Tuesday, December 01, 2009
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY December 2, 2009 ~ 30,000 More Troops To Afghanistan By Summer Says President Barack Obama
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY December 2, 2009 ~ 30,000 More Troops To Afghanistan By Summer Says President Barack Obama *Source: DTN News / By STEVEN R. HURST and DARLENE SUPERVILLE (AP) (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - December 2, 2009: President Barack Obama announced Tuesday he was dispatching 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, accelerating a risky and expensive war buildup, even as he assured the nation that U.S. forces will begin coming home in July 2011. The first new Marines will join the fight by Christmas. U.S. Army soldiers belonging to the Alpha troop 3-71 Cavalry Squadron and members of the South Carolina National Guard patrol near the town of Baraki Barak, Logar province, Afghanistan. This is Logar province: scene of a major U.S. military surge, fuel for the argument by senior commanders that more troops and aid infusions could reverse Taliban gains in other areas of Afghanistan and ultimately culminate the war in victory. The escalation — to be completed by next summer — is designed to reverse significant Taliban advances since Obama took office 10 months ago and to fast-track the training of Afghan soldiers and police toward the goal of hastening an eventual U.S. pullout. The size and speed of the troop increase will put a heavy strain on the military, which still maintains a force of more than 100,000 in Iraq and already has 68,000 in Afghanistan. "The 30,000 additional troops that I am announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 the fastest pace possible so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers," Obama was to say in his Tuesday night prime-time speech. The White House released excerpts in advance. The increased troops, Obama said, "will increase our ability to train competent Afghan security forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. And they will help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans." A child watches as soldiers belonging to the Able Troop 3-71 Cavalry Squadron patrol in the village of Hawas Kheyl, Baraki Barak district, Logar province, Afghanistan Wednesday Nov. 25, 2009. This is Logar province: scene of a major U.S. military surge, fuel for the argument by senior commanders that more troops and aid infusions could reverse Taliban gains in other areas of Afghanistan and ultimately culminate the war in victory. Looking to America's experience in Iraq, Obama put said a U.S. withdrawal would be executed "responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground." "We will continue to advise and assist Afghanistan's security forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul. But it will be clear to the Afghan government and, more importantly, to the Afghan people that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country," Obama said. Obama also leaned heavily on NATO allies and other countries to join in escalating the fight. "We must come together to end this war successfully," the president said. "For what's at stake is not simply a test of NATO's credibility. What's at stake is the security of our allies, and the common security of the world." Obama's Tuesday evening speech to cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., to be broadcast nationally, ends three months of exacting deliberations that won praise from supporters and criticism from opponents. Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Obama was "dithering," too inexperienced to make a decision on the troop buildup requested in September by commanding Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Senior officials said Obama also would underscore his commitment to stabilizing Afghanistan and scouring corruption out of the government of President Hamid Karzai. Obama has vowed to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a safe haven for al-Qaida boss Osama bin Laden and his terrorist organization. Most of the new forces will be combat troops. Military officials said the Army brigades most likely to be sent will come from Fort Drum in New York and Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Marines, who will be the vanguard, will most likely come primarily from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. There will be about 5,000 dedicated trainers in the 30,000, showing the emphasis on preparing Afghans to take over their own security. And the president is making clear to his generals that all troops, even if designated as combat, must consider themselves trainers. Announcing a start to a U.S. withdrawal by July 2011 does not tie the United States to an "end date" for the war, officials said. They all spoke on condition of anonymity because the speech had not been delivered. The address could become a defining moment of the Obama presidency, a political gamble that may weigh heavily on his chances for a second White House term. It represents the beginning of a sales job to restore support for the war effort among an American public grown increasingly pessimistic about success — and among some fellow Democrats in Congress wary of or even opposed to spending billions more dollars and putting tens of thousands more U.S. soldiers and Marines in harm's way. A new survey by the Gallup organization, released Tuesday, showed only 35 percent of Americans now approve of Obama's handling of the war; 55 percent disapprove. Even before the president spoke, his plan was met with skepticism in Congress, where Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and liberal House Democrats threatened to try to block funding for the troop increase. Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who chairs a military oversight panel, said he didn't think Democrats would yank funding for the troops or try to force Obama's hand to pull them out faster. But Democrats will be looking for ways to pay for the additional troops, he said, including a tax increase on the wealthy although that hike is already being eyed to pay for health care costs. Another possibility is imposing a small gasoline tax that would be phased out if gas prices go up, he said. Meanwhile, Republicans said that setting a timetable for withdrawal would demonstrate weakness. "The way that you win wars is to break the enemy's will, not to announce dates that you are leaving," said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and Obama's campaign rival in last year's presidential race. If the timeline for the troop increase holds, it will require a costly logistical scramble to send in so many people and so much equipment almost entirely by air. It will also probably require breaking at least an implicit promise to some soldiers who had thought they would have more than 12 months at home before their next deployment. At the same time, NATO diplomats said Obama was asking alliance partners in Europe to add 5,000 to 10,000 troops to the separate international force in Afghanistan. Indications were the allies would agree to a number somewhere in that range. The war has even less support in Europe than in the United States, and the NATO allies and other countries currently have about 40,000 troops on the ground. The main mission of the new troops will be to reverse Taliban gains and secure population centers in the country's volatile south and east. The addition of some Marines before year's end would provide badly needed reinforcements to those fighting against Taliban gains in southern Helmand province. Obama briefed dozens of key lawmakers Tuesday afternoon, before setting off for West Point. Late Monday, the president spent an hour on a video conference call with Karzai. The White House said Obama told the Afghan leader "that U.S. and international efforts in Afghanistan are not open-ended and must be evaluated toward measurable and achievable goals within the next 18 to 24 months." On Tuesday Obama contacted Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to tell him the United States wanted to open a long-term commercial and security relationship. Obama also had planned to speak of a need to help Pakistan stabilize itself from the threats it faces not only from al-Qaida but Taliban forces that are increasingly behind terrorist bombings in that country, officials said. The United States went to war in Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida terrorist attacks on the United States. Bin Laden and key members of the terrorist organization were headquartered in Afghanistan at the time, taking advantage of sanctuary afforded by the Taliban government that ran the mountainous and isolated country. Taliban forces were quickly driven from power, while bin Laden and his top deputies were believed to have fled through towering mountains into neighboring Pakistan. While the al-Qaida leadership appears to be bottled up in Pakistan's largely ungoverned tribal regions, the U.S. military strategy of targeted missile attacks from unmanned drone aircraft has yet to flush bin Laden and his cohorts from hiding. AP White House Correspondent Jennifer Loven and National Security Writer Anne Gearan contributed to this report.
DTN News: First Aegis Weapon System Completed For Royal Australian Navy *Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin (NSI News Source Info) MOORESTOWN, NJ, - December 2, 2009: Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] celebrated the completed production of the first Aegis Weapon System for the Royal Australian Navy’s Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD-1) Program. In a “pull-the-plug” ceremony at its Moorestown facility, Lockheed Martin marked the successful completion of a full range of acceptance tests conducted over several months to verify system performance. This milestone indicates the Aegis system is now ready for shipboard installation on HOBART, the first of Australia’s three planned Aegis-equipped destroyers. In 2007, the U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to equip the three Australian ships with the Aegis. The first AWD-1 system will now be packed and shipped to ASC Shipyard in Adelaide, South Australia. HOBART is expected to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy in December 2014. “This ceremony represents the culmination of an exceptional effort to deliver a tested Aegis Weapon System for the Australia Air Warfare Destroyer,” said Rear Admiral Terry Benedict, Program Executive Officer for Integrated Warfare Systems, U.S. Navy. “I want to congratulate the AWD Team, both in Australia and in the United States, on this significant achievement.” “We are so pleased to be a part of this international effort,” said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Surface/Sea-based Missile Defense business based in Moorestown. “The Lockheed Martin team, along with our U.S. Navy and Australian industry partners, the Defense Materiel Organization, Raytheon Australia and ASC Shipbuilding, continue to deliver the world’s finest combat system to our customers, and that makes all of us very proud to be part of this program.” The Aegis system enables destroyers to engage simultaneous threats from under the sea, the surface and the air. The 92 Aegis-equipped ships currently in service around the globe have more than 950 years of at-sea operational experience and have launched more than 3,500 missiles in tests and real-world operations. In addition to the U.S. and Australia, Aegis is the maritime weapon system of choice for Japan, Norway, South Korea and Spain. Lockheed Martin is a world leader in systems integration and the development of air and missile defense systems and technologies. It also has considerable experience in interceptor systems, kill vehicles, battle management command, control and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, as well as radar and other sensors that enable signal processing and data fusion. The company makes significant contributions to nearly all major U.S. Missile Defense Systems and participates in several global missile defense partnerships. 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.
DTN News: U.S Air Force/Lockheed Martin-Led Team Successfully Complete Environmental Testing Of First-Of-Its-Kind Missile Warning Satellite
DTN News: U.S Air Force/Lockheed Martin-Led Team Successfully Complete Environmental Testing Of First-Of-Its-Kind Missile Warning Satellite *Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin (NSI News Source Info) SUNNYVALE, Calif., - December 2, 2009: A joint U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]-led team announced Dec. 1 that it has successfully completed thermal vacuum testing of the first Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous (GEO-1) satellite, one of the most significant program milestones that validates spacecraft performance in a simulated space environment. The U.S. Air Force's SBIRS program is designed to provide early warning of missile launches, and simultaneously provide important capabilities to other missions, including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness. Conducted inside Lockheed Martin's Dual Entry Large Thermal Altitude (DELTA) chamber, the test verified spacecraft functionality and performance in a vacuum environment where the satellite was thoroughly tested at the extreme hot and cold temperatures it will experience in space. Thermal vacuum testing represents the last of several critical environmental test phases that validate the overall satellite design, quality of workmanship and survivability during space vehicle launching and on-orbit operations. Successful completion of environmental testing gives us high confidence in the capabilities of this technically complex satellite and represents the culmination of years of hard work by a government/industry team dedicated to achieving mission success on this vitally important program, said Col Roger Teague, the U.S. Air Force's SBIRS Wing Commander. We are on track with our remaining work ahead and look forward to the delivery of this first-of-its-kind satellite, which will provide substantially improved surveillance capabilities for the warfighter. With the completion of spacecraft environmental testing, Lockheed Martin will now perform final factory work on the satellite and execute a series of integrated spacecraft and system tests to ensure the vehicle is ready for flight. The first SBIRS GEO spacecraft is planned for delivery to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in late 2010 where it will then undergo final processing and preparation for launch aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle. The team performed a thorough and disciplined test and we fully expect this cutting-edge spacecraft will meet or exceed our customer's expectations, said Jeff Smith, Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS Vice President. Our team is now focused on successfully executing the final integration and test activities to verify system integrity in preparation for delivery next year. The SBIRS team is led by the Space Based Infrared Systems Wing at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the SBIRS prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, Calif., as the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system. Lockheed Martin's SBIRS contract includes the two highly elliptical orbit (HEO) payloads now on-orbit, two geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellites, as well as ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. The team was recently awarded a $1.5-billion contract for the third HEO payload, the third GEO-3 satellite and associated ground modifications. The program has also begun advanced procurement of long-lead components for a fourth HEO payload and a fourth GEO satellite. 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.
DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Secures $76 Million In LVSR Delivery Orders *Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation (NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - December 2, 2009: Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), has been awarded two delivery orders to an existing contract with the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) for nearly 200 Logistics Vehicle System Replacements (LVSR). The two delivery orders, valued at more than $76 million, bring the total number of LVSRs under contract to 854. The LVSR features an on-road payload capacity of 22.5 tons and an off-road payload capacity of 16.5 tons. With improved survivability, mobility and performance, the next-generation LVSR expands on the original Logistics Vehicle System (LVS) produced by Oshkosh Corporation in the early 1980s. The Oshkosh® LVSR is used by the U.S. Marine Corps for the on- and off-road transportation of heavy payloads, such as munitions, fuel, water and heavy equipment. The vehicle, equipped with the Oshkosh patented TAK-4® independent suspension system for superior off-road mobility in the most severe environments, began arriving in Afghanistan in September. The LVSR comes in three variants – cargo, wrecker and fifth-wheel – and features an on-road payload capacity of 22.5 tons and an off-road payload capacity of 16.5 tons. Production and delivery of the LVSRs, 40 of which are for the USMC Reserve Forces, extends through September 2010. All of the LVSRs will be manufactured in Oshkosh’s Wisconsin manufacturing facilities. Oshkosh delivered its requirement of nearly 40 LVSRs in November and set a record production number for the program when it produced more than 40 in October. About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit http://www.oshkoshdefense.com/. About Oshkosh Corporation
Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corp. manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to http://www.oshkoshcorporation.com/.
DTN News: Oshkosh Corporation Commemorates Handoff Of 1,000th M-ATV To U.S. Armed Forces *Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation (NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - December 2, 2009: Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) marked the handoff of the 1,000th MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) to the U.S. Armed Forces on Nov. 30 at a ceremony with military leadership at the company’s facilities in Oshkosh, Wis.Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, commander of the Marine Corps Systems Command, signs a ceremonial DD250 to commemorate the handoff of the 1,000th M-ATV to the U.S. Armed Forces. Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, commander of the Marine Corps Systems Command, was the keynote speaker at the event. Having exceeded the government’s delivery schedule for five consecutive months, Oshkosh is ramping up production to 1,000 vehicles per month in December and continuing at that level through April 2010. “We understood the urgency of the M-ATV program to save American lives and leaned forward in advance of receiving the contract to build vehicles and prepare our operations for this high-quantity production,” said Robert G. Bohn, Oshkosh Corporation chairman and chief executive officer. “Our workforce has embraced this important mission and made countless personal sacrifices to produce these vehicles quickly to protect those that are sacrificing for our safety. They will continue to deliver these life-saving vehicles along with replacement parts and field support, as long as necessary.” Since being awarded the production contract on June 30, 2009, Oshkosh has received four additional awards from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC) to supply a total of 6,219 M-ATVs. Oshkosh also has received orders for spare kits and to send its factory-trained field service representatives (FSR) to Afghanistan to provide training and maintenance support for the vehicles. The aggregate amount of the five awards is valued at $3.2 billion. The M-ATV is the U.S. military’s newest MRAP model, combining the protection levels of legacy MRAPs with improved mobility and durability to handle Afghanistan’s mountainous cross-country terrain and unimproved roads. The vehicle uses the Oshkosh-patented TAK-4® independent suspension system, which has undergone more than 500,000 miles of government testing, to achieve a 70-percent off-road profile capability and 16 inches of independent wheel travel. The system also is used on the Marine Corps’ Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) and Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR), as well as the Army’s Palletized Load System (PLS A1). Existing Oshkosh Defense manufacturing facilities have available production capacity for all current and pending military vehicle programs, including the M-ATV and the U.S. Army’s Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), as well as any surges in production. Oshkosh Defense teamed with Plasan North America to provide an advanced armor solution for the M-ATV. Plasan also developed the armor system used on more than 5,000 legacy MRAPs and thousands of Oshkosh MTVR Armored Cabs already in theater. Photo Caption: Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, commander of the Marine Corps Systems Command, is joined by Andy Hove, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Defense, left, and Gordon Kranz, executive director of engineering and analysis for the Defense Contract Management Agency, as he signs a ceremonial DD250 to commemorate the handoff of the 1,000th M-ATV to the U.S. Armed Forces at a ceremony on Nov. 30 at the company's facilities in Oshkosh, Wis. About Oshkosh Defense Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit http://www.oshkoshdefense.com/. About Oshkosh Corporation Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corp. manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to http://www.oshkoshcorporation.com/.
DTN News: Boeing Ships High-Definition Broadcasting Satellite DIRECTV 12 To Launch Site *Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) EL SEGUNDO, Calif., - December 2, 2009: Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced Dec. 1 that DIRECTV 12 was shipped Nov. 25 from Boeing's satellite manufacturing facility in El Segundo to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch facility in Kazakhstan. Upon arrival, the satellite will undergo final preparations for a December launch aboard an International Launch Services Proton/Breeze M rocket. "Boeing has provided advanced satellite systems to DIRECTV for more than 16 years, and we are on track for a DIRECTV launch that will deliver superior commercial communications capabilities to our customer and help their business succeed through the use of Boeing technology," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "The successful launch and deployment of DIRECTV 12 will bring the best in digital television programming to DIRECTV's more than 18.4 million customers across the United States." DIRECTV 12 is the 11th satellite Boeing has built for the nation's No. 1 satellite TV service, enabling DIRECTV to continue to broaden its lineup of digital television programming services and expand its customer base. The new satellite will increase DIRECTV's high-definition (HD) capacity by 50 percent, and when combined with the DIRECTV 10 and 11 satellites that launched in 2007 and 2008, will enable DIRECTV to deliver 200 national and 1,500 local HDTV channels to millions of U.S. households. DIRECTV 12's national and spot-beam Ka-band payloads are designed to receive and transmit programming throughout the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.
DTN News: Boeing EA-18G Growler To Advance To Full Rate Production
*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, - December 2, 2009: The Boeing [NYSE: BA] EA-18G Growler was approved to advance into Full Rate Production (FRP) by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) on Nov. 23. The St. Louis-based EA-18G program now can proceed from Low Rate Initial Production to FRP quantities of approximately 20 aircraft per year. "Full Rate Production for the EA-18G is critical, as it enables Boeing to quickly ramp up production of the U.S. Navy's newest and most advanced airborne electronic attack (AEA) platform, and rapidly get this new capability to the warfighter," said Bob Gower, F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs vice president for Boeing. "The FRP decision is also a clear indication of DOD support for the EA-18G program and the immediate capability it will provide Combatant Commanders around the world." The EA-18G achieved Initial Operational Capability as planned in September with U.S. Navy electronic attack squadron VAQ-132, based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. The EA-18G's highly flexible design enables warfighters to perform an array of AEA missions, operating either from the deck of an aircraft carrier or from land-based fields. It is the only airborne platform that delivers full-spectrum electronic attack capability, along with targeting and self-defense capabilities derived from the Navy's frontline strike fighter, the F/A-18E/F Block II Super Hornet. The new aircraft is replacing the Navy's current AEA platform, the EA-6B Prowler, which has been in service since 1971. The Growler joined the Navy's aircraft fleet in 2008.Boeing, acting as the weapon system integrator and prime contractor, leads the EA-18G Growler industry team, which also includes Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Electric Aircraft Engines. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.
DTN News: 3rd Boeing WGS Satellite Set To Launch From Cape Canaveral *Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) CAPE CANAVERAL, - December 2, 2009: Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced today that the third Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite it has built for the U.S. Air Force has completed prelaunch testing. The satellite is ready for its scheduled Dec. 2 launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. WGS is the U.S. Department of Defense's highest-capacity communications satellite system. The launch of WGS-3 will mark the completion of the initial constellation of three satellites that provide high-data-rate communications for U.S. forces and allies around the world. "This launch represents another huge leap in communications capabilities for U.S. warfighters and allies around the world," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager, Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "These satellites support a broad range of communications, from full-motion video beamed down from unmanned aerial vehicles, to distribution of maps and imagery to ground troops, to quality-of-life services such as news broadcasts and e-mail delivery to deployed troops. For all branches of our military, WGS saves lives and makes lives better every day." WGS-3 will be placed into geosynchronous Earth orbit over the Atlantic Ocean. The satellite joins WGS-1, which entered service over the Pacific Ocean in April 2008, and WGS-2, which began operations over the Middle East in August 2009. Both operational satellites meet and, in some cases, exceed mission requirements. WGS satellites are built on the proven Boeing 702 platform with 13 kilowatts of power. The payload features reconfigurable coverage areas and the ability to connect X-band and Ka-band users anywhere within their field of view via an onboard digital channelizer -- features not available on any other military communications satellite. Boeing is building three more WGS satellites for the Air Force with enhancements that include a radio frequency bypass to support airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms requiring additional bandwidth. Satellites four through six are planned for launch in 2011 and 2013. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.
DTN News: RAF Merlins Begin Operating In Afghanistan *Source: DTN News / UK Ministry of Defence; issued November 30, 2009 (NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - December 1, 2009: Having arrived in Afghanistan two weeks ago, the initial RAF Merlin Force has now passed the extensive pre-flight checks enabling them to take to the Afghan skies one month ahead of schedule.The first Merlin helicopters deployed to Afghanistan have achieved Initial Operating Capability one month ahead of schedule, and will now complement Chinook and Lynx aircraft already in theatre. (UK MoD photo) This declaration of an Initial Operating Capability means that following transportation to Afghanistan, re-assembly and pre-flight checks, Merlins are now available for operational flying on the front line. The Merlins are transporting troops to and from the Forward Operating Bases and are resupplying them with ammunition, food and equipment. The full Merlin deployment to Afghanistan will be completed by the end of this year, providing a significant increase in UK military helicopters. Merlins can carry up to 20 personnel and will provide an additional capability to the Chinook, Sea King and Lynx. Commander Joint Helicopter Command, Rear Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt, said: "This is a tremendous achievement by the Merlin Helicopter Force. Having left Iraq in the summer, they have retrained the aircrew and reconfigured the aircraft for Afghanistan in double-quick time. A Merlin from 78 Squadron takes to the skies over Helmand province, Afghanistan [Picture: Major Paul Smyth, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009] "This marks a tangible enhancement of helicopter capability in theatre, and is a major step forward in supporting our troops. The whole Joint Helicopter Force's morale is very high; the first Merlins are now operating on the front line, and more will follow." Group Captain Jonathan Burr, Station Commander at RAF Benson, where the Merlin Force is based, said: "The delivery of Merlin in Afghanistan almost a month ahead of schedule is testament to the outstanding efforts and teamwork of the Merlin Force and RAF Benson. "We have pulled out all the stops to get the aircraft into Afghanistan as soon as possible and are now ready to provide significant helicopter lift to the troops in Helmand." Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said: "I am really pleased that the Merlin helicopters are now up and running in Afghanistan and have been given the green light for operations. "The delivery of this capability is one month ahead of schedule and it is an outstanding effort, achieved through the ongoing determination and sheer hard work applied by all those involved."
DTN News: Mahindra, BAE Systems Ink Military Vehicles’ JV / BAE Systems, Mahinda Form Joint Defense Venture
DTN News: Mahindra, BAE Systems Ink Military Vehicles’ JV / BAE Systems, Mahinda Form Joint Defense Venture *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) MUMBAI, India - December 1, 2009: BAE Systems PLC, the world's No. 2 defense contractor, said Monday it has signed a deal with Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. to create a joint venture defense company based in India and focused on land systems. BAE said the parent companies' initial investment will be $21.25 million, with an equity split of 74 percent to Mahindra and 26 percent to BA Systems -- in line with Indian government regulations on foreign investment. The pair already work together on existing projects including the Axe high mobility vehicle as well as armored and bulletproof Scorpios, Boleros, Rakshak, Rapid Intervention Vehicles and the Marksman light armored vehicle. In anticipation of the new company, the two companies have been developing a mine-protected vehicle specifically designed for the Indian army and paramilitary forces. "We are already working together and the benefits for all parties, including the Indian defense and security forces, are clear," said Anand Mahindra, the vice chairman and managing director of Mahindra Group. "We look forward to making a major contribution both to the security and economy of India." The joint venture will initially have around 100 employees.
DTN News: Venezuela To Receive 6 K-8 Karakorum Trainer Planes From China In 2010 *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) CARACAS, Venezuela - December 1, 2009: Venezuela will take delivery in 2010 of the first six of 18 K-8 Karakorum trainer or light attack planes it bought from China, the Venezuelan Air Force's top commander said Nov. 27. The K-8 is a multi-role aircraft that can serve as a trainer, fighter, or light ground attack bomber.110 The K-8 project was initiated by the PRC around 1987, and later became a joint effort with Pakistan. China and Pakistan agreed to jointly develop the K-8 Karakorum jet trainer. Karakoram-8 (K-8), Basic Cum Advance Jet Trainer, was co-developed by Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF), Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra, and China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC). This aircraft was designed by Hongdu Aviation. Manufacture of four prototypes started January 1989, and the first flight test was conducted on 21 November 1990. The design finalization was in December 1992. Thousands of on-land test and flying test show that its combined properties are better than all the other jet trainer all over the world. "A total of 18, K-8 18 aircraft will be delivered, in addition to radar equipment that will help ensure national security," Gen. Jorge Arevalo told Venezuela's ABC news agency. He said China would make three deliveries of the warplanes next year, the first of which will consist of six units. The two-seater K-8 fighters will be test flown by Venezuelan pilots in China before they are taken apart and shipped to Venezuela, officials said. A deal for the 18 jets was signed by Venezuela and China in late 2008. The aircraft is part of Venezuela's effort to upgrade its armed forces and gradually replace its mostly U.S.-made equipment. Arevalo stressed the Chinese planes and radars were intended to boost Venezuela's defensive capabilities, adding: "We don't attack anybody." Venezuela and Colombia's military are on heightened alert after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recently complained of a U.S.-Colombian military base agreement he claims threatens regional peace. Russia, China and Belarus are Venezuela's main military suppliers. In September, Caracas said it had obtained a $2.2 billion credit from Russia to purchase nearly 100 T72 tanks and a series of anti-aircraft rocket systems from its strategic ally.
DTN News: Pakistan TODAY December 1, 2009 ~ At Least 61 Militants Killed In Khyber Tribal Region
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - December 1, 2009: At least 61 militants were killed and 87 others, including locals, Uzbeks and Afghans, were arrested during the ongoing search operation in the Khyber tribal region, FC commandant Brigadier Fayyaz told a press conference.
Pakistani troops show blindfolded militants and ammunition, captured during an ongoing military operation in the Khyber area, to media in Bara, the main town of Pakistan's Khyber tribal region along the Afghan border, Monday, Nov. 30, 2009. Pakistani security forces are battling Taliban fighters and other militants group in rugged northwest regions bordering with Afghanistan. At the press conference in Bara tehsil, Brigadier Fayyaz said security forces cleared most parts of the tehsil and the current operation in the area was successful.
Pakistani troops and media persons stand next to the anti-aircraft guns confiscated during an ongoing military operation in the Khyber area, display for media in Bara, the main town of Pakistan's Khyber tribal region along the Afghan border, Monday, Nov. 30, 2009. Pakistani security forces are battling Taliban fighters and other militants group in rugged northwest regions bordering with Afghanistan. Security forces also recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition. They also destroyed 27 vehicles, ten hideouts and five tunnels. Brigadier Fayyaz said.