31 December 2011

Fourth Airbus Military A330 MRTT handed over to RAAF

The fourth Airbus Military A330 MRTT multi-role tanker transport for the Royal Australian Air Force has been formally handed over to the service, leaving just one aircraft of its order still to be delivered.

Known as the KC-30A in RAAF operation, this particular aircraft is the only one for the RAAF to have been converted from the basic A330 in Madrid, the others having been converted by Qantas Defence Services in Brisbane, Australia. It took part in the A330 MRTT development programme and has been extensively renovated prior to delivery in Madrid.

Following the handover the aircraft will remain in Spain for continued test work and will be transferred to RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland later in the year. The fifth and final aircraft will be delivered in the third quarter of the year.

The A330 MRTT recently underwent successful refuelling trials in Australia with a RAAF F/A-18 fighter and earlier this month was displayed by the RAAF at the LIMA Airshow in Malaysia.

It is the world’s most advanced air-to-air tanker and the only certified and flying new generation tanker/transport aircraft in existence. It will substantially increase the aerial refuelling and logistical capabilities of the RAAF.

In RAAF service, the aircraft are equipped with two underwing refuelling pods, the fly-by-wire Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), and a Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) enabling it to be refuelled from another tanker. Powered by two General Electric CF6-80E engines, the aircraft are equipped with a comprehensive defensive aids suite (DAS) and fitted with 270 passenger seats.

About the A330 MRTT

Having received its supplemental type certificate from European civil certification Authority EASA in March 2010 and military certification from Spanish Authority INTA in October 2010, the Airbus Military A330 MRTT is the only new generation strategic tanker/transport aircraft flying and available today. The large 111 tonnes/ 245,000 lb basic fuel capacity of the successful A330-200 airliner, from which it is derived, enables the A330 MRTT to excel in Air-to-Air Refuelling missions without the need for any additional fuel tank. The A330 MRTT is offered with a choice of proven airto-air refuelling systems including an advanced Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System, and/or a pair of under-wing hose and drogue pods, and/or a Fuselage Refuelling Unit.

Thanks to its true wide-body fuselage, the A330 MRTT can also be used as a pure transport aircraft able to carry 300 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tonnes/99,000 lb. It can also easily be converted to accommodate up to 130 stretchers for Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC). To date, a total of 28 A330 MRTTs have been ordered by four customers (Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom), with Saudi Arabia having already placed a repeat order.

News Story: (India) Navy floats out first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier

     Once back at building bay, ship will be launched at a 20,000-tonne displacement: naval source

The first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) of the Navy was floated out at the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), at a low-key event attended by senior shipping and naval officers on Thursday.

Among those present were Union Shipping Secretary K. Mohandas; Rear Admiral K.N. Vaidyanathan, Director General, Naval Design; and Commodore K. Subramaniam, Chairman and Managing Director of CSL.
Read the full story at The Hindu

USA: Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors for Australian MH-60R helicopters


Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors, Owego, N.Y., is being awarded a $103,500,000 firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-09-G-0005) for mission avionics and common cockpit non-recurring engineering, program support, and associated efforts required for the production and delivery of 24 MH-60R helicopters for the Royal Australian Navy under the Foreign Military Sales Program. 

Work will be performed in Owego, N.Y. (95 percent), Farmingdale, N.Y. (4 percent), and various locations throughout the United States (1 percent).  Work is expected to be completed in July 2018.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

USA: Lockheed Martin contract for C-130 FMS Program for India

Lockheed Martin Corp., Marietta, Ga., is being awarded a $38,415,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the government’s intent to award a contract modification to support the C-130J India FMS Program to Lockheed Martin. 

The modification includes a weapon systems trainer (WST) project to include Phase I and II configuration, administration costs associated with the WST, on-site training, a visual display system, spares and support equipment to support the WST, and air shipment of WST. 

The locations of the performance are Marietta, Ga., Orlando, Fla., and Tampa, Fla. 

Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 19, 2012. 

ASC/WLNNC, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8625-06-6456/P00289).

USA: Assistant Secretary Campbell's Travel

Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt M. Campbell will travel to China, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Japan January 3-7, 2012 to meet with senior officials to discuss a range of important bilateral, regional, and global issues, including latest developments related to North Korea and Burma.

Assistant Secretary Campbell will arrive in Beijing on January 3. His meetings in Beijing are an important opportunity to continue to build a cooperative partnership with China on shared global challenges. Assistant Secretary Campbell will travel to Seoul on January 4, to continue our close consultation and coordination on the broad range issues of importance to our alliance. Assistant Secretary Campbell will travel to Tokyo on January 6 to build on Foreign Minister Gemba’s visit to Washington, DC in December, and reinforce our close cooperation with the Government of Japan. He will depart Tokyo for Washington, DC, on January 7.

USA: Raytheon to provide ALFS for Australian Navy

ALFS for MH-60R  (photo: Raytheon)
Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Systems, Portsmouth, R.I. is being awarded an $80,830,000 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-11-C-0077) to provide for the procurement of 25 MH-60R AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) systems for the Royal Australian Navy under the Foreign Military Sales Program. 

Work will be performed in Neuilly-sur-Seine Cedex, France (68 percent), and Portsmouth, R.I. (32 percent), and is expected to be completed in October 2016.  

Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

USA: Boeing contract for F/A-18 support

RAAF Super Hornet

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $26,843,822 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price delivery order contract (N00383-06-D-001J) for integrated logistics support, in-service engineering, information systems, technical data updates, support equipment engineering, training/software integration support, and sustaining engineering services in support of the F/A-18 A-D, F/A-18 E/F, and EA-18 G aircraft. 

Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo. (70 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (15 percent); Oklahoma City, Okla. (6 percent); Bethpage, N.Y. (5 percent); and San Diego, Calif. (4 percent). 

Work is expected to be completed in December 2012.  Contract funds in the amount of $682,452 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. 

This modification combines purchases for the Navy ($14,307,530; 53 percent); and under the Foreign Military Sales Program, the governments of Australia ($9,362,316; 35 percent), Canada ($528,996; 2 percent), Finland ($528,996; 2 percent), Kuwait ($528,996; 2 percent), Malaysia ($528,996; 2 percent), Spain ($528,996; 2 percent), and Switzerland ($528,996; 2 percent). 

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity

USA: Raytheon contract for ESSM production support

RIM-162 launch (Wiki Info)

Raytheon, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $26,700,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-5432) for calendar year 2012 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) production support. 

Production support efforts include missile improvement, support equipment improvement, software engineering and improvement, reliability monitoring, system safety monitoring, quality assurance, risk management, test equipment, parts control, obsolete materials, manufacturing qualification, logistics impacts, and other activities needed to support the engineering of an effective ESSM for the NATO Sea Sparrow Consortium. 

The consortium, which includes the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, will fund the effort under this contract modification. 

Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz. (45 percent); Australia (11 percent); Andover, Mass. (10 percent); Germany (8 percent); Canada (7 percent); the Netherlands (6 percent); Norway (5 percent); Spain (3 percent); Camden, Ark. (2 percent); Denmark (1 percent); Greece (1 percent); and Turkey (1 percent). 

Work is expected to be completed by December 2012.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. 

The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

USA: Raytheon AGM-88 contract with US & RoK

AGM-88E HARM Wiki Info 
Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded an $8,071,818 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-09-D-0005) to exercise an option for control and guidance section repairs for the AGM-88 High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile for the Navy, Air Force, and the government of South Korea under the Foreign Military Sales Program.  

Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed in May 2013. 

Contract funds in the amount of $7,376,144 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  

This contract combines purchase for the U.S. Air Force ($6,016,790; 74 percent); the U.S. Navy ($1,359,354; 17 percent); and the government of South Korea ($695,674; 9 percent).  

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

30 December 2011

News Story: (AUS) U-boats may be on navy's shopping list


HDW's Type 216 concept, the subject of a special report in the current edition of Jane's International Defence Review, overcomes the shortcomings of small European submarines and would take less time - and money - to build than a ''son of Collins'' analysts claim. At almost 4000t, 89m long and with an extendable minimum range of 10,400 nautical miles (19,240km), it outclasses the existing Collins in every way.

The evolved 216 would come with air-independent propulsion giving it a nuclear submarine-like ability to linger underwater in choke points such as the Straits of Malacca for weeks on end. It would have the ability to launch cruise missiles, carry a ''swimmer delivery vehicle'' for special operations and be extremely quiet thanks to propulsion design parameters and an outer shell that absorbs sound.

Read the full story at the CanberraTimes

Specs are at Navy Recognition

AUS: ISF aero medical evacuation of woman from Maliana

ISF Shoulder Patch
© Commonwealth of Australia, 
image by Department of Defence 

The International Stabilisation Force (ISF) has conducted an Aero Medical Evacuation of a nun from Maliana, in the Bobonara district of East Timor.
An ISF-contracted helicopter flew to Maliana on Tuesday, 27 December, and evacuated the woman to Dili. A civilian ambulance was waiting for the helicopter to return and transferred the woman to Dili National Hospital.

The request for assistance was made by the President of East Timor, His Excellency Dr Jose Ramos-Horta.

Commander ISF, Colonel Luke Foster, said the ISF was ready and able to respond to urgent calls for assistance.

“Where possible, the ISF is prepared for and willing to assist in times of unforseen emergencies.” Colonel Foster said.

“I am pleased the medical evacuation went well and our thoughts and prayers are with the woman and her family.”

The ISF is in East Timor to support local security forces in maintaining a stable and secure environment at the invitation of the Government of Timor-Leste.

Boeing Statement on Saudi Arabia Purchase Agreement

F-15 (File Photo)

CHICAGO, Dec. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney today welcomed the announcement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that it has reached an agreement to purchase from the U.S. government 84 new Boeing F-15 fighter aircraft and to upgrade 70 of its existing F-15s.
"For Boeing, this agreement represents the continuation of an enduring partnership between the company and the Kingdom that dates back to 1945 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented a DC-3 Dakota airplane to King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," said McNerney. "We appreciate the efforts of the Obama Administration and the trust of King Abdullah's government in finalizing the agreement, which will support tens of thousands of American jobs and help the Kingdom enhance its defense capabilities and diversify its workforce."
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of Boeing's most valued customers operating a fleet of existing Boeing F-15s, Apache helicopters, AWACS, and special mission aircraft. "Boeing is privileged to support the important U.S./Saudi bi-lateral relationship, and we are pleased Saudi Arabia has chosen the proven, state of the art capabilities of our F-15 and rotorcraft platforms," said McNerney. "Boeing views Saudi Arabia as a market with great potential and has made it a priority to invest in Saudi Arabia's aviation industry while working to strengthen local technical and vocational training programs and institutions."
The signing of the letter of offer and acceptance between the U.S. government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the F-15 is the last official step toward completing an overall sale announced in late 2010 for 84 new and 70 upgraded F-15s. The U.S. government has also offered the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 70 new AH-64 Apache strike helicopters and 36 AH-6i helicopters, plus support and training. All the LOAs together will total approximately $24 billion in Boeing sales.

News Story: U.S. Warships Cross Hormuz Despite Iran Threats

US Super Carrier (File Photo)
WASHINGTON - Two American warships have crossed through the Strait of Hormuz without incident despite Iranian threats to close the strategic oil route, the U.S. Navy said Dec. 29.

The aircraft carrier John C. Stennis and the guided-missile cruiser Mobile Bay "conducted a pre-planned, routine transit through the Strait of Hormuz" on Dec. 27, said Fifth Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Rebecca Rebarich

Read the full story at Defense News

News Story: U.S. inks $29.4 bln F-15 deal with Saudi Arabia

RIA NovostiF-15 fighter jetU.S. inks $29.4 bln F-15 deal with Saudi Arabia
22:36 29/12/2011 The U.S. has concluded a $29.4 billion deal with Saudi Arabia to supply 84 new F-15 fighter jets and upgrade 70 other F-15s already in service with the Saudi air force, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Joshua Earnest said.> Read the full story HERE <

29 December 2011

News Story: Pakistan offers to extend defence ties with Maldives

ISLAMABAD (PTI): Pakistan on Wednesday offered to continue defence cooperation with Maldives, including the training of armed forces personnel, to boost bilateral ties between the two countries.

In meeting with the Defence Minister of Maldives Tholhath Ibrahim, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that Pakistan wanted to cooperate in the fields of education, information technology and training of civilian personnel.

Read the full story at Brahmand

News Story: China's aircraft carrier undergoing sea trials

BEIJING (BNS): China's aircraft carrier is undergoing scientific testing after previous successful sea trials, the Ministry of Defence has said.

MoD spokesman Yang Yujun told Chinese news agency Xinhua that the vessel is now carrying out follow-up scientific testing as planned.

The scientific research and testing will be a long process, and relevant scientific testing and training at sea will continue in the future, he added.

Read the full story at Brahmand

News Story: India to send high-level army team to China in Jan

NEW DELHI (PTI): As part of confidence building measures (CBMs), a 29-member Chinese army delegation undertook a four-day visit of India which will reciprocate by sending an army team led by a Major General next month.

"A 29-member Chinese army delegation was on a four-day visit here as part of annual defence exchanges between the two countries," sources told PTI here on Wednesday.

Read the full story at Brahmand

News Story: Taiwan Navy Retires 2 Missile Boats

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taiwan on Dec. 28 retired two patrol boats, the navy's first vessels armed with ship-to-ship missiles, that were hailed as "critical" to safeguarding the island, officials said.
Hundreds of former and active soldiers who had served on board the 240-ton Lung Chiang and Sui Chiang bid farewell to the ships at a ceremony in southern Kaohsiung city, the navy said.

Read the full story at Defense News 

AUS: HMAS Parramatta’s Christmas mercy dash

HMAS Parramatta has provided essential life saving assistance to an Iranian flagged vessel in distress on Christmas Eve. Parramatta is on patrol in the Gulf of Aden conducting the Australian Operation Slipper rotation 27 under tasking to Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150).

On 23 December, HMAS Parramatta received the call from a vessel 400 nautical miles off the Eastern coast of Yemen that was stopped in the water and indicating distress. Parramatta immediately increased speed and sailed to the vessel’s aid over the next 24 hours. After the ship’s helicopter and coalition aircraft located the vessel on the morning of 24 December, Parramatta closed in to assess the situation.

“The vessel’s crew were waving to the helicopter and to us and had an orange flag flying at the front of the vessel,” said Commander of HMAS Parramatta, Guy Blackburn.  

“These are all recognised international signals of distress and we immediately knew that something must be wrong”.

 “The vessel’s Master waved at us and asked us to come onboard to help them. It is a time honoured mariner’s tradition to help those in need on the sea,” Commander Blackburn said.

 After receiving assistance from HMAS Parramatta, the vessel was able to make its own way into port. Parramatta transferred more than 700 litres of fuel, life saving water and food to the vessel and its crew, making it safe to proceed to the nearest port.

HMAS Parramatta is deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) as part of Operation Slipper, Australia’s military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, maritime security in the MEAO and countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

HMAS Parramatta was participating in routine duties with CTF 150, one of three task forces operated by the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). CMF is responsible for maritime security operations in the Gulf region, the maritime environment around the Horn of Africa, and counter piracy/terrorism operations in the Gulf of Aden. HMAS Parramatta and her crew of more than 190 personnel remain on patrol and on watch over the Christmas period having been deployed from their homeport since 26 September 2011.

News Story: Japan to strengthen Naval ties with India

New Delhi, Dec 28 (ANI): In an endeavour to further strengthen defence cooperation between the two nations, Japan has decided to conduct a joint exercise with the Indian Navy.
"We have now decided to conduct a joint exercise with the Indian Navy. It cannot be said now that to what level will the defence ties between the two sides reach in the next five years," said a Japanese official.

It may be recalled here that maritime security, anti-piracy measures, freedom of navigation and maintaining the security of sea lanes to facilitate unhindered trade by the sea routes were some of the issues that dominated the India-Japan Defence Ministers' meeting in Tokyo in November this year.

Read the full story at NEWS TRACK India 

News Story: (AUS) Push for nuclear submarines gaining momentum

US. Virginia class Submarine


THE push for Australia to lease a small fleet of nuclear submarines from the US has won the support of a key defence lobby group.

Australia Defence Association executive director Neil James told The Australian that the existing fleet of six Collins-class submarines could be replaced with several state-of-the-art Virginia-class nuclear subs from the US.

Mr James said that in future Australia would inevitably have nuclear-powered submarines and getting them now would jump a generation.

Read the full story at The Australian

Editorial: China’s Cyber Command

By Adam Segal

Chinese analysts and officials like to point out that it was the United States that first set up Cyber Command and thus, in their view, militarized cyberspace. Yet Chinese military thinkers are clearly thinking about what type of organizations and institutions they will need to conduct offensive cyber operations and to defend their own networks against attacks. An interesting piece in China Defense Daily lays out some of the characteristics necessary for “a highly effective command system for cyber war mobilization.”

Read the full story at The Diplomat

News Story: Russian nuclear sub 'ready' for India transfer

RIA NovostiNerpa nuclear submarineRussian nuclear sub 'ready' for India transfer
13:16 28/12/2011 Russia’s Nerpa nuclear submarine has finished sea trials and is now ready to be leased to the Indian navy in the next few days, an engineer says.> Click HERE to read More. <

News Story: China denies sending troops to North Korea

RIA NovostiChina denies sending troops to North KoreaChina denies sending troops to North Korea
18:04 28/12/2011 China on Wednesday dismissed media reports saying that Chinese troops had entered North Korea, Xinhua said.> Click HERE to read more.

28 December 2011

News Story: Sea Trials of Indian Frigate Finished in Baltic

Sea trials of frigate INSTeg have been successfully finished in the Baltic Sea; the ship was built for Indian Navy by Yantar Shipyard (Kaliningrad, Russia), reports ITAR-TASS. 

According to the shipyard's press secretary Sergei Mikhailov, all shipboard systems includingBrahMos missile system operate normally. To complete state trials, frigate INSTeg has to perform only one sortie scheduled in Jan 2012. 

Indian crew will start training onboard the ship late in Jan 2012. The frigate is to be handed over to Indian Navy in Apr 2012.
Read the full story at RusNavy 

News Story: (India) Govt to announce winner for 126-plus combat jets in 2012

Eurofighter Typhoon (File Photo)

By Gulshan Luthra & Air Marshal (retd) Ashok Goel

The government is all set to announce the winner of the Indian Air Force (IAF) competition for 126-plus combat jets early in 2012.

Authoritative sources told India Strategic defence magazine (www.indiastrategic.in) that the process was nearing completion but there were volumes of paperwork and the complicated costs involving Transfer of Technology (ToT), Offsets, Lifecycle Upgrades and Maintenance Support. Every detail was being looked into as this was India’s -- and the world’s -- single biggest defence tender yet in the 21st century.

The defence ministry has not set any deadline to the process, but it could be a New Year gift to the Indian Air Force as the announcement could come around mid-January.

Read the full story at DNA

USA: Carrier Strike Group One Arrives in Hong Kong

US Super Carrier (File Photo)
By USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

HONG KONG - Sailors assigned to Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 arrived in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor for a port visit Dec 27

CSG 1 includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Chafee (DDG 90). 

In addition to the Sailors taking time to explore the rich cultural opportunities a port visit to Hong Kong offers, 155 Sailors will be participating in several different community service projects to include painting at Po Leung Kuk Merry Court for the Elderly, visiting Elderly Centers and Children’s homes, and landscaping at Hong Chi Pinehill Village.

"Returning to Hong Kong is a real pleasure. Our Sailors are happy to be back and we look forward to creating new and lasting friendships while visiting and during participation in community service projects," said Commander, CSG 1, Rear Adm. Thomas K. Shannon.

In addition to participating in community service projects, more than 200 CSG-1 Sailors will experience the hospitality of 22 Hong Kong based families and local establishments who will host them in their homes or restaurants for lunch or dinner through the "Meals in the Home" program.

"Meals in the Home" is a program designed to connect hosts living in Hong Kong with U.S. Navy Sailors while in port. Hosts not only plan a dinner/lunch but often design invites around hiking, local tours, and other Hong Kong highlights. Hosts sign up to share their time and meals as a "thank you" as well as giving the Sailors an opportunity to experience a bit of home away from home.

“Hong Kong is favorite port visit for the United States Navy and Carl Vinson Sailors are excited to be back,” added Vinson Commanding Officer Capt. Kent Whalen. 

The strike group last visited Hong Kong in May.

News Story: (AUS) Defence hunting foreign troops with citizenship for service


THE Australian Defence Force is exploiting forced cutbacks in military spending in Britain and other Western countries, embarking on an unprecedented drive to recruit laid-off soldiers, sailors and air crew.

Defence, which has struggled to fill recruitment quotas in the face of increasing competition from the lucrative private sector, is seeking highly skilled specialists such as fighter pilots, special forces officers and submarine crews. And as an incentive, it is prepared to offer a fast track to Australian citizenship for so-called "lateral recruits" after just three months' service. 

Read the full story at The Australian

New Story: (Aus) Hornets can keep flying until JSF arrives

Super Hornet (File Photo)

Defence sources are confident it will be possible to fly sufficient RAAF "classic" Hornet jet fighters long enough to avoid an air defence capability gap at the end the decade.

The RAAF has 24 brand new F/A-18F Super Hornets and 71 of the F/A-18A-B "classic" Hornets dating back to the 1980s.

The 71 "Top Gun" era fighters were due to be retired in 2018 but, as a result of delays in the Joint Strike Fighter program, some are now expected to be kept in service until 2021.

All of the "classic" or "legacy" Hornets are undergoing a major capability upgrade as part of the AIR 5376 program.

Read the full story at the Canberra Times

News Story: US willing to help Phl get F-16 jets

By Pia Lee-Brago

MANILA, Philippines - The United States has expressed willingness to help the Philippines obtain a squadron of F-16 jet fighters to improve its defense capability, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said yesterday.

Del Rosario clarified, however, that this would not mean stationing of US naval vessels in the Philippines.

He admitted there is a plan to station US navy ships in the region but stationing them in the country was not discussed.

“It has not come up yet. What the US discussed with us is we see foreign policy of US for Asia and the Pacific. They are repositioning and re-balancing. They want to re-engage with Asia. The region has become a key driver in global politics,” Del Rosario said.

“They (US) discussed with us the cooperation with stationing 2,500 (troops) and two ships in Singapore but we did not discuss anything for the Philippines, except assistance to improve our capability... I do not think at this point it is being discussed. We are still in the process of refining the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement),” he said.

Read the full story at PhilStar

Philippines: PNoy to buy PAF more C130 planes for relief goods transport

By Rutchie Cabahgu-Aguhob

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Misamis Occidental, Dec. 22 (PIA) -- Responding to the problem of food scarcity in Typhoon Sendong devastated areas of the vity, President Benigno S. Aquino III promised to buy at least two more units of the C130 Cargo plane for the Philippine Air Force (PAF), next year.
During his visit to assess the devastation brought by ‘Sendong’ in the city, the president said that there is only one C130 Cargo Plane in the PAF inventory that has been bringing relief items to flashflood victims. He added that it is currently down for maintenance.
“We have offers of assistance coming in from America, Russia, Japan and other countries and the Americans will, most probably, provide us with the necessary airlift capability to fast track what we need,” Aquino said.
We have two other C130 cargo planes in the pipeline but they’re not yet ready for events like this and will be available only, next year, he also said.
According to him, the funds to buy the planes are readily available.
“We have at least two (2) sources to tap, domestic and foreign: the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be assisting us with a loan of US$3million grant and the World Bank (WB) facility that has also offered us,” the President added.
He said many Filipinos in the other parts of the country have responded to his call for help and the donated items only wait for the availability to transport them, where they are needed.
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has reported to the president that PAF has airlifted some P21.53 million-worth of relief supplies from Dec. 18-20, as augmentation support to the on-going relief operations in Northern Mindanao.
These supplies included food and non-food items, such as, sacks of rice, boxes of instant noodles, canned goods, bottled drinking water, mats, blankets, mosquito nets, used clothing, medicines, cadaver bags and even coffins, among others.
On his orders as the Commander-n-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Aquino directed PAF’s Search and Rescue Squadrons (SRS) to help in the search, rescue, retrieval and recovery (SRRR) operations of the flashflood areas.
For this purpose, the 5053rd based in Davao City had established an advance command post (ACP) at the Tactical Operations Group, Northern Mindanao (TOG-10) Headquarters in Lumbia Airport, this city.
The team also deployed three UH-IH helicopters with tail numbers 517, 317 and 806 to do the SAR sorties in the flashflood-affected barangays of the city.

Helping out in the SRRR Operations in the Negros and Iloilo is the 5052ndSRS, which is based Mactan, Cebu City. (PIA-10)

PIA Press Release