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War at Sea – Northern Cog

Posted by picard578 on December 9, 2019

Military Fantasy


After Roman hull-first construction techniques were abandoned and replaced with ribs-first construction, battering ram became useless as a weapon. As a result, naval action came to depend on missile exchange and boarding – only introduction of cannon saved galley as a ship of war in the Mediterranean (see “Galley vs sailing ship” post). In Atlantic, many battles were fought exclusively on cogs (e.g. Battle of Sluys), although war galley survived for purposes of raiding, anti-piracy and coastal patrol. Galley simply is not an effective seagoing weapon system: it has limited radius of action, endurance, and lacks seaworthiness to leave shore. Galley fleets were thus dependant on coastal stations (which is why Venice tried to conquer Croatian shore multiple times, succeeding after Croatian union with Hungary as latter didn’t care much about the sea). They were incapable of blockaing a port unless a friendly army held the shore…

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War at Sea – Galley vs Sailing Ship

Posted by picard578 on December 9, 2019

Military Fantasy

Featured Image By Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom : Home : Info : Pic; alternate version: Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork, Public Domain, Link


Most of fantasy does
not consider naval warfare, and those writers which do have varied
performance in portraying it. In Lord of the Rings, dromund-style
ships are described to be used. While Byzantine dromond would not
have been appropriate for the geography of Middle-Earth – Bay of
Belfalas is not a closed sea in the vein of Mediterranean –
Middle-English “dromund” can denote any large medieval
ship. It is made clear however that these ships are oared, which
means that they are most likely similar to Viking longships (or else
Irish galleys, themselves similar to longships). Fleet of Ar-Pharazon
explicitly has enormous galleys, which would not have been capable of
making a trip from Numenor, either to Middle-Earth…

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Rule The Waves playthrough: Byzantium 4

Posted by picard578 on September 7, 2019

This time, I noticed GGP-1 in US file, and added it to Byzantium. Turns out, this – not RGP-1 – is key to rapid economic growth; I enabled it while leaving GDP values as they were originally. Anyway, I started the game, and started building ships. However, treaty soon hits, forbidding ships larger than 13 200 tons and guns larger than 10 inches. Lucky break for me, seeing how shipbuilding capacities I have are limited anyway, so I focus on building destroyers and cruisers for now. For a time, I have 2 B, 1 CA, 1 CL and 1 DD building, and a dozen submarines. Austria-Hungary apparently takes ubrage at my building, and tensions increase. They reduce soon after, but I still refuse to sell A-H Main Battery Wing Turrets when they ask. After previous batch is finished, it is time for 2xCA, 2xCL and 2xDD.

It is 1906., and an assasination causes war with Austria-Hungary. First battle is two battleships vs two, and I sink an Arpad class battleship while losing two destroyers. Major victory, with 26 000 score differential. Next, I design a battleship – a proper BB – and I also make sure to include every possible weight saving option I have. Turret locations are forward, forward centerline and midships – total of 6 14-in guns, as I cannot have wing turrets of that calibre. Speed is 21 knot, same as original HMS Dreadnought, belt armour is 12 in, deck is 3 in, while turret face is 14 in and roof is 4 in. Total displacement 21 000 tons. 19 destroyers are set to ASW/Coastal patrol. Quick check reveals that the only other nation building a dreadnought is Great Britain, but theirs is 25 700 tons – rather more than historical Dreadnought’s 18 400 tons.

Battle off Crete, enemy force has 2 CA and 2 CL that I am aware of. I set my CA’s on enemy CL’s, and leave battleships to handle enemy CA’s. I sunk a CL, while the second one runs away, saved by the nightfall. End table reveals that I lost one AUX in exchange for two CL’s, with 17 463 VP’s vs Austria’s 3 363. This on strategic level translates to major victory, with me gaining 1 263 VP and Austria 318 VP. Austrian navy declines three battles in a row, but the one they do accept is a major fleet battle with my fleet deploying 5 battleships. I manage to cross their T briefly, but abandon the battle following nightfall. One of my destroyers sink, giving A-H minor victory.

Strategically, France and Russia are also building dreadnoughts by now – Russia is building two, and all four dreadnoughts are larger than my design. Austrian navy again declines three battles in row, giving me 220 (60, 60, 100) victory points for free. In next fought battle, I nearly loose two light cruisers to their own stupidity – how hard can it be to point ship’s prow away from the enemy and run? – but situation is turned around when I run across my own reinforcements, and now Austrians have to bravely run away. Admiral Orders Misunderstood sends two of my destroyers careening away to God-knows-where. Austrians eventually run away with no further damage.

Next battle is 2 CA vs 2 CA, 8 000 ton Macedonia and Dalmatia against Austrian 8 600 ton Leitha class and 7 000 ton Kaiserin und Konegin Maria Theresia class. As before, nightfall allows Austrians to run away. I gain awesome 615 VP to Austrian 226 VP (92 to 48 in strategic map). However, I also gain 230 VP for blockade of the enemy. Another fleet action, this time destroyers. Not very good, as I run afoul a bunch of A-H coastal batteries all sat in the same place and lose two destroyers. AH gains 213 VP, but I gain another 230 VP for blockade.

Next battle is cruiser action, and thanks to Admiral Orders Misunderstood, my fleet disintegrates. Austrians have no such issues, so I pull back and try to hunt down few isolated Austrian ships. Two light cruisers escape, but one is surrounded, immobilized and sunk. Later I corner against Italian shore and sink one of the two escaped cruisers, but second one escapes. I get 28 600 VP versus 1 700 Austrian, which on strategic map gives me 1 932 VP and two prestige versus Austrian 190 VP.

In September 1907, A-H offers me “disputed border areas and some of their colonies”. I accept, but peace negotiations “founder on mutually unacceptable demands”. Following is a cruiser action off Crete, which I mostly avoid – however, despite losing a destroyer to superior enemy force, I still apparently caused enough damage to a cruiser for a minor victory. Gained 442 VP on strategic map to A-H 238 VP, and another 210 for the blockade. I now have two dreadnoughts building to one Austrian, and 8 401 VP to Austrian 1 974. Budget is 255 million to Austrian 225 million.

Next fleet battle is November 1907. It is massive battle, but night falls almost immediately – rendering battleships next to useless, so I pull a withdrawal. Apparently, in a brief engagement my fleet managed to sink A-H destroyer and damage some ships, gaining me 3 490 VP against A-H 903 – 327 to 120 on strategic map, and another 220 VP for blockade. I also opt to put some smaller light cruiser at raider status.

After some more sinkings by raiders and submarines innext two or three turns, peace is concluded with our side gaining “large territories and considerable war reparations”. Of course, A-H has no territories to take.

In April 1909., I had researched triple turrets. Next battleship is a 24 500 ton design, despite my docks being capable of 25 000 tons. It is armed with 9 11 in guns, 18 5 in guns and 16 3 in guns. Speed is 23 knots – an increase over normal speed of 21 knots – belt and turret face armour is 11 in, turret top is 6 in, deck is 4 in and secondaries 5 in. Due to strategic and tactical environment of the Mediterranean, I opted for the turtleback armour scheme.

I decide to send a battleship on a cruise. I gain prestige, and also few nations jump into yellow. Situation soon calms down, but only temporarily. I also realize I have 14 in guns, and so design a 27 000 ton battleship, with 7 14-in guns, 23 knot speed, 13 in belt and turret armour, 6 in turret top and 3 in deck. It requires some innovative thinking to get all of that into 27 000 ton package – e.g. turrets are of 2-3-2 arrangement in L, Q and R positions – but I manage. I also let Italy take control of Mozambique, and place predreadnoughts into reserve to order a new light cruiser.

I am forced to build a battlecruiser, and achieve that by reducing guns to 11 in, belt armour to 11 in, and deck to 2 in. Turret protection stays the same, and I manage to get the speed of 29 knots at long range design – excellent for raiding. New design is Satala-class. Russia apparently assassinates my diplomates, and I have a choice – go to war against Russia, or go to war against Russia and Italy. Naturally, I choose the former.

Compared to Russia, both countries have similar budgets – 445M for Byzantium, 429M for Russia. But Byzantium has 4 dreadnoughts totaling 91 000 tons, and a 24 500 dreadnought two months from completion, compared to 2 dreads totalling 43 400 tons for Russia. Russia does have a battlecruiser of 20 600 tons. 11 Byzantine predreadnoughts displace 156 800 tons total, compared to 147 100 tons for 10 Russian ones. Russia has significant advantage in CA’s – 23 against 14 – and CL’s – 36 against 24. Destroyer numbers are similar, at 68 Byzantine and 57 Russian, but Byzantium has 30 submarines to 16 Russian. I put all CL’s to raid, except few 8 000 ton ones.

Russians sign the peace agreement with no border changes the next turn. I lose 1 prestige due to not having enough battlecruisers building, but on plus side shipyard capacity spontaneously increases by 1 000 tons – twice. Next project: 33 000 ton battlecruiser. Eight 11-in guns in three turrets, 30 knots speed, at displacement of 31 000 tons. Belt armour is 11 in, and deck armour is 2 in, but turret armour is 13 in front and 6 in roof. Another is 35 000 ton battlecruiser with 9 11-in guns and much better armour, but costing only 500 000 more per month.

Next design is 36 000 ton battleship. Nine 14-in guns, 12 5-in guns in double turrets, 16 3-in guns and 6 torpedo tubes. Belt armour 14 in, deck armour 6 in, 14 in turret face, 6 in turret top and 5 in secondaries turns out too much; instead, I reduce secondaries to 2 in and belt armour to 13 in. Total displacement in the end is 35 851 t – 35 582 t after I reduce base displacement gradually to 35 600 t.

Now I have 7 BB and 3 BC to A-H 5 and 3, and so I finally retire remaining predreadnoughts. I also redesign Gratianos class (previously described) as a battlecruiser, by reducing main guns to 11 in and deleting centerline turret, thus increasing speed to 30 knots (compared to Gratianos’ 23 knots). I also produce some minesweepers. Next month (it is 1917), I scrap some 20 obsolete destroyers – and even so I still have more than anyone else except UK.

Quadruple mounts are now available, and it is time for new battleship. I take Gratianos, equip it with 8 14 in guns in quadruple turrets, and increase belt armour to 14 in. Increase in displacement to 38 000 tons allows speed to increase to 27 knots. Armour scheme is 14 in belt, 6 in deck, 3 in conning tower, 14 in turret, 6 in turret roof and 2 in secondary turrets. Reduction in conning tower armour to 3 in allows for 12 5-in secondaries and 18 4-in tertiary guns.

Tension with A-H is almost to war, and so I take a look at the inventory. Battleships are 8 in service and 3 building vs 6 in service and no building. BC are 4/0 vs 4/3, CA are 8/0 and 1/0, CL are 28/0 and 16/2, DD are 48/2 and 27/3, MS are 3/3 and 15/6, and submarines are 49/0 and 26/3.

War breaks out, and it is battlecruiser action. At night. This repeats itself – apparently the game likes to cheat. The only good thing is that I have no more battlecruisers left. The war does not go well, and I decide to never build any battlecruisers again.

Later, I manage to nab Tunisia, but doing so brings me to the brink of war with Italy and Russia both. Which is what happens. First engagement is with Italy – bombardment of land target. Along the way I nab an MS, and also manage to destroy the target, but I miss on sinking a CL that was in the area. I get 313 VP and Italy 100.

I design a new 46 000 ton battleship, and next task is sinking 2 TR’s with two antique 22-knot light cruisers. Enemy has 2 CA’s, 2 BC’s and half a dozen CL’s, so mission fails with loss of my geriartric cruisers. Next mission also confirms the Random Number God hates me, and I have to bravely run away. I decide to accept peace offer, losing two prestige, but less than if I had continued to fight. I get to keep Tunisia, giving me a foothold in Western Mediterranean, so there is that. Wartime building programme continues despite the deficit, so I soon receive a BB and a CL. In fact, my current budget is only 1,5 million less than that of Great Britain – 430 million vs 431 million.

A ship runs aground, and I make a demand for release, raising tensions again. This immediately gets me additional funding, which at 465 million is now the highest of all powers – British is only 433 million. Even so, my fleet is still among smaller in terms of capital ships – only 11 battleships, where even Russia has 6 battleships and 8 battlecruisers. My average battleship is on the larger side, with total tonnage of 442 000 tons, giving me good ahead in tonnage – Russia has 442 000 tons, Spain 284 600, while more powerful than me are Austria-Hungary with 494 600 tons, Italy with 460 700 tons, France with 577 400 tons and UK with 1 093 100 tons. New battleship arrives next turn, raising tonnage to 486 000 tons.

And the game hits me with a naval treaty. I really should get smart and avoid agreeing to any such treaties, no matter what – this is probably fifth time game had done that just as I started major rearmament. So I order a bunch of submarines and light cruisers. Each of these cruisers has 32 18-in torpedo tubes, and so can – in right conditions – murder a battleship. What I build next is an armoured cruiser with six 10-in guns, six torpedo tubes, 10 in turret and 9,5 in belt armour. Deck armour is 2 in. With additional funding given due to threat of Austria-Hungary, I immediately order two.

Soon I am at war with Austria-Hungary. First battle involves three of my battleships against six Austrian battleships and two battlecruisers. Arkadios is soon reduced to 20 knots, and Diokletianos A’ Prokahontas is immobilized. I manage to sink Radetzky class battleship, and soon receive three battleships of reinforcements under AI control, but Diokletianos A’ Prokahontas sinks. Turns out I managed to sink three A-H battleships for the loss of two of my own, so I get 316K VP’s to A-H 265K. On strategic map, it is 18K vs 15K. I order a battleship and two destroyers in addition to ships already building.

In next battle two of my light cruisers run into a battleship and a battlecruiser – at night, so no chance of evasion. Having no torpedoes, they are sunk without causing any damage. Next battle deploys three of my battleships. Two A-H light cruisers run away, but I soon run into five A-H battleships. I turn towards the enemy and manage to kinda-sorta cross their T from behind for a brief time. Austrian BB Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand class blows up due to Turret W flash fire, but Iulianos Apostatos is hit by a torpedo and loses steering. It recovers, and I send my fleet steaming south at 10 knots to limit flooding. At any rate it is a major victory – A-H had lost two battleships (second likely due to flooding) and a DD, while I had lost no ships sunk, although 1 BB was heavily damaged. I get 132k points vs Austrian 43,7k, which on strategic map translates to two prestige and 7 912 VP for me, and 2 832 VP for Austrians. I now lead 27 446 versus 19 480 VP, and also designate that battle as memorable – though I am not sure what that does. A-H is now blockaded, and I gain 240 VP for blockade of the enemy. I also set all my 13 non-torpedo-tube CL’s to raider status. A-H now has 3 BB and 8 BC to 10 my BB, but I have 398 000 tons of capital ships to A-H 355 500 tons.

Next battle sees only two light cruisers deployed. I run across a DD and three MS, but run across two A-H CL and three DD. CL Nasar manages to torpedo A-H CL, and Austrians decide to retreat. I opt for the same, as we are too close to Kotor (A-H naval base) for comfort (why the f**k game uses Italian names for Croatian cities, I do not know). I get 18 640 vs 7 767 VP. Now I have 28 968 VP to A-H 20 155. On Basileus’ inqury I reply with “Navy can fight on if needed”, and a compromise peace is concluded with no changes in borders. My budget is still ahead of Great Britain’s, though only by 10 million or so. I have to stop GB from gaining foothold in Albania, which raises tensions with them.

I design a 48 000 ton battleship Zenos A’. Speed is still 27 knots – standard I chose for my battleline – and armament is eight 16-in guns in two turrets. It also has secondary armament of 12 5-in guns, but tertiary armament is increased to 20 4-in guns. Ship also receives eight torpedo tubes in two swivel mounts. Belt armour is standard 16 in with 6 in deck, but turret armour is increased to 17 in face and 7,5 in top – which had lead to reduction of tertiary armament from 24 to 20 guns. Fire control is also improved over previous class, to Advanced Director. I cannot build it yet, but with increased budget due to threat from Great Britain, I accelerate construction of a previous class. After cruisers are finished, I place both battleships on accelerated construction. Emperor screws me over by taking 2 million per month for a new yacht, but I only have 22 prestige now, and with submarines commisioned the next month, my whole 2,5 million deficit is erased.

Even with additional funding however my budget seriously lags behind Great Britain – 441 vs 671 million. I place both battleships and a torpedo light cruiser I’m building on accelerated construction, and order four destroyers which places me into 1,8 million deficit. On inquiry, I point out that we are not ready for war with Great Britain – prestige loss, but budget goes up, which lets me order additional two submarines. Great Britain takes over Borneo (it is 1932 now). I have to sacrifice prestige to avoid war with Great Britain and strenghten the navy.

And in no time flat, and for no reason at all, tension with Britain goes through the roof and we are at war. First is a destroyer action, in which only British success is ramming one of my destroyers. Apparently, sinking 3 DD and 1 MS for 1 DD lost constitutes a major victory – although strategic screen recognizes it as minor. I am almost immediately blockaded, and what follows is another destroyer action, which I win.

In next battle, my fleet deploys full 13 battleships. Not long after the battle begins, Britain loses CA Empress of India to A Turret flash fire. Battlelines engage soon after, and British BB Formidable is hit by a torpedo launched by one of my battleships. British 37 000 ton Resolution-class and 31 000 ton Formidable-class are quickly immobilized, but my BB Iustinianos A’ blows up due to turret hit – despite having 6 in turret roof (which is standard on all my battleships). Battleships on both sides get quite a few torpedo hits, and battle disintegrates. In the end I lost 6 battleships for 3 British, out of 13 battleships on my side and 14 battleships plus 2 battlecruisers on British side. I have to figure out how to fix turret fire problem. I get 33 734 VP, and British get 39 876 VP. For whatever reason, however, I am no longer blockaded. I send my 13 old light cruisers raiding – new ones I need for their torpedo tubes. In March 1934., after a war loan by Parliament and some raiding, I have 35 294 VP and Britain has 42 313 VP.

I take peace terms, but my prestige is only 12 now, and I get sacked.

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The F-35 will not be flying on aircraft carriers in the near future, which is a major blow to the program

Posted by altandmain on June 8, 2019

Recently, an article was published with the site “War is Boring”, about how the F-35 may be many years away from serious carrier operations.

It could be another decade before Ford-class carriers are able to launch F-35C jets

This is a very significant blow to the program. The whole justification of the F-35 program was inter-service platform sharing and the resulting cost savings that this would result in. Without this aircraft having a functional naval variant, one of the big justifications for the program is in serious jeopardy.

This comes on top of the Ford class of aircraft carriers, which has been experiencing issues with its  Electromagnetic Launch System (EMALS) and  Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) systems, which means that the aircraft carrier cannot do the basic functions of launching and recovering aircraft. These are not, by the way the only problems the carrier is facing. It is also facing issues with its elevators. In addition, the nuclear propulsion system is also facing difficulties. These appear to be significantly worse than what problems are “normally” expected in a first of class vessel.

On top of these issues are the other ongoing issues with the F-35, which the Ford class is going to carry. These have resulted in a very poor rate of combat readiness for the aircraft and the General Accountability Office has raised concerns about the situation. Here as well is an older DOT&E report. If you go through the report, there are a number of problems that it uncovered worthy of an article it and of itself.

It  should be noted that the F-35C, the naval version is not the only aircraft with problems. The GAO and DOT&E reports cover some of this, but to put things into perspective, it is believed that the F-35B may only have a service lifetime of a little more than 2000 hours due to structural problems.

While it is very possible to have an aircraft that can serve both on land and for naval applications (indeed Picard here has proposals for that involved navalized versions of all of his aircraft), the F-35 is unlikely to realize any cost savings from the approach they have taken, which actually don’t share that many parts between the aircraft.

Going back to the original story, this problem with the F-35C simply not being able to function on aircraft carriers puts into question the whole (increasingly shaky) justification for the program.  It may very well be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, so to speak. Not only are the aircraft and the aircraft carrier deeply flawed, but the F-35C simply may not be able to work on aircraft carriers anytime soon.

If these different versions of the F-35 cannot deliver their promised capabilities, then the whole justification for the F-35 program begins to fall apart. I think that it is time to evaluate whether or not the program is truly worth and if not, well in a situation like this, the sunk cost fallacy comes into play. Committing additional resources for a failing program like this is totally counterproductive.

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The types of Byzantine swords

Posted by picard578 on May 4, 2019

Ακαδημία Ιστορικών Ευρωπαϊκών Πολεμικών Τεχνών

By Bill Blake

It’s strange that we in the West have not hitherto paid greater attention to the study of the Byzantine world, the lineal descendant of Rome, and that Constantinople is often viewed as somehow disconnected from the Ancient Roman world when in no way was this true. Byzantium was the closest the medieval world came to fielding a super power, was unquestionably the cause of the Renaisance, and was a military force so preeminent that victories were routine, while defeats were studied and celebrated by that culture. There is so much to fascinate us there, and yet, we still have a long way to come in terms of appreciating it.

Between the Catholic world and the Islamic however, much has been done to throw sand over the legacy of the Romiosi; though we have the great fortune to live in an age where the religious and cultural reasons…

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The Camp of The Saints – Jean Raspail – Free PDF Download

Posted by picard578 on January 1, 2019

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The Byzantine warships and their tactics

Posted by picard578 on September 20, 2018

Weapons and Warfare


Reconstruction of an early 10th-century Byzantine bireme dromon by John H. Pryor, based on references in the Tactica of Emperor Leo VI the Wise. Notice the lateen sails, the full deck, the fore- and mid-castles, and the Greek fire siphon in the prow. The above-water spur is evident in the bow, while the captain’s tent and the two steering oars are located at stern.

The typical high-seas elite warship of the empire in the period was the dromon (from the Greek dromeas, meaning `the runner’). This was a two-masted fully decked bireme with two banks of oars, one rowed from below the deck and one from above it. There were twenty-five oarsmen on each side of each deck, thus raising the total number of oarsmen to a hundred, all fully seated. The marines and the officers of the ship numbered around fifty men, while the ousia, the standard complement of…

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The Spanish Army of the Thirty Years’ War

Posted by picard578 on September 3, 2018

Art of Warre

Modern impression of a tercio by artist Cabrera Peña. Source: magazine Desperta Ferro!

During the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries Spain was the dominant continental power of Europe. Its main strategic assets were (1) its American, Italian and Flandrian possessions, (2) the family ties and alliances of its Habsburg rulers, and (3) its military establishment. As a wargamer I will concern myself only with the infantry, cavalry, dragoons and ordnance.

1. The infantry

Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, engraving 1513

The core of the Spanish army was the infantry, and the core of the infantry were the shock troops called tercios. The tercio developed around 1530 out of an earlier batlefield formation, the coronelía, a 6000-strong unit of pikemen and harquebusiers with some halberdiers and sword-and-buckler men thrown in. The coronelía had been the answer to the double threat which Spain had encountered in the Italian wars: the Swiss Gewalthaufen (pike blocs) and the French heavy cavalry…

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Type 21 Frigate

Posted by picard578 on July 24, 2018

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GlobalEye Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Aircraft

Posted by picard578 on May 28, 2018

Thai Military and Asian Region

GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft is a new multi-role airborne surveillance system developed by Saab.

The aircraft is capable of offering air, maritime and ground surveillance on a single platform. It can operate in dedicated or multiple roles and has the ability to simultaneously switch between different roles at any point of time during an ongoing mission.

The GlobalEye airborne surveillance system was launched at the Singapore Airshow 2016. Saab received a $1.27bn contract from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in November 2015, to supply a new airborne swing role surveillance system (SRSS) integrating a new variant of the Saab Erieye radar system based on the Global 6000 aircraft.

Dubai Airshow 2015: UAE signs with Saab for two surveillance aircraft and upgrades:Here


The contract, which was announced at the Dubai Airshow 2015, will see the UAE receive two of the latest versions of Saab’s Erieye airborne…

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