RUSSIA’S TACTICAL LOSS AT KHERSON COULD BE COMPOUNDED BY STRATEGIC WOUNDING AT G20
As the Ukrainian military took control of Kherson following the retreat of Russian forces from the city, there were celebrations in the streets, yet again showing President Putin’s lie that the population welcomed the Russian’s as liberators. But the liberation of the Ukrainian side of the city still leaves the Russians holding the land east of the Dnepr, and well within artillery range should they begin a vindictive new phase of this war.
As war commentators have already pointed out, this has strategically taken the pressure off the southern port city of Odessa, which early in the conflict, seemed to have been a target for Russian forces to capture. The blow of retreating from Kherson, together with the earlier sinking of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea fleet flagship, Moskva, as well as the Ukrainian recapture of Snake Island, have significantly reduced the threat to Odessa.
This does not mean that Russia will not fight back in some other area, although the amount of intelligence that the Ukrainians are receiving from NATO sources make a surprise attack elsewhere highly unlikely.
At the G20 summit in Indonesia, there appears to have been some initial attempts at détente between US President Biden and China’s Premier Xi Jinping. According to White House sources, during a three hour meeting both of the leaders have condemned Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons.
There is discussion among political watchers that President Xi was to some extent ‘blindsided’ by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, having previously joined with Russia’s President Putin to affirm the closeness of the two nations – both of whom are seen as looking to change the established world order. However, with China firmly attending the G-20 with the US, Putin is looking like an outcast as he sends his envoy, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, to face down the waves of realism and dissent that are likely to pour his way over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the world of strategic political manoeuvring, President Xi is in pole position to negotiate around the G-20 table to extract maximum gains in exchange for hardening his stance against Russia, which is increasingly looking like a weakening and unreliable ally.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“”By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin
BOLD AND UNMANNED, PROVING THE BLACK HAWK’S AUTONOMOUS POTENTIAL
During mid-October (12th, 14th & 18th), an unmanned Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk was demonstrated to the US Army at the Yuma Proving ground in Arizona during the Army’s Project Convergence Technology Gateway 2022 exercise.
Sikorsky in partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), conducted several demonstrations of the Black Hawk which was equipped with DARPA’s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) programme working with Sikorsky’s MATRIX technology.
The demonstration was organised to show Army leadership the potential that autonomous rotorALIAS/MATRIX craft could deliver in terms of extra mission capability while reducing crew workload. In this respect, as Igor Cherepinsky, director of Sikorsky Innovations, pointed out, this could mean that a deployed helicopter could be used 8x8x8 during a 24 hour day – eight hours manned flights, eight hours unmanned flight, and eight hours maintenance. “That would dramatically increase the mission effectiveness of the UH-60,” suggested Cherepinksy.
Three different missions were organised during the exercise. The first to simulate an extended medical resupply. The Black Hawk flew a round trip of 83 miles, loaded internally with 400 units of real (past usable date) and simulated blood with a combined weight of 500 pounds (226 kilogrammes). Aspects of the flight involved the unmanned helicopter flying at 200 feet above ground level at 100 knots (185km/h), simulating terrain-masking capabilities.
A cargo delivery demonstration saw the unmanned UH-60 lift a 2,400lb (1,088kg) external load using a 40ft sling. it then flew at 100kts for 30 minutes to a pre-set landing zone. Course changes were introduced to simulate the discovery of potential threats en route. Control of the helicopter was then taken by a soldier on the ground, directing it to drop its load, then collect and evacuate a simulated (manikin) casualty.
The combined scenarios were staged at the Army’s direction, with the outcome feeding into their thinking on how they might operate autonomous capable rotorcraft in challenging missions.
The ALIAS/ MATRIX combination can also assist manned helicopter flights by helping with decision making, including working with onboard sensors that help the pilots during flights in degraded visual environment. Other equipment such as LIDARs and cameras can also be incorporated.
US MAJOR ARMS SALES (Defence Security Cooperation Agency – DSCA).
9 November, 2022 – Sultanate of Oman. JOINT STAND OFF WEAPONS (JSOW).
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Oman of Joint Stand Off Weapons (JSOW) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $385 million.
9 November, 2022 – Lithuania. M142 HIGH MOBILITY ARTILLERY ROCKET SYSTEM (HIMARS).
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Lithuania of M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) Launchers and related equipment for an estimated cost of $495 million.
8 November, 2022 – Belgium. ADVANCED MEDIUM RANGE AIR-TO-AIR MISSILES FOR F-16 AND F-35 PROGRAMS.
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Belgium of AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and related equipment for a total estimated cost of $380 million.
2 November, 2022 – Australia. C-130J-30 AIRCRAFT.
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of C-130J-30 aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $6.35 billion.
2 November, 2022 – Finland. GUIDED MULTIPLE LAUNCH ROCKET SYSTEMS (GMLRS).
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Finland of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $535 million.
VIETNAM DEFENCE EXPO 2022
8-10 December 2022
17-20 January 2023, Las Vegas, USA
Thanks for reading,
Armada International / Asian Military Review