31 October 2011

News Story: India eyes 'flawless' Typhoon for 7 bln pounds - report

LONDON (PTI): The 'flawless' performance of the Eurofighter Typhoon in the Libyan war has made the aircraft the leading contender to win a multi-billion pound deal to supply the Indian Air Force, a media report claimed.

According to The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, the Indian government has shortlisted the Dassault Rafale and the Typhoon, both veterans of the Libyan campaign, for a planned 7 billion pounds order of 126 jets for its air force.

Read the full story at Brahmand

AUS: Labor Delivers $18.7 million for Tasmanian Defence facilities

Labor delivers $18.7 million for Tasmanian Defence facilities The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon and the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, today welcomed Parliament’s approval of the $18.7 million upgrade to the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) facilities at Scottsdale, Tasmania.

Mr Snowdon said Scottsdale is one of Australia’s most important Defence facilities.

“The research and development in nutrition and rationing that occur at Scottsdale are key to the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) current and future capability,” Minister Snowdon said.

“The project will deliver modern, functional food science research facilities for DSTO personnel, it will also include a new cell culture laboratory.

“This will enable Defence staff to provide nutritional outcomes that directly support the health and performance of Australia’s servicemen and women,” Minister Snowdon said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney said the $18.7 million funding commitment is further evidence that the Gillard Labor Government is supporting Defence in Tasmania and investing in local jobs.

“The good work done in food research at the Scottsdale DSTO facility is evidenced thousands of times every day when our men and women in uniform are provided with meals specifically formulated for their health and wellbeing,” Senator Feeney said.

Federal Member for Bass, Geoff Lyons said construction of the facility is planned to occur early next year, delivering a significant amount of work for local tradespeople.

“This $18.7 million project just shows Defence’s commitment to remain in our local community, delivering jobs and providing a valuable boost to the economy,” Mr Lyons said.

DSTO Scottsdale focuses on research and development in nutrition for performance enhancement, specifically, it works to improve rations and rationing for the Australian Defence Force.

The multi-million dollar investment will:

• construct a new, single storey, food technology building;
• re-develop the chemistry and nutrition laboratories;
• provide a new electrical reticulation system, heating/cooling and ventilation and new water mains;
• construct a ‘clean room’ facility;
• upgrade the accommodation, car park and landscaping; and
• build a new cell culture laboratory.

The cell culture laboratory will enable DSTO to use 21st century techniques to investigate the impact of nutrition on health and performance outcomes.

The new laboratory building will provide a pilot scale food processing plant, test kitchen and sensory evaluation, meeting room, constant temperature and humidity store rooms and laboratory spaces.

It will open up opportunities for Defence in the field of nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is the study of how different foods can interact with specific genes to increase the risk of common chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

The DSTO Scottsdale site will remain operational during the construction works.

Construction is planned to be completed in 2014.

AUS: Minister for Defence – Minister Smith to visit Singapore and Malaysia

I leave Australia today to visit Singapore and Malaysia.
In Singapore, I will attend the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FDPA) Defence Ministers Meeting. 

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the FPDA.

The FPDA is a unique Defence arrangement involving Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom. 

The FPDA was established in 1971 to deal with the conventional security threats of the time.

It is a vehicle for practical cooperation and stability in South East Asia in which co-operation of the five member nations is based on consensus, equality, trust, openness, mutual benefit and respect.  

Australia’s membership of the FPDA supports Australian interests in the security of South East Asia and complements bilateral relationships in the region.

Today, the FPDA retains conventional capabilities while also adapting to deal with modern non-convention challenges, such as counter-terrorism, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

In addition to attending this important milestone meeting, I will hold bilateral discussions with my FPDA counterparts from Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom and join them in a call on Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 

While in Malaysia, I will visit ADF personnel participating in Exercise BERSAMA LIMA and attached to the Headquarters Integrated Area Defence System at Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth.  I will also travel to Kuala Lumpur to attend a joint call on my FPDA Ministerial counterparts with Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Yang Amat Berhormat Tan Sri Dato Hj Muhyiddin Yassin.

I will also meet for the first time newly appointed UK Secretary for Defence Phillip Hammond, and hold separate bilateral meetings with each of the FPDA Defence Ministers.

News Story: Arrival of China in Arctic puts Canada on alert

By Robert Sibley

OTTAWA — A new Great Game is making a quiet appearance in Canada’s Arctic.

In a speech Friday in Beijing, the Danish ambassador to China, Friis Arne Peterson, said the communist country has “natural and legitimate economic and scientific interests in the Arctic,” even though it lacks a coastline in the rapidly thawing polar region. He went on to say that his government would like to see China given permanent observer status in the eight-member Arctic Council, which includes Canada, Russia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and the United States. China has applied to become a permanent observer in the forum.

“The Danish government would like to see China as a permanent observer, and I think that others (in the Arctic Council) are likewise willing to do that,” the ambassador told a group of journalists.

Read the full story at The Ottawa Citizen

USA: USN, JMSDF Collaborate on Anti-Submarine Warfare Training

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Juan Pinalez

PACIFIC OCEAN - Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) personnel assigned to Escort Flotilla Three and U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to Task Force 70 and the George Washington Strike Group collaborated on anti-submarine warfare techniques during Annual Exercise (AE) 2011, Oct. 28.

AE11 is a weeklong bi-lateral naval exercise conducted in the waters off the coast of Okinawa, Japan and allows the United States and Japan to practice and evaluate the coordination procedures and interoperability elements required to effectively and mutually respond to the defense of Japan, to a regional crisis or contingency situation in the Asia-Pacific region.

“I’m very happy to be aboard George Washington and to participate in this year’s annual exercise,” said Capt. Fumihiko Tsukada, Commander, Escort Flotilla Three (CCF3) Chief of Staff. “We are currently learning how to protect our high value targets against enemy submarines and are also increasing the interoperability between the U.S. Navy and the JMSDF.”

Tsukada’s role aboard George Washington is to coordinate between the JMSDF and the U.S. Navy in support of the large and complex exercise that involves maritime training in all three of the air, surface and subsurface battle spaces in support of the defense of Japan.

For the JMSDF, the real asset gained is the experience they get from Destroyer Squadron 15 and the ability to share vital information openly between sea partners said Tsukada.

“We are now able to do some really neat things with coordination between surface and sub-surface ships that weren’t possible when I first began my career,” said Senior Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Jason Madott, AE11’s assistant joint-interface control officer aboard George Washington. “We have advanced systems that allow us to share radar information with each other to paint a very detailed and shared picture to fight a war if needed.”

“We can pick up with our equipment submarines, aircraft or surface ships and put that data on a common operating picture so our commanders can work together to make the proper decisions to maintain sea superiority,” said Madott.

Tsukada participated in Keen Sword in 2010 and had the opportunity to see the display of sea power projection from one of the JMSDF ships.

“This year I am looking forward to seeing the view from George Washington’s Signal Bridge; I’ll see an impressive view of all the ships,” said Tsukada.

In addition to George Washington, other U.S. ships participating include the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) and the guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Dewey (DDG 98), USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Stethem (DDG 63) and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108); the amphibious ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46); mine countermeasure ships USS Guardian (MCM 5) and USS Patriot (MCM 7); and maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and U.S. submarines.

India: (US) Possible Foreign Military Sale of C-130J Aircraft

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2011 – The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress Oct. 26 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of India for six Lockheed Martin C-130Js and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.

The Government of India has requested a possible sale of 6 Lockheed Martin C-130J United States Air Force (USAF) baseline aircraft including: USAF baseline equipment, 6 Rolls Royce AE 2100D3 spare engines, 8 AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems (two of them spares), 8 AN/ALR-56M Advanced Radar Warning Receivers (two of them spares), 8 AN/ALE-47 Counter-Measures Dispensing Systems (two of them spares), 8 AAQ-22 Star SAFIRE III Special Operations Suites (two of them spares), 8 ARC-210 Radios (Non-COMSEC), and 3200 Flare Cartridges. Also included are spare and repair parts, configuration updates, communications security equipment and radios, integration studies, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, technical services, personnel training and training equipment, foreign liaison office support, Field Service Representatives’ services, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support.

The estimated cost is $1.2 billion.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of an important partner and to strengthen the U.S.-India strategic relationship.

The proposed sale will provide the Indian Government with a credible special operations airlift capability that will help deter aggression in the region and provide enhanced humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Marietta, Georgia, and Rolls-Royce Corporation in Indianapolis, Indiana. Offset agreements associated with this proposed sale are expected, but at this time the specific offset agreements are undetermined and will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractors.

Implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of ten U.S. Government and contractor representatives in India for a period of up to three years.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

USA: 16 Coalition Personnel Killed in Afghanistan Attacks

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2011 – A car bomb smashed into an International Security Assistance Force convoy in Kabul today killing 13 coalition personnel, NATO officials said.

 Five of the dead are service members, and eight are ISAF civilian employees. The attack injured several Afghans and coalition personnel as well as innocent Afghan civilian.

News reports out of Kabul say the Taliban took credit for the car bomb attack, and reports indicate the car ran into what is popularly called a Rhino -- essentially an armored bus.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was informed of the convoy attack soon after it happened. “His heart goes out to those who were killed and wounded, and to their families,” said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little. “Continuing our aggressive pursuit of the enemy will honor their sacrifice, and he is determined that the United States – working closely with our Afghan and NATO partners – will do precisely that.”

A second attack in southern Afghanistan took the lives of three more coalition personnel and wounded others when a man wearing an Afghan National Army uniform shot the soldiers.

ISAF Commander U.S. Marine Gen. John R. Allen condemned today’s terrorist attacks.

“I am both saddened and outraged by the attacks that took place today against coalition forces and the people of Afghanistan,” Allen said in a written release. “The enemies of peace are not martyrs, but murderers. To hide the fact that they are losing territory, support and the will to fight, our common enemy continues to employ suicide attackers to kill innocent Afghan fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, as well as the coalition forces who have volunteered to protect them.”

Allen also mentioned a suicide attack launched by a young girl who walked into a building housing the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s internal intelligence service, in the eastern province of Kunar. The girl killed herself and wounded several NDS personnel.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured in today’s attacks,” Allen said. “Their sacrifices will be honored and the enemy will be held to account.”

Editorial: China’s Misunderstood Spies

By Peter Mattis

This month, Moscow publicly announced its federal security service had detained a Chinese spy, Tong Shengyong, who the Russians say they caught attempting to purchase documentation for the S-300 surface-to-air missile. The case has puzzled observers, because Beijing had already purchased the S-300 system several years ago, and started fielding its own knock-off.

Speculation has abounded over why the Chinese intelligence services would waste their time stealing details of a system they already possessed. The mechanics of Tong’s case are less important, however, than what it says about Chinese intelligence services and their operations – or at least foreign perceptions of that threat.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

News Story: Pakistan tests nuke-capable Hatf-7 cruise missile

Babur also designated Hatf VII
Wiki Info

ISLAMABAD (PTI): Pakistan Friday tested nuclear- capable Hatf-7 cruise missile having a range of 700 km that can hit targets in India, saying the launch was aimed at consolidating the country's strategic deterrence capability and strengthening national security.

The test of the "multi-tube indigenously developed" missile, which has stealth capabilities, was successful, the military said in a statement.

Read the full story at Brahmand

News Story: Tata wins Indian Army bid for Electronic Warfare project

NEW DELHI (PTI): Tata Power SED - a private sector defence company, has emerged as the lowest bidder in an Indian Army tender to develop two Integrated Electronic Warfare (IEW) systems for being deployed in the mountainous terrain of the country.

Tata Power, which had given its proposal in partnership with a foreign firm, pipped global players such as Elta from Israel to emerge as the lowest bidder, Defence Ministry sources told PTI here.

Read the full story at Brahmand

30 October 2011

AUS: Three Australian soldiers killed, seven wounded in Forward Operating Base shooting incident

The Australian Defence Force is mourning the loss of three soldiers who were killed in action when a member of the Afghan National Army (ANA) opened fire with an automatic weapon at Forward Operating Base in southern Afghanistan yesterday afternoon (Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time).

Seven Australian soldiers were also wounded in the attack.

The incident occurred during a weekly parade held by the 6th Kandak of the Afghan National Army’s 4th Brigade and their Australian mentors.

Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley said both the killed and wounded soldiers’ next of kin have been notified.

“It is difficult to find words that adequately reflect the profound sense of sorrow and loss,” he said.

“On behalf of the entire Defence community, I extend our deepest sympathies to the three soldiers’ families, friends and comrades.”

Initial reporting indicated a member of the 6th Kandak turned his weapon on the Australians shortly after the conclusion of the parade.

“At this time the motive for the shooting is unknown but I can confirm Australian troops, including some of those who were wounded, engaged the gunman who was subsequently shot and killed,” General Hurley said.

One Afghan interpreter was also killed. Two other Afghan interpreters and an ANA soldier were wounded.

The wounded were treated by Australian personnel at the scene before being evacuated by helicopter to nearby ISAF medical centres for emergency treatment.

As of this morning one Australian soldier is being treated for life-threatening wounds, four are being treated for serious wounds and another two are being treated for minor wounds.

It is likely that the most seriously wounded Australian personnel will be moved to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany in the coming days for further treatment.

Combined Australian and Afghan investigations into the shooting incident are now underway and the Commanding Officer of Mentoring Task Force -3, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Smith, and the Commander of the 4th Brigade, 205 (Hero) Corps of the Afghan National Army, Brigadier General Mohammed Zafar Khan, have moved to the scene.

“Brigadier General Mohammed Zafar Khan ordered the disarming of all 6th Kandak personnel and confined all members to their barracks and enhanced security measures have also been implemented at the base,” General Hurley said.

“I also want to assure you that we are taking the necessary steps to protect our Australian personnel on the ground in Afghanistan but it is critical that we show restraint and reserve our judgments until an investigation is complete.

“Our troops in Afghanistan are in shock and they are in pain, but they are tough and resilient Australian soldiers and I know they will find the strength and determination to continue their mission and honour their mates.”

Defence will provided updates on this incident as they come to hand.

32 Australian soldiers have been killed during operations in Afghanistan.

209 Australian Defence Force members have been wounded during operations in Afghanistan.

44 Australian Defence Force members have been wounded in Afghanistan during 2011.

AUS: Submarine Gas Leak on Multi National Exercise

The Royal Australian Navy submarine HMAS Farncomb is returning to Singapore after partial failure of its cooling system during the Five Power Defence Agreement (FPDA) Exercise Bersama Lima 2011 (BL11).

The submarine crew followed standard emergency operating procedures to clear the refrigerant gas, Freon which had leaked as a result of the failure. No one was injured.

Farncomb will undertake repairs in Singapore over the coming days.

BL11 involves a total of 18 warships, one submarine and 65 military aircraft, as well as various support elements.

BL11 is being conducted by the FPDA member countries in various locations on the Malaysian Peninsula and in the South China Sea from 17 October to 4 November 2011.

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of a successful FPDA illustrating the long-term commitment of the founding members to Defence cooperation and regional stability.

28 October 2011

News Story: Australia Launches F-35 Review


FORT WORTH, Texas -Australian government officials have begun auditing the F-35 program because of concerns that the first tranche of aircraft would not be delivered on schedule, Lockheed Martin officials confirmed.

The review, rare in Australian defense programs, could lead officials to defer the planned order for the first aircraft.

Read the full story at Defense News

News Story: Taiwan Urges Better South China Sea Defense

TAIPEI - Taiwan's security chief called Oct. 26 for improved defenses of a group of islands in the South China Sea, reacting to reports that rival claimants to the disputed waters are building up arms.

"The Spratly Islands are our territory ... We should upgrade our defense capabilities and replace some aging equipment," Tsai De-sheng, head of the national security bureau, said in parliament.

Read the full story at Defense News

News Story: 2013 delivery planned for first Australian Romeos

The first two of 24 Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin MH-60R naval helicopters being acquired for the Royal Australian Navy under Air 9000 Phase 8 could be delivered as early as December 2013, according to Lockheed Martin.

Under Air 9000 Phase 8 the RAN requires delivery of its first MH-60R ‘Romeos’ from mid 2014, but Australia has requested early delivery of some of the aircraft. Consequently, under current planning the first two MH-60Rs will be delivered in December 2013, followed by seven in 2014, seven in 2015, and the last eight in 2016, according to George Barton, director of naval helicopter programs at Lockheed Martin’s MS2 business

Read the full story at Australian Aviation

News Story: India Launches 2nd Home-built P28 Anti-Submarine Corvette

The Indian Navy's modernization quest under Project-28, to stealthily hunt and destroy lurking enemy submarines, was further bolstered today with the launch of the second indigenous anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvette Kadmatt - named after an island in the Lakshwadeep archipelago of India -- built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), at Kolkata.

Conforming to the centuries-old maritime tradition of ship launches by a lady, Mamatha M, launched Kadmatt from the GRSE main yard in the presence of her husband, Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju, Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition (CWP&A) of the Indian Navy Vice Admiral N.N. Kumar and GRSE Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Rear Admiral K.C. Sekhar.
Read the full story at Navy Recognition

Editorial: India, Japan to Inch Closer

By Rajeev Sharma

Japan-India bilateral relations are set for a serious upgrade in the coming days, with two important back-to-back visits from the Indian side setting the stage for more intense engagement between the two Asian powers.

First, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna begins his official three-day trip to Tokyo on October 28. Krishna will hold wide-ranging talks with his Japanese counterpart, Koichiro Gemba, and will also call on Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. The high point of the visit will be the 5th annual Japan-India Strategic Dialogue, which will be co-chaired by the two Foreign Ministers and will provide an opportunity for them to review all aspects of their bilateral partnership.

Read the full storyt at The Diplomat

News Story: China accuses Japan of increasing surveillance

BEIJING (PTI): Accusing Japan of increasing surveillance of China's land and naval forces, Chinese Defence Ministry asked Tokyo to stop scrambling fighters to intercept Chinese jets as it resulted in air and maritime safety problems and severely disturbed war games.

Number of Japanese jets approaching Chinese coastal waters from January to September increased 44 percent compared with the same period last year, Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told the media here.

Read the full story at Brahmand

27 October 2011

News Story: Russia loses $600 mln Indian attack helicopter tender

RIA NovostiMi-28N Night HunterRussia loses $600 mln Indian attack helicopter tender
15:20 25/10/2011 Russian Mi-28N Night Hunter has lost a tender on the delivery of 22 attack helicopters to the Indian military in strong competition with the American AH-64D Apache, an Indian Defense Ministry source said on Tuesday.>>

News Story: Russia Assists Vietnam In Molniya Missile Boats Construction

Vympel shipyard renders assistance to Vietnam in batch production of Project 12418 Molniya missile boats under Russian license.

The shipyard produces and sends to Vietnam component parts for first six Molniya-class missile boats in accordance with schedule, said the yard's deputy director general Dmitry Polyakov at 15th international exhibition Interpolitekh-2011. Vietnamese shipbuilders have already started production of Molniya boats; the process is held under technical supervision of designing organization (Almaz Design Bureau, St. Petersburg) and manufacturer (JSC Vympel Shipbuilding Plant, Rybinsk).

Read the full story at RusNavy

News Story: Turkey denies losing deal for Indonesian Navy submarines

Type 209
Turkish procurement officials have denied a South Korean claim that the Korean Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine has defeated a joint bid by Germany and Turkey to sell submarines to the Indonesian Navy.

‘’We are constantly in touch with Indonesian authorities. Together with Germany, we will soon submit an offer outlining our final offer with very favorable conditions. Indonesia is waiting for that,’’ a procurement official told the Hürriyet Daily News recently on condition of anonymity.

Read the full story at Hürriyet Daily News

Editorial: West Papuans Cry For Help

By William Lloyd George

Despite facing a well-armed Indonesian Army, many West Papuans are determined to fight for a greater say in their future. William Lloyd George travels to the jungles of West Papua to meet the rebels.

Last week, thousands of natives gathered in West Papua to attend a congress to mark 50 years since Papuan people declared their independence. It was meant to be a peaceful meeting, but on the last day, to the surprise of the security forces waiting outside, several Papuan leaders read out a declaration calling for the independence of West Papua from Indonesia, raised their forbidden national flag, and installed a symbolic government.

Half way into the declaration the police stormed the congress in attempt to break up the meeting. The unarmed attendees fought back. While the number killed in the clash is yet to be confirmed, it is reported to be at least half a dozen. Dead bodies have been found scattered around the island. Some behind the police barracks, others in ditches. Hundreds were injured, and some are still missing.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Why November Matters for Obama

By Ernest Z. Bower

The poisonous atmosphere in Washington will put pressure on Barack Obama to cut short his Asia trip. He should ignore it.

US President Barack Obama and his national security and economic teams have done a good job in the past several months focusing on US interests in the Asia-Pacific region, and taking the case for engagement in this dynamic region to Americans. Investing political capital by explaining that promoting US interests in Asia is fundamentally linked to economic recovery and that maintaining peace and stability in the 21st century lays the foundation for policy development and commitment of resources.

Despite this outstanding effort, getting November right is essential for the United States and Obama in order to harvest the good work and intentions of his team. It will be a real test.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

AUS: Probable WWII submarine wreck found in PNG

© Commonwealth of Australia,
image by Department of Defence
The Royal Australian Navy is investigating an uncharted wreck, believed to be a submarine, which was found during the conduct of Operation RENDER SAFE 2011 off Rabaul in Papua New Guinea, on 26 October 2011.

The wreck was discovered in a joint activity by the New Zealand Navy survey ship HMNZS Resolution and the Australian Minehunter HMAS Gascoyne.

The wreck is located in Simpson Harbour, which was an area known for submarine operations during World War II.

As with any wreck discoveries, immediate identification is not possible and work will continue over the coming days to identify both the type and the nationality of the vessel.

© Commonwealth of Australia,
image by Department of Defence
Once further details are ascertained, the relevant country authorities will be advised.

Authorities from the USA, Japan, PNG and New Zealand have been informed of the discovery

Operation RENDER SAFE is the Australian Defence Force (ADF) contribution to enduring explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) support to the nations of the south-west Pacific, being conducted over the period 18 October to 4 November.

News Story: Manila, Hanoi forge cooperation on South China Sea

Reporting By Manny Mogato
Editing by Rosemarie Francisco

The Philippines and Vietnam on Wednesday signed agreements to expand non-military cooperation of their maritime forces in the South China Sea, avoiding formal military pacts on the disputed waters that could provoke protests from China.

The two governments also discussed their desire to push for a multilateral and rules-based approach in resolving disputes in the South China Sea.

Read the full story at Reuters

USA: UN Security Council Unanimously Urges Pursuit of Somali Piracy Kingpins

The United States welcomes the UN Security Council’s unanimous call to all nations in the world to continue their cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of all persons responsible for acts of piracy, armed robbery at sea, and Kidnap for Ransom off the coast of Somalia. This includes key figures of criminal networks involved in piracy who illicitly plan, organize, facilitate, or finance and profit from such attacks. We also welcome the further practical steps taken by the Council in support of national, regional and international efforts to prosecute pirates, and to enhance related prison capacity.

This development is the latest indication of growing international consensus that these transnational criminals pose a serious shared security challenge for the safety and well-being of seafarers, global commerce and humanitarian aid.


Taking Diplomatic Action Against Piracy

Piracy off the coast of Somalia is a crime of growing global concern. Piracy has significant and direct implications for every nation, from rising danger to seafarers to impacts on humanitarian aid deliveries and global commerce. To address this shared security challenge, the United States is actively pursuing a broad, coordinated, and comprehensive multilateral approach to combating piracy focused on security, prevention, and deterrence.

The United States is proud to be a founding partner in the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. Established in January 2009 pursuant to the UN Security Council Resolution 1851, the Contact Group is a voluntary ad hoc international forum of more than 70 countries, organizations, and industry groups with a common interest in bringing pirates, their financiers and facilitators, to justice.

Among its accomplishments to date, the Contact Group has:
  • Facilitated the operational coordination of an unprecedented international naval effort from more than 30 countries working together to protect transiting vessels.
  • Partnered with the shipping industry to improve and promote the full implementation of Best Management Practices that merchant ships and crews can take to avoid, deter, delay, and counter pirate attacks.
  • Worked to build the capacity of Somalia and other countries in the region to combat piracy, in particular by contributing to the UN Trust Fund Supporting Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia; and
  • Launched a new Working Group aimed at disrupting the pirate enterprise ashore, including its associated financial networks, through approaches similar to those used to address other types of organized transnational crime networks.

To learn more about U.S. support for international efforts against piracy, visit www.state.gov/t/pm/ppa/piracy/index.htm and www.thecgpcs.org.

USA: Panetta Calls South Korea Key U.S. Global Partner

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

SEOUL, South Korea, Oct. 26, 2011 – Calling South Korea a key global partner of the United States, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta termed the security partnership between the two nations a great force for peace, stability and prosperity on the Asia-Pacific region.

In a commentary published in today’s South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, Panetta wrote that the United States and South Korea are increasing cooperation in intelligence and ballistic missile defense to counter the “serious threat” North Korea poses.

Panetta arrived here in the South Korean capital today for his first visit to the country as defense secretary. He wrote that he vividly recalls the moment when, as a boy, he heard the news that U.S. troops were fighting on the Korean peninsula.

“Americans were gripped with fear of another world war,” the secretary wrote. “Thanks to the heroism of U.S. and Korean forces, however, the North’s invasion was repelled, and six decades later, the United States remains fully committed to the security of [South Korea].”

The North Korean government in Pyongyang has demonstrated willingness to conduct provocations that target innocent lives and continues to defy the international community as it enhances its nuclear weapons and missile capabilities, he wrote. The U.S. forward presence in Korea and the region is critical to maintaining deterrence and demonstrating resolve, the secretary added.

“In addition, we will ensure a strong and effective nuclear umbrella over [South Korea] so that Pyongyang never misjudges our will and capability to respond decisively to nuclear aggression,” he wrote.

While the United States is committed to a robust regional presence, the nation’s leaders also are sensitive to local concerns about the impact of that presence, he acknowledged.

“Our relocation program for the Yongsan Garrison is one way … we are consolidating our presence to improve efficiencies, minimize impact, and facilitate transition to [South Korean] leadership during a wartime situation,” he wrote.

Both the garrison relocation and transition to South Korean lead during wartime are part of Strategic Alliance 2015. That plan originally was set for completion by 2012, but was postponed to 2015 at the South Korean government’s request.

Both governments agreed to the plan, which calls for the transfer of wartime authority in South Korea to that nation’s equivalent of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. U.S. forces in Korea will be structured as a warfighting command that supports North Korean forces, who would assume operational control in case of war in South Korea.

Yongsan Garrison in Seoul is home to about 17,000 service members, civilian employees and their families. As part of Strategic Alliance 2015, those troops will move to Camp Humphreys, south of Seoul, with the South Korean government as final authority in decisions relating to the move.

Panetta noted the U.S.-South Korean alliance has borne results beyond the peninsula: South Koreans have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the two nations work as part of a multilateral coalition to protect shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden from the threat of piracy.

The two nations also are working to apply their shared strength to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, and to United Nations-led humanitarian relief and economic and political development efforts in Haiti, Sudan and elsewhere, Panetta wrote.

“As a steward of this alliance, I am committed to further elevating this relationship so that it remains a hallmark of stability, openness and prosperity in the region,” he wrote.

Panetta arrived here after visits to Indonesia and Japan earlier this week. During his visit, the secretary has meetings scheduled with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-Jin and Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan. He also will take part in an executive session of the security consultative meetings and will visit U.S. and South Korean troops.

News Story: (Philippines) China paper's comments on Spratlys row ‘irresponsible,’ says DFA chief

By Faye P. Velasco

MANILA, Oct. 26 (PNA) -- Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Wednesday described as "irresponsible" comments made by a Chinese newspaper on the territorial dispute among China and some of its Southeast Asian neighbors, including the Philippines, over portions of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
"It sounds like a grossly irresponsible, saber-rattling statement in contrast with the Philippine position which seeks a United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) rules-based solution to the West Philippine Sea issue," Del Rosario said.

Read the full story at PNA

26 October 2011

News Story: Almaz Shipyard Delivered Two Patrol Ships To Vietnam

Acceptance certificates of two Project 10412 patrol ships (serial numbers 044 and 045) built for Vietnamese Navy were signed on Oct 20 at Almaz Shipbuilding Firm. These are third and fourth hulls of Project 10410 Svetlyak export version. First two ships were delivered to Vietnam in 2002.

Both ships were laid down on one day – June 26, 2009. The first hull was launched on Nov 12, 2010, and the second one on Apr 22, 2011. Trials were delayed a bit because of protractions with arms and equipment supplies. In particular, Arsenal Machinery Plant delivered gun mounts AK-176M for both ships several months behind schedule.

Read the full story at RusNavy

News Story: Seoul Air Show a Wake-up Call for Local Defense Contractors?

By Eddie Walsh

It is no secret that American defense contractors face looming defense budget cuts in their traditional arms markets in North America and the European Union. In response, large defense aerospace contractors, including Boeing and Textron, are looking to grow their international business sales in regions expected to grow in the years ahead, including Asia and Middle East.

Read the full story at the Examiner

Editorial: Defence Cuts Imperil US Asia Role

By Rep. J. Randy Forbes

Slashing the US defence budget could undermine stability in Asia and US interests there, says J. Randy Forbes. And it could get worse this autumn.

Just as the history of the world was written in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of the 21st century will surely be written in the Asia-Pacific. Four decades of almost uninterrupted economic growth and the expansion of democratic governance has created a region of peace, prosperity, and integration that rivals almost any in history. The United States has been one of the greatest benefactors of Asia's success – we have gained access to new markets, formed deeper alliances to ensure stability, and seen the winds of democratic change sweep away ruthless autocrats.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

News Story: Northrop to supply mine-hunting system to Japan

Photo: Northrop Grumman
AQS-24A Info
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND (BNS): Northrop Grumman Corporation has been competitively selected to supply the AQS-24A airborne mine-hunting system to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Under the initial contract, Northrop Grumman's Undersea Systems business unit will deliver the airborne mine-hunting system to Kawasaki Heavy Industries for integration into Japan's new Airborne Mine Countermeasures MCH-101 helicopter

Read the full story at Brahmand

USA: Pentagon Monitors Thailand Flood Situation

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2011 – Defense officials are carefully monitoring the situation in Thailand as that nation faces the worst flooding it’s had in more than 50 years.

Recent flooding across Thailand has killed more than 360 people, and more than 2.5 million people have been affected, Thai government officials said.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who is traveling in Asia, has expressed serious concern about the disaster, said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, who is with Panetta’s traveling party.

The defense secretary “offers his deepest condolences to all those who have suffered as a result,” Little said in a written statement. “The secretary is closely monitoring the situation, and applauds the Thai government’s quick response to this major natural disaster. Thailand is a close ally, and we will continue to work with Thai officials to assess what they may need in the form of assistance from the United States.”

When the flooding started, U.S. Pacific Command ordered the George Washington Carrier Strike Group, which was conducting a port visit to Singapore, to get underway earlier than scheduled to pre-position in case assistance was required. The command sent a 10-Marine humanitarian assistance survey team from Okinawa, Japan, to Bangkok, Thailand, to assess the situation in the country.

After meeting with Thai officials, the team determined that U.S. military assistance was not needed.

“The Thai government and military have led a tremendous effort to protect and help its citizens during the recent flooding,” Pentagon officials said.

The Navy ships have been released to participate in a previously scheduled annual exercise with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, Pentagon officials said. The destroyer USS Mustin now plans a previously unscheduled port visit to Laem Chabang, Thailand, to conduct community service events and military-to-military engagements.

Pacific Command officials are working with the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok to determine if U.S. military assets are needed to support the Thais.

News Story: (US) Admiral says Pacific forces may dodge cuts

US Navy Adm. Robert Willard
United States forces in the Pacific may largely dodge the $400 billion budget cuts coming at the Pentagon thanks to $1.2 trillion in annual U.S. trade at stake in the South China Sea alone, and the challenge of China’s growing military might.

Adm. Robert Willard, the head of U.S. Pacific Command, told reporters in San Diego on Monday that if one looks at the budget math from a strategy point of view, it’s a no brainer.

“I can’t imagine that Pacific Command or the Asian Pacific region wouldn’t hold high marks in terms of any global, strategic view of where U.S. interests will be placed in the future,” Willard said, echoing comments by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who made his first trip to Asia this week as Pentagon chief.

Read the full story at SignOn SanDiego

News Story: Australian Marines to flex muscles

Australian Troops (File Photo)
by Ian McPhedran

AUSTRALIA'S first batch of dedicated amphibious soldiers or "marines" will be ready to sail off to war when the navy's new landing ship enters service early next year.

More than 1000 infantry troops from the Townsville-based 3rd Brigade are being trained in amphibious operations and up to 350 will be at sea permanently from 2014 when two massive 27,000 tonne landing helicopter dock ships (LHDs) are due to enter service as part of a new era of "power projection".

Read trhe full story at The Telegraph