Daily Archives: April 6, 2017

Argentine Ambassador to US Quits Amid $2B weapons acquisition scandal

Argentine Ambassador to US Quits Amid $2B Arms Deal Scandal

Published 5 April 2017

Argentine President Mauricio Macri planned to make the largest weapons acquisition since the country’s Malvinas War in the 1980s.

Argentine Ambassador to the United States Martin Lousteau resigned from his post on Tuesday amid an ongoing scandal over the South American country’s mass acquisition of weapons from the U.S. government, even as the right-wing government pushes austerity at domestically.

Last week, local outlet El Destape revealed that Argentine President Mauricio Macri planned to spend US$2 billion in large military equipment from the U.S., making it the largest weapons acquisition since the country’s Malvinas War in the 1980s.

The list of military supplies requested includes fighter jets, war tanks, medium and long-range missiles and helicopters, which together make up almost half of the 2016 budget for the Ministry of Defense.

The Argentine government ordered the equipment from the U.S. through Lousteau, who has close connections to Washington D.C.’s military-industrial complex. The government justified the deal by claiming the arsenal would help Argentina “fight terrorism.”

Since news of the arms deal surfaced, Macri’s administration has come under fire from thousands of protesters who oppose cuts to social programs and the rising expenditure on defense.

In an effort to save face, Macri’s cabinet chief Marcos Peña blamed the deal on Lousteau, telling him in a Telegram message that “we’d prefer for you not to be with us anymore,” Clarin reports. Lousteau immediately submitted a letter of resignation, providing no details of the scandal.

“They (the Argentine government) have to come to us and give explanations,” Argentine opposition activist Rodolfo Tailhade told HispanTV.

“They have to explain why these deals are being made to purchase so many arms when they haven’t been questioned for debate or decision.”

Lousteau’s resignation comes weeks before Macri is expected to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. Both right-wing leaders are expected to discuss military cooperation and arms deals when they meet on April 27.

Argentine Minister of Economy Alfonso Prat-Gay is interested in taking Lousteau’s post before the visit. Prat-Gay, however, has come under fire for his participation in the administration of former Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla’s military government.

Prat-Gay was the director of the Central Bank of Argentina from 1976 to 1981, one of the country’s darkest eras. Macri appointed him to his current position in 2015, ushering in neoliberal austerity.

Original post telesurtv.net

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Boeing offers Block III F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to compliment F-35C capability gaps

Boeing, Lockheed debate F-35C capability gaps

06 APRIL, 2017 SOURCE: FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM BY: STEPHEN TRIMBLE WASHINGTON DC

Compared to a Lockheed Martin F-35C, a Block III Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will be able to detect and track stealth aircraft at long range by their heat emissions and carry a full load of external weapons for significantly longer distances, says Boeing programme manager Dan Gillian.

By filling these two claimed capability gaps, Boeing believes it can preserve the F/A-18E/Fs presence on aircraft carrier decks well into the 2040s and extend a once-threatened production line in St. Louis, Missouri, far into the 2020s.

Although US president Donald Trump once tweeted that he had ordered Boeing to offer a Super Hornet upgrade that would be “comparable” to the stealthy F-35C, the Chicago-based manufacturer prefers to use the term “complimentary”.

“We’ve designed the Block 3 Super Hornet to be viable in the future in the high-end fight just like the navy’s planning to use it as complimentary with F-35, [EA-18G] Growler and [Northrop Grumman E-2D,” Gillian says.

The Block III Super Hornet, like the Block II, will come equipped with IRST21, a centreline pod with an infrared telescope.

In making such claims, Gillian calls into question direct statements made by his competitor, particularly in regard to the air-to-air infrared search and track (IRST) capability of the F-35C.

Lockheed advertises the electro-optical targeting system on all F-35s is designed with air-to-air IRST modes, although it also used to track ground targets.

When asked about the F-35’s EOTS sensor, Gillian quickly replied that the system is for “medium-range air-to-ground.” He declined to comment directly about Lockheed’s claims that it can perform air-to-air tracking as well. .

As for the F-35, Lockheed vice-president for business development Jack Crisler defends the IRST capability of EOTS, though doesn’t offer specifics.

“We have an an IRST capability,” he says. “There will be some Block 4 capability added to that.”

He also questions the relevance of the Super Hornet’s range with a full load of weapons under-wing.

“If you’re loaded up with bombs like that,” he asks, “are you going to be able to go into an [area denied] environment?”

Original post flightglobal.com

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Saab begin production of 2 seat version for Brazil

Saab developing Gripen fighter for Brazil

By Ryan Maass   |   April 5, 2017 at 9:07 AM

April 5 (UPI) — Saab is developing its first aircraft for Brazil’s air force, the company announced during the LAAD International Defense & Security Exhibition.

The manufacturer’s work includes a two-seat version which has already begun production. Saab is coordinating with a number of Brazilian companies for the project.

“The first aircraft to be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force is already under production at Saab’s facilities in Linköping, Sweden,” Gripen Brazil business head Mikael Franzén said in a press release. “Furthermore, Brazilian engineers are participating in the development and integration of the fighter’s systems. We are seeing an excellent working relationship between the Swedes and Brazilians, with the latter very passionate about being a part of the Gripen program.”

Saab’s two-seat version of the Gripen NG is being developed in the Brazilian state of Säo Paulo. The site currently has 56 engineers working on the aircraft. Company officials say the collaboration will help Brazil’s industry improve its own capabilities.

“The transfer of technology also continues to advance to ensure the conditions needed for Brazilian companies to acquire all the knowledge related to the fighter development,” Franzén added.

The Gripen fighter is a multirole aircraft that can be armed with air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, and can also support intelligence gathering operations.

Saab’s project for Brazil’s air force was discussed during LAAD 2017, an international defense industry conference held from April 4 to April 7. Over 600 brands are being showcased at the event.

Original post upi.com

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The manufacturer’s work includes a two-seat version which has already begun production. Saab is coordinating with a number of Brazilian companies for the project.

“The first aircraft to be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force is already under production at Saab’s facilities in Linköping, Sweden,” Gripen Brazil business head Mikael Franzén said in a press release.

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