General Dynamics NASSCO Awarded $35 Million for Modernization and Maintenance of U.S. Navy Amphibious Ship

USS Germantown (LSD 42) (Photo:

January 30, 2009, San Diego -– General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), has been awarded two contracts totaling $34.6 million by the U.S. Navy to modernize the amphibious assault ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) and maintain the amphibious transport dock ship USS Dubuque (LPD 8).

Under the first contract, valued at $26.3 million, NASSCO will upgrade the Germantown’s electrical generation and power distribution systems. The contract follows a $100,000 award to NASSCO last July for preparatory work for the ship’s modernization. Additional contracts are expected to be awarded for other hull, mechanical and engineering work. Modernization work aboard the Germantown began in December and is scheduled to end in August. The 610-foot-long ship was commissioned in February 1986 and is homeported in San Diego.

USS Dubuque (LPD 8) (Photo:

The second contract, valued at $8.3 million, authorizes NASSCO to perform routine maintenance aboard the Dubuque. From mid-February through April, NASSCO will perform upkeep work on the ship’s engineering plant and in crew living spaces. This contract is a follow-on award to a maintenance agreement for LPD-class ships previously awarded to NASSCO. The 570-foot-long ship was commissioned in September 1967 and is homeported in San Diego. (

Iran Produces Smart Anti-Aircraft Gun

January 31, 2009, Tehran -- Iran has successfully manufactured a smart 100mm anti-aircraft gun as part of a campaign to boost the country's defense capabilities.

"The Defense Industries Organization has completed the wholly domestic task of manufacturing the 100mm anti-aircraft gun and its necessary ammunition to counter aerial threats posed by enemy fighters, helicopters and cruise missiles," Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said during the system's Sunday inauguration ceremony.

"One of the most important features of this weapon is its smart system which can track down the target and fire at it automatically," he added.

Mohammad-Najjar pointed out that the shells used in the system are equipped with a fuze which enables them to explode and terminate the target from a close distance even if they fail to hit it directly.

The 100mm anti-aircraft gun is an artillery system that can create a missile shield against enemy aircraft at medium and low altitudes.

Tehran began upgrading its defense capabilities after the eight year war that Iraq's former dictator Saddam Hussein waged against Iran in the 80s.

Although Saddam's military was heavily armed by the West- particularly the US- he was unable to capture Iranian soil at the end of the war.

Western denial to sell Iran the weapons it needed to ward off a foreign aggressor prompted the government to establish a domestic military industry.

During the past years, Iranian experts have managed to design and manufacture various missiles, fighters, stealth aircraft, drones, submarines, radar systems, and military vessels.

News of the production of an anti-aircraft artillery system comes as Israel, the Middle East's sole nuclear power, continues to threaten Iran over the country's nuclear program.

In quite remarkable comments, the Israeli ambassador in Australia Yuval Rotem said on Friday that Tel Aviv's recent military offensives in Gaza was a 'preintroduction' to dealing with the 'threat posed by a nuclear-equipped Iran'.

This is while Iran's nuclear program is under the constant supervision of UN nuclear watchdog inspectors, who have confirmed that the country's atomic activities have not diverted toward weaponization. (

Pakistan Navy To Boost Air Surveillance Capability

January 30, 2009, Islamabad -- The Pakistan Navy will increase its aerial surveillance capabilities with the acquisition of airborne early warning and UAV systems. This was announced by the Navy's chief of staff, Adm. Noman Bashir, during a Jan. 29 visit to the service's aviation base, PNS Mehran, in Karachi.

The admiral was attending a ceremony to induct Fokker F-27 Friendship maritime surveillance aircraft into the Navy's air arm, and the commissioning of a T-56 engine test bench facility. The former were acquired from Pakistan's national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines, on retirement of the type from its service. The latter will allow for the in-house overhaul and maintenance of the T-56 engines on the Navy's growing fleet of Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

Though the admiral made no further comment on the UAV issue, the Navy has been evaluating the Schiebel S-100 Camcopter UAV for some time.

When asked if Bashir's latest comments were linked to the S-100, a Navy spokesman, Capt. Asif Majeed Butt, said, "There are about 14 to 15 UAVs under scrutiny, but none have been finalized." He did, however, say that the S-100 is "better" than some of the other UAVs under consideration.

The AEW system in question is the P-3B Orion fitted with the E-2C Hawkeye aircraft's airborne early warning and control equipment. At IDEAS2008, an international defense trade show that took place in November in Karachi, a Lockheed official, Costas Papadopoulos, said that a number of Orions had been selected to be fitted with the Hawkeye AEW gear. But he did not comment on when delivery to the Navy is expected.

Bashir said the Navy looks forward to the arrival of Z-9EC anti-submarine warfare helicopters, which will be embarked upon the service's new F-22P Sword-class light frigates, the first of which is expected in Pakistan later this year. Both the helicopters and ships are being built in China.

He also said a deal for the Navy's next-generation submarine, the Type 214 built by Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft shipyard, would be "concluded soon." The potential terms of the deal remain undisclosed. (

Russian, Italian Navies Hold Exercises in Ionian Sea

Guided Missile Cruiser "Moskva" (photo: A.Brichevsky)

January 30, 2009, Sevastopol -- Russia's Black Sea Fleet flagship the guided-missile cruiser Moskva and Italy's destroyer the Andrea Doria held one-day drills in the Ionian Sea in the Strait of Messina on Friday, the Black Sea Fleet said.

On Thursday all details of the joint exercises were coordinated on board the Russian cruiser.

"The ships practiced elements of joint maneuvering, signaling, communications and joint actions on detecting surface targets. Ship-based helicopters from the two vessels were used in the exercises," the fleet press service said. (edited @RIA Novosti)

BOXESG, 13th MEU Enter 7th Fleet

USS Boxer (LHD 4)

January 28, 2009, Pacific Ocean -– USS Boxer (LHD 4) Expeditionary Strike Group (BOXESG) and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) entered the 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) Jan. 27, to support maritime security.

While operating in 7th Fleet, BOXESG/13TH MEU will conduct exercises and operations to support 7th Fleet’s mission maintaining peace and stability and to encourage regional cooperation.

BOXESG/13TH MEU team is a rapid response strike group available for maritime security operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, non-combatant evacuation operations, security, stability, transition and reconstruction operations, Embassy reinforcement, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, strike capabilities, amphibious raid capabilities, mass casualty response, and airfield and port seizure capabilities.

The strike group proved their many capabilities prior to deployment by successfully completing their Expeditionary Strike Group Integration (ESGINT), Composite Training Unit (COMPTUEX) and Certification Exercises (CERTEX).

Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 194) (top) and guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) conduct an underway replenishment. Lake Champlain, as part of the Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is on a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific in support of global maritime security. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker

“The strike group and the MEU have come together as a team and are trained and ready for missions from the combatant commanders,” said Navy Capt. Pete Brennan, BOXESG’s commander and commodore of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5. “The Sailors and Marines have put in countless hours to build a proficient and effective team that is ready for any mission, any time,” said 13th MEU Commanding Officer, Col. David W. Coffman.

BOXESG is comprised of Amphibious Squadron 5, USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USCGC Boutwell (WHEC 719), USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, Naval Beach Group 1, Assault Craft Unit 5, Assault Craft Unit 1, Beach Master Unit 1 and Fleet Surgical Team 5.

The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit is comprised of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 (Reinforced), Combat Logistics Battalion 13 and Battalion Landing Team 1/1. (

Iran Announces Self-Sufficiency in Missile Industry

Janaury 27, 2009, Tehran -- Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar Tuesday reiterated Iran's advancement in defense industries, saying that the country has reached self-sufficiency in manufacturing various types of rockets and missiles.

"Iran has been able to reach self-sufficiency in producing different kinds of surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles with various ranges," Najjar told reporters.

"Iran is increasing its defense capabilities and reaching self-sufficiency in (manufacturing) different kinds of military equipments.

"Promotion of Iran's defensive power will lead to stability in the region," he added.

Najjar reiterated that all military equipment needed by Iran are produced inside the country, saying that the Islamic Republic does not feel any need to foreign suppliers anymore.

He also said that Iran's defense industries now mass-produce different types of weapons, tanks, artillery and armored vehicles, and added that Iranian military experts are even producing equipments which are unrivaled and unique in type. (

Russian Navy Dismisses Foreign Base Rumors

January 30, 2009, Moscow -- Media rumors concerning the possible deployment of a Russian naval base in Yemen are false, a Russian Navy spokesman has said.

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

"The Russian Navy is announcing that these so-called 'news stories' have no basis in reality...They resemble a poorly overheard conversation between two strangers on the street," Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

The Russian Navy already dismissed these reports in mid-January, but the rumors persisted, especially after the deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn said that it was too soon to name any countries where the Navy would like to deploy "basing points," but confirmed that the General Staff had backed a proposal by the Navy command 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," Nogovitsyn said at the time.

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

Russian military experts have recently emphasized the importance of the network of Russian naval bases around the world, including in the Mediterranean, for the quick deployment of the Russian Navy in urgent situations. (RIA Novosti)

India's 60th Republic Day Parade

Indian paramilitary soldiers of the Border Security Force march past during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Monday (1/25).

Indian Army's T-72 tanks participate in the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.

Indian Army soldiers of the Corps of Signals perform motorcycle stunts during the Republic Day parade.

LTTE Underwater Vehicles Found

January 29, 2009, -- Sri Lanka Army Task Force 3 found an LTTE underwater vehicle along with 3 other smaller underwater vehicles which are still under construction from the Udayarkattukulam area in Mullaittivu yesterday morning (Jan 28). Military sources said that this was the most startling recovery made by troops so far during the on going operations against the LTTE. Three suicide boats and a large haul of LTTE maritime equipment were also found at the location , the sources added.

The sources further revealed , the largest underwater vehicle found is about 35 feet in length and amour plated. Among the other items found , there were one low bed trailer, one armour plate used for bending machines, fifteen oxy-acetylene welding cylinders, thirty armour plate sheets of 20 ft each, three pedal-type suicide boats, one Dvora-type fast attack craft, a large number of water pumps, two lorries, two buses, one truck, one heavy duty generator, one water bowzer trailer, one bowzer, filled with kerosene, two large lathe machines, two powerful compressors, one welding plant, a number of electric motors, one large lifting jack, many boats and vehicle engines, three hangar-shaped buildings of 75 ft x 15 ft each, fifteen small tiled-houses of 20 ft x 30 ft with full air conditioning and five tiled-billets of 25 ft x 100 ft with full air conditioning.

The discovery was made by the infantrymen of 4 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (4 SLLI) commanded by Major Najeewa Edirisinghe.

With this discovery the LTTE will go down in the history as the first terrorist organization to develop underwater weapons. Also, the LTTE is the first outfit to introduce suicide bombers to the world and to develop naval and air arms.

Defence observers are in the view that the LTTE has been able to come this far in warfare because of the leeway given the outfit by the international community. Until recently, the LTTE sympathizers were given opportunity to raise funds freely in the western countries to buy arms and ammo. The outfit has been able to operate a fleet of ships to smuggle arms, engage in drug trafficking and human smuggling to make money, etc, in many parts of the world. With hired hands in many international media, NGOs and various other front organizations the outfit has been able to portray itself as a liberation organization to the world and to put international pressure on the government when taking military action against it. (edited

Malaysia Takes Delivery of First Submarine

Scorpene (Photo:

January 28, 2009, Kuala Lumpur -- Malaysia has taken delivery of its first submarine as part of a plan to establish a fleet of the vessels, according to the French company that built it.

The Royal Malaysian Navy received the Scorpene submarine in the French port of Toulon and a second is scheduled for delivery in late 2009, French contractor DCNS said in a statement late Tuesday (1/27).

It said the sub had completed its final sea trials in December, including the successful firing of torpedoes and missiles.

The sub's delivery again raised opposition claims that a 540 million ringgit ($149.5 million) commission was paid to a close associate of deputy premier Najib Razak in brokering the deal.

The deputy premier, who is slotted to take over as prime minister when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi steps down in March, has denied any improper involvement in the deal when he was defence minister.

But senior opposition leader Lim Kit Siang called on Malaysia's new anti-corruption commission to investigate the allegation. (

Russia Delivers MI-171 Choppers to Iran


January 29, 2009, Tehran -- Russia delivered two of five Mi-171 helicopters sold to Iran after signing a $45 million contract to upgrade the country's rescue fleet.

Under the contract, Russia was expected to deliver five Mi-171 transport helicopters to Iran before the end of March.

Another three helicopters will be reportedly on the way to Iran in March.

Iran will use the helicopters to speed up search and rescue missions and to evacuate people in natural disasters.

Mi-171 helicopters can operate in severe hot or cold weather conditions and are capable of carrying 25 passengers as well as 12 injured people on stretchers.

Iran lies on a series of seismic fault lines, which make quakes inevitable in the country. Earthquakes of minor magnitude are a regular occurrence in Iran.(

"Who Dares Wins" - Royal Navy's Newest Warship Arrives At Her Portsmouth Home

HMS Daring, the first of the new Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers, entered Portsmouth and berthed for the first time in her home port witnessed by hundreds of well-wishers.

The occasion marks a major milestone in the programme’s development. The six Type 45 destroyers, of which HMS Daring is the first of class, will form the backbone of the Royal Navy’s Air Defence capability for the 21st Century.

Designed primarily to provide air defence protecting forces against enemy aircraft and missiles, HMS Daring is extremely versatile and able to undertake a broad range of missions from combat to humanitarian assistance. She can operate a number of helicopters, including the Chinook providing greater operational flexibility than other ships of her size. HMS Daring will be able to carry a significant number of extra personnel, such as troops or evacuated personnel, on board.

Top quality accommodation has been fitted so the crew can live and work in comfort. The ship also has her own hospital facilities, complete with operating table.

Vice Admiral Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE, Chief of Materiel (Fleet) used the occasion to officially name the Type 45’s air defence missile system as “Sea Viper” - formerly known as the Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS). He said:

“With its Sampson Radar the system is capable of detecting and tracking several hundred targets including the supersonic, sea skimming and high altitude targets out to 400 kilometres. It can then classify and decide how to best engage up to 10 of them simultaneously in order to ensure the highest possibility of a successful engagement.

“I have to say she is a superb looking ship. She is absolutely state of the art: from the Sampson Radar and the PAAMS missile system, which provide a capability far beyond any other weapon system in the Royal Navy, right the way through to the power systems that have been designed to be as green and economical as possible.”

HMS Daring will undertake an intensive sea trials programme for the rest of the year, with a formal commissioning ceremony due to take place in the summer with a target of formally accepting her into Naval Service by late 2010. (edited

The Third Indonesian Su-30MK2 Has Been Successfully Tested

January 29, 2009 The third Su-30MK2 delivered to Indonesia last week has successfully passed the flight tests at “Hasanuddin” airbase on Sulawesi. During one-hour flight the aircraft was piloted by Russian pilots who tested all onboard systems. Two Su-30MK2 delivered at the end of the last December were tested on January 6 th.

The fighters were produced at JSC “Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association named after Yury Gagarin” under the contract dated 23.07.2008 for the delivery of six aircraft - three Su-30MK2 and three Su-27SKM – to the Indonesian Air Force. The Su-27SKMs are planned for delivery in 2009-2010. Together with four early-bought Russian fighters the new ones are to form an air squadron fielded in Makasar. (

CTF-56 Serves Multiple Roles in 5th Fleet

Sailors assigned to Riverine Squadron 1 race along the Euphrates River in riverine patrol boats. RIVRON-1 was established in May 2006, under Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien

January 28, 2009, Bahrain -- In the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations, the men and women of Commander Task Force (CTF) 56 play a vital role in the region by providing operational oversight for all naval expeditionary combat forces.

CTF-56 supports nine different task groups including expeditionary combat, logistical support and combat service support forces.

"The mission of CTF-56 is to properly assign and manage Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) forces in theater," said Capt. Michael Jordan, commander, CTF-56. "We provide expertise in Navy Expeditionary Combat Forces and NAVCENT initiatives with these forces."

CTF-56 has several different task groups that fall under their command. These task groups include: Naval construction force, Navy explosive ordnance disposal, mobile diving and salvage, maritime expeditionary security forces, Navy expeditionary logistics support forces, combat camera, riverine squadrons, expeditionary intelligence units, maritime civil affairs teams and expeditionary training teams.

CTF-56 task groups provide various services to the commands they are assigned to in Bahrain and throughout the region.

"We are unique from other task forces in 5th Fleet because we have such a wide range of capabilities," said Lt. Cmdr. Eric Bray, CTF-56 operations officer. "Our task groups cover multiple roles throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet; from security, construction to ordnance disposal."

CTF-56 task groups deploy throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations to support various commands.

"Our task forces are deployed to seven countries throughout the region," said Bray. "Our task groups are serving in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom as well as conducting maritime security operations."

Members of the EOD task group regularly deploy to front line commands.

"We get called to clear IEDs a lot in Iraq," said Explosive Ordnance Disposal 1st Class (EWS) Phillip Morrison, who deployed there in 2006 and 2007. "If EOD wasn't there to remove IEDs, they might still be there killing or wounding our Soldiers."

EOD Sailors also help gather information on the IEDs being used in Iraq, which enable investigators to hunt the terror cells that plant them.

CTF-56 also provides intelligence information that helps NAVCENT operate effectively.

"Being part of CTF-56 has given me a bigger view of how and why we operate the way we do," said Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Douglas Kelley, Jr. "Doing this job allows those in command to make informed decisions on how to best use our troops and resources."

"I'm glad to be supporting the troops on the front lines," said Morrison. "I always want to be as involved as possible in supporting the troops who are in harm's way. That's the greatest honor that a Sailor can have.(

58 Div troops liberate Visuamadu Town; Battles Enter Last Phase at Mullaittivu

January 28, 2009 -- Troops of the 58 Division after hours of fierce fighting that ensued with LTTE have reached the Visuamdu junction, this afternoon (Jan 28). According to latest reports received, troops have now gained total control over the Visuamadu town, following initial search and clearing operations conducted in the area, security sources said.

LTTE resistances were rattled during the multi-frontal military assault, ground sources said adding that scores of terrorists were killed and many injured during the fighting.

According to military sources, troops have also gained control over a 10km stretch of the road, running North of Visuamadu via Puliyampokkanai towards Chundikkulama. Troops are now engaged in mopping up the remaining LTTE resistances South of Visuamadu and Piramanthal kulama. LTTE terrorists unable to withstand the military onslaught have further fled towards the declared safer zones at Teravilkulam and Udayarkattukulama, military sources said. Meanwhile, LTTE terrorists have continued firing heavy artillery towards security forces from the declared civilian safety region. "This is an exhibit of utmost contempt to norms of humanity and the lives of the thousands entrapped", a military official said. Security forces have been resilient on securing the safety of the civilians held by LTTE, despite continuous provocations made by the outfit for a military retaliation towards the safe zone, the official further said.

According to available civilian and military ground information, terrorists are concentrating arsenal and fighting units among the civilians in light for what defence observe identify to trigger a 'last minute civilian tragedy.' Thousands of innocent Tamil civilians are held at gunpoint under unprecedented hardships by the LTTE at these safe regions until its senior ranks sketch out an escape route, defence observes further stated.

Meanwhile, during subsequent search operations conducted troops have also found a bus and a recovery vehicle which is believed used to trail artillery guns, security sources said. (

Iran Starts Manufacture of Stealth Aircraft

January 26, 2009, Tehran -- Iran's Air Force has started manufacturing of its first stealth aircraft after its designing completed, Air Force Commander Brigadier General Shahsafi said.

"The designing phase of Iran's stealth aircrafts has already completed and they are in the manufacturing phase of archetypes, of course, in smaller size," Shahsafi told reporters on Sunday, adding that Iran's military is also testing new air-to-air missiles.

"Then we will enter the production phase," the General added, expressing the hope that the stage of research for building the aircraft would be completed by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (ending on March 20).

Shahsafi further mentioned that the Iranian air force has successfully test-fired a heat-tracing air-to-air missile, saying that the missile has a range of 100 kilometers (62 miles).

The new missile will be mass-produced by the Ministry of Defense, he added.

He also stressed preparedness of the Iranian Air force against enemy moves, and said that Iranian pilots have long-range patrol flights on a daily basis in a bid to maintain a high level of combat readiness. (fars)

Harriers Power Up with New Contract

Harrier GR7s come in to land on HMS Illustrious after a flying exercise. (Photograph: PO(Phot) Christine Wood)

January 28, 2009 -- The Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine provides the Harrier with its unique Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing capability and the new contract will guarantee its availability to the front line, as well as providing all aspects of technical support.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said:
"Today's £198m contract will ensure that the Harrier jump-jets continue to demonstrate their power and versatility in support of ground forces in Afghanistan or flying from our aircraft carriers. The Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine gives the Harrier its unique Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing capability.

"This contract follows in the footsteps of other fast-jet support contracts in offering improved availability of aircraft whenever and wherever they are needed."

Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace will be managing the new contract from its site at Bristol, with some work being carried out at RAF Wittering and the main repair and overhaul being carried out at the Rolls-Royce site at Ansty in Leicestershire.

Defence Equipment and Support Harrier Project Team Leader, Group Captain Andy Ebdon, said: "Awarding this contract to Rolls-Royce for complete through-life support of Pegasus is a very significant achievement. It not only assures affordable engine availability, but also incentivises both industry and the MOD to actively work together to improve efficiency. The end effect is better value for money and improved support performance for the front line."

The aircraft is operated in the close air support role by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy under the umbrella of Joint Force Harrier.

Harrier GR9A aircraft, with upgraded Pegasus engines to deal better with extreme conditions, have been operating from Kandahar Airbase in Afghanistan for some time in support of NATO forces conducting operations against the Taliban.

In the UK Harriers are based at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland and RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire, as well as operating as required from Royal Navy aircraft carriers. (

Russian Strategic Bombers Fly Near Alaska on Routine Patrol

January 28, 2009, Moscow -- A pair of Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers have carried out a routine patrol flight over the Arctic Ocean off Alaska, an Air Force spokesman said on Wednesday.

"Two Tu-95MS strategic bombers took off from an airbase in eastern Russia on Tuesday and successfully carried out a patrol mission over the neutral waters of the Arctic Ocean and near Alaska," Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik told RIA Novosti.

The spokesman said that during the 10-hour mission, the crews practiced instrumental flight maneuvers in arctic climate conditions.

"On route, the bombers were accompanied for 10 minutes by four USAF F-15 Eagle fighters," Drik added.

Russia resumed regular strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans in August 2007, following an order signed by then-president Vladimir Putin.

All flights by Russian aircraft are performed in strict compliance with international law on the use of airspace over neutral waters, without violating the borders of other states.(RIA Novosti)

Next-Generation Longbow UAS Data Link Has Successful First Powered Flight On Apache Block III

Apache VUIT-2 (Photo: Lockheedmartin)

January 28, 2009, Orlando, Florida -- The LONGBOW Limited Liability Company, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] and Northrop Grumman [NYSE: NOC], recently marked the successful first powered flight of the LONGBOW Unmanned Aerial Systems Tactical Common Data Link Assembly (UTA) aboard the AH-64D Apache Block III attack helicopter.

The LONGBOW UTA is a two-way, high-bandwidth data link for Apache aircrews that allows sensor and flight path control of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). UTA-equipped Apaches enable aircrews to exercise control of UAS at long ranges and receive real-time, high-definition streaming video on their multi-function displays. The UTA is fully integrated with the Apache Arrowhead Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor system to provide the highest quality day or night imagery to other air and ground platforms.

During testing, the LONGBOW UTA successfully acquired and tracked an Unmanned Little Bird aircraft in flight. The system allowed aircrews to receive and display video transmitted from the UAS. The LONGBOW UTA builds on the proven Apache Video from UAS for Interoperability Teaming – Level 2 (VUIT-2) technology. Apache VUIT-2, developed by Lockheed Martin, is a federated system that offers passive viewing of UAS video. VUIT-2 is currently deployed with U.S. forces in theater.

“This technology is on the leading edge of manned-unmanned teaming,” said Jerry Garman, LONGBOW LLC president and director of LONGBOW programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The net-centric battlefield demands that we continue to provide our Warfighters with unrivaled capabilities, and VUIT-2 and UTA are doing just that.”

The LONGBOW system, as currently configured by the U.S. Army, consists of either a fire control radar or a UTA, a fire-and-forget radar frequency HELLFIRE millimeter wave-guided missile, and an all-digital M299 launcher for the AH-64 Apache helicopter. The LONGBOW UTA will be fielded on the Apache Block III aircraft beginning in 2012. (

Russia, India Meet to Finalize INS Vikramaditya Price Negotiations

January 27, 2009 -- Indian team consisting of four officials has left for Russia to conclude the INS Vikramaditya price negotiations newspapers reported on Monday. The team will work on fixing a final price for the aircraft carrier, being refitted by the Russians.

There will be a final round of talks at the Defence Secretary-level, so the upcoming meeting is said to be a precursor to the final talks, authoritative sources in the Defence Ministry said.

The visit comes on the heels of a four-day meeting in New Delhi last week between officials of both sides. India signed the deal in 2004 at an originally contracted price of $1.5 billion. However, Russia now asks for an additional $2 billion for the refitting.

Delivery of the aircraft carrier was due in 2008. Now the revised schedule is expected to be 2012. It would be any time from one year to 18 months before the carrier was ready for sea tests, the sources said.

Fresh impetus
Negotiations on the deal have gained a fresh impetus after the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to India last December. During the visit, it was indicated that the Russian side would like to wrap up price re-negotiation over the next three months. The modernisation bill for the 44,570-tonne Gorshkov was underestimated at the time the deal was finalised during the National Democratic Alliance government.

The aircraft carrier is scheduled to replace India’s sole ageing aircraft carrier, INS Viraat. (

Russia, India start joint naval drills in Indian Ocean

January 27, 2009, New Delhi -- The Russian and Indian navies have started joint naval exercises in the Arabian Sea off the Indian coast, an Indian military source said on Tuesday.

INDRA is a biennial Russian-Indian exercise aimed at practicing cooperation in enforcing maritime law and countering piracy, terrorism and drug smuggling. INDRA-2009 is the fourth such exercise since 2003 and will involve a number of live-fire drills.

"The first stage of a PASSEX type exercise involves practicing combat interoperability and communications drills," the source said.

Russia's Pyotr Veliky missile cruiser from the Northern Fleet and the Indian guided-missile destroyer INS Delhi are taking part in the first stage, which will last until January 29.

Following the first stage, the Russian cruiser will visit the port of Marmugao in the Indian state of Goa on January 29-31 before heading to the Somali coast to participate in the second stage of the drills, which involves practicing joint anti-piracy operations.

The Pyotr Veliky will join up with a task force from Russia's Pacific Fleet, comprising the Admiral Vinogradov, an Udaloy class destroyer, a tugboat and two fuel tankers, which are carrying out anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden.

Pirates have been increasingly 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.(RIA Novosti)

Peleliu Becomes First LHA to Receive EFV in Welldeck

At sea aboard USS Peleliu (LHA 5) Jan. 8, 2002 -- USS Peleliu anchors for welldeck operations and flight quarters. Peleliu is underway in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographers Mate 3rd Class Ryan M. Kitchell.

January 27, 2009, Camp Pendleton, California -- USS Peleliu (LHA 5) became the first LHA-class amphibious assault ship to receive the new expeditionary fighting vehicle (EFV) in its welldeck during trials off the coast of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 22.

"This is the first time the EFV has ever been aboard a large deck amphibious ship," said Staff Sgt. Niceforo Mendoza, assigned to the EFV Technology Center in northern Virginia. "It's always great to get this vehicle on and off a platform to continue to learn what it can and can't do."

The Navy and Marine Corps will continue to test the new vehicle.

"It's always great to see up close the new equipment the Marine Corps has made for its Marines," said Gunnery Sgt. Jason Sallings, combat cargo assistant aboard Peleliu.

"It's also interesting, considering what I do, thinking about how I'd get them to fit in our stowage areas, because as these vehicles get bigger, these older ships stay the same size and extra room is a premium."

Sallings said the vehicle's draw for the average Marine rests on its physical characteristics.

"The EFV carries the same amount of combat-ready Marines," said Sallings. "But, this vehicle's profile is lower, it carries a larger gun, and it can move almost three times faster."

Peleliu is currently off the coast of Southern California conducting routine operations. (

5.000 Prajurit Marinir di Surabaya Ikuti Apel Gabungan

27 Januari 2009, Surabaya -- Sekitar 5.000 prajurit Korps Marinir yang bertugas di Surabaya mengikuti apel gabungan di lapangan Brigade Infantri (Brigif)-1 Marinir, Gedangan, Sidoarjo, Selasa dengan dipimpin Komandan Pasmar-1, Brigjen TNI (Mar) I Wayan Mendra.

Komandan Pasmar-1 mengemukakan, apel gabungan itu dilakukan dalam rangka mengevaluasi kegiatan atau program kerja selama 2008 serta menyampaikan rencana program kerja 2009 kepada seluruh prajurit Korps Marinir dari berbagai kesatuan.

Satuan pasukan Baret Ungu yang ada di Surabaya adalah, Pasmar-1, Komando Latihan Marinir (Kolatmar), Pangkalan Marinir (Lanmar), serta satuan-satuan dan lembaga pendidikan Marinir yang ada di Koarmatim, Kobangdikal dan Akademi TNI AL (AAL).

"Apel ini juga bermanfaat untuk saling bertukar informasi sesama keluarga besar Korps Marinir dan sebagai sarana untuk menyampaikan beberapa keputusan atau kebijakan Komandan Korps Marinir," kata jenderal berbintang satu itu.

Menurut dia, setiap keputusan dan kebijakan Komandan Korps Marinir yang mengandung sanksi administratif harus dilaksanakan bagi seluruh prajurit Korps Marinir dimanapun bertugas, baik di lingkungan Korps Marinir maupun di satuan lain.

Pada kesempatan itu, Komandan Pasmar-1 menyampaikan beberapa kegiatan yang telah dilaksanakan prajurit Korps Marinir di tahun 2008, seperti terlibat dalam latihan Armada Jaya di Karangtekok, Situbondo dan Latgab TNI di Sangatta, Kaltim.

"Selain itu Marinir juga ikut dalam upacara HUT ke 63 TNI yang dipusatkan di Koarmatim Surabaya yang semuanya berlangsung sukses. Semua kesuksesan itu akan menjadi pelajaran dan tolok ukur bagi pembinaan ke depan," katanya.

Seusai apel, Komandan Pasmar-1 juga memberikan pengarahan kepada perwira di jajaran Marinir wilayah timur yang diikuti, antara lain, Kepala Staf Pasmar-1, Kolonel Marinir Faridz Washington, para asisten Pasmar-1, Komandan Lanmar, Komandan Kolatmar dan lainnya.(Masuki M. Astro/

Mullaittivu in Pictures


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