Sunday, August 15, 2010
Israel is initially expected to buy 20 of the aircraft in a deal worth an estimated 2.75 billion dollars, the top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily said in several reports published last week.
Should the deal be approved by the security cabinet, it will be the most expensive weapons deal ever signed by the Jewish state, it said.
"The F-35 is the fighter plane of the future which will give the air force better short-range and long-range capabilities which will help state security," Barak said in the statement.
Delivery of the first F-35s, which are still not yet operational, is expected only in 2015, the paper said.
The price includes the cost of setting up a logistical infrastructure in Israel to allow local firms to assemble the fighter plane and manufacture spare parts for it.
Udi Shani, defence ministry director general, said a key element of the deal was an agreement which would allow Israeli industries to get involved in the assembly of the plane and the manufacture of spares.
"The considerations for approving the deal were not just about the operational abilities of the plane but the agreements for involving Israeli industries in the assembly of the plane," the ministry quoted him as saying.
Acquisition of the F-35, which is made by US aerospace and defence giant Lockheed Martin, will give Israel access to stealth technology that will provide it with air superiority over enemy anti-aircraft defences.
The high-performance round will be fired from standard-issue SA80 assault rifles. Nicknamed the 'Dirty Harry round' after the powerful bullets used by Clint Eastwood in the 1971 movie, it is expected to be on the front line in Afghanistan by 2011.
Its development by UK defence firms BAE Systems and QinetiQ follows Army concern in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, last year that the standard 5.56mm SA80 round was failing to hit its target at distances of more than 400 yards.
British troops are to be issued with a new 'super-bullet' to fight the Taliban as their current ammunition does not have the punch to kill the enemy at long range
The Taliban use more powerful rounds in Russian-designed AK-47 rifles to hit British forces at a range of 600 yards. Now the British troops' new round will even up the odds.
The new bullet gives greater range and force against human targets and light vehicles. Because it is the same calibre as the standard bullet, the SA80 rifle will not need modification.
A senior Royal Marines officer just back from Afghanistan said the new bullet would be welcomed on the front line.
He said: 'It will give our infantry soldiers an edge which at present we are lacking.' An MoD spokeswoman said: 'We work closely with industry to ensure equipment is continuously improved.'*Link to this article from source; "British Army To Use 'Dirty Harry' Bullet Against The Taliban - DailyMail.co.uk By Christopher Leake"
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources including By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times - Reporting from Srinagar, India(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - August 15, 2010: Down a 15-foot-wide alley of shuttered shops in Srinagar's Batmaloo neighborhood, stone-throwing protesters and police face off under a blazing midday sun. Most of the rocks thrown by demonstrators miss their mark, but when one lands, a loud cheer erupts.
Dozens of officers, some with slingshots, answer in kind, roaring with glee whenever their projectiles strike protester flesh.
"That was a close one," said a policeman as a rock grazed his padded leg. "They're better shots, because we have to lug these guns."
Kashmir, which has witnessed more than 47,000 deaths among militants, civilians and security personnel since 1989, is experiencing its worst social unrest in a generation.
"A volcano is coming up," said Bashir Siddique, an attorney who has defended 11 stone throwers. "It can anytime burst."
The broader dispute over divided Kashmir has been going on for so long, with so many entrenched interests, that few see an obvious solution.
This month, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged in a speech the pain and anger many Kashmiris feel. He pledged to organize a group of experts to explore political solutions, and he urged economic development to encourage young people to pick up jobs, not stones.
Armed militancy in Kashmir, which peaked in 1990, has dropped sharply in recent years as rocks replace guns for a new generation of angry young men.
That's left critics here questioning why 650,000 members of the Indian security forces remain — one for every eight residents — and why stones are answered with bullets when other nations routinely defuse civil unrest without fatalities.
Of the at least 57 recent civilian deaths, nearly half were minors, one as young as 9.
Security officials counter that stone throwers — "gun-less terrorists," said one commander — are well organized and probably directed and funded by Pakistan-leaning insurgent groups.
"Police have to fire on instigators," said Taj Mohiuddin, a state minister. "There are interests and external forces responsible for this."
Local anger, meanwhile, remains palpable. On a recent morning a few blocks from the Batmaloo faceoff, several hundred young men gathered at a bypass, burning tires, upending planters and yelling "azadi!" — freedom — after a 17-year-old was allegedly fatally shot by police.
Several covered their faces to prevent identification by police photographers. "It's not because I'm a militant and have a gun," said a college student, 23, who called himself Sufi. "If I don't wear this mask, the Indian dogs will come to my house and beat us."
Protesters now tend to be better educated, informed and adept at using social networking sites, including Facebook's "Im a Kashmiri Stone Pelter," than in the past.
Although several Kashmiris lauded the prime minister's speech, they said Kashmir needs results, not more committees.
How New Delhi proceeds now could greatly influence a generation at a crossroads, many without outlets or opportunities in this tightly monitored society.
"Sometimes I feel they should have boxing rings or some way to work out their anger," said Zulfiqar Hussein, an attorney. "The same guys who can pick up stones can pick up guns. Something has to be done."
Rival Kashmiri parties have used rocks on each other, and at various times, Pakistan's founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and last British Viceroy Louis Mountbatten received "projectile greetings" during Kashmir visits.
"Now women are using stones, not just young men," said Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a University of Kashmir law professor. "And it's transcending generations."
One structural problem, analysts said, is that many security officers are trained to kill insurgents, not control crowds. Residents add that many Indians view Kashmiris as spoiled whiners with militant leanings.
"Villagers blame us for everything," said a paramilitary member who declined to be identified. "We're here to protect them, but they like Pakistan. We're just trying to feed our family. We don't want a fight."
At Srinagar's Nowhatta police station, the preferred tool against rock throwers for years has been an armored vehicle nicknamed Rani, with an iron-netted windshield and a chassis pockmarked with dents.
"Hundreds and hundreds of stones were thrown on her, but she never stopped or gave up on me," said officer Nisar Ahmed, 38, who compared the sound inside during attacks to a fierce hailstorm. "I thank Allah, I love her more than my children."
Studies suggest that there's no single stone-thrower type, with some motivated by youthful machismo, others by a sense of belonging, others incensed at the death of loved ones.
Hoping to blunt this fury, security officials have tried cricket matches, community policing, even debates among Kashmir's mostly Muslim population on whether stone throwing is Islamic.
In recent weeks, they have also rounded up at least 932 young men, charging some with attempted murder or public safety violations, allowing for up to two years' detention without trial.
Under Indian law, minors must be placed in juvenile detention centers. But Kashmir has none, so some are housed with hardened criminals, even Islamic militants, human rights officials said, and exposed to police mistreatment.
American author Arthur Ward once said that stones can be thrown, complained about, climbed over or used for building. After a summer of discontent, many in Kashmir wonder where down what path the stones will take them.
Anshul Rana of The Times' New Delhi Bureau contributed to this report.