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05 Jan 17. Aircraft company Dassault has teamed up with Babcock to create a joint venture to help train French Air Force fighter pilots on the PC-21 turboprop, with the latter holding the leading role.
“Babcock France and Dassault Aviation have signed a partnership which would initially materialize in the delivery of the French (Formation Modernisée et Entraînement Différencié des Equipages de Chasse) training contract with the creation of a joint company under the leadership of Babcock France,” the two companies said Thursday in a joint statement.
The French Air Force is setting up the FOMEDEC training program in a bid to fit demanding requirements for training fighter pilots within tight budgetary constraints. An 11-year contract covers supply of new PC-21 training aircraft, computer-aided simulators and modernized training facilities at the Cognac Air Base, southwest France, the companies said. The Air Force will train the fighter crews. (Source: Defense News)

05 Jan 17. The Royal Air Force’s A400M Atlas transport aircraft fleet is to be supported by Airbus Defence and Space in a £410m ($504m) deal announced Jan 5. The Defence Equipment and Support arm of Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement that the contract will secure maintenance, upgrade and repair support of the planned 22-strong fleet of Airbus-built aircraft through 2026. The work will take place at the RAF’s air transport hub at Brize Norton where a £62m hanger capable of housing three Atlas aircraft at one go is on schedule to be fully equipped in the next few months. The RAF fleet currently stands at 14 A400Ms following the delivery of two aircraft at the end of last year. The fleet is scheduled to reach 22 in 2019 and be the backbone of the RAF’s air-transport capability alongside smaller numbers of Boeing C-17 and Lockheed Martin C-130J aircraft. The deal was single-source, but a spokesman for DE&S said the long-term intention is to look at the possibility of running a competition when what is known as the Medium Term Contract (MTC) comes up for expiry.
“A competitive process would have been impractical at this time as the aircraft is still in development and the fleet size is building. The intention is to consider competing the support service when the aircraft design and fleet is mature. The MTC is subject to single source pricing regulations, which ensures transparency in pricing and that value for money for the taxpayer is balanced with providing industry with a fair return,” said the spokesman.
“The contract is for Airbus to provide the number of aircraft required for tasking, with the requirement based on the fleet size, and incentivizes sortie achievement,” he said. (Source: Defense News)

05 Jan 17. China resumes production of Yuan-class submarines. Images posted on Chinese online forums in December show three new Yuan-class (Type 039B) patrol submarines being fitted out in the water at the Wuchang Shipyard in Wuhan, central China: a clear indication that China has resumed production of these diesel-electric boats after a near-three-year hiatus.
The latest of the three submarines appears to have been launched around 12 December, according to online forums.
The initial variant of the Yuan class (Type 039A) entered service in 2006. Overall length is 77m with a beam of 8.4m, displacing around 2,700 tonnes when on the surface and 3,600 tonnes when dived, according to IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships. Equipped with six 533mm (21inch) torpedo tubes, weapon loads are likely to be a mix of anti-ship missiles, such as the YJ-82, and heavyweight torpedoes, such as the Yu-6. Although not officially confirmed, most sources believe that the Yuan class has a conventional diesel-electric configuration supplemented with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system. The performance of the AIP is unknown but it should be expected to extend the interval between when the submarine has to run the diesel engines to charge the batteries from hours to days.

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