Defence in brief: 10 April 2007

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TRAINER DEBUT

Grob Aerospace has delivered its first of 18 G120A ab initio trainers to the French air force's flight training school at Cognac airbase, where the platform will be assigned to an EADS Military Air Systems and Socata-run training system for up to 10 years. Grob is on schedule to deliver the remaining 17 aircraft to Cognac by December 2007, with the fleet to initially provide 15,000 flight hours a year.

BALTIC DUTY

The Belgian air component has completed a four-month detachment to Lithuania's Siauliai airbase, during which its Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters flew 250h across more than 90 air policing sorties over Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The service's aircraft and around 60 personnel returned to Belgium on 2 April, after handing over air-defence duties to the French air force.

AIRSHIP LIFT

Russia's Avgur-RosAeroSistemy group has revealed first details of its developmental DTS-N1 airship. The company says the new design will be 268m (880ft) long and capable of carrying a 180t cargo a distance of 15,000km (8,100nm) at a cruising speed of 65kt (120km/h).

IRAQI MISSION

Japan's cabinet has approved a two-year extension to a law allowing its air force to fly support missions to Iraq, following requests from Iraq and the UN. The law was previously scheduled to expire during July and the move will enable its air force to continue flying missions with its Lockheed Martin C-130Hs.

ADDED SPICE

Rafael is upgrading its Spice guidance kit to maintain the type's status as the Israeli air force's principal precision-guided stand-off weapon. The company is now evaluating the integration of new sensors and range extension efforts. The current Spice kit increases the range of a Mk 84 907kg (2,000lb) glide bomb to over 60km (32nm).