NEWS BRIEFS: INTERNATIONAL
7 February 2023 (AP/CNN)
U.S. intelligence officials believe that the Chinese balloon shot down by the U.S., and now in the hands of the FBI, is an extensive military surveillance program which has conducted at least two dozen missions over at least five continents in recent years. Roughly half have been into U.S. airspace, including the downed “weather” balloon which also entered Canadian airspace after being detected by NORAD. The debris now is being analyzed by FBI engineers in an attempt to learn what kind of intelligence it could have collected as well as how future incursions can be tracked.
7 February 2023 (CP)
An RCAF CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft headed back to base in Atlantic Canada today after intelligence gathering flights over Haiti. The aircraft was retasked from a U.S.-led counter-narcotics mission and a Canadian Armed Forces official said the data collected over two days would be used by the government “to further assess the situation in Haiti,” which has requested military help in dealing with endemic gang violence.
7 February 2023 (BBC)
As debate in the U.S. and Canada continues about when it should have been intercepted, debris from a Chinese “spy” balloon downed by an F-22 Raptor off the East Coast, the U.S. Navy has released images of debris recovered on the weekend. The 60-metre balloon, which China insists was a stray meteorological platform, evidently had a heavy technical payload and now is being examined to determine its purpose.
7 February 2023 (CP)
As the death toll from the weekend’s earthquakes and aftershocks in Turkey and Syria topped 6,200 today, the Canadian government has committed an initial $10 million to the international relief effort. International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan said further aid and potential deployment of disaster response teams are being considered.
7 February 2023 (CTV)
While the U.S. Navy continued its search off the Carolinas for debris from a Chinese balloon shot down by an F-22 Raptor on the weekend, Conservative Defence critic James Bezan asked February 6 why it wasn’t intercepted during the brief time it was in Canadian airspace. “This was an outrageous intrusion,” he said. “I think they had an opportunity to take it down over the Pacific” as it transited south from where it was detected over the Aleutians.
6 February 2023 (Defense News)
Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram says his country has chosen to procure 54 Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks in a deal expected to cost the equivalent of US$1.9 million. Delivery from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann in Munich is expected to begin in 2026 and Norway would have the option to buy 18 more replacements for its older 2A4s, some of which are committed to Ukraine.
6 February 2023 (Al Jazeera)
The Brazilian navy scuttled a decommissioned aircraft carrier, which it acquired from France in 2000, in a five-kilometres deep area of the Atlantic 350 kilometres off Brazil’s east coast February 3. The navy had said two days earlier that it had little choice despite a last-minute legal challenge because the ship was at risk of sinking.
6 February 2023 (CP)
The federal government has deployed one of the RCAF’s Lockheed Martin CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft to Haiti. Capable of flying for 17 hours at a time, it is tasked with providing surveillance and intelligence support for the authorities’ campaign against endemic gang violence which has paralyzed the country for months.
6 February 2023 (BBC)
Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov was replaced February 5 by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s military intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov. The change comes amid a series of corruption scandals in the ministry but Reznikov, reassigned as Minister for Strategic Industries, has denied reports of funds being diverted.
6 February 2023 (CTV)
The first of four Leopard 2 main battle tanks Canada is donating to Ukraine arrived in Poland February 5 aboard one of the RCAF’s five Boeing CC-177 Globemaster IIIs, the largest Canadian transport capable of carrying one tank at a time. “We’ll soon be training the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the use of this equipment,” Defence Minister said, posting a video of the tank being unloaded and having previously posted one of its departure from Canada.
4 February 2023 (CP)
Defence Minister Anita Anand said today that the federal “unequivocally” supports the U.S decision to shoot down a Chinese balloon off the Carolinas after it had transited the continent. She said the balloons’ trajectory over several days “violated U.S. and Canadian airspace and international law.”
4 February 2023 (AP)
A balloon described by the U.S. as a “surveillance” platform and by China as a meteorological “airship” was shot down today off the Carolinas by a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor. Spotted north of the Aleutian Islands near Alaska January 28, it transited North American airspace at the edge of the stratosphere, well above commercial air traffic corridors. The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard were attempting to cover debris in shallow coastal waters.