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02 Mar 08. US christens ‘9/11 steel’ warship. Thousands of people have watched the naming in Louisiana of a US warship built partly from steel salvaged from the World Trade Center. The twin towers in New York were destroyed in the hijacked planes attack of 11 September 2001. Friends and families of 9/11 victims were among those at the ceremony for the new amphibious assault ship, the USS New York, in the base of Avondale. The bow contains 7.5 tonnes of steel taken from Ground Zero. It also bore a shield with two bars to symbolise the towers and a banner with the slogan Never Forget. (Source: BBC)

Mar 08. C-17 Transport Aircraft: Fifth on Way. The Chief of Defence Matériel attended (22 Feb 08) a ‘fly away’ ceremony for the fifth RAF C-17 (or UK5) in California. The RAF is now expected to take delivery of C-17 UK5 in April 2008 (probably on the 4th) and of UK6 in June 2008.
Comment: The four aircraft in service with 99 Squadron RAF are to be bought at the end of their seven-year lease periods in June, July, August and September 2008. A contract for the purchase of a fifth aircraft was signed with Boeing in August 2006. Arrangements for the procurement of a sixth C-17 were completed in December 2007. The C-17 Project (covering Lease, Purchase and Support) is estimated, by the MoD, to be costing “in the order” of £2,000m. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0810, 03 Mar 08)

05 Mar 08. Rafale International, a French group comprising three main contractors, officially opened an office in Athens on March 4 as part of efforts to sell the Rafale combat aircraft to Greece’s air force, Dassault Aviation said in a statement. Dassault, Thales and the Safran Group’s Snecma formed Rafale International to market the fighter jet. Negotiations with Libya, as a prospective first export customer, are underway. (Source: Defense News)

03 Mar 08. Secretary of the Navy Dr. Donald C. Winter announced the naming of the seventh and eighth Military Sealift Command ships of the Lewis and Clark-class Auxiliary Dry Cargo ships (T-AKE) as Carl Brashear and Wally Schirra. The selection of Carl Brashear, designated T-AKE 7, honors Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate (Master Diver) Carl M. Brashear, who joined the United States Navy in 1948. He was a pioneer in the Navy as the first black deep-sea diver, the first black Master Diver and the first U.S. Navy diver to be restored to full active duty as an amputee, the result of a leg injury he sustained during a salvage operation. After 31 years of service, Brashear officially retired from the U.S. Navy on April 1, 1979. Brashear was the subject of the 2000 movie “Men of Honor” starring Cuba Gooding Jr. The selection of Wally Schirra, designated T-AKE 8, was chosen in honor of Captain Walter “Wally” Schirra. Schirra was a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and former Navy test pilot who served in both World War II and Korean War. On Oct. 3 and is honored as one of the original seven Mercury astronauts. He holds the distinction of being the only astronaut to fly in each of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. Schirra officially retired from the U.S. Navy and NASA in 1969. Schirra and the other original Mercury 7 astronauts are the subject of the 1983 movie “The Right Stuff”. , 1962, Schirra became the fifth American in space The naming of Carl Brashear and Wally Schirra continues the tradition of the T-AKE Lewis and Clark-class of honoring legendary pioneers and explorers.

04 Mar 08. QinetiQ and the MOD have signed a firm price agreement confirming price, volume and availability for the Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA) for Test and Evaluation (T&E) and Training Support services for the next five years through to March 2013. The MOD will pay £951m across the second five year term (having paid £964m for the first five year period). The LTPA contract was first signed in February 2003 and is still one of the largest of its kind in the UK. Valued at £5.6bn over

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