The ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine has resulted in Ukraine and Poland seeking closer defence ties to the UK. This desire for closer cooperation has now become codified in a new security pact between the two eastern European countries and the UK, announced on 17 February 2022. According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, the agreement seeks to deepen ties between the three countries in vital areas of national defence, primarily “in matters of cyber security, energy security and countering disinformation.” Further details of what the security pact entails are expected soon, as the three countries are expected to publish a “yet-to-be-developed memorandum of understanding” in the coming days.
The Associated Press (AP) reports that the government of Greece is asking its parliament to approve a 3 billion-euro ($3.4 billion) defence agreement. The agreement in question is a purchasing deal for “three new French-made frigates,” negotiated between French President Emmanuel Macron and his Greek counterpart Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in September of 2021. According to the frigate manufacturer, the French state-owned company Naval Group, the first two frigates will be delivered in 2025 and the third in 2026.
The idea of using robots in warfare dates back to the 1940s. From WW2-era German Goliaths and Soviet teletanks to Cold War Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), we are steadily moving towards a more robotised battlefield. Projects are many, and development is encouraging, but not without its problems: military and ethical questions quickly come to the surface with high costs.
As tensions continue to build surrounding the possible invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military, one issue has stood out as a potential point of tension: the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. A significant part of the European Union (EU) still depends on imported natural gas as a source of energy. A sizeable part of that comes from the Russian Federation, the primary import of natural gas to the EU, amounting to 40% of imports (Euractiv, 2022). In that context, any tension with Russia has the potential of having serious consequences for the energy supply of the Union. Russia has been known to use this leverage in negotiations in the past, such as when it turned off all supplies to Ukraine in January 2006 over a dispute regarding payments (Parfitt, the Guardian, 2006). At the time, this has pushed the EU member states to realise the danger of depending on Russia for energy, and incited them to pursue other sources, as well as increase storage capacity in case the EU’s supply was ever cut.
On 8 February, the US company Sikorsky, owned by the Lockheed Martin group, communicated that they completed the first-ever two uninhabited flights with a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter. These first flights are linked to the testing of a new technological system for autonomous driving called MATRIX. The initiative is part of the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program, launched by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It aims to develop portable and removable automation systems for helicopters.