Malaysia to hold talks with China on AUKUS

by Ridzwan Rahmat

Australia's Collins-class submarines seen here in formation off Western Australia. The country is procuring a fleet of nuclear-powered boats to replace the Collins class, and the move has evoked varied reactions from Canberra's Southeast Asian neighbours including Malaysia. (Commonwealth of Australia)

A Malaysian delegation will visit China to hold talks with the country's leadership on AUKUS and understand the concerns that Beijing may have over the newly announced partnership.

The matter was disclosed by the country's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein in response to a parliamentary question on 22 September.

On 15 September the leaders of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom announced the establishment of a new security partnership known as AUKUS. As part of the partnership, the US and the UK would assist Australia in procuring a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

Australia has since clarified that it is looking to procure a fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered boats that will be built in-country.


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NATO allies to confront 21st century threats with new multidomain approach

by Brooks Tigner

NATO's newly approved Concept for Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area calls for “the right forces at the right place at the right time”, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on 21 October. (NATO)

NATO defence ministers agreed on the first day of their 21–22 October meeting in Brussels to fundamentally change how they protect their collective territory against attacks, especially from Russia and terrorist groups. Their newly approved Concept for Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area lays the groundwork for new sub-regional military planning in the coming months.

Noting that the concept calls for “the right forces at the right place at the right time”, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on 21 October that it will involve “significant improvement to our air and missile defences, strengthening our conventional capabilities with fifth-generation jets [and] adapting our exercises and intelligence”, among other changes.


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Russian casualties mounting in Central African Republic: Janes Analysis

Reports indicate 11 Russian-backed contractors have been killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) since August: the first consistent reports of Russian fatalities since their deployment in 2018.

Correlating reports from local news organizations, Janes has identified four instances that resulted in the deaths of Russian-backed contractors.

Most recently, on 12 October, five foreign contractors were killed in an ambush laid by rebels in the Bombo area in western CAR. Three contractors were reportedly killed in an ambush near Bombo on 2 October. A contractor was killed when rebels ambushed a convoy near the Cameroonian border on 1 September. A further two Russian-backed contractors were reportedly killed in a rebel ambush in Koui, close to the CAR's border with Cameroon on 5 August.

Russian military contractors have been present in the CAR since 2018, when the UN Security Council approved their deployment to help train and advise Central African Armed Forces (FACA) personnel, as well as transport them to operational areas, provide logistical support, and medical evacuation.

The UN panel of experts that monitors the CAR reported in June that the number of contractors appeared to significantly exceed the authorized deployment and included non-Russians, including Arab speakers. They were also taking an active role in combat operations against rebel militias. It identified seven helicopters – some of them armed – and two An-28 transport aircraft that were being used by the contractors.

Imagery obtained from social media affiliated with the Russian military contractor community also indicates they are equipped with Russian-made Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicles and some light armored vehicles.

This article - published to Janes subscribers on 15 October 2021 - can be read in full by logging in here

Rocket Lab buys software firm ASI

by Marc Selinger

US-based Rocket Lab has continued to expand beyond its core business of launch vehicles by acquiring Advanced Solutions Inc (ASI), which develops flight software for spacecraft, Rocket Lab announced on 12 October.

ASI will become part of Rocket Lab's Space Systems business, which includes the new Photon small satellite and a satellite parts manufacturer that Rocket Lab acquired last year. While Rocket Lab's flagship product is the Electron small satellite launch vehicle, which first flew in 2017, it envisions itself as an “end-to-end space company” and not just a launch provider.

Rocket Lab agreed to pay USD40 million for ASI, plus an additional USD5.5 million if 2021 performance goals are met. ASI founder and CEO John Cuseo will continue to lead his workforce of approximately 60 employees.

Founded in 1995, ASI is located in Littleton, Colorado, and its customers include the US Department of Defense, NASA, and aerospace prime contractors. ASI's MAX flight software has operated on more than 45 spacecraft.


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