Monday, November 14, 2011

Thunder rattles Gulf Specators

Sino-Pakistani Special Forces Exercise Begins

ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Army on Nov. 14 announced the fourth in the series of joint Sino-Pakistani 'YOUYI/FRIENDSHIP' special forces exercises had commenced near the city of Jhelum, not far from here.
According to the military press release, YOUYI-IV is a brigade level exercise spread over two weeks that is "aimed at sharing mutual exchange of experience and information through a comprehensive training programme in real time."
Pakistani special forces have been heavily committed, and have gained considerable experience, in the war against the Taliban, as displayed during operations in Swat in May 2009 and South Waziristan in October 2009. They also have operated continuously with units such as the Special Operations Task Force, which has been used to hunt down high-profile targets in the country's Tribal Areas.
Recently, Pakistani special forces have undertaken a number of training exercises with other foreign counterparts. A weeklong Pakistani-Turkish exercise, ATTATURK-VII-2011, which took place at Cherat, the home of Pakistan's Special Service Group, concluded Sept. 29.
A three-week bilateral exercise with the Saudi army, AL-SAMSAAM-IV-2011, concluded in mid-October.
The Chinese special forces have not had much operational experience recently. When asked just what each party could offer the other, Brian Cloughley, a military analyst and former Australian defense attaché to Islamabad, said YOUYI-IV is "a normal training exercise between two nations with strong military links.
"There are always professional advantages in contacts of this sort, and each participant generally gets an equal amount of benefit."
He added, "exchange of information concerning tactical techniques is best effected in discussions and instructional periods rather than out in the field where, no matter how attentive people are to what's going on, there will always be things missed, simply because of the speed of activity."
He did not discount the value of the exercise, however, "because those involved will always get something out of it, sometimes a great deal."
The exercise commenced on the same day the South Asian News Agency reported that China and India are planning to revive their joint military exercises in 2012, after resuming their bilateral military exchanges four months ago.
Planning for the exercise will be laid out during the next round of annual defense consultative talks in mid-December.
The Sino-Indian exchange will be resumed after a four-year break due to a dispute in 2010, when China refused to issue a visa for Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal, then-Northern Army commander of troops in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

UAE Received Information on F/A-18, F-15

DUBAI - Boeing provided information earlier this year on its F/A-18 and F-15 combat aircraft to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of the gulf state's "open fighter competition," said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.
The data on the two fighter jets was supplied at the same time that Boeing supported government-to-government talks under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales regime, Muilenburg said.
"We're honored to have two great fighters to compete," Muilenburg told journalists at the Dubai Airshow here. "We've got hot production lines for both aircraft."
Boeing could provide cost and delivery certainty, and also ensure post-delivery logistical support for both aircraft, he said.
The Eurofighter consortium, meanwhile, confirmed in a statement that the U.K. responded to a UAE request for a briefing on the Typhoon fighter.
"The briefing took place on 17th October 2011," the statement said.
The U.K. then received a request for proposals for the supply of the Typhoon for the UAE Air Force.
"We are working hard to deliver a response," Eurofighter said.
The request for a Eurofighter bid came as a blow to the French government and industry, which have been hoping for a UAE contract for Dassault's Rafale fighter before the end of the year.
Lockheed Martin also has responded to the UAE's request for information on its F-16, which the U.S. company sees as a bridge to selling the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to the gulf state.
Boeing hopes that moves aimed at boosting local UAE industry will help its fighter bid.
Boeing and Mubadala Aerospace, a unit of the Mubadala state-owned holding company, announced Nov. 14 they had agreed to two deals under a 2009 framework agreement to develop the UAE's civil and military aerospace industry.
Under the first deal, Boeing will establish local company Strata Manufacturing as a composite aerostructures supplier. Strata will be able to qualify as a tier 1 supplier to Boeing if it meets performance and competitiveness targets set in a so-called "strategic roadmap."
Secondly, the Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Center, a Mubadala Aerospace company, will work under a strategic agreement with Boeing Defense, Space & Security to provide support for military aircraft in the UAE, including Boeing-built Apache and Chinook helicopters and C-17 airlifters.
Boeing sees interest in the F/A-18 and F-15 in the gulf region, including Kuwait and Qatar.
A sale of F-15s to Saudi Arabia is under government-to-government discussion, after having sparked protest from Israel.

India, China Seek To End Border Dispute: Antony

NEW DELHI - India and China are working on a new mechanism to resolve their longtime boundary dispute, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of Foundation Day activities at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) here Nov. 11, Antony said a new mechanism to help resolve the boundary dispute between the two countries will be finalized by the end of the year.
The border between India and China is the longest contested boundary in the world. China claims 92,000 square kilometers of Indian territory.
The border is currently defined by a 4,056-kilometer Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is marked neither on the ground nor on mutually accepted maps. Efforts to establish a recognized LAC have made little headway since the mid-1980s.
The two countries have been building up their militaries in light of perceived future threats. The two countries fought a brief war in 1962 over the boundary.
On Nov. 10, the Chinese media criticized Indian media reports of an Indian military buildup. The People's Daily, the official newspaper of China, reported that Beijing had taken note of the Indian Defence Ministry's proposal to raise about 100,000 troops.
Both India and China are bolstering their arsenals and building infrastructure at their common border.
China spends about $70 billion on weapons and equipment each year, while India has an annual defense budget of about $30 billion.

Pakistan Air Force Jet Crashes; Pilot Killed

ISLAMABAD - A Pakistani air force jet crashed during a training flight on Nov. 14 in northern Pakistan, killing the pilot, the air force said.
The crash took place near the garrison town of Attock, 40 miles northwest of Islamabad.
The jet "crashed due to technical malfunction near Attock. The pilot was fatally injured," an air force statement said, not specifying the type of aircraft.
No loss of civilian life or property was reported on the ground, it said, adding that an inquiry had been ordered to determine the cause of the crash.
Pakistan's air force has a fleet of Chinese aircraft, including F-7PGs and A-5s, plus U.S.-built F-16s and French Mirages. It recently acquired medium-tech JF-17 or Thunder jets, manufactured jointly by China and Pakistan.

Lockheed To Demo Command System in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Lockheed Martin was due this week to give a demonstration of its command-and-control product pitched in the United Arab Emirates' two-horse tender for an integrated air and missile defense system, a company executive said.
Lockheed Martin was very confident it could "meet or exceed the requirements for the system," Dennis Cavin, vice president of international air and missile defense, said Nov. 13 at the Dubai Airshow.
The U.S –based company and ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS) are competing for an estimated $1 billion contract under the United Arab Emirates' extended air defense ground environment-transformation program.
Lockheed expects the Emirati authorities to carefully analyze and evaluate the competing offers and select the supplier, Cavin said. A selection decision is understood to be close, he said.
Lockheed also soon expects the country's reduced order for its Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile, Cavin said.
The decisions for the air and missile defense system and the THAAD procurement were not related, but Cavin said that the two Lockheed weapon systems, THAAD and PAC-3, being bought by the United Arab Emirates should be plugged into a command-and-control system offered by the same company.
The initial THAAD buy was valued at $6.95 billion when announced in 2008, but the United Arab Emirates has cut the number of units - and, therefore, the sale's value - by about one third.
TRS, a joint venture between Thales and Raytheon, has made several demonstrations of its product in recent weeks to Emirati officials as part of the tender process, a company executive said.
All technical information has been presented to the United Arab Emirates, and a selection could be made any time, the executive said.
TRS has a presentation display of its SkyView air C4I product on its stand at the exhibition. The display shows a map of France and a host of information tracks and symbols of the air environment with potential for tracking aircraft and missiles in the airspace.
The system features include mission planning and execution, as well as fusing of information from a variety of sources.
The down selection to Lockheed and TRS eliminated Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Saab, industry sources said.
"We respect the customer's decision making process," Dennis Muilenburg, president and chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said.