Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Russia in full compliance with Georgia peace deal - Lavrov (NSI News Source Info) DUSHANBE - August 27, 2008: Russia is adhering to the six points of the original version of a peace deal brokered by France during Russia's recent conflict with Georgia over breakaway South Ossetia, the foreign minister said on Wednesday. Western powers have accused Moscow of violating the agreement signed by the Georgian and Russian leaders. However, Sergei Lavrov said the document signed by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili bears no relation to that signed by Russia. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the document after talks in the Kremlin with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the day after it was signed by Saakashvili. Lavrov said that after the ceasefire agreement was signed, the text was amended several times, but that the amended text has no relation to the plan Russia agreed to. In particular, he said plans for discussions on the regions' future status, included in the sixth point of the document, were removed from the amended text. Georgia has received the support of most Western powers in the ongoing standoff with Russia, which officially recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries on Tuesday. Moscow says the move was needed to protect the regions' residents from Georgian acts of aggression. Lavrov said the Russian leadership has been surprised by level of criticism from Western powers of Moscow's actions, which he said were aimed at ending the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts. The six points of the Medvedev-Sarkozy peace deal are: renouncing the use of force, halting all military action, providing free access to humanitarian aid, the return of Georgian Armed Forces to their bases, the return of Russia's Armed Forces to their positions prior to combat and the start of international discussions on the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and on ways to ensure their security. Georgia launched an artillery bombardment against South Ossetia in the early hours of August 8, in an attempt to seize control over the separatist province, which split from Georgia in the early 1990s. Most people living in South Ossetia have Russian citizenship.
Georgia cuts diplomatic presence in Russia (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - August 27, 2008: Georgia on Wednesday withdrew all but two of its diplomats from Russia a day after Moscow recognized Georgia's two rebel regions as independent, but Russia insisted that bilateral contacts must be maintained. Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said: "the Foreign Ministry has decided to reduce to a minimum the number of its diplomats in Russia." Georgia has received the support of most Western powers in the ongoing standoff with Russia, which officially recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries on Tuesday. Moscow says the move was needed to protect the regions' residents from Georgian acts of aggression. Kalandadze said the Georgian Embassy in Moscow, which no longer has an ambassador, "will be represented by Givi Shugarov, with the rank of minister-counselor," acting as charge d'affaires. The embassy previously had 14 staffers including the ambassador, according to its website. Russia's Foreign Ministry responded to the Georgian announcement by saying it had no plans to reduce its diplomatic presence in Tbilisi, and that the Georgian move was bound to harm bilateral ties. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, who met with Givi Shugarov on Wednesday, said it was important to preserve working contacts, in particular through the countries' embassies. EU leaders will gather Monday in Brussels, where they are expected to review ties with Russia, which has been criticized by the 27-nation bloc for recognizing the two rebel republics and for using excessive force in its response to Georgia's August 8 attack on South Ossetia.
Russia to keep recovered Georgian weapons - military prosecutor (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - August 27, 2008: Russia will not return the weapons and military hardware its troops collected after Georgian forces abandoned them following their August 8 offensive on South Ossetia, Russia's chief military prosecutor said Wednesday. "I believe that the hardware and weapons, which were used for military actions against our peacekeepers as well as for the massacre of unarmed peaceful citizens, cannot be returned. This is not the way it has to be done," prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky said in an interview to be published Thursday in the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government daily. The prosecutor said that in line with existing norms and regulations all abandoned weapons would be collected, counted and stored at Russian military installations. Then, he said, depending on the state of a weapon, it would be destroyed or recommended for further use. "Our main task for now is to compile a full and objective list of the weapons so that they cannot be stolen or used against civilians," Fridinsky added. Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the Russian military's general staff, said last week that Georgia had pursued a program to increase its military capability over the past few years. According to the Russian military, since 2005, Georgian tank numbers increased from 98 to 183, armored vehicles from 83 to 134, artillery pieces from 96 to 238, combat helicopters from three to nine and warplanes from seven to nine. Georgia attacked South Ossetia on August 8 in an attempt to regain control over the separatist republic, which split from Tbilisi in the early 1990s. Most people living in South Ossetia have Russian citizenship and Moscow subsequently launched an operation to "force Georgia to accept peace." The operation was concluded on August 12. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed decrees Tuesday recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states and called on other countries to follow suit.
Gi Zhou Examines the New PLA Corps (NSI News Source Info) August 27, 2008: It appears that the structure of the PLA's New Heavy Corps will be similar to the British 1 Corps in Northern Germany during the Cold War. The PLA Corps will be structured around brigades and I believe the Corps itself will contain a heavy artillery group, a ground manoeuvre group, an aviation group and a battlefield support group which would include bridging, electronic warfare and logistics. An early version of the corps envisioned a total of 500 Model 96 or Model 99 main battle tanks in two armoured and two mechanised brigades; 586 ZDB-97 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), 126 155mm PLZ-45 self-propelled guns; 96 120mm turreted self-propelled mortars; 36 Type 89 30 tube 122mm and 27 300mm 12 tube A-100 multiple rocket launchers; 12 DF-15D tactical missiles and 48 attack, 18 multipurpose and 60 transport helicopters and around 2,000 other types of vehicles. This was clearly outside what the PLA is currently able to afford with armored brigades now have three armoured battalions for a total of 99 main battle tanks, one mechanised infantry battalion, one artillery battalion with 18 self-propelled guns and one air defence battalion of 18 AAA guns. Each armoured battalion will have three armoured companies, each of three platoons with each company having 11 main battle tanks; three in each platoon and two headquarters vehicles. There are no tanks at the battalion or brigade headquarters. This is a total of 33 main battle tanks. The new mechanized infantry brigade is to have four mechanised infantry battalions, one armoured battalion, one fire support battalion, one engineer battalion and one communication battalion. Each mechanized infantry battalion has three mechanized infantry companies, each of three platoons with each company having 13 infantry fighting vehicles; four in each platoon and one headquarters vehicle. A complete brigade contains approximately 4,000 soldiers. By comparison the British Army's armored regiment (battalion) had tank squadrons (companies), each with four platoons of three Challenger 1 main battle tanks for a total of 58 tanks including headquarters vehicles. The mechanised infantry battalion had four companies of FV432 armoured personnel carriers, each of four platoons with four vehicles per platoon and one or two and the company and battalion headquarters. These vehicles were the direct equivalent of the PLA's current ZSD89 APC and its family of vehicles, and the recent Type 96 and Type 99 main battle tanks. Similarly the battalion battle groups envisaged by the PLA are similar to the British Army battle groups of 1981. Each British army battle group was built around a battalion headquarters, a close reconnaissance troop (platoon) with eight Scimitar reconnaissance vehicles, an anti-tank troop with four to six armoured long range anti-tank guided missile vehicles, six self-propelled guns and one or two armoured vehicles with man portable surface to air missile systems. This comparison quickly shows two glaring deficiencies in the PLA's current structure and move towards modular combined arms battle groups. The first is the lack of a dedicated scout/close reconnaissance vehicle and the second, which in many ways is far more important, is the shortage of in-house infantry in the armored brigade and the mechanized infantry battalion. The mechanised infantry lacks a fourth company in the infantry battalion meaning the armored brigades cannot create balanced battalion battle groups. Besides being unsuited to operations on complex terrain (urban and high altitude), armored forces that have neglected proper infantry support and have suffered large casualties include the Russian Army's 131st Maykop Brigade on New Year's Day 1995 in Grozny, and the Israeli tank forces during their initial counterattacks along the Bar Lev in the first morning of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Reconnaissance in the New Corps Unlike the German and British Armies, the PLA like the United States Army does not have a dedicated mechanised brigade reconnaissance element. Under the new corps/brigade structure there will be a reconnaissance element as part of the corps. In the tracked units, the medium reconnaissance vehicle will be the Model 03 amphibious reconnaissance vehicle, which is replacing the Model 62 light tank and the Model 63 amphibious tank in PLA service. It will operate ahead of the main forces; and provide a flanking screen up to four km on the flanks. It is too bulky and large for scouting and close-in reconnaissance which could be performed by the ZBD05 airborne vehicle which besides having a 30mm automatic gun can carry a scout section. This role may have been trialled with aviation and other armoured vehicles by the composite reconnaissance/cavalry brigade in the Peace Mission 2007 joint exercise. The Model 02 100mm assault gun would have provided medium reconnaissance and explain the large amount of assault guns compared to the number of armoured personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.
USAF not Ready to Retire the U-2
(NSI News Source Info) August 27, 2008: The U.S. Air Force is considering -- once again -- delaying the retirement date for its workhorse intelligence collector, the U-2 Dragon Lady, as developers work out issues with integrating a signals intelligence payload onto the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), according to service officials. The current plan calls for the completion of U-2 retirement in the third quarter of fiscal 2012. But the Pentagon is considering delaying the retirement to fiscal 2014 or possibly later, depending on the maturity of the Global Hawk. And retiring a mainstay intelligence collector like the U-2 during wars that require massive amounts of sensor data is also unlikely, according to one USAF official. The USAF has wrangled for years with various dates for U-2 retirement. Earlier plans called for the retirement to start as soon as FY '07. But the date has continually slipped. Regional commanders such as in the Pacific realm rely heavily on the U-2. Key advantages of the aircraft over the Global Hawk include higher altitude (above 70,000 feet) and more available onboard power to run a larger selection of intelligence-gathering sensors. The U-2 can collect data from all seven of its available bands (versus the Global Hawk's five) simultaneously. They include green, red, near infrared (visible), two shortwave infrared bands and a midwave infrared (which can be tuned to day or night collection). The seventh band is a redundant, midwave thermal infrared channel. The shortwave bands collect images in the invisible reflected solar wavelengths and are most useful in detecting objects in adverse conditions such as haze, fog or smoke. The latest variants of the decade-old U-2S (part of the U.S. fleet of 33 remaining Dragon Ladies) also carry the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System (ASARS) 2A designed by Raytheon (originally for mapping) that's so sensitive it can detect disturbed earth in areas where explosive devices and mines have been planted.
Brazil Offered F-16s, Not F-35s (NSI News Source Info) August 27, 2008: Lockheed Martin has offered Brazil a tailored version of the F-16 instead of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter originally specified in the request for information (RFI) issued in July, a move that suggests the U.S. is not quite ready to offer its latest fighter beyond the JSF partner nations and close allies. The F-16BR is one of six contenders for the F-X2 program. Brazil also requested information on the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab Gripen and Sukhoi Su-35, with the field expected to be narrowed to two or three candidates ahead of a contract award early next year. Brazil requested information on the F-35, but Lockheed says it responded “with a ‘best value’ solution of the Advanced F-16 ... tailored to meet the requirements outlined in the RFI.” The F-16BR configuration has been developed “to satisfy the originating requirements, inventory and delivery dates, offset and industrial cooperation ... with the most advanced and capable F-16 available.” The Brazilian air force has a $2.2 billion budget for an initial batch of up to 36 aircraft for delivery beginning in 2015, but could eventually require up to 120 new fighters to replace its fleets of Dassault Mirage 2000s and upgraded Northrop F-5Ms and Embraer/Alenia A-1Ms. Analysts at Washington-area consultancy Forecast International say that although Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva likely has been stirred by Venezuela’s military buildup, he also recognizes a need to rectify his country’s deficient level of armaments and boost Brazil’s position in the region. In an Aug. 26 statement, the analysts said da Silva has increased pressure to make funds available for two ambitious military programs previously sidelined due to funding problems, the F-X2 and new nuclear submarines. Nuclear sub In February, Brazil announced that it and Argentina will develop the nuclear reactor for the new sub while France will provide the basic design. Design and construction of the hull alone will take 12-14 years, according to the analysts, with the overall program not yielding “tangible” results until 2020-2024. Meanwhile, Brazilian officials also are crafting a new strategic plan due out Sept. 7 that eyes long-term economic and military benefits. Plans are expected to shift defense priorities away from the southern borders to the Amazon region in the north, the Atlantic coast and air space, according to Rebecca Barrett, Forecast International analyst. It also will focus on a rapid-deployment model, with modular regional brigades that could quickly reach an area of contention. Also expected to be outlined is the government’s interest in including technology transfer in future procurements.
J-10 (Jian 10) – Vigorous Dragon Multi-Role Tactical Fighter, China (NSI News Source Info) August 27, 2008: The J-10 (Jian 10 or Fighter 10) is China's indigenously built multi-role fighter aircraft developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry. Chengdu Aircraft Industry is part of the China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I). In the west the J-10 aircraft is known as the Vigorous Dragon. It is estimated that up to 300 J-10 fighter aircraft will be manufactured. China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) includes the army, navy, air force and Strategic Rocket Force. The Air Force (AFPLA) has 200 fighter and fighter ground attack squadrons and 120 strike fighter squadrons. "The J-10 (Jian 10 or Fighter 10) is China's indigenously built multi-role fighter aircraft." The J-10 aircraft is considered as a replacement for the J-7 and Q-5. The Air Force currently operates about 250 J-7 (MiG-21) air defence and attack aircraft and about 500 Q-5 attack aircraft. China formally announced the J-10 in February 2007. The existence of the J-10 was first reported in 1994, but the J-10 program was started in 1988 and the first flight of the single seat aircraft took place in 1998. A two-seater variant made its first flight in 2003. There are reports that the J-10 entered service in 2005 and is operational in single seater and two seater versions in at least two PLA Air Force squadrons. It has also been reported that Pakistan will receive the first export versions of the J-10, up to 36 aircraft, by around 2010. China and Pakistan have worked closely on the development of another fighter aircraft, the JF-17 or FC-1 light fighter aircraft. J-10 DESIGN The structure of the aircraft is based on a tail-less delta (triangular planform) wing, foreplanes and a sweptback vertical tail. There are two, fixed, outwardly canted ventral (on the underside of the body) fins near the tail. The size and design of the J-10 are very similar to that of the Israeli Aircraft Industries Lavi fighter aircraft, which itself is similar to and derived technology from the USAF F-16 aircraft. The horizontal close-coupled foreplanes (larger than those on the Lavi) on the forward fuselage improve the take-off and low speed handling characteristics. WEAPONS The J-10 has 11 external hardpoints: five hardpoints on the fuselage with one on the centreline and a pair of hardpoints on each side of the fuselage, and three hardpoints on each wing. The outer wing stations carry air-to-air missiles such as the Chinese built Python 3 PL-8, P-11 or PL-12 or the Russian Vympel R-73 (AA-11 'Archer') or R-77 (AA-12 'Adder). The PL-8 infrared homing short-range air-to-air missile is manufactured in China under a licensed production agreement by the China Academy (formerly the Luoyang Electro-optics Technology Development Centre) and is a variant of the Israeli Python 3 missile. The PL-11 is a licensed-manufactured variant of the MBDA Italy Aspide medium-range air-to-air missile. The PL-12 missile is manufactured in China under a collaborative agreement with Russia. It uses the Russian AA-12 Adder missile technology configured with a Chinese-developed rocket motor to give a range of 50 miles and speed of Mach 4. "In the west the J-10 aircraft is known as the Vigorous Dragon." The aircraft can be armed with laser-guided bombs, the anti-ship YJ-8K or C-801K solid rocket powered missiles, the C-802 land attack and anti-ship turbojet-powered missiles manufactured by CHETA, and the YJ-9 anti-radiation missile. A 23mm cannon is installed internally on the port side of the forward section of the fuselage above the nosewheel. SENSORS The aircraft could be fitted with a forward looking infrared and laser target designator pod. The China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I ) has displayed an exhibition model of the J-10 fitted with targeting pods, which would provide the capability of the J-10 to deploy laser and satellite navigation guided weapons. Possible pulse Doppler radar fits include the Chinese Type 1473 radar, Russian Phazotron Zhuk-10PD or Zhemchug, the Chinese JL-10A, the Israeli IAI Elta EL/M-2023 or the Italian Galileo Avionica Grifo 2000.
The J-10 (Jian 10 or Fighter 10) is China's indigenously built multi-role fighter aircraft. The J-10 has 11 external hardpoints for weapons and fuel tanks – five on the fuselage (one on the centreline and a pair on each side of the fuselage) and three hardpoints on each wing. The J-10 fitted with external fuel tanks and the PL-8 short range air-to-air missile, which is a variant of the Rafael Python 3 missile manufactured under licence in China. The J-10 has a maximum speed of Mach 1.9 and a combat range of 550km. The J-10 is powered by one AL-31FN turbojet engine. The more advanced J-10 Super 10 has AL-31FN engine with thrust-vectoring nozzle.COCKPIT The single seat fighter aircraft is also being developed in a two-seat variant as a trainer aircraft and as an electronic warfare aircraft. The first flight of the two-seat variant was completed in 2003. The cockpit is fitted with a zero-zero ejection seat. The aircraft has a digital fly-by-wire flight control system and HOTAS Hands-On Throttle And Stick control on which the pilot has every control for combat incorporated into the two handholds. Cockpit displays include a helmet-mounted weapon sight, a wide field of view head-up display and one full-colour and two monochrome liquid crystal multi-function displays. The avionics is served by a 1553B databus. ENGINE The aircraft is powered by the AL-31 turbojet engine supplied by Saturn Lyulka. The prototype aircraft and the first series of production aircraft are fitted with the AL-31FN developing 79kN and 123kN with afterburn, and which is the currently used in the Chinese Air Force Su-27 and Su-30 aircraft. The more highly powered and advanced variant of the J-10, the Super-10, first reported in 2006, is fitted with the AL-31FN M1 supplied by Salyut. The AL-31FN M1 provides 132.5kN and is equipped with full authority digital engine control and a four-way swivelling exhaust nozzle for vectored thrust. "It is estimated that up to 300 J-10 fighter aircraft will be manufactured." The aircraft carries a maximum of 4,950l of fuel internally, comprising 3,180l in the wing tanks and 1,770l in the fuselage tanks. A fixed refuelling probe for in-flight refuelling is installed halfway up the forward port side of the fuselage and just forward of the pilot. Aerial refuelling of the J-10 is from a Xian H-6U tanker aircraft. Additional fuel can be carried in auxiliary tanks on the centreline under the fuselage and on the innermost pair of the three sets of wing hardpoints. LANDING GEAR The aircraft is equipped with tricycle-type landing gear. The nose unit has twin heels and retracts rearwards and the main units retract forward. The aircraft has a drogue parachute for landing.
New Huey Cleared for USMC Deployment (NSI News Source Info) 27 August, 2008: Marines will soon fly in the first newly engineered Huey helicopter the U.S. Marine Corps has introduced in more than 35 years. The UH-1Y can fly faster, farther and ferry more troops and gear than older models. (U.S. Navy) Known as the UH-1Y, the helicopter can fly faster, farther and ferry more troops and gear than older models, offering commanders more options when planning operations, according to program manager Col. Keith Burkholz. It will enhance the Corps' ability to perform reconnaissance, provide secure escorts, scramble quick-reaction teams and place troops in hostile territory. "You can carry eight combat troops with 250 pounds of gear each plus a crew of four, a full load of gas and suppressive weapons," Burkholz said. "If you loaded that configuration into a Huey today, it would not physically be able to take off." The $20 million UH-1Y gained initial operating capability Aug. 8 after more than a year of testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. The helicopter is built by Texas-based Bell Helicopter-Textron, which also manufactures the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey. Designed in tandem The new Huey was designed alongside a new Marine attack helicopter: the AH-1Z, also known as the Super Cobra. They were designed with roughly 84 percent interoperability, meaning many of the primary parts and components can be swapped between the two aircraft. That will yield savings in maintenance and logistics. Both new aircraft boast modern avionics systems, but the Huey has better range and lift capability. "The Yankee [Huey] can take twice the payload, twice the range, and the Zulu [Cobra] can either travel twice the range with the same payload or carry twice the payload with the same range," compared with current models, Burkholz said. Across the fleet, there are 12 new Hueys being tested, trained on or preparing for deployment. A contingent is in Southern California preparing for a January deployment with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the amphibious assault ship Boxer. Burkholz could not specify where the MEU would deploy. But "we routinely have MEUs supporting operations in Iraq or Afghanistan," he said. While the Osprey is expected to remain the Corps' workhorse for the next 30 years, the Huey will serve as a utility helicopter designed to maneuver around tighter spaces and land on smaller ships at sea, Burkholz said. And though it's not designed for special operations, it will be rated for those missions, he said. The Corps is expected to acquire 123 Huey helicopters over the next eight years.
Iran General Says Israel Too Vulnerable to Attack (NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN, Iran August 27, 2008: The head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, said on Aug. 27 that Israel is too vulnerable to Iran's longer-range missiles to dare launch an attack. "Our strategic assessment shows that if the Zionist regime took action, whether alone or with the United States, in minimal time all of its territory would be vulnerable because this country lacks strategic depth and lies within the range of Iranian missiles," the Mehr news agency quoted him as saying. "Iran's ballistic capabilities are such that the Zionist regime with all the means at its disposal has no way of countering them," the general added. In recent months several Israeli politicians have talked of the possibility of a pre-emptive military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities to avoid any possibility of Tehran acquiring an atomic weapon. Iran has responded by threatening retaliatory strikes with its Shahab-3 missiles, which have a nominal range of 1,250 miles - enough to reach Israel. "In the event of an attack against Iran, the Israelis know that with the capabilities that the Islamic world and the Shiite world have in the region, they will suffer deadly strikes," Jafari said, alluding to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah across Israel's northern border with Lebanon. He said an attack against Iran could come only from the U.S. and warned that in that event "our riposte will be swift, tough and unimaginable." He said that the presence of U.S. forces all around Iran's borders, in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf, made them too vulnerable to reprisal attacks.
Turks Buy Protection From Russian Weapons (NSI News Source Info) August 27, 2008: Turkey has spent $100 million to buy S-300V (SA-12), S-300 (SA-10) and Tor-M1 (SA-15) air defense systems from Ukraine and Belarus. The U.S. also did this in the 1990s, to develop electronic countermeasures against these systems. Turkey also wants to develop countermeasures, and sell hardware and software for this on the international market. The U.S. kept its countermeasures classified. The Tor-M1, known to NATO as the SA-15 Gauntlet, has a maximum range of 12 kilometers. It is only effective up to 6,000 meters altitude. The system was designed as a successor to the SA-N-8 Gecko. Each launcher carries eight missiles, and it is claimed to be capable of engaging two targets simultaneously. The system was designed to be a tactical battlefield air-defense system, designed to take out close-air-support planes like the A-10 or tactical fighter-bombers like the F-4, F-16, and F-18. Roughly equivalent to the U.S. Patriot, the Russian built S-300 was known as the SA-10 to NATO, when the system first appeared in the early 1980s. Improved versions were tagged the SA-12. S-300 missiles weigh 1.8 tons each and are 26 feet long and about 20 inches in diameter. The missiles have a range of 70-100 kilometers (depending on the model) and can hit targets as high as 100,000 feet. The missile has a 320 pound warhead. Russia sold the S-300 to Cyprus in 1998, but Greece ended up with them to settle a dispute between Cyprus and Turkey (a long story…). The Turks want S-300 countermeasures in case the Greek Cypriots get their S-300s operational, and get into a fight with the Turkish Cypriots (who are defended by 15,000 Turkish troops.)
Russian troops return from Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone August 27, 2008 NSI News Source Info After fulfilling their mission, regular units of the Russian army are being pulled back to preset positions. If necessary, they can always be redeployed. Russian troops depart from the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone. On August 12, Russia announced it had completed its peace-enforcement operation against Georgia, and on August 22 declared that it had pulled its troops back to positions defined by a 1999 decision of the Mixed Control Commission for settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict A squadron of Russian warships arrived in Sukhumi harbor on Tuesday to monitor the pullout of Russian troops from the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone. Russian troops depart from the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone. A squadron of Russian warships arrived in Sukhumi harbor on Tuesday to monitor the pullout of Russian troops from the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone.
Russia says number of NATO ships in Black Sea increasing (NSI News Source Info) SUKHUMI - August 27, 2008: A Russian naval official reported an increase in NATO warships near the Georgian coast on Wednesday. "According to our information, NATO ships are in the Black Sea and their numbers are increasing," said Vice Adm. Sergei Menyailo, commander of the Novorossiisk naval base. He said some of the ships were at the port of Batumi in southwest Georgia. "We are monitoring the situation," he added. Russia is concerned that NATO is continuing to build up its forces in the Black Sea. The military alliance announced its decision to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia after the conclusion of hostilities between Tbilisi and Moscow over breakaway South Ossetia on August 12. Moscow recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgia republic, on Tuesday, despite warnings by Western leaders not to do so. Moscow has questioned why the U.S. military is needed to deliver aid to Georgia. According to a Russian military intelligence source, the NATO warships that have entered the Black Sea are carrying over 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles and Harpoon anti-ship missiles between them. A U.S. Embassy spokesman said on Wednesday that a warship that was due to deliver aid to the Georgian port of Poti, where Russian troops have been carrying out patrols, would dock at Batumi. He did not explain the reason for the decision. Menyailo said that the Moskva missile cruiser, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, was approaching the port of Sukhumi, Abkhazia's capital. According to Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, the cruiser should have returned to its base in Sevastopol on Tuesday night. Menyailo also said that the Russian naval group patrolling the waters off Abkhazia was sufficient to maintain peace and stability in the region. "We are not planning to increase the number of our ships there, but everything depends on regional stability,' Menyailo said. He said the ships differed in kind, ranging from landing vessels to missile ships and submarine chasers. "We are controlling territorial waters and the adjacent area, ensuring shipping safety, and preventing the smuggling of arms and military vehicles," the official said. Russia's General Staff said on Tuesday there were ten NATO ships in the Black Sea - three U.S. warships, the Polish frigate General Pulaski, the German frigate FGS Lubeck, and the Spanish navy ship Admiral Juan de Borbon, as well as four Turkish vessels.
Leaders from Shanghai group to discuss situation in Georgia (NSI News Source Info) DUSHANBE - August 27, 2008: The leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will discuss the situation in Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia at a two-day summit which opens on Wednesday in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe. China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference ahead of the SCO summit that "leaders will expound their shared position on issues of interest within the framework of the agenda, and the South Ossetia issue will be no exception." Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed decrees on Tuesday recognizing Georgia's breakaway republics as independent states. The move has been condemned by Western leaders with U.S. President George Bush calling the action an "irresponsible decision." Gang said Beijing hoped that Moscow and Tbilisi could find "a peaceful solution to the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict through dialogue." And he went on to say, "We believe this summit will further promote the SCO's development and contribute to safeguarding regional peace and stability and promoting common development of SCO members." Russian officials said Georgia, however, had lost its right to the two regions after launching a military offensive on August 8 that killed hundreds of people and forced thousands to flee devastated South Ossetia. Shortly after announcing the decision, Medvedev said, "This is not an easy decision, but it is the only way to protect lives." At the Dushanbe summit, the heads of state will adopt a series of documents on security and cooperation, and issue a joint declaration, which is expected to focus on the situation in South Ossetia. The post-Soviet regional bloc, that is widely seen as a counterweight to NATO's influence in Eurasia, comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The group primarily addresses security issues, but has recently moved to embrace economic and energy projects.
Indonesia buys 20 Russian infantry fighting vehicles (NSI News Source Info) JAKARTA - August 27, 2008: Indonesia will buy 20 Russian BMP-3F infantry fighting vehicles, the Russian ambassador to Jakarta has said. Alexander Ivanov said representatives of the Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport and the Indonesian Defense Ministry signed a $40 mln contract on Monday for the delivery of a consignment of BMP-3F infantry fighting vehicles. A Rosoboronexport spokesman said the delivery would be made in 2010. The new IFVs will replace the PT-76 vehicles that are currently in service with the Indonesian armed forces. The BMP-3F is specially designed for operations at sea, with improved seaworthiness and buoyancy, and high fire accuracy. It can endure continuous amphibious operation for seven hours. The vehicle is capable of engaging targets at a range of up to 5,000-6,000 meters with its antitank guided missile system 9K116-3 Basnya.