A leaked memo written by the UK’s Chief of the General Staff appears to contradict assurances made by the Government that no more troops will be made redundant before the end of the Afghan campaign in 2015. The news comes after the United Kingdom National Defence Association (UKNDA) branded recent memo leaks as examples of deliberate disinformation from within the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The US Navy deployment to Libya, counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and budget issues make a similar response to the growing problem of West African piracy problematic.
Taiwan reveals that a People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Su-27 fighter crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait in late June. The Su-27 was in pursuit of a US U-2 reconnaissance plane. Taiwan responded by scrambling two F-16s to the area.
Russian police have launched a criminal investigation into the financial affairs of the management of the Severnaya Verf shipyard, St Petersburg. The investigation adds to concerns about the shipyard, after it announced that the launch of the first Admiral Gorshkov class frigate would be delayed until 2012.
EADS’ Cassidian signs a cooperation agreement with Ilex, a specialist Identity and Access Management (IAM) publisher. Cooperation is expected to to result in greater synergy between Cassidian’s Public Key Infrastructure system and Ilex’s access control platform.
A declassified report obtained by the National Security Archive reveals that China’s electromagnetic pulse weapons (EMP) programs are more advanced than once thought. The report also indicates that China has developed tactics utilizing EMP weapons in the event of US deployments in any future conflict with Taiwan.
The Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck Mckeon (R-CA), says that the $866 billion spending-reduction proposal formulated by the ‘Gang of Six’ would not allow the United States to provide ‘safety and security’.
Despite UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox’s recent announcement of plans to reduce troop levels from 101,000 to 82,000 by 2020, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is struggling to attract voluntary redundancies, particularly from the Royal Navy and Air Force.
Bidders for the US Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) program raise their game by declaring that the products on offer can be adapted for broader applications.
Russia has ordered two Sukhoi Su-30SM multirole fighters. The new version of the Su-30 is a modification of the Su-30MKI developed for the Indian Air Force. The Russian Air Force is looking to purchase an additional 30 aircraft.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Chief of the General Staff, General Nikolai Makarov, says the country will move towards ‘virtual battlefield’ military training by 2013. The move is likely to be welcomed by Transas New Technologies, a Russian company that has already impressed Makarov with its battlefield simulation technology.
India announces the successful test flight of its Prahaar short range tactical missile. The launch was conducted from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Orissa with the missile hitting a pre-designated target in the Bay of Bengal.
Canada’s $3 billion frigate modernization program, which specifically aimed to exclude American technologies from key areas, was just one example of a growing problem for American defense firms. Major players in the defense industry have been pushing for years to change US ITAR export controls. Unfortunately, the USA’s use of export controls for protectionist and political purposes has had a predictable effect, and made American defense components toxic to some potential export customers. Even as cumbersome rules, and a slow American bureaucracy, add additional layers of export control across more than 3 different agencies. The end product is significant friction for important international deals, impediments to partnerships with friends and allies, and erosion of global market share for American defense products.
On April 20/10, American Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, backed by several other departments, crystallized a reform push that has been underway for years. The proposed “4 singles” approach would make significant changes to American technology export controls. Nor is that the only initiative underway:
The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, Gregory Schulte, tells a defense writers group that the United States is seeking dialogue with China concerning the ‘rules of the road’ in outer space.
Taiwan publishes its biennial national defense report. Despite outlining that China’s defense budget is 21 times higher and its military force levels are 10 times higher than Taiwan, the report says the island will not enter into an arms race with its neighbor. Instead Taiwan will focus upon putting its ‘limited defense resources to its utmost effective use’.
Far out at sea, no-one can hear your cell phone. That’s why ships of all kinds need satellite communications, in order to stay in touch beyond their immediate task group. The USA’s Military Sealift Command operates government ships, but they’re crewed by civilian mariners. To provide them with the satellite communications they need, the US Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization has awarded Inmarsat subsidiary Stratos Government Services Inc. in Washington DC a maximum $315 million, 8-year indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract.
MSC’s next generation wideband commercial satellite communications infrastructure and service will replace the current MSC Afloat Bandwidth Efficient Satellite Transport (BEST) contract. Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband service delivers simultaneous broadband data and voice, with data rates up to 432 kbps and guaranteed data rates on demand up to 256 kbps, using Inmarsat’s I-4 satellite constellation. The contract is structured as a 4-year base period from July 2011 – July 2015, plus 4 more 1-year option periods that could run the contract to July 2019 (HC1013-11-D-0102).
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen thanks General David Petraeus for his command of coalition troops, and hails the handing over of Bamiyan province to Afghan security forces as the beginning of full transition.
UK Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox is set to unveil a radical overhaul of the British Army. It is expected that regular troop levels will fall from 101,000 to 82,000 by 2020. Dr Fox is also expected to endorse a review of the UK’s use of its reserve forces for frontline activities.
L-3 uses the UK’s Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) to unveil its Spydr intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft. The Spydr is based upon Hawker Beechcraft’s King Air 350-ER with the potential to be equipped with L-3’s processing, exploitation and dissemination systems.
The DoD also announces that a comprehensive review found only 20 out of 249 renewable projects impacted upon US military missions. The findings help clear the way for the future production of more than 10 gigawatts of renewable energy generation capacity.