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Pro-Russia rebels

Ukraine and pro-Russia rebels agree to end fighting in eastern Ukraine

The Ukrainian Government and pro-Russia rebels signed a nine-point memorandum to peacefully settle the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

The accord was signed by representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics, as well as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to add substance to a ceasefire agreement that was signed in Minsk, Belarus, on 5 September.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two sides will establish a 30km buffer zone by moving weapons with a calibre of more than 100mm at least 15km away from the contact line on both sides, including from residential areas, as reported by RIA Novosti.

Saab conducts live-fire demonstration of new Carl-Gustaf M4 weapon

Saab successfully completed the ground combat systems demonstration of its new Carl-Gustaf M4 weapon system at the Saab Bofors Test Centre in Karlskoga, Sweden.

The M4 model, which is an upgraded version of Saab’s combat proven Carl-Gustaf M3, is a man-portable, shoulder-launched multirole weapon system, designed to provide users with flexible capability and agility in any scenario.

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By GlobalData

Saab product director and Swedish Army former infantry commander Ulf Eriksson said: “Its lightweight and shorter design, operational flexibility and high accuracy offer a truly powerful combination, not to mention it is as close to recoilless as you can get.”

New ratifications push UN Arms Trade Treaty towards entry into force

UN treaty

Argentina, Bahamas, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Senegal and Uruguay, ratified the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at a joint ceremony held as part of the 2014 Treaty Event in New York, US.

The treaty has received the 50 ratifications required for its entry into force, less than two years after its adoption by the UN General Assembly.

As announced in April 2013, the treaty will enter into force 90 days after the date of the deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, which in this case will be on 24 December.

IS militants besiege second Iraqi base despite fresh US air strikes

Islamic State (IS) militants reportedly encircled a second Iraqi military base in less than a week, despite being hit by more air strikes by a US-led coalition.

Nearly 200 soldiers from the second Battalion, 40th Brigade, tenth Division of the Iraqi Army were trapped inside the Albu Etha camp, located approximately 10km south of the city of Ramadi. They were running low on food, weapons and ammunition, Reuters reported.

An Iraqi soldier Hussein Thamir told the news agency: “There are troops behind us but they can’t reach us because the whole area is planted with roadside bombs and land mines.

AgustaWestland sues US Army over planned EC-145 helicopter purchase

UH-72A Lakota

AgustaWestland is suing the US Army over its plans to acquire 155 training helicopters from Airbus Group without holding a formal competition.

In a complaint filed in the US Court of Federal Claims, the Finmeccanica subsidiary urged the court to issue a temporary restraining order, preventing the army from awarding the $800m contract to Airbus without first considering competing bids.

The army is planning to repurpose approximately 100 UH-72A Lakotas and then purchase 155 additional helicopters from Airbus to replace its fleet of Bell TH-67 Creek and OH-58 Kiowa primary training helicopters.

US House of Representatives clears bill to arm Syrian rebels

US President Barack Obama

The US House of Representatives has approved a bill put forward by US President Barack Obama to train and equip Syrian rebels to combat Islamic State (IS) militants.

Passed by 273 votes to 156, the bill was included as an amendment to a stop-gap federal spending measure that also easily passed the House.

The measure does not include any money to pay for the arms and training of the moderate Syrian rebels, and also failed to provide details about the training plan.

US reports 20 Chinese intrusions in TRANSCOM contractor networks

Hackers with links to the Chinese Government successfully infiltrated the computer systems of US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) contractors at least 20 times in a single year, a Senate Armed Services Committee report revealed.

Entitled ‘Inquiry into Cyber Intrusions Affecting US Transportation Command Contractors’, the report alleged that TRANSCOM was aware of only two intrusions, even though there were approximately 50 intrusions or other cyber events into contractors’ computer systems in a one-year period beginning June 2012.

The successful 20 intrusions were directed towards China, and were attributed to an ‘advanced persistent threat’, a term used to designate sophisticated threats commonly associated with governments.

US President Barack Obama lays out counter-terror strategy to fight IS

The US President Barack Obama laid out a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy to fight Islamic State (IS) and vowed to ‘degrade and ultimately destroy’ the group.

Speaking during a nationally televised address at the White House on 10 September, he said: “Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are.

“That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL (IS) in Syria, as well as Iraq.”

MDA and Israel test upgraded Arrow 2 interceptor missile system

Arrow 2 missile system

The US Missile Defence Agency and the Israel Missile Defense Organization’s directorate of defence research and development conducted a joint test of an upgraded Arrow 2 ballistic missile interception system over the Mediterranean Sea.

US Defense Department spokesman army colonel Steven Warren said: “An Arrow-2 missile was launched and performed its flight sequence as planned.

“The results are being analysed by programme engineers.

“The test results have no effect on the Israeli operational system capability to cope with the existing threats in the region.”

A Sparrow missile was fired from the Mediterranean Sea at Israel during the test, which forms part of Israel’s effort to develop a more advanced block of air defences against continually improving projectile threats used by its enemies.

GD receives £3.5bn order from UK MoD for Scout SV platforms

Scout SV

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded a £3.5bn contract to General Dynamics (GD) UK for the delivery of Scout Specialist Vehicle (SV) platforms to the national army.

Under the contract, the company will supply a total of 589 vehicles in six variants to provide essential capability to the Armoured Cavalry within Army 2020 programme.

The variants include scout reconnaissance, equipment support repair, equipment and support recovery, command and control, protected mobility reconnaissance support (PMRS) variants and engineer reconnaissance variants.