23 Feb 05. Canada would boost defense and homeland security spending substantially under the 2005 budget presented to Parliament Feb. 23 by Finance Minister Ralph Goodale. Over the next five years, Canada’s military would benefit from “the largest increase in defense spending in 20 years, worth more than c$12.8bn (US $10.3bn) in cash terms,” he said. On top of that, Goodale said, C$1bn (US $820m) would be earmarked for improving security at Canadian diplomatic missions abroad, emergency planning and response, transportation and border security and the fight against organized crime. In the defense package, C$3bn (US$2.4bn) would pay for the additional 5,000 regular troops and 3,000 reservists already announced by the government; C$3.2bn (US $2.6bn) would go to improve training of Canada’s forces, repair infrastructure, and step up the provision of supplies and repairs — which the military has complained about for the past several years. Another $2.7bn (US$2.1bn) would be used to purchase new medium-capacity helicopters, trucks and utility aircraft for Canada’s anti-terrorism unit, known as JTF-2 (Joint Task Force-2). Domestically, the budget provides $222m (US$179m) for increased security on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, which border the United States, and for increased police presence in Canada’s ports. (Source: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, OTTAWA)
23 Feb 05. Two British soldiers have been found guilty at a court martial of charges relating to abusing Iraqi prisoners. Daniel Kenyon, 33, was convicted of three charges and Mark Cooley, 25, of two following abuse at Camp Bread Basket, Basra, during May 2003. A panel of seven senior military officers returned the five guilty verdicts at Osnabrueck, Germany. Both the soldiers, and a third – Darren Larkin – who had admitted assault, are due to be sentenced on Friday.
22 Feb 05. Sales of French arms around the world are declining because of stepped-up competition by the United States, Russia and Israel, the French defense ministry said Feb. 17. Although France remains the third biggest weapons merchant after the United States and Britain, its share of the market is slipping, a report by the ministry covering sales in 2002-2003 showed. From 1994 to 2003, French arms sales accounted for 12 percent of the world’s total, and brought in an average €5bn ($6.5bn) per year, the report said. In 2002, however, sales were just €4.4bn, and in 2003 they were €4.2bn. Together, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and Germany sell 90 percent of the weapons imported in the world, it added. Israel, China, Italy, Sweden and South Africa divided up most of the remaining 10 percent of arms sales. France’s biggest clients are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Greece, Britain, Pakistan and India. Sale of “weapons that are not directly lethal” are also made to China; surveillance equipment such as night-vision goggles were sold to Iran. Libya was preparing to place an order for military equipment to shore up its defenses badly eroded though years of recently lifted sanctions, he said. (Source: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, PARIS)
14 Feb 05. Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi’s overall exports portfolio exceeds 4bn dollars, the company’s press service told Interfax-Military News Agency. It said the company intends to retain the annual exports of military aircraft at about 1.5bn dollars, mostly upgraded Su-27/Su-30 Flankers, during the next decade. The demand for Su planes remains high because the holding company ensures high quality of its products and provides specifications required by the customers, the press service said. Su planes have distinguished themselves in joint exercises with planes of other countries. “This created a solid foundation, which the company plans to strengthen through improving the current logistics support system for Su planes,” it said. At present Sukhoi is developing a logistics support system with service centres in India, China and Malaysia, the press servi