UltimateDefence No3-2021

Ultimate Defence AIR | SEA | LAND | SPACE Issue 3 - October 2021

Tupolev PAK DA

The Cameroonian Air Force Spanish Air Force receives first PC-21 Hypersonics: developing and defending against missiles faster than sound The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover

Has dominance over

the oceans shifted?

Photo by Staff Sgt.Victor Mancilla

Attack on UN peacekeepers in Mali condemned WWIII - Biological or chemical warfare? Rosoboronexport brings manufacturers to the Partner 2021 Exhibition in Belgrade


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2 UltimateDefence

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In this issue WWIII: Biological or chemical warfare? Hypersonics: developing and defending against missiles faster than sound Damen’s Fast Crew Supplier FCS 7011 completes sea trials and heads to the Netherlands Rosoboronexport brings Russian Defence manufac- turers to the Partner 2021


26 32 42 24

Next generation interceptor programme achieves critical system requirements review Has dominace over the oceans shifted? Fighting on multiple fronts - The Cameroonian Air Force

12 14

Tupolev PAK DA

Exhibition in Belgrade 18

first PC-21 44

The Spanish Air Force receives it's

takeover 20

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban

Attack on UN peacekeepers in Mali condemned 22






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A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III safely transported 823 Afghan citisens fromHamid Karzai International Airport on 15 August, 2021. This included 183 children. Pic: Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

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From the Desk of Charmaine de Villiers


War is a constant factor in many parts of the world, but not in the sense of World War I or II where almost all countries were involved in fighting a common enemy. Modern conflicts are still wars of military weapons, a great deal more sophisticated and technologically advanced than previously weapons, although not generally admitted to by governments, have been used in the past with the first ‘invisible’ weapon in WWI coming from the Germans when they released chlorine gas from thousands of cylinders along a 6km front at Ypres, Belgium, on 22 April, 1915, thus creating a wind-borne chemical cloud that opened a major breach in the lines but nevertheless visible weapons. Chemical and biological

of the unprepared French and Algerian units. Mustard gas was used by the United States in 1917 but many of the military’s own soldiers suffered effects from the gas which could cause nasty skin burns. Research and development into chemical weapons continued and then during the Vietnam War the US used napalm against the Viet Cong. Termed Agent Orange, this was a mixture of herbicides used by military to defoliate forests and clear other vegetation. The mix was deployed in urban, agricultural, and forested areas in Vietnam to expose the enemy and destroy crops. However,

What are biological weapons? These are micro-organisms like virus, bacteria, fungi, or other toxins that are produced and released deliberately to cause disease and death in humans, animals or plants. Biological agents such as anthrax, botulinum toxin and plague can result in health problems causing large numbers of deaths in a short amount of time while being difficult to contain. Viruses such as Ebola or Lassa Fever can cause epidemics and although the viruses that are used by scientists in efforts to produce vaccines are kept in almost impenetrable biohazard laboratories under the strictest security, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that they can be cultivated for use as weapons. Biological weapons form part of a group classified as weapons of mass destruction, which

the chemical also caused a variety of illnesses including

leukaemia, diabetes and Hodgkin’s disease among others. US soldiers did not escape the results of Agent Orange.

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also includes chemical, nuclear and radiological weapons. The use of biological agents is a serious problem, and the risk of using these agents in a bio-terrorist attack is increasing. Some countries are known or suspected of possessing weapons of mass destruction. Mankind has since ancient times, looked to weapons in times of conflict. Biological weapons are a natural product of the search for evermore dangerous means of waging war and defeating the enemy. The proliferation of these weapons has been restricted by means of treaties but unfortunately only signatories are affected in any way. Terrorists organisations, certain individuals and countries looking for dominance, ignore any restrictions. Biological warfare has potential power as a weapon and those who ignore the danger may do so at a heavy cost. Deadly development There are many countries around the world that continue to experiment and develop bio-weaponry but the secrecy surrounding 2013 declassified certain documents surrounding area 51 and the Dugmore Proving Ground which tests and stores some of the deadliest chemical and biological agents on Earth. The facility opened in 1942 and has tested some this work is absolute, although the United States government in

Has technology made the world a more dangerous place? During the Cold War the US and Soviet Union invested in considerable resources in programmes to develop biological weapons able to withstand a range of environmental conditions and provide predictable rather than haphazard, results. Numerous problems and difficulties (apparently) led to countries abandon their efforts and join the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). Unfortunately science and technological advances have made it more likely that biological weapons could be developed that are more effective. For many these advances would bring to mind the devastation, both in the huge loss of life and financial cost, caused by the Covid-19 virus. There are many theories as to the exact cause of the pandemic, including one that puts the blame firmly on Chinese scientists and the governments for engineering the virus in the Wohan laboratories and then ‘accidentally’ or deliberately infecting people to spread the disease. Justification for this theory is that China has benefited from the pandemic by being able to increase its oil reserves at very low prices, and being able to buy companies in countries that are in desperate financial straits, thus gaining a foothold in those countries. China’s plans of expansionism and dominance is well known.

of the deadliest chemical, biological, radiological, and explosive hazards on Earth. Past experiments include weaponised mosquitoes and fleas, as well as tests with deadly diseases such as anthrax. It also produced an agent known as VX but this was reportedly never used in combat and the US has destroyed its stockpile of chemical weapons as part of a United Nations treaty. Mankind has since ancient times, looked to weapons in times of conflict. Biological weapons are a natural product of the search for evermore dangerous means of waging war and defeating the enemy. Some reports quote officials as saying that since the 1940’s Dugmore has changed from offensive to defensive testing but this does not equate with a 1968 event in which 6 000 sheep died mysteriously after a high-speed jet had sprayed 320 gallons of nerve gas VX across the Dugway grounds in a weapons test. The odourless, tasteless chemical is so deadly that less than 10 milligrams is enough to kill a human by asphyxiation, via paralysis of the respiratory muscles. A second occurrence saw thousands of sheep die in a nearby farmland a couple of days after overhead planes spewed out the nerve agent into the wind, accidentally sending it into the nearby farmland in Skull Valley.

UltimateDefence 7

From the Desk of Charmaine de Villiers

biological and chemical weapons. One hundred and forty three countries eventually ratified the treaty, including the United States, Russia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea. Fifty-two nations have not signed on, including Israel, Egypt and Somalia. The 1991 Gulf War was a result of reports that Iraq had violated the 1972 bio- weapons treaty by mass- producing weapons-grade anthrax and conducting research on a wide variety of other biological agents -- including botulism, rotavirus and gangrene- inducing bacteria. Today there is evidence that Iraq had not produced weapons of mass destruction but the truth will never really been known. All told, Block estimates that about a dozen countries are believed to have active bio- weaponss programmes. These sort of experiments and tests should frighten the world for it would not be difficult to imagine aircraft overflying enemy armies and releasing deadly chemical or biological weapons. Not only can these weapons be used against military targets but civilians could easily become victoms. Millions died in the two world wars. How many more will die in a Third World War where biological and chemical weapons are used – maybe not in place of conventional weapons, but in addition to? •

samples “the consequences could be disastrous". He includes some two dozen conventional biological agents – including anthrax, Ebola and typhus - plus an unknown number of genetically engineered organisms that terrorists could unleash on an unsuspecting public. "We're tempted to say that nobody in their right mind would ever use these things," he says, "but not everybody is in their right mind!" Biological weapons in wartime During World War II, the Japanese military killed thousands of Chinese prisoners by subjecting them to experimental doses of anthrax, cholera, plague and other pathogens. The Soviet Union made a deliberate attack against German troops in 1942 by using tularemia or rabbit fever. In 1972 a total of 160 nations signed a treaty banning all use of The 1991 Gulf War was a result of reports that Iraq had violated the 1972 bio-weapons treaty by mass-producing weapons-grade anthrax and conducting research on a wide variety of other biological agents - including botulism, rotavirus and gangrene- inducing bacteria .

Another theory is that the virus was developed and released in order to lower Earth’s population and make it easier for a ‘New World Order’ to take control. Both scenarios are extremely frightening but at the same time possible. Whatever biological weapons are produced it seems most unlikely that they will replace human action in the event of a third world war. Sophisticated organisation, funding, equipment, expertise, and facilities are all necessary and beyond the capabilities of many countries. Bio warfare seems more likely to be on a nation against nation basis or used by terrorist groups with enough resources to either develop their own or buy the weapons. Smallpox a biological weapon? An interesting read is an article in the American Scientist magazine written by biophysicist Steven Block whose concern centres around smallpox, a highly contagious and incurable disease that was, according to the World Health Organisation, eradicated more than 40 years ago. He points out that, although the disease has been eliminated in the wild, frozen stocks of smallpox virus are still maintained by the governments of the United States and Russia and warns that should rogue politicians or terrorists were to get hold of these

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By Plus69

UltimateDefence 9


a deal has been concluded. Should the contract be finalised, the department estimates the total value of all equipment and support at around $985 million. The acquisition of the 12 anti-submarine warfare helicopters is in line with Australia’s 2020 force structure plan in which the defence department said it would expand and rationalise the support and logistics helicopter fleet consistent with the expectations for larger naval operations.

Australia buying 12 more MH-60R anti-submarine warfare helicopters

The US State Department has approved a possible sale of 12 MH-60R multi- mission helicopters to Australia. In addition to helicopters, the government of Australia requested

to buy engines, radars, targeting, navigation and communications systems, as well as GAU-61 and M299 Longbow rocket and missile launchers. The State Department notification to US Congress on the sale approval does not mean

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Awards Lockheed Martin $32 Million Learning Management Contract

BAE Systems to provide worldwide engineering and technical services to the Defence Logistics Agency The National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA) has awarded Lockheed Martin a US$32 million option on a contract to provide specialised geospatial training to analysts and officials across the Department of Defence and the Intelligence Community.

The Defence Logistics Agency (DLA) awarded BAE Systems, Inc. contracts totalling approximately $139.7 million for Energy Automation Operational Technology Sustainment. Under these task order contracts, BAE Systems will provide engineering and technical support services to This award exercises the second of four option years on the Learning Management Services (LMS) contract, which provides both educational programs and administrative support for the NGA College. "LMS provides key training in geospatial analysis, technology and techniques that are central to the mission of the NGA and its partners," said Jim

help improve DLA’s ability to provision the Department of Defence’s (DoD) missions around the world. “For the past 20 years, our engineering and technical subject matter experts have supported DLA’s mission of providing safe, on-time, accurate delivery and storage of fuel for our warfighters’ ships, planes, vehicles, and shore facilities,” said Lisa Hand, Kohlhaas, Lockheed Martin Vice President, Spatial Solutions. "It helps keep NGA officials at the top of their game, delivering professional development and career-long learning. And it allows defence and intelligence representatives to learn more about the latest geospatial-intelligence capabilities, helping them to better employ geospatial tools in their everyday jobs."

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BAE Systems, Inc. will continue providing lifecycle sustainment, integration, and engineering services to support US aircraft carriers after being selected for a five-year, $68.5 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract. Under the Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems (ATC&LS) Engineering Products & Technical Services (EPTS) contract awarded earlier this year, BAE Systems will leverage decades of programme history to develop, produce, equip, test, evaluate, sustain, and update the AN/SPN-46(V) Automatic Carrier Landing System. “With this win, BAE Systems retains a key air traffic control contract that we have held since 1973 to provide industry-leading systems integration capabilities and solutions that ensure the safety of critical carrier-based landing systems,” said Lisa Hand, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ Integrated Defense Solutions business. BAE Systems’ technicians deploy around the world to support the warfighter. The company’s employees utilise established and proven methods as well as their systems engineering and software development expertise to sustain these critical landing systems. The company’s work results in improved hardware reliability, system precision, minimal downtime through onsite and remote technical assistance, and a certified landing system. • BAE Systems to sustain critical carrier landing systems with $68.5 million U.S. contract

Royal Australian Navy currently operates 24 MH- 60R delivered by Lockheed Martin between 2013 and 2016 under an A$3 billion contract. RAN Romeos are equipped with AGM- 114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and Mark 54 anti- submarine torpedoes. The additional helicopters can be expected to operate from the nine new Hunter- class frigates currently under construction. “This proposed sale will improve Australia’s

capability to perform anti-surface and anti- submarine warfare missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions including vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay,” the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement. “Australia will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence.” •

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin provides professional instructors to run classes, develops curricula for a variety of course offerings, and manages the administrative aspects of the College, including registration, enrollment and general support. Course topics include geospatial tradecraft, specialized technology applications, program and acquisition management, and general leadership and communication training. The NGA College is

based in the Washington, DC area, and in St. Louis, MO. Lockheed Martin was awarded the original LMS contract in June of 2006. That contract has a total potential value of $176 million over five years. Lockheed Martin currently supports the NGA with a wide variety of systems and services, from front-line imagery collection and analysis applications to enterprise solutions for secure IT management and service- oriented architecture. •

vice president and general manager of BAE Systems Integrated Defence Solutions. “We bring enhanced insight into fuel system availability, while enabling DLA to improve its inventory storage and distribution performance worldwide.” The company was awarded contracts for work in and outside the United States. BAE Systems will provide a range of services

including around-the-clock sustainment, preventive and corrective maintenance, and integration of DLA’s Automated Tank Gauging, Independent Alarm Systems, and Overfill Protection Equipment on DoD fuel storage and distribution systems. This includes sensors, gauges, alarms, controls, and network communications at DoD fueling facilities. •

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Boeing’s work will comprise “research and development to comprehend and address impacts of complex flight environments on advanced weapon systems.” - Pic: wikipedia

Could this be a forerunner of Zircon? This model of an experimental hypersonic missile was displayed in 2016 by TsIAM .- Pic: Vladimir Karnozov).

Hypersonics: developing and defending against missiles faster than sound by Cesaré de Villiers

The challenges of the hypersonic era in military operations are immense. But so are the abilities of innovators who work together to solve them. That was the message when Wes Kremer, president spoke to investors about how teams are working across the company to solve the myriad science and engineering problems that come with developing and defending against hypersonics, generally defined as weapons that fly at speeds of Mach 5 or greater. “We have to go faster. We also have to go farther. We have to be able to detect threats at longer distances. We have to be able to target of Raytheon Missiles & Defence, a Raytheon Technologies business,

others: a heavier airframe needs more propulsion to reach speed, which requires a more powerful engine and more fuel, which adds weight and increases cost. Propulsion There is also the matter of making the airframe go that fast in the first place. The U.S. Department of Defence has stated it wants to not only boost-glide hypersonics (which are boosted by rockets into the very upper edge of the atmosphere), but also scramjet-powered hypersonics (which use the fast-moving air around them to provide oxygen for propulsion). Defeating the threat The 7th Space Warning Squadron has an enhanced Upgraded Early Warning

at longer distances. We have to be able to close kill chains at longer distances,” Kremer said, using the military term for the process of defeating a target. “We have to be able to do that across multiple domains. How we work across domains and how we solve those types of problems is one of the true synergies that we have in this business.” Hypersonic weapons are about speed, flying a minimum of 3 800 mph which is where technology becomes challenging. The biggest one is the heat caused by friction as the air passes over the fast-moving vehicle. Many materials cannot survive that kind of thermal stress. More heat- resistant materials tend to be heavy, very expensive, or both. Using them solves one problem but creates

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One regiment of MiG-31s is equipped with the Kinzha. Pic: wikipedia

hypersonic vehicles can fly around our current radars’ search fences.” The systems include optics and infrared sensors, command and control systems, ground mission management and the algorithms that process and analyse huge amounts of data. Raytheon Technologies’

Radar systemwith a greater capability to detect and track missile attacks against the U.S. and its allies, at Beale Air Force Base, California. “We simply don’t have enough ships and islands

2020 acquisition of Blue Canyon Technologies has also enabled in-house production of small satellites. On that front, Raytheon Intelligence & Space uses advanced missile detection and tracking algorithms that can perform highly precise missile track processing on board the satellite in orbit. •

to put enough surface- based radars to track everything,” Kocourek said. “Manoeuvrable

Hypersonic weapons such as Russia's 3M22 Zircon fly so fast and low at speeds of up to Mach 6 and at a low atmospheric- ballistic trajectory that they can penetrate traditional anti- missile defense systems - U.S. Air Force/Mike Cassidy

Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle Pic: wikipedia

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Damen’s revolutionary Fast Crew Supplier FCS 7011 completes sea trials and heads to the Netherlands

After five years of market consultation, research, design, engineering and construction, the first of Damen’s ground-breaking Fast Crew Supplier (FCS) 7011 class has completed its sea trials off the Turkish coast and is set

40 knot, 122-passenger, crew change vessel. The FCS 7011, in combination with the latest Ampelmann walk-to-work system, represents the very latest in marine access thinking, having been developed in consultation with the offshore energy industry and leading maritime research institutes. Its goal is to meet the challenges presented by the unpredictability of the price of oil and increasingly competitive renewable energy. As a cost-effective

crew transportation solution featuring the highest levels of both comfort and safety, it offers a viable alternative to helicopter transport and has already gained substantial interest from clients in the southern North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West Africa. The business case is based on its ability to transfer much larger numbers of personnel for longer distances at higher speeds. This opens the door to moving away from day-rate structures towards a pay per journey

to begin the passage to The Netherlands. The offshore energy market and prospective

customers will soon be able to experience the comfort and capabilities of the 74-metre,

14 UltimateDefence

model and, potentially, vessel sharing, whereby multiple offshore installations can be served in a single round trip, thereby delivering substantial savings in both time and operational costs. With journey times of up to 12 hours, comfort and safety are key. To achieve this the design incorporates the Damen Sea Axe bow, the positioning of the accommodation just aft of amidships, and interceptors fitted within the vessel’s stern, all to minimise sensations of motion as it moves through the sea. The FCS 7011 also features a range of motion- compensating technologies to optimise the safety of crew transfers. These include a Kongsberg DP system, a tailor-made Ampelmann gangway and a VEEM gyrostabiliser, operating alongside the MTU main engines, Hamilton waterjets, Danfoss shaft generators, Reintjes gearboxes and Veth bow thrusters. The result is a tightly integrated advanced control system capable of delivering and receiving personnel safely in a wide range of sea states. On arrival in The Netherlands, the Ampelmann gangway systemwill be installed, making the FCS 7011 ready for fully-integrated, proof of concept trials in the North Sea. By joining forces to commercialise the vessel, Damen and Ampelmann have combined Damen’s decades of experience in designing and building crew change vessels with the industry-leading walk-to-work expertise of Ampelmann. •

WA secures US$20 million torpedo support contract

The maintenance of the Royal Australian Navy’s advanced lightweight anti- submarine torpedo will continue in WA after the Morrison Government awarded the $20 million contract to Thales Australia . Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the contract to sustain the MU90 Light Weight Torpedo reflected the Government’s continued support for Australia’s defence industry. “This is yet another demonstration of the Morrison Government’s commitment to building our sovereign defence capability,” Minister Price said.

“I am proud that Thales Australia has been awarded this contract to continue with the in-country, in- service support provided at its Rockingham facility in WA. “Thales Australia is among many local defence businesses providing robust, secure domestic supply chains and high-tech jobs for working Australians. “Thales is to be congratulated for again demonstrating the necessary skills and ability to provide this vital technical support. "The Commonwealth assessed high quality, value-for-money sustainment options and found the best solution right here on home soil." The Royal Australian Navy has used the MU90 Light Weight Torpedo since 2013, and Thales has held the support contract since that time. •


UltimateDefence 15

From the Desk of Boeing

to augment maintenance efforts and cyber security work statement. This performance-based logistics (PBL) contract builds on more than two decades of successful C-17 sustainment, where Boeing has worked closely with the U.S. Air Force and global partners to maintain high mission-capability rates and continuously improve affordability. While sustainment costs typically rise as a fleet ages, Boeing will lower operating cost per- flight-hour for the global fleet under the new agreement. Boeing has been under contract for PBL support of the C-17 fleet since 1998. This new $3.5 billion Phase I award is expected to be ordered by the Air Force through 2024. Under a PBL arrangement, a customer receives an agreed-to level of system readiness, as opposed to a traditional contract for specific spare parts and support services. This integrated logistics approach has allowed Boeing to apply innovative tools to maximise aircraft availability while lowering costs. The global C-17 fleet boasts best-in-class aircraft availability rates while operating as the strategic airlift workhorse for the U.S. Air Force and global partners. In January 2020, the C-17 fleet became one of the fastest to achieve four million flight hours. The United States, Australia, Canada, India, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability all operate the C-17 Globemaster III. •

Boeing will continue

assuring the C-17 Globemaster III's worldwide mission readiness through a follow-on contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Defence including potential options and incentives over ten years. The programme is currently funded through September 2024 with a Phase I award of $3.5 billion. Boeing is employing digital tools and analytics to optimise operations, increase availability, and lower sustainment costs Under the agreement, Boeing will continue performing critical sustainment activities, including engineering, on platforms like the C-17 Globemaster III. field support, and material management, for the global fleet of 275 aircraft. The contract provides additional funding for new work scope such as international staffing

Boeing, U.S. Air Force extend C-17 sustainment partnership with phased contract Valued at up to $23.8 billion

- Performance-based logistics agreement reduces support costs

while adding work scope - Boeing supports global fleet of 275 aircraft operated by the U.S. Air Force and eight global partners

Boeing is employing digital tools and analytics to optimise operations, increase availability, and lower sustainment costs on platforms like the C-17 Globemaster III.

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ROE.RU/ENG/ more info at

Rosoboronexport is the sole state company in Russia authorized to export the full range of defense and dual-use products, technologies and services. Rosoboronexport accounts for over 85% of Russia's annual arms sales and maintains military-technical cooperation with over 70 countries worldwide.

27 Stromynka str., 107076, Moscow, Russian Federation Phone: +7 (495) 534 61 83 Fax: +7 (495) 534 61 53 www.roe.ru

From the desk of Rosoboronexport

a line of various thermal imaging sights, Dedal-NV demonstrated optical and thermal imaging sights, Stilsoft Group presented the AVANPOST and MUROM stand-alone video and thermal imaging surveillance systems, as well as the VIDEOZASLON linear perimeter security and video surveillance system. The Polyus-ST company showcased mock- ups of the KAYMAN mobile intrusion alarm system and the Radiobarrier perimeter security system. The Burevestnik Central Research Institute provided mock-ups of the 30mm 32V01 remotely controlled weapon station and the 57mm AU- 220M automatic weapon station, which are installed on Serbian armoured vehicles. This is a vivid example of the possibility of cooperation between Russian and Serbian Defence manufacturers. As part of the single Russian exhibit, Rosoboronexport organised stands for Rostec’s Technodinamika and Shvabe holding companies. Companies affiliated to Technodinamika showcased a wide range of ammunition for various weapons and military equipment, while Shvabe exhibited civilian products manufactured under the diversification programme. During Partner 2021, Rosoboronexport conducted meetings and negotiations with its partners from various law enforcement agencies and business entities of Serbia and other European countries. •

Rosoboronexport brings Russian Defence manufacturers at the Partner 2021 Exhibition in Belgrade for the first time

Rosoboronexport is the organiser of the first-ever single Russian exhibit at the 10th Partner 2021 International Defence Exhibition, which was held at the Belgrade Fair on 11-14 October. "I would like to thank the organisers of Partner 2021 for inviting Rosoboronexport to the exhibition. It’s our first time exhibiting here together with Russian manufacturers. .I am sure that this event will give new impetus to Russian- Serbian bilateral military- technical co-operation, which marks its 15th anniversary this year,” said Alexander Mikheev, Director General of Rosoboronexport. “In recent years, thanks to the efforts and position of the President of Serbia, Alexandar Vucic, the level of interaction between our countries has grown significantly. Today, the volume and range of issues pertaining to our cooperation stand out markedly in the European market and have a steady growth. We work on topics relevant to all services and branches of armed forces within the framework of direct product deliveries, industrial partnerships,

cooperation, including in the interests of third countries, as well as the import of Serbian products to Russia." Rosoboronexport presented the Russian Defence products at its stand The company exhibited scale models of the advanced Viking surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the Orlan-10E unmanned aerial vehicle and the Be-200 multifunctional amphibious aircraft, which has repeatedly flown out of Russia to extinguish wildfires in European countries, including Serbia. The stand featured the Orion-E reconnaissance/ strike unmanned aerial vehicle, one of Russia’s main export novelties of 2021, as well as the BT-3F amphibious armoured personnel carrier, K-16 armoured personnel carrier and K-17 infantry fighting vehicle based on the newest Boomerang unified combat platform, Sprut- SDM1 light amphibious tank unique for the global arms market, Tornado-G multiple rocket launcher, Typhoon-K armoured MRAP vehicle, as well as the Project 03160E and BK-16E boats. In addition, a number of Russian enterprises showcased their products at the Rosoboronexport stand. Argus-NV exhibited

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57mm AU-220M automatic weapon station.

Be-200 multifunctional amphibious aircraft.

Rosoboronexports stall at the Partner 2021 fair.

Orion-E reconnaissance/strike unmanned aerial vehicle.

Russian fire fighting vehicle.

Viking medium-range air defense missile (SAM) system.

UltimateDefence 19


A military offensive by the Taliban and allied militant groups against the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its allies began on 1 May 2021, coinciding with the withdrawal of United States and allied troops from Afghanistan. The offensive marked the end of the near 20 year old war in Afghanistan, that had begun following the United States invasion of the country

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover

in response to the September 11 attacks and resulted in the de facto takeover of the country and the reinstatement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In the first three months of the offensive, the Taliban made significant territorial gains in the countryside, increasing the number of districts it controlled from 73 to 223. On 6 August, the Taliban launched an assault on the provincial capitals of Afghanistan, with most of the towns surrendering without a fight, and it captured all Afghan provincial capitals except Bazarak. On 15 August, President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and the Taliban captured the Afghan capital Kabul; thus, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's government fell. The Taliban's takeover came as a surprise to many governments, including those of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and Russia. The Taliban victory had widespread domestic and international ramifications regarding human rights and proliferation of terrorism. The offensive included a

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III safely transported 823 Afghan citisens from Hamid Karzai International Airport on 15 August, 2021. This included 183 children. Pic: Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

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continuation of the bottom- up succession of negotiated or paid surrenders to the Taliban from the village level upwards that started following the February 2020 US–Taliban deal. Factors prior to May 2021 included the Taliban's effective use of online social media, its strategical choice of attacking northern provinces, and the Taliban's freedom of movement on the main Afghan highways that resulted from the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) following the US-recommended strategy of sacrificing rural areas in favour of defending key urban centres. Factors in the ANSF loss to the Taliban included the February 2020 and April 2021 drops in US support, in which technical, proprietary software and logistics support, in particular aerial support, that the ANSF had been trained to depend on, were suddenly removed.

Above: A U.S. Marine escorting Afghan evacuees during the Kabul airlift on 19 August 2021 - Photo by Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla

management to Afghan military administration. Cronyism in ANSF military appointments and president Ashraf Ghani's inability to create an effective national consensus and convince local warlords were also seen as key processes of the ANSF's defeat. •

Errors in US coalition

training of the ANSF were seen as a factor, along with Afghan police extorting locals and funding themselves by inventing ghost soldiers and the months of unpaid ANSF salaries that followed the April 2021 switch in ANSF salary

US President Joe Biden in a video conference with Vice President Harris and the US National Security team, discussing the situation in Afghanistan on 14 August 2021 - Pic: The White House.

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Attack on UN peacekeepers in Mali condemned

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned an attack against "blue helmet" peacekeepers in Mali on 2 October, 2021 which left one Egyptian UN peace keeper dead, and four others seriously injured. The head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation strongly condemned the attack, saying it was "a sad reminder of the permanent danger that hangs over our peacekeepers and of the sacrifices made for peace in Mali". Mali remains the most dangerous place to serve as a peacekeeper and having experienced two military coups over the past year, the security situation has deteriorated overall, with state institutions weakened. Armed extremists in Mission in Mali, El- Ghassim Wane, also the north and centre of the country, continue to launch all-out attacks on civilians as well as UN personnel, while communal violence is also on the rise, according to a UN independent expert, who in September 2021 said that the rise in violence is threatening Mali's survival.

Humanitarian crisis in Mozambique as militants use child soldiers Human Rights Watch (HRW) has denounced the use of child soldiers by the Islamic State-linked insurgent group Al-Shabaab, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado. HRW in a statement, said that the armed group abducted hundreds of boys, some as young as 12 trained them in bases across the province, and forced them to fight alongside adults against government forces. It added that in the town of Palma, parents said they watched their sons wield guns when they returned with other fighters to raid their village. Despite the progress in pushing back the insurgents, there is still a humanitarian crisis in Cabo Delgado. According to the United Nations Children's Fund, 862 990 people have been displaced due to the violence. It calculates that 48.2% of these are children and 11% of the displaced people are now based in resettlement sites, 6% in temporary accommodation, and 82.7% living with host families. The UN Optional Protocol to the Convention

on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, which Mozambique ratified in 2004, prohibits non-state armed groups from recruiting children under the age of 18. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court categorizes as a war crime the conscription, enlistment, or active use of children under 15 years old in active hostilities during armed conflict. Mozambican government, in collaboration with Rwandan soldiers and soldiers stationed in the country by the countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to regain control of the terrorist-occupied areas in the province are beginning to bear fruit. However, the situation remains a matter of great concern to the local population, who struggle, after months of fear, to return to their homes. Meanwhile, it is feared Military making progress The efforts of the that the jihadists who were displaced from the previously occupied territories will move to other areas and widen the conflict that has displaced around

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a million people and killed thousands. The spokesman for the diocese of Pemba, Father Fonseca Kwiriwi, a Religious of the Passionists told Fides about the new atmosphere and the ongoing problems in the tortured province of Cabo Delgado: "In general, the situation in Cabo Delgado and in the liberated areas is calm. Unfortunately, however, the attacks are not over, they continue in particular in smaller villages, in areas with low population numbers. Smaller villages continue to live in fear. I recently visited some of the areas occupied by terrorists, such as Mocimboa da Praia and some areas in the Mbaú area. These are areas that were under the total control of the terrorists; these two areas in particular are still considered difficult to access and are only accessible are constantly being attacked and people

to the military and it is still impossible to return. It is an area with dense bushes that is currently not considered free and ready to welcome the population". "The Mozambican army, Rwandan troops and SADC soldiers are deployed in the area. Thanks to the cooperation of these forces, there is an effect that can be considered positive. Overall, the joint military action seems to be producing results in previously difficult areas to reach, but we are concerned that the conflict may spread to other areas of the country. Looking to regain control of many areas and destroy strategic terrorist bases, as reported by some sources and the government itself, the jihadists are looking for new territories to occupy and thus widen the front line of the conflict. The country is still in

a state of great alert and is under increasing control as evidenced by the strict surveillance of every entry and exit of citizens and, in particular, of people considered suspicious. The government is implementing a series of actions aimed precisely at avoiding the territorial expansion of terrorists". The Religious explains the solidarity action of Christians "The Church has always been present, since the beginning of the war and has provided all kinds of aid to contain the humanitarian crisis. We have provided food, supported the construction of houses and a permanent psychosocial listening centre. In any case, we are among the people and collaborate with various international humanitarian organisations for the sustenance of the population and to ensure peace". •




























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Next generation interceptor programme achieves critical system requirements review

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Lockheed Martin has announced that the U.S. Missile Defence Agency (MDA) has approved its Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) programme’s System Requirements Review (SRR) – six months after the initial development and demonstration contract award. The MDA’s NGI program is designed to protect the United States from complex, rogue threat, ballistic missile attacks. The interceptor is an end-to-end design to detect, contain and destroy incoming threats. The SRR is a significant early programme milestone, demonstrating that the company is ready to proceed with the initial system design. “Our team has worked incredibly hard in partnership with our NGI customer team and is grateful for the opportunity to support the MDA in its mission to protect and defend the United States from intercontinental

ballistic missile attacks,” said Sarah Reeves, vice president of the Next Generation Interceptor programme at Lockheed Martin. “We’ve invested significantly to accelerate the programme to meet this national priority with increased rigor in the systems engineering expected for a capability that is critical for our collective defence.” The industry team used advanced digital engineering and model-based engineering tools for a modernised approach to the SRR, including new levels of interconnectivity. The digital tools used for the review are also used within the actual NGI programme and align with the MDA’s pioneering digital engineering strategy to provide increased trust communications and transparency. This strategy will help the joint MDA and Lockheed Martin team make decisions faster, enhance security, increase affordability and integration. The NGI will serve as a first line of a layered missile defence architecture against evolving threats from rogue nations and is critically important for the MDA and U.S. Northern Command. The first interceptor is forecasted to be fielded in 2027. •

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