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Aerospace defence is a priority for Russia and since 1995 the A-135 anti-ballistic missile system has been primed to counter enemy missiles targeting Moscow. In February 2018, Russia successfully carried out an air defence missile test at Sary-Shagan in Kazakhstan. The new air defence missile can precisely intercept single and multiple strikes, including new-generation intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and will be added to the upgraded version of the A-135 (reportedly named the A-235). Deputy commander of the Air and Space Defense Alliance, Colonel Andrei Prikhodko, stated that the modernized anti-ballistic missile defence system successfully accomplished the task and struck the conventional target with the specified accuracy.

The Don-2N radar station, located in Sofrino near Moscow, is part of the A-135 and can detect warheads in flight and at a distance of up to 3 700 km. The information received is transmitted to the 5K80 command point and is then further processed and transmitted to missile launching sites with 53T6 interceptors. The A-135 includes 68 short-range 53T6 (Gazelle) interceptors (endo-atmospheric). The 32 long-range 51T6 (Gorgon) interceptors have been removed from the system. The A-135’s upgrade includes high-tech detection and tracking components.



Ballistic missiles can be launched from land and at sea (from submarines beneath the surface) and are classified as intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) with a range of approximately 1000 km to 5 500 km and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with ranges exceeding 5000 km. ICBMs are usually launched from silos – reinforced canisters set into the ground. With regards to an effective early-warning system, Russia has it covered.


Other early warning radar systems include the Daryal radar in Pechora, the Dnepr radar in Murmansk and Kazakhstan, and the Volga radar in Belarus. The Daryal and Dnepr radars are aging with new-generation radars being built in the Komi and Murmansk regions.


The Russian Aerospace Defence Forces monitors space objects and identifies potential threats in space and from space. EKS is the Integrated Space System or Tundra, which replaced the OKO early-warning system. The COSMOS 2510 is the first of a new fleet of satellites capable of detecting missile launches heading for Russia.

The space surveillance network uses the early-warning radar network to monitor objects on low Earth orbits. Over the next few years, Russia plans to install more than ten laser-optical and passive radiofrequency surveillance complexes with the task of permanently monitoring the near-Earth space at all inclinations and at a maximum altitude range.


Written by Sylvia Caravotas (Satovarac Consulting) for OIDA


The battle between Airbus and Boeing to reign over the commercial aerospace market is far from over. As analysts predicted this past October, Boeing (the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer and an American company) is indeed pushing to strengthen its partnership with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer. In December 2017, the two companies discussed a potential combination and many are speculating as to what this combination shall entail.

However, the potential combination is not as simple as it seems. Any transaction of this nature has political implications and would be subject to approval firstly by the Brazilian government and regulators, the two companies’ boards, and Embraer’s shareholders. The Brazilian government’s golden share in Embraer means that it has veto powers over the creation of and/or changes in military programmes involving Brazil or otherwise and change in a controlling interest in the corporation, amongst others.

Boeing has a long-standing relationship with Brazil spanning 80 years beginning with the first delivery of F4B-4 fighters in 1932. Since the 60’s, Boeing has been selling commercial aircraft to Brazilian airlines and it was a natural progression for Boeing to establish an office in São Paulo in October 2011. Boeing and Embraer’s collaboration is nothing new and in June 2012 the companies signed an agreement to work on the KC-390 aircraft programme by sharing technical knowledge and evaluating markets for medium-lift military transport opportunities. More recently in 2016, the companies collaborated in the Boeing ecoDemonstrator programme by conducting tests on an Embraer E170 aircraft to reduce environmental impact and increase aircraft efficiency and performance.

Embraer is a proudly Brazilian company and an important player in Brazil’s defence industry therefore Brazil is treading cautiously as it would be ceding significant control to a foreign company. The partnership will focus on the commercial sector only as the Brazilian defence ministry wishes for its defence programme to remain independent. In January, Brazilian Minister of Defence, Raul Jungmann, held a meeting at his office in Brasília with representatives of Boeing to discuss the company’s partnership with Embraer. Jungmann was in favour of a partnership between Boeing and Embraer, but maintained that the Brazilian company’s shareholding control is a matter of national sovereignty and will not be transferred or negotiated.

A commercial aerospace partnership with Embraer would give Boeing a broader portfolio of aircraft and a leading share of the 70 to 130+ segment, creating stiff competition for Bombardier’s C Series programme, which since last October is now backed by Boeing’s European rival Airbus. Colin Bole, Senior Vice president for commercial aircraft at Bombardier, is of the opinion that talks between Boeing and Embraer on joining forces are an acknowledgement that Boeing does not have an answer to the C Series and that there is nothing in the 737 family that properly addresses the 100 to 150-seat category. It will be interesting to see how the competition plays out in the coming months.



Written by Sylvia Caravotas (Satovarac Consulting) for OIDA


As connectivity grows on the African continent, so will the threat of cyber-attacks. The South African Department of Defence in particular is planning through the defence intelligence programme (and with an allocation of R72 million over the medium term) to institutionalize a cyber security policy, implement its cyber warfare strategy, and establish a cyber command centre.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed cyber security solutions to defend South Africa’s digital borders from cyber-attacks by promoting compliance with South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) and institutionalizing its cyber security policy. According to Johnny Botha, Cyber Warfare Project Manager at the CSIR and contributor to a study titled Pro-Active Data Breach Detection: Examining Accuracy and Applicability On Personal Information Detected, the amount of personal information being leaked online remains substantial. An additional paper to which Mr Botha has contributed – High-Level Comparison Between the South African Protection of Personal Information Act and International Data Protection Laws, highlights that POPIA is on par with international privacy legislation.

The CSIR’s Cyber Defence Research Group continues to support the DoD’s Directorate Information Warfare (DIW) with cyber-related research, development, and solutions. The DIW is mandated with securing South Africa’s military cyberspace. When it comes to defending a country’s cyber battlespace, it is important to identify cyber vulnerabilities, adversaries’ cyber weaknesses, and develop offensive and defensive strategies and capabilities as well as cyber security awareness initiatives, which must extend to industry, governmental departments, and security structures. South African defence entities are also focusing their attention on cyber defence. In September 2016, Denel announced the Denel Tactical Cyber Command Centre, which will work closely with local and international cyber domain players.

South Africa’s offensive cyber warfare strategy began during FY 2016/17, when the DoD developed a cyber warfare strategy aligned with the country’s stance and capabilities. The cyber warfare strategy will be submitted for consideration to the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster ministers during FY 2017/18. Cyber security measures must also have a defensive approach to protect and shield sensitive and classified information from unauthorized access, modification, destruction, or disclosure. The DOD’s Cyber Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) will be established to prevent or recover from a cyber warfare incident through the establishment of the cyber command centre.

Bridging the digital divide is a double-edged sword as connectivity is a conduit for cyber adversaries to access any system. A sound cyber security policy and cyber warfare strategy counteract these threats, which can severely affect and wreak havoc on a country’s security and economy by penetrating infrastructure, financial, and other key institutions essential to a country’s function. Information-based processes and systems as well as communication networks must be protected with capabilities that have the potential to neutralize, destroy, or exploit cyber-attacks.


Written by Sylvia Caravotas (Satovarac Consulting) for OIDA




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