IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Aug 16, 2022

Microsoft has published new details about suspected Russian hackers who have carried out cyberespionage attacks against NATO government organizations, think tanks, and defence contractors since at least 2017. The company’s Threat Intelligence Center said August 15 that it has “taken actions to disrupt campaigns” launched by the group.

Aug 16, 2022

The U.S. Air Force fleet of Lockheed Martin\s F-35A fighters has resumed operations after their Martin Baker ejection seat initiator cartridges had been inspected. A USAF spokeswoman said August 15 that four cartridges were replaced but inspection showed they were not defective.

Aug 16, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that the U.S. is prolonging the war in Ukraine because “they need conflicts to retain their hegemony.” Opening a conference in Moscow, he also said the U.S. is “using the people of Ukraine as cannon fodder.”

Aug 15, 2022

Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, already sentenced to 11 years in prison on alleged corruption charges, faces the prospect of six additional years today after a closed-door trial by the country’s military rulers. Her lawyers have been ordered not to disclose details of the latest trial of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate whose government was overthrown in a February 2021 coup.

Aug 15, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is looking to expand his “comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations” with his North Korean counterpart. Kim Jong-Un has responded in a letter of his own that renewed “strategic and tactical cooperation, support and solidarity . . . had been put on a new high stage, in the common front for frustrating the hostile forces' military threat and provocation.”

Aug 15, 2022

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali was expected to resume today, a month after local authorities suspended rotations after accusing 49 troops from Ivory Coast of entering their country without permission. Ivory Coast says those troops were deployed as part of a MINUSMA support contract but they remain in detention.

Aug 15, 2022

Canada is giving fully-vaccinated travellers entering through the land border a one-time exemption from fines or quarantine requirements if they unknowingly fail to submit the required health documents through the ArriveCAN app. Canadians citizens, permanent residents, persons registered under the Indian Act, and foreign nationals are eligible.

Aug 15, 2022

Even as Europe’s security architecture has evolved since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine six months ago, and Sweden and Finland seek NATO membership, Austria continues to sit on the fence. A member of European Union and partner with NATO in various ways, including sending aid and non-lethal weapons to Ukraine, the government’s stance reflects the fact that 80 per cent of Austrians don’t want to join the military alliance.

Aug 15, 2022

Although pandemic-related supply chain issues and worker shortages plagued the U.S. aerospace and defence sector in 2021, sales growth was mostly flat but revenues of the top 100 companies climbed for a sixth consecutive year. They rose nearly eight per cent from 2020 to $595 billion with the top 10 companies accounting for some 52 per cent of the total

Aug 15, 2022

The U.S. is contributing $89 million to help rid Ukraine of unexploded ordinance and landmines left by Russian in some areas from where they have retreated. The funds will go to non-governmental organizations to pay for de-mining teams comprised of Ukrainians and for contractors to train them.

Aug 12, 2022

Having lost access to Russia’s space launch facilities in neighbouring Kazakhstan, the European Space Agency has begun discussions with SpaceX and potentially other service providers. about using their facilities. “There are two and a half options that we're discussing,” ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher has confirmed. The other prospects include Japan and India but he considers the U.S. company “more operational.”

Aug 12, 2022

This morning, Lieutenant-General Eric Kenny assumed command of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) from Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger. The ceremony was presided over by General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff, at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario.

Aug 12, 2022

The parliament in Latvia is calling on its NATO allies to impose more comprehensive sanctions on Russia, which it has formally designated a “state sponsor of terrorism” over its invasion of Ukraine. “Latvia recognises Russia's actions in Ukraine as targeted,” it said August 11, also calling for increased western military, financial, humanitarian and diplomatic support.

Aug 12, 2022

The government of Mali, which has experienced three military coups since 2012 and is considered extremely unstable, has refused permission for routine flyovers by a UN peacekeeping mission. As a result, Germany announced today that it has suspended most operations there until further notice.

Aug 12, 2022

Cory Moore, a former Canadian military officer who helped to develop the Afghan National Army’s legal branch, says a group of lawyers and others who supported his work have been “left in the dark” by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. He is pressing the department to to accelerate its processing of the claims by 12 individuals and their families who fear Taliban reprisals.

Aug 12, 2022

It has cost the U.S. Navy $400,000 each to unclog stoppages in heads aboard a couple of aircraft carriers. First documented on one carrier in 2020 and more recently in another newer ship by the Government Accountability Office, the problem is that the sheer volume of waste generated by a crew of 4,000 required an “acid flush” but the USN says it has remedied the issue.

Aug 11, 2022

A Canadian Armed Forces veteran has been charged with murder after a July 31 nightclub shooting in Belize left two people dead and eight others injured. J.R. Smith, who served with the Royal Canadian Regiment in Afghanistan as part of Operation Medusa in 2006, is accused of driving the getaway vehicle. Originally from Newfoundland, he was profiled by CTV five years ago as part of a Remembrance Day feature on veteran entrepreneurship.

Aug 11, 2022

Russia has denied extensive damage at an airbase in Crimea August 9 but comparative satellite imagery provided by California-based Planet Labs shows infrastructure damage and destroyed aircraft. It is believed to have been caused by Ukrainian forces but so far Kyiv has not claimed responsibility.

Copenhagen Conference looks to support Ukraine
Aug 11, 2022

Today, Defence Minister Anita Anand participated virtually in the Copenhagen Conference for Northern European Defence Allies of Ukraine. The conference aims to determine how Northern European Allies and other partners can strengthen collaboration and enhance support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s unprovoked, unjustifiable, and illegal attack.

Aug 11, 2022

Airbus could be getting a contract next year to supply the RCAF with four A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports after being designated as the only qualified supplier. As of August 10, the company had not responded to a Request for Proposal but DND said once that is in Ottawa’s hands, “an assessment and negotiation will occur.” The RCAF wants the first aircraft operational by 2028.

Aug 10, 2022

A hard landing by one of the RCAF’s 1960s-era Canadair CT-114 Tutor jets in B.C. last week has resulted in the Snowbirds demonstration team being grounded for the foreseeable future. The pilot was uninjured but the commander of 1 Canadian Air Division ordered the fleet grounded August 10 pending the results of a “broad risk analysis.”

Aug 10, 2022

The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Wayne Eyre, says the Canadian Armed Forces’ coronavirus vaccination program, mandated last October, remains an operational necessity, but he plans to “tweak” it to find a “sweet spot" between the military's medical, legal, operational and ethical requirements. “This is an institution that's unlike any other because . . . we are the nation's insurance policy,” he says. “We have to go into dangerous locations and close confined quarters, we have to deploy overseas, where there's potentially an increased threat with the pandemic.”

Aug 09, 2022

A Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet blown off the flight deck of an aircraft carrier during a July 8 storm in the Mediterranean has been recovered by U.S. Navy salvors using a used a remotely-operated vehicle at a depth of 9,500 feet. The aircraft was transported to a “nearby military installation” for eventual shipment to the U.S

Aug 09, 2022

General Wayne Eyre, the Chief of the Defence Staff, refused comment August 8 on reports that CAF personnel are training Ukrainians in their own country as Russia presses on with its invasion. Calling the reports “disappointing” speculation, he said DND is “never going to talk about discreet or sensitive special operations or confirm or deny them.” If the reports were accurate, he pointed out that confirmation “would put our troops at risk” and he sought to “balance transparency with operational security and try to find that sweet spot in the middle.”

Aug 09, 2022

High mobility artillery rocket systems, mortar and artillery ammunition, anti-tank missile systems, explosives and demolition equipment are in the 18th U.S. shipment of arms to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in February. The Defense Department announced the $1-billion package August 8 as the World Bank confirmed $4.5 billion in U.S.-financed budgetary assistance.

Aug 09, 2022

Insisting that it remains committed to its strategic arms control treaty with the U.S., Russia is suspending inspections of its facilities. Citing the coronavirus and western sanctions, the foreign ministry said August 8 that “Russia is now forced to resort to this measure as a result of Washington’s persistent desire to implicitly achieve a restart of inspections on conditions that do not take into account existing realities.” It also accused the U.S. of trying to create “unilateral advantages and prevent Russian inspections of U.S. facilities

Aug 09, 2022

NATO membership for Finland and Sweden is seven countries short of ratification as of today, five weeks after Canada was the first of the 30 alliance members to ratify the request in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and generally growing regional belligerence. The Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and Portugal have yet to decide, with Hungary and Turkey expected to be the last to complete the process.

Aug 08, 2022

Alexander Shiplyuk, head of the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the Russian Academy of Sciences' branch in Siberia, has been arrested on suspicion of treason. Transferred to the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center in Moscow, he is the third prominent Russian scientist arrested recently in relation to their work on hypersonic technologies.

Aug 08, 2022

An economic package approved by the U.S. Senate, with Vice-President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote August 7, includes a proposed 15 per cent tax on most corporations making more than $1 billion in annual profits. The $750-billion package now headed for the House of Representatives also includes funding for climate emissions measures and a proposal which would enable the government to negotiate lower pharmaceutical prices

Aug 08, 2022

Despite the grounding of several aircraft fleets due to concerns about ejection seats, the Department of Defence is said by seat manufacturer Martin-Baker to have found only one defective explosive cartridge on its frontline F-35 fighters. Seats on some training aircraft are still being examined.

Aug 08, 2022

A ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip appeared to be holding after three days of intense violence, including rockets fired by both sides. At least 44 Palestinians are reported to have been killed as Israel, reporting no casualties except minor injuries, began lifting a blockade today.

Aug 05, 2022

Reacting to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s brief visit to Taiwan earlier this week, China says it is ending discussions with the U.S. on key issues such as climate change as it ramps up military provocations. The White House summoned China's ambassador, Qin Gang, late August 4 to tell him that the military actions were of “concern to Taiwan, to us and to our partners around the world.”

Aug 04, 2022

A threatened strike at three Boeing defence facilities in the St. Louis area was averted today when members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers voted for a three-year contract. The company said it was satisfied with the deal which improved retirement plans previously offered to the union.

Aug 04, 2022

Defence Minister Anita Anand confirmed today that Canada will commit up to 225 troops for an initial four months to a British Army training program for Ukrainians. It effectively restarts Operation Unifier, an extended training initiative which saw more than 33,000 Ukrainians receive advanced training by CAF personnel before it was suspended last winter

Aug 04, 2022

Even though Defence Minister Anita Anand called it “desecration” at the time, Ottawa police are not charging a man who placed a U.S. flag on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial last month. “He showed remorse for the incident and police are confident that he will not repeat it,” the police explained Aug. 3.

Aug 03, 2022

In a new “air shielding” initiative, NATO is building up its defenses in Eastern Europe in response to Russian aggression. Essentially an evolution of its long-standing “air policing” activities, the alliance says the “increased air and missile defense posture . . . will provide a near-seamless shield from the Baltic to the Black Sea, ensuring NATO allies are better able to safeguard and protect alliance territory, populations and forces.”

Aug 03, 2022

Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Aug. 2 that a major nuclear power station in southeastern Ukraine “is completely out of control” since Russian forces seized it shortly after their invasion of the region. “Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated,” he said, demanding IAEA access to the “extremely grave and dangerous” Zaporizhzhya site in the city of Enerhodar.

Aug 03, 2022

HMCS Margaret Brooke, the RCN’s second offshore patrol vessel, left Halifax Aug. 2 with the coastal defence vessel HMCS Goose Bay for a two-month Arctic deployment. They are to be followed by the first OPV, HMCS Harry DeWolfe, for the latest Operation Nanook, working with U.S. Coast Guard as well as Danish and French navy vessels.

Aug 03, 2022

The Canada Border Services Agency has confirmed that officers in Montreal have seized more than a dozen shipments of “dual use goods” destined for Russia but banned under Canada’s sanctions after the invasionof Ukraine. All involved “suspected links to the Russian military.”

Aug 03, 2022

One of two RCAF Canadair CT-114 Tutors at a weekend airshow in northeastern B.C. had to make an emergency landing after an “incident" on takeoff. The Snowbirds demonstration team pilot escaped injury after managing to turn back to the airfield and reportedly overshooting the runway at North Peace Regional Airport.

Aug 02, 2022

As this year’s Exercise Rim of the Pacific winds up off Hawaii in a couple of days, the U.S. Navy is assessing how four unmanned surface vessels worked with allied navies as a prelude to developing larger platforms. USN Rear Admiral Casey Moton, program executive officer for unmanned and small combatants, says the USVs proved they were reliable and their autonomy was mature as they racked up more than 100 days at sea during RIMPAC and related activities.

Aug 02, 2022

The weekend U.S. drone killing of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a Kabul “safe house” has resulted in renewed scrutiny of Afghanistan's Taliban rulers and further undermined their efforts to secure international recognition and desperately needed aid. The Taliban promised in 2020 that they would not harbour al Qaeda members.

Aug 02, 2022

Disregarding Chinese threats of an unspecified military response – as well as the advice of President Joe Biden ¬– U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy arrived in Taipei today. She and an accompanying congressional delegation said in a statement that the visit, part of an Indo-Pacific tour, “honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy.”

Aug 01, 2022

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres kicked off a long-postponed nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference today with a warning that the world faces “a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War" and is “one miscalculation” from annihilation. “We have been extraordinarily lucky so far,” he stated. “But luck is not a strategy.”

Aug 01, 2022

After seizing power again last year, Myanmar’s military rulers today extended their “emergency rule” which, among other things, enables them to detain critics. General Min Aung Hlaing's regime first extended its rule last August, appointing himself prime minister at the same time, and it now will remain in effect until at least next year.

Aug 01, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin marked Navy Day July 31 by signing a new naval doctrine which sets out his country’s global maritime ambitions for crucial areas such as the Arctic and in the Black Sea. Among other things, the 55-page document says it is U.S. “strategic policy . . . to dominate the world's oceans” and highlights the movement of NATO assets closer to Russia's borders.

Aug 01, 2022

Having grounded two fleets of U.S. Air Force training aircraft, the Defense Department has found a similar defect in the Martin-Baker ejection seats used by the three versions of the Lockheed Martin F-35 in all services. The issue with inoperative explosive ejection cartridges was discovered in April but the DoD has only now announced widespread grounding until the situation is addressed. The British-based seat manufacturer, which has a U.S. subsidiary says that “outside the F-35, not a single anomaly has been discovered worldwide as a result of the forensic investigation which continues.”

Aug 01, 2022

For the second time in two weeks, Iran has raised the prospect of nuclear weapons capability. Its top nuclear energy official, Mohammad Eslami, said today that Iran has the “technical ability to build an atomic bomb, but such a programme is not on the agenda.” His comment echoed a July 17 statement by Kamal Kharrazi, an advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, that “Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb but there has been no decision.”

Aug 01, 2022

U.S. and British officials say some elements of the Russian mercenary force, the Wagner Group, have been recalled from Syria to fight in Ukraine. “We’ve seen Wagner draw down a little bit on the African continent in the call to send fighters to Ukraine,” U.S. Africa Command leader General Stephen Townsend. British officials added that the mercenaries appear to have taken on new frontline roles in the offensive, most likely because Russia “has a major shortage of combat infantry.”

Aug 01, 2022

A Saudi-born man who grew up in Toronto has been sentenced in a U.S. federal district court to life in prison after pleading guilty to working with Islamic State terrorists. Mohammed Khalifa, 39, left Canada in 2013 for Syria, where he killed two Syrian soldiers before his capture by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in 2019.

Aug 01, 2022

Nearly five years after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised the UN that Canada would provide a rapidly-deployable peacekeeping force, it evidently remains a work in progress. Global Affairs documents show the commitment was to expire last March but the cabinet has pushed that back to next year despite pressure from the UN and the U.S.

Jul 31, 2022

The U.S. Air Force has grounded 300 trainer aircraft over concerns that their Martin Baker ejection seats may work because of defective explosive release cartridges. The decision affects 203 Northrop T-38 Talon jets and 76 of their lead-in turboprop Beechcraft T-6 Texan IIs.

Jul 31, 2022

Natural gas supplies to Latvia have been cut off by the Russian energy giant Gasprom which accuses the EU state of violating purchase conditions without providing details. However, since gas accounts for only 27 per cent of Latvia’s total energy consumption, an economics ministry official suggests Gazprom’s move should not have a major impact.

Jul 31, 2022

The latest Japanese defence whitepaper says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine presents the global community with “its greatest trial” since World War II. The document also highlights China’s efforts to “unilaterally change or attempt to change the status quo by coercion in the East China Sea and South China Sea.”

Jul 30, 2022

A Dutch shipyard has delivered a new ship the Royal Navy expects will facilitate development and deployment of the latest autonomous and lethality technologies. To be used by the service’s experimental unit, NavyX, the 270-ton vessel is expected to reduce demands on the surface warfleet.

Jul 29, 2022

Three days after stating that Russia would pull out of the International Space Station after 2024, Ruscosmos’ new director, Yuri Borisov, said today that there is no firm date. He confirmed the plan but the timing depended on the “condition” of the ISS and on when Russia can commission its own orbital platform.

Jul 28, 2022

Kim Jong Un says North Korea is ready to use nuclear weapons in conflicts with its southern neighbour and its U.S. ally. “Our armed forces are completely prepared to respond to any crisis, and our country’s nuclear war deterrent is also ready to mobilize its absolute power dutifully, exactly and swiftly in accordance with its mission,” he said July 27. He also accused the U.S. of “demonizing” his country and said the South Korean government, which replied only that it would handle provocation in “a powerful, effective manner”, is led by “confrontational maniacs.”

Jul 28, 2022

The latest iteration of Exercise Rim of the Pacific has included a traditional element: the sinking of a decommissioned U.S. dock transport ship by multinational air and naval forces in deep water off Hawaii. It was the second SINKEX in this year’s RIMPAC; a Royal Canadian Navy frigate had already joined others in sinking a decommissioned U.S. frigate.

Jul 28, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, used a video call today, their fifth since Biden took office, to discuss for more than two hours the future of an increasingly complicated relationship. China’s ascendency as a global power, economic policies, human rights and the ongoing political clash over Taiwan remained key issues.

Jul 28, 2022

More shelling, more sanctions against Russia and more deliveries of western weapons and other materiel show that the invasion of Ukraine may be slowed but is continuing. Also, there are accusations of stolen grain and a threat by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of broader territorial ambitions.

Jul 28, 2022

Nick Diggle, a former Royal Navy counterterrorism expert and now Arctic security specialist, is being assigned as a minister-counsellor at the U.K. High Commission in Ottawa in September. His appointment follows a warning in March by General Wayne Eyre, the Chief of the Defence Staff, that Russia had reoccupied Cold War bases in its far North.

Jul 28, 2022

A U.S. Coast Guard decision to “recompete” a contract for 11 offshore cutters has prompted a protest to federal auditors. Florida-based Eastern Shipbuilding Group says the USCG, in placing the work with Alabama-based Austal USA, did not prevent Eastern’s pricing data from being leaked to Austal. Eastern won the contract in 2016 but even though its yard was heavily damaged by a hurricane in October 2018, it was continuing work on the first four hulls when the USCG announced the change at the end of June.

Jul 28, 2022

Sixty-one defence research and development companies have received a total of €1.2 billion in the initial batch of European Defence Fund grants, mainly for work in air, ground and naval combat programs. More than 140 proposals had been submitted by consortia comprising at least three companies from at least three EU states or Norway.

Jul 26, 2022

Russia's state-owned Gazprom is halving natural gas shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, prompting political panic on both sides of the Atlantic. A U.S. official says the retaliation against western sanctions puts the west in “uncharted territory and has resulted in the administration’s global energy coordinator leaving for Europe today to discuss options.

Jul 26, 2022

In the event of Russia stopping natural gas exports to European Union customers, the EU says that its members have agreed to reduce usage by 15 per cent next winter while leaving some states to opt out to avoid rationing. The measure would be in effect between August and March but the voluntary aspect would become mandatory if supplies reach crisis levels.

Jul 26, 2022

The newly-appointed head of Ruscosmos, Yuri Borisov, confirmed today that Russia will pull out of the International Space Station after 2024 and focus on building its own facility. The U.S., Canada and other countries hope to keep the ISS operational until at least 2030.

Jul 26, 2022

BAE Systems says that by 2027 it will be flying a demonstrator aircraft in the U.K. to test artificial intelligence as a support for pilots as part of the multinational Tempest next-generation fighter development program. Helmet sensors would amass biometric and psychometric information which could enable the AI to assist pilots in an emergency.

Jul 26, 2022

Lithuania has lifted a ban on rail transport of passengers and European Union-sanctioned freight to and from the Russian Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad which depends on the rail link. The moves comes after the EU clarified that its sanctions applied to road transport.

Jul 26, 2022

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has set August 1 for a strike against Boeing Defence plants, having rejected a contract offer which the union says does not meet pension commitments. Boeing plans to keep operations running in the event a strike does happen.

Jul 26, 2022

The Russian Navy has taken delivery of what is understood to be the world's longest submarine, measuring more than 184m compared with the U.S. Navy’s Ohio-class missile subs which come in at 171m. The Belgorod, a modified Oscar II-class missile boat, is billed as a research vessel but analysts say it could be used for offensive purposes.

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