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Mattis warns ‘massive’ response to North Korea nuclear weapon use

Mattis warns 'massive' response to North Korea nuclear weapon use

(Source: AFP | Photo: JUNG Yeon-Je)
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on Saturday warned North Korea of a “massive military response” to any use of nuclear weapons as tensions remain sky-high ahead of Donald Trump’s visit to South Korea.

Pyongyang in recent months has sparked global alarm by conducting a sixth nuclear test and test-launching missiles capable of reaching the US mainland, while Trump and the North’s young ruler Kim Jong-Un have traded threats of war and personal insults.

Mattis, on a trip to Seoul for annual defence talks, maintained that diplomacy remained a “preferred course of action” but stressed, “our diplomats are most effective when backed by credible military force”.

“Make no mistake – any attack on the United States or our allies will be defeated,”

Mattis said at a joint press conference with his South Korean counterpart Song Young-Moo.

“Any use of nuclear weapons by the North will be met with a massive military response, effective and overwhelming,”

Mattis said, adding Washington “does not accept a nuclear North Korea.”

“I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States will accept North Korea as a nuclear power,”

he said.

Mattis did not specify the threshold of nuclear weapon activity that would trigger a military response. Pyongyang’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month that his country could test a nuclear bomb over the Pacific.

But Mattis said Pyongyang should “harbour no illusion”, saying the isolated state is militarily “overmatched” by the US and South Korea — a key ally of Washington that hosts 28,500 US troops.
Not rushing to war
Mattis’ trip comes ahead of Trump’s first presidential visit to South Korea next month as part of his Asia tour which also includes Japan, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

All eyes will be on Trump’s message to the North and Kim. Trump is expected to deliver a speech at the South’s parliament and to visit an US military base during a November 7-8 trip to Seoul.

Trump’s recent remark that “only one thing will work” with the North fuelled concerns of a potential conflict on the divided peninsula where the 1950-53 Korean War had left millions dead.

But Mattis has repeatedly stressed a diplomatic solution to ease tension during his trip to Asia this week, saying Washington was “not rushing to war” and its goal was “not war.”

Some Trump advisers have said US military options are limited when Pyongyang could launch an artillery barrage on the South’s capital Seoul — only about 50 kilometres from the border and home to 10 million people.

The North is estimated to have some 10,000 artillery pieces and at least 50 short-range missiles stationed along its heavily fortified border with the South.

The country has made significant progress in its atomic and missile technology under Kim, who took power after the death of his father and longtime ruler, Kim Jong-Il, in 2011.

Since then he has overseen four of the country’s six nuclear tests and hailed its nuclear weapons as a “treasured sword” to protect itself from potential invasion by the “imperialist enemy” the US.

Growing nuclear threats by the North prompted calls by some Seoul lawmakers to deploy tactical US nuclear weapons in the South, but Song dismissed such a possibility.

“We believe that tactical nukes are not worth deploying to the Korean peninsula,”

Song said, adding Seoul was capable of responding to potential nuclear attacks by the North without its own atomic weapon.

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The First of Four Red Flag-Alaska Exercises Scheduled for 2018 Was Held

The First of Four Red Flag-Alaska Exercises Scheduled for 2018 Was Held

WASHINGTON (the USA), May 18, 2018, Author: Galina Zdravkova, Photo: Senior Airman Isaac Johnson/U.S. Air Force

The first of four scheduled for 2018 exercises, Red Flag-Alaska 18-1, was held from 30th April to 11th May, reported Defense News.

The other three exercises, Red Flag-Alaska 18-2, 18-3 and 19-1 are scheduled for June 11 – 22, 2018, Aug. 11 – 24, 2018, and Oct. 8 – 19, 2018 respectively.

This was the first time in the history of Red Flag-Alaska when the U.S. Air Force and Army together with NATO allies demonstrated a joint capability.

Red Flag-Alaska is a unique initiative that provides a more realistic operational training environment.

The radar technician, Staff Sgt. Ryan Goll, explained, “Red Flag-Alaska provides the type of training that is only replicable in real-life combat situations. It’s a really good example of the air-to-air component. Tracking enemy fighters and actually getting our communications gear jammed — this is more than your typical sortie or exercise; Red Flag is the most realistic training you’re going to get.”

And the air battle manager, Capt. Noel Conrard, added, “When we are at home station [training] it’s like a backyard football scrimmage; we just don’t have as many players. But at a large force exercise like Red Flag-Alaska, it’s like playing on a regular sized football field. We execute different tactics and integrate with more assets. It allows the E-3 to be used to the fullest extent of its capabilities.”

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The U.S. Marine Corps Accepted the Delivery of its First CH-53K

The U.S. Marine Corps Accepted the Delivery of its First CH-53K

JACKSONVILLE (North Carolina, the USA), May 18, 2018, Author: Galina Zdravkova, Photo: the Marine Corps

On the 16th May, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) accepted the delivery of its first CH-53 King Stallion heavy lift helicopter at the New River Air Station in Jacksonville, North Carolina, reported Defense News.

The new acquisition of the Marine Corps is reported to be the most powerful helicopter within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

In a command release, the deputy commandant for aviation, Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder stated, “I am very proud of the work accomplished to deliver the most powerful helicopter ever designed into the hands of our Marines.”

Except its powerfulness the CH-53K also features an exceptional bearing capacity by lifting almost three times the weight of the CH-53E. The latter has been demonstrated in January, when the helicopter managed to lift a 19,000 pound (around 8,618 kg) Joint Light Tactical Vehicle at 100 feet (around 30 m) for about ten minutes.

Unfortunately, before 2019, it will not be operational.

With regard to the above, in a command release, it was explained from the Corps that, “The helicopter’s arrival to New River enters it into the Supportability Test Plan where U.S. Marines will conduct a logistical assessment on the maintenance, sustainment and overall aviation logistics support of the King Stallion.”

The first international debut of the CH-53K took place in April at ILA Berlin air show.

The intentions of the Corps include delivery of 200 CH-53Ks, eight of which are already contracted. According to Sikorsky Aircraft, the manufacturer of the CH-53K, a second one will be delivered to the Corps in the beginning of 2019.

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Zetor Engineering Presents Its Tactical Vehicles GERLACH and FOX at IDEB 2018

Zetor Engineering Presents Its Tactical Vehicles GERLACH and FOX at IDEB 2018

BRATISLAVA (Slovakia), May 17, 2018, Author: Zetor Engineering Slovakia, Photo: Zetor Engineering (GERLACH Project)

The international defence exhibition IDEB 2018 in Bratislava, from 16 to 18, 2018, welcomed lots of novelties, among which are the Armored Tactical 4×4 vehicle, GERLACH, and the lightweight tactical vehicle, FOX, presented by Zetor Engineering Slovakia, a.s., which is part of HTC INVESTMENTS, a.s.

GERLACH is a tactical vehicle that involves the latest technical, construction, as well as combat experience from this century. GERLACH offers a new level of protection, modularity, mobility and comfort for the most diverse types of deployment at a highly competitive price (the basic version starts at EUR 398.000).

Zetor Engineering Presents Its Tactical Vehicles GERLACH and FOX at IDEB 2018

Armoured Vehicle – Gerlach, Picture by Zetor Engineering

The key features of GERLACH include optional ballistic and anti-mine protection, which allows you to configure GERLACH up to protection level STANAG 4569 Volume 3, i.e. to one of the highest levels specified in the so-called IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device Systems); high mobility, which is particularly achieved thanks to unique construction solutions and the use of high-quality key components from renowned European suppliers; and a combination of comfortable crew compartment – besides the usual 2+2 and 2+3, it also offers the above-standard crew members of 2+4.

In relation to the GERLACH project, the company targets all markets where procurement or replacement of obsolete 4×4 multipurpose vehicles is under way.

For its part, FOX is a rapid deployment vehicle, which has undergone foreign military tests. It shows high off-road performance of the RDV (Rapid Deployment Vehicle) category and is intended for the needs of special forces or rapid deployment forces. The vehicle transports a four-member crew and equipment, including armaments. The key attributes of FOX include high off-road 4×4 performance, low weight, configuration adaptability in accordance with the requirements of the customers.

Zetor Engineering Presents Its Tactical Vehicles GERLACH and FOX at IDEB 2018

Rapid Development Vehicle – VOX, Picture by Zetor Engineering

The vehicle was first presented at IDET 2017. At IDEB 2018, the company is showcasing again the FOX due to the positive feedback from IDET 2017.

Zetor Engineering Slovakia was founded in June 2000. It is a professional partner for development, innovation and comprehensive delivery solutions in the field of defence industry. The GERLACH project has also involved several other companies from the engineering sector, which are also part of HTC Investment a.s. – Zetor Engineering Brno, Ltd., IPM Engineering, Ltd., as well as ZETOR Tractors.

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Large Presence of Local and International Light Tactical Products at SOFEX

Large Presence of Local and International Light Tactical Products at SOFEX

AMMAN (Jordan), May 16, 2018, Author: Galina Zdravkova, Photo: Oshkosh Defense (S-ATV)

During the 12th Special Operations Forces Exhibition SOFEX, in Jordan last week (8th – 10th May) it was noticed the large presence of local and international light tactical products, reported Defence News.

In that connection, the marketing and communication manager of the KADDB Investment Group based in Jordan, Abdallah Al Salman, stated, “The new type of threats faced today requires the use of light vehicles able to meet the demand of the countries confronting terrorism in an asymmetric environment where the assemblage of terrorist groups is becoming more concentrated in residential areas. In order to counter this new type of threats, you certainly need smaller and lighter, high-manoeuvrable vehicles.”

Among the other examples that Al Salman gave in relation to the above mentioned was the exhibited Al-Washaq armoured personnel carrier (APC), which is the latest version of the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB). It has been developed after the requirements of customers, who need “smaller vehicles to manoeuvre in narrow neighbourhoods and streets.” On its roof may be installed different weapons.

Another tactical product that was presented during the exhibition was the Special Purpose All-Terrain Vehicle (S-ATV) of Oshkosh Defense – the manufacturer of tactical wheeled vehicles. The S-ATV is advertised as being able to meet a range of mission requirements for armed forces. Its light weight has been especially designed in order to be possible both external and internal helicopter transportability.

The head of Lockheed Martin’s Middle East and Africa regional business, Anthony Winns, underlined that the cost and size are among the most important things for customers. He said, “A lot of the focus is on cost and miniaturization. And when you’re able to reduce cost, that means you are able to buy more weapons. The economies are dictating that you want to be able to spend your money more effectively, and governments want to do that. The lighter weapons ― the less costly and the more effective ones.”

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