America Losing its Strategic Hold on Central Asia?
Over the past two years, US relations with former Soviet Central
Asia nations have collapsed. For the United States be able
to rapidly deploy troops or have theater strike capability
in the future, America will need new Central Asian allies
USS John C. Stennis Carrier
Strike Group Arrives in 5th Fleet
The USS John C. Stennis Carrier
Strike Group (JCSSG) entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of
operations (AOO) Feb.19 to conduct Maritime Security Operations
(MSO) in regional waters, as well as to provide support for
ground forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq. U.S. 5th Fleet’s
AOO encompasses 2.5 million square miles of water and includes
the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of
Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean. The strike group comprises
the the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN
74), with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 on board, Destroyer Squadron
(DESRON)21 with the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG
54), guided-missile destroyers USS O’Kane (DDG 77) and
USS Preble (DDG 88), and the fast combat-support ship USNS Bridge
The second batch of orders worth of a total US$79 million for
low-rate initial production MRAP
vehicles were issued this week. The vehicles include the South
African designed RG-31,
the Alpha, designed by PVI and produced by Oshkosh,
and the new Israeli-American Golan
vehicle, designed under a joint Israeli-US cooperation between
RAFAEl and PVI. The three manufacturers received orders for
a total of 180 vehicles.
During the recent IDEX 07 show, closing today, the UAE Armed
Forces announced that it has signed deals with worth Dhs 1340
million (over US$360 million) with local and international companies
participating at show. According to Major General Obaid Al Ketbi,
Chief of Logistics at the UAE Armed Forces, a Memorandum of
Understanding was signed with EADS, to purchase three air tankers.
General Al Ketbi also told reporters that the army was in talks
with American communications supplier Harris to purchase telecommunication
equipment worth Dhs 240 million ($65 million). Other orders
were made with local companies. the services is procuring 12
fast patrol boats worth Dhs.127 million ($34.5 million) with
the Abu Dhabi Ship Building Company (ADSB). International Golden
Group, won a contract from the Armed Forces worth Dhs 390 million
(106 million) to supply 120mm mortars, The general also announced
an Dhs18 million ($5 million) order of 10,000 pistols procured
from the local arms producer Caracal.
Launches €520 CH-53 Helicopter Upgrade
CH-53G helicopters operating with the German Army Aviation
will begin a six year modernization program carried out by EADS'
Eurocopter, under a €520 million program awarded by the
Federal Office for military technology and procurement (BWB).
The current program will modify 40 of the 80 CH-53s currently
in service. The helicopter's modernization will focus on avionic
improvements, particularly the introduction of a glass cockpit,
to be supplied by Rockwell Collins, comprising four large screens,
color LCDs replacing most of the flight instruments used in
the original model. Advanced communications suite including
datalinks will also be introduced, enabling these old workhorses
to integrate with the most advanced models operated by the German
Army Aviation, including NH-90 and Tiger. The helicopter will
also get advanced self protection systems and FLIR enabling
all weather operations capability. The program is scheduled
to complete by 2013.
IMI is developing a new hybrid (passive) armor designed to
withstand commonly used types of Road-Side IEDs (RSIED), including
the sophisticated Explosively
Formed Projectiles (EFP) and Self Formed Fragmentation (SFF)
charges. The unique combination of the new hybrid armor is the
result of extensive study conducted at IMI, in an attempt to
protect warfighters at levels beyond those offered by conventional
armor, with cost effective armor suite that can defeat both
prevailing and future threats.
The U.S. Marine Corps have received the initial four Lightweight
Prime Mover (LWPM) vehicles from Lockheed Martin’s [NYSE:
LMT] Tactical Wheeled Vehicle (TWV) program. The LWPM will tow
the new M777 lightweight 155-mm artillery howitzer. After undergoing
a production qualification test at the Nevada Automotive Test
Center, the LWPM will undergo an operational field user’s
evaluation. Under the current contract, the Marine Corps has
the option for full-rate production of 120 LWPM vehicles.
Following the successful completion of U.S. Army acceptance
and developmental flight testing in December 2006, the first
production Boeing (BA) CH-47F Chinook helicopter has moved to
the Operational Testing (OT) phase at Ft. Campbell, Ky. The
flight tests will be conducted by Bravo Company, 7th Battalion,
101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st
Airborne Division (Air Assault). The Army plans to field the
first of 452 CH-47F helicopters in July 2007.
The United States Air Force will evaluate cooperative flight
of several unmanned aircraft flying in constellation formation,
while simultaneously distributing sensor control and viewing
capability among multiple end users. The test will utilize the
SkyForce Distributed Management System (DMS) developed by Proxy
Ravens for U.S. Army, Marines
The U.S. Army placed two orders totaling over $50 million
with AeroVironment Corp., for the supply of RQ-11
Raven Small UAVs. These unmanned vehicles will be used by
Army and U.S. marines
AAI has unveiled a new unmanned surface vessel (USV) dubbed
Interceptor, which is under development under cooperation with
two other U.S. based companies - Marine Robotic Vessels International
(MRVI) and Sea Robotics (Company (SRC). Interceptor is an unmanned
6.5-metre craft, designed for security and public service applications
such as anti-piracy patrol, harbor security and oil rig surveillance.
The USV began sea trials in September 2006.
Sasa Acquire Minority Holdings in a French Steel group
Israeli armor specialist Plasan Sasa announced the acquisition
of 45% of the LSI Group, a French holding company for AMEFO,
BERARD and AML, a manufacturing group of high hardness steel
hulls and metal equipment for the automotive and military industries.
Five months ago, Plasan announced the acquisition of Vermont
Composites, a US based automotive composites business specializing
in carbon fiber component parts for the automotive market. The
recent acquisitions will expand Plasan's positions in two of
its strategic markets, deepening the already established relationships
within the military and automotive industries.