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Monday, October 20, 2014

Taiwan takes final delivery of Apache helicopters

Taiwan has taken the delivery of six more AH-64E Apache attack helicopters from the United States, the fifth and final batch of a NT$59.31 billion (US$1.95 billion) order for 30 of the newest Apache model.

They flew to an Army Aviation Special Forces base in Tainan Sunday evening after being unloaded and assembled in the southern port city a day earlier, the Army said.

The final shipment came nearly six months after one of the delivered Apaches crashed into the top of a three-story residential building in Taoyuan County's Longtan Township April 25, damaging four homes but causing no serious injuries.

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Did China Just Render America's $1 Trillion Stealth Fighter Program Obsolete?

F-35 Lightning IIOver-budget, behind schedule, and -- reportedly -- not a particularly good fighter jet, Lockheed Martin's ultramodern Joint Strike Fighter may be destined for the scrap heap.

In a 2013 RAND Corporation report, one of the nation's foremost military analysts, blasted the F-35 for being a fighter that "can't turn, can't climb, can't run." Proponents of the F-35 reply that because it's stealthy, it shouldn't have to do any of those things -- lobbing missiles at its foes from over the horizon, and long before they can even see it.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the F-35 may not do the "invisibility" thing very well, either.

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Cold War spy plane isn’t ready to retire

U-2 Dragon LadyThe iconic U-2 spy plane, with its long, sagging wings and a reputation for being challenging to fly and harder to land, is one of the oldest aircraft in the U.S. fleet, with a storied history to match: The downing of Francis Gary Powers is a touchstone moment in the Cold War, and many a UFO rumor can be attributed to the plane's early flight tests at the government's secret Area 51 in the Nevada desert.

One year before the 60th anniversary of its first flight in 1955, the U-2 is on the chopping block, where it has been many times before.

President Barack Obama's fiscal 2015 budget called for its retirement to begin in 2016, and while one of the fiscal 2015 defense spending and authorization bills would block the move, others do not explicitly do so.

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Royal Canadian Air Force squadron returns to RAF Leeming to take part in exercise for first time since it was based there in WWII

CP140 AuroraA Royal Canadian Air Force squadron has returned to RAF Leeming more than 70 years after using it as a base during World War Two.

A crew from 405 Squadron (RCAF) flew in to the base to take part in Exercise Joint Warrior – a multinational operation involving the Navy, Air Force and Army from the UK and visiting units from Allied nations.

Ships, submarines, aircraft and ground troops simulated battles at sea, in the air and on land in an area which stretches from the Irish Sea, north to Cape Wrath and east to the Moray Firth.

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New Izumo-class carriers to greatly boost Japan's force projection

JS IzumoJapan's new Izumo-class aircraft carriers will make the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force one of the most lethal offensive forces in the world, reports the Beijing-based China Youth Daily.

The JDS Izumo helicopter carrier has been undergoing intensive sea trials since late September as Japan prepares to launch two Izumo-class destroyers over the next two years, the report said.

Once commissioned, these Izumo-class vessels will greatly enhance Japan's anti-submarine, anti-ship, air combat and amphibious assault capabilities, giving the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force two light aircraft carrier battle groups and two helicopter carrier battle groups.

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NATO seeks more U.S. ships

Road to Trident Juncture 2015NATO’s sea boss wants to see more of the U.S. Navy in Europe.

Royal Navy Vice Adm. Peter Hudson, who leads NATO Allied Maritime Command, said Oct. 7 that he was trying to lay the groundwork for more large-scale exercises to build cooperation between NATO powers, which would mean more time in 6th Fleet for sailors looking forward to sunny Mediterranean ports.

Hudson said tensions with Russia have prompted the renewed push, and that he’d like to “re-energize complex, joint, integrated training, so whether that’s frigates and destroyers in my warfare units or with carrier strike groups or amphibious ready groups, we’re well versed in it.”

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Iran mass-produces “Hafez” radar system

Iran launched production lines for three radar systems including “Hafez” in the southern city of Shiraz, the country’s official IRNA news agency reported Oct. 19.

The production lines were inaugurated at a ceremony attended by Iran’s Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami and Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, commander of Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base.

The advanced phased array, 3-dimensional Hafez radar is being used in “Mersad” air defense system, Hatami said, adding the medium range radar system is able to discover various air targets including fighters, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles in low and medium altitude.

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MoD rules out nuclear submarine waste dump site at Devonport

Decomissioned Resolution class SSBNAn MoD decision to rule out storing radioactive waste from old nuclear submarines in Devonport will “clean up” the image of the region, says a campaigner.

Devonport in Plymouth had been on the long list of sites to keep intermediate level nuclear waste until a long-term storage solution comes into operation after 2040.

The MoD has now named a shortlist of five sites – all outside the Westcountry.

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CMN Unveils the Innovative OCEAN EAGLE 43 Mine Hunter for Euronaval 2014

OCEAN EAGLE 43Following the innovative ship concepts unveiled in the past few years (such as the Ocean Eagle 43, the Combattante SWAO 53 and FS56) CMN, the Cherbourg based shipyard, unveils for Euronaval 2014 yet another innovation: The OCEAN EAGLE 43 MH.

Building on the experience gained during the development of the OCEAN EAGLE 43, whose first units will be put in the water at the end of 2014, CMN has declined its iconic trimaran design in mine warfare version with strong multirole capabilities.

The OCEAN EAGLE 43 MH is a high-performance compact mine warfare trimaran vessel. It is multirole platform as it may conduct:

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Austal lays final Cape Class keel

Cape Class Patrol Boat - Cape JervisAustal Limited has recently celebrated another milestone with the keel laying for the eighth and final Cape Class Patrol Boat at Austal’s Defence Facility in Henderson, Western Australia.

The vessel, Cape York, named after the northernmost point on the Australian continent, is the last of eight vessels being designed, constructed and sustained by Austal for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service under a contract valued at approximately $330 million awarded in August 2011.

The first three Cape Class Patrol Boats, Cape St George, Cape Byron and Cape Nelson have already been successfully delivered to enter border protection operations.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Russia Delays Belarus Air Base, Changes Location Again

Babruisk Air Base
Russia has chosen a new location for its air base in Belarus and pushed back the date of its establishment by a year.

Russia has been talking about establishing an air base in Belarus since last year, which would be its first post-Soviet military facility in the country, but the details keep changing. In June 2013, Russia said it would set up the base near Lida "within months."

In August 2014, Russia's air force chief Lieutenant General Viktor Bondarev said that the base would be located instead in Baranovichi (and denied that Lida had ever been the plan), and would open in 2015.

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Vladimir Putin Has A ‘Masturbatory Fantasy’ Over Russia’s Nuclear Weapons, Even Australia Is In The Crossfire?

Vladimir PutinVladimir Putin would seemingly have no reason to take issue with Australia, but reports are claiming Russia’s nuclear weapons may be aimed at joint U.S. and Australian bases, and experts are claiming Putin is having a “masturbatory fantasy” over the whole issue.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, Vladimir Putin has repeatedly referenced Russia’s nuclear weapons capabilities in recent months, even going so far as to talk about modernizing their nuclear missiles, even as the Obama administration has been attempting to reduce the number of U.S. nuclear weapons.

In fact, in 2014, it’s believed that the number of Russian nuclear weapons surpassed the United States for the first time, and experts claim both Obama and Putin believe they could win Cold War 2.

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Rafale Fighters India is Buying Can't Match Chinese Fighters: Russian Envoy

Dassault RafaleThe French Rafale Fighter aircraft that India is planning to buy, in what is being billed as the largest defence purchase by the country - "will be swatted like mosquitos in an August night," says Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin.

Mr Kadadin also claimed that Sukhoi-27 - aircraft manufactured in Russia that are supplied to China's People's Liberation Army (Air Force )- are far more capable and advanced than the Rafale fighters.

Incidentally, Russian-made MiG- 35, as well as US-made F-16s & F- 18, Swedish-made SAAB Gripin and French-made Rafale were the key competitors for the defence contract.

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Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

Dragon flight deck modernizationThe Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing here and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany.

The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise known as the Dragon program assists in finding parts for the aging AWACS fleet.

"The Dragon modification is the most significant avionics upgrade in E-3 history and will ensure we remain ready and able to support combatant commander requirements worldwide,” said Col. Jay Bickley, the 552nd ACW commander.

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The Royal Navy with more admirals than surface warships?

Type-45 class DDGSome 5,000 sailors and marines have been axed in defense cuts, leaving the UK with just 30,000 fighting mariners – and a smaller Navy than in Lord Nelson's time.

“Documents seen by the Mirror prove there are 14 more admirals than there are modern warships as defined by Parliament’s Defense Select Committee”.

The dramatic reduction in destroyers and frigates from 33 in the past decade reflects a huge decline in capability. The Royal Navy was, until the Second World War, the largest on the planet.

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Norwegian Budget Hike Gets Mixed Reviews

HNoMS Fridtjof NansenThe 3.5 percent net increase in Norway’s 2015 defense budget has disappointed some leading military organizations and been called inadequate against a backdrop of increased regional tensions caused by Russian aggression in Ukraine.

The increase, which will raise spending by $223 million to $6.8 billion in 2015, outstrips defense spending levels by neighboring Nordic countries and more than doubles the 1.5 percent average boost across the European Union.

The Defense Ministry also has requested establishment of a council to recommend what further defense reforms might be needed.

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Russia Making Major Push Into Mideast Market

Mig-29M2 FulcrumFollowing a decade of “near-absence” in the Middle East, Russia is once again asserting itself as it looks to sell arms to former Soviet-era clients while breaking into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market.

“Moscow’s policies again have become markedly more active,” said Dimitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “During his presidency, Vladimir Putin made trips to the region and paid a visit to Tehran, the first one since Stalin’s wartime allied conference journey.

“However, Russia’s policies are not yet embedded within some overall strategy and are largely driven by a set of pragmatic considerations.

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Missile boat crisis ends as Germany gives Israel $382 million discount

Saar 5 class corvetteA crisis between Israel and Germany over missile boats required to protect Israel's offshore gas fields has ended after Berlin agreed to slash €300 million (about $382 million) off the cost, officials on both sides said.

They are expected to initial an agreement for the boats within weeks.

The talks between Israel and Germany to purchase three fast missile boats to protect the gas rigs off Israel’s shore began a year ago. Haaretz reported that the deal was worth about €900 million.

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Russian Submarine The Amur 1650 To Be Given To China, India’s Nuclear Energy Welcomed By Russia

Amur 1650 (Lada) class SSKA new Russian submarine design called the Amur 1650 is going to be sold to China, with Vladimir Putin hoping that Russia’s economic recession may be averted partially by making deals with the Chinese.

Russia also publicly welcomed the expansion of India’s nuclear energy.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, the Russian military successfully tested a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launched from the Russian nuclear submarine the Vladimir Monomakh.

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Taiwan tests submarine-launched missiles: report

Hai Lung (Zwaardvis) class SSKTaiwan's navy successfully test-fired two anti-ship missiles from a submarine, in the first such exercise since the weapons were acquired from the United States, local media reported today.

The Harpoon missiles were launched from Hai Hu (Sea Tiger), a Dutch-built conventional submarine, during a drill last week, the Liberty Times and the United Daily News said, citing unnamed naval sources.

Taiwanese navy started taking delivery of the missiles last year to arm two submarines.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Robinson takes command of PACAF

Gen. Lori J. Robinson, commander of Pacific Air ForcesGen. Lori Robinson took command of Pacific Air Forces from Gen. Hawk Carlisle Oct. 16 during a change of command ceremony here.

Presiding over the ceremony, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III praised Carlisle’s past accomplishments and expressed confidence in Robinson as the new commander of PACAF.

“Gen. Lori Robinson is a phenomenal leader and a proven operator,” Welsh said. “She fully understands what it takes to be successful in this business and has all the tools to take this command to even higher levels of performance.”

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First 5 ATAK choppers ready for combat

T-129 ATAKThe Turkish General Staff has announced that the first five attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopters have been added to its arsenal during a presentation of the choppers to the press.

The first five choppers were presented to the public at the Land Forces Aviation Command located in Güvercinlik Military Airport in Ankara. Speaking to the press on Friday, Lt. Col. Aydın Lafçı said five ATAK T/129 choppers were delivered to the General Staff after test flights were conducted by the Land Forces Command over the past four-and-a-half months.

“Five choppers have been added to the arsenal of the General Staff. In the coming weeks, another four choppers will be added,” Lafçı said.

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Target missile intercepted during test off Hawaii

USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53)The military says it successfully intercepted a medium-range missile during a test off Hawaii.

The Defense Department says Thursday's test was to demonstrate that the Aegis defense system can engage and track a ballistic missile while using only tracks from remote airborne sensors.

The target missile was launched from Kauai's Pacific Missile Range Facility. Sailors aboard the Pearl Harbor-based USS John Paul Jones used radar to detect and track the target.

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Here's Another Sign Of How Astronomically Expensive The F-35 Is

F-35 Lightning IIThe US military is trying to reduce its size and spending as it winds down its mission in Afghanistan and attempts to pivot away from the Middle East. But there’s one multi-billion dollar factor standing in the way, for one branch of the military at least: the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

From 2012 to 2013, the only American military branch not to see a 20 per cent fall in contract spending obligations, which constitute about half of the total defence budget, was the Navy. Its $US94 billion in obligations for the most recent fiscal year represents a dip of only 2 per cent, compared to a 22% decline for the Army and a 21% drop for the Air Force.

The F-35, the often-delayed and astronomically expensive fifth-generation fighter jet, is a huge part of the reason why.

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Finnish Defence Forces to replace aging Hornet fighter fleet

F-18 HornetThe Ministry of Defence has commissioned a working group to investigate what type of air defence system Finland needs in the future. Replacing the aging Hornet fighter fleet will cost an estimated 6 billion euros. Owing to the hefty price tag, the working group is also looking to see whether its possible to upgrade the existing fleet, which has been in service since 1995.

"Technical developments need to be taken into account as do the changing needs of our defence environment, which is what we're investigating," says Lauri Puranen, who is responsible for Ministry of Defence acquisitions.

"A 30-year old Formula 1 car can't survive in this world, and we need to find out if a 30-year old fighter jet can," says Puranen.

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