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Strategy / History / Capability Ad Hoc Update (13)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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CSIS report on surprise – the author makes some valid points, and nation state opponents are usually not entirely dumb.

Mostly updates on multiple programs – F-35 problems are beginning to cascade, and this will continue as other deficiencies pile up. Some very interesting history items.


Strategy / History / Capability Publications

This Isn’t the Surprise You Were Expecting – War on the Rocks

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in “Off Guard,” a series on surprise in war inspired by a new CSIS study . Surprise is back. A generation of war where the U.S. military had overwhelming capabilities pushed surprise into the background. But today, surprise is ready to catch America off guard once more.

Coping with Surprise in Great Power Conflicts | Center for Strategic and International Studies

Download the Report

Artificial intelligence is accelerating — investors need to keep up

It is impossible to understate the impact looming from the rate of acceleration in machine learning. I believe almost everyone is oblivious to, or blissfully unaware of the implications for the entire human race.

Putin Says Russia’s New Weapons Can’t Be Beat. With AI and Robotics, They Can. – Defense One

Instead of single interceptors rising to meet an enemy missile, think about swarms of sub-launched UAVs armed with explosives, sensors, and brains.

DARPA Software Lets Manned/Unmanned Teams Fight Despite Jamming | Future of Aerospace content from Aviation Week

BAE Systems is developing software to enable teams of manned and unmanned aircraft to share common mission picture, exchange vital information despite jamming.

Sukhoi PAK-FA an insight in the emerging future fighter designs – Defence Aviation


Japan May Scrap Its Homegrown Fighter Jet

Tokyo is reportedly looking to modify a Western jet for its own purposes.

F-35 Parts Shortage Threatens To Hold Up Pilot Training | Defense content from Aviation Week

Pilots at the USAF’s two F-35 training hubs are suffering from a severe shortage of spare parts and limited capacity to repair those that are broken.

Cost of F-35 Block 4 Upgrade Quadruples But May Not Suffice

New F-35 modernization plan could come with hefty $16B price tag

The effort could rack up a price tag of up to $10.8 billion for development and $5.4 billion for procurement of upgrades to the F-35 between fiscal years 2018 through 2024.

Exchange Rates Nudge F-35 Price Down For Denmark | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week

Favorable foreign exchange rates are helping push down the price of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for Denmark, the Danish government has said.

The Aviationist » The Italian F-35A Stealth Jets Declared Operational In The Air-To-Air Role

The first Italian F-35A Lightning II aircraft assigned to the 13° Gruppo (Squadron) of the 32° Stormo (Wing), based at Amendola air base, in southeastern Italy, have achieved the IOC (Initial Operational Capability), the Italian Air Force has announced. Since Mar. 1, 2018, the first five stealth aircraft assigned to the Aeronautica Militare have been supporting the SSSA (Servizio Sorveglianza Spazio Aereo – Air Space Surveillance Service) with a Standard Conventional Load (SCL) that includes the AIM-120C5 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) missile. This means that, if needed, the 5th generation aircraft can undertake regular QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) shifts or be diverted from a different mission to intercept and identify unknown aircraft.

Momentum Builds For U.S. Air Force Light Attack Buy | Aviation Week & Space Technology content from Aviation Week

Support for a low-cost, light attack aircraft to fight terrorists is the strongest it has ever been.

USAF Forgoes Epawss Upgrade On F-15C Eagle | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week

The U.S. Air Force is foregoing a significant threat awareness and survivability upgrade for the Boeing F-15C and redirecting that funding toward “more critical needs,” such as Eagle life-extension efforts. The service notes in a newly released report on Air Force acquisition programs that the F-15C will not receive the Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System (Epawss) upgrade being developed by BAE Systems. The service originally planned for 413 upgrades, covering both …

B-52 Engine Competition May Begin In 2019, USAF Says | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week

The competition to replace the Boeing B-52 bomber’s outdated Pratt & Whitney TF33-103 engine could get underway in early 2019, the U.S. Air Force says.

US Air Force adds new deficiencies to KC-46’s list of problems

Two more technical problems means more bad news for the Air Force’s KC-46 program.

USAF Will Slip KC-10 Retirement If KC-46 Delays Persist | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week

As delivery of Boeing’s first KC-46A tanker to the U.S. Air Force slips further, the service will likely delay retiring the first KC-10s.

US Army Awards General Atomics a Contract to Develop Railguns

The contract will allow the General Atomics to evaluate and develop electromagnetic railguns

Laser rockets deployed on Marine Hornets | Combat Aircraft

America’s best-selling military aviation magazine

Iran’s New Anti-Tank Missile Looks Awfully Familiar

The Azarakhsh anti-tank missile looks like the American Sidewinder missile…and just might be.

The intel community wants to geotag photos even when terrorists have disabled the feature

IARPA director Jason Matheny provided a brief rundown of programs his agency is funding to reduce the cognitive burden on analysts.

Our reliance on space tech means we should prepare for the worst

A concerted response is needed to boost the resilience of global society to natural or man-made disruption of space-dependent services.

Why industry wants the Pentagon to consider small satellites

While small satellites remain popular around industry circles, the question of whether the technology is resilient enough for military utility remains an open question.

Russian Military Gets First Upgraded Il-76MD-M Transport | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week

The Russian defense ministry says it has received the first Ilyushin Il-76MD-M, a modernized variant of the in-service Il-76MD transport aircraft.

There Are More and More Threats that Militaries Can’t Stop. People’s Forces Can Help – Defense One

Populations are not fragile flowers – far from it. Treating them as a national-security resource can boost a society\’s resiliency, and even its deterrence.

Russia and China are forcing the Army to buy IT equipment differently

The Army is signaling it might be moving away from large programs to allow greater flexibility to insert new capability when needed.

Israel to purchase hundreds of Eitan armored fighting vehicles – Defence Blog

The Israeli Ministerial Committee on Security Affairs approved the plan to purchase hundreds of Eitan armored fighting vehicles, developed by IAI, IMI and Rafael, said in announcing by Israeli Defense Ministry. Starting in 2020, the eight-wheeled, lightweight Eitan vehicle will begin replacing the IDF’s current M113 fully tracked APCs. It combines technology from the Merkava tank and the Namer APC, but at a cheaper price. According to the Times of Israel, the upgrade is partially in response to lessons learned from the 2014 Gaza war, and is intended to give troops greater speed and mobility, as well as better security, the statement said. “We can now state that within a decade, the IDF ground forces will undergo a dramatic upgrading of its capabilities,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said, noting that much of the technology would be developed and built in Israel, boosting the economy. Weighing in at 30 to 35 tons, a prototype of the Eitan, Israel’s first 8×8 wheeled APC, was first revealed in early August 2016. The Eitan APC’s ability to navigate roads and varied battlefield environments up to 90 kph means it does not require the assistance of a military truck to move around, giving it an edge over other battle vehicles.

This Video Shows Why Russia’s ‘Big Guns’ Are So Lethal | The National Interest Blog

Artillery-spotting drones and guided shells are not the only growing developments in the Russian army.

Russia-backed separatists showed improvised 23 mm heavy sniper rifle – Defence Blog

Russian-led separatist fighters have released video footage showing the improvised 23 mm heavy sniper rifle called the Separatist. The Separatist is a self-made heavy sniper rifle that fires a massive 23mm projectile developed by militants who took over government buildings in Donetsk and Lugansk regions in Ukraine and were consistently labeled as “separatists” and “terrorists” by the Ukrainian government and the western media. According to the video, the new sniper rifle is capable fires at the maximum range of 3,000 m. Its primarily intended to defeat enemy forces hidden behind fortified walls and to destroy light armored vehicles. The 23mm sniper rifle designed on a special heavy-duty, adjustable tripod assembly designed to absorb some of the inherently violent recoil natural to a weapon of this caliber. The rifle has a number of disadvantages, including high weight and low accuracy.

U.S. Army Squads Getting New Marksman Rifles

The new rifle is the same weapon issued to army snipers.

Rheinmetall set to supply the Australian Defence Force with over 200 Boxers – Defence Blog

The Prime Minister of Australia, The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull MP, has announced today that Rheinmetall has been selected by the Australian Government to provide its next generation 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRVs) as part of plans to modernise the Australian Army under the Land 400 Phase 2 Project. The multi-billion dollar project will see Rheinmetall deliver at least 211 of the latest generation Boxer 8×8 vehicles, with Rheinmetall’s advanced Lance 30mm turret fitted to the reconnaissance variants. To deliver the project Rheinmetall will establish a state of the art Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) near Brisbane in partnership with the Queensland State Government. The MILVEHCOE will serve as the focal point for the execution of the program and a base for the establishment of an export orientated military vehicle industrial complex in Australia. The MILVEHCOE will support the Australian Governments Defence Export Strategy that was recently announced by the Australian Minister of Defence Industry, The Honourable Christopher Pyne MP. Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall AG commented, “It is a privilege for Rheinmetall to have been selected by the Australian Government to deliver this landmark military vehicle program. The program, one of the largest in the history of Rheinmetall, will continue our successful partnership with the Australian Government that has been delivering the latest generation of military trucks to the Army.” The Boxer 8×8 provides an unparalleled level of capability in a highly mobile, survivable, adaptable vehicle that will see Australia join leading nations already using the vehicle including Germany, The Netherlands and Lithuania. The Lance turret fitted to the vehicle utilises the latest technologies that allow the Boxer CRV to be uniquely aware of its environment, with advanced systems to automatically detect, characterise and track threats on the battlefield. The turret features a range of scalable effects, including non-lethal systems, the latest air-burst cannon technologies and a guided anti-tank missile system that allows the crew to engage the most aggressive threats on the battlefield. Ben Hudson, global head of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems Division, said, “We are honoured to have been chosen by the Australian Government at the conclusion of the rigorous Land 400 Phase 2 selection process. I must pay tribute to the Rheinmetall team and our Australian partners that have contributed to Land 400; their tireless dedication over the last three years will ensure that the Australian Army receives a vehicle that allows them to fight, survive and win on the battlefields of today and tomorrow.” The MILVEHCOE will allow Rheinmetall to transfer cutting edge technologies to Australia in the areas of military vehicle design, production, turret systems, sensors, survivability, simulation and through life support. This transfer of technology, coupled with the scale of the Land 400 based Australian design and manufacturing, will underpin the establishment of an export oriented military vehicle industry that will collaborate with academic institutions in companion technologies and see significant development in small to medium businesses around Australia that cooperate with Rheinmetall through the MILVEHCOE.

Middle East countries expresses interest in 8×8 Phantom-2 UGV – Defence Blog

A growing number of countries have expressed its interest in the improved 8×8 Phantom-2 unmanned ground vehicle. The improved 8×8 Phantom-2 unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) with a light version based on the 6×6 wheeled platform was displayed during the Unmanned System Exhibition (UMEX) held in Abu Dhabi from 25–27 February. The UGV was developed by experts of Ukraine’s state-owned defence holding, UkrOboronProm. In 2017 using the hybrid warfare experience UkrOboronProm engineers worked to create e new version of the unnammed tactical multipurpose vehicle designed for reconnaissance and surveillance missions, fire support which is provided by heavy machine gun and guided anti-tank missiles and other means of damage. Phantom-2 is a unique unmanned wheeled modular complex with the possibility of creating an entire family of vehicles based on the platform including unmanned combat vehicle, a special unmanned ground vehicle for medical evacuation, intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance/electronic warfare complex.

MBDA unveils new generation of long range anti-ship missile at DIMDEX 2018 – Defence Blog

The industry leader in missiles and missile systems MBDA unveiled its new generation of long-range anti-ship missile Dimdex show in Doha, Qatar. During the DIMDEX 2018, the MBDA showcased Exocet MM40 Block 3 and Marte ER missiles and mock-up of modern coastal defence system. The Exocet MM40 Block 3 weapon system is the latest generation version of the Exocet family and is in operational service with several navies. Exocet MM40 Block 3 provides enhanced operational performance and technology upgrades, while minimising the impact on procurement and logistic support costs. Exocet MM40 Block 3’s Mission Planning software module automatically computes engagement plans to support firing decisions. The flexibility of the Exocet MM40 Block 3 weapon is further enhanced by the accuracy of the new navigation package, allowing optimised 3D approach trajectories and terminal attacks from different azimuths, at very low sea skimming altitude with simultaneous time on target. The terminal guidance relies on a sophisticated J-band active seeker to discriminate and select targets at sea and on the GPS accuracy for land targets. Exocet MM40 Block 3 is compatible with most of the logistic support assets already in service. Its launching system is interoperable with all MM40 versions, thus enabling a smooth transition to Block 3.

Missile sale from France to Egypt depends on US permission, Dassault head says

The French government must seek U.S. authorization before selling French Scalp cruise missiles with American components to Egypt, said Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

Russia’s anti-ship missile is a Harpoon ripoff – Business Insider

It’s called the SS-N-25 Switchblade.

Saudi Arabia nears Typhoon jet deal with BAE – BBC News

Saudi Arabia moves closer to a deal for 48 jets as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wraps up a UK visit.

Brazilian Super Tucano intercepts plane with 500 kg cocaine cargo – Defence Blog

The A-29 Super Tucano turboprop attack aircraft of Brazilian Air Force (FAB) intercepted a twin-engine Piper Seneca turboprop with 500 kg cocaine cargo flying over the country’s airspace without a flight plan. According to the planobrazil.com, the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) intercepted the privately owned Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II aircraft with registration PR-EBF with more than 500 kg of cocaine at around 2 pm EST on Tuesday (6/3 ), in the region of Nova Fernandópolis (MT). The Brazilian Air Force aims to root out illegal aerial activity in the border regions with Bolivia and Paraguay, used for smuggling cocaine. The operation involves around 800 military personnel and more than 30 aircraft, including E-99 airborne early warning and control aircraft, R-35A and RA-1 reconnaissance aircraft, as well as AH-2 Sabre and H-60 Black Hawk combat helicopters.

World news – SIPRI: Arms sale grew by 10% in world, largest exporters are USA, Russia – 112.international

Top five also includes France, Germany and China

How Much Do America’s Arms Makers Depend on Foreign Metal? No One Seems to Know – Defense One

Certainly, no one seemed concerned about it until Trump’s tariffs sent them scrambling to find out.

A Lot of What We Think We Know about World War II Is Wrong | The National Interest Blog

A new book challenges conventional wisdom.

The Spanish Flu a Century Later: 2018 Is Not That Different from 1918 | Center for Strategic and International Studies

The Spanish influenza cataclysm ignited 100 years ago this month. A startlingly dangerous molecular mutation, utterly unforeseen, ushered in a flu that swiftly tore through armies, public health defenses, and geographic barriers. It took full advantage of the disorder of World War I and the profound changes wrought by modernization. It leaped across oceans and sped along transportation pathways. Ultimately, it left in its wake over 50 million dead, before immunities and health systems caught up and the world eventually restabilized.

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