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The five-domains update

Posted By , , and on September 4, 2018 @ 12:59

Sea state

Australia’s largest multilateral naval exercise, Kakadu 2018 [1], is underway, with China participating for the first time [2]. The RAN’s fleet commander, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, stressed the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation in his speech at the launch of the exercises. Canberra’s decision to invite Beijing, despite its ‘aggressive’ behaviour [3] in the South China Sea, runs counter [4] to the US decision to exclude China [5] from the 2018 Rim of the Pacific exercise held in Hawaii in July.

The Chinese navy sent [6] its first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier, the Type 002, for a second round of sea trials on 26 August. The latest test is designed to assess the ship’s communication and navigation systems and its modified propulsion system. While it’s been argued that the ship’s capabilities are ‘rather antiquated’ [7], China’s aircraft carrier program has been described as a symbol of its entry into ‘the upper tier of military powers’ [8].

The Indian defence ministry has approved [9] the Indian navy’s request to acquire 24 anti-submarine and anti-ship multirole helicopters. The navy proposes to purchase Sikorsky MH-60Rs through a US foreign military sale worth more than US$2 billion [10]. The government also plans to buy 111 utility helicopters to be built in India by private companies in collaboration with foreign defence manufacturers. The timeline for these acquisitions hasn’t been announced.

Flight path

The RAND Corporation has found [11] that the US Air Force lacks the all-round capability to meet the demands of a full range of current and future security missions. The USAF has serious capacity shortfalls, and no class of aircraft performed well in any of the four scenarios [11] assessed by researchers, especially in the prolonged operations scenarios. The report found [12] that limiting the length of operational deployments improved the percentage of demands met.

The Australian, New Zealand and Canadian air forces participated in the Exercise Bullseye [13] airdrop accuracy competition last week. The teams competed to see who was the quickest and most accurate at dropping loads [14] from their aircraft. The Kiwis won for the first time since the early 1990s with 55 points, and the Australian and Canadian teams came second and third, respectively. You can watch videos of the drops here [15].

Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is scheduled to launch a new variant of its Spike guided missiles [16] at the 26th International Defence Industry Exhibition, or MSPO [17], in Poland. Poland and Germany are possible buyers of the ER2, which has improved range, agility and target acquisition capabilities. The Spike LR2, another Rafael missile, was recently selected by Australia [18] to equip the Rheinmetall Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles acquired as part of the LAND 400 Phase 2 project.

Rapid fire

The US military is cancelling [19] more than US$300 million in aid assistance to Pakistan. The decision was made after the Pakistani government was accused of harbouring terrorist groups and failing to stop cross-border attacks into Afghanistan which have led to the deaths of American troops. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to visit Pakistan tomorrow and will meet with the country’s new prime minister, Imran Khan.

Japan has tabled a record US$45.82 billion [20] defence budget reportedly in response to escalating threats posed by North Korea. Despite defence spending being at a record high, it has not yet exceeded Japan’s unspoken limit of 1% of GDP [21]. A portion of the funding will be used to upgrade Japan’s defence capability and acquire the Aegis Ashore [22] ballistic missile defence system.

Staff Sergeant Amanda F. Kelley has become the first enlisted woman to complete the US Army Ranger [23] course. The rules were changed three years ago to allow women to participate in the 62-day course at Fort Benning, Georgia. Kelley was the 13th woman to graduate from ‘Ranger School’.

Zero gravity

A micrometeoroid or space debris may have caused an oxygen leak [24] in the Russian segment of the International Space Station last week. The crew isn’t in immediate danger—the European Space Agency [25] has reported that they have ‘weeks of air left’—but the incident highlights the hazards of long-term orbital missions. The multinational ISS crewmembers don’t wear protective gear while on board and rely on airtight seals to maintain oxygen circulation.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for the strengthening of his country’s cyber and space [26]capabilities. The defence ministry is seeking revision [27] of the national defence program guidelines amid continuing threats from North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Abe emphasised that it’s impossible for Japan to defend itself against modern threats if its response capabilities are limited to traditional means.

NASA’s boss says funding another manned mission to the moon isn’t an unrealistic proposition. While the 1960s Apollo moon program took approximately 4.5% of the US budget [28] (NASA’s current share is around 0.5%), NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine says the key is global cooperation. With more international collaboration and private sector interest, he says the objectives [29] of Space Policy Directive 1 [30] could be achieved.

Wired watchtower

Huawei has approached [31] the US Federal Communications Commission to seek its support in the ongoing debate about the national security threat posed by the Chinese telecommunications giant. The US has banned any government suppliers from using Huawei or ZTE kit ‘as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system’. The move is part of the backlash against Huawei in countries like Australia [32], India [33] and Japan [34] amid rising security concerns associated with the company’s obligations under Chinese law.

The Russian government discreetly sponsored [35] a number of nominally independent news outlets as part of its propaganda campaign in Eastern Europe. Russian state media registered fake companies to bankroll news websites in the Baltic states. An investigation by BuzzFeed News and other agencies has revealed that these websites ran editorials dictated by the Kremlin. This is the latest revelation about Russia’s ‘information warfare’ campaign to influence public opinion in various parts of the world—particularly in Europe.

The UK will fund a cybersecurity centre in Kenya to target British paedophiles [36] who abuse African children. The deal was announced by British Prime Minister Theresa May on her visit to the country and comes as authorities deal with more than 100 investigations into foreign child abusers. The centre will help Kenya’s police stop child abuse images from being shared online and assist efforts to identify potential victims.

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URLs in this post:

[1] Kakadu 2018: http://www.navy.gov.au/operations-and-exercises/kakadu-2018

[2] first time: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-01/exercise-kakadu-hosts-china-south-china-sea-navy-maritime/10190856

[3] aggressive’ behaviour: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2158047/beijings-aggression-south-china-sea-driving-expansion

[4] runs counter: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/exercise-kakadu-china-to-participate-in-australias-naval-war-games/news-story/a81706316c3643094c64cb4d1fcd9174

[5] decision to exclude China: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/us-disinvites-china-from-rimpac-multinational-military-exercise-20180524-p4zh53.html

[6] sent: https://thediplomat.com/2018/08/chinas-new-aircraft-carrier-sets-out-for-second-round-of-sea-trials/

[7] ‘rather antiquated’: https://www.businessinsider.com/13-photos-of-chinas-first-domestically-built-aircraft-carrier-2018-5/?r=AU&IR=T

[8] ‘the upper tier of military powers’: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/29/world/asia/china-navy-aircraft-carrier-pacific.html?smid=tw-nytimesatwar&smtyp=cur

[9] has approved: https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2018-08-30/indian-navy-receives-approval-new-helicopters

[10] more than US$2 billion: https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/08/27/india-is-one-step-closer-to-spending-billions-on-new-naval-helicopters-from-us-allies/

[11] has found: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2500.html

[12] The report found: https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/08/31/rand_the_united_states_air_force_is_too_small_113758.html

[13] Exercise Bullseye: https://twitter.com/NZAirForce/status/1034876926026907650

[14] quickest and most accurate at dropping loads: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/nz-air-force-wins-hercules-accuracy-drop-competition-against-aussies-canadians-in-nzdf-exercise

[15] here: https://twitter.com/NZAirForce

[16] new variant of its Spike guided missiles: https://defense-update.com/20180902_spike_er2.html

[17] MSPO: http://www.targikielce.pl/en/26th-international-defence-industry-exhibition-mspo,16791.htm

[18] recently selected by Australia: https://defense-update.com/20180822_spikelr2au.html

[19] cancelling: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45386278

[20] US$45.82 billion: https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2017/12/27/japan-cabinet-approves-record-46b-defense-budget/

[21] 1% of GDP: https://www.nippon.com/en/features/h00196/

[22] Aegis Ashore: https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/aegis-combat-system/aegis-ashore.html

[23] complete the US Army Ranger: https://www.newsweek.com/us-army-ranger-school-set-graduate-first-enlisted-woman-1098426

[24] oxygen leak: https://www.space.com/41685-space-station-astronauts-sealing-air-leak.html

[25] European Space Agency: https://nypost.com/2018/08/30/theres-an-oxygen-leak-on-the-international-space-station/

[26] cyber and space : https://spacewatch.global/2018/08/new-japanese-defence-policy-guidelines-emphasise-space-and-cyber-power/

[27] revision: https://japantoday.com/category/politics/abe-calls-for-better-cyber-space-defense-capabilities

[28] 4.5% of the US budget: https://www.firstpost.com/tech/science/sending-humans-back-to-the-moon-would-not-require-a-big-budget-nasa-5098101.html

[29] objectives: https://www.space.com/41691-nasa-astronauts-return-moon-budget.html

[30] Space Policy Directive 1: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/new-space-policy-directive-calls-for-human-expansion-across-solar-system

[31] has approached: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/08/30/huawei_fcc_competition_intervention/

[32] Australia: https://www.wsj.com/articles/australia-bans-chinas-huawei-from-5g-network-rollout-1534992631

[33] India: https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/business/india-cautious-huaweis-participation-5g-rollout

[34] Japan: https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3061909/japanese-government-weighs-up-5g-ban-on-huawei-and-zte

[35] discreetly sponsored: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/amphtml/holgerroonemaa/russia-propaganda-baltics-baltnews

[36] target British paedophiles: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7131187/british-cyber-force-target-paedophiles-kenya/

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