31 October 2014

USA: Possible Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan for GRC43M Cutters

WASHINGTON, Oct 30, 2014 – The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan for GRC43M Cutters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $350 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today. 

The Government of Pakistan has requested the purchase of 8 43-meter Global Response Cutters (GRC43M). Each Cutter will be a mono-hull design made of Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP). Also included in this sale: outfitted 8 25mm or 30mm Naval Gun Systems, 32 M2-HB .50 caliber machine guns, 32 7.62mm guns, 8 8- meter Rigid Inflatable Boats, ballistic/armor protection of critical spaces, command and control equipment, communication equipment, navigation equipment, support equipment, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated cost is $350 million.

Industry: Raytheon awarded $205 million (JMSDF) Phalanx upgrade contract

Phalanx CIWS mounted on a JMSDF Destroyer
(Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

PARIS, Oct. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) was awarded a multi-year bulk buy contract totaling over $200 million to provide Phalanx Close-in Weapon Systems (CIWS) upgrade kits, support equipment and hardware spares to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The CIWS is an integral element of Japan's Ship Self-Defense Program. 

"Phalanx provides the critical inner-layer of protection to sailors around the globe against threats that are continually evolving," said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Naval and Area Mission Defense product line. "Thanks to its array of sensors, Phalanx brings a proven solution against threats launched from land, sea or air." 

Close-in Defense Solutions

Phalanx is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20 mm gun system that automatically acquires, tracks and destroys enemy threats that have penetrated all other ship defense systems. More than 890 systems have been built and deployed in navies around the world.

Intended to enlarge Phalanx's keep-out range against evolving anti-ship missiles, rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft and other threats, SeaRAM Anti-ship Missile Defense Systems use advanced Phalanx Block 1B sensors and replaces the gun with an 11-round Rolling Airframe Missile guide. SeaRAM is aboard the Independence-class of the U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ships.

News Story: Britain's Fallon Raises Eurofighter on India Visit

NEW DELHI — British Defence Minister Michael Fallon said Thursday he raised a $12 billion fighter jet deal being negotiated by French company Dassault during talks with his Indian counterpart.

Fallon said he spoke with Defence Minister Arun Jaitley about the contract in the hope of still landing the giant deal being considered by the new right-wing government.

British-backed Eurofighter lost out to the French-made Rafale plane for exclusive negotiations in 2012 to supply 126 fighters.

The French lodged a lower bid than its rival Eurofighter for a tender with an estimated value of $12 billion.

But the negotiations have since been delayed, and have only now been taken up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government which stormed to power in May.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: China - Japanese Aircraft Scrambles Endangering Safety

BEIJING — Japan’s increased scrambling of military aircraft in response to Chinese flights is endangering safety between the Asian powers in the air and at sea, Beijing’s defence ministry said Thursday.

The defence ministry in Tokyo announced earlier this month that the country’s military had scrambled aircraft a total of 207 times to respond to incursions by Chinese aircraft between April and September, up from 149 cases during the same six-month period last year.

Asked about the Japanese statistics at a monthly press conference, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spokesman Yang Yujun said the numbers showed that Japan was endangering safety.

“These statistics themselves show that the frequency of Japanese military aircraft close-in surveillance and monitoring of Chinese military aircraft are on the rise,” Yang said.

Such action “is the root cause for safety issues in the air and at sea between China and Japan,” he added.

“We urge Japan to stop such dangerous activities.”

Read the full story at DefenseNews

PacificSentinel: Umm... China, if you REALLY want Japan to stop scrambling fighters to intercept your spy planes, you could always stop flying into Japanese airspace! (this message brought to you by the "Doh!" department)

Editorial: What the Soviet Union Can Teach China About A2/AD

Tu-22M Backfire bomber (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

By Robert Farley

The Soviet Union’s experience with A2/AD against the U.S. Navy carries important lessons for Beijing.

A2/AD is not new.
This statement is true in the broadest possible sense — the Carthaginians took elaborate and effective steps to hold Roman fleets at bay, for example — but also in the much narrower sense of the modern military problems associated with protecting and defeating a carrier battle group. A recent set of posts at the maritime blog Information Dissemination, building on information revealed in a 2014 Naval War College Reviewarticle, highlights the ongoing dilemmas of the anti-access fight.
The Tu-22M Backfire bomber entered service in 1972, with the Soviets eventually producing almost 500 aircraft.  Theories about the plane abounded (some argued that it represented the USSR’s most serious foray into a strategic nuclear bomber force), but eventually it became clear that the most important use for the bomber would come as a maritime strike aircraft.  The Backfire gave the Soviet Navy a supersonic aircraft that it could use in mass to fire anti-surface missiles against U.S. carrier battle groups.
Developing the weapons that could kill, and the bombers to carry those weapons, was only part of the problem, however.  The article and the commentaries on it concentrate on the critical issues of locating and correctly identifying targets. Vectoring a massive flight of Backfire bombers onto a carrier group was an enormously expensive undertaking, both in terms of opportunity cost and in likely casualties.  The Soviets had to make certain where the carriers were in operational terms, and that their missile would find the carriers themselves instead of decoy vessels. The Soviets had access to some satellite data, but largely depended on surface ships and pathfinder aircraft to communicate locations and dispositions. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: The Age-Old Sino-Indian Contest for South Asia

By Kunal Singh

Chumar is the latest episode in a half-century old battle for South Asian dominance.

The new Indian government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pursued its foreign policy with exceptional vigor. One bout of “fast track” (PDF) diplomacy came to an end with his euphoric visit to the U.S. and another has just begun with Modi hosting Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. The first round also included successful visits to Bhutan, Nepal and Japan. The visit of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to India was likewise a success, even if understated. The success of the summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping however, cannot be stated as convincingly. Xi was given a grand welcome in Ahmedabad by Modi. In Delhi, Xi committed to a $20 billion investment in India over five years, yet while they were touring Gujarat, hundreds of PLA soldiers crossed the border into the Indian territory of Chumar.
Past Trends
The larger question is: Why did China choose to do this? Why did it send such a mixed signal at such an inopportune time? An easy answer can be found by looking at past trends. Previous visits of Chinese presidents and premiers have been a means for delivering disguised messages. The 2013 visit by Premier Le Keqiang was preceded by PLA soldiers camping on the Depsang Plains of Ladakh. Just a week before the arrival of Premier Wen Jiabao in 2006, the Chinese envoy to India Sun Yaxi declared Arunachal Pradesh to be part of China. The history of calculated measures coinciding with high-profile visits should have prepared India for similar actions this time. It was the scale of the incident (with reportedly 1000 PLA soldiers participating) and the timing that took Indian strategic thinkers aback. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: 3 Reasons Modi is Misguided on Pakistan

By David J. Karl

Modi’s hardline policy towards Pakistan needs to be back by substantive engagement.

The new Indian government has pursued a noticeably harder line toward Pakistan-based terrorism than its predecessor.  During the recent electoral campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a “zero-tolerance policy” and promised to “Talk to Pakistan in Pakistan’s language because it won’t learn lessons until then.”  He has responded to the ongoing firefights along the Kashmir divide with aggressive shelling.  Consonant with his tough-guy image, he boasts that “The enemy has realised that times have changed and their old habits will not be tolerated,” and displaying his skill in wordplay he proclaims that “This is not the time for empty talk [‘boli’] … but for bullet [‘goli’] for our soldiers.”
Mr. Modi’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, stated last week that while New Delhi is willing to talk with Islamabad, “effective deterrence” is key to dealing with Pakistan.  Referring to the cross-border skirmishes in Kashmir, Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley similarly warns that “Our conventional strength is far more than theirs and therefore if they persist with this, the cost to them would be unaffordable. They will also feel the pain of this kind of adventurism.” And a senior government official reports that “The prime minister’s office has instructed us to ensure that Pakistan suffers deep and heavy losses.”
The merits of this tougher posture have sparked a lively debate within India.  Some observers caution that “machismo has never worked as a plan against Pakistan” and that an approach based solely on coercion is “a dangerous game” that could easily spin out of control.  A former Indian envoy to Pakistan contends that a policy of escalatory response is “what the Pakistani army wants and we are falling into this trap.”  Others, however, argue (herehere and here) that Mr. Modi has no choice but to reply robustly to what are deliberate Pakistani tests of his resolve. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China’s Military Wages War on Ebola

By Shannon Tiezzi

The PLA is playing a leading role in China’s fight against the Ebola outbreak.

According to the World Health Organization’s latest report, Ebola has now claimed 4,920 lives, almost all in west Africa. The number of Ebola cases is at 13,703 and counting – Mali just reported its first case on October 23, making it the eighth country to be affected. As the world scrambles to respond to the epidemic, help is coming from a surprising source: China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
China has been active in the fight against Ebola. Beijing sent four rounds of aid to west Africa, representing a total value of $122 million. “Through the four batches of assistance, China’s message is clear: Ebola is a common public health threat to all countries,” China’s UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, explained. China’s contributions to Ebola have been well covered; what’s less well-known is that most of these contributions are being handled by the PLA.
As Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Yang Yujun pointed out in a regular monthly press conference, much of China’s aid is delivered by the military. The PLA is “responsible for mobilizing and transporting the Chinese government’s humanitarian aids to relevant western African countries,” Yang said. For example, newly announced plans to construct an Ebola treatment center in Liberia will be realized by the Chinese military. “Relevant work is already underway,” Yang said.
In addition to handling the logistics of Chinese aid, the PLA has also sent doctors, nurses, and other medical experts both to treat patients and to provide technical training in epidemic prevention. These experts “are currently fighting at the frontline of the battle against Ebola,” Yang said. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Can China Save Afghanistan?

By Shannon Tiezzi

The 2014 Istanbul Process, hosted by China, is a litmus test of regional support for Kabul in the post-NATO era.

As Afghan President Ashraf Ghani wraps up his state visit to China this week, Beijing is preparing to host a bevy of international leaders for the fourth ministerial meeting of the Istanbul Process. With U.S. and NATO forces preparing to withdraw from Afghanistan, the future of the war-torn country may rest in the hands of its neighbors. China, as this year’s host for the Istanbul Process, has a chance to play a major role in pushing for concrete action from the only regional coalition dedicated to Afghan security.
The Istanbul Process is a regional cooperation mechanism designed to support “a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.” Its 14 member countries are spread throughout Central and South Asia as well as the Middle East: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and the United Arab Emirates. This is the first year the annual ministerial conference has been held in China, providing a golden opportunity for Beijing to take the initiative in shaping Afghan security in the post-NATO era. As a senior U.S. State Department official, told Reutersthe Istanbul Process meeting in Beijing is “a real demonstration of China’s commitment to Afghanistan, to its role in the region and one that we greatly welcome.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying noted the potential for this year’s meeting in a press briefing last week. “The 4th Ministerial Conference of Istanbul Process on Afghanistan is of great importance as it is the first big international conference on Afghanistan hosted by China, and also the first significant international conference on Afghanistan since the sworn-in [sic] of the new Afghan government,” she said. Hua added, “By hosting this conference, China hopes to showcase the world’s support [for] the peaceful reconstruction in Afghanistan, and build consensus of regional countries on strengthening cooperation on Afghanistan and jointly safeguarding security and stability in Afghanistan and the region.” 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Relearning Anti-Submarine Warfare

By James R. Holmes

The U.S. Navy’s post-Cold War holiday from history is drawing to a close—if it hasn’t expired already.

Welcome back to history, mariners of the world! Your post-Cold War holiday from history is drawing to a close — if it hasn’t expired already. Last week’s imbroglio between the Swedish Navy and an apparent Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago was only the most recent reminder of certain verities about combat at sea.
To name one, hunting submarines is hard—today as for the past century. It takes golly-gee hardware to detect, track, and target submersibles plying the deep. It takes plentiful anti-submarine craft to search the enormous volumes of water where subs may lurk. And, most of all, anti-submarine warfare takes patient, resolute, technically savvy hunters to employ this high-tech gear to good effect.
Success is hardly a foregone conclusion, even when a fleet surmounts such benchmarks. American military people tend to think of the Cold War in triumphal terms. But during the late Cold War—when Western fleets stood at the apogee of their supremacy over Warsaw Pact foes—U.S. Navy wargames involving undersea warfare typically started out the same way: the game administrators let U.S. Navy ASW units find the adversary boat. Their quarry then dove beneath the waves, there to be tracked—or not—by American aircraft, surface warships, or nuclear-powered attack boats that had a fix on the enemy’s original position. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

30 October 2014

Think Tank: What to expect from the new US–Japan Defense Guidelines

Image: Flickr user Official U.S. Navy Page
Author: Ken Jimbo, Keio University

When the current Guidelines for US–Japan Defense Cooperation were released in 1997, the core strategic impulse of Washington and Tokyo was to deal with potential armed contingencies in Northeast Asia, namely regarding the Korean peninsula and Taiwan. As the US Asia strategy emphasised deterrence of and response to these contingencies, Japan reconfigured its alliance strategy from predominantly territorial defence to proactive cooperation with the US in ‘situations in areas surrounding Japan’.

In the 17 years since the 1997 Guidelines were established, there have been tremendous changes in the strategic environment, the state of the US–Japan alliance and Japan’s role in it. During the first decade of this century, the US and Japan expanded their common strategic objectives (PDF), driven mainly by the global anti-terrorism campaign.

USA: Hagel Underscores Importance of U.S.-Malaysia Relationship

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2014 – In a phone conversation with his Malaysian counterpart today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel underscored the importance that he and the Defense Department place on the U.S. relationship with Malaysia and on the Asia-Pacific region, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

In a statement summarizing the call, Kirby said Hagel and Defense Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein discussed several security issues, including Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant activity and concerns about militant Islam in Southeast Asia.

The two leaders also discussed Malaysia's upcoming chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the continuing investigation into the July 17 crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine, the admiral said.

“Secretary Hagel and Minister Hishammuddin reaffirmed their commitment to a strong bilateral relationship and reaffirmed their commitment to working together to confront global challenges,” he added.


TARAKAN, NORTH KALIMANTAN, INDONESIA, Tuesday 28 October 2014 – The opening ceremony of LATMA BRUNESIA VI/2014 between Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF) and Tentera Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Udara (TNI AU) took place today at Bandara Juwata, Tarakan, North Kalimantan, Republic of Indonesia.

The ceremony started with a parade consisting of personnel from the two exercise contingents. 

On hand to jointly officiate the opening ceremony was Lt Col (U) Matyussof bin Haji Matyassin, RBAirF Base Commander and Let Kol PNB Tiopan Hutapea, DANLANUD Tarakan.

In his speech, Let Kol PNB Tiopan Hutapea hoped that the personnel involved in the exercise would gain more experience and knowledge than the previous exercises. He also emphasized that the personnel are to practice the highest standard of safety in every activities carried out as well as following the Standard Operating Procedures as mutually agreed by both Air Forces.


Thales Australia’s innovative engineering might be the first thing people notice about its Hawkei vehicle, but the company’s pioneering approach to the supply chain is also attracting attention, with Quickstep the latest Australian company to team with Thales.

“Like Thales, Quickstep is recognised for innovation and cutting-edge research,” said Kevin Wall, Thales Australia’s Vice President Protected Vehicles.

“Quickstep’s record on projects such as the Joint Strike Fighter and Lamborghini performance cars is testament to their unique skills. It’s great to see Australian companies teaming up to deliver the next generation of protected light vehicles to the Australian Defence Force.”

News Report: North Korean Mobile Missile Launchers Seen as Bigger Threat Than Nukes

KN-08 long-range missile (File Photo)

Brian Padden

SEOUL—Analysts who closely watch developments in North Korea say Pyongyang has made strides in missile launch systems that could deliver a nuclear warhead to targets as far away as the United States. The North's development of miniaturized nuclear devices and missile launchers capable of evading detection are raising concerns among U.S. military officials.

On Friday, Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, told a briefing in Washington that North Korea has the right connections and technology to develop a miniaturized nuclear weapon that can be launched from a mobile launcher.

Bruce Bechtol, an associate professor at Angelo State University in Texas and president of the International Council on Korean Studies, told VOA that North Korea observers have thought for years that the country possesses that technology.

News Story: Singapore To Deploy Massive Surveillance Balloon

Tethered Aerostat Radar System (Wiki Info - Image - Wiki)

SINGAPORE — Singapore will deploy a huge tethered surveillance balloon to boost its maritime and air security, the defence ministry announced.

The helium-filled “aerostat” will be equipped with radar equipment that can spot threats from as far as 200 kilometers (125 miles) away, the ministry said in a post on its website late Tuesday.

“It will be deployed sufficiently high enough so as to have a clear line of sight over Singapore’s air and sea space,” the ministry said.

“Existing systems are facing increasing constraints, mainly due to the construction of taller buildings which prevent the systems (from) establishing a clear line of sight,” it added.

The Straits Times reported that the balloon will be able to scan up to Malacca in Malaysia for stray aircraft as well as detect small boats coming from Indonesia’s Pekanbaru.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

Editorial: Australia’s Delicate Soryu-Sub Balancing Act

Japanese Soryu class Submarine (File Photo)

By Clint Richards

The fine line between defense partnerships and alliances must be managed carefully.

Defense ties between Japan and Australia have been progressing steadily this year, with Japan quickly becoming an important partner for Australia. Since their deal for Japan to transfer military technology this July and the subsequent agreement to purchase Japanese Soryu-class diesel submarines, not to mention high-level “two-plus-two” meetings between their defense and foreign ministers, it would appear that the two countries might be drifting toward a more formal alliance. While Japan’s current administration might indeed be interested in such an alliance despite its constitutional restraints, Australia is likely not interested in any formal structure that binds it to helping defend Japan, particularly given the deterioration in tensions with China in the East China Sea over the past few years.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Japanese officials are starting to refer to the relationship as a “quasi-alliance.” They claim the rapid expansion of ties has led them to become each other’s greatest defense partner aside from the U.S., while the principal deputy director of the National Security Policy Division within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Takuma Kajita, has said their cooperation on submarine technology and Australia’s sharing of satellite intelligence reflects the growing relationship. According to Kajita, “[Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe wants to raise the relationship between Japan and Australia considerably, his instructions are very clear, and he wants good trilateral relations between Japan, Australia and the U.S.” Toward this end, Japan established on April 1 an “Australia-Japan Defense Cooperation Office” within the defense ministry to manage the rapidly growing relationship. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: North Korea’s Charm Offensive - New Cards, Same Player

By Paul Haenle and Anne Sherman

China’s tougher stance towards North Korea may be driving Pyongyang’s current wave of outreach.

For several years now, there has been a debate over the future of China’s relations with North Korea. Some analysts have said a gradual policy recalibration is taking place (PDF) as the Chinese government has grown tired of North Korea’s reckless behavior and its refusal to halt development of its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs and open its economy to market reforms. Others counter that China’s priorities on the Korean peninsula remain unchanged, despite occasional spikes in tension and discord. One person, however, appears to have concluded that Beijing has toughened its approach: North Korea’s own hereditary dictator, Kim Jong-un.
Chinese policy adjustments would not be difficult to understand. Despite Beijing providing the majority of North Korea’s energy and food assistance (PDF) since the 1990s, Pyongyang continues to defy the wishes of its generous patron by advancing its nuclear weapons program and conducting military provocations that foster instability and arms buildups in China’s immediate neighborhood. In the past, Beijing turned a blind eye to these inimical developments because of its stated interest in stability and influence on the Korean peninsula. But increasingly, China’s evolving interests as a rising major power, including improving relations with South Korea, increasing its influence and presence in the Asia-Pacific, and shaping a regional and international environment that supports its rise, are running up against the defiant behavior of its juvenile client.
Much to Kim Jong-un’s alarm, Chinese leaders have raised their level of criticism and reduced their patience for Pyongyang’s provocations accordingly. China supported a UN Security Council resolution to expand sanctions against North Korea for its third nuclear test in March 2013. A vibrant domestic debate about China’s North Korea policy has been allowed in Chinese traditional and social media circles. Most notably, President Xi was the first Chinese leader ever to visit South Korea before the North in June 2014. This snub was compounded when China failed to acknowledge in state media or send an official to celebrate Beijing’s 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Pyongyang this October. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Industry: Is North Korea Developing Sea-Based Ballistic Missiles?

A UGM-96 Trident SLBM
(Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

By Ankit Panda

Evidence from satellite imagery suggests that North Korea is actively developing sea-based ballistic missiles.

According to a new report from 38 North, the blog of the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), North Korea could be developing a sea-based or submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) capability. 38 North bases its claims, as usual, on commercial satellite imagery analysis, which identifies a “new test stand at the North’s Sinpo South Shipyard, probably intended to explore the possibility of launching ballistic missiles from submarines or of a shipboard vertical launch ballistic missile capability.” Nothing in the report or information available on North Korea’s weapons development programs suggests that the country is anywhere close to fielding this capability in the near-term, but it nonetheless will add to South Korean and U.S. concerns about North Korea’s future plans.
Based on satellite imagery, the author of the 38 North report, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.,identifies a naval shipyard and research center with a test stand that meets the size and dimension requirements for sea-based missile testing — specifically, emulating a submarine or surface ship launch tube. The 38 North report is in line with reports based on U.S. intelligence findings that North Korea is looking into SLBMs. Earlier this year, Bill Gertz at the Washington Free Beacon reported that “a missile launch tube on a North Korean submarine was observed recently by U.S. intelligence agencies.” 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

29 October 2014

AUS: Heron to be retained to keep Australia’s unmanned aerial capability

Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston today announced the return of a Heron Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) to Australia as part of a plan to ensure RAAF pilots maintain the skills to operate unmanned aerial systems until the introduction of the Triton.
“The Heron is a proven capability – providing ‘eyes in the sky’ for our troops in the Middle East,” Senator Johnston said.
“The retention the Heron following their withdrawal from Afghanistan later this year will ensure Australia remains at the forefront of this advancing technology. This is prudent planning for possible future defence scenarios.”
“The retention of two Heron aircraft will help create a robust development program to ensure RAAF is well prepared for the Government’s investment in the MQ-4C Triton,” Senator Johnston said.
The estimated cost of the Heron is $120 million over six years, including portable ground control stations initially based at Woomera, maintenance, logistics, training and renovations to facilities at RAAF Base Amberley. The contract extension with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) will be funded from within the existing Air Force budget, through a redistribution of tasks and priorities.
Senator Johnston said one Heron already operates at Woomera in restricted military airspace for training purposes, and a second will now return to Australia from the Middle East. The Heron’s operations will be expanded over time from Woomera to other Defence and civilian airfields, as required.
“The additional Heron aircraft will provide greater opportunities for training, and the development of robust tactics, techniques and procedures for operating complex UAS platforms, as well as the integration into Australian airspace,” Minister Johnston said.
Senator Johnston said that while Defence resources are primarily used for national security purposes, if the Heron was available it could be used at the request of state governments for civilian roles, such as assistance during natural disasters.
The Heron will continue to be flown by suitably qualified pilots under Defence’s robust Aviation Safety Management Program.


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Tuesday 28 October 2014 – The 9th ADMM-Plus EWG on Maritime Security Meeting was held today at The Centrepoint Hotel, Gadong, Brunei Darussalam.

Co-chairing the 9th ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group on Maritime Security Meeting were Colonel (L) Pg Norazmi bin Pg Haji Muhammad, Deputy Commander of Royal Brunei Navy, and Mr. Michael Thompson, Director International Branch, Ministry of Defence, New Zealand.

Officiating the meeting and the Table Top Exercise on Maritime Security was the Deputy Minister of Defence, Dato Paduka Haji Mustappa bin Haji Sirat. Also present during the event was Acting Director of Defence Policy Ministry of Defence, Haji Adi Ihram bin DP Haji Mahmud and representatives from ADMM-Plus countries.

Industry: Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems bid for the Indian Air Force’s Avro replacement programme

Companies will offer Airbus C295 under new teaming arrangement

Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) have submitted a joint bid to replace the Indian Air Force´s fleet of Avro aircraft with the market-leading Airbus C295 medium transport.

The teaming follows a detailed industrial assessment and stringent evaluation of the Indian private aerospace sector by Airbus Defence and Space, which concluded with the selection of Tata Advanced Systems as the Indian Production Agency (IPA) exclusive partner for this prestigious programme.


CANBERRA departs Sydney during sea trials (File Photo)
Williamstown, Australia: BAE Systems Williamstown shipyard has farewelled the first Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) NUSHIP CANBERRA as she departed today bound for Sydney.

The shipyard has been home for NUSHIP CANBERRA since late 2012 when the hull arrived from Spain.

Since its arrival, the BAE Systems Williamstown team (along with key subcontractors) has consolidated the Australian-built superstructure and masts, installed and integrated a variety of platform, combat and communication systems, and conducted a comprehensive series of harbour and sea trials.

The Defence Materiel Organisation accepted the warship  from BAE Systems on 7 October. The Royal Australian Navy will commission NUSHIP CANBERRA at the end of November.

News Report: India, Vietnam Shore Up Defense, Energy Ties as China Watches

Anjana Pasricha

NEW DELHI—India and Vietnam have shored up ties in the defense and energy sectors during a two-day visit by the Vietnamese Prime Minister to India. The deepening friendship between the two countries is being closely watched by China.

After holding talks with his Vietnamese counterpart in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his government would quickly operationalize a $100 million line of credit to enable Vietnam to acquire naval patrol vessels from India.

This will mark the first significant supply of military equipment by India to the East Asian country.  Vietnam is involved in territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea, and wants to strengthen its coastal defenses.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung,  called defense cooperation “an important pillar of the Vietnam-India strategic partnership.”

Editorial: India Announces 54 New Outposts on Disputed Border

Arunachal Pradesh Highlighted

By Ankit Panda

In addition to 54 new outposts in Arunachal Pradesh, India will add 12 battalions to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.

Earlier this summer, we saw signs that India’s new government under the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would likely play a forward position in India’s border dispute with China. For example, New Delhi suggested it would provide “military training” to people living along the India-China border, developed plans to actively promote settlements in the region, and, more recently, announced that it would construct an 1,800 km highway along the India-China border.
This week, following prior trends, reports emerged that the Indian government will continue to bolster its claim to Arunachal Pradesh. According to the Times of India, the Indian government “has given an in-principle approval for induction of nearly 12,000 personnel in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.” The Indo-Tibetan Border Police is the Indian force tasked with guarding the 3,488 km border with China.
“An in-principle approval has been made in this regard. Now that the home ministry has already cleared [the] creation of 54 border posts, manpower recruitment and training for the task is the immediate necessity. The force is awaiting the final policy approval after which large-scale recruitments will be launched,” said a spokesperson for the force.
These 12 battalions will be deployed at 54 new border outposts that will be built along the border. According to Live Mint, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police recently completed a “restructuring” that overhauled the force’s administrative structure and added additional capability. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: The Japan-China Defense Hotline’s Growing Importance

By Clint Richards

The Japan-U.S. defense guidelines update is necessitating dialogue in the East China Sea.

Japanese and Chinese officials are holding informal talks in Beijing this week, in an attempt to forge a framework for managing territorial disputes at sea, particularly around the Senkaku/Daioyu Islands. The meeting is timely, as Japan has sought better overall relations with China in the last few months and the two circle around the topic of whether their two leaders will meet on the sidelines of next month’s APEC summit, also in Beijing. These talks also occur as tensions between the two countries, which had heightened with frequent naval confrontations around the disputed islands, have now eased noticeably.
A Japanese delegation of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, led by former officers of the Air and Marine Self-Defense Forces, are meeting with several Chinese defense specialists on Wednesday and Thursday, “to promote private-sector dialogue aimed at averting accidental armed conflicts,” according to sources who spoke with the Yomiuri Shimbun. While current and former defense officials on both sides will be meeting, the talks are deemed a “private-sector effort,” in an attempt to facilitate the creation of a hotline between official defense authorities. The idea of a hotline, which was resurrected in September, would provide a direct link between Japanese and Chinese military officials in order to clear confusion and facilitate dialogue to contain the kinds of incidents that have occurred around the disputed islands for more than two years now. 

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Editorial: South Korean Politics Drive OPCON Transfer

By Steven Denney

The issue of operational control in South Korea has long been held prisoner to fickle domestic politics.

Last Thursday U.S. and South Korean officials agreed to postpone the transfer of operational control (OPCON) indefinitely. In peacetime, South Korea will remain in charge of its own military forces. But in the event of war with North Korea, U.S. military commanders will take control of both U.S. and South Korean forces. U.S. control over South Korean forces in the case of war with North Korea has been the official policy since the U.S. took over operational control during the Korean War.
According to Stars and Stripes, the agreement calls “for the transfer of operational control to be ‘conditions based,’ meaning the move has been postponed indefinitely.” The delay is meant to give South Korea time to develop “the core military capabilities needed for the OPCON transfer to take place by mid-2020.” Both U.S. and South Korean officials agree that the security conditions on the peninsula are too precarious (and South Korea’s capabilities too underdeveloped) for an OPCON transfer to take place. Choi Kang, Director of the Center for Foreign Policy and National Security at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, reiterated these reasons for a domestic audience in a special commentary segment for KBS.
While the reasons given for the delay are quite valid – provocations, missile tests, nuclear weapon developments, and the chance of border skirmishes leading to larger conflict or full-scale war – the OPCON issue has been as much a political issue as a strategic one. While U.S. control of armed forces on the peninsula may make strategic sense, not having full operational control of its own military forces in a time of war has historically been a divisive issue. 

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Editorial: Xi Jinping Turns the Screws on Taiwan

By J. Michael Cole

The government in Beijing is upping its pressure on Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou as he nears the end of his presidency.

Not unlike other authoritarian and totalitarian regimes throughout history, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has always had a paranoid streak, whose stridency has ebbed and flowed according to the times. In periods of high instability, such as during the Cultural Revolution, the CCP leadership went to extraordinary lengths to eliminate its enemies — real and imagined. Unrest in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, and signs that Taiwan may be “slipping away” after half a decade of cautious rapprochement, seem to have engendered a new phase of paranoia in Beijing, as evidenced by the detentions of and travel restrictions imposed against dozens of Chinese individuals in recent months.
Those measures have been accompanied by an increasingly xenophobic line in Zhongnanhai. President Xi Jinping, the hoped-for reformer who, as it turns out, is very much the strongman, has repeatedly warned against “pollution” by Western values and has directed the implementation of policies to counter such nefarious influences. Chinese agencies and propaganda outlets, meanwhile, claim to have uncovered “evidence” of several plots hatched abroad to destabilize China.
If we believe the rhetoric, Uyghur “terrorists” from Xinjiang have been acting on behalf of foreign organizations and Taiwanese “separatists” are pawns of American and/or Japanese forces. Meanwhile the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong, which has brought part of the metropolis to a standstill, is said to have simultaneously been funded, scripted, fomented, and influenced by a plethora of disparate foreign groups, including the U.S.-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED)Apple Daily owner Jimmy Lai, the CIA, British agents, the Oslo Freedom Forum, and out-of-favor Taiwanese politicians. Even American jazz musician Kenny G, who briefly visited a protest site last week, was sniped at by Chinese authorities.
Besides highlighting a heightened sense of paranoia in China, which is fueled in part by the growing sense of “us versus them” that naturally accompanies budding nationalism, the emphasis on foreign forces is a political tool used by Beijing to downplay the severity of the crises. By blaming external agents, the CCP hopes to minimize the importance, scope, and reach of the movements to portray them as a misguided minority. It thus seeks to discredit their grievances with a domestic audience as part of containment efforts. Rather than stem from indigenous forces animated by legitimate grievances, the activists are either fools who are easily deceived by duplicitous foreign agents (who must be brought in line), or downright enemies of the CCP and, by default, China (who must be defeated). Of course the grievances are very real, whether it be broken promises in Hong Kong or repression in Xinjiang, and the locals are sufficiently intelligent and resourceful to organize without foreign help. But China doesn’t want its citizens to believe the dangerous — and potentially infectious idea — that this is the case. 

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