Key military and political developments 2011-15

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Key military and political developments 2011-15

Post  Silent Hunter on Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:05 pm

Europe
* The first Queen Elizabeth class carrier is nearly finished and due to commence sea trials in 2016. The second, Ark Royal is under construction. The sole British carrier presence is the amphibious assault ship Ocean,
currently operating in an "Attack Helicopter Carrier" mode, with no less than 10 Apaches on board.
* France is constructing a second aircraft carrier to compliment Charles de Gaulle; the conventionally powered Clemenceau.
* Russia's sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, is undergoing a four-year refit which will considerably improve its capabilities and allow it to operate the new MiG-29K and the winner of the PAK MA competition for a stealthy carrier based fighter.
* Russia is planning four new carriers to be built from 2020; they have been dubbed the Svoboda (Freedom) class in the Russian press.
* The first Russian stealth fighter, formerly known as the T-50 or PAK FA and now known as the Su-57 "Fenric" is beginning to enter Russian service, with three squadrons stood up so far. The Su-57K "Fenric-C" is the favourite to win the PAK MA competition - India and Brazil has also expressed in an interest in the design for their carriers.
* Georgia last year placed a request to the USA for F-16s. After heavy diplomatic pressure, the request was declined. They're now trying to buy Saab Gripens from Sweden instead.


North America
* The F-35 Lightning II is slowly starting to enter service; but not in any great numbers.
* The United States is down to 10 carriers with Nimitz retired early and Gerald R. Ford working up for its maiden deployment.
* The controversial Littoral Combat Ship programme has been terminated early at only 20 ships; a new multi-role frigate programme, the FFG(X), is under development, with a view to an entry into service around 2023.
* A new stealth bomber, the B-3 Liberator II, has recently emerged from the black world and is planned to enter service in 2021.

Central America and Caribbean
* Venezuela has placed an order for 28 Su-57s, a move that has caused consternation among its neighbours.

South America
* Brazil has commenced construction of a 40,000 ton indigenous carrier, provisionally named Bahia) and is holding a contest to supply the strike aircraft; the Naval Gripen is the favourite. Popular naval opinion is that this is basically a massive national vanity project; as the country lacks effective carrier escorts at the present time.

Asia
* The first Chinese aircraft carrier, the reconditioned Varyag, now called Shi Lang, is in operational service, but not with a full air wing as the J-15s are not fully in service. It is only carrying six of the "Flanker" copies, with 18 attack helicopters making the rest of the strike capabilites for the time being. At the moment, it is on a world tour.
* Two more carriers of a new class, Mao Zedong and Chen Duxiu are under construction (the first is due to commission in 2017), with three more planned.

Africa
* South Africa has ordered an amphibious assault ship from Germany with an option for local production of a second.

Oceania

The Middle East
* Israel has developed an indigenous Tomahawk-clone named "Skewer" in English for operation from its Dolphin-class submarines and also in a land-based role.[/i]
* Iran's nuclear programme continued and it is widely believed that a nuclear device will be ready this year or next. In other military fields, Iran has invested considerable amounts of money in ballistic missile production and is estimate to have a total of about a thousand in service; this includes missiles capable of reaching Eastern Europe, with an ICBM nearing flight test.
* Egypt, now a functioning democracy, is rebuilding a military sapped by years of corruption and has ordered Su-35S fighters from Russia.

Silent Hunter

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