US-hosted summit highlights national security implications of climate change

by Christopher Hawkins

The United States Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines told the White House-hosted Leaders Summit on Climate on 22 April that climate change “must be at the centre of a country’s national security and foreign policy”. Haines said climate change “needs to be fully integrated with every aspect of our analysis in order to allow us not only to monitor the threat but also critically think to ensure that policymakers understand the implication of climate change on seemingly unrelated policies”.

Notably, the summit included a specific session during which Haines, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and the ministers of defence from Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Spain, and the United Kingdom spoke on the impact climate change has on security. During his remarks, Austin stated that climate change represented an “existential” threat to national security and was a “profoundly destabilising force for our world”.

Firefighters tackle a fire in vegetation in Silverado, California, on 3 December 2020. Climate change is increasing in prevalence in national security and intelligence assessments.  (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

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USMC stands up first operational CH-53K unit

by Gareth Jennings

A CH-53K King Stallion (foreground) and a CH-53E Super Stallion (background) are staged during a redesignation ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, on 24 January. The squadron received its first CH-53K King Stallion, and the ceremony signified the beginning of the US Marine Corps' modernisation from the legacy CH-53E to the CH-53K in support of the expeditionary warfare vision for future-force employment. (US Marines)

The US Marine Corps (USMC) has stood up its first operational unit for the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter, the service announced on 15 January.

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 461 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, North Carolina, has been formally redesignated as the first fleet CH-53K unit, trading in its CH-53E Super Stallions.

“The CH-53K will allow the quick massing of combat power, agile manoeuvre, resilient logistics, and predictive maintenance, and be used in the Marine Corps' execution of expeditionary advanced base operations, a key component of the commandant of the [US] Marine Corps' force design,” the USMC said.

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IAV 2022: Dragón IFV spearheads Spain's Army 35 transformation programme

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The first seven Dragón IFVs will be delivered in 2022. (Spanish MoD)

Janes learned details of Spain's Dragón infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) programme at the International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) conference held in London from 24 to 27 January. The IFV was described as the spearhead of Spain's Army 35 and as the most representative of that transformation programme.

Based on Spain's experience with improvised explosive devices in Lebanon and Afghanistan during the past couple of decades, an important emphasis of the programme is protection, with the IFV featuring NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4569 levels covering light armoured vehicles.

The 33-tonne vehicle has a speed of more than 100 km/h and a range of 500 km. It is air-transportable by A400M.

The Dragón will be armed with a Bushmaster II 30 mm gun, with ammunition including airburst munition, plus a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun. The tank hunter version will be armed with Spike LR2 missiles. A decision on whether the turret will be manned or unmanned is expected in 2023.

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NATO bolsters enhanced air policing mission

by Gareth Jennings

Two of the F-16s that Denmark is contributing to NATO's enhanced air policing mission. (NATO Allied Air Command)

NATO has bolstered its enhanced air policing (eAP) mission, with nations providing additional aircraft as concerns over Russian military action in Ukraine grow.

The alliance announced on 26 January that US Air Force (USAF) Boeing F-15E Strike Eagles and Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons were being dispatched to Estonia and Lithuania respectively to supplement the current Baltic Air Policing mission.

“[USAF] F-15s have landed at Amari Air Base, Estonia, [on 26 Janaury] and [RDAF] F-16s will arrive at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, [on 27 January] to bolster the forces already deployed under the long-established NATO Air Policing mission,” NATO Allied Air Command said. “Danish F-16s will arrive in Siauliai to work alongside the Polish F-16s that deployed there on 1 December 2021 to conduct Baltic Air Policing. The US F-15s landed at Amari to integrate with the current detachment of Belgian F-16s; both detachments will execute the enhanced Air Policing mission.”

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The United States Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines told the White House-hosted L...

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