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

Middle East and North African defence spending falls despite 8% growth being recorded globally, says Janes

Cuts to spending in the region fell just shy of forecasts, with spending expected to remain flat at USD160 billion in 2022, according to the trusted global agency for open-source defence intelligence

The latest analysis from Janes shows that despite global spending growing 8%, defence spending in the Middle East and North Africa region saw cuts of 5% during 2021.

“The outlook for 2022 remains relatively flat at this point in time at USD159.4 billion, but may return to growth in the coming months as budgets are released and approved,” said Charles Forrester, Lead Analyst for Industry and Budgets (MENA) at Janes. “This is an improvement on the outlook at the end of 2020, when further cuts of 3.42% in 2022 were anticipated.

“A flat-lining of defence expenditure growth in 2022 for the MENA region would allow countries breathing space for their investments – indeed, Janes interconnected intelligence highlights investment currently takes up 17.7% of regional budgets. With some major procurement programmes coming to an end in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, this may then mean that the expenditure outlays for the completed programmes can be maintained and passed to other projects.”

“Over the past few years there has been some slowing in procurement by some key spenders in the region, with the Covid-19 pandemic and the oil price crash delaying some significant multi-year procurement programmes. Some key spenders in the region have also faced political stumbling blocks in 2020 and 2021 to formally passing a budget, making major equipment spending difficult.”

Oil Prices shore up procurement funds – up a fifth year on year

Janes forecasts highlights that between 2021 and 2026 there is an anticipated 6.33% growth in defence spending in the region, with defence procurement expected to increase by 19.58%, up from the 2.41% growth experienced between 2016 and 2021.

“The challenge of Covid-19 and depressed oil prices hampered planning and contract signatures for some countries, particularly those that rely on off-budget funding for procurement. Now that oil prices are back above USD80 a barrel and traded in excess of USD60 a barrel for most of the year, forward planning on USD-45-50 per barrel oil prices can help a variety of the petro-economies with their wider plans for 2030 and beyond as financial reserves are replenished,” Forrester said.

“Efforts at localising equipment manufacture and diversifying economies away from oil revenues is seeing some countries expand their domestic defence industrial bases, particularly in areas of high-end defence technology where export controls may hamper the ready acquisition of advanced systems.”

“Unmanned systems, combat drones, and loitering munitions have all showed their utility on the battlefield over the past two years, and a race to develop and deploy sovereign technology is now clearly underway. Some countries are collaborating with peers to create new technologies and avoid regulatory stovepipes from foreign suppliers. However, a decentralisation in the development of unmanned technologies away from historical key technology developers means that operators in the MENA region are expected to increase their own expertise in the coming years,” Forrester said.

Fly, fly, fly away – Air power is a key force enabler

Air power – through manned and unmanned assets – is continuing to be a key force enabler for MENA countries to secure their boundaries as well as ensure their territorial integrity is enforced. Such capabilities will range from advanced aircraft, such as the Boeing F-15 Eagle and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, to attack helicopters and light strike aircraft. Similarly, advancements in intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) will drive capability enhancements and acquisitions in the near-term, as regional air forces work to enhance situational awareness and improve responsiveness to major threats such as ballistic missiles.

Janes Analysis: Climate change, the military and COP26

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Seoul’s ADEX escapes the worst of Covid-19 cancellations

by Gareth Jennings

As the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition 2021 is staged at Seoul Airport on the outskirts of the South Korean capital from 19 to 21 October, Gareth Jennings explores the expected developments at the show…

ADEX, as the event is popularly known, is rapidly becoming one of Asia-Pacific's most influential and prestigious aviation, aerospace and defence events, along with Aero India, Avalon in Australia, the Singapore Air Show, and the China Air Show in Zhuhai in China.

For organisers, the biennial show has been fortunate to escape the worst of the Covid-19 cancellations and postponements that have blighted other similar events over the last couple of years, with the previous ADEX in 2019 having been staged just ahead of the global shutdown, and this latest iteration coming just on the back of it. There will, however, be a reduced international participation at this year’s event as global travel restrictions remain place.

 

With Covid-19 having also taken the gloss off previously announced defence budget increases (in 2021, nearly USD500 million was shaved off defence expenditure for the year to help pay for the pandemic), South Korea in general and the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) in particular will be keen to once again being showing their wares to the world at this 14th running of ADEX.

Although the RoKAF has increasingly taken on an expeditionary role in recent years, it remains the threat from North Korea that drives the service's procurement and modernisation plans (for instance). To this end, the RoKAF's acquisition planning is focused primarily on strengthening its air combat capabilities with the latest precision strike and air defence assets, and ADEX will bring the latest news on a planned follow-on buy of the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), as well as latest developments on the KF-21 Boramae (previously known as KF-X) programme in particular. 

With a keen focus on military affairs, Janes interconnected intelligence spans across the globe. For those with a particular eye for South Korean aviation, please see below for our latest analysis of the country’s developments….

  • ADEX 2021: KF-21 Boramae to take centre-stage (read more)
  • ADEX 2021: Uncrewed aircraft to feature strongly in Seoul (read more)
  • ADEX 2021: Persistent threat from North Korea drives RoKAF modernisation (read more)
  • South Korea to buy 1,000 more UAVs by 2027 (read more)
  • South Korea advances space force plans (read more)
  • South Korean military to deploy VTOL UAVs for coastal surveillance and reconnaissance (read more)
  • South Korea testing several new missiles amid tensions with Pyongyang (read more)
  • South Korea to start trial operations of ‘grenade-launching' and ‘small modular' UAVs in 2022 (read more)
  • KAI to support Boeing in upgrading RoKAF's E-737 AEW&C aircraft (read more)    
  • Korean Air begins research on RoKAF-commissioned project to launch space rockets using commercial aircraft (read more)
  • Korean Air to bid for second Baekdu ISR project (read more)

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/terror-insurgent-group/latest/russian-casualties-mounting-in-central-african-republic-janes-analysis

Reports indicate 11 Russian-backed contractors have been killed in the Central Africa Republic (CAR)...

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