Ready, aim, and fire more accurately without bullets (& Iran, India updates)

January 17, 2006

* This is the latest in an occasional series of dispatches that include articles focusing on military developments
* As revealed by this email list a week ago, Iran two days ago confirmed plans to host a Holocaust (denial) conference

 


CONTENTS

1. Iran confirms plan for Holocaust (denial) conference
2. U.S. warns Norway
3. The “Bullite”
4. India to launch Israeli spy satellite
5. Saudi court orders eye gouging
6. “Ready, aim, and fire more accurately without bullets” (Israel 21c, Jan. 15, 2006)
7. “India to launch Israeli spy sat” (C4ISR Journal, Nov. 14, 2005)
8. “Iran notches up anti-Israel campaign” (AP, Jan. 15, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

IRAN CONFIRMS PLAN FOR HOLOCAUST (DENIAL) CONFERENCE

On January 10, 2006, this email list revealed that Iran was planning to host a Holocaust denial conference. (Dispatch titled Iran planning to host international Holocaust (denial) conference). That news is now being reported by the rest of the media. On January 12, the Israeli media reported it. On January 15, the Associated Press reported it. Yesterday the BBC did.

The Iranian government confirmed on January 15 that such a conference is planned. They have declined to disclose where or when the conference will take place, but Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Sunday that it would be held under the aegis of the Iranian Foreign Ministry which “planned and supported” it, and its purpose would be to examine the “historic and scientific evidence of the issue to determine whether or not it really happened.”

Asefi added: “It is a strange world. It is possible to discuss everything except the Holocaust. The [Iranian] Foreign Ministry plans to hold a conference on the scientific aspect of the issue to discuss and review its repercussions.” (President Ahmadinejad has in fact already called the Nazis’ World War II slaughter of European Jews a “myth” and said the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.)

On Sunday, the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem (senior staff of whom are subscribers to this list) urged the international community to denounce Iran’s planned conference.

The head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, has said that Iran will have “full operational nuclear capability” within one to two years.

I would like to thank those journalists who continue to publicly commend this email list, including the op-ed editor of the Israeli paper Ma’ariv, and the former editor-in-chief of the (London) Daily Telegraph, both of whom praised these email dispatches in their published columns last weekend.

U.S. WARNS NORWAY

In the dispatch of January 2 it was reported that the Norwegian Provincial Government had voted to boycott Israeli products, in violation of the freedom of commerce provisions of the World Trade Organization. On January 15, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Norway would face “serious political consequences” after Norway’s finance minister Kristin Halvorsen admitted that some parts of the Norwegian government were starting to boycott Israeli goods. Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Jonas Gare Store says he is trying to repair the damage caused by the finance minister’s remarks.

THE “BULLITE”

In what is being hailed as a major technological advancement, the Israeli company Rovatec has developed a new much safer bullet for training purposes that for the first time provides a substitute for live-fire exercises. The “Bullite,” which is the same size as a standard ammunition cartridge, is a microprocessor “intelligent” electro-optic device. It emits a laser point-of-impact pulse that can be seen for at least 12 yards even in poor lighting conditions.

The “Bullite” was invented by a young Israeli soldier, Moshe Charles. Charles, who in the IDF worked on a marksmanship training manual, developed the idea after his discharge from the army. According to Rovatec, the “Bullite” allows a gun trainer to observe problems a shooter may have and correct them quickly.

I attach an article on this below, from Israel 21c. (That article is in turn based on an article in ‘Jane’s Terrorism and Security Monitor.’) Shimon Klein, CEO of Rovatec, says that the “Bullite” is set to go into mass production.

The first series “Bullite” laser training devices are currently in active use in North America and Europe. Among those trying them are the US Air Force shooting team, the US Secret Service, the FBI, and the US Coast Guard, as well as frontline serving troops in Iraq.

INDIA TO LAUNCH ISRAELI SPY SATELLITE

In October 2006, Israel will launch its spy satellite on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The spy satellite, the TechSAR, is Israel’s first synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite.

In a controversial move, Israel will break from a long-standing military space policy of strategic self-reliance, according to the C4ISR Journal (The Journal of Net-Centric warfare). The journal’s article (attached below) also claims that India and Israel are “eyeing a number of joint development programs, including a 200-kilometer artillery missile.”

Some military space experts claim that the reason the Indian PSLV is being used is because Israel’s own indigenous Shavit rocket has not proven reliable on various occasions in recent years. The latest Shavit failure, in September 2004, destroyed the Israeli Defense Ministry’s $100 million Ofeq-6 electro-optical imaging satellite.

An unnamed Israeli defense source told C4ISR Journal that “It’s a significant step forward for strategic cooperation, but let’s not get carried away… they’re not going to be able to open up our satellite and learn our secrets.”

If all agreements are finalized in the coming months, as expected, the TechSAR will be launched from the Indian Space Research Organization’s Satish Dhawan Space Center on the India’s southeastern coast. K.R. Sridharamurthy, executive director of Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization, said he was unable to comment due to the “confidential nature of the negotiations.”

India is by far Israel’s largest export customer for defense equipment, with purchases in 2004 exceeding $1 billion. Israeli technology acquired by India includes the Phalcon spy plane, a full range of unmanned aerial vehicles, the Barak ship-defense missile, and the Green Pine ground-based early warning radar.

SAUDI COURT ORDERS EYE GOUGING

India says it is trying to prevent a Saudi court from carrying out the punishment of eye gouging against an Indian citizen. After a Saudi man alleged he was blinded during a fight with the Indian, the court ruled that the latter should suffer a like punishment. New Delhi is appealing for clemency from Saudi Arabia’s ruling royal family.

I attach three articles below.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

READY, AIM, AND FIRE MORE ACCURATELY WITHOUT BULLETS

Ready, aim, and fire more accurately without bullets
By Joe Charlaff
Israel 21c
January 15, 2006

www.israel21c.org/bin/en.jsp?enScript=PrintVersion.jsp&enDispWho=Articles^l1199

Anyone who uses a gun – from a sharpshooter with elite armed forces or a weekend firing range hobbyist – knows that training with live ammunition is the best way to improve and maintain accuracy. However, they also know there are also considerable costs and risks involved.

Although it is universally acknowledged that there is no substitute for live-fire exercises, military units do not train with live ammunition as often as they should or would like to. In both the military and in civilian life, the high cost of bullets for training can be prohibitive. In addition, firing live bullets introduces a stress element into training that can lead to tragic accidents.

Now, thanks to a major technological advancement by Israeli company Rovatec, US service personnel and civilians alike are receiving the training they need with zero safety risk.

Rovatec’s “Bullite” laser training bullet is a microprocessor “intelligent” electro-optic device shaped like a standard ammunition cartridge. When activated by the firing pin, the device emits a laser point-of-impact pulse that can be visible for at least 12 yards during the daytime, in poor light, or indoors on a reflective target. It does not alter the physical attributes of any weapon or affect the owner’s ability to draw and rapidly fire.

In the approach to training shooters, whether competitive or combat, there are two traditional systems, “dry fire” and “live fire.” Dry fire is a process where a shooter deploys his weapon without live rounds in the chamber and works on the mechanics of shooting by squeezing the trigger, but he doesn’t get the experience of actually firing bullets.

The Bullite is the size and shape of a standard ammunition cartridge that fits into the chamber of any personal firearm, from pistols to assault rifles and simulates live-fire action. This solves one of the main problems encountered by the transition from dry fire to live fire – someone can load a live magazine, forget about it, and have accidental discharges with tragic results.

The device was invented by a young Israeli soldier named Moshe Charles. During his army service, Charles worked as part of a team writing the IDF’s marksmanship training manual. Recognizing the inherent problems in shooting practice, Charles began developing the idea of the Bullite, and continued working on it after his discharge from the army, even as he pursued a career as a chiropractor. In 2004, Rovatec was established based on Charles’ designs.

Former US Army career man Shimon Klein serves as CEO of the company and Charles, on a leave of absence from his chiropractor practice, fills the post of Chief Technological Officer. In addition, Rovatec boasts some of the most senior and respected combat weapon specialists in Israel.

“The Rovatec concept is to transform the way people train through convenience and a combination of technology and practicality that provides inexpensive, realistic marksmanship practice,” Klein told ISRAEL21c.

According to Klein, the first series Bullite laser training devices are currently in active use in North America and Europe by some 1000 civilian shooters. And since launching the device last year, the Bullite has been used by members of the US Air Force shooting team, US Secret Service, FBI, members of the Commandant of the US Coast Guard, elements of the US Navy, and frontline serving troops in Iraq.

He pointed out that an interesting phenomenon is developing whereby enquiries and orders are received from units and individual infantrymen who pay for the orders themselves.

“This is remarkable bearing in mind the average pay of a corporal or sergeant. This is one of the most interesting developments in the past few months, and seems to be gaining momentum,” Klein said.

In the US alone, there are well over 200 million privately owned firearms including more than 70 million handguns. Most civilian gun owners never practice or train with their weapons. According to Klein, if someone is in possession of a gun, and doesn’t practice, they are a danger to themselves and to those around them in crisis situations.

Klein explained that the Bullite allows trainers to observe the problems of the shooter and correct them more rapidly. While not a substitute for live fire, the device makes dry fire more efficient and represents a tremendous cost efficiency.

The Bullite also makes target practice safer. One of the important features of the Bullite is the safety pipe, which screws through the barrel into the Bullite which is seated in the chamber. With the highly visible orange safety nut in place and the safety pipe in the barrel, there is no risk of a live round seated in the chamber.

For security personnel such as customs agents and law enforcement officers it is impossible to use live ammunition in the course of their work simply to maintain their skills. In this situation they are able to use the Bullite to practice anywhere and sharpen their skills so that when they are faced with highly stressful situations they can be accurate and not present a danger to innocent bystanders.

The Bullite is also used by highly trained persons in Force On Force (FOF) scenarios which simulate or depict realistic scenarios using service firearms. Usually when teams simulating terrorists or troops begin their assault, the emphasis is so much on safety that the training suffers as a result. With the Bullite training, the troops are able to focus on their shooting because of the absence of danger.

Last year, Rovatec demonstrated the Bullite at the Shot Show in Las Vegas, the world’s largest trade show for hunting, military and law enforcement materials.

“We were swamped with journalist interviews and people wanting a chance to shoot with the Bullite and experience the concept first hand,” said Klein.

Last month Rovatec completed the second production series of the Bullite and are in the process of implementing a range of technology upgrades based on the results seen with various weapons. Production of the Bullite is now in progress for M-16s, 223s, 556s and 762s and the 308 Winchester, which will also feature safety pipes and safety nuts.

The plan for 2006, Klein said, is to go into mass production. “We have set a large production target and we are simultaneously developing relationships with retail distribution agencies such as large ammunition and hardware stores in North America. At present distribution is done in Europe by catalogue.”

Tremendous budget pressures in the military and police departments all over the world limit the efficiency of training marksman. When personnel go to the firing range they are given only two dozen rounds. Economically, at $180 per 10,000 shots, the Bullite can allow far more generosity on the training field, and can produce more expert marksmen to keep Americans safe, said Klein.

“Rovatec’s focus is to rapidly bring to market advanced marksmanship training products and services for the military, for law enforcement community, and for civilian shooters globally.”

 


INDIA TO LAUNCH ISRAELI SPY SATELLITE

India to Launch Israeli Spy Sat
Move Highlights Improving Relationship
By Barbara Opall-Rome, Tel Aviv and K.S. Jayaraman, New Delhi
C4ISR Journal (The Journal of Net-Centric warfare)
November 14, 2005

www.isrjournal.com/story.php?F=1305838

In a controversial break from a longstanding military space policy of strategic self-reliance, Israel has decided to launch its next spy satellite aboard India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rather than its own indigenous Shavit rocket.

Officials here say Israel’s Ministry of Defense and state-owned satellite producer Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) are wrapping up the political and contractual agreements with their Indian counterparts for the planned October 2006 launch of TechSAR, Israel’s first synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite.

On the government-to-government level, officials said, a pre-existing bilateral accord on strategic cooperation already covers most aspects of the mission.

A Ministry of Defense source estimated the PSLV launch cost at no more than $15 million, whereas the Shavit ranges from $15 million to $20 million. The estimated 260-kilogram TechSAR is slated as the exclusive payload aboard the PSLV, which will be launched from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Satish Dhawan Space Center on the nation’s southeastern coast.

If all agreements are finalized in the coming months, as expected, IAI will ship the satellite to the Indian launch site by summer.

Doron Suslik, IAI’s deputy corporate vice president for communications, declined all comment on TechSAR launch matters.

K.R. Sridharamurthy, executive director of Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation, said he was unable to comment due to the “confidential nature of the negotiations.”

Government and industry sources here conceded that Israel’s embrace of the PSLV was driven in large part by a loss of confidence in the Shavit, which has had reliability problems over the past decade. The latest Shavit failure, in September 2004, destroyed the Defense Ministry’s estimated $100 million Ofeq-6 electro-optical imaging satellite.

But several Israeli officials insisted that other factors beyond risk mitigation led to the PSLV choice, including the desire to strengthen strategic cooperation with India, the MoD’s largest export customer.

According to multiple sources, India has begun discussions with the Defense Ministry and IAI regarding a possible purchase of a clone of the TechSAR satellite to enhance New Delhi’s strategic intelligence and targeting capabilities.

Another factor was the Defense Ministry’s need to accommodate new orbital requirements for the TechSAR. An industry executive said Nov. 10 that Israel’s plans to offer TechSAR imagery to key export clients necessitated a higher-inclination orbit than the Shavit could achieve.

“It was decided fairly late in the program to make certain TechSAR footprints were available to high-value export customers,” the executive said. “And if they intended to attract customers in different parts of the world, they realized a higher inclination would help capture more imaging areas.”

The deal goes against the flow of the countries’ general trend in defense-related goods and services. India is by far Israel’s largest export customer for defense equipment, with 2004 purchases in excess of $1 billion. Israeli technology acquired by India includes the Phalcon spy plane, a full range of unmanned aerial vehicles, the Barak ship-defense missile, and the Green Pine ground-based early warning radar. The two countries have in the past decade elevated intelligence sharing and counterterror activities, and are now eyeing a number of joint development programs, including a 200-kilometer artillery missile.

Geography and politics dictate that the Shavit rocket launch westward over the Mediterranean, meaning its payloads can only reach orbits that cover low latitudes. To provide global coverage, satellites must operate in high-inclination orbits that take them over the poles, and that requires launching them on a northward or southward trajectory, which is not an option for Shavit.

In contrast, the Indian PSLV has no such restrictions. Other industry experts here, however, expressed doubt that a desire for a high orbital inclination drove the PSLV decision.

“The Shavit could have accommodated [the Defense Ministry’s] business plans, but the decision was made that we could not afford another failure,” an executive said.

And while supporters of the Shavit were disappointed by the move to the Indian launcher, they insisted that the Israeli government has not forsaken its policy of space launch self-reliance and will deliver its planned Ofeq-7 into orbit using an improved version of the homegrown launcher.

Rachel Naidek-Ashkenazi, a spokeswoman for the Defense Ministry, declined to discuss specific plans for the TechSAR launch. Nevertheless, she said Israel intends to launch future military spacecraft with the Shavit.

“Our policy is to preserve an independent launch capability. That has not changed,” she said Nov. 11.

Tal Inbar, a space expert and research fellow at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, said that even if TechSAR is launched on an Indian rocket, such a move would not signify a change in Israeli policy regarding military space launches.

“What’s most important is the ability to deliver the payload into space successfully,” he said. “So when considering that the reliability of the Israeli launcher is not so high, it is probably appropriate to launch from another vehicle.”

The PSLV is a four-stage rocket that combines solid and liquid propellants. Because of TechSar’s small size relative to most PSLV payloads, it will launch on a version of the rocket that is not equipped with strap-on boosters, sources here said.

Israeli government and industry sources insist that use of the Indian launcher will not involve the transfer to India of sensitive Israeli technology or know-how.

“It’s a significant step forward for strategic cooperation, but let’s not get carried away,” a defense official said. “They’re not going to be able to open up our satellite and learn our secrets.”

 


IRAN ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR A CONFERENCE TO EXAMINE EVIDENCE FOR THE HOLOCAUST

Iran Notches Up Anti-Israel Campaign
By Nasser Karimi
The Associated Press
January 15, 2006

Iran announced plans Sunday for a conference to examine evidence for the Holocaust, a new step in hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s campaign against Israel one that was likely to deepen Tehran’s international isolation.

Ahmadinejad already called the Nazis’ World War II slaughter of European Jews a “myth” and said the Jewish state should be wiped off the map or moved to Germany or the United States.

Those remarks prompted a global outpouring of condemnation, and it wasn’t clear who would be willing to attend an Iranian-sponsored Holocaust conference.

Late last year, however, the leader of Egypt’s main Islamic opposition group joined Ahmadinejad in characterizing the Holocaust as a “myth” and lambasted Western governments for criticizing those who dispute the Jewish genocide happened.

“Western democracies have slammed all those who don’t see eye to eye with the Zionists regarding the myth of the Holocaust,” Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Mahdi Akef wrote on the group’s Web site.

Tehran already had further raised international concern about its nuclear program last week when it resumed what it called “research” at its uranium enrichment facility.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. organization that monitors nuclear proliferation, said Iran was resuming small-scale nuclear enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for atomic bombs.

That, in turn, prompted Washington and its allies to renew their push to take Iran before the U.N. Security Council for the possible sanctions.

The United States, its European allies and Japan believe Tehran is trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the charge and says its nuclear program is only for electricity generation.

In calling for penalties against Iran’s “irresponsible” behavior, Republican Sen. Trent Lott pointed to Tehran’s plans for the Holocaust conference.

“At the minimum, we should go to the U.N. Security Council and we should impose economic sanctions unless there is some dramatic change in the Iranian position,” he said on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., a Holocaust survivor who was born in Budapest, Hungary, also has said he understood Iran was considering a conference that would call into question evidence that the Nazis conducted a mass murder of European Jews during World War II.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi did not disclose where or when the Holocaust conference would be held, nor would he say who would attend or what had prompted Tehran to sponsor it.

On Saturday, however, Ahmadinejad urged the West to be sufficiently open-minded to allow a free international debate on the Holocaust. Asefi adopted that theme.

“It is a strange world. It is possible to discuss everything except the Holocaust. The Foreign Ministry plans to hold a conference on the scientific aspect of the issue to discuss and review its repercussions,” Asefi told reporters.

Earlier this month, the Association of Muslim Journalists, a hard-line group, proposed holding a similar conference, but Asefi said he was not aware of the association’s wishes. He said the conference he announced was planned and supported by the ministry.

Israel and Iran had good relations until the 1979 Islamic revolution, lead by Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Israel had backed the shah, apparently prompting Khomeini to term it the “Little Satan.”

Ahmadinejad has adopted rhetoric reminiscent of Khomeini, seemingly trying to breath life back into the waning revolutionary spirit in the country, whose residents are not traditionally anti-Jewish.

Before the revolution about 100,000 Jews lived in Iran, but three-fourths fled during the upheaval.

Ahmadinejad, who took office in August, caused an international outcry in October by calling Israel a “disgraceful blot” that should be “wiped off the map.”

Leaders around the world also condemned him after he called the Nazi slaughter of Jews during World War II a “myth.” He later said that if the Holocaust did happen, then Israel should be moved to Germany or North America, rather than making Palestinians suffer by losing their land to atone for crimes committed by Europeans.

Since the Islamic revolution, Israel has considered Iran a primary and existential threat. As Tehran’s nuclear program has moved forward, the Israelis who have nuclear weapons but do not to admit possessing such an arsenal have refused to rule out using military force to destroy the Iranian program.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.