Friday, 30 November 2012

The Turkish Air Force strikes PKK in northern Iraq

The Turkish Air Force conducted a series of strikes against the bases of the fighters of the Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK) in northern Iraq, local media reported Thursday quoting military sources.

The Turkish air force attacked anti-aircraft batteries, shelter and infrastructure Kurdish separatists in the regions of Zap, Avasin, and Metina Haftanin. Hunter-F-16 bombers were involved in the raids, according to Dogan news agency.

Until now, the Staff of the Turkish Army has not issued an official statement about the operation. No information on possible victims of the attack is not available for the moment.

The Kurdistan Workers Party has been fighting for nearly 25 years for the autonomy of the Kurds on part of Turkish territory. This conflict has already been about 40,000 deaths. The PKK terrorist organization has been recognized by the United Nations and the European Union.

Determined to suppress separatism by force, the Turkish authorities refused any dialogue with Kurdish militants.

India Air force Jaguar Crashes, Pilot Ejects

An IAF Jaguar strike aircraft crashed today in Sikkim in India's North-East, the third crash since April this year (the last was a MiG-21 in Western India last week). The Jaguar pilot Flt Lt Yogesh Kumar Yadav managed to eject and has only sustained minor injuries. A detachment of Jaguars is currently based at the IAF's base in Hashimara. A court of inquiry has been ordered into the crash.

Fighter jet plagiarism allegations 'offensive'

China on Thursday dismissed claims that its carrier-based fighter jets plagiarized foreign models and would make Beijing more assertive in tackling maritime disputes with neighbors.
It is at least unprofessional, if not an intentional attack, to claim China copied foreign aircraft carrier technology through a simple comparison since the laws for military development are objective, and the principles of building military equipment, the command and safeguard methods are similar, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Geng Yansheng said at a regular news conference.
Geng made the remarks in response to reports that the carrier-borne J-15 fighter jet, which made its debut in a landing and take-off exercise on China's first aircraft carrier the Liaoning on Saturday, is a Chinese adaptation of the naval version of Russia's Su-33.
"China adheres to self-dependent scientific innovation. We have sufficient know-how and capability to build and develop our own aircraft carrier," Geng said.
It is true that China used to rely heavily on imported Russian military equipment to modernize its troops, but people should not use that as an excuse to criticize Chinese people who have made tough endeavors and even sacrifices in developing the J-15's engine, fire-control system, electronics system and other key components, said the Xinhua News Agency.
Guo Xiaobing, deputy chief of the Institute of Security and Arms Control Studies under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the "crime of plagiarism" is a severe insult to Chinese researchers including Luo Yang, head of the production phase of the J-15 who died on Sunday of a heart attack during the carrier's voyage return to base after the planes' landing exercise.
Geng said the J-15, which is still conducting related experiments and training, would equip the army in accordance with the military's schedule. Experts said it will be a while before the Liaoning can be put into operation.

But its presence in the Asia-Pacific region and Beijing's newly proposed "maritime power" strategy have been detected as threats by Washington and its Asian allies. Tokyo and Manila were especially concerned amid their territorial disputes with Beijing over the Diaoyu Islands and the South China Sea.
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said earlier that the United States was continuing to carefully monitor Chinese military developments. She urged Beijing to be as transparent as possible about its military capabilities and intentions and to use military power, including the aircraft carrier, in a way that is conducive for regional peace and stability.
"China is always open to military transparency and frankly speaking, the J-15 experiment is quite transparent," said Geng, adding that the Chinese media has had abundant and timely coverage and commentary about the plane since Sunday.
Wu Shengli, China's navy chief on Tuesday also briefed the US secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus on the J-15 and test trials of the Liaoning.
Pan Zheng, a scholar on US military studies with the People's Liberation Army National Defense University, said the US should also ask itself how transparent it has been to China.
Washington on Monday released two pictures of a US-Japan joint drill that concluded on Nov 16. The closed-door exercise is one of many that have taken place between the two countries this year. Geng said China opposes parties that intentionally highlight military agendas and frequently flare up regional tensions.
China's development of the aircraft carrier is not targeted at any third party or part of an arms race, Geng said.
Its development is based on national security and military construction needs and China's ability to invest in such a project, Geng said.
"We hope related parties view China's aircraft carrier construction in an objective and rational way," he added.

Saudi Arabia keen on $130m Patriot missile deal

Saudi Arabia is seeking to order a $130m military package from the United States to help with its Patriot Missiles programme.
According to the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency, the Government of Saudi Arabia is asking for technical services to "recertify the functional shelf life of up to 300 Patriot guidance enhanced missiles and associated equipment".
The estimated cost is $130m, the Agency said, adding that the proposed sale was still to receive approval from the US Congress.
"The proposed recertification program will allow the Royal Saudi Air Defence Forces to extend the shelf life of the PAC-2 missiles in its inventory for an additional 12 years," it said in a statement.
The Agency said the principal contractor would be Raytheon Corporation, based in Massachusetts.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia said it was interested in ordering $300m worth of military equipment spare parts from the United States.
The Agency said the Government of Saudi Arabia has requested a possible sale of spare parts in support of M1A2 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley fighting vehicles, high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, equipment, support vehicles and other related logistics support.

Most Powerful Atomic Bombs - The Mark-36 Nuclear Bomb

Now here we have the bomb which was one of the most heaviest and high yield nuclear bombs ever to be made by the United States. The making of Mark-36 was based on a number of thermo nuclear devices and chain reaction designs. It was so powerful that it was easily able to produce a yield of nearly 10 megatons. The estimated weight of the bomb was nearly 1700 pounds or more. What’s more horrifying is the fact that the makers had modified all the previous Mark-21 bombs into the Mark-36 nuclear designs. Furthermore, a number of variants of the bomb were also produced.

4 Frigates on Line for Turkish Navy

Turkey has chosen an ambitious project to follow the building of eight corvettes: this time the production of four fair defense frigates worth around $4 billion dollars, the largest ships in the inventory of the country’s Navy.

A statement on the website of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) on Nov. 22 cited the need to procure air defense frigates for the Navy that would provide defense against the classical and modern munitions fired by aircraft and other platforms, command and control, early warning, reconnaissance, surface warfare, underwater warfare and electronic warfare and air defense warfare.
It said the feasibility studies of the frigates had been completed and a “project model” would now be devised for the frigates to be procured. The model is expected to be a manufacture model by a private naval shipyard, but the complexity of the frigate would probably need the contributions of a foreign company.

The TF2000 project, as the name implies, was designed before 2000, but was delayed due to financial limitations at the time. Procurement officials now say that especially after the completion of the Milgem project - the first naval project for the building of eight corvettes - the time is ripe for the design of the first Turkish frigate.

Corvettes are the smallest of warships, and Turkey, which does not have coasts on oceans, has plenty of corvettes and frigates, but no larger warships, like destroyers or cruisers.

When Turkey’s top decision-making body on arms procurement meets later this year it should select between the companies RMK and Dearsan to build the third through the eighth of the country’s multibillion dollar program to build eight new corvettes, believed to cost $1.5 billion.

“The Milgem has been very useful from the point of design, development and construction of a national ship, and we are going to build on this experience to obtain the capability to build bigger warships,” one procurement official said.

The first and the second ships under Turkey’s Milgem program have already been built by military shipyards and the rest of the ships will be constructed by a private shipyard. The TCG Heybeliada, the first of the Milgem ships, has entered service in the Navy and the TSC Buyukada, the second, has been put to sea.

“We can produce 70 or 80 percent of all the needs of the Navy. The sole exceptions are submarines and engines, and we are moving with concrete steps on that,” the procurement official said.
Turkey presently can also produce a New Type Patrol Boat, Coast Guard Research and Rescue Boat and Tank Landing Ships, the procurement official said.

Separately, a 2 billion-euro submarine deal between SSM and Germany’s HDW shipyards for joint manufacture of six modern U-214 diesel platforms for the Turkish Navy formally took effect in July 2010. “This will be the last submarine we will be building with someone else,” the procurement official said.
In a less orthodox project, Ankara has plans to a buy a landing platform dock, or LPD, a vessel that looks like a helicopter carrier and can transport up to a battalion-sized unit (more than 1,000 troops) long distances. Turkey plans to use this ship for NATO-related missions to carry troops or refugees.
According to its size and capabilities, the Turkish LPD will cost between $1 billion and $1.5 billion. Presently, the Turkish Navy has nearly 49,000 personnel and 75 aircraft, 17 frigates, seven corvettes, 14 submarines and 27 fast missile boats.

Thai navy deflects allegations of irregularities

The Royal Thai Navy yesterday countered the opposition's allegation of irregularities surrounding the navy's scheme to modernise combat systems on two frigates.
ADM Thaweewut Pongpipat, a special adviser to the navy who serves as chairman of the committee implementing the scheme, said Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat had nothing to do with the changes made to the procurement of the combat systems.
ACM Sukumpol had inquired with the navy about the changes, which were solely the navy's decision, said ADM Thaweewut.
The navy had changed from the New Generation Dagaie System (NGDS) revolving decoy system by Sagem to the non-revolving Soft Kill Weapon System (SKWS) by Terma because the first choice required too much space to be fitted to the frigates and cost a lot more, he said.
Saab AB, which was awarded the navy contract to upgrade the combat systems, had inspected the frigates and determined that the Sagem's NGDS could not be fitted to the warships due to a lack of room, said ADM Thaweewut.
The non-revolving decoy system, on the other hand, could be installed in a position that allows for ideal coverage in combat, he said.

However, Sirichok Sopha, Democrat MP for Songkhla, said during Sunday's censure debate that the Sagem decoy unit can provide significantly better protection from missile threats, as it has 360-degree coverage. The Terma decoy system was a "World War II-period military technology" that had limited air defence capabilities due to its design, said Mr Sirichok.
ADM Thaweewut insisted that the Terma system was not outdated. It has been updated recently so that warships no longer needed to turn to launch the decoys in different directions, he said.
ADM Thaweewut said that most Nato member countries use this system, citing Denmark, Australia, the US, Indonesia, Morocco, Chile, and Romania.
The Sagem decoy system costs 300 million baht whereas the Terma system costs only 200 million baht _ Saab AB had offered accessories worth a total of 103 million baht, he added.
"The decoy system costs only 300 million baht, so it was impossible for us to get the 1 billion baht of 'spare change' as claimed by Mr Sirichok," said ADM Thaweewut.
The defence minister was also questioned by the opposition over a contract for the repair and maintenance of three vessels involving Marsun Co worth 553.5 million baht.
Marsun apparently failed to meet the terms of reference (ToR) but was awarded the contract anyway, said Democrat list-MP Alongkorn Ponlabutr.
Mr Alongkorn said the deal drew the attention of the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG), which suspected unfair competition and recommended a review. VADM Pallop Tamisanon, Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations of the navy, insisted that project was done strictly according to the ToR.
ADM Jakchai Phucharoenyos, navy chief of staff, said the navy was ready to explain the deal to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Audit Says Kabul Bank Began As ‘Ponzi Scheme’

Kabul Bank became Afghanistan’s largest financial institution by offering the promise of modern banking to people who had never had a saving or checking account. What it really dealt in was modern theft: “From its very beginning,” according to a confidential forensic audit of Kabul Bank, “the bank was a well-concealed Ponzi scheme.”
Afghan and American officials had for years promoted Kabul Bank as a prime example of how Western-style banking was transforming a war-ravaged economy. But the audit, prepared this year for Afghanistan’s central bank by the Kroll investigative firm, gives new details of how the bank instead was institutionalizing fraud that reached into the hundreds of millions of dollars and obliterated Afghans’ trust after regulators finally seized the bank in August 2010 and the theft was revealed.
Going further than previous reports, the audit asserts that Kabul Bank had little reason to exist other than to allow a narrow clique tied to President Hamid Karzai’s government to siphon riches from depositors, who were the bank’s only substantial source of revenue.
At one point, Kroll’s investigators found 114 rubber stamps for fake companies used to give forged documents a more legitimate look. And the auditing firms used by the bank never took issue with loan books that were “almost entirely fraudulent,” Kroll found, recommending that the Afghan government explore suing the last such auditor, A.F. Ferguson & Co., a private Pakistani firm with a franchise under PricewaterhouseCoopers.

When Afghan regulators, aided by American officials, first discovered the extent of the fraud at the bank in the summer of 2010, “we never imagined that the criminality was as deep as it was, that it was so widespread and that it included high-ranking officials and their relatives,” said Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, at the time the governor of the Bank of Afghanistan, the country’s central bank.
“At the beginning, I received information from the U.S. Embassy that maybe $150 million or $200 million is gone in bad loans to powerful people,” he said. The number soon climbed close to $900 million, though “we did not know who took the loans and that they were all tied to a few individuals.”
What Kroll’s audit found is that on Aug. 31, 2010, the day the Bank of Afghanistan seized Kabul Bank, more than 92 percent of the lender’s loan portfolio — $861 million, or roughly 5 percent of Afghanistan’s annual economic output at the time — had gone to 19 related people and companies, according to the audit.
Among the largest beneficiaries were a brother of Mr. Karzai and a brother of First Vice President Muhammad Qasim Fahim who each owned stakes in the bank that had been bought with loans from the bank, according to the audit and regulatory officials. For their part, both have insisted that they never took part in any fraud at the lender.
Reached for comment, Mr. Karzai’s spokesman, Aimal Faizi, stressed that the president considered the audit incomplete: Mr. Karzai still believes Kroll has to find out where all the missing money has gone, to which countries it was sent and to which accounts if the firm wants the report to be seen as credible, Mr. Faizi said.
The New York Times obtained a copy of the 277-page audit report, which Afghan and Western officials have confirmed was the one Kroll prepared.
The two men that Afghan prosecutors, Western officials and the Kroll audit accuse of profiting most from the fraud were the bank’s principal owners: Sherkhan Farnood, its chairman and a former World Series of Poker Europe winner, and his former bodyguard, Khalil Fruzi, who served as the bank’s chief executive.
Working with the bank’s executives, they devised simple, yet effective, schemes to fool weak and reluctant regulators, and the Americans who were advising them, the audit says.
The owners kept two sets of books, and hid loans to themselves and their shareholders by taking them in the names of friends, relatives and even domestic servants, according to the audit and Afghan officials. They grouped related loans together to better keep track of who owed what. Hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit loans were routed to Dubai through a money exchange controlled by Mr. Farnood, who founded the bank.
Kabul Bank employed people to forge documents for fictitious companies, which were then audited by accounting firms that appear to have been complicit, according to Kroll. That is where the rubber stamps came in: they bore the names of those false companies, like Abdul Mahmood Trading and Ali Jan Abdul Hadi Ltd., to lend an air of respectability to fake documents.
Toward the end, Mr. Fruzi even expensed foreign shopping sprees at stores like Louis Vuitton and Versace in Dubai and New Delhi. Mr. Farnood was snapping up villas in Dubai with bank money, though he has maintained they were investments gone bad, nothing more.
Bailing out depositors cost the cash-strapped Afghan government more than $825 million, and Afghan and Western officials say that only between $200 million and $400 million, depending on how assets are valued, has so far been recovered from shareholders.
For many Afghans, the scandal surrounding Kabul Bank, a linchpin of the economic order established here by Americans and their allies, has cemented the opinion that the United States brought crony capitalism, not free markets, to Afghanistan. The audit is likely to reinforce that view while raising potentially troubling questions about who is being prosecuted here in connection with the scandal, and who is not.
The United States and its allies have pressed hard for prosecutions, threatening to cut aid if no action was taken. The completion of the forensic audit, which was financed by international donors and delivered in March, was another demand by the international community, as was a separate report, due later this week, by an Afghan government-funded but largely independent corruption watchdog commission composed of Afghan and foreign experts.
Mr. Farnood and Mr. Fruzi top the list of 22 defendants charged so far, and both are on trial in Kabul. Many others on the list are Kabul Bank executives who are accused of helping to carry out fraud, though it is unclear whether they personally profited.
Few officials have any problem with those prosecutions. But there are questions about the charges brought by Afghan prosecutors against a few officials at Afghanistan’s central bank. Western officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed worries that those cases appeared to be intended to end further investigation into Kabul Bank. Kroll has said it has no evidence that the Bank of Afghanistan’s staff members were complicit in Kabul Bank’s collapse.
In the most prominent such case, the former chairman of the Bank of Afghanistan, Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, has been indicted primarily for failing to warn the Afghan government about Kabul Bank and concealing the fraud there — an accusation that one Western official called “laughable.” Several Western and Afghan officials insist that Mr. Fitrat had actively pressed inquiries of Kabul Bank, and believed he had been indicted in order to scare him off. He fled the country last year.
Even Mr. Farnood said Mr. Fitrat had done nothing wrong: “Fitrat was the one person who was not involved in any bribing,” he said in a telephone interview.
The situation was particularly galling, the officials said, because apart from Mr. Farnood and Mr. Fruzi, the other “high-value beneficiaries” — each of whom still owes at least $5 million to the bank, Kroll estimates — have yet to face any legal action. That group includes Mahmood Karzai, the president’s brother, and Haseen Fahim, the vice president’s brother.
In an interview, Mahmood Karzai said he had repaid all the money he originally owed, an amount he put at $5.3 million. He insisted that Kroll had miscalculated and included assets he never owned, like a villa in Dubai, when it tallied his liability at $30.5 million.
He called Kroll “a piece of puke” and said it had relied too heavily on evidence provided by Mr. Farnood, who in the summer of 2010 began cooperating with American officials and, subsequently, Afghan investigators after a dispute with his fellow shareholders.
Neither Mr. Fahim nor Mr. Fruzi responded to phone messages seeking comment.
Kabul Bank did serve some legitimate functions — for instance, the United States paid the salaries of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, police and teachers through it.
But many of the bank’s practices seemed tailor-made to lure depositors by any means available. One popular gimmick detailed by the audit was known as a Bakht account, which offered those who opened them a chance to win houses, cars and jewelry at glitzy prize drawings.
The only real winners, however, were the bank’s senior managers and their friends, the audit found. The new depositors’ money was used principally “to provide free financing to the other business interests of senior management and a group of connected persons.”

Germany will reduce its troops in Afghanistan by a third in 2013

The German government on Wednesday approved a new plan to reduce troops in Afghanistan, decreasing third military presence in the country in 2013. Under this plan, the number of troops in Afghanistan will increase from 4900 to 3300 by the end of the year between 2013.Cette reduction in the withdrawal program implemented by Germany, which provides for the return of all combat troops by the end of 2014.

U.S. Closes Forward Operating Base Tillman

An ending in Afghanistan: U.S. closes Forward Operating Base Tillman

 Just a few short miles from the Pakistani border, on a plateau above the Afghan village of Lawara, sits a small U.S. fire base named after army ranger Pat Tillman. Now, the United States is shutting down the base, according to a report in The Hill.

The former NFL superstar’s life and death have, in a way, followed the twists and turns of America’s war in Afghanistan. Tillman’s decision to leave his NFL career in 2002 to enlist and fight in Afghanistan made him a symbol of America’s sense of duty and national purpose after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His shocking 2004 death in a firefight that was only later revealed to be friendly fire, a fact possibly covered up by senior military figures, symbolized for many Americans, at a time when the war in Iraq was rapidly disintegrating, the tragedy and perhaps the folly of those wars. In 2006, the army named Forward Operating Base Tillman in his memory.
Now, once more, Tillman’s fate seems to mirror that of the war in which he served and died, as the U.S. army quietly, and to little fanfare or attention, withdraws from Forward Operating Base Tillman, part of the larger drawdown from a war that seems to get far less public attention in the United States than it once did.

The closure marks the beginning of the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which was set in motion by President Obama.
Army units based out of Forward Operating Base Orgun-E, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, razed the firebase that bore Tillman’s name over Thanksgiving, according to service officials.
“It’s a soccer field … kids are already playing on it,” according to one Army officer, referring to the location where the base stood.
This 2006 Sports Illustrated profile of Pat Tillman and his family captures everything that made his story so captivating for Americans in 2002 when he enlisted and so tragic when he died. It’s worth re-reading to recall the emotional highs and lows that the war in Afghanistan evoked in the United States, and as a contrast to the relative shrug it seems to elicit today.


Diagram Suggests Iran Working On Bomb

Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a diagram obtained by the Associated Press.

The diagram was leaked by officials from a country critical of Iran's atomic program to bolster their arguments that Iran's nuclear program must be halted before it produces a weapon. The officials provided the diagram only on condition that they and their country not be named.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) -- the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog for the United Nations -- reported last year that it had obtained diagrams indicating that Iran was calculating the "nuclear explosive yield" of potential weapons.
A senior diplomat considered neutral on the issue confirmed that the graph obtained by the AP was one of those cited by the IAEA. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue.
The IAEA report mentioning the diagrams last year did not give details of what they showed.
The diagram seen by the AP shows a bell curve -- with variables of time in microseconds, and power and energy both in kilotons -- the traditional measurement of the energy output, hence the destructive power of nuclear weapons.
The curve peaks at just above 50 kilotons at around 2 microseconds, reflecting the full force of the weapon being modeled.
The bomb that the United States dropped on Hiroshima in Japan during World War II had a force of about 15 kilotons. Modern nuclear weapons have yields hundreds of times higher.
David Albright, whose Institute for Science and International Security is used by the U.S. government as a go-to source on Iran's nuclear program, said the diagram looks genuine but seems to be designed more "to understand the process" than as part of a blueprint for an actual weapon in the making.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Czech Military Wants To Purchase Black Hawks To Replace Its Russian-Built Helicopters

The Czech military is interested in the purchasing Black Hawk helicopters that are to replace its Russian-built helicopter fleet, Czech media are reporting. The maintenance costs of the Russian helicopters are considered too high, according to the reports.

“We will opt for smaller, multipurpose machines to be used for the transportation of the wounded and a small number of people as well as fulfilment of supportive tasks including fire,” Czech chief of staff Petr Pavel told the daily Lidove Noviny. It is expected 20 to 30 helicopters will be purchased.

How do you say "Iron Dome" in Korean?

Israeli launchers are barely cooled, they are already interested! Seoul could be the first export customer of Israeli system "Iron Dome". This mobile air defense system has been for the IDF, the real star of the operation "Pillar of defense" against Hamas in Gaza. Because according to Israeli figures, "Iron Dome" has been proven and a rate of successful interceptions that over 90%! From November 14 to 23, five batteries deployed intercepted hundreds of Hamas rockets fired into Israeli territory, saving many lives. Developed by Israeli industrial Rafael, the first export customer of the interception system of medium range would be the United States, a time interested in using in Afghanistan to protect U.S. bases. But disengagement is the agenda, discussions stopped.

Rebounding is today South Korea could become the purchaser. The purchase of "Iron Dome" would by Seoul as part of a broader agreement, in which Korean shipyards Daewoo provide four maritime patrol 1000 tons worth $ 400 million. But the North Korean threat is it similar to Hamas? First "Iron Dome" is not suitable for intercepting ballistic missiles, a real threat to Seoul (Taepodong missiles, Nodong ...). Still not a ballistic missile North has referred the south. And the United States, which have nearly 30,000 soldiers on the spot, should deploy THAAD batteries (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and more Patriot systems.

Between the two Koreas, the shootouts that occur most often rockets or artillery. As shown by the last serious clash: the bombing of Yeonpyeong in November 2010. A threat against which "Iron Dome" could actually be useful. Especially since Seoul is just 60 km from the northern border, and many industrial or residential areas are within range of North Korean artillery. But, although effective against shells, "Iron Dome" expensive. Even very expensive. Each rocket interception Tamir costs about 50,000 dollars! And the system can quickly find themselves saturated with bursts of gunfire.

"Iron Dome" works in several phases: first detection of a rocket (Elta radar) and a computer (Impress) provides the point of impact triggering sirens to warn people, finally, a missile Tamir comes to destroy the threat in flight.

Lockheed Tests New Laser Against Rockets, UAVs

Lockheed Martin Demonstrates New Ground-Based Laser System In Tests Against Rockets and Unmanned Aerial System

SUNNYVALE, Calif. --- Lockheed Martin today announced that it has successfully demonstrated a portable, ground-based military laser system in a series of tests against representative airborne targets. Lockheed Martin developed the Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) system to provide a defense against short-range threats, such as rockets and unmanned aerial systems.

Since August, the ADAM system has successfully engaged an unmanned aerial system target in flight at a range of approximately 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) and has destroyed four small-caliber rocket targets in simulated flight at a range of approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles).

"Lockheed Martin has invested in the development of the ADAM system because of the enormous potential effectiveness of high-energy lasers," said Doug Graham, Lockheed Martin's vice president of advanced programs for Strategic and Missile Defense Systems. "We are committed to supporting the transition of directed energy's revolutionary capability to the war fighter."

Designed for short-range defense of high-value areas including forward operating bases, the ADAM system's 10-kilowatt fiber laser is engineered to destroy targets up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away. The system precisely tracks targets in cluttered optical environments and has a tracking range of more than 5 kilometers (3.1 miles). The system has been designed to be flexible enough to operate against rockets as a standalone system and to engage unmanned aerial systems with an external radar cue. The ADAM system's modular architecture combines commercial hardware components with the company's proprietary software in an integrated and easy-to-operate system.

"Lockheed Martin has applied its expertise as a laser weapon system integrator to provide a practical and affordable defense against serious threats to military forces and installations," said Paul Shattuck, Lockheed Martin's director of directed energy systems for Strategic and Missile Defense Systems. "In developing the ADAM system, we combined our proven laser beam control architecture with commercial hardware to create a capable, integrated laser weapon system."

Lockheed Martin has been a pioneer in the development and demonstration of high-energy laser capabilities for more than 30 years and has made key advances in areas such as precision pointing and control, line-of-sight stabilization and adaptive optics.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 120,000 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 net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion.

Sunni Leaders Gaining Clout In Mideast

New York Times
November 28, 2012
Pg. 1

News Analysis

Sunni Leaders Gaining Clout In Mideast

By Neil MacFarquhar
RAMALLAH, West Bank — For years, the United States and its Middle East allies were challenged by the rising might of the so-called Shiite crescent, a political and ideological alliance backed by Iran that linked regional actors deeply hostile to Israel and the West.
But uprising, wars and economics have altered the landscape of the region, paving the way for a new axis to emerge, one led by a Sunni Muslim alliance of Egypt, Qatar and Turkey. That triumvirate played a leading role in helping end the eight-day conflict between Israel and Gaza, in large part by embracing Hamas and luring it further away from the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah fold, offering diplomatic clout and promises of hefty aid.
For the United States and Israel, the shifting dynamics offer a chance to isolate a resurgent Iran, limit its access to the Arab world and make it harder for Tehran to arm its agents on Israel’s border. But the gains are also tempered, because while these Sunni leaders are willing to work with Washington, unlike the mullahs in Tehran, they also promote a radical religious-based ideology that has fueled anti-Western sentiment around the region.
Hamas — which received missiles from Iran that reached Israel’s northern cities — broke with the Iranian axis last winter, openly backing the rebellion against the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. But its affinity with the Egypt-Qatar-Turkey axis came to fruition this fall.
“That camp has more assets that it can share than Iran — politically, diplomatically, materially,” said Robert Malley, the Middle East program director for the International Crisis Group. “The Muslim Brotherhood is their world much more so than Iran.”
The Gaza conflict helps illustrate how Middle Eastern alliances have evolved since the Islamist wave that toppled one government after another beginning in January 2011. Iran had no interest in a cease-fire, while Egypt, Qatar and Turkey did.
But it is the fight for Syria that is the defining struggle in this revived Sunni-Shiite duel. The winner gains a prized strategic crossroads.
For now, it appears that that tide is shifting against Iran, there too, and that it might well lose its main Arab partner, Syria. The Sunni-led opposition appears in recent days to have made significant inroads against the government, threatening the Assad family’s dynastic rule of 40 years and its long alliance with Iran. If Mr. Assad falls, that would render Iran and Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon, isolated as a Shiite Muslim alliance in an ever more sectarian Middle East, no longer enjoying a special street credibility as what Damascus always tried to sell as “the beating heart of Arab resistance.”
If the shifts seem to leave the United States somewhat dazed, it is because what will emerge from all the ferment remains obscure.

Clearly the old leaders Washington relied on to enforce its will, like President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, are gone or at least eclipsed. But otherwise confusion reigns in terms of knowing how to deal with this new paradigm, one that could well create societies infused with religious ideology that Americans find difficult to accept. The new reality could be a weaker Iran, but a far more religiously conservative Middle East that is less beholden to the United States.
Already, Islamists have been empowered in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, while Syria’s opposition is being led by Sunni insurgents, including a growing number identified as jihadists, some identified as sympathizing with Al Qaeda. Qatar, which hosts a major United States military base, also helps finance Islamists all around the region.
In Egypt, President Mohamed Morsi resigned as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood only when he became head of state, but he still remains closely linked with the movement. Turkey, the model for many of them, has kept strong relations with Washington while diminishing the authority of generals who were longstanding American allies.
“The United States is part of a landscape that has shifted so dramatically,” said Mr. Malley of the International Crisis Group. “It is caught between the displacement of the old moderate-radical divide by one that is defined by confessional and sectarian loyalty.”
The emerging Sunni axis has put not only Shiites at a disadvantage, but also the old school leaders who once allied themselves with Washington.
The old guard members in the Palestinian Authority are struggling to remain relevant at a time when their failed 20-year quest to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands makes them seem both anachronistic and obsolete.
“Hamas has always argued that it is the future of the changes in the region because of its revolutionary nature, that it is part of the religious political groups who have been winning the revolutions,” said Ghassan Khatib, an official at Birzeit University and former government spokesman.
The Palestinian Authority’s leader, Mahmoud Abbas, will address the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday to request that it recognize Palestine as a nonmember state. The resolution is expected to pass, but analysts view it as too little, too late in the face of the new regional mood.
At a busy Ramallah bakery, that mood was readily evident.
“If this situation continues, so what if Abu Mazen gets recognition, so what?” said Salah Abdel Hamad, 50, a teacher, referring to Mr. Abbas. “It will not bring any substantial change.”
The bakery’s owner dared hang in the window a mourning poster for Ahmed al-Jabari, the Hamas military chief whose assassination by Israel helped to set off the latest conflict.
“The resistance,” said Tha’er al-Baw, 23, referring to Hamas, “proved that they are much better than the negotiating camp. In the days of Arafat, we used to think peace could be achieved through negotiations, but nobody believes this now.”
Even before the conflict, the emir of Qatar visited Gaza, promising $400 million in aid. Qatar did not donate that sum just to have its investment bombed to smithereens every few years.
As Egypt’s president, Mr. Mubarak, who reviled the Muslim Brotherhood, was basically content to have Israel periodically smash Hamas, effectively the Brotherhood’s Gaza cousin.
Mr. Morsi changed little from Mr. Mubarak’s playbook, though his tone shifted. He sent his prime minister to lift morale. Ten foreign ministers, including those of Turkey and the newly Islamist government in Tunisia, also part of the new axis, visited Gaza during the fighting.
Egypt, Qatar and Turkey all want a more quiet, stable Middle East, which they have said repeatedly requires an end to the Israeli occupation. But the new Islamist governments do not talk about a two-state solution much, so analysts believe some manner of long-term truce is more likely.
“As Hamas moves closer to Turkey, Egypt and Qatar, it will be weaker as a ‘resistance’ movement because those three countries do not want a resistance movement,” said Talal Atrissi, a Lebanese academic specializing in Arab-Iranian relations.
Those countries will not supply arms, however, so Hamas will maintain contacts with Tehran. Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader, told CNN that ties are “not as it used to be in the past, but there is no severing of relations.”
Where Hamas and Hezbollah were once allies, the fact that they are now at times at loggerheads illustrates the shift to the new Sunni axis.
A Western diplomat seeking to explain the changes recently drew a cross through the region, the meeting point representing Syria. Along the East-West line, he wrote “febrile crescent,” a play on the traditional “Fertile Crescent” used to describe the stretch of the Middle East where civilization began. The febrile crescent represents the volatile fault line between Sunnis and Shiites, with Syria the prize.
The other axis was labeled “Sunni Struggles,” representing the wrestling within the dominant Muslim sect over what governments and what ideology will emerge triumphant from the current political tumult. The deepest change, of course, is that the era of dictators seems to be closing.
“These are populist governments, which are much more attuned to the domestic public opinion than were previous regimes,” said Rashid Khalidi, an Arab studies professor at Columbia University. “Before the Arab revolutions you had a frozen situation where it was easy to see how things would go.”

Improve network security defense with NEXThink

Among the various networks managed by DIRISI , telecom operator Joint Department of Defense, the network INTRADEF is certainly larger. This is the current working network, classified Restricted Distribution. There is also a park rather heterogeneous, including software and hardware versions are spread over 5 years, with users (and administrators) more or less rigorous. Park user control is therefore unclear.

This network is obviously secure. Security solutions are deployed on servers and active elements of the network. But on workstations, USB ports are not locked while in the past, a tattoo, got a virus sas was necessary to connect a USB key. And especially in recent years, a mail gateway can communicate with the Internet. Obviously if this stream is filtered, the network is less compartmentalized. therefore the ministry has decided, as part of the defense in depth recommended by ANSSI, complete security solutions through a market to control in compliance and continuous use of network stations INTRADEF.

This is the Swiss company NEXThink with its eponymous software won the tender . It is a utility less than 500kb, which was installed on each PC, will collect a number of information and send it for analysis and visualization on a server. It allows you to supervise first large networks (active services and software versions ...), but also to control any abnormal behavior of client stations, the first sign of a viral infection or a virus attack.

If this solution does innovative and extremely light, a number of questions arise:
  • Firstly, without any chauvinism, why use a Swiss company . It is still equip a network DR Ministry of Defense. Admittedly, the Swiss neutrality has nothing to do with Chinese friends of Senator Jean-Marie Bockel. But still, there was no solution it French?
  • Because this is proprietary software, to what extent the 43 ° Transmissions Battalion , authority in this market expert in the field but especially SSI, he could analyze the code of the software ?Indeed, the purpose of this software is to make sure alerts to administrators. It should easily be able to exfiltrate information to another entity.
  • Currently smartphones INTRADEF accessing the network via the Internet are being deployed within the Department. Is NEXThink is limited to PC? If this is the case, it is a solution that has a time delay of network evolution.
  • The fact of adding a brick to the other components of the security of the network he will not, however, add complexity? A solution would probably be more effective.
  • CASSIDIAN , large defense industry which focuses on government procurement, concluded a partnership with NEXThink . It can now include in its NEXThink security solutions. Might there not be in a more or less near future, to buy the same software (more than € 4 million) through CASSIDIAN?
Anyway, and whatever the answers to these questions, we must nevertheless highlight the effort that is made ​​to take into account the weak link in the SSI, the end user .

India Investigating Tatra Trucks Deal

Government has taken cognizance of alleged irregularities in purchase of Tatra trucks.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been requested to investigate comprehensively into alleged irregularities in purchase of Tatra trucks. CBI has registered a case on 30.3.2012 under Section 120 B read with 13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against one of the owners of the Company and unknown officials of Ministry of Defence, BEML Limited and unknown persons of TatraSipox UK limited.

This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri RudraMadhab Rayand others in Lok Sabha today.

Bangladesh : Two French helicopters inducted into Army Aviation fleet

Two French made multi-role high speed twin engine helicopters have been inducted into the Army Aviation fleet increasing significantly the disaster management support capability of Bangladesh Army.

The two modern helicopters have been enrolled into the Army Aviation through an auspicious commissioning ceremony held at Army Aviation Complex at Tejgaon Old Airport Wednesday morning.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith was the chief guest at the ceremony while Army Chief Gen. Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan also spoke on the occasion.

Army Aviation, the integral flying organ of Bangladesh Army, operates both fixed wing and rotary aircrafts in its fleet for undertaking tasks like troops’ transportation, conduct of para dropping and rappelling exercise for army, aerial movement of logistics and combat supply.

Army Aviation is also now set to participate in UN peacekeeping operation with its helicopters fleet to further augment foreign exchange earning effort by Bangladesh Army.
The new Dauphin AS 365 N3+ helicopters, each having capacity of 12 passengers with a cruise speed of 269 km per hour and range of 807 kms, can excel in the most severe climatic conditions such as high altitudes or hot temperatures.

This is also the most cost effective medium twin engine helicopter with the lowest direct maintenance costs in its class.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said that the three forces in the country are service oriented as they are rendering service to the people.

He mentioned that the Bangladesh Army is giving wonderful service to the world in terms of peacekeeping missions, Air Force is often engaged in civilian rescue flights and relief deliveries while the Bangladesh Navy often helping the fishermen and people in distress in coastal areas.

The Finance Minister also extended his thanks to Eurocopter Group, a global helicopter manufacturing and support company, for providing these two choppers to Bangladesh Army.

High civil and military officials, foreign diplomats, and dignitaries from home and abroad were present at the function.

K-15 test off Andhra coast next month

After the successful trial of AD interceptor missile, DRDO is readying for the developmental trial of submarine- launched ballistic missile K-15 from an underwater platform off the Andhra Pradesh coast in the second week of December.

The much awaited test, scheduled for the last week of November, was postponed owing to inclement weather triggered by a deep depression in Bay of Bengal early this month. DRDO scientists are reportedly contemplating two trials of K-15, one from a pontoon (replica of a submarine) and another from a submarine.

Defence sources said the nuclear capable missile will be tested for the first time from a submarine positioned undersea off  Visakhapatnam coast. If everything goes as planned, the missile will be fired any time between December 6 and 8.

The DRDO is eyeing for the successful trial of the missile as few countries have the triad of firing nuclear-tipped missiles from air, land and undersea. The other countries, which have the capability include Russia, the USA, France, Britain  and China.

 “Scientists are working over time and constantly cross-checking the system, including the launch platform. We want to achieve near-zero circular error probability (CEP) accuracy,” said a defence scientist.

The indigenously developed K-15 missile is about 10 metres in length and about a metre in diameter. Its launch weight is about 10 tonnes. This missile uses solid propellant and can carry a conventional payload of about 500 kg to one tonne and also be fitted with tactical nuclear warhead. After its induction, the missile will equip the country’s first nuclear-powered submarine ANS Arihant.

Reports said the K-series missile programme formally began in 2004 as PJ-08 as a tribute to the then DRDO chief and former President APJ Abdul Kalam. The solid-fuel missile had a modest 150-km range but over the years, the missile steadily grew to achieve its desired 700-km range.

“The hybrid K-15 combines aspects of both cruise and ballistic missiles, which use multiple-stage rockets to exit the atmosphere and re-enter in a parabolic trajectory. It flies in hypersonic speed. Launched underwater, the K-15 surges to the surface and is the world’s best weapon in this class,” the scientist said.

The K-15 is one of the most ambitious projects of the DRDO. After its successful induction, the DRDO would go for the developmental trials of its longer-range K-4 missile to strengthen its undersea attacks. Apart from the K-15, India has the submarine version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile in its arsenal.

Saudis seek U.S. defense equipment buy

Saudi Arabia is seeking a U.S. Foreign Military Sales Order II to provide funds for blanket requisition of spare parts and other items for armored vehicles.

The blanket requisition in support of the country's M1A2 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles would come under the Cooperative Logistics Supply Support Arrangement between the countries and has an estimated cost of $300 million.

"This proposed sale will allow the Royal Saudi Land Forces Ordnance Corps to continue to purchase needed repair parts to maintain their fleet of M1A2S Abrams Tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, construction equipment, and support vehicles and equipment," the U.S. Defense Cooperation Agency said.

"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East."

Northrop Grumman to Supply Navigation Systems for Indian Coast Guard Vessels

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), is to supply advanced shipboard navigation systems for 20 fast patrol vessels for the Indian Coast Guard. The fast patrol vessels will be built at Cochi Shipyard Ltd., India.
Under the contract, awarded through the company's Indian reseller Marine Electricals Ltd., Northrop Grumman's Sperry Marine business unit will provide a navigation package including VisionMaster™ Total Watch™ multifunction displays, electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS), autopilot, magnetic compass and the new NAVIGAT 3000™ fibre optic gyrocompass. The contract also includes spares, factory testing and engineering support services. The first shipset delivery is expected in late 2012. Deliveries will continue into 2015.
"These integrated bridge system components will provide the Indian Coast Guard the most advanced shipboard navigation systems available today," said Alan Dix, managing director of Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine. "We look forward to delivering products that will help secure India's coastline for years to
Sperry Marine's NAVIGAT 3000 fibre optic gyrocompass provides all motion data required for the ship's steering for faster operation. It minimizes size, weight, noise and power consumption while maximizing reliability, dynamic angular rate and redundancy as it delivers the full set of navigation data.
Sperry Marine has delivered integrated bridge systems and components to naval and coast guard vessels in several countries around the world including the Indian Navy.

44 Skyhawks For Sale

The SIBAT department of the Israeli Ministry of Defense is calling defense entities, militaries and countries from around the world and inviting them to acquire the fleet of Skyhawk aircraft which have been in IDF service since the 1960s.
The Skyhawk was the first fighter aircraft that the United States agreed to sell to Israel, and the Israeli Air Force began using the aircraft in 1967. Today, the aircraft are used for combat training and instruction in the framework of the IAF’s  flight course, and the sale comes as part of the preparation for when the IAF receives the new Italian M-346 trainer aircraft.
During the recent operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, the IAF used the Skyhawk aircraft for casting notices above the Gaza Strip. The Ministry of Defense is interested in selling the 44 Skyhawk aircraft for several
dozen millions of US dollars. The aircraft is expected to be taken out of service in the coming year. If there is no response in the next five years, the aircraft will apparently be transferred for scrapping.

Russia, India to hold joint naval exercise off Mumbai coast

Three Russian warships will enter Mumbai today to hold joint naval exercises, code-named 'INDRA', with the Indian Navy from December 2.

The two-day naval exercises will be held off the coast of Mumbai from December 2 where the Indian side would be represented by Delhi Class destroyer INS Mysore and Tabar Class guided missile frigate along with different types of aircraft in the force, Navy officials said here.

The Russian side has come with destroyer Marshal Shaponishkov, fleet tug ship Alatau and fleet tanker Irkut for the exercises, they said.

Navies of India and Russia have been engaging each other in joint drills for the last few years. The Armies of the two sides also hold their drills under the same codename INDRA.

Recently, the Indian Army had sent its troops to Russia for the Army-to-Army exercises in a province close to the China-Mongolia border there.

Since 2003, India and Russia have conducted five of the INDRA-series joint ground and naval exercises. The last such exercise was held between the two countries' army units in India in October 2010.

Philippines navy ship being prepared for voyage

BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the second Hamilton-Class Cutter acquired by the Philippines from the US, is being prepared for its voyage to the Philippines by early 2013.
The ship, formerly called the USCGC Dallas, was a Coast Guard high endurance cutter commissioned in 1967 in New Orleans and was decommissioned in March 2012.
Named after war hero Commodore Ramon Alcaraz--a distinguished Philippine Navy Officer during the Second World War who was awarded the Silver Star for shooting down 3 Japanese planes off Bataan in 1942--the ship was formally transferred to the Philippine government, under its first Filipino Commanding Officer Ernesto Baldovin, on May 22.
Baldovino and 85 Filipino Navy officers and crew will be part of the sailing crew in its tentative journey to the Philippines by spring next year.
The ship’s 14 officers and enlisted men and women are also undergoing training under the US Coast Guard.
The ship was reportedly purchased to conducting patrols for extended periods of time as it can withstand heavy weather and rough water conditions.

BRP Alcaraz is currently docked at a naval facility center in Charleston, South Carolina while it undergoes general overhaul and further installation of navigational, electronics and weapons equipment.

China to receive Su-35 fighter aircraft from Russia

Russia's state-run arms exporter, Rosoboronexport has signed a preliminary agreement with the Chinese Ministry of National Defense (MND) for the sale of Sukhoi Su-35BM multi-role fighter aircraft.

A total of 24 advanced Su-35 fighters will be supplied to the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) under the potential $1.5bn contract.

The contract is expected to be signed either in 2013 or 2014.

Details of the agreement were discussed by Russian defence minister Sergey Shoygu and Chinese president Hu Jintao during a recent meeting held in Beijing, as reported by Taipei Times.

In March 2012, an undisclosed defence industry official was cited by Russia's local daily Kommersant as saying that both parties initially agreed on the sale of 48 Su-35 aircraft under a $4bn deal.

The Su-35 sale, originally requested by China in 2011, was denied by the Russian Government fearing reverse engineering and copying of the fighter, similar to that of the Su-27SK aircraft.

Moscow alleges that China reverse engineered the Su-27SK and secretly developed an indigenous variant, the J-11B, after securing a $2.5bn production license to build 200 Su-27SK aircraft, dubbed the J-11A, using Russian-supplied kits in 1995.

The contract was cancelled by Russia following the delivery of 95 aircraft in 2006 after it discovered the development of a J-11B by Shenyang Aircraft with Chinese-built avionics and weapons.

Designed by Sukhoi and manufactured by KNAPPO, Su-35BM is based on the Su-27 and developed as an advanced capability air superiority fighter to simultaneously engage multiple air targets using both guided and unguided missiles and weapon systems.

The aircraft is powered by two Saturn/UFA AL-31F 117S turbofan engines and also features a range of long, medium and short-range weapons and guided aerial munitions for anti-radar and anti-ship operations.
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