Monday, 9 July 2012

Indian Navy : NH90 Vs S-70B Sea Hawk

The Indian Navy's delayed 16 multirole helicopter (MRH) procurement programme is all set for the opening of commercial bids shortly. The programme has the NHIndustries NH90 squaring off against the Sikorsky S-70B Sea Hawk for a contract potentially worth $1-billion. Field evaluation trials were conducted late last year. 

Indications are that the Indian government could hand this one to Sikorsky. But nothing is finished yet, and things have been far from smoothe.

As things speed towards the concluding leg of the acquisition, the Navy will be hoping it has seen the last of a controversy that still threatens to put a spanner in the works -- never a far cry in Indian defence contracting. Reports began to appear in the press earlier this year about how AgustaWestland (joint venture partner in NHIndustries, and company lead in India) had written a series of letters to the MoD protesting against what it saw as a lack of fair play -- in other words, preferential waivers on performance/platform parameters/configuration to Sikorsky's bird. The reports also detailed how the Indian Navy had hit back hard, accusing NHIndustries of a variety of misdemeanours, including "twisting" and "falsifying" elements of the NSQR/RFP -- something that NHIndustries denied. As a result of this back and forth, which still incidentally isn't really over, the acquisition already has a shadow over it. Officially, the Navy has clarified that both platforms -- the NH90 and Seahawk -- met NSQRs (though, of course, NHI insists that the Seahawk is compliant only as a result of alleged relaxations).

The chief complaint letter was written by NHIndustries managing director Domenico Vaccari to Defence Minister A.K. Antony following field trials last year, alleging that the S-70B wouldn't have cleared eight particular parameters if the NSQR hadn't been glossed over preferentially. It is understood that Vaccari wrote that letter to Antony since a previous letter by AgustaWestland senior veep for international business development Giacomo Saponaro to Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma wasn't answered.

According to the Navy, the trials were conducted "professionally, equally" and "without any concessions -- certainly none that were not provided to both contenders on a mutually acceptable basis." The Navy has not commented on specific allegations pertaining to its NSQR.Things are, therefore, delicately poised for NHIndustries. It has already managed to irritate the Navy (quite clear from how the Navy responded to the company's letters to the MoD), though  annoyance should presumably have no bearing at this late stage of the game. There's also deep irony to NHIndustry's allegations that the playing field is anything but level. Just over two years ago, right before the Indian government awarded a prestigious $700-million contract for 12 VVIP transport helicopters to AgustaWestland, Sikorsky (which lost out with its S-92) wrote to the MoD asking for an explanation about certain "concessions" it believed had been granted to its competitor. It's a replay now, only the sides are switched.

In simple words, the Indian Navy's official line is this: The only reason a competitor would protest before a decision is that they're sure they are going to lose or if they did not, for whatever reason, want to compete (i.e. they wanted a government-to-government deal). At this stage, nobody is in a position to judge who is ahead. Both platforms have met requirements.

On the other hand, sources suggest there are extraneous factors that could have predetermined the outcome of this particular competition already. It was only a few months ago that the Indian government informed Parliament that Italian investigations into alleged corruption at AgustaWestland had nothing to do with the Indian deal. But the issue raised enough heat and friction, and the fact that the helicopters were ordered for the country's politicians -- not the armed forces -- got it even more traction. Sources say the government is unlikely to want to take any chances.

The MRH is intended to augment and then replace the Indian Navy's fleet of Westland Seakings. The Navy is also in the process of evaluating upgrade packages for the old Seakings. The 16-chopper MRH competition is to be followed by the N-MRH (just in case nomenclature wasn't confusing enough), a separate tender for 44 helicopters. Lockheed-Martin's MH-60R -- based on the same airframe as the S-70B -- and which was ignored in the MRH, will be a contender.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

US Pakistan India : 3 - point face

The three-point face saver announced from Washington DC and Islamabad on July 3, 2012, marks a recognition by the US and Pakistan of the strategic reality that the continuing frictions in the bilateral relations are proving counter-productive and detrimental to their interests in Afghanistan.

The face-saver consisted of a statement by Mrs. Hillary Clinton expressing US regrets for an air raid over a Pakistani border post at Salala on the Afghan border on November 26 last in which 24 members of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps were reportedly killed and a Pakistani decision to allow the resumption of the movement of logistic supplies between the Karachi port and Afghanistan through Pakistani territory without insisting on an enhancement of the transit fee paid by the NATO to Pakistan.

“The continued closure of supply lines not only impinge on our relationship with the US, but also on our relations with the 49 other member states of NATO.”

Separately, a US official indicated that as part of the deal, Washington would release about $1.1 billion to the Pakistani military from a US “coalition support fund” designed to reimburse Pakistan for the cost of counter-insurgency operations.

Mrs. Clinton said in her statement:” (Pakistani) Foreign Minister (Hina Rabbani) Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives. We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again.”

QamarZamanKaira, Pakistan’s Information Minister, announced as follows in Islamabad: “The meeting of Pakistan’s defense committee (DCC) of the cabinet has decided to reopen the NATO supplies.”

Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who chaired the meeting, said it was time to end the blockade. He reportedly told the Committee: “The continued closure of supply lines not only impinge on our relationship with the US, but also on our relations with the 49 other member states of NATO.”

While a face-saving formula has thus been found to end the post-November 26 frictions arising from the death of Pakistani para-military personnel in the US air raid, a face-saving formula has not yet been found to the frictions that arose after the US Navy Seals raid on the hide-out of Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad on May 2,2011.

Two frictions arose from the Abbottabad raid. The first related to Pakistani complaints of violation of its sovereignty by the US undertaking an unilateral raid in Abbottabad without its permission. The second related to the US complaints of Pakistani harassment of some Pakistani nationals who had helped the CIA in establishing the identity of OBL The US has been particularly concerned over the Pakistani arrest and jailing of a Pashtun doctor (Shakil Afridi) who had helped the CIA in covertly collecting blood samples of the inmates of the Abbottabad hide-out of OBL for DNA tests.

The pending issues relating to the Abbottabad raid are still under negotiation between the two Governments.

The pending issues relating to the Abbottabad raid are still under negotiation between the two Governments. A face-saver should not prove very difficult since no Pakistani military and para-military personnel were killed during the Abbottabad raid. There were no Pakistani civilian deaths either, except some living with OBL in his hide-out. It is understood that attempts are being made to find a save-saver under which Pakistan would allow the Pashtun doctor to settle down in the US after a token sentence.

The belated US decision, after dragging its feet for seven months, to reach a face-saver with Pakistan is an indicator of its coming to terms with the ground reality that an invading power would need Pakistan’s support for disengaging from Afghanistan without humiliation. The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan post-1988 was facilitated by the pressure exercised by Pakistan on the Afghan Mujahideen not to attack the withdrawing Soviet troops.

Similarly, the US is hoping that Pakistan would facilitate the thinning out of the NATO presence in Afghanistan by pressuring the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network not to attack the withdrawing NATO forces.

Moreover, as admitted by US officials, the continued closure of the logistic movements through Pakistani territory would have made the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan time-consuming and expensive if the NATO forces were to use only the Northern route through the Central Asian Republics.

Will the face-savers work? Will the tensions be over once and for all? Will the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan and the withdrawal of heavy military equipment through Karachi be smooth?

The answers to these questions will depend on the sincerity of the Pakistani political and military leadership and the kind of control that the Pakistani Army and ISI are able to exercise on the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network.

the US is hoping that Pakistan would facilitate the thinning out of the NATO presence in Afghanistan by pressuring the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network not to attack the withdrawing NATO forces.

During the Soviet withdrawal, the Pakistan Army and ISI had effective control over the different Afghan Mujahideen groups and were able to ensure that they did not attack the withdrawing Soviet troops.

The Pakistani Army and ISI do not definitely have effective control over the Tehrik-w-Taliban Pakistan as the Pakistani Taliban is called. Their ability to pressure the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network not to attack the withdrawing NATO forces is yet to be demonstrated.

Moreover, the continuing presence and activities of the remnants of Al Qaeda from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan would be an additional complicating factor which was not there during the Soviet withdrawal. The US will have to maintain a high level of Drone strikes to disrupt the activities of Al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network and the TTP operating from FATA. This could create fresh friction.

In return for the Pakistani removal of the ban on the movement of equipment from Afghanistan to Karachi during the withdrawal phase, Pakistan might not be satisfied with an expression of theUS regret for the Salalaraid.It would expect the US to be favourable to its interests in Afghanistan and vis-à-vis India.

That could mean fresh Pakistani expectations of US support for limiting the Indian presence in Afghanistan and dilution of the pressure on Pakistan to act against the anti-India terrorist groups.

The mending of US-Pakistan fences, if it proves durable, could create problems for us in our relations with Afghanistan and in our counter-terrorism efforts. Our policy-makers have to anticipate the kind of problems that India is likely face and identify the options that would be available to us in future.

As the NATO withdrawal gathers pace, it will be a dynamic situation with oft-changing power play. We have to have a dynamic mind-set to be able to limit damages to our interests and to counter new threats to our security.

I had stated on many occasions in the past that we should not count on a permanent estrangement between the US and Pakistan. Our policy-makers should not similarly count on permanent US support for our concerns relating to Pakistani backing to anti-Indian jihadi terrorists and threats to Indian interests in Afghanistan.

A400M finally on display

Based on the current flight test schedule and planning for the coming days, Airbus Military has decided to bring the first production representative example of the A400M – the MSN6 – to the Farnborough Air show. The aircraft will be on static display, allowing a maximum number of current and potential customers and other visitors to view the production standard cargo-hold and appreciate the real dimensions of the aircraft without flight-test instrumentation for the first time. The decision to have the aircraft on static display only is based on engine issues that happened last week which need further investigation.

A400M flight testing continues at an aggressive pace with successful achievements in the field of military capabilities. It is beginning to show the level of technical maturity required at first delivery, and we are pleased with the overall performance of the aircraft. Despite some engine maturity challenges, we are confident that we will find the right solutions and provide our customers with an aircraft that fully meets or exceeds the expectations.

At the end of June, the A400M had completed 1180 flights and 3535 flight hours in flight-test since its first flight in December 2009. In recent months, flight test progress has been good with successful tests in the areas of air-to-air refueling as a receiver and a tanker, loading of helicopters on board and the first testing of the defensive aid systems. The industrial status is on track with the first three customer aircraft now in the final assembly process in Seville and a further six aircraft in various stages of production with long-lead items launched up to MSN19.  Equally the In-Service Support (ISS) activities are progressing on track, with ongoing discussions with our customers on the specific ISS packages in addition to the commonly agreed launch service package.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Is Stealth Stealth ??

From Weapons and technology Old

We are now seeing Russian and Chinese "stealth" aircraft appear, at least in prototype form. The Chinese have prototypes of the J-20 large fighter bomber, which looks as if it may enter service with the Chinese Air Force in 2018. In a recently published report on Chinese military power, the US Department of Defense wrote that the J-20 shows "China's ambition to produce a fighter aircraft that incorporates stealth attributes, advanced avionics and supercruise capable engines." Supercruise in this context means that the aircraft can fly at supersonic speeds for sustained periods of time. This has only been achieved by the now grounded US SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance jet and the F-22.

Americans should get used to the idea that today's military technological breakthrough will be commonplace on tomorrow's battlefield. It costs a lot to develop and build the best military in the world.

If the pundits are right, and if major international war really is obsolete, it is largely due to America's overwhelming military superiority: it makes adversaries reluctant to take us on. Maintaining this U.S. superiority is what keeps the world more or less at peace.

Russia, meanwhile, is working on the Sukhoi T-80, also known as the PAK-FA -- a supposedly stealthy version of the SU-27 family of fighter bombers. The Russians have negotiated a co-development deal for this aircraft with India, which plans to buy around 200 copies.

Sukhoi has three T-80 test aircraft in operation, and hopes to have 11 more test aircraft flying before the first production model is delivered in 2013. The Russian air force is planning to have the T-80 in service sometime in 2015 or 2016, but its arrival in the Russian Air Force will probably be delayed. How effective the T-80 will be is open to question. Russia has developed some excellent combat airplanes over the years, but it has also built large numbers of fighters that have proven to be less than reliable, such as the 1970s' MiG 23.

Meanwhile, the US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which originated in 1993, grinds ahead. It has already cost US taxpayers more than $400 billion. By the time the last F-35 leaves the production line sometime in the 2030s, the whole program will have cost more than one-and-a-half trillion dollars.

The F-35 was supposed to be the final manned fighter airplane built by the US; after that, all combat flying would be done by drones -- but things may not turn out that way. The US Navy has started preliminary work on a new manned fighter attack aircraft called the FA-XX.

The F-35 was also supposed to be a fine example of multinational cooperation. Certainly the US's European partners, including the British, the Dutch, the Norwegians, the Italians and the Danes, all had memories of successful collaboration with the US Defense Department on projects in the past. America's foreign partners are already suffering from "sticker shock," but as they have already invested considerable sums in the program, probably few of these partners will choose to walk away.

Any real stealth secrets inherent in the F-35 will almost certainly leak out through these foreign partners. They may have already leaked. However since the classified technology dates from the mid-1990s, it can hardly be considered truly "cutting edge."

Many Americans believe that Stealth technology is still an exclusive US military advantage and that the "Secrets of Stealth" must be preserved at all costs. Stealth, or as it is sometimes called, Low Observable Technology, has acquired an almost mythical significance. This myth tends to blind both political leaders in Washington and many media commentators to the true value of what is misleadingly referred to as invisibility. During the 1980 Presidential campaign, the Carter administration announced that it was working on an invisible bomber, which turned out to be the very expensive B-2 bomber, of which the US Air Force managed to buy a grand total of 21.

In the late 1970s, the US Air Force was working on a smaller Stealth aircraft, the F-117 Nighthawk, which secretly entered into service in 1982. Publicly unveiled in 1989, the US Air Force hailed it as a giant breakthrough in its military technology. That was nearly quarter of a century ago, it is hard to see why anyone expects that the secrets of stealth are still secret.

The US had been working on radar-evading and heat-signature-suppressing technologies since the late 1950s. There is nothing either very secret or surprising about this. All military forces try to hide their forces and are willing to spend a lot of money and effort on various forms of camouflage and concealment.

Stealth technology as we know it came into being in the 1970s, thanks in part to work by a Russian mathematician, but mostly thanks to advances in US computer technology. Lockheed was able to build a technology demonstration aircraft for the air force called the "Have Blue," which showed that an aircraft with the new radar-evading technology could penetrate Soviet-style 1970s integrated air defense systems.

"Have Blue" was followed in the early 1980s by the secret F-117 Stealth "Fighter," which was never actually a fighter but, as it was roughly the size of a fighter, the Air Force choose to call it a fighter, even though it would have been more accurate to call it a light reconnaissance bomber.

Although the F-117 was first used during the overthrow of the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega in 1989, it proved itself during the 1991 Gulf War. The Iraq air defense system, which at the time was the best that Saddam's oil wealth could buy, was unable to shoot down a single F-117, even though they flew dozens of missions over the most heavily defended parts of Iraq, especially over Baghdad. The F-117s were able repeatedly to hit Iraqi headquarters and other critical targets such as bridges and industrial facilities. It was this that crippled Saddam's ability to continue the war.

At the same time in the early 1990s, the Air Force was introducing its new strategic bomber, the B-2. This was, and is, an extraordinary aircraft that combines stealth with a long range. The B-2 can fly more than 5000 miles on a single fuel load, as well as anywhere in the world with air-to-air refueling, even with a heavy payload. This bomber was first used against targets in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001.

Since its existence was revealed during the 1980 Presidential campaign, "stealth" has become surrounded by an aura of mystery and invincibility that tends to obscure its value in being able to defeat the most advanced air defense systems. Although talk about invisible and invulnerable airplanes was hogwash, normally skeptical journalists and media commentators bought into the myth, and sometimes used it to propagate a dangerously sterile vision of modern war, especially the idea that wars can be fought with no friendly casualties and almost no casualties on the enemies' side.

In 1999, during the Kosovo operation, an F-117 was shot down over Serbia by an old Soviet SA-3 surface-to-air missile. This seems to have been done by a Serb missile battalion commander who, using basic intelligence methods, analyzed US air operations. Specifically, Serbian intelligence had informers with cell phones around US bases; the informers would phone in the departure times of US aircraft. Using this data the Serbs were able to make educated guesses when and where US aircraft would appear in the skies over their missile launchers.

The pilot ejected and was rescued, but the wreckage of the plane was recovered by the Serbs; it is believed they gave the debris to Russia as a "thank you" for Moscow's political support.

Whatever the next military technological breakthrough is, if it keeps American troops alive and victorious in war and globally respected in peacetime, it will be worth every penny.

2020 : New Russian bombers coming

The Russian Air Force may receive its first PAK DA next generation long-range bomber about 2020 instead of 2025 as initially planned, Russia’s acting deputy Air Force commander, Major General Alexander Chernyayev, has said.

“I think the first models of the Prospective Air Complex for Long Range Aviation (PAK DA) will be supplied to the Air Force approximately by 2020,” Chernyayev said in an interview published on the Russian Defense Ministry website late last week. Russia's Long Range Aviation commander, Major General Anatoly Zhikharev, has said the Air Force could receive the new strategic bomber in 2025.

The general look of the new strategic bomber has already been worked out, and engineers are currently finishing work on aircraft specific operational requirements, Chernyayev said. “We have everything today to develop the plane on time and put it into operation together with [Tupolev] Tu-95MS Bear, Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-22M3 Backfire [strategic bombers], which have proven their high reliability,” he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered development of the new long-range strategic bomber to be sped up in mid-June.“I know how expensive and complex this is,” Putin said during a conference on defense orders. “The task is not easy from a scientific-technical standpoint, but we need to start work,” he said, adding that otherwise, Russia could miss the boat. Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has said previously that a new aircraft assembly line in Russia's Kazan plant (KAPO) would build PAK DA and the new Antonov An-70 propfan transport aircraft. The same plant previously built the Tu-95MS and Tu-160.

Currently, only Russia and the United States operate intercontinental range bombers. Most other nuclear-capable nations rely solely on intercontinental ballistic missiles, based on submarines or in land-based silos, or cruise missiles. The United States has expressed an interest in successor systems to its B-1, B-2 and B-52H long-range bombers. Chernyayev also said in his interview the Russian Air Force was planning to modernize its Tu-95MS, Tu-160 and Tu-22MS bombers, as well as Ilyushin Il-78 Midas air-to-air refueling tanker aircraft.

Russia’s strategic air forces operate a total of 63 Tu-95MS and 13 Tu-160 bombers. Altogether, they are capable of carrying 850 long-range cruise missiles.

About Iranian Submarine fleet

A senior Iranian naval commander announced yesterday that Iran has retrofitted its submarine fleet with "the best and most equipped systems existing in the world" and that some of these submarines had even been deployed to the inland Caspian Sea. Should we be worried about this new underwater threat? Probably not, the same admiral said two weeks ago that Iran is not planning to build a nuclear submarine.

In an interview with FARS news agency, Rear Admiral, Abbas Zamini, the deputy commander for technical affairs of the Iranian Navy said that "our old units have been renovated and updated and meantime our newly-built units are also equipped with the world's most up-to-date technologies which are suitable for our region."

These systems apparently include radar, sonar and electronic warfare systems along with torpedoes and upgraded diesel engines. In another quote from this interview, appearing on the MehrNews website, Zamini says that Iran is planning to deploy "light" submarines in the Caspian Sea and that "three super-heavy submarines have already been deployed to the country’s southern waters."

Zamini didn't go into any technical details but at least the political motive for this interview is clear, with new sanctions to come in force this weekend on July 1 against exports of Iranian oil, the regime is anxious to highlight its ability to obstruct oil exports of other nations around the Persian Gulf. His mention of the Caspian Sea is obviously aimed at spooking Israel's new ally to the north, Azerbaijan.

How dangerous is Iran's underwater fleet?

Any reports of indigenous submarine development should be taken with a pinch of salt. The country in the past has relied on submarines built in Russia and North Korea. While Iran has made some progress in developing a local arms industry, submarine construction and even refurbishment necessitate a wealth of relevant experience in precision engineering. Iran has made at least three attempts so far to build medium-sized subs, the Qaeem, Fatah and Nahang, but at the most, only two of these are in service and they are probably locally-produced version of North Korean boats. Iran claims to have eighteen Ghadir-class small submarines, also of North Korean design, but these are very limited vessels, with two torpedo tubes and would only be used for littoral operations, close to the coast.

The three "super-heavy submarines" Zamini has mentioned are not new. These can only be the three antiquated Kilo-class subs his nation purchased over two decades ago from Russia. Based on 1970s-era Soviet technology, they are easily detected by the advanced systems Iran's rivals have on hand in the Gulf. Most naval experts believe that if Iran will try to attack shipping going through the Gulf or its exit, the Strait of Hormuz, it will use anti-shipping missiles, launched from the coast or small, fast, explosive-laden attack boats, that can be disguised as civilian boats and are not easily detected before they are on a collision course.

There is another reason that Iran can make only limited use of its submarine fleet. Most of Iran's naval bases are along the 1000-kilometer long coast of the narrow Persian Gulf, which could potentially allow it to block the sea-lanes through which much of the world's oil supplies are delivered, but it also leaves very little room for a submarine to hide, especially in the shallow waters of the Gulf which at no point are deeper than ninety meters. The U.S. Navy, along with its Sunni Arabian Gulf allies and other western nations have a major concentration of anti-submarine assets which spend most of their time observing the Iranian ports and tracking those submarines.

The Caspian light submarines are indeed a threat to Azerbaijan and can be used to infiltrate saboteurs into the central Asian, secular Muslim republic. But this has been known for years and the Azeri Navy has long been working with the U.S, and recently also with Israel to defend its coastline from Iran.

Altogether, Zamini shouldn't be taken too seriously. Only two weeks ago he gave another interview to Fars in which he said that his nation's “astonishing progress in developing and acquiring civilian nuclear technology for various power-generation, agricultural and medical purposes,” enables it to “think of manufacturing nuclear-fueled submarines.” Since it took Iran nearly forty years to complete its first nuclear reactor and less than a year into full operation, is already urgently in need of maintenance, it is hard to imagine the country being capable of building a new reactor, small enough to fit inside a submarine, let alone a large enough submarine that can actually put to sea.

US Navy tests LCS components

Gun and other components of the warfare mission package of the U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ships have completed Phase One development testing. The Navy said the tests involved surface warfare components such as the MK 46 gun system, .50-caliber and 7.62mm machine guns, rigid inflatable boats and an MH-60R helicopter outfitted with a Hellfire simulator.

"The capabilities included in the surface warfare mission package will project power and presence in key overseas environments," said Rear Adm. James Murdoch, program executive officer Littoral Combat Ships. "An LCS outfitted with these capabilities, teamed with the ship's inherent speed and maneuverability, will provide a capability in a single platform never before available to the U.S. Navy."

The tests were performed recently using the USS Freedom, the first ship of the LCS class, which is modular and as such allows rapid reconfiguring of mission packages for fleet protection from small boats and other asymmetrical threats.

"Although data collected during testing remains under analysis, the systems accomplished each of the challenging test scenarios," said Capt. John Ailes, program manager for LCS Mission Module Integration. "The LCS program continues to mature and demonstrate that this ground-breaking concept of operations works and works well."

The Navy said Phase Two developmental testing of the weapons package will begin in August, with initial operational testing and evaluation scheduled for early 2014. In addition to surface warfare packages, the Navy plans mine-counter-measure and anti-submarine packages for the 55 LCS ships it will acquire.

China deploys DF-21D missile brigade in South china sea

From Weapons and technology Old

China has set up a new missile brigade in its southern province of Guangdong as part of a "shock and awe" strategy to deter other countries with claims to the South China Sea from challenging its dominance in the region. The new 827 Ballistic Missile Brigade is based in Guangdong's Shaoguan City. 

While the brigade's administrative building was still under construction at the end of March, missile launch vehicles had been posted at the Shaoguan base. Missiles installed at the base might include Dongfeng (DF)-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles and Dongfeng-16 -- a new type of ballistic missile that has a longer range than anything in China's current cross-Taiwan Strait arsenal. 

The exposure of the new Chinese missile brigade came amid increasingly active efforts by Vietnam and the Philippines to ramp up their sovereignty claims to South China Sea island groups. Satellite images on the Internet show that the new base covers a large area, with a number of missile launch vehicles parked outside a hangar at the northeastern wing of the base. 

Some vehicles stand 16 meters long and are mounted with cylindrical tubes, while others stand some 12 meters long with square-shaped tubes that look like those used for a new type of ballistic missile unveiled by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) earlier this year. 

Military experts said the new missile base is equipped with DF-21D anti-ship missiles that have a range of 2,000-3,000 km and are potentially capable of hitting moving targets with pinpoint precision. Some geopolitical analysts have called DF-21D missile a "game changer" that could threaten the U.S. aircraft carrier fleet's supremacy in the Pacific, particularly if conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Strait or in the South China Sea. 

The new DF-16 has a range of about 1,200 km and possesses considerable destructive power, military experts said.  Judging from Shaoguan's geographic location, they said, the 827 Missile Brigade is apparently charged with the mission of intimidating Taiwan and countries bordering the South China Sea.  For instance, Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, is less than 1,000 km away from Shaoguan. If a conflict breaks out between China and Vietnam over their conflicting claims to the South China Sea island groups, the 827 Missile Brigade could include Hanoi as a target. 

Besides China, five other countries -- Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei -- also claim full or partial sovereignty over the South China Sea island groups and surrounding waters, which are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves and are close to one of the world's busiest sea lanes. 

Vietnam and the Philippines have also become increasingly assertive in their South China Sea claims. After a two-month-long standoff in the Scarborough Shoal between the Philippines and China ended because of adverse weather in late June, the Philippine government has opened a small kindergarten on another islet, Pagasa Island (known as Chungyeh Island in Mandarin Chinese) in the Spratlys. 

In the meantime, Vietnam has purchased a large quantity of naval and aerial weaponry from Russia and deployed Su-27 jet fighters to inspect the Spratlys recently. Moreover, Vietnam passed a maritime law in June that claims sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Paracel and Spratly islandsin the S

Thursday, 28 June 2012

BrahMos 2 : 2017

The first prototype of the hypersonic BrahMos 2 cruise missile being jointly developed by Russia and India will be ready for flight testing in 2017, an official said. Russia and India have recently agreed to develop hypersonic BrahMos 2 missile capable of flying at speeds of Mach 5-Mach 7.

"I think we will need about five years to develop the first fully-functional prototype (of the hypersonic missile). We have already carried out a series of lab tests at the speed of 6.5 Mach," said Sivathanu Pillai, chief executive officer of the Russian-Indian joint venture Brahmos Aerospace. Pillai said the new missile will be made in three variants -- ground-launched, airborne, and sea-launched.

He said the new missiles will be supplied only to India and Russia, without exports to third countries. Established in 1998, BrahMos Aerospace Ltd, a Russian-Indian joint venture, currently manufactures BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles based on the Russian-designed NPO Mashinostroyenie 3M55 Yakhont (SS-N-26).

The BrahMos missile has a range of 290 km and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg. It can effectively engage targets from an altitude as low as 10 metres and has a top speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the US-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile. Sea and ground-launched versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian Army and Navy.

The flight tests of the airborne version will be completed by the end of 2012. The Indian Air Force is planning to arm 40 Su-30MKI Flanker-H fighters with BrahMos missiles.

Light Combat Helicopter prepares for sea trials

India's Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is all set to begin a week of sea-level trials early tomorrow morning at Tambaram, on the outskirts of Chennai. A prototype of the LCH landed at Tambaram today along with a chase helicopter. The trials will include speed calibration and manoeuverability trials. The trials which could stretch to ten days will include generic performance and handling at sea-level (Bangalore is at 3,000 feet above sea level), calibration of the LCH's air speed measurement system and measurement of forces in terms of stress on various components of the platform.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Top Ten Countries with Maximum Submarines

USA  > 73
China > 63
Russia > 56
North Korea > 26
South Korea > 26
India > 16
Japan > 16
United Kingdom > 16
Germany > 14
Turkey > 13

China to receive S-400 by 2017

Russia will start exports of the S-400 Triumph air defense missile systems to China no earlier than 2017. “An export version of the S-400 Triumph air defense missile will have been developed by 2017 with the Chinese to be the first clients,” the source said.

Russia currently has four S-400 regiments - two in the Moscow region, one in the Baltic Fleet and one in the Eastern Military District. By 2020, Russia is to have 28 S-400 regiments, each comprised of two battalions, mainly in maritime and border areas. In early June, Russian Defense Ministry said there were no plans to export the S-400, which will be produced only for the Russian Armed Forces.

The S-400 Triumph, which succeeds the Soviet-era S-300, is a medium- to long-range surface-to-air missile system that can effectively engage any aerial target, including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise and ballistic missiles at up to 400 kilometers and an altitude of up to 30 kilometers.

Monday, 25 June 2012

China`s UAV can take down US Aircraft carriers

China has reportedly developed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capable of interfering with the navigation of U.S. aircraft carriers in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, according to foreign reports. 

China Briefing, a news website sponsored by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation, said China's continued investment in UAV research will make it the second UAV country after the U.S., and its rapidly developed UAVs will enable Beijing to interfere with the situation in the two bodies of water. 

The UAV has become an important tool for the Chinese navy to carry out "anti-intervention and regional isolation operations," and the vehicles will be used particularly in anti-aircraft carrier combat, it said. 

Jane's Defense Weekly reported that the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force displayed two pictures captured by its surveillance aircraft that show three People's Liberation Army Navy vessels crossing the Miyako waterway into the western Pacific on April 29. 

One of the pictures shows three UAVs practicing vertical take-offs and landings on the rear deck of China's Type 054A frigate "Zhoushan." 

Based on the picture, analysts speculated that the UAVs have good stealth capability and can carry 34 kilograms for six hours. 

When performing reconnaissance missions, the UAVs have different types of sensors mounted on their bellies. Target images recorded by the UAVs will be transferred to frigates at sea using data link carriers, the weekly reported. Jane's Defense Weekly reported that the UAVs spotted by Japan's defense ministry are similar to the Camcopter S-100s built by Austria-based Schiebel Corp. 

But Schiebel Corp. said its sale of civil S-100 UAVs to China in 2010 was in line with European Union regulations and stressed that the UAVs shown in the photos were not S-100s. The company suspected they might be products developed independently by the Chinese army. 

Whatever the origin of the UAVs, James C. Bussert, editor at the U.S.-based Signal Magazine, said in an article that simply having UAVs would not be enough for the People's Liberation Army to attack U.S. aircraft carriers. 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Missile defense shield to New Delhi and Mumbai only

Delhi and Mumbai, two most populated cities of India, will be protected by the missile defense system. According to media, these two cities have been chosen by the Defense Research and Development Organization for deploying the first national Ballistic Missile Defense system. The detailed project should be submitted for final clearance to the Government Committee on Security.

The missile defense system that has been developed by the Indian specialists can intercept ballistic missiles with the range of up 2,000 km and in the future it will be upgraded to the range of up to 5,000 km. After the missile defense system will be set up around Mumbai and Delhi, it will be deployed around other major cities of India.

In February 2012 India successfully tested an interceptor missile capable of destroying hostile ballistic missiles.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

India Failed in... !!!

1962: India suffered a humiliating set-back in the Sino-Indian war. Many believed that the set-back was attributable to the then political, military and intelligence leadership. An enquiry was held into some of the aspects of the set-back. This enquiry report has not so far been released to the Indian public.

1965-66: India suffered two set-backs. During the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965, the Indian Army unit, which was ordered to open the Lahore front, got bogged down. The Army blamed the Intelligence Bureau for poor intelligence regarding the Ichogil Canal. In 1966, the Mizo National Front under Laldenga took the Indian Security Forces by surprise and practically over-ran the entire Mizoram. The Army retrieved the ground subsequently and beat back the MNF. A senior officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India was asked to enquire into allegations of failure by the IB in both the cases. His reports reportedly absolved the IB of any blame for these set-backs, but led to the decision of Indira Gandhi to bifurcate the IB and create the R&AW on September 21, 1968, to deal with external intelligence. The Indian public and research scholars have been denied access to these enquiry reports.

1971: The R&AW, hardly three years old, played a highly-commended role in the events of 1971 preceding the Indo-Pakistan War of December 1971 that contributed to the success of the Bangladesh freedom-fighters. As it happens in the case of secret agencies, many of the decisions, operations and other actions of the R&AW were based on oral instructions from Mrs Gandhi and others who played a role in the decision-making at the higher levels. There was no written documentation in the Archives of the R&AW giving a total picture of the role of the R&AW. In 1982, Indira Gandhi recalled RN Kao from retirement and appointed him as Senior Adviser in the Cabinet Secretariat. He felt that in the absence of an authentic written documentation of the role of the R&AW, future generations of R&AW officers would remain in the dark about the operations of the R&AW during 1971—-particularly after all the officers who had played a role in 1971 pass away.

At his suggestion, the R&AW recalled from retirement an officer of the Army information wing who had served in the R&AW in 1971 and asked him to interview all officers, senior and junior, who had played a role in 1971 and write an authentic narrative of the role of the R&AW in 1971. He did part of the work. Kao resigned after the assassination of Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. The R&AW terminated the services of this officer and discontinued the project. Many of the officers, who had played a role in 1971, including Kao himself, have since passed away. About half a dozen are still alive— either in their late 70s or early 80s. A legendary officer from Kerala, of whom any intelligence agency in the world will be proud and who acted as the right hand man of Kao in 1971, is in his early 90s. When these officers also pass away in the next few years, no authentic record of the role of the R&AW in the events of 1971 will be available. Their knowledge, however feeble now, will die and be cremated with them. The Government should revive this project urgently, complete it quickly and make it available to the public and scholars.

1975-77: The Intelligence agencies and the Central Bureau of Investigation played a role in enabling Indira Gandhi to proclaim and sustain the State of Emergency for three years. There were allegations of serious misuse of the agencies by her and her advisers in the Government and the Congress to browbeat her critics and those opposed to the Emergency. The Morarji Desai Government, which came to office in 1977, ordered two enquiries into these allegations and other connected matters relating to the Emergency. The first was a quasi-judicial enquiry by the Shah Commission. The second was an administrative enquiry into the alleged misuse of the agencies conducted by a committee headed by LP Singh, who was Home Secretary under Indira Gandhi in the years before the Emergency. The Shah Commission’s report was released to the public, but the LP Singh committee report was not released to the public by any of the Governments that had held office since 1980. Hopes and expectations that the AB Vajpayee Government would release the LP Singh Committee report and other documents relating to the Emergency were belied. It is high time now to release all these accounts to the public so that we have a comprehensive and authentic record of the State of Emergency in public domain.

1984: Mrs Gandhi made frantic efforts to avoid having to send the Army into the Golden Temple at Amritsar for what came to be known as Operation Bluestar. She initiated back channel talks/contacts with important Sikh leaders in the Punjab as well as in the diaspora to find a peaceful outcome. The back channel contacts with important Sikh leaders of the Punjab were handled by Rajiv Gandhi and his young associates. One back channel contact with a Sikh leader of the diaspora was handled by Kao. These back channel contacts spoke very positively of Indira Gandhi and her sincere search for a peaceful outcome to the crisis in the Golden Temple. The Government should ensure that the documents relating to these back channel contacts are properly preserved for evaluation after some years whether they could be released to the public.

2002: Kao passed away in January 2002. Before his death, he had reportedly recorded a narrative of some of his experiences and had it deposited for safe custody in the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Library in New Delhi for release to the public some years after his death. One doesn’t know what time-bar he had put on its release to the public. It is now more than 10 years after his death. The Government owes it to the memory of Kao, who had served the country so brilliantly, to ensure that his narrative becomes available to the public once the time-bar is over. Any attempt to keep it permanently in darkness in the Library would be an insult to the memory of this distinguished and proud  son of  India.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Real problem behind F-22 oxygen system is stealth technology

A man who helped design the F-16 says the problem that grounded the F-22 for several months last year isn’t the oxygen system. Pierre Sprey, who helped develop the A-10 and F-16 jets, said he believes the glues that hold the F-22 stealth “skin” in place is emanating chemicals that are making the pilots sick.

According to Sprey, the Air Force has overlooked, or ignored, the potential stealth skin problems because it has not been able to test successfully for adhesive toxins in the pilot’s bloodstream. He said the Air Force doesn’t talk about the stealth adhesives because the chemical makeup of the compounds that make up the stealth skin are considered “classified information.”

The Air Force confirmed the stealth adhesive compound used in the F-22 is classified material and exclusive to the F-22, but it has downplayed Sprey’s accusations, saying the adhesives were included in a recent investigation into problems impacting F-22 pilots.

“We are aware of the theory regarding stealth coatings and other chemicals used in the production and maintenance of the F-22, and that has been rolled into our analysis,” said Heidi Davis, an Air Force spokeswoman.

Sprey said the reason the Air Force doesn’t want to reveal any problems with the adhesives’ coatings is it would severely impact the F-22, each of which cost more than $412 million, according to the Government Accountability Office. Dealing with the F-22’s glues, which provide the F-22 its stealth, would mean a “major rebuild of the airplane,” Sprey said.

“The F-22 and the F-35 are three-fourths of the Air Force budget, and that is what is at stake,” he said.

The 170 F-22 jets are stationed at six U.S. bases, including Tyndall Air Force Base, where F-22 pilots are trained.

Sprey said when the F-22 reaches speeds above Mach 1.6, which is about 1,200 miles and hour at sea level, the adhesive sets off gases that can cause the same symptoms of dizziness that have plagued the F-22 pilots. When the F-22 is in for repairs to its “stealth coating,” the adhesive is re-spread across the plane.

“The adhesive has to be reapplied,” Sprey said. “When it is, it increases the risk to the pilots.”

According to Sprey, the pilot is exposed to diisocyanates, which are found within the polyurethane glues that comprise the stealth coatings, at a number of times because the adhesives are reapplied in the upkeep of the plane. Sprey said diisocyanates are well known as an industrial hazard that can cause both severe lung and neurologic problems.

But, Davis said Sprey’s theory cannot be considered a leading line of inquiry at this point because it would need to be reconciled with contrary evidence related to the absence of toxins in life-support system components, cockpit air samples, or post-incident pilot blood samples.

He said polyurethanes are used in the Lockheed Martin stealth coatings, which also contain diisoycanates, and are one among several potential sources of poisoning of pilots that Lockheed and the Air Force should have been testing for toxicity long before they flew the first F-22. The Air Force said diisoycanates have not registered in the blood of F-22 pilots.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, after being inhaled most of these toxins react with the lungs and/or the blood very quickly, meaning by the time a pilot landed and had his blood sample drawn, the toxin would have disappeared.

Also, there’s the problem of whether the blood measurement protocols themselves are sensitive enough to detect the sub-part-per-million concentrations known to be toxic, according to the agency.

The agency did note the exposure by pilots should be minimal because the pilots most likely would be exposed beyond the manufacturing process. But, as Sprey noted, the continual use of the product during the repairs of the plane could have an impact in the pilot.

Dina Rasor, of the Bauman Rasor Group Inc., a team of investigators dealing in federal fraud, has been investigating military issues and fraud for decades. She said there is a culture in the military that has a “circle-the-wagons” mentality when it comes to their stealth fighter, the F-22.

She also said Lockheed Martin is one of only a few contractors left who produce such aircraft and the Defense Department is reluctant to penalize the contractor.

Rasor said since the contractors, in this case Lockheed Martin, have such a close relationship with the Defense Department, no single person in the military will challenge them.

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., recently released information obtained from the Air Force that said pilots had experienced about 26 incidents of apparent oxygen deprivation per 100,000 flight hours — a rate at least 10 times higher than for any other Air Force aircraft. The Air Force had said there was less than half that number.

Who is Pierre Sprey?

Pierre Sprey was a consultant for Grumman Aircraft’s research department from 1958 to 1965, and then joined Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s “whiz kids” in the Pentagon. In 1967, he teamed with Air Force Col. John Boyd and collaborated on the design of the F-16 air-to-air fighter.

Sprey headed up the technical side of the Air Force’s concept design team for the A-10 close support fighter. He also served as special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense for systems analysis during the Johnson and Nixon administrations.

After leaving the Pentagon in the 1970s, he continued to consult for the government on fighter jets and anti-tank weaponry. He also was part of the Congressional Military Reform Caucus, which concentrated on military reform legislation.

Sprey recently worked with former military officials and journalists on military reforms. Sprey was included in a recent report by Dina Rasor, founder of the Project On Government Oversight and the Bauman & Rasor Group Inc., on the toxicity problems in the F-22.

Rasor, of the Bauman Rasor Group Inc., said working with a legend like Sprey brought a wealth of information to the subject of stealth aircraft. “He is amazing,” Rasor said.

6th C-17 Globemaster III to the UAE Air Force

Boeing delivered the sixth United Arab Emirates (UAE) C-17 Globemaster III to the UAE Air Force and Air Defence earlier this month at the company's final assembly facility in Long Beach.The delivery completes an agreement announced on Jan. 6, 2010, for six advanced airlifters to modernize the UAE's transport capabilities. Boeing delivered four C-17s to the UAE in 2011 and a fifth aircraft in May.

"After every delivery, UAE C-17s fly into action, conducting humanitarian airlift and disaster-response missions and life-saving aeromedical evacuation," said Bob Ciesla, Boeing vice president, Airlift, and C-17 program manager. "We're proud to deliver another C-17 that strengthens the UAE Air Force and Air Defence's range and ability to perform critical airlift missions around the globe." The C-17 is the global airlifter of choice, delivering cargo in every worldwide operation for more than a decade. The C-17's ability to fly long distances and land in remote airfields in rough, land-locked regions make it a premier transporter for military, humanitarian and peacekeeping missions. With a full payload of 164,900 pounds, a C-17 can fly 2,400 nautical miles and land in 3,000 feet or less on a small unpaved or paved airfield, day or night.

As part of the C-17 Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) Performance-Based Logistics agreement with the U.S. Air Force, Boeing provides after-delivery support to the UAE C-17 fleet. The GISP provides all C-17 customers an affordable sustainment solution that includes the C-17 "virtual fleet" arrangement where all participants benefit from the economies of scale found in purchasing materials for the entire worldwide fleet.

"Through innovative Performance-Based Logistics contracting and partnering with customers, we have provided tailored support solutions, maintaining the highest level of aircraft readiness while continuously reducing the cost of ownership," said Gus Urzua, vice president, C-17 GISP. Boeing has delivered 244 C-17s worldwide, including 216 to the U.S. Air Force active duty, Guard and Reserve units. A total of 28 C-17s have been delivered to Australia, Canada, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. India has 10 C-17s on order for delivery in 2013 and 2014.

Yak-130 pilot training aircraft

Pilot training aircraft Yak-130
Yak-130 is an advanced pilot training aircraft, able to replicate characteristics of Russian 4+ generation fighters, as well as the Sukhoi T-50 fifth generation fighter. Combat training suite on the Yak-130 includes simulated and real firing systems with air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, bomb dropping, gun firing and on-board self-protection systems.

Specifications of Ka-50 Helicopter

Specifications of Ka-50 Helicopter
The Kamov Ka-50 Black Shark / Hokum-A single-seat attack helicopter is designed to hit armored and unarmored vehicles, slow and low-flying air targets and enemy soldiers on the battlefield.

Russian Submarine near beach

Wednesday, 20 June 2012



Northrop Grumman Awarded ICBM Cryptography Air Force Contract

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman a three-year, $108 million contract to develop and implement cryptography upgrades as part of the intercontinental ballistic missile cryptography upgrade II engineering and manufacturing development program.
This work will occur in Clearfield, Utah, Huntington Beach, Calif., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
“Northrop Grumman has worked hand in hand with the Air Force for more than 50 years to ensure the security and reliability of our nation’s ICBM weapons system,” said Bill Carty, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman’s Defense and Government Services division.
“We are honored to continue this support and look forward to delivering innovative and affordable mission-ready solutions that will further ensure the safety and security of our nation.”
The Northrop Grumman-led ICBM prime team is responsible for overall sustainment of the weapon system including development, production, deployment and system modifications.
“This contract completes a major security improvement for the weapon system and provides the Air Force with much improved capabilities,” said Tony Spehar, vice president and program manager of Northrop Grumman’s ICBM Systems business unit.
“Northrop Grumman has a proven history of integration and development that will continue to enhance the competencies of our nation’s missile systems.”
Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

German Army Orders Gladius Future Soldier Equipment

The German Bundeswehr has placed an order with the Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall Group to supply it with state-of-the-art infantry equipment. A contract to this effect has now been signed at the Federal Agency for Defense Technology and Procurement (BWB) in Koblenz.
Under the initial order, a total of 900 soldiers (90 infantry sections or squads) will be outfitted with the new equipment. Specially developed by Rheinmetall on behalf of the Bundeswehr, it is the most advanced system of its kind anywhere. Units due to deploy to Afghanistan in 2013 and 2014 will be the first to be equipped with Gladius.
This forward-looking system is an important step in the process of providing German infantry troops with significantly improved capabilities in current and future deployments.
Back in 2009, Rheinmetall was awarded a contract to develop a pre-series demonstrator version of the Gladius system for the Bundeswehr. It supplemented the basic Future Soldier (IdZ) system which Germany ordered in 2005 as an interim response to an urgent operational requirement.
Now ready for fielding, Gladius is intended to expand and improve the capabilities of the existing system, particularly with regard to networking, command and control, and combat effectiveness. Responding to heightened requirements on the part of the Bundeswehr and building on the results of extensive trials and operational experience, Gladius is a far-reaching, highly advanced new development.
A prominent feature of the Gladius system is a holistic design approach that takes full account of the complex operational requirements levied on modern soldier systems. Gladius is intended first and foremost to bring the 10-man infantry section and its vehicle into the network-enabled operational loop. This network, consisting of reconnaissance, command and control components, and weapons, enables rapid exchange of information as well as shared situational awareness as the basis for planning and conducting operations.
The individual soldier receives all relevant data concerning the tactical situation, the position of friendly forces, the mission, and system status. It includes a GPS and an inertial navigation system as well as a magnetic compass, facilitating reliable orientation on the ground.
Equally impressive are the system’s ergonomic features, especially with regard to weight reduction, miniaturization and improved integration of individual components. The modular battle dress uniform, body armour and harness system provide excellent protection from detection in the visual and infrared spectrum as well as from the weather – even in extreme climate zones – and especially from biological and chemical agents. Flame-retardant equipment and vector protection round out the system’s high level of protection. The system is integrated into an “electronic backbone” that contains the radio, core computer, batteries and GPS module.
More than just the sum of its parts, the Gladius system puts Bundeswehr infantrymen on the global cutting edge, placing them ahead of their peers in terms of networking capabilities, command and control, and operational efficiency.

Order Of Battle: US Army Mech Rifle Company

Strategy Guides Africa Engagement, Defense Official Says

The U.S. military is working with partner forces in Africa to build security on the continent, the Pentagon’s senior Africa expert said today.
In her keynote speech today, Amanda J. Dory, deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, told attendees at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ senior leader seminar that U.S. defense efforts in sub-Saharan Africa closely follow the White House’s newly announced strategy for that region.
A White House fact sheet released June 14 lists four U.S. strategic objectives for sub-Saharan Africa: strengthen democratic institutions, spur economic growth, trade and investment, advance peace and security, and promote opportunity and development.
The U.S. military supports African nations’ efforts toward peace and security in many ways, particularly by countering terrorist groups, Dory said.
“We … concentrate our efforts on disrupting, dismantling and eventually defeating al-Qaida and its affiliates and adherents in Africa and elsewhere,” she said.
The United States contributes financial and security expertise to counter illicit movement of people, arms, drugs and money on the continent, Dory noted. Two al-Qaida affiliated groups in Africa are of key interest to the United States, she noted: al Shabab in Somalia and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, in the Sahel region of north-central Africa.
“We continue to see troubling signs of cooperation between al-Shabab and other al-Qaida affiliates throughout Africa and in Yemen,” she said. The group still threatens the security of the Somali people, and the United States mentors, trains and equips African Union troops working in Somalia to counter al-Shabab, Dory added.
“We’re also working in East Africa to build the counterterrorism capacity of regional partners such as Kenya [and] Ethiopia,” she said.
Dory said North Africa has been the site of the “biggest and most inspirational changes” on the continent over the past year, with popular uprisings in Egypt and Libya.
“Our focus now is on forging relationships with those new governments, encouraging [them] … to make positive reforms,” she said.
Regional cooperation and information sharing between militaries are more important than ever as east African nations grapple with an outpouring of weapons and people from Libya, she noted.
AQIM seeks to take advantage of instability in the region, and has increased its activities, including kidnappings for ransom, she said. The Tuareg rebellion in Mali created new opportunities for the group to establish safe havens, she added.
DOD is closely watching AQIM activities, and is working with the State Department and 10 partner countries to build regional militaries’ capacity to combat the terror group, Dory said.
In Nigeria, Boko Haram has grown in number, range, sophistication and lethality over the past year, she said. While DOD has a role to play in helping to build capacity in the Nigerian military, most of the effort to defuse Boko Haram “must focus on addressing underlying socioeconomic, political, environmental and governance challenges from a Nigerian basis,” she said.
Dory noted the 100-person U.S. military deployment to Central Africa, countering the Lord’s Resistance Army, has made progress. The U.S. advisors work with forces from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan to counter LRA activities and protect local populations, she said.
“We’re satisfied with the progress of the deployment to date,” Dory said, noting President Barack Obama announced in April the United States will continue the counter-LRA mission.
In South Africa, Defense Department efforts center on counterpiracy, humanitarian assistance and disaster response training with regional forces, she said.
Guided by the national strategy, she said, the nation’s military will remain engaged with African partners to address current security issues while seeking to anticipate and prevent future crises.

Solid soldier look