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19 Aug 22. Serbia-Kosovo: Regional tensions remain elevated as talks fail to resolve number plate dispute. On 18 August, the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo met for talks in Brussels to resolve the dispute over Kosovo’s plan to replace Serbian number plates with Kosovar variants. No agreement was reached on the topic. President Vucis of Serbia and Prime Minister Kurti of Kosovo will likely continue talks in the coming days in an attempt to find a resolution before the proposed implementation of the regulations on 1 September. If the parties fail to come to an agreement, regional tensions will almost certainly increase between Kosovo and Serbia; ethno-religious tensions will also increase within Kosovo, with an increased possibiity of violent protests in Serb-majority northern areas. (Source: Sibylline)
19 Aug 22. Denmark’s F-16 aircraft to support Nato Air Policing mission in Iceland. The mission will be controlled by Nato’s CRC in Keflavik and northern CAOC in Uedem, Germany.
The Royal Danish Air Force ( RDAF ) has deployed its F – 16 fighter jets to support the Nato ’ s Air Policing mission in Iceland . The RDAF will perform the exercises together with the Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG ) from Keflavik Air Base ( AB ). The deployed F-16 aircraft have already started flying the Air Policing sorties from 17 August . p >
The mission will be controlled by Nato ’ s Control and Reporting Centre ( CRC ) in Keflavik and Nato ’ s northern Combined Air Operations Centre ( CAOC ) in Uedem , Germany . This is the fifth deployment of RDAF ’ s fighter jets . It marks the sustainability and continuity of Denmark in supporting allied mission in Iceland .
German Air Force CAOC certification team lead colonel Wilhelm May said : “ For the third time in 2022 , CAOC team has conducted certification of Nato fighters to conduct Air Policing in High North above Iceland . The RDAF F – 16 detachment have demonstrated again that they master tactics , techniques and procedures to safeguard the skies . They are now on standby until mid – September and work with strategically important Nato ally. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
18 Aug 22. Czech Republic: Introduction of energy subsidies will reduce socio-economic risks, though long-term energy security concerns remain. On 17 August, Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced that the Czech government will introduce measures to guarantee that households will not spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing needs, including energy expenses. The announcement comes after inflation reached a 30-year high of 17.5 percent in July, underlining the elevated energy and socio-economic risks in the country. The announced measures will alleviate some of the financial stain on Czech households and help to prevent public discontent from escalating into unrest. However, socio-economic and energy security risks will remain elevated in the coming months, especially if Russia decides to cut gas flows completely. (Source: Sibylline)
16 Aug 22. US holds fire on reports of Turkey’s second S-400 shipment. The Biden administration on Tuesday stopped short of threatening additional penalties following reports Turkey plans to receive the second batch of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
Turkey initially purchased the S-400 in 2017, plunging its relationship with the U.S. into crisis. As a result of the deal, the Trump administration expelled Turkey from the F-35 program and later sanctioned the country’s defense industry organization and its leaders. The United States fears the powerful S-400 radar system would allow Russia to spy on the advanced F-35 fighter jet.
But the reaction in the U.S. on Tuesday was comparatively muted. At a press briefing, State Department spokesman Ned Price urged Turkey not to further engage with Russia’s defense sector.
“The point that we have consistently made across the board is that Russia’s brutal and unjustified war against Ukraine makes it vital, now more than ever in some ways, that all countries avoid transactions with Russia’s defense sector,” he said.
“We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but we are not aware of any new developments on this matter,” Price added.
Price declined to address whether a new S-400 would prompt the Biden administration to reconsider plans to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.
The Russian news agency TASS reported Tuesday Russia and Turkey have signed a contract for a second “regiment” of the S-400 to Turkey, quoting the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugayev.
Turkish defense sources quickly rebutted Russian claims it had signed an additional contract, noting the second S-400 was part of the initial agreement.
Shugayev, the Russian official, reportedly told TASS the new agreement with Turkey will allow for some components of the system to be built in Turkey.
Turkish sources told Defense News there may be an agreement with Russia to domestically manufacture some S-400 components for the second regiment.
The Turkish Embassy in Washington didn’t return a request for comment.
Turkey’s complex balancing act between the West and Russia has only gotten trickier since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The strongest sign of a thaw between Turkey and the U.S. came in late June as Turkish leader Reccep Tayyip Erdogan dropped objections to Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
U.S. President Joe Biden then voiced support for the F-16 sale at the NATO summit in Madrid in June.
A delegation from Ankara arrived in the U.S. on Monday for the fourth round of technical talks with Washington on a potential F-16 deal, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported this week.
Turkey has asked to make a $6bn purchase of 40 Lockheed Martin Block 70 F-16 fighter jets. It is also seeking a separate $400m sale to upgrade their current F-16 jets with new missiles, radar and electronics.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has threatened to block the F-16 sale over Turkey’s continued possession of the S-400s, its violations of Greek airspace and Cypriot waters in the eastern Mediterranean, its human rights record and ongoing attacks on U.S.-backed fighters in northeast Syria.
Menendez issued a statement on Thursday blasting reports that Turkey intends to proceed with the second S-400 batch and called on Ankara to “unequivocally demonstrate its commitment to NATO and to regional peace and security by fully rejecting any military cooperation with a war criminal like Vladimir Putin.”
“Between continued antagonistic violations of Greece’s airspace and the delaying of the accession process for Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership, I sincerely hope Turkey will change course and live up to its responsibilities to the defense alliance by being the constructive partner in the region we all hope it can be,” said Menendez. “The United States must be clear: Any expansion of Turkey’s ties to the Russian defense sector would be a grave mistake that would further endanger the security of our NATO allies and partners throughout Europe.”
Despite increased tensions with its NATO allies in recent years, Turkey has generated some goodwill in Washington over its support for Ukraine against Russia. Turkish firm Bayraktar has been selling Ukraine its TB2 laser-guided, bomb-dropping drone for use against Russian troops, and, in June, Ukraine said Bayraktar would open a drone factory within its borders to help repel the invasion.
In recent weeks, Erdogan also brokered an international deal with Russia to allow the export of grain from Ukraine, a breadbasket for the world, to ease a global food crisis. Agricultural goods had been stuck in Black Sea ports due to the invasion.
Eric Edelman, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and senior Pentagon official, said he believes the S-400 deal between “competimates” Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin will confound efforts to mend ties between Turkey and the U.S.
“To say the least, this will complicate the Biden administration’s effort to sell F-16s to Turkey and enrage Turkey’s growing legion of detractors on Capitol Hill,” Edelman said.
Jim Townsend, the Pentagon’s top Europe and NATO policy official during the Obama administration, said he doubts the S-400 deal came about without Turkey giving advanced warning to the U.S. He hypothesized that it was a component of the international grain deal.
“This might be residue from that deal, and if that is the case, then we probably heard about it, not only because we were probably in the background of these discussions, but also so that the Turks don’t have to pay a price from the U.S. for doing something to make the grain deal work,” Townsend said.
The hushed U.S. reaction to the Russian report is a clue, he added.
“If we’re not thundering from the pulpit, we probably knew about it,” Townsend said. (Source: Defense News)
15 Aug 22. German Eurofighter’s Australian Debut. The German Air Force, known as the Luftwaffe, will participate in Exercise Pitch Black for the first time. Travelling to Australia as part of the Rapid Pacific deployment, the Luftwaffe will arrive in mid-August with more than 200 personnel, six Eurofighter Typhoons, three A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports and an A400M transport aircraft.
Chief of the German Air Force Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz said this is the first time the German and Australian air forces have trained together.
“The Indo-Pacific is of great importance to Germany. We share the same values with many partners in this region,” Lieutenant General Gerhartz said.
“Defending those values in case of a war emergency and being able to support our partners is something that needs to be practised.”
The German Eurofighter is a multi-role aircraft employed in air-to-air as well as air-to-ground combat – both at close range and from a long distance.
The German Air Force with its Eurofighters also assumes responsibility in Europe and within NATO for securing the airspace – this includes the quick reaction alert element in Estonia, and working closely with Italian and UK air forces in Romania.
The German government has recently agreed to procure F-35 aircraft to replace the Tornado weapon system, with Pitch Black providing an opportunity to integrate more closely with Australia’s F-35A.
“The F-35 aircraft will further expand the broad spectrum of our capabilities. Since the Royal Australian Air Force is already flying this combat aircraft, we will be able to learn from them as well,” Lieutenant General Gerhartz said.
Following Exercise Pitch Black, the Luftwaffe will participate in Exercise Kakadu before continuing their Rapid Pacific deployment to Japan and the Republic of Korea. Lieutenant General Gerhartz will fly himself in a Eurofighter during Exercises Pitch Black and Kakadu, through to Japan following the exercises. (Source: ASD Network)
15 Aug 22. New UK maritime security strategy to target latest physical and cyber threats. 5-year strategy launched to enhance maritime technology, innovation and security and reduce environmental damage.
Seabed mapping – “hydrography, building a more integrated understanding of the ocean and how we use it”. Credit: UK Hydrographic Office
- new maritime security strategy sets out how the UK will enhance its capabilities in technology, innovation and cyber security
- the 5-year strategy will officially recognise environmental damage as a maritime security concern to address modern issues such as illegal fishing and polluting practices
- improving the quantity and quality of seabed mapping data available to expand our knowledge and help to identify emerging threats
The UK’s position as a world-leading maritime nation is secured by a new strategy that will enhance capabilities in technology, innovation and cyber security.
Unveiling the 5-year strategy, the Secretary of State for Transport has today (Monday 15 August 2022) set out the guiding principles for the UK government’s approach to managing threats and risks at home and around the world, including leveraging the UK’s world-leading seabed mapping community and tackling illegal fishing and polluting activities at sea.
The new strategy redefines maritime security as upholding laws, regulations and norms to deliver a free, fair and open maritime domain. With this new approach, the government rightly recognises any illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and environmental damage to our seas as a maritime security concern.
In addition, to enhance the UK’s maritime security knowledge, the government has established the UK Centre for Seabed Mapping (UK CSM), which seeks to enable the UK’s world-leading seabed mapping sector to collaborate to collect more and better data.
Seabed mapping provides the foundation dataset that underpins almost every sector in the maritime domain, including maritime trade, environmental and resource management, shipping operations and national security and infrastructure within the industry.
The UK CSM has also been registered as a UK government voluntary commitment to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
By working with the newly established UK CSM, administered by the UK Hydrographic Office, government will have better quantity, quality and availability of seabed mapping data, which as a key component of our infrastructure, underpins the UK’s maritime security, prosperity and environment objectives.
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said: “Mankind has better maps of the surface of the moon and Mars than of our own ocean. To ensure the UK’s maritime security is based on informed and evidence-based decisions, we must build our knowledge of this dynamic ocean frontier. Our new maritime security strategy paves the way for both government and industry to provide the support needed to tackle new and emerging threats and further cement the UK’s position as a world leader in maritime security.”
Working with industry and academia, Secretaries of State from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department for Transport (DfT), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will focus on 5 strategic objectives:
- Protecting our homeland: delivering the world’s most effective maritime security framework for our borders, ports and infrastructure.
- Responding to threats: taking a whole system approach to bring world-leading capabilities and expertise to bear to respond to new, emerging threats.
- Ensuring prosperity: ensuring the security of international shipping, the unimpeded transmission of goods, information and energy to support continued global development and our economic prosperity.
- Championing values: championing global maritime security underpinned by freedom of navigation and the international order.
- Supporting a secure, resilient ocean: tackling security threats and breaches of regulations that impact on a clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically-diverse maritime environment.
Offshore Plymouth – “Multibeam survey of the seabed off Plymouth”. Credit: UK Hydrographic Office
UK Chamber of Shipping CEO, Sarah Treseder said: “A proactive maritime security strategy is essential to keeping trade routes and energy supplies secure, especially for an island nation. Today’s welcome commitments to improve collaboration, both with industry and governments across the world, will help deliver a more secure maritime environment and help provide confidence to the shipping community.”
Tim Edmunds, co-Director of the SafeSeas Network and Professor of International Security at the University of Bristol said: “The new national strategy for maritime security (NSMS) comes at a critical time for the UK maritime sector. Maritime security is key to delivering the UK’s ambitions in foreign, security and defence policy, as well as for blue economic growth and environmental sustainability.”
SafeSeas and the University of Bristol were privileged to be part of this effort. We are delighted that our research was able to inform the strategy process. We look forward to engaging with UK maritime security actors and assisting with the strategy implementation process in future.
Mark Simmonds, Director of Policy and External Affairs, British Ports Association said:
UK ports work closely with government and law enforcement to facilitate nearly half a bn tonnes of trade and tens of ms of passengers every year, whilst at the same time bearing down on threats to our collective safety and security. We look forward to strengthening that relationship as we help to deliver on these strategic objectives.
The new Centre for Seabed Mapping is a huge step forward for the maritime sector. It will help everyone better understand the UK seabed and be the foundation for numerous benefits, including more informed management of the marine environment.
The UK will continue to engage heavily with industry, academia, international partners and allies in the delivery of this outward-focussed strategy through increased information sharing partnerships, to increase visibility of threats to the global maritime domain.
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 Homeland 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