China rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal, says US DoD report

by Gabriel Dominguez

Several road-mobile DF-41 ICBM systems on display during a military parade held at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on 1 October 2019. According to the Pentagon's ‘2021 China Military Report', Beijing is rapidly increasing its nuclear arsenal and also considering additional launch options for the DF-41, including silos. (Zoya Rusinova/TASS via Getty Images)

China is expanding its nuclear weapon capabilities much faster than US officials had predicted a year ago, the US Department of Defense (DoD) said in its 2021 report on military and security developments involving the East Asian country.

The “accelerating pace” of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) nuclear expansion “may enable the PRC [People's Republic of China] to have up to 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027. The PRC likely intends to have at least 1,000 warheads by 2030, exceeding the pace and size the [US] DoD projected in 2020,” noted the authors of the ‘2021 China Military Power Report' report, which was released on 3 November.

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Jacobs finishes buying software firm BlackLynx

by Marc Selinger

US engineering firm Jacobs has completed its previously disclosed acquisition of data analytics software provider BlackLynx, expanding its footprint in the US Intelligence Community, Jacobs announced on 19 November.

Jacobs is initially paying USD250 million for BlackLynx. It will pay an additional USD7.5 million if certain financial goals are met.

BlackLynx is based in Rockville, Maryland, and employs more than 130 people. Its customers include the US Department of the Air Force and the US National Reconnaissance Office.

BlackLynx will continue to operate largely on a standalone basis. Before the acquisition, which was first revealed on 1 November, BlackLynx was backed by venture capital funding.

Separately, Jacobs announced on 8 November that it has made a minority investment in Herndon, Virginia-based HawkEye 360, which uses satellites to map the radio-frequency emissions of potential threats and targets.

The BlackLynx and HawkEye 360 transactions follow Jacobs' acquisition of a majority stake in UK-based PA Consulting for USD1.7 billion in March 2021, and its purchase of US-based cyber and intelligence firm The Buffalo Group for an undisclosed sum in November 2020.

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China, Russia approve 2021–25 road map to increase military co-operation

by Jon Grevatt

China and Russia have agreed on a road map to deepen co-operation on military patrols and exercises. The agreement was announced a few days after the two countries' air forces held joint patrols over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea that featured Chinese H-6K (pictured) and Russian Tu-95 bombers. (Japan Air Self-Defense Force)

China and Russia have agreed to expand military collaboration over the coming five years, Russia's Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 23 November. The move will facilitate deeper co-operation in joint patrols and military exercises.

The ‘road map for military co-operation for 2021-2025' was approved in a video conference chaired by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe, said the MoD. It said the road map will focus on increasing bilateral collaboration on “strategic military exercises and joint patrols”.

China's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said the road map will also support “strategic co-ordination” in joint military activities, which safeguard the interests of the two countries and protect regional security.

Citing “military observers”, China's state-run Global Times – a newspaper that operates under the People's Daily

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Philippines makes rare rebuke of China at ASEAN summit

by Ridzwan Rahmat

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has issued harsh words against China in his statement during a summit hosted by Beijing with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries on 22 November.

The rare rebuke came in the wake of a stand-off between Chinese and Philippine vessels at the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. The feature, also known as the Ayungin Shoal in the Philippines, is claimed by both Beijing and Manila as part of their respective maritime territories.

In 1999 the Philippine Navy deliberately grounded a landing ship tank, BRP Sierra Madre, on the feature to stake Manila's claim to the shoal and its surrounding features. The Armed Forces of the Philippines maintains a small detachment of personnel on Sierra Madre and supplies the men with water and victuals.

However, on 16 November, Manila claimed that its supply missions to the shoal were blocked by China Coast Guard vessels deploying water cannons and other Beijing-linked boats. Beijing maintains that its vessels were acting in accordance with the law within China's maritime territories. The Second Thomas Shoal lies approximately 107 n miles northwest of the Philippines' Palawan island.

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