House rejects ministry`s plan to buy UAV from Israel

Searcher. (Foto:

July 3, 2009, Surabaya, E Java -- The House of Representatives` Commission I has agreed to reject a Defense Ministry`s plan to buy an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) from Israel with funds borrowed from Leumi Plc Bank.

"Two years ago, we reminded the Defense Ministry (Dephan) to discontinue its trade with Israel because we do not have diplomatic relation with that country," House Commission I member Djoko Susilo said on Monday.

But the politician from the National Mandate Party (PAN) said the ministry seemed to persist in its plan to buy the aircraft from Israel, and its plan was now being finalized while the needed funds totaling US$16 million were to be provided by the London branch of an Israeli bank.

"The House`s Commission I has unanimously agreed to reject the defense ministry`s plan, and the PAN faction at the DPR will even reject it bluntly," Djoko Susilo said.

He said the defense ministry could actually buy such an aircraft from another country, and even the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) was able to make the aircraft although it would not be as sophisticated as that from Israel.

"If the ministry wants to buy the UAV, it can buy it from another country such as the
United States. But we do not understand why the ministry insists on buying it from Israel," Djoko Susilo said.

He said the House of Representatives objected to buying the aircraft from Israel because Indonesia had no diplomatic relation with the country.

Making a trade deal with Israel was the same as violating the state`s rules about diplomatic relations with other country, Susilo said.

"Therefore the DPR will not permit the defense ministry to buy the UAV from Israel, and we will also ask the Finance Ministry to stop the plan except if the purchase is diverted to another country," he said.


New Air Force Capability at Williamtown

PC-9. (Foto:

July 3, 2009 -- The Royal Australian Air Force today re-formed Number 4 Squadron, to enhance the ADF’s Air/Land coordination capability. The new Squadron will train specialist personnel who can deploy to forward operational areas and coordinate the delivery of air weapons.

Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mark Binskin said the modern battlespace is very complex and there is an increasing need for specialised coordination between air and ground units to achieve effective air combat power.

No. 4 Squadron has been re-formed at RAAF Williamtown to train specialists who can work on the ground alongside Army units, or in the air, to coordinate the delivery of air weapons.

The Air Force specialists are known as Forward Air Controllers (FAC). They complete specialist training including the Joint Terminal Attack Controller course. FACs provide a vital link between the aircraft and the ground troops, providing up to date information on the battle space from a forward position either on the ground or airborne.

Although 4 Squadron was re-formed today, selected Air Force FACs were trained in special tactics throughout last year and have already deployed with Australian forces in Afghanistan.

“Air Force has deployed Forward Air Controllers in operations dating back to Vietnam, but the re-establishment of 4 Squadron and the enhancement of the specialist capability represents the next evolution in integrated air and land operations,” AIRMSHL Binskin said.

“The re-formed 4 Squadron delivers highly skilled and deployable Air Force personnel who will have an essential role in the 21st Century battlespace.”

4 Squadron brings together the former Forward Air Control Development Unit (FACDU) and RAAF’s Special Tactics Project. The new Squadron comprises about 60 personnel based at RAAF Williamtown and will operate 4 PC-9 aircraft.

4 Squadron has a proud history. It was originally formed during WWI and also served in WWII, operating Wirraways and Boomerang Fighters.

Boeing Awarded $750M B-52 Engineering Sustainment Contract

B-52 bomber. (Foto:

June 30, 2009, Wichita -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced that it has received a $750 million, 10-year contract from the U.S. Air Force to provide engineering support for the B-52 bomber. Under the Engineering Sustainment Program (ESP) contract, Boeing employees in Wichita, Oklahoma City, and Shreveport, La., will perform engineering assignments that maintain the B-52 as a ready, reliable and viable asset to the Air Force.

“The ESP contract will allow Boeing to continue supporting our customer by sustaining, modernizing and upgrading the B-52 to meet the warfighter’s needs both today and in the future,” said Mike Houk, B-52 Fleet Support Program manager for Boeing. “Boeing employees understand the B-52 as well as anyone in the world, and we look forward to continuing to modernize this fleet of vital aircraft.”

The ESP contract replaces Boeing's current B-52 fleet support contract and sustains approximately 150 jobs at Boeing facilities in Wichita and Oklahoma City, and at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport. Boeing engineers will support software, communications, avionics and electrical upgrades; structural analysis; rewiring; and other tasks as directed by the Air Force.

“This contract also allows us to provide 24/7 in-flight emergency support to aircrews around the world -- the pilots can contact Boeing engineers from the cockpit to troubleshoot and solve problems real-time,” said Houk.

All B-52s in the U.S. inventory were built at and delivered from the Boeing facility in Wichita.


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