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21 Sep 07. The Marines have deployed to Iraq the first combat squadron of V-22 Ospreys, the tilt-rotor aircraft that spent decades in development due in part to a series of mechanical failures and fatal crashes. The Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 and 10 Ospreys left Monday from New River Air Station next to Camp Lejeune aboard the USS Wasp, Marine Maj. Eric Dent said. A typical Osprey squadron has roughly 200 Marines. Marine Corps commandant Gen. James T. Conway said in April the squadron would deploy to Al-Asad Airfield, the second largest air base in Iraq located more than 100 miles west of Baghdad. (Source: Military.com)

19 Sep 07. Belgium decommissions its last Wielingen-class frigate. The Belgian Navy will bid farewell to the last of its four Wielingen-class frigates at a decommissioning ceremony on 15 October. The 1970s-vintage BNS Westdiep is due to pay off in Zeebrugge after a service career in which it has steamed more than 550,000 n miles. Following on from the retirements of sister ships BNS Westhinder (1993), BNS Wandelaar (2004) and BNS Wielingen (2006), it will leave the navy with just two surface combatants – the Karel Doorman-class frigates BNS Leopold I and BNS Louise-Marie. Equipped with a 100 mm Creusot-Loire main gun, Exocet surface-to-surface missiles, Sea Sparrow anti-air missiles, torpedoes and a six-barrelled rocket launcher, the 2,430-ton Wielingens earned a reputation as compact but well-armed vessels. (Source: Jane’s)

26 Sep 07. Eurocopter and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence formally opened a Joint Project Office (JPO) to manage the life extension programme of the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Puma helicopters this week. The office is located in Bristol, adjacent to MOD Abbey Wood. The JPO is staffed by personnel from Eurocopter and the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, who will initially manage the Assessment Phase of the programme, and subject to satisfactory completion and approval, will move on to manage the Development and Manufacture phase in 2008. The JPO will also manage the Puma and Gazelle Through-Life Support (TLS) programme. The upgraded Pumas, to be fitted with new avionics including glass cockpits, and more powerful Makila engines, will be known in service as the Puma HC Mk2.

26 Sep 07. Northern Defence Industries (NDI) has invested £100,000 in a new IT infrastructure for its new headquarters and Marine Design Centre in Newcastle.
NDI is a business development company that represents more than 200 defence and aerospace companies in the North of England that collectively has an annual turnover of £2bn and provides 20,000 jobs. The £2.3m Marine Design Centre is a subsidiary of NDI set up with the financial backing and support of regional development agency, One NorthEast. The centre is aimed at enable design engineers from the region to collaborate on international marine projects and includes a high-specification computer aided design environment.


21 Sep 07. Jobs fears as euro gets stronger. More cuts may have to be made at Airbus if the euro continues to remain strong against the dollar, an executive at the European planemaker has warned. Chief operating officer Fabrice Bregier told French radio station BFM a further €1bn may need to be added to a savings plan based on a $1.35 euro. (Source: BBC)



19 Sep 07. NATO troops will remain in Afghanistan until 2009 as ANA numbers build. The number of NATO troops operating in Afghanistan will not be reduced until 2009 at the very earliest, according to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) commander, General Dan McNeill. Describing the ISAF as an “interim force” aimed at buying time and space for the build-up of efficient Afghan national security forces, Gen McNeill told the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on 12 September that there had been “signifi

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