Indian Navy Inducts Two Warships Developed by GRSEJuly 24, 2008: Indian navy added two new warships to its fleet. The Water Jet Fast Attack Crafts (WJFAC) INS Cinque and INS Chariyam were launched by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE) at the Khidderpore docks here. The warships are the first part of the 10-ship series, each costing 500 million rupees, to be delivered to the Navy by October 2010. INS Cinque - named after a pristine Island sanctuary in the Andamans and INS Chariyam - named after an Islet in Lakshadweep, are an improved version of the Fast Attack Crafts with a speed in excess of 35 knots, designed in-house by GRSE. According to Vice Admiral B S Randhawa, India's vast coastline an island territories demand extensive patrolling and monitoring and WJFAC were the best suited for the purpose."They have very high speed and long endurance. These ships are extremely useful for patrolling especially in coastal waters in the island territory of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep. As well as in areas like the sea-lanes between India and Sri Lanka," he said.The ships will be fitted with CRN-91 Gun along with sensors. The first two ships in this series, INS car Nicobar and INS Chetlat, which were launched in November' 2007, are at the fitting-out stage and are scheduled to be commissioned in the navy from November' 2008.
Russian S-300 missiles 'would ensure Venezuela's oil security'
MOSCOW, July 24, 2008 - Russian S-300 air-defense missile systems would enable Venezuela to fully ensure the security of its hydrocarbon resources, a Russian military expert said Thursday.
"Needless to say, should S-300s be delivered to Venezuela, they would effectively strengthen its defense capability, and it would not be easy for its possible adversaries to punish the country by striking at its oil fields," former Air Force commander Gen. Anatoly Kornukov said.
He added that as an oil-rich country Venezuela had to protect its natural resources.
"It is difficult to say how many air-defense systems Venezuela would need, since it has to protect not separate sites, but its entire territory," he said, adding that 10 S-300 battalions, each comprising six launchers, "should be enough."
The Venezuelan government on Wednesday accused international and domestic media of deliberately misinterpreting information on President Hugo Chavez's recent visit to Russia.
Some media reports said Chavez offered to host Russian military bases in Venezuela and to buy $30 billion worth of Russian weaponry in the next four years.
Venezuela's 1999 Constitution prohibits the hosting of foreign military bases in the country.
In 2005-2006, Venezuela bought more than 50 combat helicopters, 24 Su-30MK2 fighters, 12 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems and 100,000 AK-103 assault rifles from Russia. Current contracts are worth about $4 billion, according to various sources.
Future deliveries may include Amur-class diesel submarines, Il-76MD military transport planes, Il-78 aerial tankers and air-defense missile systems.
Russian Navy aircraft test new weapons in Arctic
MOSCOW, July 24, 2008 - Russia's Northern Fleet Tu-142 Bear and Il-38 May anti-submarine aircraft have tested new electronic equipment and precision-guided weapons over the Barents and Norwegian Sea, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.
"Advanced onboard electronic equipment and weapon control systems were tested during the flights. The tests have shown their high effectiveness," Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.
He added that at some stage of the flights, Russian aircraft were accompanied by NATO warplanes, stressing that all such flights are conducted strictly in accordance with international agreements and the norms of international law.
Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by then-president Vladimir Putin. Russian bombers have since carried out over 80 strategic patrol flights and have often been escorted by NATO planes.
Air Force commander, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said in April that Russia would drastically increase the number of strategic patrol flights over the world's oceans to 20-30 a month in the near future.
The Arctic is becoming an area of increasing international focus due to the potentially large deposits of natural resources, including oil and natural gas, located there.
Venezuela to buy more weaponry from Russia
MOSCOW, July 24, 2008 -- Venezuela may purchase man-portable air defense systems, Il-76 transport planes and T-90 tanks from Russian in the near future, a Russian political analyst said Thursday.
According to unofficial reports, Russia and Venezuela signed a new framework agreement Wednesday on delivery of Russian air defense systems, tanks and military transport planes to the Latin American country.
"The new agreement, most likely, involves purchases of Igla man-portable air defense systems, Il-76MD military transport planes and T-90 main battle tanks," said Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.
Pukhov has estimated that Venezuela could spend $5 billion or more over the next 10 years on Russian military equipment.
He said that after the Swedish Saab announced in 2006 it could not continue sales of portable anti-aircraft systems to Venezuela because of a U.S. arms embargo against President Hugo Chavez's government, Russian Igla missiles became the obvious choice for the Venezuelan army. The embargo also means Caracas experiences difficulties in maintaining a fleet of U.S.-made C-130 Hercules military transport planes. At present, Russia has several Il-76 transport planes available for sale after a deal with China fell through due to technical problems.
According to Pukhov, Venezuela could be interested in the purchase of Russian T-90 main battle tanks because of the excellent value for money they provide.
A spokesman for Uralvagonzavod, a Urals-based manufacturer of T-90s, said the Russian tanks are superior to foreign models of the same class in terms of firepower, maneuverability, speed and armor protection, but sell for almost half the price.
The Uralvagonzavod official said, though, that the plant would have to operate at full capacity to meet outstanding orders, so it would be a few years before the company was able to produce tanks under a new foreign contract.
In 2005-2006, Venezuela bought more than 50 combat helicopters, 24 Su-30MK2 fighters, 12 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems and 100,000 AK-103 rifles from Russia. Current contracts are worth about $4 billion, according to various sources.
Wednesday's reported deal could see Russia become the main supplier of military equipment to Venezuela. Chavez, an outspoken critic of Washington, has focused his foreign policy on bolstering ties with countries outside the U.S. sphere of influence since coming to power nine years ago.
Swiss Arms Exports Up 63 Percent
24 July, 2008: GENEVA - Swiss arms exports rose 63 percent in the first half of the year compared with the equivalent figure last year, with Pakistan the leading destination, customs authorities said July 22.
Arms exports were valued at 348 million Swiss francs (215 million euros, $341 million), of which Pakistan accounted for 67 million francs, according to the federal customs office.
Pakistan's arms purchases from Switzerland came to just 900,000 francs in the first six months of 2007.
Denmark accounted for 43 million francs' worth of Swiss arms exports, Germany and Belgium 35 million each and Britain 25 million.
Cougar Armored Trucks to Stalk Mines on the Battlefield
July 24, 2008: The Cougar family of medium-sized blast-protected vehicles is produced in both 4-wheel (formerly Cougar H) and 6-wheel (formerly Cougar HE) layouts. Eventually, the wisdom of using survivable vehicles in a theater where land mines were the #1 threat became clearer, and these vehicles have gradually shifted from dedicated engineer and Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) roles to patrol and route-proving/ convoy lead functions as well. The 4×4 vehicles usually carry 4 troops plus the front seats, while the 6×6 variants can carry up to 8+2. They may also carry an assortment of related equipment, such as bomb disposal robots.
These are not small vehicles. The M1114 up-armored Hummers have an empty “curb weight” of around 9,000 pounds, and a top weight of about 12,000 pounds. The smaller Cougar 4×4’s curb weight is 31,000 pounds (max. 38,000), while the 6×6’s curb weight is 38,000 pounds (max. 52,000). As the amusing web page by manufacturer Force Protection puts it: “Drop your purse, it’s not a Hummer.”
July 24, 2008: Western Branch Diesel, Inc. in Portsmouth, VA received a $10.2 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity requirements contract. They will perform maintenance services, engine overhaul, and repair of the MK V Special Operations Crafts’ MTU 12V396TE94 diesel engines. The Mk V is a fast insertion/extraction boat used by Navy SEALs.
Work will be performed in Portsmouth, VA (80%) and Norfolk, VA (20%), and is expected to be complete by March 2013. This contract was competitively procured via Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities websites, with 3 offers received by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Panama City, FL
Uganda receives pair of Chinese Y-12 transport aircraft
China's Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation has delivered two Y-12 twin-turboprop general-purpose transport aircraft to the Uganda Army Air Force, the China National Aero-Technology Import.
A Kenya Airforce F-5 fighter jet.
July 24, 2008: According to the Standard newspaper, Kenya will replace its own aging F-5 fighter jets with 15 F-5s being disposed by the Jordanian Airforce. The government will pay Kshs1.5 billion ($23 million at current rates) for acquisition and transportation of the craft from Jordan. The money will also cater for spare parts and the training of Kenyan crews.
The $23 million price tag for used, obsolete fighter craft may raise more than a little eyebrows. Kenya’s economy was badly affected by violence early this year following disputed elections in December 2007. Though the government has pledged to rebuild vandalized properties and to compensate those affected by the clashes, funds are difficult to come by. Government estimates put the reconstruction budget at Shs31 billion ($500 million).
Corruption allegations in government circles may hinder the flow of funds from traditional donor nations. At the same time, uncertainty caused by political wrangling is expected to slow down investment, further undermining economic performance. Rising food and oil prices are hitting the population especially hard, further worsening the effects of poverty and 60% unemployment.
The F-5 fighter jet was developed by Northrop Corporation in the 1950s as a light combat aircraft. During the Cold War, the F-5 proved popular with allies of the United States especially in the developing world. Kenya acquired its F-5 fleet in the 1970s and 80s and probably wants to replace its aging aircraft by acquiring the same model elsewhere.
However, the last F-5 was built in 1989, indicating that the Jordanian jets are at least 20 years old. Airforce top brass are yet to explain why they could not buy new fighter jets that are readily available in the international arms market.
This would not be the first time that a purchase of military hardware in Kenya is causing scandal. An ally of President Mwai Kibaki was forced to resign several years ago, after it emerged that a ship the Navy had ordered was a converted civilian vessel. Kenya’s Police force has also come under heavy criticism for buying oversized, second hand helicopters from Russia, and whose maintenance is becoming very expensive.
Within East Africa, Uganda, has experienced a “junk helicopters” scandal. The government of President Yoweri Museveni bought obsolete helicopters from Russia at above-average prices. One of the helicopters crashed in 2006, killing among other people the new President of Southern Sudan, Dr John Garang.
Pakistan Targets Air Combat
24 July 2008: TAIPEI - The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has not seen serious air combat since the 1965 and 1971 wars with India, but the ability to defeat a massive Indian assault on its air defenses early in a war remains its primary mission.
In 1965, Pakistan successfully trumped India in air combat, but it was ill-prepared for the 1971 conflict in which India dominated the skies. Fears of losing another war, much less a nuclear war, are unthinkable, and the PAF is modernizing its air interdiction, air surveillance and reconnaissance, command and control, and honing its air delivery skills for nuclear weapons.
Air interdiction is the PAF's primary mission, but it has not ignored retaliatory strike missions, said Haris Khan of the Pakdef Military Consortium. The PAF has expanded modernization efforts to include "nuclear weapons delivery, support of ground operations, fleet protection/maritime strike, and search and rescue are secondary," he said.
The PAF believes the Indian Air Force will launch a massive assault on Pakistan's air defense and command-and-control hubs during the first wave of a war, said A.B. Mahapatra, director of the New Delhi-based Centre for Asian Strategic Studies - India.
The Indian Air Force's primary mission is to neutralize Pakistan's nuclear option, he said.
"Thus, PAF is enhancing its air combat profile to encounter such future challenges," Mahapatra said.
The PAF's interdiction efforts include new and refurbished Lockheed Martin F-16s, now on order, and JF-17 Thunder fighters, built by Pakistan with Chinese assistance, now being manufactured.
In June 2006, the PAF ordered 18 F-16 C/D Block 52M fighters along with an option to procure another 18. A midlife upgrade will augment its existing fleet of 40 F-16 A/B Block 15s, along with buying 20 more F-16 A/B models via the Excessive Defense Articles program.
The F-16s will not be outfitted with nuclear weapons, but question marks remain for the JF-17. Known as the Chengdu J-10 Vigorous Dragon, the JF-17 will replace about 450 aging Nanchang A-5C Fantans, Dassault Mirage III/Vs and Chengdu F-7P Skybolts in the air-to-air combat and ground-support roles.
"The replacement will not be matched by an exact number, but initial reports indicate between 250 and 300 aircraft will be purchased by PAF," Khan said.
Khan said the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex is conducting flight evaluations of prototype aircraft "fitted with the Chinese-built NRIET KLJ-10 radar" and "Chinese-designed SD-10/PL-12 active-homing medium-range air-to-air missile."
The first 50 JF-17s will be outfitted with Chinese avionics, radar and missiles. But under an agreement with France in February, newer JF-17s will be outfitted with MBDA Mica air-to-air missiles and Thales RC 400 multimission radars.
The Russian-built RD-93 turbofan engine outfitting the JF-17 will have to be replaced due to pressure from India on Russia. Khan said the Chinese-built WS-13 Taishan engine is the most likely replacement.
There are unconfirmed reports, Khan said, that the PAF has ordered four aerial refueling tankers, possibly the Ukrainian-built Il-76.
Tentative UAV Plans
PAF also is improving its surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
"Pakistan uses UAVs for surveillance and is keen to augment the reconnaissance capabilities to a new height," with plans to procure up to 60 UAVs by 2010, Mahapatra said.
The Army has ordered the Luna short-range UAV from Germany and the Italian-built Galileo Falco UAV.
"An agreement was also signed in July of 2006 between the PAF and Turkey to jointly manufacture a UAV, which will meet the requirements of both air forces. The PAF UAV program is still in its adolescent stage, but they acknowledge the significance of the program for its future war plans," Khan said.
In April, the first of five Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft equipped with the Saab-Ericsson Erieye Airborne Early Warning & Command (AEW&C) system was rolled out during a ceremony in Sweden. Delivery to Pakistan is expected in mid-2009. Khan said there are discussions with China to co-develop an AEW&C aircraft designated as ZDK03 modeled on the Shaanxi Y-8F-400.
"PAF has mapped a very detailed and comprehensive plan for an early warning system to cover Pakistan's airspace with both airborne platforms and a ground-based radar network," he said.
Pakistan will integrate this plan with ground-based radar, including the U.S.-supplied AN/TPS-77 and Chinese-supplied JYL-1, JL3D-90A and JY-11 D air surveillance radars.
Khan points to other efforts, including a 2006 test of the Czech Vera passive radar system and an order for a number of MBDA Aspide/Spada 2000 low- to medium-altitude air defense batteries.
"These missiles are supposed to replace Thales Defence Systems Crotale. PAF is actively looking to purchase a high-altitude missile air defense system," with the Chinese-built FT-2000 as the front-runner, Khan said.
In the 1965 and 1971 wars with India, Pakistan successfully attacked ground targets, including high-value targets, within 200 miles of Pakistan's border.
Khan said in any future conflict with India, "I believe PAF will employ similar tactics," but with more intensity on high-value targets.
"PAF would, in the first instance, be tasked with countering India's planned advance into Pakistani territory by seeking to prevent the Indian Air Force from achieving local tactical air superiority," he said. "At the same time, it would be required to strike surface-to-surface missile launchers, if these can be identified. It would also be called upon to provide air cover for the strike corps in their limited advance to occupy Indian territory."
Russian railway troops to quit Abkhazia in August
Thu Jul 24, 2008: MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will withdraw in early August around 400 soldiers sent to repair railways in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia, Russia's Defence Ministry said on Thursday.
Georgia accused Russia in June of trying to annex the impoverished Black Sea region after Moscow sent unarmed soldiers to rebuild a railway in Abkhazia in late May. Russia said the deployment was humanitarian aid.
The railway troops became an extra irritant in Georgia's strained ties with Russia, while the United States said it was dismayed by the deployment in the conflict zone and NATO demanded the soldiers leave the area.
"On July 29-30 solemn festivities (on ending repair works) will be held. Then the soldiers will head to their permanent bases (in Russia)," Defence Ministry spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky told Reuters.
"We said at the very beginning that we would be there for two months and would quit after implementing our task. This is one more confirmation that Russia makes good on its promises."
Washington is making a diplomatic drive to bring Russia, Georgia and leaders of the separatist region of Akhazia together for peace talks in Berlin next week, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza told Reuters.
The West fears that rising tension between Russia and Georgia over the Moscow-backed rebel region could spiral into war, destabilizing the whole of the Caucasus, a key route for Caspian oil exports to Europe.
Last week the separatists rejected a five-power plan presented by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to ease tension in the region.
Israel CAEW Aircraft
July 24, 2008: Elta Systems Ltd, an IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.) Group and wholly owned subsidiary, will deliver on February, 2008, the first Conformal Airborne Early Warning & Control (CAEW) to the Israel Air Force (IAF).
Elta is the prime contractor, system developer and system integrator of the CAEW Program for the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD). The CAEW system, installed on a modified Gulfstream G550 aircraft, will be operated by the Israel Air Force for a variety of operational missions including Early Warning, Intelligence Gathering and Air Combat Command and Control.
The G550 aircraft was delivered to Israel in September 2006, after being modified by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation (GAC) to accommodate the mission electronic equipment. Since its arrival to Israel the radars and other mission systems were installed, integrated and subjected to intensive ground and flight testing program.
Mr. Nissim Hadas, President of Elta Systems said: "The experience and dedication of Elta's engineers and the maturity of Elta's electronically scanned phased array technology have enabled us to test and prove the missions systems in flight and to deliver the system in record time. The CAEW radars and other mission equipment have demonstrated excellent performance during the flight tests. The Israel Air Force receives into its operational fleet the most advanced and cost effective AEW&C system in the world."
The CAEW includes a comprehensive Communication suite designed for Network Centric Operation (NCO). CAEW crew was trained using the Operational Training Simulator (OTS), delivered on August 2007, providing a complex NCO environment. During 2007, Israel Air Force crews participated in the CAEW flights and exercised operational procedures which supported gradual integration of the CAEW into the IAF Command and Control infrastructure.
The CAEW will join the Special Electronic Mission Aircraft (SEMA), three of which entered operational service in the Israel Air Force since 2006. The SEMA demonstrated outstanding performance in providing a real time picture of the Electronic Order of Battle (EOB). The Israel Air Force G550 CAEW aircraft is the third generation of Airborne Early Warning and Control systems developed by Elta since mid-80s. Elta is a leader in radar and AEW&C technology and an international pioneer in the development and deployment of AEW&C utilizing state of art phased-phased array technology.
Russia: The Sukhoi Soars Again
Moscow - July 24, 2008: The first demonstration flight of the Sukhoi Su-35 combat aircraft on July 7, 2008, attracted much attention to this aircraft, which has been undergoing tests since February. The latest addition to the large T-10 -- Sukhoi Su-27 -- family is to become the interim fighter for the Russian air force before fifth-generation aircraft are launched into mass production.
The Sukhoi Su-35, more precisely the Sukhoi Su-35BM, is the second model of the T-10 family to carry that designation. The first Sukhoi Su-35 was manufactured 20 years ago, taking to the skies in 1988 under the designation Sukhoi Su-27M.
In 1991 it was decided to launch the Sukhoi Su-27M into mass production under the designation Su-35. The first serial aircraft took off in April 1992, though this model was never produced in large numbers. Because of the lack of funding between 1992 and 1995, only 12 Sukhoi Su-35s were delivered to the Russian air force. These aircraft have been used for tests and demonstration flights.
Soon the Sukhoi Su-37 was developed on the basis of the Sukhoi Su-35. Often confused with the experimental C.37/Su-47 aircraft, the Sukhoi Su-37 was equipped with thrust-vectoring engines, which was the main difference between this model and the Sukhoi Su-35. The No. 711 Sukhoi Su-37 prototype impressed specialists greatly by its outstanding maneuverability but remained one of a kind.
In the late 1990s the Sukhoi Su-35 was given a new lease on life, as the issue of rejuvenating the Russian air force was raised again. To avoid excessive growth of designation numbers, the new aircraft was given the designation Sukhoi Su-35BM -- "Big Modernization."
In 2008 the 117C engine was developed, enabling the designers to start the flight tests of the new aircraft, scheduled to be finished by 2010. The state armament program for 2006 to 2015, adopted in 2006, envisages mass production of the Sukhoi Su-35BM for the Russian air force, and the Russian Defense Ministry is expected to purchase 182 of these aircraft. In addition, technology developed within the Sukhoi Su-35 project will be used to upgrade the Sukhoi Su-27s to the Su-27CM2 standard.
The creation of the Sukhoi Su-35 is an important step for the Russian air force and the aircraft industry. Taking into account that a fifth-generation fighter would not be in mass production in Russia before 2015, the Sukhoi Su-35BM will help to close the gap, replacing the older Su-27s, which will be decommissioned starting from the next decade.
The technical characteristics of the Sukhoi Su-35 are high enough to fulfill this task.
Washington - Jul 24, 2008 Pakistan is "betwixt and between," neither civilian nor military rule, caught between the generation that shied away from democracy and the generation that embraced it, though not yet wholeheartedly. In fact, there is a power vacuum at the top, and homegrown Taliban extremists are sowing death and destruction in Peshawar, the storied capital of the North-West Frontier Province.
Youngsters are being recruited by the Taliban and paid 1,000 rupees a day, or $9, to become jihadis. Would-be jihadi "martyrs" get the princely sum of $120, a big number in a part of the world where only 16 percent of the men and 3 percent of the women can read, and where there is no economic activity in parts of FATA and NWFP.
Before leaving for the United States to confer with President Bush this coming weekend, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani flew to Peshawar for an emergency grand tribal jirga on what to do about a rapidly deteriorating situation. "Militancy and terrorism have plunged the entire region into a crisis, and tribal leaders should help the government in curbing militancy," he told the assembled elder Maliks from the seven lawless Federally Administered Tribal Areas where the Taliban and al-Qaida enjoy privileged sanctuaries.
"You elders should talk to the militants to renounce insurgency," Gilani pleaded. "Those who lay down arms are our friends, and those who challenge the government betray the country. ¿¿ Our children need books and pencils, not suicide jackets." Some 150 Maliks have been executed by the Taliban, 62 of them for daring to speak out against the Taliban.
Youngsters are being recruited by the Taliban and paid 1,000 rupees a day, or $9, to become jihadis. Would-be jihadi "martyrs" get the princely sum of $120, a big number in a part of the world where only 16 percent of the men and 3 percent of the women can read, and where there is no economic activity in parts of FATA and NWFP.
In a teleconference organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Malik Naveed Khan, the inspector general of police for NWFP, which shares borders with all seven "tribal agencies," expressed alarm over the Taliban's raids out of FATA into his own province. "Peshawar," he said, "is threatened on several sides."
Khan said, "It's like fighting the shadows of an invisible army. We're poor on the mobility side. We now have 500 constables being trained in anti-terrorist tactics, but they won't be on the ground for a year. ¿¿ Forty percent of our police force is not even in police buildings, so they can't defend themselves when attacked."
The Taliban move in fast vehicles, carrying heavily armed fighters that outrun and outgun the police. In broad daylight, they torch barber shops where men are being shaved, as well as girls' schools. There is also much looting and kidnapping for ransom.
In the past three years the Taliban have twice ignored deals signed with both the Pakistani military and the provincial governor. The Taliban movement is split in two: those whose main objective is Afghanistan, where they were defeated by the U.S.-led invasion in October 2001, and another wing whose target is NWFP and Baluchistan, which both border on Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan's other two provinces, Punjab and Sindh.
Asked about his most immediate needs, Khan said, "We need concrete international intervention in the shortest possible time," but he then quickly added he did not mean U.S. boots on the ground. American fighters would simply turn the whole country against the United States.
For a short-term quick fix, he explained, "We need choppers, APCs (armored personnel carriers), bullet-proof vests, job opportunities for the youth that are recruited by Taliban. We need something like what saved America from the Great Depression. We need $500 million a year for the next 10 years to build infrastructure" to make NWFP and FATA a sustainable economic development zone. The idea is to absorb FATA in NWFP and allow Pakistan's principal political parties to campaign in the tribal areas.
Neither the provincial police nor the paramilitary Frontier Corps could possibly absorb choppers with trained pilots in less than a year. This leaves the field to a Pakistani army that was bloodied by the Taliban in FATA over the last three years and wants no part of what soldiers regard as a civil war.
The NWFP police chief said the answer was a special force of 100,000 volunteers to confront the militants. "Everybody in the frontier areas is armed," he explained, "so now we must motivate them against the militants." The Pakistani government doesn't have a clear strategy for FATA, neither short- nor long-term.
Before leaving for Washington, Gilani announced a 30 percent increase in the annual development program, including electricity, for FATA, which would still be peanuts given the magnitude of huge dirt-poor areas. Gilani also announced 100 new Lungi (turban) holders -- tribal elders -- in each of the seven tribal areas, as well as an increase in the allowance of Lungis.
Two tribal elders of the Mamond tribe in the Bajaur agency never made it to the Peshawar pow-wow with Gilani. Their car was ambushed. It was the sixth attempt on Malik Shahjehan in two years. He had taken a stand against "foreign militants" -- i.e., al-Qaida volunteers -- in Bajaur. He was also opposed to the government's plan to abolish or amend the British-era Frontier Crime Regulation, legalese for the safe haven enjoyed by criminals from the rest of Pakistan, who know they cannot be pursued by federal authorities in FATA. This attack, Shahjehan did not survive. The second elder was critically injured.
Why is all this critically important? Pakistan is one of the world's eight nuclear powers.
U.S.A: Air Force Says No Survivors in B-52 Crash
July 24, 2008: Washington - The US military has concluded the remaining crew members of a B-52 bomber that crashed earlier this week off the coast of Guam are dead, the Air Force said Wednesday.
The B-52 crashed about 40 kilometres off Guam's northwest coast on Monday while it was preparing to participate in a ceremony recognizing the island's liberation. The cause of the crash has not been determined.
The bodies of two of the six crew were found on Monday and the other four remained missing.
"Officials here have determined that none of the six crew members survived the B-52 crash Monday off Guams northwest coast," The Air Force said. "Search and rescue teams have now shifted their focus from rescue operations to recovery of the aircrew."
The B-52, based out of Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, was not carrying weapons. B-52s have been in service since 1955.
The accident is the second for the US Air Force this year on Guam. In February, a B-2 crashed at Andersen Air Force Base in the first- ever loss of a stealth bomber. The military estimated the loss of the aircraft at 1.4 billion dollars.
July 24, 2008: The Z-10 (Zhisheng-10, or Zhi-10) attack helicopter has been developed by Changhe Aircraft Industries Group (CAIG) and China Helicopter Research and Development Institute (CHRDI), both based in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province. Another PRC helicopter manufacturer, Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Company (HAMC), may have also involved in the development programme.
The Z-10 is thought to be in the same class as the Agusta A-129, South African Rooivalk, and German Tiger. Its primary mission is anti-armour and battlefield interdiction, with a secondary capability for air-to-air combat. The helicopter first flew on 29 April 2003. A small number of prototypes have been undergoing test and evaluation.
The PRC began to develop a dedicated attack helicopter in the mid-1990s. AVIC II, the parent company of CAIG and CHRDI, has been working with European partners on a common helicopter dynamic system, which can be used on both the proposed medium helicopter and the attack helicopter. However, no foreign firm has been directly involved in the Z-10 development.
The helicopter is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C turboshaft engines. The PRC will need to obtain the engine production license, or develop an alternative engine before the serial production of the helicopter can begin.
Internet source photos revealed that the Z-10 has a conventional attack helicopter layout, with the pilot and weapons operator seated in tandem, stepped cockpits. The helicopter has a five-blade main rotor and a four-blade tail rotor. Two engines are podded to the helicopter just to the rear of the cockpit. The fuselage has a sloped side to reduce its radar cross section (RCS), and is slender and tapered to the rear, with fixed landing gear. The tail boom tapers to the rear, with a high, swept-back fin with square tip. The flats are unequally tapered with a square tip, while the belly fin has the rear landing wheel attached. The tail rotor is mounted on the right side.
The helicopter is thought to be fitted with a ‘fly-by-wire‘ (FBW) control system, and a modern glass cockpit with multifunctional display (MFD) screens. The helicopter crew may also be equipped with a helmet-mounted sight (HMS) for head-up display of information and weapon control.
The helicopter is fitted with a cannon (23mm?) mounted under the nose. Two stub wings provide four stores stations for external ordinance. A new-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) HJ-10 is currently in development. The missile is thought to be comparable to the U.S. AGM-114 Hellfire. The helicopter can carry up to eight missiles under the stub wings for anti-armour role. Alternatively, the helicopter can carry unguided rocket pods for ground attack, or TY-90 short-range air-to-air missiles for air combat.
An observation unit consisting of a forward looking infrared (FLIR) and a low-light television is mounted on a steerable platform at the nose of the helicopter. The electronic countermeasures (ECM) suite consists of radar warning receiver (RWR), laser warning receiver, infrared jammer and chaff / flare decoy dispenser.
The Z-10 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C turboshaft engines with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC). The engines have a maximum continuous power of 1,531hp (1,142kw) each.
India floats $750 mn global tender to buy choppersNew Delhi July 2, 2008: The government is all set to float its biggest military tender this year worth a whopping $750 millionfor buying 197 light utility helicopters for the armed forces with three of the six bidding companies being giant American aviation transnationals.
A request for proposals for the Rs 3,000-crore contract to buy 133 helicopters for Army Aviation and another 64 for Indian Air Force are to be floated tomorrow, officials said.
New helicopters are expected to replace by 2010 Army and IAF's ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak choppers, which have been in service for the past over four decades, well past their service ceiling.
All the helicopters are to be procured off the shelf with state-owned HAL being entrusted with only maintenance. The new choppers are being brought on fast track basis to shore up army formations guarding the dizzy Himalayan borders with China and Pakistan.
Like the IAF's $10 billion contract to purchase 126 fighters, the foreign company winning the lucrative contract would have to invest 50 per cent as offsets in India.
The three US companies invited to submit their bids are Bell Helicopters with their Shen 407 light choppers, McDonnel Douglas with their AH-64 A and Sikorsky with their S-3000 helicopters.
Other bidders are European consortium Eurocopter, Russian Rosenbroexport with their new range of Kamov light helicopters and Italian firm Augusta Westland.
"The companies have been given three months time to submit their bids," a Defence Ministry official said, adding it was proposed to complete summer and winter trials for the helicopters by 2009.
U.S. ARMY AND IRAQI POLICE WALK OUT OF JOINT SECURITY STATION GHAZ 4. - U.S. Army and Iraqi police walk out of Joint Security Station Ghaz 4 during a combined dismounted patrol in the Ghazaliya district of Baghdad, Iraq, recently on July, 17, 2008.
China's NORINCO develops new 40 mm automatic grenade launcherJuly24, 2008: China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) has completed development of its new LG3 40 mm automatic grenade launcher (AGL) and is now marketing it globally.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has traditionally been equipped with locally manufactured 35 mm grenade launchers of various types, including the QLZ87 (with a six- or 15-round magazine) and the LG1 add-on launcher, mounted under the barrel of an assault rifle.
The LG3 40 mm AGL features a blowback operation and NORINCO claims it has an effective range of more than 2,200 m. The barrel is fitted with a muzzle brake and feed can be from the left or right side with each box-type magazine holding 30 rounds of ready-use ammunition. Firing mode is automatic-only with a cyclic rate of fire of between 340 to 400 rounds per minute and a claimed barrel life of 6,000 rounds.
Image: A NORINCO LG3 40 mm AGL showing the muzzle brake (NORINCO)
Russia could place bombers in Latin America, N.Africa - paper
MOSCOW, July 24, 2008 - Russian strategic bombers may soon be deployed at airbases in Cuba, Venezuela and Algeria as a response to the U.S. missile shield in Europe and NATO's expansion, Russian daily Izvestia said on Thursday.
Moscow has strongly opposed the possible deployment by the U.S. of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and an accompanying tracking radar in the Czech Republic as a threat to its national security. Washington says the defenses are needed to deter a possible strike from Iran, or other "rogue" states.
Moscow has also expressed concern over NATO's expansion to Russia's borders and pledged to take "appropriate measures" to counter the U.S. and NATO moves.
Izvestia cited sources in the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that crews of Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers recently visited Cuba and conducted an inspection of a site and facilities for a possible forward landing airfield that could be used as a refueling stopover for Russian strategic bombers.
Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by former president Vladimir Putin.
At present the Russian military is considering the possibility of establishing so-called "jump-up" bases in various regions of the world to provide refueling and maintenance support for the patrolling bombers.
"The flight to the U.S. [from southern Russia where the bombers are based] takes about 10 hours and even with two mid-air refuellings the aircraft can spend only 1.5 hours near the U.S. coast," said Gen. of the Army Pyotr Deinekin, former commander of the Russian Air Force.
The use of forward landing airfields in Latin America would practically erase the time constraints for the Russian bombers and make their presence near the U.S. borders almost permanent, the general said.
If a political decision is made, Cuba will most likely host Russian Il-78 aerial tankers, which will provide nuclear-capable strategic bombers with mid-air refueling, sources in the Defense Ministry told Izvestia.
Both Tu-160 and Tu-95MS bombers have been recently modernized and fitted with new X-555 cruise missiles with a range of over 3,500 km (2,200 miles). Therefore, the bombers do not have to be permanently based near the U.S. borders to hit any target on U.S. territory in case of a potential conflict.
In the meantime, the bombers may be primarily used to spy on the United States using electronic means, much like the former Russian SIGINT station at Lourdes near Havana, which was closed in 2002.
However, another Russian publication, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, said on Thursday that the ambitious plans of Russian politicians and some military commanders may be nothing more than "saber-rattling in empty air."
The prospect of maintaining refueling posts for Russian bombers all over the world would require an enormous amount of investment in construction of infrastructure, fuel supplies and re-supplies.
The Russian defense budget simply does not have sufficient resources to ensure the implementation of these plans, the newspaper said.
Russian bombers with nuclear missiles on board policing the globe would only harm Russia's image in the international arena, and it is unlikely that their presence near the U.S. borders will scare the Americans.
The U.S. military consider long-range bombers an obsolete and highly vulnerable component of the nuclear triad. The Pentagon stopped strategic bomber patrols almost two decades ago.