Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The List 5204

The List 5204 TCB

To All,

I hope that your week has been going well.



This day in Naval History

Jan. 30

1862—The first U.S. Navy ironclad warship, USS Monitor, is launched. Commissioned a month later, she soon engages in battle against CSS Virginia, the first battle between ironclad warships.

1863—While Landsman Richard Stout is a member of the crew of USS Isaac Smith, which is operating on the Stono River, SC, Confederate forces ambush and capture the ship. For his brave conduct during this action, in which he is badly wounded, Landsman Stout is awarded the Medal of Honor.

1944—U.S. Navy ships, including battleship North Carolina, and aircraft, sink nine Japanese vessels.

1944—PB2Y aircraft (VP 13 and VP 102) from Midway Island carry out nocturnal bombing raids on Wake Island to neutralize Japanese airfield installations. The strike marks the first time Coronados are used as bombers.

1960—The guided-missile destroyer John King (DDG 3) is launched at Bath, ME.

Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:

• While speaking at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly spoke of the importance of distributed operations to the ongoing force structure assessment, multiple outlets report.

• Jane’s Navy International reported from aboard USS Gerald R. Ford as the carrier conducts sea flight tests.

• Multiple outlets report that a crude oil supertanker caught fire in the Persian Gulf, west of the Strait of Hormuz.

This day in World History

January 30


Charles I of England is beheaded at Whitehall by the executioner Richard Brandon.


Richard Theodore Greener becomes the first African American to graduate from Harvard University.


The USS Monitor is launched at Greenpoint, Long Island.


Women Prohibitionists smash 12 saloons in Kansas.


The British House of Lords opposes the House of Commons by rejecting home rule for Ireland.


The United States awards civil government to the Virgin Islands.


Adolf Hitler is named Chancellor by President Paul Hindenburg.


Governor Harold Hoffman orders a new inquiry into the Lindbergh kidnapping.


Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus surrenders himself and his staff to Red Army troops in Stalingrad.


The Allies launch a drive on the Siegfried line in Germany.


In India, 100,000 people pray at the site of Gandhi's assassination on the first anniversary of his death.


President Dwight Eisenhower announces that he will pull the Seventh Fleet out of Formosa to permit the Nationalists to attack Communist China.


The Ranger spacecraft, equipped with six TV cameras, is launched to the moon from Cape Canaveral.


British troops shoot dead 14 Irish civilians in Derry, Ireland. The day is forever remembered in Ireland as 'Bloody Sunday.'


The U.S. Supreme Court bans spending limits in campaigns, equating funds with freedom of speech.


The first-ever Chinese Olympic team arrives in New York for the Winter Games at Lake Placid.


Latest status from the Bear

Dick... thanks for the suggestion...

All eight of the “Wings Over Vietnam” series are included in the Links on my RTR home page... got it covered... (and a lot more—more than 50 pertinent links on site).

FYI... I am in the process of restarting my blog and returning to Rolling Thunder ops. Commando Hunt III through VII (1970-1972) will be summarized in one post freeing me to start posting unpublished Rolling Thunder documents that I possess. Back in 1985 the Navy was clearing out old files of CINCPACFLT awards recommendations and I diverted, with authorization, eight cartons headed for destruction to my vault in the Pentagon. I took a lot of notes, etc, while they were in my care. In due course—about six months—I returned them to the storage facilities in Suitland, MD and they went into the shredder or burn bags... None were classified, having been downgraded by the passage of time with automatic declass after 12 years. Despite my effort to get the Navy history people to preserve the eight book cartons of the summaries of action and proposed citations for every major strike mission flown in Rolling Thunder, etc, they were destroyed.

I sprinkled some of this unclassified, begged and borrowed documentation through my 950 daily “Rolling Thunder Remembered” posts (March 2016-Nov 2019), now archived at the site. I also have in hand the declassified PACAF monthly air ops summaries for Southeast Asia, including Rolling Thunder, material held at the Air Force History Research Agency at Maxwell, but not yet available on-line. My weekly “Return to Rolling Thunder” posts will put these unique records of Yankee Air Pirate courage and skill from more than fifty years ago in the sunlight for the first time. I anticipate closing out Commando Hunt in a mid-February Post and commencing “Return to RT” on Monday, 2 March.

Last Fall David Lovelady and Chris Hobson joined to put Hobson’s one-of-a-kind and rare out-of-print “Vietnam Air Losses” on line at The addition of this monumental history of the air war in Vietnam responds to the same need that my RTR posts served for more than 40 months— to get the great work of Chris Hobson where it needed to be: on-line for posterity. I will continue to reference and link to the on-line Hobson on Micro’s extraordinary website and go from there with unpublished PACAF and CINCPACFLT documentation from the years of Rolling Thunder. What I have to post is the real thing... true tales of the attacks carried to the heartland of the enemy in the years of Rolling Thunder.

All the best to the Head Bull... Bear🇺🇸⚓️🐻

On Jan 29, 2020, at 10:30 AM, Richard Hamon <> wrote:


I’m fairly certain that you have this video, but just in case you don’t—here it is.

Warm regard,


Subject: Rolling Thunder


Some True Facts from Barrel. Interesting --check the new glue out

Too many to list.....


Thanks to DR

Subject: Life


From the H-Gram Archives so we do not forget. Thanks to NHHC.

Guadalcanal Campaign: Battle of Rennell Island and Operation Ke

In late January 1943, all the intelligence indicators strongly pointed to another major Japanese effort to retake Guadalcanal similar to the pushes in September, October, and November that had all resulted in horrific battles ashore, at sea, and in the air. In response to the Japanese build-up at Truk and Rabaul, Admiral Nimitz committed virtually the entire operational U.S. Pacific Fleet to Vice Admiral Halsey's South Pacific Force. Both operational carriers (the repaired USS Enterprise (CV-6)—and USS Saratoga (CV-3)) three modern battleships, additional cruisers (including three new-construction Cleveland-class light cruisers) waited south of Guadalcanal to counter, or preferably ambush, the reconstituted Japanese carrier force when it came. Three times in the first week of February 1943, a force of over 20 Japanese destroyers (the "Reinforcement Group") steamed to Guadalcanal, fighting off long-range U.S. air attacks at dusk, and the first night engaging in a vicious fight with U.S. PT-boats that resulted in the loss of three PT-boats and one Japanese destroyer. Intelligence provided to U.S. Army Major General Alexander Patch (who had relieved Marine Major General Alexander Vandegrift and the 1st Marine Division in command of U.S. forces on Guadalcanal) suggested the Japanese had landed at least a regiment of troops on the island (which wasn't much compared to U.S. troop strength that would soon reach 50,000). It wasn't until 7 February that advancing U.S. Army troops realized that they were only being opposed by Japanese troops who couldn't walk, armed only with a rifle, poison pills, and orders to do what they could to slow down the U.S. troops, with their names meticulously recorded by the Japanese so their sacrifice would never be forgotten. Only then did the Americans realize we'd been had by one of the most effective deception operations by any side in the war. Operation Ke was an evacuation, not a reinforcement, and the Japanese successfully withdrew over 10,000 troops without significant loss from the island, albeit leaving behind over 20,000 dead and a handful of dying (and another 10,000 who had been previously lost at sea, including about 3,800 Japanese Imperial Navy sailors.)

The weeks between the U.S. debacle at the Battle of Tassafaronga on 30 November 1942 and the start of Operation Ke were marked by several largely forgotten but bloody battles between the U.S. and Japanese navies. With the loss of a heavy cruiser and three more heavy cruisers put out of action for months at Tassafaronga, the U.S. stopped sending large ships into Ironbottom Sound, leaving the PT-boat squadrons (Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla One) based at Tulagi to oppose further efforts by the Japanese "Tokyo Express" to get supplies to their troops on Guadalcanal. On the next Tokyo Express run after Tassafaronga, on 3 December, the U.S. PT-boats accomplished the same thing as the U.S. cruisers had (preventing the resupply effort) at far less cost. The Japanese only attempted one more supply run, this one more successful, on 11 December. In January, U.S. surface ships began to venture for the first time up "The Slot" toward the central Solomon Islands to bombard a Japanese airfield being constructed (and soon abandoned) on Munda. A Japanese air attack following the bombardment mission saw the combat debut of the highly secret variable-time (VT) fuze ammunition for the 5-inch/38-caliber guns aboard the new U.S. cruisers. With the 5-inch VT fuze and the Bofors 40-mm guns (which had made their debut at the Battle of Santa Cruz on October 1942), U.S. surface ships finally had reliable anti-aircraft guns that could knock down Japanese aircraft prior to weapons' release, while the increasingly dense thicket of Oerlikon 20-mm guns on U.S. ships ensured that many Japanese aircraft that got through the 5-inch and Bofors wouldn't come back a second time.

At end of January, the Japanese got in two more severe blows on the U.S. Navy. The Japanese deployed two elite squadrons of G4M Betty bombers that had been extensively trained to conduct night torpedo attacks, and on the night of 29 January, the Bettys hit the heavy cruiser USS Chicago (CA-29)—survivor of the Battle of Savo Island—with two torpedoes near Rennell Island, southwest of Guadalcanal. Through valiant damage control efforts by Chicago's crew, the crippled ship was kept afloat and was being towed from the battle area by USS Louisville (CA-28). However, a series of tactical blunders, which caused even the normally even-tempered Nimitz to blow his stack, left the Chicago vulnerable to air attack late the next afternoon. Despite heavy losses, Japanese bombers hit the cruiser with four more torpedoes, sending her to the bottom, and also damaged the destroyer La Vallette (DD-448) with a torpedo. On 1 February, Japanese dive bombers caught the destroyer De Haven (DD-469) off the north shore of Guadalcanal, hitting her in the forward magazine and causing a massive explosion that sent her to the depths of Ironbottom Sound with most of her crew, including her skipper, Commander Charles Tolman. De Haven wouldn't be the last; in April 1943, Japanese bombers would sink the destroyer Aaron Ward (DD-483)—survivor of the Battle of Friday the 13th—off Guadalcanal.

With the Battle of Rennell Island and the end of Operation Ke, the Guadalcanal campaign was effectively over (although the last Japanese holdout on the island didn't surrender until October 1947). After six months of some of most vicious combat in the history of naval warfare, the increasingly strong U.S. Navy was in possession of the waters around the eastern Solomons. The cost to both sides had been extremely heavy, and roughly even at sea and in the air. On land, Japanese army casualties greatly exceeded those of the U.S. Marines and U.S. Army. The Battle of Midway stopped the Japanese advance, but the Guadalcanal campaign was the true turning point of the war in the Pacific. The cost to the U.S. Navy included two aircraft carriers, five heavy cruisers (plus one Australian heavy cruiser), two light cruisers, 15 destroyers, three destroyer-transports, and one transport, plus about 615 aircraft (of all services, including 90 carrier-based) and just under 5,000 Sailors killed (including 130 naval aviators and air crew, plus 92 Australian and New Zealand naval personnel, but not including 49 Marines embarked aboard ship). Almost three times as many American Sailors died at sea defending Guadalcanal as American Marines and Army personnel died on it. During the brutal six-month campaign, the U.S. Navy "abandoned" the U.S. Marines for a grand total of four days, yet that myth lives on. However, to the Corps’ credit, they remember and venerate the extraordinary sacrifice and valor of the Marines who held that embattled disease-ridden island against repeated Japanese attacks, while the U.S. Navy has largely forgotten the extraordinary sacrifice and valor of those Sailors who enabled the Marines to hold fast. For more on the end of the Guadalcanal campaign, please see attachment H-015-2


After reading the Vietnam statistics Here was Micro’s comments

I enjoyed re-reading the list of Vietnam statistics.

I’m reminded of a site somewhere on the internet that has little-known stats about Vietnam. It discusses how many people CLAIMED in various censuses to be Vietnam veterans vs the number of us actually remaining. My calculations show that in 2000, when over 13,000,000 CLAIMED to be Vietnam vets (the latest numbers I had at the time), if you ran into a random stranger that claimed to be a Vietnam vet, there was a 96% chance he was lying.

Think about that. Some of those clowns had to have been the protestors and draft dodgers. That means the ones that hated us then now want to be us.

That's Karma.


Thanks to Clyde….Well we better keep enjoying life as we know it. Looks like our days are numbered. NOT.!!! .WE made it this far and we will beat these odds also. Night landings on Aircraft Carriers


Interesting statistics indeed.

In case you haven't been paying attention these past few decades after you returned from

Vietnam, the clock has been ticking. The following are some statistics that are at once depressing yet in a larger sense should give you a HUGE SENSE OF PRIDE.

"Of the 2,709,918 Americans who served on the ground in Vietnam, Less than 850,000 are estimated to be alive today, with the youngest Vietnam veteran's age approximated to be 68 years old."

So, if you're alive and reading this, how does it feel to be among the last 1/3rd of all the U.S. Vets who served in Vietnam? I don't know about you guys, but it kinda gives me the chills, considering this is the kind of information I'm used to reading about WWII and Korean War vets.

The last 14 years we are dying too fast, only a few will survive by 2028...if any. If true, in 6-10 years you'll be lucky to be a living Vietnam veteran!

These statistics were taken from a variety of sources to include: The VFW Magazine, the Public Information Office, and the HQ CP Forward Observer - 1st Recon .


9,087,000 military personnel served "on active duty" during the Vietnam Era (August 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975).

8,744,000 GIs were "on active duty" during the war (Aug 5, 1964-March 28, 1973).

2,709,918 Americans served on the ground in Vietnam, this number represents 9.7% of their generation.

3,403,100 (Including 514,300 offshore) personnel served in the broader Southeast Asia Theater (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, flight crews based in Thailand, and sailors in adjacent South China Sea waters).

2,594,000 personnel served within the borders of Vietnam (Jan.1, 1965 - March 28, 1973). Another 50,000 men served in Vietnam between 1960 and 1964.

Of the 2.6 million, between 1-1.6 million (40-60%) either fought in combat, provided close support or were at least fairly regularly exposed to enemy attack.

7,484 women (6,250 or 83.5% were nurses) served in Vietnam.

Peak troop strength in Vietnam: 543,482 (April 30, 1968).

Agent Orange is taking a huge toll on Vietnam Veterans with most deaths somehow related to Agent Orange exposure. No one officially dies of Agent Orange, they die from the exposure which causes ischemic Heart Disease and failure, Lung Cancer, Kidney failure or COPD related disorders.


The first man to die in Vietnam was James Davis, in 1958. He was with the 509th Radio Research Station. Davis Station in Saigon was named for him.

Hostile deaths: 47,378
Non-hostile deaths: 10,800
Total: 58,202 (Includes men formerly classified as MIA and Mayaguez casualties). Men who have subsequently died of wounds account for the changing total.

8 nurses died -- 1 was KIA.
61% of the men killed were 21 or younger. 11,465 of those killed were younger than 20 years old.

Of those killed, 17,539 were married.

Average age of men killed: 23.1 years
Average Age of total Deaths: 23.11 years
Enlisted: 50,274; 22.37 years
Officers: 6,598; 28.43 years
Warrants: 1,276; 24.73 years
E1: 525; 20.34 years
Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.
The oldest man killed was 62 years old.

Highest state death rate: West Virginia - 84.1 per 100,000 male population (national average 58.9 for every 100,000 males in 1970).

Wounded: 303,704 -- 153,329 hospitalized + 150,375 injured requiring no hospital care.

Severely disabled: 75,000, -- 23,214: 100% disabled; 5,283 lost limbs; 1,081 sustained multiple amputations.

Amputation or crippling wounds to the lower extremities were 300% higher than in WWII and 70% higher than Korea.

Multiple amputations occurred at the rate of 18.4% compared to 5.7% in WWII

Missing in Action: 2,338

POWs: 766 (114 died in captivity)

As of January 15, 2014, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for, from the Vietnam War.


25% (648,500) of total forces in country were draftees. (66% of U.S. armed forces members were drafted during WWII).

Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.

Reservists killed: 5,977

National Guard: 6,140 served: 101 died.

Total draftees (1965 - 73): 1,728,344.

Draftees who actually served in Vietnam: 38% Marine Corps Draft: 42,633.

Last man drafted: June 30, 1973.


88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian; 10.6% (275,000) were black; 1% belonged to other races.

86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (includes Hispanics);

12.5% (7,241) were black;

1.2% belonged to other races.

170,000 Hispanics served in Vietnam; 3,070 (5.2% of total) died there.

70% of enlisted men killed were of North-west European descent.

86.8% of the men who were killed as a result of hostile action were Caucasian; 12.1% (5,711) were black; 1.1% belonged to other races.

14.6% (1,530) of non-combat deaths were among blacks.

34% of blacks who enlisted volunteered for the combat arms.

Overall, blacks suffered 12.5% of the deaths in Vietnam at a time when the percentage of blacks of military age was 13.5% of the total population.

Religion of Dead: Protestant -- 64.4%; Catholic -- 28.9%; other/none -- 6.7%


Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet age groups.

Vietnam veterans' personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent.

76% of the men sent to Vietnam were from lower middle/working class backgrounds.

Three-fourths had family incomes above the poverty level; 50% were from middle income backgrounds.

Some 23% of Vietnam vets had fathers with professional, managerial or technical occupations.

79% of the men who served in Vietnam had a high school education or better when they entered the military service.

63% of Korean War vets and only 45% of WWII vets had completed high school upon separation.

Deaths by region per 100,000 of population: South -- 31, West--29.9; Midwest -- 28.4; Northeast -- 23.5.


There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non-Vietnam Veterans of the same age group. (Source: Veterans Administration Study)

Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison - only one-half of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes.

85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian life.


82% of veterans who saw heavy combat strongly believe the war was lost because of lack of political will.

Nearly 75% of the public agrees it was a failure of political will, not of arms.


97% of Vietnam-era veterans were honorably discharged.

91% of actual Vietnam War veterans and 90% of those who saw heavy combat are proud to have served their country.

74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome.

87% of the public now holds Vietnam veterans in high esteem.


A Legend

Ever hear of this gal?

quite the pilot:

“At the time of her death on August 9, 1980, Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran—recipient of America’s Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Legion of Merit—held more speed, altitude, and distance records (200-plus) than any other pilot, male or female, in the history of aviation. . . . Rich reminds us that this remarkable lady, despite her shortcomings, reached Mach 2—twice the speed of sound—piloting a Lockheed F-104 at the tender age of 58.”—Library Journal


Daily news for 30 January thanks to Military periscope

USA—13 Salvadoran Military Officials Barred From U.S. Over Human-Rights Violations Reuters | 01/30/2020 The U.S. State Dept. has designated 13 Salvadoran current and former military officials for "gross human-rights violations" stemming from the civil war in that country in the 1980s, reports Reuters. The department announced the designation on Wednesday. Such a designation bars entry into the U.S. "Credible information" indicated that the individuals were involved in the killings of six Jesuit priests and two other individuals in 1989, said the State Dept. The individuals ranged in rank from general to private, according to a departmental release. The move would not affect military cooperation with the Salvadoran military, officials said. About 75,000 people were killed in El Salvador’s civil war between 1980 to 1992.

USA—Air Force Chooses Raytheon To Build Satellite Data Processing Platform Raytheon | 01/30/2020 Raytheon says it will build a new system for the U.S. Air Force that will collect and fuse data from an array of missile warning sensors. The firm will develop the Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution (FORGE) Mission Data Processing Application Framework (MDPAF) under a five-year, $197 million contract, the company announced on Monday. FORGE is designed to accept data from nearly any type of satellite early warning sensor and fuse that information into a single picture. The system is initially designed to process data from the current Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) constellation and the future Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR) constellation. It will also be able to draw data from other civil and environmental sensors, noted Space News. FORGE is expected to operate similarly to a smartphone, permitting other organizations to design their own apps to use information from the system. Specific applications under consideration include detecting forest fires, volcanic activity, agricultural changes and electricity consumption. A prototype has been developed by Raytheon and has demonstrated its capacity to process real data. The new contract enables the company to complete development of FORGE and move it into operations, reported C4ISRNet. Third-party app developers will be able to work with Raytheon over the next five years so that their software will be ready to go as soon as FORGE becomes operational.

USA—Air Force Plans To Buy F-15EX Fighters Move Forward Military.Com | 01/30/2020 The U.S. Air Force has posted pre-solicitation notices for the first sole-source contracts covering the purchase of F-15EX Advanced Eagle fighters, reports One of the proposed contracts revealed on Jan. 23 covers the acquisition of F-15EX jets, while the other is for the purchase of General Electric F110 engines for the aircraft, noted Jane’s Defence Weekly. The Air Force plans to buy at least eight of the fighters but will initially be limited to two under restrictions in the 2020 appropriations bill. The legislation requires the secretary of the Air Force to submit a report on the program before the additional funding is released. The F-15EX is expected to refresh and replace the Air Force’s F-15C/D fleet and augment existing F-15E Strike Eagles. The new aircraft will offer better avionics and radar and can carry more than two dozen air-to-air missiles, said Boeing. F-15 fighters currently in service with the U.S. Air Force are powered by the Pratt and Whitney F100 engine, but other nations use the F110 to power their Eagles. Boeing has already certified the F110 with the F-15EX’s fly-by-wire controls. Certifying the F100 would have required additional testing, sources said.

Spain—Tanker Variant Of C-295 Transport Successfully Transfers Fuel Airbus | 01/30/2020 An aerial refueling variant of the Airbus C-295 cargo aircraft has transferred fuel to another aircraft in flight for the first time, reports the aerospace firm. The “wet contact” demonstration took place earlier this month, when a C-295 in the tanker configuration transferred fuel to a Spanish air force C-295. A total of 1.5 metric tons of fuel was transferred during the trial, which took place at speeds between 100 knots (185 kph) and 130 knots (241 kph). The first dry contact demonstration between the C-295 tanker and another C-295 took place in December. Several other tests have taken place this month, demonstrating the equipment at various speeds and aircraft configurations, reported the Spanish air force. A test was also conducted demonstrating the ability of a Spanish air force F/A-18 Hornet to connect with the system during a night flight at a speed of 210 knots (389 kph). The air-to-air refueling (AAR) system is a removable kit developed by Airbus that can be fitted to a C-295 to give it hose-and-drogue aerial refueling capability. The AAR system incorporates a 100-foot-long hose and a remote vision system that allows the aircraft to transfer fuel with the rear ramp closed.

France—Warships Headed To E. Med Amid Tensions Between Greece, Turkey Guardian | 01/30/2020 The French government has decided to send frigates to the eastern Mediterranean to support Greece in response to deteriorating relations with Turkey, reports the Guardian (U.K.). The announcement followed talks in Paris between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and French President Emmanuel Macron. Macron said that Paris was monitoring the activities of Turkish warships in the eastern Mediterranean, reported the Greek Reporter. Both nations have a common strategic vision, said Macron. He pledged to strengthen ties with Greece and accused Turkey of exacerbating regional tensions. Mitsotakis was in Paris in an effort to bolster European Union support amid an increasingly tense standoff with Turkey over energy reserves off Cyprus, which is divided between Turkish- and Greek-led governments. Athens has also condemned an agreement between Turkey and the U.N.-backed government in Libya that delineated new maritime boundaries between the countries, which it views as an attack on Greece's sovereignty.

Turkey—4 Former Terrorist Fighters Deported To France Anadolu News Agency | 01/30/2020 The Turkish government has deported four French citizens that formerly fought for terrorist groups back to France, reports the Anadolu Agency (Ankara). They were returned to France on Monday, Turkey’s Interior Ministry announced. The specific terrorist group the individuals fought with was not specified. Ankara has been focused on expelling former members of ISIS back to their home countries. In 2019, Turkey deported almost 780 foreign terrorist fighters, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in December.

Vietnam—Order Placed With Russia For Jet Trainers Moscow Times | 01/30/2020 Vietnam has signed a contract with Russia for trainer aircraft, reports the Moscow Times. The US$350 million deal, inked last year and previously unreported, covered 12 Yak-130 trainer jets, according to unnamed Russian defense industry sources cited by Vedomosti (Russia) on Wednesday. No information was provided on a possible delivery schedule. The Yak-130s will replace Vietnam’s aging L39 trainers. Vietnam would be the sixth export customer of the Yak-130, after Algeria, Bangladesh, Burma, Laos and Belarus. The purchase could pave the way to additional sales of advanced Russian fighter aircraft to Vietnam, said experts.

Afghanistan—15 Security Personnel Die In Kunduz Assault Khaama Press | 01/30/2020 At least 15 members of the Afghan security forces have been killed in a Taliban attack in the northern Kunduz province, reports the Khaama Press (Kabul). On Tuesday, Taliban fighters attacked a joint security base in the Dasht-e-Archi district, killing 14 soldiers and a police officer, according to security sources. At least 15 security personnel were reported wounded. Four soldiers were taken prisoner by the militants, according to a security source quoted by the Tolo News. Taliban fighters seized weapons, said District Gov. Saduddin Sayyed, as cited by Radio Free Afghanistan. Checkpoints captured by the militants were later reclaimed, the governor said.

Saudi Arabia—Air Defenses Shoot Down Houthi Missiles Wall Street Journal | 01/30/2020 Saudi air defenses successfully intercepted missiles launched by militants in Yemen against oil facilities, reports the Wall Street Journal. Last week, Houthi fighters in Yemen launched missiles at Saudi Aramco oil installations, Saudi officials said on Wednesday. The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attacks, which they said targeted Aramco and other facilities along the southern Saudi border, including Abha and Jizan airports and Khamis Mushait military base, reported Reuters. At least 15 attacks were carried out, a spokesman for the group told the Houthi-run Al Masirah television. The attacks are the first since a unilateral halt to strikes on oil infrastructure in September. A former security official in the Trump administration told the Journal that a Houthi faction was unhappy about peace talks with the Saudis and hoped to cause Riyadh to overreact and ruin the negotiations.

Israel—IAI Unveils Upgraded Heron UAV Israel Aerospace Industries | 01/30/2020 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has revealed its upgraded Heron Mk II. The Heron Mk II will be displayed at the Singapore Airshow next month, the firm announced on Wednesday. The Mk II incorporates a new Rotax 915 iS engine, which gives it a top speed of 140 knots (260 kph), a ceiling of 35,000 ft (10,670 m) and an endurance of 45 hours. It has also been redesigned with a wider and stronger body structure that enables quicker and easier maintenance. The avionics have been improved and upgraded sensors can be fitted that enable standoff intelligence collection tens of miles away from a target, said IAI.

Morocco—Orders Placed For French Howitzers, Air Defense Systems Defence Web | 01/30/2020 Morocco has finalized deals with France for self-propelled artillery and surface-to-air missile batteries, reports Defence Web (South Africa). The government has ordered 40 155-mm Caesar self-propelled guns for 170 million euros (US$189 million) as well as ammunition valued at 30 million euros (US$33 million), according to La Tribune (Paris). Rabat has also finalized a deal worth 200 million euros (US$223 million) for four VL MICA air defense batteries. The government is also in talks with shipbuilder Naval Group for a sustainment contract for its three Tarik Ben Ziyad-class corvettes and Mohammed VI-class frigate, the newspaper said. The deals are expected to be made public during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to Morocco on Feb. 12. Separately, El Pais (Madrid) reported in December that Morocco was in the final stage of talks with Navantia for the procurement of two Avante-class offshore patrol vessels. The deal was estimated to be worth US$286 million (260 million euros) and include maintenance. The purchase is awaiting the approval of King Mohammed VI.

Ethiopia—Deadline For Deal With Egypt, Sudan On Dam Passes British Broadcasting Corp. | 01/30/2020 Talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over a massive Ethiopian dam have been extended, reports the BBC News. After scheduled talks on Tuesday failed to produce an agreement, discussions continued on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear for how the long talks might be extended. The three parties issued a joint statement on Jan. 15 agreeing in principle to Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Subsequent negotiations are focused on details, including the period of time over which the dam would be filled, the amount of water to be released downstream by Ethiopia and measures to mitigate the effects of drought.

Burkina Faso—Dozens Killed In Suspected Terrorist Attack In Soum Province Voice Of America News | 01/30/2020 The Burkinabe government says an Islamist militant attack has killed at least 30 people in a village in the northern Soum province, reports the Voice of America News. On Saturday, the extremists raided the village of Silgadji, killing 39 people, reported Reuters, quoting a government statement on Tuesday. The assault came less than a week after militants killed 36 in a neighboring province. The group responsible for the attack has not been identified. Islamist groups with ties to Al-Qaida and the Islamic State have stepped up attacks in Burkina Faso in recent months.

Mali—Government Plans 50 Percent Expansion Of Armed Forces British Broadcasting Corp. | 01/30/2020 Mali has announced plans to increase the size of its military by about 50 percent, reports BBC News. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse announced a proposal to recruit 10,000 new soldiers in the coming months, reported Reuters. Details of the plan, including potential costs, were not disclosed. The expansion would enable the security forces to increase their presence around the country, Cisse said. The Malian military currently has about 20,000 troops. The move is a response to a growing insurgency that has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians, peacekeepers and troops.

Democratic Republic of the Congo—36 Killed In Suspected ADF Attack Anadolu News Agency | 01/30/2020 At least 36 people have been killed in suspected militant attacks in the eastern Congolese region of Beni, reports Turkey’s Anadolu Agency. On Wednesday, militants armed with machetes and rifles attacked the towns of Manzengi, Mebundu and Mayabalo, according to the Center for Studies for the Promotion of Peace, Democracy and Human Rights (CEPADHO), a local non-governmental organization. The attackers moved door to door, killing many in their homes, the center said. At least two people survived blows to the head and were taken to a hospital in Oicha, reported Agence France-Presse. The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist militant group that originated in neighboring Uganda, was suspected. The attack reportedly took place to the west of the ADF's typical area of operations, reported Al Jazeera (Qatar). At least 265 people have been killed in the region since the army launched an operation against the ADF in October, according to the Kivu Security Tracker.

Colombia—Colonel Accused Of Ordering Murder Of Demobilized FARC Member Jailed Colombia Reports | 01/30/2020 A former colonel in the Colombian army has been jailed on charges of organizing the assassination of a demobilized member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), reports Colombia Reports. Jorge Armando Perez was arrested and jailed on Monday. He allegedly ordered the murder of a former FARC member in April 2019 in revenge for the death of one of his soldiers. At the time of the murder, Perez’s subordinates had been caught with the body. One has already been convicted of murder for his involvement. The judge ordered Perez and four other soldiers allegedly involved in the killing jailed, saying otherwise they might obstruct justice, flee or manipulate witnesses.

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