30 November 2016

Think Tank: Donald Trump and coming scrutiny of ANZUS

Ron Huisken

A constant in Donald Trump’s electoral pitch was that wealthy allies had for too long relied on America’s willingness to backstop their national security and harvested the long-term economic rewards of keeping their own military effort comparatively modest.

We’ve no real idea at this point where a Trump administration will see the balance of American interests on this issue. We have to be optimistic that the President-elect will recognise that the way he was inclined to frame this question when he was a candidate was simplistic and not especially helpful. Americans won’t want the US to be portrayed as a ‘gun for hire’, a mercenary power that charges what it thinks it will cost to sustain a military posture that will deter and, if necessary, defeat the opponents of an ally; if the ally doesn’t pay their full share, the deal is off.

In fact, the pact between allies is profound and quite remarkable—a willingness to accept that a nation’s most treasured asset, its sovereignty, should depend to some degree on another state and a willingness to risk a state’s most treasured resource, the lives of its citizens, to protect the sovereignty of another state. The considerations that each party brings into play to assess the merits of an alliance relationship are broad and intangible—not the sort of thing that anyone can readily put a dollar value on.

AUS: Local industry the focus for Offshore Patrol Vessel project

The multi-billion dollar Offshore Patrol Vessel project has reached a significant milestone with the release of the Request for Tender to the three shortlisted designers.

The Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said the Request for Tender will see Damen, Fassmer and Luerssen team up with Australian shipbuilders.

“We want to ensure the tenderers’ responses maximise Australian industry opportunities through a local build using Australian made steel,” said Minister Pyne.

“The Request for Tender will require each tenderer to develop an Australian Industry Capability Plan that maximises the opportunities for Australian industry participation.

“This includes how they will transition their existing supply chains to Australian supply chains and how they will integrate local suppliers in their global supply chains.

“The project is expected to create around 400 direct jobs and is part of the Government’s commitment to the continuous build of warships in Australia.”

USA: Pacom Chief Praises Stronger Indo-Asia-Pacific Maritime Partnerships

Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr (Image: Wiki Commons)
By Amaani Lyle DoD News,
Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2016 — As U.S. forces strengthen ties in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the island nation of Sri Lanka has emerged as a significant contributor to regional stability and security, U.S. Pacific Command’s commander said yesterday at the Galle Dialogue 2016 conference in Sri Lanka’s capital city of Colombo.

The first American four-star officer to visit Sri Lanka in almost a decade, Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. said at the two-day international maritime conference that he was pleased to see a deepened military-to-military relationship between Sri Lanka and the United States.

“To continue along a prosperous path, we must expand partnerships among like-minded nations to uphold the rules-based global operating system,” Harris said. “This helps build what [Defense Secretary Ash] Carter calls a ‘principled security network.’”

Brunei: 15th Meeting of the Brunei Darussalam-Australia Joint Defence Working Committee

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Tuesday, 29 November 2016 – Brunei Darussalam and Australia today held their 15th Joint Defence Working Committee (JDWC) Meeting at the Officer’s Mess, Bolkiah Garrison.

The Meeting was co-chaired by the Acting Director of Defence Policy at the Ministry of Defence of Brunei Darussalam, Mr Haji Adi Ihram bin Dato Paduka Haji Mahmud; and Director Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei and Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), International Policy Division, Department of Defence, Australia, Ms Anita Lewan.

The JDWC Meeting covered discussions on areas of mutual interests, focusing on the regional security challenges as well as reaffirmed the importance of the broad and long-standing bilateral defence relations between Brunei Darussalam and Australia.

Industry: Barrett awarded three year contract with Canadian DND

Barrett 2090 HF manpack transceiver
Barrett Communications have recently been awarded a three year contract by the Canadian National Defense Department (DND)

The first phase of the contract includes both Barrett 2090 HF manpacks and Barrett 2050 HF transceivers in base station configuration. The second phase of this contract is expected later this year. The equipment being supplied provides the user with secure long range voice communications without the need for existing infrastructure. 

RDG2 Technologies, the Barrett Communications distributor and system integrator in Canada, supported DND during the intensive two year field test and validation to successfully qualify both the Barrett 2090 HF manpack and the Barrett 2050 HF transceiver in Northern Canada. “Our business process is not limited to selecting and offering robust and reliable products to integrate into a proposed system, but is also strongly oriented towards the customer's long term support. This contract will strengthen Barrett's position within the Canadian market and will certainly lead to other opportunities.” Mr Denis Roy, President of RDG2 Technologies said. 

Barrett 2050 HF transceiver
As part of the two year field test, the Barrett HF range was assessed to ensure suitability in the extreme climate conditions experienced by Canadian DND. Barrett Communications Managing Director, Mr Greg O'Neill commented “We were confident our equipment would meet specification as it is currently being used by Defense forces around the world in -30 degree Celsius and in excess of +50 degrees Celsius, it is what our equipment is designed and built for.” 

News Report: Former CNO Roughead - Stepping Back From Alliances Like NATO ‘Perilous’ to U.S.

By: John Grady

When thinking of America’s military alliances, it’s important to not boil down relationships to security spending but understand value beyond military support, a former chief of naval operations said Monday.

Speaking Monday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank, retired Adm. Gary Roughead, said, “We are simplistic in our math” when focus is put on allies’ security spending. He added the United States avoids costs by having allies with capacity and capability that it does not have to spend more on. Allies also providing savings in not having to spend on using a rotational force versus on stationing a naval force in Japan where Tokyo is picking up much of the expense.

During the campaign, President-elect Donald Trump called on NATO allies to meet an agreed-upon two percent of their gross domestic product on their own security and defense or the United States would re-think its commitment to the alliance. Only five of 28 alliance countries reach that threshold.

Alliances, such as NATO, offer benefits in shared values and economic growth, he said at a forum to introduce a CSIS initiative examining alliances and United States leadership in the future.

Roughead said stepping back from international alliances would be an “uncomfortable, regrettable and perilous” move.

News Report: Eyes in the Sky - Singapore Launches Enormous Military Spy Aerostat

Singapore has begun test-launching a 55 m tethered aerostat radar system, a move the nation thinks will strengthen its maritime and aerial surveillance capacities.

At the Choa Chu Kang Camp on the western part of the island, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will deploy a ground crew of eight officers to operate the airborne vehicle. The radar system provided by the aerostat allows the RSAF to detect naval and airborne threats within a 200 km range around the clock, IHS Jane’s 360 reports. 

"The very fact that we have [the aerostat system] adds another layer of defence, and confidence in terms of what we are able to detect with regards to aerial and maritime threats," Ng Eng Hen, Singapore Defence Minister, said. “I call it…the RSAF biggie,” he added, TodayOnline reports.

Ng Eng Hen pointed to New York City’s 9/11 aerial attacks and more recent Mumbai attacks—where terrorists arrived by boat—as precedents for bolstering the nation’s surveillance techniques.

Ng Eng Hen added that deployment of the aerostat isn’t urgent, and that authorities want to double check that it will be safe before it becomes operational. 

The deployment of the recently acquired aircraft is intended to give Singapore additional resources to detect threats from high altitudes. The island-nation has already established a slew of unmanned aerial vehicles and surveillance plans in addition to air- and ground-based radar sensors to help detect foreign invaders.

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

News Report: US Defense Secretary May Return Empty Handed From Last-Ditch India Visit

MQ-9 Guardian (Image: Wiki Commons)
The last India visit of Ashton Carter as US Defense Secretary may not yield substantial results because New Delhi has confirmed that it has no plans to purchase American drones.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The outgoing US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter makes no secret of his familiarity with the Indian Defence Ministry but his last visit to the country may not yield results.

The Indian government has denied reports claiming it has started the process for purchasing 22 long-range Predator B Guardian surveillance drone under a government-to-government deal with the US. 

News Report: Indian Agencies Nabs Al-Qaeda Suspects Running Base Movement

In a major hunt across south Indian cities, security agencies have successfully arrested five Al-Qaeda suspects involved in five bomb blasts in court premises.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India's National Investigative Agency (NIA) has apprehended five youth suspected to have links with al-Qaeda. The NIA had launched a 24-hour joint operation with state police forces.

"During sustained examination, they have confessed their involvement in these blasts," the NIA said in a statement. After interrogation, three members were arrested on Monday and two others on Tuesday. NIA claimed that during preliminary questioning, arrested persons accepts the plan they were being planning to carry out attack on India's top 22 leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Indian agencies were being searching these youths for their involvement in a serial of bomb blasts occurred in south India court complexes since April this year. The responsibility of the blasts was claimed by an organization called "The Base Movement" in its propaganda material left behind in pen drives and pamphlets at the crime scenes at Nellore and Malappuram court premises. The Base Movement is literal translation of al-Qaeda. 

"The arrested persons shall be produced before the local courts for seeking transit remand for taking them to NIA Special Court at Bangalore, where a case is registered," read the NIA statement. 

The recent past has seen several instances of youths from southern India being picked up by agencies for their links to terrorist organizations like Daesh and al-Qaeda.

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

News Report: India Considers More Active Military Role in Afghanistan

An Afghan Air Force AN-32 (Image: Wiki Commons)
India has assessed requirement of spare parts to restore dozens of Russian made military helicopters and transport aircraft. India remains non-committal to supply military spare parts to Afghanistan despite having unique agreement with Russia since year 2014.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India may be willing to play a more active military role in Afpak theatre as New Delhi might seek support from Moscow to restore Afghan Government's Soviet-era idle helicopters and military equipment.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi could discuss the issue with leaders of Afghanistan and Russia during the sixth ‘Heart of Asia' conference to be held this week-end in the border town of Amritsar. 

Afghanistan had presented a wish list of spare parts for refurbishing over four dozen helicopters and some An-32 medium lift aircraft. Afghanistan has also requested brand new T-72 tanks, 105 mm howitzers and AN-32 transport planes. 

News Report: Russian Foreign Ministry Denies Any 'Secret' Russia-Pakistan Talks Within CPEC

Russia is not conducting any secret negotiations with Pakistan on CPEC) land trade project, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia is not holding secret negotiations with Pakistan within the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) land trade project, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

"Reports appearing in Pakistani media about 'secret negotiations' between Russia and Pakistan on the implementation of projects within the framework created by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor are untrue," the ministry said. 

Moscow's trade cooperation with Islamabad holds independent value, including through the expected construction of the North-South gas pipeline, the Russian ministry added. The 683-mile Karachi-to-Lahore pipeline, expected to cost some $2 billion, is projected to have an annual capacity of up to 12.4 billion cubic meters of gas.

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

News Report: Militants Attack India's Army Unit in Kashmir, Three Soldiers Killed - Reports

Militants attacked the Indian Army unit in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir claimed by Pakistan, killing at least three soldiers, local media reported Tuesday.

NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — The Nagrota artillery army unit was attacked by the militants with grenades at 5.30 a.m. local time (00:00 GMT), the NDTV television broadcaster reported. One militant was reportedly killed, while four could be hiding in the military camp.

The army has cordoned the area and restricted the traffic, local schools have been closed, according to the broadcaster. 

The Indian Border Security Force also intercepted Tuesday morning a group of militants, attempting to cross the border at Ramgarh in Jammu and Kashmir's Samba sector, two of them were reportedly killed. 

India and Pakistan have a dispute over the Jammu and Kashmir region since gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1947. The conflict has already provoked two wars between the countries. The Line of Control, where the incidents took place, separates the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir from the territory under the jurisdiction of Pakistani forces.

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

News Report: Pakistan’s New Army Chief Takes Over Amid Challenges

General Qamar Javed Bajwa
Ayesha Tanzeem

ISLAMABAD — In a ceremony full of pomp and show, with military drummers banging away in their multi-colored uniforms and heavily starched turbans, Pakistan’s army chief handed over the command of the world’s sixth largest army to his successor, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Passing the baton to a man he called “a thorough professional” and “a strong decision maker,” outgoing chief General Raheel Sharif acknowledged he was faced with a complicated security situation.

Extremist violence a major problem

Extremist violence in the country during the past decade has killed tens of thousands of Pakistanis. A military clearing operation launched in 2014 is credited with vastly improving the security situation, but attacks that continue are a stark reminder work remains.

Bajwa is also taking over at a time when tensions with Pakistan’s arch-rival India have led to the two sides regularly trading fire across the Line of Control, the de-facto border in the disputed Kashmir region in the north of the country.

Analysts say Bajwa has extensive experience of that region and its issues due to his time as commander of the army’s largest 10th Corp, which is responsible for areas around the LOC. 

The other challenge he is bound to face is on the western border, with Pakistan’s other neighbor Afghanistan. Relations between the two countries have been on the decline since a temporary span of cordiality last year.

News Report: China’s Seizure of Singaporean Armored Vehicles Will Have Limited Impact

APC's, belonging to Singapore, detained at a Hong Kong
container terminal
Joyce Huang

Singapore has found itself caught in China’s crosshairs after its shipment of nine armored troop carriers was impounded last week in Hong Kong. The dispute has taken on a political tone with Chinese state media even suggesting the vehicles, which were used in a routine drill in Taiwan, should be melted down.

Although nationalistic sentiments in China are growing, analysts expect the incident to have a limited impact regionally after officials of both sides have engaged in diplomatic negotiations.

Singapore's minister of foreign affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan, sought to play down the dispute on Tuesday.

News Report: Attack on Indian Army Camp in Jammu and Kashmir Kills 7 Soldiers, 3 Militants

Anjana Pasricha

NEW DELHI — Seven Indian soldiers and three attackers were killed when armed militants stormed an army base in the northern Jammu and Kashmir state early Tuesday.

The latest incident is likely to further heighten tensions between India and Pakistan, whose ties hit a low point following a September attack on an Indian army camp in the disputed Kashmir region.

The soldiers and militants were killed in a gunbattle that raged for hours after the assailants lobbed grenades and opened fire while trying to enter the Nagrota base, a major army camp that is one of the four command centers in Kashmir.

Nagrota lies about 20 kilometers from Jammu on the main highway that connects the city with Srinagar. Jammu and Srinagar are Kashmir's two main cities.

Authorities said the militants took hostages, including two women and children, when they entered the building used by families of the army officers. They said three of the seven soldiers were killed in a rescue operation.

Defense Ministry spokesman Manish Mehta said, “Early morning the encounter took place. The situation is under control.”

The militants apparently managed to take positions inside the complex near an artillery unit.

No group has claimed responsibility.

News Report: Soldiers, Militants Killed in Attack on Indian Camp in Jammu and Kashmir

Anjana Pasricha

NEW DELHI — Three Indian soldiers and three attackers were killed when armed militants stormed an army base in the northern Jammu and Kashmir state early Tuesday. The latest attack is likely to further heighten tensions between India and Pakistan, whose ties hit a low point following a September attack on an Indian army camp in the disputed Kashmir region. 

The soldiers and militants were killed in a gunbattle that raged for many hours after militants lobbed grenades and opened fire while trying to enter the Nagrota base, a major army camp that is one of the four command centers in Kashmir. 

Nagrota lies about 20 kilometers from Jammu on the main highway that connects Kashmir’s two main cities of Srinagar and Jammu. 

Defense Ministry spokesman, Manish Mehta said “early morning the encounter took place. The situation is under control.”

The militants apparently managed to take positions inside the complex near an artillery unit. 

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

News Story: Giant Brazilian KC-390 in the running to replace NZ's Hercules

Embraer  KC-390 (File Photo)
Grant Bradley

Beside one of the world's longest runways, in the centre of Brazil's Sao Paulo state, sits a plane that looks a bit like Thunderbird 2.

The jet-powered KC-390 is the biggest plane to be built in South America, and it's a brute.

The jet is about the same size as a Hercules military transporter, and that's the aircraft the KC-390's makers, Embraer, have in their sights around the world - including New Zealand, which has about $1 billion to spend on its airlift and VIP fleet in the next decade.

The KC-390 that this month sat in 34C heat just off the Gaviao Peixoto landing strip is one of just two prototypes built so far. The other was being worked on in a hangar besides the strip which at 5km long was once an emergency landing spot for US space shuttles.

As of earlier this month, the pair of planes had flown just 623 hours between them when the Herald was part of a small media contingent to inspect Embraer's commercial, executive jet and defence operations, based around the southern state of Sao Paulo.

The listed Brazilian company has been making planes since 1969; it is a big global player in commercial jets with up to 130 seats, and based on its revenue from aircraft making, vies with Canada's Bombardier for the third spot behind Boeing and Airbus.

In nearly 50 years of business, Embraer has delivered more than 8000 aircraft in more than 90 countries, including the tough, small Bandeirante that flew on regional routes in New Zealand for more than 20 years to 2001.

The KC-390 was conceived in 2009 as a way of diversifying Embraer's revenue, and it has pitched the company into the medium lift market dominated by Lockheed Martin's Herc, a plane first developed in the 1950s, but whose latest model is still seen as the inside runner for New Zealand's next tactical lift purchase.

Embraer says it has been able to start with a clean sheet, and use expertise and technology from its commercial and corporate jet divisions to make a plane that can not only carry big loads, but also get places as much as a third faster than turbo-prop equivalents. It flies at up to 870km/h while still being able to use short and underdeveloped runways.

The company is also promoting its versatility, not only as a cargo carrier but also a multi-mission plane that can be used as a fuel tanker, medevac aircraft and for fighting fires, dropping paratroops and search and rescue.

Customers can also opt for a range of self protection systems, including radar warning receiver, a laser warning system, missile approach warning, and the ability to fire protective chaff and flares.

Read the full story at NZ Herald << Video

News Story: Afghan army general dies in helicopter crash in restive province

KABUL, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- An Afghan army general has been killed and several army personnel wounded after a helicopter crashed in western Badghis province, sources said.

"Brigadier General Muhayuddin Ghori, commander of Afghan National Army's 207th Zafar Corps based in western Herat province, was martyred after an ANA chopper crashed in Mori Chaq district, Badghis province late Tuesday," a military official told Xinhua anonymously Tuesday.

The province has been the scene of heavy clashes between security forces and Taliban militants over the past couple of months.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Japan says no change to trilateral summit plan following Park's offer to step down

TOKYO, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government said Tuesday that Japan's plan to hold a trilateral summit between leaders of Japan, China and South Korea before the end of this year was not changed after South Korean President Park Geun-hye expressed her willingness to step down before her term ends.

Japan's Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami told a press conference after Park's announcement that there has been "no particular change" to the government's efforts to arrange the trilateral talks before the end of the year.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, for his part, said Japan will continue the efforts to hold the trilateral summit before the end of the year as "the Japan-South Korea-China summit is an extremely important framework for dialogue."

Japan has been trying to bring forth the annual trilateral summit in December, but whether the scandal-hit South Korean President could attend the meeting have evoked question.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Attack inside military installation in Indian-controlled Kashmir kills 3 troopers

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Three troopers including an officer were killed and a few others wounded Tuesday in a militant attack on a military installation in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir, local media reports said.

The attack was carried out Tuesday morning by a fidayeen (suicide attackers) group at a major army base camp in Nagrota, about 281 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"Three soldiers have been killed in a major attack on an army base near Jammu," a local television news channel NDTV said. "Heavily armed suicide attackers entered the base in Nagrota before daybreak on Tuesday with guns and grenades and forced their way in."

Indian military so far have not confirmed any casualties in the attack.

Officials said a heavy exchange of fire was underway in the camp.

Reports said the attackers who stormed the camp have taken positions in the officers' location and targeting army positions from there.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Soft-drink bottles suspected as chemical bombs found in Myanmar's Yangon International Airport & Myanmar removes bomb threat at Yangon int'l airport

Soft-drink bottles suspected as chemical bombs found in Myanmar's Yangon International Airport

YANGON, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- A total of four soft-drink bottles which are suspected as home-made chemical bombs were found about 9:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday at Terminal-1 of Yangon International Airport, the largest international airport of Myanmar, according to the announcement of the office of commander-in-chief for defense services Tuesday.

The bottles were put in a green plastic bag and left on a desk near the ticket counter of Terminal-1. The bottles were filled with concentrated liquid in yellow color. The mine expert team from local military force went to take clearance.

The ground condition of the airport has turned to normal at present and the investigations are underway.

Read the full story at Xinhua


EDIT: Added the following

Myanmar removes bomb threat at Yangon int'l airport

YANGON, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Myanmar authorities have removed a bomb threat at the Yangon International Airport, according to local police on Tuesday.

The four suspected soft-drink bottles found on Tuesday morning at Terminal-1 of the airport are not chemical bombs, and they are filled with some traditional liquid medicine, the police said.

The bottles put in a green plastic bag and left on a desk near the ticket counter of Terminal-1 were found at about 9:30 a.m. local time by an airline staff member.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Philippine president unveils "mega" drug rehab center funded by Chinese philanthropist

MANILA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday thanked and heaped praises on a Chinese philanthropist who helped build a 10,000-bed drug rehabilitation center inside a military camp in Nueva Ecija, a province north of Manila.

Duterte attended the inauguration ceremony Tuesday and said that unlike others who criticized his anti-narcotics campaign, Chinese businessman Huang Rulun "came out of nowhere and came to my office and said he would help me solve the drug problem."

Huang, an overseas Chinese in the Philippines who donated 1.4 billion pesos (28.11 million U.S. dollars) to build two drug rehabilitation centers with a total land area of 100,000 square meters, expressed support for Duterte's war against drugs, saying "this is our modest efforts to make the Philippines peaceful, stable and harmonious."

Huang said the Philippines and China are close neighbors. "The people of the two countries have maintained a deep, friendly and long-lasting relationship. Especially since President Duterte took office (on June 30), he exerted efforts in strengthening the ties between China and the Philippines, promoting world peace, and opening a new page in the China-Philippines relations," he said.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: 49 Maute Group members killed in S. Philippines

The IS Flag flying over the abandoned townhall of Butig
49 Maute Group members killed in S. Philippines

MANILA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Some 49 members of the Maute Group have been killed in southern Philippines by the government forces as of Tuesday.

It was revealed by Armed Forces of the Philippines' public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo in an interview in Camp Aguinaldo.

Arevalo said sporadic fighting has been continuing Tuesday around the old and abandoned townhall of Butig, Lanao del Sur province, which the Maute Group occupied last Saturday.

He said the number of wounded soldiers increased to 21, from 13 the previous day.

"Up to now, they (soldiers) have yet to occupy the specific portion where members of the Maute Group are in, but the operations are ongoing," he said.

Read the full story at Xinhua


40 Maute Group members killed in S. Philippines

MANILA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Philippine government forces continue to fight with the Maute Group in a southern philippine province and the number of slain Maute Group members rose to 40 Tuesday, or 21 higher than Monday's figure.

In an interview in Camp Aguinaldo, Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said the sporadic fighting have been continuing Tuesday around the old and abandoned townhall of Butig, Lanao del Sur province, which the Maute group occupied last Saturday.

He said the number of wounded soldiers also increased to 20, from 13 the previous day.

"Up to now, they (soldiers) have yet to occupy the specific portion where the members of the Maute Group are in but the operations are ongoing," said Arevalo when asked if government have already retaken the building.

Arevalo said soldiers are proceeding with the mission with caution because of the presence of enemy snipers and improvised explosive devices that were possibly planted by the armed group.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Seven Duterte's security personnel injured in southern Philippine ambush

MANILA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Seven members of the Philippine Presidential Security Group (PSG) and two soldiers were injured in an ambush Tuesday morning in Marawi City which is due to be visited by President Duterte on Wednesday.

Armed Forces public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said the PSG men were on a convoy of military trucks with local troop escorts when they were hit by the improvised explosive device (IED) explosion at around 10:45 am in Barangay Matampay.

PSG spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Aquino said it was still too early to say if the attack specifically targeted the president, or was a result of ongoing security-related operations in the area including the campaign against the Maute group.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Indonesia set to deploy 22,000 security personnel to monitor massive demonstration

JAKARTA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Indonesian authorities are set to deploy some 22,000 security forces across the capital during an upcoming massive demonstration.

The demonstration, organized by members of several Muslim organizations, is slated for Friday, a senior police officer said on Tuesday.

The troops and police will be tasked to guard vital state objects in the capital, National Police Headquarters Spokesperson Boy Rafly Amar said.

"We estimate the demonstration would be joined by up to 200,000 people," Boy said.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Myanmar parliament accepts to debate on important proposal regarding northern region situation

NAY PYI TAW, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar's House of Representatives (Lower House) on Tuesday accepted to debate on an important proposal expressing grave concern over the current tense situation in northern part of the country in conflicts, according to parliament sources.

The proposal blamed that the incident in northern Myanmar is affecting the state sovereignty, rule of law as well as peace and stability.

The combined forces of three ethnic armed groups were intentionally attacking and planting mines in a number of areas in the north, causing casualties with the government armed forces members, police and innocent people, said Dr Man Tin, an MP of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) who submitted the proposal.

He added that the conflicts have brought about up to 3,700 refugees with six bridges and the union highway being destroyed.

Read the full story at Xinhua

NewsStory: Indian border guards say it kills 3 intruders on Kashmir border

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- The border guards of India's Border Security Force (BSF) Tuesday said it killed three infiltrators on International Border (IB) in Kashmir.

The infiltrators believed to be militants according to BSF officials were attempting to enter deep inside Indian territory in Chamliyal area of the Ramgarh sector of frontier Samba district, about 53 km south of Jammu city, the winter capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"Today our alert soldiers noticed a suspicious movement in Ramgarh sector, following which a gunfight broke out which ended with the killing of three intruders," a BSF spokesman told Xinhua. "The intruders were trying to infiltrate in our territory but their efforts were foiled."

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Afghan forces kill 8 IS fighters in eastern province

JALALABAD, Afghanistan, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Afghan security forces in crackdown against militants have killed eight fighters affiliated with the hardliner Islamic State (IS) group in the eastern Nangarhar province over the past two days, spokesman for provincial government Attaullah Khogiani said Tuesday.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Pakistan's General Bajwa Takes Over As Army Chief Of Staff

General Raheel Sharif (Image: Wiki Commons)
Outgoing chief of army staff General Raheel Sharif handed over command to incoming army chief General Qamar Bajwa at a ceremony at the General Headquarters(GHQ) in Rawalpindi in Pakistan on Tuesday.

Sharif addressed the ceremony after reviewing the guard of honor.

He said: "To achieve our goals, I used the full capability of the Pakistan Army. I had the entire country's cooperation for which I thank the army and the nation."

The army chief expressed belief that the Pakistan Army would always live up to the nation's expectations.

He also touched on Afghanistan and said peace would come to the country through negotiation.

Talking about Pakistan's battle with terrorism he said that everyone has made sacrifices for the land.

"We were able to change the face of history by fighting a war against terrorism," he added.

He thanked the federal government, political leadership and the media for their cooperation.

The outgoing army chief stressed that all institutions need to work together against external threats

Read the full story at TOLOnews

News Story: India Moves To Scale Up Military Aid To Afghanistan

An-32 of the Afghan Air Force (Image: Wiki Commons)
After supplying four attack helicopters to Afghanistan, India is quietly moving to qualitatively scale up military assistance in terms of long-term spares and support, The Hindu reported on Monday.

According to officials, this involves a trilateral framework with Russia, who said it is likely to be discussed by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi when they meet on the sidelines of the sixth Heart of Asia (HoA) ministerial conference in Amritsar later this week.

The Hindu quoted defense and diplomatic sources as saying that two Indian Air Force technical teams visited Afghanistan last month to assess the requirements for spares and maintenance to restore the Soviet-era helicopters and transport aircraft lying there.

"There are at least 40-50 helicopters of various types and some An-32 medium transport aircraft which have been grounded from a long time for need of spares. We have asked Indian help in refurbishing them," diplomatic sources stated.

The teams were tasked to assess the requirements and submit a report on what can be provided by India from its existing inventory and what needs to be procured from Russia which is the original manufacturer of the hardware, a Defencs Ministry source said.

Read the full story at TOLOnews

News Story: (Australia) 6 Squadron completes final Super Hornet flight

An Australian F/A-18F Super Hornet (File Photo)
The RAAF’s 6 Squadron has completed its last flight with the F/A-18F Super Hornet as the unit prepares to introduce the EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft into service.

Six jets from Amberley-based 6SQN took part in a farewell flight over southern Queensland on November 23, the unit’s last flight with the Super Hornet before handing over the aircraft to sister unit 1 Squadron.

6 Squadron will now focus entirely on introducing the Growler into service in 2017 ahead of initial operating capability with the aircraft in 2018.

Australia's 1st E/A-18G Growler at the Boeing facility
during handover to the RAAF (File Photo)
“We’ve started building up our Growler capability. There’s no better time to be here,” commanding officer 6SQN WGCDR Hinton Tayloe told Air Force News.

“I’m incredibly proud that 6SQN will operate the Growler for Air Force.”

Read the full story at Australian Aviation

News Story: National Defence Law performance reviewed

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of National Defence organised a teleconference in Hanoi on November 28 to review the 10-year implementation of the Law on National Defence.

Addressing the event, Minister of National Defence General Ngo Xuan Lich highlighted the achievements in implementing the law over the past decade, saying that it has helped raise the awareness among sectors, ministrations at all levels and people about their responsibility to build and protect the nation.

He noted that administrations at all levels and sectors have mobilised resources for economic development; ensuring social security; strengthening national defence and security potentials; and taking the initiative in the fight against enemies and social evils.

Read the full story at VietnamPlus

News Story: Russia reveals desire of solid military cooperation with PHL

Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev told reporters on Tuesday that Moscow wants to have a long-term military cooperation with the Philippines.

“We are not interested to make short-term supplies of arms and weapons. We are interested in long-term cooperation…. The package of our support is comprehensive. We are interested in comprehensive cooperation,” Khovaev said, following President Rodrigo Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting in Peru last week.

“We are open for cooperation in the military field with all interested partners, of course with full compliance with the international law and development multilateral arms control regimes,” he added.

Read the full story at Tankler

News Story: Two brand-new jet fighters for PH to arrive on Thursday

An FA-50 Fighter Aircraft (File Photo)
Philippine Air Force (PAF) commander Lt. Gen. Edgar Fallorina disclosed on Tuesday that two more FA-50PHs “Fighting Eagle” jet aircraft is scheduled to arrive at Clark Field, Angeles City, Pampanga on Dec. 1.

The new jet fighters will raise the number of the Mach 1.5 capable aircraft of the PAF to four, Fallorina said at the sidelights of the Department of National Defense’s 77th founding anniversary.

Read the full story at Tankler

29 November 2016

Think Tank: Sea, air, land and space updates (29-Nov-2016)

Christopher Cowan, Thulasi Wigneswaran, Elisabeth Buchan and Alexander Vipond

Sea State

The Indian Navy’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability received a boost this past week, with the commissioning of the INS Chennai. Equipped with two ASW helicopters as well as sophisticated sonar systems, the INS Chennai is optimised for ASW missions but also has a potent anti-air capability and boasts a stealthy design. The INS Chennai is the third and last ship of the Indian Navy’s Kolkata-class guided missile destroyers; the first two—the INS Kolkata and the INS Kochi—were commissioned in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

According IHS Jane’s, the Royal Danish Navy is looking to acquire SM-2 missiles for its fleet of Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates and will make a decision on planned frigate ballistic missile defence upgrades in 2018. The Danish frigates are admired by many (including some members of the US Navy) for their flexibility; equipping them with the SM-2 would add a punch to their arsenal.