IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Aug 05, 2022

Reacting to U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s brief visit to Taiwan earlier this week, China says it is ending discussions with the U.S. on key issues such as climate change as it ramps up military provocations. The White House summoned China's ambassador, Qin Gang, late August 4 to tell him that the military actions were of “concern to Taiwan, to us and to our partners around the world.”

Aug 04, 2022

A threatened strike at three Boeing defence facilities in the St. Louis area was averted today when members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers voted for a three-year contract. The company said it was satisfied with the deal which improved retirement plans previously offered to the union.

Aug 04, 2022

Defence Minister Anita Anand confirmed today that Canada will commit up to 225 troops for an initial four months to a British Army training program for Ukrainians. It effectively restarts Operation Unifier, an extended training initiative which saw more than 33,000 Ukrainians receive advanced training by CAF personnel before it was suspended last winter

Aug 04, 2022

Even though Defence Minister Anita Anand called it “desecration” at the time, Ottawa police are not charging a man who placed a U.S. flag on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial last month. “He showed remorse for the incident and police are confident that he will not repeat it,” the police explained Aug. 3.

Aug 03, 2022

In a new “air shielding” initiative, NATO is building up its defenses in Eastern Europe in response to Russian aggression. Essentially an evolution of its long-standing “air policing” activities, the alliance says the “increased air and missile defense posture . . . will provide a near-seamless shield from the Baltic to the Black Sea, ensuring NATO allies are better able to safeguard and protect alliance territory, populations and forces.”

Aug 03, 2022

Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Aug. 2 that a major nuclear power station in southeastern Ukraine “is completely out of control” since Russian forces seized it shortly after their invasion of the region. “Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated,” he said, demanding IAEA access to the “extremely grave and dangerous” Zaporizhzhya site in the city of Enerhodar.

Aug 03, 2022

HMCS Margaret Brooke, the RCN’s second offshore patrol vessel, left Halifax Aug. 2 with the coastal defence vessel HMCS Goose Bay for a two-month Arctic deployment. They are to be followed by the first OPV, HMCS Harry DeWolfe, for the latest Operation Nanook, working with U.S. Coast Guard as well as Danish and French navy vessels.

Aug 03, 2022

The Canada Border Services Agency has confirmed that officers in Montreal have seized more than a dozen shipments of “dual use goods” destined for Russia but banned under Canada’s sanctions after the invasionof Ukraine. All involved “suspected links to the Russian military.”

Aug 03, 2022

One of two RCAF Canadair CT-114 Tutors at a weekend airshow in northeastern B.C. had to make an emergency landing after an “incident" on takeoff. The Snowbirds demonstration team pilot escaped injury after managing to turn back to the airfield and reportedly overshooting the runway at North Peace Regional Airport.

Aug 02, 2022

As this year’s Exercise Rim of the Pacific winds up off Hawaii in a couple of days, the U.S. Navy is assessing how four unmanned surface vessels worked with allied navies as a prelude to developing larger platforms. USN Rear Admiral Casey Moton, program executive officer for unmanned and small combatants, says the USVs proved they were reliable and their autonomy was mature as they racked up more than 100 days at sea during RIMPAC and related activities.

Aug 02, 2022

The weekend U.S. drone killing of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a Kabul “safe house” has resulted in renewed scrutiny of Afghanistan's Taliban rulers and further undermined their efforts to secure international recognition and desperately needed aid. The Taliban promised in 2020 that they would not harbour al Qaeda members.

Aug 02, 2022

Disregarding Chinese threats of an unspecified military response – as well as the advice of President Joe Biden ¬– U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy arrived in Taipei today. She and an accompanying congressional delegation said in a statement that the visit, part of an Indo-Pacific tour, “honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy.”

Aug 01, 2022

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres kicked off a long-postponed nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference today with a warning that the world faces “a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War" and is “one miscalculation” from annihilation. “We have been extraordinarily lucky so far,” he stated. “But luck is not a strategy.”

Aug 01, 2022

After seizing power again last year, Myanmar’s military rulers today extended their “emergency rule” which, among other things, enables them to detain critics. General Min Aung Hlaing's regime first extended its rule last August, appointing himself prime minister at the same time, and it now will remain in effect until at least next year.

Aug 01, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin marked Navy Day July 31 by signing a new naval doctrine which sets out his country’s global maritime ambitions for crucial areas such as the Arctic and in the Black Sea. Among other things, the 55-page document says it is U.S. “strategic policy . . . to dominate the world's oceans” and highlights the movement of NATO assets closer to Russia's borders.

Aug 01, 2022

Having grounded two fleets of U.S. Air Force training aircraft, the Defense Department has found a similar defect in the Martin-Baker ejection seats used by the three versions of the Lockheed Martin F-35 in all services. The issue with inoperative explosive ejection cartridges was discovered in April but the DoD has only now announced widespread grounding until the situation is addressed. The British-based seat manufacturer, which has a U.S. subsidiary says that “outside the F-35, not a single anomaly has been discovered worldwide as a result of the forensic investigation which continues.”

Aug 01, 2022

For the second time in two weeks, Iran has raised the prospect of nuclear weapons capability. Its top nuclear energy official, Mohammad Eslami, said today that Iran has the “technical ability to build an atomic bomb, but such a programme is not on the agenda.” His comment echoed a July 17 statement by Kamal Kharrazi, an advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, that “Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb but there has been no decision.”

Aug 01, 2022

U.S. and British officials say some elements of the Russian mercenary force, the Wagner Group, have been recalled from Syria to fight in Ukraine. “We’ve seen Wagner draw down a little bit on the African continent in the call to send fighters to Ukraine,” U.S. Africa Command leader General Stephen Townsend. British officials added that the mercenaries appear to have taken on new frontline roles in the offensive, most likely because Russia “has a major shortage of combat infantry.”

Aug 01, 2022

A Saudi-born man who grew up in Toronto has been sentenced in a U.S. federal district court to life in prison after pleading guilty to working with Islamic State terrorists. Mohammed Khalifa, 39, left Canada in 2013 for Syria, where he killed two Syrian soldiers before his capture by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in 2019.

Aug 01, 2022

Nearly five years after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised the UN that Canada would provide a rapidly-deployable peacekeeping force, it evidently remains a work in progress. Global Affairs documents show the commitment was to expire last March but the cabinet has pushed that back to next year despite pressure from the UN and the U.S.

Jul 31, 2022

The U.S. Air Force has grounded 300 trainer aircraft over concerns that their Martin Baker ejection seats may work because of defective explosive release cartridges. The decision affects 203 Northrop T-38 Talon jets and 76 of their lead-in turboprop Beechcraft T-6 Texan IIs.

Jul 31, 2022

Natural gas supplies to Latvia have been cut off by the Russian energy giant Gasprom which accuses the EU state of violating purchase conditions without providing details. However, since gas accounts for only 27 per cent of Latvia’s total energy consumption, an economics ministry official suggests Gazprom’s move should not have a major impact.

Jul 31, 2022

The latest Japanese defence whitepaper says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine presents the global community with “its greatest trial” since World War II. The document also highlights China’s efforts to “unilaterally change or attempt to change the status quo by coercion in the East China Sea and South China Sea.”

Jul 30, 2022

A Dutch shipyard has delivered a new ship the Royal Navy expects will facilitate development and deployment of the latest autonomous and lethality technologies. To be used by the service’s experimental unit, NavyX, the 270-ton vessel is expected to reduce demands on the surface warfleet.

Jul 29, 2022

Three days after stating that Russia would pull out of the International Space Station after 2024, Ruscosmos’ new director, Yuri Borisov, said today that there is no firm date. He confirmed the plan but the timing depended on the “condition” of the ISS and on when Russia can commission its own orbital platform.

Jul 28, 2022

Kim Jong Un says North Korea is ready to use nuclear weapons in conflicts with its southern neighbour and its U.S. ally. “Our armed forces are completely prepared to respond to any crisis, and our country’s nuclear war deterrent is also ready to mobilize its absolute power dutifully, exactly and swiftly in accordance with its mission,” he said July 27. He also accused the U.S. of “demonizing” his country and said the South Korean government, which replied only that it would handle provocation in “a powerful, effective manner”, is led by “confrontational maniacs.”

Jul 28, 2022

The latest iteration of Exercise Rim of the Pacific has included a traditional element: the sinking of a decommissioned U.S. dock transport ship by multinational air and naval forces in deep water off Hawaii. It was the second SINKEX in this year’s RIMPAC; a Royal Canadian Navy frigate had already joined others in sinking a decommissioned U.S. frigate.

Jul 28, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, used a video call today, their fifth since Biden took office, to discuss for more than two hours the future of an increasingly complicated relationship. China’s ascendency as a global power, economic policies, human rights and the ongoing political clash over Taiwan remained key issues.

Jul 28, 2022

More shelling, more sanctions against Russia and more deliveries of western weapons and other materiel show that the invasion of Ukraine may be slowed but is continuing. Also, there are accusations of stolen grain and a threat by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of broader territorial ambitions.

Jul 28, 2022

Nick Diggle, a former Royal Navy counterterrorism expert and now Arctic security specialist, is being assigned as a minister-counsellor at the U.K. High Commission in Ottawa in September. His appointment follows a warning in March by General Wayne Eyre, the Chief of the Defence Staff, that Russia had reoccupied Cold War bases in its far North.

Jul 28, 2022

A U.S. Coast Guard decision to “recompete” a contract for 11 offshore cutters has prompted a protest to federal auditors. Florida-based Eastern Shipbuilding Group says the USCG, in placing the work with Alabama-based Austal USA, did not prevent Eastern’s pricing data from being leaked to Austal. Eastern won the contract in 2016 but even though its yard was heavily damaged by a hurricane in October 2018, it was continuing work on the first four hulls when the USCG announced the change at the end of June.

Jul 28, 2022

Sixty-one defence research and development companies have received a total of €1.2 billion in the initial batch of European Defence Fund grants, mainly for work in air, ground and naval combat programs. More than 140 proposals had been submitted by consortia comprising at least three companies from at least three EU states or Norway.

Jul 26, 2022

Russia's state-owned Gazprom is halving natural gas shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, prompting political panic on both sides of the Atlantic. A U.S. official says the retaliation against western sanctions puts the west in “uncharted territory and has resulted in the administration’s global energy coordinator leaving for Europe today to discuss options.

Jul 26, 2022

In the event of Russia stopping natural gas exports to European Union customers, the EU says that its members have agreed to reduce usage by 15 per cent next winter while leaving some states to opt out to avoid rationing. The measure would be in effect between August and March but the voluntary aspect would become mandatory if supplies reach crisis levels.

Jul 26, 2022

The newly-appointed head of Ruscosmos, Yuri Borisov, confirmed today that Russia will pull out of the International Space Station after 2024 and focus on building its own facility. The U.S., Canada and other countries hope to keep the ISS operational until at least 2030.

Jul 26, 2022

BAE Systems says that by 2027 it will be flying a demonstrator aircraft in the U.K. to test artificial intelligence as a support for pilots as part of the multinational Tempest next-generation fighter development program. Helmet sensors would amass biometric and psychometric information which could enable the AI to assist pilots in an emergency.

Jul 26, 2022

Lithuania has lifted a ban on rail transport of passengers and European Union-sanctioned freight to and from the Russian Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad which depends on the rail link. The moves comes after the EU clarified that its sanctions applied to road transport.

Jul 26, 2022

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has set August 1 for a strike against Boeing Defence plants, having rejected a contract offer which the union says does not meet pension commitments. Boeing plans to keep operations running in the event a strike does happen.

Jul 26, 2022

The Russian Navy has taken delivery of what is understood to be the world's longest submarine, measuring more than 184m compared with the U.S. Navy’s Ohio-class missile subs which come in at 171m. The Belgorod, a modified Oscar II-class missile boat, is billed as a research vessel but analysts say it could be used for offensive purposes.

Jul 26, 2022

The Royal Canadian Navy is on the hunt for new torpedo countermeasures technology as part of a plan to keep its four ex-British submarines operational for at least another decade. Advances in sonar technology and guidance systems have made anti-submarine torpedoes more effective at overcoming the kind of launchable decoys currently on the RCN boats.

Jul 26, 2022

A solar-powered UAV designed by Airbus Defence & Space continues to set records, having recently completed 36 days aloft as it continues to rack up flight-hours at an altitude of more than 21km. The Zephyr, which has a 25m wingspan and weighs just 75kg, was deployed over Arizona by the U.S. Army June 15.

Jul 26, 2022

Less than two weeks after Dutch Minister Kajsa Ollongren visited the Pentagon earlier this month, the State Department has cleared the way for a procurement of Patriot surface-to-air missiles. Also approved were various munitions for Kuwait, air-to-air missiles for Australia, and oceanographic observation gear for the United Arab Emirates.

Jul 25, 2022

After videos surfaced during the weekend of Canadian and U.S. flags being draped over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and someone bowing his head, Defence Minister Anita Anand has labelled the action “desecration.” It has resulted in renewed calls for tighter security at the National War Memorial but neither Anand nor Veterans Affairs Minister addressed that issue.

Jul 25, 2022

The U.S. is sending five high-mobility artillery rocket systems and 580 Phoenix Ghost drones to Ukraine as part of the administration’s latest security package. A spokesman for the White House also acknowledged that officials are discussing “the feasibility of potentially providing fighter aircraft . . . but it’s not going to be something that they’re going to be able to execute immediately.”

Jul 25, 2022

Four democracy activists, including a former member of the country’s parliament, have been executed by Myanmar's military rulers in what is believed to be the country’s first use of capital punishment in decades. They were sentenced to death in a closed-door trial on what sources say were charges that they “gave directives, made arrangements and committed conspiracies for brutal and inhumane terror acts.”

Jul 25, 2022

Five months into his country’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said July 24 that his ultimate goal is help Ukrainians to “liberate themselves” from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s “absolutely unacceptable regime.” In Egypt at the start of an African tour to drum up support, he said western propaganda is designed to ensure Ukraine “becomes the eternal enemy of Russia.”

Jul 25, 2022

A Quebecker who travelled to Ukraine in March to fight Russian invaders has died in a Russian tank ambush in the Donbass region along with two American and a Swedish volunteer. Emile-Antoine Roy-Sirois, 31, of Montreal, was killed July 18 but his death, was only confirmed July 24 by Global Affairs Canada.

Jul 22, 2022

The International Court of Justice today dismissed preliminary objections by Myanmar to a case alleging the military-ruled country is responsible for genocide against the Rohingya ethnic minority. The decision sets the stage for hearings into atrocities against the Rohingya, hundreds of thousands of whom fled to neighboring Bangladesh amid a brutal crackdown by Myanmar forces in 2017.

Jul 22, 2022

The Conservative Party of Canada has confirmed that a third leadership debate will be held August 3 in response to the “overwhelming” results of a survey of 24,000 party members. Candidates have already participated in two official debates, one in English in Edmonton and a second in French in Laval. However, the perceived front-runner, Ottawa MP Pierre Poilievre, has said he would not participate despite the prospect of a $50,000 fine by the party.

Jul 22, 2022

Lisa Smith, a former Irish Defence Forces soldier found guilty of Islamic State membership has been sentenced to 15 months by a Special Criminal Court in Dublin. However, the judicial tribunal found her not guilty of financing terrorism and took into account her behaviour before travelling to Syria as well as the domestic violence she suffered during four years there.

Jul 22, 2022

An agreement signed today by Ukraine and Russia could mean shipments of Ukrainian grain to international markets could resume in weeks. Mediated by the UN and Turkey, it would permit five million tonnes a month to be shipped from three Black Sea ports through a safe maritime corridor monitored by a multinational Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul.

Jul 21, 2022

Meeting earlier this week with his Russian and Iranian counterparts, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested again that he is prepared to renew operations in northern Syria. He has broached the idea in recent months, saying that the target would be Kurdish forces he considers “terrorists.”

Jul 21, 2022

The U.S. military has been told by mostly Republican Senators that it should stop trying to prevent and root out extremists in the ranks. “Spending additional time and resources to combat exceptionally rare instances of extremism in the military is an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds, and should be discontinued,” the Armed Service Committee says.

Jul 21, 2022

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is warning that a shortage of spare Pratt & Whitney engines may leave some Lockheed Martin F-35s grounded because repairs to a key component is taking longer than expected. It has told Congress that “almost all of the aircraft affected” are flown by the Air Force, which has 348 in its inventory of a planned procurement of 1,763.

Jul 21, 2022

The Czech government plans negotiations with the U.S. to procure 24 Lockheed Martin F-35s as replacements for its leased fleet of 14 Saab JAS 39 Gripens when that agreement expires in late 2027. “I was authorised to form an inter-ministerial negotiating team and commence negotiations,” Defence Minister Jana Černochová confirmed, adding that air force analysis “clearly articulates that only the most advanced 5th-generation fighters will be able to meet mission requirements.”

Jul 21, 2022

Lockheed Martin’s packed order book for F-35s is getting an addigional boost from South Korea, which has announced plans to buy 20 more which would give it a total fleet of 60. The procurement confirmed by Defence Minister Jong-sup Lee will cost the equivalent of nearly US$3 billion.

Jul 21, 2022

The U.S. administration is hoping to refine its predecessor’s offensive cyber capabilities to fit “within our foreign policy goals.” Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger confirmed the decision July 19, explaining that the review should give U.S. Cyber Command more discretion to engage in time-sensitive operations so as to determine whether cyber capabilities are “resilient, flexible, and ready to be used when needed.”

Jul 21, 2022

A report in a major Italian newspaper that authorities had seized a U.S.-made drone and/or components believed to be destined for Russia is raising questions about Canada’s export controls. The newspaper reported that containers used to ship the materiel, documented for delivery to Qatar, had arrived from Montreal.

Jul 21, 2022

Nine months after he stepped aside as head of the Canadian Armed Forces’ human resources arm, Lieutenant-General Steven Whelan has been charged by military police on two counts of “conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.” The charges arise from an investigation into an alleged inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, which Whelan has denied.

Jul 20, 2022

Canada's former chief of the defence staff Rick Hillier said July 19 that Canada should not have agreed to return six turbines to Germany needed to keep Russian natural gas flowing into Europe because Russian President Vladimir Putin could see it as a “sign of encouragement" and a signal that western sanctions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine could weaken.

Jul 20, 2022

South Korea’s development of its KF-21 Boramae fighter, which it says is capable of Mach 1.8, makes it one of only a handful of nations to manufacture a supersonic fighter. Completed in a partnership with Indonesia, the first of six planned twin-engine prototypes underwent its maiden flight July 19, setting the stage for a four-year test program leading to mass production in 2026.

Jul 20, 2022

Turkey’s defence and aerospace exports, the latter mostly drones, jumped by 48 per cent in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2021. It amounted to the equivalent of nearly US$2 billion and the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly said today that it expects the total to nearly double to a record high by year’s end.

Jul 20, 2022

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned today that his country’s eventual goal as its invasion of Ukraine hits the five-month mark extends beyond the country’s breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk regions. “Now the geography is different,” he said. “This process is continuing logically and persistently” and if the West out of “impotent rage” continues to supply Ukraine with long-range weapons, “that means the geographical tasks will extend still further from the current line.”

Jul 20, 2022

Royal Canadian Navy reservist and independent Toronto MP Kevin Vuong, elected as a Liberal in the 2019 general election, faces a military summary trial today on a charge of failing to disclose that he had been charged with sexual assault in 2019. The trial on a charge of “conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline” is being conducted by Captain Etienne Landry, the reserve’s deputy commander.

Jul 19, 2022

Initial efforts to revamp how the U.S. Army handles complaints about sexual harassment and assault bring it closer to compliance with congressional mandates included in last year’s defence bill. An independent prosecutor’s office reports to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth while a “safe-to-report” policy would shield victims from discipline for minor misconduct which could emerge during an investigation into their complaints.

Jul 19, 2022

Pending his country’s acceptance into NATO and contemplating a more aggressive Russia next door, Sweden’s air force commander, Major-General Carl-Johan Edstrom says a new strategy for next-generation fighters is needed. He said July 17 that he expects to complete development of the new strategy in November but demurred when asked whether NATO membership would require his air force to specialize.

Jul 19, 2022

In only his second foreign trip since launching his “special military operation” against Ukraine in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Tehran today for a meeting with his Iranian counterpart about the war, its impact on global grain markets and the ongoing conflict in Syria. He was to meet later in the day with Iran’s supreme leader and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later

Jul 19, 2022

Alan Williams, who was Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel) at the Department of Nagional Defence from 2000 to 2005, is calling on the government to appoint a cabinet minister who would be solely responsible for procurement. It would be among “a number of pragmatic changes” which he says would make for a more efficient and effective approach to costly capital and other programs.

Jul 18, 2022

Lockheed Martin has a $58.8-million contract to furnish the U.S. Army with prototypes of a suite of electronic warfare, cyber and signals intelligence capabilities. The Terrestrial Layer System-Brigade Combat Team prototypes will be incorporated in Stryker combat vehicles (derived from the Canadian Armed Forces LAV III platform developed by Generl Dynamics Land Systems-Canada) for operational assessment as the Army moves to a joint all-domain operations philosophy.

Jul 18, 2022

The U.S. Department of Defence and industry agree on the need to improve the Pratt & Whitney engines in Lockheed Martin’s F-35s but there evidently isn’t a clear way on how to do it. Among other, the U.S. Air Force wants more power and cooling and the core question is whether to opt for upgrades to the F135 afterburning turbofan or a new one altogether

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