06 Apr 16. US and Russia at odds over potential fighter sale to Iran. The United States and Russia are in disagreement over the legality of a potential sale of Sukhoi Su-30 ‘Flanker’ combat aircraft to Iran.
While the US government announced on 5 April that it would use its veto in the UN Security Council to block any such sale, the Russian government stated on the same day that no veto could be applied in this case.
Speaking at a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, US under secretary of state for political affairs Thomas Shannon said, “The sale of Su-30 fighter aircraft is prohibited under UNSCR [UN Security Council Resolution] 2231 without the approval of the UN Security Council and we would block the approval of any sale of fighter aircraft under the restrictions.”
The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for non-proliferation and arms control, Mikhail Ulyanov, was reported by state media to have responded that, “Such deliveries are not prohibited. They are allowed and this follows from the text of the resolution.”
The dispute between Washington and Moscow stems back to reports in February that Iran was looking to receive the latest-generation Sukhoi Su-30 following official lifting of economic sanctions against the country. This proposed procurement followed Iran’s agreement with the international community to limit its nuclear activities.
As with all official documents, the UNSCR 2231 that followed this agreement is open to different interpretations. That said, it seems pretty clear on the issue of arms sales to Iran.
Under the resolution, the blanket UN conventional arms ban against Iran will remain in force for five years from the Adoption Day of 18 October 2015 or until the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) submits a report confirming Iran’s compliance, if this occurs earlier. Without the IAEA’s confirmation of compliance, Iran would therefore be prohibited from receiving the Su-30 fighters until 18 October 2020. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Apr 16. Cost of 3 Stealthy Destroyers Grows by $450m. The price tag for the most expensive destroyer built for the U.S. Navy is still growing. Updated figures from the Congressional Research Service indicate the cost of three ships in the Zumwalt class has grown 3.7 percent, or $450m, from the previous fiscal year. That lifts the total for the three ships to $12.74bn. The first-in-class Zumwalt that’s under construction at Bath Iron Works has successfully completed builder trials, and it will undergo acceptance trials later this month before delivery to the Navy, said Matt Wickenheiser, a spokesman for the company. It’s due to be commissioned in October. It will be followed by two more of the stealthy destroyers that feature an angular shape to reduce radar signature.
The Navy didn’t appear to be overly alarmed by the revised cost estimates for the 600-foot ships. The projected cost is about 1 percent above the acquisition program baseline established in 2011, said Capt. Thurraya Kent, a Navy spokeswoman. The projected cost is about 1 percent above the acquisition baseline price set in 2011 after a review triggered by growing costs. As a result, the program was reduced to three ships, driving up the cost of the individual units. Cost overruns are common in first-in-class military systems. There’s likely plenty of blame to go around, and that includes the Navy’s decision to serve as systems integrator instead of leaving the task to the shipyard, which is a subsidiary of General Dynamics, said Loren Thompson, defense analyst at the Lexington Institute. (Source: Military.com/AP)
05 Apr 16. Decision Close On Australian Submarine Contract. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has indicated that a decision is close on the winner for the $36bn contract to build Australia’s new submarine class. Tenders have been submitted by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. ThyssenKrupp AG and DCNS for the contract to build 12 new submarines.