Saturday, 28 April 2012


Media buzz as US confirms Russian troops to train on American soil

The US has confirmed that Russian troops will carry out joint anti-terror drills on American soil in May. Reports of the unprecedented initiative had triggered hysteria in American public debate, with claims of the US fraternizing with “the enemy.”

­Commander Wendy L. Snyder, US Defense Press Officer for policy told The New American in an e-mail the Russian soldiers will be invited by the US government.

This is part of a “formal bilateral exchange program between the US and Russia that seeks to develop transparency and promote defense reform,” she wrote.

Around twenty airborne Russian troops with arrive in Fort Carson, Colorado to take part in the training program targeting “terrorists”. It will be the first time Russian soldiers have conducted military training on American territory.

However, the landmark news of the Russian troops’ arrival was not greeted with enthusiasm by everyone. Fear-mongering reports in US media called the exercise “a front” for the Russians to turn US weapons against the Americans and “take and hold Denver airport.”

Citing an erroneous report that it said came from the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, US website claimed just that.

“Russian airborne troops (using US weapons that they had previously trained with at Fort Carson) will fly to and then parachute from their planes having the objectives of seizing the CIA’s main computer facility in Denver, the NSA’s main computer facility in Bluffdale, Utah, and taking control of main runways and terminals of the Denver International Airport,” the publication wrote.

The report goes on to say the exercise is for the “evacuation of the key personnel and equipment previously ‘freed’ from the CIA’s Denver base.”
There is currently no information either in English or in Russian that describes such a drill on the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation website.

It is unclear where these reports originated, as RT verified with Russian Airborne Forces spokesperson Col. Aleksandr Kucherenko that he had said nothing pertaining to the capture of Denver airport.

RT reported on the story on Wednesday, citing Kucherenko who announced that “Airborne troops from Russia and the United States will hold joint anti-terror drills in the US state of Colorado between May 24 and 31.”

Besides the military drills, the Russian soldiers are expected to get a taste of local life at a baseball game in Colorado Springs.

Foreign troops operating and training in the United States have been a continuous bone of contention in American public debate.

Paul Watson, writing for says that their presence touches upon latent fears of “global UN peacekeeping troops being used to quell unrest inside America.”

Drills involving outside troops also raise worries that the US would have to “rely on foreign mercenaries to restore order, confiscate weapons or even incarcerate citizens during a national emergency, because of the likelihood that Americans would refuse to carry out such orders against other Americans,” Watson writes.

Falklands War - Canberra Crew Photos - Gallery 01

Falklands War - Canberra Crew Photos - Gallery 02

Satellite images show activity at North Korea nuclear site

Satellite imagery reveals an escalation in activity at North Korea’s Punggye-ri atomic site in possible preparation for a third nuclear test, experts say. However, there is no clear indication from the photos when the test may occur.

­The images from a US-based website highlight a chain of mining carts on piles of excavated soil. This coincides with South Korean intelligence reports at the beginning of April claiming that the North was digging a new tunnel at the Punggye-ri for the purposes of a covert nuclear test.

The US-Korea Institute at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies analyzed the photos taken between March 8 and April 18 by a private satellite operator. The most recent images suggest that 8,000 cubic meters of rubble have been excavated at Punggye-ri. North Korea carried out two atomic bomb tests at the site in 2006 and 2009.

“While it's very clear from looking at these photos that the North has stepped up preparations for a nuclear test over the past few months, it's unclear exactly when the blast will occur,”  Joel Wit, editor of the institute's website said to the Associated Press.

He added that upon close examination there has been “a lot of activity at the site” where “you can clearly see vehicles” and objects being moved around.

The international community has rounded on North Korea recently for what it views as an escalation in aggressive activities.

Experts say the country possesses enough plutonium for several “simple bombs”, but as of yet lacks the capability to construct bombs small enough to mount on a missile.

Washington has voiced concerns that North Korea seeks to develop an intercontinental missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Pyongyang not to make any "further provocative actions or conduct any nuclear test." He branded the country’s failed attempt to test launch a missile on April 12 as a “threat to international peace and security.”

In an embarrassing turn of events for North Korea, the rocket disintegrated shortly after take-off.

Pyongyang claimed the launch was to put a satellite in orbit, while the international community suspected this was a front to test a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

As retaliation for the launch, the US cancelled a deal to deliver food aid to North Korea.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney warned the country on Wednesday to "refrain from engaging in any more hostile or provocative actions. They do nothing to advance the cause of peace on the Korean peninsula or in Northeast Asia." He added that the government’s policies do little to help the Korean people, “many of whom are starving.”

Falklands’ budget enjoys additional surplus boosted by the oil industry

The Falkland Islands oil industry has contributed with an unexpected addition of £9.2M to the Falkland Islands Government (FIG) budget in the first nine months of the financial year 2011/12, reported the Islands government Standing Finance Committee.

Management Accountant Daniel Heath confirmed a positive performance of £ 10.898M

The contribution is made up of income tax from oil workers, and corporation tax from oil companies, among other items.

Added to this, £5.6million from illex licence revenue (£4million above budget) and favourable performances by a number of government directorates, FIG now boasts a budget surplus of £14.513M, added the Committee Meeting.

Compared to a revised budget surplus of £3.615M gives a positive performance of £10.898M confirmed the Falklands’ government Management Accountant Daniel Heath.

Regarding the illex revenue Director of Fisheries was reported to have assured that the department anticipates no more than a 40% refund to fishing companies. A 50% refund, which is still a possibility given the current level of catch, would reduce this additional revenue to £3M. A particularly successful season, with no refunds, could see illex revenues as high as £9.4M.

Revenues within the Natural Resources Department have also been boosted by oil exploration companies paying out for berthing fees (£169K), purchase of water (£58K) and rent received (£109K). These increased revenues are expected to continue for the period of exploration.

Health and Education has also shown a favourable £348K surplus, partly as a result of the Medical Services Tax (MST) which is currently £413K over estimate.

Current projections indicate total revenues for the year coming in at £546K over estimate.

A number of Falklands’ directorates have budgets showing a spend lower than expected at this point in the year including Central Services which shows a favourable £192K while Health and Education also shows a favourable £10K.

Even the Public Works Department achieved a £52K under spend and Natural Resources a £161K under spend and Mineral Resources were £121K favourable. The latter is driven by a £115K saving in hydrocarbon consultancies.

Speaking of Capital Expenditure Mr Heath said capital schemes were currently behind schedule by £454K. (Penguin News).

In a massive rally CFK reaffirms YPF seizure and thanks the opposition’s support

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez in a massive political rally on Friday defended her policy to seize YPF from Spain’s Repsol, thanked the opposition for their legislative support and called on the new generations to defend the “historic legacy”.

 “United and organized” was the strong message from the Argentine president at the packed stadium

The decision to intervene YPF with the purpose of taking a majority control of Argentina’s largest company which was privatized in 1992 does not mean “a return to the past but rather to recover national control over the leading energy corporation”, said President Cristina Fernandez to the cheers of a packed stadium with over 50.000 people, mostly young followers.

In her 45 minute speech to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the electoral victory of her late husband former president Nestor Kirchner (2003/2007) CFK said that the new YPF management “will demand new ways of participating between the state and the private sector”, but always under “the helm of the state”.

The president also thanked the opposition for their legislative support in the seizure of the oil corporation, following on the overwhelming Thursday vote in the Senate, which is expected to be repeated in the Lower House next week.

“I thank the opposition for their support in the recovery of YPF. This is not the work of a party: it belongs to all Argentines and is for all Argentines”, said CFK addressing the packed stadium.

“Who could imagine that with the majority consensus of the main political forces of the nation we were going to recover YPF?” and continued “thank you to all those who made this possible, this is not the achievement of a party or a grouping, but of all the Argentines”.

After anticipating new forms of association with the private sector in the energy industry, CFK said that the State can never decline the political, economic, social and institutional responsibilities of a country.

The seizure has been condemned by Spain, the EU, World Bank and the global business community that are also demanding a fair compensation for Repsol assets in YPF, currently half their market value given the collapse of the shares in stock exchanges. Spain has anticipated retaliatory measures the first of which was to cancel purchases of bio-fuel from Argentina, a 990 million dollars annual business.

Further on CFK appealed to the mostly young audiences saying that “you are the custodians of this historic legacy, who are never going to allow us give a step back in all that we have achieved”. She added “you are immensely lucky to be living in a full democracy where each of you can say, feel, express and shout whatever you wish”.

Organized by the National Militant Current, all the official Kirchnerite groupings where present with privileged positions in the stadium while the traditional Peronist organization had to take the back seats and the powerful organized labour movement CGT, and its leader Hugo Moyano was simply not invited.

Dressed in mourning black from a podium with the phrase “United and Organized”, CFK was surrounded by all her cabinet ministers, members of Congress, governors and leaders of the Kirchnerite entourage including her son Maximo, who leads probably the strongest of the youth organizations, La Campora.

“Exactly nine years ago this militant and her companion of life were anxiously waiting the results of an election in a country torn to pieces and that was then defining its path. How is it possible even with such a weak take-off, all we have achieved? This is only possible because of the will, conviction and commitment” of all Argentines, said CFK.

It’s the new generations that have to work hard for the future, “they have to take the flags to continue with the ideals of 200 years of history. So that our Malvinas form part of our institutions: it is you that must keep writing your own history, and must do it under the banner of “united and organized”.

Finally CFK said Latin America is going through a historic opportunity to become one of the main regions of the world and sent wishes for a quick recovery to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

Argentine imports’ policy again accused of protectionism at a WTO committee

Argentina was accused once more of “protectionism” at the meeting of the Imports License Committee of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in what can lead to a trade dispute with forty countries.

The claim is focused in the non-automatic licenses and other measures the Argentine Government applies to the imports.

Diplomatic sources said that several countries affirmed that their exports to Argentina were reduced due to this measure, to which the Argentine envoy answered with statistics that demonstrate the opposite and that the purchases to most of the countries that presented the claims are increasing.

The non automatic import licences are the legal procedure to export to Argentina and according to WTO rules the system must be transparent, simple and reliable, including facilitating a quick automatic concession in some specific cases.

But this is not what is happening with Argentina according to 27 countries from the EU, Australia, Turkey, Norway, Thailand, US, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Canada.

These countries allege their exporters and trade agents report that exports to Argentina have fallen or are delayed because of the slow process and requirements to have access to the non automatic import licences, which was described as “clearly protectionist”.

Argentina’s imports policy has already triggered a strong joint declaration from forty countries last March 30 during the meeting of the Council for the trade of goods, in the framework of the WTO.

The claimants argue that the licences system is part of an official policy of “trade balance” and imposes on importers the obligation of exporting for a similar value or investing in local production.

They also recalled that Argentina is a member of G20, which openly opposes protectionism and called on the Argentine authorities to explain on paper and in detail why they believe the system implemented complies with its WTO obligations.

However Argentina said it will not repeat explanations given at the recent Goods trade council, but gave a detail of how the imports licences system works and different steps for its request. Argentina also rejected the existence of binding links between the WTO and G20.

Royals celebrate with British personnel re-edition of South Pole Scott-Amundsen race

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrated on Wednesday the achievements of British Service personnel who recreated the famous Scott-Amundsen race to the South Pole.

The teams raced each other across Antarctica, covering 900 miles of snow and ice in 70 days to pay homage to the gruelling polar contest between Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen a century ago and raise money for the Royal British Legion.
As patron of the expedition, Prince William spoke at the reception to congratulate the teams on their extraordinary achievement.

“I find it hugely poignant that the participants in the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race are all British servicemen. All but one of the original members of Scott's team were serving sailors or soldiers too”, said Prince William adding that “today's Armed Forces can produce individuals to emulate the extraordinary feats of their forebears is something we should take great heart from”.

”In a rapidly changing world, it is reassuring to know that two things, at least, haven't changed this past hundred years: the fortitude of our men and women in uniform, and that very particular British trait of always seeking to push the boundaries... or, as many gathered here would have it, to go 'beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow, across that angry or that glimmering sea”.

“That the race chose to support, through the Royal British Legion, Battle Back's new centre in Lilleshall could not be more appropriate. The same levels of courage and determination demonstrated by our Antarctic heroes in 1912 and 2012 are shown each and every day by our wounded servicemen and women. Their courage and spirit simply humble me”.

True to history, the Amundsen team, led by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Worsley, from The Rifles, reached the South Pole first on 9 January 2012 and the Scott team, led by Warrant Officer Class 2 Mark Langridge, from The Parachute Regiment, arrived a week later on 17 January 2012 - exactly 100 years after the original Scott expedition.

Also in the Amundsen team were Staff Sergeant Lennie Browne, from The Parachute Regiment, and Warrant Officer Class 2 Lou Rudd, from the Royal Marines. Joining Warrant Officer Class 2 Langridge in the Scott team was Staff Sergeant Viv Vicary, from The Rifles, and Staff Sergeant Kev Johnson, from The Parachute Regiment.

En route, team members paid their respects to Captain Scott and his four comrades who perished on the journey back from the South Pole. Their tragic loss is seared in the nation's memory as an enduring narrative of duty and sacrifice.

The royal couple chatted to team members and their families about their epic challenge at the reception, which is one of three events they are attending ahead of their first wedding anniversary on Sunday.

The Royal British Legion is proud to be supported by the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race, which is raising vital funds towards their £30m commitment to the new Battle Back Centre in Lilleshall to help wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women on their personal journeys of recovery.

The centre is focused on rebuilding confidence, ability and motivation through adaptive sports and adventurous training. It is a place where even small steps can feel like great leaps of accomplishment for young men and women who are used to being at the peak of physical fitness.

One of the last ...probably the last sea trip of Bulgarian submarine "Slava" (in english the name means "Glory").

Lyubomir Hristov

'One of the last ...probably the last sea trip of Bulgarian submarine "Slava" (in english the name means "Glory"). This is the last bulgarian submarine - project 633 - Nato class "Romeo". Disel - Electric boat. Safe ashore ... for the last time. Due to huge greed and incompetency of the government this is the sad story of those who gave his most youngest and precious years in bulgarian "silent service". Brave man ... fathers and husbands. Now this is only a history for our navy. Respect!'

Women joining third Bangor-based submarine

The Navy announced Thursday that USS Louisiana will be the third submarine at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to integrate women crew members.

Twelve women broke into the sub force here in the USS Ohio and USS Maine. The Navy announced the policy change in spring 2010, the boats were picked out in October and the women arrived late last year after completing college, nuclear power school, prototype training and submarine officer school. They're working on their submarine qualifications and have deployed aboard their boats, said Lt. Ed Early, spokesman for Submarine Group 9.

The Louisiana will have the same female makeup as the other two boats — two ensigns not yet qualified and one lieutenant for each of its two crews, Blue and Gold. The lieutenant will be the boat's supply officer and serve as a mentor for the younger women.

The Maine and Louisiana are ballistic-missile subs; the Ohio was converted to carry conventional missiles.

The moves were duplicated at the Navy's East Coast Trident base at Kings Bay, Ga. The difference is this latest sub, the USS Florida, carries conventional missiles instead of nukes.

The Navy is beginning its submarine integration with the 560-foot Tridents because they're larger than fast-attack subs and don't need to be modified. There are five officer staterooms. Women share one. There is one shared head for all the officers. It has a sign on the door saying whether it's in use by a man or woman.

Women had previously been barred from subs on the theory the close quarters and long deployments were unsuitable for a coed crew.

The Longest Sniper Shot in the World

Friday, 27 April 2012

F-35B Ship Suitability Testing


FALKLAND ISLANDS Despite President Reagan's direct approach to President Galtieri, the Argentines occupied the Falkland Islands on April 2. The US has an important' stake in peaceful resolution of this crisis. One of our most important allies, the UK plays a vital role in East/West relations through its participation in NATO. UK involvement in a prolonged South Atlantic crisis would divert important defense resources far from Europe and the Northern Hemisphere. In the case of Argentina our relations have been improving, .contributing toward the stability hf the region as a whole, and carrying the promise of a future partnership on a variety of important issues. We also want to avoid damage to the Inter-American system o Immediately following the invasion, the US deplored Argentine use of force, and voted in favor of UN security Council Resolution 502. This resolution, the basis of the SUbsequent US approach to the crisis, called for immediate cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of Argentine military forces and a diplomatic settlement. The Presiden~ said repeatedly that we,would do all that we could to help resolve the crisis. While deploring violence, the US has sought to maintain a balanced tone in dealing with Argentina and the UK, necessary if we were to succeed in helping them resolve their dispute. At the President's direction, Secretary Haig has visited London twice and Buenos Aires twice, in each place consulting with the top political leadership. (We have n~ver, however, assumed the formal role of mediator between Argentina and the UK. ) out of these conversations the Secretary has developed a US proposal ~hich would provide an equitable solution. This proposal has been transmitted to both HMG anuthe Argentine . government. Neither has yet accepted, though the Thatcher' government has asked us to present it to the Argentines following meetings in Washington between Secretary Haig and Foreign Secretary pym. MeanWhile, the conflict threatens to worsen. 'We are concerned that if the conflict drags on, the Argentine Junta will look for support where it can find it. Though the regime is anti-Communist, it might turn to the Soviet Union for militarYr,economic, or political help. (The USSR is currently Argentina's largest grain customer.) Such a development would have serious consequences for Argentina and the strategic security of the western Hemisphere.

FWG:KSmith:JCampbell:mas 4-29-82 Cleared:PM:MAustin P:TPrice FWG:REService


Falklands War Documents - Department of State, Confidential Briefing Paper

April 28, 1982 – Falkland Islands
Department of State, Confidential Briefing Paper

After visiting London and Buenos Aires twice and consulting with top political leaders, "the Secretary has developed a US proposal which would provide an equitable solution. This proposal has been transmitted to both HMG and the Argentine government. Neither has yet accepted."

"Meanwhile, the conflict threatens to worsen. We are concerned that if the conflict drags on, [the Argentine government] might turn to the Soviet Union for military, economic, or political help. Such a development would have serious consequences for Argentina and the strategic security of the Western Hemisphere."


Ukraine's Only Submarine on Sea Trials

Ukraine’s only submarine, 40-year-old 'Zaporozhye', has left the port of Sevastopol on the Black Sea for sea trials after many years of repairs

 The Soviet-era Foxtrot class (Project 641) diesel-electric submarine stood grounded at a dock in Sevastopol for years without repair and became a symbol of the demise of Ukraine’s navy.

Russian engineers repaired and serviced the submarine and a crew of Ukrainian submariners was trained at Russian naval bases.

“The sea trials of the Zaporozhye submarine is an important event for the Ukrainian navy,” Defense Minister Dmytro Salamatin said. “Successful sea trials will ensure the revival of Ukraine’s submarine fleet.”

The trials will test the submarine’s power plant and other key equipment while sailing on surface.

Though the submarine was built 40 years ago, the vessel has been upgraded with new equipment and will certainly raise the combat capability of the Ukrainian navy.

Submarines of this type are most efficient in the Black Sea as they feature low radar and noise signatures.

Russia, Bulgaria, and Romania also have one submarine each in the Black Sea.

Falklands War - Recapture of South Georgia and the attack on the Santa Fe

The South Georgia force, Operation Paraquet, under the command of Major Guy Sheridan RM, consisted of Marines from 42 Commando, a troop of the Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) troops who were intended to land as reconnaissance forces for an invasion by the Royal Marines. All were embarked on RFA Tidespring. First to arrive was the Churchill-class submarine HMS Conqueror on 19 April, and the island was over-flown by a radar-mapping Handley Page Victor on 20 April.

The first landings of SAS troops took place on 21 April, but—with the southern hemisphere autumn setting in—the weather was so bad that their landings and others made the next day were all withdrawn after two helicopters crashed in fog on Fortuna Glacier. On 23 April, a submarine alert was sounded and operations were halted, with the Tidespring being withdrawn to deeper water to avoid interception. On 24 April, the British forces regrouped and headed in to attack.

On 25 April, after resupplying the Argentine garrison in South Georgia, the submarine ARA Santa Fe was spotted on the surface[48] by a Westland Wessex HAS Mk 3 helicopter from HMS Antrim, which attacked the Argentine submarine with depth charges. HMS Plymouth launched a Westland Wasp HAS.Mk.1 helicopter, and HMS Brilliant launched a Westland Lynx HAS Mk 2. The Lynx launched a torpedo, and strafed the submarine with its pintle-mounted general purpose machine gun; the Wessex also fired on the Santa Fe with its GPMG. The Wasp from Plymouth as well as two other Wasps launched from HMS Endurance fired AS-12 ASM antiship missiles at the submarine, scoring hits. Santa Fe was damaged badly enough to prevent her from diving. The crew abandoned the submarine at the jetty at King Edward Point on South Georgia.

With the Tidespring now far out to sea and the Argentine forces augmented by the submarine's crew, Major Sheridan decided to gather the 76 men he had and make a direct assault that day. After a short forced march by the British troops and a naval bombardment demonstration by two Royal Navy vessels (Antrim and Plymouth), the Argentine forces surrendered without resistance. The message sent from the naval force at South Georgia to London was, "Be pleased to inform Her Majesty that the White Ensign flies alongside the Union Jack in South Georgia. God Save the Queen." The Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, broke the news to the media, telling them to "Just rejoice at that news!".

US promises advanced military technology if Brazil buys Boeing F/A18 fighters

Brazil will get US advanced technology transfers if it buys Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet to upgrade its air force, visiting US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet is competing against the Rafale fighter, made by French firm Dassault Aviation, and Swedish manufacturer Saab's Gripen for Brazil's contract for 36 next-generation fighter jets valued at between 4 billion and 7 billion dollars.

Brazil the world's sixth largest economy has a policy of insisting on technology transfer in all its defence agreements.

In a clear sign of Washington's desire to win the lucrative contract, Panetta said: “This offer, which has the strong support of the US Congress, contains an unprecedented advanced technology sharing that is reserved for only our closest allies and partners.”

“This offer is about much more than providing Brazil with the best fighter available,” he added in an address to a military academy. “With the Super Hornet, Brazil's defence and aviation industries would be able to transform their partnerships with US companies, and they would have the best opportunity to plug into worldwide markets.”

On its first visit to Brazil since he was appointed in June last year, Panetta held talks with his Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim in Brasilia on Tuesday.

Amorim made clear after meeting Panetta that Brasilia's main interest was securing technology transfer from the new alliance proposed by Washington.

In addition to technology transfers, Brasilia also wants some of the jet fighters to be assembled in this country, which according to analysts might favour the Rafale.

In a related development, France's Rafale International consortium signed three agreements with southern Brazilian firms to broaden its technological cooperation if Brasilia picks the Rafale, Jean-Marc Merialdo, head of Dassault's Brazilian unit, said.

Since late 2010, the consortium has already organized four seminars in several Brazilian cities to widen its range of partners should the Rafale be selected for Brazil's air force upgrade.

France is offering full technology transfers in its bid to win the contract.

Panetta said Washington welcomed Brazil's rise as a global power. “This is a relationship between two global powers, and we welcome Brazil's growing strength. We support Brazil as a global leader and seek closer defence cooperation”.

“We won't agree on every matter -- no two countries, not even the closest allies, ever do. But I do believe that our common interests are so great, and the possibilities that come from our cooperation are so tangible, that we must seize this opportunity to build a stronger defence partnership for the future,” Panetta said here.

The Brazilian-US dialogue is also meant to resolve other issues such as the US decision in 2008 to reactivate its Fourth Fleet in the South Atlantic, a strategic and resource-rich area where regional countries do not want any external military presence.

April 28th - On This Date - RN Submarine Service

1906 B9 Submarine HMS B9 completed
1941 P36 Submarine HMS P36 launched
1944 Spark Submarine HMS Spark completed
1984 Turbulent Submarine HMS Turbulent completed
1943 HMS Unshaken HMS Unshaken sinks the Italian torpedo boat Climene
1943 HMS Usurper HMS Usurper makes a torpedo attack on the German submarine U-467 in the Norwegian Sea. The target was not hit.
1944 HMS Sportsman HMS Sportsman torpedoes and sinks the German merchant Lüneburg north of Iraklion, Crete, Greece.

Ubisoft Launches The Battle For The Atlantic With Silent Hunter Online

Ubisoft announced the development of Silent Hunter Online, a new free-to-play, browser-based multiplayer game inspired by the highly-acclaimed submarine simulation series. Players can get early access to the game by visiting and applying to be part of the closed beta.

Developed by Ubisoft Blue Byte, the renowned studio behind popular PC game series such as The Settlers and Anno, Silent Hunter Online promises players a realistic, constantly evolving submarine simulation unlike any other. The game takes full advantage of Adobe Flash Player 11 technology to bring stunning 3D graphics to browsers.

Silent Hunter Online sees the return of the large array of historically accurate submarines that made the franchise famous, and invites players to experience them online in new ways. At the heart of the game is the Battle of the Atlantic, an innovative dynamic campaign in which individual successes impact all other players through asynchronous gameplay. For the first time in the Silent Hunter series, players will be able to play every mission of the campaign in co-op.

"This is the most innovative Silent Hunter experience ever created and we can?t wait to let our fans dive into the game," said Christopher Schmitz, Head of Production at Ubisoft Blue Byte.

The Silent Hunter franchise has a strong community of dedicated fans around the world, with nearly two million copies sold worldwide since the first game was released in 1996. For more information on Silent Hunter Online, please check out

Something a Little Different

April 24, 2012:  The Mexican Army had 56,886 desertions since the Cartel War began in late 2006. While 10,154 deserters were punished, 23,694 remain unaccounted for. If this seems like a very large figure, it is less than the previous five years (2000-2005) when 106,813 soldiers deserted. The government has raised military pay and tried to improve facilities and services for the military. The desertion rate still presents a political problem for the government since the military has become the chief security force in the Cartel War. However, a 50 percent drop in the desertion rate over a five year period is remarkable.

April 22, 2012: Ten gunmen attacked a bar in Chihuahua City (Chihuahua state) and killed 15 people. Two of the victims were reporters.

April 20, 2012: Retired General Mario Acosta Chaparro was murdered in Mexico City. Acosta was shot in the head, three times, execution-style. Acosta was once convicted on charges of providing protection to a senior commander in the Juarez cartel but was subsequently cleared of the charges and released after serving seven years in prison.

April 18, 2012: Soldiers arrested the mayor of Chinameca (Veracruz State) as he was traveling with a group of armed Los Zetas cartel gunmen. 

April 17, 2012: The U.S. is winding down the 19-month long deployment of 1m200 National Guard soldiers assigned to help patrol the U.S.-Mexico border. The contingent will be cut back to 300 troops. The military will continue to provide helicopter support and surveillance aircraft. The 300 remaining National Guard soldiers will support the aircraft and assist in intelligence assessment.

April 14, 2012: Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) presidential candidate said that he intends to expand the Mexican federal police forces. The expanded Federales would operate as paramilitary force and assume many of the missions now conducted by the Mexican military in the Cartel War.

April 10, 2012: Gunmen murdered seven taxi cab drivers in a suburb of Monterrey (Nuevo Leon State). Taxi drivers and services have been subjected to extortion demands by criminal syndicates. Police have also reported that some taxi drivers have served as scouts or intelligence sources for drug cartels.

April 9, 2012: A U.S. Border Patrol agent was arrested in El Paso, Texas on charges of conspiring to buy weapons and ammunition for Mexican criminal gangs. The agent, Ricardo Montalvo, was also suspected of agreeing to help smuggle the weapons and ammo from the U.S. into Mexico. Montalvo allegedly bought nine AK-47s and several thousand rounds of ammunition.

April 5, 2012: Juarez drug cartel member Jose Antonio Acosta-Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison by a U.S. federal court. Acosta-Hernandez was identified as a senior enforcer in the Juarez cartel’s La Linea group. He has been linked to some 1,500 murders. He was specifically tied to the March 2010 murders of three people who worked with the U.S. consulate office in Ciudad Juarez.

April 4, 2012: Soldiers killed Francisco Medina Mejia, a senior commander in the Los Zetas drug cartel. Medina was also known as Commander Quemado (his nickname was El Quemado, the Burned One). Medina was the suspected mastermind of the August 2011 attack on the Casino Royale in Monterrey, which left 52 people dead. Soldiers claimed they encountered a convoy of two vehicles carrying Medina and several other Zetas members traveling on the highway between Nuevo Laredo (Tamaulipas state) and Piedras Negras (Coahuila state). Both are border towns in northern Mexico. The soldiers reported that they were conducting routine checks along the road and that the Zetas fired on them first. Three other Zetas died in the shootout, in addition to Medina. Soldiers recovered eight assault rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Media reports on this incident provided little information on the military operation and the firefight. Chance encounters do occur and that is how the incident is being portrayed. The army regularly sets up traffic checkpoints and roadblocks on routes frequented by cartel gunmen. Soldiers often erect hasty (random) roadblocks on other routes in order to surprise the cartelistas. Apparently the army had set up a checkpoint and Medina’s convoy just ran into it. This is one of the pay-offs of random roadblocks and checkpoints – the army and police earn their luck. Still, intelligence on the whereabouts of senior cartel leaders has improved dramatically. The number of convictions of senior cartel leaders is a crude but incontestable metric, though a metric that is much further along in the legal process than police and military intelligence gathering and surveillance. In the weeks following the casino attack the government vowed that it would not only catch the men who committed the crime but the leaders who planned it and ordered it. Medina was the leader the government concluded planned the casino attack. It was also believed that at least three other leaders were involved in ordering the attack. Medina thus had sufficient culpability to rate an all-out man hunt. In the Cartel War an all-out effort includes recon drones and electronic surveillance as well as detectives with informants and soldiers sweeping neighborhoods. To use the jargon, he attracted heat. (Austin Bay)

April 3, 2012: Four Mexican citizens whose alleged torture cases have been presented to the U.N. have links to members of the Sinaloa cartel. When the four men were arrested in 2009 (in Baja California) they were holding a hostage. Soldiers also seized 21 weapons and over 14,000 rounds of ammunition when they arrested the men. The families of the suspects claim that the soldiers wore masks (hoods) and tortured the men. The military denies the families’ allegations.

April 2, 2012: A U.S. federal court sentenced drug lord Benjamin Arellano Felix to 25 years in prison. Arellano Felix also forfeited $100 million in illegal profits. The sentence and forfeiture were part of a plea bargain arrangement.

India - INS Teg to be commissioned in navy today

Armed with the surface-to-surface BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, a medium range gun and anti-submarine rockets, guided missile frigate INS Teg will be commissioned into the Indian Navy on Friday at the Yantar shipyard in Russia.

"INS Teg is a modern warship with advanced technologies to make it stable, fast and stealthy. The Teg class of ships have been built to meet specific Command and Control needs of Indian Navy for coordinated surface, air and underwater missions," Indian Navy officials said here.

An advanced version of the Talwar-class guided missile frigates, these ships have been fitted with an upgraded multi-role combat suite to make them one of the most potent platforms of the Navy, they said.

"INS Teg's weapons suite includes surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missile systems, 100 mm medium range gun, close-in weapon system, torpedo tubes and anti-submarine rockets. The BrahMos surface-to-surface missile system is capable of engaging targets at extended ranges at supersonic speed," the officials said.

The ship is also armed with an anti-submarine cum airborne early warning helicopter and its weapons suite and sensors are fully integrated with latest Combat Management System (CMS).

On its maiden voyage, the vessel will be commanded by Captain Rakesh Kumar Dahiya, a Communication and Electronic Warfare specialist, commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1987. It is manned by a crew of 24 officers and 229 sailors.

"Interestingly, the individual crew members of INS Teg speak 15 different languages as their mother tongues and follow six different religious faiths," said the officials.

The frigate will be commissioned into the Navy by the Southern Naval Commander Vice-Admiral KN Sushil.

The project to construct the ship was launched five years ago in July 2007 when its keel was laid at the Yantar shipyard, near Kaliningrad.

With a speed of over 30 knots, the ship can cover 4500 nautical miles with a 30-day endurance capability.

It has a displacement of 3,850 tonnes. Mythologically, the word Teg means a single-edged curved sword used by Sikh warriors.

Capable of operating in all kinds of environment, it is equipped with state-of-art automated systems for nuclear, biological and chemical defence.

To minimise casualty during fire fighting and other damages, it can be operated centrally from specially constructed and designed sheltered posts.

Terrorist Republic of Iran reveals new data about downed US drone

If we did not have access to the aircraft's software and hard discs, we would not have been able to achieve these data."

Commander of the Aerospace Division of the IRGC Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh

A senior Iranian military official has provided detailed information about the US drone that Iran downed in December, saying all the intelligence stored on the drone have now been compromised.

“More than 50 years of US technology, whether in the unmanned or piloted aircraft sector, have been brought together in this spy aircraft,” Commander of the Aerospace Division of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said, Fars News Agency reported.

On December 4, the Iranian military's electronic warfare unit announced that the country had successfully downed a US RQ-170 Sentinel stealth reconnaissance aircraft inside Iran with minimal damage.

The aircraft, designed and developed by the American company Lockheed Martin, had crossed into Iranian airspace over the border with neighboring Afghanistan.

Hajizadeh said Iran cannot disclose too much information about the drone since the aircraft is a “national asset” and for intelligence purposes.

“However, I will drop four hints [regarding the drone] for the Americans so they will know the extent of our knowledge of [the intelligence systems of] this aircraft,” Hajizadeh added.

Hajizadeh said due to some technical problems the aircraft components had been transferred to California, US, on October 17, 2010 and after overhauls and test flights the drone was re-commissioned to Kandahar, Afghanistan, on November 19, 2010.

The commander said the drone had experienced some technical flaws in its Kandahar flights in November, but US experts failed to fix the problems at the time.

Hajizadeh added that the RQ-170 was then sent back to an airfield near Los Angeles in December 2010 for tests on its censors and devices and had had a number of test flights before returning to Kandahar.

As a fourth hint to prove Iran's access to the drone's hidden memory, the commander said the spy drone memory device had revealed that it had flown over the slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan two weeks before his death.

“If we did not have access to the aircraft's software and hard discs, we would not have been able to achieve these data," Hajizadeh said, reiterating that Iranian military experts are in full command of the drone and have good knowledge of its parts and programs.

IAF temporarily stops routine training flying of Mirage

Indian Air Force has temporarily stopped all routine training flying of Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft as a precautionary measure after two of these planes crashed within a span of 11 days in February and March.

In written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, Defence Minister A K Antony said, "The commencement of flying of Mirage-2000 fleet is being undertaken in stages post completion of checks."

"Following the accidents of Mirage-2000 aircraft of the IAF on February 24 and March 5, all routine training flying on the Mirage-2000 fleet has been temporarily stopped as a precautionary measure," he said.

No loss of life was reported in these crashes. During the last two years from 2010 to 2012 and current financial year upto April, two Mirage-2000 aircraft have crashed and technical defect was the cause of both accidents, he told the House.

On upgradation of aircraft fleet, he said, "Upgradation of aircraft fleet, including Mirage-2000 aircraft, is reviewed from time to time keeping in view several factors including the operational requirements of the IAF. This is a continuous process."

On simulator training in the force, he said the IAF has simulators for Kiran Mkl/IA, Hawk Mk-32, An-32 and Dornier aircraft.

"All these simulators are serviceable. Further simulators are being procured along with new induction of aircraft like the Basic Trainer Aircraft and Intermediate Jet Trainer aircraft," he said.