Friday, January 29, 2010

DTN News: India Gets Naval Weapon System To Destroy Enemy Targets

DTN News: India Gets Naval Weapon System To Destroy Enemy Targets *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BANGALORE, India - January 30, 2010: India has developed a new generation multi-sensor, multi-weapon defence system against enemy targets on board naval ships. The Indian Navy displays a naval fleet exercise at the Bay of Bengal in Chennai on January 24, 2010. The state-of-the-art “Gun Fire Control System” (GFCS) developed by Bharat Electronics Limited will be installed on board the P-28 class of ships. “The GFCS is a quick reaction, multi-sensor, multi-weapon, short/medium/long range defence system against air, surface or shore targets on board naval ships”, a senior official of the Bangalore-based Navratna defence PSU told PTI. The GFCS is designed to provide air, surface or shore defence with 76 MM and 30 MM guns. Its purpose is to locate a hostile target using a radar or video tracker, acting on early warning search radars and to track its approach with high accuracy, in order to obtain reliable target data. The data is further processed and used to control the weapons by pointing it in an exact ballistic firing position for eventual destruction of the target. The GFCS continues to track the approaching target, simultaneously pointing the weapon on it, until it is completely destroyed. The GFCS comprises five functional sub-systems: tracker, weapon control, sight control, combat management system and support systems, each of which can be used as an independent system. The GFCS for the P-28 class of ships would be “handed over” to Defence Minister A.K. Antony at a ceremony in Bangalore in the presence of BEL Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Kumar Datt on February 2. A state-of-the-art facility, dedicated to manufacture of Digital Flight Control Computer (DFCC) for the Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas) at BEL’s Bangalore Complex will also come up. DFCC is a multiple redundant (improving its reliability, one channel will take over if another fails) digital fly-by-wire flight control system of Tejas, which controls manoeuvring of the aircraft. DFCC is a flight critical sub-system to be manufactured as per AS 9100 standards with stringent in-process and quality control processes, including environmental tests on each unit. To meet this requirement, BEL has set up this integrated manufacturing facility for assembly, inspection and testing of DFCC, all under one roof. The facility includes thermal cycling chamber, vibration machine, dehumidifying chambers for storing PCBs, high resolution inspection tools to identify process errors, automated test equipment for rigorous performance testing and engineering test station for testing the DFCC unit.

DTN News: Russia Successfully Tests Sukhoi T-50 Stealth Fighter Jet

DTN News: Russia Successfully Tests Sukhoi T-50 Stealth Fighter Jet *Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik) - January 30, 2010: On December 29, 2010, a prototype Sukhoi T-50 fifth-generation fighter took off on its maiden flight at 11.19 a.m. in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia's Far East. This is the first warplane completely designed and built in Russia since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Only the United States currently operates Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor Stealth air-superiority fighters. In 1981, the Mikoyan Design Bureau started developing the I-90 aircraft, better known as the Multifunctional Fighter (MFI). The project was launched soon after the MiG-29 Fulcrum, MiG-31 Foxhound and Su-27 Flanker fourth-generation fighters performed their first flights. The I-90 which was to have been mass-produced in the 1990s overtook the U.S. Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) program which later gave rise to the F-22 Raptor. Curtailed defense spending in the late 1980s and the subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union stopped the MFI program in its tracks. Flight tests planned for 1991 -1992 did not take place. Consequently, the MFI first took to the skies in 2000. A prototype Sukhoi S-37/Su-47 Berkut fifth-generation fighter had been developed by then. In 1998, the Russian Air Force issued a new request for proposal (RFP) for a fifth-generation fighter. As a concept it had remained unchanged since the MFI program got underway. The new fighter's basic specifications included: greater agility, sustained supersonic-flight capability in non-afterburning mode, low radar visibility, low heat signature, as well as enhanced take-off and landing performance. The old designs were scrapped, and it was decided to develop an entirely new warplane fully taking into account the F-22's capabilities, merits and drawbacks. In 2002, the Sukhoi Design Bureau won the pilot-project contest, after proposing a full-size and twin-engined fighter with a take-off weight of up to 35 metric tons under its Prospective/Promising Frontline Aviation System program (PAK FA program). Although the new aircraft was expected to take off in 2007, the maiden flight deadline was delayed until 2008, 2009 and January 2010. Given this new program's complexity and the scale of the scientific, engineering, organizational and financial problems that had to be tackled during the new plane's creation, this delay is quite understandable. All these problems are caused by Russia's crisis-ridden industry. The new aircraft is designated the T-50, Product 701 or the I-21. The Indian Air Force also displayed an interest in this program soon after it was launched. At first, New Delhi preferred the lighter and simpler Mikoyan-Gurevich MFI fighter. The Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG proposed the twin-engined and bobtailed I-2000, an upgrade of the basic MiG-29 model, and a single-engined aircraft closely resembling the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, a descendant of the F-35, which came out of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. India wanted to receive this sophisticated aircraft as soon as possible therefore had no choice but to join the PAK FA program. The Indian version will feature a two-seat cockpit, a number of electronic systems and other auxiliary equipment. These aircraft are expected to replace the Su-30MKI Flanker-H fighters currently serving with the Indian Air Force, in the 2020s and the 2030s. Moreover, it is likely they will be mass-produced in India. The latest test flight reaffirms Russia's status as a leading aviation power. Only Russia and the United States currently have their own fifth-generation fighters, as well as aircraft industries capable of manufacturing all types of military and civilian aircraft ranging from light-weight aerobatic planes to strategic bombers. All other countries, including France, Sweden, the EU as a whole, China and Japan, lack these capabilities and are forced to implement various cooperation plans in order to develop new-generation aircraft. Despite their combined efforts the joint EU aircraft industry has failed to create a fifth-generation fighter in place of the Eurofighter Typhoon twin-engined multi-role aircraft. Most of the Eurofighter project participants intend to buy the U.S. F-35 fighter in future. The future for new Swedish and French aircraft remains bleak. Both the Saab JAS 39 Gripen and the Dassault Rafale rank among the generation four-plus-plus warplanes. Neither Stockholm, nor Paris can afford to implement multi-billion-dollar fifth-generation fighter programs. China's prospects also seem doubtful. Most analysts agree that Beijing can develop a fifth-generation warplane only if it utilizes foreign, notably Russian, experience. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

DTN News: Russia-India Fighter Makes Successful Maiden Test Flight

DTN News: Russia-India Fighter Makes Successful Maiden Test Flight *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media By Vladimir Radyuhin (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - January 30, 2010: Russia’s new fifth-generation stealth fighter (FGFA), a joint project with India which is set to form the backbone of the two nations’ air power till the mid-21st century, made a successful maiden test flight on Friday. Russian-made Sukhoi T-50 prototype fifth-generation fighter jet is seen at a test airfield near the Siberian city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia. Russia will set up joint venture company to build the aircraft. Photo: AP The plane performed “very well” during a 47-minute flight at an airfield in the far eastern city of Komsomoslk-on-Amur and met “all our expectations,” a spokesman for the Sukhoi Corporation, which designed the FGFA, said. The flight marked a breakthrough for Russia, making it the second country in the world after the U.S. to have built a fifth-generation fighter plane. The FGFA will also be a quantum jump for India as the first joint project with Russia where the Indian aviation industry will be a full-fledged partner. Under a 2007 inter-governmental agreement, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited took a 50 per cent investment stake in the $8-billion project and will contribute 25 per cent of design and development work. The two countries will shortly sign commercial contracts and set up a joint venture company to build the aircraft. India will be responsible for supplying the plane’s navigation systems, mission computer, cockpit displays and will provide composites for the airframe. While the Russian Air Force has opted for a single-seater, the IAF will get a modified two-seater derivative. The Russian Air Force is expected to begin inducting the new aircraft in 2015. The twin-seat version for the IAF may be ready two years later. Each side plans to acquire 250 planes. Sukhoi head Mikhail Pogosyan voiced confidence that the FGFA will beat the U.S. F-22 and F-35 fifth-generation fighters in cost-effectiveness. “The joint Russian-Indian aircraft will not only strengthen the defence might of the Russian and Indian air forces, but will take a worthy place in the world market,” said Pogosyan, whose company’s previous project, the Su-30 fighter jet, has become a world bestseller. India has purchased 140 Su-30MKI and will build as many under licence. Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said he expected the FGFA aircraft to be very competitive in international markets because its price would be significantly lower than that of the American rivals. “I think by definition this aircraft will be able to occupy up to one-third of the market,” the analyst said. According to designers, the FGFA will be a truly stealth plane almost invisible to enemy radars: it will be 40 times harder to detect than the Su-30MKI.

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated January 29, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated January 29, 2010
*Source: DoD issued January 29, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - January 29, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued January 29, 2010 are undermentioned;
CONTRACTS AIR FORCE ~Lockheed Martin Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif., was awarded an $85,400,000 contract which will modify the spacecraft integration and test contract for the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program to include tasks associated with revising the launch dates for Flight 19 and Flight 20 and rephrasing of the contract consistent with the revised launch dates. At this time, no money has been obligated. SMSC/DMSP, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (F04701-02-C-0003, P00157). ~Lockheed Martin Corp., Marietta, Ga., was awarded a $78,727,830 contract which will exercise Option Periods 4 and 5 to purchase initial spares for new and existing base requirements; readiness spares packages; consumable readiness spares packages; support equipment for inventory control point; support equipment for existing bases; program and management data; technical and engineering data; engineering drawings; financial management data; logistics support data; technical manual contract requirement; reliability and maintenance program; engineering support services on and off-site; defensive system support service on-off-site; technical manual page development Category I illustrated parts books; and flight manual replacement page. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 657 SESS, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8625-06-C-6456). ~Sierra Nevada Corp., Sparks, Nev., was awarded a $32,658,504 contract which will provide consoles for integration on the MC-130W aircraft. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 667AESS/SYKA, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8629-09-C-2445). ~Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $23,684,516 contract which will replace obsolete parts within the guidance section data processor module and modify the supporting missile hardware and software architecture as required to continue production of the existing missile systems. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 695 ARSS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8675-09-C-0052, P00011). ~Boeing Satellite Systems, Inc., El Segundo, Calif., was awarded a $21,000,000 contract which will provide a change order to the Wideband Global Satellite Communications to integrate, test, and store the 1.5 ship-sets of xenon-ion propulsion systems hardware procured. At this time, $14,000,000 has been obligated. MCSW/PKW, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8808-06-C-0001,P00070). ~JGB Enterprises, Inc., Liverpool, N.Y., was awarded a $10,357,818 contract which will provide for the basic expeditionary airfield resourceswater distribution system which draws water from a natural source, and purifies, stores and delivers the water while maintaining sufficient water pressure, quantity and quality for an entire forward-deployed base in austere locations. At this time, no money has been obligated. 642 CBSG/GBKBB, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8533-10-D-0006). ~Kachemak Research Development, Inc., Logan, Utah, was awarded a $9,774,048 contract which will provide for robotics research in support of AutoScan 31G for robotic perimeter security applications. At this time, $5,000 has been obligated. 325 CONS/LGCB, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA4819-10-C-0009). ~Thales-Raytheon Systems, Fullerton, Calif., was awarded an $8,013,209 contract which will provide interim contract support for the battle control system-fixed program. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 850 ELSG/PK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8722-10-C-0001). ~General Dynamics System Development and Integration Services, Inc., Fairfax, Va., was awarded a $7,428,767 contract which will provide the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System program office with the following integration support: systems engineering, integrated scheduling, network infrastructure modernization, configuration management, site activation, baseline management support, and field integration support. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 950 ELSG/KG, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (F19628-01-C-0047, P00089). NAVY ~The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $75,979,777 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide sustaining engineering services, integrated logistics management services, configuration management services, and incidental materials in support of the T/AV-8B Harrier program. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and is expected to be completed in November 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $8,912,427 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-10-D-0002). ~Chugach World Services, Inc.*, Anchorage, Alaska, is being awarded a $23,542,485 modification under previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N40192-09-D-9000) to exercise the first option period to perform housing operations and maintenance and change of occupancy maintenance services in the U.S Territory of Guam for the Commander, Naval Forces Marianas. The work to be performed provides for management and housing operations to maintain and repair family housing units, bachelor housing units, Navy Gateway Inns and Suites (NGIS); and provide any services, maintenance, and change of occupancy maintenance in both vacant and occupied family housing units, bachelor housing units, and NGIS units. The total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $130,657,546. Work will be performed at various naval housing areas on Guam, and work is expected to be completed Jan. 31, 2011. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas, Guam, is the contracting activity. ~The Boeing Co., Seattle, Wash., is being awarded a $16,523,267 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement (N00019-05-G-0026) to conduct studies and analyses for the acoustic processor technology refresh and capability analysis planning effort for the P-8A Poseidon multi-mission aircraft. Work will be performed in Anaheim, Calif. (83 percent), and Seattle, Wash. (17 percent), and is expected to be completed in July 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River Md., is the contracting activity. ~Eastern GCR, LLC*, Pinehurst, N.C., is being awarded a $10,351,322 modification under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N40080-05-D-3002) to exercise Option 4 for small business base operating support services at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Webster Outlying Field, and Solomons Recreation Center. The work to be performed provides for services including custodial services, pest control services, grounds maintenance, street sweeping, snow removal, and transportation. The total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $45,556,148. Work will be performed at Patuxent River, Md.; St. Inigoes, Md.; and Solomons, Md. Expect work to be completed by January 2011. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. ~BMT Syntek Technologies, Inc., Arlington, Va., is being awarded a $9,924,836 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research and development activities associated with advanced power systems and analysis. BMT Syntek will support the research and development of various alternative technologies associated with advanced power system management and analysis as part of the development of the Next Generation Integrated Power System (NGIPS). BMT Syntek will also perform system-level performance analyses of NGIPS architectures and their associated components and shall analyze the impact of the projected performance on ship mission equipment and performance. Work will be performed in Arlington, Va. (60 percent), and Severna Park, Md. (40 percent), and is expected to be completed by January 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Broad Agency Announcement; 24 proposals were solicited and 22 awards have been made. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-4212). ARMY ~Rapiscan Systems Inc., Torrance, Calif., was awarded on Jan. 26, 2010, a $25,162,861 firm-fixed-price contract for the non-intrusive inspection systems-fixed, rail and mobile. Work is to be performed in Baghdad, Iraq, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. Joint Contracting Command- Iraq/Afghanistan, Baghdad, Iraq, is the contracting activity (W91GY0-10-C-0005). ~M.R. Pittman Group, LLC, Harahan, La., was awarded on Jan. 25, 2010, a $19,565,240 construction firm-fixed-price contract for the Bayou Segnette Pumping Station Nos. 1 and 2, fronting protection and modifications, in Jefferson Parish, La. Work is to be performed in Jefferson Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of July 5, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with nine bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0040). ~BAE Systems, Inc., York, Pa., was awarded on Jan. 26, 2010, a $15,696,037 firm-fixed-price contract for the quantity of 620 automatic fire extinguishing systems kits for the Bradley which is a component of the Bradley urban survivability kit. Work is to be performed in York, Pa., with an estimated completion date of July 21, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Center CCTA-AHLA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-05-G-0005). ~Cajun Constructors, Inc., Baton Rouge, La., was awarded on Jan. 26, 2010, a $14,512,548 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a continuous line of hurricane flood protection across the discharge basin at Belle Chasse No. 2 Pumping Station on the east side of the Algiers Canal. Work is to be performed in Plaquemines Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of May 28, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with eight bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0039). ~Walton Construction, Inc., Harahan, La., was awarded on Jan. 26, 2010, a $13,632,740 firm-fixed-price contract to construct a vehicle recovery course to include eight miles of paved tank rail, general instruction building and class rooms at 2,215 square feet, vehicle maintenance instructional building at 3,300 square foot, mire training stations, field training exercise training site, low water crossing, and organizational vehicle parking. Work is to be performed in Fort Benning, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 12, 2011. Four bids were solicited with four bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineer District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-08-D-0016). ~AI Corp., Hunt Valley, Md., was awarded on Jan. 26, 2010, a $13,046,030 firm-fixed-price contract for the purchase of one SHADOW unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for the U.S. Marine Corp. The SHADOW UAS provides flexible and responsive near real-time reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition; battle damage assessment; and battle management support to Army ground maneuver commanders. Work is to be performed in Hunt Valley, Md., with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, CCAM-AR-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0023). ~Venegas Engineering Management and Construction, El Paso, Texas, was awarded on Jan. 25, 2010, a $9,399,782 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of the Fort Bliss brigade staging area complex in El Paso, Texas. This project includes repairing War Road and intersections/curves/turning lanes at Dona Ana Base Camp and the repair/resurfacing of the roadway and shoulders. Work is to be performed in Fort Bliss, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 25, 2011. Bids were solicited on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with eight bids received. U.S. Army Engineering District, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-10-C-0002). ~Honeywell Technology Solutions, Inc, Columbia, Md., was awarded on Jan. 25, 2010, a $7,028,034 firm-fixed-price contract for the theater provided equipment refurbishment of 140 family of medium tactical vehicles. Work is to be performed in Kuwait with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2010. Bids were posted on the World Wide Web with four bids received. TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, CCTA-ATB-D, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-D-0136). ~Eagle Rock Underground, LLC, Phoenix, Ariz., was awarded on Jan. 25, 2010, a $5,604,221 firm-fixed-price contract to expand ambulatory care at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Cheyenne, Wyo. Work is to be performed in Cheyenne, Wyo., with an estimated completion date of July 28, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 16 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha, Neb., is the contracting activity (W9128F-10-C-0008). DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY ~Aloha Petroleum, Ltd.*, Honolulu, Hawaii, is being awarded a minimum $7,505,293 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other locations of performance are throughout Hawaii. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The proposal was originally Web solicited with eight responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2012. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-1252). ~Woodward FST, Inc., Zeeland, Mich., is being awarded a maximum $5,864,700 firm-fixed-price contract for injector assembly. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Air Force. There were originally two proposals solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Dec. 30, 2011. The Defense Logistics Agency, Oklahoma City, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (SPRSTA1-10-C-0032). *Small business

DTN News: Sri Lankan Police Raid Defeated Candidate's Office

DTN News: Sri Lankan Police Raid Defeated Candidate's Office *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media By FISNIK ABRASHI and KRISHAN FRANCIS, Associated Press Writers (NSI News Source Info) COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - January 29, 2010: Police raided the office of Sri Lanka's defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka and arrested 15 of his staff Friday, after officials accused the former army chief of plotting to overthrow the government and assassinate his victorious rival.Sri Lankan police commandos check vehicles in the area around the office of former military chief and presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Jan. 29, 2010. Fonseka called the allegations fabricated and vowed to push on with his political career by challenging President Mahinda Rajapaksa's party in upcoming parliamentary elections. The two men were close allies when they crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels last year, but fell out after the war ended in May. Fonseka joined the opposition to run against the president, with both sides campaigning on their record as heroes who ended the 25-year separatist rebellion. Rajapaksa swept to a resounding victory in Tuesday's vote, beating the former army chief by 17 percentage points. However, Fonseka rejected the results and accused the government of stealing more than a million of his votes during the tallying process.Special force soldiers of the Sri Lankan Army patrol outside the office of former military chief and defeated presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka during a raid in his office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Jan. 29, 2010. Police raided the office of Sri Lanka's defeated presidential candidate and arrested 15 of its workers Friday, his lawyer said, after he disputed this week's election result and the government alleged he was planning a coup. The government denied this, and in turn accused Fonseka of plotting to kill Rajapaksa and overthrow the government with the help of army deserters and former military officers. Dozens of policemen raided Fonseka's office in Colombo on Friday, taking away computers and detaining 15 ex-military personnel who worked there, said Shiral Laktilaka, Fonseka's lawyer. A government spokesman confirmed the raid, but did not give other details.Police Special Task Force (STF) commandos block a road outside the office of former military chief and defeated presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka during a raid in his office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Jan. 29, 2010. The former army chief was at his house elsewhere in the capital at the time of the operation, said Mano Ganeshan, an opposition official. Police said they were looking for explosives during their five-hour long search of the building, said an office worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from authorities. "This is the price we pay for democracy because he decided to contest the election," Laktilaka said. Following his defeat, Fonseka said the government was harassing his associates, and had recalled his 80-strong state-provided security force, a move he says put his life in danger. He also said authorities put his name on the list of people who cannot leave the country, a charge denied by the government. The acrimonious post-poll fallout between the one-time allies will likely continue until the general elections. Fonseka announced that he plans to run for a parliamentary seat. The president can dissolve parliament and call the general elections at any point between now and April, when its six-year mandate expires. Rajapaksa and his coalition partners hold a majority in parliament. Meanwhile, detectives questioned an editor of a pro-opposition newspaper, said opposition lawmaker Vijitha Herath. Chandana Sirimalwatte of the Lanka newspaper was asked to report to the Criminal Investigations Department on Friday, Herath said, adding that officials were preparing to obtain an order from the government that can allow for a 90-day detention under the country's wartime emergency laws. Herath said he did not know why the editor was summoned for questioning. The newspaper backed Fonseka in the election and has reported on alleged government corruption. Separately, authorities ordered a Swiss radio journalist to leave Sri Lanka by Monday, after she asked critical questions at a post-election news conference earlier in the week, said Andreas Notter, a spokesman for the national broadcaster. Notter said Friday that the government in Colombo gave no reason for the expulsion of their South Asia correspondent Karin Wenger. Officials at Sri Lanka's diplomatic missions in Geneva and Berlin couldn't be reached for comment. Sri Lanka has in the past expelled journalists, U.N. officials and aid workers who have spoken publicly about the plight of civilians during the country's civil war and political repression.

DTN News: Boeing Provides First Look At 787 Stall Tests

DTN News: Boeing Provides First Look At 787 Stall Tests *Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) EVERETT, Wash., - January 29, 2010: Boeing (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner pilots conducted the program's first stall tests - in which pilots intentionally reduce power to both engines and then recover normal flight speeds - as part of the initial airworthiness program for the airplane. The second Boeing 787 Dreamliner, ZA002, completed its first flight on Dec. 22, 2009. The all-new airplane, which features the livery of the Dreamliner's launch customer, ANA (All Nippon Airways) of Japan, took off from Paine Field in Everett, completed a two-hour flight and landed at Boeing Field in Seattle. “We are delighted that the second Dreamliner is in the livery of our launch customer, ANA,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “We are honored by the airline’s support and look forward to delivering ANA the first production airplane next year.” Captain Randy Neville was at the controls for the flight, with Chief Pilot Mike Carriker operating as co-pilot. Neville and Carriker took the airplane to an altitude of 13,000 feet (3,962 m) and an airspeed of 200 knots, or about 230 miles (370 km) per hour. The airplane took off at 9:09 a.m. PST and landed at 11:10 a.m. PST. This is the second of six 787s being used in the airplane's flight-test program. Each of the airplanes will be used for a specific set of tests, with this airplane focusing on systems performance. Like its predecessor, ZA001, the airplane is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. Additional stall tests will take place throughout the flight test period. The testing went "very well and there were no surprises," said 787 Chief Pilot Mike Carriker. The purpose of the testing is to demonstrate that in the rare event a pilot encounters a stall during flight, the airplane reacts benignly and allows for a smooth recovery. A stall is defined as flying so slowly that the airplane is no longer generating lift. During stall maneuvers pilots use a disciplined process to slow the airplane down at precise increments to the point where it shakes dramatically, resulting in forces of 1.5 times the force of gravity. Video highlights and an interview with Carriker are featured in a three-minute video on a new 787 flight test Web site that is being launched today. The site can be accessed at either or

DTN News: First U.K. Service Pilot Flies The Lockheed Martin F-35

DTN News: First U.K. Service Pilot Flies The Lockheed Martin F-35 *Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin (NSI News Source Info) PATUXENT RIVER, Md., - January 29, 2010: A Royal Air Force officer on Tuesday became the first active-duty service pilot from the United Kingdom to take to the skies in a Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Steve Long takes off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., in an F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter on Tuesday, Jan. 26. The flight marked the first time an active-duty service pilot from the United Kingdom had flown an F-35. RAF Squadron Leader Steve Long piloted BF-2, the second short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B, over Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., logging the aircraft's 18th mission. Long departed at 9:55 a.m. EST and flew the aircraft to 20,000 feet, before landing 1.3 hours later. Both the RAF and the Royal Navy plan to operate the F-35B. "Flying the F-35 was exactly like the simulators that I've been flying for over 18 months now, which gives you a lot of confidence in all the modeling and simulation work that has been done in all the other areas of the flight envelope," Long said, adding that it was a "privilege" to fly the F-35. "What this aircraft really gives the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy is a quantum leap in airborne capability because of the sensor suite it carries. An F-35 pilot will have an unprecedented level of situational awareness about what's going on in the airspace around him or her, and also on the battlefield or ocean below. Not only that, but the F-35 will plug into coalition battlefield networks and be able to pass that picture on to all other players in the network." With the capability to operate from a variety of ships or austere runways, the F-35B can deploy closer to shore or near front lines, shrinking distance and time to the target, increasing sortie rates and greatly reducing the need for support assets. The Lightning II's sensor suite is the most powerful and comprehensive of any fighter in history, and will combine with an unprecedented networking capability to give unparalleled situational awareness. U.K. Joint Combat Aircraft Project Team Leader, Air Commodore Graham Farnell, has stated that the U.K. has been closely involved in JSF since its inception. "It is therefore an honour to witness an RAF pilot flying BF-2 during this important phase of the F-35B flight test, and further demonstrates the closeness and mutual trust between our respective nations and their armed forces," Farnell said. "Squadron Leader Long has been preparing for this opportunity since his arrival in the U.S. well over a year ago, and this occasion is a testament not only to the work undertaken in the Integrated Test Force, to which the U.K. provides considerable expertise, but also to the wider JSF community in both government and industry. “We look forward to the JSF flight test program meeting its targets in 2010, with today being one of many such occasions in the next year of JSF. The U.K. is now preparing pilots and maintainers for initial training at Eglin so that we can begin operating our aircraft in 2011 alongside our colleagues from the United States Marine Corps,” he said. Squadron Leader Long is the third active-duty service member to fly the F-35. (The jet also has been flown by U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps pilots.) Long has more than 2,200 hours of flight time and currently flies the F-18A-D with the U.S. Marines. He joined the RAF in 1995, and his operational experience has included more than 100 sorties over Kosovo and Bosnia, Sierra Leone and Iraq, including three months of embarked time aboard H.M.S. Illustrious, and seven months on the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard. The U.K. has invested $2 billion in the F-35's development – the largest contribution among the program’s eight partner nations. The Joint Combat Aircraft (JCA) program announced in December that the United Kingdom received financial approval to purchase its third F-35B operational test aircraft, reinforcing the U.K.’s continued commitment to the JSF program’s upcoming Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) phase. The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations, advanced sustainment, and lower operational and support costs. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.

DTN News: Rolls-Royce Share Of Jetstar V2500 Order Worth Up To $1.2 Billion

DTN News: Rolls-Royce Share Of Jetstar V2500 Order Worth Up To $1.2 Billion *Source: DTN News / Rolls-Royce (NSI News Source Info) - January 29, 2010: Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, has won a share of an order from Jetstar Airways for V2500 engines to power up to 90 Airbus A320 family aircraft. The order is worth up to $1.2bn to Rolls-Royce if all options are exercised. Jetstar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qantas Airways, has selected the engine for a new fleet of 50 additional aircraft, with options and purchase rights on up to 40 more. The aircraft will be distributed amongst the Jetstar Group fleet that includes investments by Qantas in low cost carriers Jetstar Asia and Valuair of Singapore and Jetstar Pacific, Vietnam’s second largest domestic carrier. The contract includes a long-term engine service agreement for these aircraft as well as engines installed on 40 aircraft already operated by the three Jetstar Group airline brand businesses. The V2500 is produced by the International Aero Engines consortium (IAE) in which Rolls-Royce is a senior shareholder. IAE’s other partners are Pratt & Whitney, the Japanese Aero Engines Corporation and MTU Aero Engines. The 22,000 - 33,000lb thrust V2500 powers the Airbus A319, A320 and A321 family of aircraft as well as the Airbus Corporate Jetliner. More than 5,500 V2500 engines are in service or on firm order worldwide. Rolls-Royce, a world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, has established a strong position in global markets - civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy. In 2008, Rolls-Royce and its partners invested £885 million on research and development, two thirds of which had the objective of further improving the environmental aspects of its products, in particular the reduction of emissions. Annual underlying revenues were £9.1 billion in 2008, of which 52 per cent came from services revenues. The firm and announced order book stood at £57.5 billion at 30 June 2009, providing visibility of future levels of activity.

DTN News: China’s Alarming, Puzzling, Missile Test

DTN News: China’s Alarming, Puzzling, Missile Test *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media By David Axe (NSI News Source Info) - January 29, 2010: On January 11, a large missile streaked upward from a test site in China. The missile rocketed beyond the atmosphere and struck another similar missile launched from a separate site. Later that day, the official Xinhua news agency announced a ‘test on ground-based midcourse missile interception technology.’ ‘The test has achieved the expected objective,’ Xinhua proclaimed. ‘The test is defensive in nature and is not targeted at any country.’ It was a seemingly impressive accomplishment--and apparently a big surprise to Western governments. To date, just one nation has managed to fire one missile to intercept another outside Earth's atmosphere: the United States. And that was after some 20 years of concerted technology development. Today the United States spends around $10 billion a year developing and buying missile-defense equipment, yet has hit another missile in exo-atmospheric tests on just a handful of occasions. The Chinese test seemed to represent a huge step towards eliminating the US lead. It's unclear, however, how realistic the Chinese test was and how advanced the Chinese missile-defense technology truly is. It's equally unclear what exactly the Chinese missile interceptor is for. These uncertainties are not unusual. The whole field of missiles and missile defense is notorious for its political theater. Nations will fund, buy or just plan for ballistic missiles and ballistic-missile defenses--however technically troubled or operationally impractical--solely for posturing. ‘These things tend to be tools of international politics,’ says Phil Coyle, an expert in missiles and missile defenses. By firing just a handful of ballistic missiles, Iraq was nearly able to draw Israel into the 1991 Gulf War, which could have shattered the Western-Arab alliance arrayed against Iraq. North Korea, Iran and China all field ballistic missiles to back up their rhetoric towards South Korea, Israel and Taiwan, respectively. By the same token, systems that promise to render impotent these politically-empowering ballistic missiles carry much of the same weight in the halls of diplomacy and at the bargaining table. For that reason, missile defenses are also big business. The US arms industry earns billions of dollars a year exporting various command systems, radars, launchers and interceptors associated with missile defense. In one of the biggest recent deals, last autumn Turkey announced plans to spend $8 billion on US-made PAC-3 missile interceptors. States ringing heavily missile-armed nations are the best customers. The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia all have bought PAC-3 interceptors, owing to Iran's growing missile force. South Korea bought PAC-3s and sea-based SM-2s, and Japan bought PAC-3s and seaborne SM-3s, both to contend with North Korea. Taiwan is buying PAC-3s to defend against China. Was the Chinese test for real? Is the system meant to boost Beijing's position as it jockeys for influence over Taiwan? Was the point to send a signal to some other strategic rival--the United States perhaps, or India? Is the interceptor meant for export as part of a burgeoning commercial arms catalogue? ‘The bottom line is that people don't know for sure what's motivating this,’ says Michael Swaine, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. And considering how the Americans have been working on their own missile defenses, good answers regarding the Chinese system could be years in coming. Just one thing is certain: whatever their operational reality, whatever the rationale behind their development, missile defenses represent an important and growing concern for the whole world and in particular, Asia. Taiwan Theater
Every move by the Chinese defense establishment must be understood in the context of Taiwan. ‘The Taiwan question, bearing upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, has always been the most important and sensitive issue in China-US relations,’ Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said in January. Observers were quick to point out that the Chinese missile test came just days after Washington announced a $1-billion PAC-3 sale to Taiwan. One theory is that China simply insists on having all the same military capabilities as Taiwan, if not better. Since PAC-3 is a point defense against only smaller ballistic missiles flying in the atmosphere, the Chinese demonstration of a heavy, exo-atmospheric interceptor could be the trump card in a game of military one-upmanship. Swaine is skeptical. The Chinese interceptor test ‘doesn't seem tied to the Taiwanese PAC-3,’ Swaine says. That both rivals made big missile moves at the same time is coincidence, he insists. ‘This test has been in making for some time. It's pretty silly to think they pulled it out of their pocket ... right after the sale of PAC-3 to the Taiwanese.’ Besides, China doesn't really need a missile-interceptor in order to contend with the Taiwanese military. Taiwan doesn't possess ballistic missiles for land bombardment. In the cross-strait balance, it's China that has all the land-attack missiles--hundreds of them, arrayed along the southern Chinese coast, all within range of Taiwanese bases. Taiwan's posture is defensive, not offensive. For Taipei, buying PAC-3 makes sense: the island nation needs missile interceptors to protect its airfields and garrisons. But Beijing doesn't need systems to defend against Taiwan, for Taiwan has no way of striking the Chinese mainland. Still, there could be a connection to the cross-strait standoff. Taiwan's defense always has hinged, and still does, on the presence of US forces in the Pacific. Despite the United States’ increasingly close relationship with China, the Pentagon is committed to an independent Taiwan. In 1996, two US Navy aircraft carriers steamed into the Taiwan Strait amid increasing tensions between China and Taiwan. At present, the US does not operate non-nuclear ballistic missiles. But such a missile is in development. The so-called Conventional Strike Missile emerged in the early 2000s as a potential complement to US long-range bombers. Development got sidelined by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the change in presidential administrations in early 2009. But last year the Barack Obama administration revived the idea of putting conventional explosive warheads on long-range ballistic missiles. Such a system would be useful for striking Chinese targets in any shooting war over Taiwan. The United States famously deployed heavy, exo-atmospheric missile interceptors in Alaska beginning in 2004, in order to deter and defend against missiles fired by North Korea. In the same way, maybe Beijing is trying to head off the US Conventional Strike Missile deployment with its own missile defenses. India Deterrent or Sat Killer?
It's also possible China is developing missile defenses to tweak the balance of power between it and neighboring India. Both nations have nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. While not outwardly hostile, Beijing and New Delhi eye each other cautiously as they both grow into global powers. But again, Swaine has his doubts. ‘If the Chinese system is designed against a strategic threat such as India, it’s a pretty poor investment on the part of the Chinese.’ After all, India has as many as 80 nukes and could fire them all at the same time, easily overwhelming any defense. Missile defenses ‘are not a very cost-effective way of dealing with a strategic threat from a potential adversary,’ Swaine says. ‘It's better to deal with the Indian threat through a retaliatory capability.’ Which, it should be noted, Beijing already possesses. On the other hand, defenses could be useful against a rival with just a handful of nuclear weapons--say, one of the so-called rogue states. ‘The Chinese may feel the situation in North Korea could get so out of control that the North Koreans might use ballistic missiles against the Chinese,’ Swaine suggests. ‘I hasten to add that I don't share this view.’ Coyle says he was ‘impressed’ when he read details of the Chinese test. Military analyst John Pike, from the think tank in Alexandria, Virginia, was not. He says the tests were all about ‘bragging rights.’ ‘Anything the Americans can do,the “Chicoms” can do better,’ Pike imagined Chinese officials thinking. Swaine appears to concur. ‘The test as I understand it was extremely scripted, even more than US anti-ballistic-missile tests. Apparently the target time and location was communicated to the interceptor. You may excuse that as early-phase testing, but some people have concluded that this system in its current form isn’t really suited to the anti-ballistic-missile mission.’ The Chinese system could, however, be used against slow, predictable targets--say, US satellites. In 2007, the Chinese military launched a missile to destroy a derelict satellite in a highly scripted test of a rudimentary anti-satellite capability. This year's test could represent a continuation of those efforts, Swaine says. Beijing has long sought what the Pentagon calls ‘asymmetric’ military capabilities meant to strike at key American vulnerabilities in its communications and surveillance infrastructure. As a legitimate missile defense, or a sat-killer, the Chinese interceptor could make for a valuable export item, Coyle says. Ironically, customers could include US allies worried about Iranian or North Korean missiles, which allegedly have Chinese components. Not that it’s unheard of for a nation to sell weapons to all sides in an international rivalry. Several years ago, Washington offered F-35 stealth fighters to Israel. In January, Lockheed Martin, the company that makes the F-35, said the Israeli sale would probably force Israel's Arab neighbors to buy F-35s, too. ‘I don't know what China's purpose or motives were for the test,’ Coyle says, an uncertainty that places him in good company. Swaine, for his part, says even the Chinese might have only the vaguest notion of what their new missile defense is for. ‘Absent any proof, one could say it's a prudent effort to develop technology that could be applied in several different areas,’ he says. ‘Maybe it's part of a longer-term project to develop technology, the uses for which ... no clear decision has been made about.’ David Axe is a US-based defence analyst and author of the 'War is Boring' blog

DTN News: Russian 5th-Generation Fighter To Perform Maiden Flight Jan 29.

DTN News: Russian 5th-Generation Fighter To Perform Maiden Flight Jan 29. *Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti (NSI News Source Info) - January 29, 2010: Russia is expected to hold the first test of its fifth-generation fighter on Friday, a source at Russia's largest aircraft building enterprise said on Thursday. "The [test] flight was initially scheduled for Thursday, but has been postponed," the source at the Gagarin KNAAPO company, a subsidiary of Russia's major aircraft holding Sukhoi, said. Russia's only known fifth-generation project is Sukhoi's PAK FA and the current prototype is the T-50. It is designed to compete with the U.S. F-22 Raptor (so far the world's only fifth-generation fighter aircraft) and the F-35 Lightning II, but has yet to take to the skies. The PAK FA is believed to possess advanced avionics, stealth capability, a ferry range of 4,000 to 5,500 km, and endurance of 3.3 hrs; it is armed with next-generation air-to-air, air-to-surface, and air-to-ship missiles, and has two 30-mm cannons. Russia has been developing its newest fighter since the 1990s. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin earlier said the combat aircraft would enter service with the Air Force in 2015.

DTN News: Russia Free To Sell Weapons To Iran - State Arms Exporter

DTN News: Russia Free To Sell Weapons To Iran - State Arms Exporter *Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - January 29, 2010: There is nothing to stop Russia from selling military equipment to Iran, the head of Russia's state-run arms exporter said on Thursday. 'Nothing prevents the continuation of military cooperation in those directions of interest to Russia and Iran," Rosoboronexport's Anatoly Isaikin told a RIA Novosti news conference. "Iran has never violated a single commitment it has undertaken with regard to military contracts," he said. Russia signed a contract with Iran on the supply of S-300 air defense systems to Tehran in December 2005. However, there have been no official reports on the start of the contract's implementation. Western powers are angered by Iran's failure to give a constructive response to proposals made by a group of international mediators on its controversial nuclear program. Washington and Tel Aviv have refused to rule out military action over the issue, and on Wednesday U.S. President Barack Obama warned the Islamic Republic's leaders that they would face "growing consequences" over their refusal to fulfill their "obligations". Both the U.S. and Israel have expressed concern over the possibility of S-300 deliveries to Iran, which would significantly strengthen the country's air defenses. Although Russia has traditionally had close ties to Iran, including in nuclear energy through the construction of the Bushehr power plant, it is seen as having moved closer to the U.S. position on imposing new sanctions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Iran on Wednesday that "it is impossible to wait forever" and that Russia's partners "are already talking about the need to discuss further steps at the UN Security Council."

DTN News: Russia Expects To Sell No Less Than $7.4 Bln Of Arms In 2010 / India, Russia Close To $1.2 Bln Deal For 29 Navy Fighters

DTN News: Russia Expects To Sell No Less Than $7.4 Bln Of Arms In 2010 / India, Russia Close To $1.2 Bln Deal For 29 Navy Fighters *Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti (NSI News Source Info) - January 29, 2010: Russia exported $7.4 billion worth of military products last year, and expects to sell at least a similar amount in 2010, the head of the country's state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport said on Thursday. Russia exported a record $8.35 billion worth of weapons in 2008. "We do not expect arms deliveries abroad in 2010 to be lower than in 2009," Anatoly Isaikin said. He said arms and hardware supplies for the Air Force accounted for half of all exports in 2009. According to Isaikin, arms exports saw a steady growth in the past nine years, and increased more than 140% in the period from 2001 to 2009. Russia's main customers for arms were India, Algeria, China, Venezuela, Malaysia and Syria, Isaikin said. He hinted that Russia could also sell its arms to Iraq and Afghanistan if the United States gives its approval. "It's too early to say if any [arms] supplies will be made to Afghanistan and what arms could be supplied there... Military officials from Iraq and Afghanistan do approach us for various arms supplies. We are ready to deliver, provided there is a corresponding decision [on the part of the U.S. administration] and if funds are allocated," Isaikin said. He said Rosoboronexport's contract portfolio for the next few years currently exceeded $34 billion.
India, Russia Close To $1.2 Bln Deal For 29 Navy Fighters ~ Russia and India are poised to sign a $1.2 billion contract for another 29 MiG-29K fighter jets for the Indian Navy, an Indian daily reported on Monday. According to The Times of India, a Russian team is expected in New Delhi later this week to "fine-tune the contract" now that it has received the go-ahead from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The 29 new MiG-29Ks will be in addition to 16 jets already to be delivered under a 2004 contract. Russia's MiG aircraft maker said in early December it had delivered the first four MiG-29 Fulcrum-D carrier-based fighter jets to India. Russia and India signed a contract in January 2004 for the delivery of 12 single-seat MiG-29Ks and four two-seat MiG-29KUBs as part of a $1.5 billion deal for the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, currently being retrofitted in Russia for the Indian navy. The contract for the jets also stipulates the procurement of equipment for pilot training and aircraft maintenance, including flight simulators and interactive ground and sea-based training systems.

DTN News: Technology News TODAY January 29, 2010 ~ Nippon Steel Joins Japanese Rivals In Indian Auto Steel Push

DTN News: Technology News TODAY January 29, 2010 ~ Nippon Steel Joins Japanese Rivals In Indian Auto Steel Push *Source: DTN News / Bloomberg By Debarati Roy and Abhishek Shanker (NSI News Source Info) MUMBAI, India - January 29, 2010: Nippon Steel Corp. followed its two largest Japanese rivals in forging Indian automobile steel ventures to tap surging demand in Asia’s third-biggest car market as domestic sales decline. Nippon Steel, the world’s second-largest steelmaker, agreed yesterday to invest as much as 35 billion yen ($388 million) with Tata Steel Ltd. to make auto-grade steel in India by March 2013. JFE Holdings Inc., Japan’s No. 2 steelmaker, said in November it will cooperate with Mumbai-based JSW Steel Ltd., while Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. said last month it may buy a stake in Bhushan Steel Ltd.’s proposed mill in eastern India. Car sales in India grew at the fastest pace in three years in 2009, as Japan’s auto market contracted to a 32-year low. Having Indian partners allows the steelmakers to skirt government delays, said Bharath S., an analyst in Chennai at Sundaram BNP Paribas Mutual Fund. “This is the easy way out for all companies who want to be in India and are aware of the practical problems here,” he said. “You will hear of more global companies wanting to pick up stakes in the India growth story.” Sundaram BNP holds 1.31 million Tata Steel shares, according to Bloomberg data. Tata Steel, Steel Authority of India Ltd., and JSW Steel raised prices this month on higher demand. Higher material costs prompted Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. and the Indian unit of Hyundai Motor Co. to increase prices of some of their cars. Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG have also expanded factories and introduced new models. ‘On a Roll’ “India’s automobile industry is on a roll,” Tata Steel Managing Director H.M. Nerurkar said in an interview yesterday in Mumbai. India’s $1.2 trillion economy may expand 6.9 percent in the year ending March 31, according to the median estimate of a survey conducted in December of forecasters such as the New Delhi-based National Council of Applied Economic Research. ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, and South Korea’s Posco, Asia’s most profitable mill, have failed for the past four years to buy land to build plants in the eastern states of Jharkhand and Orissa that would have more than doubled India’s production. Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal bought a 5.6 percent stake in Uttam Galva Steels Ltd. in September, after failing to secure land for two $10 billion factories in the country. ArcelorMittal said in October 2005 it plans to set up a factory with a capacity of 12 million metric tons in Jharkhand and the following year it announced another plant of the same size in neighboring Orissa state. JFE-JSW Tokyo-based JFE Steel will also collaborate with JSW Steel, India’s third-largest producer, on a planned factory in West Bengal, JSW Managing Director Sajjan Jindal said on Nov. 19. The companies will consider buying stakes in each other later, JFE said in a statement on its Web site that day, without giving more details. “Indian automotive industry has done distinctively well compared with the rest of the world and so has the two-wheeler industry,” Nerurkar said. Bhushan, a maker of automotive steel, offered Sumitomo as much as a 40 percent share in a factory it plans to build in West Bengal. Sumitomo is in talks with Bhushan about the venture and will decide on a stake purchase by the middle of next year, Sumitomo President Hiroshi Tomono said last month. India’s steel demand is beating a global slump as federal stimulus packages and declining interest rates boost consumer spending. Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG and other carmakers will add at least six more minicars and hatchbacks in the next two years as automakers invest $6 billion in India. At least 10 models were unveiled at the Delhi Auto Show on Jan. 7 as global carmakers rush to India to boost sales and counter a slump in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Companies including Nissan Motor Co. and General Motors Co. plan to use the nation as a hub for small-car exports. “We need technology to produce high strength cold-rolled steel,” Nerurkar said. “This value-added automotive steel has a premium of $20-odd per ton.” --Editors: Indranil Ghosh, Aaron Sheldrick. To contact the reporters on this story: Debarati Roy in Mumbai at +91-22-6633-9025 or; Abhishek Shanker in Mumbai at +91-22-6633-9030 or To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Hobbs at +61-2-9777-8642 or