Wednesday, February 10, 2010

DTN News: Indian Indigenous Attack Copter Ready For First Flight

DTN News: Indian Indigenous Attack Copter Ready For First Flight *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - February 11, 2010: India’s first indigenous light combat helicopter (LCH) may embark on its first flight this month.
Being built at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facility in Bangalore, the LCH completed its first ground run on February 4. Based on the LCH’s performance that day, its developers believe that the attack helicopter will be ready to fly soon. “There are some minor issues to be taken care of. Its performance [during the first ground run] was more than satisfactory,” a senior HAL official said. There have been enough indications that the LCH — to be armed with guns and different types of missiles and rockets — would be inducted in large numbers into the air force and the army by the end of 2011. Almost 200 of them are expected to be in service with the Indian military. The ground run, carried out for the first time on February 4, would be repeated regularly in the next few days. During these ground runs, the LCH would be fine-tuned for its first flight. The LCH was announced in 2006 to meet the operational requirements of both the air force and the army for close air support and anti-infantry and anti-armour roles. It would also work in very high altitudes. The twin-engine LCH is derived from the HAL’s Dhruv advance light helicopter, which is already in service. The LCH flies on the Shakti engine, which is jointly developed by HAL and Turbomeca of France. Over the next two years, HAL officials are hopeful of obtaining the final operational clearance for the LCH and starting December 2011, it could be ready for induction. According to the present design projections, the LCH would be heavily armed — it would carry a 20-mm cannon, four types of missiles (air-to-air, air-to-ground and anti-radiation, and anti-tank), rocket pods, grenade launchers and cluster bombs.

DTN News: Factors Contributing To Iraq's Security After U.S. Forces Withdraw

DTN News: Factors Contributing To Iraq's Security After U.S. Forces Withdraw *Source: RAND Corp. ~ Featured Research (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 11, 2010: As it withdraws troops from Iraq, the United States must work not only to maintain security in that nation, but also focus on how the action will impact other regional interests, according to a study issued today by the RAND Corporation. The study presents an analytical framework for policymakers to examine the shifting motivations and capabilities of the groups that affect Iraq's security, as well as options for U.S. responses to continuing challenges. "Many of Iraq's problems will take generations to solve," said Terrence K. Kelly, one of the study's authors and a senior operations researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "As U.S. troops leave Iraq, it's important to take every step possible to encourage Iraqis to address these problems in a constructive fashion." Among the major problems facing Iraq are longstanding tensions between the majority Arab population and the minority Kurds, who are located primarily in the country's oil-rich northern region. The study recommends that U.S. forces remain in the north as long as possible and that the United States provide senior military professionals at every level to serve as "honest brokers" who can mediate disputes and develop long-term relationships with their Iraqi counterparts. "It will be important for the U.S. government to continue to work to try to mitigate tensions on the border between the Arab and Kurdish populations, and how U.S. forces withdraw from Iraq will be more important than the rate at which they withdraw," Kelly said. Iraq has become more stable since 2006-2007, mainly because the main political factions—Sunni, Kurd and Shi'a—are participating in the political process. At the same time, extremist violence will likely continue in Iraq, regardless of the U.S. troop drawdown. As in other war-torn countries, many of Iraq's power brokers have spent their entire adult lives relying on violence to achieve political goals and that approach is not going to vanish overnight, Kelly said. But such violence is unlikely to escalate into large-scale conflict unless one of the main Iraqi factions—the ones with the ability to field small armies—resorts to violence to achieve political goals. The United States should use its diplomatic and military strengths to keep these major political actors in the political process. Kelly says the current situation is more of a strategic calculation by these groups, rather than a newfound embrace of democracy. The scales could be tipped by any one of a number of factors—political disaffection, electoral failure, economic hardship or inequity, disputes over land and resources, shifts in the balance of armed power, or harsh treatment or provocation. In addition, the United States' ability to prevent large-scale conflict has limits and will decline as its forces leave Iraq. The best leverage will be from U.S. support for improved Iraq Security Force capabilities, and then only if the Iraq Security Force acts in the interests of a unified Iraqi state, rather than any particular faction. To that end, long-term U.S.-Iraq military cooperation should have three missions: aiding in the training, equipping, advising and operational support of the Iraq Security Force; partnering in the promotion of professional qualities in the Iraq Security Force and security ministries; and continuing to mediate between Kurd and Arab forces. The study, "Security in Iraq: A Framework for Analyzing Emerging Threats as U.S. Forces Leave," can be found at Other authors of the report are David C. Gompert, formerly of RAND, and Jessica Watkins of RAND Europe. The study was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies and the defense Intelligence community.

DTN News: Vietnam Bought From Russia 12 Su-30MK2

DTN News: Vietnam Bought From Russia 12 Su-30MK2 *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) HANOI, Vietnam - February 11, 2010: Russia and Vietnam signed a contract for the supply of this Asian country 12 multi-role fighters Su-30MK2 and armament, reports Interfax, citing a source in the military and diplomatic circles. The deal amounted to a billion dollars. In addition, Vietnam will also receive aircraft weapon and spare parts not only for new planes, but for the fighter brand Su purchased earlier.The previous contract for the supply of eight Su-30MK2 was concluded in early 2009. Su-30MK2 is an enhanced version of the modernized commercial Su-30, capable of carrying anti-ship missiles. The aircraft can reach speeds of up to 2,1 thousand kilometers per hour, and its flight range is 3.5 thousand kilometers. Su-30MK2 can be armed with guided missiles, bombs and containers with rockets. In mid-December last year, Russia and Vietnam signed a contract to supply six diesel-electric submarines of Project 636 Varshavyanka. The deal amounted to about two billion dollars. The construction of submarines will be conducted at the Admiralty Shipyards. Delivery submarines Vietnam were not reported, but it is known that the St. Petersburg company is ready to pass the customer on the same boat a year. In December 2009, also became known that Zelenodolsky Gorky plant in Tatarstan was launched on the frigate "Cheetah 3.9", which was built by order of the Navy in Vietnam. The second "Gepard" entered service the Navy Asian country in 2010.

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated February 10, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated February 10, 2010 *Source: DoD issued February 10, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - February 11, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued February 10, 2010 are undermentioned; CONTRACTS NAVY ~Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Miss., is being awarded an $8,362,542 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-2302) to exercise options for the accomplishment of the follow yard class services for the DDG 51 class AEGIS destroyer Program. Northrop Grumman shipbuilding will provide expert design, planning, and material support services for both DDG 51 ship construction and modernization. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, Miss., and is expected to be completed by August 2010. 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. AIR FORCE ~Harris Corp. of Palm Bay, Fla., was awarded a $5,882,429 contract which will exercise an option for continued sustainment services under the space control depot support sustainment contract. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. SYSW/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8819-08-C-0001, P00047).

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY February 11, 2010 ~ War Casualties 'Increasing' Ahead Of Afghan Assault

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY February 11, 2010 ~ War Casualties 'Increasing' Ahead Of Afghan Assault *Source: DTN News / By Patrick Baz (AFP) (NSI News Source Info) OUTSKIRTS OF MARJAH, Afghanistan - February 11, 2010: The Red Cross warned on Wednesday that war casualties were increasing around a Taliban bastion where US Marines are gearing up to launch a massive assault. US marines with 1/3 Charlie Company patrol a market Thousands of Marines, NATO and Afghan soldiers are massing around the town of Marjah in Helmand province, where military officials have predicted an impending offensive will be one of the biggest of the eight-year US-led war. The flow of residents fleeing the imminent offensive has slowed, provincial officials said, after loaded-down cars, trucks, tractors and buses clogged roads to the provincial capital Lashkah Gar for days. "We have announced and told people in Marjah not to leave their houses as our operation is well planned and designed to target the enemy," said Daud Ahmadi, spokesman for Helmand Governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal. "Civilians will not be harmed," he said. He added that another 75 families had left Marjah, on top of 164 families who left earlier. Other officials have said more than 400 families have fled. The operation, expected to begin in days, will be the biggest push since President Barack Obama announced a new surge of US troops in Afghanistan and one of the biggest since the 2001 invasion defeated the Taliban regime. Marjah: Heroin and Taliban heartland The counter-insurgency strategy aims to follow up what officials predict will be a decisive military victory by establishing Afghan government control. But Taliban fighters appear defiant in the face of the enormous fire power being amassed in the region, where they have held sway for years in tandem with drug traffickers. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned that "the current upsurge in military operations in Helmand... has resulted in a marked increase in the number of casualties requiring emergency medical treatment." "Staff working at the ICRC's first aid post in Marjah have been seeing increasing numbers of war casualties," it said in an operational statement. Civilians and injured fighters find it "more and more difficult" to obtain "urgently needed medical care, owing to mounting security problems and numerous road blocks and checkpoints throughout Helmand province." The ICRC called on all sides of the conflict to respect the needs of the injured and said it was upgrading its own first aid post in Marjah. "Patients, whether civilians or injured fighters, must be allowed to enter and leave it freely," it said. An AFP photographer said 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines Regiment had arrived by helicopter at Berkha Nawa junction, on the northeastern outskirts of Marjah, late Tuesday and immediately came under sniper fire from insurgents. Related article: Afghan assault on Taliban to test US strategy The Marines encampment, reinforced with sandbags, also came under rocket fire. US Cobra helicopters were called in to attack Taliban positions, the photographer said. The Marines searched houses and compounds for weapons and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) -- the prime Taliban killer of foreign troops -- and evacuated residents from all but one of the homes still occupied. The remaining family were staying as they had nowhere to go. Insurgents could be seen planting IEDs on roads surrounding the junction and Marines were doing regular sweeps to clear the area Wednesday. Mark Sedwill, NATO's senior civilian representative in Afghanistan, said the US-led alliance hoped the military phase of the operation would proceed "swiftly and with as little incident as possible". "People need to be under no illusion -- this operation is going to succeed, we are going to bring Afghan government sovereignty to this area," he told reporters. The biggest threat faced by international and Afghan forces is IEDs, with the Taliban claiming to have developed a new bomb -- named Omar after their fugitive leader -- that cannot be detected by Western mine sweepers. So far this year more than 60 foreign troops have died in Afghanistan. The number of foreign troop deaths hit a record 520 last year. Related Articles US Marines under fire ahead of Afghan assault AFP - 18 hours ago NATO Warns Afghan Civilians Ahead Of Major Military Offensive RTT News - 1 day ago Lancashire's troops join major 36-hour Afghan offensive Lancashire Evening Post - 1 day ago

DTN News: Sri Lanka TODAY February 11, 2010 ~ Political Supporters Clash In Streets Of Sri Lanka

DTN News: Sri Lanka TODAY February 11, 2010 ~ Political Supporters Clash In Streets Of Sri Lanka *Source: DTN News / By BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI (AP) (NSI News Source Info) COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - February 11, 2010: Sri Lankan government supporters hurled stones at thousands of opposition activists and police fired tear gas and water cannon as a mass protest over the arrest of defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka sparked unrest. Sri Lankan police officers try to stop pro government protesters from attacking supporters of defeated presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka during a street clash in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010. Government supporters hurled stones at opposition activists protesting the arrest of their defeated presidential candidate in Sri Lanka's capital Wednesday, in scattered street battles that prompted volleys of tear gas from police. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena) The clash was the first salvo in what promises to be a bruising pre-election period leading up to a parliamentary poll on April 8. It follows an acrimonious presidential election, in which President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently secured a landslide victory over former army chief Fonseka. Clashes began outside the country's Supreme Court, where opposition supporters gathered to protest the arrest of Fonseka, who was taken into custody by military police Monday on sedition charges. Fonseka's lawyer, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, said Wednesday an appeal was filed with the country's Supreme Court for the former army chief's release, saying his fundamental rights were violated. Rajapakshe said the detention was illegal and that Fonseka had not been formally charged. He is being held at a Navy base in the capital Colombo where a dozen military personnel guard him around the clock. The opposition describes the detention as an attempt to harass it ahead of the April parliamentary elections and as revenge against the former military leader who was instrumental in the annihilation of the Tamil Tiger rebels last year. Government supporters — who decided to hold a counter rally at the Supreme Court — threw rocks and chased away opposition demonstrators. "We were walking peacefully when we were attacked by government goons," said Marina Abdeen, an opposition supporter. Police were deployed in the area but did not intervene until opposition members started fighting back. They then shot tear gas at them. An Associated Press photographer said some opposition members had bloody head wounds. A hospital official, Pushpa Soyza, said three civilians and two policemen were treated for minor injuries. Thousands of opposition supporters demanded Fonseka's release while burning life-sized posters of Rajapaksa. They also smashed coconuts, a local tradition based on a belief it could bring divine intervention to their cause. "Just a few months back, Fonseka was a war hero and now the government is branding him as a traitor," said Rathnapala de Silva, a 70-year-old opposition supporter. "This is only because he contested against Rajapaksa. We will continue our struggle until he is released." One-time allies, Fonseka and Rajapaksa were both considered heroes by Sri Lanka's Sinhalese majority for crushing the Tamil Tiger rebels, who were fighting for a homeland for minority Tamils. However, their relationship deteriorated after the war ended in May. Opposition members said Tuesday they would launch a series of countrywide protests following Fonseka's detention. The arrest of the former army chief will likely serve as a warning to others who might seek to challenge the ruling party's grip on power. Already, media rights groups rank Sri Lanka among the most dangerous places in the world for dissenting journalists. Rajapaksa's ruling coalition is hoping to secure a two-thirds majority in parliament, giving it virtually unfettered control of this island nation, off the southern tip of India. Associated Press writer Fisnik Abrashi contributed to this report. Related Articles Sri Lanka's president dissolves parliament The Associated Press - 1 day ago General's arrest is a violation of Human Rights - says Ranil Sri Lanka Watch (blog) - 13 hours ago Sri Lankan 'opposition' leader arrested, to be court martialed Arab Times - 17 hours ago

DTN News: Canada To Use Its G8 Presidency To Press For Iran Sanctions: PM

DTN News: Canada To Use Its G8 Presidency To Press For Iran Sanctions: PM *Source: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) OTTAWA, Canada - February 11, 2010: Canada will use its G8 presidency to press the club of world's richest nations for more sanctions against Iran to try to curb its nuclear ambitions, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday. "Canada will use its G8 presidency to continue to focus international attention and action on the Iranian regime" and "work with its allies to find strong and viable solutions, including sanctions, to hold Iran to account," Harper said in a statement. "It is time for Iran to end its defiance of the international community, suspend its enrichment activity and take immediate steps toward transparency and compliance by halting the construction of new enrichment sites, and fully cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency," he said. Harper's announcement came as the US Treasury Department ordered a freeze on assets of an individual and four companies linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guard. US President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for a "significant regime of sanctions" against Iran for seeking to further enrich nuclear materials in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions actions. In Moscow, the powerful head of Russia's national security council, Nikolai Patrushev, said Tehran's announcement that it had started work to produce 20 percent enriched uranium cast doubt on its claims not to be pursuing weapons. Patrushev indicated the Kremlin's patience in trying to seek dialogue with Tehran was wearing thin. Harper said his government is "deeply disturbed" by Iran's decision. "Iran's past history of deliberately concealing aspects of its nuclear program makes this latest move even more worrying," he added. Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, plus Russia, are to meet next in Toronto in June. Related Articles Why Iran unrest is not revolution re-run CNN - 1 day ago China urges agreement on Iran nuclear fuel proposal Washington Post - 1 day ago Confidential IAEA document suggest Iran-s higher enrichment operation modest ... Gaea Times (blog) - 2 hours ago

DTN News: China Officially Tops Germany As World's No.1 Exporter

DTN News: China Officially Tops Germany As World's No.1 Exporter *Source: DTN News / EUOBSERVER ANDREW WILLIS (NSI News Source Info) BRUSSELS, Belgium - February 11, 2010: Official data released from Germany on Tuesday (9 February) confirmed that China has stripped Europe's largest economy of its top exporter title. Data released by the German Federal Statistics Office showed the country's exports fell by 18.4 percent in 2009 when compared to the previous year, hitting a dollar equivalent of $1.121 trillion. China's exports for 2009 totaled $1.202 trillion.WUHAN, CHINA - FEBRUARY 10: Passengers get off trains at the Wuchang Railway Station on February 10, 2010 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. According to the National Development and Reform Commission, China's rail passenger traffic is expected to reach 2.5 billion during the 40-day 'Chunyun' or Spring Festival travel rush, which started from January 30 this year.* Despite the drop, which represents the greatest year-on-year decline for Germany since 1950, the news of China's takeover was not greeted with great alarm by German economists. "This is something that was expected. Everyone agrees that China's currency is undervalued, but still it was only a matter of time," Gernot Nerb, head of the industry department with the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Munich, told this website. The official figures also showed a strong export recovery in the fourth quarter of the year, helping to pull Germany out of its recession and providing a silver lining to the more gloomy annual data. With more than 60 percent of Germany's exports going to other EU countries, concerns have been raised that the bloc's forecast low rates of growth in the coming years could prose a problem for Germany's export model. "There is some concern but we are mainly exporting investment goods, and you can not postpone investment for ever," said Mr Nerb, conceding that investment levels will probably not pick up before 2011-12 however. A breakdown of the German figures shows exports to the EU were down 19.1 percent year-on-year, with sales to faster-growing regions of Asia and South America faring little better and falling 17.1 percent. German imports also declined rapidly in 2009 as result of the financial crisis, dropping fell by 17.2 percent.

DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Receives $158 Million Order For U.S. Marine Corps Heavy Fleet

DTN News: Oshkosh Defense Receives $158 Million Order For U.S. Marine Corps Heavy Fleet *Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation (NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis.- February 10, 2010: Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK - News), today announced that its Defense Division received a delivery order to an existing contract valued at more than $158 million from the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) for more than 400 Logistics Vehicle System Replacements (LVSR).LVSR ~ The pace of today’s battle demands sophisticated logistics support. Supplies need to move through the roughest, most unforgiving terrain and the highly mobile, extremely capable LVSR is just the vehicle to do it. This heavy-payload vehicle offers one of the world’s most technologically advanced logistics platforms. The LVSR redefines performance and is available in three variants: cargo, wrecker and fifth wheel. The order brings the total number of LVSRs under contract to nearly 1,300. With this latest order, LVSR production and delivery is extended into July 2011. More than 385 MKR18 cargo variants will be produced under the order. The remaining variants will be MKR16 tractors. “The Oshkosh® LVSR is among the world’s most advanced logistics platforms and offers the U.S. Marine Corps a technologically sophisticated, heavy-payload vehicle to answer the call in even the most arduous conditions,” said Andy Hove, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Defense. “The vehicle’s off-road capabilities only make it more versatile when transporting heavy equipment, fuel and other supplies to the front line.” The Oshkosh LVSR vehicle is equipped with the Oshkosh Command Zone™ embedded diagnostics system and the company’s patented TAK-4® independent suspension system for superior off-road mobility in the most severe environments. 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. The first LVSRs started arriving in Afghanistan in September 2009. Oshkosh has the available capacity, highly skilled workforce and proven manufacturing capability to deliver this order and vehicles for all other Marine Corps and Defense programs, including the MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) and the U.S. Army’s Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), as well as any surges in production. 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: 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 ®, ™ All brand names referred to in this news release are trademarks of Oshkosh Corporation or its subsidiary companies.