23 Feb 07. UK-US in talks on missile defence. The US has had mixed results from its missile tests. The UK and US have held high level talks on the possibility of putting a “Son of Star Wars” anti-ballistic missile defence system on British soil. An article in The Economist claims Prime Minister Tony Blair has lobbied President George Bush for the system. But government sources have told the BBC that talks are “to keep Britain’s options open”, not a lobbying effort. Russia has said the system, which tracks and destroys missiles launched at the US, will trigger an arms race. Poland and the Czech Republic have both been approached by America about locating part of the hugely expensive system on their soil. BBC Defence Correspondent Paul Wood said he had confirmed “secret high-level negotiations” had been taking place. Talks were continuing between the National Security Council and Britain’s top foreign affairs adviser Sir Nigel Sheinwald, he said. But Downing Street has said talks are at a very early stage, and were intended only to keep Britain in consideration as plans were developed. (Source: BBC)
19 Feb 07. Air Force Explores the Next Frontier. Cyber Command could establish model for info operations. As cyberwarfare grows in importance, the Air Force’s new Cyber Command could become a magnet for funding, resources and capabilities. The Air Force announced in November it would create the Cyber Command, to be headquartered at the 8th Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and named Lt. Gen. Robert Elder the new organization’s first chief. According to Air Force budget documents released Feb. 5, the command will formally begin operations in May and be fully operational by October 2009. (Source: GCN)
02 Feb 07. Transport/tanker Aircraft: Future Basing. RAF News (2 Feb 07) confirmed the future transport/tanker aircraft basing arrangements, following the planned RAF withdrawal from Lyneham by 2012. Brize Norton is due to become the home Station for 64 aircraft: 25 C-130J; 25 A400M; five C-17 and nine FSTA (Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft, i.e. Airbus 330-200). Married and single accommodation at Brize Norton is being rebuilt and a new terminal, capable of dealing with 3,300 passengers a day, is to be constructed.
Comment: RAF Brize Norton is currently the home Station for: 16 VC10; nine TriStar and four C-17. Continuing delays plague the FSTA programme but contract ‘close’ is still hoped for by 31 Mar 07. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0708, 19 Feb 07)
05 Feb 07. Coltishall Base: Transfer to Home Office. The Home Office announced (5 Feb 07) that the former RAF Station at Coltishall, near Norwich, was being transferred to the Home Office in order “to expand detention capacity”.
Comment: Coltishall opened as a fighter aircraft base in May 1940, with Canadian and Czech pilots. The Station was handed over to the Polish Air Force in August 1945 and briefly renamed as Coltishall (Polish). More recently, Coltishall became the ‘home’ of the Jaguar before being closed by the RAF in December 2006. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0708, 19 Feb 07)
23 Feb 07. EADS could announce next week the disposal of four factories in France, matching cutbacks in Germany, the French newspaper Les Echos reported on Friday. A factory in Britain and another in Spain could also leave the group, the report said. It also said that German interests were believed to have abandoned hopes that the central part of the future A350 airliner would be built in Germany. French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were to meet in Germany on Friday and the plan was expected to be high on the agenda. The French government said this week that the plan would cost about 10,000 jobs, but the German government said that this was premature since no final decision had been taken.The report on Friday said that the divestments would form part of a re-drawn rescue plan for the group which is mired in disputes