India is exploring possibilities to manufacture Heron TP drone offered by Israel under “Make in India” with total transfer of technology.
India is seeking to manufacture the drone through a joint venture with Israel Aerospace Industries. “The decision on acquisition will be taken before the Prime Minister visits Tel Aviv in July on his return from the G-20 meeting in Hamburg,” an official was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times today.
Israel has offered to sell India its armed unmanned aerial vehicles Eitan or Heron TP in order to strengthen its stand-off strike as well as long-range strategic strike capability.
The offer is still being discussed as the India is keen to bring it under unmanned weapon through “Make in India” route.
New Delhi has been keen in acquiring armed medium-high altitude, long-endurance UAVs with payload capability in the form of laser-guided bombs or air-to-ground missiles with the security establishment convinced that long range stand-off weapons would perform major role during direct engagement in future conflicts.
In this context, Indian military has been eyeing towards the US and Israel for acquiring Predators or Heron TPs.
While the US is expected to allow sale of General Atomics-developed Guardian UAV as a first step towards either the Predator or Reaper Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAV) to India, Tel Aviv has already made a formal offer for the Heron TP to the defense ministry.
India-Russia Aircraft Deal Terminated
The Indo-Russian program to develop a new military transport aircraft has reportedly been cancelled.
By Franz-Stefan Gady
India and Russia decided to terminate a bilateral defense program to develop and produce a new medium-airlift military transport aircraft for the Indian and Russian air forces, according to a senior Russian official.
Russia’s Minister for Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, was quoted by TASS news agency on March 24, as saying that India and Russia failed to find a solution beneficial to both countries. “Not all projects yield results,” the minister said. “During the execution of the project, which lasted five years, we did not manage to find such a solution that would be beneficial for the two countries.”
He was quick to add that “this does not mean that the relations have been broken off.”
The so-called Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA) program — an Indo-Russian joint venture for which Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) co-founded a new company, Multi Role Transport Aircraft Ltd. — aimed to co-develop and produce a new transport plane, the UAC/HAL II-214 Multi-role Transport Aircraft by 2019. Both countries earmarked $300 million each for the first phase of the project.
President Trump’s “cyber czar,” ex-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, has joined the defense team of a gold trader who is under federal indictment for fraud, money laundering and evading sanctions on Iran, and who has ties to Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
Reza Zarrab, 33, was arrested March 19 in Florida. He‘s accused of ducking sanctions by moving hundreds of millions of dollars for the Iranian government and Iranian firms via offshore entities and bank accounts.
Prosecutor Joon Kim sent a letter notifying the judge in Zarrab’s case that Giuliani had joined the defense, and that Zarrab had also hired ex-U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Kim said he was “advis[ing] the Court of potential conflicts of interest,” since Giuliani and Mukasey’s firms also represent some banks Zarrab used in transactions.
Erdogan defended Zarrab when the dual Turkish-Iranian citizen was fingered in a 2013 Turkish corruption scandal that also implicated Erdogan associates. The Turkish leader called Zarrab, who had given his wife’s charity $4.5 million, a philanthropist. All charges against Zarrab and Erdogan’s pals were dropped.
Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau on Monday issued a travel warning for Middle Eastern countries bordering ISIS conflict zones, urging its citizens not to travel to Turkey, Jordan and Egypt.
In an advisory was issued ahead of the Passover holiday, the Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned against possible terror attacks and attempts to kidnap Israeli citizens in these countries.
The bureau stated there were terror threats in some Western countries as well, particularly in Russia, France, Belgium and Germany, as well as India.
Israelis are therefore advised to be vigilant when they are in crowded places, such as tourist spots, sports stadiums, cultural sites, shopping centers, hotels, airports, public transportation terminals, houses of prayer and other large events.
“The more the Islamic State (ISIS) is backed into a corner, the more it would try to execute attacks across the world on every possible front: against Christians, crusaders and Jews,” said Eitan Ben-Dror, the head of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau. “Israel is not at the center of the threats, but Israelis are required to be vigilant. There are no specific warnings, but we definitely call on Israelis to be careful, remain alert and avoid large crowds.”
The travel warning for Sinai is at the highest level, a very high concrete threat, and the Counter-Terrorism Bureau advised Israelis to avoid traveling to Sinai altogether, urging those already there to leave immediately.
Ben-Dror said that in light of the increased ISIS activity in Sinai in recent months, including against Israel, its calls for the murder and abduction of Israelis, and its vow to avenge an attack allegedly carried out by Israeli drones in Sinai, there is an immediate, grave threat to tourists in Sinai, including Israelis.
Israelis cross the border to the Sinai Peninsula to visit resorts and beaches on the Sinai’s Red Sea coast every year despite terror alerts. During the High Holiday Days in the fall of 2016, some 17,000-20,000 Israelis crossed the border into Egypt, half of them Israeli Arabs
Unexpectedly strong win for Merkel’s party in German elections
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party showed surprising strength Sunday against its main opponent in a state election that also produced a good result for an anti-immigrant party.
Preliminary results showed Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union won 40.7% of the vote in tiny Saarland state, in southwestern Germany. That was up from 35.2% in 2012 and better than the 29.6% won by the Social Democrats led by Martin Schulz.
Alternative for Germany (AfD), an anti-EU and anti-immigration party, won 6.2% of the vote, enough for it to gain representation in its 11th state parliament.
There are 16 state parliaments in Germany. AfD is not represented in the country’s national parliament. Last year polls showed support for AfD hit a record-high 16% nationally but it has lost momentum since then.
The unexpectedly strong win for Merkel’s party over Shulz’s center-left group comes ahead of a general election in September that could test Merkel’s hopes for a fourth term. AfD is also expected to enter Germany’s federal parliament for the first time.
NATO to Seek Bids for $3.2 Billion in Satellite, Cyber Security
by Jonathan Stearns
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization plans to open the way next month for businesses to bid for about 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in orders for satellite communications, air and missile defenses, cyber security and advanced software.
The planned NATO contracts, due to be outlined at an industry conference in Ottawa April 24-26, reflect the alliance’s adjustment to new security threats including Russian meddling in eastern Europe, Mideast migration, Islamic terrorism and cyber attacks.
NATO instructors training Ukrainian troops in the art of war have been accused of incompetence. Recently, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry decided to show off fresh photos of NATO troops training their Ukrainian counterparts for battle. However, eagle-eyed observers pointed out that all they ended up showing off was the NATO trainers’ ineptitude.
Last week, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry published photos from the latest training exercises in Lviv region, where Ukrainian servicemen are being trained up to NATO standards by instructors from the United States, Canada, Poland and Lithuania.
The Defense Ministry proudly reported that the foreign soldiers were training troops from a Ukrainian mechanized brigade under the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine mission.
However, as one observant Ukrainian soldier pointed out, all the pictures actually served to prove was that the NATO ‘experts’ have no clue about how to handle the weapons used by the Ukrainian military.
As a result, following the instructional course conducted with the NATO instructors’ help, Ukrainian machine gunners don’t even know how to properly load their heavy machineguns’ ammunition belts, says volunteer fighter Roman Donik.
King Stallion poised to win Pentagon approval
The Pentagon is poised to review – and probably approve – a new helicopter from Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) to transport heavy cargo for the Marine Corps in a program valued at as much as $29B.
The Defense Acquisition Board has scheduled a March 30 meeting to review whether to approve low-rate production for the first 24 of a planned 200 King Stallion helicopters, Bloomberg reports.
The “big” revenue potential for the helicopter designated the CH-53K was the primary incentive for Lockheed’s $9B acquisition of Sikorsky in 2015, CFO Bruce Tanner said in an interview.
CHINA COMPLAINS AFTER JAPANESE MINISTER VISITS TAIWAN
China said on Monday it has complained to Japan after a Japanese minister visited self-ruled Taiwan over the weekend, warning this could hurt relations between Beijing and Tokyo.
Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said Deputy Minister Jiro Akama went to Taiwan to attend a tourism promotion event in his official capacity, leaving Japan last Friday and returning the following day.
Japanese media said Akama was the highest-level government official to officially visit Taiwan since Japan broke diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1972 and established them with Beijing.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the visit clearly ran contrary to Japan’s promises to only have non-governmental and local level exchanges with Taiwan, which China considers a breakaway province.
“China is resolutely opposed to this and has already made solemn representations to Japan,” Hua told a daily news briefing. Japan has said it respects its promises on the Taiwan but actually it has been provocative, she added. “This has caused serious disturbance to the improvement of Sino-Japanese ties.”