General Dynamics Names Retired Admiral as Next CEO
General Dynamics Corp., the U.S. Navy’s second-largest shipbuilder, will turn to retired admiral and former U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Jay L. Johnson for leadership as its next chief executive officer.
Johnson, 61, will become vice chairman in September and then on July 1, 2009, will replace Nicholas Chabraja, the longest-serving leader among the five largest U.S. defense companies. Chabraja, 65, will remain chairman through May 2010, Falls Church, Virginia-based General Dynamics said yesterday.
Report: Hizballah received 35 new Iranian speedboats shortly before current crisis
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that three weeks before Hizballah seized western Beirut, the Shiite terrorist group took delivery of 35 fast speedboats for use with explosives from Iran. The craft can threaten US Sixth Fleet and Israel Navy shipping close to Lebanese shores, reach Israel’s Haifa and Ashdod Mediterranean ports and raid its coastal oil installations.
The speedboats were tailor-made for Hizballah by Iranian Revolutionary Guards shipyards at Bandar Abbas as the only marine terror fleet operating in Mediterranean waters. Our military sources report the boats are capable of carrying chemical, biological and radiological weapons systems.
They were delivered in mid-April by an Iranian freighter at the Syrian port of Latakia and trucked to Naimah port south of Beirut. There they were hidden in the subterranean hangars belonging to Ahmed Jibril, head of the Palestinian Liberation Front-General Command. Today, the PLF-GC is financed and directed by the Revolutionary Guards. The hangars were constructed in the seventies by East Germany engineers with a protected Mediterranean anchorage and made virtually impenetrable by sea or air.
US warship heads back to Mediterranean
A US warship, which was deployed off Lebanon in February amid concern over Beirut’s political crisis, crossed Egypt’s Suez Canal on Sunday on its way to the Mediterranean, an official with the canal authority told AFP.
“The USS Cole has crossed the Suez Canal and is headed to the Mediterranean,” the official said, adding he did not know its exact destination.
The United States sent the guided-missile destroyer to waters off the coast of Lebanon on February 28, in what US officials said was “a show of support for regional stability” amid concerns over Lebanon’s protracted political crisis.
India To Acquire Six More Submarines: Naval Chief
India will soon float global tenders to acquire six submarines but would like to see indigenous development of this technology in the future, Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said here Friday.
These six submarines would be in addition to the Scorpene submarines, which the Indian navy is expected to acquire soon.
“In accordance with the plan to keep a certain number of submarines in the force, we will be acquiring six of one type (Scorpene) and six of another type,” Mehta was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) as saying at a press conference, marking the end of a two-day-long naval commanders’ conference held here on Friday.
The development of Scorpene submarines had been delayed and it was now time to look for a second type of submarine, he said.
Mehta said: “We need to have indigenous capability for building these submarines and Indian Navy has been a strong proponent of indigenous development. Therefore, we would expect that our shipyards take over the technology from some of these companies and thereafter build it themselves.”
The submarines for which tenders would be floated could also have vertical missile launch capabilities, he added.
French Sends Aid Ship To Myanmar – Foreign Min
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Friday that a French navy ship loaded with 1,500 metric tons of humanitarian aid for cyclone victims was en route to Myanmar and should arrive by next Thursday.
Te Mana arrives in Arabian Gulf
The Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana has arrived in the Southern Arabian Gulf to begin patrolling the region’s waterways against possible terrorism attacks.
The frigate, which sailed from Devonport in Auckland via Singapore, has 173 personnel on board and will operate within a 20,000 square mile area, conducting maritime support and security operations for the Italian-led Coalition Task Force 152.
Defence spokesman Captain Zac Prendergast says the crew of Te Mana will liaise with other vessels in the area and mentor local navies about seacraft. The frigate is expected to return to New Zealand in August.
Narco subs pose new challenge for US coast guards
The first time they found one, authorities dubbed it “Big Foot.” They had heard rumors that such things existed, but nobody had actually seen one.
It was late 2006, and Big Foot was not lurking in a forest, but at sea, 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Costa Rica. And it was not an ape-like creature, but a hulking, blue vessel resembling a submarine and carrying several tons of cocaine.
Nor was it a solitary beast.
Authorities say they are detecting more and more seacraft like Big Foot — known as self-propelled semi-submersibles — carrying larger and larger loads of drugs.
Chugging around the southern curve of Central America and up towards the United States, they have formed a kind of illicit fleet and become a major drug trafficking tool.
“It’s significant. We believe they can carry upwards of eight or 10 tons of cocaine,” said Rear Admiral Joseph Nimmich, director of the Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, Florida, where military and government agencies track drug shipments.
“It’s in fact a logical progression,” he added. “As we get better at interdiction, they move to try to counteract our success.”
Experts estimate 25 to 40 semi-subs left South America last year laden with cocaine, and they expect that figure to double in 2008.
Sri Lanka military says rebels sink navy ship
The Sri Lankan military says Tamil Tiger rebels have bombed and sank a navy cargo ship at the eastern port town of Trincomalee. A navy spokesman said no crew members were on board at the time. Earlier, a bomb-blast in a café in the eastern town of Ampara killed at least 11 people and injured 29 others. The government has also blamed that bombing on Tamil Tiger rebels. The two attacks came just hours ahead of local elections in Sri Lanka’s eastern province scheduled. These are the first polls to be held in the region in 20 years. The government wrested control of the country’s east from the rebels last July.