Thursday, March 7, 2019



The List 4941 TGB

To All,

I hope that your week has started well. It will not end well as Daylight Savings Time starts this Sunday at 2 a.m.



This day in Naval History

March 5

1942—The "Seabees" name and insignia are officially authorized. Rear Adm. Ben Moreell personally furnishes them with their official motto: Construimus, Batuimus -- "We Build, We Fight."

1943—Auxiliary aircraft carrier USS Bogue (ACV 9) begins the first anti-submarine operations by an escort carrier in the Atlantic as the nucleus of the pioneer American anti-submarine hunter-killer group.

1945—USS Sea Robin (SS 407) sinks three Japanese gunboats and USS Bashaw (SS 241) sinks two Japanese tankers.

1960—USS Newport News (CA-148) and personnel from Port Lyautey complete emergency relief operations at Agadir, Morocco after Feb. 29 earthquake.

2005—USS Nitze (DDG 94) is commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer is named after former Secretary of the Navy Paul Nitze, who was in attendance for the ship's launching and christening in April 2004, but died before the commissioning ceremony.

Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:

Leading national news headlines today is continued reporting on the tornados that struck Alabama on Sunday and the aftermath, and reports that the winner of a $1.5 billion lottery prize — a record for a single winner — came forward in South Carolina nearly five months after the drawing. USNI News reports that the Navy's efforts to expand and improve its explosive ordinance disposal force. In addition to doubling the number of unmanned systems platoons and improving technology, ExMCM companies have been developing embarkation plans and tactics to deploy on the Littoral Combat Ship, cruisers and destroyers, amphibious and auxiliary ships and partner-nation warships. "Basically because we're so tailorable and scalable and we task organize for each unique mission, we can get on a host of different platforms to get us to the fight," said Cmdr. Jeremy Wheat. USNI also reports that USNS Brunswick and USNS Fall River will serve as command ships during Pacific Partnership 2019.

This day in World History

March 5


Class-based legislation is passed in the colony of Virginia, exempting the upper class from punishment by whipping.


Antonio de Ulloa, the first Spanish governor of Louisiana, arrives in New Orleans.


Austrian troops crush the French and recapture Liege.


James Monroe becomes the first president to be inaugurated on March 5, only because the 4th was a Sunday.


Russians begin to retreat from Mukden in Manchuria, China.


The Italians become the first to use dirigibles for military purposes, using them for reconnaissance flights behind Turkish lines west of Tripoli.


The Soviets move the capital of Russia from Petrograd to Moscow.


Hitler's National Socialists win the majority vote in Bavaria.


Newly inaugurated President Franklin D. Roosevelt halts the trading of gold and declares a bank holiday.


Hitler and Nationalist allies win the Reichstag majority. It will be the last free election in Germany until after World War II.


In desperation due to war losses, fifteen and sixteen year olds are called up for military service in the German army.


In Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill tells a crowd that "an iron curtain has descended on the Continent [of Europe]."


The U.S. Supreme Court affirms the ban on segregation in public schools in Brown vs. Board of Education.


Gustav Heinemann is elected West German President.


Britain gives up on the Ulster talks and decides to retain rule in Northern Ireland indefinitely.


The U.S. Supreme Court rules that cities have the right to display the Nativity scene as part of their Christmas display.


Thanks to Brown Bear

Freedom Days, 4-6 March 1973, Coming Home

Semper Fi, Marine Colonel Orson Swindle!

Once again, WELCOME HOME!!! Later that month, when, with the Grace of Almighty God, the last flight of you Guys came out of Hanoi, the USS Constellation was in-port Subic Bay, P.I. There was a big celebration, and my VF-92 squadron was honored to make the Missing Man flyby. This photo by the local news isn't very good anymore, but it did get national distribution at that time. My #3 guy, LT "Olie" Olson did the pitch up honors from his position on my left wing. Believe LT's Tennyson and Godley were the other two pilots. Too many losses before that memorable day, and so much water under the bow since; but, again with the Grace of God, we survivors are all allowed some fantastic memories. You're certainly among those!

Very Respectfully,

Dick Schaffert aka Brown Bear

Sent from my iPad

On Mar 4, 2019, at 11:42 AM, f8flyer <> wrote:


Thanks to Carl

F-18 Hornet Cruise Video Teaser - YouTube

Four minutes of magnificent flying scenes!! Oh, the memories of the good ole days!


Thanks to Dr. Rich

"Commander's Moon" ...

Thanks to Felix …

… another night at the 'office' …

January 22, 2019 /

We have the second night of The Big Moon down in Culpeper County, one of those remarkable times when the orbital mechanics of our fractious solar system bring our hurtling orbs a little closer together than usual. It is an awesome view from the back deck at Refuge Farm. The pastures are bathed in silver, and it isn't the reflection of all the snow and ice but the light of eternity.

The snow has melted, mostly, except for the parallel lines where the passing rays of the winter sun were blocked by the shadows of the rail fence. Did I mention it was cold?

Bronco wrote me a note today. He is a pal from fighter days, He wrote to tell me what he was reading during the current weather emergency. It happens to be a Raymond Chandler novel from the greatest of the pulp fiction writers of the tumultuous years in LA around the Big War. You know, it was a time when things still made a certain degree of sense out there.

The reviewers say Chandler "invested the sun-drenched streets of the city with a glamorous presence." I know he could write with the impact of a wet fist, and back when I could still learn things, he taught me a lot.

I miss living in Southern California and always will. Here in Virginia, it is colder than hell back on the deck, Tonight, though, the reddish-tinged fellow-traveler in the heavens was as compelling as any I have seen. It was bight silver despite the orange tint and bright enough to bring even a squadron commander safely back aboard the ship.

We used to call them "Commander's Moons" at sea when the old fighter jocks liked to have some light as they went to the Marshall stack and eventually got their abrupt turn on final to recover to the ship.

Black-ass nights darker than the inside of a black cat are no fun. I understand that fact from those that know, even if USS Midway isn't doing that funny ass sway in the tumultuous South China Sea.

Bronco was a Landing Signals Officer (LSO) on Midway Maru, one of the select few of combat guys who were entrusted to provide final guidance to pilots coming home to the ship. The senior guys who had to run this incredible agglomeration of mighty ship, huge crews, and powerful jets preferred as much ambient light to help them get aboard. The moonlight helped.

Fighter pilot protocol: remove glasses quickly after recovery so the deck kids don't see you wearing them. The Air Boss in the Tower already knows, and he gets keep his on.

Bronco asked me out to the LSO platform one night long ago. I don't remember where in the Pacific or Indian Ocean it was. But I wanted to see how it all worked. I was pretty full of myself then (as now) and I was honored to be availed the privilege. I hoped it would help me understand the complexity and adrenaline that goes with routine Naval Aviation. This was not combat. It was a way of life. Add to this the combat part our pilots and Flight Officers do each day, it is something on an altogether higher level that most folks will ever experience. Thank God.

There was a pretty good moon that particular night, one of the endless series that-grinds on forever, black or less so. That particular night I had my float-coat and cranial protection on with earphones so I could try to understand what was going on around me as the recovery commenced. Midway had her usual stern sway, and the stars and moon danced above in the night.

If you have ever felt fully alive (unless waiting for a catapult shot) you might not have had the full experience in less than a couple of seconds.

If you have never had jets land next to you, like right next to you, you may be the better for later hearing, but poorer for not having had the experience. As the lights of the jets formed a spiral ribbon in the sky and then come down to rejoin our company with a controlled crash, I watched the superb precision. The LSOs providing direction when needed as the pilots "called the ball," affirming their acquisition of the sight of the Fresnel lens that showed relative position of the jet and the glide slope to the boat.

It might have been the seventh jet from the stack. I was too amazed to count. Things were going in a routine though noisy fashion. The usual chatter was going on. Then the radio calls for this jet (not naming any names, as the men and women that do this are my heroes), went from "little left for line up" to something with increasing urgency:

"Little settle in close. Power. Power. POWER!"

I watched in amazement as the jet's afterburner went to zone six, got enough power to clear the ramp at the stern, and successfully caught a wire. We only had three wires, unlike the cruise boats from the Left Coast who had four. I turned to say to Bronco that it was pretty cool, but the LSOs had already bailed out, into the net fixed under the platform in the event of disaster.

They knew when it was happening … and I did not.

Ignorance is bliss, and this was one of those handful of events in a life that make you appreciate the continuance of it all the more.

Commander's moon like this tonight? It eases the odds against a smoking sparking catastrophe a couple dozen feet away. Heck, even I might be able land a jet under a moon like this at the farm. Mighty as they are, the carriers are shorter than my pastures.

But I will tell you this: I have never been so honored as to serve with people like those who are doing this tonight, under this moon.

No shit. Commander's Moon tonight. Enjoy it. Fly safely, please … but fly well!

Thanks to Mums m A repeat but neat story…. I do like my 1911

Subject: Fw: COLT M911

An Air Force Story. WW2

Owen John Baggett was born in 1920 in Graham, Texas. By 1941 he graduated from college and went on to work on Wall Street, but by the following year, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps (now USAF) when the United States entered the war.

A studious man, he graduated from pilot training in just five months and was sent to Burma, flying a B-24 Liberator. What happened the following year is one of those stories we just described.

March 31st, 1943, Baggett and his squadron were sent on a mission to destroy a bridge of strategic importance. On their way, the B-24s got intercepted by Japanese Zeros which hit the squadron hard. Baggett's' plane was riddled with bullets to such an extent that the crew was forced to bail out.

While parachuting, a Japanese pilot decided that downing the plane wasn't enough. He circled around andstarted shooting at the bailed out pilots, killing two of the crew. Seeing this, Baggett did the only thing he could. He played dead.

Not convinced Baggett was dead, the Zero pulled up to him at near stall speed, the pilot opening his canopy to check on his horrendous work. Not wasting any time and thinking on his feet (no pun intended), Baggett pulled out his pistol and shot the pilot right in the head

This is considered the best shot by a Caliber .45 M911 pistol of ALL TIME.

The last thing he saw was the Zero spiraling toward earth.

When he landed, he and the other bailed out crew members were captured and sent to a POW camp where they remained till the end of the war. They were liberated by OSS agents and Baggett was recognized as the only person during the war to shoot down a Zero with a pistol.

Verification of story. Owen_J._Baggett


Thanks to Carl

(An amazing and extraordinary man! Saw the daughter's name is Cordish which led to a quick search. She is married to David Cordish, the Chairman & CEO of The Cordish Companies!

Rear Admiral Edgar Keats, World War II veteran and oldest Naval Academy graduate, dies at 104

Four thousand midshipmen sang "Happy Birthday" to Edgar Keats at the Naval Academy on the occasion of his 100th birthday. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

March 2, 2019

Retired Rear Admiral Edgar Keats, a decorated World War II veteran who served in the Pacific and was the Naval Academy's oldest graduate, died of complications of a fall Saturday at Gilchrist Hospice Care. He was 104 and had lived in Guilford and Lutherville.

"He was an indomitable man. He was fearless and had the courtly manners of that era. He was such a gentleman," said a daughter, Suzi Keats Cordish of Lutherville. "He was an unfailing optimist and often said, 'Things are going to work out.'"

Born in Chicago, he was the son of Maxwell Keats, an advertising executive, and his wife, Clara, a homemaker who volunteered with charities. He was active in the Boy Scouts and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at age 13. A Chicago Tribune article said he was the youngest Eagle in the area.

An Illinois congressman, Morton Hull, conducted an examination for candidates to the Naval Academy. Mr. Keats took the test, placed highest and at age 16 won his appointment to Annapolis. He entered the military academy in June 1931 as a member of the class of 1935. He won the Academy's history prize awarded at his graduation.

His family said that Mr. Keats was an accomplished record keeper and kept autobiographical notes.

In that autobiography, he wrote of his service as an aviator flying dive bombers from aircraft carriers.

"In 1941, he was ordered to the Navy's Postgraduate School, located on the grounds of the Naval Academy, where he was one of two selected for the Aviation Ordnance course," he wrote.

But it was not all about flying. "It was there, in March 1942, that he met Ruth Ellen James of Wilmington, N.C. They were married by Navy Chaplain Thomas Rafferty at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., on December 30, 1942."

He was assigned to the Pacific in November 1943 as chief staff officer and air commander in preparation for the Battle of Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.

He recalled in his life story that he landed during the Tarawa battle at dawn on D plus one. An Associated Press photographer took a photo of him and two others that was published under the heading "First scenes from our newest battle front."

As part of his duties he planned the air attack portion of amphibious landings in the Pacific at Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

He was awarded the Legion of Merit medal with a combat citation for his service during World War II. He was later named a rear admiral.

In peacetime, he was named head of armament development in the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics and was sent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a master's degree in aeronautical engineering. He later commanded a dive bomber squadron and was promoted to Air Group Commander of an early Pacific jet air group.

In his autobiography, he recalled how he was catapulted from an early jet, a Grumman Panther, off the carrier Shangri-La and landed the plane on its straight deck. He returned to Maryland as the armament director of the Naval Air Test Center on the Patuxent River.

After retiring from the Navy in 1958, he settled in Severna Park, built a home and managed radio tracking systems for Polaris submarines for the Westinghouse Electronics Division. He lectured widely on the use of satellites in remote areas. He also worked at the Urban Systems Development Corporation to construct military barracks and family housing.

He went on to become president at Standard Dredging Corporation in Baltimore. He worked with dredges in the Persian Gulf, where they deepened harbors and made new land for Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Mr. Keats remained active and drove a car until he was 102. He won gold medals at Maryland Senior Olympics in the 70s, 75s, and 80s age groups in the race-walking category.

Mr. Keats was awarded the National Outstanding Eagle Scout Award from the Eagle Scouts of America at a ceremony at the Greenspring Valley Hunt Club. Until about 10 years ago he taught "World War in the Pacific" and "America in the Last Quarter of the Eighteenth Century" at the Johns Hopkins University, Towson University and Baltimore County Community College.

He participated in the Naval Academy retirement community and chaired six Class of 1935 reunions. He wrote a column for Shipmate, the alumni magazine.

When he turned 100, 4,000 midshipmen sang "Happy Birthday" to him at an Annapolis ceremony.

"'I've never smoked. I drank very little, except when I was a young aviator — we all drank, but I gave it up long ago,'" Mr. Keats said in a 2015 Sun article about his birthday celebration. "'I eat sensibly and I exercise faithfully. Whether that made it, or just good luck, I don't know.' Then, with a smile and a wink, he added, 'I put my money on luck.'"

On his 104th birthday earlier this year, the Naval Academy Alumni Association honored him once again.

His daughter, Suzi Keats Cordish, described her father as a voracious reader who went through three books a week until several weeks ago when he had his injury.

"He was a scholar who was interested in the forming of this country and its constitutional history. He studied it. It fueled his patriotism," she said.

His wife of 59 years, an artist, died in 2001.

A life celebration is being planned for March 9.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include another daughter, Ellen Keats Stifler of Baltimore; six grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and his longtime companion, Sara Carlton of Baltimore.


Thanks to NHHC

"Not Quite Dead" Ships

NAVSEA's Expeditionary Warfare Ship Division Director James Harrison recently presented a brown-bag lecture entitled, "I'm Not Quite Dead Yet," which focused on vessels that had been damaged but refused to sink. Included in the discussion were two U.S. Navy vessels: USS Squalus and USS Enterprise. Squalus was conducting test dives when the crew failed to close the main induction valve, and half of the submarine flooded—killing 26 of the 59-man crew. Squalus then bottomed out in 243 feet of water. USS Falcon rushed out to rescue the survivors using a McCann Submarine Rescue Chamber. The bell-shaped chamber was lowered down to the sunken sub and attached. The remaining 33 survivors all made it out, but the Navy then had the tough job of salvaging the sub, which was resting on the sea floor. Eventually, she was raised and recommissioned USS Sailfish. To learn more, read USS Squalus: The sinking, rescue of survivors, and subsequent salvage, 1939 at NHHC's website. Harrison also included stories on the battle-scarred Enterprise, which the Japanese reported sunk more than four times during World War II. To learn more about these resilient vessels, read the U.S. Navy release


News from around the world

Israel—U.S. Deploys THAAD Air Defense System For Joint Exercise Jerusalem Post | 03/05/2019 For the first time, the U.S. has deployed its Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system for a joint exercise in Israel, reports the Jerusalem Post. The tactical deployment is designed to practice rapidly deploying the complex system and strengthen cooperation with Israeli air defense systems, the Israel Defense Forces said on Monday. About 200 U.S. troops from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) are taking part in the month-long exercise, said the U.S. European Command. During the exercise, U.S. troops will work in various locations in Israel to "refine network connectivity, validate requirements for the THAAD system" and strengthen interoperability and readiness with Israel, said EUCOM. At Nevatim airbase in southern Israel, troops are working on integrating the U.S. system with existing Israel radars, said the IDF. The U.S. has deployed an AN/TPY-2 X-band radar, part of the THAAD system, in Israel since 2008 to provide additional warning time for potential launches from Iran, noted Haaretz (Israel). The drill is defensive and not aimed at any country, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as cited by the Times of Israel. The exercise is likely to be seen as a chance to practice a joint defensive responses in the case of an Iranian attack, said analysts.

Saudi Arabia—Lockheed Wins Initial Deal For Saudi THAAD Air Defense System CNBC | 03/05/2019 The Pentagon has contracted Lockheed Martin to supply Saudi Arabia with the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, reports CNBC. On Monday, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency awarded Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control, Dallas, Texas, a US$945.9 million Foreign Military Sales contract for Phase I long lead items, obsolescence, tooling and test equipment and associated support for the project, the Pentagon said. Work under the contract is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 31, 2026. Obsolete systems currently in place will be updated to accommodate THAAD within the Saudi missile defense architecture, reported Reuters. In November, Riyadh signed a letter of acceptance for 44 launchers, missiles and associated equipment. The entire system has an estimated cost of US$15 billion, according to previous statements by the State Dept.

Syria—Hundreds Of Suspected ISIS Militants Quit Baghouz Syrian Observatory for Human Rights | 03/05/2019 As many as 300 members of the ISIS terrorist group have departed the last town held by the group through a humanitarian corridor established by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), reports the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group. On Monday, at least 1,600 people fled the ISIS-held town, according to the watchdog group, which relies on a network of in-country activists and reporters. An SDF spokesman told Reuters that 3,000 people had escaped the town. Up to 300 of them may be members of the terrorist group. Most of the evacuees were Iraqi and Central Asian, sources told the observatory. As many as 1,000 fighters may remain in Baghouz, sources said. The SDF have continued rocket and mortar attacks on the town to maintain pressure on the terror group. Efforts to retake the town have slowed amid fears of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and booby traps, said the SDF. Separately, the Syrian military announced on Tuesday that it had conducted airstrikes against ISIS targets in the central al-Sukhna region of Syria, reported the pro-government Al Watan newspaper.

USA—Pentagon Expected To Reduce F-35 Request For Fiscal 2020 Bloomberg News | 03/05/2019 The Pentagon is looking to cut its acquisition of F-35 stealth fighter jets in its fiscal 2020 budget, reports Bloomberg News. Anonymous defense officials said that the Defense Dept. is expected to revise its request from 84 F-35s to 78 in the upcoming budget, which is expected to be presented next week. The Air Force still seeks the 48 jets it previously requested, suggesting that the cut comes from the Navy or Marine Corps, said an official. Congress has in the past increased appropriations for the jet in the final budget. In fiscal 2018, for example, lawmakers added 16 jets to the Pentagon's request. At the same time, the Air Force has issued a new request for eight upgraded F-15 fighter jets, which would be the first of the type purchased by the U.S. since 2001.

USA—Defense Officials Reveal Details Of Space Force Proposal Defense News | 03/05/2019 Senior defense officials have unveiled details of the Pentagon's legislative proposal for the creation of the Space Force ordered by President Trump last year, reports Defense News. The proposal, which was submitted to Congress on Feb. 27, calls for $2 billion in new funding over a five-year period, officials said on March 1. More than 95 percent of the Space Force annual budget is estimated to consist of resources that will be transferred from existing DoD budget accounts, the officials said. The Space Force will share many resources, including an acquisition chief, general counsel and chaplains, with the broader Dept. of the Air Force, according to the proposal. The Pentagon plans to spend about $72 million on setting up a headquarters for the service with about 200 military and civilian staff in fiscal 2020. Costs are expected to increase to about $500 million per year as the force grows. An undersecretary of the Air Force for space and the service's chief of staff, as well as some new general officer roles, will be nominated and submitted for congressional approval. In 2021 and 2022, a majority of the missions will be transferred from existing space-related offices to the new service, including relevant space operational elements; acquisition elements; and training and education elements. Over the following two years, new units or organizations could be activated to meet new mission and service demands. Some 15,000 personnel from existing offices will be moved under the new service by the end of 2024, the officials said. Other details, such as how the guard and reserve components will work, have yet to be finalized. A more detailed legislative proposal is expected to be submitted to Congress in 2021. There are questions about how it will interact with the intelligence community, which will continue to operate its own space assets. The Space Force and its adjacent Space Combatant Command will push the intelligence community "to better understand space threats and to provide intelligence support to planning, operations and acquisitions," the summary said.

USA—F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighters Allegedly Deployed For Combat In 2017 The Aviationist | 03/05/2019 The U.S. Air Force reportedly deployed decommissioned F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters for combat missions in the Middle East in 2017, according to the Dutch aviation magazine Scramble as reported by the Aviationist blog. At least four F-117 Nighthawks were deployed due to an "operational need" that emerged, conducting missions over Iraq and Syria using Small Diameter Bombs, the magazine reported on March 2. One of the aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing away from its base, which was likely in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or Qatar, the magazine said. The F-117 Nighthawk was retired in August 2008. Congress ordered the fleet of 63 fighters to be kept in a condition "that would allow recall of the aircraft for future service," noted the War Zone website. F-117s have been seen flying periodically in the Southwest U.S. over the last several years. Nevertheless, War Zone noted that there was no concrete evidence that the F-117 had been sent into combat in any form. The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act called for the "demilitarizing" of four F-117s each year.

USA—Robert Ward Fast Response Cutter Enters Coast Guard Service U.S. Coast Guard | 03/05/2019 The U.S. Coast Guard has announced the commissioning of its newest Sentinel-class fast response cutter. The Robert Ward (WPC-1130) formally entered service during a ceremony in San Francisco on Saturday, said a Coast Guard release. The vessel is named in honor of Robert Ward, who served as a coxswain of a landing craft in World War II. Ward rescued two stranded boat crews during the invasion of Normandy, noted Coast Guard News. The Robert Ward is the second of four Sentinel-class cutters to be homeported at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach. The cutter will operate throughout the 11th Coast Guard District, which includes all of California and international waters off Mexico and Central America. The Coast Guard has accepted delivery of 31 Sentinel-class cutters to date.

Turkey—Dispute Over IP Leads Rolls-Royce To Curtail Efforts To Join TF-X Program Financial Times | 03/05/2019 British aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce has scaled back its efforts to develop the engine for Turkey's indigenous fighter program, reports the Financial Times (U.K.). Disputes over the sharing and ownership of intellectual property, as well as the involvement of the Qatari-Turkish company BMC, are the causes of the discord. BMC's major shareholders include the Qatari Defense Ministry and Ethem Sancak, a businessman known to have links to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogen. Disagreement over the issues emerged last year and the parties have been unable to come to a resolution since. Senior U.K. officials, including Prime Minister Theresa May, had lobbied extensively for the British company to be chosen for the project. According to Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East, the company had "satisfied a number of conditions" to permit Turkey to create an engine that was indigenously produced. "We've given what we believe is our best offer in terms of the conditions around that," he said. It is up to Ankara to decide if it wants to work with Rolls-Royce, East said, while acknowledging that defense decisions often take a long time. A Turkish official said Ankara remained open to working with the British company if it is willing to understand the government's main concerns. Turkey has reportedly been exploring other engine makers for the project, including General Electric.

Nepal—Army In Line For Polish Transport Aircraft U.S. Department Of Defense | 03/05/2019 The U.S. Air Force has awarded Polish aviation firm PZL Mielec a contract for short-takeoff-and-landing transport aircraft for Nepal, reports the Dept. of Defense. The US$18.9 million Foreign Military Sales contract covers two M28 Block 05 aircraft, maintenance, training, technical publications and ferry flight service to Kathmandu, Nepal, said a Pentagon release on March 1. The deal involves foreign military financing for Nepal. Work will be performed in Mielec, Poland, and is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 20, 2019. The Nepalese Army Air Wing operated one M28 it received from Poland in 2004, which was lost in a crash-landing in 2017, reported IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.

Russia—Moscow Formally Suspends INF Treaty With Washington Tass | 03/05/2019 Russia has formally halted its participation in a nuclear pact with the United States, reports the Tass news agency (Russia). On Monday, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ordering the suspension of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, said a Kremlin release. The suspension will remain in place until Washington comes into compliance with the treaty or until the treaty is terminated, the release said. Putin also ordered the foreign ministry to send a notice of suspension to the United States. The bilateral INF Treaty entered effect in June 1988 and bans all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges of 300-3,400 miles (500-5,500 km). Russia has accused the United States of violating the accord by deploying missile launchers to Romania and Poland. Washington, in turn, argues that Moscow is in violation by developing the 9M729 cruise missile. On Feb. 1, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the suspension of U.S. participation in the treaty. Washington will fully withdraw the treaty in six months unless Russia returns to "real and verifiable" compliance, he said.

Lebanon—Canadians Lead Winter Warfare Exercise Jerusalem Post | 03/05/2019 Lebanese troops are taking part in cold-weather training led by the Canadian armed forces in the mountains of Lebanon, reports the Jerusalem Post. The training is led by the Canadian Training Assistance Team in Lebanon (CTAT-L) and is designed to improve border security in isolated mountain and snowy regions, said a Facebook post on March 2 by Canada's Joint Task Force-Impact. The training covers patrolling, skiing and mountaineering; tying knots; and ascending and rappelling. CTAT-L is part of Operation Impact, which was launched in the Middle East in 2014. The operation began as a combat mission against the Islamic State and has since refocused on training, assisting and advising regional security forces. CTAT-L also provides cold-weather clothing, tool kits for border outposts and combat first-aid training. In late February, Ottawa supplied logistics trucks and snowmobile trailers to the Lebanese military.

Mauritania—Defense Minister Announces Run For Presidency Asharq Al-Awsat | 03/05/2019 Mauritanian Defense Minister Ould el Ghazouani says he will run in the upcoming presidential election scheduled for June, reports Asharq Al-Awsat (London). Ghazouani announced the decision at a stadium in the capital, Nouakchott, on March 1. The decision is backed by the ruling Union for the Republic party. The retired general is considered close to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who cannot run for a third term, noted Radio France Internationale Afrique. Ghazouani served as army chief of staff until his retirement last year. He was named defense minister in November and is described as the "engineer" of the war against terrorism.

Syria—Tehran Forms New Militia To Help Protect Interests In Syria Voice Of America News | 03/05/2019 Iranian military advisers are forming a new militia in Syria to increase Tehran's influence, reports the Voice of America News. Iran has recruited at least 1,200 Syrians to the fledgling militia so far, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based war monitor. The new force is part of an agreement signed by leaders of both countries in May 2017, said an Iranian defense reporter. An Iran-directed Syrian militia has reportedly been under discussion for some time. In late 2018, the pro-opposition Zaman Al Wasel news website reported that it had received Syrian defense ministry documents approving a plan to give Iran more operational autonomy in Syria. It is unclear what differentiates the new force from other Iranian militias operating in the country. Thousands of Syrians are believed to have served in Iranian militias deployed across the country, including Hezbollah. Tehran says that its forces in Syria are there to protect Shi'ite shrines. Opponents say its real objective is strengthening the Assad regime and pursuing the goal of developing a "corridor of influence" through Iraq and Syria into Lebanon.

Djibouti—Air Force Receives Upgraded Ex-Saudi Dauphin Helicopters Defence Web | 03/05/2019 Djibouti has taken delivery of four upgraded AS 365N Dauphin helicopters, reports Defence Web (South Africa). The helicopters arrived on Jan. 16 after being modernized by Airbus Helicopters Romania. The two-year, 5 million euro (US$5.7 million) project included a general overhaul, the conversion of one for VIP transport and two others for passenger transport. The fourth remained in the original medical configuration. The helicopters are expected to be based in at Base Aerienne 188 at Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport. The existence of the helicopters was first revealed in 2016. The helicopters were previously used by the Royal Saudi Armed Forces Medical Services. Their acquisition by Djibouti was reportedly financed by Riyadh.

China—More Air Defense Personnel Set To Begin Training On S-400 In Russia Tass | 03/05/2019 Chinese troops will begin training on the S-400 air defense system in Russia later this month, reports Russia's Tass news agency. About 100 Chinese troops will undergo instruction at a Russian training center from March to June, a source told the news outlet. The contingent will be trained to operate the second regiment of the air defense system, which is expected to be delivered in the second half of this year. China became the first international customer for the system in 2015, buying two regiments for US$3 billion, noted the Diplomat (Tokyo). The first regiment was delivered in the spring of 2018.

Pakistan—Cabinet Issues Orders Making It Easier To Target Terrorist Finances Reuters | 03/05/2019 The Pakistani government says it has made it easier to go after the assets of sanctioned militant groups, reports Reuters. On Monday, the foreign ministry announced a new order that it said streamlined procedures for seizing and freezing the assets of militant groups and individuals sanctioned by the U.N. The order was passed by Prime Minister Imran Khan's Cabinet. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the new procedures aimed to close loopholes exploited by militant groups. Several Pakistani groups have been subject to U.N. Security Council sanctions, which critics say have been laxly enforced. A counterterrorism official said the government aimed to set up a group to coordinate efforts against militants. Tensions with India have risen after a suicide bomber killed 40 Indian paramilitaries last month. India attacked militant targets in Pakistan in response. New Delhi regularly accuses Pakistan of willfully ignoring the threat posed by terror groups that target India.

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