Sunday, October 18, 2009

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 18, 2009 ~ Pakistan Army Continues Assault On al-Qaeda And Taliban Strongholds In South Waziristan

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 18, 2009 ~ Pakistan Army Continues Assault On al-Qaeda And Taliban Strongholds In South Waziristan
*Source: DTN News / BBC (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - October 18, 2009: A Pakistan army offensive against al-Qaeda and Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan has entered its second day with dozens of casualties reported. Pakistan Army troops prepare to leave for patrolling during a curfew in Bannu, a town on the edge of Pakistan's lawless tribal belt Waziristan, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009. More than 30,000 Pakistani soldiers launched a much-awaited ground offensive in an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan along the Afghan border, officials told The Associated Press - the nuclear-armed U.S. ally's toughest test yet against militants aiming to topple the state. A BBC correspondent in the region says there is a stalemate as 30,000 Pakistani troops, backed by tanks and artillery, encounter stiff resistance. The army operation - the biggest for six years - comes after weeks of air strikes against militant targets. Thousands of refugees are streaming into camps just outside the area. There have been several co-ordinated Taliban attacks in recent days, killing more than 150 people in cities across Pakistan. A Pakistan army truck transporting heavy artillery passes through the main bazaar of Tank, a town on the edge of Pakistan troubled tribal region South Waziristan, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009. More than 30,000 Pakistani soldiers launched a ground offensive against al-Qaida and the Taliban's main stronghold along the Afghan border Saturday, officials said, in the country's toughest test yet against a strengthening insurgency. Dozens of casualties have already been reported by local officials as both sides used heavy weapons. The bodies of three Pakistan soldiers were taken to the northern town of Razmak. There have also been unconfirmed reports of militant deaths. AT THE SCENE Syed Shoaib Hasan, BBC News, South Waziristan border The fighting in South Waziristan is fierce and it is intense. Local administration officials say the Taliban are resisting fiercely as troops try to push into their territory. Dozens of casualties have taken place, they say, and both sides are using heavy weapons. Meanwhile locals from South Waziristan are facing great difficulty in leaving the area. All roads have been blocked by the military which is using them to transport ammunition and arms into the heart of the battle. The transport and communication network has been effectively crippled. The casualties are now expected to rise as the terrain gets difficult for ground troops to operate in against the battle-hardened Taliban. Eyewitness: At the edge of war Nearly all communications in the region were down after the Taliban destroyed a telecommunications tower at Tiarza, local officials said. Reports from the area are sketchy as it is difficult and dangerous for foreign or Pakistani journalists to operate inside South Waziristan. Aerial bombardments in the Makeen area, a stronghold of the Mehsud tribe and a key army target, were also reported by local officials and witnesses. The ground operation comes after weeks of air and artillery strikes against militant targets in the region, which lies close to the Afghan border. Thousands of civilians have fled South Waziristan in anticipation of the offensive. Aid agencies say that many more are expected to flee but the tough terrain and the Taliban's grip on the area will present difficulties. Transport has been difficult as roads have been blocked by the military. There is a huge army presence on the road between Tank and Dera Ismail Khan, says the BBC's Islamabad correspondent Shoaib Hasan, near South Waziristan. On his way to South Waziristan, he passed several army convoys on the road. The mobilisation came a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani held a meeting of the country's senior political and military leadership. Lengthy planning Recent militant attacks were seen as an attempt to divide public opinion, but they appear to have strengthened the resolve of the government, which says the Taliban must now be eliminated, our correspondent added. FORCES IN WAZIRISTAN Pakistan army: Two divisions totalling 28,000 soldiers Frontier Corp: Paramilitary forces from tribal areas likely to support army Taliban militants: Estimated between 10,000 and 20,000 Uzbek fighters supporting Taliban: Estimates widely vary between 500-5,000 Challenges in Waziristan Pakistanis reflect on offensive The army has been massing troops near the militants' stronghold for months - ever since the governor of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province announced a ground offensive in South Waziristan on 15 June. Pakistan's government has been under considerable pressure from the US to tackle militancy there. North and South Waziristan form a lethal militant belt from where insurgents have launched attacks across north-west Pakistan as well as into parts of eastern Afghanistan. South Waziristan is considered to be the first significant sanctuary for Islamic militants outside Afghanistan since 9/11. It also has numerous training camps for suicide bombers.
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DTN News: Embraer Sells Second ERJ 135 Jet To The Royal Thai Navy

DTN News: Embraer Sells Second ERJ 135 Jet To The Royal Thai Navy
*Thai government buys four aircraft of the same model in less than two years.
*Source: DTN News / Embraer (NSI News Source Info) SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS, Brazil - October 18, 2009: Embraer has signed a contract with the Royal Thai Navy for the sale of its second ERJ 135 jet. Added to the other two orders made by the Royal Thai Army, this is the fourth aircraft acquired by the Thai government in less than two years, all of which are the Long-Range (LR) version. This acquisition is included in Embraer’s firm order backlog for the third quarter of 2009.
“We are honored by the choice of the Royal Thai Navy to acquire a second ERJ 135 jet, confirming the suitability of this aircraft model to the needs of Thailand’s armed forces, and shows the confidence that they have in Embraer’s products in the official transportation segment,” said Acir Padilha, Embraer Vice President, Marketing and Sales – Defense Market. “As a result, we are gradually increasing and consolidating our presence in Thailand.”
The first deal between Embraer and the Thai government was announced in November 2007, involving two aircraft – one for the Army and another for the Navy – both of which were delivered at the end of 2008. Early in 2009, Embraer revealed the acquisition of a second ERJ 135 by the Royal Thai Army.
As in the previous contracts, this new contract with the Navy includes a logistical package and provisions for a Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) installation kit. Thailand is the first military operator in Southeast Asia to use the ERJ 135 jet for civilian and military official transportation and MEDEVAC missions.
About the ERJ 135 jet
The ERJ 135 is a member of the successful ERJ 145 family, which has delivered over 1,100 units and accumulated more than 15 million flight hours. The ERJ 135 can handle a broad variety of missions and has a high level of commonality with the ERJ 145 jet.
Based on the ERJ 135 platform, Embraer launched the Legacy 600 executive jet, an aircraft with more than 170 units delivered that offers customer premium comfort, high dispatch reliability, and low operating cost. In the defense segment, this platform has efficiently performed government transportation and medical evacuation missions for Belgium, Brazil, Greece, India, and Nigeria.
The ERJ 135 jet offers military customers a combination of modern equipment, advanced systems redundancy, and low maintenance cost, as well as a high level of readiness. The success of the ERJ 145 family of jets in the regional commercial aviation market is marked by constantly increasing efficiency and cost reduction, which are achieved by less frequent inspections and shorter turn-around times. These characteristics make it possible for Embraer’s military aircraft based on the ERJ 145 platform to fly over 3,000 hours per year.
Embraer (Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica S.A. - NYSE: ERJ; Bovespa: EMBR3) is the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial jets up to 120 seats, and one of Brazil’s leading exporters. Embraer’s headquarters are located in São José dos Campos, São Paulo, and it has offices, industrial operations and customer service facilities in Brazil, the United States, France, Portugal, China and Singapore. Founded in 1969, the Company designs, develops, manufactures and sells aircraft for the commercial aviation, executive aviation, and defense segments. The Company also provides after sales support and services to customers worldwide. On September 30, 2009, Embraer ( had a workforce of 16,986 employees – not counting the employees of its subsidiaries OGMA and HEAI – and its firm order backlog totaled US$ 18.6 billion.
This document may contain projections, statements and estimates regarding circumstances or events yet to take place. Those projections and estimates are based largely on current expectations, forecasts on future events and financial tendencies that affect Embraer’s businesses. Those estimates are subject to risks, uncertainties and suppositions that include, among others: general economic, political and trade conditions in Brazil and in those markets where Embraer does business; expectations on industry trends; the Company’s investment plans; its capacity to develop and deliver products on the dates previously agreed upon, and existing and future governmental regulations. The words “believe”, “may”, “is able”, “will be able”, “intend”, “continue”, “anticipate”, “expect” and other similar terms are supposed to identify potentialities. Embraer does not feel compelled to publish updates nor to revise any estimates due to new information, future events or any other facts. In view of the inherent risks and uncertainties, such estimates, events and circumstances may not take place. The actual results can therefore differ substantially from those previously published as Embraer expectations.

DTN News: General Dynamics Receives $62 Million For Submarine Support Work

DTN News: General Dynamics Receives $62 Million For Submarine Support Work
*Source: DTN News / General Dynamics
(NSI News Source Info) GROTON, Conn. - October 18, 2009: The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat $61.8 million to extend two existing contracts for submarine modernization and maintenance and reactor-plant planning yard work. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE:GD).
Under a $43.7 million modification, Electric Boat will continue to perform non-nuclear submarine modernization and repair services at the Naval Submarine Support Facility in Groton in support of submarines, the Shippingport floating dry-dock as well as support and service craft. This is a modification to a five-year contract initially awarded in October 2006 that has a total potential value of $201.8 million if all options are exercised and funded. About 270 Electric Boat employees are engaged in the work.
Additionally, Electric Boat will provide reactor-plant planning yard services for nuclear submarines and support yard services for moored training ships under a separate $18.1 million contract modification.
General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately 92,000 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
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~ 10/15/2009 General Dynamics to Develop Secure Employment Cards for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Program ~ 10/9/2009 General Dynamics Awarded Contract for Stryker Production ~ 10/8/2009 General Dynamics Elects William A. Osborn to Board of Directors ~ 10/6/2009 General Dynamics Awarded $140 Million Contract by the U.S. Coast Guard ~ 10/6/2009 General Dynamics Awarded $321 Million by U.S. Navy for Nuclear-Submarine Support Work ~ 10/5/2009 General Dynamics Awarded U.S. Army Contract for Engineering and Manufacturing Services ~ 10/5/2009 General Dynamics Awarded $16 Million for Chemical Detection Systems Production ~ 10/1/2009 General Dynamics Awarded $58 Million for Abrams Tank System Technical Support ~ 9/30/2009 General Dynamics Itronix Offers Gobi Wireless 3G Technology in Rugged Mobile Computing Products ~ 9/30/2009 General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Awarded $153 Million Navy Submarine Contract ~ 9/28/2009 General Dynamics Awarded $86 Million for Sustainment of U.S. Marine Corps’ Mobile Combat Operations Centers ~ 9/25/2009 U.S. Navy Awards General Dynamics $10 Million for Common Missile Compartment Work ~ 9/25/2009 General Dynamics Awarded $7 Million for Saudi Tank Work ~ 9/25/2009 General Dynamics Awarded $24 Million to Provide Remote Weapon Systems That Protect Tank Commanders ~ 9/22/2009 General Dynamics NASSCO Starts Construction of the Future USNS William McLean ~ 9/21/2009 General Dynamics Awarded $37 Million Contract by U.S. Air Force for ‘Identification Friend or Foe’ Cryptographic Modules

DTN News: Northrop Grumman's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Successfully Completes First Catapult Launch Tests

DTN News: Northrop Grumman's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Successfully Completes First Catapult Launch Tests
*Program On-Track for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation in 2011 *Source: DTN News / Northrop Grumman
(NSI News Source Info) BETHPAGE, N.Y.,- October 18, 2009: In preparation for its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), Northrop Grumman's (NYSE:NOC) first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye test aircraft, known as Delta One, has successfully completed its first land-based catapult launch tests - a required phase of testing prior to fleet introduction.
Northrop Grumman's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye successfully completed its first land-based catapult launch tests at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. Both E-2D System Development and Demonstration aircraft are currently undergoing shore based carrier suitability testing in preparation for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation. Introduced in 2007, and built on the strong legacy of providing world-class airborne early warning and control capability for more than 45 years, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye will provide the warfighter with the expanded battlespace and situational awareness required for today's and tomorrow's missions.
Both E-2D System Development and Demonstration (SDD) aircraft, Delta One and Delta Two, are currently undergoing shore-based carrier suitability testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., conducted by the U.S. Navy's Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 (VX-20). A photo accompanying this release is available at "Since transitioning to NAS Pax River from our East Coast Aircraft Manufacturing and Flight Test Center in St. Augustine, Fla., earlier this year, both E-2D SDD aircraft have been performing well," said Jim Culmo, Northrop Grumman vice president of Airborne Early Warning and Battle Management Command and Control Programs. "This latest milestone brings us that much closer to delivering this state-of-the-art airborne early warning capability to the U.S. Navy and demonstrates the tireless commitment and dedication of the joint Advanced Hawkeye team to successfully meeting, or exceeding, all program milestones." Prior to joining the carrier fleet, all naval aviation aircraft undergo carrier suitability testing. The bulk of this testing involves catapult and arrested landing structural tests, as well as the interoperability between the aircraft and the carrier. In the cockpit for the first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye catapult test were Northrop Grumman Flight Test Pilot Les Ryan, and Dan Carrigg, Wyle flight test pilot. "There is nothing more exhilarating than being 'shot' off the deck of a carrier at more than 100 miles per hour," said Ryan. "This phase of testing is critical to ensure that the aircraft can structurally handle the rigors of carrier operations. We completed multiple launches and, during each one, Delta One performed as expected -- with no noted anomalies." Introduced in 2007, and built on the E-2's strong legacy of providing world-class airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) capability for more than 45 years, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the sixth generation of the E-2. While its external appearance is similar to the E-2C, the internal systems of the Advanced Hawkeye have been completely redesigned and the capabilities vastly expanded. With its newly developed, more powerful AN/APY-9 Electronic Scan Array (ESA) radar, the E-2D will provide the warfighter with the expanded battlespace and situational awareness required for today's and tomorrow's missions. Under a $408 million contract awarded in July 2007, Northrop Grumman is producing three E-2D pilot production aircraft which are on-track for delivery to the U.S. Navy in 2010. Following the successful completion of a Milestone C review, a $432 million contract, awarded in June, kicked off Low-Rate Initial Production. The Navy's Program of Record is for 75 total E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. 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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~ Oct 16, 2009 Northrop Grumman to Provide Air Traffic Control Communications Upgrades for Gimpo International Airport, South Korea ~ Oct 16, 2009 Northrop Grumman Showcases End-to-End Geospatial Capabilities At GEOINT 2009 ~ Oct 15, 2009 Photo Release -- Northrop Grumman Names David T. Perry to Lead Company's Naval and Marine Systems Division ~ Oct 15, 2009 Northrop Grumman Showcases Its Global Security Capabilities At the Seoul Airshow 2009 ~ Oct 15, 2009 Northrop Grumman Wins U.S. Navy Knowledge Management and Process Support Contract for Integrated Logistics Services ~ Oct 14, 2009 Northrop Grumman to Webcast 2009 Third Quarter Financial Results Conference Call ~ Oct 14, 2009 Northrop Grumman Celebrates 60 Years in Marine Radar ~ Oct 13, 2009 Photo Release -- Northrop Grumman Opens New Facilities for Design and Manufacture of Unmanned Ground Vehicles in Coventry, UK ~ Oct 13, 2009 Northrop Grumman Awarded Army Security Assistance Training Contract ~ Oct 12, 2009 Photo Release -- Four Northrop Grumman Employees Honored At Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference ~ Oct 12, 2009 Photo Release -- Northrop Grumman Appoints Edward Swallow Vice President of Business Development, Civil Systems Division ~ Oct 12, 2009 Photo Release -- Northrop Grumman Appoints Larry Dodgen Corporate Lead Executive for Huntsville, Ala. ~ Oct 9, 2009 Northrop Grumman-built LCROSS Satellite Impacts Moon

DTN News: Raytheon Achieves Site Acceptance Test for Two U.S. Air Force Intelligence Ground Systems

DTN News: Raytheon Achieves Site Acceptance Test for Two U.S. Air Force Intelligence Ground Systems
*Source: DTN News / Raytheon
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, US - October 18, 2009: Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has accomplished two major requirements of the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) contract, completing the site acceptance testing of two operational Distributed Ground Systems: DGS-2 at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., and DGS-4 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. More Than 100 DIB Installations The DIB software is installed in more than 100 systems around the world, and is a key enabler for information sharing and collaboration among previously isolated intelligence centers. The next-generation DIB, known as DIB 1.3, will address standards compliance, baseline convergence, enterprise interoperability and unique U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy requirements. DGS-2 Full-spectrum Dominance Raytheon is the prime contractor of DCGS, leading a diverse team of partners and suppliers. DCGS provides continuous on-demand intelligence brokering to achieve full-spectrum dominance so that U.S. and coalition warfighters can change the course of events in hours, minutes or even seconds. The environment provides physical and electronic distribution of current and archived ISR data and enables the integration of processes and systems. Key capabilities of the system: Information System interoperability, including standards compliance Network-centric system providing a global C4ISR enterprise Platform-independent, service-oriented architecture enabling use of services-unique applications Software applications providing real-time control of ISR assets Robust security and attributable safeguards Formal system functional and performance testing at the factory and at DGS-2 have verified satisfaction of more than 99 percent of the system requirements. The system is progressing toward operational testing in the summer of 2009. DGS-4 Solaris 10 Baseline The system being integrated at DGS-4 is similar in design to the DGS-2 site but has several upgrades, including a Solaris 10 baseline that has been fully tested in the factory before on-site delivery. Rigorous factory acceptance testing was successfully completed one month early and included: Complete system test preformed by analysts Full performance test with internal and external users System test and evaluation test conducted and approved in factory interim authority to operate Recorded mission data live feeds not available in factory All category one deficiency report’s have approved waivers with primary government furnished equipment and unavailable live interfaces The installation and testing at the site have progressed ahead of schedule. DCGS Provided to Air National Guard Sites The latest Distributed Common Ground system, DCGS 10.2, at U.S. Air National Guard sites in Indiana, Kansas and Massachusetts provides core capabilities that are equal to primary DCGS locations. The Air National Guard’s mission is changing in five states from an air mission to an intelligence mission. This new mission will use the full capabilities of the DCGS enterprise. Raytheon has Several Firsts at Empire Challenge 2008 The annual Empire Challenge is designed to test and demonstrate techniques, standards and procedures for interoperation between U.S. and coalition ISR assets and systems, using a variety of U.S. and allied DCGS ground systems. At the Empire Challenge 2008, Raytheon accomplished several industry firsts, including enhancing data sharing with coalition forces and multiple coalition sites worldwide. "The DCGS Block 10.2 enterprise is about to change everything in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasking, processing, exploitation and dissemination," said Anthony DiFurio, director for Raytheon's Multi-Intelligence Systems. "We are at the pinnacle of adopting everyday social media technologies to intelligence analysts." During the testing, Raytheon and the Air Force conducted a series of functional and performance tests, with representatives from the Air Force program office and the Defense Contract Management Agency observing and evaluating the results. The system shared intelligence data with the DCGS processing, exploitation and dissemination system operation center. It soon will be with Distributed Ground System Experimental (DGS-X) at Langley Air Force Base, Va. DiFurio added, "The system is processing ISR data faster than the original requirements and shows even more robust capabilities to fight the overseas contingency operations." When fully fielded, DCGS Block 10.2 will be a worldwide distributed, network-centric enterprise architecture that enables collaborative intelligence operations and production. Its environment provides for both the physical and electronic distribution of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data, processes and systems. Raytheon IIS is a leading provider of intelligence and information solutions, specializing in ground processing, unmanned ground systems, cybersecurity operations, homeland security and other markets to resolve the most complex problems for our customers worldwide. IIS had 2008 revenues of $3.1 billion and employs more than 9,000 engineering and technical professionals worldwide. 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
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DTN News: Korea ~ There Is Great Fear Upon The Land

DTN News: Korea ~ There Is Great Fear Upon The Land *Source: Strategy Page (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - October 18, 2009: North Korea has failed to cope with the food shortage situation over the Summer. The solution was supposed to be the "150 Day Battle" program, that put hundreds of thousands of urban people on the farms, in a vain attempt to save the harvest. It failed. South Korean conservative activists hold portraits of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and mock missiles during a rally denouncing North Korea's missile test in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009. North Korea appears to be preparing to fire more missiles, a news report said Tuesday, a day after launching a salvo in what could be an attempt to improve its bargaining position ahead of possible talks with the United States.
Factories and construction projects are still stalled because of a lack of components, raw materials or building materials. So the government has declared a "100 Day Battle," and told the urban "volunteers" to just stay on the farms (where they can more effectively scrounge for food, and not disturb the people remaining in the cities, with the sight of more starving people.) However, farmers provide little food for these "volunteers". These two "battles" are also an attempt to cripple the markets, which became legal in the last decade, but are but are now feared by the leadership because the system has produced millions of wealthier and more savvy citizens who are seen as a threat to communist rule. Overall, the "battles" annoyed most people, and were counterproductive. Both China and North Korea fear American influence and power, and independent minded people who have become wealthier because of market economies. But the Chinese also make no secret of their fear of a collapse of the North Korean government, and subsequent chaos. With the North Korean economy continuing to crumble, the Chinese doubt the ability of the North Korean government to keep things under control. North Korea has, for most of the year, been deliberately irritating South Korea. Despite the looming famine in the north, North Korea is mostly obsessed with imaginary foreign plots to undermine communist rule in the north. They refuse to believe that the biggest danger to communist rule is their own disastrous decision making. This drives China and South Korea mad, especially when they find they can't even get the northern politicians to even admit that they have some leadership problems. But the food shortage problems are real, and now North Korea is offering South Korea more reunions of families separated by the Korean War (1950-3), but only if South Korea supplies lots of free food. South Korea is holding out for concessions on nuclear weapons. Among the North Korean people, there is great fear about food shortages this Winter. Crops this year were very had, about half what they normally would be. But communist officials try to soothe everyone with promises that, by January, the U.S. will have caved and shipped in large supplies of free food. Apparently, northerners have taken South Korea and Japan at their word, that no free food will arrive unless the nuclear weapons are dismantled. But America is seen as weak, and likely to give in and supply food to the starving North Koreans. Russia and Vietnam have shipped in some free food, but shortages are growing. It's believed that North Korea needs about a million tons of food (mainly rice and wheat) to make up for shortages this year. Normally, food would be cheaper in the markets this time of year, because of the recent harvest. But instead, prices have gone up eight percent. Even members of key government agencies are not getting the usual amounts of food, and are going hungry. In the cities, the effects of the growing hunger can be seen. People move more slowly and listlessly. Facial expressions are blank, or desperate. There is great fear upon the land. North Korea is now demanding one-on-one talks with the U.S., before it will do any negotiating about its nuclear program. Talks with the U.S. might cover North Korean nukes, but only in return for a lot of economic aid, and the withdrawal of American forces from South Korea. But South Korea and Japan are fed up with over a decade of North Korean extortion and are no longer willing to provide free food to North Korea unless the nuclear weapons program is shut down. North Korea refuses to consider this. China has convinced North Korea to allow another bridge, costing $150 million, across the Yalu river (that forms their border). North Korea had resisted this offer for years, as they saw the bridge as a military threat, being that it would enable China to move troops into North Korea more quickly. The fear of a Chinese takeover is real in North Korea, and has been for decades. But China is North Korea's biggest trading partner (annual trade is nearing $3 billion a year) and ultimate source of essential food and fuel supplies (some free, some must be paid for). North Korea wants China to provide the same kind of mutual security treaty that the U.S. and South Korea have. China has resisted this request, because it feared getting dragged into a war by the unpredictable leadership of the north. China, however, continues to taunt North Korea with the possibility of such a treaty. North Korean leaders remain nervous about China, especially the growing number of Chinese who live in North Korea to deal with the growing trade. There are over 10,000 of these Chinese, and North Korea police are watching, and often harassing, them more intensely. South Korean intelligence believes that North Korea has closed four of its ten labor camps in the last decade, and reduced the number of prisoners from 200,000 to 154,000. Those sent to these camps work ten or more hours a day on a starvation diet. If you are captured trying to escape, you are executed in front of your fellow inmates. More than ten percent of the prisoners die before finishing their sentence. Those that survive come out starved and terrified. The existence of the camps is a major element in the atmosphere of terror the communists maintain up north. The leadership in the north still agree that leader Kim Jong Il is dying, and that his successor will be the youngest son, 26 year old Kim Jong Un. Apparently Kim Jong Un is seen as a quick learner who will be ready to take over in three years. If Kim Jong Il does not last that long, there is agreement to have a temporary council rule, until Kin Jong Un has demonstrated his ability to handle things. That's assuming there's anything left to run. Some senior officials are making escape plans, gathering portable wealth and cultivating connections in China that would be useful for a getaway. There is a growing consensus that Kim Jong Il will be gone within three years, and that after that, chaos. Kim Jong Un is very similar to his father, and spends a lot of time trying to convince the senior leaders that the future is secure. Kim Jong Un currently has a third level management job in the Communist Party leadership. October 15, 2009: A retired South Korean air force general has been arrested and charged with espionage. The general was accused with providing information to a Swedish aircraft company that is trying to sell warplanes to South Korea. October 14, 2009: South Korea decided to build six smaller warships equipped with the Aegis combat system (high performance radar and SM-3 anti-missile missiles). South Korea is already building Aegis equipped warships. These 7,600 ton KDX III ships are similar to American Aegis destroyers of the same size. But the six new South Korean Aegis ships will be cheaper, 4,500 ton ships. There's no problem putting Aegis into smaller warships, it's just that it's rarely done. But South Korea sees this as a good investment in naval, and anti-missile, capability. October 13, 2009: North Korea fired five more short range missiles. This puzzled many foreign pundits, but if you look at the years when North Korea acquired many of these missiles, you'll note that many of them are "aging out" (becoming too old to be reliable.) The solid fuel of these missiles degrades with age. You can replace the rocket motor in these older missiles, but North Korea is broke and it's cheaper to fire the older missiles to get media attention, than it is to replace the rocket motors (and other components as well), or just leave the older missiles to rot. October 4, 2009: Another North Korean ship was caught anchoring illegally off the Indian coast. Coast Guard officials inspected the ship, which was empty, and found nothing. The captain said they dropped anchor to search for a leak, and apologized for not notifying the Indian coast guard. In South Korea, another North Korean small boat, with 11 civilians aboard, made its way from the north to the south. As some North Koreans become wealthier via the markets, they can afford to buy small (7 meter or so), boats that coastal radar have a hard time spotting, and equip them with outboard motors (that can take them hundreds of kilometers out to sea) and escape capture by the coast guard (which intensely patrols coastal border areas up to about 20 kilometers out.)
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DTN News: Packing A Punch With The T-72 ~ Versatile MBT

DTN News: Packing A Punch With The T-72 ~ Versatile MBT *Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, US - October 18, 2009: The effective use of decades-old Russian T-72 Main Battle Tanks in the brief Georgia conflict again shows how supposedly obsolete weapons can still play a potent and even decisive role in modern war. The Russian army did not rely exclusively on its 30-year-old T-72s. State-of-the-art T-90 Main Battle Tanks were also identified during Russia's brief but highly effective five-day drive into the former Soviet republic of Georgia from Aug. 8 to Aug 12. But the old T-72s, upgraded with explosive-reactive armor, were there too. The Russians pushed ahead with overwhelming concentration of force, according to classic Carl von Clausewitz principles, using artillery, tactical air support for ground forces and a mix of older T-72 MBTs and modern ones backed up with overwhelming forces of highly mobile infantry. Special Forces were used effectively to pre-emptively seize potential bottleneck positions in the heavily forested Caucasus Mountains to prevent Georgian forces from slowing down the Russian drive. In all, about 10,000 troops, still a very small proportion of the Russian armed forces, were used in the operation. As we have noted before in these columns, supposedly obsolete weapons systems can find surprisingly long leases of renewed life carrying out missions far different from the ones for which they were originally intended. By 1941 the British Hawker Hurricane was already obsolete as a front-line combat fighter -- its intended original role -- against the German Luftwaffe. The advent of the Focke-Wulf Fw-190 fighter and later marks of Messerschmitt Me-109s saw to that. Yet the Hurricane continued to perform valuable, far-flung service in a variety of roles until the surrender of Japan in August 1945, most notably as a tank buster providing tactical air support for the British army in its North African Desert and Burma campaigns. The old Soviet T-55 Main Battle Tank from the 1950s was notorious for its vulnerability to bursting into flame from a direct hit. But to this day, scores if not hundreds of them still do service as shows of military muscle for military dictatorships across sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. In the same way, the Russian army has been able to greatly extend the operational life of its old T-72s. Tank for tank, on paper they are no match for the more modern T-90s or U.S. Abrams MBTs. But when they are launched in operations such as the Russian drive into Georgia, they can still exert more than enough overwhelming force to fulfill the dictums of Clausewitz. This fact has been overlooked and forgotten by Western pundits since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the miserable performance of the Russian army in the First Chechen War of 1994-96 confirmed that the army had indeed become almost useless, weak, demoralized and disorganized during the chaotic early years in power of President Boris Yeltsin. But that was then and this is now. The Russian army still today could prove no match for the U.S. Army and its NATO allies at the peak of their power, but it doesn't have to. The U.S. Army and Marines have been exhausted by their ongoing commitment in Iraq fighting a relatively small but ongoing low-intensity counterinsurgency war against Sunni Muslim insurgents over the past five and a half years. And the nations of the European Union in general have allowed their conventional forces to run down to an extreme degree since the collapse of communism.

DTN News: Happening Too Often Now ~ The Lights Are Going Out All Over Europe

DTN News: Happening Too Often Now ~ The Lights Are Going Out All Over Europe *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BONN, Germany - October 18, 2009: European nations are alarmed at the recent increase in probes, via the Internet, of public utilities (electricity, water, sewage, transportation). Cyber War experts are divided on whether this is just the next big thing in criminal activity (finding out how to shut down utilities via the Internet, then using the threat of that to extort money), or military Cyber War operations, scouting utilities in anticipation of damaging them in wartime or a time of crises. A lot of these probes can be traced back to the usual sources (China, Eastern Europe and the Middle East), the places where many of the Internet based criminal gangs hide out. So far this year, there has been an increase in probes, but not attacks. At least as far as anyone knows. However, the most professional Internet attacks are unnoticed (as the intruder gets away with data, or a deep understanding of how the target site operates, and thus a good knowledge of how to take it down.) Utilities, and large corporations in general, are being urged (and sometimes ordered) to check, and double check, the adequacy of their Internet defenses.