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Kremlin demands explanation why UK special forces have been tasked with countering Russian special operations
June 16, 2019

View attachment 8167

The British ministries of defense and foreign affairs must explain publicly the reports in the British media that the UK special forces have been retasked with countering Russian special operations, said the spokesperson of the Russian Embassy in the UK.

“As far as we understand, these are still drafts that will be presented for approval by the political leadership. We would like to hope that the relevant politicians will not allow the soldiers and special forces to implement their dangerous ideas,” he said.

The Russian diplomat said that such publications are alarming.

“If it is actually true, then such a decision appears, firstly, mistaken, and secondly, questionable with respect to London’s compliance with its international legal obligations,” he concluded.

Recently BBC published an article claiming that a plan has been drafted to reassign the UK Special Forces from the fight against terrorism to the countering of foreign governments, especially Russia, which is believed to be conducting secret operations in the Baltic states and in Africa. If the plan is approved by the relevant leaders, the internal special forces divisions will be restructured, and several of them will start to cooperate more actively with the foreign intelligence service, MI6

 

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U.S. And U.K. F-35 Jets Include 'Core' Circuit Boards From Chinese-Owned Company
Jun 15, 2019
Zak Doffman

View attachment 8196

"We are not aware of any other Chinese-owned F-35 suppliers at this time," Lockheed Martin said after the U.K.'s Sky News reported that "a Chinese-owned company is making circuit boards for the top-secret next-generation F-35 warplanes flown by Britain and the United States." British MP Bob Seely, who sits on both the Foreign Affairs and Arms Export Controls Committees described the news as "breath-taking," warning that "it's not a question of is this bad, but how bad is it?" This was echoed by Sir Gerald Howarth, a former U.K. defense minister, who warned that "we have been completely and utterly naive about the role of China and it is only now that people are beginning to wake up."

In truth, though, this revelation has been hiding in plain sight. The U.K. company, Exception PCB, was acquired by Shenzhen Fastprint in 2013, "a company based in China and listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange." Exception openly heralds its global parent: "The Fastprint Group of Companies provides manufacturing sites in the U.K., U.S. and Asia, trading companies in the U.K., U.S., Israel, China and main EU Countries," as well as "truly global support... for all sectors including Aerospace."

Exception was founded in 1977 and claims online to supply technology to major players in the global defense industry, including BAE Systems, QinetiQ, GE Aviation, Leonardo, SAAB and Thales, as well as major electronics players such as ARM, Qualcomm, Motorola, Dyson, Siemens, McLaren, Bosch and Philips. Fastprint invested in Exception PCB in 2013 "as part of a long term plan and has provided funding to restructure the group over the past four years. The restructure has been successful with significant improvement in operational performance on all measures; and as a result, the financial results are improving in line with Fastprint’s expectations." The company also heralds "synergy with Fastprint," delivering "global supplier and local culture."

With the ongoing conflict between the U.S. and China over the integrity and potential risk with electronics and software-related supply chains, this publicity lands at an awkward time and highlights the global nature of supply chains that even reach into the secretive aerospace and defense industry. F-35 publicity claims that "Gloucestershire-based Exception PCB manufacture the circuit boards that control many of the F-35's core capabilities... [including] its engines, lighting, fuel and navigation systems."

According to officials, the company produces bare boards, which removes access to critical design features. Lockheed Martin confirmed this, saying that "Exception PCB produces bare circuit boards with no electronics to GE Aviation," and emphasized that Exception is a "tier three" supplier. This means a component is provided to a sub-contractor before reaching the overarching program itself. In theory, this limits information flow, but there are no particular restrictions just because a supplier is two jumps down from a prime. A mission-critical system could still introduce risk.

With that in mind, Lockheed Martin told Sky that the boards received from Exception "like all components on the F-35 are inspected repeatedly at each stage of manufacture. Additionally, Exception PCB has no visibility or access to any sensitive program information and there is limited to no risk associated with their minimal role in the program," adding that, "should Exception PCB be determined an unapproved source in the future" there are "alternate sources of supply."

The U.K. MOD said that Exception does not represent any risk to the F-35 supply chain, and there is no suggestion that Exception PCB or Shenzhen Fastprint have done anything wrong.

Responding to the news, Lockheed Martin said, "we work closely with our industry partners to manage the F-35 Global Supply Chain in accordance with rigorous defense acquisition standards to ensure no parts and components from unapproved sources are included in aircraft production." GE Aviation added that "Exception PCB - a commonly-used industry supplier - produces bare circuit boards in the UK for GE Aviation and has no visibility to the design or drawing of the F-35 system."

A spokesperson for Exception assured Sky that "clear firewalls are in place" between the U.K. company and its Chinese parent. The company has been working with GE Aviation for more than thirty years and "promotes its Chinese ownership." And as regards this particular defense program, "we produce bare circuit boards only in the U.K. for all of our aerospace and defense companies and have no visibility or access to the design data nor drawings for the boards. All that is supplied from any customer is manufacturing data." He added that "all data is secured on a separate internal server and access to data is protected by passwords, only accessible by a selected few, of which have been audited by GE."

Questions will now be asked around how a supplier into the aerospace and defense industry was acquired by a Chinese company given all the restrictions that exist. Taking stock, this particular news has been waiting for a public outing for years. And it is not an isolated incident. What is clear is that the current geopolitical situation will lead to a hard examination of supply chains across a wide range of industries, with no certainty as to how problems exposed can be fixed without material economic consequences.

Lockheed Martin, GE Aviation, Exception and the Fastprint Group were approached for additional comments on the story.

 

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Everyone appreciates China cheap labor force. Who said China economy is a soap bubble? Well, it won’t burst any time soon.
 

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Britain's new F35 stealth jets used on operations for the first time
25 June 2019
by Dominic Nicholls,


View attachment 8487
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has revealed the F35 have been used on operations Credit: Andrew Parsons / i-Images/i-Images Picture Agency


Britain's new F35 fighter jets have been used on operations for the first time, Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has revealed.

The first operational sorties were flown on June 16 from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, targeting the last remnants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

The six stealth fighters based in Cyprus have conducted a total of 14 operational sorties over Syria and Iraq following a six-week training deployment in the country from May.

Speaking after sitting in the cockpit of the one of jets, Ms Mordaunt said: "I am very proud that these are now flying in defence and are projecting the UK's national interest.

"This is a fantastic new aircraft, it is amazing. It's doing so well out here on these operations... it's a really historic moment."

The F-35 aircraft have operated alongside Typhoon fighters on “armed overwatch” missions. So far the F-35s have not dropped any of the Paveway IV laser-guided bombs they have been carrying.

The new mission will be only a short-term addition to the air forces operating against Isil. The stealth fighters are due to return to their home base at RAF Marham, Norfolk, in July.

View attachment 8486

An MoD spokesman told the Telegraph that the “proof of concept” deployment of the aircraft from 617 Squadron to Cyprus had gone well.
“They have been patrolling, watching and listening,” the spokesman said, “hoovering up information” on every sortie.

Group Captain Jonny Moreton, the Commanding Officer of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing based at RAF Akrotiri, said there had yet to be any requirement for the F-35s to attack.
"We haven't dropped any weapons from Typhoon in that period either," he added. "It is not a very kinetic phase of the operation at the moment."

Britain currently has 17 F-35Bs - the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the fighters - and has committed £9.1 billion to buy the first 48 aircraft.

The MoD has said it will buy a total of 138 jets, but no decision has yet been taken on which variants will make up the remaining batch.

 

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Britain's new F35 stealth jets used on operations for the first time
25 June 2019
by Dominic Nicholls,


View attachment 8487
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has revealed the F35 have been used on operations Credit: Andrew Parsons / i-Images/i-Images Picture Agency


Britain's new F35 fighter jets have been used on operations for the first time, Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has revealed.

The first operational sorties were flown on June 16 from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, targeting the last remnants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

The six stealth fighters based in Cyprus have conducted a total of 14 operational sorties over Syria and Iraq following a six-week training deployment in the country from May.

Speaking after sitting in the cockpit of the one of jets, Ms Mordaunt said: "I am very proud that these are now flying in defence and are projecting the UK's national interest.

"This is a fantastic new aircraft, it is amazing. It's doing so well out here on these operations... it's a really historic moment."

The F-35 aircraft have operated alongside Typhoon fighters on “armed overwatch” missions. So far the F-35s have not dropped any of the Paveway IV laser-guided bombs they have been carrying.

The new mission will be only a short-term addition to the air forces operating against Isil. The stealth fighters are due to return to their home base at RAF Marham, Norfolk, in July.

View attachment 8486

An MoD spokesman told the Telegraph that the “proof of concept” deployment of the aircraft from 617 Squadron to Cyprus had gone well.
“They have been patrolling, watching and listening,” the spokesman said, “hoovering up information” on every sortie.

Group Captain Jonny Moreton, the Commanding Officer of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing based at RAF Akrotiri, said there had yet to be any requirement for the F-35s to attack.
"We haven't dropped any weapons from Typhoon in that period either," he added. "It is not a very kinetic phase of the operation at the moment."

Britain currently has 17 F-35Bs - the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the fighters - and has committed £9.1 billion to buy the first 48 aircraft.

The MoD has said it will buy a total of 138 jets, but no decision has yet been taken on which variants will make up the remaining batch.

 

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All you need to know about F-35 jet, Eurofighter Typhoon and Operation Shader
25 June 2019
by Press Association 2019
View attachment 8490
Two F35-B Lightning stealth jets

The supersonic F-35B Lightning II is the cutting-edge aircraft which has taken part in active British operations for the first time.

With six of the jets currently based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, they will spend the next week continuing to fly in support of UK Typhoons as part of efforts to target the remains of Islamic State (IS).

Here are some facts and figures behind the cutting-edge F-35 warplanes, Eurofighter Typhoon jets and the wider Operation Shader.

– Operation Shader

  • 1,700 strikes
  • Carried out by RAF jets alongside Reaper drones in Operation Shader

In 2014, Islamic State blitzed across vast swathes of Syria, seizing Raqqa, before spreading into northern and western Iraq, capturing Mosul and even advancing to the edges of Baghdad. Since then, the US-led 80-member global coalition has worked to destroy the extremists – seeing Mosul liberated in July 2017 and Raqqa in October 2017 as a result of the efforts – with Iraq declaring the country liberated in December 2017.

Britain’s contribution, known as Operation Shader, has involved air strikes on key IS targets, the training of local forces and the provision of military equipment.

RAF jets alongside Reaper drones have carried out more than 1,700 strikes using 4,300 weapons, as well as surveillance and reconnaissance missions since efforts to eradicate the group began. By March this year, the group which formerly controlled a territory the size of the UK, was reduced to a sliver of land in Baghouz before their territorial defeat was declared.

– F-35
View attachment 8491

he jet measures 15.6 metres (51.2ft) in overall length, has a wingspan of 10.7 metres (35ft) and a height of 4.36 metres (14.3ft). It has a top speed of 1.6 Mach or 1,200mph and a Max G rating of 7g. Maximum thrust tops 40,000lbs and the jet has a range of 900 nautical miles.

Lockheed Martin, the American company building the jets, describes its stealth capabilities as “unprecedented”. Its airframe design, advanced materials and other features make it “virtually undetectable to enemy radar”.

The F-35B can launch from land and sea. Britain’s jets will take off from and land on the behemoth aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in the autumn. Some of the air-to-surface weapons and ordnance the jets can carry include the AIM-120 AMRAAM and Paveway IV precision-guided bombs.

– Eurofighter Typhoon
View attachment 8492
A Eurofighter Typhoon (Joe Giddens/PA)

With a maximum speed of Mach 1.8, it was first deployed in combat in Libya in 2011 and four years later became a key feature in Operation Shader. The jets measure 15.9 metres (52.4ft) in length, are 5.2 metres (17.4ft) in height and have a wingspan of 11 metres (36.4ft).

There are currently eight of the jets based at RAF Akrotiri, used in the air campaign against IS in Iraq and Syria. The jet is used for Britain’s Quick Reaction Alert squadrons based at RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, and RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, with a presence also in the Falkland Islands.

Typhoons are armed with an internal 27mm Mauser cannon, plus ASRAAM air-to-air missiles, as well as Enhanced Paveway II and Paveway IV. Earlier this year, the jet began carrying and using Storm Shadow and Brimstone bombs, as well as Meteor air-to-air missiles.

 

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All you need to know about F-35 jet, Eurofighter Typhoon and Operation Shader
25 June 2019
by Press Association 2019
View attachment 8490
Two F35-B Lightning stealth jets

The supersonic F-35B Lightning II is the cutting-edge aircraft which has taken part in active British operations for the first time.

With six of the jets currently based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, they will spend the next week continuing to fly in support of UK Typhoons as part of efforts to target the remains of Islamic State (IS).

Here are some facts and figures behind the cutting-edge F-35 warplanes, Eurofighter Typhoon jets and the wider Operation Shader.

– Operation Shader

  • 1,700 strikes
  • Carried out by RAF jets alongside Reaper drones in Operation Shader

In 2014, Islamic State blitzed across vast swathes of Syria, seizing Raqqa, before spreading into northern and western Iraq, capturing Mosul and even advancing to the edges of Baghdad. Since then, the US-led 80-member global coalition has worked to destroy the extremists – seeing Mosul liberated in July 2017 and Raqqa in October 2017 as a result of the efforts – with Iraq declaring the country liberated in December 2017.

Britain’s contribution, known as Operation Shader, has involved air strikes on key IS targets, the training of local forces and the provision of military equipment.

RAF jets alongside Reaper drones have carried out more than 1,700 strikes using 4,300 weapons, as well as surveillance and reconnaissance missions since efforts to eradicate the group began. By March this year, the group which formerly controlled a territory the size of the UK, was reduced to a sliver of land in Baghouz before their territorial defeat was declared.

– F-35
View attachment 8491

he jet measures 15.6 metres (51.2ft) in overall length, has a wingspan of 10.7 metres (35ft) and a height of 4.36 metres (14.3ft). It has a top speed of 1.6 Mach or 1,200mph and a Max G rating of 7g. Maximum thrust tops 40,000lbs and the jet has a range of 900 nautical miles.

Lockheed Martin, the American company building the jets, describes its stealth capabilities as “unprecedented”. Its airframe design, advanced materials and other features make it “virtually undetectable to enemy radar”.

The F-35B can launch from land and sea. Britain’s jets will take off from and land on the behemoth aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in the autumn. Some of the air-to-surface weapons and ordnance the jets can carry include the AIM-120 AMRAAM and Paveway IV precision-guided bombs.

– Eurofighter Typhoon
View attachment 8492
A Eurofighter Typhoon (Joe Giddens/PA)

With a maximum speed of Mach 1.8, it was first deployed in combat in Libya in 2011 and four years later became a key feature in Operation Shader. The jets measure 15.9 metres (52.4ft) in length, are 5.2 metres (17.4ft) in height and have a wingspan of 11 metres (36.4ft).

There are currently eight of the jets based at RAF Akrotiri, used in the air campaign against IS in Iraq and Syria. The jet is used for Britain’s Quick Reaction Alert squadrons based at RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, and RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, with a presence also in the Falkland Islands.

Typhoons are armed with an internal 27mm Mauser cannon, plus ASRAAM air-to-air missiles, as well as Enhanced Paveway II and Paveway IV. Earlier this year, the jet began carrying and using Storm Shadow and Brimstone bombs, as well as Meteor air-to-air missiles.

 

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RAF Typhoons scrambled after bomb threat on board Air India flight over London
27 JUN 2019

View attachment 8581
The RAF Typhoon can be seen escorting the Air India airliner back to Stansted (Image: Alamy Live News.)

Two RAF Typhoons escorted Air India flight 191 to London Stansted after a bomb threat - following reports of a 'sonic boom' over Derby

An Air India passenger plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Stansted Airport after a bomb threat.

The Boeing 777 airliner was escorted into London by two RAF Typhoon fighter jets.

The RAF confirmed it had scrambled the jets due to a bomb scare on board.

Air India posted in a now-deleted tweet that it had made the precautionary landing in London due to a "bomb threat" shortly before 10.30am today.

The airline later said the bomb scare was a hoax call received at Mumbai Airport, adding there was no security risk.

A sonic was widely felt and heard boom in Derby around the same time.

View attachment 8582
The bomb threat has been confirmed to be a hoax

An RAF spokesman said: "The RAF can confirm QRA Typhoons were launched this morning from RAF Coningsby to intercept a civilian [aircraft].

"The aircraft was escorted to Stansted. The Typhoons transited at supersonic speed for operational reasons; any inconvenience caused to local residents is regretted.”

Essex Police said they are at the airport making enquiries after reports of a security alert.

View attachment 8585
A social media image showing one of the fighter jets taking to the sky

View attachment 8584
A map shows where the 'sonic boom' was felt and the locations of the RAF and Air India aircrafts


Stansted Airport released a statement confirming the Air India Boeing 777 had been diverted at 10.15am and had "landed safely with Essex Police in attendance."

A spokesperson tweeted: "It is parked on an isolated stand away from the normal airport operations.

"Our runway has now re-opened and is fully operational. We are very sorry for any delays and disruption caused by the incident, but our first priority is always the safety of passengers and staff.

"Thank you for your patience."

View attachment 8583
The flight map shows the airline tracing over Britain while the jets were scrambled

The Air India aircraft had been heading from Mumbai to Newark.

The airport added shortly before 11am that its runway had reopened and is fully operational.

"We are sorry for any disruption caused by the incident and would like to thank you for your patience," Stansted tweeted.

A route map online showed how the Air India flight turned back and landed in London.

It came as multiple people across Derby reported experiencing what felt like an 'explosion' this morning.

Police asked those with information to call 999, before telling Mirror Online that the sound was a 'sonic boom' and referring further enquiries to the RAF.

On Twitter it initially speculated the loud blast may have been an earthquake or a 'pressure wave'.

It comes just days after two RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled to escort a Jet2 plane as it returned to Stansted.

The 'sonic boom' sensation was widely reported around Essex.

View attachment 8586
Air India confirmed a 'bomb threat' report (file photo)

 

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Rheinmetall, BAE consummate armored-vehicles joint venture
01 July 2019
By: Andrew Chuter and Sebastian Sprenger


View attachment 8923
A Boxer vehicle is pictured in front the RBSL production plant in Telford, England, on July 1, 2019. (BAE Systems)

LONDON and COLOGNE, Germany – Germany’s Rheinmetall and Britain’s BAE Systems on Monday launched their U.K.-based military vehicles joint venture, after British authorities approved the deal in mid-June, the companies announced.

The new outfit is named RBSL, short for Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land, and it’s based in Telford, West Midlands. Peter Hardisty, formerly of Rheinmetall UK, is the company’s managing director.

The joint venture sets out to “play a major role” in manufacturing the Boxer multirole fighting vehicle for the British Mechanised Infantry Vehicle program, according to a Rheinmetall statement. Official also have an eye on “other strategic combat vehicle programs” in addition to maintenance contracts for the British Army’s bridging- and armored-vehicle fleets, according to the company.

“This announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the UK’s defence industry as a world-leader in designing, supplying and supporting military vehicles,” Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt was quoted as saying in the statement. “This exciting venture clearly demonstrates how Defence sits at the heart of the prosperity agenda. Its benefits will be felt in the West Midlands and across the UK defence supply chain, creating jobs, boosting exports and guaranteeing our technical skills base into the future.”

Some might think it was anything but.

That’s because the news also means Britain has lost its only big-name, armored-vehicle company in a joint venture where BAE is the junior partner. As a result, the country no longer has a domestically controlled mainstream vehicle supplier — although some would argue BAE forfeited that role a while ago.

The British company retains significant armored-vehicle design and build activities in the United States and Sweden.

General Dynamics UK, Lockheed Martin UK and Rheinmetall now have significant investments in Britain’s armored-vehicle sector, with British involvement primarily led by specialist designers and builders like Supacat and Jankel and a still-vibrant sector supply chain.

It’s a far cry from 2004 when BAE acquired key domestic manufacturer Alvis, trumping an acquisition bid from General Dynamics with a last-minute offer of £355 million (U.S. $451 million) that was largely seen as a strategic move.

At the time, most of the British Army’s armored vehicle fleet was designed and supplied by Alvis.

But that’s dramatically changed. General Dynamics has recently started supplying its Ajax family of tracked reconnaissance vehicles to the Army in what is the biggest deal in the sector in three decades. Final assembly and testing takes place at company facilities in South Wales.

Lockheed Martin is leading the program to update the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle as well as supply turrets for the Ajax program from a factory in southern England.

Rheinmetall is a partner in the Artec consortium selected without competition to supply Britain with the eight-wheel drive Boxer vehicle. The vehicle was nominated as the preferred option last year but a final production deal between RBSL and the Ministry of Defence has yet to be announced.

Rheinmetall and BAE have also been vying to supply a major upgrade of the Challenger 2 main battle tank for the British Army.

Mordaunt recently labeled the Challenger as “obsolete” due to the ministry’s failure to keep pace with technological advances in the sector.

In a speech to the Royal United Services Institute think tank last month, she said Britain had fallen behind it’s allies and rivals due to underinvestment in the armored vehicle sector.

A decision on the Challenger update program is expected shortly.

However, recent signals from the MoD suggest the Army may have got its wish to fall into line with other NATO members and go for the German company’s solution of a new turret and 120mm smoothbore gun to replace the rifled weapon currently fitted to the Challenger 2.

BAE’s weapons and ammunition activities in the U.K. are excluded from the deal, as is the CTAI joint venture with Nexter to build a new 40mm cannon.

 

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British Royal Marines successfully tested new lightweight multirole missiles
06 July 2019
View attachment 9100
Photo by Royal Navy


British Royal Marines have successfully tested their ability to take out airborne targets with a new lightweight multirole missile system on the ranges in south Wales.

According to a statement released by the Royal Navy, Air Defence Troop of Plymouth-based 30 Commando IX Group are the first sub unit to use the fresh-out-the-packet Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) system.

Drones were launched and, from a platform looking out to sea, the commandos used the laser-guided missiles to accurately hone in on their targets.

The missile is fired from a small shoulder launcher and the operator guides it using a joystick which controls a laser beam on which the projectile flies.

“It gives us more utility across the battlefield and gives the brigade a different option.” Said Captain James O’Rourke, Officer Commanding of Air Defense Troop.

The new missile – which can travel more than 6km – is intended to replace the High-Velocity Missile (HVM) currently used by the Marines and Royal Artillery.

https://defence-blog.com/news/briti...ested-new-lightweight-multirole-missiles.html
 

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Sweden joins to British next-generation fighter programme
06 July 2019

View attachment 9099
Tempest concept fighter jet model


The Telegraph on Friday has reported that Sweden will be first partner nation in the British Tempest programme to build a next-generation fighter jet.

“Britain’s Team Tempest programme to build a new fighter jet has moved a step closer to getting into the air with Sweden poised to announce it has signed up as the project’s first international partner,” according to The Telegraph.

A future combat air system, called the Tempest, is a joint project with British aerospace companies BAE Systems Plc, Rolls Royce Holdings Plc, MBDA UK Ltd and Anglo-Italian firm Leonardo SpA.

The Tempest programme aims to harness and develop UK capabilities that are critical for Next Generation (NextGen) Combat Air capability and to retain the UK’s position as a globally competitive leader through understanding of future concepts, technologies and capabilities.

A future combat air system must be able to survive the most challenging combat environments meaning that payload-range, speed and manoeuvrability will be key. Britain officials say that they expect that the system will be equipped with a range of sensors including radio frequency, active and passive electro-optical sensors and advanced electronic support measures to detect and intercept threats.

The system is likely to operate with kinetic and non-kinetic weapons. The integration of Laser Directed Energy Weapons for self-defence and use within visual range combat is also highly likely. The ability to deploy and manage air launched ‘swarming’ Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) through a flexible payload bay allows the system to address dangerous Anti-Access Area Denial environments.

Air forces of the future will require a fighter system that is highly flexible and can be applied to a wide variety of military operations. Operators will have the ability to rapidly adapt the system to perform new functions or to change its performance.

According to The Telegraph, next-generation jet – planned to be in service in 2035 – is aimed at maintaining Britain as a world power in military aircraft.

https://defence-blog.com/news/swede...o5CtuD21xPcvOaXiBdwUZSkykclizp0oCJU3cnAYr_H3I
 

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UK Intelligence Pushes for "Ghost Protocol" to Give State Spies Access to Private Chats - Reports
07.07.2019

View attachment 9206
CC BY 2.0 / Defence Images / GCHQ Building at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire


UK spy agency MI5 and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intelligence gathering unit earlier admitted in court that they act illegally in their use of bulk data.

GCHQ has proposed tech companies grant state spies access to encrypted chats and calls as part of new surveillance measures, dubbed the “ghost protocol”, reports the Guardian.

The new measure would allow a government agent to “sit in” on seemingly secure private conversations unbeknown to the participants.

The demand for a “ghost protocol” was defended by a GCHQ spokesmen with the argument that such a method would uphold security and privacy of encrypted communication, since encryption itself would not be broken.

In what is deemed a “serious threat” to digital security and human rights, the proposed measure has been condemned by over 50 companies, organisations and security experts, who signed an open letter on the issue addressed to the UK government.

Co-authored by Google, Apple, WhatsApp, Microsoft, Liberty, Privacy International and others, it explains that “to achieve this result, their proposal requires two changes to systems that would seriously undermine user security and trust.”

The first change, they write, is requiring service providers to secretly inject a new public key into a conversation. Thus, what started out as a two-way conversation is transformed into a group chat with the government or secret government participant added.

For this to be feasible, a second change would be required: messaging apps, service providers, and operating systems would have to “change their software so that it would change the encryption schemes used, and/or mislead users by suppressing the notifications that routinely appear when a new communicant joins a chat.”

The news comes as earlier in June MI5 and GCHQ were forced to admit in court they act illegally in their use of bulk data, gathered by eavesdropping on millions of innocent people.
View attachment 9208
© AP Photo / Alastair Grant
A representative of GCHQ, the British Government's electronic intelligence service


The admissions were made in the wake of a court case brought by civil rights organisation Liberty. In its latest challenge to the 2016 Investigatory Powers Act, Liberty argued that government surveillance practices breach human rights law.

The court was told that what has been dubbed the “snooper’s charter” permits interfering with computers, mobiles, and other devices in a way that amounts to an invasion of individuals’ privacy.

Responding to the legal action, UK Security Minister Ben Wallace said:
“It is imperative that our law enforcement and security and intelligence agencies have the tools they need to protect us all from very real threats to our security, prosperity and our way of life.”

 

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HMS Queen Elizabeth Warship Springs Leak During MoD Navy Sea Trials, Forced to Return to Portsmouth
10.July.2019
View attachment 9296
The news comes after multiple issues have been raised with the UK’s most powerful aircraft carrier, including a shaft seal leak which caused seawater to flood the ship and an accidental trigger of the boat’s sprinkler system whilst in a hangar.

The UK Royal Navy was left red-faced after its HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier sprang a leak, forcing the flagship to cut its five-week long sea trials short.

The leak was described as a “minor issue with an internal system”, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Wednesday.
“An investigation into the cause is under way,” an MoD spokesperson added.

The warship, which cost £3.1bn, was rerouted back to Portsmouth as a precaution following the watery discovery on Tuesday.
— Henry Jones (@hthjones) July 9, 2019
The leaky mess was contained by personnel and pumped out of the vessel, with the warship later returning to moor at Portsmouth.

Other troubles plaguing the HMS Queen Elizabeth were revealed in May, where the ship’s former captain, Nick Cooke-Priest, was removed from deck after claims he misused the vessel’s Ford Galaxy.
— Brian Hamilton (@Redboy1a) July 10, 2019
— Connor (@CONKS__) July 10, 2019
— Phil Saltash (@PhilSaltash) July 9, 2019
The HMS Queen Elizabeth, which was commissioned by the Queen Sovereign in December 2017 and weighs 65,000 tonnes, recently stayed at dry dock at its birthplace in Rosyth in Fife, where it was inspected and underwent routine maintenance, allowing the ship to potentially avoid future dock check-ups for a further six years. Despite this, the ship's latest snafu proved otherwise.

 

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Britain enters laser weapons race
July 10, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk

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The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense announced a request on Tuesday for development of directed energy weapons, or laser weapons, for installation on military ships, air vehicles and ground vehicles. Photo courtesy of U.K. Ministry of Defense

July 10 (UPI) -- Britain's Ministry of Defense announced that it seeks developers of laser- and radio frequency-guided weapons to shoot down drones and other enemy threats.

The concept is not new. The United States first employed non-lethal lasers in military service in 2014, largely to disable enemy electrical sensors, and the United Kingdom spent $37 million on a laser prototype in 2017.

The announcement this week by the Ministry of Defense specifically calls for deployment of "high energy light beams to target and destroy enemy drones and missiles. Radio frequency weapons are designed to disrupt and disable enemy computers and electronics."

It asks for development of three new DEW [Directed Energy Weapons] to "explore the potential of the technology and accelerate its introduction onto the battlefield."

The new systems are expected to be tested by 2023, a statement on Tuesday said. The plan calls for lasers to be installed on ships and ground vehicles, with the capability of aiming them at targets to be destroyed. With no ammunition involved, and use of a generator or a vehicle's engine as a power source, operating costs could be low and "unprecedented flexibility on the front line" could be available.

Several countries are actively involved in the development of laser weaponry. In June, the U.S. Marine Corps announced that it is testing a vehicle-mounted, ground-based laser prototype for shooting down drones.

 

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