31 January 2011

Navy commences annual training program off east coast

Five ships with approximately 600 sailors and officers participating departed Sydney Harbour this morning to commence Navy’s latest training program, Exercise Triton Storm. 

The three frigates and two mine hunters will conduct live firings, seamanship exercises, boarding training as well as anti-aircraft exercises and mine hunting off the east coast of Jervis Bay, before sailing south to Tasmania.

During the exercise, HMA Ships Darwin, Ballarat and Parramatta will integrate with RAAF aircraft including Hawks, F/A-18s, AP-3C Orions and Wedgetails during anti-aircraft serials.

Coastal mine hunters, HMA Ships Diamantina and Gascoyne, will also operate in Jervis Bay, testing crews’ abilities to search for, detect and classify mock mines. Collectively, all units will be tested on their preparedness for various warfare serials within the strict environmental and safety guidelines used within Navy.

As the lead ship for the exercise, HMAS Parramatta’s crew are anticipating a busy period Commanding Officer Commander Heath Robertson said.

“My ship’s company is ready to take on all the challenges of 2011. Operating in company with other ships and with the support of the Air Force, it is an exciting start to the year. It will allow us to practice our core skills to prepare us for any eventuality,” he said.

“The months of planning and the ability of each of our sailors really comes into play when you are operating 3500-tonne warships within 500 yards of each other. Life at sea can be a risky enterprise, so we train to keep our sailors prepared and safe.”

As part of the exercise, the task group will transit to various ports in Tasmania to mark Tasmanian Navy Week; the key celebrations will be held between 11-14 February.

Philippines: Former NPA rebel discovers M16 rifle surrenders to authority

Camp Lukban, Catbalogan Samar - After his decision to surrender sometime in 2009, a former NPA rebel surrenders anew one (1) M16 rifle with one (1) magazine containing ten (10) rounds of ammunition around 4:00 pm last January 27 to the elements of the Army's 14th Infantry Battalion based in Oras, Eastern Samar.

In the report submitted by Lieutenant Colonel Hermilo Demafiles, Commanding Officer of 14IB disclosed that Antonio Burac, known as "Tony" or "Dilon" in the underground movement, 38 years old, married and a resident of Oras, Eastern Samar, who had served the movement for five (5) years initiated an effort to expose some of the arm cache being kept by his former comrades.

According to Tony, he could no longer withstand the violation of the people's rights being triggered by his former comrades because of the armaments that served as an instrument in their inhumane acts.

He further said that if his former comrades would get hold of the said rifle, it will surely claim another life of an innocent and peace loving people as they used to do especially to those who are against their revolutionary cause.

He and his family promised to support the government's aspiration to achieve peace and development of the region because he already proved the government's sincerity when he and his family were given another chance to re-experience the true spirit of democracy and re-build his family in the open that was destroyed by the underground movement.

Tony was a former vice squad leader of Omega Platoon of Section Committee North East (SNE) of the Eastern Samar Provincial Party Committee under Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Meanwhile, Major General Mario Chan, commander of the Army in Eastern Visayas expressed his deep satisfaction the way the former rebels act in support of the peace effort in the region. As he commended his troops particularly the 14IB for helping rebuild the families of our former rebels, he further extended his appreciation to the former rebels, not only to Antonio Burac but also to all former rebels who in one way or another help pursue the peace that has long been desired by their fellow Waraynons..

"As I have mentioned in the past, these successes can be attributed to our people. They are the very reason why we exist, our services can be fully carried out if our people also show concern, first for the country and second for themselves," he says.

"As we pursue the communist terrorists who do not want peace to reign, our call for them to surrender bringing along with them their firearms in order to once again live decent and normal lives along with their families still stands," he adds.

Accordingly, despite the accomplishments gained by the government troops, he is not happy and satisfied to see NPAs getting killed. "There is no happiness and satisfaction derived from killing NPA rebels. The real sense of fulfillment comes in embracing a rebel back to the folds of law and helps him become productive and contented citizen of this country".

Major General Chan also assured the NPAs who will lay down their arms that they will not be harmed and instead they will be given assistance for them to start a new life, just like what the Burac family is experiencing now.

Philippine Army

29 January 2011

Raytheon Awarded $20 Million for Patriot Technical Assistance for State of Kuwait

TEWKSBURY, Mass., Jan. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has received a $20 million Foreign Military Sales technical assistance contract to support operational capability of Kuwait's Patriot Air and Missile Defense System.  

The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., issued this follow-on contract to continue providing additional training and support for Kuwait's fielded radars, which are currently under contract to be upgraded to Configuration-3.  

"This technical assistance contract award validates the strong alliance among the Kuwait Air Defense Forces, the U.S. government and Raytheon in maintaining the readiness and effectiveness of the combat-proven Patriot system in Kuwait," said Sanjay Kapoor, vice president of Patriot Programs at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). "The Configuration-3 upgrade program is a testament to our commitment to ensure that Patriot remains available for the protection of the U.S. and its allies."

Work under this contract will be performed by Raytheon IDS at the Air Defense Force Base in Kuwait and the Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, Mass.

Raytheon IDS is the prime contractor for both domestic and international Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems and is the system integrator for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles.

Raytheon Company, with 2009 sales of $25 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 88 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 75,000 people worldwide.

Roopa Bhide


USA: Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System Completes Tracking Exercise

MOORESTOWN, N.J., January 28th, 2011 -- The Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] completed a key tracking exercise for the Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) system aboard three Navy ships.

In the test, known as Atlantic Trident, the USS Monterey (CG 61), USS Ramage (DDG 61) and USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) successfully tracked a short-range ballistic missile target. The Monterey and Ramage also simulated target solutions that would have resulted in successful intercepts.

“This event verified that both the Aegis BMD systems and crews aboard the ships are able to execute the missions necessary to support the nation’s missile defense strategy,” said Lisa Callahan, vice president of maritime BMD systems. “Aegis BMD is effective, affordable and interoperable with other systems and produces a layered air and missile defense capability to protect the U.S. homeland, our deployed forces and our allies.”

This was the first Aegis test to take place on the East coast. Before this event, all tests occurred at test ranges in the Pacific Ocean.  The exercise took place off of Wallops Island, Va., at the Wallops Flight Facility, a rocket launch site that supports science and exploration missions for NASA and other U.S. government agencies.

A total of 25 ships – 21 U.S. Navy Aegis-equipped ships and four Japanese Aegis-equipped destroyers – are currently outfitted with the Aegis BMD capability. An additional three ships are planned to become BMD-capable this year.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 133,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.  The Corporation’s 2009 sales from continuing operations were $44 billion.

Lockheed Martin

Last F-35B STOVL Test Jet Takes Flight

FORT WORTH, Texas, January 28th, 2011 -- The last Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] F-35B Lightning II assigned to developmental flight testing departs Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base on its first flight Thursday. Known as BF-5, the short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) jet will ferry to NAS Patuxent River, Md., later this year, where it will join four F-35Bs and one F-35C carrier variant aircraft currently undergoing testing.

Lockheed Martin


31st MEU  Capt. Caleb Eames 
United States Marine Corps
Public Affairs Office, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Release number: 01-11
Date: January 28, 2011

Japan Cell: 090-2768-2681 


Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit have boarded Navy ships of Amphibious Squadron 11 and are scheduled to depart Jan. 29, to begin a regular patrol of the Asia-Pacific region.

While on patrol, the 31st MEU is scheduled to participate in annual Theater Security Cooperation exercises in the region, beginning with the bilateral exercise Cobra Gold 2011 with partner nation military forces in the Kingdom of Thailand.

The 31st MEU provides a forward-deployed, flexible sea-based force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations in the Asia-Pacific area.

Embarked aboard the ships, the 31st MEU constantly hones skills necessary to conduct essential amphibious and aviation ship-to-shore operations wherever called upon.

The 31st MEU has responded to many contingencies throughout past years, including providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief when directed.  The MEU conducted four HADR operations in the last two years, including providing assistance after Super Typhoon Megi struck the Philippines last year.

The 31st MEU includes more than 2,200 Marines and Sailors, and is comprised of the following major parts.  The Command Element is based in Okinawa, Japan; the Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines is based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.; the Air Combat Element, comprised of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 (Reinforced), based in Okinawa and Marine Attack Squadron 211 from Yuma, Az.; and the Combat Logistics Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 31, also of Okinawa. 

The 31st MEU is the only continually forward-deployed MEU, and remains the nation’s force-in-readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

US Marines

ISAF, Karzai Condemn Kabul Suicide Attack

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2011 – International Security Assistance Force officials joined Afghan President Hamid Karzai in condemning a suicide-bomb attack that killed several civilians in the country’s capital of Kabul, military officials reported.

Reports indicate that a suicide bomber detonated an explosive inside a grocery store near the center of the city. At least nine Afghan and international civilians were killed, and at least six more were wounded, according to news reports.

“We join President Karzai in condemning this despicable attack and its complete disregard for human life,” ISAF spokesman Navy Rear Adm. Vic Beck said. “This attack intentionally targeted civilians as the detonation occurred in a public location where innocent men, women and children were likely to gather. We extend our deepest condolences to those families who have lost loved ones, and we pray for a quick recovery for those injured in this senseless attack.”

In operations yesterday:

-- Noorani Sahib, a Taliban leader responsible for roadside-bomb and direct-fire attacks, kidnappings and assassinations in Zabul province’s Tarnek wa Jaldak district, was killed during coalition operations.

-- Afghan and coalition forces detained several suspected insurgents while targeting a Haqqani terrorist network facilitator in Khost province’s Nadir Shah Kot district. The security force recovered a shotgun, rocket-propelled grenade launcher parts, ammunition and 300 pounds of bomb-making materials at the scene.

-- Coalition forces killed two insurgents in Helmand province’s Musa Qalah district.

-- Afghan and coalition forces in Laghman, Uruzgan, Helmand, Kandahar and Herat provinces found 200 anti-personnel mines, seven rocket-propelled grenade warheads, 21 mortar fuses, a rocket booster, 900 7.62 mm rounds, 1,800 .303-caliber rounds, four pressure plates and six cluster bombs.

In earlier operations:

-- Afghan and coalition forces killed an insurgent and detained three others Jan. 26 during a patrol seeking to break up a bombing cell that operates in Uruzgan and northern Kandahar provinces. Acting on multiple intelligence reports, the patrol moved to a compound where they were engaged by heavy small-arms fire and a rocket-propelled grenade. The patrol was unable to return fire and called in coalition air support, which fired on the insurgents.

-- In Nimroz province’s Khash Rod district Jan. 25, Afghan and coalition forces detained a Taliban leader who supplied weapons and explosives to the insurgency.

-- Security forces in Kandahar province detained a Taliban leader Jan. 23. He was responsible for planning and executing attacks against coalition forces and was associated with other Taliban leaders in the province.

-- On Jan. 22, Afghan police, supported by coalition troops, cleared an area of Helmand province of insurgents, killing at least five hard-line fighters based there.


Defense, Energy Experts Aid China’s Nuclear Security

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2011 – The Defense and Energy departments are working under a government-to-government agreement signed Jan. 19 with China to establish a regional center of excellence there for nuclear security, a Pentagon official said.

Rebecca K.C. Hersman, deputy assistant secretary of defense for countering weapons of mass destruction, told American Forces Press Service the effort will allow the agencies to leverage their expertise and resources for “maximum effect to President Barack Obama’s nuclear security agenda.”

In April 2009, from Hradcany Square in Prague in the Czech Republic, Obama called for reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world and building a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation. A year later at the Nuclear Security Summit here, the United States and China agreed to strengthen cooperation in nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear security and the fight against nuclear terrorism.

Also at the summit, Chinese President Hu Jintao committed to building the Center of Excellence on Nuclear Security outside Beijing.
According to an Energy Department fact sheet, the agreement paves the way for its National Nuclear Security Administration and the Defense Department to work with Atomic Energy Authority representatives in China to create a central site for training in all aspects of nuclear security.

“In many ways, DOD is the supporting player here to the broader DOE objectives,” Hersman said, “but DOD brings strengths to table, particularly in … site security, transportation security, incident response [and] inventory management, as well as experience in developing and providing training and curricula for nuclear security.”

DOD and DOE have worked together in the past, she noted. “These are all things we have done on multiple occasions directly and in support of DOE,” Hersman said, “so we see this as a natural fit for the [Center of Excellence] effort, which is expected to incorporate all these elements.”

The center will serve as a forum for exchanging technical information, sharing best practices, developing training courses and promoting technical collaborations to enhance nuclear security in China and throughout Asia.

The two-story center will be financed through a U.S.-China cost-sharing arrangement and is expected to be complete by 2012, said Dave Huizenga, principal deputy assistant administrator for the office of defense nuclear nonproliferation in the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

“This cooperation is largely with the nonweapons side -- the Chinese Atomic Energy Authority, which runs their civilian research facilities and has a role in their nuclear power facilities,” Huizenga said. “But the hope is that if we share best practices and this information gets to [the nonweapons] part of the Chinese nuclear sector, the defense people will benefit from it indirectly.”

The National Nuclear Security Administration has had an ongoing partnership with the Chinese since 2005, Huizenga said.

“We’ve had a robust best-practices sharing exchange of information on physical protection and guard forces and materials control and accounting -- all the things you do to make sure that nuclear materials stay in the facility where they’re supposed to be and aren’t moved off illicitly,” he said.

The agreement has taken such cooperation to a new level, he added.

“We’ve had a small facility where we’ve been doing this training since 2005,” Huizenga said. “But we want to consolidate everything into one larger mock-up training center so we can bring Chinese and others in the region into a state-of-the-art facility where they can get hands-on experience understanding what a guard would do if an alarm went off on the fence on the perimeter of a nuclear materials storage site, for instance.”

The center, Hersman added, also likely will offer the following:
-- Training nuclear site personnel to measure and account for nuclear material and to design and install nuclear material security systems;
-- Training protective force personnel using scenario-driven threat-response exercises;
-- Training personnel on international nuclear safeguards requirements and inspection techniques; and
-- Environmental testing of nuclear security system components.

According to a White House fact sheet, the U.S. and Chinese governments have cooperated since April 2004 to enhance nuclear security under the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technology Agreement.

In 2005, the U.S. and China sponsored a joint technology demonstration at the China Institute of Atomic Energy outside Beijing that featured established nuclear security and international safeguards technologies and illustrated nuclear security best practices.
Since 2005, experts from the United States and China have conducted more than 15 workshops on nuclear security issues and activities.

“China has always described the center as supporting regional and International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear security cooperation,” Hersman said, “and we strongly support that goal.”


28 January 2011

Chief of Aussie Air Force visits Indonesia

The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin AO, today visited the Indonesian Air Force Academy in Yogyakarta, where he addressed the cadets and attended the opening of the Academy’s new language laboratory.

The Royal Australian Air Force contributed books on air power, history and principles to help establish the language laboratory, as part of Australia’s commitment to provide English language support to Indonesia’s military.

Speaking with cadets prior to the opening, Air Marshal Binskin encouraged the Academy’s cadets to make the most of the opportunities available to them in the Air Force.

“I wish you well in your future careers, and I hope that you will be able to take part in opportunities with the Australian Air Force.”

Yesterday Air Marshal Binskin met with his counterpart Air Chief Marshal Imam Sufaat, Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff.

“Indonesia and Australia share values and interests and work closely together to address regional challenges.

“In addition, we are pleased with the close relationship that has developed between the Roulettes and the Indonesian Air Force Jupiter aerobatic teams,” Air Marshal Binskin said. 

An exchange program exists between the two Air Forces for high performing cadets.

Aussie DoD

Brunei Agrees To Strengthen Bilateral Defence Relations

Written by Hjh Nor Hasimah Hj Mohd Noor

BOLKIAH GARRISON, Thursday 27 January 2011 - The Deputy Minister of Defence of the Republic of Indonesia, Lt. General (Rtd.) Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin called on the Deputy Minister of Defence of Brunei Darussalam, Dato Paduka Haji Mustappa bin Haji Sirat.

The two deputy ministers and senior defence officials from both sides then held a bilateral meeting, and agreed on ways to further strengthen existing defence cooperation including the proposal to set up Joint Committee and to further enhance training cooperation between both sides. The two sides also shared ideas on promoting cooperation within the framework of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM). Indonesia is expected to host the 5th ADMM in May this year.

Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia formalised defence relations through the signing of an MOU on Defence Cooperation in 2003. Defence relations between Brunei Darussalam and the Republic of Indonesia cover several areas, including exchange of visits, trainings, bilateral exercises and procurement of military equipment.

The Indonesian Deputy Defence Minister is concluding his two-day working visit today.

Brunei MoD

27 January 2011

Marshall Aerospace hosts visit by Royal Malaysian Air Force

Marshall Aerospace hosted a visit from the Royal Malaysian Air Force on 10th January 2011. Chief of the Malaysian Air Force, General Tan Sri Dato' Sri Rodzali bin Daud, was welcomed by Robert Marshall, COO Marshall Group and Peter Taylor, Head of Business Development, Marshall Aerospace. The visit is part of a UKTI initiative to promote the services and products of the UK Defence Industry to the Malaysian Defence Forces.

Peter Taylor, Head of Business Development, said: "We were delighted to welcome General Rodzali bin Daud to Marshall Aerospace to brief the Royal Malaysian Air Force on the company’s capabilities and experience. Marshall Aerospace is active in the South East Asian region and, in particular, Malaysia, where the company has identified a requirement for the Royal Malaysian Air Force for an upgrade of their C-130H avionics to provide a capability to fly in CNS/ATM airspace."

During his visit General Rodzali bin Daud toured the company’s facilities at Cambridge, and was briefed on the capabilities and services that Marshall Aerospace can provide.

Marshall Aerospace

Korea and U.S. Navy discuss to boost joint operations

Naval Force Operations Command of South Korea and U.S. 7th Fleet held Flag Officer Talks at the command on Jan. 18 and reaffirmed joint principle of strong retaliation from further attacks by North Korea.

Ten senior naval flag officers, including Vice Adm. Hwang Gi-cheol, commander of Naval Force Operations, and Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, had a meeting at the command and discussed in-depth how to strengthen joint operational capabilities aimed at deterring the North's military provocations and maintaining peace on Korean Peninsula.

Vice Adm. Hwang Gi-cheol, far right, commander of South Korea Naval Force Operations, and Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, second from left, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet discuss measures to reinforce joint operations capabilities at the command on Jan. 18.

In particular, the meeting was the first major military talks for operations command in both countries this year.

During the talks, six detailed agenda were on the table : assessment and development measures for South Korea-U.S. joint military drills, measures to improve joint C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence) operations, developing defense plan for islands on the Yellow Sea, assessment of lessons from the Cheonan sinking and the Yeonpyeong Island shelling, ways to improve intelligence sharing and assessment of maritime training with aircraft carrier on the Yellow Sea.  

Both sides agreed to manage and control pending issues in the navy of two countries and planned to keep on carrying out major agenda.

"The meeting was a great opportunity for two countries to strengthen South Korea-U.S. alliance as well as reaffirm solid joint combat capabilities by seeking detailed measures," said a naval officer under the command.


Kim and Gates agree to continue joint drills

South Korean Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan-jin and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates jointly strongly called for North Korea to show clear will and specific behavior of giving up military provocations and its nuclear ambition with sincerity, said the Defense Ministry on Jan. 14.

South Korea's Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, right, and
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates shake hands
before the talks at that ministry in Seoul on Jan. 14.

Two defense chiefs met for the first time for military talks since Kim was inaugurated as the Defense Minister. During talks at the ministry in Yongsan, central Seoul on Jan. 14, the two reconfirmed strong South Korea-U.S. alliance and will to defend the Korean Peninsula, said the ministry.

During a visit to Seoul to meet President Lee Myung-bak and Kim, Gates also called for a halt to Pyongyang's "dangerous provocations" and said six-party talks could resume with "productive negotiations, conducted in good faith."

Gates said that South Korea and the United States need to continue joint maritime military drills on all seas around the Korean Peninsula to deter additional attacks by the North.

"The two defense chiefs assessed security situation around the Korean Peninsula after the Yeonpyeong Island shelling and closely consulted about joint military measures to deter further military attacks by the North," the ministry said. "They agreed to defend further threat from North Korea efficiently through solid combined defense posture."

In opening remarks before 40 minutes of bilateral talks, Gates said the North must give clear message that it will carry out obligations of international community.

"Kim explained to Gates that the North must take responsibility for the Cheonan sinking and the Yeonpyeong bombardment, guarantee the prevention of further attacks and make sincere moves toward denuclearization," said a defense official at the ministry. "In case of another attacks, Kim said a strong retaliation would be inevitable and Gates fully understood that."

The defense official added that the two discussed responses to attacks from the North and touched on various military topics, especially joint training drills and the ROK-U.S. Strategic Alliance 2015.


Pentagon Spokesman Discusses China, North Korea

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2011 – The jury is still out on China’s apparent fifth-generation J-20 stealth aircraft, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said today.

“The J-20 stories, frankly, that I've seen over the past couple weeks … have been a little over the top,” Morrell said during a Pentagon news conference. He noted that reports of “successful testing” ignore the unknowns of the Chinese aircraft.

“What we know is that a plane that looks different than any other they produced, that they claim to be their J-20, had a short test flight when we were in Beijing,” the press secretary said. “But we don't know, frankly, much about the capabilities of that plane.”

The test flight occurred during Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ visit to China this month.

The J-20’s engine capabilities and degree of stealth capability are among the unknowns, Morrell said, adding that the U.S. current and developing air fleet is more than equal to any possible Chinese challenge.

“That's why we have pursued not just the F-22, which we have in more than enough numbers to deal with any scenario involving China, but also the F-35, to the tune of nearly 2,500 planes,” Morrell said.

Morrell said “given what little we know,” of the Chinese aircraft, “I would just urge everybody to … slow down a little bit on our characterizations of the J-20 at this point.”

China’s capabilities and North Korea’s recent provocations make the question of U.S. force presence in the region an important one, Morrell said.

“In light of the threat that we see emanating … from Pyongyang,” he said, “we have said that we will do what is necessary to protect ourselves here as well as our forward-deployed forces [and] our allies, who we have security commitments to.”

The United States has 28,500 troops on the Korean peninsula and more than 50,000 more in Japan, Morrell noted.

“And over the long-term lay-down of our forces in the Pacific, we are looking at ways to even bolster that, not necessarily in Korea and Japan, but along the Pacific Rim, particularly in Southeast Asia,” he said.

Australia and Singapore may offer U.S. access to certain military facilities in the region, he said, adding, “Guam, obviously, would be the best example of us changing our lay-down and our footprint in the region, enhancing [our presence] in Southeast Asia.”

Morrell said Gates’ recent comments on the North Korean threat shouldn’t be construed as applying immediately.

“I think what he said is they're becoming a direct threat to the United States,” the spokesman said. “By that, he doesn't mean at this very moment. But given their pursuit of both the nuclear weapons and their ballistic-missile capabilities, he sees them being a direct threat not within five years, but sooner than that.”

Morrell said that’s why defense officials are working with China, Japan and others to impress on North Korea that “they've got to cut out this provocative behavior, the destabilizing behavior, and they've got to seriously reevaluate their pursuit of nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles.”


EFV Prototypes Successfully Complete Tests, Exceed Threshold by 90 Percent

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – The U.S. Marine Corps’ latest-generation Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) prototypes have completed the required 500-hour reliability growth test at the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., demonstrating reliability that exceeds the testing threshold by 90 percent.

The raw score performance of the vehicles in the reliability testing is 31.2 hours mean time between operational mission failure, nearly double the 16.4-hour performance required for test success. In addition, vehicle operational readiness rates steadily remained at 97 percent throughout testing.

General Dynamics delivered seven new prototype vehicles to the Marine Corps in 2010. Reliability growth testing began in October 2010. The vehicles’ performance indicates the program is on track to successfully complete the System Development and Demonstration-2 phase.

All reported preliminary failures are low-consequence issues, a tribute to the rigor and commitment of the EFV team, and the most significant aspect of this testing. No systems redesign work is required as a result of test findings.

These indicate significant endorsement of the “design for reliability” concept and processes, as well as the General Dynamics Land Systems team’s capabilities and discipline.

The EFV program is Earned Value Management System (EVMS) certified. EVMS measures actual performance of work scope and the associated cost and schedule versus an agreed-to baseline plan, while using disciplined means of baseline change control for documenting any changes to the agreed baseline plan. EVMS is a best-practice standard, required by the Office of Management and Budget and the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is the U.S. Marine Corps’ next-generation amphibious combat vehicle. It features superior water speeds of up to 25 knots, and an operating sea range of 56 nautical miles. On land, the EFV travels at speeds of up to 42 mph and has an operational range of 300 miles. The fully stabilized Mk 46 weapons station significantly bolsters lethality, and the EFV’s blast protection is far superior to the current system. EFV’s Command Variant represents a major leap in command and control on the move and situational awareness.

General Dynamics

26 January 2011

China, ASEAN eye stronger ties

KUNMING / BEIJING -Foreign ministers from China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Tuesday agreed to further promote strategic cooperation, which analysts believe sets a positive tone for China-ASEAN relations this year.

It is in the fundamental interests of both sides to further promote China-ASEAN strategic cooperation, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at the China-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting, the first held in China.

To maintain and develop good relations with ASEAN, China is willing to work with ASEAN to implement the second five-year-plan in their strategic partnership, Yang said.

Read more at China Daily


Official Philippine Army Press Release

The Philippine Army vehemently condemns the New People's Army for using another killer landmine, which caused the death of a chief of Police in Cagayan, his wife, and four others in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya on January 23 (Sunday).

A few days ago, a member of the Army's 69th Infantry Battalion was killed, while nine others were wounded in an encounter with the New People's Army rebels in Sitio Guinobatan, Brgy Pacquibato Proper, Pacquibato District, Davao City. Reports reaching the Army headquarters from field unit disclosed that the NPAs detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) which led to the death of a militiaman.

Fortunately, the Army troops were able to prevent another landmine attack in Dinaitan and Purog of Gandara, Samar on January 15 due to enhanced cooperation established between the Army and the civilian populace, wherein the information given by the civilians in the barangay to the elements of the 52nd Infantry Battalion led to the recovery of various firearm and ammunition including an M16 rifle and rifle grenades, and preventing another attack against the people of Samar.

The NPAs are responsible for deadly attacks committed not just against security forces but innocent civilians as well. It can be recalled that a day before the ceasefire between the government forces and the NPAs took effect last December 2010, elements of the 63rd Infantry Battalion were ambushed by some 40 NPA rebels. Said rebels detonated landmines which resulted to the killings of 10 soldiers and the wounding of two others, including a nine-year-old boy.

The use of landmines has long been banned by the Convention on the Prohibition, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personal Mines and on their Destruction (Ottawa Treaty) realizing its devastating effects on human lives. The NPA does not only violate international laws, they destroy lives as well.

This incident proves that the CPP-NPA has no intentions to follow the agreements stipulated on CARHRIHL, signed between GRP and the CPP-NPA-NDF, where it was clearly stipulated that both parties must avoid the use of landmines in observance of human rights. Clearly, respect for human rights is not a part of the values of the rebels.

Our sympathies go out to the members of the Philippine National Police for their loss. We assure the public that we will work with other law enforcement agencies to make the perpetrators of this deadly attack account for their crimes. The organization is likewise confident that with Oplan Bayanihan, more and more NPA members will denounce their armed struggle and become allies of the government in the continued fight for peace.

Philippine Army

Final F-35A Development Jet Arrives at Edwards AFB

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., January 24th, 2011 -- A Lockheed Martin [NYSE:LMT] F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter comes in for a landing at Edwards AFB, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 22, after a 3.2-hour ferry flight from Fort Worth, Texas. The jet, known as AF-4, is the fifth F-35A conventional takeoff and landing aircraft to ferry to Edwards for testing. To date, the F-35 program has achieved 578 total test flights. (Lockheed Martin photo by Liz Kaszynski)

Media Contact:
John Kent,

Lockheed Martin

Republic of Singapore Navy Trains with US Navy

USS Carl Vinson, At Sea - Assets assigned to Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) participated in an air surface warfare exercise in the South China Sea Jan. 19-20.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Gridley (DDG 101) and USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) joined aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing 17 in skill evolutions designed to improve bilateral interoperability with RSS Stalwart (72), RSS Tenacious (71), RSS Valour (89), RSS Vigour (92), RSS Brave (95), RSS Chieftain and three RSN Fokker 50s maritime patrol aircraft.

The exercise included a visit from two RSN liaison naval officers to Carl Vinson and focused on strengthening exchanges between the Singapore and U.S. Navies.

"The primary point of the exercise is to engage an important regional partner and increase our Navy to Navy cooperation," said Lt. Cmdr. Axel Steiner, a planning officer for Commander, Destroyer Squadron 1. "Singapore has a very impressive and professional Navy."

The U.S. Navy maintains a robust forward presence in the Asia-Pacific region, utilizing both forward deployed naval forces in Japan and Guam, as well as rotationally deployed forces from the continental United States and Hawaii.

CSG 1 was formally established October 1, 2009, and led Carl Vinson and Bunker Hill when the ships supported disaster response and humanitarian operations in Haiti in this year. This is the first deployment of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Stockdale. This is Bunker Hill's first deployment since it underwent cruiser modernization and was the first Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser to complete its mid-life modernization. This is Carl Vinson's first deployment to 7th Fleet since 2005.

Source : US Navy

24 January 2011

Philippines to buy Ex USA Coast Guard Cutter

The “GMA News” website is reporting that the Philippine Navy is in discussions to aquire a Hamilton class Cutter from the US Coast Guard, if this sale goes through it will be the largest ship in their Navy.
“We are negotiating for the acquisition of a US Coast Guard cutter… through the FMS or Foreign Military Sales," said Navy chief Rear Admiral Alexander Pama.
“Right now, we already reached the stage that we already have an understanding, meaning to say we are about to send a formal letter request," he said.

Hamilton class Cutter

“I think it’s in the finishing stages," said Bacordo of the negotiations to acquire the ship. “We expect this to be in country maybe by first semester of 2011," he added.

For more go to GMA News

22 January 2011

Change at the top for New Zealand Defence Force

After five years in command of the New Zealand Defence Force, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, Chief of Defence Force, will be relinquishing his post and handing over to Major General Rhys Jones at Government House in Auckland.

The Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief, and Lady Susan Satyanand will host the Chief of Defence Force Change of Command Ceremony commencing at 2:30 pm, Monday, 24 January 2011.

Befitting the occasion, a tri-service 50-person Guard of Honour and Maori Cultural Group will be in attendance.

During the ceremony, the Governor-General will present Major General Rhys Jones his Warrant and promotion to Lieutenant General. 

Also as part of the ceremony will be the appointment of Warrant Officer Class One Alan Cunningham to the position of Warrant Officer of the Defence Force.

This position is the most senior non-commissioned appointment in the NZ Defence Force and he is a key advisor to the Chief of Defence Force, responsible for the Defence Force's strategic direction with regard to non-commissioned personnel, including issues such as morale, welfare and conditions of service.

The outgoing Warrant Officer of the Defence Force, Warrant Officer Class One John Barclay, will also be promoted to the rank of Major at the Change of Command ceremony.


Major General Richard Rhys Jones was born in Timaru, New Zealand on 2 May 1960.  He was educated at Wanganui Boy’s College and attained University Entrance.

Major General Jones enlisted into the New Zealand Army in December 1978 and attended the Royal Military College, Duntroon Australia from 1979 to 1982.  He graduated into the Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps at the rank of Lieutenant in December 1982, with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  During his career he has attended staff college at Fort Leavenworth, USA, and higher defence college at the Australian Defence College.  He has also attained a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies from La Trobe University (Melbourne) as well as a Diploma in Qualitative Futures.

His staff appointments have been mainly within the Capability Development area, culminating in his appointment as the head of the NZ Defence Force Development Branch.

 Major General Jones has held a variety of training posts. In 1987/88 he was the New Zealand Instructor at the Australian Defence Force Academy (Officer Cadets).  From 1992 to 1995 he was an instructor at New Zealand’s Tactical School, becoming the Chief Instructor for his last 18 months. He has also been Chief Instructor at the School of Armour and has been the New Zealand Directing Staff at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies, part of the Australian Defence College.

Major General Jones has had operational duty in the Middle East with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation, as an observer, then Operations Officer with the Observer Group Lebanon.

Major General Jones has commanded at every senior level. He was the Commanding Officer of New Zealand’s armoured regiment; Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles (QAMR), and at Formation level the Commander 3rd Land Force Group based in the South Island of New Zealand. He was Land Component Commander within Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand, and then in October 2007 Major General Jones became the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand on promotion to Major General. He was appointed the Chief of Army on 1 May 2009.

NZ Army

Australia: Teaming Agreement Announced for Domestic Munitions Manufacturing

Chemring Australia today announced that it has teamed with Raytheon Australia and Poongsan Corporation to bid for the Domestic Munitions Manufacturing Arrangements (DMMA) project. The DMMA project aims to deliver new commercial arrangements for the manufacture and supply of domestically produced munitions, replacing the Strategic Agreement for Munitions Supply (SAMS) and Mulwala Agreements upon their expiry in June 2015.

This industry team draws together three recognised global munitions companies with extensive expertise, experience, and infrastructure in the manufacture and supply of energetic materials, guided munitions and non-guided munitions. This collaboration will ensure the transfer of manufacturing technology and processes which will significantly reduce costs whilst strengthening this designated Priority Industry Capability for Australia.
Chemring Australia is the country’s foremost manufacturer and supplier of expendable countermeasures and military pyrotechnics. Chemring Australia is part of the global Chemring Group PLC, which is the world leader in expandable countermeasures, and is a niche manufacturer of munitions and energetic materials.

Raytheon Australia, a subsidiary of Raytheon Company, is a highly capable prime contractor with an engineering and technical workforce of 1300 backed by world-class management systems and access to the global resources of Raytheon Company. It has an extensive mission support pedigree and performance in the transition and delivery of complex commercial and personnel requirements.

Poongsan Corporation, based in the Republic of Korea, is renowned for its design, development and manufacture of small, medium and large calibre ammunition and propellant. The company is the designated general ammunition manufacturer to the South Korean Government and recognised as a leader in the provision of conventional ammunition to the global market, with an overseas customer base that spans 60 countries including the USA and Australia.

Together, Chemring Australia, Raytheon Australia and Poongsan propose an innovative and comprehensive offering that will meet the strategic objectives of the Defence White Paper, the Strategic Reform Program and the Defence Industry Policy Statement. The team’s cost effective end-to-end solution will be tailored to the needs of the ADF and squarely focused upon delivering a comprehensive range of cost effective munitions and technology whilst ensuring the transfer of valuable skills to the domestic workforce.

To this end, the team’s solution will increase capability to the ADF and reduce the operating costs to Defence through the provision of a holistic solution that draws upon the expertise, infrastructure and global markets within the team. Mr Michael Flowers, Managing Director of Chemring Australia, said “This is a great opportunity to develop a solution that genuinely fulfils the needs of the customer for the supply of munitions for the long term, whilst delivering sustainable and competitive domestic manufacturing capability”.
Chemring Group PLC

Chemring Group PLC is a global defence business listed on the London Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of over £1 billion ($1.6 billion). Chemring specialises in the manufacture of energetic material products, providing solutions for highly demanding requirements in the Countermeasures, Munitions, Pyrotechnics and Counter-IED markets. The Group is built on a hundred-year history of innovation and development and now employs over 3500 people in the UK, US, Australia, Italy, Norway, Spain and Germany.

Chemring Australia

Australia considering UKs Bay class Landing Ship Dock

The Xinhuanet website is reporting that Australia is in discussions with the UK Government over the acquisition or lease of one of the Bay class troop ships the UK is retiring, since this vessel almost precisely matches the stated requirements of the RAN (Royal Australian Navy), is virtually a new ship and since the RANs current troop ships are falling apart, these discussions are not unexpected.

Bay class LSD (UK)

Despite the different (from other Aussie ships) technology in the vessel, its relatively inexpensive cost and the RANs urgent need should make this vessel a welcome addition to the fleet.

To read more go to Xinhuanet
UPDATE: Largs Bay acquisition

Better communications system to help keep soldiers safe

 Defence today signed a $69 million contract to deliver faster and more reliable communications on the battlefield.

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare said the contract with Raytheon would provide:

  • more than 1000 radios, which will be mounted on Army vehicles, primarily Bushmasters and M113 armoured vehicles, and handheld portable radios to be carried by soldiers in the field;
  • equipment needed to mount and operate the radios; and
  • maintenance and support services for three years.

“These new radios will give frontline soldiers and the Commanders directing them instant information on where they are, where they need to be and what is happening around them,” Mr Clare said.

“Right now, the Army is using an older, analogue system which is fast becoming obsolete.

“It’s served our troops well, but it’s time to move the Army forward into the digital age.

“This new system will be faster and more reliable, allowing troops to communicate instantly with the central command post.

“It will help Commanders plan better by giving them more accurate and timely information about what is happening on the ground.

“This will help keep our soldiers safe.

“It’s the next step in our plan to deliver a fully digital communications system to the Army.”

21 January 2011

HMAS Melbourne’s final anti-piracy act

On her final day assigned to operations in the Middle East, Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Melbourne continued her important work of securing vital sea lanes of communication.

Hours before handing over the maritime security task in the Middle East Area of Operations to HMAS Stuart, HMAS Melbourne was called upon to assist a merchant vessel in distress.

On Tuesday, MV Tide reported that she was being harassed by a pirate mothership and two skiffs. The merchant vessel requested immediate assistance.

HMAS Melbourne responded and altered her course to steam to the aid of MV Tide, simultaneously sending her Sea Hawk helicopter ahead to investigate the situation.

Fortunately, MV Tide was able to conduct evasive manoeuvres and escape the pirates within about an hour of her initial distress call. The merchant vessel’s actions successfully negated the pirate attack, allowing HMAS Melbourne and her helicopter to return to patrolling duties without further incident for her last few hours serving in support of Operation SLIPPER.

HMAS Melbourne has successfully completed a six-month operational deployment to the Middle East marked by involvement in maritime security and counter-piracy operations, and international engagement with countries such as Yemen, Jordan and Pakistan.

HMAS Melbourne was the first of the recently upgraded Adelaide Class frigates to undertake an operational deployment and was relieved by HMAS Stuart in a hand-over ceremony on 19 January 2011.

HMAS Melbourne had 238 men and women embarked for the deployment.

Commanding Officer HMAS Melbourne Commander Michael Harris said the ship’s company had performed exceptionally well during the deployment and were employed in a range of tasks that included maritime security and counter-piracy as part of combined maritime force operations.

HMAS Melbourne’s support in disrupting an earlier pirate attack on the MV CPO China received widespread recognition and praise.

Commander Australian forces in the Middle East Major General Angus Campbell said the crew and Commander of HMAS Melbourne should take pride in directly contributing to security in the Middle East and the safe passage of maritime trade in the Indian Ocean.

“You have very positively enhanced Australia’s reputation in the region. As HMAS Melbourne heads home for a well-earned rest, know that you have directly contributed to the mission in the Middle East and have made a positive impression on its people. Thank you for your efforts,” Major General Campbell said.

HMAS Melbourne was the 24th rotation of RAN fleet units to the region since operations commenced in the Middle East in 2001.

HMAS Stuart will be conducting her fourth rotation to the Gulf since operations began. The ship has a complement of approximately 190 men and women.

RAAF KC-30 loses boom

Defence Statement

An in-flight incident occurred during a training flight for Airbus Military staff, involving an Australian KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft and a Portuguese Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft.

The aircraft was being operated by Airbus Military Corporation. No Australian personnel were on board the MRTT at the time of the incident.

The incident resulted in the detachment and partial loss of the refuelling boom from the MRTT, which fell into the sea.

Both aircraft suffered some damage but returned safely to their home airfields.

Project AIR 5402 will supply five MRTT aircraft to the Australian Defence Force. Design, development and testing of the prototype aircraft is being undertaken by Airbus Military at its facilities in Madrid, Spain.

Airbus Military and the relevant European military airworthiness authorities will have the lead responsibility for investigating the incident.

Australian Defence experts will participate in the investigation process.

20 January 2011

US, China Affirm Military Ties During Hu Visit to Washington

By Carol L. Bowers
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2011 – The United States and China have affirmed that a healthy, stable and reliable military-to-military relationship is an essential part of a shared vision for a positive U.S.-China relationship, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao said in a joint statement issued today.

Hu is paying a state visit to the United States Jan. 18 to 21, and the statement came on the second day of his trip, which included meetings with Obama and a joint press conference.

“Both sides agreed on the need for enhanced and substantive dialogue and communication at all levels: to reduce misunderstanding, misperception, and miscalculation; to foster greater understanding and expand mutual interest; and to promote the healthy, stable, and reliable development of the military-to-military relationship,” Obama and Hu said in their statement.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently met with Hu in China during a recent tour of East Asia to discuss security issues. Gates attended Hu’s arrival ceremony today.

Obama and Hu termed Gates’ visit to China “successful” and noted the United States will in turn welcome the Chief of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Gen. Chen Bingde to the United States in the first half of 2011.

In the joint statement, the two sides also reaffirmed that the Defense Consultative Talks, the Defense Policy Coordination Talks, and the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement will remain important channels of communication in the future. Both sides will work to execute the seven priority areas for developing military-to-military relations as agreed to by Gates and Gen. Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission in October 2009.

During the joint press conference today, Obama said he also has conveyed to the Chinese president “that that we appreciated China’s role in reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and we agreed that North Korea must avoid further provocations.”

“I also said that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program is increasingly a direct threat to the security of the United States and our allies,” Obama added. “ We agreed that the paramount goal must be complete denuclearization of the peninsula. In that regard, the international community must continue to state clearly that North Korea’s uranium enrichment program is in violation of North Korea’s commitments and international obligations.”

Discussions between Obama and Hu also included other global security issues.

“With respect to global security, I’m pleased that we’re moving ahead with President Hu’s commitment at last year’s Nuclear Security Summit for China to establish a center of excellence, which will help secure the world’s vulnerable nuclear materials,” Obama said during the press conference.

“To prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, we agreed that Iran must uphold its international obligations and that the U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran must be fully enforced."


New combat armour for Australian soldiers

The first batch of the new Tiered Body Armour System (TBAS) for Australian soldiers in Afghanistan has come off the production line at Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) in Bendigo, creating an extra 50 local jobs.

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare inspected the production line in Bendigo today.

“The new body armour system is lighter, fits better, is more comfortable and provides more mobility than the existing body armour our troops use,” Mr Clare said.

“At the moment our soldiers in Afghanistan wear either the Modular Combat Body Armour System (MCBAS) or the Eagle Marine body armour.

“MCBAS body armour is very effective, but it’s heavy.  It was designed for conditions in Iraq where troops weren’t regularly required to patrol on foot.

“In Afghanistan the feedback from troops was it made it difficult to move around and do their job, so Defence made an urgent purchase of the lighter Eagle Marine body armour last year from the United States.

“The new TBAS is lighter than both.  It also allows troops to insert different types of ballistic plates in the vest depending on their mission.

“Because it is Australian-made and we own the design we can also make adjustments and improvements at any time to suit the needs of our troops.”

Mr Clare said Defence was planning for soldiers from Mentoring Task Force 3 to train in this body armour in April as part of their Mission Rehearsal Exercises and deploy with it when they head to Afghanistan later this year.

"ADA will produce around 1,600 tiered body armour systems over the next few months,” Mr Clare said.

“Over the past 18 months TBAS has been tested and evaluated by Special Forces, Navy clearance divers and soldiers from the 1st Brigade in Darwin, 3RAR in Sydney and 2 RAR in Townsville.

“They told us this was the body armour they want to wear in Afghanistan.

“They said it integrates better with their combat equipment and provides much greater freedom of movement, especially around their shoulders. This enables soldiers to get into better firing positions and manoeuvre more freely on the battlefield.

“The protection of our frontline troops is our top priority. That’s why Defence and ADA have developed, tested and produced this new body armour.

“The workers here at ADA can be very proud of the work they are doing. It could save a soldier’s life.”

Mr Clare said ADA had a long and proud history of involvement with the Australian Defence Force.

“They first started making uniforms for the Defence Force here in 1912,” Mr Clare said.

“For almost a century ADA has been supporting Australian troops and local jobs.”