Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Brazil - UH-60L BLACK HAWK Helicopters

Brazil - UH-60L BLACK HAWK Helicopters (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON -October 2, 2008: On September 26, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Brazil of UH-60L BLACK HAWK Helicopters as well as associated equipment and services.
UH-60L BLACK HAWK Helicopter
The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $525 million. The Government of Brazil has requested a possible sale of 15 UH-60L BLACK HAWK helicopters with 30 T-700-GE-701C engines, 2 spare T-700-GE-701C engines, external and internal fuel tanks, warranty, internal and external hoist kits, weather radar, spare and repair parts, tools and support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, contractor engineering and technical support services and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $525 million. This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in South America. Brazil needs these aircraft to fulfill its strategic commitments for search and rescue and self-defense within the region without being dependent upon assistance from other countries. This procurement will upgrade its air mobility capability and provide for the defense of vital installations and close air support for ground forces. Brazil will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not affect the basic military balance in the region. The principal contractors will be: Sikorsky Aircraft (United Technologies) Corporation of Stratford, Connecticut and General Electric Engines of Lynn, Massachusetts. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of two contractor representatives to Brazil for a period of up to two years. There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. This notice of a potential sale is required by law; it does not mean that the sale has been concluded.

Bell Helicopter has been awarded an order for 11 UH-1Y

Bell Helicopter has been awarded an order for 11 UH-1Y (NSI News Source Info) October 2, 2008: Bell Helicopter has been awarded a $210 million order for 11 UH-1Y (below) and four AH-1Y helicopters, the latest variants of the venerable UH-1 Huey design. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $210,197,171 modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00019-06-C-0086) to exercise an option for the procurement of 11 UH-1Y aircraft, four AH-1Z aircraft, including associated technical data. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, (60 percent) and Amarillo, Texas (40 percent), and is expected to be completed in Jan. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Israel Buys Self-Destruct Cluster Bombs: Radio

Israel Buys Self-Destruct Cluster Bombs: Radio (NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM - October 2, 2008: The Israeli army is equipping itself with self-destruct cluster bombs in order to lower the number of civilian victims of this type of weapon, used in the 2006 war in Lebanon, military radio said. The army has reduced its purchases of U.S. made cluster bombs, instead buying Israel-made M-85 cluster bombs, which contain a mechanism to destroy themselves if they fail to explode immediately on impact, according to the report. Remnants of a cluster bomb. The Israeli army is equipping itself with self-destruct cluster bombs in order to lower the number of civilian victims of this type of weapon, used in the 2006 war in Lebanon, military radio Cluster munitions spread bomblets over a wide area from a single container. The United Nations estimates that a million cluster bombs were dropped on Lebanon by Israel between July 12 and August 14 in 2006 in the conflict with Hezbollah. About 40 percent of these did not explode on impact and are spread among villages and orchards in the south of Lebanon. According to a U.N. report in June, at least 38 people have been killed and 217 wounded by bomblets exploding since the end of the fighting. The Israeli government's Winograd Commission of enquiry into the mistakes of the Lebanon war recommended the army use fewer cluster bombs in future to reduce civilian injuries. In May, delegates from 111 countries agreed a landmark treaty in Dublin to ban the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions by its signatories. However, the agreement lacked the backing of major producers and stockpilers including Israel, China, India, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.

Czech Republic: More Troops on Missions Abroad

Czech Republic: More Troops on Missions Abroad (NSI News Source Info) PRAGUE, Czech Republic - October 2, 2008: The Czech government announced on Oct. 1 a decision to boost military missions abroad, including in Kosovo and Afghanistan. Under the proposal, subject to approval by the parliament, the total number of soldiers on such missions could grow to 1,386 in 2009 from about 900 this year. The defense ministry is planning to earmark about 2.4 billion koruna ($137 million) for this purpose, according to CTK news agency. "We are gradually withdrawing from Iraq. We will take part in two big missions - in Kosovo and Afghanistan," Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said after a government meeting in Prague. The government especially wants to bolster the provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in the Logar province in eastern Afghanistan, Deputy Defence Minister Martin Bartak added. Earlier on Oct. 1, seven Czech soldiers suffered injuries in a grenade attack near the Shank base in the province, according to Czech military sources quoted by CTK. One man was taken to the U.S. field hospital in Bagram, while none of the soldiers were in a life-threatening condition. Two Czech soldiers with the U.S.-led force helping to fight insurgents in Afghanistan have been killed this year, and 14 have been injured.

Ukraine's President Sold Arms to Georgia: Report

Ukraine's President Sold Arms to Georgia: Report (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - October 2, 2008: Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko sold arms to Georgia to help it fight the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia and Russia, the Russian daily Izvestia reports in its Oct. 2 edition. "Ukraine supplied weapons to the Georgian armed forces for them to carry out military operations against South Ossetia and Russia ... on the orders of Viktor Yushchenko and to the detriment of the defensive capacity of Ukraine itself," said the report, citing documents it had seen. Over the last two years, Ukraine had sold Georgia seven Buk-M1 air-defense systems, wrote Izvestia. Although the weapons systems were indispensable for the protection of Ukrainian strategic sites, Yushchenko had allowed nearly half of his country's own stocks to be sold off, wrote the paper. "In fact, that meant a weakening of the country's defensive capacity," it added. Ukraine had also sold Georgia 200 Strela and Igla air-defense systems, Soviet-era T-72 assault tanks and Grad rocket-launchers, the paper reported. These rocket-launchers, "chosen with the help of the United States" had been used by the Georgian army on Aug. 8 when it launched its bid to take back control of South Ossetia by force, said Izvestia. In a speech Oct. 1, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a former ally turned political enemy of the president, denounced the arms trafficking that went on in Ukraine. She called for the government rather than the president to take control of arms sales, in a speech cited by the Interfax agency.

U.S. Coast Guard Chooses New Patrol Boat

U.S. Coast Guard Chooses New Patrol Boat (NSI News Source Info) October 1, 2008: The $88 million contract announced Sept. 26 is for the design and construction of the first Sentinel-class patrol boat. (Coast Guard) The winner: Bollinger Shipyards, with a proven design from Dutch shipbuilder and ship designer Damen. "It's imperative that we get this program under way," Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard, told reporters gathered Sept. 29 at service headquarters in Washington. The $88 million contract announced Sept. 26 is for the design and construction of the first Sentinel-class patrol boat. The firm fixed-price contract includes six option periods which, if exercised, would add up to 34 new cutters at an ultimate price of $1.5 billion. The average unit price of the new ships, once the program kicks into production, should be $45 million to $50 million, said Rear Adm. Gary Blore, the Coast Guard's top acquisition official. The service has a need for 58 new Fast Response Cutters (FRC) to replace the aging 110-foot Island class cutters that have reached the end of their service lives. The FRC is the smallest of three new cutter types envisioned under the Deepwater program to upgrade the Coast Guard's ships, aircraft and systems. The first of the largest new ships, the National Security Cutter, entered service in August, while construction of the medium-sized cutters has yet to begin. For budget reasons the service had wanted to put off buying new FRC patrol boats for some years and as a stopgap measure rebuild the Island class to become 123-footers, but the conversions failed and the modernization program was halted at eight ships. Coast Guard engineers also balked at Northrop Grumman's proposal to build a new class of patrol boats using composite construction techniques, and in the spring of 2007 the service announced it was "taking back" management of the patrol boat program to produce an "FRC-B" alternative to the original plan. The FRC-B would come from an existing patrol boat design, and the service began a worldwide search for an acceptable ship. "This marks a new era in how we do acquisitions," Allen declared of the service's effort to eliminate middlemen. "This is a cradle-to-grave Coast Guard program." Earlier this year, the service winnowed down proposals from six shipbuilders to a final list of three, from which "Bollinger had by far the best proposal," Blore said. Citing federal regulations, the service would not reveal what companies submitted competing proposals, but industry sources said the other two finalists were General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Marinette Marine. The choice of Bollinger continues a long-standing relationship between the Louisiana shipbuilder and the Coast Guard. "We're very pleased," Bollinger CEO officer Donald "Boysie" Bollinger told Defense News on Sept. 30. "We have built every patrol boat they own." While Bollinger also carried out the failed 123-foot conversions, Bollinger said the new contract showed the service still had faith in the shipbuilder. "We searched all the patrol boats around the world and came up with that design as best fitting the Coast Guard requirements," Bollinger said. Bollinger said the shipyard would deliver a new cutter every eight weeks starting with the fifth hull. The Sentinels will be built at the company's shipyard in Lockport, La., Bollinger said - the same yard that built the 110-footers in the 1980s and now is finishing up the last of 73 87-footers for the Coast Guard and Navy. Bollinger also had planned to build its Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) at Lockport if the Navy awards prime contractor Lockheed Martin enough new LCS contracts. While that hasn't yet happened, Bollinger said the new Coast Guard contract means the company now will build the LCS at its shipyard in Amelia, La., west of Lockport and closer to the Gulf of Mexico. Features of the New Ships The 153-and-a-half foot-long Sentinels are based on the Damen 4708 design for the South African Coast Guard's three Lilian Ngoyi-class patrol boats. Those ships were built at Cape Town and entered service in 2004 and 2005. Similar craft include Jamaica's three Cornwall-class and three Leonard C. Banfield-class patrol boats for Barbados, all built in Damen's Gorinchem shipyard in the Netherlands, and Britain's four Seeker-class patrol vessels for the Revenue and Customs Maritime Branch. The Sentinel design, Blore said, features a pilot house with 360-degree all-around visibility set near-amidships to minimize motion. The craft will be fitted with active fin stabilizers and a bow thruster, and Bollinger added a stern ramp with the same 12-degree angle found on the 87-footers. The ramp can accommodate rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) up to 7.9 meters in length, but Blore noted the choice of an RHIB for the craft has yet to be made. The Damen design's controllable-pitch propellers were changed to fixed-pitch on the U.S. version, eliminating some complexity and saving weight without giving up much maneuverability. Coast Guard officials liked the large mess area, able to hold the vessel's entire 22-person crew at the same time, as well as the cozy berthing arrangements, where the largest berthing space has 4 bunks. The Sentinels will be armed by an automatic, stabilized, remotely operated 25mm chain gun mounted far forward and four crew-served .50-caliber machine guns. The craft will be powered by two 20-cylinder, 4,300 kilowatt MTU diesel engines providing a top speed of 28 knots - better than the 23.8-knot-speed of the South African patrol boats, but short, Blore noted, of the 30-knot requirement the Coast Guard had wanted. Only one other requirement isn't met by the Sentinels - they don't have the limited chemical-biological-radiological protection of the original Fast Response Cutter requirement, Blore said. The ships will be able to stay at sea for at least five days and be underway for 2,500 hours per year. Coast Guard officials have not yet traveled to South Africa to see the 4708 parent craft for themselves, but said that with the contract award they "probably" would talk with the South African Coast Guard about the ships' concept of operations, and visit Damen to discuss potential design modifications. Having chosen a new patrol boat, Coast Guard officials are eager to see the new ship in action. The service will be evaluating the design once it enters service, and could re-compete the remainder of the total of 58 new patrol boats that are needed. "We may look at a different patrol boat a few years from now if it doesn't meet all our criteria," Blore added.

DTN News: India Details Role of Special Forces

DTN News: India Details Role of Special Forces (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - October 1, 2008: India's Special Forces doctrine, released Sept. 30, details the dominant role special forces units are expected to play for all three services in future wars. Adm. Sureesh Mehta, chairman, Chief of Staff Committee, and chief of the Naval Staff, formally released the "Joint Doctrine for Special Forces Operations" at a function here."All future wars or conflicts will demand the Special Forces to play an increasingly dominant role at all levels of war, be it strategic, operational or tactical. Therefore, the bringing out of this Special Forces doctrine has been most timely and apt," said the official release of the Indian Defence Ministry. India's special forces will be trained to fight behind enemy lines and be instrumental in the Rapid Action Force formation enabling the Navy to fight littoral warfare. The Indian Rapid Action forces, some of whom are being trained by Israel at unknown locations, will be armed with advanced weaponry and integrated through C4I systems. "The doctrine emphasizes the need for providing timely, wholesome and accurate intelligence, fire support by attack helicopters, naval gunfire, artillery, precision-guided munitions and rockets for the successful conduct of special operations," the Defence Ministry release said. "The doctrine also highlights the importance of various aspects of joint training to achieve greater cohesion and the understanding necessary for conducting joint special operations."

Alenia to Supply 18 Planes to Afghanistan

Alenia to Supply 18 Planes to Afghanistan (NSI News Source Info) ROME - October 1, 2008: Alenia Aeronautica has won a $287 million (200 million-euro) contract to supply 18 transport planes to the Afghan armed forces through the U.S. air force, the Italian group Finmeccanica said Sept. 30. Alenia Aeronautica, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, signed the contract with the U.S. Air Force, the group said.
Alenia Aeronautica G-222
The G-222 planes, which were used by the Italian army until 2005, will be refitted and bought by the U.S. Air Force before being supplied to its Afghan counterpart, Finmeccanica said in a statement. The planes, which can transport up to 10 tons of freight or take 36 people at a time for medical evacuation, are set to be supplied between 2009 and 2011, the group said. Some 2,400 Italian soldiers are in Afghanistan with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Pakistan Navy Accepts Hamza Submarine

Pakistan Navy Accepts Hamza Submarine (NSI News Source Info) PARIS - October 1, 2008: The Pakistan Navy has completed customer acceptance of the Hamza diesel-electric submarine, an Agosta B-class boat equipped with a Mesma air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, French naval company DCNS said Sept. 30. Integration of the Mesma AIP module in the Hamza was a world first, DCNS said in a statement.
Agosta B-class submarine
"Following intensive sea trials, the customer formally declared that PNS Hamza met its acceptance criteria," DCNS said. An AIP system generates electricity without a snorkel, thus decreasing risk of detection as snorkeling requires running at the surface. DCNS hopes to sell further submarines to Pakistan, a company executive said. The Pakistan Navy is understood to have recommended submarines from HDW of Germany. Pakistan Naval Dockyard, Karachi, built the Hamza submarine under a technology-transfer deal with DCNS. Two more Mesma modules are being built for retrofit on the sister boats PNS Khalid and PNS Saad. The Pakistan Navy, PN Dockyard, Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) and DCNS cooperated on the Mesma program. DCNS has also sold six Scorpene diesel-electric submarines with MBDA Exocet anti-ship missiles. India will build the Scorpene under license at local yards.

U.S. Army in S. Korea Gets Up-Armored Humvees

U.S. Army in S. Korea Gets Up-Armored Humvees (NSI News Source Info) SEOUL - October 1, 2008: The 2nd Infantry Division of U.S Forces Korea (USFK) has received up-to-date up-armored tactical Humvees to replace its aging fleet of Humvees deployed in the mid- to late-1980s, USFK officials said Sept. 30. Sixty-one up-armored Humvees, whose per-unit price is some $119,000, were delivered to 2nd ID units stationed north of here last week, the first of approximately 170 that will be distributed to U.S. troops in South Korea in coming weeks, they said.
Two types of up-armored Humvees, the M1151A1 HMMVV and the M1165A1, are being delivered to the USFK, mostly 2nd ID units, said Dave Palmer, chief of the USFK public affairs office. USFK requested the vehicles about four years ago to replace Humvees shipped to the Middle East, but their arrival was delayed because new Humvees had been going to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Stars and Stripes reported in March. Army Gen. B.B. Bell, a former USFK commander, told a congressional committee March 11 that he was concerned about his command's lack of up-armored vehicles and had asked the Army to speed up their delivery. Bell also reportedly requested the Army supply his command with Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles designed to survive improvised explosive device attacks and ambushes. "Given the experience that we've had in Afghanistan and Iraq and knowing the special operating force capability in North Korea, I want all of my wheeled vehicles to be up-armored on the peninsula, and that has not taken place yet," Bell said. "If you walked among the 2nd Infantry Division right now, you'd see a very ready division without up-armored vehicles," said the general, who retired from the military in June. "So that piece, given what we've seen in Iraq and that vulnerability, does concern me." The USFK plans to bring its up-armored vehicle stock to 14 percent of its total requirement, according to officials. Currently, about 2 percent of the USFK's tactical ground force wheeled vehicles are up-armored, in addition to fully armored tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles. About 1 percent of USFK's prepositioned vehicles and equipment are up-armored, it said.

DTN News: Russia Confident MiG Will Win Battle For Indian Air Force's Tender

DTN News: Russia Confident MiG Will Win Battle For Indian Air Force's Tender (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI - October 1, 2008: United Aircraft Corporation chief Alexey Fedorov has said that he expected the MiG-35 to win the multi-billion tender for multi-role combat aircraft on the strength of Russia’s record of transferring technology. The Mikoyan MiG-35 is a further development of the MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29K/KUB technology. Classified as a 4.5 generation fighter aircraft, the only existing prototype is the third modification of the existing MiG-29M2 airframe which previously served as MiG-29M2 model demonstrator. The MiG-35 is now classed as a medium-weight aircraft because its maximum take-off weight has increased by 30 percent which exceeds its previous criteria of classification.
Admitting that competition was very tough since the crème de la crème of the aviation industry was participating in the Indian Air Force’s tender for 126 fighter aircraft estimated at over $10 billions, Mr. Fedorov said, “We may win because of the long-term advantage of transferring know-how to India.” Heading the UAC — a conglomerate of major Russian aviation companies, including Sukhoi, Illyushin, Tupolov and Irkut — Mr. Fedorov pointed out that Russia had in the past transferred technology of military fighters such as MiG-21, MiG-27 and Sukhoi-30 MKI. “I am sure no one would be able to transfer such intellectual know-how as Russia. Besides, another advantageous factor is that the adaptability of MiG-35 to all maintenance centres in the territory of India can be much easier,” he told journalists here.