31 August 2016

AUS: $6.7m Innovation Contract to Improve Protection of our Troops

Minelab F3 Compact mine detector (File Photo)
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, welcomed the signing of an innovation collaboration agreement between Minelab Electronics and the Department of Defence today.

The collaboration will deliver a production-ready prototype of a new Counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Handheld Detector for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

“This is a perfect example of leveraging world class engineering from an Australian enterprise to produce the lightest, most compact, and most capable ground search device available anywhere”, Minister Pyne said.

Minelab has been working with Defence since 2014 to develop a prototype handheld detector that would meet the need for a smaller, lighter device which would improve the quality and speed of detecting explosive devices.

USA: Pacific Partnership departs Indonesia, final mission stop

By MC2 William Cousins, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs

Cmdr. Miguel Gutierrez plays with Indonesian children during a Pacific Partnership 2016 surgical screening, Aug. 20. (USMC/Sgt. Brittney Vella) >>

PADANG, Indonesia - Pacific Partnership 2016, embarked aboard hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), departed its fifth and final mission stop, Padang, Indonesia, Aug. 30, completing two weeks of humanitarian assistance disaster response collaboration and training, medical and engineering subject matter expert exchanges, cooperative health engagements and community relation events.

This year marks the fifth time the mission has visited Indonesia in the past 11 years. Pacific Partnership personnel worked alongside the Tentara Nasional Indonesia, civilian leadership and government officials from the Padang community, improving interoperability and enhancing relationships.

One of the main lines of effort was a humanitarian assistance disaster relief field training exercise. The event involved more than 200 participants including Pacific Partnership personnel and Indonesian agencies ranging from government leaders to the national military.

USA: PAC SAG and Australia Participate In Exchange Program

PACIFIC OCEAN (April 20, 2016) The guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance (DDG 111), USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Momsen (DDG 92) steam in formation. The ships, along with embarked detachments of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49, are deployed as part of a U.S. 3rd Fleet Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG) under Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Will Gaskill) [Image: Flickr User - U.S. Pacific Fleet] >>

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gerald Dudley Reynolds, USS Decatur Public Affairs

PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) -- A member of the Royal Australian Navy deployed with the inaugural U.S. 3rd Fleet Pacific Surface Action Group is helping enhance bilateral relations and support interoperability between the U.S. and Australia through the Personnel Exchange Program (PEP).

Lt. Cmdr. Aaron Scott of the Royal Australian Navy was selected for the two-year exchange program and assigned to Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31, the staff overseeing the PAC SAG. 

The PEP provides one-on-one exchanges between U.S. Navy officers or career-designated petty officers and personnel from other military services or select foreign countries, including Argentina, Italy and Japan.

USA: Training Exercise Integrates Real World Lessons at Pacific Endeavor 2016

Military Communications (File Photo)
By Air Force Master Sgt. Todd Kabalan 
Defense Media Activity - Hawaii

BRISBANE, Australia, Aug. 30, 2016 — The Pacific Endeavor 2016 exercise is in full swing after it began Aug. 22, and military communicators from 22 Indo-Asia Pacific nations, nongovernment organizations, and academic advisors have come together to focus on improving humanitarian assistance and disaster response in the region. 

Hosted by the Australian Defence Force and U.S. Pacific Command’s Multinational Communication Interoperability Program, this year’s Pacific Endeavor here is the culminating event of a year-long planning effort, which took participants and planners to Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, and Mongolia. The exercise wraps-up Sept. 2.

Based on recent real-world events, Pacific Endeavor 2016 features a scenario based on a Category 5 typhoon striking Brisbane, which requires participants to set up a Multinational Coordination Center and forward deploy to two other locations in the affected area. Their mission is to validate and document high frequency voice and data transfer using ordinary field radios. Commonly referred to as Internet protocol over radio frequency, the practice involves transmitting not only voice, but images and e-mail data over the same IPRF signal.

Industry: Raytheon awarded US Navy MK-54 torpedo contract

Mk-54 Torpedo (Image: Wiki Commons)
TEWKSBURY, Mass., Aug. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has been awarded a $37,723,774 firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-incentive, cost and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the procurement of MK 54 lightweight torpedo common parts kits; MK 54 Mod 0 lightweight torpedo kits; and MK 54 exercise fuel tanks, spares, production support material, engineering support, and hardware repair support.

This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $448,737,790. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (98 percent) and the Government of Thailand (2 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program.

Work will be performed in Keyport, Washington (70 percent); Portsmouth, Rhode Island (25 percent); and Tewksbury, Massachusetts (5 percent) and is expected to be completed by May 2019. Fiscal 2016 weapons procurement (Navy), fiscal 2016 weapons procurement spares (Navy), and foreign military sales funding in the amount of $36,113,068 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with two offers received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00024-16-C-6423).

News Story: Pakistan to Get Eight New Attack Subs From China

The Chinese government will supply eight modified diesel-electric attack submarines to Pakistan by the year 2028. 

In Islamabad the head of Pakistan’s next-generation submarine program made the announcement to the country’s National Assembly Standing Committee on Defense, while on a August 26 visit to Naval headquarters. 

The announcement confirms that the project is going forward, but is it not clear whether a contract has been signed. Rear Admiral Syed Hassan Nasir Shah announced in April that a contract had been secured by the Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) to construct four of the eight submarines, with the other four being built by the China Shipbuilding Trading Company (CSTC). The submarines will be fitted with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems. 

The agreement between the two nations is valued at $4 to $5 billion and it’s anticipated that China will extend a low interest rate loan. Some speculation surrounds what type of submarine the Pakistani Navy will receive. In April 2011, the China State Shipbuilding Industrial Corp signed a contract to supply six Type 032 Qing-class conventional attack submarines by 2016 or 2017.

News Story: China Charges American Woman with Spying

Wayne Lee

An American businesswoman is facing charges in China that she spied on the Chinese government about 20 years ago, including charges that she attempted to recruit U.S.-based Chinese to spy on their home country.

The charges facing Phan Phan-Gillis come more than a year after she was detained while visiting China with an American trade delegation that was promoting business opportunities in her hometown of Houston, Texas.

Phan-Gillis' husband, Jeff Gillis, said she has been charged with spying for a foreign government from 1996 to 1998. He said the indictment was received by Phan-Gillis' lawyers "weeks after it was issued in court" and added the charges are "absolutely false." He said the charges did not indicate the government she allegedly spied for.

A United Nations panel ruled in June that China violated internal human rights standards by detaining Phan-Gillis when she had not appeared before judicial authorities or provided legal assistance. Phan-Gillis has not been available for comment since she was detained in March 2015.

News Report: Philippine President Calls for Talks With China on Disputed Reef

Richard Green

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he will not bring up a ruling by an international tribunal when he sits down with China over their competing claims in the South China Sea.

Duterte made the comment Monday during a speech marking the observance of the Philippine National Heroes' Day in Manila. The president said that doing so could only lead to the suspension of talks between the two governments. He did not, however, rule out bringing up the matter in future talks. "I would one day sit in front of your representative or you and then I will lay bare my position," he said.

Speaking to Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, who was present, Duterte urged Beijing to "treat us as your brothers, not your enemies, and take note of the plight of our citizens."

Beijing was angered by last month's decision by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration, dismissing China's territorial claims in the South China Sea. A complaint brought by the Philippines in 2013 accused Beijing of violating a United Nations maritime treaty with its aggressive actions on the Scarborough Shoal, a reef located about 225 kilometers off the Philippine coast.

The court ruled China had violated Manila's sovereign rights by interfering with Philippine fishing and oil exploration activities in the area.

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

News Report: US Upbraids Iran for 'Provocative' Naval Maneuvers in Persian Gulf

The head of the U.S. Central Command scolded Iran Tuesday for "provocative" naval actions in the Persian Gulf, following recent close encounters between U.S. warships and Iranian gunboats.

General Joseph Votel spoke just days after the coastal patrol ship USS Squall was forced to fire warning shots to ward off an Iranian gunboat that was closing at high speed on another U.S. vessel nearby. The Pentagon said the Iranian gunboat ignored repeated U.S. warning flares and radio transmissions before turning away.

On Tuesday, Votel called the Iranian actions "very concerning," and said, "We hope to see Iran's naval forces act in a more professional manner." He also said last week's encounter was part of a "recent uptick" in U.S. confrontations with Iranian patrol craft at "choke points" in the Gulf's crowded sea lanes.

Last week, U.S. officials said the Iranian craft came within 182 meters of the USS Tempest, raising the specter of military escalation.

There was no immediate Iranian response to Votel's comments.

But last week, Iran's Tasnim news agency quoted a top Iranian general as saying, "If any foreign vessel enters our waters, we warn them, and if it's an invasion, we confront."

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

News Story: China's H-6K bomber to be showcased at first public event

China's H-6K Bomber (File Photo)
by Geoff Ziezulewicz

China's H-6K medium and long range bomber will be open to the public for the first time this week, the official People's Liberation Army Daily reported.

The bomber's availability will take place Thursday during the "Pursuing the Aero Dream" event in Changchun, an event to mark the 70th anniversary of the Old Northeast Aviation School there, PLA Daily quoted People's Liberation Army air force officials as saying.

The H-6K is the country's indigenously made bomber, largely used for long-range precision strikes and tactical bombing missions, PLA Daily reported.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily

News Story: Vietnam says all will lose in any South China Sea war

Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang warned on Tuesday there would be no winners in any armed conflict sparked by territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Quang, who is on a state visit to Singapore, told a forum that recent developments there were threatening regional security.

The Vietnamese leader did not mention any country but there is growing unease over China's actions.

China claims most of the South China Sea. It has reclaimed reefs and built airstrips capable of hosting military equipment, sparking anger from competing claimants led by Vietnam and the Philippines.

"The South China Sea, located at the heart of Southeast Asia, not only brings about many important benefits to nations in the region but it is also a vital route to maritime and air transport of the world," Quang said.

But "recent worrying developments" there "have had a negative impact on the security environment of the region, especially maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight".

"And should we allow instability to take place, especially in the case of armed conflicts, there will be neither winners or losers but rather all will lose," he warned.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily

News Story: Pakistan Bans Entry To Afghans Holding Visas For India

by Zarmina Mohammadi

In a recent policy shift, India's traditional rival Pakistan has slapped new sanctions on Afghan nationals who have an Indian visa in their passports.

On Tuesday, director of Hamid Karzai International Airport, Jabbarkhail said that over the past few days Pakistan has deported or banned entry to at least ten Afghans after finding Indian visas in their passports.

In response to the move by Pakistan, Afghanistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has said the decision is unacceptable and that Afghanistan has resumed negotiations with Islamabad to resolve the issue.

"It is a disputed issue, the ministry of foreign affairs conducts discussions with Pakistan officials to resolve the problems of our citizens," said MoFA spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mustaghni.

TOLOnews has however received a number of documents which indicate that Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has put embargoes on Afghan citizens who have travelled to India.

"Airline companies are still informing the passengers that they can not take them to Pakistan if there is an Indian visa in their passport," said Mohammad Asif Jabbarkhail.

The new move by Pakistan has had an impact on airlines and travel companies.

Read the full story at ToloNews

News Story: Another LCS Breaks Down, This Time in Mid-Pacific

Image: Flickr User - Naval Surface Warriors
By: Christopher P. Cavas

WASHINGTON — In yet another incident in what is turning out to be a bad year for the US Navy’s littoral combat ship program, the LCS Coronado is reported to have suffered a propulsion problem in the mid-Pacific and has turned back to return to Hawaii. The latest issue, this time with an Independence-class LCS variant, follows a series of problems striking ships of the Freedom class. 

Sources said the Coronado is about 800 nautical miles west of Hawaii, proceeding at about 10 knots. The Military Sealift Command oiler Henry J. Kaiser is accompanying the ship. About 70 sailors are aboard the LCS. 

The Coronado left Pearl Harbor on Friday for the western Pacific, where it was to operate for at least 16 months based from Singapore. The ship recently completed several weeks of operations with the Rim of the Pacific exercises, operating from Pearl Harbor. 

“The extent of repairs and any operational impact is unknown at this time. An assessment of the casualty will be completed upon return to Pearl Harbor and additional details will be made available when possible,” the San-Diego-based Third Fleet said in a statement. 

The Coronado becomes the fourth LCS to suffer a major incident since December.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: India Rejects DCNS Proposal to Locally Produce API Sub Tech

By: Vivek Raghuvanshi

NEW DELHI — India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has decided not to give DCNS of France permission to develop a local, fully owned subsidiary to manufacture air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarine systems on the advice of state-owned Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), which is developing its own AIP systems, according to a senior MoD official. 

DRDO had "impressed" upon the ministry that DCNS wants to bring to India the same technology that DRDO is developing, said the MoD source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 

DCNS is the first overseas company to have sought clearance to invest 100 percent through FDI by setting up a fully owned subsidiary in the defense sector. 

The Indian government in June this year changed the FDI laws to make it easier for overseas companies to receive permission for a 100 percent FDI in the defense sector. 

However, Arun Prakash, a retired Indian Navy admiral, disagrees with the ministry's decision. 

"If we keep a cool head, we should allow this (clearance of DCNS proposal) to proceed uninterrupted. This is most valuable and arcane technology, and there is a lot we can do with it in the future," Prakash said. 

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Philippines - China must recognise East (South China) Sea ruling

Hanoi (VNA) - Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay on August 30 said that China will be the "loser" if it does not recognise the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, the Netherlands over the East Sea dispute.

Speaking at a congressional hearing, the minister stated the country is trying to make China understand that if it does not respect and recognise the ruling, it will be the loser in this matter.

Read the full story at VietnamPlus

News Story: Vietnam, China agree to deepen defence ties

Beijing (VNA) – The Defence Ministers of China and Vietnam have agreed to deepen defence ties between the two countries, thus bringing pragmatic interests to their people and contributing to peace and stability in the region and the world at large.

Vietnamese Defence Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich and his Chinese counterpart Sen. Lieut. Gen Chang Wanquan held talks in Beijing on August 30 as part of Lich’s official friendly visit to China.

The ministers cherished the fruitful developments of the relationship between the two armies, with strategic dialogues, delegation exchanges, border guard cooperation, joint maritime patrols, the sharing of experience in joining the UN peace-keeping operations, and especially the Vietnam-China Border Defence Friendship Exchange Programme.

They emphasised their resolve to successfully organise the fourth programme slated for April 2017, expand the border guard cooperation model, maintain the exchange of high-level meetings, implement defence strategic dialogues at the deputy defence ministerial level, and increase exchanges between the two countries’ young officers.

They held that defence collaboration is an important factor of the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership and a pillar promoting links between the two Parties and States.

Read the full story at VietnamPlus

News Story: U.S., India sign logistics accord allowing use of each other's military bases

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The United States and India on Monday signed a logistics agreement that will enable their military forces to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.

The move "comes just weeks after India was designated a major defence partner of the United States during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's June visit to Washington," the Pentagon said.

The accord will "make the logistics of joint operations so much easier and so much more efficient," U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said at a joint news conference with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar at Pentagon.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Kyrgyzstan's intelligence agency initiates investigation into attack on Chinese Embassy

BISHKEK, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan, an intelligence agency, has initiated a criminal investigation into the attack targeting the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek, the press service of the agency said on Tuesday.

The attack on the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday morning involved a suicide car bomber, who was killed instantly.

According to preliminary data, three Kyrgyz employees of the embassy were wounded in the terrorist attack and their injuries were not serious.

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also confirmed at a press conference that three people of the Chinese embassy were injured in the attack.

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev was briefed on Tuesday by heads of law enforcement agencies about the preliminary investigation into the terrorist attack, the press service of the presidential office said.

The president ordered Chairman of the State Committee for National Security Abdil Segizbayev and Interior Minister Kashkar Dzhunushaliev to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Kyrgyzstan vows to punish those responsible for terror attack on Chinese embassy

BEIJING, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Kyrgyz counterpart, Erlan Abdyldaev, on Tuesday discussed in a phone conversation the terrorist attack against the Chinese Embassy to Kyrgyzstan and pledged closer cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

Abdyldaev said the Kyrgyz side condemned the suicide attack "in the strongest terms," and that on behalf of the Kyrgyz leaders, he conveyed sympathy to the Chinese embassy and those injured in the attack.

The Kyrgyz side has taken all emergency measures after the attack, and will carry out a thorough investigation and punish those responsible, said Abdyldaev.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Putin to meet Japanese, South Korean leaders - Kremli

MOSCOW, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye on the sidelines of the upcoming Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Friday and Saturday, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

Putin and Abe plan to discuss on Friday "a wide range of bilateral cooperation issues, including in the political, trade-economic, energy, cultural and humanitarian spheres," a Kremlin statement said.

In a related development, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov told reporters that Putin would visit Japan in December and that agendas of the trip would be discussed during the two leaders' meeting in Vladivostok.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Brunei, Singapore to advance cooperation in defense R&D

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Aiming to further bolster the already existing strong security alliance, Brunei and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defense Technology Cooperation to further promote cooperation in defense research and development.

The agreement will promote sharing of knowledge and best practices in defense acquisitions, and cooperation and collaboration in technology management, local media reports said Tuesday, citing a statement from Brunei's Ministry of Defense.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: China, Vietnam should boost military cooperation - defense ministers

BEIJING, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Defense ministers of China and Vietnam held talks Tuesday in Beijing, saying the two countries should boost military cooperation and make contribution to regional peace.

Defense Minister Chang Wanquan told his Vietnamese counterpart Ngo Xuan Lich that the Chinese military is ready to beef up cooperation with Vietnam in areas including high-level exchanges, personnel education and training, border defense, mutual visits and multilateral security affairs.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Assailant killed, five others wounded in attack on Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- A lone assailant was killed and five others were wounded in a powerful explosion when the unidentified assailant drove an explosive-laden car and tried to crash it into the the Chinese embassy here in the Kyrgyz capital city on Tuesday morning.

The attack took place at around 10:00 a.m. local time on Tuesday (0400GMT). The unidentified assailant drove a Mitsubishi car and rammed the gate of the Chinese embassy compound in Bishkek, causing a big explosion, killing himself and wounding two security guards and three local people working at the embassy.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Two Bangladeshi workers plead guilty to financing terrorism in Singapore

SINGAPORE, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Two Bangladeshi workers, who were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in April, pleaded guilty to financing terrorism, local media reported here on Tuesday.

Zzaman Daulat and Mamum Leakot Ali, who had previously denied the charges against them under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act (TSOFA), pleaded guilty on Tuesday. This brings the number of those convicted under the new Act to six.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Australia's top court directs news website to remove sensitive data related to India's Scorpene submarines

A DCNS Scorpene class submarine (File Photo)
NEW DELHI, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Australian apex court has directed a news organisation to remove all sensitive data related to Scorpene submarines from its website and stop from publishing further information on the project, India's state-run broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) said Tuesday.

"The temporary order expires on Thursday as the Australian Supreme Court is set to hear the case on Sept. 1," the broadcaster said.

French shipbuilder DCNS has approached Australian court seeking an injunction against news website "The Australian" over the publication of data related to Scorpene submarines.

Last week, "The Australian" uploaded data pertaining to India's Scorpene submarines. The data leak revealed the detailed information about the combat capability and operating instructions of underwater warfare system of the six Scorpene submarines being built by DCNS in India.

The massive data leak of more than 22,000 classified pages has hit the DCNS.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Pacific Islands to firm collective stance on regional issues prior to U.S. election

Three of the major groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean
(Image: Wiki Commons)
SYDNEY, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Pacific Islands are looking to firm their collective stance on key regional integration and cooperation issues at the triennial Pacific Island Conference of Leaders as preparations are made for a political change in the United States.

The 20 heads of government of the Pacific Islands will meet in Hawaii on Wednesday to discuss a range of issues, including maritime disputes, economic stability and the "constant threat of extreme weather caused by climate change."

"Pacific Islands nations cannot take on these issues alone, we must partner with other like-minded nations and stand for our interests in the global community," the conference's chair, Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said on Tuesday.

O'Neill said the meeting's timing is important, allowing the Pacific's collective views and positions to strengthen before a change in the U.S. government.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: S.Korea raises 2017 defense budget on advancing DPRK nuke, missile

A South Korean M-SAM Launcher (File Photo)
SEOUL, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- South Korea raised its 2017 defense budget to speed up efforts at building its homegrown missile defense system amid an advance in nuclear and missile technologies of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Allotted defense budget for 2017 was 40.33 trillion won (36.1 billion U.S. dollars), up 4.0 percent from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance. If the budget bill is approved through the National Assembly, it would surpass 40 trillion won for the first time.

Budget to build the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), the country's indigenous missile defense system, reached 533.1 billion won in 2017, up 40.5 percent from a year earlier.

The KAMD, which Seoul's military aims to deploy by mid-2020s, consists of medium-range surface-to-air missile (M-SAM), long-range surface-to-air missiles (L-SAM), U.S. Patriot missiles and early-warning radars to shoot down DPRK missiles at a terminal phase.

The acceleration in the KAMD development came amid what Seoul says growing nuclear and missile threats from Pyongyang following its fourth nuclear test in January and the launch in February of a long-range rocket.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: UN chief calls for early entry of Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on all countries to work to bring the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as soon as possible.

Open for signature in 1996, the legally binding CTBT is a multilateral treaty by which states agree to ban all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes.

In a message to the International Day against Nuclear Tests, Ban noted since its adoption 20 years ago, the CTBT has yet to enter into force.

Read the full story at Xinhua

30 August 2016

Think Tank: Sea, air, land and space updates

Image: Flickr User - DVIDSHUB
Christopher Cowan, Thulasi Wigneswaran, Elisabeth Buchan and Alexander Vipondare

Sea State

The Indian Navy was hit by a massive data leak last week after sensitive technical data about its new Scorpene class attack submarines fell into the hands of The Australian. An inside source at a subcontractor for DCNS (the French defence contractor that builds the submarines) is thought to be responsible, although the motive behind the leak remains unclear. This raises worrying questions for Chile and Malaysia, which also operate the Scorpene. Less clear are the implications for Australia, which recently awarded DCNS the rights to a $50 billion contract to build its fleet of future submarines.

In an interview with ScoutWarrior last week, retired US Navy Rear Admiral Charles Richard stated that the Navy and its industrial partners have the capacity to build two Virginia class nuclear-powered attack submarines per year in the 2020s. It was previously thought that only one Virginia class could be built per year due to construction beginning on the Columbia class ballistic missile nuclear submarines around the same time. This newfound industrial capacity will go a long way to help mitigate the US Navy’s looming shortage of attack submarines in a time when the number of countries operating submarines has increased dramatically.

USA: Decatur, Spruance conduct anti-submarine warfare exercise with Japan

From U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force sailors collaborate aboard USS Decatur (DDG 73), Aug. 25 (U.S. Navy/LTJG Daphne White) >>

PHILIPPINE SEA - Guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Spruance (DDG 111) conducted bilateral training exercises in the Philippine Sea with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMDSF), Aug. 22-26.

The Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare Readiness Effectiveness Measuring (SHAREM) program is a series of events focused on anti-submarine warfare procedures and tactics designed to measure how effectively surface ships and aircraft can detect and track submarines. It also served as a joint exercise with JMSDF naval assets, with both countries embarking liaison officers from the other to maximize communication and understanding throughout the evolution.

"SHAREM was an exceptional opportunity to improve our anti-submarine warfare skills and work alongside our Japanese allies," said Lt. j.g. Sean Quirk, anti-submarine warfare officer, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31. "These unique exercises improve our bilateral capabilities, making us a stronger combined force to deter any adversary."

Industry: Navantia signs the Future Frigate Participant Services Contract

Navantia's SEA 5000 Frigate Design
The Commonwealth of Australia and Navantia have signed an agreement for the Risk Reduction and Design Study (RRDS) Phase for the SEA 5000 Future Frigate Program. This is part of the Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP) being conducted by the Australian Department of Defence for the SEA5000 Future Frigate Program. The Commonwealth has also entered into similar agreements with each of Fincantieri and BAE Systems. 

Under the agreement, and for a period of approximately one year, the Commonwealth and Navantia will engage in an interactive process that will allow the Australian Department of Defence to assess the capability, risk and other matters associated with Navantia’s proposed ship design. 

This signature is related to the announcement of the Australian Prime Minister; The Hon. Malcom Turnbull, that Navantia and two other designers had been selected to participate in the RRDS stage of the CEP. 

Navantia’s participation in this program is a significant milestone for the future of Navantia in Australia as the opportunity to be a potential designer of the future frigates will be the most important naval surface shipbuilding program worldwide. This program has the potential to allow for the development of Navantia Australia’s local capabilities and its Operations and Design Centre, which will actively participate in this design phase.

News Report: Arms Race - China’s New Missile Defense System to Defend Against US, South Korea

HQ-16A Surface-to-Air Missile System (File Photo)
With ongoing tensions in the South China Sea and on the Korean peninsula, Beijing has deemed its third-generation surface-to-air missile combat-ready. 

In the latest sign of a new arms race between the United States and China, Beijing’s Air Force has announced the completion of a new missile defense system.

"Through innovation, ground-to-air defense troops are able to deal with far-range, medium-range and short-range missiles which can come in on high, medium and low altitudes," PLA Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke said in a statement released on China’s Defense Ministry website, according to the International Business Times. 

"The capability of China’s air defense and anti-missile systems has greatly improved in the information age we live in. Our ground-to-air forces are now a powerful force to safeguard China’s airspace sovereignty." 

News Report: Scorpene Sub Data Leak Could be Act of Corporate War

A DCNS Scorpene class submarine (File Photo)
The leak of documents relating to the operations of the French Scorpene submarine may prove to be more damaging to India than anyone has yet let on.

New Delhi (Sputnik) – The Indian Navy has said it views the leakage of sensitive data related to its under-construction Scorpene class submarine very seriously and that it plans to take damage control measures once investigations are complete. 

“Have viewed the leak of the Scorpene data very seriously. We have asked DCNS to launch an urgent investigation. We have ourselves set up a high level committee to investigate into this. Based on the report of the committee, we will see what mitigation measures need to be taken," said Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba said in an official statement

News Report: Taiwan to Indict Three Soldiers Over Accidental Missile Launch Toward China

Hsiung Feng III supersonic missile (File Photo)
Taiwanese prosecutors are set to charge three officers implicated in the accidental launch of an anti-ship missile last month toward China, local media reported Monday.

BEIJING (Sputnik) — On July 1, a Ching Chiang class patrol ship fired the Hsiung Feng III supersonic missile in what was supposed to be a simulated launch during military drills near Taiwan’s Penghu. 

According to the Taiwanese Central News Agency, authorities determined that the missile, which had hit a fishing boat and killed one fisherman as well as injured three other crew members, was launched by accident. 

Under Taiwanese law, officers may be sentenced to a prison term for up to 10 years if found guilty.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: When Life Gives You LEMOA - Inside the Controversial US-Indian Military Agreement

As the US and India Defense Ministers prepare to sign a LEMOA treaty, which will enable the two country to use each other’s military bases, there is still a significant amount of confusion and controversy around the act. 

Manohar Parrikar, the Defense Minister of India, has left to the US to meet with US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. This meeting is expected to end with signing of LEMOA act, a treaty which will enable the two countries to use each other's military infrastructure.

Interestingly, the media coverage description of the act is highly controversial. Forbes, for instance, is quick to say that LEMOA will enable "US armed forces… operate out of Indian bases." 

"The US Navy plans to deploy 60 percent of its surface ships in the Indo-Pacific in the near future. Instead of having to build facilities virtually from the ground up, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US has the benefit of simple arrangements for the tremendous Indian facilities," Forbes's Charles Tiefer writes. 

News Story: N. Korea submarine missiles not ready until 2018 - experts

North Korea's 1st SLBM Launch (File Photo)
North Korea is making progress on a submarine-launched ballistic missile system but any deployment of the technology is years away, a US think tank said, as the UN Security Council promised action over Pyongyang's latest test.

The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said late Friday on its closely-watched website, 38 North, that the success of North Korea's SLBM test this week suggests the program may be progressing faster than originally expected.

"However, this does not mean it will be ready next week, next month, or even next year", it said.

"Rather, the pace and method of the North's SLBM testing would suggest possible deployment in an initial operational capability by the second half of 2018 at the earliest."

The missile, launched from a submerged prototype "Gorae-class" submarine near the northeastern port of Sinpo, flew 500 kilometres (300 miles) towards Japan, marking what weapons analysts called a clear step forward for its nuclear strike ambitions.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily

News Story: N. Korea leader says missile test 'greatest success'

North Korea's 1st SLBM Launch (File Photo)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un declared a submarine-launched missile test the "greatest success", state media said Thursday, as the UN weighed a condemnation of the launch which appears to advance Pyongyang's nuclear strike capability.

The US mainland and the Pacific are now "within the striking range" of the North's army, the official KCNA news agency reported Kim as saying after Wednesday's launch.

The missile was fired from a submarine submerged off the northeastern port of Sinpo on Wednesday, according to South Korea's military. It flew 500 kilometres (around 300 miles) towards Japan, far exceeding any previous sub-launched tests.

The UN Security Council met for two hours on Wednesday to discuss North Korea's latest provocative move and agreed to consider a statement condemning the launch.

"There was a general sense of condemnation by most members of the council and therefore we will have to see how we would then be phrasing the press statement," said Ramlan bin Ibrahim from Malaysia, which currently holds the council's presidency.

However diplomats expected further haggling with China, Pyongyang's main ally, over the wording.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily