US Navy Expert: Iranian mines?; NATO Launch Studies on Eurofighter Evolution; Israel Buys Eight Boeing KC-46 Aircrafts

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Your evening news report on June 19 from news team:

US Navy expert: Tanker attack mine resembles Iranian mines

The limpet mines used to attack a Japanese-owned oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz last week bore “a striking resemblance” to similar mines displayed by Iran, a U.S. Navy explosives expert said Wednesday, stopping short of directly blaming Tehran for the assault, AP reports.

Iran has denied being involved in the attack last Thursday that hit the Japanese tanker Kokuka Courageous and also the Norwegian-owned Front Altair.

The comments by Cmdr. Sean Kido came as the Navy showed reporters pieces of debris and a magnet they say Iran’s Revolutionary Guard left behind when they spirited away an unexploded limpet mine after the June 13 attack in the Gulf of Oman. Iran has also not acknowledged taking the mine.

Kido also stressed that the damage done to the Kokuka Courageous was “not consistent with an external flying object hitting the ship,” despite the ship’s owner blaming “flying objects” for the damage in the attack.

Meanwhile, a rocket hit an oil-drilling site in Iraq’s southern Basra province early on Wednesday, striking inside a compound housing energy giant Exxon Mobil and other foreign oil companies and wounding three local workers, one seriously, Iraqi officials said.

Read more: Rockets land near Iraqi base hosting U.S. personnel in Mosul

Read more: Air strike hits warehouse co-owned by Italy’s ENI in Libya

Eurofighter, NATO launch studies on long-term evolution of fighter

The countries and companies behind Europe’s Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet have agreed to spend 53.7 million euros (£47.8 million) to study the long-term evolution of the advanced fighter jet and its engine, Reuters reports.

The study contracts will span 19 months for the aircraft, and nine months for the engine, identifying potential technology enhancements for the jet’s mission systems, engine, human machine interface and electronic warfare equipment.

The work is aimed at keeping the Eurofighter Typhoon fleet operationally effective for combat for decades to come, even as Europe begins work on two rival next-generation aircraft that are slated to enter service in 2040, officials said.

The Eurofighter consortium includes Airbus, Britain’s BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo.

Airbus and France’s Dassault Aviation have begun work on a new combat air system to be funded by Germany, France and Spain.

In first, US to sell new aerial re-fuelling planes to Israel

In the first move of its kind, the US will sell state-of-the-art aerial re-fuelling planes to Israel, paid for using the military aid Tel Aviv receives from America, MEMO reports.

Israel plans to purchase eight Boeing KC-46 Pegasus aircrafts from the US to replace the Israeli Air Force’s current fleet – which includes the aging KC-130 Hercules and converted Boeing 707s – the Times of Israel reported yesterday, citing a broadcast by Israel’s Channel 12 News.

The US Airforce only received the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus aircraft earlier this year, meaning their sale to Israel will mark the first time the US has agreed to sell the technology to a third party.

Israel is expected to begin receiving the planes in the next two years, with a US Air Force lieutenant colonel explaining to Channel 12 that “just like for the US Air Force, for the Israeli Air Force [the KC-46] gives it the ability to reach out and do whatever they need to do at any time, be it humanitarian or combat operations”.

The cost of the eight aircraft is thought to exceed $1 billion, which Israel will pay for using a portion of the $3.8 billion in US military aid it receives annually.

Read more: Rockets Hit Near U.S. Forces in Iraq; More Strikes on Somalia; Air Strike in Libya; S-400 Very Soon in Turkey

Read more: A U.S. Reaper Was Shot Down; Iraqi Forces Against Daesh; Yemen’s Houthi Threatened to Target Oil Tankers

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Editorial team
Source: Reuters, AP, MEMO