Friday, October 14, 2011

Pakistan trying to bleed India through a thousand cuts: Official - Economic Times

Pakistan trying to bleed India through a thousand cuts: Official - Economic Times

NEW DELHI: Pakistan is trying to bleed India through a thousand cuts and the country's economic establishments are running the risk of being attacked, a top government official said today.

"This (Jehadi) brand of terrorism is primarily sponsored by our neighbouring country in the west whose... policy is to conduct war against India by all other means and bleed us through a thousand cuts. This naturally includes the targeting of anything...with a view to damaging, degrading or destroying the engines of economic growth and critical centres of power and strength of our country," Secretary ( Internal Security) in the Union Home Ministry U K Bansal said here.

Bansal was delivering his inaugural address at a seminar titled 'the challenge of terrorism to India's infrastructure and economy' here.

"It is legitimate to anticipate that countries and entities hostile to Indian interest will try to extract maximum advantage in their efforts by attacking our economic and high value targets. Critical economic infrastructure is obviously in the firing line...," he said.

Bansal added these activities are being "planned, financed and facilitated" from across the western border of the country.

"The fact is that it is clearly directed to cause multi- lateral damage. For instance, the natural and social harmony was targeted at Akshardham (in 2002). Economic institution such as the Bombay Stock Exchange and business hub like Zaveri Bazaar are regarded as legitimate targets by Pakistan," he remarked.

America the Overcommitted - NYTimes.com

America the Overcommitted - NYTimes.com

... The solution is simple: set clear priorities and reduce other commitments. The Obama administration should set three international goals that it is capable of achieving: maintain the credibility of the dollar as the de facto reserve currency of the world; halt the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; and maintain peaceful relations with China. This is not a recipe for isolation, but for targeted internationalism; it is the only viable path to restoring lost leadership...

- bth: worth reading in full.

Army Adding Length, But Not Weapons to Shadow Drone Wings - Blog

Army Adding Length, But Not Weapons to Shadow Drone Wings - Blog

The Army and Marine Corps both are big fans of the Shadow unmanned air vehicle. But only the Marine Corps wants to weaponize it.

The Army has increased the Shadow's wingspan from 14 feet to 20 feet to provide for increased endurance and the ability for the aircraft to carry a heavier payload, but has no plans to equip it with weapons, Lt. Col. Scott Anderson, the Army’s product manager for Shadow said Oct. 11 at the Association of the United States Army’s annual expo in Washington, D.C.

There are stations on the Shadow’s wings that would allow it to carry a 25-pound weapon. If the service ever decided to follow the Marine Corps’ lead, it would be ready, said Col. Robert Sova, requirements chief for Army UAS.

“There’s been a discussion about the Army weaponizing Shadow for a long time,” he said. “We’re taking a hard look at it as we go forward. We may change where we’re at right now.”

The Marine Corps is basing its demand for a weaponized Shadow on requests from field commanders in Afghanistan. The Army uses Shadow differently, Sova explained, allowing the UAS to perform reconnaissance missions while providing fire support from manned helicopters.

“We have weaponized systems out there with the Warrior Alpha, with the Gray Eagle, with the Hunter and we just don’t fire a lot of those weapons,” said Tim Owings, the Army’s outgoing deputy project manager for UAS. The Army already has many ways to kill targets, but not a lot of ways to provide persistent surveillance, he said.

“It becomes a trade between endurance and lethality,” Owings said, and commanders in theater are tilting that balance toward persistence. They depend on Shadow to fly eight and nine hour missions, but weighing the system down with weapons reduces its ability to stay in the air for long periods, he said.

The Marine Corps will have plenty of munitions to choose from to hang on Shadow, which cannot carry the Hellfire missiles used by larger UAS. Sensing that one of the services eventually would look to arm Shadow-sized UAS, companies have been building munitions in the 10 to 15 pound range.

Lockheed Martin already has created the 15-pound Shadow Hawk and Raytheon the 12-pound small tactical munition with Shadow in mind.


-- bth: these systems really need to be weaponized with small tactical munitions. Also drop tanks should be considered.

Mini-Flail Robots Readied for Afghanistan Bomb Clearing Operations - Blog

Mini-Flail Robots Readied for Afghanistan Bomb Clearing Operations - Blog

The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization will send expendable robots to Afghanistan next year that can move ahead of dismounted troops and destroy hidden bombs.

HDT Robotics of Fredericksburg, Va., responded to a JIEDDO announcement that was searching for ways to counter pressure-plate explosives in Afghanistan. The company responded with a mini-flail that will churn the soil and detonate IEDs before troops step on them.

The nature of the conflict and the rugged terrain has forced soldiers and marines to go on more foot patrols. Improvised explosive devices — as they were in Iraq — remain the number-one killer of U.S. forces. The Taliban has resorted to using rudimentary but deadly homemade mines made from hard to detect materials such as wood. The nation is also littered with leftover mines from past conflicts.

The tele-operated Protector Mini-Flail weighs about 1,000 pounds but can be broken down into four pieces so it can be hauled in the back of a Humvee or taken apart in the field and carried over difficult obstacles, said Tom Van Doren, HDT chief operating officer.

Flails attached in front of armored anti-mine vehicles have been around for several decades. The rotating chains in front of the robot are basically the same technology “but it’s much much smaller,” he said.

“It’s designed to survive an anti-personnel mine, but anything bigger than that, you’re going to trash the vehicle,” he said on the sidelines of the Association of the United States Army annual convention. It can run for 30 hours on JP-8 fuel and is about 36 inches wide, he said.

JIEDDO has ordered 10 robots that it will test at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., in early 2012. It will send them to Afghanistan shortly thereafter, Van Doren said.

The price point is one of the most important features since a robot may be destroyed if it sets off a large anti-tank mine. Each unit will cost about $70,000. That is less than other military ground robots, he noted.


-- bth: note the lack of cameras, radios or control systems.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nato success against Taliban in Afghanistan 'may be exaggerated' | World news | The Guardian

Nato success against Taliban in Afghanistan 'may be exaggerated' | World news | The Guardian

...

In one example, a story in USA Today in March 2011 quoted US military figures as saying that "raids have taken out 900 Taliban leaders" between July 2010 and March 2011. According to the new report, however, the press release accounts for 215 leaders captured and 95 killed, with 180 facilitators captured and 10 killed.

"Even if we assume that all those described as 'leaders' and 'facilitators' in the press releases are who Isaf thought they were, that still leaves a shortfall of 400 individuals," the report said...

-- bth: worth reading in full. the war is being PR spun now with 'leaders' one of the only measurable signs of progress. So if as the article says there are 8 civilians killed or captured for every 1 intended target, I wonder what the best measure of progress actually is now? Very hard to say.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

U.S. army orders 315 reconnaissance micro-robots | Homeland Security News Wire

U.S. army orders 315 reconnaissance micro-robots | Homeland Security News Wire

Recon Scout XT weighs 1.2lbs (540g), can be deployed in five seconds, and thrown up to 120 feet (36m); soldiers and law enforcement use the Recon Scout system to determine the layout of the enclosed spaces, identify potential IEDs, and the fix the location of friendly, indigenous, or enemy personnel

Recon Scout being deployed during training simulation // Source: virtual-strategy.com

ReconRobotics, Inc. announced last week that it has been awarded a $4.8 million contract from the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force for 315 Recon Scout XT micro-robot kits and an equal number of SearchStickTM devices. The SearchStick enables soldiers to convert any Recon Scout Throwbot into a pole camera, which soldiers can use to see over compound walls, onto rooftops and into culverts. ReconRobotics plans to complete deliveries of these micro-robot systems by 31 October 2011.

The era of the personal robot has arrived for U.S. troops and, like the ballistic vest and night vision goggles, our Recon Scout XTs will save many lives,” said Ernest Langdon, director of Military Programs for ReconRobotics.

We are extremely proud that the U.S. military has chosen ReconRobotics to help protect our warfighters as they conduct dismounted operations in theatre.”

Recon Scout XT micro-robots are deployed at the fire-team level – that is, one robot for each four- to six-man fire team — to maximize situational awareness and stand-off distance during route- and compound-clearing operations. The company says that more than 2,000 of the company’s Recon Scout systems have been deployed by the U.S. military and international friendly forces, and by hundreds of law enforcement agencies around worldwide. Soldiers use the Recon Scout system to determine the layout of the enclosed spaces, identify potential IEDs and the fix the location of friendly, indigenous or enemy personnel.

The company’s Recon Scout XT weighs 1.2lbs (540g), can be deployed in five seconds, and thrown up to 120 feet (36m).The XT can be controlled with a single button and can be recharged in the field using standard 5590 or 2590 batteries.

-- bth: this is a good product