25 Mar 16. Russia To Deploy Missile Systems on Kuril Islands, Defense Minister Says. Russia will deploy a range of coastal missile systems on the far-eastern Kuril islands, claimed by Japan, as part of its military build-up in the region, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Friday.
“The planned rearmament of contingents and military bases on Kuril islands is under way. Already this year they will get Bal and Bastion coastal missile systems as well as new-generation Eleron-3 unmanned aerial vehicles,” Shoigu said during a ministry meeting.
Russia has been investing in military infrastructure on the Kuril islands, which Japan considers its territory, over the last few years, including building new barracks for personnel.
Shoigu said at the meeting that the military is focusing on “developing military infrastructure in the Arctic and Kuril island zones.”
Relations between Moscow and Tokyo have been strained for decades because of the status of the four southernmost islands in the Kuril chain, known as the Northern Territories in Japan.
The Russian navy’s Pacific fleet next month will embark on a three-month mission to the Kurils to explore whether the islands could serve as a naval base as well.
This year and next year Russia is set to put up more than 350 buildings for military needs on the Kuril islands of Iturup and Kunashir, called Etorofu and Kunashiri in Japan.
Some 19,000 Russians live on the remote rocky islands, which were occupied by Soviet troops in the dying days of World War II.
The two countries have never officially struck a peace treaty and the lingering tensions over the issue have hampered trade ties for decades. (Source: Defense News)
25 Mar 16. Taiwan F-16 Upgrade Program Moving Forward. Taiwan’s F-16 fighter aircraft mid-life upgrade program has secured another piece to its modernization effort with the upgrade of the ALR-56M Line Replaceable Unit 5 Analysis Processor to the new configuration under requirements approved by the Taiwan air force. The $8m contact was awarded to BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc., under the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program under the administration of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency. Work will performed at Greenlawn, New York, and the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity. The contact was announced on March 24. This is not the first time the system has been upgraded. In 2006, the U.S. government approved a software and hardware upgrade for the ALR-56M Advanced Radar Warning Receivers for Taiwan’s F-16s with BAE Systems for $9.32m. That upgrade was finished in January 2008(Source: Defense News)
24 Mar 16. Russia Promises Helicopters, Gear for Tunisia’s Anti-Terrorism Fight. The Russian government has reportedly pledged to provide helicopters, night-vision goggles and bullet-proof vests to Tunisian security forces to fight al-Qaida and the Islamic State group in North Africa.
The announcement was made by Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui shortly after his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow last week to seek Russian help in securing its border to combat the terrorist threat from neighboring Libya.
The announcement came as Russia and Algeria revealed that an agreement on the sharing of satellite surveillance information on regional terrorist movements has helped the Algerian Army in conducting a string of successful counterterrorism operations.
Jhinaoui traveled to Moscow after the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 50 people in the Tunisian border town of Ben Gardane on March 7.
“The use of Russia’s experience in repelling terrorism was naturally on the agenda (of the meeting in Moscow),” Jhinaoui said. “We think Russia’s experience in this sphere is successful and we are interested in using this experience with an aim of stabilizing the secu