Wednesday, November 25, 2009

DTN News: Airbus A330 Tanker Refuels Two Aircraft For The First Time

DTN News: Airbus A330 Tanker Refuels Two Aircraft For The First Time *Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - November 26, 2009: Airbus Military's A330-based multi-role tanker/transport (MRTT) has for the first time conducted the simultaneous in-flight refuelling of two aircraft, by hooking up with a pair of Spanish air force Boeing EF-18A fighters. Conducted using the first of five tankers on order for the Royal Australian Air Force, the milestone follows other recent firsts with "wet" and night-time contacts involving the type. The modified airliner is equipped with a tail refuelling boom and two Cobham 905E under-wing hose-and-drogue pods. Airbus Military says the tanker performed a 2h sortie from its Getafe site near Madrid, in the course of which the fighters - which were deployed from Torejon air base - made 13 contacts, including 11 simultaneously. A total of 11.4t of fuel was transferred at an altitude of around 15,000ft (4,570m) and a speed of 250kt (460km/h), it says. This represents roughly half of the total volume so far delivered during flight testing of the A330 MRTT. The RAAF will take delivery of its first KC-30 tanker by mid-2010, according to Airbus Military. The company also has orders to provide A330-based tankers to Saudi Arabia (six), the United Arab Emirates (three) and the UK (14).

DTN News: Israeli Settlement Limits May Help Peace Effort-US

DTN News: Israeli Settlement Limits May Help Peace Effort-US * Clinton says Israeli offer a step forward * Mitchell repeats U.S. goal of resumed peace talks * Offer could have 'positive effect' on ground - Mitchell *Source: DTN News / Reuters By David Alexander (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - November 26, 2009: An Israeli decision on Wednesday to limit settlement construction in the West Bank fell short of the U.S. goal of a full freeze but was more than previous government have done and could advance peace efforts, U.S. officials said.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaks during a press conference in his Jerusalem office, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009. Israel will halt construction in its West Bank settlements for 10 months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday, in an effort to restart peace talks, but Palestinians rejected the freeze as insufficient because it did not include east Jerusalem. "Today's announcement by the government of Israel helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement. U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell said Washington was still pushing for a quick resumption of stalled peace talks without any preconditions and hoped the Israeli offer could help create a more conducive atmosphere. "It falls short of a full settlement freeze, but it is more than any Israeli government has done before and can help move toward agreement between the parties," Mitchell told a State Department briefing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier on Wednesday announced a plan to limit settlement construction for 10 months in a bid to revive stalled peace negotiations, but Palestinians said the partial moratorium did not meet their terms for resuming talks. Netanyahu's proposal excludes areas of the West Bank that Israel annexed to its Jerusalem municipality after capturing the territory in a 1967 war and building projects already under way, government officials said. Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said any resumption of negotiations "must be on the basis of a complete settlement freeze, and in Jerusalem foremost." Mitchell said the decision could mean much less settlement construction than would have occurred without a moratorium. "We believe that steps announced by the prime minister are significant and could have substantial impact on the ground," he said. "For the first time ever, an Israeli government will stop housing approvals and all new construction of housing units and related infrastructure in West Bank settlements. That's a positive result." Mitchell underscored that the Israeli move was a unilateral decision, not an agreement with the United States or the Palestinians. U.S. policy, he said, "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements." "The status of Jerusalem and all other permanent status issues must be resolved by the parties through negotiations," he said. Mitchell criticized the Israeli pattern of evicting Palestinians in Jerusalem from their homes and demolishing the structures. "The United States has not accepted and disagrees with any unilateral action by either party which could have the effect of pre-empting negotiations," he said, urging them to resume negotiations on a two-state solution.