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Major hacking attack in US looms: expert survey

Cyber attacks might be taking a toll now, but just wait: a survey of experts says things are likely to get even worse in the US over the next decade.

A majority of cybersecurity experts surveyed in a poll see a likelihood of major damage from a cyber attack in the coming years, according to a Pew Research Center report.

From the 1,600 experts polled, 61 percent answered “yes” to the question: “By 2025, will a major cyber attack have caused widespread harm to a nation’s security and capacity to defend itself and its people?”

“Widespread harm,” the survey explained, would mean significant loss of life or property losses, damage, theft in the tens of billions of dollars.

“There was considerable agreement among these experts that individuals could be more vulnerable and businesses could persistently be under attack,” said Lee Rainie, a co-author of the report and director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project.

“They said essential utilities are a vulnerable target and theft and economic disruptions could be substantial.”

The remaining 39 percent surveyed said major damage from a cyber attack could be avoided.

“Some confidently pointed out that the threat of counterattack might deter the worst,” said Janna Anderson of Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, which conducted the study with Pew.

“And many used the Cold War as a metaphor, saying severe harm is unlikely due to the threat of mutually assured disruption. Some said cyber threats are being exaggerated by people who might profit most from creating an atmosphere of fear.”

Already here?
Some of the experts said the cyber threats are already here, or on the horizon.

“A bellicose China might ‘cyber invade’ the military capabilities of Japan and South Korea as part of the conflict around the China sea, leading to the need to reconfigure their electronics, at huge cost,” said Stowe Boyd, lead researcher for Gigaom Research.

“Israel and the United States have already created the Stuxnet computer worm to damage Iran’s nuclear refinement centrifuges.”

Those threats have already harmed the US as well, an expert pointed out.

“People have died from faulty equipment producing gas pipeline explosions and from drone bombings of civilians. US companies have lost billions worth of business as foreign customers no longer trust their products and services,” said Judith Perrolle, a professor at Northeastern University.

The report comes a day after the top US cyber official said the country’s military is looking to flex its muscles in cyberspace as a “deterrence” to hackers eying American targets.

Also this week, US security researchers said in two separate reports that the Russian and Chinese governments are likely behind widespread cyber-espionage that has hit targets in the United States and elsewhere.

One team of researchers led by the security firm Novetta Solutions said it identified a hacker group believed to act “on behalf of a Chinese government intelligence apparatus.”

A separate report by the security firm FireEye said a long-running effort to hack into US defense contractors, Eastern European governments and European security organizations is “likely sponsored by the Russian government.”

The Pew survey is part of a series of reports tied to the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. The survey was not a based on a random sample but a selected group of 1,642 experts and scholars.

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Home-Made Engines to Play Major Role In China’s Future Fighters

A large array of domestic and foreign new fighters including J-10, J-31 and Su-35 will appear at the 10th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China 2014) during November 11 to 16, 2014.

Wu Guohui, a professor from the National Defense University (NDU) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said in an interview that China has made remarkable headway in its home-made fighters and “Taihang” aviation engines, and [fewer] imported engines will be fitted in China’s fighters in the future.

Home-made engines will play a major role in China’s future fighters with a small number of imports

Engines have always been a weak link in the development of China’s aviation industry. Although China has successfully developed the “Taihang” engine, it hasn’t been applied in fighters on a large scale yet.

The “Taihang” engine is China’s first high-performance, high-thrust and afterburning turbofan engine with independent intellectual property right (IPR), which fills the blank of domestically-produced advanced turbofan engine.

China has made substantial progress in domestically-produced engines and fighters, but the fact is that its overall airplane production capacity cannot meet the demand for military equipment upgrade. For instance, the engines for J-10 are mostly imported from Russia.

“The military has a large demand, but we are unable to produce enough products,” said Wu Guohui, adding that “in the future, we’ll mainly use locally-produced equipment and import some as supplement, which will not only improve our overall combat capability, but also boost the development of Chinese aviation industry. China will import fewer and fewer fighter engines. It will be inevitable.”

New-generation fighters will be expensive but with significantly-enhanced combat performance

The high cost of a fighter is a serious issue faced by all countries around the world. The unit price of a F-16 fighter was less than $20 million in the 1990s, but it’s over $40 million now, and the unit price of a new-type F-35 stealth fighter is even up to $140 million.

“We have used a lot of new technologies in the engine, avionics and stealth materials of a fighter, and invested immensely in front-end research and development. Therefore, the new-generation fighter independently developed by China will surely be much more expensive than the third-generation fighter, but still a little cheaper than imported fighter of the same type,” said Wu Guohui.

Due to the high price and the significantly-improved combat capability, there won’t be as many new fighters in the future as in the past.

“The missile range of current fighters is several hundreds of kilometers, and the airspace that a fighter can control is obviously expanded, so there is no need for a lot of equipment to meet the combat demand,” Wu Guohui added.

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F-16V Completes Major Capability Milestone

By on Friday, August 22nd, 2014

The newest configuration of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-16V, has reached a major capability milestone with the integration of a new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.

“Completing this milestone on schedule demonstrates our ability to meet program commitments,” said Roderick McLean, vice president and general manager of the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed Martin. “It proves once again why customers turn to Lockheed Martin to upgrade their F-16 fleets and advance the mission capability of the world’s most effective 4th generation multi-role fighter.”

The completion of this AESA radar Critical Design Review ensures Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) design meets all specified U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin requirements. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] will continue with follow-on activities such as development integration and ground and flight test for Taiwan’s fleet of 144 Block 20 F-16A/B fighter jets.

With the upgrade to the new SABR and enhancements to the mission computer, vehicle systems, aircraft structure, cockpit and electronic warfare system, Taiwan moves forward as the launch customer for the new F-16V configuration.

More than 4,550 F-16 aircraft have been delivered to date, and production is expected to continue through 2017, with major upgrades being incorporated for all F-16 versions.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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Rheinmetall Wins Major Contract from Sweden for Military Trucks

Rheinmetall has just booked another big order for its state-of-the-art, high-mobility truck families. In the medium term, Norway and Sweden intend to buy as many as two thousand military logistics vehicles with a total value of over €1 billion.

Following the Norwegian procurement authorities, today Sweden too signed the framework agreement for joint procurement of military logistics vehicles from Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV).

As a first step, the Swedish armed forces have placed an order for a first lot of 215 vehicles in various configurations. Of these, 51 will have specially protected driver’s cabs, developed and manufactured by Rheinmetall.
Together, the armed forces of Sweden and Norway have thus ordered a total of 335 vehicles now in 14 different configurations, worth some €200 million. The first lot – consisting of a mix of different models – will be delivered between the end of 2015 and end of 2017.

Although the framework agreement does not contain details concerning the number of vehicles to be purchased, it expresses the intent of the procurement authorities of Sweden and Norway to buy up to 2,000 military logistics vehicles during the 2014-2026 timeframe. As a result, the total order value of the joint procurement programme would exceed €1 billion.

A service agreement covering all of the vehicles supplied has also been signed. Covering an optional period of three decades, it could potentially mean over €1 billion in additional sales.

This new generation of vehicles will improve the transport and logistical capacity of the Swedish and Norwegian armed forces while simultaneously boosting their operational capabilities. Customized to meet the specific needs of both armies, a number of these vehicles will be equipped with protected cabs that provide the crew with optimum protection against mines, ballistic threats and shrapnel.

In order to further enhance crew survivability and combat effectiveness as well as the operational performance of the vehicles, they will be equipped with advanced communications and command technology and in some cases with remote control weapon stations mounted on the vehicle roof.

Headquartered in Munich, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH is a joint venture of Rheinmetall AG (51%) and MAN Truck & Bus AG (49%).

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Eurofighter Unveils Major Upgrade Package

Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH chose the 2014 ILA Berlin Air Show to unveil details of a major capability enhancement package which secures the Eurofighter Typhoon’s position as the most powerful and reliable swing-role/multi-role combat aircraft currently available.

Briefing media and delegates at the German air show, former RAF Pilot Paul Smith, now a ‘Capability Manager’ for Eurofighter said: “What we are showcasing at ILA here in Germany represents a paradigm shift in the capability of the Eurofighter Typhoon as a series of major enhancements are introduced to our customers.

“The second element of the Phase 1 Enhancements package known as ‘P1Eb’ takes Typhoon multi-role capability to a new level. This allows Typhoon to realise both its air-to-air and air-to-ground capability to full effect. It is a significant advancement for the Programme.”

The enhancements feed in lessons from the operations in Libya, significantly enhancing the air-surface capabilities and completely revise the Human Machine interface for multirole operations. These enhancements allow the pilot to switch seamlessly between air-to-air and air-to-ground modes.

Smith added: “This package also paves the way for the Eurofighter to deploy deep strike stand-off weapons that can target high value highly protected surface targets. We are already deep into the integration and flight test of the Storm Shadow stand-off weapon. Storm Shadow has a proven combat record of penetrating the most highly defended target areas. The stealth is in the weapon; minimising the risk to pilot and aircraft.

Smith, who worked on several capability enhancements for the Eurofighter Typhoon, said: The underlying advantage of the Eurofighter Typhoon is that it is a hugely powerful and agile platform. Ally this significant kinetic advantage with the most advanced sensors and the most potent weapons and that delivers a combat advantage that really counts. This is why we are integrating the uniquely potent Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM).”

The Meteor BVRAAM has a much higher average speed than legacy missiles and when combined with Eurofighter’s kinetics this delivers a ‘no escape zone’ greater than three times that of comparable weaponry. The P1Eb enhancement package for the Eurofighter also brings a suite of capability upgrades for the aircraft’s Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS) and the latest interoperability updates for the fighter’s Multifunction and Distribution Systems (MIDS) which together help ensure that the Eurofighter Typhoon is the most effective flying partner for allied aircraft.

Alberto Gutierrez, the CEO of Eurofighter GmbH said: “We are proud to be showcasing these enhancements at ILA. This is an important time in the evolution of the Programme and the capability roadmap for Eurofighter continues to deliver. Anyone who takes the time to study what this enhancement package means will understand exactly why we are proud to be producing such an amazing aircraft.”

Background information
Eurofighter Typhoon is the most advanced new generation multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft currently available on the world market. Seven nations (Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman) have already ordered the Eurofighter Typhoon. Eurofighter Typhoon is currently the largest military procurement programme in Europe.

Its high technology strengthens the position of European aerospace industry in the international market. The programme secures more than 100,000 jobs in 400 companies. Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH manages the programme on behalf of the Eurofighter Partner Companies Alenia Aermacchi, BAE Systems and Airbus Defence and Space in Germany and Spain, which are the most important aviation and aerospace companies in Europe with a turnover of about 123.2 billion euro (2011).

Since delivery of the first Eurofighter Typhoon to the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom end of 2003, a total of 406 aircraft have been delivered to six nations. The 100th Eurofighter was delivered to the Royal Air Force in September 2006. The 200th aircraft was handed over in November 2009 to the German Air Force. The 300th aircraft was delivered to the Spanish Air Force in November 2011 and the German Air Force received the 400th Eurofighter in December 2013.

In the past 10 years with the German Air Force and its other customers, the Eurofighter fleet has demonstrated its high operational effectiveness in international missions and training exercises and has accumulated more than 236,000 flying hours.

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Russia-China defense cooperation major factor for world security

Cooperation of Russia’s and China’s defense ministries is an important factor for security in the region and the whole world, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with China’s President Xi Jinping.

“As far as military-technical cooperation contacts and contacts between defense ministries are concerned, such cooperation is a major factor for stability and security in the region and around the world,” Putin said. He noted joint projects in civil aircraft building.

“We have good prospects and good projects for creating a wide-body plane and heavy civilian helicopter,” Putin said.

Cooperation in the automobile industry was developing well, too, he said.

“We are working along all lines and there is progress everywhere,” Putin said.

“We shall be expanding financial infrastructures. Active work is underway to expand mutual settlements in the national currencies. We shall give thought to new instruments in the financial sphere,” he added, TASS reports.

Russia-China trade may reach $100 bln by 2015 – President Putin
Russia and China intend to raise their trade and business ties to a qualitatively new level as the two countries continue to boost their bilateral trade, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at negotiations with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Shanghai on Tuesday. According to Putin, he and the Chinese leader discussed bilateral issues and key international topics before they were joined by their countries’ delegations.

“Our countries have accomplished an enormous amount of joint work to reach this new historic landmark – a comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation. China has gained a firm foothold as our main trade partner,” the Russian president said. Mutual trade between Russia and China grew by 2% to $90 billion in 2013 year-on-year, he said.

This positive tendency has persisted, and the two countries’ trade increased by more than 2% in the first quarter of 2014, Putin said.

“If we manage to maintain this pace, the level of bilateral trade will reach $100 billion by 2015, and we will go on further confidently,” he said.

“At the same time, we hope that the growth of quantitative indicators will be accompanied by qualitative changes in our trade and economic ties,” Putin said.

“Russian-Chinese cooperation has become a crucial factor of international stability. Our cooperation on the platform of the UN and other international organizations is becoming increasingly important. And we will continue to contribute to the development of regional ties, including within the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization],” the Russian leader said.

Moscow, Beijing say interference in other states’ internal affairs, unilateral sanctions unacceptable
Russia and China are resolved to resist the interference in internal affairs of other states urging to give up the language unilateral sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping said in a joint statement following their talks in Shanghai. Russia and China also called for giving up funding or encouraging the activity aimed at changing the Constitutional order of other states.

“The parties underscore the necessity to respect the historical heritage of countries, their cultural traditions, the independently chosen social and political system, the system of values and ways of development, and resist the interference in internal affairs of other states, giving up the language of unilateral sanctions, the organization of assistance, funding or encouraging the activity aimed at changing the constitutional order of another state or its involvement in any multi-party association or union,” the document said.

The Russian and Chinese leaders call for “keeping the stability of international relations, peace and security at the regional and global levels, settling crises and disputes, fighting terrorism and cross border crime and resisting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

The parties agree that countries and peoples are increasingly dependent on each other in the modern world amid the convergence of the economies and cultures of different states, according to the joint statement, TASS reports.

Putin’s two-day visit to China may give momentum to restoring multipolar world
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in China on a two-day official visit. Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters that the president would hold talks in Shanghai on Tuesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping and on Wednesday would attend a summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

During the visit Putin will also hold separate bilateral meetings with some summit participants, in particular, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

A separate meeting of Putin with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also planned. “The sides intend to exchange views on all important international issues, including on the situation in Ukraine,” Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told TASS.

In addition, Putin will talk to the former President of the People’s Republic of China Jiang Zemin, “whom Vladimir Vladimirovich knows very well,” Ushakov added.

The visit programmwill begin with the official welcoming ceremony for the Russian leader. After that Putin and Xi Jinping will hold a meeting in the narrow and then expanded format. Ushakov noted that the Russian delegation comprises a large number of ministers, as well as heads of regions.

The visit program also includes the signing of bilateral documents. Then the sides will make a stamen for the press, after which the two heads of state will meet representatives of the business community. The Chinese president will also give an official reception in honor of the Russian president, after which they will attend the opening of the Naval Interaction 2014 exercise.

In the evening, a gala concert and an official lunch in honor of the heads of the delegations, participating in the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia will be given. Its working meetings will be held on May 21.

The current meeting between the heads of Russia and China is the second this year. They had previously met at the opening of the Sochi Olympics in February. According to Ushakov, the two heads of state plan to discuss important issues of the development of relations in various spheres, including interaction in the international arena.

The side will pay major attention, in particular, to the work within the framework of the United Nations, BRICS group (bringing together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and a number of regional structures, he said. On the talks’ results, the sides are expected to adopt a statement on a new stage in Russian-Chinese relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction.

A package of documents that is planned to be signed in Shanghai would break a record in terms of the volume. “The package consists of 40 – 43 documents. The package that we have now is perhaps a record-breaking,” Ushakov said. He noted, in particular, that the sides continued the preparation of the contract between Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

China is Russia’s main trade partner. In 2013, the bilateral trade reached a record high level of 88.8 billion US dollars (1.7-percent increase from the 2012 level). In the first quarter of 2014, the growth of this indicator continued and reached 2.2%.

In the view of Ushakov, if this trend persists, the sides may reach by 2015 the level of 100 billion US dollars, and by 2020 – 200 billion US dollars.

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Germany halts major arms deal with Russia

By on Friday, March 21st, 2014

Germany on Wednesday halted a major deal to provide a fully equipped training camp to Russian forces, saying any arms trading with Moscow was currently “indefensible”.

Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel announced the suspension of the Rheinmetall project as Moscow tightened its grip on the flashpoint Crimean peninsula.

The German government said in a statement it was in touch with the defence group, whose contract with the Russian authorities is reported to be worth around 100 million euros ($140 million).

A Rheinmetall spokesman had earlier said the company would fulfil its contractual obligations to build the center, which German media said would train 30,000 soldiers a year.

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