Thursday, August 06, 2009

DTN News: Russian Air Force Modernized, Development And Acquisition Of New Advanced Aircrafts On The Map ~ Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin Told Reporters

DTN News: Russian Air Force Modernized, Development And Acquisition Of New Advanced Aircrafts On The Map ~ Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin Told Reporters
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - August 6, 2009: New and modernized aircraft will comprise 70% of the Russian Air Force by 2020, the Air Force commander said on Wednesday. "We expect 70% of the Air Force strength to be new and modernized aircraft by 2020," Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin told reporters. "The development of the Russian Air Force will be carried out through extensive acquisition of new advanced aircraft and continuing modernization of the existing fleet," he added. STRATEGIC AVIATION AND RECONAISSANCE AIRCRAFT According to Zelin, Tu-95MC Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers and Il-78 Midas aerial tankers will form the backbone of the Russian strategic aviation in the next decade following extensive modernization. The bombers, in particular, will be equipped with new targeting and navigation systems, which will enable them, in particular, to use conventional unguided bombs with a very high degree of accuracy - effectively engaging any target within 20 meters. They will also have their operational range increased and their onboard defense systems significantly upgraded, the general said. In addition, Zelin said Russia had been developing a fifth-generation strategic bomber which could be used effectively in both conventional and nuclear conflicts. "The new plane will use a wide selection of high-precision weapons, and will have a whole range of new combat capabilities, allowing it to apply new methods to carrying out deterrence tasks," he said. Russia will also develop in the near future a number of advanced reconnaissance aircraft including a stratospheric plane capable of avoiding enemy air defenses. "Ultra-high altitude reconnaissance planes will play a key role in future wars because they will be capable of staying in the air for a long time and conduct reconnaissance operations deep into enemy territory while avoiding hostile air defenses," the Air Force commander said. FRONTLINE AVIATION The frontline aviation is the core of the Russian Air Force and currently comprises MiG-31B Foxhound interceptors, Su-27 Flanker and MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, Su-24M Fencer fighter-bombers, Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft, and MiG-25R Foxbat and Su-24MR Fencer-E tactical reconnaissance aircraft. Zelin said the Air Force will receive in the next decade not only modernized Su-27SM and MiG-29SMT fighters, but also generation 4++ Su-35S Flanker-E and MiG-35C Fulcrum-F fighters. "The Russian Defense Ministry will start purchasing large numbers of these aircraft at the beginning of the next decade," the general said. Meanwhile, Russia's fifth-generation multirole fighter is being developed by the Sukhoi aircraft maker, part of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), along with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), under a preliminary intergovernmental agreement signed in October 2007. "Flight tests of the [fifth-generation] aircraft are scheduled to start in the second half of 2009, and the aircraft is expected be put into service in the next few years," the commander said. He also said Su-24 fighter-bombers will soon be replaced by advanced Su-34 Fullback aircraft. The general reiterated that Russia will start in 2009 the production of the Su-25UBM, a two-seat version of the Su-25SM. MILITARY TRANSPORT AVIATION There are up to 300 transport aircraft in service with the Russian Air Force, including An-12 Cub, An-72 Coaler, An-22 Cock, An-124 Condor and Il-76 Candid planes. The An-12, An-22, and An-26 planes will be decommissioned in the near future, Zelin said. The An-26 plane will be replaced by Il-112B light transport aircraft with higher payload capacity and better fuel efficiency. "The first Il-112 is expected to make its maiden flight in 2011. The Air Force will order over 70 planes of this type," the general said. The An-12 will be most likely replaced by a medium-haul transport plane jointly-developed by Russia and India, Zelin said. The plane, with a 20-ton cargo capacity, is expected to go in service with the Russian and Indian air forces in about eight years. The An-124 and its modernized version, the An-124-100, will remain in service as a strategic heavy airlift transport aircraft. In addition, 12 Il-76 aircraft will be modernized to Il-76MD-90A starting in 2011. HELICOPTERS The existing fleet of Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters will be fully replaced with new-generation Mi-28N Night Hunter and Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters by 2015. "We have started deliveries of Mi-28N helicopters to combat units [in the North Caucasus military district] and plan to re-equip at least one squadron with these aircraft by the yearend," Zelin said. "We are also expecting to complete the tests of the Ka-52 helicopter this year," he added. The Ka-52 is a twin-seat derivative of the Ka-50 Hokum-A attack helicopter, and is designed primarily for reconnaissance and target designation purposes. It is similar to the U.S. AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. UAV The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will start playing an increasingly important role in future combat. Given their much lower manufacturing and maintenance costs they could form as much as 40% of the Air Force fleet by 2025, Zelin said. The Air Force will start receiving domestically-developed attack UAVs in 2011. "Unmanned and manned aircraft will complement one another, and must be able to accomplish a full range of combat missions in regional or local conflicts," the general said.

DTN News: Human Rights Watch Says Hamas Rocket Attacks Are War Crime

DTN News: Human Rights Watch Says Hamas Rocket Attacks Are War Crime
*Source: DTN News /Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ANKARA, Turkey - August 6, 2009: A prominent human rights group says Hamas militants committed war crimes when they launched rocket attacks against Israel.A Human Rights Watch spokesman said Hamas rocket attacks that targeted Israeli citizens were "unlawful and unjustifiable".
A new report released by the group says Hamas militants fired rockets that placed about 800,000 Israeli civilians at risk and killed two Israeli girls. It also says militants that launched rockets from densely populated areas placed Gaza civilians at risk of Israeli counter strikes.
The report focuses on Hamas tactics used just before and during Israel's three-week offensive in Gaza, from last November to mid-January.
Human Rights Watch and other rights groups have repeatedly accused Israel of committing war crimes. At least 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the Israeli offensive.

DTN News: Bill Clinton Has Quite A Story To Tell

DTN News: Bill Clinton Has Quite A Story To Tell
*Source: DTN News / Reuters By Steve Holland (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON., USA - August 6, 2009: After his talks with reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Bill Clinton sure has a story to tell. And one of the first in line to hear his tale is President Barack Obama. "I suspect that President Clinton will have some interesting observations from his trip and I will let him provide those to me," Obama told MSNBC on Wednesday. Freed U.S. journalists Laura Ling (2nd L) and Euna Lee (R) address the media in Burbank, California August 5, 2009, after their return to the United States from North Korea. Listening to Ling are Joel Hyatt (L), co-founder of Current TV, former President Bill Clinton (C) and former Vice President Al Gore (2nd R). The former president was chosen by the North Koreans from among four possible envoys proposed to them to try to gain freedom for two American reporters sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in North Korea. Other candidates for the task were other prominent Democrats: New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and the man who served as Clinton's vice president, Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore. Thus, Clinton became the most senior American envoy to spend time face-to-face with Kim in nearly a decade. Kim is ailing and is widely believed to have suffered a stroke in August 2008. There have been rumors about pancreatic cancer and uncertainty about who will succeed him. North Korea-watchers in and out of the U.S. government are wanting to know how he looked, how he seemed and what he talked about. Some analysts have speculated Clinton's visit could open the way to direct talks with the communist state over its nuclear weapons program. "I think it'll be very interesting," said Republican Senator John McCain. "He's the first Westerner to see Kim since his reported stroke and other problems. I think former President Clinton will have some interesting information." In the secret negotiations that led to the rescue mission, Clinton made clear to Obama administration officials he only wanted to go if he had some certainty that Americans Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36, would be released to his custody. "We considered the request carefully," said a senior administration official. "We tested directly with the North Koreans repeatedly. We sought and received North Korea's agreement in fact that a visit by President Clinton would secure the release of Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee." 'INCREDIBLE' Clinton had a meeting with Kim for an hour and 15 minutes and a dinner with him that lasted about two hours. In Clinton's entourage were his former White House chief of staff, John Podesta, and Clinton's personal physician, Roger Band. Asia expert Nick Szechenyi of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said the up-close look at Kim was probably one of the most fascinating aspects of Clinton's visit.
"Instead of trying to analyze photographs, for example, and trying to determine the extent of any physical damage that might have been incurred as a result of a stroke, Bill Clinton was able to sit down for a couple of hours and engage this individual face to face," he said. "That's incredible and in that sense it's kind of a shock that the North Koreans allowed this," he said. A congressional aide who asked to remain unidentified said: "President Clinton is going to be able to offer a candid assessment of North Korea and the state of the Dear Leader's health, who's in charge, the leadership organizational chart. He's going to be able to impart a great deal." Clinton's mission gave Obama a foreign policy success at a time when he could use one, given that his job approval ratings have been drooping a bit. It allowed Clinton to bask in the kind of American spotlight he has not enjoyed in some time. Politico called him an "international man of history" and the New York Post declared, "Bubba gets the chicks." White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama wanted to get together with Clinton soon. Will Obama seek out Clinton again? "Look, I think if the president is ever looking for people to help, former presidents are always a pretty good group to try," said Gibbs. (Editing by Peter Cooney)

DTN News: Chinese Jet Maker Ends Global Search, Hires Locals

DTN News: Chinese Jet Maker Ends Global Search, Hires Locals
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BEIJING, China - August 6, 2009: After a highly publicized global search for foreign managers to help it modernize, China's main military jet maker has hired six executives-all of them Chinese, a company spokesman said Thursday. Aviation Industry Corp. of China announced in February it wanted "new blood" from overseas to help it compete in commercial aviation. The move was unprecedented for a Chinese military contractor and reflected Beijing's ambitions in civilian aerospace. AVIC received nearly 1,000 applications from 20 countries and 10 foreign nationals were among 67 people in the final round of interviews, said AVIC spokesman Ding Zhiyong. Ding said he did not know why only Chinese nationals were hired. "Maybe there was a mismatch between the recruits and the posts," he said. "We are still in contact with some candidates for experts' posts. Some of them might not fit into management posts, but they are very skillful." Government-owned AVIC is trying to develop aircraft including a 150-seat jetliner to compete with Boeing Co. and Europe's Airbus. The new managers, who include a former Chinese deputy mayor, will be vice presidents of AVIC's defense, aircraft, helicopter, investment and international divisions, Ding said. He said several have doctorates or master's degrees from foreign universities. (Photo of Harbin Y-12 aircraft) The Beijing-based company said in February it wanted to hire 13 vice presidents to help improve production, marketing and management in divisions including defense, a job it said might be open to a non-Chinese citizen. AVIC said it would be the first time a Chinese military enterprise "lifted its veil of secrecy" by bringing in foreign executives. A growing number of Chinese companies including personal computer manufacturer Lenovo Group and automaker SAIC Motor Corp. have hired foreign executives to fill gaps in skills as they try to expand into global markets. The communist government created AVIC in November by merging its two biggest military aircraft companies. It hopes to speed up weapons development and help to nurture a Chinese commercial aerospace industry.
Beijing has spent heavily on weapons development and has bought Russian technology, including the right to manufacture a version of the supersonic Su-27 fighter. But analysts say China still lags Western countries in many areas. An AVIC subsidiary got a 176 billion yuan ($26 billion) credit line from state banks in January to finance development of a jetliner. China's aviation market is one of the biggest and fastest-growing but has relied until now on Boeing and Airbus to supply jetliners. Boeing has forecast Chinese carriers will need 3,400 new aircraft over the next two decades. Another subsidiary is trying to develop a mid-range jet to compete with Canada's Bombardier Inc. and Brazil's Embraer SA. A third subsidiary is building China's first helicopter factory and says it should produce its first aircraft this year.

DTN News: Royal Navy Task Group Returns To UK

DTN News: Royal Navy Task Group Returns To UK *Source: DTN News / Royal Navy
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - August 6, 2009: Hundreds of sailors, marines and airmen who have made up the biggest Royal Navy deployment to the Far East in more than a decade have arrived home, six months after sailing from the UK. Summarising the success of TAURUS 09, Cdre Bennett paid tribute to the sailors, Royal Marines and aircrew of the Task Group, commenting: “Everything that has been achieved in TAURUS 09 has been down to the impressive dedication, hard work and the talents of the men and women of the Task Group. For 6 months, away from family and friends, their flexibility and skill have been the deciding factors in the success of the deployment. They have been a privilege to command, have invariably performed extremely well and deserve the warm welcome and leave that awaits them”. The TAURUS 09 Task Group left Devonport in February, originally comprising 10 ships, a nuclear powered submarine, an embarked Air Group and Royal Marines from 40 Commando Royal Marines. Its aim has been to maintain the Royal Navy’s fighting capability as well as develop the UK’s capacity to operate with key partners and allies from NATO countries and other nations, enhancing interoperability and demonstrating the UK’s commitment to the stability and security of the Mediterranean, Middle East and South East Asia. In exercising its ability to deploy globally, the Task Group has conducted a wide range of activities, including maritime security operations, anti-piracy patrols and exercising amphibious and anti-submarine warfare, culminating in a multi-national amphibious and jungle training exercise in the deployment’s most easterly point of Brunei. At its height, 3,300 personnel took part in the 20,400 mile round-trip deployment, interacting, training and building relations with 17 nations. Commenting as the TAURUS 09 Task Group sailed back into the UK, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Rt Hon Bill Rammell MP said: “Maintenance of Operational Capability across all military disciplines is key for defence. The planning and execution of this deployment has honed essential skills not exercised in current operations. The diplomacy fostered with international partners through TAURUS 09 has ensured that the United Kingdom’s influence and ability to respond in circumstances that requires amphibious intervention, is maintained.” The Task Group was commanded from amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark by Commander UK Amphibious Task Group (COMATG), Commodore Paul Bennett OBE who added: “The TAURUS deployment has been a great success. It has been a substantial undertaking that has sent a clear message to friends and enemies alike that the Royal Navy continues to be a force with which to reckon. We have improved our military amphibious and underwater warfare capabilities, demonstrated the ability to deploy substantial military power around the globe, refreshed important military partnerships and supported UK Government’s efforts in a wide range of countries. The Amphibious Task Group is notable for the array of capability that it offers; large ships, Royal Marines, Landing Craft, Helicopters and a wide range of skills in its sailors. This flexibility has been essential to the success of the last 6 months”. “The Royal Marines, who have been an integral part of the Task Group throughout, have operated in desert, riverine and jungle environments, have developed close links with local armed forces and have improved their own skills tremendously. All in all, it has been a powerful combination to deploy around the world. It is also the main capability that the UK would deploy for a contingent task and TAURUS has provided an excellent opportunity to make sure the RN is ready whenever called upon to respond”. Key exercises conducted during the deployment include those alongside the armed forces of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India, Bangladesh and Brunei. During Exercise Red Alligator, a major amphibious exercise in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, British troops landed ashore for the first time since the first Gulf War, marking a major step forward in relations between the two nations. After conducting boarding training with the Yemeni coastguard, the Task Group split in two, with HMS Somerset, RFA Wave Ruler and submarine HMS Talent taking part in Exercise Blue Toreador, an anti-submarine warfare exercise in the Indian Ocean. Following a visit to India and interaction with the Indian Navy, HMS Bulwark transited to Bangladesh for another landmark exercise, Shomodro Torongo. This was the first such interaction with the Bangladeshi armed forces and security services in a decade and crucially timed as Bangladesh tightens up the policing of its boarders, and increases its internal security and anti-terrorism measures. This multi-agency amphibious exercise provided the Royal Navy with extremely challenging environmental conditions in which to operate, offering superb training for both nations and firmly strengthening UK-Bangladesh relations. The TAURUS ships then called in to Singapore where HMS Bulwark and HMS Ocean took part in the international maritime defence show IMDEX Asia 2009, which offers trade and industry a one-stop opportunity to keep abreast of the latest maritime defence technologies, platform designs and technology developments. Whilst HMS Bulwark headed for a visit to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, HMS Ocean, HMS Somerset and RFA Wave Ruler departed Singapore for the annual Five Powers Defence Arrangement exercise, Ex Bersama Shield, along with ships from Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia. All units were reunited for the culmination of the deployment, Exercise Commando Rajah, a multi-national amphibious exercise which saw the TAURUS 09 ships project their embarked Royal Marine Commando Unit, 40 Commando Royal Marines, into the riverine and primary jungles of Brunei. This provided the Royal Marines with essential jungle training at a time when they are more used to operating in very different environments, such as those provided by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. On its return, the Task Group attached to Coalition task Force 151 which conducts anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

DTN News: Italian Navy Takes Delivery Of Its 21st AW101 Helicopter

DTN News: Italian Navy Takes Delivery Of Its 21st AW101 Helicopter
*Source: DTN News / AgustaWestland (NSI News Source Info) MILANO, Italy - August 6, 2009: AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the Italian Navy has taken today delivery of its 21st AW101 three engine medium/heavy helicopter during an official ceremony held at Maristaeli Luni naval base in Italy.
The AW101 medium-lift helicopter is manufactured by AgustaWestland International Ltd (formerly EH Industries), a joint venture company formed by Agusta of Italy and the British company GKN Westland. The EH101 helicopter programme has been developed for both civil and military applications.
This Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)/Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) configured aircraft is the first unit of the last AW101 batch for the service which has committed to a total of 24 AW101s.
The Italian Navy is already operating 8 ASW/ASuW, 4 HEW (helicopter early warning) and 8 amphibious support helicopters.
The Italian Navy’s AW101s ASW and HEW variants are amongst the most advanced naval helicopters in service today and have been successfully deployed on overseas operations providing a major contribution to international maritime operations.
The long range and endurance of the AW101 combined with the capabilities of its sensors and onboard processers make it a highly effective naval helicopter. Recently the Italian Navy supported the G8 Forum in Italy using the AW101 to perform transport for heads of state and government officials. The AW101 was chosen due to its safety, cabin space and comfort.
The maritime variant of the AW101 is in service with the Italian Navy and the UK’s Royal Navy having replaced the Sea King helicopter in a number of ship and shore based roles.
Also the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) has chosen the AW101 for Airborne Mine Countermeasures and Antarctic Survey operations designated the MCH101 and the CH101 respectively.
Over 170 AW101 helicopters have been ordered so far by customers worldwide to perform a number of roles.

DTN News: U.S. Offers Technology To Win Brazil Fighter Deal

DTN News: U.S. Offers Technology To Win Brazil Fighter Deal *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) BRASILIA, Brazil - August 6, 2009: The U.S. is prepared to make an unprecedented offer to transfer technology behind its F/A-18 fighter jets to Brazil to score a multi-billion-dollar contract, U.S. officials said Aug. 5. The F/A-18 "Hornet" is a single- and two-seat, twin engine, multi-mission fighter/attack aircraft that can operate from either aircraft carriers or land bases. The F/A-18 fills a variety of roles: air superiority, fighter escort, suppression of enemy air defenses, reconnaissance, forward air control, close and deep air support, and day and night strike missions. The F/A-18 Hornet replaced the F-4 Phantom II fighter and A-7 Corsair II light attack jet, and also replaced the A-6 Intruder as these aircraft were retired during the 1990s. U.S. State Department under-secretary for arms control Ellen Tauscher and Pentagon acquisition and technology chief Ashton Carter said they outlined the proposal to Brazilian officials on Aug. 4 and 5. Accompanied in Brasilia by President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Marine Gen. Jim Jones, they said the technology transfer was part of a final gambit to try to persuade Brazil's air force to buy 36 new combat aircraft. The deal is worth up to an estimated $4 billion and involves delivering the aircraft from 2014 to replace Brazil's aging fleet of 12 French-made Mirage-2000 jets. "The transfer... would be something that we had never done before, and specifically because the relation with Brazil is so prized, so significant for us," Tauscher told reporters. She stressed that the move would be a "big departure from what the U.S. typically does" when it exports sophisticated weaponry, and added that a decision would be made in the next 45 to 60 days. Carter said: "We want to have a technology relationship with Brazil that gets deeper and deeper with the time. This is just the first step." The offer appeared an attempt to blunt competing bids from France's Dassault, which was putting forward its advanced Rafale fighter, and Sweden's Saab, which was proposing its yet-to-be-built Gripen NG. The Rafale, which has stealth-like technology and cutting-edge cockpit interfaces and threat detection, was seen as Brazil's favored choice, largely because France was offering full transfer of technology - the key demand in the tender. Saab, too, has promised to share know-how with Brazil - even though the Gripen's engines were U.S.-designed and therefore subject to U.S. foreign military sales authorization. It was not clear what technology the U.S. was prepared to share from the F/A-18, which was the oldest model aircraft on offer, having been flying since 1980. One consideration, both for Brazil and for the U.S., was likely to be how the F/A-18 might stack up against Venezuela's air force should any future confrontation take place. Venezuela recently purchased 24 Russian and Chinese-developed Su-30MK2s, a modern fighter considered to have superior performance over the U.S. plane.

DTN News: Clinton's Surprise Visit To North Korea Marks New Challenge

DTN News: Clinton's Surprise Visit To North Korea Marks New Challenge
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - August 6, 2009: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton made a surprise visit to North Korea and met its reclusive leader on Tuesday to win the freedom for two jailed American journalists.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton greets U.S. journalists Laura Ling (in green) and Euna Lee (in red) as they board a chartered plane at an airport in Pyongyang August 5, 2009 in this photo released by China's official Xinhua News Agency. North Korea said on Wednesday it had pardoned the two jailed American journalists after Clinton met the reclusive state's leader Kim Jong-il, a move some analysts said could pave the way to direct nuclear disarmament talks. Though the Obama administration insists it was a private, humanitarian visit, some critics see it as the U.S. softening its stance on its North Korea policy. This may be the end of an ordeal for two journalists, but President Bill Clinton's visit resulting in their release marks the beginning of a much larger challenge between the U.S. and North Korea. Clinton's visit came at a time when the U.S. and the international community have been pressuring North Korea, imposing strict sanctions after the communist state conducted a nuclear test, fired ballistic missiles and abandoned six-party talks on nuclear disarmament. Asian and Pacific affairs expert Peter Brookes warns that Clinton's visit could be seen as the U.S. softening its policy on North Korea. "There's no penalty for the things that they've done. We could get into a situation here of a moral hazard by rewarding bad behavior. We are going to be getting more of it," he said. But East Asia Affairs analyst Dennis Wilder says the U.S. had no choice. "I think the decision to allow him to go was the right one because it got the journalists home. And, as a private citizen on a humanitarian mission, that was very good," he said. Wilder says North Korea has been looking for a way to ease the pressure created by the sanctions and used journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee as hostages. "No question this is a bargaining chip. He never had any intention of putting these two journalist in a gulag even though he gave them a 12 year sentence," he said. The Obama administration has been distancing itself from Clinton's trip, insisting that it was not an official White House visit. "We have successfully completed a humanitarian mission. It was a private mission," she said. But Wilder says that Bill Clinton's ties to the administration are hard to ignore. "Considering that Bill Clinton is not only a member of the Democratic party, a (former) president of the United States and the husband of the current secretary of state, so there are plenty of linkages there that make him not just your ordinary private citizen," he said. Critics say the U.S. has given North Korea the two things it has demanded: a visit from a high level dignitary; and, an apology from the administration. Last month Secretary Clinton gave that apology at a town hall Meeting. "I think everyone is very sorry that it happened." There are no diplomatic relations between North Korea and the U.S. The last time an American official visited North Korea was during Clinton's presidency, nine years ago. Experts say North Korea is trying to reconnect with the U.S. now that a new president is in the White House. The international community will be watching to see how the Obama administration will deal with the communist state and whether the U.S. will continue its hardline against North Korea.

DTN News: Why Are Russian Submarine Patrolling Off East Coast Of U.S.?

DTN News: Why Are Russian Submarine Patrolling Off East Coast Of U.S.? *Pentagon Says They Are Not Concerned About Russia's Recent Submarine Patrols *Source: DTN News / ABC News By LUIS MARTINEZ (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - August 6, 2009: The Pentagon has detected two Russian-attack submarines patrolling several hundred miles off the East coast of the United States, but it's not clear if this is a sign that Russia is trying to reassert military capabilities severely weakened since the end of the Cold War. Yuri Dolgoruky, a new Russian nuclear submarine, is seen in the waters off the Sevmash factory in the northern city of Severodvinsk July 2, 2009. Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev visited the factory on Thursday, a well-equipped shipbuilding complex that builds and repairs submarines. Two Defense Department officials confirm to ABC News that the submarines have been detected in international waters more than 200 miles from the U.S. coastline for the past two weeks, and that their actions have been determined to not be provocative. Both Defense officials said one of the Russian submarines remained in international waters about 200 miles off the southeastern coast of the United States, and that the other submarine was operating off Greenland. American territorial waters begin 12 miles out to sea. A statement by U.S. Northern Command confirmed the American military's tracking of the Russian submarines. "We have been monitoring them during transit and recognize the right of all nations to exercise freedom of navigation in international waters according to international law," said the statement. At a Pentagon briefing on today, press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters that the submarine patrol had not raised red flags because the Russian navy is free to operate in international waters as much as the U.S. Navy does. "It doesn't cause any alarm within this building," he said. "It doesn't pose any threat." A Wave of Russian Military Maneuvers First reported by The New York Times, the incident is another sign of the Russian military's increased activity in the Western Hemisphere. Last year, Russia resumed flights by Tu-95 "Bear" bombers in international airspace near Alaska. Also, last December the Russian navy sent three ships to participate in joint exercises with Venezuela, the first such deployment to the region since the end of the Cold War. One of the Defense officials said it's unclear what the Russian navy's intent is other than freedom of navigation. He added there is no intelligence that suggests the vessels have any upcoming ports of call in the Western Hemsiphere. Morrell said the United States did not know specifically what the vessels were doing, but said it appeared to be part of an effort on Russia's part "to project force around the world, or at least to take excursions around the world." "So we don't look at this action and automatically see threatening motives," Morrell said. "We view this, we are mindful of it, we watch it, but we do not assign motives that we don't believe are there." Russian submarine activity off the American coastline was a common occurrence during the Cold War, but became rare as a Russian navy depleted by budget cuts hardly strayed far from Russia's coastline. Comments by Russian navy officials suggested nothing out of the ordinary by the ships' presence off the U.S. coastline. The Russian state-run news service RIA Novosti quoted a senior Naval officer as saying, "Russian submarines have never stopped patrolling the world's oceans, but their movements are of a secret nature and are never commented on by representatives of the Navy." Why Are Russian Submarines Patroling Eastern Atlantic? The Interfax news agency quotes another unnamed high-ranking "military-diplomatic"official who downplayed any "hysteria" about the submarines' movements in international waters. "The movement of military ships in international waters cannot be called a violation in any way," the official told Interfax. "The Russian navy systematically detects NATO submarines, particularly U.S. submarines close to Russian territorial waters." The official continued, "However, this has never been a reason to create a fuss in the press since international maritime law is not being violated. Therefore, any hysteria is out of place in this case." Though the submarine activity has raised eyebrows at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a Senate committee this past January that he was not too concerned by the Russian navy's renewed capabilities in the region last fall. "I felt that our best response to the Russian ship visits to Venezuela was nonchalance," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "In fact, if it hadn't been for the events in Georgia in August, I would've tried to persuade the president to invite the Russian ships to pay a port call in Miami, because I think they would've had a lot better time than they did in Caracas." Gates told the committee that the drop in world's oil prices had reduced Russia's income and its ability to build up its navy."At 40 dollar oil the Russian navy does not bother me very much."

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded $21 Million To Continue Submarine Combat-System Development

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded $21 Million To Continue Submarine Combat-System Development
*Source: DTN News / General Dynamics (NSI News Source Info) FAIRFAX, Va. - August 6, 2009: The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems $21.3 million for the first-year of a multi-year contract to provide upgrades to the Submarine Tactical Control System (TCS) portion of the AN/BYG-1 Submarine Combat System.
This contract was awarded after a full and open competition. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems is a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD).
General Dynamics will develop commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software and hardware upgrades to integrate improved tactical control capabilities for multiple submarine classes.
TCS leads the implementation of the Navy's open architecture and open business model approach on submarines with a design that emphasizes shared standards that provide greater interoperability, portability, scalability and supplier independence.
The General Dynamics offering is based on its open architecture and open business model approach.
“This program is one of several that demonstrate our open business model in action,” said Lou Von Thaer, president, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems.
“This award allows General Dynamics to continue to provide increased tactical control capability at a lower cost, while encouraging third-party participation in developing affordable combat system enhancements across a number of naval platforms.”
Work under this contract will be performed in Fairfax, Va., and Middletown, R.I. If all options are exercised, work under this contract will be completed by July 2018.This competitively awarded contract continues work that the company has been performing since December 2002.
General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems designs, develops, manufactures, integrates, operates and maintains mission systems for defense, space, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, homeland security and homeland defense customers. Headquartered in Fairfax, Va., the company specializes in ground systems; imagery processing; mission payloads; space vehicles; maritime subsurface, surface and airborne mission systems; and tasking, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination programs for national intelligence. More information is available online at General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 92,000 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: MEADS Program Receives Hardware Design Approvals, Enters System-Level CDR

DTN News: MEADS Program Receives Hardware Design Approvals, Enters System-Level CDR
*Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin (NSI News Source Info) ORLANDO/MUNICH/ROME - August 6, 2009: The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program has successfully completed Critical Design Reviews (CDRs) for all major components, clearing the way for production of radars, launchers, tactical operation centers, and reloaders needed for system tests at White Sands Missile Range, NM. Under its design and development contract, MEADS International will provide six Battle Management, Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Tactical Operations Centers, four launchers, one reloader, three surveillance radars, three multifunction fire control radars, and 20 PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missile rounds for the tests, expected to begin in 2012. “We have already produced and qualified a significant portion of the subsystem hardware, providing increased confidence in our major end item products,” said MEADS International President Steve Barnoske. “These timely approvals keep all MEADS system elements on schedule for integration and testing and ultimately for deployment to U.S. and allied forces.” MEADS will meet challenging new requirements not addressed by any previous or planned Air and Missile Defense system. Under development by Germany, Italy and the United States, MEADS is a mobile system that will replace Patriot in the United States and Nike Hercules in Italy. It will replace Hawk and Patriot systems in Germany. The system is designed to permit full interoperability between the U.S. and allied armies, and it is the only medium-range air defense system to provide full 360-degree coverage. With completion of the component-level design reviews, the MEADS program has successfully met criteria to begin a series of system-level CDR events. The tri-national AMD system continues to demonstrate significant progress toward final design approval expected next year. “Entering the system CDR phase is a significant milestone for the MEADS program,” said Executive Vice President Klaus Riedel. “MEADS is an extraordinary system that will provide superior protection for maneuver forces and critical assets against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft and unmanned aerial systems. We are ready to demonstrate that the MEADS system design has matured to the requirements set out by Germany, Italy and the United States.” A total of 15 system-level CDR events will be completed in the year ahead and permit final evaluation of MEADS survivability, logistics, safety, integration and test, life cycle cost, and performance. The final system-level CDR event will be held in August 2010 in accordance with government direction. Initial flight tests are planned for 2012. MEADS is a mobile Air and Missile Defense System that will incorporate the hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) Missile in a system that includes 360-degree surveillance and fire control sensors, netted-distributed battle management/communication centers and high-firepower launchers. The system will combine superior battlefield protection with extensive flexibility, allowing it to protect maneuver forces and critical assets against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft. MEADS will provide capabilities beyond any other fielded or planned air and missile defense system. It will be easily deployed to a theater of operations and once there, will keep pace with fast-moving maneuver forces. MEADS will provide an open architecture for 21st century air and missile defense system-of-system integration capabilities that allow operational mission-tailoring. MEADS will also provide greater firepower with less manpower than current systems, producing dramatic operation and support cost savings. A multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, FL, MEADS International’s participating companies are MBDA in Italy, LFK in Germany and Lockheed Martin in the United States. Today, 1900 employees from these companies are completing final engineering designs for MEADS program, which is closely watched as a model for collaborative transatlantic development. The United States funds 58 percent of the MEADS program, and European partners Germany and Italy provide 25 percent and 17 percent respectively as partners in the NATO Medium Extended Air Defense System Management Organization (NAMEADSMO). Its program management agency NAMEADSMA is located in Huntsville, AL.

DTN News: Boeing Hands Over GOES-O Satellite To NASA For Final Testing

DTN News: Boeing Hands Over GOES-O Satellite To NASA For Final Testing *Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) EL SEGUNDO, Calif., - August 6, 2009: Boeing [NYSE: BA] yesterday August 5, announced that it transferred Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite GOES-O to NASA on July 17, completing the company's third on-orbit satellite handover this year. Image above: Rising above the two lightning towers around the pad, a Delta IV rocket races into the sky with the GOES-O satellite aboard. GOES-O, which has been renamed GOES-14, will undergo approximately five months of on-orbit testing before it is officially accepted for service by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Boeing's first two satellite deliveries of 2009 were the second Wideband Global SATCOM satellite for the U.S. Air Force and the Indostar II/Protostar II satellite for a commercial satellite operator. Both handovers took place on June 15. "It was a busy month for GOES-14, beginning on July 8 with a successful maneuver into geosynchronous orbit and deployment of its solar array," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "The handover of GOES-14 to NASA two days ahead of schedule demonstrates Boeing's continuing commitment to its customers." The active GOES constellation currently consists of GOES-11, GOES-12 and GOES-13 (known as GOES-N before it reached orbit). Once accepted, GOES-14 will join the constellation in a storage orbital position of 105 degrees west longitude. Both GOES-13 and GOES-14 will operate as backup satellites to GOES-11 and GOES-12 and become the primary operational satellites over the next two years. 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.

DTN News: Boeing Upgrades F-18 Training Systems For Finnish Air Force

DTN News: Boeing Upgrades F-18 Training Systems For Finnish Air Force
*Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, USA - August 6, 2009: Boeing [NYSE: BA] yesterday August 5, announced that it has delivered upgrades for three F-18 Weapons Tactics and Situational Awareness Training Systems (WTSAT) to the Finnish Air Force.
The F-18 Hornet is the Finnish Air Force variant of the Boeing IDS F/A-18 Hornet multi-role attack and fighter aircraft. It lacks certain avionics, target acquisition and weapon control features, limiting its ground attack capability. The aircrew trainers now offer the capability to train for aerial refueling and provide a long-haul networking capability that allows the systems to link over a Wide Area Network. "These training system upgrades deliver advanced capabilities to our Finnish Air Force customer," said Mark McGraw, vice president of Boeing Training Systems and Services. "Finnish F-18 Hornet pilots at one site will now be able to engage in shared training sessions with pilots at other sites and fly virtual missions together via an industry-recognized high-level architecture, which ensures simulation devices can talk and share data over the network." The WTSAT features a simulated head-up display, three Debrief Stations (DBS), an upgraded flight program simulation, and enhanced Instructor-Operator Station capabilities. This delivery also included upgrades for three Deployable Tactics Trainers (DTTs) delivered in December 2007. "We have made it easier for the customer to conduct networked training and run their missions," said John Gilbert, WTSAT program manager for Boeing. "The WTSATs, DTTs, and DBS can now interact simultaneously on simulated missions and debriefs. Training missions that previously required an instructor at each site now can be accomplished with one instructor controlling all the scenarios from one location." The upgrades integrate a supplier's visual system with Boeing hardware and software. A single software baseline runs in all three devices. 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.

DTN News: Cathay Pacific To Park 6 Passenger Planes After 27% Sales Slump

DTN News: Cathay Pacific To Park 6 Passenger Planes After 27% Sales Slump *Source: DTN News / Bloomberg By Wendy Leung
(NSI News Source Info) HONG KONG - August 6, 2009: Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Hong Kong’s biggest carrier, intends to park six passenger planes by the end of the year after first-half sales slumped 27 percent. “We still cannot see any signs of any pickup in business,” Chairman Christopher Pratt told reporters in Hong Kong today. One of the planes has already been parked along with five freighters, Chief Executive Officer Tony Tyler said. Cathay has cut capacity, offered staff unpaid leave and begun talks about delaying new aircraft as business and leisure travelers pare flying because of the global recession. The airline ended a run of two straight losses in the first half on a HK$2.1 billion ($271 million) hedging gain and a 52 percent drop in fuel prices. “Only a recovery in demand will help them make a profit in the second half,” said Allen Wong, an analyst at Quam Ltd. “It’s unlikely the carrier can save that much in fuel costs again as oil prices have already gone up a lot.” Cathay closed down 3.6 percent in Hong Kong trading at HK$12.18, reversing earlier gains. The carrier, controlled by Swire Pacific Ltd., has risen 40 percent this year, compared with a 21 percent gain for Singapore Airlines Ltd. The airline posted a better-than-estimated first-half net income of HK$812 million, compared with a restated loss of HK$760 million a year earlier. Sales dropped to HK$30.9 billion, the company said in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing today. Cathay has already parked the first of four Airbus SAS A340-300s that will be taken out of service, Tyler said. Two Boeing Co. 747-400s will also be idled, he added. Travel Drop Passenger numbers at Cathay and its Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd. unit fell 4.2 percent in the first half to 11.9 million. Passenger yield, a measure of average sales, plunged 20 percent, “slightly more” than Wong expected. Cargo volumes tumbled 15 percent. “Full-year earnings will depend on a pick-up in premium traffic,” said Winson Fong, who helps manage about $2 billion at SG Asset Management H.K. Ltd. “Fuel-hedging gains really aren’t something to evaluate the company’s performance on.” Across the Asia-Pacific region, international passenger traffic fell 15 percent in June because of the economy and concerns about H1N1, according to the International Air Transport Association. Carriers worldwide may lose a combined $9 billion this year, IATA has said. Singapore Airlines said last week it may post its first annual loss in 24 years because of plunging traffic. British Airways Plc also reported a quarterly loss last week and said that yields will continue to decline. Cathay was expected to make a HK$475 million net income, based on the median of six analysts’ forecasts. It won’t pay an interim dividend. Fuel Costs The Hong Kong carrier’s gross fuel spending fell 56 percent in the first half from a year earlier to HK$8.65 billion. It bought fuel at an average price of $63.70 per barrel. “The recent strengthening of fuel prices is a cause for concern,” Pratt said in the company’s results announcement. The airline is in talks about delaying new planes including Boeing 747-8 freighters and Airbus A330s, Chief Operating Officer John Slosar said today. The carrier had a fleet of 162 planes as of June 30, with another 39 on order. That includes aircraft operated by Air Hong Kong, a cargo venture with DHL. Cathay slumped to its first annual loss in a decade last year after making HK$7.6 billion of unrealized losses on fuel hedges stretching out until 2011. The carrier made the losses after oil prices tumbled 69 percent from a record in less than six months last year. Prices jumped 57 percent in the first half.
To contact the reporter on this story: Wendy Leung in Hong Kong at