel are feared dead after an army transport helicopter crashed in the tribal region of Orakzai, military officials say. Maj Gen Athar Abbas told the BBC the helicopter crashed on the border of the Khyber and Orakzai tribal region. The cause of the crash is unclear, although officials said the most likely explanation was a technical failure. The crash comes as a suspected US drone strike in South Waziristan killed at least 10 militants, officials said. The BBC's Mike Wooldridge in Islamabad says it is understood the MI-17 helicopter had been flying back to Peshawar from the Afghan border region when the pilot put out a Mayday alert. The helicopter then came down "in a hostile area" where it was fired upon by militants, according to officials. Troops were sent in and exchanged fire with the insurgents. Military officials said that an investigation into the crash would be carried out. But our correspondent says it is a serious blow for the Pakistani military as it prepares for the next phase of its offensive against Taliban militants in the north-west tribal belt along the Afghan border. In the latest fighting, military jets are reported to have attacked suspected Taliban positions in South and North Waziristan. Unnamed intelligence officials said the drone attack in South Waziristan had targeted a militant training facility. The region - on the Afghan border - is controlled by Pakistan's most senior Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

DTN News: Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft Continues To Soar With Successful Overseas Operations Support, Next-Generation Payload.....

DTN News: Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft Continues To Soar With Successful Overseas Operations Support, Next-Generation Payload Flight Testing
*Source: DTN News / Northrop Grumman Corporation (NSI News Source Info) SAN DIEGO - July 4, 2009: The combat-proven RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS), built by Northrop Grumman Corporation, continues to prove its mettle by exceeding more than 31,000 cumulative flight hours for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. More than 76 percent of these flight hours were flown in support of overseas contingency operations (OCO) efforts. "Global Hawk has been a tremendous asset in OCO support, flying more than 1,100 missions in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom," said Steve Amburgey, Global Hawk program director for the 303d Aeronautical Systems Group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. "With four aircraft now surging overseas at 97 percent mission effectiveness, the highest of any deployed system, the Global Hawk has consistently demonstrated its resiliency and capabilities." This milestone comes on the heels of several recent successes, including the Global Hawk's 2,000th mission, deployment of the first Navy aircraft for the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstration (BAMS-D) program, the first series of flight tests for its Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP) on the Block 30 configuration, and completion of initial testing of the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) sensor for the Block 40 aircraft. "Ever since its first OCO deployment in 2001, Global Hawk has provided persistent surveillance -- an unblinking eye -- over and from any place on the planet," said George Guerra, Northrop Grumman vice president of high altitude long endurance (HALE) systems. "These recent achievements are a testament to the robustness of the system, as well as the excellent partnership we have with our customers to ensure our technology is meeting the mark." Able to simultaneously detect, identify and locate electronic and communications signals as well as special signals, the ASIP sensor will also be used onboard the Global Hawk's manned counterpart, the U-2. ASIP testing is scheduled for completion later this year. The MP-RTIP tests verified system performance of the Synthetic Aperture Radar and Ground Moving Target Indicator dedicated modes as part of the Radar System Level Performance Verification program. The first Block 40 aircraft, AF-18, has been assembled and awaiting flight testing by the Air Force. To date, the Global Hawk program has been on cost and on schedule for three straight years. All nine of the Block 10 configurations have been completed and delivered, seven for the Air Force and two for the Navy's BAMS-D program. All of the six Block 20s have been delivered and the rest of the fleet are in various stages of production and flight testing, including 17 Block 30s and one Block 40. "Global Hawk, which can fly three times as long and operates at more than half the cost per flight hour than its manned counterpart, is the best value system for our warfighters," said Guerra. "Compared to other similar UAS, it only takes a single Global Hawk to collect the same information as 18 smaller medium-altitude unmanned systems." Costing approximately $30 million each, without the applicable sensor package, 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. The Global Hawk is the world's first fully autonomous HALE UAS, collecting persistent ground surveillance data over a wide area for both military intelligence analysis and warfighters' battle management and targeting. Global Hawk can fly at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for more than 32 hours, providing surveillance day or night, regardless of weather conditions. Global Hawks are currently flown in four locations across the globe: Beale Air Force Base, home of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing and the RQ-4's main operating base, in Northern California; Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California; Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland; and in support of the OCO efforts. Northrop Grumman's principal Global Hawk teammates include: 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. (integrated sensor suite and 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: Malta Happy With Patrol Boat Construction

DTN News: Malta Happy With Patrol Boat Construction
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) VALLETTA, Malta - July 4, 2009: The construction of four patrol boats for the Armed Forces of Malta is well on schedule and they should be delivered in six months. The AFM signed a contract with Austal Ships, a world leading manufacturer, following an international call for tenders, which included training sailors and engineers. This was the shipbuilder's first defence contract in Europe. One the four patrol boats being built for the Armed Forces of Malta in Western Australia. Photo: Austal Ships The patrol boats, being constructed in Western Australia, are more than 20 metres long and reach a maximum speed of 26 knots. Lieutenant Colonel Martin Sammut, the project's team leader, said the excellent relationship established with the shipbuilder promised the delivery of the best product in line with the agreed requirements. The patrol boats are equipped with better communication and surveillance equipment when compared to the type installed in the vessels now in use by the armed forces. The boats include a rigid hull inflatable boat stowed and launched off a ramp on the main deck. The squadron maintains the integration of the islands' territorial waters, combats drug trafficking, conducts illegal immigration and illegal fishing operations and operates a search and rescue service. In all, the boats cost €9.6 million, but the government will only be forking out 25 per cent of the cost, the rest coming from the EU's External Borders Fund.

DTN News: RAF Receive New Hawk Training Aircraft

DTN News: RAF Receive New Hawk Training Aircraft *Source: DTN News / RAF Bulletin
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - July 4, 2009: The first of the RAF's £450m fleet of 28 new Advanced Jet Trainers, the Hawk T Mk2, arrived at RAF Valley in Anglesey, Thursday 2 July 2009.
The new Hawk Ts will mean pilots can now train on an aircraft with systems closely compatible with the latest front line jets. The BAE Systems Hawk is a British single engine, advanced jet trainer aircraft. It first flew in 1974 as the Hawker Siddeley Hawk. The Hawk is used by the Royal Air Force, and other air forces, as either a trainer or a low-cost combat aircraft. The Hawk is still in production with over 900 Hawks sold to 18 customers around the world. The new aircraft builds on the success of its long-serving predecessor, but benefits from significant enhancement to bridge any gap with the latest front line jets entering service, such as the Typhoon. Featuring a 'glass' cockpit and the latest advances in radar, weapons and defensive aids simulation, the Hawk T Mk2 is aimed at providing a seamless transition from flying training to operational squadron. Welcoming the arrival of the first jets at RAF Valley in Wales, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Quentin Davies said: "Delivery of these aircraft is excellent news for the Royal Air Force and for British industry. Building on the success of the Hawk T Mk1, they will enable our pilots to hone the skills required to fly the latest generation of combat aircraft in a state-of-the-art training environment." In addition to the realistic in-flight training environment, the new Hawk benefits from simpler design and construction, leading to lower acquisition and support costs. Infrastructure to support the new training regime is currently under construction at RAF Valley by the Ascent Flight Services Consortium, which was awarded the £600m contract to deliver all military pilot training on an incremental basis last summer. Air Vice Marshal Baz North, Air Officer Commanding 22 Group, responsible for all RAF training, sang the praises of the aircraft: "The Hawk has long been the backbone of fast jet training but this new advanced version will be far more representative of the new generation of jets that our trainee pilots will go on to fly on operations. It will provide real benefits in enabling pilots to move more rapidly to full combat readiness." Initial deliveries of ten aircraft following formal 'release to service' in April will allow six to be used for development of the full training syllabus, prior to the start of pilot training on the new aircraft in 2011. 'Release to service' is a statement that the aircraft is signed off by the RAF as safe to be flown (within specific limitations) by qualified Armed Forces personnel. The 'in service date' is the point in time from which the aircraft will be used for a stated purpose and is set for later this year. The new aircraft are built at the BAE Systems plant at Brough on North Humberside, which employs around 1,800 people. They are then flown to Warton in Lancashire for painting and flight testing prior to delivery to RAF Valley.

DTN News: Alenia Rolls Out First Modernized G.222 For Afghanistan

DTN News: Alenia Rolls Out First Modernized G.222 For Afghanistan *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - July 4, 2009: Alenia Aeronautica held a ceremony at its Capodichino (Naples) location for the roll-out of the first G.222 aircraft, ordered by the United States Air Force (USAF), to be restored to airworthiness, and modernized with new systems and avionics. Afghanistan ~ Eighteen G.222 aircrafts to be donated by the US from the Italian Air Force inventory. Deliveries to begin in September 2009 In September 2008, Alenia North America (a company wholly owned by Alenia Aeronautica) was awarded a contract by the U.S. Air Force, valued at $287 million, to provide 18 refurbished G.222 tactical transport aircraft that will be transferred by the Combined Security Transition Command in Kabul to the reconstructed Afghan Air Force, the Afghan National Army Air Corps (ANAAC). The first flight of the upgraded G.222 aircraft is anticipated for the end of next month and delivery of the aircraft will begin in September 2009. The 18 G.222, which include two versions configured for VIP transport, belong to different production groups that range from 1977 to 1985 and meet different production standards. All of the aircraft will be modernized with the configuration of systems and avionics, new autopilot systems and ballistic protection, in addition to necessary maintenance, modifications and modernization. Giovanni Bertolone, CEO of Alenia Aeronautica, commented, “This day represents a significant stage in the sphere of a very important contract signed by Alenia North America, as prime contractor, with the American Government in September 2008; confirming the continued vitality of the program, after years of operating service with the Italian Air Force (AMI). The capacity of tactical transport, the operational validity and the superior qualification of the aircraft to complete complex missions, for which it was designed, have been further exalted by the C-27J program, the actual leader in the market segment. The Afghan G.222 will be required to operate in difficult scenarios, in conditions of extreme altitude and temperature.” Giuseppe Giordo, CEO of Alenia North America said, “Alenia Aeronautica, with Alenia North America and Finmeccanica, has demonstrated again that it can offer products to the United States that meet the rigid and specific requirements outlined by the American Government, always on time and on budget in accordance with the requirements of the client. These 18 G.222 aircraft will give the reconstructed Afghan Air Force a great advantage in terms of the security and the stability of the region.” The G.222, in service until 2005 with the Italian Air Force (AMI) and used also by the United States Air Force in the 1990s under the name C-27A, is a twin-engine, tactical transport, turboprop aircraft. Developed as a true military airlifter, the G.222 is dependable, robust, and capable of taking off in almost any operating condition, even from short and unprepared airstrips. The G.222 is still in operation with a large number of air forces around the world, including: the Nigerian Air Force, the Royal Thai Air Force, the Ejercito Argentino, the U.S. State Department, and the Italian Air Force (version VS, electronic warfare); thanks also to the efficiency of the logistical support provided by Alenia Aeronautica. Alenia North America is a subsidiary of Alenia Aeronautica and part of the Finmeccanica Group. Its mission is to further expand the industrial and commercial presence of the Alenia Group in North America. Alenia North America Inc. is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with offices in Seattle, Washington; Long Beach, California; Fort Worth, Texas; and Smyrna, Georgia. Alenia North America - Canada, a subsidiary wholly owned by Alenia North America, has offices in Ottawa, Canada. Alenia North America is also a shareholder in several joint venture companies located in the United States. Global Aeronautica, a joint venture with The Boeing Company, located in North Charleston, South Carolina, performs significant integration and sub-assembly work for the Boeing 787 program. Global Military Aircraft Systems (GMAS), a joint venture with L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, is a center of excellence to support the C-27J in North America. GMAS is headquartered in Madison, Mississippi. Alenia North America has recently announced its intent to establish a new final assembly and production facility for the C-27J in Jacksonville, Florida. The C-27J is the world leader in the twin engine military tactical aircraft market with 121 units sold worldwide.

DTN News: U.S. Forces Enter Taliban Strongholds in Afghanistan

DTN News: U.S. Forces Enter Taliban Strongholds in Afghanistan
*Source: DTN News / AP (NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - July 4, 2009: U.S. Marines moved into Taliban territory in southern Afghanistan on Friday to win over local leaders and populations, and so far have met little resistance from the Taliban, according to a military spokesman. U.S. Marines from the 2nd MEB, 1st Battalion 5th Marines walk carrying their weapons, ammunition, food, and water for a second day as they make their way through the Nawa district in Afghanistan's Helmand province Friday, July 3, 2009. One Marine was killed and several others injured or wounded on Thursday, after 4,000 Marines flooded into the opium-producing province of Helmand, in the largest military operation since the U.S.-led ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001, reported the Associated Press. Military spokesman Capt. Bill Pelletier said so far, there has been little resistance from the Taliban. The main goal of the operation is not just to kill Taliban fighters, he said, but to win over the local population. Afghan National Army soldiers search a compound during a joint patrol with U.S. Marines from the 2nd MEB, 1st Battalion 5th Marines in a village in the Nawa district in Afghanistan's Helmand province Friday July 3, 2009. "We are not worried about the Taliban, we are not focused on them. We are focused on the people," said Pelletier, according to the AP. "It is important to engage with the key leaders, hear what they need most and what are their priorities." As the operation entered its second day, the units secured control of the district centers of Nawa and Garmser, and negotiated entry into Khan Neshin, the capital of Rig district, said Pelletier. "They waited for the local and village elders," outside Khan Neshin and "with their permission they went in and now are engaged in talks," he said, quoted the AP. U.S. Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, 1st Battalion 5th Marines sit with Afghani residents of the village of Noghara in the Nawa district in Afghanistan's Helmand province Friday July 3, 2009. U.S. forces have encountered little resistance in the initial phase of a massive operation by some 4,000 Marines in Taliban-controlled areas of southern Afghanistan, but that's a common tactic by insurgents. In addition, hundreds of British troops have key seized canal crossings in a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan, military officials said on Friday. Taking ground from the Taliban in Afghanistan has always proved easy, but keeping it and ensuring the government's presence has been the hard part. The military challenges are compounded by the fact that the area is the world's largest producer of opium, and drug profits feed the insurgency and corrupt government officials. Afghanistan accounts for more than 90 percent of the world's production of opium, and Helmand alone is responsible for about half that amount, according to the AP. The Pentagon is deploying 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in time for the elections in August and expects the total number of U.S. forces there to reach 68,000 by the end of the year.

DTN News: Turkey Signed Contract For Six U-214 Class Submarines With German Consortium HDW

DTN News: Turkey Signed Contract For Six U-214 Class Submarines With German Consortium HDW
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ANKARA, Turkey - July 4, 2009: The Turkish government sealed July 2 a $3.5 billion contract with a German consortium for the co-production of six U-214-class submarines. The Turkish Navy had commenced negotiations with HDW for the co-production of six Type 214 class air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarines. According Undersecretariat for Defence Industries of the Turkish Government these submarines will be "co-produced" with "maximum local content at Gölcük Naval Shipyard" in Kocaeli, Turkey. On the 2nd of July 2009, HDW and the Turkish Ministry of Defence entered into an agreement for the co-production of 6 platforms. The agreement was the largest defence acquisition project in Turkey at the time after the firm order for 116 F-36 fighters at a cost of in excess of $10 billion. Ankara hopes that it's advanced, locally produced and highly modified Type 214 submarines will enter into service by 2015. Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul has also stated that "Turkish industrial participation in the project would be worth around 80% of the total value of the deal". As the Turkish Type 214 will have a significant amount of Turkish indigenous systems on board, this variant of the Type 214 will be known as the Type 214TN (Turkish Navy). HDW will preassemble structural and mechanical parts of the submarine in Germany, or classified elements such as the fuel cells and propulsion system and will then ship them to Turkey. All electronic and weapon systems (including the C4I system) will be of Turkish design and production. Last summer, Turkey's Navy had moved to stick to its German traditions, with the NATO ally selecting a consortium led by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) over French and Spanish rivals for a 2.5 billion euro contract for joint production of six modern U-214-class submarines. The consortium's other members are TKMS and MFI. A high-profile event was held in Ankara for the signing ceremony, including Thomas Kossendey, German federal deputy defense minister; Ambassador to Ankara Eckart Kuntz; the Federal Navy commander, Vice Adm. Wolfgang Nolting; Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul; chief procurement officer Murad Bayar; and the Turkish Navy commander, Adm. Metin Atac. The Kiel-based HDW, a Thyssen Krupp unit, had come first in an international competition for the Turkish submarine contract, but disputes over price and local content recently marred contract negotiations. In recent months, Ankara and HDW were negotiating how to integrate certain Turkish systems into the submarines, and the potential effect of that on price. Under the Turkish modern submarine program, the non-nuclear vessels will be built at the military-owned Golcuk Shipyard. The submarine program will form Turkey's largest defense modernization project after a planned $11 billion deal to buy 100 next generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force. Ankara hopes the new U-214 submarines would enter service in 2015. This is two years later than the original schedule drawn up when the program was launched a few years ago. Defense officials said that Turkey's local defense industry would make a "considerably high contribution" to the submarine program and that the indigenous industry would obtain "good know-how."