NATO has begun initial deliberations for upgrading the alliance’s surveillance-aircraft fleet, with an eye toward improving its missile-defense capabilities.
At issue is the way forward in replacing the alliance-owned Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft — Boeing E-3 Sentry planes commonly known by the acronym AWACS — sometime in the 2030s. Given the expectation of a long acquisition process for the project, some officials believe that the time is now to begin planning.
Defense acquisition leaders from the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy discussed plans on April 2 at a so-called Five Powers meeting in Brussels, according to the gathering’s written agenda prepared for participants.
The NATO Industrial Advisory Group, a panel of defense-industry executives providing counsel on military hardware, has additionally begun studying what kinds of new technologies should go into the next-generation aircraft, according to the summary of a March 31 meeting obtained by Global Security Newswire.
While there is not yet a formal, alliance-approved requirements list for the new plane, supporting theater-level missile defense is among the operational scenarios envisioned for the new capability, according to the document. One NATO insider said under consideration is the fielding of missile-tracking sensors that would detect incoming projectiles and supply ground-based interceptors with targeting data.
Such a capability — along with other planned enhancements for areas like maritime surveillance, intelligence support, or the command and control of forces — would take the envisioned upgrades “far beyond” what the alliance’s current AWACS fleet can do, the insider said. The source spoke with GSN on condition of anonymity to offer more candor on the emerging trans-Atlantic topic, which is expected to come up at the September NATO summit in Wales.
An interim report by the industry advisers is expected in August; the final version is due in April 2015.
Some AWACS planes were dispatched to conduct surveillance flights over Poland and Romania last month amid tensions with Russia over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.
“This employment increases the understanding of what is happening in the region, including in Ukraine, for NATO allies,” the alliance said on its website.
What We're Following See More »
“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” started Bill Clinton. In his speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton brought a personal touch, telling parallel stories of his relationship with Hillary Clinton and the work she has done throughout her career. He lauded the Democratic nominee for her career of work, touching on her earliest days of advocacy for children and those with disabilities while in law school, her role as Secretary of State, and her work in raising their daughter, Chelsea. Providing a number of anecdotes throughout the speech, Clinton built to a crescendo, imploring the audience to support his wife for president. "You should elect her, she'll never quit when the going gets tough," he said. "Your children and grandchildren will be grateful."
A coalition of mothers whose children lost their lives in high profile cases across the country, known as the Mothers Of The Movement, were greeted with deafening chants of "Black Lives Matter" before telling their stories. The mothers of Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin spoke for the group, soliciting both tears and applause from the crowd. "Hillary Clinton has the compassion and understanding to comfort a grieving mother," said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin. "And that's why, in the memory of our children, we are imploring you — all of you — to vote this election day."
With the South Dakota delegation announcing its delegate count, Hillary Rodham Clinton is officially the Democratic nominee for president, surpassing the 2383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Clinton is expected to speak at the convention on Thursday night and officially accept the nomination.
About 5,500, according to official estimates. "The Monday figures marked a large increase from the protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where even the largest protests only drew a couple of hundred demonstrators. But it’s a far cry from the 35,000 to 50,000 that Philadelphia city officials initially expected."
Only a day after FiveThirtyEight's Now Cast gave Donald Trump a 57% chance of winning, the New York Times' Upshot fires back with its own analysis that shows Hillary Clinton with a 68% chance to be the next president. Its model "calculates win probabilities for each state," which incorporate recent polls plus "a state's past election results and national polling." Notably, all of the battleground states that "vote like the country as a whole" either lean toward Clinton or are toss-ups. None lean toward Trump.