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Alliances | Britain/U.K. | Daily Rapid Fire | Fuel & Power | India | Russia

Alternate Narratives Continue to Compete Over Ukraine As Russia Maintains Pressure

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* Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov wrote with a straight face: “It’s not Russia that is destabilising Ukraine.” The Russians even go as far as saying that removing their stooges from Ukrainian government buildings could lead to a civil war. * Kiev Post: Kharkiv settles down, while pro-Russian separatists still hold buildings in Luhansk, Donetsk. * NATO: Secretary General calls for readiness action plan. Indian Naval Readiness, Or Lack Thereof * According to the New Indian Express, India’s warships are facing significant shortages of spares. The publication cites the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) as its source, but the CAG doesn’t seem to have published said report on its sorry excuse for a website. To be fair, the US and Australian navies have also had real problems with naval maintenance and readiness. But at least these countries’ governments maintain serious online publication platforms, providing the sort of transparency whose absence will cripple India’s chances of serious reform. From the Dept of Misplaced Accountability * Britain decides that if defense equipment is faulty, the people to scapegoat and court-martial are the battlefield commanders. Not the Ministry officials who actually made decisions about the equipment. Or the MPs who approved budgets to […]

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov wrote with a straight face: “It’s not Russia that is destabilising Ukraine.” The Russians even go as far as saying that removing their stooges from Ukrainian government buildings could lead to a civil war.

* Kiev Post: Kharkiv settles down, while pro-Russian separatists still hold buildings in Luhansk, Donetsk.

* NATO: Secretary General calls for readiness action plan.

Indian Naval Readiness, Or Lack Thereof

* According to the New Indian Express, India’s warships are facing significant shortages of spares. The publication cites the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) as its source, but the CAG doesn’t seem to have published said report on its sorry excuse for a website. To be fair, the US and Australian navies have also had real problems with naval maintenance and readiness. But at least these countries’ governments maintain serious online publication platforms, providing the sort of transparency whose absence will cripple India’s chances of serious reform.

From the Dept of Misplaced Accountability

* Britain decides that if defense equipment is faulty, the people to scapegoat and court-martial are the battlefield commanders. Not the Ministry officials who actually made decisions about the equipment. Or the MPs who approved budgets to buy and maintain the equipment. This is the country that introduced an Armed Forces Covenant, right?

Fast Charge

* StoreDot, an Israeli start-up, claims to be developing smartphone batteries that can be reloaded in 30 seconds (video). Time notes that their batteries are not quite yet ready to be drop-in replacements in consumer products, but if this type of technology pans out, soldiers may end up being able to lighten the significant battery load they currently drag around with them. The US Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command’s communications-electronics center (CERDEC) has already been working on a Universal Battery Charger to that effect.

* You might have seen some excited reporting about the Navy’s efforts to produce fuel out of seawater, following this announcement by the US Naval Research Laboratory. The underlying research has actually been going on for years, as this 2010 paper [PDF, with references going back to 2003] from the ONR shows. The chemistry involved was already well known, and this technology is still years away from cost-effective practical use at sea. A key challenge is to get more energy out of the process than is used as input.

* The US Navy will deploy railguns for tests aboard a forward-basing ship (USS Ponce) in FY16, but they are careful to point out that no decisions have been made on which ship classes will eventually receive operational railguns. This, too, comes with heavy energy requirements. Quick video below:

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