31 August 2011

News Story: Houston's plea on Australia's role in Afghanistan war

Brendan Nicholson

AIR Chief Marshal Angus Houston two years ago urged US military commanders in Afghanistan not to change Australia's role in a way that would undermine then prime minister Kevin Rudd's attempts to maintain public support for the war.

The then defence force chief intended in August 2009 to call Mike McMullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, David Petraeus, the head of US central command, and Stanley McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan, to raise his concerns.

Read the full story at The Australian

NZ: Corporal Grant farewelled at Linton

About 1500 people gathered at Linton Camp yesterday (29 August) to farewell SAS soldier Corporal Dougie Grant, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on 19 August.

CPL Grant died when he was hit by a bullet fired by insurgents while trying to rescue civilians following an attack on the British Council building in Kabul.  Despite the efforts of New Zealand and Coalition medics at the scene he died en route to Bagram Air Base hospital. 

The Prime Minister, John Key, gave a eulogy at the funeral, as did CPL Grant’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Parsons, his father, brother, and wife, Tina Grant.

Mrs Grant, who is also a soldier in the New Zealand Army, said her husband loved many things—being an SAS soldier, being a member of the Defence Patriots Motorcycle Club, being a carpenter—“but the most important thing in his life was his children,” she said.

LTCOL Parsons spoke about how he and CPL Grant began their Army training together in 1996. He recalled how they were mounted troopers together, how they had been shot at together, and how they had been together with their Australian counterparts when they helped rescue 600 East Timorese from the militia. “He was selfless, fearless and a free spirit – that was our Doug. The Prime Minister, Mr Key is right – Dougie Grant was a hero.”

LTCOL Parsons said he had been in a Kabul restaurant with Doug the night before he died, “and he was full of enthusiasm for the mission, and to be once again on operation with his SAS mates.”

 He said CPL Grant had told him he believed the SAS’s contribution in training the Afghanistan Crisis response Unit and passing responsibility on to that unit was “doing it right”

“It is often tempting to ask can we win or not, and thereby weigh up the merits of helping the Afghans. But perhaps there’s a more important question to be asked: who are we if we do nothing to avert brutality?

He said New Zealand had always been a country that had helped others less fortunate.

“As a nation our finest hours have been when we have calculated the need rather than the odds. And it was this great sense of purpose in which Dougie Grant epitomises the indomitable Kiwi spirit.”

CPL Grant is survived by his wife Tina, and two children, Jemma, 7, and Jaden, 5

USA: 60th Anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty

Today we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, which still serves as the cornerstone of our relationship and a source of stability in the region.

The Philippines and the United States share a deep and abiding friendship forged in a history of common sacrifice. The many Filipinos who served bravely beside American servicemen and women during World War II and the veterans buried at the Manila American Cemetery bear testament to our shared past.

Our alliance with the Philippines continues to grow in the 21st century as our two countries chart a new vision for our critical partnership, in the defense realm and beyond. Whether we are working together to combat extremism, help victims of natural disasters, or stand up for human rights, the people of our countries share a mutual desire to build a better world for future generations.

India: No Room for Slackness on Coastal Security - Antony to Stakeholders

The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has told all stakeholders of Coastal Security that unless they worked with a unified purpose, there would be no real progress. Chairing a meeting on Coastal Security here last evening, he directed that all the remaining gaps in the Coastal Security Framework be bridged in minimum time possible. He also asked the senior officials to work towards operationalzing Phase-II of Coastal Security.

The meeting was attended among others by the Cabinet Secretary Shri Ajit Seth, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma, Defence Secretary Shri Shashikant Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping Shri K Mohandas, Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests Shri P. Chatterji, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Shri R Gangadharan, Secretary, Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs Shri AE Ahmed, Special Secretary, Ministry of Defence Shri RK Mathur, DG Coast Guard Vice Admiral Anil Chopra and Senior Officers of MoD, Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Expressing concern over certain incidents such as the grounding of MT Pavit, off the Indian Coastline, which showed gaps in the Coastal Security Framework, Shri Antony emphasized that all stakeholders including ministries like Shipping, MHA, P&NG and Agriculture should complete pending tasks expeditiously. He also observed that there was no room for any delay or slackness on matters relating to coastal security and called upon the coastal States to be more proactive. Referring to the recurring oil spills and their impact on environment, Shri Antony called for urgent and immediate action from all concerned ministries and departments.

Presentations were made by the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard on the actions taken till date on Coastal Security and the outstanding areas of concern. The Cabinet Secretary informed about the decisions of the last meeting of the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS). He said he had put timelines on critical issues which he would be reviewing next month.

The progress on registration of fishing vessels was noted to be quite slow in the case of certain coastal States. This was expected to be completed by the end of next month. Shri Antony called upon the States of Maharashtra and Gujarat to expedite the process. The meeting was informed that data collection for ID cards for fishermen would be completed by November this year.

The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas informed that procurement of Immediate Support Vessels (ISV) would commence by November next year. Similarly, the Vessel and Air Traffic Management System (VATMS) is expected to be finalized in about 8 to 10 months. It was also decided to progress the security of Single Point Moorings (SPM) with CISF as the agency for security. The issue of laning of ports was also discussed.

Boats supplied under MHA’s Coastal Security Programme (Phase-I) and their usage was also reviewed. It was noted that there were some gaps in deployment and management of these assets which was discussed in detail to ensure their optimum utilization for enhancing maritime security.

30 August 2011

AUS: Defence capability projects approved

The Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, and Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare today announced that the Government has approved four major Defence capability projects.

The projects are:

  • The acquisition of over 950 new four wheel drive vehicles as well as trailers and associated equipment for training purposes (combined first and second pass approval for the acquisition of Light and Lightweight Tactical Training Vehicles under Land 121 Phase 5A);
  • The upgrade of Navy’s current long range Standard Missile-2 (SM2) air defence missiles for future use by the Air Warfare Destroyers (SEA 4000 Phase 3.2 combined first and second pass approval);
  • Funding for a collaborative international study into the upgrade of the air defence Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile fitted to the ANZAC Class frigates and Air Warfare Destroyers (SEA 1352 Phase 1A combined first and second pass approval); and
  • An Enhanced Military Satellite Capability for the Australian Defence Force (ADF), including transportable land satellite communications terminals and upgrades for satellite communications on Navy platforms (Joint Project 2008 Phase 5B first pass approval).
These approvals are estimated to involve expenditure of around $550 million.  When complete, the projects are estimated to involve a commitment to Australia’s national security of expenditure of around $3 billion. 

New Training Vehicles (Project Land 121 Phase 5A)
The Government has approved the acquisition of over 950 new ‘G-Wagon’ four wheel drive vehicles from Mercedes Benz Australia Pacific Pty Ltd, together with around 200 modules and 830 trailers.  
The modules will be manufactured and integrated onto the vehicles by G. H. Varley Pty Ltd in NSW and the trailers will be sourced from Queensland-based Haulmark Trailers (Australia).
This approval is subject to successful negotiations with the respective companies. 
This project will provide the Australian Army with a fleet of tactical vehicles and an enhanced training capability to prepare for operations in protected vehicles. 
The approved value is around $425 million.  The Australian industry component is worth more than $100 million.

Upgrade of the Standard Missile-2 (SEA 4000 Phase 3.2)
The Australian Defence Force’s inventory of SM2 missiles carried by the Adelaide Class frigates will be both upgraded and converted for use by the Air Warfare Destroyers.
The conversion of the missiles will allow them to be used in the Air Warfare Destroyers and provide an enhanced anti-aircraft and anti-ship missile defence capability.
The SEA 4000 Phase 3.2 project is valued at around $100 million and will be acquired under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) arrangements with the United States.

Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile Upgrade (SEA 1352 Phase 1A)
The Government has given combined first and second pass approval for a contribution to the international risk reduction study for the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM).
The ESSM is currently fitted to the ANZAC Class frigates and will be fitted to the Air Warfare Destroyers.  This project will upgrade the ESSM to ensure these ships can defend against aircraft and anti-ship missile threats. 
This approval involves Australia contributing approximately $20 million to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Sea Sparrow Project Office to conduct the study to develop an upgraded ESSM.
The total cost of Project SEA 1352 Phase 1 is cost capped between $1 billion and $2 billion in the Public Defence Capability Plan.

Enhanced Military Satellite Capability (Joint Project 2008 Phase 5B)
The Government agreed to first pass approval for Joint Project 2008 Phase 5B – Enhanced Military Satellite Capability.   
This project will deliver a comprehensive wideband satellite communications capability for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and will take advantage of Australia’s investment in the US Wideband Global Satellite Communications system.
Phase 5B will include the delivery of transportable land terminals to equip ADF elements, upgrades for the satellite communications fit on Royal Australian Navy platforms and the establishment of a satellite communications network management system. 
Funding of $12 million has been approved for first pass to second pass work.  This work includes project development and risk mitigation studies including in relation to the potential upgrade of the Geraldton ground station and a new ground station facility in Eastern Australia. 
The total cost of Joint Project 2008 Phase 5B is cost capped between $300 million and $500 million in the Public Defence Capability Plan.

India: Mark-II Version of Arjun Tank

From Wiki
Limited technical trials with some major and minor improvements on Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun Mark-I, as part of MBT Arjun Mark-II, have been carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the deserts of Rajasthan.

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared the proposal for placement of indent for 124 Nos. of MBT Arjun Mark-II on Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF), Avadi, Chennai. Placement of indent by the Army on Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is being further processed.

The likely estimated cost of each MBT Arjun Mark-II with ail major/minor improvements will be approximately Rs.37 crore.

The first batch of MBT Arjun Mark-II is likely to be productionised by 2015.

This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Naveen Jindal in Lok Sabha today.

29 August 2011

Publication: China’s J-20 to be effective capability by 2018 - Pentagon

By Greg Waldron

A Pentagon report has highlighted major advances by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), with specific mention of the developmental Chengdu J-20 aircraft.

Washington believes the J-20 could achieve an "effective operational capability" by 2018, and suggests the aircraft's role is as not a fighter, but rather a long-range attack platform. It says engine technology is the main challenge China will face in developing the J-20.

Read the full story at FlightGlobal

AUS: Private Matthew Lambert returns home

© Commonwealth of Australia,
image by Department of Defence
Private Matthew Lambert, who was killed in action while on patrol in Afghanistan on Monday 22 August, was returned home today at a Repatriation Ceremony at RAAF Amberley.

His flag-covered casket was carried off a Royal Australian Air Force C-17 by soldiers from his Townsville unit, The Second Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR), led by a lone piper.

The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison paid his respects as Private Lambert was carried through a 2RAR Honour Guard to his waiting family, including his partner Ellesse, mother Vicki and her partner Gregg, father Chris and his wife Amanda and his sister Jess. 

“As we gather here to mark the return of this fine young Australian soldier, we remember the courage, initiative and mateship that Private Matthew Lambert displayed to all whom he met,” Lieutenant General David Morrison said.

“Private Lambert’s ultimate sacrifice to this country will be felt by his family, friends and his Army family, and we will remember him as a true Australian soldier.”

In a short but immensely moving traditional ceremony, the Chief of Army presented Private Lambert with the Australian Active Service Medal with clasp International Coalition Against Terrorism, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal with clasp International Security Assistance Force Medal and the Infantry Combat Badge.

Private Matthew Lambert will be laid to rest in a private ceremony later in the week.

AUS: Major North-West Tasmanian Defence Exercise Highlights Reserve Capability

The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, announced that a major exercise will be held in the North-West of Tasmania this weekend.

Army Reservists from the 12th/40th Battalion, the Royal Tasmania Regiment, will conduct tasks betweenSomerset, Burnie and Ulverstone under Reserve Response Force (RRF) training.

“This major Reserve exercise clearly demonstrates the level of expertise in Reserve capability inTasmania,” Senator Feeney said.

Local Labor Member Mr Sid Sidebottom said: “Defence has a long history inTasmania. The Gillard Government strongly supports Defence activities inTasmania.  It is great to see this Exercise happening in North-WestTasmania.”

“The Reserve Response Force Exercise will be scenario based and will occur within the context of a fictitious major sporting event in the region.  The Exercise will involve Reservists providing security support to Tasmania Police,” Senator Feeney said.

“Tasks will include searches of key premises, cordon and search operations and conducting vehicle control points,” Senator Feeney said.

“Tasmania Police will also be involved in certain scenarios.  This Exercise will ensure that the Tasmanian Reserves and Police are able to respond quickly to any natural disasters. 

“The role of the RRF is to provide support to local authorities.  This occurred during the recent Queensland floods, Cyclone Yasi and Victorian bushfires,” Senator Feeney said.

“Part of this assessment is working at the platoon level so the weekend will encompass individual and collective training as part of the fictional scenario,” Lieutenant Colonel Colin Riley said.

“A number of soldiers from the Battalion are contracted to the 9 Brigade Reserve Response Force and this weekend provides an opportunity for training and assessment of these members,” Lieutenant Colonel Colin Riley said.

Lieutenant Colonel Colin Riley said the RRF skills have also been utilised at major events such as the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, APEC and World Youth Day 2008.

AUS: Diggerworks — New team established to enhance protection of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan

A specialist team of combat experienced soldiers, scientists and engineers are part of a new team called Diggerworks delivering new equipment to better protect Australian troops.

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare said Diggerworks has been established to respond to the changing needs of soldiers in the field.

Diggerworks comprises Defence agencies responsible for developing combat solider capability and is similar to the United States Marine Corps’ Gruntworks.

It is headed by Colonel Jason Blain who commanded Mentoring Taskforce 1 in Afghanistan in 2010.

The latest example of their work is the acquisition of a new pelvic protection system to soldiers currently operating in Afghanistan.

The system includes a protective under garment to prevent fine dirt and shrapnel particles that result from explosions causing infection in any wounds sustained.

This garment is expected to be provided to Australian troops on patrol in Afghanistan from November this year.

Defence will also trial a soft armour ballistic groin protector worn over the combat uniform designed to provide increased protection against larger shrapnel.

This decision has been made based on the experience of the British Army whose soldiers have suffered an increasing number of pelvic injuries in Afghanistan.

“This system will provide another layer of protection for Australian soldiers against infection and injury in the field,” Mr Clare said.

“The work Diggerworks is doing is very important.

“It’s about soldiers who have been in Afghanistan using their experience to help soldiers in the field.

Diggerworks is also responsible for developing the new lighter combat body armour called TBAS which has just been rolled out to our troops in Afghanistan.

TBAS has been designed based on feedback from our troops in Afghanistan that the existing body armour was too heavy and made it difficult to do their jobs. 

TBAS is lighter, fits better, is more comfortable and makes it easier for soldiers to get into a firing position.

“I was in Afghanistan last month and spoke to our soldiers about their new body armour,” Mr Clare said.

“The feedback I got was extremely positive.

“Soldiers told me it made it easier for them to do their job.”

Diggerworks will also work on a $20 million research project with Defence industry, the Defence Material Technology Centre, the University of Wollongong and RMIT to enhance the protective equipment worn by soldiers to combat a range of existing and evolving threats like Improvised Explosive Devices.

This is in addition to the package of initiatives worth $1.6 billion the Government committed to following the 2009 Force Protection Review.

Measures that have been delivered as part of this package include:
  • Upgrading our Bushmaster vehicles to provide better protection for troops inside;
  • Equipping Bushmasters with heavier calibre weapons;
  • Attaching mine rollers to the front of Bushmasters to roll ahead of the vehicle to take the impact of an IED explosion;
  • Purchasing new handheld mine detectors;
  • Improving counter IED training here in Australia; and
  • T he Counter Rocket Mortar and Artillery early warning system.

USA: Biden - U.S. Presence Vital to Asian Stability, Prosperity

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2011 – The United States has been a major force in promoting stability in the Pacific and remains committed to its role as a Pacific power, Vice President Joe Biden said yesterday as he wrapped up his trip to the region.

“We are a resident Pacific power and we intend to stay that way. We are not going away,” Biden said he told leaders of China, Mongolia and Japan during his visits there.

Speaking to members of the 3rd Marine Regiment at Marine Corps Base Hawaii during his return trip to Washington, Biden said their presence in Hawaii plays a critical role in the United States’ approach to the Asia-Pacific region.

Despite America’s roots as an Atlantic-focused nation, Biden said it has recognized for decades that it is a Pacific nation as well.

“Asia and the United States are not separated by a great ocean, we are bounded by it,” he said, quoting President Barack Obama during his first trip to the region as president.

“And you are the blood and sinew that binds us,” Biden told the Marines and sailors based at Kaneohe Bay.

No country has done more than the United States during the last 60 years to promote regional stability and security, he said.

“You embody that proud tradition and you enable that to continue,” Biden told the service members. “All of you have provided the environment to allow stability and growth and has benefited all of Asia.”

This stability has created the environment that has enabled China and much of the Pacific Basin to grow and prosper, the vice president said.

USA: John C. Stennis CSG Cancels Port Visit to Manila Due to Typhoon Mina

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- High winds and seas led the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (CSG) to cancel a port visit in Manila, Philippines, Aug. 28.

The USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) crew regrets not being able to visit their long-standing partners, families and friends.

"We agreed with the advice from the Filipino Coast Guard that conditions were too dangerous," said John C. Stennis Commanding Officer Capt. Ronald Reis.

Stennis was originally scheduled to arrive in Manila Aug. 27 but had to reschedule to Aug. 28 in hopes that weather would improve. As Typhoon Mina lingered over the Philippines, the visit was officially cancelled.

"We have a long standing alliance with the Philippines, and we looked forward to our visit but safety is always a priority for us," said Commander, John C. Stennis CSG Rear Adm. Craig Faller.

The John C. Stennis CSG is comprised of John C. Stennis, guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) and Destroyer Squadron 21, which includes guided-missile destroyers USS Pinckney (DDG 91); USS Kidd (DDG 100); USS Dewey (DDG 105); and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108).

The embarked Carrier Air Wing 9 on board John C. Stennis includes Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 14, VFA 41, VFA 97, VFA 192; Airborne Early Warning Squadron 112; Electronic Attack Squadron 133; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8; Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 71; and Carrier Logistics Support Squadron 30.

John C. Stennis CSG will continue on its scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility, which includes the western Pacific Ocean and Arabian Gulf. John C. Stennis last deployment to U.S. 7th Fleet was in 2009.


RoK: Navy to operate Mistral missiles for first time

South Korean Navy is planning to load man-portable Surface to Air Missiles (SAM), so-called Mistral, to all patrol boats in operation in due order to use them in antiaircraft and antiship defense purpose.

“The Navy will load Mistrals onto patrol boats that are deployed in the Yellow Sea [near the Northern Limit Line] starting the end of this month,” said an official under the Naval Operations Command. “Eventually, all patrol boats will be equipped with such weapon and we expect strong defense capabilities in the waters [near the inter-Korean maritime border] and firepower of warships.”

The official also said that it is the first time for South Korean Navy to install portable SAMs. The Navy and the state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) jointly conducted performance test and evaluation on the Mistrals for six months since January this year. At the end, the mistrals received “suitability” judgment in the assessment.

The Naval Operations Command came up with an idea of loading Mistrals on patrol boats while seeking for ways to reinforce firepower of patrol boats.

In regards to performance of Mistrals, ADD confirmed that such missiles show outstanding performance during a live-fire drill last month in dealing with not only aircraft but also short-distance floating objects or warships. 

Developed by France-based company MATRA, Mistral is a man-portable Surface to Air Missile - guided with a hand-operated infrared rays tracing method - has an effective range of 5.3 kilometers (3.2 miles) and can fly at a maximum speed of Mach 2.4.

RoK: ‘Act first, report later’policy reaffirmed

South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) reaffirmed on Aug. 21 a policy of ‘Act first, report later’ which the Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin called for while visiting a front-line military unit in March this year in light of the heightened inter-Korean tension followed by the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island by North Korea last year.

“Based on ‘Active Deterrence Strategy’ concept that was created after the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, South Korean military is deterring the North’s further provocations by maintaining strong readiness,” said an official at JCS.

According to the official, the ‘Active Deterrence Strategy’ concept is aimed at annihilate enemy’s will of further provocations by strongly retaliate source of attacks and supporting groups under the right of self-defense. In other words, it is a basic principle that highlights ‘Act first, report later’ policy in order to counter enemy’s attack immediately and guarantees field commanders’ usage of the right of self-defense if enemy attacks.

“Currently, JCS is reflecting the new concept to operational plans so that field commanders can wield the right of self-defense with right determinations,” the official said. “Timely military action is an essential requirement to seize the initiative on battlefields and end conflicts with victory.”

News Story: Forgive and forget as Dili signs Jakarta defence pact

Mark Dodd

EAST Timor's small army will be supplied with Indonesian weapons after the signing of a ground-breaking agreement between the two countries that were once deadly enemies.


On a recent visit to Dili, Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro and East Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, who also serves as Defence Minister, signed a memorandum of understanding covering security co-operation, including training and military logistical support.

Read the full story at The Australian

28 August 2011

Publication: North Korea Gets Military Trucks

By Jason Miks

North Korea purchased thousands of military vehicles from China that have been transported into the country over the course of the past month, according to the Chosun Ilbo.

The South Korean paper says that between 3,000 and 4,000 Chinese-made military trucks and jeeps entered North Korea last month, at a rate of about 100 a day, according to video clips obtained by the paper.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Publication: India’s New Strike Corps

By Trefor Moss

The news that the Indian Army is preparing to set up a new strike corps tasked with attacking targets in China in the event of a war between the two neighbours marks a bold escalation in India’s attempts to balance against China militarily and to assert control over its Himalayan possessions.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Publication: Will China Be Rome or Greece?

The Pentagon’s new report on China’s military underscores the rapid progress it is making. But what exactly is this build-up for?

On Wednesday afternoon, in post-earthquake Washington, the US Defence Department released the latest edition of its annual report to the US Congress on China’s military power. Since the Chinese military remains opaque about its defence plans and programmes, many international security experts rely heavily on the report’s judgments, notwithstanding its frequent caveats about their limited information concerning these issues – or the objections of Chinese officials that the reporting is misleading.

The latest report offers the balanced assessment that China will need several decades to develop the capacity to project and sustain large high-intensity military operations far from Chinese territory, but it still expects the Chinese armed forces to acquire considerable regionally focused capabilities by 2020. It also estimates that China spent more than $160 billion for its military in 2010, well above China’s official figure, which sounds about right since the Chinese government excludes several categories from the official defence budget.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

News Story: China slams Pentagon report on its military modernisation

BEIJING (PTI): China Friday dismissed as "completely groundless" a Pentagon report which said Beijing's massive military modernisation drive could destabilise the Asia-Pacific region.

The Pentagon's annual assessment of Chinese military capabilities and doctrine "seriously twists the facts and doesn't have a leg to stand on," Chinese Defence Ministry said in a statement.

"China has lodged solemn representations with the US side," Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said.

Read the full story at Brahmand

News Story: (Indonesia) Turkey, Germany seek submarine sale of $1 bln

A joint group of Turkish and German companies are competing with a South Korean attempt to sell two HDW-class 209-type diesel submarines to Indonesia
A team of Turkish and German companies, as well as Turkey’s procurement office, are jointly looking to sell two HDW-class 209-type diesel submarines to Indonesia in a $1 billion deal, a senior Turkish procurement official said Friday.

“Our package is excellent. We are hopeful and waiting for Indonesia’s decision,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Read the full story at Hurriyet Daily News

26 August 2011

AUS: Criticisms of MU90 Torpedo Project & AUS DoD Response

Navy at sea over French manual


Australia's defence procurement agency has tendered for someone to translate the highly classified instructions for a new torpedo, revealing that the technical documents that come with the weapon are written in Italian and French.


Read the full story at The Age


Damn the torpedoes: Defence's $600m blunder

The Defence Force's long-delayed $600 million purchase of anti-submarine torpedoes has suffered another humiliating setback

The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) is now tendering for translators at a reported cost of around $110,000 after it was discovered the technical documentation for the European-designed weapons are written only in Italian and French

Read the full story at ABC


Response to Criticisms of MU90 Torpedo Project

An article in some Fairfax media papers today (Lost for words, a Navy all at sea, 26 August 2011) and more widely reported in the electronic media contains information that is wrong in fact and misleading.

The article refers to the need to translate technical documents and instructions for the MU90 Light Weight Torpedo into English.

This is not correct.

As a condition of contract all key project documentation including technical instructions from the supplier has been delivered in English.

The MU90 torpedo is a complex anti-submarine warfare weapon and is a joint French and Italian development.

Defence is taking advantage of additional test data from these countries as a way to reduce costs and minimise the number of formal ship trials for the Australian MU90 program to finalise the acceptance into ADF service process.

Torpedo trials are very expensive and each test firing is a significant exercise in its own right. Being able to examine and use the results of other countries’ trials saves the Australian taxpayer a lot of money.

To date the French and Italian Navy testing programs have involved the firing of over 200 MU90 torpedoes.  It is the reports and data from these tests - conducted by the French and Italian Navy for their own purposes and provided to Australia - that is in French and Italian and needs to be translated into English.

As a Project of Concern the MU90 Light Weight Torpedo replacement project receives Government, Defence and equipment supplier oversight. 

News Story: China's military buildup potentially destabilising to region

WASHINGTON (PTI): China, buoyed by breakthroughs in development of stealth fighter, aircraft carrier and space and cruise missiles has stepped up the pace and scope of its military modernisation and this build-up is "potentially destabilising" for its neighbours, the Pentagon has warned.

The military advances portend that China will close the technological gap with the major world powers by 2020 and would be able to flex its muscle in the Pacific and beyond.

Read the full story at Brahmand

AUS: Private Matthew Lambert returns to Queensland

© Commonwealth of Australia,
image by Department of Defence
The soldiers of Mentoring Task Force – Three have quietly farewelled their mate, Private Matthew Lambert, from Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan after he was killed in an explosion on Monday morning 22 August 2011.

In a simple ceremony at Multi-National Base Tarin Kot, his mates gave their fallen colleague a fitting farewell.

The Commanding Officer of MTF-3, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Smith said Private Lambert was a highly professional and disciplined soldier.

“As his Commanding Officer, Private Matthew Lambert never failed to impress me with his drive, personal philosophy and professionalism. The words which best describe Private Lambert are courageous, fit, strong, and disciplined.

“To all of us who shared this mission with him, his death was sudden and unexpected, but sadly that is the nature of war.

“As we farewell Matthew, our thoughts are with his family and his partner at this time,” Lieutenant Colonel Smith said.

© Commonwealth of Australia,
image by Department of Defence

The Commander of Australian Defence Force personnel deployed to the Middle East, Major General Angus Campbell said Private Lambert was known as a physically and mentally tough soldier.

“Private Lambert had forged an impressive reputation as decisive, dependable, focused on the mission, and ever protective of his mates. He was known for his even temperament and as a quiet performer but whose efforts did not go unnoticed.

“He was the quintessential soldier, a highly trained specialist who was admired and respected.

“His loss will not be deeply felt just because of what he did – but because of who he was. Private Lambert represents the best aspects of the Australian Army and our Defence Force,” Major General Campbell said.

Private Lambert will be repatriated through RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland and a private funeral service will be conducted in the greater Brisbane area.

USA: Germantown Returns to Sasebo Following Talisman Sabre

USS Germantown (LSD-42)
Wiki Info
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Johnie Hickmon

SASEBO, Japan - The forward-deployed amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) returned to Sasebo after completing Summer Patrol Aug. 25.

Germantown departed Sasebo June 23 to participate in Talisman Sabre 2011 (TS11), a bilateral command post and field training exercise designed to maintain a high level of interoperability between U.S. and Australian forces. The exercise consisted of approximately 14,000 U.S. and 9,000 Australian personnel. After on loading Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in White Beach, Okinawa, the ship headed south towards Australia.

Before the start of the exercise, the ship made a port visit to Townsville, Australia, where the crew had the opportunity to shop and participate in several morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) activities.

The ship’s first class association sponsored a community relations project at the Cancer Institute and Endeavor, where Sailors and Marines did yard maintenance and interacted with mentally challenged individuals.

A welcome to Townsville ceremony was held for Sailors and Marines, where they had the opportunity to witness a dance by indigenous Australians and tour a museum.

Yeoman 1st Class(SW) Sheena Hunt said she enjoyed the event and found the host to be extremely friendly. “I enjoyed the visit,” she said. “It allowed us to interact with the Australians and learn more about their culture.”

During TS11, Marines conducted an amphibious assault with amphibious assault vehicles and landing craft air cushions storming the beach with their Australian counterparts. Members of Beachmaster Unit 1 and Assault Craft Unit 5 conducted training with beachmasters of the 35th Water Transport Squadron (WTS) of the Australian Defence Force at Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Sabina Point, Australia. Both units trained the 35th WTS on conducting beach surveys, proper operating procedures for landing craft air cushions, signaling and the duties and responsibilities of being a beachmaster.

“Being a part of Talisman Sabre, we get this opportunity to work with our sister nations, share our ideas, introduce different types of equipment and understand how each unit operates,” said CWO4 Dandon Fonner, BMU 1 Det. WESTPAC officer-in-charge. “The Australians have been 100 percent supportive and have assisted with a lot of the coordination of the exercise.”

After the completion of the three week exercise, the ship headed down to Brisbane, Australia, where several high level events took place. A big top ceremony was held on the flight deck that was attended by Commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet Rear Adm. J. S. Jones and other Australian dignitaries. A change of command ceremony was also held as Cmdr. Carol McKenzie relieved Cmdr. A. D. Hull as Germantown’s commanding officer.

A community relations project, sponsored by the ship’s religious ministries department, was held at Mater Children’s Hospital, where volunteers interacted with the children. A softball game between Germantown Sailors and Marines and members of the Australian military also took place, as well as several tours sponsored by the ship’s MWR department.

“I had the chance to visit the Koala Sanctuary and hold a koala,” said Gunners Mate 3rd Class Linnell Bajao. “That was one of the main things I wanted to do while in Brisbane.”

After leaving Brisbane and heading back to Okinawa, a crossing the line ceremony was held once the ship approached the equator to cleanse the sliminess off all the pollywogs and turn them into trusty shellbacks.

Prior to arriving in Sasebo, the ship made another stop in Okinawa, where the 31st MEU offloaded more than 450 Marines, their vehicles and equipment. Germantown Executive Officer Cmdr. Jason Leach said the summer patrol and TS11 was a success.

“TS11 was an excellent opportunity to train with both the Marines and our close ally Australia,” he said. “This opportunity broadened each services expertise and understanding of the importance of interoperability. As always, the Germantown crew performed incredibly with the highest degree of professionalism and expertise.”

With TS11 now complete, the ship is making preparations to depart for fall patrol. Leach said the ensuring the crew and ship are prepared is the number one goal.

“We will focus on repairing key equipment to ensure continued success, attending required schools to ensure our Sailors are properly trained and outfitting the ship to ensure we are ready to answer all missions,” he said.

Germantown, commanded by Cmdr. Carol McKenzie, is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group which reports to Commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, Rear Adm. Scott Jones, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.

Philippines: BRB Gregorio del Pilar - Old but excellently capable

by Precie Catherine C. Cuarto

QUEZON CITY, August 25 (PIA) -- “Age is not a factor. It is actually the skill and the capability of the ship, and we are very proud that we have BRB Gregorio del Pilar,” Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Commodore Miguel Rodriguez said in today’s Talking Points radio program aired over DZRB Radyo ng Bayan.
According to Rodriguez, the recently acquired US Hamilton class cutter, now turned over to the Philippine Navy and named BRB Gregorio del Pilar, was made in 1975. In 1989, all Hamilton Class vessels of the US underwent a modernization program.
“This means, everything inside the ship such as sensors, gun control system, everything were changed. We can say that this vessel was reborn,” said Rodriguez.
“This is the best example of what Admiral Pama (Alexander) calls an icon of the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he added.
Also, Rodriguez said the U.S. Navy was impressed with the skills of the 95 Filipino sailors sent to U.S. for training. They are led by Philippine Navy commanding officer Capt. Alberto Cruz in the three-month training which started last February.
Rodriguez said BRB Gregorio del Pilar arrived at Pier 13, South Harbor, Manila, last Tuesday, August 23 and will soon be commissioned and “Filipinized.”
“The white ship will be added with Philippine colors and armaments suitable for the Philippine Navy. After further training for the sailors, a commissioning ceremony for the vessel will be held. After the commissioning ceremonies, the intent is to designate it to our exclusive economic zones, particularly the Malampaya, Palawan,” said Rodriguez.(MYQ/PCCC-PIA GHQ)