Argentina will sign for a contract to buy 4 Gowind OPV 90 patrol ship from French Naval grounp in the next weeks. 3 new built and the l'Adroit the first of the OPV 90 class built by DCNS and tested by the French Navy.
El Salvador sending six MD500s to Mali to support UN mission
Peacekeepers serving in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission Mali (MINUSMA) are now provided with aerial fire support from German Tiger attack helicopters. Once the German troops depart, the role will be taken over by El Salvador with six MD500 helicopters.
US Asks Organization Of American States To Suspend Venezuela
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence on Monday asked the countries of the Western Hemisphere to suspend Venezuela from the 35-nation Organization of American States.
Pence also urged member states to cut off Venezuelan leaders from their financial systems and to enact visa restrictions.
“To uphold the democracy and freedom, we call the members of the OAS to suspend Venezuela from the Organization of American States,” said Pence, the first U.S. vice president to address the group since Al Gore in 1994.
Pence asked Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to suspend the May 20 presidential election, which he called “no more than fraud and sham.” Pence also urged Maduro to “open Venezuela to international aid, and do it now.”
Venezuela has refused to allow international aid, alleging that would amount to foreign intervention. The South American nation also denies there is an ongoing humanitarian crisis, even though thousands of Venezuelans have fled to other countries in the region.
Venezuela did not send an official to hear Pence’s speech, but minutes later Samuel Moncada, Venezuela’s deputy foreign relations minister for North America, called Pence remarks a “farce” and a “monstrosity”.
Moncada said in April 2017 his country started a two-year process to withdraw from the Washington-based Organization of American ...MORE
In run-up to Venezuelan vote, more soldiers dissent and desert
Arrests for rebellion and desertion are rising sharply in Venezuela’s armed forces, a mainstay of President Nicolas Maduro’s Socialist government, amid discontent within the ranks at food shortages and dwindling salaries, according to documents and interviews with army personnel.
Internal military documents reviewed by Reuters showed that the number of soldiers detained for treason, rebellion and desertion rose to 172 in the first four months of the year, up three-and-a-half times on the same period of 2017.
Former military officials said the figures reflected a dramatic increase in the level of dissent within Venezuela’s once-proud armed forces. In the whole of 2017, a total of 196 soldiers were arrested on similar charges, according to the same documents.
As Venezuela prepares to vote on Sunday in presidential elections, which the opposition says have been rigged to consolidate Maduro’s grip on power, the role of the security forces will be under scrutiny.
More than 300,000 soldiers and police will stand watch at polling stations. But behind what will likely be impassive faces some soldiers are planning how to flee the country or fretting about how to feed their families on a minimum salary of just $2 a day, according to interviews with serving and former soldiers.
“It’s so demoralizing to open the fridge and see it empty of meat, fish, chicken, ham, cheese and other basics,” said a 42-year-old National Guard sergeant major with more than 20 years of service, asking for his name not to be used.
“When I joined, I used to buy furniture for the house and clothes for the family with my Christmas bonus. Now it gets me three cartons of eggs and two kilos of sugar,” he said in the border city of San Cristobal.
The Defense Ministry and government did not respond to a request for comment. They say military dissent is isolated among a few individuals rather than being a systemic problem.
Colombia to join the NATO global partner
Colombia will join as a “global partner”, Santos said, which means it will not necessarily have to take part in military action, and will be fully accredited in Brussels.
The 29-nation NATO alliance reached a partnership agreement with Colombia back in May 2017, just after peace was signed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, an agreement that earned Santos a Nobel Peace Prize.
“Colombia benefits a lot from being an active part of the international community, many of the problems we face are increasingly global and need the support and collaboration of other countries for their solution,” Santos said in a televised address.
Right-Wing Candidate Wins Colombia Presidential Poll
Right-wing lawmaker Ivan Duque won Colombia's presidential election Sunday, promising to rewrite the government's 2016 peace accord with former FARC rebels.
Duque defeated leftist former guerrilla and ex-Mayor of Bogota Gustavo Petro 54-42 percent in Sunday's second and final round of voting.
Petro supports the peace deal with FARC. He also campaigned on redistributing unused lands to poor farmers and turning the country away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.
But Duque promised a more business-friendly environment for Colombia's struggling economy.
He also wants to make changes to the peace deal to require former Marxist FARC rebels, if they committed crimes against humanity, to serve prison time before entering politics.
The 41-year-old Duque cast his ballot Sunday surrounded by his children. He said he wanted to make sure that those who committed crimes during the five-decade long conflict in Colombia "pay for them ...MORE
The submarine ARA San Juan had a seven-day supply of air when it last reported its position on Nov. 15, 2017. It was found some 2,625 feet below the ocean's surface by a marine tracking contractor Ocean Infinity.
The disappearance gripped the nation's attention as the government struggled to provide information about the tragedy.
At the time of the disappearance, the Navy said water that had entered the submarine's snorkel caused its battery to short-circuit. Naval officials said international organizations helping to search for the missing vessel a year ago detected a noise that could have been the submarine imploding.
Hopes of rescuing survivors faded about two weeks after the submarine went missing. The navy said it searched for double the amount of time the submarine would have had oxygen.
The first anniversary of the submarine's disappearance was marked with an event at the Mar del Plata naval base on Nov. 15, with President Mauricio Macri in attendance.
The crew had been ordered to return to Mar del Plata on the country's east coast. But the vessel was never heard from again.
Ocean Infinity, a U.S. company that can search and map the seabed, was hired by Argentina following the failure of a international operation to find the vessel after it went missing in the South Atlantic.
The San Juan was some 270 miles off Argentina's Patagonian coast when it sent its last signal.
The disaster spurred soul-searching over the state of the military in Argentina, which - after a series of financial crises - has one of Latin America's smallest defense budgets relative to the size of its economy.
Subs are used to patrol sovereign maritime areas throughout South America and can transform themselves into a lethal threat to potential adversaries.
Argentina learned a harsh lesson of submarines' military value during the 1982 Falklands War, when a British sub sank the ARA General Belgrano cruiser. It was the only major ship Argentina lost in the war over the disputed Falkland Islands, which Argentina calls the Malvinas.
Chile likely buyer of remaining two Dutch M-frigates
The Chilean Navy will likely acquire the remaining two Dutch Karel Dorman-class (M-frigates) frigates as they retire from the Royal Netherlands Navy’s service, following the signing of a letter of intent (LoI) between the two sides.
The LoI was signed during the visit of Dutch defense procurement organization director Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard to Chile.
According to the Chief of the Royal Netherlands Navy, Vice Admiral Rob Kramer, HNLMS Van Amstel and HNLMS Van Speijk are expected to be transferred to the Chilean Navy in 2024 and 2027, respectively.
Chile already operates two M-frigates – former Tjer Kiddes and Abraham van der Hulst – which were sold in 2004 and renamed as Almirante Riveros (FF-18) and Blanco Encalada (FF-15) as they entered Chilean Navy service.
The Royal Netherlands Navy operated a total of eight Karel Doorman-class frigates, all of which will have been sold should Chile buy Van Amstel and Van Speijk. Other buyers of retired M-frigates are Belgium and Portugal.
Belgium and the Netherlands are currently in the process of jointly procuring new anti-submarine warfare-oriented frigates that are expected to start entering service in the mid-2020s. Vice Admiral Rob Kramer noted that the current M-frigates will be sold only after replacement units arrive.
M-frigates currently in service with the navies of the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal will sail with new Thales identification friend or foe (IFF) systems from 2020.
Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro has closed the border with Brazil amid a row over humanitarian aid.
The embattled leader said he could also shut the key border with Colombia to stop the opposition bringing in relief.
Venezuela's inflation rate has seen prices soar, leaving many Venezuelans struggling to afford basic items such as food, toiletries and medicine.
President Maduro denies any crisis and calls the aid delivery plans a US-orchestrated show.
His ally Russia has accused the US of trying to arm Venezuela's opposition.
Rival concerts will be held on both sides of a bridge linking Venezuela and Colombia later on Friday.
On the Colombian side, an event will be held to raise money for Venezuela. At the same time, Mr Maduro's government will hold its own concert, just 300m (980ft) away.
Opposition leader Juan Guaidó and his allies hope to collect food and medicine being gathered in neighbouring Brazil and Colombia on Saturday, in defiance of President Maduro.
Head of the National Assembly, Mr Guaidó declared himself interim leader during anti-government protests last month and is recognised by dozens of countries, including the US and most Latin American nations.
The border crossing with Brazil remained closed on Friday morning but local G1 website reported that a group of Venezuelans managed to cross from the Brazilian city of Pacaraima on foot using an unofficial route.
Mr Maduro announced on Thursday that the border would be closed "completely and absolutely" until further notice and said he had been considering a "total closure" of the border with Colombia.
Brazil had earlier said that, in co-ordination with the US, food and medicine would be available to be collected by "the government of acting President Juan Guaidó in Venezuelan trucks driven by Venezuelans". https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47325201
Military members of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro regime opened fire on demonstrators near the border with Brazil, leaving at least two dead and 14 wounded as of Friday afternoon. The incident occurred as a crowd of civilians from the indigenous community tried to block the passage of a convoy sent to the border to keep humanitarian aid from entering the country, opposition Congress members said.
Americo De Grazia, an opposition leader, reported through his Twitter account that the first victim was Zoraida Rodríguez, an indigenous woman of the Pemón ethnic group who lost her life to a gunshot wound during the clash. The woman was a food street vendor who was in the area during the incident in the community of Kumaracupay, about 40 miles from the border.
Hours later, De Grazia reported that a second critically injured victim also had died despite efforts to save his life.
The 67-meter-long Argentine Coast Guard vessel Mantilla fired several shots at Chinese fishing vessel Hua Xiang 801 which was caught fishing illegally in Argentine’s exclusive economic zone on March 1.
As informed by the coast guard, the fire was opened after the fishing vessel failed to respond to attempts to establish radio contact and performed aggressive maneuvers as it tried to escape into international waters.
At one moment, the fishing vessel even tried to ram the Mantilla, according to the coast guard, putting the crew’s life at risk. Several shots were fired at the fishing vessel’s bow and above the waterline but it managed to escape its pursuers.
This is not the first time Argentine authorities were forced to fire at Chinese fishing vessels fishing illegally in Argentine waters with the latest such incident taking place in February 2018. In an incident from March 2017, the coast guard even sank a fishing boat in Puerto Madryn.
The coast guard said it would seek to prosecute the escaped Hua Xiang 801 through international bodies. The service noted that the shipowner of Jing Yuan 626, which escaped in February last year, was ordered to pay 7 million pesos (approx. USD 169,300) and the money collected by the Argentine state.
Brazil selects Germany’s MEKO design for new Tamandaré corvettes zoomTKMS photo of the Tamandare-class MEKO A100 design The Brazilian defense ministry has selected the Águas Azuis Consortium as the preferred bidder for the construction of the Brazilian Navy’s Tamandaré-class corvettes.
The consortium, formed by thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, Embraer Defense & Security and Atech, will build a total of four ships under the program which will cost up to USD1.6 billion.
The winning consortium proposed the German MEKO A100 design for the corvettes which are set to carry MBDA’s SeaCeptor air defense missile system.
With thyssenkrupp Marine Systems at the helm, the Águas Azuis consortium will now form a SPC (Specific Purpose Company) for the implementation phase of the program. The ships will be built under a transfer of technology agreement.
Oceana Shipyard will act as the ship builder, as well as transfer of technology (ToT) receiver related to the project. The shipyard is part of CBO Group and is located in Itajaí, Santa Catarina State.
Atech, an Embraer Group company, will be the supplier of the combat management system and the integrated platform management system in cooperation with Germany’s ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, and L3 MAPPS. Embraer Defense & Security will be responsible for integrating sensors and weaponry into the combat system.
According to Brazilian Navy specifications, the corvettes will measure 107,2 meters in length and will displace 3,455 tons.
In addition to the SeaCeptor, the corvettes are to be equipped with MBDA’s Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missile system, a Leonardo 76/62 main gun, a C-Guard decoy launcher and SEA’s torpedo launch system. They will also feature FN Herstal-delivered remote weapon stations.
The ships are scheduled to be delivered between 2024 and 2028.
“We are very honored by the Brazilian Navy to entrust us with the mission to build the Tamandaré Corvettes Class. Being part of the CCT Program reinforces our leadership position and the proven technologies we have offered to the naval defense industry around the world for almost two centuries,” said Dr. Rolf Wirtz, CEO of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems. “This partnership will bring high-skilled jobs and technology to Brazil, strengthening its defense industry.”
The German proposal was one of four designs shortlisted in October 2018. The other three contenders were Dutch shipbuilder Damen, France’s Naval Group and Italy’s Fincantieri. https://navaltoday.com/2019/03/29/brazil-selects-germanys-meko-design-for-new-tamandare-corvettes/
Saab AB is offering its single-seat and dual-seat Gripen fighters to the Colombia Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Colombiana: FAC) to replace its Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfir combat aircraft fleet.
Jonas Hjelm, Saab's head of business area aeronautics, told Jane's on 10 July from the Feria Aeronáutica Internacional (F-AIR) show in Colombia that the company offered 12 single-seat Gripen Es and 3 dual-seat Gripen Fs. He said that Colombia is looking for multirole air superiority fighters and that Saab believes the Gripens perfectly fit these requirements.
Hjelm said it was too early to say where Saab would build its Colombian Gripens if the company was selected to provide the aircraft, but added that Saab would use existing facilities in Brazil and Sweden if chosen to provide Gripens to Colombia. The company, he said, is offering a very comprehensive technology transfer package as Saab knows Colombia wants its aeronautical industry to take a step forward in maturity.
Saab expects competition from Lockheed Martin and its F-16 Block 70 Fighting Falcon and Eurofighter Typhoon, while IAI is offering the upgraded Kfir Next-Generation (NG). Colombia currently operates Kfir Block 60s.
The Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina - FAA) has selected the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Fighting Eagle to be its new interim fighter aircraft, Jane's has been told.
An informed source said that the supersonic, twin-seat light fighter and attack aircraft has been selected following an evaluation that Jane's first reported in September 2016.
The source said he expects the government to sign off on the planned procurement "in the near future", with deliveries to commence shortly after. Argentina has national presidential elections at the end of October, and the source noted that these may slightly prolong the timeline, but that he still expects the deal to go through.
While Jane's was not told numbers, Argentine national media has reported an anticipated deal for 10 aircraft.
The FAA has a pressing need to acquire a new fighter type to replace the Dassault Mirage III and Mirage 5 fleets that were retired in late 2015, and the ageing Douglas A-4R Fightinghawk fleet that is proving increasing difficult and costly to maintain.
An Argentine delegation first visited the Republic of Korea Air Force's (RoKAF's) 16th Fighter Wing at Yecheon on 7 September 2016, when an FAA pilot tested a TA-50 Golden Eagle operational trainer variant of the FA-50.
Other aircraft types that the FAA has reportedly considered include the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfir, the Dassault Mirage F1, the Alenia M-346FT, the Aero L-159 ALCA, the CAC FC-1/PAC JF-17 Thunder, the Saab Gripen, early-model Eurofighter Typhoons, and the Sukhoi Su-24 'Fencer' (although this is widely believed to have been a hoax).
Navy ships and personnel from 13 countries kicked off the 60th iteration of multinational exercise UNITAS LX (60) in Rio de Janeiro on August 19.
This year’s exercise is hosted by the Brazilian Navy and will feature the former Royal Navy helicopter carrier PHM Atlantico.
Operations off the coast of Rio de Janeiro will focus on demonstrating regional maritime cooperation in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) response scenario, as a means to develop a multinational maritime task force.
Comprised of both Atlantic and Amphibious phases, UNITAS participants include naval forces from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal and the United States.
UNITAS, which is Latin for “unity” was conceived in 1959, first executed in 1960, and has been held every year since.
The Argentine Navy has sent destroyer ARA Almirante Brown and amphibious cargo ship ARA Bahía San Blas. The US Navy will be represented by dock landing ship USS Carter Hall.
Portugal, Japan and the United Kingdom have sent observers who will be embarked aboard the Brazilian multipurpose dock ship Bahia for the duration of the drill.
“It’s an honor to be here, seize this opportunity,” said Adm. Greg Faller, commander U.S. Southern Command. “Trust is the building block of our ability to work together as a team. When I look at you, when I see the ships, the staffs, I know you are professionals that represent democracies that fight for freedom.”
Saab has taken another important step in the delivery of Gripen E to the Brazilian customer. Marked by a ceremony in Linköping, Sweden, on 10 September, the first Brazilian Gripen E aircraft was delivered to start the flight test programme.
Initially flight tests will be performed in Sweden and by the end of 2020, the aircraft will move to Brazil to continue the flight test campaign in the country. In 2021, deliveries to the Brazilian Air force will begin.
A ceremony to mark this important milestone was held in Linköping, Sweden on 10 September. The ceremony was attended by Fernando Azevedo e Silva, Brazilian Minister for Defence; Lieutenant Brigadier Antonio Carlos Moretti Bermudez, Chief of the Brazilian Air Force; Nelson Antonio Tabajara de Oliveira, Ambassador of Brazil to Sweden; Lieutenant Brigadier Carlos Augusto Amaral Oliveira, Chief of Staff of the Brazilian Air Force; Peter Hultqvist, Swedish Minister for Defence; Major General Mats Helgesson, Commander of the Swedish Air Force; and representing Saab Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO; and Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Aeronautics.
“Together with the Brazilian industry, I am proud to be part of building a long-term strategic partnership with Brazil and the Brazilian Air Force. With Gripen Brazil will have one of the most advanced fighters in the world and the technology transfer programme will allow Brazil to develop, produce and maintain supersonic fighters,” says Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO of Saab.
“Gripen increases the operational capacity of the Brazilian Air Force and boosts a partnership that ensures transfer of technology to Brazil, fosters research and industrial development in both countries,” says Fernando Azevedo e Silva, Brazilian Minister for Defence.
The Air Force signed a contract with Airbus Helicopters for the purchase of six twin-engine H145M helicopters.
According to a statement from the Air Force, the new helicopters will “strengthen the operational capacity” of the service.
The H145Ms will replace the Air Force’s Indian-built HAL Dhruv helicopters. They will join the service’s four new Leonardo AgustaWestland AW119 Koala helicopters purchased earlier this year to complement its fleet of Bell 212 and TH-57 (Bell 206) helicopters.
The H145M is a tried-and-tested light twin-engine helicopter that was first delivered in 2015 to the German Armed Forces and has since been ordered by Thailand, the Republic of Serbia, Luxembourg, and Hungary. It gaining popularity among defence forces due to their excellent price-performance ratio and the short delivery time.
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