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February 27, 2013

News Briefs February 27, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,047

As of Feb. 26, 2013, at least 2,047 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 1,707 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 118 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 11 were the result of hostile action.

The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is five 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, 18,285 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP

Listen up ladies! Uncle Sam might want you too

Tennnnnn-hut ladies!

The next time Uncle Sam comes calling, he’s probably going to want you, too.

The Obama administration recently decided to lift the ban on women in combat. Legal experts and military historians say that decision has opened the door for a change in the law that currently compels only men between age 18 and 25 to register for a military draft.

Never before have women been drafted into military service. Neither the White House nor Congress are in a hurry to make them register for a future call-up.

A draft would be enormously unpopular and adding women to the mix just isn’t a priority for a battle-weary country nearing the end of more than a decade of war. Yet, legally, there may be no other choice. AP

India orders probe into Finmeccanica copter deal

India’s top investigative agency says it is looking into the role a former air force chief played in a helicopter contract marred by reports of bribery.

The Central Bureau of Investigation said Feb. 25 it had ordered an investigation into the role of nine people and two companies on charges that kickbacks were paid to steer the $750 million contract to Italian defense group Finmeccanica’s helicopter division, AgustaWestland.

The bureau said it would question former air force chief Shashi Tyagi, his cousins and the CEOs of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland for their roles in clinching the purchase of 12 helicopters two years ago.

The agency said it would also investigate the role of three middlemen in channeling illegal payments through Tunisia and Mauritius to two India-based companies, also under investigation. AP

China launches stealth frigate amid ocean tensions

China is launching a new class of stealth missile frigate amid ongoing tensions with its neighbors over Beijing’s maritime claims.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy is building a total of 20 Type 056 Jiangdao class frigates to replace older models and bolster its ability to patrol and escort ships and submarines in waters it claims in the South China and East China seas.

The first in the class, No. 582 was formally delivered to the navy Feb. 25 in the metropolis of Shanghai that is home to the country’s eastern fleet. The ships feature a sleek design to reduce clutter and make them harder to spot by radar and come armed with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles.

The ships also require a crew of just 60, two-thirds fewer than older vessels. AP

Rockwell Collins wins additional Airbus contract

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, based military contractor and private airlines parts manufacturer Rockwell Collins says it will build the rudder and brake pedal assembly for the new Airbus A350 passenger jets.

Rockwell Collins also has contracts for communications, information management, landing and navigation systems for the new wide-body jets. The company says its total contract for the newly designed commercial jet is valued at about $2.5 billion.

More than 600 A350 jets have been ordered by airlines throughout the world.

The jet, made of composite alloys and carbon fiber, is lighter in weight to save fuel. It is designed to carry from 270 to 350 passengers and is expected to be delivered for service next year. AP

Air show canceled after budget cuts ground jets

The 2013 Indianapolis Air Show has fallen victim to the looming automatic budget cuts.

The show’s executive committee decided Feb. 26 to cancel the show that was scheduled for June 15-16 at Indianapolis Regional Airport east of the city.

WISH-TV reports the U.S. Navy Blue Angels were scheduled to appear as the show’s jet team headliner, but under the budget cuts, U.S. military jet teams are grounded until further notice.

The air show is a fundraiser that for philanthropic organizations such as the Central Indiana Community Foundation. AP




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