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Libyan Mirage pilots defect to Malta

February 22nd, 2011 by David No Comments

Two Libyan fighter jet pilots have defected to Malta, by landing without permission on the runway of the island’s commercial airport.

The pilots, who are reportedly both colonels in the Libyan Air Force, are claiming asylum, after allegedly refusing orders to bomb protestors in Benghazi.

The aircraft, which landed at 16:30 local time, are French manufactured Dassault Mirage F-1 fighters.

The Mirage pilots reportedly only made contact with the airport control tower after they had landed on the commercial runway.

Protests in Libya have escalated since the removal of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, strenghening popular resolve against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Hundreds of civilian protestors have been killed in clashes with pro-government forces in Tripoli and Benghazi within the past week, according to media reports.

The Mirage F-1 entered French service in 1973, and is still in French service today. It was also exported to Libya, Spain, Morocco, Iran, Iraq, Jordan and several other countries.

The F-1 jet aircraft is a second generation, Mach 2.2 capable, fighter aircraft, which was originally developed in the 1960s.

Two French-registered Super Puma civilian helicopters also landed in Malta, around the same time, reportedly carrying seven French employees of an Italian firm working in Libya.

All the passengers, who have landed without permission, are being temporarily held within Malta’s airport.

Medvedev fires deputy spymaster

February 21st, 2011 by David No Comments

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has reportedly fired the deputy chief of the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

The decision to fire Vyacheslav Ushakov for “poor performance” was made at the request of FSB chief Alexander Bortnikovas, according to Russian news wire RIA Novosti, quoting a spokesperson for Russia’s president.

Several high profile security and military intelligence officers have been relieved of their duties in the weeks since January’s Moscow airport bomb.

Thales wins extension to Nato Afghan comms contract

February 21st, 2011 by David No Comments

Nato has extended Thales’ contract to operate the secured communications and information systems for International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

Thales has operated the ISAF system for almost four years already, with over 7,000 Nato users utilising the network across Afghan territory.

The system uses satellite, point-to-point radio links, fibre optics, secure VoIP and video on demand. It also offers data storage and backup capabilities for users and military business applications.

US Space strategy underlines importance – Lynn

February 17th, 2011 by David No Comments

The US Defense Department’s National Security Space Strategy, issued in January, highlights the growing importance of space within overall defence planning, according to deputy defense secretary William Lynn.

Lynn underlined that more than 60 years after Sputnik triggered the US-Soviet space race, at least sixty nations have now deployed satellites into space, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Security.

The US controls “less than 40% of the space market” today, added Lynn.

Thirty-seven US senators signed a letter of concern to secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Feb 2 stating concerns that the European Union is developing a space “code of conduct”, which they think could undermine US space strategy and harm security.

Lynn countered that proposals for the code are consistent with US space strategy to promote freedom of access and introduce more timely notifications of problems in space.

“We think this kind of voluntary code of conduct that promotes responsible behavior…should be viewed positively,” said Lynn.

BAE completes L-1 cyber intelligence buyout

February 17th, 2011 by David No Comments

BAE Systems has completed its acquisition of the Intelligence Services Group (ISG) part of L-1 Identity Solutions,

ISG is comprised of several intelligence and cyber security technology and advisory businesses: SpecTal, Advanced Concepts, and McClendon.

US-based ISG employs just over 1,000 people.

“The ISG acquisition is also consistent with BAE Systems’ strategy to grow its services business in cyber and intelligence,” said BAE.

BAE says it acquired ISG for approximately $297m. The deal was initially announced in September. 

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