30 April 2012

Editorial: Taiwan’s Navy Gets Stealthy

By James R. Holmes

News that Taiwan is set to get some stealthy fast patrol boats is welcome. But without some daring personnel, it might come to nothing.

Huzzah! The Taipei Times’ J. Michael Cole broke the story this weekend that Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan has levied funds to field a squadron of between seven and eleven stealthy Hsun Hai (Swift Sea) fast patrol boats by 2014. Computer generated images depict a sleek catamaran that resembles a smaller sibling of USS Independence, a variant of the U.S. Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship. Each new craft will reportedly displace around 500 tons while sporting eight domestically manufactured Hsiung Feng-II and -III antiship cruise missiles. To all appearances, the Hsun Hai constitutes a marked improvement over the ungainly Kuang Hua VI fast attack craft currently serving in the Republic of China Navy (ROCN). It packs twice the wallop of the Kuang Hua VI. It appears more stealthy, with fewer sharp angles and protuberances to attract unwanted attention from Chinese radars. And with its catamaran hull and low profile, the new man-of-war should be able to handle rough seas in the Taiwan Strait and elsewhere rather than bobbing around like a top. The plan for a Hsun Hai squadron looks like a good start.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

AUS: More than $12 million investment in priority industry capabilities

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced more than $12 million in matched funding is being offered to nine Australian companies to commercialise new defence technologies that will contribute to Australia’s Priority Industry Capabilities in the defence sector.

“This is an investment in cutting edge defence technologies developed here in Australia,” Mr Clare said.

“It involves Defence working directly with some of Australia’s most innovative defence companies to develop technologies for the Australian Defence Force”.

“This is about making sure our troops have the equipment they need to do their job”.

Over the next seven years $45 million will be invested in Priority Industry Capabilities through this program.

“The defence industry’s most important capabilities are our Priority Industry Capabilities,” Mr Clare said.

“These are must haves – the things we cannot do without.

“The ideas this program will fund will help strengthen these capabilities in Australia.”

Further information about the Priority Industry Capability Innovation Program can be found HERE

News Story: (Philippines ) DFA chief to seek US 'reaffirmation'

MANILA, Philippines - As China continued to display its aggressive stance in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said yesterday he would seek “reaffirmation” from the United States on its commitment to come to the country’s aid if shots are fired and the Philippines’ sovereignty is threatened.

“The US had stated last year that they will honor their commitments under the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). Yes, I will seek a reaffirmation,” Del Rosario told The STAR before leaving for the US yesterday morning to participate in the first 2+2 dialogue.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also revealed yesterday the report from Coast Guard Commandant Vice Admiral Edmund Tan regarding the “bullying” incident that happened between a Chinese fisheries command vessel and two Coast Guard search and rescue vessels near the entrance of Panatag Shoal yesterday morning.

Citing Tan’s report, DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said that the Chinese vessel approached the BRP Pampanga 003 and later the BRP Edsa 002, generating a 2-meter wave but no damage was inflicted on the Philippine ships, which did not react to the “bullying.”

Tan added that the actions of the Chinese vessel were properly documented.

The DFA stressed, “These maneuvers by the Chinese vessel posed a danger to the Philippine vessels which could mean a violation of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions of Ships at Sea (COLREGs).”

The DFA said on Friday that China had dispatched more vessels as 10 Chinese vessels were sighted in the area.

The DFA also received reports that seven Chinese fishing boats were also spotted inside the lagoon.

Read the full story at The Philippine Star

News Story: China reach in focus at U.S.- Philippine security talks

By Manuel Mogato

(Reuters) - China is likely to be high on the agenda at top level U.S.-Philippine security talks on Monday as Washington refocuses its foreign policy on Asia and Manila realises its limits in trying to solve territorial disputes with Beijing alone.

China has maritime spats with several countries in the South China Sea, believed to be rich in oil and gas and crossed by important shipping lanes, and its neighbours fear its growing naval reach in staking claims.

Those disputes are pushing the Philippines to seek closer cooperation with the United States, which in turn has prompted China to warn Washington against getting involved, denouncing last week's U.S.-Philippine military drills as bringing the risk of armed conflict closer.

"I'm sure we need to be diplomatic, but I don't think we should tip-toe around the Chinese on this," said Walter Lohman, director of the Asian Studies Center with the conservative Washington-based Heritage Foundation think tank.

"...There is nothing new about the U.S. exercising with the Philippines. We shouldn't refrain because the Chinese don't like it. In fact, I expect the (Washington meeting) will come up with some agreement on increasing the frequency and variety of exercises, ship visits. Also expect agreement on hardware, joint use of Philippines' training facilities and bases."

Read the full story at Reuters

News Story: Philippines denounces China for 'bullying' tactics

The Philippines accused Beijing of employing "bullying" tactics Saturday after a speeding Chinese ship allegedly veered dangerously close to two Philippine vessels in the disputed South China Sea.

No one was hurt but "these manoeuvres by the Chinese vessel posed a danger to the Philippine vessels", foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a statement.

"Our ships did not react to the bullying," he added.

The incident took place near the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea where Chinese fisheries vessels have been facing off against Philippine ships for weeks over which country claims the area.

In Saturday's incident, the Chinese vessel speeded past two Philippine coast guard ships at more than 20 knots (37 kilometres per hour), creating a high wave that buffeted the vessels.

This is the most serious event since the standoff began on April 8 when the Philippines attempted to arrest Chinese fishermen in the shoal for poaching, only to be blocked by Chinese ships.

Read the full story at YahooNews

News Story: Smith says (Australian) submarine decisions soon

Existing Collins class Submarine

Max Blenkin

Defence Minister Stephen Smith says key decisions will soon be made on Australia's next generation submarine to replace the ageing Collins class boats.

With the backdrop of the USS Michigan, a visiting nuclear-powered guided missile submarine moored at HMAS Stirling navy base in Western Australia, Mr Smith told reporters all options remained on the table, except that of nuclear propulsion.

The minister said if Australia was to acquire nuclear-powered submarines all maintenance and sustainment would have to be outsourced to another country because of the lack of a local nuclear industry.

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Mr Smith said defence was working on the array of options for the boats which will replace the navy's six Collins class vessels, provisionally set to retire around 2025.

"We are not too far away from making an announcement about the first stage of what will be the single largest capital works program the Commonwealth of Australia has ever engaged in," Mr Smith told reporters.

"That is why we have been proceeding very sensibly, very methodically and very diligently before we start the design and construction stage of the program."

Read the full story at The Age


By Normasitirena Suhaini

BOLKIAH GARRISON, Friday 27 April 2012 - As part of the ongoing effort in developing the professionalism and responsiveness of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) for any eventualities, the Hikmat Bersatu exercise continues to be a valuable platform to test present capacities and capabilities in the art of conventional warfare. Hikmat Bersatu IV, or dubbed as HB4, is conducted within the boundaries of Brunei Darussalam including its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and air space, focused on low intensity conflict and asymmetric warfare that provided commanders with the platform to train combat forces in joint operations, to evaluate war plans and interoperability between the services and units within the RBAF and to execute their strategies and tactics. While the operation theme for Hikmat Bersatu III focused on conventional warfare, HB4 focuses on counter-insurgency and urban operation, with the primary objectives of defeating insurgent elements and restoring public confidence.

Urban operation involves combats within developed or built-up areas such as towns and cities. The challenge for the armed forces in such environment is to engage in battles within areas encompassing tall infrastructures/ buildings, roads and highways, narrow alleys and other places where visibility and maneuverability are limited. The complexity of the operation is added by the presence of civilians, which provide ideal concealment for insurgents by blending in with the masses. Additionally, insurgents may have further advantage if specific civilians are sympathetic to their cause, and thus they may be optimized as the eyes and ears for the insurgents against the armed forces.

When engaging in urban operation, the strategy of the armed forces would be, among others, to conduct a building-to-building and door-to-door search, and securing a perimeter. These particular exercises themselves demands intensive personnel deployment and will be time consuming. The most effective and efficient way to address this is by managing the areas by sectors through systematic sweeping (room-to-room search).

Good intelligence input is also paramount in assisting the armed forces to accurately locate the whereabouts of the insurgents. The sources of information may be compiled from public domains, tip-offs from members of the public, or sharing of intelligence with other agencies such as the Internal Security Department and Police Force. Availability of special equipment, such as communication equipments and visual equipments is also fundamental in assisting the armed forces in such operation, specifically in enhancing maneuverability, command and control, and access within the built-up areas. In light of combating insurgents in urban areas, armed forces personnel are highly vulnerable. Therefore, personnel protection is crucial in ensuring their safety.

During an urban operation, one of the armed forces objectives is to also ensure the safety of civilians. In this instance, the armed forces may have to consider or take precautionary measures such as the imposition of curfew and establishment of internally displaced personnel (IDP) facilities. Additionally, the presence of military personnel in the urban areas is paramount as deterrence for further insurgency in the area.

News Story: (Philippines) Soon-to-arrive Hamilton cutter more capable -- DND

Hamilton class in US Coast Guard markings

MANILA — Department of National Defense (DND) Spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez said on Thursday the country's newest Hamilton-class cutter, which is expected to arrive before the end of the second quarter, is more capable than its predecessor, the former "USS Hamilton" which is now commissioned and in service as the Philippine Navy's "BRP Gregorio Del Pilar."

"The newest Hamilton-class cutter to enter is the 'USS Dallas.' It would be more capable than its predecessor," Galvez said during the "Talking Points" program over DZRB Radyo ng Bayan at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Bldg. in Quezon City.

Read the full story at ZamboTimes

Editorial: Khamenei Preparing for a Deal?

By Zachary Keck

There are unmistakable signs coming out of Iran that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei is laying the groundwork for a possible deal with the United States. This shift began in February, when Khamenei reaffirmed his opposition to nuclear weapons on both religious and strategic grounds. The following month, Khamenei praised President Barack Obama’s “good and wise statement” at AIPAC that time for diplomacy still existed, conveniently ignoring that the U.S. leader had also indicated his willingness to undertake military action if necessary. As negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 got underway, Khamenei’s appointees in the clergy, judiciary, and media all sounded a note of optimism. It’s now being reported that Iran is willing to limit the scope of its uranium enrichment.

Most have speculated that Khamenei’s sudden willingness to compromise is the result of his desire to avoid the looming sanctions against Iran’s oil exports. Although there may be some truth to this, at least as important is surely Khamenei’s recent consolidation of power at home. By purging his political competitors, the Supreme Leader has eliminated a significant source of his past opposition to a deal – his fear that his internal opponents would most benefit from it.
Read the full story at The Diplomat

29 April 2012

Editorial: Tackling North Korea’s Missile Quest

By Michael Raska

There’s much we don’t know about North Korea’s missile program. But it’s abundantly clear a new defense strategy is called for.

While North Korea’s latest launchof the Unha-3 (Taepodong 2) space launch vehicle intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) failed in its third attempt to place a satellite into orbit, the test doesn’t end Pyongyang's ongoing efforts to develop its catalogue of short, medium, and long-range ballistic missile systems.
On April 15, Pyongyang unveiled what appeared to be a new road-mobile long-range ballistic missile system, code-named KN-08, which hints that North Korea aims to develop a mobile ICBM that can be launched directly, without the lengthy preparation time required by the Taepodong 2.  The new system also signals ambitious objectives, more missile tests, and ultimately, it raises questions about the covert external, technical and financial assistance that underlines North Korea’s ballistic missile programs.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

News Story: U.S. Deploys F-22 Stealth Jets in Southwest Asia

RIA NovostiF-22 RaptorU.S. Deploys F-22 Stealth Jets in Southwest Asia
02:39 29/04/2012 The U.S. Air Force has deployed its fifth-generation stealth fighters, F-22 Raptor, in Southwest Asia, the Washington Post newspaper said, citing an Air Force spokesman.> Read the full story HERE <

News Story: Thailand, China to develop multiple rocket launchers

BANGKOK (PTI): Thailand and China have agreed to jointly develop multiple rocket launchers with a guidance system as part of a move to strengthen military ties.

The two sides reached the agreement during a visit to China by the top Thai military brass.

Under the new agreement, the Thai Defence Technology Institute will work with China to develop new multiple rocket launchers called "DTI-1G [Guided]" which will have a greater range than existing systems, Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat said.

Read the full story at Brahmand

News Story: IAF's Mirage-2000 back in action

Indian AirForce Mirage 2000H

NEW DELHI (PTI): IAF's frontline Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft, which were temporarily grounded following two crashes in February and March, have begun operational sorties following a detailed investigation of their systems and components.

"The Mirage-2000 aircraft are being progressively checked and cleared for flying one by one," said the IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Gerard Galway.

Sources said the aircraft were cleared for sorties few days ago following a thorough inspection of their systems.

The fleet was grounded for inspection for almost a month, they said.

Read the full story at Brahmand

28 April 2012

Editorial: India Needs a Joint Chiefs

By Brig. (Retd.) Xerxes Adrianwalla

India is investing billions in arms. But without a coherent organizational structure, it will never become an effective war fighting machine.

India is an aspiring super power, and one of the largest arms importers in the world. But this month, following the defense procurement corruption exposé by Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh and the hullabaloo over supposed troop movements near Delhi, it seems that India isn’t ready either to effectively absorb the battle-ready equipment being imported, or even command it properly.
At the center of the debate has been a heated discussion over whether India should have a unified command system under which the chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force, could operate coherently and to mutual benefit. But the debate should be even louder than it is now.
Our strategic and super power ambitions are manifest in all three armed forces: the Air Force, which is in the process of one of the largest arms deals ever in the acquisition of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA); the Navy which has developed so-called blue water capabilities far beyond coastal defense; and the Army, which is raising two strike corps capable of offensive operations into Tibet and for possible use against China. Yet we still don’t have the necessary organizational structure to wield such massive fire power as a coherent force, one that can either repel external aggressors or project India’s power overseas.

Read the full 2 page story at The Diplomat


Illegal fishing has been the focus of a joint Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Indonesian Armed Forces operation that concluded in Darwin today.
The third Australian-Indonesian coordinated maritime security patrol, AUSINDO CORPAT 2012, started in Kupang, West Timor on 16 April and was held in the waters between Australia and Indonesia from 19-27 April 2012.
The operation included aircraft, ships and headquarters staff from both nations in a synchronised task group. The ADF contributed an Armidale Class Patrol Boat, HMAS Pirie and an AP-3C Orion aircraft. The Indonesian Armed Forces provided naval vessels KRI Kakap and KRITongkol and a CASA NC-212 aircraft.
The combined operation was conducted to improve coordinated maritime security along the Australian and Indonesian shared maritime boundaries in the vicinity of Ashmore Island, the Provisional Fisheries Surveillance Enforcement Line (PFSEL) and the Australian Indonesian Seabed Line (AISBL).
Air Commodore Ken Watson, Commander of the ADF Task Group, said the patrol had strengthened both Australia’s and Indonesia’s ability to detect and deter illegal fishing activity in the region.
“Combining the skills of our personnel at sea, on land and in the air helps to strengthen our ties and build the relationship which is vital to providing security at our maritime boundaries,” Air Commodore Watson said.
“The patrol provided an excellent opportunity for the exchange of ideas and skills development between the two nations.
“Our defence forces have once again made progress in improving our maritime security procedures through developing our communications and information sharing techniques. We look forward to undertaking this coordinated approach again.” Air Commodore Watson said.
View AUSINDO CORPAT 2012 imagery on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library.

USA: Carl Vinson and CVW-17 Join Perth’s ANZAC Day March

Click to Enlarge
<< PERTH, Australia (April 25, 2012)-Residents wave flags as Sailors assigned the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) march in the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day March through downtown Perth. ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand to honor those who died and served in military operations for their countries. Carl Vinson is anchored in Perth, Australia for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans)


By Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans

PERTH, Australia –Twenty-eight Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and squadrons from embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 spent their second morning in Perth, Australia on parade in the city’s Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day March.  

“I volunteered because I wanted to see the different militaries and represent my Navy in another country,” said Engineman 1st Class Robert Flores. 

ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand to honor those who died and served in military operations for their countries. 

“It’s our biggest day for the military in Australia,” said Trooper Mark Marotta, a parade participant assigned to the Australian Army’s 10th Light Horse Regiment. “It’s steeped in tradition, basically we honor the fallen ‘Diggers,’ the Australians who fought in World War I on the shores of Gallipoli. It’s a tradition that started in 1915 when the ANZAC went ashore and has continued up to this day.”

The Carl Vinson and CVW-17 Sailors received a warm welcome from the crowd and their Australian military counterparts as they marched in their dress white uniforms through downtown streets packed with spectators waving Australian flags.

“The crowd was constantly cheering, clapping, and taking a lot of photos,” said Chief Intelligence Specialist Dwayne Edmond. “You could definitely tell when we walked by. I could see the parents telling their kids ‘Hey that’s the U.S. Navy passing through.’ We were pointed out by everyone and they all seemed extremely happy that we were here.”

“I’ve marched in Veteran’s Day parades before and this felt more like fleet week,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Tyler Reader, assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 15. “There was a lot of crowd participation. It was a lot of fun and I was surprised by the reaction of the people who came out to see the parade.”

For the Sailors who marched, being received so warmly while representing their country’s military to citizens of another country was a welcome morale boost after approximately five months deployed in support of operations in the U.S. 7th and U.S. 5th Fleet areas of responsibility.

Carl Vinson is currently anchored in Perth, Australia for a port visit.

India: Maiden Flight of Light Combat Aircraft-Navy (NP1)

The indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas LCA Navy NP1 today made its maiden flight in Bangalore when Commodore JA Maolankar, Test Pilot and Wg Cdr Prabhu, Flight Test Engineer completed a 22 minutes flight. During the flight the aircraft was put through various manoeuvers including low speed handling and even undertook a close formation flying at slow speed with another aircraft. 

Earlier the LCA Navy NP1 had completed various intensive Ground testing regimen including Low Speed Taxi Trials (LSD), High Speed Taxi Trials (HSD), Ground Vibration Test (GVT), Structural Coupling Test (SCT) and extensive system integration tests with power plant using State-of-the-Art facilities at Bangalore HAL airport. 

With this India has crossed a major milestone in Design, Development, Manufacturing and Testing of a “four plus” generation Carrier Borne Fly-by-Wire STOBAR aircraft. 

LCA Navy aircraft is the first attempt in the country to provide a complete marine force multiplier that will give unique battle punch to the Naval Aviation Arm of the 21st Century to fulfil national dream of a blue water Navy. LCA Navy is the second STOBAR (Ski Take Off But Arrested Recovery) Carrier Borne aircraft in the world, after the Russian deck based aircraft. However, this will be the only Carrier borne Fighter aircraft in the Light category. 

Along with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) who are the Principal Partners with Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in association with more than 100 agencies ranging from users, DRDO, CEMILAC, DGAQA, CSIR, PSUs, Private Industrial Sector and academia, spread all over India including Indian Navy and Indian Air Force are involved in the Programme. The key responsibility of LCA Navy design, build, integration and testing is with various Divisions of HAL. ADE has played a lead role in Design and Development of the Integrated Flight Control System in unison with NAL, Bangalore for Testing and Integration of Flight Control Laws to ensure safe functionalities for various phases of flight. AMAGB has been designed and manufactured by CVRDE, Chennai up-to the certification level. NSTL, Visakhapatnam and RCI, Hyderabad has rendered critical support for shock testing of LRUs. Significant Private Industry partnership with ASL (DRDO), Hyderabad for high energy Carbon-Carbon brake pads, and CADES for LEVCON and stub wing design, as examples, has helped maturing of Private Sector of the country. This Project will give us self reliance capability in a true sense and also help in taking up more Naval Aircraft Projects in future. Productionisation of indigenously developed Hydraulic system and Fuel system Line Replacement Units (LRUs) have been assigned to GTTC, Bangalore (Government Tool Room and Training Centre) and CTTC (Centre Tool Room and Training Centre), Bhubaneswar respectively. Above all this, constant support, regular participation, keen observation and continuous guidance from CEMILAC and DGAQA have ensured stringent certification and quality requirements are met on the aircraft. 

The Design of first indigenous Naval aircraft imposed huge technological challenges to the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) to meet the peculiar requirements of Naval aircraft; starting from saline and humid environment of operation, restricted availability of deck run for launch and recovery and high operating load conditions. Basic design changes required to suit the carrier operations are strengthening of aircraft structure and Landing Gear, Arrester Hook, improved engine, enhanced aerodynamic performance and incorporation of special metal/material. A host of other systems like the Leading Edge Vortex Control (LEVCON) surface fitted at the front end of the aircraft wing operated by a concealed rotary actuator with aerodynamic profiling to ensure low landing speed, good controllability and better vision for the pilot. The feature of launch and recovery onboard Carrier at high sink rate of 7.1 rn/sec, flareless landing with engine to full throttle till arrested by deck cable impose five times of loading on Main Landing Gear as compared to the IAF version. Also such axial load calls for re-certification of all Line Replacement Units (LRUs), components and associated systems of naval version to ensure fail safe operation repeatedly. 

ADA has set a world class Telemetry and Monitoring facility at the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) to enable conduct of flight test activities at Bangalore. Intuitive on-line monitoring and control of the aircraft are carried out by the Test Director and various System designers. To facilitate proving the aircraft for carrier borne applications, a Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) is being set up at the Naval Air Station, Goa replicating an aircraft carrier with a ski-jump for launch and arresting gear for deck recovery. Take off area is ready, with landing readiness scheduled for end of 2012. This test facility readiness is as per schedule. 

The Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma in a communication to the Scientific Adviser to the Raksha Mantri, said, “… I express my appreciation and congratulations to all members of the ADA, HAL and DRDO teams for the first successful limited test flight of the LCA (Navy) aircraft… We must ensure that today’s accomplishment leads to the timely fructification of the operational requirements for carrier borne operations….”

Saab signs additional Carl-Gustaf contract with Australia

The defence and security company Saab has received an order from Australia for ammunition to the Carl-Gustaf M3 weapon system. The order is placed under a standing offer signed in early 2011 and amounts to MSEK 199.

It is the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) that has selected Saab to be the provider of various versions of 84 mm Carl-Gustaf ammunition. 

“This shows the high level of trust Australia have for the Carl-Gustaf system. We are very proud of the confidence our customers place in the Carl-Gustaf system and satisfied to have been able to secure an additional order for the system,” says Tomas Samuelsson, Head of business area Dynamics. 

The Australian Defence Force selected the Carl-Gustaf M3 weapon system after thorough evaluation as their future multi-purpose weapon system. 

The Carl-Gustaf weapon until now has been exported to more than 40 nations worldwide. The system has successively been modernized and adapted to meet new requirements. With the Carl-Gustaf M3 version Saab offer state-of-the-art capability for demanding customers investing in the future. 

Deliveries take place during 2013. 

News Story: US wants to share defence tech with India:- Official

WASHINGTON (PTI): Hoping to get a bigger slice in the pie of massive Indian defence modernisation efforts, the US has said the level of its willingness to share defence technologies with India has never been higher than it is now.

"The level of our willingness to share technology with India has never been higher," Andrew Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, said.

The US bid for Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) -- which had failed -- demonstrated its willingness to transfer some of these technologies, he said.

Read the full story at Brahmand

News Story: Philippines - War Games with U.S Boost Defense

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines said war games with the U.S. that ended April 27 had showcased its resolve to fend off external aggressors amid an escalating territorial dispute with China.

Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin also said the 12 days of exercises, which included more than 6,000 soldiers, had firmed up a 1951 mutual defense treaty between the longtime allies.

“This training activity ... demonstrates our unequivocal resolve to support each other against the threats of external aggression and the enemies of freedom and liberty,” Gazmin said in a statement.

The exercises were held amid the backdrop of a dispute between the Philippines and China over a shoal in the South China Sea, with both nations stationing vessels there for nearly three weeks to assert their sovereignty.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: White House To Consider F-16 Sale to Taiwan; Hold on DoD Appt. Lifted

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn on April 27 lifted a two-month hold on the nomination of Mark Lippert to become the Pentagon’s top official for Asia after the White House pledged to give “serious consideration” to selling new F-16C/D fighter jets to Taiwan.

Cornyn’s proposal to sell new F-16C/D jets “warrants serious consideration given the growing military threat to Taiwan,” said an April 27 letter signed by Robert Nabors, White House director of legislative affairs.

Under U.S. law, the administration is required to provide for the self-defense of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy that China claims as its territory. The Obama administration authorized a $5.85 billion upgrade of Taiwan’s aging fighter jets in September.

That deal drew immediate criticism from Obama’s Republican rivals, who argued that the sale of new jets, while likely upsetting Beijing, would better defend Taiwan from a rising China as well as create U.S. manufacturing jobs.

The Obama administration argued at the time that an upgrade rather than sale of new planes would more immediately address Taiwan’s military needs.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Editorial: Singapore’s Military Modernization

By Ryo Hinata-Yamaguchi

Earlier this month, Singapore launched the Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Community, setting another milestone in the city-state’s military modernization program known as the3rd Generation Singapore Armed Forces project.
Without doubt, Singapore has the most technologically advanced armed forces amongst Association of Southeast Asian Nation states. Aside from its Integrated Knowledge-based Command and Control project, the Singaporean Defense Ministry has made numerous acquisitions over the past decade that indicate a shift towards both amphibious and precision strike capabilities.
These acquisitions span the air, ground and naval services of the armed forces, and include: Endurance-class Landing Platform Dock Ships; Formidable-class Stealth Frigates; F-15SG Multirole Fighters; F-16D fighters; the Bionix II Infantry Fighting Vehicleand the Gulfstream 550 Airborne Early Warning aircraft (G550-AEW). Moreover, Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen recently stated that Singapore is currently evaluating the possible procurement of the F-35 fighter.
Yet, despite these impressive force structural developments, at least two glaring problems exist in the country’s armed forces that could cause problems in orientation at the operational and tactical levels.
Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China’s Sudan Opportunity

By Mu Chunshan

The claim by South Sudan’s president that the country’s northern neighbour has declared war on it is a troubling development for the region. However, it also offers China an opportunity to exert its influence.

Relations between China and Sudan are generally good, and China has consistently supported the regime of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, including by opposing Bashir’s indictment by The Hague-based International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
Read the full story at The Diplomat