Sunday, August 23, 2009

DTN News: United Arab Emirates Air Force Take Off For Historic First Red Flag

DTN News: United Arab Emirates Air Force Take Off For Historic First Red Flag *Source: DTN News / General F-16 News By Capt. Gabe Johnson (NSI News Source Info) Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., - August 23, 2009: F-16 pilots and maintainers from the United Arab Emirates Air Force are set to participate in their country's first Red Flag exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Aug. 22 - Sept. 5. UAEAF F-16E block 60 #3028 flies over Southern Arizona on August 11th, 2009 before heading to the country's first Red Flag at Nellis AFB. The 162nd FW at Tucson IAP maintains and operates a squadron of block 60s for the purpose of training the UAEAF in the advanced multi-role fighter. [Photo by James Haseltine]
The U.A.E. airmen spent the previous two weeks at the Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Fighter Wing at Tucson International Airport preparing for the advanced training exercise that exposes U.S. and partner nation air force units to challenging and realistic aerial combat scenarios.
For the Emirati pilots, the spin up in Tucson was a chance to get familiar with U.S. airspace and reunite with their former instructors. Arizona Guardsmen have trained U.A.E. fighter pilots for the last eight years, five of which in their own aircraft. Currently, the wing's 148th Fighter Squadron is the only squadron of U.A.E.-owned F-16E Desert Falcons, or block 60s, in the United States.
"It's been great to welcome back our friends from the U.A.E., some of whom we haven't seen for a while," said Col. Greg Stroud, the wing commander. "It's really rewarding for us to see how they've developed as pilots and we're proud to see them participate in their first Red Flag."
"Of course, it's historic for the Emiratis to go to Red Flag for the first time, and our wing gets to share the importance of this milestone since we've been training them from the beginning. They're ready."
The Emiratis will take on Red Flag flying their Tucson-based fighters, the most advanced F-16s ever built.
"The block 60 is similar to earlier versions of the F-16 in that it flies the same, but in terms of capabilities it's more advanced," said Lt. Col. Mick McGuire, 148th Fighter Squadron commander.
The F-16E's most notable characteristics include conformal fuel tanks mounted on the top of its fuselage, digital color screens in the cockpit and a powerful engine to compensate for the jet's increase in weight.
"It's typically called a generation 4.5 fighter, not quite at the level of the 5th generation F-22 or F-35, but its avionics, thrust and fuel capacity make it a very formidable fighter," said Colonel McGuire. "They should do very well at Red Flag and return to the U.A.E. having learned many good lessons from the experience."
Red Flag, designed to push the limits of a pilot's skill regardless of aircraft capability, will further build upon the military to military relationship originally fostered in Arizona. According to Colonel Stroud, Red Flag and the basic F-16 course taught at the 162nd play important roles in making the United Arab Emirates Air Force as capable as it can be.
The Tucson wing currently has nine Emirati student pilots in its basic course. They will graduate after nine months as mission qualified F-16 pilots and could be among future cadres of UAE pilots to visit Red Flag in years to come.
"They're getting world-class training and, for us, it gives us the opportunity to fly a generation 4.5 F-16 and see what the future may hold for the next U.S. fighter," said Colonel Stroud.

DTN News: US Troops Are Still Needed In Iraq

DTN News: US Troops Are Still Needed In Iraq
*The US withdrawal from Iraq in June has failed to live up to expectations, with devastating consequences for the Iraqi people
*Source: DTN News / Guardian UK ~ By Ranj Alaaldin
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - August 23, 2009: It was hailed as National Sovereignty Day – a day when Iraq was being handed back to Iraqis. But the US withdrawal from Iraqi towns and cities on 30 June has failed to live up to its expectations, and with devastating consequences for the Iraqi people. In this photo taken Friday, July 24, 2009, U.S. Army soldiers from D Co. , 252nd Combined Arms Battalion, 30th Brigade Combat and Iraqi army soldiers are seen before going in a patrol in a village south of Baghdad, Iraq. Out of the cities and letting the Iraqi security forces take the lead, U.S. troops are facing a new challenge: finding things to do. An escalation of attacks since that day, including a multitude of near-simultaneous attacks on Wednesday that killed at least 95 people and injured more than 560, suggest the Iraqi security forces are not yet able to combat the insurgent and terrorist threat independent of US supervision. What makes Wednesday's attacks – blamed on Sunni extremists – particularly significant is that they were carried out with an unusual level of sophistication in some of the most secure areas of Baghdad. Reports suggest the attackers had the backing of political actors high-up within the Iraqi government, something that becomes worryingly plausible when trying to comprehend how exactly a lorry packed with explosives was able to make its way through countless checkpoints and up to 30ft near a heavily guarded ministry. Such assertions, and the fact that militants are still able to hit heavily guarded targets, provides considerable cause for concern since it would suggest that the Sunni insurgency, usually contained in the volatile north in places like Mosul, is now gaining ground, able to extend its reach to, and cause havoc in, the generally more secure south. Complacency and negligence, like removing security barriers, will have made the attacks more fatal than usual. Despite all this, US troops are unlikely to return to the streets in Baghdad: first, because attacks of great magnitude, like those on Wednesday, do not form part of daily Iraqi life as they have done previously and, second, since Maliki – who called the withdrawal a "repulsion of the occupiers" – has engaged in too much nationalistic posturing to opt for what would be a politically disastrous and embarrassing retraction. However, US troops are returning to northern Iraq where Arab and Kurd confrontations along a 300-mile long swath of disputed territory could all too easily make the transition to civil war. It is in Mosul specifically that tensions are at their highest between the Kurds and the Arabs, represented essentially by a Ba'athist anti-Kurd grouping called al-Hadba, which took control of the province from the Kurds after it won the January provincial elections this year. The Kurds want to incorporate several areas in northern Mosul province, in accordance with Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, while al-Hadba, backed by exiled Ba'athists in Syria and Yemen accused of sponsoring the insurgency, fiercely oppose this. Political wrangling between the two has led to tit-for-tat accusations of terrorist attacks on civilians and al-Hadba's refusal to include members of other groups in the provincial council, in contrast to efforts made by the Kurds after the 2005 elections, which the Sunnis boycotted, but who were nevertheless offered seats on the council. To prevent all-out war, as they have done before, the US will act as a buffer between the two groups and stop the terrorists from capitalising on the tensions. But for how long? Kurd-Arab tensions in northern Iraq may not be resolved until Kurd-Arab reconciliation takes place in Baghdad. This, however, requires resolution of outstanding issues like the disputed territories that, in light of the recent decision to indefinitely postpone a nationwide census, is set to remain unresolved for some time. US troops may have also returned to northern Iraq as part of Maliki's electoral strategy, since it would have been more feasible to have kept them there in the first place. Maliki will need some sort of stability and security to return to Iraq as it heads closer to the national elections; but he will also advocate his nationalistic credentials and so cannot have a significant US presence in town come January. It is possible, therefore, that the PM may have US troops operating in significant numbers for up to two months to instil a sense of security in the electorate. He may even launch an audacious security operation. This would give him at least another two months to capitalise on what could be an acceptable degree of stability and credibly campaign on his usual security platform with only a minimal US presence. The January 2010 referendum on the Sofa agreement could also be utilised to bolster his nationalistic credentials. Having said that, it would be unfair to appraise Maliki's every move as part of a wider quest for power. Mosul, for example, might now have a more urgent need for a sizeable US force given that the insurgents have shown they can effectively strike at other parts of the country beyond their bases in the north. Juan Cole and Jonathan Steele retain some hope and advise that future attacks could be prevented if there is reconciliation with disgruntled Sunni Arabs. But what if the discontent among the Sunni Arabs, including the insurgency, is more to do with a refusal to accept that they no longer dominate the seats of power? Cole refers to this but fails to provide a remedy. As it stands, President Obama's promise to remove US troops over the next 12 months is optimistic, even reckless. The withdrawal should now be under review and altered to accommodate on-the-ground realities if the country is to be saved from falling into the hands of a potentially revitalised insurgency. It is highly likely that a huge contingent of US forces will remain in the north should such a US withdrawal materialise; perhaps it is time to reconsider the South-Korean model for Iraq. As Oliver August writes for the Times in Baghdad, the Americans are perceived in a more positive light "having gone from occupier to policeman" since the handover in June. In other words, having Americans around would not be so bad after all. The question is whether the Obama administration will continue to overlook Iraq in favour of the publicly "more acceptable" war in Afghanistan, a country of far less wealth, potential, and geopolitical importance.

DTN News: Taliban Failed Miserably To Crash Election ~ Top soldier

DTN News: Taliban Failed Miserably To Crash Election ~ Top soldier
*Source: DTN News / The Vancouver Sun By Matthew Fisher, Canwest News Service August 20, 2009 (NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - August 23, 2009: After "some pretty grand pronouncements" the Taliban "failed miserably" to make good on their boast to destroy Afghanistan's presidential election, Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan said Thursday. A laborer stands in between stacks of ballot boxes at the Independent Election Commission in Kabul August 23, 2009. Afghanistan's presidential election was generally fair but not entirely free because of Taliban intimidation and violence that kept turnout low in the south, European monitors said on Saturday. "There was not one single suicide attack today in Kandahar province on a day where suicide attacks were threatened on a massive scale by the insurgency," said Brig.-Gen. Jon Vance, who commands Canada's 2,800 troops in South Asia. The Taliban also harmed their reputation by firing rockets "indiscriminately" at Kandahar City and by hitting a revered Islamic shrine in Arghandab with a rocket, the general said. In the face of Taliban threats, voter turnout was uneven but apparently much higher than many had thought possible after recent terror attacks in Kabul. An election official in Kandahar, which is at the heart of the insurgency, said about 60% of the province's 790,000 voters had cast ballots, with relatively heavy voting in urban areas and lighter voting in the Taliban-infested countryside. Tasked to back up Afghan forces who were responsible for security at polling stations, Vance noted that his soldiers were not asked once to help out. However, he acknowledged that there had been several instances of heavy fighting between the Canadian Forces and the Taliban. More than 50 insurgents engaged troops from the Quebec-based Royal 22nd Regiment battle group in a gunfight that lasted several hours at Forward Operating Base Wilson, to the west of Kandahar City, while other Canadians mentoring Afghan troops in Arghandab were also involved in serious battles, Vance said. In both cases the insurgents had been trying to reach the provincial capital and had been "stopped cold," he said, adding there were no Canadian casualties. Canadian helicopters had also been called in on both reconnaissance and attack missions during the day, the general said. Speaking in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, Prime Minister Stephen Harper commented: "For all its warts, when you look at a country that had virtually 30 years of civil war without any real history of democratic governance, what is taking place in Afghanistan, in spite of all its challenges, is remarkable. And I think we owe all of our Canadian personnel in Afghanistan -- our military people, but also our civilian personnel as well -- a tremendous credit for the progress that has been made for this to happen." Afghan President Hamid Karzai's lead in the polls, such as they are in Afghanistan, has narrowed considerably in recent weeks, but he remains the odds-on favourite to win again. With the successful completion of voting, the next big question as votes began to be tabulated was whether the incumbent had received the 50% of the votes, plus one, that is required to avoid a runoff. If Karzai falls short of getting more than half the ballots cast, his likely challenger in a runoff would be Abdullah Abdullah, his former foreign minister. Preliminary results may be known by this weekend. But given Afghanistan's immensely challenging geography and the strength of the insurgency, it may take nearly a month before the official first-round tally is made public.

DTN News: Dutch Forces Will Have 14 Additional Bushmaster Armoured Patrol Vehicles For Afghanistan

DTN News: Dutch Forces Will Have 14 Additional Bushmaster Armoured Patrol Vehicles For Afghanistan
*Source: DTN News / Defense Media
(NSI News Source Info) AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands - August 23, 2009: The Ministry of Defence has ordered 14 additional Bushmaster armoured patrol vehicles. These come on top of the 14 Bushmasters which were already bought in June, and have been deployed this month in Uruzgan for the first time.
The Dutch Army will buy 14 additional Bushmaster patrol vehicles for Afghanistan, bringing its total fleet of the vehicles to 86.
The purchase amounts to in sum 10.9 million euros, State Secretary of Defence Jack de Vries told Parliament yesterday.
The Bushmasters are of great value to Task Force Uruzgan (TFU) because they provide much-improved protection against roadside bombs.
Due to losses in previous periods, and the costs and time involved in repairing damaged vehicles, particularly in Australia, a shortage threatened. Nine new Bushmasters are added directly to the available fleet, while the remaining five will form a reserve to compensate for possible future losses.
The total number of Bushmasters procured by Defence thus increases to 86 vehicles, of which nine are fitted with a remotely-piloted arm for IED manipulation.
The contract with the manufacturer of the Bushmaster, Thalès Australia, will be signed shortly, so as to allow deliveries of the new vehicles to begin in October. The rapid purchase process for this type of urgently-needed equipment requires special acquisition procedures. These are known as ‘Fast Track Procurement’ and have been developed by the Defence Material Organisation.

DTN News: Pentagon Officials Say ~ ‘We Want To Hear From You’

DTN News: Pentagon Officials Say ~ ‘We Want To Hear From You’
*Source: DTN News / American Forces Press Service By Linda D. Kozaryn dated Aug. 17, 2009
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - August 23, 2009: Defense officials at the Pentagon have redesigned the Defense Department Web site to use social networking tools to engage the American public -- particularly 18- to 24-year-olds. “We need to embrace these technologies. We need to use them because that’s what the young people use these days. We need to communicate with them,” said Price Floyd, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.
People between the ages of 18 and 24 are much more likely to communicate using Twitter and Facebook than they are traditional communication tools, Floyd told the American Forces Press Service, the Pentagon Channel and DoDLive Blog Talk Radio.
“If we just stick to the traditional ways of communicating, we leave out a huge portion of society,” he said.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recognizes both the need for engagement with the American people and the value of these new tools, Floyd noted.
“The secretary wanted to figure out ways to engage more with the public, and one of the ways you can do that is through your Web site,” he said. So defense public affairs officials redesigned the Defense Department’s home page, launching on Aug. 17.
The department’s former home page focused on providing news and information, Floyd said. The new site,, will emphasize personal, two-way communication.
DefenseLINK was a name more suited for an internal Web site, an intranet, as opposed to an Internet site, he added. “Most people on the outside wouldn’t have guessed that DefenseLink was the Web site for the Defense Department.”
“Instead of trying to figure out one new name, we’ve taken several domain names which all lead you to the same place –, and, and and,” he said.
“This puts the site more in line with the other departments in the government --, -- and it’s a more intuitive name to search for.”
Defense public affairs officials used the newly interactive White House Web site as a model. Just as asks people to give their policy recommendations to the President, the new Defense site will seek people’s input on defense policies and issues, thus giving the site more credibility, according to Floyd.
“We do live in a democracy and that feedback from people is important to know what they’re thinking, what they believe is important,” he said. “It’s their national security policy, it’s not ours. It’s theirs. The president was elected and he appointed people here at the Defense Department to lead, but it starts with the American people.”
“I think we might be surprised by the issues and policies that are important to the American people, versus what we think are important,” he added.
A new feature on will enable people to pose questions for the defense secretary, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other top defense and military officials.
“You can type in what you want to ask the secretary,” Floyd explained. “We’ll leave that open for several weeks. Once it’s done, people can then go in and vote on questions they want to have asked. They can vote on more than one, and the software will enable us to determine the top five questions which the secretary has to answer.
“There will also be a place where you’ll be able to type in policy initiatives that are important to you,” Floyd continued. “After several weeks, people will be able to come back and vote on the policy initiatives that are most important to them.”
The new site also will link to the Defense Department’s Facebook and Twitter sites. People can post comments and these engagement tools also will help people in the Department see and hear what the public regards as important.
Floyd said the goal is to encourage commanders to launch their own social networking sites, “so there’s not just one DoD Twitter site, or one Facebook site the military uses, there are hundreds, thousands.” U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, European Command and Southern Command, for example, have Facebook sites, and there are numerous sites within each of these commands. “Here in the Pentagon, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has his own Twitter site. I have a Twitter site,” he said. He stressed, however, that operational security remains a concern, and cautioned people to be careful when posting information on these sites.
The security of the social networking sites is a major concern to Strategic Command, he noted, and the Marine Corps has banned the use of social networking on official computers. Recognizing that there are risks involved, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn III has tasked the department’s chief information officer to conduct a short-fused study. A report is due to the deputy on Aug. 31 and a policy is to be announced by the end of September.
Floyd said officials will look at both the threats and opportunities social networking sites hold for the department. The study will allow defense officials to make a decision on how to move forward and implement a uniform, department-wide policy for dealing with social network sites. Floyd hopes the number of visits to will increase beyond DefenseLINK’s two million visits a month.
“Unlike most Web sites, more people over 45 go to DefenseLINK than under 45,” he said. “This was another reason why we needed to change the Web site and rebrand it was to reach that younger audience. But we also don’t want to lose the audience we have now.”
The American Forces Press Service news and feature articles, photographs and special reports currently on DefenseLINK will continue to be available as an internal page on Floyd’s message to the American public: “I encourage everyone to go to the new Web site to check it out. If you see things we can improve, please let me know. Feel free to reach out to me on my Twitter site which is on there and give me your comments. Don’t just let me know what you think needs to be improved, but let me know what you think is working really well and what you like.”

DTN News: Sukhoi Will Supply Russian Air Force With 64 Su Series Fighter Jets

DTN News: Sukhoi Will Supply Russian Air Force With 64 Su Series Fighter Jets
*Source: DTN News / Defense Media
(NSI News Source Info) ZHUKOVSKY (Moscow region) Russia - August 23, 2009: Sukhoi will supply 64 fighter jets to the Russian Air Force. The contract on the delivery of 48 Sukhoi Su-35S, twelve Su-27SM and four Su-30M2 was signed between the Russian Defense Ministry and Sukhoi at the MAKS 2009 aerospace show on Tuesday in the attendance of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
On the world fighter market Russia’s Sukhoi is pinning its hopes, in the near future, on a substantially modernized Su-35 multi-role fighter. The model must be an interim type between today’s Su-30MK in various configurations and a prospective fifth-generation fighter, whose deliveries may start in the second half of the next decade. The Su-35 is a 4++ generation aircraft employing technologies of the fifth generation. They make it superior to all other 4th generation fighters now under development worldwide. In 2009-2015, thanks to these technologies, the Su-35 will dominate the world market, outperforming other proposed multi-role fighters. The first experimental Su-35, completed in summer 2007 at Komsomolsk-na-Amure Aviation Production Association (KnAAPO) first appeared at Russia’s MAKS-2007 air show. A new aircraft with an old name The Su-35 has long been a brand name in the aviation world. Since 1992, an export version of the Su-27 fighter (created under the order of the Russian Air Force) has been demonstrated at international air shows. At the turn of the millennium, Su-35 fighters participated in the tenders of Korean and Brazilian air forces. By the mid-decade of the new century, a general concept emerged of a considerably modified Su-27 fighter, which retained the name of Su-35. What is new in the Su-35? First off, the fighter will get an improved airframe, which will dramatically increase its service life to 6,000 hours, 30 years of operation (the time before the first test and recondition and the between-repairs period has been increased to 1,500 hours, or 10 years of operation). Aerodynamically it is similar to the Su-27. But unlike the Su-30MKI it will feature no canard fins. All the three channels will have electrically signaled control without mechanical cabling. The use of a new integrated control system (developed by MNPK Avionika Moscow-based Research and Production Association) simultaneously performing functions of several systems – remote control, automatic control, limiting signals system, air signals system, chassis wheels braking system – will enhance the fighter’s handling capability and maneuverability. Among the Su-35 design features, worth of note is the absence of an overhead brake flap, a standard characteristic of the Su-27. Its functions are performed by an active rudder. The Su-35 chassis has been reinforced because of the increased takeoff and landing weight of the aircraft. For the same reason, the front bearing has two wheels. The improved radar stealth reduces the reflectance of the Su-35 in the X radio waveband and in the angle range of ±60°.
“The Russian Air Force will receive 48 Su-35 fighter jets before 2015, as well as twelve Su-27SM and four Su-30M2 in 2010-2011,” a source at the Defense Ministry press office told Itar-Tass.
Last year the Defense Ministry and Sukhoi signed a contract on the delivery of 32 Su-34 bombers serially produced at the Chkalov Aviation Plant in Novosibirsk.
“Long-term contracts will give jobs to plants and shift the emphasis from modernization of existent warplanes to production of new ones,” Sukhoi Director General Mikhail Pogosyan said. “The delivery of new fighter jets will not only strengthen Russian defense and assist modernization of the Air Force but also help the switch to new technologies and new-generation fighters,” he said. “The company is ready to fulfill the contracts on time.”

DTN News: UK MoD Has £6.6 Billion Accounting Hole

DTN News: UK MoD Has £6.6 Billion Accounting Hole *Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - August 23, 2009: Some £6.6 billion worth of military hardware, some used by frontline troops in Afghanistan, cannot be traced, the National Audit Office (NAO) said yesterday in its annual report on UK defence spending. Accountants for the NAO examining 2008-2009 military expenditure criticised the Military of Defence (MoD) for being unable to verify the whereabouts of the equipment. The report comes as a political debate over the adequate resourcing of troops continues to rage and as casualties mount in Afghanistan. A lack of sufficient Chinook transport helicopters and armoured vehicles for troops in Afghanistan has drawn criticism from commanders on the ground and politicians back home. The NAO said equipment that had been ordered but is unaccounted for includes Bowman radios, used by troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, guns and ammunition, night-vision goggles and batches of body armour. "We couldn't find the evidence trail for the whereabouts for (this) £6.6 billion worth of assets or what condition it's in," an NAO spokesperson said. "That is not to say it's lost or they don't exist; it's to say there isn't the trail to say where they (the assets) are," he said. Conservative shadow defence secretary Liam Fox called the NAO findings extremely worrying and a "sorry tale of failure at the MoD" when troops already lacked vital kit. "How can you make accurate budgetary decisions when you lack basic information about where vital equipment is? If you don't know what you have got, how can you know what you need?" he said. The Liberal Democrats also attacked the MoD. "Shortages are bad enough already without government bungling meaning that fighting vehicles, machine guns and body armour may not be getting to where they are needed," said their shadow defence secretary Nick Harvey. The NAO also said it had identified errors in specialist pay and allowances paid to personnel and called for an overhaul of military payroll systems. "At this time of high operational demand, it is more important than ever for the Ministry of Defence to have accurate records of where its assets are, and how much stock it has," said Amyas Morse, head of the NAO. "It must also have a military pay process which is fit for purpose," he added. Morse acknowledged that some improvements to the payroll and HR systems had been made over the last year but said important issues still needed to be addressed. The MoD countered the £6.6 billion worth of assets "were never physically lost." It said that a lack of a proper paper trail reflected an increasing intensity in military operations of late and not large-scale errors. "The issues relating to fixed assets, Bowman and stock discrepancies were specific there was no suggestion that any items were lost," it said in a statement. "The vast majority of stock discrepancies were valued at less than £250 (R3245) and have not impacted on the inventory values."

DTN News: South African Air Force (SAAF) Budgets R20Million For Recruiting Pilots, Engineers

DTN News: South African Air Force (SAAF) Budgets R20Million For Recruiting Pilots, Engineers *Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) PRETORIA, South Africa - August 23, 2009: The South African Air Force (SAAF) will this year spend R20 million to recruit pilots, navigators, air traffic controllers and engineers to make up serious shortfalls in current staffing levels. This has emerged from the answer to a question by Democratic Alliance shadow defence minister David Maynier regarding staffing levels in the flying service. The fully marinised Super Lynx 300 aircraft for South Africa are equipped with a range of advanced sensors including a 360 degree scan search radar, a nose mounted FLIR and an advanced Electronics Support Measures system. The aircraft also have a comprehensive communications suite comprising HF, V/UHF radios and a data link. The South African Navy Super Lynx 300 aircraft have a high level of South African sourced avionics and mission equipment making it the most advanced version of the Super Lynx 300 helicopter developed and produced so far. Pilot and ground crew conversion training will be conducted by AgustaWestland at its Customer Training Centre in Yeovil starting in early 2007 and will be completed prior to the delivery of the aircraft to the South African Air Force later in 2007. The aircraft will be based at Air Force Base Ysterplaat where they will be flown by South African Air Force pilots for the Navy and will be deployed on the South African Navy Valour class frigates performing anti-surface warfare, maritime patrol and SAR roles. The contract for the four Super Lynx aircraft was placed in 2003 by the South African Government following a thorough evaluation of the aircraft and its competitors. South Africa is the forth country to select the Super Lynx 300 following Malaysia, Thailand and Oman who operate the aircraft in a range of maritime and land based roles. The Super Lynx 300 is the latest version of the Lynx helicopter family of which over 420 have now been ordered by 17 customers around the world. The Super Lynx 300 is powered by two 1015 kW (1361 shp) LHTEC CTS800-4N engines giving it exceptionally good hot weather and single engine performance. Flight and sensor information is displayed on a fully integrated six screen colour LCD cockpit display system, enabling greater crew effectiveness. AgustaWestland is also in the process of delivering 30 A109LUH helicopters to the South African Air Force, which are being assembled by Denel Aviation in South Africa. Maynier in a statement charges that while the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu is “personally really satisfied with the state of readiness” of the defence force, a “drastic shortage of pilots in the defence force has effectively wiped out the state of combat readiness of the SAAF”. Maynier says the reply to his question shows that 48% of posts for combat pilots are vacant (29 of 60 posts). It takes seventeen months to train up a combat pilot. In addition, 58 of 167 helicopter pilot posts (34%) are currently vacant. He adds that it takes sixteen months to train a helicopter pilot. Furthermore, 30% of posts for transport pilots are vacant (48 of 156 posts) “and it takes twelve months to train transport pilots.” The DA MP says this “is why the Air Force is effectively grounded, with planes spending more time in hangers than in the air.” The answer, published late yesterday, adds combat pilot posts remain vacant, on average, for one year, five months, while transport and helicopter pilot posts are vacant for a year. The SAAF is also short of navigators. The Helicopter line has been short one navigator (two posts, 50%) for a year while the transport line has only 16 navigators but requires 34 (47%) and the combat fraternity has two but needs six, translating into a staffing level of 33%. Especially acute is the shortage of air traffic controllers, where only 29 of 77 posts (37%) are filled. The average vacancy period for this vital but scarce skill is three years. The SAAF further has a shortage of engineers with only 70 of 130 posts (54%) filled. The Parliamentary answer avers there “has always been a shortage of graduated [sic] Engineers.” Maynier called on Sisulu “to urgently implement a plan to recruit and retain pilots that works” and that includes an occupational specific dispensation (OSD) for pilots. The answer noted however that “all vacancies are planned to be filled by means of specific recruitment drives” as well as the use of the SAAF Reserve and that “unique allowances such as the Military Aviation Career Incentive Pay (MACIP) and the Technical Incentive Payment (TCIP) were introduced some time back to retain members with specific skills. “It is planned to transfer the remuneration system of members to an OSD,” the defence ministry added in the answer. “The improvement of working conditions also forms part of the current action plan of the SAAF. “The SAAF develops an annual HR Support Plan, which includes the number of recruitment targets for that specific financial year, which also supports the Strategic Business Plan of the SAAF. The HR plan for the FY 2009/10 for recruitment is 747 Military Skills Development System members and 40 skilled members.” Pic: SAAF helicopters drop anti-missile countermeasures during an airpower demonstration at Roodewal earlier this year.

DTN News: China Sends 4 Divisions On Long-Range Exercise

DTN News: China Sends 4 Divisions On Long-Range Exercise *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BEIJING, China - August 23, 2009: Four Chinese armored divisions are traveling more than 1,200 kilometers to sharpen their ability to move long distances and conduct exercises in unfamiliar territory. People's Liberation Army soldiers stand in formation during a military exercise in Beijing, China, Tuesday, July 28, 2009. China took foreign journalists on a tour of the People's Liberation Army division north of the capital Tuesday, calling it a sign the world's largest army is improving its openness and transparency. The visit comes ahead of Aug. 1, which marks the 82nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army, which now has 2.3 million members. Dubbed Stride-2009, the two-month exercise, which began Aug. 11, involves 50,000 troops from the Shenyang, Lanzhou, Jinan and Guangzhou regions. Chinese media are calling it the People's Liberation Army's largest-ever tactical armor exercise. "We know that four divisions from four Military Regions will each travel separately by road, rail and air to four separate combined-arms training centers in distant Military Regions," said Dennis Blasko, a former U.S. Army foreign area officer specializing in China. "As with all Chinese use of superlatives, one must be careful to determine exactly what is meant by the 'largest-ever tactical military exercise.'" For example, Blasko said,the tri-service 2001 Liberation-1 amphibious exercise conducted at Dongshan Island lasted four months and involved nearly 100,000 troops. And in the Peace Mission 2007 exercise, 1,600 troops traveled over land from Xinjiang, China, to the mountainous Ural region of Russia. Another analyst said Stride-2009 appeared to be part of China's effort to test and develop its ability to mobilize its armed forces on a large scale. "No matter where it ultimately chooses to send its forces, its first step will be to concentrate them at some point of embarkation within China. That will involve movements of this type," said Thomas Kane, author of the book, "Chinese Grand Strategy and Maritime Power." Kane noted that recent years have seen an increase in internal unrest, with uprisings in Tibet and the Uighur Xinjiang region; angry protests about the response to last year's Sichuan earthquake; and public disruptions linked to a rise in unemployment. But he said these situations simply do not require 50,000 heavily armored troops. Instead, Kane linked Stride-2009 to China's attempt to mimic the C4 revolution in the U.S. military. "In my interpretation, the primary reason for deploying troops in unfamiliar levels is to test command and control procedures," he said. "I scarcely need to add that effective procedures for command, control, communications and whatever else the Pentagon has bolted onto its latest acronym for such concepts are an important part of what distinguishes forces that are effective in warfare from forces that merely look impressive on paper." Stride-2009 is at least the third large PLA exercise this summer. In July, four brigades from the Second Artillery Division had a field exercise, and in June, about 100 aircraft from the Guangzhou Military Region Air Force were involved in another large exercise, Blasko said. "However, it is noteworthy that the earlier Second Artillery and PLAAF exercises were not joint, though at least the deployment phase of Stride-2009 is," he said. "It will be interesting to see how much the PLA Air Force participates in the live-fire phases of the exercise." ■

DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Brings History Of Collaboration With U.S. Army To FMTV Competitive Rebuy Bid

DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Brings History Of Collaboration With U.S. Army To FMTV Competitive Rebuy Bid
*Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation
(NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - August 23, 2009: As a manufacturer and supplier of Department of Defense (DoD) tactical wheeled vehicles for more than four decades, Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), brings a successful and celebrated history of collaboration with the U.S. Army to its bid for the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) competitive rebuy. From the vehicle design stage to in-theater support, Oshkosh Defense has proven its ability to deliver and support the Army’s Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV). During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Oshkosh Defense received a certificate of appreciation from the Army’s 7th Transportation Group for FHTV armor installation that was “instrumental” in protecting soldiers and their equipment, and for providing technical assistance and warranty support. The company received similar recognition from the Army’s 336th Transportation Group for support that had a “profound survivability effect” on the group’s operation. “Oshkosh Defense is renowned as being a premier supplier of tactical and armored wheeled vehicles for the U.S. Army,” said Andy Hove, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Defense. “We are committed to being responsive to our customer’s needs and building on successful relationships to ensure we provide the best vehicles, support and value for the U.S. Armed Forces, including the FMTV program.” Oshkosh was the first and only truck manufacturer to be honored with the Department of Defense’s David Packard Acquisition Excellence Award for its work on the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) program as a part of a team effort with the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command and the U.S. Marine Corps. Oshkosh also received recognition from the Army’s product manager for Heavy Tactical Vehicles and the 2nd Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment for its aftermarket support during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The company also received the Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) 2005 Innovative Business Performer of the Year for its ability to embrace innovation and adapt to the agency’s ever-increasing demands to support the customer. Another area of recognition is the National Freedom Award, given to the company by the DoD in 2008 for its outstanding Employer’s Support of the Guard and Reserve. A number of Oshkosh employees, from factory workers to office employees, are either current or former members of the National Guard or Reserve forces, including members who have been deployed in support of the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as homeland relief missions such as Hurricane Katrina. This national award recognized Oshkosh for its critical support of these employees before, during and after their important duties and sacrifices for our nation. These are just some examples of the celebrated and successful relationship Oshkosh has built with the U.S. military, and they are the result of the company’s dedication to customer satisfaction. In addition to delivering more than 30,000 high-performance FHTV vehicles to the Army, Oshkosh worked with the military to erect nearly 300,000 square feet of facility space in Iraq and Afghanistan to up-armor the Army’s vehicles, including the FMTV. Oshkosh continues to use its Kuwait facility to refurbish heavily worn or battle-damaged vehicles, resulting in shorter vehicle downtime and reduced costs for the Army. The FMTV program is a five-year, multibillion-dollar contract award for the production of an estimated 23,000 vehicles and trailers for the Army. Oshkosh Defense is the only current manufacturer of medium and heavy tactical wheeled vehicles in the U.S. defense industry, having produced more than 67,000 military class vehicles in its manufacturing facilities. The company’s use of an advanced integrated assembly line has allowed for the simultaneous production of up to 10 vehicle models with 29 variations. About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit About Oshkosh Corporation
Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corp. manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, BAI™, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to

DTN News: Regime Goal ~ The Strongest Army In Southeast Asia

DTN News: Regime Goal ~ The Strongest Army In Southeast Asia *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BANGKOK, Thailand - August 23, 2009: The Burmese military regime is well on its way to modernizing its military services, including a self-manufacturing infrastructure for the army, navy and air force. Many of the changes have occurred under the direction of Snr-Gen Than Shwe, who became chairman of the ruling council in 1992. The Defense Industry (DI) ministry, Burma’s main military industry agency, operates 22 manufacturing or procurement facilities, many located on the west bank of the Irrawaddy River west of the Pegu mountain range.Lt-Gen Tin Aye, a trusted Than Shwe ally, is chief of the Defense Industry ministry. Htay Aung, a Thailand-based military researcher, said that since the military took control of the country in 1988, Burma has steadily expanded its military services and modernized armament production and procurement. “In Southeast Asia, Burma has the second largest military after Vietnam,” Htay Aung told The Irrawaddy. “The primary reason for military expansion is that the generals fear that Burma could face an invasion, since it is located between two giant neighbors [India and China].” The regime also may be trying to acquire nuclear weapons, said Htay Aung. Late in the1950s, the Defense Industry, or Ka Pa Sa, maintained arms and ammunition production facilities under contract with the Federal Republic of Germany’s state-owned Fritz Werner. Since then, the Defense Industry network has expanded its infrastructure and today manufactures small arms, ammunitions, land mines and other military hardware. Analysts said the Defense Industry also produces surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs), and may be in the process of exploring ways to build or acquire nuclear weapons. One facility, the No (2) Defense Industry, located in Upper Min Hla Township in Magwe Division, was built by Singapore, say analysts. The facility is said to produce 60 mm, 81 mm, 105 mm and 120 mm mortars. Singapore is a major source of arms technology for Burma, according to analysts. The Korean Daewoo Company signed a deal with the government in May 2002 to build an arms factory valued at US $133 million near Prome in Pegu Division. The factory may build or assemble missiles. No (10) Defense Industry was built in 1993 near Kongyi village in Upper-Min Hla Township in Magwe Division to manufacture surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), air-to-air missiles (AAMs) and rocket launchers. Parts and other material at the No (10) Defense Industry facility are believed to be supplied by South Korea, Russia and China. Defense analysts say the junta may have started a guided missile development program with the help of firms in Singapore. In the face of an arms embargo by Western countries, the regime now relies on China, South Korea, North Korea and Russia for help in upgrading its military hardware. The junta’s desire to acquire some form of nuclear weapons has received extensive exposure in the media in recent months, including in The Irrawaddy. A Rangoon-based company, Soe Min Htaik Co. Ltd, plays a central role in weapons procurement from China, South Korea, North Korea and Russia. Soe Min Htaik Co. Ltd is a private company that was formed by Burma’s Defense Industry in the early 1990. Analysts say Soe Min Htaik Co. procured surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs) from China and North Korea. The Burmese military also has created two military-managed economic organizations: the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Union of Myanmar Economic Holding Limited (UMEHL), established in 1989 and 1990 respectively. The mission of the two commercial enterprises is to make the military services self-sufficient. Heavy weapons, ammunition and other defense technology are acquired with profits from MEC and UMEHL. The UMEHL has numerous subsidiary and affiliated firms engaged in trading with Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, China, South Korea and India. Cooking oil, fuel oil and automobiles are important imports while exports include cigarettes, beans and pulses, gems, garment products and gas. UMEHL also has earned hundreds of millions of dollars from the Daewoo Company which has a contract to export natural gas. Defense analysts have said that Than Shwe has a goal to acquire nuclear weapon capability by 2025.

DTN News: Pakistan Taliban Appoints Successor To Militant Chief Baitullah Mehsud

DTN News: Pakistan Taliban Appoints Successor To Militant Chief Baitullah Mehsud
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - August 23, 2009: The Pakistan Taliban have appointed a successor to their feared leader believed to have been killed in a US missile strike, a militant commander said Saturday.
A Pakistani displaced woman walks past soldiers depute to guard the visiting U. S. Senator Bob Corker (unseen) at a refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan on Friday, Aug. 21, 2009. Over two million people fled their home towns in Pakistan's troubled Valley of Swat and other areas due to military offensive against the Taliban months earlier.
American and Pakistani officials believe Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Baitullah Mehsud was killed earlier this month in a missile attack by US drone aircraft in the lawless South Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan.
Taliban commanders say Mehsud survived but is seriously ill. TTP deputy and battle-hardened former teacher Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, who announced on Wednesday that he had taken over as acting chief of the group, said a Taliban shura, or council, had made the appointment.
"A Taliban shura has unanimously appointed Hakimullah Mehsud as successor to Baitullah Mehsud," he told AFP by telephone. "
The shura meeting continued for two days and was attended by 22 members," he said. Residents and intelligence officials in Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal district, the base of Mohammad, said the militant leader relayed the news of Hakimullah's appointment on his illegal FM radio station.
"The shura has appointed Hakimullah as successor to Baitullah Mehsud. The shura earlier had nominated me as the acting chief but now I will be again deputy chief," an intelligence official quoted Mohammad as saying over the radio. "I shall continue to be ameer (chief) of TTP in Bajaur," Mohammad said.
Pakistani intelligence officials say TTP spokesman Maulvi Omar, who was arrested this month, has confirmed that Mehsud was killed in a CIA strike on his father-in-law's house on August 5. "Baitullah is alive but he is seriously sick," Mohammad said, adding: "God forbid if Baitullah is dead, Hakimullah will be his successor."
Hakimullah is considered as close aide of Mehsud, and a powerful commander who operates from the Orakzai tribal district, where US drones have conducted several missile strikes. Pakistan in late April launched a punishing military offensive against Taliban in the northwest, targeting the rebels in the districts of Swat, Buner and Lower Dir after militants advanced perilously close to the capital.
Last month the military claimed to have cleared the area of the Taliban threat, and vowed to turn their attention to the mountainous tribal belt where Mehsud and his network have thrived since 2007.
Pakistani and US officials accuse Mehsud of masterminding the 2007 assassination of ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto and a string of other attacks that have killed hundreds of people here over the last two years.
Government officials have said the death of the Al-Qaeda-linked warlord plunged the TTP into disarray, with factions opening up as different commanders vied to lead the militia blamed for hundreds of deaths across Pakistan.

DTN News: Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi Meets With Released Bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi

DTN News: Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi Meets With Released Bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi *Source: DTN News / Defense Int'l (NSI News Source Info) TRIPOLI, Libya - August 23, 2009: Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi met overnight with Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi amid mounting Western outrage on Saturday over the hero's welcome he received upon his return.
Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi shakes the hand of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli in this August 21, 2009 video grab from Libya TV. Gaddafi hugged the convicted Lockerbie bomber and promised more cooperation with Britain in gratitude for his release, while London and Washington condemned his "hero's welcome" home. Meeting Megrahi and his family late on Friday, Gaddafi thanked British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Queen Elizabeth for "encouraging" Scotland to release the dying prisoner from a Scottish jail, Libyan news agency JANA reported.
Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam said Megrahi's release from a Scottish prison on Thursday was linked to trade deals with Britain, allegations which were swiftly denied by London.
The Libyan leader praised Scottish authorities for their "courage" in releasing Megrahi, who is suffering from terminal prostate cancer, on compassionate grounds.
"At this moment I would like to send a message to our friends in Scotland ... and I congratulate them on their courage and for having proved their independence despite the unacceptable and unreasonable pressures they faced," Kadhafi was quoted as saying by Libya's official Jana news agency. Libyan television showed images of Kadhafi receiving and embracing Megrahi late on Friday. Megrahi, the only person convicted for the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people in the air and on the ground in the Scottish town of Lockerbie, was sentenced to life in prison in 2001.
Hundreds of flag-waving well-wishers cheered Megrahi upon his arrival in Tripoli, despite warnings by the United States that a public celebration might damage relations that have been improving since Libya renounced terrorism and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction in 2003. US President Barack Obama on Friday called the red-carpet reception Megrahi received "highly objectionable", while his spokesman Robert Gibbs denounced an "outrageous and disgusting" display.
Seif al-Islam, who travelled to Scotland to accompany Megrahi back to Libya, said his release was linked to trade deals. "In all commercial contracts, for oil and gas with Britain, (Megrahi) was always on the negotiating table," Islam said in interview to Libyan TV channel Al Mutawassit taped on the flight back to Tripoli. "All British interests were linked to the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi," he added.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Downing Street office firmly denied that Megrahi's release was linked to Britain's interest in Libya's oil and gas reserves. "There is no deal," a spokesman told AFP.
Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi (front row 2nd R) and his family pose for a photo with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (R) in Tripoli in this August 21, 2009 video grab from Libya TV. Gaddafi hugged the convicted Lockerbie bomber and promised more cooperation with Britain in gratitude for his release, while London and Washington condemned his "hero's welcome" home. Meeting Megrahi and his family late on Friday, Gaddafi thanked British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Queen Elizabeth for "encouraging" Scotland to release the dying prisoner from a Scottish jail, Libyan news agency JANA reported.
"The position remains the same as we have been making clear: this has always been a matter for the Scottish executive and ministers," he added. A spokesman for the Foreign Office also rejected the allegations. "No deal has been made between the UK government and Libya in relation to Megrahi and any commercial interests in the country," a spokesman said.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Friday angrily refuted suggestions that the British government wanted Megrahi freed so that commercial relations with oil-rich Libya could be improved. "I really reject that entirely," he said. "That is a slur both on myself and the government."
Speculation that there had been some form of agreement was fuelled by the disclosure that Britain's Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson met Islam during his recent holiday on the Greek island of Corfu. Kadhafi said Friday that Megrahi's release "... will surely have positive repercussions on all aspects of cooperation between our two countries."
Megrahi, who has always maintained his innocence, told The Times newspaper in an interview conducted at his family home in Tripoli that he will present new evidence through his Scottish lawyers that will exonerate him. "My message to the British and Scottish communities is that I will put out the evidence and ask them to be the jury," he said, refusing to elaborate.
Britain's newspapers said Saturday that neither London, Edinburgh, nor Tripoli had emerged with any credit from Megrahi's release. The Independent said the London government had been caught off-guard by the negative reaction in the United States, while the Financial Times said the Lockerbie affair was not brought to a close by Megrahi's release, while the Daily Mail said Britain had been humiliated by Libya.

DTN News: EASA certifies new "Autopilot/Flight Director" TCAS mode for A380

DTN News: EASA certifies new "Autopilot/Flight Director" TCAS mode for A380
*Enhancing flight safety during TCAS manoeuvres
*Source: DTN News / Airbus
(NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - August 23, 2009: Following recent successful development testing, a new Auto-Pilot/Flight-Director (AP/FD) TCAS* mode for the Airbus A380 has been approved and certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The main benefit of the system is that it could further enhance safety during a traffic avoidance situation because the pilot can now fly the aircraft without switching out of one mode and into another. Thus, by simplifying the actions required by the pilot during a TCAS manoeuvre, this enhanced TCAS mode minimises potential overreactions or inverse reactions while preserving his or her concentration at a critical time.
In addition to now being certified on the A380, the AP/FD TCAS mode will also become available for retrofit on other Airbus Fly-By-Wire aircraft in the coming years.
AP/FD TCAS operation overview
The new AP/FD TCAS mode essentially completes the existing TCAS functionality by implementing a TCAS vertical guidance feature into the Auto Flight computer. The result is that now the Auto Flight computer can control the vertical speed of the aircraft which is adapted to each resolution advisory acquired from TCAS.
Moreover, with this new AP/FD TCAS mode activated, when a TCAS "Resolution Advisory" (RA) is received, the pilot no longer needs to disengage the autopilot or Flight Director before conducting the TCAS manoeuvres. Rather, the autopilot can now automatically conduct the correct TCAS manoeuvre, to position the aircraft clear of any potential traffic conflict. Furthermore, in the case of the pilot flying the aircraft manually (i.e. without autopilot engaged) when a RA is received, previously the Flight Director 'pitch bar guidance' - indicated on the Primary Flight Display - had to be switched off, but with the new mode, the Flight Director bars remain active and smoothly guide pilot to fly the TCAS manoeuvre. At any time, the crew still retains the ability to override the proposed manoeuvre, so as to respond manually to a TCAS RA by flying according to "conventional" TCAS procedures, i.e. manually controlling the vertical speed by referring to TCAS indications on the pilot's vertical speed scale.
* Background to TCAS - Editors' note:
The 'Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System' - known as 'TCAS' - is designed to scan for, detect, and interrogate the transponders of other aircraft in the nearby airspace vicinity. It then uses the received transponder signals to compute a distance, bearing and altitude relative to the nearby aircraft. The evaluated traffic information is displayed as symbols on the Navigation Display.
As TCAS checks the other aircraft’s relative distance permanently in short-time intervals, it can, therefore, also calculate the other aircraft’s closure rate relative to its own aircraft position. When TCAS detects that an aircraft's distance or closure rate becomes critical, it generates aural and visual annunciations for the pilots. Mandated on aircraft carrying more than 30 passengers since 1993, TCAS is now compulsory on all aircraft types.

DTN News: AU Peacekeepers And Rebels In Deadly Clashes

DTN News: AU Peacekeepers And Rebels In Deadly Clashes
*Source: DTN News / Defense Media
(NSI News Source Info) MOGADISHU, Somalia - August 23, 2009: Fighting erupted between AU peacekeepers, Islamist rebels and government forces and in Somalia's capital Mogadishu today, killing at least 22 people, witnesses and medical staff said. Somali government soldiers patrol in the capital Mogadishu, August, 22, 2009. Fighting erupted between Islamist rebels, government forces and African Union (AU) peacekeepers in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Friday, killing at least 22 people, witnesses and medical staff said. Battles broke out around the city's strategic K4 junction after the insurgents launched a pre-dawn attack on an AU base and on government troops. Witnesses said the clashes spread to three other districts and that most of the dead were civilians. The toll was expected to increase as the fighting continued through the morning. Fearful residents cowered in their homes as mortar shells detonated around them and bullets tore into walls. "We have seen 17 dead people and taken 40 others to hospitals," senior ambulance official Ali Musa told Reuters. A business leader in Mogadishu's sprawling Bakara Market said a further five people had died there when a mortar bomb exploded in a busy restaurant. Western security agencies say Somalia, torn by civil war for 18 years, has become a haven for Islamist militants plotting attacks in the Horn of Africa and beyond. Adding to the carnage, residents said Ethiopian troops also fought battles on the border in Bakool region with ethnic Somali rebels from the Ogaden National Liberation Front. Ethiopian officials could not immediately be reached for comment. The international community wants to bolster the UN-backed government of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, which is fighting several rebel movements, including al Shabaab. The US says that group is al Qaeda's proxy in Somalia. Battles have been taking place across central and southern regions this week as pro-government militia try to seize towns from al Shabaab and another insurgent group, Hizbul Islam. At least 33 people died at Bula Burde in the southern Hiran region yesterday, and 12 more died when al Shabaab fighters drove pro-government gunmen out of Bulahawa. That was just four days after the Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca militants seized that town from al Shabaab. Meanwhile, Hizbul Islam retook control of Luuq, another town in the Gedo region. The rebels say Ethiopian soldiers are fighting alongside the pro-government militiamen inside Somalia. Ethiopia denies it. Violence has killed more than 18 000 Somalis since the start of 2007 and driven another 1 million from their homes.

DTN News: India To Install Radars In Maldives

DTN News: India To Install Radars In Maldives *Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - August 23, 2009: India will help the Republic of Maldives build a maritime surveillance system, among other defense-cooperative measures agreed to during the Aug. 20-22 visit of India Defence Minister A.K. Antony to the Indian Ocean island nation. The system's radars will be linked to the Indian Navy and Coastal Guard headquarters, a senior Indian Navy official said. India is also likely to give Maldives two Coast Guard helicopters in coming months, the Navy official said. Indian Defence Ministry sources said Maldives is emerging as an important logistics and intelligence base for India. Antony and his delegation met with Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed and Defence Minister Ameen Faisal, who told reporters Aug. 21 that the security concerns of both countries are intertwined. Analysts said the move was part of India's efforts to counter growing Chinese influence in the region. "If China is building a port in Hambantota, India outflanks the same by a strong presence in Male and so on. What could even be termed as a great game in the Indian Ocean will be seen in the years ahead," said defense analyst Rahul Bhonsle, a retired Army brigadier. But Zach Mathews, a retired Indian Navy commodore, said India is more worried about countering Pakistan's influence on the island chain, which is 400 nautical miles from the Indian coast. "Maldives is a Muslim country, and having an independent nation close to the Indian subcontinent and under control of forces inimical to India would be a disaster," Mathews said. In 1988, India sent forces to Maldives at the request of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom during a coup attempt. When the Indian troops arrived in Maldives by air, the terrorists and rebels escaped from Male but were overpowered by Indian Navy warships. Maldives has an India-First policy, says Vijay Sakhuja, a director at the Indian Council of World Affairs here. "Maldives has emphatically denied that there are Chinese naval facilities on any of its island territories and assured [us] that it has no plans [to allow any] in the future. Instead, it seeks an exclusive security arrangement with India and does not wish to approach regional and extraregional powers for such agreements," said Sakhuja. Analysts said Maldives needs help securing its littorals from piracy, terrorism, contraband trade, drug smuggling and human smuggling by local and foreign actors. "There is a need not just for Indian interests, but also [for] overall global interests, given the large quantum of trade passing through this region, which is likely to grow exponentially once the present financial crisis recedes. Unless these sea lanes are secured, there would be many more Somalia-like situations happening in the region," said Bhonsle. "I would not view it as an Indian security net but a global trade security net for which other South Asian countries of Sri Lanka and Maldives and those on the East African coast would remain critical. This global trade safety net through the Indian Ocean will be led by India, given the strategic location and large naval presence." The Indian delegation also included Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, DG Armed Forces Medical Services Lt. Gen. N.K. Parmar, DG Coast Guard Vice Adm. Anil Chopra and Deputy Chief of Navy Staff Vice Adm. D.K. Joshi, according to an Indian Defence Ministry press release.

DTN News: Out Of Africa And Into China And Emigres Struggle

DTN News: Out Of Africa And Into China And Emigres Struggle *Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) BEIJING, China - August 23, 2009: Sweating heavily and yelling at Chinese police officers, a group of Nigerians dragged the lifeless body of an injured compatriot up to a Guangzhou police station, blood dripping from a deep gash on his head. Around them, a crowd of over one hundred Africans chanted, some holding sticks as others smashed potted plants and blocked traffic, demanding justice from the Chinese police after officers chased the man out of a high-rise window in a tightening security crackdown on illegal overstayers in the city this year. "They don't like black people to stay in China any more. They want us to go," said Frank, one of the Nigerians at the protest on July 15 that was filmed by witnesses. "They treat us like animals," added Frank, an illegal overstayer, who wouldn't give his name for fear of reprisals. The spontaneous protest a rare direct confrontation between foreigners and authorities in China is a vivid reminder of the challenges faced by Beijing's stability-obsessed Communist Party as it engages with the world and builds up trade links abroad. In the past few years, tens of thousands of African and Arab traders have thronged to export hubs like Guangzhou and Yiwu in eastern China to seek their fortunes sourcing cheap China-made goods back home to massive mark-ups in a growing, lucrative trade. But just as mass Chinese immigration abroad has fanned recent social tensions in Africa and other places, the influx of large numbers of foreigners, particularly Africans, into China is altering the social fabric of cities like Guangzhou and proving a headache to authorities. While this rising tide of foreigners has brought vast economic gains, the edgy cosmopolitanism of melding cultures and liberal ideals has been laced with racial and social tensions, along with the problem of illegal overstayers resorting to crime. "While most black people are engaged in valuable trading activities, others are staying illegally, working without valid permits or smuggling," said Peng Peng, the research director of the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, a provincial thinktank. "How to manage this is becoming a very big problem." Culture clash Guangzhou's African community began swelling in the late 1990s with a trickle of traders from Mali, but in the past five years, numbers have nearly tripled on a wave of Nigerians to around 20-30 000 according to Peng, though reports suggest there could be as many as 100 000 if overstayers are factored in. While Africans have moved to other cosmopolitan Chinese cities like Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing, those in Guangzhou are most conspicuous filling the streets in a district known as "Little Africa" replete with ethnic shops, eateries, and export malls crammed with all manner of goods including fake designer jeans, wigs, bright African textiles and VCD players. But the influx has also caused unease among local Chinese. Some neighbourhood committee’s bar Africans from living in residential complexes, while Internet forums such as Tianya buzz with heated, at times xenophobic, discussions of "black person" issues in the city. "A lot of Chinese don't like Africans, but there's nothing we can do. They're flooding into Guangzhou," wrote one blogger on Tianya. Others blamed the immigrants for problems from drug peddling and petty theft, to the spread of HIV among prostitutes. On the streets, while explicit racism is rare among conservative Chinese urbanites, fights do sometimes break out between Africans and Chinese over business disputes. "Racial stereotypes on both sides do exist it's indicative of starkly different cultures," said Martyn Davies, a China expert at South Africa's Stellenbosch University. "The challenge of the whole China-Africa relationship is going to be cultural acceptance. It's not about capital or management skill or whatever, it's about culture and essentially to break down stereotypes they have of one another." Security squeeze In perhaps the most stark indication of official discomfort with mass African immigration, Guangzhou authorities have refused to allow more open and transparent immigration policies, particularly for visa-extensions. In numerous interviews with African traders and illegal overstayers in the city, frustrations at restrictive and inconsistent visa policies have risen, exacerbating the plight of Africans opting to stay on expired visas to keep their businesses flowing, and thereby avoid costly flights home and back again. "It's very rough," said Emeka Ven Chukwu, a 30-year-old Nigerian based in Guangzhou. "It's been happening for a long time. Even before the Olympics, it has been very difficult to extend (visas)." Resentment toward the police has also grown amid the recent spate of overnight raids and perceptions of corruption. "They just want to arrest you, collect money, then arrest you again," said Paul Omoshola, a Nigerian businessman in Guangzhou. Visa extensions, seen as critical for traders and fixers to stay beyond the usual 30-day visa period while difficult to obtain through official channels can be arranged relatively easily through Chinese agents for large fees of $2,000 upwards. Guangzhou's Public Security Bureau would not comment on its visa and security policies when contacted by Reuters. "One thing that has been very apparent is the arbitrariness of visa issuance in China," said Gordon Mathews, an academic at Hong Kong's Chinese University who has studied the issue. With the recent ethnic unrest in Xinjiang having unnerved Beijing, some experts say there could be a further tightening of visas going forward, particularly with sensitive anniversaries and events coming up. "During the Asian Games (in 2010) there will definitely be some level of control, this is normal. After the Games, we can loosen things a little," said Peng, the thinktank director. Ademola Oladele, a spokesperson at the Nigerian Embassy in Beijing, noted the need for authorities to crack down on illegal overstayers. But he also expressed concern at the recent police raid that sparked such anger among hundreds of Nigerians. "If there is any clamping down on illegal immigrants it is fine. That's their law. But it should not be done in an inhumane way or a way that could affect a life," said Oladele. Still doing business Sino-Africa trade exceeded the $100 billion (R786 billion) mark last year, a jump of 45 % on the year before, fueled at one end by China's demand for Africa's energy and natural resources, and Africa's love of cheap Chinese goods at the other. The recent problems in Guangzhou however, underscore the risks of such rapid changes exacerbating cultural and religious differences that might otherwise be avoided through more sensitive policy-making. Despite all the problems facing Africans hoping to lay deeper roots in Guangzhou, securing short-term visas for events like the Canton Fair, Asia's top trade fair, is comparatively easy. "It's a piece of cake," said Nampewo Sylivia, a young single businesswoman from Uganda happily browsing clumps of wigs made from real and fake hair at the Canaan Wholesale Trading Center. "It's still far easier to get a China visa than an American one," she added. While African traders say business has fallen sharply this year given a slump in African demand during the downturn and sliding exchange rates, many remain drawn to China's potential. "China produces nearly everything that you need in the world, said Omoshola, the Nigerian trader who was also at the protest. "We are still here doing business," he added.