IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Sep 15, 2022

Recently-surfaced video shows the founder of the Wagner mercenary group, said to have close ties to the Kremlin, offering to have Russian convicts’ sentences commuted if they sign up to fight in Ukraine. Yevgeniy Prigozhin, identified with the help of facial recognition software, said “nobody goes back behind bars” if they serve for at least six months. But he also told them that if they “arrive in Ukraine and decide it's not for you, we will execute you.”

Sep 14, 2022

Renewed fighting between Armenian and Azeri forces in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh earlier this week resulted in the deaths of 99 troops before Russia brokered a ceasefire. Armenia reported 49 casualties, Azerbaijan 50. The region is geographically part of Azerbaijan but populated by ethnic Armenians.

Sep 14, 2022

An investigation into the 2020 crash of a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon crash found that its ejection seat malfunctioned due to suspected “counterfeit” electronics, resulting in the pilot’s death. Not included in the published accident report, that conclusion has come to light in a lawsuit filed by the pilot’s widow against the aircraft and ejection seat manufacturers.

Sep 13, 2022

Teaming up to build a flagship European corvette, Denmark, France, Italy, Greece, Norway and Spain received €60 million in development funding from the European Defense Fund this year and are counting on €200 million more next year to build a prototype. Displacing 3,300 tonnes with a length overall of up to 110 metres, the ship is touted as a poster child for European defence integration.

Sep 13, 2022

Fifty surface ships and five submarines as well as fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft from 12 NATO members, including Canada, have begun a multinational exercise near Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, an area with a sizable Russian presence. Led by NATO Allied Maritime Command, Dynamic Mariner is scheduled to run until September 22.

Sep 13, 2022

An exosuit developed by the U.S. Army and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee is a step closer to deployment after getting good grades from more than 100 soldiers. Weighing less than 1.5 kilograms, the Soldier Assistive Bionic Exosuit for Resupply works as a harness around arms and legs and when a activated, an arrangement of straps lessen the burden of lifting heavy objects.

Sep 13, 2022

Having begun as a subsidiary of Hughes Helicopters, producing light utility aircraft for military and civil customers before it was acquired by McDonnell Douglas in 1984, Arizona-based MD Helicopters is once again under new management. It took on its current name when MD merged in the late 1990s with Boeing, which spun off the civilian line to a Dutch-controlled company which in turn was bought by an investment fund that lost control amid bankruptcy proceedings. Its latest owners, announced September 12, is a consortium with former Sikorsky and Boeing executive Brad Peterson as CEO.

Sep 13, 2022

The U.S. is being lobbied by Poland to authorize the sale of 96 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, also the country’s deputy prime minister, disclosed the request after a meeting in Germany with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The aircraft would initially work with Abrams main battle tanks being procured by Poland as it upgrades defences against a potential Russian attack.

Sep 13, 2022

In the latest incident reflecting long-standing tensions between two NATO members, a Greek coast guard vessel opened fire on a cargo vessel in international waters in the Aegean Sea 20 kilometres offshore from a Turkish Island. No casualties were reported in the weekend incident which ended when two Turkish coast guard ships moved into the area.

Sep 13, 2022

General Electric Aviation says it is ready to move on to engineering and manufacturing development of a second “adaptive engine” for the Lockheed Martin F-35 in collaboration with the U.S. Air Force. Pratt & Whitney, maker of the current F135 engine, is working on an alternate which also uses composites and other enhancements to improve fuel efficiency, thrust, speed, range and heat management.

Sep 13, 2022

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has forced postponement of this year’s Canada Army Run, scheduled for September 18. The increasingly popular event in Ottawa, which raises funds for programs for ill and injured military personnel and their families, now is set for November 6.

Sep 13, 2022

A strike by at one Canada’s largest tugboat operators, Seaspan ULC, continues to slow vessel movements in British Columbia and is affecting the company’s shipyard operations, which include work on two Royal Canadian Navy supply ships and a Canadian Coast Guard research vessel.

NATO countries to discuss sustained support of Ukraine
Sep 13, 2022

Troy Crosby, Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel) at the Department of National Defence will attend an upcoming meeting in Brussels with counterparts of some 50 countries looking at how they will sustain support of Ukraine in its counter-offensive against the invasion by Russia.

Sep 12, 2022

The head of U.S. Air Force planning, Lieutenant General Richard Moore, is worried that delivery of new fighters isn’t fast enough to meet operational requirements. Senior USAF officials have long argued that the service needs 72 aircraft a year and Moore says the need to modernize its fighter fleet is particularly urgent in light of China’s accelerated air force evolution.

Sep 12, 2022

The last operating reactor at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, Europe’s largest and one of the biggest in the world, was shut down September 11 to reduce the threat of a radiation disaster amid the ongoing campaign against Russia. Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces near the plant has fueled fears of widespread contamination akin to that after the 1986 reactor explosion.

Sep 12, 2022

Iran says it is receptive to proposals to resurrect its 2015 nuclear accord but it has coupled that stance with a call for the International Atomic Energy Agency “not to yield to Israel’s pressure” on the issue, going so far as to unveil a drone it says can strike Israel. The mixed message prompted one of the deal’s brokers, Germany, to express regret today that Tehran is not responding to Europe’s call in a truly positive manner. Britain and France are similarly skeptical.

Sep 12, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, now in its 201st day, has certainly been “special” in terms of the campaign’s brutal tactics against civilian targets. While war is “always a brutal business”, a couple of experts have looked at Russia’s rationale for those tactics.

Sep 10, 2022

A months-long Conservative Party of Canada leadership race ended September 10 with the election of Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre as the party’s third leader and head of the Official Opposition in Parliament since 2015. He won handily with 68% of the vote compared with former federal cabinet minister and Quebec premier Jean Charest, who came in second with 16%.

Sep 09, 2022

The day after Queen Elizbeth II’s death at 96, Prince Charles echoed his mother’s commitment to life-long service as monarch and head of the Commonwealth. “I too now solemnly pledge myself throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation,” said the 73-year-old heir to the throne, who will reign as King Charles III.

Sep 09, 2022

North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament has enshrined the right to preemptive nuclear strikes with a new law that leader Kim Jong Un said makes its nuclear status “irreversible” and bars denuclearisation talks. “There can be no bargaining over our nuclear weapons,” Kim said in a speech to the assembly today. Among other things, the law would permit preemptive action if Pyongyang anticipates an attack against its leadership.

Sep 09, 2022

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the conflict in Ukraine, now well into its seventh month, is “likely to go on for some significant period of time.” At NATO headquarters in Brussels September 8 after a visit to Kyiv, he urged allies to maintain support through the coming winter because “we see Ukraine making real, demonstrable progress” with its counteroffensive in Russian-occupied areas.

Sep 09, 2022

A contractor at the centre of a U.S. Navy bribery case has escaped custody three weeks before he was to be sentenced. The U.S. Marshals Service posted a “wanted” notice Septmber 7 after Leonard Glenn Francis, who pled guilty in 2015 to his role in the $35-million scandal, managed to an ankle monitoring bracelet and left his home in San Diego.

Sep 09, 2022

Saab has disclosed that it showed off its new mobile short-range air defence system to a delegation of officials from 15 countries at the end of August. The company says the MSHORAD system, capable to hitting targets at more than nine kilometres and at altitudes up to five kilometres, is designed for the “new battlefield era, with airborne threats such as the advent of drones, unmanned aerial vehicles and other advanced airborne threats.”

Sep 09, 2022

Even as he claims a policy of “balance” during the Russian-Ukraine conflict, supplying Ukraine with weapons while maintaining ties with his Russian counterpart, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the West of provoking Russia. “I do not find the attitude of the West, no need to mention names, to be correct, because it is a policy based on provocations,” he said.

Sep 08, 2022

The U.S. today unveiled nearly $3 billion in new military support funds for embattled Ukraine and 18 of its neighbours. Alongside a $675 million package of heavy weaponry, ammunition and armored vehicles for Ukraine, the U.S. administration notified Congress of plans for $2.2 billion in new Foreign Military Financing available to countries deemed “most potentially at risk for future Russian aggression.”

Sep 08, 2022

What started as speculation in international defence and security circles — the notion that Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland could succeed Jens Stoltenberg as Director-general of NATO — seems to have taken on some traction. However, when asked about the prospect September 7, she replied only that she already has “two busy jobs.” Stoltenberg’s term, which began in 2014, was recently extended to 2023.

Sep 08, 2022

The International Atomic Energy Agency says it cannot support Iran’s claim that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, saying there has been “no progress” in resolving questions about the history of material at undeclared sites. IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi says he is “increasingly concerned that Iran has not engaged with the Agency on the outstanding safeguards issues . . . and, therefore, that there has been no progress towards resolving them.”

Sep 08, 2022

Queen Elizbeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest-serving monarch and head of the Commonwealth, died “peacefully” today at the age of 96, surrounded by family at her Scottish estate. Her 70-year reign spanned 15 British prime ministers, the last of whom, Liz Truss, she had formally appointed two days earlier amidst doctors’ concerns about the sovreign’s declining health.

Sep 07, 2022

After learning that cobalt-samarium alloy used in an F-35 engine component’s magnet originates from China, the U.S. Department of Defense has temporarily halted deliveries of the aircraft. Lockheed Martin said today the magnet is used in the Honeywell unit that powers the aircraft’s engine-mounted starter/generator. However, magnets in F-35s already delivered will not be replaced because they do not put sensitive program data at risk.

Sep 07, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested today that a deal brokered by the UN and Turkey to lift a naval blockade and permit embattled Ukraine to export grain might need to be reviewed. Saying that other foods and fertilizer were being sent to European Union states and Turkey rather than to poor countries, he also threatened to halt all energy supplies to Europe if the EU caps the price of Russian natural gas.

Sep 07, 2022

Seriously, however, the Department of National Defence has ordered a “unit investigation” after a Royal 22nd Regiment paratrooper posted images of himself drinking an American light beer during a jump at CFB Petawawa. The stunt apparently was the operator’s last because he retired from the military September 1 but a DND official points out that “the code of service discipline still applies.”

Sep 07, 2022

Two Bombardier Challenger business jets are proving their merit as long-range surveillance platforms in an ongoing U.S. Army project. Owned and operated by Florida-based L3 Harris and Virginia-based Leidos, the modified aircraft have been gathering operational data in Eastern Europe and the Pacific region, respectively.

Sep 06, 2022

Decisions by a growing number of European states to commit to the Lockheed Martin F-35 are being attributed to “good timing” and the prospect of improve interoperability. Despite calls from France for its neighbors to “buy European,” the F-35 has consistently edged out not only its Dassault Rafale but also Saab’s JAS 39 Gripen and the multinational Eurofighter Typhoon.

Sep 06, 2022

The U.S. Department of Defense said today that intelligence assessments indicate that its Russian counterpart is planning to buy millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea. “It does demonstrate and is indicative of the situation that Russia finds itself in, in terms of its logistics and sustainment capabilities as it relates to Ukraine,” a DoD official said. A National Security Council spokesman said that although there were no indications that sales had been completed, the prospect that it was even being discussed was “another indication of how desperate Putin’s becoming” and how the Russian President’s “defence industrial establishment is suffering.”

Sep 06, 2022

After leading an International Atomic Energy Agency team to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine, the UN agency’s director general said today that the situation remains “very worrying” and warned that ongoing conflict in the area is “playing with fire.” Rafael Grossi called for a safety zone around Europe’s largest station. “This is a measure that one way or the other must be put in place.”

Sep 06, 2022

The National Computer Virus Emergency Response Centre in China is accusing the U.S. National Security Agency of breaking into computers at Northwestern Polytechnical University, an institution in Xi’an funded by the Ministry of Industry & Information Technology and believed to do military-related research. The newly-reported hacking occurred in June

Sep 06, 2022

Ben Wallace, 52, a former British Army officer, has been kept on as Secretary of State for Defence by Prime Minister Liz Truss in today’s cabinet shuffle within hours after her swearing-in as Boris Johnson’s successor. Wallace, who had held the portfolio under Johnson since July 2019, also spent time as overseas director of the aerospace company QinetiQ.

Sep 06, 2022

British Columbia resident John Lowe, who was deployed as a CAF Corporal in Afghanistan says he was angered by a feeling of helplessness as the Taliban recaptured the country, effectively undoing what he and others had fought for during Canada’s combat mission. When Russian invaded Ukraine in February and there were reports of civilian deaths “it brought me back to some of those experiences that I had in Afghanistan.” Now he’s helping himself by helping other Canadian vets to get badly-needed medical supplies to Ukraine.

Sep 06, 2022

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened unspecified retaliation if Greece continues what he says is harassment of Turkish aircraft over the Aegean. The NATO allies have longstanding sea and air boundary disputes which lead to near-daily air patrols and interceptions, mostly around Greek islands near Turkey. “Take a look at history,” Erdogan urged. “If you go further, you will pay a heavy price.”

Sep 05, 2022

USAF Special Operations Command is again flying its 52 Bell-Boeing CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft after grounding them Aug. 16 due to a gearbox clutch slippage problem that remains unresolved. The Marine Corps, which has reported the same problem in some of its larger Osprey fleet, says it can be managed with training and AFSOC has instructed pilots to take a two-second pause immediately on take-off rather than applying full power immediately.

Sep 02, 2022

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s Law and Justice Party and the country’s designated Deputy Prime Minister, wants the equivalent of some US$1.3 trillion in German reparations for the Nazis’ World War II invasion and occupation of his country. “We will turn to Germany to open negotiations,” he said September 1 after a long-awaited report on the financial impact of the occupation was released, and predicted it would be a “long and not an easy path.”

Sep 02, 2022

A 22-year-old Indiana man has been charged with murder and attempted murder after a Dutch commando was killed and two colleagues were wounded last weekend while off duty from training in Indianapolis. An arrest affidavit quotes the suspect as saying that he opened fire on the trio because he was “just spazzed” after an early morning confrontation.

Sep 02, 2022

In the second such incident this week, Iran seized two U.S. autonomous Saildrone Explorers but released them today when shadowed by two U.S. destroyers and helicopters. The latest seizure of “spying vessels abandoned in the international maritime routes” involved the Iranian navy while the earlier one involved a Revolutionary Guard ship. Although operated by the U.S. Navy, the drones manufactured in California also are available to the private sector for data collection.

Sep 02, 2022

The Royal Canadian Navy accepted delivery of the third Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS). Built at the Irving Shipyard in Halifax, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Max Bernays is the third of six new AOPS to eventually be delivered to the RCN. The ship's home port will be at CFB Esquimalt.

Sep 02, 2022

Canada today joined its G7 partners — Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. — in agreeing to contain the costs of imported Russian crude oil and petroleum products in a bid to curb its ability to fund its war in Ukraine. Beginning in early December, the initiative would ban “services which enable maritime transportation of Russian-origin crude oil and petroleum products globally” above a price cap to be set by “a broad coalition” of countries. Russia had already threatened to ban exports to countries that implement a cap.

Sep 02, 2022

After years of delays in finalizing a contract, Israel has confirmed that it plans to spend $927 million on four Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tankers with delivery expected in 2025 and 2026. Israel will become only the third operator of the 767 variant after the U.S. and Japan.

Sep 01, 2022

Week-long military exercises by Russia and China began in Russia’s far east and the Sea of Japan today, evidence of growing cooperation as both face tensions with the U.S. The exercises also involve forces from several former Soviet states as well as India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Syria.

Sep 01, 2022

The Japan Self-Defence Forces were told by their government August 31 to expect record spending in the 2023 fiscal year. The defence minister proposed an initial budget of ¥5.59 trillion, excluding appropriations for some major capital and materiel programs yet to be finalized.

Sep 01, 2022

A convoy of UN inspectors managed today to reach Europe's largest nuclear power station, in southern Ukraine, despite the presence of Russian forces embedded in and around the Zaporizhzhia plant. Some of the International Atomic Energy Agency team left after only a few hours but Ukraine's nuclear power operator expects five others to remain for two more days.

Sep 01, 2022

Nvidia and AMD, two major California-based computer chip manufacturers, have been ordered by U.S. authorities to stop selling China certain new high-performance chips which could have “military” applications.

Sep 01, 2022

The U.S. Army has reported an increase of nearly 26 per cent in sexual assaults since last year, a key factor in a 13 per cent increase in reports across all commands. The Navy reported an increase of nine per cent while the Air Force and Marine Corps reported increases of around two per cent. Overall, nearly 36,000 personnel said in replying to a confidential survey that they had experienced unwanted sexual contact compared with some 20,000 in a similar 2018 survey.

Sep 01, 2022

Lockheed Martin says its controlled portion of F-35 cost per flying hour has fallen 50 per cent in the past seven years and could shrink further. However, the decrease does not take into account contracted out and separately budget engine expenses, depot costs or other maintenance which are. The U.S. Air Force says costs are “something we are concerned about” and that estimates early in the two-decade-old program were “probably a bit optimistic.”

Sep 01, 2022

Health Canada has approved Moderna's updated COVID-19 vaccine against the Omicron BA.1 variant for use in adults 18 and older. The department also said today that clinical trials suggest it elicits a “stronger immune response” against more recent and dominant BA.4 And BA.5 variants.

Aug 31, 2022

German’s exports of military materiel are surging this year due to ongoing supplies to Ukraine for its defence against Russia’s invasion. The Economy Ministry said today that as of August 24, authorised military exports totalled nearly €5.1 billion compared with some €2.9 billion at the same time last year. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said August 29 that Germany will keep up its support for Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”

Aug 31, 2022

A plaque affixed to the entrance of the science center at U.S. West Point Academy has been brought to the attention of the DOD naming committee. With the words "KU KLUX KLAN" underneath a depiction of a person in a hood, holding a rifle, the plaque is one of many "confederate-friendly" monuments being reviewed. 

Aug 31, 2022

Four decades after Hughes Helicopters (later McDonnell Douglas) proved that conventional tail rotors on helicopters could be done away with, Airbus is in early development of its own concept. The Hughes NOTAR approach diverted engine exhaust to tail-boom vents but recently-disclosed Airbus plans include an asymmetrical rear fuselage, a separate vertical support wing, and a box-shaped rear stabiliser configurable to divert main rotor downwash to provide lateral thrust.

Aug 31, 2022

The U.S. Navy intercepted an Iranian attempt to steal an unmanned surface vessel in the Arabian Gulf August 30. Iranian released the Saildrone Explorer when challenged by a USN vessel and helicopters, leaving the area some four hours after it was spotted. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy’s attempt was described by the USN as “flagrant, unwarranted and inconsistent with the behavior of a professional maritime force.”

Aug 31, 2022

A number of engine-related fires in its Boeing H-47 tandem-rotor Chinook helicopters has prompted the U.S. Army to ground the fleet of more than 1,000 aircraft “out of an abundance of caution.” The engine manufacturer, Honeywell International, has acknowledged that the fires were caused by leaks due to faulty aftermarket O-rings which “have been identified and isolated.”

Aug 31, 2022

Military police have yet to report after 14 months whether the Canadian Forces took appropriate action after seeing videos of alleged Iraqi police atrocities while part of a multinational training program. The delay is becoming an issue for the New Democratic Party and a noted human rights lawyer.

Aug 31, 2022

Today’s swap of two federal portfolios has given Public Services and Procurement Canada its third minister in less than three years. The swap saw Filomena Tassi appointed as the minister responsible for Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario after she requested a change due to family health issues since her October 2021 appointment to PSPC. Fellow Ontario MP Helena Jazcek now becomes the third procurement minister in less than three years. The portfolio was held by the current defence minister, Anita Anand, from November 2019 until she was replaced by Tassi.

Aug 30, 2022

The Solomon Islands, which signed a security agreement with China last April, today suspended entry into its waters for all foreign naval visits in what the prime minister’s office says is part of a bid to police its exclusive economic zones more effectively. The suspension evidently will remain in effect pending adoption of a new process for visits. U.S. and British vessels were unable to visit recently to refuel and provision.

Aug 30, 2022

A journal kept by a Russian paratrooper evacuated after being wounded early in his country’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, a war now past the six-month mark, underscores an evident lack of preparedness. Among other things, he describes a chaotic breakdown of order and discipline as well as a lack of clarity about the purpose of the invasion and is deeply critical of his country’s leadership.

Aug 30, 2022

Installation today of a new commander at RCAF 3 Wing in Bagotville, Quebec, has been postponed due to what are described as inappropriate remarks at an informal gathering this summer at 4 Wing in Cold Lake, Alberta, the other main fighter base. The Department of National Defence is remaining tight-lipped but the incident was deemed serious enough to warrant a police investigation.

Aug 29, 2022

The director general of Rosoboronexport, Russia’s military arms export agency, expects a drop of some 26 per cent in foreign arms sales this year: the equivalent of US10.8 billion compared with, $14.6 billion in 2021. Russia is the second-largest arms exporter after the U.S.

Aug 29, 2022

In the decades since the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia’s relationships with the West were often tense but economic ties remained robust. Since its invasion of Ukraine in February, Russia and its politicians and business sectors have been targetted by a range of sanctions which have dramatically changed many relationships but the sanctions have had arguably mixed results.

Aug 29, 2022

After months of tests, troubleshooting and repairs, NASA's long-overdue Artemis-1 moon launch with an uncrewed capsule was scrubbed early today due to problems with one of the massive launch vehicle’s rockets. “This is a very complicated … system and all those things have to work,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “You don't want to light the candle until it's ready to go.” That now is expected to be September 2 at the earliest.

Aug 29, 2022

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began six months ago, the U.S. has sent nearly $13 billion worth of military assistance to Ukraine. The scope and power of the array of weapons has grown as officials in the embattled country insist that that increased firepower is critical.

Aug 29, 2022

A Dutch special forces operator has died after he and two others were shot in Indianapolis on the weekend. In the U.S. for training, he was off-duty outside a hotel when the shooting occurred; the two others are described as in stable condition. Police believe it was not a “random act.”

Aug 29, 2022

A compact quad-barrel missile launcher and sensor ball designed by L3 Harris is expected to give the Ukraine military some sharper teeth when dealing with drones. The U.S. is shipping the “Vampire” systems, which can be mounted to a small truck in two hours and operated by one person, as part of its latest Ukraine support package.

Aug 29, 2022

A $1.95 billion sale to Australia of 40 Lockheed Martin Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters has been approved by the U.S. State Department. The deal, which also includes engines as well as missile warning and other systems, will enable early retirement of the Australian Defence Force’s problem-plagued fleet of MRH90 Taipan utility helicopters procured from the NHIndustries consortium in Europe.

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