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The launching of the Philippine Coast Guard OCEA OPV 270 offshore patrol boat will take place on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 from 10:30 at the OCEA site in Les Sables d'Olonne

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The largest aluminium OPV built in the world.

Entirely designed and built by OCEA, the OPV 270 was selected by the Coast Guard of the Philippines and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) further to an international competition in which OCEA was able to highlight its solutions for efficient reduction of the costs of ownership and CO2 emissions.

This vessel is the fifth of a contract whose execution began late 2017 with the construction of four fast patrol boats of 24 m BORACAY, PANGLAO, MALAMAWI and KALANGGAMAN, type OCEA FPB 72 MKII, commissioned over the year 2018 and on operation in the Philippine waters since then.

This commercial success in a context of fierce competition was made possible thanks to the support of the French State and the banks financing the contract: BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole-LCL.

The OCEA OPV 270 offshore patrol boat (84 meters) is the outcome of 30 years of experience and permanent innovation to reduce the costs of ownership and environmental impact.

The customer chose the OCEA offer on these selection criteria, thus demonstrating the consideration to its international commitments to limit global warming.

By way of comparison, the OCEA OPV 270, over 20 years of operation, will allow for a CO2 emission reduction of 20 400 tons, equivalent to approximately 40% reduction by comparison to competing offers!

The very versatile OCEA OPV 270 is designed to carry out all maritime security and safety missions under the responsibility of the Coast Guards in the waters of the Philippine archipelago. Accordingly, she is equipped to ensure the comfort and safety of the crew, the reception of additional personnel, the sustainable presence at sea and the diversity of missions. She includes the following capabilities:
  • Stabilization of the platform for missions up to 5 weeks
  • Diesel-electric propulsion optimizing fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and maintenance costs
  • Ability to land, hold and maintain a 5-ton class helicopter
  • Deployment of 2 RHIB of 9.2 m
  • Mission Management System that integrates surveillance, detection and communication capabilities for situational awareness
  • Ability to welcome castaways, offenders, wounded, divers, special forces

THE LAUNCHING PROGRAM

The launching of the Philippine Coast Guard OCEA OPV 270 offshore patrol boat will take place on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 from 10:30 at the OCEA site in Les Sables d'Olonne.

She is the largest ship built at Les Sables d'Olonne, she is also the largest aluminum OPV built in the world.


Philippine Coast Guard OCEA OPV 270 offshore patrol vessel


 Fast Patrol Boat type OCEA FPB 72 MKII


https://bit.ly/2Ggz0bo

Two Repaired Su-30MK Fighter Jets Ready for Shipment to Indonesia

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JAKARTA, -- According to Scramble Magazine, in early July, both aircraft (sn. TS-3001 and TS-3002) were seen at the site of the overhaul center of the aircraft repair plant in Baranavichy, presumably awaiting shipment to the customer.

According to the publication, the aircraft has been upgraded to the level of the Su-30MK2, although this information has not yet been officially confirmed.

As TSAMTO already reported, on December 9, 2015, the Indonesian Air Force in its press release reported that two multi-purpose fighter aircraft Su-27SK with tail numbers TS-2701 and TS-2702, produced in 2003, will be repaired in Belarus. As reported, on December 8, 2015, both planes were loaded aboard an An-124 Ruslan chartered plane.

In April 2018, the Tribune News edition, citing a representative of the Indonesian Air Force, announced that it would overhaul four Su fighter planes of the Indonesian Air Force (two Su-27SKs and two Su-30MKs).

Two repaired Su-27SK fighters were returned to the Sultan Hasanuddin airbase on August 3, 2017 on board the An-124-100M Ruslan transport aircraft. Earlier, on the March 15, 2017, two Su-30MKs also produced in 2003 were delivered to Belarus for maintenance and repair.

Following the meeting of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to Indonesia Valery Kolesnik with the commander (chief of staff) of the Indonesian Air Force, Air Marshal Yu Sutisna on May 25, 2018 in Mabesu Chilangkap (East Jakarta), it was announced that Indonesia expects to receive two repaired Su-30MKs by September 2018 year. It is obvious that the return of the aircraft to the customer was delayed.

The 11th Squadron of the 5th Aviation Wing deployed at the Sultan Hasanuddin airbase is armed with 16 vehicles from the Su mixed fleet: two Su-27SKs (obtained in 2003) and three Su-27SKMs (2010), as well as two Su-30MK (2003) and nine Su-30MK2 (2008-2013)


Sukhoi Su-30MK TS 3002 Indonesian Air Force


https://bit.ly/2XEmQio

Construction of Pag-asa Island’s Beaching Ramp Now 60% Complete – DND

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The construction of a beaching ramp on Pag-asa (Thitu) Island, which forms part of the disputed Spratlys (Kalayaan) Group of Islands in the West Philippine Sea, is now 60-percent complete, according to the Department of National Defense (DND).

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the construction of the beaching ramp, which was originally targeted to be completed by the end of 2018, was hampered by delays due to bad weather.

He said it is now scheduled to be finished by the end of 2019.

“The [construction] of the beaching ramp has been intermittent because of bad weather and the contractor cannot bring in the construction materials,” Lorenzana said.

“But it is now 60-percent finished and we expect the beaching ramp to be finished by the end of this year,” he added.

The completion of the beaching ramp will pave the way for the repair of a runway on Pag-asa Island in a bid for Philippine forces to strengthen their presence in the area that they have occupied since 1971.


The Philippines has established a lone municipality on Pag-asa Island, the 5th-class Kalayaan town, which is part of Palawan. A community of fishermen and military and police forces are living in the area.

The military aims to improve the living condition of the community and the Philippine forces on Pag-asa Island with the planned improvements in its infrastructure.

However, since the Defense Department announced that there would be construction and repair efforts on Pag-asa Island in 2017, there had been an increase in the number of Chinese vessels in the area, as reported by United States-based think tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI).

The AMTI further revealed that there had been efforts from China to disrupt the construction and repair on Pag-asa Island by sending operating vessels around the area.

Aside from China, other countries such as Taiwan and Vietnam claim Pag-asa as part of their territory.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled against China’s claim to sovereign rights over most of the South China Sea, including parts of the Philippines’ 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone which the previous Aquino administration named the West Philippine Sea.


A aerial photo of the Philippine-claimed Pag-asa Island, also known as Thitu Island



https://bit.ly/2XEmQio

Multi-Role Fighters Soon to Complete PHL’s Integrated Defense System: PAF Chief

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MANILA, --  Philippine Air Force (PAF) commanding general Lieutenant General Rozzano D. Briguez said during the 72nd anniversary celebration of PAF at Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City that the acquisition of multi-role fighters will soon complete Philippines’ integrated defense system.

“The acquisition of multi-role fighters would soon complete the integrated air defense system of the entire country which is composed of the sensors, the radars, the ground defense, and the interceptors which will be our multi-role fighters,” Lieutenant Genreal Briguez said.

He noted that the third radar system acquired from Israel will soon be installed at Mount Salakot, Palawan. The first and second were installed in Paredes Air Station in Ilocos Norte and Gozar Air Station, Lubang Island in Occidental Mindoro, respectively.

He also said that recently National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana approved the Notice of Award for the Ground-Based Air Defense System (GBADS) Acquisition Project.

“Furthermore, the PAF strategic basing plan intends to develop areas as Lal-lo in Cagayan, Guiuan in Samar, Mati in Davao Oriental, Hill 900 in Zamboanga, and Balabac Island in Palawan to ensure effective and efficient air operations in support to the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) mission,” Lieutenant General Briguez said

Duterte vows to complete P139-B Air Force modernization by 2022

PRESIDENT Duterte vowed on Tuesday to complete the P139-billion modernization program of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) by 2022.

Durterte committed to prioritize the 16 projects benefiting PAF under the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Second Horizon project. 

The project includes the procurement of utility vehicles, drones and other command-and-control fixed-wing aircraft among others. 

“I am hoping and praying that before my remaining three years will expire, that all of these things especially those labeled Horizon projects of yours will be completed,” Duterte said in a speech at the 72nd Anniversary of the PAF at the Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. 

He also disclosed the successful acquisition of a flight simulator, new aircraft and an air defense surveillance system.   

“I assure you, this administration will continue to pursue all efforts to enhance your capabilities . . . through modernization and capacity-building initiatives,” Duterte said.  

During the event, Duterte also recognized the award recipients from various Air Force units and airmen who have displayed exemplary service and dedication in PAFDuterte vows to complete P139-B Air Force modernization by 2022

PRESIDENT Duterte vowed on Tuesday to complete the P139-billion modernization program of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) by 2022.

Durterte committed to prioritize the 16 projects benefiting PAF under the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Second Horizon project. 

The project includes the procurement of utility vehicles, drones and other command-and-control fixed-wing aircraft among others. 

“I am hoping and praying that before my remaining three years will expire, that all of these things especially those labeled Horizon projects of yours will be completed,” Duterte said in a speech at the 72nd Anniversary of the PAF at the Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. 

He also disclosed the successful acquisition of a flight simulator, new aircraft and an air defense surveillance system.   

“I assure you, this administration will continue to pursue all efforts to enhance your capabilities . . . through modernization and capacity-building initiatives,” Duterte said.  

During the event, Duterte also recognized the award recipients from various Air Force units and airmen who have displayed exemplary service and dedication in PAF


Lockheed Martin F-16PH


https://bit.ly/2Xxm6LX

Korea EximBank Supports $ 1.2 billion to Build Three Indonesian Submarines

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JAKARTA, -- Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. has announced that Korea Eximbank will provide $ 1.2 billion in construction costs for three submarines exported to Indonesia. 

The Korea Export-Import Bank is ready to fund the construction of the submarine, according to a report by the defense industry specialist Media World Net. According to reports, the Export-Import Bank will provide funds to the Indonesian Treasury Department in the form of a loan, and the Indonesian Treasury will support the funds to the PT PAL Shipyard.

"We are expecting the funding rate to be lower than that of the first submarine because the Ministry of Finance appreciates the investment grade of Indonesia well," said Ilian Thorntal, Director of Treasury Finance at the Surabaya Office. 

On April 12, DSME ordered three Type 209-1400 submarines from Indonesia for $ 1.2 billion and jointly with Indonesian shipyard PT PAL. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. will be delivered to the Indonesian Navy by the first half of 2026 through joint construction with Indonesian PT. PAL shipyard as in the first project. 

The submarine to be built jointly by DSME is 61m long and can carry 40 crew members. It also has eight launchers that can launch various torpedoes, mines, and missiles. Submarine drying starts at the end of the year as soon as DSME is ready.

Previously, DSME and PT PAL were built in Korea in the Type 209-1400, and the last submarine made a block in Korea and finally assembled at the Indonesian PT PAL shipyard in Suarabaya - Indonesia. The first ship Nagapasa is going out, the second ship is Ardadedali, and the third ship is an Alugoro. The No. 1 and No. 2 vessels have already been commissioned to the Indonesian Navy, while the No. 3 vessels are undergoing marine navigation tests. 


Third submarine KRI Alugoro 


https://bit.ly/2xCXYwZ


Coalition of the willing builds in South China Sea

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A coalition of the willing is building in the South China Sea as European powers bolster the United States and its Asian allies’ freedom of navigation operations vis-à-vis China in the hotly contested waterway.

While Europe’s military footprint in the area is still modest, the presence of a growing number of like-minded powers in China’s adjacent waters highlights shared concerns about Beijing’s strategic ambitions for the area.

Europe’s entry also arguably gives greater international legitimacy to Washington’s freedom of navigation and overflight operations in the area, maneuvers China has consistently branded as illegal and a violation of its sovereignty.

The coalition is building steam as the US mounts pressure on China’s wide-reaching claims to the sea and its growing use of maritime militia, often disguised as fishing boats, in so-called “grey zone” coercion tactics against smaller claimant nations.

Analysts believe America’s firming deterrence in the maritime region, articulated in a new Indo-Pacific strategy paper released by the Pentagon, is raising the potential for low-level incidents to spiral into clashes that could spark a wider multinational conflict over the sea.

Britain and France’s recent warship maneuvers in the South China Sea, both strongly condemned by Beijing as “illegal”, have made abundantly clear that they would side with the US over China in any conflict scenario in the flashpoint maritime area.

Germany may also soon dip its toe into the sea’s turbulent waters, with reports circulating that high-level officials are considering to send ships to join US-led freedom of navigation operations to the maritime area.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen did not directly mention the South China Sea during an address to a defense university in Beijing last October, but did say shipping lanes should “remain free and not become the object of power projections.”

The German government denied last week an earlier report that it planned to send a warship through the Taiwan Strait, a move that would follow on France’s recent deployment in which German military personnel were on board as observers.

Germany’s potential entry into the maritime contest, which would likely require redeploying ships currently allocated for Nato operations, would inevitably irk China while further stirring its stated anxieties of Western encirclement.

Australia, India and Japan have all recently cooperated with the US in recent South China Sea maneuvers and freedom of navigation operations, and helped with naval capacity-building of smaller aligned regional states like the Philippines.

US-led multilateral exercises are now increasing in scale and frequency in response to Beijing’s recent militarization of the features it controls. It is not clear if recent Chinese provocations, including the ramming and sinking of a Philippine fishing vessel on June 9 at the sea’s contested Reed Bank, are meant as a warning against naval cooperation with the US.

In January, Britain’s Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll joined America’s guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell for an unprecedented six-day-long series of joint exercises in the South China Sea staged to promote “regional security and prosperity.”

The two navies “conducted communication drills, division tactics and personnel exchange designed to address common maritime security priorities, enhance interoperability and develop relationships that will benefit both navies for many years to come,” according to an official readout of the exercises.

In late December, the British conducted trilateral anti-submarine exercises with the US and Japan using its HMS Albion amphibious warship near the contested Paracel Islands, maneuvers clearly aimed at China’s burgeoning submarine capabilities.

The exercises came just months after China accused Britain of “provocative action” by sending the Albion on a voyage close to the Paracel Islands, features claimed by both China and Vietnam.

Britain will next deploy its Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, along with two squadrons of F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighters, to the disputed areas in coming weeks.

London has acknowledged that its rising presence in the sea is complicating its relations with China but there are no signs of backtracking.

In February, UK Finance Minister Philip Hammond admitted in an interview with the BBC, that relations with China have become more “complex” in recent years due to “Chinese concerns about Royal Navy deployments in the South China Sea.”

France, another European power with extensive territorial and maritime interests in the wider Indo-Pacific, has likewise stepped up its presence and moves in the South China Sea.

In April, the French frigate Vendemiaire transited through the Taiwan Straits, a move that prompted China to disinvite Paris from its international naval parade marking the 70 anniversary of the founding of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N).

Chinese warships shadowed the French frigate during the operation while Beijing sent “stern representations” for what it described as an “illegal” passage in its claimed waters. French Defense Minister Florence Parly responded in May by saying France will continue to sail in the South China Sea at least twice a year.

Both the British and French argue that such transit operations are routine efforts to preserve freedom of navigation in international waters. It’s still not clear if Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse but comparative naval lightweight, will ultimately join the sea fray.

Unlike other European countries such as France and Britain, which still maintain extensive colonial possessions across the Asia-Pacific, Germany has no direct territorial or maritime interests in the region.

As one senior member of the German Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs told this reporter in 2018, “our primary geopolitical concern remains to be Moscow and its growing assertiveness in Eastern Europe.”

The official implied that Germany would think twice before getting involved in Asian maritime disputes. To date, Berlin has kept a safe distance from the territorial tiffs, focusing instead on its booming trade and investment relations with China, now its largest trading partner.

Bilateral trade hit $225.7 billion last year, with China importing hefty amounts of German machinery and technology. Berlin has stood its ground in maintaining those trade ties in the wake of the US-China trade war.

At the same time, Germany’s commercial traffic through the South China Sea is the world’s ninth largest, underscoring Berlin’s interests in freedom of navigation in the waterway. Berlin started to take a more vocal stance on the sea disputes as they started to bubble in 2015.

During a two-day visit to Beijing that year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear that Berlin views “territorial dispute in the South China Sea” as a “serious conflict.”

Merkel also said “[w]e wish that the sea trade routes stay free and safe, because they are important for all.” In a jab at Beijing’s resistance to international arbitration of its sea disputes with the Philippines, she said “I am always a bit surprised why in this case multinational courts should not be an option for a solution.”

Perhaps adding insult to injury, Merkel gave as a gift to her Chinese hosts an old map of China drawn by the early 18th century French cartographer Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville which pictorially challenged Beijing’s “historic” claims to Taiwan and much of the South China Sea.

Source

Ex-Foreign Secretary Del Rosario held, questioned at Hong Kong airport

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MANILA, Philippines — Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who filed a case for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court against Chinese President Xi Jinping last March, was held and questioned at the Hong Kong International Airport as he arrived there at 7:40 a.m. today.

‘Still here. Been half hour wait…now in a staff lounge after answering a few questions. Asked to wait,’’ Del Rosario told the Inquirer around 8:30 a.m.

He said he was taken to a ‘small lounge’ and asked to wait.

Hong Kong immigration staff asked him questions like ‘’what is purpose of trip? How long? Where is business meet? Return date.’’


Del Rosario was to attend board and shareholders meetings of First Pacific and was travelling alone. He said two members of the Philippine consulate are with him in the airport staff lounge where he was being questioned.

It was a repeat of what happened to former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales last May 21, when she was barred from entering Hong Kong for being a ‘security threat.’’

Morales was Del Rosario’s co-complainant in the ICC case filed against Xi for depriving Filipino fishermen of their livelihood, aggression and environmental degradation in the West Philippine Sea.

Morales said it was bullying by China and clearly in retaliation for their filing of the ICC case against Xi.

The incident with Del Rosario comes two weeks after a Chinese fishing boat rammed a Filipino fishing vessel in the Recto Bank, leaving 22 fishermen floating in the sea for six hours before they were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing boat.

Philippine officials first strongly denounced the incident, with Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. filing a diplomatic protest. But the tone changed after President Duterte said it was just a “little maritime incident.”

Before he left for Hong Kong this morning, Del Rosario issued this statement in reaction to China’s call for a joint investigation of the Recto Bank incident: ‘’The plan for a joint probe by the Ph and China is the worst news yet. It redounds to a potential partnership between one party (Ph who is out to seek the truth) against another party (China, the bully) who is out to suppress it. We should really feel sorry for our poor fishermen as the ultimate product of a joint probe  with Beijing is expected to be no more than a  bowl of fruit salad.