Monday, September 26, 2011

Bangladesh to buy 44 armored vehicles from China

DHAKA: Bangladesh will purchase 44 military armored vehicles from China at a cost of 200 million dollars.
Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Zhang Xianyi came up with the disclosure on the military purchase at a press meet at the National Press Club Monday.
“The military hardware will be delivered to Bangladesh within next 15 months,” he said.
He, however, could not give the total figure of military hardware purchase from China.
The ambassador termed “fruitful” the recent visit of Bangladesh army chief General Mubeen to China and said, “Defence cooperation between Bangladesh and China is an important component of our bilateral relations.”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

India Prepared To Face The Chinese Threat : IAF Chief

In response to the US official reports of  China  deploying nuclear-capable missiles along the borders with India, the Air Force chief said the country was not 'worried' over these developments as it has own plans to deal with the situation.

"These are all known, it is nothing that we are worried about. We have our own plans and we are moving ahead with our own plans. These are the realities we have to deal with," Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne said in reply to a query. 

The Air Chief Marshal was releasing the brochure for the upcoming two-day 6th International Conference on Energising Indian Aerospace Industry beginning from September 22, 2011 in Delhi.

The US Pentagon reports have said that the Chinese People's Liberation Army has deployed nuclear missiles along the borders. The Chinese government has, however, denied the US reports.

The Indian Navy also denied reports of a London-based newspaper that a Chinese warship had confronted its assault vessel in the disputed South China Sea after it left Vietnamese waters in late July.

"The INS Airavat returned from its scheduled official deployment to Vietnam without any confrontation with a Chinese vessel," Navy spokesperson Commander PVS Satish said in a release.

When asked what India can learn from China in developing its indigenous aerospace industry, the IAF chief said: "One thing that one could learn from them is that they don't attempt to do everything themselves."

"Once you start the Research and Development and then wait and wait, then you make it the test-tube model, it takes you 20-30 years to finalise the project," Browne said.

However Browne was of the view that China got a fair amount of technology from outside.

He said that Chinese were spending a lot of money on R&D. In case of Indian Defence public sector units the investments in R&D is comparatively low.

Browne was of the view of cooperation with the private sector. But he said that the private sector need to upgrade its R&D.

In the recent past, India has deployed its fighter aircraft including the frontline Su-30MKI in Assam and is in the process of upgrading its Advanced Landing Grounds in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.

Asked about its plans to upgrade the Nyoma ALG into a full-fledged airfield, Browne said the proposal was with the Government.

He said that the deal for 126 medium multi range combat aircraft is likely to be signed by the year end.

“The Naresh Chandra Committee is likely to recommend better coordination between the service headquarters and the Defence Ministry,” he said.

The Indian aerospace industry is currently undergoing a phase of rapid growth and progressive transformation. With compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% over the last five years, India has emerged as a major aerospace market. Driven by the increased defence spending, the booming commercial aviation market, rising technological and manufacturing capabilities of Indian industry and robust economic growth, the Indian aerospace industry (civil, military and space), is expected to grow at minimum 12 to 14% annually during the next five years. The changing dynamics of this sector has eventually been unraveling new sets of challenges and opportunities for the industry players prompting them to restructure their short to long-term business strategies.

With maintenance, repair and overhauling (MRO) activities picking up mainly due to the significant and sudden rise in the total fleet size, India is expected to become the hub for aviation MRO facilities. The aviation MRO market in India is expected to outspace the growth in the global as well as in the Asian market very shortly.

The rapid growth of opportunities in this sector has been able to attract major global aerospace companies into Indian aerospace market. As per some estimates, India would require about 1,300 commercial planes worth $150 billion in the next two decades to meet the growing demands. With growing passenger movements and increasing military aviation demand, Indian aerospace sector is going to be the epicenter of opportunities for both domestic and international business communities. The upcoming 6th International Conference on Energising Indian Aerospace Industry in Delhi is likely to deliberate on all these issues.

Indian Navy's Poseidon P-8I --- Threat to all Chinese submarines in the Indian ocean

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pakistan’s first domestically produced armed drone: The Burraq UCAV

Since the war on terror started in Afghanistan back in 2001, the United States Air Force has employed various different UAV platforms to target insurgents and the Taliban. Both on Afghan soil as well as in Pakistani territory, with the covert approval of the Pakistan government. Observing the efficacy of UAV platforms like the Predator, the Pakistani military establishment requested the United States to equip it with UAVs so that the war on terror could be prosecuted with more efficacy on the part of the Pakistani military. However these requests were denied repeatedly and America cited the potential use of these UAV platforms in military theaters outside the Afghan Pakistan border (i.e. India) as a flimsy excuse. Faced with these denials, but unwavering in its resolve to achieve its objectives, Pakistan undertook a domestic UAV development program. Even prior to Predator requisition requests being turned down, the Pakistani military had already invested in various autonomous target drones, built both by the private and public sectors. Here at TechLahore, we covered Pakistani drone developments a couple of years ago. In fact, we pointed out that the level of sophistication was such that – in a rather ironic twist -private Pakistani drone  manufacturers were exporting UAVs even to the United States homeland security department for oversight applications on the US-Mexico border.
Since then, much has happened. Pakistan entered into a deal with the Italian firm, Selex-Galileo, for the licensed production of fairly capable UAV aircraft at the Kamra Aeronautical facilities. In addition, the Pakistan Navy also acquired rotorcraft drones from foreign sources. Separately, the Pakistan Army has pursued partnerships with China and has incented local manufacturers to continue to develop more advanced platforms within the country. One of the more promising UCAV projects currently in progress in Pakistan is the Burraq armed drone. Burraq is envisioned as a high endurance, long-range, over the horizon, armed UAV aircraft. For the last four years it has been under development and rumors are now surfacing that it may be ready for deployment. At the recent Zhuhai airshow in China, in which the Pakistan Air Force participated with its JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, Chinese manufacturers also displayed miniaturized lightweight missiles that were particularly suited for carriage on a drone. Various parts of this sprawling Pakistani drone development program are coming together, in partnership with China – weapons development, control systems development, propulsion, airframe, ground stations and much else. The Burraq will only the first in a line of capable, armed Pakistani drones.
And soon. The Burraq, it seems, will be flying in early 2012.

The Pakistani UAV program is a wonderful example of the breadth of technological capability that exists in the country, its ability to collaborate internationally without relying on problem-ridden dealings with America, and the benefits of investing in local development and local manufacturing as opposed to wiring a ton of money to a foreign country and importing somebody else’s equipment (Saudi Arabia style). As with the JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, Pakistan will discover that the flexibility of owning and running a domestically developed military platform allows unending customization, full control of capabilities, and absolutely no worries with regards to security or someone else knowing its true performance, or even inhibiting the capabilities by doctoring the IFF system or other internal electronics. Not only that, but for private technological firms based in Pakistan a program of this nature creates tremendous economic opportunity. A variety of different inputs, ranging from materials to software to optics to electronics and propulsion technologies are required to build a high-tech UAV. A sophisticated military program such as the Burraq will lead not only to an improvement in Pakistan’s defensive and offensive military capabilities, but also in significant benefits for the economy and local industry.
We hope that in future, with military programs such as Burraq, the continued development of the spectacularly successful JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft and its various space technology ventures, Pakistan will continue to create domestic research and development capabilities which will ensure a brighter future for its people and a credible defense against any would-be aggressor.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Turkey Develops Missile For T129 Helicopters

Turkeys first active laser-guided missile, the Cirit, has been receiving attention from other countries as well, Turkish executives have told the Anatolia news agency.

As successful tests continue, foreign armies have started showing interest in the air-to-ground weapon. Turkish officials expect a high volume of foreign sales after the missile meets domestic needs.

Used by Atak helicopters against ground targets, the Cirit performs well on light-armored targets. The missile uses a multipurpose warhead and an electromechanical control propulsion system.

Designed by Turkish company Roketsan, the Cirit is poised to become the most effective weapon of Turkish T129 assault helicopters, the agency reported, noting that the missile represents an important stage in domestic missile technology.

The missile can use two alternative warheads: The first is used to pierce armor or start a fire and also has a shrapnel effect, while the second only has a magnified shrapnel effect.

As of this year, the Cirit is ready for serial production, Anatolia reported. The missile has a range of eight kilometers, and will be installed in T129 helicopters that will be jointly produced by Turkeys Tusaþ and Italys AgustaWestland.

Roketsan was established in 1988 by a decision of the Defense Industry Executive Committee. More than 35 percent of the company belongs to the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, while state lender Vakýfbank has a 10 percent stake.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lockheed Martins Stealth C-130 Successor Fast STOL Speed Agile Revealed

                                            Lockheed Martin's Stealth C-130 Successor STOL Speed Agile

                                          Lockheed Martin's Stealth C-130 Successor STOL Speed Agile

Some Years Ago The US Air Force tried to replace the Lockheed Martin C-130 with a super short take-off and landing (STOL) airlifter, with the Boeing YC-14 and McDonnell YC-15 as the candidates. Then, things got weird. Budgets grew, funding shrank and eventually the requirement transformed into something much larger. Thus, the Boeing C-17A Globemaster III was borne to replace the Lockheed C-141B Starlifter and the Lockheed C-130 continues into its seventh decade of active production.

What goes around always seems to come around in this business, and so it is with the YC-14 and YC-15.

Meet the Speed Agile. If the USAF is allowed to spend big money on a super-STOL C-130 replacement after 2020, this is Lockheed's idea for what it should look like. Boeing is also working on an alternative concept. The Air Force Research Laboratory has been funding both Lockheed and Boeing to work on wind tunnel models. Last month, the AFRL released these front and rear images of a 23%-scale model of the four-engine Lockheed Speed Agile concept. The wind tunnel model includes two Williams FJ44 engines.

Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaish back in business.

LAHORE: The dreaded Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is back in business and has restarted recruitment and fund-raising activities in Pakistan, a move timed precisely with the recent progress in the peace talks between India and Pakistan.

In December 2008, almost a week after the 26/11 terror attacks in the Indian commercial capital of Mumbai, the Pakistani authorities had placed restrictions on Masood Azhar’s movement by confining him to his multi-storied concrete compound in the Model Town area of Bahawalpur, housing hundreds of armed men. The action was taken in the wake of the Indian demand to hand over three persons to New Delhi - Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. The JeM chief was wanted for his alleged involvement in the 2001 attacks on the Indian parliament.

The Indian demand was followed by Pakistani media reports that Maulana Masood Azhar had abandoned his Jaish headquarters in the Model Town and temporarily shifted his base to South Waziristan in the wake of the mounting Indian pressure for his extradition.

In the second week of April 2009, Masood Azhar was declared officially missing from Pakistan after the Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed that he was not in Pakistan and that Islamabad would not provide protection and refuge to any criminal.

But the then Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had ridiculed Pakistan for denying the “obvious presence” of the Jaish chief, saying: “India had several times got different information from Pakistan on Masood Azhar and it was not unusual to hear such denials from Pakistani officials.”

However, well-informed militant circles say Maulana Masood Azhar has already returned to Bahawalpur and resumed his jehadi activities by reactivating the Jaish headquarters in the Model Town area. The JeM nerve center openly runs a grand religious seminary - Usman-o-Ali - where extremist interpretation of Islam is taught to hundreds of children.

International media recently expressed fears that the headquarters of the jehadi group could contain underground bunkers and tunnels, as had been the case with the Lal Masjid-run Jamia Fareedia and Jamia Hafsa schools in Islamabad, which were eventually destroyed in a massive military operation carried out by the Pakistan army in July 2007.

Critics say by allowing the Jaish Ameer to return to Bahawalpur and resume his jehadi activities, the Pakistani establishment seems to have forgotten that British-Pakistani terror suspect Rashid Rauf, who escaped from the custody of the police in Rawalpindi in 2007 while undergoing a court trial, was a close relative of Masood Azhar and had planned to blow up trans-Atlantic planes at Heathrow Airport in London way back in August 2006.

Rashid Rauf was reportedly killed in a US drone strike in the North Waziristan on November 22, 2008 along with a senior al-Qaeda leader. Even today, senior security officials concede that JeM activists are working in tandem with al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the Haqqani militant network in NWA in their ongoing battle against what they describe as “the forces of the infidel” on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border.

The Jaish was launched by jehadi cleric Azhar in February 2000 shortly after his release from an Indian jail in exchange for hostages on board an Indian plane that was hijacked by Kashmiri militants in December 1999. Although Azhar was arrested in India in February 1994, his name first hit the headlines following the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC 814. After being hijacked the plane was taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan, which was under the control of the Taliban at that time. The hijackers were led by Azhar’s younger brother.

Once the Indian authorities handed over Masood Azhar, Sheikh Omar Saeed and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar to the hijackers, they came to Pakistan and shortly afterwards Masood Azhar appeared in Karachi to address an estimated 10,000 people. He announced the launching of the JeM with the prime objective of fighting Indian security forces in J&K and proclaimed, “I have come here because this is my duty to tell you that Muslims should not rest in peace until they destroy India and the United States.”

Masood Azhar was the ideologue of another militant organization, the Deobandi Harkatul Ansar (HuA) that was banned in 1997 by the US State Department due to its alleged association with al-Qaeda. The HuA renamed itself as the Harkatul Mujahideen in 1998, a year after being banned.

The formation of the Jaish was widely supported by Pakistan’s top Islamic Deobandi scholars, especially Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai of the Jamia Binori in Karachi, who was known for his pro-Taliban leanings and Maulana Yusuf Ludhianvi, who was the chief commander of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan at that time. While Shamzai became the chief ideologue of the Jaish, Ludhianvi was made its supreme leader and Masood Azhar the chief commander.

In July 2005, British intelligence agencies investigating the July 7 suicide bombings in London informed their Pakistan counterparts that two of the four suicide bombers - Shehzad Tanweer and Siddique Khan - had met Osama Nazir, a JeM suicide trainer, in Faisalabad a few months before the attacks. Information provided by Nazir after his arrest revealed that Tanweer had stayed at another extremist Sunni religious school, Jamia Manzurul Islami, situated in cantonment area of Lahore and being run by its principal, Pir Saifullah Khalid, who is considered close to Masood Azhar.

In 2007, the slowing down of the India-Pakistan peace process saw renewed activity by the Jaish which re-launched cross-border offensives in Jammu & Kashmir. The group was reorganized under the command of Mufti Abdul Rauf, the younger brother of Azhar who had proved his mettle by carrying out successful militant operations inside Jammu & Kashmir.

Rauf was allegedly allowed to establish a transit camp in Rawalpindi for recruits traveling from southern Punjab to the training camp at Kohat, 40 miles from Peshawar. It was decided that Abdul Rauf would supervise the JeM training camps as the acting chief of the group while Maulana Masood Azhar would continue to manage organizational affairs while remaining underground.

However, the Jaish Ameer had to go underground in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the subsequent Indian demand for his extradition.

ISLAMABAD:  After remaining underground for a decade since being banned in 2001, Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), the second largest jihadi group based in Punjab, has resumed full-scale public activity including fundraising while security agencies appear to be overlooking its ‘resurgence’.
Jaish activists and intelligence officials said the group is in the process of regaining its traditional physical and financial strength which had dissipated during the ten-year ban imposed by former president Pervez Musharraf. The JeM, they added, is working on a plan to reach out to its activists who had abandoned the organisation after it came on the radar following an attack on the Indian parliament blamed on the group.
JeM is trying to consolidate avenues for fundraising, individual charity from within Pakistan and donations from Gulf states, which were partially blocked during the ban by the country’s security agencies. As a first step, an activist said, it had revived its charity, Al-Rehmat Trust, the group’s humanitarian wing once run by Master Allah Baksh, the father of Jaish founding chief Maulana Masood Azhar, till his death last year.
Maulana Ashfaq Ahmed, who is affiliated with the trust as its coordinator said from Bahawalpur, the city in southern Punjab where the organisation is based, that the charity’s fundraising was in full swing in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The trust capitalises on Masood Azhar’s name for recreating the goodwill it once enjoyed when it had fought in Afghanistan along with the Taliban before the regime was driven out of power by international forces. Government agencies have never obstructed the trust’s fundraising in either Punjab or KP, Maulana Ashfaq added. When asked why, he remarked: “You can put this question to the government and its agencies. We operate on the ground. We have a visible presence.”
Led by Azhar, Jaish is the second largest jihadi outfit in the Punjab. Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is the biggest both in terms of the number of activists and infrastructure. Maulana Ashfaq said the trust’s offices were being re-established all over Punjab and KP including Jaish’s traditional strongholds in Kohat district and Hazara region. He added that fund-raising had gained momentum with the advent of Ramazan, but declined to give an approximation of the amount the charity might fetch by Eid. A younger brother of Masood, Amar Azhar (possibly his codename), was in Saudi Arabia to seek donations from rich businessmen and sympathisers in Gulf states.
Officials of law enforcement agencies in Punjab said they had never received orders for a crackdown on the trust since it was not banned by the federal interior ministry. “Provincial authorities can only ban organisations proscribed by the federal government. Otherwise, they can take us to court,” said Senator Pervez Rasheed, an adviser to the Punjab government. Additional Inspector General (Investigations) Punjab police Azam Joya said not a single case against banned organisations for raising funds was referred to provincial law enforcers in recent months.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik was not available for  comment on why an organisation using the name of Jaish chief and sharing its headquarters has not been banned. KP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain also declined to comment on the trust’s activities in the province.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

India may start army supplies to Bangladesh

New Delhi  -One of the issues that may be taken up during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Bangladesh visit is closer defence ties between the two countries.
India is, for the first time, open to even supplying military hardware and spares to its eastern neighbour. Government sources said apart from closer army-to-army contacts, India may supply spares and undertake repairs of armoured corps' equipment.
India has never supplied weapons to Bangladesh - as Dhaka has not made any queries recently - since its independence war of 1971. But Dhaka recently hinted that they needed spares and ammunition for their artillery guns and tanks.
The Bangladesh government largely purchases small weapons, mortar, air defence artillery, artillery guns, main battle tanks, F-7 fighters and frigates from China.
The other major suppliers are Russia (MiG-29 fighters), the United States (helicopters), the UK and even Pakistan.
Dhaka also wanted closer cooperation in training and increase in bilateral contacts.
During Indian army chief General VK Singh's five-day visit to Dhaka last June, the Bangladesh military leadership said the reciprocation from the Indian side to training courses in Dhaka was less than that of Bangladesh's in Indian defence colleges.


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