Wednesday, August 05, 2009

DTN News: Japan's Cyberdyne Shows Of New Robot Suit In Tokyo

DTN News: Japan's Cyberdyne Shows Of New Robot Suit In Tokyo
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) TOKYO, Japan - August 5, 2009: Employees of a Japanese robotics company have been showing off a rehabilitation suit designed to help people with mobility problems on the streets of downtown Tokyo.
A Japanese company has unveiled a robotic suit that is designed to help people with weak limbs or limited physical range to walk and move like an able-bodied person. People with disabilities can hire the suit at a cost of Y220,000 (£1,370) per month.
Cyberdyne said its 10 kilogram HAL—short for hybrid assistive limb—is equipped with sensors that read brain signals directing limb movement through the skin.Wearing HAL, the three people took an hour-long train ride Monday from Tsukuba, north of the Japanese capital, to downtown Tokyo.
“HAL is to help people with weak leg muscles and mobility problems ... We wanted to show HAL is very useful for our daily life,” said company official Takatoshi Kuno.Belted to the waist, HAL relays brain signals to mechanical leg braces strapped to the thighs and knees, which then provide robotic assistance to people with weak limbs.
HAL comes in three sizes—small, medium and large—and has a one-leg version for a 150,000 yen monthly rental fee, while a two-leg unit goes for 220,000 yen a month. It was unclear when HAL would go on sale to the public or what the price tag will be.
The robotics company declined to say how much it cost to manufacture HAL.
Cyberdyne said the United States and some European nations have expressed interest, but it did not elaborate further.
HAL may have far-reaching benefits for the disabled and elderly. Japan is grappling with a rapidly aging society. About one-fifth of the population of 128 million is 65 or older, and that figure is expected to double in the next 30 years.

DTN News: Singapore TODAY August 5, 2009 ~ One In Five Arrested For Loanshark Activities Aged Between 7 And 19

DTN News: Singapore TODAY August 5, 2009 ~ One In Five Arrested For Loanshark Activities Aged Between 7 And 19
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - August 5, 2009: According to mid—year crime statistics, one in five persons arrested for loanshark activities for the first half of the year were aged between seven and 19. In the period between January and June, police nabbed 417 persons for loanshark and harassment activities. Among them, 81 were youths. Police said Wednesday youths are involved in unlicensed money lending activities to make a quick buck and many of them were referred to work for loansharks by friends. Police said it will continue to work with schools to prevent youths from being lured and recruited by loanshark syndicates. Petty crime cases were up by 2.5 per cent to 10,280 cases between January and June, and Police said this could be due to the current economic downturn. The overall crime rate in Singapore went down by 1.3 per cent in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year. Latest figures show that robbery cases went down by 23.7 per cent year—on—year to 379 cases, while commercial crimes fell by 5.8 per cent to 1,684 cases.

DTN News: Complementary Operations Improve Afghan, Pakistan Border

DTN News: Complementary Operations Improve Afghan, Pakistan Border
*Source: DTN News / American Forces Press Service By John J. Kruzel
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - August 5, 2009: Insurgent activity across the Afghanistan and Pakistan borders has declined as a result of complementary operations in the region, a U.S. commander said today. U.S. Army soldiers from Gator Company, 2-12 Infantry, 4th Brigade run for cover from small arms fire following an attack on a transport convoy in the Pesh Valley in Afghanistan's Kunar Province August 4, 2009. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Army Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 82, which oversees Regional Command East in Afghanistan, noted the reduction in areas of his command.
“We have seen a decrease in the cross-border activity throughout [Regional Command East] as a result of the operation [in Pakistan],” he said, referring to the Pakistani army’s offensive against militants along its border region in recent months. The general said the most noticeable decline has occurred in Kunar province, where coalition and Afghan operations complemented Pakistani efforts across the border.
“There were not only the operations in Pakistan, but on our side as well, and it did have an impact of our enemies’ ability to move fighters across the border,” he added. One of the key features of the so-called “Af-Pak” policy that President Barack Obama’s administration rolled out in March was to broaden the operation in Afghanistan to include Pakistan.
U.S. officials in June praised the Pakistani military’s initiative against extremists within their borders as a reflection of Pakistan’s belief that the insurgents represent a major threat to the country.
Scaparrotti said that, after his top priority of protecting Afghan civilians, his next major priority is to build the Afghan National Security Forces -- another key component laid out in the president’s strategy. The general said that partnering between coalition and Afghan forces is uneven throughout Regional Command East, with some areas boasting stronger partnerships than others.
To shore up weaker bonds in some parts of the region, Scaparrotti said there will be a focus on collocating forces where feasible. “A partnership, to me, means that we, in every case that we can, collocate, particularly at headquarters level,” he explained. ”We do that already in many areas, but not all. We obviously operate together continuously,” he said.
The general added that a greater emphasis will be placed on cooperation at the planning phase, noting that he and his Afghan counterparts just wrapped up a two-day conference that covered issues related to increasing the partnership.
“So as we develop our plans, execute our operations and consider both the threat and security of the people; we’ve got to get together in a greater way than we’re doing it today,” he said. “It’s pretty good, but I believe we can do it even better.”

DTN News: Caesar 155mm Cannons Arrived In Afghanistan To Aid French Troops

DTN News: Caesar 155mm Cannons Arrived In Afghanistan To Aid French Troops
*Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - August 5, 2009: A first batch of three Caesar 155mm cannons arrived at Kabul airport Aug. 1, marking a first operational deployment of the truck-mounted artillery, according to the Web site of the French chief of the Defense Staff. The Caesar truck-mounted artillery system is a 155mm 52-calibre self-propelled gun developed by Nexter Systems (formerly Giat), based in Versailles, in cooperation with Lohr Industrie of Hangenbieten, France. An initial five systems were ordered by the French Army and were delivered in June 2003 for technical and operational evaluation. In December 2004, Giat was awarded a contract for 72 Caesar systems to equip eight land artillery batteries of the French Army, to replace towed TRF1 systems. "These artillery pieces are intended to deliver fire support from forward operating bases during operations undertaken by the joint tactical battalion at Kapisa and the French battalion at Surobi," the Web site posting said. The guns are part of the French Army's drive to boost firepower in the Afghan theater, as the insurgency has intensified and claimed more lives. A video clip on the Web site showed the Caesar cannons being driven down the ramp of an Antonov 124 transporter and out of the airport to Camp Warehouse, the main NATO base in the capital, where they will be dispatched into the field after a few days. The video was produced by the ECPAD, the Defense Ministry's audiovisual production arm. The guns are operated by the 3rd marine artillery regiment, based in Canjuers, southern France. A total eight Caesar 155mm 52-caliber guns, built by Nexter Systems, will be deployed in Afghanistan, boosting the firepower of the French Army, which up to now has had 120mm mortars as its heaviest pieces. On Aug. 1, a French soldier died in an insurgent ambush, bringing the total of French Army fatalities to 29 since deployment in 2001 as part of the NATO-led multinational operation. Three French Army Tiger attack helicopters arrived in Kabul July 26, also flown in by Antonov, as part the effort to support ground troops.

DTN News: Pentagon Plans Speeding Up 'Bunker Buster' Bomb

DTN News: Pentagon Plans Speeding Up 'Bunker Buster' Bomb
*Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - August 5, 2009: The U.S. Defense Department said Aug. 3 that it wants to speed up production plans for an enormous "bunker buster" bomb, amid international concern over underground nuclear sites in Iran and North Korea. The Pentagon has asked Congress for extra money to ensure that the massive ordinance penetrator (MOP) would be ready by July 2010, spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters. "The department has asked for reprogramming of about 68 million dollars to start production for some of these in 2009," Whitman said. "This will help it accelerate some if it's approved." The weapon, weighing in at 30,000 pounds (13,600 kilograms) and carrying 5,300 pounds (2,400 kilograms) of explosives, would be delivered by the radar-evading B-2 Stealth bomber. The MOP is seen as a potential weapon against nuclear facilities in Iran and North Korea that are mostly buried underground. Washington has demanded that both countries abandon their nuclear programs and has refused to rule out possible military action. Whitman declined to say why the military wanted to accelerate production or whether the move was designed to pile pressure on Iran. He said the Pentagon since 2004 had been looking at developing weapons "that would allow us to go after more hardened, more deeply buried targets." He mentioned that Pyongyang has sought to conceal its nuclear activities. "One of the ways you hide is by going underground" and fortifying sites, he said. Boeing builds the MOP, which could become the biggest conventional bomb ever used by the U.S. military. During a visit to the Middle East last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that Washington's diplomatic outreach to Iran was not open-ended and said Tehran had until September to respond or else face tougher sanctions. Many in the international community, including the U.S. and Israel, widely considered the Middle East's sole - if undeclared - nuclear power, suspect Iran is trying to develop atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program, a charge Tehran has denied. Tensions on the Korean peninsula meanwhile have soared following Pyongyang's recent missile and nuclear tests, which resulted in tougher U.N. sanctions and a renewed standoff with the U.S.

DTN News: Uighur Accuses China Of Inflaming Ethnic Tension

DTN News: Uighur Accuses China Of Inflaming Ethnic Tension
*Source: DTN News / AP (NSI News Source Info) MELBOURNE, Australia - August 5, 2009: China is inflaming ethnic tensions by deceiving its own people about last month's deadly riots in western Xinjiang province, an exiled Uighur activist whom Beijing blames for the unrest said Wednesday. Exiled Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer speaks to a media round table in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009, after arriving in the country for the screening of a documentary about her life at the Melbourne International Film Festival. China has accused Kadeer of fomenting the recent ethnic unrest in Xinjiang's capital of Urumqi and had asked Australia to refuse her a visa. (AP Photo/David Crosling) Rebiya Kadeer, a U.S.-based activist who is in Australia for the screening of a documentary about her life, told reporters that Beijing should be held accountable for the violent crackdown. "The Chinese people should be very careful with the Chinese government's versions of the events and the ways and means the Chinese government employ ... to deceive, to some extent, the Chinese people, to create this kind of terrible relationship between two groups," Kadeer said. China says 197 people were killed and more than 1,700 injured during the July 5 clashes between the Muslim Uighur minority and members of China's dominant Han ethnic group. The rioting in Xinjiang province's capital of Urumqi was the worst ethnic violence in China in decades. Beijing blames Kadeer, 62, for instigating the unrest, a charge she denies. The violence broke out after police stopped an initially peaceful protest by Uighur youths. Uighurs then smashed windows, burned cars and attacked Han Chinese. Two days later, the Han took to the streets and staged retaliatory attacks. Kadeer accuses Chinese forces of opening fire on the protesters and then diverting attention from their actions by blaming the violence on an ethnic clash. She has called for an international investigation into the violence to determine how many people died and were arrested. Chinese state media said Tuesday that 83 people had been arrested on charges including murder and arson. Kadeer's attendance at the Melbourne International Film Festival is the source of some controversy, as China had requested that Australia deny her a visa and had asked the festival to drop her movie from the program. "The 10 Conditions of Love," by Australian filmmaker Jeff Daniels, will be screened on Saturday. Seven Chinese-language films were withdrawn from the festival in protest.

DTN News: New Inertial Measurement Unit Gives Raytheon's Excalibur Ia Increased Reliability

DTN News: New Inertial Measurement Unit Gives Raytheon's Excalibur Ia Increased Reliability
*Raytheon resumes immediate production of the Excalibur Ia-1
*Source: DTN News / Raytheon Company (NSI News Source Info) YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz., - August 5, 2009: Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) fired nine Excalibur Ia-1 precision-guided projectiles from a Paladin gun system. The test validates the increased reliability of the projectile's new Atlantic Inertial Systems inertial measurement unit (AIS IMU). Using the new IMU, Raytheon achieved a 100 percent success rate. The M109 is an American-made self-propelled 155 mm howitzer, first introduced in the early 1960s. It has been continually upgraded and improved to today's current version, the M109A6 Paladin, currently only used by the United States Army. The U.S. still maintains a number of M109A5s in its forces. The M109 family is the most prevalent Western indirect-fire support weapon of maneuver brigades of armored and mechanized infantry divisions. "Excalibur Ia-1 is an extraordinarily capable weapon," said Steve Bennett, Raytheon's Excalibur program director. "In an effort to provide ever-increasing performance and to meet changing operational requirements, we needed an IMU that met Excalibur's stringent standards." Excalibur Ia-1 tests using the new AIS IMU began 10 months ago and have consistently demonstrated increased precision with an average impact distance of less than 2 meters (about 6 1/2 feet) from the target. These tests clear the way for Raytheon to resume immediate production of Excalibur Ia-1. "We look forward to providing the warfighter increased quantities of precision Excalibur rounds," said Lt. Col. Mike Milner, U.S. Army Excalibur product manager. "Soldiers and Marines welcome the continued deliveries as Excalibur is critical to the success of their combat operations." Raytheon continues thorough testing of all its Excalibur variants. Excalibur increment Ia-2 testing demonstrated better than 5 meter (slightly more than 16 feet) accuracy. "We've got to start thinking of precision in a whole new way," said Jim Riley, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of Land Combat. "We're used to thinking in terms of the circular error of probability, but precision is the way of the future. CEP doesn't limit collateral damage, nor does it keep our warfighters safe. Excalibur's proven precision is not only effective, it's essential for the protection of combat forces and civilians." Excalibur Ia-1 has a unique guidance logic that acts as a built-in safety feature. The weapon will not arm itself unless the guidance logic determines it will impact the intended target. If the intended target cannot be hit, Excalibur rounds fly to a predetermined safe impact point. 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: EADS North America’s LUH Platform Meets Key U.S. Army Armed Aerial Scout Performance Requirement

DTN News: EADS North America’s LUH Platform Meets Key U.S. Army Armed Aerial Scout Performance Requirement *Flight testing validates aircraft’s high/hot hover, endurance and controllability with 2,300-pound payload *Source: DTN News / EADS North America (NSI News Source Info) Arlington, Virginia, and Alamosa, Colorado, - August 5, 2009: EADS North America on July 29, announced it has completed a series of successful “high/hot” flight demonstrations of its UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) platform. The UH-72A Lakota is the United States Army's new light utility helicopter. The UH-72A Lakota helicopters are being acquired to replace the UH-1H Iroquois and OH-58 A/C Kiowa helicopters. They will serve with the US Army mainly for logistics and support missions within the USA and also with the Army National Guard for homeland security and disaster-response missions. The prime contractor for the UH-72A is EADS North America. A contract valued at $43.1m was awarded to EADS North America in June 2006 for an initial number of eight helicopters. The Army took delivery of the first UH-72A Lakota in December 2006 and deliveries of the initial eight were completed in July 2007. An additional 34 helicopters were ordered in October 2006 to be delivered by late 2008.* These flights proved that the UH-72A platform, currently being delivered by EADS North America to the U.S. Army, is able to meet the service’s demanding high altitude/high temperature mission profiles — for both current and future armed aerial scout operations — even in the world’s most challenging combat environments. Operating from Alamosa, Colo. with a takeoff elevation of more than 7,500 feet and carrying a simulated 2,300-pound Mission Equipment Package (MEP), the Lakota platform (to be known as the Armed Scout 645 once missionized) successfully hovered-out-of-ground-effect (HOGE) at a density altitude of 6,000 feet and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This requirement was included in the Army’s Sources Sought document issued in October 2008 and reflects the evolving armed aerial scout mission environments faced by U.S. forces operating in theaters such as Afghanistan. The demonstration flight not only validated the aircraft’s high/hot hover capability but also confirmed tail rotor authority and controllability with the simulated MEP payload in hover-out-of-ground-effect conditions. A subsequent flight with the simulated MEP payload validated the aircraft’s long-range endurance capability – completing a 2 hour, 30 minute flight with a 35-minute fuel reserve.“This series of successful flights with a Lakota platform clearly demonstrates our team’s ability to meet the Army’s demanding high and hot operational requirements with a full combat mission package. We did so with a platform that provides broad commonality to the successful UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter flying in the Army inventory today,” said David R. Oliver, EADS North America’s chief operating officer. “We are confident in the capabilities of both our product and team – and remain committed to meeting the Army’s urgent requirement to address this critical combat aviation mission.” On May 5, 2009, EADS North America unveiled the Armed Scout 645 offering for the Army’s armed aerial scout requirement and announced the selection of Lockheed Martin to provide the Mission Equipment Package. The Armed Scout 645 will be built at American Eurocopter’s Columbus, Miss. facility where the Army’s UH-72A Lakota is currently produced. The Army has ordered 128 Lakotas and plans to acquire a total of 345 UH-72As through 2016. In addition, five Light Utility Helicopters have been ordered by the U.S. Navy for pilot training at the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md. To date EADS North America has delivered 72 UH-72A Lakotas, all on or ahead of schedule. The UH-72A and Armed Scout 645 aircraft platforms are based on Eurocopter’s proven EC145 multi-role helicopter. The UH-72A Lakota fleet maintains an operational availability rate higher than 90 percent; underscoring the readiness of these rotary-wing aircraft to perform their varied assignments. See video footage of EADS North America’s high/hot flight demonstrations in Alamosa. Information about the Armed Scout 645 is available at: About EADS North America EADS North America is the North American operation of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $11 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 200,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. Operating in 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.

DTN News: North Korea Pardons US Journalists

DTN News: North Korea Pardons US Journalists *Source: DTN News / VOA By Jim Malone
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - August 5, 2009: North Korean state media reports that leader Kim Jong Il has pardoned two American journalists and ordered their release during a surprise visit by former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Word of the release came on a day when official Washington said little about Mr. Clinton's mission. North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il talks as former U.S. President Bill Clinton looks on in Pyongyang in this photo released by North Korean official news agency KCNA August 4, 2009. Clinton made a surprise visit to North Korea on Tuesday to try to win the release of two jailed American journalists, and met the country's reclusive leader Kim. Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea to secure the release of American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee. The two women were arrested in March for illegally crossing the border from China into North Korea. They were working on a story about refugees for Current TV, which was co-founded by Mr. Clinton's former vice president, Al Gore.
Throughout the day Tuesday, U.S. officials said little about Mr. Clinton's mission, describing the effort as private and sensitive.
Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs briefed reporters at the White House.
"I put out a statement that this was a private mission that we weren't going to comment on while the former president was on the ground in North Korea, and as a result of that I don't have anything more to add on this at this time," he said.
Reporters also pressed State Department spokesman Robert Wood to comment on the Clinton mission, but without success.
"I don't have anything I can add to it. The White House statement spoke for itself. At this point I don't have anything further on it, so you might want to save your questions," he said.
Mr. Clinton undertook his mission at a time of heightened tension between the United States and North Korea over its nuclear program. Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test in May and has also tested several ballistic missiles in recent months.
Since news of the Clinton mission to North Korea broke, there has been discussion among some experts and policy makers that the visit could set the stage for an improvement in U.S. relations with the government in Pyongyang. Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, spoke about that on NBC's Today program.
"You would expect that you would not send a former president knowing that he is not likely to be successful. From the family point of view of the young ladies, this is great news and maybe we can build upon this to do something better when it comes to nuclear weapons," he said.
Many analysts believe that Mr. Clinton would not have gone to North Korea without a reasonable expectation for success.
Juan Zarate worked on the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration and is now an expert on international threats at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
"If President Clinton returns without having secured their release, it would be a major problem for the Obama administration and I think it would be a problem for the North Koreans too. I think it would show that they are not acting in good faith. For that reason, President Clinton is probably thinking that this is going to be a successful mission," said Zarate.
Mr. Clinton is the second former U.S. president to visit North Korea. Former President Jimmy Carter led a mission in 1994 that eventually led to a breakthrough accord on North Korea's nuclear program.

DTN News: No Easy, Short Term Solutions For Somalia, Says Analyst

DTN News: No Easy, Short Term Solutions For Somalia, Says Analyst
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - August 5, 2009: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not visit Somalia on her Africa tour, but the situation there will be addressed. Mrs. Clinton is expected to meet with Somalia's president Thursday in Nairobi. Hardline Somali Islamist militants take position during a stand-off between them and government forces north of Mogadishu July 21, 2009. Intense fighting is making it increasingly difficult to deliver aid to Somalia, where it is crucial to combat cholera outbreaks and maintain food supplies, U.N. agencies said on Tuesday. The ongoing conflict between the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Islamist militias has created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. Daniel Volman, director of the African Security Research Project and a member of the board of directors of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars, spoke to VOA about where Somalia falls on Mrs. Clinton's list of priorities. "I'd say it's very much in the top three to five issues. She does have a lot of very important Africa-related issues on her agenda – oil, democracy, conflict, etc. – as well as her announced agenda of food security and promoting trade and investment and political reform," he says. How tough a problem to solve? "They're all really tough issues to solve. And I have to say I don't think that the Obama administration has a very good understanding of a lot of the complexities of these issues or of what needs to be done to solve them. But it's certainly one of the more complicated," he says. He blames that in part on the fact that the TFG actually controls very little of the country. Volman, who's an expert in security and military policy, says the Obama administration lacks a broad approach to Somalia, as have past US administrations. "President Obama himself and…most of his advisers, continue to believe that militaryinstruments…are, if not the best and preferable instruments for pursuing US policy, that they're really the only instruments that they have at hand…and need to rely on them," he says. Volman also disagrees with the current strategy of waging a global war on terrorism. "I think it makes absolutely no sense to define terrorism as a military issue and to try to use military instruments to deal with it," he says. But he says that policy affects how the US responds to Somalia, just as it does to Afghanistan. Available options "The primary principle that needs to be employed here is first do no harm. That in the rush to do something, they're making serious errors of judgment in the belief that they have to respond immediately,' he says. Volman says a longer term view and policy are needed for Somalia and warns against politicians basing decisions on election cycles and opinion polls. "This is a bipartisan problem in American foreign policy…. By rushing in to provide security assistance to the Transitional Federal Government…we delegitimize that government. We stigmatize it as an agent of American policy. We make it much more difficult for it to reach out and achieve any kind of broad-based political solutions," he says. He says the US needs to develop alternative approaches and instruments to these problems. "President Obama himself has spoken quite eloquently about the need to address these problems – to take a global approach – to use his phrase "transnational means," he says. Volman says such an approach means working through the African Union, the United Nations and other multi-lateral institutions. What the US can do Somali women displaced by violence protest lack of water near an IDP camp in Mogadishu on 20 Jul 2009"The United States government itself has to develop its own capacity to engage much more multi-laterally. Part of that is to develop the (US) Agency for International Development (USAID). Another part of that is to really push for serious reform at the United Nations and to do whatever it can to make the African Union a much more effective organization," he says. "Part of President Obama's problem is that the only instrument he has at his disposal is the Pentagon. He doesn't have an effective State Department because it's been denuded of its resources and its personnel. The (US) Agency for International Development is in even worse shape," he says. Many vacancies went unfilled during the past several years in what some critics have said was an attempt by the Bush administration to weaken the department in favor of the Pentagon. Long-term solution to Somalia could take a long time "It's going to take decades to solve these problems just as it took decades to create them. You have to take a long term view of how you're going to solve them. And there's no guarantee that you're going to solve them," he says. The Somalia conflict has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, while millions are in need of emergency food aid and other assistance.

DTN News: Russia In Talks On Buying French Warship

DTN News: Russia In Talks On Buying French Warship *Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - August 5, 2009: Russia is discussing the purchase of a French Mistral-class amphibious assault ship worth between 300 and 400 million euros ($430-580 mln), a high-ranking source close to the talks said Tuesday. The first of the Mistral amphibious assault ship (LHD) was commissioned in 2006. Two of these ships are in service with the French Navy, named Mistral and Tonnerre. The third ship will be ordered in 2009 and forth is planned. Primary mission for these ships are amphibious landing operations. They also provide command and force projection capability. The Mistral class vessels are the largest combatants in the French Navy service after the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. They replaced the Ouragan class LSDs. The new vessel uses four mechanized landing craft (LCM) or two hovercraft (LCAC) in the stern deck to deliver troops and vehicles ashore. It can carry a full tank battalion with up to 40 Leclerc MBTs, or up to 70 lighter vehicles. Ship provides accommodation for 450 marines, however surge capacity is 900. The Mistral class LHD has six helicopter landing spots. Up to 16 medium (NH90, Tigre) or 35 light helicopters can be carried and stored in the hangar deck. It is worth mentioning that every helicopter, operated by the French military, can land on these ships. Currently this class can not operate V/STOVL aircraft, as it has got no ski-jump bow associated equipment. Ships are equipped with 69-bed hospitals, furthermore hangar can also be converted into a modular field hospital. The Mistral class can be deployed as command and control vessels. Command center can host up to 150 personnel. Vessel is armed with two Simbad launchers for Mistral surface-to-air missiles and two 30-mm Breda-Mauser guns. The Mistral class uses new propulsion technology, which gives ships significant maneuvering capabilities. It is an all-electric warship. Power is generated by four diesel generators, providing 20.8 MW. These vessels have a range of 10 700 nautical miles (20 000 km) at 14 knots. "Such talks are being held at the level of experts; the Russian side is represented by the Navy, the United Shipbuilding Corporation, and plants' representatives. In September we will provide a final conclusion for the Russian Defense Ministry," the source told RIA Novosti. Earlier a French business daily, La Tribune, said Russia is planning to purchase a Mistral class assault ship from France. The purchase, if successful, would be the first large-scale arms import deal concluded by Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia first expressed an interest in bilateral cooperation with France in naval equipment and technology in 2008, when Navy chief Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky visited the Euronaval 2008 arms show in France. The admiral said at the time that the Russian Navy was interested in "joint research and also direct purchases of French naval equipment." According to military sources, the possibility of buying a Mistral class amphibious assault ship was discussed at the naval show in St. Petersburg in June this year. A Mistral class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 vehicles including 13 main battle tanks, and 450 soldiers. The ship is equipped with a 69-bed hospital. The Russian Kommersant business daily confirmed on Tuesday the possibility of the deal, but said Russian military experts were skeptical about it. "The Russian Navy lacks the means to finance even the production of corvettes and missile boats, let alone the purchase of large combat ships," the paper quoted Mikhail Barabanov, science editor of the Eksport Vooruzheny (Arms Export) journal, as saying. Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said "although the practice of arms imports will become more common in Russia in the future, the Mistral deal is rather questionable from a military standpoint, as well as Russia's hopes for the transfer of advanced technologies from France." Russia's current weapons procurement program through 2015 does not envision construction or purchases of large combat ships, so the possible acquisition of a French Mistral class ship is most likely to happen under the new program for the years up to 2020, which is still in the development.

DTN News: Dushanbe Four Takes On Afghan Issue

DTN News: Dushanbe Four Takes On Afghan Issue *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) DUSHANBE, Tajikistan - August 5, 2009: Judging by everything, Russia's permission to transport NATO and U.S. military cargoes via its air space has been only the beginning of the Kremlin's new policy in Afghanistan. This has been followed by the summit of the Dushanbe Four - the presidents of Russia, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Its importance should by no means be reduced to its official objective - to discuss electricity supplies from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. First and foremost, the summit demonstrates that on resolving the Afghan issue Moscow has ultimately abandoned its previous position of "let's wait and see how you do without us". This is a correct decision since it makes more sense to join the others and make money in the process. Furthermore, Moscow has supported Dushanbe's position on a new format for the discussion of the Afghan issue. It has done this appropriately - without disputing the authorship of the initiative or trying to become a co-author. President Dmitry Medvedev has come to appreciate the indisputable merits of the Dushanbe Four. The proposed format allows all of its participants to partake of the enormous cash flow earmarked by the wealthy part of the international community - G8, G20 and so on - for resolving the region's economic and social problems. Incidentally, the projects carried out jointly by Russia and Tajikistan, for instance CASA-1000 to build a regional power transmission line worth $680 million, is a good example of international crossborder projects. This line will make it possible to transfer electricity surplus to Kabul and north-western regions of Pakistan in summer time. But this is not the main point. Principally, the format of the Four will allow them to discuss all major regional problems - from developing economic cooperation to countering drug trafficking and terrorism, which are a headache for both Russia and Tajikistan. Afghanistan could benefit from contacts and cooperation with its eastern neighbor Pakistan. Kabul has been continuously raising the problem of the open border, which allows the Taliban to find refuge on the Pakistani side. This problem can also be resolved in the format of the Four. It goes without saying that Tajikistan is interested in creating the Dushanbe Four format, all the more so since Tehran, Dushanbe's traditional rival in Afghanistan, has already held two trilateral summits - Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan and Iran-Afghanistan-Tajikistan. Tehran's intentions are very clear. It wants to become the regional leader in resolving the Afghan issue, and for this reason the appearance of the Dushanbe Four has been good for Tajikistan. As for Pakistan, Islamabad has long expressed its readiness for closer cooperation with Moscow on resolving regional issues, particularly issues like Afghanistan. The only sensitive question that may come up is Islamabad's request to Moscow to supply the Pakistani army with helicopters, aircraft, and other hardware. Needless to say, such a request will be justified by the need to modernize the army and to counter new regional challenges. Finally, at the all-Afghan forum of the Afghan diaspora, Afghan MPs, politicians and experts have made a big step forward toward Russia. They stopped attributing the social crisis in Afghanistan to foreign factors, which traditionally included the Soviet involvement. In other words, they stopped linking all Afghan troubles to foreign influence and started looking for the main reasons behind them on the domestic scene. It was noted at the forum that the war in Afghanistan is putting regional cooperation to the top of the list of priorities, and that it is time Russia played a befitting role in this respect. Moscow has made an adequate response by supporting Dushanbe's initiative.

DTN News: Russian Company Develops Heavy UAV For military Use

DTN News: Russian Company Develops Heavy UAV For military Use
*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - August 5, 2009: Russia's Kronshtadt defense company has developed a new- generation heavy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for military purposes, a senior company official said on Tuesday. "The Kronshtadt engineers have developed a heavy Dozor-3 UAV with a lift-off weight of 600 kg and a payload of 100 kg, which could be used as a strike aircraft," said Viktor Godunov, member of the company's board of directors. "It can carry various types of reconnaissance equipment and weaponry," he added. The Russian military stressed the need to provide its Armed Forces with advanced means of battlefield reconnaissance in the wake of a brief military conflict with Georgia last August, when the effectiveness of Russian military operations was severely hampered by the lack of reliable intelligence. According to various estimates, the Russian military needs up to 100 UAVs and at least 10 guidance systems to ensure effective battlefield reconnaissance. At present, Russia's Vega Radio Engineering Corp. is the only domestic company which manufactures UAVs for the Russian Armed Forces. The company's new-generation Tipchak mobile aerial system has been designed for reconnaissance and target designation purposes on the battlefield in any weather conditions. The first Tipchak system was put in service at the end of 2008. Tipchak operates up to six UAVs launched from a pneumatic catapult. Each UAV has a range of 40 kilometers (25 miles) and a 3-hour endurance. It can provide targeting for artillery and theater-based ballistic missiles at distances up to 350 km (about 220 miles). The new Dozor-3 UAV takes off and lands as a regular aircraft, and has a 6-hour endurance. Russia Russia has also bought 12 unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel in a recent deal worth $53 million.

DTN News: North Korea Reissues Story Clinton Has Left

DTN News: North Korea Reissues Story Clinton Has Left
*Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) SEOUL, South Korea - August 5, 2009: North Korea's KCNA news agency reissued an earlier story on Wednesday saying that former U.S. President Bill Clinton had left the country. In this photo released by Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service in Tokyo, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, seated left, meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, seated right, in Pyonggyang, North Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009. Third from left, back row, is former White House chief of staff John Podesta, others are unidentified. Former US President Bill Clinton met Tuesday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on the first day of a surprise visit to Pyongyang, holding "exhaustive" talks that covered a wide range of topics, state-run media said. It had earlier withdrawn the story on its English language service, but gave no reason. The latest story was issued on both its English and Korean services. Clinton had flown to Pyongyang on Tuesday to secure the release of two jailed U.S. journalists. The North's leader Kim Jong-il subsequently issued a special pardon for the two. It was not clear whether the two had left with Clinton.

DTN News: US Has Contracted To Supply UAE With 362 HELLFIRE Missiles

DTN News: US Has Contracted To Supply UAE With 362 HELLFIRE Missiles *Source: DTN News / Defense Security Cooperation Agency
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - August 5, 2009: The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress on August 4, of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the United Arab Emirates of 362 HELLFIRE Missiles, 15 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) four radar-warning receivers, and related equipment and services. The estimated cost is $526 million. The Hellfire Air-to-Ground Missile System (AGMS) provides heavy anti-armor capability for attack helicopters. The first three generations of HELLFIRE missiles use a laser seeker. The fourth generation, Longbow HELLFIRE, uses a radar frequency seeker. The first generation of Laser HELLFIRE presently is used as the main armament of the U.S. Army's AH-64 Apache and U.S. Marine Corps' AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters. The second generation currently is available for deployment. Laser HELLFIRE homes on a laser spot that can be projected from ground observers, other aircraft, or the launching aircraft itself. This enables the system to be employed in a variety of modes: autonomous, air or ground, direct or indirect, single shot, rapid, or ripple fire. The AGM-114A Basic HELLFIRE tactical missile is the originally designed Hellfire missile, which is no longer purchased by the Army. A total of 31,616 were produced by both Martin Marietta and Rockwell International since 1982. AGM-114As in the inventory are released for live-fire training when they are replaced with AGM-114Cs. The Government of the United Arab Emirates has requested a possible sale of 362 AGM-114N3 HELLFIRE Missiles, 15 AAR-57 CMWS, 21 AN/APR-39A (V) four Radar Warning Receivers, eight AN/APX-118 Transponders, 19 AN/PRC-117 Radios, 15 AN/ASN-128D Doppler Radars, six AN/ARC-231 Radios, 15 Data Transfer Modules/Cartridges. Also included are engineering and installation, transportation, engineering change proposals, depot maintenance, communications equipment, repair and return, support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related support elements.
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 that has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East. The proposed sale of the weapons will allow the United Arab Emirates to deploy aircraft to materially assist the U.S. in overseas contingency operations. The support equipment will strengthen the effectiveness and interoperability of a potential coalition partner, reduce the dependence on U.S. forces in the region, and enhance any coalition operations the U.S. may undertake. The United Arab Emirates will have no difficulty absorbing this support into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this weapon system will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The principal contractors will be: - Science and Engineering Services, Inc (SES-I) Columbia, Md. - British Aerospace Engineering (BAE) Rockville, Md. - L3 Corporation Canton, Mass. - Boeing Aircraft Corporation Mesa, Ariz. - Lockheed Martin Corporation Orlando, Fla - Northrop Grumman Baltimore, Md - Lockheed Martin Systems Integration Owego, N.Y. 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 additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the UAE. 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 and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

DTN News: EPA Recognizes Lockheed Martin As A Top Green Power Purchaser

DTN News: EPA Recognizes Lockheed Martin As A Top Green Power Purchaser
*Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin
(NSI News Source Info) Bethesda, MD - August 5, 2009: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] as one of the country’s top green power purchasers. The corporation is a member of the EPA’s Green Power Partnership. In the EPA’s July 2009 Top Partner Rankings, Lockheed Martin ranked 17th on the agency’s Fortune 500 Challenge List and 35th on its National Top 50 List, which is comprised of the top green power purchasers from industry, government, and colleges and universities. In 2009, Lockheed Martin purchased 98,063,334 kilowatt-hours (kwh) of green power, which represents 5 percent of the corporation’s total electricity usage. According to EPA calculations, Lockheed Martin’s green power purchase is the equivalent of purchasing enough electricity to power nearly 9,768 average American homes annually or the equivalent of avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 12,898 passenger vehicles per year. The EPA’s Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use. The partnership currently has hundreds of partner organizations voluntarily purchasing billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. The combined purchases from the National Top 50 List amount to nearly 12.3 billion kwh annually. “It is an honor to be recognized by the EPA for our partnership,” said Dr. David Constable, vice president, Lockheed Martin Energy, Environment, Safety & Health. “Lockheed Martin’s purchase of green power is an important component of a corporate energy strategy that also includes lowering energy demand and reducing emissions. Our energy strategy is a critical piece of our overall efforts to build sustainable business practices across Lockheed Martin.” Lockheed Martin's Go Green program supports the corporation's business strategies, its commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen, and its customers' conservation objectives. With a goal to reduce energy use by 25 percent by 2012, Lockheed Martin continually looks for new ways to reduce its energy usage and to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, the corporation is reducing its energy usage by building and operating greener, more-efficient buildings, embarking on Green IT activities, constructing on-site renewable energy projects, and purchasing renewable energy credits. Green power purchasing is an integral component of Lockheed Martin's overall greenhouse gas reduction strategy. In addition to reducing its own environmental impact, Lockheed Martin is working with its customers to address the nation’s energy and climate challenges in the areas of energy efficiency, management, next-generation alternative energy generation, and climate monitoring. The Corporation provides a full range of energy solutions to the government and regulated industry, including the Department of Energy, state and regional energy organizations, utilities and businesses. 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. Media Contact:Gail Rymer, (301) 535-9500; e-mail: For additional information, visit our Web site:

DTN News: Raytheon Corporation To Supply Jordan With 85 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM Missiles

DTN News: Raytheon Corporation To Supply Jordan With 85 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM Missiles
*Source: DTN News / Defense Security Cooperation Agency (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - August 5, 2009: On Aug. 3, 2009 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale to the Government of Jordan of 85 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and associated equipment, parts and logistical support at an estimated cost of $131 million. The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM, is a modern Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM) capable of all weather day and night performance. It is also commonly known as the Slammer in USAF service. When an AMRAAM missile is being launched, NATO pilots use the brevity code Fox Three. The Government of Jordan has requested a possible sale of 85 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), 6 120C Captive Air Training Missiles, missile containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated cost is $131 million. The proposed sale will enhance the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a key regional partner who has proven to be a vital force for political stability and peace in the Middle East. The proposed sale will improve Jordan’s capability to meet current and future threats of enemy air-to-air weapons. Jordan will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense. Jordan will have no difficulty absorbing these additional missiles. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractor will be the Raytheon Corporation of Tucson, Arizona. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require bi-annual trips to Jordan involving up to six U.S. Government and four contractor representatives for one-week intervals for program management reviews. 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: Modernized Guided Missile Cruiser USS Bunker Hill Runs Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Open Architecture In Combat Tests

DTN News: Modernized Guided Missile Cruiser USS Bunker Hill Runs Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Open Architecture In Combat Tests *Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin (NSI News Source Info) MOORESTOWN, NJ - August 5, 2009: The guided missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), recently modernized with Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]’s open architecture Aegis Weapon System, completed an operational trial of its full combat system.USS BUNKER HILL was built by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries, Pascagoula, Mississippi. It was commissioned in Boston on 20 September 1986, within sight of the historical monument commemorating the namesake battle. After commissioning, BUNKER HILL entered the Pacific Fleet via the Panama Canal. BUNKER HILL made its first deployment in July 1987, nearly one year ahead of schedule. During the deployment, the ship provided an anti-air warfare umbrella for the USS MISSOURI (BB 63) and USS RANGER (CV 61) battle groups and U.S. flagged tankers and ships transiting the Strait of Hormuz. In August 1988, the ship moved to Yokosuka, Japan joining the USS MIDWAY (CV 41) battle group. Shortly thereafter, the ship departed for a four month deployment in the U.S. Seventh Fleet area and was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.From November 1990 through March 1991, BUNKER HILL was deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The ship directed the tactical employment of 26 ships and over 300 combat aircraft from six nations. BUNKER HILL also launched a total of 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles against targets in Iraq. The cruiser was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal for its exceptional performance. In July 1991, BUNKER HILL escorted the USS MIDWAY to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for a turnover with USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62). In March 1992, BUNKER HILL was part of the last battle group to visit the U.S. Naval Base at Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. In April 1992, BUNKER HILL departed Yokosuka for a seven month deployment to the Arabian Gulf. The cruiser was instrumental in the planning and execution of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, the enforcement of the United Nations no-fly zone over Southern Iraq. The Combat System Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT) evaluated the ship’s Aegis Combat Systems for combat readiness through comprehensive surface and anti-air warfare exercises, including manned raids and electronic attack scenarios, as well as thorough testing of the systems' tactical data link and air defense capabilities. The air defense testing was the culmination of the CSSQT, when the Aegis Weapon Systems onboard USS Bunker Hill successfully engaged multiple missile targets. “This qualification trial underscores the operational value the Aegis modernization program delivers to the fleet,” said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Surface/Sea-Based Missile Defense line of business. “The same systems engineering excellence that developed the original Aegis Combat System for the USS Bunker Hill is now delivering an enhanced system that leverages the speed and affordability of commercial-off-the-shelf hardware and open architecture software, while continuing the Aegis warfighting imperative to pace the threat.” The Aegis Weapon System is the world’s premier proven naval defense system. Its precision S-band SPY-1 radar and missile system seamlessly integrate with its own command and control. Its ability to detect, track and engage targets ranging from sea-skimming cruise missiles to ballistic missiles in space is unmatched. The 91 Aegis-equipped ships currently in service around the globe have more than 1,000 years of at-sea operational experience and have launched more than 3,500 missiles in tests and real-world operations. In addition to the U.S., Aegis is the maritime weapon system of choice for Australia, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Spain. 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. Media Contact: Kathy Baier, 856.722.3006; 609.472.7954 (cell) For additional information on Lockheed Martin Corporation, visit: