Category Archives: Global Times

Iran: Prioritizing Sky Defences

Don’t listen to those who speak of democracy. They all are against Islam. They want to take the nation away from its mission. We will break all the poison pens of those who speak of nationalism, democracy, and such things. [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini]

Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran’s air forces were considered second only to Israel in the Middle East, built up by aid from the country’s then-ally the United States.

GENEVA: World powers held their first meeting in 14 months with Iran over its disputed nuclear programme on Monday (today), sounding out Tehran’s intentions after it claimed to have taken a new step in making fissile material. Just a day ahead of the talks, Tehran raised the stakes by revealing that it had mined and produced its first home-grown batch of uranium yellowcake instead of seeking to import new supplies. On the other hand, In military maneuvers and air shows, Iran has been proudly touting advances in its air forces and defenses, including radar systems, anti-aircraft batteries and new attack and reconnaissance drones. Air superiority is seems to be a new priority for Iran, who is trying to quickly bolster its ability to patrol its skies in the belief that US or Israeli warplanes or missiles could strike its nuclear facilities. For the most part, Iran’s air attack capabilities still depend heavily on domestically modified versions of long-outdated warplanes, including former Soviet MiGs and American F14A Tomcats from the 1970s, and its anti-aircraft batteries and drones.

Taking the air defences further, It was not a long ago when Iran kicked off one of its periodic air defense exercise, in order to protect their nuclear sites. Started on 16th November, the exercise lasted five days and featured Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its paramilitary Basij forces joining in. Interestingly, The monitoring network of Iran’s air defense forces has discovered 194 previously unknown flying routes outside the country’s airspace, not only that Iranian Air Defense Forces has identified 1,612 flying routes (4 unknowns within the countary) inside the country, some are currently used by countary’s civilian airline industry. This identification resulted, during Iran’s Air Defence and Missile System tests, conducted same week. This air defence exercise was named Defenders of the Sky of Vellayat III. More about S-300 missiles and defence of Islamic skies can be read HERE .

This photo released by the Iranian army, claims to show the launching of a Shahin missile in armed forces war games, outside the city of Semnan about 140 miles (240 kilometers) east of the capital Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Still, Iran clearly is trying to close security gaps around nuclear sites – including Iran’s main uranium enrichment lab – and blunt the edge that the Pentagon and Israel gain from drone technology. Iranian commanders now view drones as a critical tool, including to monitor the US 5th Fleet based across the Gulf in Bahrain. Iran’s other military emphasis has been improving its long-range missile program. Washington believes Iran may have obtained advanced missiles from North Korea, known as BM-25, which could extend the strike range for Iran from the known 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) to up to 2,400 miles (4,000 kilometers), according to State Department cables obtained by the website WikiLeaks and made public Sunday. Such missiles could hit well beyond Iran’s top regional enemy Israel and into Europe or Russia. Iran restructured its military last year in an effort to improve its air defenses. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered a new branch to be split off from the air force to deal exclusively with threats to the country’s airspace. Since then, Iran has invested heavily in advances in surveillance and attack drones.

In August, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled the latest addition to the country’s drone fleet: a 13-foot-long (four-meter-long) unmanned aircraft — called the “ambassador of death” — which can carry up to four cruise missiles with a claimed range of 620 miles (1,000 kilometers). At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years, one of them in an attack similar to the recent one. Iranian officials said they suspected the assassination was part of a covert campaign aimed at damaging the country’s nuclear program, which the United States and its allies says is intended to build a weapon, a claim Tehran denies. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a press conference that ”undoubtedly, the hand of the Zionist regime and Western governments is involved in the assassination.” But he said the attack would not hamper the nuclear program and vowed that one day Iran would take retribution. ”The day in the near future when time will come for taking them into account, their file will be very thick,” he said.

As far as drones are concerned Iranians has seen what USA has done iin Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many analysts believe a longer-range drone is the logical next step of Iran – who is investing heavily in advances in surveillance and attack drones. What is the purpose of these activities and advances, while still holding onto the outdated militray technology, or is it political to show that they can defend themselves, exert power in the region?

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War Toys: Artificial Intelligence on Battlefield

Humanity at High-Tech

The following article was published in New York Times (27 November), written by John Markoff and can be accessed HERE As I highlighted the importance of unmanned vehicles in modern warefare, and use of electronic warefare equipment – this article highlighting the application of Artificial Intelligence (A.I) takes the discussion further by introducing the How Robots can win War for humans (if they can). Althogh it will not be fair to undermine the potential of human on war-ground, but a combination of drones in air, and robots on ground may serve the purpose well. However, one must not neglect the ethics involved, warefare rules and most important of all laws of Robotics.

While smart machines are already very much a part of modern warfare, the Army and its contractors are eager to add more. New robots — none of them particularly human-looking — are being designed to handle a broader range of tasks, from picking off snipers to serving as indefatigable night sentries. In a mock city here used by Army Rangers for urban combat training, a 15-inch robot with a video camera scuttles around a bomb factory on a spying mission. Overhead an almost silent drone aircraft with a four-foot wingspan transmits images of the buildings below. Onto the scene rolls a sinister-looking vehicle on tank treads, about the size of a riding lawn mower, equipped with a machine gun and a grenade launcher. Three backpack-clad technicians, standing out of the line of fire, operate the three robots with wireless video-game-style controllers. One swivels the video camera on the armed robot until it spots a sniper on a rooftop. The machine gun pirouettes, points and fires in two rapid bursts. Had the bullets been real, the target would have been destroyed.

“One of the great arguments for armed robots is they can fire second,” said Joseph W. Dyer, a former vice admiral and the chief operating officer of iRobot, which makes robots that clear explosives as well as the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner. When a robot looks around a battlefield, he said, the remote technician who is seeing through its eyes can take time to assess a scene without firing in haste at an innocent person. Yet the idea that robots on wheels or legs, with sensors and guns, might someday replace or supplement human soldiers is still a source of extreme controversy. Because robots can stage attacks with little immediate risk to the people who operate them, opponents say that robot warriors lower the barriers to warfare, potentially making nations more trigger-happy and leading to a new technological arms race. “Wars will be started very easily and with minimal costs” as automation increases, predicted Wendell Wallach, a scholar at the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics and chairman of its technology and ethics study group.

Civilians will be at greater risk, people in Mr. Wallach’s camp argue, because of the challenges in distinguishing between fighters and innocent bystanders. That job is maddeningly difficult for human beings on the ground. It only becomes more difficult when a device is remotely operated. This problem has already arisen with Predator aircraft, which find their targets with the aid of soldiers on the ground but are operated from the United States. Because civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan have died as a result of collateral damage or mistaken identities, Predators have generated international opposition and prompted accusations of war crimes. But robot combatants are supported by a range of military strategists, officers and weapons designers — and even some human rights advocates.

“A lot of people fear artificial intelligence,” said John Arquilla, executive director of the Information Operations Center at the Naval Postgraduate School. “I will stand my artificial intelligence against your human any day of the week and tell you that my A.I. will pay more attention to the rules of engagement and create fewer ethical lapses than a human force.” Dr. Arquilla argues that weapons systems controlled by software will not act out of anger and malice and, in certain cases, can already make better decisions on the battlefield than humans.

“Some of us think that the right organizational structure for the future is one that skillfully blends humans and intelligent machines,” Dr. Arquilla said. “We think that that’s the key to the mastery of 21st-century military affairs.” Automation has proved vital in the wars America is fighting. In the air in Iraq and Afghanistan, unmanned aircraft with names like Predator, Reaper, Raven and Global Hawk have kept countless soldiers from flying sorties. Moreover, the military now routinely uses more than 6,000 tele-operated robots to search vehicles at checkpoints as well as to disarm one of the enemies’ most effective weapons: the I.E.D., or improvised explosive device.

Yet the shift to automated warfare may offer only a fleeting strategic advantage to the United States. Fifty-six nations are now developing robotic weapons, said Ron Arkin, a Georgia Institute of Technology roboticist and a government-financed researcher who has argued that it is possible to design “ethical” robots that conform to the laws of war and the military rules of escalation. But the ethical issues are far from simple. Last month in Germany, an international group including artificial intelligence researchers, arms control specialists, human rights advocates and government officials called for agreements to limit the development and use of tele-operated and autonomous weapons.

The group, known as the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, said warfare was accelerated by automated systems, undermining the capacity of human beings to make responsible decisions. For example, a gun that was designed to function without humans could shoot an attacker more quickly and without a soldier’s consideration of subtle factors on the battlefield. “The short-term benefits being derived from roboticizing aspects of warfare are likely to be far outweighed by the long-term consequences,” said Mr. Wallach, the Yale scholar, suggesting that wars would occur more readily and that a technological arms race would develop.

As the debate continues, so do the Army’s automation efforts. In 2001 Congress gave the Pentagon the goal of making one-third of the ground combat vehicles remotely operated by 2015. That seems unlikely, but there have been significant steps in that direction. For example, a wagonlike Lockheed Martin device that can carry more than 1,000 pounds of gear and automatically follow a platoon at up to 17 miles per hour is scheduled to be tested in Afghanistan early next year. For rougher terrain away from roads, engineers at Boston Dynamics are designing a walking robot to carry gear. Scheduled to be completed in 2012, it will carry 400 pounds as far as 20 miles, automatically following a soldier.

The four-legged modules have an extraordinary sense of balance, can climb steep grades and even move on icy surfaces. The robot’s “head” has an array of sensors that give it the odd appearance of a cross between a bug and a dog. Indeed, an earlier experimental version of the robot was known as Big Dog. This month the Army and the Australian military held a contest for teams designing mobile micro-robots — some no larger than model cars — that, operating in swarms, can map a potentially hostile area, accurately detecting a variety of threats. Separately, a computer scientist at the Naval Postgraduate School has proposed that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency finance a robotic submarine system that would intelligently control teams of dolphins to detect underwater mines and protect ships in harbors.

“If we run into a conflict with Iran, the likelihood of them trying to do something in the Strait of Hormuz is quite high,” said Raymond Buettner, deputy director of the Information Operations Center at the Naval Postgraduate School. “One land mine blowing up one ship and choking the world’s oil supply pays for the entire Navy marine mammal program and its robotics program for a long time.” Such programs represent a resurgence in the development of autonomous systems in the wake of costly failures and the cancellation of the Army’s most ambitious such program in 2009. That program was once estimated to cost more than $300 billion and expected to provide the Army with an array of manned and unmanned vehicles linked by a futuristic information network. Now, the shift toward developing smaller, lighter and less expensive systems is unmistakable. Supporters say it is a consequence of the effort to cause fewer civilian casualties. The Predator aircraft, for example, is being equipped with smaller, lighter weapons than the traditional 100-pound Hellfire missile, with a smaller killing radius.

Remotely controlled systems like the Predator aircraft and Maars move a step closer to concerns about the automation of warfare. What happens, ask skeptics, when humans are taken out of decision making on firing weapons? Despite the insistence of military officers that a human’s finger will always remain on the trigger, the speed of combat is quickly becoming too fast for human decision makers. “If the decisions are being made by a human being who has eyes on the target, whether he is sitting in a tank or miles away, the main safeguard is still there,” said Tom Malinowski, Washington director for Human Rights Watch, which tracks war crimes. “What happens when you automate the decision? Proponents are saying that their systems are win-win, but that doesn’t reassure me.”

Humanity at High-Tech

Robotics going at war doesn’t make sense to me, the whole idea of robots playing a meaningful role in a contemporary conflict is just sounds ridiculous – but apparently its not. A video based journey Humanity at High-Tech was compiled by Red Cross, who tend to believe that robots are playing an increasingly prominent role in modern conflict and throwing up all kinds of tricky ethical questions and dilemmas. The modern battlefield is changing beyond measure, from the Green Berets to Starship Troopers in the space of just 50 years. Who knows where we’re heading next? The whole idea of implementation and integration of Artificial Intelligence within battlefield will be in my next post.

Author: John Markoff

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Gurdians of Islamic Skies: Iran’s Claim to Soviet S-300 missile Replication

It was not a long ago when Iran kicked off one of its periodic air defense exercise, in order to protect their nuclear sites. Started on 16th November, the exercise lasted five days and featured Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its paramilitary Basij forces joining in. Interestingly, The monitoring network of Iran’s air defense forces has discovered 194 previously unknown flying routes outside the country’s airspace, not only that Iranian Air Defense Forces has identified 1,612 flying routes (4 unknowns within the countary) inside the country, some are currently used by countary’s civilian airline industry. This identification resulted, during Iran’s Air Defence and Missile System tests, conducted same week. This air defence exercise was named Defenders of the Sky of Vellayat III

Iran has made contradictory claims about its plans for an S-300 substitute, a missile Iran was supposed to buy from Russia who made an abrupt about-face on a big U.S. priority, two months ago. S-300 is highly advanced anti-aircraft missile system. It’s easy to see why the Iranians want the S-300. The current anti-aircraft material they purchased from Russia is the TOR M-1, which is good for shooting down airplanes, helicopters or missiles from about 10 kilometers away. But the S-300 is a serious upgrade: it’s what the Soviets used during the last decade of the Cold War to protect its key installations from NATO cruise missiles and bombers. Versions developed in the late 1990s have a range of 200 kilometers and can even take out some ballistic missiles. Russia sold 29 Tor-M1 missile systems to Iran under a $700 million (£386 million) in 2008 (contract signed in 2005). When this latter deal was accomplished in 2008, defence analyset Dan Goure commented:

“If Tehran obtained the S-300, it would be a game-changer in military thinking for tackling Iran. That could be a catalyst for Israeli air attacks before it is operational,”

Russia has been Iran’s big-power benefactor on matters technical and military for the past decade-plus. But over the past year, it’s been pulled in different directions by the U.S.’s “Reset” strategy, an aggressive diplomatic push to hug Russia tightly. When Russia backed off, Iran now has a very serious message for Russia and the world The Iranian Defense Ministry announced that Tehran plans to produce long-range air defense missiles without foreign aid. Iran has made similarly bold claims about a new advanced and indigenously-built air defense radar. It announced last month that it was building an upgraded air defense radar system with a 3,000km range, an apparent improvement over its older 400km range systems.

“If the maximum range of our radar systems was 400km in the past, we have this good news for the people that we have started making a radar system covering an area with the radius of 3,000km which can identify all objects flying around the country at law altitudes,” Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Ahmad Miqani. The Iranian Defense Ministry had announced in October that the country has succeeded in improving the range of its mid-range Mersad missile defense system. Also, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi announced at the same time that the country’s radar systems are capable of detecting every target in the air.

Iran SAMs - Photo Mehr

Referring to the production of radar equipment and instruments inside the country, he thre nother bold statement saying that:

“Iran has gained self-sufficiency in producing radar systems and it is no more dependant on any foreign countries in this ground”.

Damn Uncle SAM

Why on this plant S-300 is so important, where it has never fired a missile in a real conflict? Well to be honest this what its engineers say. The S-300 is a series of Russian long range surface-to-air missile systems (SAM). The S-300 system was developed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles for the Soviet Air Defence Forces. Subsequent variations were developed to intercept ballistic missiles. Although never fired the missiles did got a chance to breath in open air, when they were deployed by Soviet Union in 1979, designed for the air defense of large industrial and administrative facilities, military bases, and control of airspace against enemy strike aircraft. The S-300 is regarded as one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems currently fielded. Its radars have the ability to simultaneously track up to 100 targets while engaging up to 12. S-300 deployment time is five minutes. An evolved version of the S-300 system is the S-400 – a missile capable of cruising at Mach 12 with the range of 400km. The S-400’s NATO reporting name is SA-21 Growler, and the system was previously known as S-300PMU-3. It overshadows the capabilities of the other systems from the S-300 series. Russia operates 5 battalions as of 2010 and will arm more before 2020. Although various variants of S-300 emerged, though they were all evolved from three basic configurations S-300P, S-300V, and S-300F. Latter is the naval version of S-300P with the range of 7–90 km and maximum target speed up to Mach 4 while engagement altitude was reduced to 25-25,000 m (100-82,000 ft). S-300P system broke substantial new ground, including the use of a phased array radar and multiple engagements on the same Fire-control system (FCS). Nevertheless, it had some limitations. It took over one hour to set up this semi-mobile system for firing and the hot vertical launch method employed scorched the Transporter erector launcher (TEL). Finally S-300V (quite different from other two of its catagory) designed to act as the top tier army air defence system, providing a defence against ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft, replacing the SA-4 ‘Ganef’. The “GLADIATOR (S-300V NATO Reporting name)” missiles have a maximum engagement range of around 75 km (47 miles) while the “GIANT” missiles can engage targets out to 100 km (62 miles) and up to altitudes of around 32 km (100,000 ft). In both cases the warhead is around 150 kg (331 lb).

A detailed specification both both S-300 and S-400 classes can be accessed from Asia’s New SAMs Though in nutshell The original warhead weighed 100 kg (220 lb), intermediate warheads weighed 133 kg (293 lb) and the latest warhead weighs 143 kg (315 lb). All are equipped with a proximity fuze and contact fuze. The missiles themselves weigh between 1,450 kg (3,200 lb) and 1,800 kg (3,970 lb). Missiles are catapulted clear of the launching tubes before their rocket motor fires, which can accelerate at up to 100 g (1 km/s²). They launch straight upwards and then tip over towards their target, removing the need to aim the missiles before launch. The missiles are steered with a combination of control fins and through thrust vectoring vanes. The sections below give exact specifications of the radar and missiles in the different S-300 versions. It should be noted that since the S-300PM most vehicles are interchangeable across variations.

Awesome Iran – Diplomatically Isolated

Iran another contender in arms race

Iran said it successfully test-fired what it claims is an upgraded S-200 surface-to-air missile. The S-200, developed by the Soviet Union during the Kennedy administration and designed to hit big, fat slow-moving bombers, had been magically souped-up, according to the Iranians, to be just as powerful as the 20 years more advanced S-300 missile system. The interesting point to take out from this is that, Iran managed to achive this within span of few months. I can certainly understand the westeran fear over Iran’s S-300 deal. Although Tehran claimed that it has developed a replica of S-300, I personally doubt Iran’s ability to duplicate the Russian missile system. It may be the case that Iranian authorities misspelled S-300 instead of S-200, if not that I am eager to see the new replica. It’s all the more bizarre because Iran actually does have a number of credible unconventional options at its disposal that should make anyone think twice about attacking its nuclear facilities. It’s right next door to America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and could create a lot of headaches for the United States in the event of an attack.

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Between Threats and War – Living in a World Addicted to UAVs

The New America Foundation and Terror Free Tomorrow have conducted the first comprehensive public opinion SURVEY covering sensitive political issues in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. According to these polls people in tribal areas strongly oppose the US military pursuing al-Queda and Taliban fighters based in their region; American drone attacks deeply unpopular. The report concludes that nearly nine out every ten people in FATA oppose the U.S. military pursuing al-Qaeda and the Taliban in their region. Nearly 70 percent of FATA residents instead want the Pakistani military alone to fight Taliban and al- Qaeda militants in the tribal areas. This strongly suggests the high intensity opposition to the U.S military operations. For civilian officials, the military’s ability to find and destroy things from a safe distance never ceases to amaze. The CIA’s ongoing drone strike campaign is a particularly redoubtable example, with drone operators in the United States taking out targets in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

UAV – A New Way to Wage War

UAV – Unmanned Arial Vehicle, will only exist if they offer advantage compared with manned aircraft. Contrary to advantages, disadvantages are obvious to some of us as we see and hear every day. An old military adage (which also applies to civilian use) links the use of UAVs to roles which are dull, dirty or dangerous (DDD). To DDD add covert, diplomatic, research and environmentally critical roles.
Recently (as per 27 Oct 2010) Raytheon – major American defence contractor and industrial corporation with core manufacturing concentrations in defence systems and defence and commercial electronics, who has tested a new UAV weapon Small Tactical Munitions (STM) (0.6m-long (2ft), 13lb (5.9kg) bomb) at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The dual-mode, semi-active laser seeker and GPS inertial navigation system enable it to engage fixed and moving targets in all weather conditions.

With US army moving its concentration from Iraq to Afghanistan and continuous use of UAVs in Pakistan tribal areas by USA the demand for small unmanned air vehicles is moving into higher gear as well. US Army plans to buy 3,000 Raven small UAVs with already 2,000 in hand.

From the CIA’s silent war in Pakistan – two UAVs extensively used, the Predator and the Reaper, both made by General Atomics, a San Diego defence contractor. The Predator is the older of the two; the first one was delivered to the Air Force in 1994. By the end of the 1990s, the CIA was using it to track bin Laden. Capable of flying for up to 40 hours without refuelling, the drone was a “brilliant intelligence tool,” recalls Hank Crumpton, then the CIA’s top covert-operations man in Afghanistan. Although the CIA was keen to weaponize the drone early on, the Air Force resisted the idea until 2000. Even then, firing the weapons was another matter. The Predator’s firepower is limited, but the Reaper can deliver laser-guided 500-lb. bombs like those commonly found on the F-16 jet, together with Hellfire missiles. Marc Herold, in looking at casualties in Afghanistan, quotes an ‘effective casualty radius’ for the Mk82 of 200 feet: this is radius inside which 50% of those exposed will die. Quite often the target is taking cover or lying down and the effect is reduced, but if you can catch people standing up or running then the full effective casualty radius will apply.

But why use UAV; Times (CNN) published a report in June 2009, The CIA’s Silent War in Pakistan saying:

“If we were sending F-16s into FATA–American pilots in Pakistani airspace–they might have felt very differently,” says James Currie, a military historian at the U.S.’s National Defence University.

“The basic problem with all aerial reconnaissance is that it’s subject to error,” says George Friedman, who heads the security firm Stratfor. “But in a place like Pakistan, errors have enormous political consequences.”

Critics of the drones ask if it makes sense for the U.S. to use them when every strike inflames Pakistani public opinion against a pro-U.S. government that is at the point of collapse. And yet Pakistani leaders like army Chief of Staff General Ashfaq Kayani seem to have concluded that using drones to kill terrorists in FATA is generally a good thing. This is a major change in direction; although former President Pervez Musharraf allowed drones to operate, he placed severe limits on where and when they could strike. After Musharraf resigned last summer, the shackles came off. The U.S. struck a tacit bargain with the new administration in Islamabad: Zardari and Kayani would quietly enable more drone operations while publicly criticizing the U.S. after each strike. The arrangement has worked well for the U.S.

PlayStation Mentality

We are now more facinated with War Games then before, even COD now includes Karachi and Kabul in their Missions

Warning that the technology is making target killings much easier and more frequent, a report issued by New York Times raised concerns that drone operators based more than thousand miles away from the battlefield, risk developing a PlayStation mentality towards killing. Target killing outside the war zone, never likely to be legal but US administration argues their legality after September 11-2001. Inaccurate and unprofessional attitude by military drone operators from remote locations, do indeed led to civilian killings. CIA so far has carried out more than 80 drone attacks in 2010 alone, according to The Long War Journal, which tracks these strikes. Surprisingly of vast majority of the attacks involved firing multiple missiles or bombs.

Pakistan’s Latest Military Gadgets

Pakistani officials were fortunate to be greeted with a fresh offer of military hardware – possibly totalling as much as $2 billion over the next five years. This latest gear includes (likely to include) night vision goggles, and helicopter spare parts. This is not new for Pakistanis, since 9/11 Pakistan’s gotten lots of big-ticket items from the U.S. military. According to the Congressional Research Service’s tally, that includes eight P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft; six C-130 cargo planes; over 5000 TOW anti-armor missiles; 100 Harpoon anti-ship missiles; and even an Oliver Hazard Perry-class missile frigate. And by next year, Pakistan will receive 18 new F-16 combat jets from the U.S. — fighters capable of carrying a nuclear payload. Considering the latest gear what options does Pakistan have? According the Spencer Ackerman of Wired MAGAZINE

“Unless al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban have developed an armor corps and a submarine-heavy Navy while no one was looking, these weapons have more utility against the Indians than the terrorists.”

This gear is either a treat from US for Pakistan to use against terrorists or U.S. military seeks to prevent a deepening erosion of a relationship that US can’t live with. This especially true after recent wikileaks suggesting a strong ties between Pakistan and Insurgents. WikiLeaks has freaked out the White House, though, by clearly raising questions about whether Pakistani aid to the Afghan insurgency is far deeper than typically acknowledged. How much truth is in it, I think it will be too early to say anything. However, it’s not a surprising news that the Pakistani ISI has ties to the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami. How much of this money or gear will go to Afgan pockets no one knows, it is only a time who will show a true motivation behind these large spendings on US non-NATO ally. But Is there a silver lining to Pakistan’s relationship with the insurgents? Not known, at least to me. Are things still Koran, Kalashnikov and laptop or do I have to add heat seeker missiles to it as well? I am not so sure.

A Silent War in Waziristan

The wilds of Waziristan, an unlikely showcase for the future of warfare

The Council on Foreign Relations has just released a new report on U.S. policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the report is based on the study conducted by former national security advisor and former Deputy Secretary of State. As far as Pakistan is concerned, the report broadly endorses U.S. policy of trying to build a long-term partnership, while also aiming to persuade it to turn convincingly against all militant groups. It reiterates a U.S. complaint that while Pakistan is ready to act against militants that threaten the Pakistani state. Reuters cited, that the report’s endorsement of U.S. support for Pakistan comes with a hard edge, warning that failure to achieve results, or an attack on the United States traced back to Pakistan-based militants, could lead to a much more aggressive U.S. policy:

“There are several strategic options available to the United States if the administration concludes that the current strategy is not working. In Pakistan, Washington could turn away from its present emphasis on rewarding and encouraging long-term bilateral cooperation. Instead, it could undertake increasingly aggressive, unilateral U.S. military strikes against Pakistan-based terrorists deeper into Pakistani territory, coercive diplomacy and sanctions, or a range of financial, diplomatic, and legal restrictions to control the flow of people, money, goods, and information to and from Pakistan. This strategy of containment and coercion could be coupled with a distinct diplomatic ’tilt’ toward India, with New Delhi serving as Washington’s main strategic and counterterror partner in the region.”

Almost week after the report was published US showed its interest to expand the operations for drone within Pakistan up to Quetta, which Pakistan has rejected, with an agreement to practise more modest measures. US intend to expand the boundaries where CIA drones can fly. The unmanned aircraft may patrol designated flight boxes over the country’s tribal belt but not other provinces such as Baluchistan. In reference to the arguments put forward by both countries, it is evident that the disagreement over the scope of drone programme underscores broader tensions between the US and Pakistan, who are increasingly pointing fingers at one another over the rising level of insurgent violence on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Pakistan officials stressed that Quetta is densely populated city where strike is more likely to result in civilian causalities, however US officials have long suspected that there are other reasons for Pakistan’s aversion including the surveillance of Pakistan nuclear facilities based in Baluchistan.

The subject is quite intrinsic and needs a historical background to understand and reach the root cause. But to take the current situation only in account, in my opinion this is a reaction to the US Obama-Led administrations cohesive gesture and voices of triumphs for India, has shunned the Pakistan’s political and military regimes expectations as Pakistani’s are engaged in a large scale war on terror in alliance with the United States.

On the very other side, it may be taken into account the tribesmen residing on the western borders of Pakistan, have been so badly hit by their own army in alliance with the foreign intervention that the Pakistani military and government is now thinking of changing their footprints towards a dialogue to settle the area down, which indeed is a good option not good for the United States to continue with its military voyage to hunt down the terrorists.

Now when NATO summit concludes that the foreign forces shall handover the military command of Afghanistan to the National Afghan Army, they plan to flee this place till 2014. I also wonder role played by the Pakistani intelligence by supporting the pro-Pakistani Taliban likewise the silent war fought against the USSR 3 decades back.

This may be taken into consideration that the public opinion against the American intrusion has crossed the limits, and the Pakistani- Government now fear that this may not burst up and may not be end of its times.

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Sino-Pakistani Ties: JF-17 to carry Chinese missiles SD-10

Domestic SD-10 medium-range air-intercept missile

Further signs of deepen military cooperation between Islamabad and Beijing was seen today, when recently Pakistan Air Force decided to buy air-to-air SD-10 (shown above) – (said to be a variant of Italian Aspide missiles supplied to China in late 80s) missiles and avionics to arm its 250 JF-17 Thunder fighter fleet from China. Air Chief Marshal also revealed that his country may also opt to acquire other advanced defence missile systems including Chinese Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) systems. Pakistan has opted to go in for full Chinese armament systems for the jointly developed fighters, furthermore, SD-10 (mid-range missile) will become the standard Beyond Visual Range (BVR) weapon of the JF-17. This clearly seems that Pakistan Air Force has no plans to install wetern devices on its recently built combat aircraft. The first 50 JF-17s entering Pakistan Air Force service will most likely incorporate only Chinese avionics and other systems, however this may only be temporary. Once JF-17 enters full production, retractable in-flight refueling probes will be added and avionics from other sources may be integrated. Like other partnerships between two nations, it is obviously very impressive but “so called” chinease replicas do not sound appealing to me, what concerns me here is SD-10s’ life span compared to fifth generation amrs out there. However, I do hope they have long enough shelf life.

JF-17 can be armed with up to 3,629 kg (8,000 lb) of air-to-air and air-to-ground ordnance, as well as other equipment, mounted externally on the aircraft’s seven hardpoints. One hardpoint is located under the fuselage between the main landing gear, two are underneath each wing and one at each wing-tip. Internal armament comprises one 23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel cannon mounted under the port side air intake, which can be replaced with a 30 mm GSh-30-2 twin-barrel cannon. The PAF is also seeking to arm the JF-17 with a modern fifth generation close-combat missile such as the IRIS-T or A-darter. These will be integrated with the helmet mounted sights/display (HMS/D) as well as the radar for targeting.

JF-17 Thunder

Global Times quoting unnamed sources claimed that the French consortium has withdrawn from a reported 1.2 billion euro contract to supply radars and missiles for the first wave of 50 JF-17 fighters, after pressure from India. French sources had reported that a joint bid had been made by French aeronautic company ATE along with Thales Group and MBDA. The Pakistan Air Force Chief is currently on a visit to China to attend the Zhuhai Air Show now underway in southern China, where the JF-17s were a major attraction.

Nov. 16 (China Military News cited from APP): Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of Air Staff, pakistan Air Force (PAF), said on Tuesday that pakistan-China joint production JF-17 Thunder fighter jet has bright prospects in the international aviation market. It has many added features which make it much more attractive than any other fighter aircraft of its category, said the Air Chief. A low price tag and much less maintenance and operational cost compared to the other planes of its class make it attractive for the buyers, he said. Pakistan, having the second biggest fleet of aircraft after host China, is participating for the first time in this exhibition. As many as ten K-8 trainer aircraft and three JF-17 fighters are taking part in the show that demonstrates the all-weather and time-tested friendship between the two countries. To a question regarding further expansion of cooperation between Pakistan Air Force and China, Rao Qamar Suleman replied that the two brotherly neighboring countries have a long history of cooperation in all fields particularly defence. He expressed the confidence that with the passage of time these bonds of friendsip would further consolidate.

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