China, Russia fly bombers to ‘counter' Quad summit

by Akhil Kadidal

A Tu-95 bomber of the Russian Air Force flies over the Sea of Japan on 24 May 2022. (Japan Ministry of Defense)

Japan and South Korea scrambled its fighters to intercept a “provocative” joint exercise by four Chinese and two Russian strategic bombers in the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea on 24 May.

The exercise appears to be a show of force by Beijing and Moscow pointed at the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the Quad), which was taking place in Tokyo on that same day. The meeting was attended by the leaders of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.

Two Chinese Xian H-6 bombers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) were detected flying from the East China Sea to the Sea of the Japan in the morning. The H-6s were joined by two Tupolov Tu-95 strategic bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) in the sea of Japan.

The four bombers proceeded on a southwestern course. In the afternoon, two new PLA H-6s replaced the earlier two H-6s in the formation. The aircraft then flew through the Miyako Strait between Okinawa and Miyakojima islands, into the Western Pacific.

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Singapore Armed Forces to bolster ‘digital intelligence' workforce

by Oishee Majumdar

The Singapore Armed Forces is building infrastructure and developing workforce to support its new fourth service, the Digital and Intelligence Service, which is expected to be set up by late 2022. (Singapore Armed Forces)

Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has announced updates regarding its efforts to develop infrastructure and a skilled workforce for the new Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

In a media release, MINDEF said it will establish a Digital Ops-Tech Centre (DOTC) and a Centre of Excellence for Cyber Range (CCR) to stimulate capability development of the SAF in the digital and cyber frontier.

The DOTC will partner with the Defence Technology Community (DTC), other governmental agencies, academia, and the industry to enhance military response to new operational requirements in the digital domain by developing a “digital core well versed in data science and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies”, MINDEF said.

The “digital experts” nurtured by the DOTC will be rotated between the centre and the SAF's operational units as well as externally to DOTC's partners for “exposure to build a comprehensive understanding of the cyber ecosystem”, MINDEF added.

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Ukraine conflict: Czech agreement to defend Slovakian airspace paves way for MiG transfer to Ukraine

by Gareth Jennings

With the Czech Republic set to provide air defence cover for its neighbour, Slovakia is in a position to transfer its MiG-29s (pictured) to Ukraine. (Slovakian Air Force)

The Czech Air Force (Vzdusné Sily Armády Ceské Republiky: VSACR) is set to protect the airspace of its Slovakian neighbour in a move that could clear the latter to transfer its much-needed MiGs to Ukraine.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala made the disclosure on national TV on 3 July, saying that, from September Saab Gripen C fighters of the VSACR will perform air-defence duties across the airspace of Slovakia. Speaking at the same time, Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger said that the offer from the Czech government would provide a stopgap between the Slovak Air Force (Vzdušné sily Slovenskej Republiky: VSR) retiring its MiG-29s and receiving the first Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons on order, at the same time enabling the transfer of the MiGs to Ukraine.

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Portugal develops armed USV

by Victor Barreira

The X-2701 is being developed by the Portuguese Navy to play a variety of roles. (Janes/Victor Barreira)

The Portuguese Navy's Unmanned Vehicles Experimentation Cell (CEOV) is developing a multimission armed unmanned surface vehicle (USV) for operational experimentation, CEOV Commander Marco Pinto Guimarães told Janes.

The USV, called X-2701, is being developed with the support of the Portuguese Navy Ships Support Service for training missions in conditions up to Sea State 4. It will be used to replicate asymmetric threat attacks from small vessels, for surface live-fire training, protection and combat training against asymmetric threats, or for towing an inflatable target. It can also be used to conduct patrol and surveillance missions.

The X-2701 hull is a converted Harding Safety FRB 650 high-speed fast-rescue boat received in 2016 for the Portuguese Navy's Tejo-class patrol boats. The 6.7 m-long rigid V-shaped hull is made of fire-retardant glass fibre-reinforced polyester (GRP).

It is powered by a 170 hp inboard diesel engine, coupled to an Alamarin-Jet AJ 230 water-jet.

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