Monday, 11 March 2013

Taiwan receives upgraded E-2K early warning aircraft

Two upgraded E-2K airborne early warning aircraft which were sent to United States for upgrading were transported to Kaohsiung International Airport Station in southern Taiwan Saturday for follow-up tests and inspections.

In October 2008, the U.S. agreed to the first arms sales deal to Taiwan since President Ma Ying-jeou took office, which included the US$250 million upgrade of four E-2T aircraft to the Hawkeye 2000 standard.

To avoid its combat power being affected by the upgrade process, the Republic of China's military sent the four E-2T aircraft in two batches to the U.S. to be upgraded. The first batch of two E-2T sent in June 2010 returned to serve in Taiwan at the end of 2011, while the other two E-2T were sent to the U.S. in 2011. The upgrade of the four E-2T has all been completed.

In June 2010, two E-2Ts were sent to the US to undergo upgrades and were eventually redesigned as E-2Ks.

The Northrop Grumman-built E-2K is an all-weather early warning and control system platform equipped with eight-blade propellers, upgraded radar and surveillance systems, software and avionics.

The E-2K aircraft's performance is equivalent to that of the E-2C, which is in service with the U.S. Air Force.

MoD locked in BAE talks

The defence minister, Philip Dunne, has revealed that the Government is still locked in talks with BAE Systems over the future of British shipbuilding and issued a veiled threat about the implications of Scottish independence.

The minister for defence equipment, support and technology, said BAE had submitted plans for its shipyards but no decision had been taken on potential closures.
“The company has made some proposals and they’re being considered by the MoD but it is ultimately their decision and we’re right in the middle of discussion,” he said.
BAE has warned that it might have to stop shipbuilding at one of its sites, with the spotlight on Portsmouth and its two yards in Glasgow, at Govan and Scotstoun.
The decision hinges on future work available, with a gap in the British building programme expec­ted once the two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers are completed but be-fore the Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme begins.
The assumption is that under current plans there will be insufficient work to sustain all three shipyards, and there has been speculation that the Type 26 work will go to the Glasgow yards, prompting the end of shipbuilding at Portsmouth and loss of up to 1,500 jobs.

Russian Satellite Hit by Debris from Chinese Anti-Satellite Test

A small Russian spacecraft in orbit appears to have been struck by Chinese space junk from a 2007 anti-satellite test, likely damaging the Russian craft, possibly severely, has learned.
The space collision appears to have occurred on Jan. 22, when a chunk of China's Fengyun 1C satellite, which was intentionally destroyed by that country in a 2007 anti-satellite demonstration, struck the Russian spacecraft, according to an analysis by the Center for Space Standards & Innovation (CSSI) in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
CSSI technical program manager T.S. Kelso reported that the collision involved the Chinese space junk and Russia's small Ball Lens In The Space (BLITS) retroreflector satellite, a 17-pound (7.5 kilograms). The Fengyun 1C satellite debris was created during China's anti-satellite test on Jan. 11, 2007, and has posed a threat to satellites and crewed spacecraft ever since.
Evidence of the space junk collision was first reported on Feb. 4 by Russian scientists Vasiliy Yurasov and Andrey Nazarenko, both with the Institute for Precision Instrument Engineering (IPIE) in Moscow. They reported a "significant change" in the orbit of the BLITS satellite to the CSSI. [Watch the Animation: Russian Satellite Hit by Space Junk]

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Boeing touts fighter jet to rival F-35 — at half the price

In a dogfight of defence contractors, the hunter can quickly become the hunted. It's happening now to the F-35.

The world's largest defence contractor, Lockheed Martin, is trying to convince wavering U.S. allies — including Canada — to stick with its high-tech, high-priced and unproven F-35 stealth fighter. But the F-35 is way behind schedule, way over budget and, now, it's grounded by a mysterious crack in a turbine fan.

After years of technical problems, it's a tempting target for Lockheed Martin's rivals.

It's no surprise, then, that the No. 2 defence contractor, Boeing, smells blood.

With Ottawa now reviewing its previous commitment to buy the F-35, Boeing is making an aggressive pitch to Canadian taxpayers, offering to save them billions of dollars if they buy Boeing's Super Hornets instead.

Boeing isn't pulling its punches. The Super Hornet, it says, is a proven fighter while the F-35 is just a concept — and an expensive one at that.We call it competing with a paper airplane," says Ricardo Traven, Boeing's chief test pilot for the Super Hornet. A Canadian who flew fighters for 15 years in the Canadian air force, Traven dismisses the F-35 as a "shiny brochure of promises," and contrasts it with "the real thing," which looms behind him in a top-secret hangar at Boeing's vast production line in St. Louis, Missouri.

Saab receives order for upgrade of mission system Erieye for Brazil

Defence and security company Saab has received order from Brazilian Embraer Defense and Security on upgrade of the Erieye AEW&C Mission System. The total order amounts to 380 MSEK.
The contract is for the delivery of an upgrade of the existing Erieye AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control) systems, as part of the modernization programme for the Embraer 145 AEW&C, named E-99 in the Brazilian Air Force. The E-99 is important within the Brazilian Air Force in the control of airspace and border surveillance and the upgrade will bring a substantial increased operational capability.
"Saab's Erieye AEW&C Mission system provides excellent surveillance capabilities and control over air and sea targets. We are very proud to supply these systems to Brazil where it plays an important role in national security,” says Micael Johansson, head of Saab’s business area Electronic Defence Systems.
The upgrade of the Erieye AEW&C Mission System will be delivered from 2014 until 2017.
Saab’s Erieye AEW&C Mission System has been well received on the market. The first system for Brazilon the Embraer 145 became operational 2002. Erieye is also in operations on Embraer 145 in Mexico and Greece. The very first Erieye system was delivered in 1997 for aircraft model 340 for the Swedish Air Force. Customers of the Saab 340 system also include Thailand and the United Arab Emirate. Saab is also delivering Erieye to Pakistan, installed on the Saab 2000 aircraft.

MoD wastes £6.6bn on kit and supplies it does not need as it tries to save money by cutting troops

  • Military chiefs waste 6.6bn of taxpayers' money on unnecessary stock
  • MoD spend £1.1bn on computer system to fix stock control 'weaknesses'

  • The Ministry of Defence is squandering billions of pounds on kit and supplies it does not need while trying to save money by getting rid of troops.
    Military chiefs are wasting ‘unacceptable’ sums of taxpayers’ cash by buying and hoarding excess equipment, according to a scathing report today.
    MPs on the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee found at least £6.6billion of stock was either unused or over-ordered.

    The top civil servant at the MoD, permanent secretary Jon Thompson, admitted there were ‘problems’ in managing the inventory of kit and equipment. He said the cash-strapped department was spending £1.1billion on a computer system to tackle ‘weaknesses’ in stock control.
    The cross-party committee’s report will be a blow to morale as the fighting capability of the Army, Royal Navy and RAF continues to be reduced.

    Grob Eyes Australian Opportunity for G120TP

    Grob Aircraft mounted a major push for its G120TP basic trainer at this year's Avalon air show, with its stand including a simulator for the type, as it eyes an upcoming requirement to replace the Royal Australian Air Force's fleet of 63 Pilatus PC-9/9As.

    Andre Hiebeler, chief executive of Grob Aircraft, says the G120TP can "eat into" up to 60-70% of the syllabus provided by higher-end tandem-seat turboprop aircraft such as the Pilatus PC-21, which is also likely to compete for the Australian deal.

    Canberra's requirement is designated AIR 5428, and calls for a complete training solution, including simulators and aircraft. Grob envisages the RAAF using the G120TP in conjunction with a more advanced basic trainer type.

    Hiebeler notes that only 45% of pilots trained by the Australian military end up in the air force. Of these, only a small portion transition to fighters such as the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet or F/A-18F Super Hornet. The majority become transport aircraft or helicopter pilots, making the G120TP, with its side-by-side configuration, a suitable training platform.

    Wednesday, 27 February 2013

    Indonesia to purchase UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from United States

    Indonesian army Black Hawk helicopters Would purchase from the United States this year, in a bid to Strengthen icts weaponry, a military officer Said here on Monday, February 25, 2013. The Plan is the share of Indonesian government's efforts to Modernize icts weaponry.

    "Black Hawk is a good choice," Said General Pramono Eddie Wibowo, Indonesian army chief of staff signing Effective year agreement entre le army, oil and gas firm PT. Pertamina Persero and BRI bank here at the army headquarters.

    Phantom Eye completes second flight

     Boeing's Phantom Eye, a hydrogen-powered test bed, Has Made icts second flight. The test was the first to Effective falling on hard landing its a June, 2012 maiden flight destroyed landing icts share of landing gear.

    The uncrewed test bed was developed by Boeing's Phantom Works division advanced aircraft to Demonstrate That Could stay airborne for up to four days at a time with payloads up to 204kg (450LB).

    Phantom Eye was airborne for just over year hour, reaching altitudes of 8,000 ft, ending in what Boeing calls a "picture-perfect landing."

    Boeing Brings Advanced Training Capabilities to U.S. Navy's T-45 Fleet

    Ground-based flight simulators prepare pilots student

    - Four operational flight trainers built by Boeing [NYSE: BA] are up and running at Naval Air Station Pensacola (Fla.) ALLOWING the U.S. Navy to shift some training for T-45 aircraft icts to the ground and Thereby Improve safety and save money.

    The flight simulators use high-fidelity, state-of-the-art visuals to train naval flight officers (NFO) on the ground, saving time and Freeing up the aircraft for flight instruction live. Nfos specialize in airborne weapons and sensor systems operating from the back seat of the aircraft.

    The devices are used by the Navy to Provide transition to advanced instruction for F/A-18, EA-18G and EA-6B platforms. Students are trained in navigation, communication, emergencies, target identification and weapons employment, and basic carrier operations, Among other learning objective.

    Tuesday, 26 February 2013

    RSAF gets refueling jet

    A new airborne refueling plane was inducted into the Royal Saudi Air Force aircraft fuel fleet at Riyadh Airbase yesterday.
    The new plane, called a330mrtt will supply fuel to F15s, Tornadoes and Typhoons while flying, bringing to six the number of airbus-made a33mrtt air refueling planes.
    The plane, which belongs to the TRA72-600 airbus generation, will also serve as passenger and light payload carrier, the SPA reported.

    The Terrifying Shortage of U.S. Cyberwarriors.

    When Kevin Mandia, a retired military cybercrime investigator, decided to expose China as a primary threat to US computer networks, he did not have to consult with US diplomats in Beijing or declassify tactics to safely reveal government secrets.

    He compiled a 76-page report based on seven years of work by his company, Mandiant, and produced the most detailed public account yet of how, he says, the Chinese government has been hacking major US companies.

    It was not news to his commercial rivals, or the US government, that systematic attacks could be traced to a nondescript office block outside Shanghai that Mandia believes was run by the Chinese army.

    What was remarkable was that the extraordinary details – code names of hackers, one's affection for Harry Potter and how they stole sensitive trade secrets and passwords – came from a private security firm without the official backing of the US military or intelligence agencies responsible for protecting America from a cyber-attack.

    The report, welcomed by both government and industry, represents a notable alignment of interests in Washington: the Obama administration has pressed for fresh evidence of Chinese hacking that it can leverage in diplomatic talks without revealing secrets about its own hacking investigations, and Mandiant makes headlines with its sensational revelations.It also shows the balance of power in America's cyberwar has shifted to the $30bn-a-year (£19.7bn-a-year) computer security industry.

    Trying To Stop The Bomb Makers In Pakistan And Afghanistan

    The United States and Pakistan will begin working together on a new fertilizer formula that could be a significant technological step to limit the ability of terror groups to make improvised explosives and car bombs using the ingredient.

    An agreement to try to make a product more inert was reached last week after Pakistani officials from Fatima Group, a major fertilizer manufacturer, met with Pentagon officials.

    "Such a long-term solution would be a true scientific breakthrough," Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, the head of the Pentagon's Joint Improved Explosive Device Defeat Organization, said in a statement.

    Barbero met with Fatima representatives to urge them again to take steps to control fertilizer inventories. The meeting itself was a step forward since the Pakistani government previously had stopped the U.S. military from talking directly to the company.

    Fatima Group is the Pakistani-based producer of calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN). It was developed as a non-explosive alternative to ammonium nitrate, long a key ingredient in homemade bombs used widely in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. But it can be converted into an explosive mixture.

    Hundreds of American troops have been killed by improvised explosive devices containing the material.

    Pakistan and the United States will now work on a "reformulated" CAN product in hopes of reducing its effectiveness in homemade bombs.

    It is produced by two factories in Pakistan that are both owned and operated by Fatima. It also has now confirmed to the Pentagon in writing that it has suspended sales of CAN fertilizer products in the border provinces to 228 dealers in the area.

    It is also working on plans for more readily visible bagging of CAN in hopes Pakistani border control agents will stop smuggling when they see it. Barbero is still pressing for color dying so it can more readily be identified.

    India arrests man accused of spying for Pakistan

    Indian police say they have arrested a man suspected of passing military secrets to arch-rival Pakistan.

    The man, an Indian citizen, was held in the western state of Rajasthan near the two countries' border.

    Police say he passed details of military exercises held last week to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.

    India and Pakistan frequently accuse each other of spying. The arrest comes after weeks of tension over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

    The alleged spy is accused of "passing information related to Indian defence installations and military activities", senior police officer DS Dinkar told AFP news agency.

    One report says his telephone calls to a relative in Pakistan, who it is alleged works for Pakistani intelligence, were intercepted.

    Chinese transport "workhorses" extending military's reach

    China is expanding its long-neglected fleet of supply ships and heavy-lift aircraft, bolstering its military prowess in support of missions to enforce claims over disputed territory and to defend Chinese interests abroad.

    These transport workhorses are unlikely to arouse the same regional unease as the steady rollout of high performance fighters, long-range missiles or potent warships, but they are a crucial element of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) three-decade military build-up, defense analysts say.

    Over time, the air and sea support will give the world's second-largest navy greater geographical reach and will enhance the PLA's capacity to assist troops on distant battlefields, potentially including Taiwan if Beijing were to launch a military assault to take control of the self-governing island.

    China's state-owned shipyards last year launched two 23,000-tonne type 903 replenishment ships, according to reports and photographs published on Chinese military affairs websites and blogs, with further orders in the pipeline.

    Iran, world powers see little chance of breakthrough in new nuclear talks

    It’s been eight months since they last met, but negotiators representing Iran and six leading industrial powers acknowledged Monday that they may have little new to say to one another when the two sides come together for talks about Iran’s nuclear future.

    Negotiations on proposed limits on Iran’s nuclear program are set to begin Tuesday in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where expectations are nearly as low as the frigid temperatures in the former Kazakh capital city. In public comments over the past week, U.S. and Iranian officials alike insisted that the onus was on the other side to make key concessions that could lead to a nuclear deal.

    Obama administration officials have set a low bar, expressing hope only that the Almaty meeting will yield cordial engagement and an agreement to hold further talks in the spring and summer. One senior U.S. official, briefing reporters on the eve of the talks, said small steps this week could lead to a breakthrough in the future.

    “If Iran engages with us tomorrow and begins to discuss the concrete steps they will take . . . we can move forward,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in discussing the U.S. diplomatic position ahead of the talks. “They can get to where they want to go.”

    Tuesday, 19 February 2013

    Sudan-Saudi navies in first exercises: media

    The navies of Sudan and Saudi Arabia Have Launched Their first joined military exercises in the Red Sea, the official SUNA news agency reported about on Sunday.

    The training is to run Until Wednesday and focus on anti-smuggling operations and "boosting security and stability," SUNA quoted Sudan's military spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad as saying.

    Two Saudi naval vessels and troops are Participating, he said.

    The exercise comes from Effective warships Iran, with Saudi Arabia HAS Which tense relations, docked at Port Sudan last October and December.

    At the time, the Iranian Port Described Saad calls as normal share of military exchanges entre le two states.

    Israeli Officials Have Expressed concern about arms smuggling through Sudan, and the visits by Tehran's navy cam Effective Khartoum accusé state of the Jewish year October 23 against a military air strike in the capital factory.

    White paper: commission issued its copy

    The text is less than 100 pages: it was passed last week in the middle of the General Secretariat of Defence and National Security (SGDSN) to be validated - and possibly rewritten - by government authorities. This "final project" is the result of nearly a half of work of the Commission White Paper. It was written by a small team of five editors, under the authority of Jean-Marie Guéhenno.

    The text, revised to SGDSN, will be discussed in early March at a Defence Council at the Elysée and approved by the members of the committee in plenary session. It then becomes the White Paper, which is based on the defense and national security of our country. It should be released in late March, early April.

    GC Navigation System Integral to 1st Flight of nEUROn UCAV Demonstrator

    Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), in cooperation with Saab Aerosystems, HAS Provided the attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) for the nEUROn Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator, Which has recently completed successful first flight.

    Northrop Grumman's German navigation systems filiale, Northrop Grumman LITEF, the fiber-optic Supplied, LCR-100 AHRS gyrocompassing for UCAV demonstrator the European.

    Dassault Neuron uav source

    The LCR-100 AHRS Provides navigation information Relating to the aircraft's position, heading and attitude. The north-finding gyrocompass feature Eliminates the need for a magnetic sensing unit, similar to inertial reference system year. Additionally, the system's precise inertial measurement unit Enables extended coasting performance for the aircraft to continue Providing accurate navigation information in the event of GPS signal loss. The LCR-100 is certified to civil standards for commercial off-the-shelf equipment in military platforms.

    Thursday, 14 February 2013

    Caracal controlled delivery of the final credits of "stimulus plan"

    The Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) has delivered to the Army Air February 8, 2013 the fifth and last of the five EC 725 Caracal helicopters ordered in 2009 at Eurocopter, under the stimulus of the economy.

    These helicopters are intended to supplement the fleet of 14 Caracal service in the French army and regularly deployed in overseas operations.

    The EC 725 is a helicopter designed to perform missions of search and rescue in the zone of combat, troop transport over long distances and special missions. It includes special equipment for such missions, such as refueling system against measures, an infrared camera and instruments to locate a pilot ejected.

    Twin-engine helicopter in the 11-ton class, the EC 725 is the first French helicopter equipped with a self-protection system complete with LCD display and a blindage.Il is also capable of performing rescue missions at sea

    Syria rebels shoot down two planes of the Air Force

    The rebels killed Thursday two planes Air Force Syrian within a region northwest of the country, reported the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH).

    Both incidents occurred in the province of Idleb, when aviation main advantage of the regime in its war against the rebels bombed several towns in the region, according to the organization.

    Two military aircraft were shot a few hours apart around Maaret al-Noomane.

    In a video, the rebel group descendants of the Prophet Brigades claimed one of the two operations, claiming to have shot down a Russian aircraft Sukhoi type with the anti-aircraft defenses.

    Since the militarization of the conflict in Syria rebels, far less equipped than the regular army, were able to kill several military aircraft using anti-aircraft and heavy machine guns, according to the OSDH and activists to videos Support.

    A medal for the Pentagon drone operators

    U.S. Defense announced the creation of a "Distinguished medal warfare" to recognize the merits of those who contribute to "change the way we make war" by directing drones.

    The Pentagon has created a new type of coin, the "Distinguished medal warfare" to greet "extraordinary achievements" of the drone operators, Leon Panetta announced Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Defense out. Because they do not put their lives in danger, these operators are not eligible for traditional distinctions, but flying planes distance, they contribute, he said, to "change the way we make war."

    The "Distinguished medal warfare" will be awarded to drone operators whose actions have had "direct impact on combat operations." "This award recognizes the reality of the technological war in which we are committed to the twenty-first century," Leon Panetta insisted that must be replaced by Chuck Hagel whose appointment must be approved Friday by the U.S. Senate.

    Russia may be drawn into resource wars in future - army chief

    Russia may Become drawn into military conflicts as world powers to begin life for energy resources in the next two decades, Valery Gerasimov Said, the head of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.

    By 2030, the level of "existing and potential terrorism threats will Significantly Increase," Gerasimov Said falling on a security conference in Moscow, selon Interfax.

    Leading world powers will soon begin to struggle for fuel, energy and labor resources, as well as new markets in Which Their goods to sell, some powers will "Actively use Their military potential," he explained.

    He aussi que la Observed sphere of struggle is moving away from traditional battlegrounds - Such as land and sea - and to aerospace information. Conflict zones in North Africa and the Middle East to the point Such exchange in the use of military force, the general said.

    The role of non-military instruments Increasing aussi, Including information wars, secret operations and the use of the "protest potential of a population," Gerasimov Said, Adding That Such non-military means clustering are more effective than the Often use of military power .

    Given thesis challenges, Russia's possession of state-of-the-art weaponry is a "vital requirement for the country's existence," Gerasimov said.

    Russian Navy approves the proposed future destroyer

    Command of the Russian Navy has approved the draft presented by the future destroyer design office Severnoe (Saint-Petersburg). If it is completed, this project will build the largest warship in Russia since the collapse of the USSR.

    The Russian Navy has approved the next generation destroyer presented by the consulting firm Severnoe St. Petersburg, an office during the Soviet era was designed especially among the largest warships of the USSR: missile cruisers Project 1164 Atlant (cruiser Moskva , the flagship of the Black Sea fleet, pictured above), large ASW ship Project 1155 nuclear cruisers Kirov Project 1164 (the Peter Grand , flagship of the Northern Fleet) and Project 956 destroyers which included some success Export with 4 units sold in China in 2000. With his experience, Severnoe therefore presented to the Russian Navy destroyer project a displacement of 12,000 tonnes, higher than the Project 21956 destroyer designed primarily for export (8,000 t full load photo below). The last ship of comparable tonnage built in Russia was the nuclear missile cruiser Yuri Andopov , future Peter the Great , put on hold in 1986 to plant the Baltic (ASA in 1998 in the Northern Fleet).

    Although the construction site has not yet been officially decided, it seems that this is the shipyard North (St. Petersburg), which is Presenti.It is expected that over the next 2 to 3 years, the office develops technical documentation of the ship, working on his appearance and armament. Regarding this last point, the armament of the future will therefore destroyer (as often since the cruisers of Project 1164 and 1144) and the height of the missions it will fall. It will be indeed a destroyer versatile able to implement missions ASW, anti-air to ensure a missile defense theater, even extended to a more substantial space and able to support land operations conducted by a task force . As a result, the next generation destroyer will carry torpedoes and will have a hydroacoustic station for ASW. It will also be equipped with anti-surface missile and will carry cruise missiles (probably like Club). It finally have anti-missile systems S-500 with Prometheus.

    Tuesday, 5 February 2013

    North Korea: UN sanction, South Korea and the United States acts

    The international community has leapt on Monday, while North Korea is about to conduct a nuclear test. If the UN assured that it would impose a strong response in case of nuclear test, South Korea and the United States have begun joint naval maneuvers to warn Pyongyang.

    The South Korean ambassador to the UN, Kim Sook, was clear on Monday. "We can not stand idly about the initiative taken by devastating provocative and North Korea," he said.

    Pyongyang no end of worry by nuclear activity. Despite the sanctions set against him, the North Korean regime continues its research. And, according to Kim Sook, the next nuclear test is "imminent".

    Pyongyang is ready for another nuclear test

    The frigate Chevalier Paul participate in Gulf Falcon 2013

    The air defense frigate Chevalier Paul participate in the naval exercise sequence Gulf Falcon 2013.Jointly organized by Qatar and France, from February 16 to March 7, 2013, in the framework of cooperation agreements in the field of defense between the two countries, Gulf Falcon 2013 is part of a four-year cycle and initiates coordinated air land and sea.

    IDF Constructing a Smart System at Northern Border

    The Multi-Sensor System (MSS) will Significantly Reduce the staff required to monitor the Golan Heights border area

    The IDF HAS recently started building of 'the world's smartest' border barrier system, opposite Syria. The project is Carried out by Elbit Systems at year Estimated cost of a quarter of a NIS one billion (more than $ 60 million).

    The decision to construct the new border barrier system on the Golan Heights was made head falling on 2011. The decision cam in the wake of the WEAKENING of Syria's Central diet and growing apprehension That Global Jihad items will ESTABLISH a hold on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights Following the collapse of Bashar Assad's government.The Golan Heights border was regarded Israel 's most tranquil border since 1974 (with perfect quiet prevailing in the area Following the end of the Yom Kippur War). Concerns Regarding the implications of the Syrian civil war on the security situation in the Golan Heights along Hundreds of Syrians Intensified When Attempted to cross the fence at the border with Israel falling on the 'Nakba Day' on May 15, 2011.

    The FREMM Aquitaine's first successful Aster missile

    Monday, February 4, 2013, Aquitaine, first frigate of the French Navy FREMM class (Multi-Mission Frigate), has successfully completed its first missile Aster 15 air defense in the Mediterranean, off the test center Missile Armament Directorate General on the Ile du Levant. The FREMM is the third type of building the Navy to proceed with the firing of a missile Aster after the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and defense frigates Forbin and Chevalier Paul Airlines.

    The shooting took place in the major part of the Verification of Military Specifications (VCM) of Aquitaine, his future step prior to admission to Active Service (ASA) in the navy. "This fire has allowed marine Aquitaine concretely validate all stages of implementation of Aster 15 missile type from a FREMM" says CV Benedict Rouvière, commander of the frigate. "The firing sequence will load the missile aboard the actual destruction of the target through the key phases of the target detection by radar and treatment system operators combat the boat."

    Sunday, 3 February 2013

    New Zealand Considers Super Seasprite Helicopters Requirement for Navy

    The New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MoD) is Undertaking a final review of SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters That Were Previously rejected by the Australian government, in Support of a formal bid for the aircraft.

    Des Ashton, deputy secretary of Defense (Acquisition) in the MoD, Told IHS Jane's that the assessment, a final assessment of the helicopters' airworthiness, was under way on 31 January before the submission of a proposal to government to provide the helicopters.

    "We are looking at that [the purchase of the helicopters] very Actively, "he said. "We have a gateway review going on right now - today - and basically we are ... Determining Whether we can put a viable proposal through to our government." Ashton added: "We are looking at this [helicopter] as the preferred option for a naval helicopter capability Retaining [Within The Royal New Zealand Navy]."

    Saturday, 2 February 2013

    Lockheed F-35 general manager retiring

     Lockheed Martin's F-35 general manager Tom Burbage is retiring after 13 years on the job.

    "After 32 years of working with Lockheed Martin and legacy divisions, Tom Burbage has decided to retire," Lockheed says. "His impact to the F-35 program and other areas of aeronautics is immeasurable."

    Burbage will continue to work on the F-35 programme until the end of March until the company picks a successor. "We will finalize our plans on how to backfill his role as his retirement date gets closer," Lockheed says.

    Missile Defense's Real Enemy: Math

    Stretching back several decades, the concept of missile defense has-been hotly alloted. Some scholars argue well Reasoned que le United States and other countries need Such deterrence breaks down defenses incase year or irrational actor gets Their finger on the nuclear trigger. Others argue missile defenses That are a waste of money Given That They Are Easily Defeated, and defensive technology will always stay behind the curve - never ready for primetime.

    Both sides Have logical arguments. For the record, I am an advocate of missile defense - under some conditions. With various nations all over the planet purchasing or ballistic and cruise Developing weapons, defenses against weaponry Such are vital - Especially for the American navy in the form of Aegis missile defenses. When it comes to missile defense in nuclear matters-I have some shall we say, complex views. For regimes Such as Iran, North Korea and others is not rationality sometimes When Their Strongest follows - missile defense all the way. When it comes to larger nations with missile arsenals Such as China or Russia, I am not sold - yet.

    U.S. Army SMDC Andrews Space Funds To Build Kestrel Eye 2 Earth Imaging Nanosat

    Andrews Space (Andrews) HAS Announced That They Have beens Funded by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command to design and Deliver a Kestrel Eye Block 2 Earth imaging spacecraft as share of the Army's Kestrel Eye program.

    Under the current effort, known as Kestrel Eye Block 2, Andrews economic development of will, build and Deliver Earth imaging nanosatellite year.

    The spacecraft embodies a paradigm shift to lower-cost, higher persistence overhead reconnaissance capabilities. While not Meant to replace traditional imaging assets, Kestrel Eye seeks to augment Block 2 the current approach to remote sensing by Demonstrating the implementation of low-cost, commercial technologies to enable a new tier of recognition capability.

    Germany will develop a drone with France

    The Minister of Defence of Germany Thomas de Maizière said Friday support the idea of ​​joint development with France UCAVs not giving anything to an aircraft with a crew on board. "The decision to use and not use a drone army is always made by man," he added.

    Tuesday, 29 January 2013

    Europe's army? Despite defense cuts, few European countries come close to France for military power.

    BRUSSELS, Belgium — French military prowess isn't always fully appreciated in the United States.

    But there are few troops anywhere in the world better prepared for their task than the marines, foreign legionaries, and other elite French units rolling north to confront the Jihadist militants controlling much of Mali.

    "The French special forces are tip top, they’re up there with the best of them," says Brooks Tigner, chief policy analyst at Security Europe, a specialist newsletter.

    "They also have vast experience in expeditionary forces in West Africa," he adds. "They really know the territory, the boundaries, the topography and the ethnic problems. They are very well placed."

    Among America's European allies, only the British can match France's ability to project significant military force overseas. However, not even they have much experience operating in the string of former French colonies across North and West Africa — where the recent rise of Islamist groups is posing the international community’s latest security threat.

    Air force faces strike fighter gap

    Australia will almost certainly be forced to buy 24 new Super Hornet fighter planes for about $2 billion to plug a looming gap in its air defences caused by delays in the purchase of the cutting-edge Joint Strike Fighter.
    According to a leaked draft of the 2013 defence white paper, Australia will take delivery of just two Lockheed Martin JSFs by 2020, indicating the government will need to buy a batch of rival Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets, which are cheaper but older and less stealthy than the fifth-generation JSF (pictured).
    ''By the end of this decade, the ADF will . . . take delivery of three air warfare destroyers, two landing helicopter dock amphibious ships and the initial two F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft,'' the white paper states.
    While switching to the Super Hornets would not be a slug to the government budget - each is about $40 million cheaper than a JSF - it may mean money is wasted on training and maintaining two different types of fighters. And some experts say the Super Hornet would be challenged by some of Australia's neighbours' growing air combat capabilities.

    Japan puts pair of new satellites into orbit

    The rocket lifted off at 1:40 p.m. from JAXA’s Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, and put the satellites into orbit, the agency said.

    The radar satellite, designed for information-gathering, is capable of detecting objects on the ground at night and through cloud cover. The optical satellite is designed to demonstrate higher resolution shooting technology.

    The optical satellite is reportedly able to distinguish objects on the ground as small as about 40 cm, like U.S. commercial satellites.

    Japan now has one radar satellite and three optical satellites in operation. Japan is trying to expand its satellite network so that any specific point on the ground can be viewed at least once a day.

    Japan began the intelligence satellite program after North Korea fired a long-range missile over Honshu in 1998.

    South China Sea code of conduct between Asean and China in peril

    Greg Torode fears that the maritime pact between China and Asean - which has been years in the making - is now in peril

    If China needed any further excuses to place on the back burner negotiations with Asean over worsening tensions in the South China Sea, the Philippines' actions in the past week may have provided them with one.
    Manila's move to use the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to force a ruling on China's controversial claim to virtually the entire South China Sea is as bold as it is intriguing, setting the stage for several years of legal exposure that will not be welcomed by a Beijing increasingly determined to bend the region to its will.
    It may also complicate an already fractious situation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, further imperiling already delayed talks over a once-vaunted code of conduct, according to insiders.

    Friday, 25 January 2013

    Military has to decide which combat jobs for women

    The Pentagon's decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat presents a daunting challenge to top military leaders who now will have to decide which, if any, jobs they believe should be open only to men.

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to announce Thursday that more than 230,000 battlefront posts — many in Army and Marine infantry units and in potentially elite commando jobs — are now open to women. It will be up to the military service chiefs to recommend and defend whether women should be excluded from any of those more demanding and deadly positions, such as Navy SEALs or the Army's Delta Force.

    The historic change, which was recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units.

    The change won't take place overnight: Service chiefs will have to develop plans for allowing women to seek the combat positions, a senior military official said. Some jobs may open as soon as this year, while assessments for others, such as special operations forces, may take longer. The services will have until January 2016 to make a case to that some positions should remain closed to women.

    General Dynamics announces $2.1B loss

    Defense industry titan General Dymanics reported on Wednesday a $2.1 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2012.

    The announcement comes on the heels of three major submarine contract awards to General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division that amounted to more than $4 billion.

    In 2012, General Dynamics lost $332 million compared to the profit of $2.55 the company reported in 2011.Defense analysts expect similar calls throughout the industry as the Pentagon braces for the coming defense budget cuts that could be more severe if sequestration is executed. Industry executives worry that sequestration combined with the extension of the Continuing Resolution will put contracts in jeopardy.

    General Dynamics reported $31.5 billion total revenue for 2012 and $8.1 billion for the fourth quarter. The company’s operating margin was 2.6 percent through 2012 after taking a 23.5 percent hit in the fourth quarter. The defense firm credited additional Styrker orders and the contract to develop the next generation Ohio-class submarine for not creating a greater fourth quarter loss.

    Army delays GCV program

    Army acquisition leaders moved Jan. 16 to delay its top modernization program, the Ground Combat Vehicle, in hopes of making it more viable in the face of expected defense budget cuts.

    The Army issued a memorandum Jan. 16 announcing the addition of a six-month extension of the Technology Development phase of the GCV Infantry Fighting Vehicle program. Defense companies will have more time to “refine vehicle designs,” according to an Army statement.

    Company executives will have to review those designs as the Army has removed a possible contract later in the development program. Army officials chose to shrink the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase down to a single vendor while also not authorizing planned procurement of long lead items for EMD prototypes.Army leaders don’t plan to make a Milestone C decision for the program until 2019, according to the memorandum.

    The Army hope to use the GCV to replace the aging Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. The Bradley has been in service since 1981.

    Sweden Looking To Build Nordic Defense Pact

     The Swedish government wants to accelerate the pace and depth of Nordic cooperation, urging moves that could create joint air, naval and army units with Finland, Norway and Denmark.

    Sweden’s intent is backed by a joint positional statement by Defense Minister Karin Enström and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt that was expanded at the annual Sälen Society and Defense conference Jan. 14.

    This statement proposes Nordic states “pool and share” their military equipment and capacities, effectively creating joint air, naval and land forces units to undertake Nordic defense roles.

    “Sweden wants to create a more efficient use of resources, higher quality, better effects and an expanded variety of defense capabilities through cooperation,” it states. “Joint ownership and use of military capacities and resources, or so-called pooling and sharing, is a central part of the Swedish vision for a Nordic defense cooperation.”

    But questions remain about Sweden’s own level of defense spending, broader interest in this sort of defense pact and how it could work with NATO-member Nordic nations.

    What next for Russia’s military air transport force?

    Historically, most of Russia’s military transport planes have been Antonov makes – from Antonov-26 to Antonov-124 – developed and built at design bureaus and plants located in Russia and Ukraine. Dependence on cooperation with the latter country may compromise Russia’s ten-year programme to supply its armed forces with over 100 new transport jets.

    Forty should be Ilyushin-476s (the latest modification of the Ilyushin-76), assembled at the aviation plant in Ulyanovsk. The rest should be Antonov makes, mostly Antonov-70s and superheavy Antonov-124s. The fate of both Antonovs, however, is now in question. The Russian military appears to have deemed the Antonov-124, or Ruslan, jet an unnecessary luxury. It will continue to maintain its existing Ruslan fleet, but will not procure new Ruslans.

    Unending delays on the Antonov-70 programme, which is yet to be accomplished, remove the prospect of assembling such planes at the aviation plant in Kazan to the period after 2015.

    China’s Intelligence Reforms?

    In the wake of China’s leadership transition at the 18th Party Congress in November, rumors floating around in Chinese cyberspace suggested ministerial restructuring could be in the works. Now, administrative restructuring to improve government efficiency always seem to be floating around as an idea. Even if Western-style political reforms are not in cards, the Chinese Communist Party is painfully aware of the need to improve governance. What is remarkable about the recent rumors is that they include changing the Ministry of State Security (MSS), China’s civilian internal and external intelligence service that is more akin to the KGB than the CIA.

    The MSS supposedly would become the State Security Administration (guojia anquan zongju), reporting directly to the State Council and presumably not to the Political-Legal Committee, now officially headed by Meng Jianzhu. If true, these rumors present a significant change to China’s domestic intelligence and preserving stability apparatus. Not only would this reform dilute the power of the Central Political-Legal Committee by cutting out the MSS, but it also would give the senior-most leaders an alternate source of domestic intelligence.

    Chinese - Japanese Tensins Are Escalating Dangerously In The Sky

    Japan scrambled fighter jets against Chinese planes far more frequently in the last quarter of 2012, underscoring growing concerns that the territorial dispute between the two nations is escalating into more dangerous tensions in the sky.
    The increase shows Tokyo is responding aggressively to Chinese planes entering areas inside and outside of what Japan considers its airspace over the East China Sea, where the two neighbors have squabbled bitterly over a group of small uninhabited islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
    Japan's Self Defense Forces on Thursday said the air force conducted 91 scrambles against Chinese aircraft in the three-month period, the largest quarterly tally since Tokyo started disclosing such data in 2005. For decades, Japan has routinely dispatched fighter jets to keep foreign aircraft—mostly Russian jets—out of its airspace, but the rising number of scrambles against Chinese planes is relatively new.
    During the first three quarters of the year that ends in March, Japan conducted 160 scrambles against Chinese planes, compared with 156 in the year ended March 2012, and 54 in the prior year. The latest quarterly number was up from 54 scrambles for the July-September period and 15 for April-June.
    Diplomatic dialogue between the two nations aimed at resolving the dispute has been largely put on hold following a Chinese leadership change in November and a Japanese one in December.
    In a subtle initial effort by Japan's new government to reach out to China, the leader of a small party in the ruling coalition is visiting Beijing this week, carrying a letter from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Xi Jingping, China's new leader.

    Thursday, 24 January 2013

    While the company is saving procedure, it continues to demonstrate its know-how very special. Industries for Tamaris is a project that should demonstrate the capacity of the company to produce exceptional pieces.

    Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said unidentified groups had entered the country with the aim of assassinating him and the head of the National Assembly as President Hugo Chavez recovers from cancer in Cuba.
    Maduro provided no proof of the claim , made at a rally on Wednesday to mark the end of a dictatorship in the OPEC nation 55 years ago, but he said action would be taken shortly.
    "For several weeks we've been following groups that have infiltrated the country with the aim of making attempts on the life of (Assembly head) Diosdado Cabello and my own," Maduro told a crowd of red-shirted "Chavista" supporters. "They will not manage it against either of us."
    Chavez named Maduro as his preferred successor before he went to Cuba in early December for surgery, his fourth operation in 18 months for an undisclosed form of cancer in his pelvis that was first diagnosed in mid-2011.
    Chavez has not been seen in public nor heard from since then. Venezuela's government says his condition is improving after he suffered multiple complications caused by the December 11 surgery.
    Officials say he is in "good spirits" but no date has been set for his return home. Maduro said he and the energy minister would travel to Havana on Wednesday to see Chavez.
    Uncertainty over the 58-year-old president's fragile health has raised the specter of political instability in the deeply polarized South American country of 29 million people.
    During his 14 years in power, Chavez has repeatedly accused Venezuela's "traitorous" opposition leaders of plotting to kill him, but offered little proof.
    The opposition says the charges are a smokescreen to distract from Venezuela's daily problems such a shortages of staple goods, high inflation and one of the worst crime rates in the world.

    Australian Defence Force to enhance security of resource-rich regions

    The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is focusing on enhancing the security of the remote, resource-rich areas in the country's north and western regions.

    A leaked defence white paper draft was cited by Australian Financial Review as saying that intensification of operational exercises in north and western part of the country was being planned by the military to help boost security of the region's oil, mining and gas assets.

    " Work is already under way to enhance the ADF's preparedness for operations in the north-west," the document stated.

    "A strategic level of war game focused on the security of Australia's energy resources and infrastructure was carried out in 2012 and more regular exercises and war games will follow."

    Plans to enhance resource region's security follow a recent attack on a gas plant in Algeria.

    French military strategy in Mali

    The wheels of armored Sagaie crush shrubs. The small column of the French army left slowly Airport Sévaré . Few hundred meters and it is the bush. The detachment will not go far. On a rocky promontory, five Malian soldiers around a tent, watching the horizon. Under the command of captain, Sagaie maneuvering, looking for shooting angles to counter a possible but unlikely attack. Must still find positions to defend the airport, unique region, located more than 700 km from Bamako.

    Attacking by surprise Konna , 70 km away, the Islamists were probably intended to seize the airport. Mirage does not let them time to put their plan into action. "Sévaré is a strategic bolt. There are, of course, the airport. But it is also an important city for the control of roads leading from East to Bamako, "said Captain Sebastian. The officer arrived in the city on Saturday with a detachment shielded. Almost every day, other people, other vehicles land to build the unit as the operation is " Serval ". According to the newspaper The Ec ho s, France is preparing to send Leclerc tanks.

    Wednesday, 23 January 2013

    Should U.S. Military Aid To Israel Be Cut?

    In a recent interview, Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett said, “I think, generally, we need to free ourselves from [U.S. military aid].” He implied that perhaps at one time this assistance was necessary, but added that “our situation today is very different from what it was 20 and 30 years ago. Israel is much stronger, much wealthier, and we need to be independent.” On the other side, American politicians like Rand Paul argue that in the face of the crushing U.S. debt, foreign aid to Israel needs to be cut.
    Some drawing down of American military support is probably healthy, but for practical reasons—not the ideological reasons Bennett and Paul propose. These politicians want to reduce the ties between the two countries on the basis of two different minority views. Bennett’s goal of extending Israeli sovereignty over the entire Land of Israel is hampered by Washington’s opposition; for him, aid is more a chain than a bond. Paul’s neo-isolationism requires a reduction in close ties to other countries, to avoid being dragged into their affairs.
    In theory it shouldn’t be difficult to reduce U.S. military aid to Israel, if policymakers in both countries really wanted to make it happen. After all, Washington provided hundreds of millions of dollars of economic aid from the 1940s, until this assistance was phased out by 2008. But military aid is an important pillar of the Israeli-American relationship, with benefits for both, and powerful actors on each side share that belief.
    The Congressional Research Service estimates that since 1949, the U.S. has given Israel about $115 billion in aid. U.S. military assistance has come in different forms. Over the years, chunks have been provided as emergency responses to specific events (like the 1967 and 1973 Wars) or as incentive for positive developments (the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, the Wye River Memorandum, the 2005 Gaza withdrawal). Regular installments of about $1.8 billion in military assistance began in 1987, and the American defense budget itself provides separate funding for specific programs like Israel’s missile defense systems (the Arrow, Iron Dome), which in fiscal year 2013 stood at $99.8 million.

    Latest U.S. military incident in Japan: apparent game of ding-dong ditch

    Was it a game of ding-dong ditch, or just a misunderstanding?
    A U.S. sailor stands accused of ringing doorbells in the middle of the night and breaking into a 72-year-old woman's property while drunk, say police in Yokosuka, Japan.
    Authorities arrested Manuel Silva, 20, early Monday on the elderly woman's property in the city, located south of Tokyo.
    The arrested sailor is assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, the Navy said. A Navy spokesman said he wasn't allowed to identify the sailor by name.
    Being off-base without permission could put Silva in breach of a standing curfew for all U.S. military service members in Japan. U.S. officials imposed the curfew in response to widespread outrage over rape accusations in October against U.S. sailors on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
    The incident started after police received several late night emergency calls. Somebody in the neighborhood where Silva was found was ringing doorbells and running away before the doors were answered.
    Police say they later discovered Silva on the elderly woman's property.
    The Navy said it is "currently reviewing the incident to determine if there was a violation" of regulations for U.S. service members serving in Japan.

    Russia ready for seeking a compromise with NATO on air defense

    Russia is ready to discuss the prospects of further cooperation in air defense with NATO, the head of the Russian army's General Staff General Valery Gerasimov says. On Wednesday, Mr. Gerasimov took part in a meeting of heads of General Staffs of Russia and NATO countries in Brussels.
    NATO's plans include creating a network of air defense facilities and radars near Russia's European borders. Russia is concerned that this may break the balance of force between it and NATO.
    Russia-NATO: bolstering partnership or playing trust? A session of the Russia-NATO Council at the level of chiefs of General Staff is to be held in Brussels on January 16. High on the agenda will be the approval of a bilateral cooperation plan for 2013. At the same time, both sides remain at odds over a spate of issues, something that prompted some analysts to speak of the sides 'playing trust' rather than bolstering full-blown cooperation.
    According to NATO's press service, the sides will discuss a wide array of issues of common interest to better address modern-day challenges. The Russian delegation is headed by Colonel General Valery Gerasimov, Russia's military chief of staff. Additionally, the sides will deal with the situation in Afghanistan, NATO's transformation and the implementation of the so-called Smart Defense program. It stipulates effectively using defense potential amid restricted financing.

    Monday, 14 January 2013

    Taliban executes 2 as US spies

    Taliban militants executed a girl and a man in the Wardak province of Afghanistan for ‘espionage in favour of the US’, the Pajhwok Afghan News agency reports.

    According to the agency, the girl made photographic surveying in the Chak district. She had recently returned home from the US.
    The two bodies were found in a small place where the Taliban usually leave their executed victims.
    There was a note on the dead girl’s body that she had been a US spy, the agency points out.

    Status of the Russian early-warning radar network

    Construction of new early-warning radars in Russia has really taken off in the last few years. With new radars coming online and some retiring, the shape of the radar network has changed quite dramatically since the last update. Also, some new good information has come out - for example, this story that described a visit to the Main Space Situational Awareness Center has a nice photo of a chart that lists early-warning and space surveillance assets that were operational in September 2011 (thanks to AS for this and other tips).
    Key characteristics of the radars that are involved in early warning are in the table below. The ranges apparently assume some standard radar cross-section of a target - in the space surveillance context this would be a satellite. It would be different (smaller) against warheads.


    Armavir Voronezh-DM 100-4200
    Armavir Voronezh-DM 100-4200

    Kaliningrad Voronezh-DM 100-4200


    Barnaul Voronezh-DM

    Baranovichi Volga 300-6500

    In addition to the radars listed in the original chart, the table has information about radars that are not listed there - second Voronezh-DM in Armavir, Voronezh-DM in Kaliningrad and Voronezh-VP in Mishelevka. The radars in Armavir and Kaliningrad are assumed to be similar to the first Armavir radar. Orientation of the East-facing Armavir radar can be seen at The Kaliningrad radar is seen on Google Earth. The Voronezh-VP radar in Mishelevka is expected to be more powerful than Voronezh-M deployed in Lekhtusi - VP stands for "high potential" - so its range is probably larger than 4200 km. The radar is not yet seen on Google Earth, so its exact orientation is not known, but the radar fan can be seen on this photo, published in Novosti Kosmonavtiki. 

    Russia has recently discontinued the use of the Daryal radar in Gabala, but I kept it in the table, if only because it was mentioned in the context of potential U.S.-Russian cooperation.

    With so many radars in operation, making a reasonable map of coverage is not that easy. I did, however, put together a Google Earth file that shows the radar fans. You could download it here. The photo above gives a sense of what's in the file.

    Iran confiscates over a ton of narcotics a day

     Iran's media are reporting that police confiscate over a ton of narcotics a day from smugglers.
    Gen. Ali Moayedi, head of Iran's anti-narcotics police, is quoted by newspapers Sunday as saying that some 30 drug smugglers and addicts are identified and arrested every hour in Iran. He said over 200,000 were detained in the past nine months alone.
    Iran lies on a major drug route between Afghanistan and Europe, as well as the Persian Gulf states.
    Moayedi said that over 1,286 kg (2,835 pounds) are confiscated each day. This represents about a fifth of the total drugs that officials have previously said enter Iran --- of the rest, nearly 700 tons are consumed

    Netanyahu vows to push on with E1 settlement

    Israeli police release activists detained after setting up camp to protest illegal settlement in key West Bank area. 
    Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has pledged to move ahead with building a Jewish settlement in a strategic area of the West Bank, speaking just hours after Israeli troops dragged anti-settlement protesters from the site marked for construction.
    The planned settlement, known as E1, would deepen East Jerusalem's separation from the West Bank, both war-won areas the Palestinians want for their own state.
    Netanyahu told Israel army radio Sunday that planning for E1 is moving ahead and that "there will be construction".
    In a meeting with his Cabinet, Netanyahu said: "As soon as I was updated on the Palestinian gathering, I ordered the evacuation and it was indeed carried out last night in the best possible manner."
    About 200 Palestinian activists had set up the camp, named Bab al-Shams, which means Gate of the Sun in Arabic, on Friday in the controversial E1 area between Israel-annexed East Jerusalem and the illegal settlement of Maaleh Adumim.
    "We will not allow anyone to harm the contiguity between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim.We will not allow anyone to harm the contiguity between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim," said Netanyahu.
    The protesters had defied Israeli orders to leave until police moved in at around 2:30am (00:30 GMT) on Sunday.
    "Hundreds of Israeli police came from all directions, surrounding all those who were in the tents and arresting them one by one," Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouthi said.
    Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said that no arrests had been made.
    "They were told they were trespassing and carefully escorted from the site one by one," he said. "Nobody was hurt on either side."
    About 500 police took part in the operation, he added.

    Bomb hits convoy of Iraq's Sunni finance minister

    Attackers detonated a bomb Sunday next to a convoy carrying the Iraqi finance minister, a central figure in more than two weeks of protests by minority Sunnis against the Shiite-dominated Baghdad government, police said.
    The minister, Rafia al-Issawi, was not hurt in the bombing. The device exploded as the last car in his convoy was passing by.
    Al-Issawi is one of the senior Sunni officials in the government. Arrest of his bodyguards set off a wave of protests in Anbar province, a huge, mostly Sunni area, once a haven for al-Qaida militants that targeted Shiites and U.S. forces during the American-led operation in Iraq that started in 2003. The last U.S. combat soldiers left Iraq a year ago.
    The minister was heading to Fallujah to meet with tribal leaders. Fallujah is at the eastern edge of Anbar, closest to Baghdad.
    The attack on al-Issawi could trigger another round of protests. Rare demonstrations by angry Sunnis on the main highway between Iraq and Syria caused disruptions over the past two weeks. Sunnis charge that the central government is discriminating against them.
    In violence in Anbar on Sunday, police said a roadside bomb exploded next to a security patrol in Fallujah, killing a 7-year-old boy who was walking near the patrol. Three policemen were wounded.
    Medics in nearby hospitals confirmed the casualty figures.
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