IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Nov 12, 2019

Hundreds of women were among the young Ukrainians who pushed back against Russian-backed forces invading their country’s eastern region in 2014. With little training and no combat experience, they took on a variety of military roles, first as combat medics, then as snipers and intelligence gatherers.

Nov 12, 2019

A critical component of the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter system, the pilot’s high-technology helmet, is being modified. The liquid crystal display evidently causes a green glow in some low-light conditions, resulting in restrictions on some night landings on aircraft carriers. Lockheed Martin has been contracted to install new organic light-emitting diodes instead.

Nov 12, 2019

Richard Fadden — a former former National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, former Deputy Minister of National Defence and former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service — has received the 29th Vimy Award from the Conference of Defence Associations. He used his acceptance speech to say, among other things, that perhaps one of the greatest threats faced by a “dysfunctional” West is a lack of a common threat assessment. Fadden also said China and Russia are strategic adversaries, not just aggressive competitors.

L3Harris delivers two F/A-18 Hornet aircraft to NASA
Nov 12, 2019

L3Harris Technologies recently delivered two F/A-18 Hornet aircraft to NASA after successfully completing depot-level modifications and repair work.

Nov 12, 2019

The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada announced the election of Keith Donaldson, Vice-President, APEX Inc, as Chair of the AIAC Board of Directors. Mr. Donaldson succeeds Pat Mann, President of Patlon Aircraft & Industries.

Nov 12, 2019

Don Cherry, the flamboyant hockey commentator who has been an outspoken advocate for the Canadian Armed Forces over the years, has abruptly retired after criticizing immigrants. He derided the immigrant population for what he said was their failure to wear poppies ahead of Remembrance Day, calling them “you people” and suggesting they had an obligation to respect veterans. He has refused to apologize, saying that “I know what I said and I meant it.”

Nov 11, 2019

The U.S. Justice Department has unveiled an interagency Procurement Collusion Strike Force it says will “deter, detect, investigate, and prosecute antitrust crimes and related criminal schemes.” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen says that when prospective suppliers rig bids for government contracts, it results in inflated prices and added costs for all taxpayers.

Nov 11, 2019

Annoyed by Turkey’s decision to acquire Russian anti-aircraft missiles, the first of which was delivered in July, the U.S. is considering sanctions if Ankara doesn’t “get rid” of them. This is according to National Security Adviser Robert as Washington prepares for a Nov. 13 visit by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Nov 11, 2019

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio wants the Department of Defense to look into reports that Chinese surveillance technologies are in use at U.S. military facilities. In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Rubio says “every day that passes only provides our adversaries additional time to infiltrate and exploit our national security.”

Nov 11, 2019

U.S. plans for more joint air force exercises with South Korea next month have resulted in a renewed threat by North Korea to walk away from talks about its nuclear program. Its foreign ministry says the exercises would amount “to a declaration of confrontation.”

Nov 11, 2019

The cost of buying and preparing to operate two Boeing 747s for Air Force One presidential transport has increased to some $5.3 billion, nearly one-third more than the White House has said. The latest price tag, set out in 2020 Pentagon budget documents, is the first time a formal cost has been detailed.

Nov 11, 2019

Leonardo s.P.a. has confirmed that it is marketing the twin-engine transonic M-346, originally developed as a trainer by Alenia Aermacchi in partnership with the Yakovlev Design Bureau in Russia, as a fighter. Tested in the Middle East as a trainer, it evidently is in demand by a number of countries seeking to increase their fighter fleets at reduced cost.

Nov 11, 2019

Nearly 100 contracts will be up for grabs, including a dozen valued at more than $100 million, when the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency’s 2020 budget is finalized.

Nov 08, 2019

Bail has been revoked for Cameron Ortis, the senior RCMP official accused of preparing to leak sensitive information. He was granted bail Oct. 22 but an Ontario Superior Court judge has ordered him back into custody until his trial. The reasons for Justice Marc Labrosse’s Nov. 8 decision are under a publication ban, as are details of the Crown’s review application.

Nov 08, 2019

Asked to respond to French President Emmanuel Macron’s comment that NATO is near “brain death”, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the alliance plays a key role as a group of countries which have shared values and a commitment to security.

Nov 08, 2019

Airbus has revealed its formerly-classified stealth project that has been under development for nearly two decades. The project has been funded by the German Defence Ministry, which believes Low Observable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles such as this will be integral to air power in the near future.

Nov 08, 2019

Aventura Technologies Inc. of Long Island, N.Y., is alleged to have sold some $20 million in Chinese surveillance and other sensitive security equipment to U.S. customers after claiming they were manufactured in the U.S. Its customers included the Defense and Energy departments. U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said the situation, which has led to a criminal complaint, raises “a grave concern” about cybersecurity.

Nov 08, 2019

The Royal Norwegian Air Force deployed three General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons from Body Main Air Station Oct. 6 in a show of force above the Arctic Circle together with a U.S. Air Force Boeing B-52 Stratofortess and P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft. No fewer than 10 Russian submarines had transited the area the week before. The F-16s, which scramble daily to patrol Norway’s coastline near the heavily militarized Russian Kola Peninsula, are being replaced with Lockheed Martin F-35As which will be based elsewhere in the region.

Nov 08, 2019

The Iranian government is accelerating its nuclear development program by injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at its underground Fordo nuclear facility, a critical step back from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. It also has preventing an International Atomic Energy Agency official from visiting the site. The stepped use of centrifuges eventually would enrich uranium up to 4.5 per cent, just above agreed-to limits but will short of the 90 per cent required for weapons-grade uranium.

Nov 08, 2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says NATO, on the eve of its 70th anniversary, must grow and change or risk becoming obsolete. This was the day after French President Emmanuel Macron said the alliance was at risk of “brain death” due to flagging U.S. support, a suggestion that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is dismissing. Pompeo, having said the day before that the alliance is perhaps one of the most important "in all recorded history,” said Nov. 8 that if other members don’t fulfill their commitments, the alliance could become obsolete.

Nov 08, 2019

German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer says her country plans to spend two per cent of its gross domestic product on defence by 2031, the goal set by NATO leaders five years ago. She says that while the alliance will remain “the anchor of European security,” it was clear that Europe “must increase its own complementary ability to act.” Only seven members currently meet the two per cent target.

Nov 08, 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron is warning his European allies that they cannot continue to rely on the United States to defend its partners in NATO. He says that unless Europe thinks of itself strategically as a geopolitical power, it would no longer control its own destiny.

Nov 08, 2019

Three days before Nov. 11, the non-profit Angus Reid Institute says many Canadians will use the commemoration as an opportunity to reflect on the service and sacrifices of the Canadian Armed Forces. It says a new poll indicated that 25 per cent of Canadians will attend a formal Remembrance Day service and that an addition 25 per cent have suggested they might. A significant 80 per cent say Canada must to more to honour its veterans.

Nov 01, 2019

In its 2020 Index of U.S. Military Strength, the latest annual review of the previous year’s policy issues, the conservative Washington-based Heritage Foundation says that U.S. investment in its military readiness is paying off, especially for the Army. However it cautions that having to participate in more than one major conflict at a time could test the Department of Defense's overall capacity.

Nov 01, 2019

Having doubled its spending on directed energy weapons over the past two years, the Pengaton’s investment evidently is bearing fruit. The U.S. Air Force recently tested five systems with a view to deploying at least two overseas next year.

Nov 01, 2019

Colorado-based Bluestaq has been awarded a contract to expand a space situational awareness database that integrates information used for air, space and multi-domain operations. The database includes orbital tracking information and the eventual goal is to fuse data from all sensors, but with varying levels of access according to users’ security classifications.

Nov 01, 2019

Four companies have been chosen by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to develop prototype sensors capable of detecting and tracking hypersonic weapons. Northrop Grumman, Leidos, Raytheon and Harris Corp., each awarded a $20 million contract, were among 12 potential suppliers. The MDA is contemplating a constellation of hundreds of low-earth orbit satellites.

Nov 01, 2019

In a bid to give non-commissioned officers more experience before they are promoted into those positions, the U.S. Marine Corps is preparing to extend time-in-service and time-in-grade prerequisites.

Nov 01, 2019

A U.S. defence budget bill for 2020 has stalled in the Senate amid partisan fighting over the President Donald Trump’s diversion of military funds for his border wall project. With Democrats withholding support, a vote on the bill was defeated 51-41.

Nov 01, 2019

Italy’s Fincantieri and France’s Naval Group are incorporating a 50-50 partnership, Navaris, to build and market naval vessels as well share supply chains, research and testing. Among other things, the venture’s two shipyards will upgrade their Horizon-class frigates and the partnership plans to work on a new corvette for the European market.

Nov 01, 2019

Moving in to prevent oilwells from coming back under Daesh control, U.S. Army Bradley armoured vehicles and troops have rolled into eastern Syria. Meanwhile, other U.S. forces continue to withdraw from northern Syria.

Nov 01, 2019

General Dynamics Land Systems’ robotic Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) has been selected by the U.S. Army to carry battlefield equipment for troops. An initial $162.4 million contract includes support hardware, training and technical support.

Nov 01, 2019

Saab and Raytheon are getting ready to show off a new precision-guided munition designed to double the range of the Swedish company’s Carl-Gustaf recoilless rifle to 2,000 metres. The laser-guided weapon has a reduced back-blast which means it is safer to fire within confined spaces.

Nov 01, 2019

A British Columbia man who claims to be a Canadian Armed Forces veteran is being investigated by RCMP after exhaustive searches of CAF records evidently yielded no trace of him. Kenneth James French has appeared at Royal Canadian Legion functions, accepted food vouchers from the Poppy Fund and applied for subsidized housing and two of the many medals he occasionally displays are allegedly at odds with the periods he claims to have served.

Nov 01, 2019

Less than a week after Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi committed suicide rather than be captured by U.S. forces, the jihadist group has announced that it has chosen a replacement. He is identified as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi, which is believed to be a nom de guerre, but the group provided no other details except that he was a “prominent figure in jihad” who has fought U.S. forces.

Nov 01, 2019

Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, Vasyl Bodnar, believes that asking Canada to lead a peacekeeping mission in the separatist-minded eastern parts of his country districts of Ukraine would be “Plan B” for his government. Rather, in Ottawa for a series of meetings, he said his government’s preference is full implementation of a 2015 peace agreement.

Oct 31, 2019

Details are sparse but Richard Neal, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, is scheduled to visit Ottawa Nov. 6 for talks with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland about the new North American trade agreement. Neal also is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Oct 31, 2019

Delays in certifying and testing new software are said to be the main reasons why it will be another five years before the U.S. Air Force can return eight of its 20 Northrop Grumman B-2 stealth bombers to combat status. That’s 33 months later than previously scheduled. Meanwhile, the cost of the upgrade has increased to $285 million, 11 per cent more than estimated last year.

Oct 31, 2019

Japan’s request for an upgrade package for 98 of its Boeing F-15 Eagle interceptors has been approved by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency within the U.S. State Department. The estimated cost of new Raytheon radar, Honeywell mission computers, BAE electronic warfare systems and integration of new Lockheed Martin munitions is estimated at $4.5 billion.

Oct 31, 2019

Reacting to reports that the Department of the Interior had grounded its fleet of Chinese-made drones, Beijing wants the U.S. to “stop abusing the concept of national security” and provide a non-discriminatory atmosphere for Chinese companies.

Oct 31, 2019

Turkey has condemned two U.S. House of Representatives resolutions designed to prohibit most U.S. weapons sales to the other NATO member. Legislators say the relationship has been deteriorating for some  over Turkey’s incursion into Syria and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to procure a Russian air defence system.

Oct 31, 2019

Japanese and South Korean officials say North Korea fired two projectiles into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan Oct. 31. They travelled an estimated 370 kilometers, reaching altitudes of 90km before and reached an altitude of 90 kilometers before impacting outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Oct 31, 2019

Afghan forces supported by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency are being accused by Human Rights Watch of abuse which amounted to war crimes. Based on discussions with locals, HRW says in a new report that the abuses included extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances and attacks on healthcare facilities.

Oct 31, 2019

Canadian Armed Forces personnel and assets could be spending more time in Africa as climate change continues to impact the already environmentally vulnerable and often politically unstable continent. Citing forecasts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate, the Department of National Defence suggests in an internal memorandum that conflicts over water and supplies could lead to mass migration and a resulting array of problems requiring international intervention.

Oct 30, 2019

The U.S. Air Force wants a centralized computer system to improve how military and other government space systems respond to threats such as jamming attacks or orbital debris. The Government Accountability Office says since earlier in-house efforts have been behind schedule and over budget and difficult aspects have been deferred, the USAF should include independent software development reviews to improve its acquisition strategy.

Oct 30, 2019

Pakistani troops are reported to have exchanged cross-border small-arms and mortar fire with Afghan forces last weekend, raising regional tensions in a month that has already seen India and Pakistan exchange artillery fire across the line of control in Kashmir. Regional experts worry that the subcontinental nuclear powers are edging closer to war.

Oct 30, 2019

Machine learning technologies could become the U.S. military’s first line of defence against cyberattacks and other suspicious activities. The Defense Information Systems Agency has begun seeking out commercial cybersecurity tools that could detect and respond to incidents across the agency’s numerous networks without direct input from humans. Automation and machine learning are seen as a way to free Department of Defense personnel to concentrate on other threats.

Oct 30, 2019

As political gridlock in Washington stalls negotiations over a defence spending bill, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has unveiled a stripped-down alternative designed to ensure continuity of critical programs. The measure was drafted with guidance from Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist, but Sen. Jim Inhofe says he’s still hopeful of a compromise on the overall $738-billion budget.

Oct 30, 2019

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says Kurdish forces have withdrawn from a buffer zone between Turkey and northeastern Syria while Russian and Syrian troops have moved into the area. A deal struck last week by Russia and Turkey halted the latter’s invasion of the contested area after most U.S. troops allied with the Kurds had pulled out.

Oct 30, 2019

Unit costs of the land-based Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II evidently have been reduced to below US$80, according to details of an agreement released Oct. 29 by the company and the Department of Defense. All three variants of the joint Strike Fighter have been reduced in cost by an average 12.7 per cent.

Oct 30, 2019

The latest quarterly financials from Virginia-headquartered General Dynamics Corp. show that Saudi Arabia still owes some $3.4 billion in payments for Light Armoured Vehicles built by General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada in London, Ont.

Oct 29, 2019

After weeks of political seesawing, British voters head to the polls in a Dec. 12 general election, the results of which will effectively be a referendum on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s determination to take the U.K. out of the European Union. With Parliament deadlocked, he put forward a motion which passed 438-20 in the hope that a majority win will be a mandate for Brexit.

Oct 29, 2019

A day after the U.S. Department of Defense announced a $34-billion buy of 478 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs, the DoD says the price of the Joint Strike Fighter is not declining as much as expected. The F-35 program director, USAF LGen Eric Fick, told reporters Oct. 29 that engine costs are a key factor even though Pratt & Whitney says it has already cut costs by more than half.

Oct 29, 2019

Russian and Turkish officials are reported to be in “advanced” negotiations” of a deal which could see Sukhoi Su-35 (NATO codename Flanker E) fighters sold to the western alliance state. If successful, it would be Turkey’s second major procurement of Russian weapons, the first being the S-400 long-range air defense missile system delivered in August.

Oct 29, 2019

Derek Tournear, acting director of the seven-month-old Space Development Agency within the U.S. Department of Defense, has been confirmed as director. A physicist, the veteran government scientist and research who also has worked in the private sector, succeeded the agency’s first director, Fred Kennedy, a retired USAF General who left in June.

Oct 29, 2019

Videos from conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine highlight the havoc small unmanned aerial systems can wreak on ground forces by using target acquisition and and dropping grenades. The result is that U.S. forces are being deployed with counter-drone capabilities.

Oct 29, 2019

Entry into service of the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation aerial refuelling platform, the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tanker, apparently is being delayed by problems with its remote vision system, an array of cameras and sensors used by the boom operator. There also have been issues with cargo and seat locks.

Oct 29, 2019

Alan Shaffer, the U.S. Department of Defense deputy undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, says Pentagon processes don’t always permit rapid responses to evolving electronic warfare threats. He says success requires agility and that the DoD needs to drop its “one size fits everything” approach to new countermeasures.

Oct 29, 2019

The Boeing X-37B unmanned test vehicle developed for the U.S. Air Force has returned to earth in Florida after 780 days in orbit. USAF Secretary Barbara Barret says the platform continues to demonstrate the utility of a reusable spaceplane. The mission began in September 2017 with the launch at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 lifter.

Oct 29, 2019

The recent suicide of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi when faced with capture by U.S. forces may have left the Islamic State movement without an obvious leader, but Chris Costa, a former National Security Council senior director for counterterrorism, says Daesh remains a danger. “This puts the enemy on its heels,” he says, “but the ideology . . . is not dead” because it has a vast network of followers.

Oct 28, 2019

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper says U.S. armour and troops will remain in eastern Syrian to guard Kurdish-controlled oilfields from Daesh. However, he told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels, the withdrawal of other troops will continue.

Oct 28, 2019

The U.S. Army is trying to develop more effective airdrop systems which could facilitate loads of varying size being delivered into remote as well as built-up theatres of operation. Testing at Fort Bragg, NC, included using fewer parachutes to drop a vehicle at lower altitudes.

Oct 28, 2019

Two models of turboprop light attack aircraft are being acquired by the U.S. Air Force. The initial procurement is only for two or three each of the Textron Aviation AT-6 Wolverine and the Sierra Nevada Corporation/Embraer Defense and Security A-29 Super Tucano, but the manufacturers hope that an initial two-year operational test will lead to more. The aircraft are to be used to support “allies and partner capacity, capability and interoperability via training and experimentation.”

Oct 28, 2019

Faced with a possible delay in the delivery of a key communications satellite by Airbus Defence and Space, Britain is working on procurement of long-lead items required for the Skynet 6 program. Britain wants the satellite in service to ensure communications are not compromised as the current ADS-supplied Skynet 5 constellation ages.

Oct 28, 2019

Steel has been cut for the first of five new 4,500-tonne frigates for the French Navy, a platform the government is promoting for export as well. Defence Minister Florence Parly attended the ceremony in the company of Adm Nicolaos Tsunis, Greece’s naval chief of staff whose government has contract for two of the new ships. Representatives of New Zealand and Poland also attended the steel-cutting ceremony.

Oct 28, 2019

Italian medium-range air defence missiles, stationed in Turkey as part of a NATO commitment, will be withdrawn on schedule by the end of the year, according to Undersecretary for Defence Angelo Tofalo. Confirming the plan in Italy’s parliament, he said the decision had nothing to do with Turkey’s incursion into Syria.

Oct 28, 2019

Opposition parties in the British House of Commons are gearing up for a Oct. 29 vote on whether to call a snap election – a day after defeating a motion by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to have an snap election to reinforce his Brexit campaign. Meanwhile, European Union leaders have agreed in principle to what the European Council’s Polish president, Donald Tusk is calling a “flextension”of the European Union’s deadline, until Jan. 31.

Oct 25, 2019

Microsoft Corp. has secured a $10-billion Department of Defense contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud data storage program. Amazon Web Services, sole host for the U.S. intelligence community’s cloud storage for six years, had been considered the front-runner in the often litigious bidding process.

Oct 25, 2019

VAdm Charles Richard, nominated by President Donald Trump to head U.S. Strategic Command, comes across as carefully critical about an administration proposal to withdraw from the 1992 Open Skies treaty whereby signatories can overfly each others’ territory. The White House proposal is predicated on claims that Russia has been restricting access. Richard says it is important for all signatories to comply and acknowledges that the U.S. does derive some benefits.

 

Oct 25, 2019

The Turkish and Syrian ambassadors havebutted heads, albeit diplomatically, at the United Nations in their first encounter since Turkey’s deployed forces into northeastern Syria after the U.S. withdrew. Turkey’s Feridun Sinirlioglu called it a limited counter-terrorism operation while Syria’s Bashar Ja’afari told the Security Council that Turkey’s description was a “pretext of self defence” to cover simple aggression.

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