Russia Follows Crimean Playbook in Eastern Ukraine
- Pro-Russian operators have seized Ukrainian government buildings in 3 eastern cities, including Kharkiv where Spectechnoexport has a military vehicle plant. Separatists in Donetsk declared independence and announced a referendum on May 11, right when pro-Russian mobs seemed to be waning.
- Russia’s RIA Novosti notes that Ukraine puts mothballed Mig-29s back in service, but also the self-admitted sorry state of Ukrainian readiness.
- Poland will keep 18 of its 32 old Su-22M strike fighters until 2024, as part of a complex set of choices that were partly tied to Poland’s selection of its new trainers. When Poland opted for lowest-bid over dual-use capability, retaining its close air support fighters was inevitable, but compatible weapon shortages will create interesting problems. Maybe the USA should just sell them decommissioned A-10Cs?
Dept of Less Bad News
- 23 people were killed during last weekend’s elections in Afghanistan, which was not disruptive enough to prevent significant turnout.
- Reuters: Libyan rebels, government agree to gradually reopen occupied oil ports.
China Casts Mass Anti-Corruption Net
- Former PLA general Gu Jinshan, charged with corruption on March 31st, seems to have accumulated staggering wealth by taking his cut from the sale of military land. Are the PLA/Communist party/Chinese government airing these allegations in a real effort to clean up their act, to placate public resentment, or as a purge meant to further consolidate Xi Jinping’s power?
Memo to Microsoft: Industry Still Needs XP
- The Register can sometimes sound rabid in their criticism of Microsoft, but in a level-headed article the publication points out how manufacturers using Windows XP in embedded systems have little choice in the matter and cannot just upgrade their industrial infrastructure because Microsoft chooses to no longer support an operating system still widely used in some quarters. The British and Dutch governments already agreed to costly support deals with Microsoft, but that’s not a viable, or even available, option for small and medium defense contractors. While support for vanilla XP ends tomorrow, Microsoft will support Windows XP Embedded until January 2016, but that is still not aligned with the lifespan of some industrial systems. XP is also used in a vast majority of ATMs.
Chile Gets 3rd OPV
- Chile’s ASMAR launched [in Spanish] Marinero Fuentealba, the 3rd 1.771-ton Offshore Patrol Vessel it built for the country’s navy.
A Self-Flying Robot with Laser Beams!
- Today’s video comes from the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) and demonstrates their Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS). Autonomy goes beyond purely unmanned systems: