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Coalition Force Reaper Unit Deploys to Joint Base Bal
US Air Force | Nov 25, 2008
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JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq: A coalition force comprising experts from the U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force deployed here recently to sustain operations for the world’s most lethal unmanned aircraft system.

An MQ-9 Reaper aircraft maintenance unit, attached to the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance and Attack Squadron, melds airframe maintenance expertise with satellite communications system technical capability and brings American and British Airmen together to accomplish the Reaper’s persistent strike mission, said Capt. Antonio Camacho, the Reaper AMU officer in charge.

“It’s a very unique program,” said Captain Camacho, whose unit is deployed from the 432nd Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. “Some people see our system as remote control, but it’s not.”

The Reaper AMU took over maintaining the UAS from General Atomics, which produces the Reaper for the U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force. Battlespace Flight Services maintains MQ-1 Predators stationed at Joint Base Balad.

Reaper and Predator systems consist of four main components: the aircraft, the satellite uplink, the local ground control station and the remote ground control station at Creech AFB, said Royal Air Force Chief Technician Gary Smith, NCO in charge of the Reaper AMU.

“All that is one system, and all of the system has to work to enable the aircraft to take off,” said RAF Chief Technician Smith, a native of Lincoln, England, who is deployed from Creech. “Unlike an F-16 (Fighting Falcon) AMU, which will look after just the aircraft, we look after the whole system. We become system managers rather than aircraft managers: it’s a worldwide system, and all of those pieces have to work.”

The major differences between the Reaper and Predator systems lie in the airframe, said Captain Camacho, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Reaper flies faster and higher than the Predator and carries more than twice as much ordnance. However, the background systems that support the aircraft are the same. Staff Sgt. Kevin Wulf, a communications maintenance technician with the Reaper AMU, is responsible for those background systems.

“I work on everything outside of the aircraft: pilot and sensor operation, everything that controls the aircraft and all the equipment that commands it — both the line-of-sight antenna link and the satellite communications link,” said Sergeant Wulf, a native of Spokane, Wash.

UAS pilots and sensor operators use both commercial satellite systems and military satellites such as the Air Force’s Wideband Global SATCOM system to control Reapers and Predators, Sergeant Wulf said. Maintaining that link means overcoming environmental challenges.

“Being out in the desert, we get a lot of dust in the equipment, which can cause critical systems to fail,” he said.

Overall, however, the experience has proven helpful both for American Airmen and their British counterparts.

“Our engineers are embedded in the AMU,” said RAF Chief Technician Smith, who accepted a one-year extension of his tour at Creech so he could help the AMU deploy here. “There’s no difference — it’s not, ‘I’m Royal Air Force, he’s U.S. Air Force.’ We’re totally embedded in the unit. Because of that, we pass ideas to one another, and I think the unit’s far better for it.”

The sharing of ideas has improved maintenance operations in general, Captain Camacho said.

“It provides a different perspective,” he said. “It’s like going into a brand-new unit: you see everything differently.”

The blend of American and British Airmen has provided some unintended benefits as well, RAF Chief Technician Smith said.

“They watch our soccer, and we watch their American football,” he said. “And I’ve got them drinking tea. How many tea bags have we gone through since we’ve been here? Hundreds — we have to have a constant resupply of them. The cultural differences have melded together, and we’ve got a kind of unique culture within our unit because of the mixture.”



US approves sale of anti-sub planes to India
Agence France-Presse | Mar 18, 2009
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Washington: Washington has approved the sale to India of eight Boeing anti-submarine aircraft, a 2.1 billion dollar transaction which would be the largest ever sale of US arms to India, the State Department said Tuesday.

“The Department of State has notified Congress of the potential sale of eight P8i long-range maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare aircraft to the government of India,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters.

“The US government is prepared to license the export of these items, having taken into account political, military, economic, human rights and arms control considerations,” he said.

The sale is in keeping with India’s drive to modernize its military. The Indian military plans to hand out contracts worth 50 billion US dollars by 2018.

India, which has tense relations with fellow nuclear-armed neighbor Pakistan, currently is mostly outfitted with military equipment from the former Soviet Union.



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About the Conferences on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (Article XIV Conferences)

Visit the 2007 Article XIV Conference area.
Visit 2005 Article XIV Conference area.

Brief Background

Visit 2003 Article XIV Conference area.
  • The negotiators of the CTBT included a mechanism under Article XIV to accelerate the Treaty’s entry into force, if this has not taken place three years after the anniversary of its opening for signature.
  • Ratifying States can request the Depositary of the Treaty to convene a Conference to examine how the ratification process can be accelerated.
  • These Conferences can be convened at subsequent anniversaries until the Treaty enters into force.
Visit 2001 Article XIV Conference area.

Participating States and Organizations

  • Representatives of States which have ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) are invited to participate in deliberations.
  • Signatory States, non-signatory States, intergovernmental organizations, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations are invited to attend as observers

Objective of the Conferences

Visit 1999 Article XIV Conference area.

Decide which measures consistent with international law may be taken to accelerate the ratification process in order to facilitate the Treaty’s entry into force.

Previous Conferences on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT

Conferences on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT have been held in Vienna in 1999, 2003 and 2007, and in 2001 and 2005 in New York.







Photos – 2008 balandis

Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with His Highness Prince of Asturias, Felipe de BORBON
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with Special Presidential Envoy of Georgia, David BAKRADZE
EU HR Javier Solana at the General Affairs and External Relations Council
EU HR Javier Solana at the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Alexander STUBB
EU-Egypt Association Council
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon, Tarek MITRI
Trip of EU HR Javier Solana to Pakistan
Trip of EU HR Javier Solana to Afghanistan
Meeting with EU SR for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Erwan FOUERÉ
Meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, Dimitrij RUPEL
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana the Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri AL-MALIKI
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with Commander of Operation EUFOR TCHAD/RCA, General Patrick NASH
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with UNSG SR for Afghanistan, Kai EIDE
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with SG of Amnesty International, Irene KHAN
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with the leader of the Serbian LDP party, Cedomir JOVANOVIC
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with Baroness Ashton of Upholland, Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council
Address of EU HR Javier Solana to the EP Foreign Affairs Committee
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with designated Chairperson of the AU Commission, Jean PING
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with the High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Jorge SAMPAIO
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with the Chairman of EDA Research and Technology Directors, Jan-Olof LIND
Address to the seminar of EU Foreign Ministers Policy Planners
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with members of the Dutch Senate
EU HR Javier Solana at the “Shell Energy Scenarios 2050” presentation
EU HR Javier Solana at the Progressive Governance Conference 2008: “Achieving an inclusive globalisation”
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with MFA of Bangladesh, Iftekhar Ahmed CHOWDHURY
EU HR Javier Solana at the NATO Summit
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with President of the Arab World Institute, Dominique BAUDIS
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with the Speaker of the Serbian Parliament, Oliver DULIC
Meeting with the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin RUDD
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with Prime Minister of Montenegro, Milo DJUKANOVIC
Meeting of EU HR Javier Solana with the President of the Xunta de Galicia, Emilio PEREZ TOURIÑO




The announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or DPRK on 9 October 2006 that it had conducted a nuclear test was met with practically unanimous global expressions of concern. The UN Security Council strongly condemned the act as a clear threat to international peace and security. The Chairman and the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), as well as States Signatories expressed grave concern at the declared test and characterized the event as an action against the letter and the spirit of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Data analysis resulted in the identification of a potential inspection area of less than 1000 square kilometres as illustrated by the red ellipse.

For the CTBTO and the global alarm system it is building, the event represented a real-life test case. Designed to verify compliance with the CTBT, the verification regime will monitor the earth for nuclear explosions once the Treaty enters into force. Although completed only partially and operating in test mode, the CTBT verification regime proved that it was capable of meeting the expectations set for it.

The announced test was well recorded throughout the world by the CTBTO’s International Monitoring System (IMS). Over twenty seismic stations of the IMS located throughout the world, including one as far away as South America, detected signals originating from the event. Less than two hours later, States Signatories received the first automatic analysis of the data, containing preliminary information on time, location and magnitude of the event.

As there was considerable interest in this event among States Signatories, analysts at the International Data Centre in Vienna expedited analysis of the seismic data, applying timelines as envisaged under the Treaty. As a result, a detailed analysis of the event on 9 October 2006 was issued and distributed to States Signatories on 11 October 2006. This bulletin confirmed the preliminary information.

The findings based on the so-called waveform technologies – seismic, hydroacoustic and infrasound – are used to identify the area for a possible on-site inspection. This final verification measure can be invoked by the future Executive Council once the Treaty enters into force. Under the Treaty, an on-site inspection area is to be no more than 1000 square kilometres. In the case of the event of 9 October 2006, analysis of all available data allowed for the identification of a potential inspection area of considerably less than 1000 square kilometres.

The radionuclide technology, measuring radionuclide particles or noble gases in the air, is applied to provide ultimate proof of a nuclear explosion. Radioactive noble gases are of particular interest. Due to their ability to seep through layers of rock into the air, they would be the only evidence of a well-contained underground nuclear explosion. Dispersed by the winds, traces of noble gases would eventually be registered at a radionuclide station equipped with the relevant technology.

Seismograms for the declared nuclear test and from an earlier earthquake, recorded at primary seismic station PS31 at Wonju, Republic of Korea.

Two weeks after the event, the radionuclide noble gas station at Yellowknife, Canada, registered a higher concentration of Xenon 133. Applying atmospheric transport models to backtrack the dispersion of the gas, its registration at Yellowknife was found to be consistent with a hypothesized release from the event in the DPRK.

At the time of the announced nuclear explosion by the DPRK, only ten out of the planned forty stations with noble gas measuring technology were operational in test-mode. The contribution of this technology to the analysis of the event on 9 October demonstrated its significant role in the CTBT verification system.

The event in the DPRK was a test for the CTBT verification system, for its reliability and technical capabilities. The system has proven its value for the purpose for which it was designed – receiving and reviewing data on a specific event and providing highly qualitative information to States Signatories, enabling them to make their own judgments.

The event underlined the need for early entry into force of the Treaty and the rapid completion of the CTBT verification regime’s build-up. Those States that have not yet joined the CTBTO family are encouraged to make that step in order to have the Treaty enter into force.

Hypothesized dispersion of radioactive noble gas Xenon 133 shown one (a), two (b) and (c) 10 days after the declared nuclear test.
Hypothesized dispersion of radioactive noble gas Xenon 133 shown one (a), two (b) and (c) 10 days after the declared nuclear test.
Hypothesized dispersion of radioactive noble gas Xenon 133 shown one (a), two (b) and (c) 10 days after the declared nuclear test.



EU HR Javier SOLANA stresses importance of enhanced political dialogue on global and regional issues with Korean Foreign Minister Yu MYUNG-HWAN

(English) – Nr: S087/09





Article 62

  1. The Economic and Social Council may make or initiate studies and reports with respect to international economic, social, cultural, educational, health, and related matters and may make recommendations with respect to any such matters to the General Assembly to the Members of the United Nations, and to the specialized agencies concerned.
  2. It may make recommendations for the purpose of promoting respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.
  3. It may prepare draft conventions for submission to the General Assembly, with respect to matters falling within its competence.
  4. It may call, in accordance with the rules prescribed by the United Nations, international conferences on matters falling within its competence.

Article 63

  1. The Economic and Social Council may enter into agreements with any of the agencies referred to in Article 57, defining the terms on which the agency concerned shall be brought into relationship with the United Nations. Such agreements shall be subject to approval by the General Assembly.
  2. It may co-ordinate the activities of the specialized agencies through consultation with and recommendations to such agencies and through recommendations to the General Assembly and to the Members of the United Nations.

Article 64

  1. The Economic and Social Council may take appropriate steps to obtain regular reports from the specialized agencies. It may make arrangements with the Members of the United Nations and with the specialized agencies to obtain reports on the steps taken to give effect to its own recommendations and to recommendations on matters falling within its competence made by the General Assembly.
  2. It may communicate its observations on these reports to the General Assembly.

Article 65

The Economic and Social Council may furnish information to the Security Council and shall assist the Security Council upon its request.

Article 66

[ . . . ]



My note –

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European Security and Defence Assembly: Hearing on “Challenges and Opportunities in the European Strategic Air Transport Industry”
(Source: Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe; issued March 24, 2009)
Speech by Allan Cook,
President of the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD),
CEO of Cobham

Distinguished Members of the European Security and Defence Assembly, I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to speak at this hearing of the Assembly, focusing on ‘Challenges and opportunities in the European strategic air transport industry’. I will be speaking this morning in my dual capacity as President of the AeroSpace & Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), and as Chief Executive Officer of Cobham.

I would like to start by quoting the words of Nick Witney, former Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency. In a policy paper he drafted for the European Council on Foreign Relations last year, Nick Witney wrote:

“Security for Europeans today lies not in manning the ramparts or in preparing to resist invasion, but in tackling crises abroad before they become breeding-grounds for terrorism, international trafficking and unmanageable immigration flows.”

Yet the European Union’s ability to tackle such crises, and to make a significant contribution to maintaining global peace, is severely undermined by the fact that 70% of Europe’s land forces are simply unable to operate outside their national territory. Capabilities to project these forces abroad, and to provide them with the air support they need – I am talking here about air lifters and air tankers, of course – remain in chronically short supply and in most cases they are ill maintained and very old.

Things have started to move in the right direction, albeit slowly. There is a growing realisation that what we need in Europe is more coherent efforts, more cooperation and less duplication. This will allow us to make more efficient use of taxpayer’s money and to increase the effectiveness of our spending on defence. In the area of military air transport, this rising awareness of the need to do things together materialised in the conclusion, last December, of an agreement by twelve European countries to launch a so-called ‘European Air Transport Fleet’.

An initiative of this kind is truly encouraging. By accepting to bring together some of their stretched resources, the Member States involved have paved the way for a thorough rationalisation of Europe’s capabilities. The road, however, is still long. It is now necessary to move up a gear in order to properly address the challenges facing both our governments and the European strategic air transport industry.

Reflect on the need to adapt to the nature of modern warfare Nearly two decades after the end of the Cold War, most European armies are still geared towards all-out warfare on the inner-German border rather than keeping the peace in Chad, or supporting security and development in Afghanistan. They are also badly prepared to face threats coming from both state and non state players who use all forms of warfare and tactics, acting with alarming speed and agility. Existing risks are not being retired fast enough and new threats are constantly emerging with disproportionately disruptive effects. The newly re-appointed US Secretary of State of Defence – Bob Gates – in his January 2009 speech said that:

“The Pentagon has to do more than just modernise its conventional forces, it must also focus on today’s – and tomorrow’s – unconventional conflicts”.

It is a common challenge. The reality is that we can probably only afford one force to fight and respond to this hybrid war. Hybrid armies will, however, need specialist capabilities: the most important of which are speed and force projection. In that context, strategic air transport capabilities are vital.

The bleak reality, however, is that such a crucial area also represents one of Europe’s key capability gaps, alongside communications, operational intelligence and more accurate weapons. Air lifters and air tankers can deliver three top priorities: of course, better transport to the theatres of operations; better support for the troops on the ground (air tankers allow for smoother transfer of jet fighters and bombers, while strategic air lifters can bring helicopters to remote combat zones); and, last but not least, better logistics. The fact that these two types of aircraft are so scarce, or unfit for purpose, across a majority of European countries, severely hampers the EU’s ability to tackle the real threats to its citizens’ security, and to play its full role in today’s increasingly unstable global environment.

Two programmes are bound to herald a new era for the European strategic air transport sector: the A400M air lifter and the A330 air tanker. My role, as ASD president, is not to make specific comments on programmes involving a particular firm. I will do so when answering your questions – I will then be speaking to you as CEO of my company, Cobham. However I can, at this stage, make two general remarks:

• European countries need an air lifter that can bring their forces straight from their home bases to the theatres of operations, and which therefore has the ability to land on rudimentary airfields – think of humanitarian and peace building operations in Africa, for instance. The US, which unlike European countries has a whole network of permanent bases abroad with well maintained airfields, requires a different kind of aircraft. This is why a European solution to Europe’s air transport capability problems needed to be developed, and why we can only hope that such a solution will be made available to Europe’s armed forces.

On the air tanker issue, we know that the European industry has developed, in cooperation with US partners, a world-class product that can meet the requirements of military forces across the Atlantic. The fact that such an aircraft exists today is a powerful symbol of what can be achieved on the basis of a strong EU-US partnership. We can hope that the process leading to the establishment of a level playing field across the Atlantic will continue to gather momentum. The transatlantic relationship is mutually-beneficial for the US and European aerospace industries. Each partner has everything to gain from easier access to its counterpart’s market, in order to foster competitiveness and innovation on both sides of the Atlantic. This is particularly true in the context of the current economic crisis, as we will only find answers to the challenges it raises by learning to work even closer as a global industry.

These are the thoughts I wanted to convey to you as President of ASD, the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe.

Thank you for your attention, and I would now be delighted to answer any question you may have.