05 Dec 11. The US military has begun withdrawing its troops and equipment from Pakistan’s Shamsi air base under orders from the Pakistan Government after an alleged Nato cross-border airstrike that killed at least 24 soldiers. A senior Pakistani Army official confirmed: “Two US aircraft landed at the Shamsi airbase today to airlift personnel and equipment ahead of the December 15 deadline set by the Pakistan government for vacating the facility.” The Pakistani troops stationed near the base were put on high alert and necessary security measures were taken in order to ensure safe evacuation, the official added. Tension between the two nations was aggravated after a strike on two Pakistani military posts, after which 11 December was set as a deadline for the US to vacate the airbase in Balochistan. The Pakistani Army chief general Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has also warned that any future aggression will result in the country responding “with full force, regardless of the cost and consequences”. The nation also closed routes for Nato supplies to US and allied forces in Afghanistan and decided to boycott the international conference on the future of Afghanistan in Germany. The US President Barack Obama condemned the attack but did not claim any responsibility and reiterated his commitment to a full investigation. Shamsi air base, located in the Washuk district of Balochistan, has been used by the US since late 2001 for launching air strikes in Afghanistan, and was also used as a base for the US drone programme. More than 70 US Marines and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives have left the base. (Source: ASD Network)
07 Dec 11. AgustaWestland Training Academy to open in Malaysia. AgustaWestland will be opening a new AgustaWestland Training Academy (AWTA) in Malaysia in January 2012, expanding the range and number of training courses available for pilots and technicians in the region. The Training Academy will be located at Kuala Lumpur’s Subang – Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport and is part of AgustaWestland’s continued investment programme in its subsidiary AgustaWestland Malaysia Sdn Bhd. It is also planned that from 2013 an AW139 Full Flight Simulator (FFS) will be available in Malaysia, the first to be located in Asia. Sited in Kuala Lumpur, this new FFS will be a major asset supporting the AWTA in delivering a high standard of training to operators in the region.
07 Dec 11. Russian Helicopters industrial holding company, a subsidiary of United Industrial Corporation Oboronprom, has opened a representative office in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. One of the main goals of this opening is to gain access to broader markets, search for new partners and new cooperation modes in Southeast Asia and Australia. As one of the rapidly developing countries of the region and a long-time partner of Russia, Vietnam is an important aviation market for the holding company and a firm foothold for further development of business and the popularisation of Russian rotorcraft in Southeast Asia. The first and foremost tasks of the Vietnamese representative office are to support Russian Helicopters activities in the region and to promote helicopters and parts delivery, leasing, and maintenance services to the regional and international markets.
08 Dec 11. DCNS joins the last sections in France for Brazil’s first Scorpene submarine. The welding of sections 3 and 4, a key step for assembling the forward part of the submarine, is a strong symbol in terms of technology transfer. The 12 welders of the French-Brazilian team started the final operations for joining the sections of the first Scorpène for Brazil. The next assembly operations will be carried out in Brazil. Four days will be needed for this operation, consisting in assembling the rings forming the forward part of the submarine by welding. The resulting assembly, around 6 metres in diameter, 24 metres long and weighing 200 tons, will subsequently ac