US Expands Sanctions Against Russia / MH17 Update
- SPECIAL UPDATE: Malaysian Airlines needs to lift the hoodoo on its Boeing 777s. Flight MH17 disappeared from radar while flying at 10,000 meters over the contested Donestsk region of the Ukraine, during a flight to Amsterdam. All 295 people are dead. The Ukrainian General Staff is claiming that it was shot down by an SA-11/17 Buk medium-range anti-aircraft missile given to (or captured by) Russian separatist forces, and says they will present evidence. The separatists say that they only have VSHORAD/ MANPAD shoulder-fired missiles, which can’t reach that high.
- Fighting in Ukraine has escalated since the battle of Slaviansk. 11 Ukrainian troops were killed on Tuesday, amidst accusations of materiel and fighters moving across the Russian border, and a video claiming that rockets where fired from Russia into Ukraine.
- An SU-25 jet from the Ukrainian air force was reportedly damaged by a MANPAD, and in a separate incident, the Ukrainian government accused Russia of having launched a missile from one of its military aircraft against a Ukrainian SU-25. Russia’s defense ministry rejects the allegation as “absurd.”
- The Pentagon says Russia has at least 10,000 troops at the border, and the White House announced more sanctions against Russian banks and energy firms.
- Russian Helicopters say they have completed delivery of 52 Mi-171E ordered by China just 2 years ago. The initial announcement mentioned an order for 55 units, but this is still a really tight delivery schedule.
- After a few hours of truce an invasion of Gaza may be looming as airstrikes escalate.
- Iraq Oil Report estimates that ISIS is making a million dollars a day from oil smuggling.
- The ragtag group of volunteers hastily recruited by Iraq to supplement its imploding regular forces seemed no match for the insurgents’ determination in Tikrit.
- 4 Taliban insurgents died while attacking the airport in Kabul. Last month Pakistan’s Talibans had mounted a larger attack on Karachi’s airport.
What’s This Aircraft For?
- AviationWeek’s Bill Sweetman wonders what is the intended market niche for Textron Airland’s Scorpion:
“The goals were a $20 million acquisition cost and $3,000 per flight hour. Its niche is to do missions for which air forces today use fighters because that’s what they have, but where the fighter’s expensively acquired air-combat prowess and survivability are unused.”
- Canada’s coastal patrol vessel HMCS Whitehorse was recalled from the RIMPAC 2014 exercise after 2 incidents took place on ship, and a Canadian sailor was arrested by American police.
- China’s participation to the exercise includes anti-piracy drills. AP video below: