Future-proofing the Attack class sub

By Derek Woolner and David Glynne Jones*

In February 1937, the Gloster Gladiator biplane entered service with the Royal Air Force. It was already obsolescent; Hawker Hurricanes began operational service late that year. Gladiators were effective early in World War II, but were rendered obsolete by the arrival of the Luftwaffe’s Messerschmitt Bf 109s. A little more than eight years after the Gladiator began service, Gloster’s jet-engined Meteor joined the RAF, signalling the end of the era of propeller-driven monoplane fighters.

It seems increasingly probable that the application of light-metal battery technology to conventional submarine design will be as disruptive and transformative as these turning points in 20th century airpower were.

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America needs to talk about China

By Minxin Pei*

Of all the changes in US foreign policy that President Donald Trump’s administration has made, the most consequential is the adoption of a confrontational stance towards China. Replacing a decades-old policy of engagement, Trump’s approach has not only resulted in an economic cold war between the world’s two largest economies; it has also raised the spectre of armed conflict in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.

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Chinese white paper sheds light, raises questions

By Stephen Kuper, of Defence Connect

The unprecedented economic rise of China has paved the way for its meteoric increase in military capability and geo-strategic designs for the Indo-Pacific. The new defence white paper, China’s National Defense in the New Era,identifies some old flash points and some new ones, with renewed direction focused on countering American-led aggression in the region. 

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No free ride in the Pacific

By Walker Mills*

Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) board an MV-22 Osprey assigned to the “Flying Tigers” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262 aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) prior to flight operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker)

In recent years the Pentagon has doubled down on a Pacific focus. It has published a new Pacific strategy and the individual services have been burning the midnight oil to write their own new concepts oriented around the Pacific.1 The Navy has released its classified new concept Distributed Maritime Operations,2 the Army has its Multi-Domain Operations concept,3 and the Marines are still working on Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations.4 All three concepts are predicated on an ability to maneuver through and within the First Island Chain. They assume the future operating environment will be heavily contested and involve threatened areas much farther from the central battlefields than the military has experienced in recent decades.

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Countering China in South China Sea

By LtCol Roy Draa*

Marines with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, ride aboard a Combat Rubber Raiding Craft during an amphibious raid exercise off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, April 17, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jonah Baase)

“Free and open access to the South and East China Seas is critical to both regional security and international commerce…Through its illegitimate efforts to build and militarize islands in the region, the Chinese Communist Party has aggressively attempted to control these critical waterways and undermined international law. This legislation makes clear that any individual or entity supporting these illegal actions will be held accountable.”1

There can be no doubt that the United States lacks an actionable maritime strategy with respect to the South China Sea, nor does the maritime force exist to effectively counter Chinese expansion in this economically and politically critical space.

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South Korea to build LPH

South Korea is to launch a new version of a large-deck landing ship from which short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing aircraft can operate by the late 2020s, amid naval buildups in China and Japan, Jeff Jeong of Defense News reports.

South Korea already operates the landing platform helicopter ship Marado. (Courtesy of the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration)

The decision was made during a July 12 meeting of top brass presided over by Gen. Park Han-ki, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea is gaining traction over Tokyo’s export restrictions on high-tech materials to South Korea. 

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