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Russia expels eight Greek diplomats – Greek Foreign Ministry response

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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in Moscow for a meeting with Lavrov tomorrow
PHOTO: Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών

Russia expelled eight Greek diplomats, declaring them “personae non gratae” and giving them eight days to leave the country.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Monday that he called the Greek ambassador to Moscow to protest “the course of the confrontation of Greek authorities with Russia, including the supply of arms and military equipment to the Kiev regime”

The Russian Foreign Minister stated that he had also protested against the decision of Greece to characterize a group of their own diplomats as “personae non gratae”.

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an announcement on the expulsion of diplomats.

Russia expels eight Greek diplomats - Greek Foreign Ministry response
Πηγή φωτογραφίας: Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών

“We express our deep regret for the decision of the Russian authorities to declare eight officials of the Greek Embassy in Moscow, as well as the Consulate General in Moscow, as personae non gratae.

There is no basis for the decision of the Russian authorities to deport members of the Greek diplomatic and consular authorities to Russia, who, distinguished by their professionalism and high sense of responsibility, performed their duties in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Conventions. Diplomatic and Consular Relations.

Greece maintains an attitude of principle, guided by respect for international law.

“It goes without saying that the Embassy in Moscow, as well as the Consular Authorities in Russia will continue to make every effort at their disposal in order to continue to carry out their mission under particularly difficult conditions,” the Greek Foreign Ministry announced.

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Read more: Teng Yun 2: Taiwan’s UAV flew non stop for more than 10 hours

Teng Yun 2: Taiwan’s UAV flew non stop for more than 10 hours

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Teng Yun 2: Taiwan's UAV flew non stop for more than 10 hours - GEOPOLITIKI
PHOTO By 玄史生 – Own work, CC0, Wikipedia

Last weekend, Taiwan-made Teng Yun 2 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) achieved a major milestone in its development.

It flew non-stop for more than ten hours and completed a patrol of the entire Taiwan Air Defense Recognition Zone (ADIZ).

The Teng Yun 2, also known as the “Cloud Rider” of the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, after a series of tests that the UAV flew for five to seven hours in the air last month, recorded its longest flight to date last weekend.

Teng Yun 2 can perform both surveillance and strike missions day and night and has also electronic warfare capabilities.

Teng Yun 2: Taiwan's UAV flew non stop for more than 10 hours
PHOTO By Kenchen945 – 於2019台北國防展拍攝, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikipedia

Strike missions are carried out by AGM-114 Hellfire missiles that it can carry and other Taiwanese anti-ship missiles, according to media reports.

Developed by the ChungShan National Institute of Science and Technology, it looks a lot like an MQ-1 Predator of US. Taiwan is also expected to receive US MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles.

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Read Also: Archytas Drone: Test flight and program completion schedule

Archytas Drone: Test flight and program completion schedule

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Archytas Drone

The Greek Minister of Finance issued a statement informing about the developments of the ARCHYTAS program that intends to produce an autonomous aerial vehicle (drone) and revealed that a second upgraded system is being prepared.

The following follows statement of the Greek Minister of Finance Mr. Christos Staikouras, regarding the progress of the work of the “Archytas” program:

The implementation process of the “Archytas” Program, which aims at the design and industrial production of an autonomous multi-purpose aerial vehicle (drone), on behalf of the wider Public Sector, completed the 3rd quarter.

The project is an initiative and is funded by the Ministry of Finance. It is implemented, in terms of research-design part, in collaboration with the universities Aristotle of Thessaloniki, Democritus of Thrace, Thessaly, and Hellenic Aerospace Industry.

UAV ARCHYTAS
PHOTO: Hellenic MoD

Industrial production is undertaken by the Hellenic Aerospace Industry.

Based on the quarterly evaluation of those responsible, the implementation of the program is progressing according to plan.

The structural design of the system is in progress and, at the same time, the supply and control of devices-materials for the system to be produced.

During the 4th quarter, until the end of August, the aforementioned procedures will continue.

From the beginning of October, the pilot flights will start, initially with an operational model under scale, and the organization of the special industrial production lines in Hellenic Aerospace Industry.

The project “Archytas” is expected to be completed around the end of 2023 – first two months of 2024.

At the same time, preparations are underway for a second, upgraded system, in cooperation with the Ministries of Finance, National Defense and Development and Investment.

Greece moves forward, utilizing all its creative powers. It is becoming more and more powerful,” the Greek Minister of Finance said in a statement.

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A/U/RGM-84 Harpoon Missile: The History of the deadly US-made anti-ship

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F-18 HARPOON AGM-84 | GEOPOLITIKI
DCS F-18 | Photo Copyright: Geopolitiki.com
Harpoon Missile: The History of the deadly US-made anti-ship
PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 29, 2020) Royal Canadian Navy ship HMCS Regina (FFH 334) fires a Harpoon Surface to Surface Missiles as part of Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020. (Royal Canadian Navy photo by MS Dan Bard)

There are many versions of the Harpoon missiles but they are categorized as:

  • AGM = aircraft launched
  • RGM = ship launched
  • UGM = submarine launched

+ Can also be launched from coastal defense batteries.

The story begins around 1965 and the research conducted by the Navy of United States for a missile capable of hitting enemy ships with an expected range of about 45 kilometers.

However, the development of the Harpoon did not begin until 1968 under the name ZAGM-84A and mainly due to the shock caused by the launch of the Soviet SS-N-2 Styx anti-ship missile (known and as P-15 Termit) against the Israeli Eilat destroyer in the Six Day War.

styx missile
P-15 Termit By Sanjay Acharya – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikipedia

In 1970, U.S. Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Elmo Zumwalt accelerated the development of the Harpoon anti-ship missile as part of Project Sixty.

In 1971, McDonnell Douglas was selected as the lead contractor for the project.

The initial tests of the missile took place in 1972 and the test production phase began in 1976 and since then, more than 7,000 Harpoon anti-ship missiles have been built.

The Harpoon anti-ship missile is launched and powered by a Teledyne Turbojet engine (J402-CA-400) with a thrust of 3.0 kN.

Any variant of the missile that launch from an aircraft can also be launched from ships and submarines using a different booster (A / B44G-2 or -3) capable of delivering the 53 kN boost needed, in just 3 seconds.

It is armed with the WDU-18 / B warhead, which contains 221 kg of powerful explosives and is standard in all variants, except the H and K models.

The missile usually follows these phases before hitting its target:

Harpoon Missile: The History of the deadly US-made anti-ship
The USS Coronado (LCS 4) launches the first over-the-horizon missile engagement using a Harpoon Block 1C missile as part of Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Bryce Hadley)
  • The information and the location of the enemy target are transmitted to the missile by the integrated system of the respective platform that carries it.
  • During the approach phase, the Harpoon flies about 15 meters above the water (sea skimming) and uses its navigation system to help it locate the target.
  • When the rocket reaches a certain distance from the potential target, it activates the J-band radar that is integrated to start the search for the target.
  • The missile approaches the target at a height of two to five meters, performs a sudden maneuver (known as “pop-up”) that raises it to a height and then descends from a greater height to the target.
  • In its final phase, the rocket develops a speed of about 0.7 Mach and hits the target.
  • The WDU-18 / B 221 kg head of explosives does not ignite immediately after the impact, but after a time delay. As a result, the explosion takes place inside the ship and causes significantly more damage than a firearm would ignite on contact.

HARPOON Block I

Each variant can be used by any platform based on the conditions mentioned above, for convenience we will use the surface version with the initial RGM instead of AGM and UGM.

The beginning was made with the Block 1A version of the Harpoon RGM-84A which is the first version that went into production.

This was followed by the RGM-84B and the RGM-84C, Block 1B where the “pop-up” maneuver has been removed from the software and the missile flies against its target at full distance just above the surface of the water using the so-called “sea -skimming” flight plan.

One of the most important upgrades is the RGM-84D, Block 1C version where the range of the missile has been increased to about 140 km as a result of the use of the advanced JP-10 fuel.

Harpoon Missile: The History of the deadly US-made anti-ship
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) launches a harpoon surface-to-surface missile alongside Arleigh-Burke-class Guided Missile Destroyer Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) as part of the HARPOONEX during Pacific Vanguard (PACVAN). (U.S. Navy photo by Fire Controlman Aegis 2nd Class Joshua Shafe)

Not only has the ECCM equipment been upgraded, but now the trajectory and the way it follows before hitting the target, “pop-up” or “sea-skimming”, can be chosen before launching. In addition, waypoints (via AN / SWG-1A) can now be defined.

RGM-84G, Block 1G: This version of the RGM-84G has been manufactured since 1995.

It is essentially the Block 1C version but with updated software, in addition it has a redesigned attack and flight logic that allows it to retry an attack in case the first one was unsuccessful, provided there is sufficient fuel and the seeker has identified the problem.

Escaping the logic of anti-ship missiles

SLAM - SLAM-ER | Harpoon Missile: The History of the deadly US-made anti-ship
A view of an AGM-84 Harpoon air-to-surface anti-ship missile fixed under the wing of an F/A-18C Hornet aircraft parked on a flight line.

AGM-84E Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM), Block 1E:

This version is a completely new approach to the missile as it aims to hit land targets.

The AGM-65D Maverick missile infrared seeker and the AGM-62 Walleye data link were installed in Harpoon to achieve this goal. SLAM can only be used by aircraft due to the use of the necessary FLIR.

The SLAM-ER Missile is the evolution of SLAM.

Return to naval strike abilities

SLAM-ER: AGM-84H Stand-off Land Attack Missile

The AGM-84E served as a model for this variant of the weapon (also identified as SLAM). The range of SLAM-ER (ER for Extended Range) has been significantly increased thanks to the folding wings, which are reminiscent of those found in the BGM-109 Tomahawk.

The brand new AN / DSQ-61 navigation system features an INS system and an interference-resistant GPS receiver as part of the upgraded version.

The WDU-40 / B explosive warhead, which weighs 360 kg, has a higher penetration power than the WDU-18 / B warhead, which weighs 221 kg.

In tests, it was proven that SLAM-ER can also be used to attack naval targets.

AGM-84K: This version of the AGM-84H includes a variety of internal hardware and software enhancements. All H variants currently available will be updated to version K.

Harpoon Missile: The History of the deadly US-made anti-ship - GEOPOLITIKI
A F/A-18D Hornet with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 loaded with AGM-84D Harpoon missiles takes off from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni Japan, April 28, 2020. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Lauren Brune)

The latest upgrade for H and K versions is the ATA version, which can be found on the AGM-84 H / K SLAM-ER ATA.

By comparing infrared images with an internal database, the ATA (Automatic Target Acquisition) update allows the weapon to automatically recognize and navigate to its intended target.

The upgraded version joined the US arsenal in 2002 and it is possible that the available H / K models will be upgraded in the future.

The United States of America (735), Saudi Arabia (650), South Korea (47), Turkey (48) and the United Arab Emirates (300) are among the countries using SLAM-ER ATA.

HARPOON BLOCK II

Harpoon Missile: The History of the deadly US-made anti-ship - GEOPOLITIKI
A F/A-18D Hornet with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 loaded with AGM-84D Harpoon missiles takes off from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni Japan, April 28, 2020. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Akeel Austin)

AGM-84L:

The L version is equipped with an inertial guidance system (INS) supported by GPS as well as upgraded software.

AGM-84N: It is the Block II + version and has a data connection that works in both directions and has the ability to stop its attack.

At first, the United States Navy did not show much interest in Harpoon Block II.

However, McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) decided to continue expanding in the international market despite a lack of domestic interest.

But the move was right as stakeholders include Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan and South Korea which has already acquired the airborne version (AGM-84L).

Eventually, the US also acquired more than 320 AGM-84L.

India requested the delivery of 20 AGM-84Ls in September 2008 and since July 2009, each Block 2 Harpoon has been delivered with an upgraded INS system, which, among other things, improves the GPS receiver.

The United States Navy and the Naval Systems Command announced in January 2016 that they had launched a Harpoon Block 2 from an F / A-18 Super Hornet and automatically routed it to a moving naval target via a data-link connection.

Boeing has also developed a land version of the Harpoon.

Harpoon Block 3 (Block III) Third generation

The United States Navy announced in the spring of 2007 its intention to continue further research and development of the AGM-84D missile but the plan was canceled.

Accidents

There have been three major Harpoon incidents so far.

Harpoon Missile: The History of the deadly US-made anti-ship
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG-65) launches a Harpoon missile during a live-fire exercise as part of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. (U.S. Navy photo by Fire Controlman 2nd Class Andrew Albin/Released)

The first incident occurred on July 14, 1981, on the USS Coontz, which was off the coast of Saint Croix in the Caribbean. The accidental launch of a Harpoon resulted in the rocket exploding in the water, so there were no adverse effects.

The second incident occurred on September 6, 1982, while the Danish frigate Peder Skram was maneuvering on the Kattegat. Again, the missile was accidentally fired and then struck a forest shortly afterwards, destroying four buildings and damaging another 130. There were no casualties.

The third and most serious incident occurred in December 1988, while the United States Navy was conducting an exercise near the Kauai test site. An F / A-18 Hornet fired a Harpoon at a test target, but instead hit an 76-meter Indian cargo ship. One sailor was killed despite the fact that the missile was not armed with an explosive warhead.

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Ukrainian drones blew up on Russian oil refinery setting it on fire

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Ukrainian drones blew up on Russian oil refinery setting it on fire - GEOPOLITIKI
Photo by twenty20

Two drones hit a Russian oil refinery near the Ukraine-Russia border on Wednesday.

The refinery in the Rostov on Don region was engulfed in flames and forced to shut down production.

According to the Novoshakhtinsk refinery, the first drone crashed onto the factory at 8.40 a.m. causing an explosion.

The second strike at 9:23 a.m. targeted the refinery’s crude oil tanks but did not cause a fire, the plant said.

Ukrainian drones blew up on Russian oil refinery setting it on fire - GEOPOLITIKI
Photo by twenty20

“As a result of terrorist acts from the western border of the Rostov region, two unmanned aerial vehicles hit the Novosakhtinsk technological facility.

The staff has been evacuated and the technological equipment has been shut down to assess the damage,” the plant stated.

The Novoshakhtinsk refinery started operating in 2009 and produces up to 7.5 million tons of petroleum products annually.

Read more: Armenia: 19 year old soldier killed by Azeri forces – GEOPOLITIKI

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Armenia: 19 year old soldier killed by Azeri forces

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Armenia: 19 year old soldier killed by Azeri forces - GEOPOLITIKI
PHOTO: MIL.AM

Tense situation is remaining on the border areas of Armenia and Azerbaijan and Azeri forces seem that they fire multiple times per week against Armenian soldiers.

On Saturday, according to local sources, Azeri troops opened fire against Armenian positions near the town of Vardenis, killing a 19-year-old Armenian soldier.

Armenia: 19 year old soldier killed by Azeri forces
PHOTO: MIL.AM

“Since yesterday afternoon, the enemies have been firing in the direction of Vardenis. A soldier was killed by gunfire. “There is calm at the moment, there are no shots fired,” a Vardenis resident stated to Zartonk media on Sunday.

19 year old Hrach Piliposyan, who was killed by Azerbaijani forces on Saturday, was from the village of Byurakan in the Aragatsotn province of Armenia and had been serving in the Armenian army for a year.

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ITS Libeccio: The Italian Frigate conducted PASSEX exercise with Greek Frigate HYDRA

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ITS Libeccio: The Italian Frigate conducted PASSEX exercise with Greek Frigate HYDRA - GEOPOLITIKI
PHOTO: HNDGS Hellenic National Defence General Staff

In the sea area southwest of Crete on Saturday, June 18, 2022, a joint PASSEX (Passing Exercise) training of the Greek Frigate HYDRA and the Italian Frigate ITS LIBECCIO took place.

ITS Libeccio: The Italian Frigate conducted PASSEX exercise with Greek Frigate HYDRA
PHOTO: HNDGS Hellenic National Defence General Staff

During the PASSEX exercise with ITS Libeccio, various activities took place, including tactical image exchanges, targeting, communications, cyber warfare and progressive maneuvers.

ITS Libeccio: The Italian Frigate conducted PASSEX exercise with Greek Frigate HYDRA
PHOTO: HNDGS Hellenic National Defence General Staff

According to Hellenic National Defence General Staff , this ” joint exercise contributed to the promotion of the level of operational readiness, combat capability and cooperation of the participants in an allied context”.

The ITS LIBECCIO frigate is a Maestrale-class frigate and has increased anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities, without this meaning that it cannot participate in different types of naval operations when necessary.

ITS Libeccio: The Italian Frigate conducted PASSEX exercise with Greek Frigate HYDRA

At the beginning of 1982, the first of these ships was put into active service and during the next three years, the remaining frigates of this class also entered in active service of the Italian Navy.

All Maestrale frigates are expected to be replaced by the new Bergamini class frigates (also known as FREMM) and there are currently only 3 in active service out of the 8 that were built.

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Greece: New Meeting with Elbit Systems for the International Flight Training Center

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Greece: New Meeting with Elbit Systems for the International Flight Training Center - GEOPOLITIKI
Photo by Adrian Pingstone, Public Domain

Meetings with representatives of the Israeli company Elbit Systems were again held by officials of the General Staff of the Hellenic Air Force, with whom they discussed the “International Flight Training Center” in Kalamata.

The Greek Ministry of Defense announced:

“On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, a meeting was held at the Aviation Training Administration with the representatives of the company” Elbit Systems Ltd “Mr. Shitrit Avni Rotem (Senior Director Flight Academies & Services), Mr. Gery Nahum (Senior Director Head of Product & Customer Support Solutions), Mr. Avi Bahar (Program Manager Product & Customer Support Solutions) and Mr. Ronen Polovian (Site Manager), with responsible staffs of the General Staff of Hellenic Airforce, the Air Support Administration, the Aviation Training Administration and the 120 Air Training Wing.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss issues related to the implementation of the program ” International Flight Training Center ” to the 120th Air Training Wing, in the context of a defined monthly review,” the announcement concludes.

It is recalled that the visits Representatives of Elbit Systems in the Greek Army General Staffs have been regular in recent months since only in May at least three meetings took place between the company and officials of the armed forces.

Greece: New Meeting with Elbit Systems for the International Flight Training Center
Photo by IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, CC BY-SA 3.0

More Specifically:

On May 17, 2022, a meeting was held at the Aviation Training Administration with the representatives of the companies “ELBIT Systems Ltd” and “SIBAT” with competent officials of the Greek General Directorate of Defense Equipment and Investments and from the Hellenic Air Force. The purpose of the meeting was again to discuss issues related to the implementation of the program of the International Flight Training Center.

On May 24, 2022, a presentation was made to the staff of the Hellenic Army General Staff by representatives of the company Elbit, regarding a proposal to upgrade the electronic warfare capabilities (Electronic Warfare – EW) of the CH-47D helicopters.

On May 25, 2022, an another meeting was held at the General Staff of the Hellenic Air Force in order to present, on behalf of the company, the solutions it offers in the field of Electronic Warfare.

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Syria: US special forces found ISIS leader, in Turkey-aligned Syrian rebel groups region

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Syria: US special forces found ISIS leader, in Turkey-aligned Syrian rebel groups region - GEOPOLITIKI
PHOTO: A pair of UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters (U.S. Army photo by: Staff Sgt. Marcus Fichtl)

US special forces have crossed into Turkey-aligned Syrian rebel groups region in Northern Syria and arrested a senior ISIS leader hiding in the area.

According to an announcement of the Operation Inherent Resolve Command:

“Coalition forces conducted a counterterrorism operation to capture a senior Daesh leader during an operation in northern Syria on June 16. The captured individual is an experienced bomb maker and operational facilitator who became one of the top leaders of Daesh’s Syrian branch.

Syria: US special forces found ISIS leader, in Turkey-aligned Syrian rebel groups region
U.S. Army Special Forces (USSF) raid a mock hostile compound under the cover of darkness during a training exercise, Boston, Mass., Apr. 28, 2021. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Justin P. Morelli)

The mission was meticulously planned to minimize the risk of collateral damage or civilian harm. The operation was successful; no civilians were harmed nor were there injuries to Coalition forces or damage to Coalition aircraft or assets.

Coalition forces will continue to work with our partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Iraqi Security Forces, including the Peshmerga, to hunt the remnants of Daesh wherever they hide to ensure Daesh’s enduring defeat” the announcement concludes.

Syria: US special forces found ISIS leader, in Turkey-aligned Syrian rebel groups region
U.S. Navy photo / Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel R. Mennuto

The fact that a top ISIS leader was hiding in Ankara’s best friends, not to mention the the operation was conducted in Syrian areas, that have literally been occupied by Turkey after the Operation “Euphrates Shield” is something that should worry NATO.

Read also: AH-64 APACHE equipped with Spike NLOS: A Deadly force multiplier

AH-64 APACHE equipped with Spike NLOS: A Deadly force multiplier

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Spike NLOS equipped AH-64 APACHE: A Deadly force multiplier - GEOPOLITIKI
PHOTO: SCREENSHOT FROM US DOD VIDEO

In our opinion at GEOPOLITIKI, the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, is one of the most successful attack helicopters because it can reliably transfer a nation’s firepower on the battlefield, which will be supplemented in this article by SPIKE NLOS.

AH-64 APACHE equipped with Spike NLOS: A Deadly force multiplier
PHOTO: Screenshot from US DOD Video (Future Vertical Lift Conducts a Demonstration of the Spike NLOS Missile System)

We do not intend to bore our readers with technical details about Apache helicopters, as this will be analyzed in a separate article.

What we want to emphasize is that the entry of the Israeli Spike NLOS missile is a deadly force multiplier for the AH-64 Apache.

Spike NLOS equipped AH-64 APACHE: A Deadly force multiplier
A Greek AH-64 Apache helicopter provides air support as part of a combined arms live fire exercise July 20, 2017 during exercise Saber Guardian 17. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tyler Meister)

One year ago, at the Eglin Air Force Base, the United States conducted a test firing of the missiles, during which an Apache attack helicopter hit a target located 32 kilometers distant. As we previously informed you, the US Air force personnel who participated in the test were absolutely thrilled about the performance of Spike NLOS.

The new generation of Spike NLOS…

Spike NLOS equipped AH-64 APACHE: A Deadly force multiplier
A full scale mock up of a Spike NLOS missile made by the Israeli company, Rafael Systems. By Rhk111 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The new generation of SPIKE NLOS, notably the sixth generation, has improved the range to 50 kilometers (up from 32 kilometers), and it is also compatible with the AH-64 Apache.

The difference is huge in comparison to the HELLFIRE missiles, which are currently being installed on the majority of AH-64 Apaches all around the world and have a range of approximately 8 kilometers.

The spike can be launched from the ground, vehicles, or helicopters.

The weapon can be fired in three modes: Fire and Forget, lock-on after launch, and Fire and Steer.

It is equipped with a Penetrating Blast Fragmentation (PBFwarhead and a tandemcharge HEAT warhead. Because of data transmission via fiber optic cable, it is possible to both direct the rocket to another target during flight and launch the rocket without visual contact with the target and assign it a target during flight.

The operator can also correct the missiles flight path if there are any deviations. The missile is also is equipped with a EO-IR/CCD seeker with semi-active laser (SAL) capability.

Read Also: AAV-7 in Greek Service – Questions and answers for its operational capabilities