Monday, May 31, 2010

DTN News: Deaths As Israeli Forces Storm Gaza Aid Ship

Defense News: DTN News: Deaths As Israeli Forces Storm Gaza Aid Ship
Source: DTN News By Roger Smith complied from BBC News, AP + Press TV
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 31, 2010: More than 10 people have been killed after Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army says.
Armed forces boarded the largest vessel overnight, clashing with some of the 500 people on board.
It happened about 40 miles (64 km) out to sea, in international waters.
Israel says its soldiers were shot at and attacked with bars and knives; the activists say Israeli troops came on board shooting.
The European Union has called for an inquiry to establish what happened. 'Guns and knives'
The six-ship flotilla, carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid, left the coast of Cyprus on Sunday and had been due to arrive in Gaza on Monday.
Israel says its soldiers boarded the lead ship in the early hours but were attacked with knives, bars and gunfire.
We were not going to pose any violent resistanceAudrey Bomse Free Gaza Movement
"Unfortunately this group were dead-set on confrontation," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told the BBC.
"Live fire was used against our forces. They initiated the violence, that's 100% clear," he said.
Organisers of the flotilla said at least 30 people were wounded in the incident. Israel says 10 of its soldiers were injured, one seriously.
A leader of Israel's Islamic Movement, Raed Salah, who was on board, was among those hurt.
Audrey Bomse, a spokesperson for the Free Gaza Movement, which is behind the convoy, told the BBC Israel's actions were disproportionate.
"We were not going to pose any violent resistance. The only resistance that there might be would be passive resistance such as physically blocking the steering room, or blocking the engine room downstairs, so that they couldn't get taken over. But that was just symbolic resistance."
She said there was "absolutely no evidence of live fire".
Israel says it will tow the boats to the port of Ashdod and deport the passengers from there. It says it will deliver the ships' aid to Gaza. Condemnation
Turkish TV pictures taken on board the Turkish ship leading the flotilla appeared to show Israeli soldiers fighting to control passengers.

The footage showed a number of people, apparently injured, lying on the ground. A woman was seen holding a blood-stained stretcher.
Al-Jazeera TV reported from the same ship that Israeli navy forces had opened fire and boarded the vessel, wounding the captain.

The Al-Jazeera broadcast ended with a voice shouting in Hebrew, saying: "Everybody shut up!"
Israel's deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said his country "regrets any loss of life and did everything to avoid this outcome".
He accused the convoy of a "premeditated and outrageous provocation", describing the flotilla as an "armada of hate".
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Israel's actions, saying it had committed a massacre.
Most of the people on board the boats were Turkish.
Turkey said it "strongly condemn[ed] these inhumane practices of Israel", AFP news agency reported.
In Turkey, dozens of protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in the Istanbul, while Israeli ambassadors have been summoned to the Turkish, Greek and Spanish foreign ministries to explain what happened. Blockade
Israel had repeatedly said it would stop the boats, calling the campaign a "provocation intended to delegitimise Israel".
Israel and Egypt tightened a blockade of Gaza after the Islamist movement Hamas took power there in 2007.
Israel says it allows about 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid into Gaza every week.
But the United Nations says this is less than a quarter of what is needed.
The incident comes a day before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to meet US President Barack Obama in Washington after one of the most strained periods in US-Israeli relations in year.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:
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Sunday, May 30, 2010

DTN News: Australia's Role In Afghanistan

Defense News: DTN News: Australia's Role In Afghanistan
Source: DTN News / Military World
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 30, 2010: Australia has approximately 1,090 defence personnel working in Afghanistan, as part of Operation SLIPPER.
In April, 2009, the Australian Government announced an additional 450 troops would be sent to Afghanistan. When they arrive, Australia's contribution will be approximately 1,550.
Primarily, Operation SLIPPER contributes to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
There are also about 800 personnel deployed in other parts of the Middle East, providing support for Operation SLIPPER.
**(Uruzgan Province) Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force 1 - About 440 Australian personnel. MRTF1 is engaged in construction works in Uruzgan Province and is also helping to train the Afghan National Army. It is mainly comprised of engineers and mechanised infantry and cavalry.
**(Uruzgan Province) Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) - Up to 330 Australian personnel. The SOTG provides security and protection to members of Mentoring and Reconstruction Force 1. It consists of commandos, members of the Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) and support personnel.
**(Kandahar) Air Force Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) - Up to 75 Australian personnel. The CRC is based at Kandahar Airfield and controls southern Afghan operational airspace.
**(Kandahar) Force Level Logistic Asset - About 60 Australian personnel. This unit provides logistical support to ADF operations throughout Afghanistan, from a national logistics asset in Kandahar.
**(Across Afghanistan) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Detachment. 30 Australian personnel. This unit operates the SCANEAGLE UAV, a remote-controlled aircraft used for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering.
**(Kandahar) Rotary Wing Group (RWG)- About 65 Australian personnel. The RWG operates two CH47D medium lift helicopters for Kandahar Airfield. The helicopters provide combat support, quick response force and medical evacuation missions.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:

DTN News: U.S. Releases Uruzgan Investigation Findings ~ Afghanistan

Defense News: DTN News: U.S. Releases Uruzgan Investigation Findings ~ Afghanistan
Source: DTN News / Military World
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 30, 2010: US Forces-Afghanistan released its findings today from the investigation into the Feb. 21 civilian casualty incident that killed up to 23 Afghans and injured 12 others in Uruzgan Province.
The extensive investigation report submitted to Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Commander NATO ISAF/U.S. Forces-Afghanistan cites several shortcomings in training, communication and decision-making, and offered numerous recommendations.
Gen. McChrystal has directed that certain actions be pursued immediately. "Our most important mission here is to protect the Afghan people; inadvertently killing or injuring civilians is heartbreaking and undermines their trust and confidence in our mission. We will do all we can to regain that trust," he said.
The investigation, led by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Timothy McHale, Deputy Commander for Support, U.S. Forces Afghanistan, reviewed the actions of a U.S. Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) unit and its higher headquarters, coalition aircraft, and support provided by U.S. Air Force Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) personnel. The report concluded that three vehicles carrying more than 30 civilians were mistaken for an insurgent convoy and engaged by coalition aircraft. The ODA ground force commander believed the vehicles contained a group of insurgents attempting to execute a flanking maneuver to reinforce insurgents in his area.
Gen. McChrystal, who offered a personal apology to the Afghan people and met with President Hamid Karzai immediately following the Feb. 21 incident, briefed President Karzai on the findings of the investigation earlier this week.
"This was a deeply regrettable incident and I share the sadness felt by the people of Afghanistan over this loss of innocent life," said President Karzai. "General McChrystal pledged to me that the most exhaustive investigation would be conducted to determine what happened and why, and I believe this has been done. I am also confident that appropriate actions are being taken with regard to those involved in the incident, and most importantly, to ensure measures are taken to prevent such accidents from happening again."
Investigation recommendations approved by Gen. McChrystal entail actions to be taken in pre-deployment training, as well as the conduct of operations in Afghanistan.
* U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), which is responsible for pre-deployment training at individuals' and units' home stations, will review and implement several changes in training. These include a rigorous series of challenging Counterinsurgency (COIN) training scenarios, use of case studies and vignettes to better educate and train for leading COIN operations, and standardization of terminology for use in the highly-stressed operational environment, which will be reinforced in pre-deployment training.
* ISAF Joint Command (IJC) and the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan J7 Training Directorate will develop a Mobile Training Team to evaluate and train unit command posts in the field on COIN operations, and develop an ongoing program to better educate and train for leading COIN operations. This will include intensive training on the process of identifying and engaging combatants in accordance with Rules of Engagement and Tactical Directives that govern operational conduct. * All units identified in the report are also directed to incorporate or retrain on the appropriate procedures for Civilian Casualty reporting.
"As partners with the Afghan people in our mission, we must always be honest with ourselves about what we do well and what we can do better," said Gen. McChrystal. "When we make a mistake, we must be forthright and we must do everything in our power to correct that mistake. I know our actions following this thorough investigation will help us to prevent mishaps that result in harm to the people we are sworn to protect."
The recommendations of the investigation report are responsive to findings of deficiencies that contributed to the accident. These included:
Although the ground force commander displayed tactical patience in letting the situation develop for several hours before the engagement, the UAV crew provided inaccurate reporting and in-country command posts failed to properly analyze the situation.
The ground force commander lacked a clear understanding of who was in the vehicles, the location, direction of travel and likely course of action of those vehicles.
Poorly functioning higher headquarters command posts failed to provide the ground force commander with the evidence and analysis that the vehicles were not a hostile threat.
Information that the convoy was anything other than an attacking force was ignored or downplayed by UAV personnel.
Following a review of Maj. Gen. McHale's investigation, Gen. McChrystal issued General Officer Memoranda of Reprimand (GOMOR) to four officers, including senior leaders at the Battalion and Brigade level. The GOMORs, while administrative in nature, may be placed in the official record of each of these officers once they have had a chance to respond. Gen. McChrystal also issued Memoranda of Admonishment to two junior officers involved, which will remain in their local file.
Also included among recommendations adopted by Gen. McChrystal is a request to Headquarters, U.S. Air Force to develop command level guidance on tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) regarding employment of Remote Pilot Vehicles. He also requested an Air Force investigation of the assessments made and actions taken by the specific UAV crew involved.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:

DTN News: Our Soldiers Have Shed Enough Blood: It Is Time To Come Home From Helmand

Defense News: DTN News: Our Soldiers Have Shed Enough Blood: It Is Time To Come Home From Helmand
*The strategy of sending patrols out to be shot at by the Taliban is needlessly costing the lives of British troops
Source: Denis MacShane MP The Observer, Sunday 30 May 2010
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - May 30, 2010: It is time to stop the blood sacrifice of our young soldiers in Afghanistan. In June 2003, Tony Blair initiated the grim ritual of reading out the names of the fallen at the start of each prime minister's questions. David Cameron's first words as PM at the Dispatch Box after the Queen's Speech were an incantation to the new victims of a war that is as unwinnable as it is unwanted by the people of both Britain and Afghanistan.
In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev described Afghanistan as a "bleeding wound". Last week, US general Stanley McChrystal called it a "bleeding ulcer". Britain has no general, no "master of strategy" as the inscription on Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke's statue outside the Ministry of Defence puts it, with the 21st-century vision to stop the blood-letting as officers and men are sent as IED fodder. War is too important to be left to generals. Unfortunately ministers past and present have flinched from thinking strategically. If the object is to stop Afghanistan from again becoming a base for al-Qaida to launch attacks, there are alternatives to sending out men on foot patrols to be blown up by hidden bombs or shot by snipers who fade back into the hills.
The new defence secretary is now known as "13th-Century Fox" after his colonial, quasi-racist rant about Afghanistan as a 13th-century nation. President Karzai is an obsessive reader of British and American papers. Liam Fox's patronising contempt has done serious damage to Britain's influence in Kabul. Instead of apologising gracefully, Fox blustered and tried to explain away his gaffe. But he did hint at a truth when he suggested that Britain should look to reducing its military profile in Afghanistan. Unfortunately this outbreak of wisdom was slapped down by the foreign secretary, William Hague.
In Canada, the Conservative government has confirmed its troops will leave next year. There is new thinking in the Netherlands, one of Britain's key Nato allies, where the government collapsed over Afghanistan. Nato has new duties to guard its Baltic flanks and ensure that the melting Arctic becomes a sea of trade and peace. It no longer needs to define its existence by occupying Afghanistan.
There is fresh thinking among Tory MPs. In the Commons last week, Patrick Mercer MP, a former commanding officer of an infantry regiment, made the point that Britain's terrorists were bred and trained in Yorkshire, not Afghanistan. Another Tory MP, the former shadow defence minister Julian Lewis, said Britain should create sovereign strategic bases in Afghanistan to support the government and ensure al-Qaida does not return, but stop the pointless patrols that are target practice for the Taliban.
Every six months, a new commander is sent from London to head the fighting soldiers in Afghanistan. These brigadiers rotate, so that, instead of fighting one six-year war, we have fought 12 six-month wars, so that future red tabs can punch their tickets. The can-do, will-do power-point style of the British army impresses politicians, and every visiting minister and journalist is in awe of these tough, sun-burnt, dedicated professionals. It is hard to say that they and their generals are wrong, but the time has come to put parliament and elected ministers in charge. The pro-war tabloids say they are backing our boys. They are not: they are backing the generals. Officers and men ready to criticise the campaign have no voice.
Diplomats and development aid should be redirected to Pakistan and India, as well as to China and Iran, to remove the widespread feeling among Muslim communities that this is Kipling's west again seeking to control the lives of people whose customs and needs they do not understand. The burning issue of Kashmir, where 70,000 Muslims have been killed since the Indian army took over full control of the disputed region 20 years ago, needs to be put on the international agenda. The White House is clearly looking for an exit strategy. Britain also needs to begin PMQs without a roll-call of the dead and maimed. We have done our duty. It is time to come home.
*Denis MacShane is Labour MP for Rotherham and a former FCO minister
Disclaimer statement
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY May 30, 2010 ~ Prospect Of Peace Talks Heightens Rifts Among Taliban Ranks

Defense News: DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY May 30, 2010 ~ Prospect Of Peace Talks Heightens Rifts Among Taliban Ranks
Source: By Sherin Jabarkhil For 2010-05-19
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - May 30, 2010: Some officials in the Afghan capital are saying that offers of jobs, security, financial incentives and exile have heightened existing tensions in the Afghan Taliban’s ranks.
The peace and reconciliation plan will offer those incentives to militants willing to denounce violence and accept the Afghan constitution, said an official who has been part of the National Advisory Peace Jirga, scheduled for the end of this month.
"Many insurgent commanders and foot soldiers are tired of insurgency and are waiting to join the government. The Hamid Karzai government already has gained the consent of the international forces in this regard", the official told Central Asia Online.
Tempting offers from the government are magnifying tensions among upper- and lower-level Taliban leaders, the official added.
Even the supreme Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, favours a peace deal, said a senior member of the Afghan National Council. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the council member told Central Asia Online that Mullah Omar was facing problems in his leadership and a lack of resources, making him willing to strike a deal.
Mullah Omar has been quoted several times as saying he is willing to talk with the Afghan government only after international forces leave the country. Other Taliban members reportedly are willing to negotiate before coalition forces leave, which may be one source of tension among Taliban factions.
Mullah Omar and his erstwhile military right-hand man, Mullah Baradar, might have differed on reconciliation. The Pakistani arrest of Mullah Baradar in February made the point moot, but some counterinsurgency analysts theorised that Mullah Omar wanted a role for Pakistan in any reconciliation with Afghanistan. On the other hand, analysts said, Mullah Baradar had reached out to the UN and the Afghan government, bypassing Pakistan.
After police arrested Mullah Baradar, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, who served as civil aviation minister during Taliban regime, expected to be named Mullah Omar’s deputy. But a formal decree from the Quetta Shura promoted Mullah Qayum Zakir to that post and that of Taliban defence minister.
The promotion of Zakir did not sit well with Mullah Mansoor, according to sources close to the Taliban. Pakistani intelligence reportedly arrested Mansoor but released him after he accepted Zakir’s authority.
However, tensions in the south still exist between the two mullahs, observers on the scene have said. They often compete for power by increasing forces from their own tribes, a tribal elder in Helmand said.
Many counterinsurgency analysts say those two commanders are among the diehard Taliban leaders unlikely to give up, since they have ties to al-Qaeda. They also are closely allied to the Haqqani and Hafiz Gul Bahadur networks in North Waziristan, but are despised by some other groups within the Taliban and by some of the non-Taliban insurgent groups, such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami.
The tension has not yet sparked intra-Taliban fighting, informed sources told Central Asia Online. But the sources reported combat between Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami fighters in many places, the most important of which was a battle in northern Baghlan province in March that took about 100 lives from both sides.
Battles within the Taliban for control of a zone or province are a serious matter, counterinsurgency experts say, because control of a province enables the victor to profit from the drug trade, kidnappings and donations from terrorist networks in foreign countries.
Whatever the reason for the rifts between militants, they serve the reconciliation plan, the anonymous official in Kabul said, because they spur more insurgents to contact the government about laying down their arms.
Disclaimer statement
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.

DTN News: Russia To Test New Model Of Kalashnikov Assault Rifle In 2011

Defense News: DTN News: Russia To Test New Model Of Kalashnikov Assault Rifle In 2011
Source: DTN News / Ria Novosti
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - May 30, 2010: State tests of the new model of Kalashnikov automatic rifles will be held in Russia next year, Izhmash Director General Vladimir Grodetsky said on Tuesday.
The new model of the legendary assault rifle, the AK-200, is based on the AK-74M and differs in weight (3.8 kilograms/8.4 lbs vs. 3.3 kilograms/7.3 lbs) and the magazine capacity (30, 50, 60 rounds vs. 30).
The AK-74, a developed version of the Kalashnikov rifle's first model, the AK-47, was introduced in 1974 and used by the Soviet forces during the Afghanistan conflict.
The AK-47 was originally created by Mikhail Kalashnikov, who as a WWII soldier was inspired to design the weapon after being wounded in 1941. While his first attempts were unsuccessful, he was given a position in weapons development, and by 1947 he had perfected his masterpiece.
Since then, the AK-47 has become the most widespread and famous assault rifle. Used by some 50 armies around the world, as well as countless urban guerrilla movements, it is also featured on the flag of Mozambique.
Kalashnikov received Russia's highest honorary title on his 90th birthday last November. Accepting the award, Kalashnikov voiced regret that his creation, the world's most widely used rifle, has been often misused.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev described the AK-47 at the ceremony as "an excellent model of Russian weaponry" and "a national brand that makes each citizen proud."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

US considers options for strike in Pakistan: report

Defense News: US military planners are looking at options for a unilateral strike in Pakistan, for use if a successful attack on US soil is traced to Pakistani tribal areas, The Washington Post reported late Friday.

US retaliation would be contemplated only under extreme circumstances, unnamed senior military officials said.

These circumstances might include a catastrophic attack that convinced President Barack Obama that the ongoing campaign of CIA drone strikes was insufficient.

"Planning has been reinvigorated in the wake of Times Square," one official told the newspaper.

The report comes in the wake of the failed May 1 attack on New York's crowded Times Square, which is in the city's busy theatre district.

Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistani-born naturalised US citizen, was arrested apparently trying to flee the country on a flight to Dubai 53 hours after street vendors alerted police to smoke coming out of a vehicle there.

The van was found to contain a bomb consisting of timers, wires, fireworks, gasoline, propane tanks and fertilizer.

Shahzad is due for a federal court hearing in New York on June 1.

US officials say Shahzad is connected to Pakistani Taliban insurgents and Obama has sent two senior national security aides to Islamabad to join the investigation into the May 1 car bombing attempt.

According to The Post, the US administration is trying to deepen ties to Pakistan's intelligence officials in a bid to head off any attack by militant groups.

The two countries recently established a joint military intelligence center on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar, and were in talks to set up another one near Quetta, the paper said.

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded FAA SE2020 Systems Engineering Contract to Support NextGen Modernization

Defense News: DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded FAA SE2020 Systems Engineering Contract to Support NextGen Modernization
Source: DTN News / General Dynamics
(NSI News Source Info) FAIRFAX, Va. - May 29, 2010: General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) has been selected as one of three large-business contractors for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) System Engineering 2020 Research and Development/Mission Analysis Support program. The ten-year contract awarded to General Dynamics has a maximum potential value of $1.2 billion if all options are exercised. Funding will be awarded through individual task orders.
Through this program, General Dynamics will support the FAA’s NextGen modernization program to improve safety and bring greater efficiencies to the U.S. airspace system by providing research and development and systems engineering services. The work will focus on achieving or improving a series of operational capabilities, including trajectory-based operations; increased arrivals and departures at high-density airports; increased flexibility in the terminal environment; improved collaborative air-traffic management; advanced flight-deck technologies; reduced weather impact; improved safety, security and environmental performance; and facility transformations.
Marcus Collier, senior vice president of General Dynamics Information Technology, said, “The General Dynamics team – which includes Gulfstream Aerospace and Jet Aviation, who are among the aerospace industry’s leading aircraft manufacturing and business-aviation service support organizations – is uniquely qualified to deliver innovative and timely solutions to help the FAA quickly achieve NextGen objectives to modernize and upgrade IT infrastructure, systems and equipment for 21st century requirements.”
The General Dynamics team will perform mission-analysis support in such areas as air traffic management automation, airplane design and analysis, avionic systems operations and maintenance, cost-benefit analysis, National Airspace System (NAS) security, large-scale demonstrations and NAS air-traffic facility certification. The company will provide systems integration, development and operations expertise, modeling and simulation, and ground and air-based information and communications systems upgrades.
The FAA’s Air Traffic Control and Next Generation (NextGen) modernization program will require major updates and modernization for aircraft, air traffic control facilities and airport technologies to improve the safety, capacity and efficiency of the country’s airspace.
The General Dynamics team includes General Dynamics Information Technology, General Dynamics C4 Systems, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, and Jet Aviation. In addition, General Dynamics has assembled a strong team of 24 other companies that represent the most skilled experts in air traffic control, aviation and information technology.
General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately 91,200 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies. More information about the company is available on the Internet at

DTN News: The Guards, An Elite Combatant With Smashing Stalwart Bush Basher - The Light Strike Vehicle LSV From Singapore Armed Forces

Defense News: DTN News: The Guards, An Elite Combatant With Smashing Stalwart Bush Basher - The Light Strike Vehicle LSV From Singapore Armed Forces
Source: DTN News By Roger Smith
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 30, 2010: In the Singapore Armed Forces, the Guards are an elite infantry formation specializing in rapid deployment. Guards are known as elite heliborne troopers. They are well trained in heliborne operations and specialist combat skills that give them an added combat edge. They are proficient in heli-rappelling, heli-landing, and other specialised skills that allow them to carry out heliborne operations in various terrain, day and night. They are specially trained thus earning them the respect and status in the Singapore Armed Forces. The formation traces its roots back to the 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade and has been actively involved in several National and Army Day events since the establishment of the modern Guards unit.
As an elite formation, the brigade is called to fight in certain areas, such as urban locations with FIBUA (Fighting in Built Up Areas) and FOFO (Fighting On Fortified Objectives) tactics. Trained in amphibious warfare, Guards units may also be tasked to seize important objectives such as airfields, beach heads, depots as well as enemy strongholds, thereby establishing a foothold for the rest of the army.
In the continually evolving 3rd Generation SAF, the spectrum of Operations that the Guards formation are involved in has been extended to include non-war related operations (OOTW - Operations Other Than War) such as HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response) Operations as well as PSOs (Peace Support Operations). As evident in the recent disasters such as the Asian Tsunami Disaster of 2004, the Guards formation has been at the forefront of providing a quick response platform to humanitarian operations. This is entrenched and complementary to the Guards Formation's role as a quick reactionary force. However it must be noted that the Guards Formation's role is integral and complimentary to the role of the other formations in such peace-time theatres of operations.
The Guards formation is also called upon to react to counter-terrorism operations such as the recent Mas Salamat escape in which the active Guards Battalion was activated to cordon and assist in the search for the fugitive suspect.
The Guards utilize all small arms known to be in use with the Singaporean army, such as the SAR-21 assault rifle family, the Ultimax 100 Mark 3 LMG, FN MAG, M203, and the Matador anti-tank rocket launcher.
Apart from the helicopters, the Guards also utilize The Light Strike Vehicle (LSV), a lightweight vehicle that is extremely mobile and agile procured by the Army to replace the jeeps which formerly carried their 106 mm recoilless guns. Manufactured in Australia based on an American design, the vehicle is able to access difficult terrain, and provide greater mobility and added firepower to the Guardsmen and Infantry soldiers. Weighing 1,500 kg, the LSV can be rapidly deployed by slinging it underneath a helicopter and inserting it into enemy territory.

The LSV, which functions with an automatic gear, can go to more places than normal wheeled vehicles; for example, cross-country, going into closed terrain, capable of pushing down small brush and trees. Even in muddy areas the LSV is able to negotiate the conditions better than other vehicles like Jeeps and Land Rovers.
In 2008, the Guards formation began to utilize the PLUV (Protected Light Utility Vehicle) which is an armoured version of the Ford Everest, the Ford Everest is also a replacement vehicle for the aging Land Rovers.
The LSV actually allows for different weapon configurations. It can be mounted with other weapon systems such as the 40 mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) or the advanced Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM). The latest addition to the LSV armament is the Israeli SPIKE ATGM, giving the Guards the capability to destroy tanks at a 4 km range. Fitting the LSV with an Infra-Red adaptor gives it night vision capabilities as well.
The LSV, which can move at a maximum speed of 110 km/h, significantly enhances the mobility of the foot soldiers. The soldiers can now bring heavier and better firepower systems into operations. With the help of the Light Strike Vehicle, the Guardsmen are able to move faster than ever before, and with more potent firepower.

Friday, May 28, 2010

DTN News: Navistar Defense Receives $61 Million To Support Allied MRAP Needs Vehicles To Operate in Afghanistan

Defense News: DTN News: Navistar Defense Receives $61 Million To Support Allied MRAP Needs Vehicles To Operate in Afghanistan
Source: DTN News / Navistar Defense, dated May 26, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) WARRENVILLE, Ill. - May 28, 2010: Navistar Defense, LLC May 26, completed two foreign military sales worth a total of $61 million for 80 enhanced International® MaxxPro® Dash Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles with DXM™ independent suspension.
The awards from the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command include parts and service support. Vehicles will support coalition forces.
“U.S. and coalition forces share a common mission in Afghanistan and we are proud to provide vehicles to support that joint objective,” said Archie Massicotte, president, Navistar Defense. “We continue to focus on the quick delivery of MaxxPro vehicles to help our U.S. and allied forces complete their missions safely.”
The enhanced MaxxPro Dash with DXM suspension offers vehicle operators a turning radius of 54 inches, approximately 14.5 inches of wheel travel as well as a number of enhanced capabilities. Upgrades have been made to the windows and doors, which continue to utilize an air-hydraulic system to ensure doors function in the most extreme situations.
The company is currently delivering new Dash units with DXM suspension to U.S. Forces and will begin deliveries to several allies at the end of June. Navistar is the leading provider of Category I MRAPs with 7,589 MaxxPro units on contract.
Navistar International Corporation (NYSE: NAV) is a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates produce International® brand commercial and military trucks, MaxxForce® brand diesel engines, IC Bus™ brand school and commercial buses, Monaco® RV brands of recreational vehicles, and Workhorse® brand chassis for motor homes and step vans. It also is a private-label designer and manufacturer of diesel engines for the pickup truck, van and SUV markets. The company also provides truck and diesel engine service parts. Another affiliate offers financing services. Additional information is available at
This opportunity was considered in the updated 2010 guidance given in the April 8, 2010 analyst presentation.
Media Contact: Elissa Koc, 630-753-2669
Investor contact: Heather Kos, 630-753-2406

DTN News: US House Votes Pro-Boeing In Tanker Contest

Defense News: DTN News: US House Votes Pro-Boeing In Tanker Contest
* Bill would force Pentagon to weigh illegal subsidies
* Marks Boeing victory in race with EADS for tanker deal
* Measure is adopted by lopsided 410 to 8 vote
Source: DTN News / Reuters By Jim Wolf
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, - May 28, 2010: The U.S. House of Representatives approved a Boeing Co (BA.N)-backed bill that would force consideration of illegal subsidies in the multibillion-dollar race between Boeing and Europe's EADS (EAD.PA) to sell refueling aircraft to the U.S. Air Force.
The lopsided 410 to 8 vote marked a victory for Chicago-based Boeing in its drive for a deal to build an initial 179 tanker aircraft potentially worth up to $50 billion.
Companion legislation must be passed by the Senate before it can be signed into law or vetoed by President Barack Obama.
Boeing and EADS, the corporate parent of Boeing's commercial archrival, Airbus, are locked in an increasingly bitter race over the U.S. Air Force deal.
Boeing earlier this week accused EADS of courting Iran and other countries at odds with the United States and said this should be taken into account in the tanker competition, too.
The measure passed by the House would require the Defense Department to consider any "unfair competitive advantage that an offeror may possess" in evaluating bids on major weapons systems.
The term "unfair competitive advantage" means a situation in which the cost of development, production, or manufacturing is not fully borne by the offeror for the contract, the amendment to a defense spending bill said.
A World Trade Organization (WTO) panel, in a final ruling in March, faulted billions of dollars of European subsidies to Airbus, including, according to U.S. lawmakers briefed on the matter, almost $5 billion used to develop the A330, EADS' tanker frame. [ID:LDE62M2OE]
A WTO panel is expected to make an interim ruling by the end of next month on a European Union counter-complaint that Boeing has unfairly benefited from U.S. federal, state and local subsidies.
It was not immediately clear how the legislation adopted late Thursday would apply to any WTO finding that Boeing also unfairly gained from subsidies. But any such final ruling may not come soon enough to figure in the tanker saga, which has dragged on for nearly nine years.
Bids are due July 9 and the Pentagon has told the bidders to be ready to start work by Nov. 12 if chosen for the deal.
This round of competition is the third time the Air Force has sought to start replacing its KC-135 tankers, which average about 50 years old.
The first, in 2004, would have been a lease-buy deal with Boeing, but it collapsed after two Boeing officials were convicted of conflict-of-interest violations, one of them the Air Force's former No. 2 arms buyer.
A team of EADS and Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) won a 179-plane deal in 2008, but Boeing successfully protested the award, leading to the current round.
Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington, one of the measure's sponsors, said Republicans and Democrats could be united in a "simple proposition" as lawmakers considered the measure.
"We will never allow foreign competitors to steal American jobs by using illegal subsidies, then reward them by allowing the use of those illegal subsidies to win a contract worth tens of billions of dollars," said Inslee, whose state is home to the Boeing production line for the 767 wide body that would be converted into a tanker.
The Defense Department has maintained that it is barred from unilateral retaliatory action for violations of international trade rules.
"That is the purview of the WTO," Geoff Morrell, Defense Secretary Robert Gates chief spokesman, said May 13. "If we were to do so, we would then be in violation of WTO rules and subject to disciplinary action."
Boeing cheered the vote, saying it was entirely appropriate for lawmakers to take steps to prevent the U.S. defense industrial base "from suffering the same fate as the commercial aircraft industry, where illegal subsidies have contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of U.S. aerospace jobs."
"We fully support the efforts of all members of Congress who share our concern about the unfair competitive advantage that EADS/Airbus, a foreign company, gained from decades of illegal launch aid subsidies worth billions of dollars," a Boeing statement said.
EADS North American arm, which would be the prime contractor for its Airbus-based tanker, said it believed the Defense Department should be allowed to run "the fair and open competition to which it is committed."
"We leave it to the Department to comment on the extent to which this or any legislation impacts that objective," James Darcy, a company spokesman, said by email.
The Defense Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Defense Authorization bill, as approved by the House, also included a provision that would bar Pentagon fuel purchases from companies that have been sanctioned for doing business with Iran's energy industry.
(Reporting by Jim Wolf; Editing by Valerie Lee and Lincoln Feast)

DTN News: US House Defies Veto Threat, Funds 2nd F-35 Engine

Defense News: DTN News: US House Defies Veto Threat, Funds 2nd F-35 Engine
* US House votes to add $485 million next year
* Victory for General Electric, Rolls-Royce
* Senate panel adds no funds
* Presidential veto if necessary to prevent funding
Source: DTN News / Reuters By Jim Wolf
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, - May 28, 2010: The U.S. House of Representatives, defying the Pentagon for a fourth straight year and a presidential veto threat, voted to preserve a second engine program for the multinational F-35 fighter jet.
The House vote on Thursday contrasted with the Senate Armed Services Committee, which added no funds for the alternate, interchangeable engine in line with Pentagon wishes.
The House would provide $485 million next year to continue work on the engine being built by a joint venture of General Electric Co (GE.N) and Rolls-Royce Group Plc (RR.L).
Without competition, United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) would have a decades-long monopoly on the projected $100 billion engine market for the more than 3,000 F-35s due to be bought by the United States and partner countries.
The issue was among the most contentious in the House's version of a defense spending bill authorizing $567 billion for core Defense Department and Energy Department national security programs in fiscal 2011, which starts Oct. 1.
Just hours earlier, the Senate Armed Services Committee went the other way, adding no funds for the second engine in its version of the 2011 Defense authorization bill.
Senator Joseph Lieberman, in a statement on the Senate committee's bill adopted on Thursday, said the decision not to fund the alternate engine was a victory for U.S. taxpayers. Sen. Carl Levin, the panel chairman and a second engine backer, is to hold a press conference on Friday to discuss the bill.
Levin is on record as saying that he would not fight to preserve the second engine in committee, but would support it when a House-Senate conference meets to merge the companion bills.
"I want to do whatever I can to advance it," Levin told Defense Daily, a trade publication, this week. "It may be better to leave it to conference if the House is going to (pass) it."
The Defense Department, in response to the House vote, said this was but a step in the process and Defense Secretary Robert Gates would recommend a presidential veto if necessary to prevent funding the second engine.
Earlier in the day, the White House budget office said President Barack Obama's senior advisors would recommend a presidential veto of any bill that funded what it called the "extra" engine.
General Electric, in a statement, said the vote was a win for competition and a win for U.S. taxpayers.
The competitive engine will save $20 billion over the 30-year span of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, it said, citing the non-partisan Government Accountability Office.
Pratt & Whitney, the United Technologies unit whose engine is powering the early F-35 production models, said it was pleased with the action in the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"We recognize that the legislative process has just begun, and that the issue will continue to be debated for many months," said Erin Dick, a company spokeswoman.
The House Armed Services Committee, in its recommendation to the full House, cited a "significant" national-security risk in case of a single engine for the F-35, which is to make up 95 percent of the U.S. tactical fighter fleet.
"The Committee believes it is unwarranted to risk grounding our entire fleet and incurring billions of dollars in unnecessary costs by cutting the second engine, particularly when there may be no additional cost over the life of the program," it said last week.
(Reporting by Jim Wolf; Editing by Michael Perry)

DTN News: U.S. Plans For Middle East Missile Shield Take Shape

Defense News: DTN News: U.S. Plans For Middle East Missile Shield Take Shape
* Middle East approach mirrors Obama's plan for Europe
* Two powerful radars in arc would coordinate defenses
Source: DTN News / Reuters By Adam Entous and Jim Wolf
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, - May 28, 2010: The Obama administration is working toward a Middle East missile defense that envisions adding an advanced radar site in a Gulf state to one already in Israel to thwart anyIranian attack, U.S. officials said.
The Obama administration has been quietly helping Arab states boost their missile defenses with the goal of tying them into one system. The process could take two or three more years, officials said.
The emerging Middle East plan resembles the "phased adaptive approach" President Barack Obama rolled out with much fanfare last September to integrate sea- and land-based missile defenses in and around U.S. NATO allies in Europe.
The Middle East buildup has been played down because of Arab sensitivities about U.S. military involvement and skittishness about any military cooperation with Israel, where the United States based a high-powered X-Band radar in 2008 to bolster Israel's missile defenses.
U.S. military strategists believe a second high-powered AN/TPY-2 transportable radar in a Gulf state would boost the capabilities of the proposed regional missile umbrella. A candidate country to host it has not yet stepped forward.
U.S. officials want the new radar in the Gulf to be positioned in a location that would allow it to work with the AN/TPY-2 radar in southern Israel, which is operated by U.S. personnel. Built by Raytheon Co (RTN.N), the system locks on to targets in their boost, midcourse and terminal phases.
"The idea (of a regional security umbrella) has been out there for a while but the specific pieces are now starting to fall into place," a military official said.
A diplomat from the region called the approach "plug and play" -- first the building blocks of the system are put in place, then they are linked together and turned on.
The only other deployed AN/TPY-2 system was set up in 2006 in Shariki, Japan, as a hedge against missiles that could be fired by North Korea.
The missile defense buildup in Gulf states began under former President George W. Bush. It has accelerated under Obama, who is pushing for a new round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons program. Iran says its program is to generate electricity.
Officials said linking two X-Band radar sites in the Middle East with Patriot and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, anti-missile systems was more a political hurdle than a technical one. At issue, among other things, is cooperation among Arab states that have a long history of mistrust.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton first proposed that Washington bring Middle Eastern nations under what she called a security "umbrella" to neutralize any Iranian missile launches. Some U.S. critics assailed her statement as an implicit admission that a nuclear-armed Iran was inevitable.
Kenneth Katzman, an expert on regional security issues, said Gulf states had boosted their ability to operate jointly with the Pentagon on increasingly advanced systems.
"This has improved the prospects for implementing a long-standing vision of a potential region-wide missile defense system," said Katzman of the Congressional Research Service.
The deployments include expanded land-based Patriot defensive missile installations in Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, but the numbers are expected to grow, officials said.
Officials said the AN/TPY-2 system worked best when the installations were arrayed along an arc around the perceived threat area. It is unclear which Gulf state might agree to host a second regional X-Band radar, although three or four are viewed as potential candidates.
The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress in September 2008 of a proposed sale of THAAD units worth up to $7 billion to the United Arab Emirates. The AN/TPY-2 may be configured as part of the THAAD system.
The House of Representatives' Armed Services Committee approved last week $65 million as a kind of down-payment on more AN/TPY-2 radars. The provision was added to its version of a 2011 defense bill being debated by the full House.
Since the X-Band radar site at Israel's Nevatim air base in the Negev desert is said to be staffed by U.S. forces, rather than Israelis, U.S. officials say a link-up may be acceptable to Arabs who might otherwise balk at cooperating with the Jewish state against Iran's Islamic authorities.
The two main radar arrays would mesh other sensors and weapons systems like the Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile. That would let each country detectIranian missiles at the same time and then choose which systems to go after them, officials said.
The shared early warning system could be integrated with U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile defense system in offshore waters.
Iran's advances in missile technology and defiance of the United Nations have helped persuade Arab states to work more closely together on missile defenses, officials said.
U.S. officials also pointed to signs the perceived Iranian threat has at least in private helped open doors to Israeli-Arab cooperation unimaginable even a few years ago.
Israel is already on track to mesh more closely into the U.S. antimissile bulwark, military officials say.
Obama's approach is seen as good news for Raytheon, the world's biggest missile maker, and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), the Pentagon's No. 1 supplier. They build much of the hardware on which the new systems rely.
(Editing by Patricia Wilson and Peter Cooney)

DTN News: Germany Suspends Purchase Of EADS Military Helicopters Over Wiring Faults

Defense News: DTN News: Germany Suspends Purchase Of EADS Military Helicopters Over Wiring Faults
*Germany has suspended the purchase of €3bn (£2.6bn) worth of EADs military helicopters – which are already five years late – because of wiring faults.
Source: DTN News / Telegraph By Amy Wilson
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - May 28, 2010: The country ordered 80 Tiger attack helicopters from Eurocopter, a division of EADS, in 1998. Some 67 of those were due to be delivered last year, but so far only 11 have arrived, according to a report by the German ministry of defence. Those which have been delivered have extensive wiring problems and are kitted out to an earlier specification than that ordered by the German government.
France ordered 80 Tigers at the same time, in a different model, and has already deployed its version of the helicopter in Afghanistan.
The helicopter has "serious defects particularly with its wiring," the defence ministry said, and as a result the first aircraft will not be deployed with Germany's armed forces until November 2011. Eurocopter is the biggest manufacturer of helicopters in the world.
"Corrective measures related to wiring problems have been developed, agreed by the customer and are being implemented," a spokesman for Eurocopter said.
The company said it will hand over two helicopters which have been through this process to be tested by the German army in the next two months. Further helicopter deliveries are expected by the end of the year.
EADS, which is also the parent company of Airbus, has suffered long delays and cost over-runs on its A400M military transport plane because of problems with its engines. The NH-90 helicopter was also delayed.

DTN News: UN Rift Widens Over Brazil-Turkey Deal With Iran

Defense News: DTN News: UN Rift Widens Over Brazil-Turkey Deal With Iran
Source: DTN News / By Aldo Gamboa (AFP)
(NSI News Source Info) BRASILIA, Brazil - May 28, 2010: A bitter rift between the world's top powers led by the United States and emerging nations Brazil and Turkey widened Thursday as differences over how to tackle Iran's suspect nuclear program erupted into sharp exchanges.
Turkey accused critics of a deal brokered with Iran last week for a nuclear fuel swap of being "envious" of the "diplomatic success" it represented -- in an implicit swipe at the United States.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged "very serious disagreements" with Brazil over its insistence that the deal it helped to draw up be considered before a US push for new UN sanctions against Iran is decided.
The row threatens to split the UN Security Council, on which the United States sits as a permanent, veto-wielding member alongside temporary members Brazil and Turkey.
It also highlighted the growing assertiveness of Brazil, Latin America's biggest economy, and NATO member Turkey in carving out their own diplomatic tracks independently of the United States.
The United States accuses Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons under the cover of its atomic energy program, something Tehran denies.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking in a joint media conference in Brasilia with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, slammed detractors of the May 17 deal they worked out with Tehran.
"The countries criticizing this accord are envious. Because Brazil and Turkey brokered and pulled off a diplomatic success that other countries had been negotiating without result for many years," he said.
He stated that Brazil and Turkey had "assumed the responsibility" that went with their seats on the UN Security Council.
Lula urged that the UN nuclear watchdog, which this week received details from Tehran of the Brazil-Turkey proposal, to show "sensitivity in understanding the political moment" represented by the deal and to analyze it accordingly.
"Turkey and Brazil are working for peace. Up to now, Iran has met the obligations of its accord with Turkey and Brazil," he stressed.
Their words showed a stubborn refusal to allow the United States to dismiss their deal in its rush to secure a fourth round of sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council.
US officials say they already have the backing of the four other permanent members -- allies France and Britain, as well as Iran's investment partners China and Russia -- and were confident they would win the nine votes needed on the 15-seat Security Council to impose the sanctions.
Non-permanent members Brazil and Turkey are opposed, along with Lebanon, which has ties to Iran through its Hezbollah militia.
Brazil was being especially fierce in fighting to save the Tehran fuel swap deal, both in official declarations and in what appeared to be a leak of a letter from US President Barack Obama to Lula ahead of negotiations over the accord.
The daily Folha de Sao Paulo reported Thursday that Obama had sent a letter to Lula three weeks ago suggesting negotiation points with Tehran and stating that he "would keep a door open to a compromise with Iran."
The letter reportedly also said Obama warned he would simultaneously push forward with the UN resolution for sanctions against Tehran.
The Brazilian government has not officially confirmed the authenticity of the letter, but Lula has insisted that the Tehran deal largely addressed the demands made by the United States months ago.
Under the terms of the deal, Iran would deposit around half its stock of low-enriched uranium in Turkey in exchange, within a year later, for reactor fuel enriched to a level needed for research and medical use -- but well below the level required for military ends.
The United States and its European allies say the deal is insufficient, partly because the amount of uranium to be handed over is too little, but mainly because Iran insists on enriching part of its remaining stock to 20 percent anyway.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon, speaking at the opening Thursday of a UN "Alliance of Civilizations" conference in Rio aimed at better cross-cultural understanding, addressed the rift.
"This crisis, it seems to me that there is a serious lack of optimism and trust towards Iran in its core," he said.
He said Iran's plans to enrich its uranium "has caused serious concern" and stated: "It would be helpful if Iran agreed to stop trying to enrich uranium at 20 percent."
Without mentioning the US-led push for sanctions, Ban praised Lula and Erdogan's efforts "to resolve this issue with peaceful negotiation."
He acknowledged, though, that "there are different opinions about the approaches and possibilities concerning this issue."