In Brief: U.N. Peacekeepers Held; Hornet Jet Deal and a Navy First

Mike O'Brien

About 20 United Nations peacekeepers have been detained on the Golan Heights by approximately 30 armed fighters thought to be Syrian rebels, the UN announced on Wednesday afternoon.

The peacekeepers had been monitoring the cease-fire between Israel and Syrian troops on the Heights. U.N. deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey said the UN observers were on a routine supply mission on Wednesday when they were pulled over near an observation post which suffered damage in heavy combat at the weekend.

He said the U.N. peacekeeping mission has been dispatched to the area, the Associated Press reports.

It is so far unclear whether any Americans are involved and some reports have suggested the observers are from the Philippines.

The Pentagon has notified Congress of plans to sell 12 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters and 12 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare jets to Australia. The deal, which is worth $3.7 billion, would be a major boost to Boeing’s foreign sales expansion plan amid Pentagon spending cuts, reports.

Australia has yet to sign the deal. The country had originally planned to buy F-35 s but that appears to have been put on hold following several problems with the fighter jet.

The Growler is a version of the Super Hornet that is equipped for electronic warfare.

The Navy's first mobile landing platform ship, USNS Montford Point, has been christened at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego. The ship is owned and operated by Military Sealift Command and will join MSC's Maritime Prepositioning Force as a seagoing pier for times when accessibility to onshore bases is denied, Aerospace & Defense News reports.

MSC’s commander, Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby, said at the ceremony: "This ship, with its unique capabilities, will become the centerpiece of sea-basing, allowing the U.S. Navy to raise forward-operations to a new level.

"Wherever the call, whatever the need, USNS Montford Point will be part of the Navy's global force for good."

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