31 July 2011

News Story: China to give squadron of J10-B fighters to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (PTI): China will give Pakistan a squadron of the advanced J-10B multi-role, all-weather fighter aircraft in a bid to boost the strategic reach of its close ally, a media report has said.

China has made the offer to Pakistan Army's Chief of General Staff, Lt Gen Waheed Arshad, who has just concluded a week long visit to China, the Pakistani Urdu daily Jang said.

Read More at Brahmand.com

News Story: China needs at least three aircraft carriers - General

BEIJING (AFP): China needs at least three aircraft carriers to defend its interests, a general said, days after the state media broadcast footage of its first carrier in a rare public mention of the project.

"If we consider our neighbours, India will have three aircraft carriers by 2014 and Japan will have three carriers by 2014," General Luo Yuan, a senior researcher with the Academy of Military Sciences, was quoted as saying by Beijing News.

Read More at Brahmand.com

30 July 2011

News Story: China’s Two-Pronged Maritime Rise

By Robert C. O'Brien

China is following a two-prong strategy with its impressive maritime build-up. The West is making a mistake if it underestimates the implications.

For the past decade, while the West has been consumed battling Islamic extremists in the Middle East and Central Asia, China has been engaged in a rapid and impressive effort to establish itself as the supreme maritime power in the Eastern Pacific and Indian Oceans. 

For years, China focused its military spending on the People’s Liberation Army, while the Air Force and Navy served as little more than adjuncts to the Army. But with the launch of its first aircraft carrier next month, the rest of the world – and especially the United States’ Asian allies – is taking note of how dramatically things have changed. China has big maritime ambitions, and they are backed up by a naval build-up unseen since Kaiser Wilhelm II decided to challenge British naval power with the building of the High Seas Fleet at the turn of the last century.

Read More at The Diplomat

News Story: (Malaysian) Navy successfully test-fires missiles

PETALING JAYA: The Royal Malaysian Navy successfully test-fired its missiles during a week-long military exercise conducted off Sabah waters.

Two missiles, an Exocet MM40 and a Sea Skua, were fired by navy vessel KD Lekir and a Super Lynx helicopter respectively on Sunday.

Read More at The Star Online

USA: Conclusion of Meetings with The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)

Following the first round of denuclearization talks between the nuclear negotiators of the Republic of Korea and the DPRK, the United States invited North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan to New York. The U.S. interagency delegation, led by Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth, and the DPRK delegation concluded their two-day discussions today.

As the United States said from the beginning, these discussions were to explore the willingness of North Korea to take concrete and irreversible steps toward denuclearization. In that regard, these were constructive and business-like discussions. The United States reiterated that the path is open to North Korea towards the resumption of talks, improved relations with the United States, and greater regional stability if North Korea demonstrates through actions that it supports the resumption of the Six-Party process as a committed and constructive partner.

Before deciding on next steps to resume the process, the United States will consult closely with the Republic of Korea and other partners in the Six-Party Talks.

29 July 2011

AUS: Chief of Navy Letter of Record - Largs Bay

An article in some New Limited papers today (HMAS Lemon Scented 28 Jul 2011) concerning Defence’s purchase of ex-Royal Fleet Auxiliary amphibious ship Largs Bay is misleading.

The article discusses the supersession report submitted by the ship’s previous Chief Engineer in February this year. Supersession reports are the formal means by which a ship’s engineer submits his own assessment of the materiel state of his ship prior to handing over his engineering responsibilities to another engineer. The report is principally used to inform the development of the maintenance and repair package prior to the ship’s next operating period.

Defence was aware of the report and it was taken into account in the development and negotiation of the package of refit work that is currently being progressed in a shipyard in the UK.

The February supersession report by the Chief Engineer was not extraordinary and is similar to other routine reports submitted by ships engineers.

The current refit activity addresses the key issues raised in the supersession report.

It is also worth pointing out that international shipping firm, Teekay Shipping Australia, thoroughly inspected the ship prior to the submission of Australia’s bid and found that:

“the ship presents very well, and from a technical point of view, there are no major defects.”
Teekay was also engaged on the sea trial and have provided an updated report that confirms their previous assessment.

Largs Bay was well constructed and overall remains in good materiel condition. The ship was in operational service with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary immediately prior to commencing refit and is not “mothballed”. I am confident that Largs Bay will provide excellent service in Navy once the ship arrives in Australia at the end of this year.

VADM Ray Griggs
Chief of Navy

AUS: Minister for Defence – Visit to New York and Washington

I visited the United States from Sunday 24 July to Wednesday 27 July for meetings in New York and Washington.

In New York, I met with the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, for discussions on Australia’s involvement in UN peacekeeping missions, including the new UN mission in South Sudan and ongoing missions in Afghanistan and East Timor. 

Australia has a long commitment to United Nations peacekeeping missions and broader peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities.  More than 500 Australian Defence Force personnel are deployed to UN Security Council mandated peacekeeping missions around the world. 

In Washington, I met with the Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, and also the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. We discussed Afghanistan, the United States Global Force Posture Review, and the next AUSMIN meeting. 

I held meetings with the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin and John McCain. I also met the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon and Adam Smith.

During talks on progress in Afghanistan, I reinforced Australia’s resolve to complete our mission to train the Afghan National Army’s 4th Brigade and to transition to Afghan led security in Uruzgan Province by the end of 2014.

I canvassed the demanding modern fiscal environment in which Defence forces operate and our respective Defence reform programs. 

I also discussed defence capabilities, including the Joint Strike Fighter and Australia’s Future Submarine Program with government and industry representatives. 

I delivered a speech at The Brookings Institution on “The Asia Pacific Century and the Australia-United States Alliance.” (Link: AUS DoD website)

It is unambiguously in Australia’s national interest for the United States to be active and engaged in the Asia-Pacific, as economic, political, military and strategic influence shifts to the Asia-Pacific, to our part of the world.

I laid a wreath at the Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate the sacrifice made by Australian and United States servicemen and servicewomen.

Over 300,000 veterans from all the US nation’s wars are buried in the cemetery, from the American Revolution to Afghanistan.

In this its 60th Anniversary year, my visit underlined the importance and value of Australia’s Alliance with the United States, which remains the cornerstone of our strategic and security arrangements.

AUS: Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 successfully concludes

The largest combined Australian and United States military training exercise, Talisman Sabre 2011 (TS11), concluded with a closing ceremony at Camp Rocky, Rockhampton on Thursday.

The ceremony featured a media briefing with Australian spokesperson Brigadier Bob Brown and activities for the U.S. and Australian troops involved in the Exercise.

Talisman Sabre is a biennial military exercise that trains Australian and U.S. forces to plan and conduct combined task force operations to improve combat readiness and interoperability on a variety of missions, from conventional conflict to peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance efforts.

“This exercise has been two years in the planning, and we have had a highly successful outcome,” said Brigadier Bob Brown.

Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 featured 14,000 U.S. and 8,500 Australian personnel across six defence training areas in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Maritime forces exercised in the Coral, Timor and Arafura Seas.

“Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 is an excellent opportunity for us to conduct operations in a combined and joint environment, which will increase the U.S. and Australian capabilities to both respond to crises in this region and provide humanitarian assistance when called upon,” said Colonel Andrew MacMannis, commanding officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

“We look forward to training with our Australian counterparts and reinforcing our security responsibilities in the Pacific region.”

The 31st MEU took part in an amphibious landing on Freshwater Beach, Queensland on July 19, which involved more than 15 amphibious assault vehicles and 350 Marines and sailors.

In addition to the amphibious landing, training operations during Talisman Sabre included urban operations, strategic forced insertion by a parachute drop, refugee camp simulations and air-to-air combat operations.

Several military and humanitarian assistance scenarios were also conducted with U.S. and Australian interagency participation.

“We have worked, eaten and trained alongside each other at sea, on the ground and in the air,” said said Brigadier Bob Brown .

“In doing so we have developed new and lasting friendships between us and our U.S. counterparts. The deep and enduring bond between the people of our armed forces has only been enhanced by the successful conduct of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011.”

In addition to the 22,500 troops, Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 involved an estimated 18 sea vessels, 25 aircraft and 1,500 road vehicles.

Other Links:

News Story: ASEAN navy chiefs advance co-operation

HA NOI — Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh yesterday welcomed ASEAN Naval Chiefs who were in Ha Noi to attend their fifth meeting (ANCM-5).

He stressed that ANCM-5 promoted co-operation in defence for the goal of peace, contributing to building the ASEAN Community by 2015. The meeting reached an important advance in accelerating activities of co-operation among ASEAN navies, he said.

Thanh also emphasised the significance of the meeting, saying that it took place in the spirit of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting and partners (ADMM+) and discussed issues to maintain peace, stability and development in the region, including co-operation in maritime security, anti-terrorism, search and rescue, and humanitarian activities.

Read More at VietNam News

USA: One of a kind: US and Australian forces excel during Talisman Sabre 2011

By U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Laura Cardoso

SHOALWATER BAY TRAINING AREA, Australia (July 28, 2011) - Nearly 22,000 U.S. and Australian troops trained together during Talisman Sabre 2011 at Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Queensland, Australia, one of Australia’s largest training facilities from July 11 to 29.

Talisman Sabre 2011 is a biennial joint international training exercise aimed at improving and validating the Australian Defense Force and United States combat readiness as a combined joint task force. The exercise left participants with a better understanding of how each country operates and how they can benefit from their differences.

“Working so closely with [Australians] I’ve seen how they think, how they develop their courses of action, come up with their schemes and how they maneuver and implement their planning,” said Major Gary Bourland, Australian Headquarters Joint Operations Center Marine Corps liaison. “Learning this allows me to inject my own way of operating and share how we do it in the Marine Corps. It gives them a different flavor and tone.”

Throughout history, the Australian Defense Forces have fought and worked side by side with American troops in every major conflict since World War I and continue to show their dedication to common goals.

“They are wiling to dedicate so much per capita of their military,” said Bourland. “To lose soldiers and still have the dedication to stick by the U.S. is massive and still, time and time again, they continue to show their dedication to the U.S. That is why Australia is our strongest ally.”

The exercise called for both countries to conduct land, air and sea operations throughout the training areas, which showed the different ways each side accomplished the mission.

“[Talisman Sabre 2011] is a realistic and challenging exercise that brings us together with our Australian allies to improve our ability to work both bilaterally and multilaterally, and be poised to provide security for our citizens both regionally and globally,” said Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, U.S. 7th Fleet and overall combined task force commander for Talisman Sabre 2011.

Because America and Australia fall under the South-East-Asia Treaty Organization, they are commited to providing mutual aid and protection in an event of external aggression. Exercises such as Talisman Sabre 2011 are vital in keeping the ability to work together alive.

Through joint training, both militaries are able to learn from one another’s experiences.

“They have a different philosophy for war and fight differently than us,” said Bourland.“We [U.S.] share tactics, techniques, procedures and implement them to their infantryman. When we do operations, they are a fresh set of eyeballs on routine situations that we do, which will add to our effectiveness during future operations.”

As the exercise comes to an end, both countries share their new experiences and mentalities.

“We have grown more familiar with each other,” said Buskirk. “I think maybe 10 years ago we didn’t integrate as well as we do now, but through our common operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, we have come closer and closer in the doctrines. So, you get to a point now you don’t see yourself as another country, you see yourself as a particular unit. We can take it to the next level now.”

For more Talisman Sabre news, visit the
exercise website.

USA: Vice Chief of Naval Operations Outlines Priorities at Senate Hearing

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- President Barack Obama's choice to be the next Chief of Naval Operations outlined his priorities during a Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing July 28.

Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert will be the 30th officer to serve in the Navy's top uniformed post, succeeding retiring Navy Adm. Gary Roughead, if the Senate confirms his nomination.

"If confirmed, my priorities will be to remain ready to meet the current challenges today, to build a relevant and capable future force, to continue to take care of our sailors, our civilians and their families, and institute a manning strategy that recruits and nurtures a motivated, a relevant and a diverse future force," Greenert said.

Meeting those priorities in the current budget environment will not be easy, he acknowledged. "We must be clear-eyed in communicating what we will and what we won't be able to provide the nation in the future," he said.

Half of the Navy's ships are underway, and 43 percent are deployed, he said, while 12,000 sailors are on the ground supporting U.S. Central Command and another 10,000 are serving as individual augmentees to current operations.

"Your Navy remains ready. It is agile, and it's global, and it's relentlessly been busy," Greenert said. "Operating tempo has been high, [and] our missions have evolved."

The Navy's key mission, he said, is to "assure the security and freedom of the seas, in all the domains, so that the economies of the world can flourish." To accomplish that mission, the Navy must be forward deployed, able to influence events, assist allies and provide the United States an offshore option, the admiral added.

Large cuts in the defense budget would create a conundrum that will require a strategic approach to resolve, he said.

"Our options are limited; we can't hollow the force," he said. "If we reduce force structure, that would exacerbate the problem we already have. And if we reduce modernization -- that is, go to the shipbuilding and aircraft accounts -- I'm concerned about the industrial base."

Greenert said that as vice chief of naval operations, he has provided data for the Defense Department strategic review, but is not currently involved in major deliberations.

"We have been told we would be part of any final ... decision process in this comprehensive review," he said.

Committee members asked Greenert for his views on China's expanding naval capabilities, noting that Chinese military officials said in June they are refurbishing a never-completed Soviet-era carrier.

"I believe it's clearly ... a prototype for what they ultimately want to have, which is a better aircraft carrier, indigenously built and tailored to their needs," the admiral said.

An aircraft carrier is typically an offensive capability, made to project power, Greenert noted. "The Chinese say they built it for defensive measures," he said. "It's hard to gauge their intent."

The admiral said China's recent growth in maritime capabilities shows that nation is "interested in expanding its operations to blue water" -- open-ocean depths -- and thereby expanding its influence.

Greenert's career as a submariner includes assignments aboard the USS Flying Fish, USS Tautog, Submarine NR-1 and USS Michigan and as commander of USS Honolulu. He also served as commander of Submarine Squadron 11, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas, U.S. 7th Fleet in the Pacific and U.S. Fleet Forces Command before he assumed the Navy's No. 2 uniformed post in August 2009.


Wikipedia Entry

USA: Search Continues For Boxer Sailor Missing At Sea

From U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

USS BOXER, At Sea – U.S. Navy aircraft and ships continue the search for the missing Sailor from amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), reported missing July 26.

The Sailor’s next of kin have been contacted by the Navy; the Sailor’s name will not be released while the search is ongoing.

The surface search is being conducted by guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68), guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) and Boxer. Aerial searches continue, and have included aircraft from aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Boxer and Anzio, as well as a P-3 maritime patrol aircraft.

USA: Meetings with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)

Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth and a U.S. interagency delegation met today with First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan and the DPRK delegation at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York. Today’s discussions have been serious and business-like. We look forward to continuing our meetings tomorrow.

As the Secretary has said, this is an exploratory meeting to determine if North Korea is prepared to fulfill its commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and its international obligations, as well as to take concrete and irreversible steps toward denuclearization.

We continue to coordinate closely with the Republic of Korea and our other partners.

india: Rear Admiral MT Moraes Appointed Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Submarines) : will Oversee Submarine Acquisitions

Three key appointments of the Indian Navy will see new incumbents on 29 July 2011. Rear Admiral MT Moraes will take over as the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Submarines) at Delhi. On promotion, Rear Admiral Srikant will take over as Flag Officer Submarines (FOSM) based at Visakhapatnam and Rear Admiral G Ashok Kumar will take over as Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) at Kochi.

ACNS (SM) looks after perspective planning and acquisition of submarines for the Indian Navy. A role that assumes critical importance as the Indian Navy is pursuing vital submarine acquistion plans.

FOSM is the class authority on submarines and is responsible for defining standards, policies and procedures for operations and maintenance of submarines in the Indian Navy.

FOST is the authority responsible for operational sea training and work up of all surface ships.

28 July 2011

News Story: (Aus) Navy's new $100 million ship labelled 'HMAS Lemon Scented'

By Ian McPhedran

THE navy's newest $100 million amphibious ship has been tagged "HMAS Lemon Scented" after a major inspection earlier this year uncovered a raft of serious technical faults in the second-hand British vessel.

The problems include overheating of the propulsion motors and transformers and faulty air handling units that "could cause respiratory problems among passengers and crew - in particular legionnaires disease", the chief engineer officer's report says.

Overheating means that the ship cannot maintain full speed and the lack of natural ventilation means she can't operate at higher speeds "especially in higher sea temperature conditions".

The ship, RFA Largs Bay, was designed to operate in cooler climates and many of the faults identified in the report are deep-seated "design issues".

Read More at Herald Sun


Australian minister backs Navy purchase

Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith has denied the navy's newest purchase is a waste of money.

The government bought the landing ship, called the Largs Bay, from the British Royal Fleet Auxilliary earlier this year to fill gaps in the navy's capacity.

News Story: (AUS) Doubts grow over US jet fighter deal

By Joe Kelly

DEFENCE Minister Stephen Smith has warned the US debt crisis could influence Australian defence purchases, as he cast doubt over the future of the planned $16 billion investment in 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

Development of the US-built F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - intended to secure Australia's air defence for the rest of the century - has been subject to cost blow-outs and delays.

Now Mr Smith is signalling that time is running out before other options are considered.

One possibility canvassed by Mr Smith is the purchase of further Super Hornets after the Howard government bought 24 of the aircraft back in 2007 for $6 billion to plug a capability gap caused by the retirement of the iconic F-111 bombers.

“That's an obvious option,” he told ABC radio from Washington.

“But we need to take this step by step. It's early days. I don't want people to run or leap to a conclusion that is the path we will go down.”

Read More at The Australian

USA: Blue Ridge Arrives in Cairns, Australia

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mel Orr, Blue Ridge Public Affairs

CAIRNS, Australia - The amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and embarked U.S. 7th Fleet staff arrived in Cairns, Australia July 27 as part of the ship's summer patrol to foster positive relations with regional partners.

The crew and embarked staff will have an opportunity to enjoy an area of Australia known for its beautiful landscapes and proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef comprised of over 3,000 individual reef systems.

"The crew is full of anticipation about the visit to Cairns," said Blue Ridge Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Kevin W. Ralston. "We just finished a week-long visit to Brisbane, which was a sensational port visit. Now we are anxious to get out and see more of Australia, especially this beautiful city and its surroundings."

While in Cairns, the crew will also be able to interact with Australian citizens, enjoy the culture and take in the sights during numerous scheduled tours all, in the spirit of friendship and camaraderie.

Several community outreach projects are scheduled including visiting residents at Cairns Legacy Widow's Home, and patients at Cairns Hospital. Clean up projects are also planned at Mission Beach and Tully.

"The U.S. and Australia have a proud, longstanding history of working together in this part of the world," said Ralston. "Visiting Cairns is an outstanding opportunity for Blue Ridge Sailors to experience this breathtaking place and interact with our welcoming hosts."

Blue Ridge has made port visits to New Caledonia, and Brisbane since departing its forward-deployed home of Yokosuka, Japan, June 22.

Blue Ridge serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force. Blue Ridge is the flagship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

RoK: Military, civilian and gov’t held joint anti-terror exercise

<< Troops from chemical, biological and radiological team under Korea’s 22nd Army Division implement operation of detoxicating the area where simulated toxic gas was sprayed during a joint anti-terror drill between civilian, military and government agencies on July 19.


In an effort of improve integration of civilian, military and government agencies, a joint anti-terror exercise for the second half of 2011 took place on July 19 under the command of Korea’s 22nd Army Division.

The joint drill is designed to arouse attention to explosive terror against multi-purpose facilities and enhance immediate countermeasure capability between troops and officials from the division, local county, police precinct, coast guard, fire department and National Intelligence Service.

The exercise began with an unidentified explosive exploding at an Unification Observatory, causing civilian casualties. A special task force team from the division and the precinct were instantly dispatched to the scene. Then division’ bomb squad and medical personnel from health center and 119 search and rescue team were mobilized for assistance. Since then, troops reinforced inspection around some perimeter of the terror scene.

When a simulated situation of terrorists taking some hostages took place, special forces from the division and the police jointly raided a facility and captured terrorists successfully. 

In addition, when simulated toxic gas was sprayed around the Unification Observatory, emergency rescue squad from a fire department and troops from chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) team were immediately dispatched to the scene. The exercise ended with the squad and troops of CBR evacuating civilians and detoxicating the area.

“The drill was aimed at relieving anxiety of local residents by implementing joint operation against unexpected terrorist attack,” an officer of the division said. “We were able to strengthen joint countermeasure capability through this exercise.”

RoK: South Korea and U.S. to stage annual joint exercise

An annual joint military drill between South Korea and the United States, aimed at strengthening their interoperability, will take place next month, South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC) said on July 18.

In its official statement, CFC said that the annual joint exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) will last for 11 days beginning on Aug. 16.

“UFG is a defense-oriented, routine exercise designed to improve the South Korea-U.S. alliance’s capability to defend South Korea,” CFC said. “The exercise will be conducting by operating computer simulation and commanding post.”

CFC said that the joint drill will be focused on enhancing troops’ comprehensive combat capabilities and commanding officers’ decision-making process.

“During this year’s UFG, we are planning to apply some of upper command structure revised plan included in a defense reform within the bounds of the rule,” said a defense official.

“UFC is designed to enhance the interoperability of the Republic of Korea and the United States military forces while enhancing the combat readiness of the alliance,” Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of CFC and the United States Forces Korea, was quoted as saying.

“This year’s UFG will present the alliance with tough and realistic training events focused on preparing, preventing and prevailing against the full range of current and future threats to the Republic of Korea and the region,” Gen. Thurman said.

CFC said the United Nations Command has informed the North Korean Army, through their mission in the truce village of Panmunjom, of the exercise dates and the “non-provocative nature” of the exercise.

RoK: Ministry and students talk defense issues

In an attempt to instill a sense of security and publicize the necessity as well as importance of defense reform, the Ministry of National Defense of South Korea invited college students to the ministry on July 15 to exchange views on defense issues.

Such event was the second of its kind following the first that took place on July 1 when students interested in security and North Korean issues were invited to the ministry.

Some 120 students, including student chief editors and reporters working in their school media, attended the second meeting.

In the first session, the ministry introduced defense policy public relations system and its details. Also it introduced South Korean military’s overseas mission which is contributing in beefing up national image in the international community.

In addition, the ministry explained major tasks within defense reform plan and had a question and answer session.

A defense official at the ministry said the ministry is planning to keep on organizing discussion session with students as well as security experts in order to have communications with the public and promote necessity and importance of defense reform.

China refitting aircraft carrier body for research, training

BEIJING, July 27 (Xinhua) -- China's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that the country is refitting an imported aircraft carrier body for the purposes of scientific research and training.

"China is making use of an old aircraft carrier platform for scientific research, experiment and training," said Geng Yansheng, a ministry spokesman, at a regular press conference.

The project marks the first official confirmation that China is pursuing an aircraft carrier program of its own.

Read More at China MoND

News Story: N. Korea calls for peace treaty with U.S. to end Korean War

SEOUL, July 27 (PNA/Yonhap) -- North Korea called Wednesday for a peace treaty with the United States to officially end the Korean War decades after the fighting ceased, describing it as a first step toward the peninsula's denuclearization.
The move comes as a senior North Korean official arrived in New York for rare talks with U.S. officials on how to resume stalled six-nation negotiations on ending the North's nuclear programs.
Pyongyang has long yearned to sign a peace treaty with Washington as a way to improve their relations after decades of enmity following the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.

Philippines: AFP declares Pampanga insurgency-free

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 28 (PNA) -- The leadership of the 703rd Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has claimed that the entire province of Pampanga is insurgency-free.
Col. Gregorio Catapang, commander of the 703rd Infantry Brigade, made this statement during the meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council held in this city on Thursday.

27 July 2011

AUS: Minister for Defence Materiel – Air Warfare Destroyer gun mounts have arrived

The Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare announced in Adelaide today that the $8 billion Air Warfare Destroyer project has taken delivery of three main gun mounts of the Air Warfare Destroyers.

The gun mounts, manufactured by BAE Systems in the United States, are valued at $80 million and will be placed into a controlled storage facility in Adelaide until they are installed on HMA Ships Hobart, Brisbane and Sydney.

“The guns will be able to hit targets on land, air and at sea. They are capable of firing both Royal Australian Navy standard munitions and future extended range munitions,” Mr Clare said.

Similar gun mounts are installed on the Royal Australian Navy’s ANZAC Class frigates, the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke Class destroyers, the Spanish F-100 frigates and on ships within the South Korean, Japanese and Danish navies.

More than 1,000 people are currently working on the construction of the ships across three shipyards in Australia; at ASC in South Australia, Forgacs in New South Wales and BAE Systems in Victoria.

“This is an important project for the Australian Defence Force. These destroyers will be among the most advanced and capable warships in the world,” Mr Clare said.

AUS: Navy sea boat incident off Darwin

An investigation has begun following an incident involving a Royal Australian Navy sea boat off Darwin.

The rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) overturned as it was offloading passengers alongside the frigate HMAS Darwin.

The RHIB was in the process of transferring members of the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, support staff and Defence Force personnel from the patrol boat HMAS Maitland.

All personnel were recovered from the water and some minor injuries were sustained.  Four of them were taken to HMAS Darwin with the remaining six being returned to HMAS Maitland.  

Both ships have returned alongside to Darwin.

Two people were transferred to hospital as a precaution to be assessed by civilian medical authorities.

A RHIB is used widely across Navy to transfer personnel.  In this instance, the RHIB was capable of carrying up to 20 people.

USA: John C Stennis Deploys with Carrier Strike Group 3

110725-N-RG482-053From USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash (NNS) - USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Sailors said goodbye to their family and friends July 25, as the ship departed Naval Base Kitsap for San Diego to embark Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9.

The carrier, with its embarked air wing, USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and Destroyer Squadron Twenty-one, which includes USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Kidd (DDG 100), USS Dewey (DDG 105) and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), will deploy from San Diego Friday, July 29.

Stennis is the flagship for Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) 3, headed by Rear Adm. Craig S. Faller.

"It is great to have our families and friends with us today," said Rear Adm. Faller. "We are all family, and it's important to take time to honor that and ensure our families are 'connected' in a meaningful way as we deploy."

The strike group will support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, counter-piracy and maritime security operations. They will also work closely with allies to build regional security, freedom of the seas and long-term stability.

"This carrier has 5,000 Sailors aboard, and today we welcome the families on board to share that special moment before we head underway and do our nation's bidding," said Stennis' Commanding Officer Capt. Ronald Reis. "The families are the core support to ensure that the Sailors are cared for while they're underway. Like all services, being separated from your families is extremely difficult, but the United States Navy has dealt with that since its conception and we have done it better than any other service."

Stennis has a flight deck of about 4.5 acres and towers nearly seven stories above the sea. The ship is capable of carrying a crew of about 5,600 sailors, more than 3.5 million gallons of fuel, 70 aircraft, and enough weapons and stores for extended operations without replenishment.

Stennis' embarked air wing consists of the F/A-18C Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-6B Prowler, E-2C Hawkeye 2000, C-2A Greyhound and MH-60R/MH-60S. The aircraft can be used to conduct strikes, support land battles, protect the CSG or other friendly ships, and implement a sea or air blockade.

"We are a nation at war," said Faller. "That war is going on as we speak in Afghanistan. We will be joining that fight, and supporting those operations. Also, we are still involved and engaged in Iraq. We expect to be involved and supporting those operations as well."

During this seven month deployment, the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is prepared to respond to any operational situation with flexibility and sustainable force on short notice in order to protect America's vital interests.

USA: USS Boxer Sailor Missing At Sea

From U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

USS BOXER, At Sea - U.S. Navy ships and aircraft are searching for a Sailor from USS Boxer (LHD 4) who went missing while the ship was conducting maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden today. The Sailor did not report to watch and after a search of the ship, man overboard was called away.

Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft from Boxer, fixed-wing aircraft from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), as well as a P-3 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, are conducting an airborne search while Boxer, USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3) and USS Mitscher (DDG 57) conduct a surface search.

The Sailor's name is being withheld while the search is ongoing.

USA: Destroyer Squadron 15 Completes Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011

By Ensign Carissa Guthrie, USS Fitzgerald Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN - U.S. Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 embarked on board USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) concluded their at sea participation for the exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 with U.S, Australian and Canadian air, land and maritime forces July 27.

Fitzgerald served as the flagship for DESRON 15 coordinating forces in complex, combined operations. Throughout the exercise, Fitzgerald had the opportunity to serve alongside six allied warships, three U.S. and Australian replenishments ships, one U.S. amphibious ship, one U.S. submarine and multiple U.S. and Australian aircraft.

“The success of Talisman Sabre is a testament to the continued strength of the U.S. and Australian military-military relationship,” said Cmdr. Dennis Velez, deputy commodore of DESRON 15. “The support received from the Destroyer Squadron staff and crew of Fitzgerald was instrumental in the execution of each evolution.”

Talisman Sabre provided force assimilation training across numerous warfare areas to include air defense, naval surface fire support, anti-submarine warfare and amphibious operations.

As the flagship, Fitzgerald led the integration of a combined command post exercise, combined field training exercise with force-on-force and integrated combined arms live-fire exercises.

In the final days of Talisman Sabre, Australian, Canadian and U.S. forces conducted a photo exercise, coming together in a brilliant display of expert ship handling.

“Australia and the United States share common values and a commitment to peace and security throughout the Western-Pacific region,” said Velez. “I look forward to further increasing our interoperability and ability to work as a combined task force.”

BAE Systems (Australia) takes next step on joint strike fighter manufacturing journey

ADELAIDE, Australia - BAE Systems has completed a successful Production Readiness Review (PRR) for manufacturing critical airframe components for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program.

The PRR was an important step for South Australia becoming a key supplier in the JSF Program's global supply chain, according to Land & Integrated Systems Director Kim Scott.

The review was held at BAE Systems Edinburgh Parks site. Attendees from the global JSF Program included representatives from Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems UK and Marand.

Mr Scott said the company had so far delivered more than 370 Vertical Tail parts, comprising 13 aircraft ship sets, from its Edinburgh Parks manufacturing facility in northern Adelaide.

"Achieving this key milestone of PRR means we are a step closer towards Full Rate Production, which would involve further production readiness assessments. At full rate production we will be delivering 70 aircraft sets per annum, with over 30 parts in each set.

Manufacturing times can range from one hour to 50 hours per component. These parts consist of highly complex shapes and fine tolerance features requiring the latest five Axis Machining technology available today.

"BAE Systems Australia has a proven track record in successfully delivering parts direct to the JSF Vertical Tail production line in time for production. To date, all ship sets delivered have met the stringent quality standards and customer schedule expectations.

"Continuing to deliver to our current performance level should lead to more JSF manufacturing opportunities in avionics and airframe parts, which will also have flow on benefits to Australia's SME community," Mr Scott said.

The outcomes of the PRR will be reported back to the United States Department of Defense 2012 Defense Acquisition Board Review of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program.

BAE Systems

Boeing Names Vice President to Grow Defense Business in India

Dennis Swanson to enhance customer focus and industry relationships, pursue new sales opportunities

NEW DELHI, July 26, 2011 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced that Dennis D. Swanson has been named International Business Development vice president for Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) in India.

In this position, Swanson is responsible for growing BDS business in India, including ensuring delivery on customer commitments, further strengthening relationships with industry partners and meeting India's emerging security needs.

"India is a strategic market for Boeing's defense products," said Dinesh Keskar, Boeing India president. "As a part of the Boeing India team, Dennis will bring his valuable insights from other regions and in-depth understanding of Boeing's defense, security and space range of products."

"Dennis' leadership will be critical to helping Boeing grow and position so that we can continue to constructively engage with India on its emerging national security needs for the 21st century," said Mark Kronenberg, vice president, International Business Development, Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "This appointment reinforces Boeing's commitment to work in partnership with our customers and will help us enhance our ability to partner with local industry."

Swanson began his career with Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) in 1989 and has held various positions within BCA and BDS, including managing industrial-participation programs and supplier-management activities. For 16 years, Swanson contributed to Boeing's expansion into international markets by identifying new business opportunities, managing complex industrial projects and establishing key relationships in countries including India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

Swanson's association with India began in 1999, when he led supplier management and procurement efforts for BCA in India. He was part of the team that began engaging with Indian industry to place offset contracts with Boeing's key suppliers in the country.

Prior to his new role, Swanson was regional director for Industrial Participation Programs in the Middle East and Africa region for BDS.

Swanson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Willamette University in Salem, Ore., and is currently pursuing an executive master’s program in international business.

Boeing, the world's leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined, has significantly expanded its footprint in India in both the civil aviation and defense markets. Boeing is partnering with India's leading technology and manufacturing companies to build a supply chain out of India. The company also has opened a Research and Technology center in Bengaluru to collaborate with India's technical talent for research in aero structures, materials and network systems. Boeing India's corporate office is located in New Delhi. For more information on Boeing India, visit www.boeing.co.in.

26 July 2011

AUS: Australia joins with Japan for first bilateral air combat training

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has successfully completed bilateral flying operations with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) for the first time.

The air combat familiarisation sortie conducted on 14 July during Exercise Red Flag was carried out by RAAF F/A-18 Hornets from No 3 Squadron in NSW, and JASDF F-15 Eagles from No 4th Air Wing.

The RAAF aircraft arrived at Misawa Air Force Base yesterday, second only to the United States military to ever have flown into a JASDF base.

“This level of high-end engagement offered the important opportunity to build on the strong friendship between Australia and Japan,” Commanding Officer No 3 Squadron, Wing Commander Terry van Haren, said.

“The large force, multi-threat environment of Red Flag enabled our fighter pilots to conduct complex missions with Japan, as well as the United States and Singapore as part of the exercise coalition force,”

“Now that we have arrived in Japan, we will hold a cultural and dialogue exchange at Misawa to further develop the strong bonds fostered between the two nations during Red Flag,” Wing Commander van Haren said.

“The four-day exchange programme includes several cultural activities and capability briefs to enhance shared co-operation and military appreciation between the Australian and Japanese fighter squadrons.”

During the visit to Misawa, members from RAAF’s No 3, No 36 and No 37 squadrons will donate toys to the JASDF for children affected by the recent tsunami.

Australia and Japan signed an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement in May last year. This week’s visit is the first since the Agreement was signed and reflects the growing strength of Australia’s bilateral partnership with Japan contributing to peace, security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Exercise Red Flag Alaska 11–2 was conducted from US Eielson Air Force Base, between 4 and 22 July.