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US Senate Approves Military Aid Package | USS Kingsville Acceptance Trials Completed | Israel Deployed AI In Gaza

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Americas The US Senate approved $60 billion in funding for Ukraine on Tuesday, but the Republican-led House Speaker indicated his chamber will reject the bill. The $95 billion package includes funding for Israel’s military and key strategic ally Taiwan, but the lion’s share would help Ukraine restock depleted ammunition supplies, weapons and other crucial needs […]
Americas

The US Senate approved $60 billion in funding for Ukraine on Tuesday, but the Republican-led House Speaker indicated his chamber will reject the bill. The $95 billion package includes funding for Israel’s military and key strategic ally Taiwan, but the lion’s share would help Ukraine restock depleted ammunition supplies, weapons and other crucial needs as it enters a third year of war. The bill, which the Senate voted early Tuesday morning and which passed with bipartisan support, does not include changes to US immigration policy.

The US Department of Defense is considering the Switchblade 600 kamikaze drone for the Replicator unmanned systems initiative. If selected, the AeroVironment system will be “mass produced and rapidly scaled” for the Pentagon’s counter-China initiative, according to Defense Scoop. It is the first reported system being considered for the initiative, for which a “small number of capabilities” have already been selected.

Austal USA has completed its acceptance trials of the US Navy’s future USS Kingsville littoral combat ship (LCS 36) in the Gulf of Mexico. The event included a series of tests to evaluate the vessel’s equipment and capabilities according to the US Department of Defense’s shipbuilding and compliance standards. The trials were facilitated in partnership with the US Navy Board of Inspection and Survey.

Middle East & Africa

Israel’s army has deployed some AI-enabled military technology in combat for the first time in Gaza, raising fears about the use of autonomous weapons in modern warfare. The army has hinted at what the new tech is being used for, with spokesman Daniel Hagari saying last month that Israel’s forces were operating “above and underground simultaneously.” A senior defense official told AFP the tech was destroying enemy drones and mapping Hamas’ vast tunnel network in Gaza.

Europe

Nordic defense companies reported record levels of business last year as European countries ramped up military spending in the face of Russia’s war in nearby Ukraine. Sweden-based Saab, the 33rd largest defense contractor in the world according to Defense News’ Top 100 list, said orders increased 23% to $7.4 billion last year, lifting the order book to an all-time high of $14.6 billion.

Asia-Pacific

Indonesia has officially cancelled its planned acquisition of 12 used Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets from Qatar. The decision, announced on Feb. 11, follows months of debate and concerns regarding the deal’s fiscal viability and aircraft age. The initial agreement, signed in January 2023 with Czech firm CSG, valued the 12 Mirage 2000-5s at $790 million with a promised 24-month delivery window. However, the deal faced criticism from lawmakers and opposition figures who questioned the rationale behind acquiring aging aircraft while pursuing newer platforms like Rafale and F-15s.

Azerbaijan has opened a training facility and hanger for a new Akinci drone, confirming the country bought the Turkish-made combat system. The February 9 ceremony also involved a flight of the Akinciaccording to the Azeri government. The chief technology officer of Akinci manufacturer Baykar, Selcuk Bayraktar, posted images of the event on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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