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The five-domains update

Posted By , , , and on October 21, 2020 @ 13:22

Sea state

Australia has been invited to join the Malabar naval exercise with America, India and Japan. This year will be the first since 2007 that Australia has participated in the drills, having previously withdrawn due to concerns over China, which views the exercises as part of a broader attempt to ‘contain’ it. Malabar was first established in 1992 between the US and India, and grew to formally include Japan in 2008. India’s invitation to Australia suggests a trend towards greater military collaboration among the countries of the ‘Quad’.

Japan has launched the first of a new type of submarine meant to succeed its Soryu-class vessels. The Taigei is a diesel-electric sub powered by lithium-ion batteries, a power source Japan is the only country to use in operational submarines. When commissioned in 2022, the Taigei will bring Japan’s submarine fleet to 22, a goal it set in 2010 when China’s navy was becoming increasingly modernised and assertive. Now China has six nuclear-powered and 50 conventionally powered submarines.

Flight path

A recent video appears to show that China is testing an air-launched hypersonic glide weapon from an H-6N bomber. The weapon closely resembles the ground-launched DF-17 hypersonic missile, which is capable of countering adversary missile defences. The bomber aircraft is normally used for carrying anything from high-speed drones to anti-ship ballistic missiles. Several defence experts have asserted that China has been extensively testing hypersonic technology since 2014.

Australia’s F-35 capability is on track to be fully operational as joint training between the US Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force continues at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. There are currently five RAAF F-35s at Luke, where the USAF squadron commander says ‘the platform, common tactics and the objective of training the world’s most capable fighter pilots’ have allowed for successful joint training. Australia has ordered 72 F-35s, with the 30th jet set to be in the country by the end of the year and the last aircraft to be delivered by 2024.

Rapid fire

The US Army has begun a survey of women soldiers that will inform the acquisition of sports bras better suited for field operations. A growing number of women are assuming combat roles across the world, increasing the need for equipment that addresses their needs. Since opening all ground combat roles to women in 2015, the US military has been developing and distributing equipment including helmets that accommodate hair buns, bomb suits for people of smaller stature and more functional urinating devices.

Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly visited a military base of the People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps in the south of the country and told troops to ‘put all [their] minds and energy on preparing for war’. This prompted speculation about the significance and real-world implications of such statements. Tensions between China and the US are growing as US President Donald Trump seeks to strengthen military ties with Taiwan and Beijing ramps up rhetoric about an invasion of the island.

Final frontier

Australia and seven other nations have signed the Artemis Accords, which were drafted by NASA and set out principles for peaceful exploration of the moon. Some countries see it as the US imposing its own set of rules, but the agreement’s provisions are largely uncontroversial. The Outer Space Treaty forbids ownership of extraterritorial bodies, but the accords do allow nations to own and use moon resources, something which has raised objections from researchers.

The US military’s transportion command says it’s working with SpaceX and XArc to develop new space technology that can transport cargo ‘the equivalent of a C-17 payload anywhere on the globe in less than an hour’. Such a system would be a major feat, and a proof of principle might be conducted as early as next year. Current point-to-point space deliveries are limited by weight and volume constraints, meaning it’s likely to be decades before the technology, if it works, is cost-effective.

Wired watchtower

China’s government has passed a law allowing the banning of the export of ‘strategic materials and advanced technology to specific foreign companies’. It relates to goods, services and technologies with both civilian and military uses, and includes related data and algorithms. An announcement stated the law was enacted to safeguard ‘national security and interests’. It did not refer to any target countries, but the law has been seen as a response to US measures to restrict Chinese companies’ access to semiconductor technology.

Facebook and Instagram have rejected 2.2 million ads and 120,000 posts on their platforms that sought to ‘obstruct voting’ in the US election. Warnings were also issued for posts featuring false information. Social media platforms have come under increased scrutiny over their efforts to counter voter manipulation and dis- and misinformation. Measures taken by the companies include fact-checking partnerships with media outlets and using artificial intelligence to find and delete fake accounts.

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[1] join: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-20/australia-rejoins-naval-exercise-in-move-certain-to-anger-china/12784186

[2] drills: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/serious-concern-australia-takes-aim-at-china/news-story/737aec7b455764d3f36ad75c973aaa06

[3] first established in 1992: https://thediplomat.com/2020/10/australia-returns-to-the-malabar-exercise/

[4] invitation: https://twitter.com/AusHCIndia/status/1318172621578489857?s=20

[5] first of a new type of submarine: https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2020/10/14/japan-launches-first-of-its-new-class-of-submarines/#.X4zE1EV9RZs.twitter

[6] lithium-ion batteries: https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2020/03/06/japan-commissions-its-first-submarine-running-on-lithium-ion-batteries/

[7] six nuclear-powered: https://thediplomat.com/2020/10/japan-launches-new-submarine-class/

[8] recent video: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/37115/video-surfaces-of-chinese-h-6n-missile-carrier-jet-hauling-what-could-be-a-hypersonic-weapon

[9] resembles: https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/df-17/

[10] asserted: https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2020/10/19/video-reveals-chinese-h-6n-bomber-carrying-suspected-hypersonic-weapon/

[11] on track: https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/strike-air-combat/7030-joint-us-aussie-training-marks-full-operational-status-for-raaf-f-35-capability

[12] ordered: https://australianaviation.com.au/2020/10/f-35-fully-operational-after-joint-us-raaf-training/

[13] has begun: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/10/19/combat-support-army-looks-field-better-sports-bras.html

[14] are assuming : https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/10/women-are-in-the-fight-on-todays-battlefields-feature/

[15] opening: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-military-women-combat-idUSKBN0TM28520151204

[16] has been developing and distributing: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/10/12/women-military-combat-new-armor-matter-life-and-death/5917062002/

[17] reportedly: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/14/asia/xi-jinping-taiwan-us-esper-intl-hnk/index.html

[18] speculation: https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/10/19/preparing_for_war_what_is_chinas_xi_jinping_trying_to_tell_us_581166.html

[19] seeks: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/12/politics/taiwan-arms-sales-informal-notification/index.html

[20] signed: https://www.theverge.com/2020/10/13/21507204/nasa-artemis-accords-8-countries-moon-outer-space-treaty

[21] Artemis Accords: https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis-accords/index.html

[22] see: https://theconversation.com/artemis-accords-why-many-countries-are-refusing-to-sign-moon-exploration-agreement-148134

[23] objections: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/370/6513/174

[24] says: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/37020/the-militarys-puzzling-plan-to-have-spacex-deliver-a-c-17s-worth-of-cargo-anywhere-in-an-hour

[25] XArc: https://explorationarchitecture.com/

[26] decades : https://breakingdefense.com/2020/10/starship-troopers-transcom-spacex-accord-raises-policy-eyebrows/

[27] advanced technology: https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/US-China-tensions/China-passes-export-control-law-with-potential-for-rare-earths-ban

[28] includes: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-17/china-lawmakers-pass-export-control-law-protecting-vital-tech

[29] ‘national security and interests: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-parliament-exports/china-passes-export-control-law-following-u-s-moves-idUSKBN27305U

[30] US measures: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/26/technology/trump-china-smic-blacklist.html

[31] obstruct voting: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/oct/18/facebook-says-it-rejected-22m-ads-seeking-to-obstruct-voting-in-us-election

[32] their efforts: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/15/biden-article-row-shows-how-us-election-is-testing-facebook-and-twitter

[33] misinformation: https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/social-media-giants-counter-misinformation-election/story?id=73563997