Stolen jet engines found in Argentina

TUDM F-5E Tiger II. (Photo: Benolkin)

December 26, 2009, Kuala Lumpur —- Two missing fighter-jet engines stolen by military personnel in Malaysia's latest corruption scandal have been traced to South America, police here said yesterday.

'The stolen engines have been taken to Argentina,' police chief Tan Sri Musa Hassan was quoted as telling Agence France-Presse.

'We have to check whether the engines are still in that country.'

The Star newspaper yesterday also reported, without naming sources, that the two F5-E jet engines were shipped from Port Klang to another country before going to Argentina.

It added that they were believed to be in the possession of an individual, as the Argentinian military does not use the United States-made jets.

Defence Minister Datuk Sri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had earlier said that the engines, worth RM50 million each, were believed to have been sent to a South American country.

But other reports had raised speculation that the engines were headed for Iran, which is among a handful of countries subject to an American arms embargo and still uses old F5 jet planes.

Tan Sri Musa told The Star that several top officers from the air force, including generals, are expected to be questioned in connection with the theft.

Four people, including three low-ranking personnel, who were arrested for their alleged involvement have been freed on bail.

'We need to question all of them as it is not easy to just cart away the engines without authorisation and proper documents,' he said.

'Our investigators have so far seized and recovered several documents pertaining to the sale and shipping of the engines.'

The police chief could not be reached for further comment.

The timing of the scandal could not be worse for the current administration, which only last week pledged to weed out corruption in a highly-publicised action plan for the country.

The theft was discovered last year but became public only last week when it was exposed by a local newspaper.

The incident has been particularly embarrassing for Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was Defence Minister when the theft took place.

Yesterday, the New Straits Times reported that the Malaysian Cabinet has directed the Defence Ministry to prepare a summary of the theft.

The report, which will detail a chronology of the incident, will be submitted by Datuk Seri Dr Zahid on Jan 6.

Officials have promised there will be no cover-up of the incident. But details have been scant, leading to much speculation in the media.

Although it was reported that a brigadier-general and about 20 other military personnel have been sacked, no names have been revealed so far.

A commentary in China Press yesterday called on the Defence Ministry to be more forthcoming with information, as the scandal is leaving Malaysians with 'too many questions'.

'The current situation, with different papers using different sources to write their own stories, is only adding to the confusion,' it said.

Straits Times

New Russian nuclear submarine to enter service in 2010

December 24, 2009, Moskow -- A new Russian nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine should enter service by late 2010, the developer said on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Malakhit design bureau said dockside tests on the Severodvinsk, a Project 885 Yasen (Graney) class submarine, would start later this month and be completed some time next year.

Construction of the submarine began in 1993 but has since been dogged by financial setbacks.

Graney-class nuclear submarines combine the ability to launch a variety of long-range cruise missiles (up to 3,100 miles) with nuclear warheads, and effectively engage submarines, surface warships and land-based targets.

In July, work started on a second sub in the series, the Kazan, which will feature more advanced equipment and weaponry.

The submarine's armament will include 24 cruise missiles, including the 3M51 Alfa SLCM, the SS-NX-26 Oniks SLCM or the SS-N-21 Granat/Sampson SLCM. It will also have eight torpedo launchers, as well as mines and anti-ship missiles such as SS-N-16 Stallion.

Under the Russian State Arms Procurement Program for 2007-2015, the Navy is expected to receive at least five Project 955 Borey nuclear-powered strategic submarines equipped with new Bulava ballistic missiles and two Project 885 Yasen submarines.

RIA Novosti

Sukhoi hands over Su-34 bombers to Russian Air Force

Su-34. (Photo: Sukhoi)

December 21, 2009, Moscow -- V.P.Chkalov Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association (NAPO) handed over to the Russian AF two batch-production Su-34 frontline fighter-bombers produced in the framework of the national defense order for 2009. The planes have already arrived to the Russian AF Lipetsk Center for Combat Use and Flight Training. In accordance with the 5-year state contract with the Ministry of Defense signed in 2008, NAPO will produce 32 Su-34 fighter-bombers till 2013.

This December NAPO has also fulfilled its obligations under 3-year state contract by handing over to the Russian AF the final batch of Su-24M2 bombers after repair and modernization.

The two-seat Su-34 fighter-bomber is designed to deliver high-precision strikes on heavily defended air, ground and naval targets (including small and mobile targets) on solo and group missions in any weather conditions, day or night, as well as for air reconnaissance.

Su-34 belongs to the 4 + generation of aircraft by its combat capabilities. Active security systems as well as modern computers allow pilot-commander and navigator/operator of weapons to deliver precise strikes on targets and make maneuvers under hostile fire.

The main distinctive features of the fighter-bomber are:

- large ordnance load and a broad line-up of guided air-launched weapons,

- high load capabilities engineered through reinforced design of the airframe and landing gear, and increased fuel tanks,

- effective digitally-controlled twin afterburning turbojet engines,

- in-flight refueling capability,

- advanced avionics line-up, including multi-purpose PAA radar, onboard optical search and track station and an integrated defensive aids suite.

Su-34 can engage in long-range combat missions close to ranges of medium strategic bombers.


RI warships to be equipped with Chinese-made missiles

KRI Layang launched C-802. (Photo: Indonesia Navy)

December 21, 2009, Jakarta -- The Indonesian Navy`s warships will be equipped with missiles made in China, Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Agus Suhartono said here on Monday.

"We will continue to procure C-802 missiles from China after we tested the weapon with good results,` he said adding that the Indonesian Navy was also negotiating with China to obtain C-705 missiles that were more slender in shape.

"Both types of missile will be added to the armament of of the navy`s fast patrol boats and Van Speijk warships," Agus said.

He said the navy would increase the combat capabilities of its Van Speijk and fast patrol boats by integrating their armament systems with weaponry from China.

"We are still unable to make missiles domestically. But fortunately, state shipbuilding firm PT PAL already has the technology to integrate weapon systems imported from abroad with those already in place on our warships," he said.

The navy chief admitted with limited budget for his department, his officials would continue making a priority scale on the procurement of weaponry system.

"Our main priority now is security in sea border areas and the outer islands of Indonesia," he said adding that the navy would also replace some 27 of its warships with newer types and better combat capabilities.

Agus Suhartono had previously said Indonesia`s western waters were prone to various maritime crimes such as smuggling, human trafficking and poaching.

"The sea crimes are not the only problems we have in the western waters. In these areas we also have border problems with India, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia," the navy chief said.

He said that in order to maintain security in the area, the navy conducted routine patrols in the Indonesian western waters. It had maintained a joint patrols with its counterparts from India, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

As a result, the maritime crime rate in the western waters had dropped , particularly in the Malacca Strait.


Commander Underlines Role of Sejjil 2 Missiles in Boosting Iran's Power

December 19, 2009, Tehran -- Head of the Iranian Defense Ministry's Aerospace Organization Brigadier General Mehdi Farahi praised the country's experts for providing the Sejjil 2 missiles with a radar-evading capability, saying that such weapons contribute an important role in boosting Iran's deterrence power.

"The special paint (coating material), the substance used in the shell and some special electronic devices used in the missile are the main three factors giving a radar-evading capability to the missile," Farahi told FNA on Saturday.

"The optimized missile is one of the important achievements of the Islamic Republic of Iran's defense experts which plays a significant role in increasing the deterrence power of the Iranian Armed Forces," he added.

Farahi said that the Iranian defense and academic experts have used radar-evading coatings in this kind of missile, which renders enemy's missile defense systems unable to intercept Sejjil 2 missiles.

The Aerospace Organization has been responsible for developing Iran's surface-to-surface Sejjil missile, the long-range Shahab-3 ballistic missile which has a range of up to 2,000 km, and Zelzal and Fateh missiles.

The Shahab-3 reportedly has a range of up to 1,250 miles (2000 kilometers) and is capable of carrying a 1,000-760 kilogram warhead.

This is while the solid-fuel, two-stage Sejjil missile with two engines, is capable of reaching a very high altitude and therefore has a longer range than that of the Shahab 3 model.

Iran successfully tested second generation of Sejjil missiles and brought it into mass production earlier this year. Sejjil missiles are considered as the third generation of Iran-made long-range missiles.


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