Sunday, 31 December 2017

2 Bangladesh Air Force training planes crash after collision, pilots eject safely

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-27 23:33:15|Editor: Chengcheng

DHAKA, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- Two training planes of the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) crashed after collision on Wednesday night in the country's Cox's Bazar district, 292 km southeast of capital Dhaka, but the pilots ejected safely, said Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) of Bangladesh Army.

Lt. Col. Md Rashidul Hasan, director of the ISPR, said the planes burst into flames after the mid-air crash.

He said the BAF training planes, Russian Yak 130, crashed around 6:30 p.m. local time about 15 minutes after they lost contact with Radar.

The two-seat training planes were being flown by flight cadets.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known. No further details were immediately available.

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Yak-130: Details

Japan considers procuring more F-35 fighters to replace Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) F-15s

JASDF F-35A 69-8701 taking off from Lockheed's facility in Fort Worth on 24.08.16 (Japan Air Self Defense Force)

Defense Ministry considers procuring dozens more F-35 fighters

December 31, 2017 (Mainichi Japan)

The Defense Ministry is considering buying dozens of additional F-35 stealth fighter jets to replace Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) F-15s, government sources said.

The ministry is already moving forward with the introduction of 42 F-35s to replace the ASDF's aging F-4 fighters.

U.S. President Donald Trump urged Japan to buy F-35s when he visited Japan in November. Tokyo's plan to buy more of the jets is partly aimed at fending off pressure from Washington to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Japan.

The F-15 Eagle is a fourth-generation air superiority fighter. Japan began introducing the planes in fiscal 1980, and about 200 F-15s have been deployed. Around half of them are being upgraded to extend their service life, though the modernization program reportedly costs billions of yen per aircraft. The older planes in the F-15 fleet are set to be retired in the late 2020s, and the ministry has been considering new aircraft to replace them.

The F-35 Lightning II is a fifth-generation jet fighter with stealthy qualities, and is designed for both air combat and strikes on surface targets such as ships or enemy ground troops.

When President Trump visited Japan, he told a news conference that the F-35 is the world's best fighter plane and urged Tokyo to buy them, saying that a Japanese purchase would create many jobs in the U.S. and make Japan safer.

The Defense Ministry began to earmark funds in fiscal 2012 to purchase the first 42 F-35s, and will start deploying the new jet this fiscal year. Some 13 billion yen has been allocated for each aircraft in the fiscal 2018 budget, with budget appropriations to acquire the 42 fighters expected to wind down in fiscal 2020. The ministry is considering procuring additional F-35s to replace aging F-15s beginning in fiscal 2021. Introducing more of the same aircraft is expected to increase maintenance and pilot training efficiency.

The ASDF plans to introduce F-35As, a standard takeoff and landing model designed for air forces. However, a plan has emerged to buy some F-35Bs, a short takeoff and vertical landing variant in service with the U.S. Marine Corps. Under the plan, F-35Bs would be loaded on amphibious assault ships, which the Maritime Self-Defense Force plans to introduce to transport supplies and troops for the defense of Japan's far-flung island territories.

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Mitsubishi F-15J: Details

Russia to start tests of latest seaborne air defense missile/gun system in 2018

Pantsyr-ME air defense missile/gun system

December 26, 18:21UTC+3

A Project 22800 Karakurt corvette is expected to be the first to receive the Pantsyr-ME

ST. PETERSBURG, December 26. /TASS/. Russia’s latest seaborne Pantsyr-ME air defense missile/gun system will be tested on the land and at sea next year, Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau CEO Alexander Shlyakhtenko told TASS on Tuesday.

"It will be tested from next year, first on the land-based stand and then it will be delivered to one of the ships," the chief executive said, replying to the corresponding question.

Shlyakhtenko earlier told TASS that the Pantsyr-ME would be mounted on a Project 1241 Molniya missile corvette and undergo trials in the Black Sea.

As CEO of High Precision Systems Corporation Alexander Denisov said, the trials are expected to be completed in a year or two and the Russian Navy has already ordered this seaborne air defense missile complex.

A Project 22800 Karakurt corvette is expected to be the first to receive the Pantsyr-ME.

The Pantsyr-ME is the shipborne version of the Pantsyr air defense missile/gun system. Its land-based version is called Pantsyr-S. The seaborne version can be outfitted with missiles from the land-based variant and also with the promising Germes-K missile, which can be guided by a drone. The Pantsyr-ME is set to replace the Kortik system.

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Karakurt-class corvette (Project 22800): Details

First UAE Spyplane Breaks Its Cover

Photo: YouTube / Aviation Videos & Wildlife FULL HD


In addition to its openly acknowledged procurement of three Saab GlobalEye airborne early warning aircraft, based on Bombardier’s Global 6000 platform, the UAE is also set to receive two further Global 6000s converted for electronic intelligence (ELINT) or signals intelligence (SIGINT) duties under a more secretive programme. Jon Lake reports.

The first of the UAE’s two shadowy spyplanes has been spotted and photographed undergoing pre-delivery testing at Marshall Aerospace’s facility at Cambridge Teversham Airport in the UK.

The Global Express family forms the basis of a number of military special missions variants, including the Saab GlobalEye, the UK RAF’s Raytheon Sentinel R1 radar surveillance aircraft, and the US Air Force’s Northrop Grumman E-11A battlefield airborne communications node, (BACN), which allows disparate battlefield communications systems to share data, and allows fifth-generation fighters, like the F-22 and F-35, to share their sensor picture with older aircraft.

The UAE is understood to have helped fund development of the GlobalEye – also known as the swing-role surveillance system (SRSS).

It carries a new S-band Erieye-ER airborne early warning (AEW) radar, which has its active electronically scanned array (AESA) carried in a ‘ski-box’ fairing above the fuselage, and an X-band Leonardo Selex Seaspray 7500E maritime search radar under the forward fuselage. The Erieye ER uses gallium nitride semiconductor technology to allow more power to be transmitted.

Saab is currently carrying out extensive modifications to a green Bombardier Global 6000 to convert it into the first of three SRSS GlobalEye’s for the UAE.

When the UAE decided to procure a SIGINT aircraft, it made sense to base it on the Global 6000 in order to gain some commonality with the GlobalEye, especially as such an aircraft requires the same blend of endurance, long range and high altitude performance as an AEW platform. Surprisingly, though, the Emiratis did not turn to Saab, whose Sirius SIGINT system could be integrated on a variety of different platforms, including the Global 6000.

Details of the Emirati SIGINT programme remain sketchy. The two aircraft involved were delivered with Isle of Man registrations, and were registered to a Swiss-based company, AGT (Asia Global Technology) International, which was previously responsible for the UAE’s Falcon Eye surveillance system and the Abu Dhabi safe city project.

The two aircraft were reportedly delivered to maintenance, repair and overhaul company Marshall Aerospace’s facility at Teversham, where it is understood that work was carried out on them by Marshall and Spec Ops Technology – a US, Netherlands and UAE-based company that specialises in airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms.

The first aircraft, carrying the UAE serial 1326, emerged from Marshall Aerospace’s hangars on April 27. It superficially resembled a Raytheon Sentinel, albeit without that type’s prominent dorsal satcom hump, and with a host of minor differences.
The large ventral canoe fairing was very similar in shape and size, however, extending back from just behind the nose gear bay to the centre of the wingbox, leading some analysts to question whether it might be based on the flight-cleared shape and structure of the Sentinel canoe.

The fairing did not seem to have a large dielectric section, so appears unlikely to accommodate a surveillance radar, and would seem most likely to contain ‘spinners’ (tuning heads) for ELINT equipment. It may also have an electro optical/long-range oblique photographic (EO/LOROP) sensor.

A large antenna farm behind the wing, with about a dozen feelers, would seem likely to serve COMINT equipment, while there appears to be a number of antennas for missile and/or radar warning receivers.

Two ventral fins are fitted for stability, but these look smaller than those fitted to the Sentinel.

On top of the fuselage are an array of satcom antennas and a number of unidentified blade aerials. Extra cooling is provided by an additional non-standard intake on the port side of the rear fuselage, next to the engine.

The first aircraft carried out some rejected take-offs, taxi trials and high-power runs on June 4 before making a four-hour test flight on June 21. The aircraft made a second test flight on July 7.


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More pics

Tony Lovelock

Modified Bombardier Global Express 1326 makes her first outing at Cambridge Airport

Published on Apr 27, 2017

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Saturday, 30 December 2017

Project 11356: Why Russian Navy Needs Powerful, Fast and Compact Frigates

© Sputnik/ Igor Zarembo

16:40 27.12.2017(updated 17:40 27.12.2017)

On Wednesday, a ceremony took place to raise the flag on the Admiral Makarov frigate, the latest addition to the Russian Navy. Admiral Makarov is the third project 11356 frigate to join the Black Sea Fleet, with Admiral Grigorovich and Admiral Essen already being in service. RIA Novosti observer Andrei Kotz takes a closer look at the new ship.


The frigates of project 11356 were initially designed to fight against both surface targets and submarines, to repel enemy aviation attacks, to destroy ground targets with high-precision weapons and to take part in counterterrorism and antipiracy missions.

A project 11356 frigate is truly multipurpose and capable of accomplishing almost any combat task in its operational theater.

The Russian Defense Ministry has ordered a total of six ships of this class, all named after prominent Russian admirals. The three remaining frigates – Admiral Butakov, Admiral Istomin and Admiral Kornilov – have already been floated out and are planned to enter service in 2020-2021.

Admiral Makarov will join the most powerful force within the Black Sea Fleet, the 30th division of combat ships led by the Moskva guided missile cruiser. In the future, the new frigates will be the backbone of this division.


The project 11356 frigate packs a formidable arsenal of weapons capable of hitting different types of targets. Each ship has eight 3M22 launchers for Kalibr-NK cruise missiles (operational range of up to 2,500 kilometers) and Oniks anti-ship missiles (up to 500 kilometers). The Admiral Grigorovich and Admiral Essen frigates were involved in Russia’s counterterrorism operation in Syria in 2016-2017, having repeatedly delivered  high-precision strikes at enemy targets.

Admiral Makarov also has the AK-190 100-mm versatile artillery system with an operation range of up to 21 kilometers. As for anti-submarine warfare, the ship has the RBU-6000 12-barrel bomb launcher and four 533-mm torpedo launchers. In addition, there is the Shtil-1 anti-aircraft defensive system, with a range of up to 50 kilometers, as well as a pair of AK-630M six-barrel anti-aircraft cannons.

All of the weapons are controlled by the Puma fire-command system, including target seeking and acquisition.

The new ship also has an advanced computerized control system. As a result, the 4,035-ton and 125-meter-long frigate is operated by a crew of only 180, including 18 officers. According to instructions, the ship also carries a group of 20 marines and a Ka-27PL or Ka-31 anti-submarine helicopter with a crew.

Admiral Makarov features stealth technologies and a low level of noise, primarily due to their COCAG two-shaft gas turbine engine, which generates a total of 56,000 horsepower. The ship can reach speeds of up to 30 knots (56 kilometers per hour) and has a sea endurance of 30 days.

Improving the Legacy

In fact, project 11356 is the extensive modernization of the Soviet-era Burevestnik (Storm Petrel) project, which included 28 combat ships built since 1968 (projects 1135 and 1135M). This is why the construction of each of the project 11356 frigates took as much as five years, from roll out to entering service.

Two of the 28 frigates built during the Soviet period are still in service with the Black Sea Fleet. The Burevestnik-class ships gained a reputation for their outstanding seagoing capabilities and reliability. Back in the day, they played a key tactical role in the Soviet navy.

While developing project 11356, Russian engineers had in mind the combat and maintenance experience of the Burevestnik frigates, making a number of upgrades and adding new technologies.

Today, amid the ongoing crisis in Syria and NATO’s increased activities in the Black Sea, the Russian Black Sea Fleet needs powerful, fast and compact ships that would  perform equally well against different types of targets, and these are exactly what project 11356 packs.

Original post:

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Project 11356 Admiral Grigorovich: Details

Royal Thai AF Saab JAS-39 Gripen with GBU-12 LGB and Litening targeting pod




Gripen Royal Thai Air Force: Details

Pakistan shops for warships to replace British frigates

FFG-568 衡阳/Hengyang

Pakistan shops for warships to replace British frigates, modernize Navy

By: Usman Ansari 

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s Navy is acquiring new warships as part of a fleet expansion and modernization program to replace six Type 21 frigates acquired from the British in the 1990s.

The service also seeks to meet increasing domestic requirements while maintaining regional security commitments.

A naval spokesman told Defense News that a “contract has been placed in June 2017” for one Type 054A Jiangkai II frigate featuring the same sensors and weaponry as Chinese ships. An order for two more is under consideration.

The Type 054A forms the backbone of China’s naval force. The 29th was launched in December.

A protracted program for Turkish corvettes is also moving forward. A contract for four Ada-class corvettes under the Turkish Milgem program was awarded in the final week of November. Negotiations continue on whether all four will be constructed in Turkey, or two in Pakistan, but a decision is pending.

An initial request has also been made for up to two corvettes from U.S.-based Swiftships. “Initial negotiations are underway,” according to the naval spokesman, but further progress depends on U.S. congressional approval.

The confirmation of both frigate and corvette programs comes as a surprise. During Pakistan’s biennial defense exhibition IDEAS 2016, Defense News was informed that available funding clashed with the need to replace a large number of ships.

The first mention of a frigate deal with China was made by outgoing naval chief Adm. Muhammad Zakaullah during his farewell speech in October. No additional details were forthcoming at the time; but in early December, the commanding officer of Pakistan’s F-22P frigate Saif reportedly told Chinese media a Type 054A frigate had been ordered.

Author, analyst and former Australian defense attache to Islamabad Brian Cloughley says the new ships are desperately needed.

“Almost anything would be better than the Type 21s. They were 1970s vintage and should have been retired in 2000 at the latest. The new frigates will be a welcome addition to the [Pakistani Navy] fleet and will ensure continuation of the commitment to [Combined Task Forces] 150/151 as well as patrolling home waters.”

Five Type 21 frigates remain operational, but they are worn and obsolete despite upgrades.

It’s questionable how much longer Pakistan’s sole Perry-class frigate, Alamgir (formerly McInerney) can remain operational, as it received a very limited upgrade, and the F-22P frigates are in need of improved sensors and weaponry.

At IDEAS 2016, Chinese shipbuilders proposed a new frigate design for Pakistan with improved defenses against increasingly sophisticated anti-ship missiles. Though similar to the F-22P, it featured vastly improved sensors and weaponry comprising an integrated mast with a four-faced phased array radar, a 32-cell vertical launching system containing HQ-16 medium-range surface-to-air missiles, and an HQ-10 point defense missile system.

But Pakistan rejected the proposal, instead selecting the Type 054A.

“It is sensible for Pakistan to select a tried and proven vessel, and it appears that China will be prepared to provide upgraded ancillaries as they are developed,” Cloughley said.

He added that a deepening Sino-Pakistani relationship is understandable, pointing to joint production of the JF-17 Thunder as a best example of successful cooperation.

“There is increased movement towards China in many ways, and military equipment is but one of them,” he said. “It makes sense for Pakistan to obtain frigates as well as other items, and as the U.S. appears to be leaning ever further towards India, none of Pakistan’s armed forces can afford to be too reliant on Washington.”

However, Pakistan still views good relations with the U.S. as important. The Turkish corvette features a variety of American equipment, such as the power plant and the RIM-116 RAM missile defense system.

A representative for Turkish defense firm STM, which designed the Ada corvette, previously told Defense News that Pakistan’s corvettes would feature the same systems as those in Turkish service.

However, American equipment may have to be arranged in a government-to-government contract between Islamabad and Washington. And the Type 054A and the Ada programs may only cover replacement of the Type 21s.

The Swiftships program is needed to ensure Pakistan has sufficient ships to maintain regional security commitments. The only such design Swiftships offers is its 75-meter Swift corvette.

The company said it is unable to comment on the matter because it is a government-to-government program.

Making it difficult to predict Pakistan’s next step here is the requirement for U.S. congressional approval, said Claude Rakisits, a Pakistan expert and senior fellow at Georgetown University. What is certain is that Congress is generally “not well-disposed toward Pakistan,” making congressional rejection likely.

Still, lobbying efforts by the Pentagon and State Department emphasizing Pakistan’s commitment to CTF 150 and CTF 151 could swing Capitol Hill toward approval.

“It would be a powerful argument, which could persuade the waverers to give the approval,” Rakisits said. “It’s not as if these ships would change the balance of forces on the subcontinent.”

Original post:

Type 054A Jiangkai II frigate: Details

Friday, 29 December 2017

What is Known About Russia's 5th Gen Husky-Class Stealth Subs

18:31 20.12.2017

The first Husky-class submarine is planned to be completed by 2030. The fifth-generation sub will join Russia's fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, many of which are currently being modernized, including with advanced cruise missiles.

As Russia continues to build its new Yasen-class nuclear submarines and keeps modernizing the Soviet-era Shchuka-class submarines, the Russia Navy has set its sights on a fifth-generation multipurpose sub, which is already in development.

The project is known under the name "Husky" and is planned to replace the Shchuka- and Yasen-class submarines.

On Wednesday, the commander of the Russian Navy, Adm. Vladimir Korolev, reviewed the preliminary designed of a fifth-generation submarine, which was developed by St. Petersburg Marine Design Bureau "Malachite."

The research and development stage of the project is scheduled to be completed next year. The first Husky-class submarine will be laid down in 2023-2024 and will be completed by 2030, Deputy Navy Commander Vice Adm. Viktor Bursuk told Sputnik in July.

The construction will be funded under the 2018-2025 State Armaments Program, adopted in 2015 and defining massive military hardware upgrades, with the plan of 70 percent rearmament by 2020.

Open sources provide very few details on the project, but what is known already suggests that it will be a breakthrough in scientific and technological terms.

Hypersonic Arsenal

According to information from open sources, the main feature of the new Russian submarine will be armed with the 3M22 Zircon hypersonic anti-ship missile, which is already undergoing tests.

The specifications of the missile are also kept secret. It is known that the Zircon will be able to reach speeds of Mach 5-10 (5-10 times faster than the speed of sound) and hit a target at a distance of 300-500 kilometers. Currently, the Russian Navy has in service anti-ship missiles with a maximum speed of Mach 2-2.5.

"The treats are getting more obvious and more dangerous now. They need to be responded," Adm. Vladimir Komoedov, former commander of the Black Sea Fleet, told RIA Novosti. "I advocate for a multipurpose submarine with maximum versatility. It should have reliable target detections and weapons systems. In addition, it should be able to receive target information from aviation and from space."

According to Western and Russian experts, the deployment of Zircon missiles will weaken the positions of the United States’ naval force, which is based on aircraft- carrier striking groups. The National Interest’s observer Sebastien Roblin suggested that the new missile would be more dangerous for the US Navy than the Soviet-made Granit missiles (NATO reporting name Shipwreck).

According to Komoedov, the Russian Navy needs new multipurpose submarines that would be armed with a hypersonic anti-ship missile, instead of the Kalibr subsonic cruise missile.

Stealth, Equipped With Robots

The key difference between the Husky-class and the submarines of previous generations is its extremely low level of noise. According to Bursuk, the new submarine will be at least twice as silent as the Yasen- and Shchuka-class.

The construction of the Husky-class will involve light and durable composite materials. The submarine will be equipped with advanced electronic systems and will have automatic control and weapons systems. As a result, the submarine will be relatively compact and will be capable of simultaneously tracking a large number of targets.

Oleg Vlasov, head of the robotics sector of the Malakhit Marine Engineering Bureau, said that the Husky-class submarine would would be equipped with robotic systems to be used for carrying out tasks for military and civilian purposes.

"I can say that there will be robotics on the Husky, which will work in two environments. The development is already underway, now that the forms are laid out, they will be specified," Vlasov told Sputnik.

Russia's Fleet of Nuclear Submarines

The construction of fifth-generation nuclear-powered submarines will begin after the commission of seven Yasen-class (project 885) submarines, which are planned to join the Russian Navy by 2023. The flagship, the Severodvinks, is already in service.

The second submarine, the Kazan, has been floated out and is undergoing sea trials, after which it will join the military in 2018. It will be armed with 533-mm torpedoes, Kalibr-PL cruise missiles and P-800 Oniks missiles.

"A global war today is unlikely, but the risk of regional conflicts is high. Taking this into account, submarines armed with cruise missiles will be tremendously important because they can attack both surface and ground targets," Adm. Vyacheslav Popov, former commander of the Northern Fleet, told RIA Novosti.

The Russian Naval Doctrine envisages that such submarines will be the core of the multipurpose submarine force until the Husky-class submarines enter service.

According to Popov, today the most important capability of a naval force is versatility.

According to the Military Balance report by The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Russian multipurpose submarine force currently includes one Yasen-class submarine, 11 Shchuka-class submarines, five Antey-class subs, two Kondor submarines (project 945A) and three project 671RTM (Shchuka-class, second generation) submarines.

Currently, several project 971 submarines are undergoing modernization, including being equipped with Kalibr-PL missiles. By 2025, four Antey submarines will be upgraded with Kalibr and Oniks missiles.

Original post:

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Second prototype of China's C919 jet conducts test flight

Second prototype C919 jet - Source: Xinhua

Second prototype of China's C919 jet conducts test flight: state TV

DECEMBER 17, 2017 / 12:36 PM

Reuters Staff

BEIJING (Reuters) - A second prototype of China’s home-built C919 passenger jet took off for a test flight in Shanghai on Sunday, state television reported, another step forward in the country’s ambitions to muscle in to the global jet market.

A total of six prototypes will eventually conduct test flights, China Central Television reported, with engine tests to be a particular focus.

The aim was to conduct another long-distance test flight in late January, chief engineer Wang Wei was quoted as saying. More than 1,000 tests would be carried out.

The narrow-body aircraft, which will compete with Boeing’s 737 and the Airbus A320, is a symbol of China’s ambitions to penetrate the global passenger jet market, estimated to be worth $2 trillion over the next 20 years.

The C919 made its maiden flight on May 5 after numerous delays. Analysts have questioned the long periods between previous test flights.

It completed its first long-distance flight on Nov. 10, flying for 2 hours and 23 minutes from Shanghai to the central Chinese city of Xi‘an, covering more than 1,300 km (800 miles) and reaching an altitude of 7,800 meters (25,590 feet).

Its manufacturer, the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMAC) [CMAFC.UL], called the maiden flight a milestone that marked the plane’s move into an airworthiness certification phase.

COMAC is aiming to obtain certification for the plane from Chinese regulators as well as Europe’s aviation safety regulator, which agreed in April to start the certification process.

The plane has dozens of customers who have placed orders and commitments for 785 jets, COMAC has said.

Reporting by Judy Hua and Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Paul Tait

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Comac C919: Details

Marine Corps expects to have its first four CH-53K in 2019

New in 2018: CH-53K Super Stallion heavy-lift helos

By: Jeff Schogol 

The Corps’ rotary-wing fleet will get the first four CH-53K Super Stallion helicopters delivered in 2018.

The CH-53K is meant to replace the fleet of aging CH-53E Super ­Stallions, which have the worst readiness problems of all Marine Corps aircraft. Those older aircraft were left in Iraq for years at a time during the peak of the Iraq war, when dust and relentless daily ­missions severely degraded their condition and capabilities.

The CH-53K helicopters will go through further testing next year and in 2019 before being delivered to the operational fleet. As of now, the Marine Corps expects to have its first four CH-53K helicopters with combat-ready crews logistically prepared to deploy in 2019.

The Corps is also in the process of ­repairing and refurbishing all 146 of its ­CH-53Es. As of December, the Marines had overhauled 13 CH-53Es, which will continue this coming year.

“By 2019, the CH-53E community will have the right amount of up-aircraft to achieve and maintain the optimal readiness through the end of their service life and Full Operational Capability of the CH-53K in 2029,” said Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns.

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