16 Dec 09. The German Air Force receives its first fighter-bomber Eurofighter Typhoons. First deliveries to Jagdbombergeschwader 31 “Boelcke”. The German Air Force’s Jagdbombergeschwader 31 “Boelcke” has received today its first four Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. The Eurofighter Typhoons have been handed over in a ceremony at the Wing’s base, Nörvenich, in North Rhine Westphalia and will replace the Tornados today in service with the Wing by the end of June 2010. The JaboG 31 “Boelcke” is the first Luftwaffe unit to use the Eurofighter Typhoon in an air-to-ground role. The Wing’s aircraft – currently running initial operations in cooperation with Training Fighter Wing 73 “Steinhoff” – is expected to be fully operational with all weather GBU-48 laser-guided bombs and the Laser Designator Pod by 2012. The Fighter Bomber Wing 31 “Boelcke” is the third German Air Force Squadron equipped with the Eurofighter Typhoon. Fighter Wing 73 “Steinhoff” based in Laage-Rostock, in northern Germany, received its first aircraft in May 2004 and the Fighter Wing 74 in Neuburg –Donau, based in southern Germany, in July 2006.
09 Dec 09. HMS ENDURANCE: Decision Still Awaited. The Defence Equipment Minister said (9 Dec 09) that options for restoring the MoD’s Ice Patrol capability were still being examined and no final decision on whether to repair/replace HMS ENDURANCE has been taken. The cost of returning the ship to the UK was approximately £4.3m.
Comment: Following an engine room flooding on 16 Dec 08, HMS ENDURANCE eventually returned to Portsmouth on the back of the lift ship MV Target on 10 Apr 09. On 29 Oct 09, the MoD announced that HMS SCOTT had deployed to the Antarctic to undertake ENDURANCE’s usual role. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 10/47, 14 Dec 09)
15 Dec 09. Strong progress is being made by Babcock in the manufacture of one of the key elements of the new aircraft carriers. The huge ‘bulbous bow’ is similar in size and appearance to a conventional submarine, and measures a substantial 27 metres long and 9.5 metres maximum height, weighing some 315 tonnes. The bulbous bow is a protruding ‘bulb’ at the bow of the ship just below the waterline. By altering the bow wave generation and water flow around the hull it will reduce drag, increasing the carrier’s speed, fuel efficiency and stability. In a visit to Babcock’s Appledore shipyard in Devon earlier this month the MoD’s Director Ships, Rear Admiral Bob Love, witnessed the progress being made on this substantial and critical module, forming part of the first lower block (LB01). The bulbous bow, which is being manufactured by joining massive steel plates to produce the complex curvature required, will be completed and shipped with the other LB01 components in spring 2010 to Babcock’s Rosyth facility, where the carrier sections will be combined and assembled in No.1 Dock.
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
11 Dec 09. U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie announced Dec. 11 that he will resign from Congress soon to run for governor of Hawaii. Abercrombie, a Democrat, is chairman of the House Armed Services air and land forces subcommittee and has been instrumental in shifting spending from futuristic weapons to armored vehicles, body armor and other equipment that troops need for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Source: Defense News)
15 Dec 09. A Royal Air Force base will be closed and more than 10,000 jobs lost across the armed forces and Ministry of Defence under cost-cutting plans to be announced on Tuesday. Bob Ainsworth, defence secretary, will cast the sacrifices – amounting to about £1.5bn over three years – as necessary steps to balance an overheated defence budget and shift resources to support the campaign in Afghanistan. (Source: FT.com)
15 Dec 09. Uncertainty again surrounds the future of workers at a Perthshire aviation repairs plant, it emerged yesterday. In a sudden and unexpected development, staff employed by