World defence update

UK’s Operation Scorpion trains Iraqi Army to lead
A first cohort of junior non-commissioned officers (NCOs) in the economic hub of Basra in southeastern Iraq has completed its leadership training, marking an important step in the wider strategic future of UK troops as they move to withdraw completely from the country after five years. “One of the core conditions laid out by [UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown] for mission change is the successful training of the Iraqi Army in Basra, wherein the army is deemed able to take full control [of security] for themselves,” UK Ministry of Defence spokesman Tim Wiseman told Jane’s on 11 September

 

 

 

 

Finland tests high-speed data comms system on tactical exercise

 

Testing and evaluation of Inmarsat’s 3G-based FleetBroadband voice and high-speed data communications system was completed in the Finnish Navy’s Hamina-class fast attack craft, FNS Tornio , during tactical sea defence exercises in the Gulf of Finland. The trials took place in May-June 2008 but details have only just emerged

 

 

 

 

 

 
Bulgaria’s fleet modernisation

 

The arrival in the Black Sea port of Burgas on 7 September of Gordi (ex-BNS Westdiep), the second of three Wielingen-class frigates acquired from the Belgian Navy, was the latest milestone in Bulgaria’s fleet modernisation programme. The two final units of the transfer package – the frigate Verni (ex-BNS Wielingen) and the minehunter Tsibar (ex-BNS Myosotis) – are scheduled to be handed over on 9 February 2009

 

 

 

 

 

US combat aircraft battle to cover NATO airspace
The number of US combat aircraft available to patrol NATO airspace and fulfil other missions in Europe has declined by 75 per cent since the end of the Cold War, raising US concerns about its ability to deter an increasingly confrontational Russia. General Roger Brady, commander of US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), said on 17 September that the number of USAFE combat aircraft has declined from 717 in 1990 to just 177 today; the number of combat aircraft squadrons has been reduced from 85 to just 25

 

 

 

 

Into Africa: Russia revives defence contacts

 
Russia has successfully re-established military-technical dialogue with African countries, which saw a decline after the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to a report from Russian state-owned news service RIA Novosti. On 17 September, Anatoly Isaykin, general director of Russia’s state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport, told a news conference at the Africa Aerospace & Defence-2008 exhibition, near Cape Town, that Russia had “recently revived [its] contacts with all African countries that used to be traditional buyers of Soviet weaponry”

 

 

 

 

 
Argentina and Chile complete co-operative exercise

 

Argentina and Chile completed a five-day military exercise in the Argentine Patagonian city of Comodoro Rivadavia in late August 2008, with the purpose of building confidence and establishing closer links between the two country’s armed forces. The exercise, called ‘Aurora Austral II’, was held in preparation for the Fuerza Binacional Combinada Cruz del Sur (Southern Cross Combined Bi-National Force), a 1,000-strong peacekeeping force currently being developed for operations under UN mandate from 2010

 

 

 
Russia and Ukraine bring an end to early-warning treaty

 

Russia and Ukraine have formally terminated their agreement on early-warning and space-monitoring systems (EWSMS) at Mukachevo and Nikolaevka in Ukraine, the Ukraine announced on 13 August. The agreement was signed in July 1992 and the request to end it was made by Russia, which is building new south-facing early-warning radars on its own territory to replace Ukrainian-based systems constructed during the Soviet era

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Jane’s defence journal

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