IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Oct 09, 2020

The U.S. Air Force has succeeded in updating legacy software in one of its oldest aircraft while it was in flight with no negative effects on flight or mission systems. The experiment with a U-2 surveillance platform involved Kubernetes software technology created by Google.

Oct 09, 2020

Two European telecom service providers have chosen 5G technology from Finland’s Nokia Corp. for their networks in Belgium, dropping China’s Huawei. The decision followed months of diplomatic pressure from the U.S., which considers the Chinese technology a national security risk.

Oct 09, 2020

The Department of Defense evidently was caught off guard by President Donald Trump’s announcement 8 October that all U.S. troops will be out of Afghanistan by year’s end as opposed to a more gradual withdrawal. There is concern about sensitive equipment being left behind and evident Taliban reluctance to agree to all peace terms..

Oct 09, 2020

In stark contrast to the customary Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial, which usually draws thousands of participants and spectators, this year’s 11 November will reflect the realities of another battle: the ongoing COVID-19 campaign. The Royal Canadian Legion, which hopes to line the site with wreaths, plans to have only 100 actual participants, all masked and within protected barriers, and wants spectators to watch the ceremony remotely.

Oct 09, 2020

Nearly seven in 10 officer cadets at Canadian military colleges say they have witnessed or experienced “unwanted sexualized behaviours” in the past year, according to Statistics Canada. It also says in a report released 8 October that nearly all witnesses opted not to intervene.

Oct 08, 2020

Integrated navigation and tactical systems developed by B.C.-based OSI Maritime Systems for three inshore patrol vessels built in Cape Town for the South African navy have completed initial acceptance testing. The choice of OSI technology minimized development and shortened the delivery time.

Oct 08, 2020

The loss of an $11.3-million General Atomics MQ-9 reaper drone in Middle East airspace last April is being blamed on a loose washer which caused an electrical short in a control console back in the U.S. The result was erroneous control signals which, among other things, shut off its fuel supply and feathered its propellor.

Oct 08, 2020

Collins Aerospace has received a contract to build the U.S. Army’s Mounted Assured Position Navigation and Timing System, designed to ensure that troops know their precise location even if GPS is jammed. MAPS will fuse data from multiple sources.

Oct 08, 2020

A new hypersonic cruise missile dubbed Zircon is reported to have been tested successfully. General Staff Chief Valery Gerasimov says the missile, launched from a frigate in the northern White Sea, struck a target in the Barents Sea.

Oct 08, 2020

U.S. government departments and agencies have been tasked with developing a plan to address mental health issues exacerbated by COVID-19. The White House has proposed a an “all-of-government” approach to the pandemic’s impact on all vulnerable populations.

Oct 08, 2020

David Helvey, U.S. principal deputy assistant secretary of defence for Indo-Pacific security affairs, says Taiwan’s increased defence spending still isn’t enough to cope with evolving Chinese threats. He says Taiwan needs to buy more weapons, such as coastal defence cruise missiles, and spend “intelligently” on developing indigenous weapons.

Oct 08, 2020

The escalating Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict over Nagorno-Karabachk evidently is being “shadowed” by a social-media battle over how it is being portrayed to the outside world. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute says researchers at its Cyber Policy Centre have found large numbers of accounts weighing on both sides, indicating large-scale coordination.

Oct 07, 2020

Two British men who joined an Islamic State cell dubbed “The Beatles”, and who are alleged to participated in kidnappings in Iraq and Syria, have been charged with terrorism offences arising from the killing of four U.S. hostages. Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, who have pleaded not guilty and are facing up to life imprisonment, are in FBI custody pending a federal court appearance in Virginia.

Oct 07, 2020

The controversial advent of 5G technologies will dramatically increase the number of internet-connected devices but it also increases opportunities for hackers. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has found the government’s national 5G strategy lacking in that it only partly addresses five of six key concerns and ignores the sixth.

Oct 07, 2020

Supported by the New Democratic Party, the minority Liberal government has survived a confidence vote in the House of Commons. The vote on the Speech from the Throne was 177-152 with the Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party voting against it.

Oct 07, 2020

The cost to taxpayers of defending then Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan in a small claims court defamation case has topped $213,500, according to information prepared by the Justice Department but released in the Senate. Former RCAF intelligence officer Sean Bruyea sued the minister (now at Natural Resources) for $25,000, saying that he had been defamed in a newspaper article written by O’Regan. The suit has since been settled without disclosure.

Oct 07, 2020

The Canadian government’s decision to suspend military exports to Turkey, pending results of an investigation into allegations that L3Harris targeting technology has been used on drones in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, has drawn a rebuke from Ankara. Stating that Canada has taken sides in the Yemen civil war (General Dynamics armoured vehicles used by Saudi Arabia), the Turkish foreign ministry said it expects “a policy that stays away from double standards.”

Oct 07, 2020

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has unveiled a plan to reshape the U.S. Navy by moving away from large aircraft carriers and using more submarines and smaller, faster unmanned vessels. He has called for an overall fleet of more than 500 by 2045 —355 by 2035 — which would require Congress to increase the navy’s shipbuilding budget.

Oct 07, 2020

The U.S. State Department has told Congress that Syria continues to obtain components for its chemical weapons and missile programs as President Bashar al-Assad tries to restore capabilities eroded by civil war and U.S. airstrikes. “The Assad regime continues to pursue chemical weapons,” the State Department said in a report just made public. Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to the UN told a Security Council session this week that Syria is breaching its international obligations governing chemical weapons.

Oct 07, 2020

California-based AeroVironment has developed a new medium-sized, man-portable loitering missile. Building on the company’s combat-proven Switchblade 300 system, the new 600 series is said to offer greater stand-off range and endurance.

Oct 07, 2020

Bulgaria is assessing U.S. and Finnish responses to a call for tenders on a 1.46-billion lev (US$875 million) contract to supply 150 armoured vehicles. The defence ministry says that after the General Dynamics Land Systems and Patria offerings are field-tested, negotiations could set the stage for a contract award or perhaps even a recommendation that the defence minister cancel the tender.

Oct 06, 2020

The challenges posed by evolving threats such as drones and advanced missile technologies were the focus of a recent virtual roundtable involving the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, the U.S. National Defense Industrial Association, NORAD and U.S. Northern Command. There was evident consensus that North American defence capabilities were also evolving but that the ability to defeat incoming threats requires effective fusion of domain awareness and defeat mechanisms.

Oct 06, 2020

A U.S. Department of Defense official said 6 October says almost the entire military leadership is quarantine after a meeting last week that involved Adm Charles Ray, vice commandant of the Coast Guard, who tested positive for coronavirus. “All potential close contacts . . . from these meetings are self-quarantining and have been tested this morning,” the official said. “No Pentagon contacts have exhibited symptoms and we have no additional positive tests to report at this time.”

Oct 06, 2020

The head of the Australian army, LGeneral Rick Burr, has warned all personnel to prepare themselves for an administrative report which includes allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan by a small number of troops. The former commander of the Special Air Service Regiment, the focus of many of the “extremely serious and deeply troubling” allegations, says they will be acted on when presented to the Chief of the Defence Force.

Oct 06, 2020

Israel has delivered the first of two Iron Dome indirect-fire protection systems to the U.S. Army despite doubts about whether the technology will fit the service's modernization vision. The procurement was announced last February to comply with the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

Oct 06, 2020

SpaceX and L3Harris Technologies have been chosen by the U.S. Space Development Agency to build satellites and sensors for countering space-based missile threats. The project is worth more than $149 million and $193 million for the companies, respectively.

Oct 06, 2020

The federal government is looking for a used light icebreaker for Canadian Coast Guard use on the Great Lakes, a proposal the Canadian Marine Industry and Shipbuilding Association says should be domestically sourced for job protection and economic necessity. “We have the capacity,” says CMISA President Colin Cooke. “That was what the . . . National Shipbuilding Strategy was all about.”

Oct 06, 2020

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is meeting his Australian, Indian and Japanese counterparts in Tokyo to discuss how to counter an increasingly assertive China in the Indo-Pacific region. Beijing has warned against “exclusive cliques”, saying it would prefer “more things that are conducive to regional peace, stability and development, not the other way around.”

Oct 06, 2020

VAdm Kenneth Whitesell, a former carrier-based fighter pilot, has assumed command of U.S,  Naval Air Forces and NAF Pacific Fleet. A former assistant commander for USN career management, he succeeds retiring VAdm De Wolfe “Bullet” Miller III.

Oct 06, 2020

Boeing Australia has announced that a manufacturing hub for its Loyal Wingman unmanned aerial vehicle, developed with Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), will be established in Queensland. It says in a joint statement with the state government that the partnership will leverage Boeing’s 1,700 employees there as well as 400 suppliers.

Oct 06, 2020

Russia’s ambassador to Iran, Levan Jagarian, has said he would have “no problem” with his country selling its S-400 anti-aircraft missile hardware to Iran once a UN arms embargo expires 18 October.

Oct 06, 2020

The export of drone targetting technology to Turkey has been suspended pending investigation of its alleged use by Azerbaijani forces against Armenians in the escalating conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Announcing the decision 5 October, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne cited a complaint by Project Ploughshares that the L3Harris technology is being used in Turkish-supplied combat drones.

Oct 06, 2020

Turkey has been asked by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to use its influence to reduce tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, locked in a violent territorial dispute in Nagorno-Karabakh, geographically part of Azerbaijan but predominantly inhabited by Armenians. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has countered by asking why NATO and others in the international community are not supporting Azerbaijan.

Oct 05, 2020

Davie Shipyard workers and Canadian Coast Guard personnel were exposed to lead-based paint for months during an extensive refit of three ships at the company’s facility in Lévis, Que. After one had been delivered to the CCG, work on the others was halted last February after a CCG inspection confirmed the contamination in both vessels which were built in 2000.

Oct 05, 2020

An investigation into the crash of a Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II at a Florida USAF base earlier this year was caused by the pilot trying to land at an excessive speed while dealing with a flight control logic problem with the aircraft’s tail. The pilot, who ejected with non-life-threatening injuries, also had been compromised by “cognitive degradation” caused by a misaligned helmet display.

Oct 05, 2020

Special orders which would give ship and base commanders explicit directions in dealing with personnel suspected of hateful conduct and extremism are proposed by the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force. Their decision followed Army commander LGen Wayne Eyre’s recent announcement that troops are responsible for reporting incidents.

Oct 05, 2020

Sexual assault charges against a Canadian Armed Forces officer have been stayed by the judge, Cdr Martin Pelletier. His explanation that Capt Mark Iredale could not be guaranteed his right to trial by an independent and impartial tribunal is the latest development in a debate triggered by the Chief of the Defence Staff’s decision to put courts martial under the direct command of his deputy vice-chief.

Oct 05, 2020

The U.S. military is being called on the congressional carpet to explain how an estimated $1 billion in COVID-19 relief funds allegedly were used to pay contractors rather than to purchase medical supplies. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has been told by several House subcommittees that the funds were supposed “to prioritize the domestic production and distribution of urgently needed medical supplies and personal protective equipment” and not used for “lucrative contracts . . . for non-medical projects.”

Oct 05, 2020

Stood up to get urgently needed capabilities into the field during the Iraq and Afghanistan combat deployments, the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force is being shut down. So too, as part of a transition to large-scale operations, is the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group after nearly 15 years. Both are to be fully deactivated by the end of fiscal 2021.

Oct 05, 2020

The U.S. Army is shifting to division- and corps-level tactics, away from its historic brigade-centric approach, in an attempt at least match increasingly sophisticated adversaries. The shift includes a stronger presence in nonphysical environments such as the electromagnetic spectrum.

Oct 05, 2020

LGen David Allvin has been confirmed as the next USAC vice-chief of staff. He has flown an extensive array of fighters and transports, including 800 flight hours as a test pilot, and is a former commander of NATO air training.

Oct 05, 2020

The French Armed Forces Ministry has presented a €49.7 billion ($77.5 billion) draft 2021 defence budget to parliament. A 4.5 per cent increase from the current year, it includes 44.8 per cent for procurements.

Oct 05, 2020

Eyes firmly on China’s military modernization and North Korea’s missile developments, Japan’s Ministry of Defence has proposed a ¥5.4-trillion ($67.6 billion) budget for the fiscal year beginning next April. An eight per cent increase from the current year, it is the eight consecutive annual increase.

Oct 02, 2020

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne is willing to halt military export permits to Turkey if an investigation determines that Canadian technology is leading to human rights abuses in a conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It has been alleged that a targeting sensor made by L3Harris WESCAM is being used in Turkish drones deployed by Azerbaijani forces.

Oct 02, 2020

An executive order by President Donald Trump is designed to increase domestic U.S. production of rare earth minerals while reducing dependence on China. The order states that the current situation “constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat . . . to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

Oct 02, 2020

The Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has received a U.S. Navy contract worth more than $12 million to develop unmanned submarine vehicles and buoys as well as a communications and data sharing network. The stated goal is enhanced monitoring of environmental changes in the Arctic.

Oct 02, 2020

The U.S. will continue to buy parts for Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters from Turkey despite Ankara's purchase of a Russian air defence system. The administration has banned Turkey from the overall program but the Pentagon says the hundreds of parts sourced from Turkey are needed to sustain production.

Oct 02, 2020

EllisDon-EBC Inc. Joint Venture of Ottawa has been awarded a $12.1-million contract to design a 12,500m3 operations, maintenance, planning and simulator training facility at 3 Wing Bagotville, Que., home to the RCAF’s 425 and 433 tactical fighter squadrons.

Oct 02, 2020

Video footage of a new combat exoskeleton has been released by Rostec, a Russian state-owned defence supplier. It shows an armed trooper climbing stairs and running in wooded terrain with the Shturmovik (Stormer) kit which weighs 6kg but significantly increases load-carrying capacity.

Oct 02, 2020

President Donald Trump and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19 but Vice-President Mike Pence and his wife have been confirmed negative. A persistent skeptic about the effectiveness of masks, Trump evidently was suffering “cold-like” symptoms but was continuing to work from isolation in the White House as the international community and global markets reacted to the announcement.

Oct 01, 2020

Driven by controversy over how its military handles major procurements, the Australian government has published revised guidelines on how agencies and departments assess their economic benefits. But a push beyond economics to undefined and unweighted “broader benefits,” such as impact on national sovereignty and supply chains, is raising concern that the new approach could reduce transparency.

Oct 01, 2020

As Moscow prepares to assume the chair next year of the eight-nation Arctic Council, which includes Canada, growing military and economic interest in a region made increasingly accessible by global warming has prompted a warning from the internationally-respected journal Nature. “It is imperative that both the incoming chair and the . . . member countries oversee a smooth handover (from Iceland) and ensure that the council’s vital scientific work isn’t disrupted,” it says.

Oct 01, 2020

British Chief of Defence Gen Nick Carter wants his government to “fundamentally change” how it counters spreading authoritarianism rivals or risk being overwhelmed. His advice coincides with publication of a new Integrated Operating Concept which underscores the value of improved domestic and international cooperation and equipment modernization. “In an era of persistent competition, our deterrent posture needs to be more dynamically managed and modulated,” Carter says.

Oct 01, 2020

NATO members France and Turkey have traded angry recriminations as international tensions mount over combat lashes between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.

Oct 01, 2020

The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale to Switzerland of Lockheed Martin or Boeing fighter aircraft as well as a Raytheon Patriot surface-to-air missile defence system.

Oct 01, 2020

The U.S. Coast Guard has begun issuing Glock Gen5 9mm pistols to its personnel, a replacement for its .40-calibre Sig Sauer P229 DAKs, which have been in service since 2006. The Army, Navy and Marine Corps has opted for Sig Sauer’s 0mm modular M-18.

Sep 30, 2020

Veterans who have suffered emotion and psychological damage from being constrained by operations orders during overseas deployments are the focus of a DND study. The aim is to understand how to not only diagnose “moral injuries” but also prevent and treat them.

Sep 30, 2020

Health Canada has approved a new rapid COVID-19 swab developed by U.S.-based Abbott Laboratories and said to deliver results within minutes. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said it will be available across the country “in the coming weeks.”

Sep 30, 2020

Erik Myggland, a member of the Canadian Army Reserves in B.C. whose personal political activities are under investigation, says the allegations against him are “rubbish.” Moves to discharge him are prompted by his public role in a U.S.-based survivalist organization and a European white-supremacist group. He says reports of his involvement are biased and fail to cite years of community services.

Sep 30, 2020

No, not the common fish-eating bird, but the RCAF’s search and rescue whirlybird. An AgustaWestland CH-148 Cormorant from 413 Sqdn in Nova Scotia, parked overnight at a radar station in northern Labrador earlier this month, evidently suffered “superficial” exterior damage by a polar bear searching for food.

Sep 30, 2020

Lockeed Martin and Boeing proposals for new heavy transport helicopters for Germany have been rebuffed as “uneconomical.” However, what had started out as an “off the shelf” replacement for an ageing fleet of Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallions became increasingly complicated and, hence, more costly as German planners piled on requirements.

Sep 30, 2020

Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon have agreed on a plan which would require the aerospace giant to require the defense giant to invest some $70.6 million on addressing an ongoing spare parts problem with F-35 fighters. More than 15,000 spares have been delivered with incomplete or inaccurate “electronic equipment logs” which implies more in-house costs for Department of Defense managers.

Sep 30, 2020

As the U.S. Congress considers an administration push for stricter domestic content rules for major Department of Defense procurements, some former DoD officials as well as European interests argue that national security is better served by more collaboration with allies.

Sep 29, 2020

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux is projecting that the federal deficit for this fiscal year will reach $328.5 billion, due in no small way to an estimated $225.9 billion in emergency benefits due to COVID-19. Expected to be a major factor in future spending government-wide, it would represent 15 per cent of gross domestic product, the largest in more than 50 years of comparable data. The government said in July that the deficit would be $343.2 billion, but that did not include either new spending or emergency measures which came in under budget.

Sep 29, 2020

Canadian Special Operations Forces Command remains committed to U.S.-led training exercises in Africa despite links to uprisings in Mali, where the country’s president was ousted after a coup last month. Many of the Malian troops had trained at annual exercises in which Canada has been involved for a decade.

Sep 29, 2020

U.S. Strategic Command reportedly has been asked by the White House to assess how quickly it could retrieve nuclear weapons from storage if an arms control treaty is permitted to expire next February. It’s suggested that the request is a bid to bring Moscow back to the negotiating table before the upcoming presidential election.

Sep 29, 2020

NATO Deputy Secretary Mircea Geoană says the alliance is adapting to cyber security threats despite vulnerabilities exploited during the COVID-19. Among other things, the Romanian career diplomat points out that NATO is creating up a Cyberspace Operations Centre in its command structure, setting the stage for an Article 5 response which could see all NATO members responding in concert to a cyberattack against any one member.

Sep 29, 2020

The U.S. has contracted with Maryland-based On Demand Pharmaceuticals to further develop production of drugs at the point of care. The contract flows from a 2016 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency project aimed at providing immediate care on the battlefield and in other harsh environments.

Sep 29, 2020

The Finnish telecom giant Nokia has contracted with British Telecom to provide 5G technology for BT’s “radio access network” as well as replacing its Chinese competitor, Huawei, in BT’s other networks. The government announced in July that all service providers would be prohibited from installing new Huawei technology next Jan. 1 and remove all existing installations by 2027 due to U.S.-driven national security concerns.

Sep 29, 2020

A flare-up of a long-standing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia has resulted in battles in the mountainous Nagorno-Karbakh region. Part of Azerbaijan, it has been controlled by ethnic Armenians since a war in the 1990s and there is concern that the latest conflict could draw in neighbouring powers, including Turkey, Russia and Iran.

Pages