DTN News: Pakistan TODAY March 1, 2010 ~ JuD Chief Saeed Advocates War, If India Doesn’t TalkSource: DTN News / ANI
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - March 1, 2010: Jamat ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed on Sunday said Pakistan will have to “fight a war at all cost” if India is not prepared to hold talks.
In an interview given to a Pakistan news channel, Saeed said: “India wants war… If India is not prepared to hold talks, Pakistan will have to fight a war at all costs.”
Commenting over India’s accusations about his (Saeed) involvement in 26/11 Mumbai attack, Saeed said: “Let India prove it in any court, I will be ready to accept everything.”
Saying the people should go to Kashmir for ”jehad” against India, Saeed also criticized the Pakistan Government calling it as “coward.”
Saeed, was placed under house arrest in Lahore in December 2008 after the JuD was declared a terrorist group by the UN Security Council in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.
He was freed after about six months on the orders of the Lahore High Court.
The Pakistan Government challenged his release in the Supreme Court, but no hearing has been held in the matter for various reasons.
DTN News: Russia Agrees To Provide Lebanon With Mi-24 Helicopters Instead Of MiG Fighters
Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) BEIRUT, Lebanon - February 28, 2010: President Michel Suleiman returned Friday afternoon to Beirut concluding a 2-day official visit to Moscow, the first ever visit by a Lebanese head of state to Russia.
Suleiman said the Russian authorities agreed to substitute the 10 MiG-29 fighter jets previously mulled military aid with Mi-24 advanced military helicopters "based on the request of the Lebanese side that conducted technical and functional studies on the Russian fund for the Lebanese Air Force."
The Lebanese side based the request on army command's recommendation that the vital need currently is for this type of military helicopters that can be equipped with missiles and advanced combat means.
On Thursday, Suleiman met with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow where he signed a memorandum on bilateral military cooperation.
Medvedev, whose country is keen to preserve influence in the Arab world that dates back to Soviet times, described the visit as a "landmark event" in relations between Moscow and Beirut.
Suleiman, who in turn labeled the visit as historic, hailed Medvedev for his support of Lebanon.
He said the two sides had discussed signing a long-term military cooperation agreement.
"It is a framework agreement and is planned to be signed in the near future," said the head of Russia's military-technical cooperation agency, Mikhail Dmitriyev.
DTN News: Israel TODAY February 28, 2010 ~ Top Israeli Official Says "A Nuclear Iran Would Endanger World Stability"Source: DTN News / CNN By Charley Keyes
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - February 28, 2010: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Friday that Iran's nuclear program poses a danger that extends beyond Israel.
"Iran is not just a challenge for Israel. I believe it is a challenge for the whole world," Barak said in a speech in Washington. "I can hardly think of a stable world order with a nuclear Iran."
Barak said he doubts that Iran is "crazy" enough -- he used the Yiddish word "meshugah" -- to launch a nuclear attack against Israel, but warned the existence of a nuclear-armed Iran could endanger the region, disrupt oil supplies and empower Iran's terrorist allies.
"I don't think the Iranians, even if they got the bomb, are going to drop it in the neighborhood," Barak said. "They fully understand what might follow -- they are radical but not total 'meshugah.' They have a quite sophisticated decision-making process and they understand realities."
Iran maintains it is interested in nuclear development only for power-generation and other civilian uses. But Barak said all countries must reject what he called "the verbal gymnastics" Iran uses to justify its nuclear research.
"It means they are not just trying to create a Manhattan-project-like crude nuclear device," he said. "They are trying to jump directly into the second or second-and-a-half generation of nuclear warheads that could be installed on top of ground-to-ground missiles with ranges that will cover not just Israel, but Moscow or Paris."
He said Israel supports diplomatic efforts to pressure Iran to change course.
After his speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Barak met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department. The United States is working to rally international support for more stringent economic sanctions against Iran.
"Iran is not living up to its responsibilities and we are working with our partners in the international community to increase pressure on Iran to change course," Clinton said in a photo-taking session with Barak.
On efforts to revive stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Barak said most Israelis are prepared to do what is needed.
"There is a strong, silent majority in Israel which is ready to make tough, painful decisions to reach peace once they feel there is readiness on the other side and we are not having this tango alone," Barak said in his speech.
He insisted that Israel will seek peace and protect its security.
"We have to stand firm on our two feet, open-eyed, without a drop of self-delusion about the realities of our neighborhood, but having one hand, preferably the left hand, looking for any window, turning every stone in order to find opportunities for peace, while the other hand, the right one, will be pointing a finger, very close to the trigger, ready to pull it when it is ultimately a necessity," Barak said.
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY February 28, 2010 ~ Russia Blames Nato For Heroin Surge From AfghanistanSource: DTN News / BBC
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - February 28, 2010: The head of Russia's federal drug control agency has accused Nato of not doing enough to curb the production of heroin in Afghanistan.
Victor Ivanov said at least 30,000 people died in Russia every year from heroin, 90% of it from Afghanistan.
He blamed the Obama administration for ending a military drive to destroy opium poppy crops in Afghan fields.
The US said the practice was alienating farmers and driving them to support the Taliban.
This is not the first time Mr Ivanov has lambasted Nato for failing to stamp out drug production in Afghanistan.
He said leaving poppy fields guaranteed immunity for drug producers.
Russia says the consequence has been a flood of cheap heroin in to Central Asia and Russia.
Mr Ivanov said drug production in Afghanistan was now a global destabilising factor, particularly for Russia.
Russia is believed to have around five million drug addicts, half of whom are addicted to heroin.
DTN News: Israel Air Force IAF Expands Training For Rapid Refueling
* Exclusive: Long-range destinations like Iran would necessitate risky practice.Source: DTN News / Jerusalem Post By Yaakov Katz
(NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM, Israel - February 28, 2010: In preparation for long-range missions and possible conflict with Iran, the Israel Air Force has expanded its training programs to include rapid refueling operations on runways.
It’s a dangerous practice since the aircraft’s engines are running while the fuel nozzle is still connected to the jets. The training is for both pilots and ground crews and it is being done to enable the aircraft to carry as much fuel as possible for long-range missions.
Fuel nozzles are traditionally disconnected from fighter aircraft while they are still parked in hangers and before they are rolled out to the runway, where they usually wait for several minutes before takeoff and while burning fuel. The new protocol includes keeping fuel trucks on the runway, having ground personnel reattach the nozzle and fuel the aircraft to the maximum fullness, disconnecting seconds before takeoff.
“We understand that many of our threats and challenges require us to develop a long-range capability,” one senior IAF officer explained. “Part of our preparation includes knowing how to fuel our aircraft so they can have as much fuel as possible.”
Last week, the IAF inaugurated a new unmanned aerial vehicle called the Heron TP. With the same wingspan as a Boeing 737, the Heron TP is Israel’s largest and most sophisticated drone, weighing 4,650 kg. and capable of flying for 36 hours while carrying a payload of hundreds of kilograms. The Heron will increase the IAF’s long-range capabilities, mainly in intelligence and surveillance, and according to foreign reports could also have missile strike capabilities.
Meanwhile on Saturday, The New York Times reported that Iran recently moved almost its entire stockpile of low-enriched uranium to an above-ground facility. According to a recent report by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, close to two tons of low-enriched nuclear uranium was moved all at once from storage deep underground to a facility where it can be enriched to a 20-percent level, putting the material just a jump away from the 80-to-90% that is required for nuclear weapons.
Iran’s action, which according to the report has confused Western officials, exposes the material to an air strike or even to ground-based sabotage.
The Times quoted one official as saying the move was tantamount to painting a bull’s-eye on the stockpile.
The paper raised several possible explanations, primarily that Iran might have run out of suitable storage containers for the radioactive material and was forced to move it all at once. It would, however, not require the entire two tons to enrich uranium for the aging reactor in Teheran where it makes medical isotopes.
Other explanations raised by the paper include the possibility that the Islamic Republic actually wants Israel to attack, since that would likely unite the Iranian people behind the regime and silence the opposition Green Movement and the demonstrations protesting against the results of June’s presidential election.
Teheran, the Times said, might be using the move as leverage against the West and as part of a threat to further enrich its entire stockpile if the international community did not reduce its pressure on the Islamic Republic.
DTN News: Chinese Test Anti-Satellite WeaponSource: DTN News / Space.com
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - February 28, 2010: Is this different than the U.S. test in the 80s or the destruction of the falling satellite in the summer of 2007? The key difference may be how the U.S explains their actions (whether you accept it or not) and the complete lack of Chinese explanation for their test.
The other key difference; the Chinese test caused hundreds of pieces of debris that are still in orbit. The debris from the U.S. satellite interception and the test in the 80s has since safely deorbited. The Chinese debris (at a higher altitude) will be in orbit for decades – a continued threat to all satellites and the international space station.
See details on U.S. actions here:
A recently issued report by the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense has cast an eye on China's growing space capability.
The annual report -- The Military Power of the People's Republic of China 2005 - flatly claims that China is developing and intends to field anti-satellite (ASAT) systems.
In assessing China's overall military prowess, the U.S. Defense report stresses that China is "facing a strategic crossroads." Noting that China's emergence has significant implications for the region and the world, the Defense Department assessment stresses that "questions remain" about choices that China's leaders will make regarding its military might as that country's power and influence grow.
Expanding launch vehicle industry
The Secretary of Defense report to Congress was issued July 19, and is a yearly effort that delves into the current and future military strategy of the People's Republic of China.
The report's intent is to address "the current and probable future course of military-technological development on the People's Liberation Army and the tenets and probable development of Chinese grand strategy, security strategy, and military strategy, and of the military organizations and operational concepts, through the next 20 years."
Within the report's pages, a number of items are flagged specific to China's space capabilities.
The document points out that China's space launch vehicle industry is expanding to support the national emphasis on satellite launch capability and its human spaceflight program.
Credible ASAT capability?
In the arena of anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, China is making headway, the report claims.
"China is working on, and plans to field, ASAT systems. Beijing has and will continue to enhance its satellite tracking and identification network - the first step in establishing a credible ASAT capability. China can currently destroy or disable satellites only by launching a ballistic missile or space-launch vehicle armed with a nuclear weapon. However, there are many risks associated with this method, and consequences from use of nuclear weapons," the report says.
China is also conducting research to develop ground-based laser ASAT weapons.
The report cites the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency as believing that Beijing "eventually could develop a laser weapon capable of damaging or destroying satellites."
Given this technology -- at lower power thresholds - "Chinese researchers may believe that low-energy lasers can 'blind' sensors on low-Earth-orbiting satellites," the report suggests, but whether Beijing has tested such a capability is unclear.
No evidence to back up claims
Jeffrey Lewis, a Research Fellow at the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy in College Park, Maryland, is skeptical of some of the Pentagon's assertions.
The important point to ask, according to Lewis, is how does this report compare to previous years?
"In general, the 2005 edition is much more detailed than previous reports. But not when it comes to Chinese ASAT capabilities," Lewis told SPACE.com. "Although the 2005 edition does flatly state--as have previous reports--that China intends to field ASAT systems, the 2005 edition omits most of the evidence cited in previous reports, including discredited claims about the development of a parasite microsatellite and a ground-based direct ascent ASAT that was supposed to be fielded as early as this year."
Lewis said that, although the U.S. Department of Defense is still willing to assert that China intends to deploy ASATs, "it's pretty clear they don't have any evidence to back that up."
In a section on China's "Space and Counterspace" activities, the report contends that Beijing has focused on building the infrastructure to develop advanced space-based command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and targeting capabilities.
"Building a modern ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance] architecture is likely one of the primary drivers behind Beijing's space endeavors and a critical component of its overall C4ISR modernization efforts," the report states.
Beijing's ongoing space-based programs with potential military applications include its manned spacecraft activities. The U.S. Secretary of Defense assessment notes that China launched its first manned spacecraft into Earth orbit on October 15, 2003. Furthermore, Chinese press reports indicate that it will send up a two-person crew on a five-day mission in September of this year.
Possible military applications
Other space-based programs with possible military applications are also discussed in the report:
China has two remote-sensing satellite programs known as Ziyuan-1 (ZY-1), also known as the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite, and ZY-2. China launched the ZY-1B in October 2003. A third ZY-2 satellite was launched in October 2004. ZY-2 payloads probably are digital imagery reconnaissance satellites and have worldwide coverage. Beijing also tested new film-based imagery satellites and small digital imagery satellites in 2003 and 2004.
China is interested in electronic intelligence (ELINT) or signals intelligence (SIGINT) reconnaissance satellites. Although these digital data systems probably will be able to transmit directly to ground sites, China may be developing a system of data relay satellites to support global coverage. Furthermore, Beijing has acquired mobile data reception equipment that could support more rapid data transmission to deployed military forces and units.
China is studying and seeking foreign assistance on small satellites. It has launched a number of them, including an oceanographic research satellite, Haiyang (HY)-1, in 2002 with at least two more satellites in this series, HY-2 and -3, expected. Beijing launched four small satellites during 2004; two of these probably have imagery missions and the other two possibly are conducting space environmental research. Other missions for satellites of this class include Earth observation, communications, and navigation.
China is developing microsatellites - weighing less than 220 pounds (100 kilograms) - for remote sensing and networks of electro-optical and radar satellites. In April 2004 Beijing launched a microsatellite with a probable imagery mission. A joint venture between China's Tsinghua University and the United Kingdom's University of Surrey is building a constellation of seven mini-satellites.
The U.S. Department of Defense report also scopes out various trends in space modernization, including the goal of rapid launch satellites. "With ever-better satellites, China is becoming a peer in quality to the world's leading producers," the report says.
Space walks and space stations
In human spaceflight, after China's two-person mission scheduled for this fall, the report explains that China hopes to conduct space walks and docking missions with a space lab by 2010, followed by a full space station by 2020.
The report observes that in 2004, China placed 10 satellites into orbit, the most of any year, and has a similar schedule through 2006. "It hopes to have more than 100 satellites in orbit by 2010, and launch an additional 100 satellites by 2020."
In the next decade, the report continues, Beijing most likely will field radar, ocean surveillance, and improved film-based photo-reconnaissance satellites. "China will eventually deploy advanced imagery, reconnaissance, and Earth resource systems with military applications."
In the interim, the report adds, China probably will supplement existing coverage with commercial SPOT (France), LANDSAT (U.S.), RADARSAT (Canada), Ikonos (U.S.), and Russian satellite imagery systems.
China: beyond any crossroads
John Tkacik, Jr., a Senior Research Fellow in China Policy in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C. conservative think tank advised that the Pentagon report deserves a careful reading.
Doing so would leave a reader with no doubt that China's "ambitious" weapons modernization and doctrinal reforms are aimed at promoting vast increases in its "comprehensive national power."
The compendium of Pentagon facts in the new report describe a China already well past any "crossroads" he stresses in a July 25 press statement from the group.
Tkacik notes that China's next steps--disputing the Pentagon's view--is, in his opinion, not hard to forecast. He suggests that the report's view of "current trends" indicate China has already chosen a pathway along which China would emerge to exert dominant influence in an expanding sphere.
DTN News: New Russia's Aircraft Carrier Will Develop The End Of 2010Source: DTN News / Lenta.ru
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - February 28, 2010: Technical design of Russia's aircraft carrier will be developed by the end of 2010. This RIA Novosti reported with reference to the statement made by Chief of the Navy Vladimir Vysotsky.
According to him, after the will identify key tactical and technical characteristics of the spacecraft, will begin development of working documents. Vladimir Vysotsky said that development work on the creation of Russia's aircraft carrier already started.
"In favorable circumstances, I think that by 2020, the ship could be launched," - declared Commander of the Navy.
He also stressed that to build an aircraft carrier in the financing of the state defense order will be very difficult. According to Vysotsky, to achieve this task requires federal target program.
In February 2009 the Head of the state defense order the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), Anatoly helmets said that Russia's new-generation aircraft carrier will be atomic.
He also clarified that the ship will have a displacement of up to 60 thousand tons.
According Shlemova, with plans to build three to six aircraft carriers. In June, Vladimir Vysotsky said that the establishment of standard ships of this type has become bleak.
That is why Russia will not build conventional aircraft carriers and naval aviation systems. According to the Commander in Chief of the Navy, they would include "space component, air, sea and advanced technologies in other areas."
DTN News: Queen Elizabeth Class (CVF) Royal Navy Future Aircraft Carrier Construction Begins At Portsmouth BaseSource: DTN News / BAE Systems
(NSI News Source Info) PORTSMOUTH, U.K. - February 28, 2010: The programme to build the nation's new aircraft carriers gained further momentum today, as BAE Systems began construction at Portsmouth Naval Base - the future home of the Queen Elizabeth Class ships.
Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, was invited to push the button on the company's new state of the art plasma steel cutter, marking the start of full scale production at the site. The team at Portsmouth is building Lower Block 2, one of the large structures, that forms part of the hull on the first ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth. Housing machinery spaces, stores, switchboards and some of the ship's accommodation, this block alone will weigh around 6,000 tonnes and will stand over 18 metres tall, 70 metres long and 40 metres wide.
Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, said: "Here in Portsmouth work is just beginning but across the country in Devon, Tyneside, Glasgow and Rosyth work is already under way. In all, six shipyards across the UK will be involved in the manufacture of the ships' hulls, supporting up to 8,000 jobs in the construction and up to another 3,000 throughout the supply chain. The progress already being made to deliver these defence assets, which will be a cornerstone of future defence policy, is a testament to UK industry."
First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, said: "The two ships will be the largest and most powerful warships ever built for the UK, each providing four acres from which to project airpower anywhere in the world. With 80 per cent of the world's land mass within 500 miles of the ocean, the carriers will provide unparalleled logistical flexibility for the future of defence."
Alan Johnston, Managing Director of BAE Systems' Surface Ships business, said: "This is a very proud day for our workforce here in Portsmouth and comes on the back of our work on the Clyde, where another large part of the carrier's hull is already taking shape.
"The design and build of ships of this magnitude is a massive engineering feat and a real testament to skills harnessed in our industry across the UK. We will continue to work closely with our partners in the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and to invest in the skills of our employees and our facilities not only to deliver the Royal Navy's future flagships, but also to secure the long-term future of the UK's warship building industry."
BAE Systems is a member of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, responsible for delivering the biggest and most powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK. The carriers will sustain thousands of skilled jobs across industry and will be a key component of the UK's maritime defence capability. BAE Systems employees at its yards on the Clyde began the manufacture of the carrier's Lower Block 3 in July 2009 with work beginning on the largest section, Lower Block 4, in January.
Elsewhere across the UK, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance is making strong progress - the first of the flight deck extensions, known as the sponsons, have already been delivered to the final assembly yard in Rosyth, while the first blocks of the hull are due to leave Appledore in Devon for the Scottish shipyard in the spring. Over £1 billion of orders have been placed for equipment for the two ships and many of the ships' key components such as the diesel generators and turbines have already been manufactured.
About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is a global defence, security and aerospace company with approximately 107,000 employees worldwide. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. In 2009 BAE Systems reported sales of £22.4 billion (US$ 36.2 billion).
DTN News: Enstrom Helicopter Wins Royal Thai Army Training Programme
Source: DTN News / Enstrom Helicopter Corporation
(NSI News Source Info) MENOMINEE, MI. - February 28, 2010: Enstrom Helicopter Corporation would like to announce that they will be providing 16 480B advanced turbine training helicopters for the Royal Thai Army.
The 480B was selected in a competitive bidding process that included aircraft from 7 different major manufacturers. In October Enstrom hosted a delegation of officials from the Royal Thai Army led by Major General Pittaya Krachangwong, who came to Menominee to inspect Enstrom’s manufacturing facilities and fly the different models of Enstrom helicopters.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be working with the Royal Thai Army,” said Jerry Mullins, Enstrom’s President and CEO. “The 480B turbine helicopter was originally designed for military instruction, and although it has had great success in the commercial market, it’s nice to see it being recognized as a great training ship as well. The Royal Thai Army’s visit has given them the confidence to go forward with Enstrom, now and in the future.”
Along with General Pittaya, three other experienced Royal Thai Army pilots flew the Enstrom 480B and piston powered F28F. “The said it was almost too easy to fly,” commented David Blake of Blake & DeJong Ltd., Enstrom’s Managing Representative in Asia. “None of them have ever flown the 480B before, but they were able to take the controls and immediately felt comfortable enough to fly a number of maneuvers. This will be a great training helicopter for the Royal Thai Army.”
Beyond just training, the Royal Thai Army intends to use their new 480Bs for a number of missions. “Avionics-wise, these new 480B’s are going to be some of more advanced aircraft in the Royal Thai Army’s inventory,” said Enstrom’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Tracy Biegler. “When we explained to the Royal Thai Army firsthand some of the features and capabilities of the EFIS system and the tactical radios, it really opened their eyes. These aircraft will have the ability to do a lot more than just training, such as search and rescue, surveillance, and disaster relief. The Royal Thai Army is definitely going to utilize the flexibility built into the 480B design.” Enstrom is represented in Asia by Blake & DeJong Ltd., and in Thailand by M-Landarch Inc.
DTN News: Russia TODAY February 28, 2010 ~ Topol M Missiles To Be Shown At Victory Day Parade On Moscow's Red Square Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - February 28, 2010: Russia's new Topol M missile system will for the first time be shown at the Victory Day parade on May 9 on Moscow's Red Square, a spokesman for the Strategic Missile Forces said.
Earlier Topol M predecessors — Topol missile systems — were shown at Victory Day parades in downtown Moscow.
Col. Vadim Koval said three Topol M launchers were brought to Alabino near Moscow early on Friday.
The three-stage Topol M (SS-27 Sickle B) is a solid-propellant, silo-based or road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It has a maximum range of 11,000 km (6,800 miles).
On May 9, 2009, a military parade involving over 9,000 personnel, 103 sophisticated tracked and wheeled military vehicles, as well as 69 aircraft and helicopters was held on Red Square as Russia celebrated Victory Day.
Victory Day marks the final surrender by Nazi Germany to the U.S.S.R. in WWII, often referred to as the Great Patriotic War in Russia and other states in the former Soviet Union.
The 2009 parade was largely a rehearsal for this year's event, when Russia is to mark the 65th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. The first Victory Parade was held on Red Square on June 24, 1945 on the order of the then-Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Stalin.
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY February 27, 2010 ~ US 'Plans To Oust Taliban From Kandahar'Source: DTN News / BBC
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - February 27, 2010: The US has said it is planning a new offensive later this year to drive the Taliban from the southern Afghanistan city of Kandahar.
The current action against the Taliban stronghold of Marjah was a "prelude" to a bigger operation, a US official said.
The US general in charge of Nato forces in Afghanistan has said the local population in Kandahar is at risk.
Kandahar is Afghanistan's second largest city, and was once a Taliban stronghold.
A major offensive there would follow the current military operation in neighbouring Helmand province.
"If the goal in Afghanistan is to reverse the momentum of the Taliban... then we think we have to get to Kandahar this year," an official in the White House told reporters.
The US goal was to bring "comprehensive population security" to the city.
Suicide attacks are frequently carried out in Kandahar, with one at the beginning on February killing three people.
He described Marjah as "a tactical prelude to a comprehensive operation in Kandahar City."
The Marjah offensive by Nato forces began in mid-February, and has several more weeks to go.
It was "pretty much on track", the official said.
In Kabul on Friday, explosions and shooting took place in an area of hotels and guesthouses popular with foreigners. Up to nine Indians, a Frenchman and an Italian were killed.
Three gunmen and two policemen died in a gun battle that lasted several hours. Taliban militants said they had carried it out. Afghans view a destroyed site a day after blasts and gun battles in Kabul February 27, 2010. Taliban fighters opened fire, hurled grenades and staged suicide bombings in central Kabul on Friday, killing 16 people in a show of defiance against the Western-backed government and a NATO offensive to wipe them out.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the violence. India called it "barbaric".
Kabul has been relatively quiet since 18 January, when Taliban bombers and gunmen attacked government targets and shopping malls, killing 12 people.
Friday's attack is also the Taliban's first major raid since the arrest of key leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Pakistan this month.
DTN News: Pakistan TODAY February 27, 2010 ~ US Sees Pakistan 'Strategic Shift' In War On Taliban / Suicide Bomber Targets Pakistan Police Station
Analysis: Pakistan Zardari's administration have been cooperating with US forces to pursue Islamic militants in its territory of FATA and securing borders with Afghanistan making Taliban cross border movements slight abnormal and on Islamic militants towards its neighboring Kashmir, India, Zardari has an amnesia on this aspect. Had Zardari's predecessor Pervez Musharraf been in line with US forces on Afghan war, the situation would have been contained, instead after ten years of 9/11, ISAF required more reinforcement of fresh troops, in 2010 Obama's administration and NATO obliged with extra 30,000 soldiers.
Afghanistan seems to be far away from tourists destinations of peace and tranquility for many seasons until its neighbors Iran, Pakistan, India and former CIS countries stop meddling and pinpointing each other on Afghan affairs. The US military, NATO & ISAF forces experts should dedect the invisible fault lines, enable to issue a disclosure of ending Afghan war. By Roger Smith DTN News ~ Defence-Technology News.Source: DTN News / AFP & BBC
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, U.S. / ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - February 27, 2010: Had Zardari's predecessor Pervez Musharraf been in line with US forces on Afghan war, the situation would have been contained, instead after ten years of 9/11, ISAF required more reinforcement of fresh troops, in 2010 Obama's administration and NATO obliged with extra 30,000 soldiers.
Pakistan 'Strategic Shift'
The United States has seen a "strategic shift" by Pakistan in the past months during its fight against Taliban militants, a senior US official said Friday.
Under US pressure, Pakistan is waging multiple military offensives against Islamist militant havens. Washington brands the country's northwest tribal belt as the most dangerous place in the world and the chief sanctuary of Al-Qaeda.Pakistani fire fighters and other official are seen near oil tanker, carrying fuel supplies for NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan, after it was allegedly attacked by militants in Peshawar, Pakistan, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010. Militants have frequently attacked trucks traveling through the Khyber pass carrying supplies to NATO and US troops in landlocked Afghanistan.
"In the last nine months we've seen a significant strategic shift in Pakistan," a senior administration official said.
"That strategic shift is the decision by the Pakistani security forces to take the fight against the Pakistani Taliban."
He highlighted the situation in the Swat valley in the northwest tribal areas of Pakistan, which have served as a rear base for Afghan Taliban militants.
"If you go to Swat today, there are two Pakistani (army) divisions. They're doing classic counterinsurgency."
Another senior US official told reporters that recent arrests of Afghan Taliban members and leaders in Pakistan was a clear signal of the close cooperation taking place on the ground.
"There have been a number of commanders as well as leaders taken off the battlefield in the last several months," the official said.
"Based on the recent captures and kills, it demonstrates that there are fewer places to hide... as well as more broadly across the Afghan Pak region."
Highlighting the recent capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the official stressed the cooperation with Pakistan against the Taliban.
"Cooperation and collaboration of both of those governments and their services, I think continue to improve and strengthen across the board, in terms of thwarting attacks as well as capturing and killing if necessary," he said.
"We're working very closely with the Pakistanis on individuals that are of interest to us and are terrorists. The trendline is strong, positive.
"We're pleased with the Pakistani ability to move into areas that had been safe havens."
Agents from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) reportedly joined US spies in a recent operation that captured Afghan Taliban military commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in the Pakistani metropolis of Karachi.
And senior US general David Petraeus, who heads the Central Command, visited Islamabad on Tuesday and hailed "important breakthroughs" in Pakistan.
President Barack Obama has put a high priority on nuclear-armed Pakistan as he sends thousands more troops to Afghanistan in a bid to root out Islamic extremism.
The US media have reported that four senior Taliban leaders have been captured in the past week in Pakistan.
Annoyed militants continue to target authority
A suicide bomber has attacked a police station in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, killing at least three officers, officials say.
The bomber reportedly rammed a vehicle laden with explosives into the building in the town of Karak, not far from Afghanistan. Pakistani officials visit a police station attacked alleged suicide bomber in Karak, Pakistan on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. A suicide car bomber attacked a police station Saturday in northwest Pakistan, killing four people and wounding about two dozen, underscoring the relentless security threat to this Islamic nation.
Several people have been wounded and taken to hospital. Some are said to be in a critical condition.
A mosque was also damaged in the blast, police official Gul Sadi Khan said.
"The blast destroyed part of a police station and a nearby mosque," he told Reuters.
"Thirteen people have been wounded and we fear more people are trapped under the debris."
No group has yet said it carried out the attack, but North West Frontier Province has suffered numerous bombings by insurgents over the past year. Vehicles burn after an angry mob set them alight inside a police compound during clashes in Faisalabad, Pakistan's Punjab Province, February 27, 2010. At least four were injured when two armed groups clashed during a religious procession in the Pakistani city, local media reported.
The area is a stronghold of Pakistan's Taliban, and the mountainous tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistan border are thought to be a sanctuary both for the Afghan Taliban and for militants linked to al-Qaeda.
(This article info from AFP, BBC and analysis & complied by Roger Smith DTN News, contact at firstname.lastname@example.org)
DTN News: Poland Signs Deal For Eight Israeli Drones*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WARSAW, Poland - February 27, 2010: Poland's defense ministry on Feb. 25 inked a deal with Israel's Aeronautics Ltd to acquire eight unmanned aerial drones, half of which will be used in Afghanistan, the ministry's Web site said.
Aeronautics Ltd. was awarded the 89 million zloty ($33 million) contract on Feb. 1, beating offers by two other Israeli competitors, according to the ministry.
Four of the drones will be sent to Polish troops serving in Afghanistan, and four will remain in Poland for training purposes.
A NATO member since 1999, Poland currently has 2,000 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and intends to send an additional 600 troops there this year.
DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated February 26, 2010*Source: U.S. DoD issued February 26, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - February 27, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued February 26, 2010 are undermentioned;
NAVY~General Dynamics, National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, is being awarded an $824,642,437 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-02-C-2300) for construction of T-AKE 13 and T-AKE 14, which shall include design and construction, technical manuals, special studies, analyses and reviews, engineering and industrial services, and data. Work will be performed in San Diego, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2013 for T-AKE 13 and Nov. 2014 for T-AKE 14. Contract funds will not expireat the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.
~General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $114,003,000 letter contract for long-lead time material in support of the anticipated construction of DDG 115 under the DDG 51 class destroyer program. Work will be performed in Cincinnati, Ohio (32.6 percent); Indianapolis, Ind. (23.7 percent); Coatesville, Pa. (12.3 percent); Charlottesville, Va. (10.9 percent); Erie, Pa. (6.9 percent); Walpole, Mass. (5.4 percent); Bath, Maine (1.2 percent); Warminster, Pa. (1 percent); and various other locations (6 percent). Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-2311).
~Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $67,308,982 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5301) for the fiscal 2010 Standard Missile II (SM-2) option for the production of 46 SM-2 Block IIIA and 16 SM-2 Block IIIB missiles and associated data. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (2.07 percent), and the governments of Korea (96.15 percent), Taiwan (1.16 percent), Japan (.19 percent) and Canada (.43 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz. (74 percent); Andover, Mass. (18 percent); Camden, Ark. (5 percent); and Farmington, N.M. (3 percent), and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.
~Lockheed Martin, Maritime Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded a $14,788,646 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5103) to exercise an option for fiscal 2010 Aegis Platform Systems Engineering Agent activities and Aegis Modernization Advanced Capability Build engineering. The Platform Systems Engineering Agent manages the in-service combat systems configurations as well as the integration of new or upgraded capability into the CG57 class of ships and the DDG 51 class of ships. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.
~Rogers, Lovelock & Fritz, Inc., Winter Park, Fla., is being awarded a $14,515,155 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed price contract (N40080-10-C-0151) to increase the dollar value of the contract for the dental clinic replacement at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility. The work to be performed provides for engineering, architectural and comprehensive interior design services as necessary to support the design effort for the ambulatory care center which will be constructed in two phases. Phase I will provide a diagnostic, surgical and therapeutic services center, a parking structure, and ambulance shelter. Phase II will provide a primary and specialty care center and renovation of Building 1058 with a building connector between the new and renovated facility. After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $15,529,753. Work will be performed in Camp Springs, Md., and is expected to be completed by April 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.
~Better Built + Clark, LLC*, Middletown, Ohio, is being awarded an $11,300,000 firm-fixed price contract for the design and construction of a new Armed Forces Reserve Center at the Akron-Canton Airport. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of a concrete and steel facility. The project will be a replacement for both Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center Akron and Navy Reserve Center Cleveland. The contract also contains two unexercised options which, if exercised, would increase cumulative contract value to $12,050,000. Work will be performed in Akron, Ohio, and is expected to be completed by June 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site,with 17 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Midwest, Great Lakes, Ill., is the contracting activity (N40083-10-C-0021).
~The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Baltimore, is being awarded a $10,400,000 modification under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N40085-07-C-1900) for the design-build and construction for the Academic Instruction Facility expansion at the Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) complex, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of a single-story building with reinforced concrete footings and floors, exterior stud walls with brick veneer, and standing seam metal roof. The work will include complete mechanical/electrical systems as well as paving and site improvements. The facility will consist of classrooms, offices, instructor workspace, library, instructor lounge, student break area, rest rooms, and staff locker room. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C., and is expected to be completed by May 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.
~Progeny Systems Corp.*, Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $10,394,565 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-6278) to exercise an option for Navy-wide implementation of portal technology for internal and external information sharing requirements and to design, prototype, and demonstrate a common technical architecture for a non-tactical data processing sub-system information automation and reduced manning system or engineering development models. The processes and prototype products developed will apply to submarines, surface ships, surveillance and air platforms. Work will be performed in Manassas, Va., and is expected to be completed by Feb. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.
~Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded a $640,122,400 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 1460 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles and 1460 basic issue items. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 2012. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. TACOM, AMSCC-TAC-ADCA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111).
~KDH Defense Systems, Inc., Johnstown, Pa., was awarded a $87,000,003 firm-fixed-fee contract for 150,000 improved outer tactical vests. Work is to be performed in Eden, N.C., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with eight bids received. U.S. Army Research Development & Engineering Command, Contracting Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-09-D-0049).
~Alliant Techsystems Inc., Plymouth, Minn., was awarded a $53,542,304 firm-fixed-price contract for 30,000 M865 120mm cartridges; 15,000 M1002 cartridges; and container handling efforts for the M865 cartridge. Work is to be performed in Middletown, Iowa, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 2011. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-08-C-0011).
~General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla., was awarded a $46,257,600 firm-fixed-price contract for 30,000 M865 120mm cartridges and 15,000 M1002 cartridges. Work is to be performed in Middletown, Iowa, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 2011. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-08-C-0010).
~Comtech Mobile Datacom Corp., Germantown, Md., was awarded a $13,750,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the satellite bandwidth, engineering, services and support for Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) and Blue Force Tracking (BFT) systems. This is for the continued support of all FBCB2/BFT channels employed worldwide for six months, with one new channel spanning nine months, and support of new software version 6.5. Work is to be performed in Germantown, Md., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth., N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-07-D-J402).
~Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, El Segundo, Calif., was awarded a $10,729,252 cost-plus-fixed fee contract. This contract is related to the TRUST in Integrated Circuits program to advance science and technology for ensuring integrated circuits can be trusted regardless of their origin and fabrication process. In Phase III, Raytheon will further refine their techniques to protect all stage of the application specific integrated circuits design process. Work is to be performed in El Segundo, Calif. (39 percent); San Jose, Calif. (3 percent); Lexington, Mass. (9 percent); Albuquerque, N.M. (25 percent); Burlington, Mass. (15 percent); and Santa Clara, Calif. (9 percent), with an estimated completion date of Feb. 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 29 bids received. Defense Advances Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-08-C-0005).
DTN News: Lockheed Martin Receives Contract Option To Increase Number Of AMF JTRS Engineering Development Models
* Award from Joint Services Shows Confidence in AMF JTRS*Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin
(NSI News Source Info) FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., - February 27, 2010: Additional equipment is being developed to support early integration and testing of a revolutionary tactical network that will provide warfighters in the air, on land and at sea with secure, interoperable communications. The Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] team developing the Airborne, Maritime/Fixed Station Joint Tactical Radio System (AMF JTRS) has received a contract option to increase the number of engineering development models (EDM) by 60 percent. The Lockheed Martin team includes BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. This exercised contract option is valued at $17.7M.
“Exercising this option means that Small Airborne EDMs can be delivered concurrently to the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and AMF JTRS System Integration Labs,” said Jim Quinn, vice president, Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Services-Defense. “This will enable early assessment of network capability, which will help reduce risk for ground and flight testing.” AMF JTRS, an encrypted IP-enabled network, will provide joint forces with real-time, non line-of-sight tactical voice, video and data communications. The network will be developed in two form factors, or radio types: AMF-Small Airborne and AMF-Maritime/Fixed Station. Under this contract option, the team will provide additional EDMs of the AMF-Small Airborne form factor (to include radios and ancillaries) which will be used to test the AMF capability for platform specific missions.
Airborne platforms slated for early integration include Army AH-64D Apache, CH-47F Chinook, and UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters as well as Air Force C-130 AMP and AC-130U fixed wing aircraft.
Once completely fielded, AMF JTRS will link more than 100 U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force platforms to provide a level of interoperability never before attained. With its open architecture of software defined radio waveform technology, the AMF JTRS network will allow multiple radio types (e.g., handheld, aircraft, maritime) to communicate through a family of interoperable, modular software-defined radios. Over the program’s lifetime, the plan is to incorporate a minimum of 28 waveforms into AMF JTRS.
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 2009 sales of $45.2 billion.
DTN News: Indian Military Growth Threatens South Asian Stability Says Pakistan*Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - February 27, 2010: Pakistan warned Thursday that India's huge military modernisation programme posed a serious threat to stability in a "nuclearised" South Asian region.
"New war doctrines, tremendous boost to the defence spending, induction of new sophisticated weapons systems, these are elements that are prejudicial to regional security and stability," Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said.
His comments followed talks in New Delhi with his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao - the first direct discussions between the nuclear-armed South Asian rivals since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
India, which last month inducted its longest range nuclear-tipped missile into the army, has plans to spend up to 30 billion dollars (S$42 billion) on its military by 2012.
India is scheduled to unveil its 2010-2011 defence budget on Friday, which was jacked up by 24 percent to 1.42 trillion rupees (S$43 billion) the previous year.
Bashir described as "irresponsible," Indian army chief Deepak Kapoor's comments in December that India must be prepared to fight simultaneous wars on "two fronts" - a clear reference to Pakistan and China.
India has fought three wars with Pakistan since independence in 1947 and a brief but bitter war with China in 1962 over a border dispute which remains unresolved.
"We have drawn the attention of the international community to the importance of preserving the regional balance between Pakistan and India," Bashir said.
"This is a nuclearised region and it is important that Pakistan and India engage meaningfully on the whole range of issues under regional peace and security," he added.
DTN News: U.S. Warns Russia Against Assertion In Baltic Region
*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) TALLINN, Estonia - February 27, 2010: Though seeking to find new ways of working with Russia, the United States will not accept Moscow's policies in the Baltic region, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said at a news conference in Tallinn on Friday.
"We've made it very clear that even as we seek to find new ways of working with Russia we also are very clear that we don't accept certain of their policies, the assertion of their sphere of influence, particularly in this [Baltic] region," Flournoy said. However, she acknowledged that NATO and Russia could be very productive.
"We believe NATO and Russia can be very productive, with a working relationship going forward, and it's really up to Moscow in many ways to sort of pace the relationship. I think NATO is very willing to explore areas of cooperation going forward," Flournoy said.
She said she had also discussed with Estonian Defense Ministry officials issues of practical cooperation between Russia and the alliance, including non-proliferation and counterterrorism.
"I think there are some differences of perception between Russia and many of the NATO allies that need to be discussed and addressed," she said.
On Iran, she said its recent actions had resulted in "an evolution" of Russia's views, "providing a strong basis for cooperation on preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons."
"We appreciate Moscow's acceptance in addressing this threat to global security," she said.
DTN News: Russia Set To Buy Unique French Amphibious-Assault Ship
*Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - February 27, 2010: It appears that Russian-French talks on buying a Mistral-class amphibious-assault ship and building three other similar ships at Russian shipyards have now entered their final stage.
President Dmitry Medvedev says Moscow is interested in this deal. Apart from Russia and France, the Mistral contract is being discussed in some other European countries who fear a stronger Russian Navy.
Referred to as "projection and command ships" (French: batiments de projection et de commandement or BPC), Mistral-class ships facilitate the prolonged deployment of marine units and their air cover at remote theaters of war, as well as amphibious landings involving landing craft and helicopters on open beaches.
They can also be used as command and control ships for peacekeeping task forces or as floating bases. Also, their medical facilities can play an important role in disaster areas and war zones.
Ruslan Pukhov, a prominent Russian defense analyst and director of the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, says it would be appropriate to buy a Mistral-class ship along with corvettes and frigates within the context of long-term Russian requirements because in the next 20-30 years Moscow will have to maintain a sustained naval presence in coastal areas and on the world's oceans.
In this situation, amphibious-assault ships are considered a mobile element of the military infrastructure. They can promptly deploy the required forces in a disputed region and facilitate their operation. Apart from the South Kuril archipelago and the entire Far East, such ships could facilitate a military presence in other strategic regions, including Africa, Southeast Asia, Antarctica and other maritime sectors fraught with local conflicts that may affect Russia's national interests.
The purchase of a Mistral-class ship and construction of similar ships in Russia has both military and economic implications. This contract would offer the side benefit of familiarizing the Russian ship-building industry with Western technology and production processes.
Hangar and freight-deck space has been reduced on these ships to accommodate up to 450 soldiers and to provide living quarters for them and the crew. Mistral-class ships therefore carry fewer helicopters and other military equipment.
Moscow and Paris are now prioritizing possible alterations in the ship's design at the request of the Russian Navy. It is unclear whether the ship's internal lay-out will remain the same, and whether there are any plans to enhance her survivability. The alterations may involve the expansion of hangars and freigh deck, as well as living quarters to accommodate more soldiers and deploy more fire-fighting equipment. They are bound to increase the ship's potential, making it more powerful and capable of engaging in combat operations. The Navy could hardly call this ship a good buy, unless such changes are made.
After that, it will become possible to clarify the selling price. Although a BPC 160 class ship now costs about 400 million euros, the price is likely to go up after the required changes are made. Considering plans to build three more ships at Russian shipyards, the entire project may be worth about 2 billion euros.
The negotiations continue against the backdrop of political manipulation. The leaders of some neighboring countries, including Georgia and the three Baltic states, are worried about the Mistral deal fearing a greater threat against their respective territories.
In effect, this stance reflects their traditional "victim complex." By speculating on a hypothetical "Russian aggression," Georgia and the Baltic states are probably hoping to prevent expanded ties between Moscow and France, an EU leader. At the same time, security considerations are relegated to the background.
Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia do not seem to realize that it is pointless to use an ocean-going ship to conduct amphibious landings against small countries which have common land borders with Russia.
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY February 26, 2010 ~ Taliban Fighters Attack Kabul
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - February 26, 2010: At least 17 people were killed and 32 wounded when several suicide bombers attacked a hotel popular with foreigners and the surrounding area in the centre of Kabul.Scene of blast and gunbattle between Afghan security forces and insurgents is seen in Kabul, Afghanistan on Friday, Feb. 26, 2010. Insurgents struck Friday in the heart of Kabul with suicide attackers and a car bomb, targeting hotels used by foreigners and killing at least 17 people, police said.
The Taliban have claimed responsibility for Friday's attack, one of the deadliest on the Afghan capital in a year.
Ten Indians, an Italian and a Frenchman were among the dead, officials said.
Attacks on guesthouses used by foreigners have increased in recent months.People run away from the gate of a hotel used by foreigners, as rumor of another suicide attacker was heard at the scene of a gunbattle between Afghan security forces and the insurgents in Kabul, Afghanistan on Friday, Feb. 26, 2010. Insurgents struck Friday in the heart of Kabul with suicide attackers and a car bomb, targeting hotels used by foreigners and killing at least 17 people, police said.
The first blast occurred at about 06:45 local time, near the Kabul City Centre, Kabul's largest shopping centre located in the city's main commercial district, that includes the Safi Landmark Hotel.
That was followed by two smaller explosions.
"I saw foreigners crying and shouting ... It was a very bad situation inside"
Najibullah, hotel worker
Sporadic gunfire was heard in the area as ambulances raced to the scene and grey smoke billowed into the air.
Police say at least two police officers were among those killed in the blasts.
The Reuters news agency quoted Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, as saying "holy warriors" had "managed to attack in the heart of Kabul city once again".
He said at least five Taliban fighters launched the attack, including two suicide bombers who detonated explosives-packed vests near the hotel and a shopping mall, Reuters reported.
'Crying and shouting'
Witnesses said people in pyjamas were led from the Park Resident hotel and taken away in ambulances.
Friday's attack came as US, Afghan and Nato forces push ahead with Operation Moshtarak
Najibullah, a 25-year-old hotel worker, said he ran out of the hotel when he heard the first explosion. He said he saw two suicide bombers on the site.
"I saw foreigners were crying and shouting," he said.
"It was a very bad situation inside. God helped me; otherwise I would be dead. I saw one suicide bomber blowing himself up on the first floor of the hotel."
The Park Residence was previously attacked in mid-2005, when a suicide bomber struck the hotel's internet cafe.A U.S. Army soldier of the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, checks for enemy presence as he stands on the top of a mud house in the Badula Qulp area, West of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Friday, Feb. 26, 2010.
Dr Subodh Sanjivpaul told The Associated Press news agency that he was trapped in his bathroom for three hours inside one of the small hotels where he lived with other Indian doctors. "Today's suicide attack took place in our residential complex," he said as his wounded foot was bandaged.
"When I was coming out, I found two or three dead bodies. When firing was going on, the first car bomb exploded and the full roof came on my head."
Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, called Friday's assault a "terrorist attack against Indian citizens" , who were working to help rebuild Afghanistan.
S.M. Krishna, India's foreign minister, described the attacks as "barbaric" and a matter of "deep concern".
"These are the handiwork of those who are desperate to undermine the friendship between India and Afghanistan,'' he said in a statement.
The Indian Embassy in Kabul has been the target of two major attacks, one in July 2008 that killed more than 60 people and another last October that killed 17 people.
Al Jazeera's correspondent in Kabul, Hoda Abdel-Hamid, said that the attack was a message from the Taliban that it would continue its activities despite a major offensive against it in Helmand province.
"There is a concern that as the Nato push against the Taliban goes on, these types of attacks will increase as a result."
The Taliban is showing that they too are very strong-willed and that they will attack anywhere and anytime they want.
"An attack like this one sends a message that no one is really safe, that even a city like Kabul, with heavy security, is not safe from the conflict anymore," she said.
She said that since Operation Moshtarakbegan 12 days ago, Kabul has been largely safe although attacks have occurred elsewhere in Afghanistan.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary-general, expressed outrage over the dawn assault.
"I strongly condemn the terrorist attack which took place this morning in Kabul," Rasmussen said in a statement."
Once again, the enemies of Afghanistan have killed innocent civilians, Afghans and international workers alike.
"After 12 days of fighting, Brigadier General Larry Nicholson, commander of US marines in southern Afghanistan, had welcomed Thursday's flag-hoisting in Marjah as "a new beginning" as Afghan government authority was restored.
Afghans "believe there is a fresh start for Marjah under the government of Afghanistan", he said as the country's flag was hoisted by the governor of Helmand province in front of several hundred residents.
Humanitarian groups have said residents are facing deteriorating conditions as food, medicine and other supplies run dangerously low and innumerable Taliban-planted bombs make movement in and out of Marjah perilous.
DTN News: Boeing Signs AU$44M Contract Expansion For Australian Army Rotary Wing Support*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) OAKEY, Queensland - February 26, 2010: Boeing [NYSE: BA] has signed an AU$44 million change proposal with the Commonwealth of Australia to increase the scope of the Army Aviation Training and Training Support (AATTS) contract.
Awarded the contract in 2007, Boeing subsidiary Boeing Defence Australia has been supporting the Australian Army's Black Hawk and Kiowa helicopters with pilot, aircrew and technician training, operational fleet maintenance, and support services at the Army Aviation Training Centre in Oakey.
Following detailed operational reviews, the Commonwealth and Boeing Defence Australia changed the scope of the AATTS contract to reflect the Army's current and future aircrew training requirements. Under the updated contract, Boeing Defence Australia is additionally responsible for delivering:
*The Initial Army Pilot Helicopter Qualification Course, using the B-206 Kiowa
*85 percent of S-70A-9 Black Hawk pilot training
*CH-47 Chinook helicopter instructor and technician training.
The $44 million agreement also includes the Commonwealth's first one-year extension of AATTS, continuing the contract until September 2013. The original AATTS contract includes five one-year extension options.
"The Commonwealth's decision to both increase the scope of AATTS and extend the contract until 2013 reinforces Boeing Defence Australia's position as the preeminent ab-initio ['from the beginning'] training provider to the Australian Defence Force," said Mark Brownsey, Boeing Defence Australia senior manager for Global Services & Support -- Training Operations.
"To date, Boeing Defence Australia has exceeded all Australian Army training and maintenance requirements, including standing up the entire program on time, completing 100 percent of training courses on schedule, supporting close to 7,000 training sorties annually, and providing maintenance support to the Australian Defence Force Kiowa fleet, which recently achieved more than 50,000 flight hours," said Matthew Sibree, Boeing Defence Australia AATTS project manager. "To ensure AATTS continues on time and on budget, 20 additional employees will be hired on to the 160-strong team to ensure we meet our customer's expectations."
The updated AATTS contract will further strengthen Boeing Defence Australia's training capability while ensuring the Australian Army maintains a constant supply of qualified helicopter pilots, aircrew and technicians to conduct complex helicopter missions in support of domestic and global operations.
Boeing Defence Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company and a business unit of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, is a leading Australian aerospace enterprise. With a world-class team of nearly 2,000 employees at 13 locations throughout Australia and two international sites, Boeing Defence Australia supports some of the largest and most complex defense projects in Australia.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security 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 Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.
DTN News: Raytheon Delivers 2,000th Tomahawk Block IV Cruise Missile To U.S. Navy *Source: DTN News / Raytheon
(NSI News Source Info) TUCSON, Ariz., - February 26, 2010: In a significant production milestone, Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) delivered the 2,000th Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile to the U.S. Navy.
"Tomahawk Block IV provides the Navy with a combat-proven weapon that plays a critical role in hybrid warfare operations," said Capt. Dave Davison, the U.S. Navy's program manager for the Tomahawk weapon system. "The Navy's receipt of the 2,000th Tomahawk Block IV provides the commander with a powerful tactical weapon to shape the battlespace and prosecute time-critical targets."
Tomahawk Block IV's technologies provide a tactical capability while reducing acquisition, operation and support costs. Tomahawk Block IV employs a two-way satellite datalink that enables a strike controller to flex the missile in flight to preprogrammed alternate targets or redirect it to a new target. This targeting flexibility includes the capability to loiter over the battlefield and await a more critical target.
"The Tomahawk program continues to provide the U.S. Navy with the capability to project precision firepower across the breadth and depth of the battlespace while delivering unprecedented flexibility to the commander," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon's Air Warfare Systems product line. "With the dedication of our employees and suppliers, the Tomahawk program has set the standard in cruise missile capability."
Raytheon Company, with 2009 sales of $25 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 88 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 75,000 people worldwide.