• China confirms CH-4 UCAV in PLA service at 'Peace Mission 2014' drill

    The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) showcased a CH-4 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) during the multilateral 'Peace Mission 2014' exercise featuring Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) members in Inner Mongolia in late August. In a rare move, and indicating strong confidence in

  • Maiden flight for UK's first A400M transport aircraft

    The first Airbus Defence and Space (DS) A400M Atlas transport aircraft for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has made its maiden flight, the company announced on 1 September. The aircraft, MSN015, departed the final assembly line (FAL) in Seville, Spain, for a five-hour test flight on 30 August. The

  • Ukrainian patrol ship sunk by artillery fire

    A Ukrainian patrol ship has been sunk in the Azov Sea after coming under artillery fire, the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service (DPSU) announced on 1 September. Two Ukrainian Coast Guard vessels based in Mariupol had been patrolling three miles off the Ukrainian coast near Bezimenne when they

  • Ukraine conflict enters new phase

    The situation in east Ukraine "has changed radically", Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on 28 August. Anti-Kiev forces have launched counter-offensives apparently involving Russian regular forces along three axis that have seen the capture of the southeastern towns of Novoazovsk,

  • Boeing awarded AH-6i contract for Saudi Arabia

    Boeing has been formally awarded a contract for the manufacture of 24 AH-6i Little Bird light attack/reconnaissance helicopters for Saudi Arabia. The contract, which was first revealed by Boeing in late 2013 but only announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 29 August, is valued at

  • Russia launches third improved 'Kilo' submarine, commissions first

    Admiralty Shipyard launched the third of six Project 636.3 improved 'Kilo'-class (or Varshavyanka-class) diesel-electric submarines for the Russian Navy at its yard in Saint Petersburg on 28 August. Stary Oskol 's launch ceremony follows the commissioning of the first boat in the series,

  • China adding towed sonars to Type 054A, Type 056 vessels

    Photographs of two People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Type 054A (Jiangkai II) frigates being fitted out at Huangpu shipyard in Guangzhou province, China, strongly suggest that variable-depth sonars (VDSs) are being installed. The images, published on the cjdby.net website, show a large aperture

  • Drug-related violence and extortion risks likely to rise in Mexico's Guerrero state

    EVENT A criminal group armed with AK-47 assault rifles and fragmentation grenades entered El Troncón town in Tixtla municipality, Guerrero state, on 28 August and murdered a local ranch owner. The incident, in which seven houses were also shot at, was allegedly carried out by 30 individuals,

  • Elevated risk of oil theft piracy in international waters off Malay Peninsula persists

    Key Points The large-scale fuel thefts target small coastal tankers, mainly on the high seas, which amount to piracy, indicate a level of expertise and organisation unseen in the region in recent years, where most crime at sea has involved petty theft from ships at anchor. There have been no

  • Freeing of Algerian hostages on Mali-Algeria border risk positive for Algeria's role in Algiers peace talks

    EVENT The Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 30 August announced that two Algerian diplomats, Mourad Guessas and Kedour Miloudi, who were abducted from Gao in northern Mali by members of Jamaat Tawhid wal Jihad fi Gharb Afriqa (better known by its French acronym MUJAO, or Mouvement pour

  • IAI tests B767-300ER with a FBW boom refuelling system

    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has successfully performed test flights with a B767-300ER aircraft equipped with an advanced fly-by-wire (FBW) boom refuelling system, the company announced on 26 August. Described as an advanced, fully redundant digital system, the new FBW boom system features

  • Indian Navy plans new carrier, SSBN base in Bay of Bengal

    The Indian Navy (IN) is building a new base on India's east coast to further boost force levels in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and to counter China's growing presence. Senior IN sources told IHS Jane's that the new facility, codenamed Project Varsha, will be located at Rambilli on the Bay of

  • Kazakh Navy to get new MCMVs, patrol craft in near future

    The Kazakh Navy will gain a mine countermeasures (MCM) capability towards the end of 2015 when the first of two Project 1750E small inshore MCM vessels (MCMVs) is delivered by Russia's Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard. The second vessel is tentatively slated for a 2017 delivery, pending contract

  • New entities being placed under US sanctions unlikely to lead to failure of Iran-P5+1 negotiations

    EVENT The US Treasury Department placed 30 new Iran-linked entities from the aviation, banking, energy, and shipping sectors on existing sanctions lists on 29 August. Some media reporting incorrectly implied that new sanctions were involved. The entities are alleged by the US to be providing

  • Patria buys Swedish aerospace services operation

    Finnish aerospace and defence group Patria has announced it has acquired Malmskogen Aerocenter's business operations in Linkoping, Sweden. The transaction - announced on 1 September - is intended to complement the existing operations of Patria's rotary-wing services facility at Stockholm Arlanda

  • Portugal takes over lead of Baltic Air Policing Mission

    Portugal assumed responsibility for the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission on 1 September, taking over from Poland which has had the role with the support of the United Kingdom and Denmark since May. Six Portuguese Air Force (Força Aérea Portuguesa - FAP) Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting

  • Regional military response to Lesotho's alleged coup only likely if water supply to South Africa is threatened

    EVENT Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) soldiers commanded by Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli on 30 August surrounded the Lesotho Mounted Police Service's headquarters and the residence of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who had fled to South Africa. Thabane's three-party coalition comprising his All

  • Renewal of Salvadoran gang truce likely to prompt murder reduction, but wider decrease in crime including extortion unlikely

    EVENT El Salvador's two most prominent Mara street gangs, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Mara 18 (M18), relaunched a truce on 30 August. The pact encompasses pledges to cease attacks against other gangs, the police, the military, and civilians. Gang leaders also agreed to suspend the forced

  • Rising support for German Eurosceptic party likely to complicate fiscal policy negotiations and support for EU periphery

    EVENT The Alternative for Germany (Alternative fur Deutschland: AfD) party won 9.7% of votes in Saxony's state elections yesterday (31 August). Founded in 2013, the AfD is still a newcomer on Germany's political landscape. As a reaction to the economic and social crisis in the European Union, the

  • RSAF grounds US-based F-16Ds after structural cracks found

    The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has grounded an unspecified number of Lockheed Martin F-16D multirole combat aircraft attached to its Peace Carvin II training detachment at Luke Air Force Base (AFB), Arizona, Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) revealed to IHS Jane's on 29 August.