News Briefs – January 29, 2016

Syrian defense chief in Moscow for talks on military ties

Syria’s defense chief is visiting Moscow for talks on military cooperation with his nation’s key ally, Russia.
The Russian military says Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Syrian counterpart, Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij, have underlined their “shared intention to further boost multi-faceted cooperation” between the two militaries.
During the Jan. 28 talks, they discussed the results of the Russian air campaign in Syria and talked about prospects for “military and military-technical cooperation.”
Russian warplanes have flown nearly 6,000 sorties since Moscow launched its air campaign in Syria on Sept. 30, helping the government troops to launch offensives and reclaim ground in several areas. Russia says it has targeted the Islamic State and other extremist groups, but the U.S. and its allies have accused Moscow of also striking moderate rebel groups. AP

Japan unveils stealth plane, may combine with next-gen jet

TOYOYAMA, Japan–Japan unveiled its first homemade stealth plane Jan. 28 as it tries to catch up on the technology and enhance its reconnaissance and intelligence capabilities as China expands its own military presence in the region.
The experimental X-2 is expected to make its maiden test flight in February. Defense officials said the aircraft is designed to test the stealth technology that would possibly be combined with the next-generation fighter jet, replacing the fleet of F-2 fighters as early as 2028.
The red-and-white aircraft, with a 14-meter long fuselage and 9-meter long wingspan, sat inside a hanger at the Nagoya Airport in central Japan.
Led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, the stealth plane comes with radar-resistance features, including a canopy with special stealth-enhancing coating, and mobility.
“I cannot go into details, but we recognize it is technologically at a very high level,” said Takahiro Yoshida, an official in charge of the project at the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency of the Defense Ministry.
The 40 billion yen ($340 million) project began in 2009. AP

Egypt F-16 crashes during training drill, kills crew

Egypt’s military says an F-16 crashed during a training drill in an undisclosed location in the country, killing its entire crew.
The Jan. 28 statement did not specify the number of dead or provide further details.
Military spokesman Mohamed Samir says “these details only concern (them). Why does it interest the media or anyone else?”
A day earlier, officials said a roadside bomb struck an armored personnel carrier in the turbulent north of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula killing an army colonel and three soldiers.
Egypt has been battling a burgeoning Islamic insurgency in the peninsula that mainly targets police and military posts. In recent months, attacks have increased in frequency and spilled over to the mainland after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. AP

Iran says it warned US warship to leave drill area

Iran’s navy warned a U.S. warship to leave an area where Iran has been conducting a naval drill near the narrow Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Jan. 27. The U.S. Navy denied that its operations in the region were affected.
The Iranian navy chief, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, was quoted as saying that the U.S. warship received two warnings before leaving the region.
“They were warned once by maritime patrol aircraft and once again by the Alborz destroyer,” he said. “The U.S. warship left the region immediately after receiving the warning,” he added, saying he believed that the Americans had approached the area to “learn our tactics.”
Iran said the naval drill got underway Wednesday over an area of 3 million square kilometers, including part of the Strait of Hormuz, through which one fifth of the world oil supply passes, as well as the Gulf of Oman and neighboring parts of the Indian Ocean. It is the first Iranian naval exercise since 10 U.S. sailors were briefly captured by Iran earlier this month after drifting into Iranian territorial waters.
Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, offered a different version of events.
Stephens said the U.S. is aware of the Iranian exercise and that it has not altered U.S. naval operations in any way. Iran had announced plans to close off certain areas for the drill, but he said this is “common practice for any navy conducting such training at sea,” he said.
Iran conducts similar exercises annually and the U.S. does not see this year’s as a change in Iranian behavior, Stephens added. AP

Raytheon tops fourth quarter profit forecasts

Raytheon blew past Wall Street’s profit expectations for the fourth quarter and said Jan. 28 that it expects both profit and revenue to improve this year.
The Waltham, Mass., company earned $571 million, or $1.89 per share. Adjusted for one-time gains and costs, Raytheon’s per-share earnings of $1.93 were well above the $1.79 projected by analysts, according to Zacks Investment Research.
The defense contractor posted revenue of $6.33 billion.
For the year, the company reported profit of $2.07 billion, or $6.80 per share. Revenue was reported as $23.25 billion.
Raytheon expects full-year earnings for 2016 to be $6.80 to $7 per share, with revenue in the range of $24 billion to $24.5 billion.
Shares of Raytheon have fallen 5 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has decreased nearly 8 percent. The stock has climbed 13 percent in the last 12 months. AP

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