Thursday, May 31, 2012

Elbit systems - uncooled handheld thermal imager fielded by Finnish Army

The Finnish Army has selected the Israeli company Elbit Systems to supply ‘soldier systems’ equipping Finnish infantry commanders to function command, control and communications in dismounted operations. This acquisition is the first phase of a comprehensive ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) program known as STAR. The solution offered by Elbit Systems includes the compact MARS handheld targeting device, coupled with a computer systems loaded with situation awareness software, connected through the man-portable PNR1000 wearable soldier radio. The system is intended to enhance the operational capabilities of the Finnish Army in the areas of reconnaissance, terrain dominance and dismounted operations. The new system will also support the Finnish Army in developing new combat   doctrines, and as a basis for developing its future forward observation program.

Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, General Manager of Elbit Systems’ Land and C4I Division, commented: “We are proud that Finland, a NATO Partner of Peace, has selected our systems following a rigorous competition, including field testing  in Lapland. This win affirms yet again our leadership as a supplier of advanced  solutions for soldier systems.”

The ‘future soldier’ program for the Finnish Army known as ‘Warrior 2020′ is currently conducted on a parallel path, under the Technology Programme 2010 (TP2010) framework spanning four years of evaluation and development of advanced soldier systems for the Finnish Army, scheduled to be fielded by 2017. The Finnish Army is seeking three different versions of the suite, designed for the Regular forces, Territorial Army, and Special Operations. Prime contractor of the TP2010 program is the British company Savox, with Finnish EO manufacturer Millog, network expert Nethawk and Instra acting as subcontractors.

QUETTA: The chief of the paramilitary troops in Balochistan has claimed that billions of rupees were being spent to spread a state of unrest in the insurgency-hit province, DawnNews reported.

Speaking to media representatives at the FC headquarters here on Saturday, Inspector General Frontier Corps Balochistan Major General Obaidullah Khan Khattak said on Saturday that over 30 militant training camps had been set up across the border in Afghanistan to launch terrorist and anti-state activities in Balochistan.
Maj Gen Khattak also claimed that around 121 insurgent training facilities were operating in different parts of the province.
Teachers, doctors and many civilians have fallen prey to target killings, said Khattak adding that over 100,000 people had migrated from the province due to its law and order situation.
About 550 incidents of terrorism have taken place in the province so far this year, out of which several groups have claimed responsibilities of 258 such incidents, he informed the media.
The future of the country is in Balochistan, said Khattak, alleging that foreign powers had their eyes set on the province for the same reason. Moreover, a well-planned conspiracy had been hatched for a propaganda campaign against the FC and intelligence agencies, he added.
The Frontier Corps had recently come under much criticism over its alleged role in forced disappearances and human rights violations in Balochistan. The Supreme Court is also hearing a case on the province’s law and order situation.
The IG FC’s comments come after a hearing on Friday in which a bench of apex court judges, headed by the chief justice, assailed the FC and described the recent killing of three people whose whereabouts were being sought by the court as a chilling reminder to it.
“We are aware that lives of law enforcement personnel were also being lost, however that does not empower anyone to take the law into their own hands,” one of the judges had remarked during the hearing.
Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province by area, has been the centre of a violent insurgency by nationalist activists and militant groups.
The Pakistani prime minister on Saturday called for new legislation for the recovery of  ‘missing persons’ in the province. PM Gilani is also expected to start a tour of Quetta, the provincial capital, from Sunday.
Earlier on Tuesday, another high-level meeting attended by the prime minister, army chief Kayani, ISI head DG-ISI Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam, and Balochistan Chief Minister Raisani had decided to initiate dialogue with the Baloch leadership and discontented nationalist parties in the province.

PLA Air Force Civilian Jet For Join Air Projection

An air projection for plateau camping training conducted by the Air Force of theChinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was unveiled at 05:00 on May 29, 2012 at anairport in the hinterland of central China. A total of 5 military and civil airplanes weremobilized for this air projection mission from the hinterland of central China to the snow-covered plateau.
The wheeled equipment including command vehicles, communication vehicles and fieldambulances were slowly moving into the cabin of a transport aircraft. At the same time, 10-odd aviation containers were pushed along a slide way into the cabin of anothertransport aircraft to be locked and fixed.
On the other side of the apron, the fully-armed airborne troops quickly boarded a civilpassenger plane in 3 echelons under the guidance of the local flight attendants.
At 07:00, the military and civil transport airplanes fully loaded with airborne troops andequipment took off in turn. On the plane, a person in charge of the LogisticsDepartment of the PLA Air Force said that the PLA started air transport of recruits tothe plateau with the help of civil aviation transport strength since 1987, greatlyupgrading PLA’s strategic projection capability. This plateau camping training willfurther temper the remote-mobile-combat capability of the airborne troops.

The truth about Imperial Japanese Navy

wikipedia says they got only 50?

Underwater drones a necessary luxury for Russian Navy

The rescue vessel “Igor Belousov”, currently under construction for the Russian Navy, is going to receive autonomous underwater vehicles for rescue operations and deep-sea research. Manned mini-submarines and unmanned vehicles occupy an increasingly important place in the structure of the naval forces of different countries of the world, and are used for both combat and “humanitarian” missions. Such systems are able to significantly increase the effectiveness of surface ships and submarines by means of providing constant and careful control of the underwater space.
As technology developed, underwater vehicles (originally created as a means of studying the seabed) acquired much wider functions beyond search-and-rescue works and carrying out special operations. The first underwater robots appeared back in the 1950-1960s, but the real boom of multi-functionality began at the turn of the century, when the technological possibility to produce unmanned vehicles capable of carrying out the most complex operations both without human participation and with external control was achieved. Unmanned vehicles have become a “magic wand” in situations, when the use of manned vessels was too risky or technically impossible.
Underwater robots can perform the following main functions without human interaction: combat mine fields and other underwater obstacles; increase the detection range of submarines’ hydro acoustic complexes; monitor and repair underwater objects; and explore the relief of the seabed and water mass. All this exceed the limits of military tasks. Such capabilities are needed for both naval fleets and civil organizations.
Originally underwater robots were too large to use them from conventional ships and submarines. Special carriers were created for operating such devices. Today they are still being used. For example, the SSN-23 nuclear submarine “Jimmy Carter” of the US Navy, which was put into service in 2005. This submarine, initially designed as a standard multi-purpose submarine of the Seawolf project, at the stage of construction has undergone changes in order to make the use of underwater robots possible.
Special underwater vehicle carriers allotted to the Russian Navy provide wide possibilities for working with large multipurpose systems, both unmanned and manned. However, technical equipment miniaturization allows creating underwater robots of the size of conventional torpedoes, sea mines, and even smaller than that. Alongside supplying the appropriate interface capabilities of the control system of a submarine, it allows for the use of such vehicles from standard submarines.
Information concerning Russia’s new and modernized submarine capabilities remains a state secret. That is why it is difficult to estimate whether or not the Russian Fleet is keeping up with its foreign rivals in this sphere. However, as far as the non-restricted sphere is concerned –equipment for the search and rescue service of the Navy with submersibles for various purposes – it can be stated that although the Russian Navy still lags behind the leading fleets of the Western countries, it fills up that gap.
In previous years – in addition to the already mentioned Igor Belousov, which will be equipped with an underwater robot and two manned vehicles – the search-and-rescue service of the Navy received several British-made autonomous “Panther” vehicles.
Russian deep-water submersibles “Rus” and “Consul” – which are designed not only for rescue operations, but also for deep-sea research – are valuable acquisitions. Consul has successfully passed a diving test at a depth of 6500 meters. According to experts and based on the design of its solid sphere, it is capable of diving even deeper.
Consul was built in Russia, while its predecessors – the “World” underwater vehicles – were custom-built in Finland for the USSR. All the same, the percentage of foreign components in Russian vehicles is high; in particular electronics and precision mechanical units. Alas, the problem cannot be solved by simply increasing the order for underwater vehicles. In this case a well-functioning “general purpose” industry is needed that should not be dependent exclusively on the defense complex. Otherwise new high-tech productions may turn out to be hothouse plants that will die in adverse climate change conditions, just the way it happened to the greater part of the Soviet Union’s hi-tech military technologiesafter 1991.

Thailand Agrees to Buy Two Germany second hand type 206A Diesel Electric Submarine

The Thai government has agreed to buy two second-hand Type 206A diesel electric submarines from the German Navy.
Payment for the purchase - which is understood to be about USD220 million - has not yet been secured, although funds are expected to be sourced from the defence budget for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12), which commences in October.
The German Navy decommissioned four Type 206A submarines in mid-2010. The boats are 35 years old and were originally due for decommissioning between 2011 and 2015. As part of a defence review carried out by Berlin, the German Navy brought the boats' retirement date forward to save operational costs.
A senior officer from the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) told Jane's on 21 March that officials from the German Navy visited the country in late 2010 and offered the submarines to Thailand. He added that German submarines had been selected ahead of those offered by South Korea and China, who had made available Type 209s and Type 039s respectively. The RTN also held discussions with Swedish shipbuilder Kockums about the availability of Gotland-class submarines.

PNS Zulfiquar Frigate & PNS/M Hamza (s139) Submarine to Visit Oman

Defense Attaché at the Pakistani embassy in Sultanate of Oman, Captain Naveed Anwar Cheema that F-22P PNS Zulfiquar (251) warship, Agosta 90B class diesel attack submarines (SSK) PNS/M Hamza (S139)

Secret weapons of South Korea - South Korean special forces

South Korea special forces training

China is developing a large landing helicopter dock ship

A 22,000-tonne landing helicopter dock (LHD) under development in China has sparked alarm in defense circles in Taiwan, with some analysts saying the ship could cause a “strategic shift” in the Taiwan Strait.
The design, first unveiled by state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Co (CSIC, 中國船舶重工集團公司) — the country’s largest shipbuilding conglomerate — at the Defense and Security 2012 exhibition in Bangkok in early March, is believed to be the Type 081 LHD that defense enthusiasts have been expecting for years.
According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, CSIC confirmed the existence of a Type 081 program in 2007, but at the time it refused to disclose further details. The design phase of the vessel was reportedly completed in 2006, with engineering design beginning soon afterwards.
The 211m long LHD will be capable of carrying an impressive eight helicopters on deck, with hangar space for four more, or for hovercraft. It will also have capacity to accommodate 1,068 marines and will be equipped with phased-array radar, four short-range air-defense launchers and anti-submarine warfare capability.
Its operational range is expected to be 7,000 nautical miles (13,000km), with an endurance of up to 30 days at sea.
The Type 081 was reportedly inspired by the Mistral-class amphibious assault ship operated by the French Navy. Some analysts have also pointed to similarities with the 18,000-tonne Hyuga-class helicopter carrier used by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force since 2009.
Defense analysts say CSIC is fully capable of building the LHD, especially following the experience gained by Chinese shipbuilders with three 20,000-tonne Type 071 Yuzhao-class amphibious transport docks, the last of which was launched in September, with a fourth rumored to be on the way. Despite having a similar displacement to the Type 081, the Type 071 can only accommodate two Z-8 heavy transport helicopters.
Assuming that the timeframe for construction of the Type 081 is similar to that for the Type 071, the first Type 081 could be launched as early as 2014. China’s first Type 071 was launched in December 2006, two years after the model was first unveiled.
Some reports indicate that the People’s Liberation Army Navy might be seeking to acquire as many as three Type 081s for its operations.
The Chinese government has yet to confirm whether CSIC has begun construction of the Type 081.
Given its ability to carry various types of helicopters — Z-8 and Z-9 transport and Z-10 attack helicopters, among others — a large number of marines and landing craft, analysts are saying that the Type 081 would greatly enhance the Chinese navy’s ability to launch humanitarian operations as well as project force beyond its shores, a reflection of the strategic choices made by the Chinese navy in recent years.
It would also play a key, possibly game-changing role in any amphibious assault on Taiwan or against other adversaries in the South China Sea.

More Work Needed on F-22, F-35 Oxygen Problems, Experts Say

Does F-35 Have Same Oxygen Problems As F-22? More Oversight Needed, Say Experts
Given the recent allegations by F-22 Raptor pilots that the aircraft has potentially deadly oxygen-system problems, it’s not surprising that questions are also being raised about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter—which has strikingly similar design elements. Lockheed Martin, which makes both aircrafts, has recently said that “the F-35 and F-22 have common aircraft oxygen system suppliers, but the systems are very different.”
But a ‘concerned’ POGO commenter asked us if there’s any chance the F-35 could have the same oxygen problems, anyways. Not content to simply parrot Lockheed’s answer, we decided to pose the question to two defense experts: Winslow Wheeler, the director of POGO's Straus Military Reform Project and Pierre Sprey, who co-designed the F-16 and A-10 jets.
You can read their full responses below, but the short answer is, there is still a lot more monitoring that needs to be done on the F-35 before Lockheed or the Air Force can conclusively say that the aircraft is safe (not to mention, the F-22—which very clearly appears to have problems—needs to be grounded until the oxygen malfunction is resolved.) The elite pilots who fly these planes deserve prompt, complete independent oversight.
Pierre Sprey says:
Given that all previous stealth aircrafts—the F-117, the B-2 and the F-22—have each shown evidence that their stealth coatings can be extremely toxic to production workers, pilots, and/or maintainers, it would be unconscionable for the Congressional Armed Services Committees and the Department of Defense (DoD) Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) to fail to demand an immediate, intensive toxicological monitoring of the F-35's stealth coatings.
Specifically, levels of all toxic components of the F-35's stealth materials that could be breathed by production workers, pilots and maintainers need to be meticulously, frequently, and accurately monitored on the production line, in the maintenance hangars, and in flight… Congress and the Director of OT&E should demand an unclassified report, within 4 months, of the quantitative results of this monitoring, together with an assessment of the potential long-term and short-term health effects on workers, pilots and maintainers by independent toxicologists from the Department of Health and Human Services, not from DoD.
There have been no public reports of it. Both the On-Board Oxygen Generating System and other suspects, like the stealth materials, have technical differences—they are not identical to what's in/on the F-22. It is something that should be closely monitored for the F-35. I doubt the Air Force or Lockheed will be forthcoming, and the pilots (test pilots both corporate and service) may also be less inclined to come forward than National Guard or active service pilots. It will be tough to get an independent view unless someone wakes up and demands a Government Accountability Office or Inspector General inquiry.

Heliport at Camp Bastion is one of the busiest in the world

US naval base in Bangladesh

Times Now – a podcast project of leading Indian daily newspaper The Times of India on Friday, June 1, 2012 claimed that the United States' is on the process of stationing its naval base within the Bay of Bengal and US Seventh Fleet is scheduled to be moving towards Bangladesh maritime area within next couple of weeks. The Indian media claims that during the recent Bangladesh tour of the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, Washington formally placed the proposal of using Bangladesh territory for its naval base. US State Department has also confirmed the matter to Times of India. The Indian news media said, "Worried by increasing presence of Chinese naval bases in the South China Sea - America now eyes a counter strategy - as it wants an overall presence in Asia - right from Japan to its Diego Garicia base in the Indian Ocean.
"This by parking its seventh fleet in a base in Chittagong giving it both an eye on taking on China and a strategic post in Asia as it pulls out of Afghanistan. The US State Department denying on the record that Hillary Clinton's visits had anything to do with military co-operation.
"America's concerns clearly documented in the Pentagon report as they increasingly worried over the string of pearls of Chinese bases across the South China Sea and their naval might spreading all across Asia - putting the America behind. The Bangladeshi Government remaining extremely tight-lipped over the recent developments - as they have internally decided to deny it on record - fearing backlash from their own hardliners.
"This move by America could put India on the back foot if the American fleet moves to Bangladesh, all of India's security installations will come under the American scanner. Bangladesh is not willing to comment on record even offering explanation to deny the developments. This Clinton visit a more strategic one than just a friendly one- the Indian establishment caught unawares--as this base could cast a shadow on India's own strategic interests."
The US Seventh Fleet:
The Seventh Fleet is the United States Navy's permanent forward projection force operating forward deployed in Yokosuka, Japan, with units positioned near Japan and South Korea. It is a component force of the United States Pacific Fleet. At present, it is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with 50 to 60 ships, 350 aircraft and 60,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel. With the support of its Task Force Commanders, it has three major assignments:
Joint Task Force command in a natural disaster or joint military operation,
Operational command of all naval forces in the region, and
Defense of the Korean Peninsula. In 1994, 7th Fleet was assigned the additional responsibility as Commander, Combined Naval Component Command for the defense of South Korea.
The Seventh Fleet was formed on 15 March 1943 in Brisbane, Australia, during World War II, under the command of Admiral Arthur S. Chips Carpender. It served in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) under General Souglas MacArthur, and the Seventh Fleet commander also served as commander of Allied naval forces in the SWPA.
Most of the ships of the Royal Australian Navy were also part of the fleet from 1943 to 1945 as part of Task Force 74 (formerly the Anzac Squadron). The Seventh Fleet—under Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid—formed a large part of the Allied forces at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history. After the end of the war, the 7th Fleet moved its headquarters to Qingdao, China.
Princeton of the United States Third Fleet on fire east of Luzon at the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
After the war, on 1 January 1947, the Fleet's name was changed to Naval Forces Western Pacific. On 19 August 1949, just prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, the force was designated as United States Seventh Task Fleet. On 11 February 1950, the force assumed the name United States Seventh Fleet, which it holds today.
In late 1948, the 7th Fleet moved its principal base of operations to the Philippines, where the Navy, following the war, had developed new facilities at Subic Bay and an airfield at Sangley Point. Peacetime operations of the Seventh Fleet were under the control of Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet, Admiral Arthur E. Radford, but standing orders provided that, when operating in Japanese waters or in the event of an emergency, control would pass to Commander Naval Forces Far East, which was a component of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's occupation force.
Of the 50-60 ships typically assigned to Seventh Fleet, 18 operate from U.S. facilities in Japan and Guam. These forward-deployed units represent the heart of Seventh Fleet. The 18 permanently forward-deployed ships of the U.S. 7th Fleet are the centerpieces of American forward presence in Asia. They are 17 steaming days closer to locations in Asia than their counterparts based in the continental U.S.
It would take three to five times the number of rotationally-based ships in the U.S. to equal the same presence and crisis response capability as these 18 forward deployed ships. On any given day, about 50% of Seventh Fleet forces are deployed at sea throughout the area of responsibility.
Following the end of the Cold War, the two major military scenarios in which the Seventh Fleet would be used would be in case of conflict in Korea or a conflict between People's Republic of China and Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait.
It was reported on 10 May 2012 that USS Freedom (LCS-1) would be dispatched to Singapore in the northern spring of 2013 for a roughly 10-month deployment.

China's Ghost Cities and Malls

Russia, India Sign Multi-Role Transport Plane Deal

MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti) - India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Transport Aircraft division have signed a contract to produce 205 multi-role transport aircraft (MTA), the Indo-Asian News Agency (IANS) has reported.

The 15-20 ton-class aircraft will be supplied to the Russian Air Force (100 planes), the Indian Air Force (45 planes), with the remaining 60 exported to third parties the report said. Their joint venture firm, Multirole Transport Aircraft Ltd (MTAL), also signed the venture deal.
The tripartite contract is based on a Russian-Indian inter-government agreement for joint design, development and production of the aircraft on 50:50 cost sharing basis by the joint venture partners. HAL and UAC have agreed to invest some $300 million in the project each.
The partners will also work with Russian defense holding, Rosoboronexport, to co-develop the aircraft, which will be built in Russia and India.
MTA, as shown in a diagram on HAL's website, will be a high wing, T-tail design with a pair of underwing turbofans.
The plane is being designed to replace the ageing Antonov An-24/26 series of turboprop transport aircraft.
Capable of flying to a range of 2,500 kilometers at a maximum speed of 800 km/h, MTAL is officially expected to be test-flown in 2017, with serial production due to begin in 2019.
However, Russian and foreign experts agree that if the pace of the project, which has been in the works for over a decade, remains slow it would have no future.
“Judging by the dynamics of MTA program, the design and construction of a prototype could be finished by 2022, and the plane could make its maiden flight by 2025,” says Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.
“Setting up serial production will take another few years and by that time the project will become obsolete,” Makiyenko believes.
“The pace of the program has been leisurely, partly as result of trying to bring together differing military requirements, sorting out industrial participation, and funding,” Douglas Barrie, a senior fellow for military aerospace with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, agrees.
In his opinion, “the framework agreement is a sign of progress, potentially, but only if the impetus is now sustained.”
MTA’s major competitor is Brazilian Embraer KC-390. Brazil has made significant progress in the development of this aircraft. Its maiden flight is expected as early as in 2014.

JF-17 vs Tejas

Ageon ISR - Real-time Video, Operations & Intelligence data for anyone, anywhere...

Taliban Tactics

CATIC offers JF-17 to Africa, Middle East

China is looking to Africa and the Middle East to buy its JF-17 Thunder fighter jet, and anticipates countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Sudan, Venezuela, Turkey and Sri Lanka ordering 300 aircraft over the next five years.
A spokesman from China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) told Flightglobal that, "In the next five years, CATIC intends to sell up to 300 JF-17s to several countries in Africa and the Middle East".
"CATIC sales and customer support teams are highly motivated and CATIC is looking forward to making the upcoming years fantastic for the JF-17 and its users."
The Chengdu Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAC) of China and the Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) jointly developed the aircraft, which is currently flying with the Pakistan Air Force. The latter has 150 on order but may buy up to 200.
Countries regarded as possible buyers include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Venezuela and Turkey. Serbia is also reportedly considering the type for its fighter requirement, Flightglobal reports.
According to Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment, Sudan is believed to be modernising its air force through alliances with Pakistan, Russia and China. In 2005 it signed a military cooperation agreement with Pakistan, with some subsequent reports alluding to Sudan intending to purchase 12 JF-17 aircraft.
Flightglobal quotes an industry source in Pakistan as saying that Chinese/Pakistani sales efforts have made “considerable progress” since the aircraft was demonstrated during the November 2011 Dubai air show. Dubai was the aircraft’s Middle East debut, with one flying and two static display aircraft. At the air show the JF-17’s manufacturers said it was a third of the cost of an F-16. Marketing efforts are shared between both China and Pakistan as the aircraft is built in both countries.
Flightglobal’s source said that discussions are underway with eight or nine countries interested in buying the JF-17, who have given a rough idea of how many aircraft they want.
In 2010 it was reported that Egypt was interested in co-producing the JF-17 for the Egyptian Air Force. Earlier reports indicated that Bangladesh, Iran and Nigeria were identified as potential customers. Meanwhile, last week Pakistan offered the JF-17 to Indonesia under an industry collaboration deal.
The FC-1 Xialong/JF-17 Thunder programme was launched in 1991 after the United States cancelled development of the Chengdu Super-7 following the 1989 Tianamen Square incident. Collaboration with Pakistan began in 1995, leading to a joint development contract in June 1999. The aircraft first flew in August 2003 and the first JF-17 squadron was inducted into the Pakistan Air Force in February 2010.
The aircraft has a design service life of 4 000 flight hours or 25 years. It can carry up to 3 600 kg (8 000 lb) of ordnance in addition to its twin-barrel 23 mm cannon. It is powered by a Russian RD-93 turbofan, a variant of the RD-33 used on the MiG-29. However, China is developing the more reliable and powerful WS-13 engine to replace the RD-93. A glass cockpit features an electronic flight instrument system with wide-angle head-up display and three colour multifunction displays.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The UK Approach to Unmanned Aircraft Systems report from Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC)

Tibetian burn Chinese flag against illegal occupation of China

Kabul: Female commandos of Afghanistan break barriers

KABUL: Crouching behind a wooden barrier, 27-year-old Sergeant Sara Delawar fires her M-4 rifle at a target showing the silhouette of a man, part of a training exercise for Afghan special forces.
 Anxious to defuse tensions stoked by foreign male soldiers raiding Afghans' homes at night in what is a conservative Muslim country, Afghanistan has begun training elite female troops to join Afghan male soldiers on operations.
 "Before we joined this unit, our operations were done by foreign troops and they did not know our culture. People were critical so we joined to help out," Delawar, a former policewoman in Jowzjan province, said.
 "I have already fought the Taliban. My comrades were martyred in fights with the Taliban and we have killed them too, but during the night raids I haven't fought insurgents yet."
 Fluent in four local languages, Delawar is one of only 12 female soldiers who has been trained to fight and conduct searches in what is an attempt to pay greater respect to cultural sensitivities.

Surprise night raids in pursuit of militants have long stoked anti-Western sentiment in Afghanistan, with many locals seeing them as assaults on their privacy and on women's privacy in particular.
In conservative southern areas of the country where the Taliban is strong, such raids have created even more ill will.
On Sunday after months of tense negotiations, Afghanistan and the United States agreed that only Afghan forces would search residential homes or compounds.
As well as seeking to assuage cultural sensitivities, the new strategy is aimed at lowering civilian casualties and shoring up President Hamid Karzai's popularity at a time when foreign combat troops are handing over to Afghan forces.
"It's unacceptable for us to see male soldiers body-searching females. Men are not allowed to touch females," third-lieutenant Binazir, 24, said.
"I'm proud to say that I'm here to serve my country side by side with my brothers. I'm proud that Afghan girls are here and I hope more girls join in order to provide better services for brothers and sisters in the battlefield and save lives."


At a training facility on the outskirts of Kabul, the Afghan capital, suspected militants inside a mock-up house are advised to leave the building via loudspeaker. A hijab-wearing woman cries and asks where the soldiers are taking her brother.Female soldiers lead her by the arm away from the scene. "The training they've already received in this unit has had a good outcome during night raids," Captain Mohammad Khalid, head of training at the special forces, said.
"In order to launch our operations in a good manner we have to have 100 female officers in our forces."

The program began two months ago and drew women from the Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen and Hazara ethnic groups, but not from the Pashtun where the Taliban recruit most of their fighters.

The task of finding women has become even more important ahead of a pullout of most NATO combat troops by the end of 2014.
Afghanistan is still recovering from the strict social conservatism of the Taliban, whose hardline laws during their 1996-2001 rule marginalized women, stripping them of the right to work, study or move freely.
The country remains one of the world's worst places for women and setting up female special forces was not an easy task.
Recruitment is especially tricky. Women are put off by the prospect of social rejection and disapproval from their families.Traditionally confined to their homes, women also face problems their male comrades do not.
 "My children were attending school in Jowzjan, but here they don't because I'm not at home and they can't go by themselves," said Delawar, a mother-of-two and a widow."I hope there is support for them to get educated especially when I'm out of my house on the duty."

Stealth technology delivered to China by Pakistan

Russian AF to Get First T-50 Fighters in 2013 - RIA Novosti

The Russian Air Force will receive the first batch of prototypes of its fifth-generation T-50 fighter for performance testing in 2013, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said on Thursday.
The T-50, developed under the PAK FA program (Future Aviation System for Tactical Air Force) at the Sukhoi experimental design bureau, is Russia's first new major warplane designed since the fall of the Soviet Union.
“The work on the fifth-generation fighter is going according to schedule,” Zelin, a former Air Force commander, told a news conference in Voronezh (central Russia). “The third prototype has joined the testing program and the fourth is being built.”
The T-50 made its maiden flight in January 2010 and three prototypes have since been undergoing flight tests.
Zelin earlier said that the number of T-50 aircraft involved in testing would be increased to 14 by 2015.
The fighter was first shown to the public in August 2011, in Zhukovsky near Moscow, at the MAKS-2011 air show.

Can 't believe it, here is the link

Ayman al-Zawahiri also in Pakistan

Chinese Navy Commissioned aircraft - J16 is a copy of Russian Fighter - Su-30MK2

This airplane is a copy of Russian fighter Su-30MK2, the batch of them was sold to China early in 2000's, reports Interfax citing the source.

According to the magazine, Chinese Navy is quite satisfied with performance characteristics of Su-30MK2 fighter. The military asked the Shenyang aircraft factory to copy that fighter with antiship capabilities adapted for Chinese-made missiles. Basically, the fuselage remained the same as J11BS airplane has, said the source.

The magazine reports that the first batch of 24 fighters J16 had been already constructed.

Since early 2010, Chinese Navy began to receive the first batch of domestically-designed multirole all-weather fighters J10A which significantly increased technological level of Chinese Navy, reports Kanwa.

The Chinese military source told to the magazine that "national air force has not received 'cloned' Su-30MK2 yet. Normally, Chinese Navy gets new fighters first. For example, two-seat fighter bomber JH7 joined Air Force only after commissioning into the Navy".

Iran: Iran Shows Prompt Response to Israeli Cyber War

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Iran: Iran Shows Prompt Response to Israeli Cyber War
Iran Shows Prompt Response to Israel's Cyber War
News number: 9103080189 12:00 | 2012-05-30
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran declared on Tuesday that it has produced an anti-virus
program against "Flame," an extraordinarily sophisticated malware that
attacked its servers recently.
In a statement, Iran's National Computer Emergency Response Team said that
"investigations during the last few months" had resulted in the detection of
the virus, which has been dubbed Flame and is capable of stealing data from
infected computers.
"It seems there is a close relation to the Stuxnet and Duqu targeted
attacks," the statement said, adding that the malware's "propagation
methods, complexity level, precise targeting and superb functionality" were
reminiscent of the Stuxnet and Duqu cyber threats to which Iran had also
fallen victim.
Stuxnet was designed to damage Iran's nuclear sites, specially Natanz
uranium enrichment facility. Duqu, like Flame, was apparently built for
espionage but shared characteristics with Stuxnet.
Iran's National Computer Emergency Response Team also said it has developed
tools to detect and remove Flame from infected computers.
It said that the detection and clean-up tool was finished in early May and
is now ready for distribution to organizations at risk of infection.
Security companies said Flame, named after one of its attack modules, is one
of the most complex threats ever seen.
Iran says its home-grown defense could both spot when Flame is present and
clean up infected PCs.
Flame was discovered after the UN's International Telecommunications Union
asked for help from security firms to find out what was wiping data from
machines across the Middle East.
An investigation uncovered the sophisticated malicious program which, until
then, had largely evaded detection.
An in-depth look at Flame by the Laboratory of Cryptography and System
Security at Hungary's University of Technology and Economics in Budapest,
said it stayed hidden because it was so different to the viruses, worms and
trojans that most security programs were designed to catch.
In addition, said the report, Flame tried to work out which security
scanning software was installed on a target machine and then disguised
itself as a type of computer file that an individual anti-virus program
would not usually suspect of harboring malicious code.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security firm Sophos, said
the program had also escaped detection because it was so tightly targeted.
"Flame isn't like a Conficker or a Code Red. It's not a widespread threat,"
he told the BBC. "The security firm that talked a lot about Flame only found
a couple of hundred computers that appeared to have been impacted."
Mr. Cluley said detecting the software was not difficult once it had been
"It's much much easier writing protection for a piece of malware than
analyzing what it actually does," he said. "What's going to take a while is
dissecting Flame to find out all of its quirks and functionality."
It is not yet clear who created Flame but experts say its complexity
suggests that it was the work of a nation state rather than hacktivists or
cyber criminals.
Figures released by Kaspersky Labs in a report about the malicious program
said 189 infections were reported in Iran, compared to 98 in
Israel/Palestine and 32 in Sudan. Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt
were also hit.
Israel has tried to take the credit for the malware with its Deputy Prime
Minister Moshe Ya'alon saying on Tuesday that "whoever sees the Iranian
threat as a serious threat would be likely to take different steps,
including these, in order to hurt them."
Speaking in an interview with Israel's Army Radio, Ya'alon further hinted
that Jerusalem was behind the cyber attack.
"These achievements of ours open up all kinds of possibilities for us,"
Ya'alon added.
In April, Iran briefly disconnected servers from the net at its Kharg island
oil terminal as it cleared up after a virus outbreak - now thought to be
caused by Flame.

Russia ready build second nuclear plant for Iran if not banned and profitable

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Russia ready to help Iran expand Bushehr nuke plant 2012-05-29 21:38:23
MOSCOW, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Russia's state atomic agency Rosatom said Tuesday
it is ready to help Iran build another unit at the Bushehr nuclear power
Rosatom is prepared to offer Iran support on the project "if it is not
banned and if it is profitable, if the project is developed," Interfax news
agency quoted Rosatom deputy head Nikolai Spassky as saying.
The UN Security Council has permitted the expansion, so there is "nothing
new" about it, Spassky told reporters, adding that preliminary consultations
on the issue are underway.
Atomstroyexport, Bushehr's Russian contractor and an engineering company of
Rosatom, earlier said the power plant would be operational by the end of
According to the contractor, Bushehr, the first nuclear power plant in Iran,
successfully reached 90 percent of its nominal capacity in routine trials in
early May.
Iran's Atomic Energy Organization chief Fereydoon Abbasi Davani said
Saturday the country is to launch a second power unit at Bushehr plant next
year with a capacity of 1,000 MW.
Construction of the Bushehr plant began in 1975 by several German companies.
However, work halted when the United States imposed an embargo on hi-tech
supplies to Iran after the 1979 revolution.
Russia signed a contract with Iran to complete the construction in 1998.
However, the remaining construction was postponed several times due to
mounting technical and financial challenges and pressure from Washington.

Panetta Tells Naval Academy Grads That Asia Is The 'Project' Of Their Generation

Associated Press
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Pentagon chief said Tuesday building U.S. maritime strength across the Asia-Pacific region will be one of the main projects for the new generation of America’s naval officers.
Speaking to graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. is returning to its maritime roots.
―One of the key projects that your generation will have to face is sustaining and enhancing American strength across the great maritime region of the Pacific,‖ he said.
He told graduates that their work will help strengthen defense ties with China, modernize ties with old allies like Japan and Korea and build new partnerships with countries like Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore.
―America’s future prosperity and security are tied to our ability to advance peace and security along the arc extending from the Western Pacific and East Asia into the Indian Ocean and South Asia,‖ Panetta said. ―That reality is inescapable for our country and for our military, which has already begun broadening and deepening our engagement throughout the Asia Pacific.‖
Panetta said the Navy and Marine Corps must lead a resurgence of American maritime presence and power in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world.
― We must be prepared to confront any challenge, but the key to that region is going to be to develop a new era of defense cooperation between our countries, one in which our military shares security burdens in order to advance peace in Asia Pacific and around the world,‖ Panetta said.
Panetta also said the military will protect its investments in cybersecurity, unmanned systems and special operation forces.
―We will ensure our military can confront aggression and defeat any opponent anytime, anywhere,‖ Panetta said.
The Pentagon chief said he departs on Wednesday for Southeast Asia, and he noted he will visit China later this year for the first time as secretary of defense.
―I will tell all of these nations that the United States will remain a Pacific power, and I will tell them why -- because of you -- because during your careers many of you will be headed to the Pacific,‖ he said.
There were a total of 1,099 graduates, including 877 men and 222 women. A total of 810 were commissioned as naval officers, including 634 men and 176 women. There were 267 commissioned as officers in the Marine Corps, including 224 men and 43 women. Several graduated as officers in the Air Force and Coast Guard.
Panetta also noted the death last week of retired Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Brown, the first African-American to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1949. He was 85.
The defense secretary cited the academy’s diversity, and he noted that some students are gay. This was the first graduating class at the service academy in which gay students could be open about their sexuality after repeal of the military’s ―don’t ask, don’t tell‖ policy in September.
―You are men and women from every state in the union and 12 foreign nations -- rich and poor, secular and religious, black, white, Latino, Native American, Asian, straight and gay. Diversity of this class is a tribute to the life and service of retired Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Brown,‖ Panetta said, bringing cheers and applause from the audience.

Pak Army Launched Operation Koh-e-Safaid

Building a ray of hope in the darkness, The Pakistan Army has successfully completed its Tri Star operations in FATA including Operation Koh-e-Safaid 2 in its adjacent agencies and in Swat to flush out terrorists. Pakistan’s military has finally managed to dismantle militant bases in this critically important region, famous for its rebel movements and legendary tales of resistance.
The successful completion of an army operation against a band of militants in the region, Pakistan’s military chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani visit to Orakzai marked the end of the military operation in the region, and that people displaced due to the war could expect to return to their homeland soon. Army Chief Visit to Orakzai Agency marks the successful conclusion of operations in the agency. He appreciated the professional conduct of the operation which has cleared the agency of terrorists and encourages his soldiers.
Operation Koh-e-Sufaid had been launched to clear the area of militants whose fighting had increased the incidence of sectarian killings, kidnapping, and extortion in the agency. Pakistan army was also taken very peacefully into Khyber agency and “No-go areas” such as Kurram agency. Pakistan army gained control of Orakzai Agency. By the grace of Allah security forces have secured Malakand and Swat from all directions and very soon the dislocated people of these areas will be going back to their homes.
Pakistan Army has completed the offensive in the tribal region of South Waziristan. The successful military offensive earlier this year in the Swat Valley against militants led by a local radical cleric. There was strong public support for the offensive in South Waziristan.
The Pakistan Prime Minister paid rich tributes to Jawans and Officers of Pakistan Army and personnel of law enforcement agencies who embraced martyrdom for their country and nation in the operation.

CARAT 2012

The Indonesian navy Sigma-class corvette KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda (SIM 367), left, is Underway ALONGSIDE the guided-missile frigate USS Vandergrift (FFG 48) DURING a replenishment exercise approach in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of ​​responsibility. Vandergrift is Underway In The participante at-sea phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness of and Training (CARAT) 2012 Indonesia. CARAT 2012 is a nine-country, Bilateral Exercise Between the United States and Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Timor Leste and is Designed to Enhance maritime security skills and cohesiveness opérationnel Among participante forces. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gregory A. Harden II)

Pakistani reality

Xu Qiliang holds talks with Pakistani counterpart

Xu Qiliang, member of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the People’s Republic of China and commander of the Air Force of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), held talks with Tahir Rafique Butt, the visiting chief of staff of the Pakistani Air Force, on the afternoon of May 28, 2012 in the Air Force Headquarters.
Xu Qiliang said that China and Pakistan are close and friendly neighbors and their peoples share profound friendship. The Chinese side cherishes the friendly tradition of China-Pakistan all-dimensional cooperation, all-weather friendship and full recognition and support, and is willing to make joint efforts with the Pakistani side to make progress at a new starting point. The Chinese and Pakistani militaries have achieved fruitful results from wide and in-depth cooperation. High-ranking officers of the two militaries conduct frequently reciprocal visits, during which they have exchanged views on issues of common concern. In recent years, all previous leaders of the two air forces have attached great importance to the relations between the two air forces as evidenced by frequent reciprocal visits, which has laid a solid foundation for future exchanges and cooperation at various levels and in various fields between the two air forces. It is believed that the friendly relations between the two air forces will be constantly promoted to a new high and open up a new prospect for exchanges and cooperation between the two air forces.
Tahir expressed that the Pakistani side attaches great importance to traditional friendly relations of the two countries and the two militaries, and is willing to continue to maintain and strengthen the mutually beneficial and friendly cooperation between the two air forces and expand exchanges in such fields as professional skills, in a bid to constantly push forward the friendly and cooperative relations between the two air forces.

Look at Rabani, how shy and innocent he looks as 1000 devils hiding behind, and the other one Hekmatyar is laughing on his destiny.

Pakistan, Afghanistan meet to decide future of 3 million refugees

ISLAMABAD: For almost three decades, Pakistan has played host to over 3 million Afghan refugees who first fled the fighting following the Soviet invasion in 1979. Over that period, the refugees have been a challenge for Pakistan’s meagre resources and international aid agencies to upkeep. On Tuesday, when representatives of respective refugee departments met in Islamabad, it was decided that refugees will be repatriated or relocated voluntarily and gradually.
In 2009, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the UN had signed a Tripartite agreement according to which the stay of Afghan refugees in Pakistan had been extended to December 2012. With little over six months remaining in the expiration of that agreement, the future for millions of Afghans still hangs in the balance.
From Islamabad on Tuesday, the voice of agreement was on voluntary repatriation. It is an agreement which has existed on paper for years, but has been witnessed infrequently at any of the innumerable border crossings along the Durand line.
Dr Jamaher Anwari, the Minister for Refugees and Rehabilitation of Afghanistan is currently on a four-day visit to Pakistan. He held a one-on-one meeting with the Federal Minster of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Engr. Shaukatullah Khan. The message out of that meeting was that of reasserting a deep and strong friendship between the two neighbouring countries.
At a meeting between a delegation of Afghan officials, Dr Anwari included, and officials from Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior, SAFRON, Foreign Affairs, Commissioners of Afghan Refugees from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Punjab, the more prickly issues facing refugees were discussed.
Pakistan made its policy clear, that it remained committed to the rehabilitation and development of Afghanistan. But the 3 million plus refugees, to whom unconditional hospitality has been extended for over three decades, will have to be resettled elsewhere, albeit per guidelines of voluntarism and gradualism embedded in the Tripartite agreement.
Many Afghan refugees have been unable to return to their motherland due to continued strife in the years leading on from the withdrawal of Soviet Union. A civil war after the Russians left prevented repatriation. War returned following the 9/11 attacks. A decade later as international troops plan an exit, Afghanistan is still not secure enough for refugees to return.
For his part, Dr Anwari raised concerns over the problems facing Afghan Refugees in camps. He pointed out the limited facilities for education,health and police harassment of camp inmates. He also recommended that Hajj visas should also be issued to refugee pilgrims.
Engineer Shaukatullah assuaged him that all relevant departments will seek to resolve all issues identified by the Minister on top priority. However, he also reminded the Afghan Minister that Pakistan was faced with resource constraints. He further warned the Afghan delegate that recent security related incidents have led to a change in local perceptions towards the refugees.
The delegation was briefed that Pakistan was offering 2000 scholarships to Afghan students. Reintegration grant too had been increased from $100 to $150 in 2011.

Technologies Evolving To Cloak Battlefield Vehicles From Sensors

The ultimate stealth protection for anything on or over a battlefield would be the ability to disappear from view, leaving no visual, electronic or infrared (IR) signature for an enemy to detect.
Work is underway to develop technologies that conceal, cloak or otherwise make objects appear to vanish. In many cases, the value of these technologies is in their ability to dupe an enemy into thinking he sees something besides a threat or potential target—background vegetation, for example, or an innocent vehicle. Even if the image an enemy detects only confuses him for seconds, it could be enough time for a friendly force to evade fire.

There are a number of invisibility research—or, more accurately, cloaking—projects attracting interest and funding from militaries and other organizations around the world. Two in particular have come to the fore: the Adaptiv Active Defense System from BAE Systems of the U.K., which uses IR cloaking technology and is reportedly within two years of being production-ready for use on ground, air and sea vehicles; and the Black Fox electronic thermal IR countermeasure system from Eltics Ltd. of Israel, which is likewise designed to make vehicles invisible to thermal sensors.
These technologies represent real-world solutions to concealment. They are designed to counter IR surveillance and targeting technology by confusing remote sensors, including those on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), heat-seeking missiles or in use by gunners with thermal vision systems. They would not be effective against a squad of soldiers or an observation team that maneuvered near enough to observe a target with their own eyes.

These approaches contrast with what most scientists are doing in cloaking research, which typically involves devising techniques for manipulating electromagnetic waves of visual light to conceal 2-D and lately 3-D objects. This usually involves “transformation optics,” which bend electromagnetic waves and control the emission of light from an object. Other researchers use metamaterials, man-made composites that derive their properties from nano-scale structures rather than their composition, to alter the path of light and conceal objects. Some work involves so-called cloaking carpets that hide objects from IR radiation and microwave detection, again by bending and warping emissions around or away from objects.

Iran confirms sending troops to Syria

Islamic Republic admits its forces are aiding Assad's regime in crackdown on pro-democracy protesters; UN's tally of fatalities in Syrian uprising is at 13,000

Iran confirmed Sunday that it has, as previously speculated, sent troops to aid President Bashar Assad's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in his country. The United Nations and human rights groups estimate that over 13,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011 – 9,200 of them civilians.  

"If the Islamic Republic was not present in Syria, the massacre of civilians would have been twice as bad," General Ismail Qa'ani, deputy-commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force, told Tehran's ISNA news agency. Iran, he added, "Had physically and non-physically stopped the rebels from killing many more among the Syrian people."
This was a rare admission by an Iranian official that Tehran was truly aiding the Damascus regime. The quote was later removed from ISNA's website.
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