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Sweden taps Saab for signal intelligence ship
by Richard Tomkins
Washington (UPI) Apr 11, 2017

500th Eurofighter aircraft delivered to Italian air force
Washington (UPI) Apr 11, 2017 -The 500th operational Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet was handed over to the Italian air force during a ceremony held at Leonardo's facility in Turin, Italy.

The event was attended by various military and security industry representatives, including leaders from Leonardo, NETMA, and Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug. Officials said the delivery marked an important milestone for the program.

"The 500-strong Eurofighter Typhoon fleet represents one of the largest and most capable fighter fleets in the western hemisphere, and will be the backbone of European airpower for decades to come," Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug CEO Volker Paltzo said during the ceremony.

Leonardo Aircraft Division managing director Filippo Bagnato echoed Paltzo's sentiments, noting the Eurofighter Typhoon is the largest industrial program throughout the continent.

"We are now fully committed to completing deliveries to the Italian Air Force, to develop the capabilities of the aircraft, and to the activities envisaged by Kuwait's contract, while continuing to pursue a number of significant market opportunities around the world," he said.

European armed forces have been operating the Typhoon since 2003, when the first completed jet was delivered to Britain's Royal Air Force. The service also received the 100th plane in September 2006. Germany's air force accepted the delivery of the 400th jet in 2013.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a collaboration of three major European defense contractors, including Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo. Customers include armed forces in Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria and Saudi Arabia.

The aircraft itself is designed for multirole combat operations, and features a weapon bay capable of carrying up to six bombs as well as six missiles at a time. It is also equipped with a cannon and targeting pod for increased accuracy on the battlefield.

Saab reports it is to build a special purpose signals intelligence ship for the Swedish Navy.

The contract for the vessel, which will be constructed by Saab's Kockums business unit, was issued by the Swedish Defense Material Administration and is worth nearly $80.4 million.

"Special Purpose Ships of this kind requires high reliability and availability," Gunnar Wieslander, head of Kockums, said in a press release.

"Saab, and not the least Kockums, has during the years delivered products that live up to these high standards."

Construction of the SIGINT vessel will be conducted between 2017 and 2020, Saab said.

A SIGINT-vessel is mainly used to intercept radio transmitted signals. The Swedish Navy currently uses the HMS Orion for this purpose.

HMS Orion was launched by Kockums into service in 1984.

Fincantieri launches bow of future logistics ship
Washington (UPI) Apr 11 - The bow section of a logistic support ship for the Italian Navy was launched earlier this week in Naples by shipbuilder Fincantieri, the company announced in a press release.

When completed, the Vulcano will feature hospital and healthcare capabilities.

It will also be capable of transporting and transferring to other ships both liquids and dry goods, and conducting at-sea repairs and maintenance work.

Fincantieri said the ship can also be used as an intelligence and electronic warfare platform.

The Vulcano will be about 541 feet long and have a speed of 20 knots.

The bow section launched Monday is to be towed to a new shipyard, where it will be joinedth the vessel's stern

The Vulcano is expected to be delivered to the Italian Navy in 2019.

Xi urges peaceful resolution of N. Korea tensions in Trump call
Beijing (AFP) April 12, 2017
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has urged Donald Trump to peacefully resolve tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme, as the US president touted the power of a naval "armada" steaming towards the Korean peninsula. China's foreign ministry said Wednesday the two leaders had spoken by phone, days after Trump sent the aircraft carrier-led strike group to the region in a show of force ahead of a ... read more

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