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Seven crew members are missing and at least three injured after a U.S. Navy destroyer collided early on Saturday morning with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel south of Tokyo Bay in Japan, the U.S. Navy said.
The Japanese Coast Guard said the U.S. ship was experiencing some flooding but was not in danger of sinking, while the merchant vessel was able to sail under its own power.
The U.S. Navy said in a statement the USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant vessel at about 2:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT), some 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, a rare incident on a busy waterway.
Three aboard the destroyer had been medically evacuated, including the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, who was reportedly in stable condition after being airlifted to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, the Navy said.
The other two injured were transferred to the hospital for lacerations and bruises, while other injuries were being assessed, it said. The Fitzgerald and the Japanese Coast Guard were searching for seven missing sailors.
“The USS Fitzgerald suffered damage on her starboard side above and below the waterline,” the Navy said in a statement.
It said the full extent of damage to the ship and injuries to its crew were still being determined. The Fitzgerald was operating under its own power, “although her propulsion is limited”.
A spokesman for the U.S. 7th Fleet said the ship was heading back to Yokosuka under its own power at 3 knots.
It was unclear how the collision happened. “Once an investigation is complete then any legal issues can be addressed,” the 7th Fleet spokesman said.
The waterways approaching Tokyo Bay are busy with commercial vessels sailing to and from Japan’s two biggest container ports in Tokyo and Yokohama.
The USS Dewey and two Navy tugboats had been dispatched to provide assistance, the Navy said.
Japan’s public broadcaster NHK showed aerial footage of the destroyer, which had a large dent in its right, or starboard, side. Images broadcast by NHK showed it had been struck next to its Aegis radar arrays behind its vertical launch tubes.
The images showed what appeared to be significant damage on the deck and to part of the radar. NHK also showed footage of the container vessel and said it was heading towards Tokyo under its own power.
The 7th fleet said the collision was with the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal. At around 29,000 tons displacement it is about three times the size of the U.S. warship.
Japan’s Coast Guard said none of the 20 crew members aboard the merchant vessel were injured.
Such incidents are rare.
In May, the U.S. Navy’s USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing vessel but both ships were able to operate under their own power.
The 7th Fleet commander, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin thanked the Japanese Coast guard in a post on the fleet’s Facebook page, adding: “We are committed to ensuring the safe return of the ship to port in Yokosuka.”
(Additional reporting by Phil Stewart in Washington, Linda Sieg, Kiyoshi Takenaka and Chang-Ran Kim in Tokyo, Raju Gopalakrishnan in Manila, Chizu Nomiyama in New York; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Bill Tarrant)
14 JUNE, 2017 SOURCE: FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM BY: STEPHEN TRIMBLE TOULOUSE
After testing a beach landing capability with a Royal Air Force A400M earlier this month, Airbus Defence & Space says it is on track to qualify a redesigned helicopter refuelling system, roll-out a final solution to a power gearbox problem and resolve a dispute over penalties caused by delivery delays.
“Things are going very, very well,” Airbus head of military aircraft Fernando Alonso said on 9 June, adding: “In five to 10 years from now, this will be a reference for logistical transport airplanes.”
But Airbus is still working to recover from what Alonso calls a “very difficult” 2016. On New Year’s Eve in 2015, a flaw was discovered in the propeller-driving power gearbox of the Europrop International (EPI) TP400-D6 engines, requiring Airbus to impose a frequent maintenance interval that restricted operations. An interim solution for the power gearbox issue has reduced the inspection interval to once a year or less, Alonso says. “This is totally acceptable from an operational point of view,” he adds.
But Airbus and EPI plan to release by year-end another modification – called “Pack 2” – that will remove the annual inspection requirement, he says.
Airbus is also negotiating with A400M operators to reduce contractual penalties caused by delivery delays. Being conducted with Europe’s OCCAR defence procurement agency and individual customers, the discussions are “constructive”, Alonso says. “We hope certainly by the end of this year we will have a resolution,” he adds.
In the meantime, Airbus is working to address requirements that the A400M is currently unable to meet. The company has successfully tested an extended refuelling hose that can allow the Atlas to support helicopters, Alonso says, and it is now waiting for OCCAR to approve the proposed redesign.
The A400M programme also is “slowly progressing” with efforts to fix other requirements shortfalls, such as in defensive aids subsystems and air-dropping certain types of cargo, he says.
15 June 2017
Defence and security company Saab today completed a successful first flight of the next generation smart fighter, Gripen E. The media are invited to join an online press briefing later today and joining details are below.
At 10:32 on Thursday June 15, Gripen E took off on its maiden flight, flown by a Saab test pilot. The aircraft (designation 39-8) left from Saab’s airfield in Linköping, Sweden and flew over the eastern parts of Östergötland for 40 minutes. During the flight, the aircraft carried out a number of actions to demonstrate various test criteria including the retracting and extending of the landing gear.
“The flight was just as expected, with the aircraft performance matching the experience in our simulations. Its acceleration performance is impressive with smooth handling. Needless to say I’m very happy to have piloted this maiden flight,” says Marcus Wandt, Experimental Test Pilot, Saab.
“Today we have flown this world class fighter aircraft for the first time. We achieved it with the fully qualified software for the revolutionary avionics system. This is about giving our customers a smart fighter system with the future designed in from the start. The flight test activities will continue to build on this achievement with the programme on track to achieve the 2019 delivery schedule to our Swedish and Brazilian customers,” says Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab Business Area Aeronautics.
Invitation to online press briefing
Time: Thursday, June 15 2017 at 16.00 CET
Speakers: Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab Business Area Aeronautics and Marcus Wandt, Experimental Test Pilot, Saab.
June 14, 2017 09:27
By The Nation
The proposal to buy the ZBL-09 VN-1 for Bt2.3 billion was put forward by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan.
The Cabinet gave the nod for the purchase with budgetary commitments in fiscal years 2017-20.
The Army chief will later fly to China to sign the government-to-government purchase contract.
The Cabinet was told that the new VN-1 carriers will be stationed at the First Cavalry Division, the 10th Cavalry Battalion in Nan, and the 7th Cavalry Battalion in Uttaradit.
Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-10 20:53:37|Editor: Song Lifang
DAMASCUS, June 10 (Xinhua) — The general command of the Syrian army said in a statement on Saturday that reaching the Syrian-Iraqi borders constitutes a “turning point” in the war on terror.
It said the Syrian forces and allied troops have completed the first stage of the military operation in the Syrian Desert, by reaching the Syrian-Iraqi borders after battles with the Islamic State (IS) group.
During the operation, dubbed the Great Dawn, the Syrian army controlled many positions in the depth of the desert, according to the statement.
“This achievement constitutes a strategic turning point in the war on terror and a base for expanding the military operation in the desert and across the borders with Iraq and to tighten the noose on what’s left of the IS terror groups,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the statement warned of the risks of the repetitive attacks by the U.S.-led coalition on Syrian military positions in the desert, saying such strikes aim to hinder the advance of the Syrian army in the war on IS.
The army and its allies of Hezbollah group recently unleashed their wide-scale offensive in the desert to clear a triangle of border areas between Iraq, Syria and Jordan.
The army units were struck twice by the U.S. coalition near the Tanf border crossing on the Syrian side of the borders.
The U.S. has forces there and warned the Syrian army away from it.
However, the army skirted around Tanf and reached the borders as the Iraqi forces reached its side of the borders.
Original post xinhuanet.com
Main image southfront.org
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) managed to reach the Syrian-Iraqi border after a fast advane in the southeastern desert.
The SAA also captured a desert road north of Al-Tanf and areas under the US-led coalition and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) control. According to the map released by the Russian military, government forces took control of the area near al-Bawdah.
“We see that coalition’s actions only prevents the government forces from defeating Daesh [ISIS] terrorists,” chief of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operational Directorate Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said. “While declaring its aim as the fight against international terrorism, the coalition carries out strikes against Syrian troops, lets Daesh [ISIS] militants out of encirclement areas, thus, strengthening terrorist units near Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor.”
It is believed that the Russian Special Operations Forces may have participated in the operation alongside the SAA. Moreover, there have been unconfirmed reports of the deployment of Russian Army forces on the road to prevent the US-led coalition from attacking the SAA.
The Hezbollah media wing has also confirmed the gains at the border with Iraq.
With this advance, SAA has returned to the Syrian-Iraqi border for the first time in three years. The SAA had lost the Baghdad-Damascus road after ISIS attack on Al-Tanf in 2014.
Now, it will be almost impossible for the FSA and the US-led coalition to attack Deir Ezzor from the southern direction because the SAA blocked the road to it, and Iraq wouldn’t allow the US coalition to launch an operation towards Deir Ezzor from its territory.
The US-led coalition maintains very advanced positions in the Shaddadi area north of Deir Ezzor and Wadi Baqar village north-east of Deir Ezzor. However, any attack by the US-led coalition on ISIS from the north may ease the pressure on the SAA in Deir Ezzor and allow government forces to capture it completely. So the United States will not conduct this move.
The SAA next target may be Al-Qa’am border crossing on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The possible operation towards Qa’am may be a joint joint effort of the SAA and the Irai Popular Mobilization Units. Source southfront.org
By Ahmad Majidyar | Fellow and Director of IranObserved Project – The Middle East Institute | May 30, 2017
The head of an Iranian-supported Badr Organization said today that the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces have launched a new operation to secure areas along the Syrian-Iraqi border, Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.), reported. Hadi al-Amiri also told reporters in Iraq that his forces and other P.M.F. groups are willing to go to Syria to fight the Islamic State if needed, but stressed that his forces would coordinate with the government of Bashar al-Assad for any operations inside Syria. “Iraq’s security will be maintained only if Syria’s security is preserved,” he emphasized. Amiri also claimed that efforts by the Syrian army and Iran-led forces to cut off the Islamic State’s supply lines inside Syria helped the P.M.F. forces a great deal to seize territory in western Mosul. “The P.M.F.’s access to the Syrian borders will also help the Syrian army to reach its own borders,” he emphasized, cautioning that his forces would not allow the U.S. military to interfere in who should police the Syrian-Iraqi border. Referring to the latest Riyadh summit, Amiri further claimed that Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria have set up a joint committee to coordinate their efforts to counter designs by U.S. and its allies in the region.
Comment: The remarks by Amiri come as Iran-supported P.M.F. forces said yesterday they had seized several villages on the border with Syria from the Islamic State. The paramilitaries’ control of strategic areas and roads linking western Mosul to the Syrian border provides Iran a strategic supply route to send Iranian weapons and Iraqi militias to the Assad regime. But to link up the two sides the Syrian Army and Iran-led forces in Syria still have to clear and hold several areas in eastern Syria in order to reach the Iraqi border. While some of those regions leading to the Iraqi border are held by the Islamic State, others are controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian rebel groups. Source mei.edu