Rapid Fire 2011-12-27: Japan to Export Weapons

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* Japan’s government decided to ease its arms exports policies set in the 60s and 70s. * The United Kingdom may involve the private sector in running defense procurement. Chief of Defence Materiel Bernard Gray and Minister for Defence Equipment Peter Luff will discuss options under consideration today on BBC Radio 4. * Finland arrests 2 Ukrainian crew of the British-flagged M/S Thor Liberty, which was en route to China with 69 Patriot surface-to-air missiles and explosives. Germany says “hey, that was our legitimate sale to South Korea!” * The US Navy’s departure from standard ship class-naming conventions, and insertion of political figures instead (vid. “John P. Murtha” for LPD-26, instead of a city name), has raised a few eyebrows in recent years. USNS Cesar Chavez [T-AKE-14] may have tipped a backlash in Congress. This is so even though that example has far more merit. The T-AKE ships have honored other pioneering political figures, and Chavez was a Navy veteran. * Northrop Grumman’s LN-251 GPS/INS will fly on the USMC’s forthcoming CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters. * Manufacturers are working on ground control stations that could let a single pilot manage several UAVs at once. * Mexico’s Zetas drug cartel had an […]

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