Saturday, February 18, 2012

DTN News - IRAN DEFENSE NEWS: Iranian Warships Enter Mediterranean Sea

DTN News - IRAN DEFENSE NEWS: Iranian Warships Enter Mediterranean Sea

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 18, 2012: Iranian ships moved through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday, the IRNA news agency reported, citing the country's navy commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayari.

Sayari said the passage through the Suez Canal was only the second made by Iranian ships since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

It follows the passage of the Iranian frigate Alvand and the supply ship Kharg on Feb. 22 last year. The ships successfully moved through the canal and then docked two days later at the Syrian port of Latakia.

Israel called last year's passage a "political provocation" and put its own navy on alert in response.

It was not known how many ships passed through the canal Saturday. However, Sayari said the ships were docked in the Saudi port city of Jeddah ahead of their passage through the canal, AFP reported.

Two Iranian ships -- the destroyer Shahid Qandi and the Kharg -- were docked in Jeddah two days ago.

DTN News - ISRAEL DEFENSE NEWS: Israel’s Decision To Buy Italian Trainer Planes Dampen T-50 Sale Efforts


DTN News - ISRAEL DEFENSE NEWS: Israel’s Decision To Buy Italian Trainer Planes Dampen T-50 Sale Efforts

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 18, 2012: Israel has decided to purchase 30 Italian-made trainer aircraft in its $1 billion procurement project, snubbing South Korea’s efforts to sell its homegrown planes overseas.

Israeli defense officials told the media on Thursday that their government had reached a preliminary deal to buy the M-346 military training planes built by the Italian firm Alenia Aermacchi. 

Israeli officials, quoted in news reports, cited the suitability of the Italian jets to the direct needs of the Israeli air force, the cost and other factors as the reason for the choice.

With support from the Seoul government, Korea Aerospace Industries, the country’s sole aircraft maker, has made aggressive efforts to sell its T-50 supersonic trainer jets to Israel. 

KAI developed the T-50 with technological assistance from the U.S. defense giant Lockheed Martin. It has a maximum speed of Mach 1.5 with a maximum range of about 1,500 kilometers.

“We have yet to receive any formal notification about Israel’s decision to purchase Italy’s trainer aircraft. I understand officials in Israel told local reporters about it,” a KAI official told The Korea Herald on condition of anonymity.

“There Israeli government did not carry out an official bidding process. We have sought to tap into the market and Israel just considered the two trainer jets. So, it is not right to say we have lost in any official competition there.”

He downplayed any negative impact from Israel’s decision on the overseas marketing efforts.

“Israel was just one of the countries to which we have sought to export our T-50. In the defense industry, there are political, diplomatic variables as well, which are apparently as important as (equipment’s) actual qualities,” he said.

Israel has long maintained strong traditional ties with Italy. Industry insiders said it was a tough battle for Seoul to overcome the limits stemming from the close relationship between the two countries.

KAI is currently seeking to sell T-50 aircraft to the U.S., Chile, the Philippines and other nations. Last May, it signed a $400 million contract with Indonesia to for 16 T-50s. 

Having developed the FA-50 light combat plane based on the T-50 platform, the firm has also been working to tap into the countries that have to replace their aging F-4 and F-5 fighters.

Experts have estimated that the global demand for trainer jets and light fighters over the next three decades will amount to around 3,300 units. KAI aims to export around 1,000 units during that period.

http://defense-technologynews.blogspot.com/2012/02/dtn-news-israel-defense-news-israels.html

DTN News - TORONTO WEATHER REPORT: Karam Seth Indicating Snowy Day For February 18, 2012

DTN News - TORONTO WEATHER REPORT: Karam Seth Indicating Snowy Day For February 18, 2012

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 18, 2012: A light dusting of snow fell in parts of Ontario on Saturday.

People in Ontario woke up to a fresh coat of snow of snow on Saturday, courtesy of a weak low pressure system that swept across the area beginning Friday night.  

 In many areas, the snowfall has been light: Toronto has seen 5 cm so far and Hamilton has seen slightly less, at 3 cm.

But that was enough to cause slippery conditions on roadways across the region in the early morning hours.

Barrie has seen significant snowfall.

The snow is coming down heavy all morning, There's more than 10 cm on the ground already, Good news for ski lovers as hundreds heading up to ski country.

An area of snow associated with a low pressure system over the Upper Great Lakes continues to spread across south-Central Ontario Late this morning and will move into Kingston midday. Snowfall amounts of 3 to 7 cm have been reported to 10 AM. Additional accumulations of 2 to 4 cm are expected with lesser amounts from the Toronto shoreline and westward. Snow will taper off from west to East through the afternoon.

Motorists planning to travel in these regions should exercise caution as visibilities could be poor in snow in some locales.

Please monitor the latest forecasts and warnings from Environment Canada at WWW.WEATHEROFFICE.GC.CA.

The public is advised to monitor future forecasts and warnings as warnings may be required or extended.

DTN News - INDIA DEFENSE NEWS: India Says It is Negotiating Contract With Dassault

DTN News - INDIA DEFENSE NEWS: India Says It is Negotiating Contract With Dassault


(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 18, 2012: India today virtually ruled out a rethink on its decision in the multi-billion dollar combat aircraft deal saying it has already started negotiating the contract with French firm Dassault Aviation in this regard.
On January 31, India had announced that the French Rafale fighter jet has emerged as the lowest bidder in the deal for procuring 126 combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) edging out its European rival EADS consortium's Eurofighter Typhoon.
"Already the Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) has started for the procurement of Rafale," Defence Minister A K Antony said here.
The Minister was asked to comment on British Prime Minister David Cameron's statement that he would ask India to rethink its decision on the deal and buy the Eurofighter Typhoon.
The CNC is formed by the Ministry to negotiate the final price of the equipment offered by the vendors.
Antony warned the officials and vendors involved in the process against indulging in any wrongdoing saying "everybody should be careful.... Nobody can corrupt India system. We will not tolerate this."
He said the contract negotiations take place for over six months and after that the deal will have to pass through eight stages.


http://defense-technologynews.blogspot.com/2012/02/dtn-news-india-defense-news-india-says.html

Friday, February 17, 2012

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated February 17, 2012

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated February 17, 2012
  
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 17, 2012: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued  February  17, 2012 are undermentioned;

CONTRACTS
AIR FORCE
           Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Rolling Meadows, Ill., is being awarded a $333,659,831 firm-fixed-price contract for an undefinitized contract action for the procurement of calendar year 2011 and calendar year 2012 large aircraft infared countermeasures hardware and associated support.  The location of the performances is Rolling Meadows, Ill.  Work is expected to be completed by Feb. 10, 2012.  Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8625-12-C-6598).

NAVY
            Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors, Syracuse, N.Y., is being awarded a not-to-exceed $45,566,659 cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract for Shipboard Mine Neutralization System-SeaFox (SMNS-SF) integration, testing and production; operational AN/SQQ-32 Airborne Mine Neutralization System-SeaFox (AMNS-SF) refurbishment and overhaul; and Atlas SeaFox neutralizer rounds delivery.  Work will be performed in Bremen, Germany (43 percent); Syracuse, N.Y. (24 percent); Virginia Beach, Va. (15 percent); Corpus Christi, Texas (14 percent); and Cincinnati, Ohio (4 percent).  Work is expected to completed by March 2013.  Contract was not competitively procured as Lockheed Martin is the sole designer, developer, and producer of the SMNS-SF and AMNS-SF systems, and is only source capable of upgrading and integrating systems with the Atlas SeaFox neutralizer onto the host platforms in the time required to meet urgent operational need.  Contract funds in the amount of $15,125,355 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-12-C-6306).

            The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $22,034,514 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-11-G-0001) for supplies and services to support follow-on test and evaluation of the F/A-18 E/F and EA-18G aircraft.  Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md. (77 percent); St. Louis, Mo. (21 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (1 percent); and Bethpage, N.Y. (1 percent).  Work is expected to be completed in February 2013.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

DTN News - PAKISTAN TODAY: Analysis ~ On Trial - Yousuf Raza Gilani

DTN News - PAKISTAN TODAY: Analysis ~ On Trial - Yousuf Raza Gilani

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 17, 2012: Yousuf Raza Gilani is creating history of sorts: With just one month to go before he completes his fourth year in office, he is already the longest serving prime minister of Pakistan. With a mix of luck, guile, compromise, concessions and even confrontation, he would expect to pull off another historical feat — of surviving his full constitutional term in office.

His chances of success appear to be slim. When the opposition took the memo issue to the Supreme Court late last year and the army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha supported a judicial probe into the affair, everyone thought time was up for Gilani and his government as well as President Asif Ali Zardari. When Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry appointed a high-powered judicial commission to probe the memo case, and followed it up with a string of contempt of court notices to senior government functionaries, including Gilani, the end was deemed nigh.

Many thought that the prime minister and other members of his ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) were making a bad situation worse by indulging in a war of words with the military. From his December 2011 speech in the National Assembly, warning that he will not allow a state within a state to exist, to his statement to the Chinese media that Kayani and Pasha acted illegally and unconstitutionally by contradicting the government version of the memo in front of the Supreme Court, Gilani was either bluffing or calling the other side’s bluff. In any case, he was certainly living dangerously.

It all now appears to have receded behind closed doors. Gilani has retracted his belligerent statements against the military and intelligence chiefs, of course, after claiming the not-so-prized scalp of the defence secretary as a face-saving measure. The memo probe appears destined for the long haul and contempt and corruption cases are subject to procedural adjournments and legal hair-splitting among the lawyers and the judges. From being on the brink only days ago, Gilani looks like he is back in charge — for the time being at least.

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Lockheed Martin’s Fighting Falcon Evolves With New F-16V

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Lockheed Martin’s Fighting Falcon Evolves With New F-16V

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 17, 2012: Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] unveiled a new version of the F-16 today at the Singapore Airshow. The F-16V will feature enhancements including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, an upgraded mission computer and architecture, and improvements to the cockpit – all capabilities identified by the U.S. Air Force and several international customers for future improvements.

With nearly 4,500 F-16s delivered, this is a natural step in the evolution of the world’s most successful 4th generation fighter.  The Fighting Falcon program has continually evolved as it began with the F-16 A/B as the lightweight fighter then transitioned to F-16 C/D and Block 60 versions as customers’ requirements changed. 

AESA radars offer significant operational capability improvements. Lockheed Martin has developed an innovative solution to affordably retrofit this key technology into existing F-16s.  The F-16V configuration is an option for new production jets and elements of the upgrade are available to most earlier-model F-16s. The “V” designation is derived from Viper, the name fighter pilots have called the F-16 from its beginnings.

“We believe this F-16V will satisfy our customers’ emerging requirements and prepare them to better interoperate with the 5th generation fighters, the F-35 and F-22,” said George Standridge, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ vice president of business development.

The F-16 is the choice of 26 nations. The F-16 program has been characterized by unprecedented international cooperation among governments, air forces and aerospace industries.

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Red Flag Exercises Start Feb. 27

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Red Flag Exercises Start Feb. 27

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 17, 2012: Red Flag Exercises are set to start again at Nellis Air Force Base.

The combat training exercises will be from February 27 through March 16. People in southern Nevada will see more military aircraft in the skies because of the exercises. It is organized by Nellis but is hosted in the Nevada Test and Training Range which is north of the city.

The 414th Combat Training Squadron is responsible for executing Red Flag. It is one of several advanced training programs through the base. During the exercises, more than 70 aircraft are scheduled to depart the base twice a day. The departures will happen around midday and again in the evening. Aircraft may remain in the air for up to eight hours.

There will be more than just personnel from Nellis Air Force Base. Airmen from around the country and the world are part of the training. People may be able to spot F-18s from the Royal Australian Air Force and GR-4s from the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom.

All of the people involved will get extensive and valuable training in planning and executing a wide-variety of combat missions.

DTN News - INDONESIA DEFENSE NEWS: Airbus Military Signs Contract With Indonesia For Nine C295 Aircraft

DTN News - INDONESIA DEFENSE NEWS: Airbus Military Signs Contract With Indonesia For Nine C295 Aircraft

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 17, 2012: Airbus Military has signed Wednesday, February 15, 2012 a firm contract with PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI) to supply nine C295 military transport aircraft for delivery to the Indonesian Ministry of Defense. The contract between PT DI and the Ministry of Defense of Indonesia was signed simultaneously, witnessed by Minister of Defense, Prof. Dr. Purnomo Yusgiantoro, and the Chief of Armed Forces, Admiral Agus Suhartono, at a ceremony at the Singapore Airshow. The Indonesian designation of the aircraft will be CN295.

The aircraft will be operated by the Indonesian Air Force throughout the vast territory of Indonesia, which includes around 17.000 islands. The aircraft will perform a variety of roles including military, logistical, humanitarian and medical evacuation missions. The first delivery is foreseen in 2012 and by summer 2014 all aircraft will have been delivered. 

Additionally, the industrial plan covers a substantial collaboration between PT DI and Airbus Military for the C295 programme, including the manufacturing of the tail empennage, rear fuselage and fuselage panels, as well as workpackages for the development of Computer Based Training systems and the creation of a service and delivery centre and a final assembly line (FAL) in Indonesia. 

“This is a proud moment for our country as well as for the Indonesian aerospace industry. The C295 provides the ideal capacity to respond to Indonesia´s current and future military and humanitarian transport needs and does so very cost-efficiently, with full participation of the Indonesian aerospace industry, creating high skilled jobs and technology transfer,” said His Excellency Prof. Dr. Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Minister of Defense of the Republic of Indonesia.  

“This contract builds on the long and excellent partnership that exists between Airbus Military and the Indonesian aerospace industry. It will provide our country with the right capability for the years to come and allows PT DI to grow its aerospace business as a tier 1 supplier. This will position PTDI on the global aerospace scene and allow us to enhance our skills and workforce,” said Dr. Budi Santoso, President and CEO of PT DI. 

“Airbus Military is honored that the Indonesian Ministry of Defense has chosen the C295 for its fleet and we look forward to continue our successful partnership with PT DI. We will ensure that we live up to this mark of confidence, which demonstrates the value that the C295 provides to the armed forces around the world”, said Domingo Urena-Raso, President and CEO of Airbus Military.

Over 85 C295s are in service today with 14 different operators. 

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Panetta Outlines U.S. Troop Changes In Europe

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Panetta Outlines U.S. Troop Changes In Europe

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 17, 2012: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta met with German Defense Minister Thomas De Maizière at the Pentagon today, as Defense Department officials announced details of planned changes in the U.S. military presence in Europe.

The Army will inactivate its Germany-based 170th and 172nd infantry brigades this year and in fiscal 2014, respectively, officials announced, as part of a change that will cut U.S. service members in Europe from about 80,000 now to about 70,000 in 2017.

"The minister understands the necessity of the shifts we are making as we work to implement our new defense strategy while meeting our fiscal responsibilities," Panetta said during a press briefing with his German counterpart.

The secretary said he and De Maizière had a productive meeting today, as they had earlier this month in both Brussels and Munich where both attended NATO defense meetings and the annual Munich Security Conference.

Panetta thanked De Maizière for his leadership both in NATO deliberations and in his nation's "very steadfast" support to the alliance-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

"Germany has been with us from the very beginning," the secretary said. "The German military plays a very important role as the lead for ISAF Regional Command North."

Germany is both a top troop contributor for ISAF and a top funding contributor for Afghan security force sustainment, he noted.

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Panetta Outlines U.S. Troop Changes In Europe

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Panetta Outlines U.S. Troop Changes In Europe

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 17, 2012: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta met with German Defense Minister Thomas De Maizière at the Pentagon today, as Defense Department officials announced details of planned changes in the U.S. military presence in Europe.

The Army will inactivate its Germany-based 170th and 172nd infantry brigades this year and in fiscal 2014, respectively, officials announced, as part of a change that will cut U.S. service members in Europe from about 80,000 now to about 70,000 in 2017.

"The minister understands the necessity of the shifts we are making as we work to implement our new defense strategy while meeting our fiscal responsibilities," Panetta said during a press briefing with his German counterpart.

The secretary said he and De Maizière had a productive meeting today, as they had earlier this month in both Brussels and Munich where both attended NATO defense meetings and the annual Munich Security Conference.

Panetta thanked De Maizière for his leadership both in NATO deliberations and in his nation's "very steadfast" support to the alliance-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

"Germany has been with us from the very beginning," the secretary said. "The German military plays a very important role as the lead for ISAF Regional Command North."

Germany is both a top troop contributor for ISAF and a top funding contributor for Afghan security force sustainment, he noted.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

DTN News - AFGHAN WAR NEWS: U.S. Marines, Afghan Police Patrol In Afghanistan's Garmsir District

DTN News - AFGHAN WAR  NEWS: U.S. Marines, Afghan Police Patrol In Afghanistan's Garmsir District

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 16, 2012:  U.S. Marines and Afghan border police off-load a CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter during Operation Shahem Tofan Eagle Storm in the Garmsir district, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 10, 2012. The Marines are assigned to Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Reece Lodder

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Panetta Cites ‘Red Lines’ Iran Should Avoid

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Panetta Cites ‘Red Lines’ Iran Should Avoid


(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 16, 2012:  The nation is open to reaching diplomatic solutions with Iran, but is keeping all options on the table in case clear-cut “red lines” are crossed, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said today.


Speaking to members of a House Appropriations subcommittee, Panetta said Iran is becoming increasingly isolated in the world.


“The international community has sent a very clear message,” he said. “We will not tolerate this. You’ve got to change your ways. You’ve got to come into the international community. You’ve got to abide by international laws, rules and regulations.”


The United States and the international community share the same concerns, Panetta noted. First, he said, “We will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.”


Panetta said intelligence reports clearly indicate that Iran continues to develop its enrichment capability; however, “intelligence does not show they’ve made the decision to proceed with developing a nuclear weapon.”


“That is the red line that would concern us and that would ensure the international community, hopefully together, would respond,” he said.


The international community also will not allow Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz, the secretary said. The strait is the only sea passage to the open ocean for petroleum-producing nations in the Persian Gulf region. Iran recently threatened to cut off access to the strait if the United States continues to maintain an aircraft carrier presence there.


Other concerns include the spread of violence, the country’s support of terrorism and its attempts to undermine other nations, Panetta added.


“All of that has been made very clear,” he said.


The international community has implemented strong diplomatic and economic sanctions that are having “a very strong impact,” he said.


“We are open … to negotiations with them to try to find a diplomatic solution to these issues, but we do keep all options on the table in the event the red lines, I just made very clear, are crossed,” Panetta said.


http://defense-technologynews.blogspot.com/2012/02/dtn-news-defense-news-panetta-cites-red.html

DTN News - MEXICO DRUGS WAR: Meth In Mexico - A Turning Point In The Drug War?

DTN News - MEXICO DRUGS WAR: Meth In Mexico - A Turning Point In The Drug War?

 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 16, 2012: Mexican authorities announced Feb. 8 the largest seizure of methamphetamine in Mexican history -- and possibly the largest ever anywhere -- on a ranch outside of Guadalajara. The total haul was 15 tons of pure methamphetamine along with a laboratory capable of producing all the methamphetamine seized. While authorities are not linking the methamphetamine to any specific criminal group, Guadalajara is a known stronghold of the Sinaloa Federation, and previous seizures there have been connected to the group. 

 Methamphetamine, a synthetic drug manufactured in personal labs for decades, is nothing new in Mexico or the United States. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has led numerous crusades against the drug, increasing regulations on its ingredients to try to keep it from gaining a foothold in the United States. While the DEA's efforts have succeeded in limiting production of the drug in the United States, consumption has risen steadily over the past two decades. The increasing DEA pressure on U.S. suppliers and the growing demand for methamphetamine have driven large-scale production of the drug outside the borders of the United States. Given Mexico's proximity and the pervasiveness of organized criminal elements seeking new markets, it makes sense that methamphetamine would be produced on an industrial scale there. Indeed, Mexico has provided an environment for a scale of production far greater than anything ever seen in the United States. 

But last week's methamphetamine seizure sheds light on a deeper shift in organized criminal activity in Mexico -- one that could mark a breakthrough in the violent stalemate that has existed between the Sinaloa Federation, Los Zetas and the government for the past five years and has led to an estimated 50,000 deaths. It also reveals a pattern in North American organized crime activity that can be seen throughout the 20th century as well as a business opportunity that could transform criminal groups in Mexico from the drug trafficking intermediaries they are today to controllers of an independent and profitable illicit market. 

While the trafficking groups in Mexico are commonly called "cartels" (even Stratfor uses the term), they are not really cartels. A cartel is a combination of groups cooperating to control the supply of a commodity. The primary purpose of a cartel is to set the price of a commodity so that buyers cannot negotiate lower prices. The current conflict in Mexico over cocaine and marijuana smuggling routes shows that there are deep rifts between rival groups like the Sinaloa Federation and Los Zetas. There is no sign that they are cooperating with each other to set the price of cocaine or marijuana. Also, since most of the Mexican criminal groups are involved in a diverse array of criminal activities, their interests go beyond drug trafficking. They are perhaps most accurately described as "transnational criminal organizations" (TCOs), the label currently favored by the DEA.

DTN News - AFGHAN WAR NEWS: U.S.-Taliban Talks Only "Exploratory" Says Afghan Envoy

DTN News - AFGHAN WAR  NEWS: U.S.-Taliban Talks Only "Exploratory" Says Afghan Envoy

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 16, 2012:  The Afghan Taliban and the United States have made only "exploratory" contacts for possible reconciliation which do not involve the Kabul government, the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan said on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal said that the U.S. and Afghan governments had begun secret three-way talks with the Taliban, based on an interview it conducted with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

"I must emphasize that word 'exploratory'. They are not talks," Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Umar Daudzai told Reuters.

"When there's talks, it's supposed to be between the Afghan government and the Taliban. We have not reached to that stage although we wish to reach to that stage."

The Wall Street Journal quoted Karzai as saying the Taliban were "definitively" interested in a peace settlement to end the 10-year war in Afghanistan, and that all three sides were now involved in discussions.

It said Karzai had declined to specify the location of the talks or go into further detail, saying he feared this could damage the process.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also said the group had not held talks with the Karzai government.

The Afghan Taliban announced last month it would open a political office in Qatar, suggesting the group may be willing to engage in negotiations that could likely give it government positions or official control over much of its historical southern heartland.

"At a high level, (there are) secret talks and American-Taliban talks. I'm not aware of any other than the Qatar process," said Daudzai.

"The Qatar process is exploratory contacts between Taliban and the United States."

The Afghan ambassador said the Kabul government's contacts with the Taliban were limited to communications between low-level officials and local insurgent commanders.

Washington wants to accelerate contacts with the Taliban so it can announce serious peace negotiations at a NATO summit in May, officials say, in what would be a welcome bright spot in Western efforts to end the war in Afghanistan.

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: International Armoured Vehicles Conference Features the Oshkosh Defense M-ATV Tactical Ambulance

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: International Armoured Vehicles Conference Features the Oshkosh Defense M-ATV Tactical Ambulance

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 16, 2012:  The Oshkosh Defense® M-ATV tactical ambulance will be on display Feb. 20-23 in booth B50 at the International Armoured Vehicles Conference in Farnborough, United Kingdom. Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), designed the M-ATV tactical ambulance to meet an international need for a more protected battlefield ambulance with advanced off-road capabilities.

The vehicle is the latest variant within the Oshkosh MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) family. More than 8,100 life-saving M-ATVs are currently fielded in Afghanistan.

“We’re bringing our M-ATV tactical ambulance to the International Armoured Vehicles Conference to showcase the modularity of the M-ATV platform and breadth of the family of vehicles,” said Serge Buchakjian, senior vice president and general manager of International Programs for Oshkosh Defense. “The M-ATV is a proven solution for armed forces looking to modernize their fleets with increased off-road mobility and protection across a variety of missions.”

The Oshkosh M-ATV tactical ambulance is designed to help military medics reach and treat casualties in hostile environments across rugged terrain. Quick and easy stretcher loading enables prompt extraction of patients, and the best-in-class Oshkosh TAK-4® independent suspension system can cover tougher terrain at higher speeds than current fleets.

A fully functional ambulance, the M-ATV tactical ambulance has mounting provisions that provide options for a complete suite of medical equipment. The vehicle is available in two configurations that provide ample room to treat two patients on stretchers or four ambulatory patients.

The tactical ambulance is the newest configuration in the M-ATV family of vehicles, which is designed to maximize parts commonality and simplify maintenance and support.

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: International Armoured Vehicles Conference Features the Oshkosh Defense M-ATV Tactical Ambulance

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: International Armoured Vehicles Conference Features the Oshkosh Defense M-ATV Tactical Ambulance

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 16, 2012:  The Oshkosh Defense® M-ATV tactical ambulance will be on display Feb. 20-23 in booth B50 at the International Armoured Vehicles Conference in Farnborough, United Kingdom. Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), designed the M-ATV tactical ambulance to meet an international need for a more protected battlefield ambulance with advanced off-road capabilities.

The vehicle is the latest variant within the Oshkosh MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) family. More than 8,100 life-saving M-ATVs are currently fielded in Afghanistan.

“We’re bringing our M-ATV tactical ambulance to the International Armoured Vehicles Conference to showcase the modularity of the M-ATV platform and breadth of the family of vehicles,” said Serge Buchakjian, senior vice president and general manager of International Programs for Oshkosh Defense. “The M-ATV is a proven solution for armed forces looking to modernize their fleets with increased off-road mobility and protection across a variety of missions.”

The Oshkosh M-ATV tactical ambulance is designed to help military medics reach and treat casualties in hostile environments across rugged terrain. Quick and easy stretcher loading enables prompt extraction of patients, and the best-in-class Oshkosh TAK-4® independent suspension system can cover tougher terrain at higher speeds than current fleets.

A fully functional ambulance, the M-ATV tactical ambulance has mounting provisions that provide options for a complete suite of medical equipment. The vehicle is available in two configurations that provide ample room to treat two patients on stretchers or four ambulatory patients.

The tactical ambulance is the newest configuration in the M-ATV family of vehicles, which is designed to maximize parts commonality and simplify maintenance and support.

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: International Armoured Vehicles Conference Features the Oshkosh Defense M-ATV Tactical Ambulance

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: International Armoured Vehicles Conference Features the Oshkosh Defense M-ATV Tactical Ambulance

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 16, 2012:  The Oshkosh Defense® M-ATV tactical ambulance will be on display Feb. 20-23 in booth B50 at the International Armoured Vehicles Conference in Farnborough, United Kingdom. Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), designed the M-ATV tactical ambulance to meet an international need for a more protected battlefield ambulance with advanced off-road capabilities.

The vehicle is the latest variant within the Oshkosh MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) family. More than 8,100 life-saving M-ATVs are currently fielded in Afghanistan.

“We’re bringing our M-ATV tactical ambulance to the International Armoured Vehicles Conference to showcase the modularity of the M-ATV platform and breadth of the family of vehicles,” said Serge Buchakjian, senior vice president and general manager of International Programs for Oshkosh Defense. “The M-ATV is a proven solution for armed forces looking to modernize their fleets with increased off-road mobility and protection across a variety of missions.”

The Oshkosh M-ATV tactical ambulance is designed to help military medics reach and treat casualties in hostile environments across rugged terrain. Quick and easy stretcher loading enables prompt extraction of patients, and the best-in-class Oshkosh TAK-4® independent suspension system can cover tougher terrain at higher speeds than current fleets.

A fully functional ambulance, the M-ATV tactical ambulance has mounting provisions that provide options for a complete suite of medical equipment. The vehicle is available in two configurations that provide ample room to treat two patients on stretchers or four ambulatory patients.

The tactical ambulance is the newest configuration in the M-ATV family of vehicles, which is designed to maximize parts commonality and simplify maintenance and support.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: U.S. Marine Corps To Receive More Than 200 Oshkosh LVSRs

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: U.S. Marine Corps To Receive More Than 200 Oshkosh LVSRs

 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 15, 2012: Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), will deliver more than 140 Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR) cargo trucks and nearly 70 LVSR tractors for the U.S. Marine Corps following an order from the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command. The LVSR was first fielded in Afghanistan in 2009 and has quickly proven itself as the Marines’ new heavy-payload platform, delivering improvements in mobility, protection and performance.

"Our ongoing commitment to internal innovation at Oshkosh allows us to design, upgrade and sustain highly advanced vehicles like the LVSR and ensure military fleets remain in sync with evolving challenges in theater," said John Bryant, vice president and general manager of Joint and Marine Corps Programs for Oshkosh Defense. "The LVSR’s advanced design allows it to accept protection upgrades and perform missions that are above and beyond what the original vehicle requirements called for."

The LVSR cargo variant is used in even the most challenging terrain to transport a wide range of supplies and materials, including ammunition, fuel containers, bridging equipment, flatracks and ISO containers. The LVSR tractor variant is designed to haul combat vehicles, semi-trailers and other equipment. It has a fifth-wheel vertical-loading capacity of 25.3 tons and a recovery winch with a 30-ton capacity.

The LVSR is produced in three variants – cargo, wrecker and tractor – and is used in tandem with the medium-payload, Oshkosh-built Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR). The LVSR is equipped with the Oshkosh Command Zone™ embedded diagnostics system to provide real-time performance feedback on major vehicle systems, including the engine, transmission and brakes. The vehicle also uses the company’s patented TAK-4® independent suspension system for off-road mobility in severe landscapes.

The order is valued at more than $94 million and work is expected to be completed in September 2013. Oshkosh to date has received orders for more than 2,000 LVSRs.

DTN News - AUSTRALIAN DEFENSE NEWS: Royal Australian Air Force Super Hornets To Receive New Air Combat Training System

DTN News -  AUSTRALIAN DEFENSE NEWS: Royal Australian Air Force Super Hornets To Receive New Air Combat Training System

 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 15, 2012: Cubic Defense Applications, Inc., a defense systems business of Cubic Corporation CUB -0.12%, has received a new contract valued at more than $11 million. Cubic and its principal subcontractor, DRS Training and Control Systems LLC, a unit of DRS Defense Solutions LLC, will provide the P5 Tactical Combat Training System (P5TCTS) to the Royal Australian Air Force for use in training F/A-18F Super Hornet crews.

"This new system represents a step forward for the RAAF," said Michael Rodriguez, Senior Program Manager, Air Ranges. "Australia currently operates a fourth generation Cubic air combat training system at RAAF Base Williamtown for training on its F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. The RAAF decided to purchase the fifth generation P5TCTS for use on its newest F/A-18F aircraft operating at RAAF Base Amberley. This new system will allow for interoperability with the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft that the RAAF is planning to purchase in the near future. All F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for Australia will be delivered with an on-board, internal P5 airborne subsystem."

P5TCTS for the Super Hornet will be delivered in late 2012 to RAAF Base Amberley near Brisbane, Queensland. Amberley was previously home to the RAAF's F-111 aircraft, which were recently retired from service and were replaced with two squadrons of F/A-18F Super Hornets. The RAAF's new P5TCTS will be very similar to the current U.S. Navy TCTS system and will include airborne instrumentation pods built by principal subcontractor DRS, transportable ground systems with live monitor, and portable ground subsystems, which includes Cubic's Individual Combat Aircrew Display System (ICADS) software for debriefing. For this effort Cubic, has also been contracted to provide software and hardware to ensure that the legacy Cubic-developed Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (ACMI) system operating at Williamtown will be able to "merge data" to allow for postmission debriefing between the Classic Hornet and Super Hornet aircrews.

DTN News - BRAZIL DEFENSE NEWS: Brazil "Very Likely" To Choose French Fighter - Sources


DTN News - BRAZIL DEFENSE NEWS: Brazil "Very Likely" To Choose French Fighter - Sources


 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 15, 2012: Brazil is "very likely" to choose France's Rafale fighter jet to refurbish its air force, government sources say, a decision that would award one of the emerging-market world's most coveted defense contracts to a jet whose future was in doubt only two weeks ago.


President Dilma Rousseff and her top advisers believe that Dassault Aviation's (AVMD.PA) bid to sell at least 36 Rafales offers the best terms among the three finalists, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.


The other two bidders in the competition are U.S.-based Boeing (BA.N) with its F-18 Super Hornet and Sweden's Saab (SAABb.ST) with its Gripen.


Rousseff has cast the deal as a watershed decision that will help mold Brazil's military and strategic alliances for the next few decades as it establishes itself as a leading economic power. The contract will have an initial value of about $4 billion, but will likely be worth considerably more over time once maintenance and follow-on orders are included.


Rousseff previously had concerns about the Rafale because the jet had not found any buyers outside France. That raised doubts about whether Dassault would have the scale necessary to build the jets at a reasonable cost and maintain them over time.


The sources said Rousseff's concerns were assuaged when India announced on January 31 that it had entered exclusive talks to buy 126 Rafales. Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim traveled to New Delhi last week to discuss the deal with Indian officials and examine documents related to Dassault's bid.


http://defense-technologynews.blogspot.com/2012/02/dtn-news-brazil-defense-news-brazil_15.html

DTN News - SWISS DEFENSE NEWS: Saab Gripen Is The Preferred Choice For Switzerland DTN News - SWISS DEFENSE NEWS: Saab Gripen Is The Preferred Choice For Switzerland

DTN News - SWISS DEFENSE NEWS: Saab Gripen Is The Preferred Choice For Switzerland

 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 15, 2012:  After an initial evaluation document reached media, the Swiss Defence Minister Ueli Maurer called for a press conference 

(http://www.vbs.admin.ch/internet/vbs/de/home/documentation/news/news_detail.43408.nsb.html) to comment on the rumors that Gripen would not meet the Swiss Air Force requirements. Today, the Swiss defence authorities reconfirmed Gripen as the optimal solution for Switzerland.

On 30 November 2011, the Swiss Federal Council selected the Gripen E/F as preferred candidate to replace their present F-5 aircraft. Saab and Sweden are now in negotiations with Switzerland, optimizing the complete package and preparing for the acquisition of Gripen E/F.

Saab is confident that the Gripen package gives Switzerland what it needs in all areas, particularly in terms of a fighter that delivers the best price-to-performance ratio with a long-term and agreed development path. Saab is committed to deliver a comprehensive Industrial Package that delivers long-term benefits to all of society. The acquisition of Gripen will further strengthen the partnership between Switzerland and Sweden.

Gripen, in operational service with five air forces, is an unquestionable capable fighter system that delivers its tasks. It is a new generation, multi-role fighter aircraft which uses state-of-the-art technology. It is capable of performing an extensive range of Air-to-Air, Air-to-Surface and reconnaissance missions employing the most modern range of weapons. Gripen has been part of NATO’s QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) organization since 2005. The operating air forces have participated with Gripen in several large, international exercises (including two Red Flag exercises in the US) with very good result.

With approximately 2,000 flight hours in combat missions over Libya and delivery of close to 40 per cent of the total need of Tactical Reconnaissance in the NATO operation Unified Protector, Gripen is a very capable fighter aircraft.

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Pratt & Whitney Eyes Asia Growth To Offset F-35 DelaysDTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Pratt & Whitney Eyes Asia Growth To Offset F-35 Delays

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS:  Pratt & Whitney Eyes Asia Growth To Offset F-35 Delays

 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada / SINGAPORE - February 15, 2012: U.S. aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney seeks to increase its post-sales operations, especially in Asia, to mitigate the impact of the U.S slowing its procurement of the F-35 fighter jets, President David Hess said Tuesday.

The maker of engines for the F-35 jet and a unit of conglomerate United Technologies Corp. (UTX), Pratt & Whitney is also experiencing slowing engine sales for older aircraft models, but "we've got other opportunities out there to try and fill the gap," such as by increasing after-sales repair and engineering work, and original equipment manufacturing, Hess told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview.

The U.S. intends to slow the pace of its F-35 procurement program as part of plans to slash a burgeoning deficit, even as some foreign buyers of the fighter--such as the U.K. and Italy--have signaled reductions to their orders. At the same time, Pratt & Whitney is "seeing engine delivery rates declining for some of the legacy programs, like the F-22 (fighter jet), C-17 (transport aircraft), and the F-15s and F-16s (fighters)," Hess said on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow.

The company also plans to expand its other business segments, including securing more maintenance and repair tie-ups with airlines and military clients.

It announced Tuesday at the Singapore Airshow a number of such deals, such as one with Asiana Airlines Inc. (020560.SE) to maintain engines for three of the carrier's jets, and another to provide engine maintenance for the Royal Jordanian Air Force's F-16 fighters. Pratt & Whitney also secured a contract to provide engines for Korean Air Lines Co.'s (003490.SE) five new Airbus A330 aircraft.

"We see our headcount in Asia Pacific growing significantly in the next five to ten years, particularly as we start to deliver our next generation engines and need more support here," Hess said.

The company has about 4,000 employees in Singapore, China and India, and Hess said headcount growth for this region would be "disproportionately" higher compared to that in North America, declining to give specific figures.

Commercial aviation will be Pratt & Whitney's main well of growth in this region, although military spending could also tick higher amid shifting geopolitical stakes as China expands its armed forces.

"I don't think (growth in military expenditure) will be to the same extent as we see in commercial aviation, as the military opportunities are distributed across the world," Hess said.

"But certainly we're seeing opportunities in Asia, with Japan ordering the F-35, and Singapore being a security partner on the program, and with South Korea and possibly other Asia-Pacific countries looking at acquiring aircraft," he added.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: U.S. DoD Awarded Contract To Boeing For 32 CH-47F New Build Cargo Helicopters

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: U.S. DoD Awarded Contract To Boeing For 32 CH-47F New Build Cargo Helicopters

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 14, 2012: The Boeing Co., Ridley Park, Pa., was awarded a $676,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract.  The award will provide for the modification of an existing contract to procure 32 CH-47F new build cargo helicopters. 

 Work will be performed in Ridley Park, Pa., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2015.  

One bid was solicited, with one bid received.  

The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0098).

DTN News - AFGHAN WAR NEWS: Combined Force Captures 2 Taliban Leaders

DTN News - AFGHAN WAR NEWS: Combined Force Captures 2 Taliban Leaders

 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 14, 2012: An Afghan and coalition security force captured two Taliban leaders and a suspected insurgent during an operation in the Maidan Shar district of Afghanistan’s Wardak province today, military officials reported.

Both captured Taliban leaders directed attacks against Afghan government officials, and acquired and built improvised explosive devices for use in attacks, officials said.

In other Afghanistan operations today:

-- A combined force in Helmand province’s Musa Qal’ah district captured a Taliban leader who coordinated direct-fire and roadside-bomb attacks in the Musa Qal’ah and Sangin districts.

-- In the Shinwar district of Nangarhar province, a combined force captured a Taliban facilitator who distributed explosives, firearms and ammunition to insurgents throughout the province.