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Pentagon abandons plans to buy more Israeli missile defense systems – Defence Blog


The U.S. Department of Defense abandons plans to buy Israeli-made missile defense systems due to cyber vulnerabilities and other problems. according to The Times of Israel.

The Israel-based, English-language online newspaper has reported that U.S. military curbing its plans to adopt the Iron Dome missile defense system due to concerns about its compatibility with existing US technologies, scrapping its plans to buy two more batteries.

A central problem was Israel’s refusal to provide the U.S. military with Iron Dome’s source code, hampering the Americans’ ability to integrate the system into their air defenses.

Gen. Mike Murray, head of Army Futures Command, said the service identified a number of problems — including cyber vulnerabilities and operational challenges — during efforts last year to integrate elements of Iron Dome with the US Army’s Integrated Battle Command System.

“It took us longer to acquire those [first] two batteries than we would have liked,” Murray told the House Armed Service tactical air and land forces subcommittee on Thursday. “We believe we cannot integrate them into our air defense system based on some interoperability challenges, some cyber challenges and some other challenges.”

Last year, U.S.’s military magazine, Defense News, quoting the deputy in charge of the service’s air and missile defense modernization efforts, has announced that the contract to purchase two Iron Dome batteries for the U.S. Army’s interim cruise missile defense capability has been finalized.

“Now that the contract is set in stone, the Army will be able to figure out delivery schedules and details in terms of taking receipt of the systems,” Daryl Youngman told Defense News at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, on Aug. 8.

The Iron Dome is the world’s most-used system, intercepting more than 1,900 incoming targets with a success rate exceeding 90 percent since being fielded in 2011.

Iron Domedetects, assesses and intercepts a variety of shorter-range targets such as rockets, artillery and mortars. It is effective day or night and in all weather conditions including low clouds, rain, dust storms and fog. It features a first-of-its-kind multi-mission launcher designed to fire a variety of interceptor missiles.

The system can protect deployed and maneuvering forces, as well as the Forward Operating Base (FOB) and urban areas, against a wide range of indirect and aerial threats.

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U.S. Air Force complete U-2 SYERS-2C upgrades, enhancing the Dragon Lady’s imaging capability – Defence Blog


The U.S. Air Force, Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies (NYSE: UTX), and Lockheed Martin Skunk Works®(NYSE: LMT) recently completed flight testing and deployment of the latest variant of the Collins Aerospace Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS) sensor, SYERS-2C, on the U-2. With this milestone, the entire U-2 fleet has been upgraded to the premier electro-optical/infrared sensor capability which provides increased optical performance and highly accurate long-range tracking for superior threat detection in a wider range of weather conditions.

“SYERS-2C represents an evolutionary step forward for the Air Force, capitalizing on a high performing, mature system to insert substantial new capabilities into the battlespace of the future,” saidKevin Raftery, vice president and general manager, ISR and Space Solutions for Collins Aerospace. “The U-2 has been the cornerstone of the Air Force’s ISR inventory and with upgrades like SYERS-2C, the system can continue to provide increasingly valuable multi-intelligence information to the warfighter for years to come.”

The 10-band, high spatial resolution SYERS-2C sensor provides unmatched ability to find, track and assess moving and stationary targets. Developed with open mission systems standards to enable command, control and data exchange with 5th generation platforms, the sensor has become a critical asset to theater commanders bringing unique advantages to joint operations across the battlespace.

“The SYERS-2C sensor is the premier intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imaging sensor and its integration into the U-2 Dragon Lady further enhances the aircraft’s ability to provide unparalleled strategic intelligence to our warfighters,” saidIrene Helley, U-2 program director, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. “This milestone continues our commitment to increase the flexibility of the aircraft using open mission systems to support the multi-domain battlespace.”

Flying 24/7 around the world at record-high operational rates, the U-2 Dragon Lady provides unparalleled intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to meet the needs of combatant commanders every day. More than an ISR aircraft, the U-2’s unique ability to rapidly reconfigure, collect, analyze and share data with disparate systems across the battlespace is transforming warfighting operations to ensure mission success far into the future.

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U.S. forces again blocked Russian military patrols in northeast Syria – Defence Blog


U.S. forces again blocked Russian military patrols from entering the Kurdish-controlled areas in the vicinity of the town of Tel-Tamr, in the northern countryside of Al-Hasakah.

According to press reports, American military personnel again have allegedly blocked Russian military convoys trying to gain access to key oil fields in Al-Hasakah province, and the Russian forces then apparently turned back and returned to their home base.

Several armored vehicles carrying American soldiers stopped Russian military vehicles west of Al-Hasakah province while they were trying to reach the M4 highway to reach key oil fields in the province.

The tensions between U.S. and Russian military forces in northeastern Syria have been escalating as both sides try to gain control over key oil fields in the region.

According to Al-Masdar, the U.S. and Russian forces have repeatedly blocked one another from using the roads under their control in northeastern Syria, creating a cold-war-like situation in the Al-Hasakah Governorate.

Although U.S. President Donald Trump declared a decisive victory over the Daesh terror group and launched American soldiers’ withdrawal process in December 2018 – saying defeating Daesh was the sole reason for American presence in the country – the Trump administration adjusted that mission last year by assigning several hundred U.S. troops to remain to guard oil fields from the terror group, which used Syrian fuel as a key income source during its rise.

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U.S. Army Stryker armored vehicle catches fire in Poland – Defence Blog


A U.S. Army Stryker armored vehicle caught fire in Poland Saturday afternoon.

The incident according to an eyewitness happened near Gorzekaly village in northern Poland on 18 January.

As firefighters arrived, they found a Stryker armored vehicle involved in flames, according to Orzysz 998 volunteer fire brigade. Four fire brigades took part in the firefighting operation: WSP Bemowo Piskie, OSP Drygały, OSP Orzysz, JRG Pisz.

No one was injured in the fire. Two Soldiers were in the vehicle at the time the fire began and reported hearing a loud noise before smoke began seeping into the back of the cab.

The eight-wheeled Stryker combat vehicle is the U.S. Army’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team primary combat and combat support platform. Significantly lighter and more transportable than existing tanks and armored vehicles, the Stryker fulfills an immediate requirement to provide Combatant Commanders with a strategically deployable (C-17/C-5) and operationally deployable (C-130) brigade capable of rapid movement anywhere on the globe in a combat ready configuration.

The Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT) combines the capacity for rapid deployment with survivability and tactical mobility. The Stryker vehicle enables the team to manoeuvre in close and urban terrain, provide protection in open terrain and transport infantry quickly to critical battlefield positions.

Photo by Orzysz 998
Photo by Orzysz 998

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U.S. 2nd Fleet achieved full operational capability – Defence Blog


Seven months after reaching initial operational capability (IOC), U.S. 2nd Fleet (C2F) achieved full operational capability (FOC) Dec. 31, 2019.

Since its reestablishment in August 2018, Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, C2F commander, has led the resurgence of the Navy’s newest numbered Fleet, amidst a return to great power competition as outlined in the National Defense Strategy.

“Within an increasingly complex global security environment, our allies and competitors alike are well aware that many of the world’s most active shipping lanes lie within the North Atlantic,” said Lewis. “Combined with the opening of waterways in the Arctic, this competitive space will only grow, and 2nd Fleet’s devotion to the development and employment of capable forces will ensure that our nation is both present and ready to fight in the region if and when called upon.”

C2F, headquartered in Norfolk, Va., exercises operational authorities over assigned ships, aircraft and landing forces on the East Coast and the North Atlantic.

The achievement of FOC signifies C2F has reached sufficient capacity to sustain command and control over assigned forces using the operational functions and processes of the Maritime Operations Center and Maritime Headquarters, in accordance with Navy Doctrine.

C2F will primarily focus on forward operations and the employment of combat ready naval forces in the Atlantic and Arctic, and to a smaller extent, on force generation and the final training and certification of forces preparing for operations around the globe.

“Our involvement in force generation is limited to the integrated phase – the final stages of the training cycle when our ships are operating at the high-end in aggregate,” said Lewis. “This is an important distinction from the previous 2nd Fleet that disestablished in 2011 in that it aligns us with all other OCONUS numbered Fleets.”

In June, C2F led exercise Baltic Operations on behalf of Naval Forces Europe, marking it the first time the Fleet operated in the European theater since its reestablishment, leveraging increased lethality, interoperability and integrated warfighting capability with regional allies and partners.

Building its expeditionary capability, C2F established a Maritime Operations Center (MOC) this past September in Keflavik, Iceland. This forward operating MOC, made up of approximately 30 members of C2F staff, possessed the ability to command and control forces, provide basic indicators and warnings for situational awareness, and issue orders while maintaining reach-back capability to C2F headquarters.

Additionally, C2F has a trans-Atlantic outlook and understanding that it is intrinsically linked with allies and partners – both up towards the Arctic as well as across the Atlantic.

“We tirelessly work with our partner and NATO alliances to strengthen our deterrence and defense efforts throughout the Atlantic to improve upon our readiness and responsiveness,” said Lewis. “This critical relationship will continue to grow throughout the future, as we work together to ensure there is no seam in the Atlantic for our adversaries to exploit.”

By focusing on strengthening our partnerships with our Allies in the Atlantic and high-end training and employment of assigned assets, the new C2F is now fully postured to support the employment of forces, whether that is on the western or eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean, or further north into the Arctic Ocean.

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Boeing achieves significant milestone with new Laser Weapon System – Defence Blog


The world’s largest aerospace company Boeing announced that its Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) recently completed a series of key demonstrations with the U.S. Air Force and Army.

The high-energy 5kW CLWS successfully completed several demonstrations of its capabilities, validating its readiness for deployment, according to a recent company news release.

Test operators used handheld, game-style controllers to acquire, track and disable small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in flight. With the CLWS in a fixed-site configuration on a standard shipping container, the first-time system operators successfully defeated approximately 30 targets.

“We received great feedback on the ease of use and maturity of the CLWS system, and its seamless integration into the command and control (C2) network,” said Boeing CLWS Program Manager Kurt Sorenson. “In the past year, Boeing has demonstrated CLWS capabilities with first-time military operators at five test venues. They successfully engaged and defeated hundreds of UAVs with a very high success rate.”

CLWS contains an integrated counter-Unmanned Aerial System package, including a radar system for detection and a high-resolution sensor system for target identification and aimpoint selection. During the MFIX engagement, the system was successfully tasked to provide target verification using its “slew to cue” capability, which allows the radar sensor to tell the camera where to point and engage the target.

Two other High Energy Laser (HEL) weapons originally developed and delivered by Boeing were also successfully demonstrated: the Army Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser (MEHEL) on the STRYKER platform, and the large-aperture, higher-power Army High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck (HELMTT).

“Boeing’s continuous development of a range of high-energy laser weapons, from the Compact Laser Weapon System to higher-power, tactical-class systems, demonstrates the maturity of the technology,” said Ron Dauk, Boeing Laser & Electro-Optical Systems program manager. “Our proven CLWS systems are ready to provide Force Protection capability for Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) to today’s warfighter.”

Boeing delivered multiple CLWS units in 2018 to a U.S. Department of Defense customer. These units have been deployed overseas for nearly six months as part of a limited user evaluation.

CLWS on Container at Ft. Sill. The Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) successfully demonstrated defeat of fixed and rotary wing targets in the fixed-site container configuration during the Ft. Sill demonstrations. Photo courtesy of the Boeing Company.

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Lockheed Martin’s experts details laser weapon program – Defence Blog


Lockheed Martin’s experts have revealed details of directed energy and laser weapon system programs.

Directed energy and laser weapon systems are a proven solution that effectively addresses tech-driven threats with more accurate, flexible and affordable performance than offered by traditional ballistics.

“They’re designed to be precise, to yield minimal collateral damage and, in essence, offer an endless magazine,” said Dr. Rob Afzal, Lockheed Martin senior fellow, Laser and Sensor Systems. “As long as you have power, you can shoot—that’s a critical capability when you have to take on a large number of low-cost distributed threats such as a swarm of drones, each carrying a small explosive.”

Today’s directed energy weapon systems have decades of research behind them. Industry leader Lockheed Martin has spent 40 years designing and developing electromagnetic energy systems and elevating their power to create directed energy defense systems.

Powered by batteries, generators or pre-existing power sources, Lockheed Martin’s technology is a Spectrally Beam Combined fiber laser—small, powerful and extremely accurate. It uses beam-control optics and software algorithms to focus a stream of multiple kilowatt fiber lasers into a single high-quality beam.

The energy travels via mirrors, lenses and windows and can be adjusted for any atmospheric distortions on the way to its target. Normal ballistic challenges such as wind and gravity aren’t a factor, and the beam can disable a truck engine, burn through a rubber boat or bring down a drone.

“You can’t actually see the laser light, it’s invisible. The enemy wouldn’t know where the laser is coming from, they wouldn’t be able to target back. Of course, lasers travel at the speed of light,” said Sarah Reeves, vice president, Missile Defense Programs at Lockheed Martin.

Directed energy weapons’ unique characteristics change the defense equation both tactically and financially. Troops in the field needn’t worry about transporting heavy ammunition. The “ammunition” is merely the power supply, and the magazine is limitless. Their stealthy operation makes them ideal for surprise engagements—the enemy never sees it coming—and they can track and eliminate targets at both short- and long-range.

And as the Patriot missile incident illustrates, directed energy weapons offer huge potential cost savings and value added in any tactical scenario. Traditional weapons cost thousands or millions of dollars per shot and are limited by availability. As long as they have power available, laser weapons are infinitely renewable.

“The upfront cost is offset by the fact that the energy source, be it fuel, oil or a nuclear reactor, is often already in place,” Afzal said.

But laser weapon technology is meant to complement existing defense platforms, not replace traditional kinetic ballistic systems.

“They’re designed to act as an additional layer of defense that provides an advantage as they protect troops and critical assets,” said Reeves.

Lockheed Martin is ready to deploy and integrate directed energy technology by 2021. It’s the first company to bring laser weapon systems out of the lab and put them into the hands of soldiers, sailors and warfighters across all branches.

“It’s time for these systems to start moving into the field,” said Steven Botwinik, director, Sensors & Global Sustainment Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin. “They’re ready now.”

Lockheed Martin’s research and development experience provides the knowledge needed to integrate such weapons across every defense platform.

“There are obviously different priorities for each branch,” Reeves said. “All of the services have the same need to find a target and defeat it—and the fundamental technologies are the same—but there are differences in how they might apply them in terms of tactics and target sets.”

Lockheed Martin’s ATHENA system, which is a prototype transportable, ground-based system designed to defeat close-in, low-value threats, is helping transform other defense platforms. The company provides the laser weapon system for the U.S. Navy’s HELIOS program, which has been retrofitted for a DDG-51, and delivers key subsystems for the U.S. Air Force’s SHiELD program, an aircraft-mounted high-power laser.

“We can put our laser weapon system into any existing architecture. Our systems are being designed to plug and play into any military system,” said Reeves.

Once implemented, directed energy weapons will become a defensive norm.

“We excel not only at efficiently producing tactical electro-optical systems like these but also sustaining them over time,” Botwinik said. “We’re building laser systems that must be able to perform repeatedly in war-fighting environments. We have the logistics and sustainment experience to maintain these systems anytime and anywhere in the world, for years and decades to come.”

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Ankara threatens to close down U.S. Air Force base in Turkey – Defence Blog


A senior Turkish official said that Ankara threatening to close down the U.S. Air Force Incirlik Air Base.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a statement that Ankara may insist that the U.S. leave Incirlik air base if Washington goes ahead with the sanctions it has threatened in response to Turkey’s purchase of S-400 air defense systems.

“We will assess the worst-case scenario and make a decision. If the US imposes sanctions against Turkey, then the issue of the Incirlik and Kurecik bases may be on the agenda,” Cavusoglu said.

Deliveries of the latest Russian-made S-400 air defense systems, which caused a significant rift in relations between Turkey and the United States, began in July. According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the S-400 will be fully operational in April 2020.

The vast Incirlik Air Base, located in southern Turkey close to Syria, has been a longstanding symbol of U.S.-Turkish cooperation. At the height of the Cold War, it underscored America’s commitment to its NATO partner against the Soviet Union.

Incirlik Air Base has a U.S. Air Force complement of about five thousand airmen, with several hundred airmen from the Royal Air Force and Turkish Air Force also present. The primary unit stationed at Incirlik Air Base is the 39th Air Base Wing (39 ABW) of the U.S. Air Force. Incirlik Air Base has one 3,048 m (10,000 ft)-long runway, located among about 57 hardened aircraft shelters.

It is worthwhile noting that estimated B61 nuclear gravity bombs stored at İncirlik airbase, which is about 100 miles from the Syrian border and which the US air force shares with its Turkish counterpart.

Of the five nuclear weapons storage locations in Europe, Incirlik Air Base in Turkey stores one-third of the weapons in Europe, although there are unconfirmed rumors that the weapons may have been withdrawn.

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Pentagon concerns spike in pro-Russian sentiment among U.S. troops – Defence Blog


The U.S. military officials have concerned the spike in pro-Russian sentiment among the households of military members.

More than 1,000 U.S. adults responded between Oct. 24 and Oct. 30, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points to the second annual national defense survey conducted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. Almost 46% of the households of military members viewed Russia as an ally even considering the increase in tension between the two countries.

The Voice of America has reported that while a majority, 71% of all Americans and 53% of military households, still views Russia as an enemy, the spike in pro-Russian sentiment has defense officials concerned.

“There is an effort, on the part of Russia, to flood the media with disinformation to sow doubt and confusion,” Defense Department spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Carla Gleason told VOA.

“This is not only through discordant and inflammatory dialogue but through false narratives designed to elicit sympathetic views,” she said, adding, “we are actively working to expose and counter Russian disinformation whenever possible.”

The Deutsche Welle reported that in order to manipulate public discussions, especially in times of elections or referendums, information providers controlled by the Kremlin have purposefully disseminated disinformation, extremely hyperpartisan news and populist narratives. This is not an extension of pluralism of opinion through balanced and objective information that is acceptable in the sense of a free public sphere, but rather illegitimate interference.

These novel disinformation campaigns exploit the increased information overload experienced by people in the digital world. They flood the information space with a multitude of lies, half-truths or absurd news.

A report prepared for the Senate that provides the most sweeping analysis yet of Russia’s disinformation campaign around the 2016 election found the Russian propaganda uses every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to users’ interests to influence they.

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Vermont Air National Guard receives next three F-35 Lightning II aircraft – Defence Blog


The Vermont Air National Guard, the air force militia of the State of Vermont, has received the next three F-35 Lightning II aircraft, which landed at the Vermont Air National Guard just after 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec., 5, 2019.

These aircraft are part of the 20 total aircraft assigned to the Vermont Air National Guard, with the full complement arriving by summer 2020.

The aircraft departed Thursday morning from Fort Worth, Texas, and were flown by Vermont Air National Guard pilots assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron.

“Today’s arrival is part of our scheduled plan to receive all the aircraft through 2020,” said Col. Adam Rice, vice commander, 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont Air National Guard. “I’m very proud that our team is ready and our pilots were able to fly these Vermont aircraft home.”

The Vermont Air National Guard is the first Air National Guard to receive the F-35 Lightning II.

The first F-35s assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing arrived at the Vermont Air National Guard Base on September 19th.

“Each aircraft arrival is another step towards finalizing the fielding process at the Vermont Air National Guard,” said Brig. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont Adjutant General. “Our Airmen have performed remarkably to get to this point and I am, as always, impressed with their dedication towards their mission.”

On 19 October, the 158th Fighter Wing (158 FW), a unit of the Vermont Air National Guard, hosted a welcome ceremony to celebrate the arrival of the first F-35 Lightning II aircraft to the wing, South Burlington Air National Guard Base, Vt., Oct. 19, 2019.

As the first fighter wing to receive the F-35 Lighting II, Guard officials say Vermont is paving the way for stronger partnerships between the Air Force and the Air National Guard, ultimately better protecting the United States from adversaries.

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