Category Archives: Current affairs

War and national security in the 21st century.

Russians Harrass British Destroyer in the Black Sea

There has been a confrontation between the British destroyer HMS Defender and Russian forces in the Black Sea. According to the Russians, they fired warning shots and a Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft dropped four l8v3 bombs nearby. The British claim that the Russians had told them that they would be conducting live firing exercises in the Black Sea and that Defender was three miles from the firing and bombing,

Defender was heading from Odessa in southern Ukraine to Georgia by what the UK considers to be an international transit route. Russia regards it as being part of its territorial waters since its annexation of Crimea in 2014, which many countries, including the members of the EU and NATO consider to be illegal.

Joanathan Beale, a BBC correspodent, was on board Defender. He says that two Russian coastguard ships came within 100 yards of Defender and that she detected over 20 Russian military aircraft. He heard firing but thought that it was three miles away. According to The Times, the coastguard ships are operated by the FSB, Russia’s domestic intelligence service.

Defender had been detached from the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group, which is currently in the Mediterranean on her way to the Indian Ocean and then theSouth China Sea. She was accompanied by the Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen and the guided missile destroyer USS Laboon for part of her freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea but was on her own when the Russians intervened. The Economist says that there was an American intelligence gathering aircraft above Defender during the confrontation,

In another Western attempt to assert the right to freedom of the seas the guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur this week sailed through the Taiwan Straits, claimed by China.

BBC News – Russian jets and ships target British warship

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-57583363

Russian and British forces square off in the Black Sea from The Economist

https://www.economist.com/europe/2021/06/24/russian-and-british-forces-square-off-in-the-black-sea

You won’t stop our ships, defiant Britain tells Putin | The Times

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/you-wont-stop-our-ships-defiant-britain-tells-putin-hr3jcn7c5?shareToken=1d6a3550df514dd6eb4051f32b9e4578

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NATO Allies Agree to Defend Each Other if There’s a War in Space

The London Times has reported that NATO members have agreed to defend each other if a war spreads to space. China and Russia are developing anti-satellite weapons that could cripple communications, surveillance or navigation technology.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/325754f8-cd46-11eb-979e-6eddfcb6b6ef?shareToken=590ed777df124ad34c87aa10dd7b88cb

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Space gets the recognition it deserves in the Integrated Review

Reblog of a comment by King’s College London’s Defence Studies Department on the first significant discussion of space in a British government policy review.

Defence-In-Depth

Dr Mark Hilborne and Dr Mark Presley, Defence Studies Department

The government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, along with its accompanying Defence Command Paper, has made the first significant inclusion of space in such a UK policy document.[1] This is a welcome development, indicating the growing importance of space in reaching a number of key policy objectives, such as prosperity, diplomacy and security, and putting it alongside land, air, maritime and cyber as a key domain of operations.

The government’s vision for space is given some scope in the section entitled “An Integrated space policy: making the UK a meaningful player in space”. “Integrated” here refers both to the cross-governmental approach, incorporating the civil, commercial and military sectors, but also with regards to the UK’s allies and partners. The recognition that a cross-government strategy is required is an important step, and it will be critical…

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How US can avoid an all-out war with China | The Times

Opinion piece from Roger Boyes of The Times of London about President Biden’s options if China threatens Taiwan.

This is a bigger problem now than it has been in the past because of China’s growing military power. Taiwan’s strategy in the event of a Chinese invasion is to fight a long, guerilla war.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-us-can-avoid-an-all-out-war-with-china-3v3sbt5h5?shareToken=54071fc53e40495b0e300965081ea40ck

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New Money for the Royal Navy: So What?

Analysis from the Department of Defence Studies at King’s College, London of the likely impact on the Royal Navy of the recently announced increase in UK defence spending

Defence-In-Depth

Professor Greg Kennedy, Director, Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies

The announcement of the biggest investment in the United Kingdom’s Armed Forces in almost forty years by Prime Minister Boris Johnson has prompted much speculation about what the Royal Navy will be able to do with this new-found largesse. While many knowledgeable observers of the Royal Navy’s financial woes over the years would assume that much of this money will be spent to make more shallow the Navy’s spending black hole, particularly on nuclear propulsion and weapons systems, it appears that such may not be the case.

There is a stated commitment to improving the diminished surface warfare capability of the Fleet. The orders for 8 Type 26 and 5 Type 31 frigates appear to be confirmed, and a substantial commitment to the desperately needed Future Solid Support ships to enable the Carrier Strike Group to do what a Carrier…

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Chinese missiles push US to seek fleet of small, agile warships | The Times

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/us-plans-bigger-fleet-and-fewer-carriers-to-meet-chinese-threat-nmvs0ns7l?shareToken=649a7e9e6ce599eebad27241df1a0e16

The Times has reported that the Pentagon is concerned by the growing size of China’s navy and missile arsenal. The USN currently has 293 ships and planned to have 355 manned ones by 2030, when China is expected to have 425.

According to internal documents seen by Defense News, the USN intends to build more lighter warships, unmanned vessels and submarines, giving it at least 500 and up to 534 vessels by 2030.

The plan would reduce the USN’s number of nuclear powered aircraft carriers from 11 to 9. The first of the latest class, the USS Gerald Ford, is not now due into service until 2023, 5 years late.

The attached article does not discuss the relative combat values of US and Chinese warships, but the numbers are clearly concerning the Pentagon as this looks like an officially approved leak aimed at building public support for an expansion in the number of US warship

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Bravery award for the boomtown rat | The Times

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/dickin-medal-for-the-boomtown-rat-87q5cppw7?shareToken=15a0c0d64dd001bfd8827f0770a3489c

Magawa, an African giant pouched rat, has become the first rat to be awarded the Dickins Medal, institutes in 1943 by Maria Dickins to reward bravery by animals in wartime.

Rats have an exceptionally acute sense of smell and Magawa uses his to sniff out some of the five million landmines laid in Cambodia between 1975 and 1998. He is one of nearly 1,000 rats trained by Apopo, a Belgian charity based in Tanzania, to detect either TB in people or land mines.

See the linked article from The Times for more.

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The West will remain militarily outclassed by China and Russia until it fully embraces AI, warns top General

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India and China have their first deadly clashes in 45 years

https://www.economist.com/asia/2020/06/18/india-and-china-have-their-first-deadly-clashes-in-45-years

Economist report on border clashes between China and India that have now led to the deaths of over 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese o e

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Beijing’s African port ready for aircraft carriers | The Times

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/beijings-african-port-ready-for-aircraft-carriers-2kdns0xsg?shareToken=d500a9e423022d6e9feb05b1b8991f93

Another article from the London Times about Chinese naval expansion. This one says that a new 330m pier at China’s base in Djibouti in east Africa will accommodate either of China’s two aircraft carriers, the 304m Liaoning and the 315m Shandong, although the third Chinese carrier that is currently under construction is believed to be over 400m long.

The article also states that the Pentagon believes thatChina plans to develop a base near Gwadar in Pakistan, although the Chinese have denied this.

 

 

 

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