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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

U.S. Ship Neutralizes Syrian Chemical Arms

MV Cape RayA specially equipped U.S. ship has finished neutralizing all 600 metric tons of the most dangerous of Syria's chemical weapons components surrendered to the international community this year to avert threatened air strikes, the Pentagon said on Monday.

It said the Cape Ray, equipped with the U.S.-developed Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, neutralized 581.5 metric tons of DF, a sarin precursor chemical, and 19.8 metric tons of HD, an ingredient of sulfur mustard, while afloat in the Mediterranean.

The vessel will travel to Finland and Germany in the next two weeks to unload the resulting effluent, which will undergo treatment as industrial waste to render it safer, a Pentagon spokeswoman said.

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Hungary signs agreement on developing air defence missile system

Mistral missile launchHungary’s defence ministry on Tuesday signed an agreement with MBDA France on developing the Mistral air-defence missile system in Hungary during the period of 2016-2018.

The document was signed by Colonel Tibor Balla, deputy director general of the ministry’s defence economy office, and Didier Philippe, MBDA’s senior deputy president in Budapest.

Under the agreement the Mistral M2 missiles serving country defence purposes in Hungary since 1997 will be upgraded.

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Robots Moving Robots: Lockheed Martin Conducts First Fully Autonomous Mission

Lockheed Martin K-MAXLockheed Martin, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), successfully conducted a fully autonomous resupply, reconnaissance, surveillance and target-acquisition demonstration using its Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) unmanned ground vehicle, K-MAX unmanned helicopter and Gyrocam optical sensor.

During the “Extending the Reach of the Warfighter through Robotics” capability assessment at Fort Benning, Georgia, K-MAX delivered SMSS by sling load to conduct an autonomous resupply mission scenario for soldiers defending a village.

At mission completion, SMSS proceeded to an observation point where it raised its Gyrocam sensor and began scanning the area for enemy forces. In an actual mission, upon observation of enemy forces, the remote operator would notify the commander on the ground, who would assess the threat and determine the appropriate method of neutralizing it.

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Northrop Grumman Developing XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane Design for DARPA

Experimental Spaceplane XS-1Northrop Grumman Corporation with Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic is developing a preliminary design and flight demonstration plan for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Experimental Spaceplane XS-1 program.

XS-1 has a reusable booster that when coupled with an expendable upper stage provides affordable, available and responsive space lift for 3,000-pound class spacecraft into low Earth orbit.

Reusable boosters with aircraft-like operations provide a breakthrough in space lift costs for this payload class, enabling new generations of lower cost, innovative and more resilient spacecraft.

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Air Defense Drills With Live Firing Under Way in South Russia – Defense Ministry

S-300PMU-2Russia is carrying out air defense drills with live firing from S-300 and S-400 air defense systems at its Ashuluk testing range in the southern Astrakhan Region, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

The exercise involves some 800 Airspace Defense Forces servicemen and over 200 pieces of military hardware, including S-300 Favorit, S-400 Triumf and Pantsir-S air defense systems.

Military units, “responsible for air defense of Moscow and Central Russia,” take part in the exercise, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Igor Klimov said.

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Italian fighter jets crash following mid-air collision

ITAF Tornado collisionTwo Italian fighter jets have collided over eastern Italy during a training mission and crashed into a wooded area, causing a fire.

A Civil Protection official, Susanna Balducci, told Sky TG24 TV there were no civilian casualties on the ground after the planes crashed into woods near the town of Ascoli.

It was not immediately clear whether any of the four crew had survived.

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Japan looking to buy more stealth fighters in 2015: Nikkei

F-35 Lightning IIJapan plans to seek funding to buy six F-35 stealth fighter jets in next year's budget to strengthen defense of remote southwestern islands against China, which has grown increasingly assertive at sea and in the air, the Nikkei reported.

The Ministry of Defense intends to ask that 124.9 billion yen ($1.21 billion) be set aside, the Nikkei said.

Air Self-Defense Force hopes to buy 42 of the aircraft in all to replace its fleet of aging F-4 fighters, the Nikkei said.

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Nigeria showcases aircraft to monitor crime-infested waters

Nigerian Airforce ATR 42-500Nigeria's military on Tuesday took the wraps off a new aircraft to tackle high-seas pirates off the country's coast, as well as maritime hijackers and oil thieves.

The high-tech plane is one of seven to be operated by the state-run Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Air Force.

It includes sensors, radar and Electro-Optic Surveillance and Tracking (EOST) equipment, which houses three cameras to monitor ships in Nigerian waters, said Sergeant Sunday Olalekan Omotosho.

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USS Constellation takes final voyage to scrappers

The aircraft carrier Constellation, which saw service from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf, paused along the California coast here while being towed on a final voyage to the scrap yard.

The supercarrier, affectionately nicknamed "Connie" by her crews over the decades, spent a night off the coast near Los Angeles before tow was resumed on the way from the mothball fleet in Bremerton, Wash., to the ship breakers near Brownsville, Texas.

The ship will make a 16,000-mile voyage around Cape Horn — Constellation is too large to fit through the Panama Canal — on a trip that could take until December, the Brownsville Herald reports. The distinctive "64" on the carrier's "island," or superstructure," that identified Constellation is now painted out.

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New UK Frigate Proposals Coming Together

Type 26 GCSBAE Systems is finishing proposals to build a new generation of frigates for the Royal Navy and has begun delivering details of the bid to the British Defence Ministry ahead of a decision expected by the end of the year, company officials said.

The Royal Navy is looking to acquire 13 of the Type 26 frigates for a total of roughly £4 billion (US $6.6 billion), with the first of the warships expected to be delivered starting late 2021 to provide what will eventually become the backbone of the fleet out to around 2060.

The warships will replace the Royal Navy’s aging Type 23 fleet.

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New Zealand orders decoy system for its frigates

Airborne Systems FDS3 missile corner reflector decoyDecoy systems for protection against RF-seeking missiles are to be procured by the Royal New Zealand Navy from Airborne Systems Europe.

The systems, Airborne's FDS3 corner reflector decoys, will be fitted onto the service's ANZAC-class frigates over a three-year period.

The contract from the New Zealand Ministry of Defense for the FDS3 is valued at more than $5.6 million.

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Fast-track frigates to save jobs

Hobart class AWDA plan to save Australia’s ship building industry by bringing forward construction of eight potent new frigates for the Royal Australian Navy is being considered by the Abbott government.

This option to bridge the so-called “valley of death” for shipbuilding would mean constructing sections of some of the new frigates when the hulls of the three air warfare destroyers (AWDs) are completed. That would mean the 7000-tonne frigates would use the same hulls as the destroyers so that they could be built with the existing equipment and the same workforce.

The sections, or “blocks” can be built in different shipyards and then welded together.

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Russia vows to strengthen navy to ward off NATO

Sergei ShoiguRussia announced plans Tuesday to bolster its navy with more advanced weapons in response to NATO's vow to halt the Kremlin's push into Ukraine and feared expansion into eastern Europe.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told a general security meeting that he expected to hear a detailed report from Russia's navy commander about how this could be achieved efficiently over the coming six years.

"These proposals must ensure that our forces are reequipped with modern weapons and military equipment," Russian news agencies quoted Shoigu as saying.

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Sen. Mc Cain: Raytheon’s Tomahawk important to avoid use of ground troops

Raytheon's operations in Tucson should stay busy as the U-S sends more sophisticated weapons into battle, instead of ground troops.

That's the message Arizona Senator John McCain brought to Raytheon workers Tuesday as he spoke at the Raytheon Center in Rita Ranch.

The Senator says weapons like the Tomahawk cruise missile, built in Tucson will stay a key part of the U.S. military and he sees plenty of potential for Raytheon in other sophisticated systems.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Turkey courts France in $3.4 bln missile project

Eurosam (Aster-30)Though China has been the front runner, Turkey has now turned toward France regarding the tender for a multi-billion dollar air defense system, according to unnamed sources close to the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) who spoke to Today's Zaman on Monday.

The sources said that SSM Undersecretary İsmail Demir held a secret meeting in France with the firm Eurosam regarding interest in the tender, which is expected to be one of the largest military projects in the history of the Turkish Republic.

Last year, Turkey chose a Chinese company for the tender, however the deadline for the tender has since been extended several times, allowing Turkey to pursue offers from other bidders.

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NUSHIP Canberra embarks on final trials

NUSHIP CanberraCanberra, the first of two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships being built for the Australian Defence Force, has sailed on her final contractor sea trials before delivery to the Australian Government.

The ship departed Williamstown shipyard on 12 August as planned with the trials taking place in both Port Phillip Bay and off the southern coast of New South Wales before returning to Williamstown around the end of August.

Final contractor trials involve testing of the combat and communication systems along with some platform systems trials.

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Poland says to speed up attack helicopter purchase due to Ukraine crisis

AH-64E ApachePoland will move the purchase of 30 attack helicopters forward by two years as part of a review of its army modernisation programme triggered by the crisis in Ukraine, Polish deputy defence minister Czeslaw Mroczek said.

Mroczek told Reuters that the first stage of the procurement process, originally scheduled for 2016, had already started and confirmed that 10 companies have submitted their offers but declined to name them.

“The events in Ukraine are having a clear negative impact on regional and international security and have made us … realise there was a need for updating our technical modernisation plans,” Mroczek said in an interview last week.

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Moscow eyes joint development of weapons within BRICS

Pantsyr-S1 (SA-22 Greyhound)Last week, Anatoly Isaykin, general director of Rosoboronexport (the sole Russian government agency for the export and import of military products) told the mass media that negotiations between Russia, Brazil and South Africa on the joint development of weapons and military equipment within the framework of BRICS should be held by the end of this year.

“For the time being, we are working directly with each country, but we are also thinking on collaborative projects involving several countries at once.

In particular, three-party negotiations between Russia, Brazil and South Africa on joint development of military products have been scheduled for this year,” said Isaykin.

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F-15s, troops from 493rd deploy to Bulgaria

F-15C EagleTroops and fighter aircraft from the 493rd Fighter Squadron have been sent to Bulgaria as tensions in Eastern Europe continue to run high.

A dozen F-15s and approximately 180 personnel from the 493rd, based at RAF Lakenheath, England, have deployed to Graf Ignatievo Air Base to participate in a two-week bilateral training exercise with the Bulgarian air force, Pentagon spokesmen Col. Steve Warren told reporters Monday.

The exercise began Monday and will continue through Sept. 1.

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Canada has second thoughts about costly F-35 Lightning

F-35A Lightning IIO Canada, land of "peace, order and good government." Land of compromise and polite politics. Land of turmoil over whether to buy the F-35.

As in the United States, the fighter plane has become a rancorous political issue. What once looked like a sure buy of 65 planes has been bogged down by infighting and un-Canadian vitriol, and the purchase is on hold while Canadian officials consider whether to buy another plane.

The F-35 Lightning II is a U.S. plane, made by a U.S. company for the U.S. military. But if the cost for U.S. taxpayers is going to come down to levels that make the plane affordable in the long term, the Pentagon is depending on foreign governments to buy the F-35 as well.

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Federation wants Latvia to participate in EUR 1.27 bln unmanned aircraft project

RQ-4B Global HawkDuring the meeting with Latvian President Andris Berzins, Latvian Safety and Protection Industries Federation representatives announced about a chance for Latvia to participate in the international NATO project "Alliance Ground Surveillance", which would secure land and aerial surveillance and aerial, using "Global Hawk" unmanned aircraft, the Presidential Press Service informed LETA.

During the meeting, the federation's representatives said that the program currently involves 15 member states, and that the total costs of the project are EUR 1.27 billion.

The aim of the "Alliance Ground Surveillance" program is to establish a system that would provide an efficient land and aerial surveillance, using "Global Hawk" unmanned aircraft.

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Final Portsmouth-built aircraft carrier block leaves shipyard hall

HMS Prince of Wales blockThe second and final block of HMS Prince of Wales today leaves its Portsmouth shipyard hall home.

The block, weighing 6,000 tons, started to be moved on more than 2,300 wheels towards the barge this morning, which will transport it to Rosyth when it leaves the city next week.

Workers looked on as the operation, expected to take 10 hours in total, was coordinated with a single remote control.

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Navy Commander: Iran Plans to Launch Production Line of Destroyers

Jamaran FS"Today, the Navy has acquired the capability to launch the production line of destroyers and our project for building destroyers has started at the order of the Supreme Leader since a while ago and we are witnessing newer and more updated achievements in this project now," Sayyari told reporters in Tehran on Monday.

He said that Iran's new destroyer named Sahand is 30% more advanced than the country's first destroyer, Jamaran.

Sayyari also said that Iran will launch its new submarine, Fateh, on the Navy Day (November 28).

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Turkey Hopes To Export GENESIS System for G-class Frigates

TCG GedizTurkey’s procurement office, in connection with state-controlled military software company Havelsan, has launched efforts to export an indigenous naval combat management system.

Havelsan developed the GENESIS advanced combat management system for the US-built Oliver Hazard Perry (G)-class frigates used by the US Navy and a number of allied countries worldwide.

The company has upgraded Turkish frigates with the GENESIS system. One company official said further upgrades on the system, including a ship data link system and 3-D search radar integration, are underway, scheduled for completion later this year.

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Russian Baltic Fleet Holds Artillery Exercises

The Baltic Fleet’s main base is in the city of Baltiysk, located in Kaliningrad Region, Russia’s Baltic exclave
More than 400 Russian servicemen are taking part in the coastal artillery exercises of the Russian Baltic Fleet in Kaliningrad Region, which involve over 60 units of combat equipment, the fleet’s press service reported Monday.

“The purpose of the exercises is to improve the crews’ combat skills, the artillery units’ teamwork abilities, and the commanders’ practical skills in organizing offensive and defensive operations. Crew members will go through all stages of combat training, from individual prep work to joint tasks,” the press service said in a message.

The servicemen participating in the artillery exercises are to complete over 100 training tasks by the end of September.

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