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The five-domains update

Posted By , , and on October 9, 2018 @ 13:32

Sea state

The US Navy’s Pacific Fleet has drawn up a plan [1] to conduct freedom-of-navigation exercises involving warships, aircraft and troops next month in response to a Chinese destroyer’s harassment [2] of a US ship near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea last week. The Australian government is being urged [3] by a senior Liberal MP to participate in the exercises. While Australia carries out regular sea and air patrols through the South China Sea, it has avoided passing close to the artificial islands China has created.

The Indian and British navies plan [4] to increase their joint training through carrier battle group exercises. The UK’s permanent secretary for the Ministry of Defence, Stephen Lovegrove, visited India two weeks ago and remarked that the joint exercises could be useful to India in conflicts which flare along its borders. These operations are a prelude to the first operational deployment of the British navy’s latest aircraft carrier [5], HMS Queen Elizabeth, in 2021.

The Japanese navy has pulled out [6] of a multinational naval fleet review in South Korea next week because Korean authorities asked it to remove the kyokujitsuki, or the rising sun flag, from its ships. South Korea sees the flag as a reminder of Japanese war crimes, whereas Japan views it as a symbol of pride. Japan has previously participated in two fleet reviews in South Korea while flying the flag.

Flight path

United States F-15C Eagle jet fighters have landed in Ukraine for Clear Sky 2018 [7], a multinational exercise that runs from 8 to 19 October. Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the UK and the US will participate. The purpose [8] of the exercise is to ‘enhance regional capabilities to secure air sovereignty and promote peace and security through cooperation, collaboration and interoperability with NATO partners and other allies in the region’. It’s the first time [9] US fighters have operated in Ukraine.

Exercise Red Flag-Alaska 19-1 [10] started last week, and the Finnish Air Force is participating for the first time alongside the Republic of Korea Air Force and the US Air Force. The exercise runs from 4 to 18 October and trains crew in simulated combat. Exercises [11] also took place in May, June and August. Background info can be found here. [12]

On Friday, India finalised the purchase of the S-400 missile defence system [13] from Russia. There’s still no confirmation that the US will retaliate [14] against India over the deal, but last month China was sanctioned for its purchase of the S-400 and other Russian equipment.

Two military transport aircraft collided in Sudan while landing after a training exercise, injuring eight [15] and  causing the closure of Khartoum airport. See video of the collision here [16] and photos here [17]. It’s the third such accident in less than a month for the Sudanese military.

Rapid fire

The US Army is replacing the flame-resistant [18] but uncomfortable camouflage outfits [18] issued to its snipers with a lighter suit that’s more comfortable but doesn’t have the same level of fire protection. The Improved Ghillie System [19] will be made from a more breathable fabric. It can be worn over field uniforms and comes with a variety of removable accessories, including sleeves, leggings, a veil and a cape. Soldiers are expected to get much of their flame protection from the combat uniforms they’ll continue to wear underneath the suits.

A major think tank has found that the US military lacks the manpower [20] and equipment needed to counter the evolving security threats posed by Russia and China. The Heritage Foundation’s 2019 index of US military strength suggested America cannot afford to fight two wars at once because of a lack of troops, aircraft and ships. The foundation says the US is only ‘marginally able’ to defend its vital national interests and wouldn’t be able meet a ‘two major regional contingency’ requirement.

South Korea’s army has unveiled an 80-strong combat unit of drone operators [21]. The ‘dronebot’ force is composed of subunits that will carry out tasks such as scouting, ammunition and food delivery. The dronebots are not yet fully deployable but form part of a forces upgrade.

Zero gravity

The UK and Australia have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on space activities [22] including communication technologies, situational awareness and satellite navigation. The MoU signals the nations’ intent to capitalise on their growing space industries [23] and reflects the importance of international cooperation in outer space [24]. Australia has also signed a similar agreement [25] with the Canadian Space Agency.

At the International Astronautical Congress in Germany, Lockheed Martin unveiled designs for a spacecraft [26] intended to shuttle astronauts between the moon and lunar-orbiting space stations—a precursor to a vehicle it’s planning for Mars. The concept could be a key part of NASA’s plan [27] to land humans (back) on the moon and to put people on both Mars and and an asteroid in the next decade.

New Zealand’s Centre for Space Science Technology and Germany-based Airbus Defence and Space have announced a partnership agreement which will provide access to improved satellite imager [28]y for New Zealand businesses and government agencies . To date, New Zealand’s imagery data has lagged behind that of other nations, hindering analysis and its international competitiveness.

Wired watchtower

The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security has warned [29] that many countries other than Russia and China pose a cyber threat to Canada. The centre’s director, Scott Jones, suggested that more than 100 countries were using cyber tools to steal secrets and manipulate public opinion through disinformation. His warning comes on the heels of Western countries’ condemnation [30] of Russia for a spate of cyberattacks on institutions critical of the Kremlin.

The UK has practised a cyberstrike [31] against Moscow after officials concluded that that would be the only defence against a Russian military attack on the West short of using nuclear weapons. The UK is reportedly concerned that a capability gap means it doesn’t have enough different types of weapons to meet the Russian threat. Officials have committed to increasing Britain’s cyber capability, concluding that ‘cyber-weapons give Britain the best chance of deterring Russia because the West no longer has small battlefield nuclear weapons’.

North Korea’s destructive cyber capabilities [32] pose an imminent threat to financial systems. Cybersecurity company FireEye says North Korean hackers are involved in all forms of cybercrime—money laundering, espionage, sabotage, disruption and disinformation. Continual improvement in cyber skills and the unpredictable nature of North Korean attacks makes the country a global cyber threat.



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URLs in this post:

[1] drawn up a plan: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/03/politics/us-navy-show-of-force-china/index.html

[2] harassment: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/02/politics/us-china-destroyers-confrontation-south-china-sea-intl/index.html

[3] being urged: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/australia-urged-to-back-us-navy-in-show-of-force-against-china-20181005-p5082g.html

[4] plan: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/india-uk-to-increase-joint-navy-training/articleshow/66062268.cms

[5] latest aircraft carrier: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-45226387

[6] pulled out: https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Japanese-Navy-Refuses-Seoul-Request-to-Ground-Rising-Sun-Flag--20181005-0005.html

[7] Clear Sky 2018: https://defence-blog.com/news/u-s-air-force-released-details-of-historic-deployment-to-ukraine.html

[8] The purpose: https://www.usafe.af.mil/News/Press-Releases/Article/1636630/us-air-force-to-train-with-european-partners-in-ukraine-at-clear-sky-2018/

[9] the first time: https://theaviationist.com/2018/10/06/u-s-air-force-f-15c-jets-have-just-started-historic-first-deployment-to-ukraine/

[10] Red Flag-Alaska 19-1: https://www.eielson.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1654599/red-flag-alaska-19-1-gets-off-the-ground/

[11] Exercises: https://www.eielson.af.mil/Info/RED-FLAG-Alaska/

[12] here.: https://www.pacaf.af.mil/Info/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/248969/red-flag-alaska/

[13] S-400 missile defence system: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-russia/india-quietly-seals-missile-deal-with-russia-despite-u-s-warning-idUSKCN1MF123

[14] US will retaliate: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/05/asia/india-s400-deal-intl/index.html

[15] injuring eight: https://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/8-injured-after-army-planes-collide-at-sudan-airport-17348456

[16] here: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-45753926/two-sudan-military-planes-collide-at-khartoum-airport

[17] here: https://feedly.com/i/entry/2ZGQQW6Vs4a0Apm5tWkb9uZH5TydnsLixinD5h+sOUI=_16639910fe4:3161386:a84931b0

[18] flame-resistant: https://www.military.com/kitup/2018/10/04/army-wants-lightweight-ghillie-suit-snipers.html

[19] Improved Ghillie System: https://www.army.mil/article/211933/army_testing_more_effective_ghillie_suits

[20] the manpower: https://www.military.com/dodbuzz/2018/10/04/us-military-too-small-meet-threats-nation-report.html

[21] combat unit of drone operators: https://defence-blog.com/army/south-koreas-army-created-a-combat-unit-of-weaponized-drones.html

[22] cooperate on space activities: https://www.aerospace-technology.com/news/uk-signs-space-partnership-australia/

[23] growing space industries: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1026496/uk-space-agreement-australia-boost-jobs-galileo-ESA

[24] international cooperation in outer space: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Britain_and_Australia_enter_into_space_agreement_999.html

[25] similar agreement: https://www.zdnet.com/article/australia-signs-space-agreements-with-the-uk-and-canada/

[26] designs for a spacecraft: https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/04/lockheed-martin-reusable-lunar-lander/

[27] NASA’s plan: https://www.zmescience.com/science/news-science/lockheed-martin-lunar-lander-05433/

[28] improved satellite imager: http://www.voxy.co.nz/business/5/322761

[29] warned: https://globalnews.ca/news/4521690/canadian-cyber-threat-russia-interference/

[30] Western countries’ condemnation: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/western-nations-accuse-russia-of-global-hacking-conspiracy

[31] practised a cyberstrike: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/uk-war-games-cyber-attack-on-moscow-dgxz8ppv0

[32] destructive cyber capabilities: https://www.zdnet.com/article/north-korea-is-the-most-destructive-cyber-threat-right-now-fireeye/

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