30 September 2016

AUS: Combat System Integrator for Future Submarines

The Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne and the Minister for Defence Industry, The Hon Christopher Pyne MP today announced that Lockheed Martin Australia has been selected as the preferred Combat System Integrator for Australia’s Future Submarine Program, subject to further discussion on commercial matters.

Minister Payne said this is an important step in the development of Australia’s regionally superior future submarines.

“Lockheed Martin Australia will be our Combat System Integrator to partner with Defence and DCNS to design and integrate the combat system of our Future Submarine, which meets our unique capability requirements.”

“By partnering with an Australian-based company with strong links to the United States we will ensure that we get the best Australian and US technology, while ensuring that our sensitive technology is protected.”

AUS: First Contract Signed with DCNS to Commence Design Phase

The Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP and the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne today announced the next significant step in the building of Australia’s Future Submarines with the signing of the contract between the Government and DCNS to commence the design phase of the Program.

Mr Pyne said the signing of the Design and Mobilisation contract today with DCNS was ahead of schedule and not only represented another significant step along the path to developing a regionally superior Future Submarine but also was good news for Australian Defence industry.

“The signing ahead of schedule of the Design and Mobilisation Contract with DCNS demonstrates the Turnbull Government’s commitment to ensuring the project is on track and that planning and preparations at each step are consistently thorough.

“Mobilisation and design activities will mark the start of the Future Submarine Program, with work also commencing to maximise Australian industry involvement and early planning for the construction of the Submarines in Australia.”

News Story: US joins allies and partners in Singapore for Deep Sabre 2016

From Task Force 73 Public Affairs

Distinguished attendees listen to the keynote address at the opening ceremony of exercise Deep Sabre 2016 at Changi Naval Base. (U.S. Navy/PO1 Micah Blechner) >>

SINGAPORE - U.S. personnel from across the U.S. Pacific Command joined nation partners and allies in Singapore for Exercise Deep Sabre, Sept 27-30.

Deep Sabre is a multinational proliferation security initiative (PSI) and maritime security exercise involving nations of the Asia-Pacific Exercise Rotation including the U.S., Singapore, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. Additionally, representatives of 21 nations from the PSI operational experts group were on hand to observe portions of the training scenarios and participate in symposia and information sharing engagements.

The multinational exercise promotes capacity building and information sharing among countries to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related materials. The collaboration among nations is also intended to provide a strong deterrent against proliferation activities.

USA: USS Coronado departs Hawaii, resumes rotational deployment to Singapore

From U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

In this file photo, USS Coronado (LCS 3) returns to Pearl Harbor during exercise Rim of the Pacific in August. (U.S. Navy/PO2 Johans Chavarro) >>

PEARL HARBOR - Littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) departed the waters surrounding Hawaii to continue its 16-month rotational deployment to 7th Fleet in support of the Indo-Asia-Pacific rebalance, Sept. 29.

The ship's departure followed a brief maintenance period, pre-underway checks, and sea trials to validate repairs to two high-speed flexible couplings in the ship's propulsion plant.

The high-speed flexible couplings failed while Coronado was en route to Singapore, Aug. 29. Following the casualty, Coronado returned to Hawaii under its own power and commenced repairs to the couplings.

USA: Bonhomme Richard ESG ships arrive in Hong Kong for port visit

By MC2 Sarah Villegas, Expeditionary Strike Group 7 Public Affairs

Sailors aboard USS Green Bay (LPD 20) observe as USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) breaks away from a formation last week during exercise Valiant Shield. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Patrick Dionne) >>

HONG KONG - USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and USS Green Bay (LPD 20), both with embarked Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, arrived in Hong Kong for a port visit, Sept. 29.

The visit affords Sailors and Marines of both ships the opportunity to enjoy the culture and history of Hong Kong and to build positive relationships with members of the Hong Kong community.

Bonhomme Richard and Green Bay, both of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, are making the visit following participation in the U.S. military joint training exercise Valiant Shield.

Industry: DCNS welcomes the signature of the first operational contract for the Australian Future Submarine Program and the selection of Lockheed Martin as the program Combat System Integrator

The first operational contract of the Future Submarine Program is meant to launch program activities between the Australian government and DCNS. This “Design and Mobilisation Contract” focuses on program set up and coordination with the Combat System Integrator (CSI) and the Australian partners, and commences activities for the development of the submarines for the Australian Navy.

The announcements were made in Australia by the Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP and the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne.

Hervé Guillou, DCNS chairman and CEO, stated: “DCNS is looking forward to a strategic and sustainable partnership with the Commonwealth of Australia, Lockheed Martin and Australian Industry.” He added: “This is a significant step forward in the Program. This contract will allow DCNS to commence the initial phase of Australia’s Future Submarine. DCNS is committed to ensuring that Australia has a regionally superior submarine constructed in Adelaide and develops a sovereign naval industry.”

News Report: Beijing Warns Tokyo - 'China’s Military Will Not Sit Idly By' in South China Sea

Image: Flickr User - Official U.S. Navy Page
As Tokyo begins to play a more active role in the South China Sea, Beijing has warned against any provocations.

Tensions have escalated between China and Japan over a territorial dispute in the East China Sea, where both nations claim ownership over a string of islands called the Senkakus. But Japan is also in talks with the Pentagon to join military patrols in the South China Sea, a move Beijing warned against on Thursday.

"We must solemnly tell Japan this is a miscalculation. If Japan wants to have joint patrol or drills in waters under Chinese jurisdiction this really is playing with fire," Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said, according to Deutsche Welle.

"China’s military will not sit idly by." 

News Report: For Now China, US take Neutral Stance in India-Pakistani Conflict

Washington and Beijing will not take sides in the persisting regional disputes between India and Pakistan. The United States and China stated their positions after New Dehli’s decision to isolate Pakistan following a terrorist attack on an Indian military base earlier in September that killed 18 soldiers.

China’s "all-weather" friendship with Pakistan and the US has made it difficult for Beijing to find common ground with India, despite both countries suffering terrorist attacks and the focus on the Afghan-Pakistan region as a key entryway for violent extremists. Despite Beijing’s hands-off approach, there have been strides to maintain its relationship with Islamabad. 

On September 21 Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that China is "ready to deepen all-round practical cooperation with Pakistan and is willing to make joint efforts with Islamabad in injecting new impetus into the development of bilateral relations," according to Xinhuanet

News Report: India Sets Sights on Obtaining 185,000 Assault Rifles to Replace Old Weapons

An indigenous attempt to replace INSAS
India is looking to the global market to procure basic rifles for the Indian Army, having failed to find a suitable domestic replacement for its 20-year old INSAS rifles.

New Delhi (Sputnik) – India is once again eyeing top global small arms suppliers to help provide basic assault rifles for the Indian army's 1.3 million soldiers. The Indian defense ministry is initiating the process of acquiring a 7.62 mm x 51mm assault rifle to replace its existing Indian small arms system (INSAS) rifle.

India intends to acquire a total of 185,000 such rifles; it requires 65,000 rifles immediately. India cancelled a global tender for assault rifles in 2015 that had been floated in 2011. The Indian Army had pinned its hopes on finding a domestic manufacturer but failed to do so. 

News Report: India Invites Global Tender for High Tech Aerial Surveillance Equipment

Northrop Grumman AN/TPS-78 Radar (Example Photo)
India is interested in buying surveillance equipment that would enable its forces to keep watch over the close-range aerial activities of rivals.

New Delhi (Sputnik) – In order to beef up its network-centric operations and air defense system along the northern frontier, India has listed a series of high value systems for procurement through global tender. Defense Ministry documents show that India would acquire high power radars for high frequency voice and data communication sets for high-altitude areas.

The Indian Air Force intends to procure 12 High Power Radars (HPRs) for air defense surveillance. The radars would be based on active aperture phased array technology, based on Solid State Trans / Receive Modules. 

News Report: Indias' Punjab State Evacuates Border Districts Following Kashmir Strikes

Indian Border Security Force patrols the Pakistan border
The authorities of the Indian state of Punjab ordered to evacuate all villages located within a 10-kilometer (6-mile) distance from the 553-km-long border with Pakistan following the strikes, according to local media.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The authorities of the Indian state of Punjab ordered the evacuation of villages bordering Pakistan after India carried out anti-terror "surgical strikes" across the line of control in Kashmir, local media reported Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh, India's army director-general of military operations, said that India carried out strikes against suspected positions of terrorists in the disputed areas of Kashmir region under the Pakistani control. 

News Report: India Conducts 'Surgical Strikes' on Terrorist Positions in Pakistan

India has carried out strikes against suspected positions of terrorists in the disputed areas of Kashmir region under the Pakistani control.

NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — India has carried out strikes against suspected positions of terrorists in the disputed areas of Kashmir region under the Pakistani control, India's army director-general of military operations said on Thursday.

"Last night Indian Army conducted surgical strikes against the terrorist launch pads in LoC and PoK [Pakistan-occupied Kashmir] which resulted in significant causalities among terrorists," Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh said at a press conference. 

He added that at least 20 militants' attempts to infiltrate India from Pakistan had been foiled recently by the army.

Earlier in the day, the Pakistani Inter-Services Public Relations said that two Pakistan's soldiers died in an overnight cross-border firefight with Indian troops in Kashmir.

Kashmir has been disputed between India and Pakistan since partition of India in 1947. The two countries have gone through three wars over the region, but the conflict has not been resolved. The recent escalation is connected with the killing of Burhan Wani, the leader of a Kashmiri separatist group, outlawed in India, by Indian security forces in July 2016. 

On Sunday, a group of militants reportedly crossed from Pakistan into India-administered northern Kashmir territory and attacked the Indian base in Uri, killing 18 servicemen.

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

News Report: Indonesian Police Arrest Man Suspected of Facilitating Daesh Recruitment

Indonesian police have arrested an individual suspected of being part of a group of people that helped Indonesian citizens join the ranks of Daesh jihadist group in Syria, police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar announced.

BALI (Sputnik) – According to police, seven other people have been arrested who are thought to have helped Indonesians go to Syria to join Daesh. Some of the arrested are suspects, while others have been classified as witnesses. 

"He was arrested at 8 o’clock this morning in Bekasi, West Java," Amar told journalists in Jakarta on Wednesday, as quoted by Benar News, adding that the suspect’s "expertise is in preparing, motivating and provisioning people who want to go, and teaching them techniques for lying if they are caught."

Indonesia and Malaysia, the two most-populated Muslim-majority countries of the region, are the homelands of the largest percentage of Daesh fighters originating from Southeast Asia.

Daesh, a radical Sunni group, is banned in a range of countries, including Russia. It has captured vast areas in Iraq and Syria and has claimed responsibility for an array of attacks carried out in various countries. 

On January 14, 2016, a series of explosions and gunfire occurred in central Jakarta, near a United Nations information center. Four civilians and four attackers were killed and over 20 people were injured in the attack. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.

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

News Story: Manned, unmanned helos coordinate missile attack

MQ-8B Fire Scout (Image: Wiki Commons)
by Richard Tomkins

An unmanned air system has been used as a laser designator platform for an MH-60S Seahawk to fire a Hellfire missile at a moving target.

The U.S. Navy said the test of the MQ-8B Fire Scout took place at a designated live-fire range off the coast of California and successfully demonstrated the operational integration of Navy-manned helicopters and unmanned assets.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily

News Story: India's BEL Eyes Missile Integration Market

Akash-2 Surface-to-Air Missile Launcher
By: Vivek Raghuvanshi

NEW DELHI — Indian defense electronics giant Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) plans to develop into a leading missile systems integrator within the next five years, according to the company's outgoing Chairman Sunil Kumar Sharma. 

BEL is establishing a Defence Systems Integration Complex at Palasamudram in Andhra Pradesh in southern India with an investment of more than $120 million, Sharma said, adding that it will be country's largest missile systems integration facility where missile systems such as navigation, seeker, radar, fire control and guidance will be manufactured. 

"The proposed complex will be a world-class facility with automated-guided vehicles and industrial robots for material movement and handling with state-of-the-art manufacturing infrastructure for radars and weapon systems integration," he said. "The facility at Palasamudram will enable BEL to expand its business and strengthen the country's capability for manufacturing and integration of upcoming projects in the area of surface-to-air missile systems and network-centric systems". 

The complex will also have a state-of-art missile firing range facility. 

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Next Phase of Pacific Rebalance Focuses on Cyber, Interoperability

By: Aaron Mehta

ABOARD THE USS CARL VINSON – The US will seek to “sharpen our military edge” in the Pacific even as it hopes China will improve relations with its neighbors, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said today. 

As a result, Carter today announced what he described as a “third wave” of the Obama administration’s rebalance to the Pacific, commonly referred to as the “Pacific Pivot.” 

As he has in every speech focused on the Pacific since taking over as secretary, Carter attempted to thread the needle between criticizing China for its aggressiveness in the South China Sea while holding out a hand towards the Asian power. 

“Everyone gets a voice [in the region], and no one is excluded -- and by the way, that includes China, and its military, and we hope China doesn’t exclude itself,” Carter said in prepared remarks. Defense News is travelling with Carter this week as he heads to a meeting of the defense ministers from the ASEAN nations.

“The United States still has serious concerns with some of China’s recent actions on the seas, in cyberspace, and elsewhere,” Carter added. “Beijing sometimes appears to want to pick and choose which principles it wants to benefit from and which it prefers to try to undercut.”

But in order to assure the US and its interests remain secure in the region, the Pentagon is focused on modernizing capabilities that fit the wide distances of the Pacific. That includes the well-known Air Force modernization trio of the KC-46A tanker, B-21 bomber and F-35 joint strike fighter, as well as investments in undersea drones and advanced torpedoes.

Carter also pledged “a few surprises” on the technological front, perhaps referring to capabilities under development by the Strategic Capabilities Office, whose head, William Roper, told reporters last month that they are trying to broadcast some new technologies in order to deter potential near-peer adversaries. 

“I can’t share all the details on these for obvious reasons, but what our friends and our potential adversaries – and all of you – should know is that these new capabilities will help us keep our decades-old commitment to undergirding security in the Asia-Pacific,” Carter said.

In the meantime, the Obama administration is launching a “third phase” of the rebalance, which comes with a trio of focus areas.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: India Claims 'Surgical Strikes' on Terrorist Camps Across Pakistani Border

By: Vivek Raghuvanshi

NEW DELHI — India claims it conducted "surgical strikes" Wednesday night on suspected terrorists preparing to infiltrate from "launch pads" across the Line of Control (LOC) — the de facto boundary between India and Pakistan in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. 

The news of the attacks was given at a hurriedly summoned news conference here at noon on Thursday by the Indian Army's director general of military operations, Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh, who only read from a prepared statement. 

"Significant casualties have been caused to terrorists and those trying to shield them. We don't have a plan to further conduct such strikes. India has spoken to Pakistan," Singh said. "The strikes were launched on Wednesday based on very specific and credible information that some terrorist units had positioned themselves with an aim to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes." 

A statement on the website of India's Press Information Bureau read: "Based on receiving specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along Line of Control to carryout infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros in other states, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to pre-empt infiltration by terrorists." 

Singh said he had called his Pakistani counterpart to inform him of the operation. 

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Pakistan summons Indian envoy in protest over soldiers' killing

ISLAMABAD, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan on Thursday summoned Indian high commissioner in Islamabad, Gautam Bambawale, to Foreign Office and lodged a strong protest over the killing of two soldiers by Indian troop fires at Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan controlled Kashmir, local Urdu TV Channel Geo reported.

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry handed over the protest note to the Indian envoy, strongly condemning the unprovoked firing across the LoC, Geo TV quoted officials from the Foreign Office as saying.

Pakistan had sought a prompt reply from the Indian authorities over their forces' violation of the ceasefire at the LoC.

Bambawale was summoned after Indian forces opened fire at the LoC, which started at 2:30 a.m. and lasted till 6:30 a.m. local time on Thursday and killed two Pakistani soldiers.

Earlier in the day, India's Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Ranbir Singh claimed that Indian forces entered Pakistan on the other side of LoC and carried out deadly "surgical strikes" on Wednesday night, however Pakistan army rejected the claims.

There have been no surgical strikes by India, instead there has been fire along the LoC to the east of Pakistan initiated and conducted by India, a spokesman of the Pakistani military said.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: New Chinese peacekeepers start UN mission in Liberia

BEIJING, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- A new group of Chinese peacekeepers has taken up a one-year UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia, after taking over duties from the previous group of soldiers Thursday.

The new peacekeepers, the 19th group that China has deployed to Liberia since 2003, consists of a 44-member transportation detachment and an 80-member engineering detachment.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: China says its mineral trade with DPRK accords with UN resolutions

BEIJING, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- The current mineral resources trade between China and the DPRK accords with relevant UN Security Council resolutions and China's domestic laws, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.

It was reported that Daniel Russel, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, said on Wednesday that China's purchases of coal and other economic activities have created a lifeline for the DPRK that reduces the impact of global sanctions.

Spokesperson Geng Shuang reiterated that China is opposed to the DPRK developing nuclear weapons and is committed to realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

"This position is consistent and clear," Geng said at a press conference.

China is a responsible country and has faithfully implemented relevant UN Security Council resolutions and honored its international obligations in non-proliferation, Geng said.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Afghan gov't, dissident group sign peace deal

KABUL, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Afghan government signed a peace deal with Hizb-e-Islami, a militant group led by Gulbudin Hekmatyar on Thursday, in an effort to boost peace and national reconciliation in the militancy-hit country.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani signed the much awaited deal at a ceremony attended by ranking officials and supporters of Hizb-e-Islami held in Arg, the country's Presidential Palace on Thursday morning.

"Afghanistan is home for all Afghans. I praise all Afghans, who never lose hope for peace, and I thank them for standing with their government for bringing durable peace in their country," Ghani told the event.

Hekmatyar signed the agreement, which was brokered by Afghan High Peace Council after some two years of negotiations, via a video conference broadcasting during the event.

The Afghan president told the audience that the peace deal with Hizb-e-Islami was based on the country's constitution and the two sides were committed to working for peace, stability and reconstruction of the country.

"The peace negotiations are based on the grounds that the achievements of the past 15 years will be protected. The achievements that gained with a lot of sacrifices and sufferings," he said.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Indian PM convenes security meeting following attacks in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir

NEW DELHI, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday chaired a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to discuss the situation along the Line of Control (LoC), officials said.

The meeting comes hours after Indian military's "surgical attacks" in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

The CCS is an apex decision-making body of the Indian government on all issues pertaining to its national security.

Officials said the meeting was attended by all the senior ministers and top officials.

Indian military Thursday claimed it entered inside Pakistan-controlled Kashmir close to the LoC and carried out deadly "surgical strikes."

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Indian forces fire in 5 sectors - Pakistan DM

ISLAMABAD, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said on Thursday that Indian forces used small arms to fire late Wednesday on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control (LoC).

"I want to tell the nation that our two soldiers have been martyred and nine others were injured in the firing," the minister told the media in Islamabad.

Pakistani forces responded in the same caliber in which Indian troops had fired, Asif said.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Experts from South Asian countries gather in Nepal to discuss effectiveness of SAARC

KATHMANDU, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Experts and parliamentarians from South Asian countries gathered on Thursday in Kathmandu to join a two-day regional conference on the effectiveness of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

Addressing the conference, Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal lamented over the slow pace of the SAARC.

"SAARC's process has been very slow over the years. Several agreements have been made in the past and I would say it is a time for SAARC member states to go for implementation of those agreements," the prime minister said.

The SAARC has not been able to make significant progress compared with other regional blocks around the world, he added.

Stressing the importance of enhanced connectivity and deeper economic integration for better peace, stability and prosperity in the region, Dahal said the SAARC member states should make collective efforts to overcome challenges such as poverty and underdevelopment.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Lockheed Martin selected as combat system integrator for Australia's future submarines

CANBERRA, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Lockheed Martin Australia has been selected as the preferred Combat System Integrator for Australia's Future Submarine Program, Australian Minister for Defence Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne announced on Thursday in a joint media release.

"Lockheed Martin Australia will be our Combat System Integrator to partner with Defence and DCNS (of France) to design and integrate the combat system of our Future Submarine, which meets our unique capability requirements," Payne said.

She called it an important step in developing Australia's regionally superior future submarines.

"By partnering with an Australian-based company with strong links to the United States we will ensure that we get the best Australian and US technology, while ensuring that our sensitive technology is protected."

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: New Zealand extends commitment to UN peacekeeping in Golan Heights

WELLINGTON, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand military contribution to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Golan Heights has been extended until September 2018, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said Thursday.

"The United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation is the United Nations' oldest peacekeeping operation, and is an important and visible mission to help preserve peace between Israel and its neighbors," Brownlee said in a statement.

"The New Zealand Defence Force has been a longstanding and respected contributor since 1954 through the monitoring role played by our military observers."

The renewed commitment would see eight personnel continue to support the mission, which was New Zealand's largest current contribution to a UN-led peacekeeping operation.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Saab targets Gripen at Philippines

Jon Grevatt

Saab is to open an office in Manila by the end of 2016 to support the company's campaign to sell its JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft to the Philippine Air Force (PAF), an official from the Swedish company told I HS Jane's on 28 September.

Speaking on the opening day of the Asian Defence and Security 2016 (ADAS 2016) exhibition in Manila, Carl-Erik Leek, Saab's executive vice-president in the Asia Pacific, said the new office would be the centre of the company's marketing activities in the country.

At present, these are undertaken from Saab's regional headquarters in Thailand, although the company does not currently have a major presence, in terms of previous defence sales, in the Philippine market.

Read the full story at IHS Jane's

News Story: Violence recurs in southern Thailand

Hanoi (VNA) – Violence recurred in southern Thailand when gunmen attacked a primary school in Narathiwat province, killing one person and injuring two others, Thai police said on September 29. 

The incident occurred when 10 insurgents rode motorbikes directing their guns at a group of security officers at the school. 

Victims are members of civil defence force trained and armed by the government to support tens of thousands of soldiers in insecure provinces bordering Malaysia. They often escort teachers and pupils in the most dangerous areas in the southern region. 

Read the full story at VietnamPlus

News Story: Singaporean, Japanese leaders agree on TPP, East (South China) Sea

Hanoi (VNA) – The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and the East Sea issue were key topics discussed during a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister (PM) Shinzo Abe and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong in Tokyo on September 28. 

They agreed on cooperation to soon bring the TPP into effect. 

Addressing a joint press conference following the meeting, Lee Hsien Loong emphasised the importance of Japan as the second-largest economy participating in the deal, following the US. 

PM Abe believed that the Japanese Diet will ratify the TPP in its special session, which is scheduled to finish on November 11. 

Read the full story at VietnamPlus

News Story: Presidents of Vietnam, Philippines vow to strengthen ties

Hanoi (VNA) – The Presidents of Vietnam and the Philippines have pledged to further strengthen political and diplomatic cooperation via regular exchange of all-level visits and boosting ties on the Party, government, State, National Assembly and people-to-people exchange channel.

President Tran Dai Quang and President Rodrigo Roa Duterte made the commitment at their talks in Hanoi on September 29 during the Philippine President’s official visit from September 28-29.

The two countries will also improve the efficiency of bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including the Committee on Bilateral Cooperation at the foreign ministerial level, the Inter-Committee on Sea and Ocean, the Joint Sub-Committee on Trade, the dialogue on defence policy, and the Joint Working Group on Fisheries.

Both sides agreed to work closely together to prepare for the 40 th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year.

Read the full story at VietnamPlus

News Story: PH killings not errors but systematic brutal says US Senator

A ranking member of the US foreign relations committee, Senator Benjamin Cardin claims that alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines is not an “occasional error or the over-zealous application of force,” rather, a “systematic, wide-spread, brutal, and beyond the bounds for a constitutional democracy.”

“If the current trends continue we can expect that over 6,000 people will be dead as a result of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines by the end of this year. 6,000 people,” Cardin pointed out in a conversation with US Senator Patrick Leahy.

Read the full story at Tankler

News Story: US senator warns Philippines

United States Senator Patrick Leahy warns the Philippines of ‘further conditions’ on US aid because of recent extrajudicial killings in the Southeast Asian country.

Leahy is the authored the law that bars the US from extending assistance “to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”

“The Leahy Law should be used to encourage reform and accountability, but to address these systemic challenges it may be necessary to consider further conditions on assistance to the Duterte government to ensure that US taxpayer funds are property spent and until that government demonstrates a commitment to the rule of law,” Leahy said as quoted by Rappler.

Read the full story at Tankler

News Story: (Philippines) DFA statement on Dutertes remark ending military exercises with US

Perfecto Yasay Jr
Department of Foreign Affair Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr disclaimed on Wednesday night President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement of stopping US-Philippines military exercises moments after Duterte mentioned it in a speech in Hanoi, Vietnam beholding Filipinos at the Intercontinental Hotel.

“No, no, no, he did not say that at all,” Yasay said.

That night, Duterte was aired live on social media and television, had said: “You (US) are scheduled to hold war games again which China does not want. I will serve notice to you now, this will be the last military exercise.”

Read the full story at Tankler

29 September 2016

AUS: Electronic Surveillance System Upgrade for Army

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP announced today that Defence has signed a contract that will provide Australian soldiers with a back-pack electronic surveillance system.

Mr Pyne said the acquisition contract signed with Victorian company Chemring Australia is valued at $18 million and will supply up to 50 back-pack electronic surveillance systems to be delivered during the first 18 months of the contract.

“These new back-pack based systems will detect, identify and determine the direction of communication signals in the field and provide that information to other electronic warfare command units,” Minister Pyne said.

“This replacement of an obsolete system as part of a wider Army electronic warfare capability upgrade will significantly improve the Army’s situational awareness in the field.

AUS: Minister for Defence Industry Visits Thales to Announce Global Opportunities for Australian Companies

Access to export markets and global value chains has been given a boost by the extension of Global Supply Agreements with major defence companies.

The Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, announced the extensions during a visit to Thales’ Bendigo facility to understand the company’s manufacturing capabilities for the Bushmaster and Hawkei protected mobility vehicles.

The Minister said that the Department of Defence has signed contracts with Thales and Raytheon to maximise export opportunities for capable Australian companies.

The Agreements are under the Global Supply Chain Program which is a key initiative to provide small to medium sized companies with defence and commercial bid opportunities across the Primes’ business units.

USA: 7th annual Naval Engagement Activity Vietnam begins

From Task Force 73 Public Affairs

USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) approaches the pier in Da Nang, Vietnam, Sept. 29. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Madailein Abbott) >>

DA NANG, Vietnam - The U.S. Navy and the Vietnam People's Navy (VPN) kicked off the 7th annual Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) Vietnam with a welcome ceremony at Tien Sa Port in Da Nang, Sept. 28.

NEA Vietnam has evolved from annual port visits to Da Nang by U.S. Navy ships, which began more than a decade ago, to a multi-day bilateral naval engagement ashore and at sea. Each year the engagement becomes more complex, and last year marked the first time a littoral combat ship, USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), participated.

"Our coordination with the VPN and Da Nang People's Committee continues to be positive and productive, and we appreciate the efforts of the U.S. country team in Hanoi to continually deepen our partnership with the VPN," said Capt. H. B. Le, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 7. "We've expanded the sea phase this year to incorporate a more complex CUES (Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea) event and search and rescue scenario. We're looking forward to working with [guided-missile destroyer] USS John S McCain (DDG 56) and interacting with the VPN and people in Da Nang, building on the success and lessons from last year's NEA."

USA: Joint Investigation Team Report on the Downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

The United States welcomes the interim report of the Joint Investigation Team on the shoot down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

The Team’s interim findings corroborate Secretary Kerry’s statement in the days following the tragedy that MH17 was shot down by a BUK surface-to-air missile fired from Russian-backed, separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine.

The Team found also that the BUK launcher was transported from Russia to separatist-controlled territory in Ukraine before the incident, and returned to Russia after the launcher was used to shoot down MH17.

While nothing can take away the grief of those who lost loved ones on that tragic day, this announcement is another step toward bringing to justice those responsible for this outrageous attack.

The United States will continue to work with the Joint Investigation Team in its investigation. We call on other states that are in a position to assist to cooperate fully so those responsible are held accountable.

News Report: US, Vietnam Kick Off 7th Annual Bilateral Engagement Exercise - Navy

The US and Vietnamese navies have begun the 7th annual Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) Vietnam 2016 at Tien Sa Port in Da Nang, the US Navy said in a press release on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The exercise will focus on non-combatant events and include seminars in military medicine and maritime law as well as subject matter expert exchanges in navigation, shipboard medicine and damage control, the release stated. 

"We're looking forward to working with… and interacting with the VPN [Vietnam People’s Navy] and people in Da Nang, building on the success and lessons from last year's NEA," Destroyer Squadron 7 commodore Capt. H. B. Le asserted.

The exercise will also include Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea and search-and-rescue scenarios, the release added.

NEA Vietnam has evolved from annual port visits to Da Nang by US Navy ships, which began more than a decade ago, to the current multi-day bilateral naval engagement ashore and at sea.

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

News Story: Russia Assesses Relations With China as Best in History – Foreign Ministry

Trust-based relations between Russian and Chinese leaders and unique partnership mechanisms have elevated the countries' relations to the highest level in history, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said on Wednesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – He expressed hope that bilateral relations in different dimensions would develop further. 

"Russia is sincerely delighted by China’s achievements, who is our strategic partner bilaterally and internationally. We truly appreciate our relations with the People’s Republic of China and consider them as the best in history," Morgunov said on the 67th anniversary of China’s founding.

"The defining factor of the success of the relations development has been the establishment of regular, trust-based contacts between the leaders, and the formation of partnership mechanisms that our countries have with no other states," the deputy foreign minister said.

In May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov characterized the state of partnership between Russia and China as the best example of intergovernmental relations.

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

News Report: India to Roll Out Exclusive Repair Facility for Scorpene-Class Submarines

The launch of India's 1st Scorpene class Submarine
Undeterred by its recent data leak controversy, the Indian government will go ahead with plans to set up an exclusive repair facility for Scorpene-class submarines, in what is being seen as a major morale booster for French shipbuilder DCNS.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India will set up an exclusive repair facility for the soon-to-be-inducted Scorpene-class Submarine at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai at an estimated cost of USD 109 million. The Indian government decided to go ahead with the plan despite the huge controversy over the leak of sensitive data pertaining to the Scorpene-class Submarine in August this year.

This decision has come as a major relief for French ship building firm DCNS, which feared suffering a huge setback in India due to the data leak controversy. DCNS is reportedly eyeing an additional contract for building three more submarines for India. The company had signed a USD 3.5 billion contract in 2005 with India to jointly develop six Scorpene-class submarines. 

Meanwhile, India's Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) under the chairmanship of Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, has also cleared a proposal to set up a weapons repair facility for ships in Port Blair, a highly strategic location in the Indian Ocean. The facility is being built at an estimated cost of USD 68 million. This facility would not only enable the on-site repairing of vessels and weapons at times of emergency but would also help India capture the repair market for foreign vessels crossing the Indian Ocean. 

In yet another decision, the DAC has cleared a proposal aimed at strengthening the security system in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. DAC has cleared proposals worth USD 50 million for the procurement of electronic warfare systems in the region. Apart from strengthening security and surveillance in the region, the DAC also approved a proposal to procure anti-tank guided munitions for training purposes for the army at a cost of USD 61 million.

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