20 Nov 15. In Spain, Jordan’s King Shows Interest in A400M, C295. King Abdullah II of Jordan today showed interest in the A400M airlifter and the multirole C-295 aircraft during his visit to the Airbus Defence and Space factory in Getafe near Madrid, according to Spanish officials.
King Abdullah visited the facilities of Airbus with King Felipe VI of Spain. Both monarchs took a photo inside the cockpit of an A400M already prepared to be delivered to the British Royal Air Force. Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenés, Prince Faisal bin Hussein, deputy supreme commander of the Jordanian Armed Forces, and Fernando Alonso, head of the Military Aircraft division of Airbus Defence and Space, were present during the visit. In July 2014, Jordan announced an agreement with US company ATK to convert a Royal Jordanian Air Force C-295 into a gunship to provide “additional capabilities, more firepower and flexibility for the defense of the Kingdom.” That new C-295 will join two smaller AC-235s made by Airbus in Spain and also modified for ground attack by ATK. (Source: Defense News)
20 Nov 15. Canada’s new defence chief cautious on F-35 despite party pledge. Canada’s new Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan on Friday said it was premature to discuss which aircraft would replace Canada’s aging CF-18 fighter jets, caution that just might offer a glimmer of hope to Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter jet.
Sajjan’s Liberal Party pledged in its campaign to scrap planned F-35 purchases.
But in an interview with Reuters, Sajjan said his fledgling government was still working to determine its requirements for the next jet and insisted the selection process would be “open and transparent.”
“I’m focused on the requirements that we need … as a nation that works with our allies as well, with NATO and our NORAD commitments,” Sajjan told Reuters, referring to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Sajjan, a former police officer and veteran of military deployments to Afghanistan, said it would be “premature” to talk about the F-35.
He spoke at the Halifax International Security Forum shortly after meeting Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary Bob Work and said he delivered a similar message in private.
“I told the Deputy Secretary the same thing. I want to focus on making sure we have the right aircraft for Canada,” Sajjan said, without elaborating.
New Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the F-35 “didn’t come up” after his first formal meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday in the Philippines.
Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the F-35 program office, said Canada remained a partner in the program and was still slated to participate in a meeting of the program’s executive steering board in Italy early next month.
“Similar to actions taken by other nations, the Government of Canada is working to launch an open and transparent competition to replace their legacy aircraft,” he said.
“The F-35 Joint Program Office will continue to provide Canada with the data they need to make an informed decision that is in their best national interest.”
At the same time, Trudeau has vowed to stick to another campaign pledge: a promise to withdraw six Canadian jets that have been attacking the militants in Iraq and Syria, as part of a bid to refocus Canada’s military contribution.
Sajjan said it was too soon to estimate when those jets would be withdrawn.
“We have to do it … in a responsible manner that does not decrease the capability of the coalition,” he said. (Source: Reuters)
19 Nov 15. Bahrain naval facilities to be expanded further. The United States is planning to extend the main pier at the Mina Salman naval base in Bahrain by 305m. The move was revealed by a notice posted on the US Federal Opportunities website on 13 November seeking possible contractors to carry out the work. It said the formal solicitation notice should be released in December, the contract will be worth USD20-100 million, and the work should be completed