A few curated mid-week defense and security links:
Indian scientists have developed the country’s first low-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The UAV, known as the P1, is expected to have a flying time of over 10 hours with a maximum altitude of 5,000 feet and an operating radius of 150 kilometers. Among other applications, the P1 will likely play an important role in helping the Indian military better monitor its land borders against Pakistani and Chinese intrusions. Apart from its military applications, the UAV will likely also be used for civilian applications including pollution monitoring and crowd control.
In other news, China has sent a submarine to the relatively distant Gulf of Aden off the coast of Africa to assist in counter-piracy operations. According to the Chinese Ministry of Defense, this is a first for China. The announcement comes a week after Iran and China held naval exercises focusing on counter-piracy in nearby waters. The submarine was spotted earlier in September refueling at a Sri Lankan port, prompting the Chinese MoD to issue a statement noting that the port visit to Sri Lanka was “routine” in an attempt to quell Indian fears about gradual Chinese encroachment into the Indian Ocean. “What needs to be pointed out is that it is a common practice for navies of all countries to have their submarines and ships replenished at certain intervals at ports,” Col. Geng Yansheng, a spokesperson for the Chinese MoD, remarked. That said, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is generally expanding its operations in the region in an attempt to gain more blue water experience and develop its capabilities as a more expeditionary force.
The West applauded when France decided to halt the sale of its Mistral-class warships to Russia earlier this year. Particularly after the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down over Ukraine, France felt immense international pressure to back off on the sale. According to IHS Jane’s 360, Russia is preparing legal action against France for suspending the Mistral-class Vladivostok sale to Russia. Although France announced that it would suspend the sale of the ship to Russia in early September, a ceasefire has gone into effect in Ukraine since that date, prompting France to permit the Vladivostok to head into sea trials. According to Jane‘s Russian source, France could potential have to pay out to the tune of 3 billion euros should the Russian litigation succeed.
Thailand, which is currently being ruled by a military junta following a May coup, put in a request for additional UH-72A Lakota helicopters from the United States. Washington suspended all military aid and canceled military dealings with the government of Thailand following the military coup in May.
An Indian firm has been given a contract to build an airbase for Oman.
Finally, to end with an opinion piece, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) takes to the pages of Foreign Policy to call for a U.S. “Pivot to India.” McCain notes: “
Too often, our relationship has felt like a laundry list of initiatives that amounts to no more than the sum of its parts. Too often, we have been overly driven by domestic politics and overly focused on extracting concessions from one another, rather than investing in one another’s success and defining priorities that can bring clarity and common purpose to our actions. Our strategic relationship has unfortunately devolved into a transactional one.”