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25 Apr 13. Australia opens new landing helicopter dock training facility. The Australian Defence Ministry has opened a new training facility at Mascot, Sydney, in New South Wales to train the future crews of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Canberra-class landing helicopter docks (LHDs), defence materiel minister Dr Mike Kelly has announced. Under the supervision of the Defence Materiel Organisation, Royal Australian
Navy (RAN) and BAE Systems Australia, the 4000m² warehouse was transformed into the new $5m training facility in six months. The new facility is equipped with simulated training suites, LHD ship-fitted equipment, classrooms, a common room and a fitted-out office area for the
instructors and Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel who will work from the centre. BAE Systems Maritime director Bill Saltzer said that the facility would be the most advanced training facilities currently available in Australia and provide a virtual LHD, enabling the crew to understand the navy’s future warships. Featuring a marine evacuation system to train the crews in emergency evacuation procedures, the facility also provides follow-on and through-life support training, in addition to managing and conducting future training needs for the ADF. The RAN will use the two 27,000t LHD ships, HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide, to support humanitarian missions and transport military equipment and aviation units. (Source: naval-technology.com)

24 Apr 13. Russia to open air base in Belarus by 2015: official. Russia on Tuesday announced an agreement to open an air base in Belarus by 2015, part of the two post-Soviet neighbours’ plan to forge a political and military alliance on the doorstep of the European Union. The base is due to open in 2015, while the first fighter jets will appear in Belarus already this year, Shoigu was quoted as saying. Russia already has a radar station and a navy radio station in Belarus but the air unit will be Russia’s first major military base in that country. (Source: ASD Network)

MARITIME

24 Apr 13. HMS AMBUSH: No Cause for Alarm. The Armed Forces’ Minister said (24 Apr 13) that HMS AMBUSH developed a problem with her lubricating oil system on 10 Apr 13, on sailing from HM Naval Base Clyde. The submarine returned alongside under her own power and remedial action was taken. HMS AMBUSH was not towed but accompanied by tugs, which is standard practice for any submarine entering or leaving the Naval Base.
Comment: The Minister was responding to an allegation that HMS AMBUSH had to be “towed back” to the Naval Base following the discovery of a “defect”. HMS AMBUSH is the second of seven Astute Class SSN and she was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 1 Mar 13. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/17, 29 Apr 13)

23 Apr 13. Navantia refloats Spanish Navy’s upgraded S-73 Mistral submarine. Navantia has successfully re-floated the Spanish Navy’s Mistral (S-73) submarine at the company’s shipyard in Cartagena, Spain, following the completion of approximately 80% of modernisation work as part of the vessel’s drydock overhaul programme. The drydock overhaul programme includes dismantling the submarine, replacing ageing components and equipment and then reassembling the vessel. As part of the ship’s 18-month drydock overhaul programme, Navantia and its subcontractors have removed and inspected more than 15,000 pieces of equipment in support of the Mistral submarine, as well as its entire pressure hull. The remaining 20% of modernisation work, including the completion of assembly phase and testing of upgraded equipment in port and at sea will now begin. Scheduled to be delivered to the Spanish Navy in September 2013, the drydock overhaul programme will enhance the ship’s ability to operate for another five years. Having initially entered service with the Spanish Navy in 1977, the S-73 diesel-powered vessel was designed to provide a surface speed of 12k and a submerged speed of 10.5

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