Daily Archives: July 10, 2016

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U.S. Air Force urges decision on delayed Mideast fighter jet sales

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Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:52am EDT

FARNBOROUGH, ENGLAND |

A top U.S. Air Force official on Sunday urged the U.S. government to speed up its consideration of long-standing bids by Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain to buy U.S. fighter jets, citing growing frustration among the key U.S. allies in the Gulf about delays in the process.

Air Force Deputy Undersecretary Heidi Grant said she was trying to reassure officials in those countries that Washington’s failure to approve billions of dollars of U.S. arms sales to them would not alter the strong bilateral air force-to-air force relationships that exist.

“I would like to see a decision soon,” Grant told Reuters in an interview on the eve of the Farnborough Airshow in southern England. Grant said she “absolutely” saw growing frustration among officials in the three countries, which have asked to buy a variety of U.S. fighter planes.

“It’s caused us to do more to reassure them that this one transaction should not impact the larger relationship … that they are very valued partners,” Grant said. “Hopefully the delay in this decision to move forward isn’t going to have any impact.”

Grant said the three requests were still being worked on “at the highest levels of our government.” She declined to comment on what was holding up the decisions.

All three arms sales have stalled amid concerns raised by Israel that equipment sent to Gulf states could fall into the wrong hands and be used against it, and by the Obama administration’s desire to integrate arms sales decisions into its broader decision-making on military aid to the Gulf.

The Pentagon and State Department have both have signed off on the sale of 36 F-15 fighter jets to Qatar and 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to Kuwait, both built by Boeing Co, as well as a number of Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain.

Grant joins other senior military officials and lawmakers who have weighed in recent months to urge the White House to move forward on the arms sales requests, some of which have been in work for years.

The sale to Kuwait is worth about $3 billion and the one to Qatar is probably close to $4 billion, according to sources familiar with the matter. The value of the Bahrain deal was not immediately available.

U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus last month warned the U.S. Navy could see the cost of new F/A-18E/F Super Hornets rise unless the government approves foreign sales of the jets soon.

Mabus said he was frustrated by delays in approving the sale of the Boeing jets to a close U.S. ally.

Senior U.S. officials have said they are keen to see the Boeing F-15 and F/A-18 production lines in St. Louis, and the Lockheed F-16 line in Fort Worth, Texas, continue, and do not want to foreclose options on fourth-generation aircraft.

(Editing by Mark Potter)

@reuters.com

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The pricing are ridiculously low $111 million per F15E?   

$ 125 million per F-18E/F!  Why is it more expensive than F-15?

Last time the F-15 was offered to Korea was for over $150 million and that was several years ago!

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America’s Last Fighter Jet Makers Scramble to Keep Production Alive

Boeing resumes Advanced Super Hornet push as US Navy considers fleet size 

Boeing Confident Fighter Line Will Be Open in 2020s

Boeing’s F/A-18, Marked for Death, Gets a New Lease on Life

U.S. poised to approve Boeing fighter jet sales to Qatar, Kuwait

Bahrain planning to upgrade fleet with advanced F-16s

F-16V Fighter – Upgrade: Details

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F18 Super Hornet: Details

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F-15E ‘Strike’ Eagle: Details

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Image @planepicture.com

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Kra Canal in Southern Thailand

If one looks at a map of Thailand he or she will notice that in Southern Thailand there is a narrow strip of land where on the right hand side is the South China Sea and on the left hand side there is the Andaman Sea. This strip of land borders Myanmar (Burma) towards the northwestern side and Malaysia towards the southwestern side. It is known as the Isthmus of Kra.

45 years ago the founder of the biggest privately-owned petroleum refinery in Thailand — Thai Oil Refinery PLC — Mr. Chow Chowkwanyun (spelling may not be 100% correct) was already proposing the building of a man-made canal like the Suez and Panama canals to enable ships going from Asia to India, Middle East and Europe and vice versa to shorten their traveling time and save operating expenses like fuel and charter time significantly while generating additional income for the Thai Government to fund industrialization and economic development in Southern Thailand to counter the fast-spreading Islamic insurgency activities in that part of the country.

Succeeding generations of Thai government have paid lip service to promoting such an important project and basically took no action to proceed with it. Every time someone in the Thai Government introduce a new proposal to investigate and determine the economic feasibility of implementing such a project, I was told by informed sources the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore will immediately fly to Bangkok with his team of Singaporean government officials to “rain cash from helicopter” in Government House in Bangkok. That is of course quite possible because building and operating such a canal will significantly affect the economy of Singapore, especially when they depend a lot of tne entrepot trade between the small island and Indonesia, and also Singapore is the biggest petroleum refining country in Southeast Asia today. I can envision that if the Thai Government goes ahead with the Kra Canal project, many, if not all, of the petroleum refineries in Singapore today (almost all foreign-owned and operated) will eventually move to Thailand and be located on both sides of the canal.

This situation is about the change though. The present Thai Government under the military strongman is discussing the building of just such a canal with China offering both financial and technology back-up to see to it’s successful completion. What I was told was the Chinese-backed International Infrastructure Bank stands ready to provide funding for up to 100% of the project and China is offering to design and build the canal with close participation from all three major SET-listed Thai civil engineering contractors like ItalThai, C.K. and SinoThai.

Hopefully, this time around, if the military government in Bangkok is sincere and truly wants to develop the economy of Southern Thailand and neutralize the Muslim insurgents in that area, the Kra Canal project should be able to see the light of day. Any efforts by the present Singapore Government to scuttle the project will be strongly rebuffed by Beijing. Such a project will truly and significantly promote the industrialization and economic development of the relatively poor Southern Thailand region and benefit the Kingdom and Thai people as a whole.

09 Jul 2016

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Can’t wait to see it happen it would bring great prosperity not just for Thailand but surrounding countries will greatly benefit also, however on a negative note it would also bring increased meddling by superpowers!

“Any efforts by the present Singapore Government to scuttle the project will be strongly rebuffed by Beijing.”

Kra-isthmus

HOW CAN THE KRA CANAL PROJECT BENEFIT THAILAND AND ASEAN ?

If one were to look at a Pacific-centered world map, one would realize that Thailand and the Malacca Straits are located right in-between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. In 1987, at a conference on “The Kra Canal Project and the Development of Thailand” held at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Dr. Uwe Henke von Parpart, Director of the Fusion Energy Foundation, an American mathematician of German origin, remarked that Thailand is situated at the most strategic spot in Southeast Asia, the junction point between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Thus, Thailand is also located right in the middle of two-thirds of the world’s population. Dr. Parpart went to predict that both China and India would grow to become major economic powers and that should Thailand decide to build the Kra Canal in the south, the country would greatly benefit from its strategic position.

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Prof. Dr. Surasak Nananukul, a leading Thai economist of his time, remarked clearly that “The development of a Special Economic Zone” around the Kra Canal would be a major feature in the Global Logistic Infrastructure. The special economic zone would also be a key factor in the “Regional Investment Village.” The existence of the Kra Canal would immediately place Thailand on one of the world’s major sea lane of communication. At present, Thailand is situated at the bottom-end of the lane. All agricultural and manufactured goods have to be first placed on small feeder ships before being transfered onto large ocean freighters that dock in Singapore. Singapore has an advantage because it is situated at the front-end of the lane. The Kra Canal will make it possible for Thailand to be at the front-end of the lane and thus, be able to compete with Singapore.

 

Dr. Surarak compared the Kra Canal Special Economic Zone to those of China, which would be able to attract enormous amounts of foreign investment simply because the Kra Canal would be part of the Global Logistic Infrastructure, a major feature in developing trade and industrial development. Dr. Surasak went on to con- clude there are five features of the Kra Canal Special Economic Zone to consider:

1. A Center for Maritime Transportation

2. The Special Economic Zone

3. Regional Investment Village

4. Business-friendly Economic System

5. An Economic Zone based on Peace and Neutrality

In the proposal of the Commission of Assets and Securities Market on he subject of “Next Frontier of Capital Market Development” on September 11, 2014, Dr. Worapol Sokhatiyanraks remarked that Thailand has a geographic advantage. It has the potential to become a Logistic Hub with a competitive edge. Thailand could also become the center of cargo transportation by land and air. The development of the high speed train, Thailand will be able to link to other ASEAN nations, China, India, the European continent, Africa and the United States of America. In any case, be- cause Thailand would only slightly benefit from this project, Dr. Worapol suggested that transportation of oil by pipeline would act as an economic land bridge be- tween Satun (Pak Bara Port) on the Andaman Sea and Songkhla province on the Gulf of Thailand. The oil pipeline would be 140 km. long. Giant oil storage towers, deep-sea ports and refineries would line the two coasts of Thailand.

The Land Bridge might help to reduce the problems of congestion in the Straits of Malacca somewhat because the transportation of oil represents 50% of goods that go through the Malacca Straits. In any case, transportation of oil alone would not be able to transform Thailand into a Maritime Logistic Hub. The Port of Singapore receives more than 130,000 vessels (2009 figures) per annum. It is also a major transshipment center. Approximately 1.780 billion tons of cargo transported by 45% of vessels going through the Straits of Malacca, the equivalent of 32 million containers (TEUs), are taken off major ocean-going vessels, put onto feeder ships and vice versa. This fact alone places the Port of Singapore second only to the Port of Shanghai in China.

It is unlikely that the oil pipeline or otherwise known as the Land Bridge would be able to turn Thailand into a Maritime Logistic Hub, the main reason being that it is single-purposed and can be used for only one kind of cargo, in this case only liquid cargos (oil). To handle all types of cargo (liquid cargos, containers, bulk cargos, etc., it would require double-handling, once on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand and again on the coast of the Andaman Sea. Double handling would increase transporta- tion costs. Normally ocean-going cargo vessels try to avoid double-handling. If there is not a good enough reason impelling double-handling, ocean-going vessels would not want to use the services of the Land Bridge. Therefore, it is clear that such a Land Bridge will not provide the necessary impetus for Thailand to become a Mari- time Logistic Hub in the future.

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Read original article @kracanal-maritimesilkroad.com

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Russian Mi-24 Hind Helicopter Shot Down During Combat With ISIS In Palmyra Syria – Video

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WarLeaks – Daily Military Defense Videos & Combat Footage

Published on Jul 9, 2016

►Support WarLeaks with a PayPal Donation at https://goo.gl/709Nqs to help us launching a own idependent war news website with own video host to keep bringing you unbiased and uncensored combat footage from all around the world.

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2 Russian pilots killed as ISIS shoots down chopper near Palmyra – MoD

Published time: 9 Jul, 2016 16:59Edited time: 9 Jul, 2016 20:38

Islamic State militants have downed a military helicopter near Palmyra, Syria, killing two Russian pilots on board. The helicopter had been attacking the advancing terrorists at Damascus’ request when it was taken down, according to the Russian defense ministry.

On July 8, Russian military pilot-instructors Evgeny Dolgin and Ryafagat Khabibulin, were conducting a calibration flight on a Syrian Mi-25 (export version of the Mi-24) helicopter loaded with ammunition in the province of Homs,the official statement from the Ministry of Defense reads.

The crew received a request from the Syrian command group to help defeat the advancing terrorists and fire for effect. The captain of the aircraft, Ryafagat Khabibullin, made the decision to attack.”

The Ministry of Defense stated that due to the skillful actions of the crew the terrorists were thrown back and the attack had been thwarted.

However, their helicopter was shot down by terrorists as it was turning to head back to the base.

Having spent their ammunition, while turning back to the base, the helicopter was shot down by terrorists from the ground and crashed in an area controlled by the Syrian government. The crew did not survive,Russia’s defense ministry said, adding that both pilots will posthumously receive state awards for their actions.

Russia’s Interfax news agency reported, citing a source in the Russian military, that the helicopter had been downed with the aid of an American TOW antitank missile system.

According to reports, terrorists used the American TOW system to down the helicopter, which, having exhausted its ammunition, was on the course back to the base at an extremely low altitude,the source is quoted as saying.

Friday’s tragedy puts the number of Russian military casualties in Syria at 10.

In June, serviceman Anton Erygin suffered fatal wounds after falling under militant fire while guarding a Russian center for reconciliation convoy in Homs province.

Earlier in April, Russia paid its respects to Lt. Aleksandr Prokhorenko, who called in artillery fire on his own position after being surrounded by the terrorists near the Syrian city of Palmyra.

Prokhorenko, dubbed ‘Russian Rambo’ by international media, was awarded the title of Hero of Russia for his feat.

@rt.com

Mi-24 Hind: Details

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Rolls-Royce secures a further Italian Navy order for MT30 gas turbines

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Thu 07 Jul 2016

Rolls-Royce has won an order to provide MT30 gas turbines for propulsion of a new Italian Navy vessel. As part of a strategic fleet renewal programme, the 20,000 tonne displacement multi-purpose amphibious vessel will be built by Fincantieri under the Legge Navale (‘Naval Law’) act. It will serve as a landing helicopter deck and power will be provided by two MT30 gas turbines.

Based on proven flight engine technology, the marine MT30 has previously been selected for service in vessels including the UK Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and the Type 26 Global Combat Ship, the Republic of Korea Navy’s FFX-II Incheon-class frigates and is already powering the US Navy’s DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers and Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships.

The construction of the engine is based on a twin-spool, high-pressure ratio gas generator with a free power turbine. Eight variable geometry stages are included in the intermediate pressure compressor with six corrosion-protected stages in the high-pressure compressor. Technology for the four-stage free power turbine comes from the Industrial Trent and Trent 800 products. To ensure reliable life, the latest blade cooling technologies are included throughout and emission levels meet all current and anticipated legislative limits.

Commenting on the new order, Don Roussinos, Rolls-Royce, president – naval, said: “We’re delighted the MT30 has been selected for this prestigious ship. We are also very pleased that the MT30 has penetrated another new market, which is indicative of the confidence placed in the engine’s design and performance by Fincantieri. We’re extremely proud that our MT30 will be powering the new landing helicopter deck and look forward to working with Fincantieri and the Italian Navy on this programme.”

@mpropulsion.com

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MT30 gas turbines

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Image @directindustry.com

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MT30 – Image @wisconsincentral.net

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Image @topentity.com

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RAF Atlas (Airbus A400M) ZM400 'City of Bristol' taking off at RAF Brize Norton.

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Mr Paul Crouch is a civilian contractor photographer employed by Serco and permanently based at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire. He previously completed 22 years as a RAF Photographer from 1984 at AIDU RAF Northolt, RAF Laarbruch, Germany, AIDU RAF Northolt, RAF Manston, AIDU RAF Northolt, 41 Sqn RIC RAF Coltishall and JADTEU RAF Brize Norton as well as detachments to the Falklands, Gioia del Colle, Italy and South Wales as a ‘Green Goddess’ driver during the fire-fighter’s strike and then ‘retired’ in 2006. After working in the commercial photographic sector for two years he was then employed by Serco to work as a civilian contractor in the photographic section at RAF Lyneham where he was often called upon to photograph the repatriation ceremonies of service personnel from Afghanistan. He was made redundant by Serco when RAF Lyneham closed in March 2012 but he was then re-employed by Serco to work at RAF Brize Norton in a similar role.

Interim fix for A400M engine issue certified – Airbus

 

Sat Jul 9, 2016 9:36pm BST

RAF FAIRFORD, ENGLAND |

European authorities have certified an interim fix for a power gearbox issue with engines on Airbus Group SE’s A400M transport aircraft, paving the way for countries to resume normal operations of the planes, company officials said on Saturday.

“It’s good news. It means that we’re going to be alleviating the pain of the nations sooner,” Fernando Alonso, president of Airbus Military Aircraft, told Reuters. “It means they will essentially be able to use the aircraft normally again.”

Alonso said the European Aviation Safety Agency would now require initial inspections of the planes after 650 flight hours, up from 100 hours, with follow-up inspections to be required every 150 hours, up from the 20-hour cycle imposed after the gearbox issue first emerged in late December.

The EASA certification clears the way for Italy’s Avio, a unit of General Electric Co, to begin retrofitting engines on existing planes with a modified part to replace the one with cracking. It can also begin producing new power gearbox kits with the part integrated.

Airbus said the certification of the interim fix came a month or more sooner than planned. The company is continuing to work with GE and Avio on a long-term solution for the gearbox.

Alonso said Airbus was also focused on adding tactical capabilities to the big transport plane, and has delivered the first aircraft capable of tactical tasks to France.

The new plane offers armouring protection, refueling, the ability to airdrop loads, landings on some non-prepared runways and equipment to detect and counter enemy radars and missiles.

Airbus has delivered 27 A400M aircraft to date, including a fourth plane delivered to Germany on Friday, the company said.

Nearly all the aircraft have been affected by the engine issue, although only it affects only the two clockwise turning engines on each of the four-engine aircraft.

It was not immediately clear how quickly Avio could build and deliver the retrofit kits for planes already delivered. Work on the kits, and production of power gearboxes with the modified part would start immediately, Airbus officials said.

Airbus officials also disputed an article in Germany’s Spiegel magazine, which cited a link between cold temperatures in the back of the aircraft and irregular air flows that could affect paratrooper operations.

“There is no link,” said an Airbus spokeswoman.

Airbus said it was working on both issues, and would install a more efficient thermal curtain near the back of the plane by the end of the year to keep the back of the cabin warmer. The company is also examining a possible readjustment to the air flow system that would send more warm air to the back of the plane. No timing was given on that issue.

It cited progress on qualifying and certifying the aircraft for paratrooping operations with one side door only, or using the ramp.

“Safety is paramount in this development programme and we would note that the current regulations are very much stricter than those applied to legacy aircraft,” the company said.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; additional reporting by Madeline Chambers in Berlin, editing by Louise Heavens)

Original post @reuters.com

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EuroProp International (EPI) TP400-D6 engine

TP400-D6 engine – Image @mechanicalproducts.blogspot.com

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Paris Air Show 2015

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Lockheed Threatens Canada, Again: Will Cut 10k Jobs if Ottawa Discards F-35

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22:54 09.07.2016(updated 05:30 10.07.2016)

Lockheed Martin threatens to pull all of their Canadian operations, nearly 10,000 good paying jobs, over Canadian Prime Minister’s refusal to purchase the faulty F-35 without first staging a competition.

Lockheed Martin renewed threats to engage in economic reprisals against Canada if the country refuses to purchase the much maligned F-35 Lightning at a time when the country seems to be leaning towards Boeing’s Super Hornet on grounds of both capabilities and costs.

The F-35 has become a headache for Western leaders in recent months facing a new round of delays after failing to meet a critical testing deadline due to a software glitch that causes the plane to sporadically shutdown midflight and recent revelations that the plane’s Martin Baker ejection seat will immediately snap the neck of and potentially decapitate all pilots under 135 pounds with a heightened risk to pilots between 135 and 160 pounds.

If killer ejection seats and the inability to stay in the sky wasn’t cause enough for concern, recent test trials show that the next-generation fighter jet would be smoked in a dogfight against the several decades old F-16 fighter jet leading to questions about whether the fighter jet really possesses the capabilities that Western militaries are looking for.

In light of these concerns, the Canadian government has looked for alternative replacements to its CF-18 with defense minister Harjit Sajjan announcing on Friday that he will begin conversations with industry representatives during the Farnborough airshow on July 11 to find some way for Ottawa to avoid procuring the F-35 that has already cost US taxpayers in excess of $1.5 trillion.

F-35 program lead, Jeff Babione responded to the defense minister’s comments saying that the company is looking for alternative production sites for Canada’s fighter jet production work with the company which would leave a gaping short-term goal in the country’s economy erasing nearly 10,000 steady, well-paying jobs. 

“Certainly Canada remains an important partner,” Babione notes, which adding that a condition of its industrial benefits from the development and production of the fifth-generation fighter was to purchase the aircraft. Yes, that’s right, the military-industrial complex actually has the Canadian government tied up in knots forcing them to purchase a faulty jet at nearly $200 million per unit that has next to no discernible real-world military application.

“We’re concerned that Canada would not be able to do that,” says Babione of the country’s prospects for purchasing the aircraft in the wake of growing public disgust with the aircraft. “We would rather Canada purchase the aircraft, but there is a timeline where we may have to pass work elsewhere.”

Although Canada may ultimately complete their initial planned 65-aircraft F-35A acquisition, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has scrapped this earlier plan in favor of a competition – something that Lockheed executives find unacceptable perhaps in knowing that the fighter jet will lose compared to other next-generation options.

@sputniknews.com

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Usual bullying tatics!

Comparing modern Western fighters: Here

Conclusion from article

“As it can be seen, Rafale is best by far in all effectiveness characteristics except for outnumbering the opponent, where it is bettered by Gripen. F-22 and F-35, the “most advanced”, and certainly most expensive, fighters in the world, do not get above 3rd place in any of criteria, while Typhoon – which is more expensive than Rafale but less so than F-22 and F-35 – achieves no more than 2nd place in any of the criteria. Reason is difference in approach – Dassault had experience and money, Saab had experience, and Eurofighter had the money. Lockheed Martin had money but it was not interested in desigining effective fighters; rather, its interest was to suck money from the US Government, which means desigining outrageously expensive, and consequently ineffective, fighters; reason why F-22 turned out (relatively) well is that Lockheed Martin was helped out by General Dynamics. But even Rafale, for all its qualities, is far from perfect, and it is comparatively easy to design a fighter which will better it in most or all characteristics. Rating with everything except numbers would result in following: 1. Rafale, 2. Typhoon, 3. Gripen, 4. F-22, 5. F-16, 6. F-15, F-35, 7. F-18. Gripen C’s lack of supercruise and situational awareness will likely make it less effective than the F-22 in combat (on platform level) due to these characteristics’ overwhelming importance, but its ease of maintenance and low cost might make it more effective than any of other fighters noted on battlefield level, as pilots need to train and human factor is more important than any technological factor.

As David Axe said, only thing that United States have always done well is not predict the next war. But he, as many others, draws a wrong conclusion from it.”

Note: Gripen is C/D not E

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