World Military update

UK carrier group prepares for Middle East deployment
A UK Royal Navy (RN) task group, led by the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious , is to sail to the Middle East in early 2008 for a six-month deployment under the banner of Operation ‘Orion 08’. The group, which will conduct operations in the Gulf, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, will also include the Type 42 destroyer HMS Edinburgh , the Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster and two mine countermeasures vessels
Gripen secures a long-term future as Sweden approves upgrade programme
The Swedish government and industry have launched the two-phase programme that will underwrite the continued development of the Gripen fighter to 2040 and beyond. The deal also provides for a crucial near-term upgrade to the Swedish Air Force’s (SAF’s) Gripen force that will see it stabilise at a unified ‘100-jet fleet’

US shipyards land extra funding, but at cost
US naval shipyards are set to receive a reassuring tranche of funding to underpin the country’s biggest shipbuilding plan since the end of the Cold War, following President George W Bush’s mid-November signature on the latest USD459.3 billion defence spending bill. Among the biggest beneficiaries will be General Dynamics Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Newport News, which have long struggled to maintain capacity in their submarine-building lines in the face of limited orders

Israel bolsters UAV fleet
The Israel Air Force (IAF) is bolstering its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fleet with the acquisition of more Elbit Systems Hermes 450 LE medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAVs. Elbit was awarded a USD30 million contract to supply an unspecified number of new Hermes 450 LE UAVs, dubbed Zik (Spark) in the IAF, and to upgrade the existing Zik platforms

Hizbullah counters IDF manoeuvres with major exercise
The Lebanese Shiite militia Hizbullah conducted a major military exercise in southern Lebanon during early November – at the same time as the Israel Defence Force (IDF) held a massive manoeuvre on the other side of the border. Described as Hizbullah’s ‘largest ever exercise’, involving the participation of thousands of guerrillas, it simulated a mobilisation of forces to confront Israel

Switzerland suspends Pakistan export licences
The Swiss government has announced that it is to temporarily suspend export licences for defence equipment that was due to be sent to Pakistan under a procurement deal signed last year. In a statement published on its website on 14 November, the Swiss government’s Federal Department of Economic Affairs said that the Swiss Federal Council has decided to suspend permits to export air defence systems to Pakistan “until further notice”
Taiwan presents new missiles in a military parade
Taiwan displayed its Hsiung Feng III (Brave Wind III) supersonic anti-ship missile and the new Tien Kung III (Sky Sword III) surface-to-air missile (SAM) during a National Celebration Day military parade in Taipei on 10 October. Both systems are being developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology. Carried by a lorry and mounted on a display stand, the Hsiung Feng III round was a model, rather than a training round

Source: Jane’s defence journal

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