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14 Oct 12. Austrian Felix Baumgartner broke records for the highest jump ever, leaping from roughly 128,000 feet. Baumgartner landed in a remote area outside Roswell, N.M. after jumping from a capsule carried to the stratosphere by a helium balloon. Austrian pilot and sky diver Felix Baumgartner set a world record Sunday for the highest parachute jump, safely landing after leaping from a capsule carried by a helium balloon to an altitude of 128,100 feet, some 24 miles up. He also broke the sound barrier during his free fall, as he had hoped, reaching a velocity of 833.9 miles an hour—about Mach 1.24—mission officials said. He apparently failed to break the record for the longest free fall. Mr. Baumgartner was seen on a screen at mission control on the day of his jump. Riding a red and white parasail, Mr. Baumgartner, 43 years old, touched down on a patch of scrubland near Roswell, N.M. He landed on his feet, then dropped to his knees and pumped his fists in triumph, after breaking the jump record that had stood for 52 years. The previous high-jump and free-fall records had been set by Joe Kittinger, who jumped safely from a balloon from an altitude of 19.5 miles in 1960. Mr. Baumgartner’s ascent Sunday on the 55-story-tall helium balloon took more than two hours and set a record for the highest manned balloon ascent, the mission organizers said Sunday. The previous highest altitude for a manned balloon flight was 113,740 feet, set by two U.S. Navy aerialists in 1961. The jump, sponsored by the Austrian beverage company Red Bull, had been postponed twice in the past week due to high winds. On Sunday, a minor heating problem with the protective face mask on Mr. Baumgartner’s pressure suit had mission controllers briefly worried they might have to abort a third time. (Source: WSJ)

08 Oct 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. “Afghan and International Forces operating in Helmand continue to make tangible progress….nine of the 14 Districts in Helmand have begun the transition process, including all three Districts within Task Force Helmand….”. (Written Answer, 8 Oct 12.)
4 Mechanized Brigade took over as Task Force Helmand from 12 Mechanized Brigade on 10 Oct 12,
marking the official start of OP HERRICK 17. The Brigade is reinforced with 40 Commando, Royal Marines.
The handover ceremony was witnessed by Danish, Estonian and US personnel at the Lashkar Gah Headquarters. (TFH, 10 Oct 12.)
A ceremony has taken place at the site of the future Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA). When fully operational, the ANAOA will train up to 1,350 male and 150 female students each year. While the UK is leading the ANAOA project, personnel from Australia, Denmark, Norway and the US are also involved.
(MoD, 10 Oct 12.)
A 2 Squadron Tornado released a Brimstone missile directly on to the source of small arms fire which had trapped a joint ISAF/Afghan patrol. (MoD (Air), 12 Oct 12.)
Comment: The MoD advised that the Royal Military Police arrested seven Royal Marines on 11 Oct 12, on suspicion of murder. The arrests relate to an incident in Afghanistan in 2011, following an engagement with an insurgent. The MoD Press Office stressed that it will not be making any further statement (and media speculation on the subject should be ignored). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/40, 15 Oct 12)

06 Oct 12. Danish Firms Want Bigger Slice of JSF Pie. Denmark’s center-left minority coalition has come under renewed fire from rankled industry chiefs, who claim the government has not done enough to help local companies win more systems and component contracts from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) development program. Danish defense companies have secured a paltry $138m in JSF

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