Wednesday, November 04, 2009

DTN News: Counterterrorism ~ Shifting from 'Who' to 'How'

DTN News: Counterterrorism ~ Shifting from 'Who' to 'How' *Source: By Scott Stewart and Fred Burton STRATFOR (NSI News Source Info) KOTTAKKAL, Kerala, India - November 5, 2009: In the 11th edition of the online magazine Sada al-Malahim (The Echo of Battle), which was released to jihadist Web sites last week, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasir al-Wahayshi wrote an article that called for jihadists to conduct simple attacks against a variety of targets. The targets included "any tyrant, intelligence den, prince" or "minister" (referring to the governments in the Muslim world like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen), and "any crusaders whenever you find one of them, like at the airports of the crusader Western countries that participate in the wars against Islam, or their living compounds, trains etc.," (an obvious reference to the United States and Europe and Westerners living in Muslim countries). Al-Wahayshi, an ethnic Yemeni who spent time in Afghanistan serving as a lieutenant under Osama bin Laden, noted these simple attacks could be conducted with readily available weapons such as knives, clubs or small improvised explosive devices (IEDs). According to al-Wahayshi, jihadists "don't need to conduct a big effort or spend a lot of money to manufacture 10 grams of explosive material" and that they should not "waste a long time finding the materials, because you can find all these in your mother's kitchen, or readily at hand or in any city you are in." That al-Wahayshi gave these instructions in an Internet magazine distributed via jihadist chat rooms, not in some secret meeting with his operational staff, demonstrates that they are clearly intended to reach grassroots jihadists -- and are not intended as some sort of internal guidance for AQAP members. In fact, al-Wahayshi was encouraging grassroots jihadists to "do what Abu al-Khair did" referring to AQAP member Abdullah Hassan Taleh al-Asiri, the Saudi suicide bomber who attempted to kill Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef with a small IED on Aug. 28. The most concerning aspect of al-Wahayshi's statement is that it is largely true. Improvised explosive mixtures are in fact relatively easy to make from readily available chemicals -- if a person has the proper training -- and attacks using small IEDs or other readily attainable weapons such as knives or clubs (or firearms in the United States) are indeed quite simple to conduct. As STRATFOR has noted for several years now, with al Qaeda's structure under continual attack and no regional al Qaeda franchise groups in the Western Hemisphere, the most pressing jihadist threat to the U.S. homeland at present stems from grassroots jihadists, not the al Qaeda core. This trend has been borne out by the large number of plots and arrests over the past several years, to include several so far in 2009. The grassroots have likewise proven to pose a critical threat to Europe (although it is important to note that the threat posed by grassroots operatives is more widespread, but normally involves smaller, less strategic attacks than those conducted by the al Qaeda core). From a counterterrorism perspective, the problem posed by grassroots operatives is that unless they somehow self-identify by contacting a government informant or another person who reports them to authorities, attend a militant training camp, or conduct electronic correspondence with a person or organization under government scrutiny, they are very difficult to detect. The threat posed by grassroots operatives, and the difficulty identifying them, highlight the need for counterterrorism programs to adopt a proactive, protective intelligence approach to the problem -- an approach that focuses on "the how" of militant attacks instead of just "the who." The How In the traditional, reactive approach to counterterrorism, where authorities respond to a crime scene after a terrorist attack to find and arrest the militants responsible for the attack, it is customary to focus on the who, or on the individual or group behind the attack. Indeed, in this approach, the only time much emphasis is placed on the how is either in an effort to identify a suspect when an unknown actor carried out the attack, or to prove that a particular suspect was responsible for the attack during a trial. Beyond these limited purposes, not much attention is paid to the how. In large part, this focus on the who is a legacy of the fact that for many years, the primary philosophy of the U.S. government was to treat counterterrorism as a law-enforcement program, with a focus on prosecution rather than on disrupting plots. Certainly, catching and prosecuting those who commit terrorist attacks is necessary, but from our perspective, preventing attacks is more important, and prevention requires a proactive approach. To pursue such a proactive approach to counterterrorism, the how becomes a critical question. By studying and understanding how attacks are conducted -- i.e., the exact steps and actions required for a successful attack -- authorities can establish systems to proactively identify early indicators that planning for an attack is under way. People involved in planning the attack can then be focused on, identified, and action can be taken prevent them from conducting the attack or attacks they are plotting. This means that focusing on the how can lead to previously unidentified suspects, e.g., those who do not self-identify. "How was the attack conducted?" is the primary question addressed by protective intelligence, which is, at its core, a process for proactively identifying and assessing potential threats. Focusing on the how, then, requires protective intelligence practitioners to carefully study the tactics, tradecraft and behavior associated with militant actors involved in terrorist attacks. This allows them to search for and identify those behaviors before an attack takes place. Many of these behaviors are not by themselves criminal in nature; visiting a public building and observing security measures or standing on the street to watch the arrival of a VIP at their office are not illegal, but they can be indicators that an attack is being plotted. Such legal activities ultimately could be overt actions in furtherance of an illegal conspiracy to conduct the attack, but even where conspiracy cannot be proved, steps can still be taken to identify possible assailants and prevent a potential attack -- or at the very least, to mitigate the risk posed by the people involved. Protective intelligence is based on the fact that successful attacks don't just happen out of the blue. Rather, terrorist attacks follow a discernable attack cycle. There are critical points during that cycle where a plot is most likely to be detected by an outside observer. Some of the points during the attack cycle when potential attackers are most vulnerable to detection are while surveillance is being conducted and weapons are being acquired. However, there are other, less obvious points where people on the lookout can spot preparations for an attack. It is true that sometimes individuals do conduct ill-conceived, poorly executed attacks that involve shortcuts in the planning process. But this type of spur-of-the-moment attack is usually associated with mentally disturbed individuals and it is extremely rare for a militant actor to conduct a spontaneous terrorist attack without first following the steps of the attack cycle. To really understand the how, protective intelligence practitioners cannot simply acknowledge that something like surveillance occurs. Rather, they must turn a powerful lens on steps like preoperational surveillance to gain an in-depth understanding of them. Dissecting an activity like preoperational surveillance requires not only examining subjects such as the demeanor demonstrated by those conducting surveillance prior to an attack and the specific methods and cover for action and status used. It also requires identifying particular times where surveillance is most likely and certain optimal vantage points (called perches in surveillance jargon) from where a surveillant is most likely to operate when seeking to surveil a specific facility or event. This type of complex understanding of surveillance can then be used to help focus human or technological countersurveillance efforts where they can be most effective. Unfortunately, many counterterrorism investigators are so focused on the who that they do not focus on collecting this type of granular how information. When we have spoken with law enforcement officers responsible for investigating recent grassroots plots, they gave us blank stares in response to questions about how the suspects had conducted surveillance on the intended targets. They simply had not paid attention to this type of detail -- but this oversight is not really the investigators' fault. No one had ever explained to them why paying attention to, and recording, this type of detail was important. Moreover, it takes specific training and a practiced eye to observe and record these details without glossing over them. For example, it is quite useful if a protective intelligence officer has first conducted a lot of surveillance, because conducting surveillance allows one to understand what a surveillant must do and where he must be in order to effectively observe surveillance of a specific person or place. Similarly, to truly understand the tradecraft required to build an IED and the specific steps a militant needs to complete to do so, it helps to go to an IED school where the investigator learns the tradecraft firsthand. Militant actors can and do change over time. New groups, causes and ideologies emerge, and specific militants can be killed, captured or retire. But the tactical steps a militant must complete to conduct a successful attack are constant. It doesn't matter if the person planning an attack is a radical environmentalist, a grassroots jihadist or a member of the al Qaeda core, for while these diverse actors will exhibit different levels of professionalism in regard to terrorist tradecraft, they still must follow essentially the same steps, accomplish the same tasks and operate in the same areas. Knowing this allows protective intelligence to guard against different levels of threats. Of course, tactics can be changed and perfected and new tactics can be developed (often in response to changes in security and law enforcement operations). Additionally, new technologies can emerge (like cell phones and Google Earth) -- which can alter the way some of these activities are conducted, or reduce the time it takes to complete them. Studying the tradecraft and behaviors needed to execute evolving tactics, however, allows protective intelligence practitioners to respond to such changes and even alter how they operate in order to more effectively search for potential hostile activity. Technology does not only aid those seeking to conduct attacks. There are a variety of new tools, such as Trapwire, a software system designed to work with camera systems to help detect patterns of preoperational surveillance, that can be focused on critical areas to help cut through the fog of noise and activity and draw attention to potential threats. These technological tools can help turn the tables on unknown plotters because they are designed to focus on the how. They will likely never replace human observation and experience, but they can serve as valuable aids to human perception. Of course, protective intelligence does not have to be the sole responsibility of federal authorities specifically charged with counterterrorism. Corporate security managers and private security contractors should also apply these principles to protecting the people and facilities in their charge, as should local and state police agencies. In a world full of soft targets -- and limited resources to protect those targets from attack -- the more eyes looking for such activity the better. Even the general public has an important role to play in practicing situational awareness and spotting potential terrorist activity. Keeping it Simple? Al-Wahayshi is right that it is not difficult to construct improvised explosives from a wide range of household chemicals like peroxide and acetone or chlorine and brake fluid. He is also correct that some of those explosive mixtures can be concealed in objects ranging from electronic items to picture frames, or can be employed in forms ranging from hand grenades to suicide vests. Likewise, low-level attacks can also be conducted using knives, clubs and guns. Furthermore, when grassroots jihadists plan and carry out attacks acting as lone wolves or in small compartmentalized cells without inadvertently betraying their mission by conspiring with people known to the authorities, they are not able to be detected by the who-focused systems, and it becomes far more difficult to discover and thwart these plots. This focus on the how absolutely does not mean that who-centered programs must be abandoned. Surveillance on known militants, their associates and communications should continue, efforts to identify people attending militant training camps or fighting in places like Afghanistan or Somalia must be increased, and people who conduct terrorist attacks should be identified and prosecuted. However -- and this is an important however -- if an unknown militant is going to conduct even a simple attack against some of the targets al-Wahayshi suggests, such as an airport, train, or specific leader or media personality, complexity creeps into the picture, and the planning cycle must be followed if an attack is going to be successful. The prospective attacker must observe and quantify the target, construct a plan for the attack and then execute that plan. The demands of this process will force even an attacker previously unknown to the authorities into a position where he is vulnerable to discovery. If the attacker does this while there are people watching for such activity, he will likely be seen. But if he does this while there are no watchers, there is little chance that he will become a who until after the attack has been completed. This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to
Disclaimer statement Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.

DTN News: Macedonian Flash 05, Joint Military Exercise Held During Oct, 2009 Between NATO And Macedonian Armed Forces

DTN News: Macedonian Flash 05, Joint Military Exercise Held During Oct, 2009 Between NATO And Macedonian Armed Forces *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) SKOPJE, Macedonia - November 5, 2009: Macedonian Army soldiers stand in front of their vehicles during a military exercise Macedonian Flash 05 in the army training area Krivolak, on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009. The exercise is one of the largest-scale military exercise of the Macedonian Army, which is to be a subject of NATO evaluation for compliance with the Alliance's standards.

DTN News: AAI's Shadow Tactical UAS Flies 100,000th Mission

DTN News: AAI's Shadow Tactical UAS Flies 100,000th Mission *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) Hunt Valley, Md., - November 5, 2009: AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, today announced that its Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TUAS) have completed 100,000 missions. With 113 systems ordered and 87 delivered, Shadow systems are deployed with the U.S. Army, Army National Guard, Army Special Forces and Marine Corps. These systems have amassed more than 445,000 flight hours, the majority of which have been in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shadow is the smallest of the Shadow family of unmanned aircraft systems developed by AAI. It is in operational service with the US Army and US Marine Corps. Shadow is used to locate, recognise and identify targets up to 125km from a brigade tactical operations centre. The system recognises tactical vehicles by day and night from an altitude of 8,000ft and at a slant range of 3.5km. Imagery and telemetry data is transmitted in near-real time from the Shadow ground control station to joint stars common ground station, all-sources analysis system and to the army field artillery targeting and direction system. Shadow is in operational service in Afghanistan and in Iraq. By the end of December 2007, it had amassed more than 234,000 flight hours and flown in more than 55,000 missions. The Shadow family of unmanned aircraft systems is produced at AAI's facilities in Hunt Valley, Maryland. AAI Corporation is a subsidiary of United Industrial Corporation.* Ongoing system upgrades have been critical to enhancing the system's performance and reliability, enabling customers to evolve and expand mission profiles. While initially utilized as a day/night reconnaissance platform, AAI is now adding the capability to acquire and designate a target to its Shadow TUAS. In addition, deployed Shadow aircraft also are being equipped with a Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, or SINCGARS, communications relay. "The Shadow aircraft's mission set continues to expand through our ongoing enhancement activities," says Vice President of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Steven Reid. "We are fortunate to have several touch points with our users, from focus groups to direct feedback received by our field service representatives who work alongside deployed Shadow units. This valuable feedback keeps us connected to our customers' ever-changing mission needs so we can deliver system upgrades that meet those needs or anticipate new ones." Among current upgrades is a new lithium battery designed to provide power in the event of generator failure, giving the aircraft more than an hour and a half of additional flight time to land safely on base without necessitating an emergency parachute recovery. AAI also is integrating a new electronic fuel injection engine and a new fuel delivery system, which together are expected to bolster system reliability. The new battery, electronic fuel injection engine and fuel delivery system are expected to be fielded starting in late 2009. AAI's interoperable ground control technologies also are growing in maturity to deliver a wider range of user capabilities. The company's new Universal Ground Control Station, or UGCS, builds on the successful One System(r) Ground Control Station with greater operational flexibility and scalability, as well as enhanced features for command and control, joint services interoperability, information exchange and user ergonomics. "The Shadow system of today is not the Shadow system of six years ago, when it was first deployed into combat operations," says Reid. "Its capabilities, reliability and user friendliness have grown exponentially. What won't change is the teamwork AAI employees display to keep these valuable assets in the field with more than 95 percent availability, our commitment to developing the most robust system possible, and our responsiveness to existing and future user needs."

DTN News: Taiwan Says China Starts Building First Aircraft Carrier

DTN News: Taiwan Says China Starts Building First Aircraft Carrier *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) TAIPEI, Taiwan - November 5, 2009: Taiwan said Wednesday that its giant neighbour China has started building its first aircraft carrier, a move analysts have said could raise military tensions in the region.A carrier group would potentially double the military threat posed to Taiwan by China by allowing the Chinese to approach from directions other than across the Strait The head of Taiwan's National Security Bureau told parliament construction of the carrier had begun, Lin Yu-fang, a legislator of the ruling Kuomintang party, told AFP. However, the security chief, Tsai Teh-sheng said the carrier's construction "has not been smooth" and that the Chinese navy may struggle to put it into service by 2012 unless it makes a manufacturing breakthrough soon. "This is the result of an evaluation not only from (Taiwan's) National Security Bureau...but also from the Chinese communists," Tsai said, according to Lin. Taiwanese military experts expect the People's Liberation Army to take at least 10 years to have its first operating carrier group complete with carrier-based fighters and other warships. "Once they complete the ambitious project, it will have a serious and far-fetched military impact on the region," said Wung Ming-hsien, professor at Taipei's Tamkang University. "And by that time, the United States, Japan, and Taiwan will need to overhaul their military strategies." A carrier group would potentially double the military threat posed to Taiwan by China by allowing the Chinese to approach from directions other than across the Strait, he said. Two weeks ago Taiwan's defence ministry said in its annual report that China had continued its military build-up against the island despite warming ties, tipping the military balance in the Taiwan Strait with more than 1,300 ballistic and cruise missiles targeting the island. Ties between China and Taiwan have improved significantly since the China-friendly politician Ma Ying-jeou became the island's president last year, vowing to adopt a non-confrontational policy towards the mainland. But China still regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting to be reunified by force if necessary, although the island has governed itself since 1949 when a civil war ended. The United States has repeatedly urged China to be more transparent about its rapid military buildup, warning of a shifting balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region that could cause misunderstanding.

DTN News: U.S. Army Develops ‘Ghost’ Imaging To Aid On Battlefield

DTN News: U.S. Army Develops ‘Ghost’ Imaging To Aid On Battlefield *Source: DTN News / U.S Department of Defense; issued November 2, 2009 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, DC - November 5, 2009: Physicists at the Army Research Laboratory are bringing quantum “ghost” imaging from the realm of scientific curiosity to practical reality. Ron Meyers, a quantum physicist with the Army Research Laboratory, is helping to develop “ghost” imaging, a technique that can be used to aid soldiers on the battlefield. Courtesy photo by Doug LaFon Ghost imaging is a technique that allows a high-resolution camera to produce an image of an object that the camera itself cannot see. It uses two sensors: one that looks at a light source and another that looks at the object. These sensors point in different directions. For example, the camera can face the sun and the light meter can face an object. That object might be a soldier, a tank or an airplane, Ron Meyers, a laboratory quantum physicist explained during an Oct. 28 interview on the Pentagon Channel podcast “Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military.” Once this is done, a computer program compares and combines the patterns received from the object and the light. This creates a "ghost image," a black-and-white or color picture of the object being photographed. The earliest ghost images were silhouettes, but current ones depict the objects more realistically. Meyers and his team produced the first ghost image of an opaque object in his quantum laboratory at the Army research facility. “I think, or I would hope, in a few years that we have a soldier using a quantum ghost imaging imager to look through battlefield smoke and identifying friend or foe,” Meyers said. Using virtually any light source -- from a fluorescent bulb, lasers, or even the sun -- quantum ghost imaging gives a clearer picture of objects by eliminating conditions such as clouds, fog and smoke beyond the ability of conventional imaging. Meyers said there are other applications for ghost imaging in the military. Ghost-imaging sensors may allow helicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles to capture images that measure damage after a bomb is dropped. In the medical field, the imaging could improve X-rays to focus in on body parts. It also could be also used in search and rescue efforts. Meyers, who recently won an Army Research and Development Achievement Award for his work in quantum physics and imaging, said receiving this award “shows that the efforts made in this area are being looked at seriously and are being considered for future applications.” “What we try to do is come up with innovative solutions that will support the warfighter,” he said. “And when we can, we also spin off our technology for domestic uses.” One of the biggest challenges Meyers faces is getting good measurements. “When you do a new science, you really need to perform your measurements with high quality so the experiments can be repeated by others,” he said. “At the Army Research Laboratory, we've been very lucky that we've been able to be funded to get very high-quality instruments.” Meyers added that he finds his career in the Army rewarding. “I think it's really the best place to work for a scientist. You're given responsibility at a young age, and you're able to go as far as your thoughts and your abilities can take you.”

DTN News: U.S. Military Officials Showcase Armored All-terrain Vehicle

DTN News: U.S. Military Officials Showcase Armored All-terrain Vehicle *Source: DTN News / U.S Department of Defense; issued November 2, 2009 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - November 5, 2009: Senior Defense Department officials Nov. 2., showcased a more agile, downsized version of the military’s family of super-armored vehicles now arriving in Afghanistan. Brig. Gen. Michael M. Brogan, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, speaks to reporters during an event at the Pentagon displaying the M-ATV, a new armored all-terrain vehicle, Nov. 2, 2009. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Molly A. Burgess Brig. Gen. Michael M. Brogan, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, speaks to reporters during an event at the Pentagon displaying the M-ATV, a new armored all-terrain vehicle, Nov. 2, 2009. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Molly A. Burgess (Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available. Because Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain requires a more agile vehicle than the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles used in Iraq, the MRAP vehicle was modified to produce a lighter, all-terrain vehicle known as the M-ATV, said Ashton B. Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. The new vehicles will replace up-armored Humvees. Like the version used in Iraq, the new trucks feature armor and V-shaped hulls to deflect roadside-bomb blasts, Carter. M-ATVs “will similarly be a live-saver in Afghanistan,” he added. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates pushed to develop the new vehicle quickly, Carter said, noting the first production order was provided to Wisconsin-based manufacturer Oshkosh Corp. in June. Vehicles already are arriving in Afghanistan, Carter said, noting he has test-driven an M-ATV. “These are superior vehicles,” he told reporters. The military is planning to buy more than 6,500 M-ATVs, Carter said, with about 690 having been accepted. “We will continue to make changes in the MRAP-ATV as we get feedback from soldiers [on] how to improve it,” Carter said. U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan are training with the first 41 M-ATVs that have arrived there, said Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command at Quantico, Va. Marines, too, will get M-ATVs, he said. The M-ATV weighs about 5 tons less that the 40,000-pound regular MRAP, Brogan said, noting the new vehicle also features an independent suspension and a shorter wheelbase to better negotiate Afghanistan’s rocky hills. The M-ATV “was designed from the ground up to have mobility that’s roughly equivalent to an up-armored Humvee, yet retain the survivability features that are inherent in the baseline MRAP vehicles,” Brogan said. The major contributor to the M-ATV’s increased mobility, he said, is its four-wheel independent suspension. “That’s what provides that off-road capability,” Brogan said, noting that the baseline MRAPs have rigid-axle suspensions that perform poorly on uneven, hilly terrain. Meanwhile, Brogan said, early-production MRAPs, called “Cougars,” are being taken out of theater and having their rigid suspensions replaced with suspensions better-suited for Afghanistan’s lack of roads and challenging geography. Brogan noted differences between the terrain in Iraq and that in Afghanistan. “The terrain in Afghanistan is significantly more formidable,” he said. There is far less infrastructure, and that infrastructure that does exist is more austere.” The base cost for the M-ATV is about $437,000 per vehicle. As fitted with the necessary equipment for deployment, each vehicle costs about $1.4 million, shipping to Afghanistan included, Brogan said.

DTN News: Australia TODAY November 5, 2009 ~ Royal Australian Air Force’s F-111 Fighters Have Now Undergone Extensive Maintence

DTN News: Australia TODAY November 5, 2009 ~ Royal Australian Air Force’s F-111 Fighters Have Now Undergone Extensive Maintence *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) CANBERRA, Australia - November 5, 2009: Greg Combet, Acting Minister for Defence, today announced the completion of the deeper maintenance contract for the Air Force F-111 fleet. The F-111 is a twin-engine swing-wing aircraft. It can take off and land at relatively low speeds with the wings swept forward, then fly at more than twice the speed of sound with its wings tucked back. It can fly close to the ground at supersonic speeds, following the terrain to avoid detection. It can strike day or night in any weather. Its Pave Tack targeting system can locate targets at night and in bad weather and provides laser designation for laser-guided weapons. The radar warning system detects incoming radar emissions and alerts the crew to potential surface or air attacks. It is affectionately known as the 'Pig' for its ability to hunt at night with its nose in the weeds, thanks to its terrain-following radar. Highly controversial during its development, the F-111 is even better today than when it was introduced to our Air Force in June 1973. With numerous airframe, engine, weapons and avionics upgrades, the F-111 remains the fastest and longest ranging combat aircraft in the Asia-Pacific. Air Force will obtain 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets by 2010 to ensure Australia's air combat capability edge is maintained until the full introduction into service of the F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter. The Super Hornets will replace the F-111s at Nos 1 and 6 Squadrons. * “Since the F-111 was introduced it has flown over 160,000 hours. To help it achieve this Air Force and Defence Industry collectively completed over 300 routine deeper maintenance servicings that have included removal of wings, engines, undercarriage and other major components for overhaul or replacement,” said Mr Combet. “The maintenance systems introduced with the F-111 aircraft have been a mainstay of Defence and industry’s high-tech support capabilities for well over 35 years.” “Over that time, many engineers and technicians within the Air Force and industry have developed their skills and experience in support of the F-111. These skills will be also used in support of the Air Force’s newer platforms.” “Aircraft A8-135, which was handed back to 82 Wing today, was the final F-111 to undergo deeper maintenance servicing and the completion of this program will ensure that the F-111 fleet remains fully capable until the Super Hornets come on-line.” “Through its involvement with the F-111, Boeing has made a significant contribution to the aircraft’s legacy.” Boeing Defence has undertaken the F-111 Deeper Maintenance Capability for the Air Force since August 2001. A ceremony was held today at RAAF Amberley to mark the completion of the contract.

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY November 5, 2009 ~ Pakistan’s South Waziristan Offensive Reaches Crucial Stage In Ladha

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY November 5, 2009 ~ Pakistan’s South Waziristan Offensive Reaches Crucial Stage In Ladha *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - November 5, 2009: Pakistani troops fought street by street yesterday in the town of Ladha, a Taleban stronghold, as the three-week offensive in South Waziristan entered a decisive phase.A policeman kicks at a boy, who is fleeing a military offensive in South Waziristan, to force him back into a queue for handouts at a distribution point for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Dera Ismail Khan, located in Pakistan's restive North West Frontier Province, November 4, 2009. A majority of Pakistanis support military action against Islamist militants although more people blame the United States for the violence than blame the Taliban, a poll released on Tuesday showed. The Islamists have laid mines throughout the town, Major General Athar Abbas, the chief army spokesman, told The Times. He said that more than 30 militants had been killed in the fighting since Tuesday. Eight soldiers were wounded. Ladha is one of the three main Taleban strongholds in South Waziristan. Government forces have already taken control of much of Sararogha, another militant base. General Abbas said he hoped the army would be able to drive all militants out of of Sararogha, where many top militant commanders are believed to be hiding, in the next few days. The army then plans to advance on Makeen, the home town of Baitullah Mehsud, the chief of the Pakistani Taleban movement who was killed in August. The town is considered the nerve centre of the militants. Security officials said that most of the terrorist attacks carried out in major Pakistani cities in recent weeks stemmed from the area, which is also believed to be the main al-Qaeda command base.Map locates Ladha, South Waziristan, Pakistan, where Pakistani troops are fighting Taliban militants for control. The army said more than 300 militants and 45 soldiers have been killed since the start of the offensive. Militants killed two women teachers yesterday in an ambush on a van in another tribal area. Local reports said that ten gunmen opened fire on the van near Khar, the regional headquarters of the Bajaur tribal area. The Taleban are opposed to the education of girls and have regularly targeted schools and female students and teachers. More than 200 girls’ schools have been blown up in northwest Pakistan by the Islamist insurgents in the past year. A senior local government official said the attack indicated the militants were still active in the area, even though the Government claimed to have cleared it of the Taleban.

DTN News: Israel Says Seized Big Hezbollah-Bound Arms Ship

DTN News: Israel Says Seized Big Hezbollah-Bound Arms Ship *Source: DTN News / Reuters / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM, Israel - November 5, 2009: Israeli naval commandos seized a ship carrying hundreds of tonnes of Iranian-supplied arms, including rockets that can hit Israeli cities, to Lebanon's Hezbollah group, Israeli officials said on Wednesday.The 137-metre (450-foot) Antigua-flagged vessel 'Francop' which was seized at dawn, bound for Syria and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, around 100 nautical miles from the Israeli coast, at the port of Ashdod on November 4, 2009 in Israel. The Antigua-flagged vessel named 'Francop' was carrying 40 containers packed with thousands of rockets, hand grenades and mortar shells, the largest ever seized by Israel. Commodore Ran Ben-Yehuda, speaking as the search of the Antigua-flagged Francop was under way in Israel's Mediterranean port of Ashdod, said the weapons were found behind civilian goods in at least 40 shipping containers. The shipment, he said, was enough to keep Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which fired some 4,000 rockets into Israel during a 34-day war in 2006, supplied for a month of fighting. "The weapons came from Iran and were meant for Hezbollah," Ben-Yehuda told reporters at Ashdod port, where wooden crates of bullets, rocket-propelled grenades and variety of rockets which he said were unloaded from the ship filled a dock.Israeli soldiers remove sacks labeled "Made in Iran" from a shipment seized by Israeli authorities on a ship near Cyprus, from a container in the port of the Israeli city of Ashdod, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009. Israeli commandos seized a ship Wednesday that defense officials said was carrying hundreds of tons of weapons from Iran bound for Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas, the largest arms shipment Israel has ever commandeered. He said the containers were picked up by the Francop in the Egyptian port of Damietta and were to have reached Hezbollah in Lebanon via Syria. Syria and Iran denied the Israeli allegations. "It's 10 times the size of the cargo on the Karine-A," Ben-Yehuda said, referring to a freighter with 50 tonnes of arms that Israel seized in 2002. Israel said that vessel's cargo was supplied by Iran and destined for Palestinians in Gaza. Israel believed Egypt and the vessel's crew were unaware weapons were being shipped on the Francop, Ben-Yehuda said. He said naval commandos boarded the ship overnight without incident after receiving the captain's permission to inspect his cargo. The interception, the military said, was carried out in international waters about 100 miles (160 km) from Israel. Ben-Yehuda said Israeli intelligence constantly kept taps on suspected smuggling lanes. HIDDEN At Ashdod port, some of the crates on display were still wedged in containers behind white sacks of polyethelene in what the Israeli military said had been a bid to hide the weaponry.Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak looks at munitions displayed at the port of Ashdod November 4, 2009, in this picture released by Israel's Defence Ministry. According to the military the arms were found on the Antigua-flagged Francop vessel, intercepted overnight in the Mediterranean Sea, 100 miles (160 km) from Israel. Israeli naval commandos seized the ship carrying hundreds of tonnes of Iranian-supplied arms, including rockets that can hit Israeli cities, to Lebanon's Hezbollah group, Israeli officials said on Wednesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that weapons discovered on the vessel could have been used to attack Israeli cities. But in public comments on the incident, Israeli leaders gave no hint they were contemplating military action against Hezbollah in response to the alleged weapons smuggling attempt. The Israeli-Lebanese frontier has been largely quiet since 2006. A Cyprus-based shipping source told Reuters the ship had been due to call in Lebanon. The 8,622 deadweight tonne ship was due to have arrived on Nov. 1 at Damietta and was last seen on Oct. 31 in the Mediterranean sea between Lebanon and Cyprus, according to AISLive ship tracking data on Reuters.The Israeli military display hundreds of tonnes of arms seized at dawn on a ship bound for Syria and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, around 100 nautical miles from the Israeli coast, at the port of Ashdod on November 4, 2009 in Israel. The Antigua-flagged vessel named 'Francop' was carrying 40 containers packed with thousands of rockets, hand grenades and mortar shells, the largest ever seized by Israel. The vessel is owned by German shipping company Reederei Gerd Bartels, based near the port of Hamburg. Asked to comment, Mirko Bartels of the private shipping firm told Reuters: "We have nothing to say." An official with Cyprus-based United Feeder Services told Reuters it had acted as the time charterer and carrier for the Francop, charged with loading and discharging the vessel. "The vessel sailed from Damietta, and was bound for Limassol, Cyprus and then Lebanon, Turkey and back to Damietta," the official, who declined to be named, said. "We are not allowed to open up containers to see what is inside," he said. "We do not have much information. We just know that the vessel was seized and was forced to go to Ashdod to check the cargo." (Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Dan Williams in Jerusalem, Jonathan Saul in London and Michael Hogan in Hamburg, Editing by Richard Williams)

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY November 5, 2009 ~ Hail Of Fire Raises A Chilling Question - Who Is The Enemy In Afghanistan?

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY November 5, 2009 ~ Hail Of Fire Raises A Chilling Question - Who Is The Enemy In Afghanistan? *The British soldiers had just completed a patrol and unslung their rifles when the Afghan policeman began shooting *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - November 5, 2009: The British soldiers unstrapped their equipment as they passed through the mud walls of the police compound, having only recently returned from patrolling the Helmand countryside with the men they were mentoring in the Afghan police.Wednesday Nov. 4, 2009, a casualty is unloaded into an ambulance before being taken to a base hospital in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, after five British soldiers were shot dead in an attack. The five soldiers, three from the Grenadier Guards and two from the Royal Military Police, were killed in the Nad-e'Ali district of Helmand Province on Nov. 3, where they were training and operating with Afghan security forces, when an Afghan policeman opened fire on them inside a checkpoint. Inside the walls of the checkpoint, rifles were unslung and body armour put aside as the men drank tea, completed paperwork and relaxed after their mission. But, unknown to the men, one of the Afghan police – a man named Gulbadin – had clambered on to the flat roof of the building above, armed with a powerful PK machine gun. When he started shooting, the soldiers barely had a chance. Sighting his weapon, Gulbadin fired down on the weaponless troops, a mixture of Grenadier Guards, Royal Military policemen and Afghan police. Some tried to grab for their loaded rifles, but only at the end, with four British soldiers dead, one fatally wounded and eight others injured, including two Afghan police, were those inside the police station able to return fire at the shooter before he managed to escape – aided, it is suspected, by another policeman.Wednesday Nov. 4, 2009, a casualty is brought into the military hospital at Camp Bastion, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, after five British soldiers were shot dead in an attack. The five soldiers, three from the Grenadier Guards and two from the Royal Military Police, were killed in the Nad-e'Ali district of Helmand Province on Nov. 3, where they were training and operating with Afghan security forces, when an Afghan policeman opened fire on them inside a checkpoint. What happened on Tuesday afternoon was a few brief moments of carnage. They were moments, however, that have been written into the increasingly bloody recent history of Britain's engagement in Afghanistan as one of the worst single losses of life in a shooting incident. Among the fallen was Sergeant Matthew Telford of the Grenadier Guards, the first of the dead soldiers to be named. The police station at Shin Kalay is not much to look at. A few hundred metres from the rest of the village, it is a low, blocky structure, set behind a wall, guarding a solitary road and a bridge over an irrigation ditch that cuts through Helmand's tapestry of square green fields. But in a war whose frontlines are ill-defined, the Shin Kalay checkpoint, say those familiar with the area, is located on one of the conflict's invisible boundaries, about 100 metres from where Taliban territory begins. What is significant is that the bullets did not come across the fields from a distant ditch or building but from inside, from the barrel of an ally's gun. It comes in a year marked by several such instances, raising serious questions about the loyalty of Afghanistan's security forces. With a manhunt under way, it was left to the British army to explain how the attack had been so lethally effective. Lieutenant Colonel David Wakefield, the spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said it was almost certain that the soldiers were not ready to defend themselves. "The first thing you do when you come back from a patrol is to put down your weapon and helmet, so although we don't know yet and it's subject to an investigation, it's fair to assume they were not ready for the attack." As British military and Afghan investigators began piecing together the circumstances of the attack, even as the injured and dead were loaded on to US Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters for evacuation to Camp Bastion, it became clear it would make uncomfortable reading for those involved in training both Afghanistan's army and police. There were conflicting reports. Some said the Taliban had been quick to claim responsibility for the attack, explaining the group wanted to sow mistrust between foreign forces and the Afghan police. Other information emerging about Gulbadin suggests that the motives behind his attack are likely to be complex. The reality, it appears, is that Gulbadin was no new recruit, a Taliban infiltrator sent to penetrate the troubled police service for this attack alone. Instead, it was disclosed today, the gunman joined up three years ago, undergoing his initial police training in the city of Kandahar. He was a member, however, of the Alozai tribe in an area where the Noorzai tribe dominates the police. And while tribal elders said after the killing they were aware he had Taliban links despite being in the police, Gulbadin appears to have been conflicted in other ways too. According to elders, he had recently been involved in a furious dispute with a police officer named Muhammad Wali, his commander for the previous two years. Unable to work with Wali, Gulbadin had been reassigned to a new unit, the police checkpoint in Shin Kalay, commanded by an officer named Manam. The tribal elder said Gulbadin's new commander tried to help patch up the relationship between the two men and to persuade him to go back to work for Wali. The elder said Manam had also been injured in the shooting. Indeed some reports said he may have been the first target. What little is known about Gulbadin, who some sources say may have been injured in the exchange of fire, is deeply suggestive. It indicates – experts and military sources believe – the complex and shifting loyalties among police, Afghan soldiers and local politicians in Afghanistan's Taliban insurgency. "The questions we need to ask are much more complex than are apparent at first view," said one Nato officer in the Afghan mission. "What is a Taliban? What is the threat? From our end the concern is the same as the argument laid out by David Kilcullen [the influential Australian counter-insurgency expert]. It is about loyalty. Even if individuals think ISAF [the International Security Assistance Force] is doing a good job, they are still not your own people. Nowhere is that more true than in Helmand where we are confronted by overlapping webs of association and loyalty. "The army has been successful because it has been nationally recruited, but the police are recruited locally. They are still part of a local network of loyalty ... [They are people] whose families are vulnerable. Who have to think about where they live." And while British officers in Helmand were quick to characterise the shootings as a "rogue" event, the incident at Shin Kalay has not been unique. Last year, two American soldiers were shot and killed by Afghan police in the space of about a month. In October 2008, a policeman threw a grenade and opened fire on a US foot patrol, killing one soldier, while in September, an officer opened fire at a police station in Paktia, killing a soldier and wounding three before he was shot dead. In July in the Helmand town of Aynak, police opened fire on a group of around 150 US marines and Afghan soldiers as they approached the police headquarters. Indeed, serious concerns have repeatedly been raised about the police in Helmand since British forces went there in spring 2006. Its police have a particularly bad reputation and are often accused of taking drugs, extorting bribes and turning a blind eye to opium smuggling. Captain Doug Beattie, a former British soldier who trained Afghan police from 2006 to 2008, today questioned their loyalty. "They're really a militia, a tribal police whose allegiances are not necessarily to the government or even to the provincial governor. [Their loyalty] is normally to their village or tribe or the area they come from," he said. "Because they're militia they can be bought and paid off at will. If the government's paying them they're reasonably happy. But if they don't get enough money they're quite happy to be paid by the insurgency." It is an issue that was addressed by Major General Nick Carter after the killings. "The first point I would make is that we have to trust the uniform of the Afghan police. The second point I would make is that we will get better at this. We will make it perfectly possible for us absolutely to understand who we are working with because we will train them, and we will make sure that they are capable of doing the job in the way that they need to do the job."

DTN News: BAE Systems Submits Bid For Battle-Winning FRES Vehicle

DTN News: BAE Systems Submits Bid For Battle-Winning FRES Vehicle *Source: DTN News / BAE Systems (NSI News Source Info) Farnborough, UK - November 4, 2009: BAE Systems will submit its bid for the British Army’s most important programme on Thursday 5 November. The bid is for “Recce Block 1”, the £2bn first phase of the FRES SV (Future Rapid Effect System – Specialist Vehicles) programme.BAE’s bid for the FRES Specialist Vehicle competition will be based on the CV90 chassis, seen here in Norwegian service, fitted with a turret-mounted 40mm automatic cannon. The Scout variant will give British troops a much-needed replacement for the ageing CVR(T) Scimitar, with greatly improved protection, firepower and reconnaissance abilities. The UK Ministry of Defence has said it will select a winner in the first quarter of 2010. The BAE Systems contender for all the variants is based on the latest version of its proven CV90 chassis, sold to six countries and recognised as the best combat vehicle in its class. For the vital Scout role, the chassis has been shortened and given a lower profile. The company plans to minimise costs, meet the tight delivery schedule and align with the UK Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) Strategy published in June by using a low-risk manufacturing approach proven with all five CV90 export customers. “We will use a tried and tested model to ensure the UK MoD has access to the information it needs to ensure operational sovereignty,” says campaign director Arne Berglund. The chassis will be built at the company’s existing production line at Örnsköldsvik in Sweden. The Scout turret and UK mission fit of all variants will be integrated onto the chassis in the UK, preserving jobs and the key skills necessary to continue to support British Army operations. BAE Systems has delivered well over 100 urgent operational requirements to modify vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan, mostly to provide protection to crews against ever-changing threats. The CV90 chassis has a mature supply chain, much of it already in the UK, and BAE Systems plans to increase UK content. The vehicle, turret technology and weapon system all have significant export potential. Global Combat Systems managing director David Allott commented: “We are reshaping our business in line with the Armoured Fighting Vehicles Strategy. We are cutting costs, building our systems engineering skills and creating a more agile organisation to deliver FRES and Warrior upgrade. Our aim is to ensure a healthy, sustainable business which can continue to support UK land forces in training and on military operations.” The BAE Systems candidate vehicle takes advantage of the best technology available today. “With each new customer, the vehicle has made a significant evolution to meet the changing face of warfare,” says Berglund. “For instance, despite its relative light weight, our FRES candidate has mine protection comparable with main battle tanks weighing nearly twice as much. It has considerable growth potential, both physically and through its advanced electronic architecture.” The open electronic architecture – essentially the vehicle’s ‘operating system’ –will allow ‘plug and play’ upgrades to electronic systems, improve battlefield communications and have training and logistics benefits, particularly if it is rolled out across the Army’s vehicle fleet. BAE Systems has already spent more than £25m – not including the weapon system - on developing an all-new British-designed turret for the Scout variant. It features sophisticated sensor systems and a revolutionary 40mm cannon. The latter’s ease of use, ability to fire on the move, versatility and much-increased punch means that it will give a major improvement over the 30mm Rarden gun used in Scimitar. Its 40mm high explosive round has more than three times the explosive power of the 30mm Rarden, while its armour-piercing projectile will penetrate more than 140mm of steel armour. The BAE Systems FRES demonstrator vehicle has already begun mobility trials at Millbrook proving ground and fired its weapon system at the Shoeburyness range. Its turret incorporates learning from two earlier designs. BAE Systems will submit its bid for a linked Warrior upgrade programme on 18 November. It will feature a turret which has many similarities with its FRES offering, including the cannon, and the same electronic architecture. About BAE Systems BAE Systems is the premier global defence, security and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. With approximately 105,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded US $34.4 billion (£18.5 billion) in 2008. For further information please contact: Mike Sweeney, BAE Systems Tel: 0780 171 6452 John Neilson, BAE Systems Tel: + 44 (0) 1252 384795 Mob: + 44 (0)7802 337704 Issued by: BAE Systems, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6YU, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1252 384605 Fax: +44 (0) 1252 383947 24hr media hotline: + 44 (0) 7801 717739

DTN News: Boeing Delivers Upgrades For US Air Force ICBM Security System

DTN News: Boeing Delivers Upgrades For US Air Force ICBM Security System *Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) ANAHEIM, Calif., - November 4, 2009: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] Nov 3 yesterday announced that it has delivered upgraded cryptography devices to Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Air Force for the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) system. The devices provide additional communications security between the missile system's launch control centers and launch facilities. The new devices are part of the ICBM Cryptography Upgrade (ICU) program for ICBM missile wings at Air Force bases F.E. Warren in Wyoming, Malmstrom in Montana and Minot in North Dakota. Boeing designed, developed and delivered the replacement units and supporting technical data, trainers, support equipment, and code processing system modifications. (Image/photo LGM-30G Minuteman, Intercontinental ballistic missile ~ ICBM). "Enabling the Air Force to install these units is a vital step as we work together to enhance the security of this important nuclear deterrent," said Peggy Morse, director of Boeing Strategic Missile Systems. "It's also one of the Air Force's main requirements for full operational capability of the ICU program." The U.S. Air Force and Aerojet announced the successful full-scale, full-duration static test of an advanced second-stage motor for the ICBM program. Aerojet stated the test was conducted at simulated altitude conditions to mimic zero atmospheric pressure at a U.S. Air Force development center in Tennessee. The purpose of the test was to measure flight performance in a realistic environment. It was the second test of the advanced second-stage motor, A2S, following a sea-level test in June. The A2S motor applies to the U.S. Air Force Propulsion Application Program, which is intended to develop the next general of ICBM-sized motors for increased propulsion at a lower cost. ICU is one element of the ICBM Prime Integration Contract led by Northrop Grumman. The program sustains and modernizes the United States' Minuteman III weapon system, extending its service life well into the future. Boeing has been a teammate on the Northrop Grumman-led ICBM Prime Team since 1998 and has played a key role in ICBM development, design, production and maintenance since Minuteman I was conceptualized in 1958. 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.