SANG confirms VL MICA acquisition

by Jeremy Binnie

A VL MICA launcher is seen in the background during Major General Nayef bin Majid's visit to the SANG's Artillery and Air Defence Command, as well as an MPCV (left) and probably a VL MICA reload vehicle. (Saudi Arabia National Guard)

The Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) confirmed it has acquired the MBDA VL MICA on 9 November, when it released a photograph showing a launcher for the short-range air-defence system at one of its facilities in Riyadh.

The photograph was taken during a visit by Major General Nayef bin Majid, the minister for the SANG, to the force's Artillery and Air Defence Command in Riyadh.

It also showed an MBDA Multi-Purpose Combat Vehicle (MPCV), which has Mistral surface-to-air missiles in addition to a 20 mm gun in a remotely operated mount. The MPCV has been seen in service with the SANG alongside the MBDA Atlas: a truck-mounted manually operated Mistral configuration.

Neither the French government nor MBDA have confirmed the VL-MICA sale to Saudi Arabia, however, the French newspaper La Tribune reported in 2013 that the company had secured a EUR150 million (USD173 million) order to supply the air-defence system to the SANG.

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US Navy works with industry to explore alternative fuel sources

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy cites the potential for hybrid power like that employed by the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island. (US Navy)

The US Navy (USN) is working with industry to develop other potential sources of fuel as well as possible alternative modes of power, according to Meredith Berger, acting assistant secretary of the navy for energy, installations, and environment.

“We are working with industry on what other types of low-emissions fuel-energy types are out there,” Berger said on 23 May during a media roundtable discussion of the USN's “Climate Action 2030” plan, which was released on 24 May.

She described such work as being in the “survey stage” and noted the “driving element”, always, would be the impact on the USN and US Marine Corps (USMC) to “make mission”.

Berger also added that the USN was successful with hybrid-electric ship propulsion plant efforts, with vessels like Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8). “But there's also a lot of development to do in terms of technology.”

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North Korea launches ‘ballistic missiles' into East Sea

by Jon Grevatt

This graphic by the Japanese MoD shows what it said are the trajectories of two of three ballistic missiles launched by North Korea on 25 May. The MoD said both fell in the East Sea outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone. (Japanese Ministry of Defense)

North Korea has fired three more ballistic missiles towards the East Sea, defence officials from Japan, South Korea, and the United States announced on 25 May.

Pyongyang has not confirmed the launches, but South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) said possibly three ballistic missiles were from fired from the west coast of North Korea around 0600 h local time.

According to the JCS, the first of the three missiles featured what it said was a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), possibly the Hwaseong-17, that flew 360 km at a top altitude of 540 km.

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Chinese strategic bombers co-ordinate with Liaoning carrier group

by Akhil Kadidal

A Xian H-6J bomber of the People‘s Liberation Army (PLA) flies through the Miyako Strait on 18 May 2022. (Japan Ministry of Defense)

Chinese long-range strategic bombers have co-ordinated with the People‘s Liberation Army Navy's (PLAN‘s) Liaoning carrier group to conduct a series of drills in the Western Pacific.

The exercises are likely a response from Beijing to potential affirmations of support for Taiwan from the United States and Japan during a bilateral meeting in Tokyo on 23 May and during the meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) with India and Australia in Japan on 24 May.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD), two Xian H-6 bombers flew through the Miyako Strait between the islands of Okinawa and Miyakojima on 18 May to enter the Pacific Ocean.

After circling the sea about 470 km south of Okinawa island, the bombers flew back to China on the same flight path, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said during a press conference on 20 May.

The bombers' orbit appears to be linked to the presence of the Chinese aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. Data from the Japanese Ministry of Defense shows the Liaoning

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The Saudi Arabia National Guard (SANG) confirmed it has acquired the MBDA VL MICA on 9 November, whe...

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