(NSI News Source Info) PHOENIX, Arizona ― April 11, 2009: BAE Systems has received a $35.3 million award to produce and deliver 75,000 Outer Tactical Vests (OTVs) from the Defense Logistics Agency. Contract requirements will be carried out at BAE Systems facilities in Jefferson City and Grainger County, Tennessee. “BAE Systems’ Tennessee operations produce products like the OTV, as well as deliver the latest technology in Improved Outer Tactical Vests to our Armed Forces around the globe,” said Joe Coltman, vice president of Personnel Protection Systems for BAE Systems. Production for this contract includes the OTV carrier, ballistic inserts, yoke collar, throat protector and groin protector. The OTV, when combined with Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) plates, provides advanced protection against fragments from mines, grenades, mortar shells, artillery fire and rifle projectiles. “The new BAE Systems contract will maintain tactical vest production at its Jefferson City and Grainger County facilities and allow Tennessee’s strong work force to continue to help protect our soldiers,” said Congressman Zach Wamp. BAE Systems’ Personnel Protection Systems has manufactured more than 330,000 OTVs since the product’s inception in 2003. Over 155,000 Improved Outer Tactical Vests, an advanced version of the OTV fielded to the U.S. Army, have been manufactured by BAE Systems to date. Deliveries for the OTV are scheduled for completion within 2009. BAE Systems employs nearly 700 employees at its soft armor facilities, part of BAE Systems’ Security & Survivability Systems line of business, a technology leader in protective, survivability and security products. About BAE Systems BAE Systems is the premier global defense, security and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. With approximately 105,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £18.5 billion (U.S. $34.4 billion) in 2008.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
BAE Systems Receives $35.3 Million Award For Outer Tactical Vest From Defense Logistics Agency
US Soldiers Patrol Mosul
(NSI News Source Info) April 11, 2009: US soldiers patrol Mosul. Five US troops were killed on Friday in the deadliest attack on American forces in Iraq for more than a year when a suicide truck bomber struck a police compound in the northern city of Mosul.
Five US soldiers are among those killed in a suicide truck bombing in Iraq's restive northern city of Mosul, a US army statement said. Five US soldiers are among those killed in a suicide truck bombing in Iraq's restive northern city of Mosul on Friday, a US army statement has said.
Bangladesh Wants To Try Pakistani Soldiers For 1971 War Crimes / Bangladesh Begins Process For Trial Of 1971 War Criminals On April 8!
Bangladesh Wants To Try Pakistani Soldiers For 1971 War Crimes / Bangladesh Begins Process For Trial Of 1971 War Criminals On April 8!
(NSI News Source Info) Dhaka, Bangladesh - April 11, 2009: Bangladesh wants to try Pakistani military personnel for war crimes during the 1971 freedom movement. The process for holding the war crime trials formally began Wednesday. Dhaka has got the assistance of four UN experts and is moving as per a resolution passed by parliament in February. A high level probe body is expected to be named.The extent of casualties in East Pakistan is not known. R.J. Rummel cites estimates ranging from one to three million people killed. Other estimates place the death toll lower, at 300,000. On the brink of defeat around December 14, the Pakistani Army, and its local collaborators, systematically killed a large number of Bengali doctors, teachers and intellectuals, part of a pogrom against the Hindu minorities who constituted the majority of urban educated intellectuals. Young men, especially students, who were seen as possible rebels were also targeted.
The cost of the war for Pakistan in monetary and human resources was high. In the book Can Pakistan Survive? Pakistan based author Tariq Ali writes, "Pakistan lost half its navy, a quarter of its airforce and a third of its army." India took approximately 90,000 prisoners of war, including Pakistani soldiers and their East Pakistani civilian supporters. 79,676 prisoners were uniformed personnel, of which 55,692 were Army, 16,354 Paramilitary, 5,296 Police, 1000 Navy and 800 PAF. The remaining prisoners were civilians - either family members of the military personnel or collaborators (razakars). 'We will take the matter to the International Criminal Court and seek the trial of the members of the Pakistani occupation forces who committed crimes against humanity,' State Minister for Liberation War Affairs A.B. Tajul Islam told New Age newspaper Tuesday. A Pakistan stamp depicting the 90,000 PoWs in Indian camps. This stamp was issued with the political aim of raising global awareness of the POW issue to help secure their release. The POWs were released by India after the Simla Agreement. The perpetrators of the atrocities belonging to the Pakistani forces are not in Bangladesh now so the country needs to seek international assistance to bring them to justice, the minister said. 'We will request the world body now to bring them to justice as many of them are beyond any doubt guilty of crimes against humanity,' said the minister who is himself a war veteran. Those who collaborated with the Pakistan government during the freedom struggle are also referred to as 'war criminals' in Bangladesh. Bangladesh's liberation was facilitated by neighbouring India and the forces fought under the Indo-Bangladesh Joint Command. More than 80,000 officers and soldiers of the Pakistani army, the paramilitary and police forces and 13,000 civilians were repatriated from Bangladesh after their surrender to the joint command led by the Indian Army. The process for their prosecution was never initiated. As a gesture of goodwill, India unilaterally decided not to try the prisoners of war for war crimes and released them in accordance with the July 3, 1972 Simla agreement between Pakistan and India. Bangladesh, however, was not a party to the agreement, the newspaper noted. The process of holding the trial has gained momentum after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her allies swept the polls held last December. The premier father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led the freedom struggle. Dhaka is approaching Pakistan which has conveyed through a special envoy of President Asif Ali Zardari that 'time is not ripe' for holding such a trial and that bilateral relations could be damaged. Dhaka has also decided to approach the US, whose Richard Nixon administration sided with Islamabad and opposed what it considered Pakistan's 'dismemberment'. According to historians, some three million people were killed during Bangladesh's freedom struggle against Pakistani forces in 1971.
Pakistani army rapes 200,000 innocent Bangladeshi women Around 200,000 women were raped and tens of thousands of homes were torched by the Pakistani army and its local collaborators. Some of the alleged local collaborators now head the Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh's largest Islamist party. They have been stopped from leaving the country pending the completion of the trial.
China Military Display Armor During ASEAN Defense Officers Visit
(NSI News Source Info) April 11, 2009: Soldiers from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) 6th Armored Division march at their military base located on the outskirts of Beijing, China during a visit by ASEAN military officers, Tuesday, March 31, 2009.
China is highlighting growing military links with Southeast Asia by showing delegates from the region's armed forces around a Beijing tank base.
Pakistan: Taliban Begin Enforcing Islamic Law In Bajaur
(NSI News Source Info) April 11, 2009: The Pakistani Taliban have begun enforcing Islamic law in the Bajaur tribal region even as scores of militants consolidated their hold on Buner district, located just 100 km from the federal capital. Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, the militant commander in Bajaur Agency and a deputy of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud, announced the decision to enforce Shariah in the region during a broadcast on his illegal FM radio station on Friday. Mohammad also barred women from stepping out of their homes without male relatives, banned shaving of beards and warned people against availing assistance from the Benazir Income Support Programme, a government project to provide financial aid to women. During a 40-minute speech on radio, Mohammad said he and his fighters would spare no effort to strictly implement Islamic laws in the region. The Taliban have formed an "action group" to ensure the enforcement of Shariah and to punish people who violate their edicts. Mohammad said that shaving of beards and men not wearing skull caps are "practices of Jews and their followers" which the Taliban would not allow in Bajaur. People who listened to his radio broadcast described Mohammad's tone as "aggressive". The militant commander also said people supporting the Benazir Income Support Programme and NGOs would be produced before Shariah courts. Pakistan's army soldiers patrol a road in Loisam town, in the Bajaur tribal region. Pakistani forces have turned the corner in the country's main front in its war against militancy with the capture of the strategically important village after heavy fighting, the commander of the operation said on Saturday. Meanwhile, scores of Taliban fighters from Swat who entered Buner district, located just 100 km from Islamabad, have begun consolidating their hold on the region and taking control of more areas, including the shrine of Sufi saint Pir Baba. Earlier, following peace talks with a tribal jirga, the militants had announced that they would pull out of Buner. The security forces offered no resistance as the militants took over more areas, the Dawn newspaper reported. "They have taken control of vast areas in Buner. They are freely moving around while police and other law enforcement personnel remain confined to their posts," said a man who lives near the shrine of Pir Baba. He said the militants had earlier announced that they would leave after holding a march in the area. Local residents said the militants had occupied the homes of influential people organising an anti-Taliban lashkar or militia and were patrolling the road leading to Daggar, the headquarters of Buner district. Militants set on fire TV sets, pictures and paintings and audio and video cassettes before Friday prayers. They locked the shrine of Pir Baba and stopped followers of the saint from visiting the site. The militants also delivered sermons in village mosques. A Pakistan's army soldier walks past damaged houses in Loisam town in the Bajaur tribal region. Pakistani forces have turned the corner in the country's main front in its war against militancy with the capture of a strategically important village after heavy fighting, the commander of the operation said on Saturday. "We have been asked by our seniors not to interfere with the Taliban," an officer of the Pir Baba police station told Dawn. He said the Taliban had advanced weapons, some of which he had "never seen before". The officer said the militants had not harmed anyone so far. "Their prime targets have already fled," he added. A militant spokesman announced that people who had fled the area should return to their homes. He warned that those who had taken up arms against the Tailban would not be spared. Local residents said the militants met hundreds of local people, especially youths, who remained with them the whole day. The Taliban were also seen patrolling several parts of Buner in vehicles they had captured. People flee from the troubled Bajaur region in Pakistan. About 100,000 Pakistani villagers have fled clashes between security forces and militants in the northwestern region raising the danger of a big humanitarian problem, a government official said on Friday. Security forces and militants have been fighting in the Bajaur region on the Afghan border, a known sanctuary for al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, since the militants attacked a security post last week. An official at the commissioner's office at Saidu Sharif in Swat had said on Thursday that the Taliban had agreed to leave Buner after talks with a peace mission of tribal elders. However, sources privy to the talks between the militants, administration officials and a local jirga said no agreement had been reached. :
Russia-China Military Technical Deals Worth $16 Billion Since 2001
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - April 11, 2009: Russian-Chinese military-technical cooperation totals $16 billion since 2001, but the Chinese share of Russian arms exports is decreasing, the head of Russia's arms export monopoly has said. "In the past 15 years, China has been one of our major customers, buying up to $2.7 billion-worth of Russian-made weaponry. The value of Russian-Chinese military-technical cooperation since 2001 totals $16 billion," Rosoboronexport's general director Anatoly Isaikin said in an interview published on Friday with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government daily. Russia has sold China Su-27 and Su-30 fighters, Kilo class diesel submarines, and air-defense systems, among other types of weapons and equipment. However, the official said the Chinese share of Russian arms exports decreased to 18% last year, and could drop to 10-15% in the future for a number of reasons, including Russia's expansion into other arms markets. He said Russia was unfazed by the prospect, because the sales volumes remained relatively high. "After all, sales volumes [to China] are still high, averaging $1 billion a year," Isaikin said, adding that Russia's first arms deal of this year was signed with China for the delivery of more than 100 jet engines for the Chinese J-10 fighter. Military analysts believe, however, that Russian-Chinese military cooperation has been overshadowed by Russia's concerns that China may use Russian technology to produce their own copycat versions of military equipment. For instance, Russia has refused to sell its Su-33 carrier-based fighters to China over fears that Beijing could produce cheaper export versions of the aircraft. Russian Defense Ministry sources earlier confirmed that the refusal was due to findings that China had produced its own copycat version of the Su-27SK fighter jet in violation of intellectual property agreements. Solovtsov said both countries were making efforts to resolve existing problems. "We signed an agreement in December last year on the protection of intellectual property in the sphere of military-technical cooperation," the general said, adding that mechanisms to implement the provisions of the document would be developed in the near future. He also said that China would continue to buy military transport aircraft and aircraft engines from Russia, and was also interested in air-defense systems and naval equipment.
Russia To Offer Loans, Debt Write-Offs To Boost Arms Exports
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - April 11, 2009: Russia is planning to offer foreign customers loans and debt write-offs to encourage the purchase of its weaponry amid the global economic crisis, the head of a state-controlled arms exporter has said. "We are offering flexible prices and different forms of financing...including debt write-offs and loans," Rosoboronexport's general director Anatoly Isaikin said in an interview published on Friday with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government daily. Russia exports weapons to about 80 countries. Although China and India remain key buyers of Russian-made weaponry, Moscow has been actively expanding its presence on arms markets in Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Rosoboronexport sold about $8 billion worth of weaponry in 2008 and has a current portfolio of orders worth a total of $27 billion. The most popular types of weaponry bought from Russia are Sukhoi and MiG fighters, helicopters, battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles. Russia also maintains traditionally strong positions in sales of small arms, and anti-tank and air-defense missile systems. "Exports of military aircraft occupy first place with a 56% share [of sales]. They are followed by air defense systems with 17%, weaponry for Ground Forces - 15%, and naval equipment - 9%," Isaikin said. Due to fierce competition on global markets, Russia is also shifting focus in its arms deals to post-sales servicing, modernization, repairs and even decommissioning of military equipment, the official said.
Pakistan: Taliban Destroy Six NATO Oil Tankers In Peshawar
(NSI News Source Info) April 11, 2009: More than six oil tankers, used for supplying fuel to NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan, were reportedly destroyed Friday by suspected Taliban militants in Chamkani region of Pakistan's main northwest city of Peshawar, reports say. A man looks at wreckage of NATO oil tankers allegedly recently attacked by militants near Peshawar, Pakistan on Friday, April 10, 2009. Several NATO parking lots transporting supplies into Afghanistan have came under attack on a number of occasions. The militants blasted one of the 35 tankers--loaded with diesel, petrol and aviation fuel--parked overnight at the Chamkani area by placing an explosive device underneath, an unidentified police official said. The blast triggered a massive blaze, which engulfed six tankers, he said, adding that the blaze was only brought under control by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) vehicles after local firefighters failed to control the blaze. Special chemicals were used to extinguish the raging flames, a security official said. The oil tankers, contracted to supply NATO forces, had been parked in an unauthorized area, the official said. Militants have carried out a series of attacks in recent times against supplies for U.S. and NATO-led foreign forces fighting a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan. The bulk of supplies and equipment required by the foreign troops across the border are shipped through northwest Pakistan's tribal region of Khyber. A Pakistani firefighter tries to extinguish burning oil supply tankers after a late night blast on the outskirts of Peshawar April 10, 2009. Militants blew up five oil-tankers, supplying fuel to Western forces fighting Taliban and al Qaeda insurgents in neighbouring Afghanistan, police and witnesses said. U.S. officials say northwest Pakistan has become a safe haven for Al-Qaida and Taliban militants after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and have regrouped to launch attacks on foreign troops across the border.
China Takes Giant Step With New Super Rocket By ANDREI CHANG and JEFF CHEN Published: April 10, 2009 (NSI News Source Info) HONG KONG - April 11, 2009: China has created a new, powerful carrier rocket with military capabilities that can launch multiple satellites into space. The rocket supports China's strategy of marketing satellites, communications technologies and launch services overseas, especially to oil-producing countries. Long March 5 (LM-5, CZ-5, or Changzheng 5) is a Chinese next-generation heavy lift launch system that is currently under development by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). Currently, six CZ-5 vehicle configurations are planned for different missions, with a maximum payload capacity of 25,000 kg to LEO and 14,000 kg to GTO. The CZ-5 rocket is due to be first launched in 2014 from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan island. The Chief Designer for the CZ-5 rocket was Long Lehao. The main objective for the CZ-5 rocket was to fulfill China's requirement for large payload to LEO and GTO missions for the next 20–30 years. The CZ-5 project was initially announced in February 2001, with initial development slated to begin in 2002 and the first versions of the vehicle to go into service by 2008. However, funding was only finally granted in 2007 as revealed by the developers during the Northeast China exhibition. On October 30, 2007, construction for the CZ-5 production plant began near the Binhai New Area in Tianjin city. Building a completely new production facility that is close to the harbor will solve logistical problems associated with over-land transport of the large-sized rocket to launching centers. Instead, the rockets will be transported by sea from Tianjin to a new launch facility at Wenchang on Hainan Island. The new production facility would have an area totaling more than half a million square meters at the cost of RMB 4500 million (USD 650 million), with the first stage of the construction scheduled to be completed by 2009. The maiden launch of the CZ-5 rocket is not expected until 2014 because the launch facility will not be completed until 2012. When the production facility is completed in 2012, it would be capable of a maximum output of thirty CZ-5s annually. As of July 2008, development of the 1,200 kN thrust LOX/kerosene engines has already been completed. At the most recent Zhuhai Air Show, China introduced a high-capacity LM-5D carrier rocket with a diameter of 5 meters at the core section, bundled with one 2.25-meter-diameter booster and two 3.35-meter-diameter boosters. The carrier rocket has a length of 60 meters, a takeoff weight of 675,000 kilograms and the capacity to send targets of 10,000 kilograms into geostationary transfer orbit. The initial flight of the rocket is expected no later than 2014. This type of carrier rocket deserves attention, as its advanced upper stage can be integrated with a CZ-5 carrier rocket to directly blast designated equipment to medium Earth orbit and geostationary Earth orbit, or even lunar orbit. The rocket is capable of deploying multiple satellites and has outstanding capability for orbit maneuvering and orbit transfer. It can function in orbit for seven to 10 days. This advanced-upper-stage rocket is of critical importance for the People's Liberation Army in its research of orbit transfers and orbital killer satellites. The advanced upper stage of the rocket has a diameter of 3.8 meters, and the thrust power of the engine is 35 kilonewtons. The CZ-5 is likely to be deployed on Hainan Island, where conditions are favorable for the launch of satellites into geosynchronous or geostationary orbits. Most of the United States' ballistic missile early-warning satellites and communications satellites are deployed in this orbit range. The CZ-5 is capable of sending a 25-ton-class satellite into low Earth orbit and a 12-ton-class satellite into geosynchronous orbit. By the time the rocket is ready for launch, the quality of China's image-reconnaissance satellite will have improved greatly. At a weight of around 14 tons, it will be on par with the technological standard of the KH-12 image-reconnaissance satellite of the U.S. military. In recent years, China's export of space technology, including satellites and satellite-launching services, has been closely tied to its attempts to acquire natural resources globally. The LM-5D will put China in a more favorable position, capable of competing with the United States and Russia. China's sales of space technologies overseas have so far focused on its traditional allies, such as Pakistan, and oil-rich countries like Venezuela and Nigeria. On Oct. 17, China signed a contract with Pakistan to provide a PakSat-1 communications satellite and launching service. This is China's third such foreign contract. It produced a communications satellite for Nigeria and launched it in May 2007, and it did the same for Venezuela with a successful launch in October 2008.
$83.4 Billion For 2009: The Last Supplemental? / $83.4 Billion Sought For Anti-Terrorist Efforts / Obama Requests $83.4 Billion For Wars
$83.4 Billion For 2009: The Last Supplemental? / $83.4 Billion Sought For Anti-Terrorist Efforts / Obama Requests $83.4 Billion For Wars
(NSI News Source Info) April 11, 2009: Vowing that it will be the last wartime supplemental, U.S. President Barack Obama sent Congress an $83.4 billion bill April 9 to cover the costs of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan for the second half of 2009. Money for four more F-22 stealth fighters is included in the request, but these are expected to be the last purchased by the U.S. In a speech Monday, Gates outlined his plans for the 2010 budget. Understandably, the headline item was his decision to buy only four more F-22 fighters. Designed to counter a Soviet plane that never got built, it flies high and fast, but is useless down low. Gates told Congress last year it hadn't flown a single combat mission in Afghanistan or Iraq. Most of the sum - $75.5 billion of it - is for the U.S. military. The rest is for other agencies, including the departments of State, Energy, Interior, Agriculture and Justice. Defense Secretary Robert Gates predicted easy passage by Congress. "I believe that there is very broad bipartisan support in the Congress for the decisions the president has made with respect to both Iraq and Afghanistan," Gates said during a press conference. Congress voted in 2008 to spend $65.9 billion on wars during the first half of 2009. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Obama asked for quick passage of the bill and for lawmakers to "keep extraneous and unnecessary projects out of this legislation." Obama said that war funding after this will be included in the regular defense budget. The annual defense budget receives much more scrutiny on its way through Congress than wartime supplementals have. "After seven years of war, the American people deserve an honest accounting of the cost of our involvement in our ongoing military operations," Obama said. The biggest chunk of the supplemental is $38 billion to cover the cost of combat and stabilization operations. The bill provides $11.6 billion to repair or replace equipment that is worn or damaged in the two wars. Included in that is $2.4 billion to buy four more F-22 stealth fighters. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said April 6 he wants those to be the last four. He wants to end production after that. In addition to the stealth fighters, the $2.4 billion is to buy additional missile-firing Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles and various upgrades for F-16s, C-130s, C-17s and C-5s. The Army would receive $8.1 billion to buy equipment, including $1.7 billion for combat vehicles such as Strykers and upgrades to Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M1 tanks. Other Army equipment to be funded ranges from communications gear to UAVs, night-vision systems, mine-clearing vehicles, chemical and biological weapon sensors, and soldier protection equipment. The bill includes $1.5 billion for continuing to develop defenses against improvised explosive devices. A separate provision in the bill would make $2.7 billion available for buying mine resistant ambush protected vehicles. The Air Force would receive $1.8 billion to buy security and tactical vehicles, communications equipment, and various combat support items. The Marine Corps would be allocated $1.6 billion for weapons and equipment, including armor for Humvees, upgrades to light assault vehicles, bomb disposal gear, and other arms and equipment. There is $601 million for the Navy to buy MH-60 and UH-1Y helicopters and to upgrade F/A-18 fighters and CH-46 and CH-53 helicopters. Classified activities would receive $3.1 billion. The bill would provide $3.7 billion for foreign assistance and operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. In his letter to Pelosi, Obama said such funding "reflects the reality of our day and age. We need to use all the elements of our power, economic and diplomatic as well as military, to confront threats to our security." This is the 18th supplemental sought for funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The total allocated so far is $822 billion. In his letter to Pelosi, Obama said, "After years of budget gimmicks and wasteful spending, it is time to end the era of irresponsibility in Washington." Past supplementals have been controversial because members of Congress have added spending to them that is not directly related to the two wars. V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters have been funded through supplementals, even though V-22s were not used in the wars until recently and the F-35 is still far from operational. In 2007, lawmakers added Iraq withdrawal timetables to a supplemental bill, prompting President George W. Bush to veto it.
Pakistan Displays Defiance In Washington
*Pakistan: U.S. New Conditions Incorporated Into Pakistan Aid Bill....DTN Defense-Technology News April 10, 2009
*U.S. Envoy To Afghanistan And Pakistan Richard Holbrooke's Trip Exposes Standoff Between U.S., Pakistan....DTN Defense-Technology News April 9, 2009
*Pakistan's ISI Has Contacts With Extremists: US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates....DTN Defense-Technology News April 7, 2009
*Analysis: Pakistan is still in denial and living in a delusional world, it has to make up it's mind to fully control and administrate FATA tribal area and not to hand it over to Islamic extremist pro-Taliban group., otherwise there is no solution to ending Afghan conflict. (DTN Defense-Technology News)
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - April 11, 2009: Pakistan’s new found defiance against the United States was on full display in Washington on Thursday evening when Ambassador Husain Haqqani urged Americans not to attach ‘intrusive’ conditions to the aid they offer. ‘Once again there’s talk of fixing Afghanistan and Pakistan. ‘Once again there’s talk of fixing Afghanistan and Pakistan. Please do not fix us,’ said the ambassador in a joint appearance with his Afghan counterpart at a Washington think-tank, the Atlantic Council.
Please do not fix us,’ said the ambassador in a joint appearance with his Afghan counterpart at a Washington think-tank, the Atlantic Council. ‘The world is not a problem for America to fix. The world is a place for the Americans to understand.’
He also defended the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), an institution seen by civilian quarters in Islamabad as too intrusive and too politicized.
‘It is important that the institutions that are to be partners in this (anti-terrorism) effort do not start feeling under attack, whether it is ISI or the Pakistani military,’ he said.
‘Mistakes have been committed on all sides. But this lack of trust will be addressed by talking to us, not by beating down on us.’
Mr Haqqani said that the Pakistanis these days were very concerned about an ‘unbridled indictment’ of their security services, giving no credit to Pakistan for the efforts that have been made.
‘We lost a lot of people along the border with Afghanistan. We have become a major victim of terrorism. More Pakistanis have died as a result of terrorist incidents in the last two years than in any other country.’
Diplomatic observers noted that Pakistan’s new defiant posture is not an instant flare up of sentiments on the part of the Pakistani leaders.
The change of mood followed a collective decision of the government and the security establishment to adopt a tough posture.
No blank cheques When President Barack Obama announced his new strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan late last month, telling Islamabad not to expect blank cheques from Washington, Ambassador Haqqani welcomed it as a step in the right direction.
He said Washington had consulted closely with Islamabad on formulating the policy and it was not formed in the clouds.
But on Thursday, he appeared offended with President Obama’s reprimand that the US will no more write blank cheques. ‘We will not accept a blank cheque, nor would we write any,’ said the Pakistani envoy.
Aid package Mr Haqqani, who until Thursday was all praise for a $7.5 billion aid package, trumpeting its introduction in the US Congress last week as a show of support for democracy in Pakistan, appeared much less enthusiastic while talking about the same package at the seminar.
Referring to the US government’s decision to dole out hundreds of billions of dollars to mismanaged corporations and risk-taking Wall Street brokers, the ambassador said Washington should re-think its priorities.
‘A company at the verge of failure is quite clearly able to get a bigger bailout than a nation that has been accused of failure,’ Mr Haqqani said. ‘That's something that in this town needs a review.’ He said investments in Pakistan's schools and infrastructure to help battle Al Qaeda and home-grown terrorists would be worth the money. Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the US is re-focusing efforts to fight the resurging Taliban and terrorism, deserve more than ‘some failed insurance company or some car company whose achievement is that they couldn't make cars that they could sell,’ he said.
Mr Haqqani said Pakistan will ask for its own ‘Marshall Plan’ — up to $30 billion in aid from its allies at the ‘Friends of Pakistan’ meeting in Tokyo on April 17.
Restrictions on Pakistan The Pakistani ambassador was also unhappy with the metrics and conditions attached to the aid to Pakistan, saying that they were too ‘intrusive.’
He urged Congress to revisit the bill and remove some of the recommended restrictions. Pakistan, he said, the importance of using the money accountably and effectively.
‘But there is a difference between accountability and intrusiveness. And that is something that needs to be understood,’ he said.
Regional contact group The ambassador also opposed President Obama’s suggestion to form a regional contact group for fighting extremists in the Pak-Afghan region, saying that such groups had been formed in the past as well but they did not succeed.
‘It is much better for us to be able to engage bilaterally with various regional powers instead of trying to create a new institutional mechanism which could run into some kind of logjam because there will be too many people, too many ideas.’
He explained that one of the reasons behind the many problems in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan since 1979 is that too many external actors have been involved. ‘Al Qaeda is an external actor.
Al Qaeda is not something that is indigenous to Pakistan and Afghanistan. These are people who came from outside, with an outside idea.’
The ambassador said that Pakistan was not happy with the drone attacks because they did not show sufficient regard for Pakistan’s national sovereignty. ‘It will be easier for Pakistanis to accept the American technology being used to take out terrorists if it is done in partnership with Pakistan.’
There’s also concern on collateral damage, he said, explaining that the loss of life angers the people and provides opportunity to al-Qaeda for waging its propaganda.
‘The point is working out a mechanism whereby our concerns about sovereignty and collateral damage are addressed. We consider the US as partner and we expect them to consider us as partners,’ he said.
The “BigDog” In The Afghanistan Fight - With Video
By Matt Sanchez
(NSI News Source Info) April 11, 2009: The U.S. military is calling out the “BigDogs” in addition to its big guns as it deploys more troops to fight terrorists in Afghanistan. The BigDogs — four-legged robots that can navigate the country’s treacherous terrain — and pilotless helicopters than can transport tons of supplies to very remote bases are just two of the new weapons being tested in Afghanistan. The war zone is increasingly becoming a development laboratory for machines that don’t eat, sleep, polish their boots or suffer casualties. But can they succeed where man struggles? It takes a moment for the senses even to comprehend BigDog, a four-legged robot that vaguely resembles a headless pack animal. The machine’s creator, Boston Dynamics, has a motto — “dedicated to the way things move” — and that’s precisely what is both jarring and fascinating about its invention. Using a gasoline engine that emits an eerie lawnmower buzz, BigDog has animal-inspired articulated legs that absorb shock and recycle kinetic energy from one step to the next. Its robot brain, a sophisticated computer, controls locomotion sensors that adapt rapidly to the environment. The entire control system regulates, steers and navigates ground contact. A laser gyroscope keeps BigDog on his metal paws — even when the robot slips, stumbles or is kicked over. Boston Dynamics says BigDog can run as fast as 4 miles per hour, walk slowly, lie down and climb slopes up to 35 degrees. BigDog’s heightened sense can also survey the surrounding terrain and become alert to potential danger. All told, the BigDog bears an uncanny resemblance to a living organic animal and not what it really is: A metal exo-skeleton moved by a hydraulic actuation system designed to carry over 300 pounds of equipment over ice, sand and rocky mountainsides. So much for the ground war. With IED attacks in Afghanistan increasing on land, air transportation has become a major focus for the military. Routine helicopter flights operating 24 hours a day, year round, are crucial for the American mission. The Marine Corps has recently called for unmanned cargo flights to carry essentials to isolated areas that can be reached only by air.
U.S. Army Expects FCS Replacement Plan In Weeks
(NSI News Source Info) April 11, 2009: Just days after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates killed the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems' (FCS) $87 billion Manned Ground Vehicles (MGV) program, service leaders said they would gin up a new modernization plan within weeks. The BAE Systems Land and Armaments XM1203 Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS Cannon) is a 155 mm cannon intended to provide improved responsiveness and lethality to the "Unit of Action" (UA) commander as part of the US Army's Future Combat Systems project. This mobile armored artillery piece provides networked, extended-range targeting, and precision attack of point and area targets in support of other combat units with a suite of munitions that include special purpose capabilities. The Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon provides sustained fire for close support and destructive fire for tactical standoff engagement. The NLOS Cannon uses technology from the canceled XM2001 Crusader. "The MGV is going back to the drawing board. In the next week to four weeks, we will go through a series of deliberations and analysis to see what the MGV program will grow into," an Army official said. The vehicles likely will still hook into the under-development FCS network but be built tough enough to withstand roadside bombs and explosively formed penetrators, the Army official said. In his April 6 press conference, Gates said the Army's 27-ton MGVs, designed to skirt combat rather than survive a hit, were not suited to the kind of action the land service was facing in Iraq and Afghanistan and would likely face in the future. Nor were the vehicles being procured via sufficient competition under the FCS program, which is run by Boeing and SAIC, he said. Gates underlined the need to buy new vehicles that could take a pounding. "I think we have an obligation to make sure that the Army in '10,'11,'12, gets on with a new modernization program," Gates said. "An Army vehicle modernization program designed to meet the needs of the full spectrum of conflict is essential." It's unclear how much of the work done on MGVs will be applicable to the Army's new effort. "There are things one could do theoretically to redesign," said Daniel Gouré, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a Virginia-based think tank. "The question is, how much do you do before it becomes a new vehicle or an MRAP [Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle]? The question that bothered observers was the dependence of the FCS system on the network and the question of what happens if something happens to the network. Typically, the Plan B has always been armor." For example, the Army may require new vehicles to have an armor bed with a V-shaped hull, like the one unveiled in June for the MGVs. The first variant of the eight MGVs was to be the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C), a hybrid-electric-powered 155mm howitzer that was to fire six GPS-guided artillery shells a minute and place four on one target at the same time. The NLOS-C would have fended off rocket-propelled grenades with an active protection system. A prototype NLOS-C was unveiled in June. Other vehicles were the Mounted Combat System, which fires 120mm tanks rounds; the Command and Control Vehicle; and the Infantry Carrier Vehicle. The MGVs shared 80 percent of their chassis. Also, Gates said he would allow development and production to continue on FCS spinout technologies, including small cave-clearing robots, sensors, guided missiles, UAVs and the first increment of the FCS network.
Unmanned Cargo Helicopter May Come To Afghanistan
(NSI News Source Info) April 11, 2009: The Marine Corps wants a purpose-built unmanned cargo helicopter to re-supply its troops at isolated bases in Afghanistan, possibly within the year, a top requirements officer said Wednesday.The future K-MAX Unmanned Multi-Mission Helicopter is a highly capable umanned aerial vehicle based on the K-MAX heavy-lift helicopter. The unmanned K-MAX helicopter delivers unprecedented potential for battlefield sustainment and increased tactical mobility due to its significant robotic vertical lift capability for cargo load bearing, sensor, and communications packages, plus future missions such as non-standard casualty evacuation and as a combat weapons platform. The cargo helo would carry between 500 pounds and 1,000 pounds worth of food, water, ammunition and other staples, protecting human pilots from anti-aircraft fire and ground convoys from roadside bombs, said Brig. Gen. Andrew O’Donnell, capabilities development director for Marine Corps Combat Development Command. “There’s lots of switchbacks, lots of danger on the roads of Afghanistan,” O’Donnell said. Having an unmanned cargo robot could take “hundreds, or even thousands” of Marines off the roads, he said, lessening the danger that they’ll encounter ambushes or roadside bomb attacks. O’Donnell spoke at a convention of the American Society of Naval Engineers outside Washington, D.C.; he told Marine Corps Times after his speech that several companies – and the Army — had expressed interest in the cargo helicopter. He said Marine Corps officials hoped they’d be able to field the helo in Afghanistan within the next two or three years, although he said it might be possible to have one as soon as a year from now. He also said it wouldn’t surprise him if Taliban fighters in Afghanistan began firing more surface-to-air missiles at U.S. helicopters as more troops arrive in the coming years, as Iraqi insurgents did before the U.S. “surge.” If that is the case, using unmanned re-supply helicopters would take human pilots out of danger, as well as the Marines and allied troops in convoys, O’Donnell said.
Slovenia Could Cancel Patria Contract: Report
(NSI News Source Info) LJUBLJANA - April 11, 2009: Slovenia's government is considering canceling a 278-million-euro ($364 million) contract with Finnish defense firm Patria due to delivery delays and other problems, a Slovenian daily reported April 9. "I strongly support the cancellation of the contract," Economy Minister Matej Lahovnik was quoted as saying by Delo newspaper's Internet edition. The idea was also backed by Karl Erjavec, the former defense minister who signed the contract and the current environment minister, Delo reported. Lahovnik said the government had already discussed "whether to simply cancel the contract based on the non-fulfillment of its commitments [by Patria]." Erjavec said the ruling four-party coalition leaders were holding "intense discussions on the possibility" of ending the deal, according to Delo. The previous center-right government signed an agreement with Patria in 2006 for 135 armored vehicles to be delivered between 2008 and 2013 - amounting to the biggest military contract ever signed by Slovenia. But deliveries were delayed after equipment problems arose during tests here last year. Patria has been asked to make changes before the Slovenian army carries out a new test in 2009. "If the Patria vehicles fail on the second quality test it could happen that the ministry will not accept any of the vehicles," Defence Ministrer Ljubica Jelusic told the parliamentary defense committee recently. Ordinary Slovenians have also criticized the Patria deal over the last few months in light of the economic crisis that has hit the tiny state of two-million. The government had already threatened to cancel the contract in 2008, after learning that the Finnish police had launched an investigation into bribery allegations related to the deal. A clause in the agreement allows the government to revoke it in case of bribery.