News Briefs – March 9, 2016

Iran launches ballistic missiles during military exercise

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has launched several medium-range and short-range ballistic missiles in recent days as part of a military exercise, the official IRNA news agency reported March 8.
The missiles had a range of 300 kilometers (185 miles) to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles), IRNA quoted Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Guard’s aerospace division, as saying.
IRNA said the missiles, launched from silos in several locations across the country, demonstrated Iran’s “deterrence power” and its readiness to confront threats. State TV ran what it said was video footage of the operation, showing missiles in underground silos and flashes of light from nighttime launches.
State media said the exercise was in its final phase on March 8.
In October, Iran successfully test-fired a new guided long-range ballistic surface-to-surface missile. It was the first such test since Iran and world powers reached a landmark nuclear deal last summer.
U.N. experts said the launch used ballistic missile technology banned under a Security Council resolution. In January, the U.S. imposed new sanctions on individuals and entities linked to the ballistic missile program.
Iran says none of its missiles are designed to carry nuclear weapons.
Iran claims to have surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles), capable of striking Israel and U.S. military bases in the region. AP

U.S. general: Air Force to keep flying over South China Sea

A U.S. general says the Air Force will continue to fly daily missions over the South China Sea despite a buildup of Chinese surface-to-air missiles and fighter jets in the contested region, with both nations’ militaries in discussions to avoid any “miscalculation.”
Hawaii-based Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Lori Robinson also urged other nations March 8 to exercise their freedom to fly and sail in international airspace and waters claimed by China in the South China Sea “or risk losing it throughout the region.”
Robinson declined to tell reporters in the Australian capital of Canberra how the United States would retaliate if a U.S. plane was shot down by the Chinese.
Robinson will address the Royal Australian Air Force’s biennial Air Power Conference in Canberra next week. AP

Firm agrees to $3 million settlement for substandard Army helmets

An Ohio-based company has agreed to pay $3 million to the federal government to settle a lawsuit over combat helmets it provided to the U.S. Army that were found to be substandard.
A Justice Department statement issued March 7 says Hebron, Ohio-based ArmorSource LLC agreed to settle the lawsuit filed by the federal government in U.S. District Court in Beaumont, Texas.
The Justice Department alleged that from 2006 to 2009, ArmorSource delivered advanced combat helmets that were made and tested using methods that didn’t meet contract requirements and failed to meet contract performance standards.
The lawsuit was filed by two whistleblowers who worked for Federal Prison Industries Inc., an ArmorSource subcontractor. The pair will receive $450,000 of the settlement.
Messages left with ArmorSource and its attorney weren’t returned. AP

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