Civil Rights Heros Get Navy Nod via New Ship Names | Sat Images Show Belarus Upping Air Defense @ Polish Border | Russia Announces Myanmar to Operate Yak-130sJan 08, 2016 00:20 UTC
- The US Navy is set to name its next generation of replenishment oilers after Civil Rights heroes. The first has been named after US Rep. John Lewis during a ceremony this week. Lewis, the youngest of the Big Six of civil rights leaders has been a member of the House of Representatives for Georgia since 1987. Seventeen oilers will be built as part of the T-AO(X) program with construction of the USNS John Lewis scheduled to commence in 2018
Middle East North Africa
- Iraq is to get 120 more Humvees after the US DoD awarded AM General a $24.9 million foreign military sales contract to provide the vehicles. Completion of the contract is set for April 30 of this year. The US military gave stockpiled Humvees to the Iraqi Armed Forces and Security Forces during the Iraq War, amounting to about 10,000 vehicles. The fall of Mosul in June 2014 to the Islamic State became a great cause of embarrassment for the Baghdad government as 2,300 of the vehicles, alongside munitions and other equipment, fell into the hands of the insurgents. The loss of inventory saw the US send 1,000 more Humvees in December 2014 to help replenish the Iraqi motor pool.
- Looks like if you break, you buy. Hungary will restructure its lease agreement with the Swedish government over the leasing of Saab Gripen fighters after two of the jets crashed in 2015. The new decree states that the replacement of the lost jets will not exceed $33 million between the leasing period of 2017-2026. Prior to the crashes, Hungary had been leasing twelve of the aircraft since 2001. The leasing of Gripens is seemingly a common practice among central European governments looking for cost effective fighters. The Czech Republic also operates the aircraft and Slovakia is looking into signing a lease agreement for the plane.
- Satellite images show that Belarus may be increasing its air-defense systems along the Polish border. Construction of new “C” shaped drive-through revetments at two existing sites, which host the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, shows that Europe’s last dictatorship may be increasing it’s defensive presence. The two sites are located within fifteen kilometres of the Polish and Lithuanian borders, and can be seen as a reaction to an increase of surface-to-air missile deployments in NATO countries in eastern Europe. Despite fluctuating tensions between Belarus and neighbour Russia over economic and diplomatic issues, Moscow has recently been seeking to replace previously existing Ukrainian defense ties with Belarus to counter NATO expansion. Expansion of the sites may see deployment of either Belarussian or Russian S-300s.
- Funding has been set aside for the Nigerian government to purchase three JF-17 aircraft. $25 million has been set aside for the acquisitions. The planned purchase of the Sino-Pakistan developed jet was announced as part of the federal governments defense budget for the 2016 fiscal year and follows the recent order by Sri Lanka for eight JF-17s. Funds have also been set aside to acquire two Mi-35 gunships ($58.2 million) and ten Mushak trainer aircraft ($10.3 million). The Nigerian Army will see $28 million spent on new equipment and trucks for armed personnel as they conduct operations against Boko Haram militants in the north of the country.
- Australia’s DoD has confirmed that they have purchased two Gulfstream G550 aircraft modified for surveillance and electronic warfare. Confirmation comes after the US DoD announced a foreign military sales contract on December 28. The two corporate aircraft will be fitted with specialized modifications by L-3 Communications Mission Integration in a deal worth $93.6 million.
- Myanmar looks set to become the fourth foreign operator of the Yak-130 jet trainer, following Belarus, Algeria and Bangladesh. The Russian government’s procurement website made the announcement. The Yak-130, while primarily used as a jet trainer, also has multi-role capabilities as a lead in fighter, and can carry up to three tons of air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, precision-guided bombs, free-fall bombs, rockets, gun pods, and external fuel tanks. The vast majority of the Myanmar Air Force use Russian or Chinese made weapons and machinery due to lengthy sanctions from the US, Britain and others. Recent elections has seen democracy return to Myanmar after decades of rule by military juntas. It is hoped that an easing of sanctions will open up investment to the country.
- The USAF is to send its WC-135 Constant Phoenix “sniffer plane” near North Korea to test for radiation following Pyongyang’s claims that it had tested a hydrogen bomb this week. While seismic activity was detected near a previously known testing location, skepticism often follows claims made about the technological advances made by the DPRK. A modification of Boeing’s C-135 airplane, the Constant Phoenix will collect air samples and debris to help determine if the test was in fact that of a Hydrogen bomb. News of the test has even drawn condemnation from long time ally China.
- The deployment of four more German Tornado fighters to Turkey. They will take part in anti-ISIS operations in Syria: