Tuesday, November 2, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated November 2, 2010

Defense News: DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated November 2, 2010
Source: U.S. DoD issued No. 1007-10 November 2, 2010
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - November 3, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued November 2,
2010 are undermentioned;



ERAPSCO, Inc., Columbia City, Ind., is being awarded a $26,797,789 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00421-10-D-0010) to exercise an option for 4,999 AN/SSQ-101A sonobuoys in support of Navy antisubmarine forces for the mission of detection, classification and localization of adversary submarines during peacetime and combat operations. Work will be performed in DeLeon Springs, Fla. (61 percent), and Columbia City, Ind. (39 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Progeny Systems Corp.*, Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $10,973,361 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-6207) for Phase III engineering and technical support services in support of the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) topic “Extensible After Action Review Acquisition, Retrieval and Storage System.” The concept for this SBIR is to identify technologies that can be used to address emerging non-propulsion electronics system network administration training and maintenance support requirements while concurrently supporting test data collection and analysis requirements. This procurement will use the prototype products, processes and methodologies developed by Progeny Systems under the SBIR Phase I and II efforts. The processes and prototype products developed will apply to air, surface and undersea warfare combatants. Progeny will also procure analogous technology products that result from the engineering studies and engineering development models as needed. Work will be performed in Manassas, Va., and is expected to be completed by October 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.


Schramm, Inc.*, West Chester, Pa., is being awarded a maximum $11,992,999 firm-fixed-price contract for water well drilling rigs and support vehicles. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Navy. There were originally 11 proposals solicited with six responses. The date of performance completion is July 6, 2011. The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM8EC-10-R-0019).

*Small business

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DTN News: Japan Top Stories / Headlines News Dated November 3, 2010

Defense News: DTN News: Japan Top Stories / Headlines News Dated November 3, 2010
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources
(NSI News Source Info) KOTTAKKAL, Kerala, India - November 3, 2010: Comprehensive daily news related to Japan for the world of TODAY.
*Comprehensive daily news related to Japan Top Stories / Headlines News for the world of TODAY
News On Japan
In Japan, dieting moms, smaller babies
As Japan's birth weights fall for a third decade, scientists say advice pregnant women receive may be contributing to the highest rate of low-birth-weight babies in the developed world. More critically, it may be setting their infants up for diabetes and heart disease in later life. Unlike most developed nations, where new moms are getting heavier, in Japan they're becoming thinner. The result is that the average weight of a newborn in Japan is 7 ounces less than in 1980. The prevalence of babies weighing less than 2.5 kilos (5 pounds, 8 ounces) - low birth weight by World Health Organization standards - is now 9.6 percent, up from 5.2 percent three decades ago. (thenewstribune.com)
Not all white rice tastes the same
In Japan, the freshness and seasonality of ingredients used in cooking is of paramount importance. Even in this age of mass production and imported foods, people still care about the appearance of fresh bamboo shoots in spring, or the first matsutake mushrooms in fall. One of the most treasured "fresh" ingredients is shinmai (new-harvest rice). Incidentally, the word "shinmai" also means "newbie" or beginner. A shinmai mama is a new, first-time mother, and a shinmai shain is a brand new first-year company employee. Shinmai grain contains more moisture than older rice, and though some other rice-based cultures favor dry, even aged rice, in Japan, plump and moist rice indicates freshness and is more delicious. (Japan Times)
U.K. paper picks Tokyo as favorite overseas city
Readers of British newspaper The Guardian have selected Tokyo as their favorite overseas city for 2010, picking the metropolis as a top destination for the first time, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Tuesday. Japan also placed second only to the Maldives, a Pacific island nation often described as the Garden of Eden, in the favorite long-haul country category of the annual Guardian Travel Awards. Tokyo last year did not rate a mention in the first category, while Japan ranked fifth in the latter. (AP)
1st talks between whaling town, environmentalists end with no accord
The first-ever dialogue between local leaders in the town of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, and foreign activists campaigning against dolphin hunting there ended Tuesday with no signs of compromise from either side, as widely expected. The activists from three groups, including the U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said that although they understand the practice is longstanding in the town and part of its culture, dolphin hunting is inhumane and cannot be justified by tradition. The town's representatives, including Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen, argued that whaling and dolphin hunting provide a livelihood for people and that it is important to have a spirit of respect for different cultures. (AP)
Lay judges let killer of two avoid gallows
A 42-year-old man was sentenced to life Monday for murdering two women in Tokyo last year, avoiding what could have been the first death penalty handed down under the lay judge system that went into effect last year. Prosecutors had sought capital punishment for Koji Hayashi at the Tokyo District Court. Hayashi had admitted killing Miho Ejiri, 21, who worked at an ear-cleaning shop he frequented as a customer, and her grandmother, Yoshie Suzuki, 78, in August last year. The trial was the first to test the panel of lay and professional judges with a demand for the death penalty. (Japan Times)
Video shows Chinese ship's liability for collisions: lawmakers
Japanese lawmakers said Monday that video footage they have seen proves a Chinese trawler captain was responsible for collisions in early September between his vessel and Japanese patrol boats near the Senkaku Islands. "The images at the time of the collisions were very sharp," Hiroshi Nakai, chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, told reporters after seeing the footage in the morning. "The Chinese fishing boat rammed into (the Japanese vessels) and escaped...and this was clearly confirmed." About 30 lawmakers were shown the six-minute- and-50-second video in a room within the Diet, at a time when diplomatic ties between Asia's two largest economies remain soured over the Sept. 7 collisions off the Japan-controlled islets, which are claimed by China. (AP)
Japan protests against Medvedev's island visit
Japan lodged a protest Monday against Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Kunashiri Island, one of a group of Russian-held but Japanese-claimed islands off Hokkaido, with Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara summoning Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Bely. Maehara said at a Diet committee meeting that the first-ever visit by a leader of Russia or the former Soviet Union to the island "hurts Japanese public sentiment." Prime Minister Naoto Kan also told the committee the trip is "extremely deplorable." Bely told reporters after meeting with Maehara that the president's visit was made "purely from the standpoint of domestic politics" and "has no significance internationally." (AP)
Shoplifters getting older
A sad trend is emerging with the all too common crime of shoplifting. Although the total number of crimes recognized by authorities declined to 1.7 million in 2009 from a peak of 2.85 million in 2002 - with shoplifting leveling off at 140,000 to 150,000 cases yearly - more and more elderly people are reported to be shoplifting. In 2009, 27,000 people aged 65 or older committed the crime - some 7.5 times more than 20 years before. It appears that loneliness of elderly people is behind the gradual increase in the number of shoplifters. (Japan Times)
Nov 02Sony targets ¥500 billion in biz gear (Japan Times)
Sony Corp. said Monday it aims to boost revenue from business-use equipment by 67 percent in four years, driven by demand for projectors that can display high-resolution images. Sales in the business may climb to ¥500 billion as early as the year to March 2014, from about ¥300 billion in the 12 months that ended in March, Tokyo-based Sony said in a statement. Sony said it will reach the target no later than the fiscal year ending in March 2016.
Nov 02Japan Airlines ends flight between Tokyo and Kona International Airport (Canadian Press)
After 14 years of serving the Big Island, financially strapped Japan Airlines has ended flights between Tokyo and Kona International Airport. The last passengers arriving from Narita International Airport to Kona Friday were greeted with lei and live Hawaiian music, the Big Island Visitors Bureau said. JAL offered the only direct international flight outside of North America to the Big Island, the bureau said. Since the inaugural Kona flight in June 1996, JAL has carried more than 980,000 visitors between Narita and Kona, it said.
Nov 02China's Spring Airlines to launch regular flights to Takamatsu (AP)
Chinese discount carrier Spring Airlines has agreed to start regular passenger flights between its home city of Shanghai and Takamatsu Airport in Japan's Kagawa Prefecture at the end of next March, the prefectural government said Monday. The deal, struck at a meeting between Kagawa Gov. Keizo Hamada and Spring Airlines Chairman Wang Zhenghua, marks the first time the airline has reached an agreement to operate a regular flight to any Japanese location, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Land, Transport and Tourism. At present, the airline runs chartered flights to Ibaraki Airport, about 80 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.
Nov 01Competition heats up between railways to offer best access to Haneda, Narita Airports (AP)
With Haneda Airport having resumed regular international flights on Oct. 31 and Narita Airport deciding to expand the number of flights it serves, competition between the railroad companies that provide access to the two airports is heating up. On one side of the competition are the Keikyu and Keisei railway companies, and on the other are East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) and its subsidiary, the Tokyo Monorail Co. The Keikyu and Keisei lines offer transit between Haneda and Narita, using travel on the Tokyo subways in-between, while JR East runs the "Narita Express," which connects directly to major stations.
Nov 01Bill in works to woo foreign firms to Japan (Japan Times)
The government will submit a bill to the Diet next year that would give foreign firms preferential treatment if they establish headquarters or research centers in Japan. The move is part of an attempt to make Japan more attractive to foreign investment ahead of negotiations on a multilateral trans-Pacific free-trade agreement backed by the United States. The FTA is aimed at completely liberalizing trade and investment.
USD to JPY: 80.645
Nov 02Japan under pressure to arrest yen's rise (The Australian)
Pressure for currency intervention is building in Japan after the US dollar moved towards its lowest level against the yen over the weekend. The sell-off in the greenback against the yen was triggered by the reports of a fresh terrorist plot against the US and the expectation of large-scale quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve. As the strong yen is cruelling company profits in Japan's export-orientated economy, pressure is mounting on the government to intervene. But Japan may try to stall until after next month's G20 meeting, when the world's leading economies will try to reach a consensus on how to deal with government manipulation of currency.
Nov 02Rice farmers may prevent Japan from joining key regional trade pact (The Australian)
Japan levies an import tariff of 778 per cent on foreign rice, no matter how delicious or desirable it is. This tells a tale of Japan's parliamentary dysfunction and hopelessly ragged foreign policy. It is why you cannot buy a packet of Uncle Ben's in a Japanese supermarket - and why vast amounts of Californian long grain is left to rot at the docks until it's fit only for pigs. And it explains why Japan could be about to make its most ill-judged economic blunder in decades. Forget Japan's high-tech image: Priuses and PlayStations are the international disguise of a country run by, and for, a constituency of farmers.
Nov 02Unclaimed pension benefits (Japan Times)
Usually retired company employees are entitled to basic pension benefits as well as an additional pension benefit, the latter a corporate pension benefit that has accrued from the management of part of the premiums they have contributed. The management of the premiums is done by employees pension funds organizations, called kosei nenkin kikin. But the Pension Fund Association (Kigyo Nenkin Rengokai) reports that some 1.21 million people are not receiving the additional benefit even though they are entitled to it. In most cases they either have forgotten to apply for it or their current addresses are unknown.
Nov 01Analysis: Risks linger as China, Japan spar over islets (Reuters)
China and Japan have long-locked horns over sovereignty claims in the East China Sea, but such disputes have rarely damaged commercial ties. The stakes are potentially huge. A disputed undersea basin could yield 20 million barrels of oil and 17.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, equal to a fifth of China's gas reserves. While previous rows over the islands have tended to fizzle out, reported curbs of rare earth minerals, crucial for the manufacture of high technology products, have complicated the diplomatic dance, with Japan in particular highly reliant on the metals and eager to not get squeezed.
Oct 31Japan Inc grapples with strong yen (Channel NewsAsia)
Surging quarterly profits for Japan's top companies belie the threat posed by a strong yen, as the unit's rise prompts firms to shift production out of the country to stay competitive, say analysts. With the currency closing in on its post-World-War-II high of 79.75 against the dollar, Japan's biggest companies are preparing to adapt to life with a currency that has defied Tokyo's efforts to weaken it. For many firms, the yen's 14 percent rise against the dollar and near 16 percent rise versus the euro this year has mitigated a post-crisis demand revival and undermined the benefits of earlier cost cuts and restructuring. With more companies considering moving production overseas to stay competitive against rivals benefiting from weaker currencies in their home countries, Japan's fragile recovery could be further tested, analysts say.
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DTN News: India - Indigenous AWACS To Be Flight-Tested By 2011

Defense News: DTN News: India - Indigenous AWACS To Be Flight-Tested By 2011
Source: DTN News / The Hindu
(NSI News Source Info) HYDERABAD, India - November 3, 2010: Even as the Indian Air Force (IAF) is likely to acquire the third Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) from Israel by December, India is in the process of developing nine home-grown, state-of-the-art versions and the first of them is expected to be flight-tested by the end of next year.

Five frontline laboratories of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are working to develop the system which would be 85 per cent indigenous, Prahlada, Chief Controller, R & D (Aerospace and Services Interaction), DRDO, told The Hindu here. The Centre for Airborne Systems, Defence Avionics Research Establishment, Defence Electronics Research Laboratory, Defence Electronics Application Laboratory and Electronics and Radar Development Establishment are involved in the prestigious project.

While three of the systems would be integrated on board the Brazilian Embraer EMB 145 jet and delivered by 2014, the aircraft on which the remaining six AWACS would be mounted was yet to be decided. The DRDO received the sanction for developing the six AWACS costing Rs.10,000 crore, he added. The delivery of these AWACS to the IAF would begin from 2015. They would be used for air defence, surveillance and network-centric operations.

Military aerostats

With the three services requiring several aerostats, the DRDO would be making two types of military aerostats — the first type to carry military payloads up to an altitude of 1,000 metres and the second up to a height of 5,000 metres.

Already a 1,000-metre aerostat was afloat and its functions were demonstrated to both the Army and Air Force, he added.

Dr. Prahlada said the aerostats would be used for surveillance, jamming of electronic systems, intelligence data gathering and for communication relay.

The radar of the 1,000-metre aerostat would have a coverage of 150 km, while that of the 5,000-metre one would be up to 200 to 250 km.


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DTN News: Oshkosh Showcases New Technologies On LCTV

Defense News: DTN News: Oshkosh Showcases New Technologies On LCTV
Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation
(NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - November 3, 2010: Oshkosh Defense has unveiled its Light Combat Tactical Vehicle (LCTV) technology demonstrator on which the company is exhibiting several new component designs.

LCTV is designedM to be lighter and more manoeuverable than Oshkosh's mine-resistant ambush-protected all-terrain vehicle (M-ATV), although it carries lighter armour and is not as protected against roadside bombs as the M-ATV, Chis Yakes, the company's vice president for advanced products told Jane's .

Oshkosh premiered the demonstration vehicle - which looks like a smaller variant of the M-ATV - at the annual Association of the US Army (AUSA) conference in Washington, DC.

Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), today unveiled a vehicle to demonstrate the future of light tactical wheeled vehicles at the AUSA 2010 Annual Meeting & Exposition.

This vehicle, called the Light Combat Tactical Vehicle (LCTV), features the company’s latest advancements in off-road mobility, performance and protection for the U.S. military – including the next-generation of TAK-4® independent suspension systems. The new system provides increased off-road mobility, improved vehicle maneuverability and smoother ride quality.

“The LCTV technologies represent a forward-thinking, customer-guided approach to research and development, and more than 80 years of experience selling vehicles to the military,” said Ken Juergens, Oshkosh Defense vice president and general manager, Joint Programs. “Our new TAK-4 system will further expand the vehicles’ off-road capabilities to make military routes less predictable and Warfighters less susceptible to roadside attacks. Combined with our ProPulse diesel-electric powertrain and modular capsule design, the LCTV provides a glimpse into the survivability and mobility potential of the U.S. military’s light vehicle fleets.”

The ProPulse® technology delivers up to 20 percent improved fuel economy and has 70 kW of available military-grade power. The bolt-together capsule design – proven on the Oshkosh MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) and legacy MRAPs – allows for vehicle upgrades and continuous enhancements to the capsule without having to weld or conduct major fabrication.

The next-generation TAK-4 suspension system delivers 20 inches of independent wheel travel. It also uses a larger shock absorber to deliver an even smoother ride quality at increased speeds and is adjustable to reduce vehicle height for better transportability. Like the demonstration vehicle’s other technologies, it is scalable for use on light, medium and heavy fleets. Oshkosh’s current TAK-4 independent suspension system has been proven in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, where it has been successfully integrated on multiple vehicle platforms to include the M-ATV, Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR), and other legacy MRAP vehicles.

Oshkosh’s ProPulse technology has been demonstrated on the Oshkosh Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) A3 and the Oshkosh MTVR, which are undergoing testing with the Army and Marine Corps respectively. “The modular nature of the Oshkosh ProPulse system allows for easy integration and flexibility for the future, such as the inclusion of fuel cells for power generation,” Juergens added.

The demonstration vehicle’s capsule is optimized for weight and survivability, utilizing the latest and most proven technologies and techniques available to the Warfighter. Oshkosh has a history of delivering advanced survivability solutions. Its (HEMTT) A4 was the first vehicle delivered to the U.S. military with an integrated A-kit/B-kit armor configuration.

About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit www.oshkoshdefense.com.

About Oshkosh Corporation
Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corporation manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, visit www.oshkoshcorporation.com.

®, ™ All brand names referred to in this news release are trademarks of Oshkosh Corporation or its subsidiary companies.

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DTN News: Al Qaeda Unlucky Again In Cargo Bombing Attempt

Defense News: DTN News: Al Qaeda Unlucky Again In Cargo Bombing Attempt
Source: By Scott Stewart STRATFOR
(NSI News Source Info) KOTTAKKAL, Kerala, India - November 3, 2010: The Oct. 29 discovery of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) inside two packages shipped from Yemen launched a widespread search for other devices, and more than two dozen suspect packages have been tracked down so far. Some have been trailed in dramatic fashion, as when two U.S. F-15 fighter aircraft escorted an Emirates Air passenger jet Oct. 29 as it approached and landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. To date, however, no other parcels have been found to contain explosive devices.

The two parcels that did contain IEDs were found in East Midlands, England, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and both appear to have been sent by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Qaeda’s jihadist franchise in Yemen. As we’ve long discussed, AQAP has demonstrated a degree of creativity in planning its attacks and an intent to attack the United States. It has also demonstrated the intent to attack aircraft, as evidenced by the failed Christmas Day bombing in 2009 involving Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to detonate an explosive device concealed in his underwear on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

A tactical analysis of the latest attempt suggests that the operation was not quite as creative as past attempts, though it did come very close to achieving its primary objective, which in this case (apparently) was to destroy aircraft. It does not appear that the devices ultimately were intended to be part of an attack against the Jewish institutions in the United States to which the parcels were addressed. Although the operation failed in its primary mission (taking down aircraft) it was successful in its secondary mission, which was to generate worldwide media coverage and sow fear and disruption in the West.

Tactical Details

The details that we have been able to collect so far concerning the configuration of the devices is that both were camouflaged in parcels and both contained a main charge of pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) that was to be detonated by a primary explosive charge of lead azide. PETN is a military-grade explosive commonly found in detonating cord and some plastic explosives. PETN was also the primary explosive in the underwear bomb used in AQAP’s failed Christmas Day attack as well as its attempted assassination of Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef using an IED concealed inside the attacker’s body. Lead azide is a common primary explosive used in detonators, and it can also be used to effectively detonate an explosive such as PETN. According to media reports, the two devices contained 10.58 ounces and 15.11 ounces of PETN, both of which are larger charges than the 2.8 ounces contained in the Christmas Day device and more than the amount believed to have been used in the attack on Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

The device discovered in East Midlands appears to have been hidden inside an ink toner cartridge hidden inside a computer printer, and from photographs it appears to have been designed to be detonated by a cell-phone motherboard altered to serve as an initiator. Taking the cell-phone motherboard out of its case and affixing it to the body of the printer made it appear to be part of the printer itself if the device was scanned. The addition of the cell-phone motherboard indicates the device was likely intended to be detonated when a call or message was received by the phone. We are unsure if the phone was utilizing the GPS feature some phones have to track the location of the device, but it is a possibility.

Photos of the Dubai device suggest that, while it was also camouflaged inside the toner cartridge of a computer printer, it may have had a different design. It also appears to have included an appliance timer. (We have been unable to determine if there was a similar timer in the East Midlands device.) If both a cell phone and a timer were involved in the Dubai device (and possibly the East Midlands device), it is possible that the timer was intended to provide a secondary fail-safe firing chain to detonate the device in case the cell phone failed, or that it was added to provide a minimum arming time before the device could be detonated using the cell phone. A minimum arming time would prevent the device from detonating prematurely.

Either way, based upon this construction, the devices do not appear to have been intended to explode when the parcels they were contained in were being opened, like most parcel and letter bombs. This means that the two Chicago-area Jewish congregations the parcels were addressed to were not the true intended targets of the devices and that, in all likelihood, the devices were intended to target aircraft and not Jewish institutions. The devices were likely addressed to Jewish institutions because the bomb-makers needed some target inside the United States, and listing Jewish institutions would be sure to create panic and fear should the devices fail to function as designed or be discovered during a security check. The attackers probably intended to destroy the aircraft carrying the packages out over the Atlantic Ocean or perhaps over the U.S. coastline as the aircraft came into cell-phone range.

As would be expected, the two packages appear to have been shipped using a fraudulent identity. The person whose name was used, Hanan al-Samawi, a 22-year-old computer engineering student at Sana’a University, was arrested by Yemeni authorities Oct. 30 and released the next day after the shipping agent told authorities that she was not the woman who signed the shipping manifest.

Consistent Themes

As we’ve noted before, some jihadist groups have a fixation on attacking aviation targets. In response to this persistent threat, aviation security has changed dramatically in the post-9/11 era, and great effort has been made at considerable expense to increase the difficulty of attacking passenger aircraft. Changes made in the wake of the Christmas Day attempt in 2009 have made it even more difficult for AQAP to get a suicide operative on board an aircraft. The pressure the group is under in Yemen is also likely making it harder for it to interact directly with potential suicide bomber recruits who are able to travel, like Abdulmutallab. Indeed, AQAP has been telling aspiring jihadist operatives from the West not to try to travel to Yemen but to conduct simple attacks at home.

There has long been an evolving competition between airline security policies and terrorist tactics as both are adapted in response to the other. Because of recent developments in aviation security, AQAP apparently has tried again to re-shape the paradigm by moving away from suicide-bomber attacks against aircraft and back to a very old modus operandi — hiding explosive devices in packages and electronic devices.

Explosive devices concealed in electronic items designed to be loaded or carried aboard aircraft go back to Palestinian groups in the 1980s such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and, of course, to the Libyan operatives behind thePan Am Flight 103 bombing. With measures to track luggage with passengers instituted in the wake of Pan Am Flight 103, terrorist planners changed their tactics and began utilizing modular IED designs that could be carried on board aircraft and left behind or initiated by suicide operatives. They also began to explore the use of cargo carried on board passenger airplanes as an alternative.

After the original Operation Bojinka was derailed by an apartment fire in Manila that exposed the plan and caused operational planner Abdel Basit to flee the country, Basit (commonly known as Ramzi Yousef) returned to Pakistan and began plotting again. Since word of his modular baby-doll devices had leaked out to airline security personnel, he decided instead to use air cargo carried aboard passenger aircraft as a way to destroy them.

As in the attack against Philippines Airlines Flight 434 in December 1994, Basit wanted to conduct a test run of his parcel-bomb plot. He constructed a parcel-bomb package that contained cutlery as well as liquid explosives in order to confuse X-ray screeners. He also instructed one of his followers, Istaique Parker, to ship the package from Bangkok aboard an American airliner to the United States. Basit’s plan failed when Parker got cold feet. Instead of carrying out the assignment, he gave Basit a bogus excuse about needing an exporter’s license that would require a photograph and fingerprints to ship items to the United States. Basit and Parker returned to Pakistan where, motivated by greed, Parker turned Basit in for the reward money, and U.S. agents then moved in for the arrest. Had Basit not been arrested, there is very little question that he eventually would have tried to set his parcel-bomb plan in motion. At the time of his arrest he had several wristwatches in his possession that had been altered to function as IED timers.

All of which is to say that, even though this latest parcel-bomb plot was foiled, militants will continue to seek alternate ways to smuggle IEDs and IED components aboard aircraft. AQAP in particular has demonstrated that its operational planners carefully study security measures and then plan the type of IED to employ in an attack based upon those measures.

In an article posted in February in the group’s online magazine Sada al-Malahim, titled “Secrets of the Innovative Bomb,” the AQAP author noted that the group pays attention to X-ray machines, metal detectors and detection equipment intended to pick up explosive residue and odors and then seeks vulnerabilities in the system that it can exploit. Camouflaging an IED inside a computer printer was apparently successful in bypassing screening measures, though it is interesting that nobody seems to have asked why such an item was being shipped from Yemen to the United States instead of the other way around, or why someone in Yemen was shipping such items to Jewish institutions in the United States. It appears that even after the initial alert went out, authorities in the United Kingdom missed the device the first time they inspected the parcel, highlighting the effectiveness of the AQAP camouflage job.

Like the Bojinka plot, the latest AQAP parcel-bomb operation may have included a proof-of-mission trial run. There was a crash of a UPS flight in Dubai on Sept. 3 that stands out as suspicious, given the circumstances surrounding the crash and in light of these recently recovered IEDs. UAE authorities said Nov. 1 that there was no sign of an explosion in that accident, although the damage done as a result of the crash and subsequent fire may have made it difficult to uncover such evidence. Undoubtedly, U.S. and UAE authorities will be taking another careful look at the incident in light of the Oct. 29 case. Other recent cargo-aircraft accidents in the region will likely be re-examined as well.

Also like the 1995 Bangkok plot, this recent attempt may have been thwarted by an insider. There have been several recent defections of AQAP personnel to law enforcement authorities, such as Jabir Jubran al-Fayfi, who recently turned himself in to Saudi authorities (although AQAP claims he was arrested in Yemen). If al-Fayfi did indeed surrender, he might be cooperating with the Saudis and may have been able to provide the actionable intelligence authorities used to identify and thwart this plot, though it is unlikely that he provided the exact tracking numbers, as noted in some media reports, since the packages were shipped after he surrendered. If the Saudis did indeed provide the exact tracking numbers to their American counterparts, the intelligence had to have come from another source.

In the end, this AQAP attack failed to achieve its immediate objective of destroying aircraft. The planners of the attack probably hoped that the parcels would be shipped on passenger aircraft, and it appears that they were aboard passenger aircraft for at least some of their journey. However, like the failed assassination of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and the Christmas Day attack, this attempt was successful only in its secondary objective, which was to generate global media coverage and sow fear in the West. Given the low cost and low risk associated with such an attack, this is quite an accomplishment — although the failed attack will certainly cause the U.S. government to turn up the heat on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to do something about AQAP. Saleh has long played a delicate balancing act of using the jihadists as allies against his enemies in the country’s north and south and has resisted launching an all-out offensive against AQAP. The U.S. government may also expand its unilateral operations against the group.

As long as AQAP’s operational leaders and its bombmakers — like Ibrahim Hassan Tali al Asiri, brother of the suicide bomber in the Prince Mohammed bin Nayef attack — remain free, they will continue trying to exploit security vulnerabilities and attack U.S. and Saudi targets. So far, the group has come close to pulling off several spectacular attacks but has suffered unlucky breaks that have caused each attack to fail. However, to paraphrase an old Irish Republican Army taunt, they only have to get lucky once.

Read more: Al Qaeda Unlucky Again in Cargo Bombing Attempt | STRATFOR
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