Sunday, September 30, 2012

Soldiers file sexual abuse lawsuit in San Francisco against Leon Panetta, other top military brass

Nineteen former and current U.S. soldiers and airmen filed suit Friday in San Francisco, claiming top military brass deprived them of constitutional rights by failing to go after their sexual predators.
"The pattern is the same in all of them: The victim is blamed, ostracized, retaliated against. Rape kits are lost, evidence is lost, there is no court martial," attorney Susan Burke said in an interview.
Burke, an attorney in Washington, D.C., who is trying to reform how the Pentagon deals with sexual assault, has three other lawsuits pending against Pentagon leaders in various courts across the country. Another is on appeal. She was a key figure in a documentary about the topic, "The InvisibleWar.

Burke filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Friday, alleging that current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, his two predecessors and the current secretaries of the Air Force and Army violated the due process rights of five men and 14 women.
In two cases, male soldiers allege that a superior officer invited them to his home, raped them and infected them with HIV. Several of the women plaintiffs tell of being forced to live near, drill with and even undergo group therapy with the men they had accused of rape.
Burke said she filed the lawsuit in San Francisco because one of the soldiers who did not attend the news conference lives there. Burke was joined at a Friday news conference by advocacy groups and  Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco, who is sponsoring legislation to create an impartial office to review rape and sexual assault allegations in the military.

BAE Systems to Cease Military Production at Fairfield Location

BAE Systems yesterday made a major announcement regarding the future of their Fairfield facility. The company will cease military production at the site and transfer the work to their Sealy, Texas facility by the end of the 1st quarter of 2013. All commercial armored vehicle, transparent armor and JLTV engineering work will continue in Fairfield, Ohio.

“The decision to transition the military production work from our Fairfield site to Sealy streamlines our organization, reduces cost and improves our competitive position,” said Frank Pope, President of BAE Systems, Inc.’s Land & Armaments Sector.

Approximately 160 employees that currently support military production will be affected by the change at the Fairfield facility. It is anticipated that most of the affected employees will be released from the company between November and the end of the 1st quarter of 2013.

F-35B Aircraft Test Flight with AIM-9X Sidewinder

U.S. Navy test pilot Lt. Christopher Tabert flew F-35B aircraft BF-3 with inert AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles Sept. 19 over the Atlantic Test Ranges.

The test flight evaluated airplane structural loads and flying qualities during maneuvering flight. The F-35B is the variant of the Joint Strike Fighter designed for use by U.S. Marine Corps, as well as F-35 international partners in the United Kingdom and Italy.

The F-35B is capable of short take-offs and vertical landings to enable air power projection from amphibious ships, ski-jump aircraft carriers and expeditionary airfields.

Air Force's F-35 recommendation was missing key information

Report did not have important data on competing aircraft

The Royal Canadian Air Force trumpeted the F-35 fighter jet to Canada’s defence minister as the best option for the country even though it was missing key information on competing aircraft, according to a Canadian military insider.
Steve Lucas, former Canadian chief of the air staff, acknowledges in an exclusive fifth estate interview, to air tonight, that the military's recommendation in 2006 to their political masters in Ottawa was based on incomplete data.
“With the stage we were at, at that point in time, not only did we do the glossy brochure examination, but we also went to each of the countries, spoke to each of them,” Lucas told the fifth estate.
But the air force report that backed that recommendation, obtained by the fifth estate, reveals that when the Canadian military visited four other nations that were peddling competing fighter jets they were denied classified information every time.
"Indeed, it does say at the bottom [of the report], more information is needed,” says Lucas. "But I guess I would characterize that as an appropriate level of examination for where we were at, at that point in time … knowing that there would be subsequent examination, more detailed examination as we develop the statement of requirements."
Despite the fact that the air force review was incomplete and the F-35 was still only in development, the brass recommended in a brief to the defence minister in September, 2006, that the F-35: "provides the best available operational capabilities to meet Canadian operational requirements, while providing the longest service life and lowest per aircraft cost of all options considered."

Colombia is Second in World for Land Mine Victims, Behind Afghanistan

Six children are the latest victims of Colombia’s ongoing land mine crisis, as a 3-year old was killed and five others wounded following an explosion in the central-western department of Tolima.
This recent incident has helped the Andean nation reach what Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzón called the "dishonorable figure" of 10,001 landmine victims, making it the second most affected country in the world in terms of land mine incidents after war-torn Afghanistan.
"Girls, boys, teens, women, indigenous, farmers, workers, soldiers, police and heroes of the country have sacrificed their lives for the freedom and security of the Colombians. We want a Colombia without more victims of anti-personnel mines and free of these artifacts," Garzón said, according to Colombia’s Radio Caracol
The main culprit of the land mines is the leftist rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), whose half-century campaign against the Colombian government has left thousands of mines scattered across the country. As the group became involved in the country’s cocaine trade, the FARC used mines to protect their bases, transit routes and in coca fields to prevent eradication.
But as they moved to different locations, the land mines, which are difficult to detect underground and detonate as they are stepped on, were left behind.
The Colombian government has sent teams to remote regions to eradicate the crops and mines with the help of metal detectors and dogs, but this tactic has caused its fair share of accidents and deaths.
"They send [the eradicators] out with an armed forces escort, which uses metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs to try to disarm the mines," said Alvaro Jimenez, director of the Colombian Campaign Against Landmines, a victims advocacy group, according to the Los Angeles Times. "But obviously something is not working as well as it should."

US Navy Defends Boomer Submarine Replacement Plans

A top U.S. Navy official is defending the service's plans to replace its Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine fleet, saying the Navy has the right design and boat numbers to execute the mission for decades to come.
"We conducted a detailed analysis of many force structure options," says Rear Adm. Barry Bruner, Navy undersea warfare director, in a recent blog. "A force of 12 Ohio Replacement nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) with 16 missile tubes satisfies national strategic deterrent requirements at the most affordable cost. Twelve Ohio Replacement SSBNs meet at-sea strategic patrol requirements and sustain this requirement while some of the SSBNs are unavailable due to planned maintenance."
Bruner says, "Reduced-force options [that] we considered failed to meet the current at-sea and nuclear employment requirements, increased risk for force survivability, and limited the flexibility in response to an uncertain strategic future. A 12-ship, 16-missile-tube SSBN force has sufficient, not excessive, flexibility and capacity."
He acknowledges that because ship construction of the Ohio Replacement shifted to 2021 from 2019, there will be fewer than 12 SSBNs from 2029 to 2042 as the Ohio-class retires and Ohio replacement ships join the fleet.
Addressing recent critics of the shortfalls, he says, "During this time frame no major SSBN overhauls are planned, and a force of 10 SSBNs will support current at-sea presence requirements."

Lib Dem Trident plan is a 'fallacy', Labour MP says

A former Lib Dem defence minister's claim that there is a viable alternative to Trident is a "fallacy", Labour MP John Woodcock has said.
The MP told the BBC that Sir Nick Harvey was peddling a "pretext" for abolishing the nuclear weapons system.
But Sir Nick said that Trident should not be renewed primarily to keep submarine engineers in work.
Mr Woodcock represents Barrow and Furness, where any replacement submarines would be made.
In a debate on BBC Radio 4's The World at One, he argued that "all the options" had been fully scrutinised in previous studies of the UK's submarine-based nuclear arms.
"They found that actually this idea that there is an off-the-shelf, cheaper version is a fallacy," he said.
"It is a fantasy, peddled by people, many of whom are in the Lib Dems, who you suspect ultimately don't want an independent nuclear deterrent at all but realise that it is electorally difficult for them to say that."
Sir Nick had suggested to a fringe event at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton on Wednesday that it would be cheaper to pay the workers to go and live in the Bahamas than to replace the UK's nuclear weapons programme.
In response to Mr Woodcock's comment, Sir Nick said he accepted that keeping highly skilled UK submarine construction workers in employment was an important factor in the decision.
Dire consequences "We're going to continue needing submarines as far into the future as I can see, and we're jolly lucky to have the professional and capable set-up that we have got there at Barrow," Sir Nick said.
But, he continued, the "hierarchy of consideration should be first the military consideration, secondly the financial consideration for the state as a whole, and that those should then give rise to the industrial - and not the other way round".

U.S., Gulf countries seek to advance missile defense plan

The United States and its Gulf partners are looking to deepen cooperation on missile defense as tensions rise with Iran, and announcements could come soon on new purchases, U.S. officials said on Friday.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) officials in New York as Washington seeks to boost regional defenses against perceived Iranian threats.
"Our aim is to help our Gulf partners with their defense needs ... there is a missile threat that they face, we want to help them face that threat as best they can," one senior U.S. official said, previewing the meeting for reporters.
"We've had expressions of interest from our partners in the Gulf in additional missile defense capabilities," the official said. "We hope that we will be having announcements in the near future regarding those expressions of interest."
The official declined to provide specifics on the plans with the GCC, a political and economic alliance linking Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
But Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon's top supplier by sales, received an initial $1.96 billion contract in December for two of its Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon systems for the United Arab Emirates, the first foreign sale of the system.
Lockheed has said other GCC members, including Saudi Arabia, have expressed interest. Other leading missile-defense contractors include Boeing Co, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman Corp.
Friday's talks reflect the increased tempo of U.S. efforts to put pressure on Tehran, which the United States and its allies say is seeking nuclear weapons capability under the cover of a civil program. Iran denies this, but has been hit with a series of international sanctions over its nuclear work.

Military heroes’ Social Security numbers posted onlin

The Social Security numbers of some of the nation’s most highly decorated Army war heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan were posted this week by a civilian contractor on a publicly available website.
The Army has launched an investigation to find out how the privacy of its heroes was violated.
Of more than 500 names and profiles on the site, 31 contain Social Security numbers. Six are Medal of Honor recipients, two of whom are alive. There are also Social Security numbers for 25 soldiers who earned the Distinguished Service Cross, 22 of whom are living.
Army spokesman George Wright told The Washington Times on Friday the service has launched an investigation to determine how the Army data was handled. He said the contractor was contacted and told to remove the site.
“We take this matter seriously,” Mr. Wright said.
By Friday evening, The Times could still access the Web address for the list of heroes, their accomplishments in battle, and, in 31 cases, the Social Security numbers.
The site was discovered by a veteran doing research on war heroes.
Former ArmyStaff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta earned the Medal of Honor, presented by President Obama, for saving the lives of comrades in Afghanistan on Oct. 25, 2007. He left the Army last year and is attending college.

Efforts underway to name new Navy submarine USS Montana

U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and several veterans' groups are lobbying to convince the U.S. Navy to name its newest submarine after Montana.
The sub, currently designated SSN-791, is the last of eight Virginia-class fast attack nuclear submarines scheduled to be delivered in 2019.
In a letter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Tester notes that Montana is the only state that has never had a Naval vessel named in its honor.
He says the state's "land-locked status" shouldn't prevent it from having a ship named after it, especially since there have been three ships named after Colorado and three named after South Dakota - fellow land-locked states.
In a press release, Tester says: "Entering the Union in 1889, Montana's citizens have served their country with pride, and thousands have proudly served in the Navy and Marine Corps. Naming this submarine the USS Montana would be an honor for the people of Montana and would pay tribute to the men and women who have served and given their lives."

Royal Australian Air Force has been warned to scale back the use of its ageing fleet of F/A-18 "classic" Hornet fighters to avert structural fatigue concerns

THE Royal Australian Air Force has been warned to scale back the use of its ageing fleet of F/A-18 "classic" Hornet fighters to avert structural fatigue concerns.
The 71 fighter jets, brought into service in the mid-1980s, may need to keep flying beyond 2020 because of delays in acquiring the new Joint Strike Fighter, the Australian National Audit Office said yesterday.
It warned to expect a big increase in annual maintenance costs of the old Hornet fleet from $118 million since 2001 to $170m today, with costs expected to blow out to $214m a year by 2018. The report found all but nine of the Hornet fleet had "experienced structure fatigue above that expected for the airframe hours".
The ANAO's upkeep concerns are directed at the "classic" Hornets and not the newer fleet of 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets delivered to RAAF Amberley between 2010 and last year.
"The key risks to the F/A-18 fleets' fulfilment of their operational requirements until their replacement by the F-35A Lightning (JSF) revolve around Defence's ability to maintain the present levels of Hornet sustainment and structural-integrity management," the report said.
Keeping the old Hornet fleet flying beyond 2020 would incur an extensive increase in sustainment costs, ANAO said.
It "may well require the fleet to undergo an expanded, and hence more costly, safety-by-inspection regime, structural modifications program and capability upgrades".
The government has indicated it will buy 100 new Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, to replace the Hornet fleet in a deal worth $13.2 billion.

China Rejects Russian Blame for Carrier Snags

China has denied Russian claims that Chinese firebricks were to blame for boiler failures in the Russian-refitted Indian Navy aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, which suffered propulsion problems during sea trials in the Barents Sea last month, local daily Beitsin Chenbao reported, quoting Defense Minister Yan Yujun.
"We checked this, and found that Chinese enterprises which make such firebricks for naval propulsion systems have never exported such products to Russia," Yan said.
Earlier this month, Russian media reports, quoting Andrei Dyachkov, President of United Russian Shipbuilding corporation which refitted the carrier, claimed the ship's boilers had been damaged due to failures in the brick insulation separating them from the ship's structure. The shipyard used "sub-standard Chinese firebricks," Dyachkov said.
Another official involved in preparing the Vikramaditya for sea trials, claimed the reason for the boilers’ failure was India refused to use asbestos to protect the structure around the boilers from heat, fearing that the material was dangerous for the crew. He said the boilers’ designer had to use firebrick, which proved not sufficiently heatproof.
The Vikramaditya was to have been handed over to India on December 4 after the sea trials following a much-delayed refit that has gone massively over-budget. The deadline has now been postponed again until October 2013, and the cost of the new repairs to the boilers has not been revealed.
The boiler problem is the latest in a string of hold-ups in the refit of the ship, in a defense deal that has turned into a shipwreck of its own, going way over budget and being repeatedly delayed.
India and Russia signed a $947 million dollar deal in 2005 for the purchase of the carrier, formerly the Russian Navy's Admiral Gorshkov, but delivery has already been delayed twice, pushing up the cost of refurbishing the carrier to $2.3 billion.

Cowpens' Spray

PHILIPPINE SEA - The bow of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) plows through a wave in rough seas while Underway. Cowpens is share of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group, forward Deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, and is currently a routine patrol Conducting in the western Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Kelly)

Expert: China's aircraft carrier may use upgraded version of J-11 fighters

China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is over 300 meters long and over 70 meters wide. The distance from the keel to the top of the mainmast is over 60 meters. There are 10 decks below the main deck, and nine levels of island-style superstructures above the main deck, making the aircraft carrier look like a 20-story building. The Liaoning has a normal displacement of more than 50,000 tons.

Aircraft carriers top all other types of large ships in tonnage, size, and operational capability, and are hailed as "floating airports." The island-style superstructures at the starboard side of an aircraft carrier are the command center for flight-deck operations, as well as the ship as a whole.

Modern carrier-based aircraft take off in mainly three ways: catapult assisted takeoff, ski-jump takeoff, and vertical takeoff. The Liaoning can carry fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters as designed.

Although there are no carrier-based aircraft on the flight deck of the Liaoning, the aircraft carrier is fully equipped for aircraft takeoff and landing.

HII Awarded $296 Million Construction Preparation Contract Modification for John F. Kennedy (CVN 79)

Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) has received a $296 million contract modification, under a previously awarded contract, for continuation of long-lead-time material procurement for and advance construction of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79). The company's Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division is the prime contractor.
This award enables NNS to continue preparations for the construction of John F. Kennedy, including engineering and planning efforts along with additional advance material procurement and complex component manufacturing. Long-lead-time materials include advanced weapons elevators, pumps, propellers, steel plate, piping and fittings.
John F. Kennedy is the second ship in the Gerald R. Ford class, the Navy's newest class of nuclear aircraft carriers. The Ford class incorporates many improvements in capability and is designed to reduce total ownership cost over that of the Nimitz class. The ship's first steel was cut in December 2010, and delivery to the Navy is scheduled no later than 2022.
"Advance construction and procurement enables us to transition smoothly from Ford into the bulk of Kennedy's construction starting in 2013, efficiently utilizing our labor and facility resources," said Mike Shawcross, NNS' vice president, John F. Kennedy construction. "We are working hard with the Navy to make the entire class more affordable, and we are taking full advantage of the lessons we are learning while building Ford and applying them to Kennedy. We are always looking at ways to improve carrier construction at the shipyard — from changes in how work flows through the yard to engaging our suppliers for their ideas that could improve efficiency."

Astrium: First Provider of Satellite Communications to the European Defence Agency for EU MoDs

Astrium Services has been awarded the ESCPC framework contract by the EDA for commercial satellite communications for European military needs
  Brussels | Astrium, Europe’s leading space company, has been awarded a three year contract by the European Defence Agency (EDA) to provide commercial satellite communications capacity for European military needs. This contract will be managed by the EDA’s newly established procurement cell, the ESCPC (European Satellite Communications Procurement Cell).

Astrium Services will provide the EDA with satellite communications in commercial bands (C, Ku and Ka) for European military needs, and associated value added services including lease of terminals, anchoring and backhauling, worldwide. The ESCPC will allow the European Union member states to pool their needs, purchase, and even switch satellite communication capacity between themselves, in a coordinated manner, ultimately ensuring the best and most cost effective access to satcom services. To date, five contributing member states (France, Italy, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom) have decided to join the ESCPC to benefit from cost savings for their commercial satcoms needs. Astrium Services will offer its one-stop-shop 24/7 expertise to manage and execute a complete service catalogue for the delivery of the upcoming orders placed by EDA on behalf of the contributing member states.

Eric Béranger, CEO of Astrium Services, said: “As a commercial company and a pioneer in providing milsatcoms to governments and defence ministries, we are very proud to be the first to provide commercial satellite communications to the European Defence Agency through such an innovative scheme. Being European, Astrium Services is fully engaged in making a significant contribution to European defence.”

U.S. Army Awards General Dynamics $395 Million to Begin Engineering Development for Abrams Modernization

The Army plans to begin production of tanks with ECP1 upgrades in 2017.

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – The U.S. Army TACOM Contracting Command has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), an eight-year, $395 million contract for research, development and testing in preparation for the Abrams main battle tank Engineering Change Proposal 1 (ECP1) production. The contract has an initial value of $80 million over 12 months. There is no tank production work associated with this award.

The Abrams ECP1 program is an engineering-development effort focused on integrating a group of system improvements into a single upgrade program for the M1A2SEPv2 baseline tank. The objective of this research-and-development effort is to prepare the Abrams tank to accept additional Army-directed requirements in the future without impacting current vehicle performance. The Army plans to begin low rate initial production of tanks with ECP1 upgrades in 2017.

 “This award shows the Army’s long-term commitment to improving the Abrams tank’s capabilities for the Warfighter, while ensuring that platforms are able to integrate planned and future upgrades,” said Donald Kotchman, vice president for Heavy Brigade Combat Teams at General Dynamics Land Systems. “This effort will maintain Abrams’ position as the leading main battle tank in the world.”

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vietnam to Improve Russian Helicopter Equipped with U.S. Rocket

The improvement in order to meet the requirements for helicopters Mi-24 weapons crackdown on the remnants of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia,
Mi-24 attack helicopter developed by the Soviet Union and put into use in the early 1970s. This is the helicopter gunships "one of a kind" has been equipped with heavy duty weapons fire support to the ground, destroy armored tanks, and, military passenger compartment contain up to 8 soldiers.
The late 1970s, Soviet aid a small number of Mi-24 attack helicopters for the Vietnam People's Air Force. In 1980, the Air Vietnam Air Force squadron officially established the first Mi-24 helicopters of the 916th Regiment.
The Mi-24 that you aid to Vietnam under the Mi-24A variant - the first generation of the helicopter. Mi-24A compared to the Mi-24D and the modern variant the main difference is in the type of cabin.
Mi-24A cockpit 3 with control arms in front of officers, pilots and navigators in parallel in the back seat. Variations Mi-24 or later to use style cockpit "double bubble" with the arms in front of officers and pilots behind.

VN Develops S-75M3 Simulation Software

Practitioners in the Institute of Air Defence-Air Force has developed simulation software works missile complex S-75M3
Meet the needs of visual materials for teaching, training, technical subjects S-75M3, the students of the Institute of Air Defense - Air Force has developed a software model simulation functioning missile combination.
The authors have used Powerpoint software to simulate the operation the radio SNR-75V3 control function; using Macromedia Flash and PowerPoint 2003 to simulate the reduced functional activity of the air defense missile complex S-75M3.

An-70 Aircraft Conducts Test Flight After 2-year Delay

An upgraded Antonov An-70 propfan tactical transport aircraft carried out a test flight on Thursday after a two-year delay, the company's president Dmytro Kyva announced.
He said the 32-minute flight at Ukraine's Aviasvit-XXI international airshow had been a success, and called this "the main event of the airshow."
Test flights were suspended for two years as the An-70 underwent vital modernization work following a number of technical malfunctions in previous flights.
The Ukrainian-designed An-70, built jointly with Russia, has had a long-running and troubled gestation period, with one prototype crashing in a collision in the 1990s, and a second crashing in 2001 in an accident during take-off in Omsk. It also had a history of problems related to its propfan engines.
Kyva said that the company had received orders for two planes from Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, and that they would also supply them to Russia.

The Afghan Surge Was A Failure

Why the Afghan Surge Was a Failure in One Chart


When the U.S. troop surge wound down in Afghanistan last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta slapped a positive gloss on the operation, saying it succeeded in "reversing the Taliban momentum." While some anti-war critics questioned that outlook, one of the most damning assessments of the surge's efficacy now comes in the form of a chart by NATO itself.
In the above chart, obtained by Wired's Spencer Ackerman, every incident in which the Taliban or affiliated insurgents attacked NATO forces is recorded. If you compare 2009, when the troubles in Afghanistan pushed President Obama to increase troop numbers, to today, progress has not been great. Per Ackerman:

Chinese Defence Minister Defends China's Use of Drones in South China Sea

A Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday that the country's use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, over Huangyan Island, the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters is "justified and legal," and warned that China opposes any military provocation in the South China Sea.

Yang Yujun made the remarks at a monthly press briefing in response to comments by a Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) spokesman that Chinese drones may be shot at if they enter the above-mentioned airspace.

China has indisputable sovereignty over Huangyan Island, the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters, Yang responded.

"Therefore, Chinese aircraft' flying in the airspace in question is justified and legal," he said.

Why Are The Military Chiefs Keeping Trips To Afghanistan Secret

Why Dempsey kept his Afghanistan visit secret

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, does not like to take reporters on his overseas travels, but even the Pentagon press corps was surprised when he appeared in Afghanistan unannounced this week.

It had become standard practice in recent years that when the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visits the war zone, he takes a rotation of reporters along with him. After all, he is the senior-most ranking U.S. military officer and senior military advisor to the president.

So in Thursday's Pentagon press briefing, Dempsey was asked to explain why he kept this visit secret.

"I kept it under wraps because I was afraid you all would ask to come with me," he said, jokingly. He also did not take Col. David Lapan, his spokesman.

"No, I kept -- the truth is I originally planned to go to Pakistan to meet with [Pakistan's military chief] Gen. [Parvez] Kayani, and because of some of the issues related to that film, he and I discussed postponing that visit," he said. The two generals did postpone. "And then, with the available time I decided to extend my trip in Afghanistan."

What's Kabul's Future?

Taking a stroll through the parks and bazaars of Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, after many years covering the war in the south and the east of the country, could have been both terrifying and liberating.I was conscious that there was certainly a very real threat from suicide bombers and the “spectacular” attacks that garner international headlines, but in reality I found that after following US troops patrolling IED (improvised explosive device) infested orchards in Kandahar or climbing mountains swarming with Taliban fighters in Nuristan and Kunar, Kabul actually felt like a different, much safer world. For the moment at least.

Kabul is the beating heart of Afghanistan. It is the centre of politics and commerce and culture, the place to which all roads here lead. This is why the Mujahedeen battled the Soviets so hard here in the 1980's and why the Taliban fought so desperately to capture it during the brutal civil war that followed.
Now, though the Taliban know that while they cannot hope to reoccupy the city while international forces are in the country, keeping up attacks or at least maintaining the threat of attack, accomplishes two objectives. It acts as constant reminder to the politicians and public in the West that their troops should leave - and it reminds Afghans that once the foreigners are gone, the Taliban will be waiting.

It is true that the violence is still much worse in the provinces than in Kabul, but the Taliban, and their allies, the Haqqani network, are regularly able to bring fear and death to the very heart of the capital. This is quite a feat, considering the thousands of Afghan police and soldiers stationed on the streets, and manning the checkpoints that ring the city.

Swedish Investments in the Indian Defence Industry: Prospects and Challenges

In end August 2012, the Swedish defence and security company Saab Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian private-sector company Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Limited. Saab, with total sales of US $3,582 million in 2011, holds a vital role in Sweden’s defence industry. Partly as a result of changing economic conditions, the firm’s strategy is now directed towards international cooperation, with greater focus on investments in Asia in general and India in particular. This commentary will take a closer look at the characteristics of Saab’s recent investments as well as the prospect and challenges for current and future Swedish-Indian collaboration in the defence industrial sector.


Swedish defence industry is internationally renowned for its high quality of competence and its top-edge and sophisticated technology. A broad-spectrum, advanced military-industrial base in Sweden developed during World War II without much influence from foreign interests or investments, as part of the country’s ‘neutrality politics’. Saab, being one outcome of this development, is the number one company within its sector in Sweden today.

Chinese Defense Ministry Confirms Naval Patrols Near Diaoyu Islands

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun on Thursday confirmed that Chinese naval ships have carried out patrolling and military training in waters off the Diaoyu Islands recently.

Yang's confirmation was made in response to a media request following reports by Japanese media last week of two Chinese naval frigates navigating waters off the Diaoyu Islands.

Yang said the Diaoyu Islands have been an inseparable part of Chinese territory since ancient times and it is legitimate for Chinese naval ships to carry out patrolling and training for military readiness in waters under Chinese jurisdiction.

The Chinese military shoulders the responsibility of safeguarding national territory and state sovereignty as well as its maritime rights and the safety of its people, according to the spokesman.

"Chinese troops perform a duty of military readiness to quickly react to maritime and airspace emergencies and closely work with the departments of maritime surveillance and fishery administration to provide security for the country's maritime law enforcement, fishery production as well as oil and gas development," he said.

ATK Awarded Full-Rate Production Contract for Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile

AARGM's Robust Industry Team Ready for Full-Rate Production
  ARLINGTON, Va. | ATK has been awarded a $71 million contract for the full-rate production of the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM). The contract, awarded by the U.S. Navy, provides for the production of operational missiles for the Navy and the Government of Italy, as well as training missile systems for the Navy, and all related supplies and services necessary for manufacturing, sparing, and fleet deployment.

The AARGM system is a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile system upgrading legacy AGM-88 HARM systems with the improved capability to perform Destruction of Enemy Air Defense missions, and is a complement to the U.S. Navy's HARM program. AARGM's advanced multi-sensor system includes a millimeter wave terminal seeker, advanced anti-radiation homing receiver and a Global Positioning System/inertial navigation system. These enable AARGM to rapidly engage traditional and advanced land- and sea-based air-defense threats, as well as non-radar time-sensitive strike targets.

AARGM is a U.S. Navy and Italian Air Force international cooperative major acquisition program with the U.S. Navy as the executive agent. AARGM is currently deployed on U.S. FA-18C/D Hornet aircraft, and is being integrated for use on the U.S. Navy's EA-18G Growler and FA-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft, as well as the Italian Air Force's Tornado ECR aircraft. The missile is also compatible with the F-35, EA-6B, allied FA-18s, and U.S. and allied F-16s.

Two USMC Harriers Continue Operations Over Helmand

Two AV-8B Harrier II Plus aircraft appear to dot the gray sky, as ground crewmembers prepare for their arrival. The aircraft are more than 46 feet long and have a wingspan of 30 feet 4 inches. They roar through the Afghanistan sky, a symbol of our air superiority.

After a recent insurgent attack at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Marine Attack Squadron 211 endured not only the loss of some of their squadron’s aircraft, but also the tragic loss of their commanding officer, Lt. Col. Christopher Raible. Despite this tragedy, the squadron is pushing forward to complete their deployment in Helmand province.

The Harrier squadron remains fully operational and continues to provide support to ground troops throughout Regional Command Southwest’s area of operations.

“We are used for close-air support for the infantry battalions,” said Capt. Matthew Pasquali, a pilot with Marine Attack Squadron 211, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward). “We are providing patrol overwatch, scanning for known improvised explosive device implementing spots and looking ahead of patrols for typical ambush positions.”

This is Pasquali’s fifth deployment and third to Afghanistan. The squadron deployed in May 2012 and has stayed busy throughout their approximate five months in Afghanistan.

“I think we’ve been employed in support of ground operations more than 50 times thus far,” said Pasquali, from Houston, Texas.

Russian Helicopters Brings New Level of After-Sales Service to CIS and European Markets

Russian Helicopters, part of state defence holding Oboronprom and a leading global designer and manufacturer helicopters, is pleased to offer customers in the CIS and Europe an advanced after-sales service system built on integrated logistical support throughout the helicopter life cycle. After-sales support is offered through a single centre, Helicopter Service Company, a Russian Helicopters company.

Russian Helicopters will unveil its new after-sales service system at the Aviasvit-XXI air show, taking place in the Ukrainian capital Kiev from 27 September to 1 October. During the show, the company will hold a conference dedicated to its new approach to after-sales service for Russian-built helicopters, and will discuss its new procedures for certifying repair companies and service centres. The new procedures will come into force for all of Russian Helicopters’ partners along with a new certification system that is expected to be introduced by the end of the year.

Russian Helicopters plans to expand the range of services it offers in repairing, upgrading and modifying helicopters and helicopter components. Maintenance and after-sales service of Russian-made helicopters will be easier and more efficient thanks to the broad-based introduction of IT into customer service. Helicopter operators or authorised service companies will be able to order spare parts over the Internet. The introduction of electronic documentation for various helicopter models will also make life easier for operators of Russian-built helicopters.

Coalition-Afghan Partnering Operations Resuming

Afghan and NATO troops are resuming partnered operations which were suspended earlier this month because of a series of deadly insider attacks, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced during a news conference here Sept. 27.

Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, had ordered that all combined operations below the battalion level be approved by regional commanders following attacks by Afghan soldiers and police that have killed 51 members of the coalition this year.

However, Afghan and coalition troops are now back to conducting partnered operations as before, Panetta told Pentagon reporters. The military believes some of the insider attacks were perhaps triggered by Muslim anger over an American-made internet video that defamed the Prophet Muhammad.

“I can now report to you that most ISAF units have returned to their normal partnered operations at all levels,” said Panetta, who was accompanied by Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dempsey, just back from a visit to Afghanistan, said partnering efforts are back to the level they were before the difficulties. Around 90 percent of all operations in the country are partnered.

Even with the insider attacks, Panetta said the coalition and Afghan efforts are paying off. He said the Taliban were in control of large swaths of Afghanistan and were poised to take more when the coalition surge into the country began in December 2009.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Deployment of Topol-M/RS-24 in Teykovo completed

The Rocket Forces announced the completion of the Topol-M/RS-24 deployment in Teykovo. According to the report, the Teykovo division now has two Topol-M regiments and two RS-24 regiments, for the total of 18 road-mobile missiles.
Deployment of the second RS-24 regiment in Teykovo began in December 2011. The 18 Topol-M/RS-24 missiles have been already accounted in my New START estimate (that was, in fact, incorrect - I should have counted 15 missiles as deployed at Teykovo).

Alert Over Ageing Hornets as Structural Fatigue Hits Fleet

THE Royal Australian Air Force has been warned to scale back the use of its ageing fleet of F/A-18 "classic" Hornet fighters to avert structural fatigue concerns.
The 71 fighter jets, brought into service in the mid-1980s, may need to keep flying beyond 2020 because of delays in acquiring the new Joint Strike Fighter, the Australian National Audit Office said yesterday.
It warned to expect a big increase in annual maintenance costs of the old Hornet fleet from $118 million since 2001 to $170m today, with costs expected to blow out to $214m a year by 2018. The report found all but nine of the Hornet fleet had "experienced structure fatigue above that expected for the airframe hours".
The ANAO's upkeep concerns are directed at the "classic" Hornets and not the newer fleet of 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets delivered to RAAF Amberley between 2010 and last year.

U.S. Army ‘Stand-Down’ for Suicide Prevention Training

The U.S. Army put normal operations on hold Thursday in a service-wide “stand-down” for a day of mandatory suicide prevention training to try and combat record numbers of suicides among active-duty troops.
“The nation has asked our soldiers to carry a heavy load over the last 11 years, and they have not failed,” Sgt. Maj. Raymond Chandler told a news conference Wednesday on the eve of the training. “But suicide is an enemy we have yet to defeat.”
Army figures show 26 soldiers died in probable suicides in July, a record number. And the Army has reported 116 suicides among active-duty soldiers through the end of July this year, threatening to surpass the 167 reported suicides in 2011.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that lowering the military’s high suicide rate is a top priority. Panetta told USA Today earlier this month, “we have to take care of our family members, we’re talking about men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect this country, and I think we have to do everything possible, to try to make sure we protect them.”
Experts believe many military suicides are related to cumulative stress from repeated combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During Thursday’s “stand-down,” troops will not perform their usual duties in order to attend training sessions at Army posts around the world aimed at educating them about the various behavioral health programs available.

Russia Close Azerbaijan Radar Deal - Source

Russia will likely extend its lease on the Gabala radar complex in Azerbaijan for up to three years on the current terms, a source close to the negotiations told RIA Novosti on Friday.
Media reports in spring this year said Baku wanted to raise rents on the radar complex, a key link in Russia’s air defenses, to $300 million a year from the current $7 million a year.
A source close to Russia’s military command had complained recently to RIA Novosti that Azerbaijan was taking “an unconstructive approach” in the negotiations.
“Now the talk is about extending the [lease] agreement for two-three year under the current terms, including financial terms,” the source said.
The Soviet Union built the Gabala Radar Station in 1985. It is currently operated by the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces.

Northrop Grumman Awarded A-10 Thunderbolt II Task Orders

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) two task orders under the A-10 Thunderbolt II Life-cycle Program Support (TLPS) indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract.
Under the terms of the $4.4 million aircraft structural integrity program (ASIP) Legacy IV task order, Northrop Grumman will manage several tasks to include testing and validation of current A-10 flight spectrum data. This information can be used to determine A-10 service life and inspection cycles.
Northrop Grumman will also perform work under the $4.3 million ASIP Modernization IV task order, which will involve developing computer-aided design solid models of the legacy A-10 thick skin wings. The company also completed work on prior ASIP Modernization II and III task orders.
"Through the ASIP program, we are able to work closely with our Air Force customer to extend the life of the A-10 beyond its original design," said Doug Hamel, A-10 TLPS program manager for Northrop

India dismisses reports about its missiles targeting Sri Lankan sites

India on Thursday dismissed reports that its missiles targeted strategic Sri Lankan locations, calling them "completely baseless and fabricated."

In a statement, the Indian high commission here said that India has a longstanding indigenous missile development programme, which is defensive in nature and not directed against any country.

"Speculation on such sensitive issues in a manner calculated to mislead, is out of tune with the spirit of the friendly and close relations India and Sri Lanka enjoy, including in the fields of defence and security," it said.

The statement, which dismissed these reports as "completely baseless and fabricated", came as Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed his satisfaction over his personal meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi last week.

"The visit was successful. It helped in further strengthening of our long and historical relations with India as our closest neighbour," Rajapaksa said during his monthly interaction with media.

Rajapaksa visited Madhya Pradesh on September 19 to lay the foundation stone for a Buddhist University in Sanchi and met Singh in Delhi.

Romania To Buy 12 Second-Hand F-16 Jet Fighter Aircraft From Portugal

  Romania plans to procure 12 used F-16 jet fighter aircraft from Portugal in a five year contract worth $600 million.

      Corneliu Dobritoiu, Romanian Defense Minister, said, “We shall come up with a decision draft within CSAT. We are competing, with the Bulgarians. Referring to the acquisition, I assure you, all Romania's citizens and the EU partners included, that Romania observes absolutely all EU directives for this acquisition, to the letter”.

      The European Commission has demanded that the aircraft be bought within an intergovernmental agreement with the military technique in use.

      Earlier in August, Dobritoiu said that Romania could buy F-16s from Portugal after experts evaluated their technical state. The aircraft were found to be in “a very good” condition.

Australia Likely To Buy Subs From Japan

      Japan and Australia are likely to confirm a defense technology deal involving the technology transfer of Japan’s highly regarded diesel-electric AIP Soryu submarine, according to the Japan Security Watch. This deal is an outgrowth of the relaxing of the arms export restrictions that took place late last year.

      The two could collaborate on maritime domain, particularly in terms of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). When the two countries held their first bilateral defense exercises recently they engaged in ASW exercises, something they have also done so with the US in trilateral exercises.

      According to the Australian press, the Japanese could in a joint partnership to outfit the Royal Australian Navy with 12 submarines similar to the highly regarded Japanese diesel-electric mid-sized Soryuu submarine.

China dismisses reports about second aircraft carrier

The Defense Ministry has dismissed foreign media reports saying that China is building a second aircraft carrier in Shanghai and that it will be launched late this year. Yang Yujun, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said "Such reports are inaccurate." He also explained the details on an aircraft carrier formation in the future.
Yang Yujun, Spokesman of Ministry of Defense, said, "The formation is generally made up of the aircraft carrier itself, escort vessels, submarines and aircraft. China will study the issue in accordance with the development and real needs of the aircraft carrier. As for its deployment, after the aircraft carrier was

Korea - KAI developing “suicide combat UAV”

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is developing a new long-range guided weapon that can cruise to a location and subsequently, loiter and attack when a target is identified.

The system is called "Devil Killer" and has a maximum speed that ranges between 350-400km/h (189-216kt), says KAI. It navigates using GPS and a data link, and the company refers to it as a "suicide combat unmanned air vehicle".
"After [the Devil Killer] moves to the target point along the pre-programmed route, which is designated with navigation points, the operator can identify targets through the forward-looking camera image and then commence either a manual or automatic strike," says KAI.
The system is powered by an electric motor and weighs 25kg (55lb), with a length of 1.5m (4.92ft). Details of its explosive payload, endurance and range are confidential.

Egypt-Germany submarine deal on track despite Israeli objections: Sources

As Tel Aviv regime urges Berlin to halt scheduled delivery of German submarines to Egypt, military experts say Cairo must diversify its sources for weapons purchasesWhile Cairo said it had succeeded over the past year to offset Israel’s efforts to block delivery of German submarines to Egypt based on a deal signed in November of last year, Egyptian sources close to the deal confirm that the agreement was still on track and that Germany would deliver two 902-Class submarines over Israeli objections.
Germany’s ministers of defence and foreign affairs spoke on the issue last week. The deal was a talking point during a visit by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle to Israel after Tel Aviv complained about the deal. Both Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak urged Berlin to freeze the contract out of concern that Egypt’s navy would establish a naval defence platform that could be used against Israel in a future confrontation.
The Israeli politicians reminded Germany of its previous commitment to ensure Israel’s qualitative military superiority and not to export any weapons to states in the region that might threaten Israel’s interests. Germany’s response, which many Israeli newspapers highlighted, was that Germany remained committed to the deal it had signed with Egypt and thus must make the delivery, adding that no one could interfere in German policy regarding such deals.
Egyptian experts agreed that the deal is significant, irrespective of qualitative superiority. Egypt today needs to diversify its weapons sources, according to security expert Major General Sameh Seif El-Yazel, who explained that the 902-Class submarine had fewer capabilities than the Dolphin-Class subs that Israel had received from Germany within the past decade.

Thailand Army in new bid to get its airship flying

The army has agreed to pay 50 million baht more to an American airship producer to make its 350-million-baht airship fly for the first time since its procurement.
An army source said the army signed a contract with Aria International Inc on Sept 20 to make the surveillance airship stay up in the air.
The company was originally hired to provide the airship, which has not flown since its arrival in the chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha ordered the contract because he does not want the airship to rest in its hangar in Pattani province any longer.
The contractor is confident it can make the airship fly by November.
The airship has been unable to fly since its delivery about two years ago. The army formally accepted the airship in July last year. Since then it has had to pay for its maintenance.
The army has paid 200,000-300,000 baht a month to refill the airship with helium, to help the airship keep its shape and avoid leaks. The army has paid about 25 million baht altogether for refills in the past year.
The airship was ordered during the tenure of former army chief Anupong Paochinda who hoped it would

Russian Air Force to Get New Cruise Missile in 2013

The Russian Air Force will accept into service in 2013 the new Raduga Kh-101 cruise missile, capable of delivering precision strikes with a conventional warhead at long-distance, an Air Force source told Izvestia on Wednesday.

The new missile, currently being flight-tested, will be able to hit targets with an accuracy of just 30 feet (10 meters) at ranges of up to 6,000 miles (10,000 km), giving Long-Range Aviation its first precision-strike long-range weapon, the paper says.

The Russian Air Force's bombers currently deploy the Kh-555 conventionally-armed cruise missile, which only has an accuracy of 75-90 feet (25-30 meters) accuracy.

The subsonic Kh-101 navigates primarily by using Russia's GLONASS satellite navigation system, but also has a backup intertial guidance mechanism which can take over if its SATNAV is jammed. It will also be capable of hitting small moving targets like vehicles, the paper said.

The new missile delivers a bigger payload - 880 pounds (400 kg) than its Kh-555 predecessor (440 pounds), and over a much longer range. A nuclear-armed variant, Kh-102, will also enter service.

VSI to Enhance Royal Danish Air Force’s F-16 Night-Attack Capability

RDAF becomes VSI’s first international NVCD-ANVIS customer
  SAN JOSE, Calif. | Vision Systems International (VSI), LLC, a world leader in advanced Helmet Mounted Displays (HMDs), has been awarded a contract from the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) to provide its Night Vision Cueing and Display-Aviator’s Night Vision Imaging Systems (NVCD-ANVIS) technology, the night module for the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS).

“We are extremely proud of this award from the Royal Danish Air Force, which is a continuation of the 12-year-long strategic relationship and look forward to the successful implementation of this new operational capability,” said VSI President Phil King. The RDAF will use VSI’s NVCD-ANVIS to enhance its F-16 night-attack capability, for both air-to-air and air-to-ground operations. The RDAF is VSI’s first international customer for the NVCD-ANVIS technology.

VSI’s NVCD-ANVIS technology, which enables night-time target acquisition capabilities through the display of JHMCS targeting cues and aircraft performance parameters directly on the Night Vision Goggles image, allows the pilot to accurately cue onboard weapons and sensors against enemy aircraft and ground targets without the need to aggressively turn the aircraft or place the target in a Head-Up Display (HUD) field-of-view for designation. The use of the NVCD-ANVIS necessitates no changes to the JHMCS, or to the aircraft’s hardware or software.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Afghanistan withdrawal: another 700 thousand vehicles and containers to be repatriated via Toulon

According to Dominique Chabrol, my colleague from the AFP in Afghanistan, there are still Afghan territory "700 armored vehicles 1200 and a little less than 900 containers of 1000 to the beginning."

The withdrawal movements of this material continues, coordinated by the Centre multimodal transport (CMT). It concerns a "huge bric-a-brac dozens of containers, backhoe loader, 4x4 armored vehicles, engineering equipment, and even ... tons of waste, cables, hardware used, for be retired on the basis of Warehouse in the Afghan capital. "

Once refurbished, the equipment for return to France where he joined Abu Dhabi is loaded on ro-ro GSC (Compagnie maritime Nantes) whose vessels have already made several rotations.

Pakistan and China Pledge to Promote Ties

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf met here Tuesday with Chinese senior military officer Ma Xiaotian, and the two agreed to further advance bilateral pragmatic cooperation.

In his meeting with Ma, deputy chief of general staff of the People's Liberation Army, Ashraf said the "all-weather" friendship between Pakistan and China has withstood the vicissitudes of international situations.

The Pakistani government, people and army share broad consensus on developing friendly ties with China, he told Ma, who was in Islamabad for bilateral consultations on defense and security.

Pakistan firmly supports China's stand on defending national unity and territorial integrity, and greatly values the traditional friendship between the two countries, Ashraf added.

He pledged to strengthen friendly exchanges and pragmatic cooperation with China in all areas to promote the steady development of bilateral ties.

Induction Ceremony for Su-30 MKI Fighter at Indian Air Force Station Halwara

An Su-30 MKI aircraft was inducted into Western Air Command in a formal ceremony at Air Force Station Halwara on 25 Sep 12. Air Marshal Arup Raha AVSM VM AOC-in-C Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force (IIAF) was the chief guest for the induction ceremony. He was accompanied by Mrs Lily Raha President AFWWA (Regional).

While the first batch of Su-30 MKI was inducted into the IAF in Sep 2002, the 220 Squadron at Halwara known as ‘Desert Tigers’, which flew the MiG-23 aircraft till 2005 is now resurrected with the latest Su-30 MKI Squadron in Western Air Command. The SU-30 MKI is a frontline all-weather air-dominance fighter with multi-role capability, which can undertake varied air combat and ground attack missions. Air Force Station Halwara is one of the oldest frontline Airbases of the IAF. The base has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception as a forward airfield in 1942. Halwara, due to its strategic location was actively involved in both 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars. Halwara has been home to Spitfires in early 1950s to being the hub of Mig-23 operations till 2009. It was later chosen to base the first SU-30 MKI Squadron in the Western Air Command in 2011.

Homosexuals in the military demand special privileges

The American armed forces exist to defend our nation, not to conduct social science lab experiments in which our troops serve as human subjects. Try telling that to this administration.
The first anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Sept. 20, has come and gone. Now, there is mounting evidence that proves our warnings were not idle chatter. The threat to freedom posed by this radical sexual experiment on our military is real: It is grave and it is growing.
Activists inside and outside our government who pushed the repeal have deployed a smoke screen around the fact that once the military was forced to exalt homosexuality in the ranks, the all-too-foreseen consequence reared its ugly head.
Senior military officials have allowed personnel in favor of repeal to speak to media while those who have concerns have been ordered to be silent. Two airmen were publicly harassed in a Post Exchange food court as they were privately discussing their concerns about the impact of repeal. A chaplain was encouraged by military officials to resign his commission unless he could “get in line with the new policy,” demonstrating no tolerance for that chaplain’s religious viewpoint. Another chaplain was threatened with early retirement, and then reassigned to be more “closely supervised” because he had expressed concerns with the policy change, again demonstrating no tolerance for that chaplain’s religious viewpoint.

Israeli Female Soldiers Show Their Stuff In Recent Border Clash With Militants

Female Israeli Soldiers Are Proving Themselves In Combat

Last Friday, Caracel, the Israeli military's only mixed-gender combat battalion, won a shootout against forces on the border with Egypt. Israeli officals said three gunmen on the Egyptian side were killed, one by a female soldier, according to the Associated Press. Israel created Caracel in 2000, to integrate women into combat duty. Although it is a combat battalion, its main responsibility has been defeating drug smugglers at the borders with Jordan and Egypt. Until the ousting of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak last year, it was a pretty simple gig. So simple, in fact, it was claimed that the male soldiers in Caracal weren't strong enough to be in a regular, all-male combat unit.
In the States, military leaders are finally realizing what female soldiers can do. This July, the Christian Science Monitor reported that the U.S. military was going to open combat arms positions to female troops. Which on paper is a major step. But women have unofficially been in combat for years, whether they dressed as men to get to fight in the Civil War, or drove supply convoys down Iraqi roads littered with improvised explosive devices.
In the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, wars without typical front lines, Lt. col. Tammy Duckworth lost her legs when the Black Hawk she was piloting was shot down over the Sunni Triangle in 2004. Spc. Monica Lin Brown, a medic, was awarded a Silver Star for running through gunfire to get to her battle buddies while deployed to Afghanistan in 2007. She was attached to an infantry unit; they

Afghan transit: possible use of Russian aircraft (NATO)

Russian planes could be used in the transit of NATO cargo to Afghanistan, said Wednesday RIA Novosti the head of the Moscow office of the North Atlantic Alliance Robert Pshel.

"In my opinion, there is a strong possibility that the transfers are made ​​by Russian planes. However, this depends on the agreements appropriate commercial., but I want to reiterate that the chances are very strong, "the official said.

Russia reported in March its willingness to expand its participation in the transit cargo for the NATO


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