Espionage Files: Russian Spies Pose as Diplomats in Sweden

Cold War 2.0 is in Full Effect!!  The Great Game is again being Played. -SF


Säpo, which last year concluded that the biggest intelligence threat against Sweden came from Russia, has once again detailed how its eastern neighbour is using a range of aggressive tactics designed to rattle residents.
The security service’s report, first seen and reported on by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, argues that Russia is carrying out various forms of psychological warfare via “extreme movements, information operations and misinformation campaigns” designed to target both policy makers and the general public.
It also states that around a dozen diplomats are operating as spies and confirms that some Russian embassy staff were asked to leave Stockholm in 2015, amid an uptick in tensions between the two countries, as The Local reported in September.
Other spies are understood by Säpo to be working for airlines and businesses operating in Sweden.
“We see intelligence activities in all these different areas. In the political, economic, military, and so on. The overall picture is very disturbing,” says Wilhelm Unge, one of the counterespionage researchers who worked on the report.
After Russia, Iran and China are viewed by Säpo as presenting the biggest intelligence threats to Sweden.
The report also singles out attempted acts of terrorism from extremist groups such as Isis as a major potential danger, arguing that efforts to radicalize young people in the Scandinavian country have reached unprecedented levels.
The security service’s document states that more than 300 people have so far travelled from Sweden to fight in Syria and Iraq. Of these, 135 have since returned while 44 have lost their lives.
However, Säpo argues that record asylum applications in Sweden in 2015 did not drive up criminal activities.
“Säpo sees very few crimes in Sweden that can be linked to the large refugee reception,” says Ahn-Za Hagström, another of the report’s core researchers.
But she points out that the tone of debates is shifting, with racist extremists and vigilantes in Sweden spreading increasing amounts of anti-immigration rhetoric.
“The current refugee situation, migration flows, is a driving issue for the white power movement,” she says, noting that far-right radicals are increasingly accusing asylum seekers of being terrorists.
These allegations have led to closer cooperation between Säpo and Sweden’s Migration Agency Migrationsverket over the past 12 months, according to the report.
“The numbers themselves are a challenge for us in the security service, not least from a resource perspective,” says Malin Fylkner, the report’s security analyst.
Last November a 22-year-old Iraqi man was wrongly arrested by Säpo for plotting a terror attack in Sweden. He later launched legal proceedings seeking one million kronor in compensation from the Swedish government.
Read the Original Article at The Local

Military Defense News: Russia’s Lethal New Kalina Class Submarine


Russia is set to start construction of its new Kalina-class diesel-electric submarine after the last two Lada-class vessels are completed. The Project 677 Lada-class—which Moscow is terminating after three units are completed—has proven to be a disappointment.

“The two Lada-class Project 677 submarines will be delivered as scheduled — in 2018 and 2019,” a spokesman for United Shipbuilding Corporation told RIA Novosti. “Then the construction of the new non-nuclear Kalina-class submarines will be launched.”

Separately, deputy Russian Navy commander Vice Adm. Alexander Fedotenkov told Rossiya 24 that construction of the new submarines would start shortly. “These are new-generation submarines. They are currently being developed,” Fedotenkov said. “The construction of these submarines will start in the imminent future.”

Not much is known about the Kalina-class except that Moscow intends to equip the new vessels with an air independent propulsion (AIP) system. Russia’s current Kilo and sole Lada-class vessels do not currently incorporate an AIP—which has already become standard on Western diesel boats.

Moscow had planned to equip the Lada-class with an AIP, but those plans seem to have been dropped. The TASS new agency notes that while Russia has been working on an AIP for years, plans to equip the Lada with the new system have come to naught.

Read the Original Article at National Interest

The Russian Corner: Russias New T-14 Armata Tank in Production

I am sure the Baltic States are just overjoyed to hear this. As soon as they get their Air Defenses up, Russia hits them with a New and Improved Ground Weapon threat. And People say we are not in another Cold War? Ha! -SF


Russia’s T-14 main battle tank—which is part of the Armata family of combat vehicles—is already in production.

While Moscow displayed early developmental models of the new the combat vehicles in public during the 2015 Victory Day parade, most Western analysts had believed that the Armata family was still in its developmental stages. However, according to a top Russian defense industry executive, the Armata family is already in serial production.

Asked recently if the Armata main battle tank would be among the projects that the Kremlin would put on hold as Moscow reduces its defense outlays as oil revenues suffer, Sergei Chemezov, chief executive officer of the Rostec state corporation, told the Wall Street Journalthat only new developmental efforts would be halted. “That’s already in serial production,” Chemezov said, when asked specifically about the Armata.

According to Chemezov, the Kremlin has decided that projects that have are well into their development will be continued. “You can’t quit when you’re halfway there,” Chemezov told the Journal. “Money has already been invested, and if we stop without finishing, then that will be lost money. Everything that has been started will be finished, and money will be allocated to it.”

The Armata Universal Combat Platform consists of the T-14 main battle tank, the T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicle and the T-16 armored recovery vehicle, among a host of other vehicles. Another member of the Armata family includes an upgunned heavy assault armored vehicle, which has been dubbed “the Tank Killer” by Russian media. While the T-14 is no slouch in terms of firepower with its new 2A82-1M 125mm gun—which is mounted in an unmanned turret. The“Tank Killer” variant seems to incorporate a derivative of the 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV’s 152mm artillery piece into the Armata chassis in a direct fire mounting.

Meanwhile, footage from a Russian television segment on the T-14 main battle tank component of the Armata family shows an advanced armored three-man crew capsule fitted with touch screen displays. The interface looks simple and intuitive from what can be seen in the video. The Russians also seem to have developed a battle network connecting their T-14s and T-90MS tanks that can relay Instant Messaging, videos and imagery to multiple friendly tanks. The tank is also fitted with GLONASS and NAVSTAR GPS.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Armata series is the Afghanit active protection system (APS). The system uses a 360 active electronically scanned array radar and a potent electronic warfare system to disrupt the guidance of incoming rounds. It also has a countermeasure suite to jam enemy laser guidance systems. As well, the tank is equipped with interceptor rounds for the APS, which are fitted with explosively formed penetrators. That means the Armata’s APS could potentially be effective against even kinetic energy rounds.

APS systems are usually most effective when used against chemical energy rounds like rocket-propelled grenades or missiles.

The Military Balance 2016 report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies explains another important feature:

“Most revolutionary is the Armata-based T-14 Main Battle Tank featuring an uncrewed turret. There is emphasis on protection across the platforms—including active protection systems (APS)—reflecting lessons learnt as well as perceptions of future operating environments. . . .

“When it enters service Armata will be the first tank designed for an unmanned turret and APS. Successful fielding of APS will reduce the effectiveness of anti-tank guided missiles and shoulder-fired weapons such as rocket propelled grenades. This will change battlefield dynamics by increasing the importance of cannon, anti-tank guns and tanks.”

But the best way to survive on the battlefield to not to be seen in the first place, as such, the Russians have taken steps to reduce the tanks radar and infrared signature so that it is more difficult to detect and track.

Should the Armata is found—and an incoming round makes it through the APS—the vehicle is protected by dual-layered Malachit explosive reactive armor in addition to robust passive armor. The composition of the armor is not known—but it is likely some form of laminated ceramic composite matrix. It’s also equipped with slat armor to protect certain areas that would otherwise be vulnerable to rocket propelled grenades.

The Armata is a source of major concern for Western armies. As a direct response to the development of the T-14, Germany recently launched an effort to upgun the Leopard 2 with a new 130mm cannon and is developing plans to launch a new main battle tank called the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS).

Read the Original Article at National Interest