New Russian Surveillance Satellite; French Weapons Sales to Saudi Jumped; Mysterious Version of Abrams Tank

PANAGYURISHTE, (BGM)Russia’s Bars-M new military surveillance and mapping satellite will be manufactured by December 1, 2019, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday, TASS reported.

The Bars-M military satellite is being developed by the Progress Space Rocket Center based in Samara in the Volga area, the defense chef said.

“The supreme commander-in-chief has set the task of completing the creation of this satellite by December 1 this year,” Shoigu said.

France’s weapons sales to Saudi Arabia rose 50 pct in 2018 despite the government calling for an end to the “dirty war” in Yemen, figures released on Tuesday showed, MEMO reported.

An annual government report showed that total arms sales rose 30 percent to 9.1 billion euros in 2018, driven by a sharp increase in sales to European allies.

France sold about 1 billion euros worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, with the main item being patrol boats. A partial naval blockade of ports controlled by the Houthi movement is one of the tactics used by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen that has been criticised by campaigners for worsening a humanitarian crisis.

The mysterious version of the M1 Abrams tank was spotted during the opening ceremony for multinational exercise Justice Eagle 19 at Smardan Training Area, Romania, May 29, 2019, Defence Blog reported.

Justice Eagle is a bilateral exercise that builds readiness, increases interoperability and enhances the bond between ally and partner militaries.

During this exercise, the U.S. Army has unveiled an advanced version of M1 Abrams tank with what appears to be a new armor package on its turret. According to military experts, this is modules of Trophy active protection system, which will help guard against anti-tank guided missiles and infantry anti-tank rockets. Also, they noted that the mysterious version of the M1 Abrams tank is called the M1A2 System Enhancement Package Version 3 tank, or M1A2 SEPv3.

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Source: Defence Blog, TASS, MEMO