Monday, September 21, 2009

DTN News: Israel Not Planning To Attack Iran Says Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

DTN News: Israel Not Planning To Attack Iran Says Russian President Dmitry Medvedev *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - September 21, 2009: The Israeli president has told Russia Tel Aviv has no plans to attack Iran, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says in an interview with CNN.
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev speaks during an interview with CNN at his residence in Barvikha outside Moscow, September 15, 2009. Israel told Russia it would not launch an attack on Iran, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a CNN interview released on Sunday, in which he described such an attack as "the worst thing that can be imagined". Picture taken September 15, 2009.
"When Israeli President [Shimon] Peres was visiting me in Sochi recently, he said something very important for all of us: 'Israel does not plan any strikes on Iran, we are a peaceful country and we will not do this'," Medvedev said in the interview, released on Sunday.
Tel Aviv has never ruled out the possibility of a military strike against Iran, which is accused by the US, Israel and some European countries of aiming to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of its civilian nuclear program.
While categorically denying the allegations, Iran says it has the capability to ward off any attack on the country and has stressed that an Israeli strike would meet a 'decisive' response from Tehran.
Medvedev said his Israeli counterpart made the remark during his August visit to Russia. He said an Israeli attack on Iran would be 'the worst thing that can be imagined' and that it would lead to 'a humanitarian disaster, a vast number of refugees, Iran's wish to take revenge and not only upon Israel, to be honest, but upon other countries as well'.
“But my Israeli colleagues told me that they were not planning to act in this way and I trust them,” Medvedev said in the interview, which was recorded on Tuesday, according to the Kremlin transcript.
Peres said after his meeting with Medvedev that the Russian president had promised to reconsider the sale of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran.
However, when asked about the possible delivery of S-300 to Iran, Medvedev told CNN that Russia had the right to sell defensive weapons to Iran.
Some Western countries are mulling over tougher sanctions against Iran should talks fail to resolve the country's nuclear issue; Medvedev, however, said sanctions were ineffective and no action should be taken against Iran, except as a last resort.

DTN News: British Army Upgraded Lynx Flies With New Engines

DTN News: British Army Upgraded Lynx Flies With New Engines *Source: DTN News / AgustaWestland
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - September 21, 2009: AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce the successful first flight of the British Army’s first Lynx AH Mk.9A fitted with more powerful CTS800 engines, just 10 months after contract award.
The UK Army Air Corps operates the Lynx Army Helicopter (Lynx AH) mk 7 and mk 9, and the export version of the Army Lynx is known as the Battlefield Lynx. About 77 AH mk 7 versions and 22 AH mk 9 helicopters are in service with the UK Army. The Army Lynx first flew in 1977. The initial role as a utility helicopter, a tactical troop and stores carrier, airborne command, and for casualty evacuation was expanded with the addition of air-to-ground missiles, cannon and rockets for armed reconnaissance, armed escort, anti-tank and air-to-surface strike roles. In Operation Telic in Iraq, the Joint Helicopter Force Iraq (JHF(I)) which is a joint unit based in Basra and manned by members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, has deployed Sea King mk 4 and Lynx mk 7 helicopters from the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF), and also Merlin Helicopters from RAF Benson.*
The maiden flight, lasting 60 minutes, took place today at AgustaWestland’s Yeovil facility with the aircraft handling as expected. Graham Cole, Managing Director, AgustaWestland, said after the flight “I am delighted that the first flight has been achieved in such a short period after contract award. The rapid progress we have been able to make on this programme highlights the benefits of partnering, under the framework of the Strategic Partnering Arrangement, which will see these aircraft being back on the front line supporting our troops in the shortest possible time.”
The first four of the 12 aircraft will be delivered in late 2009 and the remaining eight will be delivered in 2010. The CTS800-4N engines and associated equipment are being pulled forward from the AW159 Lynx Wildcat programme.
The new engines produce 37% more power than the current Gem engines that are fitted to the Lynx AH Mk.9 giving the aircraft a significant increase in power which will allow the aircraft to operate in extreme hot and high conditions at high weights.
In December 2008 the UK Ministry of Defence signed a contract with AgustaWestland to pull forward AW159 Lynx Wildcat programme technologies to provide a rapid upgrade for 12 British Army Lynx AH Mk.9 aircraft with CTS800-4N engines to significantly improve the performance of these aircraft in hot and high operating conditions, such as those found in Afghanistan. Under this Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) contract AgustaWestland commenced work even before contract award to ensure the programme could be completed as rapidly as possible. A written-off airframe supplied by the Ministry of Defence was used to trial the installation and changes required to the top deck structure of the aircraft, as a risk reduction exercise. Similarly AgustaWestland’s Super Lynx 300 demonstrator aircraft has been used to perform a range of trials in support of the programme to speed up the qualification process prior to entry into service.
The Lynx AH Mk.9A upgrade comprises the installation of CTS800-4N engines which require modifications to be carried out to the main gear box, top deck structure and rear fuselage. Additionally changes are carried out in the cockpit where the new engine controls and digital displays are installed.
AgustaWestland is also providing a comprehensive support for the Lynx AH Mk.9A aircraft including an initial spares package, integrated electronic technical publications and training. The training package includes training for aircraft and avionic technicians as well as aircrew and will be completed by the end of November 2009.

DTN News: General Dynamics Demonstrates Roll-Controlled Guided Mortar For Potential U.S. Army Applications

DTN News: General Dynamics Demonstrates Roll-Controlled Guided Mortar For Potential U.S. Army Applications *Source: DTN News / General Dynamics (NSI News Source Info) ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - September 21, 2009: General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems announced on Sept. 18, that it has successfully developed and tested a new approach for low-cost guided mortars called the 120mm Roll-Controlled Guided Mortar (RCGM). Under a cooperative research and development agreement with the U.S. Army TACOM-ARDEC, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., General Dynamics successfully tube-launched and guided RCGM prototypes from a M120 120mm mortar weapon system at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Grounds. The Roll-Controlled Guided Mortar uses standard 120mm M934A1 mortar-round components, including the warhead and fuzing elements, to reduce costs and risks in response to an accelerated fielding timeline for this critical operational capability. Several key enhancements are made to evolve the M934A1 into a precision mortar, while using existing warheads to maximize its lethality. For example, the standard fuze (M734A1) is adapted to include an integrated fuze-and-Global-Positioning-System (GPS) guidance, navigation and control (GNC) subassembly while maintaining the current fuze-setting method and function. The GNC subassembly incorporates a GPS receiver with a low-cost control system known as the Roll-Controlled Fixed Canard (RCFC) system, developed and patented by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, that allows the mortar to adjust its flight to reach the intended target. To further reduce costs and speed deployment, the RCGM cartridge maintains the “look and feel” of the existing M934A1 cartridge, so no major changes in operating procedures are necessary. The fuze, warhead and LAP production will occur on existing, operational lines. General Dynamics has assembled a team to qualify and produce the RCGM to meet the Army’s immediate guided mortar requirements, with a vision to enhance its operational capability in the future. As the current integrator of the M934A1 120mm mortar cartridge and producer of all of the major components, General Dynamics’ team is in the unique position to leverage its production history to deliver the lowest-risk, lowest-cost, next-generation precision mortar cartridge to the U.S. Army. General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems is committed to producing high-quality products and services through the use of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) principles in support of continuous improvement throughout its business and manufacturing processes. The company is a world leader in the manufacture of large-, medium- and small-caliber direct and indirect-fire munitions, shaped charge warheads and BALL POWDER® Propellant. It also manufactures precision metal components; and provides load, assemble and pack services for tactical missile and rocket programs. More information on General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical is available online at General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), 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 the company is available online at

DTN News: Saab's Responsibility For The Provision Of Spare Parts To The Swedish Armed Forces Continues

DTN News: Saab's Responsibility For The Provision Of Spare Parts To The Swedish Armed Forces Continues *Source: DTN News / Defense News (Click here for link)
(NSI News Source Info) STOCKHOLM, Sweden - September 21, 2009: Saab's contract concerning the provision of spare parts to the Swedish Armed Forces has been extended for a further 3 years. The order is valued at MSEK 162. Saab already had responsibility for the operation, development and streamlining of the provision of spare parts to the Armed Forces. In 2005, Saab took over the operation of the central warehouse in Arboga, and subsequently also took over the operation of all garrison warehouses. Following the release of the option held by the Armed Forces' Logistics, the existing contract has now been extended for 3 years, with Saab's commitment extending until the autumn of 2013. "This is an important contract for us since it more than confirms our role as the Armed Forces' partner within the field of logistics supply, which is completely in line with our strategy," says Lars-Erik Wige, business unit manager, Saab Aerotech. Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions ranging from military defence to civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents and constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs. The information is that which Saab AB is required to declare by the Securities Business Act and/or the Financial instruments Trading Act. The information was submitted for publication on September 18 at 11.00. This information was brought to you by Cision

DTN News: Yemen Army Kills 140 Shias During Ceasefire / Army Kills 140 Shiites Rebels In Saada, Says Military

DTN News: Yemen Army Kills 140 Shias During Ceasefire / Army Kills 140 Shiites Rebels In Saada, Says Military
*The Yemeni military has said that it killed 140 Shiite rebels in the north of the country on Sunday. The government is demanding that the rebels respect a ceasefire announced on Friday. *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) SANAA, Yemen - September 21, 2009: The Yemeni army killed more than 140 Shiite rebels during fierce fighting in the rugged mountainous city of Saada in northern Yemen on Sunday, a military official said, after the failure of a truce offered by the government.
Yemeni military hummer vehicles drive on a road during the ongoing military offensive on Shi'ite rebels in the northwestern province of Saada in this undated picture released by the Yemeni army. Yemen said on Sunday it had killed a leader of northern rebels as the air force continued to attack targets in Saada province, where rights groups say tens of thousands have been displaced. Yemni armored vehicles are seen in Saada province, Yemen. Yemeni Shiite rebels claim to have captured a key military post in the northern province of Saada bordering Saudi Arabia where fighting has raged for nearly three weeks.
"The army killed more than 140 rebels after thwarting an attempted attack on Saada," the official said, describing the fighting as "the fiercest" since the start of the military offensive on August 11.
The rebels started their attack on the city at 3.00 am from three directions in an attempt to reach the presidential palace in Saada, but the army was able to foil the offensive, the official said."So far more than 140 bodies have been found," he added.
The government on Friday announced a unilateral suspension of fighting, saying it would become a permanent ceasefire if the rebels abided by certain conditions. A rebel spokesman said they would "examine" the conditions but hostilities resumed on Saturday.
The main government demand is that they "respect the ceasefire and the opening of roads, evacuate their positions and free captured civilians and soldiers."

DTN News: US President Barack Obama To Meet Israeli and Palestinian Leaders At The United Nations In New York

DTN News: US President Barack Obama To Meet Israeli and Palestinian Leaders At The United Nations In New York *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) NEW YORK, USA - September 21, 2009: Israeli and Palestinian leaders have accepted an invitation from President Barack Obama for a three-way meeting Tuesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. (Image: Benjamin Netanyahu) It will be the first meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the latter was elected in February. Peace talks were suspended in December and efforts to revive them have bogged down over the issue of Israeli settlement expansion. The United States and Palestinians have demanded a complete freeze on settlement construction, but Israel refused and has offered a partial freeze. Under the Israeli offer, construction of 3,000 Jewish homes in the West Bank would continue, but no new projects would be approved. Benjamin Netanyahu (file photo)Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon says peace talks could have resumed long ago, if it were not for the refusal of President Abbas, who is also known as Abu Mazen. (Image: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during press conference at Presidential palace in Cairo, 19 Sept 2009)
"Prime Minister Netanyahu, from day one that he took office, asked Mr. Abu Mazen to come over and meet, no preconditions, and the rejection came from the Palestinian side," said Danny Ayalon.Ayalon says the talks with President Obama are a positive step. "As for a trilateral meeting, we certainly will be there," he said.
The Palestinians say they will be there too, but they say the meeting does not signal a formal resumption of peace talks. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says that will not happen until Israel stops all settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. "The truth of the matter is the Israeli government had the choice between settlements and peace, and they chose settlements," said Saeb Erekat.
U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell held six days of talks in the region last week trying to find a formula for resuming peace talks, but came up empty handed. Now, President Obama will use the full weight of his office to try to break the deadlock.

DTN News: Indian Air Force MiG-21 Phaseout Hit By Fighter Jet Shortage

DTN News: Indian Air Force MiG-21 Phaseout Hit By Fighter Jet Shortage
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - September 21, 2009: They have a poor safety record. But the Indian Air Force (IAF) is reluctant to phase out its old Soviet era warhorse MiG-21 due to the delay in inducting new and modern fighter jets. Between 1991 and 2003 more than 270 MiGs crashed and 100 pilots were killed, yet MiG-21s still make up 70% of IAF's combat fleet. It's easy to see why India is frantically trying to modernise its air force. Dubbed 'flying coffins' for their frequent crashes, only 150-160 of the over 450 single-engine MiG-21s with the IAF are still in service. A large number have been lost in accidents during peace time. "The main problem with MiG-21s is that they are very old and the on-board systems have become obsolete," a highly-placed IAF official told IANS. The official himself has flown the combat aircraft. But because it faces a shortage of fighter squadrons, the IAF cannot afford to phase out the ageing MiG-21s. If it does that, it would diminish its force level drastically. The IAF, the world's fourth largest air force, currently has a fighter squadron strength of 33.5 against the sanctioned 39. "We have a shortage of fighter squadrons. Also, the delay in the delivery of indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and in the acquisition of MMRCA (Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft) is pushing further the phasing out of MiG-21s. After all, we need to maintain a minimum force level," another IAF commander said. The Indian government has issued tenders for acquisition of 126 medium multi-role combat aircrafts but the acquisition has been delayed due to time consuming procedures which include submitting of bids, technical evaluation of proposals from global military suppliers and field trials. The first aircraft would conservatively be inducted only by 2020, according to defence ministry sources.The assessment is that the retirement of the five squadrons of MiG-21s will diminish the IAF's conventional edge over its adversaries. The current deadline for the retirement of MiG-21s is 2011. But this is likely to be pushed back further due to the slow pace of procurement and indigenisation process. "The MiG-21s have a serviceability of 80 per cent. We have good maintenance facilities for MiG-21s. Otherwise we would have been forced to retire them," said the official. Since 1993, the IAF has lost over 260 aircraft during peace time. Of these 107 were its vintage warhorse MiG-21s. Fifteen of them crashed in the last five years, leaving seven pilots dead. The latest crash took place September 11 when a MiG-21 went down in Bathinda in Punjab, killing the pilot. The MiG-21s, inducted in 1964, proved their worth in the 1971 war with Pakistan and again in 1999 during the Kargil conflict, also with Pakistan. The IAF inducted its first MiG-21 from the erstwhile Soviet Union five years after their induction into the Soviet Air Force. Thereafter some 450 MiG-21 jets were inducted in the IAF to bolster its strength. The indigenous LCA (light combat aircraft) project has been marred with delays because of the inability of military research bodies to provide engines with right configuration for the aircrafts.

DTN News: Israeli Tank Fire Kills Two Palestinians

DTN News: Israeli Tank Fire Kills Two Palestinians *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) BEIRUT, Lebanon - September 21, 2009: Israeli tank fire has killed two Palestinian men in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical sources say, with one of them identified as an Islamist militant. Sunday's shelling in eastern Gaza came hours after the army said several rockets were fired at the Jewish state from the Islamist Hamas-ruled coastal enclave, without causing casualties or damage. (Image: Israeli tanks patrolling near Gaza's border) Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, identified one of the dead men as one of its members. Medical sources said the other was a 25-year-old but could not specify if he was a militant. Two other Palestinians were wounded in the shelling, they said. Soldiers spotted Palestinian militants transporting booby-trapped bombs near the security fence with Israel and opened up with tank fire, hitting the suspects, Israeli military sources said. According to Israeli state radio, two rockets exploded in Israel on Sunday morning without causing injuries or damage, although the army could not confirm the number of devices. In late December, Israel launched a deadly offensive against Hamas to stop rocket fire from Gaza. Since then, more than 200 rockets and mortar rounds have slammed into Israel from the Palestinian territory, the army says.
The army claimed that Hamas had, hours before, launched an unspecified number of rockets into Israel causing no casualties. The developments came as the coastal sliver suffers under a wholesale blockade which Israel has imposed since 2007 when Hamas took over as the area's democratically-elected ruler.
Italian soldiers serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) secure an area near the site from which rockets were fired into Israel, in the southern Lebanese village of Qlaileh. Several rockets fired from southern Lebanon slammed into Israel triggering retaliatory artillery fire across the border, the Israeli military said. UNIFIL said it had no report of casualties on either side.
The blockade continued through the three-week-long Israeli attacks on Gaza in late December and early January, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians