(NSI News Source Info) January 30, 2009: Unmanned aerial vehicles have proven their worth in the war on terror as reconnaissance and surveillance platforms that provide battlefield commanders with real-time, optically enhanced streaming video of terrain, suspicious movements and intelligence-driven targets of interest. On the brigade level, the Shadow-200 tactical UAV stands out. On the battalion level and lower, it's the Raven, a hand-launched UAV just 38 inches in length, with a 5-foot wingspan and with nose and side-mounted cameras. The battery-operated vehicle is so small, it can be packed in a suitcase and assembled in minutes. It can take to the air for about 60 minutes to provide soldiers in the field with real-time imagery of what lies ahead, although its cameras lack a zoom capability. But neither the Shadow nor the Raven is weapons-capable. The Predator-MQ1, however, is another matter. It's the big boy on the block with lethal punch to its payload, as terrorists in Iraq as well as Afghanistan have found out. "It's one of the most asked-for assets," said Lt. Col. Debra Lee, commander of the Air Force's 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron. "There's a kind of bidding war that goes on for its time." The Predator is described by the Air Force as a "medium-altitude, long-endurance aircraft system for interdiction and conducting armed reconnaissance against critical, perishable targets." It's 27 feet long, 6.9 feet high and has a wingspan of 48.7 feet. It's powered by a four-cylinder, 110-hp engine and cruises at speeds from 85 to 135 mph at heights of up to 25,000 feet. Its range is more than 400 miles. The electronics goody bag consists of a daytime variable-aperture TV camera, a variable-aperture infrared camera for low-light/night filming and other sensors that are packed under the nose in a basketball-sized and -shaped housing that rotates 360 degrees. The cameras stream real-time video to centers in the United States as well as to ground commanders closer to its flight sectors through satellite links. The cameras' optical zoom capabilities -- six step, 155x optical zoom -- can be enhanced two times and four times digitally. Its electronics also allow the Predator's cameras to "see" through smoke and haze. Attached to pylons on its wings are two laser-guided AGM Hellfire missiles. A Hellfire launched from a Predator in 2006 killed Iraq's most wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi was the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq and for months had successfully escaped determined U.S. and Iraqi efforts to capture or kill him -- until intelligence about his travels in Diyala province in a particular vehicle was received. A Predator put paid to Zarqawi's orchestration of terror. "The Predator B -- MQ-9 -- can also carry 500-pound bombs," said Lee, normally a B-1 bomber pilot. "We had some here, but they're in Afghanistan now. But we hear we may be getting some again soon." The upgraded Predator is a 40-foot turboprop with a ceiling of 50,000 feet. Lee's unit is located at Joint Base Balad, which is north of Baghdad and west of Baquba. She and her 20 personnel, who include civilian contractors who maintain the Predators and their electronics, handle the birds during takeoff and landing phases.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
North Korea Scraps All Accords With South Korea / North Korea Tears Up Agreements
(NSI News Source Info) SEOUL - January 30, 2009: North Korea announced Friday it is scrapping agreements with South Korea on easing military tensions, accusing Seoul of pushing relations to the brink of war.
The communist state said all political and military agreements would be nullified, including one covering their Yellow Sea border - the scene of bloody naval clashes in 1999 and 2002. The statement from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, a state body, further raised tensions after months of icy relations.
It comes less than two weeks after the North's army threatened an "all-out confrontational posture" against Seoul. South Korea stepped up border monitoring and vowed to respond firmly to any violation, but said no unusual activities have been detected.
It expressed "deep regret" at Pyongyang's move and renewed an offer of dialogue. “The confrontation between the north and the south in the political and military fields has been put to such extremes that inter-Korean relations have reached the brink of a war," the North's statement said.
It blasted the conservative South Korean government of President Lee Myung-Bak for "ruthlessly scrapping" pacts reached at summits in 2000 and 2007. Lee, who took office a year ago, rolled back the "sunshine" engagement policy of his liberal predecessors and said he would review the summit pacts.
"The group of traitors has already reduced all the agreements reached between the north and the south in the past to dead documents," the committee said in the statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.South Korean Army soldiers patrol along the barbed-wire fence in Paju, north of Seoul, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, South Korea. South Korean guard post in the eastern part of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean Peninsula.
"Under such situation it is self-evident that there is no need for the DPRK (North Korea) to remain bound to those north-south agreements." The North has also staked out a tough position in stalled nuclear disarmament negotiations with the United States and four regional partners. Pyongyang, which staged a nuclear test in 2006, has said it may keep its atomic weapons even after ties are established with Washington, as long as any US nuclear threat remains.
Analysts believe the North is raising tensions to ensure it remains a diplomatic priority for the new Obama administration, and is also pressuring Seoul to reverse its tough stance. "This is something bad.
The North is apparently paving the way for military provocations," Yoo Ho-Yeol, a professor at Korea University, told AFP. "It is also seeking to shift responsibility for a possible military clash to the South." Paik Hak-Soon of the Sejong Institute think-tank said armed clashes may break out soon.
But Baek Seung-Joo of the Korea Institute for Defence Analyses told AFP the statement aims at "heaping pressure on Lee Myung-Bak" and does not mean clashes are more likely. The North refuses to recognise the Northern Limit Line, a sea border drawn unilaterally by US-led United Nations forces after the 1950-1953 war.
The two sides have remained technically at war since 1953 because the conflict ended without a peace treaty. But a 1991 reconciliation pact which the North has now nullified implicitly recognised the line as an interim border.
After a naval clash in June 1999 which killed dozens of North Korean sailors, the North demanded the border be redrawn. Six South Koreans were killed in another sea clash in June 2002, while the North's casualties were believed to be heavier. Since Lee took office the North has cut all official contacts with the South.
Last December it expelled hundreds of South Koreans from a joint industrial estate and tightened border controls. On January 17 its army General Staff warned it would not allow South Korean intrusions into the disputed Yellow Sea waters.
However, leader Kim Jong-Il was quoted last week as saying he hopes to push ahead with disarmament talks and does not want to raise tensions with the South.
Nato Split Over Order To Strike Afghanistan Drug Smugglers
(NSI News Source Info) January 30, 2009: A directive ordering Nato commanders to begin directly targeting drug smugglers and heroin factories in Afghanistan is being resisted by senior officers in the country. The directive, issued by US General John Craddock, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (Saceur), and leaked to the German news weekly Der Spiegel, orders a significant expansion of the drugs war by Nato forces. It orders that drug smugglers should be attacked even when there is no evidence that their activities are linked to the Taleban insurgency — meaning that Nato forces would for the first time deliberately strike at civilians engaged in purely criminal activity. Previously, operations were limited to smugglers against whom there was clear evidence of support for the Taleban with money, arms or men. A Pakistani tribesman works in a poppy field at the Muhmand Agency tribal area close to the Afghan border, some 80 kms north of Peshawar on April 24, 2008. Poppy cultivators in Pakistan are incensed over the government drive to eradicate poppy fields whilst the United Nations Drug Control Programme declared the country poppy-free in 2000, but growers have been trying to restart cultivation of the lucrative crop in parts of tribal territories in Baluchistan and North West Frontier Province. It is “no longer necessary to produce intelligence or other evidence that each particular drug trafficker or narcotics facility in Afghanistan meets the criteria of being a military objective”, General Craddock writes. Drug traffickers and narcotics facilities are “inextricably linked to the Opposing Military Forces, and may be attacked”. The directive is the result of a meeting of Nato defence ministers last October and was sent to ground commanders on January 5. Egon Ramms, the German leader of Nato command in Brunssum in The Netherlands, who is in charge of the alliance’s International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan, and General David McKiernan, its commander on the ground, are opposed to the directive, Der Spiegel says. It also publishes extracts from a highly critical response to the directive from General McKiernan’s office in Kabul. It accuses General Craddock of attempting to “seriously undermine the commitment Isaf has made to the Afghan people to restrain our use of force and avoid civilian casualties”. Major Marty O’Donnell, an Isaf spokesman, said: “We don’t comment on leaked or classified documents.” However, the substance of the story was independently confirmed to The Times by Western officials in Kabul. The claims come amid renewed speculation that the US Government wishes to press its Afghan counterpart to begin ground-based spraying of poppy fields.
BAE Systems To Provide Transparent Armored Gun Shields For U.S. Warine
(NSI News Source Info) SANTA CLARA, California – January 30, 2009: Under a $9.9 million contract, BAE Systems will provide 442 Marine Corps Transparent Armored Gun Shield (MCTAGS) turret kits used to protect service members in close urban environments. “The proven design of our MCTAGS provides direct vision while providing protection against blast fragmentation and small arms fire to the crew while in the turret,” said Ann Hoholick, vice president Amphibious Vehicles & Armor Kits for BAE Systems. “To date more than 6,000 MCTAGS kits have been installed on various military vehicles to provide added protection for the men and women in uniform.” The kits will be shipped to a Marine Corps base by BAE Systems’ current workforce where they will be installed on High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) by the U.S. Marine Corps. Work under the contract will begin immediately in York, Pennsylvania and Santa Clara, California and activity for the initial delivery order is anticipated to be completed in June 2009. The contract is managed by the Marine Corps Systems Command. BAE Systems’ transparent armored gun shield units have been configured for a wide range of vehicles, including Bradley, M1 Abrams, M113, HMMWV, Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement, Logistics Vehicle System, Assault Amphibious Vehicle – Personnel and for the Stryker Common Ballistic Shield.
Part 2: Arabs Should Contribute Forces Or Funds To Isolate Somali/Aden Pirates Being In their Neighborhood / Bordering Countries
Part 2: Arabs Should Contribute Forces Or Funds To Isolate Somali/Aden Pirates Being In their Neighborhood / Bordering Countries
(NSI News Source Info) January 30, 2009: The Somali pirates are driving up the price of Tuna. Indian ocean tuna fishing is a $6 billion a year industry, with hundreds of boats working off the east coast of Africa. Pirates will seize the fishing boats, even though they these vessels bring a smaller ransom than the larger merchant vessels. But ransoms as high as a million dollars have been paid for tuna fishing boats. This has driven up the coast of insurance, and many boats avoid the increase by staying away from the Somali coast. This has caused the catch to decline about 30 percent in the last two years. This has caused a major recession in the ports in the region that supply the fishing boats with fuel, other supplies and services. Many of the pirates feel it is their patriotic duty to go after the tuna fishing boats, which are destroying the tuna stocks off the coast by overfishing. Since there is no Somali government to regulate the fishing, the large boats (up to 6,000 tons) take all the tuna they can get. Populations of some fishing species have already collapsed, and will take a decade or more (if ever) to revive. The smaller Somali fishing boats can't compete with the larger fishing ships from Europe and East Asia. January 25, 2009: Ethiopia has completed the withdrawal of its troops from Somalia. Already, other nations in the region are asking Ethiopia to send its troops back in. Ethiopia is the only one in the region (if not in Africa, with the possible exception of South Africa) who can handle the Somali gunmen. Somalis and Ethiopians have been neighbors, and at war with each other, for centuries. While the Ethiopians have learned how to deal with the Somalis, they would rather not. It's a nasty business, and these days you get accused of war crimes if you are too good at it for too long. Several hundred heavily armed members of al Shebab, the al Qaeda sponsored Islamic radical group, seized control of Baidoa, long the headquarters for the Transitional National Government (TNG). For the TNG and al Shebab, control of anything is largely symbolic. The TNG represents an attempt by the traditional Somali power brokers to get along with each other and form a government. That didn't work. Al Shebab represents the efforts of one Islamic radical faction to take over the entire country and establish an Islamic dictatorship.
That won't work either, if only because there are several other factions of Islamic radicals competing with al Shebab. And if the Islamic radicals are too successful, the Ethiopians (who have made no secret of this plan) will come back. And then there are the U.S. and NATO commandos up north in Djibouti, who are also up to something. But they are not holding any press conferences about it, unlike al Shebab, which loves to tell the world what it's doing, or thinks it's doing, or plans on doing. The U.S. and Kenya have come to terms on a deal whereby Somali pirates captured by U.S. forces, will be jailed and prosecuted in Kenya. The U.S. will provide money, and other assistance, to reimburse Kenya for their efforts. Most other nations, with warships patrolling the Somali coast, do not have any arrangements to deal with captive pirates. Those ships have been told, in effect, that they can kill pirates, but not take them alive. The anti-piracy patrol is working. While there were twelve ships taken last November, and two in December, none have been taken in January. The pirates currently hold ten ships, having received ransom for, and released six ships this month. The pirates are trying to come up with new tactics, to get around the constant presence of the foreign warships. But so far, the anti-piracy patrol has been able to counter new pirate tactics. January 24, 2009: In Mogadishu, a suicide car bomber set off his explosives before reaching his target (the African Union headquarters), and killed 15 civilians and wounded over two dozen. January 23, 2009: In Somaliland (one of two self-proclaimed statelets in the north, to the west of Puntland), police have arrested several dozen Islamic terrorists and seized ten shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles. The men, and weapons, came from Eritrea (which, with Iran, is supporting Islamic terrorist groups in Somalia).
There were three suicide bombings in Somaliland last October, which prompted the local government and tribal leaders to go after Islamic terrorists (who normally would be tolerated if they did no harm locally.) Al Quaeda has put more money and men into Somalia. The results have been disappointing, because the Somalis are difficult to control, and very dangerous if you anger them. It's like herding cats (if you can imagine cats armed with automatic weapons and nasty tempers.) January 22, 2009: The UN has announced that it will halt food aid to Somalia unless the attacks on the aid effort stop. This includes the extortion of money from food aid trucks by hundreds of roadblocks. But the worst danger is the random attacks on food aid operations personnel, both transportation and distribution. The UN supervised program is currently distributing 57,000 tons of food to 2.5 million people in central and southern Somalia. The food reaches the country via ship, which, for the last few years, has been accompanied by a warship, to prevent seizure by pirates. But once ashore, the food is increasingly stolen by bandits and warlords, who then sell it in the markets, or even take it to neighboring countries (if the prices are sufficiently higher.) It's unknown if the UN would actually halt the food aid program, but it's unusual for them to even threaten to do so. The UN is also trying to get Kenya to stop sending Somali refugees back to Somali. Kenya accepted 60,000 Somali refugees last year, and have had no end of problems with them. Somali gunmen try, and often succeed, in using the refugee camps as rest areas. Worse, the Somali gunmen sometimes do some looting in Kenya, instead of going back to Somali to steal. So Kenya has told the UN to stuff it, and is turning away most Somalis trying to flee into Kenya.
Rolls-Royce Wins £198M to Support British Harriers / Harriers Power up With New Contract
(NSI News Source Info) January 30, 2009: RAF and Royal Navy Harrier 'jump-jets' are set to benefit from a new £198m support contract signed with Rolls-Royce to support the aircraft's Pegasus engine over the next ten years.
The Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine provides the Harrier with its unique Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing capability and the new contract will guarantee its availability to the front line, as well as providing all aspects of technical support.
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said:
"Today's £198m contract will ensure that the Harrier jump-jets continue to demonstrate their power and versatility in support of ground forces in Afghanistan or flying from our aircraft carriers. The Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine gives the Harrier its unique Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing capability.The BAE Systems/Boeing Harrier II (GR5, GR7, and GR9 series) is a second generation vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) jet aircraft used by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and, since 2006, the Royal Navy. It was developed from the earlier Hawker Siddeley Harrier and is closely related to the U.S.-built AV-8B Harrier II. Both are primarily used for light attack or multi-role tasks, and are often operated from small aircraft carriers.
"This contract follows in the footsteps of other fast-jet support contracts in offering improved availability of aircraft whenever and wherever they are needed."
Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace will be managing the new contract from its site at Bristol, with some work being carried out at RAF Wittering and the main repair and overhaul being carried out at the Rolls-Royce site at Ansty in Leicestershire.
Defence Equipment and Support Harrier Project Team Leader, Group Captain Andy Ebdon, said:
"Awarding this contract to Rolls-Royce for complete through-life support of Pegasus is a very significant achievement. It not only assures affordable engine availability, but also incentivises both industry and the MOD to actively work together to improve efficiency. The end effect is better value for money and improved support performance for the front line."
The aircraft is operated in the close air support role by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy under the umbrella of Joint Force Harrier.
Harrier GR9A aircraft, with upgraded Pegasus engines to deal better with extreme conditions, have been operating from Kandahar Airbase in Afghanistan for some time in support of NATO forces conducting operations against the Taliban.
In the UK Harriers are based at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland and RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire, as well as operating as required from Royal Navy aircraft carriers.
4,000th Humvee Transferred to Iraqi Government / Coalition Transfers 4,000th Humvee to Iraqi Government
4,000th Humvee Transferred to Iraqi Government / Coalition Transfers 4,000th Humvee to Iraqi Government
(NSI News Source Info) TAJI, Iraq - January 30, 2009: Coalition members transferred the 4,000th armored Humvee to the Iraqi government Jan. 25 as part of a program to provide mission-capable Humvees to Iraqi security forces and on-the-job training to Iraqi mechanics. The program, based at Camp Taji here, is managed by logistics personnel from Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, with assistance from Army Materiel Command, Tank and Automotive Command, Multinational Corps Iraq and other coalition partners.
The program includes a complete refurbishment of Humvees for the Iraqi Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry and Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Bureau. The project employs more than 500 Iraqis with varying ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs.
The Humvees began arriving at the Retrograde Property and Assistance Team facility here in late 2007 for induction into the program, officials said. Production began in January 2008 with instruction and on-the-job training.
“Above all, this partnership demonstrates the cooperation between the U.S. government, our supporting contractors … and the [Iraqi government] to train and equip Iraqi security forces,” Army Col. Michael Sage, deputy chief of staff for the transition command’s logistics directorate, said.
The vehicles are refurbished to a mission-capable condition, then inspected by a joint U.S. and Iraqi team prior to transfer to the Iraqi government.
The first Humvees were fielded to the Iraqi army March 12. The production goals for the program included an initial delivery of 200 vehicles in March and 400 vehicles every month thereafter. The team is poised to reach its target of up to 8,500 Humvees by the end of 2009, officials said.
“It has been our pleasure to deliver over 4,000 Humvees to the [Iraqi government] in support of its security mission,” Robert Cini, a project manager, said. “The 522 Iraqi employees refurbishing the M1114 [Humvees] on this project are extremely proud of their contribution in keeping their streets and neighborhoods safe.”
Czech Senate Votes To Boost Afghan Troop Levels
(NSI News Source Info) PRAGUE - January 30, 2009: The Czech Senate voted Jan. 28 to increase the maximum number of troops serving in the NATO ISAF mission in Afghanistan to 480 from 415. The deployment is expected to start in late spring or early summer. The government's original proposal of 645 troops was rejected by the lower chamber of parliament. The government coalition has 101 seats out of 200 in that chamber. The proposal now heads to the lower chamber, where a vote will take place Feb. 3. The breakdown of troops is as follows: Kabul Airport, 1st half of year, 55, 2nd half, 55; Logar province, 1st half, 275, 2nd half, 275; the town of Sharan, helicopter unit, 2nd half only, 110; Uruzghan province, 1st half only, 80; Arthur weapon-locating system, 1st half, 40, 2nd half, 40. In addition, 100 special operations troops will be sent to Afghanistan for operation Enduring Freedom for counterterrorism operations. The Senate also agreed to maintain the existing contingent of 430 Czech troops in Kosovo as part of NATO's KFOR mission.
Finland Open To NATO Membership
(NSI News Source Info) HELSINKI - January 30, 2009: Finland remains open to the possibility of joining NATO, according to the Finnish government's latest Security and Defense Policy Report (SDPR). NATO's military and security objectives mirror Finland's concerns and tasks in parallel areas, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said in a press conference. Military observers say NATO membership for Finland may happen as soon as 2011. However, Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said it is "highly unlikely" that Finland would join NATO before 2011. "NATO continues to be a future option for Finland, but before that we should take actions to strengthen crossborder defense cooperation in the Nordic countries," Stubb said. The SDPR noted that "a broad political consensus" was essential before any formal decision could be made on NATO membership. "NATO's objectives, tasks and obligations correspond with the foreign and security policy goals of Finland and the European Union," Vanhanen said. "There is and will continue to be a strong case to consider Finland's membership of NATO in the future. Finland regards NATO as the most important military security cooperation organization." Finland joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program in 1994, the Planning and Review Process in 1995, and the alliance's Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997.
France Rules Out New Troops For Afghanistan
(NSI News Source Info) DAVOS, Switzerland - January 30, 2009: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner ruled out on Jan. 29 increasing the number of French troops deployed in Afghanistan. Asked about a proposed build-up in U.S. troops in Afghanistan and likely pressure from Washington for contributions from other NATO members, he said there were no plans to increase the French contingent. "We have just increased the number of our soldiers. There is no prospect of sending more troops for the time being, and it has not been asked," he told a panel discussing the country here. France is the fourth-largest contributor to the international military force in Afghanistan with more than 2,600 troops deployed in the region, mainly around Kabul and in forward bases in the east of the country. Paris has also stationed six Mirage 2000 fighter jets outside the southern city of Kandahar to support U.S. and NATO-led troops on the ground.
India: "Sankalp Class" Indian Coast Guard Ship Patrolling Coastlines
(NSI News Source Info) January 29, 2009: January 29, 2009: The Indian Coast Guard has received the second of two Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel class ships.
The 2,200 ton ship was built in India and is 325 feet long and armed with a 30mm auto-cannon and several machine-guns. It can operate a small helicopter. Top speed is 43 kilometers an hour, and the ship can stay at sea for 20 days at a time. The crew of 126 is trained to operate the boat in patrol mode 24/7.This is the largest, indigenously-designed vessel to be built for the Coast Guard and will be used for patrolling & policing maritime zones, pollution control, external fire fighting and in search & rescue operations. India Defence Consultants reported on 26 June 2005, that Raytheon Marine partnered with Noris Automation GMBH of Germany has been awarded the order for supply of an Integrated Navigation & Machinery Control System by Goa Shipyard Limited. The system operates from a series of multi-function consoles, together with a fire detection system, a GMDSS radio system, as well as a redundant Ethernet network. The first vessel is due for delivery in 2007 and will be named Sankalp, meaning resolute determination. The hull structure will be built entirely of steel. Auxiliary systems aboard these vessels include an oily bilge water separator, a sewage & vacuum toilet system, a fresh water generating system and an active fin stabilizer. *The Indian Coast Guard were particularly proud for the seizure of the hijacked vessel and the apprehension of all the international hijackers of MV Alondra Rainbow as this was the first such recovery in the history of international maritime efforts against international high sea piracy.
There are two cranes for putting two fast (inflatable) boats in the water, so that ships can be boarded and inspected. The ship is of Indian design and construction.
India is developing a world class warship manufacturing capability, and is currently designing and building everything from patrol boats to aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines.
Greek Navy Half-Way Through “S” Frigate Modernization / Delivery of Frigate “LIMNOS” - Program of Mid Life Modernization of Six “S” Class Frigates
Greek Navy Half-Way Through “S” Frigate Modernization / Delivery of Frigate “LIMNOS” - Program of Mid Life Modernization of Six “S” Class Frigates
(NSI News Source Info) SKARAMANGAS, Greece - January 29, 2009: On Wednesday January 28th, 2009, the “S” Class Frigate “LIMNOS” was delivered to the Hellenic Navy, during a ceremony that took place at the premises of Hellenic Shipyards S.A. in Skaramangas.
Rear Admiral I. Karaiskos H.N., Chief of Fleet, attended the ceremony. The ceremony also attended Mrs. Krinio Kanellopoulou, Member of the Parliament for the Constituency of Ileia and President of the Standing Committee on Defense and Foreign Affairs and Mr. Nerantzis Anastasios 3rd Vice President of the Parliament.Elli-class vessels are a group of frigates operated by the Hellenic Navy. The ships are of Dutch origin. The first two ships (the Elli and the Limnos), which had lengthened hangars and different armament were built specifically for the Hellenic Navy. The remaining ships are ex-Royal Netherlands Navy S-frigates of the Kortenaer-class transferred to the Hellenic Navy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Elli (F-450), for which the class is named, is itself named after two famous Greek cruisers, one of which was sunk during World War II. There is a midlife modernization programme for six of the ten Greek ships.The program is in progress at HSY and will be completed in 2009. The Kountouriotis (F-462) and the Adrias (F-459) have been modernized. The other four ships are the Navarinon (F-461), the Limnos (F-451), the Elli (F-450), and the Aegaeon (F-460).
The Frigate “LIMNOS” is the fourth of the six “S” Class frigates to be modernized for the Hellenic Navy. HS “LIMNOS”, underwent extensive and demanding sea trials following her modernization, having had all her systems successfully tested and is now ready to join again the Hellenic Navy.
The Hellenic Ministry of Defense awarded the “S” class Frigates contract to Hellenic Shipyards in 2003 and the foreseen end of this program is October 2009. The first frigate “KOUNTOURIOTIS” was delivered to the Hellenic Navy in September 2006.
The modernization scope of work is mainly the renewal of most of the sensors and weapon systems, the installation of a new tactical combat system, the modernization of the communication and navigation systems, the replacement of the propulsion, monitoring and control system (IPMS) and some other platform modernization works. These developments render the vessels particularly effective in meeting the specific operational needs of the Hellenic Navy and represent a significant and important step in the process of modernization that the Hellenic Navy is carrying out.
Two more frigates are being currently modernized at the premises of Hellenic Shipyards S.A., Frigate “ELLI” and Frigate “AEGEON”. Frigate “ELLI” is planned to be delivered to the Hellenic Navy within spring 2009.
With regard to the frigate delivery, Mr. Ioannis Manolemis, Member of the BoD, Naval Sales Director and Director of Naval Projects Management of Hellenic Shipyards S.A. stated: “Frigate Limnos along with all the other vessels that have been delivered to Hellenic Navy, consists an eloquent example of the excellent work that is performed by the experienced personnel of Hellenic Shipyards S.A. We are proud of the projects that we have completed as well as for the projects that are carried out by our company.”
Raytheon Chosen To Help Provide US DoD Biometrics Ops And Support Services
(NSI News Source Info) January 29, 2009:The U.S. Army Biometrics Task Force has selected Raytheon Company to provide biometric-related services and support to enhance the ability of the Department of Defense infrastructure, architecture and standard for biometric defense capabilities. The Biometrics Operations and Support Services - Unrestricted (BOSS-U) award is an indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity contract for five years, with a three-year base period and two one-year option periods. The maximum cumulative dollar ceiling value of all contracts in this multiple award procurement is $497 million. "As a proven worldwide leader in biometrics, Raytheon has delivered cutting-edge technology that has significantly enhanced our customers' capabilities," said Guy Swope, chief biometrics architect for Raytheon's Intelligence and Information Systems. "We have a solid combination of program experience, research and development ability and technical talent to provide mission-critical biometrics solutions." Based in Garland, Texas, Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems is a leading provider of information and intelligence solutions to the government. IIS had annual revenues in 2007 of approximately $2.7 billion and employs more than 9,000 engineering and technical professionals worldwide.
Israeli Warplane Bombs Gaza Border
(NSI News Source Info) January 29, 2009: An Israeli warplane on Thursday bombed an area of the Gaza Strip border known to contain smuggling tunnels to Egypt after Palestinian militants fired a missile, the Israeli military said.
"An aerial attack took place against a site used to manufacture weapons in an area of the city of Rafah following the firing of a rocket into southern Israel in the evening," an Israeli army spokesperson told AFP.
Witnesses said the attack took place in eastern Rafah, an area known to contain smuggling tunnels, and that no one was injured.A Palestinian child leads his horse as they pass destroyed homes in the area of east Jebaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip, that was devastated in the last Israeli military offensive, Wednesday Jan. 28, 2009. U.S. President Barack Obama's new Mideast envoy George Mitchell sought Wednesday to strengthen a 10-day-old Gaza cease-fire that was thrown into turmoil, as Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza smuggling tunnels in retaliation for a Palestinian bombing on Tuesday that killed a soldier.
Earlier the Israeli military said the missile was fired from the Gaza Strip towards the town of Ofakim, which fell in an unpopulated area.
The rocket attack was claimed by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of moderate Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction.
Later the Israeli military said that early on Thursday a second missile was fired into southern Israel, but caused no damage or injuries.
It was the second launch of a missile since the end of the Gaza war, which Israel launched following repeated rocket attacks by Palestinian militants.
On Wednesday, the ruling Islamist movement Hamas said it had fired several mortar rounds at Israeli troops making an incursion into the Gaza Strip.
The first major violation of the truce which ended Israel's 22-day onslaught against Hamas in the Gaza Strip took place on Tuesday, when Palestinian militants killed an Israeli soldier in a bomb blast near the border.
South Korea's DSRV II Achieves Record-Breaking Dive
(NSI News Source Info) January 29, 2009: The Republic of Korea Navy's (RoKN's) new deep submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV) achieved a depth of 507 m during sea acceptance tests - the deepest recorded dive in the navy's history - programme partner Lloyd's Register announced on 19 January. Built by UK-based James Fisher Defence, RoKS DSRV II is intended to lock onto the escape hatch of a disabled submarine and transfer up to 16 personnel under pressure into a decompression facility on board a mothership. On 8 December, the submersible mated with the Chang Bogo-class (Type 209/1200) submarine RoKS Na Daeyong at a depth of 150 m. The next day DSRV II achieved its record-breaking dive and completed an inclination test.
General Dynamics Wins $81M For Abrams Tank Upgrade
(NSI News Source Info) January 29, 2009: General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Jan. 21, 2009, a $80,741,022 firm fixed price contract for Award Program-Year Two (PY 2), Increment Two of the Abrams Multi-Year Contract for a quantity of 24 M1A2 Systems Enhancement Package Version Two (SEPv2) Upgrade Vehicles. The M1 Abrams entered U.S. service in 1980, replacing the 105 mm gun, full tracked M60 combat tank. It did, however, serve for over a decade alongside the improved M60A3, which had entered service in 1978. Three main versions of the M1 Abrams have been deployed, the M1, M1A1, and M1A2, incorporating improved armament, protection and electronics. These improvements, as well as periodic upgrades to older tanks have allowed this long-serving vehicle to remain in front-line service. It is the principal combat tank of the United States Army and Marine Corps, and the armies of Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and as of 2007, Australia. This action also provides for Increment One of PY 3 for a quantity of 6 M1A2 SEPv2 Upgrade Vehicles. Work will be performed at Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Jun. 30, 2012. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Tank & Automotive Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-G-0006).
EADS Defence & Security Delivers 5,000 T/R Modules For MEADS Radar
(NSI News Source Info) January 29, 2009: The joint US-Italian-German MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defense System) air defence programme gains momentum. As reported by EADS Defence & Security (DS) on Monday, its Defence Electronics business unit has delivered a first batch of 5,000 transmit / receive (T/R) modules and related electronics for the MEADS Multifunction Fire Control Radar (MFCR). EADS DS is thus the first European company to mass produce the core components for the new AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar technology on an industrial scale. The MEADS programme thereby obtains a global strategic lead in the deployment of AESA technology.
Within the framework of the MEADS design and development programme, Defence Electronics had been awarded a contract worth about € 120 million for the production of approx. 40,000 T/R modules and associated electronic components, so-called manifolds, which will make the MEADS fire control radar the most powerful radar of its type in the world. These modules are key elements in the new generation of radar systems which are based on AESA technology. AESA radar systems use electronic beam scanning, which is made possible by thousands of T/R modules. This concept offers completely new possibilities for deployment and will therefore be used for most of the future military radars in the world. EADS DS staff from Defence Electronics, Defence and Communications Systems and LFK are cooperating closely on this to ensure the success of the MEADS programme. LFK GmbH / MBDA Germany are responsible for the complete radar antenna.
“The high demands placed on the capabilities of the MEADS radar cannot be met without AESA technology,” declares Bernd Wenzler, CEO of Defence Electronics. “The joint efforts of the various EADS Defence & Security partners have advanced this development to a point where we can supply the participating countries with tens of thousands of deployable modules within a relatively short period.”
MEADS is a mobile air and missile defence system that will incorporate the hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE missile in a system that includes 360-degree surveillance and fire control sensors, netted-distributed battle management / communication centres and high-firepower launchers. The system will combine extensive flexibility with superior protection for forces deployed and critical infrastructures against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft.
MEADS’ open architecture will provide for 21st century air and missile defence system-of-system integration capabilities that allow operational mission-tailoring for homeland defence or defence of manoeuvre forces in various theatres countering air-breathing and tactical missile threats. MEADS is intended to provide significant operation and support cost savings.
In May 2005, MEADS International signed a definitized contract valued at $2 billion plus €1.4 billion for MEADS design and development. A multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, Florida, MEADS International’s participating companies are MBDA in Italy, LFK in Germany and Lockheed Martin in the United States. Together, these companies have focused an international engineering team in Orlando to develop systems and technologies for the MEADS programme, which is closely watched as a model for collaborative transatlantic development.
The MEADS programme is financed by the three partners in the NATO Medium Extended Air Defense System Management Organization (NAMEADSMO), which are the United States (58 percent), Germany (25 percent) and Italy (17 percent). The programme’s management agency NAMEADSMA is located in Huntsville, Alabama.
Defence Electronics is an integrated activity of EADS Defence & Security (DS). DS is a systems solutions provider for armed forces and civil security worldwide. Its portfolio ranges from sensors and secure networks through missiles to aircraft and UAVs as well as global security, service and support solutions. In 2007, DS – with around 22,000 employees – achieved revenues of € 5.5 billion. EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, EADS generated revenues of € 39.1 billion and employs a workforce of about 116,000.