The latest top secret unmanned spy plane to be uncovered isn’t just a design idea, it’s already flying at the Air Force’s famed Area 51. Unlike the recently announced SR-72, the new RQ-180 from Northrop Grumman is believed to be currently in flight testing according to Aviation Week and Space Technology. The RQ-180 is a new design aimed at intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR, a.k.a. spying) and incorporates stealth technology, in addition to an efficient new design that’s tailored to flights over countries where the red carpet isn’t being rolled out for current U.S. spy drones.
The Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) will have a huge impact on Europe if Turkmenistan and Iraq also become suppliers, energy expert and vice director of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies Paolo Magri told AA. When asked whether the recent deal between Iranians and the UN Security Council’s permanent members and Germany (P5+1 countries) will lead to Iran also becoming a TANAP supplier, Magri expressed it is too early to make assessments on the matter.“Iranian oil was extremely relevant to Europe. Sanctions are preventing us from importing. If Iran comes to back to the market, it will be a big support to these corridors,” he said.
Dubbed “Nightwatch” by the military (and unofficially called “the Doomsday Plane”), the E-4B fleet consists of four modified Boeing 747 aircraft which are designed to keep the U.S. president and Secretary of Defense safe, airborne, and in control of U.S. military forces in the event of a nuclear conflict. All four planes are shielded to be resistant to the radiation and thermal effects of atomic weapons, as well as having electronics hardened to survive electromagnetic pulses.
The proposed corridor will cover 1.65 million square kilometres, encompassing an estimated 440 million people in China’s Yunnan Province, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bihar in Northern India through the combination of road, rail, water and air linkages in the region. This interconnectedness would facilitate the cross-border flow of people and goods, minimise overland trade obstacles, ensure greater market access and increase multilateral trade. Leaders hope the economic corridor will bring back to the days of the ancient Silk Road and its south-western trade route.
Based on requirements weapon elements will have to be ready for laboratory test by October 2014, while they must reach readiness for test on a plane and in simulated operational environment by 2022. Three new laser devices are to be created: small power marking laser, that would act as a marker and as a blinding weapon against the optical sensors of the enemy planes; medium power laser that is to be used against air-2-air missiles; and a high power device to act as an offensive weapon. The weapon is to be operable up to 65,000 feet of altitude and within a speed envelope of Mach 0.6 – 2.5.
The PAK-DA doesn’t just fill in a technological gap in the current Russian aircraft inventory, but should have the capacity to return Russia — should Mr. Putin desire such — to the glory days of Soviet bomber power, pushing a dynamic long-range bomber into the air that could be the worst of threats to enemies the world over. It was that threat — the threat of rapid deployment and possibilities for diverse missions—that was as powerful a psychological weapon against the Americans in the Cold War as the core aspect of nuclear weapons to be placed aboard these bombers.
The Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) may price its crude oil futures contract in yuan and use medium sour crude as its benchmark, its chairman said on Thursday, adding that the bourse is speeding up preparatory work to secure regulatory approvals. China, which overtook the United States as the world’s top oil importer in September, hopes the contract will become a benchmark in Asia and has said it would allow foreign investors to trade in the contract without setting up a local subsidiary. “China is the only country in the world that is a major crude producer, consumer and a big importer.
Miniature drones are moving closer to becoming full-time military weapons with Northrop Grumman’s successful tactical drone electronic weapons test.After proving its mettle in reconnaissance roles, Northrup Grumman engineers reconfigured the drone to carry an electronic attack payload. With this package the Bat can jam enemy radar and confuse surface-to air missiles trying to seek and destroy friendly UAV’s or aircraft in a warzone. Catapulted from a hydraulic rail launcher and caught by a portable net system the Bat is completely runway independent.
It was 1993, and Shahid Javed Burki, then director of the World Bank’s China operations and later Pakistan’s caretaker finance minister, was calling on the then vice-premier in Beijing. China’s “all-weather friend” is an integral part of its “look west” policy to find economic sustenance for landlocked western provinces. This is why China in 1986 started working on a 600-kilometre highway across the Karakoram mountain range connecting Kashgar in Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s northeast.
Satellite imagery has revealed two unusually large artillery pieces, measuring about 80 ft and 110 ft respectively, at a test centre for armour and artillery northwest of Baotou in China. China has historically shown interest in large calibre, long-range artillery. It experimented with the Xianfeng ‘supergun’ in the 1970s as part of Project 640 anti-ballistic missile programme. Approximately 85 ft long, Xianfeng may be the smaller of the two objects retained for experimental use after its cancellation in 1980.
The operating area for NATO’s counter-terrorism task group, Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2), covers 2.5 million square kilometers of vast open space from Gibraltar to the Suez Canal, from the shores of Tripoli to the Turkish beaches. A NATO maritime force tasked with covering so much water relies on logistics support from multiple nations, ashore and afloat, to stay engaged in the vital counter-terrorism Operation Active Endeavor (OAE). Outstanding logistics support from all NATO countries is vital to ensuring the counter-terrorism task group remains at sea for greater periods of time.
The 50-member committee tasked with amending the suspended 2012 constitution has begun to discuss the charter’s “system of governance” chapter, which will decide Egypt’s new political system. On Monday, committee spokesperson Mohamed Salmawy told parliamentary correspondents that the committee had voted on 16 articles concerning system of governance, including article 121 which “builds the new shape of Egypt’s political system.” According to Salmawy, the article adopts a French-style political system in which the president and prime minister share powers.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said on Saturday that the port city of Aqaba is Jordan’s sole sea gateway that had been an economic and naval “beacon” connecting the Levant and the Arab Maghreb. In remarks at the opening of a meeting of the 47th session of the Arab Sea Ports Federation board in Aqaba, Ensour said: “We meet in the city of Aqaba, which is evolving in different economic, tourism, service and investment fields and sectors.”
Despite growing ties between Taiwan and China, Beijing has never abandoned the option of using force to bring about ‘reunification’ and continues to regard the island as a core strategic interest. The balance of military power in the Taiwan Strait has shifted decisively to China’s advantage and will continue to do so over the next decade, making armed intervention by Beijing theoretically practicable. Nevertheless, strategic developments will weigh on Beijing, including the extent of the US’s rebalancing of policy towards Asia, the outcome of Taiwan’s 2016 elections, social order on the island, and the situation in Hong Kong.
The MOU ultimately aims at securing an Eurasian railway logistics system by connecting Moscow, Bladivostok, Rajin, and Busan. According to the MOU, Busan port will be connected to Rajin via sea route and then connected to Moscow in railway. However, Seoul and Moscow agreed to start the Rajin-Khasan railway project at first, considering the variable of North Korea. Because of the “5-24 Measures,” which prohibit direct investments in the North, Seoul is seeking a way of indirect investment by driving South Korean private sector acquisition of the stakes.
Russia is launching the construction of new-generation nuclear-powered icebreakers. The icebreaker of the LK-60Ya model, named Arktika as a tribute to the prominent Soviet nuclear-powered icebreaker of the same name, is due to begin sea trials in 2017. The ship will prove effective for the deep-water areas of the Northern Sea Route and the shallow waters of Russia’s Arctic shelf. Russia is due to build three such icebreakers in the next decade. Russia has been actively using the Northern Sea Route for almost 80 years now, with ice-breakers ensuring naval and civilian ship traffic across thick ice along the route.
The U.S. handed out two contracts Monday to Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin to develop laser pods that can be mounted on aircraft and shoot down missiles. Under Project Endurance, Northrop Grumman received a $14.6 million contract and Lockheed Martin received $11.4 million to develop laser weapons to protect manned and unmanned aircraft. Project Endurance was included in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) fiscal year 2014 budget.
The test is a critical part of a national effort to establish a conventional prompt strike capability. This capability will contribute to the country’s effort to defend its interests with precision weapons at hypersonic speeds. “The successful execution of this high-speed sled test of a kinetic energy projectile warhead was a necessary step in the progression to a conventional prompt strike capability,” she said. “Now that we’ve demonstrated that the warhead functions in a flight representative environment, we’re one important step closer to that goal.
French nuclear energy giant Areva signed a deal with Mongolia’s state-owned Mon-Atom on Saturday to develop two uranium mines in the Gobi desert, officials said. Areva said in a statement that the agreement would create a company that would be 66 percent owned by Areva and 34 owned by Mon-Atom, and that Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation would take an equity interest. Further details of the deal, which was signed during a visit to Mongolia by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, were not immediately announced.
What do a kamikaze drone, a “field and forget” surveillance system and an Israeli robot have in common? Buzz at the annual AUSA Army meeting in Washington, D.C. A new “kamikaze” drone that blows itself up — and takes its target with it — was revealed at AUSA. Lockheed Martin chose AUSA to reveal more information on the company’s field-and-forget surveillance system called Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network or SPAN.
So what is SPAN? Basically it looks like rocks, but acts like smart sentries. SPAN is an integrated sensor system that functions as a self-forming mesh to provide covert surveillance for protecting bases, borders and more.
ABDUL MEJID I, the Ottoman’s 31st sultan, had a dream. the determinedly Western-leaning sultan envisaged the construction of a submerged tunnel under the Bosphorus Straits connecting Asia to Europe. A French architect duly came up with a blueprint. But a dearth of technology and cash stood in the way. The sultan’s dream is now coming true, 150 years later. The world’s first sea tunnel linking two continents will be inaugurated on October 29th. Stretching over 76km (47 miles), and with 1.4km of it laid at the bottom of the sea, the $3 billion “Marmaray” rail system will “eventually link London to Beijing, creating unimagined global connections” .
This year’s defence white paper reflects a definite maturing in the evolution of maritime strategic thinking in our defence policy. The term ‘maritime strategy’ is used ten times. The first use is in the contents, alluding to the fact that a whole section is devoted to maritime strategy. And while the use of air forces in a maritime strategy might seem axiomatic, the 2009 paper also highlighted the need for land forces in maritime strategy, and the 2013 paper elaborated on that need.
Nato will have to focus more on issues in the Arabian Gulf to ensure its stability, security experts say. Counter-terrorism, cyber defence, energy security and weapons of mass destruction are among crucial areas the alliance will have to tackle to improve its relationship with GCC states, the audience at the Nato ICI 2013 conference heard yesterday. “What’s going on in Iraq and Syria poses serious security threats to the Middle East and the region,” Vural Altay, Turkey’s ambassador to the UAE, said at the meeting, which presented Nato’s approach to the Gulf.
The Chinese currency may have just moved a step further in that direction with the October 10 signature between the European Central Bank and the People’s Bank of China (the country’s central bank) for the establishment of a “currency swap” mechanism. The terms of the deal are a bit technical but the goal is simple: facilitating commercial exchanges between the Eurozone and China by giving European banks access to 350 billion yuan (42.4 bllion euros) or “RMD” and giving Chinese banks access to 45 billion euros.
The U.S. Special Operations Command is awarding a contract to GeoEye Analytics for a special Human Geography Information System that uses a unique satellite constellation for collecting data in areas not commercially available. A human geography information system uses satellite imagery as the baseline and overlays the satellite maps with datasets and other detailed information covering history, culture, education, economy, religion, weather and political landscapes,. In addition, a good human geography system can map and even predict stresses that may change the dynamics of a target area as it relates to regional security.
Chinese military strategists have for millenniums been fascinated by asymmetric methods of warfare. China has no illusions about its military inferiority vis-à-vis the United States and knows that the status is likely to endure for at least two decades. As such the PLA has been developing a full range of asymmetric strategies to deter the US until its military reaches maturity. Aware of the US dependence on space and satellite communications to conduct even the most basic military operations, the PLA has for the past decade invested significant amounts to develop anti-satellite weapons.
Vladimir Putin is inching closer to his goal of turning Russia into a major transit route for trade between eastern Asia and Europe by prying open North Korea, a nuclear-capable dictatorship isolated for half a century. Russia last month completed the first land link that North Korea’s Stalinist regime has allowed to the outside world since 2003. Running between Khasan in Russia’s southeastern corner and North Korea’s rebuilt port of Rajin, the 54-kilometer rail link is part of a project President Putin is pushing that would reunite the railway systems of the two Koreas and tie them to the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Iran is looking to join the Brics nations in order to subvert US-imposed sanctions which have been crippling the country’s oil-based economy.
Iran, which continues to enjoy a relatively cosy relationship with the Brics countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – despite a severe economic clampdown, has been scouting for opportunities across the world in order to boost its oil resources, the nerve-centre of the country’s economy. “Iran supports the Brics group and is prepared for membership and presence in Brics’s fund,”
After finding favour with energy resource-rich countries such as Nepal and Bhutan, India’s proposal for a common power market in South Asia is now gaining traction with power-deficit countries of the region like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. While Indian power companies have a strong footprint in the hydropower sectors of Bhutan and Nepal, estimated to have generation potential of 30,000 mw 40,000 mw respectively, they have now found toeholds in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Pakistan, too, has solicited Indian investment in its power sector.
Middle East oil and gas production growth prospects have been dimmed by a slump in exploration license awards, drilling activity and average reserves found per well over the last few years, according to analysts Wood Mackenzie.
There was a sharp rise in licensing for international oil companies in the Middle East in the last decade – ranging from Iraq oil exploration to Qatari LNG projects – with drilling activity and the reserves found per well surging in the years that followed as a result.
Kenya has moved a step closer to becoming an oil exporter after a new discovery in the north of the country. British company Tullow Oil announced in late September that drilling work had revealed the presence of oil in the Auwerwer and Upper Lokone sandstone reservoirs. The company will now carry out further tests. For the company, which began drilling in Kenya last year, this is the fourth consecutive discovery of oil there. Earlier this year, the firm decided there was enough oil for commercial exploitation of reserves in the country’s Turkana area.
The SCO summit in Bishkek clearly affirmed China’s ambitious intentions and strategy for the SCO. As policy, China appears to be using multilateralism as a tool and a tactic, and not as an intergovernmental mechanism or institutional arrangement. According to Professor Song Xinning of Renmin University, “Since the 1990s, China has used multilateralism to solve bilateral issues — to this end, multilateral meetings are a useful platform to negotiate bilaterally. But we are still uncomfortable with multilateralism, and prefer bilateralism and multi-polarity.”
The Chinese presence in the Tanzanian economy is growing rapidly as the eastern giant intensifies its quest for natural resources and a gateway to other African states. But many Tanzanians are concerned that their country will not be the main beneficiary of the big government-to-government deals and worry about the secrecy surrounding them. Details are hard to uncover as the infrastructure contracts are not awarded by competitive tender and government ministries are extremely reluctant to provide information. Tanzanian MP John Mnyika complained that not even Parliament is informed.
Israel, alarmed at the prospect of a U.S.-Iranian rapprochement, is reported to be discussing the possibility of an anti-Iran alliance with longtime Arab adversaries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a project that could have immense ramifications in the Middle East.
If talks are under way, they’re in large part the result of many secret meetings between Israeli and Arab intelligence chiefs and other senior officials that have been held over several years, often in the Jordanian capital Amman.
Israel is being advised to take legal, and possibly even military action in response to Lebanon’s issuing of an offshore energy exploration license that encroaches on Israel’s territorial waters. Early last month, Lebanon issued licenses in five blocks of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). One of those licenses expanded the territory into Israel’s EEZ, with Lebanon announcing that the area had a high potential for natural gas discovery.
Globes reports that international law experts are telling Israel that it must respond – either in court or through military force – or risk losing some of its maritime territory.
With the U.S. economy lagging, however, and as the American government continues to pile up debt, many parties are looking for alternatives to the dollar. OPEC, for example, plans to begin pricing oil using a basket of currencies and may start doing so as soon as 2018. Such moves suggest that the dollar may slowly be losing its position as the premier global reserve currency. China has been working diligently to position the renminbi as a global alternative to the dollar. Already, China has set up direct currency swapping agreements with several countries, including Brazil, the US, and Japan.
“The free-trade zone [will] play an important role in China’s next round of reforms and opening up, the success of which will be crucial to invigorating the economy and unleashing its growth potential,” said Jian Chang, China economist at Barclays. Major financial reforms are also expected to be carried out, including easing capital controls for firms in the zone by allowing full yuan convertibility and removing restrictions on bank interest rates.
The U.S. is refocusing its attention on the Pacific at a time when its NATO partners may need to depend more heavily on American maritime power, an American Enterprise Institute report says. “The US must recognize that even with its navy declining in size, over time, it will comprise an increasing percentage of alliance striking power,” says the report, “NATO at Sea, Trends in Allied Naval Power,” released this week. Despite NATO taking its name from the ocean that ties Canada and the U.S. to their European allies, for most of NATO’s history the alliance focused primarily on land power, the report notes.
Bad times are coming for India, says Jim Rogers. So where does the high-profile investor suggest for the next emerging-markets gold rush? “You should get on the next plane you can and head to Myanmar or North Korea — maybe Angola,” Rogers told BBC Radio 4 reporter Simon Jacks. In those Asian countries in particular, “there are extraordinary things happening — positive things happening,” he says. All those countries could do with a boost. Myanmar — the former Burma — is ranked among the 10 worst economies in the world (Angola’s on that list too), while North Korea’s unstable currency is only one of the factors making it tricky to invest in the “Hermit Kingdom”.
Navy and Air Force personnel with the AirSea Battle office are in the early phases of putting some substance to the concept the two services have trotted out before Congress since the announcement of the Pacific Pivot two years ago.“We’re looking out ahead about how we can take some of these concepts in AirSea Battle and put them through force development activities, exercises, wargames and experimentation,” Col. Jordan Thomas, Air Force lead in the Pentagon’s AirSea Battle office, told Military.com.
China has inked a deal to farm three million hectares (about 11, 583 square miles) of Ukrainian land over the span of half a century—which means the eastern European country will give up about 5% of its total land, or 9% of its arable farmland to feed China’s burgeoning population. Under the deal between China’s Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, or XPCC, and KSG Agro, an Ukrainian agricultural company, crops and pigs raised in the eastern region of Dnipropetrovsk will be sold at preferential rates to two Chinese state-owned grain firms.
We all know that, since the end of the Cold War, the US military has vastly expanded its ability to precisely strike targets on the land. The dirty secret is that we’ve unilaterally disarmed our capability to strike ships at sea.
The military calls this a “capability gap,” but it’s more like a gaping hole. Specifically, it’s a hole in the long-range arsenal required to wage a future “Air-Sea Battle” against an “anti-access/area denial” (A2/AD) defense-in-depth backed by a capable naval force like China’s.
From DARPA: “The objective of the XS-1 program is to design, build, and demonstrate a reusable Mach 10 aircraft capable of carrying and deploying an upper stage that inserts 3,000- 5,000 lb. payloads into low earth orbit (LEO) at a target cost of less than $5M per launch. The XS-1 program envisions that a reusable first stage would fly to hypersonic speeds at a suborbital altitude. At that point, one or more expendable upper stages would separate and deploy a satellite into Low Earth Orbit.
Formally, the mission of the Japan’s Navy remains protection of sea lines of communication and defense of the homeland in the event of direct invasion. But the current mid-term defense plan and the creation of a more “dynamic defense” strategy to counter China has seen the focus shift from the north-western Pacific to supporting US Navy carrier strike groups in the seas surrounding Japan. Invasion forces at sea are now presumed to come from China, not Russia.
The largest developing nations for the first time have the worst market opportunities as optimism for stronger growth shifts to the U.S. and Europe, according to a Bloomberg Global Poll. India fared the poorest, followed by Brazil, Russia and China, a worldwide poll of investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers showed this week. The number of respondents who see the European Union as one of the two best opportunities rose to 34 percent, its best showing in the poll dating to 2009, with the U.S. at 51 percent.
U.S. military researchers are asking industry for ideas on a futuristic uniform for Special Operations warfighters that involves agile air-conditioned armor with embedded computers, sensors, communications radios and antennas, signal processors, wearable displays, and health-monitoring systems.The goal is to integrate technologies from research projects focused on far-ridgeline capabilities into a battle suit to protect future Special Operations warfighters.
“Warplanes and military transporters” have reportedly been moved to Britain’s Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus in the latest sign of the allied forces’ preparations for a military strike on Syria amid bellicose rhetoric against the Syrian government. Two commercial pilots who regularly fly from Larnaca, Cyprus, claim to have spotted C-130 transport planes from their own aircraft and small formations of possibly European fighter jets from their radar screens, according to the Guardian.Akrotiri airbase is less than 100 miles from Syria, making it a likely hub for a bombing campaign. Residents near the airfield confirmed to the Guardian that “activity there has been much higher than normal over the past 48 hours.”
The BRICS member-countries have come close to establishing a reserve bank which will operate as a stabilization fund, Chinese Finance Minister Chen Zhu Guangyao said. Should such a fund be set up, it will prove helpful in restricting the dollar’s influence on the developing countries’ economies, experts say. Brazil came up with the initiative to set up a reserve bank in 2012. A relevant agreement was signed in March this year. The joint fund of the BRICS member-states is meant for offering support to the countries united in the BRICS Group in case their economic indices start to deteriorate.
To strengthen protection of Japan’s outlying islands, the Defense Ministry will set up a preparatory force next fiscal year that will eventually become a Japanese version of the U.S. Marines, sources said. The new force will be tasked with making amphibious assaults to take back Japanese islands that have been invaded by foreign militaries. Japan’s amphibious force will likely be an expansion of the Western Army’s Infantry Regiment, which has been the core unit in charge of defending outlying islands and has conducted joint training drills with the U.S. Marines for that purpose.
“We’re developing fully adaptive and autonomous capabilities that aren’t currently available in jammers,” said research engineer Stan Sutphin. “We believe a cognitive electronic warfare approach, based on machine-learning algorithms and sophisticated hardware, will result in threat-response systems that offer significantly higher levels of electronic attack and electronic protection capabilities, and will provide enhanced security for U.S. combat aircraft.” As the engagement progresses, the next-generation system is designed to adapt. It will assess how effective its jamming is against the threat and quickly modify its approach if necessary.
The military’s advanced research group recently put out a call, or Request For information, on how it could develop systems that go beyond machine learning, Bayesian techniques, and graphical technology to solve “extraordinarily difficult recognition problems in real-time.” What DARPA is interested in is looking at mimicking a portion of the brain known as the neocortex which is utilized in higher brain functions such as sensory perception, motor commands, spatial reasoning, conscious thought and language. Specfically, DARPA said it is looking for information that provides new concepts and technologies for developing what it calls a “Cortical Processor” based on Hierarchical Temporal Memory.
No. President Enrique Peña Nieto is proposing constitutional changes that would open the door for private companies, including international oil majors, to explore for and produce petroleum in partnership with the government and its oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos. The company, known as Pemex, has had a monopoly on production for 75 years, and will remain state-owned. Mexico will keep ownership of the reserves and will share profits with oil companies that find and produce the oil. That is a big change from the past, where Pemex only paid companies a fee for contract work, but it falls short of sharing the oil itself, which many oil companies wanted.
Iraq’s Kurdistan region has started to export crude oil by truck to an Iranian port for shipping to Asia, industry sources say, using a trade route that is likely to anger both Baghdad and Washington The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has reportedly approved a second route for crude through Iran after Turkey, although a KRG official denies any crude was going through Iran yet. Iraq’s Kurdistan region is exporting crude oil by truck to an Iranian port for shipping to Asia, industry sources say, using a trade route that is likely to anger both Baghdad and Washington.
An airborne ground surveillance radar developed by Cassidian was recently demonstrated in flight testing. The new AESA-based radar is designed to detect targets over land and sea, with maximum resolution. Cassidian defines the new system as a ‘SMART radar’, for ‘Scalable Modular Aerospace Radar Technology’, featuring software-defined sensor architecture and flexible adaptation to various manned and unmanned platforms. As part of the flight test campaign carried out from the German air base in Hohn, ‘SmartRadar’ demonstrated airborne ground surveillance capabilities achieving record detection performance.
A group of energy companies that discovered large amounts of natural gas off Israel’s Mediterranean coast said they were in talks to export the gas to Europe via a pipeline to Turkey. They are also studying options to export gas to Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, Avner Oil & Gas said on Tuesday. “The partners are negotiating with various officials,” Avner, one of the partners in the project, said. Recoverable gas in the Levant Basin, which lies largely in Israeli and Cypriot waters in the eastern Mediterranean, hold some 3.5 trillion cubic metres of gas, the U.S. Geological Survey has estimated.
Giant submarines filled with small underwater drones to protect the seas. The concept sounds like something out of a science fiction movie or a particularly trippy Sealab 2021 episode, but the U.S. military thinks it is very doable–and that it could help augment American sea power. This week, DARPA announced their new Project Hydra, an early-stage effort to fight the “rising number of ungoverned states, piracy, and proliferation of sophisticated defenses“ through autonomous underwater vehicles. Hydra itself would center around a submarine that discreetly injects unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles into warzones.
On paper, Japan is a pacifist nation. It ranks 6th on the Global Peace Index, a list tabulated by peace activists at Vision of Humanity. Japan’s constitution makes illegal a traditional standing army. But a recently published defense white paper shows the extent to which the country has one of the most well-equipped “invisible” armies in the world. Japan’s armed forces are euphemistically dubbed the “Self Defense Force” (SDF) — officially it’s an extension of the police. But with the world’s 6th best-equipped troops and a nearly $60 billion defense budget last year, the SDF is not composed of your average beat cops.
A $US500 million Chinese-built port opens this week in Sri Lanka, giving Beijing a vital foothold on the world’s busiest international shipping lane as it seeks to secure maritime supply routes. The massive terminal in Colombo is located mid-way on the lucrative east-west sea route and has facilities on a par with Singapore and Dubai. The Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT), which is 85 per cent owned by the state-run China Merchant Holdings International, is designed to handle mega ships – a first for Sri Lanka which is aiming to become the region’s shipping hub.
Russia has started to create a single defense center commanding all military and emergency operations, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday. “We’ve started to create such a Center. We have already defined its principal shapes and parameters,” Shoigu told a meeting held at Rzhevka firing range in the north-western Leningrad region. According to the minister, the National State Defense Center will supervise strategic nuclear forces, military administration issues and everyday life of the Armed Forces. It will also gather and analyze information about combat training, emergency situations in the armed forces as well as non- military-related emergencies.
The Hydra program will develop and demonstrate an unmanned undersea system with a new kine of unmanned-vehicle delivery system that inserts UAVs and UUVs. stealthily into operational environments to respond quickly to situations around the world without putting U.S. military personnel at risk. The Hydra large UUV is to use modular payloads inside a standardized enclosure to deploy a mix of UAVs and UUVs, depending on the military situation.
With “initial operational capability” reached last July 1, the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in NATO, located at the base of Madrid and led by a Spanish General, Ruben Garcia Servet. This general in the Air Force will have 185 soldiers under his command, of which 44 Spanish, and civilians, but for now the CAOC template has 95 personnel, who will deal with the air defense of an area that stretches from the Canary Islands to Turkey, and also in this country including Spain , Portugal , Italy , Greece, Slovenia , Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania , Hungary and Albania.
A potential nucleus for a Japanese marine force exists in the form of the Ground Self-Defense Force Western Army Infantry Regiment, which was founded in 2002 with 660 troops to deal with emergencies on the islets that dot the ocean between Japan’s main islands and Taiwan and are claimed by rival parties, according to that year’s defense white paper. China has raised its amphibious capabilities, a report by the U.S. Defense Department said in May, with three brigades and two divisions deployed near the Taiwan Strait, while the Chinese navy has 55 large and medium-size amphibious transport and landing ships.
The Defense Ministry will explain its plans to boost the amphibious and pre-emptive strike capabilities of the Self-Defense Forces. The move underscores the focus the ministry is putting on defending the nation’s outlying islands as tensions with China continue to simmer over the Senkaku Islands dispute. The SDF currently does not have a military branch equivalent to the U.S. Marine Corps. SDF personnel are mainly tasked with landing on enemy-controlled terrain by air or sea ahead of other forces
The much-publicised agreement to speed work on developing a 2,000-km trade corridor linking Gwadar Port on Pakistan’s Makran Coast to Kashgar in China’s Xingjian province has been called a “game changer” by Sharif. While credit must be given to the Pakistan premier for his plans to speed up this ambitious project — perceived as pivotal to the country’s economic prosperity — there are several underlying factors, especially security and political differences within Balochistan, that will have to be incorporated in policy formulation for the corridor’s implementation.
Oil-rich Nigeria has an estimated 37.3 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves as of 2011, according to the “Oil & Gas Journal,” something that makes it appealing to China. “It’s a long-standing policy of China to try to gain access to both energy and other natural resources around the world, but heavily in Africa,” Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., said. China gave Nigeria a $1.1 billion low-interest loan, it was announced this week, and in return China can expect more Nigerian oil, going up from 20,000 barrels per day to 200,000 by 2015.
Israel’s armed forces – the most powerful and best equipped in the Middle East – are changing. Older tanks and aircraft will be retired. Some 4,000 – maybe even more – professional career officers will be dismissed. A range of other changes over the next five years are intended to make the Israeli military leaner but more effective. Elements of the plans were set out by the Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, earlier this week. Once implemented, they promise what some analysts have described as “a revolution” in Israel’s military affairs.
The Air Force of the future is likely to be slightly smaller and more reliant on remotely piloted aircraft, face growing challenges from the rise of Asia and rapidly increasing space traffic, and struggle to maintain its technological superiority as the United States produces fewer scientists, engineers and other highly skilled graduates. In the report, called “Global Horizons: United States Air Force Global Science and Technology Vision,” Maybury said that the Air Force’s manned air fleet is likely to shrink slightly by 2027. But the Air Force’s fleets of remotely piloted aircraft and their missions are likely to grow.
The Commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet addressed a recent report Thursday at the Pentagon that outlines a growing Chinese intercontinental ballistic threat that estimates that the Chinese could have over 100 ICBMs able to reach the U.S. in 15 years.
The report in question, called the 2013 Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat Assessment from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, called China’s ballistic missile development program the “most active and diverse” in the world.
India and South Korea share remarkable common interests – all the more remarkable considering how far apart they are geographically, in area, population, average income, living conditions and climate. And then consider how different are Indians and Koreans in ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, religious beliefs and influences. It’s hard to imagine two such important nations and societies with so little in common, yet so closely bound by security and economic considerations.
China and Pakistan set their sights Friday on developing a transport link from northwestern China through rugged Pakistani mountains to the Arabian Sea, a route they hope will boost economic growth and slash shipping times. A broad agreement for the “economic corridor” was among eight pacts signed following a meeting in Beijing between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The transport link was described as a “long-term plan” to connect the Chinese city of Kashgar to the port of Gwadar, more than 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) away across the towering Karakoram mountains and Pakistan’s lawless Baluchistan province.
Jiaolong, the manned deep-sea submersible, is helping China tap a treasure of iron-manganese deposits that were first discovered in the South China Sea on Wednesday. Tang Jialing, an oceanaut on the submersible, told Xinhua News Agency that although the exact area of the deposits was still unknown, he was sure that it was large. “Since one of the samples was broken by the sub’s robotic arm, a round core inside could be identified as volcanic lava. The materials covering the core are iron and manganese oxides, which need tens of thousands of years to form,” he said.
“The SBIRS program delivers timely, reliable and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, combatant commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers,” Lockheed Martin said.
The aerospace manufacturer said the system, in addition to enhancing global missile launch detection capability, would support the ballistic missile defense system, expand technical intelligence gathering capacity and bolster situational awareness for fighters on a battlefield.
International concerns have been raised by Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal, while Beijing has faced much criticism for its co-operation over nuclear energy with Islamabad.
Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who turned the country nuclear in 1998, sought Chinese assistance in the field of civil nuclear technology to overcome the country’s energy crisis during a meeting with visiting Premier Li Keqiang in Islamabad last month. Indeed, there are indications that nuclear co-operation is now going to be the prime driver of the Sino-Pakistan strategic partnership.
UK defence companies would benefit from a more energetic UK-UAE bilateral relationship, especially since the UAE is keen to replace its ageing Mirage fighter jets with the BAE Systems Typhoon in a deal worth $10 billion (c. £8bn), according to a new paper from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). The British military is developing a smart presence in the region post-Afghanistan and the UAE is seeking to enhance and refresh a historical relationship as it works to contain Iran and address a myriad of geopolitical hazards and risks.
Ukraine and Turkey are considering the possibility of cooperation in the creation of a Turkish missile system, a source in the Ukrainian space industry has told Interfax-Ukraine.
“The sides discussed a number of issues of mutual interest, including the creation in Turkey of a joint space center and a testing ground for air defense systems,” he said. The source said that the sides also discussed the supply of Ukrainian engines for Turkish-produced armored vehicles.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said he had cut all diplomatic ties with Damascus on Saturday and called for a no-fly zone over Syria, pitching the most populous Arab state firmly against President Bashar al-Assad.
Addressing a rally called by Sunni Muslim clerics in Cairo, the Sunni Islamist head of state said: “We decided today to entirely break off relations with Syria and with the current Syrian regime.” He also warned Assad’s allies in the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite militia Hezbollah to pull back from fighting in Syria.
In September, America’s top special operator plans to sit down with US geographic combatant commanders to finally lay out plans for what he has been calling the “global SOF network.”
The goal of the network is to more directly link deployed special operations forces (SOF) — which conduct operations under the command of the geographic commanders, not SOCOM — to one another to share information and intelligence.
You absolutely cannot underestimate the importance of the Panama Canal to the modern global economy. The existence of the canal has done more to promote free trade and globalization than all of the international summits in history. It has massively reduced costs and transit times and allowed for much tighter economic integration between the countries of the Americas and between the Americas and the Old World. Maybe China is betting that world trade will be high enough to justify two Central American canals by the year 2025, but I believe its motivation is less economic and more geopolitical.
The Chinese plan to build a canal across Nicaragua is not the first time that that nation has been at the center of international efforts to open a new route between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. In the 19th century there were several attempts to establish a transit route or build a canal. That led to meddling by Americans, among others. These included the notorious filibustero, William Walker, who seized power in Nicaragua for a while in the 1850s, but ended up facing a firing squad.
Kazakhstan has launched a new transit railway linking China to Europe, aiming to beat rival routes for journey time in the competition to handle a growing flow of goods along the ancient Silk Road trade route.
“Kazakhstan is a virtual bridge linking the East and the West,” Yerkin Meirbekov, deputy railway department chief at Kazakhstan’s Transport Ministry, said in an interview. “You can actually say this is the revival of the Silk Road.”Centuries ago, it would take months for caravans of camels and horses from China to reach Europe across the sun-scorched steppes and deserts of Central Asia to exchange silk for medicines, perfumes and precious stones.
The Chinese company, HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Ltd., is working with the Nicaraguan government on a massive canal project experts say could take 11 years to finish, cost $40 billion and require digging about 130 miles (200 kilometers) of waterway.
Canal proponents say the waterway could create 40,000 construction jobs and essentially double the per-capita gross domestic product of Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in Latin America. The government plans to grant the Chinese company a concession for 100 years.
Pakistan’s military is all set to adopt a “new concept” of war for fighting future conventional threats, specifically pre-empting India’s cold-start military doctrine, revealed security officials.
The new war concept, developed after four years of war games and military exercises, seeks to improve the mobilisation time of troops and develop an integrated response from the combined fighting arms of the army, navy and air forces, in case of a conventional military threat.
The emerging India-Japan relationship has been met with extreme reactions – from enthusiasm and protests in India and Japan, to concern in China. This new “strategic partnership,” and particularly the nuclear cooperation under negotiation, does not portend well for Asia. P K Sundaram, a strong advocate of better relations between the people of India and Japan, tells us why. Strong ties between India and Japan can be seen as a pre-requisite for the emergence of Asia and could, in the context of a broader Asian regionalism
When the United States carried out a successful test recently of an advanced high-speed, long-range weapon ostensibly designed to reduce U.S. reliance on nuclear arms in a crisis, it set alarm bells ringing in China. DARPA Has been testing various super-fast unmanned aircraft over the past few years as part of a futuristic program called Prompt Global Strike (PGS). DARPA has been testing an experimental arrowhead-shaped plane, the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2).
Cuban security officers are studying post-communist changes in Russia — and being nicer to dissidents — in preparation for a possible transition away from the island’s totalitarian system, leading opposition activist Guillermo Fariñas said Tuesday.
Some of the officers fear a sudden collapse of the communist system and “don’t want to suffer the same fate as the followers of (Moamar) Kaddafi” in Libya, Fariñas said during a lengthy visit Tuesday to El Nuevo Herald and The Miami Herald. They favor a slow transition that would allow them to seize ownership of state enterprises..
Iran has extended two lines of credit worth a total of $4 billion to Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad and hopes to open a third to prop up the war-torn nation’s oil industry in the face of international sanctions, according to a local news report.
Syrian Central Bank Gov. Adib Mayaleh said the “soft loan” from Iran, a long-standing supporter of the Assad regime, will “finance the needs of Syrian oil and oil derivatives,” Tishreen, a government-run daily in Damascus, reported on Monday.
Israel’s activity and presence in Azerbaijan on the northern border of Iran is aimed at exerting pressure on Iran and conducting security and intelligence activity against it and at getting prepared for the delusion of bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities….Because of its strategic location, Azerbaijan offers Israel a springboard for espionage, military activity, and assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists. The paper also refers to the military contracts signed between the two states, amounting to “$1.6 billion in defensive missiles and UAVs.”
The process that created Dolly the sheep in 1996 has now been proven successful in humans. Scientists have made an embryonic clone of a person, using DNA from that person’s skin cells. In the future, such a clone could be a source of stem cells, for super-personalized therapies made from people’s own DNA.
It’s unlikely that this clone could develop into a human, say the scientists, a team of biologists from the U.S. and Thailand. The team plans to publish a paper in the future detailing why not, Nature reported.
Master Of All Remotes: (ONR) has developed a remote controller for military ground, air and undersea unmanned systems
This Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)-prescribed data model is a piece of software that enabled development of the Common Control System, which is comprised of many different common control services. TheUnmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Control Segment (UCS) software can be added to any unmanned system to make it able to communicate and work with any other. It will run on any type of platform or hardware, and it can overlay existing systems running on propriety software to make them work with any others.
Addressing the top commanders of the Indian Navy on Tuesday, Defence Minister A.K. Antony announced that additional naval bases and air stations are required to extend the Navy’s reach.
“Antony said the construction of additional bases and naval air stations in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep & Minicoy Islands is necessary to further extend our operational reach,” said a Defence Ministry statement. India is concerned about the growing Chinese maritime presence in the Indian Ocean, said an Indian Navy official.
Russia is developing a hypersonic weapon program. It involves more than 60 companies and is scheduled for completion this summer. Launched in the former USSR, hypersonic weapon research was resumed in post-Soviet Russia in 2009 under the umbrella of the state-owned Tactical Missiles Corporation.
Hypersonic missiles can travel at a speed surpassing that of sound (1,200 km/h) by ten or more times and are capable of penetrating any missile defense, says Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy head of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis in Moscow.
The Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari voiced Iran’s enthusiasm for stronger naval cooperation with Sudan and announced that his forces are prepared to train Sudanese naval forces.
Sudanese naval officials wave as the Iranian Navy helicopter-carrier Kharg docks at Port Sudan in October 2012 (photo Press TV)
The Iranian military official made these statements on Thursday after a meeting with the commander of Sudanese Navy, General Dalil al-Daw Mohamed Fadal-Allah who is on a visit to Teheran.
Over the past five years, Chinese businesses have been expanding their footprint in Latin America in a number of ways, beginning with enhanced trade to ensure a steady supply of bulk commodities such as oil, copper and soybeans. At this year’s Boao Forum for Asia, for the first time a Latin American sub-forum was created that included the participation of several heads of state from the region.
As the United States is drawing up plans to reduce and revamp its military presence in Central Asia and while Russia answers increasingly desperate calls for help in the region on military matters, France announced that it is beginning to dismantle its 11 year old military air presence in Tajikistan.
The force of about 230 service members, which is assigned to operational transportation is now in the process of leaving the country, but a small force of specialists will remain in Dushanbe until some time next year when they finish upgrading the runway at the Dushanbe Airport.
German-Foreign-Policy.com reports that Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defense has received the results of a study it commissioned seeking advice on counterinsurgency efforts in the wake of U.S. military drawdown in the Northern Hemisphere.
Prepared by researchers at the University of Kiel, “the counterinsurgency study calls inter alia for the stricter centralization of command authority and a drastic enhancement of the espionage apparatus” (May 2; translation ours). The report reveals a startlingly Teutonic aggression in the language used.
In a strategically significant move to counter China’s presence in the region, India has announced that it will upgrade Iran’s crucial Chabahar port that gives a transit route to land-locked Afghanistan.
India’s decision was conveyed by Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid in Tehran today during his meeting with his counterpart. An expert team from India will visit Iran to assess investment needed for the upgradation of the port on the Iran-Pakistan border facing the Arabian Sea.
Military strategists love a neat metaphor and today’s defence white paper from the Gillard government has given us a new one to bandy about.
The US had its “pivot” into the region. The white paper is asking us to envisage what it’s calling a “new Indo-Pacific strategic arc” stretching from India, through south-east Asia and north-east Asia, as our area of key strategic interest. In essence, this means more emphasis on looking west and northwest towards the Indian Ocean as well as to the north and north-east – not a revolution, but an evolution of what has been going on quietly inside defence circles for some years.
Enter the Drone Shield, created by an aerospace engineer who is seeking backing on Indigogo to bring the device to market. Essentially, the Drone Shield is built around the wildly popular Raspberry Pi, along with a signal processor, microphone and analysis software to scan for specific audio signatures. The Shield is apparently capable of comparing recorded audio signatures against sounds created by known drone aircraft. When the system identifies a specific drone, it alerts the user via e-mail or SMS.
A team of scientists in China has created hybrid viruses by mixing genes from H5N1 and the H1N1 strain behind the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and showed that some of the hybrids can spread through the air between guinea pigs. The results are published inScience1. Flu hybrids can arise naturally when two viral strains infect the same cell and exchange genes. This process, known as reassortment, produced the strains responsible for at least three past flu pandemics, including the one in 2009. There is no evidence that H5N1 and H1N1 have reassorted naturally yet, but they have many opportunities to do so.
Thank you so much for inviting me to join you today. At the State Department, I am responsible for overseeing a wide range of defense policy issues, including missile defense policy. In this capacity, it was my responsibility and privilege to negotiate the details of the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) agreements with Poland, Romania, and Turkey that will enable the United States to implement the European Phased Adaptive Approach (or EPAA), the U.S. contribution to NATO missile defense.