ASPI suggests
31 Jan 2014|

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 11, 2012) An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft is secured aboard the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman by Alan Radecki/Released)Welcome back to our weekly round-up of new reports and updates in the defence and security realm.

The Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict released a new report yesterday on Indonesians and the Syrian Conflict (PDF). It opens with this ominous line: ‘The conflict in Syria has captured the imagination of Indonesian extremists in a way no foreign war has before.’ The report goes on to explain why Syria attracts Indonesian fighters and explores how they’re funded. The IPAC release coincides with Andrew Zammit’s new post published this morning on how jihadist foreign fighters perceive the Syrian conflict and their potential impact upon their return.

Turning now to technological developments, this Aviation Week piece discusses the US Navy’s reaction to China’s Mach 10 test of a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). What’s an HGV? The article explains:

An HGV can execute a pull-up maneuver after entering the atmosphere and approach its target in a relatively flat glide. It will therefore be detected later than a ballistic warhead; there is less time to react to it or to shoot at it again after a miss. Because the HGV can maneuver aerodynamically, it is much harder to hit—the defensive missile must be able to outmaneuver it —and it can be guided with precision onto its target. Gliding extends the missile’s range, so that the relatively vulnerable mid-course phase of its flight can occur farther from the target and its defenses.

US PACOM commander, Admiral Samuel Locklear, says ‘that particular [HGV] test doesn’t bother me. This is not about China.’ Read more about HGV’s implications here (including some input from Andrew Davies on the damage caused by the missile’s kinetic energy).

Sticking with technology, the Center for a New American Security has just released a report called ‘20YY: preparing for war in the robotic age’. Authors Robert O. Work and Shawn Brimley warn the US to be ready for a new era in which ‘unmanned and autonomous systems will play central war-fighting roles for the United States, its allies and partners, and its adversaries.’

For the military history booklovers, check out these reviews by ASPI’s Stephen Loosley for Max Hastings’ Catastrophe on diplomatic and military strategies of the European great powers in 1914, and Mike Carlton’s First Victory—1914—HMAS Sydney’s Hunt for the German Raider Emden.

Lastly, for some military humour, here are Sweden’s marines lip-syncing ‘Greased Lightning’.

Natalie Sambhi is an analyst at ASPI and editor of The Strategist. Image courtesy Flickr user US Navy.