IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Apr 14, 2021

A surge in Chinese companies’ investment in U.S. defence suppliers has prompted the Pentagon to approve more than $311 million in potential partnerships with the private sector in a bid to contain Beijing;s influence. The Trusted Capital program targets, among others, companies involved in artificial intelligence and biotechnology.

Apr 14, 2021

Reversing the former administration’s move to reduce the number of U.S. troops stationed in Germany, the U.S. plans to increase its presence by 500 more personnel. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed the plan April 13 after talks with his counterpart, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, in Berlin.

Apr 14, 2021

The intrusion of 25 Chinese warplanes into Taiwanese airspace April 11 is said by analysts as a move by Beijing step up pressure on the island state and the U.S. The incursion by a mixed fleet of fighters, bombers and anti-submarine platforms was the largest such action to date.

Apr 14, 2021

The first of a new class of 10,600-ton amphibious helicopter-equipped transport vessels which will also be capable of conducting surface warfare missions has been launched for the Taiwan navy. President Tsai Ing-wen said the “milestone” event “will strengthen the Navy’s ability to fulfill its mission and further solidify our defenses.”

Apr 14, 2021

A US$447.2 million contract has been awarded to Lockheed Martin to build 12 MH-60R Seahawk multirole naval helicopters for the South Korean navy. The twin-engine ASW platform was selected over two European aircraft, the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat and the NHIndustries NH90 NATO Frigate Helicopter.

Apr 14, 2021

The U.S. has selected General Atomics, Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin to design a nuclear thermal propulsion system for use in low Earth orbit by mid-decade. They will be prime contractors for the first phase of a demonstration vehicle which the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency hopes will mean better manoeuvring capabilities than chemical propulsion systems.

Apr 14, 2021

The U.S. Army has approved requirements for its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft by validating designs developed by Lockheed Martin and Bell Textron. This is the third attempt to fill a capability gap resulting from the Army’s retirement of its Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters.

Apr 14, 2021

China warned the U.S. April 12 to stop “playing with fire” in its relationship with Taiwan. It was responding to new State Department guidelines on deepening ties with the island republic which China considers a “rogue” province. “We urge the U.S. side to grasp the situation, earnestly abide by the one-China principle and . . . immediately stop official contact with Taiwan in any form,” a government spokesman said.

Apr 14, 2021

Boeing has announced that it has begun assembly of the first of five P8A Poseidon maritime multimission aircraft for Norway. First delivery of the 737-based platform is expected later this year as the Royal Norwegian Air Force replaces six legacy Lockheed Martin P-3C Orions and three Dassault Falcon DA-20 Jet Falcons at an overall cost of US$1.2 billion.

Apr 13, 2021

Canada is being urged by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to review military export restrictions imposed after it was confirmed that Canadian technology was on drones used in the battle between Armenian and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. His ministry says Cavusoglu conveyed concerns about Canada’s stance” during a call with his Canadian counterpart, Marc Garneau.

Apr 13, 2021

Lengthy negotiations between Air Canada and the federal government have yielded a financial support package which includes a total of $5.9 billion in low-interest loans in return for the carrier maintaining what’s left of its workforce, restoring most regional services, ordering new Airbus and Boeing jets and agreeing to refunds for passengers whose flights were cancelled last year over COVID-19 concerns. The government also is taking a small equity position in the airline. “We were determined to get a good deal for Canada and Canadians,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland replied April 12 when asked during a why negotiations had taken so long. “We wanted . . . not just any deal -- and getting a good deal can sometimes take a little time.”

Apr 12, 2021

The federal government has cancelled 29 export permits for Turkey after finding Canadian technology had been used in drones during the 2019 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “This use was not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances,” Foreign Minister Garneau said April 12. “Turkey is an important NATO ally and applications related to NATO cooperation programs will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”

Apr 12, 2021

A House of Commons defence committee inquiry into alleged sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces has been shut down by a Liberal-Bloc Québécois alliance which overcame Conservative-NDP pressure to continue hearings and moves the committee to its report-writing stage. A parallel investigation by the status of women committee on the effect of misconduct on female personnel continues.

Apr 12, 2021

When Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip travelled to Canada for the centennial of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, Ottawa-based journalist Peter Ward managed to get invited aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia for a reception. He shares how he managed to get the royal consort to agree to become a patron of HMCS Haida, now a National Historic Site based in Hamilton, Ont.

Apr 12, 2021

Climate change and Chinese expansionism have been identified as key Arctic challenges by the Acting Chief of the Defence Staff, LGen Wayne Eyre, in a note to Canadian Armed Forces personnel. “Various trends such as climate change, increased interest in the Arctic, and challenges to our national resilience . . . are driving change in how we conceptualize national defence,” he wrote.

Apr 12, 2021

Canada has signed on to a multinational accord aimed at improving the strategic implications of climate change in polar regions. The other parties are Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the U.S.

Apr 12, 2021

A power failure apparently caused by a planned explosion struck Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment site April 11 in what Iranian officials was sabotage. Israeli and U.S. intelligence sources have said Israel was involved.

Apr 12, 2021

A U.S. carrier strike group and three amphibious support ships are in the South China Sea amidst increased jurisdictional tension between The Philippines and China. “Combining the capabilities of the carrier strike group with those of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group sharpens our tactical skills and demonstrates our continued dedication to the security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific,” says the group commander, RAdm Doug Verissimo.

Apr 12, 2021

Turkey has given permission for two U.S. destroyers to transit the Bosphorus Strait into the Black Sea from the Mediterranean. The development comes as Russian continues to build up forces in its southwestern region along its border with Ukraine.

Apr 09, 2021

Parliamentary committee hearings evidently have highlighted a contradiction in the government's approach to alleged sexual misconduct by senior Canadian Armed Forces officers. One apparent issue was Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s declaration that he could not examine evidence in a legal action because it would insert him into the chain of evidence. At the same time, his department permitted complainants in two cases to be interviewed by news media.

Apr 09, 2021

Lingering concerns about Russia’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty evidently means the U.S. is reluctant to rejoin. While there has been no final decision, a recent diplomatic memorandum states that rejoining the 34-country pact abandoned by the previous U.S. administration would send the “wrong message” to Moscow.

Apr 09, 2021

Seven Chinese supercomputing companies have been added to a U.S. list of entities restricted from buying U.S. technologies without a waiver. The Bureau of Industry and Security within the Commerce Department confirmed the move April 9, saying the companies “are involved in activities that support China’s military actors, its destabilizing military modernization efforts, and/or its weapons of mass destruction.”

Apr 09, 2021

China has been warned by the U.S. it has treaty obligations to support the Philippines against Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea. “An armed attack against the Philippines’ armed forces, public vessels or aircraft . . . will trigger our obligations,” a State Department official said this week. “We share the concerns of our Philippine allies regarding the continued reported massing of PRC maritime militia near the Whitsun Reef,” he said, referring to a recent concentration of more than 200 Chinese vessels within the Philippines’s exclusive economic zone.

Apr 09, 2021

A USN guided-missile destroyer’s “routine” transit of the Taiwan Strait this week as a “commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific” drew quick condemnation by China. A People's Liberation Army said the action undermined the situation “undermined the regional situation and jeopardized the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” and that the PLA remains on high alert.

Apr 09, 2021

In a show of support for Ukraine as Russia bolsters its presence on Ukraine’s eastern flanks, the U.S. is considering deployment of warships into the Black Sea. The U.S. Navy routinely operates there but is required to give two weeks’ notice to Turkey, which controls the Bosporus Strait link with the Mediterranean. A U.S. official says that a formal deployment would send a clear message to Moscow.

Apr 09, 2021

The Russian navy has retasked 10 landing craft and gunboats from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, ostensibly as part of a series of readiness exercises, but it comes as Moscow increases its military presence near its border with Ukraine. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe also notes a spike in GPS jamming in the region.

Apr 09, 2021

The U.S. Army is looking for an anti-tank weapon which would be effective out to 10 kilometres, more than double the range of the latest iteration of its TOW missiles. “We want to be able to shoot on the move and . . . we want the missile to get there quicker than it currently takes our TOW missiles,” an official said, adding that the Army wants to retain the TOW configuration which dates to the 1970s.

Apr 07, 2021

Eight RCAF personnel, but no aircraft, will be participating in INIOCHOS 2, an April 12-22 multinational field training exercise led by the Greek air force. DND says the Canadian contingent comprises five members of 12 Radar Squadron and three from 21 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron.

Apr 07, 2021

A long-standing U.S. program whereby surplus military vehicles and other equipment is donated to local law enforcement agencies is coming under fire amidst allegations of abuse. President Joe Biden is being urged by members of the Democrat caucus in the House of Representatives to limit the program. More than $7.4 billion in equipment has been transferred to police in nearly all states.

Apr 07, 2021

Two European companies leading a trinational push for a next-generation fighter have struck a deal to remove “the main obstacle” to launching the project’s demonstration phase. Airbus and Dassault have told the French Senate that they have sorted out differences over intellectual property and worksharing but their deal now awaits approval from Germany.

Apr 06, 2021

NATO was asked today by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to lay out a path for his country to join the alliance. Moscow immediately hit back, saying that could further inflame the situation in the contested Donbass region. “NATO is the only way to end the war,” Zelenskiy told Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, saying that joining the alliance would be “a real signal for Russia.”

Apr 06, 2021

A new Iranian military prosecutor has confirmed the indictment of “10 of the officials who had a role” in the January 2020 missile downing of a Ukrainian International Airlines flight with scores of Canadians aboard. Gholam Abbas Torki, who did not ientify the officials, said they would face trial “in the new year,” which began March 21.

Apr 06, 2021

The new U.S. administration will join talks in Vienna designed to revive a nuclear deal with Iran from which the former administration withdrew in 2018. The six countries still party to the agreement must find a way for the U.S. to lift the former administration’s sanctions against Iran, which has said it will not meet with the U.S. until that happens.

Apr 06, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law designed to keep him in power until possibly 2036. Currently 68 and serving his fourth term, Putin could serve two more six-year terms when his current orchestrated mandate expires in 2024.

Apr 06, 2021

Ten retired admirals have been detained for publicly criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plan for a canal project in Istanbul. They were among 104 former officers who signed a letter warning against withdrawal from an international treaty governing the strategic Bosphorus Strait. The canal would provide an alternative shipping route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean..

Apr 06, 2021

The U.S. Army has kicked off a competition for a prototype all-terrain vehicle capable of Arctic operations. Evaluations are expected in Alaska later this year. The competitors are a team of Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense and ST Engineering of Singapore and two divisions of BAE Systems.

Apr 05, 2021

A hitherto internal DND report acknowledges that an improper pressure test on one of its former British submarines undergoing maintenance last year could limit its operational capabilities. The report shows that Babcock Canada, the long-term maintenance and repair contractor for the four-boat fleet, had overpressurized one of HMCS Corner Brook’s ballast tanks while trying to drain it in too quickly. The report was made public by DND in response to an access-to-information request.

Apr 05, 2021

Bridget Lauderdale, most recently head of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and F-22 fighter programs, has been appointed vice-president and general manager of the beleaguered F-35 program. Before her involvement in the other programs, she had managed F-35 spares and been involved in containing the program’s unit costs and improving deliverability.

Apr 05, 2021

The U.S. and its European allies are “discussing concerns” about reported Russian military buildup along its border with Ukraine. “We're absolutely concerned by recent escalations of Russian aggressive and provocative actions in eastern Ukraine, including violations of the July 2020 ceasefire,” a State Department official said. A Kremlin spokesman countered that Russian military movements “should not concern anyone and this is not posing any threat.”

Apr 05, 2021

Taking advantage of warming Arctic waters, Russia is reportedly strengthening its military presence in the region, including new and expanded bases and tests of new weapons such as a hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile and new torpedo technology. “There's clearly a military challenge,” says a U.S. State Department official.

Apr 05, 2021

All U.S. regular and reserve military commands have been direct to immediately conduct a survey to assess their compliance with policies designed to address sexual assault and harassment. Notice of the initiative, to be completed by April 30 for active-duty personnel and a month later for reserve units, was confirmed in a Navy news release

Apr 05, 2021

Troy Crosby, ADM (Materiel) at the Department of National Defence, says there are no plans to alter course on a fleet of 15 new frigates despite concerns about ballooning costs. Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux said in late February that the project, budgeted at $26 billion when announced a decade ago, is at risk of topping $77 billion. Crosby, confident in DND’s latest estimate of up to $60 billion, suggests that changes now would mean delays and reduced naval capabilities.

Apr 05, 2021

The U.S. has lifted “inappropriate and ineffective” sanctions imposed by the previous administration on International Criminal Court officials investigating alleged war crimes by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. “We maintain our long-standing objection to the court’s efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-states parties such as the United States and Israel,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “We believe, however, that our concerns about these cases would be better addressed through engagement with all stakeholders.”

Apr 05, 2021

Inmates at a once-secret unit within the U.S. detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been moved to an adjacent facility to “increase operational efficiency and effectiveness.” Some 14 men had previously been confirmed at Camp 7, which opened in 2006 to hold prisoners transferred from CIA “black sites” elsewhere.

Apr 01, 2021

Christine Schraner Burgener, a Swiss diplomat and UN special envoy on Myanmar, has told the Security Council that “a bloodbath is imminent” in Myanmar as its military intensifies its crackdown on anti-coup protesters. She said March 31 that the UN must consider “potentially significant action” to turn the situation around. At least 521 civilians have been killed in protests against the Feb. 1 overthrow of the elected government.

Apr 01, 2021

Two Russian officials have been expelled from Italy in connection with an espionage case, which Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio describes as “an extremely serious hostile act.” His March 31 statement follows the arrest of an Italian navy captain and the detention of a Russian military attaché the Italian authorities say were “caught in flagrante” in an exchange of cash for classified documents.

Brazil replaces its high command
Apr 01, 2021

Three career officers have been appointed to head up Brazil’s army, navy and air force a day after their predecessors resigned in protest over President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of his country’s massive COVID-19 outbreak. Defence Minister Walter Braga Netto confirmed the promotions only a few days after his own appointment.

Apr 01, 2021

Despite some COVID-19 hurdles, Troy Crosby, ADM material at the Department of National Defence, says the government is on track to select replacements for the RCAF’s legacy Boeing CF-188 Hornets in 2022. Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Saab are the three contenders. “I still see the evaluation being completed this year,” Crosby says. “That would get us to a point where we could enter whatever the resulting agreements or contracts are next year.”

Apr 01, 2021

Minister of State for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin says Britain plans to order more Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters by 2025 in addition to 38 already purchased. While he is “absolutely confident” of more orders, he declined to confirm that Britain’s initial plan to buy 138 remains in effect.

Apr 01, 2021

A new Parliamentary Budget Office report says the government’s COVID-19 response should see the current year’s deficit balloon to $363.4 billion. However, PBO Yves Giroux also says the red ink should sink as emergency spending measures wind down and that financing will eventually become sustainable.

Apr 01, 2021

An advanced version of Lockheed Martin’s Patriot surface-to-air missile has been ordered by Taiwan as it addresses what it considers as a growing Chinese threat. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2025 for deployment the following year.

Apr 01, 2021

The Philippines wants China to remove a flotilla of militia-operate ships from six islands and reefs claimed by Manila in the South China. The ships and four naval vessels are described as a threat to sovereignty and the marine environment and Manila says that “neither the Philippines nor the international community will ever accept China’s assertion of its so-called ‘indisputable integrated sovereignty’ over almost all of the South China Sea.”

Apr 01, 2021

A former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst pleaded guilty March 31 to leaking classified documents to a journalist about military drone strikes against Middle East terrorist targets in 2014 and 2015. Daniel Hale, who was working as a contractor at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at the time, faces up to 10 years in prison.

Apr 01, 2021

Tennessee-based Barret Firearms has been awarded a $50-million contract for 2,800 Multi-role Adaptive Design sniper rifles, the preferred weapon of U.S. special operations. Replacing previous Barrett weapons, they can be chambered for three calibres.

Apr 01, 2021

The U.S. Army has confirmed that a contract with Microsoft worth as much as $231.88 billion will see at least 220,000 personnel kitted out with headsets designed to deliver better night-vision and “situational awareness” as they enter service over the next 10 years. Confirmation of the contract follows two years of development trials with the special operations community.

Mar 31, 2021

A senior engineer at the Rand Corporation, a U.S. think-tank, says the recent six-day blockage of the Suez Canal by a container ship, although accidental, is a reminder of how vulnerable maritime transport is to chokepoints. “Planners must remember that such blockages can be inflicted on purpose,” Scott Savitz writes. “This ancient naval maneuver remains highly relevant in the 21st century.”

Mar 31, 2021

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force has established an electronic warfare unit on Kyushu Island as part of a program to enhance defence of remote archipelago. Tasked with identifying and jamming enemy naval and airborne threats, it is the first of seven such units to be set up over the next year.

Mar 31, 2021

An Italian navy officer identified as a frigate captain has been arrested while allegedly handing over classified documents to a Russian officer posted at his country’s embassy in Rome. A national police special operations unit carried out the arrests March 30 “during a clandestine meeting between the two” at which money changed hands.

Mar 31, 2021

An agreement between Japan and Indonesia is designed to facilitate the transfer of Japanese defence equipment and technology as part of a strengthened response to Chinese expansionism in the region. Their foreign and defence ministers also agreed to participate in multinational military exercises, saying they shared grave concern over the continuation and escalation of an attempt to change the status quo by force.”

Mar 31, 2021

The Royal Navy’s next-generation submarines are expected to feature control technologies now commonplace in aviation. BAE Systems says its decades of experience with fly-by-wire aircraft is the basis of an Active Vehicle Control Management system designed to manage all major aspects of the subs’ maneuvering capability

Mar 31, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin is accusing Ukraine of provoking confrontation with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. He was responding March 30 to accusations by Ukraine’s commander-in-chief that Russia is building up its capabilities in a border area and that the separatists are systematically violating a ceasefire.

Mar 30, 2021

Twenty-six persons, including 16 former Turkish Aerospace Industries employees and a former member of the government’s defence procurement agency, were detained today on suspicion of espionage. They also are accused of what Turkey says is a terrorist organization run by an exiled Muslim cleric.

Mar 30, 2021

A day after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro sacked his defence minister over differences about his country’s failure to handle COVID-19, the three top military commanders resigned today. Bolsanaro has persistently blocked calls for COVID-19 lockdowns as Brazil’s death toll topped 300,000.

Mar 30, 2021

The Government of Canada has announced it is extending Op Impact for another year. The stated purpose of the operation is to build the military capabilities of Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, and help set the conditions for security and stability.

Mar 30, 2021

The Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that Canada had a poorer record than many other countries when it came to the number of deaths in long-term care homes between the first and second waves of COVID-19. Its study also found that the deaths accounted for 69 per cent of the national total, well above an international average of 41 per cent.

Mar 30, 2021

India's border state of Manipur has rescinded an order to officials to “politely turn away” refugees from Myanmar in the aftermath of last month’s military coup. Meanwhile, continued protests in Myanmar evidently have resulted in more than 500 deaths at the hands of the country’s military.

Mar 30, 2021

The German state-owned KfW development bank is acquiring a 255.1 per cent stake in Hensoldt, a defence supplier derived from the former Airbus defence and security electronics arm. The decision enables the government to block “unfriendly powers” from acquiring sensitive technologies.

Mar 30, 2021

The U.S. Navy has contracted with Huntington Ingalls Industries for a 10th Virginia-class submarine. Partnered with General Dynamics Electric Boat, the company was awarded a $22-billion contract in 2019 for nine of the fast-attack boats with an option for one more. The new contract boosts the total project cost to $24.1 billion

Mar 30, 2021

A newly-released Russian defence ministry video shows three of its submarines breaking through Arctic ice nearly simultaneously. Adm Nikolai Yevmenov, the navy’s commander-in-chief, says the boats “surfaced from under the ice in a limited space with a radius of 300 meters” near the Franz Josef Land archipelago.

Mar 29, 2021

Seventeen countries supporting NATO’s Afghanistan mission received three years of helicopter support at the expense of the U.S., the Department of Defense has disclosed. The explanation offered is that the DoD did not seek payment of $773 million from its allies in the period beginning in September 2017. Canada withdrew its forces in 2014.

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