Tuesday, July 20, 2010

DTN News: Abbas Demands Israel Halt Settlement Before Talks

Defense News: DTN News: Abbas Demands Israel Halt Settlement Before Talks
Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories - July 21, 2010: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah movement insisted on Tuesday that direct peace talks with Israel hinge on a complete halt to Jewish settlement building.
Negotiations are a means and the objective is to end the Israeli occupation, establish an independent Palestinian state," said Jibril Rajub, secretary of Fatah's Central Committee.
"And if settlement building is completely frozen and a timetable for the talks is set in line with clear and specified constants, we should not have a problem in negotiations with Israel."
But Rajub said Israel "does not recognise Palestinian rights."
"And it does not recognise international legitimacy. The international community therefore should reconsider the legitimacy of Israel, particularly if it continues to ignore Palestinian rights," he said.
He added that the central committee has set the foundation for direct talks with Israel.
"President Abbas has told US envoy George Mitchell that there will be no direct negotiations unless Israel freezes the settlements in all Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including east Jerusalem," Rajub said.
"President Abbas will go to Cairo to personally inform our Arab brothers at the Arab League on July 29 about international efforts related to the direct and indirect talks."
The Palestinians have long demanded a complete freeze on Israeli settlement expansion ahead of direct talks. They have accused Israel of undermining the process by approving new settler homes in mostly Arab annexed east Jerusalem, which they want as the capital of their promised state.
"The central committee wants to see progress in the issues of security and borders," senior Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan said in a statement.
"Without meeting Palestinian demands, Fatah cannot agree on the American request to have direct talk with Israel."
In May, Mitchell helped start indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians and has been shuttling between both sides to try and clinch an agreement to a face-to-face meeting between them.
The Palestinians suspended direct talks in December 2008 after Israel launched a devastating offensive against the Gaza Strip, and Abbas has said he will not renew them until there is progress on the contentious issues of borders and security.

DTN News: US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron Navigate Lockerbie, BP Rows

Defense News: DTN News: US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron Navigate Lockerbie, BP Rows
Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) WSAHINGTON, U.S. - July 21, 2010: British Prime Minister David Cameron Tuesday rejected an inquiry into Scotland's release of the Lockerbie bomber, and said BP did not sway the decision, as he met US President Barack Obama.
Cameron however told his top civil servants to assess whether new information needed to be made public on the release last year of terminally ill Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi.
"I don't need an inquiry to tell me what was a bad decision," Cameron said, but also rejected suggestions that a lobbying effort by energy giant BP helped win the release of Megrahi, who remains alive nearly a year after he was freed.
"That wasn't a decision taken by BP -- it was a decision taken by the Scottish government."
Obama and his visitor carefully picked through raw political sensitivities surrounding the release of Megrahi, and over British-based BP's pariah status in the United States following the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
And both leaders insisted that war strategy in Afghanistan was correct, and said plans to hand over the country largely to Afghan forces by 2014, endorsed by an international Kabul conference on Tuesday, were realistic.
In their first White House meeting, they also both pledged fealty to the US-British "special relationship" as Obama attempted to stamp out suggestions he did not value the long alliance in the same way as his predecessors.
The two men held three hours of talks in the Oval Office, shared a lunch of Wild Striped Bass, and the president gave his guest a tour of the White House living quarters -- Cameron remarked on the Obama daughters' tidy bedrooms.
Cameron forcibly condemned the decision by Scotland's devolved government to free Megrahi, who was the only person convicted in the bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie in 1988 that killed 270 people, mostly Americans.
"I said this a year ago... it was a bad decision, it shouldn't have been made," said Cameron who was in opposition last year, and had no control over the decision.
"He showed his victims no compassion. They were not allowed to die in their beds at home, surrounded by their families; so, in my view, neither should that callous killer have been given that luxury."
In return, Obama stopped short of calling for an official British government inquiry into the affair, stating his own personal anger at the Megrahi release, but expressing confidence Cameron could handle the fallout.
"We've got a British prime minister who shares our anger over the decision," Obama said.
In a last-minute U-turn, Downing Street announced Cameron would see four US senators furious about the Scottish government's release of Megrahi, who are demanding action by the London government.
The seized on reports -- denied by BP and the British government -- that the firm pushed for Megrahi's release to safeguard a lucrative oil exploration deal with Libya.
The British leader, carefully noting US anger over BP's role in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, said he fully agreed with Obama that BP needed to seal the ruptured well, clean up the spill and compensate victims.
But with an eye on the British-based firm's role as a provider of thousands of jobs in the US and British economies, Cameron warned that bankrupting BP would be counterproductive.
"It's in the interest of both our countries, as we agreed, that it remains a strong and stable company for the future."
Obama and Cameron also paid mutual tribute to US and British soldiers killed in the Afghan war, and insisted their plan was working.
"We have the right strategy. We're going to break the Taliban's momentum. We're going to build Afghan capacity, so Afghans can take responsibility for their future," Obama said.
Both the US and British governments, under rising political pressure over an increasingly unpopular war, have insisted that plans to withdraw Western combat troops from Afghanistan are realistic.
Obama, who mandated a surge of US forces last year, has said he wants to start bringing home at least some troops in July 2011. Cameron wants British combat troops home within five years.
But critics have expressed doubts that the newly trained Afghan army will be in any shape to keep the peace by 2014.
"I think it is realistic," Cameron insisted on NPR Tuesday. "Remember, 2014 is four years away, so there's quite a lot of time to train up that Afghan army, and that, to me, is the most important thing.

DTN News: Afghanistan Eyes 2014 Security Handover

Defense News: DTN News: Afghanistan Eyes 2014 Security Handover
Source: DTN News / AFP By Lynne O'Donnell
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - July 21, 2010: The international community on Tuesday endorsed sweeping Afghan government plans to take responsibility for security by 2014, forge peace to end nine years of war and take greater control of aid projects.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led about 80 organisations and countries at a key conference in Kabul aiming to put Afghanistan on the road to stability -- and allow foreign troops to draw down.
President Hamid Karzai is under intense Western pressure to crack down on corruption, make better use of billions of dollars of aid money and quell a virulent Taliban insurgency.
The Taliban, overthrown in a 2001 US-led invasion, control large swathes of the south and have put up stiff resistance to a troop surge deploying 150,000 US and NATO troops as part of a counter-insurgency strategy.
Karzai delivered a keynote address seeking to convince the international community he was capable of assuming responsibility for security and cleaning up government, but the lasting impact of the conference remains unclear.
The final communique backed Karzai's call for Afghan security forces to "lead and conduct military operations in all provinces by the end of 2014", allowing foreign troops to start pulling out.
The UN secretary-general, who chaired the conference with Karzai, said the final communique reflected the determination of the international community "to stay engaged for the long term".
"Now we must focus all our energies on making this vision a reality."
US President Barack Obama said the conference represented a "major step forward" for the future of Afghanistan, insisting the US strategy in Afghanistan was the right one.
Clinton described the plan as "comprehensive" and said the conference marked a "turning point", while British Prime Minister David Cameron said plans for a transition in four years were "realistic".
The scale of the challenge was made clear by the thousands of Afghan troops, backed by NATO forces, who put Kabul under security lockdown to prevent any Taliban attack on the conference at the heavily protected foreign ministry.
Karzai said the international community had committed enough money to see Afghanistan through the next three years and called for greater control of the multi-billion-dollar aid budget for his impoverished country.
The conference urged Kabul to make reforms to strengthen public financial management and reduce corruption, saying at least 50 percent of development aid would be channelled into the government's budget within two years.
Previously, only 20 percent of 40 billion dollars of pledged international aid had been routed through the budget, leading to corruption among the rest.
"We all agree that steady transition to Afghan leadership and ownership is the key to sustainability," Karzai said.
He called on foreign allies to invest in major infrastructure projects that can transform the lives of Afghans instead of isolated projects that have minimal impact.
The International Monetary Fund Tuesday announced a 125-million-dollar loan for Afghanistan, to help the country move towards financial sustainability.
The Kabul conference also endorsed a peace and reintegration programme drawn up by the Afghan government to reach out to insurgents who renounce violence, have no links to Al-Qaeda and respect the constitution.
Karzai last month won approval from Afghan leaders to start peace talks with insurgent leaders and called on the international community to back his efforts -- despite at least initial scepticism from the United States.
The West is under increasing pressure at home to justify their commitments to Afghanistan, where the war has killed 381 foreign soldiers so far this year -- including a NATO soldier who died in a bomb attack in the south on Tuesday.
Clinton emphasised that much more work faced the Afghan government.
"The Afghan government is stepping forward to deal with a multitude of difficult challenges. We?re encouraged by much of what we see, particularly their work to improve governance," she told the conference.
British foreign minister William Hague, whose country has the second largest troop deployment to Afghanistan, described the conference as "a step forward".
"It is now very important to implement these plans, that the capacity of the Afghan state (and) their economic performance is built up in the way is planned, that they use the development aid successfully, that there is an intensified effort to prevent corruption," he told reporters.
Related content
*VIDEO - Afghan strategy marks 'turning point': Clinton AFP
*Video: Afghan strategy marks 'turning point': Clinton AFP Video:
*Afghan strategy marks 'turning point': Clinton AFP
*Karzai sets 2014 deadline for pullout of foreign forces The Hindu
*The Associated Press - New York Times - ABC Online - The Guardian

DTN News: China Denies IEA Claim On Energy Consumption

Defense News: DTN News: China Denies IEA Claim On Energy Consumption
Source: DTN News / Financial Times By Leslie Hook in Hong Kong
(NSI News Source Info) HONG KONG - July 21, 2010: China on Tuesday dismissed claims that it was the world’s largest energy consumer, calling the latest estimates from the International Energy Agency “not very credible”.
The energy watchdog disclosed on Monday that China had overtaken the US in energy consumption, according to preliminary estimates. The news – and China’s quick reaction – underlines the sensitivities that surround China’s thirst for energy, particularly as the government struggles to meet ambitious efficiency targets by the year’s end.
Zhou Xian, head of the general office of the Nat ional Energy Administration, dismissed the numbers. “When the IEA came to China to publish its energy outlook a couple of days ago, they also overestimated China’s energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions,” he said. “We think that is because of a lack of knowledge about China, especially about China’s latest developments of energy conservation and renewable energy.”
The IEA’s estimates of energy use and demand can change between the preliminary forecasts and the final data – sometimes by a big margin. The IEA’s underestimation of energy demand in 2004 contributed to a global jump in oil prices.
Officials from the National Energy Administration have also previously forecast that China will soon overtake the US in energy consumption. It is just a question of when.
China’s booming energy demand is caused by rapid economic growth, particularly in heavy industry.
Beijing has had limited success in encouraging energy efficiency and in its efforts to ban electricity subsidies for industrial users. It hopes to reduce energy intensity – a measure of energy consumed per unit of GDP – by 20 per cent by the end of the year based on 2005 levels. That target will not be easily met, and the looming deadline puts pressure on officials to crack down on heavy energy users.
In a June interview China’s senior climate change negotiator proposed electricity caps in certain sectors. Last month the People’s Bank of China directed Chinese banks to stop lending to energy-intensive industries, according to the China Daily.
China’s own numbers for its 2009 energy consumption are lower than the IEA’s. But even those figures suggest that China and the US are neck and neck for the top consumption spot.
The IEA estimates that China consumed 2,265m tonnes of oil equivalent in 2009, whereas preliminary data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics puts consumption at about 3,100m tonnes of coal equivalent during the same period. That is about 2,170m tonnes of oil equivalent based on back-of-the-envelope conversions – lower than the IEA’s estimate but almost the same as US energy consumption during the same period. China’s 2009 energy use is still lower than that of the US between 2004 and 2008, according to the IEA.
The IEA has in the past said that it hopes China will eventually join the organisation.
This year’s statistical review by BP, which is the most widely followed economic review by any company, also found China’s energy use to have surpassed that of the US. BP calculated China had consumed 2.2bn tonnes of oil equivalent last year compared to the US’s 2.17bn.
One of the main differences between the IEA numbers and those of China is that the IEA includes China’s consumption of traditional biomass.
Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, said on Tuesday: “A Chinese person consumes only one-third of the amount of energy of someone living in the western world.” But he added that “in terms of energy usage, these do not change the fact that China has become the largest energy consumer in the world”.
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DTN News: Force Protection Selected To Continue In Canadian TAPV Program

Defense News: DTN News: Force Protection Selected To Continue In Canadian TAPV Program
Source: DTN News / Force Protection
(NSI News Source Info) Ladson, SC- July 21, 2010: Force Protection, Inc. (NASDAQ: FRPT), a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of survivability solutions and provider of total life cycle support for those products, (July 20, 2010) today announced it has received notification from the Government of Canada that it has been selected to continue in the procurement for the Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicle Project (“TAPV”). Force Protection responded to the Solicitation of Interest and Qualification (SOIQ) phase with their Cougar 4x4 and 6x6 variants in June 2010.
In addition to the two Cougar variants, seven vehicles from other equipment manufacturers have been selected in the TAPV program to now move into the Request for Proposal (“RFP”) phase. The procurement is for up to 600 vehicles and related long term support services. Contract award to the final selected bidder is expected in 2011.
Randy Hutcherson, Chief Operating Officer of Force Protection, Inc. commented, “We are pleased that we have been selected to continue in the TAPV competition in Canada. The Cougars and Buffalos currently in service with the Canadian Forces are proven to save lives and perform critical missions to the efforts in Afghanistan. We look forward to responding to the request for proposal and continuing to build on our strong relationship with the Canadian Forces.”
About Force Protection, Inc.
Force Protection, Inc. is a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of survivability solutions, including blast- and ballistic-protected wheeled vehicles currently deployed by the U.S. military and its allies to support armed forces and security personnel in conflict zones. The Company’s specialty vehicles, including the Buffalo, Cougar and related variants, are designed specifically for reconnaissance and urban operations and to protect their occupants from landmines, hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices (“IEDs”, commonly referred to as roadside bombs). The Company also develops, manufactures, tests, delivers and supports products and services aimed at further enhancing the survivability of users against additional threats. In addition, the Company provides long-term life cycle support services of its vehicles that involve development of technical data packages, supply of spares, field and depot maintenance activities, assignment of highly-skilled field service representatives, and advanced on and off-road driver and maintenance training programs. For more information on Force Protection and its products and services, visit www.forceprotection.net.
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains forward looking statements that are not historical facts, including statements about our beliefs and expectations. These statements are based on beliefs and assumptions of Force Protection’s management, and on information currently available to management. These forward looking statements include, among other things: the growth, demand and interest for Force Protection’s services and vehicles, including the Cougar; expectations for future contracts for the Cougar; the benefits and suitability of the Cougar; the ability to meet current and future requirements; the Company’s execution of its business strategy and strategic transformation, including its opportunities to grow the business; and, the Company’s expected financial and operating results, including its revenues, cash flow and gross margins, for future periods. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update any of them publicly in light of new information or future events. A number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Examples of these factors include, but are not limited to: ability to effectively manage the risks in the Company’s business; the ability to develop new technologies and products and the acceptance of these technologies and products; and, the other risk factors and cautionary statements listed in the Company’s periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the risks set forth in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 and as updated in the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2010.

DTN News: GTV Delivers Right-Hand Operation JLTV Technology Development Vehicles On Schedule

Defense News: DTN News: GTV Delivers Right-Hand Operation JLTV Technology Development Vehicles On Schedule
* U.S. government receives two Right-Hand Operation (RHO) JLTVs - payload category B and C vehicles - and a companion trailer
Source: DTN News / General Dynamics Corp.
(NSI News Source Info) LIVONIA, Mich.,- July 21, 2010: The General Tactical Vehicles (GTV) team of General Dynamics Land Systems and AM General today delivered two Right-Hand Operation (RHO) Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs), one companion trailer and supporting equipment on schedule to the U.S. government for Technology Development (TD) phase testing in support of the U.S. and Australia's Land Force Capability Modernization Project Arrangement (PA). The PA enables tactical vehicle interoperability and integration between the two countries. Delivery of the RHO JLTVs follows GTV's previous ahead-of-schedule deliveries of armor samples, ballistic hulls, seven vehicles and four trailers and spare parts for the TD phase.
Test and evaluation of the RHO JLTVs includes a five-month reliability and durability test and evaluation process at the Monegeetta Proving Ground in Monegeetta, Victoria, Australia. Test site management for GTV will be performed by General Dynamics Land Systems-Australia and supported by Australian in-country suppliers.
"Our RHO JLTVs provide increased protection, payload and performance for the Australian Defence Force, as well as over 90 percent commonality with the GTV JLTV vehicles delivered to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps in April," said Don Howe, GTV senior program director. "I am very proud of the effort demonstrated by our GTV team, including our supplier network, to deliver a balanced solution to meet the technical and programmatic challenges of the very demanding JLTV program, the U.S. government and the Australian Defence Force."
"The GTV team's significant experience with deployed global forces gives us unique and valuable insight into the needs of the Australian Defence Force," added Howe. "Delivering on schedule and within budget underlines our proven track record of dependability and performance."
Drawing from the experiences of General Dynamics and AM General to build and support tactical and combat vehicles, GTV's vehicle design provides an armored crew capsule with an optimized V-shaped hull for protection against mines and IEDs, a state-of-the-art C4 architecture that accommodates future force technology capabilities, high-performance and off-road mobility and deployability by land, sea and air.
"Our robust, disciplined and focused system-engineering approach placed the American Warfighter at the center of product design. GTV has developed an innovative family of vehicles and trailers for the United States that meets transportability, survivability and mobility requirements while achieving maximum commonality of components to reduce parts, maintenance and training needs," said David Caldwell, GTV deputy program director.
"As our military prepares for future coalition operations, similarity of tactical vehicle solutions across allies will enhance global interoperability and reduce the maintenance and logistical burden," said Mark McCoy, U.S. Army JLTV product manager. "Australia's participation in the JLTV program will help reduce overall program risk through the testing and evaluation of additional prototype vehicles."
The JLTV TD phase is intended to validate the integration of mature technologies as a complete vehicle system, rebalancing payload, protection and performance while maintaining transportability and expeditionary capabilities; give the Army, Marine Corps and the Australian Defence Force an accurate assessment of the technical and performance capabilities and risks associated with entering the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase; and establish a realistic set of requirements for the JLTV program.
GTV has invested in additional JLTV vehicles and trailers as part of its independent R&D program. "We are continuing our own extensive testing for reliability and durability to complement the government effort and prepare for the next, full-and-open competition phase of the JLTV development program," said Howe. "We're continuing to evaluate suppliers in Australia for emerging technologies, should the U.S. and Australia continue their JLTV partnership into the EMD phase – taking advantage of our JLTV's built-in capacity for technology insertion, growth opportunities and product improvements."
General Tactical Vehicles is a joint venture between AM General and General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE:GD -News), formed to provide the U.S. Army and Marine Corps a low-risk, affordable, technically advanced and economically sustainable solution to their Joint Light Tactical Vehicle requirements. GTV offers a full-spectrum combat and tactical platform capable team, with the strength of more than 120 years of combined experience in the design, production and global support of over one million combat and tactical vehicles. More information about General Tactical Vehicles is available online at www.generaltacticalvehicles.com.
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 www.generaldynamics.com.
AM General designs, manufactures and supports the world's leading all-purpose vehicles for military, commercial and consumer customers. As creator and builder of the famous HMMWV (HUMVEE®), AM General has transformed the vehicle from a basic utility truck to a fully-armored, combat support vehicle to meet the changing needs of the military and to support more than 70 mission areas. AM General has more than 3,000 employees at major facilities in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, plus a strong supplier base that stretches across 43 states. More information can be found atwww.amgeneral.com.

DTN News: Italy To Axe Eurofighter Orders

Defense News: DTN News: Italy To Axe Eurofighter Orders
* Decision causes jitters at Farnborough air show
* Industry to pay for new radar to boost exports
Source: DTN News / Reuters By Paolo Biondi
(NSI News Source Info) FARNBOROUGH, England,- July 21, 2010: Italy upset Europe's defence industry on Tuesday by announcing plans to axe its share of the final production run of the Eurofighter combat jet at the Farnborough air show where foreign rivals were showcasing their own jets.
The unexpected announcement by one of four nations involved in the project highlighted the pressures being put on European defence budgets and came hours after reluctant arms firms agreed to cough up the funds to develop a new radar for the plane to boost exports.
"We have decided to cut 25 Eurofighters with a saving of 2 billion euros," Italian defence minister Ignazio la Russa told reporters at the air show in southern England.
Italy, Britain, Germany and Spain ordered a total of 620 Eurofighter jets in the 1990s and split the order into three tranches, each of which needed separate funding approval.
The third tranche of 236 planes was split into two in 2008 when nations were already facing a squeeze on budgets, and manufacturers have been pressing governments to plug the remaining budget gap to avoid having to lay off workers.
La Russa did not say which planes he was referring to but air show delegates said he clearly meant Italy's entire allocation of 25 planes under the final tranche, known as 3B.
This would cut Italy's total Eurofighter order to 96.
"We have no comment because we have received no formal communication," a Eurofighter spokesman said.
Defence reviews and budget pressures have also placed doubts over remaining planes allocated to Italy's three partners.
The Eurofighter is made by an industry consortium of the same name that includes Italy's Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI), Britain's BAE Systems (BAES.L) and EADS (EAD.PA), which represents Germany and Spain.
The group last month submitted an estimated 10 billion-euro offer to supply 124 planes under tranche 3B.
But executives in the consortium are resigned to seeing the number fall as governments cut deeply into defence spending.
"These cuts could be a big problem because if you cut production capacity it is costly to get it back," an executive close to the project said, asking not to be named.
Eurofighter said earlier it would put an unspecified amount into a new radar for the plane together with a specialist radar consortium led by Finmeccanica.
The fighter group said it aimed to have the new actively scanned electronic radar on the multirole aircraft by 2015.
The move and its timing were both designed to position the European plane for a contest to supply 126 fighter jets to India, one of the world's most sought-after defence deals.
The $12 billion Indian tender competition, which could be formally launched next year, is in one of the most hotly contested international defence markets, attracting bidders from the United States, Russia and Europe.
(Additional reporting and writing by Tim Hepher and James Mackenzie; Editing by Dan Lalor, Greg Mahlich; Reuters Farnborough Media Centre +44 1252-418188)

DTN News: F-35 Engine Makers Trade Barbs At Air Show

Defense News: DTN News: F-35 Engine Makers Trade Barbs At Air Show
Source: DTN News / Reuters By Andrea Shalal-Esa
(NSI News Source Info) FARNBOROUGH, England - July 21, 2010: Engine makers fighting over a potential $100 billion market to power the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet traded barbs at the Farnborough Airshow in England on Tuesday, far from the halls of the U.S. Congress where the matter will be decided.
Dave Hess, president of United Technologies Corp's (UTX.N) Pratt & Whitney unit, acknowledged that his company was actively lobbying lawmakers on the issue but insisted the rival team of General Electric Co (GE.N) and Britain's Rolls Royce (RR.L) was spending "orders of magnitude" more.
Jean Lydon-Rodgers, president of GE Aviation's military business and former head of the GE-Rolls engine team, said the issue was clearly an "enormous priority" for both GE and Rolls, but he rejected Pratt's criticism as "unfair" since General Electric's lobbying efforts extended to other issues.
Both teams lauded progress on their respective engines, and argued their cases forcefully.
Pratt & Whitney is trying to shore up support for its F135 engine, but some U.S. lawmakers are trying to maintain funding for an alternate engine being developed by GE and Rolls Royce in the face of a veto threat by President Barack Obama.
The issue has resurfaced in each of the past four years, but many analysts say the rhetoric and lobbying activity appear to have reached a fever pitch this year.
Lawmakers on the U.S. House defense appropriations subcommittee are expected to address the issue during a subcommittee markup next week, but the issue may drag on for several months until the fiscal 2010 defense budget is finalized by Congress.
Even Democrats who favor the second engine program face a tough choice this year, given a major push by Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to cut unneeded weapons programs in the face of mounting budget pressures in the United States.
Richard Aboulafia, defense analyst with the Virginia-based Teal Group, said it was not surprising that the engine makers had taken their battle to the road, given that the F-35 was the only major new fighter development project in sight.
"It's bizarre, but there's a lot at stake," said Aboulafia, who was also in England for the air show. "This is it. This is all that's on the horizon."
Aboulafia noted that the size of the potential market was huge, given that Lockheed expects to sell thousands of the new fighters over coming years, and engine makers relied on investment in military projects to help technology developments in the commercial sector.
Backers of the second engine argue that it makes sense to maintain competition for the engines to drive prices lower in the long run by keeping both teams on their toes, especially since the GE-Rolls engine is 75 percent complete.
Pentagon officials say they just don't have the money to pay for continued work on what they are now calling the "extra engine," and dispute reports that show savings over time.
Hess showed reporters a chart listing over a dozen aircraft programs that only had one engine and said the only other warplane with two engine suppliers was the F-16.
But Lydon-Rodgers argued that the Pratt program was already $1 billion over budget, and the decision to stick with a sole source engine was "bad government" at a time when the Obama administration has called forcefully for competition on other weapons projects.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

DTN News: Sikorsky Aircraft Delivers 200th UH-60M BLACK HAWK Helicopter To U.S. Army

Defense News: DTN News: Sikorsky Aircraft Delivers 200th UH-60M BLACK HAWK Helicopter To U.S. Army
Source: DTN News / United Technologies Corp.
(NSI News Source Info) STRATFORD, Conn., - July 21, 2010: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced today the delivery of the 200th UH/HH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter to the U.S. Army. Sikorsky is a United Technologies Corp.
With a new airframe, avionics and propulsion system, the UH-60M and HH-60M helicopters are the latest and most modern in a series of BLACK HAWK variants that Sikorsky has been delivering to the army since 1978. Since the program launched with its first delivery in July 2006, Sikorsky Aircraft also has delivered UH-60M aircraft to agencies from the U.S. Federal government as well as international customers.
"The UH-60M aircraft have been performing phenomenally well in theater, supporting our troops and providing them with the latest technology for the mission," said Doug Shidler, Sikorsky Vice President, Army Programs. "The feedback from the U.S. Army has been extremely positive, as more "M" models are introduced into the fleet. The new UH-60M and HH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopters are ideally suited for its mission, providing reduced pilot workload, increased lift, better protection and enhanced survivability. "It is a proven, reliable combat aircraft."
Sikorsky is continuing to develop the next variation of the aircraft, through the UH-60M Modernization program.
BLACK HAWK helicopters flown by the U.S. Army in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of war have accumulated more than one million fleet flight hours. The U.S. Army's total BLACK HAWK helicopter fleet exceeds 1,740 aircraft and in total, BLACK HAWK helicopter variants have amassed more than nine million flight hours.
More than 3,000 BLACK HAWK helicopters are in use today, operating in 27 29 countries. Designed to stringent U.S. Military standards, the BLACK HAWK helicopter has become the leader in multi-mission-type aircraft. Among the mission configurations it serves are troop transport, medical evacuation, electronic warfare, attack, assault support and special operations.
"The BLACK HAWK helicopter has proven itself in the most extreme and rigorous environments, and each milestone is a testament to its durability and effectiveness," said Scott Starrett, President, Sikorsky Military Systems.
The UH-60M and HH-60M helicopters provide additional payload and range, advanced digital avionics, better handling qualities and situational awareness, active vibration control, improved survivability, and improved producibility. Sikorsky is expected to deliver more than 1,350 UH-60M and HH-60M aircraft throughout the course of the current contract. Actual procurement numbers year-to-year and across the life of the program will be determined by budget authorizations and specific contract awards.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. United Technologies Corp., of Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning potential production and sale of helicopters. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in government procurement priorities and practices, budget plans or availability of funding or in the number of aircraft to be built; challenges in the design, development, production and support of advanced technologies; as well as other risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those detailed from time to time in United Technologies Corporation's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.