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Taiwan scrambles its fighter jets as Chinese war planes conduct simulated attack, officials say

Amid a surge in regional tensions, Taiwan's defense ministry said 14 Chinese aircraft crossed the median line on Saturday afternoon, per Reuters. A Taiwanese F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet lands at Hualien Air Force Base on August 06, 2022 in Hualien, Taiwan.Annabelle Chih/Getty Images Chinese ships and aircraft conducted a simulated attack on Taiwan on Saturday, Taiwanese officials said, per Reuters. Taiwanese jets scrambled as Chinese military assets conducted missions around the Taiwan Strait, Reuters said. Taiwan's defense ministry said 14 Chinese aircraft crossed the median line. Chinese ships and planes rehearsed an attack on Taiwan on Saturday, Taiwanese military officials said, prompting the island nation to scramble its jets, per Reuters.Taiwan's defense ministry said 20 Chinese aircraft and 14 warships conducted missions around the Taiwan Strait on Saturday afternoon, Reuters reported.The ministry said that 14 of the 20 Chinese aircraft crossed the median line — a 110-mile-long strait that acts as an unofficial buffer between China and Taiwan.Taiwanese jets scrambled, the ministry said, and the army also broadcast a warning and put shore-based missiles on stand-by, Reuters said.A source familiar with security planning told the news agency that, off Taiwan's east coast, Chinese warships and drones also simulated attacks on US and Japanese warships.Reuters reported that China's Eastern Theater Command has continued to conduct sea and air joint exercises near Taiwan to test the system's land strike and sea assault capabilities.The Chinese exercises, which include live-fire drills, began on Thursday and are set to continue into Sunday. The exercises came after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visited the self-ruled island of Taiwan that China claims as its own territory.Beijing had repeatedly warned of a possible military reaction to Pelosi's Taipei trip, Insider previously reported.Since Thursday, drills have included firing ballistic missiles over and around Taiwan.China also deployed aircraft and vessels around the Taiwan Strait on Friday, Taipei's defense ministry said, with some military assets crossing the median line. Insider reported that while this is not unprecedented, it's emblematic of the recent uptick in tensions in the region.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 6th, 2022

79 years after a brutal battle to oust the Japanese, a remote piece of US territory is the center of attention again

With the US military focusing more on the Pacific and the Arctic, Alaska has renewed strategic significance. US soldiers and equipment land on the beach at Massacre Bay on Attu Island, May 26, 1943.(AP Photo/US Navy) In May 1943, US soldiers launched a brutal fight to retake the islands of Attu and Kiska from the Japanese. The remote islands, part of Alaska's Aleutian chain, were an important for operations in the Pacific. Now, with the US focusing more on the Pacific and the Arctic, Alaska has renewed military importance. On May 11, 1943, American soldiers began landing on the island of Attu, which, along with the neighboring island of Kiska, had been seized by Japanese troops a year earlier.Attu is the westernmost point in Alaska's Aleutian Island chain, some 1,500 miles from Anchorage. Its occupation by Japan was the first time since the War of 1812 that US territory had been seized by a foreign power.The Japanese troops who landed on the islands were the northernmost arm of a larger operation that included the forces sent to attack and occupy Midway Island in the Central Pacific. Having turned back the Japanese advance, the US sent a massive force to retake the islands in mid-1943.Instead of the three days of fighting that the Americans expected, the battle for Attu turned into a three-week slog.Now, 79 years later, the Aleutian Islands and Alaska have renewed importance for the US, as the increasing accessibility of the Arctic is making the region a venue for competition with Russia and China.Aleutian Islands campaignUS military bases in the Aleutians as of August 1942.Wikimedia CommonsJapan seized Kiska and Attu in June 1942, exactly six months attacking Pearl Harbor. Their landings were preceded by air raids on nearby Dutch Harbor, which killed 43 US personnel and destroyed 11 planes.Japan's goals in the Aleutians were twofold: distract the Americans before the planned invasion of Midway and prevent them from using the sparsely populated islands as forward outposts.Within months of arriving, the Japanese had deployed thousands of troops to the islands and built fortifications and critical infrastructure, including bunkers and tunnels. Harbor facilities and an airstrip were also built on Kiska.The US military increased its footprint in Alaska when it realized the importance of the area and its lack of defenses there. When Kiska and Attu were seized, Alaska Defense Command had just 24,000 troops at its disposal. By January 1943, it had 94,000.By the end of February 1943, US troops had landed on nearby islands and built airfields from which to conduct bombing raids on Attu and Kiska. By mid-March, a US Navy blockade had cut the Japanese garrisons off from resupply and reinforcement.On April 1, US commanders authorized the invasion of Attu. Dubbed "Operation Landcrab," the objective was to defeat the smaller Japanese garrison on Attu before turning to Kiska.'Attacking a pillbox by way of a tightrope'US soldiers with guns and grenades close in on Japanese troops in dugouts on Attu Island in June 1943.(AP Photo)The first landings on May 11, which were preceded by air and naval bombardment, were unopposed, leading many to believe victory was imminent.In fact, the garrison of more than 2,500 Japanese troops had prepared defenses farther inland and waited for the Americans to advance before ambushing them in small groups — a preview of what American troops would face on Iwo Jima and Okinawa a year later.Making matters worse, the Americans soon found that they were fighting two enemies, the Japanese and the weather. Attu is covered in fog, rain, or snow for about 250 days of the year, with winds up to 120 mph.Many US troops were without appropriate winter gear and suffered frostbite, gangrene, and trench foot. "It was rugged," Lt. Donald E. Dwinnell said. "the whole damned deal was rugged, like attacking a pillbox by way of a tightrope … in winter."The Americans pressed on, seizing the high ground and pushing the Japanese into a few areas along the shore.US Army reinforcements land on a beach in Attu, June 23, 1943.(AP Photo)On May 29, with defeat looming, the last Japanese troops able to fight conducted a massive banzai charge with the goal of seizing high ground, using captured artillery against American troops, and retreating back to their own fortifications with captured food and supplies.In what one American soldier described as "a madness of noise and confusion and deadliness," some 800 Japanese soldiers penetrated the main American line and reached rear areas. The fighting was intense and included hand-to-hand combat, but the Americans rallied and pushed the Japanese back.By May 30, the Island was secure. At least 2,351 Japanese bodies were recovered and buried by the Americans. As on other islands recaptured from the Japanese, many defenders killed themselves rather than accept defeat. Only 28 Japanese soldiers surrendered.The fighting was so intense that the Japanese secretly withdrew from Kiska under the cover of fog and darkness at the end of July. Despite the Japanese departure, US and Canadian troops still took casualties from booby traps, friendly fire, and the harsh environment when they landed on Kiska in mid-August.In total, 549 US soldiers were killed and 1,148 wounded during the Aleutian Campaign.Newfound importanceUS Coast Guard cutter Bertholf trailing Chinese navy ships in international waters in the Bering Sea, August 30, 2021.US Coast Guard photo by Ensign Bridget BoyleGiven its proximity to the Soviet Union, Alaska remained important during the Cold War, especially for air and missile defense, but memories of the World War II campaign largely faded over the following decades.Today, with the US reorienting toward great-power competition, and with the region growing more accessible, Alaska's significance for military operations is getting renewed attention, which has been reflected in recent activity there.In 2007, Russia restarted long-range bomber patrols that sometimes enter the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, which surrounds the state but is not US territorial airspace. In 2020, US officials said intercepts of those flights were at the highest level since the Cold War.Russian naval activity around Alaska has also increased. A massive drill in 2020 saw 50 Russian warships operating in the US exclusive economic zone, which stretches some 200 miles from the US coast, where they had run-ins with US fishing vessels.China has also expressed interest in the Arctic. It has declared itself a "near-Arctic state" and is growing its icebreaker fleet. Chinese warships operated off Alaska for the first time in 2015, and four Chinese warships appeared off the Aleutian Islands again in August 2021.With the Cobra Dane radar in the background, US special-operations troops train with a Stinger missile on Shemya Island, October 2021.US Special Operations CommandThe US military is bolstering its posture in Alaska. The Army has revamped its forces there, reestablishing the 11th Airborne Division and investing in new equipment and expanded training.The Air Force, which has long had the largest Arctic presence of any US service branch, has added dozens of fifth-generation fighter jets to bases there. The Marine Corps has expressed interest in increasing its training in Alaska, and the Navy is looking to build out its operations there with a new deep-water port in Nome.Alaska's renewed importance extends to the Aleutians. In 2019, US sailors and Marines trained on Adak Island, which is south of the increasingly busy Bering Strait and once housed a major US Navy base.In late 2020, US special operators deployed to Shemya Island — which is closer to Russia than to the mainland US — to practice "securing key terrain and critical infrastructure."With Arctic ice receding and Russian and Chinese activity increasing, Alaska's importance for the US military will only grow in the years ahead.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 19th, 2022

As Biden meets with Asian allies, Russia and China display their own ties with a "more provocative" bomber flight

Russian and Chinese bombers conducted their first joint patrol since late 2021 on Tuesday, flying near Japan as Biden met with allies there. A Russian TU-95 bomber and Chinese H-6 bombers over the East China Sea in a photo taken by Japan's Air Self-Defense Force on May 24, 2022.Japanese Ministry of Defense Russian and Chinese bombers conducted another joint operation over Northeast Asia on Tuesday. The flight reflects their increasing military cooperation and tighter relations amid tensions with the West. The joint patrol also came as President Joe Biden wrapped up a major meeting with Asian allies. At least six Russian and Chinese military aircraft conducted a joint operation over the Sea of Japan, East China Sea, and the Western Pacific on Tuesday in the latest sign of their deepening military relationship amid growing tensions with their neighbors and the US.The joint flight is the first exercise between the two countries since Russia's attack on Ukraine began on February 24 and appears to be their first joint bomber flight since late 2021.It came shortly after South Korea's new president took office on May 10 and as President Joe Biden wrapped up a trip to the region during which he met with South Korean and Japanese leaders, as well as with leaders of the Quad, a multilateral grouping seen as an effort to counter China's growing influence."We believe the fact that this action was taken during the Quad summit makes it more provocative than in the past," Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters Tuesday.President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the Quad leaders summit in Tokyo, May 24, 2022.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesSouth Korea's military said it spotted two Chinese H-6 bombers at 7:56 a.m. local time entering South Korea's air-defense identification zone off its southwestern coast.The bombers flew toward the Sea of Japan, known as the East Sea in South Korea, where they continued flying with Russian Tu-95 bombers and fighter aircraft from both countries. Seoul said four Chinese and two Russian military aircraft were spotted over the East China Sea in the afternoon.South Korean fighter jets were scrambled "to conduct tactical steps" in response, Seoul said, but the Russian and Chinese planes did not enter the country's territorial airspace.Kishi said two Chinese bombers flew from the East China Sea toward the Sea of Japan, where they were joined by two Russian aircraft and flew together toward the East China Sea. Another pair of Chinese planes later joined the Russian bombers and flew toward the Western Pacific. A Russian reconnaissance aircraft also flew south into the Sea of Japan.None of the aircraft entered Japan's airspace, Kishi said, but Tokyo scrambled fighter jets in response and relayed "grave concerns" to Moscow and Beijing through diplomatic channels.China's Defense Ministry called the joint flight part of an "annual military cooperation plan." Russia's Defense Ministry said Su-30SM fighters supported the Tu-95 and H-6K bombers during the 13-hour patrol and that "the aircraft of both countries operated strictly in compliance with the provisions of international law."The flights reflect a Chinese-Russian relationship that has warmed dramatically in recent years, including through joint military exercises on land, at sea, and in the air. Chinese and Russian bombers conducted similar flights over the same region in 2019, 2020, and 2021.A Japanese Defense Ministry map of Russian and Chinese military flights over the East China Sea and Sea of Japan on May 24, 2022.Japanese Ministry of DefenseChinese state media said after the flight in November 2021 that the operations were meant "to further develop the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination" and weren't directed at "any third party."In early February, Russia and China heralded their "friendship" as having "no limits" and "no 'forbidden' areas of cooperation" in a joint statement issued after a summit between leaders Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the Western response to Russia's attack on Ukraine as "a 'dictator's position'" and said Moscow would focus on expanding ties with China "even faster." Asked about Lavrov's comments, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday that China-Russia relations "have withstood the new test of the changing international landscape" and "will not be affected by others."Exchanges of military expertise and hardware, much of it from Russia to China, have been a main feature of their relationship. US officials have said Moscow has requested Chinese military support during its war in Ukraine but haven't seen signs Beijing has provided it.But the joint bomber flight shows that China is still willing to "closely align" with Russia, a Biden administration official told Reuters on Tuesday."China is not walking away from Russia. Instead, the exercise shows that China is ready to help Russia defend its east while Russia fights in its west," the official said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 24th, 2022

Ukraine can do more against Russia with extra artillery than with Western-made fighter jets

In Ukraine, fighter jets haven't had much of an impact. Kyiv would benefit more from increased artillery shipments than from aircraft. Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 at a military airbase in Ukraine, November 23, 2016.Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto via Getty Images US officials appear to be more open to sending Western-made fighter jets to Ukraine to fight Russia. But airpower has had little impact on the war, and Kyiv would benefit more from additional artillery. News that the West is considering whether to offer jet fighters to Ukraine came as no surprise.As the incessant war of attrition depletes Ukraine's stock of Soviet-era weapons and ammunition, the country will slowly but inexorably switch to Western arms. This will include jet fighters, as Kyiv will not be able to replenish its dwindling number of MiG-29 fighters and Su-25 ground attack aircraft.However, the question is how much of a difference any Western fighters in Ukrainian hands will make.For now, it's not even clear what planes are contemplated for Ukraine. US Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. merely said during a recent conference that an arms transfer was now on the table."It'll be something non-Russian, I can probably tell you that," Brown said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. "But I can't tell you exactly what it's going to be."Which aircraft could it be?US Air Force F-16s with Swedish JAS 39 Gripens over the Baltic Sea during an exercise, June 20, 2018US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Jordan KaminskiThere are several possible options, including American-made fighters, and various European jets, such as France's Rafale, Sweden's Gripen, and the multi-nation Eurofighter Typhoon, Brown said.Ironically, the least important issue here is which aircraft is chosen.The Rafale, Gripen, and Typhoon are all generation 4.5 fighters that are essentially descended from Cold War designs, as are the America F-16, F-18, and F-15EX. (The US F-35 stealth fighter would never make the cut, due to Ukraine's ability to absorb the technology and fears of infuriating Moscow by handing its enemy stealth aircraft.)The complication, in this case, would be which European countries would be willing to antagonize Russia.All of these Western aircraft are highly capable, with advanced sensors and missiles. They are equal to anything the Russian Air Force is flying in Ukraine, and, given the disappointing performance of Russian weapons in the Ukraine war, quite possibly better.Ukraine needs more than jetsA Ukrainian soldier giving the "V for Victory" gesture in front of a US-donated HIMARS system as it launches rockets.Ukraine Ministry of DefenseBut the fact remains that airpower has had remarkably little impact on the war.Limited numbers of aircraft and precision-guided munitions, plus the deterrent effect of ground-based air defenses, have prevented aircraft from having a decisive effect. Drones — both armed and reconnaissance — have become a major presence. Compared to World War II campaigns, airpower has neither enabled the attacker to achieve breakthroughs nor the defender to halt the attacker.The war in Ukraine is being won and lost on the ground, most notably through Russia's massive use of artillery. The big guns haven't won Russia the war, but without them it would have been driven out of Ukraine.The Ukrainians are hoping that newly arrived US and European howitzers and multiple rocket launchers — especially US-made HIMARS rockets that can shoot GPS-guided projectiles at targets 50 miles away — will shift the war in their favor. Particularly impactful — and spectacular — have been HIMARS strikes on Russian ammunition dumps.Would the West supply enough aircraft to Ukraine to make a significant difference in the ground war? A few F-16s or Typhoons could make a substantial difference to Ukrainian air defenses by deterring Russian airstrikes. But as offensive weapons, Ukraine would need more than a handful of planes, especially given Russia's extensive arsenal of anti-aircraft weapons such as the S-300 system.As in other conflicts, airpower is important both as an offensive tool to deliver quick, responsive firepower and as a defensive tool to keep enemy aircraft at bay. Yet, in Ukraine, fighter jets haven't had much of an impact.Michael Peck is a contributing writer for Sandboxx and Forbes. He can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 25th, 2022

How the British air force"s newest jets commemorate a daring and costly World War II bombing mission

To attack the heart of the Nazi war machine, the British air force brought in some of the best pilots in the world for a unique and demanding mission. Germany's Eder dam after the "Dambuster" raid. The hole was estimated to be 230 feet wide and 72 feet high.Bundesarchiv By 1943, the Allies had begun a strategic bombing campaign against Germany's war industry. Bombing industrial centers was costly and often inaccurate, and the Allies sought better targets. To attack Germany's energy sources, the British brought in the now-legendary Dambusters. At 9:28 p.m. on May 16, 1943, a squadron of 19 Avro Lancaster heavy bombers from the British Royal Air Force took off from their base in England and headed toward Germany.By 1943, British bombing raids on Germany were common, but these bombers were on a secret mission, one so unique and demanding that a new squadron was created for it.No. 617 Squadron was made up of some of the most experienced bomber pilots in the world. Their planes carried a specially designed munition made to destroy a specific target: dams.The mission would make legends of the pilots and their squadron, which remains one of the RAF's most celebrated units.Strategic bombingRoyal Air Force Avro Lancaster B.Is in flight on September 29, 1942.Royal Air ForceBy 1943, Allied strategic bombing was seen as vital to defeating Nazi Germany. The most important targets were industrial — the factories, refineries, and oil storage facilities that armed and fueled the German war machine.The precision of aerial bombardments was limited by the technology of the time, however, and the best way to ensure those targets were hit was with carpet bombing.Hundreds of bombers flew over cities and industrial centers to drop thousands of tons of bombs. Entire city blocks were destroyed and thousands of civilians were killed. Allied bomber crews were also killed or captured in great numbers.The British sought to make the bombing more accurate. One solution, proposed by Vickers aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis, was to go after the factories' energy sources, namely dams.Dams provided hydroelectricity and water for factories and houses and supported agricultural development. The destruction of one dam, causing power outages and flooding, could ripple through German supply chains.Targeting dams wasn't a new idea, but it was particularly hard because of their physical layout and composition. The Germans also set up robust defenses around important dams and adapted to Allied efforts to destroy them.Bouncing bombsA practice bouncing bomb mounted on Wing Commander Guy Gibson's aircraft during trials in Kent, May 1943.Imperial War Museums/Wikimedia CommonsWallis focused on developing a weapon that could reliably breach a dam without requiring hundreds of bombers. His solution was a bomb that, when dropped from 60 feet at about 230 mph, would skip across the water, hit the dam, sink, and then detonate.Wallis found that a bomb's explosive pressure would be magnified by water, which is denser than air. Wallis' bomb was designed to capitalize on that effect, with a cylindrical shape to keep it intact after hitting the water and ensure it had the backspin needed to maintain stability and reduce its angle of impact.No. 617 Squadron, led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, was to conduct the raid during nighttime but practiced at all hours, putting blue plastic screens over their windows during daytime to simulate darkness.Barnes Wallis and others watch an inert bouncing bomb during a training run by No. 617 Squadron in 1943.Imperial War Museums/Wikimedia CommonsThe bombers themselves also needed to be modified. The special mounting and release system for the 9,000-pound bouncing bomb, which also had a motor to generate backspin, was too big for the bomb bay, and its fuselage doors were removed. The bomber's lower guns were also removed to reduce drag.Technicians also developed a system with two lights mounted underneath the bomber to shine on the surface of the water. The lights would overlap when the aircraft reached the 60-foot altitude at which the bomb could be safely dropped.Their targets were the Möhne, Sorpe, and Eder dams in the Ruhr valley, Germany's industrial heartland. Only Gibson knew the targets during training. The rest of the squadron was told the day of the strike.'Dambusters'Gibson, in the door of the aircraft, and his crew board their Avro Lancaster bomber for the raid, May 16, 1943.Royal Air Force/Bellamy W (F/O)Operation Chastise, as the mission was known, began on the night of May 16. The Lancasters took two routes across the Netherlands and into Germany, flying as low as possible to avoid detection.The journey proved hazardous. One Lancaster flew so low over the North Sea that a wave ripped its bomb clean off, forcing it to turn back. One was shot down over the Netherlands, and two more accidentally crashed into power lines.The first target was Möhne dam. After several runs in which bombs fell short or bounced over the dam, at least two bombs managed to detonate successfully, breaking a large hole in the dam. The Eder dam was breached after three bomb drops, but the Sorpe dam held firm.In all, eight Lancasters were lost. Of the 133 airmen involved, 53 were killed and three were captured — a fatality rate of 40%.The breached Möhne Dam with six barrage balloons overhead after the No. 617 Squadron's attack, May 17, 1943.Royal Air Force/Flying Officer Jerry FrayBut they had wrought havoc on the Germans, flooding the Ruhr Valley with over 300 million tons of water.All bridges within 30 miles of the Möhne dam were destroyed, as were 12 factories supporting the war effort. Another 100 factories were damaged. Mines and crops were flooded, and 400,000 tons of coal production was lost. Some industrial activity was halted for weeks.The flooding also killed more than 1,500 people, most of them prisoners of war, laborers, and civilians.The Germans were able to repair the dams within five months, but the labor and resources put into their reconstruction took away from other important projects, notably Hitler's Atlantic Wall, meant to defend against an Allied invasion.Lasting legacyA composite image of "Dambusters" pilots with a Royal Air Force F-35B.Royal Air ForceNo. 617 Squadron became known as the "Dambusters" and earned an elite reputation.Later in the war the squadron supported the invasion of France and helped sink the German battleship Tirpitz with Tallboy bombs, another one of Wallis' specially designed weapons.In 2018, the Dambusters became the first RAF squadron equipped with F-35B stealth jets. In 2021, eight of them deployed aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth as part of the Royal Navy's Carrier Strike Group 21.An F-35B aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, October 15, 2019.LPhot Kyle Heller/UK Ministry of DefenceDuring the deployment, the strike group sailed 49,000 miles to the Pacific and back, visiting or exercising with 44 countries.The Dambusters' F-35Bs made over 3,000 deck landings and conducted the RAF's first F-35B combat operations when they struck ISIS targets in Syria. One F-35B crashed while landing on the carrier in the Mediterranean, but the pilot survived and the aircraft was eventually recovered.The Dambusters also participated in Exercise Cold Response in March, flying north to take part in simulated air battles with the Royal Navy's other new carrier, HMS Prince of Wales.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 16th, 2022

Futures Jump After Biden Says Trump"s China Tariffs Under Consideration

Futures Jump After Biden Says Trump's China Tariffs Under Consideration US stock futures advanced for a second day after staging a furious rally late on Friday having slumped into a bear market just hours earlier, after President Joe Biden said China tariffs imposed by the Trump administration were under consideration, although concerns about hawkish central banks and record Covid cases in Beijing continued to weigh on the sentiment.  Contracts on the S&P 500 were up 1% by 7:15 a.m. in New York, trimming earlier gains of as much as 1.4% following remarks from Christine Lagarde that the European Central Bank is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September which sent the euro sharply higher and hit the USD. Meanwhile, Beijing and Tianjin continue to ramp up Covid restrictions as cases climbed. Nasdaq futures also jumped, rising 1.1%. Europe rose 0.6% while Asian stocks closed mostly in the green, with Nikkei +1% and Hang Seng -1.2%. The dollar and Treasuries retreated, while bitcoin jumped to $30,500 as the crypto rout appears over. Traders interpreted Biden’s comments that he’ll discuss the US tariffs on Chinese imports with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen when he returns from his Asia trip as a signal there could be a reversal of some Trump-imposed measures, sparking a risk-on rally.  “Today’s appetite for risk has been sparked by the US President’s announcement that trade tariffs imposed on China by the previous Trump administration will be discussed,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades. “Investors see this as a possible de-escalation of the trade war between the two economic superpowers, and this has revived trading optimism towards riskier assets.” Among the notable movers in premarket trading, VMware surged 19% after Bloomberg News reported that Broadcom is in talks to acquire cloud-computing company; Broadcom fell 3.5% in premarket trading. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Software stocks, such as Oracle (ORCL US), Splunk (SPLK US), ServiceNow (NOW US), Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP US), are in focus after the report on Broadcom and VMware setting up for a blockbuster tech deal. Antiviral and vaccine stocks rise in US premarket trading amid spreading cases of the monkeypox virus. SIGA Technologies (SIGA US) jumps 39%; Emergent BioSolutions (EBS US) rises 15%, Chimerix (CMRX US) gains 15%, Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO US) +13% Dow (DOW US) shares fall as much as 1.3% premarket after Piper Sandler downgraded the chemicals maker to neutral from overweight, along with peer LyondellBasell (LYB US), amid industry concerns. TG Therapeutics (TGTX US) shares are down 3.3% premarket after falling 11% on Friday, when BofA started coverage on the biotech company with an underperform rating and $5 price target. Upwork (UPWK US) could be in focus as RBC Capital Markets analyst Brad Erickson initiates coverage of the stock with a sector perform recommendation, saying some near-term negatives for the online recruitment services firm are well discounted. US stocks have been roiled in the past two months by concerns the Fed's tightening will push the economy into a recession. A late-session rebound lifted the market from the session’s lows on Friday, though the S&P 500 still capped a seventh straight week of losses - the longest since 2001 - and briefly dipped into bear market territory, while the Dow dropped for 8 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch since 1923! “As we have seen time and time again recently, any attempted rallies appear to be short-lived with the backdrop of macroeconomic uncertainty, and any bullish breakouts have failed to endure with overall market sentiment biased toward the bears,” said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor. The string of weekly losses has seen the S&P 500’s forward price-to-earnings ratio drop to 16.4, near the lowest since April 2020. This is below the average level of 17.04 times seen over the past decade, making the case for bargain hunters to step in. Separately, Biden said the US military would intervene to defend Taiwan in any attack from China, comments that appeared to break from the longstanding US policy of “strategic ambiguity” before they were walked back by White House officials. Meanwhile, his administration announced that a dozen Indo-Pacific countries will join the US in a sweeping economic initiative designed to counter China’s influence in the region. Minutes of the most recent Fed rate-setting meeting will give markets insight this week into the central bank’s tightening path. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the Fed should front-load an aggressive series of rate hikes to push rates to 3.5% at year’s end, which if successful would push down inflation and could lead to easing in 2023 or 2024 In Europe, the Stoxx 50 rose 0.3%. The FTSE 100 outperformed, adding 0.9%, FTSE MIB lags, dropping 1.1%. Energy, miners and travel are the strongest performing sectors. European energy shares vie with the basic resources sector to be the best-performing group in the Stoxx Europe 600 benchmark on Monday as oil stocks rise with crude prices, while Siemens Gamesa rallies after Siemens Energy made a takeover offer. Shell rises 1.7%, BP +2.4%, TotalEnergies +2.1%. Elsewgere, the Stoxx Europe Basic Resources sub-index rallies to the highest level since May 5 to lead gains in the wider regional benchmark on Monday as metals rise amid better demand outlook. Aluminum, copper and iron ore extended rebound after China cut borrowing rates last week, dollar weakened and as investors weighed outlook for lockdown relief in Shanghai. The euro rose to its highest level in four weeks and most of the region’s bonds fell after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the ECB is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September. Here are the most notable European movers: Siemens Gamesa shares gain as much as 6.7% after Siemens Energy made an offer to acquire the shares in the wind-turbine maker it does not own. Kingfisher shares advance as much as 4.9% after the B&Q owner reported 1Q sales that beat estimates and announced plans for a further GBP300m share buyback. Deutsche EuroShop shares jump as much as 44% after Oaktree and CURA offered to acquire the German retail property company in a deal valuing it at around EU1.39b. Moonpig Group gains as much as 14% as Jefferies analysts say its plan to buy Smartbox Group UK is a good use of the online greeting card company’s strong cash generation. Kainos Group shares jump as much as 25%, as Canaccord Genuity raises the stock’s rating to buy from hold following FY results, saying cost-inflation headwinds are priced in. Intertek shares fall as much as 5.3%, with Stifel cutting its rating on the company to hold from buy, saying none of the key elements of its positive thesis are still intact. Leoni shares drop as much as 7.3% after the wiring systems manufacturer said it was in advanced talks on further financing. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were mixed as traders assessed Chinese authorities’ efforts to support the economy amid ongoing concerns over its Covid situation. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 0.4%, supported by healthcare and industrials, after paring an early gain of as much as 0.7%. Japanese stocks outperformed and US index futures advanced.  Chinese shares slid after Beijing reported a record number of coronavirus cases, reviving concerns about lockdowns. Covid concerns offset any positive impact from last Friday’s greater-than-expected reduction in a key interest rate for long-term loans in an effort to counter weak demand. Investors may be turning more upbeat on Asian stocks, with the regional benchmark beating global peers last week by the most in more the two years, snapping a streak of six weekly losses. Still, the region faces the same worries about inflation and rising US interest rates that have been rattling markets around the world this year. “The energy crisis in the EU and policy tightening in the US, combined with China’s economic soft patch” are potential headwinds for Asian equities and may lead to “weak external demand for more export-oriented economies like Taiwan and Korea,” Soo Hai Lim, head of Asia ex-China equities at Barings, wrote in a note. Japanese equities climbed as US President Joe Biden’s comments during his visit to the country lifted market sentiment. Biden said a recession in the US isn’t inevitable, and reaffirmed close ties between the two countries. He also said China tariffs imposed by the Trump administration were under consideration, helping to lift regional stocks.  The Topix Index rose 0.9% to 1,894.57 as of market close, while the Nikkei advanced 1% to 27,001.52. Tokio Marine Holdings contributed the most to the Topix Index, increasing 7.6%. Out of 2,171 shares in the index, 1,681 rose and 415 fell, while 75 were unchanged. Defense stocks also got a boost after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said President Biden supports Japan’s plan for an increase in its defense budget Stocks in India mostly declined after the central bank chief said the Reserve Bank is taking coordinated action with the country’s government to tackle inflation and a few interest rate hikes will be in store in coming months. His comments came soon after the government unveiled measures that will cost the exchequer $26 billion and will probably force the government to issue more debt to bridge the yawning budget deficit. The S&P BSE Sensex ended flat at 54,288.61 in Mumbai after giving up an advance of as much as 1.1%. The NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 0.3%, its third decline in four sessions. Gauges of mid-sized and small stocks also plunged 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively. Out of the 30 stocks in the Sensex index, 20 advanced while 10 ended lower, with Tata Steel being the biggest drag. Eleven of 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by metal stocks. Steel stocks plunged after the new rules imposed tariffs on export of some products. Auto and capital stocks were the best performers.  Investors remain wary of the policy decisions the central bank could take in the near-term to tackle in rising inflation, according to Arafat Saiyed, an analyst with Reliance Securities. “Changes in oil prices and amendments to import and export duties might play a role in assessing the market’s trajectory.” In rates, Treasuries dropped as investors debate the Federal Reserve’s tightening path amid mounting worries about an economic slowdown. US bonds were cheaper by 3bp-5bp across the curve with belly leading declines, underperforming vs front- and long-end, following weakness in bunds. 10-year yield around 2.83%, higher by ~5bp on day, and keeping pace with most European bond markets; belly-led losses cheapen 2s5s30s fly by ~1.5bp on the day. US IG credit issuance slate empty so far; $20b-$25b is expected this week, concentrated on Monday and Tuesday. European fixed income faded an initial push higher after Lagarde’s comments while money markets up rate-hike bets. Bund futures briefly trade above 154 before reversing, cash curve bear-flattens with the belly cheapening ~6bps. Peripheral spreads tighten to Germany, 10y Bund/BTP spreads holds above 200bps. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the greenback traded weaker against all of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro jumped to a session high of $1.0635 and bunds reversed an advance after ECB President Christine Lagarde said the central bank is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September. The EUR was also bolstered by Germany IFO business confidence index rising to 93.0 in May vs estimate 91.4. The Aussie and kiwi were among the pest G-10 performers as they benefitted from Biden’s comments about the tariffs on China. Aussie was also supported after the Labor Party won the weekend election and is increasingly hopeful of gaining enough seats to form a majority government.  The pound advanced against the dollar, touching the highest level since May 5, amid broad-based greenback weakness. While asking prices rose to a new record for the fourth-straight month, there are signs the housing market is slowing, according to Rightmove. Yen steadied after gains last week as traders sought clues on the global economy. Japanese government bonds were mostly higher. The purchasing power of the yen fell to a fresh half-century low last month. In commodities, WTI rose 1.1% to trade just below $112. Most base metals are in the green; LME aluminum rises 1.4%, outperforming peers. LME nickel lags, dropping 4.2%. Spot gold climbs roughly $18 to trade around $1,865/oz Looking at today's calendar, at 830am we get the April Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index (est. 0.50, prior 0.44). CB speakers include the Fed's Bostic, ECB's Holzmann, Nagel and Villeroy and BoE's Bailey. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 3,922.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 433.69 MXAP up 0.4% to 165.23 MXAPJ little changed at 539.33 Nikkei up 1.0% to 27,001.52 Topix up 0.9% to 1,894.57 Hang Seng Index down 1.2% to 20,470.06 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,146.86 Sensex up 0.4% to 54,556.08 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,148.89 Kospi up 0.3% to 2,647.38 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.97% Euro up 0.5% to $1.0622 Brent Futures up 0.9% to $113.61/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,859.91 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.63% to 102.50 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg President Joe Biden said the US military would intervene to defend Taiwan in any attack from China, some of his strongest language yet seeking to deter Beijing from an invasion The Biden administration announced that a dozen Indo-Pacific countries will join the US in a sweeping economic initiative designed to counter China’s influence in the region, even as questions remain about its effectiveness The US Treasury Department is expected to tighten sanctions this week on Russia, threatening about $1 billion owed to bondholders for the rest of this year and putting the country once again on the edge of default The ECB is poised to get the power to oversee so-called transition plans by 2025, in which lenders map out their path to a carbon-neutral future. Yet several national officials who sit on the ECB’s supervisory board are skeptical that climate risks merit new rules to address them, and some are wary that the initiative exceeds the central bank’s mandate Russia is considering a plan to ease a key control on capital flows which has helped drive the ruble to the highest levels in four years as the rally is now threatening to hurt budget revenues and exporters Natural gas prices in Europe fell as much as 5.6% to the lowest level since the start of the war in Ukraine, as storage levels across the continent rise to near-normal levels As the biggest selloff in decades shook the world’s bond markets this year, some extraordinarily long-dated debt went into free fall, tumbling even more than Wall Street’s usual models predicted. To Jessica James, a managing director with Commerzbank AG in London, it wasn’t a surprise. In fact, it was validation A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks were mixed as momentum waned due to China's COVID woes and record Beijing infections. ASX 200 was just about kept afloat before ebbing lower after initial strength in mining names and the smooth change of government in Australia. Nikkei 225 advanced at the open with Tokyo said to be planning to revive its travel subsidy plan for residents. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were pressured by ongoing COVID concerns after Beijing extended its halt of dining in services and in-person classes for the whole city, as well as reporting a fresh record of daily COVID infections, while Shanghai restored its cross-district public transport on Sunday but ordered supermarkets and shops in the central Jingan district to shut and for residents to stay home until at least Tuesday Top Asian News Beijing reported 83 new symptomatic cases and 16 new asymptomatic cases for May 22nd with the city's total new cases at a new record, according to Bloomberg. It was also reported that thousands of Beijing residents were relocated to quarantine hotels due to a handful of infections, according to the BBC. Beijing is mulling easing its hotel quarantine requirement to one week in a hotel and one week at home from a previous hotel requirement of ten days and one week at home for international travellers, according to SCMP. Shanghai reported 570 new asymptomatic cases, 52 asymptomatic cases, 3 new COVID-related deaths and zero cases outside of quarantine, according to Reuters. Shanghai’s central district of Jingan will require all supermarkets and shops to close, while residents will be required to stay at home and conduct mass testing from May 22nd-24th, according to Reuters. China NHC Official says the COVID situation, overall, is showing a steady declining trend. Japanese PM Kishida said it is very disappointing that China is unilaterally developing areas in the East China Sea when borders are not yet set which Japan cannot accept, while it has lodged a complaint against China through diplomatic channels, according to Reuters. Japanese PM Kishida told US President Biden that they must achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific together, while President Biden said the US is fully committed to Japan's defence and that the IPEF will increase cooperation with other nations and deliver benefits to people in the region, according to Reuters. US-South Korea joint statement noted they agreed to discuss widening the scope and scale of joint military exercises and the US reiterated its commitment to defending South Korea with nuclear, conventional and missile defence, as well as reaffirmed its commitment to deploy strategic military assets in a timely and coordinated manner as necessary. The sides also condemned North Korea’s missile tests as a grave threat and agreed to relaunch a high-level extended deterrence strategy and consultation group at the earliest date, while they noted the path to dialogue with North Korea remains open and called for a resumption of negotiations, according to Reuters. US President Biden said the US-South Korea alliance has never been stronger and more vibrant. President Biden added they are ready to strengthen the joint defence posture to counter North Korea and are ready to work toward the complete denuclearisation of North Korea, while he offered vaccines to North Korea and said he would meet with North Korean leader Kim if he is serious, according to Reuters. South Korean President Yoon said North Korea is advancing nuclear capabilities and that US President Biden shares grave concerns regarding North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, while Yoon said they discussed the timing of possible deployment of fighter jets and bombers, according to Reuters. European bourses are mixed/modestly-firmer, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%, as the initial upside momentum waned amid fresh China COVID updates and hawkish ECB commentary. Note, the FTSE MIB is the noted underperformer this morning, -1.0%, amid multiple large-cap names trading ex-divided. Stateside, futures are firmer but similarly off best levels, ES +0.5%, with recent/familiar themes very much in focus ahead of a thin US-specific docket. XPeng (XPEV) Q1 2022 (USD): EPS -0.32 (exp. -0.30), Revenue 1.176bln (exp. 1.16bln); Vehicle Deliveries 34.56k, +159% YY. -2.8% in pre-market JPMorgan (JPM) has reaffirmed its adjusted expenses guidance; credit outlook remains positive; sees FY22 NII USD 56bln (prev. USD 53bln) Top European News EU’s infectious-disease agency is to recommend member states prepare strategies for possible vaccination programmes to counter increasing monkeypox cases, according to FT. It was also reported that Austria confirmed its first case of monkeypox and that Switzerland also confirmed its first case of monkeypox in the canton of Bern, according to Reuters. EU policymakers are reportedly renewing efforts to push for real-time databases of stock and bond trading information as they believe that a 'consolidated tape' will make EU exchanges more attractive for investors, according to FT. EU Commission has proposed maintaining EU borrowing limits suspension next year amid the war in Ukraine; expects to reinstate limits in 2024; Germany supports the suspension. Fixed Income Bunds and Eurozone peers underperform as ECB President Lagarde signals end of negative rates by September. 10 year German bond nearer 153.00 having topped 154.00, Gilts around 1/4 point below par after trading flat at best and T-note shy of 120-00 within 120-03+/119-21+ range. EU NG issuance covered 1.38 times and Austria announces leads for 2049 Green syndication. In FX Euro joins Kiwi at the top of G10 ranks as President Lagarde chimes with end of NIRP by Q3 guidance, EUR/USD sets fresh May peak near 1.0690. Bulk of NZIER shadow board believe RBNZ will deliver another 50bp hike on Wednesday, NZD/USD hovers comfortably above 0.6450 in the run up to NZ Q1 retail sales. DXY in danger of losing 102.000+ status as Euro revival boosts other index components. Aussie up with price of iron ore and extended Yuan recovery gains with change of PM and Government regime taken in stride; AUD/USD probes 0.7100, USD/CNH not far from Fib support sub-6.6500, USD/CNY a tad lower. Sterling eyes 1.2600 awaiting BoE Governor Bailey at a PM panel discussion, Loonie and Nokkie glean traction via firm WTI and Brent, USD/CAD under 1.2800, EUR/NOK beneath 10.3000. Lira languishing after CBRT survey showing higher end 2022 forecasts for Turkish CPI, current account deficit and USD/TRY circa 17.5690 vs just shy of 16.0000 at present. Commodities WTI and Brent are firmer and in-proximity to session highs amid USD action offsetting the earlier drift with risk sentiment/China's mixed COVID stance. Currently, the benchmarks are just off highs of USD 111.96/bbl and USD 114.34/bbl respectively, vs lows of 109.50 and 111.97 respectively. Saudi Arabia signalled it will stand by Russia as a member of OPEC+ amid mounting pressure from sanctions, according to FT. Iraq’s government aims to set up a new oil company in the Kurdistan region and expects to enter service contracts with local oil firms, according to Reuters. Iran’s Oil Minister agreed to revive the pipeline laying project to pump Iranian gas to Oman which was stalled for nearly two decades, according to IRNA. Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Iran’s leadership has matters under review regarding “the Iranian nuclear file” and said that pumping additional quantities of Iranian oil to the market will help stabilise crude prices and lower inflation, according to Al Jazeera TV. India cut its excise duty on petrol by INR 8/litre and diesel by INR 6/litre which will result in a revenue loss of about INR 1tln for the government, while Indian Finance Minister Sitharaman announced subsidies on cooking gas cylinders, as well as cuts to custom duties on raw materials and intermediaries for plastic products, according to Reuters. Indian oil minister says oil remaining at USD 110/bbl could lead to bigger threats than inflation, via CNBC TV18. Central Banks ECB's Lagarde says based on the current outlook, we are likely to be in a position to exit negative interest rates by the end of the third quarter; against the backdrop of the evidence I presented above, I expect net purchases under the APP to end very early in the third quarter. This would allow us a rate lift-off at our meeting in July, in line with our forward guidance. The next stage of normalisation would need to be guided by the evolution of the medium-term inflation outlook. If we see inflation stabilising at 2% over the medium term, a progressive further normalisation of interest rates towards the neutral rate will be appropriate. ECB President Lagarde indicated that July is likely for a rate increase as she noted that they will follow the path of stopping net asset purchases and then hike interest rates sometime after that which could be a few weeks, according to Bloomberg. Bundesbank Monthly Report: German GDP is likely to increase modestly in Q2 from current standpoint. Click here for more detail. RBI Governor Das says, broadly, they want to increase rates in the next few meetings, at least at the next one; cannot give a number on inflation at present, the next MPC may be the time to do so. CBRT Survey (May), end-2022 Forecasts: CPI 57.92% (prev. 46.44%), GDP Growth 3.3% (prev. 3.2%), USD/TRY 17.5682 (prev. 16.8481), Current Account Balance USD -34.34bln (prev. USD -27.5bln). US Event Calendar 08:30: April Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.50, prior 0.44 12:00: Fed’s Bostic Discusses the Economic Outlook 19:30: Fed’s George Gives Speech at Agricultural Symposium DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap After a stressful couple of hours in front of the football yesterday afternoon, there's not too much the market can throw at me this week to raise the heart rate any higher than it was for the brief moments that I thought Liverpool were going to win the Premier League from a very unlikely set of final day circumstances. However it is the hope that kills you and at least we have the Champions League final on Saturday to look forward to now. There will be a lot of market water to flow under the bridge before that. This all follows a fascinating end to last week with the S&P 500 in bear market territory as Europe went home for the weekend after the index had fallen -20.6% from its peak going into the last couple of hours of another brutal week. However a sharp late rally sent the index from c.-2.3% on the day to close +0.01%. There was no catalyst but traders clearly didn’t want to go home for the weekend as lightly positioned as they were. Regardless, this was the first time we’ve seen seven successive weekly declines in the index since the fallout from the dotcom bubble bursting in 2001. Watch out for my CoTD on this later. If you’re not on my daily CoTD and want to be, please send an email to jim-reid.thematicresearch@db.com to get added. For what it's worth the Dow saw the first successive 8 weekly decline since 1923 which really brings home the state of the current sell-off. After having a high conviction recession call all year for 2023, I can't say I have high conviction in the near-term. I don't expect that we will fall into recession imminently in the US or Europe and if that's the case then markets are likely to eventually stabilise and rally back. However if we do see a H2 2022 recession then this sell-off will likely end up at the more severe end of the historical recessionary sell-offs given the very high starting valuations (see Binky Chadha's excellent strategy piece here for more on this). However if I'm right that a 2023 recession is unavoidable then however much we rally back this year we'll be below current levels for equities in 12-18 months' time in my view. Given that my H2 2023 HY credit spread forecast is +850bp then that backs this point up. Longer-term if we do get a recession and inflation proves sticky over that period then equities are going to have a long period of mean reversion of valuations and it will be a difficult few years ahead. So the path of equities in my opinion depends on the recession timing and what inflation does when we hit that recession. Moving from pontificating about the next few years to now looking at what's coming up this week. The global preliminary PMIs for May tomorrow will be front and centre for investors following the growth concerns that have roiled markets of late. Central banks will also remain in focus as we will get the latest FOMC meeting minutes (Wednesday) and the US April PCE, the Fed's preferred inflation proxy, on Friday. An array of global industrial activity data will be another theme to watch. Consumer sentiment will be in focus too, with a number of confidence measures from Europe and personal income and spending data from the US (Friday). Corporates reporting results will include spending bellwethers Macy's and Costco. After last week’s retail earnings bloodbath (e.g. Walmart and Target) these will get added attention. On the Fed, the minutes may be a bit stale now but it’ll still be interesting to see the insight around the biases of 50bps vs 25/75bps hikes after the next couple of meetings. Thoughts on QT will also be devoured. Staying with the US, for the personal income and spending numbers on Friday, our US economists expect the two indicators to slow to +0.2% and +0.6% in April, respectively. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the PCE, will be another important metric released the same day and DB’s economics team expects the April core reading to stay at +0.3%. Other US data will include April new home sales tomorrow and April durable goods orders on Wednesday. A number of manufacturing and business activity indicators are in store, too. Regional Fed indicators throughout the week will include an April gauge of national activity from the Chicago Fed (today) and May manufacturing indices from the Richmond Fed (tomorrow) and the Kansas City Fed (Thursday). In Europe, the May IFO business climate indicator for Germany will be out today, followed by a manufacturing confidence gauge for France (tomorrow) and Italy (Thursday). China's industrial profits are due on Friday. This week will also feature a number of important summits. Among them will be the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos that has now started and will run until next Thursday. It'll be the first in-person meeting since the pandemic began and geopolitics will likely be in focus. Meanwhile, President Biden will travel to Asia for the first time as US president and attend a Quad summit in Tokyo tomorrow. Details on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework are expected. Finally, NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 2022 Spring Session will be held in Vilnius from next Friday to May 30th. In corporate earnings, investors will be closely watching Macy's, Costco and Dollar General after this week's slump in Walmart and Target. Amid the carnage in tech, several companies that were propelled by the pandemic will be in focus too, with reporters including NVIDIA, Snowflake (Wednesday) and Zoom (today). Other notable corporates releasing earnings will be Lenovo, Alibaba, Baidu (Thursday) and XPeng (Monday). Overnight in Asia, equity markets are weak but US futures continue to bounce back. The Hang Seng (-1.75%) is the largest underperformer amid a fresh sell-off in Chinese listed tech stocks. Additionally, stocks in mainland China are also weak with the Shanghai Composite (-0.47%) and CSI (-0.99%) lower as Beijing reported record number of fresh Covid-19 cases, renewing concerns about a lockdown. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.50%) is up in early trade while the Kospi (+0.02%) is flat. S&P 500 (+0.80%), NASDAQ 100 (+1.03%) and DAX (+0.96%) futures are all edging higher though and 10yr USTs are around +3.5bps higher. A quick review of last week’s markets now. Growth fears gripped markets while global central bankers retrenched their expectations for a strong dose of monetary tightening this year to combat inflation. The headline was the S&P 500 fell for the seventh straight week for the first time since after the tech bubble burst in 2001, tumbling -3.05% (+0.01% Friday), after back-and-forth price action which included an ignominious -4% decline on Wednesday, the worst daily performance in nearly two years. The index is now -18.68% from its YTD highs, narrowly avoiding a -20% bear market after a late rally to end the week, after dipping into intraday on Friday. Without one discreet driver, an amalgamation of worse-than-expected domestic data, fears about global growth prospects, and poor earnings from domestic retail giants that called into question the vitality of the American consumer soured sentiment. Indeed, on the latter point, consumer staples (-8.63%) and discretionary (-7.44%) were by far the largest underperformers on the week. European stocks managed to fare better, with the STOXX 600 falling -0.55% (+0.73% Friday) and the DAX losing just -0.33% (+0.72% Friday). The growth fears drove longer-dated sovereign bond yields over the week, with 10yr Treasuries falling -13.7bps (-5.6bps Friday). Meanwhile, the front end of the curve was relatively anchored, with 2yr yields basically unchanged over the week (-2.7bps Friday), and the amount of Fed hikes priced in through 2022 edging +3bps higher over the week to 2.75%, bringing 2s10s back below 20bps for the first time since early May. Chair Powell reiterated his commitment to bring inflation back to target, suggesting that getting policy rates to neutral did not constitute a stopping point if the Fed did not have “clear and convincing” evidence that inflation was falling. In Europe the front end was also weaker than the back end as Dutch central bank Governor Knot became the first General Council member to countenance +50bp hikes. 10yr yields didn't rally as much as in the US, closing the week at -0.4bps (-0.5bps Friday). The spectre of faster ECB tightening and slowing global growth drove 10yr BTPs to underperform, widening +15.2bps (+10.2bps Friday) to 205bps against bund equivalents. Gilts underperformed other sovereign bonds, with 10yr benchmarks selling off +14.9bps (+2.8bps Friday) and 2yr yields increasing +25.8bps (+1.6bps Friday). This came as UK CPI hit a 40yr high of 9.0% in April even if it slightly missed forecasts for the first time in seven months. Oil proved resilient to the growth fears rumbling through markets, with both brent crude (+0.90%, +0.46% Friday) and WTI futures (+2.48%, +0.91% Friday) posting modest gains over the week. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/23/2022 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 23rd, 2022

With new operations on opposite sides of the world, Chinese military aircraft are showing off growing reach

China's air force is getting "more confident in its ability to operate farther" from its shores with newer aircraft, an expert told Insider. China's J-20, a fifth-generation fighter jet.Reuters China is rapidly developing combat and transport aircraft to support longer-range military operations. A flight to Europe by China's Y-20 airlifter and regular patrols by J-20 fighters are milestones for those jets, officials say. The new capabilities worry China's neighbors, but China's troops and hardware are largely untested in combat. China's military has rapidly built one of the world's largest aviation forces, developing increasingly capable aircraft that the US Defense Department has warned are "gradually eroding" the US military's advantage in the air.In recent weeks, China's premier fighter jets and strategically valuable airlifters have reached milestones that underscore Beijing's increasing focus on and investment in military aviation.In early April, six Y-20 cargo planes arrived in Belgrade to deliver what were believed to be Chinese-made HQ-22 surface-to-air missiles to Serbia's military. The roughly 5,000-mile flight by what Chinese state media called "a record-breaking number" of Y-20s was seen as a demonstration of Beijing's ambitions for global power projection.Days later, a top official with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, the state-owned firm developing the J-20 fighter jet, said that J-20s are now conducting regular patrols over the East and South China seas, a sign of the advanced jet's increasing reliability.The developments are indications that China's air force "is growing more confident in its ability to operate farther and farther from Chinese shores with newer and newer aircraft," Timothy Heath, a senior international defense researcher at the RAND Corporation think tank, told Insider.China has struggled to develop new engines for the J-20.ReutersThe AVIC official said the J-20s were routinely conducting alert patrols, which are mainly for surveillance, over the South China and combat patrols, which require a higher level of readiness, over the East China Sea. The official said that had been made possible by the switch to a "Chinese heart" for the jets, a reference to domestically developed engines.The J-20 was originally fitted with less powerful Russian-made engines. Some of the several dozen J-20s in service are now fitted with WS-10C engines, an upgraded version of an older Chinese-made engine, but China has struggled to develop the WS-15 engine specifically designed for fifth-generation aircraft like the J-20. The lack of engine power is expected to prevent the J-20 from adopting advanced weaponry and high-end operations.Chinese military officials have said the WS-15 would be finished by 2023 and would put the jet on par with the US's F-22, but Heath said the upgrade shouldn't be overstated, calling the WS-15 "at least a generation behind" the F-22's engine.The WS-15 "has the usual Chinese problems of short maintenance schedules, or just a short lifespan due to maintenance issues, and quality-control issues and general underperformance," Heath told Insider.Despite its shortcomings, the J-20 has left an impression on US commanders, who have noted that Chinese pilots are flying the J-20 "pretty well," Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, the head of US Pacific Air Forces, said in March.It is "still too early" to tell whether the J-20 will be used as a multi-role fighter like the F-35 or be focused on air-superiority like the F-22, but China is showing it can employ the jet effectively, Wilsbach said, referring to a recent encounter in which "we got relatively close to the J-20s with our F-35s in the East China Sea and were relatively impressed with command-and-control that was associated with the J-20s."Logistics and heavy liftA Chinese military Y-20 transport aircraft at Airshow China 2018 in Zhuhai, November 7, 2018.AP Photo/Kin CheungLike the J-20, the Y-20 has been operational for about a decade, and China has focused on developing the Y-20 fleet to support longer-range military operations.Prior to the flight to Serbia, two Y-20s delivered more than 30 tons of supplies to Tonga after that country was devastated by a volcanic eruption and tsunami. The 6,000-mile flight was the longest known overseas mission for the Y-20, a former Chinese military instructor told the South China Morning Post.In November, an aerial-refueling variant of the Y-20 took part in a military flight near Taiwan for the first time, demonstrating a capability considered essential to support longer-range and longer-duration flights by China's fighters and bombers.The expanding reach of Chinese military aircraft has been noticed across the Pacific, including in Australia, which US and Australian officials say faces a renewed threat of attack from Beijing."If you look at those distances and how that's been transported, it's really captured the attention of folks in Canberra," Patrick Cronin, Asia-Pacific Security chair at Hudson Institute think tank, said of the flight to Serbia.Y-20s delivering medical workers and medical supplies to Wuhan in February 2020.TPG/Getty Images"This is exactly the kind of logistics and heavy lift that China's building [and] that could use some of these facilities and access points that they're putting money into," Cronin said on a recent podcast, pointing a security deal recently signed by China and the Solomon Islands.Long-distant flights to unfamiliar areas have training value but Chinese pilots already have experience conducting such operations in the older Russian-made Il-76 and Il-78 cargo planes that China's military, the People's Liberation Army, has used for decades, Heath said."The difference is they're using the Y-20 more than the Il-76s and 78s, but it's not a dramatic change," Heath told Insider, adding that those missions "are really not designed to replicate" combat, with which most of China's military does not have experience."I'm still not sure that the Chinese themselves know if they can deploy combat forces into a hostile country that is armed with the latest equipment, like surface-to-air missiles," Heath said. "That's a type of situation I just don't see the PLA being well prepared to carry out at this point."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 28th, 2022

The US military is throttling back on the F-35 as other militaries stock up on the stealth fighter

US Air Force officials "remain committed to the F-35," but they don't want to buy as many of them in 2023. An F-35A at an airshow in Reno, Nevada, September 19, 2021.US Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Nicolas Myers The Pentagon's 2023 budget request includes a lower-than-expected purchase of F-35 fighter jets. US military officials say the reduction in orders reflects a desire to prioritize modernization. The F-35 is highly regarded, but the 20-year-old program still faces maintenance and cost issues. The $773 billion budget request presented by the Defense Department this week proposed buying dozens fewer F-35s than expected, a reduction that military officials said is being made to focus on modernizing the fighter fleet.That announcement coincided with Canada's announcement that it would buy 88 F-35s to replace its older fighter jets, making Ottawa the third US ally or partner to sign on to buy the Joint Strike Fighter in recent weeks.The budget presented on Monday proposes buying 61 F-35s — 33 F-35As for the Air Force and 28 F-35Cs and F-35Bs for the Navy and Marine Corps — in fiscal year 2023, which begins on October 1.Those totals are down from the 85 jets approved by Congress in the 2022 budget and from the 94 that the Pentagon was expected to request for 2023.In briefings Monday, service officials said the reductions were about prioritization.A US Marine Corps F-35B prepares for a vertical landing, March 21, 2013.US Marine Corps/Cpl. Ken KalemkarianThe Navy's F-35 request "did come down" from previous budget outlooks, "and that simply reflects the balance of this budget request as you looked at our portfolios increasing for ship construction and [research and development] while focusing on readiness," said Rear Adm. John Gumbleton, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget."Simply, we chose to bring those numbers down," Gumbleton said of the Navy's F-35 request.At a separate briefing, Gina Ortiz Jones, undersecretary of the Air Force, said 33 more F-35s would "grow" the fleet and cited other investments, such as funding for an advanced engine, that would benefit the F-35."But the emphasis is on modernization and mak[ing] sure we have Block 4 as soon as we need it," Ortiz Jones said.Block 4 is the most recent F-35 standard, and it includes upgrades to the jet's software and other systems. The Air Force has been updating its jets to Block 4 since 2018 and has encountered delays and cost overruns."When we look at the F-35 what do we need? Mostly it's the Block 4 capability," Navy Vice Adm. Ron Boxall, director for force structure, resources, and assessment on the military's Joint Staff, said at a different briefing."There have been delays in F-35, and again, the delays have also delayed that capability that we want," Boxall said.Boxall said the Pentagon "took this opportunity" to shape its broader "attack air portfolio," including by buying more F-15EXs, a non-stealth jet better suited for some low-end missions than the F-35.'Immature, deficient, and insufficiently tested'An F-35C launches from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, February 22, 2022.US Navy/MCS3 Michael SingleyIn its most recent annual report, the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation said that in 2021 the F-35 program "continue[d] to field immature, deficient, and insufficiently tested Block 4 mission systems software." A more detailed version of the report, which wasn't released but was obtained by the Project on Government Oversight, said the update process of which the Block 4 upgrades are a part "has often introduced stability problems and/or adversely affected other functionality."The unreleased version of the report described a number of other problems, such as low mission-capable rates and ongoing shortages of spare parts, including engines. A years-long delay on high-end simulated testing has also prevented an official decision on full-rate production of the jet.Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall worked in the Pentagon acquisitions office between 2010 and 2016, when design issues led Kendall to limit F-35 production for two years to put pressure on Lockheed Martin and to avoid buying jets that would need modernization later.Kendall told Air Force Magazine in August that the current situation "bears some resemblance" that earlier period.A person familiar with the Air Force's decision on the 2023 request told Bloomberg that the reduction in F-35 orders was meant to slow purchases of the jet until the Block 4 upgrades could be rolled out.The 2023 budget has to be approved by Congress, which may modify the F-35 request, but Air Force officials say they still plan to buy 1,763 F-35s.Workers assemble an F-35 at Lockheed Martin's factory in Fort Worth, Texas, October 13, 2011.REUTERS/Lockheed Martin/Randy A. Crites"We're 15 years into production, and we'll be building F-35s probably another 15 years," Kendall told reporters last week."We remain committed to the F-35," Ortiz Jones said Monday, adding that there was "no change to the final buy." Canada's announcement on Monday came two weeks Germany said it would buy 35 F-35s and six weeks after Finland finalized its purchase of 64 Block 4 F-35s. Nearly a dozen other countries have ordered F-35s, and more than 770 F-35s have been built.The jet has already seen combat, earning its first air-to-air kills with the Israeli air force. US F-35As and F-35Bs have also conducted airstrikes. Six US F-35s are currently forward-deployed to the Baltic and Black Sea regions amid tensions in Europe.Despite the F-35's ongoing maintenance and cost issues, pilots have made "glowing comments" about it, Sen. Jack Reed, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said this month."These aircraft are highly capable, but the question that we have to ask — and I think the Air Force is asking — [is] are they sustainable [and] durable," Reed said at a Defense Writers Group event. "Until they answer those questions, I think they're not going to rush in and acquire significant numbers.""In the meantime, we have what the pilots say is a superb aircraft, which we have to work through," Reed said. "I think once we have reached the point of validation, and particularly observing what they do in Europe, we can be more confident going forward."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 30th, 2022

Ukraine is still asking for a no-fly zone, but experts say it isn"t an effective solution

The US and NATO strongly oppose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, and defense experts say it wouldn't do much to slow Russia's brutal attacks. Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 at a military airbase in Ukraine, November 23, 2016.Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto via Getty Images This week, Ukraine's President Zelenskyy renewed calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine. The US and NATO strongly oppose a no-fly zone because it would involve shooting down Russian aircraft. Experts say a no-fly zone would not be effective in targeting the bulk of Russia's firepower anyway. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked the United States and its allies for a no-fly zone as the Russians barrage his cities, killing scores of civilian in shelters and striking hospitals to treat the wounded.  "Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death for thousands of people," Zelenskyy said. "You know how much depends on the battlefield on the ability to use aircraft — powerful, strong aviation — to protect our people, our freedom, our land. Aircraft that can help Ukraine, help Europe."NATO and the US say this is a non-starter as a no-fly zone would require the nuclear-armed alliance to shoot down Russian warplanes, an act which Russia would most certainly take as an act of war.And experts point out that Russia is mostly relying on ground-based weapons to shatter Ukrainian cities, as some of its air forces avoid Ukrainian airspace out of concern for being shot-down by Ukraine. Russia instead has used weapons like its truck-mounted Grad rockets near Kyiv and against Kharkiv.Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that a declaration of a no-fly zone by any third party would be taken as "participation in the armed conflict.," according to a report from the AP. What is a no-fly zone? No-fly zones prohibit all or certain types of aircraft from being flown through a designated airspace — in this case Ukraine — whose effectiveness depends on the air forces' willingness to enforce them. In the case of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, support from NATO or one of its 30 members would require identifications of all incoming aircraft and sending out fighters to intercept aircraft that do not comply, with the possibility they may be forced to shoot it down.No-fly zones instituted by the US in the past have required constant air patrolling and monitoring. President Joe Biden and the White House have repeatedly said the US would not send troops to Ukraine including to support a no-fly zone there, and have been avoiding Ukrainian airspace since Russia attacked."It would require, essentially, the U.S. military shooting down Russian planes and causing a potential direct war with Russia — something we want to avoid," White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said.Russia and the US have the world's largest arsenals of nuclear weapons, and there's deep worry a conflict between them runs a small but not insignificant risk of leading to nuclear war.The most recent use of a no-fly zone supported by NATO was in Libya during the country's first civil war in 2011.  In a poll of 866 international relations scholars, experts were nearly unanimous in their opposition to establishing a no-fly zone. The Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) Project at William & Mary's Global Research Institute found that hese experts were more likely to support the US deploy forces to Eastern Europe, as it is currently doing; these forces are remaining outside Ukraine. The TRIP Project's poll found that experts worry a no-fly zone would substantially increase the likelihood of Russia mounting a nuclear attack against Ukraine or NATO countries. A French Mirage 2000-5F jet fighter takes off from Luxeuil-Saint Sauveur air-base 116 on March 13, 2022. NATO forces are policing the skies over Estonia in March 2022.Sebastien Bozon/Getty ImagesWhy wouldn't a no-fly zone be effective in Ukraine? So far, the war in Ukraine has not relied heavily on air power on either side. Russia has largely used long-range missiles and artillery fire to attack Ukraine's forces and the Ukrainians have responded largely with ground fire. In fact, US defense officials believe Russia's jets may be deliberately avoiding Ukrainian airspace while they fly nearly 200 sorties per day. Researchers estimate that Russia has lost at least 13 aircraft in the war as of March 17.During a background briefing with reporters, a senior US defense official said the Pentagon assesses that some Russian jets never enter Ukraine's air space. Instead, the Russians are able to fire aerial-mounted cruise missiles at Ukraine from planes on the Russian side of the border, as is believed to have been the case with the attack on a training center close to the Polish border that killed at least 35.This could be because in the first days of the war in Ukraine, researchers found that Russia lost a number of combat jets to Ukraine's air defenses. As one official noted, this means a no-fly zone in Ukraine would not stop these kids of attacks because the attacks were fired from bombers in Russian airspace using long range cruise missles.Justin Bronk, an aerial-combat expert at the Royal United Services Institute, said establishing a no-fly zone would be "largely ineffective in halting the brutal ongoing bombardments of Ukrainian cities."A no-fly zone in Ukraine would not be effective in targeting Russia's multi-launch rocket-artillery systems, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles or conventional artillery which Russia has relied on in its assault on Ukraine, according to Bronk. It would also expose NATO aircraft to the possibility of being shot down by Russia's surface-to-air missiles, an act that could lead to escalation between the nuclear-armed powers.!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 17th, 2022

Ukraine is still asking for a no-fly zone, here"s why it isn"t an effective solution

The US and NATO strongly oppose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, and defense experts say it wouldn't do much to slow Russia's brutal attacks. Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 at a military airbase in Ukraine, November 23, 2016.Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto via Getty Images This week, Ukraine's President Zelenskyy renewed calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine. The US and NATO strongly oppose a no-fly zone because it would involve shooting down Russian aircraft. Experts say a no-fly zone would not be effective in targeting the bulk of Russia's firepower anyway. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked the United States and its allies for a no-fly zone as the Russians barrage his cities, killing scores of civilian in shelters and striking hospitals to treat the wounded.  "Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death for thousands of people," Zelenskyy said. "You know how much depends on the battlefield on the ability to use aircraft — powerful, strong aviation — to protect our people, our freedom, our land. Aircraft that can help Ukraine, help Europe."NATO and the US say this is a non-starter as a no-fly zone would require the nuclear-armed alliance to shoot down Russian warplanes, an act which Russia would most certainly take as an act of war. And experts point out that Russia is mostly relying on ground-based weapons to shatter Ukrainian cities, as some of its air forces avoid Ukrainian airspace out of concern for being shot-down by Ukraine. Russia instead has used weapons like its truck-mounted Grad rockets near Kyiv and against Kharkiv.Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that a declaration of a no-fly zone by any third party would be taken as "participation in the armed conflict.," according to a report from the AP. What is a no-fly zone? No-fly zones prohibit all or certain types of aircraft from being flown through a designated airspace — in this case Ukraine — whose effectiveness depends on the air forces' willingness to enforce them. In the case of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, support from NATO or one of its 30 members would require identifications of all incoming aircraft and sending out fighters to intercept aircraft that do not comply, with the possibility they may be forced to shoot it down.No-fly zones instituted by the US in the past have required constant air patrolling and monitoring. President Joe Biden and the White House have repeatedly said the US would not send troops to Ukraine including to support a no-fly zone there, and have been avoiding Ukrainian airspace since Russia attacked."It would require, essentially, the U.S. military shooting down Russian planes and causing a potential direct war with Russia — something we want to avoid," White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said.Russia and the US have the world's largest arsenals of nuclear weapons, and there's deep worry a conflict between them runs a small but not insignificant risk of leading to nuclear war.The most recent use of a no-fly zone supported by NATO was in Libya during the country's first civil war in 2011.  In a poll of 866 international relations scholars, experts were nearly unanimous in their opposition to establishing a no-fly zone. The Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) Project at William & Mary's Global Research Institute found that hese experts were more likely to support the US deploy forces to Eastern Europe, as it is currently doing; these forces are remaining outside Ukraine. The TRIP Project's poll found that experts worry a no-fly zone would substantially increase the likelihood of Russia mounting a nuclear attack against Ukraine or NATO countries. A French Mirage 2000-5F jet fighter takes off from Luxeuil-Saint Sauveur air-base 116 on March 13, 2022. NATO forces are policing the skies over Estonia in March 2022.Sebastien Bozon/Getty ImagesWhy wouldn't a no-fly zone be effective in Ukraine? So far, the war in Ukraine has not relied heavily on air power on either side. Russia has largely used long-range missiles and artillery fire to attack Ukraine's forces and the Ukrainians have responded largely with ground fire. In fact, US defense officials believe Russia's jets may be deliberately avoiding Ukrainian airspace while they fly nearly 200 sorties per day. Researchers estimate that Russia has lost at least 13 aircraft in the war as of March 17.During a background briefing with reporters, a senior US defense official said the Pentagon assesses that some Russian jets never enter Ukraine's air space. Instead, the Russians are able to fire aerial-mounted cruise missiles at Ukraine from planes on the Russian side of the border, as is believed to have been the case with the attack on a training center close to the Polish border that killed at least 35.This could be because in the first days of the war in Ukraine, researchers found that Russia lost a number of combat jets to Ukraine's air defenses. As one official noted, this means a no-fly zone in Ukraine would not stop these kids of attacks because the attacks were fired from bombers in Russian airspace using long range cruise missles.Justin Bronk, an aerial-combat expert at the Royal United Services Institute, said establishing a no-fly zone would be "largely ineffective in halting the brutal ongoing bombardments of Ukrainian cities."A no-fly zone in Ukraine would not be effective in targeting Russia's multi-launch rocket-artillery systems, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles or conventional artillery which Russia has relied on in its assault on Ukraine, according to Bronk. It would also expose NATO aircraft to the possibility of being shot down by Russia's surface-to-air missiles, an act that could lead to escalation between the nuclear-armed powers.!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMar 17th, 2022

As Russia"s ground forces struggle in Ukraine, NATO navies are staying focused on Moscow"s submarines

"One should never underestimate one's adversary," the US Navy's top civilian official said this month. Ships with NATO's Standing Maritime Group 1 took part in the Norwegian-led exercise Arctic Dolphin 2022 in the North Sea from February 7 to 18, 2022.NATO Allied Maritime Command From early February to early March, NATO navies trained to conduct anti-submarine warfare around Europe. Those exercises took place as Russia built up its ground forces around Ukraine before launching an attack. The drills reflect a renewed focus on countering Russian submarines, which US officials warn are a growing threat to the US mainland.  While international attention has focused on Russian ground force's invasion of Ukraine, NATO navies have continued to train against the Russian undersea threat.Between early February and early March, NATO navies conducted two large exercises focused on anti-submarine warfare, a challenging discipline that has gotten more attention from US and allied navies in recent years in response to Russia fielding more sophisticated submarines.From February 7 to February 18, ships and submarines from the Norwegian, Danish, German, and Dutch navies took part in the Norwegian-led exercise Arctic Dolphin off of Norway's west coast.Norwegian navy submarine HNoMS Uredd during the exercise Arctic Dolphin 22, February 2022.Commander, Standing NATO Maritime Group One/TwitterArctic Dolphin was meant to improve interoperability between those navies and to support Norway's Submarine Commander Course.Surface ships focused on anti-submarine warfare while participants in the commander course had to anticipate and react to the maneuvers of the surface ships."It is really nice to practice with actual submarines instead of a simulated exercise," a watchkeeping officer aboard a Danish frigate said. "With the sonar teams in the operations room and lookouts on the bridge, we're building the picture together."Between February 21 and March 4, ships, subs, and aircraft from nine NATO member navies took part in exercise Dynamic Manta in the waters off of Sicily.The annual exercise focused anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare in the Mediterranean Sea — its counterpart exercise, Dynamic Mongoose, takes place in the North Atlantic.A French sailor monitors flight operations aboard the frigate FS Auvergne in the Ionian Sea during NATO Exercise Dynamic Manta, February 20, 2022.NATO/Warrant Officer Stephane DziobaDynamic Manta — which had a smaller US presence than in past years — involved 16 anti-submarine warfare exercises simulating basic- to advanced-level scenarios, NATO's Allied Maritime Command said in a release.The subs involved took turns hunting and being hunted by ships and aircraft, with each ship doing "a variety of submarine warfare operations." British P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft took part in both exercises. Poseidons are considered the best sub-hunting planes in operation, and in January the UK received last of the nine P-8s it said it would buy in late 2015.The two P-8s that operated from a US Navy base in Italy for Dynamic Manta were the first British Poseidons to conduct anti-submarine warfare from "an overseas operating location," according to the Royal Air Force.New subs, new threatRussian Yasen-class submarine Kazan arrives at its permanent base in Severomorsk on Russia's Arctic coast, June 1, 2021.Lev FedoseyevbackslashTASS via Getty ImagesArctic Dolphin and Dynamic Manta were both long-planned exercises that reflect a renewed focus on anti-submarine warfare prompted by the modernization and expansion of Russia's undersea force.After Russia's 2014 attack on Ukraine, the US "saw an uptick of Russian navy submarine out-of-area deployers, which culminated in Russian general-purpose submarines" operating off of the US East Coast, Vice Adm. Daniel Dwyer, commander of the US Navy's 2nd Fleet, said at the WEST Conference in San Diego in February."It was determined at that point that the Atlantic no longer provided that geography that enabled our protection and that standoff [distance] that we've enjoyed for so many decades," added Dwyer, whose command was reactivated in 2018 in response to that undersea activity.Russian submarines have also added the ability to attack land targets with cruise missiles, which they demonstrated for the first time with strikes on ISIS targets in Syria in 2015, surprising US military leaders in Europe.Russian submarine Krasnodar launches a Kalibr cruise missile at ISIS targets in Syria from the Mediterranean Sea, May 31, 2017.(Russian Defence Ministry Press Service photo via AP)NATO commanders fear those missiles could be used against ports and other infrastructure in Europe, potentially interfering with resupply and reinforcement efforts. Recent US and NATO drills have focused on getting convoys across the Atlantic and to disembarkation points in Europe.US military leaders also see those missiles as a growing threat to the US mainland. US Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck, who is responsible for North America as head of Northern Command and NORAD, has repeatedly warned about air- and sea-launched cruise missiles.VanHerck has pointed specifically to Russia's Severodvinsk-class guided-missile submarines, calling them "on par with ours" and telling lawmakers this month that those subs, also called the Yasen class, "are designed to deploy undetected within cruise-missile range of our coastlines to threaten critical infrastructure during an escalating crisis.""This challenge will be compounded in the next few years as the Russian Navy adds the Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile to the Severodvinsk's arsenal," VanHerck told the House Armed Services Committee.New Yasen-class submarine K-329 Severodvinsksk is launched at a shipyard in Severomorsk, June 15, 2010.VLADIMIR RODIONOV/AFP via Getty ImagesVanHerck has advocated new and modernized detection systems to spot activity in the sea and the air around the US, including updates to the Navy's Integrated Undersea Surveillance System, which is important "as Russia and China continue to field highly advanced guided-missile submarines," VanHerck told lawmakers.Russia's struggles on the ground in Ukraine have raised questions about the quality of its military and its leadership after years of investment and upgrades. Russia's navy has had a limited role in the conflict so far, and the US Navy's top civilian official has cautioned against drawing conclusions about its capabilities."One should never underestimate one's adversary," Navy Secretary Carlos del Toro said this month at the McAleese defense conference. "Perhaps the shortcomings that we've seen with regards to the Russian army as it invades Ukraine, the same disadvantage doesn't necessarily translate over to the navy and their submarine force."Moscow is investing "very strategically and wisely" in its submarines, "and their technology approaches ours," del Toro said, "so one should never underestimate that capability and the threat that that capability presents to us."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 15th, 2022

Congress" favorite combat jet wouldn"t last long in a war against Russia or China

The Pentagon is buying new wings to keep the A-10s flying, even as questions persist about whether itcan survive over modern battlefields. An A-10 Thunderbolt.US Air Force The A-10 Thunderbolt was developed to take on Soviets tanks and is still roaming the battlefield. The A-10's popularity with Congress has helped it survive the Air Force's efforts to retire it. Against the weaponry now fielded by Russia and China, however, the "Warthog" wouldn't last long. The A-10: A History and a Look at a Bleak Future? One of the most iconic airplanes in the US Air Force's flying inventory is the A-10 Thunderbolt, also affectionately known as the "Warthog."Designed to mow down rows of invading Soviet tanks during an anticipated World War III, the A-10 has served in most of America's post-Cold War conflicts, from the Balkans to Afghanistan.A recent Pentagon contract to manufacture new wingsets promises to keep a decent amount of aircraft flying into the foreseeable future, even as questions persist about whether the A-10 can survive over modern battlefields.A-10 Warthogs: the historyA-10 Warthogs.US Air ForceIn 1967, the US Air Force initiated the A-X program, designed to field a new generation close air support (CAS) aircraft. This was the first for the Air Force, which had traditionally used fighters and light bombers (including the A-10's namesake, the P-47 Thunderbolt) in the CAS role.Although the Air Force's current stable of fighters, including the famous "100 series" planes favored speed above all else, A-X traded speed for survivability, maneuverability at low speeds, loiter time and, most importantly, lethality.After a flyoff against the Northrop A-9, the Fairchild A-10 was picked and the first jets delivered in 1974.The A-10 Thunderbolt is unlike any "fighter" before or since, with survivability features designed to keep it flying during an attack run and make it back to base.The plane featured redundant engineering features designed to keep the plane flying though parts of it were shot away. The two General Electric TF-34 non-afterburning turbofans were moved behind the wing, in order to reduce the plane's infrared signature and protect it from Soviet air defenses such as the SA-7 Grail shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile system.The A-10 pilot sits in a titanium "bathtub" protecting him or her from antiaircraft guns up to 23 millimeters — the primary armament of the ZSU-23-4 mobile air-defense system. The flight-control systems and engines are also encased in titanium plate.An A-10 makes an austere landing and takeoff at the National Training Center in California, June 2019.US Army National Guard/Sgt. Mason CutrerThe A-10 is also designed to be flexible and maneuverable, both in the air and on the ground.The aircraft design stresses maneuverability at slow speeds, allowing the pilot to fly extremely low "nape of the earth" missions to mask its approach to the enemy and to avoid enemy antiaircraft fire. The A-10 is also designed to operate from short, unimproved airstrips in the event regular air base airstrips are put out of action.The Thunderbolt II's best attribute is its armament. The aircraft has 11 external hardpoints for carrying electronic countermeasures, fuel tanks, bombs and missiles. The A-10 can carry up to 24 500-pound bombs, four 2,000-pound bombs or six AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles.This enables the A-10 to carry out a number of frontline missions, from close air support to suppression of enemy air defense, and strike key enemy targets such as fuel storage depots, radar installations and field headquarters.The weapon that sets the A-10 apart from the rest of the aircraft world is the nose-mounted GAU-8/A cannon. The large, seven-barreled Gatling gun can fire armor piercing rounds at up to 4,200 rounds per minute, saturating a target area with lethal cannon fire. The GAU-8/A is mounted 2 degrees nose-down and to the left, so that the firing barrel is always on the centerline.The GAU-8/A was an effective weapon for strafing Soviet armor units advancing in a single-file formation, particularly with specially developed tank-killing depleted-uranium ammunition.Even armor-piercing ammunition without depleted uranium could penetrate ZSU-23-4 mobile air-defense systems, BTR-70 wheeled armored personnel carriers and and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles that made up advancing Soviet motor-rifle regiments, all of which could be opened by the GAU-8/A like cans of sardines.In wartime the A-10 was meant to operate alongside US Army Apache attack helicopters in a so-called Joint Air Attack Team (JAAT) to kill advancing Soviet armor. JAAT doctrine called for Apaches to suppress enemy air defenses, identifying and killing threats to the A-10.An armored vehicle after being struck by an A-10's GAU-8/A cannon.USAFA-10s would then swoop down at a 30-degree angle, hosing down Soviet forces with their Gatling guns. In hindsight, this would not often have worked, as Soviet forces would have advanced too quickly for the interservice teamwork to stop the enemy in time.The A-10's first war was the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when Warthogs were used to kill Iraqi armor units. 132 A-10s flew 7,983 combat missions during the course of the war, killing 987 tanks, 926 artillery pieces, 1,355 armored vehicles, 10 aircraft on the ground and even two flying helicopters shot down with the GAU-8A.After the Gulf War the Air Force planned to do away with the A-10, replacing it with the F-16, but the A-10's success over the battlefield won it a constituency in Congress.In 1999, A-10s flew over Kosovo in NATO's Operation Allied Force, and after 9/11 A-10s flew over both Iraq and Afghanistan. A-10s flying from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey have flown missions against ISIS since at least 2014, and in January 2018, A-10s returned to the skies over Afghanistan after a hiatus of several years.The Air Force has tried to retire the A-10 for more than a quarter-century. The service has consistently argued that the A-10 cannot survive on the modern battlefield and that A-10 funds are better invested in newer planes such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon — and, now, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.Under pressure from the A-10's fans in Congress and the military, the US Air Force is keeping the planes, for now anyway, seeking to manufacture new wings for more than 100 A-10s. This will ensure that at least 280 aircraft will have the structural improvements necessary to keep a viable force of A-10s in the Air Force's inventory.A-10 Warthogs vs. Russia or China in a war (who wins?)A-10 Warthog.Reuters Photographer / ReutersIs the A-10 viable over today's battlefields?Against low-tech enemies with poor air-defense weapons such as ISIS or the Taliban, the A-10 is still a capable platform. Against other, more modern threats such as Russian or Chinese air defenses the A-10 cannot survive on its own.One solution could be to pair the A-10 with air-defense suppression drones. Once drones have neutralized the air-defense threat, A-10s could conduct standoff attacks, loitering at a safe distance while identifying enemy targets and eliminating them with weapons such as newer versions of the Maverick missile or the Small Diameter Bomb.Strafing runs with the GAU-8/A would be less common, but the guns would still see some use against undefended, massed targets.The A-10 is one of the most successful weapons of the post-Cold War era, and has won legions of fans both in and outside the armed services. The temptation is to keep the aircraft flying as long as possible. The trick is to keep the plane around only as long as it is relevant to the modern battlefield.If the A-10 can fight and win for the next generation, so be it. If not, it needs to be retired and a better plane — or solution — takes its place. There is no room for sentiment in the battlefield's lethal skies.Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring, and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

Russia & Ukraine"s Militaries "On Alert", Raise Stakes With Rival Combat Drills

Russia & Ukraine's Militaries 'On Alert', Raise Stakes With Rival Combat Drills Both the Russian and Ukrainian armies have staged rival combat drills in and near the Black Sea on Wednesday as both countries and their allies are on edge over accusations coming from the West of a major Russian troop build-up readying for an offensive on eastern Ukraine, which the Kremlin is vehemently denying. Ukraine's military days ago said a Russian offensive could come as early as January.  "Russia staged military drills in the Black Sea, south of Ukraine, on Wednesday and said it needed to sharpen the combat-readiness of its conventional and nuclear forces because of heightened NATO activity near its borders," Reuters reports of the new combat maneuvers.  AP archive image: Ukrainian helicopters fly over a Russian warship during Sea Breeze 2021 maneuvers last July. The drills were described by the Russian defense ministry as featuring fighter jets and naval ships repelling air assaults on naval bases on the black Sea, as well as countering with offensive strikes on mock enemy targets.  Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was cited as saying of the fresh drills meant to send a tough message not only to Kiev but to Washington and NATO that heightened military readiness in the region is needed due to "the complicated military and political conditions in the world and the growing activity of NATO countries near Russia's borders". In particular the Russian defense ministry had on Tuesday described that the US had engaged in mock nuclear runs against Russia as a target. He said "this month, during US strategic forces exercise Global Thunder, ten strategic bombers practiced the option of using nuclear weapons against Russia almost simultaneously from the Western and Eastern directions." And on Ukraine's side, it's defense leaders earlier detailed of ongoing drills: ​The drills involved airborne troops and armored personnel carriers and ​simulated an attack on an enemy target, Ukraine’s defense ministry said Monday. The ministry’s statement was accompanied by footage showing the landing of troops supported by helicopters and other aircraft. Growing NATO military activity and flights have also been observed in relation to the EU standoff with the Alexander Lukashenko government of Belarus over the migrant crisis at the Polish border. All of this muscle-flexing stems mostly from earlier allegations from both US and Ukrainian government officials of a major Russian troop build-up near the Ukrainian border, though the Kremlin has countered that it's able to maneuver its troops within Russia's own sovereign borders and it doesn't mean anything threatening toward neighbors. As Reuters notes further, the accusations have grown more and more specific over the past week: The head of Ukraine's military intelligence told the Military Times outlet this weekend that Russia had more than 92,000 troops massed around Ukraine's borders and was preparing for an attack by the end of January or beginning of February. The Kremlin has lambasted the charge as a "smokescreen", with a recent official statement from spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying the US and its allies are likely trying to "camouflage aggressive intentions in Kyiv to try to solve the problem of the southeast by force." JUST IN - U.S. embassy in Kyiv issues security alert amid unusual Russian military activity near Ukraine's borders, reminding U.S. citizens that "conditions along the border may change with little or no notice." — Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) November 24, 2021 Alarmingly, on Tuesday Russia's defense ministry informed China that NATO's military posturing over Ukraine and increased US nuclear-capable bomber flights over eastern Europe is a serious threat to China too. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 13:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 24th, 2021

The US could lose up to 900 warplanes fighting a Chinese invasion of Taiwan but would emerge victorious, says think tank

The Center for Strategic and International Studies war games found the US and Taiwan would defeat a Chinese invasion – at great cost for all sides. War games held by a Washington think tank simulated combat between China and the US if China were to invade Taiwan.Center for Strategic and International Studies A think tank ran war game analyses for a conflict between the US and China over Taiwan. One of the analysts told Insider the US and Taiwan would likely succeed in beating back a Chinese invasion. However, both sides would likely suffer devastating losses. Up to 900 US warplanes could be destroyed. The US and Taiwan would likely be able to fend off a Chinese invasion, but it would come with heavy losses on both sides, a think tank analysis finds.The Washington-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, has been conducting war games to imagine how such a conflict would play out."The good news is that at the end of all the iterations so far, there is an autonomous Taiwan," Mark Cancian, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Insider."The United States and Taiwan are generally successful in keeping the island out of Chinese occupation, but the price of that is very high – losses of hundreds of aircraft, aircraft carriers, and terrible devastation to the Taiwanese economy and also to the Chinese navy and air force."In one of the more pessimistic scenarios, 900 American fighter and attack aircraft would be lost in four weeks, equivalent to half of the US Air Force and Navy's combat planes, according to The Times of London.Potential losses in war games.Center for Strategic and International StudiesBut while the US would likely suffer heavy losses in a full-scale conflict with China, Cancian notes that, in general, China would likely suffer more."I would say in most scenarios, the Chinese fleet suffers a lot more because it's very exposed," he said.He noted that they would likely lose over 100 ships during an amphibious invasion.The war games are designed to help envision how conflicts would play out. In this imagined conflict, which would take place in 2026, each side only possesses military capabilities that it has already demonstrated in real life. The team has so far run the game 18 out of 22 times and plans to release the final report in December.The games involve two boards with an operational map of the Western Pacific, including Taiwan, Japan, China, and counters that are moved across the board. The team uses computer models and combat results tables to decide what happens based on analyses of historical experience. Dice are used to add an element of randomness.They then move onto a separate map for Taiwan, which plays out the ground game of when the Chinese land and the Taiwanese try to defend the island.A map of Taiwan used for a war games.Center for Strategic and International StudiesCancian said they are yet to run the worst-case scenario but pointed to one of the games, reported on by the Wall Street Journal, which involved two pessimistic elements: the US being distracted by another crisis elsewhere in the world, such as Ukraine, and the Taiwanese being slow to react because of Chinese information operations and sabotage.He said that they plan to run games with some even more pessimistic assumptions in the future, involving strikes on the Chinese mainland and the role of Japan.Cancian said that the CSIS would suggest some improvements to US strategy which could deter China, such as buying more long-range missiles and building shelters in Guam and Japan to protect aircraft because most of the aircraft are destroyed on the ground.The war game board.Center for Strategic and International StudiesDifferences over Taiwan have heightened tensions between the US and China, and some military analysts believe that China might eventually invade the island.China has for decades pressured governments not to recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation and has promised to "unify" the self-governed island with the mainland by 2050. The US has long attempted to maintain a delicate balance between supporting Taiwan and preventing war with China, but tensions have recently risen. Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, Taiwan's capital, despite China repeatedly warning her not to. China called it an "egregious provocation" and said it would sanction the Democrat and her family, but experts said its response was overall within its standard playbook.Pelosi defended her trip, telling NBC: "We cannot allow the Chinese government to isolate Taiwan." China conducted military drills around Taiwan following Pelosi's visit and said that further "training and war preparation" would continue, The Guardian reported.A five-member congressional delegation led by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey arrived in Taiwan on Sunday less than two weeks after Pelosi's visit, risking further inflaming tensions with China.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt2 hr. 28 min. ago

South Korea is looking for buyers of its new "semi-stealth" fighter jet that could rival China"s warplanes

Analysts say South Korea's KF-21 "4.5 generation" fighter could emerge as a rival to China's J-10 and FC-31 fighters. A scale model of the KF-21 on display at the Singapore Airshow on February 15, 2022.ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images South Korean analysts say the KF-21 could emerge as a rival to China's J-10 and FC-31 fighters. The KF-21 has 'good price competitiveness' and could be an alternative to China's J-20 stealth jet. South Korea is seeking a niche market for its semi-stealth fighter jets praised for their high agility and low maintenance costs, which are likely to emerge as a cost-effective alternative to Chinese warplanes, analysts in the country have said.The KF-21 Boramae, meaning "hawk" in Korean, is likely to provide stiff competition for China's J-10 CE and FC-31 fighters in the global market, especially in Africa, the observers said.In the latest development surrounding the KF-21, South Korea is seeking to begin mass production of the jets by 2026, with the air force to acquire 40 planes. By 2026, the high-end fighter will focus on having air-to-air combat capabilities.Chinese observers have previously said the new jets were far from comparable to advanced fifth-generation fighters like China's Chengdu J-20 but noted that if mass deployed, the KF-21 could still alter the regional air force power balance.The KF-21 at its rollout ceremony in Sacheon, South Korea, April 9, 2021.Yonhap via REUTERSBuilt by the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the jet took six-and-a-half years to develop and went on its maiden flight last month, after initial criticism that the 8.8 trillion won (US$6.7 billion) project was too costly.The South Korean Air Force plans to deploy 120 units of the KF-21, a "4.5-generation" fighter, by 2032 to replace its ageing fleet of F-4 and F-5 fighters, as well as the country's fourth-generation F-16s and F-15Ks."As we step closer to the successful development of the home-grown fighter, this symbolises a new leap in domestic aviation technology and a rise of the strong hi-tech military," the Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said of the maiden flight last month.The air force plans to obtain another 80 jets by 2030 after the military aircraft evolves to have air-to-ground and air-to-ship combat capabilities by 2028."KF-21 is likely to emerge as a strong competitor for China's J-10 and FC-31 in developing countries, especially in Africa," said Lee Il-woo, a defence analyst at the Korea Defence Network.With the cost of each jet somewhere between US$80 million and US$100 million, it has a good price competitiveness and could find clients in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Lee added.When armed with the European Meteor air-to-air missiles and home-grown radars, the KF-21 could even match China's J-20 stealth fighter in combat capabilities, said Yang Uk, a defence analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. The fighter will be equipped with high-end Meteor air-to-air missiles manufactured by Europe's MBDA.A J-20 at an air show in Guangdong Province, November 1, 2016.REUTERS/StringerSeparately from F-21 fighters, South Korea already operates 40 F-35 stealth fighters and will acquire another 20 F-35 fighters from 2023 to 2028."South Korea's air force is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the region, not only for North Korea but for China as well," Yang said.South Korea's substantial defence build-up is backed by its fast-growing defence industry, whose exports are expected to top US$10 billion in 2022, more than triple the amount it sold annually between 2010 and 2020. Last year, its defence exports exceeded defence imports for the first time in history.As a sign of its fast-growing presence in the global defence market, South Korea last month signed arms deals with Poland, potentially worth a whopping US$15 billion. Some of the largest orders would include 48 South Korea-developed FA-50 light attack fighters, 980 K2 main battle tanks and 648 K9 self-propelled howitzers.The contracts come as Poland strives to refill its armoury after it sent weapons to neighbouring Ukraine to fight Russian forces."Poland has expressed interest in participating in the KF-21 second-phase project for joint development and production" that could start from 2029, Lee said.This news may raise some eyebrows in Indonesia, which participated as a partner shouldering 20% of the 8.8 trillion won costs in the first phase of the KF-21 development project. Indonesia has been in arrears for 800 billion won (US$613 million) for its share.A J-31 taxis after a flight at Airshow China 2014 in Guangdong province, November 11, 2014JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty ImagesWhen Indonesian leader Joko Widodo met President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul last month, the two reaffirmed their commitment to closely cooperating until the completion of the F-21 project but they did not mention the arrears.South Korea initially sought to secure key technologies for four critical pieces of equipment — an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system, infrared search and track (IRST) system, electro-optical tracking pod (EO TGP) and radio frequency (RF) jammer — from its ally, the United States.The US turned it down in 2015, forcing South Korea to rely on local firms to develop the highly sophisticated technologies including the AESA radar that can detect and track multiple targets simultaneously and extensively.DAPA consequently signed a fighter development contract with KAI, the country's sole aircraft maker, in December 2015.Hanwha Systems Co. successfully developed the AESA radar system, with its prototype unveiled in August 2020, four years after the launch of the radar development effort.Hanwha Systems has also been in charge of developing the IRST and EO TGP. The IRST system is designed to detect and track objects that give off infrared radiation, while EO TGP is for identifying targets and guiding precision munitions like laser-guided bombs.LIG Nex1 has been working on developing the fighter's electronic warfare suite, including the RF jammer designed for the disruption of radio signals, Yonhap news agency said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 11th, 2022

Surprise attack on Russian airfield destroyed as many as 13 war planes, satellite photos show

Satellite images show a decimated Russian airbase in Crimea after an attack on August 9, with wrecked Su-30 and Su-24 aircraft clearly visible. A marked-up satellite image of the Saki Russian naval air base in Crimea on August 10, 2022. Circles and an oblong mark destroyed and suspected destroyed Su-24s and Su-30sPlanet Labs/Insider An estimated eight warplanes and several buildings were destroyed in a Russian airbase in Crimea. Russia downplayed the blasts on Tuesday, but satellite images show extensive damage.  Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility, but has hinted that it was behind the attack. Satellite images show devastation at a Russian airfield in occupied Crimea in the aftermath of an attack Tuesday when as many as 13 warplanes were wrecked.The specifics of the attack remain unclear — Ukraine has avoided explicitly taking responsibility, though its air force on Thursday did post a jubilant image of the destroyed planes.—Ukrainian Air Force (@KpsZSU) August 11, 2022Russia has maintained that the damage was due to an accident and didn't destroy anything significant, a claim contradicted by imagery from several sources.As well as the aircraft, at least three buildings appeared destroyed at the Saki naval airbase in Crimea, the peninsula which Russian seized from Ukraine in 2014.Satellite images from Planet Labs give a before-and-after picture of Saki — the left image is dated to Tuesday, while the right image shows the base the following day.Left: Satellite image of Saki airfield in occupied Crimea on August 9, 2022. Right, the airfield on August 10, 2022, showing several wrecked aircraft and buildingsPlanet Lavs via ReutersThe losses appear to be a mixture of Su-30 and Su-24 jets, both of which have been used for decades by Russia's air force. The Su-24 is meant for precise attacks on ground targets, which the Su-30 is a fighter, meant to engage other planes.Commenting on the images, Elliot Higgins, founder of open-source intelligence group Bellingcat, noted the "very large craters, many destroyed aircraft, and destroyed buildings.""From what I can tell a lot of planes and ammo got blown up in one area causing a fire that spread throughout the base, although the only damage from that fire which is visible is lots of burnt grass," he said. "I can't think of a time Russia has lost this many air assets in one day in recent memory, and they have to be deeply concerned about Ukraine's ability to do similar strikes elsewhere," he wrote.Estimates of the losses vary on the basis of the imagery. Open-source analyst Oliver Alexander tweeted this estimate:3 Su-30s destroyed 4 Su-24s destroyedAnother 6 aircraft, Su-30s and Su-24s, also possibly destroyedOryx, a project that documents Russian military losses, gave a lower estimate of at least nine planes destroyed. On-the-ground footage from the scene, verified by The New York Times, shows the charred remains of one Su-24:—OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) August 9, 2022Ukraine has not formally claimed it as an attack, with its defense ministry saying on Tuesday it couldn't "determine the cause of the explosion," The Times reported. However, an anonymous official told The Washington Post that Ukrainian special forces were responsible.Asked by Politico if the blasts could be considered part of a Ukrainian counter-offensive in Crimea, an anonymous official said: "You can say this is it."On Wednesday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the he aimed to ultimately retake Crimea, the first tranche of Ukrainian territory seized by Russia, eight years before the mass invasion of 2022. Without mentioning the Saki airfield, Zelenskyy said: "Crimea is Ukrainian and we will never give it up," the BBC reported. "We will not forget that the Russian war against Ukraine began with the occupation of Crimea," he said, per the BBC. "This Russian war ... began with Crimea and must end with Crimea — with its liberation."Meanwhile, Russia has not pointed the finger at Ukraine, attributing the blasts only to an "explosion" during which "several aviation munitions detonated." Washington DC-based military think tank the Institute for the Study of War said that this was likely because Russia is not prepared to admit that its defenses failed badly enough to allow Ukraine to pull off such an attack."The Kremlin has little incentive to accuse Ukraine of conducting strikes that caused the damage since such strikes would demonstrate the ineffectiveness of Russian air defense systems," the institute wrote.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 11th, 2022

Defense Experts Game Out US-China War Over Taiwan; Dalio Warns Escalations "Very Dangerous"

Defense Experts Game Out US-China War Over Taiwan; Dalio Warns Escalations 'Very Dangerous' A group of American defense experts operating out of a 5th floor suite in Washington DC have been mapping out a hypothetical war between the United States and China over Taiwan. "The results are showing that under most — though not all — scenarios, Taiwan can repel an invasion," said Mark Cancian, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which has been simulating various war scenarios. "However, the cost will be very high to the Taiwanese infrastructure and economy and to US forces in the Pacific." In sessions that will run through September, retired US generals and Navy officers and former Pentagon officials hunch like chess players over tabletops along with analysts from the CSIS think tank. They move forces depicted as blue and red boxes and small wooden squares over maps of the Western Pacific and Taiwan. The results will be released to the public in December. -Bloomberg The base assumption is that China invades Taiwan to force unification, which the US responds to with its military. Another assumption (that's 'far from certain') is that Japan would grant 'expanded rights' to use US bases on its territory - but wouldn't intervene directly unless Japanese land is attacked. Nuclear weapons are not part of the scenarios, and the weapons used in the simulation are the most likely to be deployed based on current capabilities of the nations involved. News of the war game simulations come as China began test-firing missiles in recent days following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) visit to Taiwan.So far, 18 of 22 rounds of the simulation to date have resulted in Chinese missiles sinking a large part of the US and Japanese surface fleet, and would destroy "hundreds of aircraft on the ground," according to Cancian, a former White House defense budget analyst and retired US Marine. "However, allied air and naval counterattacks hammer the exposed Chinese amphibious and surface fleet, eventually sinking about 150 ships," he added. "The reason for the high US losses is that the United States cannot conduct a systematic campaign to take down Chinese defenses before moving in close," Cancian continued. "The United States must send forces to attack the Chinese fleet, especially the amphibious ships, before establishing air or maritime superiority." "To get a sense of the scale of the losses, in our last game iteration, the United States lost over 900 fighter/attack aircraft in a four-week conflict. That’s about half the Navy and Air Force inventory." According to the simulations, the Chinese missile force "is devastating while the inventory lasts," which makes US subs and long-range-capable bombers "particularly important." Also key, is Taiwan's defense capabilities, because its forces would be primarily responsible for countering Chinese landings from the South. "The success or failure of the ground war depends entirely on the Taiwanese forces," said Cancian. "In all game iterations so far, the Chinese could establish a beachhead but in most circumstances cannot expand it. The attrition of their amphibious fleet limits the forces they can deploy and sustain. In a few instances, the Chinese were able to hold part of the island but not conquer the entire island." "For the Taiwanese, anti-ship missiles are important, surface ships and aircraft less so," because surface ships "have a hard time surviving as long as the Chinese have long-range missiles available." There have been no estimates so far on lives lost, or the sweeping economic impact of such a conflict between the US and China. As Bridgewater's Ray Dalio notes, "The US-China Tit-For-Tat Escalations Are Very Dangerous." Unfortunately, what is happening now between the US and China over Taiwan is following the classic path to war laid out in my book "Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order.” If events continue to follow this path, this conflict will have a much larger global impact than the Russia-Ukraine war because it is between the world's leading superpowers that are economically much larger and much more intertwined.   For reasons previously explained, the Russia-Ukraine war is minor by comparison, though the two conflicts are related and the Russia-Ukraine war, like all wars, is having terrible consequences. For example, consider that China's share of world trade is over seven times larger than Russia's [1] and constitutes about 19% of all American manufactured goods imports. [2] Imagine if importing goods from China and doing business with China became the same as they are with Russia now. Imagine what the supply chain and economic impacts on the world would be. Imagine what sanctions on China would be like for the world. Supply chains would collapse, economic activity would dive, and inflation would soar. And that’s just what would happen to economies due to economic warfare which would pale in comparison to the impact that military warfare, which we are obviously dangerously close to, would have. For reasons explained in my book, the situation that now exists between the United States and China is very similar to that which existed between powers immediately prior to World Wars I and II and many other immediate prewar periods. The chart below shows my US-China conflict gauge since 2000. As you can see, the readings for conflict between the US and China are the highest ever. This index is composed of many indicators such as changes in military spending, personnel, and deployment; sentiment of each country's people about the other country; media attention given to the conflict, etc. The combination of military spending and attitudes toward each rival country has been particularly indicative. The chart below shows the shares of global military spending for the US and China which significantly understates China’s military spending because much government spending that supports the military is not included as direct military spending. Also, American military spending covers the world while Chinese military spending is more focused in the region. Knowledgeable parties tell me that China has significant military superiority around Taiwan. The chart below plots recent Gallop poll data and shows that 80% of Americans now have an unfavorable view of China—which is now on par with how Americans view Russia (and is up meaningfully over the past few years).   To put the existing level of conflict between China and the US in perspective, the table below compares the current US-China conflict gauge reading to past readings of other great conflicts. As shown, the current reading for the US and China is nearly 1.2 standard deviations above the average, which is a reading in the high end of the range of major conflicts. While this conveys a high level and risk of conflict, it should not be misinterpreted to mean that a worsening is to come. Sometimes, these moments of heightened conflict are followed by a stepping back from war. For example, the period leading into the Cuban Missile Crisis had a relatively high reading of 0.9, but wise heads prevailed, so a potential disaster was avoided. There are many more measures that convey the changing picture that are explained in my book which I don’t have the space to show you here, but will continue to plot along with the historical analogies I outlined in the book.   I will use them to paint as accurate a picture as I can about what's happening and put it into an historical context. The dot plot will speak for itself as to which path we are on. As for what's now happening, the Chinese are responding to Nancy Pelosi’s visit by cutting off most relations and demonstrating that they can militarily control the area around Taiwan, which implies that China could shut Taiwan off from the rest of the world. Imagine that and its implications, e.g., imagine if semiconductor chips couldn't get out of Taiwan. China is also displaying its military power and it is crossing previously uncrossed lines of demarcation, thus closing in on Taiwan. [7] Pelosi's visit was perceived by China as a move in favor of Taiwan's independence rather than toward one China with Taiwan part of China, and it is essentially challenging the US to stop it from doing what it is doing. The question is whether the US will respond with another escalation that will prompt another Chinese response, in the classic tit-for-tat acceleration into war, or if the sides will step back. To gain a picture of the past and the forces that are driving the evolution of the US and China toward war (i.e. the Big Cycle) I suggest that you review Chapter 13 "US-China Relations and Wars." I suggest that you pay particular attention to my explanation of previous Taiwan Straits crises and why I said I would worry if we had a "Fourth Taiwan Crisis" which is the crisis that we are now having. To understand what is happening you must understand these things.   As I summarized on page 455 of that Chapter in the section "The Risk of Unnecessary War:" Stupid wars often happen as a result of a tit-for-tat escalation process in which responding to even small actions of an adversary is more important than being perceived as weak, especially when those on both sides don’t really understand the motivations of those on the other side. History shows us that this is especially a problem for declining empires, which tend to fight more than is logical because any retreat is seen as a defeat. Take the issue of Taiwan. Even though the US fighting to defend Taiwan would seem to be illogical, not fighting a Chinese attack on Taiwan might be perceived as being a big loss of stature and power over other countries that won’t support the US if it doesn’t fight and win for its allies. Additionally, such defeats can make leaders look weak to their own people, which can cost them the political support they need to remain in power. And, of course, miscalculations due to misunderstandings when conflicts are transpiring quickly are dangerous. All these dynamics create strong pulls toward wars accelerating even though such mutually destructive wars are so much worse than cooperating and competing in more peaceful ways. There is also risk of untruthful, emotional rhetoric taking hold in both the US and China, creating an atmosphere for escalation. While the power of the forces behind the Big Cycle explained in "Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order” can be overwhelming, people still have choices that will affect the outcomes. This conflict is still a low-grade military conflict (which I call a Category 2 military conflict) because 1) it has not yet produced an exchange of bloodshed of people from the two major sides i.e., Chinese and/or Americans and 2) it is not taking place on either country’s homeland (though the Chinese would say Taiwan is part of their homeland even though it’s not part of mainland China). If either of these were to change, that would be the next big step up toward unimaginable all-out war which I still consider improbable. A good thing is that sensible people on both sides are scared of war even though they don’t want to look like they are. A bad thing is that some people on both sides want to intensify the fight because to not do so in the face of the provocation wound be perceived as a sign of weakness. That dynamic of upping the ante to avoid looking like one is backing down has throughout history been shown to be a very dangerous dynamic. We have seen many historic cases which have led to terrible wars because neither side wanted to back down and only few in which sensible people stepped back from the brink when faced with the prospect of unacceptable destruction.  My hope is that China’s escalation will not lead to the next US escalation which will lead to the next Chinese escalation which, despite the strong desire of sensible people on both sides to avoid war, would lead to a war. But hope is not a strategy, so I will try to be as realistic as possible, navigate accordingly, and communicate well with you. Tyler Durden Tue, 08/09/2022 - 23:05.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 10th, 2022

Taibbi: How Crazy-Ass Tom Cruise And "Top Gun" Saved America

Taibbi: How Crazy-Ass Tom Cruise And "Top Gun" Saved America Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News, In a classic Beavis and Butt-Head episode the boys watch a video of U2’s One. They hear Bono’s lyrics: Is it getting better?Or do you feel the same? They see a blurry buffalo running in slow motion through a field of tall grass. “Whoa!” says Beavis. “That’s a big dog!” Next, shots of the word “One” written in various languages flash on TV — Une, Aon, 하나 — followed by cuts to a still shot of a sunflower field, which zooms out, eventually fading back to the slo-mo buffalo. “Is this like a quiz?” asks Butt-Head. “This is like school,” says Beavis. “This means something.” Over the weekend I saw the much-hyped Top Gun: Maverick. Two hours of bad-ass plane battles. It wasn’t art. It didn’t mean anything. And it was awesome. I left the theater genuinely sad to be back in 2022 America. In a gutsy call, considering how high-tech the movie’s effects and roller-coaster direction were, the film opened with a scruffy-looking Tom Cruise — his “real life” costume — looking like he’d eaten a canister of happy pills as he delivered an 50s-style apostrophic intro to the long-awaited sequel. Sounding like a proud Dad, he told audiences to buckle up for “real Gs” and the “most immersive and authentic film experience” they could muster. Cut to: the most unapologetically corny script ever, but one that works all the way. It’s every film cliché in history! It’s “Washed up hero gets one last chance at glory” meets “Fulfilling a dying friend’s last request” meets “Hand over your gun and badge!” (it’s a movie about pilots, so the actual line is, “You’re grounded!”) meets “Slow-running man impossibly escapes fusillade of helicopter-fired automatic weapons” meets “Boy and girl ride off into the sunset.” Is it brainless propaganda? Hell yes! In the one scene where an atavistic sourpuss reflex kicked in for me, Admiral Beau “Cyclone” Simpson — played by dialed-down Mad Men survivor Jon Hamm — explained the Top Gun “mission”: Let’s get to the goal. An unauthorized uranium enrichment plant. It was built in violation of numerous NATO agreements. The uranium produced there poses a direct threat to our allies in the region. The Pentagon has given us the task of forming an assault team to destroy it before it is fully operational… If you want to be a dick about it, and apparently at least one reviewer was, you can do the math and conclude the best candidate for the enemy described is Iran, which not only didn’t violate our joint agreement with them, but apparently kept adhering to it after we ourselves violated the deal in the Trump years. But the premise is fictional, the landscape ends up looking more like Russia or China,they never come back to the politics, and beyond that, the situation is so totally absurd that you’d have to be nuts to be offended by it. The whole premise is ripped directly from Star Wars anyway, right down to the ticking clock before the deadly weapons station is “fully operational,” and the impenetrable enemy air defense whose one fatal mistake is not accounting for the gifted super-pilots of Our Team zig-zagging under the radar to bullseye a one-in-a-million shot at blinding speed. It’s “just like Beggar’s canyon back home,” or in this case just like the dartboard at the famous I Bar Navy hangout in San Diego, where Cruise’s Pete Mitchell watched flyboys throw bullseyes one after another, even with hands over their eyes. How accurate does the real attack team have to be? “Your target is in an area of ​​less than 3 meters,” the Top Gun pilots are told solemnly in training, at which every last perfect-looking actor exhales in relief: that’s a whole meter wider than the Death Star shot! (“The target area is only 2 meters wide,” General Dodona said back in 1977). The action-movie allusions are this bald throughout and you’re all for it. The pre-flight ritual dialogue between ground-bound Bernie “Hondo” Coleman (“I don’t like that look, Mav”) and airspeed record-smasher Mitchell (“It’s the only one I’ve got”) feels shot-for shot like Levon Helm’s Ripley character ritualistically offering Sam Shepard’s Chuck Yeager his last stick of Beemans before he broke the airspeed record in The Right Stuff. Ed Harris, who’s in both movies, does a great job in Maverick of pretending he’s never seen a hot-shit test pilot defy orders, blast past an impossible Mach barrier, incinerate a gazillion-dollar plane, and show up in the next scene walking in a daze with a grease-covered face after ejecting at high altitude. The only other time my cerebral cortex even flickered during Top Gun: Maverick was during the hilarious swipe at Lockheed-Martin screenwriters inserted mid-movie. The whole film is a Boeing ad, so it made sense, but it was still genius. In fact, the tale of an aging but still impossibly fit Cruise/Mitchell being called back into service for a crucial mission after being deemed a dinosaur by colleagues is a naked metaphor for the career path of the movie’s other main character, the Boeing F-18. In real life the Super Hornet has been written out of the defense budget two years running, only to be re-inserted at the last minute by congressional Rabbis (the legislative equivalent of Mitchell’s sole friend high in the Navy brass, Val Kilmer’s Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, who keeps intervening to prevent Cruise’s decommissioning). Given all that backstory, the Boeing/Lockheed subplot works as priceless corporate pettiness. When Cruise/Mitchell is asked to assess the low feasibility of the proposed mission, he goes out of his way to dump on Lockheed-Martin’s next-generation F-35: Sir, normally, with the F-35s flying in silent mode, this would be child’s play. But GPSjamming throws it away… I think it’s achievable with an F-18. This line apparently generated controversy among people who care about fighter jets, and I’ve since seen humorously earnest articles about how a Top Gun: Maverick featuring F-35s would have been “boring” because the plane kills too easily, from a distance. It doesn’t matter. The rest of the movie is gasp-inducing shots of actors and actresses perched on vomit-edge as they pilot fearsome-looking planes through supersonic versions of the World War II dogfights that of course never happen anymore. (It’s not an accident that Mitchell’s downtime hobby involves working on a P-51 Mustang Cruise actually owns, or that he and Jennifer Connelly end the film by literally riding off into the sunset in the thing). The audio booms out of this world and really makes the movie in parts, particularly the CLANG!-swerve-CLANG! scenes where Mitchell slams the stick as he grimaces his way through the test course. The plot is so vague and trite and so nakedly an ad for military hardware that it’s impossible to be mad at. It’s just fun. How many things in the last seven, eight years in America have just been fun? I wasn’t a fan of the original Top Gun. In fact, the only scenes I could even remember from the first movie were the Righteous Brothers bar serenade of Kelly McGillis and the death of Maverick’s mustache-wielding wingman “Goose,” and when Top Gun: Maverick replayed the latter scene I realized I didn’t even remember that correctly. I’d filed away the far more ridiculous Hot Shots version of Goose’s death — he’s called “Dead Meat” in the spoof, where his pen runs out before takeoff, but no problem, he tells his loving wife, he’ll sign his life insurance “when I get back” — and mistaken it for the real thing. When I went back and looked that scene up, I realized it, too, had a “lucky gum” reference, making the heroic test-pilot-movie confusion total: When the original Top Gun came out in the eighties, America’s culture-war dynamic was still plenty hot but ran in a different direction. Anti-Reagan malcontents (I was one) stewed over the Hollywood-Pentagon partnership and quietly seethed at the film’s makers for plunging millions into a script that read like a two-hour” not just a job, an adventure” Navy ad written over a single Burger King lunch (the legendary “500% recruitment increase” the film supposedly triggered is apocryphal, by the way). That movie did monster box office, grossing $357 million, but even in hindsight I’m not convinced it was all that. Val Kilmer’s abs were probably more of a draw than the dogfight scenes (I’d argue it wasn’t near the second-best Kilmer movie of the period, being clearly behind Top Secret! and Real Genius. If drunk enough I might even argue for Willow). Moreover the era was packed with other great movies like Blade Runner and Full Metal Jacket, so there were reasons to scoff at a jingoistic Cruise vehicle shot with a Navy PR officer on set with veto power over its wooden script. Fast forward 36 years. Not only are we on the brink of what feels like civil war, and as of this week flirting with real war with two different superpowers, we’re nearly a decade into a crippling fun shortage. We have complexes about every holiday from Christmas to Thanksgiving to the Fourth of July, the president has been severely disordered or clinically dead for at least six years, and the most famous standup performance in a generation involved Chris Rock getting man-slapped by the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. America used to be a global leader in brainless entertainment, particularly featuring explosions, boobs, and weightlifters, but since Trump’s election Hollywood’s been in a funk and spent years trying to bury its baser instincts and reinvent itself as Highbrow and Caring. This resulted in a thousand iterations of self-serious films straining to make the miserable entertaining (Bill Maher’s take on the perfect modern Oscar hopeful was The Immigrant Who Shit in a Coffee Can). Of all the negative by-products of Trump’s election, one of the most subtly destructive was alienating America from the one thing we’ve consistently done well, the lowest common denominator. For no good reason, politics has made a big chunk of the country wary of Cheez Whiz, mud wrestling, commercials about pickup trucks carrying other pickup trucks up mountains of boulders, and a hundred other mindless awesome things in our blood. This country sucks at highbrow, we’re great at stupid, and since there’s nothing more stupid than stupid highbrow, we’ve spent the last half-decade exporting the most embarrassing conceivable content on a grand scale. This has just made everybody, left and right, more uptight and pissed at each other. When we get back to embracing shark panics, Hang in There Baby office posters, and weightlifters/models blowing each other out of the sky with billion-dollar weapons, my guess is we’ll all start feeling better. Thank you, Tom Cruise, you lunatic. You’ve helped the healing begin. Subscribe to TK News here... Tyler Durden Wed, 08/03/2022 - 16:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 3rd, 2022

China releases video flexing the capabilities of its navy, army, and air force amid threats of military action over Nancy Pelosi"s potential Taiwan trip

"Ready in formation, listening for battle orders," says a roughly-translated slogan in the video showcasing fighter jets and missile launches. Chinese troops training in Fujian, the mainland Chinese province closest to Taiwan.Yang Enuo/Future Publishing via Getty Images China's People's Liberation Army posted a video showcasing its military equipment on Monday. The video features artillery strikes and missile launches against an unspecified target. It comes amid China's warnings of a possible military response if Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan. China has released an edited montage of its navy, air force, and army being activated for battle, amid renewed US-China tensions over a possible visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.The video, posted Monday on the WeChat platform by the Eastern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army, showcases Chinese ground forces, fighter jets, rocket artillery, submarines, and battleships in action against an unspecified enemy.—Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) August 1, 2022The Eastern Theater Command oversees China's combat drills, military presence, and operations in and near the Taiwan Strait — the 111-mile stretch of ocean separating mainland China from Taiwan.The clips start with an idiom displayed on a screen, which is roughly translated to: "Ready in formation, listening for battle orders." Chinese soldiers can also be heard chanting vows to "serve the Chinese Communist Party," "keep secrets confidential," and "not be afraid of sacrifice."The video progresses from footage of Chinese soldiers retrieving rifles to clips of fighter jet pilots discussing attack strategies, mobile artillery strikes, and missile launches. The two-and-a-half-minute clip ends with a slogan that reads: "Bury all incoming enemies and advance toward united victory."The post coincides with the 95th anniversary of China's People's Liberation Army but also comes as Beijing warned Washington that it may respond with military force if Pelosi follows through with a rumored visit to Taiwan."The Chinese side has expressed its serious concerns and solemn position to the US side many times recently that it firmly opposes House Speaker Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, stressing that her visit to Taiwan will lead to serious consequences," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Monday. "Playing with fire will set yourself on fire."As of 1 pm local time on Tuesday, Pelosi's visit had not been confirmed by US officials.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 2nd, 2022

Pelosi heading to Taiwan as soon as Tuesday despite angry military threats from China, reports say

China has repeatedly threatened military action if Pelosi visits Taiwan, the self-ruling island that China claims as its own. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Win McNamee/Getty Images Nancy Pelosi is visiting Taiwan as part of her Asia tour, CNN and Taiwanese media reported. China has threatened military action if she visits. China doesn't recognize Taiwan as a country. Pelosi appeared to avoid talking about any trip while meeting officials in Singapore on Monday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will go ahead with visiting Taiwan during her Asia tour despite China's threats to take military action if she does, reports say.Tingting Liu of the Taiwanese news channel TVBS reported on Monday that Pelosi would be arriving in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, landing Tuesday night local time.CNN also reported the plans, citing a Taiwanese official and a US official, but said that an arrival time was not clear. The network reported that the Taiwanese official said she was expected to stay overnight.Pelosi arrived in Singapore, the first leg of her Asia trip, on Monday morning local time and met with leaders there. She has appeared to avoid talking about Taiwan so far.According to the Singapore foreign ministry, Pelosi and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong "exchanged views on key international and regional developments, including the war in Ukraine, cross-strait relations, and climate change."The ministry said Lee "highlighted the importance of stable US-China relations for regional peace and security," an apparent reference to the heightened tensions between US and China over the prospect of a Taiwan visit.Singaporean President Halimah Yacob also said that she and Pelosi discussed US-Singapore ties and education, climate change, and opportunities for women.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Singaporean President Halimah Yacob in Singapore on August 1, 2022, the first day of Pelosi's Asia tour.Ministry of Communications and Information, SingaporeAfter the Financial Times reported last month that Pelosi would visit Taiwan in August, China has repeatedly warned her not to. It said on Monday that its military would not "sit idly by" if she visited.Representatives for Pelosi have have repeatedly refused to talk about plans to visit Taiwan.Her Sunday statement on her Asia trip made no mention of Taiwan or China. It listed other destinations like Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan.Beijing has long claimed that Taiwan is part of China, though the island has been self-ruling for decades.China has a long-running campaign to discourage other countries from giving diplomatic recognition to Taiwan, and has in recent months stepped up its military action in the region.Military analysts believe China may eventually invade to take the island by force.US policy toward Taiwan is "strategic ambiguity," meaning it doesn't recognize Taiwan's independence but provides it with military support meant to fend off attack by China.President Joe Biden said last month that US military officials believed that a Pelosi Taiwan trip is "not a good idea."US officials told the Associated Press last week that the Department of Defense was prepared to send fighter jets and warships to protect Pelosi during her Asia trip. CNN's Monday report also cited a US official as saying that Pentagon officials were trying to keep her safe and monitoring Chinese movements in the area.Bloomberg reported last week that the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan had entered the South China Sea.The Pentagon did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. A spokesperson told Insider last week that it "wouldn't be appropriate" to comment on congressional travel plans.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 1st, 2022

China"s military is stepping up its work on ship-based warplanes to keep up with its aircraft-carrier advances

China just launched its third aircraft carrier, and recent photos and videos show developments in early-warning aircraft and stealth fighter jets. China's third aircraft carrier, Fujian, at its launch ceremony in Shanghai on June 17, 2022.Li Gang/Xinhua via AP Recent photos and videos show developments in Chinese early-warning aircraft and stealth fighter jets. Currently, Chinese aircraft carriers must rely on helicopters as their airborne early-warning system. China has stepped up efforts to develop its next generation of ship-based warplanes for its new aircraft carriers, with recent photos revealing Beijing's progress in developing early warning aircraft and stealth fighter jets.A video circulating on Chinese social media this week showed the KJ-600 — China's first fixed-wing early-warning plane capable of operating on the carriers — on a test flight over the northwestern city of Xian, where its manufacturer, Xian Aircraft Industrial Corporation, is based.The KJ-600 made its first flight in August 2020. And the latest online pictures showed a plane in green and white paint — suggesting it was still a prototype — and on its nose was a protruding pitot tube, which is used to measure airspeed.The aircraft is believed to have active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars and is, in many ways, aimed at matching the Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.The People's Liberation Army Air Force is equipped with land-based early-warning aircraft KJ-2000 and KJ-500. But currently, Chinese navy aircraft carriers must rely on helicopters for their airborne early warning system.Fighter jets aboard Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning.REUTERS/Bobby YipOnce the KJ-600 enters service with much improved range, speed and payload, it could greatly enhance the carrier strike group's situational awareness.It could also be key to communication in the battlefield command chain and data link network, and even be used to guide missiles fired from destroyers on from the land in over-the-horizon attacks.Although the twin turboprop engine-driven KJ-600 probably cannot be operated on the ski-jump deck of the Liaoning and Shandong, the PLA Navy's two active Kuznetsov-class carriers, it is very probably suitable for use on the next-gen carriers.China's third aircraft carrier, Fujian, which was launched last month, has three advanced electromagnetic catapults. Last year, Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the maker of China's current carrier-borne fighter, the J-15, released its catapult-capable variant.The news about KJ-600 followed last week's leak of a photo that was believed to show the next ship-based stealth fighter. An unverified photo revealed a twin-jet single-seat FC-31 fighter on the ground with its cockpit canopy open.Painted in PLA Navy grey, with serial number 350003, the 35 and 03 in different positions likely suggest it is the third prototype and that this variant for the navy would be named J-35.A Chinese J-31 fighter at Airshow China 2014 in November 2014.JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty ImagesThe original medium-weight FC-31 is China's second stealth fighter after the heavyweight J-20, and the first positioned for an overseas market. Its maiden flight was in 2012 but since at least 2019 later prototypes were observed to have significant changes and were rumoured to be adapted for the carriers.The first high-resolution picture of the J-35 showed some resemblance to the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and it appears to be fitted with home-made WS-21 engines.In addition, a J-15D, the electronic-attack variant of the "Flying Shark," was seen for the first time on board the Shandong in official publicity footage of the carrier's training in March. With some armaments removed and replaced with electronic-warfare pods and other electronic equipment, the J-15D is designed to detect, track, interfere and suppress enemy radar and other electronic communication, to provide protection for the ship-borne fighter fleets.J-15D began operational tests in 2018. Its deployment on the carrier made China the second country to have specialised ship-based electronic warfare planes.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 31st, 2022