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08 Jun 16. US asks to use Morón as aircraft logistics hub. The United States has asked to use the Spanish air base at Morón for stationing aircraft that could be used in operations in the Maghreb countries of North Africa.
Spanish foreign minister José Manuel García-Margallo said in a radio interview on 7 June that the move was “very probable” and could involve US helicopters “collaborating in anti-drug operations”.
A US Embassy spokesperson in Madrid said the idea is to have a “logistics hub” near Africa, rather than re-patriate aircraft from countries such as Afghanistan all the way back to the United States.
Most of the aircraft involved would be helicopters. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Jun 16. North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear site likely reactivated, IAEA says. North Korea appears to have restarted its nuclear facility at Yongbyon, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on 6 June.
“There are indications that the reprocessing plant at Yongbyon has been reactivated. It is possible that it is reprocessing spent fuel,” IAEA spokesman Fredrik Dahl said in a news briefing, stressing that since agency inspectors have not been on the ground in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) since 2009, “our knowledge of its nuclear programme is limited”.
The statements were made on the same day that IAEA director general Yukiya Amano delivered a statement to the agency’s board of governors that he remains “seriously concerned” about Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.
“It is deeply regrettable that the DPRK has shown no indication that it is willing to comply with the UN Security Council resolution adopted in response to its nuclear test earlier this year,” Amano said while briefing IAEA member states on issues such as the application of safeguards in the communist East Asian country.
The UN nuclear watchdog’s statements are in line with IHS Jane’s analysis of Airbus Defence and Space satellite imagery, captured between 21 February and 21 March, in which smoke was seen rising from the steam plant that services Yongbyon’s reprocessing facilities.
Moreover, the images show that a small amount of water vapour could have been coming from the cooling fan in the reprocessing facility on these dates. Collectively, these images suggest that plutonium reprocessing was probably under way at the site’s reprocessing facility.
“The only other time that these indicators of plutonium production were seen on commercial imagery were three days in early March 2003 after North Korea announced that it was withdrawing from the Agreed Framework treaty with the United States,” IHS Jane’s reported in April.
The imagery also showed continued construction efforts by Pyongyang to develop a suitable water cooling system for the experimental light water reactor (ELWR), noting that it is possible that the ELWR at Yongbyon is also coming closer to testing. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Jun 16. QinetiQ has announced the reopening of its newly upgraded cavitation tunnel to both military and commercial customers. The historic propulsion testing facility is the larger of only two operational cavitation tunnels in the UK. The reopening completes QinetiQ’s International Maritime Consultancy and Software (IMCS) testing capability, which combines state-of-the-art physical and virtual hydrodynamic testing with naval architecture advice and QinetiQ’s advanced ship design software, Paramarine. The facilities include Europe’s largest hydrodynamic testing tank, used to test ship and submarine seakeeping and manoeuvring, and a 270-metre-long towing tank, used to test ship and submarine resistance and propulsion. Samantha Hill, Test and E