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28 Dec 017. BAE Systems reprieves gun testing site at Ridsdale. Nineteen staff at a gun testing site in Ridsdale were given the good news that their jobs were safe, just days before Christmas.
In October, defence contractor BAE Systems announced it would close its gun testing range at The Steel by the end of this year. Fifteen permanent staff and four contractors were to be affected, and talks were talking place about whether they could be transferred to other areas of the business before redundancies were made. BAE Systems said it was making the decision in order to create a more efficient service for the Ministry of Defence. But last Thursday, the staff were told that the closure would no longer take place. A spokesman for BAE Systems said: “We have now decided to retain Ridsdale and continue our operations there.
“Following consultation and feedback on the potential risks of closing the site, we undertook a more detailed review of the costs associated with moving test and evaluation services to a third-party.
“As a result of this review, we have made a decision to keep Ridsdale open.”
The gun testing site has a long-established history in the village of Ridsdale and munitions test firings had been carried out there since 1870.
The gun testing range was previously owned by Victorian industrialist William Armstrong, and was used to proof test large gun barrels from battleships and cruisers which were built by Vickers Armstrong in Elswick, Newcastle.
The village pub, which was also owned by Lord Armstrong, bears the name the Gun Inn in recognition of the area’s connection with the arms industry.
BAE Systems said it will continue to look for efficiencies and ways to improve its services to customers. The spokesman added: “This has understandably been a difficult time for the team at Ridsdale, but they have continued to show true professionalism while this review has been carried out.
“We are pleased to bring some certainty as we approach the new year.”
(Source: News Now/Hexham Corant)
27 Dec 017. Russia to supply Turkey with four S-400 missile batteries for $2.5bn – Kommersant Russia will supply Turkey with four batteries of S-400 surface-to-air missiles for $2.5bn (1.86bn pounds) under a deal that is almost complete, Sergei Chemezov, head of Russian state conglomerate Rostec, told the Kommersant daily on Wednesday. The deal has caused concern in the West because Turkey is a member of NATO but the Russian missile system cannot be integrated into NATO’s military architecture.
In addition, relations between Moscow and the Western military alliance are strained, in part because of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said Ankara would purchase two S-400 systems and four batteries and that all agreements were made, the state broadcaster TRT Haber reported.
Turkey will pay 45 percent of the cost up front with Russia providing loans to cover the remaining 55 percent, Chemezov said. Moscow expected to begin the first deliveries in March 2020, he said.
Chemezov told Kommersant that Turkey was the first NATO member state to acquire the advanced S-400 missile system. He said the Russian and Turkish finance ministries had already completed talks on financing the deal and that the final documents just needed to be approved. (Source: Reuters)
27 Dec 017. Afghanistan – US FAA re-issues conflict zone NOTAM. On 27 December, the US FAA issued a one year extension of its NOTAM and background information for Afghanistan regarding the enduring threat posed to civil aviation within the country due to the conflict zone environment (KICZ A0031/17). In addition to the US; EASA along with the UK, French and German civil aviation authorities have each issued similar guidance to operators regarding overflight of the country