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06 Jan 16. HAL inaugurates Tumakuru helicopter production facility. India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) laid the foundation for its long-pending INR50bn (UNS670m) military helicopter production facility at Tumakuru, some 74 km north of Bangalore, on 3 January. The complex is projected to start licensed production of 200 twin-engine Russian Kamov Ka-226T ‘Hoodlum’ light multirole helicopters from 2018 and manufacturing over 600 rotary-wing platforms over the next 15 years for all three services, senior officials said. HAL was awarded the more than USD1 billion contract to build the Ka-226Ts for the Army Aviation Corps (AAC) and Indian Air Force (IAF) in early January to replace their fleets of ageing Chetak (Aerospatiale Alouette III) and Cheetah (Aerospatiale SA 315B) helicopters. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
04 Jan 16. US Army opens Fort Bragg geospatial readiness center. After a 2011 tornado wiped out its Geospatial Readiness Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Army Forces Command now is launching a rebuilt and improved facility with an expanded mission. The new Forces Command Intelligence Readiness and Operations Center (FIROC), a 27,000-sq. ft. facility, is more modernized than its predecessor, which coordinated map and data transfers between the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and Army units, according to a report from the Fayetteville Observer.
Emerging from FIROC will be a more comprehensive, real-time operational picture designed to prepare soldiers for unknown conditions on the ground, as well as coordinate combatant commanders worldwide. The center, which functions as both an operational and training facility, will forge further partnerships between NGA, Army Intelligence and Security Command and Army Special Operations Command.
“This is kind of like the phoenix that comes out of the ashes,” MG Jimmie Jaye Wells, FORSCOM chief of staff, told the Observer. “What you see here is the lifeblood of what readiness really is.”
The new center opened on Dec. 16. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
06 Jan 16. Finnish Border Guard deploys OPV for Mediterranean maritime security operation. Key Points:
• Finland has deployed an OPV to support maritime security operations in the Aegean Sea
• This is the first time that the Finnish Border Guard has deployed an OPV for such operations abroad
The Finnish Border Guard offshore patrol vessel (OPV) FNS Merikarhu sailed from Helsinki on 7 January to support a European Union (EU) maritime security operation in the Aegean Sea, in the first time that Finland has deployed an OPV for such operations abroad. The deployment of the Improved Tursas-class ship to the operation – the operation co-ordinated by EU Border Security Agency Frontex – in the eastern Aegean Sea follows a request received from Greece in December 2015. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Jan 16. Secretary of the Navy Announces First Ship of Next Generation Fleet Replenishment Oilers, USNS John Lewis. Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus announced that the first ship of the next generation of fleet replenishment oilers (T-AO 205) will be named USNS John Lewis after the civil rights movement hero and current U.S. representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District. The announcement was made at a ship-naming ceremony held at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
05 Jan 16. General Dynamics NASSCO delivered three lead ships in 2015: USNS Lewis B. Puller, the Isla Bella and the Lone Star State. Each vessel represents three new and separate ship classes and highlights the diverse portfolio of commercial and government contracts for the San Diego-based s