Sunday, May 02, 2010
DTN News: Pakistani Taliban Claim Failed New York Bomb Attack Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON / ISLAMABAD - May 3, 2010: The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attempted car bomb attack in New York's Times square, a statement on an Islamist website said on Sunday. New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, left, discusses Saturday evening's Times Square incident while Chief of Department Joseph J. Esposito, right, listens during a news conference at One Police Plaza, Sunday May 2, 2010 in New York. The statement said it was to avenge the killing of two Islamists and "Muslim martyrs." "The Pakistani Taliban announced its responsibility for the New York attack in revenge for the two leaders al-Baghdadi and al-Mahajer and Muslim martyrs," said a statement on a website commonly used by Islamists.
DTN News: A War Worth Fighting, To Cease And Desist Drug Supply To Save Humanity Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BOGOTÁ, Colombia - May 3, 2010: I'm in the heat of a war right now that we've been fighting for years. But it's not Iraq or Afghanistan. Yet this one also has machine guns and grenades, combat aircraft low in the sky and satellite reconnaissance overhead. And, like Iraq and Afghanistan, the bad guys in this war shoot back. It's a war into which we've already poured billions of dollars and are still pouring more. But for my money, it's a war worth fighting. It's the war on drugs. That may sound like a political term in the United States, but it's a very risky, very real war down here in Colombia. In the past week, with a team from HDNet Television's "World Report," I've flown out on heavily armed and armored Huey helicopters for invasions deep in the jungle to disrupt the production of cocaine. In one raid, the people who worked in a primitive lab to refine cocaine's basic ingredient, coca, had gotten out just ahead of us; the residue of the coca leaves was still wet. With government boots on the ground, their livelihood is threatened. Which is why, when we'd been down just 10 minutes, the Colombian troops we were with told us we had to go — and go now! There were signs that the bad guys, many of whom are part of powerful guerrilla groups, were heading back. We hoofed it along a trail cut with machetes to the landing zone a half mile from the lab; the narco-traffickers deliberately set up shop away from clearings so they'll have enough warning from the helicopters' noise to bail out. With machine-gun snipers covering the jungle and two more with mounted guns boarding with us, we lifted off and circled to provide cover while a second Huey swooped in to pick up the rest of the troops. From here, the war on drugs is no game. The Colombians do most of the heavy lifting, but we train them and pay for everything they have, from helicopters to weapons to uniforms to canteens. One American here told me, "Everything is ours, right down to their lip balm." Plenty of our own people are in the line of fire, too. Seven days a week, civilian U.S. pilots in the steamy interior of the country fly spray planes — the kind you'd see protecting a farm at home — to destroy coca crops in the jungles of Colombia. The difference from agricultural spray planes is that these are heavily armored on their underbellies; they get shot at on a regular basis. We went on a helicopter defensive cover mission overhead one day. These guys fly out up to 100 miles and then, using everything from informants' tips to satellite coordinates to find the coca, they release a short dose of herbicide. It's the same stuff many of us use in our gardens: RoundUp. It's a dirty, dangerous war. I met some agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency near the border with Ecuador. Their specialty is intercepting drug traffickers. They showed me a big boat they had captured. With about a foot of fiberglass showing above the water's surface, it's not a submarine but a "submersible," built for just one trip before it's trashed. If illegal cocaine makes it to the Pacific, it gets transferred onto a boat like this, up to 10 tons of it. That's a lot of ruined lives in our American cities. Are we winning this war on drugs? Maybe the fairest answer is we're not losing. One American I met in the jungle told me, "At worst, we're holding the line. At best, we're getting a little ahead." But the same day, a Colombian major asked me to tell the American people this: "We are doing all we can. But we cannot fight consumption in your country. You have to do that." He's right. Greg Dobbs is correspondent for the program "World Report" on HDNet Television.
DTN News: The IDF Expands its Elbit Systems UAS Fleet ~ Elbit Systems Awarded $50 Million UAS Contract by the Israeli Defense Ministry
DTN News: The IDF Expands its Elbit Systems UAS Fleet ~ Elbit Systems Awarded $50 Million UAS Contract by the Israeli Defense Ministry *Elbit to supply the IDF with its Hermes(R) 900 UAS Systems, along with additional Hermes(R) 450 UAS Systems and an enhancement of the existing UAS intelligence capabilities Source: DTN News / Elbit Systems Ltd. (NSI News Source Info) HAIFA, Israel - May 3, 2010: Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq:ESLT - News) announced today that it was awarded an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) contract from the Israeli Ministry of Defense, valued at approximately $50 million. Under the contract, Elbit Systems will supply the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) with its brand new Hermes® 900 unmanned systems along with additional Hermes® 450 unmanned systems to expand the IDF's current Hermes® 450 fleet. In addition, the Company will supply the IDF with an enhancement of its existing UAS intelligence capabilities. The contract will be carried out over a three-year period. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080408/300441 ) With enhanced endurance, the Hermes® 900 allows flight altitude of more than 30,000 ft, large payload capacity and flight capabilities in adverse weather conditions. The Hermes® 900 is based on the highly reliable and combat proven Hermes® 450 UAS, which has accumulated over 170,000 flight hours. The new Hermes® 900 allows seamless integration with the IDF's existing Hermes® 450 UAS thanks to its universal command & control ground station (UGCS), which enables advanced mission management, automatic taxiing, autonomous flight and automatic takeoff and landing systems common to all the UAS in the Hermes® family. These advantages allow all Hermes® 450 operators to immediately integrate the Hermes® 900 into the existing UAS fleet, using the current infrastructure. Joseph Ackerman, President and CEO of Elbit Systems, commented: "We are proud to have been selected by the Israeli Ministry of Defense in this UAS project, attesting to the IDF's high level of satisfaction with the performance of our UAS. By introducing the Hermes® 900 into our growing UAS portfolio, we continue to provide the IDF with effective solutions for its varying operational needs, ranging from the mini-UAS Skylark® I-LE operated by the Israeli Ground Forces, through the Hermes® 450 which plays a central role in the IDF's anti-terror efforts, to our brand new Hermes® 900." Ackerman added, "The IMOD's recent order furthers our position as a world leader in the UAS field, and we trust that many customers will follow the IDF's selection of the Hermes® 900, the newest addition to the Elbit Systems UAS portfolio." About Elbit Systems Elbit Systems Ltd. is an international defense electronics company engaged in a wide range of programs throughout the world. The Company, which includes Elbit Systems and its subsidiaries, operates in the areas of aerospace, land and naval systems, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance ("C4ISR"), unmanned aircraft systems ("UAS"), advanced electro-optics, electro-optic space systems, EW suites, airborne warning systems, ELINT systems, data links and military communications systems and radios. The Company also focuses on the upgrading of existing military platforms, developing new technologies for defense, homeland security and commercial aviation applications and providing a range of support services. For additional information, visit: http://www.elbitsystems.com/.
DTN News: US Turns Focus To Pakistan’s Conventional Defence Source: DTN News / Dawn By Anwar Iqbal (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, U.S.- May 3, 2010: The United States appears to have realised the importance of strengthening Pakistan’s conventional defence while also enhancing its capability to fight extremists. In doing so, senior US officials also recognised Pakistan’s concerns about India and conceded that Washington’s growing ties with New Delhi were a cause of concern for Islamabad. “We must continue to reassure Pakistan that as it combats the terrorist threat, it is not exposing itself to increased risk along its eastern border,” said Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Michele Flournoy while explaining why the United States needed to strengthen Islamabad’s conventional defence systems as well. “Although extremist attacks have led to the repositioning of substantial Pakistani forces, Pakistan’s strategic concerns about India remain pre-eminent.” Under Secretary Flournoy and other senior US officials who spoke to the House Armed Services Committee urged lawmakers to provide funding for billions of dollars of planned US military and civilian aid to Pakistan during the next five years. Separately, another senior Pentagon official told journalists in Washington that the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan later this year would be “a sign of this burgeoning relationship between us and increased defence cooperation between our two countries.” In a related development, senior US State and Defence officials said the United States planned to provide $1.5 billion to Pakistan by September 2011 for buying military equipment. During the same period, the United States also plans to reimburse about $2.3 billion Pakistan spent while fighting terrorists along the Afghan border. Of these, $600 million will be quickly transferred to Pakistan while the rest will be reimbursed by September 2011, when the current US fiscal year ends. Besides providing military equipment, the United States also has accepted Pakistan’s position that it has genuine interests in Afghanistan and those interests need to be protected. Meanwhile, the US media reports that the United States and Pakistan are establishing a joint military intelligence centre inside Pakistan. The United States is also sending 50 aircraft technicians to Pakistan with four new F-16s it plans to hand over to Islamabad in June. By September 2011, Pakistan will receive a total of 18 of these planes. A US military team will accompany these aircraft “to ensure that sophisticated, top-of-the-line avionics, weapons and data systems aboard the aircraft remain secure,” The Washington Post reported. The planes, which for the first time will allow Pakistan to conduct night-time air operations, are far more advanced than the 30-year-old US aircraft that are the current mainstay of the Pakistan Air Force. Currently, there are about 200 US military instructors in Pakistan, including 140 from a Special Operations training and advisory contingent. The CIA also has sent additional intelligence-gathering operatives and technicians in recent months and plans are under way to establish a joint military intelligence processing centre in Pakistan. Under Secretary Flournoy said the plans to help Pakistan strengthen its defence “remain vital to our overall goal of disrupting, dismantling and defeating Al Qaeda and to enhancing stability in a critical region”. Key US lawmakers also back the new Pakistan policy, and have urged action to further increase educational opportunities for Pakistani military officers at US military schools, and faster movement to provide Pakistan with key military hardware, particularly helicopters.
DTN News: UAE May Fund Next-Gen Rafale *Wants More Powerful Engine, AESA Radar Source: DTN News / Defense News By ANDREW CHUTER and PIERRE TRAN (NSI News Source Info) LONDON and PARIS - May 3, 2010: The United Arab Emirates and France are discussing a proposed joint effort to develop a more capable, new-generation Dassault Rafale strike fighter, sources in the Arabian Gulf and Europe said. "The conversation has moved forward from buying the Rafale to how to co-develop the next-generation Rafale," a defense source in the Arabian Gulf said. The prospective new model would meet UAE requirements and "take the plane to the next level," the source said. A co-development with a foreign customer and partner would be a big boost for the twin-engine fighter jet, which is seen in France as a jewel of aeronautical excellence and the crown of the country's arms-export efforts. Dassault Aviation has entered the Rafale in bidding for contracts in Brazil and India, and has offered it to Kuwait and Libya. The UAE negotiations center on the systems and engine the upgraded aircraft would carry, the Gulf source said. The main upgrades are said to be an active electronically scanned array radar, frontal sector optronics and an electronic warfare suite, systems supplied by Thales, and a 9-ton-thrust M88 engine, up-rated from the 7.5-ton engine that powers the French Air Force and Navy Rafales. Last June, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the United Arab Emirates was in discussions to buy the Rafale, which Dassault bills as an omnirole fighter. The jets would replace the Mirage 2000-9s bought from France in 1998. Some 50 French executives were in Abu Dhabi in the week of April 12 as part of the talks, an executive at a rival fighter maker said. "I can confirm the first," said a French executive close to the discussions. "We are working flat out on negotiating the contract and ancillary contracts." The executive confirmed that the negotiations go beyond just a purchase, and are aimed at agreeing on co-development of an advanced version of the Rafale. "There are, effectively, discussions between the two governments on how to finance the additional functionality," the executive said. The co-development work is expected to take years, he said, adding that whether the work will make the new variant a "next-generation" Rafale is a question of semantics. The executive said industry is working on the technical definition of the aircraft, while the financial aspects are being negotiated at the government level. A June date for concluding a deal "is possible, not guaranteed," he said. A second French defense executive said of the negotiations, "All the lights are green." A Dassault spokesman would not confirm that a joint development effort might be part of the UAE-French discussion about the possible purchase of Rafales. "Talks are continuing," he said. Fighter Swap? One European executive with knowledge of the deal said Paris has agreed to buy back the Mirage 2000-9s and put them into service with the French Air Force, then put its Mirage 2000-5s on the secondhand market and retire the Mirage 2000N nuclear strike version. Asked about the buyback of Mirage 2000-9s, the Gulf source said, "It is all linked." Such a deal would be expensive, said Etienne de Durand, director of security studies at the Institut Français de Relations Internationales, a Paris think tank. De Durand said Rafale export sales help fund the development of new capabilities, maintain design skills and keep French industry at the cutting edge of world fighter technology. That is why France is ready to agree to extensive technology transfer to sell the Rafale to Brazil, and why "smart arrangements" are being offered to the United Arab Emirates, he said. But de Durand said that it often takes years to see whether the arrangements really do make sense. Maintenance of technological capabilities needs to be balanced against funding the operational needs of the armed forces, notably among middle-rank powers such as Britain and France, he said. If the deal brings Mirage 2000-9s into the French Air Force, it could reduce the money available for buying and upgrading the Rafale, de Durand said. Privately, French Air Force officials worry about taking in the 2000-9, which will mean operating and supporting a mixed fleet when the Rafale was intended to replace seven different types of aircraft in the Air Force and Navy. Engine Upgrade Snecma, which declined to comment on the talks, announced several months ago that it was considering developing a more powerful variant of its M88 engine for UAE Rafales. In a press pack distributed at the Singapore Air Show in February, the French aircraft engine and equipment maker said, "For the UAE Air Force & Air Defense, which require more power for enhanced combat agility and improved performance in very hot weather, Snecma is considering the development of a more powerful variant of the M88 jet engine. "Snecma has already demonstrated the feasibility of the 9-ton version of the M88, allowing for the design-related risks to be under control." Snecma would adapt the M88, not design a new engine, the company said. Ordering Advanced Arms The United Arab Emirates is known for funding state-of-the-art fighter development. In a forerunner to the potential Rafale deal, the Emirates funded the development of the Block 60 variant of the U.S.-designed F-16, adding an active electronically scanned array radar, new engine, electronic warfare and infrared gear, better cockpit avionics and conformal fuel tanks. The Gulf state also has a history of working with France to develop advanced military equipment. The Damocles laser targeting pod was co-developed for the UAE Air Force's Mirage 2000-9 under the name Shehab. The French arms procurement office bought nine Damocles pods in 2008 for its Mirage 2000D and Rafale F3 aircraft. If the Emirates does buy the Rafale, no immediate orders are expected for missile maker MBDA, as the Gulf nation has a stock of Mica air-to-air missiles and Black Shaheen cruise missiles for its Mirage 2000-9 fleet, which would be compatible with the Rafale. The Dassault static display at the Paris Air Show last year included a Rafale with three mock-up cruise missiles, demonstrating its long-range strike capabilities. Later market prospects for MBDA would come with the AASM guided propelled bomb and the Meteor beyond-visual-range missile. The long-range weapon is due to enter service with the French Air Force around the middle of the decade. The United Arab Emirates has ordered three Airbus A330 multirole tanker and transport aircraft, and is potentially interested in buying more. The Abu Dhabi government bought France's Leclerc tank in the early 1990s, becoming the only export customer. France last year opened a naval base in Abu Dhabi as part of a shift of its military strength to the Gulf and away from Africa. The Gulf region is seen as strategically important because of the transit of petroleum tanker ships through its waters, the perceived threat from Iran and the sovereign wealth funds that are based in the Gulf states.
DTN News: Times Square Car Bomb Was Act Of Terrorism Source: DTN News ~ Compiled By Roger Smith (NSI News Source Info) NEW YORK, U.S. - May 2, 2010: The popular tourist spot in Manhattan has been cleared after a suspicious vehicle was found near a production of "The Lion King". New York's Times Square evacuated over bomb threat ~ IN PICTURES AP PHOTO 8 HOURS AGO