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21 Feb 13. Rolls-Royce breaks ground for UK Submarine Core Manufacturing Facility. Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, marked the beginning of construction of its Core Manufacturing Facility at Raynesway, Derby with a ground-breaking ceremony conducted by Vice Admiral Sir Andrew Mathews, MoD. The new facility, which will be a phased-build programme, will replace existing infrastructure and represents the third stage of the Raynesway modernisation project. When operational, the new state-of-the-art facility will produce reactor fuel cores for the UK’s current and future Submarines Programme, sustaining 300 highly skilled jobs. (Source: ASD Network)

18 Feb 13. Nellis prepares for F-35 arrival. The 57th Wing is preparing for the arrival of four F-35 Lighting IIs Feb. 28. Arrival of the F-35s to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., will mark the first time in the aircraft’s history operational tests will be performed on the aircraft. (Source: ASD Network)

18 Feb 13. The controversial downgrading of Rosyth naval dockyard by John Major’s government was carried out despite one of his ministers warning him the Fife site was cheaper and safer to run than similar facilities in the south of England, according to newly-released government papers. The decision in 1993 to strip all nuclear submarine refitting work from the Scottish yard in favour of Devonport in Plymouth sparked a fierce backlash against the Conservative government, and was a leading factor in the party being virtually wiped out in Scotland at the 1997 general election. Now, declassified documents show the depth of ill-feeling in Whitehall and the government in the run-up to the decision made by then defence secretary Malcolm Rifkind, at the time MP for Edinburgh Pentlands. Amid claims by senior civil servants of the Ministry of Defence’s “south of England bias”, the papers detail a strained relationship between the MoD and the Scottish Office. (Source: The Scotsman)
BATTLESPACE Comment: A wider political issue emerged in this process, after the construction of the huge dock at Rosyth – Maastricht. The Maastricht Treaty required John Major to gain support from a number of MPs many of whose constituents were in the South West a, thus Plymouth. However, having switched from Rosyth, which had a granite base, to Plymouth, which had a sand base, there was an earthquake at Faslane 5.56 on the Richter scale which required a huge redesign of the Plymouth docks to have reinforced bottoms at huge costs, a process not required for Rosyth. The facility still remains empty and is the size of several football pitches!

MARITIME

22 Feb 13. The U.S. Navy delivered two more 35-meter patrol boats (PB-310 and PB-311) to the Iraqi navy at the Umm Qasr naval facility in Iraq, Feb. 17, after each craft successfully completed reactivation in Bahrain. These are the 10th and 11th vessels in the 12-boat procurement which will assist in reconstituting Iraq’s ability to enforce maritime sovereignty and security in the northern Arabian Gulf. The U.S. Navy and Swiftships Shipbuilders, LLC, Morgan City, La., are supporting the Iraqi navy in the procurement and construction of the patrol boats. The boat is armed with a 30 millimeter gun weapon system, provides for a crew of 25 and is capable of reaching 30 knots. The Support Ships, Boats and Craft Program Office in the U.S Navy’s PEO Ships, is managing the acquisition of the patrol boats as a foreign military sales case, with the final patrol boat planned for delivery later this year. In addition, the program office delivered two 60-meter offshore support vessels to the Iraqi Navy in December 2012.PEO Ships currently manages the design and construction of all U.S. Navy destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, as well as a wide range of small boats and craft for U.S. agencies and allied nations. (Source: ASD Network)

19 Feb 13. US Navy develops new shipping resupply programme. An innovative Mic

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