Morning Defence News Briefing 5 February 2020

Morning Defence News Briefing 5 February 2020

Morning Defence News Briefing 5 February 2020

DEFENCE & SECURITY NEWS AT A GLANCE

Europe

  • Lithuanian intelligence worried about Russian military infrastructure expansion in Kaliningrad.
  • Belarus, Foreign Ministry denies rumors about NATO-based creation in the country.
  • EU, Macron in Poland, strengthen European defense
  • Russia, to start production of S-400 missile systems for India.
  • Russia ready to develop fifth-generation fighters with India.
  • Russia-India, new agreement to extend production of T-90 tanks until 2028.
  • Ukraine and Turkey sign a new cooperation agreement.

EMEA

  • Turkey launched multiple attacks on Syrian troops after 8 of its soldiers were killed in Syrian shelling in the north of the country. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi said the retaliatory airstrikes had “neutralized” 76 Syrian government soldiers.
  • Syria, Syrian Democratic Forces gain ground in al Hasaka province.
  • Syria, Russian air defenses shoot down an unidentified drone from the Mediterranean.

Africa

  • Libya, GNA forces send military reinforcements to Abugrein.
  • Libya, 3 GNA militants killed in Abugrein, east of Misrata.
  • Libya, Merkel, and Kurz divided on the renewal of Sophia mission for arms embargo.

HAPPENING THIS WEEK

Iran prepares to a launch a satellite into space this week after three major failures last year, the latest for a program that the U.S. claims helps Tehran develop intercontinental ballistic missile technologies.

An Iranian citizen convicted of spying for the C.I.A. and attempting to share details of the country’s nuclear program will be executed in the near future, authorities said.

New US Air Force’s space radar likely to go online this month. According to a report from the US Department of Defense’s chief weapons tester the Air Force could declare Space Fence’s initial operational capability in February. 

GEOPOLITICS

US boosts relationship with Belarus as Minsk’s ties with Moscow are under strain: The Trump administration is likely to appoint a Julie Fisher as US ambassador to Belarus—the first in over a decade—amid its efforts to strengthen ties with a country long considered to be in Russia’s orbit. The last US ambassador to Minsk was expelled in 2008 after the US tightened sanctions over Belarus’s declining human rights record. Thirty of the 35 diplomats posted to Belarus were also ejected.

In January 2019, Minsk announced that the cap on the number of U.S. diplomats allowed to serve in the country would be lifted, marking a significant diplomatic breakthrough for the two countries. The move is part of the Trump administration bid to warm ties with Minsk. On Saturday, Mike Pompeo became the first US secretary of state to visit Belarus in over a quarter of a century. (Read more)

Al-Qaeda-aligned militant Islamist group Ansaru threat re-emerge in northern Nigeria: The re-emergence of Jamaatu Ansarul Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan raises risks of targeted violence against Western nationals and corporate interests in the region. Radical Islamist militancy across Africa has increased significantly since 2018 with the Islamic State (IS) increasing its presence in the region. It is still not clear if Ansaru has the capability to initiate a sustained military campaign against the national government forces. Indeed, the Al-Qaeda-aligned group has reportedly recently claimed responsibility for an attack along the Kaduna-Zaria Highway in the north-central Kaduna area.

DEFENCE & SECURITY SYSTEMS

Czech Army orders two Deployable Passive Electronic Support Measures Tracker radar systems from ERA Pardubice. The system, usually deployed as air traffic control solution, is a surveillance system providing high availability, maintainability, and survivability in all operational environments for military applications amongst other things.

US Air Force awards Google $2 million contract to enhance IT security: Covering network-as-a-service, end-user services, and compute and store areas, the effort comprises technical assessments to determine if alternative solutions can cater to the unique requirements of the airforce. “We want to understand how Google provides secure and reliable access to data” USAF Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks directorate EITaaS project officer Trey LaSane said. “We ultimately want to enable a more secure platform, where we are able to identify users and ensure they have the appropriate permissions to connect them with the data they need.”

Israel Defense Forces procures Fire Weaver network fire control system: Fire Weaver, developed jointly by Rafael, Israel’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDRD), and the IDF Ground Forces, is expected to be integrated into IDF’s armored brigades and be operational in 2020.

Turkey has received deliveries of Asisguard Songar armed unmanned aerial vehicles: Songar reportedly carries a 5.56 mm assault rifle with 200 rounds of ammunition, operates day and night, and has an operational range of up to 10 km.

Development of Russian PRS-1M missile continues: The Russian military confirmed that a successful test launch of an anti-ballistic missile interceptor had taken place at the Sary-Shagan test site in Kazakhstan. The A-235 ‘Nudol’ system is expected to replace the existing A-135, providing defensive coverage to the Moscow region. According to OSINT data, the missile element of the system – PRS-1M – is assessed to be able to engage targets travelling at up to Mach 10, with a maximum speed of up to Mach 12.

US Air Force to test-fire a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Base in California: The missile test is designed to ensure the land-based leg of the nuclear triad is reliable. The test will also include the second of four tests of a new bomb fuze for the current missile system as well as for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, which is set to replace the Minuteman missiles.

US army to develop mega-analysis of EEG to study soldier’s cognitive state during a mission: The big data approach to neuroscience by the researchers in partnership with the University of Texas at San Antonio and Intheon Labs aims to improve the understanding of the relationship between brain activity and performance in soldiers.

US Navy awards BAE Systems contract for C5ISR and radio systems

US-led international maritime security alliance to the Middle East

The US Navy has awarded BAE Systems a pair of contracts worth $300 million to support the Navy in digital endeavors.

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.

Discover more Military, Defence and Security Events

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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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