ISR ESSAYS

NOVEMBER 2022 – Integrity Insights SPECIAL REPORT

North Korea: Redefining New Normal on the Korean Peninsula

(INDOPACOM/Northeast Asia) North Korea has already launched more missiles in 2022 than any previous year. The DPRK has also developed nuclear weapons and will never give them up according to Kim Jong Un. On Sep. 9, 2022 North Korea announced a new law enshrining the right to conduct preemptive nuclear strikes if there is a threat of an imminent attack on

DPRK leaders, or the country is at risk of destruction. Since then, the Hermit Kingdom has unleashed a flurry of dangerous military activity. The most recent activity was the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Nov. 18 Japanese officials said had sufficient range to reach the mainland of the United States. North Korea claimed the launch was a new missile, the Hwasong-17. The ICBM splashed down just 130 miles off the coast of Japan.

North Korea’s belligerent behavior has South Korea, Japan, and the United States exchanging statements and responses. On Nov. 1, North Korea warned of ”more powerful follow-up measures” in response to U.S.-South Korea Vigilant Storm exercises, a four-day joint air training exercise beginning Oct. 31. On Nov. 2, Pyongyang launched approximately 25 missiles from numerous locations. One of those missiles landed south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the maritime border between the two Koreas, for the first time since North Korea began testing ballistic missiles in the 1980s. Pyongyang also fired roughly 100 artillery shells into the maritime buffer zone, set up in 2018 as part of negotiations with Washington and Seoul. Less than two hours later, South Korean and U.S. aircraft responded by firing three air-to-surface missiles into the sea north of the NLL.

Multiple Missile Tests

Over the next several days, North Korea carried out a series of additional missile tests — including a failed launch of a suspected ICBM. A large-scale drill of military aircraft was also conducted across the country. On Nov. 7, Pyongyang claimed the launch of two cruise missiles in the waters off the South Korean city of Ulsan on Nov. 2, stating the South failed to detect the launches. Seoul and Washington denied the launches occurred.

While these events were concentrated around Vigilant Storm, they are more evidence Pyongyang has shifted approach in dealing with Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington. In doing so, the DPRK is asserting the United States and South Korea’s sanctions and isolation strategy are ineffective. North Korea’s access to an expanded arsenal of weapons is giving more options to deal with the security situation around the Korean Peninsula.

Impacts of Expanded NK Capability

In the past, North Korea’s room for escalation was hampered, due to limited capability and confidence to carry out reciprocal military actions without entering into conflict. Thanks to an expanded conventional capability, Pyongyang now has more tactical options to shape political calculations in Seoul and Washington, with less risk of a rapid descent into an all-out conflict as evidenced by this year’s activity.

North Korea is likely slowly but steadily expanding areas of military action and operations as they seek to reshape the political and security environment around the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang views U.S.-South Korean military exercises as an existential threat to the regime and will use military demonstrations to emphasize the high risk of escalation around any future exercises.

South Korea and the United States will, in turn, need to factor in a more bellicose and belligerent North Korean response to any bilateral military drills. North Korea is likely slowly but steadily expanding areas of military action and operations as they seek to reshape the political and security environment around the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang views U.S.-South Korean military exercises as an existential threat to the regime and will use military demonstrations to emphasize the high risk of escalation around any future exercises. South Korea and the United States will, in turn, need to factor in a more bellicose and belligerent North Korean response to any bilateral military drills.

Concern is also mounting over the possibility of North Korea conducting a nuclear test for the first time since 2017. South Korean and U.S. officials have said the North has completed preparations for such a test, expected to be underground and possibly using a smaller nuclear device designed for tactical use. The discussion of “tactical nukes” has been prominent and of concern to the West since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Key Events 2022:

January 5:
o Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM) launch into the East Coast Sea.

March 24:
o First successful ICBM launch since 2017.

October 5:
o NK fires Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile IRBM over Japan.
o South Korean and American troops fired a volley of missiles into the sea in response.

October 14:
o “Hundreds” of North Korean artillery shells fired into maritime buffer zones.
o 10 North Korean warplanes fly as close as 7 miles north of the sea border and 15 miles north of the Military Demarcation Line.

October 19:
o N.Korea test-fires submarine-launched ballistic missile.

November 2:
o North Korea fires 25 missiles of various kinds off its east and west coasts.
o 1 SRBM impacted 16 miles south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL).
o Largest number of missiles North Korea has fired in a single day.
o North Korea also fired 100 artillery shells into South Korea’s maritime buffer zone.

November 3:
o ICBM Launch. Appears to have failed at high altitude.

November 4:
o South Korea stated they scrambled warplanes in response to 180 North Korean military
flights near the countries’ shared border. –

November 18:
o North Korea test-fired an ICBM with range to reach the mainland of the United States that Impacted off the coast of Japan. (8th test this year)
o South Korean F-35A fighters and U.S. F-16 jets flew off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula and conducted a firing drill against targets that simulated North Korea’s mobile missile launchers.
▪ Weapons used included an AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER.

“Pyongyang is trying to disrupt international cooperation against it by escalating military tensions and suggesting it has the capability of holding American cities at risk of nuclear attack.”


– Leif-Eric Easley, Professor, Ewha University, Seoul.

(Wong Maye-E, Associated Press)

Integrity ISR Assessment

The days of North Korea’s behavior being considered “saber rattling” or “bullying” are likely gone. North Korea is likely to steadily expand areas of military action and operations seeking to reshape the political and security environment around the Korean Peninsula. North Korea’s multiple missile tests, combined with artillery firing and warplanes exercises, will likely become a new normal. The activities seen in 2022 have become Pyongyang’s way to respond to issues and activities they see as an existential threat like joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises. The DPRK will continue to use military demonstrations to emphasize the high risk of escalation around any future exercises. With more military action, there is an increased risk of short, sharp clashes (like the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island or the sinking of South Korea’s Cheonan navy vessel in 2010), and potentially more exchanges of fire between the two Koreas. This is an ominous sign that adds more uncertainty to an already tense part of the world. Expect to see a nuclear test in the coming days as a parting “shot” to the Joint US/Korean exercises.

Appendix

CONTACT US

DANIELLE STORAN, PMP
CEO & President
danielle.storan@integrityisr.com

MIKE GRUNWALD, COL (R), USAF, PMP
Senior VP, Operations
mike.grunwald@integrityisr.com

MISSION

Integrity ISR provides innovative solutions
for C4ISR and Space strategy, training,
operations, analysis, and exploitation.

VISION

Strengthen US and global security by building ISR and Space capabilities, increasing interoperability, and fostering long-term partnerships through security cooperation.

October 2022 – Integrity Insights

In This Issue:

Gas Pipeline Explosion in the Baltic Sea

Chinese and Russian Ships Sighted Near Alaska

Gas Pipeline Explosion in the Baltic Sea; Putin’s Message to Europe

(Europe, NATO) Two significant events have numerous European countries bracing for a rough winter. First, the presumed sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea; and second, the opening of the Euro Norway pipeline to Europe through the Baltic pipe. Early last week, Denmark and Sweden reported the discovery of four massive gas leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines, two on the Swedish side and two on the Danish side.

A Danish earthquake station on Bornholm Island registered the first signs of these explosions on September 26th. Sweden and Denmark both indicated blasts equivalent to “several hundred kilograms of explosives” caused the leaks. Task forces contained all four leaks by October 2nd.

NATO Issues Warning in Response

The EU, NATO, and the governments of Germany, Poland, Sweden, and Denmark have all stated they believe the leaks were caused deliberately. NATO left the door open to possible military action, stating “All currently available information indicates that this is the result of deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage …any deliberate attack against Allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response.”

If deliberate, these events send Europe and the United States a clear message: Russia has the will, intent, and capability to not only destroy gas lines but other undersea pipelines, cables, and other subsurface equipment.

Tactics, Techniques, Procedures, and Motives

Intelligence sources quoted in the German news magazine Der Spiegel believe the pipelines were hit in four places with at least 500kg’s of TNT, the rough equivalent of a US Mark 83 1000 lb General Purpose bomb. Using seismic readings, the Germans calculated not only the power of the blasts, but estimate they occurred at depths of 70 and 90 meters.

Analysts are unsure how the explosives reached the pipeline, but have two initial working theories: use of a type of mini-sub; or a “pipeline intervention gadget” (PIG). Workers use such machines to clean and inspect within pipelines. In the weeks since the explosions, manned or unmanned submarine delivery seems less probable.

Based on the estimated amount and weight of explosives, and support required, it seems less likely attackers used a submersible vehicle. Instead, experts are suggesting PIGs operating within the pipeline structure may have been used to plant or transport the bombs.  Regardless of method, the sophisticated nature of conducting such an attack – plus the power of the blasts – probably indicates a state power carried out the attacks. Russia remains a likely suspect, as Moscow has repeatedly taunted its capability to disrupt Europe’s energy infrastructure.

In a defiant September 2022 speech, the Washington Post reported that Putin seemed to foreshadow the explosions, threatening to cut off Europe of all Russian energy. Additionally, he seemed to lay the groundwork to accuse the West and US of not supplying needed equipment to repair the Nord 1 pipeline. Putin indicated if an explosion did occur, the blame would be on the Allies. “Nord Stream 1 is practically closed now,” Putin said. “There is an oil leak there — it’s a possibly explosive situation, a fire hazard. … Give us a turbine, and we will turn on Nord Stream 1 tomorrow.”

“We will not supply gas, oil, coal, heating oil — we will not supply anything,”

– V. Putin, Sep. 8th, 2022

Still, analysts cannot rule out underwater operations. For years, Russia invested heavily in science, equipment, and training for underwater operations, specifically intelligence operations and collections. They are very good at finding undersea cables and pipelines, having moved, tapped, and even sabotaged them in the recent past. In 2021, probable Russian actors cut cables linking underwater submarine detection sensors off the coast of northern Norway.

More recently, January 2022 surveys found a severed 800-mile long undersea fiber-optic line between Norway and the Svalbard archipelago. More than 2.5 miles of fiber optic and electrical cables were removed. This area, between Norway and the geographic North Pole, hosts a SvalSat communications service satellite ground station. This node is much in demand with polar-orbiting satellite operators, being one of only two data download stations.

Yantar is as a ‘Special Purpose Ship’ and an ‘Oceanographic vessel’. These are euphemisms for ‘spy ship.’ She is operated by Russia’s secretive Main Directorate of Underwater Research (GUGI) who also operate Russia’s ‘special mission’ submarines.

Increasing Energy to Europe

October 1st signifies the start of the European heating season, and countries in northern and eastern Europe are bracing for multiple impacts. High natural gas prices, inflation, strained relations, and economic impacts – plus threats of nuclear war on NATO’s western flank – could all directly hit much of Europe. It is no coincidence solving Europe’s Russian energy dependence involves the

newly-opened Euro Norway pipeline from the Baltic to Poland.Significantly, gas started flowing from Norway via Denmark and the Baltic Sea just a day or two before the reported explosions. A product of Poland’s announced plans for a future without dependance on Russian oil and gas, the resulting pipeline may have provided Putin motive.

Assessment

Germans appear to be facing the toughest financial and energy challenges. Before Russia’s war in Ukraine, Germany depended on Russia for 55% of its natural gas. As of September 2022, Germany has been able to reduce that dependency to less than 10%. While measures such as buying gas from Norway and the Netherlands, and reducing overall gas consumption have helped, German citizens now pay quadruple the previous price.

Chinese and Russian ships Sighted near Alaska

(Alaska, INDOPACOM) On September 19th, the Associated Press reported a U.S. Coast Guard ship on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across a Chinese guided missile cruiser 86 miles north of Alaska’s Kiska Island, in the Aleutian chain. The USCG cutter later discovered two other Chinese ships and four Russian naval vessels, including a destroyer, all in single formation within the area. This year on Russian Navy Day (July 30th), President Putin signed Russia’s new Naval Doctrine. The new approach shifts the Arctic to the top Russian Navy operational priority, ahead of the Pacific second, and the Atlantic third – the latter being the former number one priority.

To help achieve its lucrative Arctic ambitions, Russia has been renewing its unique civilian fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers. During the 2020 unveiling of their new fleet flagship, Arktika, Russia proclaimed it as the world’s biggest and most powerful icebreaker.

This wasn’t the first time the Chinese navy sailed so near Alaskan waters. In September 2021, US Coast Guard cutters in the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean encountered Chinese ships, some as close as 50 miles off the Aleutians. China has declared itself a “near Arctic” state, and not to be outdone by Russia, recently announced plans to build the world’s largest icebreaker. If completed, such a project indicates China is determined to press their Arctic ambitions.

Notably, these Chinese and Russian naval actions came just a month after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned about China’s interests and Russia’s military buildup in the northern region. Following a historic first Canadian Arctic visit by a NATO Secretary General, Stoltenberg said “Russia has set up a new Arctic Command. It has opened hundreds of new and former Soviet era Arctic military sites including airfields and deep-water ports.”

Assessment

When Finland and Sweden join the alliance, seven of eight Arctic nations will be NATO members, leaving Russia as the only non-NATO nation. US and alliance shoring-up of Arctic diplomatic and military efforts will undoubtedly generate Russia and China counteractions, as multiple parties pursue economic and military influence in the region.

CONTACT US

DANIELLE STORAN, PMP
CEO & President
danielle.storan@integrityisr.com

MIKE GRUNWALD, COL (R), USAF, PMP
Senior VP, Operations
mike.grunwald@integrityisr.com

MISSION

Integrity ISR provides innovative solutions
for C4ISR and Space strategy, training,
operations, analysis, and exploitation.

VISION

Strengthen US and global security by building ISR and Space capabilities, increasing interoperability, and fostering long-term partnerships through security cooperation.

May 2022 – Integrity insights

May 2022

Modern Drone Warfare in Ukraine

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, popularly called drones, are in the Ukraine conflict spotlight. From social media posts by amateur drone operators, to commercial quadcopters flown by news gathering organizations, to fixed-wing military models, drones are having a significant impact on modern warfare.

Since the start of the invasion, civilians using phones and drones are documenting Russian forces’ actions and locations. UAVs are vital to information warfare, especially keeping the Russian propaganda machine in check. Citizens are quickly processing, exploiting and distributing drone video footage, as well as rapidly combining inputs from news organizations and military officials. Videos appear within days, hours, even minutes, refuting Russian attempts to control the information narrative – or perpetuate disinformation – at least to the international community. A recent example is an ABC News clip showing the vast, senseless destruction of civilian targets in Mariupol.

YouTube drone footage showing destruction to civilian housing in Mariupol. (ABC News)

Fighting Back

The A1-SM Fury and the Leleka-100 reconnaissance drones make up the backbone of the indigenously-built Ukrainian fleet, with some 300 units fielded. Yet the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 is by far the star of the Ukranian drone show. Made by Baykar Tech, with a wingspan of 36 feet and carrying four laser-guided bombs, these small aircraft show surprising lethality. Widespread internet videos document the destruction of Russian tanks, trucks, artillery, high tech Surface to Air Missile systems (SAMs), and naval combatants.

Russian Raptor Boat Under Attack

On May 1st the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhny, announced on social media that the Ukrainian military destroyed two Russian Raptor boats near Zmiiny Island.

Bayraktar TB2

“Bayraktar is working. Together to victory!” he wrote, referencing the Turkish-made drone. A spectacular video shows the strikes on the seemingly vulnerable Russian vessels.

War Crimes

The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into alleged war crimes by the Russian military in Bucha, Ukraine, a town on the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv. U.N. rights chief Michelle Bachelet stated there is a reasonable basis to believe war crimes have been committed during the conflict, as well as crimes against humanity, and genocide. She emphasized drone video will be instrumental in collecting evidence of these crimes. Using powerful geospatial analysis software such as ArcGIS, analysts will map, analyze, catalog and preserve devidence such as mass graves, for possible future tribunals or other legal action.

Drones as Military Aid

As international military aid pours into Ukraine, much of the military hardware includes drones. Part of the US aid package includes 100’s of loitering missile systems called the Switchblade 300 and 600. Developed and produced by AeroVironment, the Switchblade 300 brings a unique and deadly capability to the fight.

Switchblade 300

According to the manufacturer, Switchblade 300 is designed for the type of ground fight we are seeing. Lightweight, man portable, and easy to use, it’s Sensor-to-Shooter capability combines ISR and strike capabilities. The system allows up to 15 minutes of loiter time, collection or reception of real targeting data, plus striking a target, while the operators view a video downlink even in a beyond line of sight (BLOS) scenario. The 300 also boasts an instantaneous machine-to-machine transfer of target coordinates, presumably from other drones like the Switchblade 600.

Switchblade 600

Also manufactured by AeroVironment, the Switchblade 600 represents the next generation of extended-range loitering missile. With improved high-precision optics, over 40 minutes of loitering endurance, and an anti-armor warhead,

the 600 can engage larger, hardened targets at even greater distances. An all-in-one, man-portable system, the 600 and includes everything required to successfully plan and execute missions and can be set up and operational in less than 10 minutes. With its high-resolution EO/IR gimbaled sensors and advanced precision flight control, Switchblade 600 allows combatants to quickly and easily deploy, fly, track and engage non-line-of-sight targets and armored vehicles with precision lethal effects without the need for external ISR or fires assets. So far, supporters have supplied Ukraine with some 700 Switchblades – large and small – for use against Russian forces.

What is PHOENIX GHOST?

As part of the $800 billion defense package sent to the Ukraine, the US is sending Ukraine the mysterious Phoenix Ghost tactical drone. This loitering munition system developed by the US Air Force, currently has relatively little open source or public detail available. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby stated it’s a “one way drone” that is “clearly designed to give a punch” indicating it is that it is a low-cost, single-use attack drone that behaves like a loitering munition. Observers hope to record this system in action, to better understand its capabilities.

Destroyed Orlan 10, Orlan-30, and lost Chinese-made DJI Mavic found by Ukrainian Forces.

Russian Drones

Like other combat arms actions in the first months of conflict, Russia’s UAV forces are running into trouble. Early employment of the majority of drones in the eastern region may explain the high number of videos and photos on the open Internet, showing downed Orlan-10s and Orlan-30s in Southeastern Ukraine. In April, Jane’s Defense reported Russian forces are “fielding the Forpost-R unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) for the first time.” An official Russian defense video showed an armed Forpost-R taking off from an unidentified prepared airstrip, and striking Ukrainian multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS). The video showed, perhaps inadvertently, Russia launched these drones from Belarussian Gomel airport, approximately 30 miles from the Ukrainian border.

The Forpost-R is an improved, reverse-engineered model variant of the Forpost (Outpost) Israeli Searcher Mk II UAV. Interestingly, Russia has a large arsenal of powerful drones including loitering munitions, but are not using them as they did in Syria. According to The Eurasian Times, the Ukrainians are just defending their drones better, using weapons less easily impacted by electronic warfare.  They cite frequent Russian jamming or spoofing to fool the UAV systems or drone operator, but Russian attempts against Bayraktar TB2s remain largely unsuccessful. This is a testament to the Turkish drone’s electronic protection.

Assessment

As this war continues, it is hard to say how long the Ukrainian military can hold off the onslaught of Russian aggression. It seems that Russia has more equipment, manpower, and up until this campaign, most observers presumed Russia would take over this nation relatively quickly. However, Ukraine has been able to achieve surprising results, even victories, as the defense of Kyiv indicates. Maybe the tank has been replaced on the modern battlefield by the drone? At this point It is clear that Ukraine is engaging in an impressive asymmetrical campaign, and is currently winning the modern drone fight.

References

ABC News Video: Mariopol Attacks.

Avinc, Inc. Switchblade 600

Radio Svoboda. Russian Boats Sunk.

VOA News. Possible War Crimes.

CONTACT US

DANIELLE STORAN, PMP
President
danielle.storan@integrityisr.com

MIKE GRUNWALD, COL (R), USAF, PMP
Senior VP, Operations
mike.grunwald@integrityisr.com

MISSION

Integrity ISR provides innovative solutions
for C4ISR and Space strategy, training,
operations, analysis, and exploitation.

VISION

Strengthen US and global security by building ISR and Space capabilities, increasing interoperability, and fostering long-term partnerships through security cooperation.

February 2022 – Integrity Insights

February 2022

On 24 Feb 2022, Russian forces invaded Ukraine from three sides, on the orders of President Vladimir Putin.


This major campaign involves more than 150,000 Russian military personnel facing an adversary of 200,000 Ukrainian military personnel, with additional National Guard and Border Patrol forces numbering over 100,000.

After three hard fought days, Ukrainian forces are offering significantly greater resistance than what Russia planned for and expected. Ukrainian have so far stymied Russian attempts to take Kyiv to (1) dismantle Ukraine’s ability to threaten Russian security; and (2) restore what Putin has called the former Russian empire based on pre-WWI lines.

Our IIOC team assesses three factors as key to the Ukrainian ability to resist Russian advances:

I. Visible and militarily effective Ukrainian leadership. President Zelenskyy, Kyiv Mayor Klitschko and his brother Wladimir, and members of Parliament have all been in front of their people and leading through an existential crisis. Powerful images of their leadership remaining in Ukraine, refusing safe transport, and preparing their people to fight have been transformational to inspire the military and their citizens.

II. Ukraine authorized arming the entire adult citizenry. Any Ukrainian adult willing to take up a weapon and fight the Russians, can. The government also formed an international brigade with fighters from around the world. National broadcast outlets provide training and techniques for making and modifying weapons have proven enormously effective. The Russians simply were not prepared for this level of resistance and did not fully consider the impact of a rising citizenry.

III. Ukraine’s deft use of social media. Ukrainian media outlets and social media efforts have presented themselves as brave patriots defending their homeland against brutal Russian invaders. Their efforts have galvanized a population, brought international condemnation to Russian, and helped to seriously damage Russia’s standing and reputation in the world.

Our CEO offered three things the US can do immediately to practically effect the invasion and help shape the post-war world to the West’s advantage:

First, continue to release IC information on Russian actions. This can be done largely via open source information to counter Russia’s intense disinformation campaign while bolstering Ukrainian claims.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy (Image Courtesy of The Ukrainian Presidential Press Office)
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko and his brother, Wladimir (Image Courtesy of CNN)

Second, encourage rapid application and inclusion of Sweden and Finland into NATO. That effort would force Putin to reconsider any follow-on operations in adjoining states (Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia – and then Finland and Sweden) against the impact of NATO’s Article 5.

Third, work with Ukraine and others to offer asylum for any Russian soldier who voluntarily surrenders to Ukrainian forces.
This has the effect of potentially destabilizing Russian combat forces, forcing additional resources to monitor troops, and sow the seeds of distrust.

On-Going Analysis

Russia’s Northern Fleet Involved in the Ukraine Invasion. Three warships from Russia’s Arctic Division of Northern Fleet are being used in their military invasion of Ukraine. Sailing around the Norwegian coast, the ships arrived in the Black Sea in early February from the Kola Peninsula. The three assault landing ships carried soldiers and amphibious vehicles now being used to attack Ukraine from the southern coast.

Comment: Russia holds the current chairmanship of The Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum priding itself on safeguarding peace and security in the Arctic. The actions of Russia can be seen as a violation of this essential mandate and has been a topic of dialogue between the council members as the crisis in Ukraine unfolds. Russia has drawn the ire of the international community and may jeopardize future Arctic cooperation.

Starlink Internet “Active” in Ukraine. Elon Musk says his SpaceX company’s Starlink satellite internet service is now “active” in Ukraine supplying broadband internet coverage after Russia blocked internet coverage. Musk made the announcement on Twitter in response to a tweet by Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation saying that while Musk tries to “colonize Mars,” Russia is trying to occupy Ukraine. The minister called on Musk to provide his country with Starlink stations. In his response Saturday, Musk said: “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.”

Comment: Starlink is a satellite-based internet system designed to bring internet access to underserved areas of the world and is “ideally suited” for areas where internet service is unreliable or unavailable.

Russia’s Nuclear Forces on Highest Alert. Russian President Vladimir Putin put his country’s nuclear forces on their highest-level alert Sunday, as Ukraine continued to mount fierce resistance to the Russian invasion. Putin stated the extraordinary step was in response to widespread Western sanctions against Russia, which have included most of Europe denying its airspace to Russian carriers, as well as moves to cut Russia off from the SWIFT international banking system.

“As you can see, not only do Western countries take unfriendly measures against our country in the economic dimension – I mean the illegal sanctions that everyone knows about very well – but also the top officials of leading NATO countries allow themselves to make aggressive statements with regards to our country,” Putin said on state television.

“I therefore order the Ministry Defence and Chief of Staff to put the deterrence forces of the Russian Federation on special status.” Comment: US reaction has included numerous statements of concern. On Sunday, former DNI James Clapper (Ret USAF Lt Gen) opined the activity by Putin prompted alarming concerns on his mental health. “I’m not sure he’s (Putin) thinking rationally anymore. ‘He is unhinged. I really worry about his balance now.’

AN-225 “Mriya” Confirmed Destroyed. The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, confirmed the world’s largest aircraft, the AN-225 (NATO Codename COSSACK), was destroyed at Hostomel Airport earlier Sunday, 27 Feb. Open source images taken at the airport show a large, 6-engined aircraft on fire at the same hangar used to park the “Mriya”.

Comment: Russian destruction of the AN-225 served little military purpose but was likely done to demoralize Ukraine through the loss of a national asset. Unbowed, Minister Kuleba remarked, “Russia may have destroyed our ‘Mriya.’ But they will never be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free and democratic European state.”

AN-225 on Fire at Hostomel Airport (Image Courtesy of FlightRadar24)

CONTACT US

DANIELLE STORAN, PMP
President
danielle.storan@integrityisr.com

MIKE GRUNWALD, COL (R), USAF, PMP
Senior VP, Operations
mike.grunwald@integrityisr.com

MISSION

Integrity ISR provides innovative solutions
for C4ISR and Space strategy, training,
operations, analysis, and exploitation.

VISION

Strengthen US and global security by building ISR and Space capabilities, increasing interoperability, and fostering long-term partnerships through security cooperation.