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7 June

Russian casualties in Ukraine war have likely reached half a million

Russian losses in Ukraine are mounting, but its forces are on the offensive. Credit: Godlikeart/Shutterstock

With the daily number of Russian personnel killed or wounded in action in Ukraine throughout May understood to have averaged around 1,200 soldiers, Russia’s military could have sustained more than half a million casualties since Moscow’s February 2022 invasion of its neighbour.

At the start of May 2024, the senior military advisor of the UK Delegation to the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe said that Russian casualties in Ukraine had exceeded 465,000 troops.

Since then, as Russia continues to make incremental gains west of Avdiivka and opened up a new offensive in the Kharkiv Oblast, an average daily casualty rate has pushed the number of Russian soldiers killed or wounded in action since February 2022 beyond 500,000.

Despite this, it is understood that Russia still retains the ability to recruit around 30,000 new personnel each month, making its losses, even those experienced in May, sustainable.

Russian forces continue to make tactical-level gains across the frontline, opening up a new front in the Kharkiv Oblast in May. 

3 June

US confirms funds for new towed array motors for Virginia class

The US Navy has ordered new thin-lined towed array motor assemblies for its Virginia-class nuclear-powered fast attack submarine (SSN) fleet.

L3 Technologies, doing business as L3-KEO, was selected as a sole-source supplier to deliver these subcomponents to the Navy by August 2026 in a stand-alone contract worth $20m according to the US Department of Defense (DoD)  at the end of May 2024.

The submarine’s ‘towed array sonar’ system comprise a collection of hydrophones – or sound sensors – that straddle behind the boat along a long thin line. Its detachment from the boat means that the submarine’s noise will not interfere with its detection of other sounds beneath the surface.

Notably, this latest contract order for 22 towed array motor assemblies matches the same number of Virginia boats that the US Navy has commissioned so far. In addition, there is no option for any more of these subcomponents. 

The US Navy has struggled in recent years for funding to acquire new-build Virginia-class submarines. 

7 June

France plan to transfer Mirage 2000-5 fighters to Ukraine

In an interview with broadcasters from French media in early-June, President of France Emmanuel Macron revealed plans to send an undisclosed number of Mirage 2000-5 combat aircraft from its inventory to Ukraine, and also pledged to train 4,500 Ukrainian military personnel.

With the world watching France – where the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings took place in Normandy, which also coincided with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the country – Macron declared his intention to form a coalition with other countries to send jets to Ukraine.

“Tomorrow, we will launch new cooperation and announce the transfer of Mirage 2000-5 which are French combat aircraft [these] will allow Ukraine to protect its soil, its airspace,” declared Macron.

The number of units that will be sent depends on the “coalition with other partners” that is yet to be built.

The potential coalition would run alongside an existing F-16 coalition, wherein Denmark and the Netherlands among others are sending F-16 Fighting Falcons to Ukraine. 

4 June

US Military in Poland receives 100 Bradley IFV variants

The US Army Field Support Brigade (AFSBn) Poland delivered 100 Bradleys from prepositioned stocks in Germany to soldiers from the 1st Armoured Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) in Poland and Lithuania between 20-31 May 2024.

The move was conducted to provide troops with advanced equipment during their nine-month rotation in Europe, and to support the service’s broader modernisation efforts.

The Bradleys were drawn from the Army’s Prepositioned Stocks-2 (APS-2) worksites in Mannheim, Germany. A release from the AFSB states that plans are ahead to move all Mannheim-based resources to a newly completed facility in Powidz, Poland, as part of a regional realignment strategy.

APS-2 had previously received 120 Bradleys in September 2023, after divesting another division, 2nd ABCT’s 1st Cavalry division (1st Cav), in anticipation of its rotation out of Europe.

The two Bradley variants delivered to the 1st Cav include the M2A3 Infantry fighting vehicle, capable of carrying six infantry soldiers, and the M3A3 Cavalry fighting vehicle, which is designed to carry two combat scouts and additional ammunition and communications equipment. 

5 June

Australia cuts Collins-class submarine Tomahawk upgrade after US talks

Australia will cut planned key capabilities from the Collins-class diesel electric attack submarine service-life extension (LIFEX) programme, with the intended integration of the Tomahawk cruise missile now no longer going ahead. 

Announcing the move on 5 June 2024, the Australian Government said that while the MLU on the six Collins-class submarines will take place, the planned integration of a Tomahawk cruise missile capability and optronics upgrade were to be cut from the programme.

Undertaken by Australian shipbuilding prime ASC, the programme will begin with the LIFEX of HMAS Farncomb and commence in 2026 at Osborne in South Australia.

Providing the reasoning for the decision to cut aspects of the LIFEX, the Australian Government statement that, following advice, the optronics upgrade would have “added complexity and risk” to the programme.

In addition, the Australian Government received advice from the Ministry of Defence “in consultation with the United States”, that adding Tomahawk cruise missile capability to the Collins-class submarines was deemed to be “not viable” and did not “represent value for money”.