Iran has unveiled two new missiles — a surface-to-surface ballistic missile and a naval cruise missile. The missiles are named after Iranian GeneralQasem Soleimani, who had been commander of the country’s Quds Force, and Abu Mahdia-Muhandis who was an Iraqi militia leader. Readers may note that both of these leaders were killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq on January 3, 2020.
Details of the weapons were revealed by Iranian state TV on August 20, 2020, which is Iran's National Defense Industry Day. The new ballistic missile has a solid-fuel rocket motor and is claimed to have a range of 1400 km or 870 miles. An Iranian state TV stated that the missile had been tested against an undisclosed air defense system, successfully evading interception, and it’s also said to be accurate enough to fall within 16 feet of its designated target. The new naval cruise missile reportedly has a truck-mounted launcher and is claimed to have a range of 1000 km or 621 miles this missile will most likely be used for coastal defense role against enemy ships. Israeli Air Force F-16C/D “Barak” fighter jets are flying alongside their Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoons in the skies over Germany. This is the first time that Israeli warplanes have ever taken part in an exercise in Germany.
The maneuvers have started from 17th and will end on 28th Aug. Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft taking part in the joint exercise arrived at Nörvenich Air Base near Cologne in the west of Germany on Aug. 17, 2020. Viewers may note that the station is home to the Luftwaffe’s Tactical Air Wing 31 which is equipped with Eurofighter Typhoonmulti-role combat jet. The Israeli contingent includes 6 “Barak” fighter jets along with Boeing 707 tanker aircraft and two special-missions GulfstreamG550 aircraft. It is to be noted that last summer, IAF commander Major General Amikam Norkin visited Germany to help develop cooperation between the two country's air forces. Reports have emerged that two U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones reportedly collided in Syria. As of now, it is unclear if these were engaged by militants on the ground. This incident comes after reports of Reapersbeing spotted in the country's western Idlib province in the past few days and the latest strike in that region involving an AGM-114R9X missile.
The MQ-9 Reaper is currently the mainstay of US Air Force drone operations and has replaced Predator drones. It is interesting to note that Reapers armed with secretive AGM-114R9X have been used in Syria about a half-dozen times to take out high-value targets. AGM-114R9X has no official renders or specifications available in the public domain and Central Intelligence Agency as well as the Pentagon have been closely guarding its existence. Boeing has been flying an F/A-18E/F SuperHornet off a ground-based ski jump at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. This is part of an effort to validate that the aircraft can operate from short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) configured aircraft carriers, such as the INS Vikramaditya and the future INS Vikrant of the India Navy. Reports indicate that the Indian Ministry of Defense is looking to acquired the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and around 36 could be ordered. The company had previously announced plans to begin this ski jump flight test program in February.
Dan Gillian, Vice President of the Super Hornet program, said in an interview with Indian defense news and analysis site Live Fist in2017, "We've done a lot of simulation work with the Indian Navy to better understand their requirements and we fill comfortable that the Super Hornet can operate from all their carriers, both the ones fielded today and the ones in the future,” Taiwanese television broadcasted a military exercise video simulating the island coming under attack from China and repulsing it. The film, produced by the defense ministry, showed troops firing anti-aircraft, anti-tank and anti-ship missiles in defense of the island against a mock invasion from across the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan Strait is tactically significant as it separates Taiwan from China. In a statement accompanying the film – which was released on Facebook and released to the media on Thursday – the ministry said Beijing should not underestimate Taiwan’s determination to defend itself.
Directly pointing out Chinese provocation and intimidation, the ministry stated “The most egotistical country can thoughtlessly provoke a war and the most ignorant government can be caught in the flames of war,” It added further, “It would have the only the effect of triggering the wrath and antipathy of Taiwan’s people, and hurt peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. Reports have emerged that shows that the Russian military is significantly lengthening the runway at Nagurskoye Air Base. With this change, the base could accommodate powerful combat aircraft like MiG-31 Foxhound. The base is the northernmost military outpost and is located in the Arctic region. As the ice caps melt in the Arctic, it will become economically viable to navigate. Russia is gearing up to monetize the potentially lucrative Northern Sea Route (NSR) as the Barents Sea and Arctic thaw faster than anticipated.
Northern Sea Route could make connectivity between Europe and Asia 40% faster, cheaper, more fuel-efficient, and greener. Russia will lose land as the ice melt, but it may gain nearly 1.2 m sq km in its continental shelf which means it will have the right to extract under-sea minerals and energy resources. Russia is building up its military presence in the region at a rapid pace to protect its interests. It now has seven bases along the shipping route, the latest being Northern Clover on Kotelny Island, deep inside the Arctic. The Russian naval activities in the region have increased many folds. The Pentagon approved five small drones makers to sell their products to the U.S. Military and federal agencies starting in September.
The project, coined Blue small Unmanned AircraftSystems (sUAS), is the result of an 18-month effort by the Defense Innovation Unit to provide trusted, secure sUAS to the U.S. military. Michael Kratsios, acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said in a statement Thursday, “Blue sUAS represents a tremendous first step toward building a robust and trusted UAS domestic industrial base that ensures sustained delivery of highly-capable, secure UAS to the warfighters that depend on it. Blue sUAS showcases how we can both work with small, nontraditional companies and our allies and partners to quickly pilot cutting-edge technologies that support our mutual defense.” The U.S Interior Department announced in Feb that it was grounding its entire fleet of DJI drones used by it.
The reason is that components in the drones could potentially be used for spying. This move was actually an extension of an order of last year that was taken due to the concerns that drones made in China could expose sensitive data. Analysts in the U.S think that potential security vulnerabilities in Chinese drones could be used Chinese military to get access to information gathered by the drones in the U.S homeland.