Defence News Weekly – 6-12 January 2020

Defence News Weekly – 6-12 January 2020
Defence News Weekly - 6-12 January 2020

Defence News Weekly Review for the week: 6-12 January 2020.

GEOPOLITICS OF TECHNOLOGY

Israel makes breakthrough in laser technology for military applications: The Israel Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced in a post on twitter that its laser technology research has led to a breakthrough that could pave the way for the development of weapons that can bring a strategic change in the defence capabilities of the state.

Israel completes advanced trials of Iron Dome: A series of tests of an improved Iron Dome air defence system had been completed successfully, the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD) announced and the Jerusalem Post reported. The live-fire interception tests were led by Rafael, the system’s manufacturer, and conducted at a test range in southern Israel. The tests demonstrated the capabilities of an advanced version of the Iron Dome in a variety of simulated threats. The system was originally optimized to intercept artillery rockets launched into Israel land by Palestinian militants and the Lebanese group Hizbullah, local media sources reported.

Iranian ballistic missilesaccuracy can jeopardise US Navy large surface fleet: According to study from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, the combination of the close maritime quarters of the Gulf and the recent development in the Iranian‘s weapons accuracy (especially ballistic missiles) can now put US Navy’s large surface vessels operating in the region in greater jeopardy.

Russia expected to spend $24.54 billion on State Defence Order in 2020: The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has unveiled its plans to spend about RUB1.5 trillion (USD24.54 billion) on the implementation of the State Defence Order (Gosoboronzakaz-2020) this year, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told in a press conference to Russian media.

LAND

Russian Airborne Troops to receive upgraded new command, control, communications and computer (C4) systems in 2021: The system is intended for Russia’s BTR-MDM, BMD-4M, and KamAZ-63968 armored fighting vehicles, according to the Russian MoD.

Advantech secures orders for SATCOM Engage FlyAway Terminal: Advantech Wireless Technologies, a Baylin Technologies subsidiary, has secured orders for its satellite communication (SATCOM) Engage Class 1.2m and 2.4m FlyAway Terminal from a Nato country.

First batch of Russia’s 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV 152 mm self-propelled howitzer completed its preliminary tests. The tests were completed ahead of official trials with the Russian Ground Forces, according to the Ministry of Defence’s TV Zvezda.

Russian Ground Forces are expected to be equipped with BMP-2 and BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles: The upgrades include unmanned Epokha and Berezhok combat modules, as well as BMPT Terminator fire support vehicles by the end of 2020, according to Russian MoD’s TV Zvezda.

US Army picks QinetiQ and Textron to build RCVs: The US Army has selected QinetiQ North America and Textron to produce four light and four medium robotic combat vehicles (RCVs) respectively.

MARITTIME

China commissions its first fourth-generation guided-missile destroyer: The Chinese Navy has commissioned its advanced surface warship, Nanchang, in the port city of Qingdao. The Type 055 destroyer Nanchang is China’s first fourth-generation guided-missile destroyer.

Lockheed Martin secures contract for E-2D Advanced Hawkeye upgrade: The US Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin a $43 million contract modification for E-2D Advanced Hawkeye’s AN/ALQ-217 electronic support measures upgrade. The modernisation contract is expected to increase the scope of the existing E-2D electronic support measures. 

Lockheed Martin secures contract for E-2D Advanced Hawkeye upgrade

Brazil plans to operate UAVs from vessels: The Brazilian Navy intends to field its INSITU ScanEagle long-endurance fixed-wing UAV from the Niterói-class frigates and Amazonas-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

Royal Navy to begin unmanned minehunting operations using USVs: The UK Royal Navy has announced its plans to begin minehunting and survey operations using unmanned surface vessels (USVs) in March 2020. The navy said that it will deploy a mix of unmanned and remotely-operated USVs and submersibles designed to detect ‘smart mines’ and conduct survey missions of the ocean and seafloor from HMNB Clyde.

Peru begins submarine Antofagasta modernization: Servicios Industriales de la Marina (SIMA), a Peruvian state-run shipyard, has commenced the modernization process of BAP Antofagasta (SS-32), one of the country’s Navy Type 209/1200 diesel-electric submarines, a local media source reported.

Guatemalan inaugurates first shipyard: The Guatemalan government inaugurated the country’s first shipyard (Astillero Naval de la Marina de la Defensa Nacional), in the navy’s Caribbean base in Santo Tomas de Castilla.

AIR

USAF awards Northrop contract for SPOC networking terminal: The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Northrop Grumman a contract to develop and demonstrate a Software Programmable Open Mission Systems (OMS) Compliant (SPOC) open-architecture networking terminal. Under teh contract, Northrop Grumman will provide an air-to-ground and air-to-air communications capability to the former’s Life Cycle Management Center.

UK Royal Air Force to launch new swarming drone squadron in April: UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is expected to stand up a new squadron to bring swarming drones into service and assess their capabilities in April 2020. The technology, originally announced by former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, was due to be in service by the end of 2019; however, the capabilities will now be brought into service in April.

USAF installs APG-83 radar on F-16: The USAF has installed Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-83 scalable agile beam radar (SABR) on select Air National Guard F-16 fighter jets. The radar upgrade was carried out to meet the US Northern Command Joint Emergent Operational Need (JEON).

USAF installs APG-83 radar on F-16

China unveils plans to enhance civil air-defence capabilities in Pearl River delta: Nine Chinese cities in the Pearl River delta have signed an agreement on the co-ordinated development of civil air defences, according to China’s Ministry of National Defence (MND), Reuters reported.

Leonardo demonstrates Tempest radar receiver technology: Leonardo, as part of Team Tempest, has demonstrated a new miniaturised digital radar warning receiver technology as part of an ongoing development project for the next-generation Tempest future combat air system (FCAS), the company announced on its website.  

Rolls-Royce to develop electrical technology for Tempest programme: Rolls-Royce has announced that its plans to develop world-first electrical technology that will contribute to the UK’s Tempest next-generation fighter aircraft program. Italy, the UK and Sweden are together developing the Tempest future combat jet, which is expected to enter operational service in 2035.

Matteo Natalucci

Matteo Natalucci is a geopolitics expert working as an Editor in London covering all aspects of international affairs and technology. Matteo previously worked for the United Nations, the European Commission, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, IHS Markit, and Global Data. Get in touch with the author: matteo.natalucci@internationalinsider.org