28 February 2013

Think Tank: China’s Central Asia Problem

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, China and its Central Asian neighbours have developed a close relationship, initially economic but increasingly also political and security. Energy, precious metals, and other natural resources flow into China from the region. Investment flows the other way, as China builds pipelines, power lines and transport networks linking Central Asia to its north-western province, the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Chkeap consumer goods from the province have flooded Central Asian markets. Regional elites and governments receive generous funding from Beijing, discreet diplomatic support if Russia becomes too demanding and warm expressions of solidarity at a time when much of the international community questions the region’s long-term stability. China’s influence and visibility is growing rapidly. It is already the dominant economic force in the region and within the next few years could well become the pre-eminent external power there, overshadowing the U.S. and Russia.

Beijing’s primary concern is the security and development of its Xinjiang Autonomous Region, which shares 2,800km of borders with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The core of its strategy seems to be creation of close ties between Xinjiang and Central Asia, with the aim of reinforcing both economic development and political stability. This in turn will, it is hoped, insulate Xinjiang and its neighbours from any negative consequences of NATO’s 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan. The problem is that large parts of Central Asia look more insecure and unstable by the year. Corruption is endemic, criminalisation of the political establishment widespread, social services in dramatic decline and security forces weak. The governments with which China cooperates are increasingly viewed as part of the problem, not a solution, as Chinese analysts privately agree. There is a risk that Central Asian jihadis currently fighting beside the Taliban may take their struggle back home after 2014. This would pose major difficulties for both Central Asia and China. Economic intervention alone might not suffice.

Think Tank: India and UK - Call for stronger, wider, deeper partnership

India-UK Summit talks were held in New Delhi on 19 February 2013 during the official visit to India of the British Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, MP. The Indian side was led by Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh. The security issues denoting convergence in the Joint Statement have been flagged as follows -

Strong cooperation in the field of counter terrorism, to prevent terror attacks, strengthen the international counter terrorism architecture, and exchange best practice in areas such as transport security, security of vital civil infrastructure installations, responding to terror attacks, countering extremism and joint training of counter-terrorism forces.

Deepen their cooperation on cyber security, building on the comprehensive bilateral cyber dialogue held in October, 2012, and the subsequent Joint Statement on Cooperation between India and the UK on Cyber Issues. A second round of dialogue is proposed at mutually convenient dates in March/April 2013. A detailed programme for the sharing of expertise on cyber security including; police training exchanges in cyber forensics; a joint workshop on cyber security research, and a cyber trade and skills event to be held in the first half of 2013 and a joint task force to exchange and share information to address malicious cyber activity originating in and affecting each other's cyber space.

USA: USS Freedom to Conduct Maiden Deployment to the Asia-Pacific

From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

<< USS Freedom (LCS 1), which deploys from San Diego March 1, conducts sea trials off the coast of Southern California last week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James R. Evans)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The U.S. Pacific Fleet announced today that the Navy's first littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) will depart her homeport of San Diego on March 1 and deploy to the Asia-Pacific region.

Making good on a pledge made initially by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the 2011 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Freedom will deploy to Southeast Asia and Singapore for approximately eight months. Marking the first of many planned rotational deployments to the Western Pacific for the new LCS platform, Freedom will conduct maritime security operations with regional partners and allies.

"Freedom's maiden deployment is another clear signal of the Navy's enduring commitment to maintain security and stability in the vital Asia-Pacific region," said Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. "Rotationally deploying our new littoral combat ships improves our warfighting capability and directly supports the Navy's rebalance strategy to the Asia-Pacific.

"Even in the face of potential budget cuts, there should be no doubt that the U.S. Pacific Fleet remains on watch and that we will continue to deploy our most capable units forward to operate with our allies and partners."


HANOI, Wednesday 27 February 2013 – The Commander of Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin made a courtesy call on the Minister of Defence, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, His Excellency General Phung Quang Thanh, and Chief of General Staff, Vietnam People’s Army, Senior Lieutenant General Do Ba Ty as part of his official visit to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Upon arrival at the K-2000 Building in Hanoi, the Commander of RBAF was welcomed by the Chief of General Staff, Vietnam People’s Army and was presented with a Guard of Honour mounted by personnel of the Tri-Service Vietnam People’s Army.  This was followed by a dialogue between the two chief of armed forces.

During the meeting, both sides discussed more on the initiatives to enhance the bilateral relations and level of cooperation between RBAF and Vietnam People’s Army. Both Chiefs reaffirmed their commitments to further strengthen the existing cooperation. The Commander of RBAF later visited the National Defence Academy of Vietnam.

India: Proposals for Setting up Two More Missile Ranges

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has proposed to set up two Missile Test Ranges at the following locations:- 

Rutland Island at Andaman & Nicobar Islands. 

Nagayalanka in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh. 

A proposal for diversion of forest land in Andaman & Nicobar Islands has been initiated by DRDO. A request has also been made to the Government of Andhra Pradesh to spare unassigned revenue land and reserve forest land at Nagayalanka. 

Both the projects for setting up of Missile Test Ranges are at the initial planning stages and land acquisition process is on. 

These projects would be sanctioned after the proposals are cleared by the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Revenue Authorities. 

This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri PrakashJavadekarin Rajya Sabha today.

BAE Systems Clever Technology (for UAV's) Recognised

Avalon, Australia: BAE Systems Australia’s ground breaking technology that enables Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to land themselves has been awarded the inaugural National Defence Industry Innovation Award at the Australian International Airshow.

The award recognises innovation in the Australian aerospace industry.

The technology is an Intelligent Recovery System that enables UAVs to autonomously locate a suitable landing strip and land safely without relying on aids such as GPS, remote piloting or external systems.

When a landing strip is visible, the system uses visual or image-based clues and develops specific algorithms to land safely. The system is so clever that it can also calculate algorithms for moving platforms such as naval ships.

News Story: China's first aircraft carrier relocates to Qingdao

China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, has relocated to its new home port of Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.

As part of its first deployment of the year, the Liaoning reportedly left the port city of Dalian on Feb. 26 and headed down the east coast of China to Qingdao, where it will begin conducting training missions over the Yellow Sea and East China Sea.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: India Rejects Finmeccanica Denial Over Chopper Bribes

NEW DELHI — India on Wednesday rejected denials by Italy’s Finmeccanica that the company paid bribes to clinch a $748-million contract for 12 British-built helicopters.

India in mid-February put payments to the company on hold and asked the Italian firm to reply if any terms of the contract and an “integrity pact” it signed in 2010 had been violated in securing the deal. Finmeccanica, whose chief executive was arrested Feb. 12 in Milan as part of a probe by Italian prosecutors, insisted in its response last week to the Indian government that it acted “correctly” in securing the deal.

“We do not believe the company’s reply to the government’s show-cause notice,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony told parliament Wednesday during a debate on the contract. Antony’s statements came as the government agreed to set up a joint parliamentary commission including opposition MPs to probe charges that bribes were paid to swing the deal in favor of Finmeccanica’s British unit, AgustaWestland.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: N. Korea Says Nuclear Weapons Can Reach US

SEOUL — North Korea warned Wednesday that the U.S. mainland was “well within” range of its nuclear weapons, as Pyongyang continued to ramp up the bellicose rhetoric after its recent nuclear test.

In an article posted on the official Uriminzokkiri website, a member of the Korean National Peace Committee — a propaganda body — said the North was now a “fully independent rocket and nuclear weapons state.”

“The United States should be acutely aware that the U.S. mainland is now well within the range of our strategic rockets and nuclear weapons,” the signed commentary said.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: New Zealand Air Force Remembers ASW

P-3K2 Orion (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)


Wellington, New Zealand — New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence has issued a request for information (RfI) for an “Underwater Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (UWISR)” system.

It may seem axiomatic that such an obviously maritime nation as New Zealand would maintain a credible anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, yet in recent years the focus of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s six Orion aircraft has been on overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

The missions system upgrade that marked the Orions’ transition from P-3K to P-3K2 status (in 2011) was accompanied by renaming the Maritime Patrol Force the Airborne Surveillance and Response Force.

In August 2008, Air Commodore Gavin Howse, then Air Component commander at Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand, told Defense News, “we will still be able to do maritime surveillance, but the capabilities on board will make [the P-3K2] an excellent overland surveillance aircraft.”

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Editorial: China’s Navy Goes Stealth

By J. Michael Cole

In what it called a major step in the “systematic upgrade of its equipment and defense,” the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) on February 25th received the first of an expected 20 Type 056 Jiangdao class stealth corvettes, a new type of ship that experts say will play a major role in defending China’s territorial waters.

The Bengbu (hull 582) was delivered to the PLAN during a commissioning ceremony in Shanghai attended by China’s top brass, including PLAN commander Wu Shengli, who is also a member of the powerful Central Military Commission; Liu Yi, deputy commander of the PLAN, Li Andong; deputy director of the General Armaments Department; and Su Zhiqian, commander of the East China Sea Fleet.

The Type 056 program was first unveiled in 2010. Nine other Type 056 corvettes have been launched since the launch of the Bengbu lead ship in May 2012 and are now being outfitted with weapons and electronics systems. Although Chinese media reported that the new corvette would be put into service “in large quantities,” the PLAN appears to have plans to acquire a total of 20 for the time being. 
The Type 056 comes armed with a pair of two-cell YJ-83 anti-ship missile launchers, an eight-cell FL-3000N (HQ-10) surface-to-air missile system, a PJ-26 76 mm main gun and two 30 mm close-in weapons systems (CIWS), and two (presumably Yu-7 torpedo) tubes. Its flight deck can accommodate a Z-9 helicopter. 
Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: The (Maritime) Consequences of Sequestration

By Gabe Collins

The stinging cuts of sequestration will have a tremendous impact on America's capacity to protect the world's maritime commons -- with devastating consequences.

The upcoming budget sequester—slated to begin on March 1st—and the recent Defense Department decision to in effect cancel the deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman to the Persian Gulf, are disturbing signals that without a significant change, the United States may be increasingly hard pressed to serve as the primary security guarantor for the world’s key sea lanes.The regions of highest concern for negative security impacts from U.S. defense budget paralysis are East and Southeast Asia, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean.

A less formidable U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf—and the message it sends regarding the limits of American naval and military power more broadly—reverberate loud and clear in both friendly and hostile capitals around the globe. Perhaps even worse, the signals are particularly frightening in countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, and Singapore, who see a strong U.S. forward military presence as a guarantee that helps protect them from falling victim to the depredations of powerful neighbors like China.
If more powerful maritime countries like Japan and South Korea lose confidencein the U.S. ability to serve as an offshore balancer and peacekeeper, they will upgrade their militaries more rapidly, fueling regional naval competition. Meanwhile smaller powers like Singapore will be forced to hedge their diplomatic and security bets in ways that make them less reliable partners for the U.S, with ominous medium and long-term national security implications.
Read the full 3 page story at The Diplomat

27 February 2013

Think Tank: China Tests Japanese and US Patience

By Rodger Baker

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warned Beijing that Tokyo is losing patience with China's assertive maritime behavior in the East and South China seas, suggesting China consider the economic and military consequences of its actions. His warning followed similar statements from Washington that its patience with China is wearing thin, in this case over continued Chinese cyberespionage and the likelihood that Beijing is developing and testing cybersabotage and cyberwarfare capabilities. Together, the warnings are meant to signal to China that the thus-far relatively passive response to China's military actions may be nearing an end.

In an interview The Washington Post published just prior to Abe's meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, Abe said China's actions around the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and its overall increasing military assertiveness have already resulted in a major increase in funding for the Japan Self-Defense Forces and coast guard. He also reiterated the centrality of the Japan-U.S. alliance for Asian security and warned that China could lose Japanese and other foreign investment if it continued to use "coercion or intimidation" toward its neighbors along the East and South China seas.

Abe's interview came amid warnings on Chinese cyberactivity from Washington. Though not mentioning China by name in his 2013 State of the Union address, Obama said, "We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems." Obama's comments, and the subsequent release of a new strategy on mitigating cybertheft of trade secrets, coincided with a series of reports highlighting China's People's Liberation Army backing for hacking activities in the United States, including a report by Mandiant that traced the activities to a specific People's Liberation Army unit and facility. The timing of the private sector reports and Obama's announcement were not coincidental.

AUS: Chief of the Defence Force welcomes Thai counterpart

The Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley welcomed his counterpart, General Tanasak Patimapragorn, on this first visit to Australia as Chief of Defence Forces Royal Thai Armed Forces. 

General Hurley and General Tanasak re-affirmed the two nations’ close defence relationship during bilateral discussions in Canberra this week. 

“Thailand and Australia have a long history of cooperation over more than 60 years and we share a commitment to work together to continue to strengthen the friendship between the Australian Defence Force and the Royal Thai Armed Forces,” said General Hurley. 

Australia and the Royal Thai Armed Forces have developed a counter IED engagement plan that delivers an enduring capability to the Royal Thai Armed Forces. 

“Thailand was one of the first countries to sign a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on Counter Terrorism with Australia (2002) and we have continued to work closely together on counter IED issues, in an effort to combat the global threat posed by improvised explosive devices.”  

As part of the three day visit General Tanasak also attended the Australian Defence College to meet college staff, Royal Thai Armed Forces personnel studying in Australia and Australian members of the Thailand-Australia Military Alumni Association. Under the Defence Cooperation Program, Australia supports participation by Royal Thai Armed Forces officers in a broad program of military education and training. 

“The Royal Thai Armed Forces had the foresight to establish one of our first Alumni Associations. Over past decade the Thai Australian Military Alumni Association has grown from 150 members in its inaugural year to around 500 members today,” said General Hurley.

AUS: Minister for Defence Materiel attends the Australian International Airshow and Defence Exposition

Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly today met with a number of Defence companies and received briefings on state of the art aviation technology and future Defence projects during his visit to the Australian International Airshow and Defence Exposition at Avalon in Victoria. 

“Australia has a strong and highly capable Defence aviation industry. Australian companies are world class with a number winning international contracts to support some of the most sophisticated aircraft ever built,” Dr Kelly said.

Dr Kelly also used the visit to reflect on the key achievements made by both Defence and industry since the last Australian International Airshow and Defence Exposition held in 2011.

“Australia’s aviation capability continues to improve as a number of new aircraft are introduced in the coming years to complement our existing fleets,” Dr Kelly said.

“The Air Force now has a full squadron of Super Hornets and the Government has approved the acquisition of the Growler electronic attack capability.”

Brunei: Permanent Secretary receives report on findings & Recommendations on the operational & safety resource assessment survey of the RBAIRF

BOLKIAH GARRISON, Tuesday 26 February 2013 – Further to the Aviation Operational and Safety Survey/Assessment conducted by US Department of the Army in January 2013, The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Brunei Darussalam, His Excellency Daniel Luke Shields this afternoon handed over the reports on Findings and Recommendations for the Operational and Safety Resource Assessment Survey of the Royal Brunei Air Force to Col (Rtd) Pg Dato Paduka Haji Azmansham bin Pg Haji Mohamad, Permanent Secretary (Defence Policy and Development), which took place at the Ministry of Defence.

The report provides the RBAirF with a resource assessment survey that details observations and recommendations to enhance RBAirF aviation operational safety and readiness.  The 3 members composite team aviation experts performed a concise survey according to the United States Army Aviation regulations, policies, procedures and directives, as well as other applicable international aviation safety publications.

FABA systems carries out the first tests of the software for the control of the Australian destroyers platform

Spanish F100, basis for the Hobart class AWD

Navantia systems FABA Control systems has carried out the first official test of the software for the integrated Control of platform (IPMS, in English), which will equip three ships AWD for Australia. The tests were performed in face-to-face collaboration with the team of inspectors from the shipyard that built the ships in Australia, ASC, as well as with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The second test before installation of the software on vessels be held in December.

Tests have been developed throughout the month of February, beginning with meetings beginning of tests (RRT) and ending with results analysis meetings. They have taken place in the facilities of control systems in the shipyard of Navantia Cartagena, on an exhaustive test environment (LBTS), in which each set element of the IPMS is present, reflecting the final configuration of the boat.

The resulting software will serve as reference to parallel simulation program for training of endowments (IPMS TS) for the three destroyers of the Hobart class, ACS shipyard is building at its facilities in Adelaide.

Navantia (English Translation by Bing)

Australian DoD announces Initial Operational Capability for A330 MRTT

The Australian Department of Defence has declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of the Airbus Military KC-30A - its designation for the A330 MRTT.

The announcement was made on the opening day of the Australian International Airshow, Avalon, by Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Mike Kelly.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) accepted the fifth and final MRTT from Airbus Military on 30 November last year. The aircraft was delivered to RAAF Base Amberley in early December 2012.  As well, the RAAF completed the first Australian pilot and Air Refuelling Operator courses at the MRTT training centre (RAAF Base Amberley) in December 2012.

Airbus Military Vice President Derivative Programmes, Antonio Caramazana said: “We very much welcome the announcement of the Initial Operating Capability of the KC-30A. This reinforces the fact that the A330 MRTT is the world´s only certified and flying new generation tanker/transport and the RAAF is to be commended for its dedication and commitment to bringing the aircraft to operational status.”

In RAAF service the A330 MRTT is equipped with two underwing refuelling pods, the fly-by-wire Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), and a Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) enabling it to be refuelled from another tanker. Powered by two General Electric CF6-80E engines, the aircraft equipped with a comprehensive defensive aids suite (DAS) and fitted with 270 passenger seats.

NOTE: The declared Initial Operational CapabilityLink in the above was added by PacificSentinel for clarity & context. 

CAE Australia wins contract to support and upgrade RAAF’s AP-3C simulator

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

Melbourne, Australia, February 27, 2013 - (NYSE: CAE; TSX: CAE) - Today at the Avalon Australian International Air Show, CAE announced it has recently been awarded a contract from the Commonwealth of Australia to provide maintenance and engineering support services for the Royal Australian Air Force's AP-3C Advanced Flight Simulator (AFS).

Following a competitive tender, CAE Australia was selected to provide the on-site maintenance and support services for the AP-3C AFS, which is located at RAAF Base Edinburgh in Adelaide, South Australia and used to train RAAF aircrews.  In addition, CAE expects to provide a range of simulator upgrades, including a comprehensive upgrade of the visual environment.

News Report: China unveils new stealth missile frigate

Type 056 Jiangdao class Frigate (Image: Chinhdangvu)

China releases details of a new stealth missile frigate. It’s part of a military modernization process amid ongoing tensions over Beijing's maritime claims in the region.

The first ship of the Type 056 Jiangdao class frigates was handed over to China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in Shanghai, home to one of the country's largest naval shipyards.

The stealth frigate Number 586 is a new design with sloped surfaces made as clean as possible, it also has  reduced superstructure clutter. It features advanced technologies that will make it harder to detect by radar, visual, sonar, and infrared methods, the Chinese navy said at their website.

China's brand new vessel is armed with a 76-mm main gun based on the Russian AK-176 and 30-mm remote weapon systems. The main anti-ship armament consists of YJ-83 sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles in two twin-cell launchers. The primary anti-aircraft armament is one FL-3000N short range missile system with eight rounds. The ship is fitted with a helicopter deck at the stern but has no organic helicopter support facilities.

At 1,440 tons fully loaded, this frigate cruises at an estimated 28 knots and has about a 2,000 nautical mile range.

News Report: Russia supports India's inclusion in UNSC

Russia will support India’s inclusion in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a permanent member in case it is reformed, Speaker of the Russian Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko confirmed this Tuesday, meeting with the Chairman of the lower house of the Indian Parliament Meira Kumar in New Delhi, a Voice of Russia correspondent reported.

Matviyenko said that earlier Russia supported India’s inclusion in the UNSC as a non-permanent member for 2011-2012. Russia, China, the USA, Britain, and France have been the permanent members of the UN Security Council since its foundation.

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

News Story: Thai Muslim insurgents launch attacks

Muslim insurgents in Thailand's troubled southern Muslim provinces launched a series of similarly timed reprisal attacks.

The 29 assaults included bombings and arson after a failed militant attack by about 50 fighters wearing combat uniforms assaulted a Thai marine corps base in Narathiwat's Bacho district.

The near simultaneous attacks occurred between 7:30 p.m. and midnight Saturday in six Pattani districts. Seven local self-defense volunteers were injured in a bomb blast but local officers said the situation was under control by 2 a.m. Sunday.

A security source told the Bangkok Post that Muslim militants led by Masore Dueramaethe were believed to have carried out the attacks. Dueramaethe's group is also blamed for multiple bombings and arson attacks Feb. 16 in Pattani's provincial center.

Read the full story at SpaceWar

News Story: Chinese Military enhance capacity to reach distant battlefields

Type 903 Replenishment Ship (File Photo)

China is expanding its long-neglected fleet of supply ships and heavy-lift aircraft, bolstering its military prowess in support of missions to enforce claims over disputed territory and to defend Chinese interests abroad.

These transport workhorses are unlikely to arouse the same regional unease as the steady rollout of high performance fighters, long-range missiles or potent warships, but they are a crucial element of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) three-decade military build-up, defense analysts say.

Over time, the air and sea support will give the world’s second-largest navy greater geographical reach and will enhance the PLA’s capacity to assist troops on distant battlefields, potentially including Taiwan if Beijing were to launch a military assault to take control of the self-governing island.

China’s state-owned shipyards last year launched two 23,000-tonne type 903 replenishment ships, according to reports and photographs published on Chinese military affairs websites and blogs, with further orders in the pipeline.

Y-20 Transport Aircraft (File Photo)
Defense analysts say the state-of-the-art ships are undergoing sea trials and should be commissioned into the Chinese navy later this year.

China also confirmed last month that the PLA had conducted the first test flight of its Y-20 heavy lift aircraft from the Yanliang airbase near Xi’an in Shaanxi Province.

State-run television showed footage of the four-engine Y-20, the biggest aircraft built in China, taking off and landing. The Y-20, built by AVIC Xi’an Aircraft Industry (Group) Co Ltd, would have a 66-tonne payload, according to official media reports.

Read the full 2 page story at China Defense Mashup

News Story: Singapore and Malaysian navies begin exercise Malapura 2013

Republic of Singapore Navy Formidable class Frigate
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) is conducting a joint annual bilateral maritime exercise, Malapura 2013, with the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) at Changi Naval Base (CNB) in Singapore.

During the 12-day exercise, around 540 personnel from both navies will participate in joint planning and training at CNB, as well as perform manoeuvres in conventional naval warfare and maritime security, in the Malacca Strait.

The RSN will deploy its first DCNS-developed Formidable-class multi-mission frigate RSS Supreme (73), second Victory-class missile corvette RSS Valour and the second Singapore Technologies-built Fearless-class patrol vessel RSS Independence (87) for the exercise.

Yarrow Shipbuilders-built Lekiu-class frigate KD Lekiu (F30), in addition to Boustead Naval Shipyard-designed two Kedah-class offshore patrol vessels KD Kelantan (F175) and KD Selangor (F176), will represent the Malaysian Navy.

Read the full story at Naval Technology

News Story: Indonesia to purchase UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from United States

Australian Army BlackHawk (File Photo)

Indonesian army would purchase Black Hawk helicopters from the United States this year, in a bid to strengthen its weaponry, a military officer said here on Monday, February 25, 2013. The plan is part of the Indonesian government's effort to modernize its weaponry.

"Black Hawk is a good choice," said General Pramono Eddie Wibowo, Indonesian army chief of staff after signing an agreement between the army, oil and gas firm PT. Pertamina Persero and BRI bank here at the army headquarters.

Read the full story at Air Recognition

News Story: Indonesia takes delivery of two of the six Sukhoi Su-30 MKII ordered from Russia

Su-30 MKII Flanker (File Photo)

Indonesian air forces recently received two of the six Sukhoi Su-30 MKII fighter jets it ordered from Russia, lifting its Sukhoi family aircrafts in operation to 12. The delivery of the two Su-30 MKIIs was conducted late last week, and the fighters arrived in Indonesia's Hasanuddin air force base in Makassar, South Sulawesi province on Friday, February 22, 2013, evening.

Those planes, delivered in unassembled form and transported by Russian strategic transport plane Antonov 124 Ruslan, arrived in Makassar along with 17 crews from Sukhoi plant Komsomolsk-na Amure Aircraft Production Association (KNAPO) tasked to assemble the fighter jets in the Indonesian air force base.

Read the full story at Air Recognition

News Story: Scandal Shines Spotlight on India’s Procurement Problems

AgustaWestland AW-101 Merlin

By Vivek Raghuvanshi

NEW DELHI — While moves by the Indian Ministry of Defence to cancel a helicopter contract with AgustaWestland over alleged kickbacks have drawn headlines, some military officials and analysts say a complex, lumbering procurement process creates conditions where such actions are more likely and represents the larger problem for India’s military.

“The procurement process takes place at various levels and by various agencies, and there are chances that suppliers use dubious means to push through their product,” a senior MoD official said. “The media is unduly blowing up the issue, which could hamper the purchase of much-needed weapons and equipment.”

Bureaucratic delays in procurement and the over-cautious approach taken by the MoD, especially in the past five to six years, have slowed weapons acquisition, with several tenders canceled and overseas companies blacklisted. Some service officers said in private that the procurement system is at fault and there is no need to cancel previous contracts.

The Army has yet to buy a single howitzer gun since 1987 because tenders had to be rebid midway through the competition after first Denel of South Africa in 2005 and then Singapore Technologies in 2008 were blacklisted.

The big-ticket bids floated in 2008 for purchase of 155mm/.52 caliber tracked and wheeled guns have yet to be concluded.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: State Media - Chinese Navy Gets New ‘Stealth Frigate’

Type 056 Jiangdao class Frigate (Image: Chinhdangvu)
BEIJING — China’s navy has taken delivery of a new type of stealth frigate that is expected to bolster the country’s maritime defenses amid territorial disputes, state media reported Tuesday.

The ship, identified by the official Xinhua news agency as a “Type 056 stealth frigate,” was delivered to the navy Monday afternoon in a ceremony in Shanghai.

Navy commander Wu Shengli emphasized the importance of mastering its equipment and capabilities amid ongoing maritime disputes, according to a front-page article Tuesday in the PLA Daily newspaper, published by the People’s Liberation Army. Wu, also a member of the Communist Party’s powerful Central Military Commission, called for continuous improvement and growth of an elite naval force capable of fighting and winning so as to reassure Chinese leader Xi Jinping and other members of the commission.

In January, state media reported that the armed forces were instructed to raise their fighting ability in 2013 and “focus closely on the objective of being able to fight and win battle.” President Hu Jintao, set to step down next month and be replaced by Xi, told a Communist Party congress last November that China should become a “maritime power.”

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Related Story: China unveils new stealth missile frigate

26 February 2013

AUS: Australian International Airshow

Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, today attended the opening of the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition at Avalon, Victoria.

The Australian International Airshow is the premier event on Australia’s international aviation calendar.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is a major partner to the event, providing a range of aviation related displays.

In addition to offering visitors the opportunity to see a wide range of participating international aircraft, the Airshow provides an opportunity for the public to see a range of ADF aircraft.

ADF displays include the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet, KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), C-17A Globemaster, Navy’s MRH-90 Multi Role Helicopter, historic aircraft from the RAAF Museum and the RAAF Band.

The Minister toured the Aerospace & Defence Exposition and met with a number of Defence Industry representatives from companies including Pratt and Whitney, Lockheed Martin, Finmeccanica, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Aerosonde and Elbit.

The ADF’s support to the Airshow provides valuable training, including security, airfield engineering, air traffic control, and air crew and combat support.

The Australian International Airshow is open to the public from Friday 1 March to Sunday 3 March 2013.

AUS: KC-30A (MRTT) achieves Initial Operational Capability & Vigilare C&C system achieves Final Operational Capability

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Mike Kelly today provided an update on two air capability projects.

Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft achieves Initial Operational Capability

Minister Smith and Minister Kelly announced that the KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft had reached Initial Operational Capability (IOC).

Australia is the lead customer of the MRTT aircraft, which integrates advanced airborne refuelling systems into a commercial Airbus A330 to create the world’s most advanced tanker aircraft. 

The MRTT is designed to perform airborne refuelling for air combat aircraft to enhance endurance and range. The MRTT will also provide a further lift capacity for 270 passengers and has an under-floor freight capacity of 36,000 kg (26 airline containers). The RAAF will receive 5 MRRT’s.

USA: Amphibious Squadron 11 Hosts Royal Thai Navy for Completion of Cobra Gold 2013

From Amphibious Squadron 11 Public Affairs

<< Members of the Royal Thai Navy disembark a landing craft utility and enter the well deck of amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46), Feb. 20, during exercise Cobra Gold 2013

WASHINGTON - Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11, Capt. Cathal O'Connor hosted six Royal Thai Navy (RTN) officers aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), as part of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group's completion of exercise Cobra Gold 2013 (CG 13), Feb. 22.

O'Connor said it was good to have the chance to speak with his RTN counterparts after a successful exercise.

"We have an extremely good relationship with the RTN," said O'Connor. "This visit gave us the chance to discuss the successes we achieved during CG 13 and future opportunities that will come with the stronger partnership we have built throughout this year's exercise. We have enhanced our ability to work with our ally nations to continue to promote peace and stability in the region."

Although the visit was short, the guests took advantage of their time on board to ask and answer questions, and discuss lessons learned.

India: Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, Chief of Staff, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force on a two day visit to India

Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, Chief of Staff, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF), called on Admiral DK Joshi, Chief of the Naval Staff, Indian Navy at Naval Headquarters today. During the meeting, a wide range of subjects of mutual interest in the Maritime Domain were discussed. The Indian Navy and the JMSDF have been collaborating towards combating piracy off the Gulf of Aden. Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano also called on the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony. The JMSDF chief is on a two day official visit to India. 

Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano will visit the Western Naval Command Headquarters at Mumbai tomorrow, where he will interact with Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, FOC-in-C Western Naval Command. 

It may be recalled that the inaugural Indo-Japan Maritime Affairs dialogue was held at New Delhi, last month. 

Lockheed Martin Completes 400th MH-60 Digital Cockpit for Installation on First Australian Romeo Helicopter

AVALON, Australia, Feb. 25, 2013 — Lockheed Martin has completed the 400th Common Cockpit™ avionics suite for the U.S. Navy’s MH-60 Seahawk helicopter program. The digital cockpit will be installed aboard the first of 24 MH-60R (Romeo) anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopters to be acquired by the Royal Australian Navy via the U.S. Government’s Foreign Military Sales program.

“The Common Cockpit avionics suite has proved to be a highly effective flight and mission systems hub during more than 600,000 flight hours aboard the U.S. Navy’s fleet of 360 MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters built and delivered to date,” said Capt. James Glass, program manager for H-60 Multi-Mission Helicopters. “A digital, all glass cockpit that’s common to both platforms and operationally proven will enable critical interoperability between MH-60 aircraft operated by both the Australian and U.S. navies.”