Friday, July 17, 2009

DTN News: UK To Spend £6 Billion On New Helicopters, Puma And Chinook Fleet Upgrades

DTN News: UK To Spend £6 Billion On New Helicopters, Puma And Chinook Fleet Upgrades
*Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - July 17, 2009: In response to today’s report by the House of Commons Defence Committee into helicopter capability, Secretary of State for Defence Bob Ainsworth said:
“We are doing all that we can to get more helicopters to our forces in Afghanistan. We have almost doubled helicopter hours, together with increasing the number of helicopters for operations. The deployment of the Merlins to Afghanistan will mean a further 25% rise in helicopter hours from the end of the year. We are investing £6 billion over the next decade in our helicopter capability. But I will make sure that we will keep looking to see what more we can possibly do.
“However it is not just about buying helicopters, as the report acknowledges. It is also about investing in the training of pilots and ground crews and increasing the availability of spare parts to maintain them. We have made great strides in both to ensure we can improve the helicopter availability for our forces both quickly and sustainably.”
Following a review, the MOD decided that it is not feasible to advance the purchase of the Future Medium Helicopter and forego the Puma Life Extension Programme, without placing unacceptable risk on operational commitments. Our principal responsibility is to our forces on operations.
The planned life-extension of Puma helicopters will give them a major overhaul, with new engines, cockpit and avionics worth more than £300M, to provide a step change in its capability and deliver safety improvements. We are continuing to assess how we can best continue to deliver the capability currently provided by Sea King Mark 4.
The MoD will now consider in detail the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations on all aspects of helicopter capability, and publish our full response in due course.
-- Following the completion of its role in Iraq, the Merlins will re-deploy to Afghanistan from the end of this year. Earlier deployment is not possible as we need to ensure our Merlin crews are adequately trained to operate in the challenging conditions of Afghanistan.
-- We are converting the eight Chinook Mk3 helicopters to a support helicopter role. Three will be available for training by the end of this year, enabling the first increase in deployed Chinook numbers from summer 2010, subject to operational requirements at the time.
-- We have also taken steps to increase the robustness of our existing helicopter fleets, including through the purchase of the six new Merlin helicopters from Denmark at a cost of around £175M. These are all now in service, increasing the size of the Merlin fleet by 25%.
-- We have carried out extensive modifications to improve the operational capability of our helicopters, including fitting new rotor blades to some of our Sea King Mk4s in order to allow them to operate effectively, which are performing very well in Afghanistan. And we are now spending around £140M putting more powerful T800 engines into 22 Lynx Mk9 helicopters which, for the first time, will mean that we will have a year-round capability from October 2009. -- Since Nov 06 we have increased the number of Apache and Chinook flying hours available each month to commanders in southern Afghanistan by 42% and 50%.
-- 15 Chinooks are currently fitted with the improved 714 engine. We have just approved £128M funding to fit the rest of the Chinook fleet with these engines, increasing their ability to operate in the ‘hot and high’ conditions of Afghanistan and providing important flight safety benefits. This programme will start to deliver effect from 2012, with all helicopters fitted by 2014.
-- We will spend around £3.5Bn on 120 new helicopters over the next 10 years and some £2.5Bn on upgrading 200 more. We also lease 67 helicopters at a cost of some £50M per annum.
-- We intend to take forward a significant programme to upgrade the Puma medium support helicopter with new engines and modern avionics. This will greatly enhance the capability, making it one of our very best-performing helicopters in the hot and high conditions in Afghanistan.
-- New procurement programmes include the Future Medium Helicopter which will, on current plans, start to replace the Sea King Mk4 and Puma from 2017 and 2022 respectively.

DTN News: India Will Not Ground MiGs Despite Russian Crash

DTN News: India Will Not Ground MiGs Despite Russian Crash *Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - July 17, 2009: Despite December's crash of a Russian MiG 29 aircraft, India will not decommission the 67 MiG 29s in the fleet, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said in a written to a reply to the Indian Parliament July 15. India was the first international customer of the MiG-29. The Indian Air Force (IAF) placed an order for more than 50 MiG-29s in 1980 while the aircraft was still in its initial development phase. Since its induction into the IAF in 1985, the aircraft has undergone a series of modifications with the addition of new avionics, sub-systems, turbofan engines and radars. The upgraded Indian version is known as Baaz and forms a crucial component of the second-line offensive aircraft-fleet of the IAF after the Sukhoi Su-30MKI. The MiG-29’s good operational record prompted India to sign a deal with Russia in 2005/06 to upgrade its 67 MiG-29s for US$888 million. Under the deal, the Indian MiGs were modified so as to deploy the R-77RVV-AE (AA-12 Adder) air-to-air missile, also known as the Amraamski. The missiles were successfully tested in October 1998 and have been integrated into IAF's MiG-29s. IAF has also awarded the MiG Corporation another US$900 million contract to upgrade all of its 69 operational MiG-29s. These upgrades will include a new avionics fit, with the N-109 radar being replaced by a Phazatron Zhuk-M radar. The aircraft is also being equipped to enhance beyond-visual-range combat ability and for air-to-air refuelling to increase endurance. In 2008. Russia also gave India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited the license to manufacture 120 RD-33 series 3 turbojet engines for the upgrade. The upgrade will also include a new weapon control system, cockpit ergonomics, air-to-air missiles, high-accuracy air-to-ground missiles and "smart" aerial bombs. The first six MiG-29s will be upgraded in Russia while the remaining 63 MiGs will be upgraded at the Hindustan Aeronautics facility in India. India also awarded a multi-million dollar contract to Israel Aircraft Industries to provide avionics and sub-systems for the upgrade. In January 2004, the Indian Navy signed a contract for the delivery of 12 MiG-29K and 4 MiG-29KUB which will be operated from INS Vikramaditya. The first MiG-29KUB manufactured for the Navy took to the skies in May 2008. The first four aircraft were delivered to India in February 2009. There were also reports that the Indian Navy would purchase an additional 30 MiG-29Ks and -KUBs for the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier. The Indian Air Force expressed concern after 90 MiG-29s were grounded in Russia. After carrying out an extensive inspection, the IAF cleared all MiG-29s in its fleet.* "Russia has pointed out structural faults in MiG-29 aircraft. There was a MiG-29 accident in Russia in December 2008. RAC-MiG has intimated that corrosion on the fin root ribs has been identified as the cause of crack development. There is no plan to decommission MiG-29 aircraft," said Antony. The Indian Air Force ordered a thorough inspection of its MiG 29 fleet after the crash and obtained details of the structural defects experienced by the Russian Air Force, said a senior Indian Air Force official. India is already committed to the MiG-29K, the naval variant of the MiG 29, for the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. Russia is also competing its MiG 35 aircraft in India's $10 billion Medium Range Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program. The Indian Air Force official said the MiG 35 has structural similarities with the MiG 29, and in fact borrows from the MiG-29 SMT, a modernized MiG-29, for the Russian Air Force, added the official. The Indian Air Force also proposes to upgrade its existing MiG 29s by Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG at a cost of $ 963 million. The Indian Air Force wants to extend the life of the fighter aircraft from 25 years (2,500 hours) to 40 years (3,500 hours). The Air Force proposed the immediate upgrade of its MiG-29 fighters after the Pakistan Air Force added beyond-visual-range missiles and other advanced weaponry in 2003 that India's MiG-29s cannot carry.

DTN News: Taliban Back In Full Swing Destroying Nato Oil Tankers, Shops In Khyber

DTN News: Taliban Back In Full Swing Destroying Nato Oil Tankers, Shops In Khyber *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) PESHAWAR, Pakistan - July 17, 2009: Suspected Taliban militants planted bombs in northwest Pakistan that destroyed two tankers supplying fuel to Nato troops in neighbouring Afghanistan, officials said Friday. The incident took place in northwest Pakistan’s Khyber tribal region. Militants have carried out a series of strikes against supplies for US and Nato-led foreign forces in Afghanistan. ‘A convoy of seven tankers was on its way to Afghanistan when one of the tankers blew up and caught fire, killing a fruit vendor and burning at least 50 shops in a nearby market,’ local government official Rehan Gul Khattak said. He said another tanker exploded near Landi Kotal, the main town in Khyber, after militants planted another bomb. A cleaner accompanying the second truck sustained burn wounds, he added. Another official, requesting anonymity, confirmed the blasts. Militants have carried out a series of strikes against supplies for US and Nato-led foreign forces fighting against a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. The bulk of supplies and equipment required by the foreign troops across the border are shipped through Khyber. US officials say northwest Pakistan has become a safe haven for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who fled the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan and have regrouped to launch attacks on foreign troops across the border.

DTN News: Pakistan Likely To Figure High In Clinton's First India Visit

DTN News: Pakistan Likely To Figure High In Clinton's First India Visit
*The neighboring countries agreed Thursday to work together on terrorism despite stalled peace talks. US secretary of state arrives Friday.
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - July 17, 2009: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in India for a five-day visit Friday, keen to shore up relations between the United States and this fast emerging economic power. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, flanked by Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, left, and Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, hold a news conference after a trilateral meeting, Thursday, July 16, 2009, at the State Department in Washington. The trip comes after a much anticipated meeting between India and Pakistan's prime ministers Thursday. On her first visit to the country as top US diplomat, Secretary Clinton will fly to Mumbai, where she will meet victims of last November's terrorist attacks. She will then travel to the capital, New Delhi, for talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the new foreign minister, SM Krishna. Speaking in Washington last week, Clinton said she hoped India and the US would "be cooperating and working together across the broadest range of concerns that our two governments have ever engaged on." India and the US have been brought closer together by a landmark nuclear cooperation deal agreed by the two countries in 2005 and finalized last year. Indeed, many believe that the deal is the most significant feature of India's foreign policy over the past decade. "There will be a strong symbolic component to this visit, with Clinton reassuring India that [President] Obama wants to pursue the kind of special relationship with India that [former US president] George Bush did," says Commodore Uday Bhaskar, a New Delhi-based strategic analyst. "It's very important to reiterate these things or people get antsy." Seeking more cooperation In detail, the talks are expected to cover a number of areas in which the US is seeking India's cooperation. Speaking at the US India Business Council recently, Clinton alluded to "four platforms of cooperation – global security, human development, economic activity, science and technology." Trade between the US and India doubled between 2004 and 2008 to $43.4 billion, according to the US Census Bureau. But the relationship isn't all sunshine. On June 26, the US House of Representatives passed a clean energy bill imposing trade penalties on countries that reject emission caps – like India. On July 7, Mr. Singh said rather pointedly that fighting global warming was the "historic responsibility" of developed countries. Nudging India closer to Pakistan India's relationship with its neighbor and nuclear rival Pakistan is also likely to be near the top of Clinton's agenda, says Mr. Bhaskar. The US is anxious for India and Pakistan to resume a five-year peace process that was suspended by India after the Mumbai terrorist attacks, which India linked to a Pakistan-based group, Lashkar-e-Taiba. If tensions are eased on Pakistan's eastern border with India, the US administration believes, Pakistan can focus on fighting Taliban militants on its western border with Afghanistan. Timothy Roemer, who has been appointed the new US ambassador to India, has said he will work to improve relations between the two countries. While Pakistan, which has denied any involvement in the attacks by state agencies and says it will prosecute militants suspected of involvement, has been pushing for new talks, Singh has insisted it must first show it is serious about taking action against terrorists. Some Indian analysts believe that, having come back to power in May's general elections, Singh will soften the hard line he adopted toward Pakistan before polls. Indeed, Thursday, India and Pakistan said that ongoing dialogue was the only way forward and that they would work together to fight terrorism. The statement was issued after Singh and his Pakistani counterpart, Yousef Raza Gilani, met on the sidelines of a multinational conference in Egypt for "cordial and constructive" talks. Their joint statement said that action on terrorism should not be linked to the status of peace talks. If the relationship between the India and Pakistan comes up during Clinton's visit, and if the US does not demonstrate that it takes the terrorist threat to India seriously, "there will have to be more agreeing to disagree, unfortunately," says Bhaskar. From India, Clinton will travel to Thailand. Officials have said her Asia trip will not include Pakistan or Afghanistan, where US soldiers are battling the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

DTN News: Indonesia ~ Blasts At Ritz Carlton, Marriott Hotels In Jakarta, Kill At Least 4

DTN News: Indonesia ~ Blasts At Ritz Carlton, Marriott Hotels In Jakarta, Kill At Least 4
*Source: DTN News / Bernama
(NSI News Source Info) JAKARTA, Indonesia - July 17, 2009: Two explosions occurred in Ritz Carlton and Marriott hotels in Jakarta on Friday morning, killing at least four people and wounding tens of others, China's Xinhua news agency reported quoting Local Metro television as saying.
Bombs exploded at the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotels, ripping the facade off the Ritz, police said. These pictures were posted moments after the explosion.
The first blast took place at 7:55 Jakarta time (0055 GMT) and minutes later the second one occurred, before the hotels were open.
The two hotels were located in opposite."Two explosions have taken place in two locations," south Jakarta district police Commissioner Firmnan said.
An eye witness said she saw at least three foreigners with blood on their bodies were carried out to an ambulance. The wounded persons were rushed to nearby Jakarta Hospital.
The Ritz Carlton hotel was set to be the place for upcoming visit of Manchester United team.
A police special bomb squad is checking the blasts.

DTN News: India Puts Pakistan Talks On Hold

DTN News: India Puts Pakistan Talks On Hold *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - July 17, 2009: India will not start peace talks with Pakistan until the Mumbai attacks suspects are brought to justice, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said. Mr Singh was speaking after meeting his Pakistani counterpart in Egypt. A joint statement said the two countries would co-operate to fight terrorism - and this should not be linked to wider peace talks. The talks were suspended after the Mumbai (Bombay) attacks in which militants killed more than 160 people. India has accused Pakistan-based fighters from the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba of carrying out the attacks. Pakistan has admitted they were partly planned on its soil - and vowed to do all it can to bring the suspects to justice. Pakistan 'happy' Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Mr Singh met in Egypt, on the sidelines of a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. It was third high-level meeting between the two nuclear-armed neighbours since the Mumbai attacks last November, which brought an abrupt halt to peace talks. Both leaders agreed that terrorism is the main threat to both countries Joint statement Full text: India-Pakistan statement "Both leaders affirmed their resolve to fight terrorism and co-operate with each other to this end," the joint statement from the talks said. "Pakistan has provided an updated status dossier on the investigations of the Mumbai attacks," the statement said. The two leaders also agreed to "share real-time, credible and actionable information on any future terrorist threat". Last week Pakistan said the trial of five men suspected of involvement in the attack on Mumbai's Taj Hotel was likely to start this week. The prime ministers' joint statement said action on terrorism "should not be linked to the composite dialogue process" - which includes talks on the disputed territory of Kashmir. The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says many in India were likely to see this as a major climb-down in Delhi's stance. But later, Mr Singh told a news conference: "Composite dialogue cannot begin unless and until terrorist heads which shook Mumbai are properly accounted for, [and] perpetrators of these heinous crimes are brought to book." Mr Gilani told the BBC he was confident things were moving in the right direction - and he was happy that the Pakistanis had supplied new intelligence of interest to the Indians.

DTN News: Prime Minister Gordon Brown Says Extra Troops Will Need To Stay In Afghanistan

DTN News: Prime Minister Gordon Brown Says Extra Troops Will Need To Stay In Afghanistan
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - July 17, 2009: Afghanistan needs to do far more to make its troops available on the ground if a U.S.-British offensive to secure territory ahead of elections is to succeed, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Thursday.
In this Wednesday July 15, 2009 photo British soldiers with the International Security Assistance Force pose for a photo with Afghan officials in the Sangin district of Helmand province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan. Britain's army chief said Wednesday that more troops are needed in Afghanistan's volatile southern province of Helmand as soldiers pursue a bloody campaign to uproot Taliban fighters ahead of elections next month.
Answering questions before a parliamentary committee, Brown repeatedly made the point that he did not think Afghanistan was pulling its weight and said he had spoken to President Hamid Karzai to try to address the situation. Karzai told Brown this week he would increase the number, but did not say when or by how many.
"I'm very clear that the Afghan army has got to do more," Brown said, arguing that any strategy to clear and hold large swathes of territory in the south ahead of a presidential election in August would hinge on Afghan forces.
"I'm very clear that where we are in Helmand, we need the complement of more Afghan troops and police. And I'm also clear that we have a role to play, and it will be a continuing role after the election, for some of our troops to mentor and train the Afghan security forces."
He said Britain, which has about 9,000 troops in Helmand, having boosted the number for a pre-election offensive, would review its numbers after the poll, and possibly in October, if the vote goes to a second round.But more immediately, he said there was not enough support from Afghanistan's side to back up the efforts being made by Britain and the United States. If Afghan communities were to be kept safe, it meant Afghanistan stepping up to the plate.
It is a point U.S. military commanders have also made in recent weeks, but which Brown has taken up on a political level at a time when he is under pressure at home to justify why Britain is still fighting in Afghanistan after eight years.
"We have been asking the Afghan national army through President Karzai to make available more Afghan troops on the ground," he said.
"It would be by far the best way of moving forward if once ground is taken by our troops, then local Afghan troops and police are there on the ground ... There are troops available and I believe they should be in Helmand for this campaign."
The prime minister was also dismissive of the size of the Afghan forces, saying they would have to be substantially expanded if they were ever going to be capable of keeping control in a country the size of Afghanistan.
"Our ability to defeat a terrorist threat depends not only on what we can contribute militarily, but on what we can achieve by civilian as well as military effort in training the Afghan army," he said.
"Which will have to be higher than 130,000 (soldiers), by the way. I mean, it's 80,000 at the moment, and the plan is 130,000, but I think everybody is in no doubt that for a territory that is as big as Afghanistan, we will have to train any army to a higher number than that."

DTN News: US Destroyer Anchors Off Georgia For Exercises / USS Stout Sailors Train Georgians

DTN News: US Destroyer Anchors Off Georgia For Exercises / USS Stout Sailors Train Georgians
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ABOARD THE USS STOUT - July 17, 2009: U.S. Navy sailors and Georgian coast guard crews held training drills aboard an American warship visiting the former Soviet republic Wednesday in a show of support as tensions with neighboring Russia persist following last year's war. U.S. servicemen demonstrate moves during training exercises of U.S. Navy and Georgian coast guards aboard the U.S. guided missile destroyer Stout on Georgia's Black Sea port of Batumi, July 15, 2009. Sailors clutching mock submachine guns swarmed up ladders on the Norfolk, Va.-based guided missile destroyer USS Stout and pretended to fire at each other in an exercise simulating the boarding of a hostile ship. They also held firefighting drills and other exercises as rain drummed the deck of the vessel anchored at the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi. The USS Stout is the sixth American warship to call at Georgia's ports since its losing five-day war against Russia in August. "The U.S. is our strategic ally, and the Georgian sailors can feel that," Georgian coast guard chief Beso Shengelia told The Associated Press. The training and expertise visiting U.S. crews have provided is "invaluable help," he said. Russian anger over Georgia's U.S. ties and its drive to join NATO had been building for months when the August war broke out. Georgia shelled the capital city of South Ossetia in an attempt to regain control of the breakaway region and Russian forces responded by driving deep into Georgia. Moscow then defied the West by basing thousands of troops in South Ossetia and another region, Abkhazia, and recognizing them as independent nations. Georgia's fledgling naval forces were decimated by a Russian air raid on its headquarters in the port city of Poti, up the coast near Abkhazia, which destroyed coast guard cutters and killed several people. The USS Stout is due in Poti later this week. "The training exercises are aimed at improving cooperation between two nations," its captain, Cmdr. Mark J. Oberley, told journalists. "To improve the maritime security is an ultimate goal." Russian officials sharply criticized the United States for sending warships to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia after the conflict, suggesting they might surreptitiously be supplying weapons. Russian sent ships to shadow American vessels across the Black Sea. The deep differences over Georgia cloud prospects for a major easing of tensions between Washington and Moscow. Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev remained at odds over the issue during a Moscow summit last week aimed at putting ties back on track. On Tuesday, the day the USS Stout dropped anchor at Batumi, Medvedev visited Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, where he watched military jets take target practice and discussed Russia's combat capabilities with officers in footage shown prominently on state television. A day earlier, Medvedev visited South Ossetia for the first time since the war. He said a Russian base there was "a signal to those who periodically get idiotic plans in to their heads" -- clearly referring to Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, whom the Kremlin accuses of starting the war by launching the attack South Ossetia. Russia has ignored Western calls to withdraw its recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but has been unable to persuade other nation -- aside from Nicaragua -- to follow its lead. Underscoring the global dispute over the separatist provinces, Russia forced a 15-year-old U.N. observer mission out of Abkhazia by vetoing a U.N. Security Council proposal to extend its mandate. The last of 130 observers left Abkhazia's main city, Sukhumi, on Wednesday, a mission official told The Associated Press that. He spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

DTN News: Germany, Russia Hold Traditional Dialog Forum In Munich

DTN News: Germany, Russia Hold Traditional Dialog Forum In Munich *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) MUNICH, Germany - July 17, 2009: Politicians, business leaders and civil society experts from Germany and Russia are meeting in Munich for the "Petersburg Dialog," a key semi-annual event meant to strengthen ties between the two countries. Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev are welcomed by traditional Bavarian shooters during a reception at the Munich residence July 16, 2009. Medvedev and Merkel participate in Russian-German high-level consultations, the so called "Petersburg Dialogue". The talks this time are dominated by the global financial crisis that has hit the economies of both Germany and Russia. Under the motto, "Ways out of the Crisis," the three-day meeting in the southern German city will bring together trade and industry representatives from both countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also meet Russian President Dimitry Medvedev on Thursday on the sidelines of the talks. Speaking at the opening of the event in Munich on Wednesday, Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer said his state had a strong interest in good relations between Germany and Russia because a third of all German companies active in Russia are from Bavaria. Germany is Russia's single biggest trading partner with bilateral turnover amounting to around 43 billion euros ($60 billion) last year. Some 4,600 German firms have subsidiaries in Russia. "The crisis makes us realize how important close cooperation between both countries is. And I think, in future we need even closer cooperation," Seehofer said. "Towards that purpose, we've created an excellent basis for trust and mutual respect in the past years." "A new chapter of cooperation" Much of the work of the so-called "Petersburg Dialog" is done in eight working groups across the fields of politics, business, civil society and media. The groups bring together nearly 200 representatives from Russia and Germany. They provide impulses and ideas for projects as varied as a German-Russian youth exchange program to creating a network of experts to fight infectious diseases in both countries. The Petersburg dialogue was first launched six years ago by former Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. It's meant as an open discussion forum to lend new impetus to German-Russian relations in a wide range of sectors - from economics and politics to education and science, cultural relations and religion. The talks are supported by both political and private-sector foundations and private businesses in Germany and in Russia, as well as the two governments. "The Petersburg Dialog is a very good and illuminating example of what trust can achieve," Lothar de Maiziere, chairman of the dialog forum, told Deutsche Welle. "The core of the German-Russian partnership is the cooperation in areas where our common future is decided. Namely, in questions of upholding the law, education and science, the health sector and in making effective use of energy resources," de Maiziere said. "The new dialog should thus open a new chapter of cooperation between Russians and Germans." Civilian dialog the most important But the Petersburg Dialog, which is held twice a year, hasn't always been smooth. In 2005, Germany criticized a law passed by then Russian President Putin that put up hurdles for non-government organizations in the country. And last September, the talks held in St Petersburg were strained by the Caucasus conflict in South Ossetia and Georgia. The short war prompted the European Union to put its negotiations with Russia over a new Cooperation and Partnership Agreement on ice. In such times, according to Dmitrij Suslow from the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, a Russian think-tank, civilian dialogue is even more necessary given that government contacts can become strained. "The civilian dialog - between companies, scientists, journalists, human right activists -- allows both sides to make their points," Suslow told Deutsche Welle. "Without this civil dialog, Russia would not be understood in Europe and will be continued to see as a danger - as a stirring Russian bear."

DTN News: Russia ~ New Bulava Missile Test Fails

DTN News: Russia ~ New Bulava Missile Test Fails
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - July 17, 2009: Russia's latest test of its advanced submarine-launched ballistic missile Bulava has failed, with the missile self-destructing, the Defense Ministry said Thursday — another setback for the nation's efforts to upgrade its aging arsenal. The failure was the seventh in 11 test launches for the Bulava, and could have consequences for Russia's top missile designers and missile force commanders. The Defense Ministry said in a statement that the missile was fired Wednesday from the submarine Dmitry Donskoi, but its first-stage malfunctioned and the weapon self-destructed. No other information was released. Russian forces earlier this week conducted two successful tests of another less-advanced missile, the Sineva. Military analysts, however, had been closely watching for the latest, long-promised test of the Bulava. Defense Ministry officials had suggested a test was likely on Wednesday. However, there was no announcement of any sort that day, stoking speculation that the missile had again failed. "Another failure would certainly provoke a serious soul searching in Russia," Pavel Podvig, a well-known analyst of Russia's missile forces, wrote in his blog on Wednesday. "It is probably too late to shut the program down, but the fact that the industry is not able to get the missile to fly ... is quite worrying." Despite the failures, Russian leaders have boasted about the Bulava's capability to penetrate missile defenses and described it as a key part of the military's future nuclear arsenal. Military commentator Alexander Golts said the failure was due to the fact that top government and military leaders were rushing to upgrade the aging-Soviet arsenal to keep up with the U.S.' technological advances. He said missile designers skipped crucial steps in the testing process, such as running tests on land, instead of going straight to maritime conditions. He also noted that the Bulava is the first missile to be designed and manufactured in post-Soviet Russia. That means that many of the research institutes and scientists who worked closely under the Soviet military industrial complex have withered away, for lack of government funding. "The system disappeared, and they've had to build the system from scratch, and therefore serious failures," he said. Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who is overseeing efforts to upgrade some of Russia's military capabilities, was quoted last month as saying that the Bulava would have to undergo many more tests before being commissioned into use. Ivanov also blamed the failures on manufacturing flaws, saying that it's difficult to control the quality of all parts supplied by the 650 subcontractors involved.

DTN News: Blaming The U.S. For The Iranian Plane Crash

DTN News: Blaming The U.S. For The Iranian Plane Crash *Source: DTN News / The Majlis By Gregg Carlstrom (Click here for link) (NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN, Iran - July 17, 2009: One more thought on (July 15) today's tragic plane crash in Iran which left 168 people dead. The proximate cause of the crash was probably poor aircraft maintenance, though we won't be sure until Iran's transport ministry finishes an investigation. But I think you can argue that the ultimate cause of the crash is U.S. economic sanctions. A police helicopter takes off from the site of a Tupolev Tu-154 passenger plane crash near Janatabad, 150 km (93 miles) west of Tehran July 15, 2009. The Caspian Airlines aircraft crashed in Iran on Wednesday on its way to Armenia, after catching fire mid-air and ploughing into farmland killing all 168 people on board just 16 minutes after take-off. Iran is prohibited from buying aircraft or spare parts from Boeing. It also can't buy European-made Airbus aircraft, because about 40 percent of their parts are manufactured in the U.S. So Iran is forced to buy aging Russian aircraft with questionable safety records. (This is perhaps why Aeroflot, the largest airline in Russia, flies mostly Airbus and Boeing planes?) The result is an Iranian airline industry with a horrific safety record -- at least 60 fatal accidents since the 1979 revolution. The U.S. airline industry, which flies far more routes every year, has had about 40 during that time period, according to my unofficial count. It is impossible to justify economic sanctions that prevent Iranian airlines from buying needed spare parts for their planes. They put millions of Iranians at risk of a deadly plane crash; they do nothing to pressure the Iranian government. Iran's transport minister made this argument, prophetically, just a few months ago; the Iranian government raised similar complaints after a deadly crash in 2002.

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded $68 Million Contract To Support The U.S. Air Force’s Air Defense Mission

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded $68 Million Contract To Support The U.S. Air Force’s Air Defense Mission
*Source: DTN News / General Dynamics
(NSI News Source Info) FAIRFAX, Va. - July 17, 2009: General Dynamics Information Technology, a business unit of General Dynamics, has been awarded a contract by the Defense Information Technology Contracting Office to support the U.S. Air Force Air Defense Communications Service 2 program. The contract covers one base year with four option years and has a total potential value of $67.7 million if all options are exercised. General Dynamics will provide around-the-clock operations and maintenance support for three Battle Control Centers and an Air Operations Center located in Rome, N.Y.; Panama City, Fla.; Tacoma, Wash.; and Anchorage, Alaska; and program management and engineering services for associated facilities worldwide. In addition, General Dynamics will serve as the single system manager for communications systems supporting the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s air sovereignty mission by developing, integrating and maintaining mission systems at the control centers and more than 150 remote site locations.
“General Dynamics will continue to support the U.S. Air Force by maintaining existing systems and through integration of current technology solutions for the United States’ air defense network,” said Charlie Plummer, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Information Technology’s Air Force IT Solutions sector. “General Dynamics’ successful 25-year relationship with the customer and the program will allow us to provide comprehensive support on the extremely critical mission of securing the United States from potential threats.”
As a trusted systems integrator for more than 50 years, General Dynamics Information Technology provides information technology (IT), systems engineering and professional services to customers in the defense, intelligence, homeland security, federal civilian government and commercial sectors. With approximately 16,000 professionals worldwide, the company manages large-scale, mission-critical IT programs delivering IT services and enterprise solutions. More information about General Dynamics Information Technology is available at General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 92,900 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies. More information about General Dynamics is available online at

DTN News: Lockheed Martin To Upgrade U.S. Navy Submarine Communication Mast Antenna Systems

DTN News: Lockheed Martin To Upgrade U.S. Navy Submarine Communication Mast Antenna Systems *Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin (NSI News Source Info) MARION, MA, - July 17, 2009: Lockheed Martin, in a joint venture with Granite State Manufacturing (GSM), received a $6.9 million contract from the U.S. Navy to design, test and manufacture an upgraded Multifunction Mast Antenna System to improve submarine communications. Currently, all U.S. Navy submarines operating at periscope depth, including the new Virginia-class attack submarines, use the antenna system as their primary method to communicate with aircraft, surface ships and land-based assets. The system – designated the OE-538 – provides high performance, erectable mast-mounted communication and navigation capabilities. The upgraded OE-538/BRC Multifunction Mast Antenna System will provide submarine communications with improved performance in the UHF signal band. It also will add LINK 16, Iridium and Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) UHF satellite communications capabilities, while maintaining performance in legacy bands. Lockheed Martin expects to upgrade and return to the fleet at least 12 systems per year over six years. If all options are exercised, the cumulative value of the contract is estimated at $57.6 million. “Lockheed Martin has provided more than 90 OE-538 systems for the U.S. and allied navies since 1989,” said Joe Rappisi, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Marion-based business. “This upgrade ensures compatibility with new satellites and evolving communication systems to ensure that submarine forces will remain connected to the global information grid.” GSM, of Manchester, NH, is a highly specialized organization, combining value engineering, program management and in-house state of the art production facilities. GSM offers a full range of manufacturing services including precision machining, metal fabrication, welding, soldering, mechanical assembly, electrical assembly and testing. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.

DTN News: ANSAT - Through All Russia And Back

DTN News: ANSAT - Through All Russia And Back
*Source: DTN News / Kazan Helicopters
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - July 17, 2009: June, 11, 2009 test flight on territory of Russia by easy multi-purpose helicopters ANSAT of development of JSC Kazan helicopter plant and Ка-226 development of Open Society Kamov, begun in May, 12 this year was finished. The customer of helicopters - the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation - thus has decided to test them in various climatic zones. Both helicopters with take-off weight up to 3,5 ton, about 9 passengers are capable to transport, meet the requirements of the customer as, in comparison with legendary "eight" (Мi-8/17), are more economic for transportation of a small amount of passengers and a cargo.
The route of flight began from Ioshkar Ola, wherefrom helicopters have started to Moscow where ANSAT has had time to participate in a helicopter exhibition "HeliRussia-2009", having landed directly in territory of expocentre Crocus Expo.
Further helicopters have flown to Makhachkala, and then to Stavropol, wherefrom have returned to Ioshkar Ola. General extent of a route of flights has made about 6000 kms. On intermediate bases both helicopters on several days ran in mountain conditions and on plains where weather conditions cardinally differ. Only so it was possible to confirm and specify operational characteristics of new helicopter ANSAT.
From the Kazan helicopter plant flights the group technical and flying accompanied with supports: conducting engineer Hasanzjanov Azat Anvarovich, the pilot - verifier Moiseev Arcady Konstantinovich, the engineer Gimatov Vazih Gazizovich, the aircraft technicians Sulejmanov Ajrat Marsovich and Ishakov Il'shat Il'jasovich, and the mechanic Zaharov Andrey Borisovich.Extensive "the technical first-aid set" expert command appeared superfluous, and for all time of a way it was not necessary to take advantage of it never.
On results of tests helicopter ANSAT has shown excellent results of flights in mountains: it has confirmed the characteristics of the charge of fuel, average range of flight with standard refuelling, reliability CCS (a complex control system), sat and flied up at heights 2800 - 3000 m.
All time of flight ANSAT was piloted by two skilled pilots of public service.
The machine has liked both. They have noted its good maneuverability caused in rather small take-off weight, presence of two powerful engines and "rigid" rubber- plastic cartridges of bearing screw. In their opinion, the convenient control panel and a comfortable cabin of pilots are executed in view of modern ergonomic requirements. Both pilots also highly have estimated reliability of a digital electro remote control system and system of the electronic indication executed by a principle "glass cabin", without uniform pointer device.
ANSAT has effectively shown changes and a maneuverability during demonstration flights for federal services and the president of republic Dagestan. The helicopter has liked representatives of republic, some of them have expressed desire to get ANSAT.
June, 1 onboard the helicopter has made flight the president of republic Dagestan Muhu Aliev, which also has remained it is pleased with helicopter. Experts of boundary service of Russia ANSAT was as highly it is appreciated in one of demonstration flights in Caspian sea - during prosecution of poachers. The boat leaves from ANSAT could not, and the crew of the helicopter has quickly made a circle above pursued and has compelled them to stop.
In the helicopters similar ANSAT, the Russian frontier guards and aviation structures of Russia for a long time require: by this machine it is easy to carry out the control of gas mains to conduct supervision over large forests, to patrol borders and roads. Average operation of helicopter ANSAT provides transportation of 2-3 passengers.
But at service necessity transportation of group of passengers up to 10 person or cargoes up to 1 ton is possible. And the economy under the charge of fuel, by calculations of the expert of one Russia from public services, reaches 140 thousand liters per one year, in comparison with Ми-8 (at weekly use in this service on 2 flights with a raid 2-2,5 hours).
Kazan helicopter plant, JSC is the manufacturer of helicopters of family Mi-8/Mi-17, Ansat. High reliability, unpretentiousness, safety and simplicity in service - the basic qualities of production of a plant. The enterprise is certificated for manufacture and repair of all helicopters of family Mi-8/Mi-17, and also for development of civil helicopters. The educational centre of a factory is certificated for training and conversion training ground and the flying personnel. Let out helicopters are provided with free-of-charge servicing all warranty period of operation. The plant provides warranty service of all put helicopters.
Russian Helicopters, JSC is an affiliated company of UIC Oboronprom. It is the managing body of the following helicopter industry enterprises: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, Kamov, Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, Kazan Helicopters, Rostvertol, Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company, Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise, Vpered Moscow Machine-Building Plant, Stupino Machine Production Plant, Reductor-PM and Helicopter Service Company (VSK).

DTN News: Boeing, Panama's Copa Airlines Announce Order For 13 737-800s

DTN News: Boeing, Panama's Copa Airlines Announce Order For 13 737-800s
*Source: DTN News / Boeing Company (NSI News Source Info) PANAMA CITY - July 17, 2009: Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Copa Airlines yesterday announced an order by the Panamanian airline for 13 Boeing 737-800 airplanes, plus options for an additional eight. The order represents a mixture of option conversions and new orders and brings to 27 the number of Boeing Next-Generation 737s the airline has on order. Boeing and Copa Airlines today announced an order by the Panamanian airline for 13 Boeing 737-800 airplanes, plus options for an additional eight. The airline’s order represents a mixture of option conversions and new orders and brings to 27 the number of Boeing Next-Generation 737s the airline has on order. A Boeing 737-800 with blended winglets is depicted here flying in Copa’s livery. Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Carson and Copa Chief Executive Officer Pedro Heilbron announced the order during a ceremony today in Panama City. Panama President Ricardo Martinelli and Rafael Barcenas, Director General of the Panama Civil Aeronautics Authority, presided over the event, with other government officials in attendance. "Copa Airlines continues to be successful in a very challenging economic environment through the use of the latest in commercial aviation technology," Carson said during the ceremony. "With this order, Copa will be one of the early beneficiaries of Boeing's recently unveiled 737 performance improvement package." The airplanes also will be outfitted with Boeing's signature Sky Interior. Drawing from years of research used to design the interior for the 787 Dreamliner, the 737 Boeing Sky Interior features new, 787-style sculpted sidewalls and window reveals that provide passengers with a greater connection to the flying experience. "The Boeing 737s have been a major factor in Copa's success, providing us with operating and cost efficiencies, and enabling us to offer our passengers world-class service and an extensive route network throughout Latin America," said Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines. "This aircraft order reaffirms our confidence in our business model and the growth potential of Latin American aviation." Copa was the first carrier in the Americas to incorporate blended winglets on its 737s. All of its Next-Generation 737s use the distinctive curved wing ends, which improve fuel efficiency and lift while reducing engine wear and carbon dioxide emissions. Copa also was the first in the region to order Next-Generation 737s with the Vertical Situation Display system, which provides pilots with an easy-to-understand flight-path view. Copa operates from Tocumen International Airport, a time-saving hub on long routes between the United States, South and Central America, and the Caribbean. The airline flies four of the world's longest 737 routes from there - to Buenos Aires, Santiago, Sao Paulo and Los Angeles - thanks to the 737-800's exceptional range. The Next-Generation 737 is the newest and most technologically advanced airplane in its class. It flies higher, faster and farther than previous models and competitors. In addition, its flight deck features the latest liquid-crystal flat-panel displays and is designed to accommodate new communications and flight-management capabilities.

DTN News: Boeing Signs 4-Satellite Contract With Intelsat

DTN News: Boeing Signs 4-Satellite Contract With Intelsat
*1st Order for Boeing 702B Satellite Design
*Source: DTN News / Boeing Company (NSI News Source Info) SEGUNDO, Calif., - July 17, 2009: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] yesterday announced that Intelsat Ltd., the world's leading provider of fixed satellite services, has selected Boeing to build four telecommunication satellites that will refresh and add new capacity to Intelsat's global satellite fleet. This contract is the first order for Boeing's 702B satellite series. Financial details were not disclosed. Boeing has been chosen to build four 702B satellites for Intelsat Ltd. The contract marks the first order for the Boeing 702B satellite, pictured here in an artist's rendering. The 702B continues the technical and flight heritage of the Boeing 702 family and enables Boeing to expand its product offerings to include flexible, modular satellites that operate in the 6- to 12-kilowatt power range. These satellites will distribute video, network and voice services from Asia and Africa to the Americas and Europe. The 702B, an evolution of the Boeing 702 satellite, offers satellite operators a spacecraft that operates in the medium-level power ranges, with six to 12 kilowatts of onboard power and a more flexible, modular design that maintains the spacecraft's advanced technologies. "We've been developing this variant of our Boeing 702 satellite for more than four years, incorporating low-risk, proven technologies that differentiate the Boeing 702B from our competitors' spacecraft, while providing the flexibility needed to accommodate a large variety of commercial and government satellite requirements," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "We're extremely proud of the increased value this design can offer our customers. Using our Lean manufacturing processes, this new addition to the Boeing 702 family is also easier to manufacture and assemble, resulting in a high-quality, affordable product." "Intelsat has stringent specifications for satellite procurements. When choosing manufacturers, we examine spacecraft reliability, the use of flight-proven technologies and ability to deliver on time under our proven system test requirements," said Ken Lee, Intelsat senior vice president, Space Systems. "During our nearly five decades of space heritage, Boeing has delivered 33 satellites to Intelsat. We are pleased to continue our relationship with the addition of these four spacecraft." Under the contract, the four Boeing-built geostationary satellites, Intelsat 21, Intelsat 22, and two spacecraft yet to be named, will offer C- and Ku-band capacity optimized to distribute video, network and voice services from Asia and Africa to the Americas and Europe. In April, Intelsat announced its IS-22 satellite will include an Ultra-High Frequency government-hosted payload that will serve the Australian Defence Force. Intelsat is the leading provider of fixed satellite services worldwide. For more than 40 years, Intelsat has been delivering information and entertainment for many of the world's leading media and network companies, multinational corporations, Internet service providers and governmental agencies. Intelsat's satellite, teleport and fiber infrastructure is unmatched in the industry, setting the standard for transmissions of video, data and voice services. From the globalization of content and the proliferation of HD, to the expansion of cellular networks and broadband access, with Intelsat, advanced communications anywhere in the world are closer, by far. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.