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The five-domains update

Posted By , , and on August 28, 2018 @ 12:58

Sea state

The Indian navy secretly test-fired its first indigenous nuclear-capable submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from INS Arihant in the Bay of Bengal on 11–12 August. The B-05 missile can hit targets with nuclear warheads at a range of 750 kilometres and will be used to bolster India’s counter-strike capability. India is now the sixth nation to have a ‘triad’ of nuclear-capable missiles that can be launched from the air, land and underwater. The event also marked the successful induction of the Arihant, which can carry six torpedoes and 12 B-05 or four K-4 missiles. An attempt to test-fire the K-4 SLBM from a submarine failed in December.

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force will conduct bilateral military exercises with the US, Indian, Sri Lankan, Singaporean, Indonesian and Philippine navies during a month-long deployment in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. Three Japanese ships, including the helicopter carrier Kaga, will participate in the exercises to improve the navy’s combat capability and interoperability with other navies in the region. This development comes in the wake of Tokyo’s donation of two coast guard patrol boats worth US$11 million to Sri Lanka, amid concerns about growing Chinese influence there.

Flight path

Qatar has made its first down payment on its €3 billion contract to buy 28 helicopters from the NHIndustries consortium. The order for 28 NH90 (consisting of 16 tactical transport and 12 naval variants) and 16 H125 helicopters was placed in early 2018. Italy-based Leonardo will be the prime contractor and program manager. Delivery is expected between 2022 and 2025.

Russian private defence company Nudelman Precision Engineering Design Bureau (KBtochmash) unveiled its new Sosna short-range surface-to-air missile at the Army 2018 International Military-Technical Forum in Moscow, over the past week. The Sosna is intended to replace the Strela-10M, which is highly complex and costly and was first designed in 1976. KBtochmash plans to export the Sosna to Southeast Asia.

Royal Air Force fighters stationed in Romania as part of NATO’s Air Policing Mission intercepted Russian jets flying in NATO airspace three times in a week. The RAF jets were scrambled on 25 August ‘to deter provocative Russian aircraft’. Russia says the flights were routine and that the scrambling of RAF fighters was ‘reckless and provocative’. Russia’s UK embassy described the deployment of the RAF to Eastern European states as dangerous. Russian aircraft were also intercepted by the RAF on 21 and 23 August.

The RAF is holding its annual photography competition—click here to view the category winners. The people’s choice winner will be announced on 20 September.

Rapid fire

Uber will work with the US Army to develop quiet aircraft rotor technology for possible use in flying cars or military aircraft. The technology, which is yet to be used in production aircraft, will feature stacked rotors with sophisticated software to reduce noise and lead to quieter operation than conventional systems.

The German Army is experiencing a steep decline in the number of servicemen and women as a result of the country’s 2011 abolition of mandatory military service. Around 21,000 positions were unfilled in 2017, and half of the force’s current members are expected to retire by 2030. The military is struggling with a range of organisational and technical problems, including equipment shortages, debates over funding and troop shortfalls. The army is now exploring the possibilities of recruiting citizens of other EU countries and teenagers.

The Russian military could soon be wearing adaptive camouflage that changes to mimic the surrounding environment. The chameleon-like technology has the capability to blend vehicles and soldiers into any background. The material, which has been displayed on an infantry helmet, can show changes of colour intensity and simulate complex images.

Zero gravity

An artist’s plan to launch one of his works into space has been criticised amid increasing concern about the destructive potential of the thousands of pieces of space junk orbiting the earth. Artist Trevor Paglen’s ‘Orbital Reflector’ has been called an ‘empty gesture’ that will only add to the current mess. US company AGI is one of the few private-sector companies tracking debris that could destroy satellites and it says there’s a pressing need for stricter rules to stop the space junk problem from getting worse.

The UK is planning to launch its own satellite-navigation system. Prime Minister Theresa May announced the decision after the European Commission said the UK won’t be part of the EU’s Galileo project, to which it has contributed £1.2 billion, after March next year due to post-Brexit security concerns.

The US depends heavily on space technology for communication, navigation, food and energy production, national security, and banking, among other things. Its reliance on GPS in particular has led NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine to declare that a disruption to US satellites presents an ‘existential threat’. Bridenstine went on to argue that President Donald Trump’s proposed space force is necessary to protect ‘America’s Achilles’ heel’.

Wired watchtower

Egypt has strengthened online censorship with a new law that makes it a criminal offence to run or visit certain sites. In recent years, hundreds of websites have been blocked, and dozens of operators, journalists and bloggers detained. Now, visiting a banned website is punishable by imprisonment. Egypt is ranked 161st out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index run by Reporters Without Borders.

Most nations have been ‘colonised by the internet’ but many lack the infrastructure or technological literacy to ensure it’s not misused. In some Pacific countries, regulation is blending into censorship. Samoa is working with the Council of Europe to update legislation relating to cybercrime, enhance public awareness, and improve its ability to control activity such as cyber voyeurism and cyberbullying without supressing people’s freedoms.

Kaspersky Labs has found an active malware campaign in Mexico that had gone undetected since at least 2013. The company says ‘Dark Tequila’ spreads through spear-phishing and infected USB devices to steal financial information and website login details. The unusually sophisticated malware has been used to target customers of Mexican banks and popular websites such as Amazon, Dropbox and Microsoft Office 365. Kaspersky’s warning that the campaign could spread highlights the need for strong cyber-protection practices.

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[1] test-fired: http://www.newindianexpress.com/specials/2018/aug/19/nuke-capable-submarine-launched-missile-operationalised-india-in-select-triad-club-1859992.html

[2] INS Arihant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INS_Arihant

[3] a range of 750 kilometres: http://zeenews.india.com/india/indias-nuclear-submarine-ins-arihant-fully-operational-with-n-tipped-k-15-missiles-2109061.html

[4] failed: https://thediplomat.com/2017/12/report-indian-submarine-launched-ballistic-missile-test-fails/

[5] will conduct bilateral military exercises: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/08/22/national/politics-diplomacy/japan-send-three-destroyers-south-china-sea-indian-ocean/#.W4M_PugzaUm

[6] donation of two coast guard patrol boats: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Tokyo-competing-with-Beijing-over-Sri-Lanka%E2%80%99s-maritime-security-44735.html

[7] €3 billion contract: https://www.naval-technology.com/news/leonardo-qatar-nh90-helicopter-contract/

[8] NHIndustries: http://www.nhindustries.com/website/en/ref/The-Company_150.html

[9] The order: https://www.airbus.com/newsroom/press-releases/en/2018/03/state-of-qatar-signs-contract-for-28-nh90-multirole-helicopters.html

[10] expected : https://airforcesmonthly.keypublishing.com/2018/08/21/qatari-nh90s-under-contract/

[11] KBtochmash: https://www.epicos.com/company/14230/nudelman-precision-engineering-design-bureau-kbtochmash

[12] unveiled its new Sosna: https://defence-blog.com/army/russia-offers-sosna-air-defense-system-export-southeast-asia.html

[13] first designed: http://www.military-today.com/missiles/strela_10.htm

[14] intercepted Russian jets: https://www.raf.mod.uk/news/articles/royal-air-force-typhoons-in-double-black-sea-russian-response/

[15] Russia: https://defence-blog.com/aviation/russia-says-british-typhoon-fighter-jets-made-unsafe-intercept-of-aircraft.html

[16] reckless and provocative: https://twitter.com/RussianEmbassy/status/1033318537824219137

[17] 21: https://www.raf.mod.uk/news/articles/raf-typhoons-scrambled-to-investigate-russian-aircraft-over-the-romanian-black-sea/

[18] 23: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/raf-typhoons-investigate-russians-over-black-sea

[19] click here: https://www.raf.mod.uk/photo-of-the-year/2018/photographic-section-portfolio/

[20] quiet aircraft rotor: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-army/uber-u-s-army-ally-to-test-quiet-aircraft-technology-idUSKBN1I92IW

[21] struggling: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/german-military-recruiting-foreigns-and-teenagers-to-fill-ranks-2018-8?r=US&IR=T

[22] adaptive camouflage: https://defense-update.com/20180822_chameleon_camo.html

[23] empty gesture: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2018/08/hey-artists-stop-putting-shiny-crap-into-space/

[24] pressing need: https://money.cnn.com/2018/08/25/technology/business/agi-space-junk-debris-feature/index.html

[25] planning to launch: https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/weird-news/725784/galileo-space-program-brexit-uk-eu-deal

[26] post-Brexit: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1008592/eu-news-space-race-galileo-uk-theresa-may

[27] depends heavily: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy/nasa-space-force-needed-to-protect-energy-grid-from-existential-threat

[28] America’s Achilles’ heel: https://www.thetrumpet.com/457-americas-achilles-heel

[29] strengthened online censorship : https://rsf.org/en/news/egypts-new-cybercrime-law-legalizes-internet-censorship

[30] 161st out of 180 countries: https://rsf.org/en/ranking_table

[31] colonised by the internet: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/08/25/is-samoas-cybercrime-regulation-protecting-its-people-or-quashing-dissent/

[32] regulation is blending into censorship: https://asiapacificreport.nz/2018/08/12/nauru-media-ban-on-abc-targets-australian-detention-centre-gag/

[33] is working with: http://www.sobserver.ws/en/03_07_2018/local/34660/Samoa-combats-cyber-crime.htm

[34] malware campaign in Mexico: https://securelist.com/dark-tequila-anejo/87528/

[35] unusually sophisticated malware: https://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/75523/malware/dark-tequila-banking-malware.html

[36] campaign could spread: https://thehackernews.com/2018/08/mexico-banking-malware.html