Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Abu Dhabi Awards $870M Orders For Patrol, SWAT Boats / Major UAE Navy Order For Abu Dhabi Ship Building

Abu Dhabi Awards $870M Orders For Patrol, SWAT Boats / Major UAE Navy Order For Abu Dhabi Ship Building
(NSI News Source Info) ABU DHABI - February 26, 2009: Under a contract announced by the UAE Armed Forces at IDEX 2009, Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) is to build twelve new boats for the UAE Navy and retrofit twelve existing boats.
The UAE Armed Forces announced on the second day of IDEX the signing of a contract with Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding Company for supply of 12 combat vessels at a value of Dh 771.1 million and upgrading another 12 combat vessels at total cost of Dh 164.3 million.
This boat can be delivered ARTR or RTR. Boat has a fiberglass hull with an approximate length of 39 1/2". Powered by 2 x 540 motors. More details to come.
The total contract was valued at Dh 935.4 million. The 26.5m 'Fast Fighting Boats', constructed in aluminum, will be arranged in three different versions, each to fulfill different mission requirements. One will be fitted with the MBDA Marte Mk2/N Missile system, another with the Patria NEMO 120mm Mortar System, and the third version will be fitted with Rheinmetall 27mm guns.
These highly sophisticated vessels will provide considerable defensive fire power support for the UAE Naval Forces. Weapons system integration for all three different configurations of the vessel will be undertaken by Abu Dhabi Systems Integration (ADSI), a UAE joint venture company formed in 2006 by ADSB and Selex Sistemi Integrati of Italy. Designed by Swedeship Marine of Sweden, the vessels are based on the proven ADSB supplied Ghannatha class fast troop transport vessel currently in service with the UAE Naval Forces and the Critical National Infrastructure Authority.
The vessels will be propelled by twin MTU Marine Diesel engines coupled to Rolls Royce FF waterjets which will give a maximum speed of in excess of 40 knots, excellent maneuverability, and the ability to operate in extremely shallow waters.
ADSB is the region's only specialist naval and paramilitary shipbuilder. In addition to shipbuilding, ADSB has demonstrated experience in the upgrade, retrofit and repair of both military and commercial vessels and the company also offers a full range of support services to the navies, coast guards, and other marine operators in the GCC.
Rear Admiral HE Ahmed Mohammed Al Sabab Al-Tanaiji, Commander of the Naval Forces, told WAM these boats wil be delivered in four years. ''The first boat will be delivered in 18 months from now and each one every three months,'' he added.
ADSB CEO William Saltzer said: "ADSB is extremely pleased to receive this contract for building more Ghannatha class vessels and for retrofitting the existing vessels that we built previously for the UAE Navy.
"Both the new boats and the retrofit boats will be even more versatile and mission capable, building upon the great success that we achieved in producing the fast troop transport version a few years ago."

Sikorsky Sells First S-434 Light Helicopter / Sikorsky Global Helicopters And Aircom Announce Sale Of First S-434 Certified Commercial Helicopter

Sikorsky Sells First S-434 Light Helicopter / Sikorsky Global Helicopters And Aircom Announce Sale Of First S-434 Certified Commercial Helicopter
(NSI News Source Info) ANAHEIM, Calif. - February 26, 2009: Sikorsky Global Helicopters, the newly re-branded commercial programs group of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., and Aircom SP Z.O.O at Heli-Expo yesterday conducted a ceremonial signing for the first fully certified, commercial S-434 helicopter. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.
Sikorsky S-434 is a light turbine-powered helicopter. The S-434 is an improved development of the Schweizer 333.
The aircraft, which is Serial #1 in the model line, is the next iteration of the S-333 helicopter model, incorporating many of the design and performance technologies developed on the Fire Scout VTUAV (Vertical Takeoff Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). The aircraft is scheduled to be delivered in 2011 and will operate from Aircom SP Z.O.O in Warsaw, Poland.
"The S-434 helicopter introduces a whole new level of flight performance," said David Horton, General Manager of Sikorsky Global Helicopter's Light Helicopter Division, located in Horseheads, N.Y. "With a four-bladed rotor system, increased power and a larger fuel tank, the S-434 helicopter will fly farther and faster while having a larger useful load than its predecessor."
The S-333 helicopter operates throughout the world in many missions including law enforcement patrol, commercial and military flight training, power line/pipeline patrol, personal use and lift operations. Inherited advantages of the S-333 helicopter design include a cockpit layout with excellent visibility from all crew positions, superior flight handling characteristics and exceptional safety and crashworthiness features.
"Aircom currently operates two S-333-series and one S-300C-series helicopters for power line patrol, gas pipe patrol and flight training," said Eugenius Piechoczek, owner of Aircom SP Z.O.O. "We have been impressed with the ease of maintenance and proven reliability of its predecessor and are pleased to be the launch customer for this exceptional value single-turbine helicopter." Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Connecticut, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Connecticut, provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.

UAE, Jordanian Firms To Develop New Armored Vehicle / Tawazun, Bin Jabr Sign MoU For Joint Development Of NIMR Vehicle

UAE, Jordanian Firms To Develop New Armored Vehicle / Tawazun, Bin Jabr Sign MoU For Joint Development Of NIMR Vehicle
(NSI News Source Info) ABU DHABI - February 26, 2009: Tawazun Holding and Bin Jabr Group for Holding Industries LLC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for collaboration on setting up a joint venture company for the development of NIMIR vehicle. NIMR is an off-road extreme utility military vehicle, designed and manufactured by Bin Jabr Group through its facility in Jordan which is designed and equipped to produce 1,000 vehicles a year, with a further room of future expansion.
Under the terms of the MoU, Tawazun will own 60 percent interest in the joint venture company. Bin Jabr will transfer all intellectual property rights, including patents, know-how and trademarks related to NIMIR vehicle, to the new company. The two sides also expressed their desire to reach a final agreement for the establishment of the venture, following exploration of viability and after closing the ongoing negotiations.
H.E. Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri, Chief Executive Officer of Tawazun, stated, "We are very excited about our joint venture with Bin Jabr Group. The future of auto industries in the UAE looks very promising, thanks to Bin Jabr's Nimir vehicle which has proven its worth by setting a new standard of excellence in military 4x4 and 6X6 vehicles."
Al Hajeri praised the personal keenness and efforts made by Saeed Bin Jabr Al Suwaidi, owner and president of Bin Jabr Group, who spearheaded the initiative to produce the first vehicle by Emarati hands and who, single-handedly achieved the uphill task of attending to every details throughout the vehicle's design and development stages.
"We are confident that together, we can secure new opportunities that will add a substantial value to both of our companies," he added. Saeed Bin Jabr Al Suwaidi stated "We are very excited with this joint venture and believe that it will allow us to develop new generation NIMR vehicles that can compete with international future vehicle programs.
Through hard work, dedication, and the wisdom and support of the UAE decision makers we are witnessing the birth of the first designed and built UAE military vehicle. ''In addition to that we are very pleased with the initiative taken by Tawazun for establishing a high-tech manufacturing industrial complex and developing future technical and engineering local expertise, which will in turn propel the growth of this program forward." Hamad Al Marar, Projects Analyst at Tawazun, said a working group with representative from the two sides will be formed under the MOU to complete the business plan for the new company and to put the finishing touches to the final agreement.
"The MoU paves the way for Tawazun to join the highly advanced auto industries through joint development of NIMR vehicle, added Al Marar.

Predator UAV Passes 500,000 Flight Hours

Predator UAV Passes 500,000 Flight Hours
(NSI News Source Info) Creech AFB, Nev. - February 26, 2009: Airmen of the 432d Air Expeditionary Wing here flew an MQ-1B Predator unmanned aircraft in a combat mission in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility Feb. 18, and the flight surpassed the 500,000 flight-hour mark for the aircraft.
Members of the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron flew the milestone mission in support of operations in Iraq.
"A half-a-million flying hours is an amazing accomplishment, and the Airmen of the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron are proud to be a part of this milestone," said Lt. Col. Ken Callahan, the 15th RS director of operations. "The 15th RS currently flies 28 percent of all MQ-1 Predator combat air patrols over Iraq and Afghanistan, and we're able to meet the needs of the joint force commanders for this no-fail 24/7 combat operations mission because of the hard work and dedication of our total force team of active-duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard Airmen here."
Declared operational in 1995, the Predator's primary mission is to provide armed reconnaissance, airborne surveillance and target acquisition to commanders in the field. The Predator can be armed with two laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and carries the Multispectral Targeting System, which integrates electro-optical, infrared, laser designator and laser illuminator into a single sensor package.
A US Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aircraft flying a combat mission in south-west Asia logged the 500,000th flight-hour for the aircraft. (USAF photo)
The capabilities of the Predator have made the aircraft a lethal and vital asset to expeditionary operations, said Col. Chris Chambliss, the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander.
"The Predator is a perfect example of how (unmanned aircraft systems) support is making a difference in the fight," Colonel Chambliss said. "With the increase in demands for this system, the Predator continues to provide our ground forces direct support with its unblinking eye and persistent stare, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This 500,000 hour milestone proves how awesome this weapons system is."
The Predator fleet passed 250,000 hours in June 2007, after 12 years of flying. It only took a year and eight months to fly the additional 250,000 hours due to continuous demand for the aircraft by combatant commanders.
The Predator and MQ-9 Reaper UAS are managed by members of the 703rd Aeronautical Systems Group, part of the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
Members of the Air Force Materiel Command and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems have worked aggressively to deliver the Predator weapon system and the recent milestone is a result of a good partnership, said Col. Christopher Coombs, the 703rd Aeronautical Systems Group commander.
"The (Predator) program's success has been a testament to outstanding teamwork and American ingenuity and innovation, fueled by a desire to not settle for anything less than delivering the most reliable weapons systems to the members of our Armed Forces when called upon to achieve national security objectives," Colonel Coombs said. "The warfighter needed additional support in their arsenal, we surged our efforts to meet the requirements for (UAS) capability, allowing for increased combat air patrols leading to this milestone event."
Along with providing a lethal weapons system, Lt. Gen. Norman R. Seip, the 12th Air Force commander, said the Predator's success is directly attributed to the Airmen who fly, operate and maintain it.
"This milestone is a testament to the continued dedication and perseverance of the men and women of the 432nd Wing," General Seip said. "The exponential growth of UAS weapons systems, Creech AFB and the 432nd Wing has translated into a new era of combat operations - sustained support for ground operations, real-time intelligence collection and the ability to reach out to and affect the enemy at will."
The success of the Predator is nothing short of a success story, said Lt. Gen. Gary North, the Combined Forces Air Component commander and U.S. Air Force's Central commander.
"The Predator weapon system and its Airmen ... from the launch crews in the (area of responsibility) to those that fly the extended mission from distributed sites throughout the U.S. and the (distributed common ground system) crews that process the video are in one word ... remarkable," General North said.
"The persistent stare of the Predator and the deadly persistence, when attack criteria is met, have consistently been a key part of the commander's weapons systems matrix to enable combat successes on the battlefield."With the success rate of the Predator, Gen. John D.W. Corley, the commander of Air Combat Command, said it's clear Airmen have stepped up to the challenges of meeting the insatiable demand for the Predator.
"Airmen are 'all in' the global, joint and combined operations protecting our nation and assuring our allies. Today, UAS Airmen are operating the Predator more than 19,000 hours per month and more than 95 percent of those hours are flown in support of combat operations in Southwest Asia," General Corley said. The Predator's half-million-hour milestone is but one example of our Airmen's contributions in the full spectrum of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations."
Currently more than 30 Predator combat air patrols support warfighters 24/7, 365 days a year over Iraq and Afghanistan.

Royal Air Force’s New £13 Billion Tankers Take Shape

Royal Air Force’s New £13 Billion Tankers Take Shape
(NSI News Source Info) February 26, 2009: A major milestone was reached today as the first set of wings for the RAF's advanced new fleet of tanker aircraft left Airbus UK's Broughton plant in North Wales. The wings were loaded onto a giant Beluga aircraft to transport them to the Toulouse-based production facility where the new tanker aircraft will be assembled. Air Tanker Consortium comprised of Rolls-Royce, EADS, Cobham and Thales were confirmed as bidder most likely to offer a value for money solution. It is believed that Air Tanker are proposing the A330-200 aircraft as the FSTA platform. Some analysts predict an FSTA fleet of about 10 aircraft. The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) is planned to replace the air-to-air refuelling (AAR) and some elements of air transport (AT) capability currently provided by the RAF’s fleet of VC10 and TriStar aircraft. The wings are destined for the first of 14 A330-200 based tanker aircraft ordered last year under an innovative £13 billion contract with the AirTanker consortium. The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) will replace the RAF's long-serving fleet of VC-10 and Tristar tankers, undertaking a range of transport and air refuelling tasks. Witnessing the wings leaving Broughton, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Quentin Davies said: "Today's wing ceremony marks a significant stage in the life of the Future Strategic Air Tanker and is good news for the RAF and good news for industry and UK jobs. These state-of-the-art tanker aircraft will provide an important contribution to operations, enabling the RAF to continue its essential air to air refuelling tasks, as well as providing more reliable and economical transport for our personnel, delivering them to the heart of our operations around the world." While the basic aircraft will be assembled in Toulouse, there will be significant input into manufacture in the UK with the programme creating up to 600 jobs in the UK, as well as directly sustaining up to 3000 and indirectly a further 4500. Rolls-Royce at Derby is assembling the Trent 700 engines with technical support from its Filton plant, Airbus UK at Broughton and GKN Filton are involved in wing production, Cobham at Wimborne and Bournemouth is installing refuelling equipment and carrying out related conversion work, and Thales UK at Crawley, Raynes Park and Wells supplies simulators, defensive aids, avionics and mission planning systems. Notes to Editors: 1. The FSTA (Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft) cabin will be able to transport up to 290 personnel and the cargo hold 44 tonnes of payload. The aircraft represents a significant advance in capability over its predecessors, with improved reliability, performance and economy. 2. In its air-to-air refuelling role it will have the ability to offload 60 tonnes of fuel 1000 miles from base, and remain on station for 2 hours. 3. The £13Bn PFI contract will allow AirTanker to operate the aircraft on commercial tasks when not required for military duties. RAF crews will operate the aircraft on military duties, together with some Sponsored Reservists employed by the contractor. The contract was signed on 27 March 2008 4. The 27 year contract covers all aspects of the operation, including the provision of new infrastructure, currently being constructed at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, which will be the fleet's main operating base. 5. The AirTanker consortium comprises Cobham, EADS, Rolls-Royce, Thales and VT Group. The Airbus Military division of EADS will be responsible for designing, developing and converting the tankers and for delivering the completed aircraft to AirTanker. 6. For further information please contact the following Tim Lewis, Defence Equipment & Support Press Office, 0117 913 0526; Sqn Ldr Al Green, MOD Press Office, 020 7218 7950; Mary Ann Griffiths, AirTanker, 01993 847804

Oshkosh, Navistar Deliver M-ATV Vehicles For Evaluation / Oshkosh Delivers Two M-ATV Production Vehicles For Military Evaluation

Oshkosh, Navistar Deliver M-ATV Vehicles For Evaluation / Oshkosh Delivers Two M-ATV Production Vehicles For Military Evaluation
(NSI News Source Info) February 25, 2009: Oshkosh Corporation and Navistar Defense LLC have delivered production-representative MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV) to the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland for military evaluation. The Oshkosh M-ATV meets the survivability and mobility requirements of the warfighter for Afghanistan. The U.S. Armed Services have an urgent need requirement for M-ATVs to be used in the harsh conditions of Afghanistan. The M-ATV contract has a potential award value of $2 billion. The Oshkosh M-ATV boasts commonality with the Department of Defense’s fleet of Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR), Palletized Load System (PLS), Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR) and current Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. Oshkosh is partnered with Plasan North America to provide the Oshkosh M-ATV’s armor system, which is in place on 5,000 current MRAP vehicles and the Armored Cab MTVRs and has saved lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The vehicle also will feature Oshkosh’s signature TAK-4 independent suspension system for off-road ride quality and durability to meet the essential mobility capability not available in the current MRAP fleet. Navistar’s MXT-based design provides the same production and delivery advantages offered by its original MRAP product, the International MaxxPro, but in a lighter and more mobile configuration. Designed to navigate Afghanistan’s rough terrain and perform in off-road conditions, Navistar’s M-ATV unit utilizes a specially-designed, light-weight armor, which is incorporated into the survivability system. While the platform of the company’s M-ATV vehicle varies from its MaxxPro MRAP, which is based on the International WorkStar platform, the smaller base allows Navistar’s unit to weigh significantly less than its MaxxPro Dash - the lightest of the company’s MRAP units and in service now in Afghanistan. Navistar’s M-ATV unit is powered by a MaxxForce D 6.0 L V8 engine designed to maximize speed and payload capability. The company would also be able to support its M-ATV units in theater through its existing dealer and parts and support network, which includes locations in Afghanistan.

Alenia To Provide Jet Trainers For UAE

Alenia To Provide Jet Trainers For UAE
(NSI News Source Info) February 25, 2009: A competition to secure a multi-billion dollar deal for advanced jet trainers to the United Arab Emirates air force has gone to Alenia Aermacchi. The Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master is a military transonic trainer aircraft. It is based on work done by Aermacchi while working on the Yak-130 as a joint venture with Yakovlev. Alenia Aermacchi will provide its M-346 advanced jet trainers to the United Arab Emirates. The M-346 jet was named the winner of a competition by a UAE Ministry of Defence official Maj. Gen. Obaid Al Ketbi, speaking at the IDEX 2009 defense show here in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 25. The official said the order involved delivery of 48 aircraft to be used for pilot training and light attack duties. The European jet trainer was pitched against the Korean Aerospace Industries T-50 in a selection battle that has run on for several years. Contract details were not available. Ketbi said negotiations concluding the deal were ongoing, and he couldn't at this time give a value for the deal. The split in aircraft numbers between trainer and light attack aircraft was not immediately available. One executive familiar with the negotiations earlier told Defense News a final request for proposals last year had set the requirement at 20 trainers, 20 aircraft for combat duties, and the remainder would go toward the creation of a formation flying team. Some of the light attack aircraft would also likely be dual use for parts of the training curriculum, he said. Originally, the request for proposals covered the purchase of 33 trainers with an option for seven more aircraft. Recently the number of aircraft up for grabs has been significantly increased. Alenia is also involved in a parallel competition here that has seen its M-311 competing against the Pilatus PC-21 turboprop in an all-European fight to provide a basic trainer. Ketbi said a decision on that requirement remained under consideration. The decision may take some time, he said. Aermacchi is in talks with the UAE authorities over setting up a joint venture here, with a view to final assembly of the trainer aircraft, chief executive Consentino Carmelo told journalists. All the training would take place "in country" rather elsewhere, as some customers require, he said. "There's plenty of space," he added. Now that the selection has been made, the contract negotiations can begin. The talks will include the provision of a cost effective and integrated syllabus that would take UAE pilots from primary basic flying to advanced training. The initial requirement had been for an advanced trainer, but it had evolved to light attack missions, Carmelo said. The total package would also include ground based training and a logistics support, he said.

B-2 Bomber, High Flying Stealth Technology Equal To High Costing Factor

B-2 Bomber, High Flying Stealth Technology Equal To High Costing Factor
(NSI News Source Info) February 25, 2009: The U.S. B-2 bomber takes a lot of heat for its high price. The 21 that were built ended up costing $2.1 billion each. About half of that was development expense. Actual construction costs for each of those aircraft was about $933 million each. Still pretty high, mainly because a lot of special machinery and factories had to be built to manufacture the many custom components.
The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit (also known as the Stealth Bomber) is a multirole heavy bomber with "low observable" stealth technology capable of penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses to deploy both conventional and nuclear weapons. Because of its considerable capital and operations costs, the project was controversial in Congress and among Pentagon brass during its development and placement into service. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the United States scaled back initial plans to purchase 132 of the bombers. By the mid 1990s, Congress made appropriations to purchase a total fleet of just 21 of the bombers. The cost of each air vehicle averaged US$737 million per plane in 1997 dollars. Total procurement costs averaged US$929 million per plane, which includes spare parts, equipment, retrofitting, and software support. The total program cost, which includes development, engineering, and testing, averaged US$2.1 billion per aircraft in 1997 dollars. Twenty B-2s are operated by the United States Air Force. Though originally designed in the 1980s for Cold War operations scenarios, B-2s have been used in combat to drop bombs on Kosovo in the late 1990s, and see continued use during the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One aircraft was lost when it crashed on takeoff in 2008.
The air force likes to point out that if the original (1986) plan had been followed, each B-2 would have cost $438 million each. But then the entire program would have cost $58.2 billion, versus $44.3 billion for the 21 plane program (which included $10 billion more R&D expense). New technology gives a weapon, especially an aircraft, an edge in combat. But since World War II, most military technology has been developed in peacetime conditions. This means it is more than twice as expensive, as there is no wartime urgency to overcome bureaucratic inertia (and emphasis on covering your ass, which is very time consuming and expensive) and hesitation (because you don't have a war going on to settle disputes over what will work best). Developing this technology takes longer in peacetime, which also raises the cost, and fewer units of a new weapon are produced (driving up the amount of development cost each weapon will have to carry.) If several hundred B-2s were produced under wartime conditions, each aircraft would have probably cost $200 million each, or less. In other words, a tenth of what it actually cost.

Lockheed Wins $797M Order For 30 Turkish F-16s / Pentagon Contract Announcement

Lockheed Wins $797M Order For 30 Turkish F-16s / Pentagon Contract Announcement
(NSI News Source Info) February 25, 2009: The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with Lockheed Martin Corp., of Fort Worth, Texas for $797,132,785.
The F-16 is a single-engined, supersonic, multi-role tactical aircraft. The F-16 was designed to be a cost-effective combat "workhorse" that can perform various kinds of missions and maintain around-the-clock readiness. It is much smaller and lighter than its predecessors, but uses advanced aerodynamics and avionics, including the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire (RSS/FBW) flight control system, to achieve enhanced maneuver performance. Highly nimble, the F-16 can pull 9-g maneuvers and can reach a maximum speed of over Mach 2.
This contract action will provide 14 F-16C and 16 F-16D Block 50 aircraft for the Government of Turkey. At this time, $682,158,785 of Foreign Military Sales funds has been obligated. 312 AESG/SYKA, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8615-07-C-6034, PZ0005).

Navantia Lays Keel Of Fifth F-100 Frigate

Navantia Lays Keel Of Fifth F-100 Frigate
(NSI News Source Info) February 25, 2009: On January 20, the Fene-Ferrol shipyard laid the keel of F-105, the fifth F-100 frigate ordered by the Spanish navy. With this event, the shipyard began assembly of the ship on its launching slip; the ship is to be completed in 2010 and delivered in the summer of 2012.
The Álvaro de Bazán class (also known as the F100 class of frigates) are a new class of Aegis combat system-equipped air defense frigates entering service with the Spanish Navy. They are being built in the Spanish factory of Ferrol and are named after Admiral Álvaro de Bazán.
F-105 incorporates several modifications compared to earlier ships of its class, including improvements to the construction process and experience learned during operations of the previous ships. For example, living quarters will be improved, as will the command and control system, while a new radar, Lockheed Martin’s Aegis 1 D(V) will be installed. In addition, other modifications will be made so as to reduce maintenance costs.
The construction order for F-105 was signed on July 5, 2006 and its construction began on June 2007, with the cutting of the first steel plates.

No Problems In Ongoing Turkish-Israeli Military Cooperation: Official

No Problems In Ongoing Turkish-Israeli Military Cooperation: Official (NSI News Source Info) February 25, 2009: There were no problems in Turkish-Israeli relations and in the ongoing projects carried out by the two countries, Turkey's undersecretary for the defense industry said on Monday. Recent media reports suggested some military projects between Israel and its main regional ally Turkey could be cancelled after ties between the two countries became strained over the latest Gaza operation. Turkey and Israel carried out several "long-term projects" and no last-minute changes could be made in any of them, Turkish Undersecretary for Defense Industry Murad Bayar was quoted by Anatolian Agency as saying at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX-2009) in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. "Turkey and Israel have mutual benefits in these projects. The projects are carried out within such framework," Bayar said. Relations between Turkey and Israel, who have close diplomatic and military ties, have been strained over Turkish and Israeli officials' remarks following the Jewish state's 22-day Gaza offensive. In the latest incident, Ground Forces Commander Avi Mizrahi said earlier this month that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who severely criticized Israel's military campaign in Gaza, "should first look in the mirror", and accused Turkey of "committing a massacre of Armenians, as well as suppression of the Kurds". After Mizrahi's remarks, Turkey summoned the Israeli ambassador to the Foreign Ministry and handed a note of protest demanding clarification, while the military denounced them as "excessive, unfortunate and unacceptable". The Israeli army chief telephoned last week his Turkish counterpart to apologize for Mizrahi's harsh remarks in an effort to prevent a deterioration in military relations with Turkey. Israel's Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi also sent an official letter to the Turkish General Staff regarding the issue. Turkey and Israel conduct joint military exercises and have a strong partnership in military equipment and arms. Trade volume between Turkey and Israel was $2.6 billion in 2007 and some suggest $1.8 billion of this is attributed to military equipment trade.