Monthly Archives: February 2020

Armed Forces Day 2020 Capability Demonstration |Night Shoot- Roodewal Bombing Range

The most anticipated event of the Armed Forces Week taking place in Polokwane had to be the capability demonstration at the Roodewal Bombing Range a few kilometres outside the Limpopo capital Polokwane.

Guests were flown up to Polokwane by a charted aircraft,where they were then bused to the bombing range,to witness some of the different assets the South African National Defence Forces Firepower!

The display of arms started with various vehicles showing their fire power, that being the Ratel 90,Olifant MK2 battle tanks are just to name a few.Pathfinders were then dropped into the battle zone as that was the beginning of the mechanised attack from different mechanised armored vehicles, air assets and other ground forces.

Ratel 90
Olifant mk2

The South African Airforce are big favourites at Roodewal as this is the home to 2 Squadron and 85 Combat Flying School as their weapons training grounds. An Oryx Helicopter simulated a fire fighting task, with a Bambi bucket equipped underneath the helicopter.

Oryx Helicopter

The fighters assets provided a recce run, with a single gripen and hawk. A 2v1 combat routine was then shown by two friendly JAS39C Gripens and a enemy Hawk Mk120.

Hawk & Gripen Formation
2 Squadron JAS39C Gripen

Trooping was tasked to a pair of Oryx helicopters with fast ropping, followed by two Agusta A109 helicopters providing a mock hoisting operation from a downed pilot scenario.

Agusta A109LUH

From the transport line including 44 Squadron with a single Casa 212 simulated a tactical cargo supply drop. A 41 Squadron Cessna 208A Caravan was the eye in the sky providing top cover footage to both the spectators and playing a vital role during the entire period of the demonstration with aerial visuals to the coordinators of the simulated battle zone.

44 Squadron Casa 212
41 Squadron Cessna 208A Caravan

The invited guests were treated to see 2 different 16 Squadron Rooivalks in camo and in white, the proudly south African made helicopter provided both cannon and rocket fire gun runs during the demo.

16 Squadron Rooivalk rocket strike!
16 Squadron Rooivalk

Bombing runs were then up next ,with Hawks and Gripens and then followed by a 30mm Aden cannon strike from four Hawks on Charlie Coke known to the pilots as the famous weapons strike zone!

Hawk Bomb Run
The Aftermath
Hawk 30mm Cannon

The night shoot was made up of all arms of ground forces fire power at Roodewal,as well as a cannon and rocket strike from a Rooivalk Helicopter. A single gripen flew directly over the crowd with full afterburner as it reached for the Limpopo night skies filled with dropping flares,a oryx helicopter following next with a flare drop to close off this years Armed Forces Day Capability demonstration.

Oryx Helicopter Flares

A very big well done to all members of the South African National Defence Force that made the event possible and abling the media to attend these exciting demo’s!

Next Lowveld Airshow only in 2021

MEDIA RELEASE

19 February 2020

Lowveld Air Show postponed to 2021

Dear Media Partner

On Wednesday, 12 February 2020, the Lowveld Air Show committee reached a decision to postpone the 2020 Lowveld Air Show during a special meeting that was held.

Since the 2017 air show, the committee has considered the option of only hosting an air show once every two years. We played with the idea, but continued hosting it each year due to public demand. “The 2019 air show was one of our biggest and most successful air shows ever hosted. The new approach of a shorter air show and other factors that contributed to it being such a great success, made this an incredibly hard decision to make,” Johan Heine, Chairperson of the Lowveld Air Show committee stated. “We understand most of our valued partners, each year, look forward to form part of this very popular Lowveld family event.

However, the economic downturn, financial pressure, and the significant escalation of air show costs, the wise decision was put into effect now, to only host an air show every two years, starting 2021,” Johan continued.

By hosting it bi-annually, it will allow all our partners the opportunity for long term budget planning and possibly bigger and more sponsorships which will enable us to always present an air show on the highest standards everyone has become accustomed to. Johan said they invite all interested corporates and business owners who would like to get involved in the second biggest event hosted in the Lowveld, to contact them, as planning is already underway for next year.

“We would like to make use of this opportunity to thank all our loyal supporters which include sponsors, participants, exhibitors, and most importantly the public who come to enjoy this massive family event every year. We truly value you.”

It will always stay our main priority to bring the world of aviation to the Lowveld community in conjunction with our main aviation partner, Kishugu. Their main purpose is to expose the public and our youth to the many careers in the aviation industry.

We are certainly committed and excited to get planning underway for a bigger and better Lowveld Air Show 2021.

See you next year!

For more information contact: Naranda Leeuwner

Marketing and Media Liaison 072 447 5968

END/

Photos from the 2019 Airshow

 

Most Powerful Rolls-Royce Business Aviation Engine’s Takes To The Skies For The First Time

Two Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines have successfully powered the brand new Gulfstream G700 to the skies for the first time. The purpose-designed engine, the most powerful in the Rolls-Royce business jet propulsion portfolio, is the exclusive powerplant for Gulfstream’s flagship aircraft, the world’s most spacious business jet. 

The Gulfstream G700, which used a 30/70 blend of sustainable aviation fuel for this first flight, took off from Gulfstream’s headquarters in Savannah, Georgia, USA, at 1:19 p.m. local time and landed 2 hours and 32 minutes later. The aircraft and its engines will now undergo an intensive flight test programme ahead of certification. 

Dr. Dirk Geisinger, Director – Business Aviation, Rolls-Royce, said: “This is a truly great moment for all of us and we are very proud. The cutting-edge Pearl 700 is a perfect fit for the Gulfstream G700 and will help the aircraft deliver an unrivalled combination of ultralong-range, speed and performance. We have already achieved more than 1,500 testing hours and 5,000 cycles, and we are fully committed to supporting the G700 flight test programme.”

With more than 3,200 business jets in service today powered by Rolls-Royce engines, the company is the world’s leading engine supplier in this market. The Pearl 700 is the newest member of the state-of-the-art Pearl engine family, first introduced in 2018, and marks the seventh new civil aerospace engine introduced by Rolls-Royce over the past decade. Gulfstream’s selection of the Pearl 700 to power its new flagship aircraft reaffirms Rolls-Royce’s position as the leading business aviation engine manufacturer. The engine was developed at the Rolls-Royce Centre of Excellence for Business Aviation Engines in Dahlewitz, Germany.

The Pearl 700 combines the Advance2 engine core, the most efficient core available across the business aviation sector, with a brand-new low-pressure system, resulting in an 8 per cent increase in take-off thrust at 18,250lb compared to the BR725 engine. The engine offers a 12 per cent better thrust-to-weight ratio and 5 per cent higher efficiency, while maintaining its class-leading low noise and emissions performance. The result is an engine that is highly efficient, but also able to propel the aircraft nearly as fast as the speed of sound (Mach 0.925).

It brings together innovative technologies derived from the Rolls-Royce Advance2 technology demonstrator programmes with proven features from the Rolls-Royce BR700, today’s leading engine family in business aviation. This includes a highly-efficient 51.8” blisked fan, a high pressure compressor with a market-leading pressure ratio of 24:1 and six blisked stages, an ultra-low emissions combustor, a two-stage shroud-less high pressure turbine and an enhanced four -stage low pressure turbine, that is one of the most efficient and compact in the industry.

The Pearl engine family is part of the Rolls-Royce IntelligentEngine vision of a future where product and service become indistinguishable thanks to advancements in digital capability. As well as a new-generation Engine Health Monitoring System that introduces advanced vibration detection, the family benefits from the incorporation of advanced remote engine diagnostics. It is also enabled for bi-directional communications, allowing for easy remote reconfiguration of engine-monitoring features from the ground. Cloud-based analytics, smart algorithms and Artificial Intelligence continue to play an increasing role in delivering exceptional levels of availability and greater peace of mind for our customers.

22 Squadron to the Rescue-Toitskloof Western cape

Big wall rescue for Base Jumper this past weekend in the Cape. Rescue 37 of 2020 for the Western Cape teams.

Picture by Brett Jennings/MCSA

A foreigner was critically injured after striking a cliff while BASE jumping in Du Toitskloof near Cape Town.

Picture-MCSA

A small WSAR team of 3 (2 medics and a climber) were deployed with the AMS (Western Cape Government Department of Heath) helicopter just before dark on the 14th. They abseiled 170m to the patient, where a Metro ALS Paramedic stabilised the patient overnight on the cliff face.

Picture by MCSA

At first light on the 15th 21 members of MCSA Mountain Rescue team assembled as part of a greater WSAR team.

A South African Air Force (SAAF) Oryx helicopter from 22 Squadron Airforce Base Ysterplaat inserted a MCSA Technical Rescue Climbing team, who assisted in retrieving the patient, the gear as well as the rest of the team on the cliff face.

After extraction the patient was treated at the landing Zone by doctors and paramedics then flown by AMS Air Ambulance Agusta A119 to Cape Town for further urgent treatment.

On behalf of the MCSA and patient we would like to extend our gratitude to the South African Airforce!

22 Squadron Oryx Helicopter

We wish the patient a speedy recovery.Thank you to the MCSA for the upbove detailed wording on the weekends rescue operation!

Virgin Atlantic -to start daily flight service to Cape Town in October 2020

Winter sunseekers can head down to South Africa on our new daily service flying from London Heathrow on a 787-9 aircraft.

The new service launches on 25th October and will complement our existing daily A350 service between London Heathrow and Johannesburg. The VS478 will operate as a night flight departing Heathrow at 16:20 arriving into Cape Town at 05:55 whereas the inbound, the VS479, will depart at 08:00 landing later that day at 18:00. Return Economy fares start from £713 per person.

“2020 is an extremely exciting year of continued growth for Virgin Atlantic,” said our chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen.

“We’re delighted to be flying to Cape Town again, and we’re expecting a high proportion of leisure travellers on this route, taking advantage of the winter sun, the safaris and of course, the world-famous wine region.”

You can book your place on our service from 18th February 2020, which gives you plenty of time to start planning your next trip.

If you need some inspiration, we’ve rounded up our favourite reasons to visit the Mother City, from the world renowned wine farms of the Constantia region to the challenge of hiking up Table Mountain. We’re already counting down the days.

Cape Town, South Africa

We look forward to seeing one of Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787s and Airbus A350 airliners touching down at Cape Town International Airport in October!

2 Squadron Gripens to open SONA 2020

The sharp end of the South African Airforce 2 Squadron flying the SAAB JAS39 C and D variants of the Gripen will be opening the State of the Nation Address by the commanding chief South African president Cyril Ramaposa.

Proceedings are set to take place at 19H00 on the evening of 13 February at Palamentary House in Cape Town this coming Thursday.

The Parliament of South Africa is South Africa’s legislature; under the present Constitution of South Africa, the bicameral Parliament comprises a National Assembly and a National Council of Provinces. The current twenty-seventh Parliament was first convened on 22 May 2019

2 Squadron is based at Airforce Base Makhado in the Northern Limpopo Province and led by Officer Commanding of 2 Squadron Lieutenant Colonel Josias “Boerboel” Mashaba.

In previous SONAs the SAAF have played a mighty role in top cover close air support, air policing and flypasts by both Gripen and the Silver Falcons.

First Rooivalk Flight 11th February 1990-30 Years On!

The Denel Rooivalk is an attack helicopter manufactured by Denel Aviation of South Africa. Rooivalk is Afrikaans for “Red Falcon”

16 Squadron Rooivalk SAAF Museum Flying Day 1 February 2020

The Rooivalk attack helicopter First Flight Rooivalk XDM was 30 years ago on the 11th February 1990,back in the days of the then Atlas Aircraft Coporation now known today as Denel Aeronautics.

Fitting the gearboxes to the Rooivalk XDM

Development of the type began in 1984 by Atlas Aircraft Coporation its development is closely connected to the Denel Oryx medium transport helicopter, both aircraft being based on the Aerospatiale SA330 Puma Helicopter and having started development at the same time on both projects.

Denel Oryx

Development of the Rooivalk was protracted due to the impact of limited budgets during the 1990s, and a desire to produce a highly advanced attack helicopter.

Being towed out for the first test flight from the Atlas Aircraft Coporation

Developing an entirely new helicopter from scratch would have involved designing and developing many accompanying subsystems and components, such as the turboshaft engines and the dynamic systems, such as the main and tail rotor systems and the gearboxes.

Rooivalk XDM during a test flight

Due to the great difficulty posed by the prospects of designing and manufacturing a clean-design helicopter, which would have substantially increased the cost and timescale of the project, it was decided to base the attack helicopter upon an existing design. At the time, the SAAF operated two principal helicopter types – the Alouette III and the SA330 Puma.

SAAF Museum SA330 Puma & Alouette III

 The Alouette III was a small helicopter which originated from the 1960s; due to the age of the design and a lack of engine power, it was not considered a favourable candidate for further development work.

The Puma was substantially larger and was equipped with more powerful engines; both factors provided a broader basis for the accommodation of additional equipment and for potential growth.

Another key factor for its selection was the parallel development of a localised and improvement model of the Puma in South Africa, known as the Atlas AS32 Oryx. The Oryx possessed an increased power-to-weight ratio and had improved performance in the high temperature climate that the type was typically being operated in; development of the Oryx was far quicker than what would become the Rooivalk as it was a more straightforward program.

 Other potential sources were mooted, such as the use of propulsion elements of the Aerospatiale Daulphin ; the adoption of these components has been speculated to have likely resulted in a smaller and potentially more economic rotorcraft.

Ultimately, it was decided to adopt both the powerplant and dynamic systems of the Oryx—which bore significant similarities to their Puma and now Airbus Helicopters AS332 Super Puma ancestors—as the basis for the planned attack helicopter;

Commonality with the Oryx systems would simplify logistics and reduce maintenance costs. This meant that the attack helicopter would have a significantly large airframe, giving it long range and the capability to carry many sensors and armaments.

During the 1980s, the defence budgets of South Africa were relatively generous, especially in contrast to later decades, thus Denel sought to provide a rotorcraft that would be amongst, even potentially superior to, the best attack helicopters in the world.

The helicopter, later named the Rooivalk, was envisioned as an agile, highly sophisticated gunship, especially suited to the threats of the Angolan conflict and countering vehicles such as the T-55 battle tank.

Rooivalk on display in Farnbrough International Airshow, United Kingdom

Three Rooivalk attack helicopters have been deployed with the United Nations to support of the stabilization in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2013.

16 Squadron Rooivalk & SAAF Museum Alouette II

There has been more occasions where the Rooivalks have seen action with the support of fire power in the DRC on a number of peace support missions since 2013.

UN painted Rooivalk AFD2019 Cape Town

The Rooivalk attack helicopter is based at Airforce Base Bloemspruit in the Central Free state province, flying for 16 Squadron, also home to 87 Helicopter Flying School, flying Agusta A109LUH and Oryx helicopters. The South African Airforce have just under a dozen on strength flying to date.

General Fabian “Zakes” Msimang stated:”The continued operation and future sustainability of the hardest working air assets of the SAAF being the Oryx, Rooivalk and C130, rely on an efficient and effective Original Equipment Manufacturer and Technical Design Authority of the Rotary Wing assets” during the recent Prestige day parade held at AFB Swartkop on January 31.

16 Squadron Rooivalk AAD2018

SAA Brings Miss Universe back home Aboard New A350-900 Aircraft

JOHANNESBURG, 8 February 2020 – South African Airways (SAA) was honoured to bring Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini Tunzi back home aboard its brand new Airbus A350-900 from New York on Saturday.

Her sparkling presence aboard SA204 added excitement on 15-hour journey between New York and OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg as customers interacted and took pictures with her.

“SAA is more than an airline, we – as Zozibini – are African first. We are a proud carrier of Africa’s hopes and dreams and its unlimited potential, which leaves us bursting with pride as we welcome our daughter back home and celebrate her global success,” said Zuks Ramasia, SAA’s ACEO.

 “Our crew described the opportunity to fly a South African born Miss Universe as one of their proudest and memorable experience, one that will remain an indelible highlight in their careers,” said Ramasia.

SAA flew Zozibini back to South Africa as one of the “Homecoming” partners to showcase pride, patriotism and embrace African heritage.

 In December, she flew SAA to Sao Paolo to participate in the Miss Universe contest as arranged by the Miss SA Pageant organisers.

The 25-year-old student hails from Tsolo in the Eastern Cape. She was crowned Miss Universe 2019 after previously being crowned Miss South Africa 2019. She is the third woman from South Africa to win the title, and the first black woman since Leila Lopes was crowned Miss Universe 2011.

SAA will fly the homegrown beauty queen back to New York where she lives during her reign as Miss Universe. On her return trip, she will again travel on the state-of-the-art aircraft, of which SAA has four in its fleet.

Like Zozibini, customers can enjoy the airline’s four A350s superior features such as a quieter cabin and relaxing in-flight experience including the all-new In-flight Entertainment (IFE), extra-legroom seats in Economy Class and lie-flat beds in Business Class.

The aircraft, which is environmentally friendly, with improved fuel-efficiency can fly further than any other aircraft in commercial service.

The introduction of the A350s will contribute to SAA’s operational efficiencies and cost reduction, and forms part of the ongoing fleet renewal programme. For example, through the A350s, we will lower our operational costs, and save on our fuel consumption by 25% and also lower our maintenance costs by 40% over a five-year period

Rolls-Royce Starts Manufacture of World’s Largest Fan Blades – Made of Composite Material – For Next Generation Ultra Fan



Rolls-Royce has started manufacture of the world’s largest fan blades, for its UltraFan® demonstrator engine that will set new standards in efficiency and sustainability.


As a set the composite blades have a 140-inch diameter, which is almost the size of a current
narrowbody fuselage, and are being made at the company’s technology hub in Bristol, United Kingdom.

The milestone also marks the official start of production of parts for the demonstrator.UltraFan will set new standards in efficiency and sustainability, offering a 25 per cent fuel reduction
compared to the first generation of Trent engine, and deliver the same percentage reduction in emissions.


Part of that efficiency improvement comes from UltraFan’s composite fan blades and fan case, which reduce weight on a twin-engine aircraft by 700kg, the equivalent of seven people travelling “weight free”.


Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said: “This is the decade of UltraFan and it’s exciting to enter the 2020s with the start of production of the demonstrator engine. We have got
all the building blocks in place, the design, the technologies, a brand-new testbed, and now we are actually seeing the engine come together.”


UltraFan, which will start ground tests in 2021 and be available towards the end of this decade, is a scalable design from 25,000lb all the way up to 100,000lb. It also features:

1.A new engine core architecture – to deliver maximum fuel burn efficiency and low emissions
Advanced ceramic matrix composites – heat resistant components that operate more effectively in high turbine temperatures.
A geared design to maximise high-thrust, high-bypass ratio engine efficiency

2
UltraFan is a key element of Rolls-Royce’s sustainability strategy, which involves continual research
to improve gas turbine performance as well as pioneering electrification and working with industrial
partners to accelerate the incorporation of Sustainable Aviation Fuels.

It is also part of the Rolls-Royce IntelligentEngine vision, which brings together its products,
services and digital technology.

The fan blades are created through the build-up of hundreds of layers of carbon-fibre materials, pre-filled with state-of-the-art, toughness-enhanced, resin material.

Heat and pressure are then applied,
and each blade is finished with a thin titanium leading edge, which offers extreme protection against
erosion, foreign objects and bird strikes.


Composite blades have already been extensively tested on an Advanced Low Pressure System development engine, including in-flight testing on the Rolls-Royce Flying Test Bed.

ALPS is a partnership between Rolls-Royce, Clean Sky, Innovate UK, BEIS, ATI, ITP Aero and GKN.

The portfolio of technologies being developed to enable UltraFan is supported by ATI,
Innovate UK, LuFo and Clean Sky 2.

  1. Rolls-Royce pioneers cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive
    solutions to meet our planet’s vital power needs.
  2. Rolls-Royce has customers in more than 150 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and
    leasing customers, 160 armed forces, 70 navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear
    customers.
  3. Annual underlying revenue was £15 billion in 2018, around half of which came from the
    provision of aftermarket services.
  4. In 2018, Rolls-Royce invested £1.4 billion on research and development. We also support a
    global network of 29 University Technology Centres, which position Rolls-Royce engineers at
    the forefront of scientific research.
  5. The Group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment and to further
    developing employee skills.

SR-71 Blackbird once over South African Skies!

August 1977 – East and West Work together to stop South Africa’s Nuclear testing

In the mid-afternoon on Saturday, Aug. 6, the acting chief of the Soviet embassy, Vladillen M. Vasev, called at the White House with an urgent personal message from Leonid I. Brezhnev to Jimmy Carter. South Africa, according to Soviet intelligence, was secretly preparing to detonate an atomic explosion in its Kalahari Desert. Brezhnev asked for Carter’s help to stop it.

U.S. reconnaissance satellite with high-resolution cameras also was urgently programmed for low-orbit passes over the area in question. US intelligence confirmed the existence of the nuclear test site with an overflight of a Lockheed SR-71 spy plane.

The Flight operated from Diego Garcia Air base and is about 5000km from South Africa, supported by an Air to Air Refuelling tanker, this flight would have been done with no difficulty.

About Vastrap Testing / Bombing Range

Vastrap on Google Maps 27°50’05.0″S 21°37’50.0″E ( https://goo.gl/maps/WhW5xQioCP7vtLBo8 )
Vastrap (Stand firm) is a small military airfield situated in the Kalahari Desert north east of Upington inside a 700 square kilometre weapons test range of the same name[1] belonging to the South African National Defence Force. It was constructed to allow the SAAF to practice tactical bombing operations, and for aircraft to service the SADF’s defunct underground nuclear weapon test site

Atomic testing

The area was selected for nuclear weapons testing due to its remoteness, low population density, stable geological formations and lack of underground rivers.

Two underground shafts 385 metres and 216 metres in depth and 1 metre in diameter were drilled from 1975-1977.Neither was ever used to perform a detonation, although instrumented tests were performed. The shafts were sealed with sand and concrete under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency in July 1993.

Detection

The site was first detected by the Soviet spy satellite, Cosmos 922 when it photographed the area from 21–25 July 1977, and reported to the Americans on 6 August, who in turn confirmed its existence with an overflight of the Lockheed SR-71 spy plane. The US then applied pressure on the South Africans for it to be closed, France also insisted on closure, threatening cancellation of the Koeberg nuclear power station contract.

David Albright reported that South African officials believed that an attempt to re-use the site in the late 1980s was detected by Western or Soviet intelligence agencies, and that this discovery influenced the Tripartite Accord. In an effort to mask activities, a shed was built over one of the shafts, and the water that was pumped out in preparation for a test was hauled away.

About Diego Garcia Air base

Diego Garcia is an island of the British Indian Ocean Territory, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. It is a militarised atoll just south of the equator in the central Indian Ocean, and the largest of 60 small islands comprising the Chagos Archipelago. It was first discovered by Europeans and named by the Portuguese, settled by the French in the 1790s and transferred to British rule after the Napoleonic Wars. It was one of the “Dependencies” of the British Colony of Mauritius until the Chagos Islands were detached for inclusion in the newly created British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in 1965.

In 1966, the population of the island was 924. These people were employed as contract farm workers on coconut plantations owned by the Chagos-Agalega company. Although it was common for local plantation managers to allow pensioners and the disabled to remain in the islands and continue to receive housing and rations in exchange for light work, children after the age of 12 were required to work. In 1964, only 3 of a population of 963 were unemployed. In April 1967, the BIOT Administration bought out Chagos-Agalega for £600,000, thus becoming the sole property owner in the BIOT. The Crown immediately leased back the properties to Chagos-Agalega but the company terminated the lease at the end of 1967.

Between 1968 and 1973, the now unemployed farm workers were forcibly removed from Diego Garcia by the UK Government so a joint US/UK military base could be established on the island. Many were deported to Mauritius and the Seychelles, following which the United States built a large naval and military base, which has been in continuous operation since then. As of August 2018, Diego Garcia is the only inhabited island of the BIOT; the population is composed of military personnel and supporting contractors. It is one of two critical US bomber bases in the Asia Pacific region, along with Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Pacific Ocean.

The atoll is located 3,535 km (2,197 mi) east of Tanzania’s coast, 1,796 km (1,116 mi) south-southwest of the southern tip of India (at Kanyakumari), and 4,723 km (2,935 mi) west-northwest of the west coast of Australia (at Cape Range National Park, Western Australia). Diego Garcia lies at the southernmost tip of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a vast underwater mountain range with peaks consisting of coral reefs, atolls, and islands comprising Lakshadweep, the Maldives, and the Chagos Archipelago. Local time is UTC+6 year-round (DST is not observed).

On 23 June 2017, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in favour of referring the territorial dispute between Mauritius and the UK to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in order to clarify the legal status of the Chagos Islands archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The motion was approved by a majority vote with 94 voting for and 15 against.

In February 2019, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that the United Kingdom must transfer the islands to Mauritius as they were not legally separated from the latter in 1965. The ruling is not legally binding.

In May 2019, the United Nations General Assembly affirmed the decision of the International Court of Justice and demanded that the United Kingdom withdraw its colonial administration from the Islands and cooperate with Mauritius to facilitate the resettlement of Mauritian nationals in the archipelago.

In a written statement the U.S. government said that neither the Americans or the British have any plans to discontinue use of the military base on Diego Garcia. The statement said in a footnote: “In 2016, there were discussions between the United Kingdom and the United States concerning the continuing importance of the joint base. Neither party gave notice to terminate and the agreement remains in force until 2036”.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vastrap

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1977/08/28/how-west-soviets-acted-to-defuse-s-african-a-test/eada5bcc-7727-4c32-b8e2-f21d55a9d4c3/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Africa_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diego_Garcia

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