31 October 2012

AUS: LHD hull arrives in Melbourne (Army’s Perspective)

CGI of completed HMAS Canberra

The hull of the first new amphibious ship has arrived in Australia for outfitting and is expected to set sail with troops on board next year.

Large scale amphibious operations are a step closer after the arrival of the first Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) hull in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay on 17 October 2012. 

The ship, which will be commissioned HMAS Canberra, completed a nine-week journey from Australia on the back of a heavy-lift ship. 

The Head of Modernisation and Strategic Planning, Major General Jeffery Sengelman, said Army would be heavily involved with the new ships. This will include a sizeable contribution to the crew and also the dedication of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR) to develop and maintain amphibious tactics, techniques and procedures to allow effective projection of land forces from the sea. 

“As the capability matures, our troops will be capable of conducting a range of amphibious operations, in particular short-notice humanitarian or noncombatant evacuation operations,” Major General Sengelman said. 

“Army will also contribute other combat, combat support and combat service support capabilities as we participate in trials throughout next year.” 

He said Army would post 62 personnel to the ship to work with 292 sailors and three Air Force personnel. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Mogg will be the first amphibious operations officer and the senior Army officer posted to the ship. 

Canberra’s Hull on slipway after construction
“Army personnel will be fully integrated with a number of the ships departments,” Lieutenant Colonel Mogg said. 

“Troops will perform key roles in the executive, amphibious, aviation and the logistics departments.” 

He said Army specialists and technical support staff would work alongside their Navy colleagues within sub-departments such as supply, explosive ordnance, personnel, administration, technical marine, mechanised vehicle and catering sections. 

“Once we have concentrated in Sydney, our work will truly begin. We will undertake a range of individual and collective training activities, including contractor delivered training, in order to prepare us for acceptance trials next year,” Lieutenant Colonel Mogg said. 

“The first crew will have a range of challenges to deal with but for Army personnel, we will need to rapidly adapt to the new ship. After finding our sea legs, we are looking forward to the opportunity to work alongside our Navy and Air Force colleagues. 

“This project will also deliver new ship-to-shore connectors and other support systems required by these platforms.” 

The Navy was also getting ready to support the new ships with a facility at HMAS Albatross to train Navy and Army aviation personnel, while 2 RAR prepared to form the core of the new Amphibious Ready Group, Major General Sengelman said. 

“Defence will also continue to work closely with the US and UK colleagues who have been helping us develop our capability,” Major General Sengelman said. 

Spain's Juan Carlos I on which Canberra is based
“In doing so, we will ensure that we optimise our joint force preparedness to respond to a range of contingencies.” 

The hull will be taken to the Williamstown dockyard to connect the ship’s superstructure and install the combat, communications and navigation systems before harbour and sea trials. 

The second ship, to be commissioned HMAS Adelaide, is expected in 2014.

Facts about the LHD 

• Length: 230.82m 
• Four main decks: Well Dock, Heavy Vehicle Deck, Main Accommodation Deck, (including primary casualty facility), Hangar (990m2) and Light Vehicle Deck (1880m2) and a Flight Deck. 
• Maximum speed: 20kn with a range of 6000nm. 
• Sustained maximum speed: 19kn (full load). 
• Ramp access: A stern ramp to well dock for landing craft and vehicles, a fixed ramp between well dock and the 1410m2 heavy vehicle/cargo deck, two lateral starboard ramp doors for wharf access to the heavy vehicle/cargo deck for vehicles up to 65T, vehicle access between the heavy and light vehicle decks on port-side fixed ramp. 
• Well dock: 69.3m long and 16.8m wide (1165m2) with room for four LCM1E and four RHIBs. Can handle LCUs, amphibious vehicles, LCACs and other allied nations’ water craft. 
• Accommodation deck: Sleeps 1400 personnel, mess decks, medical spaces, galley facilities, office spaces, and recreation rooms. Accommodation room is for 400 ship’s company including the watercraft and flight deck crews and 1000 embarked force personnel including the PCRF, embarked flight, HQ staff and landing force. 
• Crew: Navy, Army and Air Force personnel. 
• Flight deck: 202.3m long, 32m wide (4750m2) and at a height of 27.50m. It can have MRH-90s, Chinooks, Black Hawks, S-70B-2 Seahawks, Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters and Romeo aircraft on simultaneous takeoff and landing or simultaneous takeoff and landing of four Chinooks. 
• Aircraft storage: Hangar has room for eight medium-sized helicopters. Light vehicle deck has room for an additional 10; otherwise 110 vehicles can be loaded across the two vehicle decks. 
• Aircraft elevators: One medium-helicopter lift and one large-helicopter elevator. 
• Cargo lift: Can transfer 20-foot ISO containers and vehicles up to 16T. Additional lifts for ammunition, provisions and casualties. 
• Defence systems: Anti-Torpedo Towed Defence System (Nixie), four 20mm automated guns, 6 x 12.7mm machine guns and an active missile decoy system – Nulka. 
• Power: Gas turbine (LM 2500) turbo generator of 19,160kW, two MAN 16V32/40 diesel generators of 7448kW each, two Siemens azimuth POD units of 11.0MW each with two 4.5m propellers, two bow thrusters of 1500kW each and one Progener-Mitsubishi S16MPTA emergency diesel generator of 1350kW.

AUS: Chief of Army - The Australian Army’s role in a maritime strategy

The Chief of the Australian Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO, yesterday officially opened his first Chief of Army’s Exercise by welcoming 35 international military officers and academics from 17 nations across the region including senior representatives from China, the United States and Indonesia.

This year, the Chief of Army’s Exercise 2012 (CA Ex 12) themed The Australian Army’s role in a maritime strategy, holds even greater importance following the release of the Government’s White Paper, Australia in the Asian Century.

In his opening address, Lieutenant General Morrison emphasised the importance of a maritime strategy by affirming that modern operations have underscored the importance of not just being able to work in a joint environment, but indeed a joint coalition and interagency environment.

Lieutenant General Morrison also encouraged his audience to engage in the interactive discussions and share their ideas about what their roles might be in a maritime strategy.

“In this Asia-Pacific century we understand that access to the perspectives of other military professionals and strategic thinkers from across our region and the globe are absolutely indispensable if we are to understand our role in relation to security and prosperity in Australia,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.

The Australian Army’s role in a maritime strategy will be explored through presentations providing Australian and Indonesian academic perspectives as well as an address from a senior member of the People’s Liberation Army of China.   

The forum will provide a unique opportunity for regional engagement; for senior Army leaders, international partners and counterparts and key stakeholders to discuss debate and analyse key and contemporary issues facing land forces.

The forum seeks to improve understanding of the challenges facing land forces in the Indo-Pacific and the role of land forces in promoting regional stability and security. 

The Chief of Army’s Exercise is a biennial event and will run from 29 to 30 October 2012 at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre in conjunction with the 2012 Land Warfare Conference (LWC).

The LWC is held jointly with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and will run from 29 October to 2 November 2012.

AUS: Finmeccanica joins the Global Supply Chain Program

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today signed a Global Supply Chain Deed with Italian company Finmeccanica at the Land Warfare conference in Melbourne.

The CEO Finmeccanica Group Services, Mr Riccardo Napolitano, signed the Deed on behalf of the Finmeccanica Group which has major facilities in Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Finmeccanica has 70,000 employees and a revenue of $24 billion. The high technology company manufactures products and provides services ranging from cyber security, radios and electronic systems, torpedoes, helicopters, aircraft and fighter trainers, to satellites.

“Finmeccanica is a big addition to our Global Supply Chain program and I’m pleased to welcome them on board,” Mr Clare said.

“Australian small and medium businesses have a range of quality products and services. This Deed will help them get access to more work across Finmeccanica’s global supply chain.”

A number of multi-national Defence companies have already signed GSC agreements with the Australian Government including Boeing, Raytheon, Thales, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman.

Through these agreements, the Government funds multi-national Defence companies to hire a team of people to identify and certify Australian companies as part of their global supply chains.

Global Supply Chain Agreements are designed to outline activities and engagement strategies to increase additional opportunities and scope for Australian industry to compete for work within the supply chains of multinational Defence companies.

The Government has invested over $20 million in the program over the past five years.

“When the program was established everyone agreed that if it could provide a 10-fold return on the Government’s investment it would be a roaring success,” Mr Clare said.

“To date it has delivered an excellent return on investment with more than $463 million in contracts awarded to Australian industry.

“Australian SMEs have been the big winners, winning about 90 per cent of the value of these contracts.”

USA: (US Army) 25th CAB medevac crew receives Australian award

<< Australian Army Soldiers load an injured Soldier onto a UH-60 Black Hawk from Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Gunfighters, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade during a MEDEVAC training mission at Multinational Base Tarin Kowt.

By Sgt. Daniel Schroeder

MULTINATIONAL BASE TARIN KOT, Afghanistan - Australian Forces at Multinational Base Tarin Kot, Afghanistan, recognized the actions of a medical evacuation crew from Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Gunfighters, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, during an awards ceremony Oct. 18.

Chief of Joint Operations Australia, Lt. Gen. Ash Power, AO, CSC, presented the medevac crew with the Chief of Joint Operations Gold Commendation for their actions during a medevac request in the Uruzgan province on Aug. 23.

"I felt really honored to receive this award," said Capt. Zach Mauss, platoon leader for Forward Support Medical Platoon 3, C/3-25 AVN, 25th CAB. "Our partnership here with the Australians is extremely strong. They are incredibly professional soldiers and take great pride in the work they do in Uruzgan province. Taking care of their fellow soldiers and willingness to take the fight to the enemy are some similarities they share with U.S. soldiers."

Before the soldiers were presented with a framed certificate and two medals, Power spoke to roughly 200 soldiers in attendance on the medevac crew's actions on Aug. 23.

On the afternoon of Aug. 23, the medevac crew on duty received a "CAT A" 9-line request. CAT A, or Category Alpha, refers to urgent medical care needed - evacuate immediately. The victim was an Australian soldier who received severe wounds to both legs caused by an improvised explosive device.

The crew flew out to the location as quickly as they could. Upon arrival, the medevac pilots had to perform a two-wheeled landing due to the terrain limitations where the wounded soldier was. In less than one minute, the soldier was loaded onto the helicopter and headed to the nearest medical facility.

The medics in the aircraft worked feverishly to restore the vital signs of the injured soldier. With the distance to the patient and then to the nearest medical facility, the medevac crew managed to complete the mission in 52 minutes. This was within the "golden hour" - the time allotted from the time the call comes in to fly out and evacuate the patient to the nearest medical facility giving the patient the best chance of saving their life.

"The most rewarding part of the night was following the ceremony when members of the unit that hit the IED came forward to individually thank us for the work we did in saving their comrade," said Mauss. "Although their comrade was severely injured, they were relieved that he is now home with his family in Australia making a strong recovery."

Insitu Pacific Successfully Integrates McQ Sensor Technology with ScanEagle UAS

ScanEagle UAS (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

BRISBANE, Australia, Oct. 30, 2012 - Insitu Pacific, the Australia-based subsidiary of Insitu Inc., announced today that it has successfully completed integration between its ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) and the McQ iScout Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) and OmniWatch technologies.

McQ is an industry leader in UGS technology and development with its UGS deployed in widespread service with the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Energy and a range of international customers. The McQ iScout sensor provides battlefield proven, covert, low power and long-endurance sensing capability with best in class, low false alarm rates.

Insitu Pacific engineers successfully integrated the ScanEagle UAS and the McQ UGS to enable UGS target detection alerts to be automatically displayed within ScanEagle's Insitu multiple UAS software environment (I-MUSE) operating system as new targets.

“This is an excellent demonstration of the operational flexibility of the systems that Insitu Pacific can provide, as well as the synergies that can be gained from linking UAS and UGS in complex surveillance scenarios,” said Insitu Pacific Managing Director Andrew Duggan. “We believe this newly proven capability offers an ideal solution for flexible base or perimeter surveillance on operations in places like Afghanistan or in border protection type roles.”

Once a target is detected, the iScout sensor automatically sends a notification to the UAS system operator by displaying the target location, detection type (seismic, magnetic, acoustic or infrared) and other relevant information on the ScanEagle operator's I-MUSE graphic user interface (GUI). The operator is then able to automatically focus the ScanEagle's sensors on the new contact to verify the data provided by iScout and OmniWatch and continue to track the target once it has moved beyond the OmniWatch camera range.

“The integration of McQ sensor technology with Insitu UAS will enable a rapid and simple enhancement of overall situational awareness for commanders in the field,” said McQ Inc. President John McQuiddy. “McQ is pleased to be working with Insitu Pacific and we are excited to have our iScout and OmniWatch products integrated with ScanEagle on a technical and operational level.”

Insitu Pacific, located in Queensland, Australia, has provided UAS services to defence, civil and commercial interests in the Asia-Pacific region since June 2009. Insitu Pacific is a subsidiary of US-based Insitu Inc.

News Story: Philippines to buy 5 French patrol boats

By Joel E. Zurbano

THE government will spend P4.8 billion for the acquisition of five patrol vessels from France next year, the Philippine Coast Guard announced on Monday.

Rear Admiral Luis Tuason, Coast Guard officer-in-charge and commandant for operations, did not specify the manufacturer and class of vessels they plan to acquire, but stressed that the vessels will be brand new and French made.

“The President has ordered the procurement of additional ships for the Coast Guard,” said Tuason. “We have a forthcoming one unit 82-meter and four 24-meter long brand new patrol vessels from France.”

Tuason said the funding for the vessels will come from the Office of the President.

Read the full story at Manila Standard Today

News Story: 2nd Philippine Navy warship from US to arrive February

BRP Gregorio del Pilar

By Alexis Romero

MANILA, Philippines - The second warship to be acquired by the Navy from the United States (US) is expected to arrive by February, Defense Secretary Voltraire Gazmin said Monday.

Gazmin said US Pacific Command chief Adm. Samuel Locklear III gave him the assurance of the second warship's delivery during their meeting in Hawaii early this month.

“Our new ship will be coming sometime next year, about February. I met with Admiral Locklear in Hawaii before I joined the trip of the president to Australia and New Zealand. He assured us that the ship will arrive by February 2013,” he said.

The scheduled arrival of BRP Ramon Alcaraz in February is a month later than the initial expectations.

During his state of the nation address last July, President Aquino said BRP Alcaraz was expected to reach Philippine shores by the end of January.

Read the full story at philstar

News Story: Naval leak not as serious as reported - Taiwan defense ministry

A Taiwanese submarine

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said on Oct. 29 that confidential naval information was not leaked in a recent espionage case and no members of the armed forces currently serving are involved.

The ministry's remarks referred to a report in the Taiwan edition of the Chinese-language Apple Daily on Monday that Chang Chi-hsin, a retired commander and the head of the Naval Meteorological and Oceanographic Office's Warfare Department, together with seven other naval officers allegedly sold classified information to China on Taiwan's submarines — including how they were deployed, their positions and other maritime information. The story quoted an anonymous analyst and reported that Taiwan's submarines could be immediately hunted down whenever they left port.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: American Boeing wins IAF heavy-lift chopper deal

Australian Chinook in Afghanistan (Click to Enlarge)

NEW DELHI (PTI): US defence major Boeing has won the deal to supply 15 heavy-lift helicopters to the Indian Air Force defeating its rival Russian Mi-26 in the tender expected to be worth around USD one billion.

The Chinook CH47D has emerged as the lowest bidder in the tender and would be offered the deal to supply 15 of these helicopters to the IAF, Defence Ministry officials said here.

The Ministry will now hold commercial negotiations with the US firm to determine the price and finalise the procurement.

According to Indian defence procurement procedures, the firm emerging as the lowest bidder in the contract and fulfilling all the requirements of the tender is awarded the contract.

Read the full story at Brahmand

News Story: Be transparent in weapons purchase, Antony tells Service chiefs

NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian Defence Minister A K Antony has cautioned the three Services chiefs to be "transparent" in the process of weapon trials and procurement as he cleared proposals worth around Rs 6,000 crore for the Armed Forces.

Antony's message to the chiefs came amid latest bribery allegations in the proposed purchase of 197 light choppers.

At the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting, the Ministry cleared proposals for procurement of 3,000 Light Support Vehicles (LSVs) for the Army at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore and Special Operations Vessels (SOVs) for the Marine Commandos of the Navy at a cost of Rs 1,700 crore, Defence Ministry sources told PTI on Monday.

The meeting also cleared proposals for purchase of Search and Rescue (SAR) equipment for IAF choppers at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore, 3,000 Hand-held Thermal Imagers (HHTIs) for the Army at Rs 800 crore and a Cadet Training Ship for the Navy at Rs 480 crore which will be built by private sector ABG Shipyard, they said.

Read the full story at Brahmand

30 October 2012

Think Tank: The challenges of order-building in the Indian Ocean Region

By Andrew Phillips
Recent contributions to The Strategist have provided valuable insights on the extent and limits of India’s willingness and capacity to assert itself as a nascent great power. Implicit in these discussions lies a deeper issue, specifically the challenge of how best to secure international order in an increasingly contested Indian Ocean Region (IOR). As both the epicentre of the struggle against jihadist extremism and an increasingly critical ‘energy superhighway’ linking East and South Asia to resource hubs in the Persian Gulf, East Africa and Northwestern Australia, the IOR is rapidly growing in strategic significance. But the absence of either a ‘hub and spokes’ style alliance system or a well-developed tradition of multilateral security diplomacy comparable to equivalent structures in the Asia–Pacific significantly complicates efforts to establish a viable regional security architecture. India’s ‘rise’—however halting and incomplete—thus occurs in a radically different regional context from the densely institutionalised web of security and economic cooperation that is presently shaping China’s ascendancy in the Asia–Pacific. For this reason, when trying to make sense of the magnitude and likely consequences of India’s rise, it’s necessary to contemplate the range of possible alternative regional security orders that may co-evolve alongside a stronger and more assertive India:

1) An Indian Ocean Pax Americana: The US Navy’s re-calibration of its ‘two ocean’ orientation (from an Atlantic/Pacific to an Indo-Pacific focus) and the greater interest in the IOR evidenced in the US ‘rebalance’ towards Asia both provide some grounds for envisaging a more overt US leadership role within the local security order. Nevertheless, a combination of limited US interest and likely regional resistance to US hegemonic pretensions—not least from India—make the prospective emergence of an IOR Pax Americana a remote prospect. Undoubtedly, the US Navy will remain the principal security guarantor for regional maritime commerce, and the US will increasingly work to strengthen defence and intelligence cooperation with regional partners. But even the staunchest boosters of American primacy are unlikely to see the value or the viability of attempting to replicate in the IOR the obtrusive, costly and densely institutionalised types of security orders that have underpinned US dominance in Western Europe and East Asia since 1945.

2) A ‘Neo-Nixon doctrine’ for the IOR: Walter Ladwig III has recently argued persuasively for an IOR order organised around a ‘neo-Nixon doctrine’, in which the US would sponsor key local partners—India, Indonesia, Australia and South Africa—to assume the primary burden for upholding regional peace and security. This proposal has significant merits, not least in the more reasonable balance it strikes between US leadership and local initiative. But a ‘neo-Nixon doctrine’ for the IOR runs the risk of overstating the degree of convergent security interests between its four presumptive sub-regional lynchpin states. The stillborn ‘democratic quad’ proposal in 2007 to strengthen security cooperation between India, Australia, the US and Japan furthermore cautions against efforts to build regional orders around democratic ententes, especially those that invite the perception of being implicitly anti-China in their inspiration.

3) India as local hegemon: Indian great power ambitions—stoked in recent years by America’s overt encouragement of India’s rise as a counterweight to China—leave open the theoretical possibility of India’s long-term emergence as a regional hegemon. The limits of New Delhi’s current military modernisation efforts nevertheless preclude this as a short-term prospect. India’s persistent rivalries with Pakistan and China are also likely to divert the bulk of its strategic attention towards a continental rather than a maritime focus for the foreseeable future, while sub-continental fears of Indian domination will continue to constrain India’s leadership aspirations. India’s great size and geopolitical centrality ensure that it will be an indispensible nation within any future regional order. But India’s internal governance challenges and its ongoing tensions with key neighbouring states will prevent it from being the indispensible nation within the IOR for some time to come.

4) An ASEAN for the IOR? Given that America is unwilling and India is presently unable to uphold regional order via hegemonic means, an alternative might be for India to co-sponsor with other like-minded states the development of a regional security architecture comparable to ASEAN and its varied offshoots (most notably the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, or ADMM+). ASEAN’s success from 1967 in integrating post-Sukarno Indonesia into a viable local security architecture invites tantalising parallels with contemporary India, suggesting a means of binding India’s burgeoning power within an institutional framework capable of reassuring New Delhi’s neighbours and thereby aiding multilateral security cooperation. The lacklustre record of regional cooperation through existing structures (eg the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation, or IOR-ARC) nevertheless fails to inspire confidence that such a ‘top down’ exercise in order-building would yield significant strategic benefits in the short term.

5) Small beginnings – the case for ‘bottom up’ regional order-building: In analysing the development of security architectures in the Asia–Pacific, Professor William Tow and Dr Brendan Taylor have noted that order-building can occur as much through ‘bottom up’ processes of incremental security cooperation as from ‘top down’ blueprints prescribing far-reaching institutional change. In the absence of either an uncontested ‘architect’, a strong pre-existing tradition of multilateral security diplomacy or a coherent and thickly institutionalised sense of regional identity, the best option for IOR states to pursue in building a regional order could be the cultivation of ad hocand issue-specific practices of security cooperation. The Tsunami Core Group (involving the US, Japan, India and Australia) provided an early indication of the practical dividends that ad-hoc security cooperation might yield in the area of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, while more recent anti-piracy and counter-terrorism initiatives among IOR states demonstrate a continuing appetite for limited cooperative security ventures. While hardly headline-grabbing, such initiatives promise to deliver real security dividends for participants, while also potentially inculcating the everyday habits of cooperation upon which more ambitious order-building initiatives might subsequently be built. Within this context, Australia’s hosting in 2014 of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) provides a useful forum for Canberra to catalyse discussion regarding the IOR’s emerging security needs, potentially promoting in so doing the small-scale ‘bottom up’ exercises in practical security cooperation that the region urgently needs.

India’s rise is occurring within a deeply unsettled regional context, and India will confront many challenges as it aspires to a global leadership role commensurate with its great size and even greater promise. But India’s neighbours will simultaneously need to work with New Delhi to craft an order capable of peacefully accommodating the seismic power shifts now rapidly re-shaping the IOR. In this regard, pragmatism and a commitment to promoting more modest issue-specific practices of cooperation may ultimately prove more valuable than the quixotic promotion of grand designs in securing the peaceful and prosperous order on which all regional states ultimately depend.

Andrew Phillips is a senior lecturer in International Relations and Strategic Studies in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland. He was recently awarded the Crisp Prize by the Australian Political Science Association for his book War, Religion and Empire – The Transformation of International Orders.
This article first appeared on the ASPI "The Strategist" Blog and is reposted here under a Creative Commons license

AUS: Air Warfare Destroyer tests torpedos

Spanish F-100, base for Hobart class AWD (Click to Enlarge)

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that firing tests of torpedo launchers for the new Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD) have been held in Adelaide.

The tests were part of acceptance testing of the weapon systems for the second destroyer Brisbane and involved firing an MU-90 practice delivery torpedo from an MK32 Mod 9 Surface Vessel torpedo tube. 

The system is made up of three main components – a launcher, an air charging panel and a torpedo loading tray.

“All three destroyers will have MK32 Mod 9 torpedo launchers installed in the port and starboard magazine compartments of the ship,” Mr Clare said.

“The launch system will be capable of deploying lightweight torpedoes against enemy submarines.”

The AWD Alliance has already taken delivery of the first shipset of torpedo launchers for the first destroyer Hobart from subcontractor Babcock after Factory Acceptance Testing was successfully completed in June.

The testing took place at the Techport Australia facility and  included launching the MU-90 practice delivery torpedo from the surface vessel torpedo tubes into a custom designed test rig.

The AWD Alliance is responsible for delivering three of the most complex surface combatants ever built in Australia and is made up of Defence Materiel Organisation, ASC and Raytheon Australia.

The Hobart Class destroyers will provide a significant increase in Australia’s defence capabilities. The destroyers will be the most capable surface combatants ever operated by the Navy.

Video: Mk 32 Mod 9 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tube Testing

Boeing to Demonstrate Enduring Commitment to Australia's Land Force at Land Warfare Conference

Company to showcase C4ISR, training, systems integration, integrated logistics support and rotorcraft capabilities

MELBOURNE, Victoria, Oct. 30, 2012 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] will showcase its leading-edge land force technology, products, services and capabilities at the 2012 Land Warfare Conference, which opens today at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

"Boeing has more than 75 years of experience in providing the Australian Defence Force with solutions that range from rotorcraft, helicopter training and sustainment, and unmanned aerial systems to battlespace communications and integrated logistics support," said Kim Gillis, vice president and managing director of Boeing Defence Australia. "Land Warfare Conference 2012 gives us the opportunity to meet with the Australian Army, as well as other current and potential customers and partners, to discuss how we can apply our innovation and flexibility for the benefit of warfighters."

The Boeing exhibit at Stand 183 will represent Boeing Military Aircraft as well as Boeing subsidiaries Boeing Defence Australia, a major provider of Defence training, systems integration and integrated logistics support services; Insitu Pacific, which provides iRobot unmanned ground vehicles and McQ unmanned ground sensors; and Argon ST, which offers command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and combat systems solutions.

Highlighted products include the CH-47F Chinook helicopter, V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, AH-6i Little Bird light attack/reconnaissance helicopter, and Avenger air defense system. Boeing Senior Flying Instructors at the exhibit will offer visitors the chance to "fly" a Ryan Aerospace Helicrew Simulator.

News Story: Upgraded Indian Submarine Starts Seas Trials in Russia

RIA NovostiAn Indian Kilo class diesel-electric submarineUpgraded Indian Submarine Starts Seas Trials in Russia
03:48 30/10/2012 An Indian Kilo class diesel-electric submarine that has been overhauled at the Zvezdochka shipyard in northern Russia has sailed for two-week sea trials, the company said.> Read the full story HERE <

News Story: Scholars from Taiwan, South Korea, Japan discuss regional issues

A meeting of scholars from Taiwan, South Korea and Japan opened in Taipei Monday, attracting scores of political and diplomatic experts to discuss a range of issues and disputes in the region.

The trilateral dialogue, the fifth such event in the past two years, has become a great exchange platform for the three parties to continue further partnership, said Liu Fu-kuo, executive director of National Chengchi University's MacArthur Center for Security Studies, which is organizing the event.

At such a "difficult time," the three countries should work together, build a solid base and explore possible solutions to solve peacefully any disputes in the region, Liu said in his opening remarks.

The one-day event includes general security challenges, maritime disputes and cooperation mechanisms in the region, he added.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: 250 J-10 fighters enter China's air force: Global Times

J-10 (Wiki Info - Image Wiki Commons)

At least 250 J-10 fighters designed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group are currently serving in the Chinese Air Force and Navy Air Force, reports our sister newspaper Want Daily.

J-10, the Chinese-built fourth generation fighters, are produced in eight batches of about 37 aircraft each, according to CPC-run Global Times. The total number of J-10 fighters produced is assumed to be 296. The report indicated that the J-10 will be equipped by seven regiments of the People's Liberation Army Air Force and one regiment of the People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force.

In addition to frontline units, twelve J-10s are also flown by the August 1st Aerobatic Team of the People's Liberation Army Air Force. Between 15 and 20 J-10s will also be organized by the nation's Flight Test & Training Center into adversary squadrons during the exercise.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: Japan PM to boost coast security amid China row

Japan will "strengthen security" around its coasts, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Monday, as Chinese ships again plied waters near disputed islands.

"While observing the pacifism that is a pillar of our constitution... I will make efforts in strengthening security in surrounding sea areas," Noda said in a policy speech to parliament.

"It is unmistakable that the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming more serious than ever. Various events touching on territorial and sovereign rights are occurring," he said.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily

News Story: Iran has Israel drone data - defence official

Iran is in possession of data transmitted by an unmanned Hezbollah drone that overflew "restricted" sites and bases in Israel this month, a defence official said.

The drone "transmitted live data, photographing sensitive Israeli bases," chair of the Iranian parliament's defence commission, Esmaeel Kosari, told Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam television.

"The photos of restricted areas are in Iran's possession," he said in an interview broadcast on Sunday night.

Israel's air force on October 6 shot down the unarmed drone over the Negev desert after it entered the country's airspace from the Mediterranean Sea.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily

News Story: S. Korea activists release anti-North leaflets

South Korean activists floated anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border with North Korea on Monday, a week after the North threatened military action over a similar propaganda exercise.

Around a dozen activists released seven balloons carrying 50,000 leaflets from a park in the border town of Paju, north of Seoul, amid heavy security involving some 100 police officers.

There were minor scuffles with local residents who sought to block the balloon launch for fear of North Korean reprisals.

A week ago, South Korean police had cordoned off the same area around Paju to prevent a group of North Korean defectors from launching leaflets across the border.

The police response followed a warning from the North Korean military that it would direct a "merciless military strike" on the area if the event went ahead.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily

Editorial: Softer Side of America’s “Pivot”

By Trefor Moss

The U.S.’s pivot to Asia has generally been portrayed in terms of the additional military assets that Washington is sending over  to the region: Marines to Australia, littoral combat ships to Singapore, MV-22 Ospreys to Japan, and additional U.S. Navy ships to the Pacific overall .

However, the US military’s increasing diplomatic efforts are at least as important. Most Asian militaries are in the process of modernizing, and many are starting from quite a low base. So while these countries may not regard themselves as being especially on the U.S.’s “side”, and while they may not be in a position to acquire much expensive American weaponry, they are only too happy to pick up some operational tips from the experts.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Taiwan’s China Spy Problem

By J. Michael Cole

As relations between Taipei and Beijing continue to improve following the re-election of Taiwan’s President, Ma Ying-jeou, to a second term in January, China’s intelligence collection against the island it claims as its own remains as aggressive as ever, with major spy cases grabbing the headlines about once every six months.

It’s been less than two years since Taiwan was hit by the worst spying case in half a century, in which Army general Lo Hsien-che was arrested for passing classified military information to Chinese intelligence officers since 2004, in return for payment. In July of the same year, Lo was sentenced to life in prison, but it was hard to contain the damage, especially as doubts remained over how much access he had to the nation’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, which Taiwan has been modernizing with U.S. assistance for well over a decade.
Read the full story at The Diplomat

29 October 2012

Think Tank: India’s Missile Production Ironies

Agni V (Wiki Info) made by BDL

A recent report by the Ministry of Defence on 25 October indicated that Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) presented a dividend cheque of Rs.47 Crore for the financial year 2011 - 12 to the Defence Minister Shri A K Antony. The dividend is 40.87% on the paid up share capital of Rs.115 Crores. BDL is the Public Sector unit under Ministry of Defence, Govt of India. This is the highest- ever dividend paid by the company, a Mini-RatnaCategory–1 Company, which has achieved a record turnover of Rs.959 Crores during the financial year 2011– 12. To meet the growing demands of the Indian Armed Forces, BDL has embarked on an expansion drive. The company is setting up shortly its fourth manufacturing unit at Amravati in Maharashtra and the fifth one at Ibrahimpatnam in Andhra Pradesh as per the release.

The company has also signed two contracts with the Armed Forces for refurbishment of vintage missiles held by the Services. BDL has productionised Imaging Infra-Red Seekers for Nag Anti-Tank Guided Missile. With this, BDL has joined the elite group of companies producing Seekers in the world claimed the press release. 

Ironically on the same day, Ministry of Defence has recently approved a number of orders for missiles for tanks and infantry combat vehicles (Invar [25000 at Rs 2000 Crore], Konkurs M [10000 at Rs 1200 Crore] ). The Indian Air Force order for  200 BrahMos for Rs 6000 Crore has also been cleared. These will have to be partly fulfilled through revenue account. 

The irony of India’s defence production indigenisation should be evident as the BDL a public sector undertaking specifically charged with manufacture of missiles has given the government a record dividend on the same day as news reports indicate that the orders for Rs 1,200 Crore proposal for procuring 10,000 anti-tank guided missiles from Russia have been placed. 

While BDL the premier and only guided missile manufacturing firm in the country that has been in this business for number of years it is surprising that no efforts have been made to manufacture Konkurs-M missiles which continue to be imported from Russia even though over a decade or so has passed since its induction in the Indian army. There could no doubt have been challenges of protection of intellectual property and other issues but these could have been well resolved and the production capacity at BDL up scaled to avoid the large scale imports. More over with captive orders for missiles from the armed forces it should be no surprise that the BDL will continue to pay dividends to the Government year after year. 

This Article first appeared on Security Risks and is reposted here under a Creative Commons license.

Think Tank: India’s Helicopter Contracts - Perspectives

Australian Chinook in Afghanistan (Wiki Info)

The Times of India on 28 October brought out that the Boeing Chinook heavy-lift helicopters have emerged as the L-1 (lowest bidder)" beating the Russian Mi-26 in the contract for 15 Multi Mission Helicopters after both the birds had passed the technical field trials conducted by Indian Air Force (IAF). "The present contract is for 15 such multi-mission helicopters. The Chinook bid was lower both in terms of initial direct acquisition cost as well as life cycle cost. The contract negotiation committee will now finalize the deal for the Chinook," said a source quoted by the Times of India. Boeing had earlier won the contract for 22 heavy-duty Apache attack helicopters for around $1.4 billion in the technical trials phase. 

The Times of India states that Indian armed forces are planning to induct 900 helicopters to include, “440 light-utility and observation, naval multi-role (90), light combat (65), heavy-duty attack (22), medium-lift (139) and heavy-lift (15)”. Of these the major 197 Light Utility Helicopters deal continues to be dogged by controversies. Allegations of corruption in the trials held between four machines fielded by Agusta Westland, Sikorsky, Eurocopter and Kamov have surfaced with reports that an army aviation brigadier had sought money from Agusta Westland to tweak the trials. The procurement has already seen one trial being cancelled in the final stages in 2007 and with the Defence Minister Mr A K Antony known for his probity and penchant for scratching off deals on the whiff of wrong doing fingers are crossed in the hierarchy.

Italian agencies are already probing allegations of kickbacks in the 12 VVIP helicopters for which Agusta Westland has been shortlisted but is yet to deliver. In case the company is found to have indulged in malpractices it may be blacklisted if the current trend is anything to go by. The company has denied all claims of wrong doing so far and sees the move as another attempt to malign the contract which is in final stages.

(VVIP) AW 101 (Wiki Info - Image from Wiki Commons)
As per a Press Information Bureau release, in response to media reports alleging irregularities in the contract for 12 Helicopters from Augusta Westland for VVIP use, the Ministry of Defence has once again taken up the matter with the Italian government through the Ministry of External Affairs and has asked for an early response on the issue. The Italian government has been requested to provide details of the existence, if any, of any middlemen or any individual or Indian entity in the above mentioned contract. The MoD has asked the Italian government and concerned agencies there through MEA to provide the name and relevant documents relating to the alleged involvement of a Brigadier in the ongoing process for the acquisition of 197 Light Utility Helicopters for the Indian Army. MoD will take strong action against the offenders detected through this probe said the release.

India’s helicopter procurements thus seem to be jinxed. After a decade plus of determination for procurement of 197 Light Utility Helicopters a deal is nowhere in sight even though the proposal now involves only two major helicopter companies, Eurocopter and Kamov. Meanwhile the VIP helicopter deal with Agusta Westland has also come under the scanner. While Agusta Westland and US helicopter-maker Sikorsky were ruled out of the light helicopter deal, thus there should be no link with allegations of demand of bribe by the army aviation officer, it is important that the government takes early decision on light helicopters rather than prevaricate. In all probability till the Westland case is clear, the Defence Ministry is unlikely to take a call on the light helicopters. The key challenge also include pulls and pressures that operate in the global defence industry which has found that the Indian system is pliable and thus have been taking advantage of the same to indulge in unhealthy practices from time to time which has led to many delays and distortions.

This Article first appeared on Security Risks and is reposted here under a Creative Commons license.

NOTE: The “Press Information Bureau release” Link in the above, as well as the images, were added by PacificSentinel for clarity & context.