Philippine Navy vows to defend, protect 'what is rightfully ours'

10:49:00 PM 1 Comment
MANILA, -- The Philippine Navy on Wednesday reiterated that it will “defend and protect what is rightfully ours” during its 118th founding anniversary, which coincided with the commissioning of its biggest ship to date, the BRP Tarlac.

Vice Admiral Caesar Taccad, flag officer in command of the Philippine Navy, highlighted the “urgency of the threat against our maritime interests and possibly our territorial integrity,” saying “the enemy stands at our doorstep.”

"The need for our country to bring more focus to territorial defense is more pronounced than ever, a need which we have to answer to even while we are addressing our internal security problems our commander-in-chief once said, what is ours is ours,” he said.

"Sir, rest assured that your Navy will abide by its duty to defend and protect what is rightfully ours,” Taccad told President Benigno Aquino III, commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), who was the guest of honor at the event.

The Philippines is embroiled in an ongoing territorial dispute with China, who claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to have rich deposits of oil and gas. The Philippines refers to parts of the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea.

Taccad also recognized the "unprecedented momentum" in the upgrade of the Navy's capability, citing the number of new vessels added to its inventory, including the BRP Tarlac, five landing craft heavy vessels, two Del Pilar-class frigates, five Agusta Westland AW109 helicopters, and three multi-purpose attack crafts.

"We stand proud because we are a far cry from the old, decrepit Navy that we once were. We are a Navy poised for modernization and our shared aspiration of a strong and credible Navy is almost at hand and this would not have been possible without your support," Taccad said.

More assets and platforms would be acquired within the year, Taccad said, because the Navy "cannot afford to slow down."
Aside from the BRP Tarlac, also commissioned during the anniversary celebration were three additional and newly-acquired Landing Craft Heavy vessels from Australia.

BRP Tarlac is the first of the two amphibious landing dock vessels of the Navy. It is the biggest with an overall length of 123 meters, width of 21 meters and payload capacity of 2,800 tons.
President Aquino meanwhile took a swipe against his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, for seemingly neglecting the Philippine Navy.

“Napakabigat ng atas sa inyong serbisyo pero tila napabayaan kayo ng sinundan nating gobyerno. Di natin kailangan maging unipormado para malaman ano ang kakulangan,” Aquino said.

Aquino trumpeted that under his administration, P60.14 billion was released for the modernization of the AFP.

The Philippine Navy to celebrate its 118th anniversary today aboard its newly commissioned BRP Tarlac. (PTV)

US Navy, Royal Thai Navy conduct "most complex" anti-submarine exercise to date

9:46:00 PM Add Comment
BANGKOK, -- The USN Navy (USN) and the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) are carrying out a series of drills that includes the "most complex" anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise conducted between the two services to date.

The drills, which are being conducted as part of the annual bilateral naval exercise known as 'Guardian Sea', are being held in the Andaman Sea from 23 to 27 May. The exercise in 2016 involves a USN Los Angeles-class attack submarine, a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol craft and the RTN's sole aircraft carrier, the 182 m HTMS Chakri Naruebet .

Also participating from the USN is the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stethem , the RTN's two Chinese-made Naresuan-class frigates, HTMS Naresuan and HTMS Taksin , and an unspecified number of S-70B naval helicopters, according to information provided to IHS Jane's on 25 May.

"Guardian Sea provides our navies the opportunity and challenge of detecting and tracking submarines, and to practice procedures related to anti-submarine warfare," said Capt H. B. Le, commodore of the USN's destroyer, Squadron Seven , in a statement on the bilateral drills.

"This year's exercise will be the most complex to date and we look forward to working alongside the Royal Thai Navy ashore and at sea to improve our skills and enhance our interoperability," he added.

Exercise 'Guardian Sea' in 2016 will also feature a shore phase with seminars and exchanges between subject-matter experts from both navies.

The Navies of Thailand and the United States are conducting anti-submarine exercises in the Andaman Sea. Drills are being conducted against the backdrop of submarine proliferation in the Southeast Asian region.

Vietnam May Request F-16s, P-3 Orions From US

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HANOI, — With the lifting of the US arms embargo to Vietnam, a US defense industry source indicates Hanoi is seeking to improve its air defense and maritime security capabilities with the procurement of F-16 fighter aircraft from the US Pentagon’s excess defense articles (EDA) program and refurbished P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, armed with torpedoes.

The source also said Vietnam could seek US-made UAVs for maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

Torpedoes were banned under the embargo, but now the Vietnamese want the same P-3 program the US sold to Taiwan, the source said. On the F-16 EDA, they want the same deal the Obama administration gave Indonesia.

The USAF F-16C block 25 #84-1281 from the 62nd FS is seen taxiing at Eielson AFB on April 9th, 2008.

The Vietnam delegates visited ‎Pacific Marines‬ as part of a three-day bilateral naval discussion with U.S. Forces.

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

Indonesia Receives First Eight of 61 Leopard 2 RI's

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JAKARTA, -- Indonesia has taken delivery of the first eight of 61 Leopard 2 RI (Republic of Indonesia) main battle tanks (MBTs) ordered in December 2012, Rheinmetall Defence executives said at the company's recent Land Forces Symposium 2016.

The tanks are part of a USD280 million contract encompassing the Leopard 2 RIs, 42 Leopard 2+ MBTs, 42 upgraded Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles, and 11 armoured recovery and engineering vehicles from surplus German Army stocks.

All 42 of the Leopard 2+ vehicles - Leopard 2A4 MBTs with the addition of a bustle-mounted air conditioning system - have now been delivered, as have the Marders and support vehicles, the executives said.

The Republic of Indonesia Leopard 2RI main battle tank.

Vietnam will Buy Early Warning Aircraft C-295 AEW&C

9:51:00 PM Add Comment
HANOI, -- Vietnam will buy at least two early-warning aircraft C-295 AEW&C to enhance the ability to control the South China Sea airspace.

World media simultaneously reported that Vietnam will buy at least 2 aircraft early warning and control air C-295 AEW&C to enhance the ability to control airspace East Sea and provide information reconnaissance, early warning control service of the sky, ready to fight.

This is not without basis when multiple signals recently that Vietnam will likely favor buying the aircraft.

C-295 AEW&C necessary for Vietnam

Military experts said that the C-295 AEW&C is now very necessary for Vietnam.

Accordingly, Vietnam Army was initially formed diverse combat capability with modern weapons such as the Su-30MK2 aircraft, high-speed vessels Molniya rocket, rocket ship Gepard 3.9 Guardians, submarine Kilo 636, missile shore Bastion-P.

However, we still lack a means of linking the modern weapon systems as well as an extended arm to operate, it's early warning aircraft.

The early warning aircraft act in coordination with aircraft, warships help remote target detection, homing missiles, expanding the range of weapons combat. Besides early warning aircraft are also intermediate link, as well as help coordinate the activities of different weapons.

Also according to analysts, this aircraft uses the chassis of the transport aircraft C-295 should help to reduce maintenance costs as well as trained pilots, mechanics.

ELTA radar could be linked to the arms of the Russian system, which Vietnam is owned by Israel have a lot of experience in improving weapons as well as providing radar early warning aircraft to India (the country use Russian aircraft system), C-295 AEW&C is considered the optimal solution for the needs of Vietnam.

Many positive signs

In particular, local and international media also published photographs delegations visiting Vietnam Military C-295 aircraft AEW&C.

This is considered a good signal to accelerate the process of negotiation and transfer between Vietnam and the defense industrial company Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel.

In a statement to the media in February month 6/2014, Mr. Antonio Rodríguez Barberan, Director of Airbus DS (subsidiary of Airbus Group European aviation) officially revealed, Ecuador and Vietnam is two of the many new customers have ordered 3 transport aircraft C-295 Airbus DS for each country.

Meanwhile, Russia's Independent newspaper, said that the modernization requires the Air Force in the near future, Vietnam will buy at least two aircraft airborne early warning, in which CASA C-295 is one of the leading candidate.

Because this will be the aircraft is equipped with the electronic system can be compatible with 6 seaplane DHC-6 Twin Otter Navy Air Force Vietnam and create a network of surveillance and early warning area for both air and sea, thereby enhancing the combat readiness capability for our Army.

The Airbus Military CASA C-295 Airborne Early Warning and Control AEW Prototype - EC-295/ 110.

Obama to lift arms embargo on Vietnam

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HANOI, -- President Barack Obama has announced the US is fully lifting its embargo on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam, its one-time enemy.

Speaking during a visit to communist Vietnam and talks with its leaders, Mr Obama said the move removed a "lingering vestige of the Cold War".

He said both sides had "developed a level of trust and co-operation".

Mr Obama's visit comes amid warming ties, as the US seeks to build its relationship with its Pacific allies.

Vietnam had been arguing for an end to the arms embargo, which has been in place for decades though was partially lifted in 2014.

Mr Obama said it was "clear from this visit that both our peoples are eager for an even closer relationship".

The Vietnam Peoples Army Ground Forces during military parade on the streets of Dien Bien. (Photo credits to the owner)

7 U. S. warships arrive in Philippines for visit

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MANILA, -- Seven warships, which formed a United States Navy strike group, have arrived in the Philippines for a routine visit, local media reported on Saturday.

The group consists of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, guided-missile destoyers USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Chung-hoon (DDG 93), and USS william P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53).

The USS John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) warships, which are manned by about 8,500 sailors, arrived on Friday in Subic Bay, Zambales, the Daily Tribune said.

It is not the first time that the JCSSG visited the Philippines as it participated in the U.S.-Philippine Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercise last April.

In pursuing its pivot-to-Asia policy, the U.S. has reportedly deployed some 60 percent of its navy assets in the South China Sea.

The US Navy Arleigh Burke-class Aegis Guided-missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) and USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), docked at the Alava Pier inside the Subic Bay Freeport around 9 a.m. for a routine port call. The ships is part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group that is currently patrolling in the West Philippine Sea. (Photos credits to the owners)

US to transfer observation blimp to the Philippines

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MANILA, -- The United States will give the Philippines an observation blimp to help track maritime activity and guard its borders amid rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

U.S, ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg, said that Washington would give $42 million worth of sensors, radar, and communications equipment to the Philippines

“We will add to its capability to put sensors on ships and put an aerostat blimp in the air to see into the maritime space,” Goldberg said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

The blimp, a balloon-borne radar will be collecting information and will be used to detect movements in the West Philippine Sea, a Philippine military official said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea which is believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas. Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei also have overlapping claims.

Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited the Philippines to bolster Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to defend the Philippines.

According to Goldberg, the two allies both agreed to set up a system for “secure and classified communications” as part of a five-year, $425 million security initiative by the United States in Southeast Asia.

This year, the Philippines will receive about $120 million in military aid, the largest sum since 2000 when the US Army returned to the Philippines for training and exercises.

An aerostat is seen from its mobile mooring station as it is deployed at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

Indian naval ships sail for operational deployment to South China Sea

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NEW DELHI, -- Indian naval ships today sailed for over two months long operational deployment to the disputed South China Sea during which they will take part in Malabar naval exercise with the US and Japan.

Indigenously built guided missile stealth frigates, INS Satpura and INS Sahyadri, INS Shakti, a sophisticated fleet support ship, and INS Kirch, an indigenous guided missile corvette, will participate in the MALABAR-16 exercise.

The Indians ships participation in MALABAR-16, a maritime exercise with the US Navy and JMSDF, reflects the vital strategic importance of the region to India.

“In a demonstration of its operational reach and commitment to India’s Act East policy, the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet, under the command of Rear Admiral SV Bhokare, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, sailed out today on a two and a half month long operational deployment to the South China and North West Pacific,” a statement from the navy said.

During this overseas deployment, the ships of Eastern Fleet will make port calls at Cam Rahn Bay (Vietnam), Subic Bay (Philippines), Sasebo (Japan), Busan (South Korea), Vladivostok (Russia) and Port Klang (Malaysia).

The visits to each port will last four days and are aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between the navies.

PASSEX has also been planned at sea with the host navies.

Reacting sharply to India’s move in December last year of including Japan in the Indo-US Malabar naval exercises on a permanent basis, China had said that Tokyo will not “provoke confrontation” and “heighten tensions” in the region.

China claims sovereignty on almost all of the South China Sea which is disputed by Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

The US, which had been pushing for Japan’s inclusion, has said the exercise is an important element for assessing the maritime capabilities of all the three countries.

The US has in recent months ramped up its warnings over what it calls China’s growing “militarisation” in the region.

American warships and aircraft have undertaken number of operations in the region to challenge China’s moves even as the US hopes to stitch Asian military powers into a closer cooperation.

The US has also been pushing for a quadrilateral security dialogue involving itself, India, Japan and Australia.

The Indian Navy frigate INS Satpura (F48) is underway in formation with Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 during Exercise Malabar 2012.