News Briefs – June 13, 2018


Pilot injured in U.S. F-15 crash off Okinawa, Japan

The pilot of a U.S. F-15C fighter jet was hospitalized in serious condition after it crashed June 11 in waters south of Okinawa in southern Japan, the Air Force said.
The pilot, who was not identified, ejected and was rescued by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
The cause of the 6:30 a.m. crash is under investigation, the Air Force said. It said the F-15C from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa was on a routine training mission.
The heavy U.S. military presence in Okinawa has been the source of friction with the local government and some residents. About half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan are stationed on the southern island. AP

Northrop Grumman to redeem Orbital ATK debt

Northrop Grumman announced June 11 that its wholly owned subsidiary, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, Inc. (formerly Orbital ATK, Inc., formerly Alliant Techsystems Inc.), will redeem for cash on July 19, 2018, the following:
* All of its outstanding 5.25 percent Senior Notes due 2021 at a redemption price of 102.625 percent plus accrued and unpaid interest. As of the date of this release $300 million aggregate principal amount of the 5.25 percent Notes were outstanding.
* All of its outstanding 5.50 percent Senior Notes due 2023 at a “make whole” premium price calculated in accordance with the 5.50 percent Notes and the indentures and supplemental indentures governing the 5.50 percent Notes. As of the date of this release $400 million aggregate principal amount of the 5.50 percent Notes were outstanding.
The redemption of the Notes was contemplated in the company’s updated 2018 financial guidance provided on June 5, 2018.

Estonia to buy missiles, air defense system in €50 million deal

Estonia says it has agreed to buy a short-range air defense system complete with Mistral surface-to-air missiles from MBDA Missile Systems, a major €50 million ($59 million) military deal for the small Baltic country.
The June 12 contract by Estonia’s state defense investment agency and the pan-European armaments and missile manufacturer also includes training missiles, simulators, testing and maintenance equipment for delivery starting in 2020.
The agreement includes an option for Estonia to acquire additional Mistral missiles worth up to 100 million euros.
Like its Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania, NATO-member Estonia has sought in the past few years to build up a credible air defense capability — something the country currently lacks and is seen by experts as the weakest link in its defense strategy. AP

Trump, Kim agree to repatriating U.S. military remains

The most tangible outcome of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seems to be a commitment to recover the remains of U.S. military personnel missing in action and presumed dead from the Korean War.
In a joint statement signed by the leaders June 12, the countries committed to the recovery of the remains and the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
The statement was otherwise filled with vague aspirational vows for peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Nearly 7,800 U.S. troops remain unaccounted for from the 1950-53 war. About 5,300 were lost in North Korea.
Efforts to recover and return the remains have been stalled for more than a decade because of the North’s nuclear development. AP

EU ready to fund some projects to speed military deployments

The European Union could make billions of euros available to upgrade bridges and roads so its member countries and NATO are able to rapidly deploy troops in times of crisis, an EU official said June 11.
The EU’s European Commission has proposed a budget of €6.5 billion ($7.7 billion) for certain infrastructure projects, Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc told NATO ambassadors. The money can be used for “dual use” projects, such as increasing the weight capacity of a bridge to accommodate heavy military equipment if civilian freight trucks also would benefit from the work, Bulc said.
The funds are part of broader aims to upgrade infrastructure, including ports and airports, and to cut customs and administrative red tape, which cause delays, increase costs and leave Europe more vulnerable to attack.
NATO commanders are calling for the lifting of military transport barriers. Officers say it can take up to 30 days to get administrative clearance to move through Europe.
Bulc said it will take about 18 months to identify infrastructure gaps and decide which projects could be useful for civilians. The money would be available from 2021 and only for EU countries, not for non-EU NATO members like the United States, Canada, Albania, Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey. AP