Hagel’s Priorities Set to Fashionable Capabilities, Tech
- US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel laid out his priorities in a speech at an event hosted by the CSIS think tank. From thinning back-office overhead to sorting out personnel costs, Hagel’s interests are well known – the words “readiness” and “capabilities” came up 12 and 16 times respectively – as is their dependence on cooperation from Congress. On the acquisition front, “space, cyber, special operations forces, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance” are singled out as ways to maintain the US’ technological edge. In other words, anything that doesn’t look like unfashionable, messy conventional combat capabilities.
Unmanned Surface Vehicles: It’s A Thing
- RAND Corporation has a report out on the US Navy’s employment options for USVs, which is actually a category with its own master plan [PDF]. (Also, all UAVs can be turned into USVs… once).
- Taiwan’s modernized E-2 Hawkeye 2000s have hardly arrived, and already a Taiwanese major has sold key details to the Chinese. This is a significant and recurring problem in Taiwan. Hey, why not refuse to sell them lesser F-16C/Ds, and give them F-16s with some of our most advanced radars instead? Oh, wait…
- On a brighter note for the Taiwanese, they’re going to start replacing the antiquated Sea Chaparral air defenses on their “modern” French Kang Ding Class frigates with their own air defense missiles – about a 10x range increase. Work is scheduled to begin in 2017.
- Not good days for North Korea. They’re asking for donations of rice from “entrepreneurs,” in exchange for what amounts to a “get out of jail free” card. Lenin must be spinning in his mephitic vestibule. Adding injury to insult, they had to admit that 2 of their naval boats sank during a recent exercise.
- Pakistan looks set to broaden its protest of UAV-launched strikes beyond bilateral discussions with the US by bringing the issue in front of the UN Security Council. No doubt armed with Amnesty International’s recent report [PDF] and video on the subject. Such strikes will remain under CIA purview, reports Foreign Policy.
- Thomas Countryman, an Assistant Secretary at the US Department of State, recently described Syria’s compliance with its chemical disarmament as “acceptable” but insisted that the Department will apply continued caution and scrutiny. In the meantime, Turkey has been scrambling F-16s to intercept Syrian and Russian planes lately, while making overtures toward Iran.
- The Netherlands is sending 380 troops to fight in Mali, but it’s their 4 modernized AH-64D Apache Block II helicopter gunships that may be the biggest difference-maker.
- NATO’s Civil-Military Fusion Centre (CFC) published a note [PDF] on the local and regional dissemination of Libyan weapons.
Job Concerns at BAE
- Unions are to discuss next week with BAE Systems the future of its 3 shipyards in Scotland, as there is speculation that hundreds of jobs may be cut in the future.
Joined Wing UAV
- Pictures have again “surfaced” on Chinese websites of a joined wing UAV that vaguely looks like a Global Hawk, and seems iterated from this aircraft seen in 2011. They probably read this presentation [PDF] from the University of Bath discussing the benefits of such designs. “Leaked” video below, or more accurately, a slideshow most likely deliberately planted by Chinese authorities, as the UAV is towed on the tarmac: