Ukraine war: USA plans to deliver large armed drones

Equipping the Ukrainian military with the successor of the well-known Predator drones means three revolutions in warfare with drones at once.

The U.S. government plans to deliver four MQ-1C Gray Eagle armed drones to Ukraine in the coming days and also provide training for pilots and operators. This was reported by Reuters news agency last week in an exclusive report, citing three different sources.

Before a public announcement of the weapons delivery, however, Congress will be informed, a U.S. official told the agency. A White House spokesman, meanwhile, commented when asked by Reuters that there was nothing to announce. „Ukraine war: USA plans to deliver large armed drones“ weiterlesen

German Bundeswehr: The Army does not want to be intercepted

In order to communicate securely, land forces in NATO missions allegedly stop their tanks and arrange to talk „tower to tower“.

The German Armed Forces also want to communicate in a tap-proof manner and use encrypted connections for this purpose. This is a problem especially for the Army, which is still not equipped with digital devices across the board. This has dangerous implications for the armed forces‘ ability to command in the field.

Today, Lieutenant General Alfons Mais, Chief of Staff of the German Army, once again pointed this out in an interview with the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). According to Mais, the basic ability to „transmit data and voice in a protected manner“ is lacking. Therefore, secure communication is the „most important task in the modernisation of the Bundeswehr“. „German Bundeswehr: The Army does not want to be intercepted“ weiterlesen

Ukraine war: NATO spy drones work overtime

The Western military alliance is stationing five Global Hawks in Sicily. Germany is the main contributor, provides a quarter of the personnel and opens a flight corridor. The drones were even seen in a triple mission with US Global Hawks.

For three years, NATO has been stationing long-range Global Hawk drones at the Italian airbase Sigonella in Sicily. The five aircraft are part of NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme. Since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, regular missions have been conducted along the eastern flank of the military alliance.

Now NATO reports the conclusion of an „intense Surge Week“. Every other day, a drone took off in the direction of the Ukrainian borders. A general is quoted as saying that the aircraft maintenance and communication technicians worked overtime.

More flight hours were completed during the „Surge Week“ than in a comparable period in 2021, giving „intelligence analysts a tremendous opportunity“ to provide detailed analysis. During the flights, „valuable information on the Ukrainian situation“ was gathered. „Ukraine war: NATO spy drones work overtime“ weiterlesen

Ukraine reportedly counters Russian attack on Starlink satellite service

Russia’s electronic warfare falls short of Pentagon expectations, nonetheless the US Navy is moving an electronic warfare squadron to Germany

Shortly after the Russian war of aggression began, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Affairs Mykhailo Fedorov asked billionaire Elon Musk to unlock his Starlink satellite service. In the event of a breakdown in digital infrastructure, the military and civilian population should still have internet. In March, the system was probably the target of Russian electronic attacks, which were thwarted by Ukraine.

A small change in the program code of the control software was sufficient for this, explained the director for electronic warfare in the office of the US Department of Defence, Dave Tremper at the C4ISRNET conference on Wednesday in Washington. „From electronic warfare technologist’s perspective, that is fantastic… and how they did that was eye-watering to me“, Tremper commented. The United States therefore urgently needs to improve its own rapid response to such attacks, other conference participants said. „Ukraine reportedly counters Russian attack on Starlink satellite service“ weiterlesen

Hypersonic weapons: All the hype about the new technology

Russia’s military had deployed a new offensive weapon, the Kinshal, for the first time. It is the harbinger of a new arms race in which China and North Korea are also leading the way.

Three weeks ago, the Russian air force attacked the village of Delyatin in western Ukraine with a Kinzhal („Dagger“) hypersonic missile, and another attack took place in the south of the country in the Mikolayiv region. So much for the undisputed facts; opinions differ as to whether an underground weapons depot was really hit in the west and a fuel depot in the south, and whether the Kinzhal is indeed a wonder weapon.

But it is also true that this was the first time the missile was used in combat operations after Russian President Vladimir Putin proudly presented it four years ago. The two hits were probably also intended as a gesture of superiority with regard to NATO missile defence. Putin thus made good on his threatening gesture that Russian hypersonic weapons would „hit like a meteorite, like a fireball“. „Hypersonic weapons: All the hype about the new technology“ weiterlesen

First type certificate: Israeli drone may fly domestic missions in future

Arms manufacturers want to market their long-range drones for interior ministries or agriculture, but to do so they must fly over populated areas. Market leaders are working feverishly to obtain the necessary permits.

For the first time, the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority has issued a permanent permit to fly a drone in civil airspace. The type certificate was granted to the defence company Elbit for its „Hermes Starliner“, as the company announced in a press release yesterday. According to a spokesperson, Elbit spent six years working on the certification, a process that involved „thousands of man hours, dozens of audits, laboratory tests, ground tests, intensive flight tests and thousands of documents“.

Until now, civilian and military flights of such large drones in Israel were restricted to reserved airspace. According to the aviation authority, the certification that has now taken place meets the applicable NATO standards for the integration of heavyweight drones. Accordingly, the drones used by the military can use civilian airspace – for training, for example – and ascend over populated areas. „First type certificate: Israeli drone may fly domestic missions in future“ weiterlesen

European Cyber Exercise: Digital Attacks from „Blue Land“

For five weeks, EU member states will simulate attacks on their critical infrastructures. For the first time, the threshold of an armed attack will be surpassed. The rehearsal includes the provision of assistance in accordance with EU treaties, and the NATO case of alliance could also be triggered.

In the summer of 2017, Saudi Arabia almost suffered its first major disaster after a cyber attack. Unknown persons had infected the control system of a petrochemical plant with malware called „Triton“. The apparently planned shutdown of the plant might have caused explosions, possibly leading to the escape of hydrogen sulphide and thus to an environmental disaster with hundreds of deaths. A security system detected the intruder and stopped the sabotage.

Now the EU member states want to prepare for such a hacking attack with a „EU Cyber Crisis Linking Exercise on Solidarity“ (EU CyCLES). The starting point is assumed to be attacks with „significant kinetic effects and casualties“. The EU then activates its technical, operational and political cybersecurity structures. Other member states also provide mutual assistance. „European Cyber Exercise: Digital Attacks from „Blue Land““ weiterlesen

EU and NATO: Military, police, secret services against migration as „hybrid threat“

Since the Lisbon Treaty, the EU Commission and the Council intertwined internal and external security and thus closer cooperate with NATO. In 2015, a fighting word was created for this, which is being positioned against disinformation, cyber attacks and migration.

Several thousand refugees have attempted to cross the Belarusian border with Lithuania and Poland in recent weeks, subsequently seeking asylum in countries such as Germany. The two Eastern European states have responded by hastily erecting fences and a martial, including military, build-up. Lithuania was the first EU state to activate the European Crisis Reaction Mechanism (IPCR) in the area of migration. Poland is relying solely on measures without EU involvement, even though Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki sees „Europe, our common house“ in danger. Great Britain and Estonia are therefore offering to send troops to the government in Warsaw.

Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen refer to migrants as a „weapon“. This framing is echoed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who threatens that the Washington administration will keep up the pressure on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko as long as Belarus is „undermining peace and security in Europe „. On Thursday, G7 countries also showed solidarity with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, condemning „this provocative use of irregular migration as a hybrid tactic“. „EU and NATO: Military, police, secret services against migration as „hybrid threat““ weiterlesen

Green stepping stone for armed drones in Germany

The Conservatives must watch their years-long push to arm drones from the opposition now

The commander of Bundeswehr operations abroad, Lieutenant General Erich Pfeffer, today warned against dispensing with armed drones. „The troops“ do not understand the political argument and need combat drones for close air support, for example in case a convoy is attacked, he said. „If you take the arguments against armed drones to their logical conclusion, you would have to abolish essential parts of the armed forces,“ Pfeffer, who is soon to retire, realised. But that does not seem to be the case at the moment.

Instead, all signs point to green: in the new coalition agreement, the parties of the „traffic light“ coalition („red“ Socialdemocrats, „yellow“ Liberals, Greens) will presumably agree on a „yes“ to armament. This will end almost decades of wrangling with numerous hearings and a „drone debate“ in the Ministry of Defence which brought together all the pro-arguments once again. In the meantime, only the Left Party in the Bundestag is clearly against automated weapon systems. It is now the conservative CDU/CSU MPs, of all people, who are vehement supporters, who have to watch their introduction from the opposition’s sulking corner. „Green stepping stone for armed drones in Germany“ weiterlesen

Flight campaign in the UK: Military drone operates in civilian airspace for the first time

Throughout Europe, military drones are only allowed to fly in restricted areas. This is a major obstacle for training and missions inside the country. A British flight series with a US drone is now set to bring a breakthrough for flights in civilian airspace.

For the past two weeks, US drone manufacturer General Atomics has been flying a „SeaGuardian“ in the UK’s civilian airspace. The unmanned aerial vehicle, designed for maritime surveillance, has a wingspan of 24 metres, can climb up to twelve kilometres and remain in the air for 40 hours. With these flights, the British Ministry of Defence wants to prepare the introduction of the almost identical „SkyGuardian“. From 2024, it is to replace the current armed drone fleet of the Air Force, where it operates under the name „Protector“.

For the flight tests, the drones are equipped with a „Detection And Avoidance“ system (DAA). It shows the pilot which other aircraft are in the vicinity and warns of danger. In the event of an imminent collision, an avoidance procedure is automatically initiated. The British Civil Aviation Authority has provisionally approved the operation of the system. „Flight campaign in the UK: Military drone operates in civilian airspace for the first time“ weiterlesen