Tuesday, July 14, 2009

DTN News: Pentagon War Costs Pass $888 Billion

DTN News: Pentagon War Costs Pass $888 Billion
*Source: DTN News / Government Accountability Office ~ issued July 10, 2009
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - July 14, 2009: Since 2001, Congress has provided the Department of Defense (DOD) with $888 billion in supplemental and annual appropriations, as of June 2009, primarily for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).
DOD’s reported annual obligations for OCO have shown a steady increase from about $0.2 billion in fiscal year 2001 to about $162.4 billion in fiscal year 2008.
For fiscal year 2009 OCO, Congress provided DOD with about $65.9 billion in the fiscal year 2009 DOD Appropriations Act and about $80.0 billion in a supplemental appropriation enacted in June 2009. A total of $59.6 billion has been obligated through the second quarter of fiscal year 2009 through March 2009.
The United States’ commitments to OCO will likely involve the continued investment of significant resources, requiring decision makers to consider difficult trade-offs as the nation faces an increasing long-range fiscal challenge.
The magnitude of future costs will depend on several direct and indirect cost variables and, in some cases, decisions that have not yet been made. DOD’s future costs will likely be affected by the pace and duration of operations, the types of facilities needed to support troops overseas, redeployment plans, and the amount of equipment to be repaired or replaced. DOD compiles and reports monthly and cumulative incremental obligations incurred to support OCO in a monthly report commonly called the Contingency Operations Status of Funds Report.
DOD leadership uses this report, along with other information, to advise Congress on the costs of the war and to formulate future OCO budget requests.
Click here for the full report (13 pages in PDF format) on the GAO website.

DTN News: Kuwait Requests F-18 Support Services

DTN News: Kuwait Requests F-18 Support Services
*Source: DTN News / Defense Security Cooperation Agency ~ dated July 7, web-posted July 14, 2009
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - July 14, 2009: On July 6, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale to the Government of Kuwait of continuing logistics support, contractor maintenance, and technical services in support of F/A-18 aircraft worth an estimated $95 million.
The Kuwait Air Force (Al Quwwat Aj Jawwaiya Al Kuwaitiya) has 39 F/A-18C and F/A-18D Hornets as of 2008. These aircraft were pre-ordered before the Iraqi invasion of August 1990. Delivery of the fighters started on 8 October 1991. The F/A-18C/Ds replaced A-4KU Skyhawk.
The Government of Kuwait has requested a possible sale of continuing logistics support, contractor maintenance, and technical services in support of F/A-18 aircraft to include contractor engineering technical services, contractor maintenance support, avionics software, engine component improvement and spare parts, technical ground support equipment, spare and repair parts, supply support, publications and technical data, engineering change proposals, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services and other related elements of program support.
The estimated cost is $95 million.
This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.
The Government of Kuwait needs this logistics support, contractor maintenance, and technical services to maintain the operational capabilities of its aircraft.
The contractor maintenance and training technical services will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The principal contractors will be The Boeing Company in St. Louis, Missouri; and General Dynamics in Fairfax, Virginia. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Kuwait.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law. It does not mean that the sale has been concluded.

DTN News: First Russian-Built An-148 Readies For First Flight

DTN News: First Russian-Built An-148 Readies For First Flight *Source: DTN News / United Aircraft Corp. Russia ~ issued July 10, 2009 (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - July 14, 2009: The first Russian-made Antonov-148 regional jet was towed from the assembly shop of the Voronezh plant (VASO) to the maker’s flight-test station. The An-148-100 regional aircraft is the main model of the An-148. It seats 70 passengers at 34 in pitch (864 mm) or up to 80 passengers at 762 mm (30 in) pitch in a one class 2+3 seating layout. The aircraft is also configurable in a multiple-class layout which can carry fewer passengers, typically with 4 abreast business class.
Before being pulled out, the aircraft underwent a weight check. It confirmed that the airplane’s empty weight, close to 21 tons, lies within the technical specification. Now, the aircraft, designation number RA-61701, is being prepared for its maiden flight.
Meanwhile, VASO continues work on final assembly of two more An-148-100Bs out of the initial production batch of six airframes, all intended for the type’s launch customer, GTK Rossiya, Russian acronym for State Transport Company “Russia”. The airline placed a firm order for six An-148-100Bs with Ilyushin Finance leasing company at MAKS’2007. These feature passenger cabin of two classes seating 68 passengers. The airline is negotiating to firm up its option for further six aircraft, of which at least two shall come in VIP version, for Russian government officials.
The United Aircraft Corporation believes that, with VASO mastering production of the An-148 and Sukhoi that of Superjet 100, the Russian civil aircraft manufacturing industry has attained a world-class level, with both models of the large regional jets having been designed from scratch on computer screens and intended for profitable operations in service with domestic and foreign airlines.

DTN News: US Army Fields New Grenade Launcher

DTN News: US Army Fields New Grenade Launcher
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) FORT BRAGG, N.C. - July 14, 2009: The barrels were hot in the Army's charter fielding of the new M-320 grenade launcher at Range 23 here, as paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division fired the weapons for the first time.
A soldier test-fires the M320 Grenade launcher. The M320 operates in double action mode, with an ambidextrous safety. In case of misfire, the M320 operator merely has to pull the trigger again. The M203 used a single action mode which was cocked as the breech was closed. The M203 operator has to cycle the breech to re-cock the firing pin, then pull the trigger again.
Paratroopers of soon-to-deploy 1st Brigade Combat Team received familiarization training on the shorter-but-heavier advanced grenade launcher from a half-dozen civilian and Army trainers. Staff Sgt.
Robert Eaton, a squad leader with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and was involved with clearing virtually every village and town from the Kuwaiti Border to Baghdad. He used the Vietnam-era M-203 grenade launcher in combat and said he was impressed with its successor.
"I wanted to find out how quickly I could fire the M-320, get behind cover, reload, re-acquire a target at a different distance, and then engage," said Eaton. "I fired three shots in just under 30 seconds," he said, well pleased.
"In Iraq, I found the M-203 to be pretty accurate, but it was more of a weapon of intimidation," said Eaton. "If you are getting shot at from a building, you put a round through two windows to the left. It might not kill him, but it's definitely going to get him to put his head down.
Now with the 320, you'd probably put the round within killing range, and a lot quicker," he said. "The principles are still the same as with the M-203. It's just more accurate and faster to get your rounds on the target," said Eaton. For Bob Phung, Army civilian and project engineer for Product Management Individual Weapons in Picatinny, N.J., the training was the fruition of a journey that began in 2006 when his office received the product requirements from combat development at Fort Benning, Ga.
The result was a weapon that is more accurate at night than day, thanks to a laser rangefinder and infrared laser pointer; a weapon that is more versatile, with its ability to mount on an assault rifle or be fired as a standalone; and a weapon that is safer, due to its double-action trigger.
A side-opening breach also allows quicker reloading and the use of larger rounds, said Phung. "Even though the barrel is over three inches shorter, the shot group is tighter than on the M-203," said Phung.
On Range 23, Staff Sgt. Joseph Foti repeatedly assured paratroopers, "This stuff works. Trust it." A trainer from Fort Benning's 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, he and fellow trainer, Staff Sgt.
Raymond Miller stressed to paratroopers that they use the weapon in the manner in which it was designed to be used. "Many times, guys get new equipment, and they second-guess it," said Foti. "But the engineers who developed this weapon have already removed the guesswork," he said.
The day-and-night sight is a new take on an old piece of equipment that many Soldiers have found problematic in the past, said Miller. The original sight was bulky and prone to mechanical issues, he said. "The new sight has been through full-fledged operational tests," said Miller. "Its issues have been identified and resolved, and now it's a good piece of kit."
Both trainers have used the M-320's predecessor in combat and see practical advantages to the new grenade launcher's modularity. "A Soldier doing cordon-and-search is going to be doing a lot of room clearing," said Miller. "He can remove the M-320 so that he can lift his primary weapon quickly without all that weight."
The M320, like the M203, can be used in two ways. It can be attached to the M16 assault rifle and the M4 Carbine, attaching under the barrel forward of the magazine, or it can be used dismounted with a stock attached as a stand alone model.
"And at the end of the day," said Foti, "he can marry the weapons back up and use it in a defensive posture, taking really-good range sketches. That way, the squad leader, platoon sergeant and company commander understand that, if they have dead space out there, they have an M-320 that will fill that dead space with a guy that is accurate and proficient with it." The M-320 mounts to an M-4 in less than five minutes, said Miller.

DTN News: Russia's Su-30 Fighter To Become World’s Most Exported Jet

DTN News: Russia's Su-30 Fighter To Become World’s Most Exported Jet *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - July 14, 2009: India announced its plans to double the purchase of Russia’s Su-30MKI fighter jets. If the plans become real, Russia will set a new record selling the largest quality of fourth-generation aircraft to a foreign customer. The deal will considerably improve the reputation of Russia’s renowned jet, although it does have significant competitors from the fifth generation. India may considerably enlarge its fleet of Russian-made Su-30MKI by 2015 – to 230 planes, news agencies reported with reference to India’s Defense Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony. The official said that India had purchased 98 of such fighter jets from Russia since 1996. The quantity of warplanes, which Indian Air Force plans to purchase from Russia during the forthcoming years, is equal to the quantity, which the nation has already ordered within the framework of current agreements. In 2010, India will most likely have the fleet of 100 Russian fighters. The deal to purchase 120 jets from Russia will cost India about $12 billion. Therefore, Su-30MKI may become the most common fourth-generation aircraft that has ever been exported in the world. India considers acquiring USA’s F/A-18E/F as its frontline fighter, but the nation sees no alternative to Russia’s heavy interceptor jet for the time being. The analogue for Russia’s Sukhoi Su-30 is USA’s F-15 Eagle. The latter exists in three versions: F-15I – for Israel, F-15K – for South Korea and F-15J – for Japan. These planes differ from the point of view of their equipment and capacities. For example, Japan’s warplanes are optimized for intercepting air targets, whereas F-15I are universal jets, just like F-15E Strike Eagle, on the basis of which they were made. Russia’s Su-30 range develops similarly. Su-30MKK, designed for South Korea, are long-range interceptors, whereas the jets, which Russia designs for Malaysia , can work with ground targets. The flexibility of the Su-30 platform makes the jet Russia’s basic export warplane. Many experts believe that the new and expensive designs of fifth-generation aircraft will not oust 4+ and 4++ generations – Russia’s Su-30 and Su-35. The capacity of the fifth-generation aircraft is excessive for many types of battle missions. The fourth-generation aircraft can be much more preferable at this point. A computer modeling of an air fight between USA’s F-35 and Russia’s Su-30, which was conducted last year in Australia, showed that the state-of-the-art American fighter took advantage of the Russian jet in four of ten cases. US officials originally said that their plane would prove to be entirely predominant.

DTN News: AirAsia To Hold Back On Eight Aircraft Each In 2010 And 2011

DTN News: AirAsia To Hold Back On Eight Aircraft Each In 2010 And 2011 *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - July 14, 2009: AirAsia Bhd plans to defer taking delivery of eight Airbus A320 aircraft for 2010 and may opt to do the same for another eight aircraft the following year, said its group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes. “We are negotiating with Airbus SAS to push the orders to the back end. Our focus next year is to consolidate our aircraft type to all A320s and return the 13 B737 that we have leased from GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS),” he told StarBiz in an interview. Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes ... ‘we are negotiating with Airbus SAS to push the orders to the back end.’ AirAsia became the largest customer of the Airbus A320-200 in December 2007 after it placed a firm order for a total of 175 aircraft, with an option for 50 more. Deliveries are expected to run until 2014. For 2010 and 2011, the airline is slated to take delivery of 24 aircraft each year. As at end-June, the budget airline had 61 aircraft of which 48 are for its Malaysian operations, and the rest for Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia. Besides that, it also has a fleet of 16 B737, of which three are its own and 13 leased from GECAS. With the deferment, AirAsia is expected to push most of it new aircraft to its associates in Indonesia and Thailand, leaving very few new aircraft for its Malaysian operations, thus limiting its growth potential going forward although the two units will be able to expand more aggressively. “Deferring the delivery of these aircraft is an opportunity lost to AirAsia as it would mean forgoing an attractive 12-year aircraft financing package which is close to LIBOR (rates) negotiated just prior to the economic crisis. (But issues arising from) the uncertainty of the new LCCT to be completed by July 2011 far outweighs the opportunity lost in this attractive financing (package),’’ said Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, the deputy CEO of AirAsia. Fernandes denied that the plan to defer aircraft deliveries had to do with raising funds for the purchase of the aircraft, saying “the funding for this and next year is in order.’’ In February this year, AirAsia mandated Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays PLC, to finance 15 of its new Airbus A320. “We are in negotiations with the supplier for all aircraft to have minimal or zero cash outlay and that will not put a strain on our cash. An AirAsia aircraft is being pulled at Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s low-cost carrier terminal in Sepang. With the deferment, AirAsia is expected to push most of its new aircraft to its associated in Indonesia and Thailand. “We are not delaying the deliveries because of cashflow, we need the planes for our operations but there is an infrastructure risk out there that we cannot afford to take,’’ Fernandes said. All airlines had been hurt by the economic crisis, Fernandes pointed out, but “our cashflow is very healthy. In fact, we are working towards having RM1bil cashflow by the first quarter of 2011.’’ AirAsia had RM224mil cash and RM6.93bil debts in its books at the end of March 31, most of it for aircraft financing. But for this year, Fernandes said “there will be no delays in taking the aircraft deliveries.’’ AirAsia has taken delivery of five of 14 aircraft scheduled for this year. AirAsia has been expanding routes and frequencies when many airlines globally are cutting back, with the budget carrier aiming to expand to places like India, Middle East and North America. “Expansion is necessary but we will never stretch ourselves. Imagine this, if we were to slow down we could have been crushed by our competitors from Singapore. We believe in growing but in a sensible manner,’’ Fernandes said. AirAsia was only one of a handful of airlines to post a profit in the first quarter. AirAsia’s earnings in its March quarter rose 26% to RM203.2mil from a year earlier due to higher passenger numbers from additional routes.

DTN News: Nacil Raises $1 billion From JPMorgan

DTN News: Nacil Raises $1 billion From JPMorgan
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) MUMBAI, India - July 14, 2009: State-run National Aviation Co. of India Ltd, or Nacil, the operator of Air India, is raising about $1 billion (around Rs4,870 crore) in the form of an 11-year loan from US bank JPMorgan Chase and Co. to fund a part of its ambitious fleet expansion exercise.
Air India flies a large fleet including several widebody aircraft types, including the Boeing 777, which is the airline's latest widebody type acquisition. The airline also flies the Airbus A300, A310 and A330-300, and several versions of the Boeing 747 plus a single Boeing 767. It has also ordered the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Air India is the result of a merger between the former international airline Air India and the domestic carrier Indian Airlines. Air India ordered the Boeing 777-200ER and the 777-300ER. The photograph shows a 777-300ER approaching London Heathrow Airport.
The loan, guaranteed by the US Export-Import Bank (US Ex-Im Bank), according to two bankers familiar with the transaction, may help the cash-strapped airline save about $1 million a month in interest costs. Nacil posted a Rs5,000 crore loss in fiscal 2008-09.
“Nacil had floated a tender to raise $1.06 billion to buy 10 Boeing planes. It is getting this loan from JPMorgan at attractive terms,” said a senior official of the ministry of civil aviation, who didn’t want to be named.
The official declined to disclose the cost and structure of the loan. A banker aware of the deal said the loan is being raised at around 100 basis points (one basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point) over the London interbank offered rate (Libor). Six-month Libor is now close to 1%. Kalpana Morparia, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase’s India operations, declined to comment for this story.
Typically, loans guaranteed by the US Ex-Im Bank, the US government’s trade financing arm, are cheaper than normal external commercial borrowings. The US Ex-Im Bank offers guarantees for loans used to purchase goods or machinery from the US, based on a counter-guarantee by the local government.
Nacil will use this money to buy three 777-200 and four 777-300 planes from Boeing Co. for its international operations, as well as three 737-800 planes to ply on domestic routes. Nacil is also buying one aircraft engine from General Electric Co.
These purchases are part of an order Nacil made in 2005, at the peak of the aviation boom in India, for 111 aircraft—68 from Boeing and 43 from Airbus SAS—at a list price of nearly $15 billion.

DTN News: Boeing's Two Flying Lasers Face Different Futures

DTN News: Boeing's Two Flying Lasers Face Different Futures
*Source: DTN News / Defense Media
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - July 14, 2009: For years, the Pentagon's research budget has funded not one, but two planes armed with laser turrets. Although the Airborne Laser (ABL) and the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) have different missions, both projects are led by aviation and defense giant Boeing, and both consist of a chemical laser mounted on a large aircraft. Both projects also cleared major technical hurdles in June, with ABL successfully targeting a missile in flight, and ATL firing its full-power laser at a ground target for the first time. And yet, the laser planes are on very different flight paths, as ABL weathers its harshest criticism yet, while its younger sibling slides quietly toward further testing. After a holiday weekend where North Korea's "intercontinental" ballistic missiles failed to reach Japan, never mind Hawaii, Popular Mechanics examines whether the ABL would ever be able to stop such attacks, and alternate futures for American battlefield lasers.
Star Wars Reborn: The Airborne Laser Although rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated, the embattled, multibillion-dollar Airborne Laser is fighting for its life. The most powerful battlefield laser in development, and one of the most ambitious weapon systems to date, the Airborne Laser is designed to prove that a megawatt-class chemical laser mounted on a large aircraft (in this case, a 747) can shoot down a long-range ballistic missile before it escapes the atmosphere. Critics have long derided every aspect of the project, from its cost overruns to the limited scope and Hollywood overtones of its proposed mission. What nation would be reckless enough to launch a missile at the United States, and foolish enough to telegraph the blow, providing the advance warning necessary to deploy a laser-armed 747? The answer, it seems, is North Korea, which threatened to fire intercontinental ballistic missiles at Hawaii this past holiday weekend. Analysts dismissed the move as a clumsy new phase in the dictatorship's ongoing game of brinksmanship, and the volley of missiles that slipped into the waters between North Korea and Japan on July 4th did little to back up Pyongyang's bluster. In theory, this weekend's potential attack was precisely what ABL was built for, to act as the first line of defense against an imminent strike from a rogue nation. The Pentagon deployed missile-defense assets to Hawaii, including a missile-tracking X-band radar array and antimissile batteries. And ground-based interceptors in silos in Alaska stood ready to boost into space for an orbital duel. Still, wouldn't a flying laser turret be a great addition to the team? Maybe not. Speaking to the House Appropriations Committee in May, Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed doubts about ABL's utility in any realistic scenario. "I don't know anybody at the Department of Defense ... who thinks that this program should, or would, ever be operationally deployed. The reality is that you would need a laser something like 20 to 30 times more powerful than the chemical laser in the plane right now to be able to get any distance from the launch site to fire," Gates said. "So, right now the ABL would have to orbit inside the borders of Iran in order to be able to try and use its laser to shoot down that missile in the boost phase." He added that the system will eventually be tested at a range of 85 miles. Whether ABL has the power and accuracy to down a boosting missile, and even if it had been ready to be deployed this past weekend, its operational range would force it to fly well within North Korean airspace. "If you have to get that close, you might as well just invade by air with F-15s and F-16s and blow it up on the ground," says Philip Coyle, a senior adviser to the Center for Defense Information. The locations of these rogue missiles aren't exactly a mystery. "So far, both North Korea and Iran have launched missiles out in the open, after weeks of preparation. Some day they could hide them, put them in underground silos, but we're nowhere near that point yet," Coyle says. Boeing conducted its most ambitious ABL flight tests yet on June 6th and 13th, where the ABL locked onto missiles launched from the coast of California with a low-power beam. But such a test may not be enough -- the pressure to perform has never been greater. In addition to questioning the program's feasibility, Gates has canceled plans to build a second ABL. Even if the system passes its biggest hurdle, a live-fire missile shootdown scheduled for this fall, there's no guarantee that ABL won't be shelved, its research and components cannibalized by a host of more manageable directed-energy projects. The Laser Machine Gun: The Advanced Tactical Laser The ABL isn't the only laser plane in the hangar. The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) is similar to ABL, but its kilowatt-class chemical laser is significantly smaller, designed to hit targets at "tactical ranges." Boeing won't release specifics, but in a recent test at the White Sands Missile Range, ATL hit a target from 9 miles away, or roughly a tenth of the planned test range for ABL mentioned by Gates. The ATL's intended targets are less ambitious, too. According to a Boeing statement, "ATL is designed to engage tactical targets, such as vehicles, communications infrastructures and/or facilities." The ATL's goal is a new kind of ultra-precise strike, one that reduces the collateral damage and friendly fire caused by conventional munitions. Although the system is currently being tested on C-130 military aircraft, Boeing claims that it "has studied a wide range of platforms, including rotorcraft, as potential hosts for an ATL-type system." While ABL essentially fills an entire jumbo jet with beam-control optics and chemical fuel, turning the plane into a flying laser cannon, ATL is intended to be simply another weapon system, one potentially suitable for a number of aircraft. In many ways, ATL represents the larger trend in battlefield lasers, toward compact, less powerful systems that fill the gaps left by missiles, bombs and other conventional weapons. Instead of requiring a single, obscure scenario to justify its existence, such as a publicly announced rogue missile launch, tactical lasers could be deployed for many potential missions. "The ATL is basically going to be filling the role of a machine gun," says Coyle. "By definition, it is a close-range system. They're talking about using it the way you would use a helicopter gunship, or some other tactical airborne battlefield system. And so, presumably you're already in the area where you're going to fight anyway, with soldiers on the ground." ATL, then, could serve as a kind of airborne sniper, picking off relatively unarmored targets, particularly ones that are in close proximity to friendly troops or civilians. "What remains to be seen is whether it will have greater effectiveness than a machine gun," Coyle says. Boeing hasn't announced specific upcoming tests for ATL, stating that "the Air Force plans to conduct an extended user evaluation to evaluate operational effectiveness against an extended target set." It could be years before ATL or any other tactical lasers prove their utility, but there's another reason Boeing's shorter-range laser plane is gliding along, relatively unnoticed, while ABL continues to draw fire from critics and Pentagon brass alike -- ATL is valued at some $200 million, a veritable pet project by defense standards, and a fraction of the estimated $5 billion total budget for ABL. Even Mike Rinn, Boeing's program manager for ABL, seems to understand that his laser's biggest problem might be the scale and scope of its mission. "Will there be a future ABL mission? I'm convinced there will be. Will it look like the current one? Maybe not," he says. Rinn is eager to get past the much-hyped long-range missile shootdown, and move on to studies and possible flight tests pitting ABL against smaller targets, such as aircraft and surface-to-air missiles. With a half-dozen or more tactical lasers in development, there's little question that ATL, or something like it, will eventually be deployed. For ABL, survival could mean escaping the high-stakes, highly politicized arena of ballistic missile defense, and proving that there are other jobs out there for the world's most powerful battlefield laser.

DTN News: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev In Unexpected Visit To Georgian Rebel Region

DTN News: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev In Unexpected Visit To Georgian Rebel Region
*The unannounced visit came less than a month before the anniversary of the war between Russia and Georgia, after which Russia recognised South Ossetia and another rebel region, Abkhazia, as independent states.
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - July 14, 2009: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday started a controversial first visit to South Ossetia, the Georgian rebel region at the centre of a brief but intense war with Georgia last year.
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev talks to General Nikolai Makarov, Russia's military chief of staff, as they walk in Tskhinvali July 13, 2009. Medvedev on Monday said Moscow would continue to back the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, which Russia recognized as independent after a brief war last year, during his first trip after Russian troops repelled a Georgian attempt to retake the rebel region last August.
The unannounced visit came less than a month before the anniversary of the conflict, after which Russia recognised South Ossetia and another rebel region, Abkhazia, as independent states.
Hundreds of locals came out to welcome Medvedev with beer, skewered meat and pies in accordance with local traditions, said a spokeswoman for the South Ossetian separatist authorities.
"How else can you greet the man who saved the republic?" she said.
Kremlin spokeswoman Natalia Timakova told AFP that Medvedev was on a "working visit."
On arrival, Medvedev went into talks with the breakaway republic's leader Eduard Kokoity, telling him that his first visit was meant to strengthen Russia's ties with the region.
"I would like to express my gratitude that you invited me to visit the new country, the new state -- South Ossetia, which emerged as a result of difficult dramatic events and which the Russian people truly supported during a difficult moment," Medvedev said in comments carried by Russian news agencies.
"I believe that it is today's first short visit of the Russian President that will lay the foundation for such contacts (and) friendly relations," he said.
Medvedev said Russia intended to help the region revive its economy and improve social conditions and told Kokoity to focus his attention to priority projects in those areas.
"There's also the need to keep up cooperation in the defence area and the appropriate agreements in this respect," Medvedev added.
Kokoity responded: "The people of South Ossetia are grateful to you for your support, the recognition of our state and, as our elders have already said today, we are appreciative of and grateful for saving our small people."
The mountainous Caucasus region -- still largely in ruins and only recognised as an independent state by Moscow and Nicaragua -- remains a major sticking point in relations between Russia and the West.
Russian forces moved into Georgia on August 8, 2008, to repel a Georgian military attempt to retake South Ossetia, whose breakaway administration had long enjoyed extensive support from Moscow. Russia has since stationed thousands of soldiers in South Ossetia as well as Abkhazia.
South Ossetia broke off from the rest of Georgia in fighting in the early 1990s and received Russian backing for years before Moscow's recognition of its independence last August.
Georgia insists the region remains an integral part of its territory and is backed by the West.

DTN News: Yonex Sunrise Badminton Asia Youth Under 19 Championships – Few Surprises At Team Kick-off

DTN News: Yonex Sunrise Badminton Asia Youth Under 19 Championships – Few Surprises At Team Kick-off *Source: DTN News / Badminton Association of Malaysia (NSI News Source Info) KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - July 14, 2009: The 2009 Yonex Sunrise Asia Junior Championship started with the team event in Stadium Juara, Bukit Kiara, Malaysia. Most of the top teams had easy victories in the morning sessions with scores of 5-0 including China, Malaysia and Korea. In fact, all of the ties in the morning session ended with results of either 5-0 or 4-1. Malaysia's up-and-coming hopeful, Sonia Cheah (pictured), was fielded in the tie against Mongolia and the young 16-year-old won very convincingly, 21-1, 21-4. Sonia said that she played well in the match and that she hopes to play well in her first AJC. She will also be playing in women doubles but prefer women singles. Sonia's sister, Lydia, was also there to support her. Besides that, a few seniors were also in the stadium including Indonesia Open 2009 champions Wong Pei Tty and Chin Eei Hui as well as recently graduated junior champions Ng Hui Lin, Lim Khim Wah and Teo Kok Siang. Things got a bit more interesting in the afternoon session with better competition, closer fights and more three-game matches. Surprise came from the Thailand vs. Singapore tie when Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (pictured) lost to Chen Jia Yuan in straight sets, 16-21, 16-21 in 30 minutes. Chen was playing aggressively and it was tight in the first game but Chen played better towards the end of the first game to win quite convincingly 21-16. In the second game, Chen got off to a flying start with an 8-2 lead. Porntip managed to narrow the gap at 8-12 and even had a smash which hit Chen's body followed by apologies from Porntip. However, Chen was the better player in that match with strong smashes and attacks which allowed her to win the 2nd set as well. However, Thailand is still stronger generally and they beat Singapore 4-1 eventually.
Malaysia had to play 3 games in all their matches in the evening session except for women's singles, where Tee Jing Yi had an easy 21-8, 21-10 win. Zainuddin Iskandar Zulkarnain needed 3 games to beat Vietnam’s Le Ha Anh 18-21, 21-9, 21-16. Lai Shevon Jemie / Goh Jian Hao lost their match to Vu Thi Trang (B) / Bui Quang Tuan. Malaysia secured their victory through their men's doubles and eventually won 4-1. The day ended with a Malaysian players group meeting with their coaches (pictured) followed by applause by the players showing their appreciation for that day and support for the next matches in the tournament.
Yonex-Sunrise sponsore of BWF World Championships Super Series

DTN News: IDF Inducting New Artillery Cannon for Namer APC

DTN News: IDF Inducting New Artillery Cannon for Namer APC *Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) TEL AVIV, Israel - July 14, 2009: The Ground Forces of Israel are revising the possibility of installing a 30cm cannon on the advanced Armored Personnel Carrier - Namer. The Namer (Tiger) heavy armored personnel carrier is a mayor element of the IDF modernization plan. The latest design of the Namer is based on the Merkava Mk.4 main battle tank chassis. Currently it is one of the most protected APCs in the world. It provides infantry with the level of protection and mobility matching those of the latest main battle tanks. A first batch of production vehicles was delivered in 2008. Israel plans to acquire few hundreds of these heavy armored personnel carriers. First prototype of this heavy armored personnel carrier, called Namera (Tigeress), was based on out-dated Merkava Mk.1 MBT chassis. It was revealed and fielded in 2005 for trials and evaluation. This variant was offered for export customers, however it received no production orders. Conversion plans were abandoned in favor to newly-built Merkava Mk.4 chassis. Production of new vehicles rather than conversion was considered more practical and cost-effective. This variant was publicly revealed in 2008. The Namer heavy APC is fitted with modular armor and Trophy active protection system. For the first time active protection system is used as an integral element. Vehicle is also fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems. The Namer offers the same protection level as the Merkava Mk.4. Vehicle is armed with remotely controlled weapon station, fitted with 12.7-mm machine gun, which can be replaced with 40-mm grenade launcher. There is also a manually-operated 7.62-mm machine gun, mounted on top of the roof. Vehicle is fitted with new battlefield management system. The installment of the cannon will enable the vehicle new abilities, such as breaking through buildings that are used for hiding, and having the ability to aim a shot in a sharp angle. This will enable Infantry Forces to become more independent against their threats, without the help of tanks. The target data will be entered in the cannon automatically, with help of the control and inspection system of the Namer. Battalion soldiers of the Golani Brigade that are in the midst of finishing their training on the Namer, practice the use of a machine gun. The Ground Forces are considering if they should change the machine gunner in the Namer for a gunner. In order to do that, a series of tests will be conducted which will examine the use of the cannon in the Namer. The vehicle is capable of carrying up to 12 fighters, amongst them three professionals (the Namer Commander, the driver, and the machine gunner), and nine Infantry fighters. The cannon will be found outside the vehicle, and will not penetrate the inner area of the APC. “If the cannon will be installed in the Namer, we won’t have to use other vehicles for Infantry,” explains Major Shlomi Ben Lulu, head of the Namer project in the Infantry Corps. “I wouldn’t want the tank to help me against Infantry threats, however tanks will confront tanks, and Infantry will confront Infantry. The cannon will upgrade the Infantry’s abilities.” The cannon can turn the Namer to a near perfect vehicle, says Major Ben-Lulu. The reversibility, survivability, the speed, and the mobile abilities – are more advanced than those of the IDF Achzarit, and of other Infantry Armored Personnel Carriers used in the IDF. From the instant the Namer will be part of the battle field, the Infantry and Armored Corps will start to be active together, without having the Armored Corps wait for the Infantry Forces during a battle. The Namer will enable the Infantry Corps to destroy a threat while remaining in the APC, without having the combat soldiers take out their heads from the vehicle. This is with the help of 360 degree cameras, a control and inspection system, and computerized weapon systems. In addition to that, the control and inspection system in the Namer will enable the Division Commander to be in direct contact, and watch the progress of each class in a direct manner.

DTN News: U.S. Navy Inspecting Older F/A-18 Hornets

DTN News: U.S. Navy Inspecting Older F/A-18 Hornets
*Source: DTN News / Defense News
(NSI News Source Info) NEWPORT NEWS, Va., - July 14, 2009: A bulletin was issued July 10 to inspect all older-model U.S. Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters for possible cracks in an internal support fitting, a U.S. Navy official said July 13. The aging fleet of F/A-18 Hornets is in worse shape than Navy experts previously thought, two admirals told Congress on recently. The analysis comes after dozens of fighter jets have begun to reach their 8,000th flight hour and gone into the depot for a “high flight-hour” inspection. Some 38 Hornets have started that inspection process. So far, nine have finished and been approved to fly an additional 600 hours to reach a total of 8,600 total lifetime flight hours, said Rear Adm. Allen Myers, the Navy’s director of warfare integration. Inspectors have found about 60 new “hot spots” — or areas of concern that need close inspection — in addition to the 159 they had originally planned for, Myers told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Air-Land subcommittee. "Cracks were discovered in horizontal stabilator actuator support fittings known as bootstraps," Navy spokesman Lt. Clay Doss said in an e-mail to Defense News. "No mishaps have occurred," Doss said in the e-mail. "We issued the inspection bulletin as a precautionary, risk-reduction measure to ensure our aircraft are structurally sound and safe for operational flight." The bootstraps are internal fittings and not visible from outside the aircraft, Doss explained. "Because the bootstrap is a critical safety item, its failure could result in loss of control to the horizontal stabilator, which is the primary flight control surface responsible for maneuvering the aircraft." Stabilators are the smaller, horizontal fins at the back of the aircraft that help control the aircraft's direction, pitch and attitude. The entire stabilator moves, as compared with horizontal stabilizers, which are fixed in place and have elevator flaps that move up or down. The aircraft affected by the inspection bulletin are the 622 Hornet F/A-18-A, B, C and D models in service with the Navy and Marine Corps. Ten early model aircraft do not have the straps and are not being inspected. Newer F/A-18 E and D Super Hornets and similar EA-18G Growler aircraft are not affected by the bulletin, Doss said. All the Hornets were built by McDonnell Douglas, now a subsidiary of Boeing. The aircraft vary widely in age and accumulated flying hours. Hornets must be examined within the next 25 flight hours, Doss said. As of July 13, 40 deployed Hornets have been inspected with no failures. Overall, inspection of 93 aircraft has been completed; of those, three were discovered with missing fasteners, and two of those had cracked bootstraps requiring replacement. Each inspection takes about three hours, Doss said. The estimated bootstrap replacement time is two weeks, while repair time will be on a case-by-case basis. Bootstraps can be replaced in the field by a depot field team, he added. The issue is not related to another inspection issued last October for A-D Hornets. In that instance, aircraft were inspected for possible cracks in a wing flap hinge.

DTN News: U.S. Defense Budget Faces Veto If F-22 Isn't Cut

DTN News: U.S. Defense Budget Faces Veto If F-22 Isn't Cut
*Analysis: Japanese and Israeli officials believe that China, Russia and Iran present common problems that more F-22 Raptors could help solve. Japan’s F-15J force, once top of the line, is now “outclassed by the new generation of Chinese fighters” such as the Su-30MKK, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Air Force Gen. Richard Myers (ret.), tells Aviation Week.
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - July 14, 2009: U.S. President Barack Obama and top defense officials warned July 13 that the 2010 defense budget will be vetoed unless Congress kills further purchases of the F-22 aircraft. Continuing to procure more of the fighters is taking money away from more pressing needs, Obama said in a letter as the Senate begins debating S 1390, the 2010 defense authorization act. The bill includes about $1.75 billion for the purchase of seven more F-22s that the Pentagon says it does not want or need. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, in their own letter to Congress, said continuing to spend money beyond 2009 on the F-22 would come "at the expense of other Air Force and defense programs." The letters were read on the Senate floor by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, who said the $1.75 billion being spent on the F-22 was taken from military personnel and operations and maintenance accounts, including accounts to cover the cost of active-duty bonuses and support and from the civilian payroll account. Money also was "found" through an assumption that the military will be able to save money starting next year by reforming defense acquisition policies. "Each of these places cannot afford these cuts," Levin said, noting in particular that overhauling rules on weapons-buying could end up costing money in the short term rather than providing savings. "Major savings, which we think will come, are not going to happen in the short term," he said. Levin said cutting uniformed and civilian personnel accounts would be a mistake, and likely would force the Pentagon to come back later for extra money to cover expenses. Levin and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the armed services committee's ranking Republican, support the Pentagon's view that 187 F-22s are enough. As Senate debate began July 13 on the bill, the first amendment under consideration is to cancel additional F-22 purchases. "At some point, we have to come to the logical conclusion that a weapons system has come to an end," Levin said. This will be the first of many tests to see whether Congress is willing to terminate or reduce weapons programs. In this case, with contracts for F-22 pieces spread over 40 states, job protection in a weak economy is a major factor. McCain said the votes "are not there" to kill the F-22, and that he hopes Obama's letter "has a significant impact." Debate on the defense bill is expected to extend through early next week, with more than 300 amendments anticipated.

DTN News: Sikorsky Global Helicopters Delivers S-300C(TM) Helicopter To UND Aerospace

DTN News: Sikorsky Global Helicopters Delivers S-300C(TM) Helicopter To UND Aerospace *Source: DTN News / Sikorsky
(NSI News Source Info) HORSEHEADS, N.Y., - July 14, 2009: Sikorsky Global Helicopters, a Sikorsky company, recently delivered an S-300C(TM) helicopter to UND Aerospace at the University of North Dakota. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. The university has operated Sikorsky helicopters in its training program since 1983. The new helicopter becomes the seventh Sikorsky helicopter in operation in UND's fleet. UND has three more S-300C helicopters on order this year. "We operate the S-300C model in our training program because it is a good training platform," said Don Dubuque, fleet manager and director of extension programs at UND Aerospace. "It is also a very dependable and safe aircraft." Ken Polovitz, assistant dean of student services at UND Aerospace, said the university's helicopter program is growing. "We currently have more than 800 students enrolled in fixed wing and helicopter training at UND, and more and more of them are becoming interested in the helicopter industry as a career track," Polovitz said. The S-300C helicopter is known for its versatility in a broad range of operations, from law enforcement and utility patrol to lift operations. With its 950-pound useful load, the S-300C helicopter combines precise maneuverability with outstanding endurance, all at an economical price. In addition, the S-300C helicopter operates throughout the world in many demanding roles including military patrol, power line/pipeline patrol, commercial and military flight training, ranching, external load operations, animal surveys, aerial photography and personal transportation. The cockpit size, load capacity, performance characteristics, robust design and low direct operating costs make the S-300C a leader in its class. UND has a long history of training Army ROTC cadets already enrolled as undergraduates in the school's aviation program. Since 2003, UND also has provided summer training courses to cadets from West Point and other Army ROTC programs around the country. So far, 179 cadets from West Point and Army ROTC programs have attended summer helicopter training courses at UND. Sikorsky Global Helicopters, a Sikorsky company, comprises current Sikorsky platforms S-76(R), S-92(R) and H-92(TM) helicopters; light helicopter platforms, the S-300C(TM), S-300CBi(TM), S-333(TM) and S-434(TM) helicopters; and all operations of Keystone Helicopter Corp. and Associated Aircraft Group (AAG). Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.

DTN News: Raytheon Standard Missile-3 Block IB Completes Major Development Milestone

DTN News: Raytheon Standard Missile-3 Block IB Completes Major Development Milestone *Source: DTN News / Raytheon Company (NSI News Source Info) TUCSON, Ariz., - July 14, 2009: The Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) Standard Missile-3 Block IB program completed its critical design review. Completing the CDR clears the way for a 2010 flight test and eventual deployment to the Missile Defense Agency's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense systems. Ballistic Missile Defense Standard Missile-3 is being developed for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) as part of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). The Aegis BMD system integrates SM-3 with the Aegis Weapon System (AWS) aboard U.S. Navy cruisers to provide an umbrella of protection against short to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. SM-3 is compatible with the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) deployed on many U.S. Navy and international surface combatants. SM-3 Block IB offers significant improvements compared with the currently deployed SM-3 Block IA. The upgraded missile features a two-color infrared seeker with advanced signal processing, which enables longer-range target acquisition and enhanced threat discrimination. A new throttleable divert and attitude control system improves SM-3 Block IB flexibility in flight control and reduces cost. "SM-3 Block IB is designed to outpace the evolving ballistic missile threats," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. "SM-3 Block IA is a mature, proven system that is protecting the U.S. and its allies today." SM-3 is being developed as part of the Missile Defense Agency's sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. The missiles are deployed on U.S. Aegis cruisers and destroyers and Japanese destroyers to defend against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in the ascent and midcourse phases of flight. Raytheon Company, with 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 87 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.

DTN News: Raytheon Demonstrates Networked Lethality For Army Modernization

DTN News: Raytheon Demonstrates Networked Lethality For Army Modernization
*Source: DTN News / Raytheon Company
(NSI News Source Info) MCKINNEY, Texas, - July 14, 2009: By networking sensors and effects, Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) recently demonstrated how the U.S. Army could modernize brigade combat teams to significantly improve situational awareness and targeting efficiency to help save soldiers' lives. The U.S. Army is now conducting a series of high-tech network and equipment verification tests at its massive White Sands test range as part of brigade combat team modernization. The tests support the Army's efforts to modernize all brigade combat teams with the latest networked intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and lethality capabilities, officials said. As part of what is termed the Technical Field Test, Army engineers and product developers -- supported by Soldiers of the Army Evaluation Task Force and a host of industry partners -- are testing the performance of unmanned ground and air vehicles, unattended sensors, an unattended munitions delivery system and the network that supports them. Hosting a live, hands-on demonstration at Fort Benning, Ga., Raytheon validated how networked lethality is achieved by linking emerging capabilities of its Multi-Function Radio Frequency System, Common Mast-Mounted Sight, and combat identification technology with fielded BCT sensors and weapon systems. Raytheon's Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System provided integrated fires support and command and control capabilities. The demonstration also incorporated a netted mission backbone via Raytheon's combat-proven, versatile Enhanced Position Location Reporting System data network, which is used by Army Stryker and Heavy BCTs. "As the Army develops and executes brigade combat team modernization plans, the networking and integrating of sensors and effects within the brigades will be vital for increased situational awareness, precision fires and dramatic reductions in targeting timelines," said Glynn Raymer, vice president, Raytheon Network Centric Systems Combat Systems. "This capability will provide an unparalleled operational advantage to our warfighters. We created a tactical network that integrates our sense-and-shoot technologies, greatly expands warfighter mission capabilities, and enhances force effectiveness." Raytheon demonstrated Army company-level sharing and cross-cueing of critical sensor information and the ability to more rapidly engage time-critical targets. The demonstration used Army common operating environment protocols to support the entire kill chain and its associated platforms and systems. Raymer added, "Matured through experimental warfighter exercises, this modern and reliable networked lethality capability set has been proved to reduce time-to-target, and that can mean all the difference in saving soldiers' lives." Raytheon Company, with 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 87 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.

DTN News: Northrop Grumman Completes Refueling And Complex Overhaul Within Budget ~ Redelivers USS Carl Vinson To U.S. Navy

DTN News: Northrop Grumman Completes Refueling And Complex Overhaul Within Budget ~ Redelivers USS Carl Vinson To U.S. Navy
*Source: DTN News / Northrop Grumman Corporation
(NSI News Source Info) NEWPORT NEWS, Va., - July 14, 2009: Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) redelivered the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), to the U.S. Navy July 11. The redelivery follows the completion of a successful three-and-a-half-year evolution known as a refueling and complex overhaul.
USS Carl Vinson is the third in the series of NIMITZ-class aircraft carriers to enter the navy fleet. USS Carl Vinson was commissioned on March 13, 1982 and was constructed by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Va. USS Carl Vinson was named after the late Georgia Congressman Carl Vinson, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for more than 50 years (1914-1965). After extensive workups and training, the ship and its crew of close to 6,000 officers and enlisted personnel departed Norfolk, Va., on March 1, 1983, and embarked on an eight-month, around-the-world deployment. On October 29, 1983, Carl Vinson sailed into San Francisco Bay for a three-month upgrade and repair. She was based in the SF Bay area until she left for her new home in Bremerton Washington. Carl Vinson sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge for the last time on January 14th 1997. As part of the move, the ship conducted a "Noah's Ark," wherein about 100 family members, 60 guests, 900 cars and even three cats enjoyed the three day transit to Bremerton. Capt David M. Crocker assumed command of Carl Vinson on January 29th. The 100,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has performed exempelary service throughout its deployment.
The project was performed by the company's Shipbuilding sector in Newport News, Va. and was completed within budget. Redelivery also follows successful sea trials. Sea trials are conducted to test systems, components and demonstrate operations at sea. The trials also include high-speed runs and a demonstration of the carrier's other capabilities. "The redelivery of the Carl Vinson is testimony to the tremendous teamwork between our crew, the Northrop Grumman workers, and the Supervisor of Shipbuilding," said Rear Adm. (select) Ted Carter, who was the Commanding Officer of USS Carl Vinson during the last two and a half years of the RCOH project. "Without that triad of effort, I would not be able to tell you of all the great work accomplished during the overhaul period, which resulted in our ship returning to sea as one of the most advanced ships in the world." The refueling and complex overhaul is performed only once in a carrier's 50-year life and includes extensive modernization work to more than 2,300 compartments, hundreds of system upgrades, and over 20 million man-hours of work, to include defueling and refueling the nuclear reactors. "The success of this project reflects the approach and relationship that this team has had for the past three and a half years -- One Team, One Goal, One Mission. We collectively could not have been successful without the talent, dedication and teamwork of our shipbuilders, CVN 70 crew members, Supship and Navsea personnel and our suppliers," said Jim Hughes, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's vice president of aircraft carrier overhauls. "We've come together to bring CVN 70 back to life for another 25 years of service, and we did it within budget despite many challenges encountered along the way. This great achievement demonstrates our commitment to work with the Navy to deliver the best products back to the fleet while making sure we meet our cost requirements and improved financial predictability." USS Carl Vinson is the third ship of the Nimitz class to undergo this major life-cycle milestone. The carrier arrived in Newport News on Nov. 11, 2005, and more than 3,500 Northrop Grumman employees worked on the project during peak periods. Named for former U.S. Rep. Carl Vinson, the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was built in Newport News, Va. by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and was christened in 1980. The congressman attended the christening ceremony at age 96 and became the first living American to have a Navy ship named in his honor. The ship was commissioned by the Navy in 1982. 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: Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract To Develop Space Fence Technology

DTN News: Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract To Develop Space Fence Technology *Source: DTN News / Northrop Grumman Corporation (NSI News Source Info) LINTHICUM, Md., - July 14, 2009: Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been awarded the first phase of a $30 million firm-fixed price U.S. Air Force contract to develop a global space surveillance ground radar system. The "Technology-to-Warfighting" graphic shown is drawn from a news briefing of March 12, 2003 at the Pentagon. One of the key aspects of this graphic is the idea of "space surveillance," knowing what is out there, what it is doing, whether it threatens our many satellites, and, if so, what to do about it. The Air Force has made it its business to obtain and maintain space superiority; the USAF calls it "Space Control." The Air Force is not shy about this objective. Fundamentally, space control means the US must have freedom of action in space and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries. That in turn means we have to know what is out there and where it is, at any given point in time. The new S-Band Space Fence is part of the U.S. Department of Defense's effort to track and detect what is commonly referred to as resident space objects (RSO), consisting of thousands of pieces of "space debris" as well as commercial and military satellites. Space Fence will replace the current VHF Air Force Space Surveillance System built in 1961. Space Fence will provide continuous, net-centric space situational awareness by detecting smaller objects in low and medium earth orbit. The current system requires constant sustainment intervention to maintain operations and does not address the growing population of small and micro satellites in orbit. Rich Davis, director of special projects at Northrop Grumman's Advanced Concepts and Technology Division, said, "We are addressing a key mission, which signifies a leap forward in space situation awareness capability from that available today. "The new Space Fence system will provide better accuracy and faster detection while allowing us to increase the number of satellites and other space objects that can be detected and tracked, thus avoiding collision and damage to other satellites." Australia is a candidate for the first Space Fence location. Two additional sites in other parts of the world are also under consideration. Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.