"Surges" of Puma and Raven small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are boosting U.S. Army operations in Afghanistan. Responding to an urgent operational requirement there, the Army has ordered 180 new Puma systems to protect route clearance patrols from IEDs. This follows earlier urgent requirements for the two aircraft, manufactured by AeroVironment, of Monrovia, Calif.
Newly released information on cyber attacks against the U.S. government and defense industry suggest that classified information may have been compromised on a grand scale. Web security company McAfee reported last week that at least six U.S. federal government agencies and 13 defense contractors had been attacked as part of a wider operation that penetrated 72 organizations in 14 countries since at least 2006.
Bermuda’s L.F. Wade International Airport is now closed to general aviation and non-scheduled commercial traffic between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The airport, which recently obtained civil certification, formerly received infrastructure support from the U.S. military for 24/7 ATC operations and aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF).
Recent briefings in Brussels and London on Operation Unified Protector reveal that attack helicopters provided by France and the UK are now making key contributions to NATO-led operations over Libya, which has been extended until the end of September.
As of last Wednesday, Bermuda L.F. Wade International Airport will be closed to general aviation and non-scheduled commercial traffic between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The airport, which recently obtained civil certification, formerly received infrastructure support from the U.S. military for 24/7 ATC operations and aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF).
A week after U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates praised Denmark and Norway for punching above their weight in the Libyan operations, both countries indicated they would scale back their contribution of F-16 fighters. They “have provided 12 percent of allied strike aircraft yet have struck about one-third of the targets” said Gates, praising them for the effective use of their limited resources.
Having been developed in some urgency, Rafael’s Iron Dome dual-mission defense system is now operational, and in April an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) battery proved its worth for the first time when several Grad rockets were intercepted after launch from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.
The Arrow BMD (ballistic missile defense) system that now protects Israel was co-developed and produced by Boeing and Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI), but funded mostly by the U.S. MDA. Designed to offer better protection than the Patriot PAC-3, development began in the late 1980s with Israeli industry providing the L-band radar and the command and control system.
The Patriot air defense missile system was designed by Raytheon and first fielded in 1984. Four years later, a missile defense capability was added, mainly through changes to the guidance software. In the 1991 Gulf War, the system had mixed success against Iraqi short-range Scud missiles, and it became clear that its blast-fragmentation warhead was inadequate to the task.
Are the nations of Europe serious about comprehensive ballistic missile defense (BMD)? Or are they happy to let America provide the only effective shield over their cities and populations? Despite a ringing declaration of intent at the NATO summit meeting in Lisbon last November, these questions remain unanswered.