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Saab developing Gripen fighter for Brazil
by Ryan Maass
Washington (UPI) Apr 5, 2017

F-16 crashes near DC on training mission
Washington (AFP) April 5, 2017 - The pilot of an F-16 fighter ejected safely when the plane crashed on a training mission near Washington on Wednesday, an Air Force official said.

Air Force spokesman Colonel Pat Ryder said the plane crashed in an unpopulated area about six miles (10 kilometers) southwest of National Harbor.

He said the plane was based at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, which is also home to the president's plane, Air Force One.

"The pilot ejected and is safe," Ryder told AFP.

The F-16 was part of the 113th Wing of DC's Air National Guard.

Ryder said he was not aware of any casualties on the ground.

Investigators will launch a probe.

Saab is developing its first aircraft for Brazil's air force, the company announced during the LAAD International Defense & Security Exhibition.

The manufacturer's work includes a two-seat version which has already begun production. Saab is coordinating with a number of Brazilian companies for the project.

"The first aircraft to be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force is already under production at Saab's facilities in Linköping, Sweden," Gripen Brazil business head Mikael Franzén said in a press release. "Furthermore, Brazilian engineers are participating in the development and integration of the fighter's systems. We are seeing an excellent working relationship between the Swedes and Brazilians, with the latter very passionate about being a part of the Gripen program."

Saab's two-seat version of the Gripen NG is being developed in the Brazilian state of Säo Paulo. The site currently has 56 engineers working on the aircraft. Company officials say the collaboration will help Brazil's industry improve its own capabilities.

"The transfer of technology also continues to advance to ensure the conditions needed for Brazilian companies to acquire all the knowledge related to the fighter development," Franzén added.

The Gripen fighter is a multirole aircraft that can be armed with air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, and can also support intelligence gathering operations.

Saab's project for Brazil's air force was discussed during LAAD 2017, an international defense industry conference held from April 4 to April 7. Over 600 brands are being showcased at the event.

CH-53K helicopters approved for low-rate production
Washington (UPI) Apr 5, 2017
The heavy lift CH-53K helicopter by Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky has gained Milestone C status, paving the way for low-rate initial production funding. The helicopter, meant for the U.S. Marine Corps, was granted the status after passing a U.S. Defense Acquisition Board review, Lockheed Martin said. "This affirmative Milestone C decision validates the maturity and the robust ... read more

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