Sabtu, Oktober 30, 2010

Malaysia Will Make Six Littoral Combat Ship in The Next 10 Years

The Malaysian Inshore Patrol Vessels or batch Littoral Combat Ship program

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian government announced that it will build the new six coastal patrol boats in the 2011-2015 period.

Malaysian Ministry of Defence in the House of Lords yesterday to answer questions raised by Tunku Abdul Aziz, said that the Ministry has been under the 10th Malaysia Plan to include the first two batches of coastal patrol ship construction program.

"Department of Defense plans to Po, the actual (Boustead) construction of a further six shipyards, the construction period will last until the 11th Malaysia Plan. The new ships will have a three-dimensional combat capability."

Department of Defense announced the consolidation of the Po, the actual shipyards continue to be a coastal patrol vessel contractor status. The first two batches of inshore patrol vessels, or now renamed the construction of Littoral Combat Ship program, Defense Department did not give any explanation, but said the new ship will have 3D capability.

Germany TKMS Malaysia next generation combat ship design called "MEKO 100 patrol frigate" (photo : KLSReview)

In addition, Germany and Turkey Shipbuilding in LIMA 2009 to present the Malaysian government during the first two batches of the new inshore patrol vessel program, the Littoral combat ship will use the technology in Germany or Turkey, but also to be explored.

In addition, the Defense Ministry said that according to the Government in 1995 and "cooperation Penang Shipbuilding - Naval Dockyard" (PSC-ND), or now known as Po, the actual Naval Shipyard (BNS), signed the memorandum, the authorities hope that the company commissioned the construction of 27 navy patrol vessels.

"The number 27 is considered the navy to patrol over to the Malaysian maritime enforcement agencies (MMEA) and the upcoming annual session in 2015, age 45 years, the fast attack submarine ship factors."

Ministry of Defence said today, the number 27 is still valid, but ultimately depends on the number of warships in the construction of the Government of Malaysia for each 5-year plan to develop the budget allocation.

Thai Offshore Patrol Vessel Takes Shape

Thai's new design OPV

Bangkok, Thailand: Construction of the first BAE Systems designed Offshore Patrol Vessel for the Royal Thai Navy is now well underway in Thailand, as demonstrated this week at a formal keel laying ceremony at Bangkok Dock, the Company’s local partner.

The occasion, attended by Thailand's Royal representative, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and senior officials from the Royal Thai Navy, comes just 14 months after the initial contract was signed.

Under the agreement, BAE Systems supplied the design of its proven 90 metre Offshore Patrol Vessel, which Bangkok Dock has adapted to meet the specific requirements of the Royal Thai Navy, for example incorporating a similar combat system to that being fitted to other ships in its fleet. Engineers from BAE Systems are working alongside Bangkok Dock, throughout the construction of the vessel to transfer design knowledge, technology and skills that will contribute to the growth of a sustainable shipbuilding capability in Thailand.

Commenting on the programme, Alan Johnston, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Surface Ships division, said: “At a time when we are seeking to boost exports, this approach to industry partnerships shows the strength that BAE Systems can bring to navies around the world as they look for cost-effective solutions to enhance the capability of their fleets to meet future requirements.”

Captain Chumpol Promprasit, managing director of Bangkok Dock, said: “To promote a domestic shipbuilding industry, the Royal Thai Navy assigned Bangkok Dock to undertake the provision of design and supply of ship build material using both domestic and international experts during construction of the Offshore Patrol Vessel.

“This is considered as promoting and improving the technical competency and potential of the Royal Thai Navy personnel in building ships for domestic purposes, based on the King’s self sustainability programme.

”The multi-mission Offshore Patrol Vessel will be used by the Royal Thai Navy to primarily be used for Economic Exclusion Zone roles, including routine patrols and border controls. It will also undertake fishery protection tasks as well as protection of natural resources in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea and disaster relief.

The BAE Systems designed 90 metre Offshore Patrol Vessel being built by Bangkok Dock for the Royal Thai Navy is the same core platform design as the ships that BAE Systems is building in the UK for the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard. The platform is based on the design for the smaller River Class vessels used by the UK Royal Navy and is a highly capable vessel that is attractive to the export market.

As the company continues to expand its international maritime footprint, there are ongoing discussions with prospective customers and partners in a number of markets, including South America and India.

SGPV-LCS Will Be Larger Than Kedah Class

Second generation patrol vessels of Malaysia

Malaysia approaches Boustead for six new patrol

Boustead Naval Shipyard has received a letter of intent from Malaysia's Ministry of Defence to undertake the construction of six Second Generation Patrol Vessels (SGPV) with combatant capabilities.

The value and duration of the project are to be negotiated with the government, parent company Boustead Heavy Industries announced in a filing to the Malaysian Securities Exchange on 18 October.

The SGPV will be a larger and more heavily armed follow-on to the Kedah-class corvettes built for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) under the Next Generation Patrol Vessel programme, although the final design and equipment fit has yet to be finalised.

The SGPV specification calls for a length overall of 99.5 m and displacement of 2,200 tons (full load) in comparison with Kedah-class figures of 91.1 m and 1,650 tons.

Several foreign shipbuilders have submitted proposals based on existing designs that would be modified to fit the Malaysian requirement. BAE Systems is offering a larger version of its 90 m offshore patrol vessel (OPV), Damen Schelde has proposed its SIGMA design, DCNS its Gowind family, Navantia the Caribe-class OPV it is building for Venezuela and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems its K130 corvette.

Several United States-based companies, including Raytheon, are competing for the SGPV's combat and weapon system. The new ship will have anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare capabilities and Malaysia has indicated that the combat and weapon systems will be selected separately from the ship design.The government has also stated that all ships should be built by Boustead, although most of the companies that have submitted proposals have called for the first hull to be built in the home country followed by the remaining five in Malaysia. The matter is currently under review.

The SGPV programme is regarded as crucial by the RMN, particularly following the cancellation of a second batch of Lekiu-class frigates. This has led to concern within the RMN that it will lack combat-ship capability in any territorial dispute over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

However, the commitment to the SGPV is likely to mean that the Malaysian requirement for a multi-purpose support ship is to be deferred for the time being. RMN sources have stated that funding will only be provided for one ship procurement programme, with the SGPV getting priority despite the RMN's loss of a significant portion of its amphibious and transport capability with the destruction of the landing ship KD Sri Inderapura by fire in October 2009.The SGPV has been given priority owing to the fact that Boustead Naval Shipyard will have no further major shipbuilding work when the final Kedah-class corvette is completed this year.

Upgraded Hercules Return to Base

The flight deck of the newly upgraded Hercules

The Royal New Zealand Air Force today welcomed the return of the first of its C-130 Hercules aircraft to have undergone the Life Extension Programme (LEP).

During a short ceremony at Air Force Base Auckland, the aircraft was provisionally accepted by the Air Force from the Ministry of Defence, to commence Operational Testing and Evaluation (OT&E).

This enables the crews to develop and exploit the capabilities of the new systems leading to optimal use of the aircraft when tasked to support government requirements.

Air Component Commander, Air Commodore Steve Moore, who is responsible for the RNZAF’s operational taskings, said the upgraded Hercules is one of the most comprehensive C-130 upgrades ever carried out.

“The Air Force’s five C-130 Hercules are undergoing an upgrade that includes a new glass cockpit, upgraded navigational capability, an advanced communication suite, a centre wing refurbishment, a new self protection suite and replacement of 98 percent of its original wiring. The upgrades will enhance the ability to meet the varied and demanding tasks required of the aircraft.

“The Air Force is looking forward to commencing OT&E to optimise how our crews operate what is a significantly upgraded aircraft. Many elements of the upgrade will inherently improve reliability and availability of the C-130 Hercules fleet. It is an exciting time for the RNZAF with new and upgraded aircraft coming on board.

“No. 40 Squadron who operates the C-130s, will be able to utilise the aircraft in the many roles undertaken for the government and New Zealand, including tactical air transport, disaster relief and civil defence support, aeromedical transport and support to the New Zealand Antarctic programme,“ said Air Commodore Steve Moore.

Part of the upgraded Hercules package is the C-130 LEP Part Task Trainer (like a flight simulator) which electronically emulates the aircraft systems and thus represents a significant technological leap in terms of training for aircrew.

An upcoming Joint Exercise Between Seaborne Troops Takes Chinese and Thai Military Ties to Another Level

STRAIGHT AS A DYE: A Chinese-made C-801 guided missile is test-fired from the Thai warship ‘Sai Buri’, marking the end of a major naval defence exercise in the Gulf of Thailand.

Starting Tuesday and running to Nov 14, the Marine Corps of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will conduct joint drills with their Thai counterparts in Sattahip.

Sino-Thai military ties have steadily improved in recent years, especially between the two armies and navies, and which will also see ties extended between the two air forces in the near future. This has been thanks to Thailand's hedging strategy of maintaining its traditionally close relationship with the US while increasing defence ties with China in support of Beijing's grand plan to secure safe passage at sea.

Dubbed "Blue Assault-2010", the joint training exercise in Chon Buri province will be the first time Chinese marines will have conducted drills with marines from another country, the Chinese National Defence Ministry said, according to a report by the official Xinhua news agency.

The joint drill will focus on anti-terrorism and help the two marine corps learn from each other,
enhance mutual understanding and build friendly exchanges and cooperation in a bid to improve the capabilities of both countries' seaborne troops in handling new challenges and threats together, the report said.

SHOW OF STRENGTH: A Chinese fleet is assembled off the eastern port city of Qingdao just weeks after tensions flared following a naval stand-off with the US in the South China Sea. (photo : Bangkok Post)

The exercise will be held just 11 days after the end of a 15-day counter-terrorism training exercise between Thai and Chinese Special Forces in Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
The two armies have been holding annual joint Special Forces exercises since 2007.

Japan's Kyodo news service has also reported that 135 marines from each country will take part in the upcoming 20-day exercise that will include basic and comprehensive training scenarios on land, at sea and in the air.

The first naval exercise between China and Thailand took place in December 2005 in the Gulf of Thailand and was called "China-Thailand Friendship 2005". This exercise featured the People's Liberation Army Navy's guided-missile destroyer Shenzhen and supply ship Weishanhu as well as the Royal Thai Navy frigate Chao Praya.

This was the first exercise China had conducted with a Southeast Asian navy, though similar exercises were conducted with the Pakistani Navy in October 2003 and the Indian Navy in November 2003.

Ties between the two armed forces were widened during the Thaksin administration, thanks to General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh's established links with the Chinese leadership, and the integrated economic ties between the two nations.

Military cooperation between Thailand and China actually goes back a bit further to Vietnam's December 1978 invasion of Cambodia. Here Thailand became a supply route for Chinese-made military equipment to Khmer Rouge guerillas fighting the Vietnamese invaders. Clashes between Vietnamese troops and the Thai military as a result also saw Chinese pressure being put on Hanoi with cross-border shelling into Vietnam by the PLA.

Over the past few decades, China has also supplied Thailand with weaponry at knock-down, "friendship prices". In 1987, Thailand became the first Asean country to purchase arms from China and included 400 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), 50-60 tanks and anti-aircraft guns.

A couple of years later the Thailand ordered four Jianghu-class frigates (Bangpakorn, Chao Praya, Kraburi, and Sai buri) and two larger vessels of the same class (Naresuan and Taksin), which were delivered in the early 1990s and still form the bulk of the Royal Thai Navy's fleet.

The patrol boats Pattani and Narathiwat were also built by China.

However, Thai purchases of Chinese military equipment during the 1980s were as much for political reasons as military ones, according to Dr Ian Storey from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in a 2008 article titled: China and Thailand: Enhancing Military-Security Ties in the 21st Century published in the Jamestown Foundation's China Brief. Throughout this period Thailand still looked to the US for its most technologically sophisticated weaponry, such as the F-16 fighter, he said.
The close military ties with the US prompted president George W. Bush to declare Thailand a Major Non-Nato ally in October 2003.
A large proportion of China's oil imports cross both waterways and Chinese naval vessels have recently been involved in anti-piracy patrols off the Somali coast, their most distant operational commitment to date, said Mr Davis.

China's growing focus on the South China Sea and Indian Ocean theatre has involved both naval cooperation with, and the building or upgrading of ports in friendly countries such as Cambodia, Burma, Bangladesh and Pakistan. China is also increasing its engagement at a range of levels with Sri Lanka, added the analyst.

"Sino-Thai military exchanges have been gathering pace over the past decade, so there is nothing radically new here. But the closer cooperation between the two navies will certainly be something that Thailand's traditional big-power ally, the US, will be monitoring closely along with other states in Asean and beyond," said Mr Davis.

India, he said, was particularly watching the extension of Chinese naval power into its Indian Ocean 'backyard' with close attention.

Khien Thiravit, Chulalongkorn University's professor emeritus on political science, said closer military ties between China and Thailand should be welcomed as Bangkok already has established relations with the US.

But Mr Khien, a China expert, said he would like to see, at the same time, warmer and more constructive collaboration between Thailand and her neighbours in the region: "If the military leaders of each country know each other well, this region and the world should be at least be more secure with sensible channel of communications. But this can only happen when the politicians also establish constructive and respectful dialogue with each other as well."

Holding joint military exercises are theoretically a sovereign issue of any nation, but Thailand should also exert some diplomatic finesse to secure the support and understanding of neighbours and allies when it holds them, he noted. In light of China's soft diplomacy, he also urged the Thai government to craft well-calculated policy platforms that can best fit the national interest.

Australia to Procure 17 SM-2 Block IIIB Standard

Concept of operation SM-2 block III

WASHINGTON, – The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress today of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of 17 SM-2 Block IIIB STANDARD Warhead Compatible Telemetry missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $46 million.

The Government of Australia has requested a possible sale of 17 SM-2 Block IIIB STANDARD Warhead Compatible Telemetry missiles, including AN/DKT-71 Telemeters and assembly kits, spare and repair parts, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $46 million.

Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific and contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region. Australia’s efforts in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Iraq and in Afghanistan have served U.S. national security interests. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives and facilitates burden sharing with our allies.

The proposed sale of SM-2 Block IIIB STANDARD missiles will be used for anti-air warfare test firings during Combat Systems Ship Qualification Trials for the Royal Australian Navy’s three new Air Warfare Destroyers, currently under construction. Australia, which has already integrated the SM-2 Block IIIA, will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be Raytheon Missile Systems Company in Tucson, Arizona, The Raytheon Company in Camden, Arkansas. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

SM-2 block III specification (image : Raytheon)

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Australia.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

Singapore To Blaze RoboTruck Trail

Light Combat Tactical Vehicle/LCTV

Singapore is expected to issue a request for proposals next year for new logistics vehicles — and, for the first time, wants the new trucks to be ready for adaptation to unmanned operation.

“It’s the first time we have seen that in an official bid document,” says Ron Ziebell, vice president for international programs at Oshkosh Defense.

Oshkosh is likely to pitch a version of the U.S. Army Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) truck, which it is building for the service under a five-year, 23,000-vehicle contract. (The first Oshkosh-built FMTVs are being tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and full-rate production is due to be underway next summer.)

On show at the Association of the U.S. Army symposium in Washington is an FMTV equipped with the latest version of the company’s TerraMax autonomous guidance system. While the guidance system itself is still under development, the changes to the truck that allow it to be operated robotically are mature. They include steer-by-wire, with no mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the drivetrain (the steering wheel itself is back-driven) and full electronic control for the engine, brakes and transmission.

The unmanned control suite itself includes two spinning lidar sensors on the cabin roof, and forward-looking lidar and radar in the front bumper, together with GPS and a digitial terrain system. The lidar can compare the sensed terrain image with the terrain database to cross-check the vehicle's position.

Also new from Oshkosh is the all-black Light Combat Tactical Vehicle (LCTV) demonstrator, a fast, four-seater diesel-electric vehicle built to show off new technologies. It is a no-chassis design with automotive subframes attached to a unibody armored pod supplied by Plasan. Its 400-hp engine is linked to a 250-kw. generator that drives two rear-mounted electric propulsion motors.

Minor War Vessel Concentration Period

Members of 2nd Cavalry Regiment manoeuvre an Australian Light Armored Vehicle onto the tank deck of HMAS Betano whilst conducting a Naval Evacuation Operation Exercise during Minor War Vessels Concentration Period.

Armidale Class Patrol Boats enter Darwin Harbour in formation with Landing Craft Heavy on the completion of Minor War Vessels Concentration Period 2010.

The Minor War Vessel Concentration Period (MWVCP) sea phase has commenced in waters off Darwin, with five Royal Australian Navy ships practising general mariner, surface and amphibious warfare skills.

During the week-long activity, HMA Ships Glenelg, Pirie, Bundaberg, Balikpapan and Betano will work focus on collective competencies including boarding operations, tactical manoeuvring, and seamanship.

MWVCP is part of ongoing efforts to improve ADF capability to protect Australia and its interests, and enhance interoperability within the ADF and with the many agencies involved in the border protection task. It is a carefully planned activity and will be conducted within strict environmental, safety and risk management constrai.

Future USS San Diego Launched

The future USS San Diego (LPD 22) was launched May 7 from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.

The launch of the 684-foot ship into the Gulf of Mexico marks an important milestone in the ship's construction process.

"As the sixth ship of the class, this launch is a considerable achievement in the program." said Jay Stefany, LPD 17 program manager for the Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "The ship was more than 75 percent complete prior to launch, more complete than any other ship of the class at this point in construction. We continue to work with the shipbuilders to identify production improvements and a consistent build plan that will lead to lower costs and predictable schedules. San Diego is the first ship of the LPD 17 class that started construction after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and is testament to the spirit of the Northrop Grumman workers as they and the shipyard continue their return to normalcy."

The ship's keel was laid May 23, 2007. Named for the city of San Diego and her future homeport, the ship's next major milestone will be christening, scheduled for June. The future USS San Diego is expected to deliver to the Navy in 2011.

The principal mission of LPD 17 class amphibious transport dock ships is to transport and deploy the necessary combat and support elements of Marine Expeditionary Units and Brigades. The ship will carry approximately 720 troops and have the capability of transporting and debarking air cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing craft and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles (EFV), augmented by helicopters or vertical take off and landing aircraft (MV 22). These ships will support amphibious assault, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions through the first half of the 21st century.

As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all major surface combatants, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.

Sabtu, Oktober 23, 2010

Indian Air Force Stations Su-30 Fighters at Gwalior Air Base

The Indian Air Force has moved Sukhoi Su-30 fighters to an airbase in Gwalior and the fighter jets will operate in tandem with the French Mirages-2000 fighters already stationed there. The three Sukhoi fighters arrived at the Maharajpura Air Station yesterday in the presence of GOC-in-C of Central Air Command, G F Kochar, officials said today.

Later, the aircrafts, along with Mirage and Mig 21, took part in a flypast at which Kochar took the salute. Meanwhile, a new airstrip has been built at the airbase to enable arrival and departure of combat aircrafts, the officials said.

The Sukhoi Su-30MKI [3] (NATO reporting name: Flanker-H) is a variant of the Sukhoi Su-30 jointly-developed by Russia's Sukhoi Corporation and India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). It is a heavy class, long-range air superiority fighter which can also act as a multirole, strike fighter aircraft.

HMS Ocean Conducts Mid Atlantic Dash

When you are on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic and something goes wrong, there is no one around to help - or so the crew of the Italian registered 'Grand Guinea' thought when one of their crew members was struck down with an acute case of suspected appendicitis on Friday night. Fortunately, HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy's largest warship, was on hand to assist.

Although nearly 600 miles away, conducting maritime security operations in the Gulf of Guinea, Captain Keith Blount, HMS Ocean's Commanding Officer, turned the 20,700 tonne helicopter carrier around and proceeded towards the vessel at maximum speed. By the following morning HMS Ocean was close enough to launch one of her Lynx helicopters and the Ship's Medical Officer was winched onboard the Grand Guinea to assess the patient and provide immediate medical care. It was immediately clear that the patient needed urgent hospital treatment, so the decision was made to transfer him to HMS Ocean, where he could be stabilised in the Ship's medical centre, before being transferred to a hospital in Cape Verde later that day, once the ship was within range.

Lieutenant Pascal Patterson, the Lynx helicopter pilot, said:

"This kind of medical rescue is something we train for regularly and with such good weather conditions it was a straight forward procedure to winch him onboard the aircraft. He was obviously in quite a lot of discomfort when we arrived, so I am glad we were able to get the medical officer to him when we did".

HMS Ocean is currently conducting maritime security operations in the Gulf of Guinea, in close partnership with Cape Verdean and Portuguese legal authorities. Due to return to the UK at the end of October, this is the final phase of an extremely successful 5 month deployment that has seen the Ship travel over 16,000 miles, visiting 4 continents and conducting a wide range of roles, including Amphibious War-fighting Exercises, Maritime Security Operations, Defence Diplomacy and Capacity Building.

U.S. Preps $2B in Gear For Pakistan

ISLAMABAD - At last week's U.S-Pakistan strategic dialogue, officials discussed American military aid, counterinsurgency strategy and flood relief for Pakistan. It was, however, the mention of a $2 billion security assistance package that caught analysts' attention.

The package would be spread over five years, and includes "helicopters, weapons systems and equipment to intercept communications, Pakistan Army officials said, confirming initial reports by the APP and CNN.

Army spokesman Brig. Azmat Ali said negotiations were underway for "transport and attack" helicopters, but declined to provide further details. He said the package was "still in the stages of finalization. It will take some time."

U.S. defense officials at the embassy here declined to comment.

South Asia analyst Brian Cloughley said the only thing he was sure of "is that the assistance package will have conditions attached - although these may well be kept under the counter, and not publicized."

The Pakistani army has long been short of utility helicopters and gunships. The need for attack helicopters is particularly keen, but Pakistan's attempts to get additional ones from the U.S. have not succeeded. Past efforts to obtain AH-64 Apaches have been rebuffed.

Defense officials at the U.S. embassy have discounted the possibility of acquiring AH-1Z Vipers to replace Pakistan's well-worn AH-1F Cobras until the initial order for the U.S. Marine Corps is fulfilled in 2015. The U.S. State Department's "Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report," published last December, raised the possibility of some Vipers being diverted to Pakistan.

Ali confirmed a recent order for 30 Bell 412 utility helicopters. The deal is in addition to and separate from the security package currently under negotiation.

Some doubt that the Bell 412 is suitable for Pakistani operations, which often take place at high altitudes and in warm climates.

Cloughley noted the Canadian military's problems in Afghanistan with its Canadian-built variant, the CH-146 Griffon, and the political debate over its suitability. But he concluded that the Bell 412 was a "good enough aircraft, but it has its limitations, especially in hot and dry" environments, and said, "On balance, the PA [Pakistan Army] could do worse."

The Army has made no public criticism of the Bell 412.

The military's need to disrupt communications was first publicly recognized in the initial campaigns against the Taliban in the Swat valley, where the inability to block the Taliban's FM radio propaganda broadcasts hindered operations.

That such equipment may be included in the U.S. aid package came as a surprise, however.

"It is my understanding that there is already a quantity of U.S.-supplied electronic equipment in service, especially in the field of [improvised explosive device] detection and neutralization," Cloughley said. "Intercept technology has also been provided, and I had thought that jammers were already in use."

The announcement of the package comes during a difficult time in U.S.-Pakistani relations, in the wake of a NATO crossborder incursion that resulted in the deaths of three Pakistani soldiers.

Washington wants to equip the Pakistan Army to eradicate Taliban hideouts in North Waziristan. However, the Army is still involved in flood relief operations, something the dialogue also addressed.

To clear the Taliban out of North Waziristan, the Pakistan Army would need from the U.S. "surplus/retired artillery guns and also smart artillery munitions," plus night-vision goggles "for infantry and helicopter pilots," said Usman Shabbir of the Pakistan Military Consortium think tank.

The Bell 412, which has night-vision technology, has been used extensively by units such as the Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) during nocturnal operations. The SOTF was raised with American help to hunt for al-Qaida and Taliban elements along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

German Naval Ships Equipped with Cassidian Identification Systems

Cassidian, the renamed defence and security pillar of EADS, has completed equipping German Navy ships with identification systems to avoid confrontations with unknown aircraft.

The latest identification friend or foe (IFF) technology has been fitted on all 12 frigates, five K130 Braunschweig Class corvettes and ten S143 fast patrol boats.

The MSSR 2000 I type systems use encryption technology in line with the mode S identification process for quick recognition of the approaching aircraft to prevent erroneous attacks.

IFF systems, also known as secondary radars, gather precise data about the origin, course and speed of individual aircraft by transmitting interrogation signals that are answered by transponders on board friendly aircraft.

Cassidian has delivered IFF systems to various Nato countries for sea and ground-based applications and has contracts for about 250 systems for 29 different countries.