30 November 2013

Industry: New Zealand selects KONGSBERGs Penguin anti-ship missile

SH-2G Super Seasprite (Image: Wiki Commons)

KONGSBERG has signed a contract with the New Zealand Defence Force for the delivery of Penguin Mk 2 Mod 7 anti-ship missiles and associated equipment.

The missiles will be deployed on the Royal New Zealand Navy new Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite maritime helicopters.

”This contract strongly confirms the Penguin missile’s position as the leading missile within its segment. The contract is for a limited number of missiles, however it is considered an important upgrade of New Zealand’s navy,” says Pål Bratlie, EVP Kongsberg Defence Systems.

News Report: China Air Defense Zone Hangs Over VP Biden’s Visit

William Ide

BEIJING — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden travels to China next week as part of a regional tour that includes stops in South Korea and Japan. While the trip to Beijing was expected to focus on economic issues and other areas of cooperation, analysts say China's controversial new air defense zone in the East China Sea is likely to be a major topic.

Senior U.S. administration officials say Biden will directly raise the issue of the newly established air defense zone and seek to lower tensions, but will not be delivering a formal diplomatic protest over Beijing’s decision.

They say the trip will be an opportunity to speak directly with leaders in China about the decision, to voice Washington’s concerns and seek clarity about why Beijing made the move.

Jonathan Pollack, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. says the development means less time to address other issues during the trip. He says the air defense zone will not only be discussed in Beijing, but in Tokyo, and Seoul as well.

News Report: China Fighter Jets Identify US, Japanese Aircraft

China says it has sent two fighter jets to monitor U.S. and Japanese aircraft that flew into its newly declared air defense zone over the East China Sea.

China's official Xinhua news agency quotes Defense Ministry spokesman Shen Jinke Friday as saying the fighter jets identified two U.S. and 10 Japanese aircraft during their flights over disputed islands controlled by Tokyo and claimed by Beijing.

The report makes no mention of any communication or other engagement between the Chinese planes and the U.S. and Japanese aircraft.  Washington and Tokyo have not yet commented on the report.

Beijing said Thursday it had sent warplanes into the region on a monitoring mission, but Friday marks the first time officials have reported the monitoring of specific foreign aircraft.

News Report: China Sends Warplanes into Disputed Air Space

China's military said it sent warplanes Thursday to patrol its newly-declared air defense identification zone in the East China Sea, just hours after Japan and South Korea challenged Beijing by flying military planes into the zone.

China's official Xinhua news agency said several fighter jets and early warning aircraft had been sent on what a military spokesman described as defensive air patrols over disputed islands controlled by Tokyo and claimed by Beijing.

The Chinese response raises the stakes in an international standoff over the the uninhabited islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Japan, the United States and South Korea have all refused to recognize the Chinese-declared air zone. Earlier this week, the United States, which is obligated by treaty to defend Japan, sought to underscore its position by flying two B-52 bombers over the islands.

Editorial: With Air Defense Zone, China is Waging Lawfare

By Zachary Keck

The East China Sea ADIZ is consistent with China’s larger, sophisticated strategy toward maritime disputes.

The tension surrounding the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is being covered in the kind of exhaustive detail that is rarely given to Asia’s maritime disputes. Many reports have surfaced claiming that the move might have been a strategic blunder for China. Yet, I’ve yet to see any reports explaining in precise details what China was hoping to accomplish by creating the ADIZ.
To be sure, Beijing probably took some joy in seeing the anger the move sparked in Tokyo, particularly given that it perceives its creation of the East China Sea ADIZ as little different from Japan purchase of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands last year. But foreign policy is rarely based solely on vengeance. Indeed, creating the East China Sea ADIZ was much more sophisticated and part of a larger strategy China has been pursuing long before last weekend.
In essence, the East China Sea ADIZ is part of China’s “lawfare” strategy toward its maritime disputes. “Lawfare,” as used in the context of international warfare, is often attributed to retired Air Force General Charles Dunlap, who defined it in a famous 2001 essay as “the use of law as a weapon of war.” Interestingly, according to the spectacular Lawfare blog, Dunlap was preempted by two PLA officers who wrote in a 1999 book, Unrestricted Warfare, that lawfare “is a nation’s use of legalized international institutions to achieve strategic ends.” 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China's ADIZ - Talk Loudly and Carry Small Stick

By James R. Holmes

I blame Bruce Lee. Or maybe it’s Mao Zedong, who was once a cult figure in Naval Diplomat hangouts like Harvard Square, and still may be on certain college campuses abutting the Square. Or David Carradine, from his Kung Fu days. Blame them for what, you ask? For the Western fancy that Chinese officials are masters of diplomacy and warfare, preternaturally skilled in the dark arts of statecraft. It’s an Asian thing.
Balderdash. As warriors go, Communist China resembles Cato of Pink Panther fame more than it does the great Bruce. (Then who’s playing the part of Inspector Clouseau? – ed. Hmmm. Never mind that!)
Beijing’s latest misadventure: creating an air-defense identification zone (ADIZ) spanning much of the East China Sea. Now, ADIZs are neither new nor intrinsically objectionable. I learned about them in international-law classes many moons ago. President Harry Truman signed an executive order during the Korean War instituting the world’s first one. Canada followed suit in 1951. Countries like Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines joined the roster by 1965. China, then, keeps good company. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Is the China-South Korea Honeymoon Over?

By J. Berkshire Miller

Beijing-Seoul ties had been warming considerably, at Japan’s expense. Will the ADIZ row derail them?

China seemed to take the air out of the Geneva Accord on Iran with its simultaneous announcement last week that it is creating an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea. The ADIZ will be implemented by the Chinese Ministry of Defence and obliges all aircraft flying in the zone to accommodate a number of rules including: the identification of flight plans, the presence of any transponders and two-way radio communication with Chinese authorities. Predictably, the move was strongly condemned by both Tokyo and Washington and escalates the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands row to an even more dangerous level. This development also signals Beijing’s indifference to the continued descent of Sino-Japanese relations as well as a closed-fisted challenge to Washington’s rebalancing to Asia. Calibrating a firm and united response to this is a crucial test for the U.S.-Japan alliance. The U.S. has already signalled its displeasure with a B-52 flight across the disputed islands.
Yet, while the bullish move is predominantly a shot across the bow to both Tokyo and Washington, there are other interesting layers of the ADIZ, which may produce negative externalities for China’s other relationships in the region. For example, the imposition on the ADIZ has likely reinforced for several Southeast Asian states – Vietnam and the Philippines in particular – the image of Beijing as bent on throwing its weight around to achieve a desired end state on its maritime disputes in the South China Sea. The action has also further cooled once budding ties between China and Australia. Canberra summoned China’s ambassador to Australia this week and released a statement blasting the ADIZ as “unhelpful to regional security.” And the ADIZ, which also covers Taiwan’s airspace, has widened the cross-Strait rift with Taipei – a tussle that became more knotted following Japan’s fisheries agreement with Taiwan in the East China Sea earlier this year.
But there is fallout from the ADIZ that has the potential to be particularly harmful to China’s interests. In an apparent blunder, Beijing stretched its ADIZ boundaries to include South Korean airspace. Specifically, this zone covers a submerged rock in the East China Sea named Ieodo and parts of airspace surrounding Jeju Island. While Ieodo is not allowed, under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, to be claimed as territory by either state due its status as a submerged rock, both Seoul and Beijing argue that the reef falls under their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

29 November 2013

Think Tank: The ADIZ and rebalancing on the run

By Harry White

For the United States and its allies other than Japan, ownership of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands doesn’t matter. What matters is the contest for influence in Asia which is being played out through the dispute, with China on one side, and the US and Japan on the other.

Ben Schreer’s post earlier today looked at the new ADIZ from the perspective of Washington and her allies in Asia, and in the context of that competition. So far, it looks like Washington and Tokyo have come out on top. But it would be risky to assume the move was just a mistake by Beijing.

Nothing that has happened in the last week should have come as a surprise to Beijing. There was always going to be a statement of support from the US. The Chinese probably hoped it wouldn’t be as clear, but Hagel’s words should have been seen as well within the bounds of possibility.

The same goes for the B-52s. Beijing will have known that the only option available to Tokyo and Washington was to violate the new ADIZ. They probably hoped that the planes would be Japanese and not American, but the appearance of USAF aircraft won’t have been a shock.

Think Tank: Implications of recent incidents for China’s claims and strategic intent in the South China Sea

By Scott Bentley

When discussing China’s South China Sea (SCS) strategy, it’s necessary to begin by asserting that there is in fact a strategy that’s readily discernible from public documents and pronouncements. Though there’s been some disagreement over the degree of coordination between operational units and the central government, with some analysts even questioning if Beijing actually has a discernible strategy in these areas, others have contended that China does in fact have a plan—one that it regards as increasingly successful in achieving its desired objectives. According to Peter Dutton (PDF), the Director of the Chinese Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the US Naval War College, this strategy is centred on the use of ‘non-militarized coercion’ that has provided a means for controlled escalation.

While the execution of this strategy may have at times in the past been poorly implemented due to the vague and developing nature of the strategic goals, since (and even before) Xi Jinping came into power, there’s been a concerted effort to at least increase coordination and oversight, if not to clarify the strategic objectives themselves. However, this increased coordination and oversight is primarily intended to better control the potential for escalation. It’s also part of a wider evolving Chinese strategy to better protect what it views as its ‘maritime rights and interests’ in the SCS. These new strategic objectives do little more than consolidate previous strategic guidance. This suggests that existing patterns of expanded Chinese maritime presence and corresponding incidents at sea are more likely to persist than diminish in the years ahead, though they may be managed more closely by Beijing.

EU: Declaration by the High Representative Catherine Ashton on behalf of the European Union on the establishment by China of an 'East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone'

The EU is concerned to learn of China's decision to establish an 'East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone' as well as the accompanying announcement by the Chinese Ministry of Defence of "emergency defence measures" in case of non-compliance. This development heightens the risk of escalation and contributes to raising tensions in the region. The EU calls on all sides to exercise caution and restraint.

With its significant interests in the region, the EU is following these developments closely. The legitimate use of sea and airspace are rights enshrined in international law and are essential for security, stability and prosperity. Actions that bring or appear to bring these rights into question are not conducive to finding lasting solutions to the differences that exist in East Asia's maritime areas. The EU calls upon all parties to take steps to calm the situation, to promote trust building measures and reach out diplomatically to seek peaceful, cooperative solutions according to international law, in order to defuse tensions and resolve differences constructively.

Sri Lanka: Two Japanese Naval Ships arrive at the Port of Colombo

Samidare DD-106 (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

Two Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) ships, Samidare DD-106 and Sazanami DD-113, arrived at the Port of Colombo for a goodwill and supply visit on 28th November 2013. The ships are en route for Counter Piracy Operations off the Coast of Somaliya and in the Gulf of Aden. They were welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on arrival.

Head of the mission, Commander Escort Division iv, Captain Hiroaki Tajiri and Ships’ Commanding Officers, Commander Takashi Saito and Commander Yasihiro Hayashi paid a courtesy call on Commander Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe of the Sri Lanka Navy at the Western Naval Command Headquarters in Colombo. They held cordial discussions and exchanged mementos as a gesture of goodwill.

“Samidare” and “Sazanami” are both destroyers, which are 151 meters in length. “Samidare” has a displacement of 4,550 tons while “Sazanami” has a displacement of 4,650 tons. Each consists of a complement of 190 naval personnel onboard.

The ships’ complements will participate in a special programme organized by the Sri Lanka Navy during their stay in Sri Lanka. The visiting Japanese ships will stay in Sri Lanka until 29th November.

Industry: Saab signs contract to upgrade Australian Submarine Sub-System

Collins class Submarine (File Photo)

Defence and security company Saab has signed a contract with ASC Pty Ltd (Australian Submarine Corporation) to update and modernise the Integrated Ship Control Management and Monitoring System (ISCMMS) on the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins Class Submarines. The contract has a total value SEK 180 million.

The ISCMMS system provides the submarine manoeuvring control and integrated platform systems management. Originally developed by Saab it has proven to be a very reliable system of the Australian Collins Class Submarine.

The modernisation program involves updating electronic components and systems to alleviate upcoming obsolescence issues and porting the ISCMMS software to ensure the ISCMMS continues operating dependably into the future.

News Story: Pakistan Names New Army Chief

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan named a new army chief on Wednesday, promoting a veteran infantry commander to the most powerful position in the troubled nuclear-armed nation battling a homegrown Taliban insurgency.

Gen. Raheel Sharif will take over as head of the 600,000-strong army from Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, who is retiring after six years at the helm.

The change of command comes with the country facing a daunting array of challenges — the six-year Taliban campaign which has claimed thousands of lives, vexed relations with India and the winding-down of the 12-year NATO mission in neighboring Afghanistan.

Sharif, a veteran infantry commander whose elder brother won Pakistan’s highest military award for valor in the 1971 war with India, will formally take command on Thursday.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Australian Defense Minister Seeks Better Relations With Industry

David Johnston (Image: Wiki Commons)


CANBERRA — Australia’s newly elected defense minister, Sen. David Johnston, says that his government will not cut defense spending further and will work to return it to 2 percent of GDP over the next 10 years.

That’s good news, he said, for the Australian defense industry, which has seen minimal levels of work flowing to them in the last two or three years. Johnston has also pledged to deliver a new defense white paper, defense capability plan [DCP] and industry policy statement suite within 18 months of the coalition government gaining office in September.

“I’ve promised those within 18 months, but I’m looking to underpromise and overdeliver,” Johnston said in a recent interview at his Parliament House office here. “I’d love to be in a position to put them all on the table mid to late next year. The white paper will include an industry policy and a defense capability plan, costed, relevant and cohesive. And if we can achieve that in accord with our white paper aspirations within 18 months of election, we will have gone a long way towards creating a better environment for a relationship to flourish between industry and Defence.”

Read the full story at DefenseNews

28 November 2013

Think Tank: Peaceful rise, anyone? China’s East China Sea air defence identification zone

By Benjamin Schreer

On 23 November, Beijing declared an East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), which not only overlaps significantly with Japan’s but also with Taiwan’s and South Korea’s ADIZs. While the Chinese Ministry of Defense insists that the ADIZ is in ‘accordance with current international practice’, many countries have a very different view, including Australia and its ally the United States. Foreign Minister Julia Bishop called the establishment of the zone ‘unhelpful in light of current regional tensions’ and summoned the Chinese ambassador to express her concerns. US State Secretary John Kerry warned that such ‘escalatory action will only increase tensions in the region and create risks of an incident’. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declaredthe ADIZ a ‘destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region’.

The ADIZ is problematic indeed. The rules demand that all aircraft flying in the ADIZ are required to notify flight plans to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, respond to orders by Chinese authorities during the flight, and face military action in case of non-compliance. Rule number three specifically states that ‘China’s armed forces will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate in identification or refuse to follow the instructions’. China provided a very assertive understanding of an ADIZ, defining it as ‘an area of air space established by a coastal state beyond its territorial airspace to timely identify, monitor, control and react to aircraft entering this zone with potential air threats’. In contrast, the Pentagon sees it as an ‘airspace of defined dimensions within which the ready identification, location, and control of airborne vehicles are required’. As Secretary Kerry stressed, the US also ‘does not apply its ADIZ procedures on foreign aircraft not intending to enter U.S. national airspace’.

In sum, China’s ADIZ undermines the freedom of overflight in East Asia. But there are at least four even broader strategic implications.

Think Tank: Australia’s Response to a Rising China

Arthur Moore

Over the past two hundred years, Australia has grappled with the concern that its geographical location places it too far from its allies in terms of their potential support. Thus, as a large continent, Australia has tended to ally itself with the dominant naval power in the Asia Pacific region – first Britain and now the United States. However, the rise of China is challenging this historical basis of Australia’s defence policy.

On the one hand, Australia could move closer to the United States, strengthen its capabilities, and make the Australia Defence Force (ADF) more interoperable with US forces. The Howard government was successful in ‘breathing new life into the old alliance’ by supporting US-led operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the current government is continuing this trend. In November 2010, the United States and Australia conducted bilateral talks. They agreed to host US troops in Australia and grant US military access to Australian bases. This has enormous significance because the last time US forces were stationed in Australia was during the Second World War. This represents a fundamental overhaul of Australia’s strategic position, as it gives the country greater strategic weight in the region, and restructures the ADF towards accommodating its new guests.

AUS: Canberra based company (CAE) awarded radar development contract

CEAFAR radar on ANZAC Frigate

Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston today announced the award of a Standing Offer contract to Canberra based company CEA Technologies, to develop high powered Phased Array Radar technology.

Senator Johnston said the contract for the development of systems based on the CEAFAR radar would support a number of future Defence acquisitions.

“The CEAFAR radar is currently being fitted to the ANZAC Class Frigates as part of a major upgrade,” Senator Johnston said.

The radar has proven to be a significant enhancement to self and local area defence against modern anti-ship missiles and has performed successfully in recent trials.

“This radar is a world-leading capability for a system of its weight and size and importantly, is considerably more cost-effective than comparable systems,” Senator Johnston said.

AUS: Submariners practice world-class rescue skills

<< Recovering the James Fisher Defence LR5 submarine rescue vehicle during exercise Black Carillon 2011-1 (File Photo)

An intensive three week submarine escape and rescue exercise has drawn to a close off the east coast of Australia.

During Exercise BLACK CARILLON 2013, members of Navy’s Submarine Force simulated being evacuated from HMAS Farncomb, which was bottomed in 112 metres of water, in the James Fisher Rescue Service LR5 submersible.

The 21.5 tonne submersible was then lifted onto the deck of a rescue vessel, where its passengers were transferred into decompression chambers without being exposed to the outside air pressure.

Sri Lanka: An Indian Naval Ship arrives at the Port of Colombo

INS Shivalik (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

A Naval Ship of Indian Navy arrived at the Port of Colombo on 27th November 2013 on a goodwill visit. The ship was ceremonially welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on their arrival. INS Shivalik is a frigate, which is 143 meters in length. It has a displacement of 5300 tons and consists of a complement of 400 naval personnel that include 50 officers and 350 sailors.

They were cordially welcomed by Commander Western Naval Area Rear Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe, under the guidance of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage. Commanding officer of INS Shivalik, Captain Satish Uniyal paid a courtesy call on Director Naval Operation, Commodore Niraja Attygalle at the Naval Headquarters in Colombo. They held discussions on a range of topics which were of mutual interest and bilateral importance for both navies and exchanged mementos as a gesture of goodwill.

The visiting Indian ship will stay in Sri Lanka till 29th November 2013 and the crew members are scheduled to take part in a special programme arranged by the Sri Lanka Navy during their stay in Sri Lanka enhancing the friendly relations between two navies.

News Report: US, Japan Planes Fly Through China's Newly Claimed Air Zone

American bombers and Japanese commercial planes have flown through China’s newly claimed air zone over disputed territories in the East China Sea amid an escalating dispute analysts described as "complex and dangerous."

The flight defiance came as a Chinese naval battle group, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, sailed to the South China Sea for the first time for a training mission, with the Philippines hitting out at its presence as further fueling tensions over disputed island chains in the area.

The Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday said the aircraft carrier's voyage via the East China Sea was part of a "normal training arrangement."

Retired Toledo University international politics professor Ran Bogong said Beijing's recent policy in the East and South China Seas showed that the new leadership under President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang is pursuing a more aggressive foreign policy than that of recent years.

News Report: China Defense Zone Struggles to Take Off Amid Regional Backlash

William Ide

BEIJING — China’s recent announcement that it has established a wide air defense identification zone off its northeastern coast is facing a backlash from the United States, Japan and other allies in the region. But authorities in Beijing are continuing to defend the policy.

China has warned all aircraft to identify themselves and obey orders from Beijing in the new air defense identification zone over the East China Sea.

From the outset, the White House, State Department and Pentagon voiced strong concern about the decision and the threat they say it poses to regional security. On Monday, the U.S. military flew two unarmed B-52 bombers into the zone without notifying China.

South Korea and Japan say they will ignore Beijing's new policy. In Australia, authorities summoned the Chinese ambassador to explain the move.

News Story: Vietnam and New Zealand sign an agreement on boosting their defense cooperation

General Phung Quang Thanh, Minister of National Defence of Vietnam , on November 25th, received his New Zealand counterpart Jonathan Coleman in Hanoi, on his official visit to Vietnam. General Thanh affirmed that the visit by the New Zealand Minister of Defence would contribute to the friendship and mutual understanding between the two armies.

The two sides also reached an agreement on boosting their defence cooperation in delegation exchanges, education and training.

The Vietnamese general underlined that the two nations’ cooperation has continued to develop in various fields. He said that Vietnam is willing to cooperate with New Zealand on maritime security and to receive visits of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s ships to Vietnam.

Read the full story at Army Recognition

News Story: Indian Navy Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya set sail from Russia to India

India’s Vikramaditya aircraft carrier left a shipyard in northern Russia on Tuesday, embarking on a long voyage to its permanent base half way across the world, the Sevmash shipbuilder said.

The Vikramaditya, a refurbished Russian carrier known as the Admiral Gorshkov, will make a short stop for refueling in the White Sea then proceed to the port of Murmansk, where the warship will stay for several days stocking up on fuel and other supplies before heading to a naval base in Karwar in southwestern India.

Read the full story at Navy Recognition

Editorial: The East China ADIZ and the Curious Case of South Korea

By Ankit Panda

The two countries are expected to engage in a high-level defense dialogue on the ADIZ tomorrow.

Much has been said and written already about China’s unilateral establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) earlier this week. Reactions in Japan and the United States have been well-documented, but little analysis has been devoted exclusively to the South Korean angle on the ADIZ issue. The ADIZ, even it was a ham-fisted and poorly conceived strategic attempt to exert Chinese sovereignty over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, did not necessarily have to overlap with about 3,000 square kilometers of South Korea’s own ADIZ, encompassing Ieodo (Suyan) Rock and grazing the Western fringe of Jeju-do’s airspace in the process.
Coverage from Monday in the South Korean press was less-than-sympathetic to the Chinese ADIZ. The Hankyoreh began its report by noting the inclusion of Ieodo in the ADIZ. The Chinese press, for its part, immediately disseminated a Chinese defense ministry statement that China had “no territorial dispute” with Seoul over Ieodo in an attempt to offset the tension. The report included a statement by Qin Gang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, who clarified that the two would resolve the issue via “friendly consultations and negotiations.”
The official South Korea response was significantly more muted than Japan’s. For example, Park Geun-hye did not make any public denunciations of the ADIZ while Shinzo Abe responded publicly and comprehensively. The South Korean high-level response came from Kim Min-seok, the defense minister, who said that Korea would continue to fly in the area covered by the ADIZ without informing China. The Wall Street Journal reports that South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, speaking at a defense forum, said that the ADIZ imposition by China had made “tricky regional situations even more difficult to deal with” — a fairly muted response. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: How China Plans to Use the Su-35

By Peter Wood

Acquisition of the advanced Su-35 fighter would give China some significant new capabilities.

A senior executive at Russia’s state arms export company, Rosoboronexport, has said that Russia will sign a contract to sell the advanced Su-35 jet to China in 2014, while confirming that the deal is not on track to be finished in 2013. This is unlikely to be the last word on the matter – the negotiations have dragged on since 2010, and have been the subject of premature and contradictory announcements before – but it is a strong indication that Russia remains interested in the sale. For the time being, China’s interest in the new-generation fighter is worth examining for what it reveals about the progress of homegrown military technology and China’s strategy for managing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. If successful, the acquisition could have an immediate impact on these disputes. In addition to strengthening China’s hand in a hypothetical conflict, the Su-35’s range and fuel capacity would allow the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF) to undertake extended patrols of the disputed areas, following the model it has used to pressure Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.
The Su-35 is not the first Sukoi to pique the interest of the Chinese military. As previously reported in The Diplomat, the Sukoi-30MKK, and the Chinese version, the J-16, have been touted by the Chinese military as allowing it to project power into the South China Sea.
Previous reports in Chinese and Russian media in June of this year pointed toward a deal having been reached over a sale of Su-35 multi-role jets, but were not viewed as official, given more than a year’s worth of contradictory reports in Chinese and Russian media. At one point, Russian sources claimed that the sale had gone through, only to be categorically refuted by the Chinese Ministry of Defense. Nevertheless, in January both governments paved the way for an eventual sale by signing an agreement in principle that Russia would provide the Su-35 to China. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China’s Game of Chicken in the East China Sea

By Harry Kazianis

Leading from behind at a time when tensions are only mounting would be a tragic mistake.

As the world cheered the news that the P5+1 and Iran had finally concluded an agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program, East Asia moved one step closer to a full-blown crisis. And to be frank, the world has much more to worry about in East Asia than the never ending crisis that is the Middle East — like the world’s second and third largest economies clashing.
In what can only be called choice timing on Beijing’s part, its declaration of an “East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)” has essentially crafted another step towards growing claims of sovereignty over the area around the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Nothing screams sovereignty like telling the world that the airplanes in the skies above the territory you claim must file flight plans with China. Considering Beijing’s past moves of non-naval maritime assets patrolling the area around the Senkakus to the more recent air patrols, the trend lines here are becoming increasingly dangerous and provocative. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China May Shoot Down Hostile Airplanes in New Air Defense Zone

By Zachary Keck

“If the subject intruding into the zone disregarded any warning, our pilots have the right to shoot it down.”

In an interview with China’s state media on Tuesday, a PLA Air Force general warned that Beijing has a right to shoot down hostile aircraft within its recently created East China Sea Air Defense Identification System (ADIZ).
According to South China Morning Post, PLA Air Force major general Qiao Liang explained in an interview that the new ADIZ “provides communication and air force identification between countries, allowing them to identify whether the opposite side is hostile. But if the subject intruding into the zone disregarded any warning, our pilots have the right to shoot it down.”
SCMP said the interview was with China News Service, China’s second largest state-run news agency.According to its Wikipedia pageChina News Service caters primarily to Chinese living in Taiwan, Macau and other places abroad.
Qiao did in fact give an interview with China’s News Service on Tuesday, although The Diplomat has not been able to track down the precise article that the SCMP report references. Interestingly, the English-language website contained portions of Qiao’s interview, although his quotes on this website are more conciliatory in nature. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Why China's Air Defense Identification Zone Is Terrible For Cross-Strait Relations

By Shannon Tiezzi

China’s new ADIZ in the East China Sea jeopardizes the possibility of unification with Taiwan.

Media around the world (including The Diplomat) have extensively covered recent developments regarding China’s new Air Defense Identification Zone. But as usual, Taiwan remains mostly marginalized in the discussions, despite the fact that Taiwan’s government might have the most at stake. For Tokyo and Beijing, the dispute is largely a question of maritime resources and national pride. For Taipei, how the dispute is resolved could also determine the future of Taiwan’s sovereignty.
Taiwan’s claim to the disputed islands (which it calls the Diaoyutai) largely parallels that of mainland China. Taiwan’s government considers itself a continuation of the 20th century Republic of China, with the same territorial claims that have now been adopted by the People’s Republic of China — including the infamous “nine-dashed line” in the South China Sea. Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry outlines the dispute along the same lines as China does, but highlights the fact that the islands were a part of the Taiwan prefecture during the Qing dynasty. Shortly after Japan nationalized several of the disputed islands in September 2012, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Yung-lo Lin wrote an article for Foreign Policy outlining Taiwan’s claims. Lin argued that “the Diaoyutai Islands actually form an inherent part of the territory of the Republic of China (Taiwan) based on the islands’ geographical location, geological structure, relevant historical evidence, and international law.”
The islands, when referenced in Chinese historical documents, are generally considered to have been part of the administrative zone of Taiwan. In other words, if mainland China does gain control of the islands, it would effectively be administering part of Taiwan. Obviously, this give the dispute a deep symbolic meaning for Taiwan’s government. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

27 November 2013

AUS: Construction starts on multi-million dollar facilities for Seahawk Romeo Helicopters at HMAS Albatross in Nowra

Australia's 1st MH-60R undergoing testing in the USA

Construction of facilities for the new Seahawk Romeo Helicopters has commenced at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW.

The Hon Darren Chester MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, turned the first sod at a ceremony today to welcome the commencement of building works.

“This is the culmination of three years of planning by the Department of Defence to build new facilities required to support the training of MH-60R crew and maintenance staff, and to support operations and maintenance of the Seahawk Helicopters in their home port of Nowra,” Mr Chester said.

Defence is investing $189 million into facilities at HMAS Albatross, HMAS Stirling, WA, and Two Fold Bay, NSW, with $138 million in capital costs being invested at HMAS Albatross.

 The capital investment from these projects will have economic benefits in and around the Nowra region, with significant opportunities for local industry during the construction period.

All works at HMAS Albatross are planned to be completed in time for delivery of the first of the Seahawk Romeo helicopters due in late 2014.

AUS: Contract signed to upgrade Collins Class Submarines

Defence Minister Senator David Johnston today announced the Defence Materiel Organisation has signed a multi-million dollar contract with ASC Pty Ltd to update the control management and monitoring system for the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins Class submarines.

Senator Johnston said the Integrated Ship Control Management and Monitoring System is a highly automated computerised system, which enables the crew of a Collins submarine to control, monitor and manage the large number of diverse and complex systems on board the submarines.

“Work under the $57 million contract will focus on updating electronic components and porting the software to operate on the new system,” Senator Johnston said.

AUS: HMAS Tobruk arrives to support recovery in the Philippines

HMAS Tobruk (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

HMAS Tobruk has arrived to commence recovery support operations in the Ormoc region of Leyte Island to assist the Philippines government repair the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

HMAS Tobruk, which sailed from Townsville on 18 November with a Recovery Support Force onboard, arrived on 26 November and is disembarking Army personnel from Townsville’s 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment today by landing craft. The engineers will commence a range of tasks from Thursday 28 November including road clearing and quick impact tasks such as debris clean-up in public areas.

Commander of Joint Task Force 630 Lieutenant Colonel Rod Lang, from the Army’s Deployable Joint Task Force Headquarters in Brisbane, says the area received widespread damage from the typhoon and will benefit greatly from Australian assistance.

USA: USS Freedom, BNS Somudro Joy Conduct PASSEX in Pacific

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karolina A. Oseguera

<< USS Freedom (LCS 1) conducts a passing exercise with the Bangladesh Navy ship BNS Somudro Joy (F-28), Nov. 26. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karolina A. Oseguera)

PACIFIC OCEAN - USS Freedom (LCS 1) conducted a passing exercise (PASSEX) with the Bangladesh navy ship BNS Somudro Joy (F-28), Nov. 26.

The PASSEX occurred as both ships transited across the Pacific Ocean in support of multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in the Philippines.

Freedom had recently completed delivering aid supplies to Tacloban Nov. 24, while Somudro Joy was en route to deliver aid.

Formerly the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis, Somudro Joy was transferred to the Bangladesh Navy in May as Excess Defense Articles (EDA) as part of a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case with Bangladesh. The ship departed Alameda, Calif., Oct. 26 and has since transited across the Pacific Ocean en route to Chittagong, Bangladesh.

India: Chief of Royal Malaysian Air Force calls on the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee

Mig-29 Fulcrum (File Photo)

General Tan Sri Dato Sri Rodzali Bin Daud, Chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force who is on a four day visit to India called on Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Air Staff at Air HQ, Vayu Bhawan today. 

The meeting saw a wide range of bilateral issues being discussed which relate to the ongoing defence cooperation between the two countries. As there is a commonality of aircraft being operated by the two air forces, General Rodzali Bin Daud is also slated to visit IAF's Pune airbase to see the training facilities of Su-30 MKIs and Ozar base repair depot in Nasik which houses MiG-29 Upgrade and Overhaul facility as well as Su-30 manufacturing facility. 

A team of IAF pilots and technicians were in Malaysia in 2008 for a period of two years to train the Malaysian Pilots, Weapon System Operators (WSO) and Maintenance staff for the smooth induction and operation of their newly acquired Su-30 MKM fighter aircraft. IAF has also assisted them in setting up a Systems School for the Su-30 MKM at Gong Kedak Air Base. 

The IAF Chief during his visit to Malaysia in January last year had visited Gong Kedak and Subang Airbases and held talks on issues including professional exchanges, Su-30 Training, Courses, Maintenance and Logistic issues.