India gears up for next round of Ballistic Missile Defence tests news

January 24, 2009, New Delhi -- Reports emerging here suggest that India is preparing to conduct another round of Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) tests next month. This will be the third BMD test in the series, and will also involve testing the indigenously developed "Swordfish" long-range tracking radar.

"Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will conduct the test of its interceptor missile and missile tracking radars next month for validating the advancements made in the air defence (AD) programme," defence ministry sources said in New Delhi over the weekend.

The two earlier tests, in November 2006 and December 2007, successfully tested the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD -exo-atmospheric) and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD-endo-atmospheric) interceptor systems. It would appear that the main thrust of the forthcoming tests would be to validate the capabilities of the indigenously developed 'Swordfish' Long Range Tracking Radar (LRTR).

Swordfish is a target-acquisition and fire-control radar designed for the BMD system. "The missile to be hit will be fired from a longer distance than it was in the earlier test. DRDO will test whether the radar can track the incoming missile from that distance or not," officials said.

The radar will be instrumental in tracking an incoming hostile missile which will be intercepted by the PAD exo-atmospheric interceptor missile at an altitude over 80 km from earth, defence sources said.

Dr. VK Saraswat, distinguished scientist & chief controller of missiles and strategic Systems (CC-MSS) informed the media that the AD programme was at a "fairly advanced stage" now. "The building blocks of BMD such as the surveillance, tracking and battlefield management systems have been developed," he said.

He also revealed that DRDO had developed a very "robust command and control system" for the AD programme, which could "survive and deliver" in any environment.

"Our command, control and communication system can work in a networked form and survive and deliver even in a high electronic warfare (EW) environment," he said.

Given persistent reports that nations were interested in supplying BMD systems to India, Dr Saraswat clarified that though the country was always open for cooperation in developing technologies for the strategic BMD programme, it would "not buy" any ready-made BMD systems from any country.

"We have done some thinking on cooperation with countries such as Russia, United States and Israel in this programme and we have taken their help also in developing some of the technologies, such as the 'Swordfish' radar for the BMD with Israel, but we will not buy anything ready-made from outside," Saraswat said.

DRDO's BMD programme is structured around a two-tiered system which consists of two interceptor missiles - the PAD for high altitude (exo-atmospheric) interception and AAD for low altitude (endo-atmospheric) interception.
The February tests will be followed by another round of tests at the end of the year aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the AAD endo-atmospheric missiles, designed to intercept missiles at altitudes up to 15 km.

The Prithvi Air Defence Exercise (PADE) tests of November 2006 resulted in India becoming only the fourth country in the world, after United States, Russia and Israel, to have successfully developed an anti-ballistic missile system.

It is now being given to understand that if tests in 2009 are successful then the DRDO will look at a possible deployment of the BMD system by 2015.(

First Avionics-Equipped F-35 Rolls Out

January 23, 2009, Fort Worth, Texas -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has completed the first F-35 Lightning II equipped with mission systems, a milestone that will lead to the first avionics testing on board an F-35 aircraft.

The short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) F-35 variant left the factory on Wednesday, Jan. 21, and goes to the fuel facility for functional fuel system checks before it is scheduled for delivery to the flight line by the end of January. Its first flight is expected this summer.

Mission systems, or avionics, are the on-board sensors that enable the aircraft to detect, locate, identify, track and target adversaries from long ranges; detect fast-moving incoming threats such as missiles; and receive and transmit large amounts of battle-space information through secure data links. These 5th generation sensors and data links will be integral to providing the warfighter in the air and on the ground a fused picture of the battlespace.

“Testing of this aircraft will represent the fourth tier of our avionics validation process, comprising ground-based laboratory testing, airborne lab testing of individual sensors on surrogate aircraft, airborne testing of the fully integrated mission systems package on the Cooperative Avionics Test Bed, and, finally, airborne testing of the integrated system on an actual F-35,” said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager.

The aircraft, called BF-4, will carry the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar and Integrated Communications, Navigation and Identification suite, and the BAE Systems Electronic Warfare system. The Block 0.5 mission systems software, which incorporates more than half of the combat-ready Block 3 software, will drive the system. BF-4 will be updated with additional equipment and software through Block 3, the last block in the System Development and Demonstration program.

The jet is the latest addition to the fleet of five F-35s already undergoing testing. Earlier aircraft are validating F-35 subsystems and flying qualities while retiring technical risk. BF-4’s first flight is planned for mid-year 2009, following a comprehensive series of ground tests. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136. (

MI-24 air assaults at LTTE resistance positions in Mullaittivu

January 24, 2009 -- SLAF MI-24 helicopter gunships launched ground support air assaults targeting identified LTTE resistance positions located North of Udayarkattukulama and Visuamadu, Mullaittivu, since morning today (Jan 24).

According to Air Force Spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara, SLAF helicopter gunships raided a pre-identified LTTE resistance position, 3.5km North of the Visuamadukulama Tank in support of the 58 Division troops at around 11.20a.m.

At 4.30 p.m., another air assault was launched in support of the Task Force -3 troops, targeting an LTTE resistance position 2km Northeast of the Udayarkattukulama Tank, the spokesperson further said. (

Bombardier Delivers First Bombardier 415MP Amphibious Aircraft to Malaysia

January 23, 2009, Montréal -- Bombardier Aerospace announced that Malaysia’s coast guard agency, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), has taken delivery of the first of two Bombardier 415MP amphibious aircraft ordered by the Malaysian government in June 2008. The Malaysian government is the launch customer in Asia for the specialized Bombardier 415MP aircraft.

A variant of the rugged Bombardier 415 amphibious aircraft – the only aircraft specifically designed for aerial firefighting – the Bombardier 415MP amphibious aircraft will be modified for maritime surveillance capabilities to meet the specialized needs of the MMEA. The first Bombardier 415MP aircraft delivered to Malaysia will be equipped with a state-of-the-art surveillance suite that includes two side-looking airborne radars, one forward-looking infrared radar, an airborne maritime surveillance system and other avionics and communications equipment.

The multi-purpose Bombardier 415MP aircraft can be used in a variety of specialized missions such as search and rescue, environmental protection, coastal patrol and transportation. It is fitted with sophisticated sensors to locate and identify vessels, people in distress and pollutants.

Since delivery of the first Bombardier 415 aircraft in 1994, Bombardier Aerospace has delivered 69 Bombardier 415 aircraft, including three Bombardier 415MP aircraft, to Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Ontario, Québec and Spain, with 42 aircraft in operation in the Mediterranean region alone. (edited

31st Rescue Squadron deploys to Operation Iraqi Freedom

The 33rd Rescue Squadron hovers over one of two downed pilots during a simulated crisis management exercise off the coast of Okinawa Oct. 8, 2008. U.S. Air Force and Japanese Coast Guard assets rehearsed response procedures for an over the water aircraft accident. Nine members of the 31st RQS recently deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Amanda Grabiec)

January 23, 2009 - Kadena Air Base, Japan -- Nine members of the 18th Wing's 31st Rescue Squadron deployed to Iraq this month to join the 41st Expeditionary Rescue Squadron in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 41st ERQS maintains 24-hour alert and conducts combat search and rescue missions to retrieve any U.S., Coalition, and host nation personnel who become isolated or injured.

Prior to deploying, the 31st Rescue Squadron conducted desert familiarization training at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz. They trained with the Davis-Monthan-based 55th Rescue Squadron to prepare for the conditions they will encounter during their three-month deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq.

Senior Airman Oliver Smith, (left) and Staff Sgt. Jonathan Courtright, (far right) both from the 31st Rescue Squadron, secure a downed F-15 pilot and signal to the flight engineer to hoist them onboard an HH-60 during a crisis management exercise off the coast of Okinawa Oct. 8, 2008. Members of the 18th Wing and Japanese Coast Guard rehearsed response procedures for a simulated over the water aircraft accident. Nine members of the 31st RQS recently deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Chrissy Best)

Kadena's 31st Rescue Squadron trains, equips and employs combat-ready pararescue specialists. Experts in small-unit tactics and medical care, pararescue specialists are able to rescue injured personnel from hostile or denied territory. Also known as PJs, 31st Rescue Squadron pararescue specialists are trained to use a variety of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft during their missions.

This is the 31st Rescue Squadron's second deployment to Iraq since 2007.

"The requirement for personnel recovery has grown over the last couple of years," said Maj. Jason Pifer, 31st Rescue Squadron commander. "Now more than ever, it is critical that we are prepared to do our part in support of the ongoing Global War on Terrorism." (

Tejas Light Combat Crossed 1000 sortier

Team Tejas’ in front of the Tejas prototype aircraft after crossing the 1,000-sortie landmark in Bangalore on Thursday (Photo:

The lithe grey Tejas prototype aircraft from the stables of the Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited took to the air on Thursday (1/22), and crossed the 1002 sortie mark, a significant achievement in an aircraft’s development programme.. The sortie lasted about 30 minutes, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) sources said here, and was carried out by Group Captain JA Maolankar, chief test pilot of the National Flight Test Centre.

The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft took off for its first flight on 4 January 2001 in a sortie that lasted 18 minutes. The flight was carried out by the very first Tejas aircraft called the Technology Demonstrator-1 (TD-1). The programme has come a long way. It was conceived as an ambitious attempt to leapfrog nearly 40 years of neglect of Indian aeronautical design.

The first phase (Full Scale Engineering Development Phase I) was essentially aimed at demonstration of four key technologies like the quadruplex redundant digital fly by wire system, an all-glass cockpit, carbon composite primary structures and microprocessor based control of utility systems.

After having successfully completed Phase-I, the programme is currently in Phase-II. The objective of this phase is to deliver an operationally capable aircraft for induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF) and later into the Indian Navy.

A total of seven aircraft are currently part of the flight test programme. The Tejas is slated to enter operational service with the IAF by December 2010 in the Initial Operational Capability configuration.

Speaking to members of "Team Tejas" after the flight, Gp Capt JA Maolankar said: "For a project that has so ambitiously pushed the envelope of indigenous technology, the results have been world-class in many key areas." (edited

Greece starts defence purchase talks with France


January 23, 2009 -- The Greek defence minister, Evangelos Meimarakis has indicated that the Government Council on Foreign Affairs and National Defense (KYSEA) has given the “green light” for the MoD to proceed with negotiations with France for the purchase of six FREMM type frigates as well as 15 Super Puma search and rescue helicopters.

The Hellenic Navy has a long-standing requirement for a new class of air defence frigates, and an interest in principle towards a modified version of the Franco-Italian FREMM frigate design has been known for several years. The Minister’s announcement, however, indicates that the programme is now to proceed to the negotiating phase.

The Greek government intends for all six ships to be built in Greece with French technical assistance, which however does pose a particularly intriguing problem. The only shipyard in Greece which is currently capable of building frigate-size warships is Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramanga, which however happens to be owned 100% by the German TKMS concern. For Hellenic Shipyards to become responsible for the Greek FREMM programme, it would require for France’s DCNS to be willing and prepared to transfer all their designs, building technologies, costing procedures and so on to their bitter rival TKMS – a very unlikely proposition to say the least.

The only way out this conundrum would be for the Greek Government to appoint the other naval shipyard in Greece, Eleuysis Shipyards as the main contractor for the FREMM programme. Eleuysis however cannot currently build ships larger than a corvette, and thus would need to be expanded at a significant cost. Alternatively, the government could perhaps try and “convince” TKMS to sell Hellenic Shipyards back to the State or another private investor. (

Re-organising the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF)

Bolkiah Garison –- One of the roles of the Ministry of Defence is to enhance the capabilities of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) as outlined in the Defence White Paper Update 2007. Towards this, the Ministry of Defence has re-organised the RBAF in line with the current environment.

One of the steps taken was the disbandment of the Support Service of the RBAF and relocating its units to various divisions within the Ministry of Defence and units in the RBAF beginning on 2 January this year.

Support Service RBAF was established in 01 October 1991 and was one of the five major units in the RBAF, namely the Royal Brunei Land Force, the Royal Brunei Navy, the Royal Brunei Airforce and the RBAF Training Institute. Among the main functions and responsibilities of the Support Service were to provide support to the RBAF units in the areas of management, security, medical, logistics, communication, transportation and technical support. Since its inception, the Support Service supervised 21 units under its command.

The official ceremony to mark the relocation of the units under the Support Service was held on Friday, 2 January 2009 at the Parade Square A, Bolkiah Garrison. In her speech, the Deputy Commandant Support Service RBAF, Lieutenant Colonel Hajah Hasimah bte Haji Abu Bakar expressed her utmost appreciation and thanks to all the personnel and members of the Support Service for the services, sacrifices, support and cooperation they rendered to the unit.

The highlight of the event was the lowering of the flag of the Support Service of the RBAF and the presentation of certificates to mark the relocation of the units to the representatives of the Ministry of Defence, Services units and Training Institute of the RBAF. (

Russian nuclear submarine will surely be inducted

Russian 971 Akula /II class submarine

January 23, 2009, New Delhi -- Denying reports of Russia indefinitely delaying the delivery of a nuclear submarine to India, Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta today said the vessel would certainly be inducted, but with a slight delay.

"The delay is only till the ship is put to the sea. It will be in due course of time handed over,"

Mehta told reporters on the sidelines of a Nat-Geo Mission Navy function here.However, he did not give any time frame for the vessel to join the Navy fleet, as Moscow was still probing the mishap that took place on its newly-built submarine, Nerpa, during sea trials in November last year.

India has entered into an agreement with Russia for the latter to lease an Akula-II class nuclear submarine for 10 years to train its personnel to operate the indigenous Advanced Technology Vessel currently under construction.

However, the Indian efforts suffered a setback as Nerpa reported a fire mishap on-board during sea trials in which 20 sailors were killed.

On the issue of renewed price negotiations for Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, the Navy chief said a committee was discussing the matter with the Russians to arrive at the right cost for the refit of the warship, which would be the largest in the Indian Navy fleet after induction.

"It will take some time. The committee is got to work with the Russians to clearly identify the correct cost of the items that have been put in in addition to what the contract was for," Mehta said. (

AS Kirim Dua Kapal Perang ke Indonesia

USS Blue Ridge Kapal Bendera Armada Ke-tujuh

23 Januari 2009, Jakarta -- Amerika Serikat (AS) akan mengirimkan dua kapal perangnya ke Indonesia, untuk berpartisipasi dalam Parade Kapal Perang Indonesia (Indonesian Fleet Review) pada medio Agustus 2009.

Kepala Dinas Penerangan Mabes TNI Angkatan Laut (AL) Laksamana Pertama TNI Iskandar Sitompul mengatakan, kemungkinan AS akan mengirimkan satu kapal induk dan satu kapal destroyer dari Armada Ketujuh AS.

"Hingga kini sudah ada 30 negara yang menyatakan akan berpartisipasi dalam Indonesian Fleet Review, termasuk AS, Jepang, Inggris, Korea Selatan, Australia dan negara-negara ASEAN," ujarnya.

Namun, Iskandar mengatakan, jumlah itu masih bisa bertambah.

Ia mengemukakan, keikutsertaan sejumlah negara itu dapat menjadi ajang mempererat kerjasama Indonesia dengan sejumlah negara, terutama angkatan laut RI dengan negara-negara tersebut.

Komitmen AS untuk berpartisipasi dalam Indonesia Fleet Review Agustus mendatang, dinyatakan secara serius Panglima Armada Ketujuh Laksmana Madya John M. Bird saat berkunjung ke Komando Armada RI Kawasan Timur (Koarmatim), Kamis, lanjut Iskandar.

Selain menyatakan keseriusannya untuk berpartisipasi dalam Parade Kapal Perang Indonesia, kedua pihak baik TNI AL dan Armada Ketujuh AS sepakat untuk meningkatkan kerjasama yang selama ini telah berjalan baik.

Pelaksanaan Parade Kapal Perang Indonesia kali pertama diselenggarakan pada Peringatan 50 Tahun Kemerdekaan Indonesia pada tahun 1995, dan baru kembali diselenggarakan pada pertengahan Agustus 2009. Ini juga merupakan keikutsertaan AS yang keduakalinya. (

Information on L-39 overhauls termination untrue

L39 Albatros (Photo:

January 23, 2009 -- "If we made any decision in this sense, we would inform our current customers as well as media. We have recently sent out an offer for a further L-39 overhaul order to one of our customers and such unverified information may represent great complication to the deal," says Igor Hulak, president of Aero, adding that "Sale of course represents one of the possible versions of the L-39 project's future. If such situation occured, we will respect our existing obligation towards our customers." (

Missile strike kills eight in North Waziristan

An MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft prepares to land after a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The Reaper has the ability to carry both precision-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)

January 23, 2009 -- Peshawar -- A suspected US missile strike in North Waziristan Agency has left at least eight people dead on Friday. Official sources and eyewitnesses in Mir Ali North Waziristan said a missile apparently fired from US drone struck the house of one Khalil Dawar at village Kharkai in Mir Ali Tehsil around 5:12 pm and destroyed it completely.

Resultantly, the sources said that eight persons were killed in the attack. The identity of victims could not be immediately ascertained.

Soon after the incident, the sources said the militants besieged the house and retrieved the bodies. (

India, Israel Close to Concluding US$ 600 million worth Defense Deals

India and Israel are concluding large arms deals valued at about $600 million, signaling a new era in security ties between the two countries. In recent years, relations between the nations have been strained by suspicions of corruption and bribes by Israeli firms to senior Indian officials, including the former Indian defense minister.

The newspaper India Express reported Tuesday (1/20) that the Indian Navy is about to purchase two Israeli-made aerial balloon radar systems. The transaction, which is close to completion, will enable India to improve the defense of its coastlines.

The purchase is being implemented in the shadow of the most recent terror attack in Mumbai, which was carried out by Pakistani Muslim extremists arriving by sea.

The two radar systems are manufactured by ELTA systems, a division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and are already in use by the Indian Air Force.

Each system costs $20 million to $30 million. The devices are placed on hot-air balloons that are tied to the ground, and they cover an area of up to 500 kilometers. Three such devices can cover the entire west coast of India.

The newspaper also reported that the Indian government has canceled the postponement it had imposed on conducting negotiations with Israel for the purchase of Barak missile systems. The delay came in the footsteps of an investigation begun by the Indian government's investigation service, on suspicion that Israeli firms, including Rafael (Israel Military Industries) and the IAI were involved in the payment of bribes in a missile deal in the late 1990s.

The investigation focused on an agent of these industries in India, who was interrogated and arrested. The agent was suspected bribing then-defense minister George Fernandes, the commander of the navy and other top officials.

The investigation is still ongoing, but the Indian government has decided to accelerate the previously frozen negotiations for the purchase of 300 Barak missiles for installation on ships.

Spyder ADS- MR Missile Launcher (Photo:

The value of this transaction is estimated at $300 million and is a joint transaction of Rafael, which produces the missile, The IAI's Mabat, which produces the scanner and integration systems and ELTA.

The Indian government had also approved a transaction of about a quarter of a million dollars for the purchase of Rafael's Spider air-to-air missiles and an ELTA radar system. (

Navy to Commission Amphibious Transport Dock Ship Green Bay

Green Bay (LPD 20)(Photo: Northrop Grumman)

The Navy will commission the newest San Antonio class amphibious transport dock ship Green Bay during a 10 a.m. PST ceremony Jan. 24 in Long Beach, Calif.

The ship is named Green Bay to honor the nation's Midwest "city by the bay." The city of about 100,000 residents was founded in 1634 by French explorer
Jean Nicolet, and is the oldest community in Wisconsin.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Rose Magnus, wife of the former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Magnus (ret.), is serving as the ship's
sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

Designated as LPD 20, Green Bay is the fourth amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class. As a critical element in future expeditionary
strike groups, the ship will support the Marine Corps' "mobility triad," which consists of the landing craft air cushion (LCAC), the expeditionary fighting vehicle (EFV) and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (MV-22). The ship will provide improved warfighting capabilities including an advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift-capability in vehicle and
cargo-carrying capacity and advanced ship-survivability features.

Cmdr. Joseph Olson, a native of Madison, Wis., will be the first commanding officer of the ship. Olson graduated from the University of Wisconsin in
1991 and received his commission from the Naval Reserve Office Training Corps. He will lead a crew of approximately 360 officers and enlisted personnel and three Marines. Upon commissioning, the ship will be homeported in San Diego.

Built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding - Avondale Operations in Louisiana, Green Bay is 684 feet in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, a
navigational draft of 23 feet, displaces about 24,900 tons and is capable of embarking a landing force of about 800 Marines. Four turbo-charged diesel
engines power the ship to sustained speeds of 24 knots. (

Russian Navy denies Neustrashimy frigate has technical problems

Neustrashimy Missile Frigate (Photo: AP Photo)

January 23, 2009, Moscow -- The Russian Navy has rejected media reports that the Baltic Fleet's Neustrashimy missile frigate is in an unsatisfactory technical condition, a Navy spokesman said on Friday.

"I am authorized to categorically deny this information, which aims to detract from the achievements and service of the crew of the Neustrashimy, which was the first Russian warship to implement with dignity the task of providing security for navigation in the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa," Captain 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

The Neustrashimy was replaced as planned by the Admiral Vinogradov destroyer earlier in the month and is currently on its journey back to its base in Russia's Kaliningrad region.

"The commander of the Russian Navy continues to receive letters of appreciation from ship owners, who praise the Russian sailors," Dygalo said.

Pirates continue to be active in the waters off Somalia, where over 110 ships were attacked in 2008, with 42 vessels seized and 815 crew members abducted. Up to 20 warships from the navies of at least 10 countries are involved in anti-piracy operations off the coast of the lawless East African nation.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution last December authorizing countries and multinational organizations involved in tackling piracy to "undertake all necessary measures in Somalia, including in its airspace" to prevent "acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea." (RIA Novosti)

US fleet commander meets Indonesia naval cadets

23 Januari 2009, Surabaya -- The United States Commander of the seventh fleet Vice Admiral John M. Bird has briefed 219 cadets and officers of Indonesian Naval Academy here Thursday.

"The US Commander`s visit is one of his agenda in Indonesia. It is good opportunity for the Indonesian naval cadets to increase their knowledge by asking questions during the session," spokesman for the Indonesian Naval Academy Major Jamaluddin said.

He said the American guests included US defense attache at the US embassy in Jakarta.(ANTARA News)

HMAS Warramunga Begins Operations in Persian Gulf

HMAS Warramunga (Photo:

January 23, 2009, The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ANZAC Class Frigate, HMAS Warramunga, commenced a six month operational tour in the Persian Gulf yesterday (22 Jan), 11 days after sailing from its base in Perth.

Warramunga relieves HMAS Parramatta as the RAN’s main contribution to operations in the Middle East. HMAS Warramunga will serve with Combined Task Force 152 (CTF152) which is responsible for maritime security operations (MSO) in the Central and South Persian Gulf.

Commander Jonathan Sadleir, Parramatta’s Commanding Officer, says the ship’s second deployment to the Gulf has been a great success.

“The maritime security role which we perform in the Gulf is very important component of the wider effort to bring stability to the region,” he said.

“Through our presence, we are supporting international commerce and promoting regional prosperity. Our sailors are very proud of their achievements,” Commander Sadleir added.

Parramatta will now sail home for Sydney where she is expected to arrive in early February. (mediacentre)

Moscow slams Georgia's refusal to receive Russian inspectors

January 22, 2009, Moscow -- Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Georgia's refusal to allow Russian inspectors access to military installations on its territory will have political consequences.

Russia requested on January 19 and 21 that Georgia allow its experts access to Georgian military installations for evaluation and verification checks in accordance with a 1999 Vienna OSCE document on confidence and security-building measures. Georgia rejected both Russia's requests earlier on Thursday.

"This move made by Georgia contradicts the essence of the Vienna document and can not but have political consequences [in the future]," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also said that "Tbilisi has declared a 'force majeure' with regard to Russia for the period until Moscow has ended its occupation of Georgian territories including Abkhazia and South Ossetia."

Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war last August after Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia in an attempt to regain control over the breakaway republic. In response, Russia launched a military operation to eject Georgian troops from the region.

Two weeks after the end of the war, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another rebel region, as independent states. Abkhazia and South Ossetia split from Georgia in the early 1990s, and most residents of both republics have had Russian citizenship for a number of years. Moscow and Tbilisi have not had direct diplomatic relations since.

Russia accused Georgia of receiving arms from foreign countries, including Ukraine, during the conflict.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree banning exports of military products and dual-purpose technology to Georgia. Under the document, effective through December 1, 2011, the Russian government is to develop ways to restrict military cooperation with countries supplying Russian or Soviet-made arms to Georgia. (RIA Novosti)

Estonian Government approves Defence Forces Development Plan 2009-2018

At its session today, the Estonian Government approved the Estonian Defence Forces Development Plan 2009-2018, laying down the main military defence development trends, capability development projects, and the main investments to be made over the next decade.

The Estonian Defence Forces Development Plan 2009-2018 (EDFDP) was developed as a result of close co-operation between the specialists of the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff of the Defence Forces and matches with strategic threat assessment and the capability gaps identified.

EDFDP has specified the development of the following areas as the priority for the next ten years to come: participation in international operations and the development of units and military capabilities, characterised by NATO co-operation capabilities; the development of command, communication, reconnaissance and surveillance systems; the development of Ämari Air Base; the establishment of a limited scope medium range mobile anti-aircraft system and the further development of a short range anti-aircraft system; the further development of an infantry brigade at a high level of readiness, incl. the establishment of armoured units (either tanks or infantry combat machines); the further development of anti-tank capabilities; the further development of the Defence League, accompanied by increased funding; improving the command and communication capacities of the Navy and the acquisition of speedboats for the protection of territorial waters and marine surveillance; and the acquisition of transport helicopters.

The Development Plan also assumes an annual increase of the rank of reservists by 125 people. Compulsory military service shall remain the bases for manning the reserve units within today’s scope, using the current 8-11 month model. By the end of the planning period, the wartime operative structure of the Defence Forces is expected to increase from its current strength of 16,000 people to approximately 25,000, plus the units, formed on the bases of the Defence League.

Money-wise, the EDFDP shall assume that the share of the defence budget in the gross domestic product will increase to two per cent by 2010 and remain on this level in future.

The EDFDP will be reviewed every four years. The implementing tools of the EDFDP will be the 4-year Defence Forces Development Plans, reviewed every year.(

Uji Terbang Sukhoi Baru TNI AU Sukses

22 Januari 2009, Jakarta -- Satu unit pesawat jet tempur Sukhoi SU-30MK2 baru milik TNI Angkatan Udara yang tiba di Indonesia pada 26 Desember 2008 bernomor kode TS3005 sukses menjalani uji terbang (test flight) di Pangkalan Udara (Lanud) Sultan Hasanuddin, Makassar, Sulawesi Selatan.

"Uji terbang selama satu jam untuk memastikan bahwa semua sistem pesawat berfungsi dengan baik dilakukan oleh penerbang Rusia, Dhemchenko DN Tarakanov," ungkap Komandan Wing 5 Lanud Sultan Hasanuddin Kolonel Pnb Arif Mustofa, Kamis.

"Uji terbang pertama dijalani oleh Sukhoi TS3005 dan telah berjalan sukses. Uji terbang dilakukan selama satu jam," tutur Mustofa yang memantau langsung proses uji terbang tersebut.

Perusahaan Rusia penghasil pesawat tempur Sukhoi pada 21 Agustus 2007 mengumumkan penjualan enam pesawat tempur Sukhoi (masing-masing tiga unit SU-30MK2 dan SU-27SKM) kepada Indonesia senilai sekitar 300 juta dolar AS (Rp2,85 triliun).

Kedatangan keenam pesawat tersebut akan melengkapi empat pesawat Sukhoi yang telah dimiliki TNI AU sejak September 2003.

Sebelumnya dua pesawat Sukhoi SU-30MK2 dengan nomor kode TS3003 dan TS3004 telah menjalani uji terbang pada dua pekan silam dan berjalan sukses.

Dengan uji coba tersebut, berarti ketiga pesawat jet tempur Sukhoi SU-30MK2 yang tiba pada 26 Desember 2008 tersebut siap diserahterimakan dari Pemerintah Rusia kepada TNI-AU. Rencananya, ketiga pesawat jet tempur buatan Rusia itu akan diserahkan kepada Pemerintah Indonesia awal Februari 2009.

Sementara itu, tiga pesawat Sukhoi jenis SU-27SKM akan tiba bertahap mulai 2009 hingga 2010. Dengan kedatangan enam Sukhoi hingga 2010, maka TNI AU memiliki sepuluh unit Sukhoi. (

January 23, 2009, Canberra -- Greg Combet, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement, today announced that a Deed of Settlement, Release and Amendment has been signed with Boeing Australia that resolves long standing commercial issues associated with Project Air 5333 ‘Vigilare’.

It is well known that Project Air 5333 ‘Vigilare’ has experienced a number of commercial issues associated with project delays and costs. The Deed that has been signed addresses these longstanding concerns and will allow all parties to now focus on delivering this important capability.

Mr Combet said key points of the Deed include sharper commercial obligations between the parties for improved schedule and performance aspects, revised business rules to streamline future decision making, as well as providing for an incremental delivery regime for earlier capability acceptance by the RAAF and more efficient project execution by Boeing Australia.

“Vigilare is a $270m project that will replace the ground based Air Defence Command & Control systems for the RAAF and will form a key component in the RAAF’s future Network Centric Warfare (NCW) capability,” said Mr Combet.

“The Project will fuse data from a myriad of sensors and sources, such as the Jindalee Operational Radar Network, Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C), microwave radars (both civil and military), tactical platforms such as fighter aircraft and ships, and intelligence products from both national and foreign sources.”

“This project will help improve current command and control systems and will enable the ADF to enhance its ability to make decisions in the tactical theatre. To this end the project will provide a Recognised Air Picture (RAP), for use by both the RAAF and higher Defence headquarters”

“Vigilare is a software intensive endeavour that integrates over five million lines of code, sourced from a variety of sources. The Critical Design Review was successfully completed in July 2008 and the project has now moved into the integration and test phase, with deployment of operational software to the first site, located at RAAF Base Tindal, due to occur during 2009,” Mr Combet said.

“The Government will continue to closely monitor the progress of Vigilare but is pleased that the project is now moving forward again. I would like to congratulate Boeing and the DMO on their constructive work over the last year in resolving these issues.” (

Russian Navy to receive two new stealth warships in 2010-11

Stealthy Stereguschiy

January 22, 2009, Moscow, The Russian Navy is to receive two corvettes equipped with stealth technology in 2010 and 2011, a spokesman for the United Shipbuilding Corporation said on Thursday.

St. Petersburg's Severnaya Verf shipyard started construction of the Soobrazitelny in 2003 and the Stoiky in 2006.

Designed by the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau, they will be the second and third in the Project 20380 series, after the Steregushchy, which was put into service in 2007.

Russia plans to have up to 20 vessels of this class to ensure the protection of its coastal waters, as well as its oil and gas transportation routes, especially in the Black and the Baltic seas.

Each corvette has a displacement of 2,000 metric tons, maximum speed of 27 knots, crew of 100 and is equipped with stealth technology.(RIA Novosti)

Kazakhstan Seeks Israeli Help on Weapons

January 22, 2009, Astana - Kazakhstan's defense ministry said Jan. 22 it had asked Israel to help it modernize its military and produce weapons that comply with NATO standards.

"We are currently working on the organization of Kazakh-Israeli ventures," a ministry statement said after deputy Defense Minister Kazhimurat Mayermanov met representatives from Israel's arms developer Soltam Systems Ltd.

The ex-Soviet state, which enjoys good relations with Russia, China and the U.S., wants Israeli arms producers to help it manufacture modern weapons at its Petropavlovsk factory base in the north of the country. (

Northrop Grumman Successfully Launches Virginia-Class Submarine New Mexico (SSN 779)

New Mexico is the sixth ship of the Virginia class. With improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements, it will provide undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. (Photo by Chris Oxley)

January 22, 2009,NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) reached a milestone Jan. 18 by launching the Virginia-class submarine New Mexico (SSN 779) at the company's Shipbuilding sector in Newport News, Va.

Northrop Grumman launched the Virginia-class submarine New Mexico (SSN 779) Jan. 18 at the company's Shipbuilding sector in Newport News, Va. (Photo by John Whalen)

On January 15, shipbuilders used a transfer car system to move the 7,800-ton New Mexico out of a construction facility to a floating dry dock. Three days later, they submerged the floating dry dock and successfully launched New Mexico into the James River. Once in the water, tugboats moved New Mexico to the shipyard's submarine pier where final outfitting and testing will take place.

Northrop Grumman christened the sixth submarine of the Virginia class, New Mexico (SSN 779), Dec. 13, 2008.

New Mexico is the sixth ship of the Virginia class. With improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements, it will provide undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. The ship's construction began March 2004 and the ship's sponsor, Cindy Giambastiani, christened the ship during a ceremony held Dec. 13, 2008. New Mexico is scheduled for delivery in Aug. 2009. (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

Boeing Completes Canadian Industrial and Regional Benefits Program for CF-18 Modernization

January 22, 2009, Ottawa -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has successfully completed its Industrial and Regional Benefits program for Phase 1 of the CF-18 Fighter Avionics Modernization Program for the Canadian Forces. This achievement, reached one year ahead of schedule, demonstrates the company's continued success in meeting its industrial participation (IP) commitments. Boeing has successfully implemented IP programs totaling more than US$29 billion in more than 35 countries over the past 30 years.

"The completion of the CF-18 Phase 1 Industrial and Regional Benefits program continues our long-standing commitment to investing in the regions where we do business," Gwen Kopsie, director of Industrial Participation for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, said Jan. 21 in Ottawa. "This accomplishment further reinforces our focus on developing partnerships and issuing contracts that will result in long-term, high-value jobs for Canadians while further establishing Boeing as an enduring partner to Canadian industry."

With the completion of the CF-18 Phase 1 Industrial and Regional Benefits program, valued at nearly US$378 million, Boeing now has three active IP programs in Canada, each coordinated by Industry Canada. The IP program for Phase 2 of CF-18 Fighter Avionics Modernization, valued at nearly US$138 million, is on track for completion in May 2011. The company also has two IP programs tied to the Canadian government's 2007 order for four C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, which have delivered and are already supporting Canadian Forces' military and humanitarian missions. As part of the C-17 acquisition and in-service support contracts, Boeing agreed to match the purchase price of the four aircraft and a 20-year maintenance and support contract with dollar-for-dollar investments, valued at US$1.5 billion, back into the Canadian economy.

Boeing has been a major contributor to the Canadian economy since 1919, generating approximately US$1 billion in business annually. The company employs highly skilled workers in Winnipeg, Richmond (British Columbia), Montreal, and Ottawa in support of both its commercial and its defense/space business units. Canada also is home to Boeing's third-largest international supplier base, including more than 200 suppliers in every region of the country.(

Israeli gunboat targets Gaza civilians

A Palestinian medical official says an Israeli gunboat off the shores of Gaza City has opened fire on Gazans, wounding a man and a girl.

Dr. Moaiya Hassanain said Thursday that a shell fired by the gunboat hit a house in a beachside refugee camp. He said the wounded were passersby in the street, AP reported.

Gunboats off Gaza have been firing for several days despite a cease-fire, which ended a three-week Israeli offensive, being in place.

The humanitarian situation in the besieged strip has not changed as the Gaza blockade continues.

Israeli military operations have exacerbated the already dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza by destroying civilian infrastructures during the invasion. Gazans are facing harsh conditions without food, water, fuel and electricity.

The hospitals and other medical facilities suffer from severe shortages of medical supplies and electricity. The crossings into the Gaza Strip still remain closed and the humanitarian aid permitted to enter the besieged strip is below the survival levels.

Nearly 5,000 houses were destroyed and hundreds of people have become homeless in the costal sliver, which has been under an 18-month Israeli blockade.

Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire on Sunday, to which Hamas responded positively by giving Tel Aviv a one-week ultimatum to withdraw all its forces from the area and end its 18-month blockade of the coastal enclave. (MSH/MMN/

Singapore Boosts Defense Spending 6 Percent

January 22, 2009, Singapore -- Singapore, battling what likely is its worst-ever recession, plans to increase defense spending by 6.0 percent from a year ago, estimates released Jan. 22 showed.

The government intends to spend 11.45 billion Singapore dollars (7.66 billion US) on defense during the 2009 fiscal year, the estimates showed.

In the budget, the government took the unprecedented move of tapping into its vast financial reserves as part of measures to fight the recession, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said during a speech in parliament.

The tiny city-state, which has one of Asia's most advanced armed forces, spent 10.8 billion dollars for defense in 2008, figures contained in the 2009 budget said.

The money will be used to purchase and maintain military equipment and facilities, and to pay the salaries of national servicemen.

The mission of the armed forces is to enhance peace and security through deterrence and diplomacy, but should these fail, the military will aim to "secure a swift and decisive victory over the aggressor," a statement on the Ministry of Defence Web site said.

Singapore has a population of more than 4.8 million people, 3.64 million of them citizens and permanent residents who provide the manpower for its conscription-based armed forces. (

Georgia rejects Russia's request to inspect military facilities

January 22, 2009, Tbilisi -- Georgia has refused to allow Russian experts access to military installations on its territory, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Russia requested on January 19 and 21 that Georgia allow its experts access to Georgian military installations for evaluation and verification inspections in accordance with a 1999 Vienna OSCE document on confidence and security-building measures.

"There are no guarantees that Russia will not attempt again to conduct aggressive actions and to use information obtained during the inspections to harm Georgia's national interests," the ministry said in a statement.

Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war last August after Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia in an attempt to regain control over the breakaway republic. In response, Russia launched a military operation to eject Georgian troops from the region.

Two weeks after the end of the war, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another rebel region, as independent states. Abkhazia and South Ossetia split from Georgia in the early 1990s, and most residents of both republics have had Russian citizenship for a number of years. Moscow and Tbilisi have not had direct diplomatic relations since.

Russia accused Georgia of receiving arms from foreign countries, including Ukraine, during the conflict.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree banning exports of military products and dual-purpose technology to Georgia. Under the document, effective through December 1, 2011, the Russian government is to develop ways to restrict military cooperation with countries supplying Russian or Soviet-made arms to Georgia. (RIA Novosti)

TNI Gelar Latihan Gabungan Pasukan Khusus

Taifib (Photo:

22 Januari 2009, Jakarta -- KOMANDAN Korps Marinir Mayjen (mar) Djunaidi Djahri membuka secara Latihan Gabungan Pasukan Khusus TNI di Sekolah Staf dan Komando TNI AL (Seskoal), Jakarta, Rabu (21/1).

Menurutnya, pasukan khusus TNI selalu dihadapkan pada kemungkinan kontijensi aksi terorisme di wilayah Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia. Latihan menjadi kesempatan masing-masing angkatan berlatih dan bekerja sama secara komprehensif menanggulangi ancaman.

"Diharapkan tersusun rencana operasi yang dapat digunakan sewaktu-waktu baik secara operasional, taktik, tehnik dan prosedur," katanya dalam siaran pers yang diterima redaksi.

Latihan juga bisa menciptakan dampak psikologis yang menguntungkan seluruh anggota pasukan khusus TNI. Latihan akan dibagi dalam dua tahap. Gladi Posko berlangsung di Seskoal selama dua hari hingga hari ini. Sedangkan Gladi Lapangan dilegar di Hotel Peninsula, Bandara Sam Ratulangi, dan Perairan Teluk Manado pada 4 dan 5 Februari mendatang. Latihan gabungan ini menjadi gelaran kedua setelah kegiatan serupa digelar awal tahun lalu di Batam. (jurnalnasional)

Indonesian navy chief calls on Defence Minister

January 22, 2009,Singapore -- The Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Navy, Admiral (ADM) Tedjo Edhy Purdijanto, called on Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean at the Ministry of Defence on 22 Jan.

ADM Tedjo, who is here on a three-day introductory visit, also called on Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Desmond Kuek, as well as Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Chew Men Leong.

He will also be visiting Changi Naval Base before leaving Singapore on 23 Jan.

The visit underscores the strong defence relations between Singapore and Indonesia and reflects the longstanding friendship and cooperation between the Republic of Singapore Navy and the Indonesian Navy.

Personnel from both navies interact regularly through exercises, visits and courses, fostering camaraderie and strengthening mutual understanding. (Ashok Palaniappan/

Russian Air Force to receive some 20 new combat aircraft in 2009

MIG29SMT (Photo:

January 22. 2009, Moscow, The Russian Air Force will receive around 20 modernized Su-25 Frogfoot attack aircraft and new MiG-29SMT Fulcrum fighters in 2009, an Air Force spokesman said on Thursday.

"About 10 modernized Su-25 attack aircraft and over 10 MiG-29SMT fighters will be delivered to the Air Force in 2009," Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said.

The Su-25 Frogfoot is a single-seat, twin-engine combat aircraft developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau to provide close air support for ground troops.

The Su-25 aircraft has been in service with the Russian Air Force for more than 25 years. In 1999, Russia adopted a program to upgrade part of its aging Su-25 fleet. The Air Force received the first six modernized Su-25SM planes in December 2006.

Russia will keep a modernized version of its Su-25 attack aircraft in service with the Air Force until 2020.

The MiG-29SMT is a recent modification of the MiG-29 multirole frontline fighter. The aircraft features a longer flight range due to the extra capacity of its integral fuel tanks and the installation of an in-flight refueling system (similar to that of the MiG-29SD), among other enhancements.

Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who is in charge of arms procurement, said on Wednesday that Russia's fifth-generation fighter must be commissioned with the Air Force by 2015. (RIA Novosti)

BrahMos Missile Test Not A Total Success

New Delhi - A supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by Russia and India failed to hit its target in a test previously reported as successful, Indian military scientists said Jan. 21.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation, which initially claimed the Jan. 20 test of the BrahMos missile had been a "total success," said the missile had flown only in the general direction of its target.

"The missile performance was absolutely normal till the last phase, but it missed the target, though it maintained the direction," BrahMos project chief Sivathanu Pillai told the Press Trust of India.

The eight-metre (26-foot) missile weighs about three metric tons and can be launched from land, ships, submarines or aircraft, traveling at a speed of up to Mach 2.8. It has a range of 290 kilometres (180 miles) and is designed to carry a conventional warhead.

The missile was fired from the Pokhran range in the western desert state of Rajasthan, bordering Pakistan, the site of India's nuclear tests in 1998.

The Times of India newspaper suggested Jan. 21 that the failure was a result of an attempt to configure the missile to carry a nuclear warhead.

Pillai did not comment on the newspaper's report but said his scientists were trying to debug the guidance system of a missile that had been tested 20 times in the past eight years.

"A new software used for this mission will be revalidated through extensive simulations, and a flight trial will be carried out in a month's time to prove the augmented capabilities of the missile," he said.

India and Russia - its largest military supplier - hope to mass produce the BrahMos for export.

Nuclear-armed India, the largest arms buyer among emerging countries, has started arming its navy and army with the BrahMos as a tactical battlefield weapons system.

The missile is named after India's Brahmaputra River and Russia's Moskva River. (

Pakistan, Poland keen to promote defence cooperation

January 21, 2009,Islamabad -- A Polish defence delegation, led by the Chief of General Staff Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland, General Franciszek Gagor, called on Federal Minister for Defence, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar here on Wednesday. They discussed the security situation of the region, bilateral defence cooperation, global war on terror and the strains in Pak‑India relations in the wake of Mumbai attacks.

Both sides agreed to enhance and widen bilateral cooperation as there existed a lot of potential and opportunities which needed to be capitalized upon for the mutual benefits of the two countries.

The meeting underlined the need to increase cooperation in the areas of training and defence production. Secretary Defence, Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Athar Ali also attended the meeting. (

Gripen Supercruises

January 21, 2009, During last Autumn, the Gripen Demo performed 40 sorties as part of the development programme that focuses on opening up the flight envelope regarding speed, altitude, angle-of-attack and loads. This year, the testing has continued at the same high tempo. Today’s supercruise flight is part of the ongoing high speed supersonic testing that will include supersonic flights, with different load alternatives.

Saab test pilot Magnus Ljungdahl flew the Gripen Demonstrator aircraft in supercruise.
“The flight was conducted over the Baltic Sea, my altitude was 28, 000 feet and the speed achieved was above Mach 1.2. Without using afterburner I maintained the same speed until I ran out of test area and had to head back to the Saab Test Flight Centre in Linköping.”

“Important milstone”

“To show potential customers that Gripen can supercruise is an important milestone”, said Gripen International Marketing Director Bob Kemp, “and to perform this activity only nine months after the Gripen Demonstrator was shown in public for the first time, is something that few, if any aircraft can beat.”

The Gripen Demo aircraft is a flying test platform for the next generation of Gripen and for the further development of the present Gripen C/D aircraft. Together with a ground-based test rig, the Gripen Demonstrator will develop and prove the essential systems and capabilities for the future, including its more powerful General Electric F414G engine, an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, advanced communications and electronic warfare systems. (

Russian strategic bombers conduct patrols over Arctic

TU95 MS (Photo:

January 21, 2009, Moscow -- Russian Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers carried out on Wednesday regular patrols over the Arctic Ocean, a Russian Air Force spokesman said.

"Two Tu-160 strategic bombers carried out on Wednesday a regular patrol flight over the Norwegian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The crews honed their instrumental flight skills and accomplished several other tasks," Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said.

During the 12-hour flight, the Russian aircraft were periodically accompanied by NATO F-16 Falcon and Tornado fighters.

"On the same day, two Tu-95MS bombers carried out similar patrols over the Arctic Ocean and near the Aleutian Islands," Drik said.

The bombers were shadowed by U.S. F-15 Eagle fighters during the 10-hour flight.

The spokesman reiterated that all Russian strategic patrols are performed in strict accordance with international rules on the use of airspace over neutral waters, without violating the borders of other states.

The shadowing of Russian warplanes by NATO fighters has been common practice since Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans in August 2007. (RIA Novosti)

INS Shikra - Navy's First Helicopter Base - to be Commissioned Today

January 22, 2009, New Delhi -- The Indian Navy will be commissioning its first helicopter base, INS Shikra, today (22 Jan 09). An impressive commissioning ceremony is planned at Mumbai to usher in the first helicopter base.

The Air Station, will be commissioned by the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), Admiral Sureesh Mehta, PVSM AVSM VSM. Captain Philipose G Pynumootil is the first Commanding Officer of INS Shikra and will read out the Commissioning Warrant.

The Air Station, which first commenced air operation in 1964 with setting up of a small Helicopter Maintenance Unit, today, provides maintenance and flying support to a diverse range of helicopters operating from naval ships at Mumbai. Operations from here include Sea King, Kamov 28, Kamov 31 and Chetak helicopters. The station also provides Air Traffic Control services to all civil and military helicopters operating in South Mumbai.

The location of the air station close, to Naval facilities, makes it ideally suited to support ship-borne helicopters of the Western Fleet as also their maintenance and training requirements. In addition, the proximity of the air station to Mumbai High and Saurashtra region on the West Coast, makes it the preferred site to provide effective air support for protection and security of the national assets, at short notice. The Commissioning of INS Shikra, will provide a shot in the arm, to the growth of Naval Aviation. The commissioning is symbolic, of the recognition of the important role played by naval helicopters in the maritime capability of our nation.

Shikra, after which the Air Station is being named, is a small aggressive raptor with short broad wings and tall tail adapted for manoeuvrability, agility and speed. The crest of the air station depicts a bolt of lightning in the talons of a Shikra, symbolising the strike power of the aircraft. The red and grey body depicts spirit of the men of "blood and steel" who man the unit and constantly strive for excellence. (

Russia's new fighter

Russia's New Fighter (Photo:

Tests of Russia's new fighter must start in 2009
January 21, 2009, Akhtubinsk - The testing of Russia's fifth-generation fighter must begin in 2009 and the aircraft should be commissioned with the Russian Air Force in 2015, a deputy prime minister said on Wednesday.

"I insist that the testing start as early as 2009, and the fifth-generation fighter must enter service with the Russian Air Force in 2015," Sergei Ivanov said at a meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission.

Earlier plans set 2010 for the first tests of the new fighter.

Ivanov said Russia was "nearing the end of the development of the first prototype of the new fighter."

Russia's advanced multirole fighter is being developed by Sukhoi, which is part of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), along with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), under a preliminary intergovernmental agreement signed in October 2007.

Russia and India will simultaneously develop two versions of the combat aircraft - a two-seat version to meet the requirements of India's air superiority doctrine, and a single-seat version for the Russian Air Force.

Russia's Sukhoi aircraft maker earlier said it had started to construct a prototype of the fifth-generation fighter, which will feature high maneuverability and stealth to ensure air superiority and precision in destroying ground and sea targets.

The Russian version will be built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft-manufacturing plant in Russia's Far East.

Ivanov said on Wednesday that the aircraft manufacturing industry should review and adjust some testing programs and methods due to advanced nature of the new aircraft.(RIA Novosti)

India will jointly develop and produce fifth generation fighter jets with Russia
Reuters Photo)

Russia's next-generation warplane to make maiden flight in 2009

January 21, 2009, Astrakhan -- Russia's first fifth-generation warplane will make its maiden flight before the end of this year, the deputy prime minister in charge of arms procurement said on Wednesday.

"We expect the plane to take to the skies no later than the end of this year," Sergei Ivanov told a news conference after a meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission.

Earlier plans set 2010 for the first tests of the new fighter, which will feature high maneuverability and stealth to ensure air superiority and precision in destroying ground and sea targets.

Russia's advanced multirole fighter is being developed by Sukhoi, which is part of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), along with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), under a preliminary intergovernmental agreement signed in October 2007.

Russia and India will simultaneously develop two versions of the combat aircraft - a two-seat version to meet the requirements of India's air superiority doctrine, and a single-seat version for the Russian Air Force.

The Russian version will be built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft-manufacturing plant in Russia's Far East.

Ivanov said the plant had almost completed the construction of a first prototype of the fifth-generation fighter, but it will undergo only durability tests on the ground at a research facility in Zhukovsky near Moscow.

However, a second prototype will be built and will take to the skies by the end of this year, he said.

Ivanov also said on Wednesday that the aircraft manufacturing industry should review and adjust some testing programs and methods due to advanced nature of the new aircraft.(RIA Novosti)

By Sea, By Land

Royal Marine Commandos from 539 Squadron Recce Team (SRT) conducting training scenarios in the Plymouth exercise areas

The Royal Marine Squadron Reconnaissance Team (SRT) is a small group of specialist Royal Marines who are involved with Beach Reconnaissance and are part of 539 Assault Squadrons Amphibious Beach Unit.

The main role of the specialist 6 man teams is Beach Reconnaissance. This involves landing on to a beach by a variety of methods including boat, swimming, overland and even deploying from aircraft and submarines. Once on the beach the team survey its suitability for different types of landing crafts by checking depths, beach composition, exits for troops and vehicles and general information to assist the planners of future operations.(

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