Archive for the ‘aircraft’ Category

Plane’s Recorders Support Hero Pilot’s Account; He’s Ready for Inauguration

January 19, 2009

The black boxes recovered from the US Airways jetliner that safely splashed down in the Hudson River last week captured thumping sounds, the sudden loss of engine power and the pilot’s calm mayday request, evidence that seems to back up the crew’s account of hitting a flock of birds shortly after take off.

The pilot, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, credited with helping save the lives of all 155 people aboard, reports that the plane has hit birds and lost both engines shortly after investigators heard “the sound of thumps and a rapid decrease in engine sounds,” National Transportation Safety Board member Kitty Higgins said.

By KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press Writer

Sullenberger then discussed alternate landings at New Jersey airports before deciding to attempt a river landing, she said. Ninety seconds before ditching the plane, he told passengers to “brace for impact” and informs controllers “they will be in the Hudson River,” Higgins said.

The dispatches on the cockpit voice recorder were described as “a very calm, collected exercise,” Robert Benzon, a veteran safety board investigator, said Sunday.

Said Higgins: “It was very matter of fact.”

In Washington, D.C., safety board spokesman Peter Knudson said preliminary indications from radar data of the plane’s take off Thursday from LaGuardia Airport “did not show any targets” that might be birds. But investigators will keep looking, he said.

“We are going to go and get all the electronic data necessary to get a complete picture of what was on his screen. It’s possible there was more being displayed than we initially understood. We just don’t know definitively at this point — we don’t know exactly what was shown on that radar screen,” Knudson said.

In this image taken from the website of Safety Reliability Methods, ... 
US Airways pilot Chelsey B. Sullenberger III.  He’s headed to Washington DC for Barack Obama’s inauguration….

Sullenberger, who has so far not publicly talked about the crash, has been invited to attend President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday, according to the mayor of his hometown, Danville, Calif. An Obama aide said Sunday evening the family had been invited, speaking on condition of anonymity because details were still being worked out.

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Rescue crews secure the US Airways A320 after it crashed into ...

Pilot was a ‘hero,’ but are more coming along for airlines to hire?
 “Miracle on the Hudson” Pilot: Older Pros Sure Worth Having
Hudson River Miracle: “Find That Bird”
 Miracle Landing After Both Engines Died Simultaneously — NTSB

A worker looks into the damaged right engine of the US Airways ... 
A worker looks into the damaged right engine of the US Airways Airbus A320 that made an emergency landing Thursday in the Hudson River as the plane sits on a barge after being lifted out of the river in New York, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)


Miracle Landing After Both Engines Died Simultaneously — NTSB

January 18, 2009

“Miracles happen because a lot of everyday things happen for years and years and years,” she said. “These people knew what they were supposed to do and they did it and as a result, nobody lost their life.” — Kitty Higgins of the National Transportation Safety Board

By KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press Writer

The flight data recorder of the US Airways jet that landed in the Hudson River shows both engines lost power simultaneously, investigators said Sunday.

Information from the flight recorders on the doomed aircraft was released as investigators worked to remove its fuel. After that is completed, officials hope to move the damaged plane off the river by the end of the day.

A worker looks into the damaged right engine of the US Airways ... 
A worker looks into the damaged right engine of the US Airways Airbus A320 that made an emergency landing Thursday in the Hudson River as the plane sits on a barge after being lifted out of the river in New York, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

“Defueling is a pretty intricate operation, not without risk,” Kitty Higgins of the National Transportation Safety Board said at an afternoon briefing on the investigation.

The crippled plane, hoisted from the river late Saturday, remains on top of a barge moored to a seawall in Manhattan a few blocks from the World Trade Center site.

Higgins said the recorders showed that Flight 1549 reached a maximum altitude of 3,200 feet before losing power simultaneously in both engines before its splash-landing Thursday afternoon.

Higgins recounted excerpts from communications captured by the cockpit voice recorder beginning 90 seconds after takeoff, when the captain made a remark to the co-pilot about birds.

One second later, she said, “the sound of thumps and a rapid decrease in engine sounds” could be heard.

“The captain makes a radio call to (Air Traffic Control) calling Mayday, and reports that they hit birds, lost both engines and were returning to LaGuardia” Airport, she said.

Higgins said the accounts on the cockpit voice recorder were consistent with interviews with the flight crew. She also praised the crew.

In this image taken from the website of Safety Reliability Methods, ... 
US Airways pilot Chelsey B. Sullenberger III

“Miracles happen because a lot of everyday things happen for years and years and years,” she said. “These people knew what they were supposed to do and they did it and as a result, nobody lost their life.”

Higgins also said ice floes in the Hudson were hampering the search for the left engine, which separated from the aircraft and sank to the bottom of the river.

“The concern is… even putting down the sonar equipment and the rove vehicle, they would be damaged by the ice. It’s too dangerous for a diver,” she said.

Officials have refused to say where in New Jersey the plane would be taken when it is towed away, saying investigators wanted to do their work undisturbed.

Pilot was a ‘hero,’ but are more coming along for airlines to hire?
 “Miracle on the Hudson” Pilot: Older Pros Sure Worth Having
Hudson River Miracle: “Find That Bird”

Rescue crews secure the US Airways A320 after it crashed into ...

Pilot was a ‘hero,’ but are more coming along for airlines to hire?

January 18, 2009

There’s no question that landing a plane with no power on a river in the middle of a city safely is an extraordinary feat.

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, whose smoothly water landing in the Hudson River helped ensure all 155 people aboard US Airways Flight 1549 could walk to safety rightly deserves his status as an instant hero.

But aviation safety experts are adamant that what happened Thursday afternoon was not simply a “miracle” but a product of years of disciplined training, invaluable experience, cutting edge engineering and an aviation culture that rigorously and regularly reviews and updates safety related procedures and engineering.

That’s helped flying to become one of the safest modes of transportation in the United States. For the last two consecutive years there have been no fatalities in commercial aviation despite some potentially lethal incidents, like Thursday’s water landing.

“How do you make a miracle? There are two things and the first isn’t that glamorous: It’s the systems analysts who’ve helped us get much better at understanding what causes accidents and do what needs to be done — in designing aircraft and training people — to prevent them,” says William Voss, president and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to improving aviation safety. “And then there’s glamorous bit we saw yesterday: That kind of extraordinary sense of confidence, training, and skill that makes this system so safe. We still haven’t given that away.”

Captain Sullenberger is a veteran of that aviation culture in which safety has been a major preoccupation. But there’s also growing concern within some aviation circles that the airlines recent economic turmoil will make flying a less attractive career to people like Sullenberger.

He began his career as an Air Force fighter pilot, and became a captain when flying for American carriers was still a high-status, high income job. The crack training he received enabled him to become an expert and start an aviation consulting business called Safety Reliability Methods, Inc. as well as to work with both the National Transportation Safety Board and the United States Air Force in working on accident investigations. He is currently a visiting scholar at the University of California’s Berkeley’s Center for Catastrophic Risk Management.

All of that experience and training served him well in the moment of crisis.

“He did a fantastic job and made all the right choices. He’s a really instinctive, well-trained pilot,” says Richard Golaszewski, executive vice president of GRA Inc., aviation consultants in Jenkintown, Pa. “But there were a lot of things that happened long before that: Design rules that say how long a plane has to float, training of the flight attendants and pilots. Ditching is something they train for.”

Mixed with all of the accolades for Capt. Sullenberger, there’s also some concern that the past 8 years of economic turmoil at the airlines during which pilot pay and benefits have been slashed will make it more difficult to attract people of Sullenberger’s abilities.

“We still have some exceptionally trained and qualified crews,” says a veteran pilot for a major airline who’s not authorized to speak with the press. “But the fear is that in the future, because of the loss of quality of life and pay and turmoil that you’re not going to attract people of that same caliber. For now at least we’re enjoying the experience of people who chose it as a profession when it was still a highly coveted job.”

Analysts note there has also been long-term trend of fewer military-trained pilots entering the commercial aviation world. Some contend that’s because the job is now less attractive and they worry that this has led to a diminution in the skill and type of training pilots get. But others strongly disagree and say it’s just a question of numbers. After the Vietnam War there were simply fewer military pilots being trained, and so fewer people like Capt. Sullenberger were joining the major airlines.

By Alexandra Marks
Christian Science Monitor

“There’s absolutely no evidence I know of to suggest that the people coming from the civilian ranks aren’t as qualified as military pilots,” says Clint Oster, an aviation economist at Indiana University in Bloomington.

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Hudson River Miracle: “Find That Bird”

January 17, 2009

It’s a breathtaking story of heroism, terror and prayer.

Or it is the story of a guy doing his job.  And a bunch of passengers scared to death and clinging to life.

It is a story of unexpected, never before seen disaster.

Or it is the story of just another bird meeting just another aircraft in the sky — something that happens thousands of times each year.

We love drama, excitement and life and death challenges — usually if there is a happy ending and we ourselves are never at risk.

I don’t mean to demean for a second the heroics and great work of all the boat and craft crews, rescue swimmers, flight crew, pilot and everyone else  — and I’ll be the first to make popcorn for the “Made for TV Movie.”

But I do find myself cautioning myself: and maybe to honor all that do their jobs day in and day out.  And most never get a medal or keys to the city.

And there is still the NTSB and FAA investigation — a task that goes into every detail which often can mean reconstucting the twisted metal of a crashed aircraft.

We already know the order has been given to “find those engines” at the bottom of the Hudson.

If we get too carried away the made for TV movie will feature a FAA guy shouting, “Find that bird.”

This posted 22 January 2009:
Bird Found in Miracle Hudson River Crash-Landing


Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, 57, became the hero of the moment and for me a lesson, and a monument, to life.

“Miracle on the Hudson” Pilot: Older Pros Sure Worth Having

In this image taken from the website of Safety Reliability Methods, ... 
In this image taken from the website of Safety Reliability Methods, Inc., US Airways pilot Chelsey B. Sullenberger III is shown. An official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still ongoing, identified Sullenberger as the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549, which crash landed in the Hudson River in New York Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009, as Chelsey B. Sullenberger III. (AP Photo/Safety Reliability Methods, Inc.)

A police officer (R) and member of the coast guard stand near ... 
A police officer (R) and member of the coast guard stand near the wing of the US Airways airplane which crashed in the Hudson River, where the aircraft is secured and awaiting removal, in New York, January 16, 2009.REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES)


Birds a Problem for Aircraft

By James Bernstein

Birds and airplanes may both fly, but they do not live in harmony in the skies. The bird strike believed to have been responsible for Thursday’s US Airways emergency landing is rare, aviation experts said. | Video | Photo gallery | Experts: Crashes more survivable recently | Hudson River hero is ex-Air Force pilot | Investigation begins

But when birds — even small birds in flocks — get caught in an aircraft engine, which typically runs at 10,000 revolutions per minute, the result can be disaster.

“The blades of the engines disintegrate into pieces,” said Ross Aimer, a test pilot for Boeing Co., the giant commercial airplane manufacturer.

The pilot knows immediately the plane has been struck by birds. “There’s going to be a loud bang and usually a smell” of burning birds, said Aimer, also a consultant for Aviation Experts, a consultant and media-relations company in San Clemente, Calif.

Experts estimate that about 25,000 Canada geese live in New York City and on Long Island, with about 25,000 more migrating through the area each year. Rob Bennett for The New York Times

Of course, what aviation experts refer to as “bird strikes” do not always cause crashes. But the FAA estimates that in the last two decades, bird strikes have caused more than 200 aviation fatalities worldwide. They generally occur near airports, whose large open spaces provide fowl of all types with places to rest and feed, the experts said.

Big problems for New York

Birds pose a particular problem at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports because they are near marshy areas that are home to thousands of birds, the experts said. And the airports are along the Atlantic Flyway, a migratory route that stretches from Maine to Florida, said Peggy Caraher, publicity chairwoman for the Eastern Long Island Audubon Society, Inc.

“The problem is we’re always building along the shorelines,” Caraher said. “That’s where these birds are. So they relocate to other open spaces.”

The FAA estimates that about 90 percent of all bird strikes are at or close to airports.

At LaGuardia and other airports, maintenance crews go to work at dawn, using noisemakers and flares to scare off birds, the experts said. “They’ve tried everything, from shooting cannons to bringing in birds of prey,” Aimer said.

The thunderous jet engines, though, are usually the best way to get rid of gulls, geese or sparrows.

“The key is to dissuade as many birds as possible from wanting to be in the area,” said Stuart Rossell, U.S. operations manager for Plattsburgh-based Falcon Environmental Services, which does bird control at Kennedy.

“JFK is the leader in proactive bird management,” said Rossell, of Murrieta, Calif. “Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call for the aviation industry.”

Frank Ayers, chairman of the flight training department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., said that airplane engines are tested and retested for bird strikes. But, he said, jet engines are unable to survive a hit by large birds such as geese or flocks of birds.

“They can survive a small sparrow,” Ayers said. “But even that will produce some changes in the power output.”

Peter R. Leffe, an aviation accident investigator in Malibu, Calif., said when a bird hits an engine, its blades break into sharp projectiles, which rip into the cowling that covers the engine, usually tearing it apart.

“The blades are about an inch high and an inch square,” Leffe said. “They’re very brittle.”


From The New York Times

For years, airport officials have removed shrubs and trees that attract birds. They have tried to scare them away with music, pyrotechnics and cannons. They have even raided birds’ nests and culled the adults with shotguns.
Still, birds, often geese, sometimes end up in plane engines, causing inconvenience, or worse: They are a leading suspect in the nearly disastrous ditching of a US Airways jet on Thursday.

“The cause is still under investigation,” said Stephen Sigmund, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. But he said preliminary reports indicated that Flight 1549 was several miles out from La Guardia Airport, at 3,000 to 4,000 feet, when the pilot radioed that there had been a bird strike.

The proximity of the plane to Rikers Island, home to a large colony of noisy, prolific and seemingly indefatigable Canada geese, suggests that the birds could have been involved. “Certainly if they were geese, the birds would have been large enough to do considerable damage,” said Peter Capainolo, a senior scientific assistant at the American Museum of Natural History who has worked with teams that have tried to scare birds away from airport runways.

New York is a high-risk region for bird strikes, with three major airports close to active….

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“Miracle on the Hudson” Pilot: Older Pros Sure Worth Having

January 16, 2009

It’s the “miracle on the Hudson.”

A stricken airliner with passengers aboard struggled for flight and life it what could have ended very badly.

But the pilot,  experienced, seasoned, a man even some youngters might call old or a “geezer,” put all his skills and experience to work to save the moment and many lives.

Obama Needs To Be a Proven Pilot, Make a Soft Landing in The Hudson River

Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, 57, became the hero of the moment and for me a lesson, and a monument, to life.

Yesterday was my birthday and I am now closer to 60 than to 50 each day.

But there before me and the world was a lesson in how important it is to become and stay professional.  This to me was a lesson in using God’s gifts and putting them to good use.

And not giving up.  This is a lesson in not giving up in tough situations, not giving up on yourself, and never giving up on those trained, experieced professional that have gained our trust.

In this image taken from the website of Safety Reliability Methods, ... 
In this image taken from the website of Safety Reliability Methods, Inc., US Airways pilot Chelsey B. Sullenberger III is shown. An official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still ongoing, identified Sullenberger as the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549, which crash landed in the Hudson River in New York Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009, as Chelsey B. Sullenberger III. (AP Photo/Safety Reliability Methods, Inc.)


By AMY WESTFELDT, Associated Press Writer

The pilot who guided a crippled US Airways jetliner safely into the Hudson River — saving all 155 people aboard — became an instant hero Thursday, with accolades from the mayor and governor and a fan club online.

The pilot of Flight 1549 was Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, 57, of Danville, Calif., an official familiar with the accident told The Associated Press. Sullenberger is a former fighter pilot who runs a safety consulting firm in addition to flying commercial aircraft.

Sullenberger, who has flown for US Airways since 1980, flew F-4 fighter jets with the Air Force in the 1970s. He then served on a board that investigated aircraft accidents and participated later in several National Transportation Safety Board investigations.

US Airways AP

Sullenberger had been studying the psychology of keeping airline crews functioning even in the face of crisis, said Robert Bea, a civil engineer who co-founded UC Berkeley’s Center for Catastrophic Risk Management.

Bea said he could think of few pilots as well-situated to bring the plane down safely than Sullenberger.

“When a plane is getting ready to crash with a lot of people who trust you, it is a test.. Sulley proved the end of the road for that test. He had studied it, he had rehearsed it, he had taken it to his heart.”

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China’s tanks, aircraft challenge Russian sales in Africa

January 1, 2009

Ghana traditionally has been a client country of Western weapons manufacturers. It does have some Russian equipment in service, however, including SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles, Zu-23-2 air defense machine guns and D-30 122-mm howitzers.


The People’s Republic of China is now promoting its latest gun-launched laser-guided projectiles on the African continent. At least one African country is already equipped with the Chinese-made GP1 155mm laser-guided projectiles, which are a Chinese version of Russia’s Krasnopol GLLGP, the technology for which was transferred to China by Russia’s KBP Design Bureau in 1997.

Chinese arms are also actively penetrating North Africa’s Arab countries. Algeria has been a typical purchaser of Russian equipment. The Algerian army has 320 T54/55 Main Battle Tanks and 350 T72 Main Battle Tanks, as well as AT-3, AT-4 and AT-5 anti-tank missiles, 289 BMP-1/2 IFVs and SAM-7, SAM-8, SAM-9 and SAM-14 ground missiles.

The Algerian air force is armed with 43 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MFs, 30 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23B/Es, 28 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23Fs….

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Gaza: Israel Preparing for Endgame?

January 1, 2009

Growing signs are emerging that israel is trying to shape a way to end the Gaza fighting and achieve its goals.

A ground action of Israeli troops and tanks into gaza still seems possible.  “The infantry, the artillery and other forces are ready. They’re around the Gaza Strip, waiting for any calls to go inside,” Military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said.

Israel Tanks AP

But Israel is also allowing humanitarian supplies into Gaza and has raised the notion of international observers to monitor the post violence situation inside Gaza.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Wednesday, 93 trucks carrying food, medicine and medical supplies donated by Jordan and international organizations were transferred into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom Crossing in the southern part of the Strip.

On Tuesday, 93 trucks were also allowed into Gaza and another 90 are expected to enter Gaza on Thursday. A plane from Qatar will also land in Israel on Thursday carrying supplies that will be transferred to Gaza.

“We have no interest in a long war. We do not desire a broad campaign. We want quiet,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a meeting of mayors of southern Israeli cities Thursday. “We don’t want to display our might, but we will employ it if necessary.”

To pave the way for a post-hostilities situation, Israel isn’t seeking a peacekeeping force, but a monitoring body that would judge compliance on both sides.

After the  2006 war with Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, Israel accepted peacekeepers but was never satisfied with that arrangement.

“We are asking for a cease-fire and an international presence to monitor Israel’s commitment to it,” Israeli government aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said.
Several organizations have said Hamas is almost ready for a cease fire.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, whose office in Gaza was struck overnight, said Israel needed to “stop attacking and killing our children, women and men.”

“The aggression must stop, the crossings must open and the blockade must be lifted and then we can talk about all other issues,” he said in televised comments Wednesday. “Then we can start a national dialogue without any preset conditions.”
John Holmes, the UN’s undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and its emergency relief coordinator said, “It’s hard to exaggerate the degree of constant fear, I think, felt by those in Gaza, in particular, as the attacks continue.”

“And of course, there is stress on the Israeli side too because of the constant threat of rockets,” he said, speaking in a Wednesday briefing at the United Nations.

“This is a very bloody operation, by anybody’s standards, even by the standards of that part of the world,” Holmes said.

Holmes was quoted by CNN.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom


Gaza Day 6, January 1, 2009

China Made Gaza Rockets Used By Hamas

Gaza Day 6, January 1, 2009

January 1, 2009

Here is what we know:

–The United Nations Security Council circulated a draft resolution by Libya on behalf of the 22-member Arab League Wednesday, but the U.S. rejected the plan, saying the U.S. had not seen “any evidence” yet that Hamas was willing to end its rocket attacks on Israel.

–“If we’re going to talk about the truce or a cease-fire, we want to make sure that this is a sustainable,” IDF Brigadier General Mike Herzog, Defense Minister Barak’s chief of staff, told PBS on Wednesday. “We do not want to go back to a situation where our towns, and villages, and our citizens are being fired [at] daily.”

–Saudi Arabia and the Arab League chief on Wednesday blamed the divisions between Fatah and Hamas for Israel’s attacks in Gaza, and urged them to unite to help end the fighting at an urgent Arab League meeting. 

–On the ground, Israeli troops and tanks were observed moving closer to Gaza.  A ground attack is “imminent” accoding to sources in the IDF.  The Israel Defense Forces recommended a major, but relatively short-term, ground offensive in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, as military preparations continued on the border. Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff of the  Haaretz Newspaper said the Israeli army was given the green light to forge ahead with Operation Cast Lead, which enters its sixth day Thursday.–Israeli jets bombed the Palestinian parliament building in Gaza early Thursday and navy ships opened fire at Hamas positions along the coastline.

Israeli soldiers prepare their weapons as they deploy on the ... 
Israeli soldiers prepare their weapons as they deploy on the northern border with the Gaza Strip. Hamas vowed to fight “until the last breath” if Israel makes good on threats to send ground troops into Gaza after rejecting calls for a truce and pressing on with its air assault.(AFP/Jack Guez)

–On Wednesday, some 70 rockets were fired from Gaza at the Negev, among them some 10 Katyushas with a range of about 40 kilometers. These landed in Be’er Sheva and around Ashdod.

Yuval Diskin, the head of the Shin Bet security service (Israel’s CIA), told the Israeli Cabinet Wednesday that Hamas leaders were taking shelter in the mosques “on the assumption that Israel will not attack.”  Mosques in Gaza were being hit by Israeli forces on January 1.  Gaza City’s Tel Al-Hawa mosque is now in ruins, with only its minaret remaining upright.  According to the Associted Press, A security official said Israeli intelligence — probably surveillance aircraft — saw missiles being fired outside the mosque and the men who launched them running inside the building. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss intelligence operations.

–The Jerusalem Post reported that Pro-US Arab countries – Egypt, in particular – have come under heavy criticism in widespread street protests, as well as from Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah, for allegedly not doing enough to stop Israel or help Gazans.

“We did not enter this operation in order to end it with the firing still continuing,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a meeting of his security Cabinet on Wednesday, according to a senior government official.

“Hamas broke this cease-fire,” Olmert said. “If the conditions ripen” and if there is a solution “that promises a better security … we will consider it, but we are not there yet,” he said, according to the official.

See a CNN Report:


The Hamas leader, Osama Mazini, said in a statement distributed by the Hamas press office that his fighters were eager for a ground assault. “The people of Gaza are waiting to see the Zionist enemy in Gaza to tear them into pieces of flesh,” said Mazini.

Read a complete AP report from early January 1:


From Robert Burns
The Associated Press

By insisting that Hamas go first in any cease-fire with Israel, the Bush administration is sticking to its support for the Jewish state’s right of self-defense while stopping short of encouraging an Israeli ground assault aimed at fully reoccupying the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The Bush administration on Wednesday asserted its desire for a halt to the fighting but also made clear its view that the first step in any cease-fire will require Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rejects Israel’s right to exist, to agree to stop firing rockets from Gaza into Israel now and in the future.

Read the rest:

China Made Gaza Rockets Used By Hamas

Japan Abandons F-22 Aircraft Plan, Cites Obama

December 29, 2008

JAPAN is likely to drop its attempts to buy state-of-the-art US F-22 Raptor stealth fighter planes since it expects the United States to stop producing them, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

The Japanese government had been trying to persuade the United States to sell it F-22 Raptors to replace its own aging F-15 fleet, despite Washington’s reluctance.

Tokyo, however, is now abandoning the plan amid signs that US President-elect Barack Obama’s new administration may halt production of the aircraft, the Daily Yomiuri said, quoting government sources.

‘We have a firm impression that its production likely would be halted,’ a high-ranking official at the defence ministry was quoted by the daily as saying.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, reappointed to stay in the post under Obama, has said publicly that he favours halting production of the F-22.

Washington is also said to be skeptical about continuing production of the expensive planes due to the financial crisis and declining tax revenues.

US law prohibits export of Raptors as Congress remains anxious over the possible leaking of details of the Raptor’s state-of-the-art technology. They are built to evade radar detection at supersonic speeds.

Japan’s possible alternatives are the Eurofighter Typhoon, jointly developed by Nato members Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany, said the English version of the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Among other candidates are the US fighter F-15FX and the F-35 Lightning II, produced by the United States, Britain and other countries, it reported.

Some ministry officials favour the F-35, a high-performance fighter with sophisticated bombing capabilities, but this plane has not even been deployed so far by US forces, the daily said.

Japan has been officially pacifist since its defeat in World War II but has one of the world’s largest defence budgets and is gradually expanding its military role. — AFP

Russia delivers Sukhoi fighters to Indonesia

December 27, 2008
Russia’s Sukhoi aircraft company has delivered two Su-30MK2 multipurpose fighters to Indonesia, local media reported Friday.

“The first two of six aircraft purchased by Indonesia have been shipped to the customer,” Interfax news agency quoted the company’s press service as saying.

Su-27 low pass.jpg

The third Su-30MK2 fighter is scheduled to be delivered at the start of 2009, while three Su-27SKM planes are due for shipping by2010, the reports said.

Under a contract signed in 2007, Russia will supply three Su-30MK2 and three Su-27SKM fighters to Jakarta in addition to twoSu-27SK and two Su-30MK that are already in service with the Indonesian air force.