Showing posts from November, 2017

US Navy boosts patrols in Black Sea amid tensions in region

The USS James E. Williams sailed into the Black Sea this week, the second U.S. warship in the past three months to patrol a region where fighting has increased between Ukrainian government troops and separatists backed by Russia. Another Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the USS Porter, completed a similar mission in August. The current patrol demonstrates the Navy’s more frequent presence in the Black Sea, where its ships once visited sporadically.

Russia has viewed the U.S. naval presence as aggressive posturing since 2014, when it annexed the Crimean Peninsula and began backing separatist forces fighting in eastern Ukraine. U.S. and European sanctions against Moscow have ratcheted tensions throughout much of Eastern Europe.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian media reported that a government soldier was killed and two others wounded in shelling by militants in the country’s east. The Navy doesn’t attribute any particular significance to the increased frequency of its Black Sea patrols. Destroyers a…

Spartan vs. C295: Winner of Turkish airlifter contest may secure $500M deal

Italian Leonardo’s C-27J Spartan airlifter will soon face off against the Airbus’ C295 in a sizable Turkish contract, with Ukraine-based company Antonov potentially joining the race. “We wish to see as large a competition as possible. We are certain about the European contenders joining the bidding,” a Turkish procurement official said of the program for the purchase of an initial batch of nine transport aircraft for the Turkish military. Another Turkish official confirmed there would be follow-on orders. Industry sources estimate the initial contract to be worth nearly $500 million. “With the follow-on orders, the program may double in size,” one source said. The deadline for questions, answers and clarifications between the bidders and Turkey’s procurement agency, the Under secretariat for Defense Industries, or SSM, is Nov. 29. The contenders will submit their bids to the Turkish government by Dec. 29. Leonardo officials who briefed a group of Turkish journalists at the 46th Air Br…

China building missile test that could reach the west coast of the United States in less than 14 minutes.

A hypersonic vehicle flying at this speed from China could reach the west coast of the United States in less than 14 minutes. Zhao Wei, a senior scientist working on the project, said researchers aimed to have the facility up and running by around 2020 to meet the pressing demand of China’s hypersonic weapon development programme. “It will boost the engineering application of hypersonic technology, mostly in military sectors, by duplicating the environment of extreme hypersonic flights, so problems can be discovered and solved on the ground,” said Zhao, a deputy director of the State Key Laboratory of High Temperature Gas Dynamics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

The ground tests will significantly reduce the risk of failure when test flights of hypersonic aircraft start. The world’s most powerful wind tunnel at present is America’s LENX-X facility in Buffalo, New York state, which operates at speeds of up to 10 kilometres per second – 30 times the speed of sound. Hypers…

How a French firm beat out Japanese companies in Australia’s submarine tender

A lack of Australian confidence in Japan’s defense industry sank an offer from Tokyo in the AUD$50 billion (U.S. $38 billion) tender for attack submarines, while greater stealth and advanced propulsion technology buoyed a rival French bid, said Sam Bateman, a research fellow at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security. Australia’s selection was based on a “commercial and strategic decision,” Bateman told the annual seminar of the Observatory for Southeast Asia on Nov. 17. The seminar, held at the French War College, was organized by Asia Centre, a think tank of Inalco, a French foreign language institute, and was backed by the Institute for Strategic Research and General Directorate for International Relations and Strategy. The latter two are part of the French Armed Forces Ministry. Japan enjoyed a strategic advantage, as there was “some U.S. pressure” on Australia to pick a Japanese submarine, Bateman said. But after an exhaustive study, there was “some unce…

Russia launches deadliest super sub that can fire nuke missiles further than its US rivals

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has unveiled his Navy's most powerful nuclear submarine  - which can easily outgun its American rival. The Knyaz Vladimir is capable of launching 16 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), which can lay waste to cities up to 5,778 miles away. Although its US counterpart – the Ohio-class sub – is  armed with 24 ICBMs, they only have a range of 4,846 miles and can't plunge to the same radar-dodging depths.

Russia's nuclear-powered Borei-A-class sub has the ability to dive to about 400 metres, making it hard to detect by sonar. Russia now plans to build a total of eight of the super subs by 2025. Putin is spending DOUBLE the amount on defence that Britain is, Defence Secretary Sir Micheal Fallon has warned. And earlier this year the First Sea Lord said the Royal Navy was facing its greatest challenge from Russian subs and warships since the Cold War.

A senior Russian defence industry official said: “The main purpose of the underwater inter…

Russia confirms 6,000mph HYPERSONIC Zircon missile ready for war ‘as of TODAY'

Vladimir Putin’s defence bosses confirmed “as of today” its military has weapons which we can supposedly fly up to eight times of the speed of sound. Head of the defence council Viktor Bondarev confirmed the Zircon cruise missile is now available in Russia’s arsenal while speaking on Tuesday.
The weapon – which Russia boasts is capable of Mach 8 – was last tested back in June. Hypersonic weapons are the at the centre of the next arms race between the US, China and Russia. And it appears Moscow have taken an early lead as they boast the weapons can beat NATO missile interceptors. The Zircon – also known as Tsirkon – has been in development for over 20 years since first being unvieled in 1995.

Russian warships, submarines, missile launchers and planes will be armed with weapon capable of manoeuvring around defence systems. It is designed to blast enemy ships out of the water and is capable of flying 250 miles at speeds of up to 6,138mph. Chillingly, current Royal Navy missile intercepto…


US Air Force Advanced Tactical Fighters F-22 Raptor jets proved unable to effectively track the Russian Aerospace Forces jets in Syria, a US 95th Reconnaissance Squadron commander stationed at UAE al-Dhafra air base told Aviation Week.

The unnamed commander noted that as the encirclement around ISIS grows narrower, Russian jets tend to appear near the US-led coalition jets. During these encounters, the coalition forces have to determine where did it come from and whom it belongs to on the spot. According to the commander, F-22 does not have the infrared and optic capability to allow that during nighttime, unlike the Fifth Generation F-35 jets and the Fourth Generation F-15 jets.

He also mentioned that F-22 are unable to transfer data through the Link 16 tactical data exchange network used by other US jets. This results in F-22 pilots having to report visual information on the radio. F-22 has one more negative compared to F-35. F-22s lack helmet-mounted displays. The commander said tha…

USAF commences Pacific deployment of F-35

The US Air Force (USAF) first operational overseas deployment of the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is now up and running on the Japanese island of Okinawa, the US Pacific Command (USPACOM) announced on 21 November.

Twelve aircraft and more than 300 personnel from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings (FWs) based at Hill Air Force Base (AFB) in Utah have now begun Theater Security Package (TSP) operations out of Kadena Air Base (AB).

The deployment which began earlier in November will see the F-35As operate alongside USAF Boeing F-15C Eagle fighters from the 18th FW that are co-located at Kadena AB. For the next six months, the TSP will provide reassurance to regional allies that will primarily take the form of joint training missions.

While this deployment is being billed as a first for the USAF, the 34th FS and 466th Fighter Squadrons (also from Hill AFB) were dispatched to Europe in April. Though that event was reported to be a training mission, it also i…

Arab-operated Patriots intercepted over 100 tactical ballistic missiles since 2015

Patriot batteries owned by Arab partners in the Middle East have intercepted more than 100 tactical ballistic missiles launched from Yemen since the Saudi-led war against Iranian-backed Houthis began in 2015, according to U.S. prime contractor Raytheon.

That number, which appears on the Raytheon website, is much larger than publicly available data from think tanks, the Saudi government or the other eight Mideast and African nations fighting in the Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed militias loyal to former Yemeni President Al Abdullah Saleh.

The Missile Defense Project of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies shows 40 interceptions and 18 strikes since the war began Saudi-Iranian proxy war began in March 2015. However, the group did include the latest Patriot intercept of a Yemen-launched tactical ballistic missile on Nov. 4, which indicates its data is not completely up to date or inclusive.

Accounts sympathetic to the Yemeni cause posted on soc…

Trump administration's $4 billion Plan B to deal with North Korea's nuclear missiles

Concerned that the missile defense system designed to protect US cities is insufficient by itself to deter a North Korean attack, the Trump administration is expanding its strategy to also try to stop Pyongyang's missiles before they get far from Korean airspace.

The new approach, hinted at in an emergency request to Congress last week for $4 billion to deal with North Korea, envisions the stepped-up use of cyber weapons to interfere with the North's control systems before missiles are launched, as well as drones and fighter jets to shoot them down moments after lift off. The missile defense network on the West Coast would be expanded for use if everything else fails.

In interviews, defense officials, along with top scientists and senior members of Congress, described the accelerated effort as a response to the unexpected progress that North Korea has made in developing intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to the continental United States…

First E-2D for Japan makes maiden flight

The first Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for Japan made its maiden flight on 13 November. The milestone, which was announced by the aircraft manufacturer two days later, took place at Northrop Grumman’s Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St. Augustine, Florida.

The Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) selected the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye in 2014 to help fulfill the nation’s AEW&C requirements, serving alongside the earlier model E-2C as well as the Boeing E-767 airborne warning and control systems (AWACS). Northrop Grumman began production in 2016 on the two aircraft so far contracted, with deliveries set to be complete by the end of 2018.

One operational with the Japan Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF), the E-2D will augment the 13 E-2C aircraft and four E-767s already in service.

As the latest variant of the Hawkeye carrier-based E-2 AEW&C aircraft that has been in US naval service since…

South Korean party lawmakers agree on tactical nuclear weapons

A South Korean ruling party lawmaker said he is in favor of the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons in his country, although South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office clearly ruled out the option in September. Lee Jong-kul, a politician in Moon’s progressive Minjoo Party, said Tuesday he is seeking U.S. endorsement on a potential South Korean decision to develop and deploy “sophisticated nuclear assets” on the peninsula to deter against North Korea provocations.
“I ask your strong support,” Lee said before an audience gathered at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Lee’s somewhat controversial proposal was met with support from the opposing side of South Korea’s political spectrum.

Shin Sang-jin, a member of the National Assembly and the conservative Liberty Korea Party, said at the same forum organized by the Global Peace Foundation he supports the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons.
“Even though we don’t know how effective this will be, one of the de…

US Spent $5.6 Trillion on Wars in Middle East Since 9/11

Earlier this year, the Department of Defense estimated the total cost of the post-9/11 military operations at $1.5 trillion. The Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University has carried out its own study positing that not all the costs had been calculated by the department.
The largest sum – $877.4 billion – was spent by the Department of Defense and Department of State on the operation in Afghanistan, while the Iraqi operation comes second at $819.1 billion, according to the study released by the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

"As of late September 2017, the United States wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria and the additional spending on Homeland Security, and the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs since the 9/11 attacks totaled more than $4.3 trillion in current dollars through FY2017. Adding likely costs for FY2018 and estimated future spending on veterans, the costs of war total more tha…

India Wants Second Nuclear Submarine From Russia. Lies By Lobbyists Erupt

India's attempt to buy a nuclear attack submarine from Russia appears to have triggered a misinformation campaign by defence lobbyists.

Yesterday, Russian news portal Kommersant reported that the Indian Navy had permitted a US technical crew into top secret compartments of India's existing Russian-built nuclear submarine, the INS Chakra, in clear violation of the terms of the contract between India and Russia. India leased this submarine in 2012 for approximately US$700 million and is in talks to acquire another.

According to Kommersant, which referred to this as "an unprecedented scandal," the incident "threatens to seriously complicate the negotiations both on the lease of the second nuclear submarine, and on other projects in the field of military-technical cooperation."

The Chakra, an Akula-2 class submarine, widely considered among the world's most sophisticated, has been leased by India for 10 years but all ownership rights reside with Russia.


SOUTH CHINA SEA - Beijing has a new ship that can build artificial islands.

Beijing has a new ship capable of creating artificial islands — potentially the largest of its kind in Asia — raising fears it could be deployed in the tension-laden South China Sea. The world's second-largest economy is testing a new deep sea dredger, an excavation vessel used for land reclamation, state-run media recently reported. The 140-meter-long Tian Kun Hao is capable of gathering 6,000 cubic meters of sand per hour from 35 meters beneath the sea and moving it away to create new land features, according to propaganda outlet Global Times. China has many land reclamation projects along its coastlines, so the presence of a new dredger isn't unusual. But the nation's track record of territorial aggression has spurred concerns the device will be used to create man-made islands in the South China Sea.

Beijing has previously utilized dredgers to create seven fortified islands — some of which now house airfields, missile bases and radar systems — in the international water…