Japan’s developmental Kawasaki Heavy Industries XP-1 maritime patrol aircraft has developed rips and tears during ground testing, although it is uncertain whether the problems will delay the type’s entry into service.
“The tears and rips were found in several locations, such as inside the fuel tank of the main wing and on the fuselage near the foot of the main wing,” said Japan’s defence ministry.
The tears and rips measured 10-15cm in length.
The two aircraft affected were acquired for ground tests and not flight activities.
Wreckage of a P-3C Orion aircraft is seen at a major Pakistani naval air base following an attack by militants in Karachi. PHOTO: AFP
ISLAMABAD: The P3C Orion planes destroyed in the PNS Mehran base attack in Karachi cannot be replaced anytime soon, defence and production secretary Lt General (retd) Shahid Iqbal said on Tuesday.
Informing PAC’s sub-committee on defence during a meeting held in Parliament House, Iqbal said that tense US-Pak relations are a major hurdle in acquiring the planes as they are manufactured in America and cannot be ordered from any other country. “It will take some time to replace the lost asset,” he said.
In May, terrorists destroyed two P3C Orion planes parked in the PNS Mehran Base in Karachi in one of Pakistan’s deadliest terrorist attacks on a military installation. Earlier last week the Pakistan Navy moved its main battleships away from Karachi, to another port in Ormara, Balochistan, as security threats continued, sources in the navy said.
The navy had sent its warships away from its main base in Karachi as a “precautionary measure” after a 16-hour siege of its main naval airbase, PNS Mehran. The commando-style gun and rocket-propelled grenade attacks had resulted in the destruction of two P3C Orion airplanes – which were key naval assets.
Meanwhile chairperson of the PAC committee, MNA Zahid Hamid, also inquired about production of J F Thunder planes. Pakistan Air Force authorities said that so far 26 Thunder planes have been manufactured in Pakistan with China’s cooperation, adding that a huge budget is required for Pakistan to manufacture the planes on its own.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2011.
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The US Navy has confirmed plans to retire the special mission versions of the Lockheed P-3 by 2020, and replace them with an all-unmanned fleet.
The decision comes as a blow to contractors who had been hoping to extend the service life of the fleet beyond 2020, or introduce new manned aircraft as replacements.
In written responses to the Senate Armed Services Committee late last month, incoming chief of naval operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert said the navy’s ageing EP-3 Aries and special projects aircraft will be retired in 2019 and 2020.
The US Navy is to replace its special mission EP-3 aircraft with an all-unmanned fleet by 2020
They will be replaced by an $8 billion investment over the next five years in a family of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, Greenert said.
Those investments include $1.1 billion in the Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout, $3.9 billion in the Northrop RQ-4N broad area maritime surveillance aircraft, $2.5 billion in the unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike programme and $1.1 billion in the medium-range maritime unmanned aircraft system.
Those plans leave no room for extending the service of the EP-3 through outer-wing panel replacements, as Lockheed officials had previously expressed interest in performing.
They also end discussion of a manned EP-X programme, which was cancelled by the navy last year.
Some industry officials had speculated that the service could be interested in a turboprop-powered replacement, similar to the US Air Force’s MC-12 Project Liberty, or the US Army’s enhanced medium-range airborne surveillance system.
Instead, the navy believes its intelligence-collecting capabilities will be improved by transitioning to a larger fleet of long-endurance, unmanned aircraft, Greenert said.
Such systems are also more “tailorable and scalable” to changing needs, he added.
The USN currently operates 16 EP-3 Aries surveillance aircraft, plus an uncertain number of special projects aircraft based on the same platform.
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The first production version of Boeing‘s first P-8A Poseidon took off and completed its first successful flight.
The plane flew June 21 from Renton Field, where it is assembled, to Boeing Field in Seattle, where mission systems will be installed. It is the first of six low-rate initial production aircraft for the Navy, part of a $1.6 billion contract awarded in January.
“This is the first P-8 that will go directly to the fleet in Jacksonville, Fla., so the aircraft’s first flight is an important milestone for the Boeing team and our Navy customer,” said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager.
This plane should be delivered to the Navy next year. The Indian Navy plans to buy eight P-8I long-range aircraft for $2.1 billion.
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Boeing’s first production P-8A Poseidon completed its first flight on July 7, Boeing announced Tuesday.
The U.S. Navy plans to purchase 117 737-800-based P-8As to replace the P-3 Orion as its primary maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
The airplane took off from Renton Municipal Airport, beside Boeing’s 737 final assembly plant, and landed three hours later at Seattle’s Boeing Field, where Boeing installs military systems in the aircraft.
Boeing is scheduled to deliver the plane to the Navy next year, with operations set to start in 2013.
“This is the first P-8 that will go directly to the fleet in Jacksonville, Fla., so the aircraft’s first flight is an important milestone for the Boeing team and our Navy customer,” Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager, said in a news release.
Boeing is building six flight-test P-8As and two ground-test aircraft under a separate contract. The first four flight-test aircraft are completing testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
Patrol Squadron Two Association Truculent Turtle Sponsorship Committee PO Box 2894 Gardnerville, NV 89410
Attention Navy Patrol Squadron Veterans:
By now, you may have heard that there is an effort underway to raise funds to support the upkeep of the Truculent Turtle at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. The Truculent Turtle is the most famous and historic patrol plane in the 100 year history of naval aviation. If in doubt, read about it on the VP-2 website at www.patron2.com/files/Turtle/turtleproj.html. In 1946, the Truculent Turtle flew a record-shattering non-stop flight from Perth, Australia to Columbus, OH… 11,236 miles in 55 hours 17 minutes. That record stood for 40 years…no computers, no satellite GPS, no electronic navigation… just four aviators in a brand new P2V-1 Neptune.
I’m not a professional fundraiser. I’m retired Navy and a veteran of three tours of duty in patrol squadrons. I learned how to find Soviet submarines flying the P2V-7 in VP-2 in 1960. In subsequent tours, I flew the P3A, P3B and P3C, and commanded a P3C squadron. The P3 is an incredible aircraft that continues into its fifth decade of naval service. The P2V was a marvel of aeronautical engineering that was years ahead of its time. P2V flight crew members will attest to the durability, flexibility and survivability of the Neptune. From nuclear weapon delivery to carrier feasibility studies to ski-equipped Antarctic operations to mining, reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, and its primary mission: anti-submarine warfare, the P2V gave the Navy an unprecedented capability. The record-setting flight of the Truculent Turtle is credited with cementing the Navy’s maritime patrol mission at a time when the Army Air Forces wanted that role to help justify its expansion into a larger separate-service Air Force.
Go to the VP-2 website at www.patron2.com/files/Turtle/turtleproj.html to read the engrossing story of the Turtle and its crew, and to learn how you can make a contribution to the fund that will support the upkeep of the Truculent Turtle as it occupies its rightful place of honor in the Pensacola air museum. Your tax-deductible donation, large or small, will help to keep the memory of the P2V and, specifically, the Truculent Turtle, in the forefront of aviation history. Think about it; can you name any Navy aircraft logo other than the Truculent Turtle?
Help us to spread the word among your friends and former squadron-mates about the preservation of the Truculent Turtle, and let me or Bob Champoux (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you have any questions.
Vic Gulliver, VP-2 Association
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OKINAWA, Japan – Patrol Squadron (VP) 40 logistics specialists are using existing Navy logistics systems to improve the squadron’s forward-deployed reconnaissance capabilities and readiness.
OKINAWA, Japan (July 5, 2011) - An P-3 Orion assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 40 lands on the airstrip at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. VP-40 is forward deployed to Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan, operating in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian A. Stone)
Advanced reconnaissance aircraft provide unique challenges to logistics specialists attempting to keep the squadron’s P-3C Orions ready for flight.
On aircraft containing thousands of parts, a missing piece could ground the P-3C. Purchasing, shipping, and warehousing these parts at their forward-deployed location was challenging, but according to Logistics Specialist 1st Class Yu He, this is a challenge they overcame.
“I find myself multi-tasking even on a slow day,” said He, a leading petty officer in VP-40’s supply department. “On a ship, if you need a part, usually the ship can keep steaming ahead. With forward-deployed squadrons, if we need a part we probably needed it yesterday. Mission readiness could be affected if we don’t get it promptly. To adapt we find innovative ways to work with the Navy’s supply system. In most cases, we can attain parts within twenty-four hours.”
VP-40 logistics specialists mention pride as a factor in their success.
“Working in supply is awesome,” said Logistics Specialist Seaman Marriel Labasug. “I love being able to help keep our birds running smoothly. This squadron couldn’t run without our help and I’m proud of what we do. ”
Chief Logistics Specialist John Navarro mentioned the importance of computer software programs and networked supply systems as a major factor in their logistics readiness. Due to advanced software programs, logistics specialists can view the parts inventory of nearby squadrons and air bases. Supply departments can trade and move parts between locations seamlessly, improving overall efficiency and allowing independent commands to support one another.
“Getting parts can be difficult, especially in the time allotted,” said Navarro. “Still, with the tools we’ve got, we get the job done. I like the challenge of logistics. My logistics specialists have a great attitude, too, and years of experience in their rating. It helps tremendously to have such reliable personnel.”
VP-40 is forward-deployed in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan at the Kadena Air Base in support of Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. The squadron is tasked with a full spectrum of missions in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
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KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii – Three service members proved they were the hosts with the most, winning the Emcee Maniac contest held by Marine Corps Community Service Hawaii at Kahuna’s Enlisted Club June 30.
The winners have earned the prize of meeting and introducing the BayFest Hawaii 2011 bands for each night’s performances. Two emcee winners are base service members: Lance Cpl. Isaac Munoz, a calibration technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24 and Seaman Brandon Parran, a logistics specialist with Patrol Squadron 9. The third winner is Airman 1st Class Jonathan Leak, a knowledge operations manager from 324th Intelligence Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Contestants were put through the wringer of challenges, with judges and the Kahnua’s crowd weighing in on their performances. After registering for the contest, Munoz said he relied on his natural speaking talent.
“The contest was at the back of my mind besides doing my other duties, so I didn’t have too much preparation,” Munoz said. “The other guys were awesome and came guns loaded.”
When filling out his application, Munoz made sure he wrote “winning” in the comments section as a message to judges. They liked his sense of humor and his enunciation, especially with Hawaiian words.
He’ll be introducing Friday night’s acts, the Marine Forces Pacific Band and long-time Hawaiian musicians Cecilio and Kapono. Although he’s never seen the Hawaiian musicians in person, Munoz said he’s eager to hear them live in concert. He was also surprised to hear the MarForPac Band perform pop music in addition to the ceremonial songs for which they’re known.
“I definitely want to hear them play ‘Beat It,’” he said. “And it’d be interesting to see how they play the song ‘Poker Face.’”
For Saturday’s show, Leak was the winning contestant to introduce Hoobastank and Puddle of Mudd. He said he’s promising BayFest attendees a good time during the whole concert.
“I’m really looking forward to interacting with the crowd in between the acts,” Leak said. “I’m ready to keep the crowd hyped for the next act and keeping their energy up.”
Leak, who has toured in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, as a singer, said he’s always wanted to be a show emcee. To prove he had stage presence and could think on his feet, Leak also had to act out a surprise scenario at the contest.
“My scenario was that Puddle of Mudd was not able to show up on schedule. So I had to fill up the time,” he said. “I could sing, act out a movie or dance. Me being a singer, I thought this was perfect, so I sang and kept the crowd rolling.”
His rendition of J Holiday’s “Don’t Wanna Lose” not only filled time, but kept the judges and crowd thrilled in their seats.
For many emcee hopefuls, it was their first time competing to host an event as large as BayFest. Parran, a Baltimore resident, said his only previous speaking performances were narrating student films for his friends at the Maryland Institute College of Arts. For him, the contest tested more than just his skills working a large crowd.
“There was one section that was improvisation,” he said. “They gave me the subject of clouds, and I had to just run with it.”
His aim for entertaining country music lovers on Sunday is to make them forget about the heat and crowds. He hopes that when he introduces Joe Nichols and the other country talent show acts appearing, the audience forgets their cares.
“It’s the last day and usually the day people remember the most,” Parran said. “So I’m hoping people remember me the most for keeping them entertained.”
BayFest Hawaii 2011 begins July 15 at 3 p.m., with concerts and events happening through July 17. The three-day event is open to the public with admission.
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Recently, combat aircrew from Maritime Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) were tasked to find a suspected pirate mother ship in the gulf of Oman. Upon commencing a search of the last known position of the suspected pirates, the crew found an unusually weathered fishing vessel matching the description of a possible mothership. The crew descended to investigate and observed several of the crew carrying rifles and witnessed a skiff headed away from the closest merchant vessel, the Jolly Smeraldo, toward the suspected pirate mothership. . “After witnessing that, we decided to warn other vessels in the area of the possible hijacking”, said mission commander Lieutenant Jae Kim. “We then received a mayday call from the Jolly Smeraldo explaining that they had been attacked by the pirates, but had managed to retreat to their safe house on the ship.”
Although piracy in the area has been on the decline in recent months, the number of hostages held by pirate groups has steadily increased. The pirate groups typically board and hijack large merchant vessels and then head for the lawless waters off the coast of Somalia and hold the crews for ransom. In the past, pirates were limited by geography; they were unable to venture far out to sea because they needed to stay close to land for support. Recently, however, pirates have begun to hijack large cargo ships such as the Jolly Smeraldo, using them as the launching point for raids. This practice is particularly disturbing because is dramatically increases the range of pirate groups.
Because the VP-4 crew was able to circle overhead and warn merchant vessels in the area of the observed pirate activity, they were able to eliminate the element of surprise that is critical to the success of a pirate attack. The aircrew was assisted by the Merchant vessel Malibu, who informed UKMTO (UK Maritime Trade Operations) of the situation. The UKMTO in Dubai serves as a point of contact for Merchant ships and liaison to military forces in the area.
After reaching the mothership, the skiff was hauled back aboard only to be re–‐launched with grappling hooks and ladders in an apparent attempt to insert more pirates aboard the Jolly Smeraldo. However, the high freeboard of the ship and the large wake created by the maneuvering vessel forced the pirates to abandon their attempt. The VP-4 crew was able to assist the Jolly Smeraldo by remaining in the area and updating UKMTO via the M/V Malibu.
Due to the rise in pirate activity, many shipping companies will re-route their traffic through safer waters, thereby increasing their cost to do business which is then passed on to the consumer. With the added fuel costs, insurance, and security measures, estimates of the cost that piracy has on international shipping are in the billions. Working in conjunction with coalition forces, VP-4 is serving a vital role in ensuring that freedom of the seas is maintained today and in the future.
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Beginning in January, 32 aircrew and maintenance personnel departed Kadena Air Base, Okinawa to take part in a Maritime Surveillance Exercise (MARSURVEX), the first of its kind, in the Philippines. Among the personnel detached was VP-4’s Executive Officer, CDR Kevin Long, the Detachment Officer in Charge, LCDR Joe Brunson, and Combat Air Crew Eleven lead by Mission Commander, LTJG Matthew Derks.
Flown out of Clark Air Base on Luzon Island, this exercise was held to enhance U.S. and Philippine maritime interoperability using the surface surveillance capabilities of the U.S. Navy’s P-3 Orion. The detachment was also an opportunity for Patrol Squadron Four to enhance foreign relations and provide crews with excellent, real-world experience.
Once in country, the crew provided guided tours of the P-3 to 20 members of the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard. Guided by CAC-11 Mission Commander, Matthew Derks, the guests learned basics about buoy loading, crew member responsibilities, and aircraft limitations. With qualified operators at each tactical station, the guests moved about the aircraft and were provided positional capabilities briefs from the crew.
The tactical phase of MARSURVEX began on January 18 and ran through the 21st of January. It consisted of four Maritime Domain Awareness missions south of Jolo Island. In order to demonstrate the P-3 Orion’s over water, surface-search capabilities, the squadron invited five Filipino riders, each mission, to fly with the crew and experience Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance operations. Working in tandem with eight Filipino Coastal Watch Stations, the crew was able to detect and identify over 400 radar contacts in the Sulu Sea. Additionally, the Filipino riders were provided aerial photography of selected radar contacts as the crew demonstrated low altitude passes referred to as RIGS. Both the crew and the riders truly enjoyed working with each other, making the exercise a very rewarding experience.
Following the conclusion of MARSURVEX, through their own initiative, the 32 VP-4 detachment personnel took the opportunity to contribute to the Philippine community by visiting the Duyan Ni Maria Children’s Home in Mabalanias, during their off duty hours. The orphanage provides shelter and education to abandoned, neglected, and maltreated children. Personally donating over a thousand dollars, the detachment purchased desperately needed supplies for the Children’s Home, to include; rice, canned foods, cooking oil, diapers, infant formula, and medicine. By delivering the supplies themselves, VP-4 personnel were able to interact with the children and directly see the impact their contributions made. LTJG Ever Garay stated, “I’m really glad I was able to see the looks on the children’s faces. I haven’t felt this good in a while.” The trip to the orphanage made a huge impact on both the children and the members of the detachment.
As VP-4’s first detachment of deployment MARSURVEX was a vast success; demonstrating the value of maritime patrol in the region and enhancing international relations between the Philippines and the United States. Equally important, the outreach to the Philippines community impacted CAC-11 and VP-4’s maintenance personnel to a degree that will not soon be forgotten.
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On February 19th, two P-3C Orion’s from Patrol Squadron (VP) Four left Kadena Air Base for Royal Australian Air Force Base Pearce in Australia for TAMEX, a joint exercise with the Royal Australian Air Force and a Collins class submarine from the Royal Australian Navy. The exercise was designed to improve the maritime interoperability between the United States and Australian forces. Personnel on the detachment included VP-4’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Steve Newlund, detachment Officer in Charge Lt. Cmdr. Dennis Lloyd, Combat Air Crew One lead by Mission Commander Lt. Devin Holmes, and Combat Air Crew Seven lead by Mission Commander Lt. Matt Welch.
The exercise consisted of four flights for each crew off the western coast of Australia, providing an opportunity to practice tactical swaps with the RAAF in addition to diesel submarine tactics training. The first two flights consisted of the crews requesting the submarine to perform certain maneuvers with communication breaks as necessary to discuss the training so far. This allowed the crews to focus their training on certain aspects of antisubmarine warfare (ASW), such as acoustic and non-acoustic search tactics, as well as passive and active acoustic tracking. By the fourth flight, the aircrews were required to track the submarine without any knowledge of its plan of action.
The exercise also provided the unique opportunity for Australian flight students to join VP-4 on its missions. The students were exposed to the basics of each crew station and tactics, as well as the on station ASW capabilities provided by the aircraft. They were also on hand to watch the crews conduct simulated torpedo attacks on the submarine. Both crews successfully tracked the submarine for more than 20 hours, flying 8 missions over the course of four days.
During their off hours, the crews were afforded the opportunity to explore Perth and its surrounding area. Popular locations included Caversham Wildlife Park, where visitors can feed and pet various wildlife native to Australia such as kangaroos and kuala bears as well as a chocolate factory, microbreweries, and extensive shopping.
Overall, the exercise provided a unique and once in a lifetime opportunity for the crews as well as the maintenance personnel involved in the exercise. Cheers!
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VP-4 Stands “Shoulder to Shoulder” with MF-30 during BALIKATAN 11
By LT Isaiah Gammache
VP-4 and VF-30 crews
VP-4 and VF-30 crews
On March 31st, 2011, a detachment from Commander, Task Group (CTG) 72.2 arrived in the Republic of the Philippines to participate in BALIKATAN 2011. One P–‐3C Orion aircraft and 29 Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP–‐4) personnel arrived from Kadena, Japan where they are currently deployed. BALIKATAN is a yearly exercise that plays an essential role in fostering interoperability and close cooperation between the allied armed forces of the United States and the Republic of the Philippines. The information shared between the two countries during this exercise has immediate applications in several mission areas including maritime surveillance, interdiction, amphibious maneuvers and humanitarian assistance.
With over 7,000 islands within its territorial border, the Philippine people rely heavily on Coastal Watch Stations and Philippine Naval Air Group aircraft to maintain their security, and monitor the actions of seaborne traffic. The P–‐3C Orion is the U.S. Navy’s premier maritime surveillance platform. Operating under the direction of Commander Task Force 72 in the SEVENTH Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR), P–‐3 aircraft have a long history of providing critical intelligence on vessels operating in the open seas beyond the reach of ground stations and short–‐endurance aircraft. BALIKATAN 2011 provides the opportunity for the United States P–‐3 community to share lessons learned from many years of maritime surveillance while gaining new insight from their Philippine counterparts on the unique challenges of archipelagic security and defense.
BALIKATAN is a Tagalog word meaning “shoulder-to-shoulder” and it captures the essence of this combined exercise. The “Skinny Dragons” of VP-4 are
CWS Zambales on Capones Island, PI
rapidly developing close ties to their Philippine peers within Multi-Purpose Fixed Wing Squadron THIRTY (MF-30). One of the many missions of MF-30 is to aid Philippine coastal surveillance stations in detecting illegal activity. Such activities can include unlawful Fishing, piracy, smuggling and intrusion. Rapid detection and a timely response to these activities are essential to the success of the coastal surveillance program. The US and Philippine governments are constantly working hand in hand to enhance the capabilities, coordination, and infrastructure of the coastal watch network. These efforts will result in a more robust monitoring ability and increased Philippine national security.
Operating out of Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, formerly Clark Airbase, CTG 72.2 was privileged to have MF-30 pilots and aircrew on-board during its missions off the coast of Luzon. They thoroughly explained and demonstrated their approach to maritime surveillance and the manner in which they employ their aircraft, the Britten-Norman Islander. The Islander and P-3C, flown by Combat Aircrew Eight of VP-4, conducted simultaneous airborne reconnaissance operations off the Philippine coast. With its speed and electronics’ suite, the P-3C was able to detect contacts of interest outside the coverage area of Philippine Coastal Watch Stations and vector the Islander inbound for a detailed visual inspection. This information was disseminated real–‐time to the Philippine coastal defense network providing a robust picture of maritime traffic and a faster reaction time to vessels approaching and operating within Philippine territorial seas.
While participating in BALIKATAN 2011, members of CTG 72.2 gained an appreciation of the efforts, capabilities, and professionalism of the Philippine Armed Forces. The relationships developed during the two-weeks of combined missions between VP-4 and MF-30 resulted in a close partnership between personnel of both countries. This partnership is vital in ensuring the continued cooperation and seamless interoperability that is essential to regional stability.
I wanted to make sure you knew about this important event. This is another celebration this year to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation. The Navy kicked it off with the parade of flight in San Diego. Then there was the celebration of Patrol Aviation in Jacksonville.
A Master Chief from my reserve squadron is the chairman of the Madison Navy League council. He is organizing the Navy Night Flight Suit Reception. So I wanted to send you this flyer concerning the reception on the 27th of July at Oshkosh, WI. The last I heard there might be two P-3’s there during the week, not sure if they be there on the 27th. There are a lot of heritage paint scheme current Naval aircraft coming to the Air Venture in Oshkosh. It would be nice to have the heritage painted P-3 from Hawaii come. It is done up in VP-6 markings.
If you come to the reception you will need to stop by the Navy League table to get that free ticket to get into the tents.
Hope to see some of you there,
For more information go to: www.MadisonNavyLeague.org
FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, began participating in the U.S. Pacific Command’s Northern Edge 2011 exercise June 13.
The exercise runs through June 24 and will focus on strategic capabilities that enable the joint-military world to be adept in detection and tracking in air, land and sea spaces.
About 6,000 active duty, guard and reserve members from the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy will sharpen their skills through exercise scenarios and improve communication relationships and develop plans and programs that can be exchanged and used between the services.
“A joint-training exercise such as Northern Edge gives us the unique opportunity to provide our country’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines a capabilities-based exercise to ensure they are combat ready for worldwide deployment,” said Col. Lynn Scheel, 354th Fighter Wing vice commander. “Northern Edge also allows us to hone our current combat tactics and weapon capabilities, as well as the testing of future applications.”
Although the exercise is headquartered at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, exercising throughout Alaska’s vast Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex allows forces to train in an expansive area.
“The JPARC presents excellent training opportunities here in the Pacific region,” Colonel Scheel said. “The strength of the JPARC is its expansive co-located air and land ranges, as well as significant potential for co-located air and sea ranges. Alaska is a true national asset, and we are grateful to the people of Alaska for their continued support as we use our training ranges to conduct these critical joint-training operations.”
One hundred and twelve aircraft and 13 ships will be utilized for NE exercise purposes at both Eielson AFB in the north and JBER in the south. Here, some of the units involved include the 67th Aircraft Maintenance Unit from Kadena Air Base, Japan; U.S. Navy Patrol Squadron One from Whidbey Island, Wash.; and the U.S. Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 from Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y.
“We’re here to get a better understanding of how to work with other services,” said U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Griggsby Cowart, KC-130T navigator with the VMGR-452. “Since we’re in a support role, I think the main impact we can have would be to keep our airplanes flying, so we can provide the refueling portion of our mission.”
The squadron brought with them two C-130T refueling aircraft and 30 personnel to help maintain that support role.
“I think the planning part of this is the biggest deal for us — being able to get in, use other equipment, share the same lingo and plan alongside other platforms and services,” continued the gunnery sergeant, who hails from Atlanta. “And, how to integrate our assets with theirs is the most important thing.”
Safety is a top priority for the joint exercise.
“Conducting a large scale exercise such as Northern Edge 2011 is not without risk, but we work extremely hard to identify and mitigate potential risks to all participants,” the colonel said. “Although this is an important exercise for our armed forces, nothing we do in this exercise warrants putting our personnel at unnecessary risk of injury or death. Emphasis on safety, strict adherence to training rules and the professional conduct of our participants significantly lowers this risk.”
Northern Edge is a 10-day exercise held every two years.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Mad Foxes have returned to the First Coast.
The Patrol Squadron Five (VP-5) is back at NAS Jax after a six-month deployment.
They flew missions in El Salvador, Djibouti and Italy, and the unit sent detachments to Greece, Spain, Sicily and France as well.
Squadron members participated in operations like Enduring Freedom, Caper Focus, Odyssey Dawn in Libya and Unified Protector, flying more than 3,956 flight hours.
One of the squadron’s biggest achievements was its deployment of an AGM-65F Maverick, the first time a Maverick shot was successfully used against a hostile target in the history of Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA).
During seven drug busts, the squadron kept about $850 million worth of drugs from reaching the U. S.
Tonight the group is just happy to be home, and its members get to stay home for about a year before their next deployment.
First Coast News
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From amphibious landings to sniper training to tips on flying one of the oldest warplanes still in the air, Thailand’s naval forces gained more useful insight into modern warfare from the U.S. Navy in the two nations’ 17th Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercise.
Vice Adm. Surachai Sangkapong, commander of the Royal Thai Fleet, Rear Adm. Chaiyot Sunthornnak, commander of Frigate Squadron 2 and Tomas F. Carney, director of the U.S. CARAT forces, brought the nine-day war games to a close in Sattahip May 20.
The two sides engaged in more than 1,500 training and cultural-exchange exercises with the U.S. sending four ships and 3,500 men to participate. Shore-based activities included engineering and damage control training exchanges, joint medical, dental and civic action projects, and joint community service projects at local schools. The at-sea phase focused on developing maritime security capabilities in areas such as maritime interdiction, information sharing, combined operations at sea, patrols and gunnery exercises, and anti-piracy and anti-smuggling exercises. Ban Chang (May 12, 2011) – Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jared Myers (right), attached to Commander Task Force 73, Singapore, assists Lt. Michael Syamken, attached to USS Tortuga (LSD 46), extract an infected tooth from a young Thai dental patient during the Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) at the Somboon Ranaram School. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jose Lopez, Jr.) Top officers from both sides stressed CARAT is a change to create closer ties, both personally and operationally, between Thai and U.S. navies. That was born out by several of the exercises. Early in the operation, U.S. marine snipers with Landing Force Company instructed Royal Thai Marines on applying the fundamentals of marksmanship to sniper tactics. American instructors discussed windage, trigger control, breathing control and how to effectively work as a sniper team. Ban Chang (May 12, 2011)- Fireman Giovanni Santiago, of USS Tortuga (LSD 46), waits for tools while he and a Royal Thai marine hang a basketball goal at the Wat Sombonaro School. USS Tortuga, USS Ruben James (DDG 57) and USS Howard (DDG 83) sent more than 30 Sailors to the school to help preserve a bathroom and refurbish a playground as a community service project for CARAT Thailand 2011. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. K. Madison Carter) “The training is very good. It helps me to have more knowledge,” said PFC 1st Class Chaiyoot Moonthongchoon told the media. “I got to train on different equipment and learn more techniques.” Other U.S. instructors schooled Thai naval aviators on best practices when flying and maintaining the P3-C Orion, a Vietnam-era plane still in use by Thai forces. The U.S. brought over one of its old planes to have instructors provide Thai forces information on maintenance, operations, mine-laying and search-and-rescue procedures. Ban Chang (May 12, 2011) – Operations Specialist Seaman Laura Jackson, attached to USS Tortuga (LSD 46), and a Royal Thai navy sailor, paint the inside of a bathroom at the Somboon Ranaram School during a joint community service project. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jose Lopez, Jr.) “The Thai Navy flies the P-3, so there was a lot of commonality already in our work and procedures,” Lt. Cmdr. Kim DaCosta said in a U.S. 7th Fleet statement. “The Thai aircrews integrated well with our aircrews, and that’s exactly what this exercise is all about – becoming familiar with one another so when we are called to work together, there’s a baseline of understanding and trust already there.” As is customary in recent years, CARAT wrapped with a joint amphibious landing at Had Yao Beach. The exercise was a beach assault using amphibious assault vehicles. U.S. and Thai forces each had an objective on the beach to seize. It was an operation that was beneficial for both Thais and Americans, as many young U.S. Marines have never experienced a full amphibious assault. A Royal Thai Navy sailor monitors a target during a riverine exercise in the Sattahip Harbor Basin. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher S. Johnson) “There is an entire generation of Marines that lack the amphibious assault experience,” Capt. Rudy Cazares, company commander for Landing Force Company, told the press. “This evolution afforded them the opportunity to get that training.” The exercise included nine amphibious-assault vehicles from the U.S. and six from Thailand. A company of Thai Marines and a company of U.S. Marines disembarked the AAVs and assaulted their respective objectives. A Royal Thai Marine shouts orders to his troops as they land ashore during an amphibious assault evolution of CARAT Thailand 2011. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jose Lopez, Jr.) While the amphibious assault was the culminating event, U.S. and Thai service members conducted extensive training in jungle survival, combat marksmanship, military operations in urban terrain, combat lifesaving skills, martial arts and sniper training. “Despite the language barrier and the use of different equipment, I can confidently say it was a positive experience across the board,” Cazares said. “We gained just as much from this experience from the Thai as they did from us.” U-Tapao – An P-3C Orion assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 takes off as a Royal Thai Navy P-3C taxis down the runway to join it during a combined mine laying exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jose Lopez, Jr.)
This article was published in the Pattaya Mail newspaper on Friday June 3, 2011 (Vol. XIX No. 22).
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BRUNSWICK — The Navy and the town of Brunswick, two cultures woven into a single community for nearly seven decades, exchanged goodbyes Tuesday in a heartfelt disestablishment ceremony for Brunswick Naval Air Station.
When sailors ceremonially lowered the American flag the final time at the base just after 3 p.m., it marked the end for the air station, first established in 1943 as a training site for British pilots.
After a hiatus following the conclusion of World War II, the base served as one of the U.S. Navy’s key North Atlantic observation posts from 1951 until a federal Base Realignment and Closure commission voted in 2005 to terminate the property’s use as an active military installation. That decision launched a six-year closure process that culminated Tuesday.
For many who cherished the base — which for years introduced sailors from all over the country to Brunswick, repeatedly described Tuesday as a host community unrivaled in terms of warmth and local support — the official disestablishment proved bittersweet.
Retired Rear Adm. Harry Rich, a Harpswell resident who offered the keynote speech Tuesday, helped fight Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission efforts to close Brunswick Naval Air Station in 1995 and again in 2005. The first time, Rich and others successfully kept the base off the closure list.
“It’s ironic that I’m speaking here today,” Rich told the crowd of more than 1,000 who gathered for the outdoor ceremony. “I spent four years of my life trying to prevent this day from happening.”
Rich described how neighbors would fix his cars and deliver groceries for his wife and kids when he was deployed overseas, and how those same neighbors refused payment for the help when he got back.
He told tales of local people for whom streets at the air station are named — Adm. Aubrey Fitch, who retired to Maine after a career so decorated the Navy named a Bath Iron Works-built ship after him, and Paul Burbank, a Harpswell native who went on to become a Navy flight instructor in Pensacola, Fla. — and how the base changed the direction of his life.
Rich said his older brothers joined the Army during World War II, and he planned to follow suit until he tagged along with his father on an electric company job 50 miles south of his hometown of Union. He said their Central Maine Power Co. truck rumbled to a stop along the road near where Fat Boy Drive-In is located today, and he watched in awe as Navy Corsair fighter planes swooped down to land at the adjacent base airfield.
“It was love at first sight,” he recalled, and he joined the Navy instead, launching a 35-year career in which he participated in the Berlin Airlift and helped recover the Gemini 9 spacecraft and its astronauts after they returned to Earth and splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean.
Also delivering remarks Tuesday were Gov. Paul LePage; Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, assistant secretary of the Navy, Energy, Installations and Environment; Arthur Mayo, chairman of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority board of directors; and Capt. William Fitzgerald, the final commanding officer of Brunswick Naval Air Station.
Eleven of the base’s former commanding officers returned for Tuesday’s ceremony.
Capt. William Fitzgerald is the 36th and final commander of Brunswick Naval Air Station. (Troy R. Bennett / The Times Record)
Command Master Chief Daniel Nicholson salutes the flag as it is lowered at Brunswick Naval Air Station for the final time on Tuesday. Today, the former Navy base is known as Brunswick Landing. (Troy R. Bennett / The Times Record)
Sailors bow their heads in prayer during the invocation at disestablishment ceremonies at the Brunswick Naval Air Station Tuesday. (Troy R. Bennett / The Times Record)
World War II Navy veteran Arnold Wilkie, who was on hand when Brunswick Naval Air Station opened in 1943, receives a standing ovation during disestablishment ceremonies at Brunswick Naval Air Station on Tuesday. (Troy R. Bennett / The Times Record)
A place in history
Fitzgerald recalled a history of the site dating back to before the Navy’s arrival, when the location was the first municipal airfield in Maine and, according to one man who spoke to him at a local event, hosted a visit by famed aviator Amelia Earhart.
During the 1960s, he said, pilots used the Brunswick runways to reach new heights. Literally, as Marine Corps Lt. Col. W.C. McGraw and Navy Lt. Cmdr. D.W. Nordberg each set aircraft climb records, with the latter pushing the mark up to 15,000 meters in an F-4 Phantom.
“NAS Brunswick has also bled over the years and mourned the loss of aircraft and aircrew deaths from combat missions, from operational missions and from training accidents, some of which occurred right here in Maine — over Poland Springs and the Gulf of Maine,” Fitzgerald said, “and all along, the community grieved with us. Our Memorial Gardens in the former NAS Brunswick Chapel offers hallowed grounds for reflection of those P-3 airmen who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Tuesday’s disestablishment ceremony was the last in a long line of Navy closure milestones that have passed with pomp and circumstance since 2009. The departures of the last three patrol squadrons stationed in Brunswick, the disestablishment of the tenant Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 5, and the closure of the base airfield were among the events to make up the Navy’s long farewell to Brunswick.
Once a base of more than 4,000 military personnel, only 10 active duty sailors were still stationed at Brunswick Naval Air Station on Tuesday, and the only Navy plane on hand was a signature P-3 Orion flown in specially for the ceremony by Patrol Squadron 26.
The Mt. Ararat and Brunswick high school bands filled the musical void left by the drawdown of instrument-playing sailors, while young Sea Cadets from the Bath-based Jason Dunham Division stepped in to handle color guard duties.
“We could either mourn the loss of this great naval air station, lament the BRAC ’05 decision to shut Brunswick down and question the rationale of those who made the decision,” Fitzgerald told those in attendance, “or, in keeping with my Irish heritage, we could make this like an Irish wake and celebrate the life of NAS Brunswick over the years.”
The future of the property
Speakers on Tuesday described visions of the 3,200-acre base property as it opens to civilian reuse — as a home for private technology and manufacturing firms, post secondary educational opportunities and protected natural spaces — to put a positive spin on the occasion.
The Navy transferred 715 acres associated with the base airfield to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA) two months before the official disestablishment, and worked out lease agreements to allow private businesses to begin renovating and moving into vacated Navy buildings early.
Fitzgerald said that more than 30 percent of the base has already been made available to redevelopers, giving MRRA a head start at replacing the 5,000 jobs estimated to be lost as a result of the Navy’s departure.
Speakers on Tuesday described that military-civilian collaboration as groundbreaking in the world of U.S. military base closures, where historically civilian groups have been made to wait at the gates until shuttered bases are completely disestablished.
The accelerated transition process employed in Brunswick, Mayo said Tuesday, has been viewed as a blueprint for how to close military bases nationwide. As of today, the 3,200-acre property will be called Brunswick Landing, while a 74-acre satellite property in Topsham will be known as Topsham Commerce Park.
The early transfers and leases have resulted in the attraction of six companies already hiring employees to work in former base properties. Airplane manufacturer Kestrel Aircraft Co., information technology firm Resilient Communications Corp., Fixed Base Operator FlightLevel Aviation, New England Tent and Awning, and precision machining firm Maine Tool & Machine call Brunswick Landing home, and several others are in negotiations to join them.
Mayo noted that MRRA, the group charged with overseeing the civilian redevelopment of the base, has commitments from companies promising a combined $150 million in private investment and 650 new jobs during the next few years.
In his remarks, Gov. LePage expressed hope that the original motto used by the Navy for the base when it was opened in 1943 will prove prophetic.
“We will renew our Navy’s motto, ‘Built for Business,’” LePage told attendees Tuesday. “A battle cry that was established here nearly 70 years ago will be transformed from a military motto to civilian slogan.”
Commanding officers throughout the history of Brunswick Naval Air Station
Cmdr. J.C. Alderman 1943-44
Cmdr. E.M. Ellis 1944-45
Capt. Joe Taylor 1945-46
Cmdr. W.L. Dawson 1946
Lt. Cmdr. H.G. Pollard 1946-47
Cmdr. F.L. Palmer 1951-52*
Capt. E.G. Price 1952-55
Cmdr. G.H. Duffy 1955
Capt. J.T. Yavorsky 1955-58
Cmdr. D.W. Bowman 1958
Capt. F.R. More 1958-59
Capt. M.T. Thatcher 1959-61
Capt. H.L. Tallman 1961
Capt. W.L. Pack 1961-63
Capt. E.J. Knoche 1963-65
Capt. D.R. Rains 1965-67
Capt. C.L. Wyman 1967-69
Capt. J.D. Collins 1969-71
Capt. R.D. Snyder 1971-74
Capt. R.L. Latta 1974-76
Capt. G.D. Barker 1976-78
Capt. B.T. Hacker 1978-80
Capt. N.E. Koehler III 1980-81
Capt. W.L. Rice 1981-83
Capt. H.L. Midvedt 1983-85
Capt. F.W. Gullett 1985-87
Capt. F.B. Darsey 1987-89
Capt. R.J. Figueras 1989-90
Capt. H.M. Wilson 1990-92
Capt. H.L. Rachor 1992-94
Capt. D.J. Nelson 1994-96
Capt. E.F. Carter 1996-99
Capt. K.F. Koon 1999-2002
Capt. R.S. Winneg 2002-05
Capt. G.G. Womack 2005-08
Capt. W.A. Fitzgerald 2008-11
* Base was reactivated after a five-year closure between the end of World War II and the early years of the Cold War.
We’ve moved from the shock of OUR Navy base being among those listed for closure by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission to a sad acceptance of the reality that after this coming Tuesday the Brunswick Naval Air Station is no more.
We’ve watched from outside the fence as one by one the last squadrons stationed here departed for their new home port of Jacksonville, Fla., or on deployments that would be followed by “welcome home” celebrations “elsewhere.”
The Tigers of Patrol Squadron 8 were the first to leave, in November 2008. They were followed by the Red Lancers of Patrol Squadron 10 in June 2009, and the Special Projects Squadron Unit 1 and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 62 the following month. The Tridents of Patrol Squadron 26 were the last to leave, departing in late November 2009.
The base became silent. The engine drone sound of P3 Orions waiting on the tarmac for takeoff, or the propeller roar of a P3 coming in for a landing, are now a sonic memory.
After the squadrons fully departed the BNAS airfield officially closed in January 2010. A fast-dwindling crew of sailors stayed on to finish the job of closing the base for good.
It should be apparent to everyone by now just how fortunate we’ve been in the Navy’s selection of Capt. Will Fitzgerald as the final commanding officer of the air station. His outreach efforts to the civilian community have consistently made the massive job of transitioning the base to its new identity as “Brunswick Landing” far easier and more successful than anyone could have expected. His selection as last year’s Joshua Chamberlain Award recipient was well-deserved, and a fitting reminder of how closely the civilian and Navy communities have worked together over the 60-plus-year history of BNAS.
Capt. Fitzgerald would be the first to acknowledge he didn’t do it alone. He’d be right, of course, so we hereby give thanks to the team of sailors who’ve been working behind the scenes night and day to close the base as scheduled on Tuesday.
We give thanks, too, to all the Navy higher-ups who have facilitated the unprecedented initiatives that have allowed private companies to begin leasing vacated Navy buildings before BNAS was officially closed. While the lobbying efforts of our congressional delegation in Washington, former Gov. John Baldacci, local town officials and the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority certainly helped, the fact remains that the Navy bent over backwards to be a “good neighbor” in its final months of command at BNAS.
In doing so, it gave the Mid-coast region a tremendous head start of rebuilding our local economy over other communities that also lost military bases during the 2005 BRAC closure round.
And so, our Memorial Day parade this year has a double meaning this year.
Its “Never Forget” theme, first and foremost, pays homage to the men and women who gave their lives defending our country. But no one should be faulted for also holding the 60-year history of Brunswick Naval Air Station in their hearts and minds as the parade marchers head down Topsham’s Main Street, cross the Frank J. Wood Bridge over the Androscoggin and then move solemnly down Brunswick’s Maine Street.
We’ll always remember the vigilant P-3 squadrons that patrolled the high seas during the Cold War in search of Soviet submarines — a key link in our country’s defense against a potential nuclear attack.
We’ll always remember the countless ways in which Navy sailors assigned to BNAS, and their families, enriched our communities. They volunteered in our schools, helped build playgrounds, collected bottles for their deposits to raise money for school programs, supported local businesses … in so many ways they’ve been “good neighbors” who’ve helped make the Mid-coast region such a wonderful place to live in and raise a family.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will ask the United States to supply it two additional PC-3 Orion planes for its Navy to make up the deficiency of the loss of two planes which were destroyed by the terrorists on Sunday evening at Mehran Air Base Karachi in an act of terrorism.
Pakistan being an ally of the US in the so-called war on terrorism reserves the right for making such demand. The Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) that will discuss various aspects of the matter in its meeting on Wednesday could take a position about the demand.
Pakistan’s plea has strong backing in view of the act of terrorism that caused the destruction of the two planes. Pakistan Naval Aviation is an important arm of the Pakistan Navy and assists in the surface and submarine flights to guarantee the safety of Pakistan sea borders. The loss of the planes could weaken the capacity of the Navy in actions against the terror activities across the sea. The US is supposed to provide two such planes by the end of the year according to earlier agreed schedule.
Well placed sources told The News here Monday evening that Prime Minister Gilani has asked Defence Secretary Lt Gen (r) Syed Athar Ali to proceed to Karachi to make an assessment on ground at the Mehran Base so that he should put up detailed preliminary report about the gory incident at the DCC. General Athar who is uncle in relationship of late Lieutenant Yasser Abbas who laid down his life in fighting with the terrorists at Mehran Base, has gone to Lahore to receive the dead-body of the martyred and he will be proceeding to Karachi from Lahore after attending his Namaz-e-Janaza.
The deceased was six feet and two inches tall young man whose father Dr Jaffar Abbas belonged to Medical Corps of the Army and retired as colonel. Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Noman Bashir who spent his whole night at the Naval Headquarters here after the initiation of the act of terror on Sunday night at Mehran Base, got in touch with the local command in Karachi and kept on guiding it regularly. He left for Karachi in the following morning from the Naval Headquarters.
The headquarters remained on its toes the whole night. The CNS will submit detailed technical report about the whole terrible episode in the DCC, the sources said. The sources pointed out that Pakistan Navy’s aviation force currently consists of three Westland Lynx – anti-ship/anti-submarine/transport helicopters, six Westland Sea King Mk45 – Anti Submarine/ Anti Surface Warfare helicopters (Based at Karachi), eight Aerospatiale SA-319B Alouette III – transport/anti-ship helicopters, seven Lockheed P-3C Orion – maritime surveillance/ anti-submarine warfare aircraft/airborne early warning. Future supply of seven more under an agreement with Lockheed Martin signed in 2006; two upgraded P-3C Orion delivered on 7th Jan 2010 while one was delivered in Nov 2009. Another two advanced P-3C Orion aircraft to be delivered soon (Two of the upgraded version have been destroyed overnight terrorism action), seven Fokker F27-200 Friendship – maritime surveillance aircraft, four Hawker 850 – VIP transport aircraft, two Breguet Atlantique, one maritime surveillance/anti-submarine warfare aircraft, thirty two Dassault Mirage V – anti-ship attack aircraft flown by PAF which are based at PAF base Masroor in Karachi, (operated by the PAF), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, twelve Harbin Z-9EC anti-submarine warfare helicopters equipped with a surface-search radar, low frequency dipping sonar, radar warning receiver, Doppler navigation system and armed with torpedoes.
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