World

May 23, 2012

News Briefs May 23, 2012

Virginia contractor suspends flights after two crashes

A Virginia company that provides aerial training to the military has suspended flights while it investigates two recent crashes that killed two of its pilots.

Newport News-based Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., known as ATAC, temporarily halted flights operations “while we just kind of review processes and take a breath,” company spokesman Matt Bannon told The Daily Press.

One of ATAC’s Israeli-built F-21 Kfir jets crashed into a building at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev., on March 6. A base spokesman in Fallon had reported snow and fog at the time.

The F21-pilot, Carroll LeFon, was a retired Navy captain, former Top Gun fighter school instructor and military blogger originally from Alexendria, according to the Navy Times.

Last Friday, a British-built Hawker Hunter jet trainer went down near Naval Base Ventura County in Southern California. The military-style aircraft, contracted to play the enemy in training exercises, took off from the base with another jet trainer and went down as it was returning.

Thomas Bennett, the pilot killed in the Californnia crash, was a former Navy pilot who retired as the captain of an aircraft carrier after a 28-year military career, his son Ryan Bennett told the Ventura County Star.

“No words can express the utter and complete shock the company is in, losing two pilots in less than 100 days in completely un-related accidents, in different aircraft, in different weather conditions and in different locations,” ATAC CEO Jeff Parker said in a statement.

Federal authorities also are investigating the crashes. AP

 

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 1,851

As of May 22, 2012, at least 1,851 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count.

At least 1,539 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.

Outside of Afghanistan, the department reports at least 111 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 12 were the result of hostile action.

The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is two more than the department’s tally.

The Defense Department also counts three military civilian deaths.

Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 15,950 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP




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F-16 crashes in Bavaria

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, crashed Aug. 11 at approximately 9:38 a.m. near Engelmannreuth in the county of Bayreuth, Germany. The incident happened during a training flight at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria in Grafenwoehr, Bavaria, Germany. The pilot safely ejected. U.S. military...
 
 

Japan annual defense paper shows heightened worry over China

Japan emphasized China as a threat in escalating regional tensions in this year’s annual defense report as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government tries to convince the public of the need to pass legislation to give Japan’s military a greater role. The report, approved July 21 by the Cabinet, was delayed for more than a week...
 
 

Constitutional questions grow over Japan PM’s military plans

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pledge to the U.S. to increase Japan’s military contribution internationally is facing more questions about potential conflicts with the nation’s pacifist Constitution. Opposition lawmakers demanded answers from key Cabinet members at a hearing June 10, after three prominent constitution experts–including one chosen by Abe’s rul...
 

 

Japan, Philippines to talk about transfer of military goods

Japan and the Philippines agreed June 4 to start talks on transferring Japanese military hardware and technology to the Southeast Asian country trying to upgrade its defenses. Tokyo eased restrictions on exports of military equipment and technology last year as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to expand Japan’s military role abroad. Under a...
 
 

U.S., India move forward on joint military research projects

After several years of bureaucratic delays, the U.S. and India are moving ahead with two joint research projects for the military that officials hope will set the stage for greater defense cooperation in the years ahead. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar signed a defense agreement June 4, as part of...
 
 

Saudi Arabia becomes world’s biggest defense importer

Saudi Arabia has passed India to become the world’s biggest arms importer last year as concerns about Iran’s ambitions increase tensions in the Middle East. Saudi spending rose 54 percent to $6.5 billion last year, while India imported $5.8 billion, according to data released Sunday by IHS, a leading analyst of the global arms trade....
 




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