Friday, December 19, 2008

Lebanese hail Russia's military aid to LAF 10 MIG-29 fighters .

Algeria was so upset with their MIG-29s last year, they demanded that the Russians take them back....

A special Putin story......

Russia is selling Lebanon ten MiG-29 fighters, at a "large discount" (each fighter will cost the Lebanese less than $5 million). This sale is not as big a favor to the Lebanese as it might appear. Two months ago, all Russian MiG-29s were grounded until it could be determined if some recent crashes, and other problems, were the result of some fundamental design flaw. There have been several problems with MiG-29s lately, although all aircraft have been returned to flight status. This has not helped sales, as most export customers prefer the larger Su-27 (and its derivatives like the Su-30). Algeria was so upset with their MIG-29s last year, they demanded that the Russians take them back....
The MiG-29 entered Russian service in 1983, as the answer to the American F-16. Some 1,600 MiG-29s have been produced so far, with most (about 900) exported. The biggest customer, India, received its first MiG-29s in 1986, with deliveries continuing into the 1990s.

The 22 ton aircraft is, indeed, roughly comparable to the F-16, but it depends a lot on which version of either aircraft you are talking about. Russia is making a lot of money upgrading MiG-29s. Not just adding new electronics, but also making the airframe more robust. The MiG-29 was originally rated at 2,500 total flight hours. At that time (early 80s), Russia expected MiG-29s to fly about a hundred or so hours a year. India flew them at nearly twice that rate, and now Russia is offering to spiff up the airframe so that the aircraft can fly up to 4,000 hours, with more life extensions upgrades promised. This won't be easy, as the MiG-29 has a history of unreliability and premature breakdowns (both mechanical and electronic). This is the main reason for grounding all of them after the recent crash.

Compared to Western aircraft, like the F-16, the MiG-29 is available for action about two thirds as often. While extending the life of the MiG-29 into the 2030s is theoretically possible, actually doing so will be real breakthrough in Russian aircraft capabilities. Thus the anxiety over the reliability problems. The Lebanese know all this, but their air force has no jet fighters at all, so ten MiG-29s is a major improvement, should they come with decent air to air missiles and improved radars....

All Lebanese hail Russia's military aid to LAF with 10MIG-29 fighters and additional gear, missiles and attack Helicopters, if required by the government. Thank you Vladimir Putin, for returning the favors in Lebanon..., of the PNAC killers, and the evil alliance of CIA2/MOSSAD, for their atrocious Georgia war last summer's a very smart move and we are delighted by the favor.

- A senior Iranian diplomat welcomes a Russian military aid to Lebanon, saying Tehran favors a strong Lebanese army which can counter Israeli threats.
Russia said on Wednesday that it will donate 10 used MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter planes to Lebanon.

The head of the Russian federal military cooperation service, Mikhail Dmitriyev, said also Russia and Lebanon were holding talks on a deal for the Arab country to buy Russian military hardware.

"The Russian move to help strengthen the Lebanese army is in the line with polices of the Islamic Republic of Iran," said Iran's ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Reza Sheibani, after a meeting with Lebanon's Marada Movement leader, Suleiman Franjieh, in Beirut.

During the past 5 decades, the tiny country has been an easy target for Israel to flex its muscles in the Middle East -- especially in 1982 and 2006.

Israel attacked Lebanon in summer 2006 in a bid to destroy the Hezbollah movement. The 33-day war left thousands of civilians dead and destroyed Lebanon's infrastructure, roads, bridges, power plants, airport and more than 70 thousand civilian homes.

In mid-December, the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post quoted military sources as saying that the Golani Brigade of the Israeli Army had recently concluded a one-week military exercise as preparations for waging a war on both Lebanon and Syria.

According to the report, Israel considers Hezbollah as a partner in the Lebanese government, so for Israel there would be no difference between Hezbollah and other parts of the Lebanese government.....for the PNAC killers have been crushed in their aggressions of 2006.

Sheibani also said that Tehran is ready to help Lebanese army based on past agreements.

Lebanon welcomes any Iranian effort to provide the Lebanese army with long-needed military equipment.

"The US has taken no serious action to provide the Lebanese army with its needed equipment; therefore, if Iranians want to do so, we welcome them," he said.

Lebanon's 70,000-strong army is under-armed and overstretched with army officials complaining over the lack of heavy armor, anti-aircraft missiles and the absence of a strong air force....

Be aware of the old KGB, GRU, NKVD, FSB, SVR, and others with Putinesqe members.... They are our real "frioends..." the real "power behind the power in Russia....!!???

Putin doesn’t aim to recreate the KGB...

Lessons Learned?”. changes in system of terrorism prevention in North Caucasus:

The involvement of local politicians in what should have been a security operation was a mistake, although considering the regional sensitivities it was a situation Moscow was probably not unhappy to accept. But you know Putin’s decision that commanders of new formed GrOU (operational management groups) from MVD are under control of local governors - local politicians. Can you explain this decision? What is purpose of this reform?

- I would like to start from an admission that analyzing events in a foreign, distant country on the basis of printed and electronic media and even the best library in the UK is in itself an exercise in imperfection. What you have read is therefore one man’s imperfect analysis, views and opinions. That is stressed on the inside of the back cover of all our papers.

- no regional political leader, anywhere in the world, is qualified to run an anti-terrorist operation unless he/she has quite recently been in charge of a professional team conducting similar operations. Russia is no exception. Having combat experience is not enough. Once the experts from Moscow have arrived - my understanding is that they were in Beslan almost immediately - all regional politicians should have been at the disposal of the professionals. I am maybe wrong but it seems to me that it was not the case and that they were “equal partners”.

- The outrage in Beslan was to some degree a failure of the special services, law enforcement agencies AND local authorities and local law enforcement bodies before the attack started. It seems to me, just to give you one example, that the local authorities could have done more to clean up the area around the school and to set up a more distant first security parameter. I am not suggesting that Moscow was happy with what happened. What I wanted to convey was that in this practically impossible situation - it looks like Basayev “volunteered” his team for the murder and suicide mission - Moscow could say to all regional bosses in Russia: “This is what is going to happen again if you don’t get your act in order”.

- I think that the creation of GrOU confirms that theory. Local politicians will now be responsible for local security victories but also failures. Local people will not be able to blame Moscow for everything....

- Why Putin decided to make MVD, not FSB responsible for anti-terrorist activity in North Caucasus?

- I find this decision logical, IF the MVD gets its act in order. This should be, in theory at least, a police operation with important input from other relevant organizations. Had Putin given this responsibility to the FSB, he would have to reform it again, boosting its fighting capabilities. I don’t think there is any need for that. That also would be a perfect excuse for his critics to accuse him of wanting to recreate the NKVD, KGB, SVR, and so on. It is easy to sit in a warm office and pontificate about what Putin should and shouldn’t do - I know all about it, I do it every day - but he had to take several difficult decisions and none of them would be popular. I think this decision was correct but I don’t envy Minister Nurgaliyev. At the moment, he has probably the toughest job in Russia. However, I am not sure that the GrOU would be in charge if there was, God forbid, another large terrorist attack.

- In case of new hostage crisis commander of GrOU will have to be chief of operational staff. What do you think, is it correct decision? In case of hostage crisis in UK who will be chief of operational staff - in London, in regions?

- I think I covered the first part of your question at the end of my previous answer. In the UK, during the Iranian embassy siege at the beginning of the 1980s Mrs. Thatcher was the ultimate decision-maker concerning the issues of what should be done but not how it should be done. She decided what should be done after consulting all the professionals. The operational decisions were taken only by professionals and she never interfered with their work. I think that this would still be the case with Toni Blair. I cannot imagine local politicians being allowed anywhere near the decision-making circle, unless one of them had a specific knowledge or skill required for a specific part of the operation. Local politicians would not be involved in real operational decisions. A lot depends on the scale of the terrorist attack and who is involved. Once you realize that foreign nationals (I don’t mean “natsyonalnost” but “grazhdanstvo”) are involved, either as the victims or perpetrators the problem becomes very big and so is the number of people involved.

- FSB will concentrate mainly on collection and analysis of information. Do you know that just after Beslan in OGV (objedinennaya gruppirovka voysk) was created joint intelligence service (objedinennaya razvedyvatelnaya slujba) from FSB, MVD and GRU. Chief of this new service - deputy chief of OGV. It doesn’t look like FSB remain main structure for collection of information in North Caucasus. What do you think about it?

- You are absolutely right but it doesn’t contradict my point. I think that on the tactical level that will be the case. If the MVD is in charge of the antiterrorist operations in the regions the MVD will have to have the necessary information to do the job. To my knowledge the MVD has very limited electronic interception capabilities, if any, and none when it comes to space imagery. That is where the FSB and the GRU come in. The most difficult part will be the distribution of humint information, which for understandable reasons each of the organizations involved could be reluctant to share, especially if it suspects that one of the partners leaks....

- To my impression, Putin choose regions, not center for main role in counterterrorism operation, and after all - for responsibility. Why, what do you think?

- I entirely agree although I am not sure whether we should speak about “main role”. I would feel better with “increasingly important role”, although as a non Russian, sitting very far away from Moscow, it would be presumptuous of me to pretend that I really know the answer.

- What I hear every day from Putin supporters if I mention Yandarbiev’s case - why we can’t do the same thing, that Israel and USA can do?

- My understanding is that your government officially rejected the accusation and the local authorities based their accusation on strong but circumstantial evidence, imperfect by definition. I am not qualified to comment on the legal aspect of the case. As to the second part of the question…. I don’t know. On one hand, if one would absolutely guarantee that such an action would, for example, stop the 9/11 attack very few decision-makers would hesitate. But then there is a question “What then?” How many future terrorists may such an attack create ? We in the EU approach these things much too ideologically. If we had something like 9/11 or Beslan we would look at certain things more realistically.

Conflict Studies Research Center of the Defense Academy of the United Kingdom.
Meantime, preparations for war continue unabated by the PNAC Supremacists.

USAF Building Disruptor Capability Right Now

December 23, 2008: The U.S. Air Force doesn't say much about its work on high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons. But recently the air force asked defense firms to bid on a contract to build CHAMP (Counter-Electronics HPM Advanced Missile Project). The air force wants a missile (or a pod for aircraft) that can give off several burst of HPM (that will damage or destroy any electronic gear within a certain range), and thus take out several targets. This CHAMP contract will pay $40 million to the winning bid, and allow 36 months to come up with a weapon that works. If that is accomplished, the CHAMP system would be in service within 4-5 years.

Meanwhile, quietly, and without much fanfare, the U.S. Air Force has been equipping some of its fighters with electronic ray type weapons. Not quite the death ray of science fiction fame, but an electronic ray type weapon none the less. In this case, the weapon uses the high-powered microwave (HPM) effects found in Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar technology. These radars have been around a long time, popular mainly for their ability deal with lots of targets simultaneously. But AESA is also able to focus a concentrated beam of radio energy that could scramble electronic components of a distant target. Sort of like the EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) put out by nuclear weapons.

The air force won't, for obvious reasons, discuss the exact kill range of the of the various models of AESA radars on American warplanes (the F-15, F-35 and F-22 have them). However, it is known that range in this case is an elastic thing. Depending on how well the target electronics are hardened against EMP, more electrical power will be required to do damage. Moreover, the electrical power of the various AESA radars in service varies as well. The air force has said that the larger AESA radar it plans to install on its E-10 radar aircraft would be able to zap cruise missile guidance systems up to 180 kilometers away. The E-10 AESA is several times larger than the one in the F-35 (the largest in use now), so make your own estimates. Smaller versions of this technology would arm the CHAMP system.