Friday, February 3, 2012

DTN News - BRAZIL DEFENSE NEWS: Brazil Minister Heads To India To Improve Defense Ties

Defense News: DTN News - BRAZIL DEFENSE NEWS: Brazil Minister Heads To India To Improve Defense Ties
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Defense News - AFP
 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 3, 2012: Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim is to travel to India this week for talks on boosting bilateral military cooperation, his office announced.
Brazil and India are members of the BRICS group of emerging powers (along with China, Russia and South Africa) and Brasilia views its multi-faceted partnership with New Delhi, including in the defense field, as a “strategic priority.”

Amorim was due in New Delhi on Feb. 7 at the start of a five-day visit that will include talks with Prime Minister Manmoham Singh and Defense Minister A.K. Antony as well as visits of military installations, his ministry said in a statement released Feb. 1.

India “has one of the world’s biggest armed forces” and like Brazil “seeks to reduce its technological dependence on other countries,” the statement added. “There is a great potential for scientific, technological cooperation (with India), to develop projects of mutual interest.”

Brazil is keen on expanding its own defense industry and its military purchases to upgrade its air and naval forces are conditioned on technology transfer and construction in this country.

Amorim was expected to discuss naval cooperation with his Indian counterparts, particularly plans to build aircraft carriers and Scorpene-class submarines, in addition to expand exchanges between military academies of the two countries.

India announced Feb. 1 that it has selected the Rafale, a modern multi-role jet built by French firm Dassault Aviation, as its preferred next-generation interceptor, but details of the $12 billion (9.1 billion euros) contract remain to be ironed out.

Last December, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said during a visit to Brazil that he was confident that Brasilia would buy the Rafale because the aircraft’s technology cannot be matched.

The Rafale is competing against U.S. aviation giant Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Swedish manufacturer Saab’s Gripen jet to supply Brazil with 36 multi-role combat aircraft.

India has also purchased Legacy 600 business jets from Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer.

Meanwhile, Amorim was to stop in the southern Italian city of Palermo on Feb. 6 for talks with his Italian counterpart Giampaolo Di Paola And on Feb. 10, the Brazilian minister will be in Rabat for talks with Moroccan Defense Minister Abdellatif Loudiyi and Foreign Minister Saad Eddine Othmani.

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Defense News - AFP
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - SINGAPORE DEFENSE NEWS: Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Steps Up Deterrent Capabilities

Defense News: DTN News - SINGAPORE DEFENSE NEWS: Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Steps Up Deterrent Capabilities
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Flight International
 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 2, 2012: This month's Singapore air show falls on the 70th anniversary of the fall of Singapore to Japan in the Second World War. While Asia is an unimaginably different place now, Singapore's leaders have never forgotten the speed with which Singapore fell - or the three years of brutal occupation that followed.
Memories of the war have played no small part in the development of Singapore's world-class military, backed with what is unquestionably southeast Asia's most powerful air force. While Singapore will never have the strategic depth of a larger nation, its advanced military will create a "poison shrimp" dynamic to give any aggressor pause.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is unique in southeast Asia. Apart from being the region's largest, it is also the best trained, led, and equipped. It places a high priority on maintaining its equipment to ensure both readiness and safety. While political concerns are inevitably a part of acquisition decisions, it chooses aircraft and weapons systems based mainly on their utility in combat - something that is not always the primary consideration in other countries.
rsaf f-16 & ah-64d, billypix
 © Billypix
Tim Huxley is an analyst at the International Institute of Strategic Studies, and has written a book about Singapore's armed forces. "Over the last forty years, Singapore's air force has evolved incrementally toward having an extremely powerful capability by regional standards," he says.
"This is not just in terms of modernity and weapons, but in the way equipment integrates to form an overall air capability. It is an integrated and well-balanced force, and careful thought has been given to logistics."
For the time being, Singapore appears content with its fighter fleet. The RSAF has yet to reveal its future fighter procurement plans, and there is no major competition under way to obtain new fighters. Indeed, the last of Singapore's Boeing F-15SGs - a variant of the F-15E - have yet to be delivered. Nonetheless, Singapore will eventually need to make decisions about its future force structure.
Analysts and industry experts interviewed for this article are all but unanimous that Singapore will one day obtain Lockheed Martin's F-35. Like Israel, Singapore is a tier four "security co-operation participant" in the programme. While it cannot influence the design of the aircraft, it has access to programme information and can request special studies. Sources say Singapore could also be interested in the F-35B, the type's short take-off and vertical landing variant.
Huxley says Singapore's tier four status is appropriate because the eventual size of any Singapore F-35 buy would not have justified the country being a founding partner in the programme. "In all military areas Singapore tries, where possible, to acquire a qualitative edge over possible contenders, and other countries feel that only the F-35 offers this qualitative edge in the future. There is no other similar equipment in the pipeline, and it's effectively the only potential in terms of a new airframe."
Richard Bitzinger, senior fellow of the Military Transformations programme at Singapore's Rajaratnam School of International Studies, thinks Singapore could eventually buy up to 100 F-35s. "Delays in the F-35 programme are not a problem for Singapore because they probably won't place an order for several more years anyway," he says. "In 2015, I could see them upgrading some of their [Lockheed Martin] F-16s, and also ordering 40-odd F-35s, with an additional F-35 order perhaps in 2020."
Given Singapore's long history with the F-16. it is a leading candidate to upgrade these aircraft. In this it would follow Taiwan and South Korea, which in 2011 disclosed plans to upgrade their F-16 fleets. The salient element of these upgrades is the addition of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The contenders are Northrop Grumman's Scalable Agile Beam Radar and Raytheon's Advanced Combat Radar. Industry sources say the first AESA to win an order will be all but assured to hold the entire F-16 AESA upgrade market and, by default, ascertain the eventual radar modification for Singapore's F-16s.
Bitzinger says an F-16 upgrade could also see Singapore retire the last of its venerable Northrop F-5s, which have been in service since the 1970s.
A likely beneficiary of any RSAF F-16 upgrade programme would be domestic maintenance, repair and overhaul provider ST Aerospace. The company has an intimate relationship with the air force, which includes dispatching technicians in RSAF uniform to provide support for aircraft on overseas deployments. It also has a long history of complex upgrades, including a programme in the 1980s to install a non-afterburning version of the General Electric F404 engine on the McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, which resulted in a lighter aircraft with 500lb (2.2kN) more thrust. The company also routinely performs upgrades to Lockheed C-130 transports, a niche in which it claims to be "a centre of excellence".
rsaf kc-135 tanker,
Nonetheless, ST Aerospace president Chang Cheow Teck is tight-lipped about the prospect of upgrading RSAF F-16s. He will only say that, historically, the company's military upgrade capabilities have been driven by the air force's needs.
Eventually, Singapore will also need to replace its Fokker 50s. The decision facing the RSAF is whether to acquire a newer aircraft of similar capability, such as the Ruag DO228NG, which will be attending the Singapore air show for the first time, or a larger platform, such as surplus US Navy Lockheed P-3C Orions or even a variant of the Boeing P-8A Poseidon.
In 2010, Lockheed revealed Singapore had issued a letter of request to look at the P-3. Mark Jarvis, Lockheed's director, design and production for P-3 programmes, says Singapore's interest could be for about four or five aircraft, possibly drawing on the configuration of the 12 secondhand Orions due to be delivered to Taiwan starting this year.
Given Singapore's limited economic exclusion zone, and that the majority of its patrols take place close to home, experts feel the P-8A is an unlikely choice.
"If they really think they will conduct long-range maritime patrol as a permanent mission they might [buy the P-8A], but on the other hand they might just keep flying around the region," says Bitzinger. He adds that while Singapore has a strong tendency to buy new aircraft, in some circumstances, such as with the Boeing KC-135 tanker, it will buy used equipment. "The most important thing with maritime patrol is not the airframe, but what goes into it," he adds.
Huxley says for long-range patrols Singapore already has a resource in place with its six Formidable-class frigates. The Republic of Singapore Navy has openly stated that these large warships were obtained to defend the nation's sea lines of communications. A major element of the reach of these ships is their Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk shipborne helicopters.
Another area for potential new aircraft is in the tanker role, in which Singapore operates ex-US Air Force KC-135s. These aircraft provide air-to-air refuelling for both the RSAF and its allies, but suffer similar obsolescence issues to USAF KC-135s. During the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition in Malaysia in December 2011, an RSAF contingent visited the Royal Australian Air Force's Airbus Military A330-based KC-30A mutli-role tanker/transports, on static display. A source said the delegation was interested to learn about the aircraft's capabilities, which also includes the ability to carry passengers and cargo.
As with its fighters, Singapore also appears to be in no rush to replace its key tactical platforms, namely Eurocopter Super Puma and Cougar helicopters and C-130H Hercules. Helicopter suppliers have heard nothing about a Super Puma/Cougar replacement, with industry observers believing Singapore is happy to stay with these types for another decade.
Ultimately, it is difficult to obtain a clear picture of the RSAF's acquisition plans and the future roles this envisages. Bitzinger feels this aids the all-important deterrent role of the Singapore armed forces. "This ambiguity lets the other guy project his concerns and fears," he says.
"The last thing the Singaporeans want is to fight last-ditch battles on Singaporean soil," he adds. "A lot of this goes back to the fall of Singapore in 1942. That history is very poignant to them - the idea that once the Japanese crossed the straits of Johore, it was all over. They never want to have this happen again. They will take the war to the enemy."

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Flight International
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - PAKISTAN TALIBAN CONNECTION: Taliban Vows To Retake Afghanistan - Report

Defense News: DTN News - PAKISTAN TALIBAN CONNECTION: Taliban Vows To Retake Afghanistan - Report
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Reuters
 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada /  KABUL, Afghanistan- February 2, 2012:  The Taliban, backed by Pakistan, remains confident despite a decade of NATO efforts that it will retake control of Afghanistan, NATO said in a new classified report that raises more questions about Afghanistan's future as foreign forces withdraw.
"Taliban commanders, along with rank and file members, increasingly believe their control of Afghanistan is inevitable. Though the Taliban suffered severely in 2011, its strength, motivation, funding and tactical proficiency remains intact," according to an excerpt of the report, published by the Times of London and the BBC.
"While they are weary of war, they see little hope for a negotiated peace. Despite numerous tactical setbacks, surrender is far from their collective mindset. For the moment, they believe that continuing the fight and expanding Taliban governance are their only viable courses of action," the published excerpts said.
Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, confirmed the existence of the document, but military officials downplayed it as a depiction of the views of thousands of Taliban detainees who were interviewed by NATO officials.
"The classified document in question is a compilation of Taliban detainee opinions," Cummings said. "It's not an analysis, nor is it meant to be considered an analysis."
Still, the published excerpts paint a troubling picture of the Afghan war more than 10 years after the Taliban government was toppled, and as foreign forces begin to go home in earnest.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday the United States was aiming to complete its combat role in Afghanistan by mid- to late 2013, shifting to a training role.
The report's findings - including assertions that the Taliban had not formally split from international extremists - could also reinforce the view of Taliban hard-liners that they should not negotiate with the United States and President Hamid Karzai's unpopular government while in a position of strength.
Hours after the Times report, the Afghan Taliban said that no peace negotiation process had been agreed to with the international community, "particularly the Americans."
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that before any negotiations, confidence-building measures must be completed, putting pressure on Washington to meet demands for the release of five Taliban in U.S. custody.
The hard-line Islamist movement also said it had no plans to hold preliminary peace talks with Afghanistan's government in Saudi Arabia, dismissing media reports of talks in the kingdom.
Britain's Kabul ambassador, William Patey, wrote on his Twitter feed that "if elements of the Taliban think that in 2015 they can take control of Afghanistan they will be in for a shock." He did not say if he was referring to the NATO report.
"We really do believe that militarily we are making an impact on the Taliban," said Captain John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman.
The published excerpts of the report also gave further indication of the Taliban's reliance on neighboring Pakistan, where elements of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency has long had links to the Taliban.
"Reflections from detainees indicate that Pakistan's manipulation of Taliban senior leadership continues unabated. The Taliban themselves do not trust Pakistan, yet there is a widespread acceptance of the status quo in lieu of realistic alternatives," another excerpt published by the Times read.
The report overshadowed a visit to Kabul by Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar designed to repair ties and raise the issue with Karzai of peace talks with the Taliban.
"I can disregard this as a potentially strategic leak. ... This is old wine in an even older bottle," she told reporters, repeating Pakistan's denials it backs militant groups.
Khar, whose visit was the first high-level meeting in months between officials from both countries, added the neighbours should stop blaming each other for strained cross-border ties.
The Times said the "highly classified" report was put together by the U.S. military at Bagram air base, near Kabul, for top NATO officers last month. It was based on interrogations of more than 4,000 Taliban and al Qaeda detainees, it said.
Kirby declined to comment on the specifics of the report, but did acknowledge "long-standing concerns about the ties between elements of the ISI and the Taliban. This is not a new notion."
Large swathes of Afghanistan have been handed back to Afghan security forces, with the last foreign combat troops due to leave by the end of 2014. While some foreign soldiers will stay, likely to conduct counterterrorism operations, many Afghans doubt their security forces can stave off insurgents.
NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu, speaking in Brussels, played down the implications and said a surge offensive had seen the Taliban suffer "tremendous setbacks."
"We know that they have lost a lot of ground and a lot of leaders, and we also know that support for the Taliban is at an all-time low," she said.
As of January 1, 889 U.S. soldiers had been killed in a conflict that was launched after the September 11, 2001, attacks and has drained almost half a trillion dollars from U.S. coffers.
New accusations of Pakistani collusion with the Taliban could further strain ties between Western powers and Islamabad.
Critics say Pakistan uses militants as proxies to counter the growing influence of India in Afghanistan. The belief that Pakistan supports the insurgents is widely held in Afghanistan.
"It would be a mistake now for the international community to leave Afghanistan, and drop us in a dark ocean," said Afghan telecommunications worker Farid Ahmad Totakhil.
Pakistan is reviewing ties with the United States, which have suffered a series of setbacks since a U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil in May last year humiliated Pakistan's powerful generals.
A November 26 cross-border NATO air attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers deepened the crisis, prompting Pakistan to close supply routes to NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Pakistan is seen as critical to U.S. efforts to stabilise Afghanistan. Yet Islamabad has resisted U.S. pressure to go after insurgent groups like the Taliban, and argues Washington's approach overlooks complex realities on the ground.
Pakistan says the United States should attempt to bring all militant groups into a peace process and fears a 2014 combat troop exit could be hasty, plunging the region into the kind of chaos seen after the Soviet exit in 1989.
"They don't need any backing," Tariq Azim, of the Pakistani Senate's Defence Committee, told Reuters, referring to the Taliban. "Everybody knows that after 10 years, they (NATO) have not been able to control a single province in Afghanistan because of the wrong policies they have been following."
The Taliban announced this month it would open a political office in Qatar to support possible reconciliation talks. There has been talk of efforts to hold separate talks in Saudi Arabia.
U.S. lawmakers also pressed the Pentagon on Wednesday to step up measures to ensure Western soldiers are not attacked by Afghan forces or employees of security firms working with NATO.
France said it would withdraw its troops completely by the end of 2013 after four of its soldiers were killed by a rogue Afghan soldier, the latest such "insider" attack.
The U.S. Defense Department said that over 40 similar attacks on foreign personnel had taken place since mid-2007, some of them by people working with private security contractors.
"We ... owe it to our military personnel to do everything we can to reduce this sort of risk," said Representative Adam Smith, the senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.
Pentagon officials said NATO took extensive steps to vet Afghans working with foreign troops and was exploring ways to prevent future attacks.
(Additional reporting by Dan Magnowski, Rob Taylor and Amie Ferris-Rotman in KABUL, David Brunnstrom in BRUSSELS, Qasim Nauman in ISLAMABAD, Missy Ryan in WASHINGTON; Writing by Michael Georgy and Rob Taylor; Editing by Robert Birsel and Peter Cooney)


*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Reuters
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News