Friday, May 30, 2014

DTN News - GLOBAL HAWK DRONES: US Deploys First Advanced Drones To Japan, Improving Its Ability To Watch North Korea, China

DTN News - GLOBAL HAWK DRONES: US Deploys First Advanced Drones To Japan, Improving Its Ability To Watch North Korea, China
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Eric Talmadge, The Associated Press
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 30, 2014: MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – The U.S. Air Force has deployed two of its most advanced long-distance surveillance drones to a base in northern Japan over the past week, enhancing its ability to monitor nuclear activities in North Korea and Chinese naval operations.

The deployment of the two unarmed Global Hawk drones to Japan, a key U.S. ally, is intended to demonstrate Washington’s commitment to security in Asia as part of its rebalancing of forces to the Pacific. But it will likely rankle with China and North Korea, which have been working to improve their own unmanned aircraft fleets.

Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, said Friday the drones will remain here until October, when the typhoon season on the drones’ home base on the Pacific island of Guam is over. Similar rotations from Guam to Misawa are expected in the future, though Angelella said no firm plans have been made. He refused to comment on the specific missions the drones will carry out but noted that the Global Hawk’s “capabilities are well known.”

The drone is considered particularly valuable because it can conduct long-range missions without the limitations of pilot fatigue, is able to fly at a maximum 60,000 feet (18.3 kilometres) and can “loiter” around any particular site of interest for 24 hours or more.

From Japan, it can easily monitor areas on the Asian mainland — including North Korea’s nuclear sites — or targets at sea — such as areas where China and other countries have had confrontations over territory.

The military keeps much of the Global Hawk’s work secret, but Angelella spoke of its use in humanitarian missions including Japan’s 2011 tsunami and the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines last year. More recently, he said, the drone was used in surveillance work following the mass abduction of more than 300 girls in Nigeria by Islamic extremists.

The deployment of the drones will also help Japan familiarize itself with the aircraft. Tokyo plans to buy three Global Hawks.

Angelella said the aircraft has proven itself to be one of the most reliable in the Air Force. While still under development, the Global Hawk began supporting overseas contingency operations two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. As of September last year, it had surpassed 100,000 flight hours, three-quarters of which were performed in combat.

Safety is a key factor in Japan because many U.S. bases here are located in heavily populated areas.

Under a mutual security pact, the U.S. maintains about 50,000 troops in Japan, which is home to several major air bases, the headquarters of the U.S. 7th Fleet and more than 10,000 Marines.

Though some residents of the city of Misawa have raised concerns about the drone deployment, opposition has been notably muted compared to the often emotional and deep-rooted protests against the deployment of new aircraft or troops on the southern Japan island of Okinawa, where most of the U.S. military in Japan is based.

But the deployment comes at a politically sensitive time.

Tokyo is now hotly debating a significant revamp of the role of its military forces, which have since World War II been rebuilt and are now one of the strongest in Asia, though they remain restricted to a narrowly defined strategy of national defence.

Citing the perceived threats from China and North Korea, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is championing an effort to change that and allow the Japanese military to be able to fight more closely with U.S. troops in contingencies.

Abe’s focus has been on what the Japanese military should be allowed to do when an ally defending Japan comes under attack — what the Japanese call collective self-defence. But opponents fear loosening restrictions will open the door for the Japanese military to be drawn into broader U.S. conflicts that don’t have a direct connection to Japan’s national defence.

*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Eric Talmadge, The Associated Press
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*Photograph: IPF (International Pool of Friends) + DTN News / otherwise source stated
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - UKRAINE CRISIS: Separatists Shoot Down Ukrainian Helicopter

DTN News - UKRAINE CRISIS: Separatists Shoot Down Ukrainian Helicopter
*Rebels shoot down Ukraine military helicopter; 14 dead

Among victims is a Ukrainian general; rebel leader in Donetsk admits his fighters include Russian 'volunteers.'
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Haaretz
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 30, 2014: A Ukrainian Mi-24 military helicopter. 

Pro-Russian separatists shot down a Ukrainian army helicopter on Thursday, killing 14 soldiers including a general, as government forces pressed ahead with an offensive to crush rebellions in the east swiftly following the election of a new president.

After weeks of accusations from Kiev of Russian involvement in the uprising, a rebel leader in the eastern city of Donetsk acknowledged that some of his fighters who died in the government offensive had been "volunteers" from Russia, saying their bodies were being returned home across the border.

In Kiev, acting president Oleksander Turchinov said the helicopter, which had been carrying supplies in eastern Ukraine, had been brought down by anti-aircraft fire from near the town of Slovyansk, which has been under the control of separatists since early April.

It was one of the heaviest losses inflicted by the separatists on the army in two months of unrest in Ukraine's eastern regions, and followed a fierce assault by government forces in which 50 or so rebels were killed earlier this week.

"I have just received information that terrorists using Russian anti-aircraft missiles shot down our helicopter near Slovyansk. It had been ferrying servicemen for a change of duty," Turchinov told parliament.

The bodies of some of the separatists killed this week when the Ukrainian military tried to regain control of Donetsk international airport were being prepared for return to Russia on Thursday, the rebel leader said.

In a stark admission that the rebels were being supported by Russian militia fighters, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Denis Pushilin, said: "Those who are volunteers from Russia will be taken to Russia today."

Interior minister Arsen Avakov accused the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind the airport violence. Weapons collected at the airport after the rebels were forced out by airstrikes and a paratroop assault had been brought in from Russia, he said.

"These are not our weapons - they were brought from Russia. Serial numbers, year of production, specific models ... I am publishing this photograph as proof of the aggression of the Putin regime," Avakov wrote on his Facebook page.

Kiev's leaders have long asserted that Russia, which annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in March, has fomented the separatist rebellions in the east of Ukraine with a view to bringing about dismemberment of the country.

Moscow denies this but they also allege that it is failing to stop Russian fighters from crossing the long land border into Ukraine together with truckloads of guns and live ammunition.

Defense Minister Mikhailo Koval said on Thursday: "We have put all our forces and equipment into the anti-terrorist operation. We have covered the whole state border."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday accused the West of pushing Ukraine into "the abyss of fratricidal war", and reiterated his call for an end to Kiev's military offensive.

Fierce Assault

The assault launched last Monday was the first time Kiev has unleashed its full military force against the fighters after weeks of restraint and came the day after Ukrainians overwhelmingly elected Petro Poroshenko as president.

Poroshenko, 48, a billionaire confectionary magnate who became the first Ukrainian since 1991 to win the presidency outright in a single round of voting, marked his clear victory by calling for a swift and effective offensive to crush the eastern rebellions.

Though he is unlikely to be inaugurated before June 7, Poroshenko will have an opportunity to meet Putin when both attend commemorations of the 70th anniversary of World War Two's "D-Day" landings in Normandy on June 6. On June 3, Poroshenko is also expected to have talks with U.S. President Barack Obama in Warsaw.

The separatist authorities say those who died on Monday and Tuesday included a truckload of wounded fighters blasted apart as they were driven away from the battlefield. The government said it suffered no losses in the operation, when its aircraft strafed the airport and paratroops landed to reclaim it.

At Donetsk's Kalinin morgue, where the dead from the violence were taken, 30 coffins were laid out in rows on Thursday.

"Yes. They're going to Russia," said an orthodox priest, who was edgy and did not wish to be named.

In another part of the morgue lay a local man, 43-year-old Mark Zverev, who had also been killed in the airport fighting. "Europe should know what is happening. He's not a terrorist. He is a defender of his home, of his people and of his land," said his mother, clutching his portrait.

A separatist leader in another part of the region acknowledged his men were holding four monitors from the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) who went missing in eastern Ukraine on Monday.

Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, whose group controls Slovyansk, said the OSCE had been warned not to travel in the area, but had sent a four-man team out all the same. He said they would be released soon.

The OSCE sent in about 300 observers to monitor compliance of an international accord for de-escalating the crisis in troubled eastern Ukraine, where separatists have seized control of strategic points in several towns.

*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Haaretz
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*Photograph: IPF (International Pool of Friends) + DTN News / otherwise source stated
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News