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July 8, 2013

News Briefs July 8, 2013

Israeli F-16 fighter jet crashes; pilots unharmed

The Israeli military says an F-16 fighter jet has crashed into the Mediterranean Sea after its two crew members safely ejected from the aircraft.

The F-16 is the backbone of the Israeli air force. The two-seater F-16I is its latest and most advanced version. The military said the plane crashed during a routine flight July. 7

The air force halted all training flights and launched an investigation into the cause of the accident.
The F-16I, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, entered service in Israel nine years ago. The aircraft is able to carry air-to-air heat-seeking missiles manufactured by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. as well as U.S.-made radar-guided missiles.

The aircraft carries enlarged fuel tanks, increasing its range significantly.

An Israeli F-16I crashed in 2010, killing the two pilots. AP

China, Russia hold largest-ever joint naval drills

China and Russia are holding their largest-ever joint naval drills in the Sea of Japan in a sign of warming ties between the former Cold War rivals.

Eighteen surface ships, one submarine, three airplanes, five ship-launched helicopters and two commando units are taking part. The ìJoint Sea-2013î exercise began July 7 and runs through July 12.

The drills are considerably bigger than anything China’s navy has held with a foreign partner. China’s increasingly formidable navy is contributing four destroyers, two latest-generation guided missile frigates and a support ship.

China has long been a key customer for Russian military hardware, but only in the last decade have their militaries begun training jointly. China’s armed forces are pursuing links with most regional militaries. AP

Afghans fighting alone in contested border area

The former American military base called Forward Operating Base Bostick in northeastern Afghanistan was once a critical launching pad during the troop surge to fight Taliban militants along the Pakistan border.

Now it’s under the control of the Afghan National Army, whose troops in this far-flung remote base in northern Kunar province are still facing an entrenched enemy, as well as difficult mountainous terrain.

Advisers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division are helping guide the Afghan military and police forces as they face their first summer fighting without American ground or air support in one of the country’s most difficult regions.

The insurgents struck a deadly first blow when they overran an outpost near the base this spring, killing 13 Afghan soldiers. AP




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