DTN News: SPECIAL REPORT Interview With Mikhail Simonov - The Inventor Of The Sukhoi Jet Fighters*This online supplement is produced and published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia), which takes sole responsibility for the content.
*Source: DTN News / Russia Now Dmitry Litovkin, Izvestia
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - October 29, 2009: Mikhail Simonov has been developing the Sukhoi family of jets since 1969. Mikhail Simonov, designer of the iconic fighter jets Su-27 and Su-30, has been at the forefront of aircraft design for more than 50 years. To celebrate his 80th birthday this month, we hear from the man who gave Russia the edge in aerial combat. The sky's no limit: a Sukhoi jet fighter. The new fighter jet will be a fundamentally new machine, not just a modernized version of an old pursuit plane. The competition of world's biggest superpowers to develop the fifth generation of pursuit planes still continues. Russian specialists intend to build such a jet, or an aviation complex, as engineers say, in five or seven years. Technical details of such developments are being kept top secret, although Russian aircraft designers decided to expose several solutions of theirs.
Many would need two lifetimes to accomplish the things that Mikhail Simonov has packed into his 80 years. His Su-27 jet fighter – which has become as well known as Kalashnikov's AK-47 assault rifle – is recognised as the best jet fighter of the 20th century and brings billions of dollars into the Russian economy.
A virtuoso in the skies
When the International Aviation and Space Salon – MAKS – announced it would be showing the Su-27 in flight… people crowded at the edge of the airfield. The blue-grey “Su”, with red stars on the wings and tail, leant toward its landing wheels as if welcoming the audience, turned on the afterburner and quickly took off.Mikhail Simonov, designer of the iconic fighter jets Su-27 and Su-30, has been at the forefront of aircraft design for more than 50 years. To celebrate his 80th birthday this month, we hear from the man who gave Russia the edge in aerial combat.
The sharp ascent was greeted with a universal sigh of admiration, but the truly awe-inspiring spectacle was yet to come. The 30-ton machine, with the ease of a ballet dancer, began performing aerobatics: two and a half loops within 800 metres of the ground with a “flip” at the end; vertical rolls; 90- and 270-degree loops.
Finally, the jet suddenly gained speed and lifted its nose – but did not fly up as everyone expected. Instead, at full speed and leading with its fuselage, it carried on forwards. A moment later, the angle increased from 90 to 120 degrees; the jet looked as though it was falling on its “back” while rushing with its tail forward.
Professionals call this military manoeuvre “dynamic braking”; the pilot needs it to sharply drop speed, while still have an advantage over the enemy. Moreover, the pilot is able to simultaneously launch a missile from behind his back. No other aircraft in the world is capable of this.
"Why don’t you go to your wife…"
“Our jet fighter came out late,” admits Simonov. “The American F-15 was already operating when our machine was only in its design stages.”
T-10 was the prototype of a future Su-27; it first flew on May 20, 1977. But despite all the efforts of the designers and engineers of the Sukhoi Company, it was worse than the American jet.
“This was bad news for us,” he recalls. “The jet was already being produced. Some were making space for military awards on their jackets, while thinking about how they would spend their state prizes.”
But he recalls mustering the courage to go to the minister of aircraft industry, Ivan Silayev, to tell him that the aircraft did not come out as planned, and it would need more work.
“‘It’s a good thing, Petrovich, that today is not 1937,’ said the minister. “OK, I’ll redesign it…” I replied.
“It was a true scandal. I came to the ministerial meeting. I began presenting my report and explaining that in order to improve the flight characteristics of the jet we would need to move the stowage compartment from the bottom on to the ‘back’ of the aircraft. Then, suddenly, the aircraft designer Arkhil Lyulka – a cheerful and a kind man – stood up and began yelling at me, nearly cursing me in Ukrainian. ‘Why don’t you, Mikhail Petrovich, go to your wife and ask her to move her breasts onto her back?! We’ll see how useful she will be then!’”
The conflict with the engine designer was only the beginning: the transfer of the stowage compartment meant redesigning the body. And that implied a scandal with another serious institution – Central State Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI).
As a result, Simonov travelled to TsAGI overnight in secret, so as to not to let the management know he was designing new fighter jet models. According to him, they were in such a rush they decided to start working on the first model that looked acceptable. And, it was that model that proved to be superior.
How the Arabs helped ‘Su’
Simonov insists that perestroika allowed the Su-27 to become the best of the best. A lack of money in the Nineties forced the Sukhoi Company to make a desperate move – to try to sell the jet abroad. The first place they looked was the United Arab Emirates.
“At that time, their air force was headed by Colonel Khalid,” recalls Simonov. “He wasn’t a flexible man. As he looked at and flew our fighter jet, he said: ‘It’s not bad, but can it sink a destroyer?’ But these were two different things… It’s one thing to conduct air combat, and completely another to destroy underwater and ground targets.”
This could have been the end of the conversation. Intead, Simonov proposed the Arabs formulate their demands for the machine: “If you want the fighter jet to be able to hit targets at a distance of 100km – that can be done. You want it to sink destroyers – it will do.”
So, the Su-27 became a multi-function fighter – though the Arabs did not buy it. Khalid admitted that the Americans would not have allowed them to do so. It is often said that the Su-27 and Su-30 are the best, but they have not been used in a single war. So how could their superiority be proved?
“That is, of course, a secret,” smiles Simonov.
This display of equipment was not simply advertising, but a comparison with competitors – at least with the French Mirages that were part of the UAE inventory. How could they be compared? Two of their best pilots took turns flying the aircraft, the Mirage and Su. All flight information was documented and the information analysed.
The best jet fighter of the 20th century
The Su-30MKI is considered an unbeatable fighting machine. This has been borne out in air battles with potential adversaries. The first time it was done was in the early Nineties, when Su-27 pilots were invited to take part in military training with the F-15.
The rules of the “battle” required the Russian planes to get on the tail of the American jets, then the opponents changed places. In a real battle, this would allow directing a missile and hitting the target. In both scenarios, Sus were victorious. According to someone who took part in those exercises, chief of the Lipetsk Air Force Training centre Major General Aleksandr Harchevsky, due to its high manoeuvrability and thrust-to-weight ratio, the Su-27 gained speed on the upward trajectory faster than F-15.
The F-15 constantly needed to make a kind of a “step” – fly along a straight line for a certain period of time. The Russian pilots took advantage of that – they persuaded the Americans to go upward, at which point they lost speed, and the Sus, having made a sharp turn, found themselves on the tail of the enemy. A moment later and the target was “destroyed”.
Thus, when the Americans learnt that India had acquired the more advanced Su-30s, they decided to pay them a visit. In their exercises they decided to use the improved F-15. The result of the meeting was 6:4 in favour of the Su-30. However, instead of the Su-30MKI, the Indians used the ordinary training Su-30, a machine without the new radar or thrust vector control. The next time Americans arrived in India, they brought the improved F-16.
“This fighter jet is smaller and lighter than our Su-30,” says Simonov. “Thus, logically, it ought to be more manoeuvrable and win in close combat. But everything was exactly the opposite. Su-30MKIs were used. The defeat was unquestionable.”
Supersonic for presidents
At one aerospace show, while watching flight demonstrations of civilian aircraft, Mikhail Simonov turned to journalists and made a surprising statement: “Fighter jets are nothing; here is our future!” In his office, I understand what he means. Next to his desk stands a two-storey model aeroplane, designed for 1,000 passengers, the KR-860 “Krilya Rossii” (Wings of Russia).
“They’re afraid of constructing such machines,” says the designer with a sigh of disappointment. “Even though we do have factories capable of implementing this project, and we could make necessary agreements on engines.”
It wouldn’t be the first time that big-plane projects have run into difficulty. Although all necessary components are present – governmental approval, money, factories – series production of the globally demanded An-124 heavy transport plane “Ruslan” stalled after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Simonov is not one to give up, however, quoting the great Soviet aircraft designer, Roberto Bartini, who believed that the aviation design bureau should be like a conveyor belt, with new, trial aircraft at the beginning, and mass-produced aeroplanes falling off the end. Today, there are three model supersonic passenger aeroplanes standing on Simonov’s desk.
“I see on television how our leaders move from one region of the country to another,” he says. “But they do this with subsonic machines – slowly. A great amount of time is lost this way.”
Simonov’s supersonic aircraft will be given a name only after it starts being produced. Such is the tradition, so as not to “jinx” it. One of the three models is a 40-seat airliner, capable of flying at twice the speed of sound. The second model is smaller – 12-passengers – but flies faster.
The third aircraft is an even faster design – but it’s still a secret.
Sukhoi continues to fly high in both military and civil aviation projects
The Sukhoi Company is one of the world's leading aircraft firms. Its fighter jets are used by dozens of countries. In August, at the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS 2009, the Russian air force bought 48 Su-35s. The Indian air force wants to acquire, in addition to its existing 105 Su-30MKIs, 50 more units.
The current CEO of Sukhoi, Mikhail Pogosyan, is successfully implementing the ambitious project of the regional passenger aircraft, Sukhoi Superjet: before the end of the year, the first mass-produced machine will begin flying on regular airlines. Overall, the company plans to build more than 1,000 units. The sky is immense - there will be enough space. . .
DTN News: Alenia Wins Training Contract for Afghanistan National Army Air Corps (ANAAC) G-222s (C-27J)
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ROME, Italy - October 29, 2009: Alenia North America, a unit of Italy's Finmeccanica, has been awarded a $7 million contract to provide G-222 aircrew and maintenance training to the U.S. Air Force, the company said Oct. 27.
Alenia Aeronautica, through its American subsidiary Alenia North America, will provide the Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan with eighteen refurbished G.222 medium tactical transport aircraft. These will be transferred by the United States Air Force’s Combined Air Power Transition Force in Kabul to the Afghanistan National Army Air Corps (ANAAC). Initial aircraft delivery will occur in 2009 and deliveries will continue through 2011. Alenia North America as prime contractor is responsible for programme management, while Alenia Aeronautica will refurbish the aircraft in Naples, Italy. Logistical support in Afghanistan will be carried out by L-3 Vertex, an American company. A modified version of the G.222 known as the C-27A was operated by the USAF during the 1990s and continues to be operated by the U.S. Government while the G.222 is still in service with air forces around the world. The G.222 configuration proposed for the G.222-ANAAC programme is a derivative of the G.222 Italian Military Certified Aircraft (G.222 TCM). Eighteen ex-Italian Air Force G.222 will be refurbished with updated avionics and general system improvements to provide each aircraft with the capability to perform the tactical airlift roles prescribed by the USAF. Two aircraft, in VIP configuration, will support the Afghan government airlift requirements.
The training will be provided to U.S. advisors who are set to work with the Afghanistan National Army Air Corps (ANAAC), which is acquiring 18 G-222 transport aircraft from the U.S.
The aircraft, which formerly flew with the Italian Air Force, were resold to the U.S. by Alenia. The training program, which covers pilots, loadmasters, crew chiefs, and maintenance personnel, will last between 15 and 40 days and will involve classroom and flight training at Alenia's facility in Capodichino, Italy.
Alenia was contracted in 2008 by the USAF in a $287 million deal to supply the aircraft. The first two aircraft have now been delivered to the USAF and deliveries will continue into 2011. The G-222 aircraft, which were built between 1977 and 1985, are receiving avionics upgrades, while two will also be given sound-proof, VIP transport modules.
DTN News: Iraq ~ A Rebounding Jihad*Source: By Scott Stewart STRATFOR
(NSI News Source Info) KOTTAKKAL, Kerala, India - October 29, 2009: On Oct. 25, militants in Iraq conducted a coordinated attack in which they detonated large vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) at the federal Ministry of Justice building and the Baghdad Provincial Council building nearly simultaneously. The two ministries are located in central Baghdad near the Green Zone and are just over a quarter of a mile apart.
The bomb-laden vehicles were driven by suicide operatives who managed to detonate them in close proximity to the exterior security walls of the targeted buildings. The attack occurred just before 10:30 a.m. on a workday, indicating that it was clearly designed to cause maximum casualties -- which it did. The twin bombing killed more than 150 people and wounded hundreds of others, making it the deadliest attack in Baghdad since the April 18, 2007, attacks against Shiite neighborhoods that killed more than 180 people.
The Oct. 25 attack was very similar in design and target set to an attack on Aug. 19, in which coordinated VBIEDs were detonated at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry buildings, along with a string of smaller attacks in other areas of the city. The Foreign Ministry building is located in the same part of Baghdad as the Ministry of Justice and the Baghdad Provincial Council, while the Finance Ministry is located a short distance away and across the river. The Aug. 19 attacks, which also were launched shortly after 10 a.m., killed at least 95 people and wounded hundreds.
On Oct. 26, in a statement posted to the jihadist al-Fallujah Web site, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) claimed responsibility for the attack against the Justice Ministry and Baghdad Provincial Council. The group had also previously claimed responsibility for the Aug. 19 attack against the Foreign and Finance ministries. Judging from the targets chosen and the use of suicide bombers, it is likely that the ISI was indeed responsible for both attacks.
These recent attacks in Baghdad reveal a great deal about the ISI and its capabilities. They also provide a glimpse of what might be in store for Iraq in the run-up to the 2010 national parliamentary and general elections, which are scheduled to be held in January.
The Islamic State of Iraq
The ISI is not a single entity but a coalition of groups that includes al Qaeda's Iraqi franchise. This coalition was formed as a result of a conscious decision by jihadist leaders to put an Iraqi face on jihadist efforts in the country rather than have the movement characterized by foreign leaders such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. This transformation was illustrated by the fact that an Iraqi named Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was named to lead the ISI and that Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the Egyptian leader of al Qaeda in Iraq who succeeded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, pledged his allegiance to al-Baghdadi and the ISI in November 2006. This change enabled the ISI coalition to build stronger ties to the local Sunni tribal elders and to expand its support network in the Sunni-controlled areas of the country.
This link to the local Sunni leadership backfired when the Awakening Councils composed of Sunni Iraqis -- many of whom were former militants -- helped clamp down on the ISI. Because of this, large suicide attacks are less common then they were at the peak of the insurgency (and of overall violence) in 2007. But the Sunni elders never allowed the ISI to be totally dismantled. They saw the coalition as a useful tool in their negotiations with the Shia and Kurds, to ensure that they got what they saw as their fair share of power.
During the crackdown on the ISI that accompanied the U.S. surge of troops into Iraq, many of the foreign fighters were forced to leave the country and flee to greener pastures (many of them went to Pakistan and Afghanistan). However, the core jihadist operatives associated with ISI who survived and remained in Iraq were both battle-hardened and highly skilled after years of combat against coalition forces. As seen by these recent attacks, the ISI retains a great deal of its capability. It has demonstrated that it is still able to gather intelligence, plan attacks, acquire ordnance, build reliable IEDs and execute spectacular attacks in the center of Baghdad against government ministry buildings.
A tactical look at the Oct. 25 attack can tell us a great deal about the state of ISI. Perhaps the most obvious thing that can be ascertained is that ISI appears to have no problem securing large quantities of explosives. The two vehicles used in the attack are reported to have contained approximately 1,500 and 2,200 pounds of high explosives. (The larger of the two vehicles was apparently used to target the Justice Ministry.) The photos and videos of the two attack sites would seem roughly consistent with those estimates. From the damage done, it is obvious that the devices employed in the attack were very large and not merely 50 or 100 pounds of high explosives stuffed in the trunk of a car. The ISI not only needs money to purchase such explosive material (or a facility to produce it), but it also must be able to discreetly transport and store the material. So we are talking about vehicles for moving explosives around, places for caching the material and shops where the VBIEDS can be fabricated without detection.
It is also important to note that the two devices functioned as designed -- they did not malfunction or have a low-order detonation where only a portion of the main charge exploded. Whoever built these two large devices (and the two from the August attack) not only had access to thousands of pounds of high explosives but knew what they were doing. Assembling a large VBIED and getting it to actually function as designed is not as easy as it might seem; it takes a great deal of expertise. And the ISI's various bombmakers have accumulated a wealth of bombmaking experience while constructing IEDs of all sorts -- including a large number of massive VBIEDs -- used in many of the hundreds, if not thousands, of terrorist attacks that the ISI's constituent groups have conducted since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Reports suggest that the devices used in the Oct. 25 attack were hidden in two small passenger buses, and that those buses were new enough to blend into the traffic in the government sector of Baghdad. It appears that the ISI used the buses to get around the greater scrutiny paid to vehicles used in past attacks like cargo and tanker trucks. It will be interesting to see whether the buses can be traced and where the ISI obtained them. Following the attack, small buses will now be placed under heightened scrutiny -- meaning we can anticipate that the group may switch to another type of vehicle for the next round of attacks. (Jihadists in Iraq have used everything from bicycles to ambulances for their VBIEDs.)
We have not seen a final report on how the completed devices got to Baghdad -- whether they were manufactured outside Baghdad and then smuggled through the various security checkpoints, or if they were constructed in Baghdad from explosives smuggled into the city in smaller quantities. There are some Iraqi politicians who are saying that devices of this size could only have passed through security with inside collaboration, and there are certainly some members of the Iraqi security forces who are either sympathetic to the jihadist cause or have been placed into the security forces to act as agents of influence. However, if the explosives were well-hidden in a nice, new passenger bus with proper documentation, or if the explosives were brought into the city in smaller quantities and the VBIEDs were constructed in Baghdad, it is quite possible that the attackers did not require high-level inside assistance to conduct the attack.
Of course, if the ISI did not have high-level inside assistance for this attack, then it means that it possesses a sophisticated network capable of gathering intelligence, planning attacks and acquiring and smuggling large quantities of explosives into the heart of Baghdad without detection -- which is not an inconsequential thing. If the ISI conducted this attack without any significant inside help, the problem is far greater that if it had; regardless of political settlements or purges of the security forces, the network will remain in place. It will be much harder to ferret out if it is external.
The ministry buildings that were attacked were secured by exterior security perimeters that prevented the vehicles carrying the explosive devices from getting right up next to them. However, they were not hardened facilities and did not present a truly hard target for the attackers. The buildings were standard office buildings built during more peaceful times in Iraq and had lots of windows. They were also built in close proximity to the street and did not have the standoff distance required to provide protection against a large VBIED. Standoff distance had been provided for these buildings previously when the streets around them were closed to traffic, but the streets were opened up a few months back by the Iraqi government as a sign that things were returning to normal in Baghdad. In past VBIED attacks in Baghdad, the ISI was forced to attack soft targets or targets on the perimeter of secure zones. The opening of many streets to traffic in 2009 has expanded the group's targeting possibilities -- especially if it can use large devices to overcome the limited protection that short standoff distance affords at targets like those recently struck.
Hardened construction, protective window film, and perimeter walls and barricades are useful, and such measures can be effective in protecting a facility against a small IED. They also certainly saved lives on Oct. 25 by not allowing the VBIEDs to pull up right next to the facilities, where they could have caused more direct structural damage and killed more people inside the buildings. (It appears that many of those killed were commuters on the street.) However, distance is the most critical thing that protects a facility against an attack with a very large VBIED, and the ministry buildings attacked by the ISI on Oct. 25 lacked sufficient standoff distance to protect them from 1,500- and 2,200-pound VBIEDs.
In practical terms, there are very few capital cities anywhere in the world that provide the space for effective standoff distance for their ministry-level buildings. Even in Washington, streets had to be closed to traffic around buildings like the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon to provide adequate standoff. There is often a great deal of tension between city officials who desire a smooth flow of traffic and security officials attempting to guard facilities against attack.
Following the Oct. 25 attacks, the Iraqi government has increased security around government facilities (as it did after the Aug. 19 attack), but the steps taken are mainly just short-term security measures that tend to gloss over the larger long-term problem of balancing security with feelings of normalcy in Baghdad and throughout Iraq.
Since August, the ISI has attacked the Iraqi Finance Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry and the Baghdad Provincial Council, and these attacks are being used to send a number of signals.
First, the jihadists in the ISI are attempting to split the existing power-sharing agreement in Baghdad. If the Sunni, Shia and Kurds can reach a final understanding, the jihadists lose their value as a bargaining lever for the Sunni elders and will rapidly lose their operational space (and likely their lives). Second, if the Sunni, Shia and Kurds can form a stable government, the jihadists lose all hope of forming their aspired-for caliphate in Iraq. The ISI needs chaos in Iraq to have any hope of stepping into power like the Taliban did in Afghanistan.
The local Sunni leaders likely are providing at least some level of support to the ISI -- or, at the very least, they are turning a blind eye to the various ISI activities that are almost certainly based out of Sunni-controlled areas. The Sunni sheikhs are using the ISI to send a message to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that the Sunnis must be accommodated if there is to be real peace and stability in Iraq. One sticking point for the Sunni elders is that a large percentage of the Awakening Council members have not been integrated into the security forces as promised. Of course, the Shia and Kurds then use these attacks as an excuse for why the Sunnis cannot be trusted -- and it all becomes a vicious circle.
The political situation that is driving the security problems in Iraq is complex and cannot be easily resolved. There are many internal and external players who are all trying to influence the final outcome in Iraq for their own benefit. In addition to the internal squabbles over power and oil wealth, Iraq is also a proxy battleground where the United States and Iran are attempting to maintain and assert influence. Regional players like the Saudis, Syrians and Turks also will take a keen interest in the elections and will certainly attempt to influence them to whatever degree they can. The end result of all this meddling is that peace and stability will be hard to obtain.
This means that terrorist attacks likely will continue for the foreseeable future, including attacks by the ISI. If the attacks in August and October are any indication, the remainder of the run-up to the January elections could prove quite bloody.
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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: U.S. Air Force ~ EB-52 Shot Down Again*Source: Strategy Page
(NSI News Source Info) KOTTAKKAL, Kerala, India - October 29, 2009: The U.S. Air Force has backed away from developing a new electronic warfare aircraft. Now it will rely on UAVs equipped with jammers, and electronic jamming pods on non-specialized (as jamming aircraft) warplanes. This was not the preferred approach. Last year, the air force revived a program to convert some of its B-52 heavy bombers into radar jamming aircraft.*
The B-52H is the US Air Force's long-range, large-payload multi-role bomber and is known as the Stratofortress or the Buff (big ugly fat fellow). It is the USAF's principal strategic nuclear and conventional weapons platform, and supports the US Navy in anti-surface and submarine warfare missions.
The B-52 celebrated its 50th anniversary (first flight April 1952) in April 2002 and is the longest serving combat aircraft in the world - a total of 744 were built. The B-52H entered service in 1961 and 104 were built. The last was delivered in 1962. However, due to extensive system and structural upgrades, its service life is expected to continue beyond the year 2030. Under the nose section are the steerable chin turrets for the AN/ASQ-151 electro-optical viewing system (EVS), which consists of the Raytheon AN/AAQ-6 forward-looking infrared (FLIR) in the starboard turret and Northrop Grumman AN/AVQ-22 low-light-level television camera (LLTV) in the port turret.The images from the EVS are displayed on monochrome screens on the flight deck and on the lower deck.*
This would be done by equipping the bombers with jamming pods (that are similar in appearance to large bombs). The air force planned to buy 24 sets of pods, for a force of 34 B-52s. Each pair of pods would cost about $100 million (including development.) There would be some modification to the B-52s, so members of the crew could operate the jammers. But this effort was cancelled earlier this year, largely for the same reason a more ambitious EB-52 was canceled in 2005 (when projected cost soared from one billion to seven billion dollars, since work began in 2002.)
Back in the 1980s and 90s, a version of the F-111 carried out this electronic warfare function, and did it very well. But the air force retired the EF-111 a decade ago, and agreed to split the cost, and share the use, of U.S. Navy jamming aircraft. The navy is now introducing the EA-18G jamming aircraft (based on the F-18) to replace the 40 year old EA-6B jamming aircraft.
The air force believes the navy won't buy enough EA-18Gs to meet navy and air force needs. So the air force wants to have something of their own to help out. The navy plans to buy about fifty EA-18Gs, for about $73 million each. It would have taken at least five years to get the EB-52 into service. The air force believes it will only take three years to get the new, less ambitious, program into service.
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: U.S., India Wrap Up "Yudh Abhyas 09" Joint Military Drills*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) CAMP BUNDELA, India, - October 29, 2009: U.S. and Indian forces wrapped up their largest joint military exercise to date, practicing a set of maneuvers simulating environments in Iraq and Afghanistan.Indian Army soldiers rappel down a MI-17 helicopter during "Yudh Abhyas 09", a joint Indo-U.S. training exercise in Babina, in Uttar Pradesh state, October 26, 2009. The eighteen-day joint exercise started in Babina October 12.
More than 200 troops from the U.S. 2nd Battalion, 14th Calvary Squadron brought 17 Stryker combat vehicles from Hawaii to practice maneuvers with their counterparts in the Indian armed forces.U.S. Army soldiers fire "Javelin" - a close combat/anti-armour weapon system - during "Yudh Abhyas 09", a joint Indo-U.S. training exercise in Babina, in Uttar Pradesh state, October 26, 2009. The eighteen-day joint exercise started in Babina October 12.
It was the largest deployment of U.S. Strykers to a theater outside of war. Indian soldiers were familiarized with the vehicle but were restricted from driving or using sensitive communications equipment.An Indian Army Dhruv helicopter carries the "injured" as U.S. soldiers take their positions during "Yudh Abhyas 09", a joint Indo-U.S. training exercise in Babina, in Uttar Pradesh state, October 26, 2009. The eighteen-day joint exercise started in Babina October 12.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, the commander of U.S. Army forces in the Pacific, and Indian generals traveled to Camp Bundela in India to demonstrate the firepower of the Indian T-90 battle tank and the U.S. Javelin tank killer, the U.S. Department of Defense said.
A U.S. Army soldier sits atop a Stryker, an eight-wheeled armoured combat vehicle, during "Yudh Abhyas 09", a joint Indo-U.S. training exercise in Babina, in Uttar Pradesh state, October 26, 2009. The eighteen-day joint exercise started in Babina October 12.
Training focused on joint exercises in environments and situations that resemble the types of operations experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mixon said the ability of the Indian military was impressive, noting the exchange of information flowed in both directions.
"The Indian army is a professional military force," he said. "I would be comfortable going with the Indian army anywhere, any time."
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY October 28, 2009 ~ Six UN Staff Killed By Suicide Attack In Kabul*Six United Nations staff were among seven people killed when Taliban militants launched a series of suicide bomb, rocket and commando attacks on a UN guesthouse and an international hotel close to the Presidential Palace in Kabul.*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - October 28, 2009: The six international staff members were killed when three suicide attackers stormed the Bakhtar guesthouse in the city's Shahr-e-Naw district. A U.N. ambulance arrives the site of an attack as Afghan policemen secure in Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009. Gunmen attacked a guest house used by U.N. staff in the Afghan capital of Kabul early Wednesday, officials said. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility, saying it was meant as an assault on the upcoming presidential election.
Several other staff are understood to have broken limbs as they leapt from windows or over walls to escape the attack at soon after 6.30am local time (2am GMT).
A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack saying suicide attackers had entered the building. The group said the attack was the first part of a campaign to disrupt the second round run-off of the presidential election.
Three days ago the movement issued a statement warning Afghans to boycott the poll.
Witnesses reported a large explosion and then gun fire which could be heard across the city. A plume of smoke rose from the scene and helicopters circled overhead.
A United Nations spokesman said the incident was still going on. He could not comment on unconfirmed Taliban claims that at least one hostage had been taken.Afghan policemen comfort a foreign survivor of an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009. Gunmen attacked a guest house used by U.N. staff in the Afghan capital of Kabul early Wednesday, officials said. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility, saying it was meant as an assault on the upcoming presidential election.
Afghan authorities said six foreigners had been killed in the attack.
"Three suicide bombers have been killed during the police operation, they were armed suicide bombers," said Zemarai Bashary, spokesman for the interior ministry.
"Unfortunately six foreigners have been killed, five foreigners have been wounded."
Adrian Edwards, a United Nations spokesman said the attack was the most serious to befall the organisation. He confirmed six UN staff were killed.
He said: "This has clearly been a very serious incident for us. We've not had an incident like this in the past."
An Afghan soldier by the site of the attack, in a busy shopping district near Kabul's Butcher Street, said four men and one woman were among the dead.
A Minster of the Interior official said the shootout ended two hours later with the deaths of three attackers.
The guesthouse also houses international staff working for other companies and organisations. Twenty UN staff, many of whom are believed to hav ebeen in the country for the Nov 7 presidential run off between Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, were staying at the guesthouse at the time.
United Nations staff have been under increased security in recent weeks after credible reports insurgents planned to kidnap a staff member.
Later, reports from Kabul said rockets had been fired at the foreign-owned Serena hotel near the presidential palace.
A foreign national staying at the hotel, which is Kabul's only five-star hotel, said that more than 100 people had been rushed to an underground bunker following the attacks, but no casualties could be seen.
DTN News: BREAKING NEWS Pakistan TODAY October 28, 2009 ~ Powerful Blast Rocks Peshawar Market*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) PESHAWAR, Pakistan - October 28, 2009: A powerful blast has ripped through a crowded market in Pakistan's northwest city of Peshawar, killing at least 43 people, police and witnesses say.Map locates Kamra and Peshawar, Pakistan, where bombs exploded. Pakistani security officials examine the site of a bomb explosion in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Dozens of people have also been injured as heavy smoke went into the sky in the area where the explosion happened.
The heavy blast came just hours after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Pakistan's capital Islamabad for talks over political and military issues.
"At least 43 people have been killed and more than 80 were wounded. We have declared an emergency in the hospital," said doctor Hamid Afridi, the head of the main government-run Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.
The death toll is expected to rise as some of the injured were apparently in critical condition.
"We have received 21 dead bodies. A lot of people are injured. We are not in a position to count them," hospital doctor Zafar Iqbal told AFP news agency.
The bombing came as Peshawar has been on high alert since Tuesday as the local government has erected additional pickets on all the entrances and exits of the city, in milieu of country's deteriorating peace situation.
The police have called upon the citizens to fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies.
DTN News: Japan Intercepts Ballistic Missile In Hawaii Test*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) HONOLULU, Hawaii - October 28, 2009: A Japanese navy ship has intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile in a test off Hawaii.The U.S. military fired the test's target on Tuesday from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.Japanese destroyer JS Myoko (DDG-175) ~ The JMSDF is working closely with the USA on missile defense activities. Air Force cooperation has also improved by leaps and bounds, allowing for much closer coordination with the USA in all aspects including missile tracking. Japanese involvement includes modification and improvements to the SM-3 long-range anti-air/ABM missile. This weapon will form the outer layer of Japan’s ABM system, deployed from its current fleet of 4 Kongo Class AEGIS destroyers. The inner layer will consist of land-based Japan Self Defense Forces PAC-3 Patriot missiles, and together they will form the initial ballistic missile defense for mainland Japan. Japan already has the upgraded AEGIS Weapon System and SM-3 Block IA Standard missiles in its inventory. The JMSDF has 4 AEGIS destroyers operating with SM-2 missiles at sea; the 5th and 6th AEGIS destroyers are under construction. The JMSDF is fully capable of integrating the modified AEGIS Weapon System and SM-3 Block IA into its operational forces and will receive data sufficient to maintain and support the systems. Presumably, this will include Cooperative Engagement Capability for its Kongo-Class AEGIS destroyers.
The JS Myoko detected the target, tracked it and then fired an SM-3 interceptor missile from its deck. The interceptor hit the target in space above the Pacific Ocean.
The Myoko is the third of four Japanese ships to be upgraded with ballistic missile defense technology.
The second, the JS Chokai, participated in a test off Hawaii last November but an unidentified problem prevented its interceptor from shooting down the target. An investigation is ongoing.
The first Japanese attempt, from the JS Kongo in 2007, was successful.
DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 28, 2009 ~ Pakistan Kills 42 Militants In Anti-Taliban Push
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - October 28, 2009: Pakistan pressed an offensive deeper into Taliban territory along the Afghan border Tuesday, claiming to have killed 42 militants in the latest stage of an assault seen as crucial in defeating extremism in the nuclear-armed country.
Pakistan's army troops arrive after patrolling on the vicinity of food distribution center for displaced tribesmen, who fled from South Waziristan due to military offensive, Tuesday, Oct. 27,2009 in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan. Pakistan's 11-day-old offensive in the Taliban and al-Qaida stronghold of South Waziristan is considered its most critical test yet in the campaign to stop the spread of violent extremism in the this nuclear-armed country. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
The assault into South Waziristan's unforgiving mountains has triggered a bloody backlash from militants, who are determined to bring the war out of the remote, northwestern region and into the country's cities in hopes of eroding public and political support. In the capital Islamabad, gunmen attacked a high-ranking Pakistani army officer in the second targeted shooting against top military brass in less than a week. The army officer, and his mother who was traveling with him, escaped unhurt.
The fight in South Waziristan is seen as a major test of Pakistan's will and ability to tackle the northwestern strongholds of al-Qaida-allied extremists. The army already has been beaten back from the region three times since 2004.
Pakistani soldiers carry the coffin of comrade Mohammad Asif, killed in the ongoing operation against Taliban militants in South Waziristan , during his funeral in Karachi on October 27, 2009. Pakistan's huge anti-Taliban offensive has displaced around 200,000 people as 197 the number of militants and to 30 the number of troops killed. Pakistan sent 30,000 troops into action against an estimated 10,000 Taliban fighters in South Waziristan after a series of major attacks in cities that have left nearly 200 people dead so far this month.
Pakistan has been criticized in the past for not cracking down on Islamist militant groups it once nurtured as proxies to fight in India and Afghanistan. It remains unclear whether the army has committed enough troops to the current campaign to hold the territory it is seizing.
An army statement said troops were progressing well on three fronts in South Waziristan, but were meeting resistance.
It said that over the last 24 hours, 42 militants and one solider had been killed. Since the assault began, the army claims to have killed 231 insurgents and lost 29 soldiers. It has given no figures for civilian casualties, but those fleeing have said they have also occurred.
Independent verification of army claims in the region is all but impossible because the military has blocked access for journalists and humanitarian workers.
On Tuesday in Islamabad, gunmen attacked an army brigadier, equivalent to a brigadier general in the U.S. Army, as he was driving to a bank in a residential area. Muhammad Imran, who runs a business nearby, said he saw a young man take out a weapon from beneath his shawl and unleash a hail of bullets as the car slowed down for a speed bump.
"He was firing relentlessly. He was targeting the front seat of the car," Imran said.
Another young man on a motorcycle then appeared and the two sped away, Imran said.
Senior police officer Bin Yamin said the army officer, who was not identified, was not in uniform but was driving a government car.
Last Thursday, gunmen on a motorcycle fired on an army jeep in Islamabad, killing a brigadier and a soldier in what was believed to be the first assassination of an army officer in the capital.
Militant attacks in Pakistan have surged this month, killing more than 200 people.
The army has deployed some 30,000 troops to South Waziristan against an estimated 12,000 militants, including up to 1,500 foreign fighters, among them Uzbeks and Arabs. The U.N. says some 155,000 civilians have fled the region.
Meanwhile, authorities announced the arrest of previously unknown man they described as the head of the Pakistani Taliban in Punjab, Pakistan's most populous province.
Qari Ishtiaq was detained in Bahawalpur, a city in the Punjab closely associated with a militant group once harnessed by the state to attack targets in India, said Mian Mohammad Mushtaq, the head of the civil administration in Bahawalpur district.
Authorities had not previously named Qari Ishtiaq in public as a suspected militant leader.