Archive for December, 2010

Serdyukov dismisses threat from China’s growing nuclear arsenal

December 26th, 2010 Comments off

China’s and North Korea’s nuclear potentials cannot reach levels comparable to Russia’s or the U.S.’ in the foreseeable future, said Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

“As for the nuclear potential, the Russian and American ones are simply incomparable with the potential possessed by the countries that you have mentioned. And it is impossible [for them] to reach some parity with Russia and America within the next decade,” Serdyukov said in reply to a question by a State Duma deputy asking how Russia would oppose the countries beefing up their nuclear forces, including China and North Korea.

“The potential of our nuclear forces is quite high,” he said.

Source: Interfax-AVN

Categories: Strategic Rocket Forces Tags:

Bribery scandal rocks Border Guards

December 26th, 2010 Comments off

Four Japanese companies fishing walleye pollack in Russia’s exclusive economic zone paid a total of \500 million in cash to Russian border guards for three years through last year to buy their tacit permission for catches exceeding quotas, it has been learned.

Taxation authorities have imposed back taxes on the four companies for trying to conceal part of their incomes by disguising the backdoor payments as legitimate expenses, sources said.

The four companies said they had to pay the illicit money to Russian officials to be allowed to catch more than they are allowed because the fishing quotas decided through bilateral Japan-Russia fishery negotiations have decreased in recent years. This year’s Japan catch quota of walleye pollack from Russian waters is 10,952 tons.

Observers warned that revelation of apparent bribes paid to Russian officials might negatively impact Japan-Russia relations.

According to the sources, the Sapporo and Sendai regional taxation bureaus accused Wakkanai Kaiyo in Wakkanai, Hokkaido; Kanai Gyogyo in Kushiro, Hokkaido; Kaiyo Gyogyo in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture; and Sato Gyogyo in Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture; of trying to conceal a portion of their incomes.

Penalty taxes, including heavy additional taxes, imposed on the companies totaled \150 million, though no heavy additional tax was imposed on Sato Gyogyo because it was in the red.

The four companies were quoted as telling the taxation authorities that they paid the cash to Russian border guards aboard their ships to have them overlook catches exceeding the official quotas. However, the taxation authorities considered the acts to be attempts by the companies to conceal part of their incomes because the firms disguised the use of the money during tax procedures by drawing up fictitious contract documents, the sources said.

The four companies operated deep-sea trawlers in the Bering Sea and other waters in the region to fish walleye pollack. One also operated other types of fishing boats in seas around the Russian-occupied northern territories. Russian border guards, dubbed “observers,” would board such Japanese ships to check adherence to fishing quotas.

Experts noted that bilateral fishery negotiations in recent years have resulted in reduced catch quotas in the seas concerned, because Tokyo has been extremely cautious not to negatively affect the northern territories issue.

Moreover, bribing foreign government officials might constitute a violation of the nation’s Unfair Competition Prevention Law, even if the money is paid abroad.

The president of Wakkanai Kaiyo told The Yomiuri Shimbun that the taxation authorities refused to accept his explanation of the issue, while Kanai Gyogyo’s president said he did not know anything. The head of Kaiyo Gyogyo declined comment to the Yomiuri and referred all questions on the issue to the taxation authorities, while Sato Gyogyo’s president said the taxation authorities told him about three years ago to pay the back taxes.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Russia’s Federal Security Service, which supervises the border patrol, told the Yomiuri that they understood the seriousness of the scandal. “We’ll have to contact prosecutors to launch [appropriate] investigations,” he added.

Source: here

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Chemical weapons disarmement date pushed back to 2015

December 17th, 2010 Comments off

The deadline for completing Russia’s chemical weapons disposal program has been moved from 2012 to 2015 in compliance with a governmental resolution.

The program’s first stage envisioned the destruction of 1% of Russia’s chemical arms stockpiles before April 29, 2003, and the second stage involved the disposal of 20% of Russia’s chemical weapons before April 29, 2007, according to the document.

Forty-five percent of Russia’s chemical weapons stockpiles were disposed of as part of the program’s third stage before December 31, 2009, and the remaining chemical arms will be disposed of before December 31, 2015.

Source: Interfax-AVN

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Launch of weather sat postponed

December 17th, 2010 Comments off

Preparations for the launch of Russia’s Zenit-3M rocket equipped with the Fregat-SB upper stage and carrying the Electro-L weather satellite have been suspended, a source in the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan told Interfax.

Specialists in charge of the launch are now putting the rocket, the upper stage and the satellite in storage.

The source, however, denied the presence of any technical problems, adding that the launch was postponed on orders given by the administration of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

Officials of the Russian space rocket sector have so far been unavailable for comment.

The satellite is now expected to be put into orbit in the second half of January.

But if the launch does not take place in January, it will have to be postponed by at least six months in order to make all of the necessary calculations anew and to replace part of the satellite’s equipment and several blocks that are nearing their expiry date.

The Zenit-3M rocket fitted with the Fregat-SB upper stage and carrying the Electro-L Russian weather satellite was supposed to blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 3:27 p.m., Moscow time, on December 25.

The Electro-L launch is meant to help Russia start to restore its geostationary-orbit group of weather satellites.

Today Russia operates only the Meteor-M weather satellite.

The functioning of the Electro-L will help improve weather forecasts by providing more data about cloud cover levels, winds and the movement of ice.

Source: Interfax-AVN

More problems at Roscosmos….

Categories: Space Tags:

GLONASS-K launch likely to be postponed

December 17th, 2010 Comments off

The December 28 launch of Russia’s Glonass-K new-generation navigation satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region could be postponed, a spokesman for the Russian space rocket sector told Interfax-AVN on Friday.

“The possibility of postponing the launch until the start of next year is being considered because of the need to run more checks of all of the technical systems. A final decision on the launch date will be made within the next few days,” the spokesman said.

The director of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Anatoly Perminov, said earlier that the first Glonass-K new-generation navigation satellite would blast off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on December 28.

“The Glonass-K modernized satellite will be launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome with the help of the Soyuz launch vehicle equipped with the Fregat upper stage. Everything is going according to plan,” Perminov said.

The decision to add the new satellite to the GLONASS system ahead of schedule was adopted following the crash of the Proton rocket carrying three Glonass satellites into the Pacific Ocean on December 5, he said.

The Glonass-K has a number of advantages over its predecessors – the Glonass and Glonass-M satellites. The Glonass-K is hermetically unsealed, boasts improved technical characteristics and has a ten-year service life.

Source: Interfax-AVN

Categories: Space Tags:

One more corruption case

December 17th, 2010 Comments off

A criminal case based on abuse of power charges has been opened against Russian Pacific Fleet Deputy Commander Rear Admiral Farit Zinnatullin, the Main Military Prosecutor’s Office said on its website on Friday.

Source: Interfax-AVN

Anyone have any details?

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Glonass-M satellites were lost due to error in technical documentation

December 17th, 2010 Comments off

The failed launch of three Glonass-M satellites occurred due to an incorrect formula in the technical documentation for refueling the DM-03 upper stage, said Gennady Raikunov, head of the inter-agency commission which investigated the accident, on Friday.

“The preliminary conclusion has been signed, the main reason is the incorrectly written formula in the documentation for filling the upper stage with oxygen,” he said.

As a result the error the DM-03 was 1,500 tonnes more than necessary, Raikunov said. “This increased the payload weight, and the Proton-M carrier rocket did not have enough energy to deliver the satellites into orbit,” he said.

The company which prepared the documentation for refueling the upper stage is to blame for the failure, said the commission head. “The design and operational document were incorrect. This is the fault of Rocket Space Corporation Energia,” he said.

The authors of the documentation did not account for the fact that the new upper stage has bigger tanks and obviously forgot to re-calculate the refueling formula, he said.

Source: Interfax-AVN

Categories: Space Tags:

Second RS-24 battalion comes online

December 17th, 2010 Comments off

The second battalion armed with the RS-24 Yars ICBM has been deployed as part of the Teikovo division in the Strategic Rocket Force, commander of the force Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev told the press on Friday.

The RS-24 ICBM has been designed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology employing R&D solutions earlier used in the Topol-M missile system which significantly reduced the time and expenses involved in its development.

The system is capable of carrying up to four nuclear warheads and it is deemed as a replacement for the MIRV missiles of previous generations – RS-19 (Stiletto) and RS-20 (Satan).

Three test launches of the RS-24 have been conducted since 2007 – in May and December 2007 and in November 2008. All of them were successful.

The first regiment with the ground mobile missile system entered test and combat duty at the beginning of 2010.

“Together with the single-warhead RS-12M2 Topol-M, both silo-based and mobile, these missiles will constitute the core of the strike grouping of the rocket force in the foreseeable future, until 2020,” Karakayev said earlier.

Source: Interfax-AVN

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Delta IV class SSBN “Novomoskovsk” returns to the fleet after overhaul and upgrade

December 13th, 2010 Comments off

The Novomoskovsk is the last SSBN built during the Soviet period. This overhaul extends the ships useful life another 10 years. The last of the Delta IV’s to go in for midlife overhaul, the Novomoskovsk will now carry Sineva missiles.

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State defense order to exceed 1.5 trillion rubles in 2011

December 11th, 2010 Comments off

Russia’s state defense order will exceed 1.5 trillion rubles in 2011, which is about one third more than in 2010, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said at a military-industrial commission meeting on Wednesday.

“Taking into account loans taken out by defense industry enterprises under government guarantees, the order for 2011 is over 1.5 trillion rubles. This is one third more than the state defense order for this year. The volume of the state defense order will continue to grow and will reach nearly 2 trillion rubles in 2013, that is, it will grow by another 500 billion rubles in two years,” Ivanov said.

Source: Interfax-AVN

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