IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Sep 17, 2021

Taiwan scrambled fighters and other aircraft and deploy missile systems today as 10 Chinese aircraft entered its air defence zone a day after the island state announced an $8.69 billion hike in defence spending it said is needed to counter a “severe threat.” Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated incursions.

Sep 17, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a new defence pact between Australia, Britain and the U.S. has no implications for the Five Eyes alliance which also involves Canada and New Zealand despite the pact’s intelligence-sharing element. “We continue to be strong members of the Five Eyes and continue to share information and security approaches,” he said Sept. 16. “This is a deal for nuclear submarines, which Canada is not currently or any time soon in the market for.”

Sep 17, 2021

The criminal case involving the former Chief of the Defence Staff is in Ontario provincial court today. Retired Gen Jonathan Vance was charged by military police in July with obstruction of justice in relation to an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

Sep 16, 2021

Australia’s decision to cancel a 2016 submarine contract with France in favour iof a deal with Britain and the U.S. has left the French government fuming. Only a couple of weeks ago, Australia had reaffirmed the contract even though it had been plagued with materiels-sourcing problems. “This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said today. “I am angry and bitter. This isn't done between allies. . . . We created a relationship of trust with Australia and that trust has been broken.”

Sep 16, 2021

Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, has been killed by French forces. Shortly after Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly announced today that military and intelligence agents had contributed to a “long-term hunt,” President Emannuel Macron called it “another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel.”

Sep 16, 2021

Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi says his country is pushing back against China’s increased military aggression, notably over an archipelago in the South China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. While Japan’s military presence pales in comparison to China’s, Kishi says “we have to demonstrate that the government of Japan is resolutely defending our territory” even though the islands are geographically closer to China.

Sep 16, 2021

A Sept. 15 reshuffle of the British cabinet saw Dominic Raab reassigned from the role of Foreign Secretary to the position of Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary. Criticized for his handling of the Afghanistan crisis, Raab is replaced by Liz Truss, who also remains Minister for Women and Equalities.

Sep 16, 2021

A British-based team led by Leonardo is reported to have successfully demonstrated new modular missile protection technology. Formally announced by the Italian firm Sept. 15, it was put through its paces at a British test range in July with a range of weapons.

Sep 15, 2021

A defence technologies pact signed today with Britain and the U.S. would enable Australia to acquire eight nuclear-powered submarines as well as share developments in artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and cybersecurity. As a result, Australia has scrapped a troubled program to build 12 French conventionally-powered subs in Australia.

Sep 15, 2021

BAE Systems and British drone manufacturer Malloy Aeronautics have joint ranks to develop an electric quadcopter capable of transporting up to 300kg. As displayed at a London trade show, it would be capable of carrying stores, weapons, sensors and even a life raft for marine search and rescue with a proposed range of more than 30km.

Sep 15, 2021

Two Chinese guided-missile ships, accompanied by intelligence and auxiliary vessels, recently sailed to within 46 miles of Alaska's Aleutian Islands. While they were within the U.S. exclusive economic zone a couple of weeks ago, they remained outside the territorial limit.

Sep 15, 2021

Three contracts worth a total of £72.5 million have been awarded by Britain’s defence ministry for development of directed-energy weapons. Two have gone to teams led by Thales UK, the third to Raytheon UK, and the ministry expects navy and army trials to begin in 2023.

Sep 15, 2021

Canadian navy and air force assets are working with NATO allies in the latest biennial Cutlass Fury exercise off Nova Scotia. Canadian Atlantic Fleet Cdr Christopher Robinson says the exercise which began last week is “an excellent opportunity to train . . . in maritime tactical level warfare.”

Sep 15, 2021

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the European Union must improve its overall military capabilities to deal with continental and global crises. “It is time for Europe to step up,” the German politician said today in the European Parliament. “You can have the most advanced forces in the world but if you are never prepared to use them, of what use are they?”

Sep 15, 2021

North and South Korea successfully tested ballistic missiles Sept. 14, ratcheting up tensions on their already volatile shared peninsula. The North fired the first two, both land-based, off its east coast and the South followed three hours later with a submarine-launched missile.

Sep 14, 2021

Will Roper, the U.S. Air Force Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics until he left government service in January, has been recruited by the Royal Air Force. “They want to chase [a] digital engineering approach for future fighters,” he says. “They want to do the same cloud approach that we did.”

Sep 14, 2021

Three former U.S. intelligence officers employed by the United Arab Emirates have admitted to hacking crimes and violating U.S. laws governing the transfer of military technology to foreign governments. Documents filed in a Washington court Sept. 13 set out a conspiracy to furnish the UAE with advanced technology and to assist Emirati operatives in countering perceived enemies of the U.S. ally.

Sep 14, 2021

The U.S. military is turning to the private sector in the hope of acquiring nuclear-powered propulsion for its satellites. It has set Sept. 23 as the deadline for a response to its Solicitation of Interest aboutlightweight technologies which will enable satellites to change orbit and orientation more rapidly.

Sep 14, 2021

Lockheed Martin has been awarded U.S. Defense Department contracts worth a potential $6.6 billion to support global F-35 fighter operations and sustainment. The company said Sept. 13 that the initial contract, for fiscal 2021 with options for each of the following two years, would cover base and depot maintenance, pilot and maintainer training and supply chain management and could mean a 30 per cent reduction in flight-hour costs from last year’s contract.

Sep 14, 2021

Of more than $14 trillion spent by the U.S. Department of Defense in its 20-year war in Afghanistan, up to half went to private-sector contractors, according to a study released by Brown University and the Center for International policy. “Corporations large and small have been, by far, the largest beneficiaries of the post-9/11 surge in military spending,” it states, adding that while some profits were legitimate, others were “the consequence of questionable or corrupt business practices that amount to waste, fraud, abuse, price-gouging or profiteering.”

Sep 14, 2021

Long-range nuclear-capable cruise missiles have been tested by North Korea, flying 1,500km within the state’s territorial waters on the weekend. The significant development highlighted the country’s steady progress in weapons development against a backdrop of stalled talks about international sanctions relief.

Sep 14, 2021

For the second year in a row, Canada has been named by a UN panel as one of five countries selling arms to a Saudi-led coalition fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in a long-running conflict in Yemen. “Given the horrific toll the war continues to take on the people of Yemen, it does not stand to reason that third states continue to supply the parties to the conflict with the tools of war,” says Kamel Jendoubi, the Egyptian chair of the panel.

Sep 14, 2021

Britain has announced contracts with Boeing, valued at £400 million, to enhance capabilities and support for its C-17 Globemaster transport and CH-47 Chinook helicopter fleets. Some £324 million of the total will be for software and hardware upgrades to the RAF’s eight Globemasters. It also was announced that BAE Systems contract worth more than £220 million to deliver advanced synthetic training for the RAF’s 157 Eurofighter Typhoons

Sep 14, 2021

With a shared concern about China’s growing military influence in their region, Japan has agreed to provide Vietnam with defence materiel and technology and to engage in multinational military exercises. Their agreement came two weeks after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited Vietnam and urged countries to stand up to Chinese “bullying.”

Sep 14, 2021

Iran amenable to more nuclear oversight? The International Atomic Energy Agency has struck a “constructive” deal to service equipment designed to monitor Iran’s nuclear program. The announcement effectively negated pressure from several western countries which could have killed the prospect of broader talks that could bring the U.S. back into the effort to keep Iran from extending its allegedly peaceful energy program into weapons development.

Sep 10, 2021

The Indo-Pacific and Europe are often seen as the central civil, military and economic battleground with China and Russia, but U.S. military leaders are increasingly vocal with an “America vs. China” narrative as a blueprint for the Air Force’s spending, planning and training.

Sep 10, 2021

Lockheed Martin evidently has signed a contract to supply five C-130J Super Hercules transports to Indonesia but so far there has been no formal announcement. The country’s Air Chief Marshal, Fadjar Prasetyo, who visited the LM production line in Georgia and its corporate HQ in Maryland, has said his legacy fleet of C-130s have been valuable in the country’s archipelago of more than 17,000 islands.

Sep 09, 2021

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen CQ Brown told a House of Representatives committee that he supports a proposed cap on Lockheed Martin F-35 procurement unless operational and sustainment costs are affordable. “The language from Congress is really in line with what we’re trying to get done,” he said.

Sep 09, 2021

Slovakia’s planned procurement of at least 76 eight-wheel-drive armoured vehicles has sparked the interest of a prospective supplier in the neighbouring Czech Republic. Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď said Sept. 8 that at least half of the program will be sourced domestically, which means foreign suppliers will need to establish partnerships.

Sep 09, 2021

Yevgeny Zinichev, a former military and KGB officer who was Russia’s emergencies minister, died Sept. 8 during a civil defense exercise in northern Siberia. He reportedly struck a rock while trying to rescue a cameraman who had fallen off a cliff into a river.

Sep 09, 2021

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has kickstarted a project designed to use microbes to extract rare earth minerals critical for many military technologies. DARPA Director Stefanie Tompkins explained Sept. 8 that if the process can be industrialized, it would reduce dependence on foreign sources.

Sep 09, 2021

Recent virtual and in-person protests during the federal election campaign should be alarming, political researchers say. They conclude that extreme right-wing conservatives, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists and fundamentalist Christians now have a common voice through the People’s Party of Canada.

Sep 08, 2021

A U.S. Navy carrier strike group and a destroyer transited the South China Sea separately today on the heels of a Chinese bid to assert its sovereignty in a region with conflicting territorial claims. The USN was asserting its “navigation rights and freedoms” as set out in the UN Convention on Law of the Sea. Neither ship gave notice to any country with claims in the region.

Sep 08, 2021

The Israeli Defence Force has taken delivery of a fourth and final Sa’ar 6 has received its fourth and final German-built corvette as it implements a new naval doctrine in its offshore economic management zone. The IDF considers the Sa’ar 6 warships central to its “defensive wall” for home waters and offshore energy assets.

Sep 08, 2021

An attempt by a former U.S. Army private who leaked U.S. secrets about the wars in Afghanistan and whose 35-year prison sentence in 3013 was commuted after seven years is about to be reviewed by the Immigration and Refugee Board. Federal officials are preparing to argue that Chelsea Manning’s offence render her inadmissible even though she was permitted entry in 2018 for a brief visit.

Sep 08, 2021

A network of safe houses in Kabul are still available for some 2,000 Afghan interpreters who worked with coalition forces but they do so with limited resources in increasingly uncertain circumstances. A lack of clarity about evacuation processes and inadequate funding are key weaknesses in the Canadian government’s effort add to the uncertainty.

Sep 08, 2021

Seeing foreign militant groups operating from Afghanistan as a threat to central Asia overall, India and Russia agreed today to closer cooperation on anti-terrorism. An Indian official said Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev and Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval urged the Taliban not to let Afghanistan be used as a base for those groups.

Sep 08, 2021

A review published Sept. 7 in the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists calls for “a true division of labor” within NATO. It specifically argues that European members of the alliance “can and must carry a much bigger share of the responsibility for their own defence.”

Sep 08, 2021

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration reports that after a failed attempt last month to acquire a Martian rock sample, its Perseverance rover last week managed to drill, extract and store what is expected to be the first of 35 cores for eventual return to Earth. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson calls it “a momentous achievement.”

Sep 08, 2021

The U.S. Air Force’s KC-46A Pegasus tanker program, based on the Boeing 767 civilian platform, has been dogged by technical difficulties for most of the past decade. Now the USAF and Boeing say the procurement, which has incurred some $5 billion in cost overruns the manufacturer has had to absorb in its fixed-price contract, is finally on the right track.

Sep 08, 2021

USAF fighter procurement issues As the U.S. Air Force prepares its 2023 budget and aims to reduce the number of fighter types it flies, a new tactical aircraft study could mean the force is unlikely to purchase all of the 1,763 Lockheed Martin F-35As it currently contemplates. It originally planned to replace its General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons with F-35s but it is pressing on with plans for a lower-cost replacement.

Sep 08, 2021

The Taliban have named an exclusively male interim government for Afghanistan, mostly Pashtun veterans of their previous term in power and 20 years of combat against the recently wound-up U.S.-led coalition. Sirajuddin Haqqani, who remains on the FBI’s most-wanted list with a $5-million bounty on his head, has the key post of interior minister.

Sep 07, 2021

China wants all foreign vessels to give notice before entering the South China Sea, which it considers “territorial waters” and where there have been high-profile confrontations in recent years. The edict now applies to five specific types of vessels categorized as potential dangers to “China’s maritime traffic safety” but the notice published by Beijing is seen as a possible contravention of the UN’s freedom-of-navigation rules.

Sep 07, 2021

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi says his government is ready for talks which he hopes would revive a 2015 international nuclear accord but not under Western “pressure” and subject to the lifting of U.S.-driven sanctions. France and Germany have urged Iran to return to the negotiation table.

Sep 07, 2021

MGen Dany Fortin's lawyers are fighting a federal attempt to quash their client's lawsuit over his removal as head of Canada's COVID-19 vaccine logistics. In their latest submission to Federal Court, they say the government’s motion to toss out his case has no merit because the decision to dismiss him was political and outside the Canadian Armed Forces chain of command.

Sep 07, 2021

A weekend military coup in Guinea has seen the country’s long-serving president deposed by Army special forces who also closed the equatorial west African state’s land and air borders. The forces’ commander explained that “poverty and endemic corruption” necessitated the coup and that “we are going to rewrite a constitution.”

Sep 07, 2021

Britain’s Chief of the Defence Staff, Army Gen Sir Nick Carter, says “everybody got it wrong” about how long it would take the Taliban to retake control of Afghanistan. “It was the pace of it that surprised us and I don't think we realised quite what the Taliban were up to,” he said, adding that “even the Taliban didn't expect things to change as quickly as they did” as the Afghan armed forces effectively collapsed.

Sep 07, 2021

The Taliban have declared victory over the Panjshir Valley, the last holdout against their resurgence in Afghanistan, after days of combat with the National Resistance Front led by Sandhurst graduate Ahmad Massoud. However, Massoud, who escaped to Tajikistan, refused to concede, saying the resistance would continue despite Taliban promises of no “discriminatory act” against the ethnically distinct Panjshir population.

Sep 07, 2021

Taiwan says a force of 19 Chinese fighters and bombers entered the republic’s air defence identification zone on the weekend. While the self-declared zone is technically international airspace, Taipei has been complaining for more than a year about repeated Chinese incursions and the latest results in aircraft and missile systems being activated.

Sep 07, 2021

The main underground group coordinating resistance to Myanmar’s military government called today for a nationwide uprising. The National Unity Government, which views itself as a shadow government, was established by elected legislators who were barred from taking their seats when the military seized power in February.

Sep 07, 2021

Two Staff Sergeants, one each from the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps, are suing three federal agencies over having to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Their key argument is that having recovered from the coronavirus, they should not be subject to mandatory immunization.

Sep 07, 2021

An Iranian allegedly involved the mass execution and torture of political prisoners in his homeland in 1988 is on trial in Sweden. Hamid Nouri was arrested in Stockholm in November 2019 under the auspices of an international legal principle of universal jurisdiction. He worked in the prison system when Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the execution of some 5,000 political prisoners.

Sep 07, 2021

The Conference of Defence Associations has scheduled a pre-election debate on domestic and international defence policies, for Monday, Sept. 13. Participants from the three major federal parties are expected for the event which will be chaired by CDA President Guy Thibault, former Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.

Sep 03, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sept. 2 that a “frustrating” legal process within the Canadian Armed Forces prevented his government from dealing with sexual misconduct allegations against Gen Jonathan Vance. The issue was broached by Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole during a televised French-language election campaign debate but the PM reiterated afterward that the process “aren’t yet good enough or strong enough to deal with (allegations) properly.”

Sep 03, 2021

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has confirmed that if he forms a government after the Sept. 20 election, he would maintain the Liberals’ firearms control measures. Having made the commitment in the French-language campaign debate the night before, he doubled down today, saying that “we will maintain the ban on assault weapons and we will develop a transparent process when it comes to training and licensing for guns, because we need to target street guns and smuggling.”

Sep 03, 2021

The Czech Ministry of Defence has received proposals to supply 210 infantry fighting vehicles at a cost equivalent to C$3.07 billion at current exchange rates. BAE Systems of the U.K. is offering the Swedish CV90, General Dynamics European Land Systems its Ascod platform and Germany’s Rheinmetall its Lynx IFV.

Sep 03, 2021

The French and German air forces have launched a joint tactical air transport squadron with a view to establishing a new Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules tactical unit within three years. starting this month, with plans to fully establish the new unit within three years. Based at Evreux Air Base in Normandy, where the French have been operational since June, the 10-aircraft squadron will train in teams “without distinction of nationality.”

Sep 03, 2021

The federal government is being pressed by civil society groups, journalists and the general public to update the Access to Information Act, the key to supposed government “transparency.” Among other things, they are pushing for the closure of numerous loopholes, firm deadline for government responses and more resources to make the system work.

Sep 03, 2021

As the Taliban consolidate their hold on Afghanistan, they have encountered fierce resistance in the Panjshir Valley, home to the multi-ethnic National Resistance Front of militias and former Afghan security force members. The NRF is lead by Ahmad Massoud, a British-educated Sandhurst graduate and son of the “Lion of Panjshir” who held off the Soviets in the 1980s as well as the initial Taliban insurgency in the 1990s.

Sep 02, 2021

The House of Representatives Armed Services Committee has endorsed a Republican plan to top up the U.S. government’s defence budget by $25 billion. The committee’s Senate counterpart had already put forward its own plan for a similar increase.

Sep 02, 2021

The U.S. Space Force has cleared the way for production of its Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared missile warning program. It will comprise up to five satellites, the first to be launched in 2025. The Air Force awarded LM $2.9 billion in 2018 for design work and the Space Force has approved $4.9 billion to begin manufacturing.

Sep 02, 2021

Raytheon Technologies has served notice that it will challenge a Lockheed Martin’s proposed $4.4 billion takeover of California-based engine manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne. The deal, which has some support in Congress, is seen by Raytheon as potentially stifling competition in the missile market.

Sep 02, 2021

France, Germany and Spain have formalized plans to begin preliminary development of their Future Combat Air System, committing their governments to spending billions of euros. Their recently-signed agreement follows Germany’s parliamentary approval of a planned investment of nearly €4.5 billion through 2027. The others are expected to contribute similar amounts to the contentious project.

Sep 02, 2021

The Taliban's militancy is likely to mean global isolation of Afghanistan’s people but as the outside world seeks to exert influence, Qatar and Turkey have emerged as key intermediaries. “No-one has been able to do any major evacuation process out of Afghanistan without having a Qatari involved,” says Dina Esfandiary, a senior adviser at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.

Sep 02, 2021

The European Union’s top military and diplomatic officials say the crisis in Afghanistan should incent development of a globally-deployable rapidly reaction force. “Now is the time to act,” says Gen Claudio Graziano, EU military committee chair. His foreign policy counterpart, Josep Borrell, agrees that “sometimes there are events that . . . create a breakthrough, and I think that Afghanistan is one of these cases.”

Sep 01, 2021

Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Public Health Agency President Iain Stewart evidently were solely responsible for the dismissal of MGen Dany Fortin as the federal government’s COVID-19 logistics chief. Lawyers for the officer, who faces trial in Quebec for an alleged sexual impropriety three decades ago, say the decision constitutes political interference.

Sep 01, 2021

Beginning today, proof of vaccination will become mandatory for many activities in Quebec, which has rolled out its COVID-19 passport. More than five million persons had already downloaded the CQR code to their smart devices but the government also will accept a printout and visitors will need to provide copies of their own provinces’ vaccination certificates.

Sep 01, 2021

A group of Hezbollah militants returning from having fired missiles into Israel recently was confronted by angry villagers who smashed their vehicles’ windshields and held them up briefly. A rare sign of defiance, it’s seen as evidence that many ordinary Lebanese are concerned that the militants could provoke war with their neighbour.

Sep 01, 2021

The Turkish Aeronautical Association and Ukraine’s arms trader, Ukrspecexport, are aiming to provide depot-level maintenance and repair services for as many as 1,500 Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters currently in service with several neighbouring states. TAA’s general manager says the cost would amount to $2.5 million for each of the multi-role aircraft.

Sep 01, 2021

Having ordered 24 Turkish drones while considering the procurement of 250 Abrams tanks from the U.S., Poland now is attracting bidders for a proposed short-range air defense system. Worth the equivalent of C$10.9 billion, the program would have a range of about 40km, complementing Poland’s medium-range air defences based on Raytheon Technologies’ Patriot missiles.

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