Pakistan launches retaliatory strike on Iran

by Akhil Kadidal

Pakistan's retaliatory strike on 18 January was in response to an Iranian attack on 16 January. PAF assets at Shahbaz airbase and Turbat International Airport were possibly used in the strike. (Janes)

Pakistan's military conducted a retaliatory airstrike on Iran on 18 January in response to Tehran using missiles and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on alleged insurgents in western Pakistan on 16 January.

Pakistan military's Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Directorate said on 18 January that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had struck targets inside Iran using “UAVs, rockets, loitering munitions, and stand-off weapons” that morning.

According to the ISPR, the targets were strongholds and hideouts of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF). These groups seek greater autonomy in southwestern Pakistan's Balochistan region. Islamabad identifies both groups as terrorist organisations.

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said on 18 January that the attacks were conducted on locations in the Sistan-o-Baluchestan province in eastern Iran. An MoFA spokesperson said that the PAF strikes were conducted “in light of credible evidence of impending large-scale terrorist activity against Pakistan”.

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US Marine Corps pinning tactical vehicle budget decisions on infantry experiment

by Meredith Roaten

The US Marine Corps ACV is designed to deploy off the back of a ship and swim in open waters as well as operate in littoral environments. (US Marine Corps)

Amphibious combat vehicles (ACVs) and other tactical vehicles find themselves with an uncertain future until after the US Marine Corps (USMC) finishes its Infantry Battalion Experimentation (IBX), service officials said in January.

The USMC first released its Ground Combat and Tactical Vehicle Strategy (GCTVS) in 2021, but service leaders have since incorporated the vehicle strategy into the budgeting process, said Kevin McConnell, deputy director for fires and manoeuvre at USMC Ground Combat Element division. The ACV, Ultra-Light Tactical Vehicle (ULTV), and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) will be part of the USMC's analysis of IBX “to see if that is going to warrant reprioritisation of our vehicle procurements”, he told Janes in an interview on 18 January.

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EU explores harnessing Copernicus for military applications

by Olivia Savage

Sentinel‐1A, launched in 2014, was the first Earth-observation satellite built for Europe's Copernicus programme. (ESA)

The European Union (EU) awarded separate contracts to two consortiums led by Telespazio and OHB System on 23 January to explore the feasibility of exploiting the Copernicus Earth-observation constellation for defence.

The two contracts were awarded as part of the Earth Observation Governmental Service (EOGS), which seeks to bolster the defence and security of the EU member states. The selected consortiums will now compete to explore how best to deliver and implement the service under two simultaneous 12-month long studies.

Work will commence in the first quarter of 2024 and may include the development of new satellite-based reconnaissance capabilities at the European level. The aim is to make the service available to the EU and its member statesin the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework (2028–34).

Germany-based OHB System is leading one of the studies in conjunction with French CS Group and OHB Digital Connect. The contract is valued at EUR2.4 million (USD2.6 million) and includes additional partners: Geosystems, OHB Digital Services, Tekever, Geo4i, OHB Sweden, Officina Stellare, and Bird & Bird.

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European Commission launches collaborative land combat project

by Olivia Savage

LATACC is primarily being funded by the European Defence Fund and includes a range of companies specialising in key technology areas such as cloud software, communications, sensors, robotics, artificial intelligence, and system resilience in challenging environments. (Thales)

A project to enhance and accelerate collaborative combat for European land forces has been launched following the signing of a grant agreement between Thales and the European Commission, the company announced on 17 January.

Called the Land Tactical Collaborative Combat (LATACC) project, the aim is to develop a solution that enhances, optimises, and accelerates the tactical command and combat capacities of European land forces from the brigade command post down to the combat vehicle, dismounted soldier, and unmanned system, a European Union factsheet on the project detailed.

Thales will be leading the 36-month EUR59.27 million (USD64.42 million) project, which encompasses a consortium of 34 companies from across 12 countries. The companies include, among others, Electronica, Indra, ISD, John Cockerill Defense, Leonardo, Milrem Robotics, Nexter Systems, Rheinmetall, and Thales.

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