Mil News USA, Canada & Caribbean Nations Military News & Discussion Thread

Canada has finalized a government-to-government agreement with the United States (US) government for the acquisition of up to 16 P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Fourteen multi-mission aircraft will be procured, with options for up to an additional two.

The P-8A will replace Canada’s current maritime patrol aircraft, the CP-140 Aurora, which has been in service for more than 40 years. As it ages, the CP-140 aircraft is becoming increasingly difficult to support, expensive to sustain, and less operationally relevant in comparison to the threats against which it must defend. This procurement will allow Canada to seamlessly transition to a replacement capability, thereby ensuring that Canada can continue to meet its domestic needs and international obligations.

After significant engagement and thorough analysis, we are confident that the P-8A delivers the best anti-submarine and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities for our country. The aircraft will operate seamlessly with allies. This platform is a proven capability that is operated by all our Five Eyes allies—the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand—as well as other defence partners.
The $874.2 billion fiscal 2024 National Defence Authorisation Act, finalised in conference late December 6, would fully authorise the trilateral AUKUS agreement with Australia and Britain and codify into law a new nuclear mission for Virginia-class submarines. It would also require a comprehensive Defence Department training program for Taiwanese troops and set up a special inspector general for Ukraine aid.

“Our nation faces unprecedented threats from China, Iran, Russia and North Korea,” the four Republican and Democratic leaders on the Armed Services committees said in a joint statement. “It is vital that we act now to protect our national security.”

Congress is expected to vote on the bill before the holidays. But it’s likely to face substantial opposition from the right-wing House Freedom Caucus as it removes many of their amendments, including one that would have overturned the Pentagon’s abortion travel leave policy and another that would have barred the Defence Department from implementing President Joe Biden’s climate change executive orders.

Over the summer, Democrats defected from the normally bipartisan bill in droves after Republicans added these amendments, prompting the House to narrowly pass it 219-210 mainly along party lines. The influential Heritage Action, the lobbying arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, has vowed to oppose the compromise bill because it does not include the abortion amendment.

After months of uncertainty, the bill includes all four authorizations needed to implement the AUKUS agreement, through which the US and Britain will help Australia develop its own nuclear-powered submarine fleet in the decades ahead, starting with the transfer of at least three Virginia-class submarines in the 2030s.

Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, blocked two of the authorisations when the Senate passed its version of the bill 86-11 in July amid concerns about the beleaguered US submarine industrial base. Wicker had demanded additional investments to expand submarine production capacity. The Senate’s massive defence supplemental spending request includes $3 billion to do this, but its fate is uncertain amid partisan disputes over immigration policy.

Wicker in the conference legislation agreed to authorise three Virginia-class submarine transfers under the condition they would not take effect until a year after the defence bill becomes law, giving Congress more time to pass the supplemental submarine funding.

Two other AUKUS authorisations permit the Defence Department to accept another $3 billion contribution to the US submarine industrial base from Canberra and allow workers from Australia’s private sector the training they need to maintain and use the nuclear-powered submarines.

The fourth authorisation gives Australia and Britain an exemption to the US export control regime if they develop comparable laws of their own governing arms transfers. Congressional critics of current US export control laws argue this is necessary to implement a second pillar of the pact in which the three countries will jointly develop disruptive technology such as hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
The US Missile Defense Agency and Boeing have tested the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense missile defense system. A GMD missile successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile in space. During the test, the upgraded GBI interceptor released an exoatmospheric kinetic device while the rocket's second boost stage was operating in a three-stage flight. Now, with the help of the third stage, you can adjust the operation of the interceptor, which makes it possible to hit a target that could not be immediately intercepted. Ground-Based Midcourse Defense is a missile defense system of the United States of America designed to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles outside the earth's atmosphere. The system was put into operation in 2005. According to the latest data, 44 anti-missile installations are deployed in the United States.

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Another Osprey crash, they are certainly earning their rep as a widow maker :confused:
its a complex bird. I think they already found a reason, a clutch failure, so that will feed straight into to maintenance etc.

But its much faster than a helo.

But sad for all involved.
US Air Force fighter pilots flew an average 129 hours per annum last year, materiel readiness dropped to 60%: Source

Interesting article. Never thought I'd live to see the day when German air force pilots fly more hours than their American comrades. America was always the reference for us when it came to what money can do.

Obviously the author is as insightful as he is biased, considering his role at a conservative think tank. From an outsider's perspective, he raises some pretty interesting points. I'm not sure if he's right about the impact he attributes to the lowering of standards in the name of racial diversity, though. I mean, the leniency of the new rules looks pretty reckless to me, but they were only instituted in 2021. The beneficiaries haven't become pilots yet.
The American company General Atomics Aeronautical Systems showed a new reconnaissance UAV XQ-67A. The UAV was created as part of the Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) program, which provides for the placement on the slave UAV of various sensors of the leading aircraft, this will significantly increase the range of the reconnaissance capabilities of the aircraft. The main focus of the OBSS program is on passive infrared sensors that are immune to electronic countermeasures and can detect targets that are subtle to radar. Several drones with such sensors can be combined into a network controlled by the lead aircraft.

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Former U.S. Ambassador Accused of Being Cuban Agent Signals Guilty Plea.

Mr. Manuel Rocha was born in Colombia and grew up in New York
. Mr.Rocha was charged in December with acting as an agent of a foreign government and defrauding the United States, in a case involving one of the biggest national security breaches in years.

By Patricia Mazzei, David C. Adams and Ernesto Londoño

Patricia Mazzei and David C. Adams reported from Miami. Ernesto Londoño reported from Minneapolis.

Feb. 29, 2024

A former U.S. ambassador accused of working for decades as a secret agent for Cuba said on Thursday that he would plead guilty, a move that would bring to a swift end to the case surrounding one of the biggest national security breaches in years.

Manuel Rocha, 73, told Judge Beth Bloom in federal court in Miami that he would change his plea, signaling that he is prepared to plead guilty. He was charged in December with acting as an agent of a foreign government and defrauding the United States. He also faces charges of wire fraud and making false statements to obtain and use a U.S. passport.

Mr. Rocha is expected to plead guilty to two counts of conspiring to act as a foreign agent. Each count carries a maximum sentence of five to 10 years in prison. Prosecutors are expected to drop the other charges; the wire fraud charge carried a 20-year maximum sentence. He had pleaded not guilty in mid-February.

Mr. Rocha’s lawyer, Jacqueline M. Arango, indicated in court on Thursday that she and prosecutors have reached an agreement on his possible prison term, The Associated Press reported, though details were not made public. He is scheduled to formally plead guilty and be sentenced on April 12.

The indictment said that Mr. Rocha, a career diplomat and former ambassador to Bolivia who briefly worked in a White House role under President Bill Clinton, had aided the Cuban government since at least 1981. He was posted at the U.S. mission in Havana during the 1990s.

“This action exposes one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the U.S. government by a foreign agent,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said after Mr. Rocha’s arrest in December.

Mr. Rocha was born in Colombia and grew up in New York. He worked in the State Department under Mr. Clinton and President George W. Bush, handling matters related to Latin America. He served as ambassador to Bolivia from 2000 to 2002 and as an adviser to the U.S. military command that includes Cuba from 2006 to 2012.

Federal prosecutors have said that Cuba’s aggressive intelligence agency may have recruited Mr. Rocha in Chile in the early 1970s. Cuba, which has had hostile relations with the United States since the 1960s, has had remarkable success in infiltrating the U.S. national security establishment over the decades.

The indictment against Mr. Rocha did not give specifics of his dealings with the Cuban government or accuse him of sharing specific secrets. He was notably not charged with espionage, though his ability to access classified information would have been enormously valuable to Cuba and its allies.

After leaving government, Mr. Rocha moved to Miami, where he worked in several private sector ventures. Former colleagues said they were stunned as they watched Mr. Rocha become an ardent supporter of former President Donald J. Trump.

The indictment suggested that Mr. Rocha’s conservative politics may have been part of an effort to cover his tracks. Prosecutors said that Mr. Rocha told an undercover F.B.I. agent who posed as a Cuban spy handler that he had pretended to be “a right-wing person” during his time in Miami.

In conversations the undercover agent secretly recorded, Mr. Rocha is quoted as having bragged about his work for the Cubans, once calling it “a grand slam.”

Two other former American officials who were revealed as Cuban spies struck plea deals that compelled them to be debriefed about their knowledge of Havana’s intelligence efforts.

Ana Belén Montes, a former analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, pleaded guilty to being a Cuban agent after she was arrested in September 2001. Ms. Montes was released last year.

Ms. Montes’s cooperation led the F.B.I. to charge another former U.S. official who is accused of having served as a Cuban agent for years. That official, Marta Rita Velazquez, who worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development, fled to Sweden after Ms. Montes was arrested and remains a fugitive. An indictment against Ms. Velazquez was unsealed in 2013.

The second major Cuba espionage case in recent years involved Walter Kendall Myers, a former State Department official who pleaded guilty in 2009 to spying for Cuba for decades. Mr. Myers is serving a life sentence. His wife, Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, who was also charged in the case, was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison.


Navy fires commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group Eight​

Navy Capt. Richard A. Zaszewski was fired as commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group Eight on Wednesday, service officials have announced.

Zaszewski is a Silver Star recipient and his many other military awards include three Bronze Stars, one with a “V” device for valor; the Combat Action Ribbon, Legion of Merit, Inherent Resolve Campaign medal, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal, according to his service record, which was provided to Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, relieved Zaszewski “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” a Navy news release says.

“Navy leaders are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct,” the press release says. “They are expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability, and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of those standards.”

NSWG Eight was created in 2021 to combine two other special warfare groups, NSGW Three and Ten. Based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia, NSWG 8 oversees about a dozen secretive units that are manned by SEALs and other specialists that support the missions of traditional SEAL Teams, according to a Navy release. Those units include specialized miniature submarines used by SEALs known as Dry Combat Submersible (DCS) and SEAL Delivery Vehicles (SDV), along with Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUV). The group also oversees Special Reconnaissance Teams and elements that focus on cyber, space and unmanned systems.

Navy Capt. Stig Sanness, deputy commodore for Naval Special Warfare Group Eight, has assumed the duties as commodore of the group.

A Naval Special Warfare Command did not elaborate on why Davids relieved Zaszewski.

“The decision was made with careful consideration of the facts and the imperative to uphold the high standards of Navy leadership.” the spokesperson told Task & Purpose.

No further information was immediately available about why Zaszewski was fired. The military services often use the phrase “loss of confidence” to avoid providing the specific reasons why officers and senior enlisted leaders are relieved.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) confirms that its Mojave Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) destroyed static targets in live-fire tests on April 13, 2024, validating the system’s battlefield relevance and recording another milestone for the demonstrator aircraft.

GA-ASI partnered with Dillon Aero to mount two of Dillon’s DAP-6 Gun Pod Systems onto the Mojave aircraft. Mojave performed seven passes across two flights during the demonstration, expending around 10,000 rounds of ammunition as the UAS shredded a variety of targets.
The US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA showed tests of the RACER unmanned heavy transport platform. The RACER Heavy Platform autonomous robotic transport vehicle weighs 12 tons and expands the US autonomous vehicle series, which already includes the lightweight two-ton RACER RFV. The test was carried out in Texas, testing the drone's ability to follow a route on rough terrain. RACER RHP uses the Textron M5 base platform, used in US Army campaigns and designed for testing robotic vehicles.

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USN discovering (like the RAN) that massive rework of an existing warship design adds weight, cost and delays.

USS Constellation class now share only 15% commonality with original FREMM platform and lead vessel cost underestimated by 40%


The Mesquite military plant in the United States will supply shells to Ukraine. The first video from the new US military plant in Mesquite, Texas. The plant is run by General Dynamics but owned by the Pentagon. The plant is designed to produce metal shell shells with calibers from 60 mm to 155 mm. The Universal Artillery Projectile Lines (UAPL) plant has a high degree of automation and is capable of producing up to 30,000 155 mm artillery shells per month. Some of the shells are planned to be sent to Ukraine. The shells will be filled with explosives at a military plant in Burlington, Indiana. Currently, metal shell casings in the United States are produced at two plants in Pennsylvania; they produce 36 thousand units of shells per month. We have already shown one of the military factories. By 2025, the United States plans to produce up to 100 thousand 155-caliber shells every month. It also became known that the United States initiated negotiations with Turkey on increasing purchases of Turkish-made TNT for use as an explosive filler in American-made ammunition.

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Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks will produce more than 1.500 Zetros logistics trucks for a major order from the Canadian Department of National Defence. The Canadian Armed Forces plans to use the vehicles for the off-road transportation of goods and personnel. Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks, Marshall Canada, Soframe, Manac, and General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS-Canada) make up the commissioned “The Power Team” consortium. The five enterprises are working together to implement the order for the modernization of the Canadian logistics fleet as part of the “Logistics Vehicle Modernization” (LVM) project.

Franziska Cusumano, Head of Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks, said: “We are delighted to be working with our four strong partners to equip the Canadian logistics fleet. This contract reflects the level of confidence one of the largest NATO countries has in our partner network – in our experience, reliability and technical competence. Together, we will supply the right products and provide the best possible in-service support for many years to come.”

The highly off-road-capable trucks of the Zetros model series will serve as the common vehicle chassis and will be produced in Wörth am Rhein. Marshall Canada will produce a range of interchangeable 10ft and 20ft mission modules capable of being mounted onto Mercedes-Benz Zetros trucks. Manac will provide different trailers, while Soframe is in charge of the armor for the vehicles. General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS-Canada) will serve as prime integrator in this procurement project of the Canadian Department of National Defence. In total, Canada will receive over 1.000 light Zetros (two-axle vehicles with all-wheel drive, 4x4) and approximately 500 heavy Zetros (four-axle vehicles with all-wheel drive, 8x8).

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