Friday, August 5, 2016

North Korea Aims for the Moon Exploration

ARABIAN DEFENSE -- North Korea wants to plant its flag on the moon sometime in the next 10 years, despite international sanctions.

The intention was revealed in an Associated Press news agency interview with Hyon Kwang-iI, a senior official at North Korea's National Aerospace Development Administration, Thursday.

"We will not be daunted by the U.S. and its allies trying to block our space development program," Hyon said. "We will conquer space and plant the flag on the moon."

North Korea is working on launching more Earth observation satellites, according to its five-year plan, under orders from leader Kim Jong-un. It hopes to place more advanced satellites by 2020, including its first geostationary satellite. The plan also includes manned spaceflights and scientific experiments in space.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Russian Leader Warns US for Bloodshed in Afghanistan & Other Muslim Nations

Ramzan Kadyrov has accused the US authorities of instigating the civil war in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries, and called on senior politicians in these states to set aside their differences and unite in the face of what he sees as a common enemy.

“During the 37 years of the war in Afghanistan peace has not become closer, not even by a single step. The United States used the excuse of fighting their own Bin Laden to unleash a decades-long civil war there. America and NATO could have solved the Afghan problem in just two years, but they need this eternal bloody cauldron in Afghanistan that takes the lives of many thousands of young Muslims,” the acting head of the Chechen Republic stated in comments on the latest terrorist attack in Kabul.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Algerian Helicopter Carrier Kalaat Béni Abbès

ARABIEN DEFENSE -- Kalaat Beni Abbes is an amphibious transport dock of the Algerian National Navy, built by the Italian firm Fincantieri as an enlarged and improved version of the San Giorgio class. The ship measures 143 meters long and 21.5 meters wide. It has a range of 6000 miles at 20 knots. The ship has a continuous flight deck with two deck-landing spots for helicopters in the bow and stern.

Ordered in 2011, the ship was acquired by the Algerian National Navy on the 4th September 2014. The first official docking - and commissioning ceremony - was on 28 March 2015 in the presence of the Chief of Staff of the ANP and the High Command of the Algerian National Navy.

Pakistan Celebrate First Nuclear Tests

ARABIAN DEFENSE -- The Pakistan Repatriation Council (PRC) recently organized in Jeddah a symposium titled “Nuclear technology: Our need and obligation” to mark the 18th anniversary of Pakistan’s detonation of a nuclear bomb. Pakistan carried out the nuclear tests in May, 1998, defying the intense pressure of Western powers to prevent it. The reaction of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to this pressure was that the acquisition of nuclear technology was a matter of life and death as far as Pakistan and its national security were concerned. With these tests, Pakistan became a member of the club of nuclear powers. It was the first Muslim nation to possess nuclear weapons.

It was the late president Mohammed Ayub Khan who took the initiative for Pakistan’s nuclear program in the 1960s when he established a nuclear reactor and power plant with the help of Canada in Karachi in 1963. This reactor started operation in the early 1970s. When India conducted its first nuclear tests in 1974, the then Pakistani prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto declared that Pakistan would build a nuclear bomb. “If India built the bomb, we will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own,” he said.

Bhutto courageously initiated Pakistan’s strategic defense institute by bringing home renowned nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who is the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb. He is also known as the father of the Islamic nuclear bomb in that Pakistan is the only Islamic nation possessing nuclear weapons.

Several prominent figures of the Pakistani community in Jeddah addressed the symposium. All of them expressed their immense pride in Pakistan’s great achievements in the field of nuclear technology. They urged the Pakistani government to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, such as the generation of electricity and to support medical and agricultural products to benefit not only the people of Pakistan but of the entire Muslim world.

The speakers also drew attention to the misery of the stranded Pakistanis who have been languishing in squalid camps in Bangladesh for 45 years. They pointed out that Bangladeshis treat these hapless people in a humiliating manner because they stood by the Pakistan army in safeguarding the unity of the nation during the civil war. The speakers voiced concern over the attitude of successive Pakistani governments in ignoring the cause of the stranded Pakistanis and abandoning them to a doomed fate.

When my turn to speak at the symposium came, I first congratulated the PRC and its officials for organizing the event to mark the anniversary of Youm-e-Takbeer (The Day of Greatness) which, of course, deserves to be celebrated. I expressed my hope that Pakistan would always remain a strong and powerful nation. I also said that I hoped that Pakistan would never use its nuclear weapon and that it would always remain a deterrent to maintain the balance of power in the subcontinent. I emphasized the fact that the nuclear explosion of 1998 was an important achievement for the defense of Pakistan as a strong Pakistan is needed for the Ummah. I said: “If Japan had its own nuclear weapon, then the US would not have dared to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

I also expressed happiness over the initiative of the Pakistani government to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, such as the production of electricity and for medical and agricultural purposes, in addition to other objectives that are instrumental in serving humanity and spurring its progress.

I said: “The great nuclear state should not have forgotten its quarter of a million patriotic citizens languishing in Bangladesh for over four decades. I was very happy when Nawaz Sharif became prime minister for the third time, but, unfortunately, he has not taken any steps for the promised repatriation of those Pakistanis. I pray and hope that Sharif has successful heart surgery in Britain and returns to fulfill his commitment to repatriate and rehabilitate the stranded Pakistanis, a process which he started during his previous tenures.”

In the concluding speech, Syed Ehsanul Haque, convener of the PRC, thanked all the speakers, guests and attendees of the symposium. He appealed to Sharif to establish a nuclear research university, headed by Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, to explore the use of electricity production and to enhance the use of nuclear energy for agriculture and medical purposes so as to benefit not only Pakistanis but also to earn precious foreign exchange.

Haque also urged Sharif to reactivate the Rabita Trust, which was founded to start the process of the repatriation and rehabilitation of the stranded Pakistanis. He said: “To overcome the paucity of funds, we sought the implementation of the PRC proposal of the ‘settlement of stranded Pakistanis on a self financing basis.’ The Pakistani High Commissioner at Dhaka should be assigned to take care of the food, health, life and security of a quarter of a million Pakistanis stranded in Bangladesh”. He called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to include at the top of its agenda the issue of the settlement of the stranded Pakistanis.

Haque said the Pakistani government should use organizations, such as the
United Nations and the OIC, and superpowers like the US to mount pressure on India to implement the UN resolution on holding a plebiscite in Kashmir so as to enable the people of Kashmir to enjoy the self-determination of their future.

Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi is a former Saudi diplomat who specializes in Southeast Asian affairs. He can be reached at


Egypt, Saudi Arabia in Nuclear Energy Cooperation

ARABIAN DEFENSE -- Egypt's cabinet approved on Thursday a deal with Saudi Arabia regarding peaceful cooperation on nuclear power, according to a cabinet press release.

The deal was initially signed on 8 April during a visit by Saudi's King Salman Abdel Aziz to Cairo.

The agreement aims to establish cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear power and on nuclear security, according to the release.

Egypt's government is moving ahead with plans to build the country's first nuclear power plant, expected to be completed in 2022 and operational by 2024.

The plant, located in Dabaa in the coastal governorate of Marsa Matrouh, will eventually generate a total of 4,800 megawatts through four reactors.

Last week, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi approved a $25 billion loan from Russia to fund the building and operation of the plant.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are already working on connecting their power grids through a $1.6 billion deal, approved by Egypt's cabinet in January 2015, where they would share 3,000 megawatts of electricity by 2017.

During King Salman's visit, Egypt and Saudi Arabia also signed final loan agreements worth over $24 billion.


Saudi to Get First AH-6i

ARABIAN DEFENSE -- The first Boeing AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopter destined to serve the Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) was in the final stage of assembly this week at the manufacturer’s Mesa, Ariz. facility. Company officials expect to deliver the helicopter in July.

During a press trip Boeing hosted at its Mesa production facility, reporters viewed the first SANG AH-6i helicopter—numbered 61001—going through the final week of the build process, prior to entering flight testing. Seven of 24 AH-6is ordered under a 2014 foreign military sale (FMS) were cycling through assembly. Fuselages for the first AH-6is manufactured for Saudi Arabia are being provided by MD Helicopters, with sub-assembly taking place in Monterrey, Mexico.

AH-6is can be fitted with a combination of Hellfire missile and rocket launchers, miniguns and machine guns. The aircraft's integrated, digital cockpit and mission computer were derived from the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.

The Defense Contract Management Agency will perform acceptance flight testing of the helicopters before turning them over to the Saudi government. It is expected that several Saudi pilots will train in Mesa, as well as pilots who will serve as instructors in Saudi Arabia.

The armed, single-engine helicopters were contained in a huge weapons deal the U.S. and Saudi Arabian governments negotiated in 2010 that included Boeing AH-64E Apache, Sikorsky UH-60M Blackhawk and MD Helicopters MD-530F helicopters. The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency specified 36 AH-6is when it notified Congress of the pending sale on October 20 that year. In August 2014, the U.S. Army awarded Boeing a $234 million FMS contract to supply 24 AH-6is to the SANG, the inaugural customer of the light attack helicopter variant.

Separately, Boeing was awarded a $667 million FMS contract to supply 24 AH-64E Apaches to Qatar, the Department of Defense announced on June 7. Work on the contract is expected to be completed by May 2020.

Qatar signs deals worth $9B at DIMDEX Including 24 Rafale fighters

ARABIAN DEFENSE -- The Qatari Armed forces signed deals worth almost $9 billion at the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX) 2016 this week.

During the show the Qatari armed forces made a number of significant deals, including the consolidation of a deal for 24 Dassault Rafale fighters armed with long-range cruise missiles worth $7.6 billion and a coastal battery system with MBDA worth $710 million.

France had the lion's share of sales to the Qatari Armed Forces with a total of $8.4 billion out of the $8.9 billion total deals that also included the purchase of a 51 percent stake of Polish company WKK, which specializes in the manufacture of composite materials and fuselage production.

"[The year] 2015 saw, in particular, a decision by the Qatari authorities to buy French Rafales and earlier we signed, consolidated the initiative undertook by Qatari authorities last May, so our relations are good," French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at the Rafale signing in Doha.

"I wanted to add that our relations with Qatar are global, which means that we share strategic exchanges, information on the situation in the Middle East. We have a strong relation and largely common views."

At the exhibition Le Drian hinted that his government is offering additional systems and capabilities to the Qataris and more deals might yet come.

"This forum allows [us] to see everything that France can offer in terms of equipment and its capacities, with the different companies and businesses that are here, including in the helicopter field and the naval field. There are ongoing discussions on several topics, and they are confidential and honest," he said.

The deals:

Rafale International (Dassault Aviation) for 24 Rafale fighter jets, support equipment and training. $7.6B
Qatari company Nakilat Damen Shipyards Qatar (NDSQ) for diving support boats. $47.8M
Turkish company Yonca Onuc (J.V.) for the purchase of fast interceptor vessels. $46.6M
European company Zodiac for the purchase of armed fast attack vessels. $18.67M
French company Airbus for a long distance satellite ground imaging station. $54.9M
South Korean company AK & Partners, Inc. for surveillance vehicles. $9.5M
US company Aurora for drone sensor integration $126.4M
US company L-3 for MX20D and M25 drone $34.8M
US company Textron Systems for Aerosonde MK 4.7 drones $34.8M
US company Lockheed Martin 3-year C-130 maintenance contract $13.7M
European company MBDA for coastal battery system $710M
European company MBDA for new Exocet MM40 B3 missiles $65.9M
German company MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH for maintenance and overhaul of the MTU propulsion system $26M
Qatari company Nakilat for the training of navy officers. Undisclosed.
Al Zaeem M.B.A.A. Air Academy and French company DCI for fighter and helicopter pilot training. $37M
German company Reiner Stemme Utility Air-Systems GmbH for the production of drones. $100.2M
Purchase of 51 percent of Polish company WKK, which specializes in the manufacture of composite materials and fuselage production. Undisclosed.
French company Thales for Searchmaster radar. $16.4M
Deal with Chinese National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CASIC) for the provision of support in the fields of production and military cooperation between the drone project committee and CASIC. Undisclosed.