The “Russian Arctic Threat”

Despite Russia’s commitment of apparently dwindling resources to its invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s Northern Fleet’s ballistic missile submarine and strategic bomber capabilities remain intact, according to a report this week from the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington. its authors note that the Arctic remains “of great strategic value”, especially the Kola Peninsula as a gateway for attack and ballistic missile submarines to reach the Atlantic. [node:read-more:link]

Marine mammals impacted by noise

As the Canadian military plans to resume weapons testing in an area off the southern tip of Vancouver Island after a three-year hiatus, British research shows increased ambient noise levels are forcing dolphins to “shout” to hear each other. Also, the European Commission has found that underwater noise levels have doubled every decade in the last 60 years, mainly due to increased shipping. [node:read-more:link]

Indonesia monitors Chinese ship

Indonesia has deployed a warship and surveillance aircraft to monitor China’s lagest coast guard vessel in a disputed resource-rich region. “The Chinese vessel has not conducted any suspicious activities,” admits Admiral Laksamana Madya Muhammad Ali, Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Navy. “However, we need to monitor it as it has been in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone for some time.” [node:read-more:link]

Vladimir Putin loses his cool

Russia’s trade and industry minister, Denis Manturov, was rebuked by President Vladimir Putin today for not stepping up orders for aircraft and ships. “It is taking too long,” Putin said during a government meeting, interrupting Manturov’s presentation. “What are you fooling around for?” Putin said the minister needed “to sort this out with the defence ministry.” [node:read-more:link]

B.C. weapons training to resume

After a three-year hiatus to study the effects on marine mammals of weapons training at the southwestern tip of Vancouver Island, the Canadian Armed Forces plans to resume the program. It cites a Toronto-based engineering company’s study which concluded that current measures to mitigate harmful effects of surface and aerial gunnery in the Strait of Juan de Fuca are effective. [node:read-more:link]

Canada extends African deployment

Two Royal Canadian Navy coastal defence vessels left Halifax today on the RN’s sixth deployment to Operation Projection in West Africa. HMCS Glace Bay and HMCS Moncton will conduct exercises, engagements and port visits to promote stability in the Gulf of Guinea. The two-and-a-half-month deployment includes the 12th Exercise Obangame Express, which begins January 23, focusing on piracy, terrorism and smuggling in the Gulf. [node:read-more:link]

AOPS or A-oops?

The latest projected cost of having six Arctic offshore patrol ships for the Navy and two similar vessels built for the Canadian Coast Guard is upwards of $6.5 billion, according to the federal government and its procurement department. The cost of the naval ships has risen to $4.98 billion from an earlier estimate of $4.3 billion while the CCG estimate has risen by $100 million from $1.6 billion. [node:read-more:link]

Two more AOPS contracted

Irving Shipbuilding and the federal government have finalized a $1.6-billion contract to build two additional Arctic and offshore patrol ships for the Canadian Coast Guard. “We're going to further grow our team . . . as we look to 2025 building these ships,” the company’s vice-president of communications, Mary Keith, said January 4. [node:read-more:link]

NORAD upgrade a huge challenge

Since Canada announced its plan last June to spend $4.9 billion over six years to modernize North American defences, it has become clear that there are significant technical obstacles to overcome. Improved satellite coverage, over-the-horizon radar and deployment of undersea sensors and surveillance in the Arctic are among them and while Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, head of Canadian Joint Operations Command, says Canada has “decent domain awareness right now”, it continues to work with the U.S. on key elements of the NORAD upgrade. [node:read-more:link]

Mammals beat tech in USN role

The U.S. Navy has been training bottlenose dolphins and sea lions since 1959 to recover lost equipment, intercept intruders and detect buried sea mines. It had planned to wind down much of the program this year, relying more on drones and other sensors, but it seems the mammalian platforms are still much more effective. [node:read-more:link]

Joint Sea 2022 wraps up

Russian and Chinese naval forces have completed their Joint Sea 2022 exercise in the East China Sea, the latest in a series that began a decade ago. Russian vessels transited northeast through the Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan while the Chinese carrier group continued a deployment to the Philippine Sea. [node:read-more:link]

Cruise ship tech coming to military

Pierroberto Folgiero, chief executive officer of Fincantieri, which is contracted for new U.S. Navy guided-missile frigates in Wisconsin, plans to draw on the Italian company’s cruise ship expertise. “We aim to use more preconstruction on land . . . which means building modules before adding them to the vessel,” he says. “We are transferring the technique to our naval yards in Italy” and a team has been sent to Wisconsin “to put the changes into effect in 2023.” [node:read-more:link]

Not enough lifejackets on Thai frigate

The Thai navy says at least 18 persons remain missing after one of its frigates sank in a Gulf of Thailand storm last week. There were more than 30 extra personnel aboard for a salute to the navy’s founder but the navy’s commander-in-chief has disclosed December 25 that the crew were “fully aware” that there were not enough lifejackets. [node:read-more:link]

Surface Combatant costs skyrocketing

With two years remaining before Irving Shipbuilding begins construction of the first of the navy’s new Canadian Surface Combatant fleet, designed to replace current destroyers and frigates, the federal government has spent $4.8 billion so far. This is according to figures presented to the House of Commons two months after the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated the total lifetime cost of the 15-ship program at $306 billion. [node:read-more:link]

China-Russia naval exercise announced

The Chinese and Russian navies are set to begin a weeklong live-fire exercise December 21 in the East China Sea off Japan. “The active part of the exercise will include joint missile and artillery firing against air targets, artillery firing against sea targets, and practising joint anti-submarine actions with practical use of weapons,” Russia said today, adding that it was part of a united effort “to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.” [node:read-more:link]


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