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14 Jun 12. Software company Systematic has, once again, been reassessed at the fifth and highest level for the international project maturity model, CMMI. For the third time, Systematic has proved that the company has the work processes in its IT development projects under control.

14 Jun 12. The United States military is expanding a secret network of air bases across Africa in order to spy on al-Qaida and other militant groups, the Washington Post reported late June 13. The surveillance is carried out by small, unmarked turboprop planes with hidden state-of-the-art sensors that fly thousands of miles between air bases and bush landing strips across the vast continent, it said. The program, dating back to 2007, underscores the massive expansion of U.S. special forces operations in recent years and the steady militarization of intelligence operations during the decade-long war on al-Qaida.(Source: Defense News)

MARITIME

11 Jun 12. At Fincantieri Muggiano (La Spezia) shipyard there was the ceremony to mark the launch of the “Qarnen”, a patrol vessel under construction for the United Arab Emirates Navy. Her sister ship, the “Ghantut”, was launched last January. The two vessels – whose names come from an area of the Emirates near Abu Dhabi – were ordered in 2010 within the “Falaj 2” program and will be delivered between the end of 2012 and early 2013. The contract provides for an option for a further two vessels in addition to technology transfer to a local shipyard for the construction of further sister ships. Fincantieri is also building the corvette “Abu Dhabi Class” for the UAE Navy at the same shipyard; delivery is scheduled in autumn this year. The patrol vessels “Ghantut” and “Qarnen”, at 55 metres long and 8.60 wide, will be capable of reaching over 20 knots and can accommodate a crew of 28. Their main feature is their particular geometry which will make them difficult to trace by radar (stealth). (Source: ASD Network)

12 Jun 12. Babcock delivers Type 23 frigate on-time, in-budget. Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond left Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard today to start sea trials, following a successful upgrade and maintenance programme completed on-schedule and in-budget by Babcock. The tightly scheduled and complex refit programme has been a challenging one, involving a number of important capability upgrades, plus extensive outer bottom hull repair and represervation work, and has benefited from the close partnering between Babcock, the MoD and ship’s staff, and Babcock’s experience on previous Type 23 docking periods. HMS Richmond leaves Devonport with a number of upgrades and improvements. Upgrades to key weapon and communication systems have included the DNA(2) Command System (which involved a large set to work package to link every weapon system onboard); upgrades to 30mm Automatic Small Calibre Guns; and the SeaWolf Mid Life Update (SWMLU) which will provide an enhanced capability to the existing system to counter an evolving anti-ship missile threat. The Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) (DII(F)) providing an information sharing and collaborative working capability across the Armed Forces and MoD has been installed, involving installation of power and data cables throughout the ship. Extensive improvements have also been undertaken to the venting system providing even distribution of fresh air, significantly improving habitability for the crew on board. These upgrades and improvements are in addition to a full programme of deep maintenance.

15 Jun 12. Amphibious Ready Group Early Move Announced. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the first amphibious ready group (ARG) ship scheduled to shift homeport to Naval Station Mayport, Fla., will arrive in the last quarter of 2013. The USS New York, the USS Iwo Jima and the USS Fort McHenry, will shift from their current homeport of Norfolk, Va., to Mayport. The USS New York will be the first to change homeport, fo

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