India likely to exercise option for 11 more Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters

India approves procurement of 39 attack helicopters for Army Aviation Corps

Rahul Bedi, New Delhi – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

22 May 2017

India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved the acquisition of 39 attack helicopters for the Army Aviation Corps (AAC).

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, sanctioned the AAC’s long-standing request for attack helicopters on 20 May, with the three proposed helicopter squadrons set to be operated by the Indian Army’s (IA’s) three offensive ‘strike’ formations.

Official sources told Jane’s that the IA is likely to exercise the option to import 11 Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters to supplement the 22 acquired by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2015 for over USD1.2 billion.

The AAC is anxious to sign the deal for the additional Apaches – under the same terms and conditions that applied to the IAF procurement deal – before the two-year deadline of 28 September 2017 expires.

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In 2015  the Govt. of India approved the purchase of the battle proven AH-64 Apache Gunship Helicopters for the Indian Air Force for approximately $2.5bn. The total amount included the delivery of 22 Apache Helicopters along with Weapons, radars and warfare equipment that will arm the Apache Gunship to the teeth.

The contract however had an open option for India to purchase additional helicopters if required. Internal sources suggest that the Govt.may invoke this option and go for an additional purchase of 39 more Apache Gunships from the U.S.

The first 22 Gunships are meant to replace the aging Mi-35 Attack Helicopters that were bought from Russia for the Indian Air Force. The additional 39 Apache Gunships that the Govt. proposes to buy will be merged with India’s four Mountain Strike Corps. This will give the required offensive firepower to tear into enemy territory, may it be China or Pakistan.

The 39 proposed Gunships will be within the control of the Indian Army and not the Air Force.

The first lot of 22 Apache Helicopters will be delivered to the Indian Air Force within the next three years. The time frame for the additional 39 proposed Apache Gunships is however not confirmed as the deal is not yet signed. Source

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F-18 Block 3 upgrade is set to begin rolling off the production line in 2020

Boeing sets out upgrade ambitions for Super Hornet, Growler platforms

Gareth Jennings, St Louis – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

18 May 2017

The US Navy (USN) may roll-out future upgrades for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet beyond the Block 3 enhancement currently earmarked, as it looks to maintain the combat aircraft in service for decades to come.

Speaking at the company’s St Louis facility in Missouri, Larry Burt, director of Global Sales & Marketing for the Global Strike division, said that, while the USN’s focus is currently on the Block 3 upgrade that it set to begin rolling off the production line in 2020, further enhancements are very likely as the USN looks to maintain the combat aircraft in service out into the 2040s.

“When you look at flight plan for the future of the aircraft, there could well be lots of new capabilities added after Block 3. The Block 3 is built around a new processor that is a hundred times more powerful that today’s. This processor resides outside of the aircraft’s Operational Flight Program [computer], and so is not tied to its five-year software development cycle. It is truly open architecture that allows for plug and play of weapons, sensors, and systems,” Burt said.

With a programme of record of 568 Super Hornet strike fighters and 160 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare (EW) aircraft, Boeing is rolling out new airframes at a rate of about two per month. Having revealed its Advanced Super Hornet concept in 2013, the company is now focused on the follow-on Block 3 configuration that will be the new baseline model for all aircraft built from 2020.

Included in Block 3 are upgrades to the Raytheon AN/APG-79 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar; an Elbit Systems large area display (LAD) ‘glass’ cockpit and next-generation avionics; an infrared search and track (IRST); ‘shoulder-mounted’ conformal fuel tanks (CFTs); Integrated Defensive Electronic Counter Measures (IDECM); and new General Electric F-414-400 enhanced engines.

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Argentine reportedly agreed to purchase 8 refurbished Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard fighter from France

Argentina purchased several refurbished Mirages and engines for Pucaras

Friday, May 19th 2017 – 06:42 UTCFull article17 comments

Argentine reportedly has agreed to purchase several refurbished Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard fighter bombers originally from the French navy. Apparently the Mirages are similar to those Argentine used during the Falklands conflict in 1982 and will be incorporated to the Air Force, as part of an Argentine re-equipment of its military forces.

Talks with France also involve the possible purchase of engines to power 20 Argentine Pucaras aircraft that are currently grounded.

“The transaction provides excellent value, and under very favorable conditions,” Defense Minister Julio Martinez was quoted during a visit to France. “The Argentine Air Force cannot do without supersonic aircraft. Our pilots must be able to train in modern aircraft.”

However Martinez declined to detail the financial details of a possible deal since “negotiations are not finished”.

The re-equipment program will also include the construction at the Tandanor yards of four patrol vessels, with support from France, Italy and China. The vessels are in addition to four LICA, for cadets’ training. Currently under construction at the Rio Santiago yard, with Japanese (NKK) supervision and the first to be delivered in early 2018.

The Air Force is also involved in the refurbishing and upgrading of five Hercules C 130, two are ready and another three in the coming months with the support from US experts at the Cordoba aircraft manufacturing plant.

Minister Martinez also acknowledged that the United States has offered to sell Argentina F-16 fighter fighters but the Mirage would better fulfill the needs of the country.

“The operating cost of the F-16 makes them almost prohibitively expensive,” he said.

Argentina had previously been in talks with Israel for their Kfir fighter.

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The Super Etendard is a carrier-based single-seat strike fighter first introduced into service in 1978. It is an updated version of the Etendard IVM. Based on experience gained during the Korean war (1950-53), French authorities drew up specifications for a light interceptor. This definition was rapidly assimilated into a program for a light tactical bomber that could also fulfil an air superiority mission. At the same time, NATO published its requirements for the LWTSF (Light Weight Tactical Strike Fighter). In response, the Dassault company presented its Mirage and Etendard aircraft.To meet the needs of both national and NATO programs, Dassault carried over the aerodynamic design of its Super-Myst�re, applying it to smaller aircraft equipped with power plants that could reach transonic speeds without afterburners. This led to the design of the Myst�re XXII (Etendard II), Myst�re XXIV (Etendard IV) and Myst�re XXVI (Etendard VI), developments which were remarkable for improving lift so that take-off and landing became possible at reduced speeds.The Etendard IV M was the first naval aircraft developed by Dassault. The Etendard IV M made its maiden flight 21st May 1958 at Melun-Villaroche (the Seine-et-Marne region of France). The wings of the aircraft are mid-mounted, swept-back, and tapered with blunt tips there are sawtooth in the leading edges. There is one turbojet engine inside the body. There are semicircular air intakes below the canopy and a single exhaust. The fuselage has a long, pointed nose. The body bulges at the air intakes and tapers to the rear. There is a bubble canopy well forward on the nose. The dorsal spine extends from the cockpit to midbody. The tail is large, swept-back, and tapered tail fin with curved tip. The flats are low- to mid-mounted on the tail fin, swept-back, and tapered with blunt tips.Between 1961 and 1965, the French Navy took delivery of 69 Etendard IV M’s and 21 Etendard IV P’s. The Etendard IV M continued in service in the French Navy until July 1991. These aircraft logged a total of 180,000 flying hours and made 25,300 carrier landings. Even today, there are still several Etendard IV P’s and IV PM’s in service.

The naval single-seater combat aircraft, Dassault Super-Etendard, is a modernized version of the Etendard IV M. Main modifications include updating of the weapons system through the installation (a first for a French production aircraft) of a modern navigation and combat management system. The aircraft prototype made its maiden flight 28 October 1974 at Istres (the Bouches-du-Rh�ne region of France).

The French Navy commissioned the plane for the first time in 1977 and 71 aircraft are now in service on the aircraft carriers Foch and Clemenceau. This plane, armed with Exocet missiles and flown by Argentinian pilots (14 aircraft), proved its combat effectiveness during the Malvinas [Falklands] war with Britain in 1982.The Super-Etendard will be replaced by the naval version of the multi-role combat aircraft Rafale at the beginning of the 21st century. Source

The Super Étendard is a development of the Dassault Étendard IVM.

Crew 1
Propulsion 1 Turbojet Engine
Engine Model SNECMA Atar 8K-50
Engine Power 48,9 kN 11000 lbf
Speed 1380 km/h 745 kts
  857 mph
Service Ceiling 13.686 m 44.900 ft
Range 3.400 km 1.836 NM
2.113 mi.
Empty Weight 6.500 kg 14.330 lbs
max. Takeoff Weight 12.000 kg 26.455 lbs
Wing Span 9,60 m 31 ft 6 in
Wing Area 28,4 m² 306 ft²
Length 14,31 m 46 ft 11 in
Height 3,86 m 12 ft 8 in
First Flight 28.10.1974
Production Status out of production
Total Production 74
Developed from Dassault Étendard
Data for (Version) Dassault Super-Étendard


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Russia says Barracuda camouflage for US Stryker can’t hide them from the Armata

Why US Attempts to Hide Its Tanks From Russia’s Armatas are Doomed

17:22 17.05.2017

The US military in Europe is testing new high-tech camouflage for its armored vehicles during a NATO military drill in Germany.

Many experts say that this is done to make US armor less visible to the state-of-the-art radar, infrared and thermal sensors, and  other target acquisition equipment installed on Russia’s latest Armata tanks and armored vehicles.

Last week, the US Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment, stationed in Vilsek, Germany was issued Barracuda camouflage for its Stryker armored vehicles.

According to the designers, the new camouflage system prevents the fighting vehicle from being identified by radar and infrared sensors, seen or targeted. It also increases their survivability and gives the crews more time to make a decision.

The Barracuda camouflage, designed by Sweden’s defense and security company Saab, is being tested as part of the large-scale training of NATO’s multinational force in Europe to contain imaginary “Russian aggression.”

According to Saab representatives, if the current tests of their mobile camouflage system are a success, an order for its mass-scale deliveries could be placed already in June.

The Barracuda Mobile Camouflage System (MCS) is a tailor-made, multi-purpose covering with optimized colors, designs and properties for all environments.

It enhances survivability, sustainability and logistics of vehicles and equipment, while continuously providing “stealth” or masking capabilitiesy in the visual, near-infrared, thermal infrared and broadband radar wavelengths.

Compared with conventional paint, the MCS is non-reflective blurring the combat vehicle’s silhouette and making it blend in with the surroundings.

Specialists insist, however, that no camouflage, no matter how advanced, can make a tank or an armored vehicle completely invisible to the enemy.

In an interview with Sputnik, military expert Viktor Baranets said that the current tests of the Barracuda camouflage were more about politics and PR.

“They are trying to show that, in addition to weapons and hardware, they also have such camouflage systems. The much-trumpeted Barracuda system is just a lot of hot air, like all the talk that our radars don’t ‘see’ their planes. Baloney! The Americans have recently stepped up their flights along our border and our radars see them all right, despite all the ‘anti-radar’ paint they put on their planes,” Baranets said.

“They simply want to show us that if they camouflage their tanks and cannons, we, Russians, will not see them. Give me a break!” he added.

Russia’s state-of-the-art T-14 Armata main battle tank boasts a target tracking system and computer unit, which significantly increase its efficiency on the battlefield and enable it to destroy enemy armored vehicles with the very first shot.

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“They are trying to show that, in addition to weapons and hardware, they also have such camouflage systems. The much-trumpeted Barracuda system is just a lot of hot air, like all the talk that our radars don’t ‘see’ their planes. Baloney! The Americans have recently stepped up their flights along our border and our radars see them all right, despite all the ‘anti-radar’ paint they put on their planes,” Baranets said.

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BY REUTERS   MAY 22, 2017 02:23

EOUL – North Korea said on Monday it has successfully tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile to confirm the reliability of the late-stage guidance of the nuclear warhead, indicating further advances in the ability to hit US targets.

The North’s KCNA news agency said leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test which also verified the functioning of the solid-fuel engine for the Pukguksong-2 missile fired from a mobile launcher.

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The Pukguksong-2 pictured during a test on February 12, 2017 (Photo: KCNA).

New Technologies Demonstrated by Pukguksong-2 IRBM Test Launch

The Pukguksong-2 IRBM demonstrated a new solid propellant propulsion system. North Korea officially announced that this missile employed technologies used in the Pukguksong-1 SLBM, claiming it had created “the amazing miracle” of completing a new strategic weapons system in just six months.[1] Solid propellant motors shorten launch preparation times by eliminating the time-consuming process of loading liquid propellant, thus reducing the risk of timely detection by intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. As a result, they improve the missile’s survivability and its capability for rapid launch from more secure locations, making effective pre-emptive military strikes more problematic. Solid propellant ballistic missiles have other significant military-operational advantages over conventional liquid propellant ballistic missiles. While being safer and easier to handle and maintain, they are also simpler and can provide better range performance than equivalent-sized liquid propellant missiles. Accordingly, solid propellant missiles pose a greater threat to allied forces than liquid propellant missiles.

Additionally, the Pukguksong-2 missile demonstrated other new capacities:

  • Greater Mobility: First, the Pukguksong-2 IRBM used a caterpillar-type transporter erector launcher (TEL) that can provide better mobility in harsh terrains than wheeled TELs. This new type of TEL, which was shown in the test launch, is based on a heavily modified tank chassis originally designed and built by North Korea and is similar in layout to the Soviet Union’s SS-14 system.
  • Use of a Cold Launch: Second, the Pukguksong-2 was the first road-mobile missile to employ a cold launch system, which uses compressed gas pressure to eject the missile from the erected canister on the ground before igniting the rocket motor as soon as the missile clears the canister. This system does not require additional volume within the launcher for exhaust plume control, making it feasible to launch from a confined space. Unlike hot launch systems, a cold launch also lowers the possibility of damage or destruction of the TEL in the event of missile failures, since they would happen in mid-flight rather than on the ground. This technology was already demonstrated last August by the Pukguksong-1 SLBM, which was successfully launched from a vertical launch tube.
Length of canister + gas generator 12.5m – Image: 
  • Use of High-Angle Trajectory and Reduced Maximum Altitude: Third, the missile fired on February 12, 2017 was launched at a high angle with a fixed operational range, similar to the Musudan IRBMs and Pukguksong-1 SLBMs launched last year. As the Pukguksong-2 IRBM was fired in a lofted trajectory (almost vertically), the maximum altitude reached should have exceeded 1,000 km. However, the maximum altitude announced by South Korea’s military was only 550 km. If this claim is accurate, it would appear that North Korea intentionally launched the missile with a heavier warhead to lower its peak altitude. Based on a simulation by the author, it was estimated that the warhead mass loaded on the Pukguksong-2 would be around 1.6-1.7 tons, which is much heavier than previous warheads (Figure 1). The heavier warhead could allow for greater lethality due to higher yields. This simulation also estimated that the operational range of the Pukguksong-2 IRBM using a minimum energy trajectory (MET) would reach approximately 2,300-2,500 km, which is expected to be shorter than normal IRBM range (Figure 2). The difference between Model A and B lies in the assumed dry masses, such as the interstages and fairing in Figure 1 and Figure 2.
Figure 1. Estimation of warhead mass to acquire a maximum altitude of 550 km. Figure 2. Estimated operational range of Pukguksong-2 according to warhead mass in the minimum energy trajectory.

Projected Evolution of North Korean Ballistic Missiles

North Korea has supposedly worked for over 20 years to develop a liquid propellant ICBM with the ability to hit targets in the United States. It appears that through trial and error, they have developed a high-thrust first stage liquid rocket engine for an ICBM, as demonstrated by ground firing tests of an 80-ton Paektusan engine conducted during the past six months. While the exact development path is unclear, Pyongyang may have decided to develop ICBMs with solid propellants in parallel with liquid propellants. In March 2016, the North conducted a successful ground test firing of a solid rocket motor that is 3-3.2 m in length and approximately 1.3 m in diameter. Five months later, it tested the Pukguksong-1 two-stage SLBM with solid propellant motors, which was estimated to be approximately 9 m in length and 1.35 m in diameter (Figure 3).

With the development and successful testing of two new types of solid propellant missiles, North Korea has moved closer to a technological breakthrough that is required to develop an effective road-mobile ICBM. Pyongyang might even be developing two different types of road-mobile ICBMs with solid propellant motors; one could be based on the liquid propellant KN-14 configuration and size—which was displayed in a 2015 military parade—to minimize the development time. The other could be a completely new design to meet stricter mission requirements. The operational performance of new solid propellant ICBM, referred to as the Pukguksong-3, has been analyzed under the assumption that its dimensions are based on the KN-14. The length and diameter of the mobile KN-14 ICBM are assumed to be around 17 m and 1.9-2.0 m, respectively (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Configuration and dimensions of Pukguksong-1 SLBM, Pukguksong-2 IRBM and the tentatively named Pukguksong-3 ICBM.

In the massive military parade in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017, North Korea displayed two different types of Pukguksong-3 ICBMs, both enclosed in launch tubes mounted on trucks (see Figures 4 & 5). Although the exact dimension and size of the new ICBM was not clear, one can estimate from the dimensions of the KN-14 that its range is up to 12,200 km with a 550 kg warhead and 10,300 km with a 750 kg warhead for a missile diameter of 1.9 m. These operational ranges may be enough to reach the US mainland (Figure 6).

Figure 4. The first type of Pukguksong-3 ICBM seen in Pyongyang’s military parade on April 15, 2017.Figure 5. The second type of Pukguksong-3 ICBM. Figure 6. Operational range performance of road-mobile Pukguksong-3 ICBM (with KN-14 configuration) using solid propellant.

North Korea may, in the future, replace all its liquid propellant ballistic missiles with solid propellant missiles. The first to be replaced will most likely be the Scud short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) and Nodong medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBM). Both use conventional liquid propellant engines and more than 800 units are believed to have been deployed. Considering the North’s economic problems, replacement would happen gradually and possibly not on a one-for-one basis. A rapid replacement of the Musudan IRBM fleet, which also uses a high energy liquid propellant, with the Pukguksong-2 solid propellant IRBM may occur if the Musudan continues to prove unreliable.

The future evolution of the road-mobile ICBM is difficult to predict. However, if North Korea succeeds in the test flights of a solid propellant ICBM and continues to make improvements in its reliability, Pyongyang will likely abandon its liquid propellant ICBM designs.

What Explains North Koreas Solid Propellant Rocket Technology?

How did North Korea make such significant progress in the solid propulsion technology field? As is well known, the structure of a solid propellant rocket is much simpler than that of a liquid propellant rocket, but the complexity of the design grows exponentially with its size, requiring extensive testing and design iterations for development. Therefore, it is entirely possible that Pyongyang has been working on solid propellant technology for more than a decade while simultaneously developing the indigenous Musudan liquid propellant engine. It is also possible that Pyongyang is concurrently developing the solid propellant Pukguksong-2 IRBM and solid propellant Pukguksong-3 ICBM. As such, it would not be surprising if the North also decides initially to pursue concurrent development of both solid and liquid propellant ICBMs (Figure 7).

Figure 7. Projected evolution of solid propellant Pukguksong-2 IRBM.

Some experts also suspect that North Korea’s accelerated development of solid fuel rockets is connected to Iran’s missile program—more specifically, that the North provided liquid propellant missile technology to Iran in exchange for solid propellant missile technology. However, Iran only started to develop solid propellant missiles in the early 2000s, and its two-stage solid propellant Sajiil missile is still in development. In short, Iran has not yet mastered this technology. Nevertheless, a connection between the two countries is possible, but it is difficult to substantiate such claims due to the lack of solid evidence.


Ultimately, the transition from liquid to solid propellant missiles will bring about a fundamental paradigm shift in North Korean missile systems (Figure 8). A road-mobile ICBM, tentatively named the Pukguksong-3, employing solid propellant rocket motors could easily achieve the range performance required to hit the US mainland in the future, making it a serious potential threat to the United States.

[Figure 8] Family Tree of North Korean Ballistic Missiles.

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Images from source other than specifically stated

Comparison P-1 and P-2 – Image: Image: 

Ka-52K completes initial marine testing

Ka-52K completes initial marine testing

18 May, 17, Source: Russian Helicopters

[Electronic Translation]

The test phase, which took place from late 2016 to early 2017, involved two Ka-52K helicopters. According to Russian Helicopters deputy CEO for sales Vladislav Savelyev, the helicopters performed well in difficult marine conditions and will now move on to further testing on aircraft carriers.

The Ka-52K, which is being developed for the Russian Navy, is a ship-based variant of the Ka-52 Alligator combat helicopter, incorporating modern avionics for navigation at sea. It also has folding blades and wings, an upgraded air conditioning system, and corrosion-resistant materials for operation in a saltwater environment.

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“Ka-52K helicopters completed the first phase of testing in marine conditions, after which it can be concluded that the machines may be placed on an aircraft cruiser and successfully complete their tasks… However, one [naval] test is insufficient for understanding the work of its engines, units, avionics, control and armament systems in maritime climate. The design bureau will continue its work as part of tests including those on the aircraft cruiser,” the Deputy CEO for Sales of Russian Helicopters, Vladislav Savelyev, was quoted as saying.

The Ka-52K differs from the baseline Ka-52 Alligator (NATO reporting name ‘Hokum-B’) in that it is fitted with folding rotor blades and folding stub wings; enhanced corrosion protection and modified air conditioning; shipborne ILS navigation aid; crew life-support systems compatible with immersion suits. While the initial weapons fit is the same for both variants, the naval Ka-52K may be equipped with a dual-band radar which would permit launching of Kh-35 and Kh-38 missiles.

The first production Ka-52K (serial number 0101) flew at Arsenyev on 7 March 2015, and made its public debut at ‘Army 2015’ exhibition at Kubinka, near Moscow, between 16 and 19 June of that year. Although sea-trials are still ongoing, the Russian Navy deployed the Ka-52K on combat operations over Syria between November 2016 and January 2017 as part of the air wing stationed on the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov .

The Russian Federation Navy has ordered 32 Ka-52K helicopters, of which about 20 are thought to currently be in service. Source

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Dassault hopes to sell more Rafales to India

UPDATE 1-Dassault hopes to sell more Rafales to India

Sun May 21, 2017 | 10:31am EDT

By Cyril Altmeyer

May 21 French planemaker Dassault Aviation SA hopes to start talks with India by the end of the year for additional sales of its Rafale fighter jet, before full negotiations in 2018, Chief Executive Eric Trappier said in Geneva on Sunday.

He also said the company was awaiting more information on Canada’s search for fighter planes.

Canada said on Thursday it was reviewing plans to buy military equipment from Boeing Co after the U.S. planemaker launched a trade complaint alleging that Canada’s Bombardier Inc had dumped jets into the U.S. market.

In November, Canada said it wanted to buy 18 Boeing Super Hornets as a stopgap measure while it prepared a competition to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets.

According to industry sources, the Canadian government has also held talks with Eurofighter, Lockheed Martin and Saab.

“We are in a phase where I do not know (…) if they are still in a tender in which we are a part or if they are negotiating on a one-to-one basis,” Trappier told Reuters on the sidelines of the Ebace business aviation fair.

In India, where Dassault Aviation signed a long-awaited contract for 36 Rafale fighter jets in September 2016, Trappier said it was working on an additional order for the air force as well as a tender for 57 planes for the navy.

Boeing is also competing the Indian naval deal.

“There is no negotiation, we are not there yet: we are waiting for a one-to-one discussion,” Trappier said, hoping to start talks this year before full-fledged negotiations in 2018. (Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Writing by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Mark Potter)

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