DTN News: Argentina, Chile Mull Joint Peacekeeping ForceSource: DTN News / UPI
(NSI News Source Info) BUENOS AIRES, - April 27, 2010: Chile and Argentina will pool resources to form a joint military force for rapid response to humanitarian crises and peacekeeping missions in Latin America.
The combined rapid response force, to be called Southern Cross, will be drawn from the armed forces of both countries and will comprise initially about 1,000 troops. Officials said the force will be ready for deployment before the end of the year.
Analysts said the announcement of the joint force appeared to be symbolic, an expression of solidarity, as it wasn't immediately clear whether such a force could be deployed and under what mandate.
A joint statement issued after the talks indicated the accord would cover Chile for shipbuilding contracts it is struggling to complete because of extensive damage to its shipyards in the Feb. 27 earthquake.
A joint production deal means shipyards in Argentina could be sharing the work while Chile rebuilds its facilities.
The magnitude-8.8 temblor wrecked Chilean shipyards and other infrastructure. Money set aside for economic development and poverty-reduction programs, announced by President Sebastian Pinera as part of his election campaign last year, is being channeled instead into vast reconstruction programs.
Chilean reconstruction needs have opened major business opportunities for Argentine companies but the agreement signed Friday aims to cement closer military ties between the two countries and forge long-term links between the defense industries.
Aviation, including design and joint manufacture of aircraft is another field the two countries explored when Chilean Defense Minister Jaime Ravinet visited his Argentine counterpart Nilda Garre in the capital.
Much of Argentine moves in the defense sector are in response to the military's earnest representations to the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Short of funds and spare parts for existing equipment, the military has kept up pressure on Fernandez to deliver on promises to refurbish the military.
The government's campaign for sovereignty claims on British-ruled Falkland Islands gave ammunition to the military's demands for greater efforts to modernize the armed forces.
Chile's National Aeronautics Enterprise and Argentina National Airplanes Factory will look into manufacturing a training aircraft that could be deployed in both air forces, officials said.
Until further notice, Argentina's government-owned Tandanor yard in Buenos Aires will service the clients of Chilean navy yards at Asmar, the world's southernmost shipyard, which was damaged in the quake. This is to satisfy a long waiting list of clients at the wrecked yard and to prevent Asmar customers from turning elsewhere.
Chilean shipyards are also looking to secure Argentine help for an early return to normal operations.
"Together with Argentina we will cooperate in the recovery of the Chilean shipyards," said Ravinet.
DTN News: Israel 'Cuts Arms Sales To Turkey'Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) TEL AVIV, Israel - April 27, 2010: Israel will impose a temporary freeze on the sale of advanced weapons systems to Turkey, once a key ally, because of blistering criticism of the Jewish state by Turkey's Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Jane's Defense Weekly reports.
The latest outburst from Erdogan, who has been moving closer to Iran, came April 7 in Paris when he branded the Jewish state "the principal threat to regional peace" in the Middle East.
Meantime, the Israeli air force, blocked from Turkish air space and bracing for possible longrange attacks on Iran's nuclear infrastructure, is scouting for new training skies in Europe and Asia.
India has close military ties with Israel and that is being mooted as one option for the Israeli air force.
Jane's reported that the arms exporting arm of the Israeli Defense Ministry has ruled it will evaluate Turkish requests for Israeli-made weapons and equipment on a case-by-case basis.
One issue under review by the ministry's Foreign Defense Assistance and Export Organization, known by its Hebrew acronym, SIBAT, is a Turkish request for Israeli electronic warfare systems, the London magazine reported.
Turkey's military has also shown interest in the Spike anti-tank missile manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the Barak-8 naval air-defense missile produced by state-run Israel Aerospace Industry.
Relations between Israel and Turkey have been steadily deteriorating since the Israeli military invaded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Dec. 27, 2008, ostensibly to stifle rocket attacks, and fought a 22-day war before withdrawing Jan. 18, 2009, in the face of international condemnation.
Some 1,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in the all-arms onslaught. Israeli casualties were 13 killed, nine of them soldiers.
That effectively ended a landmark 1996 military cooperation agreement, which covered a wide range of intelligence-sharing, between Israel and Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim nation and NATO's only Muslim member.
Israel's defense industry benefited from big-ticket sales to Turkey over the years.
Relations soured even further over delays by Israel in delivering six Heron unmanned aerial vehicles ordered by Turkey under a 2005 contract for 10 of the surveillance drones. IAI, Israeli defense manufacturer Elbit and Turkish Aerospace Industries were partners in the $183 million deal.
Jane's Defense Weekly reported that despite the nosedive in diplomatic relations, Israel and Turkey have maintained "a cautious business relationship" and discussed the joint sale of upgraded U.S.-built M-60 main battle tanks to Colombia.
Israel Military Industries and Arselan of Turkey delivered the last of 170 upgraded General Dynamics M-60A1 tanks to Turkey's army on April 7. Jane's Defense Weekly said a senior Colombian general attended the handover ceremony.
Erdogan's government excluded Israel from routine NATO air exercises last October in Turkey in reprisal for the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip the previous winter. It later banned Israeli aircraft from deploying in Turkey, where the Israeli air force, constrained by the Jewish state's small size, regularly conducted exercises in Turkey's extensive air space and varied terrain.
This lack of air space apparently has hampered air force training for possible long-range airstrikes against Iran, whose alleged nuclear arms program is viewed by Israel as an existential threat.
In recent years, the air force has intensified its long-range training schedule, presumably because of the growing threat from Iran.
The most prominent of these operations was a May 2008 exercise in which some 100 Israeli warplanes, including aerial tankers and command aircraft, flew the length of the Mediterranean from Greece to Gibraltar in what was widely seen as a dress rehearsal for an assault on Iran.
"We're looking for new places where we can fly," a senior air force officer told The Jerusalem Post.
"As a result," the newspaper reported, "the Defense Ministry is looking to continue an agreement it signed in 2006 that allows fighter jets to deploy in Romania.
"The (Israeli air force) sent jets to Romania for training in 2007 and plans to deploy aircraft there again later this year."
Two Israeli air force Gulfstream G-500 Shavit electronic intelligence aircraft were spotted over Hungary in March in what may have been an Israeli air exercise in Europe. The appearance of the aircraft caused a political controversy and the head of the air traffic department at Hungary's Transportation Ministry was subsequently dismissed.
DTN News: Boeing, Lockheed Wait As India Delays Biggest Fighter Jet DealSource: DTN News / Bloomberg
(NSI News Source Info) NEW YORK, U.S. - April 27, 2010: India will miss a deadline tomorrow to complete the world’s biggest fighter-jet purchase in 15 years, risking a possible $1 billion price increase as Boeing Co. and five rival manufacturers resubmit bids.
India’s Air Force is still conducting flight trials for competing jets from Boeing, Lockheed Martin Corp. and four European companies, two years after accepting price quotes for 126 warplanes that the government said should cost about $10 billion. The bids expire April 28 and the Defense Ministry has asked manufacturers to submit offers for an additional year, its spokesman, Sitanshu Kar, said in a phone interview in New Delhi.
“The companies have been informed by the government that they can extend their bid for one more year,” Kar said. “They have the option of increasing or decreasing their price.”
The delay in buying what India describes as “multi-role combat aircraft” may raise the government’s eventual cost, said Mrinal Suman, a retired Indian army major general and arms procurement analyst. “By the recent track record, the cost of these aircraft generally goes up by 7 percent to 10 percent each year,” Suman said in a phone interview.
India’s failure to choose a plane within the planned two years “highlights that this is by far the biggest, most complex arms purchase India has ever undertaken,” said Suman, who monitors weapons procurement for the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Political considerations have slowed decision-making by Defense Minister A.K. Antony, said Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, senior fellow for South Asia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.
“Antony has been trying to assure a squeaky clean deal to avoid any possible allegation of corruption, because of past scandals” that helped drive the ruling Congress Party to defeat in 1989 elections, Roy-Chaudhury said. Those scandals erupted over allegations that Indian officials took bribes in the purchase of Swedish artillery and German submarines.
Open BidSince the 1980s, no Indian government has made an open-bid arms purchase valued at as much as $100 million, or 1 percent of the fighter deal’s size, Roy-Chaudhury and Suman said.
The Indian air force has conducted flight trials for the six competing aircraft from a high-altitude airfield near Leh in the Himalayas, a desert base in Rajasthan state and in the tropical climate of Bangalore, Kar said. “The trials will be over shortly, maybe by the end of May,” he added.
The air force “will provide the government with two or three options that meet the technical needs, and then it will be up to the political decision makers,” Roy-Chaudhury said. Chicago-based Boeing, maker of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, and Lockheed-Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland, which builds the F-16 fighter, may benefit from a desire by India to cement strategic ties to the United States, he said.
Lockheed-Martin “plans to update our commercial bid to ensure the best possible value to India,” company spokesman John Giese said in an e-mail. Boeing is “working to provide a compliant response” to India’s request that it extend its bid, spokesman Brian Nelson wrote in an e-mail.
Sweden’s Saab AB will make no change in its bid to sell the Gripen fighter, said Eddy de la Motte, who heads the company’s campaign in India. The other contenders -- Paris-based Dassault Aviation SA, Moscow-based United Aircraft Corp., and the European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co., which has headquarters in Paris and Munich -- did not comment on their plans.
DTN News: Australia Says Major Military Exercise Underway In Malaysia
Source: DTN News / Australian Media
(NSI News Source Info) SYDNEY, Australia - April 27, 2010: Australia on Monday said warships, combat aircraft and soldiers were engaged in a major military exercise with Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Britain designed to strengthen regional security. Exercise Bersama Shield 2010 (BS10) began Monday on the Malaysian peninsula and in the South China Sea and will continue until May 7, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) said.
The operation is designed to enhance the nations' air, ground and naval forces' ability to work together under a 40-year-old regional security initiative -- the Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA).
Chief of Joint Operations Command Lieutenant General Mark Evans said the arrangement was an integral part of the regional security architecture and was constantly adapting to the changing threat environment.
"Since the FPDA's formation, the scope of its activities has expanded from air defence to the development of joint capabilities, which has helped to develop greater interoperability among the armed forces of member nations," he said in a statement.
Australian assets involved in the exercise include two ships, eight F/A-18 combat aircraft and an AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.
It is not known how many military personnel from the five nations are taking part in the exercise.
DTN News: US Congress Notified Of C-17 Sales To IndiaSource: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - April 27, 2010: The U.S. Congress has been formally notified of the upcoming sale of advanced Boeing C-17 transport aircraft to India, the American Embassy in New Delhi said in a news release on Monday.
A key step in the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process, it is a mandatory requirement for negotiating the deal and the notification of the sale was submitted to American lawmakers by U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency on April 22.
"This is an important step forward in the U.S. Foreign Military Sales process and is a necessary prerequisite to negotiations on the deal," the release said.
Reacting to the news, U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer said in New Delhi the potential sale of C-17s known for its cutting-edge technology showed Washington's commitment to share the latest technology with New Delhi and was a further reflection of the growing engagement between the world's two biggest democracies.
"The potential sale of C-17s strengthens the growing partnership between our two countries and demonstrates our enduring commitment to sharing the world's best technology with India." Roemer said.
He also said the sale would enable both the countries to reap economic benefits and generate jobs on a massive scale.
A vital cog in operations carried out by U.S. Air Force, the C-17 aircraft is known for its sturdiness and has proven its worth in trying conditions in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
With a payload of 75 tons, its technical advancement enables the aircraft to take off from 3,000 to 7,000-feet airstrips, besides being capable of flying 2,400 nautical miles non-stop.
Meanwhile, the C-17s will take the place of the fast aging Russian-made Ilyushin (IL-76) as the Indian Air Force embarks on a drive to modernize its fleet.
Even though total cost of the deal works out to a whopping $5.8 billion, the actual costs may be much less given the fact that the total value has factored in allied costs like maintenance, training personnel, spare parts, test and ground support equipment, technical assistance, engineering services logistical and technical support which are optional.
Currently, the aircraft is in use with the Australian, British, Canadian, Qatari Air Force and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) fleet.
DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated April 26, 2010
Source: U.S. DoD issued April 26, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - April 26, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued April 26, 2010 are undermentioned; CONTRACTS
DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
~ConocoPhillips Co., Bartlesville, Okla., is being awarded a maximum $175,530,512 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for aviation fuel. Other locations of performance are in Colorado and Kansas. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. The original proposal was Web solicited with 27 responses. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2011. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0478).
~Equilon Enterprises, dba Shell Oil Products - Shell Mobile, Houston, Texas, is being awarded a maximum $195,168,989 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for aviation fuel. Other location of performance is Deer Park, Texas. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. The original proposal was Web solicited with 27 responses. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2011. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0469).
~Calumet Sales Co., Inc., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded a maximum $132,208,000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for aviation fuel. Other location of performance is in Louisiana. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. The original proposal was Web solicited with 27 responses. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2011. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0466).
~Placid Refining Co., LLC*, Port Allen, La., is being awarded a maximum $107,362,766 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for aviation fuel. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. The original proposal was Web solicited with 27 responses. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2011. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0468).
~Gary-Williams Energy Corp.*, Denver, Colo., is being awarded a maximum $105,637,244 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for aviation fuel. Other location of performance is in Oklahoma. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. The original proposal was Web solicited with 27 responses. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2011. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0475).
~Hunt Refining Co., Tuscaloosa, Ala., is being awarded a maximum $52,684,167 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for aviation fuel. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. The original proposal was Web solicited with 27 responses. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2011. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0465).
~Caterpillar, Inc., Mossville, Ind. is being awarded a maximum $5,116,120 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, long-term contract delivery for tractor crawlers. Other location of performance is in Illinois. Using service is Navy. There were originally two proposals solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is Jan. 30, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM500-01-D-0059-043).
MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY~Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded a cost-plus-incentive-fee/cost-plus-award-fee modification with a total value of $151,862,595 under contract HQ0276-10-C-0001. The modification will exercise options to provide system engineering, program management, and other efforts to complete the development and test of the Aegis BMD Baseline 4.0.1 weapon system and to conduct the installation, test, and checkout of the Aegis BMD Baseline 4.0.1 weapon system modifications aboard four Aegis cruisers or destroyers. The work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J. The performance period for these options is from April 2010 through Dec. 31, 2013. Research, development, test and evaluation funding fiscal 2010 will be used to incrementally fund this effort in the amount of $9,950,000. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity (HQ0276).
~Engineering Management Concepts,dba Tetra Tech EMC, Camarillo, Calif., is being awarded a $17,690,714 cost-plus-fixed-fee indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide specialized engineering services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division’s Range Department. Services to be provided include planning, test operational support, test support and coordination, and engineering analysis and reporting. Work will be performed in Camarillo, Calif., and is expected to be completed in April 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposal; one offer was received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-10-D-0037).
~Harris Corp., Government Communications Systems Division, Melbourne, Fla., is being awarded a $6,196,501 firm-fixed-priced indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the full rate production and support of 63 tactical aircraft moving map capability digital map computers, 47 digital video map computers, and 41 extension housings in support of multiple aircraft platforms. Work will be performed in Melbourne, Fla., and is expected to be completed in April 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-10-D-0050).
~Rolls Royce Engine Services-Oakland, Inc., Oakland, Calif., is being awarded a $6,189,471 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-09-D-0006) for the repairs of up to seven T56-A-427 Series IV engines for the E-2C and C-2 aircraft. Work will be performed in Oakland, Calif., and is expected to be completed in December 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.
ARMY~ ARINC Engineering Services, Annapolis, Md., was awarded on April 22 a $13,733,424 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for logistics support and parts for the MI-17. Work is to be performed in Iraq, with an estimated completion date of March 2, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation and Missile Center, CCAM-AR-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-09-C-0028).
DTN News: Indian Air Force To Equip 40 Su-30MKI Fighters With BrahMos Missiles
Source: DTN News
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - April 26, 2010: The Indian Air Force will arm 40 Su-30MKI Flanker-H fighters with BrahMos missiles, the head of BrahMos Aerospace, Dr Sivathanu Pillai has said. This would make India's fleet of Russian-built fighters "absolutely unique" in firepower, he added. Dr Pillai was speaking to Russian media agencies at the Defense Services Asia (DSA)-2010 exhibition currently underway here.
According to Dr Pillai, the first tests of BrahMos air-launched missiles were scheduled for 2011, while the first fighter test flights with missiles on board would take place only in late 2012.
The IAF's fleet of Su-30MKI aircraft is also due for a massive upgrade programme to be carried out by the Irkut Corporation. Corporation vice-president Vladimir Sautov mentioned in February this year that the modernization program ''...includes re-equipping of some 100 Su-30MKI fighters, which are currently in service with the Indian Air Force."
"It is being carried out by the Rosoboronexport, the Sukhoi Design Bureau and NPO Mashinostroyeniya. If things go well, we may offer modernized Su-30MKI fighters to our other foreign partners as soon as 2012," he added.
NPO Mashinostroyeniya is the parent firm for the BrahMos programme from whose original design the current BrahMos missile is derived.
DTN News: Israel Troops Kill Hamas MilitantSource: DTN News / BBC
(NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM, Israel - April 26, 2010: Israeli troops have killed a senior Hamas militant in a raid on a house in the West Bank.
Ali Suweiti, 42, was killed during a gun battle in the village of Beit Awa, the Israeli military said.
Troops from the Israel Defense Forces, Border Guard and security service Shin Bet surrounded the house and militants opened fire on them, a spokesman said.
Mr Suweiti was wanted for his alleged role in a 2004 gun attack on a border patrol in which a soldier was killed.
"A force surrounded the building in which Suweiti was hiding and called on him to surrender," a statement from the Israeli Defence Force said.
"Suweiti refused and opened fire at the forces, who then used engineering tools in addition to firing at the building's exterior wall, in order to cause him to surrender. The terrorist continued to fire at the force, and was ultimately killed."
The building he was in was demolished by the Israeli forces.
Israeli soldiers raid the house in which Ali Suweiti was said to be hiding
Mr Suweiti's uncle, Mahmoud, told the Associated Press news agency that Israeli soldiers surrounded the house before dawn on Monday.
He said his nephew ignored calls by the troops to surrender and soldiers opened fire on the building.
Mr Suweiti was involved in five attacks on Israeli border guards between 1999 and 2004, the Israeli military said.A firefighter hoses down the rubble of a demolished house belonging to a relative of Hamas militant Ali Sweti in the West Bank village of Beit Awwa, near Hebron, April 26, 2010. Sweti, a member of Hamas' Izz el-Deen al-Qassam brigades wanted by Israel, was killed on Monday when Israeli troops raided the home of one of his relatives in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian security officials and the Israeli military said.
In 2004 he took part in an ambush on a border patrol jeep, killing 20-year-old policeman Yaniv Mashiah, the IDF said.
The IDF said they had tried to arrest him in 2007 but he escaped.
DTN News: Post-Soviet Security Bloc Completes Joint Anti-Terror Drills
Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - April 26, 2010: Units from the Collective Security Treaty Organization's rapid reaction force have completed joint command-and-staff counter-terrorism exercises in Tajikistan, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said on Monday.
Over 1,000 servicemen, more than 150 pieces of military hardware, L-39 combat trainers, An-2 military transport planes and Mi-8 helicopters from Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan took part in the Rubezh-2010 exercises, which started on April 22 at the Chorukh-Dairon training range.
"The exercises were a success. The units have accomplished all the set tasks," the official said.
The CSTO is a security grouping comprising the former Soviet republics of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
Five of the seven members signed an agreement on the creation of the Collective Rapid Reaction Force in February 2009. Belarus, which initially refrained from signing the deal because of a trade dispute with Russia, joined it later last year.
Uzbekistan has so far refused to join the force, saying it opposes stronger Russia's role in Central Asia. Uzbekistan is also at odds with regional neighbor Kyrgyzstan, which hosts a Russian airbase.
The CSTO members insist that the rapid reaction force is designed to improve the security of the CSTO members against the backdrop of existing and potential threats," including terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, natural disasters and to enhance the organization's role in ensuring international security.
However, many experts believe that the creation of a powerful military contingent in former Soviet Central Asia by members of the Russian-dominated security grouping is seen as Moscow's bid to counterbalance NATO.
DTN News: Government Prefers French Rafale Buy, Tech Transfer Says Brazil Defense Minister Nelson Jobim
Source: DTN News / WSJ
(NSI News Source Info) BRASILIA, Brazil - April 26, 2010: Brazil's government is leaning strongly toward the purchase of French Rafale fighter jets as part of a long-studied procurement due to advantageous technology transfers promised with the offer, Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said Wednesday.
Speaking at a hearing in Brazil's congress, Jobim said the French offer was the only one among three finalists in the bidding process that could guarantee full technology transfer sought by the government.
"This is a political option for the government," Jobim said.
Jobim said the Defense Ministry would submit a final technical report to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva within the next 15 days with its recommendations related to the purchase.
Brazil's government has been studying the purchase of 36 fighter jets to renew its aging air force fleet. The purchase is expected to cost the government up to $4 billion or more.
Among the finalists alongside France's Dassault Aviation (AM.FR) Rafale fighters are Sweden's SAAB's (SAAB-B.SK) Gripen jets and the American Boeing Co.'s (BA) F-18 Super Hornet fighters.
The indication of the Brazilian government's preference for the French fighters is not entirely a surprise, however. President Lula hinted Brazil would likely buy the Dassault fighters during a state visit by French President Nicholas Sarkozy in September.
Government authorities from both Sweden and U.S. have nonetheless recently paid visits to Brazil in an effort to try to help sell fighters from their countries while final technical recommendations are being prepared.
The Brazilian Air Force, in an earlier technical report, had indicated a preference for the Swedish fighters because of cost considerations and long-term technical advantages related to fleet renewal.
The Dassault Rafale bid has been given special consideration, however, as it comes alongside a recent strategic package offered by France to also sell Brazil 50 military helicopters and five submarines, one of which will be nuclear-powered.
DTN News: CN-235 To Be Displayed At Expo Indonesia 2010 In BangladeshSource: DTN News / Antara News
(NSI News Source Info) JAKARTA, Indonesia - April 26, 2010: CN-235, a product of Indonesia`s strategic airplane industry PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI), will be displayed at Expo Indonesia 2010 in Bangladesh on May 11 to 13, 2010.
Indonesian ambassador in Dhaka Zet Mirzal Zainuddin said the exhibition will display various export products of strategic and non-strategic industries in Indonesia.
Some of the products of strategic industries included CN-235 of PT DI, military vehicles and equipment of PT PINDAD, and railway coaches of PT INKA.
The automotive products also to be displayed at the event will include multi purpose vehicles like Suzuki APV, Toyota Avanza, and GT products.
Expo Indonesia 2010 will have the theme "Integrated Expo 2010: Discover Indonesia, the Beauty Unlimited".
DTN News: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Offers Uranium To Iran*Deal heightens fears over Tehran's nuclear program; Source: DTN News / Itai Mushekwe And Harriet Alexander, National Post
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K.- April 26, 2010: Iran has struck a secret deal with Zimbabwe to mine its untapped uranium reserves in a move to secure raw material for its steadily expanding nuclear program.
The agreement was sealed last month during a visit to Tehran by a close aide to Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean President, The Sunday Telegraph has reported.
In return for supplying oil that Zimbabwe desperately needs to keep its faltering economy moving, Iran has been promised access to potentially huge deposits of uranium ore -- which can be converted into the basic fuel for nuclear power or enriched to make a nuclear bomb.
"Iran secured the exclusive uraniumrights lastmonthwhen minister of state for presidential affairs, Didymus Mutasa, visited Tehran," said a Zimbabwean government source.
The disclosure came after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, visited Zimbabwe last week to show his support for Mr. Mugabe. At an official dinner in his honour on Thursday, Mr.
Ahmadinejad attacked what he termed "expansionist countries" for exerting "satanic pressures on the people of Zimbabwe."
Mr. Mugabe said both Zimbabwe and Iran were targeted by the West because they wanted to manage their own natural resources.
"We remain resolute in defending Zimbabwe's right to exercise its sovereignty over its natural resources. We have equally supported Iran's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy as enshrined in the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty," he said.
After 30 years in power, Mr. Mugabe has presided over the dramatic collapse of his country, turning one of the most bountiful lands in Africa into a disaster zone that mixes corruption, mismanagement, violence and human rights violations on a scale that almost ranks alongside the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur.
The uranium deal will heighten fears in the West that Iran is stepping up its nuclear program, which intelligence agencies believe is intended to lead to the development of nuclear weapons.
Iran maintains that its efforts are aimed solely at providing energy but the United Nations Security Council is considering imposing harsher sanctions because of its refusal to allow proper monitoring of its nuclear sites.
Yesterday, Revolutionary Guards test-fired five missiles during war games in a waterway crucial for global oil supplies, and a commander warned the Iran's enemies they would regret any attack.
Iran often announces advances in its military capabilities and tests weaponry in an apparent bid to show its readiness for any strikes by Israel or the United States.
Last week, the Pentagon said U.S. military action against Iran remained an option even as Washington pursues diplomacy and sanctions to halt the country's atomic activities.
The semi-official Fars News Agency said the Guards' naval units fired five missiles at a target, without making clear whether they were newly designed missiles.
"Despite the different places from which the missiles were fired, they all hit the target simultaneously and completely destroyed it," Fars said. The missiles were surface-to-surface and surface-to-sea.
The United States is pushing for a fourth round of UN sanctions against Tehran over its refusal to halt sensitive nuclear activities as demanded by the UN Security Council, including proposed moves against members of the Guards.
Most of Iran's uranium came from South Africa during the 1970s, but its stockpiles are running low, The Sunday Telegraph has learned, so access to Zimbabwe's reserves has been granted at a crucial moment.
The government source added: "The uranium deal is the culmination of a lot of work dating back to 2007, when Mr. Mugabe visited Tehran in search of fuel. Now Iran is beginning to reap the benefits."
An official at the Iranian embassy in Harare confirmed Tehran had been offered the uranium rights. "After a lot of diplomatic work and understanding, we have received reports of a deal having been made for Iran to mine not only uranium but also other metals," he said.
Any deal to supply Iran is likely to put Zimbabwe in breach of current UN sanctions on Tehran. Under Security Council Resolution 1737, passed in December 2006, all countries are ordered to "prevent the supply, sale or transfer" of all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology that could contribute to Iran's enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities."
Mr. Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, insisted that mining rights had not yet been finalized, but he defended Iran's right to apply for them.
"The Iranians have a peaceful nuclear program. This cannot be said about the Americans, who mined uranium in the Democratic Republic of Congo and went on to produce a nuclear bomb used to attack Japan," he said. "We have our uranium and no one is mining it, until we decide otherwise."
The extent of Zimbabwe's uranium reserves is uncertain, although some experts believe that they may be large. Exploration has indicated that there are an estimated 450,000 tons of uranium ore with some 20,000 tons of extractable uranium.
The Sunday Telegraph, with files from Reuters and National Post
Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2951042&p=2#ixzz0mCAqzoAC