30 November 2012

AUS: ACMC Visiting Fellow investigates enhanced civilian participation in Indonesian peacekeeping missions


By ACMC Communications

The Australian Civil-Military Centre has recently completed a pilot Visiting Fellow program, with an officer from the Indonesian military (TNI) seconded to the Centre for four months.

During his time at the Centre, Colonel Achmad Adipati Karnawidjaja, Director of International Cooperation and Information at the Indonesian Peacekeeping Centre in Sentul, conducted a research project that investigated enhanced civilian participation in Indonesian peacekeeping missions.  

This project is a welcome contribution to the Centre’s body of work on multi-agency and regional coordination, Colonel Karnawidjaja’s presence will help further ties between the Centre and its Indonesian counterparts.

The ACMC visiting fellow program is designed to enhance relationships between Australian and regional civil-military practitioners, as well as increase knowledge about the issues inherent in contemporary civil-military practice. The success of the pilot program will now be assessed before any further fellowships are offered.

AUS: Air Force retires C-130H from service


Minister for Defence Stephen Smith today farewelled the C-130H Hercules from Air Force service after an illustrious 34-year career at a ceremony at RAAF Base Richmond, Sydney.

Delivered in 1978, the C-130H Hercules has provided the Australian Defence Force with a highly effective capability, setting the standard for all Air Force transport aircraft which have followed.

Everyone who worked on the C-130H has cause to be proud of their efforts.  This aircraft has provided a tremendous service to Australia.

C-130H Hercules have played a critical role in supporting Defence personnel on operations in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.

As well as its strengths in the battlefield, the C-130H has also provided an immeasurable service in peacetime.

The Australian public experienced the C-130H firsthand during the 1989 Airline Pilot’s Strike.  C‑130Hs also evacuated Australians from Cambodiain 1997, and brought injured Australians home from the Bali Bombings.

They have assisted the people of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and throughout the South Pacific during numerous humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

The C-130H has airdropped hay to stranded cattle in countryAustralia, delivered supplies to our Antarctic Mission, and helped with the rescue of stranded sailors.

Air Force’s air mobility is currently in transition, as older aircraft types like the C-130H and Caribou are phased out and new capabilities, including 12 C-130Js, six new C-17 Globemaster IIIs and 10 C-27J Spartans are introduced to service.

The newer generation C-130Js will carry on the legacy of Air Force variants of the Hercules transport aircraft.

Four C-130Hs will be transferred to the Indonesian Air Force, allowing Indonesia to better support humanitarian operations. Two C-130Hs will be kept by Air Force, with one aircraft going to the Air Force Museum at RAAF Base Point Cook.  The other will be kept at RAAF Base Richmond for training purposes.

Disposal options for the remaining six aircraft are currently being investigated by Defence.

AUS: RAAF’s Wedgetail Squadron marks history by celebrating battle honours

E-7A Wedgetail (Click to Enlarge)

Hundreds of Air Force personnel have turned out to honour the consecration of a new Squadron Standard for RAAF Williamtown’s Number 2 Squadron. 

Governor-General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, was the Reviewing Officer for the Military Parade at RAAF Base Williamtown, which featured a fully-armed Escort Squadron showcasing a proud tradition of the RAAF. 

The Number 2 Squadron Standard is a symbol of the Sovereign’s appreciation for especially outstanding operations and is inscribed with battle honours. 

After originally being approved in 1971, the Number 2 Squadron standard has been replaced to include an additional three battle honours for service in Thailand and Malaysia between 1958 and 1966. 

Today, Number 2 Squadron is home for the brand new world-first E-7A Wedgetail aircraft. 

Commanding Officer of Number 2 Squadron, Wing Commander Paul Carpenter said it was an honour to participate in a parade in front of the Governor-General and that the event was about public recognition for one of the oldest and most highly decorated squadrons in the RAAF. With a motto “To Advise and Strike” it was involved in both World Wars and the Vietnam War. 

“The Squadron was established in 1916 as a unit of the Australian Flying Corps in Egypt flying D.H.5 fighters. Since then the Squadron has flown Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5s then in World War II it operated Ansons, Hudsons, Beaufort and B-25 Mitchell bombers,” said Wing Commander Carpenter. 

“The Squadron upgraded to the English Electric Canberra Bombers a few years later which they flew during the Malayan Emergency and later in Vietnam before it disbanded at RAAF Amberley in July 1982, only to be reformed here at Williamtown in 2000 as part of the Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control project.” 

Since 2011 the Wedgetail has participated in Exercise Bersama Lima in Malaysia, Exercise Cope North Guam, Exercise Bersama Shield, Exercise Red Flag, Alaska and most recently Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC). Last week, the Wedgetail achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC). 

Number 2 Squadron comes under the control of Surveillance Response Group, which is headquartered at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW. 

Today the Squadron comprises around 225 personnel including administrative and logistics support, technical maintenance and aircrew personnel who are responsible for air surveillance assets, maritime warfare, aerospace, surveillance and battle space management, developing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and electronic warfare. 

AUS: $752.7 million upgrade for Defence logistics bases


Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Senator David Feeney has today welcomed Parliament’s approval of a $752 million upgrade of Defence logistic bases around Australia.

Senator Feeney said the Defence Logistics Transformation Program will result in savings and a better logistic network.

“This move means Defence will see the same outcomes for a lower cost. The program will modernise and consolidate logistic bases across the country, resulting in a saving of approximately $350 million, as well as ongoing savings from greater efficiencies,” Senator Feeney said.

“It is also one of our key reform initiatives from the 2009 Defence White Paper. It is an initiative that will deliver a modern, robust and efficient logistics system to support the Australian Defence Force.

“Currently, the Defence storage network operates from outdated infrastructure spread across 201 warehouses in 24 locations. This upgrade will see these sites consolidated to seven primary sites and nine specialty sites.

“The money will also be a good boost for industry, with significant opportunities for sub-contractors and the construction industry over the next three years.”

Warehouses and maintenance facilities will be constructed around Australia including at Moorebank in western Sydney, Ipswich and Townsville in Queensland, Darwin in the Northern Territory, Perth in Western Australia, Adelaide in South Australia and Wodonga in regional Victoria.

Construction is expected to commence in early 2013 at Moorebank, Wadsworth Barracks and Lavarack Barracks, with other sites to follow in the through to mid-2013.  All construction works are expected to be completed by 2015.

Scope of works

The scope of works for each of the seven logistic units are:

1.      Defence National Storage and Distribution Centre, Moorebank, NSW

i. a new entry precinct;

ii. headquarters facility;

iii. general storage warehouse;

iv. loan and repair pool warehouse;

v. joint operations storage warehouse;

vi. aerial delivery equipment storage and maintenance facility;

vii. secure storage and maintenance facility;

viii. land material maintenance workshop;

ix. dangerous goods storage facility;

x. hardstand; and

xi. supporting site works and engineering services.

2.      Joint Logistics Unit (South Queensland), RAAF Base Amberley, Qld

i. headquarters facility;

ii. combined general storage warehouse and cargo consolidation point;

iii. loan and repair pool warehouse;

iv. dangerous goods store;

v. secure storage and maintenance facility;

vi. land material maintenance workshop;

vii. hardstand; and

viii. supporting site works and engineering services.

3.      Joint Logistics Unit (North Queensland), Lavarack Barracks, Qld

i. headquarters facility;

ii. general storage warehouse;

iii. loan and repair pool warehouse;

iv. land material maintenance workshop;

v. dangerous good store;

vi. hardstand and vehicle shelters;

vii. foodstuffs facility;

viii. mounting base; and

ix. supporting site works and engineering services.

 4.      Joint Logistics Unit (North), Robertson Barracks, NT

i. headquarters facility;

ii. general storage warehouse;

iii. loan and repair pool warehouse;

iv. land material maintenance workshop;

v. secure storage and maintenance facility;

vi. dangerous goods store;

vii. regional clothing/kitting store;

viii. mounting base;

ix. hardstand and vehicle shelters;

x. small quantity facility;

xi. new western access road and entrance; and

xii. supporting site works and engineering services.

 5.      Joint Logistics Unit (South), RAAF Base Edinburgh, SA

i. headquarters facility;

ii. loan and repair pool warehouse;

iii. electronic instrument and radio repair;

iv. supporting site works and engineering services; and

vi. ultra wide band test facility.

 6.      Joint Logistics Unit (West), Palmer Barracks and HMAS Stirling, WA

i. electronic instrument and radio repair facility;

ii. indoor weapon test fire facility;

iii. hardstand; and

iv. climate controlled storage.

 7.      Joint Logistics Unit (Victoria), East Bandiana, VIC

i. combined loan and repair pool, disposals and slow moving stock warehouse;

ii. weapon storage and repair facility;

iii. vehicle shelters;

iv. improvements to barracks entry precinct;

v. communications and IT; and

vi. supporting site works and engineering services.

Brunei: ADMM PLUS HADR & MM EX STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING AND EXERCISE AREA SITE VISIT


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, 26-28 November 2012 - RBAF had hosted the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine Exercise (ADMM PLUS HADR & MM EX) ASEAN Steering Committee Meeting (SCM), Reconnaissance of the Exercise Area and Site Visit on the 26th to 28th of November 2012.  This event involves 5 countries that comprises of People’s Republic of China, Japan, Singapore, India and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Military personnel and disaster assessment expertise from various nations participating the ADMM Plus HADR & MM Ex are convening in this meeting to further discuss the planning and implementation of the multi-lateral interoperability exercise. 

The meeting was held at The Rizqun International Hotel, Gadong. The SCM is the continuation of the previous Initial Planning Conference (IPC) which was held last August. The formation of the Steering Committee for the ADMM-Plus HADR and MM Exercise consist of Brunei Darussalam as the Host Nation; China and Vietnam as the Co-Chairs of the ADMM-Plus Experts' Working Group (EWG) on HADR; as well as Japan and Singapore as the Co-Chairs of the ADMM-Plus on EWG MM.

The SCM focuses on the indicative contribution of military assets and personnel from the participating countries, reviewing the exercise area and scenarios as well as focusing on enhancing the upcoming Exercise Organisation of Multi–National Coordination Centre (NMCC) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of ADMM Plus HDAR & MM Exercise for the upcoming exercise in June 2013.

Prior to SCM, the delegation had a site visit to Rimba Royal Brunei Air Force Base follow by Muara Royal Brunei Navy Base.  The following day, the delegation visited Temburong District to have a closer look on the exercise ground.  The purposed of these site visits is to allow the planners to appreciate and consider the contribution that they going to commit for the next year exercise.  This also had given them first hand information and thus drawing out limitation for the exercise.

The SCM focuses on the indicative contribution of military assets and personnel from the participating countries, reviewing the exercise area and scenarios as well as focusing on enhancing the upcoming Exercise Organisation of Multi–National Coordination Centre (NMCC) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of ADMM Plus HDAR & MM Exercise for the upcoming exercise in June 2013.

India: India to host a Workshop on Building New Synergies for Nuclear Security


A 1540 Workshop on Building New Synergies on Nuclear Security is being organized by India in cooperation with the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, 30 November-1 December 2012. The Workshop will be inaugurated by Foreign Secretary, who is also India’s Sherpa for the Nuclear Security Summit.

India’s initiative to host this Workshop was announced by Prime Minister during the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul in March this year. The Workshop will be attended by all countries represented on the UNSC as well as new incoming members, UN, IAEA and representatives of the Committee established under UNSC Resolution 1540. The holding of the Workshop coincides with India’s presidency of the UN Security Council this month.

Northrop Grumman Delivers Australian Automated Biometric Information System Trial Proof of Concept


Trial Proof of Concept Will Help Develop a Biometric Data Repository for the Australian Department of Defence 

MCLEAN, Va. – Nov. 29, 2012 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has successfully delivered the trial proof of concept for an automated biometric information system (ABIS) for the Australian Department of Defence. The system will be operated for a trial period to enable testing and refinement of analytical techniques for producing biometrically enabled intelligence and to help determine the requirements for a future biometrics information management solution.

"This delivery is a key step in the development of a multimodal biometric data repository for the Australian Department of Defence," said Samuel Abbate, vice president of defense enterprise solutions for Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector. "It marks the start of a six-month trial during which biometric data will be collected, stored, matched and processed in accordance with existing legislative frameworks. ABIS will be an important element in Australian Defence Forces capability to ensure identity dominance and assurance in the theatre."

The proof of concept was delivered to the Chief Information Officer Group, Australian Department of Defence, under a one-year contract. The Australian system, which is modelled after the U.S. Department of Defense Automated Biometric Identification System (DOD ABIS), will be used to produce biometrically enabled intelligence and demonstrate the feasibility of a biometric analytic capability in the Australian Defence Force.

Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the DOD ABIS system, the central repository and authoritative source for the U.S. Defense Department multimodal (face, fingerprint, iris and palm) biometric identity records for persons of interest. The network-centric system is accessible worldwide and interfaces with other U.S. government agency data systems.

Northrop Grumman has well-established relationships with Australia, where it has been supporting a variety of both defence and civil programs for more than 20 years. Northrop Grumman was recently awarded a contract to build a cyber test range for the University of New South Wales and Canberra campus at the Australian Defense Force Academy. The company also recently completed the acquisition of M5 Network Security, a Canberra-based provider of cyber security and secure mobile communications to Australian military and intelligence organizations.

MI-26T2 AND IL-78MK-90 WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR INDIAN ORDER


Rosoboronexport expects to win the Indian Air Force tenders on the delivery of heavy-lift transport helicopters and refueller aircraft in which Russia is offering the Mi-26T2 helicopter and Il-78MK-90 aircraft respectively.

Rosoboronexport disproves media reports about Russia's losing the above mentioned tenders and informs that such publications are not true. The results have not been announced yet and any early announcements mislead general public and professional community both in Russia and India.

The Mi-26T2 heavy-lift transport helicopters and Il-78MK-90 tanker are worthy of winning both tenders not only because they are unique military air systems fully meeting specifications of the Indian side but also because they attract potential customers by cost-effectiveness.

Mi-26 (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)
The newest Mi-26T2 heavy-lift transport helicopter has the following obvious advantages:

Mi-26 type helicopters have been successfully operated for a long time in India which will not need to retrain pilots and technicians for them and has already the infrastructure required;

Mi-26T2s are the world’s biggest serially produced helicopters with 20-tonne lifting capacity comparable to that of the C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft: in one sortie the Mi-26T2 helicopter can transport 82 troops with their equipment, quickly transfer a wide range of heavy-weight combat vehicles suspended on the external cargo sling, and in general implement important transport missions by a small group of the helicopters;

in one flight the Mi-26 type helicopters can perform transport as well as assault, search-and-rescue and special-purpose tasks similar to successful operations it carried out in hot and high areas in Afghanistan and other regions, proving its vast combat experience gained in difficult conditions, and high flight safety standards;

Mi-26T2 is sturdy in operation thanks to the installation of protection devices which practically do not reduce service life of its engines and accessories when operating in sand formations; this Russian helicopter also has high field repairability characteristics which speak in its favour too;

information field in the Mi-26T2 pilot cabin is formed by multifunctional “glass cabin” type displays, and its engines are electronically controlled.

IL-78 Tanker (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)
The newest Il-78MK-90 refueller aircraft has the following obvious advantages:

Il-78MK-90 has been developed basically as a military transport aircraft: it can be quickly converted into a full-size military transport aircraft for rapid shipment of cargos, heavy combat vehicles and troops, but the multifunctional design allows its deployment as firefighting, flying ambulance, air command post and airborne early warning aircraft;

Il-78MK-90 can operate from paved and unpaved runways which means that the Russian aircraft can use more than 80 percent of runways available in India, and thanks to this fact there will be no issues with the dispersion of air refuellers over the national airfield network in case of necessity;

Il-78MK-90 is equipped to provide air refueling of other aircraft with two types of fuel in one flight, and on-ground fuel dispensing at the rate of up to 1,500 l/min for field refueling of up to four aircraft, transportation means and armoured vehicles;

Il-78MK-90 is checked for the capability of carrying out refueling operations with all heavy-weight aircraft in the Indian Air Force inventory;

The Il-78MK-90 power plant includes four engines which provides high level of combat survivability in case that one engine is damaged;

Il-78MK-90 features the new PS-90A-76 low fuel consumption engines,  modified wing, reinforced landing gear, integrated avionics suite including the “glass cabin” with multifunctional liquid-crystal colour displays and “smart” control panels;

Il-78MK-90 can perform intercontinental commercial air shipment operations since it meets international ICAO noise and emissions standards.

Second batch of Sokols delivered to the Philippine Air Force


File Photo
PZL-Świdnik, an AgustaWestland company, is pleased to announce that the second batch of Sokol helicopters in combat utility configuration has been delivered to the Philippine Air Force.

The two additional helicopters follow the four Sokols delivered by PZL-Świdnik to the customer in February 2012. The second batch of Sokols are part of a contract signed with the Philippine Air Force in 2010. The contract includes a total of eight Sokol helicopters plus ground support equipment, spare parts, support services and training for aircrew and maintainers. The remaining two helicopters will be delivered in early 2013.

“This delivery marks an important program milestone for both PZL-Świdnik and the Philippine Air Force. The outstanding capabilities of the Sokol helicopter and its ability to perform a wide range of roles will further enhance the capabilities of the Philippine Air Force” said Nicola Bianco, Managing Director, PZL-Świdnik S.A.

The two helicopters, produced in Świdnik, were transported from Jasionka Airport near Rzeszow to  Clark Air Base near Manila onboard  one of the world’s largest cargo airplanes - An-124 Ruslan.

With over 60 years of experience and having produced over 7400 helicopters, PZL-Świdnik is the only Polish OEM with the capabilities to undertake helicopter research, design, development, system integration, manufacturing, support, training and upgrades. The company’s range of rotorcraft can perform the complete spectrum of commercial and government roles. PZL-Świdnik is also a major industrial partner in the aerospace market, supplying aerostructures to many of the world’s leading helicopter and aircraft manufacturers. PZL-Świdnik has been an AgustaWestland company since 2010.

News Report: North Korean Authorities Confiscate Ri Photos

Ri Yong Ho (Hosted by Flickr)

North Korea’s move against the ex-military chief comes as a new armed forces minister is appointed.

North Korean authorities have ordered the public to hand over photos containing the image of a former military official who fell from political grace in a bid to purge him from the country’s historical record, according to sources in the country and in China.

The move comes amid reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has named a hardliner general, Kim Kyok Sik, to the post of Armed Forces Minister as part of a broad reshuffle of the military.

North Korean sources say efforts are underway to tarnish the image of former Chief of the Army General Staff Ri Yong Ho, who was abruptly removed from all military duties in July.

A relatively new general, Hyon Yong Chol, was made vice marshal in the 1.2 million strong Korean People's Army—among the world's largest—to replace Ri.

The high-level political shuffle has led to widespread speculation of a possible power scramble in Pyongyang—a theory that has been bolstered by reports that it is now forbidden to own photos of the ex-military leader, which are considered treasured keepsakes by the public.

“There is a rumor that the regime has branded him an ‘anti-party reactionary’ since August,” a North Korean source who now lives in China told RFA’s Korean Service.

“The party council of the North Korean army first started to collect pictures of him [then],” the source said.

He said he was aware of at least one soldier in North Korea’s North Pyongan province, near the border with China, who had been told to submit a photo he had hung on his wall which included Ri’s image to local government officials and that it had not been returned.

“I don’t know if he will get the picture back with Ri Yong Ho’s face destroyed or if he will never get it back,” the source said.

The regime is not only confiscating photos of Ri from members of the army, but from regular civilians as well, he said.

“As Ri Yong Ho has participated in a lot of ceremonies, there are many pictures of him with ordinary people,” the source said.

The decision to destroy photos of the former army chief is similar to one taken by the North Korean regime in 1969 following the purge of Kim Chang Bong, then-minister of national defense, and Hue Bong Hak, general political director of the military at the time.

Following their removal, authorities collected photos containing images of the two disgraced officials and returned them with their faces blotted out by black ink.

The source in China said that he knew of workers from an ammunition factory that considered a photo of them with Ri “their treasure” who are now “feeling emptiness and fear” after it was seized by authorities.

“It will take considerable time and labor to remove all photos with Ri Young Ho’s face and the action will have a bad effect on [morale].”

Widespread confusion

Ri Yong Ho’s hasty removal from power has left North Koreans confused, the source said.

Once powerful enough to stand at the helm of former leader Kim Jong Il’s funeral cortege following his death last year, Ri was suddenly branded a reactionary and the public has little understanding of why.

“Residents of Pyongyang are saying that if Ri is a reactionary, he must have done something bad to [current leader] Kim Jong Un while he was close to him, but nothing happened, so they cannot understand why he was purged,” the source said.

The youngest of three children, Kim Jong Un—widely believed to be in his late 20’s—assumed power from his father Kim Jong Il in December after the elder Kim died of a suspected heart attack.

Another source in North Pyongan province, who also spoke to RFA on condition of anonymity, said that rumors were swirling about Ri’s fate.

“Even party officials don’t know where Ri Yong Ho is now. Some say that he was put to death and others say he is undergoing medical care for a cerebral hemorrhage,” he said.

“It seems there is no possibility that Ri Yong Ho will return.”

According to Kim Yong Hyun, a professor at Dongkuk University in South Korea, Kim Jong Un ordered the collection of Ri’s photos as part of increased public security measures meant to address the rumors surrounding the former military leader’s removal from power.

“The collection is related to making the Kim Jong Un system sturdy through strong internal unity and by minimizing any anti-government movements,” he said.

In late October, while addressing officials at Ri Yong Ho’s former school—Kim Il Sung Military University—Kim Jong Un said that North Korea has no need for people who are disloyal to the regime, regardless of their military aptitude.

Kim Kyok Sik's appointment, according to South Korea’s officials Thursday, is the latest move in a military reshuffle that began earlier in the year with the purge of Ri.

"It could be the most significant move after Ri's dismissal to strengthen [Kim Jong Un's] grip on the military," a South Korean official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters news agency.

The post of the Minister of Armed Forces is considered subordinate to the Army Chief of General Staff and its head of the Political Department. 

But the appointment is indication of a top army general being rewarded for loyalty to the new leader as he tries to cement his power, Reuters quoted South Korean officials as saying.

Reported by Young Jung for RFA’s Korean service. Translated by Ju Hyeon Park. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Copyright © 1998-2011, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. http://www.rfa.org.

News Report: China Border Patrols to Search, Expel 'Illegal' Foreign Ships


China will soon allow border police to board and search foreign ships that enter what Beijing considers its territorial waters in the disputed South China Sea.

In a move likely to raise regional tensions, state media say police in the southern island province of Hainan will soon be authorized to "land on, check, seize, and expel foreign ships" that enter the area illegally.

The official China Daily says "illegal" activities include entering the province's waters without permission and "engaging in publicity that endangers China's national security." It says the new rules will take effect January 1.

Hainan, China's southernmost province, administers nearly two million square kilometers of the sea. In July, the Chinese military angered its neighbors by setting up a garrison in Hainan's newly established Sansha City, in an effort to enforce its claims in the region.

Many of China's rival claimants, which include the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan, are concerned about what they see as Beijing's increasing assertiveness in defending its claims in the energy-rich South China Sea.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said in a regular briefing Thursday that China has the right to implement the new regulations.

"Carrying out maritime management according to law is the justified right of a sovereign country," said Hong.

The China Daily also said new maritime surveillance ships will soon join Beijing's South China Sea patrol fleet, which has been expanded following recent high-profile standoffs with the Philippines and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Thursday called on China to withdraw three ships from the site of an April standoff.

Del Rosario told ABS-CBN television that Beijing has not fulfilled its promise to remove its ships from the disputed Scarborough Shoal, as agreed by both countries six months ago.

This story first appeared on Voice of America & is reposted here with permission.

News Story: Missile test fears shadow S. Korea-China talks


South Korea's top nuclear envoy left for China Thursday for talks on North Korea, shadowed by signs that Pyongyang is preparing an imminent long-range missile test.

Lim Sung-Nam, Seoul's chief negotiator to six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programme, was to meet with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei and other Beijing officials during his two-day trip.

Prior to departure, Lim told the Yonhap news agency that his meeting would focus on an "exchange (of) views on the recent situation on the Korean Peninsula".

Satellite operator DigitalGlobe Inc. recently released new images showing increased activity at North Korea's Sohae (West Sea) Satellite Launch Station that suggested a possible missile test in the next three weeks.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily

News Story: Okinawa Move, Key To Pacific Pivot, Will Cost More Than $10.6B - GAO

WASHINGTON: Sloppy number-crunching at the Department of Defense means that the official price tag to move 9,000 Marines off Okinawa to Guam, Hawaii, and Australia – already estimated at a whopping $10.6 billion – is probably short of the real cost, according to a draft Government Accountability Office (GAO) report obtained by AOL Defense.

The U.S. plans to move 4,700 of 8,000 Marines to Guam and send the others elsewhere: 1,800 would go to Hawaii – far from the action in the Western Pacific – and the rest to Australia – where the US is building up a "rotational" presence of 2,500 Marines (not all of them relocated from Okinawa) rather than permanent bases. The Pentagon's cost estimate is $10.6 billion.

Read the full story at AOL Defense

News Story: N. Korea’s Defense Chief Replaced by Hawk


SEOUL — North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has replaced his defense chief with a hawkish general in a shakeup apparently aimed at tightening his grip over the military, a report said Nov. 29.

Vice Marshal Kim Jong-Gak was sacked as defense minister after just seven months in office, Yonhap News Agency quoted an unnamed senior South Korean presidential official as saying.

He was replaced by Kim Kyok-Sik, a hawkish general believed to have orchestrated the North’s sinking of a South Korean warship and an artillery attack on a border island in 2010, it said.

Analysts said the re-shuffle, if confirmed, is the latest in a series of top-level personnel changes ordered by Kim Jong-Un since taking over after the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il, a year ago.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Five companies in race to supply multi-calibre rifles to Indian Army

INSAS Rifle (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki)

NEW DELHI (PTI): Five companies are left in the fray to supply multi-calibre assault rifles for replacing the indigenous INSAS rifles of the Indian Army.

In the global Request for Proposal issued to 34 vendors, five companies including American Beretta and Colt, Israeli IWI, Switzerland's Sig-Sauer and Czech Republic's Ceska are left in the race for the tender, Army officials said here.

Under the tender, the Army has stated requirement for over 60,000 new assault rifles which should have two barrels that can be used in different types of operations, they said.

Read the full story at Brahmand

News Story: First upgraded Jaguar for IAF makes maiden flight

IAF Jaguar (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

BANGALORE (BNS): The first upgraded Jaguar "Darin III" fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been successfully flight tested by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) on Nov. 28.

The refurbished aircraft, featuring new state-of-the-art avionics, mission computer, modern navigation, electronic warfare and weapon delivery system along with additional functions in inertial global positioning system, autopilot, radar and radar warning receiver among others, took to the skies from HAL's Bangalore facility.

"This is a significant moment for HAL as the upgrade will result in major operational improvement with regard to all weather air to ground, air to sea and air to air capabilities through incorporation of multi mode radar," R K Tyagi, Chairman, HAL, said in a statement.

Read the full story at Brahmand

29 November 2012

Think Tank: What the Kiwis want from trans-Tasman defence relations


By Robert Ayson

It’s hard to get folks excited about the Australian–New Zealand defence relationship. It’s uncontroversial because we’re already close partners in a fairly low octane South Pacific neighbourhood, where we’re expected to work together. And it’s often overshadowed by links with bigger and more distant players. Chief among these is Australia’s long-standing and very close relationship with the United States. Stephen Smith and Jonathan Coleman may have met in the same city (Perth) and the same month (November) for their annual Australian–New Zealand Defence Ministerial consultations as the biennial AUSMIN talks which had earlier involved Smith, Leon Panetta, Bob Carr and Hillary Clinton. But you would have to be from Mars to expect the media interest to be anywhere near equal.

If I was an Australian defence planner—a tough job in today’s austere times—I’d still be looking to the US relationship to have a larger impact on the future shape of the ADF. But for defence policymakers here in New Zealand, the same formula doesn’t apply. That’s not to deny that our defence relationship with the United States has come on in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. There are even hints on an informal ANZUS triangle coming onto the scene—the Smith/Coleman communiqué indicated that New Zealand forces will observe the 2013 US–Australian Talisman Sabre exercise ‘with the aim of full participation from 2015 onwards.’

But it would take a minor revolution for New Zealand’s burgeoning relationship with the US to steal first place in Wellington’s calculations from defence links with Australia. And because the Australia–NZ relationship matters a whole lot on one side of the Tasman and rather less on the other (militarily, as well as economically and politically), New Zealand has work to do to stay on Canberra’s radar screen. That could get harder as Australia pays more attention to its links with significant Asian powers, including Indonesia, and possibly Japan and India, as the region’s geopolitical shifts become more evident. And as Australia looks more to its north and west, and especially out to the Indian Ocean, it might not see much of New Zealand.

New Zealand might want several things from the defence relationship with Australia. The first is consistency: working with an ADF which has a clear and sensible but modest trajectory is far preferable to the highs and lows which can come if Australia is zigzagging between defence ambition and despair. This means that Canberra needs to take a reality check. The growing gap between Australia’s defence ambitions and defence resources can only be reconciled by an unlikely injection of cash or a smaller view of what Australia can achieve. The latter would suit New Zealand because in the South Pacific we are more likely to work together in modest sized teams and with lighter maritime capabilities: logistics and patrol ships rather than submarines and air-warfare destroyers. An Australia, by comparison, that gets too carried away with what it can offer for the Indo-Pacific moment, only to find its gaze has exceeded its abilities, might be a less settled partner.

The second is for Canberra to give more emphasis to the self-reliance of the ADF, and less to its potential roles in maritime coalitions in more challenging circumstances well into the northern Asia–Pacific. The ADF being able to deploy independently, including in its immediate environs, will work for New Zealand. It will generate capabilities that we can hitch a ride on, and it will require future Australian governments to think more about the wider security context in which defence forces operate.

The third is for Australia to take advantage of the things that New Zealand offers while being realistic about what Wellington can provide. Gone are the days when people envisioned a fully combined and integrated ANZAC defence force—that’s simply not going to happen. But the cross-crewing of Australian and New Zealand naval vessels, and the availability of New Zealand’s multi-role vessel for trans-Tasman purposes when Australian’s platforms are out of service, are signs of what the start of an Australasian capability can look like.

The fourth is for Canberra to be aware of the backwash that its positioning on the US–China balance in Asia can bring to its smaller neighbor. Resisting the temptation to get too carried away with the US rebalancing (something that Ministers in New Zealand should resist as well) will allow more free space for the trans-Tasman relationship to flourish. If Australia wants to take a less accommodating view of China than we do in New Zealand, that’s certainly its prerogative. But Canberra shouldn’t expect Wellington to take the same approach. We’re close partners, but we’re not joined at the hip.

That difference works the other way too. We like having an Australia that is big enough to look after its own security because that works for our security too. But we want our bigger neighbour to have an inbuilt habit to consult with smaller partners as well as larger ones. We don’t expect ANZAC consultations to rival AUSMIN, and we wouldn’t want the focused nature of trans-Tasman consultations to be swallowed up in a return to trilateral formalism. That would be a backward step. It would be better for some niggles to remain in Canberra that New Zealand has been welcomed back by the United States without having to do the hard yards than for New Zealand to disappear off Australia’s screen. Above all, we want to be noticed.

Robert Ayson is director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

This article first appeared on the ASPI "The Strategist" Blog and is reposted here under a Creative Commons license.

AUS: Last AP-3C Orion Aircraft welcomed home from Middle East

AP-3C Orion (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith welcomed the homecoming today of the final AP-3C Orion aircraft to have served in the Middle East Area of Operations.

AP-3C Orion aircraft from Number 92 Wing, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Edinburgh, South Australia, have provided nearly ten years of operational service in the Middle East.

AP-3C Orions first deployed to the Middle East in 2003 to provide an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to forces in the Middle East and proved themselves to be extremely versatile.

The Middle East deployment witnessed the aircraft’s purpose expand from being almost exclusively maritime-focused to becoming an invaluable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset in the land environment, providing ground force commanders with essential situational awareness.

The AP-3C Orions conducted overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks in Afghanistan and Iraq and maritime patrols of the Arabian Gulf and North Arabian Sea.  

More recently, Orions also conducted counter-piracy missions in the vicinity of Somalia, working closely with the US-led Combined Maritime Force and other International maritime anti-piracy task forces.

Throughout the almost decade-long deployment, approximately 3500 personnel deployed with AP-3C Orions on three to six month tours of duty.

During the deployment, Number 92 Wing has also maintained operational and training commitments in Australia, demonstrating the professionalism and dedication of all the Wing’s personnel in support of Australia’s national interests at home and abroad.

The Minister commended Number 92 Wing for their contribution to operations in the Middle East and thanked families and friends of members of 92 Wing for their support for their loved ones who deployed overseas during this period.

Hundreds of personnel who have deployed to the Middle East turned out to witness the final AP‑3C Orion from the Middle East land at RAAF Base Edinburgh today, following a successful commitment as part of Operation SLIPPER.