Weapons

Iran renewing tanker attacks?

Debris recovered from an Israeli-owned oil tanker attacked in international waters off Oman last week has prompted the U.S. Navy to say today that it was the same type of Shahed-136 drone that Iran has supplied to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. The drone’s explosion caused minor damage to the Liberian-registered ship’s stern above the waterline. There was a similar attack on another Israeli tanker off Oman in July 2021 but Iran denied responsibility. [node:read-more:link]

Iran pushes back at nuclear agency

Iran confirmed today that it has begun enriching uranium up to 60 per cent purity at its underground Fordow plant, more than a year after it had started doing so at its above-ground Natanz facility. The announcement evidently is in retaliation to last week’s International Atomic Energy Agency’s call on Iran to cooperate with a years-long IAEA investigation into the origin of uranium particles found at three sites. Weapons-grade uranium-235 is typically enriched to at least 90 per cent but lower purity can still be used. [node:read-more:link]

Poland accepts more Patriot missiles

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said today he has accepted “with satisfaction” an offer of Patriot air-defence systems by his German counterpart, Christine Lambrecht, to be positioned along his country’s border with Ukraine. Poland already had Patriot systems supplied by the U.S. Lamprecht, who also had offered Eurofighters, said “we have to position ourselves in the alliance even better in terms of air defence.” [node:read-more:link]

State Department approves European sales

The latest in a series of proposed military exports approved by the U.S. State Department is the $700-million sale of up to 72 Patriot air defence missile systems to Switzerland. Subject to final approval, it follows a $495-million sale of eight high-mobility rocket system launchers and 36 warhead pods to Lithuania and a $380-million sale of 120 air-to-air missiles and 10 guidance sections to Belgium. [node:read-more:link]

Definitely no nukes in a NATO Finland

Finnish PM Sanna Marin has reiterated that her country will not permit nuclear weapos on its territory if it eventually joins NATO. Her rebuttal November 17 came as her government presented new proposals to reinforce its 1,340 km) border with Russia. Sauli Niinistö, Finland’s president and military commander-in-chief points, out that the nuclear option has never been discussed or even intimated as a condition for membership in the alliance. [node:read-more:link]

North Korea fires missile near Japan

A suspected intercontinental ballistic missile fired by North Korea today landed only 200 kilometres off northern Japan, a day after a smaller missile launch was accompanied by a warning of “fierce military responses” to a U.S. buildup in the region. Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the latest missile had a potential range of 15,000km. [node:read-more:link]

Stray missile probably fired from Ukraine

A missile that killed two people in eastern Poland November 15 was likely an old Russian surface-to-air S-300 which went astray after it was fired by Ukrainian forces trying to counter a massive Russian barrage. Nevertheless, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said today that Russia “bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.” [node:read-more:link]

Vimy Award speech draws mixed results

While retired Army Lieutenant-General Michael Maisonneuve received a standing ovation from senior serving officers at this year’s Vimy Award dinner, other members of the dinner found his November 9 speech offensive. In addition to broadsiding the government’s handling of several key policies, Maisonneuve excoriated divisive leadership, apologists, historical revisionists, social media and journalism in general. [node:read-more:link]

Army replacing materiel sent to Ukraine

The Canadian Army has begun to replenish its inventories of vehicles and weapons sent to Ukraine for its counteroffensive against Russia’s invasion. A $165-million contract for General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada to supply 29 Light Armoured Vehicles evidently is the first step. The Department of National Defence also expects to replace “at least” 100 older M2 versions of the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle with M4s and is still considering options for replacing some 4,500 M72A5-C1 single-shot disposable launchers as well as four M777 howitzers and various munitions. [node:read-more:link]

Swiss refuse to licence German exports

Switzerland has refused to permit a request by Germany, its largest arms export market, for a licence to re-export Swiss munitions to Ukraine. The decision has prompted the head of Germany’s liberal Freed Democratic Party defence group to suggest that “if Switzerland does not provide ammunition to attacked countries, then Germany too must decouple its supply chain from the friendly confederation.” [node:read-more:link]

U.S. strategy has Russia-China focus

The first National Defense Strategy from President Joe Biden’s administration sees Russia as an “acute” cyber and missile threat while its take on China is that it is the United States’ most consequential strategic competitor. “Unlike China, Russia can’t systemically challenge the United States over the long term, but Russian aggression does pose an immediate and sharp threat,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said today. [node:read-more:link]

Russian intel chief blames West for nuclear threat

Suggestions by President Vladimir Putin and senior officials that Russia could use nuclear weapons in Ukraine are being denied by Sergei Naryshkin, head of the SVR Foreign Intelligence Service. Instead, he claimed to be concerned that “Western rhetoric about the possibility” is fuelling the debate. [node:read-more:link]

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