Friday, March 12, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated March 12, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated March 12, 2010 Source: U.S. DoD issued March 12, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - March 13, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued March 12, 2010 are undermentioned; CONTRACTS
NAVY ~LPI Technical Services*, Chesapeake, Va., is being awarded a $84,140,685 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to furnish repair, maintenance, modernization, logistical, and technical support services for material handling equipment (yellow gear) and hull, mechanical, and electric machinery and systems in order to ensure continued ship operation and performance. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va. (25 percent); Chesapeake, Va. (15 percent); Mayport, Fla. (15 percent); Bremerton, Wash. (10 percent); San Diego (5 percent); Philadelphia (5 percent); Ingleside, Texas (5 percent); Naples, Italy (5 percent); Earle, N.J. (5 percent); Pascagoula, Miss. (5 percent); and Virginia Beach, Va. (5 percent). Work is expected to be completed by March 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities Web site, with one offer received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, Ship System Engineering Station, Philadelphia, is the contracting activity (N65540-10-D-0010). ~KOR Electronics*, Cypress, Calif., is being awarded a $44,444,241 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity time-and-material contract for the procurement of up to 200 production miniaturized I/J band digital radio frequency modulators (DRFM) for the Navy and Air Force. DRFMs are installed in systems that are used to evaluate U.S. weapons systems and train fleet operators. In addition, this contract provides for one lot of engineering, technical, and repair services in support of the Navy/Air Force Airborne Threat Simulation Organization. Work will be performed in Cypress, Calif., and is expected to be completed in March 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals as a 100 percent small business set-aside; two offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-10-D-0022). ~BAE Systems Land & Armaments, LP, Ground Systems Division, York, Pa., is being awarded a $44,116,706 modification to previously awarded delivery order #0011 under firm-fixed-priced contract (M67854-07-D-5025) for field service representatives and instructors to provide support, inside and outside the continental United States, for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Work will be performed in York, Pa., and is expected to be completed by December 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $44,116,706 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity. ~DDL Omni Engineering, McLean, Va. (N66604-10-D-003A), and
~General Dynamics Information Technology, Fairfax, Va. (N66604-10-D-003B), are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity cost-plus-fixed fee multiple-award contract for engineering services in support of the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) program. The dollar value for both contracts combined is $16,139,998; DDL Omni Engineering is being awarded $8, 482,108 and General Dynamics is being awarded $7,657,890. Efforts will include planning; development of alteration plans and procedures; assembly; fabrication; installation; testing; refurbishment; and repair of ISR systems and equipment aboard Navy submarines. Work will be performed in Newport, R.I. (50 percent), and Pawcatuck, Conn. (50 percent), and is expected to be completed by March 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $35,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. These contracts were competitively procured via Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site, with six offers received. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, R.I., is the contracting activity. ~Marvin Engineering Co., Inc.*, Inglewood, Calif., is being awarded an $11,717,049 modification to previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-08-D-0012) for the procurement of 377 LAU-7F/A missile launchers for the Navy. Work will be performed in Inglewood, Calif., and is expected to be completed in October 2012. 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. ~KITCO/kSARIA, LLC*, Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded a $9,799,727 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for CVN-78’s automated fiber optic manufacturing initiative (AFOMI). The AFOMI is intended to mature fiber optic cable termination technologies, specifically focusing on automation and miniaturization. This contract promotes CVN-78 carrier program’s goal to establish a manufacturing line to produce products developed through this initiative. CVN-78’s goal is to drive lifetime fiber optic component manufacturing and repair costs down by miniaturizing and automating as many processes as possible. Work will be performed in Lawrence, Mass. (90 percent), and Virginia Beach, Va. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $1,471,982 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Naval Electronics Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities Web sites, with two offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, Dahlgren, Va., is the contracting activity (N00178-10-D-2003). ~Marotta Controls, Inc.*, Montville, N.J., is being awarded a $6,210,698 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-06-D-0021) for the production of 377 pure air generating systems for integration into the LAU-7F/A missile launcher, for cooling of the AIM missile. Work will be performed in Montville, N.J., and is expected to be completed in October 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. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY ~Petro Star*, Anchorage, Alaska, is being awarded a maximum $10,828,604 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other location of performance is in Anchorage, Alaska. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally four proposals solicited with four responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2014. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0028).
~Freeman Holdings of California, dba Million Air Victorville*, Topeka, Kan., is being awarded a maximum $9,548,338 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other location of performance is California. Using services are Army, Navy and Air Force. There were originally two proposals solicited with two responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2014. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0032). *Small business

DTN News: Putin Visit Seals Russian Arms, Nuclear Deals With India

DTN News: Putin Visit Seals Russian Arms, Nuclear Deals With India Source: DTN News / AFP By Anna Smolchenko (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - March 13, 2010: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sealed a visit to India Friday with a raft of multi-billion-dollar arms and energy deals, including the construction of 16 Russian nuclear reactors. The two countries also signed agreements for the long-awaited sale to India of a refitted Soviet-era aircraft carrier as well as 29 MiG fighter jets, further cementing Moscow's role as New Delhi's principal arms provider. Energy-hungry India is one of the world's biggest markets for nuclear technology and the reactor deal is a triumph for Russia's state atomic agency Rosatom which faces stiff competition from French and US rivals. While welcoming the deals, Putin stressed that the two Cold War allies were still short of realising the potential of their partnership, one half of the powerful four-strong group of emerging nations that includes China and Brazil. "The level of our capabilities has not been reached," he said following talks with Indian Premier Manmohan Singh. Singh hailed the meeting with Russia -- a "trusted and reliable strategic partner" and a "pillar of our foreign policy" -- and pointed to the "rich and very substantive" agreements signed in nuclear energy, defence, space and other sectors. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said the reactor agreement covered the construction of "up to 16 nuclear energy units" at three Indian sites. Earlier, Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's state atomic agency said six of the reactors would be built by 2017. Two units are already under construction in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and Russia won a deal to build four more in 2008. It was unclear if the 16 reactors referred to by Ivanov included these six. The accord on the aircraft carrier, the Admiral Gorshkov, marks the end of a lengthy purchase process that was marred by a series of price disputes and delayed deliveries. Ivanov said the ship would be delivered by the end of 2012. The final cost was not revealed, although experts believe it to be around 2.3 billion dollars. Russia supplies 70 percent of India's military hardware but in recent years New Delhi has looked to other suppliers including Israel and the United States. Mikhail Pogosyan, the general director of Russian plane maker Sukhoi as well as the unit that manufactures MiGs estimated the value of the MiG-29K fighter deal at around 1.5 billion dollars. The strong ties between Moscow and New Delhi date back to the 1950s after the death of Stalin. But India has in recent years also taken care to balance this friendship by fostering closer relations with Washington. In a live webcast interaction with Indian businessmen, Putin said it was time for the old Cold War allies to boost trade beyond the limited scope of defence. At just over 7.5 billion dollars in 2009, bilateral trade turnover is miniscule and the two countries aim to lift it to 20 billion dollars by 2015. "There is the political will on both sides, but we need support from the captains of industry," Putin said. "Cooperation in hi-tech is the priority for us," he added. "The Russian government is ready to directly support this activity, with the help of additional financial assistance, if need be." On security issues, Putin highlighted the presence of militant outfits operating along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, saying they were cause for concern not just to Russia and India but the entire region. Putin also reassured that Russia had prioritised its military relations with India over rival Pakistan, with which New Delhi has fought three wars since 1947. In the space realm, Russia agreed to help put an Indian into space in 2015 -- the target date for India's first manned space mission.

DTN News: U.S. Navy Grounds 104 F/A-18 Boeing Fighter Jets

DTN News: U.S. Navy Grounds 104 F/A-18 Boeing Fighter Jets Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON,- March 13, 2010: The U.S. Navy grounded 104 older model F/A-18 fighter jets built by Boeing Co (BA.N). after tests had revealed earlier-than-expected cracks in the airframes, the agency said on Friday. The Navy's Naval Air Systems Command cited an emerging "safety of flight issue" with legacy F/A-18 A through D Hornets, after inspections revealed cracking had occurred earlier than predicted on some of the planes.
There have been no crashes or other mishaps related to the problem, said Navy spokesman Lt. Nate Christensen. The March 10 crash of a Marine F/A-18D Hornet from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 224 off South Carolina - in which both the pilot and weapons officer were rescued - was not related to this problem, he said. Of the 104 grounded jets, 77 are in flight status. Of those, 23 are in Navy and Marine Corps fleet squadrons; five are forward-deployed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan; five belong to the Blue Angels flight demonstration team; and 44 are in fleet replacement squadrons. The other 27 Hornets are in a maintenance status. The grounding notice from NavAir covered a "high stress focus area" that engineers already knew about as part of the Hornets' service-life assessment program, Christensen said, so NavAir issued a set of instructions for affected aircraft. Squadrons have been ordered to perform a magnetic field inspection on jets included in the grounding. If they don't find cracks, their Hornets go back to unrestricted flight status, although crews are required to visually inspect the wings after every 100 hours of flight. If a squadron can't do the magnetic inspection on a jet included in the grounding, its crews have been ordered to inspect its wings visually. Even if they find no cracks, the Hornet pilots will not be allowed to pull more than four Gs during flight. Christensen said he did not have a breakdown for each type of Hornet - A, B, C and D - affected by the grounding. He also did not describe where the cracks were forming on each jet - for example, in their center barrels, wings, or elsewhere. There are a total of 635 A- through D-model jets in the Navy and Marine Corps fleet. The grounding affects 104 of the 635 A through D model fighter jets the Navy owns.

DTN News: Russia To Build Up To 16 Nuclear Reactors In India

DTN News: Russia To Build Up To 16 Nuclear Reactors In India
Source: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - March 13, 2010: Russia and India signed an agreement Friday for the construction of as many as 16 Russian nuclear reactors at three different sites in India, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said. The agreement "foresees the construction of up to 16 nuclear energy units at three sites in the future," Ivanov told reporters on the sidelines of talks between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh. Earlier, Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's state atomic agency, said six of the reactors would be built by 2017 Russia is already constructing two nuclear power units in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Earlier Friday, Putin described nuclear energy as one of the "most important and promising areas of cooperation" between Russia and India. He also acknowledged growing competition after India sealed a landmark deal with the United States in 2008 that allowed India access to civilian nuclear energy despite its refusal to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
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DTN News: Pakistan TODAY March 12, 2010 ~ Twin Suicide Attacks Kill 45 In Pakistan's Lahore

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY March 12, 2010 ~ Twin Suicide Attacks Kill 45 In Pakistan's Lahore Source: DTN News / AFP By Sajjad Qureshi (NSI News Source Info) LAHORE, Pakistan - March 12, 2010: Twin suicide attacks seconds apart targeted the Pakistani military Friday, killing up to 45 people in the second attack to hit security forces in the country's cultural capital this week. The bombers walked up to army vehicles in the crowded R A Bazaar area of Lahore, blowing themselves up as people sat down to eat before the main Muslim weekly prayers were to begin, a senior official said. Lahore, a city of eight million near Pakistan's border with India, has been increasingly subject to Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked attacks in a nationwide bombing campaign that has killed more than 3,000 people in three years. The bombers targeted the cantonment, home to army officials and military installations, as well as hospitals and schools run by the military. There were civilian homes, shops and restaurants in the vicinity of the attack. Footage of the blasts broadcast by private Geo TV showed people running and shouting in panic. One man, who apparently shot the video on a mobile phone, is heard murmuring: "Oh my God, Oh my God, Be kind to us God." Jumpy images of the second explosion showed a thick ball of smoke with a huge bang and people shouting. Mohammad Nadeem, a man in his 20s whose traditional white shalwar khamis was stained with blood down the front, told AFP he was saying prayers in the mosque when he heard the first blast and rushed out only to hear another explosion. "The second blast took place very near a military vehicle. I sensed real danger and started running," he said. "There were scenes of destruction in nearby restaurants and shops. There were broken chairs and tables and other items lying everywhere on the ground." The army sealed off the tree-lined street. Security officials said at least five soldiers were among those killed when the twin blasts shattered windows and sent debris flying from nearby buildings. "Forty-three people were killed and 134 wounded in the attacks," Lahore civil defence department chief Mazhar Ahmad told AFP. But a senior security official put the death toll at 45 and said six army personnel were among the dead. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Pakistan's Taliban claimed a suicide attack Monday that destroyed offices in Lahore used to interrogate militant suspects, killing 15 people, and pledged further attacks. Violence in Pakistan is concentrated largely in the lawless northwest border area with Afghanistan, but analysts have warned that extremism is taking a hold in Punjab, Pakistan's most populous and politically important province. Eight attacks have killed more than 170 people in Lahore over the past year, a historical city, playground for the elite and home to many top brass in Pakistan's powerful military and intelligence establishment. "We have the heads of both the bombers. There was an interval of 15 seconds between the two attacks. They were on foot. Their target was army vehicles," added police official Chaudhry Mohammad Shafiq. Nuclear-armed Pakistan is on the frontline of the US war on Al-Qaeda, under pressure to act against Islamist militants in the border area with Afghanistan -- which Washington calls the most dangerous place on Earth. The first two months of this year saw a decline in violence by militants in Pakistan after a significant increase in bloodshed in late 2009. Officials linked the reduction to the suspected death -- still not confirmed -- of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud and military offensives that have disrupted militant networks. Pakistan's military claims to have made big gains against Taliban and Al-Qaeda strongholds over the past year, following major offensives in the northwestern district of Swat and the tribal region of South Waziristan. Washington says militants in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt are fuelling the war in Afghanistan, where more than 120,000 NATO and US troops are spearheading a last-ditch strategy to defeat a nine-year Taliban insurgency. Despite a series of reported arrests in Pakistan in recent weeks, scepticism remains on whether its powerful spy agency has made a decisive break with Islamist hardliners after well-established historical ties. Pakistan has confirmed only the arrest of Mullah Adbul Ghani Baradar, described by US officials as the Afghan Taliban number two, but also reported to have been in contact with Afghan government officials.

DTN News: Russia To Build 12 Nuclear Reactors In India

DTN News: Russia To Build 12 Nuclear Reactors In India
* Putin promises to expand banking cooperation * Putin pledges aid for Sistema Indian unit * Says India, Russia interests "almost fully coincide" Source: DTN News / Reuters By Gleb Bryanski (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - March 12, 2010: Russia will build at least 12 nuclear reactors for power stations in India, the head of its state nuclear corporation said on Friday, as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited to India to reaffirm decades-old ties. Russia is competing with French and American firms for lucrative contracts to build nuclear power plants for energy-hungry India, as Asia's third-largest economy needs to boost its supply to help sustain rapid economic growth. "So far it is clear that it will be 12 (reactors). And this is not the final figure," Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Russian Atomic Agency, told reporters, adding that six reactors would be built between 2012 and 2017. Putin pledged on Friday to boost banking and technology cooperation with India, seeking to bolster ties with a Cold War ally that has been shifting focus towards the United States. Russia wants to boost trade with India to $20 billion by 2015 from the current $8 billion. Together with China and Brazil, Russia and India make up the so-called BRIC group of major emerging economies, whose global influence is rising. The two nations also seek a greater role in stabilising the region because both share security interests emanating from Islamist militant violence and the war in Afghanistan. "India is our strategic partner ... which is an evidence that our geopolitical interests almost fully coincide," Putin told a conference with businessmen in the Indian capital New Delhi. Setting the tone for his one-day visit mainly aimed at keeping one of the world's biggest arms importers interested in Russian weapons, Putin offered state financial aid for the Indian telecoms unit of Russian conglomerate Sistema (SSAq.L). Sistema, controlled by billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov, is looking to deepen its investment in Sistema Shyam TeleServices, a joint venture with India's Shyam group. "We are ready to contribute funds for your joint activity," Putin said in response to a question by a Shyam group official. Yevtushenkov later said the Russian government would become a shareholder in Shyam. Putin also vowed to remove hurdles in the banking sector that he said were hampering mutual trade, and signalled that the government was ready to encourage joint ventures and acquisitions in the sector. U.S. INFLUENCE India struck a landmark civilian nuclear deal with the United States in 2008, ending the isolation it had experienced since an atomic test in 1974 and giving it access to U.S. technology and fuel, while also opening up the global nuclear market to India. As India begins to lean more on the United States, Moscow fears losing not only influence over New Delhi but the bulk of its $100 billion defence market as well. Putin's visit is likely to produce deals worth more than $10 billion mainly in defence contracts, nuclear reactors and trade. Putin sought to assure Indian businessmen that Russian nuclear reactors were safe. Russia has almost completed equipment delivery for two reactors at Kudankulam nuclear power station and is in talks to build two more reactors. "Our reactors can sustain a crash of a medium-range passenger plane," Putin said, seeking to demonstrate that Russian plants could withstand even U.S. 9/11-style militant attacks.

DTN News: U.S. Setting Bad Example On Protectionism Says French President Nicolas Sarkozy

DTN News: U.S. Setting Bad Example On Protectionism Says French President Nicolas Sarkozy Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - March 12, 2010: President Nicolas Sarkozy of France accused Washington on Friday of setting the wrong example on protectionism, suggesting there had not been a level playing field in the race for a $50 billion refuelling plane contract. U.S. defence contractor Northrop Grumman and its European partner EADS withdrew on Monday from a renewed competition to supply tankers to the U.S. Air Force, saying the rules favoured rival bidder Boeing, the top U.S. exporter. Boeing is now the sole known bidder for the contract. Asked what he thought of the issue during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Sarkozy delivered a scathing attack on how the United States had handled the tender. "I did not appreciate this decision ... This is not the right way to behave," Sarkozy said. "Such methods by the United States are not good for its European allies, and such methods are not good for the United States, a great, leading nation with which we are on close and friendly terms," he said. "If they want to be heard in the fight against protectionism, they should not set the example of protectionism." For EADS (EAD.PA), the parent company of the Airbus plane-maker, the stand-down was a setback in a major push to pierce the lucrative U.S. military market. Northrop and EADS won the last competition in February 2008, but the Pentagon cancelled that deal after government auditors upheld a protest by Boeing.
(Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry, Adrian Croft and Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Jon Hemming)

DTN News: Price Of Lockheed's F-35 Fighter Soars

DTN News: Price Of Lockheed's F-35 Fighter Soars
* Cost/plane seen over 50 pct higher than nine years ago * Cost growth comes despite efforts to reform program * Air Force to formally notify Congress, begin review Source: DTN News / Reuters By Jim Wolf (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - March 12, 2010: The average cost of Lockheed Martin Corp's (LMT.N) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon's costliest arms purchase yet, will soar more than 50 percent above what was projected when its development began nine years ago, the Pentagon's top arms buyer told Congress. The U.S. Air Force is set to formally notify Congress that the program has crashed through a key cost-containment threshold that will force a thorough review, Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, said on Thursday. But the net impact of such a notification may be minimal since the program is widely said by U.S. officials to be too big to fail. Washington has no other way to replace aging warplanes like Lockheed's F-16 and the program is a linchpin of fighter modernization for several U.S. allies. The cost blowout has occurred despite a restructuring announced by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in February to keep the program on track, including adding 13 months and $2.8 billion to the development phase. "The JSF program has fallen short on performance over the past several years," Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said the Defense Department planned to aggressively manage it over coming years as it goes from development and testing toward full production. Affordability was supposed to be a hallmark of the F-35, which is being built in three versions for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps; eight overseas co-development partners; and other projected foreign buyers. Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the committee, said the cost growth could have significant implications for the rest of the Pentagon's multibillion-dollar acquisition programs and for its budget as a whole. The United States alone is scheduled to buy more than 2,400 F-35s, the backbone of its air combat fleet for coming decades. "People should not conclude that we will be willing to continue... strong support without regard to increased costs coming from poor program management or from lack of focus on affordability," the Michigan Democrat said. Carter said he expected Air Force Secretary Michael Donley to notify Congress of the cost-containment breach formally under a law known as Nunn-McCurdy within days. If unit-cost growth tops 25 percent, Nunn-McCurdy requires the Pentagon to justify continuing the program based on three main criteria: its importance to U.S. national security; the lack of a viable alternative; and evidence that the problems that led to the cost growth are under control. In 2001, when the development began, the F-35 procurement cost had been projected to be $50.2 million per aircraft in base-year 2002 dollars. Pentagon estimators, based on a projected procurement of 2,443 aircraft, including all variants, now expect the average price to range from $80 million to $95 million in 2002 dollars, said Christine Fox, director of cost assessment and program evaluation for Defense Secretary Robert Gates. FOREIGN SALES The eight U.S. co-development partners are Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway. Israel has begun a process that could lead it to buy 75 F-35s. Singapore is also mulling a purchase, but cost growth could eat into overseas sales, to the benefit of rival fighters from Europe, Russia and China. Completing development and approving full-rate production is now expected in April 2016, about 2-1/2 years later than planned in the baseline program approved in 2007, congressional auditors told the committee. In addition, the Government Accountability Office said there was a "substantial risk" that the program would fail to deliver the expected number of aircraft and required capabilities on time, despite the restructuring. Carter said initial operational capability was now set for 2012 for the U.S. Marine Corps version and 2016 for the Air Force and Navy models. Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's No. 1 supplier by sales, said F-35 production trends showed significant improvement, indicating aircraft deliveries will be back on schedule in 2011. The three most recent aircraft loaded into production tooling are now on schedule, said Jeffery Adams, a company spokesman. "We are committed to delivering our airplanes on time." (Reporting by Jim Wolf; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

DTN News: Internet Making It Easier To Become A Terrorist

DTN News: Internet Making It Easier To Become A Terrorist Source: DTN News / LA Times By Bob Drogin and Tina Susman (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON & NEW YORK - March 12, 2010: The abrupt transformation of Colleen R. LaRose from bored middle-aged matron to "JihadJane," her Internet alias, was unique in many ways, but a common thread ties the alleged Islamic militant to other recent cases of homegrown terrorism: the Internet.
From charismatic clerics who spout hate online, to thousands of extremist websites, chat rooms and social networking pages that raise money and spread radical propaganda, the Internet has become a crucial front in the ever-shifting war on terrorism.
"LaRose showed that you can become a terrorist in the comfort of your own bedroom," said Bruce Hoffman, professor of security studies at Georgetown University. "You couldn't do that 10 years ago."
"The new militancy is driven by the Web," agreed Fawaz A. Gerges, a terrorism expert at the London School of Economics. "The terror training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan are being replaced by virtual camps on the Web."
From their side, law enforcement and intelligence agencies are scrambling to monitor the Internet and penetrate radical websites to track suspects, set up sting operations or unravel plots before they are carried out.
The FBI arrested LaRose in October after she had spent months using e-mail, YouTube, MySpace and electronic message boards to recruit radicals in Europe and South Asia to "wage violent jihad," according to a federal indictment unsealed this week.
That put the strawberry-haired Pennsylvania resident in league with many of the 12 domestic terrorism cases involving Muslims that the FBI disclosed last year, the most in any year since 2001. The Internet was cited as a recruiting or radicalizing tool in nearly every case.
"Basically, Al Qaeda isn't coming to them," Gerges said. "They are using the Web to go to Al Qaeda."
In December, for example, five young men from northern Virginia were arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of seeking to join anti-American militants in Afghanistan.
A Taliban recruiter made contact with the group after one of the five, Ahmed Abdullah Minni, posted comments on YouTube praising videos of attacks on U.S. troops, officials said. To avoid detection, they communicated by leaving draft e-mail messages at a shared Yahoo e-mail address.
Hosam Smadi, a Jordanian, was arrested in September and accused of trying to use a weapon of mass destruction after he allegedly tried to blow up a 60-story office tower in downtown Dallas. The FBI began surveillance of Smadi after seeing his anti-American postings on an extremist website.
And Ehsanul Islam Sadequee and Syed Haris Ahmed, two middle-class kids barely out of high school near Atlanta, secretly took up violent jihad after meeting at a mosque.
"They started spending hours online -- chatting with each other, watching terrorist recruitment videos, and meeting like-minded extremists," the FBI said in a statement after the pair were convicted of terrorism charges in December.
Prosecutors alleged that the pair traveled to Washington and made more than 60 short surveillance videos of the Capitol, the Pentagon and other sensitive facilities, and e-mailed them to an Al Qaeda webmaster and propagandist.
U.S. authorities also closely monitor several fiery Internet imans who use English to preach jihad and, in some cases, to help funnel recruits to Al Qaeda and other radical causes.
The best known is Anwar al Awlaki, an American-born imam who is believed to be living in Yemen. U.S. officials say more than 10% of visitors to his website are in the U.S.
Among those who traded e-mails with Awlaki were Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged with shooting and killing 13 people in November at Ft. Hood, Texas, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian charged with trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit on Christmas Day.
Mahdi Bray, executive director of the MAS Freedom Foundation, part of the Muslim American Society, noted that many extremist websites featured fiery images, loud music and fast-moving videos of violence and death.
"They use video games and hip-hop to bring young people in, sometimes in very benign ways," he said. "Then they make this transition by showing all the horrific things" and by then, some would-be recruits are hooked.
Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said his group had struggled to compete with the instant attention that grisly videos of beheadings, roadside bombs or masked men with weapons draw on the Internet.
"They get the backdrop of the Afghani mountains or the battlefields of Somalia," he said. "We're speaking from conference centers and quiet halls. Somehow, we have to figure out a way to make our message more newsworthy. We've issued YouTube videos, and it barely gets a couple of hundred hits."

DTN News: India Signs Weapons Deals Worth $4 Billion With Russia

DTN News: India Signs Weapons Deals Worth $4 Billion With Russia
Source: DTN News / Int'l Media By Rahul Bedi (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - March 12, 2010: The Indian government has approved a clutch of agreements with Russia for military hardware estimated at more than US$4 billion (€2.9 billion) ahead of prime minister Vladimir Putin’s day-long visit to New Delhi today, spawning a possible arms race in a highly volatile region. The cabinet committee on security (CCS) headed by prime minister Manmohan Singh confirmed the long negotiated and highly contentious $2.34 billion deal to refurbish Admiral Gorshkov, the 44,500-tonne second-hand aircraft carrier which the Indian navy acquired in 2004 for the price of its refit. Russia had originally agreed to retrofit the 23-year-old decrepit carrier crippled by a fire in 1994 for $975 million, but the eventual cost of resurrecting it had almost tripled, resulting in bitter acrimony with Moscow, the largest supplier of assorted weaponry to India for more than four decades. The carrier is now likely to be delivered in 2013, almost four years behind schedule, because of the price wrangle. The CCS also agreed the $1.2 billion purchase of 29 additional MiG 29K maritime fighters that would form part of the air arm of an aircraft carrier under local construction at Kochi in southern India. Military officials said India would also sign an agreement to acquire 40 additional Su-30MKI multi-role fighters to augment depleting force levels in the airforce, as Soviet-era MiG variant combat aircraft were retired. By 2017 the Indian airforce plans on operating some 280 Su 30MKIs, of which some 150 were being constructed locally under licence. Mr Putin’s visit will also set the stage for the induction of the Nerpa Akula-II nuclear-powered submarine into the Indian navy later this year under a 10-year lease for an estimated $700 million. India would then become the world’s sixth nation, after the five nuclear-weapon states of Britain, China, France, Russia and the US, to operate a nuclear-powered submarine. The Russian prime minister is also expected to sign agreements on the joint development of a fifth generation stealth fighter and a multi-role military transport aircraft, costs for which will be shared equally between Moscow and Delhi. India and Russia have agreed to extend their strategic and military partnership by another decade to 2020. This includes the supply of material and maintenance contracts worth some $10 billion to Moscow, which remains India’s largest material supplier. Mr Singh, meanwhile, is also likely to ask Mr Putin for access to nuclear reprocessing technology for civilian use. Russia is currently constructing two 1,000MW light water plants in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state, with four more proposed, but that number is likely to increase exponentially. In December 2009 Russia signed an agreement with India to expand civil nuclear co-operation that was free from all restrictions, guaranteeing against any future curbs or events.