USS Cole, USS Hall, USS Ramage Depart for Joint Warrior 09

The guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) transits the Atlantic Ocean while participating in Exercise Joint Warrior 09-2. Exercise Joint Warrior 09-2 is a multi-national warfare exercise designed to improve interoperability between allied navies. (Photo: USN/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter/Released)

September 25, 2009, At Sea -- The guided missile frigate USS John L. Hall (FFG 32), and guided missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61) and USS Cole (DDG 67), led by Commander, Destroyer Squadron 24, departed Naval Station Norfolk Sept. 23 to participate in Exercise Joint Warrior 2009.

Joint Warrior is a multi-warfare exercise designed to improve interoperability between allied navies and prepare participating crews to conduct combined operations during deployments.

The exercise, which is scheduled to commence Oct. 5 - 23, promotes Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet's three focus areas: conducting safe and effective fleet operations to achieve mission, providing ready maritime forces for global assignment, and teaming with allies and partners in execution of the maritime strategy.

Hall, Ramage, and Cole, along with ships from the Royal Navy, Canadian Forces, the Royal Danish Navy, the Brazilian Navy, and the Turkish Navy will be participating. The Royal Navy's HMS Illustrious (R 06), Northumberland (F 238), Portland (F 79), Bangor (M 109), Penzance (M 106), and Shoreham (M 112); the Canadian Force's ship HMCS Halifax (FFH 330), Montreal (FFH 336), Athabaskan (DDH 282), and Preserver (AOR 510); the Royal Danish Navy's HDMS Absalon (L 16); the Brazilian Navy's BNS Defensora (F 41); and the Turkish Navy's TCG Orucreis (F 245), will be divided into separate groups to represent fictional forces. Scenarios will include small boat attacks, exercise air defense, anti-submarine warfare, and boarding operations. Ships will be required to respond appropriately in order to accomplish their mission.

"The ships are going to operate in a multi-warfare, multi-platform coalition environment with a variety of other nations," said Capt. John Kersh, commander, Destroyer Squadron 24. "This is a pretty rare opportunity; the Royal Navy puts together this very high-end training, and we are using this exercise as an opportunity to build relationships with other navies. The strength of our Navy is the ability to operate with a variety of other navies and platforms all at the same time."

Sailors on board Cole will be able to operate alongside NATO partners to improve interoperability, as well as enjoy liberty in Scotland, Finland and Estonia.

"I want the crew to enjoy some relaxation; most people join the Navy to go see places and this is a great opportunity," said Cole's Command Master Chief (SW) Steve Timmons. "Also, this is phenomenal training and nothing beats working with NATO countries. They bring so much to the table."

The exercise will take place off the coast of Scotland with a coastline Sailors don't typically see operating off of the East Coast of the United States.

"We will be conducting this exercise in a historic Royal Navy training area," Kersh said. "It is sparsely populated, hilly, rocky, and with deep water so the ships can operate safely."

Joint Warrior serves as a deployment certification for U.S. ships, as well as offers Sailors the opportunity to execute maritime strategy with allied partners. The training scenarios will be realistic and challenging in order to enhance U.S. capabilities for maritime security.

"Hats off to the three ships for getting underway for Joint Warrior," said Kersh. "The crews have really worked hard to get their ships ready; they have worked through all the materiel issues, training requirements, and certifications. Joint Warrior will be a valuable exercise and a positive experience for our crews."


Lockheed Martin Awarded $30 Million Contract to Provide Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods to Royal Moroccan Air Force

MFC_Sniper. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

September 24, 2009, Orlando, Florida -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has signed a foreign military sales contract to deliver Sniper® Advanced Targeting Pods (ATPs) to the Royal Moroccan Air Force. The $30 million contract includes integration support, product spares and logistics support. The Sniper ATPs will fly on the Royal Moroccan Air Force’s newly-purchased F-16 block 50 aircraft.

“The Royal Moroccan Air Force selected the Sniper ATP for its unmatched ability to provide precision targeting, as well as its non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (NT-ISR) capability,” said Hulan Woods, program manager of Sniper ATP Morocco at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “We look forward to working with the Royal Moroccan Air Force to provide the multi-mission capable Sniper pod for their F-16 aircraft.”

Packaged in a single lightweight pod, Sniper ATP’s enhanced image clarity provides critical long-range positive identification of targets and real-time targeting. Its state-of-the-art tracker enables employment of advanced laser-guided weapons against moving targets. Sniper ATP also incorporates meta-data in every frame of video to ensure accuracy throughout intelligence and command and control functions.

The Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod's superior range lets pilots complete missions safely, and rock-steady stabilization provides unequaled accuracy. (Photo: lockheed martin)

The Sniper pods will include a video down link that relays high-resolution, streaming video to forward-deployed forces for non-traditional ISR and rapid target coordination via the widely-used Rover ground receiver. The Royal Moroccan Air Force will take delivery of Sniper pods over the next two years to support aircraft integration and fielding.

Deployed in theater since January 2005, Sniper ATP is in service with the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and 11 international air forces and coalition partners.

The Sniper pod is operational on U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and multinational F-16, F-15, B-1, F-18, Harrier, A-10 and Tornado aircraft. It is currently being integrated and is flying on the B-52. Its common software and hardware interface design enables users to “plug and play” across services and multiple platforms, providing a common software and hardware configuration across aircraft fleets.

Lockheed Martin

Astrium to deliver into orbit the first military communication satellite for Germany

September 23, 2009, Ottobrunn -- Astrium will deliver into orbit the first of two military communications satellites for the German Bundeswehr. The first satellite has been shipped to the European Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana and is expected to be launched by an Ariane 5 launcher at the end of September.

As part of the military satellite communications programme SATCOMBw Stage 2, the Bundeswehr is acquiring its own military communications satellites for the first time and laying the foundations for a secure information network for use by units on deployed missions outside Germany. The network will support the autonomous, global transmission of audio and data as well as video and multimedia applications. The system is due to go into regular operation by the end of 2010 and will constitute an important step in implementing the Bundeswehr concept for network-centric operations. Satellite communications are the only way of ensuring information can be transmitted flexibly without having to rely on the infrastructure in the theatre of operations. A second identical satellite will be launched in early 2010.

Astrium is responsible for the space segment and will place the satellites in orbit. Thales Alenia Space has designed, manufactured, integrated, tested and delivered on-ground the satellite to Astrium. Astrium’s German subsidiary TESAT manufactured the essential parts of the payload. The first satellite, which weighs around 2.4 metric tons, was shipped to Kourou at the end of August after being put through a punishing programme in special testing facilities to verify its suitability for space.

The contract for the satellites communication programme, which was signed in July 2006, runs for ten years, with an option to extend it for a further seven and a half years. The customer is the Federal Office for Information Management and Information Technology of the Bundeswehr (IT-AmtBw). The contractor is MilSat Services GmbH (MSS), a joint venture set up by Astrium and the Friedrichshafen-based satellite network specialist ND SatCom Defence (NDD) specifically for the programme. Astrium owns 74.9 percent of the shares in the joint venture, with ND SatCom Defence holding the remaining 25.1 percent. Major MSS subcontractors include the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the satellite operator Intelsat.

Along with the in-orbit delivery of two communications satellites for operations in military frequencies, the SATCOMBw Stage 2 contract includes the associated operation by DLR’s Control Centres, the delivery of a comprehensive ground user terminal segment for the Bundeswehr and upgrading the management and control segment already installed with the Bundeswehr. MSS will also provide the Bundeswehr with commercial transmission capacities using Intelsat satellites to provide backup facilities and extra capacity.

The two communications satellites will be positioned in a geostationary orbit and will provide communications services over an area stretching from America to eastern Asia, during their operational life of 15 years. DLR will assume responsibility for operating the two satellites using several of its locations.

ND SatCom Defence, a wholly owned subsidiary of SES Astra, will deliver the user terminals, upgrade the ground stations in Germany and set up a new central network management and monitoring facility. As a specialist in military satellite communications solutions, NDD has successfully implemented important commercial and military projects over recent years, including SATCOMBw Stage 1.

The Bundeswehr will have two different types of user station. The larger, NATO-compatible, robust transceiver stations are used as a node for local mobile and fixed data networks. This supports voice calls via satellite as well as Internet access, data communications and videoconferences. The second type of terminal is smaller and portable, providing simultaneous support for broadband services for several users.

Astrium is Europe's leading supplier of civil and defence communications satellites and is already a system leader for the British military Skynet 5 satellites and for the NATO 4 satellites.


Israel says still has military option on Iran

Iran nuclear reactor in Bushehr location. (Photo:

September 21, 2009, Jerusalem -- srael has not given up the option of a military response to Tehran's nuclear programme, senior officials said on Monday, after Russia's president said his Israeli counterpart assured him it would not attack Iran.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was asked by Reuters if that comment by Israeli President Shimon Peres, as reported on Sunday by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, was a guarantee there would be no Israeli strike on Iran.

Ayalon replied: "It is certainly not a guarantee.

"I don't think that, with all due respect, the Russian president is authorized to speak for Israel and certainly we have not taken any option off the table."

Echoing that, the chief-of-staff of Israel's armed forces, Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, later told Army Radio when pressed on whether Israel could attack Iran: "Israel has the right to defend itself and all options are on the table."

Israel has long dismissed Iranian assurances that its nuclear programme is not intended to produce weapons and has said it would not tolerate such a level of armament in the Islamic Republic, which is avowedly hostile to the Jewish state.

A Kremlin transcript of an interview Medvedev gave to CNN last Tuesday quoted him as saying that an attack on Iran would lead to "a humanitarian disaster" and risk provoking retaliation against Israel that would also affect other nations.

"But my Israeli colleagues told me that they were not planning to act in this way and I trust them," Medvedev added.

During a meeting on the Black Sea in August, Peres, a former prime minister whose current role is largely ceremonial, had told him Israel would not attack Iran, Medvedev said.

"Israeli President Peres said something important for us all: 'Israel does not plan to launch any strikes on Iran, we are a peaceful country and we will not do this'," Medvedev said.

Russia plays a role in the stand-off between Israel and Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who made an unannounced visit to Moscow this month, has been keen that Russia not sell anti-aircraft missiles to Tehran and also that Moscow support international sanctions against Iran.

Last week, a former senior Israeli defense official told Reuters that Israel would be compelled to attack Iran's nuclear facilities if the international powers had not agreed by the end of this year on crippling sanctions to force Tehran's hand.


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