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Australia Awards Replenishment Ships Contract to Spanish Navantia

11 Maret 2016


Navantia has offered Cantabria platform for RAN Replenishment Ships (image : JAT)

Although an official announcement has still not been made, Spanish newspapers reported that the Australian Department of Defence has chosen Spanish shipbuilder Navantia as the preferred bidder for the construction of two replenishment ships.

This news sparked some outrage in Australia as the government opposition criticized Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull who promised to spend every defence dollar possible at home.

Australian shipbuilders, however, do not have the capacities to build such large ships, Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said. She did add that some $100 million of Australian work on the ships would be left, AAP reported.

The two new replenishment vessels are expected to be introduced into service by the early 2020s. They will replace the replenishment oiler HMAS Success and the HMAS Sirius which carries fuel only.

The Australian Defence White Paper says that a third replenishment or additional logistics vessel similar to HMAS Choules would follow in the late 2020s.

Australian Department of Defense has appropriated $1bn $2bn for the first two replenishment ships with all additional work.

The Spanish shipbuilder competed with South Korea s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in this bid.

(Naval Today[1])

References

  1. ^ Naval Today (navaltoday.com)

Ex-RAF serviceman awarded medal

For saving Cypriot families during 1960s conflict

Node Tools Ex-RAF Serviceman Awarded Medal

78-year-old Philip Backler with his new medal

30 Dec 2015

When Turkish troops raided Greek villages and communities as havoc broke out in Cyprus during the bloody Christmas of 1963, a man from Basford was on hand to help save women and children. Philip Backler then a young RAF transport driver covered his truck in a white sheet to disguise himself as a member of the Red Cross. Now, the proud 78-year-old has been awarded a general service medal for his efforts more than half a century later. He said: The British were not directly involved, but all hell broke loose. They asked for volunteers to help keep the women and children safe, so I put myself forward.

They were terrified. The Turks had broken into their houses and put machine guns in their living rooms. That happened in quite a few instances; a lot of the homes had children living in them.

So I was dressed up in a white sheet with a red cross. They threatened me with a machine gun when I was in the Land Rover. Mr Backler, who was not usually armed in his role as a driver who loaded weapons onto RAF aircraft, was given a Sten gun for the mission.

Because I drove all over, from our base in Akrotiri to Limassol, where this was happening, I knew my way around the area well, he added. So I was the right man for the job. I can t say it wasn t scary because gun fire was going off all over. The fighting was going on around me.

Mr Backler said he transported around two dozen women and children to safety, driving them 12 miles in a cramped seven-tonne truck back to the British base in Akrotiri. He was given his medal after seeing an article in Proud to Serve magazine earlier this year asking for veterans to come forward.

I wrote to the war office and explained what I had done, he said. I thought it would take longer, but within about a month I had my letter from the Ministry [of Defence] to confirm it.

It s made me very proud to receive the medal, even if it is all these years later. The Turkish-Greek conflict, which erupted in 1974 after the Turks invaded Greek zones, is still unresolved. The 1963-64 crisis resulted in the death of 364 Turkish Cypriots and 174 Greek Cypriots. A buffer zone between the two areas is still contested and uninhabited. It is patrolled by UN troops, and last year East Midlands regiment the Mercians were posted there. The GSM medal Mr Backler has been given this year, after the Ministry of Defence confirmed it in October, is one of six medals the pensioner, who ran a plastics company in Radford for 30 years after leaving the air force, holds. He served from 1955 to 1967.

I ve got a Cold War medal, which was also for service in Cyprus, he added. I helped load the A-bombs onto the planes when the Russians [then the Soviet Union] turned their weapons on Britain following the Cuban Missile Crisis [considered the closest the world got to full-scale nuclear war after the Soviet Union placed warheads on Cuba, which is around 500 miles from the American east coast].

In fact, I took the telegram to the British commander in Cyprus. The pilots in those planes did not think they were coming home if the mission had have gone ahead.

Mr Backler, who is retired and living in Basford, said he looks back on his military service fondly. He now sells fresh eggs laid on a farm in Derbyshire to top up his pension. Andy Gregory, chairman of the Nottinghamshire branch of the Royal British Legion, congratulated Mr Backler. He said: It s a fantastic bit of bravery and I m pleased he s got the recognition for what he did. Mr Gregory, who served in Cyprus later as part of a still-ongoing United Nations peacekeeping mission, said other veterans who feel like they should have been given medals should follow Mr Backler s example.

He added: A lot of servicemen have missed out on medals. It would mean a lot to them to be given them, even if that s years on.

[Source: Nottingham Post]

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References

  1. ^ Job Vacancies In Kenya 2015 Today Latest Jobs Opportunity (easya.tk)