IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Jan 15, 2022

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration reported Jan. 14 that FedEx wants to operate aircraft fitted with lasers as a countermeasure against missiles. The proposed system “deflects infrared laser energy toward an incoming missile, in an effort to interrupt the missile's tracking of the aircraft's heat,” the regulator explained. “In recent years, in several incidents abroad, civilian aircraft were fired upon by man-portable air defense systems.”

Jan 15, 2022

Research supported by the Canadian Space Agency and published Jan. 14 confirms that astronauts’ red blood cells are destroyed during long-term missions, contributing to anemia. While it has been noted since the early missions, its cause wasn’t clear but Dr. Guy Trudel at the University Of Ottawa, co-author of a report on the phenomenon, said that while it wasn’t a problem in a weightless environment, “landing on Earth and potentially on other planets or moons, anemia affecting your energy, endurance and strength can threaten mission objectives.”

Jan 15, 2022

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly leaves for Ukraine Jan. 16 for a six-day visit which is scheduled to include meetings with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Deputy PPM Olga Stefanishyna and probably Canadian troops deployed on Operation Unifier. “The amassing of Russian troops and equipment in and around Ukraine jeopardizes security in the entire region. These aggressive actions must be deterred,” Joly said today. “Canada will work with its international partners to uphold the rules-based international order and preserve the human rights and dignity of Ukrainians.”

Jan 15, 2022

Only days after it disclosed that a former head of Denmark’s intelligence services, Lars Findsen, is being detained for allegedly divulging state secrets to news media, a former defence minister confirmed Jan. 14 that he faces similar charges. Claus Hjort Frederiksen held the portfolio from November 2016 to June 2019.

Jan 15, 2022

The Taiwanese navy commissioned new minelaying vessels Jan. 14 as part of its defences against China. The initial order of four ships manufactured by Lungteh Shipbuilding also is part of a drive to revitalize the domestic arms industry and reduce dependence on U.S. suppliers. The ships’ automatic mine-laying system was developed domestically.

Jan 15, 2022

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government this week gave the go-ahead for domestic production and eventual export of a tandem two-seat training and light assault jet for the Turkish air force. The single-engine Hurjet is a development of the Hurkus turboprop produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries.

Jan 14, 2022

The U.S. accused Russia today of sending saboteurs into eastern Ukraine to stage an incident which could be used as a pretext for invasion. One official is quoted as saying said Russia was “laying the groundwork . . . through sabotage activities and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.”

Jan 14, 2022

Defence ministers from European Union states met in France this week to work on a “Strategic Compass” for key military strategy and space policies documents. Josep Borrell, the Spanish politician who leads EU foreign affairs and security policy, said the goal is to have the EU’s first defence white paper released in March.

Jan 14, 2022

Elaine Luria, a Virgina Democrat, navy veteran and vice-chair of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, says new legislation is needed to allow the U.S. to respond faster if China invades Taiwan. She said Jan. 12 that President Joe Biden “would have to come to Congress for authorization to respond” militarily as required by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.

Jan 14, 2022

The U.S. has slapped sanctions on five North Koreans, including four resident in China, it says have procured materials for their country’s development of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes. Citing missile launches in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, the Treasury Department id Jan. 12 that the sanctions are part of ongoing efforts to counter “prohibited programs despite the international community’s calls for diplomacy and denuclearization.”

Jan 14, 2022

A former U.S. paratrooper who leads the far-right Oath Keepers militia has been charged with seditious conspiracy over the mob attack on Congress a year ago. Arrested at home in Texas, Stewart Rhodes is among 11 persons charged Jan. 13 and the Justice Department has accused him of military-style tactics in coordinating the attack.

Jan 14, 2022

The first set of U.S. Army laser-equipped Strykers, a variant of the General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada light armoured vehicles, are said to be on track for delivery in September after more testing. Raytheon Technologies has a $123-million contract to supply the 50-kilowatt directed-energy weapons.

Jan 14, 2022

Three rockets launched from a nearby neighbourhood targeted the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone Jan. 13 while a fourth landed in a nearby residential complex. The Iraqi military said a girl and a woman were injured in the latest in a series of drone and rocket attacks this month on the U.S. presence in Iraq.

Jan 14, 2022

As diplomats and other officials wrestle with the prospect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, LCol Luc-Frederic Gilbert, commander of Canadian Armed Forces in Ukraine, says his 200 or so Operational Unifier troops are pressing on with preparations for a response. “We are keeping an eye on this, but it doesn't affect our day-to-day activities,” he says.

Jan 14, 2022

The websites of seven Ukrainian government ministries and other services were rendered temporarily unavailable today by what the foreign ministry says was a huge cyberattack. A ministry official said that while it was too early to assign blame, “there is a long record of Russian cyber assaults against Ukraine.” The hackers said in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish that Ukrainians should “be afraid expect the worst.”

Jan 14, 2022

There has been no breakthrough in the latest roud of talks between Indian and Chinese military commanders on easing a 20-month border standoff which has occasionally erupted into armed conflict. However, India said Jan. 12 that a “frank and in-depth exchange of views” in the latest meeting could set the stage for eventual resolution of outstanding issues as thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks and aircraft confront each other.

Jan 14, 2022

The minimum hourly wage in Nova Scotia will rise by 40 cents to $13.35 in April and Premier Tim Houston said Jan. 13 that further increases recommended by a review committee would be discussed. If implemented, those would see increases to $13.60 in October and to $15 by April 2024. A Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said that while the increase this spring is based on the Consumer Price Index, it is below a “living wage” and should be more than $22 an hour.

Jan 13, 2022

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov raised the stakes in his country’s dispute with NATO over Ukraine today, saying he could “neither confirm nor exclude” the possibility of sending military assets” to Cuba or Venezuela if the U.S. doesn’t dial down its activities in Eastern Europe.

Jan 13, 2022

Anwar Raslan, a former Syrian security officer, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a German court today of crimes against humanity. Having entered Germany on a visa in 2014 and arrested five years later, he was accused of overseeing a detention center in Damascus where prosecutors said thousands of prisons were tortured and dozens killed during the ongoing civil war.

Jan 13, 2022

With Germany reconsidering its options to replace its air force's ageing fleet of 90 Panavia Tornado fighter, Boeing is willing to expand its German supplier network if the government opts to buy F/A-18 Superhornets. While prospective local partners are unnamed, Boeing said it would amount to deals worth roughly €3.5 billion.

Jan 13, 2022

Sensitive to Russian troops buildups along Ukraine’s border, the Lithuanian government has decided to accelerate its procurement of a purchase of a multiple launch rocket system believed to be the M270 manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The two other Baltic states, Latvia and Estonia, also have confirmed plans to procure MLRS systems.

Jan 13, 2022

U.S. Cyber Command said Jan. 12 that Iran’s intelligence apparatus has been using multiple hacking tools against computer networks “around the world.” One vehicle is a hacking group known as Muddy Water which has tried to snatch data from telecommunications companies and others across the Middle East and elsewhere.

Jan 12, 2022

Militarized versions of Raytheon’s tube-launched Coyote drones have succeeded in blowing up a range of other UAV mid-flight in U.S. Army tests at high and low altitudes. Video released by the company shows the radio/radar-controlled drone detonating in close proximity to either destroy the targets or at least damage them irrecoverably.

Jan 12, 2022

In the hope of making tank warfare more decisive and keeping manned platforms away from enemy fire, the U.Ss. Army is testing forward-positioned robot vehicles with anti-tank missiles and other weapons. There have been successful trials with AI-expedited targetting and firing and since robot vehicles are lighter and faster than their heavily-armoured counterparts, they can outmanoeuvre or outrun tanks.

Jan 12, 2022

SolarWinds, a Texas-based IT management and software company, reported Jan. 11 that hackers have supplanted insiders as the largest source of security threats to the U.S. public sector. Some 56 per cent of the 400 respondents to a commissioned survey said the hacker community was a key issue for public sector organizations, followed by careless or untrained insiders at 52 per cent and foreign governments at 47 per cent. Concern evidently was higher at the state and local level than federally.

Jan 12, 2022

The Pentagon’s independent inspector general’s office wants more information about military recruiters’ efforts to weed out potential extremists or gang members, specifically whether current practice reflects policy. The IG’s audit comes three weeks after the Defense Department released a report on the challenges facing recruiters.

Jan 12, 2022

Raytheon has been contracted to retrofit the U.S. Navy’s Flight IIA Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers with more advanced radars. The $237-million project is expected to give the older ships the same level of detection and protection as the class’s later destroyers.

Jan 11, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was told by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Jan. 11 that the west must be ready to impose further economic sanctions against Russia for its military buildup on his country's eastern border. The message was delivered during a telephone call on the eve of today’s NATO-Russia meeting in Brussels.

Jan 11, 2022

Results of a peer-reviewed study published today in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences shows that the world’s oceans last year were at their warmest in recorded history as average temperatures rose for the sixth consecutive year. “The ocean heat content is relentlessly increasing globally, and this is a primary indicator of human-induced climate change,” commented report co-author Kevin Trenberth, distinguished scholar at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Jan 11, 2022

The U.S. Air Force and Navy are experiencing a worse than officially-reported downward trend in availability and average flight hours for their legacy aircraft. The Congressional Budget Office notes that the Department of Defense counts aircraft as “mission capable” even when down for major maintenance and that its latest assessment does not include both services’ fleets of Lockheed Martin F-35s.

Jan 11, 2022

South Korea and Japan have confirmed that North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile today, less than a week after it launched what it claimed was a hypersonic missile. The latest launch comes shortly six countries urged the North to cease its “destabilising actions.”

Jan 11, 2022

 After the Taliban declared the name of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in August 2021, it began preprations to establish its own air force. The Taliban-led air force conducted military manoeuvers in November and are said to be looking to China for additional support. China has demonstrated positive reception, political endorsement, and diplomatic support of the Taliban.

Jan 11, 2022

A Kremlin spokesman said today that Russia is not optimistic after a first round of talks with the U.S. about the Ukraine crisis and would not allow its demands for western security guarantees to bog down in negotiations. “There are no clear deadlines here, no one is setting them; there is just the Russian position that we will not be satisfied with the endless dragging out of this process,” Dmitry Peskov said.

Jan 11, 2022

Members of the House of Commons and Senate are being warned by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service about attempts by China and other “adversarial” states to influence how they participate in parliamentary debates and decision-making.

Jan 11, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told provincial and territorial premiers Jan. 10 that the federal government has enough coronavirus vaccine to enable all eligible Canadians to receive boosters as well as fourth shots where advised. He also confirmed plans to deliver 140 million rapid tests.

Jan 10, 2022

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov today told his U.S. counterpart, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, that there is no plan to invade Ukraine despite massing an estimated 100,000 troops along its border. They met in Geneva for seven hours for what Sherman said were “frank and forthright” talks which yielded no major breakthrough as the two sides agreed to continue efforts to reduce tensions.

Jan 10, 2022

A plan to phase out the Luftwaffe’s 90 Panavia Tornado strike aircraft, which first entered service in 1979, is being revisited. Germany initially ditched the Lockheed Martin F-35 as a candidate, preferring a mixed fleet of Boeing FA-18 Super Hornets and Eurofighter Typhoons, but in confirming the review today, the defence ministry declined to say today whether the F-25 is back on the table.

Jan 10, 2022

The largest astronomical mirror in space, the $10-billion James Webb telescope, was unfolded on the weekend, two weeks after it was launched toward a distant orbit, the latest stage in a 30-year joint effort by U.S., European and Canadian space agencies. In return for access to data, the Canadian Space Agency has contributed a near-infrared imager/spectrograph and a fine guidance sensor.

Jan 10, 2022

Iran’s addition of another destroyer, four more submarines and 110 combat speedboats to its maritime forces last year, with plans for even more procurements, is said to present a growing threat to its neighbours.

Jan 10, 2022

Three suspected pirates detained for six weeks aboard a Danish warship after an exchange of gunfire in the Gulf of Guinea were released in a small dinghy off Nigeria after Denmark said it had not been able to find a country in the region which would take them. They were given enough food and fuel to get to shore. Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said his government’s decision would deter other piracy, adding that if the suspects had been taken to Denmark, there was a “risk that they would not subsequently be deported.”

Jan 10, 2022

An attempt by four military personnel to have legal protection against disciplinary measures against unvaccinated service members has been rebuffed by the Federal Court of Canada. Justice Janet Fuhrer said in her ruling that they had failed to meet any of the legal requirements for an injunction against the directive issued by the Chief of the Defence Staff.

Jan 10, 2022

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says all Canadian Armed Forces personnel must be vaccinated against the coronavirus. “My message to the military, military families right now is simple,” said the former RCAF officer. “Vaccines are safe and effective. . . . Make sure you’re part of our fight against COVID-19.”

Jan 10, 2022

MGen Dany Fortin’s bid to have himself reinstated as the head of the federal coronavirus rollout will go ahead after a Federal Court of Appeal judge adjourned a government motion to quash it. The Attorney General had sought to cut short the appeal, contending it was moot because the position no longer exists. Federal Court of Canada ruled last October that Fortin should use the military grievance process to make his case, but his counsel challenged that.

Jan 10, 2022

Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced today to four more years in prison for what the military-run government says was illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions. The 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate was sentenced last month to four years on two other charges and while that was halved, trials on other charges are pending.

Jan 10, 2022

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly is not ruling out the possibility of Canada sending weapons to Ukraine as Russia increases its troops presence along its border. However, she stressed Jan. 9 that NATO’s focus is on diplomatic initiatives, which was “exactly why I had on Friday an important meeting with all the foreign ministers. . . . Ukraine's security is Europe's security and therefore it is the world and Canada's security.”

Jan 07, 2022

The U.S. has established a forward operating headquarters in Albania to overseen missions in the broader Balkans. “The ability to rapidly move and train . . . with other allied and partner forces made Albania the best location,” MGen David Tabor, commander of Special Operations Command Europe, said Jan. 6. SOCEUR did not say how many troops will be based in Albania on rotational basis.

Jan 07, 2022

Lockheed Martin has received an $847 million order for long-lead components and services to produce 105 more F-35 fighters for the U.S. and allied customers for the aircraft. Long-lead items reportedly are difficult and time-consuming to obtain, so the new order is necessary to keep aircraft production on schedule.

Jan 07, 2022

British military resources have been deployed to support hospitals experiencing staff shortages and extreme pressures due to record coronavirus cases. COVID-19 cases in the country: more than 150,000 cases daily last week. The government said today that 200 personnel were available in London alone for at least the rest of this month.

Jan 07, 2022

Australia and Japan have agreed to make it easier for their military forces to visit each other’s countries for exercises. Their prime ministers signed an agreement during a Jan. 6 virtual meeting, Australian PM Scott Morrison saying that it would “underpin greater and more complex practical engagement between the Australian Defence Force and the Japanese Self-Defence Forces.”

Jan 07, 2022

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan has ordered his security forces to “kill without warning” protesters who have virtually paralyzed the former Soviet republic with demonstrations against rising fuel prices and what they say is widespread corruption. The autocratic leader claims that the protests are organized by “terrorist bandits” and that his “introduction of a state of emergency is yielding results.”

Jan 07, 2022

Russian troops have deployed to the northern Mali city of Timbuktu to train domestic forces at a base vacated by France and western allies last month. Details are sketchy but France, the former colonial power, said just before Christmas that Russia mercenaries working for the Wagner Group had arrived but that was denied by the Mali government.

Jan 06, 2022

Britain’s defence ministry has confirmed that there was a too-close encounter between a Royal Navy frigate and a Russian submarine in the North Atlantic in late 2020. HMS Northumberland had been tracking the submarine with its towed-array sonar when the submarine dived and struck the array, necessitating the ship’s return to its Scottish homeport. It was not clear whether the submarine had been damaged in what tghe ministry considered an accident.

Jan 06, 2022

Widespread protests against rising fuel prices have prompted Kazakhstan’s authoritarian president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, to fire his cabinet, impose states of emergency and call for Russian support through the Collective Security Treaty Organisation of former Soviet states to deal with what he called foreign-trained “terrorists.” An estimated 2,500 Russian troops arrived Jan. 6 to help Kazakh forces deal with the increasingly violent demonstrations which have resulted in the deaths of demonstrators and police.

Jan 06, 2022

Norway is replacing its legacy F-16 Fighting Falcons with Lockheed Martin F-35As (the same model being offered to Canada) for a NATO quick-reaction Arctic role. Stationed at Evenes Air Base, the mission requires at least three aircraft to be ready to scramble within 15 minutes to deal with potential airspace violations.

Jan 06, 2022

The apparently unprecedented belly-landing earlier this week of one of South Korea’s more than 30 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters (the same model being offered to Canada) has resulted in the entire fleet being grounded pending an investigation. It was returning from a training flight when an electronics failure evidently caused the landing gear to malfunction.

Jan 06, 2022

Two off-duty U.S Air Force officers flying commercially to Canada from Germany for a holiday Dec. 29 helped to restrain another passenger who became rowdy on their flight, issuing threats “and thereby endangered the safety of the plane.” The unruly passenger was handed over to police on the Lufthansa flight’s arrival in Toronto.

Jan 06, 2022

USAF F-16 fighters from Ramstein Air Base in Germany flew to Poland Jan. 4 to work with Polish and Belgian F-16s on air policing missions. NATO says the three countries’ aircrews will practise “advanced airborne maneuvers” to strengthen command and control procedures in coordination with a German operations centre.

Jan 06, 2022

The UN has a policy designed to prohibit North Korea from nuclear and ballistic missile tests but the “hermit kingdom” recently fired what is believed to be a ballistic missile. Immediately condemned by South Korea and Japan, the test evidently saw the missile land in the Sea of Japan after flying some 500km.

Jan 06, 2022

The Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) in the U.S. Army has its first chief technology officer. It said Jan. 4 that the appointment of Chaneta Samms, formerly chief of plans and programs at the Army Research Lab, reflects the service’s push to “strengthen the integration of its multi-billion dollar research and technology mission.”

Jan 06, 2022

Xerox is leading a U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program which uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality to improve training for military mechanics and medics. AMIGOS (Autonomous Multimodal Ingestion for Goal-Oriented Support) is funded by a $5.8-million DARPA contract which also involves U.S. and German universities and a New York-based company, Patched Reality.

Jan 05, 2022

Gov Greg Abbott of Texas has told National Guard members in his state that they can ignore Department of Defense coronavirus vaccination rules. “President Biden . . . is not your commander-in-chief under our federal or state Constitutions,” Abbott said Jan. 4. “As long as I am your commander-in-chief, I will not tolerate efforts to compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine.” Abbott is one of seven Republican state leaders challenging the federal policy.

Jan 05, 2022

A Republican-appointed U.S. District Court judge in Texas has granted a preliminary injunction against the Navy disciplining 35 sailors for refusing mandatory coronavirus vaccinations on religious grounds. There was no indication that the order would affect sailors beyond the 35 who sued the USN and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Jan 05, 2022

A virtual meeting of NATO foreign ministers is scheduled for Jan. 7 to assess the situation in Ukraine. The extraordinary meeting of the 30 alliance members kicks off a week of intense diplomacy over troop buildups along the Ukrainian border with Russian and U.S. officials meeting in Geneva Jan. 12 followed by talks in Vienna of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna.

Jan 05, 2022

Debris from a Nov. 15 Russian test of an anti-satellite weapon will remain a threat to many military and civilian satellites, including the International Space Station for at least several more years. However, the threat is expected to diminish as more than 900 of some 1,500 fragments being tracked by U.S. Space Command are projected to de-orbit by mid-decade.

Jan 05, 2022

Israel has agreed to buy two Boeing 767-based KC-46A tankers and 12 Lockheed Martin CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift cargo helicopters with an option for six more. Both aircraft in the $3.1-billion procurement will replace legacy platforms.

Jan 05, 2022

Kristin Robertson, most recently vice president and general manager of autonomous systems dur9ng a 27-year career with Boeing, has been tapped by Raytheon Intelligence & Space to lead its space and command and control business.

Jan 05, 2022

Despite attempts by two U.S. administrations to shut down the military’s terrorist detention and trial facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, the Department of Defense has begun a $4-million courtroom expansion. Public attendance at trials in the original Camp Justice courtroom will still be permitted but the new courtroom will only be viewable remotely through a “virtual gallery with multiple camera angles.”

Jan 04, 2022

Charles M. Lieber, a Harvard University professor and government-funded nanotechnology researcher, has been found guilty by a U.S. federal court of lying to the Department of Defense and other authorities about his ties to China. The jury finding is seen as a victory for the Justice Department amidst a crackdown on academic espionage. Lieber was arrested in January 2020 and evidence against him included a contract paying him $50,000 a month for work with the Wuhan Institute of Technology.

Jan 04, 2022

A former Republican party staffer in Congress wants Airbus shut out of the competition to supply the U.S. Air Force with new tankers, a move which would clear the way for Boeing which has put up its 767-based KC-46A against the A330-based Multi-Role Tanker Transport. “The company is guilty of misbehavior when it comes to defense contracting,” writes Lynn Haueter, alluding to fines Airbus agreed to in 2020 to settle international investigations into alleged bribery. “Airbus should be ineligible for new defense contracts . . . until it can prove it has changed its ways.”

Jan 03, 2022

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has confirmed a recent arms deal with Russia which includes man-portable 9M-133 Kornet anti-tank missiles, the latest iteration of which have an 8,000-metre range. “I am pleased that our soldiers are happy about the purchase,” he said Jan. 2, calling the weapons “an important defensive tool to deter anyone from potential aggression against our country.”

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