World 

Defense News , Canada :- General Dynamics has successfully clinched contracts totaling 1.68 billion Canadian dollars ($1.3 billion) to fortify the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) system of the Canadian Army.Under the first contract, General Dynamics is tasked with providing a comprehensive architectural and design framework for the C4ISR system, ensuring that all stipulated army requirements are meticulously met. This contract also encompasses the seamless integration of land C4ISR capabilities, spanning from mobile units to headquarters domains and simulation assets.The second contract is geared towards furnishing essential core network support for the Canadian Army C4ISR system across diverse domains. This endeavor aims to establish the C4ISR system as the digital backbone, fostering effective operation throughout the entire land C4ISR capability.Addressing the imperative of securely delivering information to end-users, the third contract mandates General Dynamics to provide support for user-facing services and software. These services and software play a pivotal role in transporting crucial data to the military through the C4ISR system.Devoting attention to Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability, the fourth contract underscores the augmentation of the Canadian Army ISTAR capabilities. General Dynamics is set to deliver standalone systems, integrated sub-systems, and other specialized products to enhance ISR services. These systems will empower the army to control, manage, and distribute intelligence efficiently, supporting data gathered by sensors across land, airborne, and naval domains.Joel Houde, Vice President of General Dynamics, affirmed the company commitment to supporting the Canadian Armed Forces, citing over 75 years of collaboration marked by superb engineering and technical prowess. Houde expressed confidence in General Dynamics ability to innovate and excel in the evolving battlespace, emphasizing the company dedication to the ongoing digitization of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-21 14:18:07
 Space & Technology 

Defense News , U.S :- Defense contractor L3Harris has recently received the green light from the Space Development Agency (SDA) to advance into the production phase for 16 satellites designed to detect and monitor hypersonic missiles aimed at the United States and its allies. The approval follows the successful completion of critical design and production readiness reviews for L3Harris satellite technology.The SDA, a key entity within the U.S. Space Force, is actively constructing the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture, a layered network of satellites. This architecture includes a Transport Layer comprising interconnected communication satellites that will transmit data collected by the Tracking Layer, which consists of sensor satellites.In 2022, L3Harris secured a substantial $700 million contract to design and manufacture 16 Tracking Layer Tranche 1 satellites. Additionally, the contract involves providing ground systems and support services. The satellite bus supplier for this ambitious project is Maxar Technologies, as selected by L3Harris.Highlighting the significance of this initiative, Bob De Cort, Director of Program Management at L3Harris, emphasized, “Hypersonic missiles are the most destabilizing kinetic weapons in our adversaries arsenals due to their dim flight profiles, varied launch points, and high maneuverability. To deter their use and, when needed, to defeat them, the United States requires a resilient sensor platform to remove the veil from their flight paths.”L3Harris satellite production facilities in Melbourne, Florida, and Fort Wayne, Indiana, are actively contributing to the project. The company has already delivered four prototype tracking satellites under a previous $193 million contract for Tranche 0, though they have faced some delays in launching this year.The Tracking Layer Tranche 1 satellites are currently slated for launch in 2025. Its worth noting that Northrop Grumman and Raytheon RTX are also engaged in the production of Tracking Layer Tranche 1 satellites under separate contracts.This initiative to deploy reliable hypersonic detection capabilities comes at a crucial time, as nations like China, Russia, and others are advancing their development of maneuverable high-speed weapons designed to evade conventional defensive systems.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-21 14:12:57
 India 

Defense News , India :- In a recent update to a parliamentary standing committee, the government revealed that the procurement of 114 multi-role fighter aircraft (MRFA) is actively progressing under the Make-in-India framework. The committee, led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Jual Oram, recommended exploring the option of acquiring fifth-generation fighter aircraft "over the counter" if delays persist in the MRFA project.The parliamentary panel report, presented in Parliament on Wednesday, highlighted concerns over delays in the supply of 40 light combat aircraft (LCA) to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and setbacks in the Kaveri jet engine project. Given the challenges faced by the IAF, the committee suggested that the government should consider swift procurement of advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft to maintain a robust defense force.The IAF initiated the MRFA procurement with an RFI in April 2019, aiming to acquire 114 aircraft at a cost of approximately USD 18 billion. However, the committee expressed apprehension about potential delays, pointing to the challenges faced in previous projects such as the LCA and Kaveri engine.The Kaveri project, aimed at developing an indigenous fighter jet engine, has encountered significant delays, contributing to the concerns raised by the parliamentary panel. The government informed the committee that the IAF currently operates with 31 fighter aircraft squadrons, falling short of the authorized strength of 42. Despite this, the government assured that the IAF remains fully capable of defending the nation.To address the dwindling strength of fighter squadrons, the IAF plans to induct the MRFA in a phased manner, with the procurement process aligned with the Make-in-India provisions of the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020. The government emphasized its commitment to implementing multi-pronged approaches to overcome challenges and ensure timely and budget-friendly realization of the Make-in-India initiative.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-21 14:06:37
 World 

Defense News , Philippines :- In a significant stride toward enhancing its air surveillance capabilities, the Philippines has successfully acquired an advanced radar system from Japan. The Mitsubishi-manufactured FPS-3ME radar was officially handed over to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) during a ceremony at the Wallace Air Station in the northern part of the country.The state-of-the-art surveillance system is designed to cover vast distances, spanning hundreds of miles, thereby playing a crucial role in safeguarding the sovereignty of the Philippines. "With over 7,000 islands to guard, the PAF needs the radar system to keep watch over the entire archipelago with greater accuracy and efficiency," emphasized PAF chief Lt. Gen. Stephen Parreno during a press briefing. He underscored the heightened importance of such technology given the evolving security landscape in the region.The Mitsubishi FPS-3ME radar is a long-range, active electronically scanned array radar renowned for its simultaneous detection and tracking capabilities for multiple aerial targets. With an impressive range of 330 nautical miles (611 kilometers), the radar system is set to significantly augment the PAFs ability to monitor and respond to potential threats.Describing the acquisition as "a major leap in our capability to protect our sovereign territory and ensure the safety of our citizens," Lt. Gen. Parreno highlighted the transformative impact of this advanced radar on the country defense infrastructure.As part of a 5.5-billion-peso ($98.7-million) deal, three more Japanese radar systems are anticipated to arrive in the Philippines, further fortifying the nation air surveillance capabilities.The strategic placement of the surveillance system in the northern part of the country, at the Wallace Air Station, aligns with the vision of Philippine Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro. He pointed out that this location serves as the exit point of international airspace and the entry point of Philippine airspace. Additionally, it strategically overlooks the West Philippine Sea, where reports suggest unauthorized operations by Chinese ships."We will have a clear picture, not only in the West Philippine Sea but also in other parts of the Philippines sea and air domains [to detect] those who are entering our [exclusive economic zone]," affirmed Defense Secretary Teodoro, underscoring the comprehensive coverage and strategic importance of the newly acquired radar system.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-21 14:00:46
 India 

Defense News , India :- TATA Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) has achieved a significant milestone by completing the delivery of its 250th fuselage for the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. This achievement took place at TBALs advanced manufacturing facility located in Hyderabad.The fuselages produced by TBAL serve diverse customers worldwide, including the US Army. Notably, six fuselages are currently in order for the Indian Army, showcasing the company expanding global footprint.TBAL expressed its commitment to enhancing India defense capabilities and promoting indigenous manufacturing. The company emphasized its continuous dedication to these goals, highlighting the strategic importance of this achievement.The joint venture between Boeing and TATA Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) has played a pivotal role in this accomplishment. The collaboration employs more than 900 skilled engineers and technicians, utilizing cutting-edge technologies such as robotics, automation, and advanced aerospace concepts in the manufacturing processes.TBALs state-of-the-art facility, spanning 14,000 square meters, holds the distinction of being a global sole source supplier for Apache fuselages. The statement noted that over 90% of the components used in the Apache Aerostructure assemblies are manufactured in India, involving collaboration with over 100 Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) suppliers.The AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, equipped with advanced capabilities, can deploy a variety of weapons, including air-to-ground Hellfire missiles, 70 mm Hydra rockets, and air-to-air Stinger missiles. Enhancing its firepower, the Apache features a 30 mm chain gun with 1200 rounds as part of the area weapon sub-system.The Defence Ministry, in a release dated September 3, 2019, highlighted additional features contributing to the helicopter lethality. These include a fire control radar with 360° coverage, a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition, and advanced night vision systems.In summary, TBALs achievement of delivering the 250th fuselage for the AH-64 Apache underscores its commitment to strengthening India defense capabilities and showcasing the nation prowess in indigenous manufacturing. The joint venture use of cutting-edge technologies and collaboration with numerous MSME suppliers further emphasizes the significance of this milestone in the aerospace industry.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-21 06:37:38
 India 

Defense News ,India Covid-19 :- India is grappling with a surge in the daily COVID-19 positivity rate across certain states, including Kerala, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and Karnataka, as acknowledged by the Union Health Ministry. Despite this, the Ministry has issued an alert, emphasizing that there is no evidence of clustering in the new JN.1 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.The JN.1 variant is currently undergoing thorough scientific scrutiny, but authorities stress that it does not pose an immediate cause for concern. All reported cases of JN.1 have been mild, with patients recovering without complications, according to the Ministry.V.K. Paul, NITI Aayog Member (Health), provided additional information, stating that India has identified 21 cases of the JN.1 sub-variant. The majority of those infected, approximately 91%-92%, are opting for home-based treatment. Dr. Paul highlighted that 19 cases have been traced in Goa, with one each in Kerala and Maharashtra. Over the last two weeks, 16 COVID-19-related deaths were recorded, primarily among individuals with serious comorbidities.In the recent fortnight, active COVID-19 cases in India have surged from 115 to 614, though this remains comparatively low on the global scale. Notably, 92.8% of cases are being managed through home isolation, indicating mild illness. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya emphasized that there has not been a notable increase in hospitalization rates due to COVID-19, attributing hospitalizations to other medical conditions.The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the JN.1 variant as a separate variant of interest (VOI) from the parent lineage BA.2.86. While acknowledging its rapidly increasing spread, WHO has deemed the global public health risk posed by JN.1 as low. Current vaccines are reported to continue providing protection against severe disease and death from JN.1 and other circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2.To address the situation, the Health Ministry has directed the strengthening of the surveillance system for whole genome sequencing through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network. States are urged to enhance testing, refer samples for sequencing, and ensure the timely detection of newer variants.In light of the challenges posed by rising cases globally, the Ministry stressed the importance of preparedness for new and emerging strains, especially with the festive season approaching. States are advised to remain vigilant, increase surveillance, and ensure adequate stocks of essential medical supplies.As a precautionary measure, the Ministry has called for regular mock drills to assess the functionality of healthcare infrastructure and encouraged the sharing of best practices. It reiterates that the COVID-19 issue is ongoing, urging states to monitor emerging evidence, plan appropriate responses, and disseminate accurate information to counter misinformation and avoid panic.India recent data indicates 614 new coronavirus infections, the highest since May 21, with active cases at 2,311. The death toll stands at 533,321, and the total COVID-19 case tally is 45 million, with a national recovery rate of 98.81%. The Ministry emphasizes the need for continued vigilance and public health measures.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-21 05:44:41
 World 

Defense News ,Czech Republic :-  Czech Defence Minister Jana CernochovA has revealed that her country is currently in advanced discussions with Germany regarding a collaborative effort to acquire Leopard 2A8 tanks. Simultaneously, negotiations are nearing completion for the procurement of C-390 Millennium transport aircraft and F-35 Lightning II fighter jets.In an interview with local news site CZDefence.cz, Minister Cernochova emphasized the potential benefits of teaming up with Germany for tank acquisitions, anticipating improved conditions from the manufacturer, particularly in terms of pricing and delivery time.“The negotiations are currently underway, and we expect to have a clear direction by the next year,” stated Cernochova.In 2022, the Czech Republic demonstrated solidarity by donating its Soviet-designed T-72 tanks to Ukraine to aid in the country resistance against Russia ongoing invasion. As part of the "Ringtausch" program, Berlin reciprocated by transferring a batch of Leopard 2A4s to Prague, ensuring the Czech military continued operational capabilities.Last July, the Czech Ministry expressed its consideration to acquire "up to 77 Leopard 2A8 tanks."Addressing the military acquisition priorities for the upcoming year, Minister Cernochova outlined plans to finalize a deal for two C-390 Millennium aircraft from Embraer in 2024. Negotiations for this procurement began earlier this year.Furthermore, the minister revealed that a contract for the acquisition of 24 F-35s for the Czech Air Force is on track to be concluded "in a matter of weeks." These strategic moves signify the Czech Republic commitment to enhancing its defense capabilities through collaborations and modernizing its military assets.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-21 05:20:19
 India 

Defense News , India :- In a significant update, France has officially responded to India bid for the acquisition of 26 Rafale Marine jets intended for deployment on the Indian Navy aircraft carriers, INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya.According to defense sources, the response to India Letter of Acceptance has been formally submitted by France in New Delhi. A dedicated team of French government officials, specializing in military sales to foreign nations, has flown in from Paris to present the response to the Indian tender.The next step involves a thorough examination of the French proposal by the Indian side, encompassing aspects such as the commercial offer, aircraft pricing, and other contract details. Given that this is a government-to-government agreement, India will engage in negotiations with French government officials.To expedite the project timeline for the induction of the planes into the inventory, the Navy Chief has directed officials to ensure a swift process. The aim is to finalize the deal promptly and enhance the capabilities of the Indian Navy with the deployment of Rafale Marine aircraft on INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya.Approximately a month ago, India forwarded the Letter of Request (LoR) to the French government. This document serves as a comprehensive tender, outlining the specific requirements and capabilities that India seeks in the Rafale Marine aircraft for its aircraft carriers.Both the Indian Navy and the government are working diligently to expedite the acquisition contract signing. The objective is to enable the Indian carriers to operate these highly capable aircraft, thereby providing New Delhi with a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean region.The defense deal, valued at around Euro 5.5 billion, received approval from the Defence Acquisition Council shortly before Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to France as the state guest for their Bastille Day parade in July. As part of the agreement, the Indian Navy is set to receive 22 single-seated Rafale Marine aircraft, along with four trainer aircraft.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-21 05:12:26
 World 

Defense News - WASHINGTON, LONDON, and PARIS — A coalition of nations has unveiled their commitments to Operation Prosperity Guardian, a collaborative security initiative in the Middle East aimed at safeguarding merchant ships in the Red Sea region from the threat of drones and missiles.The official announcement came from U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on December 18, emphasizing the need for collective action to ensure the safety of civilian vessels in the area. Houthi rebels in Yemen have already conducted over 100 attacks using drones and ballistic missiles, targeting 10 merchant vessels from more than 35 nations.Operation Prosperity Guardian will see the involvement of several countries, including the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles, and Spain. The primary objective is to address security challenges in the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, with the overarching goal of guaranteeing freedom of navigation for all nations while enhancing regional security and prosperity, as stated by Secretary Austin.This initiative will operate under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a multinational maritime partnership headquartered in Bahrain, specifically falling under Task Force 153. The CMF, comprising 39 nations, focuses on securing vital waterways such as the Gulf of Oman, the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden. Task Force 153, established in 2022, originally targeted human trafficking and smuggling but is now being leveraged to counter the growing threat of drone and missile attacks in the region.Approximately 20,000 commercial vessels traverse the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden annually, making the security of these waterways a global concern. The involvement of Task Force 153, with its expanded mandate, highlights the multifaceted approach to address piracy, smuggling, and now, drone and missile threats.Participating nations have outlined their specific contributions to Operation Prosperity Guardian:Britain: The United Kingdom has committed a Type 45 destroyer, HMS Diamond, equipped with air defense weapons to lead the Royal Navy contribution to the international task force. This deployment follows the recent interception of a suspected Houthi drone targeting a commercial ship.Italy: Italy will contribute the multimission frigate Virginio Fasan to counter destabilizing terrorist activity in the Red Sea. The decision aligns with discussions between Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, emphasizing the importance of securing shipping routes.France: The French multimission frigate Languedoc has been actively patrolling the Gulf of Aden and the southern Red Sea since December 8, intercepting hostile drones and ensuring freedom of navigation. The frigate intervention protected the Norwegian oil tanker Strinda from a potential hijacking incident.Norway: While Norway is not sending vessels, it will dispatch up to 10 staff officers to support the Combined Maritime Forces in their efforts.The Netherlands: The Netherlands plans to contribute two staff officers to the operation, with a potential review of additional naval assets in the future.Spain: Spain is yet to decide on its participation in Operation Prosperity Guardian, and any involvement would be considered within the frameworks of NATO or the European Union, according to the Defense Ministry spokesperson, Nuria Fernandez de la Fuente.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-21 05:06:31
 Space & Technology 

Technology News - In a significant move, the U.S. Justice Department (DoJ) has officially declared the disruption of the notorious BlackCat ransomware operation, unveiling a decryption tool that over 500 affected victims can now utilize to regain access to files previously locked by the malware.Court documents reveal that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) orchestrated a strategic intervention by enlisting a confidential human source (CHS) to operate as an affiliate within the BlackCat group. This unconventional approach allowed the FBI to gain access to the gang web panel, essentially hacking the hackers themselves.The operation witnessed a collaborative effort involving law enforcement agencies from the U.S., Germany, Denmark, Australia, the U.K., Spain, Switzerland, and Austria.Initially emerging in December 2021 under aliases such as ALPHV, GOLD BLAZER, and Noberus, BlackCat quickly rose to become the world second most prolific ransomware-as-a-service variant after LockBit. Notably, it marked the first appearance of a Rust-language-based ransomware strain in the wild.The conclusion of this operation dispels earlier speculations of law enforcement action, sparked when BlackCat dark web leak portal went offline on December 7, only to resurface five days later with a sole victim.Working closely with numerous victims in the U.S., the FBI implemented the decryptor, sparing them from ransom demands totaling approximately $68 million. The agency also gained valuable insights into the ransomware network, acquiring 946 public/private key pairs that were instrumental in dismantling the TOR sites operated by the group.It is crucial to note that the creation of a hidden service with the .onion URL on the TOR network involves generating a unique key pair. BlackCat, like other ransomware groups, employed a ransomware-as-a-service model, combining core developers with affiliates who rented out the payload and targeted high-value victim institutions. The group also employed the double extortion scheme, adding pressure on victims by exfiltrating sensitive data before encryption.According to the DoJ, BlackCat affiliates gained initial access to victim networks through various methods, including leveraging compromised user credentials.Estimates suggest that this financially motivated actor compromised over 1,000 victims worldwide, accumulating nearly $300 million in illegal revenues by September 2023.Despite the takedown, rival groups like LockBit are quick to seize opportunities. LockBit is actively recruiting displaced BlackCat affiliates, even offering its data leak site to resume victim negotiations.In response to the intervention, a BlackCat spokesperson stated that they have relocated servers and blogs. The group claims that law enforcement agencies only had access to an outdated key for the old blog site, which had been deleted long ago.While the threat actor newest leak website remains operational, the FBI has successfully re-seized the main leak site. In a retaliatory move, BlackCat has given affiliates permission to target critical infrastructure entities, excluding those within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The FBI has since regained control of the website.In a candid conversation with vx-underground, a LockBit administrator expressed concerns about security loopholes in their infrastructure, labeling them as a primary threat to their business in the wake of this unfolding situation.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-20 16:14:04
 World 

Defense News - In a momentous handover ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany, German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp has successfully delivered the third vessel in the MEKO A-200 frigate series, named ENS Al-Qadeer (FFG-909), to the Egyptian Navy. This remarkable accomplishment comes just six months after the delivery of its predecessor, ENS Al-Qahhar (FFG-905).Designed to serve a pivotal role in special forces support, search and rescue, and humanitarian missions, ENS Al-Qadeer represents a significant advancement in Egypt naval capabilities. The final ship in the series, ENS Sajm Al-Jabbar (FFG-910), is slated to join active service in 2024.Key Features of Al-QadeerBoasting a displacement of 3,700 tons, a length of 121 meters (397 feet), and a width of 16.3 meters (53 feet), ENS Al-Qadeer accommodates up to 120 personnel. Propelled by a cutting-edge CODAG WARP system, the frigate can achieve speeds of up to 29 knots (33.4 miles/52 kilometers per hour) and boasts an impressive range of 7,200 nautical miles (8,300 miles/13,357 kilometers) at 16 knots (18 miles/29 kilometers per hour).Armed for ExcellenceENS Al-Qadeer is equipped with a formidable arsenal, including an OTO Melara 127/64 gun assembly, MSI-Defence 30-mm cannons, Rheinmetall Defence MASS softkill decoy launchers, and four 20-mm guns. This advanced weaponry underscores the vessel versatility and readiness for diverse operational scenarios.Partnership for ProgressStefan Ettwig, ThyssenKrupp head of internal communications, emphasized the company commitment to supporting the modernization efforts of the Egyptian Navy. The record-breaking delivery time of the new frigate is a testament to ThyssenKrupp dedication to excellence and the establishment of robust partnerships. Ettwig further revealed that the fourth and final frigate is on track for completion at the Alexandria Shipyard.ThyssenKrupp remarkable achievement in the expedited delivery of ENS Al-Qadeer underscores its pivotal role in enhancing Egypt naval capabilities and fostering collaborative efforts for maritime modernization.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-20 16:04:35
 Space & Technology 

Space News - Leading Chinese launch startup, Galactic Energy, has successfully secured $154 million in funding to advance the development of its revolutionary Pallas-1 rocket. The funding, announced in the C and C+ rounds on December 18, will primarily support research and development efforts focused on the Pallas-1 medium-lift rocket and its associated infrastructure.The funding rounds were spearheaded by Ziyang Heavy Industry Fund, with participation from key investors including Bengbu Investment Group, Langfang Linkong, Founder Hesheng Investment, Jintuo Capital, and undisclosed backers, as outlined in the company official statement.Despite economic challenges and intense competition within the space industry, this funding announcement underscores the resilience of financial support for Chinese commercial launch ventures. Recent developments also suggest that lucrative national contracts are in the pipeline for commercial launch service providers, opening new avenues for revenue.Pallas-1, a 42-meter-long kerosene-liquid oxygen launcher, is designed with a targeted capacity of 5,000 kg to low Earth orbit (LEO) or 3,000 kg to a 700 km sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). Galactic Energy aims to conduct the inaugural Pallas-1 flight in Q3 of the following year, with plans to recover the first stage using landing legs by 2025.In addition to its immediate plans, Galactic Energy is eyeing a triple-core variant of the Pallas-1, poised to lift an impressive 14,000 kg to LEO, with a projected launch date as early as 2026. The company is strategically positioning itself to secure contracts for launching satellites for China national satellite internet megaconstellation, Guowang, which aims to deploy approximately 13,000 satellites into LEO, in response to global constellations like SpaceX Starlink.Galactic Energy also emerges as a potential contender for cost-effective cargo missions to the Tiangong space station, aligning with China human spaceflight agency recent call for cargo spacecraft and launch solutions in the 4 to 6-ton range to LEO.This funding round follows closely on the heels of Galactic Energy successful return-to-flight with the 11th Ceres-1 four-stage solid rocket launch on December 4, reestablishing its reliability after a setback in late September.Established in February 2018, Galactic Energy has positioned itself as a leader in the competitive Chinese commercial launch sector, marked by successful launches and even a milestone launch from a mobile sea platform. This $154 million funding marks the company second significant funding round, building on the $200 million raised in early 2022.While Galactic Energy has achieved notable success with the Ceres-1, competing with larger, reusable rockets presents challenges. Rivals like Landspace Zhuque-2, which can carry 1,500 kilograms to a 500-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit, have already achieved successful launches. Landspace plans for a larger Zhuque-3, capable of lifting up to 18,300 kg to LEO, pose further competition with a target launch date in 2025.The year 2023 has proven to be a breakthrough for Chinese commercial launch entities, with Galactic Energy, iSpace, Landspace, Space Pioneer, and state-owned spinoffs CAS Space and Expace collectively accounting for 17 out of China 62 orbital launches. This includes the maiden successful launches of Chinese commercial liquid-propellant rockets into orbit, marking a significant stride in the nation space exploration endeavors.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-20 16:03:20
 World 

Defense News - The United States Army faces a critical challenge as it grapples with the absence of a viable active protection system (APS) for its Stryker armored fighting vehicles, a senior two-star general has disclosed. APS, a crucial element in armored vehicles, serves to thwart anti-tank weapons, bolstering the survivability of soldiers in combat.Despite recent attempts to integrate a suitable APS, the Army is still without an effective solution that aligns with the size, weight, and power requirements of the Stryker vehicles. Major General Glenn Dean, the program executive officer for ground combat systems, conceded in a recent statement to Breaking Defense that the search for an adequate technical solution has proven elusive over the years.“We have been unable to find a technical solution adequate for Stryker,” Maj. Gen. Dean remarked. “Although we continue to keep an eye on what the commercial space may bring and what our partners in the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command are working on.”The absence of an APS renders the Stryker vulnerable to modern anti-tank weapons such as Russia Kornet and China HJ-8 guided missiles. Even after completing characterization testing in September of a potential APS solution named StrikeShield, produced by Rheinmetall and touted as one of the world most advanced protection systems, the Army faces obstacles.StrikeShield boasts rapid reaction times during ambushes, neutralizing missiles before they reach the platform. However, preliminary findings highlight "core platform integration challenges" if Rheinmetall APS were to be selected for the Stryker.Previous considerations included the Iron Curtain APS developed by Virginia-based firm Artis, aimed at enhancing the Stryker survivability. Despite its conceptual success, Army leaders concluded that the system would demand excessive time and financial resources for maturation.As the Army continues its pursuit of an effective APS for the Stryker, uncertainties linger, and the need for a comprehensive solution remains paramount to ensure the safety and protection of soldiers in the face of evolving anti-tank threats.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-20 15:57:54
 World 

Defense news - In a recent flight demonstration, the US Army Enduring Shield air defense system marked a significant achievement by successfully launching an experimental AIM-9X missile interceptor. The manufacturer, Leidos, revealed that the system utilized a simulated Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) interface during the test, which will serve as the command-and-control system for the new capability.The live-fire test not only validated the functions of the weapon system but also demonstrated its capability to send a missile interceptor precisely to a designated target location. According to Larry Barisciano, the company operations manager, this successful demonstration is a major milestone for the team, indicating readiness for government testing and a substantial win for both the company and the warfighters.Following the completion of the flight demonstration, the US Army is set to receive 12 launchers for the development test program scheduled to commence in January 2024. An operational assessment is planned for the following year, utilizing data from the recent demonstration and the 2024 testing to enhance the system further.Designed to address capability gaps, the Enduring Shield system is a ground-based air defense system tailored to combat cruise missiles and unmanned aerial systems, providing 360-degree coverage for the defense of critical civilian and military infrastructure. With the ability to engage multiple targets simultaneously, the system aims to bridge the gap between tactical short-range air defense systems and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-ballistic missile defense system, serving as the US Army Indirect Fire Protection Capability.Despite its success, the Enduring Shield program faced challenges in September 2021 when Leidos received a $247-million contract to build 16 prototype launchers. Supply chain issues led to a one-year delay, impacting the expected delivery date in 2022 and affecting the overall fielding schedule of the system. However, with the recent milestone achieved, the project is poised to move forward with confidence and excitement for future collaboration with the US Army.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-20 15:43:31
 World 

Defense News - In a global arena where uncertainties abound, one glaring mystery persists—China defense budget, an enigma wrapped in opacity. While the official 2023 defense budget announcement on March 5 touted CNY 1.5537 trillion (USD 224.59 billion), a deeper exploration reveals a disconcerting revelation: the actual expenditure could be several times higher than acknowledged.The declared 7.2% increase from the previous year, amounting to USD 224.59 billion, underscores China robust defense spending rebound. However, skepticism arises about the credibility of this figure. The inherent lack of transparency in Chinese data, coupled with the absence of independent verification, fuels doubts among global observers.Senator Dan Sulliva startling revelation to the US Senate in June added fuel to the speculation fire. According to Sullivan, the actual Chinese military budget could hover around USD 700 billion, a figure three times higher than the official declaration. This revelation challenges not only the perceived proportionality to China GDP but also undermines Beijing claim of having a "moderate" defense budget below global averages.The Pentagon 2023 report cautiously noted that China actual military-related spending in 2022 could significantly exceed the officially announced defense budget. Estimates from UK and Europe-based think tanks suggest that the real 2022 defense budget might be 30-40% higher than the official figure.The opacity deepens when considering the myriad defense-related expenditures omitted from China formal budget. Internal security forces, such as the People Armed Police (PAP) and the China Coast Guard (CCG), boasting substantial military capabilities, operate outside the official defense budget. The lack of transparency extends to China civil-military fusion strategy, blurring the lines between civilian and military spending.The perplexity amplifies with China ability to stretch its defense budget further due to a non-market economy, where production costs are significantly lower than in competitive markets like the USA. The concept of purchasing power parity (PPP) further complicates the comparison, suggesting that China outspends the US in real terms when accounting for hidden non-defense spending.As China navigates economic headwinds, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, it prioritizes defense spending with a 7.2% increase in 2023, contrasting declines in general public services and modest rises in education expenditure. This strategic emphasis underscores the pivotal role the People Liberation Army (PLA) plays in President Xi Jinping vision for China.If the speculated USD 700 billion is even remotely accurate, China defense posture becomes more alarming. The narrative shifts from a "moderate" defense budget to a potential veil concealing vast, undisclosed expenditures. With a PLA rapidly modernizing and a decade of doubling defense expenditure, concerns rise about the true intentions behind China military buildup.As the world grapples with uncertainties, the true extent of China defense spending remains a puzzle, and its implications for regional stability and global security continue to raise questions that demand answers.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-20 15:35:58
 World 

Defense News - In a significant development on Tuesday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed plans for his country to manufacture one million drones in the upcoming year, marking a pivotal escalation in the drone-centric conflict between Kyiv and Moscow.Zelensky expressed confidence in Ukraine ability to independently create cutting-edge devices, stating, "We will produce one million drones next year, and our soldiers will receive Ukraine-made drones in their brigades."The use of drones has become a crucial aspect of the ongoing conflict, with both Ukraine and Russia deploying them extensively for reconnaissance, explosive drops, and targeted strikes.Highlighting the strategic importance of drones, Zelensky emphasized that the domestically produced drones would significantly enhance Ukraine military capabilities. The objective is to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to refine targeting against Russian positions while bolstering defenses against potential attacks.The drone-centric arms race between Moscow and Kyiv has intensified, with Ukraine aiming to stay ahead by integrating AI into its military operations. Ukrainian officials disclosed that the armed forces require a substantial monthly output of 100,000 to 120,000 drones to effectively counter invading Russian troops.As Ukraine positions itself at the forefront of drone technology, the move underscores a pivotal shift in the dynamics of modern warfare and signals the country determination to leverage technological advancements for strategic advantage on the battlefield.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-20 15:28:50
 World 

Defense News - The Finland Defence Forces have recently finalized a €23.6 million ($26 million) contract with Patria, signaling the acquisition of six advanced bridge-laying vehicles to enhance combat capabilities in challenging terrains. These tracked vehicles are specifically engineered to transport, deploy, and retrieve Leguan bridges of varying lengths, offering a comprehensive solution for obstacle-ridden landscapes.Crucially, these cutting-edge vehicles will be built upon the Leopard 2A4 main battle tank chassis, ensuring superior versatility and maneuverability. Patria Executive Vice President Jussi Järvinen emphasized the significance of the agreement, stating that it not only reinforces Patria position as a leading provider of system integrations and engineer corps heavy equipment but also contributes to job creation in Finland, with an estimated 70 person-years of work expected.Scheduled for delivery between 2026 and 2028, these bridge-laying vehicles are poised to play a pivotal role in the Finnish Defence Forces strategic capabilities. By swiftly deploying armored vehicles across rivers and challenging terrains, these vehicles will prove invaluable in overcoming obstacles such as craters, ravines, anti-tank ditches, and damaged bridges.Patria commitment to delivering state-of-the-art technology aligns with the global trend in military engineering. Notable examples include the 70-ton M104 Wolverine, currently in service with the US Army, which is based on a modified M1A2 Abrams main battle tank chassis. This robust bridgelayer can withstand numerous crossings of vehicles as heavy as the M1A2 Abrams.Additionally, the German Biber stands out as a widely-used bridge-laying vehicle, exported to countries such as Australia, Canada, Italy, and the Netherlands. Originally developed for the German military, the Biber is based on a Leopard 1 main battle tank chassis and boasts the unique ability to lay its bridge horizontally, providing enhanced flexibility in deployment.In summary, the recent contract between the Finnish Defence Forces and Patria represents a significant step forward in military capabilities. The deployment of these advanced bridge-laying vehicles not only ensures operational readiness in obstacle-laden environments but also contributes to the growth of the defense industry and job market in Finland.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-20 15:02:39
 World 

Defense News - In an effort to impede the progress of hundreds of Baloch protesters marching towards Islamabad, the authorities in Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan, have taken measures to curb their peaceful demonstration, as reported by The Friday Times, a prominent Pakistani English-language newspaper based in Lahore.According to the publication, approximately 20 Baloch activists have been apprehended, and transporters in the district have purportedly been instructed to deny services to march participants who have chosen to continue their journey on foot.The origin of this march dates back to last month when residents from Baluchistan embarked on a long journey from Turbat, expressing their discontent against the enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of their loved ones, with no legal recourse available, as documented by The Friday Times.The march initially traversed from Turbat to the provincial capital of Quetta through Khuzdar, with subsequent plans announced to extend the protest to the federal capital, Islamabad.Upon reaching Dera Ghazi Khan late last week, the protesters alleged that the district administration and other authorities were actively obstructing their peaceful progression towards Taunsa.Mahrang Baloch, one of the protesters, revealed that the state had resorted to threats and denied them access to transportation, further reporting the arrest of several fellow protesters.Undeterred by these challenges, on Tuesday, the marchers resolved to continue their journey towards Islamabad, commencing the next leg of their march on foot from Dera Ghazi Khan. Their strategy involves staging a peaceful protest demonstration in Taunsa before advancing further towards the federal capital, according to The Friday Times.Simultaneously, FIRs were filed against activists participating in the march in various parts of Balochistan, including Kohlu, Naal, and Khuzdar.The march, which began on November 23 with a sit-in in Turbat following the custodial death of 24-year-old Balach Mola Bakhsh, has faced adversity since its inception. Bakhsh, arrested by the Baluchistan Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on October 29, was reported to have been found dead weeks later in a militant camp raided by the CTD, despite being officially on physical remand, as highlighted by The Friday Times.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-20 14:56:22
 India 

Defense News - Indian intelligence sources have categorically refuted the recent circulating rumors claiming that fugitive terrorist Dawood Ibrahim was poisoned in Pakistan. According to high-ranking officials within the Indian intelligence network, these reports are fabricated and likely disseminated by Pakistani authorities.Contrary to the alleged poisoning, sources state that Dawood Ibrahim is in good health and continues to engage in routine activities. An official emphasized, "Dawood is alive and healthy. Even I was shocked to see this fake news. I met him multiple times yesterday." Reports from the upscale Clifton area in Karachi, where Dawood is believed to be located, also indicate no unusual activities.The misinformation gained traction on various social media platforms, where users claimed that Dawood Ibrahim had been rushed to the hospital after being poisoned. Screenshots purportedly from Pakistan caretaker Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar circulated, suggesting Dawood demise. However, investigations revealed that the message and account were fraudulent.The viral message falsely stated, "The Messiah of humanity, dear to every Pakistani heart, our beloved His Excellency Dawood Ibrahim passed away due to poisoning by the unknown. He breathed his last in a hospital in Karachi. May Allah grant him the highest position in Jannat. Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji un."Dawood Ibrahim, wanted for multiple terror activities in India, including the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, is based in Karachi, and the United Nations Security Council announced a $25 million bounty on him in 2003. He remains one of India most wanted individuals, alongside figures like Hafiz Saeed, Maulana Masood Azhar, Syed Salahuddin, and Abdul Rauf Asghar.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-20 14:52:04
 India 

Defense News - The Indian Ministry of Defence took a significant step on Wednesday by formalizing a contract worth Rs 1,614 crore with Mazagon Dockyard Shipbuilders Ltd for the acquisition of six cutting-edge offshore patrol vessels for the Indian Coast Guard. This procurement initiative aims to bolster the Coast Guard overall capability in ensuring maritime security, as highlighted by the defence ministry.In an official statement released on December 20, the Ministry of Defence confirmed the signing of the contract, emphasizing that it falls under the buy (Indian-IDDM) category and carries a total cost of Rs 1614.89 crore.Among the six vessels to be acquired, four are slated to replace the existing aging offshore patrol vessels, while the remaining two will serve to augment the Coast Guard fleet. The overarching goal of obtaining these advanced platforms is to enhance the Indian Coast Guard operational capabilities and underscore the government heightened focus on maritime security.The ministry statement further elaborated on the pivotal role these modern and high-tech ships will play, emphasizing their contributions to surveillance, law enforcement, search and rescue operations, maritime pollution response, and various other critical capabilities, including humanitarian assistance.Highlighting the technological advancements incorporated into these offshore patrol vessels, the ministry noted the inclusion of multipurpose drones, artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, and wirelessly controlled remote water rescue craft lifebuoy. These features are designed to provide greater flexibility and operational advantages, reinforcing the Indian Coast Guard ability to respond effectively to diverse challenges in the maritime domain.

Read More → Posted on 2023-12-20 14:45:29