Sunday, March 07, 2010

DTN News: General F-16 News ~ New Satellite Communications Aid F-16 Mission

DTN News: General F-16 News ~ New Satellite Communications Aid F-16 Mission Source: F-16 News By A1C Allison M. Boehm Courtesy of 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs (NSI News Source Info) AIR BASE In Iraq - March 8, 2010: The 77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron became the first squadron to use a new satellite communication capability for F-16s in Operation Iraqi Freedom Feb. 19, 2010.
This capability allows F-16 pilots to communicate using four geosynchronous satellites 22,300 miles above the equator.
F-16 pilots can now converse beyond the line of sight to command and control agencies in Iraq.
Previously, pilots were relied on line of sight radio capability to communicate. With that, a straight line between the transmitting and receiving end was needed for successful communication, and it was limited by range, mountains and other obstructions.
Now with the satellite communication system high above the earth, the line of sight is no longer an issue.
"The new capability allows us to communicate with joint-terminal air controllers in the field from long distances over a very secure and reliable means," said Maj. Donald Freud, 77th EFS assistant director of operations. "It also allows us to communicate with command and control agencies hundreds of miles away when other communication means are unreliable. It is a force multiplier allowing for more centralized control, decentralized execution lending better battlespace awareness by the Combined Air Operations Center."
In its short use, the new frequency has proved beneficial to the aircrew. Members of the 77th were able to pass along word that an incoming sand storm was about to hit the area a pilot was flying in. The pilot was able to land early and safely due to the timely transmission of information.
"The capability is important because it allows us to talk to all control agencies and our operations from anywhere in Iraq at any altitude," said Capt. Weston Killian, 77th EFS assistant chief of scheduling. "
In any part of the country, we can change a simple channel and talk to them whereas before that was not possible."Pilots are also now able to radio in their mission status to the control and reporting center, report estimated landing times to their squadron and brief what condition their jets are in without having to go through multiple agencies.
"It is a benefit to me to be able to get in touch with the people I need to get in touch with more quickly and not being limited by range whatsoever," said Captain Taylor Blevins, 77th EFS chief of safety. "It's really like a one-stop-shop for passing and receiving any information. Things can happen quickly--this system saves time and simplifies the problem for allowing you talk to multiple people on the frequency safely and quickly. We can get answers to questions, data and intel or approval to put bombs on target very quickly. When and if it does get bad, this will be an added bonus."

DTN News: Eurocopter And Pawan Hans To Set Up Joint-Ventures For MRO And Training

DTN News: Eurocopter And Pawan Hans To Set Up Joint-Ventures For MRO And Training Source: DTN News / Eurocopter (NSI News Source Info) HYDERABAD, India - March 8, 2010: Eurocopter, the world’s leading helicopter manufacturer and Pawan Hans Helicopters, the largest civil helicopter operator in India, announced the project to form 2 joint-ventures (JV) for Maintenance Repair and Overall (MRO) and training, through the signatures of MoUs. Both JVs should be created within 2010.
Under the terms of the first joint venture, Eurocopter and Pawan Hans will set up an MRO facility in a key Indian metro to better serve the huge Dauphin fleet being operated in India. The second Joint venture will set up a training centre to support Indian needs. It will include all necessary state of the art training medias.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. R. K. Tyagi, Chairman & Managing Director, Pawan Hans said, “As the Indian helicopter market expands, we see tremendous opportunity for Pawan Hans in the oil & gas, tourism and corporate travel segments. It is a significant asset to have Eurocopter as a reliable partner offering the best-in-class products and services to help us meet our goal of providing the best services to our customers.” Pawan Hans is the biggest customer of Eurocopter in India and Eurocopter’s approved Dauphin Maintenance Center for this part of the Indian Sub-continent. Its fleet of helicopters is used for transportation of personnel to offshore platforms, for shuttle flights between drill barges and for transport of state officials and VIPs. It also provides charter services for tourists.
“We have shared a very special relationship with Pawan Hans for the past 24 years, and are very happy to further strengthen this association. Through these joint ventures we wish to come closer to the Indian customers and serve them better. We will now be able to provide even better support, service and fleet safety solutions to the Indian market. Also, seeing the need for trained helicopter pilots in India, we look forward to supporting the country in meeting this need”- added Mrs. Marie-Agnes Veve, Head of Eurocopter activities in India.
Pawan Hans started operating Dauphin Helicopters in India in 1986. Since then, Pawan Hans has logged over 326,000 flying hours.
About Eurocopter
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2009, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.6 billion Euros, orders for 344 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 18 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 10,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in more than 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.

DTN News: Jindal Steel & Power Ltd Takes Delivery Of An AW139 Helicopter / Sharp Ocean Signs Contract For Two Grand New And One AW119Ke (India News)

DTN News: Jindal Steel & Power Ltd Takes Delivery Of An AW139 Helicopter / Sharp Ocean Signs Contract For Two Grand New And One AW119Ke (India News) Source: DTN News / AgustaWestland (NSI News Source Info) VERGIATE, Italy - March 8, 2010: AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) of India has taken delivery of an AW139 medium twin helicopter. The aircraft configured with a 12 seat cabin will be used for corporate transport purposes in the Delhi and Chhattisgarh areas. The handover of JSPL’s AW139 further expands the presence of the world best selling helicopter in its class in the Indian helicopter market where AgustaWestland has already sold almost ten AW139s for VIP/corporate transport and offshore transport purposes. AgustaWestland’s presence in the Indian commercial helicopter market has grown strongly in recent years, with the sale of over 30 aircraft including the AW119Ke single engine, the AW109 Power and the Grand light twins and the AW139 medium twin helicopters. A new generation medium twin-turbine helicopter setting new standards against which all new medium twin are measured, the AW139 has been designed with inherent multi-role capability and flexibility of operation, offering unmatched performance and safety levels as well as the largest and the most comfortable cabin in its class. State-of-the-art mission equipment and outstanding performance enable the AW139 to accomplish its mission in the most demanding operating conditions. Orders for almost 460 AW139s have been placed by over 120 customers from almost 50 countries for many applications including VIP/corporate transport, offshore transport, EMS/SAR, law enforcement, fire fighting, utility and other commercial and government roles. Part of the Jindal Group, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) is a leading player in steel, power, mining, oil & gas and infrastructure sectors. The company, today, is the largest private sector investor in the state of Chhattisgarh. As JSPL goes about contributing to India’s growth, it is also expanding globally to become one of the most prestigious and dynamic business groups in India.
*Sharp Ocean Signs Contract For Two Grand New And One AW119Ke
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that its authorized distributor Sharp Ocean has signed a contract for two Grand New light twin helicopters and one AW119Ke single engine helicopter. The aircraft will be delivered to Indian private customers and used to perform VIP transport missions. This purchase marks the entrance of the Grand New into the Indian helicopter market and further strengthens the presence of AgustaWestland in the country adding its latest generation Grand to the successful range of commercial helicopters sold in India. The order further expands the presence of the world best selling light twin helicopter for VIP/corporate transport duties on the Indian helicopter market where AgustaWestland has already sold more than 20 light twin helicopters including the AW109 Power and Grand models. Furthermore, the AW119Ke single engine proves once more successful on the Indian market. AgustaWestland is proud to have been doing business in India for almost 40 years and the company has seen rapid growth in the Indian commercial helicopter market in recent years for its products. Over 30 aircraft have so far been sold including the AW119Ke single engine, the AW109 Power and the Grand light twins and the AW139 medium twin. An evolution of the highly successful Grand helicopter, the Grand New features the most modern developments in avionics while retaining the outstanding Grand’s characteristics. As the first light twin helicopter on the market fully compliant with the latest advanced global positioning system-based navigation requirements for all weather operations, the Grand New offers operators unprecedented opportunities for the exploitation of rotorcraft capabilities, setting a new standard. Orders for around 290 helicopters have been placed by almost 150 customers in over 30 countries worldwide, to perform a wide range of commercial and public service missions. The 8-seat AW119Ke is the top-of-the-range helicopter in the single engine market and has excellent performance, even in extremely hot and high operating environments. Over 190 AW119 helicopters have been ordered to date by almost 90 customers in nearly 30 countries. Thanks to its outstanding features in terms of performance, cabin space and safety, the AW119Ke is perfectly suited to perform many tasks including VIP/corporate transport, utility, fire-fighting, EMS, offshore transport, law enforcement and military duties.

DTN News: Automobile News March 8, 2010 ~ Toyota Could Delay Europe New Car Launches: Report

DTN News: Automobile News March 8, 2010 ~ Toyota Could Delay Europe New Car Launches: Report Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - March 8, 2010: Toyota Motor Corp <7203.t> could freeze new car launches this year if it is not satisfied the accelerator problem that forced a mass recall of its vehicles has been solved, according to the Sunday Telegraph. The report said the European launch of the RAV4 2010 model, the 2010 Auris and the Auris Hybrid, slated for later this year, could be halted, citing comments from the Japanese car maker's European boss. "We are discussing that, if necessary, we will postpone the launch timing. For us there is the hybrid in late May, which is really key. We want to make sure that this car is properly launched without any major issues," Tadashi Arashima, the chief executive of Toyota Motor Europe told the Sunday Telegraph. Arashima added that Toyota was "carefully assessing" the production volumes it will require in Britain during 2010. Toyota was forced to recall 8.5 million cars earlier this year because of braking problems with the Prius hybrid and concerns about sticky accelerator pedals on several other models. Toyota Europe was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.

DTN News: Palestine TODAY March 8, 2010 ~ Palestinians Agree To Indirect Israel Talks

DTN News: Palestine TODAY March 8, 2010 ~ Palestinians Agree To Indirect Israel Talks Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) RAMALLAH, West Bank - March 8, 2010: The Palestinians agreed on Sunday to give indirect peace talks with Israel a chance following months of US-led efforts to lure both sides back to the negotiating table. Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, announced the Palestinians would embark on US-mediated talks but expressed deep scepticism over the prospects of success. "The Palestinian leadership has decided to give an opportunity for the American suggestion to hold indirect talks between the Israeli and Palestinian sides," Abed Rabbo told reporters in the West Bank town of Ramallah. But he went on to cite a list of Israeli "violations" of previous agreements, led by the continuing expansion of settlements that he said would make direct negotiations impossible and could scupper the indirect talks. The decision, taken at a PLO executive committee meeting in Ramallah, came as US Middle East envoy George Mitchell was meeting with Israeli leaders on his latest trip to the region. US Vice President Joe Biden is also expected this week. The Palestinians' approval was expected after Arab foreign ministers last week expressed grudging support for the talks, following months of shuttle diplomacy by Mitchell. Abed Rabbo, the PLO secretary general, said the indirect talks would be limited to four months as proposed by the Arab ministers and should focus first on final borders. "The Arab position was clear. If there is no real progress within four months, there are different options, including going directly to the UN Security Council," he said. The Islamist movement Hamas, which opposes any talks with Israel and rules Gaza, is not a member of the PLO, an umbrella group that includes president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party and several smaller factions. Palestinian officials had expressed doubts about the talks ahead of the PLO meeting but said they did not want to be seen as hindering US-led efforts to revive peace talks suspended during the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza war. "We think it's unlikely that these indirect negotiations with the Netanyahu government will succeed," senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad said. "But we want to give an opportunity to the US administration to continue its efforts," Ahmad told AFP, referring to Israel's hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu has repeatedly called for direct talks with the Palestinians but has refused to completely freeze settlement growth. In November, Netanyahu imposed a 10-month halt to building starts in the West Bank but the Palestinians said the move was insufficient because it excluded east Jerusalem, public buildings and existing projects. Israel seized mostly Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in a move not recognised by the international community or the Palestinians, who view it as the capital of their future state. Earlier on Sunday, Israel's Haaretz newspaper cited a government memo as saying the Jewish state expected little pressure from the Obama administration ahead of US congressional elections in November. "In our assessment, the administration will focus in the coming year on domestic issues that are expected to determine the results of the congressional elections," it said, quoting an internal foreign ministry memo. "As such, and due to the difficulties to date in achieving significant gains in the peace process, we can assume that the administration's focus on this issue will be limited."

DTN News: Cambodia TODAY March 7, 2010 ~ Cambodia Tests Rockets To Guard Against 'Invaders'

DTN News: Cambodia TODAY March 7, 2010 ~ Cambodia Tests Rockets To Guard Against 'Invaders' Source: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) KAMPONG CHHNANG, Cambodia - March 7, 2010: Cambodia mounted Thursday a rare public test of rockets to protect against "invaders", amid a lingering military standoff over disputed territory with neighbouring Thailand. In the first such public drill since the country's civil war ended more than a decade ago, troops fired some 200 rockets from truck-mounted launchers at an airfield 180 kilometres (about 110 miles) from the Thai border. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said the exercise was "not about showing any military muscles", even though he is at loggerheads with the Thai government, but said it was to prepare for the defence of his country. "This is a normal drill and preparation to defend the nation in case there is an invasion," Hun Sen said during a separate ceremony in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh shortly after the rockets were fired. Hun Sen has recently made a number of fiery speeches railing against Thai "invaders" and "thieves" in disputed territory around an 11th century temple on their border, where there have been deadly clashes in the past two years. Shortly before the weapons were fired in front of assembled media and top brass at Kampong Chhnang, some 100 kilometres from Phnom Penh, defence ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat also said the drill was not meant as a show of force. "It is about the strengthening of the abilities of our forces in order to fulfil the duties of national defence against invaders," Chhum Socheat added. Muffled thumps could be heard as salvos of rockets landed. Hun Sen declared that the test was a success, saying targets 20, 30 and 40 kilometres away from the launch site were hit. "(We) have had these kinds of weapons since the 1980s, but we have stored them in warehouses for too long. So now the weapons needed to be taken out to test fire to see whether they exploded or not," Hun Sen said. Cambodia and Thailand have been locked in nationalist tensions and a troop standoff at their disputed border since July 2008, when Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was granted UNESCO World Heritage status. Four soldiers were killed in clashes in the temple area in 2008 and three more in a gunbattle last April. Smaller flare-ups continue to be reported between troops in the area. The Thai-Cambodia border has never been fully demarcated, partly because it is littered with landmines left over from decades of war in Cambodia, which ended in 1998. The World Court ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, although its main entrance lies in Thailand. The exact boundary through the surrounding grounds remains in dispute. Relations plunged further in November after Hun Sen appointed ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as his economic adviser and then refused to extradite him to Thailand, which he fled to avoid a jail term for corruption. Thailand's government downplayed the Cambodian rocket drill and said there had been no troop reinforcements on the disputed border. "I don't think Cambodia wants to intimidate us, as we have sent them a clear signal that we don't want the dispute to go out of control and affect people in both countries," deputy Thai prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban said. Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the drill was "nothing to do with us, they are not firing into our territory."

DTN News: Taiwan Experts Probe Suspected Fault After Quake

DTN News: Taiwan Experts Probe Suspected Fault After Quake Source: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) TAIPEI, Taiwan - March 7, 2010: Taiwan's scientists are investigating a suspected fault that could have been responsible for a powerful earthquake that injured 96 people last week, a seismologist said Sunday. The 6.4-magnitude quake rocked the south of the island March 4, derailing a carriage on a high-speed train, toppling farm houses and momentarily cutting off electricity to more than half a million homes. The tremor -- the biggest ever to hit the Kaohsiung area in a century -- immediately sparked concern and prompted scientists to review the existing geological records for the area. Kuo Kai-wen, the head of the official Seismology Centre, told AFP that the subsequent aftershock records indicated that "there may be a blind or an unidentified faultline in the area." A blind fault means a thrust fault that is "buried" under the uppermost layers of rock in the earth's crust. The relevant data collected by the centre will be used for the investigation currently being done by experts from the Central Geological Survey, the National Central University, and the island's top academic body Academia Sinica, Kuo said. About 99 schools have reported an estimated total of 40 million Taiwan dollars (1.3 million US) in quake damage. The tremor also caused millions of dollars in damage to infrastructure and businesses, officials said. Taiwan is regularly hit by earthquakes as the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates. In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude quake killed around 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island's history.

DTN News: Iran's Ahmadinejad To Visit Afghanistan On Monday

DTN News: Iran's Ahmadinejad To Visit Afghanistan On Monday Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN, Iran - March 7, 2010: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad travels to neighboring Afghanistan on Monday for talks with his counterpart Hamid Karzai, an Iranian news agency reported on Sunday. The semi-official Mehr news agency said the one-day trip to Kabul would be Ahmadinejad's first visit to Afghanistan since both he and Karzai were re-elected last year. Karzai had invited Ahmadinejad and the visit was aimed at expanding bilateral ties, Mehr added. They would also discuss "solutions for settling the problems" in Afghanistan. Western powers want regional players to cooperate in bringing stability to a country where U.S. and other foreign troops back Karzai's government in the face of an insurgency by the Islamist Taliban. Iran says the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan is a key reason for the problems in its eastern neighbor. Western forces have been in Afghanistan since 2001, when the United States led an invasion to drive the Taliban from power over their alliance with al Qaeda. Western security analysts have long talked of the need for a regional settlement on Afghanistan to prevent a resurgence of old rivalries which could stoke a renewed civil war when U.S.-led troops begin to leave. But Tehran, locked in a showdown with the United States over its nuclear program, has little reason to cooperate with Washington in helping it stabilize Afghanistan. (Reporting by Reza Derakhshi and Hashem Kalantari; writing by Fredrik Dahl)