According information recently released by ADIT-The Bulletin aerospace and defence newsletter, the Mozambique Air Force took re-delivery of eight MiG-21 Fishbed fighters that were upgraded by Aerostar of Romania. The modernization included the installation of GPS-based navigation system and digital flight data recorder.

Aerostar earlier performed the modernization of MiG-21 Fishbed of the Romania Air Force with support of Elbit Systems to MiG-21 LancER. The fleet will be replaced by 2016 with twelve F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon sourced from Portugal and the United States.

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The combat frigate F231 HMS ”Argyll” of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy (RN) is due to visit the French oversea territory of the Antilles. As part of a six month deployment to the Caribbean and North Atlantic the ship will make a port-call visit to Fort-de-France July 29 to August 1.

The ship is one on the 11 Type 23 frigates of Duke Class. She is based in Plymouth.

On July, the surveillance frigate F733 FS ”Ventôse” will depart from Fort-de-France to conduct a Corymbe type naval mission over the Gulf of Guinea. The surface vessel will have onboard an aviation detachment that includes one Alouette III helicopter.

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The Portuguese Army is now armed with 166 Pandur II wheeled armoured vehicles that were purchased by the country´s procurement arm, the DGAIED (Direção-Geral de Armamento e Infra-Estruturas de Defesa) in February 2005 to General Dynamics European Land Systems-Steyr (GDELS-Steyr and formerly Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug GmbH). The original contract worth EUR 344.3 million was for 240 vehicles to arm the Intervention Brigade (BrigInt) and 20 amphibious configured VBLA (Viatura Blindada Ligeiras Anfibia) vehicles for the navy´s Marine Corps (Corpo de Fuzileiros). The contract was canceled in late 2012 after 166 vehicles were delivered, officially due to delays with the last deliveries. A large amount of spares was purchased in February 2005 worth EUR20.7 million with annual deliveries until 2019. With the Portuguese Army, the Pandur II is also known as VBR (Viatura Blindada de Rodas).

The 166 vehicles are used mainly by the brigade’s Command in Coimbra, two Infantry Battalions based in Vila Real and Viseu, sub-units of the Cavalry Regiment of Braga and the Maintenance Regiment located in Entroncamento.

Variants such as anti-tank, engineering, communications, mortar carrier vehicles were not delivered to the army. 105 personnel carriers, seven personnel carriers with remote weapon station, 22 infantry fighting vehicles, 16 command posts, seven ambulances, five repair/recovery vehicles and four battlefield surveillance vehicles were so far inducted. The navy received none of the 20 vehicles in versions (troop transport, infantry fighting vehicle, mortar carrier and command post).

The option to purchase another 33 vehicles armed with a 105 mm mobile gun system (HITFACT 105 of OTO Melara and Cockerill CT-CV 105HP of CMI Defence) for the army was canceled.

Most of the fleet was assembled in Portugal by Fabrequipa-Sociedade Industrial de Equipamentos Rodoviário. Reworks were recently executed by GDELS on 90 vehicles at the army´s maintenance workshop OGME (Oficinas Gerais de Material de Engenharia). OGME is now capable to conduct Level III maintenance work. Level I and Level II maintenance work is executed by the Maintenance Regiment (Regimento de Manutenção or RMan).

Six Pandur II vehicles comprising five personnel carriers and one repair/maintenance vehicle current arm the Portuguese military contingent serving in Kosovo as part of KFOR multinational peace support operation.

Standard equipment include Cummins ISLe turbocharged and intercooled diesel engine with 455 hp, ZF Friedrichshafen 6HP 602C automatic transmission with a two-stage transfer box, Elbit Systems – Kinetics LSS (Life Support System) combined climate control and NBC protection system, thermal identification beacon, smoke dischargers, Elbit Systems Land & C4I TDS (Threat Detection System) laser warning system, add-on for increased ballistic protection, wire cutter, GPS for navigation, EID’s ICC-201 digital intercom and PRC-525 software-defined tactical radio, Theon Sensors NX-199A night vision driver’s viewer, M27+ day periscopes, central tyre inflation system, combat identification panels (four in each vehicle), Bruker Raid XP chemical and radiological detection system, fire-suppression system in the engine compartment, and an explosion-suppression system in the crew compartment.

The vehicle offer ballistic protection up to Level 4, together with Level 3A mine protection. It has a combat weight of 18.5 tons, autonomy of approximately 600 km and top speed of 105 km/h.

An “in house´´ solution was developed to allow the integration of MBDA MILAN missile launcher on Pandur II personnel carriers. Several systems were already manufactured.

A firing session is expected to be conducted by late 2014 at the main military camp of the army. Another item was developed to allow the mounting of battlefield surveillance radar system (probably the army’s AN/PPS-5B system). The Portuguese Army has earlier received MILAN Standard firing units, MILAN 1/2 anti-tank missiles and MIRA and MILIS thermal imagers, plus other support equipment.

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General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada has been awarded a contract by the Peruvian Ministry of Defence to supply the country’s marines with LAV II amphibious wheeled armoured.

The contract worth USD$67 million comprise the delivery by mid-2015 of 32 8×8 personnel carriers and a complete logistics support package.

It is not clear if the fleet will be outfitted out with any armament such as remote or protected manned weapon station, or protected manned turret.

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Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has rolled out the first two F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft intended for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

The fighters, known as AU-1 and AU-2, are scheduled to undergo functional fuel system checks before being transported to the flight line for ground and flight tests in the coming months. The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to the RAAF later this year, and will be based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where they will be used for Australian and partner country pilot training.

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The French procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) on 25 July took delivery of the third A400M Atlas military transport aircraft. The event was held at the factory of Airbus Defence and Space in Seville, Spain.

The aircraft with serial number MSN10 was then delivered by the DGA to the French Air Force (Armée de l´Air) and the MEST (Multinational Entry into Service Team) A400M Atlas.

MEST A400M Atlas belongs to France´s Centre d’Expériences Aériennes Militaires (CEAM).

The French A400M Atlas fleet is operated from the air base No 123 of Orléans-Bricy. France has ordered a total of 50 aircraft. The air base No. 123 of Orléans-Bricy also accommodates a dedicated training center for A400M Atlas aircraft with simulators by Thales and other training systems by Rheinmetall Defence. The air base No. 123 is also receiving several improvements due to the arrival of the new air asset for the French Air Force.

MSN10 is the fourth A400M Atlas airlifter delivered by Airbus Defence and Space. Initial two aircraft were delivered to France in 2013, and third was delivered to Turkey in April 2014. 170 A400M Atlas aircraft have has been so far ordered by France, Turkey, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg. Malaysia has purchased four aircraft with first unit scheduled for delivery in 2015.

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The Portuguese Air Force (Força Aérea Portuguesa or FAP) is currently hosting the Hot Blade 2014 multinational tactical helicopter exercise organized by the European Defence Agency.

The event is being executed from Portugal’s airfield No 1 in Ovar. 25 helicopters are conducting a wide range of mission in dusty, hot and mountainous environment July 16-30. The fleet comprise AW101 Merlin of Portugal, UH-1D Huey of Germany, three Puma HC2 of the United Kingdom, A109BA from Belgium, Austria´s AB 212 and Dutch CH-47D Chinook and CH-47F(NL) Chinook helicopters. Along the helicopters, each country provide operating and support personnel.

The FAP also provide F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon, C-295M and P-3C CUP+ Orion aircraft plus other assets including force protection personnel, command and control and support

The Portuguese Army delivers personnel of two of its combat brigades. The Portuguese navy support Hot Blade 2014 with a corvette, marines and combat divers.

The armies of Germany and the Netherlands provide troops and equipment of their air assault units, and respectively.

Forward air controllers of Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands are tasked to provide guidance to aircraft. Military personnel of NATO, Italy, Hungary, Sweden and Brazil are getting involved as observers.

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