May 16, 2009, Muggiano -- Today at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia) there was the delivery ceremony of the first of four patrol vessels ordered from Fincantieri by Iraqi Navy and worth 80 million Euros. The vessel has been built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Riva Trigoso.
Iraq was represented by the Chief of Staff for the Defence, General Babaker Baderkhan Al Zibari while Italy was represented by the Director General for Naval Shipbuildings and Armament, Admiral Dino Nascetti. Fincantieri was represented by the head of the Naval Vessels Business Unit, Alberto Maestrini.
This first vessel – called the “Fateh” – will immediately start to undertake surveillance of the Iraqi Exclusive Economic Zone (58 kilometers of coastline rich in oil reserves, the country’s most important economic resource), research and salvage operations, maritime traffic controls – including inspections on board ships in transit – and firefighting. The remaining three vessels will be delivered at three monthly intervals.
The “Saettia MK4” class vessels have been developed from the vessels Fincantieri built for the Italian Coast Guards (five “Diciotti” class vessels) and the Maltese Navy (one vessel). Together they will form the core of the patrol fleet of the Iraqi Navy and be tasked with duties similar to those of the Italian Coast Guards. Manned by a crew of 38, the 53.40-metre-long, 8-metre-wide vessels can reach a speed of 23 knots.
The vessels have been built under the supervision of the Italian Register of Ships (Rina) in accordance with strict international standards regarding safety and respect for the environment.
Fincantieri is also directly responsible for supplying the ship systems and components which were built at its facilities in Bari and Riva Trigoso and regard: propulsion (Isotta Fraschini 2360 kW engines V1716T2MSD, shafts and variable pitch propellers), generation (Isotta Fraschini 220 kW generators L1306T3ME) and stabilizing systems.
The contract also comprises the provision of logistical support and crew training with each crew completing a 7 week training course. In cooperation with the Italian Navy there will be a week’s course held on the bridge simulator at the Academy of Leghorn.
May 13, 2009, Jakarta -- A goodwill visit to Jakarta has further enhanced the close bilateral relationship between the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
A C-17A Globemaster, operated by No. 36 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley, has just completed a two day visit to Halim Air Force Base, which is the home of the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) transport fleet.
The visit provided TNI-AU personnel an opportunity to see the C-17A and speak with its crew. The Globemaster was returning to Australia after having delivered equipment and personnel overseas.
Air Commodore John Oddie AM, CSC, Commander of the RAAF’s Air Lift Group, accompanied the Globemaster and met with airlift counterparts from the TNI-AU. Air Commodore Oddie was one of the senior Australian Defence Force Officers who deployed to Sumatra as part of Australia’s airlift response to the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.
“Australia’s fleet of four C-17As has proven an important strategic airlift asset for the Australian Defence Force. The aircraft have been involved in a number of regional assistance tasks,” Air Commodore Oddie said.
“Australia’s C-17As have flown aid to Papua New Guinea following floods in November 2007, as well as helicopters for humanitarian relief from South Africa to Burma in May 2008.
“This visit will provide the Indonesian Air Force with a better understanding of the extra capability that the C-17s bring to the Australian Defence Force.
“The C-17A can transport up to 70 tonnes of cargo over long distances and at high speeds, which is an important factor to consider when responding to humanitarian aid efforts” Air Commodore Oddie said.
Capable of holding four times the volume of that carried by the C-130 Hercules, the C-17A can transport loads such as three Black Hawk helicopters or a mobile field hospital.
Australia and Indonesia conduct several combined Air Force exercises. Exercise Rajawali Ausindo, a cooperative airlift exercise between Hercules aircraft of the RAAF’s No. 37 Squadron and TNI-AU, is scheduled to be held at Halim Air Force Base in July.
May 13, 2009, Khabarovsk -- ndia is all set to get its first new generation Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine by the year end, which would bolster the Navy's undersea capability manifold.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered the delivery of the submarine to the Indian Navy and has sanctioned USD 300 million for successful completion of the project.
Russia was to deliver the Akula-II class submarine to the Indian Navy on a 10-year lease in June. But the project suffered delay as in the course of sea trials the submarine, earmarked for India, met with an accident on November eight last year killing 20 sailors and injuring 17 others.
But the shipyard has repaired the damage caused by the mishap during sea trials.
"The repairs are complete and the vessel is technically ready for the resumption of sea trials," an official of the Amur Shipyard was quoted as saying by Interfax.
Putin visited the shipyard on Monday and Presidential Envoy Viktor Ishayev latyer told that during the visit "Putin had discussed in detail the Indian submarine project and ordered new trials be completed speedy and the vessel delivered to Indian Navy by the end of this year."
The envoy said Putin has decided to re-instate state control on the strategic shipyard situated in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Khabarovsk region bordering China.
"The Prime Minister will sign the orders within a week to release 1.1 billion roubles (USD 300 million) to foot the bill for the repair of the submarine and complete pre-delivery trials," Ishayev disclosed.
The delivery of the submarine is vital to the Indian Navy, which does not have a nuclear undersea vessel for over 25 years.
India earlier had leased a Russian nuclear submarine in the late 80s. New Delhi's own indigenous nuclear submarine is progressing well. The submarine is to be ready for sea trials by August this year.
But officials said it may take some more time.
The lease agreement for Akula-II class submarine has not been made public. But reports say that the submarine may come as a part of package along with aircraft carrier Gorshkov.
It is also not clear whether India has bid for lease of two submarines or a single one. Indian Navy is in dire need of a nuclear submarine which has an enhanced range and longer submerged capabilities as China has already produced fourth generation nuclear submarines.