Thursday, July 23, 2009

DTN News: Mongolia To Send Troops To Afghanistan

DTN News: Mongolia To Send Troops To Afghanistan
*Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) ULAN BATOR, Mongolia - July 23, 2009: Mongolia will send at least 150 soldiers to Afghanistan in its biggest contribution to the international coalition fighting Taliban militants there, the defense ministry said Thursday. Some 130 Mongolian soldiers will arrive in Kabul in August to help protect Camp Eggers, while 23 others on training missions with the Afghan National Army should deploy by late September. Additional Mongolian troops could participate in a NATO operation to protect a German-led reconstruction team in northern Afghanistan at the end of this year. The Mongolian army, which has not seen major combat since assisting the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in 1945, will acquire vital, on-the-ground experience, Choijamts added. The troops should be on the ground by September to engage mainly in site security operations but also some training, said ministry spokesman Bayasgalan Misheel. "This is important for regional stability and Mongolia wants to contribute. It is also a good experience for the Mongolian army so that it can become more professional in its armed forces," he said. Misheel said 130 soldiers will perform security duties in Kabul while another 23 will be training the Afghan army in artillery use and maintenance. Their missions will begin September 1 and last six months. He said Mongolia has previously sent eight groups of Afghanistan, all for training purposes and no more than 25 soldiers at a time. The Mongolian deployment follows on the heels of peacekeeping missions to Sierra Leone and Iraq, among other countries. Eight separate Mongolian mobile training teams had previously worked in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2008, but Misheel said previous Afghan deployments amounted to only about 25 troops, and only for training duties. Mongolian soldiers are considered ideal for training there because they use the same Soviet-era military hardware commonly found in Afghanistan, said Lieutenant Colonel David Tatman, the US defence attache in Ulan Bator. Overseas peacekeeping and security missions have provided Mongolia a way to step from the shadow of its much larger neighbours, following centuries of domination by China and Russia, said Tatman. "Mongolia does not want to be forgotten. It's a large country with a small population and could be easily overlooked, but they are contributing where they can," he said. Mongolian soldiers returning from Afghanistan also describe a kinship with the country. Hazaras, one of the significant minority groups in Afghanistan, claim to be descendants of foot soldiers from Genghis Khan?s hordes. Modern-day Afghanistan is part of the vast empire conquered by Genghis Khan's armies nearly 800 years ago.

DTN News: Boeing, Lockheed Hail US-India Defence Deal

DTN News: Boeing, Lockheed Hail US-India Defence Deal *Source: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - July 23, 2009: Two US defence industry giants, each vying for a huge fighter-jet contract with India, Wednesday hailed a bilateral accord promising to open the door to greater military commerce between the countries. “The F-16IN is the most advanced F-16 ever,” said Chuck Artymovich, the company’s director, business development. Many in India might think Americans are fully absorbed in the Hillary, Obama or Romney campaigns but for Artymovich and his team, it’s a season of a full-time “India campaign”. Will the campaign lose momentum if the Indo-US nuclear deal falls through? Richard Kirkland, Lockheed Martin’s South Asia president, insists it won’t. “It has already got the backing of the US government and a go-ahead from the US Congress,” he says. Many in India, however, may not agree with him as they would not like to take a favourable US foreign policy for granted. Lockheed Martin hopes to give a detailed proposal soon to the US government on the features and price of the F-16s on offer to India. The US government, in turn, will make a proposal to the Indian government offering F-16s and F-18s. Incidentally, the F-18 Super Hornet, built by Boeing, is not to be mistaken for an upgraded version of the F-16. The Super Hornet is a supersonic carrier-based fighter aircraft and currently its only user is the US navy. The other aircraft competing for the Indian Air Force’s contract are the Russian MiG-35, the French Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon being offered by a consortium of European aerospace manufacturers and Swedish company Saab’s Gripen. Lockheed Martin and Boeing are neck-and-neck in the race for the world's richest fighter aircraft deal in 15 years, worth almost 12 billion dollars, to sell 126 jets to the Indian Air Force. On Monday US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna agreed on an "end-use monitoring" arrangement that would provide safeguards for the sale of sophisticated US weaponry to India. Clinton said the deal, which also provides for co-operation in providing nuclear technology, would pave the way for billions of dollars in exports of military hardware and civilian reactors to technology starved India. Vivek Lal, India head of Boeing Defence Integrated, praised the accord as a "cornerstone of the increasing trust forged by both countries." "The agreement will make it easier to share important US defence technology with India," he said in a statement. "Boeing looks forward to working within the framework of this agreement to support India in modernising its defence forces," he said. Boeing is touting its F-18 "Superhornet" while Lockheed Martin is offering a the F-16 to the Indian Air Force, the world's fourth-largest. Richard Kirkland, Lockheed Martin's South Asia president, also applauded the deal. "We look forward to supporting the requirements of the Indian armed services in partnership with Indian industry," Kirkland told AFP in an email. Industry sources say Boeing and Lockheed have emerged as frontrunners in the bidding for the 126-jet contract, which is also being sought by European Russian, French and Swedish contractors. The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company has offered its Typhoon Eurofighter, while the Russian manufacturers of the MiG-35 and MiG-29 along with Sweden's Saab, which makes the Gripen fighter, are also in the running. French firm Dassault Aviation is offering its Rafale fighters but these are viewed by defence analysts as too costly for India. India is slated to begin field trials of the aircraft in the race for the contract next month. The trials will continue until July 2010. India issued the request for proposals to the six short-listed global aviation giants in August 2007 and the companies submitted their bids last year. The contract includes the outright purchase of 18 fighter jets by 2012 with another 108 to be built in India under a "transfer of technology agreement." India also wants the option to buy 64 more jets. It is the largest arms buyer among emerging economies. India announced in March it plans to buy six Hercules transport planes from Lockheed for nearly one billion dollars, marking the country's biggest ever military aircraft deal with the United States. In January, India signed a 2.1-billion-dollar deal with Boeing to buy six maritime surveillance aircraft for the Indian navy.

DTN News: Australian And Combined Forces Undertaking Their Final Training Exercise Prior Deployment In Helmand Province, Afghanistan

DTN News: Australian And Combined Forces Undertaking Their Final Training Exercise Prior Deployment In Helmand Province, Afghanistan *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ROCKHAMPTON, Australia - July 23, 2009: Australian soldiers from the 3rd Battalion jumps over an obstacle as his unit joins an attack with the U.S Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) during the combined urban combat training exercise as part of Exercise Talisman Saber 2009 at the Urban Operations Training Facility, Shoalwater Bay Training Area on July 22, 2009 in Rockhampton, Australia. An Australian soldier in combat training exercise as part of Exercise Talisman Saber 2009 at the Urban Operations Training Facility, Shoalwater Bay Training Area on July 22, 2009 in Rockhampton, Australia.
The recreated urban environment is fitted with a live tracking system to record and analyze the tactics of the personnel involved, who are training to improve the interoperability of the Australian and U.S. military forces so as they can come together quickly and execute whatever mission necessary should the need arise.
British forces undertaking their final training exercise before deployment in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Prime Minister Gordon Brown dismissed remarks by one of his ministers Wednesday that Britain does not have enough helicopters in Afghanistan, as he sought to move past a damaging row over resources.
Brown said the remarks to a newspaper by outgoing junior Foreign Office minister Lord Mark Malloch-Brown had been misrepresented and repeated his insistence that British troops had everything they need.

DTN News: Can Sufism Defuse Terrorism?

DTN News: Can Sufism Defuse Terrorism?
*Source: DTN News / Time By Ishaan Tharoor Wednesday, Jul. 22, 2009....(Click here for link) (NSI News Source Info) NEW YORK, USA - July 23, 2009: In recent years, the dominant image of Islam in the minds of many Westerners has been one loaded with violence and shrouded with fear. The figures commanding global attention — be they al-Qaeda's leadership or certain mullahs in Tehran — preach an apocalyptic creed to an uncompromising faithful.
Kosovo dervishes, adepts of Sufism — a mystical form of Islam that preaches tolerance and a search for understanding — meet in a prayer room in the city of Prizren. This may be the Islam of a radical fringe, but in an era of flag burnings and suicide bombings, it is the Islam of the moment. And that is why some lament the decline of another, older Islam, an Islam of openness and tolerance and, most important, peace. For centuries, many of the world's Muslims were, in one way or another, practitioners of Sufism, a spiritualism that centers on the mystical connection between the individual and the divine. Sufism's ethos was egalitarian, charitable and friendly, often propagated by wandering seers and storytellers. It blended with local cultures and cemented Islam's place from the deserts of North Africa to the bazaars of the Indian subcontinent. (Read "An Islam of Many Paths.") Yet amid the hurly-burly of 19th century empires and the rise of modern nation-states, Sufism lost ground. The fall of Islam's traditional powers — imperial dynasties such as the Mughals and the Ottomans — created a hunger for a more anchoring, muscular religious identity than that found in the intoxicating whirl of a dervish or the quiet wisdom of a sage. Nationalism and fundamentalism subdued Sufism's eclectic spirit. If considered at all now in the West, Sufism usually provokes paeans to an alternative, ascetic life, backed up perhaps by a few verses from Rumi, a medieval Sufi poet much cherished by New Age spiritualists. But there was nothing fringe or alternative about it. "In many places, Sufism was a commonsense language — the way whole populations expressed their Muslim identity," says Faisal Devji, an expert on political Islam at Oxford University. "In South Asia, Sufism was the norm." Some analysts think that historical legacy can still be exploited. A 2007 report by the Rand Corp., a U.S. think tank, advised Western governments to "harness" Sufism, saying its adherents were "natural allies of the West." Along similar lines, the Algerian government announced this month that it would promote the nation's Sufi heritage in a bid to check the powerful influence of Salafism, a more purist, orthodox strain of Islam that is followed by al-Qaeda-backed militants waging a long-running war against the country's autocratic state. The authorities now want to promote traditional Sufi brotherhoods on radio and television. But while Sufism is no doubt fascinating in its diversity and complexity, can it really bend terrorist swords into plowshares? The question is most urgent in South Asia, home to more than a third of the world's Muslims and the historic cradle of Sufi Islam. Shrines of Sufi saints are ubiquitous in India and Pakistan and still attract thousands of devotees from all sectors of society. Yet the Taliban in Pakistan have set about destroying such sites, which are anathema to their literalist interpretation of the Koran. "Despite our ancient religious tradition," says Ayeda Naqvi, a writer and Sufi scholar from Lahore, "we are being bullied and intimidated by a new form of religion that is barely one generation old." (See pictures of the Taliban on Still, she and other academics are wary of any government using Sufism to fight its political battles. As in the past, foreign meddling would likely do more harm than good. "What is needed today, more than the West pushing any one form of religion," says Naqvi, "is a propagation of the underlying values of Sufism — love, harmony and beauty." There is no easy way to achieve this, especially in Pakistan, where poverty, corruption and the daily toll of the global war on terrorism simmer together in a volatile brew. Set against this, the transcendental faith of Sufi mystics seems quaint, if not entirely impotent. But there is more to the allure of Sufism than its saints and sheiks. In 2001, one of the first things to happen after the Taliban were chased out of Kabul was that the doors of the Afghan capital's Bollywood cinemas flung open to the public. The language of cosmic love and yearning that animates all Bollywood music and enchants millions of Muslims around the world, even if sung and acted out by non-Muslims, is a direct legacy of centuries of Sufi devotional poetry. At Sufism's core, suggests Oxford University's Devji, is an embrace of the world. "It allows you to identify beyond your mosque and village to something that can be both Islamic and secular," he says. "It's a liberation that jihadis could never offer." Nevertheless, it has also been Sufism's fate to fall afoul of more narrow-minded dogmas — now, under the bombardments of the Taliban, and during an earlier golden age. The tomb of Sarmad the Armenian, one of the more storied Sufi saints, sits close to Old Delhi's Great Mosque. Sarmad taught his disciples the similarities between Muslim and Hindu theology, and would famously walk the streets of Lahore and Delhi naked, denouncing corrupt nobles and clerics. In 1661, he was arrested for heresy and beheaded under the orders of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, a ruler much admired now by Pakistani hard-liners for his championing of a very orthodox Islam and the destruction of hundreds of Hindu temples. As Sarmad was led to his execution, Aurangzeb's court chronicler reportedly heard him mutter lines of poetry: "There was an uproar, and we opened our eyes from eternal sleep," intoned the Sufi. "Saw that the night of wickedness endured, so we slept again." For many, Sufism's slumber has lasted far too long.

DTN News: Our View On War On Terror ~ House Probes CIA Program, But Where's The Scandal?

DTN News: Our View On War On Terror ~ House Probes CIA Program, But Where's The Scandal? *Inquiry into defunct hit-squad plan puts politics over security.
*Source: DTN News / USA Today (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - July 23, 2009: Heard about the latest intelligence "scandal" in Washington? You know, the one about whether an administration that's no longer in office failed to tell Congress about a CIA program that no longer exists, the purpose of which was to kill top terrorists? If that doesn't sound like much of a scandal to you, you're right. But some key House Democrats seem to think otherwise. Last week, they went ballistic and began an investigation into the defunct program. Based on what's known, it's hard to see what the CIA did wrong here; it appears to have carefully assessed the program and shelved it when it was deemed unworkable. And it's hard to think of a better way for Congress to dash hopes of improved relations with the intelligence agencies. For those who've been tuned out, here's a quick recap: Last month, new CIA Director Leon Panetta learned about a Bush-era program, launched after 9/11 but apparently never put into operation, to assassinate al-Qaeda operatives. Panetta pulled the plug and — fearing a backlash from lawmakers who had been kept in the dark, apparently at the behest of then-Vice President Cheney — quickly and confidentially briefed the House and Senate Intelligence committees. Was this welcomed as a shot of candor by the new CIA director? Hardly. It turns out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's allies were still smoldering over a bitter dispute this spring in which she accused the CIA of misleading Congress about harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects during the Bush years. Panetta shot back with a May 15 letter saying it is not the CIA's "policy or practice to mislead Congress." On June 26, after the aborted hit-squad program was disclosed, about a half dozen Democrats on the intelligence panel wrote to Panetta demanding that he, in essence, take back his May 15 comments. That smacks more of a childish tantrum than strict oversight. Last week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, announced an investigation into whether federal laws were violated by the defunct covert assassination program or failure to notify Congress. What's to investigate? Perhaps Cheney was wrong to cloak the whole thing in secrecy (though the law is unclear about what level of planning triggers the congressional notification requirement). But the program itself was a far cry from the CIA abuses — attempts to assassinate foreign heads of state and spying on U.S. citizens — exposed in the Church Committee investigations of the mid-1970s. Hunting down Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaeda leaders is, after all, public policy of the United States, carried out every day by unmanned Predator drones in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. Democratic leaders seem oblivious to the danger of public feuding and reliving Bush-era controversies. Pelosi told us Tuesday that Panetta "created his own problems" by insisting the CIA doesn't lie, and she sees the panel's investigation as a "modest approach." We see a bungled opportunity to improve relations between Congress and the intelligence community. Pelosi rightly describes the oversight system as flawed, in which CIA briefers provide snippets of information to different lawmakers at different times, so none really gains an understanding of the full picture. The remedy is changing the system, as Democrats say they're trying to do with new legislation. That beats political peevishness and probes of programs that were never implemented. (CIA headquarters: Reported assassination program pulled. Photo by Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images)

DTN News: Al-Qaeda Linked To Terrorists Behind Jakarta Bombings

DTN News: Al-Qaeda Linked To Terrorists Behind Jakarta Bombings
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) JAKARTA, Indonesia - July 23, 2009: THE terrorist network behind the Jakarta hotel bombings received help from al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan.
Indonesian police spokesman Nanan Soekarna holds sketches of two Indonesian men they suspect were the suicide bombers in Jakarta, July 22, 2009. Indonesia on Wednesday released sketches of the faces of two Indonesian men they suspect were the suicide bombers in near-simultaneous attacks on two luxury hotels in Jakarta.
Two of the country's highest security officials have linked al-Qaeda to the blasts that killed at least nine people. Noordin Mohammed Top, the Malaysian-born leader of a violent splinter group of Jemaah Islamiah that is believed to have carried out the attacks, has had close links to al-Qaeda since 2002 when the group funded the first Bali bombing. Noordin was a key organiser of four big bombings in Indonesia since 2002 in which more than 240 people have died. In central Java, police have arrested one of Noordin's wives. Ms Arina, her two children and mother were taken to Jakarta for interrogation. DNA tests reveal that the bomber at the JW Marriott Hotel was aged 16 or 17. Yesterday police released sketches of him and the bomber at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The youth's DNA was found in room 1808 of the Marriott. Police are trying to establish whether the man who checked into the room two days before the blasts was Nur Hasbi, also known as Nur Said, a long-time foot soldier of Noordin who has been on Indonesia's most wanted list since 2006. He was believed to have been one of the suicide bombers. DNA tests show he was not. Police have appealed for the public's help to identify the bombers. The media in Jakarta are speculating that Noordin's network arranged for one its operatives, identified as Ibrahim, to obtain a job in a florist's at the Ritz-Carlton three years ago. A man who might be Ibrahim is shown on security footage taking a backpack to the shop several times in the days before the bombings. DNA tests have shown he was not one of the bombers. The head of the counter-terrorism desk at the Co-ordinating Ministry of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Ansyaad Mbai, told Kompas newspaper that information obtained by police pointed to al-Qaeda's involvement. "So far the cells which are believed to be [connected with] al-Qaeda in South-East Asia are the cells in Jemaah Islamiah," Inspector-General Mbai said. A former head of Indonesia's Detachment 88 anti-terrorism squad, Surya Darma, also said he was convinced of al-Qaeda's involvement. "This kind of operation is not a domestic kind of work," Brigadier-General Darma said. "This is al-Qaeda." General Darma said the terrorists who carried out the Mumbai attacks last year, which were planned in Pakistan, stayed in their target hotels, as did the Jakarta bombers. General Darma did not believe the bombers would have assembled the bombs. "The bomb maker and the bomb executor usually do not meet each other. It is because they have their own separate jobs." General Darma said that based on six years of interrogating terrorism suspects he was "100 per cent sure that no matter how small the role, there must have been help from inside the hotel". A former member of JI, Nasir Abbas, has said the bombings would almost certainly be related to international issues. "The actions were related to the US's action towards Iraq, Afghanistan or Taliban," he said. Meanwhile, police appear to have begun a crackdown on the firebrand Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual leader of the Bali bombers and head of the Islamic school where some terrorists were educated. They stopped him delivering a sermon in East Java on Tuesday. Bashir has claimed the Jakarta bombings were a warning from Allah and if Indonesia continued to refuse to become an Islamic state, they would continue.

DTN News: Pakistan Demands US intelligence, Ammunition

DTN News: Pakistan Demands US intelligence, Ammunition *Source: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - July 23, 2009: Pakistan urged the United States Wednesday to share intelligence from spy flights and arm its soldiers against militants accused by Washington of plotting attacks from the Afghan border. U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke talk with Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani before meeting in Islamabad July 22, 2009. The United States will give an additional $45 million in aid to Pakistan as it brings people displaced by the fight against militants back home, U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke said in remarks published on Wednesday. "Continued drone attacks in FATA (federally administered tribal areas) have proved counterproductive," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's office quoted him as telling US regional envoy Richard Holbrooke in Islamabad. Islamabad publicly opposes US strikes, saying they violate its territorial sovereignty and deepen resentment among the populace. US President Barack Obama's troubleshooter for Afghanistan and Pakistan was visiting for a second time in seven weeks for talks the White House said would focus on economic and security issues -- and 1.9 million displaced civilians. Gilani said drone attacks -- around 50 of which have killed more than 500 people since August -- have "seriously impeded Pakistan's efforts towards rooting out militancy and terrorism". He urged the United States to provide drone technology, "much-needed equipment and ammunition to Pakistan's armed forces enabling them to ensure successful completion of the ongoing operation against the militants". Gilani stressed that the United States "should share real time, credible and actionable intelligence with Pakistan," said the statement. Holbrooke told a news conference that the United States was sharing information with Islamabad, particularly from a US Marines' offensive against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. "We want to be sure and share with your government and your military, the military plans, so you can be prepared and coordinate. Because a lot of different things happen here," Holbrooke said. The New York Times reported Wednesday that Pakistani officials objected that expanded US military action in Afghanistan will force militants into Pakistan, with the potential to further inflame the troubled region of Baluchistan. "The Taliban can move east into Baluchistan and cause additional problems... we have to be prepared. That is what military planning is about and that is what allies should do," said Holbrooke. Last May, US military commander Admiral Mike Mullen said the United States had shared with Islamabad surveillance data from drone flights over Pakistan, before requests ceased over the previous month. US missiles have increasingly targeted strongholds of Pakistan Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud, branded by the US State Department as a key Al-Qaeda facilitator, with rewards for his capture posted by Pakistan and Washington. Washington has put Pakistan at the heart of the fight against Al-Qaeda, and Obama has ordered an extra 21,000 troops to neighbouring Afghanistan in a bid to stabilise the country for elections as part of a sweeping new war plan. The United States military does not confirm individual drone attacks, but its military and the CIA alone deploy unmanned aircraft in the region. The Pakistani government statement quoted Holbrooke as commending Pakistan's "remarkable success" against militants and assuring support to rehabilitate around 1.9 million displaced civilians. "We are also pleased to hear that the damage is less than we thought it would be. That is a very good piece of news," Holbrooke said. Assistant Secretary of State for Refugees Eric Schwartz unveiled an extra 165 million dollars for humanitarian relief in Pakistan. Pakistan launched an offensive in late April in northwest districts after Taliban fighters advanced towards Islamabad, under heavy US pressure to counter militants threatening the existence of the state. Washington alleges Islamist fighters hide out in the Pakistani mountains near the Afghan border, plotting attacks on Western targets and crossing the porous frontier to attack foreign troops based in Afghanistan.

DTN News: U.S Buys 62 More BAE Systems M777 Guns

DTN News: U.S Buys 62 More BAE Systems M777 Guns
*Source: DTN News / BAE Systems
(NSI News Source Info) BARROW, UK - July 23, 2009: The U.S, Department of Defense has ordered 62 more M777 howitzers from BAE Systems in a deal worth $117 million (£71m).
A system solution combining the world leading M777 lightweight howitzer with a Portee vehicle to deliver enhanced operational capability and flexibility. The M777 Portee System is capable of operating in all climatic conditions and potential theatres of conflict in a variety of rapid reaction roles, offensive/defensive warfare and combined peace-keeping operations. This highly deployable system provides maximum flexibility in terms of mobility and transportability. The M777 Portee System is a system with compatible and fully developed ammunition, command and control, logistic support and training. The Portee is a newly designed Supacat 8x6 vehicle from the high mobility truck family of vehicles. The M777 Portee brings a new dimension in military capability, which is lightweight with flexible deployment options; giving enhanced lethality and survivability. The system is interoperable with Allied forces, having NATO standardisation and commonality. This reduces costs and gives value for money in logistic support and training. Mike Smith, managing director at the company’s Global Combat Systems business, comments: “The purchase of additional howitzers is further endorsement of the M777 and its performance in support of current coalition operations. It means another six month’s work for our production facilities in Barrow and Hattiesburg, Mississippi taking manufacture on current sales well into 2012.” The order, signed on July 16, follows one placed by the DoD in May for 63 guns and a related small support contract for Hattiesburg. BAE Systems’ facility in Hattiesburg is responsible for final integration and test of the weapon system. The prime contract management of the M777 programme and manufacture and assembly of the complex titanium structures and associated recoil components are undertaken at Barrow-in-Furness in the United Kingdom. Weighing in at less than 10,000 lbs. (4200kg), the revolutionary M777 is the world’s first artillery weapon to make widespread use of titanium and aluminum alloys, resulting in a howitzer which is half the weight of conventional 155mm systems. Both the U.S. and Canada operate M777s in Afghanistan, providing fire support to coalition forces. Its ability to be airlifted to remote positions by helicopter gives the system enormous operational flexibility and makes it ideal for a challenging environment like Afghanistan. The M777 can fire the “smart” Excalibur round, co-developed by BAE Systems accurately enough to target individual rooms within a building, reducing the chance of innocent casualties and allowing supporting fire to be brought down much closer to friendly troops. The M777 effort is managed by the Light Weight 155mm Joint Program Management Office at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. About BAE Systems: BAE Systems is the premier global defence, 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 (US $34.4 billion) in 2008.

DTN News: British Official ~ More Helicopters Needed in Afghanistan

DTN News: British Official ~ More Helicopters Needed in Afghanistan *Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - July 23, 2009: Britain's resigning junior foreign minister said on July 22 more helicopters were needed in Afghanistan, piling pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown amid a row over adequate resources for troops. Lord Mark Malloch-Brown also told the Daily Telegraph the British public had not been properly warned about the current offensive against Taliban militants in Afghanistan's Helmand province, before a recent rise in troop deaths. Malloch-Brown, whose responsibilities as a Foreign Office minister include Afghanistan, announced this month he was resigning from the government for family and personal persons at the end of this week. "We definitely don't have enough helicopters. When you have these modern operations and insurgent strikes what you need, above all else, is mobility," Malloch-Brown said in an interview with the newspaper. The comments are a fresh blow for Brown, who has faced criticism from the main opposition Conservatives that his government is denying troops vital resources amid a surge in troop deaths in recent weeks. British soldiers serving in Afghanistan suffered their blackest day earlier this month, with eight troops dying within 24 hours. Since operations against the Taliban extremists began in October 2001, 187 British troops have been killed, more than the total number in Iraq. Senior military figures including army chief General Richard Dannatt have called for more troops and equipment for the seven-year-old conflict, which was stepped up last month with the new push in Helmand. Britain's recently-resigned defense secretary also added his voice last week to calls for more support for troops. Finance minister Alistair Darling insisted that the Treasury has not turned down requests from army commanders for more troops or equipment in Afghanistan. "The army has said this is what we want in terms of troops and equipment and we have provided that and financed it," Darling said in an interview with left-wing weekly Tribune magazine. Malloch-Brown, a former deputy secretary general of the U.N., told the Daily Telegraph he took partial responsibility for not properly informing the public about the latest offensive. "We didn't do a good job a month ago of warning the British public that we and the Americans were going on the offensive in Helmand. This is a new operation; the whole purpose is to win control. These deaths have happened ... after we chose to go on the offensive," he said. The recent loss of life has pushed the Afghan conflict to the top of the political agenda ahead of a general election which must be held by June 2010. Malloch-Brown refused to write off Brown's chances of leading the ruling Labour Party to victory but added: "It looks incredibly bleak." Asked if he believed Brown thought he could lose, he said: "No, I don't. That's one reason why, for all the criticism, he's a remarkable leader. He has this almost Churchillian faith in his belief that he can persuade the British public he's the one."

DTN News: India Launches Soldier-Gear Effort

DTN News: India Launches Soldier-Gear Effort
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - July 23, 2009: India plans to to develop weapons and gear for individual soldiers through a public-private effort called Futuristic Infantry Soldier-As-A-System (F-INSAS), Defence Minister A. K. Antony told Parliament on July 22. "Integrated Management System with Public-Private-Partnership is contemplated in order to produce cost-effective system in large quantity," Antony said. The gear will improve soldiers' firepower, communications, and mobility. A July 22 ministry statement said, "The Qualitative Requirements for F-INSAS is being finalized together by the developer and army, identifying critical technologies requirements." One ministry official said two critical technologies will be designed and developed by the state's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) - a multicaliber individual weapon and an air-bursting grenade. Other arms and gear will include anti-tank guided missiles, thermal sights and launchers; bulletproof vehicles; anti-materiel rifles; advanced carbines; surveillance radars; ground sensors; secure communications; guided ammunition; laser rangefinders; and light clothing and bulletproof jackets. New clothing will include nuclear-biological-chemical protection.
The 1.1 million-strong Indian Army is going hi-tech to turn its troops into fighting machines of the 21 century, complete with the latest multi-function weaponry and uniforms with sensors to monitor their health parameters.
"We have put in place an action plan to modernize the armed forces in all dimensions. A project, code-named F-INSAS (Future Infantry Soldier as a System), has been taken up to train futuristic soldiers, equipped with latest weaponry, communication network and instant access to information on the battlefield," Chief of Army Staff General Joginder Jaswant Singh said.
"In my view, the next war will be won by the side that is adept at high technology with all-weather fighting capability," the army chief said on the sidelines of a military function here.
With IT and electronic gadgets calling the shots in the armed forces worldwide, the Indian Army is gearing up to equip its soldiers with war-fighting capability and to prevent battle fatigue.
"As in civilian and other sectors, we would like to make optimal use of ICT (information and communication technology) for which Indian tech firms are known worldwide. We will be investing substantially to make our operations -from war zones to civil lines - digital, with seamless connectivity for online access to information systems," Singh said.
Under the F-INSAS project, the troops will be put on a multi-mission mode to accomplish different tasks with speed, precision and lethality. In the first phase, to be completed by 2012, the infantry soldiers will be equipped with modular weapon systems that will have multi-functions.
Thermal imagers, sensors and night vision equipment, currently deployed in weapon systems such as artillery and main battle tanks, will be customised to make them portable for carrying by the soldiers in the battle ground.
"Apart from imparting modern training and providing hi-tech gadgets, we are also working on a new attire that will enable the troops carry the extra load and resist impact of chemical warfare. The new uniform will have vests with sensors to monitor their health parameters and provide quick medical relief," Singh pointed out.
Singh said during his visit to the US this month he had a first hand account of the training systems and the latest equipment being used by the American army for combat operations.
"Though my recent visit to the US was to enhance our military-to-military ties, as strategic partners we exchanged views on several issues relating to transforming the armed forces for the future, on how to modernise the equipment and handle challenges of low-intensity conflicts. I also got acquainted with their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan," Singh disclosed.
As part of its strategic military ties, the Indian Army plans to take the joint exercises with the US Army to the battalion level from the platoon and company levels at which it had four such exercises so far.
Admitting to the shortage of about 12,000 officers in the army, Singh said in-take capacity in the NDA (National Defence Academy), OTA (Officers Training Academy) and IMA (Indian Military Academy) were being increased.New schemes like technical entry at 10-plus-2 (after school) level and the entry of women have been introduced to attract the youth for a career in the army as commissioned officers.
"The reason for shortage of officers is because of new units coming up such as Rashtriya Rifles, which have to be manned by officers from the regular army. As a result, there is a reduction of officers in the combat units," Singh said.
The army chief, however, maintained that in the event of being challenged, all officers posted across the country in normal peacetime operations, instructional and training duties, extra regiments and NCC (National Cadet Corps) would be recalled to join the combat units.
"I would like to reiterate that there is no shortage of youth in our country wanting to join the armed forces voluntarily. Whenever and wherever recruitment camps are held, there are no less than 5,000-6,000 aspirants at a time to join us. Many also apply for an army job through the Union Public Service Commission examinations. All our defence academies are functioning at full strength."Since we don't want to either lower the standard of training or the quality of intake and reduce training time, the absorption is on merit and on competitive basis. The rejection level may be high at the entry level but the attrition is contained later," Singh added.
The Chief of Army Staff was here to present colours to the Pioneer Corps and take salute at a ceremonial parade of its troops.

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded $55 Million To Reset Stryker Vehicles

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded $55 Million To Reset Stryker Vehicles *Source: DTN News / General Dynamics (NSI News Source Info) STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. USA - July 23, 2009: General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command (TACOM) to reset 330 Stryker infantry combat vehicles. The contract has a maximum potential value of $55.2 million.The IAV Stryker is a family of eight-wheeled all-wheel-drive armored combat vehicles produced by General Dynamics Land Systems, in use by the United States Army. Based on the Canadian LAV III light-armored vehicle, which in turn is based on the Swiss MOWAG Piranha III 8x8, the Stryker is the U.S. Army's first new armored vehicle since the M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle in the 1980s. The Stryker was championed by General Eric Shinseki when he was U.S. Army Chief of Staff. The vehicle is employed in Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, light and mobile units based on the Brigade Combat Team Doctrine that relies on vehicles connected by military C4I networks.
Through this contract, General Dynamics will service, repair and modify Stryker vehicles that are returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom, restoring them to a pre-combat, like-new condition in advance of reissuing the vehicles prior to their next deployment.To date, General Dynamics has delivered 2,852 new vehicles for seven separate Stryker brigades to the Army. With more than six million miles accumulated through two completed Operation Iraqi Freedom rotations since October 2003, the Stryker vehicle has demonstrated a combined fleet operational-readiness rate of 96 percent. The Stryker is an eight-wheeled vehicle, which is lighter, smaller and more readily deployable than other Army combat vehicles and can travel at speeds up to 62 mph on roads with a range of 312 miles. There are 10 configurations of the Stryker: Infantry Carrier Vehicle; Anti-tank Guided Missile; Mobile Gun System; Mortar Carrier; Command Vehicle; Reconnaissance Vehicle; Engineer Squad Vehicle; Medical Evacuation Vehicle; Fire Support Vehicle; and Nuclear, Biological, Chemical and Reconnaissance. The variants have 85 percent parts commonality, which simplifies logistics. Strykers operate with the latest electronic equipment and an integrated armor package to protect soldiers against improvised explosive devices, rocket propelled grenades and a variety of infantry weapons.General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately 92,900 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies. More information about the company is available on the Internet at

DTN News: NASA's Northrop Grumman-Built Chandra X-Ray Observatory Marks 10th Anniversary On-Orbit

DTN News: NASA's Northrop Grumman-Built Chandra X-Ray Observatory Marks 10th Anniversary On-Orbit *Anniversary Marks a Decade of Providing Data for Groundbreaking Astronomy Discoveries
*Source: DTN News / Northrop Grumman Corporation (NSI News Source Info) REDONDO BEACH, Calif., USA - July 23, 2009: Chandra X-ray Observatory, NASA's flagship mission for X-ray astronomy built by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), was launched into orbit by the Space Shuttle 10 years ago on July 23, 1999 and almost immediately began to expand the frontiers of astronomy. Chandra has logged over 60,000 hours of on-target observing time, with over 9,800 observations. More than 2,400 principal investigators and co-investigators work with Chandra data. Built by Northrop Grumman for NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Chandra's first light image gave astronomers their first glimpse of the point source at the center of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. Since then, Chandra has significantly expanded the frontiers of astronomy, providing insight into the birth and death of stars and the lifecycles of galaxies. Chandra has produced more than 9,800 observations and logged more than 60,000 hours of on-target science observing time. Data from Chandra gave scientists the first glimpse of a supernova remnant containing a black hole, and the shadow of a small galaxy as it was cannibalized by a larger one. The Observatory has revolutionized our understanding of dark energy, a mysterious force that is pushing galaxies apart and causing the universe to expand. Just two years ago, Chandra uncovered evidence of a major new class of supernova and revealed a blast from a huge black hole at the center of the Milky Way. "Chandra has significantly expanded the world's scientific knowledge base about the nature of our universe," said Dave DiCarlo, sector vice president and general manager of the company's Space Systems Division. "Its has opened up new vistas of study for the world's astronomers and provided technology and integration and test techniques that we're using to develop the next generation of space observatories. Chandra has exceeded its five-year design life by 100 percent and continues to observe celestial phenomena." The Northrop Grumman team developed innovative technical solutions when building Chandra. These technical solutions include precision alignment of large mirrors; precision integration and test techniques; and techniques for precision structural stability. Extensive testing and pathfinders were used to validate the design and reduce the risk of building the complex satellite and many of the lessons learned are now being applied to new missions, such as the James Webb Space Telescope. On orbit, Chandra satisfied or bettered all initial 21 key performance measures. Furthermore, ten years into its mission, Chandra continues to perform near flawlessly. "We are thrilled to be celebrating Chandra's 10 year milestone and continue to be impressed with the superb performance of the spacecraft hardware and the flight software developed and built by Northrop Grumman," said Roger Brissenden, Chandra X-ray Center Manager. "Under the excellent guidance of the Northrop Grumman flight operations team, Chandra has given us a near optimal science mission so far, and we are very excited to be embarking on its next decade of discovery." In addition to fulfilling its promise illuminating the stars, Chandra has also shone brightly on Earth. The teams responsible for the design and execution of the Chandra mission have received many prestigious awards, including a Nobel Prize for Chandra's co-creator Ricardo Giacconi and for members of the Northrop Grumman team; the NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award; and a "Silver Snoopy" award. Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.
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DTN News: Lockheed Martin Agrees To Acquire Gyrocam Systems LLC

DTN News: Lockheed Martin Agrees To Acquire Gyrocam Systems LLC *Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin (NSI News Source Info) BETHESDA, MD., USA - July 23, 2009: Lockheed Martin Corporation [NYSE: LMT] has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Gyrocam Systems LLC (Gyrocam). Gyrocam develops and supplies gyrostabalized optical surveillance systems and sustainment field services principally to the U.S. military. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but are not material to Lockheed Martin. Gyrocam Systems has developed an extensive product line of camera systems that provide stabilized images from miles away, whether in air, on land, or at sea. Since 2004, Gyrocam Systems has fielded well in excess of 500 mast-mounted vehicle camera systems to the U.S. military in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Gyrocam, a privately owned company headquartered in Sarasota, Fla. with personnel in Washington, D.C., Iraq and Afghanistan, provides combat forces greater situational awareness in virtually all conditions with real-time reconnaissance and threat identification and tracking from safe, stand-off distances. The company’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) products are primarily in use on ground vehicles operated by the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, a unit of Lockheed Martin's Electronic Systems business area, with major facilities in Dallas, Texas and Orlando, Fla., will manage the Gyrocam business. “The acquisition of Gyrocam enhances Lockheed Martin’s ability to address our U.S. government customer’s emphasis on ISR capabilities and to meet urgent warfighter needs,” said Robert J. Stevens, Lockheed Martin’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "This transaction is a sound strategic fit that strengthens a core competency while addressing a customer priority, supports our commitment to build shareholder value and reinforces our standing as a global security leader.” “We are extremely pleased to join Lockheed Martin. This combination will allow the warfighter access to an expanded range of capabilities and will provide professional growth opportunities for our dedicated employees. Lockheed Martin shares a common commitment to performance excellence, ethics and integrity; our promise to partner with our customers; and our dedication to providing quality services and rapid response,” said Darrell Egner, Chief Executive Officer of Gyrocam. The transaction is subject to various approvals, including the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and satisfaction of other closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2009.Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.

DTN News: NLOS-LS PAM Missile Team Demonstrates Capability Against Moving Targets

DTN News: NLOS-LS PAM Missile Team Demonstrates Capability Against Moving Targets *Source: DTN News / Raytheon Company (NSI News Source Info) WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M., USA - July 23, 2009: NetFires LLC, a joint venture between Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) Missiles and Fire Control, completed the first moving target test flight of the Non Line-of-Sight-Launch System's Precision Attack Missile. The Non-Line of Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS) is a self-contained missile launch system under development by NETFIRES LLC, a partnership between Lockheed Martin and Raytheon for the United States Army's Future Combat Systems and the United States Navy's Littoral Combat Ship. Each Container Launch Unit (CLU) consists of 15 missiles, and a computer communications system. Multiple CLUs can be chained together to increase mission capability. The missiles are fired and controlled remotely. The weapon is roughly 2 meters tall, and can be transported on just about anything larger than a pickup truck.* The PAM missile, launched from the NLOS-LS Container Launch Unit (CLU), used the on-board, uncooled imaging infrared seeker to detect and track a moving T-72 tank traveling with other vehicles. The result was a direct hit at a range of 9 kilometers (5.6 statute miles). "NLOS-LS is designed to defeat both stationary and moving targets. The demonstration of this capability is a significant milestone for the program," said Scott Speet, executive vice president of NetFires LLC and Raytheon's NLOS-LS program director. "Previous guided test flights have succeeded in direct hits against stationary targets. Today's test proved this weapon will provide the warfighter with platform-independent, networked fires with immediate and responsive precision against moving targets." During the test, the PAM missile joined the network with its onboard radio, operated as a node on the net throughout the flight and sent back a terminal target image to the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System. "Not only is this another successful launch from the CLU and successful missile flight, this test measures the true capability of NLOS-LS as a networked weapon system," said Anne Johnson, president of NetFires LLC and Lockheed Martin's NLOS-LS program director. "This network capability will provide the Brigade Combat Teams with unparalleled beyond line-of-sight target lethality." NLOS-LS takes targeting information from the command and control center and sends it to the NLOS-LS CLU's computer and communications system for initial missile targeting. The missile also takes the command and control center's targeting information for in-flight updates. "The ability of the PAM missile to defeat a moving target is a first for the U.S. Army," said Col. Doug Dever, the U.S. Army's NLOS-LS project manager. "Once fielded, NLOS-LS is going to give soldiers in the BCTs and sailors on littoral combat ships the ability to precisely engage moving targets -- a capability they've never had before." Raytheon Company, with 2008 sales of $23.2 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 87 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.

DTN News: 787 Dreamliner Flight Test Airplane Painted In Special Boeing Livery

DTN News: 787 Dreamliner Flight Test Airplane Painted In Special Boeing Livery *Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) EVERETT, Wash., USA - July 23, 2009: The fifth Boeing [NYSE:BA] 787 Dreamliner flight test airplane has been unveiled sporting a special Boeing livery. The second Boeing 787 Dreamliner has moved to the flight line to begin fuel testing. This is the second of six 787s being used in the all-new airplane's flight-test program. "Momentum continues to build with each milestone achieved," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 Dreamliner program. Each of the six flight-test airplanes will be used for a specific set of tests during the flight-test program. This airplane, designated ZA002, will focus on systems performance. Like its predecessor, ZA001, this airplane has successfully completed a rigorous series of tests while still in the factory. Fuel testing began immediately upon the airplane entering the fuel dock. ZA002 features the livery of the Dreamliner's launch customer, ANA (All Nippon Airways) of Japan. "ANA will be the first to fly the 787 Dreamliner in commercial service," Fancher noted. "We are honored to fly in ANA livery throughout the flight-test program as a tribute to our partnership in bringing this all-new airplane to market." The 787 Dreamliner has 865 orders from 56 airlines. Painted white with blue accents, the new livery incorporates visual and color elements from the distinctive blue-and-white Boeing Commercial Airplanes livery seen on the first 787 flight test airplane and other new commercial models. The simplified paint scheme will be applied to the three remaining unpainted flight test airplanes (Nos. 3, 4 and 6). Airplane No. 2 has been painted in the colors of launch customer ANA of Japan. The modified livery, which saves time and expense compared to the full Boeing livery, will remain on the airplane until the flight test program is completed and it is refurbished and delivered to a customer. The airplane’s two GEnx engines have been temporarily removed and returned to GE Aviation so that planned minor improvements can be made.

DTN News: Boeing KC-767 Tankers For Italy Complete Military Utility Observation

DTN News: Boeing KC-767 Tankers For Italy Complete Military Utility Observation *Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., USA - July 23, 2009: Two of the KC-767 aerial refueling tankers that Boeing [NYSE: BA] is building for the Italian Air Force recently performed a series of airborne boom contacts and fuel offloads in observation test flights with the U.S. Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The number of armed forces around the world buying air-to-air refuelling tankers has steadily grown in recent decades. With many of the aircraft currently utilised, mostly Boeing 707 conversions and KC-135s, needing replacing and a number of other countries showing interest in this capability, both Boeing and Airbus have expended considerable resources to capture orders. The latter manufacturer has so far failed to win any competitions for new-build aircraft, while Boeing with its 767 Tanker Transport has been selected by three countries, Italy, Japan and the USA. Second-hand 767-300ERs are also in the running as the UK’s next tanker aircraft. The flights included KC-767 fuel transfers with a U.S. Air Force F-16 aircraft as well as from one KC-767 to the other. The KC-767 tankers achieved the milestone contacts in late June during a successful Military Utility Observation (MUO) that demonstrated the tankers' operational capabilities to refuel both a large receiver aircraft and a fighter aircraft using the KC-767 advanced aerial refueling boom and Remote Aerial Refueling Operator (RARO) station. The MUO is contractually obligated by the Italian Air Force as part of the process required for delivery of the KC-767 tanker to Italy. During the MUO, the two tankers performed familiarization flights for military personnel, including integrated U.S. and Italian Air Force pilots and boom operators, and also offloaded more than 100,000 pounds of fuel during 65 tanker-to-tanker contacts. Additionally, the tankers performed more than 100 day and night airborne boom contacts with the F-16 aircraft and transferred about 5,000 pounds of fuel. "This is a key milestone for our International Tanker Program and our Italian customer as we near the end of development of the KC-767 tanker for the Italian Air Force," said Dave Bowman, vice president and general manager of Boeing Tanker Programs. "The successful boom contacts and fuel offloads by both U.S. Air Force and Italian Air Force crews are additional examples of the outstanding capabilities of Boeing tankers." Boeing has three KC-767s in flight test for the Italian Air Force while building one additional tanker for this customer. In addition to the advanced aerial refueling boom and RARO station, the tankers feature wing pod and centerline hose-and-drogue systems. They are wide-body airlifters in a "combi" configuration, meaning the aircraft can be configured to carry all passengers, all cargo or a combination of both. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.

DTN News: Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet For Australia Takes Flight

DTN News: Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet For Australia Takes Flight
*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, USA - July 23, 2009: The first Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet takes off from Lambert International Airport in St. Louis July 20 to begin its initial flight.
Boeing will complete delivery of the first of 24 F/A-18Fs to the RAAF later this month, three months ahead of schedule.
Boeing [NYSE: BA] unveiled the aircraft July 8 at the company's Integrated Defense Systems facility in St. Louis. Boeing will complete delivery of the first of 24 F/A-18Fs to the RAAF later this month, three months ahead of schedule. The remaining 23 Super Hornets, each equipped with the Raytheon-built APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, will be delivered to the RAAF throughout 2010 and 2011.

DTN News: China 5th Generation Fighter Jian-12 Or J-12 (F-12 For Export Markets) And Fighter XXJ J-16

DTN News: China 5th Generation Fighter Jian-12 Or J-12 (F-12 For Export Markets) And Fighter XXJ J-16
*China's Jian-12 or J-12 (F-12 for foreign markets) is 5th generation multirole jet due to fly by 2012 and enter service by 2015. It has been codenamed XXJ by US's Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). J-12 is destined to be China's top-end fighter along with the Su-30MKK when it will be introduced.
*Source: DTN News
(NSI News Source Info) TAIPEI, Taiwan - July 23, 2009: China's Jian-12 or J-12 (F-12 for foreign markets) is 5th generation multirole jet due to fly by 2012 and enter service by 2015. It has been codenamed J-XX by US's Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI).
J-12 is destined to be China's top-end fighter along with the Su-30MKK\2 when it will be introduced. For now, China's top-end plane remains J-10, which is basically an Israeli airframe with Russian engines.
Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute or CADI, is a Chinese design institute and jointer partners with Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group for military aircraft. The CADI seems to be working on the J-XX 5th Generation Fighter Aircraft, a stealth fighter project seemingly designated J-13, a less radical design than the competing Shenyang J-12, yet seen by some sources as getting better chances to be selected by the PLAAF around 2015. Possibly developed from the Jiān 10 in cooperation with MiGAvia, this project may be powered by two improved Saturn AL-41F engines with thrust-vectoring nozzles, and a 20 T MTOW. The designers are hoping to surpass the Eurofighter Typhoon or the Dassault Rafale, though the F-22 Raptor's capabilities would remain out of sight. But little is known about this J-13 project, as can be seen at SinoDefence's site and other sources, and still less from the CADI's pages.*
It is still under development and it is expected that Russian content will increase extensively as the development progresses. China has developed close ties with Russia's aerospace industry and has license produced many fighters including MiG-21 and Su-27.
Their FC-1/Super 7 design is based on MiG-33 (which was rejected by Soviet Air Force). Earlier Chinese planes are the Q-5 Fantan, J-8 Finback and FBC-1. The FBC-1 was their latest attempt, and was'nt successful - the Su-27 filled in for it.
Considering their track record, it may well be possible that the J-12 ends up being a re-christened MiG MFI. MAPO-MIG is already involved in the J-10 program. MFI is one of the world's 5th generation designs.
Not much is known about J-12 right now - the aircraft is still going through initial work. The project is at is where the USAF ATF (Advanced Tactical Fighter) Program, which lead to the F-22A, was in ~1983.
Virtually everything is still wide open. Sources within combat aircraft manufacturer Chengdu confirm that it is looking at a twin-engined design and that they are examining both single and two crew configuration.
Stealthiness is an integral part of all new fighter designs and J-12 is no exception. The engines are most likely to be Russian with Thrust Vectoring. Stealth and thrust vectoring are two features that are a must in all aircraft being designed today.
Interestingly, Chinese aircraft designers will actually perform a 'generation leap' if J-12 goes into service with PLAAF.
All aircraft produced in China before (apart from licenced Su-27) have been 3rd generation aircraft. Chengdu will have to take Western/Israeli/Russian help to make J-12 truly 5th generation.