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The five-domains update

Posted By , and on September 24, 2019 @ 12:56

Sea state

Iran says it will hold joint naval drills with Russian and Chinese forces ‘in the near future’. According to General Ghadir Nezami Pour, the exercises will be held in international waters in the Sea of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean and include ‘the exchange of tactical and military experiences’. The announcement came soon after the US said it would send additional troops and missile defence capabilities to the Middle East.

The United Arab Emirates has announced that it has joined the International Maritime Security Construct, an alliance aimed at protecting merchant ships in areas like the Strait of Hormuz. The UAE is the fifth country in the security coalition that aims to ‘deter threats to maritime navigation and global trade’ in the Persian Gulf and surrounding waters. The decision came a day after UAE ally Saudi Arabia joined the alliance in the wake of attacks on its oil installations.

Finland has chosen Saab as the combat system provider and integrator for four new corvettes for the country’s navy. Worth €412 million (A$670 million), the contract will run to 2027 and include Saab’s 9LV naval combat system. The new corvettes will replace older vessels and form the backbone of the Finnish Navy from the mid-2020s onwards.

Flight path 

The Royal Australian Air Force’s newest KC-30A refueller, and its only one configured for VIP transport, is in the US on its first prime ministerial trip. PM Scott Morrison, who’s dubbed the jet ‘Shark One’, touched down in Washington last week for the 10-day visit. The KC-30A is based on the Airbus A330 and marks a step-up, in terms of both range and passenger capacity, over the Boeing 737–based jet used on past overseas trips.

The MQ-25 Stingray refuelling drone, which will be the US Navy’s first carrier-launched autonomous unmanned aircraft, took its maiden flight last Thursday. The flight test lasted two hours and was an important step towards getting the drone operational. It’s expected that the US Navy and Boeing will soon sign a US$13 billion contract to produce 72 drones that will have initial operational capability in 2024.

The US Air Force says its new B-21 ‘Raider’ long-range bomber project is on schedule and has progressed into the design, engineering and manufacturing phase. Northrop Grumman was awarded the contract for the Raider in 2015 and will produce the first 21 bombers at a cost of US$656 million each. The B-21 is likely to be a subsonic jet that’s similar in appearance to the B-2 Spirit and is capable of carrying nuclear and conventional weapons. It’s expected to take its maiden flight in 2021.

Rapid fire

Rheinmetall's Lynx infantry fighting vehicle and Hanwha’s Redback have beaten competition from General Dynamics Land Systems’ AJAX and BAE Systems’ CV90 to be shortlisted for the Australian Army’s $10–15 billion LAND 400 phase 3 project. The AJAX was assessed as not fit for purpose, while the CV90 was considered not to offer value for money. The Lynx and the Redback will be assessed over a year-long trial, though a contract isn’t expected to be awarded until 2022.

Australia’s most decorated living soldier, Ben Roberts-Smith, has categorically denied allegations made by Channel 9’s 60 Minutes program that he instigated an execution in 2012 while serving in Afghanistan, saying he has ‘never contravened any laws of war’. Roberts-Smith said the allegations are a ‘malicious’ attack on his reputation and an improper attempt to influence an inquiry being conducted by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says his country is ready to join the European Intervention Initiative, a European military coalition, after meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Rome. The announcement marks a shift for Italy after anti-European populists were sidelined when a new coalition government was formed earlier this month. Macron has called the initiative the ‘army of Europe’ and it already has several key signatories, including Germany, the UK and France.

Final frontier

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited NASA Headquarters on Sunday in support of a memorandum of understanding between the US space agency and its Australian counterpart. The government has committed to a $150 million investment, which will see the Australian space sector develop some of the science and technology for NASA’s mission to return to the moon. The agreement comes amid criticism of the Artemis lunar program and the mission’s 2024 deadline.

Russia and China have agreed to work together on lunar and deep space exploration. The heads of Roscosmos and the China National Space Administration signed two agreements last week that outlined the creation of a joint research data centre and plans to coordinate the Russian Luna Resurs-1 spacecraft with the Chinese Chang’e 7 moon polar research mission.

Time-lapse photography from Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft has captured the descent of two target markers towards the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. Researchers have been studying the asteroid for more than 12 months. The target markers were sent as part of a trial run ahead of the release of the mission’s final rover, MINERVA-II, which is scheduled to be deployed next month.

Wired watchtower

The Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams, or FIRST, has confirmed that Huawei’s membership of the organisation has been suspended in light of US sanctions against the company. Huawei’s suspension will not only impact the company, but could also have serious consequences for its users’ security. Under the suspension, Huawei won’t have access to the organisation’s shared intelligence on global breaches and emerging cybersecurity threats.

Facebook announced on Friday that it had suspended ‘tens of thousands’ of apps, linked to just 400 developers, from its platform. The suspensions are part of an investigation which began in March 2018 in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal and is concerned with how developers use individuals’ data. Facebook said that the suspensions weren’t necessarily an indication that the apps posed a threat to users’ data.

Researchers at vpnMentor have revealed the breach of an unsecured server in Miami which exposed the data of more than 20 million people, possibly including every Ecuadorian. Novaestrat, the company that owns the server, is unlikely to be held responsible for the breach as there are no laws in Ecuador that require companies to protect personal data. The personal data of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was also stored in the database.

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[1] says: https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/440367/General-Iran-Russia-China-to-hold-naval-drills-soon

[2] According: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3029819/china-russia-iran-plan-joint-naval-drill-international-waters

[3] came: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-21/iran-says-it-will-hold-naval-drill-with-russia-and-china-soon

[4] announced: https://wam.ae/en/details/1395302787797

[5] fifth country: https://www.defensenews.com/news/your-military/2019/09/20/uae-joins-naval-security-coalition-in-the-gulf/

[6] came: https://www.npr.org/2019/09/19/762225417/uae-agrees-to-join-u-s-led-maritime-coalition-to-protect-gulf-shipping

[7] chosen: https://www.defenseworld.net/news/25515/Finland_Picks_Saab_for__454M_worth_Combat_Systems_for_Corvettes#.XYcAUnduJPY

[8] Worth: https://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2019/september/7494-finland-has-selected-company-saab-as-combat-system-provider-for-pohjanmaa-class-corvettes.html

[9] form: https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2019/09/saabs-combat-system-officially-selected-for-finnish-navy-squadron-2020-program/

[10] in the US: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/here-we-are-in-the-land-of-the-free-scott-morrison-lands-in-us

[11] first prime ministerial trip: https://www.afr.com/rear-window/scomo-dubs-his-new-plane-shark-one-20190908-p52p53

[12] Shark One: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/white-sauce-sky-news-host-paul-murray-scores-photo-with-trump/news-story/eba2180bd4a7c4ceabd917625a6a3f2d

[13] flight: https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/09/19/the-us-navys-new-autonomous-refueling-drone-takes-historic-first-flight/?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=Socialflow+DFN

[14] drone operational: https://www.naval-technology.com/news/us-navys-mq-25-unmanned-refuelling-aircraft-completes-test-flight/

[15] schedule: https://thediplomat.com/2019/09/senior-us-defense-official-development-of-b-21-stealth-bomber-on-schedule/

[16] shortlisted: https://www.australiandefence.com.au/news/rheinmetall-and-hanwha-shortlisted-for-land-400-phase-3

[17] assessed: https://www.australiandefence.com.au/news/the-reasons-behind-the-land-400-phase-3-decision

[18] denied: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6399623/roberts-smith-denies-war-crimes-allegation/?cs=14231

[19] saying: https://7news.com.au/politics/federal-politics/victoria-cross-hero-ben-roberts-smith-categorically-denies-claims-he-was-behind-killing-of-afghan-prisoner-c-466944

[20] influence: https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/in-everyone-s-interest-for-war-crime-inquiry-to-put-an-end-to-speculation-20190923-p52u5c.html

[21] ready: https://thedefensepost.com/2019/09/19/italy-military-european-intervention-initiative/

[22] new coalition government: https://www.politico.eu/article/italys-5stars-secure-members-approval-for-new-coalition/

[23] support: https://www.industry.gov.au/news-media/australian-space-agency-news/australia-to-support-nasas-plan-to-return-to-the-moon-and-on-to-mars

[24] committed: https://www.minister.industry.gov.au/ministers/karenandrews/media-releases/backing-australian-business-jobs-us-moon-mars-mission

[25] Artemis lunar program: https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/wouldn-t-bet-my-child-s-birthday-present-nasa-manager-s-doubt-on-2024-moon-return-20190919-p52ssh.html

[26] agreed: http://en.roscosmos.ru/20951/

[27] signed: https://spacenews.com/china-russia-to-cooperate-on-lunar-orbiter-landing-missions/

[28] captured: https://twitter.com/haya2e_jaxa/status/1173892852348325888/photo/1

[29] studying: https://www.space.com/hayabusa2-targeting-asteroid-ryugu-photos.html

[30] sent: https://www.sciencealert.com/japan-s-spacecraft-has-one-last-trick-it-s-going-to-throw-at-asteroid-ryugu

[31] confirmed: https://www.first.org/newsroom/releases/20190918

[32] US sanctions: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-huawei-tech-commerce/chinas-huawei-restricted-from-using-us-suppliers-idUSKCN1SM2MG

[33] users’ security: https://technode.com/2019/09/20/huawei-suspended-cybersecurity-group/

[34] announced: https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2019/09/an-update-on-our-app-developer-investigation/

[35] scandal: https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/10/17165130/facebook-cambridge-analytica-scandal

[36] revealed: https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/09/16/world/americas/ap-lt-ecuador-data-breach.html

[37] every Ecuadorian: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/17/americas/ecuador-data-leak-intl-hnk-scli/index.html