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ASPI suggests

Posted By , and on March 1, 2019 @ 15:23

The world

There were just a few major events causing hiccups around the world this week. To kick off, we saw major developments in the India–Pakistan confrontation. The New York Times has a great backgrounder on why India and Pakistan continue to fight over Kashmir, while Mohammed Ayoob writes in The Strategist that the action taken by both sides could quickly snowball into something much more severe. See CSIS’s Critical Questions for an interview with Richard Rossow on the issue, including his thoughts on what stake the US has in the conflict and what the chances of further escalation are.

Another big event was, of course, the Trump–Kim summit in Hanoi, which got cut short late on Thursday. VOA has the details, while the New York Times sees each side pointing a finger at the other over the summit’s failure to produce a deal. For a great read on the ‘changing face of North Korea’, see Foreign Policy. For now, however, the real outcomes of the summit remain un(nu)clear.

Russia deserves a mention after a state-owned television program revealed the locations its nuclear forces would target in the event of a nuclear conflict with the US. It seems the cold-war mentality is rife in Russia this week, as the St Petersburg cathedral choir sang a ballad about dropping nuclear bombs on America. The New York Times has the analysis on this, saying it comes in response to the US withdrawing from the INF Treaty. War on the Rocks describes the measures being used by Russia to undermine Europe and increase its own influence, and Chatham House has a presentation by Keir Giles on why Russia constantly challenges the West.

Those following the Brexit mayhem will know there’s now less than a month until Britain is scheduled to leave the EU. In a situation starting to look more and more like the Seven Network’s Deal or No Deal, Brookings looks into the options Prime Minister Theresa May has left, along with what to expect next. Writing for Bloomberg, Therese Raphael seems to think that May’s Brexit deal is starting to catch on after parliament told her on Thursday to stay her course.

And the final hiccup of this week’s ‘Suggests’ is on one of our favourite topics, the South China Sea. As the US and China continue to butt heads and uncertainty remains about America’s commitment to its allies in the region, Nikkei Asian Review believes Japan can fill the security gap that’s forming throughout Southeast Asia and in the South China Sea. See The National Interest for a look at how France is following Britain’s lead and sending its only aircraft carrier to Asia, demonstrating its ambition to remain a major player in the area. And finally, China may be looking to continue its expansion in the region: the ABC outlines Beijing’s interest in buying a bankrupt port in the Philippines in a strategic location in the South China Sea.

For some extra reads, see the Washington Post for analysis of why a US intervention in Venezuela could turn it into the ‘Libya of the Caribbean’. And the ABC dives into the concept of US nuclear deterrence in Australia.

Tech geek

We begin with what is one of the most important stories to be reported on by tech geek so far. Boeing unveiled the ‘Loyal Wingman’ unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) on Wednesday at the 2019 Australian International Airshow at Avalon. Under the project title ‘Boeing Airpower Teaming System’, the UCAV is designed to escort manned aircraft, protect those aircraft from threats and project power while allowing the manned platform to avoid unnecessary risk.

The Loyal Wingman is unique in that is fully designed and built in Australia—the first local aircraft project since the CAC Boomerang in 1942. This represents a major milestone for the Australian defence industry as it potentially will be open for export to Five Eyes partners and other key allies.

The Wingman will be initially designed for ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and electronic-warfare missions, but will also have a weapons bay that can carry missiles and bombs. It will have a 3,700-kilometre range, giving it comparable reach to the retired F-111C. Its first flight is expected in 2020, and it will be a number of years before the platform enters RAAF service. Look for a Strategist article on this unique capability coming soon.

Avalon also featured impressive flying displays by the RAAF’s F-35A (the first two of a total of 72 aircraft arrived in Australia in December last year), as well as the USAF F-22 Raptor.

Two other capabilities caught tech geek’s eye at the airshow. The first was the Airbus Industry Zephyr high-altitude pseudo-satellite, which is a solar-electric UAV that can remain on station for months to undertake surveillance tasks. Second was a unique space surveillance capability called ‘Astrosite’ developed by the University of Western Sydney and based on neuromorphic sensors.

This week in history

NATO undertook its first combat engagement on 28 February 1994, almost 45 years after it was established. On that day, US fighter jets shot down four Serbian fighters in violation of Bosnia’s no-fly zone. For a full list of NATO operations, see NATO’s website.


See this photo series by Al Jazeera for an insight into the emotional reactions in India to the country’s air raids in Pakistan.

Military and civilian aircraft from all over the world are at the Avalon airshow. Check out photos of their flying displays from earlier this week here and look out for more as the show continues this weekend.


Ankit Panda and Prashanth Parameswaran recorded a great podcast discussing the significance of India’s ‘non-military pre-emptive strikes’ in Pakistan and their implications for security dynamics in South Asia. [19:25]

War on the Rocks has a special episode on what comes after the ‘end of the caliphate’ with a stacked lineup of panelists with firsthand experience in the war against Islamic State and terrorism. [59:27]


Sydney, 6 March, 7–8.15 pm, University of New South Wales: ‘Writing war: Kassem Eid and Mohammed Hanif’. Tickets here ($10).

Canberra, 8 March, 1.30–2.30 pm, Australian National University: ‘2019 International Women’s Day lecture’. Register here.

Article printed from The Strategist: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au

URL to article: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/aspi-suggests-120/

[1] New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/world/asia/india-pakistan-crisis.html?mtrref=www.google.com&gwh=46C54E61F79D534F3F1EA12F29FAD819&gwt=pay

[2] writes: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/india-and-pakistan-inching-towards-war/

[3] Critical Questions: https://www.csis.org/analysis/heightened-tensions-south-asia

[4] VOA: https://www.voanews.com/a/trump-kim-summit-ends-with-no-agreement-/4807344.html

[5] New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/world/asia/trump-kim-vietnam-summit.html

[6] Foreign Policy.: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/02/26/the-changing-face-of-north-korea-photo-essay/

[7] target: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nuclear-russia/after-putins-warning-russian-tv-lists-nuclear-targets-in-u-s-idUSKCN1QE1DM?utm_source=applenews

[8] New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/26/world/europe/russia-nuclear-cathedral-choir.html

[9] War on the Rocks: https://warontherocks.com/2019/02/russias-soft-strategy-to-hostile-measures-in-europe/

[10] Chatham House: https://www.chathamhouse.org/file/moscow-rules-what-drives-russia-confront-west

[11] Brookings: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2019/02/25/brexit-endgame-one-month-out-with-no-clarity-in-sight/

[12] Therese Raphael: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-02-27/theresa-may-s-brexit-deal-starts-to-fall-into-place

[13] Nikkei Asian Review: https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Japan-can-help-fill-a-security-gap-in-Southeast-Asia

[14] The National Interest: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/frances-only-aircraft-carrier-back-action-and-headed-asia-45592

[15] ABC: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/china-eye-on-subic-bay-sets-off-alarms/news-story/01674d60ad71720a468479f74b314910

[16] Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/02/25/with-us-military-action-venezuela-could-become-libya-caribbean/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6290293dd7cf

[17] ABC: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-27/us-australia-nuclear-alliance-in-the-indo-pacific/10849350

[18] unveiled: http://www.boeing.com.au/news/releases/2019/february/boeing-launches-new-unmanned-system-for-global-defense-customers.page?

[19] ‘Boeing Airpower Teaming System’: http://www.boeing.com/defense/airpower-teaming-system/

[20] designed and built in Australia: https://www.shephardmedia.com/news/uv-online/avalon-2019-secretive-loyal-wingman-breaks-cover/

[21] export: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-27/combat-drone-secretly-developed-by-raaf-and-boeing-unveiled/10851000

[22] Wingman: https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/26/boeings-wingman-drone-buddies-up-with-pilot-flown-jets/

[23] displays: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1053836484803194

[24] Zephyr: https://www.airbus.com/defence/uav/zephyr.html

[25] space surveillance capability: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-24/space-camera-astrosite-created-in-sydney-a-game-change-raaf-says/10842220

[26] Astrosite’: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/newscentre/news_centre/more_news_stories/world-first_technology_to_revolutionise_space_imaging

[27] first combat engagement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banja_Luka_incident

[28] NATO’s website: https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_52060.htm

[29] Al Jazeera: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/celebrations-india-carries-attack-pakistan-190226092855026.html

[30] here: https://www.facebook.com/AustralianInternationalAirshow/posts/1932403930221266

[31] podcast: https://thediplomat.com/2019/02/why-the-indian-air-force-strike-at-balakot-in-pakistan-matters/

[32] War on the Rocks: https://warontherocks.com/2019/02/wotr-podcast-with-the-caliphate-crushed-whats-next/

[33] here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/writing-war-kassem-eid-and-mohammed-hanif-tickets-56013733585?_ga=2.152346937.1042235874.1551387136-2046530416.1548801267

[34] here: http://www.anu.edu.au/events/2019-international-womens-day-lecture