July 6, 2016

News Briefs – July 6, 2016

MQ-9 crashes in northern Syria

An MQ-9 Reaper crashed in northern Syria July 5.
The aircraft was flying a combat mission when positive control of the aircraft was lost. The remotely piloted aircraft crash was not due to enemy fire. There are no reports of civilian injuries or damage to civilian property at the crash site.
The MQ-9 was destroyed by coalition aircraft and is not in enemy hands.
An investigation board will convene to determine the specific cause of the crash.

Turkish helicopter carrying military brass crashes

A military helicopter carrying eight military personnel and their family members crashed in Turkey’s Black Sea region July 5, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said. Some of the people on board were killed, he added.
Yildirim told reporters that a terror attack was not suspected and that the helicopter most likely crashed due to adverse weather conditions.
The helicopter was transporting a lieutenant general, a colonel and two majors, according to the Dogan news agency. It crashed in the northeastern province of Giresun after visiting troops for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
“There are five or more people in hospital,” Yildirim said, adding that the lieutenant general was not among the killed. “The cause appears to be adverse weather.” AP

Militaries gather in Hawaii for largest maritime exercises

Military forces from 26 nations are gathering in Hawaii this month for the world’s largest maritime exercises.
The Rim of the Pacific drills are drawing together 45 ships, 200 aircraft and more than 25,000 people.
Troops will practice skills including clearing mines, hunting for submarines and delivering amphibious forces ashore.
Japan and South Korea are each bringing ground forces and two destroyers. Australia is bringing two frigates, an amphibious assault ship, multiple helicopters and ground troops.
The exercises are held every other year.
China is participating for the second time. It is bringing several vessels, including a hospital ship. U.S. law limits the scope of U.S. military drills with China to areas like search and rescue and humanitarian and disaster relief.
The exercises last through Aug. 4. AP

Japan, U.S. agree to narrow definition of workers on U.S. bases

Japan and the United States have agreed to narrow the scope of civilians working at American military bases given immunity from Japanese prosecution under a bilateral agreement, a step to address Okinawa’s outrage over a recent murder case on the island involving a Marine-turned-contractor.
The two governments said July 5 that civilians covered by the Status of Forces Agreement will be limited to those who meet more specific criteria than the current definition. Education and monitoring of American troops and the base workers will be enhanced to ensure their law-abiding commitment.
The May arrest of a Kadena Air Base contractor, accused of murdering and raping a 20-year-old local woman has sparked renewed outrage on Okinawa, where resentment has been simmering over its heavy U.S. troop presence and crime linked to the bases. AP

Vietnam protests against Chinese drills in South China Sea

Vietnam has protested against a Chinese military drill in the contested South China Sea and has demanded that China stop the actions it says are a threat to security and maritime safety.
China announced that it will carry out the week-long military drills on and around the Paracel islands starting July 5. They will finish on the eve of a ruling by an international tribunal in a case filed by the Philippines challenging China’s claims to most of the South China Sea.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said in a statement posted late Monday on the ministry’s website that China’s moves seriously violate Vietnamese sovereignty and demanded that China stop the drills.
“Vietnam strongly protests and demanded that China respect Vietnam’s sovereignty, behave responsibly, immediately stop and do not take actions that threaten security, maritime safety in the East Sea or escalate tension in this region,” Binh said, referring to the South China Sea.
China’s military exercise comes as the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is expected to issue a ruling on July 12 on a case brought by the Philippines in 2013 contesting China’s claims in the South China Sea.
Vietnam, China and Taiwan all claim the Paracel islands which are occupied by China, and those three along with the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim all or parts of the Spratly islands, which are believed to rich in natural resources and occupy one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.
China’s massive land reclamation projects and increased militarization of the seven reefs and atolls in the Spratlys over the past two years have raised serious concerns in the region. AP

Polish arms firm in deal with U.S. Patriot missile maker

Poland’s Defense Ministry says the nation’s major weapons maker has signed a letter of intent to cooperate with the U.S. maker of Patriot missiles.
The ministry announced the deal between Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa S.A. and Raytheon Company on its website July 5, just three days before Warsaw hosts a key NATO summit.
The summit will decide to raise the defense of the region anxious about its security after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said Monday he will sign an agreement with the U.S. that will name Raytheon as the probable provider of Poland’s missile defense.
The decision was taken after Raytheon agreed to spend 50 percent of the project’s cost, estimated at billions of dollars, on cooperation deals with the Polish defense industry. AP

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