Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brits kick out Iranian diplomats

The UK is to expel all Iranian diplomats following the storming of its embassy in Tehran, Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced.

He said he had ordered the immediate closure of the Iranian embassy in London.

Tuesday's attack by hundreds of protesters followed Britain's decision to impose further sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.

Iran's parliament had previously voted to reduce diplomatic ties with the UK.

Mr Hague said he was demanding the immediate closure of the Iranian embassy in London, with all its staff to leave the UK within 48 hours.

He said there had been "some degree of regime consent" in the attacks on the embassy and on another UK diplomatic compound in Tehran.

He said all UK diplomatic staff in Tehran had been evacuated and the embassy closed.

"They cannot expect to have a functioning embassy here," Mr Hague told MPs.

However, Mr Hague said the UK was not severing relations with Iran entirely.

Correspondents say the move means relations between the UK and Iran are now at the lowest level.

Hashim Khan, an anti-Taliban tribal leader killed

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Hashim Khan, an anti-Taliban tribal leader, was killed in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday when a bomb hidden in his car detonated, police said.

Two of Khan's colleagues traveling with him were injured, said police official Abdul Rashid.
The explosion took place at 1 p.m. in Hangu city in Orakzai Agency, one of seven semi-autonomous tribal regions in northwest Pakistan, known to be a hotbed of militancy.

Khan was an influential tribal elder who led a local resistance against the Taliban and its many factions.

No one has taken responsibility for the attack.

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Translation:
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Iran one year away from the bomb ..



Yadlin: Tehran needs 12-18 months to build a nuclear bomb
By YAAKOV KATZ
11/29/2011 15:03


Ex-IDF intel chief Yadlin says once Tehran makes decision to build a nuclear bomb it'll take 12-18 months.

There is time before the use of military force will be necessary to stop Iran’s nuclear program, former head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin hinted on Tuesday, saying that once Tehran makes the decision to build a nuclear bomb it will take 12-18 months.

Yadlin spoke at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv where he now serves as the director. He completed his term as head of Military Intelligence last November.

The cause of a blast on Monday in the city of Isfahan – home to a key Iranian nuclear facility – continued to remain a mystery on Tuesday.

Yadlin hinted that it was possible that once the Iranians go to the “breakout” stage and begin enriching military-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon, other countries in the world will be prepared to launch a military strike against Iran. He said that Israel did not need to take action until it reaches that stage.

Yadlin seemed to share the opinion of former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who has said that Israel should not consider military action until a “sword is against its throat,” meaning until Iran is already building a nuclear weapon.

“Once the Iranians decide they are going to the breakout stage and they openly declare publicly that they are moving forward to a nuclear weapon there will be new opportunities that do not exist today,” said Yadlin, “and this requires us to maintain a dialogue with countries that have better [military] capabilities to deal with this threat.”

He said that the Iranians already have enough lowenriched uranium for 4-5 nuclear weapons, but that they are waiting until they feel that the price they will pay is low before building the bomb.

“The Iranians will [build the bomb] only when they feels that the risks are low. This has not happened,” he said. “What has happened is that the Iranians have obtained all of the necessary components – they can enrich uranium, they have missiles and the recent International Atomic Energy Agency report shows they are also working on the weapon.”

Yadlin said that while Iran will retaliate against a future Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities, it will not be interested in a longterm conflict with Israel.

“There will definitely be a response but I propose that Hezbollah and Hamas capabilities should not lead the debate since these are groups that we could find ourselves up against any given day,” Yadlin said.

“There are international mechanisms to limit the Iranian response – by the world and Israel which has ways to make it clear to the Iranians that they will pay a heavy price for launching a prolonged war.”

Iran denies nuclear facility blew up - but satellites reveal it did.



By JPOST.COM STAFF AND YAAKOV KATZ
11/29/2011 11:05


Isfahan's deputy governor calls reports of previous day's mysterious blast "sheer lies," according to IRNA news.

Officials from the Iranian city of Isfahan denied on Tuesday that the city had been hit by a mysterious explosion the previous day.

Mohammad-Mahdi Esma'ili, Isfahan's deputy governor in political and security affairs, called the reports "sheer lies" according to the IRNA news agency. An official from the city's fire department also denied that there had been an explosion.

A mysterious explosion rocked the Iranian city of Isfahan on Monday, home to a key facility in Tehran’s nuclear program.

The source and target of the explosion were unclear. Some reports claimed that it took place in a military base and others claimed it was a gas explosion. Isfahan hosts a nuclear facility involved in processing uranium which is fed to the Natanz fuel enrichment facility.

Two weeks ago, on November 12, an explosion hit an Iranian military base near the town of Bid Kaneh, killing 17 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Maj.-Gen. Hassan Moghaddam, chief architect of the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program. Israel’s Mossad has been accused of orchestrating the blast.


On Monday, the Washington, DC-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) revealed a satellite image of the military base harmed in the attack two week ago. The image showed extensive damage to a number of buildings within the compound. ISIS said that the blast was caused while Iran was apparently performing a procedure involving an engine for a new missile.



Head of the Military Intelligence Research Directorate Brig.-Gen. Itay Brun told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday that the blast at the missile base on November 12 could delay Tehran’s development of long-range missiles.

“The explosion at the site to develop surface-to-surface missiles could stop or delay activities on that track and in that location, but we must emphasize that Iran has other development tracks in addition to that facility,” Brun said.

Compared to an earlier satellite image of the site, the image taken after the blast on November 22 shows damage to most of the buildings in the base.

Some were completely destroyed. ISIS said that some of the destruction could have been the result of subsequent controlled demolition of buildings and the removal of debris.

The Iranian media provided contradictory information about the explosion on Monday.

The Fars news agency reported a large blast in the province but later removed the report from its website.



The Mehr news agency cited other Iranian news media, which it did not identify, as reporting that a blast had taken place at a gas station at a town near Isfahan. However, it also quoted the deputy governor of the province as saying he had no reports of a big explosion in his region.

“So far, no report of a major explosion has been heard from any government body in Isfahan,” Deputy Governor Mohammad Mehdi was quoted as saying by the semi-official news agency.

Separately, the European Union is preparing new restrictive measures against Iran and shares US concerns about Tehran’s nuclear program, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said on Monday.

Van Rompuy did not offer details of the planned sanctions in remarks to reporters after a White House meeting with President Barack Obama and other top US officials.

In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the US and EU said they shared “deep concern” about the possible military dimensions of Tehran’s nuclear pursuits.

“We stress our determination to ensure that Iran complies with its obligations, including abiding by United Nations Security Council resolutions, and to cooperate fully with the IAEA to address the international community’s serious concerns over the nature of its nuclear program,” the statement read.

Reuters contributed to the report.

Breaking News: British Embassy stormed by Iranian protesters


BBC: Protesters in the Iranian capital, Tehran, have broken into the UK embassy compound during a demonstration against sanctions imposed by Britain.

Militant students are said to have removed the British flag, burnt it and replaced it with Iran's flag. State TV showed youths smashing embassy windows.

The move comes after Iran resolved to reduce ties following the UK's decision to impose further sanctions on it.

The UK's Foreign Office said it was "outraged" by the actions.

"It is utterly unacceptable," it said in a statement. "The Iranian government have a clear duty to protect diplomats and embassies."

It later updated its travel advice to Iran, urging Britons there to "stay indoors, keep a low profile and await further advice".

After a series of ups and downs in relations following the 1979 Iranian revolution, London and Tehran restored full diplomatic ties in 1988.

Iran broke off relations the following year after Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa on the author Salman Rushdie. Partial diplomatic relations were restored in 1990 and these were upgraded in 1999 to ambassadorial level.

In 2001, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw visited Iran.

In March 2007, Iranian forces seized eight Royal Navy sailors and seven marines from their patrol boat on the border between Iran and Iraq, saying that the sailors had entered Iranian waters. They were freed the next month.

In June 2009, Britain froze Iranian assets worth almost £1bn under sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear programme, and later Iran and Britain each expelled two diplomats. The same month, Iran accused Britain of involvement in the post-presidential election unrest in Iran.

In November 2011, Britain imposed new financial sanctions on Iran, a move which appears to have led to the current situation.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry later expressed its "regret for certain unacceptable behaviour by a small number of protesters in spite of efforts by the police".

"The relevant authorities have been asked to take the necessary measures and look into this issue immediately," it said.

The students clashed with riot police and chanted "the embassy of Britain should be taken over" and "death to England".

Students were said to have ransacked offices inside the building, and one protester was reported to be waving a framed picture of Queen Elizabeth II.

Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency said embassy documents had been set alight. Staff fled by the back door, the agency added.

Pictures showed a car inside the compound on fire while several hundred other demonstrators were gathered outside the embassy's walls.

After about two hours, police seemed to be back in control of the building. Live TV footage showed riot police removing protesters.

Security forces fired tear gas, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. It said some protesters and police had been injured in the clash.

However, later reports said some protesters were still in the embassy. The governor of Tehran and the city's head of security have entered the building to try to persuade them to leave, the BBC has learned.

An unconfirmed report from the official Irna news agency said a separate group of protesters had broken into another British embassy compound in the north of the city and seized "classified documents".

Continue reading the main story

In pictures: Iran embassy protest
It was not clear how many embassy staff were in the building at the time. A Foreign Office source said it was checking on the well-being of workers and diplomats, AP reported.

There was strong international reaction to Tuesday's events.

The US condemned the attack "in the strongest terms".

"We stand ready to support our allies at this difficult time," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe also condemned the incident, adding: "France expresses its full solidarity with the UK."

Russia said the attack was "unacceptable and deserving condemnation".

Last week the US, UK and Canada announced new measures targeting Iran over its controversial nuclear plans.

For its part, the UK Treasury imposed sanctions on Iranian banks, accusing them of facilitating the country's nuclear programme

That decision followed a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that suggested Iran was working towards acquiring a nuclear weapon.

It said Iran had carried out tests "relevant to the development of a nuclear device".

Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only.

On Sunday, Iran's parliament voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic relations with the UK in response to the British action.

Iranian radio reported that some MPs had chanted "Death to Britain" during the vote, which was approved by 87% of MPs.

"Click" Russia activates missile warning system




BBC: Russia has turned on a new incoming missile early warning system in its westernmost region in response to US plans for a missile shield in Europe.

President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the system to be activated on a visit to the radar unit in Kaliningrad, a Baltic region bordering EU countries.

The unit is equipped with the new Voronezh-DM radar system.

Mr Medvedev has warned Russian missiles could be deployed on the EU's borders if the shield is installed.

Washington wants an anti-missile shield ready by 2020, arguing that it is necessary to provide protection from the potential missile threat posed by countries like Iran.

Under President George W Bush, the US had initially intended to locate major parts of the shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, but Russia objected vigorously.

When Barack Obama took office in the White House, he scaled back the original ambitions.

"Nato's missile defence system [is] designed to defend against threats from outside Europe - not designed to alter balance of deterrence," Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a recent tweet.

Domestic context
In a statement carried by Russian news agencies, Mr Medvedev said: "I expect that this step will be seen by our partners as the first signal of the readiness of our country to make an adequate response to the threats which the missile shield poses for our strategic nuclear forces."


Russia has said it may deploy Iskander ballistic missile launchers in Kaliningrad
Quoted by Interfax, he said: "If our signal is ignored... we will deploy other means of defence including the adoption of tough counter-measures and the deployment of a strike group."

Mr Medvedev has spoken of deploying Iskander missiles - modern versions of the mobile Scud surface-to-surface missile - in Kaliningrad.

On Tuesday, he said Russia was ready to listen to new anti-missile defence proposals from "Western partners" but added that "verbal statements are not enough".

The radar system activated on Mr Medvedev's orders was installed this year at Pionerskoye, Kaliningrad, and is meant to replace older systems in Ukraine and Belarus, according to Russian news website lenta.ru.

With an operating range of 6,000km (3,730 miles), the Voronezh DM can cover "all of Europe and the Atlantic", according to the Russian military.

It is designed to detect space and aerodynamic targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles.

Iran's nuclear programme and its development of long-range missiles have alarmed Western states, despite Tehran's assurances it is not seeking weapons of mass destruction.

One analyst said the decision to activate the system was important but had to be seen in a domestic context.

"Data from this station will allow Russia's leadership to make a decision about a retaliatory nuclear strike, should such a hypothetical need arise," Mikhail Khodaryonok, editor of journal Aerospace Defence, told AFP news agency.

But he described Mr Medvedev's announcement as mainly "pre-election rhetoric" given that both the US missile shield and the Russian system were defensive in nature.

"You would really need to have a vivid imagination to link it to the US missile defence system," the analyst said.

Pakistan/NATO clash may have been a trap set by Taliban


WASHINGTON (AP) – NATO forces may have been lured into attacking friendly Pakistani border posts in a calculated maneuver by the Taliban, according to preliminary U.S. military reports on the deadliest friendly fire incident with Pakistan since the Afghanistan war began.

The NATO airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers over the weekend in an apparent case of mistaken identity, The Associated Press has learned.

A joint U.S.-Afghan patrol was attacked by the Taliban early Saturday morning. While pursuing the enemy in the poorly marked border area, the patrol seems to have mistaken one of the Pakistan troop outposts for a militant encampment and called in a NATO gunship and attack helicopters to open fire.

U.S. officials say the reports suggest the Taliban may have deliberately tried to provoke a cross-border firefight that would set back fragile partnerships between the U.S. and NATO forces and Pakistani soldiers at the ill-defined border.

Officials described the records on condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters.

The incident has sent the perpetually difficult U.S.-Pakistan relationship into a tailspin.

On Tuesday, Pakistani Gen. Ashfaq Nadeem called the incident a "deliberate act of aggression" and said it was "next to impossible that NATO" did not know it was attacking Pakistani forces.

Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command, announced Monday he has appointed Brig. Gen. Stephen Clark, an Air Force special operations officer, to lead the probe of the incident, and said he must include input from the NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, as well as representatives from the Afghan and Pakistani governments.

Nadeem said the Pakistani army had little faith that any investigation will get to the bottom of the incident and may not cooperate with it. He said other joint inquiries into at least two other similar — if less deadly — incidents over the last three years had "come to nothing."

Nadeem made the remarks during a briefing with Pakistani journalists and defense analysts in army headquarters. Foreign media were not invited, but two attendees relayed Nadeem's comments to The Associated Press.

According to the U.S. military records described to the AP, the joint U.S. and Afghan patrol requested backup after being hit by mortar and small arms fire by Taliban militants.

Before responding, the joint U.S.-Afghan patrol first checked with the Pakistani army, which reported it had no troops in the area, the military account said.

Some two hours later, still hunting the insurgents — who had by then apparently fled in the direction of Pakistani border posts — the U.S. commander spotted what he thought was a militant encampment, with heavy weapons mounted on tripods.

The joint patrol called for the airstrikes at around 2:21 a.m. Pakistani time, not realizing the encampment was apparently the Pakistani border post.

Records show the aerial response included Apache attack helicopters and an AC-130 gunship.

U.S. officials are working on the assumption the Taliban chose the location for the first attack to create just such confusion and draw U.S. and Pakistani forces into firing on each other, according to U.S. officials briefed on the operation.

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama considers the Pakistani deaths a tragedy, and said the administration is determined to investigate.

The Pentagon released a four-page memo from Mattis directing Clark to determine what happened, which units were involved, which ones did or did not cross the border, how the operation was coordinated, and what caused the deaths and injuries.

Mattis also asked Clark to develop recommendations about how border operations could be improved, and said the final report should be submitted by December 23.

The details of the airstrike emerged as aftershocks were reverberating across the U.S. military and diplomatic landscape Monday, threatening communications and supply lines for the Afghan war and the success of an upcoming international conference.

While U.S. officials expressed regret and sympathy over the cross-border incident, they are not acknowledging blame, amid conflicting reports about who fired first.
The airstrike was politically explosive as well as deadly, coming as U.S. officials were working to repair relations with the Pakistanis after a series of major setbacks, including the U.S. commando raid into Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden in May.

In recent weeks, military leaders had begun expressing some optimism that U.S.-Pakistan military cooperation along the border was beginning to improve. U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn told Pentagon reporters just last Tuesday that incidents of firing from Pakistan territory had tapered off somewhat in recent weeks.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Pentagon press secretary George Little stressed the need for a strong military relationship with Pakistan.

"The Pakistani government knows our position on that, and that is we do regret the loss of life in this incident, and we are investigating it," said Little.

The military fallout began almost immediately.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY AT USATODAY

Monday, November 28, 2011

First F-35 EMALS launch



READ MORE ABOUT EMALS HERE

Pakistan: "no more business as usual"


Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Tensions among Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States jumped a notch Monday, with Pakistan's prime minister warning there would be "no more business as usual" with Washington after NATO aircraft killed two dozen Pakistan troops.

The Pakistani Taliban urged Pakistan to respond in kind to the airstrike, which NATO called a "tragic unintended" event.

The Pakistani military insisted Monday it had not fired first in the incident, and it said it had told NATO its aircraft were firing on friendly troops.

Meanwhile, a top adviser to Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned that Afghanistan and Pakistan could be on a path to conflict.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in an exclusive interview with CNN Monday that Pakistan was re-evaluating its relationship with the United States.
He said the South Asian nation wanted to maintain its relationship with the United States as long as there was mutual respect and respect for Pakistani sovereignty.
But Gilani highlighted incidents such as the killing of the Pakistani troops and a U.S. raid into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden as violations of his country's sovereignty.

The prime minister also said Pakistan had not yet decided whether to boycott next month's Bonn conference on the future of Afghanistan.

Pakistan turned back 300 trucks carrying NATO supplies and fuel into Afghanistan Monday, government officials Syed Ahmed Jan and Mutahir Zeb told CNN.
Pakistan is a vital land supply route into Afghanistan for the United States and its allies.

Separately, Pakistani military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas denied the reports that Pakistani troops opened fire first on the NATO helicopters.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

US Special Operations Command: "Target Geronimo a fabrication."


The Guardian: The US special operations command has called a former Navy Seal's book claiming to describe the real version of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden a "fabrication". "It's just not true," spokesman Colonel Tim Nye said. "It's not how it happened."

Filled with conspiracy theories and attacks on the Obama White House, Chuck Pfarrer's Seal Target Geronimo claims the White House issued a fictional and damaging account of the raid that made the Seals looks inept. He says Barack Obama's quick acknowledgement of the raid was a craven political move that rendered much of the intelligence gathered useless. In Pfarrer's account, commandos shot Bin Laden within 90 seconds of arriving at the Pakistan compound where the al-Qaida leader was holed up.

Describing the book as a "fabrication", Nye issued an on-the-record denial on behalf of Admiral Bill McRaven, who was in charge of special forces operations at the time of the raid. Nye said McRaven was concerned that the book, which broke into Amazon's top 20 list in the US last week, would lead Americans to doubt the administration's version of events.

"We have never come forward and gone after an author and said, 'That is a lie'," Nye said. "That tells you how far off the mark we believe this book is."

Nye said Pfarrer had no access to any troops connected with the mission. He said there would be no investigation into whether individual Seals spoke to Pfarrer because his account is so wide of the mark.

"I have truth on my side," Pfarrer said in an interview. "I spoke to the guys on the ground and in the secondary bird," he said, referring to the aircraft carrying a second Seal team that was there to rescue the first if it came under attack inside Pakistan's borders.

Pfarrer insisted the stealth helicopter that the White House said crashed within moments of launching the raid actually crashed later. He said the Seals were able to launch their raid as they had planned it, by landing on top of the building while another team attacked from below.

Pfarrer also said the way the White House described the Seals shooting Bin Laden – that he was unarmed but trying to evade them – amounted to murder. He said his version, which has Bin Laden reaching for a gun, makes the killing legal. Officials involved in the raid say Pfarrer is out of date on the post-9/11 laws of war, which sanction targeting al-Qaida with deadly force.

Pfarrer defended the book as a patriotic way to laud the "heroes of the Bin Laden mission". He said the money he earns will barely cover his medical bills for a long battle with colon cancer.

Pfarrer claims in his book that he is still part of the Seals' fighting network, even intimating that he played a part in preparations for the Bin Laden raid.

"In the weeks and months leading up to Neptune's Spear [the code name for the mission], it was my privilege to help troops and platoons train for submissions and run parallel HVT [high-value target] missions," Pfarrer writes.

"That is categorically incorrect," Nye said. "He was not involved in mission planning, execution or close mission analysis."

Pfarrer responded that he conducted training for the Seal team's parent organisation, the Naval Special Warfare Command, through his defence security company Acme Ballistics. He refused to describe how it was related to the raid, saying the contracts were classified.

Pfarrer has frequently claimed that his accounts come from a top-secret world, and that readers must take his word on faith.

Iran claims to have arrested 12 CIA agents


(CNN) -- An official Iranian news agency quoted an Iranian legislator Thursday as saying that Iran's intelligence ministry had arrested 12 CIA "spies."
The report could not independently confirmed.

Parliamentarian Parviz Sorouri said the alleged spies were trying to cripple Iran in the nuclear, military and security areas, Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Sorouri did not mention the nationalities of the people arrested or say when and where they were arrested, IRNA reported.

"It's possible that Iran sees this as an opportunity to just jump on the bandwagon after Hezbollah-related stories earlier this week," said a U.S. official who was not authorized to talk on the record. "They'll do anything to try and get international pressure and attention off of them, but it won't work."

The CIA declined to comment on the report.
The news comes after the reported capture this week of several CIA informants in Lebanon by Hezbollah, a group closely aligned with Iran that the United States views as a terrorist organization.

A U.S. official confirmed this week that Hezbollah had captured of CIA informants in Lebanon, but the official did not say how many were detained.
"Collecting sensitive information on adversaries -- who are aggressively trying to uncover spies in their midst -- will always be fraught with risk. Good CI (counterintelligence) can mitigate risks, but won't eliminate them all," the source said.

In May, the Iranian intelligence minister, Heidar Moslehi, said that more than 30 U.S. and Israeli spies had been discovered, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Thursday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Breaking: Standoff at Colorado air base

(CNN) -- An airman armed with a handgun barricaded himself inside a building at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, base officials said in a statement Monday.

No shots had been fired and no injuries reported, according to a spokeswoman at the base's public affairs office.

The airman, assigned to the base's 50th Security Forces Squadron, was barricaded inside a building where personnel get paperwork and equipment before being deployed, according to the base. No weapons are normally stored in the building, the spokeswoman said, but the airman was armed with a personal handgun.
The building was evacuated and law enforcement units had responded, said the statement posted on the air base's website.

"Our first responders are trained to handle situations such as this and we are working with our community partners to resolve this situation as quickly and safely as possible," Col. James P. Ross, 50th Space Wing commander, said in the statement.
No operations on the base were immediately affected, according to the base, which is home to the 50th Space Wing, the unit responsible for satellite command and control for the Department of Defense.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hypersonic weapon tested ...


WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Thursday held a successful test flight of a flying bomb that travels faster than the speed of sound and will give military planners the ability to strike targets anywhere in the world in less than a hour.

Launched by rocket from Hawaii at 1130 GMT, the “Advanced Hypersonic Weapon,” or AHW, glided through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific “at hypersonic speed” before hitting its target on the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands, a Pentagon statement said.

Kwajalein is about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) southwest of Hawaii. The Pentagon did not say what top speeds were reached by the vehicle, which unlike a ballistic missile is maneuverable.


Scientists classify hypersonic speeds as those that exceed Mach 5 — or five times the speed of sound — 3,728 miles (6,000 kilometers) an hour.

The test aimed to gather data on “aerodynamics, navigation, guidance and control, and thermal protection technologies,” said Lieutenant Colonel Melinda Morgan, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

The US Army’s AHW project is part of the “Prompt Global Strike” program which seeks to give the US military the means to deliver conventional weapons anywhere in the world within an hour.

On August 11, the Pentagon test flew another hypersonic glider dubbed HTV-2, which is capable of flying 27,000 kilometers per hour, but it was a failure.

The AHW’s range is less than that of the HTV-2, the Congressional Research Service said in a report, without providing specifics.

The Pentagon has invested 239.9 million dollars in the Global Strike program this year, including 69 million for the flying bomb tested Thursday, CRS said.

Another day - another drone strike.


Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region killed six suspected militants on Thursday, intelligence officials told CNN.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials said the suspected drone fired four missiles on a militant hideout in the area of Razmak in North Waziristan, one of the seven districts of Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Based on a count by the CNN Islamabad bureau, Thursday's suspected drone strike was the 64th this year compared to 111 in all of 2010.

The intelligence officials asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

US sending Marines to Australia - sending China a message.



Canberra, Australia (CNN) -- The United States announced an agreement with Australia Wednesday that will expand military cooperation between the long-time allies and boost America's presence in the region.

The agreement was revealed during a joint news conference between U.S. President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the nation's capital, Canberra.

Obama is on a two-day trip to Australia, his first visit as commander-in-chief.

"I am very pleased that we are able to make these announcements here together on Australian soil," Obama said. "Because of these initiatives that are the result of our countries working very closely together as partners, we are going to be in a position to more effectively strengthen the security of both of our nations and this region."

President Obama arrives in Australia Obama stresses Asia-Pacific importance
Under the agreement, up to 250 U.S. Marines will be sent to Darwin and the northern region of Australia for military exercises and training. Over the next several years their numbers are expected to climb to 2,500 -- a full Marine ground task force.
While U.S. officials cited the need to respond to regional natural disasters as a reason for the agreement, concern over China's military expansion is widely acknowledged as a driving factor.

"What we look at is how does our general force posture allow us to protect U.S. interests, protect our allies, and ... secure the region broadly," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters traveling with the president. "China is obviously a piece of the Asia Pacific region, an emerging power."

Rhodes later added that the deal is "part of the U.S. sending a signal that we're going to be present, that we're going to continue to play the role of underpinning security in this part of the region. Part of that context is a rising China."
Analysts note that the deal sends a message to China in a less confrontational way than building up bases closer to Chinese shores.

Predator drones step up attacks on Waziristan militants -18 more killed


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Suspected U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal region killed 18 alleged militants Tuesday night, intelligence officials told CNN.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials said the suspected drones fired two missiles at different sites in South Waziristan.

South Waziristan is one of the seven districts of Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
The intelligence officials asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

U.S. officials rarely discuss the CIA's drone program in Pakistan, though privately they have said the covert strikes are legal and an effective tactic in the fight against extremists.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Iran's nuke weapons designer goes "poof" Was it the Mossad?


TIME: Mossad," the Israeli international intelligence agency, was behind Saturday's explosion at a missile base next to Tehran, in the estimation of an official Western intelligence source cited by TIME magazine on Monday. The official said, "Don't believe the Iranians that it was an accident."

A leading figure in Iran's nuclear development program was among at least 17 people killed in the blast. The incident followed the release of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency last week, documenting Iranian work on atomic weapons.

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards missile expert was killed in Saturday’s blast southwest of Tehran, but Iran denied mounting evidence that it was the result of sabotage and that it occurred at a missile base.

The government-controlled media in Iran admitted that one of the 17 people killed in the blast was Brigadier Hassan Moghadam, head of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) missile development. He was a researcher at a Tehran university and headed the "Jihad Self-Reliance" unit.

Iran also explained that the official death toll of 17 originally was reported as 27 due to an illegible fax message.

Iran has insisted that the explosion was accidental and occurred at an ammunition depot, but evidence suggests otherwise. Several sources asserted that the base was home to the Fifth Ra'ad Missile Brigade, responsible for medium-range Shahab-3 ballistic missile.

Drone strike zaps six militants in North Waziristan.


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region killed six suspected militants on Tuesday, intelligence officials told CNN.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials said the suspected drone fired two missiles on an alleged militant hideout in the area of Miran Shah in North Waziristan.

North Waziristan is one of the seven districts of Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
The intelligence officials asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

U.S. officials rarely discuss the CIA's drone program in Pakistan, though privately they have said the covert strikes are legal and an effective tactic in the fight against extremists.

Monday, November 14, 2011

US buying Old Brit Harriers



By Christopher P. Cavas, Vago Muradian and Andrew Chuter - Staff writers

The Navy and Marine Corps have agreed to buy Britain’s entire decommissioned fleet of 74 Harrier jump jets, along with engines and spare parts — a move expected to help the Corps operate Harriers into the mid-2020s and provide extra planes to replace aging two-seat F-18D Hornet strike fighters.

Rear Adm. Mark Heinrich, chief of the Navy’s Supply Corps, confirmed the two-part deal last week during a conference in New York sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in association with Defense News.

Heinrich negotiated the $50 million purchase of all Harrier spare parts, while Rear Adm. Donald Gaddis, the Navy’s program executive officer for tactical aircraft, is overseeing discussions to buy the Harrier aircraft and their Rolls-Royce engines, Heinrich said.

A spokesman for the British Ministry of Defence confirmed the Disposal Services Agency was in talks with the Navy for the sale of the Harriers. The deal had yet to be concluded, he said Friday.

Britain retired its joint force of Royal Air Force and Royal Navy Harrier aircraft late last year in one of the most controversial moves of the defense reductions, which also cut the aircraft carriers that operated the jets, other warships, maritime patrol planes and personnel.

Most of the retired Harriers are stored at Royal Air Force Base Cottesmore, England. They have been undergoing minimum fleet maintenance, including anti-deterioration measures, in order to keep them airworthy, Heinrich said.

A spokesman for the Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command declined on Friday to comment on the deal, deferring to the British military.

A British MoD source said Friday that he thought both deals could be signed in the next week or two. The MoD source confirmed that the entire fleet of 74 Harrier aircraft was involved in the sale.

Heinrich noted that payment details were the only outstanding issue on the parts deal discussions, and he said the purchase will give the Corps a relatively economical way to get their hands on key components to keep the Harrier fleet running.

While it is unusual for the U.S. to buy used foreign military aircraft for operation, integration of the British planes into Corps squadrons shouldn’t be a major problem, one expert said.

“I don’t think it will be costly to rip out the Brit systems” and replace them with Marine gear, said Lon Nordeen, author of several books on the Harrier.

Nordeen noted that the British GR 9 and 9As are similar in configuration to the Marines’ AV-8B night attack version, which makes up about a third of U.S. Harriers. The British planes also are night planes dedicated to air-ground attack, he said, and while both types carry Forward Looking Infrared sensors, neither is fitted with a multimode radar such as the APG-65 carried by U.S. AV-8B+ models.

The absence of the big radar, Nordeen said, makes the GR 9A and AV-8Bs “a better-performing plane. Weighing less, it’s more of a hot rod.”

READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

Friday, November 11, 2011

If you are free - thank a veteran ..

Book sheds light on stealth helicopters used in bin Laden raid


WIRED DANGER ROOM

There are lots of surprising claims in Chuck Pfarrer’s new book, SEAL Target Geronimo, a supposedly inside account of the May 2 raid that killed Osama bin Laden in his Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound — and none more surprising than this. The former commando-turned-author Pfarrer insists the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment possesses not one, but two stealth transport helicopter designs. The stealthier of the two was held back from the mission for fear of one crashing and giving up its secrets, Pfarrer claims.

That was a perfectly valid fear, it turned out. The outside world became aware of the 160th SOAR’s stealthy choppers after one of them crashed inside bin Laden’s compound, leaving behind an intact tail rotor, pictured, whose design elements point to reduced sonic, infrared and radar signatures.

In the days following the raid, aviation journalist David Cenciotti produced a digital mockup of the new copter. Danger Room revealed the chopper’s nickname: “Airwolf.” And ace Army Times reporter Sean Naylor spoke to a 160th SOAR source who unveiled the Airwolf’s origins. The radar-evading rotorcraft were modified UH-60 Blackhawks with angular fuselages and the special “hubcap” tail. Naylor reports that Lockheed Martin built four or so of the tricked-out birds around the year 2000 before the contract was canceled.

Pfarrer’s account contradicts Naylor’s. According to Pfarrer, the bird that crashed was called a “Stealth Hawk,” and it was the older of the two secret chopper models. The newer copter was called a “Gen-3″ or “Ghost Hawk,” Pfarrer claims. “The Ghost Hawk helicopters were among the most highly classified aircraft possessed by the U.S. military” and “were even quieter” than the Stealth Hawks, he writes.


Pfarrer describes a pair of Air Force C-5A cargo planes transporting two Ghost Hawks (and presumably the Stealth Hawks, too) to Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, where the SEALs and the 160th pilots were based. All four secret choppers were slated to participate in the raid, but at the last minute the White House ordered the Ghost Hawks yanked. “It was deemed too much of a risk that the Ghost technology would fall into enemy hands,” Pfarrer explains.

So just the two older Stealth Hawks flew to Abbottabad … and the rest is (previously reported) history. Pfarrer’s description of the chopper crash differs somewhat from other accounts in the technical details. But the broad outline, as far as stealth aircraft are concerned, is the same.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nuclear Pakistan - Ally from Hell?


SHORTLY AFTER AMERICAN NAVY SEALs raided the Pakistani city of Abbottabad in May and killed Osama bin Laden, General Ashfaq Kayani, the Pakistani chief of army staff, spoke with Khalid Kidwai, the retired lieutenant general in charge of securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Kidwai, who commands a security apparatus called the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), had been expecting Kayani’s call.

General Kayani, the most powerful man in a country that has only a simulacrum of civilian leadership, had been busy in the tense days that followed the bin Laden raid: he had to assure his American funders (U.S. taxpayers provide more than $2 billion in annual subsidies to the Pakistani military) that the army had no prior knowledge of bin Laden’s hideout, located less than a mile from Pakistan’s preeminent military academy; and at the same time he had to subdue the uproar within his ranks over what was seen as a flagrant violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty by an arrogant Barack Obama. But he was also anxious about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and he found time to express this worry to General Kidwai.

ABOUT THIS STORY: This article, the product of dozens of interviews over the course of six months, is a joint project of The Atlantic and National Journal. A version of this story focusing on nuclear security appears in the November 5, 2011, issue of National Journal.

Much of the world, of course, is anxious about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and for good reason: Pakistan is an unstable and violent country located at the epicenter of global jihadism, and it has been the foremost supplier of nuclear technology to such rogue states as Iran and North Korea. It is perfectly sensible to believe that Pakistan might not be the safest place on Earth to warehouse 100 or more nuclear weapons. These weapons are stored on bases and in facilities spread across the country (possibly including one within several miles of Abbottabad, a city that, in addition to having hosted Osama bin Laden, is home to many partisans of the jihadist group Harakat-ul-Mujahideen). Western leaders have stated that a paramount goal of their counterterrorism efforts is to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of jihadists.

“The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term, and long-term, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon,” President Obama said last year at an international nuclear-security meeting in Washington. Al-Qaeda, Obama said, is “trying to secure a nuclear weapon—a weapon of mass destruction that they have no compunction at using.”

Pakistan would be an obvious place for a jihadist organization to seek a nuclear weapon or fissile material: it is the only Muslim-majority state, out of the 50 or so in the world, to have successfully developed nuclear weapons; its central government is of limited competence and has serious trouble projecting its authority into many corners of its territory (on occasion it has difficulty maintaining order even in the country’s largest city, Karachi); Pakistan’s military and security services are infiltrated by an unknown number of jihadist sympathizers; and many jihadist organizations are headquartered there already.

“There are three threats,” says Graham Allison, an expert on nuclear weapons who directs the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The first is “a terrorist theft of a nuclear weapon, which they take to Mumbai or New York for a nuclear 9/11. The second is a transfer of a nuclear weapon to a state like Iran. The third is a takeover of nuclear weapons by a militant group during a period of instability or splintering of the state.” Pakistani leaders have argued forcefully that the country’s nuclear weapons are secure. In times of relative quiet between Pakistan and India (the country that would be the target of a Pakistani nuclear attack), Pakistani officials claim that their weapons are “de-mated”—meaning that the warheads are kept separate from their fissile cores and their delivery systems.

This makes stealing, or launching, a complete nuclear weapon far more difficult. Over the past several years, as Pakistan has suffered an eruption of jihadist terrorism, its officials have spent a great deal of time defending the safety of their nuclear program. Some have implied that questions about the safety of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal are motivated by anti-Muslim prejudice. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former army chief and president, who created the SPD, told The Atlantic in a recent interview: “I think it’s overstated that the weapons can get into bad hands.” Referring to Pakistan’s main adversary, India, he said, “No one ever speaks of the dangers of a Hindu bomb.”

Current officials of the Pakistani government are even more adamant on the issue. In an interview this summer in Islamabad, a senior official of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), the Pakistani military’s spy agency, told The Atlantic that American fears about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were entirely unfounded. “Of all the things in the world to worry about, the issue you should worry about the least is the safety of our nuclear program,” the official said. “It is completely secure.” He went on to say, “It is in our interest to keep our bases safe as well. You must trust us that we have maximum and impenetrable security. No one with ill intent can get near our strategic assets.”

Like many statements made by Pakistan’s current leaders, this one contained large elements of deceit. At least six facilities widely believed to be associated with Pakistan’s nuclear program have already been targeted by militants. In November 2007, a suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying workers to the Sargodha air base, which is believed to house nuclear weapons; the following month, a school bus was attacked outside Kamra air base, which may also serve as a nuclear storage site; in August 2008, Pakistani Taliban suicide bombers attacked what experts believe to be the country’s main nuclear-weapons-assembly depot in Wah cantonment.

If jihadists are looking to raid a nuclear facility, they have a wide selection of targets: Pakistan is very secretive about the locations of its nuclear facilities, but satellite imagery and other sources suggest that there are at least 15 sites across Pakistan at which jihadists could find warheads or other nuclear materials.

It is true that the SPD is considered to be a highly professional organization, at least by Pakistani-government standards of professionalism. General Kidwai, its leader, is well regarded by Western nuclear-security experts, and the soldiers and civilians he leads are said by Pakistani spokesmen to be screened rigorously for their probity and competence, and for signs of political or religious immoderation. The SPD, Pakistani officials say, keeps careful watch over behavioral changes in its personnel; employees are investigated thoroughly for ties to extremists, and to radical mosques, and for changes in their lifestyle and income. The SPD also is believed to maintain “dummy” storage sites that serve to divert attention from active ones.

Pakistani spokesmen say the SPD is also vigilant in its monitoring of the civilian scientists—there are as many as 9,000, including at least 2,000 who possess “critical knowledge” of weapons manufacture and maintenance, according to two sources in Pakistan—working in their country’s nuclear complexes, a watchfulness deemed necessary after disclosures that two retired Pakistani nuclear scientists of pronounced jihadist sympathies had met with Osama bin Laden in the summer of 2001.

Some American intelligence experts question Pakistan’s nuclear vigilance. Thomas Fingar, a former chairman of the National Intelligence Council and deputy director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush, said it is logical that any nuclear-weapons state would budget the resources necessary to protect its arsenal—but that “we do not know that this is the case in Pakistan.” The key concern, Fingar says, is that “we do not know if what the military has done is adequate to protect the weapons from insider threats, or if key military units have been penetrated by extremists. We hope the weapons are safe, but we may be whistling past the graveyard.”

There is evidence to suggest that neither the Pakistani army, nor the SPD itself, considers jihadism the most immediate threat to the security of its nuclear weapons; indeed, General Kayani’s worry, as expressed to General Kidwai after Abbottabad, was focused on the United States. According to sources in Pakistan, General Kayani believes that the U.S. has designs on the Pakistani nuclear program, and that the Abbottabad raid suggested that the U.S. has developed the technical means to stage simultaneous raids on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.

In their conversations, General Kidwai assured General Kayani that the counterintelligence branch of the SPD remained focused on rooting out American and Indian spies from the Pakistani nuclear-weapons complex, and on foiling other American espionage methods. The Pakistani air force drills its pilots in ways of intercepting American spy planes; the Pakistani military assumes (correctly) that the U.S. devotes many resources to aerial and satellite surveillance of its nuclear sites.

In their post-Abbottabad discussion, General Kayani wanted to know what additional steps General Kidwai was taking to protect his nation’s nuclear weapons from the threat of an American raid. General Kidwai made the same assurances he has made many times to Pakistan’s leaders: Pakistan’s program was sufficiently hardened, and dispersed, so that the U.S. would have to mount a sizable invasion of the country in order to neutralize its weapons; a raid on the scale of the Abbottabad incursion would simply not suffice.

Still, General Kidwai promised that he would redouble the SPD’s efforts to keep his country’s weapons far from the prying eyes, and long arms, of the Americans, and so he did: according to multiple sources in Pakistan, he ordered an increase in the tempo of the dispersal of nuclear-weapons components and other sensitive materials. One method the SPD uses to ensure the safety of its nuclear weapons is to move them among the 15 or more facilities that handle them. Nuclear weapons must go to the shop for occasional maintenance, and so they must be moved to suitably equipped facilities, but Pakistan is also said to move them about the country in an attempt to keep American and Indian intelligence agencies guessing about their locations.

Nuclear-weapons components are sometimes moved by helicopter and sometimes moved over roads. And instead of moving nuclear material in armored, well-defended convoys, the SPD prefers to move material by subterfuge, in civilian-style vehicles without noticeable defenses, in the regular flow of traffic. According to both Pakistani and American sources, vans with a modest security profile are sometimes the preferred conveyance. And according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, the Pakistanis have begun using this low-security method to transfer not merely the “de-mated” component nuclear parts but “mated” nuclear weapons. Western nuclear experts have feared that Pakistan is building small, “tactical” nuclear weapons for quick deployment on the battlefield. In fact, not only is Pakistan building these devices, it is also now moving them over roads.



READ THE REST OF THE STORY AT THE ATLANTIC

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Major AMFC restructure,


WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio --
Providing greater military capabilities, improving readiness and operating effectively in the current fiscal environment is the purpose of an Air Force Materiel Command-wide restructure announced by Air Force officials today.

AFMC will reduce the number of its centers from 12 to five. This will cut overhead costs and redundant layers of staff and is expected to generate Air Force savings equal to $109 million annually while improving AFMC's overall management and lines of communication.

The restructure is one of many efficiency initiatives across the Air Force. With known cuts of at least $400 billion over the next five years, the Department of Defense has challenged all the services to increase funding for mission functions through efficiency savings in overhead, support and non-mission areas. In response, the Air Force identified $33.3 billion in savings over the next five years, to include savings garnered by reducing civilian workforce numbers. The restructure will allow AFMC to eliminate 1,051 civilian positions in a way that preserves mission capability.

As part of the Nov. 2 Air Force announcement on restructuring the service's civilian workforce, another 1,088 AFMC positions will be reduced as the Air Force streamlines installation support functions.

By reducing overhead costs and restructuring the way it manages the Air Force's research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition and sustainment of weapon systems and nuclear support, AFMC will provide better support to the warfighter and use taxpayer dollars more efficiently.

"We owe it to the warfighter and the American taxpayer," said Gen. Donald Hoffman, AFMC commander. "In these times of tight budgets, our success will depend on a fundamental change in culture across our command. This is an opportunity to do things better and replace a culture of perceived endless money with one of efficiency, savings and restraint."

The restructure will be implemented by Oct. 1, 2012.

AFMC will move away from its traditional, management-staff model, with a center and headquarters staff on each AFMC base. By creating a "lead" center for each of its five mission areas, it will streamline the way it accomplishes its work without harming its ability to perform its mission.

In addition, the restructure better integrates the command workforce. "We'll approach our business in a more integrated fashion rather than thinking separately about research, test, acquisition or sustainment in a center-by-center, base-by-base mindset. The restructure will drive us to more standardized processes," Hoffman said.

Under the new structure, the command's acquisition mission will be led by a single organization, the new Air Force Life Cycle Management Center headquartered at Wright-Patterson AFB. The AFLCMC will consolidate the missions now performed by the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson, the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass., and the Air Armament Center at Eglin AFB, Fla. These three acquisition workforces will report directly to AFLCMC, eliminating layers of management overhead. Also joining AFLCMC will be the new Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate, formerly the Air Force Security Assistance Center. It will continue its foreign military sales mission from its Wright-Patterson location.

Program executive officers will remain at their respective bases and continue to report to the Under Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition at the Pentagon. Also, the current Aerospace Sustainment Directorate program offices at Robins AFB, Ga.; Tinker AFB, Okla.; and Hill AFB, Utah, will align to a respective PEO while mission work remains at these locations.

The command's maintenance and supply mission will be led by the new Air Force Sustainment Center to be located at Tinker AFB. The AFSC will consolidate oversight of most missions now performed at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker AFB; the Warner Robins ALC at Robins AFB; and the Ogden ALC at Hill AFB. Like the current acquisition centers, the three ALC headquarters will stand down and their combined workforce will report to the new AFSC. Each location will continue to operate one of the Air Force's three air depots, to be named the Oklahoma City, Warner Robins and Ogden air logistics complexes, respectively.

Maintenance wings at each location will stand down and all subordinate groups will directly report to their respective air logistics complex. The current aerospace sustainment directorates will become the aerospace sustainment divisions reporting to their respective logistics complex.

The Air Force Global Logistics Support Center headquarters at Scott AFB, Ill., responsible for Air Force-wide supply chain management, will stand down.

The 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing at Scott AFB will align to the AFSC. The 448th Supply Chain Management Wing will become the 448th Supply Chain Operations Wing at Tinker and also align to the AFSC. The 591st Supply Chain Management Group at Wright-Patterson, which was a direct report to the AFGLSC, will stand down and become a Logistics Operations Division.

The command's test mission will also be consolidated. The center for test management will be the new Air Force Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif., which is presently the Air Force Flight Test Center. The 46th Test Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., and the Arnold Engineering and Development Center at Arnold AFB, Tenn., to be renamed the Arnold Engineering and Development Complex, will report to the AFTC, along with the 412th Test Wing, at Edwards.

The Air Force Research Laboratory, headquartered at Wright-Patterson, will continue in its role as the command's center for science, technology, research and development.

AFMC's nuclear support mission will continue to be led by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB, N.M.

All centers will be led by general officers. The AFLCMC and AFSC commanders will each be a three-star general. AFRL, the AFTC and the AFNWC will each be led by a two-star.

The Air Logistics Complexes at Tinker, Robins and Hill will be led by one-star generals, as will the test wings at Eglin and Edwards. The AFSAC commander at Wright-Patterson will become a director and remain a one-star.

AFMC will use all personnel management options available to mitigate impacts on civilian employees, to include using normal attrition and early retirement and incentive opportunities.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

KITCHCOM at NiGHT


BLACK HORIZON KITCHCOMS' new night scanning lighting scheme. Yes - it's amazing - I'm just saying.

767 makes belly landing - everyone walks away.

CLICK TO ENLARGE
PHOTOS: REUTERS




CNN: A Boeing 767 plane made a dramatic emergency landing at Warsaw, Poland's Frederic Chopin International airport after problems with its landing gear, an airport spokeswoman said Tuesday.

All the passengers on the flight, from New Jersey's Newark airport to Warsaw, are safe and uninjured, she told CNN.

The LOT Polish Airlines flight, which had been due to land at 1:35 local time, circled above the airport for an hour before coming down in a belly landing at 2:40, she said.

There were 230 people aboard the flight, Poland's TVN broadcaster said.

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