The 5 Minute Debrief: Mali, Mali, Mali, and now Algeria...

Contributor:  Defence IQ Press
Posted:  01/17/2013  12:00:00 AM EST
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1. Mali and Algeria stokes global anti-terror effort

Following French armed forces shipping out to aid the Mali government in countering a growing radicalised insurgency, allies and partner nations are lending  support. 200 Nigerian troops are on their way, while France is understood to be increasing its number to 2,500. The mission is intended to help Malians defeat rebels who have so far taken over major towns, such as Timbuktu, and imposed brutal laws and punishments. The EU is likely to provide rapid support to the operations in a number of “arms-length” ways, while the U.S. is also understood to be considering its role, though it is expected that this will come in the form of intelligence rather than troops. Islamist fighters responded to the battles being waged in Mali by seizing a gas plant in Algeria and taking hostages, including approximately 150 Algerian and 41 foreign civilians. The terrorists are threatening to blow up the site if their demands are not met.

The huge rise in the use of aerial surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence is to be discussed at next month’s Airborne ISR 2013. View the agenda here.

2. Russia providing $1 billion of arms to Bangladesh

Vladimir Putin shook hands with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on an agreed arms contract worth $1bn this week. The money will be a loan intended specifically to purchase Russian weapons, believed to include a wide range of assets from armoured vehicles to fighter jets and radar. In recent months, Russia has been making great strides in exploring deeper defence-based partnerships with a number of Asian countries, including missile cooperation talks with China and India and another loan of $500 million to Dhaka to help it construct a nuclear power plant. Despite on-going disputes with India and Pakistan, relations are not as cool as in previous years, with militaries and diplomats seeming to make headway in a number of ways, including renewed rail links.

Interested in Russian armoured programmes and system integration? Representatives will be present at next month’s International Armoured Vehicles event.

3. With the F-35 plight, there’s no Turkish delight

Following Canada’s concerns with its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme, Turkey has become the latest country to backtrack on its decision to buy Lockheed Martin’s fifth generation jet. The Undersecretariat of Defense Industry (SSM) announced that it would be shelving its acquisition of two F-35A fighters. Although officials are insisting that Turkey will persevere with its F-35 programme, the delay may be indefinite since no date has been specified for when it intends to procure the 100 JSFs it originally signed up for. Australia has also delayed its F-35 programme and other participating nations such as Italy and the Netherlands may follow.

What complex weapon systems will the F-35 adorn? Why not raise the question at the Integrated Air and Missile Defence conference?

4. The hunt for Red October

Security firm Kaspersky Labs has confirmed that malware, dubbed ‘Red October’, has been stealing information from embassies and nuclear research centres since 2007. In a statement, Kaspersky Labs said: “The primary focus of this campaign targets countries in Eastern Europe, former USSR Republics, and countries in Central Asia, although victims can be found everywhere, including Western Europe and North America.” As is typical when a new cyber attack is revealed, such as with Stuxnet and the Flame, analysts are calling this “one of the most significant attacks ever to be discovered.” While on a tour of Europe this week Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that he intends the US to “strengthen our capability in the cyber arena” with its European allies and NATO partners. Chuck Hagel, the man lined up to replace Panetta, is thought to be clued up to his responsibilities in cyber space and is already thinking about strategies to elevate  the role of Cyber Command and clarify the military’s rules of engagement in cyber space.

Key cyber professionals from military and industry will be meeting at the Cyber Defence and Network Security conference on 28 – 30 January. Find out more here.

5. UK orders more fire and Brimstone (1, not 2)

MBDA has signed a new £14 million deal to supply the Royal Air Force with its Dual Mode Seeker Brimstone (DMSB) missile, which is carried by the RAF Tornado and was used during operations in Libya. Wing Commander Andy Turk, the Officer Commanding IX (Bomber) Squadron, said that “Brimstone has become a vital part of our modern and sophisticated arsenal of precision strike weapons.” In March 2010 Brimstone was selected as the basis for the RAF's requirement under the Selective Precision Effects At Range (SPEAR) Capability 2 Block 1 programme. However, due to technical problems the National Audit Office, the government’s spending watchdog, reported last week that the programme had been pushed out to 2015. The technical problems are due to complications with insensitive munitions-compliant rockets.

At the Integrated Air and Missile Defence conference in March the Brimstone, and Brimstone 2, will be discussed at length. To find out more please download the agenda.

Defence IQ Press Contributor:   Defence IQ Press

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