Todays defence related news includes coverage of the fourth Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference and reporting that the UK has paused flying of some F-35s.
Various outlets including The Sun, Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph report that the UK paused flying of some F-35s yesterday.
Whilst some reported incorrectly that all F-35 jets had been ‘grounded’, today’s coverage is mostly accurate, outlining that only some flying has been paused as a precautionary measure while we consider the findings of an ongoing inquiry.
The news comes after the US temporarily suspended flying while inspection of a fuel tube within the aircraft engine are undertaken. If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status. The action to perform the inspection is driven from initial data from the ongoing investigation of the F-35B incident in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina on 28 September.
Further inspections on remaining UK F-35s will take place today, but the majority of our aircraft have already been assessed and cleared. This includes jets in both the UK and the US.
F-35 flight trials from the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth continue. RAF Marham-based 617 Squadron had been scheduled for ground training this week, so the development has had no impact on their plans. The F-35 programme remains on schedule to provide our Armed Forces with a game-changing capability.
An MOD spokesperson said:
Safety is our paramount concern, therefore the UK has decided to pause some F-35 flying as a precautionary measure while we consider the findings of an ongoing enquiry. F-35 flight trials from the aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, are continuing and the programme remains on schedule to provide our Armed Forces with a game-changing capability. We will continue to review the situation as further information becomes available.
Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference
The fourth international Illegal Wildlife Trade conference began in London yesterday as £900,000 of new funding was announced to develop a new British military counter-poaching taskforce. The announcement builds on the significant success of, and lessons learned from UK’s previous work to train rangers in Gabon and Malawi.
These operatives will be deployed to train African park rangers in more effective and safer counter-poaching techniques. Overall the project aims to reduce the number of poaching incidents and capture poachers in order for them to be brought to justice. The UK will work in partnership with targeted countries to provide support for intelligence mapping, interception tracking tactics and operations management.
ITV, The Guardian, Daily Mail, Evening Standard, The Times , Forces News (BFBS)and LadBible all report on the £900,000 of new funding to develop a new British military counter-poaching taskforce. The British Army will be deployed to train African park rangers in more effective and safer counter-poaching techniques, with the aim of catching more poachers and bringing them to justice. The coverage also carries comment from the Prime Minister who, in a video message, pledged the UK would do everything to bring down the illegal trade, including taking action domestically, such as the ivory ban.
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