S. Korean Navy receives new amphibious landing ship

6:39:00 PM Add Comment
SEOUL,  -- The South Korean Navy took delivery Friday of the country's first indigenous next-generation amphibious landing ship expected to boost the military's landing and transportation capabilities, the state arms procurer said.

The 4,500-ton LTS-II ship Cheonwangbong, named after the country's second-highest peak of Mount Jiri in the southern region, had been built with the country's own technology by shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co. since 2011.

Capable of accommodating 300 fully-armed troops as well as amphibious tanks and two helicopters, the vessel gives the military advanced mobility and loading capabilities, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

The ship, which is 126 meters long and 19 meters wide, can sail at a maximum speed of 23 knots.

After some five months of test runs and other necessary procedures, the Navy plans to put it into service in the first half of next year, according to officers.

"The next-generation landing ship can play diverse roles, including carrying out landing operations duties, transporting goods to bases and remote areas, and conducting warfare against local provocations," the DAPA said in a statement.

"It is also expected to enhance national dignity by being dispatched to diverse peace-keeping operations overseas," it added.

Also Friday, the Navy received its 17th guided-missile destroyer to be in charge of defending the country's shoreline and harbors.

Equipped with the latest indigenous weaponry including ship-to-ship guided missiles, the 450-ton, high-speed ship can sail at a top speed of 40 knots with 40 crew members, according to DAPA.

The 4,500-ton LTS-II ship Cheonwangbong. 


6 pilots of brand-new PAF AW-109Es attack helicopters to arrive in December

5:49:00 PM Add Comment
MANILA, — Philippine Air Force (PAF) commanding officer Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado announced that the six pilots, selected to fly the brand-new attack versions of the AgustaWestland (AW)-109Es, are scheduled to return home this December.

"They (six pilots) will be arriving home this December," he said.
Training for the pilots, which started last June 14, are being conducted at Costa Di Samarate.

Two of the brand-new AW-109s are expected to be delivered by January 2015.

Eight aircraft were ordered for the PAF, Delgado said.

The AW-109 attack helicopter contract is worth Php3.44 billion.

The eight AW-109s are expected to boost the PAF's capability in providing close air support to combat forces in the ground.

The PAF and AgustaWestland signed the contract November 2013.

The aircraft will be used to perform a range of duties including homeland security, armed reconnaissance and close support.

AgustaWestland AW-109 armed version.



Vietnam warships visit PHL amid South China Sea dispute

4:20:00 AM Add Comment
MANILA, -- Vietnam on Tuesday showed off its two most powerful warships in the first-ever port call to the Philippines but an official said it was not trying to challenge China's superior naval forces amid tension in the South China Sea.

Hanoi invited the diplomatic community to its Russian-built missile-guided frigates docked in Manila Bay at the start of a three-day goodwill visit.

China lays claim to almost all of the entire South China Sea, believed to be rich minerals and oil-and-gas deposits. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims, creating one of Asia's biggest possible flashpoints.

"We are trying to hold joint patrols and operations in the Spratlys, including search-and-rescue operations," said a Philippine naval official, referring to a disputed island chain. He declined to be identified because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

"We are not trying to challenge China's naval superiority in the disputed area. We have no intention to heighten any tension. These are peaceful activities, like sharing of experiences and best practices."

The two 100-meter-(330-ft-) long Russian-built warships are equipped with stealth technology to display a minimal profile on enemy radar screens. They have anti-ship missiles and anti-submarine warfare helicopters.

Concern is growing about an escalation in disputes in the South China Sea even as claimants work to establish a binding code of conduct to resolve them.

"We hope all sides can do more to increase mutual trust and safeguard regional peace and stability," China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily press briefing, when asked about the visit.

China on Monday hit back at "irresponsible remarks" by the United States, which has called on Beijing to stop a land reclamation project on a reef.

"The first port call is a positive and good sign of the improving and deepening relations between the Philippine Navy and Vietnam People's Navy," said Philippine Lieutenant Commander Marineth Domingo.

In March, the two navies held staff-to-staff talks to step up exchanges in intelligence and information, naval technology and training.

Three months later, Vietnamese and Philippine troops got together on a disputed island to play soccer and volleyball and drink beer in a get-together Philippine officials said proved there could be harmony despite a web of overlapping claims.

China dismissed the meetings as a "clumsy farce."

Vietnamese Navy ship Ly Thai To (HQ-012) is seen docked at Manila's South Harbor.


DSME signs contract to deliver 6 Missile Surface Corvettes (MSC) to Royal Malaysian Navy

4:04:00 PM Add Comment
KUALA LUMPUR, -- South Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd (DSME) announced in a statement Monday that it has obtained an order from the Royal Malaysian Navy to build six Missile Surface Corvettes (MSC). According to the statement, three vessels will be built and assembled in South Korea starting from January 2018 while the rest will be block built in South Korea and assembled in Malaysia with DSME's cooperation.

The statement, which did not mentioned the value of the deal, said the deal is subject to final approval by the Malaysian government.

Navy Recognition reported during DSA 2014, the 14th Defence Services Asia Exhibition and Conference held in April in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), that Korean shipbuilder DSME introduced for the first time its Missible Surface Corvette (MSC).

The MSC model shown at DSA 2014 was fitted with a 76mm Oto Melara main gun, 4x Kongsberg NSM anti-ship missiles, 2x MSI 30mm guns located aft, and several South Korean made sensors, most of them from Samsung Thales.

DSME representatives at the trade show stressed however that configuration is just a suggestion and that they are ready to adapt according to customer requirements.

DSME's MSC has a length of about 85.5 meters, a breadth of 12.9 meters, a draft of 3.8 meters for a displacement of about 1,800 tons.

The MSC crew consists of 60 sailors. Its top speed is 26 knots and endurance in excess of 20 days.

DSME introduced the Missile Surface Corvette at DSA 2014. DSME's MSC has a length of about 85.5 meters.



Thailand's Third Army Grounds Bell 212 Helicopter Fleet After Crash

4:01:00 AM Add Comment
BANGKOK, -- The Royal Thai Army's (RTA) Third Army Region has grounded its fleet of eight Bell helicopters, following a fatal crash involving one of its rotorcraft in northern Thailand.

On 17 November, a Bell 212 Twin Huey helicopter reportedly exploded in mid-air, after take-off from an army camp in Phayao province and crash-landed in the Muang district, killing all nine personnel, who were on a logistical mission.

Those on the flight included five army officers, including deputy Third Army Region commander major general Songpol Thongjeen, and four crew members.

3rd Army area spokesperson major-general Tana Jaruwat was quoted by The Nation as saying that all helicopters in the unit will undergo aviation safety checks at RTA's Aviation Centre in Lop Buri province.
"We have imposed a temporary helicopter flight suspension," Jaruwat said.

However, RTA deputy spokesperson colonel Sirichan Ngathong said that the army will continue to operate both the Bell 212 and UH-1 Huey helicopters for missions across the country.

"I insist that the army still uses Bell 212 helicopters for its missions as normal. There has not been a general order to ground them," Ngathong said.

The Third Army Region currently operates three Bell 212 and five UH-1 Iroquois twin-engine aircraft.
A relative of one crash victim revealed that concerns about the age of the helicopter had been expressed a few days before the accident.

However, 4th Infantry Division commander major general Nopporn Ruenjan told the Bangkok Post that the helicopter was maintained properly, with parts regularly replaced.

The Thai Army currently operates 40 Bell 212s and UH-1 Iroquois copters.

Initial reports suggest that the helicopter developed engine trouble, although an investigation is underway.
In 2011, the RTA grounded its Bell 212 fleet after three different models crashed over a two-week period, killing 17 people.

RTA Bell 212 Twin Huey helicopter.



US asks China to stop building Spratlys island which could host airfield

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WASHINGTON, -- China is building a massive island in the South China Sea that could host an airfield in an area where Beijing is locked in bitter territorial disputes with neighbouring states, a US military spokesman said Friday.

The vast land reclamation project on the Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands, known in China as Yongshu Reef, is one of several pursued by China but the first that could accommodate an airstrip, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Pool said.

“It appears that’s what they’re working toward,” Pool told AFP.

A harbour also has been dug out on the east side of the reef that appears large enough for tankers and naval warships.

The United States wants China to halt the project and for other governments to cease similar efforts.

“We urge China to stop its land reclamation program, and engage in diplomatic initiatives to encourage all sides to restrain themselves in these sorts of activities,” Pool said.

In the past three months, China has used dredgers to construct an island about 3,000 metres long and 200-300 metres wide on the reef, which was previously under water, according to a report by IHS Jane’s Defence.

The results of the dredging are captured in satellite pictures obtained by IHS Jane’s that cover a period between August 8 and November 14.

“The land reclamation at Fiery Cross is the fourth such project undertaken by China in the Spratly Islands in the last 12-18 months and by far the largest in scope,” the report said.

Before the latest dredging work, the Chinese navy had used a concrete platform and no artificial island had been created.

China already has built islands at Johnson South Reef, Cuarteron Reef and Gaven Reefs, which the Chinese call Chigua, Huayang, and Nanxun, respectively.

Beijing claims nearly all of the resource-rich South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have asserted their own claims by building structures on reefs or occupying islands.

The other Southeast Asian countries already had airfields in the area and China’s latest efforts could put it in a stronger position as Beijing pursues its claims.

IHS Jane’s said the move appeared aimed to get other countries to relinquish their claims, or provide China a stronger negotiating position should talks take place over the dispute.

The United States has urged China and other states to settle the territorial disputes peacefully and without coercion while urging Beijing to support a regional, multilateral maritime “code of conduct” to defuse confrontations at sea.

But Beijing has tended to prefer bilateral talks with its smaller neighbours, which are heavily dependent on Chinese trade.

China argues it has sovereign control over almost all of the South China Sea, a vital shipping route that is believed to hold lucrative oil and gas deposits.

Beijing has launched naval patrols in waters contested with the Philippines and in May deployed a deep-sea oil rig in disputed waters near the Paracel Islands, sparking deadly anti-China riots in Vietnam.

Airbus Defence and Space imagery dated 14 November 2014 shows Chinese land reclamation operations under way at Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea. Multiple operating dredgers provide the ability to generate terrain rapidly. Operating from a harbour area, dredgers deliver sediment via a network of piping.



Japan announces Global Hawk, Osprey, Hawkeye purchases

5:21:00 AM Add Comment
TOKYO, -- Japan has announced the selection of the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk for its high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) requirement and the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey for its tilt-rotor requirement.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) also confirmed that it would buy a Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. All three requirements were announced in the fiscal year 2015 budget request.

Northrop Grumman said in a statement that it was "proud that the Japanese Ministry of Defense has selected the RQ-4 Global Hawk as the primary system to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities" and confirmed that the sale would process via the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe views the cockpit of an MV-22B Osprey Hyakuri Air Base during the Japan Air Self Defense Force's Air Review 2014 Oct. 26.



Navy renews push for sub plan

10:22:00 PM Add Comment
BANGKOK, -- The Royal Thai Navy will dust off a proposal to buy submarines after years of failed attempts to equip itself with the expensive underwater craft.

Navy chief Kraisorn Chansuwanich revealed the plan on Thursday, which marks Royal Thai Navy Day.

Adm Kraisorn said he had proposed the navy’s latest development plan, which includes the bid to procure submarines, to Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon during his visit to navy headquarters on Monday.

Adm Kraisorn said Gen Prawit agreed with the planned procurement of submarines and instructed the navy to present detailed studies on the types of submarines it wanted and the cost to see if they are affordable.

The navy has pressed governments for years to buy submarines to help protect the Gulf of Thailand.

The bid to equip the navy with submarines began when Banharn Silpa-archa was prime minister in 1995. Back then, Kockums of Sweden were the prime target. But alleged corruption by politicians and middlemen who wanted to pocket money from the project led to the deal being sunk.

Ten years later, the navy renewed its efforts with a proposal to buy used submarines from China under the Thaksin Shinawatra administration. But the military coup on Sept 19, 2006 killed that bid.

In 2010, then navy commander Kamthorn Phumhiran approved a plan to set up a Submarine Squadron, with expectations of having six used German U206A submarines worth a total of 7.7 billion baht. But it was met with resistance and never passed the planning stage.

In 2012, then navy chief Surasak Rounroengrom approved guidelines to train navy personnel in submarine operations, which led to navy personnel studying submarines with the help of countries who have had them for a long time.

In July this year, the Royal Thai Navy’s Submarine Squadron was officially launched at Sattahip naval base in Chon Buri province. The navy has sent 18 officers to Germany for training in submarine technology and another 10 to South Korea to attend a training course on international diesel submarines.

 Type 206A submarine of German Navy.


Vietnam's third Russian sub to arrive next month

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HANOI, -- The third of six submarines Vietnam purchased from Russia will arrive early next month, Russian news agency Interfax reported.

The HQ-184 Hai Phong completed testing at sea in Kaliningrad and returned to the St. Petersburg-based Admiralty Shipyards, the submarines' manufacturer, on March 2.

Interfax quoted Alexander Buzakov, Admiralty Shipyards’ general director, on Tuesday as saying that the submarine will arrive in Vietnam early next month without specifying how.

He added that the HQ-186 Da Nang, the fifth submarine in the contract, will also be launched at the shipyard by the end of the year.

Last March, the HQ 183 Ho Chi Minh City, the second submarine, was delivered to Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay by the Dutch-registered cargo ship Rolldock Star.

The Dutch delivered the HQ 182 Hanoi, the first of the six subs, to Cam Ranh Bay on December 31, 2013.

The six diesel-electric submarines, which are considered improvements over the older Kilo-class, were bought through a US$2-billion deal signed during a visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to Russia in 2009.

The contract requires Russia to deliver everything by 2016, train Vietnamese crews and supply necessary spare parts.

Hanoi HQ 182, the first of six Kilo-class submarines that Vietnam contracted to buy from Russia in 2009.


Myanmar Navy Launches Stealth Corvette

9:44:00 PM Add Comment
NAYPYIDAW, -- Myanmar Navy launched Stealth Light Frigate  Heavily armed Corvette.

The Stealth Corvette is believed to be armed with Chinese and Russian made weapons with Anti Submarine Capability.

The stealth corvette of Myanmar Navy is made in Myanmar.

Myanmar Previously has successfully build Two Stealth Frigate F 12 and F 14.Another stealth Frigate F 15 is under construction.

The Stealth Corvette aka Stealth Light Frigate's pennant no is 773 .Myanmar Navy operates 2 other corvette with  seral no of 771 and 772.

Myanmar has a economy of $65 Billion which is almost three times less then it's neighbor Bangladesh who has a GDP of $187 Billion.but Bangladesh has not made any stealth ship so far.

Despite Bangladesh's friendly attitude towards Myanmar ,Myanmar is showing aggressive attitude towards Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Navy is currently going though a modernization phase which threatens Myanmar.

Myanmar Navy UMS-773 Tabinshwehti corvette.



First C-295M of Vietnamese Air Force Conducts Flight Test

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HANOI, -- The first transport aircraft  Airbus DS (Airline Group of the European Airbus) CASA C295M built for the Vietnamese Air Force, made the first flight test on Friday 17/10 .

In one image the photographer Guillermo Granger posted on photo sharing sites world-famous aircraft Jetphotos.net shows, the transport body's first C-295M Air Force Vietnam with camouflage paint colors and lines "No military in Vietnam" in the upper body and test number 123 in the rear, made the first test flight at the airport Sevilla San Pablo plant, Spain.

Also in the image is the photographer Granger shared the first C-295M built for the Air Force Vietnam had barely even coating red flag with yellow star on the tail.

Earlier, sang, told Flight Global magazine earlier this past June, the company director Antonio Rodríguez Barberan DS Airbus said that, at that time, aircraft manufacturing facility of the company in San Pablo (West Spanish), is undergoing final assembly for 3 transport aircraft C-295 (one for Ecuador, one for Egypt and the rest of the Vietnam Air Force). There is also a CN-235 is also being made to force the US coast guard.

He officially revealed rangViet Barberan South is one of many new customers have ordered 3 transport aircraft C-295 from Airbus DS.

According to news agency IHS Jane's disclosure, purchase contract 3 aircraft military transport C-295 from Airbus DS was Vietnam signed in 2013 with a total value of about $ 100 million, which includes the provision of spare parts, maintenance and training for the air force. They are expected to be handed over in about 6 months.

It is known that the aircraft have been sold to Vietnam with the basic configuration does not include the additional system comes. IHS Jane's said the C-295 aircraft of the Vietnam first being built in Seville, Spain, although the details of this agreement have not been disclosed.

First CASA C-295M for Vietnam Air Force, after a test flight, with VPAF markings and national flag covered. ©.jetphotos


Army Starting Thank Lightweight Heli Attack Fennec

7:17:00 PM Add Comment
JAKARTA, -- Indonesian Army (TNI) began to accept the arrival of 12 light helicopters serial Ecureuil / Fennec Helicopters from Airbus that will equip the Army with advanced capabilities in a raid mission.

Until 2016, the Army is scheduled to receive six single-engine helicopters and six twin-engine helicopter.

"This delivery is in line with our responsibility to the Indonesian government to develop a defense system locally to improve the country's defense capabilities," said President of PT Air Indonesia Budi Santoso release received by AFP on Thursday.

A total of 12 of the series Ecureuil helicopter rotorcraft / Fennec will form a light attack squadron of the army. Under an agreement between Airbus Helicopters strategic industries with PT Indonesian Aerospace, mission equipment for the fleet - including machine guns and rocket launchers - to be installed by PT Indonesian Aerospace at its plant in London.

Fennec military -versi of Airbus Ecureuil helicopter series known Equa- has many combat missions, air support, tracking, escort and training around the world, including Asia.

Series consisting of single and double type of machine that has the capability of this adaptation, combining a powerful light attack capability with the body frame and the mission system solutions cost-effective.

"Indonesia's decision to receipts Fennec demonstrate the suitability of this series for operation in a wide range of conditions. Fennec has a high maneuverability with a platform that is agile, and difficult to detect," said Head of Region Airbus Helicopters for South-East Asia and the Pacific Philippe Monteux.

Purchase Fennec by the Army is carried out following the purchase of six EC725 helicopters by the Indonesian Air Force in 2012. In Southeast Asia and the Pacific, the Royal Thai Army also ordered eight Fennec for reconnaissance missions in 2011.

PT Indonesian Aerospace has established a partnership with Airbus Helicopters for nearly 40 years. Airbus Helicopters is the prime contractor for the Indonesian government to provide a complete service, from sales, customization and settlement, through to delivery and after sales service for all Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft products.

PT Indonesian Aerospace is also part of the Airbus supply chain Helicopters, which produces tail boom and order the agency to assemble EC225 and EC725 series helicopters for the global market.


Philippines Allots P90.86B to Boost Defense

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MANILA, -- The government has set aside P90.86 billion to sustain the implementation of the defense and military modernization program until 2017, President Aquino announced on Monday.

The President shared the government’s initiatives to further upgrade military capacity and equipment at the 75th anniversary of the Department of National Defense (DND) in Camp Aguinaldo.

“Ongoing na rin ang ating DND Medium Term Capability Development Program na saklaw ng ating Revised AFP Modernization Law. Sa programang ito, 33 proyekto ang kinukumpleto na natin na aabot hanggang 2017. Ang halagang inilaan na natin dito: P90.86 billion. [The DND Medium Term Capability Development Program under the Revised AFP Modernization Law is ongoing. Under the program, 33 projects must be completed by 2017 with a budegt of P90.86 billion],” the President said in his speech.


The President said the government has already spent P41.38 billion on 46 various military modernization and capability upgrade projects from June, 2010, to October, 2014. Aquino took pride that his administration has surpassed the 45 combined projects of three previous administrations since 1995.

“Mayroon pa tayong natitirang mahigit isang taon at pitong buwan, kaya’t tiyak na madaragdagan pa ang makukumpleto natin [We have one year and seven months left so I’m certain we will complete more projects],” the President said.

In 2013 alone, Aquino said 12 projects, including the purchase of two modern ships, three naval helicopters, and eight combat utility helicopters, were completed under the AFP modernization program.

He also welcomed the formation of the Philippine Defense Transformation Roadmap 2028 that will ensure all reform initiatives will be implemented.


Apart from the military upgrade program, the President assured that the government will continue to provide benefits for the country’s brave soldiers such as decent and affordable housing, reforms in their pension system, and livelihood programs for retired and active soldiers.

With these programs, Aquino said gone are the days when soldiers and their needs are neglected. “Ang nais natin: Ipagkaloob ang mga benepisyong karapat-dapat lang matanggap ng mga nagmamalasakit sa bayan [Our goal is to provide the benefits commensurate to those who cares for the nation],” he said.

While the government promotes the welfare of soldiers, Aquino said he has higher expectation from the military to improve its service, particularly in protecting the country’s sovereignty.



F-35 and F-22 combine capabilities in operational integration training mission

2:53:00 AM Add Comment
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The U.S. Air Force deployed four F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, to Eglin Air Force Base, earlier this month for the unit's first operational integration training mission with the F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 33rd Fighter Wing here.

The purpose of the training was to improve integrated employment of fifth-generation assets and tactics. The training allowed both units to gain operational familiarization and capture lessons learned to improve future exercises.

"When the F-22 and F-35 come together, it brings out the strength of both airplanes," said Lt. Col. Matt Renbarger, F-35 pilot and 58th Fighter Squadron commander. "The F-22 was built to be an air-to-air superiority fighter and the F-35 was built to be a strike fighter. These airplanes complement each other and we're trying to learn how to take that from a design perspective into a tactical arena and be the most effective combat team we can be working with the F-22s."

The F-35s and F-22s flew offensive counter air, defensive counter air and interdiction missions together, exploring ways to maximize their fifth-generation capabilities.

"The missions started with basic air-to-air and surface attacks," said Maj. Steven Frodsham, F-22 pilot and 149th Fighter Squadron, Virginia Air National Guard, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. "As the training progressed, the missions developed into more advanced escort and defensive counter air fifth-generation integration missions."

The Air Force recently employed fifth-generation combat airpower for the first time against the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant during the most recent joint coalition campaign. The ground strike was the F-22 Raptor's combat debut, demonstrating the decisive impact fifth-generation capabilities bring to real-world scenarios.

Like the F-35, the F-22 brings an unrivaled stealth capability to the fight. However, as seen in the recent employment in Syria, it's the aircraft's ability to provide heightened situational awareness to other aircraft through the platform's integrated avionics and fused sensors - often referred to as "fusion" - that makes all the aircraft in the strike package more lethal and survivable, maximizing the full capabilities of airpower.

"Fusion and stealth - those are the two things that fifth-generation aircraft bring to the fight," said Renbarger. "It's all of those sensors coming in to give me that fused battle picture that I have displayed in my cockpit along with fifth-generation stealth that enables me to go undetected into the battlefield with that high situational awareness to do what I need to do for the fight."

The F-22 sparked the Air Force's fourth-to-fifth generation integration efforts. Now that the F-35 program is moving closer to its initial operational capability, it too can begin to integrate with the fourth-generation systems as well as its fifth-generation F-22 counterpart.

"The F-22 and F-35 squadrons integrated very well," said Frodsham. "The lessons learned and tactics developed from this training opportunity will help to form the foundation for future growth in our combined fifth-generation fighter tactics."

F-22 Raptors from the 94th Fighter Squadron, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, and F-35A Lightning IIs from the 58th Fighter Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, fly in formation after completing an integration training mission over the Eglin Training Range, Florida, Nov. 5, 2014. 



US Begin $1 Trillion Upgrade of Nuclear Weapons Arsenal

6:16:00 PM Add Comment
WASHINGTON, -- The US has announced that an emergency spending programme will be carried out in order to update its ageing nuclear arsenal. Up to $1 trillion (£640bn) will be spent as part of a 30-year plan to upgrade an array of missiles, submarines and bombers.

Speaking at the Pentagon, Chuck Hagel, the US defence secretary declared: "No other mission we have is more important. It deters nuclear attack on the US and our allies and our partners. It prevents our adversaries from trying to escalate their way out of failed conventional aggression."

According to the Associated Press, Hagel told the Pentagon on Friday that the decision to upgrade the US nuclear weapons arsenal came after a series of reviews. He said that the internal and external reviews revealed "a consistent lack of investment and support for our nuclear forces over far too many years has left us with too little margin to cope with mounting stresses".

The embarrassing state of the US arsenal was underlined by the review finding that some of the aircraft used by the US military date from 1969 and had seen action in the Vietnam War.

Hagel admitted: "The root cause has been a lack of sustained focus, attention, and resources, resulting in a pervasive sense that a career in the nuclear enterprise offers too few opportunities for growth and advancement."

The US annual spending on its nuclear forces is $16bn and it is expected to increase on average by 10% annually for the next five years.

The programme conflicts with Obama's previous campaign promise to create "a nuclear-free world".

However, with the rise in tensions between the White House and the Kremlin over Ukraine, and the longstanding threat of North Korea, Obama's nuclear upgrade will do little to help international relations.

Russia announced last week that it would be boycotting an international nuclear security summit, scheduled to be hosted by Obama in 2016.

Minuteman II Missile Silo Delta-09 Launch Facility.


China’s showpiece fighter jet crashes on test flight; 7 hurt

5:55:00 PM Add Comment
BEIJING, -- At least seven persons were injured when an advanced Chinese multi-role fighter jet crashed into a residential compound during a test flight in the country’s southwest.

The pilot ejected safely but at least seven persons received burn injuries after the jet struck a newly constructed residential building before plunging into an artificial lake inside the compound at Chengdu in Sichuan province, yesterday.

The jet, operated by the Chengdu military command and said to be a prototype of an advanced Jian 10-B fighter, may have been on a test flight, Hong Kong based South China Morning Post reported today.

Staff at the hospital refused to comment on the condition of the victims, the report said.

The cause of the accident was not yet reported.

The crash site is just 10km northwest of the central commercial district of Chengdu, which is also very close to an air force base.

The jet witnesses’ photos posted on Weibo, akin to Twitter showed the fighter jet’s Russian-made engine lying in water, broken into two pieces.

The multi-role fighter aircraft Jian 10-B is designed and produced by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation.

Military analysts believe the aircraft crashed minutes after taking off.

Police sealed the scene soon after the pilot reported the crash and his whereabouts to his base, the Chengdu-based Huaxi Metropolis Daily reported adding that he was taken away by a military vehicle a few minutes later.

Beijing-based military expert Li Jie said the pilot had been trained to land in sparsely populated areas in the event of an aircraft malfunction.

“There are many reasons why the jet crashed. It could have been an engine problem, loss of communications, even poor visibility, Li said, adding that yesterday’s weather report mentioned heavy cloud over Chengdu.

Last December, a PLA pilot died after his single-seat Jian-8 fighter crashed in Anji county, Zhejiang, during a night exercise.

China is currently developing a number of new generation aircraft including a stealth fighter J-31 which was displayed for the first time at an air show currently underway in Zhuhai city in China.

 PLAAF's J-10B (Jian-10B) MultiRole Fighter Aircraft test flight.



FA-50s committed to better defense of peninsula

4:21:00 AM Add Comment
SEOUL, -- FA-50, Korea's first homegrown light attack-aircraft, was used on its first official mission late last month and Air Force Lt. Col. Cho Sang-hwan described deployment of the plane as a "watershed in the history" of the Korean military.

On Oct. 30, the Air Force held a ceremony to celebrate the airplane's operational deployment, which was attended by President Park Geun-hye.

The FA-50 is a variant of the T-50 supersonic trainer jet, manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).

"The ceremony confirmed the transition from analog aircraft to digital, displaying a combination of the nation's advanced aviation technology and top-notch pilots and maintenance crews," said Cho, commander of the 103rd Flight Squadron, home to the light attack aircraft.

Since August 2013, 20 FA-50s have been deployed to the Air Force and 40 more are scheduled to enter service by the end of 2016.

The Air Force plans to use the indigenous aircraft in place of its aging F-5 fighters.

However, there are lingering doubts over whether the "low-class" airplane will be able to replace the much-touted F-5s.

Cho believes that reputation does not matter in this case, stressing that the FA-50 has more advanced features than the F-5s.

"The FA-50 shows quicker and more precise strike capability than the F-5 using Korea GPS Guided Bombs, Joint Direct Attack Munitions and a wind corrected munitions dispenser," he said.

"In addition, the digitalized aircraft can execute advanced air combat maneuvering and its tactical data-link system enables pilots to judge real-time combat situations."

Cho is the first commanding officer of the unit to fly the FA-50s.

"Beginning with the ceremony, our men will try our very best to keep the FA-50s ready to fight," he said.

The Air Force officer also hoped that the FA-50 deployment would contribute to the nation's indigenous fighter project, codenamed "KF-X."

"The successful transition from the T-50 to the FA-50 will give important baseline data for the KF-X project. Using my experience, I want to contribute to the scheme moving along, even if it's only in a small way," he said.

The FA-50 has emerged as a hot military item internationally also, and already deals to sell 24 aircraft to Iraq and 12 to the Philippines have been made.

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Fighting Eagle  supersonic advanced trainer and multirole light fighter aircraft.



Why the US Sent a C-17 to a Chinese Air Show Despite Concerns Inside the Pentagon

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WASHINGTON, -- The U.S. military sent a giant C-17 cargo plane to an air show in China this week as a way to strengthen its relationship with the People’s Liberation Army there, despite fears among security and policy experts that doing so puts American technology secrets in jeopardy and also risks angering an important Asia ally.

The decision to send a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III to the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition at the Zhuhai Jinwan airport starting Tuesday is fraught for a number of reasons, defense and security officials told Defense One, noting that President Barack Obama’s arrival in the region this week to help bolster ties with Beijing points up how political factors may have outweighed security, optical and even legal concerns.

The reasons against sending the plane seemed to policy and security officials to have been enumerable.  The American military jet will be participating in the air show with just two other foreign militaries in addition to China: the United Arab Emirates and Russia - with which the U.S. military severed ties after Russia’s annexation of Crimea this spring .

In the meantime, to some, the U.S. military’s participation in the air show is a mark of hypocrisy: Last week, the U.S. denied ally South Korea the ability to demonstrate a Korean jet at the same air show because it possesses U.S. technology and U.S. security officials said demonstrating that plane would be in violation of international agreements.

And at a cost of at least  $350,000 to attend the air show, some officials inside the U.S. government raised questions about why the C-17 jet, along with about 15 U.S. Air Force personnel, should participate at all.

“It was just bad idea after bad idea,” said one government official.

But despite the myriad concerns, Pentagon officials recognized they were in a tight spot and signed off on the plan late Friday to avoid risking political fallout just as the president’s plane was about to touch down in Beijing.

The decision to send the C-17 to the air show, which begins Tuesday, appeared to originate from U.S. Pacific Air Forces, or PACAF, as a way to engage the Chinese and strengthen the relationship between the two militaries. The idea was said to have been the brainchild  of senior Air Force leaders in Washington and Hawaii, but few government officials in Washington knew about it until just weeks ago. One defense official joked that the event was a “GOBI” – a “General Officer Bright Idea” – because it went forward despite the mounting concerns with the plan.

Given the cost, the political optics and what some officials termed a borderline legal justification for participating, a variety of defense officials demurred when asked about the jet participating in the air show. The plan was considered such an “ugly baby” within the U.S. military that no department or agency seemed to want to take responsibility for it. Over the course of last week, Pacific Air Forces referred questions to the U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon; the Air Force referred questions to U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii. The public affairs office at the Pentagon’s Office of the Secretary of Defense referred questions back to Pacific Air Forces, also in Hawaii. Ultimately a spokesman for the Air Force acknowledged the C-17’s participation in the show, saying it was coming “at the request of the government of China.”

Lt. Col. Christopher Karns, media operations chief for the U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon, said the C-17’s visit to the air show has a humanitarian assistance aspect to it, citing a statistic that nearly 70 percent of the world’s natural disasters occur in the region.

“Sending the C-17 builds trust and strengthens partnerships with China and Asia-Pacific nations,” he said. “The C-17 signals the Air Force’s capability to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief through the Asia-Pacific region and across the globe,” he said in an email.

Justifying its participation in the air show by framing it as a humanitarian relief operation was significant because “mil-to-mil” engagement with the Chinese is extremely limited based on a law passed in 2000. Indeed, provisions of the 2000 National Defense Authorization Act prevent the U.S. from certain kinds of sharing or demonstrating military technology with the Chinese. But there is one exception: when humanitarian relief operations are involved.   Policy officials concerned that the C-17 visit to the air show have expressed doubt that the true purpose of the C-17’s presence at the air show could be truly justified by being related to a humanitarian operation.

There is also political risk in the decision to send the plane as well since it came after last week’s decision to prevent South Korea from sending a Korean-made T-50 jet to the same air show. The South Korean T-50 is a training plane that incorporates American fighter technology that is similar to some of what is found on an American F-16 fighter. U.S. regulations prevent allies from sharing certain “munitions technology” or military capabilities and U.S. officials told the Republic of Korea they could not take the jet to the same Chinese air show. That ruling angered Seoul earlier this month, making the U.S. decision to send its own jet to the same air show appear that much worse to the South Koreans.

U.S. officials said that despite the action against South Korea, the decision to send the American jet to China was made carefully.

“Upon careful review of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations requirements and an assessment of the opportunity to strengthen engagement and ties with China, the State Department and the Office of the Secretary of Defense approved the participation of the C-17 at the [China air show],” a DoD official said in a statement to Defense One.

The Pentagon has long been suspicious of China and the People’s Liberation Army, or PLA, which U.S. officials have accused of lacking transparency and stealing military secrets from the U.S.

Despite those concerns, many U.S. officials think engaging with the Chinese military in the form of information exchanges or air shows or official visits are all worth it because they help build trust and, theoretically, a reciprocal relationship in which one military shows off its capability in return for more transparency from the other side. But many U.S. government officials said that when it comes to reciprocity, the Chinese never deliver.

Some members of Congress agree. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., who has voiced his concerns on this issue in the past, said U.S. officials justify such exchanges as building relationships, but there’s little evidence the strategy ever pays off.

“It should be no surprise to us when the Chinese agree to attend the prestigious RIMPAC exercise or host a C-17 at their airshow, but we let ourselves interpret these actions as the basis for a new level of cooperation,” Forbes told Defense One in a statement by email, referring to the C-17 visit as well as a large Pacific military exercise in which the Chinese participated this year. “There is also no indication that more engagement has helped to shape Beijing’s behavior. As we have increased our mil-mil outreach in the last 18 months, China has only turned more coercive and reckless.”

Forbes, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said it’s important to “continue to engage” the PLA but there should be “clear guidance” across the Defense Department to make sure a set of objectives are being met.

There are regular reminders of the risk involved with the Chinese, they say. In August, a Chinese man was indicted for assisting two China-based hackers and other defense contractors to steal data on military jets, including Boeing’s C-17. And Su Bin, a Chinese national who owned a Chinese aviation firm, was indicted after first being arrested in June in Canada. He apparently spent years stealing secrets from Boeing, but it was unclear how he did so, according to The New York Times. There was no indication that the Chinese government was involved. 

The U.S.-China military relationship is marked by ups and downs. Also in August, a Chinese air commander directed a Chinese jet to harass an American spy plane operating over international waters, “buzzing” the American jet and conducting what’s known as a barrel roll around it in an incident that could have caused a serious air crash.

Security and military experts fear that even just bringing the C-17 jet into China for the air show runs the risk that the Chinese could exploit its visit on the tarmac or inside a hangar at the air show by photographing the inside of the plane or using other technology that would give the PLA the upper hand as it develops its own plane.

In the past, just sending a U.S. jet into China would require a presidential waiver. Four years ago, President Obama loosened sanctions the U.S. imposed on China after the 1989 Tiananman massacre to allow  “de-militarized” C-130 planes in the region to help in the cleaning up of oil spills. Simply refueling those planes inside China required the White House to give the nod to the operation.

The C-17, a stalwart air platform for the U.S. military, is not considered to be at the forefront of American military technology. But it is nonetheless equipped with sensitive equipment, including technology designed to defend the plane against attack that some believe could be extremely useful to the Chinese.

Typically, air show costs would be considered a public relations event and therefore paid for and approved by public affairs officials. But in this case, Pacific Air Forces will bear the cost of the mission – said to be at least $350,000 — to the air show and pay for it out of “operations and maintenance” funds, or so-called O&M funding.

Funding it that way, and terming the mission by framing it as relating to humanitarian relief, may allow Pacific Air Forces to justify the event. Unlike fighter, bomber or reconnaissance aircraft, cargo aircraft like the C-17 and Lockheed Martin-made C-130 are considered more than warplanes and are seen as a symbol of American support and compassion since they are often used to deliver humanitarian support after devastating natural disasters.

In May 2008, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent two Air Force C-17s loaded with 200,000 pounds of relief supplies to central China after a devastating earthquake struck the region.

In January 2013, China rolled out the Y-20, a massive four-engine cargo that closely resembles the C-17. However the plane’s jet engines appear much smaller than the massive Pratt & Whitney power plants on the C-17 and experts say it is inferior to the American-made plane.

Even though the U.S. has had little military-to-military cooperation with Russia over the years, the Air Force has looked for partnering opportunities with their Russian counterparts in recent years.

The Air Force took a C-17 to the Moscow International Aviation and Space Salon in 2007. Now, despite what some have termed the beginning of a new Cold War with Russia and the severing of nearly all military-to-military ties, the U.S. and Russia have planes sitting side-by-side on a tarmac inside China.

“We’ve been canceling everything with Russia, and now we’re going to be within spitting distance of them,” said a government official.

nited States Air Force (USAF) Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Strategic / Tactical Airlifter.


UN to rule on PH sea claim

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MANILA, -- The United Nations (UN) -backed Arbitral Tribunal has to assess the merits of the case filed by the Philippines and then issue a final and binding judgment to address the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) despite the refusal of China to participate in the proceedings.

Professor Sean Dean Murphy of the George Washington University Law School stressed this when he addressed the Margins of the International Law Week, hosted by the Philippines and held at the UN headquarters in New York recently.

“Courts and tribunals do not regard non-participation as resulting in a default,” said Murphy, who was elected in 2011 by the UN General Assembly to the International Law Commission.

“…Because if all it took is not showing up for there to be no ability for the tribunal to issue a judgment, the whole system will fall apart,” he argued.

Professor Murphy was reacting to a query on the consequences of default, an apparent reference to the case filed by the Philippines, and China’s refusal to participate.

Murphy’s statement finds basis under Article 9 of Annex VII of the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), which states that “absence of a party or failure of a party to defend its case shall not constitute a bar to the proceedings.”

In his presentation, Murphy laid down several trends on and prospects for the enforcement of international judicial and arbitral decisions.

One trend he cited is the proliferation of international courts and tribunals for inter-state dispute resolution.

Another is the good degree of compliance by states with the decisions of international courts and arbitral tribunals.

Professor Murphy further stressed that compliance proved to be “really strong although not perfect.”

“We do live in a world where a lot of people believe in the law,” he said. “Even if you don’t like the decision, the tendency is to be law-compliant and, therefore, to follow the decisions rendered.”

Arguing further that countries will benefit from abiding by arbitral decisions for land or maritime disputes, he added, “What the tribunal is giving you is certainty as to where the boundary is, and that has a lot of benefits, particularly if you want to explore natural resources or to sort out your relationship with another country.”

The event, titled “The Enforcement of International Judicial and Arbitral Decisions,” is the country’s contribution to draw greater attention to the subject of enforcement of judicial and arbitral decisions between states.

Legal experts from various Permanent Missions to the UN also actively participated in the discussions.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the UN, underscored that the international community has become more reliant on the rule of law as a cornerstone of the peaceful settlement of disputes.

“More and more states are submitting their disputes to international tribunals to manifest their commitment to the maintenance of international peace and security. International law is the great equalizer,” Ambassador Cabactulan said.

A dilapidated Philippine Navy ship BRP Sierra Madre LT-57 in Second Thomas Shoal or (Ayungin Shoal)  in the Spratly group of islands. 


US Navy's eighth Independence-variant LCS christened

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ALABAMA, -- The US Navy's eighth Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS) has been christened USS Montgomery (LCS 8) at Austal's mobile shipyard in Alabama, US.

The vessel, which is the second Independence-variant LCS being christened by Austral this year, is part of a $3.5bn navy contract to construct and deliver ten more LCSs to join USS Independence (LCS 2), which was commissioned in January 2010.

As part of the LCS programme, Austal has collaborated with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems for the design, integration and testing of the vessel's electronic systems for combat, networks and seaframe control.

Austal US President Craig Perciavalle said: "The future USS Montgomery is an incredible warship.

"It is a highly flexible and capable platform that not only meets the needs of the navy today, but can be easily adapted to meet the navy's evolving needs of the future."

Powered by two LM2500s arranged in a combined diesel or gas turbine configuration with two diesel engines, the 127m-long aluminium trimaran vessels have a maximum cruise speed of approximately 40k and can operate in water 20ft deep.

USS Montgomery aims to offset challenging threats in coastal regions, mainly mines, submarines and fast-surface craft.

It can be equipped with reconfigurable payloads (mission packages), which can be modified to support mine countermeasure, anti-submarine and surface warfare missions.

The navy plans to procure 55 LCSs for multi-mission support to set up and maintain its supremacy in the littorals and sea lanes of communication choke points worldwide.

Launched in August, Montgomery is set for trials and delivery by late summer next year.

Montgomery (LCS 8) rolls out of Austal's Bay 4.


Two Korean Naval Ships arrive at the Port of Colombo

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COLOMBO, -- Two Korean Naval ships, Choi Young & Cheonji, arrived at the Port of Colombo on goodwill visit on 11th November 2014 and were ceremonially welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on arrival. The ships belongs to the South Korean Navy’s Cruise Training Task Group (CTTG) commanded by Rear Admiral Chun Jungsoo.

Commander of the Cruise Training Task Group (CTTG) accompanied by Ships’ Commanding Officers paid a courtesy call on Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera at the Naval Headquarters in Colombo this evening. They held cordial discussions and exchanged mementos as a gesture of goodwill.

Choi Young is a Destroyer with a displacement of 5,500 tons. It is 149.5 meters in length and commanded by Captain Kim Hyun-il and the ship’s complement consists of 227 personnel. Cheonji is a Combat Support Ship with a displacement of 9,113 tons. It is 134 meters in length and commanded by Captain Park Jae-Sik. The ship’s complement consists of 134 personnel.

The 2014 ROK Cruise Training Task Group is currently deployed on a ninety-six day voyage visiting ports in twelve countries. Sri Lanka is the 6th country visited by the Group since their first visit to Guam on 24th September, 2014. They will remain in Sri Lanka till 13th November.

Republic of Korea Navy Choi Young (DDH-981) Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin class destroyer.


Russian RD-93 Engine To Power China’s New J-31 Fighter Jet

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MOSCOW, -- China’s soon-to-be debuted J-31 fighter aircraft will be powered by the Russian-made RD-93 engine.

Rosoboronexport’s Air Force Equipment Export Department Head Sergey Kornev, "J-31 with the Russian engine RD-93 is considered to be an export program, able to compete with the American F-35 fifth generation aircraft on the regional markets."

"The program is ambitious, but very real, especially considering the high cost of F-35 and some problems with its development," Kornev added.

According to Ria Novosti, Sergey Kornev, head of the Russian delegation at China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, said that two fifth generation fighters are being developed in China, the J-20 and J-31, which demonstrates the high potential of Chinese science and aviation industry.

China will present the J-31 stealth fighter at the 10th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition on November 11, 2014 in Zhuhai and conduct a demonstration flight.

According to Nanfang Daily, the J-31 stealth fighter is very likely to be put into mass production within five years, and has a big chance of being a carrier-borne type.

 J-31 Stealth Fighter ''Falcon''.



US State Dept. Issues Language To Allow Defense Exports to Vietnam

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WASHINGTON — On President Barack Obama’s first day in Beijing at the start of a weeklong swing through Asia, the US State Department published new language in the Federal Register to reflect a change in its policy to allow exports of lethal defense items to Vietnam.

The changes were first announced in early October when Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh met in Washington with National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry.

But the official revision of the State Department’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) didn’t come until Nov. 10.

The notice said that it is “in the best interests of U.S. foreign policy, national security, and human rights concerns that exports of lethal defense articles and defense services to Vietnam may be authorized on a case-by-case basis when in support of maritime security and domain awareness.”

Despite the language about human rights, however, the government of Vietnam maintains a spotty track record in respecting international norms for the treatment of its civilians.

The State Department’s own 2013 annual report on human rights maintained that Vietnam placed “severe government restrictions on citizens’ political rights, particularly their right to change their government.”

Still, experts have said they expect Vietnam to be interested in maritime surveillance aircraft, likely excess P-3 aircraft that the US Navy is looking to retire as it brings more advanced P-8s online, as well as surveillance equipment.

In 2013, Kerry announced an agreement to provide Vietnam with five fast, unarmed patrol vessels.

After spending time in Beijing at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, Obama will travel to Burma and Australia to meet with leaders there.

US Navy P-3 Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft.


RBN ships joins Seagull Exercise

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MUARA NAVAL BASE, Saturday 8 November 2014 - The Royal Brunei Navy (RBN) will be participating in an exercise code-named SEAGULL. 

This year’s exercise will be the sixth series and hosted by the Philippine Navy (PN) in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Island, Republic of Philippine.

This exercise is scheduled to commence on the 10th until 15th November 2014. RBN vessels that will partake in the biennial exercise this year are Patrol Vessel KDB DARUTTAQWA and Fast Patrol Boat KDB SYAFAAT.

The vessels are commanded by Lieutenant Colonel (L) Khairil bin Haji Abdul Rahman and Major (L) Pg Mohd Fahmy bin Pg Haji Mohd Sallehuddin respectively, with a total complement of 95 personnel, including officers, crew, one section of the Naval Surface Action Group (NSAG) and attachments. Also joining the deployment is the Sub-Lieutenant course, consisting of 10 course participants and three instructors.

This is a significant achievement for RBN as this will be the first time an RBN vessel invites course participants to join them onboard for deployment. In hopes of gaining professional knowledge, the Sub-Lieutenant course participants will cover mostly on Coastal and Astro Navigation.
Among those in attendance during the departure ceremony were First Admiral Dato Seri Pahlawan Abdul Aziz bin Haji Mohd Tamit, Commander of RBN. Also present were Colonel (L) Pg Norazmi bin Pg Haji Muhammad, Deputy Commander of RBN, Lieutenant Colonel (L) Yusuf bin Masron, Fleet Commander, RBN senior officers, officers and men, as well as family members of the deployed personnel.

To bless the farewell ceremony, a Doa Selamat was recited by LCpl Mohd Norhadi bin Harun from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Religious Department. With the participation of RBN in Exercise SEAGULL 06/14 it provides an opportunity for both navies to strengthen its relationship and enhance mutual co-operation on common security concerns. This exercise will also set a historical milestone for KDB DARUTTAQWA as this will be her first bilateral exercise as well as deployment eversince her commissioning on 8th September 2014.

The KDB DARUTTAQWA during its deployment yesterday.



Indonesia to lift defense budget to boost weaponry modernization

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JAKARTA, -- The Indonesian government will increase the budget for defense from the current level of 0.8 percent of the state budget to 1.5 percent, Defense Minister Ryamizard Rayacudu said here Thursday.

Minister Raymizard stressed that the move aims to change the slow pace of the development of the country's weaponry in recent years, in part due to economic crisis, to put it on a par with other ASEAN countries.

The 0.8 percent of the state budget amount is equal to 83 trillion rupiah (some 6.815 billion U.S. dollars), according to the ministry.

Minister Raymizard said the improvement of Indonesian weaponry quality has to rely much on local contents.

"We need a self reliance on weaponry. We do not rely on other countries," he said at a defense seminar here.

President Joko Widodo has disclosed that he will continue the modernization of weaponry in the country which has been undertaken by former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

According to Yudhoyono, the modernization drive targets to achieve what he called "a minimum essential force," not aiming to trigger an arm race in the region. Terrorism, human trafficking, insurgency and drug smuggling are among the main challenges facing Indonesian armed forces.

Troops stand in formation in front of 155mm cannons and multiple launcher rocket system weaponry as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono leads celebrations marking the 67th anniversary of the Indonesian armed forces at Halim Perdana Kusumah airport in Jakarta, Oct. 5, 2012.



Chinese air force to train with Thai pilots

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BANGKOK, -- The Thai and Chinese air forces will hold their first joint training session for pilots later this month, paving the way for a full military exercise between the forces in future.

Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said Thursday the two sides have been working on the plan for some time. The proposal was finally approved by Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan during Gen Prawit's visit to China at the end of last month.

China will send four pilots to be trained in Thailand, while Thailand will send four pilots to be trained in China. They will use each other's jets. The exchange pilots will take a back seat, learning from the host country's pilots, who will command the planes.

Royal Thai Air Force Gripen. During air show at Donmaung air force base , Thailand.