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Greece Considers Upgrade of EMB-145 AEW&C Fleet with SAAB

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Greece Considers Upgrade of EMB-145 AEW&C Fleet with SAAB
PHOTO: HAFSpokesman Flickr Greek EMB-145

The EMB-145 AEW&C, pivotal for the Hellenic Air Force’s dominance over the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, stands on the brink of evolution. Amid ongoing discussions, Greece is evaluating a prospective upgrade in collaboration with SAAB. This prospective enhancement signifies Greece’s ongoing dedication to reinforcing its aerial surveillance and defense mechanisms, aligning with the global pace of military modernization.

Dialogue with SAAB at Hellenic Air Force HQ

In February 14 2024, a significant dialogue unfolded again at the Hellenic Air Force General Staff’s headquarters, marking a potential turning point for Greece’s defense strategy. Representatives from SAAB, including Christos Papantonioy, Jonas Wingqvist, Karl Johan Ekvall, Henrik Sven Jansen, and Iakovos Frangiskos Bentzamin, engaged with Hellenic Air Force officials. The discussions focused on exploring advanced solutions for potentially upgrading the EMB-145 AEW&C fleet, a move that could greatly enhance Greece’s interoperability with the most advanced fighter jets that has acquired, such as the RAFALE, F-16V, and F-35 (in the future).

Potential Upgrade of the Greek EMB-145 AEW&C

Greece Considers Upgrade of EMB-145 AEW&C Fleet with SAAB
PHOTO: HAFSpokesman Flickr Greek EMB-145

The EMB-145 AEW&C’s upgrade, while still under consideration, promises to elevate Greece’s strategic aerial capabilities to new heights. This aircraft is instrumental in providing early warning and airspace control, crucial for national security. The potential modernization aims to align the fleet with contemporary defense standards, ensuring Greece remains prepared to address emerging security challenges effectively.

Amidst these news, Embraer’s recently notified that had reached an agreement with Greece. The Follow-on-Support agreement (FOS) for the ERJ-145 AEW&C/EMB-145H highlight Greece’s commitment to sustaining and advancing its critical early warning systems. This forward-looking approach reflects Greece’s strategic initiative to adapt and evolve in an ever-changing security landscape.

IDF Colonel Warns Hamas: ‘Your Fate is Sealed’ – Rafah Battle Preparations Underway

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IDF Colonel to Hamas: "Your Fate is Sealed" – Preparations for the battle of Rafah
PHOTO IDF IN GAZA

Israel – The 646th Reserve Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), through Colonel Elad Shushan, sent a clear message to Hamas: “your fate is sealed.” The brigade’s recent mission in Gaza resulted in the destruction of a strategic underground tunnel stretching from the north to the south of the area, marking a significant blow to the operational capabilities of the group. During its extensive campaign in the subterranean environment of Gaza, the Israeli Army discovered critical information, including videos from the early stages of the conflict showing the abduction of the Bibas family. Additionally, videos recorded Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar fleeing with his family through the tunnels, further demonstrating the extensive use of these passageways by the group’s leadership for operational purposes and escape.

IDF Colonel to Hamas: "Your Fate is Sealed" – Preparations for the battle of Rafah
PHOTO IDF IN GAZA

Reflecting on the brigade’s achievements, Colonel Elad Shushan stated, “We have reached every hideout up and down the Gaza Strip, and today, the terrorists know there is no safe hiding place, and their fate is sealed.” The Gaza Strip is currently under almost full control of the Israeli Army, except for the city of Rafah, where serious concerns for a potential humanitarian disaster arise as it hosts displaced Palestinians from Gaza City and Khan Yunis. The invasion of Rafah is expected to take place by early March, according to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who stated that this plan will not change unless Hamas surrenders.

Thousands of Israeli soldiers and armored vehicles are currently stationed around Rafah, awaiting orders to confront what the IDF describes as the last Hamas brigades in the area. The outcome of this battle is anticipated to also determine the fate of Israeli hostages taken by Hamas after the attack on October 7th.

This statement and the preparation for the battle of Rafah highlight the escalating tension and the readiness of the IDF to engage in significant military operations to secure the region and counteract Hamas’s influence.

Houthi Rebels Down US Drone (MQ-9) close to Yemen, Pentagon Investigates

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Houthi Rebels Down US Drone (MQ-9) close to Yemen, Pentagon Investigates
PHOTO MQ-9 REAPER US DOD

In a recent development that has sparked an investigation by the Pentagon, a US drone (MQ-9 Reaper) crashed off the coast of Yemen early Monday. The cause of the crash is currently under investigation, with two American officials, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirming the incident but also revealing that it was shot down by the Houthi rebels. This event has drawn attention due to the strategic significance of the region and the capabilities of the MQ-9 Reaper, primarily used for intelligence-gathering missions.

Houthi Rebels Down US Drone (MQ-9) close to Yemen, Pentagon Investigates
PHOTO MQ-9 REAPER US DOD

The responsibility for downing the drone was claimed by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who asserted that they successfully targeted the drone near the port city of Al Hudaydah, in western Yemen. A military spokesperson for the Houthis, Yahya Sarea, stated, “Yemen’s air defense was able to shoot down an American drone (MQ-9) with a suitable missile while it was conducting hostile missions against our country on behalf of the Zionist entity.”

The Pentagon’s investigation aims to clarify whether the drone was indeed shot down as claimed or if other factors contributed to its crash. The remains of the drone appear to have been collected by the Houthis in the Red Sea.

Furthermore, a few months prior, another US MQ-9 was downed in Yemen by the Houthis, indicating that the group possesses some Iranian air defense system capable of reaching the altitude at which these unmanned aircraft operate. This incident underscores the escalating tensions in the region and the sophisticated capabilities of the Houthi rebels to challenge US aerial assets.

US CENTCOM respond to attacks from Yemen in Red Sea, Greek-flagged M/V Sea Champion targeted by Houthis

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Intensified US-UK Airstrikes Target Houthi-Controlled Areas in Yemen
Photo by US DOD

The United States Central Command (CENTCOM) has announced a series of military developments concerning US activities against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, as well as the attacks carried out by the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.

According to CENTCOM, “On February 19th, between 12:30 and 1:50 PM, two anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBM) were launched by Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen towards the M/V Sea Champion, a Greek-flagged, American-owned grain carrier in the Gulf of Aden. The ship sustained minor damages, and no injuries were reported. The vessel continued on to its scheduled destination to deliver grains to Aden, Yemen.

A ground-to-air missile launcher was located and destroyed by US CENTCOM forces in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen around 5 PM. An additional anti-ship ballistic missile was launched at 6:40 PM but did not hit any commercial or coalition ships.

At 7:20 PM, a kamikaze unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) struck the M/V Navis Fortuna, a US-owned bulk carrier flying the Marshall Islands flag, causing minor damage and no injuries. The ship proceeded on its journey to Italy.

At 8:15 PM, US CENTCOM forces destroyed a UAV in Western Yemen that was ready to be launched at ships in the Red Sea. Between 8 PM on February 19th and 12:30 AM on February 20th, US and coalition fighter jets and warships shot down 10 kamikaze UAVs in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Additionally, at 12:30 AM on February 20th, the USS Laboon (DDG 58) detected an incoming anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) and successfully intercepted it.

The kamikaze UAVs, the surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, and the anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM) destroyed were identified by CENTCOM as imminent threats to US Naval ships and commercial vessels in the region. These actions will protect the right of free navigation and make international waters safer for US Navy and commercial ships,” CENTCOM stated in its announcement.

This detailed report highlights the ongoing efforts by CENTCOM to ensure maritime security in the face of threats from Houthi-controlled areas, emphasizing the commitment to safeguarding international shipping lanes against hostile actions.

Operation Synytsia: Russian pilot Maksim Kuzminov, who defected to Ukraine is dead

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Operation Synytsia: Russian pilot Maksim Kuzminov, who defected to Ukraine is dead
PHOTO: LICENSED VIA ENVATO

In a shocking development reminiscent of Cold War-era espionage tales, Maksim Kuzminov, a Russian pilot known for his daring defection to Ukraine in 2023, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Villajoyosa, Spain. On Tuesday, February 13, the quaint Mediterranean town, known for its peaceful holiday environment, became the center of a grim narrative when Kuzminov’s body, bearing multiple gunshot wounds, was discovered in an underground parking lot. The incident has reignited concerns in Europe about the long reach of Russian intelligence agencies, particularly the FSB, formerly known as the KGB.

Background of Russian Pilot Defection

Operation Synytsia: Russian pilot Maksim Kuzminov, who defected to Ukraine is dead

Kuzminov’s defection was the climax of a six-month-long intelligence operation named Operation Synytsia, led by the Ukrainian GUR, with which he had collaborated. Tasked with the transportation of fighter jet components between Russian airbases, Kuzminov took a decisive turn by landing his Mi-8 AMTSh helicopter, loaded with spare parts for Su-27, Su-30SM, and Su-35 fighters, in Ukraine

The Fate of the Crew

The narrative takes a darker turn with the revelation that the two other crew members aboard the helicopter were unaware of Kuzminov’s intentions. Their attempt to flee the unexpected landing led to their execution by Ukrainian special forces.

Russian Response and Speculation

Operation Synytsia: Russian pilot Maksim Kuzminov, who defected to Ukraine is dead
PHOTO: LICENSED VIA ENVATO

Since his defection, Kuzminov had been a wanted man in Russia, fueling speculation that his assassination was orchestrated by the FSB as retribution for his betrayal. While official confirmation is pending, Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for the Ukrainian HUR, confirmed the pilot’s death to the Kyiv Post, pointing to the likely involvement of Russian secret services.

CENTCOM Halts Iranian Arms Shipment to Houthis: U.S. Coast Guard Seizes Weapons in Arabian Sea

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CENTCOM Halts Iranian Arms Shipment to Houthis: U.S. Coast Guard Seizes Weapons in Arabian Sea
Photo by U.S. Central Command (x)

On Thursday, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that a U.S. Coast Guard cutter seized advanced conventional weapons and other lethal aid from Iran destined for Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen. The seizure occurred in the Arabian Sea on January 28, with the USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr intercepting over 200 packages of military components, including ballistic missile parts and explosives.

The U.S. CENTCOM announced:

“A U.S. Coast Guard cutter, forward deployed to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility, seized advanced conventional weapons and other lethal aid originating in Iran and bound to Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen from a vessel in the Arabian Sea on Jan. 28.

CENTCOM Halts Iranian Arms Shipment to Houthis: U.S. Coast Guard Seizes Weapons in Arabian Sea
Photo by U.S. Central Command (x)

The U.S. Coast Guard Sentinel-class fast-response cutter USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr (WPC 1147), assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, located the vessel and boarded it in the Arabian Sea. The boarding team discovered over 200 packages that contained medium-range ballistic missile components, explosives, unmanned underwater/surface vehicle (UUV/USV) components, military-grade communication and network equipment, anti-tank guided missile launcher assemblies, and other military components.

The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of such aid violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216 (as extended and renewed by resolutions 2675 and 2707).

“This is yet another example of Iran’s malign activity in the region,” said Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, CENTCOM commander. “Their continued supply of advanced conventional weapons to the Houthis is in direct violation of international law and continues to undermine the safety of international shipping and the free flow of commerce.”

CENTCOM is committed to working with our allies and partners to counter the flow of Iranian lethal aid in the region by all lawful means including U.S. and U.N. sanctions and through interdictions”.

Rep. Mike Turner Urges Biden to Declassify Information on Putin’s Plans for Space-Based Nuclear Weapons

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Rep. Mike Turner Urges Biden to Declassify Information on Putin's Plans for Space-Based Nuclear Weapons
Photo by US Rep. Mike Turner (x)

According to U.S. officials, the United States has disclosed new intelligence regarding Russia’s efforts to develop a space-based nuclear weapon. This development, while not considered an immediate threat to U.S. security, underscores a growing concern over international safety and the potential for a new dimension in nuclear capabilities.

Representative Mike Turner, the Republican chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, highlighted the significance of the situation with a statement alerting to a “serious national security threat.” Although the specifics of the threat were not disclosed, it was later clarified that the concerns pertain to Russian advancements in satellite technology.

Turner called for the Biden administration to “declassify all information relating to this threat so that Congress, the administration and our allies can openly discuss the actions necessary to respond to this threat.” He also said his committee voted Tuesday to make certain information related to the threat available to all members of Congress. President Biden when asked by a reporter on Wednesday about Russia’s nuclear capabilities, he avoided answering saying “Happy Valentine’s Day!”.

ABC News has reported that Russia’s plans to put a nuclear weapon in space would aim for potentially targeting satellites, not to be deployed against other nations. However, according to Jon Wolfsthal, Director of Global Risk at the Federation of American Scientists, such an attempt by Russia would violate an existing multilateral agreement. He also added that Russia doesn’t need a nuclear weapon to damage satellites. 

Court orders Netherlands to cease F-35 fighter jet part exports to Israel

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Court orders Netherlands to cease F-35 fighter jet part exports to Israel
Photo by US DoD

On Monday, a Dutch court issued a ruling that requires the Netherlands to halt the export and transit of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel, a decision that emerged from an appeal by human rights organizations. These groups had argued that the Dutch involvement in supplying these parts facilitates alleged violations of international law by Israel in its conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

According to the court’s directive, the Dutch state must cease all exports and transits of F-35 parts destined for Israel within seven days of the ruling. Judge Bas Boele, in delivering the verdict, highlighted the risk that the exported parts could be utilized in actions that breach international humanitarian law, a point that received audible approval from attendees in the courtroom.

The Dutch government, expressing disagreement with the court’s decision, has indicated plans to appeal. It argues that the F-35 jets play a critical role in Israel’s defense strategy against regional threats, including those from Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon. This stance underscores the government’s view of the strategic importance of these military exports.

Lockheed Martin Israel, the subsidiary of the U.S. aerospace company responsible for the F-35, noted that it is evaluating the implications of the Dutch court’s ruling on its supply chain and affirmed its commitment to supporting the U.S. government and its allies as necessary.

Yemen’s Houthis target Greek cargo ship bound for Iran

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Yemen's Houthis hit Greek ship bound for Iran
Photo by Envato Elements

Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeted on Monday a cargo ship in the Red Sea bound for Iran, causing minor damage but no injuries to the crew, authorities reported on Monday. The attacked vessel, the Marshall Islands-flagged “Star Iris”, operated by a Greek company, highlights the broadening scope of Houthi assaults on ships navigating the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

According to assessments by Ambrey, a private security firm, the ship sustained damage to its starboard side in the assault. This incident follows a similar attack on another vessel owned by Star Bulk Carriers Corporation, indicating a pattern of targeting ships associated with certain nations or companies.

The cargo ship was not related to Israel, contradicting the Houthis’ excuse that they are attacking ships in response to Israel’s campaign in Gaza. What makes the attack even more confusing is that it was en route from Brazil to Iran, which is known for backing, arming, and financing the Houthis.

Houthi militants labeled the Star Iris as “American,” despite its Greek ownership. Brigadier General Yahya Saree, a Houthi military spokesperson, justified the attack as a response to perceived international aggression against Yemen and solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

“The U.S. would have responded the same or even stronger” – Netanyahu on Israel’s military campaign in Gaza

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"The U.S. would have responded the same or even stronger" - Netanyahu on Israel's military campaign in Gaza
Photo by Benjamin Netanyahu (x)

In an assertive dialogue with Fox News, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed Israel’s response to the October 7 attack, comparing it to a hypothetical U.S. reaction to a similar scenario. The Prime Minister defended the actions taken following October’s massacre by Hamas, which he described as “the worst attack on Jewish people since the Holocaust,” suggesting that the U.S. would have responded “at least as strong as Israel did” and possibly stronger.

In an effort to highlight the ethical conduct of the Israeli military, Netanyahu pointed out the precautions taken to minimize civilian casualties, such as warning calls, flyers, and the establishment of safe zones. He contrasted this with Hamas’s repeated pledges to carry out massacres over and over again, underscoring the need for a decisive victory.

The interview took a firm stance on the necessity of a complete victory, with Netanyahu expressing confidence in the progress made, noting that “Three-quarters of Hamas [battalions] is destroyed.” He drew parallels with the fight against ISIS, emphasizing the importance of not leaving any remnant of the enemy force.

In another interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Netanyahu presented a grim tally of the conflict, reporting 28,000 Palestinian casualties, as per Hamas-run health authorities, and detailing Israeli losses and captures during the October 7 events. He reaffirmed the goal of bringing home hostages and concluded with a vow for total victory against Hamas as a beacon of hope for peace in the Middle East.