31 July 2013

AUS: Chief of the Defence Force hosts Commander US Pacific Command

Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley is today hosting the Commander of the United States Pacific Command (PACOM), Admiral Samuel Locklear III, in Cairns for the annual Australia-PACOM Military Representatives (MILREPS) meeting.

Under the Australia-US Alliance, MILREPS is an important strategic forum to maintain and improve cooperation and interoperability between the Australian Defence Force and PACOM.

Like Australia, PACOM’s primary strategic interest is the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

“As economic and strategic weight continues to shift to the Indo-Pacific, our Alliance with the US will only increase in importance for Australia’s security and for the region’s ongoing stability and prosperity,” General Hurley said.

“The MILREPS meeting is a valuable opportunity to exchange views on regional security issues and explore opportunities to build regional cooperation and capacity and interoperability between our militaries.

“I look forward to working with Admiral Locklear to build on the close relationship that our militaries have forged over more than six decades of the Alliance and pursuing new opportunities for practical cooperation,” General Hurley said.

The meeting follows the conduct of Exercise Talisman Saber 2013 in north Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Held every two years, Talisman Saber is the largest combined training activity between Australian and US forces.

USA: USS Freedom Underway to Support First Overseas Crew Swap

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karolina A. Oseguera

<< Chief Gas Turbine Systems Mechanic Todd Furst, right, assigned to USS Freedom's (LCS 1) "Gold" crew monitors propulsion plant readings from the bridge with incoming "Blue" crew readiness control officer Chief Engineman Shannon Thomas., July 30. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Cassandra Thompson)

SOUTH CHINA SEA - As the deployment to Southeast Asia draws to a close for USS Freedom's (LCS 1) "Gold" crew, an advance team of "Blue" crew Sailors is in Singapore to participate in a brief sea trial that began July 30, as part of the upcoming crew swap.

The crew swap is a key milestone during Freedom's maiden overseas deployment to Southeast Asia, and marks the midway point. During the underway, Freedom will conduct a series of watch stander exchanges designed to refresh the incoming crew on key LCS operations and procedures, covering seamanship, navigation, naval gunnery, and damage control.

USA: Carter Hosts Japanese Defense Official at Pentagon

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2013 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter hosted Japanese Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister of Defense Akinori Eto yesterday at the Pentagon.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said Carter expressed admiration for the strong work the United States and Japan have accomplished together in support of the bilateral alliance.

Carter also emphasized the steadfast nature of the U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific rebalance, Little said, and noted the significant role of the U.S.-Japan alliance in maintaining regional security and stability.

“The two leaders discussed the strategic environment and the possibility of a review of the 1997 U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines in order to meet emerging opportunities and challenges,” Little said. “They agreed that strengthening cooperation with other regional partners, including the Republic of Korea, is an important element of promoting peace and stability.”

Eto updated Carter on the status of Japan's National Defense Program Guidelines, including the content of the interim report released July 26, the press secretary said.

Carter and Eto agreed to make steady progress on the realignment of U.S. Forces Japan, including the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko and of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam, Little said. They also discussed progress being made with respect to the joint strike fighter program and agreed to stay in close touch to build upon the strong bilateral relationship between their two countries, he added.

Industry: Commonwealth of Australia Thanks Sikorsky for Early Delivery of First MH-60R Helicopter

STRATFORD, Connecticut - The Commonwealth of Australia has thanked Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), for early delivery of the first MH-60R SEAHAWK® helicopter to the U.S. Navy, the initial step in the process to transfer a mission-ready aircraft to the Australian Defence Force in December 2013. "Delivery and first flight of an Australian MH-60R aircraft in late June occurred only two years after contract signature, some six months ahead of the original schedule approved by the Australian Government in 2011," said Captain Scott Lockey, project director at the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), which is procuring 24 MH-60R anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopters for the Royal Australian Navy. "This is a magnificent outcome for our program."

During a ceremony July 23 near the SEAHAWK production line at Sikorsky's Stratford, Conn., facility to mark the June 29 initial delivery, representatives of the U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Navy, the DMO and mission systems integrator Lockheed Martin heard Capt. Lockey speak to Sikorsky's workforce via video.

"From the technicians on the production floor, to the test pilots on the flight line, to the senior executives, everyone who has touched the Australian Romeo program in any way should be proud of the role you have played," he said.

News Report: One-Child Policy 'Weakens China's Military'

China's draconian "one-child" population controls are affecting the country's military readiness, according to an article circulating in state-run media.

The article, originally attributed to Japan's Asahi Shimbun but picked up by China's official Xinhua news agency, reflects current thinking in the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which fears an aging population will shrink the pool of potential military recruits, analysts said.

PLA strategists are also concerned that China's new generation of "little emperors," only children who are used to attracting all their family's attention and resources, make young Chinese people particularly unsuited for conflict, whether literal or psychological.

"PLA analyses recognize that ... because of the one-child policy, young people are pampered and may therefore be more psychologically brittle and less capable of handling stress," wrote Dean Cheng, a research fellow in Chinese Political and Security Affairs at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, in an article published in July on the foundation's website.

Cheng's article set out the primacy of psychological warfare in PLA strategy, adding that: "Defensive psychological measures are therefore seen as an essential means of limiting the impact of wartime pressures on [young people]."

In the article carried by Xinhua, the one-child policy is also blamed for a lack of discipline among existing PLA troops.

"Soldiers listen to music players when they are lying concealed on military exercises," the article states, by way of example. "This means that their opponents discover them very easily."

News Story: India Boosts Defense Ties with Myanmar


NEW DELHI — India — hoping to improve ties with Myanmar to counter the growing influence of China in the region — will help its neighbor build offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and train the Myanmar troops at Indian military institutions.

The decision to build OPVs was reached Monday during talks between visiting Myanmar Navy chief Vice Adm. Thura Thet Swe and Indian Navy chief Adm. Devendra Kumar Joshi.

The Myanmar Navy chief also held talks with Indian Army chief Gen. Bikram Singh and Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur.

The OPVs will be built at Indian shipyards and the training will be given to Myanmar Navy officers and sailors at Indian establishments. The Indian Defence Ministry refused to give details on the agreement, including which type of OPVs would be built, by whom and how many.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Editorial: India’s First Ballistic Missile Sub to Begin Sea Trials

By Zachary Keck
India’s first indigenously-built, nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, INS Arihant, is set to begin sea trials shortly India’s The Tribune reported on Sunday, citing unnamed Indian officials.
“The nuclear reactor that will power the submarine can be formally declared ‘critical’ anytime now, while the nuclear-tipped missiles to be launched from underwater are in place,” an unnamed source was quoted as saying.
The sea trials are set to begin in mid-August with the wait being attributed to the rough waters caused by India’s yearly monsoon, which begins to weaken in mid-August according to the source. Once it sets sail the submarine will undergo extensive testing underwater including test launching submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Once the INS Arihant is ready to conduct deterrent patrols, perhaps as early as the end of this year, India will have at least a nascent nuclear triad—the ability to launch nuclear weapons by land, air or sea.
India is only the sixth country to acquire a sea-based nuclear leg, with the others being the U.S., the UK, France, Russia and China, albeit—as noted last week—Beijing’s ballistic missile submarines are not believed to have conducted deterrent patrols.
Read the full story at The Diplomat

30 July 2013

USA: US, Republic of Singapore Navies Conclude 19th CARAT Singapore

From Commander Task Force 73 Public Affairs

<< Republic of Singapore Navy Lt. Alvin Tan, bottom, points to an area in the South China Sea where a submarine periscope has been sighted by Ens. Matias del Castillo, center, during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John Donohue)

SINGAPORE - The 19th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore exercise concluded with a closing ceremony at Changi Naval Base, July 26.

Beginning nearly two weeks ago, the annual exercise with the Republic of Singapore consisted of shore-based and at-sea training events designed to address shared maritime security priorities, develop relationships, and enhance interoperability among the participating forces.

CARAT Singapore is part of a series of bilateral naval exercises between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia. Training events in each CARAT phase are tailored based on available assets and mutual exercise goals. As one of the original exercise partners, CARAT Singapore is among the most complex in the series and features a highly sophisticated sequence of training events across the spectrum of naval capabilities.

USA: George Washington Completes Talisman Saber, Arrives in Brisbane

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Trevor Welsh

<< In this file photo, a U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler leads two Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornets and a U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet in a flight formation over the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) during exercise Talisman Saber. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin K. Kittleson)

BRISBANE, Australia - The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, arrived to Brisbane July 29 for its first port visit of its 2013 patrol.

George Washington departed its forward-operating location of Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, June 26, and most recently participated in exercise Talisman Saber (TS) 2013.

The TS series is a biennial training activity aimed at improving Australian and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability.

"Talisman Saber demonstrated the seamless interoperability of the United States and Australia," said Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington's commanding officer. "Australia is one of our most valuable and oldest allies in the western Pacific, and this friendship is an anchor of peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region."

USA: USS Denver Arrives in Brisbane, Australia

USS Denver (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua R. Hammond, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Norfolk

BRISBANE, Australia (NNS) -- Amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9), along with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Brisbane, Australia July 29 for a scheduled port visit, prior to participation in joint and combined exercises in the region. 

Sailors and Marines assigned to Denver and the 31st MEU will participate in various sporting events, as well as enjoy the sites, hospitality, and rich history and culture of Brisbane, where the U.S. 7th Fleet was founded 70 years ago.

"I lived in Australia for a year and I really enjoyed it," said Lt. Cmdr. James R. Bird, executive officer of Denver. "The United States and Australia have been treaty allies since World War II, and [our operational] interactions help reinforce that relationship and help us to work well together."

Denver is on patrol with the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and, with the embarked 31st MEU, is currently conducting routine joint-force operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

The Bonhomme Richard ARG is commanded by Capt. Cathal O'Connor, commodore, Amphibious Squadron 11 and reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.

USA: Germantown hosts New Zealand lieutenant

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Lindahl Amphibious Squadron 11 Public Affairs

CORAL SEA, Australia – Royal New Zealand Naval officer Lt. Eric Chapman disembarked dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) July 25, after spending three weeks participating in the massive multi-national combined, joint-force exercise Talisman Saber 2013.

Chapman, from Wellington, New Zealand, was able to gain first-hand experience with amphibious operations and combat cargo movement in order to help bolster the growing amphibious forces of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

“It’s definitely been a good opportunity for me to understand the different capabilities of our two navies and how we can interact in future exercises,” said Chapman. “I’ve really enjoyed seeing how all the processes come together.”

Chapman embarked Germantown during a routine port visit to Darwin, Australia, and stayed aboard for the days leading up to and the first 10 days of exercise Talisman Saber, when Germantown worked with embarked service members from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7 and the Royal Australian Navy to execute a simulated assault on the beaches of Shoalwater Bay Training Area.

USA: USS Blue Ridge arrives in Cairns, PACOM visits

USS Blue Ridge (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)


Story by USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Public Affairs

CAIRNS, Australia - U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Cairns, Australia while on patrol in the South Indo-Asia Pacific region July 27.

Blue Ridge is in Cairns fostering positive relations with regional partners and affording crew and embarked staff the opportunity to enjoy an area of Australia known for its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef.

"We are working closely with our Australian partners to demonstrate our commitment to security and stability in the region," said Lt. Cmdr. James Coker, USS Blue Ridge operations officer. "Blue Ridge has met every expectation of this deployment on time and with the professionalism you would expect of U.S. Navy Sailors.”

While in Cairns, the crew will also be able to interact with Australian nationals, enjoy the local culture and take in all the sights.

Industry: Lockheed Martin Welcomes Teammates For Onesky AUSTRALIA Air Traffic Management Solution

CANBERRA, Australia, July 29, 2013 – Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] will team with four leading air traffic management (ATM) technology providers to offer its Skyline Enterprise ™ solution for the Airservices Australia and Australian Department of Defence oneSKY AUSTRALIA procurement. Together, the team’s capabilities offer an enhanced air transportation network for all Australians.

The teammates joining Lockheed Martin Australia Pty Ltd on its oneSKY AUSTRALIA solution include Australian-based partners Adacel Technologies Limited; Daronmont Technologies; and Frequentis Australasia Pty Ltd. In addition, Airbus ProSky with subsidiary, Metron Aviation, will join the team.

Skyline Enterprise, one of the world’s most advanced ATM solutions, will feature capabilities that include Adacel Technologies’ flight path conflict detection tool and Frequentis Australasia’s voice communications and integrated tower products. Daronmont Technologies, a small-medium enterprise will provide extensive experience in engineering and deployment of complex systems to the Department of Defence. Metron Aviation is the current provider of Australia’s advanced air traffic flow management (ATFM) system, and their knowledge and skills will ensure the solution optimises airspace and airport resources. 

News Story: China to send soldiers and armoured vehicles to Russia for 20 days of joint anti-terrorism exercises

China on Saturday, July 27, 2013, began to send military personnel and armaments to Russia, where they will join 20-day joint anti-terrorism drills held by both parties. The transfer of Chinese troops for the exercise will be completed by Aug. 2, according to Zhang Yan, deputy commander of the 646 Chinese military personnel participating in the drills.

The Chinese officers and soldiers will be sent to the drill venue in seven batches, with four traveling by air and three by train, Zhang said.

With 72 people on board, two Mi-171 military transport helicopters and four Z-9 armed helicopters from the Chinese side took off from an airport in Hailar in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Saturday morning.

They will travel more than 5,000 km with several stopovers and are expected to arrive at the drill venue in five days.

Read the full story at Army Recognition

News Story: Officials - Philippines May Shift Warships To Ex-US Naval Base

Former US Navy Base Subic Bay (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki)

MANILA — The Philippines may shift key air and naval assets to a former US naval base to boost its response time to waters contested by China, officials said Monday.

Subic Bay, which faces the strategically important South China Sea, was a major US naval facility until 1992, when it was converted into a busy freeport by the Philippine government.

“The discussions are preliminary, but utilizing Subic for our local navy could ideally be very strategic,” said navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic. “It is a natural deep sea port that can accommodate the warships.”

Department of Defense spokesman Peter Paul Galvez also confirmed the plan, which would include the transfer of two key warships acquired from the US.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Admiral Gorshkov achieves milestone in sea trials

NEW DELHI (PTI): The long-delayed aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov achieved a significant milestone when it achieved its top speed of over 30 knots during sea trials in Russia last week.

The 44,500 tonne aircraft carrier rechristened INS Vikramaditya is undergoing extensive sea trials in Russia before its planned induction in to the Indian Navy by the end of this year.

After achieving its top speed, the warship will now move to the White Sea very soon where it will undergo aviation trials including the landing and take-off of fighter aircraft from its runway, Navy officials said.

The warship, which is already delayed by around five years, is expected to complete its trials by the end of September.

Read the full story at Brahmand

Editorial: China’s Folly of Self-Containment

By Harry Kazianis

Over the last several months, an interesting debate has occurred concerning the future of American grand strategy. What defined such ideas during the roughly half century struggle between the USSR and the United States was the doctrine popularly known as containment. America and its allies attempted to constrain Moscow and its communist partners across economic, political and military domains. At times, tensions flared with many fearing such a stance could lead to World War III, and even a nuclear holocaust.
Today, a new bipolar competition is taking shape. While not a global chess match for influence or a new "Cold War" as some theorize,  the United States and the People's Republic of China faceoff in a competitive contest in the Asia-Pacific and larger Indo-Pacific region. In November 2011 in a now famous long form op-ed in Foreign Policy, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid out American's strategy of a "pivot" to Asia. Chinese pundits and media have panned the pivot or now respun "rebalance" as a blatant attempt to contain China's rise.  One Chinese professor even remarked, “The pivot is a very stupid choice… the United States has achieved nothing and only annoyed China. China can’t be contained.”
I agree — unless China makes the choice to contain itself.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: No, China’s Coast Guard Won’t Reduce Tensions

By James R. Holmes

The China Coast Guard officially took to the seas last week, to considerable fanfare.
An international conference on marine safety descended on Beijing to mark the event. The organizer of the gathering, former deputy assistant secretary of state Susan Shirk, hailed the debut of a unified coast guard as a "positive development." Why? "It's good for China's neighbors and the United States," she opined, "because we know who is responsible and who we can hold responsible." Shirk predicted that the China Coast Guard will pattern itself on its American and Japanese counterparts. As Chinese coast guardsmen "develop a sense of professionalism in accordance with international law," furthermore, "it should make for lower risk of accidents."
Well … maybe. An influential Western verdict on China's misconduct at places like Scarborough Shoal or the Senkaku Islands faults skippers for overstepping their authority, whether through an excess of zeal, unclear bureaucratic lines of authority, or situations that fall outside their service's narrow purview. Unifying the hodgepodge of agencies that once policed Chinese-claimed waters — China Marine Surveillance, the fisheries police, and so forth — under one high command should assure that the China Coast Guard executes its duties uniformly, and in keeping with national law and decrees from the political leadership. If not, as Shirk notes, outsiders will at least know where to affix blame.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

29 July 2013

Think Tank: Singapore’s qualified support for the US rebalance

By Tim Huxley

Over the last year and a half, it’s been evident that Washington’s defence and security relations with Singapore are a lynchpin of the Southeast Asian component of the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. But Singapore’s interest in encouraging the United States to remain closely involved in Asia-Pacific security predates the contemporary US rebalance to the region by several decades. Even in the late 1960s, it was clear to Singapore’s leaders that the city-state should do its best to prevent the regional dominance of any power.

Since then, encouraging and—increasingly—facilitating a continuing strong US regional security role have been key to Singapore’s foreign and defence policies. So it was unsurprising that it should help lend substance to the rebalance by providing what is, in all but name, a base for US Navy Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), the first of which (USS Independence) arrived at Changi Naval Base this April. Current plans call for four such ships to be forward-deployed in Singapore by 2017.

The LCS deployments are the latest addition to wide-ranging bilateral security and defence relations that have been growing incrementally over the last four decades. These links were most recently codified under the confidential Strategic Framework Agreement for a Closer Cooperation Partnership in Defence and Security, signed by Singapore’s then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and President George W. Bush in July 2005.

Think Tank: France Emerging as Third Pole In Defence Co-Operation with India

The visit of French Minister of Defence Mr Yves Le Drianis to India from 25-27 July, 2013 underlines emergence of France as the third pole of defence cooperation with India. While in larger engagements, Russia and the US precede France, in defence technical cooperation France comes third after Russia and Israel with multifarious defence deals including the Scorpene, upgradation of Mirage 2000 and the upcoming Rafale MMRCA contract.

Expansion of relations is also evident with the visit of the French President to India recently and New Delhi pledging aid and assistance to Mali, reportedly based on request by Paris where they are involved in peace and stability operations. That India’s present foreign secretary Mr Ranjan Mathai was an ambassador in Paris before he took over the coveted appointment may be a fortunate coincidence.

The Joint Statement issued after the Defence Talks between India and France underlined the larger relationship with the two defence ministers Mr A K Antony and Drianis discussing regional and international security challenges of mutual interest. France retains the territories of La Réunion, Mayotte and the French Southern and Antarctic Territories. France has a naval base in Indian Ocean. Thus defence cooperation with India makes sense for the French in more ways than one.

AUS: Canberra an awesome sight for ship’s company

LEUT Emily Kennedy (author), Mary-Anne Lane (photographer)

<< Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator (ABCSO) Jayo Stenz, ABCSO Chris Carrick and ABCSO Andrew Johns were part of a group of ship’s company who this week had the opportunity to see their ship for the first time. 

A group of NUSHIP Canberra personnel laid eyes on the ship they will soon call home during their first visit to Williamstown Dockyard in Victoria this week.

Most were surprised at the sheer size of Canberra and appreciated the opportunity to explore the ship for the very first time.

At 230 metres in length, 32 metres wide (beam), and the tallest mast high enough to touch the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Canberra is an awe inspiring sight.

“It’s a lot bigger than you imagine, it’s massive on the inside as well. It’s incredible – you could get lost quite easily”, said Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Chris Carrick.

AUS: Domestic Munitions Manufacturing Arrangements Project – Proposal Evaluation Outcome

Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly AM MP today announced a significant ongoing employment opportunity for regional Australia with the selection of three industry consortia to progress to the second stage of the tender process for the Domestic Munitions Manufacturing Arrangements (DMMA) Project.

The DMMA Project will establish successor arrangements to those currently in place under the Strategic Agreement for Munitions Supply and the Mulwala Agreement. These measures expire in June 2015.

Dr Kelly said the project intends to deliver a commercial-based arrangement for the production of munitions, propellant and high explosives.

“This will include incorporating operations at the Australian facilities into an established global supply chain,” Dr Kelly said.

“The DMMA contributes to the identified Priority Industry Capability for Selected Ballistic Munitions and Explosives.

“The tender offer includes the Benalla munitions facility and Mulwala explosives and propellants facility.”

The shortlisted consortia will be invited to enter the second stage of the tender process, including the planned release of a Request for Tender in early 2014.

The shortlist includes:
• Alliant Techsystems Inc (ATK), teaming with NOIA Nominees Pty Limited, American Ordnance LLC, and Day & Zimmerman Inc;
• BAE Systems Australia Limited, teaming with Expal Systems SA (supported by BAE UK and BAE USA); and
• Thales Australia Limited, teaming with General Dynamics-OTS, NAMMO, and Winchester Australia.
A decision on the successful tenderer is expected in the third quarter of 2014.

AUS: Australian industry takes on Wedgetail sustainment contract

Australian industry will take on a $140 million contract with the novation of the E-7A Wedgetail sustainment contract.

Head of the Defence Materiel Organisation’s (DMO) Aerospace Systems Division Air-Vice Marshal Colin Thorne said the contract originally based in the United States had been taken on by Boeing Defence Australia (BDA).

Air Vice-Marshal Thorne said the sustainment contract provided engineering, maintenance, spare parts and training support to the Royal Australian Air Force’s E-7A Wedgetail fleet of aircraft operated by Number 2 Squadron at RAAF Williamtown NSW.

“The six Wedgetail aircraft provide the Australian Defence Force with an enhanced airborne surveillance and control capability to detect aircraft at extended ranges,” Air Vice-Marshal Thorne said.

“Novation to an Australian prime contractor is testament to the growing ability of Australian industry to support the sustainment of Wedgetail operations.

“The effective transfer of integration engineering knowledge on complex airborne command and control capabilities from theUnited Statesinto local defence industry is an important milestone for the E-7A Wedgetail project.”

Novation to an Australian prime contractor enhances Australian industry’s involvement and leadership in the sustainment of the Wedgetail capability throughout this decade and beyond.

“This is an important celebratory milestone for more than 200 Boeing staff employed directly on E-7A Wedgetail support at Williamtown and at Amberley and Brisbane inQueensland,” Air Vice-Marshal Thorne said.

NOTE: The “novation” Link in the above was added by PacificSentinel for clarity & context. 

USA: Pacific Partnership Arrives in Solomon Islands

By Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Godbee

<< A New Zealand Army engineer looks on as USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) departs the Republic of Kiribati, July 26. The ship and embarked international Pacific Partnership team arrived in the Solomon Islands July 29. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tim D. Godbee)

HONIARA, Solomon Islands - The amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) arrived in the Solomon Islands for Pacific Partnership 2013, July 29.

Pearl Harbor will work alongside the Royal New Zealand Navy's HMNZS Canterbury (L421) as New Zealand takes phase lead for the mission in the Solomon Islands.

"New Zealand will be coordinating activities on the ground," said Royal New Zealand Navy Capt. Anthony Millar, Pacific Partnership 2013 deputy mission commander. "We're looking forward to exercising our role as people who have quite a bit of recent experience in the Solomon Islands. We're relishing doing our part for this country's capacity building."

During the mission the Pacific Partnership team will hold a number of engineering projects, medical civil action projects and veterinary projects to improve the Solomon Island's overall disaster preparedness.

News Report: Philippines, Japan Pledge Cooperation in Face of China’s Growing Presence

Simone Orendain

MANILA — The Philippines and Japan are reaffirming their commitment to cooperate on maritime security issues at the same time China is increasing its presence in disputed Asian waters.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rounded out his three-country tour in Southeast Asia with a visit to the Philippines Saturday. Following talks in Malaysia and  Singapore, he met with President Benigno Aquino in Manila where the two had what he calls a “frank exchange” and “highly productive” meeting.

Speaking through an interpreter in the reception hall of the presidential palace, Abe said promoting maritime cooperation is one of four main areas that Japan is focused on in the two countries’ strategic partnership. “We confirmed continued assistance towards the capacity building of the Philippine Coast Guard and I have announced we will provide 10 vessels by Yen loan,” he said.

News Story: Defining Air-Sea Battle

From Interservice Cooperation to Nuclear Confrontation, or Somewhere in Between


WASHINGTON — Hardly a week passes in the defense world without the appearance of some news article, a speech or a panel discussion trying to explain what the Pentagon’s Air-Sea Battle (ASB) concept is all about.

It’s an operational concept, a tactical battle plan, a political ploy to convince the Chinese they can’t compete militarily with the US. It’s likely to be costly, it will help reduce spending. It will deter aggression, it will lead to nuclear war.

Often, the discussions feature declarations of what Air-Sea Battle is not. It’s not about China, it’s not about a specific threat. It’s not a new version of the 1980s-era Air-Land Battle plan. It does not have a specific budget. It’s not just about its database of military assets.

Four years after the concept was conceived, three years after a major monograph described it, two years after a special office was set up in the Pentagon, Air-Sea Battle remains an enigma.

Explaining it remains difficult, retired Navy Adm. Gary Roughead told Defense News this month. “I know that’s a challenge.”

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: India, France to go for joint production of military hardware

Dassault Rafale Fighter (File Photo)

NEW DELHI (PTI): With the 126 fighter deal in the pipeline, India and France on Friday set out on a course of long-term strategic cooperation with the latter offering to move on from client-seller relationship to joint production of military hardware which could be exported to other countries.

The two countries held detailed discussions to further strengthen their defence ties including enhancement of their military exchanges.

After the meeting with Defence Minister A K Antony, his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian said his country will soon sign an agreement for the over Rs 50,000 crore Rafale deal with India under which it will provide its guarantees for the proposed pact.

The French side has also proposed a major Aero-naval exercise with India in the Indian Ocean Region which could include the participation of nuclear-propelled submarines and aircraft carriers along with fighter aircraft.

Read the full story at Brahamnd

27 July 2013

AUS: Defence congratulates RAMSI on 10 years of operations

The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, has congratulated the Solomon Islands Government and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) for their decade-long efforts in helping to build the capacity of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and enabling development of the Solomon Islands Government. 

General Hurley said the people of Solomon Islands had embraced RAMSI and the military personnel, police and civilians from Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and Papua New Guinea. 

“RAMSI has established a new model to work through complex security situations with our regional partners and across government. The 10th anniversary of RAMSI operations shows the Pacific Island region that Australia and its neighbours are committed to long-term stability in the region.” 

India: India and France Decide to Broaden Defence Co-Operation

Following is the Joint Statement issued after the Defence Talks between India and France here today. 

“At the invitation of the Minister of Defence of India, the French Minister of Defence Mr Yves Le Drianis on an official visit to India on 25-27 July, 2013. 

Shri A.K. Antony and Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian held detailed and useful talks on regional and international security challenges of mutual interest. They also reviewed the status of various measures for bilateral defence cooperation and the progress in various areas pursuant to their discussions in February, 2013, during the State visit of the French President to India. 

The Ministers noted that defence cooperation is an important pillar of the strategic partnership between both countries and that the ongoing dialogue and cooperation is mutually beneficial to both nations. The Ministers also noted that the range and depth of defence exchanges and interactions between the Ministries of Defence and the Armed Forces of both sides is being steadily enhanced in areas of mutual interest and in a spirit of mutual understanding, respect, trust and support, taking account of respective security interests. 

News Report: Japan Defense Paper Calls for Strengthened Military

Japan's defense ministry is recommending that the capability of the military be strengthened to deter increasing threats from China and North Korea.

A defense paper released Friday said Japan should increase its surveillance capability and consider using drones or unmanned surveillance vehicles that would be operational at all times to monitor activities in the Pacific.

The paper also called for the creation of an amphibious marine force to defend disputed islands in the East China Sea, including the ability to attack foreign bases.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government will use the report as a basis for national guidelines scheduled to be compiled by the end of the year.

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

News Report: Vietnam's Leader Rubbishes Beijing's South China Sea Claims

By Parameswaran Ponnudurai

Vietnam's President Truong Tan Sang accused China of making "groundless" claims of ownership of the vast South China Sea, saying the Philippines has the right to question the claims at the United Nations.

Speaking during a visit to Washington, Sang said Beijing's nine-dash line, which demarcates Chinese territories in the strategic and resource-rich South China Sea, lacks any legal foundation.

"The position of Vietnam is we always oppose the nine-dash line of China because it's a groundless claim—legally and practically," the Vietnamese leader said in answer to a question at a forum organized by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Sang then told experts at the CSIS that it would be helpful if they could determine whether China's claims are based on a strong legal foundation.

"We cannot find any legal foundation for the claim or scientific basis for such a claim," he said.

China's nine-dash line takes in about 90 percent of the 3.5 million square kilometer (1.35 million square mile) South China Sea on Chinese maps. It also cuts into the 200-mile (322-kilometer) exclusive economic zones of all the coastal states in the South China Sea.