25 Nov 15. Human rights groups link UK-made weapons to civilian casualties in Yemen. In an attempt to pressure the United Kingdom to freeze defence exports to Gulf states, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International have reported that a PGM-500 Hakim stand-off weapon killed a civilian and injured others when it hit a ceramics factory in Yemen on 23 September. More a rocket-assisted glide bomb than a missile, the PGM-500 Hakim (also spelt Hakeem) was produced in the United Kingdom for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by GEC-Marconi Dynamics in the 1990s. GEC-Marconi Dynamics is now part of MBDA. In a joint statement released on 25 November the rights groups said the weapon had been identified by comparing its remnants with those from a PGM-500 found at another location in Yemen on 4-5 November. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Nov 15. Posturing continues in the South and East China Seas. While not directly related, on 24 November there were reports of simultaneous political or military posturing in the South and East China Seas by Taiwan, China, and Japan, all intended to strengthen their respective territorial claims. A report in Taipei’s Apple Daily on 24 November revealed Chinese president Ma Ying Jeou’s intention on 12 December to visit Taiping Island (Itu Aba): Taiwan’s single possession in the Spratly Island group. Reacting to the report later that day, a spokesman from the Office of the President remarked, “We do not rule out such a visit.”
Ma’s potential visit to Taiping would cap years of effort to battle its diplomatic isolation and increase its influence as tension increases over the South China Sea. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Nov 15. Indonesian air force selects AW101 for presidential duties. The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) has selected the AgustaWestland AW101 multirole medium helicopter to meet its requirement for a presidential transport aircraft, the Indonesian Air Force chief of staff, Air Vice Marshal Agus Supriatna, has told state-run news agency Antara.
In comments reported on 25 November AVM Supriatna said the programme, which will feature the acquisition of three AW101s in VVIP configuration, is highlighted as a priority in the TNI-AU’s 2015-19 strategic plan. “Having properly assessed [the requirement] we have decided to buy the VVIP helicopters. This is the result of our study,” he said. AVM Supriatna said the programme would have a value of up to USD120m. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Nov 15. Egypt Nears Order for A400M Airlifter. An Egyptian order for Airbus A400M military transport aircraft is looking increasingly plausible and Spanish media confirming initial reports of such a sale say that up to 12 aircraft could be involved. The sale to Egypt was first reported by AndaluciaInformaciones.es, a Spanish news website, which said that Pilar Albiac, the Airbus DS executive vice-president for operations, told the Airbus DS board that Egypt had made its first order during a meeting at the Seville plant, where the A400M is assembled, Albiac did not say how many aircraft Egypt had ordered, but on Nov. 24 the Spanish outlet, quoting unidentified aviation industry sources, said the order will cover twelve aircraft at a cost of €150m each. That puts the total value at €1.8bn, excluding any specific capabilities or equipment that Egypt may require, whose cost would increase total price. Airbus has not confirmed that a sale has been concluded, but a mid-November visit by Egyptian Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi to Airbus’ Seville-San Pablo plant is seen as another corroborating factor. Another Spanish media outlet, Infodefensa.com, quoted an unidentified industry official as confirming the deal, but saying that “the number of aircraft is much exaggerated.” An Egyptian contract for that many aircraft “is not going to happen,” the official said. Egypt currently operates 26 Lockheed C-130 Hercules, however, as well as 9 DHC-5 Buffalos and 24 Airbus C295, so an order for 12 A400Ms, no doubt paid for by Saudi Arabi