Wednesday, November 17, 2010

DTN News: BAE Systems - Valanx Unveiled In Australia

DTN News: BAE Systems - Valanx Unveiled In Australia
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources BAE Systems Australia
(NSI News Source Info) BRISBANE, Australia - November 17, 2010: The ‘Valanx,’ BAE Systems’ solution to meet the Australian Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light (PMV-L) and the US Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program requirements was publicly unveiled for the first time in Australia today.
The Valanx, being offered to the Australian Defence Force under Project Land 121-Phase 4, is the centrepiece of the BAE Systems stand at the 2010 Land Warfare Conference in Brisbane. Valanx is the result of four successive generations of demonstrator and prototype vehicles developed by BAE Systems. The JLTV and PMV-L programs will replace much of the Humvee fleet in the US and the Land Rover Perentie vehicle in Australia respectively. Director of Land and Integrated Systems Kim Scott said: “We believe the Valanx offers the Australian Army the safest and most capable vehicle. “It’s built for the modern warfighter and delivers on the demanding balance required for the ‘Iron Triangle’ of payload, performance and protection.” BAE Systems, along with partners Navistar Defense and Arvin Meritor, delivered three right-hand drive configured Valanx vehicles to the Australian Army in June 2010. The Valanx vehicles and trailer have been undergoing trials at Army’s test track in Monegeetta, Victoria since mid-2010, as part of the US Government’s JLTV program. In December, these vehicles will revert to Australian control for further evaluation against the Australian trials and evaluation program. Local Field Service Representatives from BAE Systems Australia have been providing support for the vehicles at Monegeetta throughout the trials program. Currently, the majority of Valanx’s components are at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 7, which is used to measure equipment maturity. Mr Scott said the Australian vehicles were designed to be highly compatible with the US variants, ensuring interoperability between forces, while still being tightly tailored to meet the needs of Australian vehicle crews and commanders. “At present, the US and Australian teams within BAE Systems are working together to examine candidate components and subsystems to enable Australian SMEs to participate in the global supply chain for the Valanx, should we be successful in the 50,000-60,000 vehicle JLTV program. “This would provide 10-15 years of steady production for companies if selected.” The name Valanx is derived from the meaning of a phalanx – an ancient Greek formation designed to protect soldiers in combat – but introduces the “V” characteristic. The Valanx has a signature V-shaped hull, designed to deflect a mine blast away from the vehicle, protecting the soldiers inside. 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). Navistar Defense is an affiliate of Navistar International Corporation, a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates produce International brand commercial and military trucks, MaxxForce brand diesel engines, IC Bus brand school and commercial buses, Monaco RV brands of recreational vehicles, and Workhorse brand chassis for motor homes and step vans.
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DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated November 17, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated November 17, 2010
Source: U.S. DoD issued No. 1056-10 November 17, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - November 17, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued November 17,
2010 are undermentioned;



Moog, Inc., East Aurora, N.Y., is being awarded a maximum $19,841,175 firm-fixed-price contract for pneumat accumulators. Other location of performance is California. Using service is the Army. There were originally four proposals solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is Nov. 17, 2015. The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (SPRRA1-11-D-0004).

Rodale Electronics, Inc.*, Hauppauge, N.Y., is being awarded a maximum $13,485,556 firm-fixed-price, total set-aside contract for antennas. There are no other locations of performance. Using services is Army. There were originally eight proposals solicited with five responses. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2016. The Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (SPRBL1-11-D-0004).


Booze Allen Hamilton, Inc., McLean, Va., was awarded a $9,500,000 contract which will create proactive radar electronic protection techniques using multi input multi output and waveform diversity. At this time, $724,000 has been obligated. AFRL/PKMN, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-11-D-1011).

DTS Aviation Services, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $6,746,671 contract modification which will provide aircraft backshop maintenance, munitions, and equipment support services for the Air Armament Center and for Air Armament command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence systems testing for a 12-month period. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. AAC/PKOB, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FO8651-02-C-0085; PO0077).


General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc., Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $6,800,020 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-incentive-fee with firm-fixed price provisions, performance-based contract to provide engineering services supporting the effects of electromagnetic (EM) radiation and EM spectrum. Support will provide actual site surveys at physical locations as well as modeling and simulation of sites and equipment sets. The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to an estimated $35,899,166. Work will be performed in Charleston, S.C. (67 percent), and Norfolk, Va. (33 percent), and is expected to be completed by November 2011. If all options are exercised, work could continue until November 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured by full and open competition via the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center e-Commerce Central website and the Federal Business Opportunities website, with one offer received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity (N65236-11-D-6848).

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DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY November 17, 2010 - US Wants Tribesmen To Fight Taliban In Afghanistan

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY November 17, 2010 - US Wants Tribesmen To Fight Taliban In Afghanistan
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By SEBASTIAN ABBOT, Associated Press
(NSI News Source Info) SANGIN, Afghanistan - November 17, 2010: When members of the Alikozai tribe rose up against the Taliban in this critical insurgent stronghold, neither coalition forces nor the government in Kabul lifted a finger to help them.

The Taliban promptly crushed the rebellion. And just to make sure everyone got the message, they chained the uprising's leader to the back of a pickup truck and dragged him to another province.

That was three years ago, when Afghanistan was not a priority for the Bush administration, coalition forces lacked resources and the Afghan government was worried about stirring up tribal rivalries.

Now, U.S. Marines hope they can persuade the Alikozai that this time will be different. They want the tribesmen to take up arms again and help drive the Taliban out of this river valley in southern Helmand province's Sangin district - the deadliest piece of real estate for coalition forces this year.

Gen. David Petraeus, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, cites the development of local village defense forces as key to countering the Taliban. Petraeus used a similar tactic to help turn around the war in Iraq, but the Afghan government has been somewhat reluctant because of the history of armed militias destabilizing the country.

"Local defense forces are something we will try to implement throughout Sangin district, especially in the Upper Sangin Valley," said Lt. Col. Jason Morris, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, which assumed responsibility last month for Sangin.

For years, insurgents have controlled the Upper Sangin Valley, where the Alikozai are the largest tribe. The Taliban have used it as a base to collect drug money and destabilize critical parts of Afghanistan.

The area also contains the main road to the Kajaki dam, the biggest source of electricity for southern Afghanistan. The dam is running only at partial capacity, because it has not been safe enough to transport materials and equipment needed to install a third turbine.

The top NATO commander in Helmand, Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, hopes a deal with the Alikozai could change that.

"The easiest solution would be a political solution where they said we are not going to tolerate the Taliban and we are going to start up a local police force and help provide you security for that road," Mills said. "That would be an ideal solution as opposed to forcing our way up that road in a military way."

Some Alikozai tribal leaders have expressed interest in once again taking on the Taliban, but are skeptical that the Marines and the Afghan government would provide the necessary support, according to Phil Weatherill, a British government adviser who has worked in Sangin since 2009 and has had close contact with the Alikozai.

"The Alikozai have always wanted to come back to government," Weatherill said. "Unfortunately, NATO has very little credibility up there, and that's what we have to work on and prove we can actually support them."

The Alikozai first rose up in May 2007 because they were tired of the presence of foreign Taliban fighters and insurgents from other areas of Afghanistan, many of them from a rival tribe, the Alizai. Their request for help from both coalition forces and the Afghan government was declined because of a lack of resources and concern about getting involved in a tribal dispute, according to Weatherill and the Marines.

The Alizai then killed many of the Alikozai tribal leaders or forced them to flee the area, said Weatherill.

Some Alikozai tribesmen ended up joining the Taliban because they had no other choice. But many continue to resent what they see as an occupation by foreign insurgents who have planted homemade bombs throughout the Upper Sangin Valley as a defensive measure, said Maj. Robert Revoir, the operations officer for the 1st Marine Reconnaissance Battalion, which has been in the area for the past few weeks.

"They want freedom of movement and don't want to be fed Taliban propaganda 24/7 over the radio," Revoir said. "They need access to the district government so they can have a voice to state their grievances."

The Sangin district governor, Mohammad Sharif, said it is critical for the Marines to ask Alikozai elders what they would need before standing up against the Taliban.

"They likely need logistical support, food, ammunition and weapons," Sharif said. "We need to give them support in advance so they can stand up again."

The Marines have targeted pockets of foreign Taliban fighters just south of the Upper Sangin Valley in recent months, partly because the operations were requested by the Alikozai, said Morris, the battalion commander.

Some Alikozai tribesmen have also requested that the Marines set up patrol bases in the Upper Sangin Valley as a security guarantee, said Weatherill. But he warned that the Marines must be careful that whatever operations they conduct in the area not be viewed as just another form of foreign occupation.

"You could be at risk of the young lads of the Alikozai turning around and saying these guys are in my backyard and picking up the AK-47s again," said Weatherill.

Critics of the local defense force initiative argue that arming tribesmen risks creating militias that are difficult for the Afghan government to control. The government has tried to mitigate that risk by mandating that such forces must report to the Interior Ministry.

The program also risks exacerbating tribal rivalries in a way that could benefit the Taliban. Alikozai tribal leaders who used to dominate the Helmand provincial government systematically excluded another tribe in Sangin, the Ishaqzai, from positions of power. That drove many Ishaqzai into the hands of the Taliban.

But the Marines and their advisers, desperate for a way to stabilize the bloody valley, have decided it's worth the risk.

"A local solution is the only way forward," Weatherill said.

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DTN News: The Chinese Plan To Crush American Power In Korea

DTN News: The Chinese Plan To Crush American Power In Korea
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - November 17, 2010: U.S. military planners have discovered that China's current arsenal of non-nuclear ballistic and cruise missiles could probably knock out five of six major American air bases in Japanese and South Korea. Oops. To make matters
worse, this has become an issue as North Korea stumbles towards political collapse, and China indicates that it will assume control in the north if that happens. South Korea believes it should move north to deal with a collapse, and this plan is becoming a contentious issue with China.

It's long been obvious that China planned a similar tactic against Taiwan. Wargames and detailed analysis of possible Chinese attacks on Taiwan, indicated that the basic Chinese missile attack strategy might work, and do so within days. The key to such a blitz is the 1,300 Chinese ballistic and cruise missiles. Most of these are based on the coast opposite Taiwan (180 kilometers away across the Taiwan Straits). The Chinese missiles carry one ton or half ton conventional (high explosive or cluster bomb) warheads, and were expected to be used to try and cripple Taiwanese air force and navy, as well as attacking headquarters and communications targets. Almost simultaneously, China would try to invade with airborne and amphibious forces.

Without those missiles, Taiwans's superior air and naval forces would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for the invasion force to cross the straits. The wargames play out various targeting strategies, and defensive moves the Taiwanese could take. In most cases, the Chinese succeed. The barrage of missiles do serious damage to Taiwanese air and naval forces, giving Chinese air and naval forces an opportunity to get ground forces ashore.

China could use many of these missiles against Japanese and South Korean targets, although many of the missiles would have to be moved to new firing positions first. That would probably be noticed by the Americans, or Taiwanese. If North Korea showed signs of political collapse, and China began moving its shorter range ballistic missiles north, American commanders would have to prepare for the worst.

The U.S. has land based Patriot missile systems that fire the PAC-3 anti-missile missile, as well as the ship based Aegis system. But even with these defenses, the Chinese still have a good shot at winning a quick victory. Or at least crippling American and South Korean air power as Chinese troops occupy North Korea.

*China Strategic Missile Force

Source: Link:

DongFeng 21 (CSS-5) Medium-Range Ballistic Missile

DF-21 (CSS-5) Medium-Range Ballistic Missile DF-21A MRBM System in service with the PLA Second Artillery Corps (Chinese Internet)

The DongFeng 21 (DF-21, NATO code name: CSS-5) is a two-stage, solid-propellant, single-warhead medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) system developed by China Changfeng Mechanics and Electronics Technology Academy (also known as 2nd Space Academy). Developed from the JuLang 1 (JL-1) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), the DF-21 was originally intended for strategic missions but its later variants were designed for both nuclear and conventional missions. The latest DF-21D was said to be the world’s first and only anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) system. The DF-21 has also been developed into space launcher and anti-satellite/anti-missile weapon carrier.

Development History

August 1965 – The Chinese Premier Zhen Enlai ordered to start the development of the solid-propellant rocket technology. A design team was formed within the 4th Space Academy, and a single-stage ballistic missile design DongFeng 61 (DF-61) was proposed.

1967 – The PLA decided to build its first nuclear-powered missile submarine, and demanded a medium-range ballistic missile to be carried onboard. As a result, the PLA decided to abandon the DF-61 design and develop a submarine-based two-stage solid-propellant ballistic missile JL-1.

1970 – The design of the JL-1 airframe was separated from the 4th Space Academy and reassigned to the 1st Space Academy, while the 4th Space Academy concentrated on the development of the solid-propellant rocket technology.

Click to enlarge DF-21 launch (Chinese Internet)

Early 1970s – The PRC made several major breakthroughs in developing the solid-propellant rocket technology. At the same time, the PLA began to explore the possibility of developing a land-based version of the JL- 1.

1975 – Two parallel development programmes were underway – the submarine-based JL-1 and the land-based DF-21, which share the same airframe and engine design.

1976 – The JL-1/DF-21 programme was reassigned to the 2nd Space Academy, which was previously responsible for the missile defence programme. Huang Wei-Lu was appointed as the chief designer. The 2nd Space Academy was also assigned to the development of the transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicle, missile canister, missile testing and aiming, and other support systems for the DF-21.

May 1985 – The first successful DF-21 flight from Base 25 (Wuzhai).

May 1987 – The Second successful DF-21 flight from Base 25 (Wuzhai).

1987 – The DF-21A development programme was initiated. The missile features a 60% increase in its range.

1988 – The DF-21 MRBM was certified for design finalisation.

1995 – The first successful DF-21A flight test from Base 25 (Wuzhai).

1996 – Initial operational capability of the DF-21A was achieved.

DongFeng 21 (CSS-5 Mod-1)

The basic variant DongFeng 21 has a maximum range of 1,700km, and a payload of 600kg. The missile can carry a single 500kT nuclear warhead, with an estimated CEP of 300~400m. This version did not enter operational service.

DongFeng 21A (CSS-5 Mod-2)

Click to enlarge DF-21A (Chinese Internet)

The DF-21A is the extended-range version developed in the 1990s. The PLA demanded a new land-based MRBM as a successor to its DongFeng 3A in 1985, and the contract with the CASIC to develop the DF-21A was signed in 1987. The development programme suffered from major setbacks in 1991, when two flight tests both failed. The PLA allocated additional funds to the programme in 1993 for an improved design. Four successful flight tests were carried out between 1995 and 1996 and the missile was operational by 1996.

The DF-21A has an increased range of 2,700km, and an estimated CEP of 100~300m. The missile is believed to be configured for strategic missions only. The missile is carried inside a canister mounted on a truck-towed trailer for road-mobile. It was estimated that so far around 60~80 DongFeng 21 missiles and 30~40 launcher systems may have been deployed by the PLA Second Artillery Corps in 7 missile brigades:

  • 802 Brigade
  • 807 Brigade
  • 808 Brigade
  • 809 Brigade
  • 811 Brigade
  • 822 Brigade
  • 823 Brigade

These missiles are generally deployed in areas closer to China’s borders to ensure adequate target overage of areas previously covered by the DF-3 IRBM, which has a longer range, but is less accurate compared to DongFeng 21. There have reports suggesting that some DongFeng 21 MRBMs have been re-fitted with conventional warheads.

Click to enlarge DF-21C (Chinese Internet)

DongFeng 21C (CSS-5 Mod-3)

First revealed in 2006, the DF-21C is a conventionally-armed MRBM system with upgraded mobile launcher and guidance system. The missile was said to have a payload of 2,000kg and a maximum range of 1,700km. Unlike the road-mobile DF-21A, the DF-21C is mounted on a 10X10 WS2500 TEL vehicle, which offers some limited off-road travelling ability. The new GPS-based guidance system has reduced the missile’s CEP to 30~40m, enabling it for precision-strike missions.

DongFeng 21D (CSS-5 Mod-4)

The U.S. Department of Defense has confirmed the existence of the DF-21D land-based ASBM system, which is the world’s first and only of its kind. By combining manoeuvrable re-entry vehicles (MaRVs) with a terminal guidance system, the DF-21C is capable of targeting a slow-moving aircraft carrier battle group from a land-based mobile launcher. The maximum range of the missile was said to be 3,000km, possibly achieved by carrying a smaller payload.

Click to enlarge KT-1 space launch vehicle (Chinese Internet)

Kaituozhe 1 Space Launch Vehicle

The Kaituozhe 1 (KT-1) is a four-stage, solid-propellant space launcher based on the DF-21 design. It is capable of placing up to 50kg payload into 600km Low Earth Orbits (LEO). The launcher made its maiden flight in September 2002 and then a second flight in September 2003, none of which was fully successful. CASIC also developed a larger KT-1A, which is capable of sending 300kg payload into the Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) and polar orbit, and the KT-1B with even greater payload capability (400kg and up to three separate payloads). None of the two designs has ever been launched.

SC-19 Kinetic Kill Vehicle Carrier

The launch vehicle for the kinetic kill vehicle (KKV) used during China’s first ASAT weapon test in January 2007 was reported to be SC-19, a modified variant of the DF-21 or KT-1. This is hardly surprising since the PLA studied the feasibility of using a single missile airframe for three missions: SLBM, land-based MRBM, and ballistic missile defence, from the very beginning of the JL-1/DF-21 programme.

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DTN News: Lockheed Martin Announces Industry Team For U.S. Army CIRCM Program

DTN News: Lockheed Martin Announces Industry Team For U.S. Army CIRCM Program
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Lockheed Martin
(NSI News Source Info) ORLANDO, FL, - November 17, 2010: Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] Missiles and Fire Control, DRS Technologies and Daylight Solutions announced today that they are partnering to address the U.S. Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) Technical Development requirement. The CIRCM program will provide laser defeat capability to rotary-wing aircraft operating in close terrain flying missions where man portable air defense systems represent a significant threat.

“Lockheed Martin has assembled a solid industry team to architect the next generation in rotary-wing survivability,” said Matt Milligan, Platform Survivability Program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Our team offers advanced technology to attack the CIRCM program’s critical survivability requirements, while keeping in mind affordability and minimized size, weight and power.”

Lockheed Martin’s CIRCM solution is a lightweight laser defeat system that incorporates a pointer tracker and commercial off-the-shelf processor and quantum cascade laser. It has been successfully integrated with the existing Common Missile Warning System and is compatible with next-generation missile warning systems.

The system’s compact, streamlined design and modular open system architecture make it adaptable to a wide range of rotary-wing platforms and expandable to new threats and missions. CIRCM platforms will include the U.S. Army AH-64, UH-60 and CH-47 rotary-wing aircraft.

DRS Technologies’ Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition business group is an experienced provider of advanced electro-optic infrared technology and is leveraging previous expertise with Distributed IRCM towards this team’s CIRCM solution.

Daylight Solutions has developed and demonstrated quantum cascade laser (QCL) technology for Defense and Security applications. Daylight has integrated its QCL technology into their JammIR™ product line, resulting in lightweight, military-hardened multi-wavelength laser systems that have performed successfully in distributed infrared countermeasure applications.

In order to deliver an affordable, multi-service solution for IRCM, Lockheed Martin is leveraging more than 30 years of experience in infrared missile warning system development and production, as well as experience in laser pointer/tracker technology. On programs such as Arrowhead, Sniper® Advanced Targeting Pod and the F-35 Electro-Optical Targeting System, Lockheed Martin focuses on delivering reliable, affordable solutions to meet Warfighters’ needs.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 133,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s 2009 sales from continuing operations were $44.0 billion.

Craig Vanbebber, (972) 603-1615 e-mail

For additional information, visit our web site:

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DTN News: Embraer Sees China Buying 950 Regional Jets Over 20 Years

DTN News: Embraer Sees China Buying 950 Regional Jets Over 20 Years
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Reuters
(NSI News Source Info) ZHUHAI, China - November 17, 2010: Embraer (EMBR3.SA)(ERJ.N), the world's largest maker of regional aircraft, said on Tuesday it expects total demand from China to reach 950 new regional jets over the next 20 years.

The company made the prediction in a forecast for China, where orders for new jets are expected to soar over the next decade as demand for air travel booms.

It said the biggest demand would be for models seating 91-120 passengers, with orders for an estimated 505 planes over the next 20 years, according to a statement released at an airshow in the south China city of Zhuhai.

It said China would require another 425 planes seating 61-90 passengers over that period, while demand for planes seating 30-60 passengers would number about 20.

Embraer has delivered a total of 77 out of 105 firm orders to China, making it a major supplier of airplanes with up to 120 seats.

"China's booming economy fosters the development of its regional aviation market, which generates great opportunities for players in the aviation industry, said Guan Dongyuan, president of Embraer China.

Embraer's pipeline of firm orders plunged 23.5 percent to $15.3 billion in the third quarter from $20 billion a year earlier and edged up only slightly from $15.2 billion in the prior quarter as airlines remain hesitant about the strength of the global economic recovery.

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DTN News: Russia, China To Address Illegal Arms Production Issue

DTN News: Russia, China To Address Illegal Arms Production Issue
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Ria Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) ZHUHAI, China - November 17, 2010: Russia and China have agreed to resolve the issue of the illegal production of Russian arms in China, a deputy head of Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport said on Tuesday.

"We have made progress in an understanding of this problem. Moreover, all the documents concerning the protection of intellectual property have been signed," Alexander Mikheyev said following the opening ceremony of the Airshow China 2010 exhibition in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai.

"China does not refuse to discuss these issues, which are primarily a concern for Russia," he said, adding that Rosoboronexport will hold talks on the issue with Chinese representatives in the near future.

With contracts totaling $34 billion, Russia is the second-largest exporter of arms and military equipment after the United States, and it is steadily expanding its presence on the arms market. China is one of Russia's main arms trade partners.

According to experts, exports of illegally produced Russian arms cost the country up to $6 billion a year, and also damage Russia's business and political image.

Related News

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DTN News: China Wins First Orders For Plane, Breaking Airbus-Boeing Grip

DTN News: China Wins First Orders For Plane, Breaking Airbus-Boeing Grip
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Bloomberg News - Nov 16, 2010 10:20 AM ET
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - November 17, 2010: Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China announced its first 100 C919 passenger-plane orders, breaking Airbus SAS and Boeing Co.’s stranglehold on the world’s second- largest aircraft market.

General Electric Co.’s leasing arm and China’s big three domestic airlines are among customers for the narrowbody plane, state-controlled Comac said in a statement issued at the Zhuhai air show in southern China today. Chinese airlines accounted for more than half the orders, said Zhang Xinguo, vice president of Comac shareholder, Aviation Industry Corp. of China.

Comac has a full-sized model of the front section of the aircraft on display at the show as it challenges Boeing and Airbus’s grip on a domestic plane market that could be worth $480 billion through 2029, according to Boeing. The Chinese planemaker expects to sell more than 2,000 C919s worldwide over 20 years competing against Boeing and Airbus’s most popular jets.

“The aircraft is of national importance,” said Harry Chen, a Shenzhen-based analyst at Guotai Junan Securities Co. “But, as it’s only on the drawing board so far, we still have to see how fuel-efficient and less expensive it really is.”

China Customers

The C919’s Chinese customers include Air China Ltd., China Southern Airlines Co., China Eastern Airlines Corp., HNA Group Co. and CDB Leasing Co., according to the statement. It didn’t say how many planes had been ordered by each customer.

Air China’s head of investor relations, Rao Xinyu, and China Eastern spokesman Li Jiangdeclined to comment. Calls to China Southern’s joint board secretary Xie Bing went unanswered. GE Capital Aviation Services Ltd., the world’s largest plane lessor, said it agreed to buy as many as 10 C919s.

The C919, which has 166 seats in its standard version, competes with Boeing’s 737 and the Airbus A320. The plane is scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2014 before entering service two years later.

Gecas, as the GE leasing unit is known, also announced an order for as many as 25 China-made ARJ21 regional aircraft at the last Zhuhai air show in 2008, as GE seeks to boost sales in the world’s fastest growing major economy. The 70-seat ARJ21, China’s first regional jet, is due to make its maiden exhibition flight at this week’s show.

China first announced plans for the C919 in 2008 to help develop a globally competitive aerospace industry and pare its reliance on imports. The nation will trail only the U.S. in plane orders over the next 20 years, according to Boeing.

‘Enough Pie’

“There’s certainly enough pie locally to keep Comac and their partners busy for a long time,” said Derek Sadubin, chief operating officer at industry consultants, Centre for Asia- Pacific Aviation in Sydney. “It does remain to be seen whether the aircraft does sell overseas.”

Comac is working with overseas suppliers on the C919, including CFM International Inc., a venture between GE and Safran SA that has won a $10 billion engine contract. Other suppliers include Honeywell International Inc., United Technologies Corp. and Parker Hannifin Corp.

China’s economic growth has stoked demand for aircraft and boosted its importance in the global aviation market. Air China, China Southern and China Eastern are all among the world’s four largest carriers by market value. China Southern is Asia’s biggest by passenger numbers.

Nationwide passenger numbers may jump fivefold in the 20 years ended 2029, AVIC, the nation’s largest aerospace company, said today.

Airbus Order

China is due to receive 112 aircraft from Airbus this year, or 22 percent of the Toulouse, France-based planemaker’s total production, Ascend said this month. It will take 71 planes from Boeing, or 15 percent of output, according to the London-based aviation data company.

Airbus this month announced an order for 102 planes from China, including 50 A320s. The planemaker will assemble half of the single-aisle planes at a plant in Tianjin, China, its only production line outside of Europe. Chicago-based Boeing has won 737 orders this year from Air China, Okay Airways Co. and China Southern’s Xiamen Airlines.

“We welcome all competition,” Jim Simon, Boeing’s vice- president for China commercial-airplane sales, said at the show. “It makes the industry better, frankly, because it makes us sharper at our game.”

Boeing and Airbus also face other new competitors in the single-aisle segment, the largest part of the global plane market. Bombardier Inc. is due to begin deliveries of its CSeries planes, which sit as many as 149 passengers, in 2013. Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA, known as Embraer, has also said it’s considering plans to build a similar-sized aircraft.

“We were born into competition 40 years ago, and now we’re number one,” Airbus’s China headLaurence Barron said at a show press conference. “Frankly, we’re used to it.”

China had 1,259 commercial aircraft at the end of 2008, according to the nation’s aviation regulator. In 1980, it had a fleet of about 140 commercial planes, mostly seating less than 50 passengers, under the management of the air force.

--Liza Lin and Wing-Gar Cheng. With assistance from Irene Shen in Shanghai. Editors: Neil Denslow, Michael Tighe

To contact the reporter on this story: Liza Lin in Shanghai at; Wing-Gar Cheng in Hong Kong at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at

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