Thursday, August 14, 2008
India Russia Billion Dollar Helicopter Deal To Be Signed Soon (NSI News Source Info) New Delhi, India - Aug 14, 2008: The Indian Air Force said on Thursday that India will soon sign a contract with Russia to receive 80 Mi-17 Hip-H multirole helicopters. Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major said preparations for signing the contract are now in their final stages. The deal is estimated at $1 billion. Indian media earlier reported that the contract was under threat over Russia's attempt to significantly raise the delivery price, and that negotiations were stalling. A preliminary agreement to sell Mi-17 helicopters to India was reached in March 2007 at a meeting of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military cooperation. The Mi-17 is a version of the Mi-8 airframe. The helicopter has a takeoff weight of 13 metric tons and can carry up to 36 people or a payload of 4 metric tons within the cargo compartment, or 4.5 tons externally. The helicopters have been supplied to 80 countries.
IL-76 Medium-Range Transport Aircraft, Russia August 14, 2008 NSI News Source Info
An Ilyushin IL-76MD, NATO codename 'Candid-B', of the Ukrainian Air Force. An Ilyushin Il-76, NATO codename 'Candid', of the Indian Air Force. An Ilyushin IL-76MD of the Ukrainian Air Force. The aircraft landing gear comprises four main units. An Ilyushin IL-76 loading a medium battle tank. An Ilyushin IL-76 loading troops. Equipment is suspended from an electrically powered overhead rail. Full specifications The IL-76 is a medium-range military transport aircraft, and is also known by the NATO codename 'Candid'. The missions of the aircraft are: to drop paratroopers; carry troop forces and combat material with crews and armaments, including medium-sized battle tanks; to airlift cargo for troop forces and transport for disaster relief operations. "There are several design variants of the transport aircraft, including the basic IL-76, IL-76M,IL-76MD and the IL-76-MF." The IL-76 medium-range transport aircraft is produced by the Ilyushin Aviation Complex Joint Stock Company in Moscow and the Tashkent Aircraft Production Corporation in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Over 500 aircraft have been produced since service entry in 1974. There are several design variants, including the basic IL-76, IL-76M, IL-76MD and the IL-76-MF. In terms of design, aerodynamic configuration and flight performance characteristics, the IL-76M version virtually resembles the IL-76 basic aircraft, but has a maximum payload of 47t, compared to 28t for the IL-76. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has ordered three Il-76MD aircraft fitted with the Phalcon AEW (airborne early warning) system produced by Elta of Israel. The first aircraft is due for delivery in September 2008. In April 2008, the IAF requested the purchase of a further three aircraft for delivery in 2011–2012. In August 2005, Jordan ordered two IL-76MF variants and in September 2005, China placed an order for up to 38 IL-76 transports. In August 2007, the Russian Air Force revealed the Il-76MD-90, which has new Perm PS-90A76 engines and upgraded Leninets Kupol-76M avionics. DESIGN The aircraft is of a conventional aerodynamic configuration with a high-set, swept-wing and T-shaped tail unit. The crew cabin, cargo hold and rear compartment are pressurised. The beam-type fuselage has an oval section over the crew cabin and circular section over the cargo hold. The wing leading and trailing edges are fitted with high-lift devices, comprising deflectable five-section leading-edge slats, triple-slotted trailing-edge extension flaps, ailerons, spoilers and air brakes. CARGO HANDLING The air-drop and cargo handling equipment is intended to load, unload and air drop paratroopers, materiel and cargo, make the optimum arrangement of the cargo according to the logistical demands of the mission, and securely tie down the materiel and cargo. The equipment comprises a telpher (an overhead cargo system where the cargo can be suspended from an electrically powered rail), a roller conveyer, mooring / rigging, auxiliary parachute and ambulance equipment. "Over 500 IL-76 transport aircraft have been produced since service entry in 1974." WEAPON SYSTEMS The aircraft is equipped with a defensive aids suite, comprising a radar warner, jammer, infrared flare cartridges, chaff dispenser and two guns with a fire-control radar. Aerial bombs or radio beacons are suspended from external bomb racks on detachable pylons. AVIONICS The onboard equipment is intended to execute airlift and air drop missions by day and at night, in VFR and IFR (Visual Flight Rules and Instrument Flight Rules) weather conditions, as well as under hostile air defence conditions. The integrated flight control and aiming-navigation system includes a compass system, ground surveillance radar, a central digital computer, automatic monitoring system, automatic flight control system, short-range radio navigation and landing system, IFF transponder, optical / infrared aiming sight and a ground collision warning system. ENGINES The IL-76M aircraft is powered by four D-30KP turbofan engines, mounted on underwing pylons and housed in individual pods secured on the engines. Fuel is held in 12 integral tanks, which are isolated from each other. All fuel tanks are divided into four groups by the number of the engines. An inert gas system is used for protection against explosion. IL-76MD VARIANT The IL-76MD variant has an increased flight range and service life. The powerplant and systems are identical to those of the IL-76M, and the structural changes have been made to its airframe only to accommodate the increased service life and increased take-off weight. "The IL-76MD variant has an increased flight range and service life." When operating from first-category concrete runways, the aircraft's take-off weight has been increased from 170t for the IL-76M to 190t for the IL-76MD, mainly due to the increased fuel. This enables a flight range increased by 40% with a maximum payload. The IL-76MD can be operated from unpaved runways in forward areas of operation. IL-76MF VARIANT The IL-76MF aircraft is a derivative of the IL-76MD, with the fuselage lengthened by 6.6m. The new PS-90A-76 engines give a 25% higher take-off thrust (16,000kgf) than the D-30KP engines on the MD variant. The flight range is increased by over 20%, for example, the flight range with a 40t payload is 5,800km (compared to a range of 4,800km for the IL-76MD).
Boeing Completes First BBJ 3 (NSI News Source Info) SEATTLE, August 14, 2008 - Boeing [NYSE: BA] recently completed work on the first BBJ 3. The BBJ 3 is a new, larger business jet based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ER (Extended Range). The BBJ 3 has 1,120 square feet (104 square meters) of floor space, and provides 35 percent more interior space and 89 percent more luggage space than the BBJ 2. The BBJ 3's range is between 5,435 nmi (10,066 km) and 4,725 nmi (8,751 km) depending on the number of passengers flown. The airplane is now at DeCrane Aircraft in Georgetown, Del., where it will receive its long-range auxiliary fuel system and a Head-up Display. The fuel system, new for the model, will undergo a two-month certification process at DeCrane. The airplane's final stop is at a completion center of the owner's choosing, where it will receive a custom interior. The un-named customer will receive the completed airplane in 2009. All BBJs are equipped with Blended Winglets (wing tip extensions), which reduce community noise, lower emissions and increase the airplane's range. The BBJ program focuses on features that help owners fly safely, efficiently, reliably and comfortably. Boeing currently is delivering BBJs with lower cabin altitude and Future Air Navigation System technology. Lower cabin altitude allows the cabin pressurization control system to regulate the cabin environment to equal a maximum cabin altitude of 6,500 feet so that passengers travel in greater comfort. Future Air Navigation System (FANS) streamlines communication between flight crews and air traffic controllers. FANS adds another layer of safety and efficiency to the global air transportation system, and allows BBJ owners to take more direct routes, shortening flight times and saving fuel. Boeing has been selling its entire line of commercial airplanes to private aviation since the beginning of the jet age. In addition to the narrow-body BBJs, Boeing also sells VIP versions of its 787, 777, 767 and 747-8 models. All of Boeing's business jets include top-notch product-support and dedicated field service representatives located around the world.
Russian military concerned by U.S. cargo flights to Georgia (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, August 14, 2008 - Russia's General Staff said Thursday it was concerned by the nature of cargoes the United States was airlifting to Georgia, questioning if they were really humanitarian aid. The U.S. sent two C-17 military planes to Georgia late Wednesday and early Thursday as part of a Pentagon humanitarian mission. In a statement Wednesday, President George W. Bush said Washington would "use U.S. aircraft, as well as naval forces" to distribute supplies, and demanded Russia withdraw troops from Georgia. At a news conference Thursday, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy head of the General Staff, urged the media to press U.S. officials for trustworthy information on the U.S. role in Georgia. "What is going on there?" he asked. "We, the Russians, are extremely concerned about it." "U.S. military transport aircraft are reported to have been airlifting some humanitarian cargoes to Tbilisi airport. Two days ago, reports said we had destroyed the airport," Nogovitsyn said Nogovitsyn denied reports by Georgian officials and Western media that Russian troops had blown up Georgia's Black Sea port of Poti. "This is not true. We have not been engaged in any military action for two days, only conducting reconnaissance," he said. He also denied that Russia had sent tanks into the strategically important Georgian town of Gori, near the South Ossetian border, but said armored vehicles with military personnel were there to take care of ammunition abandoned during the almost weeklong fighting. "There are a lot of weapons which need to be guarded to prevent them from being stolen and used," Nogovitsyn said, adding Russian servicemen's other tasks in the city were to protect the transport communications and evacuate the injured. He said the Russian military had contacted the city authorities over the issues. Nogovitsyn said Russia had stopped the buildup of troops in the region, but has not yet set a withdrawal date. "The withdrawal plan has not been approved yet. The buildup of the units has been suspended," he said. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier Thursday that Russia could increase its peacekeeping contingent in South Ossetia. The country has maintained peacekeepers in Georgia's separatist regions since the 1990s, when Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away following bloody conflicts. Asked whether the fighting will influence the pace of Russia's army modernization, Nogovitsyn said the country would "draw serious conclusions" from the events. Western nations have strongly criticized Russia for a "disproportionate" use of force in its counterattack against Georgia's military offensive to regain control of the province, warning it may hamper its international relations. Moscow has accused the West of bias, saying it had no choice but to reinforce its peacekeepers in the region and protect the civilian population.
Philippines fighting in South to contain militants August 14 2008 NSI News Source Info The Philippine army has reportedly regained control of the province of North Cotabato, driving out Muslim rebels. Government troops launched an attack on Sunday, after militants occupied the area - which contains a large Christian population. Plans for an expanded zone were blocked by the Supreme Court, and also opposed by some local inhabitants, who fear the extra powers it would give the rebels. The rebels have been frustrated by legal obstacles placed in the way of an agreement to expand an autonomous Muslim region. Residents of the villages occupied by the rebels complained that they torched homes and lay booby traps as they withdrew.
Romania to Start Talks to Buy Fighting Jets by November
(NSI News Source Info) 14 August 2008: The Romanian government plans to approve the acquisition of 48 fighter jets worth at least €4bn ($6bn) by November, Defence Minister Teodor Melescanu told Reuters in an interview on Monday. The second-poorest European Union member joined NATO in 2004 and has been a staunch ally of Washington's military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan but its Soviet-made MiG-21s are not compatible with NATO missions and need to be replaced. Romania is part of NATO's strategic airlift capability fleet and agreed to purchase new aircraft to meet its requirements. "We have a green light from almost all the concerning institutions to buy them, and only need one more approval from the finance ministry which still has some questions about the costs," Melescanu said. "I definitely expect the government's decision by November. Then we will start talks with the sellers." Melescanu said five jets meet Romania's defence needs: F-16 of Lockheed Martin, F-18 of Boeing, Rafale of France's Dassault, Grippen of SAAB and Eurofighter of EADS. He said the government will either invite companies to take part in a tender or start direct negotiations with one of them. Melescanu said the initial estimation of the costs is about €4bn, but depending on the maturity of the loans, the timing of the decision and the financing conditions, costs may rise by up to 50%. "It will be a multi-year financing, extra-budgetary, through loans from banks and other institutions," Melescanu said. "The limit is set to 2.38% of the gross domestic product for every year of the financing." Melescanu said the jets could be new, second-hand, or a mix of those. They will be delivered in the 2010-2012 period, when the fleet of 80 MiG-21s will be gradually scrapped. The minister also said it plans to acquire high-altitude rockets, four corvettes and four ships able to detect mines, and several armed transporters for land troops, but he did not offer more details.
Georgia-Russia conflict (NSI News Source Info) August 14, 2008: Russia sent thousands of troops; tanks and air support into South Ossetia on Friday after Georgia launched an offensive to seize control of the province, which broke from Georgia in the early 1990s. Russia claims the conflict has left more than 2,000 civilians dead, while the United Nations estimates some 100,000 people have been forced from their homes. Russian military vehicles are pictured at a square in the South Ossetian capital of Tshinvali August 13, 2008. A woman is seen with a cart of her belongings, in a street in Tskhinvali, capital of Georgian breakaway enclave of South Ossetia on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008. Georgia and Russia have agreed to a cease-fire that calls for both country's forces to pull back to original positions, but it was unclear how long that repositioning could take. Tanks, part of a Russian military convoy, travel on their way on a main road leading to the Georgian city of Zugdidi, which is about 350 km (220 miles) away from Georgia's capital Tbilisi, August 13, 2008. Georgia accused Russia on Wednesday of sending tanks from South Ossetia into the Georgian town of Gori but Russia issued a swift denial and an eyewitness said the town was empty.
In pictures: Georgia in crisis August 14, 2008 NSI News Source Info Wrecked tanks, at least some of them Georgian, littered the streets as Russian troops and Ossetian fighters wandered around. Russia sent thousands of troops; tanks and air support into South Ossetia. Photographers followed Russian troops into Tskhinvali to record the damage to the South Ossetian capital. Meanwhile, in Abkhazia, Georgia's other breakaway province, separatist fighters relaxed after Georgia pulled out its remaining forces.
Indian Army Orders Additional BrahMos Cruise Missiles (NSI News Source Info) New Delhi, India - Aug 14, 2008: The Indian army has ordered an additional batch of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles from the Russian-Indian BrahMos Aerospace joint venture, the company's CEO said Tuesday. "The army leadership realizes that weaponry such as the BrahMos missiles will ensure victory to the country which posses it in any conflict," Sivathanu Pillai, who is also the managing director of BrahMos Aerospace, said without disclosing the exact size of the order. The BrahMos missile has a range of 290 km (180 miles) and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg (660 pounds). It can hit ground targets flying at an altitude as low as 10 meters (30 feet) and has a top speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the U.S.-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile. Pillai said the recent acquisition of an assembly plant in the state of Kerala from Kerala Hightech Industries Ltd in addition to the main plant in Hyderabad, would allow the company to increase production to 50 BrahMos missiles a year and fulfill the army orders on schedule. Established in 1998, BrahMos Aerospace designs, produces and markets supersonic missiles, whose sea-based and land-based versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian army and navy. Pillai said in June that the company had finished the development of the airborne version of the BrahMos missile and the Indian air force had chosen SU-30 MKI Flanker-H multirole fighter as a trial platform for the missile. Experts estimate that India could purchase up to 1,000 BrahMos missiles for its armed forces in the next decade, and export 2,000 to other countries during the same period.
Fresh Pakistan violence leaves more than 35 dead: officials (NSI News Source Info) Peshawar, Pakistan Aug 14, 2008: A suspected US missile strike killed 10 militants at a training camp in a Pakistani tribal area, while 25 people died in fresh clashes near the Afghan border, officials said Wednesday. The violence in the ethnic Pashtun tribal regions along the mountainous frontier comes amid mounting US pressure for Islamabad to tackle rebels who are launching attacks on international forces in Afghanistan. Four missiles hit the Islamist camp in the troubled South Waziristan region, which was run by a militant from the Hezb-i-Islami group of wanted Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, security officials said. "At least 10 militants were killed in the strikes" late Tuesday, a senior Pakistani security official told AFP. "There were reports about the presence of Arab, Turkmen and local militants." "This is their work," he added, referring to US-led coalition forces deployed across the border in Afghanistan. In Kabul, the US military said the missiles were not fired by either NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) or the US-led coalition. "This is not true. We have no reports of missiles being fired into Pakistan," US-led coalition spokesman Lieutenant Nathan Perry told AFP. The US Central Intelligence Agency is also known to operate pilotless drone aircraft armed with missiles, but it was not available for comment. Another security official said the camp was run by a local militant, Zanjir Wazir, who he described as the "local commander of Hezb-i-Islami, Afghanistan". "It is not clear whether Wazir survived the attack or not, but his brother Abdur Rehman and one of their close relatives, Abdul Salam, were killed in the strike," he added. Hekmatyar himself was not in the camp and is believed to be in Afghanistan, officials said. Hekmatyar, a former commander of the 1978-1989 anti-Soviet resistance, is involved in an insurgency against the Western-backed government in Afghanistan. The elusive militant leader is wanted by Kabul and Washington. Witnesses said the missiles destroyed two houses close to each other and rescue workers were seen removing debris amid fears that more people could be trapped inside. Local militants cordoned off the area and journalists were not allowed access to the site. Residents said the houses were part of a militant training camp. Al-Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar was killed in a similar missile strike in July. The Egyptian, 54, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, had a five-million-dollar bounty on his head and allegedly ran terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. Pakistan has protested over a wave of missile strikes attributed to US-led forces in Afghanistan in recent months which have killed dozens of people. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani urged US President George W. Bush during talks last month not to act "unilaterally" against Islamic militants in Pakistan. Gilani's fledgling government opened peace talks with the Taliban earlier this year but has since launched several military operations, including an ongoing offensive in the Bajaur tribal region. At least 25 people, mostly militants, were killed on Wednesday when Pakistani helicopter gunships strafed villages in Bajaur, taking the death toll from a week of fighting there to more than 180, officials and witnesses said. Residents said people were fleeing to safer places in adjoining areas but Taliban militants were erecting road blocks to prevent the exodus. Separately on Wednesday, a gunman shot dead an Islamist militant leader, Haji Namdar, as he taught at a religious school in the Khyber tribal region near the northwestern city of Peshawar, officials said. In the latest incident a car bomb targetting factory workers killed two pedestrians and injured four others in the remote southwestern town of Hub, senior police official Habibullah Sherani told AFP.
Northrop Grumman to upgrade E-2 Hawkeye for Egyptian Air Force (NSI News Source Info) 14 August 2008: Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $38 million contract to upgrade an E-2C airborne early warning and control aircraft for the Egypt E-2C Foreign Military Sales Programme. The aircraft will be refurbished and upgraded to the Hawkeye 2000 (HE2K) configuration, including upgrades to the radar, mission computer, tactical mission system displays and navigation system. This aircraft modification work will be done at Northrop Grumman's St. Augustine Manufacturing centre (SAMC) facility in Florida while the engineering work will be conducted in Bethpage, N.Y. Almost one-third of the Hawkeyes currently in operation world-wide are flown by international customers, including Japan, Taiwan, Egypt, Singapore and France. With its commercial-off-the-shelf based architecture and network-centric connectivity, the Hawkeye 2000 is an extremely capable multi-mission platform, providing simultaneous air and surface surveillance, strike and intercept control, search and rescue support, and drug interdiction.
Syria, Lebanon agree to establish diplomatic ties (NSI News Source Info) DAMASCUS, August 14, 2008 - The Syrian and Lebanese presidents have agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between their countries for the first time since gaining independence from French rule, a Syrian presidential advisor said. The decision was made following a meeting between Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, who arrived in Damascus on Wednesday, and his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, Buthaina Shaaban said. "After the talks the presidents agreed to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries at the ambassadorial level in line with the UN Charter and international law," the official said. Since both countries gained independence from France in 1943 neither side has opened a diplomatic mission and no ambassadorial exchange has taken place between the countries. The Lebanese and Syrian foreign ministers have been instructed to launch the necessary procedures to establish diplomatic ties. Lebanese-Syrian relations plummeted to a low after the 2005 assassination of former Prime Lebanese Minister Rafik Hariri, which was widely blamed on Damascus and its Lebanese allies. Syria strongly denied any involvement in the killing. The countries, which have been under pressure from the West, confirmed their readiness to establish diplomatic ties in late July during the sidelines of a summit in Paris. The future agenda includes the thorny issue of the demarcation of borders between Syria and Lebanon, which has yet to be agreed between both sides, giving rise to numerous local disputes between Syrian and Lebanese landowners.
Japan interested in oil projects in north-east Russia (NSI News Source Info) YAKUTSK, August 14, 2008 - Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) has said it plans to join oil deposit exploration and development in the Republic of Yakutia in north-east Russia, the republic's administration said Thursday. At a meeting with Yakutia's deputy industry minister, Albert Kondratyev, managers from JOGMEC displayed interest in the development of Yakutia's oil and gas industry as the East Siberia - Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline is expected to come online soon, the republic's ministry for external relations said. The ESPO pipeline is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels of crude per day from Siberia to Russia's Far East and then onto China and the Asia-Pacific region. The pipeline's first leg, estimated at $11 billion, is expected to be commissioned in late 2009. The second leg will stretch for 2,100 kilometers (1,304 miles) from Skovorodino to the Pacific. It will pump 367.5 million barrels of oil annually. The capacity of the Taishet-Skovorodino pipeline, being built as part of the project's first leg, is also expected to increase to 588 million barrels from the initial 220.5 million bbl.
Russia-NATO naval drill called off after U.S., U.K. boycott (NSI News Source Info) VLADIVOSTOK, August 14, 2008 - A Russia-NATO naval exercise in the Sea of Japan has been cancelled after the United States and Britain refused to send their warships, a spokesman for Russia's Pacific Fleet said on Thursday. Russia's Marshal Shaposhnikov ASW ship, the French Vendemiaire light monitoring frigate, the U.S. McCampbell Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, and the HMS Kent Type 23 Duke class frigate were to have taken part in the FRUKUS exercise off the Russian coast on August 15-23. A Pentagon official earlier said the U.S. would stay away from the drill over the South Ossetia-Georgia conflict. Washington and London have been critical of Moscow's actions during the conflict, which erupted on August 8 when Georgia attacked Tskhinvali, the capital of breakaway South Ossetia. During the subsequent counter operation to expel Georgian troops from the de facto independent republic and to reinforce Russian peacekeepers, Moscow sent some 10,000 troops and several hundred armored vehicles into the area. Previously called RUKUS, the exercises were launched in 1988 as a vehicle for dialogue between the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They involve training scenarios both at sea and ashore. France formally joined the group in 2003, and the name of the exercises was changed to FRUKUS. The exercises typically involve around 1,000 personnel from the four countries. FRUKUS-2007 was held in the North Atlantic with the participation of the Admiral Chabanenko, a guided-missile destroyer from Russia's Northern Fleet.