Morning Defence News Briefing 3 February 2020

Morning Defence News Briefing 3 February 2020

Morning Defence News Briefing 3 February 2020

DEFENCE & SECURITY NEWS AT A GLANCE

Europe

  • Ukraine, Pompeo during his visit to Kiev confirms US support, Zelensky soon in Washington. Washington provided Kiev with over one billion dollars aid since 2017 to boost Ukraine’s security.
  • Greece, parliament ratifies new military cooperation agreement with the US.
  • Brexit, three EU countries cancel extradition agreements with the United Kingdom
  • Spanish Air Force uses Predator-B drone for the first time.
  • Coronavirus, Luftwaffe begins the evacuation of the Germans from Wuhan.

EMEA

  • Iraq, Islamic State kidnaps 7 people in Diyala.
  • Israel launches air raid on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
  • Syria, Deir ez-Zor, killed commander of the FDS.
  • Syria, Aleppo, redeployment of Iranian militias.
  • Syria, Idlib, more than 10 civilians killed by Russian bombing in Ariha.

Africa

  • Libya, Turkey has delivered air defense system to Government national agreement.

GEOPOLITICS

Syria, new offensive captures key city in Idlib region: Syrian government troops have reportedly launched a two-pronged offensive along the M5 highway running through Idlib province, The offensive prompted Turkey to threaten intervention. After capturing Maarat al-Numan, Idlib province’s second-largest city the Syrian forces moved north to advance up the M5 towards the town of Saraqib. Meanwhile, a second column has been spotted moving south down the same road from the city of Aleppo. Turkish President Erdoğan warned that his country may launch a military operation into Idlib if the situation is not resolved immediately.

US Military presence in Africa: US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has heard the concerns about those who don’t want draw down US Armed forces in Africa, and says a review doesn’t necessarily mean a reduction. “When we do reviews, I like to say it’s a rebalancing, a rightsizing,” Esper told the press. “In some cases, we will increase, in some cases we won’t change, in some cases we will decrease.” Esper also said it’s not true that he’s looking at pulling all U.S. forces out. “We’re not going to totally withdraw forces from Africa. Economy of force doesn’t mean complete withdrawal from any continent,” Esper said.

White House plans to ask for $250 million in Pentagon funding assistance for Ukraine: Trump wants to request level funding for Ukraine aid in his upcoming budget request, a spokesperson for the White House budget office told local media.

5G, Huawei and US-UK data sharing: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the relationship between the US and the UK ‘is not at risk’ over the latest London’s decision to grant China’s Huawei a role in Britain’s 5G network. During an event in London, Pompeo said the UK remains ‘a partner and a friend’ and the two countries’ ‘deep and complex’ bilateral relationship allows Washington to raise concerns. The British government announced in late January its intention to allow the Huawei to supply part of the UK’s next-generation 5G data network – despite the government’s own assessment that the company is a “high risk vendor.” Britain’s decision allows Huawei to supply up to 35 percent of non-core components of the UK’s 5G network. Experts have sustained that London’s decision appears designed to avoid additional costs and potential delays associated with Huawei alternatives. Huawei is already providing 3G and 4G networks in the UK. Because of the lack of interoperability between different data providers, it could be more expensive and time-consuming to exclude all Huawei equipment from 5G.

US Military’s top artificial intelligence official to retire this summer

General Jack Shanahan, the US Department of Defense’s top artificial intelligence (AI) official, will retire from the Air Force this summer. Shanahan has served as the first director of the Pentagon’s Joint AI Center, an effort to accelerate the US’s adoption and integration of AI at scale, since December 2018.

DEFENCE & SECURITY SYSTEMS

Russian Pantsyr-S used on terrorist targets in Syria: Pantsyr-S, Russia’s air defence missile and artillery system, has fought off ground targets, including terrorist vehicles in Syria. Shipunov Design Bureau of Instrument Engineering Air Defense Systems chief designer Valery Slugin was quoted by Russian state media as saying: “The Pantsyr can shield itself, for example, against an infantry fighting vehicle or a jihad mobile and this is how its guns were used in Syria and this use proved to be effective.” The system comprises 12 surface-to-air missiles and two 30mm guns, which can each fire up to 40 rounds per second.

Pantsyr-S has been designed to target a wide range of aerial threats including rockets of multiple launch rocket systems, mortar shells, cruise missiles, tactical ballistic and hypersonic weapons. According to Russian media, the system features a new Mach 5 hypersonic missile that makes it more lethal compared to systems that have only subsonic missiles. Two Pantsir-S divisions are reportedly deployed in Syria.

Poland will acquire 32 F-35A Lightning II fighter jets from the US: Delivery set to begin in 2024. The contract, worth US$4.6 billion, includes a training and logistics package. This is the second-most expensive acquisition of high-technology military equipment by the Polish Armed Forces after the USD4.7 billion deal for the MIM-104F Patriot surface-to-air missile system signed in March 2018. Warsaw, which has a fleet of 48 F-16 C/D Block 52+ fighters, will be the first military in the region to use the F-35s. Accompanied by President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher, Błaszczak said Poland is joining an exclusive club of F-35 operators. “Today the Polish Air Force is reaching the next stage of development,” he added.

French Army receives new O-Nyx night vision binoculars: Florence Parly, Minister of the Armies, has welcomed the delivery of the first O-NYX night vision binoculars in the 21st regiment of Frejus. The binoculars, designed by Thales, is designed to provide soldiers on the ground with an improved resolution and a wider field of vision. The new systems will replace the LUCIE binoculars that are currently used. Designed to ensure the maintenance of operational superiority of the French armies, LPM 2019-2025 focuses on improving the equipment and protection of the soldiers, sailors and pilots engaged in operations. These new night vision binoculars will equip the 21st RIMa and the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment (2nd REI) of Nîmes as part of the mission of the units of the 6th Light Brigade armoured early 2020 in the Sahel-Saharan band.

O-Nyx night vision binoculars

Main features of O-NYX night vision binoculars:

– Length: 112 mm / Width: 75 mm / Height: 79 mm
– Weight: 340 g
– Technology: light intensification
– Autonomy: more than 40 hours with battery or 25h with AA batteries 1.5 V.
– Extra flat and close to the face profile, ultra-compact and very lightweight, for increased comfort for prolonged use
– Wide field of view of 51° (compared to the usual 40°, +70% of the field of view) that improves the perception of the environment and the mobility of the soldier

Lockheed Martin wins contract for Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target: Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $77 million Foreign Military Sales (Bahrain, Republic of Korea, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, United Arab Emirates) contract for Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target, Advanced Capability-3. Work will be performed in Dallas, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2023.

Japan confirms its plans to acquire stand-off missiles amid ‘severe’ security environment: Tokyo has confirmed its plans to acquire the Lockheed Martin AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) and the AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) to meet a requirement for air-launched stand-off missiles for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) multirole fighter aircraft. Japan is also in the process of equipping its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters with the next-generation, long-range, precision-guided Joint Strike Missile (JSM), according to local media sources.

Coastal missile system Bal entered service with the Russian Caspian Flotilla: The Coastal missile system Bal has entered service with the Russian Caspian Flotilla (CF) in the Republic of Dagestan, Russia, according to the Russian MoD. The system is intended for shore defence of places of permanent deployment of ships that provide security in the Caspian sea and land units of the CF. According to the Russian MoD, Crews of the Bal CF complex can fire missiles in bursts or make single launches at a given time. For most of the flight, the missile flies above the sea surface, which saves ammunition and makes it difficult to intercept and terminate the missile with air defence systems.

Coastal missile system Bal entered service with the Russian Caspian Flotilla

CMS Bal is mounted on a high-pass chassis MZKT-7930, which allows the crew to take firing positions on the unprepared coast. The complex is armed with cruise anti-ship missiles with a range of several hundred kilometers.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Can a military drone be hacked?

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones are now a fundamental part of the security and defence force capability, from ISTAR gathering to unmanned engagement in military operations. But what happens if the technology is turned against us?

DEFENCE EVENTS AND CONFERENCES

Maritime Reconnaissance and Surveillance Technology (5-6 February 2020 – Rome, Italy)

As varied threats in the Mediterranean Sea continue to proliferate, the need to advance all-encompassing reconnaissance and surveillance platforms to cover larger areas of ocean is greater than ever.

Platforms and topics discussed include: Space based ISR, Airborne Platforms & Operations, C4ISTAR, Unmanned Maritime Systems, Hydrographic platforms and many more.

Register online at www.maritime-recon.com/janeswl

Last Edition

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

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