PAF to acquire communication systems for transport fleet

12:19:00 AM Add Comment
MANILA,  -- The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is allocating the sum of PhP4,340,000 for the acquisition of communication systems which will be fitted to its C-130, F-27 and N-22 transport aircraft.

Pre-bid conference is scheduled for Sept. 3 at 9 a.m. at the PAF Procurement Center Conference Room, Villamor Air Base, Pasay City, while submission and opening of bids is on Sept. 17, the same time and venue.

PAF said the pre-bidding conference shall be open to all interested parties who have purchased the bidding documents.

The PAF has three C-130s, three F-27s and three N-22s in its service.

The Philippine Air Force Fokker F27 Friendship and Lockheed C-130 Hercules Heavy Lifters of the 220th Airlift Wing.

Vietnam Looking to Buy 14 Fast Patrol Boats From India

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HANOI, -- Vietnam is interested in buying 14 fast patrol boats for an approximate US $212 million from Indian Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE).

“Tomorrow a Vietnamese delegation is coming to see our facility and to discuss on procuring about 14 fast patrol boats for coastal surveillance,” GRSE chairman and managing director Admiral A K Verma said today at MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry during an interactive session with the Ambassador of Vietnam.

Verma said tentative cost for the boats could be in the range of $15 million each.

GRSE officials said the Vietnamese delegation had also visited the L&T and Pipavav shipyards, but it was not clear whether it was for the procurement of patrol boats.

GRSE has already produced 18 similar fast patrol boats for the coast guard in the past.

“We have the design, knowhow and capability to produce. We have done in the past and are very hopeful to get this export order,” Verma said.

The contract was expected to be finalized by the year end and if it sailed through, then it would be the second export order for GRSE after an offshore class vessel worth $54 million order for Mauritius.

The Car Nicobar class of high-speed offshore patrol vessels are built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) for the Indian Navy.

Malaysia Sign the Contract Procurement of 20 AV-4 First Win 4x4

11:10:00 PM 1 Comment
KUALA LUMPUR, -- Force Soldiers Malaysia has signed a contract with Chaiseri and Deftech for the initial order of 20 vehicles AV-4 First Win 4x4.

Speaking at the event the Naval Research Day 2015 will take place at Navy Hall, Managing Director Chaiseri Metal & Rubber Co. Ltd., Mr. Hiran Koolhiran has confirmed to that Malaysia has signed a contract to procure 20 armored vehicles First Win 4x4. Orders the first phase of the vehicle which in Malaysia is named AV-4 will be manufactured with the company Deftech of Malaysia.

"Six of the first vehicle to be produced in the province Phatum Thani and will be delivered to the Military Forces of Malaysia in the first quarter of 2016", he added.

To prove that the car's performance in real operating conditions of the delivery will be done by road from the factory in Pathum Thani to Malaysia.

Needs of armored vehicles for the Malaysian army of about 200 units, First Win 4x4 has passed the test of actual practice in Malaysia last year. In particular, the partnership with a Malaysian company Deftech will cause both sides to exchange expertise in the field of technology.

First Win 4x4 has operated in Thailand by 25 units by the Justice Department and the Royal Thai Army. Currently the company is actively engaged in global marketing and has received a number of customer perspectives, especially from the countries of the Middle East.

NOTE: News information was translated via Google.

The Thailand-made Chaiseri First Win 4x4 Multi-purpose armour vehicle. Chaiseri is collaborating with Malaysian DRB-Hicom Defence Technologies (Deftech) on promoting the First Win as a replacement for the Malaysian Army's aging Rheinmetall Condor.

Japan Named and Launched its 2nd Izumo Class Helicopter Destroyer DDH-184 "Kaga"

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TOKYO, -- Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) launched its second Izumo-class Helicopter Destroyer. The vessel was officially name "Kaga" (hull number DDH-184) during the ceremony at the JMU Japan Marine United Corporation shipyard in Yokohama Isogo.

Kaga was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the third to enter service, named after the former Kaga Province in present-day Ishikawa Prefecture.

Izumo class Helicopter Destroyers have 5 helicopter spots and accomodation for 14 in hangar (a typical "air wing" would consist in 7 SH-60J or SH-60K ASW Helicopters, 2 UH-60J SAR Helicopters, 2 MCH-101 minesweeping helicopters and 2 CH-47J).

First of class DDH138 Izumo was commissioned on 25 March 2015 in Yokosuka naval base. Izumo is the flagship of the JMSDF fleet and is the largest warship built by Japan since World War II. The 248-meter-long and 19,500-ton helicopter carrier was unveiled for the first time in August 2013 in Yokohama.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, the helicopter carrier is expected to play a key role both in defense of territorial sovereignty, in rescue missions, and in case of natural disasters.

DDH-184 "Kaga", the second Izumo class Helicopter Destroyer during the namming and launching ceremony on August 27 2015.


France Russia Mistral Ships Update: Malaysia To Buy Aircraft Carrier?

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KUALA LUMPUR, -- The French defense minister is in talks with Malaysia to sell the Southeast Asian nation one of the Mistral warship aircraft carriers that was initially intended for Russia, a source close to the talks told Reuters Tuesday. Several countries, especially in emerging nations in Southeast Asia and South America, have been interested in the purchase of the ships, with reports confirming that one of the ships would be sold to Malaysia.

Defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was set to travel Sunday to Malaysia, reportedly to discuss the sale of one of the warships. Le Drian would also travel to India on the same trip to discuss selling rafale fighter jets to the country.

The two Mistrals were originally built for Russia in a deal made by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2011. Set to be delivered in 2014 and 2016, the ships would have marked the first arms deal between a Western nation and Russia. President Francois Hollande canceled the deal in 2014, following Russia's continuing involvement in Ukraine, annexing the Crimean peninsula and reportedly arming pro-Russian separatists.

Since the cancelation of the deal, the two ships have been sitting in French waters, costing French taxpayers nearly $60 billion in upkeep. France agreed to pay Russia approximately $1.3 billion for the cancelation to cover losses incurred on the Russian side for the training of sailors. Other reports have put the cancelation payment closer to $2.2 billion.

France has been looking for potential buyers since the failed deal, and so far at least 12 nations have expressed interest in the purchase of a Mistral, including Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, India, Malaysia, and Singapore. Malaysia has been interested in buying an aircraft carrier similar to a Mistral for at least 10 years, according the French newspaper La Tribune.

The Russian Mistral ship Vladivostok under construction on April 22, 2014.

Boeing Ready to Meet Offset Scheme In Chinook Helicopter Procurement

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JAKARTA, -- Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu receives Regional Director of South East Asia Boeing Young Tae Pak, Tuesday (25/8) at the Ministry of Defence, Jakarta , The meeting is to discuss the continuation of the procurement plan for Chinook.

On the occasion, the Regional Director of South East Asia Boeing said that in the procurement of Chinook later, the Boeing stands ready to provide and meet the requirements of offset scheme desired Indonesia.

To discuss in more detail how the mechanism offset scheme is , so this time the Boeing has sent a team to the PT. DI in Bandung. Regional Director South East Asia Boeing also delivered ready to assist fully to smooth the procurement process and will provide the best price for Indonesia.

As we know, that the Ministry of Defense plans to buy four Chinook helicopters to strengthen Alutsista in the ranks of the army. This purchase tailored to the real threats facing Indonesia, especially the problem of natural disaster management.

Chinook is one type of helicopter that has an edge multifunctional. Besides being able to transport military personnel in large quantities, this helicopter was also able to transport logistics in large quantities.

In addition, this helicopter is designed to be able to carry (sling) fighter aircraft, warships, combat vehicles (combat vehicle), to the lightweight class battle tanks. Not only that, the ability of large haulage, helicopters are widely deployed to support national needs, such as a natural disaster evacuation and search and rescue activities.  

NOTE: News information was translated via Google.

The US Army Boeing CH-47F Chinook inflight.

Singapore and Indonesia Co-Host Multilateral Exercise for 16 Navies

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SINGAPORE / JAKARTA, -- The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) are co-hosting the 6th Western Pacific Mine Countermeasure Exercise (WP MCMEX) from 25 to 31 August 2015. The Singapore's Chief of Navy, Rear-Admiral (RADM) Lai Chung Han, officiated at the opening ceremony of the exercise at the Changi Command and Control Centre this morning.

More than 800 personnel, 13 ships and five underwater vehicle teams from 16 countries are participating in this year's exercise. The exercise includes professional exchanges, and will culminate in a five-day mine-hunting and mine-sweeping sea phase in the Singapore Strait and the waters off the Indonesian island of Pulau Bintan.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, RADM Lai highlighted the importance of multilateral cooperation in maintaining the freedom of navigation in the sea lines of communication, and the need to remain vigilant and ready to respond to a myriad of threats. RADM Lai said, "As navies, we not only need to be on top of today's challenges - and we have many - we also need to be in time for the future...the activities carried out in the 6th WP MCMEX will build capacity and strengthen interoperability between exercise participants. Beyond delivering professional benefits, multilateral exercises such as this are useful platforms for forging friendships and strengthening mutual understanding."

The WP MCMEX is conducted under the ambit of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), which promotes mutual understanding, friendship, professionalism and interoperability among the personnel of the participating navies. The participation of the WPNS countries in the exercise reflects their strong commitment to multilateral cooperation and the promotion of regional security. The co-hosting of the exercise by the RSN and the TNI AL also reflects the close and long-standing cooperation between the two navies.

Some of the participating ships from the 6th WP MCMEX berthed at Changi Naval Base.

Russia's New MiG-35 May Replace Aging Vietnam's Fighter Jets

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MOSCOW / HANOI, -- Russia may sell new MiG-35 fighter jets to Vietnam as a replacement for its aging fighter jets, as Southeast Asian countries are expressing growing interest in the planes.

Russia's MiG-35 multirole fighter jets may be coming to Vietnam, where the useful life of the country's third-generation MiG-21 fighter jets is coming to an end, the head of MiG aircraft manufacturer Sergei Korotkov told RIA Novosti.

The MiG-35 is a new multirole fighter roomates includes fifth-generation information and sighting systems. According to Korotkov, Southeast Asia is an "interesting region" for the aircraft manufacturer when it comes to prospective sales.

"According to our evaluation, there are definite prospects for MiG-35s in Vietnam, where the expected life of the MiG-21 fighter jets is coming to an end, "Korotkov told RIA Novosti.

Korotkov added that interest in MiG-35 planes is growing in India, in part Because the French Rafale fighter jet shipments are limited. The purchase of MiG-35s to replace India's aging fighter jet fleet is being Discussed in India's professional circles, According to Korotkov.

"Unlike the 'classic' MiG-29, from the which the MiG-35 inherited its aerodynamic concepts, the new machine is multirole. It can employ high-precision weaponry on any targets, air, ground or sea. It can even perform some functions roomates were Earlier entrusted to reconnaissance planes, "Korotkov added.

MiG is currently modernizing India's MiG-29 planes in collaboration with the local aerospace industry to the MiG-29UPG standard under a $ 1.2 billion contract in 2010. IS ALSO supplying MiG MiG-29K carrier-based fighter jets to the country.

The Mikoyan MiG-35 Multirole fighter and Air superiority fighter. It is classified as a 4++ generation jet fighter by Mikoyan.

Thailand Receives Four EC725 Helos

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BANGKOK, -- The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has received into service four Airbus Helicopters EC725 utility helicopters it ordered in 2012, the company Announced on 25 August.

The medium-lift helicopters will be used for search-and-rescue and troop transport duties from September. The helicopters will be fielded by the 203 Helicopter Squadron based at Lop Buri in central Thailand.

Once operational, Reviews These helicopters will enable the RTAF to begin the retirement process for the 18 Bell UH-1H 'Huey' helicopters that have been in service since 1968 .

With delivery of the first batch of four EC725 helicopters now complete, the RTAF will receive next year a further two that were ordered in 2014.

While Airbus Helicopters has now redesignated the EC725 as the H225M as part of a portfolio-wide renaming process, Reviews those helicopters that have been delivered to the RTAF retain Reviews their former identifier as they were contracted before the new naming process was Introduced.

The RTAF's current rotary-winged fleet now comprises four H225Ms; 18 UH-1Hs; two Bell 412S; two 412SPs; one 412HP; seven 412EPs; and three Sikorsky S-92 Super Hawks.

The Royal Thai Army has seven Bell AH-1F Cobra; six Boeing CH-47D Chinook; three Mil Mi-17V5 'Hip'; four Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk; 60 UH-1H; 48 Agusta-Bell 212; 10 Bell 206B; and 40 TH-300C Sikorsky helicopters in its inventory.

The Royal Thai Navy fields two Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawks; three UH-1Hs; four 214STs; two AgustaWestland Super Lynxes; six Sikorsky S-70B Seahawks; four AB212s; and four Sikorsky S-76Bs.

The Royal Thai Air Force EC725 (H225M) Medium-Lift, Search and Rescue Helicopter.

‪Indonesian‬ ‪Navy‬ AS-565 ‪Panther‬ anti-submarine ‪‎helicopters‬ to be delivered next year

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JAKARTA, -- A total of 10 anti-submarine warfare helicopters ordered by the Ministry of Defense to strengthen the Indonesian Armed Forces is currently in production. The helicopters are expected to be delivered in 2016.

"Currently in production. Next year we can expect it to arrive, but in phases" says Secretary General of the Ministry of Defense, Lt. General Ediwan Prabowo, Ahad (23/8).

The Navy had already proposed the procurement of the helicopters. The helicopters will be built in France by Airbus Helicopter with the assistance of Indonesian Aerospace.

The helicopters will be put on board Indonesian Navy warships that has a combat role, the helicopters will be the second pair of eyes and ears for the ships. They will also be equipped with sonars to detect submarines.

The Indonesian Navy AS-365 Dauphin helicopter.


Airbus begins work on Tiger Mk3 attack helicopter

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PARIS, -- Airbus Helicopters is working on a new version of its Tiger attack helicopter, dubbed the Tiger Mk3.

The work is being conducted under an 'architecture study' commissioned by the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) on 31 July.

According to OCCAR the study aims "to define the so-called 'Tiger Mk3' - the future configurations materialising the mid-life upgrade (MLU)" to the helicopter.

The first stage will look at potential new features and enhancements to the helicopter, to improve areas such as survivability, maintainability, or operability, with "a strong focus on life cycle cost" according to OCCAR. The Tiger has been deployed on operations constantly since it made its combat debut in Afghanistan in 2009, and French Tigers have also seen service in Libya and Mali, with OCCAR noting that the Tiger Mk3 study will incorporate lessons learned during these deployments.

OCCAR states the study will allow the Tiger-operating nations (Australia, France, Germany and Spain) "to choose which combinations of equipment, functions, performances and architectures should be selected for the future development phase" of the Tiger helicopter, noting that this is planned to be "delivered within the next decade".

According to OCCAR, the requirements for the Tiger Mk3 have already been "developed and harmonised commonly" between the OCCAR nations and Australia "to maximise the cost-effectiveness of the MLU programme". The organisation adds that "furthermore, France, Germany, Spain and OCCAR are working together with Australia to establish a common cooperative framework to be used for the future preparation and development of Mk3".

The French Army Light Aviation  Airbus Helicopters Tiger HAD (Hélicoptère d'Appui Destruction) twin-engine attack helicopter.

Russia to supply Bangladesh with seven Mil Mi-171 multirole helicopters

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DHAKA, -- Russia will supply six Mil Mi-171Sh military and transport helicopters and one Mi-171E rotocraft to Bangladesh under a contract signed in April this year, Russian state arms seller Rosoboronexport First Deputy CEO Ivan Goncharenko said on Monday August 24, 2015.

"A contract was signed in April 2015 on the delivery of six Mi-171Sh military and transport helicopters, and also one Mi-171E transport helicopter in its Salon option," Goncharenko said ahead of the MAKS-2015 air show opening outside Moscow.
It was previously reported that Russia and Bangladesh had agreed in April 2015 on the delivery of five Mi-171Sh helicopters. Rosoboronexport said Russia would provide Bangladesh a $1 billion loan for the purchase of Russian helicopters.

Rosoboronexport said in June 2015 the deliveries of new helicopters were under way.

The Mi-171E is a varient equipped with VK-2500-03 engines to operate in extreme temperature limits, from -58 to 50 Celsius. The Mi-171Sh is the export version of the Ulan-Udes Mi-8AMTSh. It Is an armed assault version of the Mi-8AMT that can carry the same range of weapons as the Mi-24 including the "Shturm" ATGM. The Mi-171Sh is fitted with a new large door on the right side (except the prototype), aramid fiber plates around the cockpit area and engines, and sometimes a loading ramp in place of the usual clamshell doors.

Bangladesh Air Force aircraft inventory already includes Russia-made aircraft: 27 Mi-17/Mi-171 multirole choppers, and 8 MiG-29 Fulcrum multirole fighter jets. The country's air force also ordered a total of 16 Yakovlev Yak-130 light attack and trainer aircraft.

The Bangladesh Air Force Mil Mi-17 Hip multirole helicopter.

Philippines, Malaysia to hold naval drills

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MANILA / KUALA LUMPUR, -- The navies of the Philippines and Malaysia will conduct a joint training exercise from Aug. 24-28, Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM), which will host the maritime training activity said Saturday.

According to a press advisory, MTA MALPHI LAUT 18/15, which will be held in the NFWM's area of responsibility "will focus on maritime security and transnational crime."

The annual exercises, which are hosted alternately by the Philippines and Malaysia, is meant to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the two navies.

This year's training exercise, which will be opened formally at a ceremony at Naval Station Romulo Espaldon in Zamboanga City on Monday morning, is the 18th since the countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation in 1994.

The Maritime Training Activity (MTA) MALPHI LAUT Exercises 2007.

S. Korea slams North over submarine, artillery deployments

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SEOUL, – North Korea has mobilized dozens of submarines and doubled its artillery units along the border, South Korea said Sunday, accusing Pyongyang of undermining top-level talks aimed at averting a military confrontation.

A defense ministry spokesman said 70 percent of the North’s total submarine fleet — or around 50 vessels — had left their bases and disappeared from Seoul’s military radar.

The movement of such a large number of submarines was “unprecedented,” the spokesman said, adding that Seoul and Washington were beefing up their military surveillance in response.

The North has also doubled the number of artillery units along the heavily-fortified land border with the South, he said.

The move came as top officials from both Koreas resumed a talks aimed at easing military tensions after a marathon negotiating session the night before ended without final agreement.

“The North is adopting a two-faced stance with the talks going on,” said the spokesman.

Yonhap news agency, citing military officials, said the submarine deployment was the largest since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

“The number is nearly 10 times the normal level … and it is a very serious situation,” it quotes one unnamed official as saying.

Tension flared on the Korean peninsula after Seoul accused Pyongyang of planting landmines across the border that earlier this month maimed two South Korean soldiers.

Pyongyang denied involvement but Seoul retaliated by resuming loudspeaker propaganda broadcast hated by the North along the border on August 10.

The North’s leader Kim Jong-Un last week ordered his military to move to a war-footing after an exchange of artillery fire on Thursday that claimed no casualties but further escalated tension.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 16, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (left in black) inspecting the submarine No. 748 of Korean People's Army (KPA) naval unit 167 led 7th regiment at an undisclosed location in North Korea.

Air Force says attack helicopters to be delivered by year's end

8:51:00 AM Add Comment
MANILA, – Philippine Air Force (PAF) official said “power” attack helicopters will be delivered and completed before the end of this year.

“We expect six more attack helicopters that will come before the year ends,” PAF commander Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado said in a state news.

The PAF said it formally commissioned its first two attack AugustaWestland AW-109E “Power” attack helicopters last August 17 but all six units will be delivered within the year.

Delgado is confident that the remaining aircraft will be mission-capable before the last quarter of 2015.

In 2013, the Philippine government signed an eight-unit  AW-109E order with Augusta Westland worth P3.44 billion.

The AW-109E was procured since it has established itself as the world’s best selling light-twin helicopter for maritime missions.

With the helicopter’s speed, capacity and productivity combine with reliability and ease of maintenance, it has become the most cost effective maritime helicopter in its class.

This aircraft is a three-ton class, eight-seat helicopter powered by two Pratt and Whitney PW206C engines with safety features such as fully separated fuel system, dual hydraulic boost system, dual electrical systems and redundant lubrication and cooling systems for the main transmission and engines.

Aside from its maritime mission-capability, the aircraft has reinforced-wheeled landing gear and deck mooring points and extensive corrosion measures for shipboard operations.

The United States government is also supporting the Philippine military modernization through its military funding.  US said there will be two more C-130s to be delivered in the first quarter 2016 that will be used to aid the Philippines army in its missions.

The Philippine Air Force  two AW-109E light attack helicopters first flight into Danilo Atienza Air Base at Sangley Pt, Cavite after the formal acceptance ceremony held at Villamor Air Base last August 17, 2015.

CARAT Malaysia 2015 Comes to a Close in Sandakan

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SANDAKAN, -- The 21st annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and Malaysian Armed Forces drew to a close during a ceremony held in Sandakan, Aug 21.

During CARAT Malaysia 2015, U.S and Malaysian forces conducted a series of shore-based and at sea training events designed to address shared maritime security concerns, develop relationships and enhance interoperability.

Some of those shore-based events included marksmanship and jungle training between U.S. Marines and soldiers from the Malaysian army, small boat riverine operations, and building a gazebo at a local school thanks to the joint efforts of Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 and the Malaysia Royal Engineer Regiment.

At sea, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) and the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) spent three days conducting combined maneuvers, live gun shoots, visit, board, search and seizure evolutions, small craft attack drills and other events with the Royal Malaysian Navy vessels KD Jebat and KD Kedah.

While USS Freedom (LCS 1) participated in CARAT Malaysia 2013, this year was the first opportunity for Fort Worth to participate. Fort Worth's presence added to the complexity of CARAT 2015 and afforded the opportunity for the Royal Malaysian Navy's Super Lynx helicopter to complete four deck landings, marking the first time a Malaysian helicopter has landed on Fort Worth.

"The complex and realistic training events conducted during CARAT 2015 will go a long way toward further increasing interoperability," said Capt. H.B. Le, commodore Destroyer Squadron 7. "That continued development is critical and will prove to be very beneficial when working together during any future regional contingencies."

After more than two decades of annual CARAT training engagements between the U.S. and Malaysian Armed Forces, the exercise remains a model for cooperation that has evolved in complexity and enables both nations to refine maritime operations and tactics.

The capstone exercise of CARAT Malaysia combined sea and shore-based forces in a pair of simulated amphibious landings on Tanduo Beach over a two-day period. U.S. units involved more than 300 Marines from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (III MEB), nine amphibious assault vehicles and three aircraft, the Germantown and Fort Worth.

During his closing remarks, Capt. Le noted how the strong bond between U.S. and Malaysian forces extends beyond CARAT exercises.

"CARAT 2015 was a great stepping stone in our relationship with the Malaysian Armed Forces," he said. "We look forward to participating with their armed forces again during the Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise, the premier multilateral exercise in Southeast Asia focusing on regional cooperation to address shared maritime security challenges."

Commander, Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron 7 staff conduct advanced planning, organize resources and directly support the execution of maritime exercises such as the bilateral CARAT series, the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam, and the multilateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Ships from the Royal Malaysian Navy and the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) assemble in formation as part of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Malaysia 2015.

Gov't to Continue Despite Upgrades of Navy Ships Bid Failure

9:28:00 PM Add Comment
MANILA, -- The Department of National Defense (DND) is still planning to continue with the upgrades of three of its military vessels despite the failed bidding of the contract Earlier this year.

During a meeting of the DND Bids and Awards Committee on Thursday, a technical working group from the Philippine Navy presented the intended upgrades for the BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35), BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36) and BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS-37).

Upgrades include the replacement of The barrels of the ships' three 75-millimeter guns and two 25-millimeter guns. The ships' radar, control and surveillance systems will Also be modernized if the project pushes through.

Discussions on the project's technical specification will continue before the committee will be Able to rebid the contract again, DND Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Assistant Secretary Ernesto D. Boac told BusinessWorld.

Budget for the three vessels' upgrade contract is currently set at around P854.6 million. The figure, the which could still change Depending on the discussions by the BAC and the Philippine Navy technical working group, will be sourced from the 2014 national budget and the funding for the military's modernization program.

Last March, the bidding for the project was scrapped after The BAC declared a failure of bidding due to the non-submission of bids by the nine companies that bought the bid documents for the project.

The Philippine Navy BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36) Jacinto class patrol corvette at Balikatan 2010 exercises.

Taiwan and the Prospects for War Between China and America

6:34:00 PM Add Comment
For the United States and its allies and partners in Asia, China’s aggressive efforts to assert questionable claims in the South and East China Sea, enforce a disputed Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ),  build the rocket/missile and naval capabilities needed to invade Taiwan, and build a substantial ballistic missile capability all work to create a situation where conflict between the U.S. and the PRC could occur and rapidly escalate. Given that American political and military leaders have a poor understanding of Chinese ambitions and particularly their opaque nuclear thinking, there is ample reason to be concerned that a future conflict could escalate to a limited nuclear conflict.

Thus, it is worth taking a look at the PRC with an eye toward offering insight into Chinese motivation and thinking when it comes to how a possible crisis over Taiwan could escalate to the use of nuclear weapons.

Chinese Capabilities

In their latest estimate, Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris assess that the Second Artillery Corps possesses forty long-range nuclear missiles that can strike the United States if fired from China’s eastern seaboard and an additional twenty that could hit Hawaii and Alaska. The challenge for China, is reaching the East Coast – home to the nation’s capital and largest economic centers.

To overcome this challenge China is also developing its JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) which is a sea-based variant of the DF-31 land-mobile long-range missile that will go to sea on Jin-class submarines. China may also be developing a new mobile missile, the DF-41, which will carry multiple warheads, giving the Chinese a way to potentially defeat an American ballistic missile defense system. It is worth noting that the quantity, though not the quality, of China’s nuclear arsenal is only limited by its dwindling stock of weapons grade plutonium.

This raises the question; to what end is China developing and deploying its nuclear arsenal?

Chinese Motivation

The textbook answer is straightforward. China seeks a secure second (retaliatory) strike capability that will serve to deter an American first strike. As China argues, it has a “no-nuclear-first policy” which makes its arsenal purely defensive – while its other capabilities such as cyber are offensive.

Potential nuclear adversaries including Russia, India, and the United States are fully aware that China’s investment in advanced warheads and ballistic missile delivery systems bring Delhi, Moscow, and, soon, Washington within reach of the “East Wind.” While not a nuclear peer competitor to either Russia or the U.S., China is rapidly catching up as it builds an estimated 30-50 new nuclear warheads each year.

While American leaders may find such a sentiment unfounded, the PRC has a strong fear that the United States will use its nuclear arsenal as a tool to blackmail (coerce) China into taking or not taking a number of actions that are against its interests. China’s fears are not unfounded. Unlike China, the United States maintains an ambiguous use-policy in order to provide maximum flexibility.

As declassified government documents from the 1970s clearly show, the United States certainly planned to use overwhelming nuclear force early in a European conflict with the Soviet Union. Given American nuclear superiority and its positioning of ballistic missile defenses in Asia, ostensibly to defend against a North Korean attack, China sees its position and ability to deter the United States as vulnerable.

Possible Scenario

While there are several scenarios where conflict between the United States and China is possible, some analysts believe that a conflict over Taiwan remains the most likely place where the PRC and the U.S. would come to blows. Beijing is aware that any coercive action on its part to force Taiwan to accept its political domination could incur the wrath of the United States. To prevent the U.S. from intervening in the region, China will certainly turn to its anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) strategy, beginning with non-lethal means and non-lethal threats to discourage the American public from supporting the use of force in support of Taiwan.

If thwarted in its initial efforts to stop Chinese aggression against Taiwan, the United States may be tempted to resort to stronger measures and attack mainland China. A kinetic response to a cyber-attack, for example, although an option, would very likely lead to escalation on the part of the Chinese. Given the regime’s relative weakness and the probability that American attacks (cyber and conventional) on China will include strikes against PLA command and control (C2) nodes, which mingle conventional and nuclear C2, the Chinese may escalate to the use of a nuclear weapon (against a U.S. carrier in China’s self-declared waters for example) as a means of forcing de-escalation.

In the view of China, such a strike would not be a violation of its no-first-use policy because the strike would occur in sovereign Chinese waters, thus making the use of nuclear weapons a defensive act. Since Taiwan is a domestic matter, any U.S. intervention would be viewed as an act of aggression. This, in the minds of the Chinese, makes the United States an outside aggressor, not China.

It is also important to remember that nuclear weapons are an asymmetric response to American conventional superiority. Given that China is incapable of executing and sustaining a conventional military campaign against the continental United States, China would clearly have an asymmetry of interest and capability with the United States – far more is at stake for China than it is for the United States.

In essence, the only effective option in retaliation for a successful U.S. conventional campaign on Chinese soil is the nuclear one. Without making too crude a point, the nuclear option provides more bang for the buck, or yuan. Given that mutually assured destruction (MAD) is not part of China’s strategic thinking – in fact it is explicitly rejected – the PRC will see the situation very differently than the United States.

China likely has no desire to become a nuclear peer of the United States. It does not need to be in order to achieve its geopolitical objectives. However, China does have specific goals that are a part of its stated core security interests, including reunification with Taiwan. Reunification is necessary for China to reach its unstated goal of becoming a regional hegemon. As long as Taiwan maintains its de facto independence of China it acts as a literal and symbolic barrier to China’s power projection beyond the East China Sea. Without Taiwan, China cannot gain military hegemony in its own neighborhood.

China’s maritime land reclamation strategy for Southeast Asia pales in scope and significance with the historical and political value of Taiwan. With Taiwan returned to its rightful place, the relevance to China of the U.S. military presence in Japan and South Korea is greatly diminished. China’s relationship with the Philippines, which lies just to the south of Taiwan, would also change dramatically.

Although China criticizes the United States for playing the role of global hegemon, it is actively seeking to supplant the United States in Asia so that it can play a similar role in the region. While Beijing may take a longer view toward geopolitical issues than Washington does, Chinese political leaders must still be responsive to a domestic audience that demands ever higher levels of prosperity.

Central to China’s ability to guarantee that prosperity is the return of Taiwan, and control of the sea lines of commerce and communication upon which it relies. Unfortunately, too many Americans underestimate the importance of these core interests to China and the lengths to which China will ultimately go in order to guarantee them – even the use of nuclear weapons.

Should China succeed it pushing the United States back, the PRC can deal with regional territorial disputes bilaterally and without U.S. involvement. After all, Washington invariably takes the non-Chinese side.

China sees the U.S. as a direct competitor and obstacle to its geopolitical ambitions. As such it is preparing for the next step in a crisis that it will likely instigate, control, and conclude in the Taiwan Straits. China will likely use the election or statement of a pro-independence high-ranking official as the impetus for action. This is the same method it used when it fired missiles in the Straits in response to remarks by then-President Lee Teng-hui, ushering in the 1996 Taiwan Straits Crisis. The U.S. brought an end to the mainland’s antics when the U.S.S Nimitz and six additional ships sailed into the Straits.

Despite the pro-China presidency of Ma Ying-jeou, China continues to expand its missile force targeting Taiwan and undertakes annual war games that simulate an attack on Taiwan.

China has not forgotten the humiliation it faced in 1996 and will be certain no U.S. carrier groups have access to the Strait during the next crisis. The Second Artillery Corps’ nuclear capabilities exist to help secure the results China seeks when the U.S. is caught off-guard, overwhelmed, and forced to either escalate a crisis or capitulate.

While the scenario described is certainly not inevitable, the fact than many American readers will see it as implausible if not impossible is an example of the mirror-imaging that often occurs when attempting to understand an adversary. China is not the United States nor do Chinese leaders think like their counterparts in the United States. Unless we give serious thought to possible scenarios where nuclear conflict could occur, the United States may be unprepared for a situation that escalates beyond its ability to prevent a catastrophe.

Dr. Adam Lowther is Director, School of Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies, Air Force Global Strike Command. Alex Littlefield is a professor at Feng Chia University.


Pentagon Denounces 'Excessive Maritime Claims' in the South China Sea

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A new report from the U.S. Department of Defense, entitled “The Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy,” provides the clearest look to-date at the U.S. military’s view of the maritime situation in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly the maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

The report includes a detailed section on land reclamation in the South China Sea. While it references earlier efforts by the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan, the bulk of the analysis focuses on China’s recent activities. The Pentagon reports that from December 2013 to June 2015, China “reclaimed more than 2,900 acres of land… accounting for approximately 95 percent of all reclaimed land in the Spratlys.” That’s up nearly 50 percent over a previous Pentagon estimate in May, which said China has reclaimed about 2,000 acres.

The Wall Street Journal cites a Chinese embassy spokesperson who said that China stopped reclamation in June. Construction on the reclaimed land, however, continues. The Pentagon notes the potential impact once construction is finished:

[China’s] latest land reclamation and construction will also allow it to berth deeper draft ships at outposts; expand its law enforcement and naval presence farther south into the South China Sea; and potentially operate aircraft – possibly as a divert airstrip for carrier-based aircraft – that could enable China to conduct sustained operations with aircraft carriers in the area.

While the report takes a close look at China’s land reclamation activities, Beijing isn’t the only regional government singled out for acting against the spirit of international law. The report notes “excessive maritime claims” on the parts of Malaysia, Vietnam, China, and potentially even Taiwan. While U.S. concerns about risks to freedom of navigation are generally read as criticisms of China’s actions, Malaysia and Vietnam also come under fire in the report: “Malaysia attempts to restrict foreign military activities within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and Vietnam attempts to require notification by foreign warships prior to exercising the right of innocent passage through its territorial sea.”

China, too, would like to restrict or entirely prevent foreign militaries from operating within its EEZ. That, the report warns, could set a dangerous precedent:

Added together, EEZs in the USPACOM [U.S. Pacific Command] region constitute 38 percent of the world’s oceans. If these excessive maritime claims were left unchallenged, they could restrict the ability of the United States and other countries to conduct routine military operations or exercises in more than one-third of the world’ oceans.

China’s attempts to enforce its interpretation of military restrictions within its EEZ have led to what the report calls “unsafe and unprofessional behavior” by Chinese maritime assets in the region, targeting U.S. military aircraft and vessels. However, the report also notes that “since August 2014, U.S.-China military diplomacy has yielded positive results, including a reduction in unsafe intercepts.”

Media reports indicate that the Pentagon would like to see the U.S. take a stronger stance on freedom of navigation – particularly to prove the point that the United States does not recognize any territorial waters around reclaimed features that were previously submerged.

Though China is only one of several South China Sea claimants whose interpretation of freedom of navigation conflicts with the Pentagon’s, it is clear why Washington is most concerned with Beijing. China’s maritime capabilities (and thus its ability to enforce restrictions on maritime activity in regions it claims) far outstrips other claimants. “China is modernizing every aspect of its maritime-related military and law enforcement capabilities, including its naval surface fleet, submarines, aircraft, missiles, radar capabilities, and coast guard,” the report says. “[…]The PLAN now possess the largest number of vessels in Asia, with more than 300 surface ships, submarines, amphibious ships, and patrol craft.”

China’s maritime law enforcement fleet is also “larger than that of all the other claimants combined” and is likely to grow still further, by 25 percent. These “white hulls” are increasingly a key part of the territorial tug-of-war in disputed areas; the report lists the “expanded use of non-military assets to coerce rivals” first in its section on “maritime challenges.”


This is the South Korean military exercise that made North Korea promise to launch a ‘sacred war’

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South Korea - South Korea and the US are holding a scheduled large-scale military drill amid heightened tensions in the divided Korean peninsula. On August 4, alleged North Korean mines seriously wounded two South Korean border guards. And on August 20, the Koreas exchanged artillery fire along their de-militarized zone, although no one was reported injured.

Today, North Korea has ordered its front-line troops onto a war footing in a drastic raise in tensions.

This drastic increase in tensions is underlying this year’s annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), which runs from August 17 to 28 and involves 30,000 US troops alongside 50,000 of their South Korean counterparts. According to a statement from the Combined Forces Command (CFC) in South Korea, the exercise is “a routine and defense-oriented exercise designed to enhance CFC readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula.”

UFG features a number of exercises meant to improve response to fires, potential terrorist attacks, and the use of chemical or biological weapons in major South Korean cities.

North Korea sees the excercise as a veiled threat of war. The Kim regime has vowed to respond with the “strongest military counteraction” if it the operation is not canceled. In 2012, Kim Jong Un insisted that his troops be ready to engage in a “sacred war” in response to that year’s UFG.

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South China Sea situation very serious – US

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WASHINGTON – US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the Chinese have created a “very serious situation” in the South China Sea and must stop any further militarization, not just temporarily but permanently.

Carter called on all countries with claims to disputed territories in the sea to cease and desist from creating artificial islands to help dial down the tension in the region.

At a Pentagon news briefing on Thursday, Carter called on all countries concerned to “stop dredging, stop any further militarization, not just stop temporarily, but stop permanently.”

He said other countries are involved in construction activities on land features that they claim “but China is by far and away the one that has done the most especially in the last year…”

Asked how the US military should deal with the existence of Chinese artificial islands in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea, he reiterated the United States would continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law permits.

Carter said China’s behavior was having the effect of strengthening America’s alliances in the Asia-Pacific area and increasing the number and strength of its partnerships. – Jose Katigbak

Pentagon Says China Has Stepped Up Land Reclamation in South China Sea

Pentagon Says China Has Stepped Up Land Reclamation in South China Sea

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WASHINGTON—A new Pentagon report says China’s reclamation of landmass among a string of artificial islands in the South China Sea has grown dramatically in recent months, and that Beijing is aggressively patrolling the waters there to assert its territorial claims.
The Pentagon report, issued late Thursday, said that, as of June, China has reclaimed 2,900 acres of landmass across a string of islands in the South China Sea known as the Spratlys, up nearly 50% from May, when the Pentagon said Beijing had claimed about 2,000 acres.
Washington fears that the islands will be used for military purposes and could create instability in one of the world’s biggest commercial shipping routes as China lays claim to what several other countries see as international waters. And, as China’s assertiveness grows, the risk of conflict with the U.S. and its allies grows along with it, defense officials have said.
The report comes about a month before a high-profile visit to Washington by Chinese President Xi Jinping, where the South China Sea issue, along with cybersecurity and monetary policy are likely to come up. Taken together, the issues portend a potentially difficult visit for Mr. Xi and for the Obama administration.
The rate of growth of the islands from China’s development activity has accelerated considerably, according to the report, which is titled “The Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy” and was required by Congress in a 2015 defense bill.
The new Pentagon report reflects continuing U.S. skepticism of China’s claims earlier this month that it has halted its land reclamation activity. China said in early August that it had ceased reclamation operations, but U.S. officials questioned whether the actions had been stopped or would remain halted.
A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington said late Thursday that China stopped reclamation in June. The spokesman, Zhu Haiquan, said that the facilities being built on the islands include those for the public good.
“China stands ready to open these facilities to other countries upon completion,” Mr. Zhu said. “We hope the U.S. side will view this in an objective and balanced way and respect regional countries’ efforts to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea.”
While not directly contradicting the Chinese claim, a Pentagon spokesman challenged Beijing late Thursday to elaborate on its plans.
“We encourage China to clarify whether this statement applies to all Chinese outposts in the Spratlys and Paracels, and whether China is permanently committing to stop further reclamation activities,” the spokesman said.
Before this year, defense officials estimated that Beijing had only reclaimed about 500 acres of landmass to build the artificial islands, mostly built atop of semi-submerged reefs by using dredged material from the seafloor.
The islands are big enough to erect buildings and house equipment, and, in one case, support a 3,000-foot runway.
Several of China’s neighbors make claims to the islands, including Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines,Taiwan and Vietnam.
But China’s reclamation projects are far more aggressive than its neighbors’, the report says. In less than two years, China has reclaimed 17 times more land than any other claimant has in the past 40 years—accounting for about 95% of all reclaimed land in the Spratlys, according to the report.
Vietnam has reclaimed about 80 acres, Malaysia has reclaimed 70 acres, the Philippines has reclaimed 14 acres and Taiwan has reclaimed eight acres, the report says.
In May, The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. surveillance confirmed the Chinese had placed two mobile artillery units on one of the artificial islands known as Johnson Reef.
Beijing says that construction of the islands, which sit about 700 miles off the Chinese coastline, is well within its rights as a sovereign nation. In a statement on Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry reiterated its position that the South China Sea isn’t a U.S.-China issue and that it “is resolving disputes with countries directly concerned through negotiation and consultation.”
The report indicated that at some sites, China has excavated deep channels and has built new berthing areas to allow access for larger ships that could be used to assert territorial claims.
“Though other claimants have reclaimed land on disputed features in the South China Sea, China’s latest efforts are substantively different from previous efforts both in scope and effect,” the report said. “The infrastructure China appears to be building would enable it to establish a more robust power projection presence into the South China Sea.”
Meanwhile, China is ramping up patrols of the area, taking “small, incremental steps” in the disputed areas that avoid military conflict, but work to “increase its effective control” over the islands, the report said. The report also cites expanded use of the Chinese Coast Guard, which Beijing is using to enforce its claims in both the East and South China Seas.
“China prefers to use its government-controlled, maritime law enforcement ships in these disputes, and operates [People’s Liberation Army Navy] vessels over the horizon so they are ready to respond to escalation,” the report says.
Although China isn't the only country to use nonmilitary assets to conduct “worrying or dangerous actions” against other countries in the region, China’s use of such vessels “has been, by far, the most active,” the report said.
Some U.S. military leaders have pushed the Pentagon to be more aggressive in countering China’s moves in the South China Sea, arguing for more assertive maritime and air patrols to fly within the 12 nautical mile territorial limit of some of the disputed islands that China claims. But some officials inside the Pentagon and at the White House say they have resisted flying such patrols for fear of provoking China.
Concerns linger that, if left unchecked, China’s claims to the islands could destabilize one of the world’s busiest commercial shipping routes.
On Thursday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter reiterated to reporters that the military would fly and steam where and when it wanted. But it remains unclear if the U.S. has ever actually flown or navigated to within the 12-nautical mile zone of those islands, which would likely result in a response from Beijing.
“The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law permits,” Mr. Carter said. “As we’ve always the right to do, we will continue to do that, and none of this is going to change our conduct in any way.”
Write to Gordon Lubold at

W A T C H : An F-35A fire 181 rounds from the four-barrel 25mm Gatling gun embedded in its left wing

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WASHINGTON, -- The F-35 Integrated Test Force has just released an interesting video showing the 181 round gun burst of the 25 millimeter Gatling gun embedded in the F-35A’s left wing root.

The video was filmed during a ground test at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Gun Harmonizing Range on Aug. 14; initial shots were fired on Jun. 9 and ground testing should be completed by the end of this month. Airborne testing is to start in the fall and at the end of the firing campaign the gun will be operative by 2017.

According to LM, the F-35 flight sciences aircraft, AF-2, underwent instrumentation modifications and used a production version of the GAU-22/A gun to achieve the full capacity of 181 rounds: along with practice PGU-23/U target practice rounds (which do not explode on impact) software to replicate being in flight was uploaded to the aircraft to conduct the test.

The F-35 GAU-22/A gun has been among the most controversial topics lately: some criticised the fact that the Joint Strike Fighter’s gun can only hold 181 20mm rounds, fewer than the A-10 Thunderbolt’s GAU-8/A Avenger, that can hold some 1,174 30mm rounds.

Interestingly, the gun is hidden behind closed doors, to reduce the plane’s RCS (radar cross section) and keep it stealth, until the trigger is engaged.

While the F-35A will be equipped with an embedded GAU-22 gun, the B (STOVL – Short Take Off Vertical Landing) and C (CV – Carrier Variant) variants will carry it inside an external pod capable to hold 220 rounds.

F-35A firing its 25mm gun at full capacity.