Friday, January 09, 2009

Sweden's Saab JAS 39 Gripen 4.5 Generation Fighter Aircraft Proven High Reliability And Good Maintainability

Sweden's Saab JAS 39 Gripen 4.5 Generation Fighter Aircraft Proven High Reliability And Good Maintainability
(NSI News Source Info) January 10, 2009: The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a 4.5 generation fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. A major goal in designing the Gripen was to provide a quick, easy and flexible maintenance concept to meet today's challenging operational requirements. To achieve this, Gripen provides excellent inherent support attributes such as high reliability and 'testability', along with excellent maintainability and accessibility features for ground personnel. Gripen International acts as a prime contracting organisation and is responsible for marketing, selling and supporting the Gripen fighter around the world. The aircraft is in service with the Swedish Air Force, the Czech Air Force, the Hungarian Air Force and the South African Air Force, and has been ordered by the Royal Thai Air Force. A total of 236 Gripens have been ordered as of 2008.
By the late 1970s a replacement for Sweden's ageing Saab 35 Drakens and Saab 37 Viggens was needed. A new fighter was being considered by 1979, with design studies beginning the following year. The development of the Gripen began in 1982 with approval from Swedish Parliament. The Gripen was designed for performance, flexibility, effectiveness and survivability in air combat. The designation JAS stands for Jakt (Air-to-Air), Attack (Air-to-Surface), and Spaning (Reconnaissance), indicating that the Gripen is a multirole or swingrole fighter aircraft that can fulfill each mission type. The JAS 39 got its name Gripen through a public competition in 1982. The griffin is the heraldry on Saab's logo and suited the multirole characteristics of the aircraft. Furthermore, the griffin is the symbolic animal on the coat of arms of Östergötland, the province in which Saab AB is headquartered (Linköping). Sweden chose to develop the Gripen rather than purchase a variant of the F-16, F/A-18A/B, or the "F-5S" version of the Northrop F-20 Tigershark. Empire Test Pilots' School Saab JAS 39B Gripen taxis after landing at RIAT 2008, England. The first Gripen was rolled out on 26 April 1987, marking Saab's fiftieth anniversary. The first prototype first flew on 9 December 1988. On the 26 November 2008, the final aircraft of the latest 64 jet Batch 3 contract was delivered to FMV. This was accomplished at a 10% less than agreed price for the whole batch putting the Gripen 39C fly-away price at under USD 30 million.
Radar The Gripen uses the modern PS-05/A pulse-doppler X-band radar, developed by Ericsson and GEC-Marconi, and based on the latter's advanced Blue Vixen radar for the Sea Harrier (which inspired the Eurofighter's CAPTOR radar as well). The radar is capable of detecting, locating, identifying and automatically tracking multiple targets in the upper and lower spheres, on the ground and sea or in the air, in all weather conditions. It can guide four air to air missiles (e.g. AIM-120 AMRAAM, MBDA MICA) simultaneously at four different targets. Cockpit The cockpit has three full colour head down displays and digital emergency instrument presentation unique to the aircraft. The cockpit layout provides a human-machine interface that eases pilot workload substantially and increases situational awareness, but still provides substantial future growth potential. The pilot flies the aircraft by means of a centre stick and left hand throttles. The cockpit provides a display area some 30 percent larger than that available in most other fighters, with the multi-function displays taking up around 75 percent of available space. It is dominated by three large (15.7 x 21 cm) active-matrix, liquid crystal, multi-function displays and a wide angle (20 x 28 degree) head-up display (HUD). The displays are equipped with light sensors for computer assisted brightness and contrast control. Expeditionary capabilities One interesting feature is the Gripen's ability to take off and land on public roads, which was part of Sweden's war defence strategy. The aircraft is designed to be able to operate even if the air force does not have air superiority. During the Cold war, the Swedish Armed Forces were preparing to defend against a possible invasion from the Soviet Union. Even though the defensive strategy in principle called for an absolute defence of Swedish territory, military planners calculated that Swedish defence forces could eventually be overrun. For that reason, Sweden had military stores dispersed all over the country, in order to maintain the capacity of inflicting damage on the enemy even if military installations were lost. Accordingly, among the requirements from the Swedish Air Force was that the Gripen fighter should be able to land on public roads near military stores for quick maintenance, and take off again. As a result, the Gripen fighter can be refueled and re-armed in ten minutes by a five man mobile ground crew operating out of a truck, and then resume flying sorties. In the post-Cold War era, these dispersed operation capabilities have proved to be of great value for a different purpose. The Gripen fighter system is expeditionary in nature, and therefore well suited for peace-keeping missions worldwide, which has become the new main task of the Swedish Armed Forces.

Indian Air Force Mig-27 Fighter Jet Offensive Capabilities To Be Enhanced

Indian Air Force Mig-27 Fighter Jet Offensive Capabilities To Be Enhanced (NSI News Source Info) January 10, 2009: India is upgrading its MiG-27 fighters to sharpen their strike capabilities, officials said on Wednesday, even as experts say the recent Mumbai attacks have exposed the country's need to modernise its defence forces.
Although the upgrade was planned well ahead of the attacks, officials said the defence ministry wants to speed up modernisation of its forces to tackle any future security threat.
The upgrading comes at a time when tension runs high with Pakistan over Mumbai and India is saying it has all options open to deal with "terror outfits" in Pakistan. India is spending $92 million to develop the fighters with precise navigational equipment, better weapons aiming and accurate ranging sensors for hitting ground targets.
"The hardware and avionics bit has already been fitted into 40 fighters, and the software is being loaded now," Suranjan Pal, a senior Defence Research and Development Organisation official, told Reuters. With the upgrading, the MiG fighters would last for another 10 years and have autopilot and auto weapon delivery facilities, a senior Indian Air Force official said.
India is looking to spend $30 billion on imports over the next five years to modernise its largely Soviet-era arms and is also trying to strengthen its navy by introducing new weapons systems. The MiG-27 aircraft was originally built in the former Soviet Union in the mid-1970s before it was licenced to be produced in India.
India, fast becoming one of the world's biggest arms importers, wants to modernise its air force, the fourth largest in the world, to cope with possible security threats in the region, security experts said. "This is something more than it meets the eye, India is now very keen to signal to all the people that are monitoring the country that India is modernising its defence units," C. Uday Bhaskar, a strategic affairs expert told Reuters.
MiG-27L. This was an export variant of the MiG-27M provided in 1986 to India in knock-down kits for license-assembly. Same as MiG-27M except the undernose fairing for the infra-red search and track (IRST) sensor has a single window instead of several like the one on the original MiG-27M. A total of 200 were assembled by India. MiG-27H. This was a 1988 indigenous Indian upgrade of its license-assembled MiG-27L with French avionics, which provides the same level of performance but with much reduced size and weight. The space saved is used to house the French Agave radar. At least 165 were converted from MiG-27Ls.
"It seems we are now putting all the pieces together." India is also considering upgrading of its other fighter fleet, including Mirage 2000s, Jaguars and MiG 29s, ahead of procuring the new generation Sukhoi-30MKIs, officials said.It has also invited bids for a contract to supply 126 multi-role fighter jets, potentially worth more than $10 billion.

Boeing Offers Army Two ARH Alternatives

Boeing Offers Army Two ARH Alternatives
(NSI News Source Info) January 10, 2009: Boeing has responded to a U.S. Army call for sources sought for its restarted Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) program with two alternatives: Boeing’s newly named AH-6S Phoenix and an aircraft the company has loosely nicknamed an Apache “Lite.” Boeing Mesa flew its Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) demonstrator for the first time without a safety pilot June 30 at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona. The modified MD 530F helicopter lifted off from a helipad, hovered briefly, and flew a programmed 20-minute armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission. It returned to the helipad and landed within six inches of the planned recovery location. The November notice contained several new requirements, including the ability to hover out of ground effect at 6,000 feet and 95 degrees, as well as a key parameter for transport on the C-130 airlifter (Aerospace DAILY, Nov. 17, 2008). Boeing is proffering its new Phoenix and a “scout-optimized” Apache with twin engines. And those two may not be the only helicopters Boeing offers for ARH consideration. The company is “keeping its options open” by talking with other potential industry partners, according to Mike Burke, Boeing’s director of Army rotorcraft business development. “We can put two Phoenix in the C-130, or 10 in a C-17,” Burke told reporters at a luncheon in Arlington, Va., on Jan. 7. The AH-6S’s modernized systems are patterned after the Block III Apache, Burke said. The AH-6 platform itself is a dusted off version of Boeing’s failed bid for the ARH back in 2005. When Boeing announced it was resurrecting the AH-6, it proposed it as a bid for a burgeoning international market (Aerospace DAILY, Oct. 8, 2008). That particular version will now be known as the AH-6I. Modifications to the AH-6S include a 15-inch addition to the airframe (the “S” in the helo’s designation stands for “stretch”), a new composite main rotor blade and a redesigned commercial “pointy nose” that allows more room for avionics boxes. The highly successful VUIT-2, or video from unmanned aircraft systems for interoperability teaming - level system, which was just recently deployed on Apaches in Iraq, will also play a part on the Phoenix. On the Block III Apaches, Burke said the VUIT-2 system is “integrated, not federated.” Currently, Lockheed Martin equips the Apache with a system that can be attached to the aircraft and used to communicate with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to identify targets. On the Block III Apache (and on the Phoenix), the technology is all Boeing’s.
The system (for now called simply VUIT-2-like by Boeing) will be fully integrated into the aircraft and will provide both waypoint control of the UAV directly from the cockpit, as well as actual flight control.

Canada Buys 1,300 Navistar Trucks, Despite Layoffs

Canada Buys 1,300 Navistar Trucks, Despite Layoffs
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, January 10, 2009 - The Canadian government said on Friday Jan 9, 2009 it signed a C$274 million ($230 million) contract to buy 1,300 military trucks from Navistar International, just days after the company announced it was expanding layoffs at its Ontario truck plant to nearly 700. Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement the medium-sized trucks, built by Navistar Defense LLC in Texas, will be the logistics backbone of the army. The vehicles will be used in Canada to support domestic operations. The government said that, as part of the contract, Navistar will generate one dollar of economic activity in Canada for every dollar it receives from the deal. That will be achieved through maintenance and repair of the vehicles, which will be supported through the company's local dealer network. "One of the reasons we were selected is that we have an extraordinary dealer network up in Canada and that network, and the ability to provide parts ... is one of the things that work in our favor," said Navistar spokesman Roy Wiley. He added that the company will be buying parts from Canadian firms. "For instance, all the tires will be Michelin tires coming out of a Michelin plant over in Nova Scotia," he said. The announcement of the deal came just days after Navistar told employees at its Chatham, Ontario, truck plant it plans to lay off up to 199 employees on top of the 499 set to lose their jobs on Feb. 2. The company had fewer than 1,000 workers at the plant in November. The latest layoffs take effect March 2. Wiley said the military vehicles will be built in Garland, Texas. The plant in Chatham, Ontario, a city of about 100,000, 290 km (180 miles) west of Toronto, builds larger trucks, he said. At its peak, Navistar produced over 200 trucks a day in Chatham, but production dwindled to around 100 units a day by the end of last year as sales slumped due to the global recession. The Chatham plant must continue to turn out a minimum of 35 trucks a day according to an agreement reached between the company and the Canadian Auto Workers union. In 2003, Navistar said it was going to close the plant in Chatham completely and move production to Mexico. The CAW said it agreed to significant concessions to keep the plant in Ontario and the federal and provincial governments kicked in C$65 million in financial assistance to sweeten the deal. A CAW spokesman was not immediately available for comment. The military trucks will be delivered to the army over an 18-month period starting this summer.

The Chinese Humvee Copy - Eastwind EQ2050 Dongfeng EQ2050 / The Humvee Has An Asian Copycat

The Chinese Humvee Copy - Eastwind EQ2050 Dongfeng EQ2050 / The Humvee Has An Asian Copycat (NSI News Source Info) January 10, 2009: The symbol of all things American, the overly big, resource wasting, road hogging SUV come monster truck jeep - the Humvee has an Asian copycat, in terms of the East Wind (Dong Feng in Chinese) EQ2050 and Shenyang Aircraft Industry Co’s SFQ2040 HMWWV (pictured below) Sinopec has actually bought real Humvees from the USA in the 90’s for use in the civillian sectors. According to, the chassis and several parts of the engine come from GM, would the PLA want to rely on foreign companies to supply its potentially main vehicle? Probably not. I'm not sure how realiable this information is, seeing as the US and Europe (and most of the capitalist world) has a ban on exporting weapons technology to China for use within weapon systems. The Dongfeng humvee has a V8 AMG Diesel engine, with 200BHP and a price tag of 250k RMB I’m sure the PLA boys will have a great time playing with this bad boy. The body has only basic protection from small arms fire but looks like it could be upgraded, as could the whole body, to carry missiles, or gun mounts etc. Check out the pictures in the more info section. Anyway, there are two companies in China that are producing Humvee copies, and both are undergoing road testing with the PLA. More info You can see more pictures of the Dongfeng hummer here but be warned, its in Chinese! Lots of pictures though!

Brits Training Afghan National Army

Brits Training Afghan National Army
(NSI News Source Info) January 10, 2009: A Gurkha of the 2nd Batallion Royal Gurkha Rifles (2RGR) under the ANATT (Afghan National Army Training Team) is pictured training an Afghan soldier in weapons handling skills.

First Batch Of 'Souped-Up' Combat Vehicles Delivered

First Batch Of 'Souped-Up' Combat Vehicles Delivered
(NSI News Source Info) London - January 10, 2009: The first delivery of over 100 enhanced light tanks used for scouting out the enemy have arrived at the Army's training units, complete with a state-of-the-art engine cooling system taken from the motorsport industry.One of the new enhanced combat vehicles[Picture: MOD] Under an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) contract worth £19million, a number of important upgrades have been carried out to boost the performance and reliability of the British Army's Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) [CVR(T)] vehicles in the demanding conditions of Afghanistan. Significant changes include: • Up-powered engine, gearbox and final drives to improve performance in the demanding operational and environmental conditions faced in Afghanistan; • A new high-efficiency radiator and charge air cooler from the motorsport world - a major improvement on earlier systems. Lieutenant Colonel Martin Fenn, Environmental Mitigation UOR Team Leader, said: "Delivery of these vehicles by BAE Systems and its suppliers is an excellent example of what can be achieved through effective partnering. "More importantly, this package of enhancements to CVR(T)'s capability is urgently required and eagerly awaited by troops in Afghanistan." Jim Graham of BAE Systems, prime contractor for the project, added: "Our trials have proven major performance and reliability improvements. We received a post-design service contract in December last year and have effectively condensed a three-year development programme into one year, partly by beginning work in advance of contract, taking business risks with the MOD and consulting the key stakeholder." The Light Dragoons, based in Swanton Morley in Norfolk, will be the first unit to begin training on the new vehicles in early 2009.

Largest Naval Academy in Asia Opens - Namita Singh Designs an Aesthetic Marvel

Largest Naval Academy in Asia Opens - Namita Singh Designs an Aesthetic Marvel
(NSI News Source Info) January 10, 2009: The largest Naval Academy in Asia, The Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala, Kerala covering an area of 2,452 acres along the North Malabar Coast, opens today.
Namita Singh, a leading architect, has designed the project after winning a two stage design competition conducted by the Indian Ministry of Defence in 1987 and 1989. The sanction for the construction of the Indian Naval Academy came in 2000 and it has taken close to a decade to build this aesthetic marvel.
The Naval Academy retains the beauty of the 2, 00,000 square meters site, including 7 kilometers of beach land and 7 peaks. Namita’s designs are highly inspired by the site location and traditional styles of architecture.
Namita’s ideology as an architect has been to preserve the natural habitat and ensure minimal disturbance to the topography and flora of the environment. Namita has created an orderly and compact environment for the naval academy without marring the unique beauty of the site and having both mountains and sea as the dominant features.
The planning and the architecture of the academy exploit the spectacular views of the mountains and the sea from every building.

Pakistan PM Hands Information To India On Mumbai Attacks / Pakistan Continues To Resist India Pressure On Mumbai Attacks

Pakistan PM Hands Information To India On Mumbai Attacks / Pakistan Continues To Resist India Pressure On Mumbai Attacks / Pakistan Must Punish Mumbai Masterminds To Show Who Is In Charge (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD — January 9, 2009: Pakistan's main spy agency has given India information about the Mumbai terror attacks, the prime minister said Friday, while denying media speculation of a rift between him and the president. The comments came as U.S. Vice President-elect Joe Biden arrived in Pakistan for talks with the country's top leaders, including the prime minister and president. The U.S. Embassy confirmed the visit but gave few details, and press access was severely restricted. The U.S. has an interest in the stability of Pakistan's civilian government — which is considered weak — because of its support for the American-led fight against global militancy. There are multiple centres of power within the government, and the military and Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency are believed to have significant independence. The November attacks in Mumbai that killed 164 people underscored the threat terrorism poses to the whole of South Asia. New Delhi says it has passed on evidence to Islamabad that proves Pakistani militants were behind the slaughter. In this photo released by Pakistan's Press Information Department on Friday Jan. 9 2009, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, right, confers a civilian award Hilal-e-Pakistan to visiting U. S. Vice President-elect Joe Biden in Islamabad, Pakistan. Biden, who is on a day visit to Pakistan met Pakistani leadership to discuss the bilateral and regional security issues. (Pakistan has out smarted US Foreign Policy and a medal confers on U.S. Vice President-elect Joe Biden would earns Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari billion of dollars free military weapons and a four years of economic support. Bush's administration awarded Pervez Musharraf with US$ 10 billion military and economic aid package without any solution to Afghanistan instead escalating the war). Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani holds talks with U.S. Vice President-elect Joe Biden in Islamabad, January 9, 2009. Mr. Gilani said on Friday Pakistan had sent India a response to evidence from the Mumbai attacks. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told reporters the ISI “had given feedback and information sharing that has been passed on to India” after studying that evidence. He gave no more details. On Wednesday, Mr. Gilani fired the national security adviser hours after the official told reporters the sole surviving Mumbai attacker was a Pakistani citizen — something that Islamabad had previously been unwilling to acknowledge. Local media reported President Asif Ali Zardari was not informed of the decision, intensifying earlier media speculation of a split between the country's top two leaders. Analysts say there is confusion at times over who is in charge in Pakistan. Upon taking office Mr. Zardari promised to support reducing the president's powers, but there has been little visible progress on that front. Mr. Zardari, who also heads the ruling Pakistan People's Party, is believed to be stronger than Mr. Gilani, even though the prime minister is technically the chief executive of the government. Both officials have sought to play down reports they are feuding. “There is no misunderstanding,” Mr. Gilani insisted to reporters Friday, while denying reports that Mr. Zardari was displeased with the decision to sack the adviser, Mahmood Ali Durrani. A Zardari spokesman said Thursday that the two were “on the same page” and it was Mr. Gilani's prerogative to fire Mr. Durrani. The Mumbai attackers are suspected to be members of Lashkar-e-Taiba — a militant group created by Pakistani intelligence agencies in the 1980s to fight Indian rule in Kashmir, a Himalayan region claimed by both countries and the trigger for two of their three wars. Some analysts say the group maintains ties to Pakistani intelligence and that the government cannot act too aggressively against it as a result. In recent weeks, several U.S. envoys have visited India and Pakistan to defuse tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours and press Islamabad to take action against extremists on its soil. Mr. Biden travelled to Pakistan in his capacity as a U.S. senator from Delaware. He was accompanied by South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. The veteran politician takes office as vice president on Jan. 20, but has not yet resigned his Senate seat. According to a press statement, the Pakistani president assured Mr. Biden of Pakistan's commitment to “the war against militancy, extremism and terrorism.” State media reported that Mr. Zardari also bestowed an award on Mr. Biden, the “Hilal-i-Pakistan,” to recognize Mr. Biden's “consistent support for democracy and socio-economic development in Pakistan and for his outstanding contribution to the strengthening of U.S.-Pakistan relations.” Footage from the event showed Mr. Zardari handing Mr. Biden a medallion.

Israel Presses On With Gaza Strikes

Israel Presses On With Gaza Strikes (NSI News Source Info) GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP - January 9 2009: A defiant Israel pounded Gaza with bombs and shells on Friday, vowing to pursue its war on Hamas despite a truce order from the UN Security Council, amid warnings the territory was running out of food.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel would not bow to "outside influence" as its aircraft carried out more bombing and the army's tanks shelled several locations despite an announced three-hour "humanitarian" lull.
A handout picture from the public information office of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) released to the media shows rockets found in south Lebanon January 9, 2009. U.N. peacekeepers and Lebanese army troops found an old cache of rockets near the border with Israel on Friday, a day after at least three rockets were fired into northern Israel.
Hamas, meanwhile, also rejected the United Nations resolution, which called for an "immediate, durable" ceasefire on the grounds that it only served Israel's interests.
Two weeks on from the start of Operation Cast Lead, more than 780 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, according to medics in Gaza.
Pressure on the two sides increased with a late-night UN Security Council resolution that demanded an "immediate, durable" ceasefire leading to the "full withdrawal" of Israeli forces from Gaza.Fourteen of the 15 council members voted in favour. The United States, Israel's main ally, abstained but refrained from vetoing the resolution agreed after lengthy negotiations between Arab and Western foreign ministers.
The moderate Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, whose power is limited to the West Bank, called the UN move an "important step," but stressed that applying it was key.
'Impractical' The response from Olmert, however, was dismissive, calling it "impractical" in the face of continued rocket attacks by Hamas.
Israel launched its war against the Islamists on December 27 aiming to end rocket attacks in southern Israel and the smuggling of weapons into Gaza from Egypt.

U.S. Department Of Defense Setting Up Cyber War Section

U.S. Department Of Defense Setting Up Cyber War Section
(NSI News Source Info) January 9, 2009: Once again, the U.S. Department of Defense is trying to build a "Cyber War test range." Previous efforts have foundered over technical issues. A Cyber War test range would be a collection of computers and networking equipment that would accurately simulate large chunks of the Internet.
This would include a full (and accurate) array of personal, commercial and military computers, but also accurate simulation of what the users are doing. A formidable task, but this time around, the Pentagon thinks it has previous obstacles covered.
Time will tell, and the success of the effort probably won't known until the aftermath of a future Cyber War demonstrates that the Cyber War test range was indeed accurate enough. The "Cyber War test range" is basically a combination of widely known hardware, and some very special software. The latter element is the hard part.

China: World Economies Slow Down Has Adverse Effect On Other Factors

China: World Economies Slow Down Has Adverse Effect On Other Factors (NSI News Source Info) January 9, 2009: As two Chinese warships (and one support ship) enter the Gulf of Aden, the Chinese navy returns to an area it has not visited for six hundred years. Taiwan is lifting its ban on its military and government officials freely travelling to China. Meanwhile, China has announced that it believes Taiwan will voluntarily rejoin China as the economies of the two nations become more linked. This may take a few decades, but this is considered preferable to war. The current world-wide economic recession actually began at the end of 2007, and in the first six months of 2008, nearly 70,000 factories shut down in China. Most of these supplied the export market, and orders from U.S. firms had suddenly shrank. For each of the last three months, manufacturing activity has declined. The Chinese economy is still growing, but at half it's normal (about ten percent a year) rate. However, millions were now unemployed. By the end of 2008, there were, each week, hundreds of major demonstrations by unemployed or underpaid workers in cities and towns throughout China. The government fears that the unemployment violence could attract many more people who are unhappy with the corruption in the ruling Communist Party, and government officials in general. Police in violence prone areas are on high alert, and army units are being prepared for riot duty. China does not expect the current recession to interfere with its military build up. December 31, 2008: In the United States, two Chinese men were arrested for illegally exporting thermal imaging technology to China. December 30, 2008: This month, China again began blocking Internet news sites that it had unblocked during the August Olympics. The blocked sites discuss Chinese politics, and touch on such forbidden subjects as relations with Taiwan and Tiber independence. In addition, the government is now forcing all Internet search providers to block access to pornography. This makes the government very unpopular with many of the 255 million Chinese Internet users. December 24, 2008: China has arrested 59 people in Tibet for "spreading rumors" and trying to organize more pro-independence (for Tibet) demonstrations. The independence movement has no weapons, but will get violent, especially against ethnic-Chinese migrants, who are becoming the majority in parts of Tibetan cities and towns. Angola's government has authorised a Chinese ship carrying arms destined for Zimbabwe to dock, although it says it will not be allowed to unload weapons. In a statement, the government said the vessel would only be allowed to deliver goods intended for Angola. On Thursday, the Chinese authorities said they would recall the ship to China after port workers in South Africa refused to unload the weapons. December 23, 2008: UN investigators were unable to prove that ammunition flown into Zimbabwe were of Chinese origin. December 19, 2008: After noting that foreign warships were defending Chinese merchant ships, and Chinese crews, off the Somali coast, China announced it was sending two frigates and a supply ship to join the international anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden.

Colombia's Militants FARC Public-Opinion Dipping

Colombia's Militants FARC Public-Opinion Dipping
(NSI News Source Info) January 9, 2009: FARC has admitted what everyone already knew, that one of their roadside bomb attacks last month, killed two medical workers. As with any use of roadside bombs, the victims are often innocent civilians. FARC confessed and apologized to try and regain some of the local support it lost in the south when the medical personnel were killed by what was, as far as everyone in the area was concerned, a FARC bomb.
In the past, FARC would sometimes try to blame such errors on the government, but there has never been any proof to back up this conspiracy angle, so most Colombians simply don't believe it. The government is now offering a new series of cash rewards (of from $2,500 to $2.5 million) for the capture of FARC officials (from some very junior officials, to the most senior guys.) The government also offers transportation to a foreign country, for those who flip on a senior FARC official and have to worry about retribution from FARC death squads. The government is also offering large rewards for FARC members who will surrender, and bring kidnapping hostages with them. FARC is negotiating the terms of how it can release six more high-profile kidnapping victims. FARC wants to gain some good will, and this still seems a good way to do it. FARC and the government have agreed on letting the Red Cross provide witnesses to insure that the government does not set a trap for the rebels.
FARC has good reason to be nervous. More of its members are deserting to the government, and accepting amnesty deals. Worse, more FARC members are becoming double agents for the government. This is dangerous for the agents, but very lucrative. Some of the agents, however, are also interested in revenge against FARC and some of its leaders.
The spies inside FARC are leading to more FARC camps being found, and the rebels losing more valuable weapons and equipment, not to mention drug shipments they are supposed to be guarding. FARC and ELN are being ground down, but it's a slow process that may take another decade before both organizations are effectively gone. January 8, 2009: In a Madrid, Spain hospital, an assassin shot dead a Colombian drug lord (Leonidas Vargas). Drug gang feuds do not usually spill over into foreign countries, so this new incident worries officials in Colombia and Europe. January 1, 2009: In the north, someone tossed a grenade into a New Years celebration in an Indian community, killing five and wounding 65. It's unclear if this was FARC (which is often at war with Indian tribes in rural areas), or some tribal feud. Police have offered a $9,000 reward for information on who made the attack. December 25, 2008: ELN rebels ambushed and killed a former ELN commander (along with four civilians who also happened to be in the car.) The leftist rebels (ELN and the larger FARC) often send death squads after those who have surrendered to the government and accepted amnesty deals.

Agusta Wins Additional AW139 Order From Cyprus / The Ministry of Justice Of Cyprus Orders Two AW139 Helicopters

Agusta Wins Additional AW139 Order From Cyprus / The Ministry of Justice of Cyprus Orders Two AW139 Helicopters (NSI News Source Info) January 9, 2009: AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the Ministry of Justice of Cyprus has placed an order for two AW139 medium twin engine helicopters. These aircraft will be used to perform law enforcement and search and rescue operations.
The AgustaWestland AW139 is a 15-seat medium sized twin-engined helicopter manufactured by AgustaWestland. Originally designed and developed jointly by Agusta and Bell Helicopters and marketed as the Agusta-Bell AB139, Bell withdrew from the project, which was then renamed the AW139. The AgustaWestland AW149 is a medium-lift military helicopter being developed by AgustaWestland as an enlarged version of the AW139.
This success follows on from the contract signed by the Ministry of Defence of Cyprus in December 2008 for three AW139s and is further evidence of the increasing success this model has found in the medium twin market where it continues to be the best selling helicopter.
The 15-seat AW139 is a new generation medium twin-turbine helicopter setting new standards in its class. The AW139 is the only new generation helicopter in its class, in service today, that fully complies with the latest certification requirements in terms of performance and safety. Its Pratt & Whitney turbines together with a state-of-the-art 5-bladed main rotor provide unequalled performance, even in demanding hot and high conditions at maximum all up mass. The availability of modular role kits allows easy and quick conversion to and from various configurations.
The law enforcement-configured AW139 is available with a wide range of mission equipment and with the most spacious cabin in the medium twin class is the helicopter of choice for demanding homeland security requirements.
A large number of customers have ordered or are already operating the AW139 for law enforcement and SAR duties in many countries including Japan, China, The Netherlands, the UK, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Republic of Korea and Malaysia.
Orders for over 430 AW139 helicopters have been placed by more than 100 customers from over 40 countries to carry out a wide range of missions including law enforcement and homeland security duties, EMS/SAR, utility, fire fighting, VIP/corporate transport and offshore transport.