India 

Tragedy struck on Monday morning in Medak district of Telangana as an Indian Air Force (IAF) trainer aircraft, identified as a Pilatus PC 7 Mk II, crashed during a routine training sortie from the Air Force Academy (AFA) in Hyderabad. The unfortunate incident resulted in the loss of two IAF pilots lives, both of whom sustained fatal injuries.The Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, expressed deep sorrow over the crash. In a statement on X, he conveyed, "It is deeply saddening that two pilots have lost their lives. In this tragic hour, my thoughts are with the bereaved families."The crash occurred in the Toopran mandal of the district, and the aircraft, which carried a trainer and a trainee pilot, had taken off from the AFA at Dundigal, according to information provided by a senior police official to PTI.Upon learning of the incident, authorities from the Air Force Academy promptly reached the crash site. The IAF released an official statement mentioning the initiation of a Court of Inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident.This unfortunate event underscores the inherent risks associated with training exercises, and the IAF commitment to investigating the incident reflects the importance of maintaining safety standards within its operations. The nation mourns the loss of the two dedicated pilots, and investigations will provide insights into the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-04 16:04:40
 India 

A notable aspect of this achievement is the significant indigenous content, constituting over 80% of the total cost of the Sandhayak. This delivery underscores the commitment of the Government of India and the Indian Navy to the "Aatma Nirbhar Bharat" (self-reliant India) initiative. Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and other geopolitical factors during its construction, the successful induction of the Sandhayak reflects the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders, including Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and the broader Indian industry. This collective endeavor significantly enhances the maritime capabilities of the nation in the strategically important Indian Ocean Region.The journey of the Sandhayak began with the laying of its keel on March 12, 2019, followed by its launch on December 5, 2021. Subsequently, the vessel underwent a rigorous series of trials both in harbor and at sea as part of a well-structured schedule. These trials concluded successfully, leading to the official delivery of the ship to the Indian Navy on December 4, 2023.In addition to their primary surveying functions, these ships have secondary roles, serving limited defense functions and having the capability to operate as hospital ships during times of war or emergencies. The Sandhayak, with a displacement of around 3400 tons and an overall length of 110 meters, boasts cutting-edge hydrographic equipment, including a Data Acquisition and Processing System, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Remotely Operated Vehicle, DGPS Long-Range Positioning Systems, and Digital Side Scan Sonar. Propelled by two Diesel Engines, the ship is capable of achieving speeds exceeding 18 knots.Manufactured by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers in Kolkata, these Survey Vessel (Large) ships adhere to the regulations set by the Indian Register of Shipping Classification society. Tailored for extensive coastal and deep-water hydrographic surveys, with a focus on port and harbor approaches, as well as the determination of navigational channels and routes, these vessels operate within maritime limits up to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the extended continental shelf. Additionally, they are equipped to gather oceanographic and geophysical data for both defense and civilian applications.On the 4th of December 2023, a significant milestone was achieved as the Indian Navy officially received the inaugural vessel, Sandhayak (Yard 3025), from Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata. This event marked the completion of the construction of the first of four Survey Vessel (Large) ships, following the formal signing of the construction contract on October 30, 2018.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-04 15:59:29
 World 

The Pentagon top procurement official emphasizes the pressing need for drone defenses, drawing parallels to the heightened demand for 155mm artillery shells in the midst of conflicts such as those in Ukraine and Gaza.Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Bill LaPlante, emphasized the urgency of ramping up production for counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) during a panel discussion at the Reagan National Defense Forum. He likened the situation to a year ago when the production of 155mm artillery shells had to increase significantly to meet demand.LaPlante remarks followed his recent visit to Aerovironment, a defense technology company producing the Switchblade loitering munition, deployed in Ukraine and reportedly requested by Israel. The ongoing conflicts have heightened the Defense Department push for advanced capabilities.Various Pentagon initiatives, such as the Replicator rapid acquisition effort and the technology-focused pillar of AUKUS, are aimed at deploying such defense systems. The U.S. has experienced drone attacks, particularly in Iraq and Syria, where Iranian-backed militia groups regularly target American forces with drone salvos.Pentagon officials, including LaPlante and Under Secretary for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu, are actively engaging with companies manufacturing loitering munitions and counter-UAS capabilities. They stress the need for the industrial base to produce these systems in high numbers, drawing on the example of the artillery production ramp-up.Despite the urgency, the Pentagon has not yet determined the exact quantity of counter-UAS systems required. LaPlante estimates that it will be in the thousands but emphasizes the importance of affordability in the decision-making process.The funding challenge looms large, as much of the allocated budget for these programs is earmarked for research, development, testing, and evaluation. Shifting funds toward production is crucial for scaling up the manufacturing of these systems and strengthening the supporting industrial base.However, obstacles lie ahead, with ongoing budget uncertainties, including continuing resolutions and the absence of a full-year appropriation from Congress. The lack of a clear financial pathway may impede the timely production increases needed to address the escalating demand for drone defenses.LaPlante underscores that the industrial base limited capacity for drones and drone defenses is not due to any fault on their part but rather a consequence of the market not demanding it until now. The imperative now is to align market demands with the pressing need for advanced counter-UAS capabilities.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-04 15:52:25
 World 

The Latvian government has recently finalized a significant contract valued at approximately €600 million ($650 million) with Germany Diehl Defence for the acquisition of the IRIS-T medium-range air defense system, as revealed by the manufacturer on Monday.This landmark agreement, inked on November 30, marks Latvia most substantial defense investment in over three decades of independence, according to Diehl official statement. The contract is a follow-up to a framework agreement previously established between the company and the governments of Latvia and Estonia back in September.Diehl emphasized the strategic advantages of the joint procurement by both Baltic nations, asserting that it will result in cost savings, enhance mutual coordination in the defense of the Baltic States region, and improve the interoperability of systems and components. Riga is slated to begin receiving components of the IRIS-T system under this contract starting in 2026.Latvia and Estonia have consistently expressed their interest in collaborating on the acquisition of such defense systems to establish a robust, multi-layered air defense system in response to security concerns posed by Russia in the Baltic region.Jacek Siewiera, the head of Poland National Security Bureau, recently cautioned NATO eastern flank states to effectively prepare for potential confrontations with Russia within the next three years. The IRIS-T SLM, a key component of Latvia defense strategy, is specifically designed to neutralize threats posed by a variety of enemy aerial systems, including aircraft, cruise missiles, drones, and helicopters, operating at ranges of up to 40 km (25 miles), according to Diehl website.The Ukrainian military has reported the effective use of IRIS-T batteries donated to them, highlighting their success in protecting population centers. In a gesture of support, the German Ministry of Defense announced the dispatch of four additional IRIS-T SLM systems to Kyiv as part of a military aid package exceeding $1.4 billion. Diehl has consistently highlighted the system successful performance in Ukraine, particularly in intercepting Russian drones and missiles, as a key selling point.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-04 15:47:32
 Space & Technology 

Over the years, Linux gaming performance has witnessed significant enhancements, prompting a crucial question: How does it measure up against Windows 11? ComputerBase undertook an extensive benchmarking analysis, pitting three distinct Linux operating systems against Microsoft latest OS, only to discover that all three outperformed Windows 11. What even more noteworthy is that these Linux variants achieved their commendable performance levels while leveraging Valve Proton compatibility layer for all benchmarked titles.The trio of Linux operating systems subjected to scrutiny were Arch Linux, Pop!_OS, and Nobara OS. Arch Linux, with its minimalist default installation, demands user customization for optimal performance. However, it boasts some of the fastest software and OS updates among Linux distributions, and SteamOS 3, the powerhouse behind the Steam Deck, is based on Arch Linux.On the friendlier side for Linux beginners, Pop!_OS and Nobara OS offer default installations replete with applications and plugins, many tailored for gaming. Pop!_OS, an Ubuntu-based OS from System76, comes pre-loaded with Steam, Proton, and Lutris. Nobara OS, a modified version of Fedora Linux explicitly designed for gamers, features OBS, Wine, and third-party Nvidia drivers from the get-go.ComputerBase conducted testing on an all-AMD setup, featuring a Ryzen 7 5800X and a Radeon RX 6700 XT. Notably, all games tested, including Cyberpunk 2077, Forspoken, Ratchet & Clank, Starfield, and The Talos Principle II, were originally designed for Windows but ran through Valve Proton compatibility layer on Linux.In the performance showdown, all three Linux operating systems edged out Windows 11 by a slim margin. Nobara OS claimed the top spot with a solid 100 fps, while Arch Linux and Pop!_OS secured second and third positions with 99 fps and 95 fps, respectively. Windows 11 trailed with an average frame rate of 94 fps.While pre-game analysis rankings showed some inconsistency, Nobara OS excelled in three games, outpacing its counterparts, and Arch Linux took the lead in Starfield. Rachet & Clank Rift Apart was the only game where Windows 11 emerged as the winner.Despite the minute differences, the overall frame rate gap between each OS was minimal, with most titles exhibiting an fps delta of less than eight. Notably, Cyberpunk 2077 showed a more significant 17 fps gap between the slowest (POP!_OS) and the fastest (Nobara OS). This underscores Linux commendable gaming performance, even with the overhead of Valve Proton compatibility layer, showcasing competitiveness with Windows 11 on AMD hardware. The prospect of testing on Intel/Nvidia systems remains an intriguing avenue for further exploration.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-03 17:12:06
 Space & Technology 

Top defense officials from the United States, Australia, and Britain convened in Silicon Valley, California, to advance their collaborative efforts in high-tech domains such as deep space radar, artificial intelligence (AI), and quantum computing systems. The meeting, held on Friday, aimed to strengthen the trilateral partnership known as AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom, United States), established in September 2021 to counterbalance the influence of assertive regimes like those in Moscow and Beijing.The focus of the gathering was on fostering cutting-edge capabilities for their armed forces in response to evolving global threats. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin emphasized the significance of AUKUS, characterizing it as a "once in a generation opportunity" to enhance peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region.The collaborative agreements among the three nations involve the development and delivery of advanced technologies to provide a decisive advantage for their military forces. Notable aspects include the acquisition of at least three nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarines by Australia, and the joint construction of a new submarine model incorporating US technology by Britain and Australia.During the recent meeting, the officials highlighted the "Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability" program, a collaborative effort to establish radar detection sites in all three countries by the end of the decade, capable of peering 22,000 miles into space. The discussions also encompassed cooperation on quantum technologies for navigation and weapons direction, as well as the development of resilient artificial intelligence for precision targeting.Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles emphasized the historic importance of the meeting in the context of AUKUS, highlighting the sharing and development of advanced technologies. The discussions reflected a commitment to innovation, particularly in response to an increasingly perilous global landscape marked by conflicts in Ukraine, the Middle East, and China actions in the Indo-Pacific.Addressing concerns about the stability of alliances amid potential political changes, Marles asserted that AUKUS enjoyed cross-party support in all three nations. British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps underscored the urgency of innovation in a more dangerous world, citing challenges posed by Russia, Hamas, and China.While the strengthening alliance is rooted in longstanding partnerships, it has raised apprehensions in Beijing, which perceives attempts to contain its influence. The three nations, committed to "freedom of navigation" voyages in the South China Sea, have faced criticism from China, warning against what it sees as a dangerous path. The collaboration includes the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines by Australia, replacing its aging fleet, with capabilities for extended underwater operations and reduced noise levels.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-03 16:59:13
 Space & Technology 

Renewed concerns have emerged over the status of the Hubble Space Telescope, prompting discussions within NASA about the possibility of approving a private mission for the spacecraft reboost and potential repairs. On November 29, NASA announced that the Hubble telescope had entered safe mode due to a problem with one of its three operational gyroscopes. The gyro in question had initially triggered safe mode on November 19 with faulty readings, and subsequent attempts to restore operations on November 21 and 23 encountered issues.NASA stated that engineers were investigating the problem, refraining from providing an estimate for when science operations could resume. While Hubble can function with just one gyro, there is a reduction in productivity, particularly affecting certain solar system observations. Of the six gyros installed during the final shuttle servicing mission in 2009, three have malfunctioned.The recent setback prompted a response from Jared Isaacman, the billionaire supporting SpaceX private astronaut missions under the Polaris program. Isaacman, referencing a study announced in September 2022 involving SpaceX and NASA, expressed interest in a private mission to reboost and potentially repair Hubble using SpaceX Crew Dragon.The study, conducted under an unfunded Space Act Agreement, concluded earlier this year, with no details released about the findings or subsequent steps. Isaacman hinted at the feasibility of a reboost and servicing mission, although specific mission details remain undisclosed.Apart from SpaceX, NASA had previously issued a request for information seeking concepts for commercial missions to reboost Hubble. Eight responses were received, including one from Astroscale and Momentus. The agency is currently evaluating these proposals, emphasizing the need to ensure the safety of the telescope during any servicing mission.While industry insiders believe a reboost mission is feasible, skepticism exists regarding the complexity and cost of potential repairs. Concerns include the lack of necessary capabilities, such as an airlock and robotic arm, on Crew Dragon for servicing tasks. Furthermore, budget considerations loom large, especially as NASA science divisions face the possibility of significant budget cuts in the coming fiscal year. The uncertainties surrounding Hubble future underscore the challenges and trade-offs involved in balancing scientific priorities with budget constraints.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-03 16:54:29
 Space & Technology 

Amazon has inked a deal with SpaceX to launch an unspecified quantity of satellites as part of its Project Kuiper broadband constellation. The launch is scheduled to take place on three Falcon 9 rockets starting in mid-2025. This agreement supplements an existing multi-billion-dollar launch arrangement that involves United Launch Alliance (ULA), Arianespace, and Blue Origin, and covers the deployment of over 3,200 satellites for the Kuiper project.The decision to collaborate with SpaceX comes in the wake of a legal dispute initiated by a pension fund against Amazon board of directors. The lawsuit alleged that the board had shown "bad faith" by approving the majority of Kuiper launches to unproven rockets developed by ULA, Arianespace, and Blue Origin, without considering SpaceX as a viable option.Amazon had previously placed orders for rockets from ULA, Arianespace, and Blue Origin, including eight Atlas 5 and 38 Vulcan rockets, 17 Ariane 6 launches, and up to 27 New Glenn missions. However, only the Atlas 5 is currently operational among these options.The lawsuit also hinted at potential personal conflicts between Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, who owns Blue Origin, and Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, suggesting that these interpersonal dynamics might have influenced Amazon decision-making process.An Amazon spokesperson refuted the claims made in the lawsuit, stating that they were "completely without merit" and had no bearing on the procurement plans for Project Kuiper. The specifics of the SpaceX launch contract remain undisclosed, with Amazon providing limited information in a brief blog post on December 1.Following successful tests of two prototypes launched by ULA in October, Amazon has announced its readiness to commence the production of the remaining satellites for Project Kuiper. The launch campaign is set to kick off in the first half of early 2024, with initial services expected to begin later in 2024. Notable potential customers include telecom giants such as Verizon in the United States, Vodafone in Europe and Africa, and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation in Japan.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-03 16:50:12
 India 

The reconstruction of the North Jetty of the Southern Naval Command (SNC) is set to take place on a larger scale, with completion expected by October 2024. Vice Admiral M.A. Hampiholi, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, revealed this initiative, emphasizing its significance in accommodating the expanded fleet of naval ships operating from the Kochi Naval Base.The decision to enhance the North Jetty aligns with the induction of next-generation offshore patrol vessels, shallow water craft, and other ships. Additionally, plans involve the upcoming replacement of the existing cadet training ships within the next two to three years. Vice Admiral Hampiholi commended the joint efforts of Navy and civilian defense personnel, which have resulted in an impressive operational availability of 80% for the 17 major ships based in Kochi.Addressing future plans, he disclosed that the Navy awaits the approval from the central government to proceed with the order for the construction of the third aircraft carrier, following the ongoing development of the indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant at the Cochin Shipyard.Concerning the growing presence of Chinese vessels in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Vice Admiral Hampiholi assured that extra-regional navies, including the Chinese, are actively tracked through maritime domain awareness (MDA) measures.Regarding the challenging situation faced by eight ex-Indian Navy personnel sentenced to death by a Qatari court, the Vice Admiral affirmed that efforts are underway at the highest level to secure their return to India.Discussing gender inclusivity, Vice Admiral Hampiholi highlighted the deployment of women sailors recruited under the Agnipath scheme across 29 trades in the Navy. Furthermore, the Navy is gearing up for a historic circumnavigation of the globe with a solo-woman crew member.Addressing sensitive issues within the armed forces, such as suicides among naval personnel, the Vice Admiral acknowledged the armed forces as a microcosm of society. However, he emphasized the strengthened divisional system within the Navy to alleviate stress, with around 15 personnel placed under a supervisory officer and regular counseling sessions implemented.Highlighting the crucial role of fishers in maritime security, the Vice Admiral emphasized ongoing campaigns to educate and sensitize them on personal safety and security matters. Coordination with fishers, including intelligence gathering, is a vital aspect of naval operations. Additionally, the Navy has undertaken environmental initiatives, including monthly cleaning of the Venduruthy Channel and planting mangroves, tree saplings, and Miyawaki forests along the coast. Rear Admiral Upal Kundu and Cdr. Atul Pillai, Defence PRO, Kerala, were also present during this media briefing aboard INS Tir.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-03 16:46:50
 World 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strongly asserted that his country will actively pursue legal action against Israel for what he termed as "genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Erdogan, speaking after the COP28 summit in Dubai, expressed his commitment to ensuring that the International Criminal Court (ICC) holds Israel accountable for its actions."We will do our best to get the International Criminal Court to punish [Israel] for this genocide. This is a black mark not only on [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu government but also on those countries that unconditionally support it. And they too will pay for their silence for years to come. The world will not forget this indifference," Erdogan stated, according to the Anadolu news agency.Erdogan disclosed that around 3,000 lawyers, including Turkish legal professionals, have submitted petitions to the ICC regarding Israel actions in Gaza. "About three thousand lawyers have submitted the necessary applications to the ICC in The Hague. These people will follow the trial in The Hague. We expect that these butchers of Gaza, the authors of genocide, especially [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, who were caught red-handed, will receive the necessary punishment," he emphasized.The Turkish President vowed to intensify efforts to ensure Israel faces consequences for its actions, branding Israel as a "terrorist state" in a recent speech. "We will not forget this genocide, and we will not let others forget it. Sooner or later, Israel will certainly pay for it. We will continue our efforts in the international arena to stop the Israeli attacks in Gaza and ensure a permanent ceasefire," Erdogan asserted.In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu countered Erdogan accusations, accusing him of supporting the "terror state of Hamas." Netanyahu, addressing the situation on a social media platform, rejected Erdogan criticism and highlighted Turkey alleged support for Hamas. The exchange between the leaders reflects the heightened tensions and divergent perspectives on the situation in the Gaza Strip.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-03 16:38:44
 India 

After languishing on the ground for an extended period due to a lack of overhaul, the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet of Soviet-origin Mi-26 heavy lift helicopters is poised for a rejuvenation. The revitalization process is set to take place at the No.3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) in Chandigarh, facilitated by Russian assistance.Recent developments include a visit by a team of Russian experts to 3 BRD to finalize the project modalities. According to a senior IAF officer, the expectation is that the formalization of agreements will occur within three months, with the complete overhaul anticipated to conclude approximately a year after the contract signing.Traditionally, the Mi-26 helicopters were sent to Russia for overhauls. However, logistical delays in recent years led to the expiration of their technical life, rendering them inoperable. The decision to overhaul them in India, with components requiring repair sent to Russia, emerged as the most viable option after evaluating various possibilities, including shipping the helicopters back to Russia.Having been in service since 1985, the Mi-26 fleet faced grounding in phases, with the first helicopter grounded in 2013, followed by the others in 2014 and 2017.The revived Mi-26 helicopters are expected to significantly enhance the IAF vertical heavy lift capability, working alongside the Chinooks. This capability will prove crucial for airlifting personnel and equipment to forward locations. Some IAF officers noted the absence of the Mi-26 capabilities during the build-up along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh after the 2020 confrontation with China. During the 1999 Kargil conflict, these helicopters played a pivotal role in airlifting Bofors howitzers and other war equipment to strategic locations.The Mi-26 boasts an impressive capacity to airlift up to 20 tons of payload, comparable to the C-130 Super Hercules transport aircraft. It can also transport heavy vehicles such as trucks and bulldozers within its fuselage. In contrast, the Chinook can airlift up to 12 tonnes and ferry lighter vehicles, artillery guns, and other equipment in the underslung mode.While acknowledging the Mi-26 expensive maintenance, military authorities underscore its invaluable service in both military operations and civil assistance during natural disasters. Over the years, these helicopters have efficiently airlifted artillery guns, heavy equipment, and construction machinery to high-altitude areas and remote regions across the country.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-03 16:33:42
 World 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have disclosed the discovery of over 800 tunnel shafts in the Gaza Strip since the commencement of the ground offensive in late October, as reported by The Times of Israel. Of these, around 500 tunnels have been made inoperative through controlled explosions or sealing.The IDF emphasizes that many of these tunnels serve as crucial links to what they term as Hamas "strategic assets." Beyond eliminating tunnel shafts, the military claims to have dismantled extensive tunnel networks, totaling hundreds of kilometers.An alarming aspect highlighted by the IDF is the location of these tunnel shafts in civilian areas, often in close proximity to educational institutions, kindergartens, mosques, and playgrounds. In some instances, weaponry belonging to Hamas has reportedly been found inside these tunnels.Lt Col Avichay Adraee, the IDF Arabic-language spokesman, issued a stern warning to Hamas Shejaiya battalion, declaring them all targets. Adraee emphasized the IDF commitment to dismantling Hamas infrastructure in the Shejaiya neighborhood, presenting two options to the battalion: surrender and disarm or face consequences similar to Wissam Farhat, the Shejaiya battalion commander killed in an Israeli airstrike.Amidst these developments, rockets from the Gaza Strip struck the southern city of Sderot, causing damage but no reported injuries. The Iron Dome intercepted several other rockets over the city.In response, Hamas announced a suspension of captive-prisoner swap talks until the Israeli onslaught concludes. Israel withdrew negotiators from Qatar, citing Hamas violation of the truce agreement terms.Casualty figures continue to rise, with over 15,207 Palestinians reported killed in Gaza since October 7, while the official death toll in Israel stands at approximately 1,200. The situation remains highly volatile, with both sides showing no signs of de-escalation, according to Al Jazeera.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-03 16:19:17
 World 

A powerful earthquake in the southern Philippines has resulted in at least one fatality, prompting the evacuation of thousands, including areas in Japan, following tsunami warnings that were eventually lifted, as reported by Al Jazeera. The earthquake, registering a magnitude of 7.6 according to the US Geological Survey (USGS) and 7.5 according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre, struck off the coast of Mindanao island at a depth of 32km. Subsequent to the initial quake at 10:37 pm (14:37 GMT), four significant aftershocks, each exceeding magnitudes of 6.0, occurred over several hours on Sunday.Tsunami warnings were issued across the Pacific region, prompting residents along the east coast of Mindanao to evacuate buildings, with even a hospital being emptied as people sought higher ground. Japanese authorities issued evacuation orders in various parts of Okinawa prefecture, affecting thousands, although later reports confirmed no significant tsunami risk.Tragically, in Tagum city in Davao del Norte province, a pregnant woman lost her life as a collapsed 4.5-meter (15-feet) concrete wall struck her, her husband, and her daughter. The husband and daughter sustained injuries. Despite initial projections of waves up to 3 meters (10 feet) along parts of the Philippine coast, the US Tsunami Warning System declared no ongoing tsunami threat.In Japan, waves of up to 1 meter (3.2 feet) were expected along the southwest coast. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) anticipated minimal damage but warned of potential aftershocks. Police chief Raymark Gentallan reported power outages in Hinatuan near the epicenter but noted no casualties or significant damage. Evacuated villagers have returned home, and civil aviation officials found no major damage to southern airports.Earthquakes are not uncommon in the Philippines, situated on the Ring of Fire, a region prone to seismic activity encircling the Pacific Ocean. As the affected areas assess the aftermath, social media images from Hinatuan depict residents heading towards elevated areas during the evacuation, highlighting the resilience and preparedness of communities in the face of such natural disasters.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-03 16:13:02
 Space & Technology 

Australian startup Infinity Avionics is currently in the development phase of a cutting-edge dual-headed camera system designed for space-based surveillance. Securing funding totaling approximately 1 million Australian dollars ($660,000) from the Australian research consortium SmartSat CRC, the Australian Capital Territory government, and internal research funding, Infinity Avionics, headquartered in Canberra, has partnered with the University of New South Wales Canberra Space and fellow Australian startup Nominal Systems. The primary goal is to create technology capable of autonomously identifying space objects, particularly those too small for radar detection.Igor Dimitrijevic, the founder and CEO of Infinity Avionics, explained that the focus is on detecting debris fragments that elude radar detection capabilities. The innovative camera system comprises a wide field of view event sensor designed to respond to changes in light without generating images. According to Dimitrijevic, this sensor boasts a remarkably high dynamic range compared to conventional image sensors, enabling the detection of subtle changes or events.The system operates on a "Tip and Cue" mechanism: when the event sensor detects changes or movement, it instructs the co-aligned narrow field of view camera to capture imagery. This approach allows for the identification of events or movements that might be overlooked by a standard camera. Additionally, it mitigates the challenge posed by massive data generation, which occurs when using a regular camera that constantly captures frames. With the dual-head camera system, Infinity Avionics can identify and capture events while producing a manageable amount of data for downstream processing and transmission.Nominal Systems, a technology company based in Canberra, contributes to the project with its digital twinning technology, aiding Infinity Avionics in simulating the concept of operations for the dual-headed camera system and validating requirements.Damith Abeywardana, founder and managing director of Infinity Avionics, highlighted that their system is an enhanced version designed to automate and introduce intelligence to surveillance cameras, building on the company existing expertise in providing cameras and sensors for similar space-based applications.Established in 2020 as a spinoff from the University of New South Wales in Canberra, Infinity Avionics not only focuses on the development of optical sensors and computer processors but also offers engineering consulting services directly and through international partnerships. Igor Dimitrijevic, the startup CEO, formerly served as the lead electronics engineer in the university space group.The dual-headed camera system has garnered attention from potential customers, including the Australian Space Command and various international organizations, indicating its potential impact on advancing space surveillance capabilities.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-02 16:46:14
 Space & Technology 

Researchers funded by NASA have received an extraordinary opportunity to seek access to lunar samples collected by China Chang e-5 mission. In a departure from the usual prohibition on bilateral activities, an internal email sent on Nov. 29 revealed that NASA-funded researchers could apply to the China National Space Administration (CNSA) for portions of the Chang e-5 samples.The email stated, "NASA has certified its intent to Congress to allow NASA-funded researchers to apply to the China National Space Administration for access to lunar samples returned to Earth on the Chang e-5 mission and made available recently to the international scientific community for research purposes."This unexpected move opens the door to potential collaboration between China and NASA-funded entities and researchers, contrary to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson previous strong stance against collaboration with China.The "Wolf Amendment," a provision in NASA appropriations bills, typically limits cooperation with entities of the People Republic of China. Collaboration would require prior approval from Congress and certification from the FBI, ensuring no national security risks.China Chang e-5 mission, launched in late 2020, successfully collected 1,731 grams of lunar material from Oceanus Procellarum. Initially made available to Chinese researchers, the samples were later offered to international groups in August. The samples are expected to provide new insights into the moon geological history, complementing NASA existing lunar samples.The email encourages U.S. researchers to apply for the seventh round of sample access, with the application period open until December 22, 2023. Researchers are advised to contact NASA officials for guidance if their applications are selected. However, the email emphasizes that this exception applies solely to the Chang e-5 mission samples, and the general prohibition on bilateral activity with China on NASA-funded projects remains in place.This development has been welcomed by the scientific community, with experts noting the potential for expanding lunar exploration beyond the regions covered by previous missions. James Head, a planetary scientist at Brown University, sees this as an exciting opportunity for future cooperation, possibly extending to missions like China Chang e-6 lunar farside sample return mission in 2024.While the response from CNSA to NASA applications remains uncertain, this rare exception could be a positive step toward international collaboration in space exploration, despite the historical tensions between the U.S. and China in the field.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-02 16:39:45
 World 

A suspected threat actor, fluent in Chinese, has been identified in a cyber campaign targeting the Uzbekistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and South Korean users. This malicious effort, active since at least August 2023, revolves around the use of a remote access trojan (RAT) known as SugarGh0st RAT, a customized version of the infamous Gh0st RAT, also known as Farfli.The attackers employ two distinct infection methods to deliver the malware, both characterized by complex processes. Cisco Talos researchers, Ashley Shen and Chetan Raghuprasad, detailed that SugarGh0st RAT comes equipped with functionalities designed to execute remote administration tasks as directed by the command and control (C2) server, including a modified communication protocol.The assault kicks off with phishing emails housing deceptive documents. Once these documents are opened, a multi-stage procedure is triggered, leading to the deployment of SugarGh0st RAT. The deceptive documents are embedded within a heavily obfuscated JavaScript dropper, concealed within a Windows Shortcut file found in the RAR archive email attachment.Shen and Raghuprasad explained, "The JavaScript decodes and drops the embedded files into the %TEMP% folder, including a batch script, a customized DLL loader, an encrypted SugarGh0st payload, and a decoy document." Meanwhile, the batch script runs the DLL loader in the background, sideloading it with a copied version of a legitimate Windows executable, rundll32.exe, to decrypt and launch the SugarGh0st payload.A second variant of the attack employs a RAR archive containing a malicious Windows Shortcut file. This file, posing as a lure, triggers the JavaScript using DynamicWrapperX to execute shellcode, initiating the SugarGh0st RAT.SugarGh0st RAT, a 32-bit dynamic-link library (DLL) crafted in C++, establishes contact with a hard-coded command-and-control (C2) domain. This enables the transmission of system metadata to the server, facilitating actions such as launching a reverse shell and executing arbitrary commands. The malware also possesses capabilities to enumerate and terminate processes, capture screenshots, conduct file operations, and erase machine event logs, all aimed at concealing its presence and avoiding detection.The campaign connection to China is rooted in Gh0st RAT Chinese origins and its widespread adoption by Chinese threat actors. The release of its source code in 2008 further fueled its popularity. Additionally, the use of Chinese names in the "last modified by" field within the metadata of the decoy files serves as compelling evidence of the campaign ties to China.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-02 16:33:48
 World 

On Friday, the Philippines declared its establishment of a coast guard station on Thitu Island, the largest among the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The move aims to enhance surveillance of Chinese vessels, which have been asserting Beijing claims in the disputed waters, according to National Security Adviser Eduardo Ano.During his visit to Thitu Island, Ano disclosed that the coast guard station, equipped with advanced systems such as radar, satellite communication, coastal cameras, and vessel traffic management, has been completed and is slated to become operational in the early months of the coming year.Ano emphasized that these sophisticated systems would significantly bolster the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) capability to monitor the movements of Chinese maritime forces, as well as those of other nations and their own public vessels and aircraft. He referred to the real-time data collection as a "game changer," anticipating its potential impact on the behavior of rival claimants, particularly China.Thitu Island, situated about 430 kilometers from Palawan, the major Philippine island, and over 900 kilometers from China nearest major landmass, Hainan island, has been a focal point in the territorial disputes.Beijing asserts dominance over most of the South China Sea, contrary to an international tribunal ruling that invalidated its claims. The Chinese government deploys vessels for patrols and has constructed artificial islands and military installations to reinforce its position.Tensions between Manila and Beijing have escalated in recent months due to various incidents in the disputed waters, including two collisions between Philippine and Chinese boats. Ano accused Chinese coast guard and other vessels of engaging in "illegal" and "aggressive" behavior towards Filipino fishermen and patrol boats, describing it as "pure bullying." Despite the challenges, Ano emphasized that the Philippines will stand its ground and not be deterred by any attempts to oppress or outmuscle the nation.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-02 16:26:16
 World 

In eastern Iraq, a tragic incident unfolded on Thursday evening, claiming the lives of at least 11 civilians in a blast and gunfire, according to statements from two security officials on Friday. The attack targeted a minibus transporting individuals who had attended an electoral meeting organized by a candidate from their tribe in Diyala province.An interior ministry official, requesting anonymity, revealed that the violence occurred as the minibus returned from the political gathering. The provincial governor, Muthana al-Tamimi, placed blame on jihadists, specifically pointing fingers at the Islamic State (IS) group for what he termed a "cowardly operation." Al-Tamimi urged heightened vigilance against potential dormant cells of extremists in the region through a post on his Facebook page.Despite the absence of an immediate claim from IS, Diyala remains an area where the group cells are known to be active. Following the extensive territorial losses suffered by IS in Iraq and Syria, the group officially declared the end of its self-proclaimed "caliphate" in 2017. However, sporadic attacks persist, particularly targeting military and police personnel in remote parts of central and northern Iraq.In the recent Diyala unrest, a security source in Baghdad reported that at least 11 individuals lost their lives, and 17 sustained injuries in an attack initiated by an explosive device, followed by gunfire, during the gathering in Al-Omraniya village. The minibus, returning from an electoral meeting, was reportedly struck by two homemade bombs, with sniper fire ensuing.This tragic event unfolded just days before the scheduled provincial council elections on December 18, which, in turn, contribute to the selection of governors. Iraq, striving to overcome decades of conflict, including the toppling of Saddam Hussein two decades ago, faces ongoing security challenges. Approximately 2,500 U.S. troops remain in the country as part of international efforts to prevent the resurgence of IS.A United Nations report from July indicated that IS maintains a presence with an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 members across Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, predominantly consisting of fighters. The incident in Diyala underscores the persistent threat posed by extremist elements, emphasizing the need for continued efforts to maintain security and stability in the region.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-02 16:21:10
 Space & Technology 

In response to escalating threats from North Korea, South Korea achieved a significant milestone by successfully launching its inaugural indigenous military reconnaissance satellite. According to reports from Yonhap news agency citing South Korea defense ministry, the satellite was deployed from a US military base in California using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at a local time on Friday.Historically dependent on U.S. resources for high-resolution imagery, South Korea has been actively pursuing the establishment of an autonomous military satellite network to enhance its intelligence capabilities concerning North Korea. The move marks a shift from reliance on American assets to an independent approach in gathering crucial information.The initial deployment involves an electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) satellite, with plans to launch four additional synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites into orbit by 2025, aiming to bolster the monitoring capabilities directed towards North Korea. EO/IR satellites provide detailed Earth surface imagery but are limited by cloud cover, while SAR satellites can acquire data under various weather conditions through remote sensing systems.This strategic initiative is anticipated to intensify the space competition between the two Koreas, particularly as North Korea recently placed its first spy satellite into orbit on November 21. Despite two earlier unsuccessful attempts, North Korea has expressed its commitment to launching more satellites within a short timeframe.Military officials, as reported by Yonhap news agency, are optimistic about the reconnaissance satellites playing a pivotal role as the "eyes" for South Korea Kill Chain preemptive strike system. These satellites are expected to facilitate swift detection and early warning capabilities in response to potential nuclear or missile threats from North Korea.The Kill Chain system represents a fundamental component of South Korea comprehensive deterrence strategy, complemented by the Korea Air and Missile Defense system and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation plan. Together, these elements form a robust defense framework, emphasizing the nation preparedness in the event of a major conflict.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-02 15:52:44
 World 

Oshkosh Defense has secured a lifeline for its production line, thanks to a recent order from Israel for Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs). The Wisconsin-based company had initially planned to close its JLTV production line by the end of 2024, following the Army decision to have AM General take over the production of the Humvee replacement. However, the Israeli Ministry of Defense recent order for 75 JLTVs through a foreign military sale, along with additional units through a direct commercial sale, has extended Oshkosh production line into 2025.In 2015, Oshkosh emerged victorious in the bid for the original JLTV contract, outperforming competitors like Humvee-maker AM General and Lockheed Martin. The recent Israeli order, coupled with a $208 million order for more U.S. Army JLTVs in November and a $160 million order from various countries, has provided a significant boost to Oshkosh production plans.The specific number of JLTVs involved in the commercial sale to Israel has not been disclosed by Oshkosh. Tim Bleck, President of Oshkosh Defense, expressed enthusiasm about the ongoing partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Defense, highlighting the company decade-long collaboration with the IMOD on various programs.Despite initial plans to wind down the JLTV production line in 2024, the influx of new orders has prompted Oshkosh to extend its production capabilities into 2025, ensuring continued manufacturing of these critical military vehicles. In addition to Israel, Oshkosh JLTVs have found favor with other foreign customers, including Montenegro, Brazil, Lithuania, and Belgium. This sustained international demand reflects the global significance of Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicles in modern military fleets.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-02 15:32:39