IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Feb 03, 2021

The new U.S. Secretary of Defense, retired Amy Gen Lloyd Austin, is dismissing all members of at least 42 advisory boards pending a review over the next four months of whether the boards are even necessary. His directive affects hundreds of individuals, many with political and industry ties, but some could be asked to return once the review is completed.

Feb 03, 2021

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, announced that 13 groups will be added to Canada’s list of Terrorist Entities. The new additions include 4 white supremacist groups, including the Canadian wing of Proud Boys, and 9 groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Being on the Criminal Code list allows the government to freezing assets and institute criminal sanctions on members. The Government is also working to add 4 "ideologically motivated violent extremist" organizations to the list.

Feb 03, 2021

Retired VAdm Mark Norman says the RCN faces had discussions about delays and rising costs in the procurement of 15 Surface Combatant ships as a replacement for its fleet of 12 frigates. The former Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff says there could be pressure to reduce the procurement. “These are all conversations that . . . are going to have to happen,” he says. “This is all about trade-offs.”

Feb 03, 2021

The top civilian leaders in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, have been charged by police in the aftermath of the internationally-condemned Feb. 1 coup by military commanders alleging fraud in last year’s election. Aung San Suu Kyi is charged with breaching import and export laws, and possession of unlawful communication devices while Win Myint is charged with violating rules banning gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feb 03, 2021

Less than a month after retiring, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Jonathan Vance, is facing an unconfirmed allegation of inappropriate remarks to a female subordinate but says if the allegation is true it would have been intended as a joke and he is prepared to apologize. He also has admitted an ongoing relationship with a subordinate but says it was platonic and had evolved over a couple of decades.

Feb 03, 2021

A Calgary naval reservist identified as as the former administrator of a neo-Nazi forum is being released from the Canadian Armed Forces. Vice-Admiral Craig Baines confirmed the decision after a command-level review of Boris Mihajlovic’s case. When his involvement in the forum, which was shut down in 2017, was confirmed, Mihajlovic was suspended, sought counselling and volunteered with an immigrant group. He was readmitted to the reserve unit last summer but that was reviewed after some fellow reservists said they were upset.

Feb 02, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Russia may consider rejoin the Open Skies treaty and permit international surveillance flights over military facilities if the U.S. does. “The Russian Federation would be ready to constructively consider that new situation,” he said after talks in Moscow with his Swedish counterpart, chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The U.S. withdrew from the treaty last year and Russia followed suit last month.

Feb 02, 2021

The first of 15 new “surface combatants” ordered for the Royal Canadian Navy is expected to be delivered later than planned as managers on the $60-billion project tackle design and construction challenges. The delay means spending more on the 12 existing 1980s frigates to keep them operational.

Feb 02, 2021

In her first call to a foreign leader since taking office, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has reassured Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about perceived U.S. protectionism in the new U.S. administration. Trudeau’s office says there was consensus on the need to avoid “the unintended consequences” of President Joe Biden’s “Buy American” policies. A White house readout of the conversation reiterated Canada’s “deep importance . . . as an economic and strategic partner.”

Feb 02, 2021

Hundreds of members of Myanmar's parliament remain locked in their housing in the country's capital, a day after the military staged a coup and detained senior politicians including Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. The military, which is guaranteed 25 per cent of the seats in parliament, justified its move by claiming that recent election results heavily favouring Aung San Suu Kyi's party, were fraudulent.

Feb 02, 2021

A skeptical report about the utility of hypersonic weapons is being challenged by the U.S. Department of Defense’s director of research and development in that field. Michael White says the Union of Concerned Scientists’ report, which argues that the required investment is disproportionate to the strategic benefits, is predicated on faulty analysis.

Feb 02, 2021

The U.S. Navy currently patrols the Pacific with its Japan-based 7th Fleet, but has been considering another fleet presence for the Indo-Pacific region. However, its apparent wish to base it in Singapore didn’t sit well with the city-state’s government.

Feb 01, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ratified legislation which extends the 2010 New START nuclear arms agreement with the U.S. for five years. It had been due to expire Feb. 5. Putin signed off the measure just two days after the Federal Assembly had unanimously approved the extension and a day after he and U.S. President Joe Biden had discussed it.

Feb 01, 2021

Glen Ulmer, who has ramrodded the F-35 program at Lockheed Martin for three years, has been appointed Executive Vice President of Aeronautics. He now is in charge of all flagship operations, including not only the F-35 program but also the Skunk Works research and development shop where he once headed operations. He succeeds the late Michele Evans.

Feb 01, 2021

Boeing is reported to have made progress with two of six major problems with its KC-46 tanker program. The USAF said today that they both centered on auxiliary power units manufactured by Honeywell and involved problems with ducting clamps and an external drain.

Feb 01, 2021

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.  of Haifa has been demonstrating the lethality of a short-range version of the Israeli company's Spike missile for the U.S. Army. Weighing about 10kg and with a 2,000m range, the Spike SR is an electro-optical anti-tank guided weapon.

Feb 01, 2021

A "vision council" of global "big thinkers" tackled the challenge of identifying pandemic-related issues in need of innovative solutions in the hope of opening businesses sooner. A group of 12 diverse companies was eventually set up to develop a pilot system for rapid testing: Air Canada, Rogers, Scotiabank, MLSE, Magna, CPP Investments, Genpact, Loblaw, MDA, Nutrien, Shoppers Drug Mart and Suncor. The first projects launched recently and about 2,000 screens had been administered as of 31 January.

Feb 01, 2021

Senior NATO officials say international troops will stay in Afghanistan beyond the May deadline outlined in the Taliban insurgency’s deal with the U.S. last year. “There will be no full withdrawal by allies by April-end,” an official says. “The sense of hasty withdrawal which was prevalent will be addressed and we could see a much more calculated exit strategy.”

Feb 01, 2021

The U.S. Department of Defense is reviewing appointments to the advisory boards announced by outgoing President Donald Trump shortly after he lost last Novemner’s election to Joe Biden. They include former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and deputy campaign manager David Bossie, who were appointed shortly after former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright were dismissed.

Feb 01, 2021

A hybrid tank combining the hull of a German Leopard 2A4 chassis with a Turkish 120mm smooth-bore turret has been unveiled by BMC, a Turkish-Qatari manufacturer of commercial and military platforms. The company has targeted more than 300 of Turkey’s tanks for the upgrade in the hope of winning contracts with other Leopard operators worldwide.

Feb 01, 2021

The U.S. has confirmed that Abu Yasir, the most senior Daesh leader in Iraq, was killed in an air strike Jan. 27. Col Wayne Marotto, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, says that “as the Daesh supervisor of Iraq, Yasir disseminated operational guidance to his provinces relating to the expansion of terrorist efforts.”

Feb 01, 2021

Thousands of Russians continue to join protests to demand the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny who was jailed upon his return to Russia after recovering from a poisoning attempt. More than 5,000 people have reportedly been detained nationwide during a sweeping security lockdown by police.

Feb 01, 2021

Myanmar’s military says it has taken control of country for one year based on election fraud allegations. The country's leader Aung San Suu Kyi has reportedly been detained. The coup comes one year after the UN's top court ordered Buddhist-majority Myanmar to protect its Rohingya community from genocide, allegedly at the hands of the army.

Jan 30, 2021

The cost to the Department of National Defence of leasing the converted Asterix commercial vessel for five years as an interim supply ship is rising by $71 million to $691 million. A DND spokesman says the increase reflects greater-than-expected use of the vessel as the Navy awaits delivery of new Joint Support Ships.

Jan 29, 2021

As in Internal Combustion Engine! General Motors Corp. says it will phase out ICEs in its veicles by 2035 as well as going completely carbon neutral. “We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole,” Chief Executive Officer Mary Barr said Jan. 28.

Jan 29, 2021

Confirmation this week that Boeing has taken an additional $275 million charge on its KC-46 USAF tanker project means the company has paid as much in cost overruns as the USAF invested in its development. Boeing now has paid more than $5 billion on addressing a welter of technical problems since winning the contract a decade ago.

Jan 29, 2021

Excessive rotor blade vibrations in Boeing’s latest variant of its Chinook CH-47F helicopter are being reported by the Department of Defense. The new Advanced Chinook Rotor Blade evidently “produces excessive vibrations in ground, hover, and forward flight that may cause a safety of flight risk.” Aircrews have reported prolonged fatigue and other physiological issues attributed to the phenomenon.

Jan 29, 2021

The U.S. Maritime Administration has ordered two more training ships at a cost of $600 million from Philly Shipyard in Philadelphia. The order, which doubles the fleet, is expected to result in a standard hull design for USN auxiliary vessels which could be used for humanitarian relief and other missions.

Jan 29, 2021

The concept of chameleon-inspired and self-repairing camouflage clothing is being examined by several universities under contract to the Department of National Defence as part of a $9-million advanced materials research effort. “Adaptive camouflage would be more like a chameleon where . . . our camouflage will modify itself,” a spokesman says. Each university is researching a variety of functions, including self-repairing capability.

Jan 29, 2021

For the third time this year, USAF Boeing B-52H Stratofortresses, operating from Louisiana, have completed a “presence patrol mission” in the Middle East. There have been six such flights since November and the plan is to continue them through the spring “to deter any aggression in the region, promote regional security and assure our allies.”

Jan 29, 2021

Boeing confirmed Jan. 28 that it has been licensed by the U.S. to offer its F-15EX Strike Eagle to India as a replacement for its Soviet-era fighter fleet. It would compete with the Saab Gripen and the Dassault Rafale and the Lockheed Martin F-21.

Jan 29, 2021

A U.S. congressional inquiry has been warned that China may trigger a major military crisis this year as the Chinese Communist Party’s centenary looms and the U.S. continues to struggle with COVID-19. Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said he believes the CCP will continue to test the boundaries of international patience and that U.S. failure to respond would challenge its credibility as a security partner.

Jan 29, 2021

Rheinmetall and MBDA Deutschland have been tasked with developing a high-energy laser weapon for the German Navy. The contract with their ARGE consortium is said to be in “the low double-digit million Euro range.” Trials scheduled for 2022.

Jan 29, 2021

Taiwan’s push towards independence has drawn a warning by China’s defence ministry that it “means war” if the island state, which China considers a breakaway province, succeeds. “Those who play with fire will burn themselves, and Taiwan independence means war,” a ministry official said Jan. 28. He also defended China’s recent military activities in the region as “necessary actions to address the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty and security.”

Jan 28, 2021

The new U.S. Secretary of Defense, retired Army Gen Lloyd Austin, says he’s prepared to discuss a proposed withdrawal of 12,000 troops from Germany with the host country. A Pentagon readout of his Jan. 28 call with Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer states that Austin “expressed his gratitude to Germany for continuing to serve as a great host for U.S. forces, and expressed his desire for a continued dialogue on U.S. force posture.”

Jan 28, 2021

A compact mechanical stabilizer designed to improve accuracy, especially when shooting from a standing position, is being examined by the U.S. Once part of a now defunct Special Ops Command project, it has been resurrected for the Next Generation Squad Weapons program. Mounted to a weapon’s Picatinny rail it is designed to compensate vertically and horizontally for even slight movements by shooters.

Jan 28, 2021

Canada's new Chief of the Defence Staff, Adm Art McDonald, had to settle for a virtual forum in his first meeting with his NATO counterparts due to the ongoing constraints posed by COVID-19. Offering no details about the Jan. 27 session, part of a regularly-scheduled series, he used social media to underscore that “mutual cooperation and understanding is at the heart of the Alliance.”

Jan 28, 2021

A bill setting out a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with the U.S. has been approved unanimously by Russia’s parliament. President Vladimir Putin, whose signature is needed to put the bill into effect, lauded it as “a step in the right direction" but warned of rising global rivalries and threats of new conflicts.

Jan 28, 2021

Kenya has ordered 118 mine-resistant, ambush-protected Hizir personnel carriers from Katmerciler, a Turkish manufacturer. The Kenyan military says it will use the 4x4s mainly for counterterrorism operations against al-Shabab insurgents.

Jan 28, 2021

Long the largest U.S. aerospace and defense company in financial terms, Boeing has had to yield to Lockheed Martin after a poor 2020, including ongoing problems with its KC-46 tanker program and the collapse of global commercial aviation. Total sales of $58.2 billion were reported for last year compared with LM’s $65.4 billion.

Jan 27, 2021

Even as a growing number of personnel have begun receiving COVID-10 vaccinations, the Canadian Armed Forces has confirmed that nearly 250 have tested positive since December. That compares with 676 in the first nine months of the pandemic.

Jan 27, 2021

The symbolic Doomsday Clock remains 100 seconds shy of midnight in what The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Humanity said Jan. 27 is confirmation that the world is still is perilously close to apocalypse. They said that the threats presented by climate change nuclear weapons has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jan 27, 2021

Several foreign arms sales approved by the former U.S. administration have been put on hold, including the sale of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters to the United Arab Emirates, signed off only hours before Joe Biden was sworn in as President. “We're also trying to make sure that we have a full understanding of any commitments that may have been made in securing those agreements,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Jan. 27. A spokesman for his department said the “routine” pause “demonstrates the administration's commitment to transparency and good governance, as well as ensuring U.S. arms sales meet our strategic objectives.”

Jan 27, 2021

The U.S. Department of Defense is incorporating climate analysis into its policy and strategic planning. “We will include the security implications of climate change in our risk analyses, strategy development, and planning guidance,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed.

Jan 27, 2021

Utilizing Trophy Active Protection Systems for protection of their ground combat vehicles since September 2019, the U.S. Army is now evaluating the next generation “Trophy VPS,” a smaller, lighter version to protect a broader range of ground combat vehicles.

Jan 27, 2021

The second edition of the CAE OneWorld virtual conference and tradeshow will start on 9 February 2021. The event is free to all attendees who register, and will remain online for one month.

Jan 27, 2021

Unnamed Gulf States are trying to persuade the U.S to protect their sensitive sites from more potential attacks by Houthi rebels, Iran's proxy in the region.

Jan 27, 2021

Commodore Dan Charlebois of the Royal Canadian Navy assumed command today of Combined Task Force 150, during a change of command ceremony held in Bahrain. 

Jan 27, 2021

A pair of Boeing CF-188 Hornets out of Canadian Forces Base Bagotville, Que., supported by an Airbus CC-150T Polaris tanker from Trenton, Ont., recently completed a High Arctic training mission out of Iqaluit. The mission involved air-to-air refueling over Baffin Bay and a patrol northeast of Baffin Island.

Jan 27, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians can be reassured that vaccine supplies will continue to arrive even as the European Union threatens restrict exports by its manufacturers, requiring them to seek EU permission. “Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good but it also means business,” says Ursula von der Leyen, German president of the European Commission.

Jan 27, 2021

Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has announced funding for early development of a range of advanced guided weapons and new mine countermeasures/hydrographic ships for the Royal Australian Navy. She says the programs eventually “will enhance the protection of our maritime resources and also our nation’s border” while holding potential adversaries up to 1,500km offshore.

Jan 26, 2021

Faced with an array of new weapons in potential adversaries’ armouries, North American Aerospace Defence Command needs to upgrade its surveillance system to meet the more sophisticated threats. Canada has committed to NORAD renewal and while it was top-of-mind when Prime Minister Trudeau and President Joe Biden spoke last week, it evidently presents political and financial problems for Canada

Jan 26, 2021

Hundreds of the more than 5,000 Taliban prisoners released under last year’s U.S.-Taliban peace deal have been arrested after returning to the battlefield, according to Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser. He says they were recaptured fighting alongside Taliban forces “even though they promised they would not fight again.”

Jan 26, 2021

An Israeli cabinet minister, Tzachi Hanegbim, says his country will attack Iran if the U.S. rejoins a multinational nuclear agreement, as President Joe Biden has indicated. Members of his governing Likud Party have said Biden must not “appease” Iran.

Jan 26, 2021

Rahim Noei-Aghdam, a General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, says the force has the capability to destroy U.S. Navy ships that are close to its territory. “Thanks to our deterrent power and surface-to-surface, surface-to-air, surface-to-coast, coast-to-coast, coast-to-sea and sea-to-sea missiles, we have the ability,” he says.

Jan 26, 2021

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman says U.S. deployment of ships and aircraft “into the South China Sea to flex its muscles” is not good for peace. He was commenting on the deployment of a USN aircraft carrier group into waters between China and Taiwan in what the U.S. says is a promotion of “freedom of the seas.”

Jan 26, 2021

Boeing and the Sikorsky division of Lockheed Martin plan to offer an upgraded version of their SB1 coaxial rotor demonstrator for the U.S. Army’s proposed long-range assault helicopter. Its smaller similar-technology sibling is LM’s submission for the Army’s attack reconnaissance aircraft project.

Jan 26, 2021

The Greek government has contracted to pay €2.5 billion for 18 Dassault Aviation Rafale fighters. The procurement includes 12, including weapons, to be taken out of the French Air Force fleet; the others will be new aircraft.

Jan 26, 2021

Having already built and delivered four corvettes to its navy, Turkey has launched the first of four new domestic frigates. Part of a contract awarded in 2019 to a government-controlled company, the new vessels’ armaments will include locally-produced vertical launch missile systems.

Jan 26, 2021

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to begin an impeachment trial Feb. 8 of former President Donald Trump on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” arising from an inflammatory speech three weeks ago to supporters who then rioted on Capitol Hill. The charge was delivered to the Senate by House of Representatives Jan. 25.

Jan 26, 2021

A West Virginia woman who once served in the U.S.Air Force, working with the National Security Agency, has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison Monday for planning to offer NSA information to Russia. She pleaded guilty last year as part of a plea agreement.

Jan 26, 2021

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland apparently is not fazed by President Joe Biden’s new “Buy American” initiative, says that Ottawa knows “how to deal with” protectionism. “This is not a new thing for any Canadian government,” says Freeland, who also is Finance Minister. “It is something we know how to deal with, we know how to push back on.”

Jan 26, 2021

Colombia’s defence minister, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, has died from COVID-19 complications. President Ivan Duque says Trujillo, 69, died early today. The former foreign minister, who ran against Duque for his party’s leadership in 2018, took on the defence portfolio in November 2019.

Jan 26, 2021

Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, which lost the Canadian Surface Combatant contract to the U.S.-British consortium of Lockheed Martin and BAE, is currently in federal court alleging the naval procurement was rigged. In a move usually reserved for terrorism cases, the federal government is using Section 38 of the Canada Evidence Act to prevent Navantia lawyers from examining documents on the controversial $70-billion project to build a new fleet of warships for the Royal Canada Navy.

Jan 26, 2021

With the contract to begin construction of the Canadian Surface Combatants yet to be signed, some in Canada's naval community are concerned over a pending report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer on the troubled $70 billion project to buy new warships. The PBO had earlier revealed the cost of the project has almost tripled and a further increase is expected to be outlined in its new report, expected next month.

Jan 26, 2021

Lockheed Martin and Boeing are in competition to supply new heavy-lift helicopters to the Israeli Air Force. The government acquisition committee has the data to make the selection, but the process has stalled due to the upcoming general elections in March.

Jan 25, 2021

The U.S. has struck a preliminary deal with Saudi Arabia which could facilitate operations in the event of war with Iran. While the U.S. has had assets and troops in neighbouring Gulf states, Iran’s improved ballistic missiles have rendered them more vulnerable.

Jan 25, 2021

The first foreign call by the new U.S. Secretary of Defense, retired Army Gen Lloyd Austin, was to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. It’s being taken as a push to repair a relationship that had deteriorated during the Trump administration. The Pentagon says “the two leaders discussed the importance of our shared values, the current security environment including maintaining a strong NATO deterrence and defense posture, and the ongoing missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Stoltenberg says the alliance must “stand together to address the security consequences of the rise of China, the threat of terrorism . . . and a more assertive Russia.”

Jan 25, 2021

In what the U.S. said Jan. 24 is a routing operation “to ensure freedom of the seas, build partnerships that foster maritime security”, an aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt is in the South China Sea. Its arrival coincided with what Taiwan said was a larger incursion by Chinese aircraft into the island state’s air defence identification zone.

Jan 25, 2021

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee, China’s top legislative body, has passed a law expressly permitting its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels in disputed waters. It remains unclear whether this would include regions where China has competing territorial claims, but the law authorizes “all necessary means”, including pre-emptive strikes, to deter threats in areas “under China’s jurisdiction.”

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