Focus - Analysis - Photo report

The Russian military in six years accepted into service 217 strategic ballistic missiles, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told the State Duma defense committee. Since 2012, the Strategic Missile Forces have received 109 RS-24 Yars ICBM and the Navy - 108 ballistic submarine-launched missiles. Russia is actively rearming its strategic nuclear forces, the Izvestia daily writes.

"Today (March 12) the Department of Defense rolls out our FY 2020 budget proposal. With the largest research and development request in 70 years, this strategy-driven budget makes necessary investments in next-generation technology, space, missiles, and cyber capabilities. The operations and capabilities supported by this budget will strongly position the US military for great power competition for decades to come." - Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan.

The Russian armed forces will for the first time receive medium-range attack drones in 2019, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told the State Duma defense committee. He noted that, since 2012, 38 military units have been formed in the Russian army, equipped with over 2,000 military drones. "Starting this year, we will be receiving medium-range attack and surveillance vehicles," the minister said.

The long term planning process outlines the continuous development of the Norwegian Defence Sector with respect to organization, infrastructure (garrisons and bases), personnel (numbers, composition, and qualifications) and materiel (existing equipment and new acquisitions). This process is carried out under the direction of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The Russian defense industry is facing two tasks because of the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty and subsequent Russian suspension of it. It has to create ground-based Kalibr cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 km and a hypersonic intermediate ballistic missile. The Izvestia writes how complicated the projects are and whether they can be fulfilled on time.

Nearly 40 Oregon Army National Guard soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, traveled to British Columbia, Canada, Jan. 24-28, 2019, to participate in the Westie Avalanche Exercise alongside the Royal Westminster Regiment (RWR), 39th Canadian Brigade Group (CBG). Sgt. 1st Class April Davis reports on the US Army's website.

The large-scale Israeli air raid on Syrian facilities on the night of January 21 is widely discussed by Russian and world media. Some experts hurried to describe it as a rout of the Syrian air defense and others said Russian air defense was routed in Syria. However photos and videos and satellite pictures provide a more objective picture, the Izvestia daily writes. This time, the Israeli aircraft selected both Iranian targets and air defense systems in Syria. The latter acquires experience and downs precision weapons. As a result, Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) attack was launched against it.

President Trump has warned Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro that a military action is an option in case he orders armed intimidation against self-declared Venezuelan ad interim president Guaidó and the Venezulan opposition. U.S. forces are preparing a possible intervention, starting namely from the Colombian soil, it seems. So, Maduro is sending his army, currently loyal to him, to that border.

As explained by Joy Mitra on The Diplomat, on the heels of the first and the second nuclear ages, respectively shaped by bipolar nuclear competition and nuclear non-proliferation concerns, the dawn of a “third nuclear age,” a much-debated concept, seems incumbent with the world witnessing a renewed strategic competition between the three superpower states of the United States, Russia, and China. The United States also faces a nuclear rivalry with regional powers like North Korea, which continues to modernize its arsenal, and Iran, which could pursue an intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM).

North Korea has been operating at least 20 missile sites not reported — including one that serves as the headquarters for the military unit in charge of ballistic missiles, a new report details, echoed by Tom Squitieri on TMN.

The 2-million strong PLA, China's army, has cut the size of its ground forces by about 50 per cent but significantly boosted its navy and air force as part of an "unprecedented" strategic shift designed to transform the People's Liberation Army (PLA) into a comprehensive modern force, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported quoting a state-run Xinhua report. Shanghai-based military analyst Ni Lexiong said the overhaul marked a significant strategic shift from having a homeland-based defensive force to one with the capacity to allow Beijing to flex its muscles beyond its national borders and to protect its interests overseas.

The operation in Syria has revealed some drawbacks of serially produced armored vehicles. In order to fix them, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has intensified the development of upgraded platforms, including the T-90M and T-80BVM main battle tanks (MBTs). At the same time, the previously developed T-90A has demonstrated very high protection performance.

During the operations in Syria, the newest communications and reconnaissance systems, electronic warfare devices, and the Ratnik combat gear have been successfully tested. Both serially produced and advanced systems have been operated in combat, according to Russian officials.

As of early 2017, the tank inventory of the Syrian governmental troops comprised several types of main battle tanks (MBTs), including T-55A, T-55AMV, T-62, T-72AV, T-72, T-72B, and T-72M1. The exact number of the vehicles in service is still unknown; however, the Syrian Armed Forces operated some 2,500 MBTs, including 1,200 T-55s, 500 T-62s, no fewer than 700 T-72s, and 800 stored T-54 prior to the conflict. It was therefore T-55 that formed the backbone of the Syrian armor units. At present, the governmental troops intensively use upgraded T-55s, with part of them equipped with explosive reactive armor (ERA) tiles.