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Showing posts from October 31, 2013

New Palestinian counter-terrorism unit deploys to Jenin

The Palestinian National Security Forces (NSF) has deployed a new, specialised counter-terrorism unit as part of its ongoing effort to improve its security capabilities.

Special Operations Unit 101 (SOU 101) deployed to Jenin - one of the most troubled towns in the West Bank - in October to support the NSF's 9th Battalion, the unit's commander, Major Sadam Amr, told IHS Jane's .

The unit numbers around 150 men and uses Zastava M70 assault rifles that have been fitted with picatinny rails so they can be used with the red dot, laser and night vision sites acquired by the unit. "Each rifle upgrade cost us USD1,000," Maj Sadam said.

He added that the unit is also equipped with a tactical communications system that is made by a US company called Tiger. The individual radios allow members of the unit to stay in contact with each other and their operations room. It uses Ford F-150 pick-up trucks, several of which have been fitted with protective armour in the West Bank as …

ADEX 2013: Samsung Thales shows off tactical comms suite

Samsung Thales unveiled an integrated communications system called the Tactical Integrated Communication Network (TICN) at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (ADEX 2013).
Two systems were displayed: the line-of-sight-based Multiple Link Radio (MLR) system and the mobile telephone-based communication system. The two systems aim at providing seamless voice and data services between frontline units and the command centre in a tactical scenario.
Both systems are being trialled by the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA). IHS Jane's reported in 2008 that the then unnamed system would enter service in 2022; Samsung Thales officials at ADEX could not confirm this timeline.
The MLR system at the command centre consists of a four-sector antenna unit mounted on top of an antenna mast, a modem, and a base band radio unit. At the forward post/tactical area, the system has a modem and a hyperbolic wire mesh antenna unit with the baseband unit mounted on the antenna mast itself…

ADEX 2013: GAASI ponders South Korean delay in requesting Predator B information

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GAASI) is waiting on the South Korean government to formally request information on its MQ-9 Predator B (Reaper) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) so that it can be offered to fulfil the air force's medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV requirement, a company official told IHS Jane's on 30 October.

Speaking at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (ADEX) in South Korea, William Thomas Jr, Senior Manager Washington Operations, said that GAASI would like to submit its Predator B platform to the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF), but as a Category 1 system it requires an official government request for the company to do so.

"We have asked [the Korean government] to do this, but [the Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA)] has not yet done so," he said. "We're not sure of the reasons why, but we think it might be tied up with domestic production considerations."

As with most big-ticket …

ADEX 2013: AgustaWestland urges South Korea to revise airborne mine-countermeasures requirements

AgustaWestland is pressing the South Korean government to issue a new requirement of capabilities (RoC) document for its stalled airborne mine-countermeasures (AMCM) programme, a company official told IHS Jane's on 29 October.

Speaking at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (ADEX) in South Korea, Andrew Symonds, Vice President North-East Asia Sales and Marketing, said that the Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) must come up with a revised solution if the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) is not to lose the capability with the scaling back of the US Navy's (USN's) Sikorsky MH-53 AMCM assets in the region.

"The [MH-X AMCM] competition stalled about two years ago, as the specifications were unachievable," Symonds explained. "The US Navy thought it could offer [Korea] five bespoke systems, but two of them couldn't be fitted to the UH-60 [Seahawk helicopter operated by the RoKN]."

According to Symonds, towing the AMCM out of …

128 dead in Nigeria state capital after five hour battle

Nigerian military and hospital reports indicate a 5-hour-long battle between Islamic extremists and troops in the capital of Nigeria's Yobe state killed at least 95 militants, 23 soldiers and eight police officers.

Details still trickling in days after the Thursday and Friday attack on Damaturu raise doubts about military claims that they have the upper hand in the fight to halt an Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria, nearly six months after the government imposed a state of emergency.

Reporters saw that the extremists had set ablaze four police command posts and an army barracks where they looted vehicles and weapons.

Police and witnesses said at least two civilians died - a man believed killed by the insurgents and a civil servant shot by soldiers for breaking the curfew.

Venezuelan Territorial Claims

Venezuela's Bolivarian National Guard seized a Guyanese fuel smuggling ship in the eastern Venezuelan municipality of Caroni on Oct. 23. This followed the Oct. 10 seizure of the Panama-flagged Teknik Perdana oil exploration ship, which was operating in waters claimed by both Venezuela and Guyana on behalf of U.S. oil company Anadarko. The seizure of the Teknik Perdana has exacerbated long-present tensions in Venezuela's relationship with Guyana. The two neighbors have had a territorial dispute since shortly after Venezuela emerged as an independent state in 1830. The territory in question comprises roughly half of Guyana's territory and is known to be rich in minerals including gold. Although the current borders were dictated in a treaty with the United Kingdom in 1899, Venezuela contends that the British unduly influenced the outcome in their favor.

Late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez largely left the issue alone, although there were occasional flare-ups in bilateral ten…

Putin: Enjoying His Victories While He Can

Russian President Vladimir Putin notched another public relations victory Wednesday when Forbes magazine named him the world's most powerful person. Every year, the magazine publishes a list of the heads of state, financiers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs who "truly rule the world," so it is little surprise that the U.S. president ordinarily ranks No. 1. Indeed, Barack Obama has topped the list every year of his presidency, save for 2010, when Chinese President Hu Jintao surpassed him following the financial crisis in 2009.

But a lot has happened in 2013 that apparently swayed Forbes' opinion. The magazine had this to say when it bestowed the (admittedly symbolic) title on the Russian president: "Putin has solidified his control over Russia while Obama's lame duck period has seemingly set in earlier than usual for a two-term president -- latest example: the government shutdown mess. Anyone watching this year's chess match over Syria and National Secur…

South Korea Focuses on a Blue-Water Navy


Recent reports of South Korean shipbuilding and naval plans demonstrate that the country's maritime ambitions are far greater than simply focusing on the threat from North Korea. According to a Defense News report that cited a South Korean navy source, as well as recent comments by Rep. Chung Hee Soo of the ruling Saenuri Party, Seoul is seriously considering greatly expanding its blue-water maritime capabilities. Several challenges lie ahead -- difficulties developing or acquiring needed technology, the ever-present danger from North Korea and fiscal constraints -- but South Korea's long-term interests are closely linked to the sea.


The South Korean navy already had plans to commission three more highly capable destroyers by 2023 and to greatly enhance its subsurface fleet with larger, more powerful submarines. However, recent reports indicate that the South Koreans are also seeking to build the second ship of the Dokdo-class landing platform helicopter ship b…