27 Mar 15. Warplanes hit Yemen’s Houthi-controlled capital and the Shi’ite Muslim group’s northern heartland on Friday, the second day of a Saudi-led campaign to stop the militia establishing its rule across the country. Residents said aircraft targeted Republican Guards bases around Sanaa, including one near the presidential compound in a southern district, around dawn and also struck near a military installation that houses missiles. The Republican Guards are loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Houthi’s main ally. Earlier air strikes south of the city and in the oil-producing Marib region appeared to target military installations also affiliated with Saleh. Warplanes also attacked two districts in the northern home province of the Houthis, tribal sources said. The strikes hit a market in Kataf al-Bokaa in the north of Saada province, killing or wounding 15 people, they said. Shada district was also struck, they said. (Source: Reuters)
27 Mar 15. Pakistan has made no decision on whether to give military support to a Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Friday, while pledging to defend Saudi Arabia against any threat to its solidarity.
“We have made no decision to participate in this war. We didn’t make any promise. We have not promised any military support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen,” he told parliament. “In Syria, Yemen and Iraq, division is being fuelled and it needs to be contained. The crisis has its fault lines in Pakistan too, (we) don’t want to disturb them.” Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi left his refuge in Aden for Saudi Arabia on Thursday as Houthi rebels battled with his forces on the outskirts of the southern port city. Throughout the day, warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck at the Shi’ite Houthis and allied army units, who have taken over much of the country and seek to oust Hadi. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office said on Thursday any threat to Saudi Arabia would “evoke a strong response” from Islamabad and the foreign office said Pakistan was considering a request from Saudi Arabia for troops to be sent to Yemen. Pakistan has been plagued with sectarian violence for years, with militant Sunni Muslim groups targetting its Shi’ite minority. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Reuters)
26 Mar 15. France offers Indonesia Rafale technology transfer. France has pledged to transfer technologies to Indonesia to enable local involvement in the production of the Dassault Rafale multirole combat aircraft if it is selected to meet a requirement in the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU). The French ambassador to Indonesia Corinne Breuzé said in a statement on 26 March that France intends to be flexible in facilitating Rafale collaboration between manufacturer Dassault and Indonesia’s state-owned aerospace company PT Dirgantara (PTDI). She added, “With the support of the French government, Dassault is open to any possibility of partnerships and transfer technology.” In the statement the ambassador also promoted the Rafale as a “100% French” aircraft that would provide the TNI-AU with operational independence, without the requirement for approval from a third party. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 15. Italian agreement points to C-27J and M-345 procurements for Chile. Chile looks set to sign a contract with Alenia Aermacchi for the procurement of the C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft and the M-345 jet trainer, it was disclosed on 26 March. The country’s Defence Minister, Jorge Burgos, signed an agreement with his Italian counterpart, Roberta Pinotti, for collaboration between the Empresa Nacional de Aeronáutica de Chile (Enaer) and Alenia Aermacchi across a range of projects that include cooperation on the two Alenia aircraft types, the Chilean Ministry of Defence announced.
“It is a very important step for Enaer and as a country. This relationship of cooperation, technology transfer, production and marketing of aeronautical pr