Sponsored by Exensor
13 Feb 20. U.S., Taliban Negotiate 7-Day Proposal for Reduction in Violence. The United States and the Taliban have agreed to a proposal for a reduction in violence in Afghanistan, and the Defense Department is working with allies on the path forward, Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper said.
“The best, if not only solution forward is a political agreement,” Esper said following his meeting with NATO defense ministers in Brussels today. “We have the basis for one on the table, and we are taking a hard look at it. We are consulting with our allies. We are consulting with Congress and others. And I think peace deserves a chance.”
At a news conference today, Esper said a positive outcome will require that all parties comply with obligations. “For the United States, the key thing will be continued support to our Afghan partners, and it will need to be a conditions-based approach to all of this,” he added.
NATO has agreed in principle to expand its role in the Middle East, the secretary said.
“We have also asked NATO’s military leaders to consider what more the alliance could do to assist the Iraqi security forces,” he told reporters. “Looking beyond Iraq, I welcome follow-on discussions on how to broaden NATO’s role in the Middle East to defend the international rules-based order, to include deploying air defenses and other capabilities that would deter aggression and reassure partners.”
In addition to discussing operations in the Middle East, Esper said he also emphasized to NATO defense ministers the importance of burden-sharing within the alliance, including the commitment of member nations to invest 2% of gross domestic product toward defense. That commitment will bolster progress already made, he said. Between 2016 and 2020, NATO allies increased their investments by some $130bn.
Esper said the ministers also discussed the NATO Readiness Initiative, which he said is critical to a culture of readiness within the alliance, and he called for routine tests of that initiative to evaluate readiness. The “Four Thirties by 2020” pledge, part of that initiative, he said, “is just the start of our work.” The pledge was for NATO to have 30 battalions, 30 battleships and 30 air squadrons ready to deploy within 30 days by this year.
When it comes to technology, Esper said, NATO allies must carefully consider the long-term risks of the economic and commercial choices they make, especially in regard to telecommunications. In particular, he added, commercial 5G technology from China could put NATO security at risk.
“At the end of the day, Chinese telecom firms have a legal obligation to provide technical support and assistance to the communist party, and that concerns us deeply,” he said. “Reliance on Chinese 5G vendors could render our partners’ critical systems vulnerable to disruption, manipulation and espionage.”
The potential for that, he said, puts communications and intelligence-sharing capabilities and NATO partnerships at risk, he said, and too counter this, the United States is encouraging allied and U.S. tech companies to develop alternative 5G solutions.
Esper said the United States remains committed to the NATO partnership and the security it provides.
“The U.S. commitment to NATO remains ironclad,” he said. “Together we form the most powerful, multilateral military alliance in the world, one based on our shared values and our shared interests.” (Source: US DoD)
13 Feb 20. US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin offers to help India on Tejas & AMCA projects. The offer comes ahead of President Donald Trump’s maiden visit to India during which the countries are expected to expand defence and military cooperation. US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has offered to help India in its multi-billion dollar programme to develop a next generation advanced multi-role combat aircraft and boost capability of the Tejas fighter jet.
The offer by the US aerospace firm comes ahead of President Donald Trump’s maiden visit to India on February 24-25 during which both strategic partners are expected to further expand defence and military cooperation.
Vivek Lall, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin, said the company is “very open” to assisting India in further development of the Tejas combat jet as well as the ambitious next generation aircraft.
“We are very open to any requirement from the government of India or the Indian Air Force for any help for the Tejas as well as the AMCA (advanced multi-role combat aircraft) project,” Lall told PTI in an interview without divulging specifics.
The indigenously developed Tejas has been a showpiece project of India being implemented by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA). Both HAL and ADA are now focusing on an upgraded version of Tejas to make it a world class plane.
India is also working on an ambitious USD 5bn project to develop a fifth-generation medium weight deep penetration fighter jet to significantly bolster its air power capability.
Lall showcased Lockheed Martin’s F-21 jet as an attractive option for IAF’s hunt to procure a batch of 118 fighter planes, saying choosing the American jet will link India to a USD 165bn worth global aerospace eco-system.
“Once you get a platform like the F21, that is just start of a very long-term relationship for future configurations that India desires, future platforms that India wants to develop,” he said.
Eyeing the IAF’s USD 18bn deal, Lockheed Martin has exclusively offered its newly rolled out F-21 fighter to India and even promised to set up a manufacturing facility in India if the company gets the contract.
The company said it will not sell the jet to any other country if it wins the contract for the 114 jets.
Hard-selling F-21 as the best platform for the IAF, he said the aircraft, a derivative of the F-16, will have 40 per cent more weapons package then its competitors.
Asked about weapons package, he said the aircraft had 138 configurations. The company may look at integrating weapons as per India’s requirement subject to approval of the US government, he added.
Besides having a traditional boom-delivered refuelling facility, the F-21 also has a extendable hose-and-drogue refuelling probe.
“This is only fighter in the world which has both the capabilities,” Lall said, adding that the jet has an unique India-specific electronic warfare suit. (Source: Google/https://theprint.in/)
12 Dec 19. Philippine military backs defence divorce from U.S.. The Philippine military on Wednesday stood by the president’s decision to scrap a security agreement with the United States, saying the country could now develop its own defence capabilities and alliances, and would do fine without it. The military chief backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s termination of the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and said doing so would allow the Philippines to expand its modernisation programme and its engagement with Australia and Japan – both U.S. allies.
Armed forces commander, General Felimon Santos, said planes and ships were being procured from countries other than the United States, such as South Korea, while Filipinos were now “doing the leg work” on intelligence gathering on Islamist extremists.
“You know these sentiments of soldiers, we are all high morale,” he told reporters. “It will make us more eager to build up our own capabilities.”
Despite his defence and foreign ministers last week speaking favourably of the VFA, Duterte’s decision was not a complete surprise given his disdain for the Philippines’ close ties with Washington and what he sees as subservience to an abusive and hypocritical former colonial ruler.
He has been determined to build a strong relationship with China, despite a history of diplomatic friction, and some unease among a U.S.-leaning defence apparatus wary about Beijing’s militarisation and island-building in the South China Sea.
Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said U.S. disagreement with the firebrand president’s move was motivated by its own strategic interests, and that it was time for the Philippines to be militarily independent.
“Reliance on another country for our own defences against the enemies of the state will ultimately weaken and stagnate our defence mechanisms,” Panelo said in a statement. “We must stand on our own and put a stop to being a parasite to another country in protecting our independence and sovereignty.”
But the move defies domestic opinion, with polls consistently showing Filipinos’ mistrust of China and strong approval of the United States, where millions of their relatives live, including those of some of Duterte’s cabinet ministers.
The VFA is the legal framework for the thousands of rotating U.S. troops involved in as many as 300 joint exercises a year in the Philippines. Some lawmakers hope it can be saved in the 180 days before the termination takes effect, and worry that without it, two other U.S. military agreements will be irrelevant.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday said the decision was a move in the wrong direction at a time when Washington and its Asian allies were trying to press China to abide by “international rules of order”.
Duterte’s spokesman Panelo rejected that, calling it “a move in the right direction that should have been done a long time ago”.
Duterte’s opponents are dismayed and see the move as his personal favour to China, among them former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario, who called his decision “incomprehensible and harmful”.
“What is unfolding before us must be considered a national tragedy which should be resisted,” he said. (Source: Reuters)
13 Dec 19. Seoul Proposes to Buy $1bn of US Weapons. In an apparent move to reduce South Korea’s financial contribution to maintaining the 28,500 United States Forces Korea troops here, the government has proposed purchasing up to $1bn worth of U.S. weapons, officials directly involved with the issue told The Korea Times, Thursday. (Source: Jane’s)
10 Feb 20. India readying $2.6bn U.S. naval helicopter deal ahead of Trump trip. India is set to give final approval to a $2.6bn (£2.01bn) deal for military helicopters from U.S. defence firm Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) ahead of a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump this month, defence and industry sources said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is trying to pull out all the stops for Trump’s trip in a bid to reaffirm strategic ties between the two countries, which have been buffeted by sharp differences over trade, to counter China.
India’s defence purchases from the United States have reached $17bn since 2007 as it has pivoted away from traditional supplier Russia, looking to modernise its military and narrow the gap with China.
Modi’s cabinet committee on security is expected to clear the purchase of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for the Indian navy in the next two weeks, a defence official and an industry source briefed on the matter separately told Reuters.
“It’s a government-to-government deal, it is close,” said the industry source.
To cut short lengthy negotiations between Lockheed and the Indian government, the helicopters that will be deployed on India’s warships will be bought through the U.S. foreign military sales route, under which the two governments will agree details of the deal.
Trump will visit India Feb. 24-25, the White House said on Monday, his first official trip to the country.
Both countries are separately working on a limited trade agreement ahead of the trip, after earlier imposing tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s imports.
Trump has called India the “tariff king of the world” but the Modi government has been trying to address some of his concerns.
Trade officials have pointed to large-scale U.S. arms purchases, from surveillance planes to Apache and Chinook helicopters, as proof of India’s willingness to tighten strategic ties.
On Monday, the U.S. State Department said it had approved an Indian request for an Integrated Air Defense Weapon System for an estimated cost of $1.87bn, which would further strengthen the two countries’ defence ties.
The two sides are expected to move forward on the deal over the year.
The multirole helicopters from Lockheed will be equipped with Hellfire missiles and torpedoes, and are meant to help the Indian navy track submarines in the Indian Ocean, where China is expanding its presence.
Many of India’s warships are without any helicopters because of years of underfunding, and the navy had sought their acquisition as a top priority.
The government outlined only a modest rise in its 2020/21 defence spending to $73.65bn in the budget on Feb. 1, of which a part will go towards making a down payment on the helicopter purchase, a defence official said.
“We expect a positive announcement soon on the helicopters,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of service rules. “There are limited resources, but there is an allocation.”
The U.S. State Department approved the sale of the choppers to India last year along with radars, torpedoes and 10 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.
The clearance came after the Trump administration rolled out a new “Buy American” plan in 2018 that had relaxed restrictions on sales, saying it would bolster the American defence industry and create jobs at home.
The United States has also offered India the armed version of Guardian drones that were originally authorized for sale as unarmed for surveillance purposes, the first such approval for a country outside the NATO alliance.
India plans to buy 30 of these unmanned aircraft for surveillance of the Indian Ocean, at a cost estimated to be about $2.5bn, from General Atomics. However, the defence official said the deal is unlikely immediately because of lack of funds. (Source: Reuters)
10 Feb 20. Royal Australian Navy HMAS Toowoomba starts operations in Middle East. The Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac class frigate HMAS Toowoomba has arrived in Bahrain and started operations in the Middle East under Operation MANITOU. As part of its mission, the warship will also support the International Maritime Security Construct to ensure freedom of navigation through the Strait of Hormuz.
Furthermore, it will continue Australia’s long-standing effort with the Combined Maritime Forces. The latest operations will be the sixth mission for HMAS Toowoomba.
Minister for Defence Senator Linda Reynolds said HMAS Toowoomba will perform key roles such as counter-terrorism, preventing piracy and ensuring freedom of navigation.
Reynolds added: “Under the International Maritime Security Construct, HMAS Toowoomba will work with a range of international partners to monitor and deter destabilising activity and support the safe passage of commercial and civilian shipping in the Middle East region.
“HMAS Toowoomba will also support the Combined Maritime Forces through Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), which Australia currently commands.”
The Combined Maritime Forces is a multinational task force of 33 countries that aim to disrupt terrorist organisations and illegal activities in the maritime domain.
The ship will be the Royal Australian Navy’s 68th deployment to the Middle East region since 1990.
Combined Task Force 150 commander Ray Leggatt said: “Royal Australian Navy vessels have a successful history working with CTF 150 on previous deployments and I am confident that this deployment will be no different.”
HMAS Toowoomba carried out transit of the Strait of Hormuz with the UK Royal Navy’s HMS Defender while on the way to Bahrain.
BAE Systems concluded on-dock production activities associated with the anti-ship missile defence (ASMD) upgrade of HMAS Parramatta in April 2016. (Source: naval-technology.com)
07 Feb 20. Global defence firms line up as India goes shopping to update ageing fleet. U.S. and European defence firms backed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s military modernisation drive at a defence exhibition on Friday, despite a lengthy procurement process running into years and limited funds.
Airbus SE (AIR.PA) and U.S.-based Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) and Boeing Co. (BA.N) are eying multi-billion dollar deals under Modi’s aim to upgrade an ageing fleet of aircraft and enhance local arms manufacturing to cut imports.
“I feel encouraged overall,” Anand Stanley, President and managing director of Airbus India and South Asia, told Reuters.
“Every year the government is doing capital allocation. They are spending,” he said.
The military is also looking to buy submarines, warships and battlefield communication systems. But these have made little headway.
Airbus is offering to set up an assembly line in India in partnership with the Tata Group to produce the C295W military transport aircraft as a replacement for Indian Air Force’s Avro fleet.
The 120bn rupee Avro replacement programme has been in the pipeline for almost a decade.
Airbus on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with India’s Adani Aerospace and Defence, part of the diversified Adani Group, for aircraft services in India and South Asia.
Boeing, which has pitched its F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet fighter for the India air force and navy and is competing with Lockheed Martin’s F-21, said it plans to push India’s armed forces’ drive for modernisation through a suite of five products – the Super Hornet, KC-46 tanker, P-8I aircraft, AH-64E Apache and CH-47(I) Chinook helicopters.
The company said it wants to build a global defence and aerospace ecosystem “that creates jobs and industrial capacity with Make in India,” said Salil Gupte, president, Boeing India in a statement during the exhibition.
Boeing and Lockheed will be competing with Sweden’s Saab AB (SAABb.ST) with its Gripen fighter and France’s Dassault Aviation SA (AVMD.PA) Rafale and Russian fighter aircraft.
Lockheed Martin, as part of its fighter jet F-21 proposal for the Indian Air Force, signed an MoU with Bharat Electronics Ltd (BAJE.NS) on Friday to explore industrial opportunities around the F-21 fleet, which is essentially building up a spare and supply ecosystem. (Source: Reuters)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Home land Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company