Danes to buy Sikorsky combat helicopters
Denmark’s Defense Ministry says it will purchase nine Sikorsky Sea Hawk naval combat helicopters for $686 million.
Minister Nick Haekkerup said in a statement Nov. 21 that the MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters built by Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin will be delivered in 2016-2018. The company is a division of Lockheed Martin, which is based in Bethesda, Maryland.
Haekkerup says the aircraft will replace the Danish navy’s fleet of eight British-built multi-purpose Westland Lynx helicopters.
He says the Sea Hawk – a twin-turbo engine, multimission helicopter also used by the U.S. Navy – was chosen over the British-built AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat. AP
U.S. Navy to briefly reduce carriers in Persian Gulf
The Navy says it will temporarily shrink its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf area from two to one this winter because of a mechanical problem with the USS Nimitz, a carrier based in Washington state.
Navy officials said Nov. 21 the Nimitz, which had been scheduled to deploy to the region in January to relieve the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, will put that off until summer in order to complete repairs to its propulsion system.
As a result, the Navy decided to bring the Eisenhower home in December and resurface its flight deck so it can go back to the Gulf area in February and remain for four months. That means that in December and January the USS John C. Stennis will be the only carrier in that area. AP
Florida veteran gets $1.25 million in colonoscopy lawsuit
An Air Force veteran and his wife have won a combined $1.25 million lawsuit against the U.S. government because he likely contracted hepatitis C at the Miami Veterans Administration Medical Center.
U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan ruled Nov. 21 that the center’s staff didn’t properly clean colonoscopy equipment, probably causing 70-year-old Robert Metzler’s infection. The Miami Herald reports that Metzler and his wife, Lucy Ann Metzler, had sought $30 million.
A VA investigation showed that more than 11,000 veterans received colonoscopies with improperly-cleaned equipment between 2004 and 2009 at VA hospitals in Miami, Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Augusta, Ga.
Metzler received his colonoscopy in 2007. He had tested negative for hepatitis C the previous year but tested positive in 2009.
Hepatitis C can cause severe liver damage. AP
Ally of Russian ex-defense minister gets charged
A former senior Russian defense ministry official has been charged with fraud related to a sell-off of military assets worth about $11 million.
The Investigative Committee said Nov. 23 that Yevgenia Vasilyeva, former head of the ministry’s property department and a close ally of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, is suspected of having set up a $11 million scheme that involved the sale of the army’s prized land plots and real estate.
President Vladimir Putin fired Serdyukov earlier this month, saying that his ouster is necessary for the investigators to conduct an independent and fair probe into the fraud that allegedly occurred during his tenure.
Investigators also said Friday they had recently searched an 18-house country retreat outside Moscow where Serdyukov and other military officials spent their vacations. AP
California governor names internal inspector for California Guard
Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed an Army National Guard lieutenant colonel as California’s first independent inspector general of the California Military Department.
Lt. Col David Kauffman will investigate claims of wrongdoing and oversee a Guard that has been dogged by reports of fraud.
The new position was created in a law Brown signed in September to help restore confidence in the Guard and provide more protections for Guard members who blow the whistle on misconduct.
Sen. Ted Lieu, a Democrat from Torrance who wrote the legislation, said Nov. 23 that Brown is acting swiftly to reform the agency and address problems that began under previous administrations.
Kauffman will be paid $141,619 a year if his selection is confirmed by the state Senate. AP
Iran accuses U.S. Navy of ‘illegal’ acts in Gulf
Iran is accusing the U.S. Navy of carrying out “illegal and provocative acts” in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman.
In identical letters to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council, Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said the Navy repeatedly violated the country’s airspace.
He cited flights over the coastal areas of Bushehr on seven occasions in October and most recently a U.S. drone flight on Nov. 1 which disregarded all radio warnings and penetrated Iranian airspace.
The letters, circulated Friday, urged Ban to warn the U.S. “against the continuation of acts in violation of international law and of the adverse consequences of any provocative and dangerous acts for which the United States government would be held responsible.”
The White House had no comment. AP