Tuesday, December 17, 2019

TheList 5166


The List 5166 TGB

To All,

I hope that you all have a great weekend. 10 days to Christmas and one more weekend after this one.

Regards,
Skip


This day in Naval History

Dec. 13

1775—The Continental Congress provides for the construction of five ships of 32 guns, five ships of 28 guns, and three ships of 24 guns at an estimated cost of $866,666. The ships are Hancock, Randolph, Raleigh, Warren, Washington, Congress, Effingham, Providence, Trumbull, Virginia, Boston, Delaware, and Montgomery.

1941—Cmdr. William A. Sullivan is designated the first Supervisor of Salvage.

1943—USS Osmond Ingram (DD 255), USS George E. Badger (DD 196), USS Clemson (DD 186), and FMs VC-19 from USS Bogue (CVE 9) sink German submarine U 172 west of the Canary Islands.

1943—USS Wainwright (DD 419) and British destroyer HMS Calpe sink German submarine U-593 150 miles northeast of Algiers.

1943—USS Sailfish (SS 192) sinks Japanese cargo ship Totai Maru east of Tokara Strait while PBY aircraft sink Tokiwa Maru in the Bismarck Sea.

Dec. 14

1814—Under the command of Commodore Thomas Catesby Jones, U.S. gunboats, along with Sea Horse and Alligator, engage the British during the Battle of Lake Borgne, LA. Though the American flotilla is defeated, the engagement delays the British attack on New Orleans for nine days, buying precious time for Gen. Andrew Jackson's successful defense of New Orleans.

1911—USS California (ACR 6) breaks a red, white, and blue ribbon stretched across a Hawaiian channel to become the first ship to call on Pearl Harbor after it becomes a naval base.

1944—The rank of Fleet Admiral (five-star admiral) of the U.S. Navy is established during World War II due to the rapid build-up of U.S. military forces. The first five-star admirals are: William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King, and Chester W. Nimitz. Adm. William F. Halsey joined the selected group Dec. 11, 1945.

1944—Task Force 38 aircraft begins the attack on Japanese transport Oryoku Maru which, unbeknownst to the Task Force, is carrying approximately 1,600 Allied prisoners of war. The following day, the ship is sunk at Subic Bay.

Dec. 15

1845—Yorktown captures the slaver Panther off Kabenda, Africa. Previously that September, Yorktown also captured the slavers Pons and Patuxent.

1944—USS Hawkbill (SS 366) sinks the Japanese destroyer Momo west of Luzon.

1944—The invasion of Mindoro Island, Philippines begins. During the battle, USS LST 738 is hit by a Japanese kamikaze plane and set ablaze. After attempts to control the fires are unsuccessful, LST-738 is sunk by the guns of other ships of the invasion fleet. USS LST 472 is also hit by the kamikaze attack and sinks six days later.

1965—Gemini 6 is launched, making 16 orbits in 25 hours and 51 minutes. Capt. Walter M. Schirra is command pilot and Thomas P. Stafford is pilot.

1988—Operation Earnest Will ends in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Navy ships escorted reflagged Kuwaiti tankers and approximately 270 neutral ships and tankers to protect them from missile attacks and mines laid during the Iran-Iraq War.

Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:

• Multiple outlets report the United States conducted its first test of a new land based ballistic missile following withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

• USNI News reports that the Saudi military is cooperating with the NAS Pensacola shooting investigation, while twelve members of Saudi Arabia's military remain restricted to the base.

• Multiple outlets report that Randall Schriver, assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, resigned on Thursday.

Today in History December 13

1789

The National Guard is created in France.

1812

The last remnants of Napoleon Bonaparte's Grand ArmeƩ reach the safety of Kovno, Poland, after the failed Russian campaign. Napoleon's costly retreat from Moscow

1814

General Andrew Jackson announces martial law in New Orleans, Louisiana, as British troops disembark at Lake Borne, 40 miles east of the city. The Battle of New Orleans

1862

The Battle of Fredericksburg ends with the bloody slaughter of onrushing Union troops at Marye's Heights. Maine's Colonel Chamberlain at Marye's Heights.

1902

The Committee of Imperial Defense holds its first meeting in London.

1908

The Dutch take two Venezuelan Coast Guard ships.

1937

The Japanese army occupies Nanking, China. Boeing's Trailblazing P-26 Peashooters.

1940

Adolf Hitler issues preparations for Operation Martita, the German invasion of Greece.

1941

British forces launch an offensive in Libya.

1945

France and Britain agree to quit Syria and Lebanon.

1951

After meeting with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, President Harry S Truman vows to purge all disloyal government workers.

1968

President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mexico's President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz meet on a bridge at El Paso, Texas, to officiate at ceremonies returning the long-disputed El Chamizal area to the Mexican side of the border.

1972

Astronaut Gene Cernan climbs into his lunar lander on the moon and prepares to lift off. He is the last man to set foot on the moon.

1973

Great Britain cuts the work week to three days to save energy.

1981

Polish labor leader Lech Walesa is arrested and the government decrees martial law, restricting civil rights and suspending operation of the independent trade union Solidarity.

1985

France sues the United States over the discovery of an AIDS serum.

2001

Terrorists attach the Parliament of India Sansad; 15 people are killed, including the terrorists

2003

Deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein captured; he is found hiding in near his home town of Tikrit.


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Thanks to Norm

Subject: Fwd: Domestic Terrorism and What Are We Prepared to Do ?

The attached appeared in today's local paper (Manchester, NH). ' Might be

useful if those agreeing would do likewise with your Rags!

Norm

---------- Original Message ----------
From: oompah1@comcast.net
To: letters@unionleader.com
Date: December 7, 2019 at 4:43 PM
Subject: Domestic Terrorism and What Are We Prepared to Do ?

For the Editor,

The latest Terrorist attack one on two

levels, first, the not surprising event but at a U.S. Military base, which leads

me to the second level, the inability of those there to defend themselves!

The prohibition of weapons carriage aboard Military installations is not only

stupid, but these days, dangerous, as Pensacola has demonstrated. Fort

Hood was another sorry example where returning/departing combat troops

sat like ducks while that Muslim used them like a shooting gallery would.

Finally, the Liberal-edicted restriction (I'm told it was a Clinton era rule) is an

insult to us combatants, many of whom are permitted to carry, but not aboard

our Bases/Stations.

Time to wake up, America!

Norm Gandia,

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Thanks to Robert

The 69th Anniversary of the Korean War "Chosin Few".....The Tootsie Roll Marines

On November 26, 1950, 10,000 men of the First Marine Division, along with elements of two Army regimental combat teams, a detachment of British Royal Marine commandos and some South Korean policemenwere completely surrounded by over ten divisions of Chinese troops in rugged mountains near the Chosin Reservoir. Chairman Mao himself had ordered the Marines annihilated, and Chinese General Song Shi-Lun gave it his best shot, throwing human waves of his 120,000 soldiers against the heavily outnumbered allied forces. A massive cold front blew in from Siberia, and with it, the coldest winter in recorded Korean history. For the encircled allies at the Chosin Reservoir, daytime temperatures averaged five degrees below zero, while nights plunged to minus 35 and lower.

Jeep batteries froze and split. C-rations ran dangerously low and the cans were frozen solid. Fuel could not be spared to thaw them. If truck engines stopped, their fuel lines froze. Automatic weapons wouldn't cycle. Morphine syrettes had to be thawed in a medical corpsman's mouth before they could be injected. Precious bottles of blood plasma were frozen and useless. Resupply could only come by air, and that was spotty and erratic because of the foul weather.

High Command virtually wrote them off, believing their situation was hopeless. Washington braced for imminent news of slaughter and defeat. Retreat was hardly an option; not through that wall of Chinese troops. If the Marines defended, they would be wiped out So they formed a 12-mile long column and attacked.

There were 78 miles of narrow, crumbling, steeply-angled road and 100,000 Chinese soldiers between the Marines and the sea at Hungnam. Both sides fought savagely for every inch of it. The march out became one monstrous, moving battle.

The Chinese used the ravines between ridges, protected from rifle fire, to marshal their forces between attacks. The Marines' 60-millimeter mortars, capable of delivering high, arcing fire over the ridgelines, breaking up those human waves, became perhaps the most valuable weapon the Marines had. But their supply of mortar rounds was quickly depleted. Emergency requests for resupply were sent by radio, using code words for specific items. The code for 60mm mortar ammo was "Tootsie Rolls"but the radio operator receiving that urgent request didn't have the Marines' code sheets. All he knew was that the request came from command authority, it was extremely urgent and there were tons of Tootsie Rolls at supply bases in Japan.

Tootsie Rolls had been issued with other rations to US troops since World War I, earning preferred status because they held up so well to heat, cold and rough handling compared to other candies.

Tearing through the clouds and fog, parachutes bearing pallet-loads of Tootsie Rolls descended on the Marines. After initial shocked reactions, the freezing, starving troops rejoiced. Frozen Tootsies were thawed in armpits, popped in mouths, and their sugar provided instant energy. For many, Tootsie Rolls were their only nourishment for days. The troops also learned they could use warmed Tootsie Rolls to plug bullet holes in fuel drums, gas tanks, cans and radiators, where they would freeze solid again, sealing the leaks.

Over two weeks of unspeakable misery, movement and murderous fighting, the 15,000-man column suffered 3,000 killed in action, 6,000 wounded and thousands of severe frostbite cases. But they reached the sea, demolishing several Chinese divisions in the process. Hundreds credited their very survival to Tootsie Rolls. Surviving Marines called themselves "The Chosin Few," and among themselves, another name: The Tootsie Roll Marines. Join me in sharing their story and some Tootsie Rolls.

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Thanks to Dutch….This is uplifting

https://facebook.com/100008393468097/videos/2256659237957170/

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Thanks to Mugs….Take a few minutes to look at this one.

Cherry Picking

There's just too much of this data out there for us to be fooled by the climate change scare (You listening, Greta, Person of the Year?), but it seems most of us are.

Mugs

Fake Science revealed. Liars figure and figures can lie.

Tired of being called a climate change denier? Want the real story so you can fight back? Well, you're in luck! It takes a few minutes to view, but you'll forever be glad you did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8455KEDitpU#action=share

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Another from Mugs….That is a couple of large aircraft doing quite a ballet.

Air Refueling A Stealth Bomber

A treat when viewed in full screen. Refueling receptacle door is virtually invisible until opened.
A couple of minutes of close-up video of a Stealth bomber being in-flight refueled.
NOTE HOW THE REFUELING DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i =0bc_1428285879


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Short and Sweet

Thanks to Mud

He should have also mentioned that the Swiss military keeps their weapons at home.

S/F,

- Mud

If you think guns are a problem in the U.S. You should watch this. If, on the other hand, you do not believe guns are a problem, then you should watch this. It's that good.


Be sure to watch until the end and send this to your LEFTIST BUDDIES.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/pELwCqz2JfE?rel=0&autoplay=true

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Ensign's Funeral

Terribly sad. He was a fine looking young man. This was a decent thing for the sailors and Marines to do.

S/F,

- Mud

VIDEO: Hundreds of sailors, Marines form line to salute slain sailor's family at FL Navy base


https://americanmilitarynews.com/2019/12/video-hundreds-of-sailors-marines-form-line-to-salute-slain-sailors-family-at-fl-navy-base/

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Thanks to Dutch…as I remember this was in "The Right Stuff"

Chuck Yeager 1963 altitude attempt

'My face was on fire': Incredible video emerges of test pilot Chuck Yeager ejecting from space modified fighter jet after losing control at 100,000ft as the 96-year-old talks about the bid to beat Soviet altitude record in 1963

On December 10, 1963, Aerospace Research Pilot School Commander Chuck Yeager strapped into the cockpit of a modified NF-104A Starfighter

On that day, it was Colonel Yeager's job to test the capabilities of the seldom-flown aircraft and to see how its reaction control systems would fair at 100k ft.

But Yeager - dubbed the 'World's Fastest Man' for becoming the first pilot to break the sound barrier in 1947 - had something else on his mind

The war hero knew that if he was able to push the NF-104A to optimum performance, he could reach at least 120,000 feet and set another world record

The flight was going just as he planned until the pilot reached 101,595 feet and the aircraft went into an uncontrollable spiral for which he couldn't recover

For the next 90,000 feet, he grappled to level out the plane so he could safely eject from the aircraft, eventually managing to do so at a little over 8,500 feet

However, during the separation from the ejection seat, Yeager was hit in the face by the rocket nozzle which started a fire and burned his face and neck

By Luke Kenton For Dailymail.com

Published: 13:40 EST, 12 December 2019 | Updated: 15:33 EST, 12 December 2019

Incredible new video footage has emerged of legendary pilot Chuck Yeager losing control of an astronaut training jet at 100,000 feet but dramatically ejecting just moments before the aircraft crashes to the ground.

Almost 59 years ago today, on December 10, 1963, that Aerospace Research Pilot School Commander Chuck Yeager strapped into the cockpit of a NF-104A, ahead of what would later prove to be a nail-biting brushing with death.

The NF-104A, which is essentially an F-104 Starfighter modified with a thrust rocket engine tail, was chosen earlier that year to train pilots to become astronauts at Edwards Air Force Base, in California, in the controversial 'Right Stuff' educational program.

On that day, it was Colonel Yeager's job to test the capabilities of the seldom-flown aircraft and to see how its reaction control systems would fair in the weak molecular structure of the atmosphere above 100,000 feet.

But Yeager - dubbed the 'World's Fastest Man' after becoming the first pilot to break the sound barrier in 1947 - had something else on his mind.

The rest of the story is at =

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7785699/Incredible-video-emerges-pilot-Chuck-Yeager-wrestling-control-astronaut-trainer-jet-fighter.html

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Thanks to Jack and Barrett

On the Periphery of a Terrorist Attack

What Jack said...

And in case it's of interest to anyone, here's my blog-rant on the subject from TEN YEARS AGO.

https://barretttillman.blogspot.com/2009/11/

Feel free to forward.

Barrett

From: Thebubbas <thebubbas-bounces@thebubbas.org> on behalf of John Ensch via Thebubbas <thebubbas@thebubbas.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 12, 2019 1:37 PM
To: the bubbas <thebubbas@thebubbas.org>; sleonard001@san.rr.com <sleonard001@san.rr.com>
Subject: [TheBubbas] On the Periphery of a Terrorist Attack

Last week Kathy and I where on the periphery of the evil terrorist
attack in P'cola and had a rather stark reminder of just what a crazy
world we live in today. We were at NAS P'cola Wed/Thurs/Fri last week
for my annual EX-POW physical for that ongoing study the Navy has been
conducting on us since we returned in 1973. We drive over every year
from our condo here in JAX when we're here to spend the year-end holiday
season with our kids and g'kids who all live in the JAX area.

We were just checking out of the BOQ Fri. morning (6 Dec.) )when the
shooting started. As a result we got caught in the base-wide lock down
and spent 2-3 hours in the lobby of the BOQ before we could leave and
drive off base to return to JAX.

The building #633 complex where the shooting occurred is only about 500
- 1,000 yards away from the BOQ (Bldg. #600). Looking out the front
windows of the BOQ, across that open drill field by the base chapel, we
could see building #633 and the other buildings in the complex and the
flashing lights of the 1st responder's vehicles surrounding it. A sort
of strange/eerie feeling of coincidence came over me as I looked out -
realizing that building #633 where the shooting took place is the very
same building where I checked in to the Naval Aviation Schools Command
for AOCS to start my naval aviation training back in January 1965. Go
figure!

Schools, churches and military bases, being "gun free" zones, seem to be
very inviting targets for a terrorist to attack!

Please pray for the families of the victims.

Fingers

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USA—Air Force Test-Fires Conventional Ballistic Missile From Vandenberg AFB Defense One | 12/13/2019 The U.S. Air Force has tested a second missile banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which Washington withdrew from earlier this year, reports Defense One. On Thursday, a "prototype conventionally-configured ground-launched ballistic missile" was fired from a static launch stand at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., said a Pentagon spokesman. The missile flew more than 310 miles (500 km) and landed in the ocean. Data from the test will inform further development of U.S. intermediate-range capabilities, said the spokesman. In August, the Navy and Strategic Capabilities Office fired a modified Tomahawk missile from a mobile ground launcher. The INF treaty banned the testing, development and deployment of missiles with ranges between 310 miles (500 km) and 3,420 miles (5,500 km). The U.S. formally withdrew from the accord in August after years of alleged Russian violations.

USA—Air Force Set To Receive MH-139 Helicopter Air Force Global Strike Command | 12/13/2019 The U.S Air Force is scheduled to accept delivery of its first MH-139 helicopter from Boeing next week, reports Air Force Global Strike Command. Boeing will hand over the helicopter on Dec. 19 during a delivery and naming ceremony at Duke Field, Fla. During the event, the Air Force will announce the aircraft's nickname. Air Force Global Strike Command chose the MH-139 last year to replace its aging UH-1N aircraft for missile field security, civil search-and-rescue, airlift support, National Capital Region and other missions. The command is buying 84 MH-139s for $2.38 billion.

USA—Air Force Pilot Training Programs Recover After Hypoxia Issues Air Force Times | 12/13/2019 U.S. Air Force pilot training has started to recover after hypoxia issues in 2018 limited the number of pilots produced, reports the Air Force Times. In fiscal 2019, a total of 1,279 pilots completed undergraduate pilot training, a 10 percent increase over the 1,109 pilots graduated in fiscal 2018, said the Air Education and Training Command. The figure was short of the service's goal of 1,311 pilots in 2019. The Air Force wants to continue to increase the number of pilots trained to address a shortfall of 2,000 pilots. A goal of 1,480 pilots has been set for fiscal 2020, said an AETC spokeswoman. Pilot graduation rates dropped in 2018 due to unexplained physiological events, including hypoxia systems, that led to several groundings of the T-6 Texan II basic trainer fleet. The problem was traced to fluctuating oxygen concentrations in the environmental system. A short-term solution, including purging moisture from the onboard oxygen generating system (OBOGS), was introduced and the service is now redesigning and upgrading the system.

USA—11th Expeditionary Fast Transport Delivered To Navy Navy Newsstand | 12/13/2019 The U.S. Navy has accepted delivery of its 11th Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport, reports the Navy NewsStand. The Puerto Rico (T-EPF-11) was handed over by shipbuilder Austal USA on Dec. 10 in Mobile, Ala. The catamarans are designed for high-speed intra-theater cargo and personnel transport. The ships are non-combatant vessels operated by Military Sealift Command. Two more Spearhead-class ships are under construction and Austal USA is under contract to build an additional vessel, the 14th in the class.

USA—Top Asia Defense Official To Step Down Radio Free Asia | 12/13/2019 The Pentagon's top Asia policy official has resigned, reports Radio Free Asia. On Thursday, the Dept. of Defense announced that Assistant Secretary of Defense Randall Schriver would step down, reported the South China Morning Post. The assistant secretary had been thinking of leaving his post for some time for "personal reasons," sources said. Schriver will leave his office at the end of the year, one source told RFA. He has served in the post since January 2018, noted Defense News. Schriver previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and chief of staff and senior policy adviser to Richard Armitage, then deputy secretary of state. The outgoing assistant secretary was known for his criticism of Beijing, in particular the mass detention of Muslim Uighurs in camps in western China. His support for Taiwan caused friction with elements of the Trump administration seeking to secure a trade deal with China, reported Foreign Policy.

Croatia—NATO Special Operations Aviation Training Center Opens In Zadar Nato Press Release | 12/13/2019 Four NATO allies have jointly opened the Multinational Special Aviation Training Center (MSAP TC) in Zadar, Croatia, reports the alliance. Representatives from Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia and NATO jointly inaugurated the center in a Dec. 11 ceremony, reported the Croatian Ministry of Defense. The center is focused on training air crews to transport special operations forces. Academic training is scheduled to begin in 2020, with flight training to start in 2021. The center offers the ability to train in a variety of terrains, including mountains, over the sea and on islands. The training center is supported by the NATO Special Operations Headquarters and will have informal relations with special operations aviation communities throughout the alliance.

China—Foreign Ministry Orders Vessels To Comply With UNCLOS After September Incident South China Morning Post | 12/13/2019 The Chinese Foreign Ministry has moved to increase the compliance of its science vessels with international law on research in the waters of other countries, reports the South China Morning Post. On Tuesday, the ministry posted a notice that all Chinese vessels, including those conducting scientific research, must comply with the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) when entering another nation's waters. Chinese vessels were reminded to secure a statement of consent from other nations when entering their exclusive economic zones (EEZ). Research institutions, individuals and companies will now be required to submit requests to enter foreign EEZs to the foreign ministry at least seven months in advance to give the ministry sufficient time to make the necessary arrangements with other countries. The ministry retains the right to decline to apply for permission if the applicant is found to have a record of non-compliance, the notice says. However, the notice specifically exempted activities in disputed waters in the South China Sea. Tuesday's announcement follows a September incident in which Chinese research vessel Shiyan-1 was expelled from Indian waters. The Shiyan-1 was found operating in India's EEZ near Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and was ordered to leave by an Indian warship.

North Korea—Images Show Work Continues At Satellite Launching Site 38 North | 12/13/2019 Satellite imagery shows continuing work at a North Korean satellite launching site, reports 38 North, a website that monitors North Korea and is operated by the Henry Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. Images dated Dec. 11 show a 32-foot (10-meter) truck at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, where Pyongyang conducted an "important test" on Dec. 7. The truck is parked near one of the site's newer fuel/oxidizer bunkers, west of the engine test stand. The images also suggest the presence of a crane but the resolution is too low make a definitive assessment, the website said. Analysts believe the test was of either an existing liquid-fuel rocket engine or a new type of powerplant.

South Korea—Government Mulls Middle East Mission Yonhap | 12/13/2019 The South Korea government is examining ways to contribute to U.S.-led maritime security efforts in the Persian Gulf, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul). On Thursday, officials from the president's office said that the administration had reviewed various means to secure South Korean citizens and ships near the Strait of Hormuz. Sources told the Chosun Ilbo (Seoul) that multiple options were being considered and that nothing had been decided. The 300-strong Cheonghae Unit, currently deployed on an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden, could be redeployed to the Strait of Hormuz, sources told the newspaper. A smaller option could include sending liaison officers and smaller naval vessels. It was not immediately clear if the mission would occur within or in parallel to the U.S.-led mission in the region. Japan is expected to announce a 270-person maritime security mission in the area before the end of the year. That mission will take place separately from the U.S.-led mission.

Australia—Military Facilities In Northern Territory Being Upgraded Stars And Stripes | 12/13/2019 The Australian government is making major investments in military facilities in the Northern Territory, reports the Stars and Stripes. About US$715 million has been allocated for upgrades to the HMAS Coonawarra naval base and Larrakeyah Defense Precinct, both in Darwin, the Australian Dept. of Defense told the newspaper on Dec. 11. The work is intended to support new patrol ships but will also improve facilities for visiting U.S. Navy vessels, experts said. Around US$272 million is for a new outer wharf, along with associated fuel storage and refueling facilities, to support large warships. That work is to be completed by 2023. Another project, valued at US$220 million, covers the dredging of the harbor's inner basin and upgrades to existing wharves to support such vessels. The modernization will also support the homeporting of six of the navy's new Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels, said the department. Finally, the infrastructure at Larrakeyah Defense Precinct will be upgraded for US$223 million. Australia has previously announced US$88.65 million in upgrades for the air force base at Darwin as well as plans to modernize the nearby Tindal air base.

Australia—Air Force Doubles F-35 Fleet AT RAAF Williamtown Australian Dept. Of Defense | 12/13/2019 The Royal Australian Air Force has doubled the size of its F-35A Lightning II fleet located domestically, reports the Australian Dept. of Defense. With the addition of seven aircraft, the fleet at RAAF Williamtown in New South Wales state has grown to 13, Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said on Dec. 12. The RAAF also has five F-35s stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., for training. Australia plans to purchase a total of 72 F-35s. The government recently authorized the purchase of the final 24 jets. Canberra has also signed on to a multinational block buy contract worth US$34 billion, under which it will receive 45 aircraft at a unit cost 5 percent below the expected price when the program was approved in 2014.

Afghanistan—10 Dead In Roadside Blast In Ghazni Province TOLONews | 12/13/2019 At least 10 people have been killed and six injured in an explosion in Afghanistan's central Ghazni province, reports the Tolo News (Kabul). On Friday, a civilian vehicle struck an explosive device in the Jaghatu district, reported Agence France-Presse. All of the victims were civilians, said a provincial spokesman. A presidential spokesman blamed the Taliban for the attack. The bomb was likely intended for Afghan forces, since it was planted around 1,000 feet (300 m) from a military base, said officials cited by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The attack came a day after a Taliban suicide operation that targeted a medical facility near Bagram air base. Following the attack, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad announced that talks with militants had again been put on hold.

Iraq—Suicide Attacks Kill 11 Members Of Sadr's Militia Agence France-Presse | 12/13/2019 A pair of suicide bombers have killed at least 11 fighters from an Iraqi paramilitary group north of Baghdad, reports Agence France-Presse. On Thursday, a suicide attacker set off their explosives at a base belonging to the Saraya al-Salam paramilitary group near Tharthar lake, southwest of Samarra, said a military statement. Seven fighters were killed and three injured. Later, a second attacker detonated a car bomb at the facility, killing four more fighters. The Saraya al-Salam (Peace Companies) are a militia led by Shi'ite cleric Moqtada Sadr. There were no immediate claims of responsibility. The military statement used terminology typically employed for attacks by ISIS.

Libya—Haftar Announces 'Final Battle' For Tripoli Reuters | 12/13/2019 Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar says he has launched "the final battle" for Tripoli, reports Reuters. In a speech broadcast by Al Arabiya (Dubai) on Thursday, the leader of military forces in eastern Libya said his forces had begun the final push to take the city. He has previously announced major operations that have borne little results. In April, Haftar launched an operation to take the capital, currently held by the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). After initial success in southern parts of the country, fighting stalled south of Tripoli. Haftar has recently received increased support from members of Russia's Wagner Group private military company. At least 200 civilians and more than 2,000 fighters have been killed since Haftar launched his assault, according to U.N. figures cited by Al Jazeera (Qatar).

Nigeria—Airstrikes Kill 30 Boko Haram Terrorists In Northeast This Day | 12/13/2019 The Nigerian air force has launched a new operation against Boko Haram in the northeastern part of the country, reports This Day (Lagos). On Wednesday, Nigerian fighter aircraft launched Operation Rattle Snake, attacking terrorist headquarters in Parisu and Garin Maloma, located on the edge of the Sambisa Forest in Borno state, an air force spokesman said. At least 30 terrorists had been observed at Parisu by intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft prior to the strike. Several terrorists were killed in the initial attack, which destroyed several structures, and others were killed in follow-on attacks. An attack earlier in the day at Garin Maloma had "neutralized" several Boko Haram fighters, the spokesman said.

Nicaragua—Foreign Minister Pays Visit To Moscow Tass | 12/13/2019 Nicaragua's top diplomat is in Russia to discuss a number of issues, including strengthening military and technical cooperation, reports the Tass news agency (Moscow). On Friday, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Ronaldo Moncada Colindres met his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. The talks covered bilateral issues, economic and humanitarian cooperation, as well as military ties. Lavrov praised the close economic, political and military cooperation between the two countries. Military ties between the two nations have expanded since the election of President Daniel Ortega in 2007. Nicaragua has faced international pressure due to its crackdown on a protest movement that began in April 2018 against Ortega. The country also hosts ground stations for Russia's GLONASS satellite navigation system.



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