by Gail Helmer
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Thursday, December 06, 2001
Jane's Defence Weekly
Putin approves plan to abolish conscription
Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a programme to end conscription and make the Russian armed forces fully professional. Government spokesman Alexie Gromov made the announcement on 21 November, but did not provide details of which branches of the armed forces would see the introduction of professional troops first, nor did he specify when such changes might be introduced.
Seoul concern over North's biochemical stockpile
The South Korean Ministry of National Defence has expressed its mounting concern over North Korea's stockpiling of biological and chemical warfare agents. In a testimony before the National Assembly on 19 November, Minister of Defence Kim Dong-shin said North Korea was estimated to have stockpiled up to 5,000 tonnes of various biological and chemical warfare agents in an increasing arsenal.
Global first for Premier Farnell with eProcurement solution
Premier Farnell has gone live with the first global, end-to-end eProcurement solution for BAE Systems. A leading global electronic components and industrial products distributor, Premier Farnell is currently the only major supplier of this type to work with BAE Systems on eMarketplace technology, and is convinced it will gain significant competitive advantage with this connection.
Mergers, teamings and acquisitions - Northrop Grumman Corporation
Northrop Grumman Corporation can breathe a big sigh of relief. The corporation learned on 2 November that the US Department of Justice had closed its investigation of the company's previously announced proposal to acquire Newport News Shipbuilding Inc. of Virginia. This allows the company to proceed with the acquisition, and on 8 November the companies announced they have signed a definitive agreement under which Northrop Grumman will acquire Newport News.
STN Atlas unveils ground-based air-defense system
Rheinmetall-owned STN Atlas Elektronik unveiled a new application for its ASRAD (Atlas Short-Range Air-Defense) ground-based air-defense system during the MSPO 2001 defense exhibition in Kielce, Poland.
US plans new hypersonic missile trials
The US Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are seeking approval for their proposed HyFly science and technology program to demonstrate an inexpensive long-range hypersonic tactical missile - costing as little as US$200,000 in production - that could be launched from aircraft, surface ships or submarines to attack ground targets. The effort, which could start in the middle of Fiscal Year 2002 (FY02), would support ONR's Time Critical Strike future naval capability and could fulfil other requirements. Ground-based sled trials of submunitions dispensing in 2003 could be followed by flights of all-up rounds from the summer of 2004.
Canada pulls out of IRIS-T project
A few days before the October meeting of the IRIS-T Steering Committee in Athens, and an associated meeting of the top management board of all IRIS-T companies, the Canadian Department of National Defence informed the IRIS-T programme management office that they had decided to withdraw from the programme.
USA establishes forward base, deploys marines
Elements of the 15th and 26th Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable) that deployed in Afghanistan last week are a less-specialised force than the various US Special Operations Command elements that have been operating in the country for several weeks.
Traditional anti-personnel landmines will one day be relics of the past. But what will replace them? Nick Brown examines the potential alternatives.
SA-80 revamp could mean readmittance to NATO list
The British Army's extensively upgraded SA-80 5.56mm small-arms system -comprising the L85A1 Individual Weapon (IW) and L86A1 Light Support Weapon (LSW) - is described by UK Minister for the Armed Forces, Adam Ingram, as "now among the very best weapons in the world".
USAF targets more capable B-1B fleet
The US Air Force (USAF) is modernising its fleet of Boeing (formerly Rockwell) B-1B Lancer bombers to improve the design's lethality, survivability and sustainability. The goal is to maintain the aircraft as a viable platform beyond 2010 and improve its combat mission-capable rate, which averaged 60.2% in Fiscal Year 2001 (FY01).
Air control centre delivery will increase RAF efficiency
Expected to significantly enhance the UK Royal Air Force's (RAF's) out-of-area tactical command and control (C2) capability, the service's delayed Tactical Air Control Centre (TACC) is undergoing final contractor installation and test with Thales Defence Information Systems (TDIS) of the UK.
Agusta and the State of Qatar announced plans at the Dubai Air Show to set up a helicopter maintenance and assembly plant in Qatar. The new plant will be a joint venture between Agusta and Gulf Helicopters, an affiliate of state-owned Qatar.
Offshore Logistics (OLOG) announced a net income of $24.7m in the six months to 30 September 2001, almost double that in the same period in 2000. Revenues were $234.4m. These record revenues and earnings, said president and COO George Small, were achieved in spite of the grounding of aircraft in the Gulf of Mexico for three days following September 11. North Sea operations continued to show improvement in margins, he added.
An announcement by the US of a $73m emergency aids package for Pakistan ends the arms embargo, which has been in force for nearly a decade. The assistance is intended to strengthen Pakistan's western border with Afghanistan and will include six Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopters, although it is unlikely that these will include the Longbow radar.
INDIA - MiG-21 upgrade progress
The first of 123 Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-21bis-UPG fighters (originally known as the MiG-21-93) to be upgraded by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at its Nasik facility made its maiden flight on 31 August, writes Jon Lake.
US Army's UH-60M upgrade commences
The first three US Army Black Hawk helicopters to be upgraded to the new UH-60M configuration - two UH-60As and one UH-60L - arrived at Sikorsky Support Services Inc. (SSSI) at Troy, Alabama, last month.
Airlift for the 21st century
Airlift and shortfall are words that seem to go together, but satisfying requirements is an ongoing challenge, writes Bill Sweetman.
Slim-line pylon boosts Swiss F/A-18 performance
Switzerland has been able to increase the air-combat performance of its F/A-18 fleet by developing its own low-drag launcher for the Raytheon AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), writes Doug Richardson. Developed by RUAG, the new SUU-84A launcher carries a single AMRAAM or AIM-9 missile.
Belgian/Dutch Tripartite mine-hunters to be modernised
Six Flower-class coastal minehunters (MHCs) of the Belgian Navy and 10 Alkmaar-class MHCs of the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) are to undergo modernisation under the much delayed PAM (Project Adaptation Mine countermeasures) Phase 1 programme. STN Atlas Elektronik (working in partnership with Thales Underwater Systems) has been selected as prime contractor to upgrade these Tripartite-type minehunters.
Shaping tomorrow's big stick
Theodore Roosevelt, former US President and Assistant Secretary of the Navy, was fond of quoting a West African proverb: "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." A century later, the aircraft carrier named after him is on patrol in the Arabian Sea. Sticks don't come much bigger, writes Mark Hewish.
Kursk inquiry continues
Investigators are continuing to sift for evidence in the devastated compartments of the Project 949A Antyey-(NATO 'Oscar II') class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine (SSGN), Kursk, now in dry dock PD-50 in the Russian port of Roslyako, near Murmansk, after its salvage from the bottom of the Barents Sea.
NASSCO takes T-AKE logistics ship order
The US Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) a US$709 million contract to design and build the first two Lewis and Clarke-class T-AKE logistics ships for the US Military Sealift Command (MSC). With contract options for an eventual class of 12 totalling around US$3.7 billion, it is potentially NASSCO's largest ever naval shipbuilding order.
PAM minehunter upgrade awarded
STN Atlas Elektronik, working with Thales Underwater Systems, has been selected as prime contractor for the much-delayed PAM phase 1 programme for the joint upgrade of six Belgian Navy and 10 Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) 'Tripartite'-class minehunters. A contract, worth some US$245 million, should be signed by the year's end.
Assassination as US policy
Although there is, as yet, little evidence that US-led coalition forces operating in Afghanistan are any nearer to locating their prime objective, Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, it is becoming clear that Washington has no interest in staging any kind of trial. This could mean that any evidence US intelligence agencies claim to have gathered linking Bin Laden with the terrorist attacks on 11 September will never be made public. JID commissioned a leading anti-terrorism specialist to prepare an exclusive report on the implications of an apparently fundamental shift in US policy towards assassinations.
Romania scrutinises Muslim business links
Investigations into the roots of Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network are increasingly turning to the Balkans which has been transformed by a decade of war and economic crisis into an ideal breeding ground for terrorism.
Frustration mounts over Arafat's leadership
There have been recent intelligence reports of growing frustration within the Palestinian leadership over Yasser Arafat's conduct of the 15- month long intifada.
Algeria's civil war flares up again
The conflict in Algeria against Islamic extremists, whose insurgency was launched by men who fought with Osama bin Laden against the Soviet Army in Afghanistan, has flared up again.
UNITA faces being blacklisted as a terrorist group
After waging battle in Angola since the movement's establishment more than three decades ago, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) appears to be nearing the end of the line in its once-heralded struggle for independence. The United Nations and the international community are facing difficult policy choices about what should be done to bring peace to this southern African nation.
Lessons from the Soviet experience
As America embarks on its anti-terrorist campaign in the heart of Central Asia, many armchair strategists are seeking lessons from history that might prove relevant to the situation. While the USSR's decade-long 'bleeding wound' experience is often cited as a cautionary tale for what's about to occur, the historical parallels should not be pushed too far. While the martial skill of the Afghans is a constant, there are few other similarities to the Soviet experience, on either a strategic or a tactical level.
The Afghan theatre and the fate of Pakistan
A new 'Great Game', with ominous portents, is emerging in and around Afghanistan as the war-ravaged country struggles to foster peace to end over two decades of conflict. Its ostensible aim, following the rout of the extremist Taliban, led by the US-assisted Northern Alliance - a disparate group of Tajik, Uzbek and Shi'a Hazara groups, unified only in their opposition to the predominantly Pathan Taliban - is to keep Afghanistan united through a broad-based, multi-ethnic administration and to somehow drag it into the modern world.
Where will the 'Afghan Arabs' go?
The 'Afghan Arabs' are now the villains of the war on terror in Afghanistan. The imminent downfall of the Taliban and the killings of hundreds of them in the fight to protect their strongholds in Kabul, Mazar-e Sharif, Kunduz and Kandahar make these guest fighters a liability even to their Taliban hosts.
THERE are 65 of them and they hold the key to peace in some remote parts of the world. They form an Úlite corps whose existence is unknown to most people. One member has the daunting job of bringing peace to Afghanistan. These are the world's unsung heroes of democracy.
Northern Alliance officials have revealed that around 20 November several top Taliban leaders secretly delivered a handwritten letter and cassette tapes, indicating that they were ready to surrender and that they wanted to work out the details in person with two dozen specific alliance commanders whom they trusted, Washington Post reported on 1 December. Following the receipt of the Taliban messages, a dozen alliance commanders belonging to Pashtun tribal groups travelled by road from Kabul and from across the Pakistan border from Quetta in Baluchistan province as well as from Iran. They then reportedly fanned out through the southern provinces of Kandahar, Uruzgan and Helmand, the last redoubts of the Taliban, to open secret talks.
United States - Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
FBI Director Robert Mueller III on 3 December unveiled a plan to overhaul the bureau's top management, placing more emphasis on counterterrorism and cybercrime, Washington Post reported on 4 December. Mueller named four assistants who will oversee branches of the 27,000-strong agency and report to him directly. He said he will reorganize a dozen existing divisions into four major branches: criminal investigations, counterterrorism and counterintelligence, law enforcement services and administration. Two new units for cybercrime and internal security will be created.
Burundi - National Liberation Forces [Forces Nationales de Liberation(FNL)]
ABP news agency reported on 3 December that an FNL ambush has killed three and wounded several more people. The rebels attacked a minibus near Buhonga carrying 20 people. After the attack, the rebels retreated to Kiyenzi in Kanoysha commune.
India - People's War Group (PWG)
The Times of India reported on 4 December that Indian police estimated that 150 villagers aided a recent PWG attack on a police station in Koyyuru. Tribes in the area fear police repression as a result of the attack. PWG militants warned tribal members of dire consequences if they informed the police.
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