The United States and Britain confirmed a joint declaration Tuesday for the Carrier Strike Group 2021 deployment to be led by Britain’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Queen. Signed by acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, the joint declaration enables the deployment of US Navy and Marine Corps equipment and personnel as part of the inaugural operational deployment of the Carrier Strike Group. The deployment will include a detachment of US Marine Corps F-35 Lightning II aircraft and the Navy’s USS The Sullivans.

Leonardo and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems have announced that they have completed the delivery of Trophy Active Protection Systems (APS) ordered by the US Army for installation on Abrams main battle tanks. This marks a major milestone in the US Army’s efforts to outfit multiple brigades of tanks with APS to protect soldiers’ lives against increasing anti-armor threats. Developed by Rafael in response to successful anti-armor attacks and the ongoing proliferation of those threats, Trophy APS provides “combat-proven protection against rockets and missiles while simultaneously locating and reporting the origin of the hostile fire for immediate response”.

Middle East & Africa

US forces conducted two airstrikes on al-Shabaab operatives in Somalia, killing three members of the Islamist terrorist group, US Africa Command said. No civilians were injured or killed in the airstrikes, conducted near Jamaame and Deb Scinnele in coordination with the government of Somalia, according to initial assessment, AFRICOM said in a statement. “These strikes targeted known al-Shabaab leaders involved in IED facilitation, fighter training and attack planning,” US Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson said in a statement. “Striking these leaders disrupts al-Shabaab’s ability to attack our partners and indiscriminately kill innocent civilians with improvised explosive devices. We are working closely with our Somali partners to support their operations against al-Shabaab, protect their people and provide governance,” said Anderson, commander of Joint Task Force-Quartz.


The first Hellenic Air Force upgraded F-16V fighter has flown on January 17, the Hellenic Aerospace Industry has announced. The press release says the flight went smoothly. The aircraft is the former F-16C Block 52+ with HAF serial 005 (USAF serial 06-0005) which was acquired through the Peace Xenia IV Foreign Military Sales program in 2005 and delivered in 2009 to the 335 Mira Tigris (“Tigers”) at Araxos Air Base. The aircraft was chosen to become the prototype for the Block 72 upgrade, which was performed locally by the Hellenic Aerospace Industries (HAI) at Tanagra Air Base, with the support of Lockheed Martin, beginning in January 2020.

A suspect has been arrested and detained over the theft of equipment from a Il-80 airborne command post. Zhora Khachunts’s lawyer told TASS that her client was arrested on January 4 and will be detained till Mar. 4. The accused is being held in the Taganrog pre-trial detention center. The Il-80 command post was undergoing maintenance at Taganrog Yuzhny airport when it was found broken into on December 4 last year. According to the news report, 39 radio equipment and 5 electronic boards were taken from the aircraft.


Pakistan conducted a successful flight test of Shaheen-III, a surface-to-surface ballistic missile, capable of hitting targets as far as 2,750 kilometers. The test flight was aimed at re-validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system, said Director General Inter Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar in a tweet. According to ISPR, the successful flight test, with its impact point in the Arabian Sea, was witnessed by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Nadeem Raza, Director General Strategic Plans Division, Commander Army Strategic Forces Command, Chairman NESCOM and the scientists and engineers involved.

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