Army Thailand for New MBT

11:01:00 PM Add Comment
BANGKOK / BEIJING, -- Army established the Committee for the procurement of new tanks. To fill the tank needs, this committee has sent a delegation of the Army to travel to the two countries, namely China and Russia.

In Russia delegation visited the Uralvagonzavod, and seems to do an assessment of the type of T-90 MBT, because the latest T-14 MBT Armata not be exported in the near future.

By visiting these two countries, the Army has information as a guide in determining which one will be selected MBT after the supply of Ukrainian Oplot MBT stalled.

As is known, Oplot tank originally projected to strengthen two cavalry battalion to replace the aging M48A5 tank.

For Thailand, it is understood that the tanks will be offered China is the latest type of VT4 (MBT-3000), before China has been supplying the countries in this region (Myanmar and Bangladesh) with tanks VT1A (MBT-2000). Machine VT4 (MBT-3000) will use the power 1200HP diesel power more robust.

Price tanks VT4 is not cheap, the Chinese Army offers to Peru for US 4 million per fruit or comparable to the price of the T-90S and T-84 Oplot.

But the choice may be to tank T-90 Russian-made tanks because some resemblance with artificial Oplot tank Ukaina include superior performance, fire control systems and support infrastructure maintenance. T-can take 90ms one level better than T-90SA although it is more expensive.

If there are no plans to make visits to other countries such as Western Europe or South Korea, the Commission will then work to make choices that will strengthen MBT Army

Thailand believed that the Army would prefer MBT from Russia which is equipped with a 125mm cannon as the main weapon of cavalry in the future.

Chinese Norinco MBT-3000 during tests in Pakistan.


U.S. Bomber Flies Over Waters Claimed by China

9:18:00 AM Add Comment
WASHINGTON, -- An American B-52 bomber on a routine mission over the South China Sea unintentionally flew within two nautical miles of an artificial island built by China, senior defense officials said, exacerbating a hotly divisive issue for Washington and Beijing.

Pentagon officials told The Wall Street Journal they are investigating why one of two B-52s on the mission last week flew closer than planned to Cuarteron Reef in the Spratly Islands, an area where China and its neighbors have competing territorial claims. A senior U.S. defense official said that bad weather had contributed to the pilot flying off course and into the area claimed by China.

Beijing filed a formal diplomatic complaint with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, which prompted the Pentagon to look into the matter.

The flight comes amid rising tensions over China’s island-building program and U.S. operations to challenge Beijing’s broad but vaguely defined claims in the area.

In late October, a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of another Chinese-built island in the Spratlys. Two American B-52s also flew close to the islands last month but didn’t go within 12 nautical miles, a boundary marking a country’s territorial waters.

Unlike those patrols, the route taken by the B-52 this week wasn’t planned, according to the Pentagon. “For this mission, there was no intention of flying to within 12 nautical miles,” said Cmdr. Bill Urban, a Pentagon spokesman.

“The Chinese have raised concerns with us about the flight path of a recent mission,” he said. “We are looking into the matter.”

China’s Defense Ministry said that both of the American B-52 bombers on Dec. 10 “entered without authorization the airspace around the relevant islands and reefs” of the Spratlys, but didn’t specify the precise area.

The ministry said this and other U.S. operations in the area were “serious military provocations” that endangered Chinese personnel and could cause the militarization of the South China Sea. It added that the Chinese military would take “all necessary measures” to protect China’s sovereignty.

The incident is diplomatically awkward for the White House, which is trying to maintain stable ties with the world’s No. 2 economy while responding to pressure from U.S. allies in Asia, as well as the Pentagon and Congress, to push back against Beijing’s recent military assertiveness.

Aside from the South China Sea, other security issues roiling relations included alleged cyberattacks by China on the U.S.

On Wednesday, Beijing lodged another formal protest after the U.S. approved a $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan, an island that China claims but doesn’t control.

Cuarteron lies about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of China’s Hainan island. Since mid-2014, reclamation has expanded the reef by more than 230,000 square meters (57 acres); it now includes two helipads, possible gun or missile emplacements and two possible radar towers, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Washington has grown alarmed at the speed at which China’s artificial islands have expanded—from a total of 2,000 acres earlier this year to more than 3,000 acres by September, according to Defense Department documents.

Cuarteron is one of seven rocks and reefs in the Spratlys where China has built artificial islands in the past year, as part of what neighbors fear is a program to better enforce its claims and establish control over one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

China says it guarantees freedom of navigation, but has “indisputable” sovereignty over all South China Sea islands and adjacent waters. It says the new facilities are for civilian purposes such as weather monitoring, as well as national defense.

Many maritime law experts categorize Cuarteron as a rock rather than a reef, a difference that some maritime experts say figures into Washington’s strategy in the South China Sea.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, natural islands and rocks are entitled to territorial seas stretching out 12 nautical miles, whereas most reefs that are submerged at high tide aren’t.

Thus, some maritime experts say Washington had planned to focus its overflights and ship passages on Chinese installations built on such reefs.

Cmdr. Urban said the Pentagon didn’t consider this week’s B-52 flight to be a freedom of navigation operation. The term is used by the Pentagon to describe missions meant to challenge what the U.S. sees as excessive claims to territorial waters.

Cmdr. Urban said Chinese personnel on the ground warned the aircraft during the flight but there was no indication that the Chinese military had scrambled jet fighters. He declined to say whether any disciplinary action had been taken or if other flights had been grounded.

While the U.S. says it doesn’t take sides in the territorial dispute, U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Ash Carter, have said the U.S. will fly or sail wherever it believes international law permits.

The U.S. conducts routine B-52 flights from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam throughout the Asia-Pacific region under a program known as “continuous bomber presence” started in 2004 to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to security in the region.

The U.S. Air Force B-52 strategic bomber midair refueling.

PAF S-76 Up for Repairs

8:32:00 AM Add Comment
MANILA, -- The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is allocating PhP16,879,059.80 for the maintenance and repair of one of its Sikorsky S-76 medium utility helicopters.

Pre-bid conference is scheduled on Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. at the PAF Procurement Center Conference Room, Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.

On the other hand, submission and opening of bids is slated for Jan. 8, 2016, 9 a.m. at the same venue.

The S-76 features twin turbo-shaft engines, four-bladed main and tail rotors and retractable landing gear.

The PAF is known to operate from three to six S-76 in its inventory.

The Philippine Air Force Sikorsky AUH-76 Search and Rescue helicopter.

Second RMAF A400M undergoing test flights

8:17:00 AM Add Comment
SHAH ALAM, -- The Royal Malaysian Air Force second A400M airflifter (M54-02) is currently undergoing flight tests in Seville, Spain prior to the handing over and the flight home. The aircraft is undergoing a battery of tests under the watchful eyes of a RMAF acceptance team.

As reported previously the aircraft was supposed to fly home in December. However industry sources told Malaysian Defence that it was more likely that the flight is expected next year though the exact timing remained uncertain.

The delay was unavoidable as the manufacturer of the A400M, was under pressure from other buyers to deliver their aircraft first. The fatal crash in May – which caused a temporary test flight pause – is the main reason for the delays in delivery.

During the test flights and until the aircraft is accepted by RMAF, the aircraft will carry the EC400 registration number. This is the same flight number for all the A400M undergoing flight and acceptance tests at Seville. Note that the serial number of the aircraft on the vertical tail is covered.

What does this mean on the delivery of the third and fourth A400M then? It is likely that the third aircraft will be delivered in late 2016. And the fourth will be coming home in early 2017 at the earliest.

In the meantime, Kementerian Pertahanan has issued a tender for the supply of two fuel tankers with the capacity of 4000 IG. The tankers are part of the support services for the A400M squadron. As for the reason why the tender was not issued earlier prior to the delivery of the aircraft – already slated this year – is beyond me.

Anyhow at least we know that the three hangars built for the A400M and the ILS contract are already up and running.

The second Royal Malaysian Air Force A400M airflifter (M54-02) test flight at Seville on Dec 15 2015.

Photo Credits to the owner.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries starts production of Japan's first F-35 fighter

8:18:00 PM Add Comment
TOKYO, -- Japan's first Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft has commenced its assembly at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' (MHI's) final assembly and check-out (FACO) facility, it was confirmed on 15 December.

Lockheed Martin said in a statement that Japan's first F-35A - designated AX-5 - has officially begun the "mate" process, where major components of the aircraft are joined together to form the aircraft's structure.

The corporation said the AX-5 aircraft would complete its assembly in the FACO's electronic mate and assembly station before scheduled roll-out in 2017.

The first four F-35As for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) - designated AX-1 through AX-4 - are in various stages of production at Lockheed Martin's F-35 facility in Fort Worth, Texas, said the company. The first aircraft, AX-1, is expected to be delivered to the JASDF in 2016.

The remaining 38 F-35As will be assembled and delivered from MHIs FACO facility, which has been under development since 2013.

Although an MHI spokesman said the company would not comment on the developments, Lockheed Martin said that it is currently collaborating with the Japanese company to complete the FACO facility and "install the remaining equipment and tooling required to assemble and deliver F-35A aircraft from the Japan assembly-line". The US corporation is also providing technical assistance and workforce training.

In addition to producing the JASDF's F-35s, the FACO facility will provide maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade services to F-35s based in the North Asia-Pacific region as per a US Department of Defense decision in December 2014. Support capabilities are expected to be in place from 2018.

The MHI FACO plant is based at MHI's Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works Komaki Minami Plant in Aichi Prefecture, which was used to build F-2 multirole fighter aircraft, developed in the 1990s in conjunction with Lockheed Martin.

An F-35A front profile in flight.


EPI and the Malaysian Ministry of Defence Sign TP400 Support Contract

7:40:00 PM Add Comment
KUALA LUMPUR, -- EPI (europrop international) and the Malaysian Ministry of Defence have signed a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) for a two-year contract for the support of TP400 turboprop engines powering the four Airbus military A400M transports ordered by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF). This is the first export contract for the TP400 support.

According to the terms of this contract, EPI will provide technical support services and spare parts management for a total of 18 TP400 engines. A team of three technicians will provide local support at the main operating base in Subang-provided through GTA (Global Turbine Asia), a Malaysian Safran subsidiary.

"It is a pleasure to Officially Launch the TP400 In-Service Support contract. We look forward to a positive and dynamic relationship with EPI over the two years of this contract and the subsequent years ahead "said a senior representative of the Ministry of Defense.

Ricardo Navarro, Director of In-Service Support EPI said:" We are Honoured to continue our great partnership with the RMAF and especially for what is the first direct-engine support contract for EPI. We will bring all of our expertise in order to help them to the make the most of the great potential of Reviews their A400M with TP400 engines.

Malaysia, the first export customer for the Airbus A400M, took delivery of its first aircraft on March 13th, 2015. The TP400 engines have been installed on the RMAF's second A400M that is currently undergoing customer acceptance at the Airbus facility in Seville,

EPI europrop international GmbH was created by four leading European aero-engine companies (Industria de Turbo Propulsores, MTU Aero Engines, Rolls-Royce and Snecma [Safran]) to manage the TP400 engine program.

Designed to power the Airbus A400M military transport, the TP400 is the most powerful turboshaft engine in the West. It features a three-shaft configuration and will deliver a maximum power output of 11,000 shaft horsepower.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force first Airbus A400M new generation airlifter.


Third Airbus Military C-295M aircraft of PAF arriving mid-December

10:37:00 AM Add Comment
MANILA, -- The third and final unit of Airbus Military C-295M medium transport aircraft for Philippine Air Force (PAF) will arrive mid-December, this was confirmed to Update.PH by Airbus Defence and Space Press Manager for Military Aircraft Kieran Daly.

“The third C295 for Philippine Air Force will arrive in Philippines in the middle of this month,” Daly said.

The arriving aircraft is part of three aircraft deal worth PhP5.29 billion signed last year. Second unit arrived September 15, while the first unit arrived March this year.

Airbus earlier said that delivery of aircraft will be earlier than schedule. “The remaining two aircraft will be delivered ahead of schedule during the second half of this year,” Daly previously said.

According to original schedule, first unit was set to be delivered August 2015 and the second one was scheduled by March 2016, while the third aircraft was expected September 2016.

“The Airbus Military C295 is a new generation, very robust and reliable, highly versatile tactical airlifter able to carry up to nine tonnes of payload or up to 71 personnel,” the Airbus Military said.

The Philippine Air Force receives the two newly arrived FA-50PH Fighter/Surface Attack/Lead-in Fighter Trainer Aircraft, one C295M Medium Lift Fixed-Wing Aircraft and the six AW-109E Attack Helicopters last December 5, 2015 in a Joint Acceptance, Turn-Over and Blessing Ceremony at the Bulwagan ng Kalayaan, Col Jesus, Villamor Air Base, Pasay City Philippines.

Malaysian navy chief seeks support ship acquisition

10:15:00 AM Add Comment
KUALA LUMPUR, -- The chief of the Malaysian navy has highlighted the procurement of multirole support ships as a priority. The acquisition would bolster the navy's sealift and amphibious assault capabilities.

The new chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) is seeking to prioritise the service's plan to acquire two multirole support ships, despite continuing funding challenges.

"With the need for us to operate in a two-theatre environment [east and west Malaysia], we hope that these two ships can be given a special priority," said Admiral Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin in an interview with IHS Jane's at the Maritime Security and Coastal Surveillance conference in Kuala Lumpur on 1 December.

The Damen Landing Platform Dock 8000 carries battalions of troops and their vehicles, and can function as a flight deck or helicopter hangar. NOTE: The photo does not represent the actual acquisition of the project.

Military Budget up 8 Years in Row

12:00:00 AM Add Comment
PHNOM PENH, -- For the eighth consecutive year, Cambodia’s defence spending is set to grow in 2016 after ruling party lawmakers yesterday approved the year’s budget.

The Ministry of National Defence will get some $382 million, a 17.3 per cent rise on this year’s defense expenditure.

According to the Australian Defence Force’s Defence Economic Trends 2015 report, the Kingdom’s military budget increased yearly from just $100 million in 2008 to about $277 million in 2014.

Jon Grevatt, Asia-Pacific industry reporter for defence analyst IHS Jane’s, said much of the allocated budget would go to personnel costs for the armed forces, often criticised for a lack of transparency in how it spends its cash.

“This would include pensions, if indeed pensions are included in the defence budget, military salaries and operations,” Grevatt said. “I can’t see how in a $382 million budget there could be any money for anything other than the most basic procurement requirements i.e. ammunition and perhaps some firearms.”

“But that doesn’t matter, and the reason why is the Cambodian military is able to secure loans from China to be able to support military procurement.”

Grevatt also noted RCAF’s increased focus on maintaining old equipment, which he said was part of efforts to ensure military capability at its borders.

The Cambodia Army receives at least six 37 mm anti-aircraft guns from China.

FA-50PHs Need to be Equipped with Air-to-Air Missiles Soon

11:28:00 PM Add Comment
MANILA, -- To further enhance its capability, the brand-new South Korean-made FA-50PHs must be equipped with modern air-to-air missiles at the soonest possible time.

This was disclosed by Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson Col. Enrico Canaya who said the Korea 
Aerospace Industries (KAI) made jet planes must be armed with at least heat-seeking missiles to be effective in its proposed interception role.

"(Aside from 20mm cannons), the FA-50PHs must be armed with at least heat-seeking missiles," he said in Filipino.

As of this posting, President Benigno S. Aquino III has approved Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin's request to enter into a "Multi-Year Contract" for seven acquisition projects which include munitions for the FA-50PHs.

"PNoy (President Aquino) has approved the request of DND for SND to be authorized to enter into Multi-Year-Contract. The approval will pave the way for the acquisition of two frigates for the Philippine Navy; anti-submarine helicopters and amphibious assault vehicle for PN; long-range patrol aircraft, close-air support aircraft, munitions for FA-50 and air surveillance for the Philippine Air Force," Department of National Defense undersecretary for finance, munitions, materiel and modernization Fernando Manalo earlier said.

Payment from the seven projects will run from 2015 to 2018.

Granting of the MYC will allow to pursue the military modernization program beyond Aquino's term.

Total value of the seven projects is about Php44 billion.

The two KAI FA-50PH, with tail nr 001 and 002, of the Philippine Air Force were delivered November 28, 2015 at Clark Air Base, Pampanga.