Additional Integrated Logistics Support to be Acquired for C-295M Aircraft

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MANILA, -- The Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are allocating the sum of PHP40,200,000 for the acquisition of additional integrated logistics support for the brand-new C-295M transport aircraft.

This involves the procurement of 47 line items of aircraft ground support equipment as additional integrated logistics support for the C-295M.

The country currently has three C-295M aircraft in its air fleet.

Pre-bid conference is on Friday, 10:00 a.m. at the DND Bids and Awards Committee Conference Room, Basement, Right Wing, DND Building, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The guiding principles for this project shall be based on affordability and sustainability while conforming to the requirements of the Philippine Air Force in furtherance of accomplishing its mission.

Funding will be sourced from the AFP Modernization Act Trust Fund.

Delivery period is 60 calendar days from the contract effectivity. Bidders should have completed within five years before the date of submission and receipt of bids, at least two contracts similar to the project.

The 220th Airlift Wing of the Philippine Air Force brand new C295, while at the ramp of Villamor Air Base, Pasay City Philippines.

Pacific Surface Action Group Departs Pearl Harbor for Western Pacific

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PEARL #HARBOR, - A Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam April 27 following a port visit en route to the Western Pacific.

The PAC SAG is comprised of the embarked staff of Destroyer Squadron 31, guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance (DDG 111), USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Momsen (DDG 92) and embarked “Devil Fish” and “Warbirds” detachments of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49.

Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, addressed Sailors from the crews aboard Momsen April 26 to highlight the significance of their mission and explain how their capability will be tested throughout their deployment.

“The potential options that you can explore as part of this three-ship SAG is very exciting,” said Swift, during his visit to Momsen. “One of the great benefits the Navy brings to the nation is flexibility, and part of that flexibility is going to be demonstrated as soon as you get underway from Hawaii.”

Deploying as a PAC SAG allows the three ships to execute a broad range of maritime operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations while under the operational control of U.S. 3rd Fleet.

During WWII, the vast majority of 3rd Fleet was forward deployed throughout the Pacific islands in campaigns all the way up to Japan.

“This deployment is a little bit of returning to your roots; our roots of having 3rd Fleet deploying forward through this PAC SAG, throughout your entire cruise,” said Swift.

The destroyers are trained and prepared to conduct maritime security operations, which include addressing challenges to international law at sea such as piracy and other illicit activities.

The PAC SAG will conduct routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation activities, and will also operate with regional navies to promote security, stability and prosperity.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Momsen (DDG 92) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a scheduled port visit. Momsen, USS Spruance (DDG 111) and USS Decatur (DDG 73) are part of a Pacific Surface Action Group on mission to conduct routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation activities to enhance Western Pacific regional security and stability.

US research vessel formally transferred to the Philippine Navy

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SAN DIEGO, -- The USNS Melville (T-AGOR-14) oceanographic research ship has been commissioned into Philippine Navy service as the BRP Gregorio Velasquez (ARG-702). This was confirmed by Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna in message to the PNA Tuesday.

The ship named after Professor Emeritus of botany in the University of the Philippines Gregorio Tiongson Velasquez.

Known as the Father of Philippine Phycology, Dr. Velasquez pioneered the intensive study and collection of the Philippine blue-green algal species. He studied and investigated algal specimens in Oriental Mindoro, Eastern Palawan, Sulu, Batangas and Bataan such as the Euglenophyceae, Chlorophyceae, and Myxophyceae.

The Philippines remains the largest recipient of maritime security assistance from the United States, and received a record $79 million in bilateral assistance of the FY 2015 funds allocated for developing Southeast Asian maritime capabilities.

This assistance is largely focused on building the training and logistical base for expanding the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Forces’ ability to conduct operations within waters off the Philippines’ coasts.

The United Stated also are assisting with naval maintenance capacity building as well as providing interdiction vessels, naval fleet upgrades, communications equipment, and aircraft procurement.

Capt. Lued Lincuna said that thirty (30) Philippine Navy contingent, which will serve as the R/V Melville's sailing crew, has already arrived in San Diego, California last March 21.

"(The crew) are scheduled for familiarization and orientation on the operation and maintenance of various equipment aboard the vessel," Lincuna said.

The R/V Melville will be manned by the above-mentioned PN personnel and is expected to be in the Philippines by third week of June, he added.

The turnover ceremony of R/V Melville to the Philippine Navy at Naval Base in San Diego, CA, United States.·

Japan’s Helicopter Carrier Docks at Subic

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SUBIC BAY, -- Japanese Ship (JS) Ise (DDH 182) of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), along with four helicopters on board, docked at Alava Pier, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City on Tuesday April 26 for a goodwill visit to the Philippines that will conclude on the 29th.

DDH 182 Commanding Officer, Capt. Masaki Takada, held a press briefing at the port upon arrival, presenting DDH 182 as a vessel than can carry 11 helicopters and is equipped with the surface to air missile, antisubmarine rocket and torpedo system.

He also noted that it is the second time that JS Ise made a port call to the Philippines, the first one was during the conduct of international disaster relief activity following the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

He added that this visit is also intended for the crew’s rest and replenishment of the vessel.

The Japanese warship JS Ise (DDH 182) of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) docks at the Alava Pier in Subic Bay.

Russia to supply two Gepard-3.9 frigates to Vietnam in late 2016

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HANOI, -- Russia will supply two Gepard 3.9 (Project 11661) frigates to the People's Army of Vietnam Navy (PAVN) in the third quarter of 2016, Renat Mistakhov, Director General of the Zelenodolsk Shipyard, told IHS Jane's at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2016 exhibition.

"Both ships, in anti-submarine warfare variants, will be launched in April and May 2016. Then we will start the basin trials," Mistakhov said, adding, "The ships will be supplied to Vietnam in the third quarter of 2016." He pointed out, that the propulsion systems of both frigates have already been mounted and related electrical work has been completed.

The Vietnam People's Navy frigate 011-Dinh Tien Hoang is seen at Cam Ranh Military Port in Khanh Hoa Province on January 20, 2016.

Philippine warship to join Brunei, Singapore maritime exercises

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MANILA, -- The Philippine Navy will send one of its two warships to Brunei and Singapore to participate in counter-terrorism and maritime exercises next month.

The warship, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, a former US cutter, will depart the country this week, according to Lt. Cmdr. Marineth Domingo, the Navy's acting public affairs officer.

Domingo said BRP Gregorio del Pilar will leave Manila South Harbor's Pier 13 on Wednesday following a send off ceremony. It will be joined by a Navy helicopter and about 120 troops, among them personnel from the Naval Special Operations Group.

The warship will first participate in a counter-terrorism exercise in Brunei and Singapore from May 1 to 12, then proceed to another naval exercise with Brunei from May 10 to 17.

"This 11-day multi-lateral exercise will be focusing on maritime security and counter-terrorism," Domingo said, referring to the first exercise dubbed ASEAN Defense Minister's Meeting-Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise 2016.

During the exercise, BRP Gregorio del Pilar will participate in a sea-storming or surface operations," including a Visit, Board, Search and Seizure training, Domingo said.

On the other hand, the second exercise, dubbed Maritime Training Activity Seagull, "aims to enhance the interoperability and building [of] defense capability," said Domingo.

BRP Gregorio del Pilar was acquired from the US in 2011, followed by its sister ship BRP Ramon Alcaraz two years later.

The two are the most capable ships of the Navy at present and are assigned to patrol the disputed areas in the South China Sea.

The Philippine Navy Gregorio del Pilar class frigate.

North Korea Pulls 300 Multiple Rocket Launchers to Southern Border

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PYONGYANG, — North Korea has deployed some 300 multiple launch rocket systems along its southern border, putting Seoul within a striking distance, South Korea’s military told local media on Sunday.

North Korea has reportedly been stationing missile launchers along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a 2.5-mile-wide strip of land separating the two countries, since 2014.

"The new rockets will increase the number of MLRS and long-range artillery along the DMZ to over 600," a source told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

According to the agency’s information, the North could fire simultaneously some 9,000 rockets across the border. It cited military experts who said the South does not have anti-missile systems that can intercept these threats.

The Korean People's Army Strategic Force fired Multiple Rocket Launchers during an exercise.

AIROD, BAE System Sign MOU For Royal Malaysian Air Force Hawk Upgrade System

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KUALA LUMPUR, -- AIROD Sdn Bhd, Malaysia's leading aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with BAE Systems (Operation) Ltd for the upgrading of avionic systems on the Royal Malaysia Air Force (RMAF) Hawk aircraft.

BAE System Managing Director, South-East Asia and India, John Brosnan, said the upgrade would equip the RMAF Hawk MK108 and MK208 aircraft with the latest technology and ensure the aircraft meet all future operational requirements.

"We provide options for both one- and two-seater aircraft. It gives additional capabilities and extra life as the product can last longer," he told Bernama on the sidelines of the 15th Defence Services Asia 2016 here today.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and the UK Minister of State for Defence Procurement, Philip Dunne, witnessed the signing ceremony.

Under the MOU, BAE Systems will undertake the design, manufacture and certification of the aircraft systems, and AlROD will be responsible for the integration of the systems onto the aircraft.

It would further strengthen and enhance the collaborative work between the AIROD and BAE System in the long-term maintenance of the aircraft, thus ensuring the operational availability and capability of the aircraft for the RMAF.

AlROD, a subsidiary of National Aerospace and Defence Industries, has been providing the second-line maintenance on the RMAF Hawk aircraft ever since its inception into service in 1995.

Its Chief Executive Officer, Major General (R) Datuk Ir Ibrahim Bahari, said the new system, which would take three years and undertaken in Malaysia, would be implemented as soon as possible.

"We have the capabilities and we are bringing the overall capabilities from one level to another level. Last time we undertake the maintenance only. Now we do the upgrade with MRO," he said.

The Hawk is the best-selling trainer jet aircraft in the world.

Hawk exports benefit Malaysia through the manufacture of pylons and demonstrates BAE Systems' commitment to Malaysia.

Brosnan said BAE System has exported a total of 1,000 Hawk jets to some 20 countries worldwide, whereby 19 units of them were owned by Malaysia.

BAE Systems is a global defence and aerospace company and delivers a full range of products, support services and solutions in the maintenance of Hawk aircraft, including the RAMF Hawk MK108 and MK208.

The company, which has been in Malaysia for 50 years, is the largest supplier of equipment to the Malaysian Armed Forces.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force Hawk 208 advanced trainer / lightweight multi-role combat aircraft.

HMAS Parramatta undocks for trials

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CANBERRA, -- The vessel has now undocked at the Henderson facility and work on HMAS Stuart will begin in May. The seventh ship of class, HMAS Toowoomba, is mid-way through her upgrade.

The Royal Australian Navy ANZAC class frigates are being upgraded under the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) programme. Each ship’s combat management system is being upgraded and a new infrared search and track system is being introduced, together with a new dual navigation radar.

A number of other significant engineering and structural changes that are unique to each vessel are also being made. These include enclosing the quarter deck, galley refurbishment and modifications to accommodate combat helicopters.

The project is being undertaken through the Anzac Ship Integrated Material Support Program Alliance comprising BAE Systems, Saab Systems and the Defence Department’s Capability and Sustainment Acquisition Group.

Glynn Phillips, chief executive, BAE Systems Australia, said: ‘The work we’re doing at Henderson demonstrates the quality of our engineering, programme management and builds on the flexibility of Australian industry capability that is only possible with an experienced Australian maritime defence provider.

‘Our highly skilled workforce is at the core of our capability, ensuring that the project achieves the quality, cost and schedule milestones despite the enormous complexity of such work. Our team, together with our ANZAC Alliance partners, is very proud to support the Royal Australian Navy and its efforts by successfully implementing a world leading defence capability.’

The Royal Australian Navy's Anzac class frigate HMAS Parramatta is preparing to undock in Henderson, Western Australia.

The Force grows in Indonesia - Delivery of the first set of URO 4x4 Vamtac ST5 vehicles to Indonesia are underway

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JAKARTA, -- A spokesperson from Thales confirmed to Shephard at Defence Services Asia 2016 that URO were in the early stages of delivering the first batch of what is a ‘significant quantity’ of vehicles.

Thales is the prime contractor for the programme as the Vamtac vehicles are fitted with the company’s Rapid Ranger launcher and Starstreak air defence missiles. A source told Shephard that the system is in the integration phase and about 20 vehicles will be delivered.

The Vamtac vehicles are just one component of the ForceShield air defence network that will equip five Indonesian Army air defence batteries.

Other elements include the Ground Master 200 radar, fire control system and Land Rovers fitted with the Lightweight Medium Launcher and Starstreak. Integration there is being completed by local Indonesian industry partner PT Len.

A Vamtac 4x4 vehicle fitted with the Rapid Ranger and Starstreak was displayed on the URO stand at DSA exhibition in Malaysia but before the exhibition started the Starstreak missiles were removed and the Thales RapidRanger logo on the launcher was covered up.

It is likely that Thales’ Malaysian industry partner, Weststar subsidiary Global Komited, was unhappy that the system they are integrating onto their GK-M1 vehicle was being displayed on another chassis.

The Thales spokesperson said that it is up to the governments to select which vehicles they want and the Starstreak launchers will be integrated onto them.

A source told Shephard that a ‘small batch’ of Vamtac vehicles are also being delivered to Singapore, but could not confirm numbers. URO is marketing Vamtac to Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

The Malaysian Army already has over 100 Vamtacs bought under a contract signed in 2008-09 that include 25 fitted with the Igla air defence system, 60 weapon carrying vehicles and 18 vehicles that tow a 105mm light gun and store artillery rounds.

The Starstreak HVM with Rapid-Ranger launcher and fire control system fitted on URO Vamtac.