Closer ties between Putin’s Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of security cooperation (voennoe sotrudnichestvo) has attracted significant attention from Western foreign policy-makers and academic scholars in recent years. Diplomatic isolation and commonly shared dissatisfaction with the long-established American hegemony has driven both countries into a pragmatic, stable and mutually beneficial rapprochement nearly a decade after a new chapter in their relationships was opened in 2012 (Ghadbeigy, 2017). By this time the return of Vladimir Putin to power was clearly interpreted as marking a watershed moment in Russian foreign policy doctrine and strategies that had long since been in vogue under the rule of Dmitriy Medvedev (Kozhanov, 2015).
Cargo Drones, Cargo Air Vehicles, or Heavy Lift Drones are the latest in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, technology. These pieces of equipment are being developed to transport cargo manually, remotely, and autonomously and may be used in civilian and military applications (Using cargo drones in last-mile delivery | Deloitte, 2018). Boasting impressive carrying power, cargo drones can lift anywhere from 2.26 to 2449.39 kilograms (Team, 2021). This carrying power establishes new possibilities for the delivery of packages without direct human involvement and may therefore be used to deliver lifesaving supplies to dangerous locations. The technology is also more environmentally friendly than traditional delivery services. Cargo drones are most commonly “electric or hybrid-electric vehicles with four or more rotors” (Using cargo drones in last-mile delivery | Deloitte, 2018). Some cargo drones can take off and land from a standing position, known as either an eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) vehicle or VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) vehicle. VTOL makes cargo drones more versatile than cargo planes as they do not require a runway for operation. Many companies are in the process of developing proprietary cargo drone technology to improve upon traditional forms of delivery services.
The Greek skies will soon be dominated by the newly launched multipurpose Archytas drone. As geopolitical frictions with Turkey have reached a critical juncture in the Aegean Sea, Greek defence and security officials welcomed the development of the Archytas prototype with great enthusiasm in the face of the threat posed by the Bayraktar TB2 operating in Ukraine’s war. This is nothing new, as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan spares no instant in criticising Greece despite both countries being NATO members. But the past few years have been marked by a surge in territorial clashes and acts of intimidation, as territorial waters have been continuously contested by both sides since the 1970s. Such reasons might explain Greece’s decision to equip itself with a new generation of high-performance combat UAVs.
After the Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kherson in August, on the 21th of September Putin launched a call for “partial mobilisation” of Russian men between the ages of 18 and 50, with the aim of enlisting 300,000 soldiers amongst the reservists and former military personnel (Il Post, 2022). Three weeks later, the recruitment operation is said to have enlisted over 200,000 people, as stated by the Russian Defence Minister Shoigu (Cancian, 2022) (Il Post, 2022). Even if it is early to say, Russia is calculating whether the new recruits should be sent to the front without proper training as “cannon fodder” (Bathon, 2022), or whether to send them to the 80 camps and 6 training centres outlined by the Russian Defence Minister (Il Post, 2022). Currently the decision appears to be somewhere in between the two, with some of the recruits trained for fewer than three days before being sent to the front, while others completing the training phase.
Relations between the United States and China have been strained for a few years now, but tensions have increased in recent months due to several geopolitical events. One of them was the visit to Taipei by Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi last July, underpinning the United States’ support for Taiwan’s status. The current US Administration continues to adhere to the one China policy, as most other countries in the world do. In response, over the summer, Beijing increased the number of aggressive military exercises around the islands of the South China Sea, although China’s expert Dean Cheng of Heritage Foundation argued they were “likely pre-planned for months” (Cheng, 2022). Lately, Beijing appears to have at least partially aligned with Western thinking by calling on Russia to end the war in Ukraine as soon as possible, yet friction with Washington has been enhanced by Biden's latest statement regarding Taiwan’s sovereignty. In fact, China was strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed to Biden’s comment (Reuters, 2022), when the President of the US declared that US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.