Archive for the ‘helicopters’ Category

Iran Ties Ballistic Missile Test To U.S. Navy Missile Defense Test

November 12, 2008

Iran test-fired a new missile in the western city of Marivan, near the border with Iraq during a military maneuver, the government television network Press TV reported Tuesday. The Samen missile was fired Monday, along with artillery and rocket launchers. Iran warned American forces in Iraq last week that American helicopters were spotted flying close to Iran’s airspace. The semiofficial Fars news agency reported that the test followed a Nov. 3 ballistic missile test by United States forces in the Third Fleet.

By Nazila Fathi 
The New York Times


The Telegraph, London
The English-language Press TV said the Iranian-made missile, named as the Samen, was successfully tested on Monday by the elite Revolutionary Guards in the western border city of Marivan.

They also tested artillery and rocket launchers, Press TV said on its website.

Iran’s armed forces have staged frequent manoeuvres in recent months, coinciding with speculation of possible US or Israeli strikes against the Islamic Republic over its disputed nuclear ambitions.

In a move that further heightened tension, Iran in July test-fired nine highly advanced missiles, including one which reportedly could reach Israel and US bases in the Middle East.

Iran’s army last Wednesday said US helicopters had been seen flying close to Iran’s border and that it would respond to any violation, a message analysts said seemed directed at US President-Elect Barack Obama more than at American troops in Iraq.

The Nov 5 statement followed a cross-border raid last month by US forces into Syria, an action that was condemned by Damascus and Tehran.

The United States and its Western allies suspect Iran is seeking to build atomic bombs, a charge Tehran denies.

Mr Obama, like outgoing President George W Bush, has not ruled out military action although he has criticised the outgoing administration for not pushing for more diplomacy and engagement with Iran.

Iran has said it would respond to any attack on its territory by targeting US interests and Washington’s ally Israel, as well as closing the Strait of Hormuz, a vital route for world oil supplies.


Pakistan: Militants, Army Clash In Tribal Areas

November 9, 2008

At least 22 militants and three soldiers were killed in clashes in northwest Pakistan, where the military is waging a fierce battle with Taliban-linked militants, officials said Sunday.

Fifteen militants and three soldiers were killed late Saturday in the scenic Swat valley during an ongoing army operation against fighters loyal to pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah, a senior military official told AFP.

Pakistani helicopter gunships and artillery pounded militant positions in Matta and Kabal districts, both Fazlullah strongholds, the official added, on condition of anonymity.

The mountainous Swat valley was until last year a popular tourist destination where many Pakistani city dwellers went for their annual holidays and featured Pakistan’s only ski resort.

But it has since been turned into a battleground since Fazlullah, who has links to Pakistan’s Taliban movement, launched a violent campaign for Islamic Sharia law.

Pakistani troops on patrol in the troubled Bajaur region in ... 
Pakistani troops on patrol in the troubled Bajaur region in September. At least 22 militants and three soldiers were killed in clashes in northwest Pakistan, where the military is waging a fierce battle with Taliban-linked militants, officials said Sunday.(AFP/Pool/File/Aamir Qureshi)

Separately, soldiers killed seven militants and injured nine others in Mohmand tribal district, one of seven semi-autonomous tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, a paramilitary spokesman told AFP.

The gunfight in Mohmand erupted late Saturday when around 200 Taliban militants surrounded a checkpost near Karapa village and started firing rockets, he said.

“The security forces bravely repulsed the attack and killed seven militants and injured nine others while a paratrooper was also wounded in the clash.

“The security forces targeted the militants with artillery and mortar guns and forced them to flee from the scene,” the spokesman said.

Separately, militants blew up a bridge on a key road in Mohmand, but the blast caused no casualties and the repair work had been started, he said.

U.S. Calls Raid a Warning to Syria

October 28, 2008

By Ann Scott Tyson and Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post staff writers
Tuesday, October 28, 2008; Page A01

U.S. troops in helicopters flew four miles into Syrian territory over the weekend to target the leader of a network that channels foreign fighters from Syria into Iraq, killing or wounding him and shooting dead several armed men, U.S. officials said Monday.

U.S. officials have long complained that the Syrian government has allowed Arab fighters to pass through the country to enter Iraq, but since last year, top military leaders have praised Syrian efforts to curb the flow. In recent months, officials have estimated that as few as 20 fighters a month have been crossing into Iraq, down from more than a hundred a month in 2006.

But officials said the raid Sunday, apparently the first acknowledged instance of U.S. ground forces operating in Syria, was intended to send a warning to the Syrian government. “You have to clean up the global threat….

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Cost Nearly Doubles For Marine One Fleet

March 17, 2008

By Peter Baker 

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 17, 2008; Page A01

A year after Sept. 11, 2001, the White House set out to build a fleet of state-of-the-art Marine One helicopters for the al-Qaeda age that would be safer, more powerful and more reliable than the iconic white-topped aircraft that have landed on the South Lawn for decades.
Marine One lifting off of the White House South Lawn

Marine One lifting off of the White House South Lawn

But the al-Qaeda age has met the military acquisition process. Six years later, the cost of the new helicopters has nearly doubled, production has fallen behind schedule, and the bulk of the program has been put on hold while the government tries to figure out how to salvage it.

The Pentagon confirmed this month that the cost of the fleet of 28 new super-sophisticated helicopters has jumped from $6.1 billion when the contract was signed in 2005 to $11.2 billion today. Outfitted with cutting-edge communications equipment, antimissile defenses and hardened hulls, each of the VH-71 helicopters, to be dubbed Marine One whenever the president is onboard, will cost $400 million — more than the most recent Boeing 747 jetliner outfitted to serve as Air Force One when it was delivered in 1990, even when adjusted for inflation.

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Bush Faces Pressure to Shift War Priorities

December 17, 2007

By Michael Abramowitz and Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, December 17, 2007; Page A01

With violence on the decline in Iraq but on the upswing in Afghanistan, President Bush is facing new pressure from the U.S. military to accelerate a troop drawdown in Iraq and bulk up force levels in Afghanistan, according to senior U.S. officials.

President Bush walks through the Pentagon with
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.

Administration officials said the White House could start to debate the future of the American military commitment in both Iraq and Afghanistan as early as next month. Some Pentagon officials are urging a further drawdown of forces in Iraq beyond that envisioned by the White House, which is set to reduce the number of combat brigades from 20 to 15 by the end of next summer. At the same time, commanders in Afghanistan are looking for several additional battalions, helicopters and other resources to confront a resurgent Taliban movement.

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