04 Jun 16. The State Department’s annual report on global terrorist activity, which was released on Thursday, stated that Iran “remains the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in 2015.”
The report noted that Iran provides “a range of support, including financial, training, and equipment, to groups around the world.”
Iran continued to be deeply involved in the conflict in Syria, working closely with the Asad regime to counter the Syrian opposition, and also in Iraq where Iran continued to provide support to militia groups, including Foreign Terrorist Organization Kata’ib Hizballah. In addition, it was implicated for its support to violent Shia opposition group attacks in Bahrain. Iran was joined in these efforts by Hizballah, which continued to operate globally, as demonstrated by the disruption of Hizballah activities in Peru in 2014 and Cyprus in 2015.
Justin Siberell, the State Department’s acting counterterrorism coordinator, told reporters that the State Department was “concerned about a wide range of Iranian activities to destabilize the region.”
The report specifically identified Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) as the country’s “primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.” IRGC-QF commander Qassem Soleimani is under a United Nations travel ban, but has been reported to have violated the ban by traveling to Syria and Iraq to direct military operations there, as well as to Russia.
Secretary of State John Kerry admitted in an interview in January that some of the billions of dollars that are to be freed up after the lifting of nuclear sanctions on Iran “will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists.” ((Source: theisraelproject.org/via TheTower.org)
03 Jun 16. U.S. Air Force to seek compensation from Boeing KC-46 tanker delay. The U.S. Air Force said on Friday it would seek compensation from Boeing for its delay in delivering KC-46 aerial refueling tanker aircraft.
“The KC-46 contract does not contain pre-defined penalties for missing schedule deadlines,” Air Force spokesman Maj. Robert Leese said in a statement. “As with any contract schedule breach, the Air Force will seek consideration commensurate with the impact of the breach…from Boeing.” (Source: Reuters)
03 Jun 16. Lockheed Martin flies first T-50A aimed at USAF T-X competition. Key Points:
• Lockheed Martin has completed an initial test flight of a modernised T-50A
• The aircraft was developed jointly with Korean Aerospace Industries for USAF’s T-X trainer programme
Lockheed Martin completed a first test flight of a modernised T-50A that it developed jointly with Korea Aerospace Industries for US Air Force’s (USAF’s) T-X trainer programme, the company announced on 2 June.
The T-50A is the company’s aircraft offering in the USAF’s competition to replace the ageing Northrop T-38 Talon. The T-50A configuration is a block upgrade of the existing T-50 design. Changes include aerial refuelling capability, embedded training, open system architecture, and a fifth-generation cockpit, company officials have said. Lockheed Martin plans to build the T-50A for the USAF and for potential international customers at its Greenville, South Carolina, facility. Major components of the aircraft like the wings, fuselage, and tail will be assembled in South Korea and shipped to South Carolina for final assembly.
“The aircraft in its new configuration with the [fifth-generation] cockpit and other upgrades performed flawlessly,” Mark Ward, Lockheed Martin T-50A lead test pilot, said after his flight in Sacheon, South Korea. “I have no doubt this aircraft will close the gap which currently exists between the trainer fleet and [fifth-generation] fighters.”
The USAF in March announced a delay to its planned opening of the T-X competition by three months in order to further refine the request for proposals (RfP). The programme office anticipates an RfP release in late Decem