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Thursday, July 30, 2015

US Navy’s LCS 23 to be named as USS Cooperstown

USS Freedom (LCS-1)The US Navy's latest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship (LCS 23) will be named as USS Cooperstown, navy secretary Ray Mabus has announced.

The new vessel will be named in honour of the veterans who are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame located in Cooperstown, New York.

Currently, the US Navy is building two variants of the LCS, such as Freedom-class and Independence-class.

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Russia to Produce Cruise Missile Armed Ground Effect Vehicles After 2020

Orion 20 Wing In Ground Effect aircraftA GEV, or ekranoplan, is a vehicle that is capable of being elevated above ground or water, but should not be confused with a hovercraft or aircraft, though it floats like both above surfaces.

“The topic of ekranoplans is to be renewed with strike capabilities…and carry cruise missiles. Construction should begin after 2020 in the city of Nizhny Novgorod,” the Naval officer said.

According to the officer, the Defense Ministry has issued tactical and technical requirements and development work is underway.

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Russia Successfully Test-Fires Iskander-M Tactical Missile Systems

Iskander-M SRBMRussia’s Central Military District has successfully test-fired Iskander-M operational-tactical missile systems, an official in the Russian armed forces announced Wednesday.

The Kremlin has deployed several Iskander missiles to its territories over the past few months amid growing tensions with the West over the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Iskander-M, a version of the Iskander tactical missile system, can hit targets located deep inside the enemy lines. Officially adopted by the Russian Army in 2006, the Iskander-M missile system has a firing range of up to 310 miles, and is equipped with two guided missiles.

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New generation gunship arrives at Hurlburt

The first Air Force Special Operations Command AC-130J gunship made a historical entrance aboard Hurlburt Field on Wednesday — complete with a flyover and taxi underneath a fire truck water arch.

The gunship, a heavily-armed, ground-attack aircraft, is one of the Air Force’s most advanced weapons. It’s known for its ability to shoot a large amount of cannon fire at night, as it’s equipped with smart bombs.

“Air Force gunships have a 50-year history of calling Northwest Florida home starting with the AC-47 Spooky gunship from Vietnam,” said Lt. Col. Brett DeAngelis, commander of the First Special Operations Group Detachment 2.

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Cockpit checklist blamed for Nato training air disaster in Spain which killed 11

Two Greek pilots and nine French personnel were killed after the crash in JanuaryA carelessly positioned pilot’s checklist in the cabin of a fighter jet has been identified as the probable cause of the crash of a Greek F-16 in January during a Nato training exercise in southern Spain.

The two Greek pilots and nine French personnel on the ground were killed as the plane veered sharply right and slammed into a parking area for planes shortly after taking off in Albacete on January 26.

According to the investigation report, made public by the French defence ministry, the crash was due to incorrect settings of both the roll and yaw trims. Yaw trim, which controls the left-to-right movement of an aircraft was set to full right deflection, making it impossible for the pilot to compensate manually in such a short space of time.

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Turkey Seeks To Prevent Kurdish Autonomy, Not Fight IS, Analysts Suggest

TAF F-16 Fighting FalconPlans by Turkey and the United States to create an "Islamic State-free zone" in northern Syria along the Turkish border will serve Ankara's aims of stopping Kurdish militias from advancing in the area, analysts and Kurdish political leaders say.

The plan follows significant gains by the Kurdish People's Protection Units militia (YPG) against the IS militant group in northern Syria.

Last month, the YPG seized Tal Abyad, a key IS-held town, with the assistance of U.S. air strikes and Syrian Arab fighters. In doing so, the YPG cut off a major IS supply route but prompted thousands of Syrians to flee across the border to Turkey. On July 27, the YPG captured another town from IS, Sarrin near the Euphrates River, which IS fighters were using to launch attacks on Kobani close to the Turkish border.

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New interrogation system installed on AWACS, more in pipeline

E-3A Sentry AWACSOut with the old, in with the new, at least that's the case for the existing interrogation system found on E-3 Sentry AWACS.

The AWACS Next Generation Identification Friend or Foe (NGIFF) program office from Hanscom Air Force Base recently completed the first installation of the new AN/UPX-40 system, which also brings new enhancements onto an operational AWACS at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.

"This operational installation marks a huge milestone for the AWACS program," said Nick Grudziecki, the NGIFF deputy program manager. "And it's only the first of many."

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Airbus and Lockheed team for German Orion mid-life upgrade

German P-3C OrionAirbus Defence & Space is teaming with Lockheed Martin to provide a mid-life upgrade for the German navy’s eight-strong fleet of P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

The eight-year Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) contract will include re-winging the aircraft. This will be performed using mid-life upgrade kits that consist of an outer wing, centre fuselage and horizontal stabiliser.

The kits will be provided by Lockheed’s overseas services corporation division in Marietta, Georgia, with integration to be carried out by Airbus in Manching, Germany.

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The RAAF takes delivery of the most advanced warfare jet ever made, the Boeing Growler

Australia's regional air power dominance is assured with the delivery of the first of 12 RAAF EA-18G “Growler” electronic warfare jets.

The first of the Boeing-built aircraft was unveiled during a lavish ceremony at the company’s St Louis production plant.

As a brass band belted out patriotic tunes hundreds of guests including recently retired RAAF chief Air Marshal Geoff Brown, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Boeing staff and a large contingent of RAAF officers including Air Combat commander Air Commodore Steve Roberton admired the most expensive Australian fighter jet to ever carry the kangaroo markings.

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US Navy Builds Largest-Ever Amphibious Assault Ship for F-35 Fighters

USS America (LHA 6)Over at, Kris Osborne reports that the assembly of the second America-class amphibious assault ship, USS Tripoli, is going according to plan, with a third of initial construction already complete.

The ship “is approximately 30% complete. Fabrication has started on 211 units, 97% of all units, and 84 grand blocks are erected — 47% of the total,” according to a U.S. Navy spokesperson who provided Osborne with a written statement.

Scheduled for launch in in July 2017 and with a tentative induction date set for December 18, the ship is specifically designed to accommodate Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, along a host of other aircraft such as MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, CH-53 Super Stallions, and UH-1Y Huey helicopters.

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Huge Royal Navy aircraft carrier hull moved

The largest section of the HMS Prince of Wales, the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier, has been moved out of its dock hall, at BAE Systems yard on the River Clyde, for the first time.

Lower block 04, the hull of the ship, weighs over 11,000 tonnes and is larger than a complete Type 45 destroyer.

A single operator controlled nearly 2,000 wheels, moving at 1mph and taking over an hour to complete the move.

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Japan to Equip Two Warships With Laser Weapons

Atago class DDGThe Japanese Defense Ministry has allocated money in the defense budget for two new 27DD project destroyers. The warships will be equipped with a modified AEGIS complex weapon system.

The ships are planned to be equipped with not only an electromagnetic artillery installation (‘Railgun’), but also with a laser weapon complex designed to protect the ship.

The laser weapons are currently being developed by the Technical Research and Design Institute of the Japanese Defense Ministry.

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Two of China's warships converted to coast guard vessels

Type 053H2G-class frigate painted whiteChina is converting two of its four obsolete Type 053H2G-class frigates into coast guard vessels to carry out maritime patrol operations in the disputed East China and South China seas, writes British naval expert Andrew Tate in a piece for the UK-based IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.

Photos posted on the internet indicate that the modification of the two vessels is taking place at a shipyard in Pudong, Shanghai.

One of the vessels has had most of its armaments removed, including its YJ-83 anti-ship missile launcher, HQ-61 surface-to-air missile launcher, the twin 100mm gun turret and two aft twin 37mm gun mountings.

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Nearly complete Hainan naval base can dock two carriers

Hainan naval base
Hainan naval base
The basic construction of China's second People's Liberation Army Navy aircraft carrier base on Hainan was completed in November 2014, according to an article in the August issue of Kanwa Defense Review, cited by the Chinese-language website of China's Global Times.

The base incorporates a pier which can dock large ships on both sides, suggesting that both carriers can dock at the PLA Navy's carrier bases at the same time, according to the magazine.

The magazine stated that the new base is 700 meters long, giving it the longest carrier berths in the world. The US Navy carrier base in Yokosuka in Japan's Kanagawa prefecture is only 400 m long, however, Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, which is just 430 m in length, can also take carriers in two directions.

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Refurbished submarine rescue system passes tests

Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM-1) Falcon (Navy photo: Daniel Moreno)Crew members from Undersea Rescue Command (URC) and contractors from Phoenix Holdings International (Phoenix) completed an operational readiness evaluation (ORE) July 19, re-certifying the Navy’s deep sea submarine rescue capability.

The submarine rescue system had undergone an extensive refurbishment period.

The ORE, a component of crew certification, was the final step in a multistage process that enabled the URC-Phoenix team to become rescue-ready for worldwide submarine rescue.

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Sweden Spots a Russian Submarine, 99 Years Late

Russian Catfish submarineThe mystery vessel was found off the Swedish coast last week lying on the sea floor, its hatches closed. Cyrillic letters on the hull suggested it was Russian.

In Sweden, where memories of the Cold War run deep, speculation swirled about whether the unidentified craft was a Russian submarine that had sunk while on a secret mission. Its age was not immediately obvious, and the Swedish authorities were unsure how long it had lain there, submerged and undetected.

This week, the Swedish authorities said they had solved the mystery: The vessel was an imperial submarine — nicknamed a Catfish — that had probably sunk after colliding with a Swedish vessel in 1916, during World War I.

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Brazilian police probe nuclear submarine program -Folha

Maquette of the Brazilian SSNBrazilian federal police are investigating potential irregularities in a military program that aims to build a nuclear-powered submarine in partnership with France by 2023, newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported on Wednesday.

Folha said police searched for documents that could prove their suspicions of fraud in the program. The search was part of a wider probe that led to the arrests on Tuesday of two executives involved in building a nuclear power plant for state-run utility Eletrobras.

Federal police did not respond to a request for comment and the newspaper did not say how it had obtained the information.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Moroccans to receive refurbished aircraft

CH-47D ChinookThree refurbished CH-47D Chinook helicopters are on their way to the Royal Moroccan Air Force as part of a foreign military sales case facilitated by the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command.

The helicopters, which will arrive in August, were requested for humanitarian services but can be used as transport vehicles, if needed. The fleet delivery will provide modernized vehicles to replace existing equipment which has become outdated.

In addition to the aircraft, the FMS case included training, tools, publications and spare parts, for a total case value of $78.9 million.

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Algeria’s Hardened S-300 Site Almost Complete

S-300 site at Mers El KebirWhile rumors of Algeria receiving a S-400 battery from Russia continue to permeate the blogosphere, construction of the S-300 site over at Mers El Kébir is well underway.

Situated in Oran Province near the coast, Mers El Kébir is an important deployment location. It’s home to the Air Force’s frontline MIG-29 multi-role fighters, the Navy’s Kilo diesel electric submarines and OMCN/CNE shipbuilding, among others.

Once completed, it’ll be the country’s third S-300 site supporting the only known S-300 unit located on the northwest coast. The two other sites thought to host the system sit near Algiers, the nation’s capital and most densely populated city.

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Russia To Deploy S-400 Missile Defense System To Far East Region Of Kamchatka

Russia has deployed its advanced S-400 missile defense system to the region of Kamchatka in the Far East of Russia, said Pacific Fleet spokesman Roman Martov to pro-Russian news agency Tass on Tuesday.

While the sparsely populated area is far from the increasingly hostile warzone of east Ukraine, it does host Russia’s Pacific Fleet of warships and is not far from the U.S. state of Alaska.

"This event was preceded by the crews’ exercises at the Gatchina training aviation and air defense center to assimilate the new weaponry,” said Martov.

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Lockheed F-35’s Reliability Found Wanting in Shipboard Testing

F-35B Lightning IIThe Marine Corps’ version of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 fighter demonstrated poor reliability in a 12-day exercise at sea, according to the U.S. military’s top testing officer.

Six F-35Bs, the most complex version of the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, were available for flights only half of the time needed, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational testing, said in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. A Marine Corps spokesman said the readiness rate was more than 65 percent.

While the exercise on the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp resulted in useful training for Marines and Navy personnel, Gilmore wrote in the assessment dated July 22, it also documented that “shipboard reliability” and maintenance “were likely to present significant near-term challenges.”

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Argentina chooses Israel over China for fighter jet purchase

IAI Kfir C-7Argentina has decided not to purchase the FC-1 Xiaolong, a multirole fighter jointly developed by China and Pakistan also known as the JF-17 Thunder, reports the Shanghai-based Guancha Syndicate.

Argentina has gone opted for Israel Aircraft Industries' Kfir Block 60 as its next-generation multirole fighter.

Though the Xiaolong's lower price had been attractive, China refused to provide anti-ship missiles under diplomatic pressure from the UK, according to the Moscow-based Military Parade.

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F-35 Lightning II - last of the manned fighters?

F-35C Lightning IIWith the US Marine Corps set to declare initial operating capability for its Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) before the end of July, many are again asking if there will ever be another manned fighter, or if the JSF truly is the last of its kind.

The history of military aviation is littered with false predictions pertaining to the demise of the traditional notion of the fighter aircraft. In the United States the Vought F-8 Crusader developed in the mid-1950s was nicknamed 'the last gunslinger' in the mistaken belief that all fighters to follow would carry missiles only.

The United Kingdom went one step further in 1957 when its Defence White Paper boldly stated that manned fighters would be replaced completely in the coming years by surface-to-air missiles; an erroneous projection that ultimately proved disastrous for the UK's defence aerospace sector.

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European Commission approves Malta's national programme for internal security fund

The Parliamentary Secretariat for the EU Presidency 2017 and EU Funds is in a position to announce that the European Commission has approved Malta’s Internal Security Fund (ISF) for the 2014-2020 financial period. Following the necessary negotiations, this document has been now finalised and adopted by the European Commission allowing Malta to invest around €75 million (EU funds only).

The Internal Security Fund (ISF) 2014-2020 will further provide for the installation of Phase II of the Integrated Communications System (ICS), the construction of a new Joint Operations Centre (OPSCEN), the improvement of the reaction capability of OPV P61 and the third fixed-wing maritime patrol aircraft, as well as two new hangars and ancillary facilities at Air Wing.

Moreover this particular fund will oversee the procurement of a Helicopter Capable Patrol Vessel and the procurement of a third Twin-engine Helicopter.

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Rolls–Royce completes delivery of power and propulsion systems package for future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) Multi Mission Destroyer

DDG 1000 (Zumwalt) class DDGRolls-Royce is proud to announce delivery of the twin fixed pitch propellers to Bath Iron Works for installation on the US Navy’s most modern surface combatant, the future USS Zumwalt, the first ship of the DDG 1000 multi-mission destroyer class.

The provision of the twin fixed pitch propellers marks the completion of the power and propulsion system delivery from Rolls-Royce, following the MT30 main turbine generator sets and the RR4500 auxiliary turbine generator sets, which have already been installed and tested.

The five-bladed nickel aluminium bronze propellers measure over 18 feet in diameter and weigh nearly 60,000 pounds apiece.

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