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20 décembre 2013 5 20 /12 /décembre /2013 13:45
RAF evacuates Britons from South Sudan

A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft at RAF Brize Norton (library image) [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Neil Chapman, Crown copyright]


19 December 2013 Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence


RAF aircrew made a daring precision landing at an airfield in South Sudan to rescue British citizens fleeing turmoil in the African state.

The pilot of a giant C-17 Globemaster aircraft safely touched down earlier today (Thursday) despite a crashed civilian airliner obstructing the runway.

At just after 3am the 266 tonne transport took off from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) who are co-ordinating the evacuation of UK nationals and others.

However, after a 9-hour flight, covering nearly 3,500 miles, the aircrew faced an unexpected challenge when approaching the airport at the South Sudanese capital Juba.

Earlier, a civilian 737 airliner had slewed to a halt 2 thirds of the way down the runway after its nose wheel collapsed.

The crashed aircraft was in the process of being made safe by airport emergency services as the RAF C-17 made its approach.

A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft
A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft photographed during an international operation (library image) [Picture: Corporal Mark Webster, Crown copyright]

Officer Commanding 99 Squadron, Wing Commander Stuart Lindsell, said:

We practice short landings in training but getting down on a runway with a crashed aircraft taking up a large part of it would really concentrate the mind and is way outside what we would normally expect.

I think it’s fair to say that this C17 captain and his crew have had 1 of the toughest days anyone on this squadron has had since we were stood up 12 years ago.

It’s not just the aircrew but the RAF Regiment who provided protection on the ground, the movers who helped get the passengers on board, the medics and the engineers, all of them have all performed brilliantly and I’m extremely proud of them.

Wing Commander Lindsell, himself a C 17 pilot, said 99 Squadron were used to being on high alert but that the South Sudan mission had come at very short notice with the aircraft successfully completing its first flight within 24 hours of the order being issued.

A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft
A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft photographed at Evreux Airbase near Paris, France, before embarking French equipment and troops to deploy to Mali, Africa, earlier this year [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Dek Traylor, Crown copyright]

On board the RAF aircraft were medics, force protection and air movements personnel, and FCO officials whose job was to assist people wanting to leave the country.

The C-17 is designed to carry out high angle, steep approaches at relatively slow speeds, which allows it to operate into small airfields in austere conditions with short, narrow runways.

These capabilities, and its long range, make it ideal for humanitarian missions which it has proved in the past year delivering aid to Typhoon victims in the Philippines and transporting military equipment to Mali and the Central African Republic.

The aircraft picked up 182 passengers including Britons, Commonwealth and EU citizens, who were quickly loaded before the short onward flight to Entebbe in Uganda.

The RAF’s Chief of Staff for Operations, Air Vice-Marshal Sean Reynolds, said:

This again demonstrates the Royal Air Force’s ability to react swiftly and effectively to protect and assist British people worldwide.

Throughout 2013, wherever there has been an issue demanding a UK response, there has been an RAF aircraft.

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19 décembre 2013 4 19 /12 /décembre /2013 08:50
Babcock to begin HMS Bangor maintenance, upgrade


LONDON, Dec. 18 (UPI)


British engineering company Babcock says it is beginning a maintenance and upgrade program on the Royal Navy's HMS Bangor mine hunter.


HMS Bangor is a Sandown class vessel and work on it will be conducted at the company's Rosyth dockyard in Scotland.


"The work package for HMS Bangor's support period has been defined to reflect the ship's needs and minimize the level of emergent work, based on knowledge of the ship's material state and our experience of previous Sandown class refits, to optimize efficiency and value for money," said Babcock Warships Managing Director Mike Whalley. "We look forward to delivering Bangor on-time and in-budget."


Babcock said upgrades include enhancements to the ship's galley and laundry, installation of modernized communication systems, and an updated fire detection system.


The ship's existing diesel generators will be replaced environmentally friendlier and supportable machines, it said.


Maintenance work to be undertaken on the vessel will include a large package of paint coating and deck covering renewal, a full structural survey, habitability improvements, slow speed drive alignment checks, renewal of all propulsion unit blade seals, shaft line overhaul, essential underwater work, and complete overhaul of the ship's boat crane.


Upgrade and maintenance work is expected to take six months.

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18 décembre 2013 3 18 /12 /décembre /2013 18:45
Insight: Libya’s training honeypot


17 December 2013 by ADIT - The Bulletin - defenceWeb


.Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime and the foreign military intervention in the country, the need to rebuild security through a stable and capable army in Libya has become urgent. Indeed it is becoming vital to fill Libya’s security vacuum, and efficiently fight against the country's growing chaos, the militia violence, and al Qaida.


Many countries and private entities are interested in benefitting from the risky endeavour of training the Libyan armed forces, and expanding their influence within the resource rich country. Through different partnerships with different countries, Libya is starting to enhance its army capacity through training and mentoring arrangements on several fronts:

The European Union is focusing on training Border Guards and the Coast Guard under a border mission called Eubam (EU Border Assistance Mission). According to the mission’s blueprint, the EU objective is to take Border and Coast Guard "battalions" out of the field, train them in secure locations, and "redeploy" them into action. Eubam's 111 personnel will be unarmed (albeit heavily guarded by private contractors) and many of them will have civilian backgrounds in EU police and customs. But the EU document notes that Eubam should also recruit people with "military expertise" to "provide specialist skills."


After cancelling an October tender to secure Eubam training, the European Union (EU) launched one-on-one negotiations with bidders, including Argus Security Projects. To date, 40 Eubam personnel that are already present in Libya are protected by Argus, which also secures the European official representation office in Tripoli.


Italy, as Libya’s former colonial power, still remains a major interlocutor and donor in Libya, as far as energy and security issues are concerned. As reported by EUobserver and according to the Eubam paper, it seems that Italy set aside at least 250 million euros for Libya for 2012 and 2013, the vast majority of which is being spent on security projects, run by Italy's defence and interior ministries, including:

• Training 60 Libyan border guard officers in Vicenza, Italy

• Teaching 65 Libyan infantrymen at Italy's Army Infantry School in Cesano

• Training 280 Libyan military police in Tripoli

• Teaching another 150 civilian police in using anti-drug sniffer dogs and in forensic crime scene investigation.

Rome is also sending a naval boat to Libyan waters to stop "weapons smuggling," restoring seven Libyan naval vessels and donating 20 VBL Puma armoured vehicles. In addition, two Technical Agreements aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation between Rome and Tripoli were signed. One of these agreements concerns the employment of Italian remotely piloted aircraft to support Libyan authorities in border control activities in southern Libya. Moreover, as reported by Reuters, Libya is going to build a satellite surveillance system with Italian expertise to help secure its borders to stem the flow of Islamist militants and illegal immigrants. Another agreement on training Libyan personnel has also been signed, and will be implemented either in Libya or in Italy, in order to improve common security.


France has already agreed to train 1 000 Libyan police in counter-terrorism and plans to train another 1 500, Foreign minister Laurent Fabius said on the sidelines of a regional border security conference in the Moroccan capital Rabat, as reported Reuters. In addition, still according to EUObserver, France is currently training 75 bodyguards to protect Libyan VIPs, 30 Libyan airmen, 20 naval officers as well as 72 naval divers. These training sessions have been delivered partly by DCI AIRCO and NAVFCO since early 2013.


The United Kingdom is also very keen to enhance the Libyan Army’s capabilities. The Foreign Office acknowledges that the British Army is training 2 000 Libyan soldiers in basic infantry skills. Furthermore, according to an undisclosed source close to the security services, the British are currently conducting training Libyan intelligence agents in a secret location somewhere in Scotland.... Meanwhile, London has appointed a "Defence Assistance Team" within the Libyan Ministry of Defence, plus a "strategic adviser" to the Ministry of the Interior.


Germany is helping to prevent nuclear fuel in Libya's Tadjoura research centre from getting into the wrong hands. It is also spending 600 000 euros on "disposal of chemical weapons" and 800 000 euros on securing Libya's stocks of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.


The US and some of its allies in the region - including Jordan, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates - are also working on a big scale. According to EUobserver and Commentary Magazine, Washington is going to train between 5 000 and 8 000 Libyan soldiers and a separate, smaller unit for specialized counterterrorism missions - potentially in Bulgaria, as reported by The Complex. The US has already launched a $20 million programme on "justice sector reform, arms control and land border security," which involves "contracted personnel" from private security firms in Libya and US personnel in "neighbouring countries," such as Morocco.


A group of 220 Libyan soldiers recently flew to Turkey to start three and half months of military training. The soldiers are the first group of a total of 3 000 troops who will be trained at the Egirdir Commando School, as part of an agreement between the two countries.


Denmark, Greece, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain are also about to implement military training or assistance projects, although on a smaller scale. According to a recent statement from Libya's oil ministry, the country is currently producing just 700 000 barrels a day, but could quickly get back to pre-war levels of 1.4 million barrels if things go well.


EU and US oil contracts aside, Libya may soon have a lot of money to spend on security equipment, public infrastructure and military hardware. It is therefore urgent to provide a stable environment necessary to achieve this kind of bright future… The bees are therefore flying around the Honey pot…

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18 décembre 2013 3 18 /12 /décembre /2013 13:50
Unmanned aerial systems on show

A soldier with a Desert Hawk unmanned aerial system (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Brian Gamble, Crown copyright]


18 December 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support


The Ministry of Defence has, for the first time, opened the doors to its unmanned aerial systems (UAS) control centre, based in the UK.


Pictures and footage released today, Wednesday 18 December, show the high-tech operations room at RAF Waddington, where members of 13 Squadron remotely operate the RAF’s Reaper aircraft in Afghanistan.

Reaper is just one of a range of UAS, including remotely-piloted air systems, operated by UK armed forces, providing vital, lifesaving intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance on operations.

Showing this work is a key way to dispel some common myths about the role of the equipment, which UK forces use predominantly in Afghanistan.

During a visit to RAF Waddington, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond viewed the full range of current and future equipment, including:

  • Desert Hawk (Army)

  • Black Hornet Nano (Army)

  • Tarantula Hawk (Army)

  • Watchkeeper (Army)

  • ScanEagle (Royal Navy)

Philip Hammond speaks with Royal Navy Commander Bow Wheaton
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond speaks with Royal Navy Commander Bow Wheaton at RAF Waddington [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Blake Carruthers, Crown copyright]

Mr Hammond also spoke to a Royal Artillery fire support team commander recently returned from Afghanistan who spoke of the benefits the ‘eyes in the sky’ can provide for troops on the ground.

Mr Hammond said:

Vital to our efforts to protect our forces and the people of Afghanistan, this battle-winning technology allows us to understand the situation on the ground more clearly, develop better intelligence, and precisely strike, within our rules of engagement, those who threaten or hurt the people we are protecting.

Much of the criticism of unmanned aerial systems is based on misunderstanding. This event provides a great opportunity to better inform people about these lifesaving assets and their variety of purposes.

Speaking at the event, Air Vice-Marshal Philip Osborn, Joint Forces Command Capability Director, praised unmanned aerial systems’ ability to provide ‘persistent surveillance of enemy positions without putting our servicemen and women at unnecessary risk’. He said:

In today’s operational environment, unmanned and remotely-piloted air systems are increasingly vital to keep one step ahead of the enemy, and to save military and civilian lives.

Highly trained and experienced personnel are at the heart of the capability, and human oversight and control is always paramount. This is a capability just like every other across defence; it has skilled and motivated people at its core, people who are in charge of technology and use it in strict accordance with the law.

Viewing the inside of a Reaper control cabin, the Defence Secretary was able to see how it is guided and controlled at all times by a team of highly trained and skilled people. Pilots, sensor operators and analysts all make decisions in real-time, exactly like the crew of a traditional aircraft.

In over 54,000 hours of operations, the UK’s Reaper, the only armed system used by British armed forces, has fired just 459 precision weapons.

When a precision strike capability is required from RAF Reaper aircraft by ground commanders this is always in accordance with international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict, and is governed by strict rules of engagement; exactly the same as manned aircraft.

UK military unmanned aerial systems
Reaper remotely-piloted air system
An RAF Reaper remotely-piloted air system at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Corporal Mark Webster, Crown copyright]
Black Hornet
Black Hornet, a nano unmanned aerial system operated by the British Army (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Rupert Frere, Crown copyright]
ScanEagle is an unmanned aerial system operated by the Royal Navy (library image) [Picture: Copyright Boeing Defence UK]
Hermes 450
A Hermes 450, operated by the British Army, at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Copyright Thales UK]
Desert Hawk
A soldier launches a Desert Hawk unmanned aerial system during an exercise in Kenya (library image) [Picture: Corporal Ross Fernie, Crown copyright]
T-Hawk (Tarantula Hawk), a micro unmanned aerial system operated by the British Army (library image) [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]
A British Army Watchkeeper unmanned aerial system during trials in the UK (library image) [Picture: Peter Russell, Crown copyright]
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17 décembre 2013 2 17 /12 /décembre /2013 21:50
New Typhoon squadron announced

An RAF Typhoon jet accelerates and climbs rapidly during a training sortie (library image) [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Andrew Seaward, Crown copyright]


13 December 2013 Ministry of Defence


One of the oldest squadrons in the Royal Air Force is to be re-equipped with the latest Typhoon jets.


The move is part of a transformation of the RAF’s combat air capability which will see battle-proven Tornado GR4 aircraft replaced by advanced Typhoon and F-35B Lightning II fighters.

Number 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, based at RAF Marham, celebrated 100 years of service in 2012 and its personnel are currently training for their next tour of duty early next year flying Tornado jets in Afghanistan.

After that, the unit will begin the process of swapping its Tornados for Eurofighter Typhoons and transfer to its new base at RAF Lossiemouth.

The move was announced by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Mark Francois, who said the change was part of the planned realignment of the RAF’s long-serving Tornado Force, under which all GR4s will leave the service by 2019.

Tornado during operations in southern Afghanistan
An RAF Number 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron Tornado during operations in southern Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Corporal Neil Bryden RAF, Crown copyright]

Mr Francois said:

Number 2 (AC) Squadron has the distinction of being one of the oldest fixed-wing flying squadrons in the world, having formed in 1912.

Since being equipped with Tornado aircraft in 1989 it has served with distinction on operations in Libya, the Balkans and Iraq and will complete its final tour of duty in Afghanistan in early 2014.

I can announce that it will formally disband as a Tornado squadron on 31 March 2015 and will re-equip to form a new front line Typhoon squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth the next day on 1 April 2015.

I am sure that Number 2 (AC) Squadron’s valuable contribution to operations throughout its long and distinguished history will continue as it helps maintain the strong traditions of RAF Lossiemouth as a main operating base for the RAF into the future.

The newly-reformed Number 2 (AC) Squadron will be the fifth front line RAF Typhoon squadron.

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17 décembre 2013 2 17 /12 /décembre /2013 17:50
New investment in Successor submarines

A computer-generated image of a Successor Class submarine [Picture: BAE Systems]


16 December 2013 Ministry of Defence


The Defence Secretary has announced £79 million of investment in the next generation of Royal Navy submarines.



The Successor submarines, which will carry the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent, will be the largest and most advanced boats operated by the Navy, and their design and construction will be the most technologically complex in the history of the UK.

Two contracts worth £47 million and £32 million have been awarded to BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines who are leading on the design of the vessels.

The investment will allow BAE Systems, who currently have more than a thousand people working on the Successor programme, to begin work on some initial items for the submarines that are due to replace the Vanguard Class from 2028. It is essential these items, which include structural fittings, electrical equipment, castings and forgings are ordered now to ensure the submarines are able to meet their in-service date.

MOD has also released a picture today which shows for the first time how the early designs of Successor are taking shape. The image forms part of an update on the Successor programme that has been presented to Parliament.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

This £79 million investment is another important milestone in our preparations to build these world-leading submarines. The current Vanguard Class of deterrent submarines perform a vital role in the defence of the UK and the replacement for this capability is of national importance.

The Successor programme is supporting around 2,000 jobs, and up to 850 British businesses could benefit from the supply chain as we exploit the most modern technologies and employ a significant portion of the UK’s engineers, project managers and technicians over the coming years.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas said:

The Royal Navy has been operating continuous at-sea deterrent patrols for more than 40 years and the Successor submarines will allow us to do so with cutting-edge equipment well into the future.

The submarines are being designed to be some of the stealthiest in the world and are expected to see operational service from the late 2020s right up to the 2060s.

The Successor design and build programme is amongst the most complex ever undertaken by British industry. The total number of MOD and industrial staff currently working on the Successor programme is around 2,000, with more than half working as engineers and designers.

Over 850 potential UK suppliers have so far been identified as benefiting from investment in the programme and as many as 6,000 people will be involved by the time that the construction reaches a peak

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13 décembre 2013 5 13 /12 /décembre /2013 12:50
photo BAE Systems

photo BAE Systems

source airforce-technology.com dec 2013

BAE Systems announced this week that Typhoon Tranche 3 has taken to the air for the first time. Over one hundred modifications have been made over its Tranche 2 predecessor. Here we take a ride in the cockpit for its first flight (Video: BAE Systems)

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13 décembre 2013 5 13 /12 /décembre /2013 11:45
Battlegroup pour le Centrafrique ? Quand Cathy a dit stop !

Les hélicoptères en RCA ne seront pas européens. Ici, un hélicoptère Puma en route vers le Centrafrique (Crédit : Ministère FR de la défense)


Déc 13, 2013 Nicolas Gros-Verheyde (BRUXELLES2)


Selon nos informations concordantes, la préparation du déploiement de la force de réaction rapide de l’Union européenne en Centrafrique a été stoppée net sur ordre… de la Haute représentante de l’UE, Catherine Ashton.


Suite de l’article

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13 décembre 2013 5 13 /12 /décembre /2013 08:45
RAF flies second wave of vehicles to French peacekeepers

A member of the RAF Police and a French serviceman stand guard whilst the C-17 is unloaded at Bangui Airport [Picture: Corporal Neil Bryden RAF, Crown copyright]


12 December 2013 Ministry of Defence and Foreign & Commonwealth Office


The RAF has delivered more French armoured vehicles to the Central African Republic in support of France's peacekeeping operation.


The troop-carrying vehicles were loaded into the hold of a C-17 transport aircraft yesterday morning at an air base near Marseilles.

The unique abilities of the C-17 Globemaster, flown by 99 Squadron out of RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, make it the ideal aircraft for this type of strategic airlift.

Five armoured vehicles have already been delivered by the RAF to the French, who entered the Central African Republic following a UN resolution.

They are there to support an African Union peacekeeping force which will be transported into the country from neighbouring Burundi by the US Air Force.

RAF flies second wave of vehicles to French peacekeepers
RAF movements staff and French troops unload military equipment from the C-17 on its arrival at Bangui Airport in the Central African Republic [Picture: Corporal Neil Bryden RAF, Crown copyright]

The captain of the C-17, Squadron Leader David Blakemore, said:

It’s great to work so closely with the French, especially on such an important peacekeeping mission as this.

The RAF’s contribution to the French peacekeeping effort is part of the Lancaster House security co-operation treaty signed by Britain and France in 2010.

This resulted in the RAF providing assistance during France’s campaign earlier this year against Islamic rebels in Mali.

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12 décembre 2013 4 12 /12 /décembre /2013 08:50
UK MoD Drops Acquisition Outsourcing, Plans New Agency

Dec 11, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Reuters; published Dec 10, 2013)


Britain Ditches Plan to Outsource Military Buying (edited excerpt)


Britain said on Tuesday it had abandoned plans to engage a private contractor to run a multi-billion dollar defence procurement programme plagued by spending overshoots, delays and technical problems.

Britain's Conservative-led government had earlier this year trumpeted a reform of the way it buys equipment for its armed forces to help rein in public spending.

The plan hit problems when one of two bidders for the contract pulled out on Nov. 19, leaving only a consortium led by U.S. engineering group Bechtel, and with PA Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers, in the competition.

"We do not have a competitive process. I have therefore concluded that the risks of proceeding with a single bidder are too great to be acceptable," Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said, confirming earlier reports of the cancellation.


"It's another embarrassing U-turn for the government," Labour defence spokesman Vernon Coaker told parliament. "His flagship policy on defence procurement has come crashing down around him." (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Reuters website.

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12 décembre 2013 4 12 /12 /décembre /2013 08:50
Britain taps Babcock for acquisition of Phalanx 1B kits


LONDON, Dec. 11 (UPI)


Babcock is to deliver four Phalanx 1B kit modifications and conduct two conversions of the land Phalanx Weapons System to its original marinized configuration.


The work comes under a contract to the U.K. company from Britain's Ministry of Defense. The value of the work, however, was not disclosed.


The Phalanx is a close-in, computer-controlled weapon system of 20mm Gatling guns to defend a ship against missile attack. The guns fire 4,500 rounds per minute.


The 1B configuration allows for its use against small surface vessels and for crew to visually identify and target threats. It also features forward looking infra-red camera technology to defend the ship against surface targets and slow air targets.


Raytheon is the manufacturer of the system, which is used on U.S. and Royal Navy ships. Babcock is the in-service support provider in Britain for the system.


Under the new award -- delivered under an amendment to the existing support and upgrade contract -- Babcock will obtain Phalanx 1B systems equipment from Raytheon and covert the two land-based Phalanx weapon systems using their own weapons support engineers.


The systems are due to be delivered by March 2014.


"We are delighted to be applying our expertise and working with Raytheon to help the MOD and Royal Navy build the Phalanx ... capability it needs," said Babcock Weapons Business Development Manager Martin Laity. "Babcock is already known for our weapon support work for the UK MOD and our expertise in the assembly, test and setting to work of naval weapon systems.

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11 décembre 2013 3 11 /12 /décembre /2013 17:50
Raytheon, Chemring Group complete 1st live-fire test of CENTURION launcher


Dec 10, 2013 ASDNews Source : Raytheon Corporation


    Collaborative system to protect ships against swarming-boat threat


Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), acting through its Missile Systems business, and Chemring Group (LSE: CHG), acting through Chemring Countermeasures, successfully fired a Javelin missile from the multirole CENTURION® launcher during testing at the Defence Training Estate on Salisbury Plain in England.


"We're bringing an entirely new dimension to ship self-defense by providing a sea-based, inside-the-horizon platform protection," said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Naval and Area Mission Defense product line. "Chemring's CENTURION launcher, when coupled with Raytheon's combat-proven missiles, offers an evolutionary capability to defeat surface threats with this One System-Multiple Missions technology."


Read more

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11 décembre 2013 3 11 /12 /décembre /2013 12:50
Premier vol du Typhoon Tranche 3



10 décembre Aerobuzz.fr


BAE annonce le premier vol de la dernière version de l’avion de combat européen Typhoon. Cet appareil, qui appartient à la Tranche 3 de production est pré équipé pour recevoir des réservoirs additionnels conformes au-dessus du fuselage et un radar à antenne active E-Captor dans le nez. Il sera également capable de mettre en œuvre les missiles Storm Shadow et météor. Le Typhoon Tranche 3 représente un jalon majeur dans le développement de cet avion prometteur.

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11 décembre 2013 3 11 /12 /décembre /2013 11:45
photo Cpl Bryden - RAF

photo Cpl Bryden - RAF

11 December 2013 Flt Lt Durrant - RAF



The RAF effort to carry French military equipment to the Central African Republic (CAR) is ramping up as tensions rise in the strife-torn country.


As troop-carrying vehicles were loaded into the hold of a C17 transport aircraft this morning at an airbase near Marseilles the French army had suffered its first fatalities at the hands of the impoverished state’s violent militias.

The mood was a sombre one among the French drivers as they edged their vehicles into the C17 ­at Istres – two of their colleagues, paratroopers, have recently been killed near Bangui airport, the C17’s destination.

The unique abilities of the C17 Globemaster, flown by 99 Squadron of RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, make it the ideal aircraft for this type of strategic airlift. Five armoured vehicles have already been delivered by the RAF to the French, who entered CAR following a UN resolution.

They are there to support an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force which will be transported into the country from neighbouring Burundi by the US Air Force.

The C17 captain, Squadron Leader David Blakemore, said: “It’s great to work so closely with the French, especially on such an important peacekeeping mission such as this.”

A small contingent of RAF Police and gunners from 63 Squadron of the RAF Regiment are also on the 3,500-mile flight to Bangui, CAR’s capital, from Brize Norton.

The RAF’s contribution to the French peacekeeping effort is part of the Lancaster House 2010 security co-operation treaty signed between the two nations. This resulted in RAF assistance during France’s campaign earlier this year against Islamic rebels in Mali.

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11 décembre 2013 3 11 /12 /décembre /2013 08:50
UK To Establish Government Organization To Handle Defense Procurement, Support


Dec. 10, 2013 – Defense News


LONDON — The British Ministry of Defence has scrapped controversial plans to hand management of its £14 billion (US $22.9 billion) a year defense procurement effort to the private sector, and instead is setting up what it calls a bespoke central government trading entity based on the present equipment and support organization to buy hardware and services.


Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told Parliament Dec. 10 that the government would set up the new organization starting in April with current Defence Equipment & Support (DS&E) boss Bernard Gray as the chief executive.


Hammond said the new organization would procure private sector expertise through a series of support contracts to deliver “key changes to systems and processes and to strengthen program management while organic capabilities are built.”


Questioned by ex-Defence Procurement Minister Peter Luff about the areas where external business partners might play a role in the revamped DE&S, Hammond said “what we envisage in the DE&S plus model is probably three separate contracts; one to provide us with program management support, a spine for the organization; one to provide us with HR support, an area of particular weakness in DE&S; and a task-and-finish project to install some additional financial control systems within the organization.”


An MoD spokesman said the new entity is an “arms length body working within specially agreed rules that are different to those used by the rest of the civil service.”


The new organization will be accountable to Parliament and have its own board and an independent chairman.


The Labour opposition party labeled Hammond’s statement an “embarrassing U-turn”.


The new organization is being exempted from normal Treasury rules so it can recruit and reward staff along more commercial lines than is currently allowed under civil service rules.


The MoD said it had only shelved its preferred proposals for a government-owned contractor-operated (GoCo) scheme, and that they could be revived following following the 2015 general election.


Despite recent improvements in performance, the British have been looking to radically change the way they procure and support the military here after years of lengthy delays and cost overruns to major equipment programs.


The procurement changes are part of wider transformation plans being pushed by the government, including handing over responsibility for budgets to the individual service chiefs.


The GoCo scheme, of which former businessman and journalist Gray was the architect, was the government’s preferred option to provide the skills and expertise missing at DS&E.


The decision to halt the GoCo work was taken after one of the two final bidders for the management contract withdrew in November, leaving only a Bechtel-led consortium called Materiel Acquisition Partners (MAP) in play alongside an in-house proposal known as DE&S Plus.


Hammond told Parliament that the withdrawal of the CHMHill2-led consortium meant the MoD did not have a competitive process and the “risks of proceeding with a single bidder are too great to be acceptable.


“I have, therefore, decided to build on the DE&S Plus proposition, transforming DE&S further within the public sector supported by the injection of additional private-sector resources ensuring that the organization becomes “match-fit” as the public sector comparator for a future market-testing of the GoCo proposition,” he said.


Hammond said Bechtel had already expressed an interest in bidding for the support contract work.


A spokesperson for Bechtel signaled the company’s ongoing interest in procurement transformation but said the MAP proposals for the GoCo would have saved the MoD billions of pounds to reinvest in new equipment .


“MAP submitted a comprehensive proposal to transform UK military procurement. We were confident this would have generated billions of pounds of savings for the Armed Forces to invest in new equipment. It is obviously disappointing that the other team’s withdrawal at this late stage has led to a collapse in the competition. However, we remain committed to exploring with MoD how best we can contribute to future reforms,” said the spokesperson.

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9 décembre 2013 1 09 /12 /décembre /2013 12:45
Sangaris: un C17 britannique contribue au renforcement logistique



Embarquement à Istres de matériels à destination de l'aéroport de M'Poko, en Centrafrique. Le 6 décembre, ce C17 britannique a acheminé principalement des véhicules blindés dans le cadre du renforcement logistique.

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9 décembre 2013 1 09 /12 /décembre /2013 11:45
UK support to international response in Central African Republic


6 December 2013 Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence


Foreign Secretary announces UK air transport assistance to France for Central African Republic.


On 5th December, with strong UK support, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2127 authorising the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to CAR (MISCA), and the deployment of French forces to give assistance. The Mission will contribute to the protection of civilians, the restoration of public order, and the stabilisation of CAR at a critical moment.


Foreign Secretary William Hague said:


    The UN Security Council made an important decision yesterday to authorise African Union and French troops to respond to the security and humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic.


    We are determined to play our part in helping to address the violence. We have therefore agreed with the Government of France that we will help move French equipment to CAR by means of a UK C-17 transport aircraft. Three separate flights will take place this month, with the first one due to land in CAR shortly.


    This comes on top of £10 million in UK aid announced on 30 November. Having already contributed £5 million in July, the United Kingdom is now one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to the people of CAR. We will continue to work alongside the International Red Cross and UN agencies to help thousands of people gain access to food, water, shelter, sanitation and healthcare to alleviate the desperate humanitarian suffering.


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7 décembre 2013 6 07 /12 /décembre /2013 12:50
Independent report praises [UK] MOD reform


5 December 2013 Ministry of Defence


Significant progress has been made to transform MOD into a more professional and responsible organisation, an independent report has said.

In a follow-up to his major independent review of MOD 2 years ago, Lord Levene has praised the department for embracing complex and radical change to improve both efficiency and financial management.

Lord Levene’s 2011 Defence Reform report made 53 recommendations on how to transform MOD into a leaner and more effective organisation that could better support the needs of the Armed Forces.

Since then, he has monitored the changes that have been made and, in his second stocktake, has praised the successful reforms that have taken place right across the department.

Lord Levene describes the elimination of the £38 billion budget deficit as a remarkable achievement and says there is now clear evidence that MOD is more business-like and finance-focused.

His report welcomes the imaginative ways in which the department has increased accountability and reduced bureaucracy by delegating responsibility to the heads of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

The report acknowledges that better leadership, direction and prioritisation have led to a more strategic approach in MOD.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

We have rightly focused our efforts on reshaping our Armed Forces to meet future threats and delivering better value for money for taxpayers. Lord Levene’s report is a welcome endorsement of the progress we have made in reforming Defence.

We are streamlining MOD, with a reduction of 33,000 civilian posts in total, to make it leaner and more strategic, better able to support the Armed Forces of the future.

Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, said:

Defence Reform has required some innovative changes to the structure and management of Defence. But the results of these changes will lead to a more agile force structure with capabilities better suited to the security challenges of the age.

The advent of Joint Forces Command and the greater delegation of authority to the 3 single services is fundamental to this change.

Jonathan Slater, Director General Transformation, said:

I am encouraged that Lord Levene recognises a real change of mindset within the department. We remain committed to continuing with this programme of reform to achieve real and sustained behavioural change.

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6 décembre 2013 5 06 /12 /décembre /2013 12:56
Mirage 2000D au décollage en Corse

Mirage 2000D au décollage en Corse


06/12/2013 Armée de l'air


Perché à 730 mètres d’altitude, dans le canton de Zicavo, en Corse du sud, le village de Cozzano (Cuzzà en langue corse) est l’un des terrains d’entraînement mis en place pour l’exercice Serpentex 2013.


Bénéficiant d’une vue imprenable sur une vallée en contrebas, une équipe de contrôleurs «air» avancés (Forward Air Controller - FAC) composée de Britanniques, de Canadiens et de Français guide un Mirage 2000D pour un show of force (démonstration de puissance).


Chaque jour, plusieurs vagues d’aéronefs effectuent des missions d’appui aérien au-dessus du ciel corse. Par le biais de scénarios de plus en plus complexes, les FAC s’entraînent aux procédures avec des F18 canadiens, ainsi que des Rafale et des Mirage 2000D français. Les avions de chasse vont même jusqu’à délivrer leur armement sur le champ de tir de Diane, alternant largages de bombes et passes canon, sous le guidage de FAC situés à proximité.


Ligne d'avions sur la base aérienne 126 de Solenzara

Ligne d'avions sur la base aérienne 126 de Solenzara

Rafale sur la base aérienne 126 de Solenzara

Rafale sur la base aérienne 126 de Solenzara


«C’est très enrichissant pour nous de pouvoir bénéficier de l’expérience et du savoir-faire de la France dans le domaine de l’appui aérien, explique le capitaine Alan Lockerby, FAC Supervisor (superviseur) de l’armée de l’air canadienne. Serpentex est une occasion formidable pour s’entraîner avec des nations que nous côtoyons lors des déploiements en opération.»


Organisé du 25 novembre au 13 décembre 2013, sur la base aérienne 126 de Ventiseri-Solenzara (Corse), Serpentex met en œuvre de nombreux moyens pour entraîner les troupes aux procédures CAS (Close Air Support – appui aérien rapproché) avant le déploiement sur les théâtres d’opérations extérieurs. Il a été initialement créé pour répondre aux besoins des troupes avant leur départ en Afghanistan. Aujourd’hui, l’exercice évolue et prend en compte les récentes opérations comme la Libye et le Mali.


Contrôleurs "air" avancés britannique et américains

Contrôleurs "air" avancés britannique et américains

Équipement d'un contrôleur "air" avancé

Équipement d'un contrôleur "air" avancé

De nouveaux modes d’action sont mis en place cette année. Ainsi, les procédures DACAS (Digital Added CAS - CAS assisté par l’emploi d’outils numériques) sont employés, éprouvés et testés dans un environnement dense. De même, des missions de type SCAR (Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance – coordination de frappe et reconnaissance) sont programmées dans certains scénarios concoctés par les animateurs de l’exercice. Le SCAR est une mission qui allie la recherche et le traitement d’objectifs dans une zone délimitée, sans le guidage de FAC. Le travail avec des moyens ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) comme le drone Reaper italien et l’avion CP-140 canadien ont également permis des scénarios plus conformes à la réalité opérationnelle.


 Serpentex 2013 a pris une belle envergure avec plus de 700 militaires provenant de neuf nations différentes, notamment du Canada. Fort de 200 personnes, le contingent canadien participe pour la première fois à cet exercice d’ampleur.


F18 canadien au décollage depuis la base aérienne de Solenzara

F18 canadien au décollage depuis la base aérienne de Solenzara

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6 décembre 2013 5 06 /12 /décembre /2013 12:50
Defence Reform: report into the structure and management of the Ministry of Defence



5 December 2013 Ministry of Defence


Defence Reform report by Lord Levene published in June 2011 and annual reviews of the progress MOD has made on implementing his recommendations.



In 2010 the Secretary of State for Defence asked Lord Levene of Portsoken, a former Chief of Defence Procurement, to independently review defence. Lord Levene published his Defence Reform report in June 2011, setting out 53 recommendations.

Lord Levene recommended that each year for 3 years following the publication of his report he produce an independent review of the progress that MOD had made on implementing his recommendations. His first annual review was published in 2012 and his second review in 2013.

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6 décembre 2013 5 06 /12 /décembre /2013 12:50
Royal Eagles



12/4/2013 Strategy Page


Two F-15C Eagles, deployed from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, perform a mock aerial interception on a KC-135 Stratotanker, deployed from RAF Mildenhall, England, while flying over Iceland Nov. 21, 2013. The 48th Air Expeditionary Group has been maintaining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization air surveillance and policing mission in Iceland since Oct. 28, 2013

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6 décembre 2013 5 06 /12 /décembre /2013 12:50
E-3D Sentry de la RAF ravitaillé en vol par un VC10 photo RAF

E-3D Sentry de la RAF ravitaillé en vol par un VC10 photo RAF


5 décembre 2013 par Pierre Sparaco – Aerobuzz.fr


Les deux derniers VC10 encore en état de vol viennent d’être retirés du service par la Royal Air Force. Le quadriréacteur anglais a enchainé deux carrières, la première civile sous les couleurs de BOAC, la seconde beaucoup plus longue sous les cocardes de la RAF. Le VC10 a permis aux Européens de conserver une présence symbolique dans le secteur prestigieux du long-courrier tout au long des années soixante, en attendant la création d’Airbus Industrie en 1970.


Les deux derniers VC10 ravitailleurs en vol ont été déclassés et définitivement mis au sol par la Royal Air Force. Conçu par Armstrong-Whitworth et né Vickers (de lointains prédécesseurs de la British Aircraft Corporation et de BAE Systems), le VC10 avait été retenu dès mai 1957 par la BOAC, British Overseas Airways Corporation, plus tard englobée dans British Airways.

Ensuite, la Royal Air Force l’a utilisé comme transporteur de troupes puis ravitailleur en vol, avant de le mettre à la retraite ces jours-ci. C’est un appareil qui aura ainsi été très présent dans plus d’un demi-siècle d’histoire des ailes britanniques, civiles puis militaires, mais produit à moins d’une centaine d’exemplaires. Il n’en a pas moins joué un rôle important en matière d’aviation civile.

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La ligne élégante du quadriréacteur VC10 de Vickers photo RAF

On l’a oublié, en effet, mais dans les années cinquante, les constructeurs américains jouissaient d’un confortable monopole sur le marché mondial des long-courriers, URSS mise à part. Boeing, Convair, Douglas, Lockheed, après avoir bénéficié de l’effort de guerre américain, avaient proposé des avions commerciaux performants en face desquels les Européens n’alignaient que des court/moyen-courriers comme la Caravelle et le Viscount. Aussi l’initiative d’Armstrong-Whitworth de développer un quadriréacteur à 150 places capable de franchir sans escale les étapes les plus longues fut-elle saluée comme un événement majeur, d’une grande audace.

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Le Vickers VC10 a débuté sa carrière comme long courrier sous les couleurs de la compagnie britannique BOAC photo British Airways

Plus tard, chacun comprit que l’avionneur d’outre-Manche avait agi trop lentement : Boeing 707 et Douglas DC-8 bénéficiaient déjà des faveurs des grandes compagnies aériennes quand le VC10 fit son apparition. Il fut bien accueilli par les voyageurs au long cours, ses quatre Rolls-Royce Conway placés tout à l’arrière du fuselage assurant un confort inégalé dans la cabine, le niveau sonore étant exceptionnellement bas. Mais les coûts d’exploitation furent jugés trop élevés par les dirigeants de BOAC, lesquels n’eurent de cesse d’acheter, eux aussi, des 707. Du coup, le VC10 dut se contenter d’une petite carrière, sur fond de polémique politique centrée sur les aides financières étatiques indispensables à la survie du programme.

Une version à 172 places n’en fut pas moins étudiée puis un dérivé à 265 places, doté d’un étonnant fuselage bilobé, témoignant de l’esprit d’innovation qui animait le bureau d’études de Vickers. Mais, finalement, c’est la Royal Air Force qui assura la survie du programme, par de parcimonieuses commandes ou encore la militarisation d’appareils acquis sur le marché de seconde main. Ainsi naquit le VC10 C1K, silhouette familière de la célèbre base de Brize Norton.

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Le Vickers VC10 a fait une longue carrière de ravitailleur en vol au sein de la Royal Air Force photo RAF

Le VC10 a permis aux Européens de conserver une présence symbolique dans le secteur prestigieux du long-courrier et a ainsi sauvé l’honneur du Vieux Continent tout au long des années soixante, en attendant la création d’Airbus Industrie en 1970 et, quinze ans plus tard, l’apparition de l’A340. Entre autres titres de gloire, le VC10 fut le plus rapide de tous les quadriréacteurs (Concorde mis à part, bien entendu), ce qui lui vaut, encore aujourd’hui, de détenir le record de vitesse pour avions commerciaux, subsoniques, sur Londres-New York.

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6 décembre 2013 5 06 /12 /décembre /2013 08:50
Morgan, Ricardo and Ultra form partnership for UK's Mastiff vehicle contract


12/05/2013 Defence IQ Press


Morgan Advanced Materials, Ricardo and Ultra Electronics have formed an exclusive partnership to bid for the continued support and upgrade of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Mastiff, Ridgback and Wolfhound fleet of Protected Patrol Vehicles.


Morgan Advanced Materials’ Composites and Defence Systems business (formerly NP Aerospace) is the acting as the prime contractor in the contract. It has designed, developed and integrated UK-specific, specialised armour protection and electronic systems into the entire Mastiff family of vehicles from base platforms purchased from the US. Morgan also implemented and operated the spares support processes, including configuration management, stocking and supply chain management, which kept the fleets running during combat operations.


Ricardo is an automotive engineering specialist and was responsible for the initial design, development and engineering of the Foxhound vehicles, manufacturing all 376 units ordered to date. Ricardo was prime contractor on the Vixen and RWMIK+ upgrade programmes and has also undertaken a project for the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) to identify improvements to the fuel efficiency of Mastiff vehicles.


“Ricardo is extremely pleased to be joining forces with Morgan and Ultra in what represents a highly effective and all-British partnership, drawing together world-class engineering capabilities and extensive experience in military vehicle design, development, manufacture and overhaul,” said Ricardo UK managing director Martin Fausset.


Ultra Electronics has pioneered vehicle information and power systems and has worked on behalf of customers including the MoD, US Department of Defense and other Tier 1 suppliers into the defence sector. Ultra is currently under contract to provide multiple electronic systems for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme and Scout SV development. It is the only Tier 2 supplier involved in all aspects of Generic Vehicle Systems Architecture (GVSA), Generic Soldier Architecture (GSA) and Generic Base Architecture (GBA).


The MoD will shortly award contracts for Post Design Service, Coherence and future upgrade work. Morgan will lead the group and is bidding as prime contractor.

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6 décembre 2013 5 06 /12 /décembre /2013 08:45



05 décembre 2013 Romandie.com (AFP)


BRUXELLES - L'Union européenne examine le soutien, essentiellement financier, qu'elle prévoit d'apporter à l'intervention des troupes africaines et françaises en Centrafrique après le feu vert du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU, a-t-on appris jeudi de sources diplomatiques.


L'UE devrait saluer, dans une déclaration attendue en fin de journée, le mandat accordé par le Conseil de sécurité aux forces françaises pour intervenir en soutien à la Misca (force africaine en RCA), a-t-on indiqué de même source.


Décidée à apporter un soutien à cette mission, l'UE examine plusieurs options, qui sont essentiellement d'ordre financier, a indiqué Michael Mann, le porte-parole du service diplomatique.


L'aide consacrée au fonctionnement de la Misca devrait être substantielle, probablement de plusieurs dizaines de millions d'euros, selon des sources diplomatiques.


D'ores et déjà, Londres a proposé une aide logistique limitée à la France. Selon des sources gouvernementales, elle devrait se traduire par la mise à disposition d'un avion militaire gros-porteur C-17, comme cela avait été le cas lors de l'intervention française au Mali en janvier. Mais l'envoi de troupes britanniques n'est pas une option sur la table, a averti un porte-parole du ministère britannique de la Défense.


La France et la Grande-Bretagne ont renforcé ces dernières années leur coopération militaire, en insistant notamment sur l'interopérabilité qui les a conduites à agir conjointement en Libye, en 2011.


Au cours des discussions à Bruxelles, des experts de l'UE avaient évoqué la possibilité de déployer le groupement tactique européen (battlegroup), dont l'objectif est de pouvoir participer rapidement à des opérations à l'étranger.


Créé en 2007, ce groupement n'a encore jamais été utilisé sur un théâtre d'opération. Pour le second semestre 2013, il comprend environ 1.500 militaires de cinq pays, dont le Royaume-Uni, qui le dirige.


Selon des sources diplomatiques, des responsables britanniques ont demandé que l'analyse des experts évoquant le déploiement du battlegroup ne soit pas communiquée aux Etats membres, appelés à décider.


Les Britanniques sont traditionnellement réticents à un renforcement des outils de défense commune au sein de l'UE, privilégiant l'Otan ou les accords ad-hoc entre pays.


Des responsables de certains pays ont par ailleurs mis en avant l'absence d'une demande par la France d'un déploiement de forces européennes.


Dans leur analyse, les experts de l'UE soulignaient que l'envoi d'une force militaire européenne serait susceptible de contribuer notablement au rétablissement de la sécurité pour la population, facilitant ainsi la distribution de l'aide humanitaire en Centrafrique.


L'UE a débloqué une aide humanitaire d'urgence de 20 millions d'euros depuis le début de l'année pour les victimes des violences en Centrafrique.

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6 décembre 2013 5 06 /12 /décembre /2013 08:45
Centrafrique: Londres propose une aide logistique limitée à la France


05 décembre 2013 Romandie.com (AFP)


LONDRES - Londres propose une aide logistique limitée à la France qui a reçu mandat jeudi du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU pour intervenir en République centrafricaine (RCA), a annoncé le ministère britannique de la Défense.


Suite à la résolution à l'ONU autorisant une intervention militaire française en Centrafrique, le Royaume-Uni est en discussion avec la France pour apporter une aide logistique limitée, a déclaré un porte-parole du ministère à l'AFP.


Envoyer des troupes britanniques n'est pas (une option) sur la table, a ajouté le porte-parole, refusant de donner davantage de détails sur la nature de cette aide.


Selon des sources gouvernementales, elle devrait se traduire par la mise à disposition d'un avion militaire gros-porteur C-17, comme cela avait été le cas lors de l'intervention française au Mali en janvier.


La France et la Grande-Bretagne ont intensifié ces dernières années leur coopération militaire, en insistant notamment sur l'interopérabilité qui les a conduites à agir conjointement en Libye, en 2011.


Le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU a donné jeudi mandat aux forces françaises pour intervenir en République centrafricaine (RCA) afin de rétablir la sécurité, en appui à une force panafricaine.


Ce vote intervient alors que des violences meurtrières ont éclaté à Bangui, sous couvre-feu, et que 250 soldats français se sont déployés dans la capitale.


La résolution 2127, adoptée à l'unanimité des 15 pays membres du Conseil sur proposition de la France -- ancienne puissance coloniale -- autorise les soldats français en RCA à prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires pour soutenir la Misca (force africaine en RCA) dans l'accomplissement de son mandat.


La Misca pourra se déployer pour une période de douze mois, avec une clause de révision à six mois. Sa mission sera de protéger les civils, rétablir l'ordre et la sécurité, stabiliser le pays et faciliter l'acheminement de l'aide humanitaire.


La France a prévu de tripler son contingent en RCA, qui passera à 1.200 hommes.

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