DOD Focused On Chinas Growing Military Capability | UK Deploys Typhoons To Iceland | EU Approves TWISTER
The US Department of Defense is „focused on China and its growing projection of power” as Beijing seeks to assume a global leadership role in the coming decades based on its “authoritative socialist model”, Chad Sbragia, the US deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, said on November 13. China’s 2019 Defense White Paper, published in July, discusses growing capacity to acquire a “strategic dagger,” he said, meaning the capacity to project power in a sophisticated way on a global scale. „We need diplomatic, economic and security efforts to respond to China’s Belt and Road activities, and they have to be integrated in ways that in the past haven’t been done as well as they should,” Sbragia said. A whole-of-government approach that includes interagency cooperation and working to strengthen alliances and partnerships is key to the US response, he added.
General Dynamics won a $7.7 million contract modification for the operation, maintenance and protection of the floating dry dock Shippingport (ARDM-4). Shippingport (ARDM-4) is an ARDM-4 Class US Navy Medium Auxiliary Repair Dry Dock. Sie is one of the Navy’s two medium Auxiliary Dry Docks and was the first floating dry dock built for the USN since World War II. With a displacement of 5400 tons, this floating dry dock had a lifting capacity of 7800 tons. Shippingport has two 25 ton portal gantry cranes on tracks, one running along the top deck of each hulls side superstructure. She is a government owned, private contractor operated, restored and certified drydock used to execute submarine repairs. Work under the contract modification will take place in Groton, Connecticut and estimated completion will be by November 2020.
Middle East & Africa
Israel announced a ceasefire with Islamic Jihad after two days of fighting, local media reports. Some 450 rockets were launched from Gaza toward Israel since the killing of senior PIJ commander Baha Abu al-Ata early Tuesday morning that sparked the escalation. “Operation Black Belt achieved all of its objectives,” the Israeli Defense Forces said. After 48 hours of heavy fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a ceasefire officially went into effect, the IDF and the terror group confirmed Thursday morning. During the operation, Israeli Forces struck dozens of PIJ targets across Gaza, including rocket caches, underground terror infrastructure, sites for manufacturing long-range rockets, training compounds, the headquarters of the Khan Younis Brigade, and others.
The United Kingdom has sent fighter aircraft to Iceland for the first time since a diplomatic spat between the two countries over the Nordic nation’s banking crisis scuppered a previous planned deployment in 2008. An undisclosed number of Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s from 1 (Fighter) Squadron and 100 personnel were deployed from their home station of RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland to Keflavik Air Base on November 13. According to the UK Ministry of Defense, the aircraft will spend the next month protecting the airspace as the UK’s contribution to NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing Mission, returning to Scotland in mid-December. The RAF deployment to Iceland was announced by the then-Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson in June 2018, at which time he said four Typhoon aircraft would be sent to the island. The announcement came a decade after the last scheduled deployment was called off after Iceland’s banking system collapsed owing billions of pounds to UK savers. In 2016, the UK Treasury announced that it had received the final compensation payment from Iceland, resetting the relationship between the two countries.
The Council of the European Union has approved the TWISTER (Timely Warning and Interception with Space-based TheatER surveillance) capability project, MBDA announced on its website. TWISTER is an endo-atmospheric interceptor that deals against intermediate-range ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles or gliders and conventional air-breathing targets. “In addressing this capability gap, the interceptor component of the TWISTER project will ultimately become a key element in the contribution made by European countries to NATO’s territorial, population and Armed Forces defense mission while meeting the European Union’s level of ambition in the field of missile defense,” claims MBDA. Thanks to its inclusion within the PESCO, the program is now eligible to receive an investment from the European Defense Fund, whose budget for 2021-2027 should amount to €13 billion or approximately $14.3 billion. It is the second MBDA project supported by the fund, after the Beyond Line Of Sight capability program (BLOS), selected in 2018
Head of the Indian Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, took a flight on the indigenous HTT-40 trainer on November 13 at Bengaluru to assess its capabilitie, India Times reports. Bhadauria is a test pilot himself who has flown 27 types of fixed-wing aircraft. The HTT-40 is a basic fixed-wing aircraft, designed and developed by the HAL, which can be used by the IAF for training and aerobatic purposes too, apart from night flying. With a maximum range of 1,000 km and a top speed of 450 mph, the tandem-seated aircraft has been designed to replace IAF’s fleet of HPT-32 Deepak basic trainers, which have already been grounded following a series of accidents.
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