May 17, 2021
US Navy SEALs are training to fight on land and water in a ‘strategic location’ near Russia, Germany expects ‘wave’ of new Eurotank partners after September conference, Pentagon seeks ‘data advantage’ in new strategic guidance, Rostec delivers underwater pistols and assault rifles.
HERE ARE THE TOP INDUSTRY AND WORLD STORIES
US Navy SEALs are training to fight on land and water in a ‘strategic location’ near Russia (Business Insider)
• In early May, the US Special Operations Europe (SOCEUR) conducted its largest annual exercise in conjunction with a smaller one, training with special-operations units from several NATO member and partner countries.
• Trojan Footprint 21 and Black Swan 21 are especially pertinent as tensions with Russia in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea are still simmering.
• SOCEUR planned both exercises to happen at the same time to simulate a full-blown conflict with Russia ranging from the Baltic states and Scandinavia south to Ukraine and the Black Sea region.
• US Navy SEALs, Navy Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen (SWCCs), Green Berets, and Air Commandos were joined in the exercise by special operators from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Spain, Ukraine, and the UK.
• The realistic exercises took place in Romania and across Eastern Europe.
• Besides testing the interoperability of different national special-operations units in skill-sets such as close-air support, close-quarters battler, and visit, board, search, and seizure, the two exercises, particularly Trojan Footprint, focused on how conventional and special-operations units would work together in a major conflict with Russia.
• Integration between conventional and special-operations troops is essential in a near-peer conflict environment.
Germany expects ‘wave’ of new Eurotank partners after September conference (Defense News)
• German defense officials expect to sign up new European partners for the Franco-German Main Ground Combat System following a September conference in Berlin devoted to the effort, according to a government report to parliament.
• The close-hold document, dated March and obtained by Defense News, notes that the international event is meant to initiate an “opening wave” of interested countries from the European Union, NATO and elsewhere – provided that Germany and France agree on the prerequisites.
• One known applicant for the new tank program is the United Kingdom. In April, Germany officials made a point of saying that defense-acquisition leaders from Berlin and London had discussed cooperation on the program, with France still seemingly on the fence about admitting outsiders.
• Still, Paris agreed in principle with the idea of extending the circle of observer countries, which could lead to selected countries becoming full partners later on, the report notes, citing the outcome of a Feb. 5 German-French Defense and Security Council meeting.
• Building a new tank for Europe is considered here something of a home game for German industry, namely Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, and lawmakers have been eager to keep tabs on the progress. France’s Nexter is also part of the team, under a joint venture with Krauss-Maffei, dubbed KNDS.
Pentagon seeks ‘data advantage’ in new strategic guidance (Janes)
• The Pentagon is implementing new policies and procedures to codify best practices in the department’s data management operations in an effort to ensure US armed forces maintains “data advantage” over its adversaries in future conflicts.
• “Data is a strategic asset [and] transforming the [US] Department of Defense (DoD) to a data-centric organisation is critical to improving performance and creating decision advantage at all echelons from the battlespace to the board room, ensuring US competitive advantage,” Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks wrote in a 5 May memorandum that was officially released by the Pentagon on 10 May.
• The policy memorandum focuses on five main pillars across four major target areas within the department, designed to “ensure all DoD data is visible, accessible, understandable, linked, trustworthy, interoperable, and secure”, she said in the memo. Those pillars include efforts to maximise data sharing and data use rights across the DoD, as well as to ensure the common data interfaces utilised by the department consist of “industry-standard, non-proprietary, preferably open-source, technologies, protocols, and payloads”, the memo stated.
Rostec delivers underwater pistols and assault rifles (Shephard News)
• Rostec Corporation has delivered underwater pistols and assault rifles to an undisclosed foreign partner.
• Rosoboronexport, a subsidiary of Rostec Corporation, has completed the delivery of 4.5mm SPP-1m underwater pistols and 5.66mm APS underwater assault rifles.
• The weapons have been delivered to an undisclosed foreign partner.
• The SPP-1M underwater pistol and the 5.66mm APS underwater assault rifle were developed by TsNIITochMash, which is also a subsidiary of Rostec Corporation.
• The SPP-1M pistol can hit underwater targets at a range of up to 17m when fired underwater or up to 20m when fired above the surface.
• The specialised underwater APS assault rifle can hit targets at a range of up to 30m underwater and up to 100m when fired above the water.
• Both weapons fire steel darts with a calibre of 4.5mm and a length of 120mm.
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WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
Holiday plans thrown into chaos by Covid variants (Times)
• Plans for foreign holidays were in chaos last night after the health secretary warned against visiting countries on the “amber list” despite lifting a ban on leisure travel outside the UK.
• Matt Hancock said people should “certainly not” go on holiday to nations such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece because of the risk posed by mutant strains of the coronavirus.
• The comments were made as Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and a member of the government’s vaccine task force, also warned against continental breaks, insisting that swathes of Europe were “largely unvaccinated”.
• The legal ban on overseas holidays is lifted today as part of the next stage of the government’s road map out of lockdown. Mixing indoors, eating and drinking inside pubs and restaurants and hugging people from other households will also be possible from today.
• Boris Johnson said Britain must proceed with a “heavy dose of caution” because of fears over the Indian strain of the coronavirus. Figures show cases of the variant have more than doubled to 1,313 in the past week in England.
• Overall, four deaths within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19 were reported yesterday. In the past week 15,918 cases were confirmed, a rise of 8.6 per cent compared with the previous seven days. The number in hospital with Covid-19 fell below 1,000 for the first time since September, to 991.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
Vaccine refusers are the ‘principal threat’ to final unlocking on June 21 (Telegraph)
• Vaccine refusers are the “principal threat” to the final lifting of lockdown restrictions on June 21, ministers have warned.
• Whitehall departments are said to be drawing up contingency plans should surging infections fuelled by the Indian variant require Boris Johnson to delay step four of the roadmap.
• While early signs suggest vaccines are effective in preventing serious illness from the variant, Matt Hancock revealed on Sunday that the majority of patients hospitalised in Bolton – an outbreak area – had been offered a jab but had not taken it.
• There is now a debate raging in Westminster as to whether the lifting of restrictions should be slowed down to protect people who refuse to be vaccinated, as well as whether local lockdowns instead of holding back progress nationally.
• Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies, said that the Government was facing the “most difficult policy decision, frankly, of the last 15 months or so.”
• This morning one minister told Politico that vaccine refusers were now the “absolute principal threat to June 21”.
• Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, said he was still “very hopeful” that step four would proceed as planned on June 21.
• However, he added that Mr Hancock had been referring to people who had refused to be vaccinated when he on Sunday warned that the Indian variant was spreading like “wildfire.”
• It comes as step three of the roadmap begins this morning, with families reunited at home, restaurants and pubs permitted to reopen indoors, and holidaymakers able to fly to 12 destinations on the green list.
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