Friday, October 23, 2009

DTN News: NASA, Northrop Grumman Announce Initial Flight Of Global Hawk Unmanned System For Environmental Science Research

DTN News: NASA, Northrop Grumman Announce Initial Flight Of Global Hawk Unmanned System For Environmental Science Research *Source: DTN News / Northrop Grumman
(NSI News Source Info) EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., - October 24, 2009: NASA and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) today announced the initial flight of a Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to be used for environmental science research.
With the sun rising at its back, one of NASA's Global Hawks prepares for a taxi test on the runways of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The autonomously operated aircraft are managed by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center.
Photos are available at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center and Northrop Grumman are returning NASA's two Global Hawk aircraft to flight under a Space Act Agreement signed in 2008. The two aircraft were among the seven Global Hawk vehicles built and flown in the original Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The aircraft that flew today last took to the skies in May 2003. Today's approximately four-hour flight at NASA Dryden included checkout of aircraft systems, including engine, flight controls and communication. The flight also included demonstration of key features of a new ground control segment that introduces Northrop Grumman's common mission management system architecture. This architecture could serve as the baseline for efforts to support the U.S. Department of Defense common ground station initiative and future unmanned systems. The first Earth science mission will be the joint NASA-NOAA Global Hawk Pacific, or GloPac. This campaign will consist of six long-duration missions over the Pacific and Arctic regions scheduled to begin in early 2010. Eleven NASA and NOAA scientific instruments integrated into one of NASA's Global Hawk aircraft will collect atmospheric data while flying through the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. The primary science objective of the mission is to perform calibration of instruments and validation of data from the AURA satellite, one of NASA's 15 science satellites currently observing the Earth. "This is the future," said Paul Newman, project scientist for the GloPac mission at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "We are taking the first steps into making scientific measurements with an unmanned system -- a hybrid of a satellite and an aircraft." "Northrop Grumman looks forward to the first GloPac flight, which will herald yet another application of Global Hawk's remarkable capabilities," said Corey Moore, vice president of Advanced Concepts-Air and Land Systems for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "In addition to its support of the U.S. Air Force in the war against terrorism, Global Hawk has been used to help monitor wildfires in California and for hurricane relief efforts along the Gulf Coast." The two NASA Global Hawk aircraft were transferred to NASA Dryden by the U.S. Air Force in 2007. NASA announced plans to use them for missions supporting its Science Mission Directorate and the Earth science community that require high-altitude, long-endurance, long-distance airborne capability. Northrop Grumman will share in use of the aircraft to conduct its own flight demonstrations for expanded markets, missions and airborne capabilities, including UAS integration into national airspace. Global Hawk can fly at altitudes up to more than 60,000 feet for more than 30 hours at a time. In support of the Air Force, the system provides persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to warfighters. To date, Global Hawks have flown more than 33,000 hours. Global Hawk also has many potential applications for the advancement of science, improvement of hurricane monitoring techniques, development of disaster support capabilities, and development of advanced UAS technologies. Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.
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DTN News: Tensions Mount In Asia Reported By Pakistan Observer

DTN News: Tensions Mount In Asia Reported By Pakistan Observer
*Source: DTN News / Pakistan Observer By Mohammad Jamil
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - October 24, 2009: In view of recent events in Arunachal Pradesh, Bharat Verma, editor Indian Defence Review China presaged the other day that there could be a war during the month of October 2009 between India and China. Earlier in an interview with the Times of India he reckoned that China would attack India in 2012. One does not know the inside story, but his prediction of imminent war smacks of some devious designs on the part of India. Anyhow, claims some 90000 square kilometer of Arunachal Pradesh, which was once a part of Tibet whereas India always took the plea that it is part of India, which it inherited from the British Raj. In 1959, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai had written to Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru rejecting latter’s contention that the border was based on 1914 treaty of Simla Convention adding that Chinese government had not accepted McMohan Line as legal.
In 1962, when India tried to flex its muscles, Chinese troops had advanced to 48 kilometers in Assam plains and also occupied Indian forces’ strategic posts in Ladakh in 1962. The border clashes with China were a direct consequence of the Tibetan problem that cropped up when the Dalai Lama had fled to India.
Since then it has become a flashpoint that could spark a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. Over the years, both countries held series of negotiations to resolve the territorial dispute but to no avail. But after British Foreign Office clarification on 29th October 2008 admitting that Tibet was part of China, Britain should ask India to review its policy of intransigence. Kashmir dispute also owes its origin to British Raj, and after United Nations Security Resolution, international community and especially Britain should play its role in resolving the dispute.
Before the last World Olympics in Peking, efforts were made by the US and the West to tarnish China’s image by inciting human rights activists to highlight human rights’ abuses. When the Olympic torch was to pass from India, protests by Tibetans were organized to mar the event and bring China into disrepute.
Tensions are mounting between China and India, especially after US-India nuclear deal because India is basking in the glow of strategic partnership with the US and started flexing muscles with China, and has started interfering its affairs. Recently, Indian government lodged a protest with China over the proposed construction of Bunji Hydro-electric Project in Astore district of the Gilgit Balistan area. Chinese President Hu Jintao said that China would continue to support projects in Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas.
Chinese government has recently strongly protested over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. China has also taken exception to the planned visit of Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, and warned that there should no political speeches. According to Indian press reports, China’s soldiers, helicopters and even fighter jets have been intruding in the disputed territory to slowly and steadily retrieve the area. Though Chinese media has never created hype about its territorial dispute with India, however recently Chinese diplomats, intellectuals and leaders of the public opinion assert claims over Arunachal Pradesh.
According to news carried by international media in May 2009, India has significantly upgraded its military prowess along the border it shares with China, deploying two army divisions along with a squadron of top-of-the-line Sukhoi Su-30MKI warplanes at a critical base in the north-east. Three Awacs command-and-control aircraft was also deployed to boost India’s ability to track troop and equipment movements on the Chinese side of the border.
In August 2009, during Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to southern China, the two countries signed a deal to work together to build a 7,000 MW hydro power project in Bunji in Northern Areas. President Zardari also sought Chinese assistance and invited companies to help develop hydel and thermal projects in the region.
Indian Foreign Office spokesman Vishnu Prakash said on last Wednesday that Beijing was fully aware of India’s concerns about China’s help in projects, and had asked China to take a “long term view” of relations between the two countries and to stop activities in what it called Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. China is a trusted friend of Pakistan; it has helped Pakistan in economic and defence fields in the past.
China was involved in a variety of projects including Gwadar port project and Saindak Copper Project in Balochistan, and has extended full cooperation to make Pakistan self-reliant by providing know-how with a view to ensuring territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Pakistan’s stability has always been the cornerstone of China’s foreign policy always.
Former president Pervez Musharraf and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao had held an hour-long meeting in Shanghai during his visit to attend Shangai Cooperation Organization (SCO). China and Pakistan signed a deal in 2006 to upgrade the Karakoram Highway, which runs from the trading city of Kashgar in China’s far western Xinjiang region to Gilgit in Pakistan and on to Islamabad.
Recent events in Tibet and Xinjiang however have sparked regional concerns. There are ominous forebodings. Bharat Verma, editor of the Indian Defense Review, in an interview with Times of India claimed that “China would attack India before 2012 to divert the attention of its own people from unprecedented internal dissent, growing unemployment and financial problems that are threatening the hold of Communists in that country”.
This sounds a part of propaganda to exact further concessions and help from the US and the West to strengthen India’s armed forces. Chinese leadership is well composed. It neither bullies other countries nor accepts any nonsense even from the super power. But China would never accept independence of Taiwan, which has been armed to the teeth by the US and the West. Beijing is indeed making preparations for that eventuality, and building up its military strength to project power not only regionally but also to contend the US as a major player in global politics.
Nevertheless, Chinese leaders hope that frictions can be contained and overwhelmed by the two nation’s shared interest in prosperity. Chinese leadership also understands that economic power is the most important and most essential factor in comprehensive national power, which is why China has all along focused on increasing its economic strength keeping in mind that its military strength depends on the former.
Chinese leadership has never reacted reflexively even when it was a question of its rights over Hong Kong and Taiwan. Despite acts of provocations, such as arming Taiwan to the teeth and the US efforts to contain China, the latter always signalled that it would not fight on US terms. Even western analysts reckon that China would be the leading industrial power and perhaps a superpower by 2020. Indeed, China was once a great civilization, and even when degeneration had crept in, the society was never dead, as the revolutions could not occur in a dead society. Nevertheless, the Marxist ideology under the leadership of Mao Tse Tung inspired the degenerated society and it was back on the track to enlightenment and development.
The new experiment of market economy monitored and controlled by the Communist party was unique, and Deng Xiao Ping was architect of this policy. After he had taken over control, he observed that China could not go forward unless it got western technology. For this purpose there was no way out but to mend the fences with the West. He formulated policy of coexistence with the West, and it is due to his vision and foresight that China is progressing by leaps and bounds.
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Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.

DTN News: Lockheed Martin’s C-130J Super Hercules ~ The Proven Airlifter Of Choice Showcased At Seoul Air Show

DTN News: Lockheed Martin’s C-130J Super Hercules ~ The Proven Airlifter Of Choice Showcased At Seoul Air Show
*Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin
(NSI News Source Info) SEOUL, Korea, - October 24, 2009: Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] officials briefed reporters Tuesday Oct 20., at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition about the proven capabilities of the C-130J Super Hercules, all of which are key components in aiding global security.
The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is the world’s most advanced tactical airlifter. Designed and developed with mission flexibility in mind – combat delivery, air-to-air refueling, special operations, disaster relief and humanitarian missions – the C-130J has a unique mix of agility and performance to consistently operate at very high tempo operations efficiently and reliably. The C-130J Super Hercules is the only airlifter with the range and flexibility for emerging theaters and evolving concepts of operation. This tactical transport aircraft has already proven itself in many kinds of missions, many in the harshest operating conditions possible. Crews from the United States, Australia, Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom are now experiencing the high reliability, range, speed and payload-carrying capabilities of the C-130J firsthand. They will be joined soon by crews from Norway, Canada, and India.
Attendees gained insight into how the C-130J meets 90 percent of the world’s airlift needs, how the aircraft is used today and its future capabilities. More air forces worldwide are lining up to take advantage of the C-130J's unique mix of agility and performance to deploy troops, transport supplies, and provide disaster and humanitarian relief to the most remote and austere areas of the world. Within the last year, the C-130J family has expanded to include Norway, India, Qatar, Iraq and Oman. "One day, these C-130Js are involved in humanitarian missions; the next, they are deploying to a combat theater," said Jack Crisler, Lockheed Martin vice president for the C-130J program. "Everyone is now seeing firsthand just how essential this plane is for air forces worldwide every day." Thanks to worldwide operators flying six configurations of the aircraft, the C-130J has more than 500,000 flight hours on record and with numerous examples to show that it is proven in: *Design *Production *Multimission flexibility *Operations *Reliability and sustainability *Multirole capabilities C-130Js are engaged in high-tempo operations in multiple combat theaters and are routinely deployed in support of both peacekeeping and humanitarian missions. The C-130J has been selected by 10 nations, with 177 aircraft delivered through the second quarter of this year. The C-130J is a flexible, multimission aircraft that has been delivered in multiple and varied configurations to meet a wide range of operational needs. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.
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DTN News: Iran Has Not Paid Russia In 'Frozen' Missile Deal According To Russian Sources

DTN News: Iran Has Not Paid Russia In 'Frozen' Missile Deal According To Russian Sources
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - October 24, 2009: Iran has not yet paid Russia in a controversial contract for advanced anti-aircraft missiles, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday, citing a Russian government source. The S-300PMU1, called the SA-20 Gargoyle by NATO, is a mobile land-based system designed to take down aircraft and cruise missiles. The source said no payments have been made because Russia's government has not given its final approval for the sale of S-300 missiles to Iran, a deal that has raised alarm in the West. "Despite the fact that the contract was signed several years ago, Russia has still not confirmed its entry into force. Thus Iran has not made any payments under this contract," the unnamed source told Interfax. "The contract to deliver S-300 systems to Iran was frozen indefinitely due to an array of circumstances practically right after it was signed," he said, adding that a political decision would determine the deal's future. "Much depends on an array of political circumstances, since this contract has ceased to be simply a commercial deal," he said. Under the contract, Russia would sell Iran five batteries of S-300PMU1 missiles for a total sum of around 800 million dollars (530 million euros), Interfax reported, citing "unofficial information." The S-300PMU1, called the SA-20 Gargoyle by NATO, is a mobile land-based system designed to take down aircraft and cruise missiles. Western governments fear that Iran could use the systems to enhance defences around its nuclear facilities against a possible US or Israeli air strike aimed at preventing Tehran from building an atomic bomb. Moscow has never officially confirmed that it signed the contract with Iran but has repeatedly insisted it has the right to sell "defensive" weapons systems to the Islamic Republic.

DTN News: Iran TODAY October 24, 2009 ~ Iran Misses Nuclear Deal Deadline In Defiance Of West

DTN News: Iran TODAY October 24, 2009 ~ Iran Misses Nuclear Deal Deadline In Defiance Of West *Iran defied the West by missing a deadline it had been set to agree to hand over its stockpiles of enriched uranium for processing abroad. *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) DUBAI - October 24, 2009: Tehran frustrated hopes it would move quickly to resolve fears about its nuclear programme by saying it would only give a formal response "next week". However, in an apparent effort to buy time after stalling the negotiations, an Iranian nuclear official insisted the regime was "considering the proposal in depth and in a favourable light".The recently revealed enrichment plant at Qom. It had earlier said it was making fresh proposals under which it would keep its current stocks and buy even more enriched uranium for its civilian research reactor. Reports from Tehran suggested that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, had refused to back the original deal, put forward by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed ElBaradei, in talks in Vienna. Even though it would have enabled Iran to continue its enrichment programme, the leadership was not prepared to see so much of its principal bargaining chip leave the country in one go. If delay turns into rejection or another series of protracted talks, it will be a disappointment to its negotiating partners, the United States, France and Russia, and deal the biggest blow yet to President Barack Obama's policy of diplomatic engagement with "pariah states". It will add weight to those in Britain, France and America who believe that Iran may not be building a nuclear weapon now but wants to maintain its stockpiles of low enriched uranium so that it can stage a quick "break-out" to manufacture one in the future. Under the deal, the Iranians would hand over three quarters of their stockpile of 1.5 tons of uranium, enriched to five per cent, to Russia, who would further refine it to 20 per cent, possibly with French help. It would then be returned in "fuel plate" form for use in Iran's long-standing research reactor, which has medical uses. Iran is thought not to have the technical ability to convert fuel plates to the 90 per cent enrichment levels needed for a bomb. However, its total stockpiles, if they do not leave the country, could be enriched from their current state sufficiently to create a single bomb within a year, according to western security analysts. Iran's alternative proposal would fail any test of acceptability by the West. It would mean abandoning a key part of existing sanctions, which prevent the sale of nuclear-related material, while doing nothing to reduce fears over the current state of the country's nuclear programme. "Iran is interested in buying fuel for the Tehran research reactor within the framework of a clear proposal," an unnamed source close to Iran's nuclear negotiating team told state television in the government's first response. "We are waiting for the other party's constructive and trust-building response. "The other party is expected to avoid past mistakes in violating agreements and to gain Iran's trust." The West's best hope is that this is just a tactic to draw out negotiations further. The United States said it could wait a "few more days". "We hope that they will next week provide a positive response," the state department's spokesman Ian Kelly said. "Obviously we would have preferred to have a response today. We approach this with a sense of urgency." News of the delay was given after the other three countries had all signalled their agreement. "We will give our answer to Mr ElBaradei next week," Ali Asghar Soltanieh, its ambassador to the IAEA, said. An IAEA statement said: "Iran informed the director general today that it is considering the proposal in depth and in a favourable light, but it needs time until the middle of next week to provide a response. "The director general hopes that Iran's response will equally be positive, since approval of this agreement will signal a new era of cooperation."

DTN News: India TODAY October 24, 2009 ~ Foreign Ministers Of Russia, India, China To Meet On October 27 In Bengaluru

DTN News: India TODAY October 24, 2009 ~ Foreign Ministers Of Russia, India, China To Meet On October 27 In Bengaluru *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - October 24, 2009: Regional and international issues, besides working out a strategy to explore ways to strengthen trilateral cooperation, will dominate the meeting of foreign ministers of Russia, India and China on October 27 in Bengaluru. The ninth three-nation meet, RIC, will be attended by S M Krishna, and his Russian and Chinese counterparts Sergei Lavrov and Yang Jiechi respectively. This will be the fifth standalone meeting of foreign ministers of these countries. “At the forthcoming meeting in Bengaluru, the three foreign ministers will discuss regional and international issues and explore ways of strengthening trilateral cooperation,” an official release said in New Delhi. Krishna will also hold bilateral meeting with Yang on the sidelines of the trilateral meeting. The trilateral meet will also focus on the issues of energy security, climate change, counter-terrorism and trans-national crime.

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY October 23, 2009 ~ Counter-Terrorism Gains, Local Militia Critical In Fighting Insurgents

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY October 23, 2009 ~ Counter-Terrorism Gains, Local Militia Critical In Fighting Insurgents *Source: DTN News / The Washington Post By Michael Sheehan (NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - October 23, 2009: In today's debates about how to proceed in Afghanistan, the relationship between counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations needs to be clearly understood. First and foremost, we should acknowledge that, in light of our original counter-terrorism goals, our Afghan and Pakistan policies have been remarkably effective. There is no need to panic. U.S. forces return fire on militants Tuesday in Afghanistan's restless east, where Taliban leaders are threatening to disrupt a Nov. 7 runoff election between President Hamid Karzai and challenger Abdullah Abdullah. We invaded Afghanistan eight years ago to prevent another terrorist attack on our nation, and we have been successful. Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacked us three times in three years: at our African embassies in August 1998; the USS Cole incident in October 2000, and finally on our homeland on Sept. 11, 2001. In the eight years following Sept. 11, they have failed to attack us on our soil. In fact, al Qaeda can count only one terrorism attack in the entire West (London, 2005), with perhaps "partial credit" for another (Madrid, 2004). This, by any standard, is a failure on the part of al Qaeda and a testament to the effectiveness of our worldwide counter-terrorism programs. And that success is a product of aggressive intelligence operations that reach from the mountains of Afghanistan, through foreign capitals around the world, and all the way to the streets of New York City. It has been no accident; the U.S. military, the CIA, FBI, the New York Police Department, and others should be credited. However, in Afghanistan, we have continually moved the "goal posts" of our counter-terrorism success in the name of a counterinsurgency campaign. The initial objective of kicking out al Qaeda has now morphed into an ambitious program of "reinventing Afghanistan" as a modern state. We have gotten ourselves bogged down into a complex insurgent war that the Taliban can sustain at some level almost indefinitely, even though they have no real prospects of actually winning. Without transforming Afghanistan into a stable and modern state, some reason, the Taliban will return to power and provide al Qaeda a sanctuary to enable it to restore its pre-Sept. 11 operational capability. But this assumption does not stand up to careful scrutiny. A major reason for our post Sept. 11 counter-terrorism success has been the enormous pressure on al Qaeda's first- and second-tier leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And yes, we must be ruthless in continuing to deny al Qaeda the ability to plan, train and launch worldwide operations from a "sanctuary of impunity" they enjoyed in Afghanistan and Pakistan prior to Sept. 11. But our success in throttling the strategic al Qaeda was achieved without pacifying Afghanistan and without occupying western Pakistan. Instead, we have used a massive intelligence operation to find and destroy al Qaeda's strategic capability there and denied them the ability to mount terrorist attacks outside of their immediate operational area. The U.S. Army's recent "rediscovery" of its counterinsurgency doctrine was long overdue and certainly increased their effectiveness and will hasten the withdrawal from Iraq. But in relearning counterinsurgency doctrine, the Army must recall its most fundamental principles, and not just apply its tactics and techniques. One of those principles is the critical importance of using local militia and constabulary units to do the primary fighting of local insurgents and keeping the foreign "footprint" as small as possible. The "Sunni Awakening" in Iraq was successful largely due to the mobilization of local militia forces to fight insurgents on their own terms, in what was often nasty and brutish affairs. For those that call for a smaller U.S. presence and an increase of Afghan responsibility for the war, they should brace themselves for an ugly war. This is not a strategy of weakness, as claimed by some who reject any troop withdrawals. In transferring security to the Afghans, the war will get more messy and brutish in the short term, and we will need to support our imperfect allies. It will call for a different type of toughness from American policymakers. Today in Afghanistan, the U.S. Army is still the main fighting force in the country. In essence, it remains an occupational force with counterinsurgency doctrine sprinkled on top. While U.S. conventional soldiers are kicking in doors of mud homes in poor Afghan villages, it is hard to envision long-term success, no matter how many health clinics they build the next day. Our interests in Afghanistan may require a long-term and robust presence in that country, and this article is certainly not a call for a fast drawdown at this critical time. We will require a massive economic, security and diplomatic assistance package that will guarantee the viability of the central government. We will also need substantial conventional forces in Afghanistan to guarantee the viability of the central government, support Afghan forces in extreme situations, and to protect bases to launch counter-terrorism operations in the region. Our intelligence programs and special operation strikes against strategic al Qaeda (not the local insurgent fighters) will remain our highest priority in the theater. And that is the recipe for a policy that aligns with our primary national security interests and will be the basis for the continued success of our global counter-terrorism strategy. Michael Sheehan, a fellow at the New York University Center for Law and Security, was a counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency adviser in the U.S. Army Special Forces, ambassador at large for counter-terrorism at the U.S. State Department and deputy commissioner for counter-terrorism at the New York Police Department.

DTN News: Lockheed Martin-Built Trident II D5 Missile Achieves Record 129 Successful Test Flights In A Row Over 20 Years

DTN News: Lockheed Martin-Built Trident II D5 Missile Achieves Record 129 Successful Test Flights In A Row Over 20 Years *Two D5 Fleet Ballistic Missiles Launched in Navy Test in the Atlantic *Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin (NSI News Source Info) SUNNYVALE, Calif, - October 23, 2009: The U.S. Navy conducted successful test flights Sept. 3 and 4 of two Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missiles (FBMs) built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT). The Navy launched the unarmed missiles from the submerged submarine USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy successful test flight of one of two unarmed Trident II D5 fleet ballistic missiles built by Lockheed Martin in September. (U.S. Navy photo) The Trident II D5 missile now has achieved 129 consecutive successful test flights since 1989 – a record unmatched by any other large ballistic missile or space launch vehicle. “These successful missile tests again demonstrate the readiness and reliability of the entire Trident II D5 Strategic Weapon System,” said Melanie A. Sloane, vice president of Fleet Ballistic Missile programs, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, the Navy’s Trident missile prime contractor. “The Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs achieves sustained performance through close government and industry partnerships. Lockheed Martin’s role includes not only missile design, development and production, but also a full range of operations and sustainment support services.” The Navy launched the missiles as part of a Follow-on Commander’s Evaluation Test. The Navy conducts a continuing series of operational system evaluation tests to assure the safety, reliability, readiness and performance of the Trident II D5 Strategic Weapon System, as required by the Department of Defense’s National Command Authority. The Navy conducts the tests under the testing guidelines of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. For the tests, the missiles were converted into test configurations using a test missile kit produced by Lockheed Martin that contains range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation. First deployed in 1990, the D5 missile is currently aboard OHIO-class submarines and British VANGUARD-class submarines. The three-stage, solid-propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile can travel a nominal range of 4,000 nautical miles and carries multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the prime contractor and program manager for the U.S. Navy’s Trident missile. Lockheed Martin Space Systems employees, principally in California, Georgia, Florida, Washington, Utah and Virginia, support the design, development, production, test and operation of the Trident Strategic Weapon System. Lockheed Martin Space Systems has been the Navy’s prime strategic missile contractor since the inception of the program more than 50 years ago. The test also involved the Lockheed Martin-integrated navigation subsystem that provides navigation data required to support today’s stringent Trident Weapon System performance requirements. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors Undersea Systems at Mitchel Field, N.Y., has been the prime contractor for the navigation subsystem aboard fleet ballistic missile submarines since 1955. Altogether, nearly 3,000 employees throughout the Lockheed Martin Corporation support the Navy’s Fleet Ballistic Missile program. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion. Media Contacts: Lynn Fisher, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, 408-742-7606; Jack Papp, Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors, 703-367-2484; NOTE TO EDITORS: for low- and high-resolution JPEG image files of the Trident II D5 missile, please visit our web page at:

DTN News: ASEAN TODAY October 23, 2009 ~ Thai, Filipino Feud On Rice Threatens ASEAN Pact

DTN News: ASEAN TODAY October 23, 2009 ~ Thai, Filipino Feud On Rice Threatens ASEAN Pact *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) HUA HIN, Thailand - October 23, 2009: The Philippines and Thailand are squaring off in an escalating row over rice that threatens to derail a trade pact at the heart of Southeast's bid to build an EU-style economic community by 2015. A worker repacks a kilo of rice into a plastic bag inside a warehouse of the National Food Authority, in Taguig city, south of Manila October 19, 2009. Thailand, the world's biggest rice exporter, repeated its threat on Friday that it would delay a Southeast Asian free trade agreement unless it can get a "fair deal" on tariffs from the Philippines, the world's biggest buyer of the food staple. The 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations -- of which Thailand and the Philippines are members -- are due to ratify an ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) at a summit that began on Friday in the Thai seaside town of Hua Hin. But whether they sign it depends on whether Thailand and the Philippines reach consensus on rice tariffs, said Thai Commerce Ministry spokesman Krisda Piampongsant. If ministerial talks fail on Saturday, their leaders will tackle it this weekend, he said. "If they can't agree at the ministerial level, we will escalate it to the leaders' level," Krisda said. "We will try our best to agree on rice to have the ATIGA signed. But if we can't, it won't be signed. "Many countries want ATIGA to be signed at this summit as it involves ASEAN's reputation." According to the ASEAN free trade pact, Philippine rice import tariffs should be cut to 20 percent from 40 percent by Jan. 1, 2010. But Manila insists rice is classified under a "highly sensitive list" allowing tariffs to stay at 35 percent. The Philippines is proposing to give Thailand a quota of 50,000 tonnes of tariff-free rice annually to compensate for not meeting the tariff target. Thailand has demanded 360,000 tonnes. "It's a very sensitive issue. We're friends. We need to talk this through. It's sensitive for Philippines. It's a major importer of rice affected immensely by the typhoon, so we understand the situation," said Thai deputy commerce minister Alongkorn Polabutr. TYPHOON DAMAGE Recent typhoons badly damaged farmlands and roads in northern Philippines, killing more than 900 people and forcing the country of 98 million people to import more rice rather than rely on cheaper, domestic supplies. "It's the right of the Philippines to decrease (import tariffs) or not, but we're moving towards an ASEAN economic community. So from the new year we have to show the same movement to decrease tariffs," Alongkorn said. Officials in Manila said rice had been taken off the agenda at the summit to allow Philippine President Gloria Macapagal to focus on other issues including climate change, disaster relief and human rights. But Thai officials said it remained on the agenda, noting that it was one of several issues that are crucial for ratification of the Trade in Goods Agreement, a key plank of an ambitious bid by ASEAN and its 540 million people to build an EU-style economic community by 2015. Thailand exported 10 million tonnes of rice in 2008 of which 599,677 tonnes went to the Philippines, according to Thailand's Commerce Ministry data. From January to August 2009, Manila bought 116,322 tonnes of rice from Thailand, mostly premium grade for high-end restaurants. Vietnam has mainly snatched the market for lower quality rice grades by offering better prices, traders said.

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 23, 2009 ~ Blasts At Pakistan air Base, Wedding Bus Kill 24

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 23, 2009 ~ Blasts At Pakistan air Base, Wedding Bus Kill 24 *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) - ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - October 23, 2009: A suicide bomber killed seven people near a major air force complex in northwest Pakistan on Friday, while an explosion killed 17 on a bus heading to wedding elsewhere in the region, the latest in a surge of militant attacks this month. Security personal stand at the checkpoint where a suicide attack took place in Kamra, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 23, 2009. A suicide bomber struck a checkpoint near a major air force complex in northwest Pakistan Friday, killing seven people as the army wages an anti-Taliban offensive along the Afghan border. Also, a car bomb in the northwest's main city wounded 15 people. The bloodshed has coincided with the run-up and first week of a major army offensive in a Taliban and al-Qaida stronghold along the Afghan border. Around 200 people have died as the insurgents have shown they can strike in a variety of ways and places in the nuclear-armed, U.S.-allied nation. The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra is the country's major air force maintenance and research hub. Some foreign military experts have mentioned it as a possible place to keep planes that can carry nuclear warheads, but the army, which does not reveal where its nuclear-related facilities are, strongly denies that the facility is tied to the program in any way. A lone suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself at a checkpoint on a road leading to the complex, around 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the capital, Islamabad. Police officer Akbar Abbas blamed the Taliban for the attack. The seven dead included two troops. Some 13 people were wounded. Hours later, a car bomb exploded in the parking lot of a recreational facility in Peshawar, the main city in the northwest. Fifteen people were wounded. The facility includes a restaurant, a swimming pool, a health club and a marriage hall. "It is part of the violence we are seeing across Pakistan these days," said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the region's information minister. Soon after, reports emerged of the blast that struck the bus, which was traveling in the Mohmand tribal region. Four women and three children were among the 17 killed, said Zabit Khan, a local government official. "It appears to be a remote-controlled bomb, and militants might have hit the bus mistakenly," Khan told The Associated Press. Mohmand, like other parts of Pakistan's tribal belt, has been a magnet for Taliban militants. The military has carried out operations there in the past aimed at clearing out insurgents but trouble still flares. There have been at least nine major militant attacks this month, most against police or army targets. Some have been explosions, while others have involved teams of gunmen staging raids. In one of the most brazen attacks, gunmen attacked the army headquarters close to the capital and held hostages inside the complex for 22 hours. Pakistan is under intense pressure to eliminate Islamist militant groups sheltering in its northwest that also attack U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. The military has battled them in various districts, losing hundreds of soldiers, but questions remain about its overall strategic commitment to the fight. It began its current offensive in South Waziristan tribal region seven days ago. The army has previously moved into South Waziristan three times since 2004. Each time it has suffered high casualties and signed peace deals that left insurgents with effective control of the region. Western officials say al-Qaida now uses it and neighboring North Waziristan as an operations and training base.

DTN News: Australia Defence Minister John Faulkner Hints At Early Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan

DTN News: Australia Defence Minister John Faulkner Hints At Early Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) CANBERRA, Australia - October 23, 2009: Defence Minister John Faulkner says he is exploring options to get Australian troops out of Afghanistan earlier than expected. Australia has around 1,500 troops in Afghanistan, where they are mainly focused on training a fourth brigade of the Afghan National Army. No specific date has been set for their return. Complete mission "in the shortest time frame possible": An Australian Bushmaster APC in Afghanistan. Senator Faulkner is leaving for a NATO meeting on Afghanistan later today and says he has been in discussions about possible exit strategies since taking over the Defence portfolio earlier this year. "I've certainly asked the Australian Defence Force for any recommendations they have about ensuring we do complete that important role and responsibility both effectively, but in the shortest time frame possible," he said. "I've been discussing these issues with the chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, and obviously it's a critically important matter for me. Senator Faulkner admitted Australia's move would affect the push by General Stanley McChrystal, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, for an Iraq-style troop "surge" against the increasingly powerful Taliban militia. "I'm not going to talk specifically about the approaches we'll take, but I do acknowledge that there will be impacts on the approach that NATO and ISAF partners will be taking as a result of General McChrystal's 60-day assessment. He says, however, the 120 extra Australian soldiers sent to Afghanistan for security during the country's presidential election will stay for the run-off poll. A second vote will be held on November 7 because of widespread electoral fraud during the initial poll. "Our election support force will continue to contribute to security in Uruzgan province. That commitment is absolutely clear," he said. He says that despite widespread fraud in the election, sending the extra troops was worth it. "I certainly do believe that that is very much the case, I strongly believe and argue that our commitment to Afghanistan is in our national interest, the importance of that role hasn't changed," he said. General McChrystal warned last month that the war could be lost within a year without extra resources to fight the resurgent Islamists, who were driven from power by the 2001 US-led invasion.