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31 Aug 11. HMS DRAGON: Handed Over. HMS DRAGON, the fourth of six Type 45 destroyers, sailed into her new home at Portsmouth Naval Base and was handed over to the RN by BAE Systems on 31 Aug 11.
Comment: First of Class, HMS DARING, is expected to undertake her first deployment from January 2012. Second of Class, HMS DAUNTLESS, is due to start her first operational deployment in April 2012. Third of Class, HMS DIAMOND, was accepted into service on 13 Jul 11. Fifth and sixth of Class, DEFENDER and DUNCAN, remain with the builders, with the former due to go to sea for the first time in November 2011. All six vessels will eventually be based at Portsmouth, from where they are expected to “contribute a specialist air warfare capability to worldwide maritime and joint Operations until 2040”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/34, 05 Sep 11)
31 Aug 11. HMS BULWARK: Olympic Command and Control. Plans are in hand for HMS BULWARK to act as the command and control centre for the security operations surrounding sailing events in the 2012 Olympic Games. The ship is to provide a centre for waterborne operations from a position off Weymouth. Specialist units of Royal Marines are likely to be embarked for the period of the Games.
Comment: By 2012, HMS BULWARK will be the high readiness ‘landing platform dock’ (or amphibiousassault ship) as sister-ship HMS ALBION is placed in extended readiness. During the 2005 Trafalgar 200 celebrations, ALBION provided a force protection command and control headquarters (leading to the above arrangements for 2012). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/34, 05 Sep 11)
13 Aug 11. RFA Largs Bay: Renamed as HMAS CHOULES. Australian Ministers announced (13 Aug 11) that RFA Largs Bay is to commission into the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS CHOULES. The pennant number of HMAS CHOULES is to be L100, marking the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy.
Comment: The Australian Government is honouring the last World War I veteran: former CPO Claude Choules, who died in Western Australia on 5 May 11, aged 110. The Australian Defence Minister said earlier (6 Apr 11) that the five-year old Largs Bay was being acquired for £65m (against a build cost of some £165m). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/34, 05 Sep 11)
01 Sep 11. The Chinese Air Force is to debut two new aerial demonstration teams – the Sky Wing and Red Falcon. The Defence Ministry said the teams will take part in a joint performance in the north-eastern city of Changchun with the air force’s Bayi squadron. The two teams, which are attached to air force flight schools and have a total of 34 pilots, will use domestically developed Jiao-8 and Chujiao-6 trainers. The air force’s training department deputy director Zhao Jingbo said the teams will promote international exchanges, along with awareness of China’s aerospace interests and flight safety. China’s air force, which has unveiled new jets such as the J-10 fighter and a future stealth aircraft, has undergone a major upgrade in recent years, according to Associated Press. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)
02 Sep 11. The US Air Force (USAF) 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron is preparing for a mission to train air forces in African nations that have militaries taking part in United Nations and African Union peacekeeping missions. During the mission, the squadron will impart training to deliver resources and personnel to remote locations and conflict zones. The training will also include loading peacekeepers onto aircraft, setting up air traffic control and using aerial intelligence gathering tactics, according to Stars and Stripes. Germany-based 17th Air Force plans and strategy director Colonel David Poage said the squadron will focus on building the air mobility capacit