Friday, September 18, 2009

India launches Project 15-A 'INS Kochi'

India's latest addition to the Navy - warship INS Kochi, a Delhi-class destroyer, was inaugurated on Friday. This is the second warship of ‘Project 15-A’, built by Mazgaon Dock Limited.

Naval Chief Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma on Friday said a serious relook at the inefficiencies of Navy is required and an indigenous warship building system needs to be conceptualised. Verma said, "Fluctuating funding in the past has compelled the Navy to resort to (warship) building in abroad, but now there is an urgent need to emulate worldwide trends in warship building (in the country)."

The 6,500-tonne INS Kochi, launched by Verma's wife Madulika, is the second warship in the 'Project 15-A' under which three guided-missile destroyers with stealth and multi-role features will be built.

"The destroyer has been launched using pontoon-assisted technique, employed for the first time in the history of indigenous warship building. The technique helps in overcoming slipway constraints which hinder heavier vessel movement into deeper waters for fitting its superstructures such as decks," chairman and managing director of Mazgaon Dock H S Malhi said.

INS Kochi has advanced stealth features that make it less vulnerable to detection by enemy radar. Its weapons system include nuclear capable supersonic BrahMos surface-to-surface missile.

Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to set up 3 joint regional air defense networks

Several members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are involved in creating three joint regional air defense structures as part of the CIS integrated air defense network.Members of the Coordinating Committee on Air Defense under the CIS Defense Ministers' Council met in Astrakhan on Wednesday and discussed setting up East European, Caucasus, and Central Asian air defense networks.

The CIS integrated air defense network was set up by 10 CIS member countries on February 10, 1995. The main purpose of the network is to secure member-states' airspace, including through early warning of missile attacks and coordination of joint efforts to neutralize potential aerial threats.The network currently comprises 46 units equipped with S-200 and S-300 air defense missile systems, 23 fighter units equipped with MiG-29, MiG-31 and Su-27 aircraft, 22 electronic support units and two electronic warfare detachments.

The East European network will be set up by Russia and Belarus in line with an agreement signed in February on the joint protection of the Russia-Belarus Union State's airspace and the creation of an integrated regional air defense network.It will comprise five Air Force units, 10 anti-aircraft units, five technical service and support units and one electronic warfare unit, and will be placed under the command of a Russian or Belarusian Air Force or Air Defense Force senior commander.

Belarus has several Russian-made S-300 air defense battalions on combat duty, and has long been negotiating the purchase of advanced S-400 systems from Russia, which should be available in 2010.The Caucasus air defense network will be set up by Russia and Armenia. The draft agreement is still in the works and needs additional negotiations to ensure "clear principles of the deployment and command of air defense forces.""The draft document will be ready by the end of 2009," said Col. Nikolai Babayan, chief of Armenia's Air Defense Forces.Unlike the East European and Central Asian commands, the airspace of the Caucasus network will not be continuous as Georgia and Azerbaijan separate Russia and Armenia.

Maj. Gen. Okas Saparov, deputy commander of Kazakhstan's Air Defense Forces, said that a working group has been formed to discuss setting up a joint Central Asian regional air defense network, which will involve Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan."Most of the issues dealing with drafting up an agreement [on a joint air defense network] have been resolved," Saparov said.

Kazakhstan signed a contract with Russia in March on the purchase of S-300 air defense missile systems, while Russia operates an airbase in the city of Kant, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.

China, Russia to hold anti-piracy naval drills off Somali coast

Chinese and Russian naval task forces currently on an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden will hold joint exercises on September 18, Xinhua news agency has reported.The exercises, dubbed Blue Peace Shield 2009, will take place in the western part of the Gulf of Aden and include the practice of communications links, simulated missions to identify ships from helicopters, coordinated resupply efforts, and live firing of on-board weaponry.

The Chinese task force comprises two missile frigates and a support ship, while the Russian Navy is represented by the Admiral Tributz missile destroyer, a tug boat and a tanker from the Pacific Fleet.Admiral Tributs and the Chinese Zhoushan frigate have jointly escorted a convoy of 18 commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden this week.

Around 35 warships from the navies of 16 countries are currently deployed off Somalia's coast to counter frequent pirate attacks on key trade routes.Pirate attacks on commercial vessels in the Gulf of Aden and off the east coast of Somalia have amounted to 156 since the beginning of the year, with over 40 ships captured and at least 270 taken hostage.

Russia to complete overhaul of Indian MiG-29 fighters in 2013

Russia will finish upgrading MiG-29 fighters in service with the Indian air force in 2013, a Russian defense industry source has said.Russia's MiG company signed last year a contract with the Indian Defense Ministry to upgrade over 60 MiG-29 fighters, in service since the 1980s."The implementation of the contract started last year, and it will be fulfilled in 2013," the source told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

According to the source, during the upgrade the MiG-29s will be fitted with advanced avionics, new multi-functional Zhuk-ME radars, a new weapon control system, as well as revamped engines.The service life of the aircraft will be extended from 25 to 40 years.The official said the first four Indian MiG-29 fighters are being modernized and flight-tested in Russia and the remaining aircraft will be overhauled in India with the aid of Russian experts.The contract stipulates the construction of MiG consignment depots and service centers in India, along with simulators for pilot training.

Russia to help Cuba modernize weaponry, train military

Modernization of the Soviet-made military equipment and training of Cuban military personnel will be the focus of Russian-Cuban military cooperation in the near future, the chief of the Russian General Staff said on Friday.Gen. Nikolai Makarov arrived on a working visit to Cuba on Monday, met with Cuban President Raul Castro and the country's military leadership, and visited a number of military installations."During the Soviet era we delivered a large number of military equipment to Cuba, and after all these years most of this weaponry has become obsolete and needs repairs," Makarov said."We inspected the condition of this equipment, and outlined the measures to be taken to maintain the defense capability of this country...I think a lot of work needs to be done in this respect, and I hope we will be able to accomplish this task," the general said.

Makarov said the Cuban request for assistance with training of military personnel will also be fully satisfied.Although the Cuban leadership has repeatedly said it has no intention of resuming military cooperation with Russia after the surprise closure of the Russian electronic listening post in Lourdes in 2001, bilateral military ties seem to have been improving following the visit of Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to Cuba in July last year.A group of Russian warships, led by the Admiral Chabanenko destroyer visited Cuba in December last year during a Caribbean tour.

Zhuk-AE X-band AESA radar offered to India

Russia's Phazotron NIIR corporation said on Thursday it has developed a new-generation airborne radar for MiG-35 fighter jets which participate in the Indian fighter tender.Six major aircraft makers - Lockheed and Boeing from the United States, Russia's MiG, which is part of the UAC, France's Dassault, Sweden's Saab and the EADS consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies - are in contention to win the $10 billion contract for 126 light fighters to be supplied to the Indian Air Force.

One of the selection criteria in the tender is that the fighter's radar must have an active phased array radar with a target detection range of at least 130 kilometers (about 80 miles)."We have met this requirement of the Indian tender and built the Zhuk-AE active phased array radar with a proven range of 148 kilometers," said Vyacheslav Tishchenko, the company's general director.The X-band radar can track 30 aerial targets in the track-while-scan mode, and engage six targets simultaneously in the attack mode.

Tishchenko said the detection range could be increased up to 200 km (125 miles).Russia's MiG-35 Fulcrum-F, an export version of the MiG-29M OVT is a highly maneuverable air superiority fighter, which won high international acclaim.The fighter is powered by RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring engines. The RD-33 OVT engines provide superior maneuverability and enhance the fighter's performance in close air engagements.The first demonstration flights of two MiG-35s in the Indian tender will be carried out in late October-early November in north-eastern India.The aircraft will conduct live-firing tests of on-board weaponry on a testing range in southern Russia in March-April 2010.

U.S. Congresswoman to push for F-16 sale to Taiwan

By William Lowther

US Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, the Nevada democrat who co-chairs the Taiwan caucus, told a Washington conference on Tuesday that she was preparing to write a letter to US President Barack Obama asking him to sell Taiwan the F-16 fighter aircraft it has requested.A similar letter to former US president George W Bush about a year ago, spurred the White House to announce the last major arms deal with Taipei.

Reluctant to anger China — Obama plans to visit Beijing in November — the president seems to have shelved Taiwan’s request for 66 F-16s to boost its fleet of aging fighters.There has been speculation that Obama will make no decisions about the planes until after his November visit, but a campaign led by Representative Berkley, who is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, could force his hand.

She said that she was “going to make sure” that the Obama administration acted on the issue.“I think it is very important,” she said.She said that after the Taiwan caucus sent a letter about a year ago to Bush urging him to release arms “we had basically promised to Taiwan,” a number were released before Bush left office, but not the F-16s.

“Militarily, they will help to keep peace in the Strait,” Berkley said.Berkley seemed confident that she would be able to gather significant bipartisan support and that the letter would be co-signed not just by members of the Taiwan caucus but also by other members of the House.The letter would be sent in the near future, the Congresswoman added, if the Obama administration does not act of its own accord.Berkley was speaking at a Center for National Policy conference called to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).


Turning to the life sentences passed on former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁)and his wife Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), Berkley said that the US Congress had a role to play in making sure that the court proceedings “were fair and open and that decisions were reached appropriately and were not politically motivated.”She refused to make further comments on the case until after the full appeal is completed — which could take a year or more — because “it just wouldn’t be appropriate.”

But several senior members of Congress speaking off the record over the last few days have expressed their “shock” at the severity of the sentences.There is concern on Capitol Hill that there was political interference in the trial and that the sentences were too harsh.But any outrage or condemnation would have to wait until after the appeal has run its course before being expressed publicly, they said.

Regarding the TRA, Richard Bush, a Brookings Institution scholar and one of the most respected Taiwan experts in Washington, said that the security section of the Act was not well understood.Most people, he said, believed that the Act “required” the US to sell arms to Taiwan and come to Taiwan’s defense in the case of a crisis.But that interpretation, he said, “exaggerated” the real meaning of the Act.

In practice, he said the White House would decide on selling weapons and coming to the nation’s defense while only “consulting” Congress.Most of the TRA language, he said, was a statement of policy rather than of law.“The only thing that the TRA requires a US administration to do is to report to the Congress in a crisis, just report,” he said.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Need to outline Infantry's modernisation: Lt-Gen Singh

Indian Army's Director-General (Infantry) Lieutenant-General Jasbir Singh has stressed on outlining the future modernisation of that Fighting Arm, the other Arm being the Artillery.

While addressing a three-day Infantry Commanders' Conference -- which began yesterday at the Infantry School in the nearby Military Headquarters Of War (MHOW) -- the officer said, ''I am confident that the Conference will address lacunae besides honing the Infantry's mobility and striking power.'' An exhibition of weapons and defence equipment is also part of the Conference.

The Infantry School is the Army's largest and oldest training establishment. It has trained not only infantrymen but also officers and senior commanders of Indian and many foreign armies. Its alumni have risen to the highest military ranks and scripted military history in India and abroad.

The total number of army, paramilitary, police and foreign students trained annually at the School, averages approximately 7,500. The School conducts training packages and programmes for commissioned officers, junior commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers.

The Army Marksmanship Unit at the School has provided outstanding shooters of national and international calibre. The School's origins can be traced to the establishment of the School of Musketry in 1888 at Changla Gali in present-day Pakistan. Between 1888 and 1949, the School's name and location changed many times.

The School remained the principal combined arms training establishment until 1964. It conducted the Junior and Senior Commanders' courses attended by officers of all arms and services.

In 1964, the School provided the nucleus and its long experience to start the College of Combat, an institution designed to build the combined arms combat tradition in the Army.

Every Indian infantry officer starts his career at the School. It makes the most long-lasting impact on the infantryman's outlook, about the essential need and role of the infantry in war. The tactical successes of Indian infantry in battles can rightly be said to have emerged from this School.

Submarine captain's body recovered off southern Taiwan

The body of a submarine captain who was washed off the conning tower of his vessel by strong waves during a drill two days ago was recovered early Wednesday after an intensive search, military authorities said.The body of Chen Chi-tsung, captain of the submarine Hai Lung, was reclaimed from the sea 3.1 nautical miles southwest of Zuoying naval base near southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung City at 7: 45 a.m., naval sources said.

Chen's body was taken to the morgue of a naval hospital where a makeshift funeral hall was set up for his superiors and colleagues to pay their last respects to him."Military authorities deeply regret the captain's tragic death, " Navy Commanding General Adm. Kao Kuang-chi said after presiding over a memorial service in which Chen was accorded full military honors.As the 47-year-old captain lost his life in the line of duty, Kao said, the military will offer compensation to his bereaved family members on the best possible terms. Chen had served in the Navy since 1988.

Moreover, Kao said the Navy will review and make necessary improvements to its standard operating procedures to prevent similar tragedies from reoccurring.Vice Adm. Sun Yi-cheng, director of the Political Warfare Department at the Navy Command Headquarters, said the Navy has learned a painful from the accident and will strengthen safety measures.From now on, Sun said, all naval personnel working on the decks of warships or on the raised observation towers of submarines will be required to put on a life jacket and safety line hooked up to the hull of the vessel.

While rough weather was believed to be the major reason leading to Chen's death, Sun said the Navy is still conducting a thorough investigation on the incident in hopes of getting to the bottom of how it occurred.Erich Shih, chief convener of the Defence International magazine, said a similar tragedy happened in the U.S. Navy eight or nine years ago, in which a naval captain fell overboard into the seas during an exercise.The U.S. Navy has since demanded its personnel working on decks or on conning towers wear a life vest and safety line hooked up to the hull of the vessel.

"It is regrettable that our navy had failed to take that bitter lesson as its own," Shih said, adding that the Navy has no excuse in dragging its feet any more on overhauling its safety regulations.The Hai Lung, a 66.92 meter submarine modeled on the Netherlands' Zwaardvis-class submarine, was commissioned in the late 1980s.It is 8.4 meters wide and is equipped with six 21-inch torpedo launchers and advanced navigation and combat systems. It has the capacity to carry 11 officers and 66 crew members.

The Hai Lung and another Zwaardvis-class sub, the Hai Hu, as well as two other types of submarines, form the backbone of the navy's underwater defense force and are responsible for anti-submarine and coastal surveillance missions.

(By Sofia Wu)

Russia welcomes U.S. move to scrap missile plans for Europe

Russia welcomes reports of a U.S. decision to abandon its missile defense plans for Central Europe, and is waiting for official confirmation on the issue, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

"We are waiting for the reports to be confirmed. Such a development would be in line with the interests of our relations with the United States," a ministry press officer told RIA Novosti.

Russia's Vesti news channel cited Czech media earlier on Thursday as saying that President Barack Obama told Czech Premier Jan Fischer on the telephone late last night that Washington is abandoning the Bush administration's plans for an anti-missile radar in the country.

Czech officials confirmed the telephone conversation, the reports said. Prague is expected to issue a statement on the matter later on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, The Wall Street Journal cited sources close to the issue as saying the U.S. government will shelve plans for the radar on Czech soil, as well as an interceptor missile base in Poland. The planned anti-missile system has been fiercely opposed by Moscow.

The Czech news agency CTK said a U.S. delegation led by Ellen Tauscher, under secretary of state for arms control and international security, will arrive in Prague for talks later today. The diplomat's visit to Prague follows a trip to Warsaw.

The WSJ said the U.S. decision to scrap the plans are based on an assessment that Iran's long-range missile program has not progressed as rapidly as previously estimated, reducing the threat to the U.S. and Europe's major cities.

Moscow views the planned anti-missile system as a national security threat, upsetting the strategic balance of forces.

The paper cited current and former U.S. officials as saying that the administration is expected to leave open the option of restarting the Polish and Czech system if Iran makes advances in its long-range missiles in the future.

The decision, a major reversal from the line aggressively pursued by the George W. Bush administration, is seen by many critics as a gesture to win Russian cooperation with U.S.-led efforts to impose new sanctions on Iran if it does not abandon its nuclear program, the paper said.

The move is also likely to raise concerns in Europe, where officials have been alarmed by the White House's effort to "reset" ties with Moscow, the WSJ said.

US Army to Field New Uniforms for Afghanistan

The Army is set to field new combat uniforms to two battalions in Afghanistan next month in an effort to better equip combat troops fighting in the varied terrain found in that rugged country.

For years some Soldiers have complained about the current multi-environment Universal Camouflage Pattern, arguing that the toned down grey and green stood out in desert environments, rocky ridges and forested valleys found throughout eastern Afghanistan, where most Army units now operate.

The new camo schemes include the Crye Precision-made MultiCam and a new pattern designed by the Natick Soldier Systems Center in Massachusetts.

MultiCam was designed several years ago with the help of Natick and is popular with special operations forces in the Army and Air Force -- with some operators already wearing the squiggly brown, tan and green uniforms in Afghan combat.

Natick also developed a new variation of the UCP by adding coyote tan to the pattern; it will field the so-called UCP-Delta alongside the MultiCam one.

“We’re trying not to just deal with anecdotal information,” said Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, chief of the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier, during a Sept. 16 briefing with reporters at the Pentagon. “Just because someone else might be wearing something doesn’t mean that that is the best for all the environments.”

The decision comes on the heels of a demand from Congress to evaluate the feasibility of fielding a camo pattern to better fit the Afghan environment. In the Pentagon’s 2010 budget, the influential chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense panel ordered the Army to deliver a report on which camo worked best and to field a new one if it proved more effective.

But the Army claims it’s just evolving the uniform based on current needs.

“I don’t want to diminish the importance of congressional observations on our equipment and our operations,” Dean Popps, the Army’s top acquisition official, told “But it would be a mistake to think that we are only doing this simply because Congress wrote a letter or made a comment.”

Commanders in Afghanistan are still deciding which units will receive the new duds, but Army officials say they’ll likely go to two battalions within the same brigade already deployed to the eastern region of Afghanistan. One battalion will get four sets of the MultiCam uniform for each Joe; the other battalion will get four sets of the UCP-Delta scheme uniform for each Soldier.

Army snipers are getting in on the new fashion trend as well, with the Army fielding about 100 MultiCam ghillie suits to sharpshooters in the AOR.

The service will also field sets of body armor and pouches in MultiCam, while units with the UCP-Delta will use their standard-patterned armor and a new chest rig in UCP-Delta.

By the end of January, the Army says it will decide which camo pattern works best –MultiCam, UCP-Delta or standard UCP – and field “alternate uniforms and [equipment] to selected units in specific regions of Operation Enduring Freedom.”

All told, the service so far plans to field 4,000 uniforms for the tests, at a cost of about $1 million.

The officer in charge of fielding Army equipment said the results will lead to an overall evaluation of the Army’s combat uniform strategy, and he admitted the current UCP – which was fielded in 2004 under a shroud of secrecy – might not fit the bill in the wider Army.

“When viewed against different backgrounds, the UCP worked well enough,” Fuller said. “Should the aperture have been opened wider? I don’t know. It’s water over the bridge.”

“The Army made a decision,” he added, “we are in a UCP uniform, and now we’re making a decision about where we go from here.”

Though Army officials are loath to admit the UCP’s shortcomings, a 2009 Natick study showed the current uniform performing worse than four other commercially available patterns in all environments, including urban, desert and woodland.

Read the entire Natick report at Defense Tech.
The study, which was first reported by the Army Times and a copy of which was obtained by, said MultiCam performed best as a universal pattern.

“If Army leadership desires to maintain a single, multi-environment camouflage pattern for combat missions, data from this evaluation show the MultiCam pattern is the best overall, readily available pattern,” the study said.

The study indicated that the Marine Corps desert digital pattern, or MARPAT, and another pattern called Desert Brush performed best in arid and urban environments. While the MultiCam “was not as good as MARPAT and Desert Brush patterns … it was significantly better than both patterns in two out of three woodland scenes,” the study said.

Both desert MARPAT and Desert Brush performed better than the UCP in eight of nine scenes testers evaluated, while MultiCam performed better than UCP in seven of nine scenes.

But Army officials, unconvinced of the latest Natick study, say that after results are in on the October fielding of MultiCam and UCP-Delta, they’ll launch yet another evaluation of seven camo patterns -- including a newly developed Natick pattern different from the UCP-Delta and a pattern being developed by the SEAL community called AOR-2 – to “develop the science” behind a regional uniform strategy.

“We’re trying to give commanders options; give them tools … that they can make decisions on based on their mission analysis,” said Col. Bill Cole, the Army program manager for Soldier equipment.

And though the Natick study recommended keeping the UCP as a garrison uniform “while supplementing combat missions with either an improved multi-environment pattern, such as MultiCam, or environment specific patterns,” the Army is reluctant to go back to the logistical hiccups that came with multiple uniforms.

“If you ask Soldiers, they say they like having one uniform,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Mellinger, the top enlisted advisor to the Army’s material command. “If we don’t retain the flexibility, and that means different kinds of uniforms with different patterns and different configurations, then we lose the ability to adapt to that terrain and background very quickly.”

Japan National Police Agency Orders Additional AW139 Helicopter

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace are pleased to announce that the Japan National Police Agency (JNPA) has ordered another medium lift AW139 helicopter to replace the Chiba prefecture’s AS332L1 helicopter. The selection is endorsement of the popularity of the AW139 and supports the growing views that the multi-role AW139 can perform the mission requirements of older heavier class helicopters. This addition to the JNPA fleet increases the number of AW139 helicopters operating in the law enforcement role in Japan to three with the first two helicopters being selected by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

AgustaWestland has achieved strong growth in the Japanese helicopter market in recent years, with the AW139 gaining success in both the commercial and public service markets. The AW139 is well positioned to meet future market demand in Japan for a wide range of missions including fire fighting and disaster relief. The AW139 is currently operating in the Search and Rescue role with the Japan Coast Guard and in the law enforcement role with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. In addition the helicopter has been purchased by All Nippon Helicopter to provide NHK with an enhanced capability to provide Electronic News Gathering Services.

The AW139 has set the new standard in the medium twin class featuring unparalleled performance, state-of-the-art technology and the most spacious and comfortable cabin. Designed with inherent multi-role capability and flexibility of operation, the AW139 is capable of carrying up to 15 passengers or up to four litters and four medical attendants. State-of-the-art technology, outstanding performance, low operating costs and the only helicopter in its class to meet the latest safety standards, have made the AW139 the helicopter of choice in its class. The AW139 is a new generation medium twin-engine helicopter offering unmatched performance, capacity and safety.

It meets the most stringent civil and government certification standards, including the latest FAA and EASA FAR/JAR Part 29 amendments. The AW139 has an optional Maximum Gross Weight (MGW) of 6,800 kg (14,991 Ib), a 400 kg (882 Ib) increase on the standard MGW of 6,400 kg. The increased MGW and resulting payload increase enables the AW139 to meet long range mission requirements giving operators greater levels of capability. Orders for almost 440 AW139 helicopters have been placed by almost 120 customers from nearly 40 countries to perform many missions including offshore transport, SAR/EMS, VIP/corporate transport, law enforcement and homeland security, utility and various government duties.

IAI wins contract to supply aircraft self-protection systems to Israel

ELTA Systems Ltd., a group and wholly owned subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), has been awarded a contract to supply its self-protection systems, Flight Guard, for commercial planes in Israel.

Contracts for various customers in Israel and abroad for the self-protection systems are estimated to be valued at tens of millions of dollars, over period of years. This is the only system to be tested and authorized by the Israel Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA).

ELTA has been developing, producing, and supplying aircraft self-protection systems for many years. In 2005, a version of "Flight Guard" was authorized by the ICAA, following two years of in-depth inspections, flight tests, and licensing examinations. With over 200 military, civilian, and VIP aircraft in more than 15 countries worldwide currently flying with the protection of the ELTA system, the operational efficiency of the system has been successfully proven.

The system includes a Missile Approach Warning System, which rapidly scans for potential threats in the area surrounding the aircraft, and raises an alert only when it detects a direct threat to the aircraft.

Upon detection of a direct threat, a jamming system immediately deploys decoy flares to steer any threatening heat-seeking missiles away from the aircraft and toward the decoy flares. The system has the lowest false alarm rate, and is easy to install and operational on various kinds of aircraft.

In Israel, the self-protection system was chosen for its particular effectiveness during takeoff and landing, when the aircraft is most vulnerable to threats from the ground. Other self-protection systems, based on different sensors, suffer from false alarms.

The "Flight Guard" system will be delivered within one year to the customer. Additional orders for the system are expected upon completion of the current order.

Possible Foreign Military Sale to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Long-time US Middle East ally Jordan has submitted an impressive wish list of weapons for its armed forces to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The list includes rocket launchers, radios, and Humvees.

DSCA said that weapons Jordan wants to buy will provide its armed forces with a long-range precision artillery support capability that will significantly improve US-Jordan interoperability and provide for the defense of vital installations.

Also included in Jordan’s request are support equipment, communications equipment, spare and repair parts, test sets, batteries, laptop computers, publications and technical data, facility design, personnel training and equipment, systems integration support, US Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support.

Elta's Green Pine Block-B chosen for Missile Defense: South Korea

By Jung Sung-ki

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has selected Israel's Green Pine radar system for the country's independent low-tier missile shield to enter service in the early 2010s.

The early warning radar will play a key role in monitoring and tracking incoming cruise and ballistic missiles from North Korea, the agency said Thursday.

``DAPA conducted a final evaluation of both radar systems built by Israel's Elta and the Netherlands subsidiary of France's Thales from Aug. 24 to 26, and Elta's Green Pine Block-B scored higher than its counterpart,'' it said. A contract is to be signed this month.

The EL/M-2080 Green Pine Block-B, or Super Green Pine, is capable of detecting and simultaneously tracking dozens of targets about 800 kilometers away in any weather conditions, a DAPA official said.

The system can cover all of North Korea from a position well behind the border.

The radar, which will be interoperable with the Patriot missile interceptors, costs about 100 billion won (some $83 million), the official said, adding that DAPA plans to buy two sets of the radar systems.

They will be part of South Korea's planned Air and Missile Defense-Cell (AMD-Cell) to become operational by 2012.
The Ministry of National Defense announced earlier this year that it would spend about 300 billion to build the AMD-Cell and associated radars.

The center is a key component of the nation's low-tier Korea air and missile defense (KAMD) system to counter the lingering threat posed by North Korea's low-flying, short- and intermediate-range missiles.

AMD-Cell will be capable of monitoring moves related to North Korea's short- and medium-range missiles around the clock, and directing missile interceptors to shoot them down, ministry officials said.

It also would be interoperable with Theater Missile Operations-Cell (TMO)l, run by U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), to track and take down North Korean ballistic missiles, they said.

The KAMD will meld the early warning radars, Aegis-based SM-2 ship-to-air missile systems and modified PAC-2 interceptors bought from Germany.

In 2007, South Korea signed a $1-billion SAM-X deal to equip its Air Force with 48 secondhand PAC-2 launch modules, radars and missiles, including the Patriot Anti-Tactical Missile and Guidance Enhanced Missile Plus (GEM+) from Germany. The service has received 24 systems, with 24 more set for delivery in the coming months.

North Korea is believed to have deployed more than 600 short-range Scud missiles with a range of 320 to 500 kilometers and 200 Rodong missiles with a range of 1,300 kilometers near the inter-Korean border. The communist state is believed to have developed a 6,700-kilomter-range Taepodong-2 missile that could reach Alaska.

India wakes up to Chinese threat

Better late than never! The government has finally woken up to the China threat and its incursions into the Indian territory. Even as National Security Adviser MK Narayanan holds a high-level meeting here tomorrow to take stock of the situation on the Indo-China border, the Indian armed forces claim to be handicapped due to paucity of the latest weaponry needed in the event of any skirmish.

Shockingly, as the country’s top most strategic planners finalise India’s response, the forces are saddled with weapons that are of 1970s and 1980s vintage. Hardly, the ones needed to ensure military domination.

The NSA’s meeting is likely to be attended by Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrashekhar, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Home Secretary GK Pillai, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, services chiefs and top officials of intelligence agencies. At least Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor may not be able to make it since he is not in the capital, sources here said.

Narayanan is India’s point man for ties with China in his capacity as India’s special representative for talks on the lingering boundary dispute. The External Affairs ministry has sought to play down the latest incursions by China, saying there was a difference in perception between the two countries on the delineation of the line of actual control (LAC). The strategic establishment, however, is worried over the frequency with which these violations have been taking place.

Sources said the armed forces will plead in the meeting for taking urgent steps to replace the weapons. Take a look: One variety of the Air defence guns placed along the Sino-Indian border are of 1974 vintage and can fire only till 5000 feet. Another variety was inducted in the 1980s.

The surface-to-air missiles, considered a deadly weapon in the mountains, were bought in the 1980s while another purchase was made in 1990s. The major purchase of self propelled guns, though not deployed in high mountains, were carried out the last time in 1975 while another small quantity was purchased in 1995.

In the case of the big guns of the artillery, the last purchase was in 1985 when the Bofors was procured. Since then India has started the process a few times but did not finalise anything. The project to purchase the ultra light howitzer, that can be slung under a chopper and dropped anywhere in the high mountains, has been put in cold storage.

Meanwhile, amidst mounting tensions, the annual Indo-China military exercise between the two countries is not likely to be conducted this year. As per the agreed rotation policy, it was China’s turn to host it this year. However, no dates have been conveyed so far. Normally, by this time the dates are decided and all logistics are in place.

China wants to keep its options open

by G. Parthasarathy

ONE abiding feature of our relations with China is our propensity to swing from elation and ecstasy to despondency and despair. Shortly after the visit of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to India in April 2005, our media, China scholars and sections of our Mandarin-speaking mandarins proclaimed that the festering “boundary question” with China was all but resolved. The Manmohan Singh-Wen Jiabao Declaration asserted that India-China relations had acquired “global and strategic significance” and that the two countries would establish a “strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity”.

An agreement laying down “Political Parameters and Guiding Principles” for resolving the border issue said that while respecting the “Line of Actual Control”, India and China would reach a boundary settlement which shall “safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas”, while using “modern cartographic and surveying practices and joint surveys”. Our “scholars” and media ecstatically proclaimed that the reference to “settled populations” in border areas meant that China had given up its claims to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. They were in for a rude shock. Within a year China started publicly and aggressively asserting that the whole of Arunachal was a part of “South Tibet”.

While talks on resolving the border issue have continued regularly after the visit of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to China in December 1988, the problem of Chinese intrusions into our territory arises from the fact that while the Line of Control is defined and demarcated by mutual agreement between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, the “Line of Actual Control” (LOAC), which both sides have pledged to determine and respect, along the China-India border, has never been demarcated. It was decided that the issue of demarcation would be addressed by India and China exchanging maps about the precise location of the LOAC and reconciling differences through negotiations. While maps were exchanged on the Central Sector (adjoining Uttarakhand) and India provided its maps on the LOAC in the western sector (Ladakh) to China in 2002, China refused to provide maps outlining its version of where the LOAC lies, either on the western sector (Ladakh) or the eastern sector (Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh). In the face of this impasse, it was decided in 2003 that the two countries would seek a “political solution” to the border issue.

It is evident that despite having agreed in principle that there could not be any change in the status of populated areas in 2005, China is now insistent that it would expect territorial concessions in the populated eastern sector, if it is to accommodate Indian claims in Ladakh. Because of the importance of Tawang as a Buddhist Monastery town, where the sixth Dalai Lama was born, China seeks control of Tawang to secure a fig leaf of legitimacy for its rule in Tibet. India has flatly rejected Chinese claims to Tawang, with Mr Pranab Mukherjee asserting: “Any elected Government in India is not permitted by our Constitution to part with any part of our land that sends representatives to the Indian Parliament”.

Thus, as long as China remains insistent on its claims in Arunachal Pradesh, there can be no settlement of the border issue. India has also indicated that it intends to improve communications near and along its land borders with China, boost its military presence in Arunachal Pradesh and also strengthen its eastern air defences. The entire problem of border intrusions today arises from the fact that China wishes to keep its options open by not spelling out where, in its view, the LOAC lies, so that it can continue to intrude, at a time and place of its choosing, into populated areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh and undermine public confidence in our border areas, in New Delhi’s will and ability to defend our territorial integrity.

Apart from border issues, China has made every effort to undermine Indian security interests in recent years. Pakistan is being assisted by China in boosting its nuclear weapons capabilities by supply of plutonium reactors and reprocessing facilities. Chinese supplies of ballistic and cruise missiles to Pakistan continue, as does the supply of fighter aircraft and frigates. China assists Pakistan-sponsored terrorism by blocking moves in the UN Security Council for action against the Jamat-ud-Dawa and the head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hafiz Mohammed Sayed.

While pledging aid for hydro-electric projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, China seeks to block assistance for economic development in Arunachal Pradesh in the Asian Development Bank, on the ground that its status is “disputed”. More ominously, there is now evidence that China is using areas controlled by its protégés in the Kachin State of Myanmar to arm and train our north-eastern insurgent groups in Manipur and elsewhere, in its Yunnan province. One sees similar actions by China to undermine India’s relations with Nepal. Despite this, our mandarins glibly talk of a “strategic and cooperative partnership” with China.

There are areas like climate change, the WTO talks and the development of a multi-polar world order, where India and China have shared interests. China’s actions along India’s land and maritime frontiers and its efforts to undermine India’s regional influence by its policies in countries like Pakistan and Nepal will, however, remain sources of differences. We landed ourselves in disaster in 1962 because we glossed over the realities and misled public opinion domestically and globally. Our mandarins in South Block will do well to remember this when misrepresenting and avoiding a focus on the realities of our relations with China. We should, however, avoid resorting to rhetoric that escalates tensions.

Our Ministry of Defence unfortunately delays action on the acquisition of crucial equipment like fighter aircraft and artillery. Actions speak louder than words. Rather that talking about how we propose to increase troop levels, or modernise our air defences along our borders with China, we should act to expeditiously strengthen defences and road communication networks along our borders. In the meantime, there should be a continuing dialogue and exchanges with China aimed at ensuring that incidents which escalate tensions do not occur along our borders.

We should remember that China still has festering disputes on its maritime boundaries with Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia and that China settles its border disputes only when a weakened neighbour succumbs to its pressures. In the meantime, China does not hesitate to assert its presence across disputed boundaries with militarily weaker neighbours the like Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam. The Chinese respect national power and will respect India only if our economic and military strength warrants respect for us as a people and as a country.

Dalai Lama can visit Arunachal: Krishna

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Wednesday dismissed China’s objections to Dalai Lama’s proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh later this year, and said that the Tibetan leader is “free to go anywhere in India”.“Arunachal Pradesh is a part of India and Dalai Lama is free to go anywhere in India,” Krishna told a news channel here. “The only question is that he is not expected to comment on political developments,” Krishna said.

Dalai Lama has sought the Indian government’s permission to visit Tawang, a monastery town in AP, which is claimed by China.Tibet’s exiled leader plans to go there in November to inaugurate a hospital for which he had donated Rs.20 lakh.China has voiced “strong concern” over the proposed visit saying it “further reveals the Dalai clique’s anti-China and separatist essence”.“We firmly oppose Dalai visiting the so-called Arunachal Pradesh,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu. Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile headquartered in Indian town of Dharamsala, rubbished Beijing’s objections to the Dalai Lama’s visit.

“Arunachal and its Tawang region are an integral part of India. If Dalai Lama, who is staying here for the last 50 years, is visiting any part of the country why does this bother China?” he said.“If he goes to Chinese territories it can raise objection, but in this case it has no business to interfere,” he added. The Tibetan-government-in exile is not recognised by any country in the world.China’s objections to Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal comes amid reports of Chinese incursions into the Indian territory which have revived the spectre of the China threat.India cited Chinese threat as its primary reason for going nuclear in 1998. Since then, the two countries have expanded their political and economic ties and are now trying to resolve the decades-long boundary dispute with negotiations.

Chinese and Russian 5th-gen fighters could outnumber the F-35

By Greg Grant

The U.S. military’s historic dominance of the skies, unchallenged since around spring 1943, is increasingly at risk because of the proliferation of advanced technologies and a buildup of potential adversary arsenals, according to Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the service’s chief for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Speaking today at the Air Force’s annual convention in the Washington area today, he provided a wide ranging assessment of what the QDR team is calling “high-end, asymmetric threats.”

Emphasizing the increasing capabilities of “anti-access weapons,” such as long range precision missiles, Deptula said pilots in future wars will not operate in the “permissive” threat environments of current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Deptula, best known for crafting the Desert Storm air campaign, said potential opponents have learned from U.S. operations and will use precision arsenals to stop a buildup of U.S. airpower near their borders before a war even begins.

Without functioning ground bases, aircraft cannot operate; the Air Force is investing heavily in shorter ranged tactical aircraft, such as the F-22 and F-35, along with a host of older F-15 and F-16. Overseas bases from which these aircraft operate are now threatened by increasingly accurate ballistic missiles in Chinese, Russian, Iranian and North Korean arsenals, Deptula said. The newest models are road mobile and exceedingly difficult to locate.

Enemies will use cyber attacks to target U.S. command and control networks and satellite relays, the smooth functioning of which the military is now completely dependant. “Space is no longer a sanctuary and our satellites are at risk… for five decades the U.S. has led the world in space,” he said, now, “the space domain is perhaps the most likely arena for threats to achieve leveraged effects,” against U.S. operations. The Chinese are developing anti-satellite weapons, as are the Russians, and the number of countries that can launch sensor-loaded satellites into space is increasing.

Because of improvements in over the horizon and passive radars, U.S. aircraft will be detected long before they reach their targets. “The area that we operate in free from detection is rapidly shrinking,” Deptula said, “our adversaries are going to have capabilities that we’ve never operated against.” The newest generation surface-to-air missiles, such as the Russian SA-21, have ranges exceeding 300 miles and the ability to target low flying aircraft, and will likely be exported.

Speaking to the more traditional realm of air-to-air combat, so dear to his audience’s heart, Deptula contends that the U.S. technological edge there is eroding. While “fourth generation” fighters are no match for the most advanced U.S. fighters, Deptula reminded the audience of the Russian export success with the MIG-21, some 12,000 of which were built, and operated by over 50 countries.

Russia and China are both developing “fifth generation” fighters that will be widely exported at prices that will undercut the F-35 price tag. Both nations will thus acquire “near F-22 performance… while attempting to proliferate the [aircraft] to perhaps near F-35 like quantities,” he said. “We may be facing a fighter threat capability in quantities we’ve never experienced before.”

Its not just in the technology realm that America’s enemies are seeking advantage. Unable to counter the U.S. dominance in long-range strike, enemies in wars among the people use information operations to influence perceptions about civilian casualties and deny the U.S. ability to leverage its asymmetric advantages. Deptula said media savvy opponents who skillfully manipulate global public perception are an example of successful “Effects Based Operations,” a doctrinal term that has recently fallen into disfavor, except among air power advocates.

Lack of planes to fly brings RAAF top guns down to earth


Their motto is ''Seek the Heights'', but the latest crop of graduates from the Royal Australian Air Force's elite flying training school are earthbound because the RAAF doesn't have enough planes for them.
The Department of Defence yesterday confirmed that 36 RAAF graduates of No2 Flying Training School at Pearce Air Force base in Western Australia would be sitting behind desks because the RAAF lacks aircraft for them to undertake conversion to operational flying.

The earthbound pilots constitute nearly one in four of recent graduates from the expensive advanced flying training program.

RAAF sources said some of the pilots could wait more than a year and as long as two years before they would be able to undertake their allocated conversion to operational flying.

Opposition Defence spokesman David Johnston expressed concern about the RAAF's management of the pilot training program

Israel Air Force Apache makes emergency landing

The grounded Apache (photo: Avihu Shapira)

An Israel Air Force Apache helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing in the Upper Galilee on Tuesday night due to a technical malfunction, the Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday.

The chopper landed safely in a field near Kibbutz Gonen. No injuries or damage were reported, and the Air Force has launched an investigation into the incident.The AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter for a crew of two.Military sources said that while it appears the malfunction was not a serious one, the technical crew dispatched to the landing site opted to ground the helicopter in order not to aggravate it.

The Apache took off from the Ramon Air Base in the Negev for a routine training flight on Tuesday night. During the flight, the pilot radioed in a technical malfunction and was ordered to land in the nearest possible location.Once on the ground, the helicopter was placed under IDF guard.

The incident comes at a time when the IAF is still reeling from the tragic F-16 crash which claimed the life of Captain Asaf Ramon, son of late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon.Ramon's jet crashed off South Mount Heborn on Sunday afternoon. IAF Commander Major-General Ido Nehushtan ordered an inquiry into the crash.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

China to unveil new weapons systems in National Day parade

Pictures are courtsy of gordonblade @ CDF

Fifty-two types of new weapon systems developed with China's own technologies, including airborne early warning and control (AEWC) aircraft, will be showcased at the military parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China.

Further cutting-edge weaponry would include sophisticated radar, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and satellite communication devices of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), Lieutenant General Fang Fenghui, general director of the parade, told Xinhua Wednesday.

The Oct. 1 parade would also show personnel and equipment from the navy, air force and China's ballistic missile corps, Fang said.Fang did not identify the specific models of the weapon systems but said all of the weapons are tagged: "Made in China".

"They (the weapon systems) embody the ongoing transformation of the PLA from a labor-intensive force to technology-intensive might be capable of joint operations in modern warfare," said Fang, who is also commander of the PLA's Beijing Military Area Command.

"The weapon systems to be shown in the parade also showcase the ability of the PLA to carry out diverse military missions," he said.There will be 56 regiments on the ground and in the air during the parade, symbolizing the country's 56 ethnic groups marching along the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics in solidarity, Fang said.

Fourteen of the regiments will march through Chang'an Avenue on foot, 30 in wheeled transport and 12 will take to the air.All the troops in the parade will be dressed in PLA 07-type uniforms and most of them are from generations born in the 1980s and 1990s.

Compared with the previous military parade on National Day 10 years ago, this one would have less troops and equipment but increased high-tech weaponry and special force units, Fang said.

India to Launch INS Kochi on Friday

India will launch the INS Kochi, a Delhi class destroyer, at Mumbai on Friday by employing for the first time the pontoon-assisted technique.The Destroyer, before its launch at the Mazagon Docks, will be christened by Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma's wife Madhulika Verma, a Navy spokesperson said today.

The launch technique would help the shipbuilders in overcoming slipway draft constraints which hinder heavier vessel movement into deeper waters for fitting its superstructures such as decks.This technique would permit Mazagon Docks in launching heavier vessels in the future.The 6,500-tonne INS Kochi will be the second warship in the 'Project 15-A' under which three guided-missile destroyers with stealth and multi-role features will be built.

Under this Rs 8,459-crore project, the Mazagon Docks launched the INS Kolkata Destroyer in 2006.Project 15-A is a follow-on order of the Delhi class under which the Indian Navy already operates INS Delhi, INS Mysore and INS Mumbai.The Kolkata series of warships, designed indigenously by the Directorate of Naval Design, is the stealth version of the Delhi class Destroyers.

INS Kochi, the Navy spokesperson said, would have advanced stealth features, which makes it less vulnerable to detection by enemy radar and would be fitted with the state-of-the-art weapon system including the Indo-Russian joint venture 'BrahMos' surface-to-surface cruise missiles.

It would also be armed with Israeli 'Barak' Long Range Surface to Air Missiles and 'MFStar' multi-function radar system providing accurate data on surface and air targets.In addition, the ship's close-range defence capability would be boosted by four AK-630 rapid-fire guns and a medium range gun.The warship would be fitted with indigenously developed twin-tube torpedo launchers and anti-submarine rocket launchers, and Humsa-NG hull-mounted sonar.

The Destroyer would carry on-board two multi-role helicopters, adding punch to its anti-submarine warfare capability.The warship would be powered to attain speeds of 30 knots, the Navy spokesperson said.

Russia set to finish development of new S-500 air defense system

Russia's advanced S-500 air defense system could be developed in the next few years, the Air Force commander said on Wednesday.The S-500 is currently at the blueprint stage at the Almaz-Antei company and is expected to be rolled out by 2012."This work is in progress...I think this system will appear in the near future," Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said.

The new system is expected to outperform Russia's most advanced S-400 as well as the U.S. Patriot Advanced Capability-3 system.The S-400 Triumf (SA-21 Growler) is capable of intercepting and destroying airborne targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles), and can simultaneously engage up to six targets.

The S-500 is expected to have an extended range of up to 600 km (over 370 miles) and simultaneously engage up to 10 targets. The system will be capable of destroying hypersonic and ballistic targets.Zelin said Russia's Defense Ministry considers the delivery of S-400 air defense missile systems to the Russian Armed Forces a priority at present, although exports of these systems to other countries of the Commonwealth of the Independent States (CIS) could be considered.

The general earlier said in line with a new defense model air-space defense brigades within Russia's Air Force will be established and equipped with advanced S-400 and S-500 air defense systems.Russia has already deployed two S-400 regiments to protect the airspace around Moscow and industrial regions in the central part of the country, and an S-400 battalion in Russia's Far East.

Russia to equip four Indian Kilo SSK with Club-S

Russia's Zvezdochka shipyard said on Wednesday it will install Club-S cruise missile systems on four Kilo class diesel submarines in service with the Indian navy in the next five years.Russia has built ten Kilo class submarines for India. Only two of them — the INS Sindhugosh and INS Sindhuvijay — have reportedly been equipped with the Club-S (SS-N-27) cruise missiles to date.
"The new missile system will be installed on the INS Sindhuratna, INS Sindhuraj, INS Sindhushastra, and INS Sindhuvir. The retrofit will be carried out at Indian shipyards," the shipyard in northern Russia said in a statement.

"Zvezdochka will finish this work in the next five years," the statement said.The Club-S cruise missile is designed for launch from a 533 mm torpedo tube, or a vertical launch tube. It has a range of 160 nautical miles (about 300 km). It uses an ARGS-54 active radar seeker and Glonass satellite and inertial guidance.In addition, Zvezdochka is getting ready to overhaul another Indian Kilo class submarine — the INS Sindhurakshak under a deal which is expected to be signed in spring 2010.

"The submarine will be delivered to Severodvinsk in June 2010," the shipyard said.Russia agreed in 2001 to upgrade all 10 Indian Kilo class submarines and has previously overhauled four subs at the Zvezdochka shipyard.The upgrade program involves a complete overhaul of the submarines, including their hull structures, as well as improved control systems, sonar, electronic warfare systems, and an integrated weapon control system. The upgrades are reported to be costing about $80 million.Russia's Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines have gained a reputation as extremely quiet boats, and have been purchased by China, India, Iran, Poland, Romania and Algeria.

India to launch Oceansat-2 on Sep 23: ISRO

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) would launch Oceansat-2 satellite, which would help identify potential fishing zones and in coastal zone studies, on September 23 in a mission that would have European flavour.

The 970-KG spacecraft would set-off by the home-grown Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from Sriharikota spaceport on the east coast, where preparations for the launch are in full swing.

"Oceansat-2 is tentatively scheduled to be launched at around noon on September 23," S Satish, spokesperson of Bangalore-headquartered ISRO, said.

ISRO officials said the launch is expected at 11.56 AM on that day.

The satellite is intended for identification of potential fishing zones, sea state forecasting, coastal zone studies and providing inputs for weather forecasting and climate studies.

It is an in-orbit replacement to Oceansat-1, launched by ISRO in May 1999 and was used to study physical and biological aspects of oceanography.

"Data from Oceansat-1 (which has completed ten years of service) was widely used by fishermen," ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair said.

Besides ISRO, European space agencies would be keenly looking forward for the missions success as a set of six European nano satellites would ride piggyback and accompany Oceansat-2 on its trip to orbit.

Saab celebrates first flight of Gripen D for Thailand

Thailand’s first of at least six Saab Gripen C/Ds has made its first flight from the Swedish manufacturer’s Linköping facility.Flown by a Saab test pilot, the two-seat Gripen D completed its 80min debut sortie on 16 September.“The Royal Thai Air Force will start their training on Gripen in Sweden next year, and the fighters will be delivered to Thailand in 2011,” says Saab.

Sweden signed a production deal with Thailand in 2008 to supply the nation’s air force with six Gripens, plus two Saab 340s – one to be used for transport and training purposes, and the other configured with Saab Microwave Systems’ Erieye airborne early warning and control radar.

Bangkok had intended to place a follow-on order for a second batch of six Gripens earlier this year, but has suspended the move due to political and economic factors.

US authorities impounded the Ukrainian IL78 for Pakistan

The US, far from the public perception and official claims of supplying Pakistan with substantive military hardware, is actually impeding Pakistan’s efforts to upgrade its capabilities. According to inside sources, only recently, the PAF, which has an agreement with Ukraine for the purchase of air to air refuellers, asked Ukraine to send a trainee plane so that the PAF personnel could familiarise themselves with the systems that were expected later. The Ukraine agreed to send the required aircraft which happened to be in the US. However, before it could fly to Pakistan, the US authorities on learning of its destination, impounded the plane. Earlier, the US had tried unsuccessfully to block the deal itself.

Bangladesh to try BDR rebels in fast-track court

Army Tiger choppers may see action in Afghanistan

AUSTRALIA'S military is preparing the way to deploy the army's lethal new Tiger helicopters to Afghanistan should the Government decide to send them into action.A team of Australian military observers has been working with a French Army unit that brought three of the armed reconnaissance helicopters to Kabul in July.

France decided to send the new helicopters to Afghanistan to provide close air support to its troops after 10 French soldiers were killed and 21 wounded in a Taliban ambush in August 2008.Australia ordered 22 of the Eurocopter aircraft and 16 have been delivered so far.

The army is keen to learn as much as possible from the French in Afghanistan in case the Government decides to deploy the helicopters.

''The Australians are taking a very close look at what's going on,'' aviation sources told The Age.At present, Australian troops in Oruzgan Province of southern Afghanistan are backed by Dutch Apache attack helicopters.But the Dutch have indicated that they will probably abandon their lead role in the province next year and the Apaches might be withdrawn.

The reconnaissance helicopters, fitted with Hellfire missiles, rockets and cannon, are ideal for patrolling ahead of road convoys that are increasingly falling victim to ambushes and roadside bombs.The aviation source said the Tigers had proved effective in Afghanistan and the Americans had asked the French to use them to support US troops on operations.

A Defence Force spokesman said last night that deployment of any military capability was a matter for the Government and the ADF did not comment on potential deployments.He said the Tiger program was progressing well but the aircraft had not yet been accepted into operational service with the army.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Russian plant to double Su-34 production in 2010

The state order for the production of Sukhoi Su-34 aircraft at the Novosibirsk aviation plant will double in 2010, Sukhoi Director-General Mikhail Pogosyan has told Interfax. "It is planned to double the production in 2010 [compared with 2009]," he said.

The fifth-generation fighter jet project is on schedule, Pogosyan said. He added that the new jet might make the maiden flight in the near future.Sukhoi is also conducting preliminary research on a hypersonic aircraft. "Preliminary research is in progress, and there is no prospective client for the new aircraft so far. The technology is basically clear," he said.

IAF Mirage 2000 fighter plane dropped bomb by mistake

In the third such instance this year, an Indian Air Force fighter plane managed to drop a bomb on Indian territory, this time Cops inspect the spot where a Mirage 2000 fighter plane dropped a bomb by mistake in Jaisalmer on Monday night, miraculously missing the Indira Gandhi Canal that is a lifeline for millions in western Rajasthan.

A Mirage-2000 aircraft that took off from Gwalior on a routine exercise, mistimed an operation and dropped a 100-pound bomb 12 km from Mohangarh town in Jaisalmer district on Monday night. It was sheer chance that the bomb exploded some 100 feet from the Indira Gandhi Canal. Though the boundary of the canal was damaged, a large chunk of the canal could have breached had the projectile fallen a little closer, flooding nearby towns. A 100-pound bomb can cause damage to life and property up to 200 feet from the spot of explosion.

Confirming the incident, spokesman for the South-Western Air Command Group Captain Manoj Mehta said, "The aircraft had taken off from Gwalior as part of a routine exercise on Monday evening and was to drop the bomb at a target in Chandhan Range, 25 km away from the place where the bomb actually fell.'' The Pakistan border is 60 km from Mohangarh town. Two other small villages, Hasam Ki Dhani and Hameed Nada, are barely 1 km from the site of the explosion.

The bomb created a 25-feet-wide crater and over 80 trees were burnt. Dhanna Ram, a security guard at a nearby forest department outpost, claimed he was a witness. "I heard a loud explosion near 1404 RD (an identification marker) of the Indira Gandhi Main Canal around 10.30 pm. When I rushed out of the outpost building, I saw fire and two aircraft flying in the sky,'' said Dhanna Ram. On Tuesday morning, he mustered enough courage to visit the spot and then inform police.

Group Captain Mehta added that the bomb may have been released either due to a technical snag or there was delay in the release of the bomb by the pilot for some unknown reason. A four-member team headed by Wing Commander Ajay Kaul and Wing Commander Sudhir inspected the area on Tuesday morning. An inquiry has been ordered into the near-disaster.

IAF planes dropped bombs on Indian territory by mistake on February 7 and February 13. Both incidents were reported in Jaisalmer district. On February 7, a bomb fell on Kamode village and on February 13, one more crashed into Doshe Khan ki Dhani. There were no injuries but the February 13 bombing damaged crops and led to cracks in buildings.

Another eyewitness, Ragaram Vishnoi, also a security guard at the outpost, said he thought the explosion which shook the ground was an "act of God'', but later realised that the bomb could have been dropped by an aircraft.

Shrapnel from the bomb was scattered over an area of 200 metres. "It was sheer luck that the bomb did not hit the canal's boundary or the bridge which is situated just 100 feet away from the place where the bomb dropped. Mohangarh could have submerged in water if any such thing had happened,'' said Ragaram.

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