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29 Dec 20. Gaza militants fire rockets into the sea in first joint exercise. An array of Palestinian militant groups launched rockets into the Mediterranean Sea off the Gaza Strip on Tuesday at the start of what they called their first-ever joint exercise, which Israeli media described as a show of force organised by Iran.
Gaza is run by Hamas and also home to other militant groups, including Islamic Jihad. The exercise was announced on behalf of a joint command set up by the groups in 2018.
Eight rockets streaked through a cloudless sky in Gaza towards the Mediterranean after Abu Hamza, spokesman for Islamic Jihad, delivered a speech launching the drill. It will include land and coastal exercises described by the groups as a test of their preparedness for any future confrontation with Israel.
Israeli media said the drill was organised by the militants’ sponsors in Tehran to demonstrate risks Israel could face if Iran comes under U.S. or Israeli attack in the waning days of the Trump administration.
On the eve of the exercise, a large portrait of Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed last January in a U.S. attack in Iraq, was erected along Gaza’s main coastal road.
Tensions between Iran and Israel have risen since the Nov. 27 assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Iran has blamed Israel for his death; Israel has neither confirmed nor denied a role.
Tuesday’s Gaza missile display did not trigger any sirens in Israel, whose drones keep a close eye on Gaza and which employs a sophisticated missile interception system.
Due to last 24 hours, the exercise included fighters from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and smaller armed groups. (Source: Reuters)
29 Dec 20. Vietnam launches industry ‘spearhead’ project. Vietnam has launched a ‘spearheads of industry’ initiative to support the local development of military technologies through investment in one of its biggest defence corporations, the Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group (Viettel).
Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment said that through the new project the government will set up a new funding mechanism for the national defence industry with the aim to support national economic growth and create jobs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another aim of the project is to support civilian-military integration and the local advancement in defence technologies, particularly those related to 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) capabilities such as artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. The spearhead project identifies Viettel as one of three state-owned enterprises to take part in an initial phase starting in 2021. To support development in Vietnam’s communications sector the government will invest in Mobifone while advancements in the energy domain will be supported through investment in electricity group EVN. In total, the ministry eventually hopes to include in the project 17 state corporations across various sectors. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Dec 20. Defence Industry and Signals of the New Norm. Industries as varied as aviation, energy, entertainment, and retail experienced sudden stops that are likely to drive a huge number of businesses out of the market permanently. Associated job losses have eclipsed all historical precedents, including even the pace of job losses at the start of the Great Depression.
The rapidity of the pandemic’s impact gives rise to the question of how long the downturn will last and how quick a reovery might be. In other words, which of the changes the virus has wrought will be enduring, and which are simply artefacts of the crisis to be forgotten shortly after the crisis abates?
The defence industry offers an interesting case study. In many ways it has been sheltered from the worst of the crisis. While demand for defence goods has dropped more in some countries than in others, defence is an inherently slow-moving business everywhere where contracts are typically long-lived and often pre-funded, meaning that work can continue for months or even years after funding concerns develop.
The defence industry was designated as critical infrastructure by the US government, as well as many other nations, meaning that few defence facilities closed while much of the rest of the economy was shuttered. US defence spending actually increased in the near term as a result of stimulus efforts that included purchasing medical equipment through defence contracts. The US government also accelerated payments on its defence contracts which has increased cash flow to industry’s coffers. As a result, many defence companies have reported steady or even increased earnings in the first quarter of 2020.
But despite the sheltered nature of defence industry, the impacts of the pandemic remain notable. While military orders have not decreased, industry has struggled in many areas to keep work on track and keep deliveries on schedule. While industry operations have continued, they have had to be modified for social distancing requirements and supply chain disruptions.
This is particularly challenging in industry facilities like shipyards, where significant work has to be done in confined spaces, and in facilities for classified work that can’t be done from home. In these facilities, social distancing has required a change to shift work to control the number of people working together at one time. Absenteeism as result of either illness or lack of childcare resulting from school closures has also impacted production.
Lockheed Martin has indicated that it will see reduced deliveries of F-35s in 2020, and the US Department of Defense (DoD) has indicated that billions of dollars of work is likely to slip from 2020 to later years, driving cost increases.
For much of the white-collar side of the defence industry, working from home has quickly become the norm, and travel has also been sharply reduced. Industry has actually seen cost savings from these shifts. Increased work from home has already led industry to scale back leases of office space that isn’t being used, and likely won’t be used in the year ahead.
Travel has been largely replaced by video conferencing; whose moment has unequivocally arrived. Video conferencing as a replacement for face-to-face meetings and conferences has proven surprisingly productive. Already CFOs throughout industry are making plans to harvest these savings for the long term. Because the shifts in defence industry are being driven by the more mundane impacts of the virus, rather than the economic sudden stop the virus generated, it is likely that the changes will endure even as the crisis eases and the economy begins to move towards a new normal. In this way, the defence industry is giving us a signal of where this new normal is likely to settle.
Before lighting any cigars in celebration of how the defence industry survived the crisis largely unscathed, keep in mind that two major hurdles remain.
The first is imminent, and it is the equivalent of a looming fiscal cliff. In the US, the world’s largest defence market, the reason why disruptions have been mostly minimal so far is that the US government has agreed to pay industry for COVID-related leave and has issued trillions of dollars in loans to businesses to keep them operating though economic shutdowns. Unemployment insurance has propped up incomes to keep consumer demand from collapsing despite the rampant job losses.
However, much of this assistance is slated to be sharply scaled back in the next month. If this fiscal cliff isn’t pushed back by new legislation, the economy would likely experience a second nosedive, and key sectors related to the defence industry will pay a heavy price. These include the aviation and automotive sectors, where there are strong overlaps with the defence supply chain, especially among smaller suppliers who are uniquely vulnerable.
If these suppliers go under, the delays in defence deliveries will likely be significantly more pronounced, suppressing industry revenues. Longer term, the huge scale of government expenditures to fight the health and economic crises from COVID are likely to serve as a significant constraint on defence spending going forward. This is likely to be a world-wide trend, limiting the extent to which industry can turn to other markets to replace the revenue they lose domestically. To succeed in a market of slow to non-existent growth, internal cost-cutting measures in government and in industry may once again compete forcefully for leadership attention against investing in long term growth and strategic competition. (Source: Armada)
23 Dec 20. Hypersonics and the Russian Wunderwaffe Highlighted in Putin’s Speech. Russian President Vladimir Putin attended an annual meeting of the Defense Ministry Board, Monday. Two features arose from both his speech and that of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Firstly, Russian officials believe that updated weapons in the army are necessary to ensure the security of Russia as the country sees threats from the outside. By saying so, and secondly, they meant the United States and NATO. Putin’s words in this matter fitted into his sharp anti-Western rhetoric at the recent annual press conference.
According to Putin: “The world’s leading armies are spending enormous resources that do not compare with ours on ensuring their supremacy.” Therefore, he stated that Russia cannot slow down in this arms race, where each falloff leads to a bigger advantage for its rivals.
The Russian Wunderwaffe
Putin added Russia could not give the edge to anyone in this respect, arguing that his nation is gaining an advantage over others. “I proudly repeat: we have developed weapons that the world does not possess, primarily, of course, hypersonic arms,” the president added, yet again broaching the topic of nuclear weapon that Russian propaganda has named as “Russian Wunderwaffe.”
Putin said he had ordered to boost the level of modern weapons in the country’s armed forces to 75.9 percent by 2024. The things already look very good in some forces, he added. The share of advanced types of armament and military hardware in the Russian troops equals already over 70 percent in general-purpose forces and 86 percent in nuclear forces, according to the Russian leader.
Russia’s Nuclear Deterrent
Putin also stressed that the nuclear triad had reached the level that allowed guaranteeing Russia’s security. The president mentioned the Avangard strategic missile system tipped with a hypersonic cruising warhead among other prospective weapon systems Russia has at its disposal. These would be carried by the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) to replace the Voyevoda ICBMs currently in use (NATO designation: SS-18 Satan).
Shoigu went into more detail about Russia’s nuclear programme:
Our nuclear triad is maintained at a level that warrants strategic deterrence. 95% of the Strategic Missile Forces launchers are in constant readiness.
Long-range aviation successfully solves the tasks of air patrol. This year, 50 flights of strategic missile carriers have been carried out along the established routes.
Nuclear-powered missile submarines carry out scheduled combat service in designated areas of the world’s oceans.
The high combat readiness of the strategic nuclear forces is ensured by the unprecedented level of modernity, brought to 86%.
Three missile regiments of Strategic Missile Forces have been re-equipped with modern Yars missile systems.
Rearmament of the 1st missile regiment with Avangard complex with hypersonic gliding systems continues.
Five modernized missile carriers have entered strategic aviation nuclear forces.
The lead nuclear-powered submarine of the Borei-A project, Knyaz Vladimir, armed with Bulava ballistic missiles with a modern complex of means of overcoming antimissile defence, entered the Russian Navy.
A modern infrastructure has been created for the Yars and Avangard missile systems. This year, more than 950 buildings and structures were built in the interests of the Strategic Missile Forces.
Russian Land Forces
Russia’s Land Forces received more than 3,500 new and modernized weapons, including 220 tanks and other armoured combat vehicles, over 1,500 wheeled vehicles.
In addition to equipment procurement, a new motorized rifle division, and missile and artillery brigades have been formed.
Russian Aerospace Forces
Russian Aerospace Forces have formed 13 military units, including a military transport aviation regiment and an anti-aircraft missile regiment.
147 aircraft were supplied, with more than 150 pieces of air defence equipment, including 4 S-400 anti-aircraft missile complexes and 24 Pantsir-S combat vehicles.
The Aerospace Forces began to receive the first modern complexes with reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial vehicles of medium-range “Inokhodec” and “Forpost”.
Shoidu also reported that the fourth Kupol spacecraft was launched in May this year, completing the second stage of deployment of the USS orbital constellation.
The launch complex for the Soyuz-2 missiles and the assembly and test complex for heavy launch vehicles were reconstructed.
The test launch of the Angara-A5 missile with a mass and size model of the spacecraft was completed successfully.
The Russian Navy received 2 new submarines, 7 surface ships and 10 combat boats, and 10 ships and support boats.
Coastal missile systems Bal and Bastion this year reached the figure of 74% of the planned deployment.
The Russian Navy also created a motorized rifle division and a coastal missile brigade.
Currently, 16 surface ships of the far-sea zone are under construction and 19 are under modernization for another 6 state contracts will be signed next year.
The total number of newly built and modernized warships of the far-sea zone is projected to be 41.
Russian Military and the Coronavirus
As part of the assistance to the Russian population, specialists of the military construction complex have built 30 multifunctional medical centres with a total area of more than two hundred thousand square meters in 23 regions of the country in 9 months. They are equipped with the most modern equipment.
Due to the measures taken, the incidence rate of coronavirus in the Armed Forces per 100 thousand people is 37% lower than in the country.
To do this, the number of PCR laboratories has been increased two and a half times and the number of tests per day has been increased seven times since April. This closed the need for testing of military personnel and civilian personnel of the Armed Forces.
More than 8,000 beds have been deployed in military hospitals for inpatient treatment, half of which are used in the interests of the population. Since the beginning of the pandemic, medical care has been provided to more than 13,000 civilian patients.
In addition, about 5,000 veterans, as well as large families of military personnel and those who lost their breadwinner, received social support measures.
For the purpose of early diagnosis of coronavirus, the number of tomographs has been increased by 8 times, which allows conducting studies on the day of treatment without failures and queues.
A strict quarantine has been introduced in military educational institutions. Educational organizations work in a planned mode using an electronic learning environment. Thanks to this, the training was not interrupted.
The Russian Armed Forces are actively conducting mass vaccination and the 48th central research institute of the Russian NBCP troops took part in the development of the Sputnik V vaccine.
US Seen As Increasing Its Threat Stance
During the meeting, Sergei Shoigu said that there has been an increase by 15 percent in the intensity of U.S. surveillance activities near the Russian border. “NATO sees Russia as the main threat to their military build-up on our borders,” Russian top defense official added.
Shoigu noted that the United States began relocating combat units from Germany to Poland and the Baltic States, withincreasing intensity of reconnaissance and demonstrative actions of US aircraft and ships near Russian borders.
The advanced presence of USships in the Arctic region is being increased.
NATO exercises, conducted simultaneously at the western, southern and eastern borders of Russia, have become systemic.
In August-September alone, 55 combat aircraft took part in them, including strategic bombers and 12 high-precision weapons carriers.
Shoigu stated that the Russian military has closely monitored these exercises and taken counter-measures.
Glen Howard, Russia’s Military Strategy and Doctrine
Russia’s Military Strategy and Doctrine is designed to educate Russia watchers, policymakers, military leaders, and the broader foreign policy community about the Russian Armed Forces and security apparatus across the full spectrum of geographic, doctrinal and domain areas. Each chapter addresses a different strategic-level issue related to the Russian military, ranging from naval and maritime doctrine, to the role nuclear weapons play in its strategy, to cyber and electromagnetic warfare, to Moscow’s posture in the Arctic or the Black Sea, to the lessons its Armed Forces have learned from their ongoing operations in Syria and eastern Ukraine. And each section of the book is written by one of the world’s foremost experts on that theme of Russia’s military development. The key questions emphasized by this book include “how Russia fights wars” and “how its experiences with modern conflicts are shaping the evolution of Russia’s military strategy, capabilities and doctrine.” The book’s value comes not only from a piecemeal look at granular Russian strategies in each of the theaters and domains where its Armed Forces may act, but more importantly this study seeks to present a unifying description of Russia’s military strategy as a declining but still formidable global power. Russia’s Military Strategy and Doctrine will be an essential reference for US national security thinkers, NATO defense planners and policymakers the world over who must deal with the potential military and security challenges posed by Moscow. (Source: Warfare.Today)
23 Dec 20. Australia launches SICP plan to support sovereign industry capability. Defence Industry Minister, Melissa Price has announced the launch of the Test, evaluation, certification and systems assurance Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Implementation Plan that provides important guidance to test and evaluate equipment and systems for the Australian Defence Force.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the Test, evaluation, certification and systems assurance Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Implementation Plan would support and grow specialist expertise in Australia’s defence industry.
The Implementation Plan highlights Defence’s future test and evaluation requirements for emerging technologies, particularly within the information and cyber domain, and outlines potential areas of future cooperation between industry and Defence.
Minister Price said the new Implementation Plan was a vital element of Defence’s understanding and management of its capability.
“The test and evaluation of Defence capability is necessary to ensure Australian Defence Force personnel are safe and their equipment is fit-for-purpose. As Defence capabilities become increasingly connected, we also need to ensure our systems work effectively with those of our coalition partners and that discrete systems can come together to form a holistic joint force,” Minister Price explained.
For the purposes of this Implementation Plan, test, evaluation, certification and systems assurance includes:
- Test and evaluation – A process or an activity to obtain information to support the objective assessment of a capability system with known confidence, and to confirm whether or not a risk is contained within acceptable boundaries across all facets of a system’s life cycle;
- Certification – Providing Defence capability with an official statement (certificate) by an appropriate and competent authority that a product or related process conforms to certain requirements. Certification can cover a broad range of requirements, including system safety, performance, compliance, security, environmental suitability and interoperability; and
- Systems assurance – The justified confidence, supported by objective evidence, that systems function as intended to achieve the required military effect, and are free of exploitable vulnerabilities, either intentionally or unintentionally designed or inserted at any time during a capability’s life of type.
Minister Price added, “As technology advances, industry and Defence need to work together to adapt to new ways of thinking. This is particularly important in testing new or emerging capabilities in the information and cyber domain, as outlined in the 2020 Force Structure Plan.”
“This Implementation Plan highlights areas where cooperation between industry and Defence practitioners is most critical. It outlines the industrial capabilities we need to build within our industrial base to assure that modern Defence systems and equipment are right for the job,” Minister Price said.
Full details of the plan are available here: https://www1.defence.gov.au/business-industry/capability-plans/implementation-industry-plans (Source: Defence Connect)
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