A few curated defense and security links to start off the week:
First, the situation on the Korean peninsula has acutely heated up after North and South Korea exchanged fire. North Korea fired artillery across the Northern Limit Line and the South responded by scrambling jets and returning fire into the Yellow Sea. The Diplomat will be watching the situation closely and updating as more information emerges.
South Korea upped its air power capabilities with the delivery of the nation’s first two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. The delivery makes the ROK the 14th country to possess the formidable C-130J, which is a powerful multi-role supply aircraft, capable of taking off and landing on improvised airstrips and carrying massive cargo. “For almost three decades, Republic of Korea Air Force crews have relied on C-130s to support humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in the Pacific Rim region. The arrival of South Korea’s new Super Hercules fleet ensures that these critical missions not only will continue, but extend for many more decades the added capabilities only the C-130J can provide,” said George Shultz, the manager of the C-130 Program at Lockheed. In addition to adding the C-130J to its air force, South Korea has also decided to invest in the fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Speaking of the C-130J, one of the Indian Air Force’s virtually new aircraft crashed last week, killing all five air force personnel on board and creating additional controversy for an Indian military already plagued by several accidents. The investigation into the causes of the crash is underway; India has sent the black box of the downed C-130J to Lockheed Martin to inquire into the causes of the crash. The C-130J’s reputation for reliability made the crash a shocking event for the Indian defense community. In addition to being a particularly expensive air asset for the IAF, the C-130J serves several important purposes in India’s air strategy. Observers in India are speculating that the C-130J may have crashed because it had counterfeit parts from China. The speculation is based on a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee investigation that found counterfeit electronic parts “used in the C-130J, C-27J, and many other US military systems.”
The use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems (or “drones”) in Afghanistan looks be ramping down. A Foreign Policy piece finds that the decline in RPA use is linked with a general decline in high-tech military equipment use as troop levels begin to fall in Afghanistan. This challenges the conventional narrative of RPAs being a supplement to infantry and on-the-ground forces. The trend seems to apply to surveillance equipment as well as drones in general.