News Briefs – April 5, 2019

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Portugal says Finnish airspace violation was a mistake

The Portuguese Air Force says one of its surveillance planes “inadvertently” strayed into Finland’s airspace without permission.
A statement says the P-3 Orion aircraft based in Poland was on a NATO mission over the Baltic Sea on April 1 when it made a turn and unintentionally went about 500 meters into Finnish airspace.
The statement published late April 2 says the explanation has been sent to Finnish authorities, who initially reported the violation and were investigating what happened.
Portugal is a member of NATO, but Finland is not. The two countries have in the past taken part in joint military exercises. AP
 

VP Pence warns Turkey against buying Russian air defense system

Vice President Mike Pence is warning that Turkey could risk its membership in NATO if it goes ahead with plans to buy a Russian air defense system despite widespread U.S. and international opposition.
Pence’s escalating rhetoric came after Turkey insisted April 3 that the Russian deal was done, signaling an apparent impasse between the two NATO allies.
Pence says Turkey risks expulsion from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which could cripple Turkish manufacturers who are making parts for the aircraft.
He says Turkey must decide if it wants to remain a critical partner in NATO or instead risk the security of that partnership by making reckless decisions that undermine the alliance.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says the Russian S-400 system won’t be a threat to NATO. AP
 

India declines comment on NASA’s anti-satellite criticism

India has declined comment on a statement by U.S. space officials that India’s recent test of an anti-satellite weapon has created debris that could threaten the International Space Station.
India’s Defense Ministry spokesman Aman Anand says there is no official response to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine’s statement at a town hall event in Washington on April 1.
Bridenstine said in shooting down one of its own satellites with a rocket last week, India had left debris high enough in orbit to pose a risk to the International Space Station.
India’s External Affairs Ministry in a statement after the March 27 test said that whatever debris generated would decay and fall back to Earth within weeks as the test was in the lower atmosphere. AP