Lockheed Martin Receives $6.3 Million Contract to Support MK 41 Vertical Launching System for U.S. and Turkish Navies

January 15th, 2009, BALTIMORE, MD -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] recently received a $6.3 million contract modification from the U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to provide engineering support services for MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) work on the U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga Class guided missile cruiser modernization program and the Turkish navy’s MEKO Track IIA and IIB frigates.

The latest MK 41 VLS baseline VII launch control system combines commercial off-the-shelf technologies and open architecture software elements. Originally designed by Lockheed Martin in the early 1980s, MK 41 VLS has gone through numerous system upgrades and baseline improvements to introduce new capabilities, integrate new missiles and lower the total cost of ownership.

“The MK 41 is the world’s most reliable below-deck, multi-mission naval missile launching system with a launch success rate of more than 99 percent,” said Dan Schultz, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Integrated Defense Technologies line of business. “The flexibility and open system architecture of the MK 41 VLS baseline VII enables Lockheed Martin to maintain and continuously upgrade its customer’s systems as technology evolves. We have already demonstrated baseline VII’s portability to other computer processors and operating systems, and we are ready for the next generation tactical computing environment fielded for the Navy’s DDG Modernization and CG(X) programs.”

The recent contract modification was to the MK 41 VLS Design Agent Contract originally awarded in 2004. The work will be performed at Lockheed Martin’s locations in Baltimore, MD and Ventura, CA.

The multi-missile, multi-mission MK 41 launcher has revolutionized the way world navies think about sea-launched weapons. No other naval missile launcher is capable of firing missiles for every threat in naval warfare, including anti-air, anti-submarine, ship self-defense, land attack and ballistic missile defense. More than 11,000 MK 41 VLS missile cells have been delivered or are on order. MK41 VLS systems are either in service or on order by 12 navies around the world for 186 ships in 19 different ship classes. (Lockheedmartin.com)

Gaza

Israel phosphorous bombs keep going to Gaza


January 17, 2009 --Israel continues its offensive on Gaza for a 22nd consecutive day, pounding the Zaytun district of Gaza City with white phosphorous bombs.

Hamas affiliated Al-Aqsa television reported on Saturday that many residential buildings have been hit by Israeli phosphorous bombs in the Zaytun district.

The Israeli phosphorous bombs also hit a UN school in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza early Saturday. According to medics and witnesses, the strike on the school, where civilians were sheltering from the fighting, has claimed the lives of a woman and a child, injuring eleven others.

Meanwhile, several explosions were heard as the Israeli army's apache helicopters flew over Gaza and their tanks hit various locations in the outskirts of Gaza city.

The Israeli forces have also hit two more mosques in the Gaza City.

Different positions in the city have been targeted by Israeli forces since early Saturday.

Tel Aviv has escalated its bombing campaign on the besieged coastal strip as its ground forces met a fierce resistance from Palestinian fighters.

The Israeli military denies using the weapon against civilians, saying it is using white phosphorus shells only to create smokescreens to allow its ground forces to operate.

On January 11, Human Rights Watch announced that Israel had fired artillery shells with the incendiary agent white phosphorus into Gaza.

Since the start of the US-backed Israeli offensive against Gazans on December 27, at least 1,188 Palestinians have been killed and more than 5,300 others wounded -- a large number of whom are civilians.

Tel Aviv says it launched the aggression against Gaza to put an end to rocket attacks against the Israeli towns.

The deadly Israeli onslaught has so far failed to stop Palestinian rocket attacks.

The Palestinian democratically-elected government of Hamas demands a cessation of an 18-month Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip before its fighters suspend the rocket attacks.

The coastal strip has been under a tight Israeli blockade after the movement won an overwhelming victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections. The Israeli blockade forbids the entry of basic supplies including food, fuel, medicine, turning the Strip into an “open prison”.(HRF/DT/PRESS TV)

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'Hamas destroys two Israeli tanks'

The remains of a destroyed Israeli tank lies in Gaza city.

January 17, 2009 --The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas has destroyed two Israeli tanks near the abandoned settlement of Netsarim in the Gaza Strip.

"The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades have destroyed two tanks in the Al-Mughraqa neighborhood in the center of the Gaza Strip," Al-Aqsa TV station reported on Saturday.

The Hamas-run station added that the military wing of Hamas has also detonated three bombs near a convoy of Israeli military vehicles in the same neighborhood.

The report did not elaborate on the possible casualties or damage.(MT/DT/PRESS TV)

Bradley First U.S. Navy Ship to Visit Bata, Equatorial Guinea

USS Robert G Bradley (FFG 49) (Photo: Bradley.navy.mil)

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) became the first U.S. Navy ship to anchor in Bata, Equatorial Guinea while conducting Africa Partnership Station (APS) initiative Jan. 15.

APS is a an ongoing U.S. Navy-led multinational effort aimed at strengthening emerging partnerships in West and Central Africa to increase regional and maritime safety and security.


Sailors assigned to the guided-missile frigate USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) teach firefighting techniques to Sailors from the Equatorial Guinean Navy. (Photo: Navy.mil)

"APS is a year-round ongoing effort, and this is a great opportunity to continue the program and the U.S. Navy's long-term commitment to our partners," said Cmdr. Clinton A. Carroll, commanding officer of Robert G. Bradley. "The crew just completed a great visit to Malabo and is ready to work with other members of the military here in Bata. We're building relationships that are the bedrock of maritime safety and security in the region."

While Bradley is the first U.S. Navy ship to pull into Bata, there have been other ship visits to Equatorial Guinea; to include the US Coast Guard Cutter Dallas (WHEC 716) and USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) who visited the capital, Malabo, in the first part of 2008.

US Coast Guard Cutter Dallas (WHEC 716) (Photo: uscg.mil)

During the visit, Bradley crewmembers will conduct workshops on damage control, firefighting and automated identification system with local military members promoting maritime safety and security.

In addition to training, the ship will host a flight deck reception for distinguished Equatorial Guinean visitors to develop relationships and promote regional cooperation.

Bradley is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate homeported in Mayport, Fla. and is on a regularly scheduled deployment to the 6th Fleet area of responsibility. (By Specialist 1st Class(SW) Gary Keen/navy.mil)

Satu Sukhoi Tiba di Indonesia

17 Januari 2009, Jakarta -- Satu pesawat jet tempur Sukhoi TNI Angkatan Udara (AU) tiba di Pangkalan Udara (Lanud) Sultan Hasanuddin, Makassar, Sulawesi Selatan.

Satu pesawat diterbangkan dari Rusia menggunakan pesawat angkut Antonov AH-124-100 dan tiba di Lanud Sultan Hasanuddin, Makassar, Sabtu sekitar pukul 11.10 Wib, kata Komandan Wing 5 Lanud Kolonel Pnb Arif Mustofa kepada ANTARA di Jakarta, Sabtu.

Kedatangan satu Sukhoi jenis SU-30MK2 itu, disaksikan oleh Kepala Proyek Sukhoi TNI AU Kolonel Mahandono, Komandan Lanud Sultan Hasanuddin Marsekal Pertama I Putu Dunia, Komandan Skadron Udara 11 Letkol Pnb Iko Putra, dan Komandan Wing 5 Lanud Kolonel Pnb Arif Mustofa.

Perusahaan Rusia penghasil pesawat tempur Sukhoi pada 21 Agustus 2007 mengumumkan penjualan enam pesawat tempur tersebut kepada Indonesia senilai sekitar 300 juta dolar AS (Rp2,85 triliun).

Enam pesawat Sukhoi itu terdiri atas tiga Sukhoi SU-30MK2 dan tiga SU-27SKM, yang akan melengkapi empat pesawat Sukhoi yang telah dimiliki TNI AU sejak September 2003.

Dengan kedatangan satu pesawat Sukhoi SU-30MK2 tersebut, maka TNI AU kini telah memiliki tiga SU-30MK2 (dua unit telah tiba pada 26 Desember 2008) yang akan melengkapi empat Sukhoi yang sudah dimiliki TNI AU sejak September 2003.

Penandatanganan nota kesepahaman pengadaan enam pesawat Sukhoi itu dilaksanakan pada 21 Agustus 2007. Pesawat tempur Sukhoi tersebut menggantikan peran pesawat A-4 Skyhawk dan berbasis di Skadron Udara 11 Pangkalan Udara Sultan Hassanuddin, Makassar, Sulawesi Selatan.

Rencananya tiga unit Sukhoi SU-30MK2 akan diserahkan kepada Pemerintah Rusia kepada Indonesia pada akhir Januari 2009, setelah ketiga pesawat menjalani serangkaian uji terbang dan dinyatakan siap untuk digunakan.

Seiring penambahan pesawat, matra udara akan menambah pilot pesawat berjuluk Flanker itu.

"Idealnya, jumlah penerbang satu setengah kali jumlah pesawat," kata Kepala Dinas Penerangan TNI AU Marsma Chaeruddin Ray. Artinya, pada 2010 setidaknya dibutuhkan 15 penerbang pesawat berjuluk Flanker itu.

Mulai tahun depan pihaknya akan melakukan penjajakan terhadap beberapa penerbang tempur TNI AU seperti F-5E Tiger dan F-16 Fighting Falcon. Syaratnya, minimal telah mengantongi 200 jam terbang.

TNI AU tampaknya tak ingin main-main mencari pengawak pesawat canggih tersebut. Dari tujuh pilot yang ada, yakni Letkol Iko, Mayor Dedy Ilham, Mayor David Yohan Tamboto, Mayor Yosta Riza, Mayor Tonny Haryono, Mayor Untung Suropati, dan Letkol Andi Kustoro, semuanya sudah mengantongi lebih dari 2.000 jam terbang. Bahkan, Oktober lalu, empat penerbang Sukhoi juga telah menjalani simulasi Sukhoi di China guna memantapkan kemampuan pilot Sukhoi yang sudah ada. (AntaraJatim.Com/JurnalNasional.Com)

Scania to deliver 91 trucks to the Finnish Defence Forces

Scania G 480 8x8 truck with hook-lift for defence applications.
(Photo:
Defpro.com/Frank Van Donge)


January 16, 2009 -- According to a recently concluded purchasing agreement, Scania has been commissioned to supply 91 trucks to the Finnish Defence Forces during 2009 and 2010. The deal also includes a five-year repair and maintenance agreement and an option for another 197 vehicles within a 4-year period.

During 2008, Scania won several orders from the Finnish Defence Forces: 21 all-wheel-drive off-road trucks in July and earlier in the year an order from the Finnish Border Guard for 26 engines powering 13 new patrol boats.

Scania has supplied around 200 trucks to the Finnish Defence Forces during the past 10 years and Scania’s Finnish subsidiary, Oy Scan-Auto Ab, recently signed a deal for a six-year repair and maintenance agreement covering vehicles already delivered. (Scania.com)

Finland to replace its Russian Surface-To-Air Missiles

The Finnish's BUK M1 AA missile system is intended to combat not only aircraft and helicopters but cruise missiles too. (Photo tietokannat.mil.fi)

January 16, 2009 -- The Finnish military is considering replacing its Russian-made surface-to-air missile system, STT Finnish government news today reported quoting national daily Helsingin Sanomat reported Friday.

The paper added that the € 400 million replacement system would be completely NATO compliant.

However, the Finnish defence ministry did not comment the report.

The Finnish Defence Forces took delivery of three batteries of the 9K37M system as repayment of Soviet-era debt in 1996 and 1997.

Finnish weekly Suomen Kuvalehti had reported in March last year that the current system, meant to protect the capital region, was vulnerable to scrambling. (Defpro.com)

£90m contracts for work on carriers

Artist's impression of the Future Carrier [Picture: MOD]

January 16, 2009 -- £90m worth of contracts have been announced for steelwork, modular cabins, galley equipment and other components for the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers, HM Ships Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales.

The key contracts announced today, Friday 16 January 2009, which are expected to sustain some 190 jobs nationwide at peak production, include:

• £50m for steelwork for bow sections of the two carriers, to be carried out at Babcock's Appledore Shipyard in Devon, sustaining some 150 jobs at peak production;

• Galley equipment, £3.4m, Kempsafe Ltd (Southampton);

• Modular cabins and wet spaces, £23m, McGill Services Ltd, sustaining about 40 jobs at peak production (Billingham, County Durham);

• Furniture to be installed throughout the ships, £4.4m, McGill Services Ltd;

• Windows, £1.3m, Tex Special Projects Ltd (Ipswich);

• Doors and hatches, £3.9m, McGeoch Marine Ltd (Inchinnan, Renfrewshire);

• Aircraft electrical supplies equipment, £4m, Ultra Electronics PMES (Rugeley, Staffs).

Early steelwork for the bow unit of Queen Elizabeth commenced in Appledore in December.

Today's announcements form part of the £3bn manufacture contract, which was awarded by MOD to the Aircraft Carrier Alliance in July 2008.

The Aircraft Carrier Alliance – a single integrated team formed from BVT Surface Fleet, BAE Systems Marine, Babcock, Thales UK and MOD – will deliver the carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. (Edited: mod.uk)

Death toll 1133 Palestinian civilians, Israel tanks withdraw from Tel Al-Hawa after 16 tanks were destroyed by resistanc

An Israeli armored vehicle (Xinhua Photo)

January 16, 2009 --Israeli tanks withdrew on Friday from the Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City after 24 hours of constant shelling, leaving behind the corpses of Palestinian civilians (women and children).

The incursion into Tel Al-Hawa was the farthest Israeli forces have entered into Gaza City since the beginning of the offensive. While in Tel Al-Hawa, Israeli forces attacked a Red Crescent hospital, setting it on fire.

Witnesses also reported that Israeli soldiers invaded residential buildings, ordering locals to leave. Hundreds fled to other parts of the city.

Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers seized a number of residents, abducting them as they left the area and used them as a human shields.

Mu’awiya Hassanein, the director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Ministry of Health, reported from Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City that at least 23 people had been killed in the Tel Al-Hawa invasion.

Hassanein said the overall death toll has reached 1,133. Another 5,150 have been injured.

Al Qassam Brigades and the Palestinian resistance announced that they destroyed more sixteen tanks in hard clashes as a response to the Israel invasion to the area.

Separately, in the southern Gaza Strip, medical officials said that 14-year-old Issa Ermelat was killed when Israeli forces shelled the area near the near An-Nejma market in Ash-Shaboura refugee camp in the city of Rafah. Another person was injured in the attack.

At Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, medics said that 22-year-old Mamdouh Abdel Latif Abu Rock was seriously injured by Israel forces in the town of Abassan. Before dawn on Friday, the Israeli air force said it attacked 40 targets across the Gaza Strip, including a mosque. (Edited: alqassam.ps)


India Upgrading Fighters for Strike Capabilities

MIG27 (Photo Migavia.ru)

Jauary 15, 2009 -- India is upgrading its MiG-27 fighters to sharpen their strike capabilities, officials said on Wednesday, even as experts say the recent Mumbai attacks have exposed the country's need to modernise its defence forces.

Although the upgrade was planned well ahead of the attacks, officials said the defence ministry wants to speed up modernisation of its forces to tackle any future security threat.

The upgrading comes at a time when tension runs high with Pakistan over Mumbai and India is saying it has all options open to deal with 'terror outfits' in Pakistan.

India is spending $92m to develop the fighters with precise navigational equipment, better weapons aiming and accurate ranging sensors for hitting ground targets.

"The hardware and avionics bit has already been fitted into 40 fighters, and the software is being loaded now," Suranjan Pal, a senior Defence Research and Development Organisation official, told Reuters.

With the upgrading, the MiG fighters would last for another ten years and have autopilot and auto weapon delivery facilities, a senior Indian Air Force official said.

India is looking to spend $30bn on imports over the next five years to modernise its largely Soviet-era arms and is also trying to strengthen its navy by introducing new weapons systems.

The MiG-27 aircraft was originally built in the former Soviet Union in the mid-1970s before it was licenced to be produced in India.

India, fast becoming one of the world's biggest arms importers, wants to modernise its air force, the fourth largest in the world, to cope with possible security threats in the region, security experts said.

"This is something more than meets the eye, India is now very keen to signal to all the people that are monitoring the country that it is modernising its defence units," C. Uday Bhaskar, a strategic affairs expert told Reuters. "It seems we are now putting all the pieces together."

India is also considering upgrading of its other fighter fleet, including Mirage 2000s, Jaguars and MiG 29s, ahead of procuring the new generation Sukhoi-30MKIs, officials said.

It has also invited bids for a contract to supply 126 multi-role fighter jets, potentially worth more than $10bn. (By Bappa Majumdar, Reuters. naval-technology.com)

Hendry Berhasil Terbang Solo F-5 Tiger II

16 Januari 2009 -- Satu lagi pilot tempur dari Skadron Udara 14 Lanud Iswahjudi berhasil terbang solo, Kamis (15/1) yaitu Letda Pnb Hendry Yulavitra Yustianto dengan pesawat F-5E/Tiger II. Momen penting tersebut ditandai dengan acara Tradisi pemecahan telur di kepala yang bersangkutan, oleh Komandan Lanud Iswahjudi Marsekal Pertama TNI Bambang Samoedro, S.Sos.

Dengan berhasilnya Hendry menerbangkan pesawat tempur F-5 secara mandiri (terbang solo) maka kekuatan pilot Skadron Udara 14 Lanud Iswahjudi, Magetan, Jawa Timur bertambah, juga sebagai bukti proses regenerasi terus berjalan, sekalipun ditengah kondisi jumlah kesiapan dan jam terbang pesawat yang terbatas.

Letda Pnb Hendry pemuda asli Magetan yang Alumnus SMA Negeri I Maospati, lulusan AAU (Akademi Angkatan Udara) Th 2005, Sekbang (Sekolah Penerbang) angkatan 74 Th 2007 ini putra pertama dari dua bersaudara pasangan orangtua Kapten Kal Mursito dan ibu Tri Suyatmiani. Sebelum berhasil terbang solo dengan F-5 juga pernah menerbangkan pesawat AS-202/Bravo dan T-34/Charlie, saat ini ia telah mengantongi 3004 jam terbang

F5E Tiger II (Photo TNI-AU.mil.id)

Saat terbang solo Hendry menggunakan pesawat tempur F-5/Tiger II dengan nomor registrasi TS-0511 di East Training Aera, di atas Nganjuk dan sekitarnya, pada ketinggian 15000 feet (kaki) kecepatan 350 Knots (mill per jam), dipantau oleh Komandan Skadron Udara 14 Letkol Pnb Ronny Irianto Moningka dengan jenis pesawat yang sama nomor TS-0512.

Terbang solo merupakan momen penting bagi seorang pilot pesawat tempur. Guna mengenang peristiwa tersebut, setiap pilot yang berhasil terbang solo disambut dengan acara tradisi berupa pemecahan telur ayam dikepalanya dan penyiraman air kembang usai mendarat.

F5E Tiger II (Photo TNI-AU.mil.id)

Putra Magetan yang saat ini masih menempuh pendidikan terbang Transisi F-5/Tiger angkatan ke-26, sejak Nopember 2008 lalu, bertekat untuk menjadi penerbang tempur yang handal, tangguh dan profesional, ujarnya.

Acara pemecahan telur dan penyiraman air kembang berlangsung penuh khitmat, yang dilangsungkan di Shelter Skadron Udara 15, dipimpin langsung oleh Komandan Lanud Iswahjudi, disaksikan sejumlah pejabat dan para penerbang lainnya. (TNI-AU.mil.id)

F-22s begin training in Japan

An F-22 Raptor shoots out a flare during an air combat training mission Jan. 15. The F-22 is deployed to Kadena Air Base, Japan, from Langley Air Force Base, Va., in support of U.S. Pacific Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Clay Lancaster)

January16, 2009 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- F-22 Raptors took to the sky over Japan Jan. 14 as members of the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron began flight operations with Kadena Air Base officials.

More than 200 Airmen and 12 F-22s from Langley Air Force Base, Va., are operating out of Kadena AB to demonstrate the continued U.S. commitment to fulfill its security responsibilities throughout the Western Pacific.

F-22 pilots will spend the next several months conducting air combat training alongside Kadena AB F-15 Eagle pilots, and will work to integrate with all of the aircraft assigned to the 18th Wing here, as well as other U.S. military services.

Members of the 27th FS will support the Pacific combatant commanders' objectives and support both joint coalition and bilateral operations.

An F-22 Raptor prepares to be refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker Jan. 15. The F-22 is deployed to Kadena Air Base, Japan, from Langley Air Force Base, Va., in support of U.S. Pacific Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Clay Lancaster)

"The F-22s are here to demonstrate our commitment to Japan and to the Pacific region with our unique capabilities," said Lt. Col. Lance Pilch, the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander. "With the best team of operators and maintainers in the world, we are trained to meet any challenge."

The F-22 provides asymmetric advantages over other aircraft through a combination of stealth, precision, super cruise, and maneuverability. This air superiority fighter also has integrated avionics that give it a level of situational awareness never before seen in a fighter aircraft, Colonel Pilch said.

This advanced technology benefits the pilot, other aircraft operators and warfighters on the ground.

An F-22 Raptor taxies down the ramp for a mission Jan. 14 at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The F-22 is deployed from Langley Air Force Base, Va., in support of U.S. Pacific Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway)

"During our training (at Kadena AB), the Raptor will demonstrate its capabilities and pass that situational awareness to other fighters," the colonel said. "We can all learn from each other, combine our strengths and become a more effective joint fighting force."

The F-15 and F-22 perform similar roles and employ the same type of weapons. However, the F-22 is able to use its stealth capability to penetrate enemy airspace and clear it for follow-on aircraft.

The F-22 can "kick down the door, sweep out all enemy aircraft and get out without being detected by the enemy," said Capt. Randy St. John, an F-22 pilot with the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.

An F-22 Raptor takes off for a mission Jan. 14 at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The F-22 is deployed from Langley Air Force Base, Va., in support of U.S. Pacific Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Amanda Grabiec)

Captain St. John said the F-22 deployment to Kadena AB demonstrates the United States commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.

"It's an important region both for the U.S. and all of its allies, and we like to maintain a presence in the area," Captain St. John said. (Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon/AFNS)

Vaddakachchi - SLA vs LTTE

Soldiers engaged in fire and maneuver – North of Vaddakachchi (13 Jan) (Photo Defence.lk)

VADDAKACHCHI - Sri Lanka Army soldiers during an engagement with LTTE terrorist – North of Vaddakachchi (13 Jan) (Photo Defence.lk)

VADDAKACHCHI - Army infantrymen shooting at the terrorist taking cover from a bunker captured from the terrorists (13 Jan) (Photo Defence.lk)

Russian Navy denies plans for bases in Mediterranean countries

January 16, 2009, MOSCOW -- A spokesman for the Russian Navy denied on Friday media rumors about the possible establishment of Russian naval facilities in several countries in the Mediterranean.

Russian media recently reported that Russia was planning to set up naval facilities in Yemen, Syria and Libya, among other countries, in the next few years.

"This report is not official information disseminated by the military authorities and, therefore, is false," Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

The deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces said earlier on Friday that it was too soon to name any countries where its Navy would like to deploy "basing points," but confirmed that the General Staff had backed the Navy command's proposal to develop naval infrastructure outside Russia.

"At this stage it is too early to talk about the geographic location of the basing points. Negotiations are under way with the governments of the countries in question. Any premature disclosure could have a negative impact on the course of these negotiations," Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn said.

The Soviet-era Navy maintenance site near Tartus in Syria is the only Russian foothold in the Mediterranean.

Russian media reports have suggested the facility could be turned into a base for the country's Black Sea Fleet, which could lose its current main base in Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula in 2017.

About 50 naval personnel and three floating piers are reportedly deployed at the Tartus site, which can accommodate up to a dozen warships, and Russia is expanding the port and building a pier in nearby El-Latakia.(RIA Novosti)

Israel retreats to Gaza outskirts

January 16, 2009 -- Israeli ground troops have been forced to retreat to the outskirts of Gaza City after facing strong resistance from the Palestinian fighters.

The development came on Friday, after two days of intensified clashes between the Israeli army and the Palestinian resistance fighters.

On Thursday, the fighting killed at least 23 people and left the southern district of Tel el-Hawa in Gaza City severely damaged, DPA reported. Home to 400,000 people, Gaza City witnessed one of its worst days of fighting since Israel launched a ground invasion on January 3 following a week of nonstop air raids.

On the 21st day of Tel Aviv's offensive against Gaza, six Palestinians, including three children, were killed in Israeli airstrikes and tank fire -- bringing the total Palestinian death toll in the Gaza offensive to at least 1,133.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who arrived in the West Bank on Thursday for talks with Palestinian officials, condemned the 'unbearable' situation in Gaza and urged Israel to declare an urgent unilateral humanitarian truce.

After the Thursday conflicts, Israel's ground troops withdrew from Gaza City while its warplanes and helicopters pounded another 40 targets across the Palestinian coastal strip.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, has vowed to avenge the death of its interior minister Said Siam killed on Thursday afternoon in an Israeli air strike on his brother's home in al-Sheikh Ridwan district in Beit Lahiyah.

Meanwhile, Palestinian groups in Gaza have continued firing rockets and mortar shells into Israeli towns, injuring three Israelis in the towns of Kiryat Gat and Eshdod on Friday. Al-Jazeera reported.

Hamas maintains 34 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 96 others have been injured in clashes with the Palestinian fighters, but Tel Aviv officials deny the figures, putting the number of Israeli casualties at 13 killed and 85 injured .(MRS/MMN @ PRESS TV)

Moscow confirms talks on foreign naval bases

January 16, 2009, MOSCOW -- Russia believes it is too early to name any countries where its Navy would like to deploy "basing points," the deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces said on Friday.

Russian media previously reported that Russia was looking at possible naval facilities in Yemen, Syria and Libya, among other countries.

"At this stage it is too early to talk about the geographic location of the basing points. Negotiations are under way with the governments of the countries in question. Any premature disclosure could have a negative impact on the course of these negotiations," Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn said.

He said earlier in January that the General Staff had backed the Navy command's proposal to develop naval infrastructure outside Russia.

Russian military officials are also on record as saying Moscow could build up its presence in the Mediterranean to make up for the loss of its naval base in Ukraine's port of Sevastopol.

The Sevastopol base (Photo marine.odessa.ua)

Russia is set to leave the Sevastopol base when the current lease agreement expires in 2017.

The base has been a source of friction between Russia and Ukraine in recent years, as Ukraine's pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko has sought NATO and EU membership for the country and Russia has accused Kiev of "unfriendly" policies over its Black Sea Fleet base.

Yushchenko has called for the Russian navy's early pullout, tougher deployment requirements and higher fees, demands that have not been backed by his former coalition ally, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Russia-Ukraine tensions heightened after several Black Sea Fleet warships dropped anchor off the Georgian coast during and after the armed conflict with Tbilisi over breakaway South Ossetia last month.

Russia's naval base in the Crimea currently has 50 warships and patrol boats, along with around 80 aircraft, and employs coastal defense troops.

The Soviet-era Navy maintenance site in Syria named Tartus is the only Russian foothold in the Mediterranean.

Russian media reports earlier said the facility could be turned into a base. About 10 Russian warships and three floating piers are reported to be currently deployed there, and Russia is expanding the port and building a pier in nearby El-Latakia.

Russia also plans to equip its military bases in Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by late 2009.

The chief of the Russian General Staff, General of the Army Nikolai Makarov, said in November that the Russian military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be fully staffed with 3,700 personnel each by the end of 2009. (RIA Novosti)

Kopaska dan US Navy Seal Asah Kemampuan Menembak

16 Januari 2009, Surabaya -- Dua Satuan Pasukan Khusus masing-masing Komando Pasukan Katak (Kopaska) TNI AL dan US Navy Seal saling mengasah kemampuan menembaknya baik dalam penggunaan senjata laras pendek maupun senjata laras panjang di Lapangan Tembak Komando Armada RI Kawasan Timur (Koarmatim), Ujung, Surabaya, Jumat (16/1).

Dalam latihan dengan sandi “Flash Iron 09-01” itu, senjata yang digunakan adalah pistol jenis Sig Sauer 226 serta senjata laras panjang jenis MP-5. Kedua senjata tersebut merupakan senjata standart yang digunakan oleh satuan pasukan elite TNI AL tersebut.

MP5 A (Photo heckler-koch.de)

Sedangkan jarak tembak yang dilakukan cukup berpariasi, seperti 5 meter, 10 meter dan 15 meter serta beberapa kombinasinya.

Dalam latihan kali ini Pasukan Katak TNI AL mengerahkan 4 tim (masing-masing tim 7 orang), atau 28 personel pada latihan ini sedangkan dari US Navy Seal menyertakan 15 personelnya. Selain sniper, mereka juga akan berlatih tentang Maritime Interdiction Operation (peperangan ruang tertutup), Jungle Welfare (perang hutan) berikut Jungle Survival, Fast Roping, Over the Beach serta Tactical Combat Casualty Care.

Koarmatim mengerahkan satu unit kapal perang, sebuah helikopter Bell, 2 Sea Rider, serta 5 perahu karet untuk latihan yang berlangsung mulai 12 Januari hingga 06 Februari 2009 dengan lokasi di Markas Koarmatim, selat Madura, Pantai Banongan serta Selogiri Banyuwangi ini.

Menurut Komandan Satuan Katak Koarmatim Kolonel Laut (T) Yulius Bustami, latihan ini selain dapat meningkatkan kemampuan taktis dan teknis perorangan maupun satuan prajuritnya juga dapat menciptakan hubungan emosional yang harmonis dan saling pengertian antara prajurit Pasukan Katak Indonesia dan Amerika Serikat. (Tni.mil.id)

Singapore's Formidable-class Frigate Squadron Fully Operational

With the Formidable-class frigates' longer range and reach, they will significantly increase the RSN's ability to protect our Sea Lines of Communication. (Photo Mindef.gov.sg)

January 16, 2009, Singapore -- The final two of a fleet of six stealth frigates, RSS Stalwart and RSS Supreme, were commissioned at the Changi Naval Base today. With all six frigates brought into service, the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) Formidable-class Frigate Squadron is fully operational.

Officiating at the commissioning ceremony, Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean said "the frigates, with their longer range and reach, will significantly increase the RSN's ability to protect our Sea Lines of Communication. This is a critical mission as the lion's share of Singapore's trade is conducted by sea."

The operationalisation of the Frigate Squadron marks a significant milestone in the RSN's transformation to a 3rd Generation fighting force. Its state-of-the-art combat capabilities and systems will enhance the RSN's ability to protect Singapore's Sea Lines of Communication and boost the RSN's capability to integrate its operations with the Army and Air Force. Mr Teo extended his appreciation to the Defence Science & Technology Agency, DSO National Laboratories, French shipbuilder DCNS and ST Marine, as well as the men and women of the RSN for making the Frigate Programme a success. (Mindef.gov.sg)
----000----

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS


Dimension
Length
Beam
Draught


114 metres
16 metres
6.0 metres

Displacement 3,200 tonnes

Speed
Maximum
Cruising


27 knots
18 knots

Range/Endurance 4,000 nautical miles

Platform Systems
Propulsion System
Electrical System


4 x MTU 20V 8000 M90, 8200 kW (CODAD Configuration)
4 x IFM V1708 with AvK alternator, 800kW

Helicopter/
Ship-Heli Interface

Support 1 Sikorsky S-70B Naval Helicopter
Heli-Visual Approach System

Complement

71 crew
+ Air detachment of about 15 personnel



Northrop Grumman Awarded $374 Million Construction Preparation Contract for Second Gerald R. Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier

Northrop Grumman received a $374 million contract award for construction preparation of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier CVN 79 (Photo media.primezone.com)

January 15, 2009, NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) received a $374 million cost type contract award for construction preparation of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier CVN 79. The carrier, which has yet to be been named, is the second ship of the Gerald R. Ford class.

The company's Shipbuilding sector will perform the work in Newport News, Va., which includes design efforts, planning and the procurement of long lead-time material such as propulsion machinery. The 21-month contract also provides for continued research and development efforts with key suppliers. Approximately 300 people will be supporting this project by the end of its first year.

"Being awarded the contract for CVN 79 while we are in the early stages of construction on the first ship of the class is beneficial to both the Navy and our shipbuilders," said Mike Shawcross, vice president for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's Gerald R. Ford-class program. "We have an experienced team who has been working on the lead ship's construction preparation contract since 2004 and began full construction last year. We will be able to take their experience and lessons learned and efficiently apply them to the CVN 79."

The Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) class will continue the legacy of U.S. Navy aircraft carrier ship platforms. Enhancements being incorporated into the design include flight deck changes, improved weapons handling systems, and a redesigned island, all resulting in increased aircraft sortie rates. It will also include a new nuclear power plant; increased electrical power generation capacity; allowance for future technologies; and reduced workload for the sailors, translating to a smaller crew and lower operating costs for the Navy.

The full scale construction contract for CVN 79 is expected to begin in 2012.(GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

BAE Systems Awarded $70 Million Contract to Finalize Artillery Development for Sweden And Norway

ARCHER (Photo @Defpro.com)

January 15, 2009, KARLSKOGA, Sweden -- BAE Systems has been awarded a $70 million contract to finalize the development of the Archer artillery system for the Swedish and Norwegian armed forces. This order consists of final development of the self propelled gun, development of ammunition handling system and modular charges. Construction of a final prototype gun is expected to be completed by September 2009.

“When combined with the Excalibur GPS-guided munition, Archer is a state-of-the-art artillery system and will provide enhanced capabilities,” states Magnus Ingesson, president of BAE Systems AB. “Norway’s inclusion in Archer's final development will help solidify the Nordic Battle Group’s artillery capabilities.”

The Archer system is based on construction equipment modified with a self loading system and crew protected cockpit. It provides the crew with the ability to move to a safe distance 90 seconds prior to firing and remain protected throughout the deployment, firing of six rounds and redeployment.

As part of the contract, both governments hold an option to purchase 24 Archer systems each, for a total of 48, in September 2009. Construction for these systems is expected to be completed by 2011. (BAE Systems)

Korvet KRI Diponegoro Ditugaskan dalam Satgas Perairan UNIFIL

KRI Diponegoro 365

Kairo, 16-1-2009 -- Sebanyak 120 personel TNI siap menjadi bagian dari gugus satuan tugas (Satgas) perairan di Lebanon atas nama Pasukan Perdamaian Sementara PBB di Lebanon (UNIFIL), dan dijadwalkan akan bertolak akhir Januari 2009 dengan Kapal Republik Indonesia (KRI) Diponegoro untuk menuju Kairo, Mesir.
"Setelah sampai di Kairo, Mesir, yang diperkirakan pada 10 Pebruari 2009, KRI Diponegoro dengan seluruh pasukan akan dikirimkan ke Perairan Lebanon bersama pasukan lainnya pada akhir Juni nanti, seperti dari Jerman, Italia, Spanyol, Inggris dan lainnya dengan bendera UNIFIL," kata Atase Pertahanan (Athan) Kedutaan Besar Republik Indonesia (KBRI) Kairo, Kolonel Laut (E) Ir Sigit Soekirno S kepada ANTARA di Kairo, Jumat.

Ia menjelaskan, pada 5 Januari 2009, ia mendampingi tim Inspektorat Jenderal (Itjen) Mabes TNI yang beranggotakan empat orang dan dipimpin oleh Letjen TNI Liliek AS Sumaryo mengadakan kunjungan ke markas kontingen Garuda (Konga) di Lebanon.

Kedatangan rombongan disambut langsung oleh Wadan Sektor Timur Kolonel (Inf) Bambang Sudiono, Dansatgas Konga XXIII-C/UNIFIL Letkol (Inf) R Haryono, Dansatgas Konga XXV-A/UNIFIL Letkol (CPM) Ujang Martenis beserta beberapa perwira lainnya.

Anggota tim Itjen Mabes TNI tersebut terdiri atas Irjen Letjen TNI Liliek AS Sumaryo, Mayjen TNI Supiadin AS (Asisten Operasi Panglima TNI), Marsma TNI Bambang Purwadi, S.IP (Waaslog Panglima TNI), dan Kolonel (Inf) Moch Haryanto (Paban IV/Sops TNI). Mereka didampingi oleh Penasehat Militer RI di UNDPKO New York Laksma TNI I Putu Yuli Adnyana dan dirinya.

Dijelaskannya bahwa selama ini pasukan TNI di UNIFIL dikenal mampu bersikap profesional sebagai pasukan penyangga dan bersikap netral dalam mengamankan zona konflik Lebanon dengan Israel.

"Karena itulah, pasukan TNI mendapat apresiasi dari penduduk maupun dari PBB sendiri," katanya.

KRI Diponegoro merupakan salah satu korvet terbaru yang dimiliki TNI AL.

Kirim ADO

Sementara itu, saat ditanya mengenai kesiapan Indonesia untuk berperan-serta menjadi peninjau militer dalam konflik Israel-Palestina di Jalur Gaza, seperti pernah disampaikan Panglima TNI Jenderal TNI Djoko Santoso, ia menjelaskan bahwa untuk hal itu, pihaknya telah mengirimkan analisa daerah operasi (ADO) kepada Mabes TNI.

"Saya memang sudah menerima informasi tentang hal itu, dan telah mengirimkan ADO ke Mabes TNI," kata Sigit Soekirno S, lulusan AKABRI Laut tahun 1983 itu.

Diakuinya bahwa konflik di Gaza itu mempunyai kompleksitas masalah yang rumit, dan Mesir sebagai satu-satunya negara di kawasan Timur Tengah (Timteng) yang punya hubungan diplomatik dengan Israel, juga punya dilema sendiri.

"Tekanan-tekanan dalam negeri dari pihak oposisi, cukup merepotkan pemerintah," kata Athan yang sudah bertugas dua tahun di Kairo, dan wilayah kerja operasionalnya mencakup 13 negara di Timteng itu.

Ia memberi contoh bahwa persoalan terowongan -- yang bisa dianggap bahwa Mesir membiarkan adanya terowongan itu menjadi jalan bagi pejuang Palestina, sehingga bombardir pesawat tempur Israel terus menghujani daerah itu--kini juga menjadi wacana yang dipersoalkan.

Awal pekan (12/1) ini, Panglima TNI Jenderal TNI Djoko Santoso mengatakan, pihaknya telah menyiapkan beberapa personel TNI untuk menjadi peninjau militer, jika terjadi gencatan senjata antara Israel dan Palestina.

Ditemui usai mendampingi Panglima Angkatan Bersenjata Australia Marsekal Allan Grant (Angus) Houston bertemu Menteri Pertahanan (Menhan) Juwono Sudarsono, di Jakarta, Panglima mengatakan Indonesia siap berpartisipasi dalam proses perdamaian di Jalur Gaza, termasuk untuk memantau gencatan senjata jika diminta PBB.

"Kita siap dengan apa yang bisa kita lakukan," katanya. (ANTARA)

LTTE airstrip - North of Ampakamam

The Airstrip is a 25m wide tarmac running about 350m from north to south.





@defence.lk

Red Arrows, detachment to RAF Waddington


The temporary detachment to RAF Waddington will greatly assist the detailed planning for the permanent rebasing of the Red Arrows, by increasing understanding of the unique requirements and operating procedures employed by the world-famous team – ensuring better integration into RAF Waddington.

The permanent move of the Red Arrows from RAF Scampton to RAF Waddington resulted from a study which, in May 2008, concluded that the optimum basing solution was to base the Red Arrows at RAF Waddington, whilst retaining the current arrangements for the using the reserved airspace over RAF Scampton for practising displays and training. On current plans this relocation is scheduled for 2011.

During the detachment the team will perform formation take-offs from RAF Waddington as part of its usual training programme, which includes six sorties daily – each consisting of between two to seven aircraft. The team will continue to rehearse the main part of its display in the usual reserved airspace above RAF Scampton. (RAF.mod.UK)

U.S. Navy Awards General Dynamics $35 Million For USS Providence Maintenance and Modernization

USS Providence (SSN-719) (Photo @csg2.navy.mil)

January 15, 2009, GROTON, Conn. – The U.S. Navy has awarded Electric Boat a $34.9 million contract to perform routine maintenance and modernization work on the USS Providence (SSN-719), a Los Angeles-class attack submarine. Electric Boat is a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD).

Under the terms of the contract, Electric Boat will perform a Selected Restricted Availability, which consists of repairs, maintenance work, alterations and several major systems upgrades. The work will take place at the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton and involve up to 300 employees at its peak. The work is expected to be completed by September 2009. (General Dynamics)

Russia Russian military spending to reach $125 bln by 2011

January 15., 2009, MOSCOW -- The state will earmark 4 trillion rubles ($125 billion) for arms procurements by 2011, including 1 trillion rubles ($31 billion) in 2009, the Russian prime minister said on Thursday.

Vladimir Putin said the modernization of defense related enterprises would continue despite the global financial crisis.

"The modernization of defense industry enterprises as well as the development of modern weapons should continue," he said.

He added that federal defense programs need to be reviewed and "streamlined," in particular with regard to production volumes.

Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said earlier on Thursday the state had earmarked $10 billion for 'core enterprises' and defense-related sectors of industry. (RIA Novosti)

French Muslim Troops Refuse Afghan Duty

January 15, 2009 -- French Muslim soldiers have refused to serve in Afghanistan, saying their faith forbids them from fighting fellow Muslims, a military spokesman confirmed to AFP.

"The refusal to be assigned to a mission for religious reasons is a micro-phenomenon concerning fewer than five cases per year," said Colonel Benoit Royal, confirming a report on the website of left-wing daily Liberation.

Liberation's respected "Defence Secret" blog reported Wednesday that an infantry soldier in eastern France had in October refused to be stationed in Afghanistan but later agreed, after meeting with a Muslim chaplain.

Soldiers who refuse a mission face disciplinary action and in most cases are discharged from the army, Royal said.

The army spokesman said the refusal by some soldiers showed a "lack of understanding of their commitment which is to bear arms for France to defend its interests and values at all times and everywhere."

France has 2,600 troops serving in NATO's Afghan mission to shore up the weak government of President Hamid Karzai and battle the Taliban, who were driven out of Kabul in late 2001.

France's force is one of the largest there, after the United States, Britain, Canada and Germany. In all, 25 French soldiers have died on the mission, with casualties increasing since they were reinforced last year. (Agence France-Presse)

Boeing Completes 1st Aerial Refuelings of 737 for Australia's Wedgetail AEW&C Program

The 737-700 Wedgetail aircraft receiving fuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 tanker during a flight over Edwards Air Force Base in California. The aircraft also was refueled by an Air Force KC-10 tanker. (Photo Credit: Boeing photo by Chad Slattery)

SEATTLE, Jan. 15, 2009 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced it has completed the first aerial refuelings of a 737 platform. The historic flights were conducted for Project Wedgetail, Australia's airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) program.

Flying at 25,000 feet above Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on Jan. 7, Boeing pilot Ron Johnston maneuvered the 737-700 AEW&C aircraft into a U.S. Air Force KC-10 tanker's refueling boom envelope and easily maintained its position below the tanker. The 737 received approximately 14,000 pounds of fuel during two connections with the tanker.

"The aircraft was stable, with excellent flying qualities and engine response behind the tanker," said Johnston.

The aircraft achieved another aerial-refueling first on Jan. 10, when it received fuel from an Air Force KC-135 tanker.

"The 737 AEW&C aircraft's highly automated and efficient refueling system worked flawlessly in both tests," said Maureen Dougherty, AEW&C Program vice president for Boeing. "This is a key milestone in certifying the AEW&C system.

"Air-to-air refueling is a force multiplier for the AEW&C aircraft," Dougherty added, "allowing it to stay on station for significantly longer periods of time while providing critical battle-management and surveillance capabilities."

Project Wedgetail includes six 737 AEW&C aircraft plus ground support segments for mission crew training, mission support and system maintenance. (Boeing)

Alutsista Minim, TNI AD Kawal Negara Bermodal Semangat

14 Januari 2009, JAKARTA -- Baru saja Menteri Pertahanan Juwono Sudarsono bersama Panglima TNI Jenderal Djoko Santoso mengumumkan anggaran pertahanan terbatas, TNI AD segera mengencangkan ikat pinggang. Tiadanya penambahan alat utama sistem persenjataan (alutsista) baru, semangat menjadi modal terakhir menjaga kedaulatan negeri.

"Keterbatasan anggaran berpengaruh kepada pengadaan alutsista baru. Tapi, pengadaan SDM, dalam hal ini penambahan prajurit, tetap dilaksanakan seperti biasa," kata Kepala Dinas Penerangan TNI AD Brigjen Christian Zebua di sela-sela acara ulang tahun Dispenad ke-58 di Jakarta, Rabu (14/1).

Christian menyatakan prioritas penggunaan anggaran di tahun ini lebih ditekankan ke masalah perawatan alutsista. Apalagi, menurutnya, alutsista yang bisa digunakan normal hanya 75% dari total alutsista yang ada. Tapi, ia meyakinkan jika kondisi demikian tetap bisa mendukung tugas pokok TNI untuk menjaga kedaulatan.

"Alutsista sudah ada dan itu masih bisa digunakan. Anggaran yang ada cukup untuk perawatan peralatan tersebut. Tapi, tidak untuk pengadaan yang baru," sambungnya.

Selain alutsista, terbatasnya anggaran berpengaruh pula terhadap intensitas latihan. Ia menuturkan jika latihan yang dijadwalkan mendatang akan lebih ketat. Ketat dalam arti hanya difokuskan pada latihan yang dianggap perlu. Sekali lagi, ia menyatakan jika situasi itu sebagai situasi normal.

"Alutsista utama kita adalah semangat. Kita tetap semangat untuk menjaga kedaulatan negara sebagai tugas utama kita," tegasnya.

Sekali lagi, negara, yang diwakili pemerintah, tidak dapat memenuhi kewajibannya untuk menyediakan sarana optimal dalam mendukung tugas TNI AD menjaga pertahanan di wilayah darat.

Panglima TNI sebelumnya memang sudah menyatakan jika TNI memang terbiasa dengan segala keterbatasan. Tapi, pernyataan itu tidak pula bisa dijadikan alasan pemerintah untuk mempertahankan kondisi tersebut. Apalagi, UU Nomor 34/2004 tentang TNI pasal 2 telah mengamanatkan kepada TNI agar memiliki jati diri tentara yang terdidik dan terlatih.

Semangat memang dasar dari semua tindakan. Tapi, dunia militer sekarang lebih berkembang dan didukung teknologi yang lebih canggih. Perlengkapan yang lebih memadai akan meningkatkan kemampuan prajurit kita. (Dinny Mutiah/MI)

HMS Montrose to get new electronic 'brain'

HMS Montrose Homecoming (Photo RoyalNavy.mod.uk)

January 14, 2009 The Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose is to get a new electronic 'brain' which will help her crew defend the ship against air, surface and underwater threats.

HMS Montrose

HMS Montrose returns to its base port of HMNB Devonport (Photo RoyalNavy.mod.uk)

The Type 23 frigate has come into Babcock's dockyard for the £15m upkeep which will see a major capability upgrade for the ship with the first fitting of the Royal Navy's newest command system, DNA(2), which is based on the system being fitted to the Royal Navy's powerful new Type 45 destroyers.

The command system is the ship's 'brain', central to the ship's fighting capability, providing the officers and crew with vital information from sensors and communications, allowing them to direct weapon engagements above, on and below the sea's surface.

In addition, BAE Systems will install the Sea Wolf Mid Life Update, ensuring her missile system remains capable of meeting future threats, and she will be fitted with two upgraded small calibre guns. Twelve kilometres of cabling will be laid for the installation of a new IT system, bringing her systems in line with the common MOD network.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Quentin Davies said: "This is a comprehensive upgrade to both Montrose's operational systems and her self-defence capability and represents a significant investment in the fleet. We work continually with industry to modernise equipment and provide the front line with the capabilities required."

Defence Equipment and Support's Director of Surface Combatants, Commodore Graham Peach, said: "This docking period is an important milestone in our programme to develop a common command system across the fleet, starting with the Type 23 frigates. We have worked closely with the contractor, BAE Systems, to develop DNA(2) and its sister systems which will enable us to provide more efficient support to the fleet, simplify operator training and deliver cost savings in the long term as servicing is required." (Defpro.com)

U.S. military denies plans to set up bases in Kazakhstan

ASTANA, January 14 -- The United States has no plans to deploy military bases in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia, a senior U.S. military official said on Wednesday.

Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of Russia's Armed Forces expressed concern in December last year over what he said were U.S. plans to set up military bases in Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan.

Commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), Gen. David Petraeus, who met on Wednesday with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana, denied any knowledge of these plans, but said the Pentagon is holding talks with Kazakhstan on transits of military goods through the country to Afghanistan.

Units from CENTCOM are deployed primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan in combat roles and have bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan, and Central Asia in support roles.

Despite its close military ties with Russia, Kazakhstan is striving to become the first country in Central Asia to achieve NATO-interoperability.

The ex-Soviet republic joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program in 1994 and agreed to the NATO's Individual Partnership Action Plan in January 2006.(RIA Novosti)

U.S. Air Force Selects Northrop Grumman for Next Generation Missile Warning System

Jan. 13, 2009, ROLLING MEADOWS Ill. -- The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) a contract to deliver Next Generation Missile Warning Systems (NexGen MWS) as the latest upgrade to their Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system, which protects aircrews and high value aircraft from shoulder-fired, heat seeking missiles.

Under the terms of the contract, Northrop Grumman will deliver NexGen MWS sensors to be integrated into the LAIRCM system. The Next Gen MWS is the first two-color infrared missile warning sensor to be fielded by the Air Force. Northrop Grumman also developed and produces the LAIRCM system.

"The next generation missile warning systems will improve upon LAIRCM's already outstanding capability to detect threat missiles," said Carl Smith, vice president of Infrared Countermeasures programs at Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division. "Providing cutting-edge two-color IR missile warning technology will allow LAIRCM to detect threat missiles providing even better protection for our aircrews in battle zones around the world."

The only such aircraft protection system currently in production, Northrop Grumman's LAIRCM system is now installed on, and scheduled for installation on several hundred military aircraft to protect over 48 different types of aircraft platforms from infrared missile threats. The system functions automatically by detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat, and activating a high-intensity laser-based countermeasure system to track and defeat the missile.(GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

133 Kadet Korps Marinir Ikuti Pendidikan Komando

14 Jan 2009, Surabaya - Sebanyak 133 kadet (taruna) Akademi TNI AL (AAL) dari Korps Marinir mengikuti pendidikan komando (dikko) yang dilepas oleh Gubernur AAL, Laksda TNI Moch. Jurianto di Surabaya, Rabu.

Kadet tingkat empat itu akan mengikuti pendidikan khusus pasukan korps baret ungu selama 50 hari di Puslatpur Korps Marinir Karang Tekok dan Jangkar (Asembagus), Selogiri (Banyuwangi), Argopuro, Bromo dan Nongko Jajar (Pasuruan), lalu kembali ke Surabaya.

Gubernur AAL dalam sambutannya mengatakan, materi latihan yang harus diikuti kadet adalah, tahap laut, dasar komando, tahap hutan, gerilya lawan gerilya, dan lintas medan. Latihan itu bertujuan untuk memberikan kemampuan dasar dan keterampilan dasar komando secara perorangan maupun kelompok dalam situasi pertempuran.

"Banyak pengalaman yang dapat dijadikan bekal kelak dalam penugasan yang sebenarnya dalam mengendalikan anak buah, menghadapi situasi medan dan cuaca. Latihan ini menuntut ketangguhan dalam menyelesaikan berbagai persoalan yang dihadapi di medan pertempuran," katanya sebagaimana dikutip Kabagpen AAL, Mayor Laut (KH) Drs Jamaluddin.

Ia mengemukakan, saat ini menghadapi tantangan tugas ke depan yang semakin dinamis sebagai implikasi dari kecenderungan perkembangan strategis, dibutuhkan tingkat kesiapsiagaan yang tinggi dari segenap komponen kekuatan TNI AL.

"Korps Marinir harus mampu menunjukkan kemampuannya sebagai prajurit laut dan pasukan pendarat, termasuk melakukan peperangan di hutan sebagai bagian dari pelaksanaan perang gerilya. Keterampilan ini juga dapat dimanfaatkan untuk dukungan terhadap berbagai operasi di dalam maupun di luar negeri," katanya.

Karena itu ia meminta para peserta pendidikan agar menyiapkan fisik dan mental dengan baik serta mengikuti latihan secara disiplin. Dengan latihan yang disiplin diharapkan TNI AL memiliki perwira Korps Marinir yang yang handal, profesional dan dapat diandalkan. (Masuki M. Astro @AntaraJatim)

Contract for the modernisation of Colombian Class 209 submarines

A.R.C. Tayrona, submarine of the Columbian Navy (Photo @ HDW)

HDW built the two boats (A.R.C. Pijao and A.R.C. Tayrona) in Kiel from 1970 and delivered them five years later to the Colombian Navy. Since then, the two Class 209/1200 boats have been subjected to two modernisation programmes at the shipyard in Germany where they were built. This new modernisation project will be carried out in Colombia by the state-owned shipyard COTECMAR in Cartagena. The scope of delivery by HDW and MFI encompasses the two material packages as well as support for COTECMAR with technical know-how.

The Colombian shipyard plans to conclude the project by the end of 2011. For ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and MFI, this contract is another indication of the unbroken trust of South American navies in German submarine technology. With 63 units contracted to date, the HDW Class 209 submarines represent the most successful non-nuclear submarine class in the world. In South America alone, submarines of this class are in service in seven navies. (news @HDW)

Israel hits Lebanon with rocket fire

14 Jan 2009 -- Israel has reportedly fired at least seventeen rockets into southern Lebanon within minutes after being hit by rockets from the country.

"Between one and three rockets were launched from an area four kilometers west of the village of Shebaa and Israel responded within a minute with four rockets that landed north of Ghajar," AFP quoted a Lebanese security official as saying.

Lebanon's LBC TV confirmed the firing of two rockets from Hassbia in southern Lebanon into the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmouna, saying Israel is responding with continuous rocket fire.

Israeli jets violated Lebanese airspace following the incident.

Hezbollah and Palestinian factions have ruled out any involvement in the rocket firing and there is speculation that people angry over the Israeli war on Gaza have launched the attacks.

UNIFIL peacekeepers have also failed to comment on the incident so far.

Last week, four rockets were launched from southern Lebanon into the northern Israeli towns of Nahariya and Galeli, wounding four Israelis.

Following the incident last week, the Israeli army fired five rockets on the southern Lebanese towns of Hamra, al- Jiben, and Tayr Harfa, where the rockets were believed to have been launched. However they landed in desert areas and caused no damage or casualties.

The Lebanese Hezbollah said that it was not responsible for the rocket fire. Tel Aviv later ruled out the possibility of Hezbollah being involved in the incident, saying the rockets were of an outdated model that Hezbollah had not used for years.

Referring to the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that brought an end to the Israeli 33-day war against Lebanon in 2006, Lebanese Information Minister Tarek Mitri said, "Hezbollah has assured us that they remain committed to stability and Resolution 1701, and that is a euphemism for saying they are not involved".

The Hamas movement also denied allegations that it was behind the attack last week.

No group had claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks. Since then Israeli warplanes have intensified their overflights over southwestern Lebanon. (MSH/AA @PRESS TV)

First Marine Corps UH-1Y Helicopter With Northrop Grumman Integrated Cockpit Deploys in 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Bell UH-1Y Venom (Photo @ DID)

January 13, 2009, WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Integrated Avionics System (IAS) and the company's integration support were key parts of preparing the UH-1Y Huey helicopters for initial deployment early in 2009 with 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

The UH-1Y's IAS provides the helicopter with an interoperable glass cockpit and an avionics system that is fully integrated by Northrop Grumman. Critical mission data is available to the pilot and co-pilot on the four displays, reducing workload, eliminating delays, and increasing aircrew situational awareness. The glass cockpit is anchored by two of the company's open systems architecture mission computers, the heart of the IAS, that allow easy system upgrades as new technology is developed.

Northrop Grumman supported the team that achieved Initial Operational Capability on Aug. 8, 2008 demonstrating that an aircraft has met all flight requirements and that the aircraft, pilots and air crew are ready for deployment. The pilots and crew had worked with the aircraft for a year at a Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303 before they were assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit to prepare for this deployment.

"The UH-1Y program team surmounted the challenges presented by all new military platforms," said Ike Song, vice president of Northrop Grumman Navigation System Division's situational awareness systems business. "Northrop Grumman's close work with its industrial teammates and the Marine Corps and Naval Air Systems Command users helped meet those challenges and deliver the helicopters for the fleet deployment."

Northrop Grumman is part of an industry team that is led by Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT), the manufacturer of the helicopter, and includes Thales, and FLIR Systems Inc. Northrop Grumman personnel have worked closely with Bell Helicopter and government team members from both the Naval Air Systems Command's H-1 Program Office in Patuxent River, Md. and the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, Calif., supporting flight testing of the aircraft at a number of military locations.

Part of the H-1 Upgrades program, the Marine Corps' UH-1Y Huey, replaces the aging UH-1N Huey that is currently fielded and in combat. According to program officials the UH-1Y doubles the range and payload of the UH-1N and provides significant improvements in maintainability and reliability, and its 84% commonality of parts with the AH-1Z reduces lifecycle costs by decreasing the aircraft's logistics footprint for both aircraft. The total program requirement for the UH-1Y is 100 helicopters; however the Marine Corps is requesting an additional 23 aircraft to meet its Grow the Force initiative. Delivery is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.(GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

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