DTN News: Sri Lanka ~ Beijing’s Growing Foothold In The Indian Ocean*Sources: The Jamestown Foundation By Vijay Sakhuja
(NSI News Source Info) June 13, 2009: The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government have received praise and accolades from several quarters after their triumph last month over the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). The total annihilation of this separatist group brought an end to a civil war that has lasted over two decades. The long civil war resulted in the deaths of 80,000 to 100,000 people and over 300,000 displaced (Indian Express, May 30; Internal-displacement.org, June 4). The Sri Lankan victory over the LTTE was made possible by military support from a number of countries who supplied weapons and platforms, training, intelligence and guidance to the Sri Lankan armed forces. In addition to providing military support, contributing countries also urged Colombo to seek a political solution to the Tamil problem. Of particular interest is Chinese political and military support to Sri Lanka in its fight against the LTTE.
The Sri Lankan national government’s military success was celebrated with a victory parade on June 3 “to show off the military’s prowess” and also to instill confidence among the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim community in the government’s ability to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty and protect its people. The victory parade was a spectacular event with columns of military troops belonging to the Sri Lankan army, navy and the air force, police forces, civil defense personnel and the National Cadet Corps marching along the Galle Face Green, a seaside promenade in central Colombo. Also on display were Chinese-made armored vehicles and artillery guns, Czech-made multiple rocket launchers, and Indian-made mobile radars and anti-aircraft guns. Naval vessels and gunboats were stationed close by on the waterfront (U.S., Indian, Chinese origin) and airpower was displayed in the form of fighters (Ukranian MiG 27s, Chinese F-7 and Israeli Kfir C7) and helicopters (Russian MI-24 and U.S. Bell) (Wsws.org, June 5; Slsecurityforces.blogspot.com, June 5).
In fact, both Colombo and Beijing have been discussing Sri Lanka’s security problem since the early 1980s. As early as 1983, the Chinese government has conveyed to Colombo through Harry Jayawardene, the special envoy of President Junius Richard Jayewardene, that the ethnic problem was Sri Lanka’s own internal affair and it was important to seek a political solution. In 1986, Colombo sought assistance to ‘install defense manufacturing capacity for light arms and supply additional patrol boats,’ but was declined. Apparently the Chinese refused because of the thaw in Sino-Indian relations. In 1987, Ranil Wikramasinghe of the United National Party, who later became the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, visited China to marshal Chinese support but Beijing preferred a political solution to the ethnic problem.
President Jayawardene had sought extensive military support from China but Beijing only agreed to send a military team to assess the military requirements of the country in 1986 . President Jayawardene summed up China’s relationship with Sri Lanka by saying: “They were good friends and gave us military equipment, guns etc at reasonable terms. But what could they do? I could not ask them to start a war in the North to keep the Indian’s busy. Even if I had, I doubt if they would have done it?” obviously referring to India’s support to the Tamils in Sri Lanka .
China continued to provide political and more recently enormous military support to Sri Lanka in its war against the LTTE. Its initiatives to block attempts by certain countries to place the issue of ethnic war in Sri Lanka on the United Nations Security Council discussions, and its regular arms supply were critical for Sri Lanka particularly after its new offensive against the LTTE since 2007. This was a clear indicator of a newfound understanding between Colombo and Beijing.
The LTTE air raid over Colombo in 2007 that witnessed Zlin-143 bombers dropping bombs over the airport with impunity came as a big shock to the Sri Lankan government. The rise of LTTE airpower was indeed a turning point in the Sri Lankan military strategy. Also, the LTTE had been successful in thwarting Sri Lankan military attempts to capture territory in the North. These developments had prompted the Sri Lankan government to increase military spending by nearly 20 percent from $1.23 billion in 2007 to nearly $1.47 billion in 2008.
Meanwhile, China was quick to deny that it supplied heavy weapons to the Sri Lankan military. Reportedly, the Chinese ambassador Dabo Ye met the Tamil MP and rights activist Mano Ganeshan in March 2008 and conveyed to him that China’s actions should not be interpreted as ‘anti-Tamil’ and according to Ganesan, “The ambassador made it clear that China did not want to take sides in the ethnic conflict, and that it did not favor any particular political party or community in its dealings in Sri Lanka” (ThaiIndia News, March 20, 2008).
Although Beijing may have conveyed to Colombo its oft-stated position that Sri Lanka must seek a political solution to the ethnic problem, it did not waste the opportunity to sell military hardware to Sri Lanka after the Indian government declined to provide military equipment, citing concerns over the use of force against the Tamils. The Sri Lankan Army chief Sarath Fonseka has noted that “India had told us they were not in a position to sell or send offensive weapons or even equipment like radars and basic communication equipment to meet our requirements” (Indian Express, May 25). The United States also suspended military aid to Sri Lanka over human rights issues.
During Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to China in 2007 (February 26 to March 4), the joint communiqué had indirectly referred to the ethnic violence in Sri Lanka and noted that “The two sides resolved to fight tirelessly against the three evil forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and would step up consultation and coordination on regional and international counter-terrorism action.” In April 2007, China and Sri Lanka reached a $37.6 million deal for supply of artillery guns, armored personnel carriers (APCs) and infantry weapons. China also agreed to supply other systems to counter LTTE ambushes. Beijing also agreed to sell six F-7 jet fighters, considered critical to destroying the LTTE’s fledgling air force and also demolish other military infrastructure such as command posts, underground bunkers, ammunition storages, boatbuilding yards and above all the airstrips (Thaindian, May 2). Interestingly, Beijing encouraged Islamabad to meet Colombo’s military requirements and help fight the LTTE (Thaindian, May 2), it also encouraged Pakistan to train Sri Lankan pilots. Some Indian defence and military experts maintain that Chinese and Pakistani air force advisors were in Colombo for the last year helping the Sri Lankan military plan combat missions against the LTTE strongholds. China also supplied the Sri Lankan Army the HJ-8 anti-tank missiles that were used against the LTTE hardened structures and pill boxes (China-defense-mashup.com). The Sri Lankan army is also known to possess the Baktar Shikan, a variant of HJ-8 being manufactured under license in Pakistan. Following the LTTE air strikes, Sri Lanka had planned to upgrade its air defense capability. In 2007, it ordered JY-11 radar from China but the order was held in abeyance due to objections from India over air coverage that could overlap with Indian air space.
In Sri Lanka, Lanka Logistics & Technologies, a state-owned enterprise, is the primary agency responsible for the procurement of hardware for the military establishment. Interestingly, China established the Bonded Warehouse of China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), a renowned international conglomerate, in the port city of Galle as far back as 1994. As part of an agreement that is renewed every two years, the warehouse stores military equipment and ordnance for the Sri Lankan military and the supplies are made on payments; whatever is not available is sourced back to China and supplied. In a very interesting move, in 2004, NORINCO donated 1 million Renminbi to Sri Lanka’s Tsunami relief fund. Mr. Zhang Guoqing, President of NORINCO expressed his grief over the devastation caused by the Tsunami and hoped that they could actively participate in the rebuilding process (Norinco.com, December 31, 2004). Reportedly, Sri Lanka owes nearly $200 million for the military purchases from NORINCO and has not renewed its contract, instead opting for Poly Technologies, a PLA military enterprise. Poly Technologies has supplied a variety of military equipment including ordnance to the Sri Lankan forces. The Sri Lankan Army has purchased 120 mm mortar shells valued at $10.4 million, 152 mm artillery shells for $20 million, and 81 mm high-explosive mortar bombs for $3.7 million. Similarly, the Sri Lankan Navy has acquired ammunition and guns at $2.7 million including naval guns, heavy machine guns, multipurpose machine guns, and submachine guns. Interestingly, Chinese origin weapons including automatic rifles, anti-tank weapons and grenade launchers have been found in the inventory of the LTTE too (Express Buzz, May 29). These are believed to be sourced from Myanmar.
Besides military assistance, China increased its aid to Sri Lanka from a few million dollars in 2005 to about $1 billion in 2008 while the United States approved only $7.4 million and the U.K. £1.25 million in humanitarian aid. In fact, China has displaced Japan as the major aid donor to Sri Lanka (Timesonline, May 16).
China has not only backed Sri Lanka with military assistance and enormous economic aid, it has invested in development of infrastructure. In May 2007 China and Sri Lanka signed the "establishment of friendship city relationship" relating to the Hambantota district for development of infrastructure. Designated as the Hambantota Development Zone (HDZ), the project envisages building a harbour facility, bunkering facilities and a tank farm. The HDZ is estimated to cost $1 billion and would be completed in fifteen years. The first phase of construction commenced in October 2007 and is estimated to cost $450 million (Timesonline, May 16).
The HDZ is being developed in the form of dual use infrastructure similar to Gwadar in Pakistan and serves China in a number of strategic ways. First, because it is a deep water natural harbor it provides facilities for Chinese flagged merchant ships, container vessels, oil and gas tankers, and military vessels including nuclear submarines operating in the Indian Ocean or transiting through the western approaches of the Straits of Malacca. Second, China would be able to establish electronic systems and networks for monitoring Indian Ocean military and civilian traffic, electronic transmissions from the U.S. base at Diego Garcia and the Indian nuclear facility that is likely to come up at Rambilli in the Bay of Bengal. Third, Hambantota offers a strategic location for China to set up its space monitoring systems, considered critical for its ballistic missiles, which can challenge U.S. forces particularly the aircraft carriers who may threaten Chinese shipping in the Indian Ocean.
Fourth, the Chinese fleet of fishing vessels that are also deployed for intelligence gathering duties can be staged from Hambantota. In essence, Hambantota fits well into the Chinese ‘strings of pearls’ strategy and has the potential to provide Beijing the critical ‘leverage to play the Great Game in the Indian Ocean.’
After the military decimation of the LTTE, Sri Lanka is full of confidence and has the potential to exercise some amount of ‘strategic autonomy.’ It acknowledges the Chinese diplomatic and military support in its fight against the LTTE and could resist pressures from its big neighbour India and the West. China’s politico-economic initiatives and unrestrained supply of military equipment to Sri Lanka has made New Delhi nervous, finding itself robustly encircled by China. Sri Lanka will be under tremendous pressure from India and may find itself sandwiched between the two rising powers of Asia and cornered to ‘choose’ between the two powers.
DTN News: Mexico TODAY June 13, 2009 - Mexico Trying To Cleanse And Eliminate Corruption From Law Enforcement And Justice Sectors
*Source: DTN News
(NSI News Source Info) MEXICO CITY - June 13, 2009: A convoy led by the military is seen as it leaves the police academy during an operation to transfer detained policemen to prisons in the municipality of Garcia, northern Mexico June 12, 2009. Federal forces and state agents took part in the operation to transfer 65 out of 87 policemen detained in past weeks on suspicion of being involved in organised crime, according to local media.
DTN News: Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi Lectures Italians On Women's Rights
*Sourcs: AP By Ariel David
(NSI News Source Info) ROME - June 13, 2009: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi gave Italians a contradictory take on women's rights Friday, criticizing Islam's treatment of women but then suggesting it should be up to male relatives to decide if a woman can drive. Italian Equal Opportunities minister Mara Garfagna, left, looks on as Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi delivers his speech during a meeting with hundreds of prominent Italian women in a concert hall in Rome, Friday, June 12, 2009. Gadhafi, on his first visit to Italy, has met with the country's top officials and also faced angry protests over his human rights record and treatment of migrants during a speech at Rome's university.
The Libyan strongman drew cheers and jeers from hundreds of prominent Italian women at a Rome auditorium.
At times he appeared to strike out for women's rights, but also backed some of Islam's strictest tenets and criticized the history of women's emancipation in the West.
Gadhafi, a self-styled feminist on his first trip to Italy, arrived at the auditorium dressed in traditional robes and surrounded by his female bodyguards. After his speech, he reached out to the veil of a woman in his entourage and used it to wipe the sweat off his brow.
Addressing more than 700 prominent businesswomen and female politicians, Gadhafi received applause when he lamented that in some Arab and Islamic countries "a woman is like a piece of furniture, you can change it when you want."
He brought as an example the fact that in some Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive, but added that it's not up to governments to recognize that right.
"If anything, it's up to her husband, her brothers, or the father to give her permission," Gadhafi said, drawing loud boos from the audience.
At the end of the speech many women surrounded the Libyan leader asking for an autograph, but others were left puzzled. Italy's Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo told the ANSA news agency she found the speech "contradictory" though she appreciated some of the statements.
Gadhafi drew more jeers when he said women gained their freedom in the West only thanks to wars during which men went off to fight, forcing women to find work.
"We can say that the European woman became emancipated, but the reason is not development, or voluntary choice, but rather a constriction, a need," he said.
In a further embarrassment later Friday, the head of the lower chamber of Parliament canceled an event with Gadhafi because the leader was running more than two hours late.
Long delays have been a constant of Gadhafi's trip. The Libyan Embassy said in a statement that the latest snag was due to Gadhafi's participation in Friday prayers.
The four-day visit, which ends Saturday, has highlighted the strong political and economic ties between the two countries, capped by Italy's $5 billion compensation agreement signed last year to make amends for Rome's 1911-1941 colonial rule.
But it has also caused protests.
On Thursday Gadhafi dismayed some Italian lawmakers by calling for dialogue with terrorists and comparing the 1986 U.S. air strikes on Libya to Osama Bin Laden's terror attacks. He then made a contested appearance at Rome's main university, where protesting students clashed with police.
Many women's groups refused to attend Friday's event, echoing concern by human rights organizations against a recent deal that allows Italy to send immigrants immediately back to Libya if they are intercepted at sea.
Hundreds of female intellectuals, activists and others signed an open letter to Gadhafi titled "We don't want to meet you," denouncing mistreatment of migrants who travel through Libya or are sent back to the North African country.
Earlier Friday, Gadhafi held talks with Emma Marcegaglia, head of the powerful business lobby Confindustria on trade and possible new investments between two countries.
Marcegaglia told ANSA Gadhafi had agreed to create in Libya a "free zone" where foreign companies will benefit from tax breaks and other incentives.
DTN News: Microsoft Browser Offer Fails To Impress Europe
*Source: NY Times By Kevin J O'Brien
(NSI News Source Info) BERLIN - June 13, 2009: European regulators, wary of repeating an earlier mistake, signaled this week that Microsoft’s offer to sell a browserless Windows system on the Continent did not go far enough.
The decision has left some antitrust lawyers in Brussels scratching their heads.
“Microsoft is offering to sell Windows in Europe without their own browser — you would think this is what the commission wants,” said Alec Burnside, a competition lawyer at Linklaters in Brussels. “You would expect them to say ‘Thank you’ and close the case.”
Microsoft made an offer Thursday to sell Windows in Europe without their own browser, the latest move in a case that was initiated in December 2007 based on a complaint by Opera, a Norwegian browser maker.
But the commission, in a statement, dismissed the offer, saying the move would not further its goal of promoting browsers that compete with Internet Explorer.
Instead, Microsoft and European authorities appear on course for another legal collision over the software maker’s bundling of major applications into Windows, which, according to the research firm Gartner, runs more than 95 percent of computers in the world.
One reason for the quick rejection, according to competition lawyers in Brussels and a commission spokesman, is that the European Commission did not want to repeat a mistake of the first Microsoft case, when it ordered the software maker in 2004 to sell a version of Windows in Europe without its media player.
Microsoft responded by selling its so-called N version of Windows for the same price as its full version, and consumers rejected the stripped-down system. The remedy also did not significantly improve the lot of competing media players. Microsoft said it sold only a few thousand copies of the N version.
This time, the commission has indicated it may want Microsoft to distribute Windows with competing Web browsers preinstalled and then allow retailers and computer makers to decide from a “ballot screen” menu which browsers to install. About 95 percent of computer operating systems are sold preinstalled on new computers.
“Our focus in this case is that consumers should effectively have the chance to choose from an array of browsers,” a commission spokesman, Jonathan Todd, said. “The remedy with the ‘N’ version software didn’t work.”
In hindsight, Mr. Todd said the commission should have required Microsoft to sell only a Windows version in Europe without a media player and not allowed the parallel sale of the full version.
In Europe, Microsoft is offering to sell a browserless “E” version of Windows 7, its latest operating system version, which is scheduled to be introduced worldwide Oct. 22. “This means that computer manufacturers and users will be free to install Internet Explorer on Windows 7, or not, as they prefer,” wrote Dave Heiner, the Microsoft deputy general counsel who disclosed the offer, in the company’s blog.
Denis Walbroeck, a competition lawyer at Ashurst in Brussels, said the commission’s rejection indicated it was not looking to settle quickly with Microsoft.
“I am struggling to understand the commission’s behavior here,” Mr. Walbroeck said. “It appears this is headed to a big decision from the commission, a big fine and perhaps a lengthy appeal.”
Since the complaint was initially filed, many of Microsoft’s biggest commercial rivals — Sun Microsystems, Google, Nokia and others — have signed on to the case as legal adversaries.
Microsoft canceled the only hearing scheduled in the case, scheduled for early June, after complaining that many European antitrust officials who could attend the hearing as observers were unable to do so because of a competing conference in Switzerland.
The commission is under no timetable to release its ruling in the browser case, but in the past, it has publicized crucial decisions, fines and sanctions before leaving for its summer break in late July.
DTN News: North Korea Responds To UN Sanctions With Threats
*Sources: VOA News, Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
(NSI News Source Info) UNITED NATIONS, New York - June 13, 2009: North Korea threatened Saturday to take military action if the United States or its allies try to enforce a blockade imposed Friday by the United Nations Security Council.The United Nations Security Council unanimously votes to adopt a resolution that expands financial sanctions and the U.N. trade embargo on North Korea during a meeting of the Council at the U.N. headquarters in New York June 12, 2009. The sanctions resolution bans all weapons exports from North Korea and most arms imports into the communist state. It authorizes U.N. member states to inspect North Korean sea, air and land cargo, requiring them to seize and destroy any goods transported in violation of the sanctions.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency quotes its Foreign Ministry as saying it will begin a uranium enrichment program and weaponize all the plutonium in its possession. The ministry says it will not abandon its nuclear program, adding that it has already reprocessed a third of its used fuel rods.
The threats come a day after the U.N. Security Council expanded sanctions against North Korea in response to the country's nuclear weapon and missile tests last month.
The 15-member body voted unanimously Friday to approve a resolution condemning North Korea's tests.
In addition, news reports in Tokyo Saturday said Japan plans to announce, as early as Tuesday, sanctions that include a total ban on trade with North Korea.Under the increased sanctions, U.N. member states have the authority to inspect all cargo heading to or from North Korea and suspected of containing material related to the country's nuclear and missile programs. The resolution also bans weapons exports from the country and tightens financial restrictions.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the council vote, saying that the sanctions send a "clear and strong message" to North Korea.
In a statement issued Friday, Mr. Ban said the U.N. will spare no effort in facilitating the implementation of the resolution.U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, praised the new sanctions, calling them tough and saying the resolution is unprecedented.
She said it would not be a surprise if North Korea reacts with what she described as "further provocation."Both China and Russia, Pyongyang's allies, backed the measure.
The U.S. envoy on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, has said there is hope for a diplomatic solution with the communist state, but also cautioned that Washington is looking at additional measures against North Korea if it does not reverse its course.
North Korea claims that its recent action is a response to hostile U.S. policies. But Bosworth says the United States has no intention of invading North Korea or using force to change its government.
North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test on May 25. The blast was the largest explosion the country has ever carried out, and was followed by missile test launches.
DTN News: Iranian Officials ~ Ahmadinejad Heading For Landslide Victory
*Source: VOA News
(NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN - June 13, 2009: Iran's Interior Ministry said Saturday hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was heading for a landslide victory in the country's presidential election, but his main moderate challenger alleged irregularities and claimed victory for himself.
Supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad celebrate in Tehran after preliminary results showed him leading early June 13, 2009. State media declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner of Iran's election but challenger Mirhossein Mousavi alleged irregularities and claimed victory for himself.
Results show that with nearly 80% of Friday's votes counted, Mr. Ahmadinejad has won 65% to about 32% for reformist rival Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former Iranian prime minister. Final results were expected sometime Saturday.
Iran's state news agency has declared Mr. Ahmadinejad the winner, but Mr. Mousavi also claimed victory late Friday at a news conference in Tehran. He did not give details to support his claim but said there were problems with the voting due to a shortage of ballots in some areas.
The initial results surprised many analysts who predicted a tight race between the incumbent president and Mr. Mousavi, with voters turning out to the polls in massive numbers Friday.
Hossein Mousavi shows ink on his finger as proof of casting his vote in the Iranian presidential electionOfficials extended voting hours to accommodate long lines at polling stations.
Election commission chief Kamran Daneshjou said turnout was "unprecedented." Officials predicted a turnout of 70% or more of Iran's 46 million eligible voters.
Reformist cleric Mehdi Karroubi and conservative former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezaei also competed in the poll, in which Iran's economy, nuclear program and foreign relations were said to play a key role.
Mr. Ahmadinejad's rivals have accused him of badly mismanaging the economy and tarnishing Iran's image, further isolating the country from the West.
DTN News: NH-90 Helicopter Still Too Heavy For Dutch Frigates*Source: ANP Dutch Press Agency
(NSI News Source Info) THE HAGUE - June 13, 2009: State Secretary of Defence Jack de Vries on Wednesday had “bad news” for the House of Commons, he said. The NH-90 helicopter ordered by the Ministry of Defence is still heavier than planned. The NH90 program is handled by NH Industries while production shares of the 3 Partner Companies involved are 32.00% for AgustaWestland – Italy, 62.50% for Eurocopter – France and Germany, and 5.50% for Fokker Aerospace - The Netherlands. The NH90 was intended to being developed in two variants: the Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) and the NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH), the program had some technical and funds problems at the end of the 90s, but a large production order was launched on July 2000 by the partner countries.The main serial production NH90 are born from 3 assembly lines of the NHIndustries Partner Companies community: Cascina Costa in Italy for AgustaWestland, Marignane in France and Donauwörth in Germany for Eurocopter although the Finnish and Australian contracts establish that theirs airframes w would be assembled locally. By 2005, the NH90 logbook shows a total of 357 firm orders, 86 options and 45+ selected NH90, by 13 countries and for 17 Armed Forces.
[Program prime contractor] NH Industries had announced to measures to reduce the helicopter’s weight, but these have not had the desired result. The weight of the aircraft has been a problem for years. This is important because the additional weight makes them too heavy to land on the Dutch navy frigates for which they are intended.
The Netherlands decided in 1991 to participate in the NH-90 program, and ordered twenty [of the NFH-90 naval variant] which should have replaced the current Lynx ship-borne helicopters beginning in 2007.
However, because of the recurring weight issue, that date has been moved back several times. The latest date for their initial delivery has now been pushed back to 2011, de Vries said.
It is not possible to rule out further delays, nor to say what extra costs will arise from the delays, he added.
DTN News: Australia Issues RFP For New Light Armored Vehicles
Opportunity for Australian Defence Industry
*Source: Australian Department of Defence
(NSI News Source Info) June 13, 2009: Greg Combet, Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, today announced that the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has released a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking Australian manufactured and supported protected mobility vehicles under Project LAND 121 Phase 4.
*Phase 4 will see the acquisition of a further 1,200 armored light vehicles in the 1- and 2-ton payload class worth an estimated $1.2 billion Australian.
*Phase 5 will see the acquisition of about 2,000 unprotected, commercial off-the-shelf trucks and utility vehicles worth about $300 million Australian. These will be used for training and low-risk logistics tasks.
Project LAND 121 Phase 4 will provide the core of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) light protected vehicle fleet that can be deployed for operations. They will replace some of the ADF 4200 Land Rovers with a fleet of protected light mobility vehicles.
The vehicles will perform a number of important combat support roles, including command, liaison and light battlefield resupply. They will be provided to Army’s combat units and will be designed to operate in future conflict environments.
“The new vehicles will improve the level of safety for our troops overseas through an increase in the level of ballistic and blast protection over current lightweight vehicles,” said Mr Combet. “This is a fantastic opportunity for local defence industry, provided they can demonstrate their competitiveness, and I encourage local manufacturers to explore this opportunity.”
“The Rudd Government is committed to supporting Australian defence jobs by ensuring that local defence industry has every opportunity to compete to provide the equipment our ADF needs.”
The solicitation of local industry is being pursued in parallel with the ongoing Australian participation in the US Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Program. These parallel processes will ensure that all viable options available for the delivery of light protected mobility vehicles to the Army have been considered.
“This approach is consistent with Mortimer Review recommendations, and will ensure that taxpayers receive value for money and that the Army and our soldiers receive the best equipment and protection possible,” said Mr Combet.
DTN News: US Delivers Four MI-17 Cargo Helicopters To Pakistan*Sources: Int'l Media / ANI
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD - June 13, 2009: The United States has handed over four MI-17 cargo helicopters to the Pakistan Army to facilitate its counter-terrorism operation.
“On a request by the Government of Pakistan, the United States delivered four MI-17 cargo helicopters to the Pakistani Army,” US embassy spokesman Lou Finor said here.
Meanwhile, US Consulate personnel in Peshawar have been instructed to limit their movements until further notice.
The notice has been issued following the Pearl Continental bombing in Peshawar.
The United Nations (UN) has also cancelled its activities in Peshawar after Tuesday’s blast that killed 16 people, including some foreigners.
“The UN World Food Programme was working on the supply of food to the affected people of Malakand and Swat, and three employees of the programme were staying at the hotel at the time of the blast. All three had been killed,” said a UN spokesman.
Two employees, including a woman officer of the UNICEF and the UN refugee agency were also killed in the blast, The Daily Times reports. (ANI)
DTN News: Sikorsky Wins $60Million Contract For Brazilian Black Hawks
*Sources: U.S Department of Defense / Sikorsky Aircraft Corp
(NSI News Source Info) PENTAGON / WASHINGTON - June 13, 2009: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded on Jun. 8, 2009 a $60,434,958 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of four UH-60L aircraft uniquely configured of the Brazilian Air Force (FMS Case BR-B-UTZ).
In October 1989, the engines were upgraded to two General Electric T700-GE-701C 1890 shp turboshaft engines, and an improved durability gear box was added, resulting in a model designation change from UH-60A to UH-60L. The T700-GE-701C has better high altitude and hot weather performance, greater lifting capacity, and improved corrosion protection. The helicopter can carry a gross weight of 22,000 Lbs and an external load of 9,000 Lbs. The UH-60L variant can utilize an External Stores Support System or ESSS to expand its capabilities. The ESSS system consists of removable "four-station pylons" that can carry external fuel tanks that can extend the Blackhawk range up to 1,150 nautical miles or sixteen Hellfire missiles. Furthermore, Sikorsky states that the Blackhawk can store an additional sixteen Hellfire missiles internally, and deploy a wide range of weapons systmes ranging from guns to mine dispensers.
Work is to be performed in Stratford, Conn., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2012. One bid solicited with one bid received.
Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (DAAH23-02-C-0006).