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28 Nov 18. Arms firms show off wares as Japan eyes more F-35 stealth jets. Global arms firms showed off on Wednesday their wares in Japan as it prepared a plan to buy billions of dollars of U.S. military equipment, including at least 40 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters worth about $4bn, four sources said. The Lockheed Martin Corp F-35s, which will replace 100 ageing F-15 fighter jets, are in addition to an earlier order for 42 of the aircraft. The new procurement will leave Japan with about 100 stealth fighters, including some vertical take off B variants that could fly from helicopter carriers, in a bid to give it an edge over China in the contested East China Sea.
“It will be around 40 new aircraft,” said one of the sources with knowledge of Japan’s five-year plan.
He described a Tuesday report in the Nikkei business daily that Japan would buy as many as 100 new F-35s as “aspirational”.
The procurement plan, which will be released in December with a paper outlining defence goals, is widely expected to accelerate defence spending increases that are already pushing Japan beyond a self-imposed limit of 1 percent of gross domestic product.
Despite having a pacifist constitution, even at 1 percent, Japan already ranks as one of the world’s biggest military spenders.
Japan is bolstering defences against North Korean ballistic missiles with two Lockheed Martin Aegis Ashore air defence batteries.
It also wants to build a military equipped with modern fighter jets, longer range missiles and drones, as well as ships and aircraft to ferry soldiers to project power along an island chain stretching almost to Taiwan.
For the year starting on April 1, 2019, the Ministry of Defence is seeking a 2.1 percent increase in spending to 5.3trn yen ($46.54bn) for the seventh straight annual increase.
Those outlays have drawn foreign defence contractors to this week’s Japan International Aerospace Exhibition in Tokyo.
Limited space at the show, which is being held early to avoid a clash with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, means that 300 fewer domestic companies are exhibiting compared with two years ago.
But the number of foreign companies has gone up to 294 from 195.
“We see opportunities for more F-35s,” said Andy Latham, head of business development for military aviation at BAE Systems, which builds the fighter’s rear fuselage.
The British company also wants to partner with Japan on a new, longer-range fighter. They are together studying the development of beyond visual range air-launched missiles.
“That’s indicative of the type of longer operations that Japan can become involved in,” Latham said.
U.S. contractors may be the biggest winners of Japan’s increased spending because purchases of their equipment will help Japan deflect criticism from President Donald Trump over a trade surplus he says hurts U.S. workers.
Trump, who has threatened to put tariffs on Japanese cars, wants to make the United States even more dominant in the global weapons trade.
China sees ‘consequences’ over growing trade feud
U.S. overseas arms sales to foreign governments rose 13 percent to $192.3bn in the year ending on Sept. 30, the State Department said this month. Japan, which is bound to the United States by a treaty that obliges U.S. defence of Japan, is already one of their biggest and most profitable U.S. markets.
“It seems that there are a lot of requirements and evolving ones,” said Kenneth Loving, the regional director of General Atomics Indo Pacific, as he stood next to a model of an Avenger drone.
Japanese military planners are interested in that General Atomic unmanned aircraft, one of the sources said, because in addition to patrolling Japanese waters, it could be used to target ballistic missiles aimed at Japan. (Source: Reuters)
28 Nov 18. The Sea of Azov won’t become the new South China Sea (and Russia knows it). Russia’s brazen seizure of three Ukrainian navy ships on Sunday set off a firestorm of finger-pointing and appeals to international law on both sides. But the clash over the Kerch Strait and access to the Sea of Azov isn’t likely to become a long-running international spectacle like the ongoing maritime feud between the U.S. and China over China’s claims in the South China Sea.
The Kerch Strait became a flashpoint when Russian coast guard vessels first rammed a Ukrainian tugboat, then later fired on two accompanying gunboats, attempting to transit the strait. The clash set off a furious round of diplomacy, featuring Western nations and the Russian Federation trading barbs at the UN and in the media while Ukraine began preparing for a wider conflict.
In the wake of Sunday’s clash in the strip of water running between the Russian-controlled Crimean Peninsula and the Russian mainland, some wondered if the U.S. or other Western countries should consider a South China Sea-like strategy of “freedom of navigation operations” where warships drive through a disputed feature or choke point to assert international rules and challenge excessive claims.
And while Russia is surely claiming territorial dominion over Crimea, the highly contested root of the conflict here, Moscow knows that the Sea of Azov likely won’t turn into the kind of international debacle China created with ludicrously expansive claims in the South China Sea, and that gives Russia enormous leverage.
Russia already has internationally recognized rights in the Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov that China could only dream of in the South China Sea, a situation presciently described by the head of U.S. Navy forces in Europe, Adm. James Foggo, during an October talk at the Atlantic Council in Washington.
Whereas China’s claims of maritime rights over most of the South China Sea have been rejected by an international tribunal, Russia’s rights in the Kerch Strait are well defined. The body of water is an inland, semi-enclosed sea and governed by Article 123 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Foggo said Oct. 5, meaning the two nations that border it – Russia and Ukraine – are required to cooperate on all maritime matters, including access to the strait.
That’s very different from the South China Sea where the U.S. and many of its allies claim China is asserting dominion over what are essentially international waters.
In practice that means the world won’t see the kind of FONOPs that send U.S. ships barging through the strait, with no means short of escalatory aggressive action to stop them, because for all intents and purposes, that strait and the body of water it leads to are property of Ukraine and Russia.
“The Sea of Azov,” Foggo said, “that is controlled by Ukraine and Russia. I would not expect us to go in there.”
The standing international law makes it clear that any solution would have to come via a bilateral agreement between Russia and Ukraine, experts told Defense News. And while the two parties have an agreement on the books to cooperate in all matters relating to the strait, the facts on the ground have cast doubt over how viable it is.
But either way, neither the U.S. nor anyone else other than Ukraine could conduct freedom of navigation operations against Russian claims with any degree of legitimacy because Ukraine and Russia are the only parties with clearly delineated rights under international law in matters relating to the Sea of Azov.
Under the original agreement between Ukraine and Russia over the strait, Ukraine would be allowed to invite U.S. or NATO warships to visit its ports there, a suggestion advancedby an Op-Ed on the Atlantic Council website, but such actions would be seen as highly provocative and could prompt some kind of response from Russia.
Who owns Crimea?
The overall dispute between Russia and Ukraine over the Strait of Kerch can easily get bogged down in legal questions but is really quite simple: It comes down to who you think owns Crimea.
Russia claims Ukrainian ships attempted to violate a Russian closure of the strait without warning, encroached on its territorial waters, performed dangerous maneuvers inside those waters, ultimately resulting in the attack on, and seizure of, the three-vessel flotilla.
Ukraine disputes every part of that claim: They say they attempted to radio Russian security at the strait; they deny the ships entered Russian-claimed waters; they deny any dangerous maneuvers; and they dispute the underlying assumption that Russia has the right to close the strait or that they have a right to claim the waters off Crimea as theirs in the first place.
The 2014 annexation of Crimea precipitated by a revolution in Ukraine is not recognized by Ukraine, the U.S. or the vast majority of nations. However, some nations including China, North Korea and Iran have recognized it.
Russia and Ukraine agreed to cooperate in the strait and in the Sea of Azov as dictated by international law in a 2003 agreement between Russian President Vladimir Putin and then-Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, which Ukraine cited in its protest of Russia actions Sunday.
But, to paraphrase Darth Vader, Russia has altered the deal.
The Crimea annexation gave Russia de facto control of both sides of the strait, leaving the 2003 agreement in legal limbo and, if you accept Russian control of Crimea, created some ambiguity around what Ukraine can and can’t do in and around the strait under international law, said Mikhail Barabanov, a Russian naval analyst at the Moscow-based Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.
“The status of the Kerch Strait is very much a matter of interpretation,” Barabanov said. “After the annexation of Crimea, the interpretation of the 2003 treaty regarding passage through the strait has inevitably changed since Moscow now views the Kerch Strait as purely Russian territorial waters.”
However, experts say, even if Russia owned Crimea, Russia could not legally stop Ukraine from transiting the strait.
“At a minimum there is a non-suspendable right of innocent passage” through the Kerch Strait given that Ukraine has an irrevocable right to access its ports on the Sea of Azov, said Günther Handl, a professor of international law at Tulane.
The situation at the Kerch Strait had been relatively stable compared to flashpoints along Ukraine’s front with Donetsk and Luhansk – Eastern Ukraine’s breakaway regions controlled by Russia-backed separatists.
But two recent developments have caused the situation to boil over: the build-up of Ukrainian naval bases and forces in the Sea of Azov in general, and Russia’s construction of a $3.7bn bridge over the strait linking mainland Russia to the Crimean Peninsula. Developments on one side are naturally viewed as ominous by the other.
The bridge was completed in May to much fanfare in Russia, but Moscow has made an ever-greater fuss about unspecified security threats to this massive, high-profile infrastructure project. This has been used to justify steadily increasing Russian security presence around the strait.
“There has been some irresponsible activity in the Sea of Azov in the last couple of months and the Ukrainians are not happy about it,” said Foggo, head of Naval Forces Europe. “Russians have delayed shipping, held them at sea unable to enter port or leave port. This is costing the Ukraine millions of dollars and it’s an unfair practice.”
From Russia’s perspective, tensions began flaring in March, when Ukrainian coast guard vessels in the Sea of Azov seized the Nord, a Russian-flagged fishing boat operating out of the Crimean city of Kerch. Russia soon responded with arresting a Ukrainian fishing boat in the Black Sea. Civilian traffic from both sides has been subject to regular inspections and seizures.
In a direct challenge to Russia’s apparent restriction of passage, Ukraine dispatched vessels on a surprise run through the strait on Sept 23. The ships drew some heat, but Russia was apparently unprepared or unwilling to check Kiev’s move. Foggo in October praised the Ukrainians for what he called a freedom of navigation operation.
It is not clear why, then, Russia reacted the way it did when Ukraine attempted a similar journey on Sunday. Russian officials from the Kremlin on down have accused Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of provoking a clash to drum up international outrage against Russia and popular support at home ahead of presidential elections in March, in which he may very well face defeat.
What is clear, however, is that in the dispute over access to the strait, Russia believes Ukraine is playing a weak hand, said Barabanov, the Moscow-based analyst.
“Ukraine holds very bad cards in this crisis,” Barabanov said. “And on Sunday they showed clearly that they don’t really hold any real cards at all. Ukraine’s actions have been inevitably hysterical and provocative because they have no other options.”
As tensions continue to run high over Sunday’s confrontation, it’s unclear if this will lead to open warfare between Russia and Ukraine, something Russia has been at pains to avoid for fear of international blowback. Russia has instead opted for what the U.S. calls “gray zone” conflict, seeking policy victories by aggressive actions that fall just below the level of war.
The Sea of Azov is not seen as a strategically important body of water in Moscow, and that the Kremlin isn’t seeking a war over access to it via the Kerch Strait, Barabanov said.
“In general, this is peripheral problem for Russia,” he said, not worth a war.
“The situation around the Sea of Azov will remain shakey for the time being but Russia does not seek conflict there, rather Moscow’s only desire is to return to the status quo observed before the seizure of Nord – when no one interfered with anyone, and Ukraine was forced to accept the new reality of everyday business around Crimea and the Kerch Strait.”
Not everyone in Russia shares this view, however. Writing in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper on Tuesday, prominent Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer suggested Moscow instigated Sunday’s crisis out of concern that Ukraine’s naval bases in the Sea of Azov may eventually host visiting NATO patrols, and therefore hopes to assert control over Kerch and Azov.
During Sunday’s standoff with the Ukrainian navy, the Russian coast guard closed the Kerch Strait to all traffic – even moving a tanker in to position under the Kerch bridge to physically impede passage. Dozens of civilian ships were stranded on either side, and two additional Ukrainian naval vessels approaching the strait from the Sea of Azov were denied access.
Wrestling full control of the Sea of Azov would fall well in line with Russia’s revanchist arguments underpinning its 2014 annexation of Crimea. Viewed from Moscow, the Sea of Azov – like Crimea – has been part of Russia’s inland waters since Catherine the Great. They were also part of the Soviet Union before its dissolution and Ukraine became an independent state.
“[The Sea of Azov] was always considered internal waters of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire before that,” said Handl, the Tulane professor. “Everything changed in 1991.”
Despite Russia’s historic dominion over the Kerch Strait, it would be hard to see this situation as anything but the latest small move by Russia that adds up to a massive intrusion on Ukraine’s sovereignty, said Bryan Clark, a former top aide to former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert and analyst with the Center of Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
“With the Russians it’s always, ‘We want this next little thing,’” Clark said.
“Before the annexation of the Crimea it was, ‘We want unfettered access to Sevastopol,’” he continued, referencing the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. “Well that turned into, ‘Now we are going to annex Crimea.’ So, it’s ‘the next little thing’ that doesn’t seem too escalatory, but then when you look back on it all the sudden you’ve lost territory or sovereignty to the Russians.” (Source: Defense News)
28 Nov 18. Safety concerns delay delivery of V-22 Osprey aircraft to Japan. Japan’s first Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft are ready for delivery, but a dispute over where they will be based is holding up the process. Speaking to Defense News at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition in Tokyo, retired Lt. Gen. George Trautman, a former U.S. Marine aviator and commander of all Marine Corps aviation who now works as an adviser for Bell, said “four or five” of the tilt rotors are ready for delivery at Patuxent River in the United States.
However, the Japanese government, which reportedly hoped to bring the aircraft into Japan this month, has run into opposition by local governments and residents near the planned Osprey base, due to fears over what they claim is the aircraft’s poor safety record.
The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force plans to temporarily base its Ospreys at Camp Kisarazu near Tokyo while it constructs additional facilities at Saga Airport near the city of Nagasaki, which is expected to become the permanent base of Japan’s tilt rotors.
This plan ran into opposition with local residents living near Camp Kisarazu, even though the base is already the site of a maintenance depot for American Ospreys based in Japan, and specifically Okinawa.
Other than the basing issue, Trautman said that the program is going well, adding that 13 or 17 aircraft are under contract with Japan and the aircraft are on Bell’s production line. The budget for the remaining four aircraft has been approved, and they are expected to be contracted sometime before the end of Japan’s current fiscal year, which ends in March 2019. When asked if Japan was keen on acquiring more Ospreys, Trautman told Defense News there was “no formal dialogue” beyond the 17 aircraft for Japan. (Source: Defense News)
28 Nov 18: Egypt – EASA extends CZIB for airspace over North Sinai Governorate through 27 May 2019. On 27 November, EASA extended its Conflict Zone Information Bulletin (CZIB) through 27 May 2019 for the airspace over Egypt’s North Sinai Government due to the hazardous situation emanating from armed clashes between the Egyptian military and violent non-state actor (VNSA) groups (CZIB-2017-09R2). The notice draws the attention of the aviation community to information published by the US, UK and German aviation authorities regarding the threat posed to civilian aircraft below FL250/FL260, due to VNSA groups in possession of dedicated anti-aviation weaponry. The US, UK, German and Irish civil aviation authorities have all issued similar specific guidance to operators in the past year regarding overflight of Egypt’s North Sinai Governorate below FL250/FL260 due to the conflict zone environment.
VNSA groups in North Sinai are assessed to be in possession of light weapons, to include a limited number of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) along with notable quantities of low-calibre anti-aircraft artillery pieces and rocket-propelled grenades capable of engaging air assets below FL100. The extremist Islamic State Sinai Province (IS-SP) VNSA group claimed to have used a Russian-made 9M133 Kornet (AT-14 SPRIGGAN) ATGM to target an Egyptian military helicopter at El Arish International Airport on 19 December 2017. In addition, VNSA groups continue to operate man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS) capable of engaging air assets below FL260 within North Sinai. Militants downed an Egyptian military helicopter with a Russian-made 9K38 Igla (SA-18 GROUSE) MANPADS over the North Sinai Governorate in late January 2014. IS-SP reportedly conducted an unsuccessful MANPADS attack on an Egyptian military helicopter over North Sinai Governorate during early July 2015. Previously, IS-SP militants posted images on social media depicting fighters operating a fully intact Russian-made 9K32 Strela-2 (SA-7 GRAIL) MANPADS in the North Sinai Governorate on 11 February 2017. We continue to assess Egypt’s North Sinai Governorate to be a HIGH risk airspace environment below FL260. (Source: Osprey)
28 Nov 18. Accelerated warfare and preparing the Australian Army for future conflict. Army is building on the success of Plan Beersheba, integrating doctrine, technology and personnel as part of Accelerated Warfare, to develop a lethal, hardened and networked force capable of dominating the battlefields of the future, while supporting the broader ‘Joint Force’ ADF.
Modern warfare has rapidly evolved over the last three decades, from high-tempo, manoeuvre-based operations that leveraged the combined capabilities of air, sea, land and space forces to direct troops, equipment and firepower around the battlefield during the first Gulf War, to low intensity, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations in southern Europe and the south Pacific, and the eventual rise of asymmetrical, guerilla conflicts in the mountains of Afghanistan and streets of Iraq.
This evolution has forced a major strategic rethink in militaries around the world, particularly as peer and near-peer competitors continue to invest in key technologies and combined arms capabilities, leveraging off the lessons learned over the preceding decades.
Australia is no different. The introduction of Plan Beersheba in 2011, and the shift toward developing a truly ‘combined arms’ force capable of leveraging Australia’s traditional advantages in high-tech platforms, world-class infantry and ‘espirit de corps’, serves as the nation’s first attempt to modernise and recapitalise the Army to face the fluid tactical and strategic challenges of the 21st century battlefield.
Tying off loose ends
A key component of Beersheba is the development of specialist Australian amphibious elements, combining infantry, armour, air and artillery assets to enhance the combat effectiveness, deployability and surviveability of Australia’s army, particularly as the centre of gravity for global power re-orientates to our region and its unique operating environments.
Supporting this major recapitalisation and strategic reorientation is the major redevelopment programs across both Navy and Air Force, particularly the introduction of the Canberra and Choules Class amphibious warfare ships, which have supported the development of Australian amphibious elements.
The shifting focus towards specialist amphibious warfare capabilities, combined with the structural reorganisation of the Army to focus on integrating infantry, armour, artillery, combat signals, engineers and support elements across Army’s three regular force combatant – 1st, 3rd and 7th Brigades – served as the fundamental basis for refocusing the structure and combat capabilities of the Army between 2011 and 2017.
In finalising the structure and development of the Army under Plan Beersheba in late 2017, than Chief of Army, now Chief of Defence, General Angus Campbell, AO, DSC established the groundwork for what would be the basis of his successors shifting focus for the Army, saying, “The changes delivered through this plan have established the foundations to ensure that as the Army moves forward we will continue to be a modern, connected and technologically advanced force.”
Reinforcing this, Major General Gus McLachlan, Commander Forces Command, told Defence Connect, “In Plan Beersheba we have the spine, the backbone of our 21st century, combined arms force, but it isn’t the future. That is where Accelerated Warfare comes into play, it aims to make Army an adaptable and capable force.”
Defining the future focus
Internal command structure shake-ups within the ADF, particularly the appointment of GEN Campbell to Chief of Defence and the appointment of Lieutenant General Rick Burr, AO, DSC, MVO to Chief of Army, have enabled the transition of the Army from the foundations established under Plan Beersheba to the next-generation doctrines of Accelerated Warfare and Army in Motion.
A core component of Accelerated Warfare and Army in Motion is identifying the key focus points for the future Army, while also identifying the role the force will play as part of the ADF’s ‘joint force’ doctrine in future conflicts. Supporting this, LTGEN Burr identified four key areas of disruption for the Army to face in the coming decades:
- Geopolitics: The Indo-Pacific regional order is defined by a rapidly changing threat environment and operating spectrum of co-operation, competition and conflict. The days of unchallenged coalition operations are quickly fading as state and asymmetric actors all develop capabilities that threaten the natural advantages Australia and its allies have leveraged for supremacy over the past 50 years.
- Threat: Indo-Pacific Asia’s operating landscape is changing. Adversaries, including violent extremist organisations and state-based threats can now control and influence all operating domains. Future strike capabilities will not just be physical but also digital, executed often at the speed of a mouse-click. Sophisticated anti-access, area denial (A2/AD) capabilities offer the ability to deny manoeuvre while distributed systems that are ‘smarter’ and smaller are becoming increasingly essential to survivability. Networking will be critical in terms of generating a system capable of ‘co-operative engagement’.
- Technology: As in civilian life, technology is changing the way war is fought. The rapid development turn around of technologies like UAS, the proliferation of non-traditional intelligence gathering devices, the convergence of big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and precision strike capabilities all present significant challenges, not only to operations, but to the decision-making process of soldiers and commanders.
- Domains: The reach of sensor and precision fire means Army must be across all domains and comprehensively integrate across them. Space and cyber have not been fully contested in previous wars and there is limited knowledge on how conflict in these domains will play out in the future. Army’s ability to operate in the traditional air, sea and land domains are at risk of being debilitated from space and cyber, yet there is also great opportunity in these domains for military advantage.
Responding to these unique challenges has served to establish Accelerated Warfare not only as the successor to Plan Beersheba, but the next stage in the evolution of the Australian Army as a fully-fledged, combined arms fighting force capable of fighting and winning in every key domain of the 21st century battlefield.
A core component of this future focus is the introduction of key platforms and technologies to ensure that Army remains ahead of potential adversaries, while also being capable of leveraging the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and strike capabilities of key Navy and Air Force platforms, like the Air Warfare Destroyers, Canberra Class amphibious warfare ships, the E-7A Wedgetails and the F-35A.
MAJGEN McLachlan expanded on the multi-domain co-operation between key platforms, saying, “It is Army’s response to the ADF’s journey to develop an internet of things (IoT) approach to data gathering nodes across the services, like Navy’s AWDs and Air Force’s F-35s, and then Army being able to provide a shooting solution, should it be required.”
Hard, fast, smart: Army’s force multipliers
Like both Navy and Air Force, Army is undergoing a major recapitalisation and modernisation of its key force multipliers and platforms, not only to replace ageing equipment but to ensure that Army is capable of serving as an equal partner within the ‘Joint Force’ ADF and is capable of meeting the operational, tactical and strategic requirements placed upon the service.
Reinforcing this, in his speech upon assuming the role of Chief of Army, LTGEN Burr said, “Army has a vital role to play as part of the joint force, to assure our warfighting capability into the future, and to offer the broadest utility by leveraging our unique strengths, to operate across all domains and across the continuum. We will harness the whole Army, enable and leverage the potential of the joint force and the entire enterprise.”
For Army, key projects like LAND 400 Phase 2 and Phase 3, LAND 19 7B, the future surface-to-surface long-range strike missile and integrated air defence platforms provide the service with the ability to leverage key inter-service platforms like AWD and F-35 to develop a robust shooting solution and a unique A2/AD network in response to the rapidly evolving technological and geopolitical realities of the region.
Major platforms like the Army’s Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) as part of the $5.2bn LAND 400 Phase 2 program, the yet to be announced LAND 400 Phase 3 next-generation Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV), combined with the introduction of the Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicles, form the basis of a fast, networked and hardened army, while planned upgrades and a possible expansion of Australia’s fleet of M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks (MBT) as part of LAND 907 Phase 2 seeks to expand and enhance the combat power of the nation’s armoured corps.
Additionally, following teething problems, the growing capability of key air support platforms like the ARH-Tiger and MRH-90 Taipan are serving to enhance the overall capability of the Army and the broader mobility, manoeuvre and ability to conduct high intensity, high-tempo combat operations, without losing the ability to conduct low-intensity, asymmetric or humanitarian support operations.
Army is also focusing on key disruptive technologies to ensure that traditional platforms, like armour, artillery and armoured fighting vehicles remain effective, integrated and future-proofed force multipliers essential to the broader success of both Accelerated Warfare and the ‘Joint Force’.
In particular, the growing use of unmanned aerial systems, from the individual soldier level, through to the platoon and command level are serving to enhance not only the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of the Army, but also enhance the decision-making process for commanders in the increasingly congested battlespace.
“The Army UAS program is a key example of how Army and industry collaborated to deliver a leading-edge product to the service in short order,” MAJGEN McLachlan explained.
Further to this, MAJGEN McLachlan expanded on the role innovation, technology and open systems architecture will play in supporting Accelerated Warfare, saying, “Major General Kath Toohey, Head of Land Capability, took over from me in modernisation. She’s one of the leading experts in the world around common vehicle architecture, and she’s driving good information going out to industry.
“We’ll see it [open systems architecture] on Hawkei for the first time where we’ll almost be able to plug-and-play within reason around those capabilities. So bring us systems that talk to each other that can share data, low latency, high levels of accuracy, and let us build this internet of things, our deployed control network that actually talks to each other rather than hits proprietary boundaries,” he said.
Further expanding on this, Army’s shift toward non-traditional capabilities, particularly the A2/AD role as part of supporting the ‘Joint Force’ doctrine, while ensuring that agility, lethality, human potential and integration remain core components of the ‘Army in Motion’, ensuring that the Army remains ahead of potential adversaries across all domains.
Supporting allies with the Joint Force
Both Accelerated Warfare and Army in Motion play critical roles in supporting the development of the ADF as an integrated, combined arms force, capable of complementing the unique capabilities of each branch, while leveraging the high-tech components, support and key mission and broader national security objectives.
“So how do you then overlay F-35, Air Warfare Destroyer, LAND 19, 7 Bravo, ground-based air defence capability, and soon to come anti-ship missile and long-range surface fires? That’s a really important opportunity. That has huge implications for Defence. We’re always going to be small. We’re always going to have a relatively small number of these high quality platforms. So the ability to network them and achieve a single system of sensors and shooters, potentially a ground force that’s persistent and difficult to dig out, and deploying some of those sensors into marathon choke points [e.g. Malacca or Lombok Strait] and so on,” MAJGEN McLachlan said, explaining the growing importance of the Army as a key component of the broader future force.
Integrating the broader ADF, particularly where each of the forces is an operational and strategic ‘equal’ capable of leveraging technology, doctrine, tactics and the world-class training of Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen and women provides a potent defence capability for Australia’s policy makers, particularly as the regional security environment continues to evolve and challenge the established power paradigm.
The nation’s alliances, particularly in our region, will be enhanced by the development of the ‘Joint Force’ as Australia develops and integrates world-leading technologies, doctrine and personnel capable of engaging with, and overcoming, a variety of contingencies across the air, land, sea, space and cyber domains as threats emerge.
These unique capabilities, particularly across high-technology platforms, innovative doctrine and highly-capable and readily responsive personnel, serve as the basis for securing the nation’s alliances and more broadly securing the nation and its geo-strategic and economic interests throughout the region.
As an Army in Motion, Accelerated Warfare serves as the next step in the evolution of the Army, which seeks to leverage the possibilities of both technology and the human potential that makes up the fighting force, building on the tradition and history of Australia’s Army as an innovative, unorthodox and world-class fighting force, renowned for punching above its weight. (Source: Defence Connect)
27 Nov 18. Ukraine – Martial law imposed for 30 days in border regions beginning on 28 November. On 26 November, Ukraine’s parliament backed the President’s plan to impose martial law in parts of the country following an incident on 25 November, when Russia captured three Ukrainian naval vessels off the coast of Crimea. Martial law will be in force from 28 November at 0900 local time until 27 December in 10 of Ukraine’s 27 regions: Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Odesa, Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv and Vinnytsia. These border Russia, the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria (where Russian troops are stationed) and the Black Sea/Sea of Azov coast. In two of those that border Russia – Donetsk and Luhansk – Ukraine remains in a state of armed conflict with Pro-Russia militias. Military reservists and the country’s air defences have also been placed on a higher level of alert. Aviation operators should anticipate heightened levels of security at airports in regions covered by martial law, to include rigorous inspection of passenger identities and baggage at the airport and an increased security posture within the confines of the airport and at gates along the installation perimeter. In addition, authorities may establish security checkpoints on main thoroughfares leading to airports. Operators should also anticipate disruption and heightened security at airports throughout Ukraine where they are co-located with military installations.
At a minimum, operators are advised to accept and comply with enhanced aviation security measures in a considerate manner to avoid disruption to flight schedules. Demonstrations against the Russian action and the imposition of martial law are possible. All forms of protests and demonstrations should be avoided as a precaution. Do not act based on unverified information; however, civil aviation operators should be flexible in their itineraries and prepared to adjust them should unruly events occur. Be prepared to extend suitable accommodation and arrange secure ground transportation at short notice for crew unable to depart on schedule. The use of a security provider along with a ground handler, FBO or local staff is advised to ensure logistical access and ground transportation support at airports in Ukraine. Ensure crews with scheduled flights at airports in the country in the next month are aware of the latest aviation security and safety situation. Aviation operators should monitor airport/airspace-specific NOTAMs, bulletins, circulars, advisories, prohibitions and restrictions prior to departure to avoid flight schedule disruption. We continue to assess Ukraine to be a HIGH risk aviation operating environment. (Source: Osprey)
26 Nov 18. Russia says planning for new U.S. nuclear missiles in Europe. Russia said on Monday it was planning for a U.S. deployment of new nuclear missiles in Europe following Washington’s planned withdrawal from a landmark Cold war-era arms control treaty despite the United States denying it has such plans. Russia is keen to dissuade U.S. President Donald Trump from carrying out a threat for Washington to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty which eliminated both countries’ land-based short- and intermediate-range nuclear missiles from Europe. Both countries accuse each other of violating the 1987 treaty and President Vladimir Putin and Trump are due to discuss the matter at the G20 in Argentina later this month. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a news conference on Monday that Moscow wanted to save the treaty and was open to talks on the issue with Washington. But Ryabkov, who accused the United States of violating the accord with missile deployments in Poland and Romania, said he thought the chances of a change of heart were slim and said Russia’s military planners were prepared for such a scenario.
A SCEPTICAL MOSCOW
NATO’s top official said in October he did not believe there would be new deployments of U.S. missiles in Europe and U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said Washington was a long way from taking decisions about deploying missiles in Europe.
Ryabkov said Moscow was sceptical about assertions from U.S. and NATO officials that no such new missiles would be deployed.
“We hear (the denials) but nothing more,” said Ryabkov. “Plans have been changed many times before. We don’t want to be disappointed in our (U.S.) colleagues again and therefore we are assuming the worst case scenario in our military planning.”
Ryabkov said he believed the United States would be able to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe “within years,” something he said would fuel a dangerous arms race.
“We can’t ignore the potential deployment of new American missiles on territory from where they will be a threat to Russia and its allies,” the TASS news agency cited him as saying.
“In the event of such a deployment the Americans would gain significant extra capabilities, allowing them to strike at targets deep inside Russia.”
Putin has previously said that Russia would be forced to target any European countries that agreed to host U.S. nuclear missiles.
Ryabkov said it was too early to speak about specific military retaliatory steps, but said Moscow’s response would be “effective” and “relatively inexpensive.” (Source: Reuters)
26 Nov 18. Ukraine Considering Martial Law After Russia Opens Fire on Black Sea Ships. Ukrainian lawmakers will hold an extraordinary session on November 26 to consider a military council recommendation to introduce martial law after Russian forces opened fire on a group of Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula. Speaking at a November 25 meeting of the extraordinary military council, President Petro Poroshenko said he supported the move, though introduction of martial law did not necessarily mean that Ukraine would conduct offensive operations.
Russian forces fired on two warships, wounding six crew members before seizing the vessels along with a Ukrainian Navy tugboat. Poroshenko said 23 Ukrainian sailors were taken captive after the gunfight and that Kyiv had not been in contact with either the detained ships or the sailors.
The three Ukrainian vessels were being held at the Crimean port of Kerch, the Reuters news agency quoted an eyewitness as saying on November 26. The witness said people in naval-style uniforms could be seen around the ships.
The announcement of the hostilities on November 25 came on a day of heightened tension after Russia blocked the three Ukrainian Navy ships from passing from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait.
In response to fears of a major military escalation between the two countries, the United Nations Security Council said it will hold an emergency meeting on November 26, U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a tweet.
The AFP news agency quoted diplomatic sources as saying the meeting was requested by both Ukraine and Russia.
Shots fired in the Sea of Azov, where tensions have been rising since the Crimean bridge was opened. Ukraine says Russia damaged an artillery boat & wounded one, after ramming a tugboat earlier today.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Ukrainian authorities of using “gangster tactics” in the Kerch Strait — first a provocation, then pressure, and finally accusations of aggression.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), which oversees the country’s border-guard service, said its forces fired weapons at the Ukrainian Navy ships to get them to stop after they had illegally entered Russia’s territorial waters.
“In order to stop the Ukrainian military ships, weapons were used,” the FSB said. It also confirmed that three Ukrainian Navy ships were “boarded and searched.”
But the Ukrainian Navy said its vessels — including two small-sized artillery boats — were attacked by Russian coast guard ships as they were leaving the 12-mile zone of the Kerch Strait and moving back into the Black Sea. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said it considered Russia’s “aggressive actions” to be a violation of international law that would be met with “an international and diplomatic legal response.”
Meanwhile, angry demonstrators were gathering in front of Russia’s embassy in Kyiv late on November 25 after Kyiv announced the attack against the Ukrainian Navy ships. Earlier on November 25, Kyiv said a Russian coast-guard vessel rammed the Ukrainian Navy tugboat in the same area as three Ukrainian ships approached the Kerch Strait in an attempt to reach the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov posted a video of the ramming on his Facebook page. Mariupol is the closest Ukrainian government-controlled city to Donetsk and Luhansk, the breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed separatists. The Ukrainian Navy said the collision happened because “the invaders’ dispatcher service refuses to ensure the right to freedom of navigation, guaranteed by international agreements.”
‘Complete Disregard’ For International Law
The navy also accused Russia of demonstrating an “aggressive nature and complete disregard for the norms of international law.”
“The ships of the Ukrainian Navy continue to perform tasks in compliance with all norms of international law,” the Ukrainian Navy said in a statement. “All illegal actions are recorded by the crews of the ships and the command of Ukraine’s Navy and will be handed over to the respective international bodies.”
After that incident, Russian authorities closed passage by civilian ships through the Kerch Strait on grounds of heightened security concerns. However, Russian news agencies quote a local port authority as saying that the strait was reopened for shipping early on November 26. In Brussels, the European Union late on November 25 called upon Russia “to restore freedom of passage”‘ in the Kerch Strait.
Meanwhile, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the alliance was “closely monitoring developments” in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait and was in contact with the Ukrainian authorities.
“We call for restraint and de-escalation,” she said.
“NATO fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity, including its navigational rights in its territorial waters,” Lungescu said. “We call on Russia to ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea, in accordance with international law.”
The NATO spokeswoman also noted that the alliance’s leaders at their Brussels summit in July “made clear that Russia’s ongoing militarization of Crimea, the Black Sea, and the Azov Sea poses further threats to Ukraine’s independence and undermines the stability of the broader region.”
Areas of Heightened Tensions
However, the FSB accused the Ukrainian Navy ships of illegally entering its waters and deliberately provoking a conflict. The Sea of Azov, the Kerch Strait, and the Black Sea waters off Crimea’s southern coast have been areas of heightened tensions between Moscow and Kyiv since 2014 when Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimea region and began supporting pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine. A 2003 treaty between Russia and Ukraine designates the Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov as shared territorial waters. But Moscow has been asserting greater control over the area since its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula — particularly since May when it opened a new 19-kilometer Russian-built bridge that links the Crimea region to Russian territory to the east of the Kerch Strait. Both sides have recently increased their military presence in the Azov region, with Kyiv accusing Moscow of harassing ships heading for Ukrainian ports such as Mariupol. Ukraine’s navy said in a statement that it was a Russian border-guard ship, the Don, that “rammed into our tugboat.” It said the collision caused damage to the tugboat’s engine, outer hull, and guardrail. Russia’s ships “carried out openly aggressive actions against Ukrainian naval ships,” the statement said, adding that the Ukrainian ships were continuing on their way “despite Russia’s counteraction.”
But the Kyiv-based UNIAN news agency reported later that the two small-sized armored artillery boats and the tugboat did not manage to enter the Sea of Azov.
Ukrainian Navy spokesman Oleh Chalyk told Ukraine’s Kanal 5 TV that the tugboat “established contact with a coast-guard outpost” operated by the FSB Border Service and “communicated its intention to sail through the Kerch Strait.”
“The information was received [by Russian authorities] but no response was given,” Chalylk said.
But the FSB said the Ukrainian ships “illegally entered a temporarily closed area of Russian territorial waters” without authorization.
It said that Ukraine’s ships were carrying out “provocative actions” aimed at creating “a conflict situation in this region.”
The FSB statement did not mention the ramming of the Ukrainian tugboat.
Later on November 25, several hours before the reports of Russian forces firing on Ukrainian Navy ships, the FSB said two other Ukrainian ships — two armored Gyurza-class gunboats – had left Ukraine’s Sea of Azov port at Berdyansk and were sailing south toward the Kerch Strait at top speed. Russian officials said after the reported shooting incident in the Black Sea that those Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov turned back to Berdyansk before reaching the Kerch Strait. The FSB also warned Kyiv against “reckless decisions,” saying that Russia was taking “all necessary measures to curb this provocation,” Interfax reported.
Aleksei Pushkov, chairman of the Information Policy Committee of the Russian Federation Council, accused Poroshenko of directly ordering the Ukrainian ships to carry out what he called “a purposeful provocation.”
“Such things are not carried out without the head of state’s knowledge, consent, and — I think — initiative,” Pushkov told Russia’s state-run Rossia 24 TV channel. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Radio Free Europe)
26 Nov 18. Japan at a crossroads: What’s keeping its defense industry from growing? Japan is facing what appears to be an increasingly difficult choice, between a desire to keep its domestic defense industry in business, and getting more value for its defense spending while introducing much-needed capabilities by buying foreign off-the-shelf systems. This conundrum comes as the U.S. ally continues to warily eye nearby China’s military buildup and North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.
Japan’s defense industry came to being soon after the end of World War II, as it attempted to rebuild its shattered economy. According to Corey Wallace, a postdoctoral fellow at the Graduate School of East Asia Studies at Germany’s Freie Universität Berlin, Japan adopted what was known as kokusanka — a conscious and systematic attempt to domesticate technologies that Japan would need for an autonomous defense-industrial base.
Through licensing agreements and other methods of technology transfer and acquisition, the Japanese government in the post-war period identified the most important platforms it thought it needed and tried to domesticate them. Today, Japan’s local industry produces all of the country’s warships and submarines, albeit fitted with important systems like the Aegis combat system, radars and missiles from the United States as well as most of its land warfare systems.
Despite these capabilities, there are a number of hurdles for Japan’s defense-industrial base. Chief among these is the relatively small, domestic market that drives up unit prices as well as Japan’s own set of unique requirements that sometimes create a bespoke product difficult to market overseas.
The small, domestic market has also meant there is little competition. And when the price of a product is determined by what Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun calls the “cost calculation method,” in which a contractor’s profit is added to the prime cost that also includes that of materials and labor, it can lead to “an open invitation for soaring costs as contractors have few incentives for suppressing the prime cost.”
An example of this is the C-2 airlifter. Since 2016, Japan has ordered a total of seven C-2 aircraft out of an eventual requirement of 40. This slow production rate means the C-2 costs about $201m per aircraft, according to the latest budget request from Japan’s Defense Ministry, which has asked to procure two aircraft in the next fiscal year.
This, coupled with the need to focus on the expensive missile defense systems against the North Korean ballistic missile threat, has put Japan’s defense budget under strain, to the point that earlier this year Japan’s Finance Ministry reportedly took the unorthodox step of urging its defense counterpart to consider the option of acquiring a cheaper airlifter instead of the C-2.
Given recent developments in the geopolitical and domestic industrial sphere, Japan has turned to what Wallace calls “selectivity and concentration” — the country accepts that its defense-industrial base cannot achieve absolute autonomy, particularly in areas like fighter jets and ballistic missile defense, where international cooperation is necessary in the development process.
Cooperation with a foreign partner appears to be the way Japan is proceeding with two key aerospace programs: the development of a new air-to-air missile and its next fighter jet.
Japan is developing the Joint New Air-to-Air Missile, which will marry the active electronically scanned array radar seeker of Japan’s AAM-4B air-to-air missile with the European MBDA Meteor ramjet-powered beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.
The missile is intended for use by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, but the program appears to be on a long timeline. Reports indicate no technical work has been done, and the first prototypes are planned to be ready for test shots after April 2022, with a decision following on whether to go ahead with the program.
With regard to its next-generation fighter jets, following a request for information from several overseas manufacturers earlier this year, Japan is reportedly studying the feasibility of a joint development program. Local media has tracked the story, although official information is scant pending the release of Japan’s five-year midterm defense plan later this year.
It’s widely expected Japan will link up with a foreign partner for the development, however some are holding out hope for a wholly domestic fighter program despite the risks and higher costs involved. Japan has not locally built fighters since Mitsubishi F-2s rolled off the line in 2011.
However, Grant Newsham, a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer who is now a senior research fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies in Tokyo, says Japan should consider spending more on defense, telling Defense News earlier this year that figure should be about $5bn to $7bn more per year for the next five years.
As the world’s third-largest economy, he said, “Japan has all the money it needs to properly fund defense. And the amounts required are about the same as the waste and/or fraud in a couple of public works projects, but it chooses not to do so.”
Japan’s latest defense budget request for the next fiscal year is for $48bn, which is a 2.1 percent increase from the previous year’s allocated budget and represents a new record-high defense budget for the country. The amount is roughly 1 percent of its gross domestic product, which, although not official policy, has essentially become a ceiling for its defense budget.
Notably, Japan is carrying out final assembly on most of its 42 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, which will eventually replace the upgraded F-4EJ Kai Phantom II aircraft currently in service. The government reportedly wants to buy more F-35s, with some suggesting it’s looking at the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing F-35B to equip the flight decks of its helicopter destroyers of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan has ended its ban on defense exports, which his government sees as a way to boost Japan’s economy. Japanese defense companies have and continue to pursue several international acquisition programs ranging from Australia’s requirement for submarines to France and Germany’s requirement for new maritime patrol aircraft.
However, these export opportunities have presented their own set of challenges, not least the fact that Japanese companies lack the savvy of their more-experienced competitors at the higher end of the global arms market, and that they’re being priced out by cheaper alternatives at the lower end.
And despite their undoubted quality, Japanese offerings are sometimes hindered in the export market by the domestic market’s bespoke requirements. In the case of the C-2, there were no requirements for the aircraft to conduct operations on short or poorly prepared airstrips, and this is likely to hurt its prospects in New Zealand, which is seeking airlifters for both strategic and tactical airlift missions.
In this case, the ability to operate from poorly prepared runways is important given the Royal New Zealand Air Force conducts regular operations to South Pacific islands, particularly on humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions in the aftermath of natural disasters.
Newsham noted that despite the recent loosening of restrictions, there has not been significant effort by Japanese companies to dive into the international defense market, as most major Japanese companies don’t consider the defense business to be profitable.
Other sources in Japan who are familiar with the industry have corroborated that view in speaking to Defense News. And Newsham adds that despite being the administration that pushed for the loosening of defense export restrictions, the Abe government has not proactively supported Japanese defense companies seeking to do business overseas. (Source: Defense News)
26 Nov 18. Is the expansion of Egypt’s defense industry working? Four years after Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi took charge of managing the country’s affairs, dozens of military-owned companies have flourished and the Army has undergone a rapid military buildup, a reflection of Egypt’s efforts to return to prestige. To strengthen this progress, el-Sissi stressed in July the importance of continuing the development of companies and factories affiliated with the Ministry of Military Production, as well as enhancing the national industry, exporting surplus production and developing military products to cover the needs of the Armed Forces. He also underlined the need to boost cooperation between the ministry and major global companies to acquire modern technology and bolster local innovation.
Assuming the president’s plans are a success, Egypt could expand its defense-industrial base beyond domestic requirements, and toward global competition.
Military-technical cooperation between Egypt and other countries — mainly Russia, China and the United States (the two former of which have an interest in dislodging the latter’s influence in the Middle East) — has reached “an unprecedented level during the last two years,” according to Mohamed al-Kenany, a researcher at the Arab Forum for Iranian Policy Analysis.
“This period has witnessed a number of frequent visits and meetings between the minister of military production, Mohamed el Assar, and a number of defense ministers, ambassadors and heads of international defense companies,” he said.
And those strong relationships have translated into global cooperation, explained Ahmed Kamel al-Beheiri, an expert in regional security issues at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
“This [is reflected] by the transfer of experience with the Russians in the air defense systems field, Germany in the maritime manufacturing and light weapons domain, and China through unmanned aerial vehicles and its complementary technology,” he said.
In terms of potential domestic production, al-Beheiri noted that Egypt is currently working a strategy to increase capabilities “through a joint cooperation with international companies for the transfer and localization of both hard and soft technologies within the military forces arsenal – especially one that concerns the air defense missile field.”
“In addition, manufacturing light and medium weapons is considered a vital realm to the Egyptians nowadays,” he added.
In terms of exporting some potential weapons, al-Beheiri sees potential in the near future, especially as “Egypt has already begun exporting some types of weapons to both African and Arab countries, such as Iraq.”
It’s not just the big nations with which Egypt is looking to partner. Al-Kenany noted that South Africa’s Paramount Group has been in talks with the Egyptian government for several months, with an eye on expanding “Egypt’s military manufacturing capabilities and strengthen its status as an arms export source for several African countries.”
That could include establishing a modern defense complex to produce various military equipment, including armored vehicles.
But China and Russia loom large, particularly as the politics of the last several years have driven a wedge between Cairo and Washington.
According to one industrial source who spoke to Defense News on condition of anonymity, American industry is losing its grip on weapon sales to Egypt.
“Washington recognizes that Egypt is a strategically important partner and a large [customer in the] U.S arms market. So we can suppose that there is a clear American fear of the Egyptian side falling into the arms of the Russians or Chinese,” the source said. “Moscow has been able to consolidate its position as a major force in Syria and succeeded in attracting Turkey to its side; therefore, Washington will not allow Cairo to withdraw towards Moscow or repeat the Turkish experience by stepping out of the American abyss.”
But al-Kenany is convinced that the U.S.-Egypt industrial relationship is “healthy.”
“As a matter of fact, there are 36 U.S. defense companies participating at EDEX 2018 [the Egypt Defence Expo] next month. If there was any kind of [negative] impact [on their relationship], we would have not witnessed this huge American representation,” he concluded. (Source: Defense News)
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