World defence update

F-35C passes fuselage construction milestone


Northrop Grumman has completed the centre-fuselage section of the first F-35C carrier variant of the Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the company announced on 19 August. The F-35C, which is being developed for the US Navy (USN), is scheduled to begin flight testing in 2009 and should achieve its initial operating capability in 2015








New Zealand launches fourth Project Protector inshore patrol vessel

The last of four inshore patrol vessels (IPVs) built for the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) under the NZD500 million (USD337.3 million) Project Protector programme was launched in Whangarei harbour on 22 August. The Rotoiti-class ship, Taupo , completed a formal naming ceremony a day later at the BAE Systems (formerly Tenix Defence) shipyard






US marines in Afghanistan rely heavily on field artillery


In marked contrast to recent operations in Iraq, US Marines have relied heavily on their field artillery during fighting in southern Afghanistan, according to members of the task force. Major Ron McLaughlin, fire support officer for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), told Jane’s the marines had carried out over 100 artillery missions during recent operations in southern Helmand province







Russia’s UAC publishes financial results for first time


Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) – the state-dominated holding company behind the country’s leading fixed-wing aerospace assets – released financial figures for the first time on 27 August, indicating that sales reached RUR42.8 billion (USD1.6 billion) and RUR50.7 billion (USD1.9 billion) in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The group, encompassing 20 organisations including Sukhoi and Tupolev, recorded net losses of USD72 million in 2006 and USD28 in 2005, while the year to 31 December 2006 ended with debt of USD1.5 billion (compared with USD1.16 billion at the end of 2005)





Source: Jane’s defence journal

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