The P-51 was the darling of the Army Air Forces. Aerodynamically agile and acrobatic, the Mustang was fast and furious in its effectiveness in downing enemy aircraft. A latecomer to World War II, it first saw combat over Europe near the end of 1943. The long-range fighter proved to be just what the Allies needed to escort bombers to and from Germany as they hammered enemy targets.
“In terms of the air war over Europe with the strategic bombing campaign, the P-51 was a war-winning weapon,” says Jeremy Kinney, associate director of research and curatorial affairs at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. “As a fighter escort, it enabled the successful bombing of targets deep in Nazi Germany from bases in England and Italy. That was a crucial component in the destruction of strategic sites such as factories and munition plants.”
Asboth summitry and military near-misses proliferate, some want measured dialogue while others want markedly tougher talk. Our defence and Russia editors discuss world leaders’ diverging views on handling today’s Russia.
South Korea’s new opposition leader is giving voice to many young men who rail against the country’s feminist values. And what lies behind professional footballers’ frequent, flashy haircuts.
The world is entering a new era of warfare, with cyber and autonomous weapons taking center stage. These technologies are making militaries faster, smarter, more efficient. But if unchecked, they threaten to destabilize the world. DW takes a deep dive into the future of conflict, uncovering an even more volatile world.
Chapters 00:00 – Introduction 02:37 – The Cyber Nuclear Nightmare 17:05 – Flash Wars And Autonomous Weapons 30:12 – Trading Markets And Flash Crashes 31:45 – Time To Act
Where a cyber intrusion against a nuclear early warning system can unleash a terrifying spiral of escalation; where “flash wars” can erupt from autonomous weapons interacting so fast that no human could keep up. Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tells DW that we have already entered the technological arms race that is propelling us towards this future. “We’re right in the middle of it. That’s the reality we have to deal with.” And yet the world is failing to meet the challenge. Talks on controlling autonomous weapons have repeatedly been stalled by major powers seeking to carve out their own advantage. And cyber conflict has become not just a fear of the future but a permanent state of affairs. DW finds out what must happen to steer the world in a safer direction, with leading voices from the fields of politics, diplomacy, intelligence, academia, and activism speaking out.
Taiwan has long been a U.S.-China flashpoint, but its tech and military capabilities have come into sharper focus under the Biden administration. WSJ travels to three places on the island to explain how both superpowers could determine Taiwan’s future. Photo: Wally Santana/AP
Armed drones are growing in military importance as conflicts around the world have proven the utility of these effective tools of war. Companies in China, Turkey, and Russia, among others, have developed advanced remotely piloted aircraft that can use guided weapons on and off the battlefield.
The widespread use of drones in Iraq and Afghanistan by the United States to target and kill insurgents jump started a new chapter in the history of conflict. These high flying and remotely piloted aircraft could engage targets with impunity while the operators were safely working in a ground control station. Keeping the crews out of danger also made the drones politically cheap to use over dangerous skies.
Now more and more countries are gaining this military capability for their own purposes. “At the moment, we’ve seen over 100 states worldwide using military drones and that number is growing significantly” said Wim Zwijnenburg, Project leader, Humanitarian Disarmament at PAX. “We have over 20 states that are using armed drones in conflicts or outside of armed conflicts.”
Although larger and more complex drones, like the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper are not cheap to develop or operate, smaller drones are becoming more ubiquitous in conflict zones. Limiting the proliferation of these smaller drones, and the ability to weaponize them, is a regulatory nightmare for government agencies around the world.
“Drones are just model airplanes with great sensors on them. And all of these are dual use and have been used in the civilian realm” said Ulrike Franke, a Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “And in fact, drones have risen enormously in the civilian realm over the last five to 10 years. And so controlling their export is really difficult.”
Clashes between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists continued after Moscow’s large-scale military maneuvers at the border. WSJ’s Georgi Kantchev reports from the front line of a conflict that is seen as a test for the Biden administration. Photo: Anastasia Vlasova for The Wall Street Journal
As the world’s largest aircraft carrier in the world’s dominant navy, the USS Gerald R. Ford is gargantuan. The aircraft carrier took eight years to build, several more years to test, and is large enough to tower over the biggest building in plenty of large towns. Named for the 38th President of the United States, the Gerald Ford is the lead ship of the US navy. It clocks in at over 1,000ft or nearly three American football fields in length, and nearly 250 feet high. Contained in that massive space, the aircraft carrier also has a whopping 25 decks. The massive ship, which can house over 4,500 people and carry over 75 aircraft, is powered by two nuclear reactors, and fully-loaded, weighs in at over 100,000 tonnes. That makes her the largest warship ever constructed. The total building cost is estimated at over 17 billion dollars, including 5 billion spent on research alone. After several delays it came in at 22% over the intended budget.
Outsized inflation numbers in America are partly a statistical quirk—but also a sign of the tricky balance pandemic-era policymakers must navigate. And why you may soon be getting a lift from a flying taxi.
Five stories to know for April 13: Protests continue after Minneapolis shooting, Knoxville school shooting, Japan nuclear waste water, Derek Chauvin trial and Russia warns U.S. on Crimea.
1. Minnesota police released body camera footage that shows police officer Kim Potter apparently drawing her gun by mistake, instead of her Taser, when she shot a young Black man, Daunte Wright, to death during a traffic stop. Protests continued overnight in Minneapolis following the incident.
2. A Knoxville school shooting ends with a student shot and killed by police and one officer wounded. Police said the high school student opened fire on them in a campus bathroom, wounding an officer.
3. Prosecutors neared the end of their case in the Derek Chauvin trial. George Floyd’s younger brother Philonise Floyd gave emotional testimony about how his sibling grew up obsessed with basketball and doting on his mother.
4. Japan will release more than 1 million tons of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, the government said, a move China called “extremely irresponsible,” while South Korea summoned Tokyo’s ambassador in Seoul to protest.
5. Russia warned the United States to ensure its warships stayed well away from Crimea “for their own good,” calling their deployment in the Black Sea a provocation designed to test Russian nerves.
More protests in Minneapolis as details emerge about the killing of yet another black man by a police officer. Iran is promising revenge for an explosion at one of it’s largest nuclear facilities, threatening the future of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as talks resume.
And, Russia is building up its military presence along the Ukrainian border stoking fears of another invasion.