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PROTON M SUCCESSFULLY CARRIES RUSSIAN MILITARY PAYLOAD INTO ORBIT
Friday, April 20, 2018
Click image for a larger picture

A Proton launch vehicle lifting off

Source: ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016


A Proton launch vehicle lifting off

Source: ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016


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BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan - A Proton M booster with a Breeze M upper stage that was launched on April 19, 2018, at 1:12 am Moscow time (April 18, 2018 10:12 p.m. UTC; 6:12 p.m. EDT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome has successfully delivered a Russian military payload into orbit.

This was the first launch in 2018 and the 417th launch overall of the Proton launch vehicle (including all its modifications starting in 1965).

The Proton was carrying the second in a new series of Blagovest satellites for the Russian military. Blagovest satellites provide communications to Russian armed forces as well as commercial users. It follows the first satellite, which launched in August 2017, also aboard a Proton.

After dominating the commercial launch market for years - along with the Ariane 5 - a confluence of factors has contributed to declining sales of Proton launches. A series of launch failures and changing launch market dynamics have reduced the Proton's appeal to commercial launch operators.

Still, ILS and Khrunichev have not given up on the venerable Proton. ILS and Khrunichev have conducted extensive quality control improvements to the Proton supply chain. ILS will lower the price of Proton launches and offer flexible launch dates. The two companies also plan to introduce upgrades to the Proton line, including a new smaller variant called the Proton Medium and a larger payload fairing for the Proton M.

These changes will allow ILS to compete against new launch vehicles like the Falcon 9 at lower price points to carry smaller satellites. It will also improve competitiveness in the commercial market, enabling Proton production to continue, even without Russian government launches. With these changes to pricing and lineup, Forecast International expects Proton production to continue until the early 2030s.

Source:  ILS
Associated URL: http://www.ilslaunch.com/node/4892
Source Date: April 20, 2018
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 04/20/2018

 
 
TRUMAN STRIKE GROUP ENTERS EUROPEAN THEATER
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
NAPLES, Italy -- The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) entered the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations April 18, 2018, as part of a routine deployment in support of NATO allies, European and African partner nations, coalition partners, and U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.

The presence of the HSTCSG demonstrates the multi-mission capability of the U.S. Navy's globally deployed force and is part of an ongoing rotation of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

Quote:

"We are thrilled to have the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group here in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations and look forward to having them on our team as we conduct the full spectrum of maritime operations to include working alongside our NATO allies and regional partners. Our U.S. 6th fleet motto is "Power for Peace," and there is no more recognizable symbol of American naval power than a carrier strike group. Their presence in this vital region is a reflection of our commitment to a safe, prosperous and free Europe and Africa."

-- Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet

Quick Facts:

-- The HSTCSG consists of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75); Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60); Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), along with the embarked staffs of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28. Embarked aviation squadrons include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11; VFA-81; VFA-136; VFA-211; Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137; Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126; Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 11; and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40. The Sachsen-class German frigate FGS Hessen (F 221) is also operating as part of the strike group during the initial portion of the deployment. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) and USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) are slated to deploy and rejoin the strike group at a later date.

-- The HSTCSG departed Naval Station Norfolk, April 11, for a regularly scheduled deployment.

-- The HSTCSG previously operated in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations from June to July 2016.

-- The most recent aircraft carrier strike group to operate in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations was the USS George H.W. Bush CSG, which conducted combat operations from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea from Jan. 28 to March 9, 2017, and again from July 5-19, 2017.

-- U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

Source:  US Navy
Associated URL: navy.mil
Source Date: April 18, 2018
Posted: 04/20/2018

 
 
RAF'S LEGENDARY DAMBUSTERS SQUADRON REFORMS TO FLY F-35 JETS
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Click image for a larger picture

Dambusters Squadron Reforms to fly F-35s

Source: RAF


Dambusters Squadron Reforms to fly F-35s

Source: RAF


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LONDON -- The squadron immortalized by the Dambusters raid of World War II has been reformed to fly the UK’s new F-35 fighter jets, the UK Defence Secretary has announced.

Gavin Williamson announced the new 617 Squadron after an event in Washington DC to mark the centenary of the RAF, which was attended by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier.

The naming of the new 617 Squadron follows the 75th anniversary of the original formation of the squadron, commonly referred to as the "Dambusters.".

Originally set up for the highly-specialized mission to knock out dams and disrupt industrial production in the Ruhr Valley of Germany, the new 617 Squadron will be the first to fly the UK’s brand new, state-of-the-art F-35 fighter jets - the most advanced and dynamic fighter aircraft in the RAF’s 100-year history.

"The 617 Squadron name was made famous by ‘The Dambusters’, who played such a vital role in the Second World War," said Williamson. "So it is fitting that by flying the world’s most advanced fighter jets, our new squadron will be ensuring that the legend of world-leading air power lives on. The F-35B Lightning will defend our nation and ensure that Britain remains a pioneer in innovation, with a unique ability to adapt to this increasingly dangerous world."

The UK is currently flying the F-35B Lightning, a multi-role fighter jet capable of a wide range of operations. It is the world’s first jet to combine radar-evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and short take-off and landing capability.

Source:  RAF
Associated URL: raf.mod.uk
Source Date: April 18, 2018
Posted: 04/19/2018

 

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