Friday, December 9, 2011

US plays down new Pak air-defence system

WASHINGTON: US Department of Defence has said that the new air-defene system installed by Pakistan was of no consequence for America as it posed no danger to their forces deployed in Afghanistan, Geo News reported.

A briefing by Pentagon also stressed that to avoid another Mohmand attack better coordination was the way to go not an air-defence system, adding such tactical decisions were Pakistan’s internal affairs.

The briefing added that warmer Pakistan-US ties were in the broader interest of both strategic partners in war on terror.

Pentagon officials also adamantly maintained that Nato’s attack in Mohmand was involuntary.

Dempsey: DoD's F-35 Buy May Be Stretched Out

The Pentagon's purchase of F-35 Lightning II combat jets may have to be stretched out, the top U.S. uniformed official said.
AN F-35B LIGHTNING II fighter lands during a test flight. U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, voiced support for the F-35 program. (Lockheed Martin)
"We are committed, that is to say, the U.S. military, to the development of the fifth-generation fighter, clearly," said Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking at a Dec. 9 Atlantic Council event in Washington. "There are some fact-of-life changes that we'll probably have to make based on the ability to procure it on timelines that we'd like to have."
George Little, a spokesman for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, said Dec. 8 that no decisions have been made yet on the F-35. He reiterated Panetta's strong support for the tri-service program.
"He believes that the F-35 program is important to pursue," Little said. "That it will give us capabilities that we need to maintain our edge in certain areas."
Dempsey said the F-35 is threatened from a different direction: Europe's financial troubles might undercut those partners on the eastern side of the Atlantic.
"When I mentioned earlier about our exposure to a potential problem in the euro zone, that's one of the issues that I was alluding to, their ability to continue to partner with us in that joint venture," Dempsey said.
"But it will clearly put them at risk if all the economic predictions about a potential collapse were to occur - inflation, devaluation," the general said. "Then … they would have to make some national decisions about reallocation of resources that could potentially affect the JSF."
Dempsey's comments came shortly after a report was delivered to the office of Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's acting procurement chief, calling for production of the aircraft to be slowed down while 13 test issues are resolved.
The report also declared the Lightning II's design fundamentally sound.
"There may be issues regarding the F-35 program," Little said. "Any large weapons program generally has issues from time to time. And we are aware of certain issues with the F-35 program. But we believe it's important to continue to invest in the program."
Panetta postponed a planned Dec. 9 visit to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., where the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps' F-35 variants are being tested.
A senior Defense Department official said the Marines had hoped to convince the secretary to take the F-35B short-take-off/vertical-landing variant off the two-year "probation" that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates had slapped on it.
During the taping of "This Week in Defense News" on Dec. 8, the U.S. Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz, said his service would do everything it can to protect the F-35, the Long Range Strike bomber and the KC-46 tanker program.
"There are three programs which we will sustain, and that is the F-35 at an appropriate level, the new bomber will certainly begin development, and then we will bring the tanker on," Schwartz said.
The Air Force would "do less of other things in order to protect those programs," he said.

Pakistan Warns of 'Detrimental Response' to Attacks

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned Dec. 9 the U.S. and its NATO allies that any future cross-border attack would meet with a "detrimental response".
U.S.-Pakistani relations plunged to a new low last month after a cross-border NATO air strike which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Gilani made the comments while meeting army chief of staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the prime minister's secretariat said in a statement.
"The democratic government would not allow similar attack on the country's sovereignty and any attempt in future will definitely meet the detrimental response," the statement quoted Gilani as saying.
Pakistani security officials earlier said they had upgraded the air defense system on the Afghan border to make it capable of shooting down aircraft.
Kayani informed the prime minister of the steps taken on the western boarders to revamp defense capabilities aimed at effectively countering any future incursion into Pakistani territory.
"The government and the people of Pakistan were ready to provide the armed forces all the necessary resources to bolster its defense and professional capabilities," Gilani said.
Pakistan shut its border to NATO supply convoys on Nov. 26, hours after the deadliest single cross-border attack of the 10-year war in Afghanistan.
The government also ordered the United States to leave the Shamsi air base in the southwest, widely reported to be a hub in the covert CIA drone war against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Pakistan's border area with Afghanistan.
The Nov. 26 attack brought the fragile Pakistani-U.S. alliance to a fresh low, already reeling from a covert American raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden near the Pakistani capital on May 2.

U.S. Air Force Inspecting F-22 Oxygen Systems

The U.S. Air Force is inspecting the emergency oxygen system on its F-22 Raptor air-superiority fighters.
AN F-22 RAPTOR awaits release from a hangar at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., in September. (Senior Airman DeAndre Curtiss / U.S. Air Force)
Colloquially referred to as the "green apple" by pilots, the system is a self-contained supply of liquid oxygen mounted on the jet's ejection seat and is used in case there is a failure of the main life-support system. By necessity, it is separate from the aircraft's main oxygen systems, which have been under investigation for much of the year due to a string of airborne incidents where pilots have experienced symptoms resembling hypoxia.
"The Air Force is implementing an immediate action time compliance technical order (TCTO) on the F-22 backup oxygen system," a Dec. 8 Air Combat Command (ACC) release said. "This system is known as the Emergency Oxygen System (EOS) and is designed to be used on rare occasions when pilots experience indications or physiological symptoms that suggest there may be a problem with their air supply."
Air Force spokesman Scott Knuteson said that since the Raptor fleet returned to the air in September after a four-month grounding, pilots has been using the backup system more often than usual.
"We have adapted procedures to use the EOS as a precautionary measure to further protect pilots when they receive indications that physiological incidents may occur," the release reads.
However, even then the emergency oxygen system has not been used that often since the jets started flying again, Knuteson said. The pilots only use the system if a problem is detected, he said.
"We have used the EOS on less than one percent of the flights since we returned to flying status and experienced performance anomalies on a small number of EOS activations," the ACC statement reads. "These anomalies have been analyzed by technicians, and corrective measures have been validated and verified."
The inspection was ordered "simply as a prudent step to ensure the full functionality of the EOS given increased usage under current operating procedures," the ACC statement reads.
"As of Dec. 7, approximately 85 percent of the F-22s' EOS bottles had been inspected," Knuteson said. "The main focus of the TCTO is inspecting the EOS bottles and returning them to service."
In the meantime, Lockheed Martin is still delivering new Raptors to the Air Force. One of the newest jets was supposed to arrive at Langley on Dec. 8, but was delayed and will now arrive next week, said Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Alison Orne.
The service currently has 175 Raptors. Of the remaining aircraft to be delivered to the service, tail numbers 4186, 4187, 4189, 4191, 4192 and 4194 will be delivered to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., tail 4188 will be delivered to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, while tails 4190, 4193 and 4195 - the last Raptor to be built - will be delivered to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska.

India, China Discuss Border Resolution Process

NEW DELHI - India and China have conferred about establishing a mechanism to resolve the decades-old boundary dispute that brought them to war briefly in 1962.
The two countries held the fourth India-China Annual Defence Dialogue here Dec. 9, with Gen. Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army's General Staff, representing China and Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma representing India.
Indian Defence Ministry sources said the two discussed setting up a process for resolving the boundary issue during the defense-level talks.
"It was also noted that the strengthening of the institutional mechanism for border discussions, which is expected to be operationalised soon through the establishment of a working-level mechanism, would improve communications on important border-related issues," the ministry said in its official release.
Indian and Chinese officials also discussed defense exchanges, which could be taken up in 2012.
"Both sides agreed that enhancement of defense exchanges between the Armed Forces of India and China would contribute to better understanding and mutual trust and confidence building," according to the release.