Singapore Reveals Next Generation AFV Development

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SINGAPORE — A new Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) which provides armoured forces with enhanced firepower, mobility, protection and situational awareness will be commissioned by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) by 2019, as part of efforts to upgrade its assets.

This comes 13 years after the idea was initiated, as a replacement for the ageing ULTRA M113 AFV, which has been in service since the early 1970s.

Developed here by ST Engineering and the Defence Science and Technology Agency, the next-generation AFV is equipped with data and voice capabilities that enhances coordination among platforms and communication between on-board crew and dismounted soldiers.

To boost firepower, the AFV will also sport a laser rangefinder and a digitised fire control system that enables stabilisied firing-on-the-move — features not present in its predecessor.

Highlighting the importance of defence science and technology capabilities for modern militaries, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen also revealed that a new Mindef Defence Science Scholarship will be launched, to attract the “best capabilities in science and engineering”.

In a media interview ahead of SAF Day on July 1, Dr Ng also shared other plans to maintain the SAF’s edge in each of its three services. For instance, ongoing expansion of the Changi and Tengah airbases offers an opportunity to build a “smart air base”, equipped with more automated and unmanned systems that will boost security and projection powers.

The air force is also looking to ramp up defence systems against air-borne threats, with Dr Ng noting how hijacking planes to threaten Changi Airport were among the Jemaah Islamiyah’s proposed plots.

It is also finalising plans to replace the Super Puma helicopters — which has been in use for over 20 years — and will announce them soon, said Dr Ng. The Chinook helicopters will also be beefed up or replaced with new variants, he added.

For the navy, its mine countermeasure vessels — which are used to detect and destroy sea mines — will be replaced with a completely unmanned fleet. When implemented, this will be “among the world’s first”, said Dr Ng.

The navy is also looking to replace its ageing Landing Ships Tanks (LST) with vessels that have larger carrying capacity for helicopters. “The idea is not just an LST, but a joint multi-mission ship of a larger scale than the LSTs,” he said.

To beef up defence against cyberattacks, Mindef will also roll out the Cyber Security Operations Centre 2.0, an initiative to ensure security of the ministry’s computer networks.

While enhancing asset capabilities, the SAF is also beefing up its training competencies, he said. “It doesn’t mean that you rely on technology and you have less human initiative, or you have less passion, or you can remove the man in the loop.”

The new Armoured Fighting Vehicle to be commissioned by SAF by 2019.

The Republic of Singapore Armed Forces next-generation AFV is equipped with data and voice capabilities that enhances coordination among platforms and communication between on-board crew and dismounted soldiers.

Vietnam Also Interested in Japanese SH-60J ASW Helicopter

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HANOI, -- Currently submarine hunt forces Naval Aviation Vietnam covers only 8 Ka-28 is a Soviet Union transferred in the period 1989-1990.

After nearly 30 years of service, anti-submarine capabilities of the helicopter with coaxial rotor configuration unique in being judged is outdated, does not meet all the requirements of modern warfare, though went through the upgrade process in Ukraine.

Realizing the weakness on Navy Vietnam last time has made the move to find alternative subjects, including "cult" is the most exposed group to evaluate AgustaWestland helicopter AW159 Wildcat underground hunt, but so far no progress.

After the US lifted the arms embargo, MH-60 Seahawk suddenly emerged as a top candidate. But P-3C Orion same unit prices 45-55 million / unit (depending on version) causing them to exceed the reach of Vietnam.

However with the latest developments, while Vietnam is Japan expressed interest in providing P-3C used (especially according to some statements, the Northeast Asian countries are willing to sell cheap or even financial support), it also opens up prospects for our ability to buy helicopters to hunt both underground SH-60J Seahawk.

SH-60J is the version based on the SH-60 Seahawk US, is produced in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Corporation under license from Sikorsky. Mitsubishi started transferring the first SH-60J JMSDF in 1991, they officially on the payroll shortly thereafter.

Basically, the SH-60J is the SH-60B hybrid SH-60F and, differences lie mostly in the electronic system. Japanese aircraft fabrication equipped with sonar embedded HQS-103, phased array radar scanning and proactive HPS-104 electronic warfare systems HLR-108. SH-60J using domestic motor T700-IHI-401C supplied by Ishikawa-Harima.

In addition to anti-submarine weapons like torpedoes dedicated Mk 46 lightweight, Type 74, Type 12, the bomb, the SH-60J sink ... also bring both 7.62 mm machine guns, rockets and rocket Hydra 70 mm Hellfire anti-tank for fire support missions for the Marines.

P-3C similar is being replaced by a P-1, Mitsubishi Corporation has now upgraded version produced SH-60K as a complement and ready bridging the gap of the SH-60J the production of the first batch money.

If Vietnam is Japan agreed to transfer the patrol aircraft P-3C Orion submarine hunt, the more likely we will buy SH-60J Seahawk attached to synchronize equipment. Although relatively "older" but of Japanese weapons has always been appreciated for the quality and reliability, will also serve to add a long time to come.

With rich combat experience and advanced facilities in Japan, Vietnam Navy will ensure complete protection tasks island sovereignty before a large submarine force of the enemy. The plan should be promoted to a deployed immediately in the near future.

The Japansese Maritime Self Defense Force Sikorsky/Mitsubishi SH-60J Shipborne Anti-submarine helicopter.

Post-qualification inspections conducted on S. Korean proponent of PHL frigate project

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MANILA, -- Representatives of the Philippine Navy (PN) have visited and conducted post-qualification inspections on South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), one of the proponents in the country's missile-capable frigate project.

This was stressed by Rear Admiral Roland Joseph Mercado, Western Command chief and head of the PN technical working group head on the above-mentioned project Tuesday.

HHI was one of the six foreign shipbuilders who participated in the project when it formally opened for bidding sometimes in 2014. It is based in Busan, South Korea

He added that post-qualification inspection on HHI is "very favorable" and said PN representatives focused on the proponent's capability to meet the project's "technical proposals and technical requirements".

Post-qualification inspections took place some three weeks ago, Mercado added.

The Department of National Defense has allocated PHP18 billion for the acquisition of two missile-armed frigates capable of engaging surface, air and sub-surface targets.

The budget can be divided into PHP16 billion for the ships and PHP2 billion for the weapon systems and munitions.

Mercado declined to give exact specifics of the frigate program but said the two ship can "must steam in speeds in excess of 25 knots and can engage surface, air, and surface threats" aside from helping in the PN's humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

He expects the ships to be in service within three to four years.

The Republic of Korea Navy Gyeonggi (경기) FFG-812 Incheon-class coastal defense frigate.

Taiwan 'to test-fire missiles in US' as China tensions rise

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TAIPEI, -- Taiwan plans to test-fire its newest anti-missile system for the first time in the United States next month as relations with rival China deteriorate, a defence source and media reports said Monday.

Relations between China and Taiwan have cooled rapidly under the island's new Beijing-sceptic president Tsai Ing-wen, who took office in May, ending an eight-year rapprochement.

The test of the US-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system will be launched at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, in early July, a defence ministry source told AFP, in a move likely to irk Beijing even though it was arranged before Tsai took the helm.

According to the source, the test will be conducted in the US to avoid China collecting information about it, and due to space restrictions in Taiwan.

The American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy, would not comment on the test, which was also reported in Taiwan's Liberty Times newspaper.

Despite having no official diplomatic ties with Taipei after recognising Beijing in 1979, the US is still Taiwan's greatest ally and main arms supplier.

The missile system was purchased in 2008, well before Tsai's leadership, and the test was approved by the US last year, according to the Liberty Times.

Taiwan bought three earlier model PAC-2 systems in the 1990s and also tested them in the US. They were deployed in the densely populated greater Taipei area.

It then bought the new PAC-3 -- a system designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles near the end of their trajectory -- as part of a $6.5 billion arms sale by the US in 2008, which infuriated Beijing at the time.

The system is already partly operational and will shield Taipei, as well as central Taichung and southern Kaohsiung from any Chinese missile attacks, according to the defence ministry.

The Taiwanese missile unit involved in the July drill will fire two missiles to intercept a missile launched by the US military, which simulates an incoming Chinese ballistic missile, the Liberty Times reported.

Japan has also tested the PAC-3 on US soil.

In the latest setback for cross-strait ties, China said Sunday that communications with Taiwan had been suspended after the island's new government failed to acknowledge the concept that there is only "one China".

China still insists self-ruling Taiwan is part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war.

According to Taiwan's defence ministry there are 1,500 Chinese missiles aimed at the island.

China launched ballistic missiles into waters off Taiwan in 1995 and 1996 in an attempt to deter voters in the island's first democratic presidential elections.

Taiwanese soldiers on duty at Wanli army base in northern Taiwan October 22, 2004, where the military has deployed eight Patriot Advanced Capability-2 anti-missile launchers.

Maiden flight of Su-30 MKI with BrahMos supersonic cruise missile successful

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NEW DELHI, -- The first carriage flight of Su-30 MKI aircraft with BrahMos missile was successfully undertaken at HAL Airport in Nashik on Saturday, with the integration making the fighter aircraft a lethal weapon delivery platform for the Indian Air Force.

It is the first time in the world that such a heavyweight (2,500 kg) supersonic cruise missile has been integrated on a fighter aircraft, according to BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (BAPL) Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Sudhir Kumar Mishra.

The aircraft was in the air for 45 minutes and was flown by Wing Commander Prashant Nair and Wg Cdr M S Raju, both flight test crew of the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment, HAL said in a release here.

Around 40 Su-30 MKI aircraft are expected to be modified.

The maiden flight will be followed by a series of test flights and complete evaluation and certification of BrahMos missile on Su30 MKI aircraft, HAL Chairman and Managing Director T Suvarna Raju said on the occasion.

“It is a perfect example of Make in India and an engineering marvel in aviation history of the country. It proves that when all agencies come together with one mission, there is nothing impossible,” Raju said.

He said this programme was taken up by HAL as an indigenous challenge at its Nashik Division and the required data was generated without the assistance of OEM for the modification.

“It is not the techno-economics of the project, but HAL’s commitment to self-reliance which made it sign the contract with BAPL in 2014 for modification of two Su30 MKI aircraft for integration of BrahMos missile.”

The first modified aircraft was airborne in one year and the other aircraft in the second year.

This was the second project where HAL presumed the role of OEM and modified the airframe of license build aircraft, he said.

“The world did not believe us that we could do it and thanks to the vision of former president late A P J Abdul Kalam, we could achieve this today and history is made,” Mishra added.

The Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter equipped with an air-launched version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile seen at HAL Nasik shortly before its first test flight.

Hobart Progresses Towards Sea Trials for the Combat System

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CANBERRA, -- AWD Alliance celebrates the opening of the RAN’s Navy Training Systems Centre whilst the first destroyer, Hobart, progresses towards sea trials for the combat system.

This week marks further progress for the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) project, as the Royal Australian Navy officially opened its Navy Training Systems Centre at Randwick Barracks in New South Wales on 8 April.

The purpose-built facility will provide the location for the RAN to deliver training for both the AWD and Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) capabilities, demonstrating one of the many facility requirements that the AWD Alliance has delivered as part of the project to date.

This milestone comes as the first Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Hobart advances further towards sea trials with the activation of a number of significant combat systems. .

The AWD Alliance team, comprised of Raytheon Australia, ASC and the Department of Defence, has invested over the last decade in developing the people, processes, tools and supplier relationships required to integrate and activate such highly technical and complex systems.

In its role as the Combat Systems Integrator, Raytheon Australia is responsible for the design, integration, testing and activation of the Hobart Class Combat System for all three destroyers, as well as delivery of the associated land-based support facilities. This involves the integration of 10 major subsystems, including the Aegis Weapon System, which is provided through Foreign Military Sales, and associated delivery of more than 3,500 major pieces of combat system equipment required to establish the warfighting capability of the AWD for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

AWD Program Manager Commodore Craig Bourke, CSC, RAN, said that the collegiate approach for developing the Hobart Class Combat System Solution, led by Raytheon Australia has achieved the expected ‘best-for-program outcomes’ working with the US Navy and a range of Original Equipment Manufacturers, such as Ultra and Lockheed Martin.

“The Combat System architectural principles applied by Raytheon Australia have given the Commonwealth an overall system of systems solution with effective balance between a system with a strong parent Navy pedigree and the Australian indigenous capability to select, manage and tailor sub-systems, weapons and effectors to best meet the capability needs of the Royal Australian Navy along with inherent through life support benefits,” Commodore Bourke said.

AWD Alliance General Manager Lloyd Beckett also reinforced the importance of this activity as a demonstration of the complex work being undertaken by the Alliance. “The activation of the combat system is an exciting time for a first-of-class ship such as Hobart. It is a further demonstration of the demanding work that we are executing on this project, and proof of our ability to manage the risks associated with highly complex integration activities. I am immensely proud of what the AWD Alliance is achieving together as one team,” said Lloyd.

The three destroyers will represent one of the world’s most advanced multi-purpose warships, providing the RAN with a cross-spectrum capability, from joint maritime operations and area air defence to escort duties and diplomatic missions.

The Royal Australian Navy HMAS Hobart (D63) air warfare destroyer on June 2016.

US 3rd Fleet Pacific Surface Action Group Reunites in South China Sea

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SOUTH CHINA SEA, -- Participating units of a U.S. 3rd Fleet Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG) reunited while on routine patrol in the South China Sea, June 27 after conducting nearly three months of theater security operations in the Indo-Asia Pacific.

Guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance (DDG 111), USS Momsen (DDG 92), and USS Decatur (DDG 73), with embarked Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31 staff, deployed to the Western Pacific and South China Sea since departing the waters of Southern California in April.

"This Surface Action Group continues to operate effectively throughout the Pacific and across the spectrum of missions they have been assigned," said Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. "Their deployment is an important part of the '3rd Fleet Forward' concept and we are proud of their performance thus far."

For the past three months, Momsen and Decatur conducted several bilateral exercises with the Republic of Korea, France and Japan which highlighted numerous evolutions to include anti-submarine warfare, maneuvering drills, gunnery exercises and visit, board, search and seizure subject matter expert exchanges. They also had the opportunity to engage with U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps air assets in small force events.

"For years the Navy has maintained a steadfast presence in the Pacific Fleet and this SAG is proving to be a valuable asset for stability and relations with our partner nations," said Capt. Charles Johnson, commander, Destroyer Squadron 31. "Through these exercises and security operations we have already begun to enhance our relationships and strategic coordination with our Pacific partners; interoperability."

Spruance participated in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) in the South China Sea. OMSI is a Secretary of Defense program leveraging Department of Defense assets transiting the region to increase the Coast Guard's maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting its maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania.

"OMSI demonstrates the ability to partner with not only military agencies, but local agencies," said Cmdr. Manuel Hernandez, commanding officer, USS Spruance. "The ability to leverage the unique capacity and capabilities of the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard and their experience in law enforcement, [U.S. Defense Attache Office], Foreign Fisheries Agency, and our partner nations in the area in support of the security and stability, and therefore the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region is incredible."

The PAC SAG deployment also emphasized cultural exchanges in the Pacific with 10 community service projects held during five separate port calls.

"Community service is important because it provides an opportunity for our Sailors to give back to the communities that host us as we accomplish our mission," said Lt. Cmdr. Glenn Flemming, CDS-31 chaplain. "Community service also provides a venue for us to come alongside our partners to jointly and positively impact the people of our host nations. Our Sailors engaging people around the world in positive efforts will leave a lasting and impact long after we have gone back to sea."

The U.S. Navy maintains a presence in the Indo Asia-Pacific region to help preserve peace and security and to further partnerships with friends and allies. The forward presence contributes to freedom of navigation and lawful use of the sea, as well as furthers operational training and enables an exchange of culture, skills, and tactical knowledge.

Under the operational control of U.S. 3rd Fleet, the PAC SAG conducts routine patrols, maritime security operations, and theater cooperation activities to enhance regional security and stability.

U.S. 3rd Fleet works constantly with U.S. 7th Fleet. The forces of both fleets complement one another across the spectrum of military operations in the Pacific.

The US Navy Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) (front) steams in formation with USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Momsen (DDG 92).