Newscast: April 23, 2007

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Analysis:

  • Hezbollah is Rearming for another round with Israel
    Just over eight months since the Second Lebanon war ended, Hezbollah leaders are already renewing their sabre rattling rhetoric against Israel. Hezbollah has regained most of its strength since the last summer with Israel and that the rate of weapons smuggling has nearly doubled over the past few weeks.

  • Hormuz Straits come into Focus as Gulf Tension Mounts
    The waters in the Arabian Gulf (or Persian Gulf), are highly turbulent these days. The increasing presence of US naval presence, and continued Iranian defiance of UN pressure led Iran to raise the level of alert among its armed forces, in anticipation of a possible attack. While potential nuclear threat in the future is certainly a serious consideration, Iran's domination of the strategic straits of Hurmoz is the imminent threat.

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Upcoming Events (April 2007):

SOF Week

23 - 27

Tampa, FL. USA

EXPOLTECH 2007

27 - 29

Poland

Performance Based Logistics

23 - 26

Alexandria, VA, USA

ITEC 2007 Simulation & Training

24 - 26

Cologne, Germany

Black Sea Defense & Aerospace

24 - 27

Bucharest, Romania

Armed UAV Conference

26 - 27

Las Vegas, NV. USA

 

US Air Force Embarks on a Composite Transport X-Plane

The US Air Force is embarking on the development of a future transport aircraft to be manufactured from composite materials. By October 2009, the Air Force plans to test fly the Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft (ACCA) - a new X-plane to be built primarily from composite materials, featuring advanced structural design and aerodynamics. The Air Force awarded two contracts to Lockheed Martin and Aurora Flight Sciences, The Air Force is expected for concept development (phase 1). Within 6 months, AFRL will downselect the contractor for the program, to develop and build the aircraft and conduct flight testing under a follow-on $46 million (Phase 2) contract.

Foster-Miller Acquires Two Pittsburgh Robotics Companies

QinetiQ North America is strengthening its position n the unmanned systems market with two acquisitions of robotics specialist companies, acquired by the company's Foster-Miller, Inc. Both of the acquired businesses are located at Pittsburgh: Automatika, Inc., and Applied Perception, Inc. Boston based Foster-Miller is the largest provider of man- transportable robots to the Department of Defense and recently delivered its 1000th TALON robot to the U.S. military in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

India Tests Agni III Long Range Missile

Last week India tested its Agni III long range missile, capable of delivering a 1.5 tons of payload including a nuclear device. The missile was developed in India as a two-stage, solid fuelled missile. The 16 meter long missile weighs 48 tons and can strike targets at a range over 3,000 km. Agni III is offers India a deterrent capability addressing potential threats from China, which also possesses long-range nuclear attack capability. Agni III can strike targets in mainland China, as far as the cities of Shanghai and Beijing. During the recent test the missile flew for 15 minutes, and validated the operation of new systems, including the new composite solid propellant and flex nozzle control system which failed in previous test flight. Other advanced systems tested include the fault-tolerant guidance and control with fault tolerant avionics. Agni III made its first test flight on July 9, 2006.

Harris Introduces Ultra High Capacity Data Radio

Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) is introducing a new high-speed broadband, line-of-sight network radio supporting transfer throughput rate in excess of 70 Mbps. The new system dubbed RF- 300W is designed to transfer internet protocol communications from point to point, over distances of up to 50 kilometers, under clear line-of-sight conditions. A lightweight and compact system, the radio provides ireless data communications at fixed sites as well as at-the-halt configurations.

Army Orders Excalibur Guided Artillery Projectiles

Earlier in April 2007 Raytheon Missile Systems was awarded $32 million to produce Excalibur Block IA-1 artillery guided projectiles. Deliveries are expected to complete by mid 2009. This order follows the successful conclusion of the final testing phase, conducted by the 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division. The test cleared the new weapon for fielding with U.S. Brigade Combat Teams' artillery units, artillery units of the U.S. Marines and Canadian field artillery units. When Excalibur is fielded, it will mark the deployment of the world's first autonomous precision-guided artillery projectile, providing soldiers and Marines with unprecedented fire support accuracy from weapon systems organic to the current Brigade Combat Team force structure.

US Army Expands Deployment of Bradley Trainers

The US Army will deploy 17 new Bradley Advanced Training Systems (BATS) through its bases beginning 2008. BAE systems will produce the trainers under a $12.6 million contract awarded recently by the Army. The company is also enhancing all existing trainers with "urban operations" scenarios, added to the BATS and Conduct Of Fire Trainer (COFT) training simulators. In 2006 the company has already been awarded another contract worth $19 million, to upgrade 66 COFT and 24 BATS devices, build 10 new BATS and implement teh 'urban operations' update. BATS training is providing rich and realistic training for the Bradley crews and is becoming an essential element in the preparation of soldiers for combat service in Iraq. According to Mark Russell, Training Systems Manager for BAE Systems, "BATS is unique in that it offers more realism and incorporates a random target feature that better prepares the soldier for real life fighting scenarios."

V-22 Ospreys to Deploy to Iraq by September 2007

The US Marine Corps will soon deploy the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to Iraq, its first combat assignment. Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway announced last week at the Pentagon that Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263, with 10 aircraft and 171 personnel will be deployed to Al Asad Air Base in Western Iraq, by September 2007.



Canada Acquires 120 Surplus Leopard 2 Tanks

The Canadian Army is acquiring 100 Leopard II tanks, to be delivered from Dutch and Dutch army surplus. The purchase is a change of direction for the army and in particular for Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier, who only a few years ago described the Leopard tanks as "millstone around the neck" of the Canadian forces. The Canadians realized the importance of main battle tanks in recent months, as tanks were rushed in to Afghanistan to support the Canadian contingent stationed at Kandahar. As the new tanks are inducted by the Army, the Leopard 1C2 tanks currently deployed in Afghanistan are expected to be retired from service.


DoD Acquires More CREWs to Combat RSIEDs

Impact Science & Technology (IST), of Nashua, N.H., will produce 1,100 vehicle mounted Counter Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) Electronic Warfare devices (CREW) under a $57 million contract awarded by the U.S. Navy. ($56,900,893 firm-fixed-price, time and material (cost) contract for production and. These devices are part of the DoD’s Joint Counter RCIED Electronic Warfare program. Spiral 2.1 CREW systems, designed to prevent the initiation of RCIED by radio command. The Navy manages the joint CREW program for Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Joint IED Defeat Organization. All systems are expected to be completed by May 2008. Last week EDO also announced receipt of a similar order worth $88 million for the supply of 1,100 CREW 2.1 systems.

Picosatellite Experiment to Demonstrate New Space Tether

An experiment designed to study the dynamics of tethered spacecraft formation, will help maturing space tether technology that promises supporting formations of many pico-satellites forming large synthetic aperture radar systems for high resolution earth observation. These same tethers can also establish 'space elevators', lifting payloads from low-earth-orbits to higher orbits as well as de-orbiting expired spacecraft to minimize 'space junk'.

British Royal Artillery to Deploy GMLRS to Afghanistan

The British ground forces in Afghanistan will soon get the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) offering significant improvement in range and accuracy over standard MLRS rocket systems. The system recently completed successful trials and has been declared fit for deployment with troops in Afghanistan later this year. The US are already using another version of GMLRS in Iraq. The rocket has an effective range of over 60 kilometres with pinpoint accuracy provided by GPS navigation system. The rocket is loaded with a unitary warhead weighing 200lb (90 kg). The delivery is the first element in an incremental procurement of several thousands of rockets under a program worth over £250 million, spanning over four years.

 


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