Tag Archives: strategic

Strategic Stability in the Second Nuclear Age

By on Monday, November 24th, 2014

Since the end of the Cold War, a new nuclear order has emerged, shaped by rising nuclear states and military technologies that threaten stability, writes George Mason University’s Gregory Koblentz in a new Council Special Report.

During the Cold War, the potential for nuclear weapons to be used was determined largely by the United States and the Soviet Union. Now, with 16,300 weapons possessed by the seven established nuclear-armed states—China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—deterrence is increasingly complex. Since most of these countries face threats from a number of potential adversaries, “changes in one state’s nuclear policy can have a cascading effect on the other states.”

Though many states are downsizing their stockpiles, Asia is witnessing a buildup; Pakistan has the fastest-growing nuclear program in the world. By 2020, it could have a stockpile of fissile material that, if weaponized, could produce as many as two hundred nuclear devices. The author identifies South Asia as the region “most at risk of a breakdown in strategic stability due to an explosive mixture of unresolved territorial disputes, cross-border terrorism, and growing nuclear arsenals.”

Emerging technologies such as missile defenses, cyber and antisatellite weapons, and conventional precision strike weapons pose additional risks, Koblentz warns, and could potentially spur arms races and trigger crises.

“The United States has more to lose from a breakdown in strategic stability than any other country due to its position as a global leader, the interdependence of its economy, and the network of security commitments it has around the world,” he asserts. The United States and Russia still possess more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. Despite the increasing chill in U.S.-Russia relations, Washington’s highest priority should be to maintain strategic efforts with Russia and China, the two states with the capability and potential intent to launch a nuclear attack on the American homeland.

The United States should work with other nuclear states to address sources of instability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term, writes Koblentz. He urges the Obama administration to

  • enhance initiatives that foster transparency, confidence-building, and restraint to mitigate the risk that emerging technologies will trigger arms races, threaten the survivability of nuclear forces, or undermine early warning and nuclear command and control systems;
  • deepen bilateral and multilateral dialogues with the other nuclear-armed states; and
  • create a forum for the seven established nuclear-armed states to discuss further steps to reduce the risk of deliberate, accidental, or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons.

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Strategic Agility Is the Future of the Air Force

As the Air Force prepares for new challenges and opportunities of the coming decades, it faces sobering 21st-century realities: global centers of power have become more distributed and the terrorism threat more dispersed. Most importantly, the emerging environment is demonstrating a trend that could prove to be the defining one of current times: the accelerating pace of change.

Thus, the Air Force’s ability to continue to adapt and respond faster than the potential adversaries is the greatest challenge it faces during the next 30 years.

To meet the challenge, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III have developed a strategic framework that will guide Air Force planning and resourcing over the next several decades. The framework has three main elements: a long-term future look that provides the vectors and imperatives necessary to guide planning activities, a 20-year resource-informed plan, and a 10-year balanced budget, based on fiscal projections.

The first document of the trilogy, “America’s Air Force: A Call to the Future,” is the cornerstone guidance for a unified path to the future. The document emphasizes the need for strategy-driven resource decisions. But more important is the courage to make bold change, because Airmen must think and do things differently to thrive in the 21st century.

In an era defined by rapid change, the institution that can keep pace in its processes, thinking, and actions will be the one best poised for success in deterring conflict, and winning should a fight be required. This is what “A Call to the Future” refers to as strategic agility.

Agility combines the attributes of flexibility and adaptability to leverage speed. The rate at which the Air Force develops capabilities needs to increase to match the pace of change and the opportunities to incorporate new technologies and improve existing systems.

James explained further that, “In addition to strategic agility, our nation demands an Air Force capable of harnessing diverse ideas and perspectives. Diversity, total force integration, and building internal and external partnerships provide the nation with the Air Force it expects, deserves, and needs.”

The most important responsibility of a military service is to provide decision makers with viable solutions for the challenges of tomorrow and, true to Air Force heritage, it will meet that challenge. The Air Force will continue to deliver enduring, responsive airpower for national security through both the strength of Airmen and the responsive and effective application of global vigilance, global reach, and global power for America.

As Welsh stated earlier in 2014, “The five core missions of the Air Force are not going to change. These missions are what the combatant commanders and the nation expect us to provide, but the way we think about how they are provided has to change. The Air Force must have the strategic agility required to successfully respond to the complex challenges that will confront our nation.”

America’s Air Force: A Call to the Future (24 downloads)

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Indonesia’s PT PAL Signs Contract to Supply Strategic Sealift Vessels to the Philippines

18 Juli 2014

Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL has signed a contract to supply two strategic sealift vessels (SSVs) to the Philippine Navy (PN). (image : Defense Studies)

PT PAL executive Edy Andarto confirmed to IHS Jane’s on 17 July that the contract – worth USD92 million – was signed with the PN in June and calls for the vessels to be supplied in 2016 and 2017.

The contract also stipulates a requirement for PT PAL to provide an integrated support package that will enable Philippine industry to undertake maintenance and support of the SSVs in partnership with the PN.

Discussions over the SSV contract had continued since January when PT PAL emerged as the sole bidder in the programme.


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Finmeccanica Signs Strategic Agreements with China

By on Friday, June 13th, 2014

At the Italy-China Business Forum under way in Beijing, Mauro Moretti, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Finmeccanica, has signed two agreements of strategic importance for the Group.

The agreements were signed in the presence of Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi and Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang.

The first agreement is a Memorandum of Understanding between Finmeccanica-AgustaWestland and Beijing Automotive Industrial Corporation (BAIC) to pave the way to industrial cooperation for the marketing, maintenance and training for helicopters to be used exclusively for public purposes.

As a result of the agreement Finmeccanica-AgustaWestland may soon be supplying the Chinese market with 50 helicopters over a five-year period.

The second agreement concerns a memorandum between Ansaldo STS, a Finmeccanica company, and United Mechanical and Electrical Co. Ltd., for the execution of four projects (Hangzhou Line 4, Dalian Lines 1&2 extension, Shenyang Line 1, Xi’an Line 2) involving the supply of signalling systems based on CBTC technology. The company has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which the same Chinese company commits to negotiating the contracts related to the two projects (Chengdu Line 1 and 2, and Wenzhou S1).

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Close Air Support Key to Strategic Success

Before the sun rises, the sound of an F-16 Fighting Falcon can be heard taking off, breaking the dull silence of the morning as they participate in a two week close-air support training exercise with various squadrons and units.

Known as CAS, the training uses military aircraft in an attack against enemy ground forces that are in close proximity to friendly forces. This requires detailed coordination with ground troops and is typically conducted by joint terminal attack controllers. The use of CAS during wartime can be a critical strategic military tactic that has serious impacts on the outcome of ground warfare.

All pilots assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing are participating in this training exercise with each pilot expected to fly approximately four hours a day. During the exercise, pilots fly as low as 1,000 feet and communicate with JTACS on the ground who are calling in simulated air strikes.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to participate in this training,” said Capt. Connor Flynt, the 510th Fighter Squadron standards and evaluation chief. “We are accomplishing a great amount due to the training we are receiving. And all the work that is being done behind the scenes is much appreciated.”

This training includes coordination with various units such as the 31st Security Forces Squadron, 31st Maintenance Squadron and the 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

The training not only included Aviano Airmen, but Army paratroopers from the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, as well as Airmen stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The training included jumping from a C-130 Hercules, clearing airport areas, aircraft landing, loading service members and departure. Once on the ground, Airmen and Soldiers then participated in an airfield seizure training operation on Rivolta Italian air force base.

“This is a very unique exercise because it’s rare that we get to fly with all these different agencies,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Austin, 510th Fighter Squadron commander. “This training helps practice what we would be doing if we are called in for a deployment.”

In order for the exercise to go off without a hitch, Airmen worked around the clock to ensure jets were ready and mission capable. From sunset to sunrise, maintainers were on the flightline armed with flashlights and tools ready to service, refuel and perform routine maintenance on any jet that needed it.

According to Flynt, their skills and assistance are an essential part of the exercise because without them, jets would not be able to fly rendering the exercise itself obsolete. In all, maintainers serviced more than 30 jets during the exercise and up to six jets a day.

“I want to say thank you to everyone on base that made this training realistic,” said Austin. “This training was not easy to coordinate and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. I believe that this training saves lives and we have been given the chance to do just that.”

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Aselsan Developing Multimission Phased-Array Strategic Radar for Turkey

By on Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Turkey has awarded its biggest defense company, Aselsan, a contract for the design, development, and production of a domestically-executed strategic radar. The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) signed the deal with Aselsan in early August.

The multimission phased-array radar, known as CAFRAD Faz-1, is expected to be similar to the ALPHA multimission M-2258 advanced lightweight phased-array naval radar. That radar – developed by Israel’s IAI and Elta for blue water and littoral warfare support – was selected by the Israeli Navy for upgrades to existing vessels and to equip new-build ships.

A project like the CAFRAD Faz-1 is quite ambitious for Aselsan, which is undertaking for the first time the development of such a complex radar. Regardless of any potential shortcomings in technological advancements during the developmental process, Aselsan is still optimistic that it will meet a timetable for delivery completions between 2014 and 2018. To speed the system’s development and leverage the country’s most advanced scientific minds, Aselsan has partnered with the state scientific research institute TÜBITAK.

The first phase of the project will entail the development of an illumination radar and a non-rotating identification friend or foe (IFF) system. This will pave the way for the much more difficult second phase that involves the development of long-range surveillance and multifunctional radars.

An Aselsan official said the CAFRAD demonstrator would equip the TF-2000, a Turkish developed air defense frigate, incorporating the primary antenna in the mast architecture. It will handle the vessel’s combat management and area air defense missile systems. For this effort, more sophisticated tests and development are not expected to start until after 2014.

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Aero-India 2013: India Becoming a Strategic Growth Market for IAI

With annual sales of over US$3.4 billion, and orders backlog exceeding nine billion US$, IAI is ranked among Israel’s top five industries. As Israel’s largest aerospace and defense exporter, and an important supplier for India’s military services, IAI is involved in major programs that implements most advanced technologies.

New opportunities and growing competition are driving IAI to expand its Indian operations over a wider spectrum, entering new fields where it wasn’t present before. Carrying the company into the next decade, IAI’s President and CEO Joseph Weiss defines several pillars for IAI’s activities, including missiles, unmanned systems, special mission aircraft and network centric warfare – all are considered to be IAI’s primary growth engines.

IAI’s President and CEO Joseph Weiss at the company's HERON UAV production line

IAI’s President and CEO Joseph Weiss at the company’s HERON UAV production line

Fuelling the anticipated growth IAI has recently raised about US$317 million in public offering of bonds issued in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The amount issued is impressive, since it is the largest offering conducted during 2012 in the Israeli capital markets. It was also IAI’s third and largest bond issuance. According to Weiss, it demonstrated the investor’s confidence in the company and its ability to maintain its competitive advantage over the long term, despite the challenges.


Visit IAI at Aero-India 2013 – Hal 6

In recent years India has become a strategic market for IAI, one that has the volume, requirements and sustainment to maintain long-term growth. Activities currently underway and also in the making are covering the broad areas of activities at IAI. To bring the corporate to focus on this strategic market IAI’s board of director nominated Eli Elfasi as VP for India. Before joining IAI Elfasi served as the Israeli Defense Attaché in New Delhi. He is expected to focus the company’s activities currently running in parallel lines, improving the synergy between the different divisions, plants and activities. The new function is expected to leverage new opportunities and better face growing competition.

“IAI is expanding its cooperation with local Indian companies, in the public and private sector alike.” Weiss told Defense Update, “Through this cooperation we seek to establish local production, service, and support for our products, as well as offering the necessary technology transfer and training for successful induction into service”. According to Weiss, through this continuous process local partners have successfully established and sustained domestic operations, a process that has also contributed to increasing IAI’s footprint in this important market.

Four Pillars for Growth

As for IAI’s pillars of growth, in the missiles domain, IAI sees the air and missile defense as an important growth opportunity. IAI’s leading edge in this area is the comprehensive network-centric integration of such systems, as reflected in the Barak 8 program currently underway for Israeli and international customers. In the UAS area IAI’s Heron family of Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) is already positioned as a world leading UAS in terms of number of operators and operational hours.

Operating in Asia, Europe, North and Latin America and the Middle East, Herons are proving themselves on a daily basis as reliable, flexible and efficient combat-proven unmanned platforms, suitable for a wide range of missions. Of a particular value to India is the maritime surveillance version of the Heron UAS; its wide range of sensors has proved highly effective in supporting naval, maritime surveillance as well as homeland security missions.

IAI is investing much effort to further develop the Heron system, its ground segment, payloads and performance. Offering higher operating altitude, longer endurance and heavier payload capacity than most drones currently available on the world market, Heron TP is positioned to become a platform of choice for many European and Asian air forces.

IAI is optimistic about the prospects of Heron TP in international markets, particularly in Europe, where Heron TP is being considered for a number of strategic procurement programs and endorsed by domestic industrial partners in each market. These include Germany, where Rheinmetall Airborne Systems; France, where France’s largest aerospace company Dassault Aviation promotes the drone, promotes Heron TP. The Heron TP is also considered for a similar program in Poland.

In the segment of special mission aircraft IAI’s systems are already operational with a number of customers worldwide with maritime surveillance, intelligence gathering (SIGINT), and Aerial Early Warning (AEW).

IAI expects commercial aviation business line to continue and thrive, reflecting an expected recovery in the global economic market and specifically in commercial aviation. The company has recently completed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of the G280 medium-size business jet built for Gulfstream.

Space is another growth area for IAI. The company currently has several satellite programs underway, for communications and surveillance satellites. Of special importance for India is the Amos-4 satellite, built for Spacecom, it is scheduled for launch in June 2013 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Once positioned at 65°E It will cover Russia, India and the Middle East with multiple Ku and Ka transponders creating a powerful platform, enabling a wide range of cross-band, cross-beam connectivity options.

IAI has also commenced the construction of Amos 6 – the next generation communications satellite, offering new capabilities unavailable before. Other satellite projects currently on the horizon including various reconnaissance satellites based on the latest Opsat 3000 platform.

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