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Australia Tests LAND 400 Armoured Vehicles on HMAS Canberra

11:40:00 PM Add Comment

CANBERRA, -- HMAS Canberra was introduced to the next generation of armoured fighting vehicles late last year, as part of Project Land 400 phase two trials.

The project will acquire and support the next generation of armoured fighting vehicles with the firepower, protection and mobility to defeat increasingly lethal and adaptive adversaries well into the future.

Phase two of the project seeks to identify a vehicle to provide a mounted combat reconnaissance capability, a replacement for the Australian light armoured vehicle.

The combat reconnaissance vehicle will be required to perform up to seven different combat roles, comprising reconnaissance, command and control, joint fires, surveillance, ambulance, battlefield repair and recovery.

Rheinmetall Defence has offered the Boxer multi-role armoured vehicle for test and evaluation. This vehicle is currently in production, with 300 already delivered to other customers in six variants.

BAE Systems Australia has teamed with Patria of Finland to offer the Patria armoured modular vehicle as a contender. This vehicle is in service with eight nations with more than 1500 vehicles delivered.

These two vehicles were loaded over Canberra’s side ramps into the heavy vehicle deck during the trial, where they were positioned to drive on board the ship’s landing craft.

The Project Manager Test and Evaluation of Land 400, Lieutenant Colonel Chris McKendry, said the trial was a success.

“The trial was conducted in order to meet some of the objectives of the phase two user evaluation,” he said.

“Specifically, this was to determine if the tendered vehicles can be deployed to all designated theatres.

“There is now the potential for some follow-on work with the amphibious assault ships in 2017 to confirm loads on the landing craft.”

Lieutenant Colonel McKendry said working with the crew of Canberra was very enjoyable.

“Maintaining regular communications with the ship’s amphibious department meant it all slipped into place on the day,” he said.

“These ships will provide the new combat vehicles with the ability to deploy into any theatre of operations the Australian Defence Force enters, providing a significant capability for deployed forces.”

The project will now continue the vehicle performance assessment at Monegeetta in Victoria before heading to Puckapunyal.

Royal Australian Armoured Corps soldiers will be trained on the operation of each vehicle in order to commence a four-month user evaluation.

Transportability testing for other strategic lift assets such as the Royal Australian Air Force’s C-17 is due to commence in mid-2017.

After all testing and evaluation, Defence will undertake a final evaluation of the tenderers’ proposals to develop the business cases for consideration by the government.

A Rheinmetall Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle prior to being loaded onto the heavy vehicle deck of the Royal Australian Navy amphibious ship HMAS Canberra during a series of trials at Fleet Base East in Sydney.


Philippines DND Eyes Having 2 Percent of GDP for Defense Spending

1:07:00 AM Add Comment
MANILA, -- Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is hoping that Congress would allocate more than two percent of the country's gross domestic product to defense spending.

Lorenzana made the remark even as the Department of National Defense continues to have one of the biggest allocations with P134.5 billion under the P3.35-trillion national budget for 2017.

"You know I've been talking to some of the congressmen. Sabi ko sa kanila we should increase our budget. We have been underfunded for the past 50 years kaya hindi tayo makabili ng equipment e," Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana said Singapore was spending three percent of its GDP for defense while other countries in Southeast Asia were spending at least two percent.

"That's why they have more aircraft, they have more ships, they have more everything," Lorenzana said.

"Well. we are now having maybe 1.2. Siguro kung doblehin lang nila, doblehin lang nila yung 1.2, mga 2.4, 2.5... We'll be happy with that," he added.

Lorenzana said the Philippines was lagging behind in the region because the country didn't want to spend.

"Hindi puwedeng magtipid tayo diyan dahil mahuhuli ka and then before you know it, kawawang kawawa ka sa paningin ng iba," Lorenzana said.

"So i hope that the Congress could also give us sufficient funds," he added.

Anoa-Singa revival

Meanwhile, Lorenzana said the AFP was looking to revive its bilateral military exercises with Singapore called the "Anoa-Singa."

Lorenzana said Singapore—despite being a small country of only six million people—had improved its defense capabilities since the exercises were suspended.

"We will look into that, for the revival of that Anoa-Singa, maganda kasi yan e dahil we could also learn a lot from the Singaporeans," Lorenzana said.

"They have also developed their defense industries, gumagawa sila ng kanyon, gumagawa sila ng terex, the terex is the infantry fighting vehicle," he added.

Lorenzana said he and Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen will have further discussions on the matter which he hopes would lead to a new round of exercises by 2018.

"We talked about it, sabi niya we'll talk some more about this so that... Gusto rin nilang mangyari yun [Anoa-Singa], they would like to conduct exercises with us also," Lorenzana said.

"If we can finish the discussion this year and look at the [memorandum of understanding] again maybe we can implement that next year," he added.

The Philippines is pondering to buy two to four Russian-made combat helicopter, either MI 17 or MI 24 to enhance the nation’s defense capability against conceivable internal and external threats.


US to upgrade Philippine military bases as Duterte reverses stance

2:19:00 AM Add Comment
MANILA, -- The US will upgrade and expand its facilities on Philippine military bases this year, the Philippine defence minister has announced.

Delfin Lorenzana said President Rodrigo Duterte would honour plans for the US to build barracks, warehouses and runways in at least three locations.

The move comes despite comments from Mr Duterte last year in which he said he wanted US troops to leave his country.
Under a defence pact, the US has troops at five Philippine military bases.

The Enhanced Defence Co-operation Agreement (EDCA), signed in 2014, allows the US to deploy ships, aircraft and troops at those bases and to store equipment for humanitarian and maritime operations.

"EDCA is still on," Mr Lorenzana told a news conference.

He said President Duterte had promised to honour all existing agreements with the US, a long-time ally of the Philippines.

Last week, the head of the US Senate's Armed Forces Committee, Senator John McCain, proposed $7.5bn (£6bn) in new military funding for US forces and their allies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since taking office last June, Mr Duterte has caused consternation in Washington by saying he wants to pivot away from the US towards China.

In October he said he wanted US troops to leave the country, possibly within two years.

U.S. Navy ships and The Republic of Philippines Navy ships cruise in formation.

Malaysian fleet transformation seeks to increase numbers, capability

2:02:00 AM Add Comment
KUALA LUMPUR, -- The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) is continuing to deliver a fleet transformation process that will see the service increase fleet numbers and capabilities while reducing the number of ship classes.

The transformation process is known as the '15 to 5' plan. Under this plan, 15 ship classes will be reduced to just five. The RMN is seeking to turn the challenges presented by the increasing age, obsolescence, and operational and maintenance costs of its current fleet into an opportunity to deliver, into the 2030s and beyond, a new force structure that will help the navy meet the broad range of diverse maritime challenges that Malaysia faces.

The Royal Malaysian Navy, Royal Malaysian Navy's missile corvette KD Laksamana Muhammad Amin, front, and Royal Malaysian Navy's offshore patrol vessel KD Selangor.

Philippines DND Evaluating Russian Offer of Diesel-Electric Submarines

1:42:00 AM Add Comment
MANILA, -- Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the country is now evaluating Russia's offer to sell the Philippines some of its advanced diesel-electric submarines.

The DND chief, in a press briefing Thursday, said they are now determining on whether these specialized ships are essential for the modernization needs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and whether the country can afford to acquire and maintain such an expensive weapons platform.

However, Lorenzana said Russia diesel-electrics submarines are considered to be one of the best in the world.

Six variants of the Russian-made Kilo-class submarines are now being operated by Vietnam People's Navy.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is expected to acquire its own diesel-electric class submarines during the 2nd Horizon of the AFP Modernization Program which is expected to begin this 2018 and end on 2022.

Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines are mainly intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations in relatively shallow waters.

The Russian Navy Project 636 Varshavyanka Improved Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine.

India showcases indigenous weaponry at Republic Day parade

1:35:00 AM Add Comment
NEW DELHI, -- India showcased an assortment of its indigenously developed weapon systems for the first time at its 68th Republic Day parade in New Delhi on 26 January.

The displayed systems included the Mk 1 variant of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), three of which participated in an 35-aircraft fly-past, which also featured the HAL Dhruv advanced light helicopter and the HAL Rudra light combat helicopter.

Three of the 20 LCA Mk 1s ordered in 2005 have entered service with the Indian Air Force.

An order for 83 upgraded LCA Ms 1As was approved by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in November 2016.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk 1 variant.

Armed Forces of the Philippine to Maintain FA-50PHs with PHP23.7-M

1:20:00 AM Add Comment
MANILA, -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is allocating some PHP23,706,000 for the acquisition of spare parts and components needed for the unscheduled maintenance of one of its four Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI)-made FA-50PH "Fighting Eagle" jet fighters.

Pre-bid conference is scheduled on Jan. 26, at 9 a.m. at the Philippine Air Force Procurement Center Conference Roon, Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.

While bid opening is on Feb. 8, at 9 a.m. at the same venue.

The PAF currently has four FA-50PHs in its inventory. Another eight are scheduled to be deliver this year and the next.

The 12-plane order from KAI is worth PHP18.9 billion.

The FA-50PHs has a top speed of Mach 1.5 or one and a half times the speed of sound and is capable of being fitted air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles aside from light automatic cannons.

It will act as the country's interim fighter until the Philippines get enough experience of operating fast jet assets and money to fund the acquisition of more capable fighter aircraft.

The FA-50PH design is largely derived from the F-16 "Fighting Falcon", and they have many similarities: use of a single engine, speed, size, cost, and the range of weapons.

KAI's previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for the development of the FA-50PHs.

The aircraft can carry two pilots in tandem seating. The high-mounted canopy developed by Hankuk Fiber is applied with stretched acrylic, providing the pilots with good visibility, and has been tested to offer the canopy with ballistic protection against four-pound objects impacting at 400 knots.

The altitude limit is 14,600 meters (48,000 feet), and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.

There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 liters (701 US gallons), five in the fuselage and two in the wings.

An additional 1,710 liters (452 US gallons) of fuel can be carried in the three external fuel tanks.

Trainer variants have a paint scheme of white and red, and aerobatic variants white, black, and yellow.

The FA-50PHs uses a single General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine license-produced by Samsung Techwin, upgraded with a full authority digital engine control system jointly developed by General Electric and KAI.

The engine consists of three-staged fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner.

Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) of thrust with afterburner.

Four FA-50s parked at the ramp in-front of the Haribon Hangar, Air Force City, Clark Air Base.