August 10, 2017

News Briefs – August 9, 2017

Wreckage of U.S. military aircraft found off Australia; 3 dead

The submerged wreckage of a U.S. military aircraft was found Aug. 7, two days after it crashed into the sea off the east coast of Australia and left three U.S. Marines dead, Australia’s defense minister said.
An Australian navy ship arrived in Shoalwater Bay in Queensland state Sunday night to help the U.S. military hunt for the MV-22 Osprey, which the Marines said was conducting regularly scheduled operations on Saturday when it crashed into the water. The wreckage was found shortly after the ship’s arrival, Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.
An Australian navy dive team was helping to recover the aircraft, the U.S. Marine base Camp Butler in Japan said.
Three Marines missing since the crash were declared dead on Tuesday. Camp Butler said they were: Marine 1st Lt. Benjamin Cross, 26, of Oxford, Maine; Cpl. Nathaniel Ordway, 21, of Sedgwick, Kansas; and Pfc. Ruben Velasco, 19, of Los Angeles.
“The loss of every Marine is felt across our entire Marine Corps family,” Col. Tye Wallace, Commanding Officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, said in the statement. “To the families of the brave Marines we lost — there is no way for us to understand what you are going through.”
Twenty-three other personnel who were on board the Osprey when it crashed were rescued.
The Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter, but flies like an airplane. They have been involved in a series of high-profile crashes in recent years. AP

Israel military says helicopter crashes, killing 1 pilot

The Israeli military says a combat helicopter has crashed in a training accident, killing one pilot and critically injuring another.
The military said early Aug. 8 that the accident happened at an air force base in southern Israel and that an investigation has been launched. Pending its result, the air force command has ordered that all Israeli combat helicopters be grounded.
The military identified the pilot killed as Maj. David Zohar, a 43-year-old reserve pilot. A second officer was evacuated to a hospital after the craft crashed at Ramon air force base.
Israeli media said the Apache helicopter suffered a technical malfunction late Aug. 7 and crashed near the base’s landing pad. AP

Military commanders get OK to shoot down drones over bases

The Pentagon has sent new guidance to the armed services that lays out the military’s authority to disable or shoot down any drone that violates airspace restrictions over a U.S. base and is deemed a security risk.
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis says a classified policy was approved in July. On Aug. 4, additional public information was sent to military bases around the country so officials can alert their communities about the restrictions and the actions the military can take.
Davis says the military has always had the authority to defend the bases and troops.
He says the new policy provides details about the actions the military can take to stop any threat, including incapacitating, destroying or seizing a drone that is flown over a base. AP

Iran ridicules U.S. push for inspecting its military sites

Iran has mocked the U.S. push for inspections of the country’s military sites, calling it a “ridiculous dream that will never come true.”
This comes after U.S. officials said last month that the Trump administration is pushing for inspections of suspicious Iranian military sites in a bid to test the strength of the nuclear deal that Tehran struck in 2015 with world powers.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi, told reporters Aug. 7 in Tehran that this request is “possibly something that a satirist wrote up.”
The inspections are one element of what is designed to be a more aggressive approach by Washington to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly described the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers as “bad.” AP

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