Philippines DND Eyes Having 2 Percent of GDP for Defense Spending

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MANILA, -- Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is hoping that Congress would allocate more than two percent of the country's gross domestic product to defense spending.

Lorenzana made the remark even as the Department of National Defense continues to have one of the biggest allocations with P134.5 billion under the P3.35-trillion national budget for 2017.

"You know I've been talking to some of the congressmen. Sabi ko sa kanila we should increase our budget. We have been underfunded for the past 50 years kaya hindi tayo makabili ng equipment e," Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana said Singapore was spending three percent of its GDP for defense while other countries in Southeast Asia were spending at least two percent.

"That's why they have more aircraft, they have more ships, they have more everything," Lorenzana said.

"Well. we are now having maybe 1.2. Siguro kung doblehin lang nila, doblehin lang nila yung 1.2, mga 2.4, 2.5... We'll be happy with that," he added.

Lorenzana said the Philippines was lagging behind in the region because the country didn't want to spend.

"Hindi puwedeng magtipid tayo diyan dahil mahuhuli ka and then before you know it, kawawang kawawa ka sa paningin ng iba," Lorenzana said.

"So i hope that the Congress could also give us sufficient funds," he added.

Anoa-Singa revival

Meanwhile, Lorenzana said the AFP was looking to revive its bilateral military exercises with Singapore called the "Anoa-Singa."

Lorenzana said Singapore—despite being a small country of only six million people—had improved its defense capabilities since the exercises were suspended.

"We will look into that, for the revival of that Anoa-Singa, maganda kasi yan e dahil we could also learn a lot from the Singaporeans," Lorenzana said.

"They have also developed their defense industries, gumagawa sila ng kanyon, gumagawa sila ng terex, the terex is the infantry fighting vehicle," he added.

Lorenzana said he and Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen will have further discussions on the matter which he hopes would lead to a new round of exercises by 2018.

"We talked about it, sabi niya we'll talk some more about this so that... Gusto rin nilang mangyari yun [Anoa-Singa], they would like to conduct exercises with us also," Lorenzana said.

"If we can finish the discussion this year and look at the [memorandum of understanding] again maybe we can implement that next year," he added.

The Philippines is pondering to buy two to four Russian-made combat helicopter, either MI 17 or MI 24 to enhance the nation’s defense capability against conceivable internal and external threats.


US to upgrade Philippine military bases as Duterte reverses stance

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MANILA, -- The US will upgrade and expand its facilities on Philippine military bases this year, the Philippine defence minister has announced.

Delfin Lorenzana said President Rodrigo Duterte would honour plans for the US to build barracks, warehouses and runways in at least three locations.

The move comes despite comments from Mr Duterte last year in which he said he wanted US troops to leave his country.
Under a defence pact, the US has troops at five Philippine military bases.

The Enhanced Defence Co-operation Agreement (EDCA), signed in 2014, allows the US to deploy ships, aircraft and troops at those bases and to store equipment for humanitarian and maritime operations.

"EDCA is still on," Mr Lorenzana told a news conference.

He said President Duterte had promised to honour all existing agreements with the US, a long-time ally of the Philippines.

Last week, the head of the US Senate's Armed Forces Committee, Senator John McCain, proposed $7.5bn (£6bn) in new military funding for US forces and their allies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since taking office last June, Mr Duterte has caused consternation in Washington by saying he wants to pivot away from the US towards China.

In October he said he wanted US troops to leave the country, possibly within two years.

U.S. Navy ships and The Republic of Philippines Navy ships cruise in formation.

Malaysian fleet transformation seeks to increase numbers, capability

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KUALA LUMPUR, -- The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) is continuing to deliver a fleet transformation process that will see the service increase fleet numbers and capabilities while reducing the number of ship classes.

The transformation process is known as the '15 to 5' plan. Under this plan, 15 ship classes will be reduced to just five. The RMN is seeking to turn the challenges presented by the increasing age, obsolescence, and operational and maintenance costs of its current fleet into an opportunity to deliver, into the 2030s and beyond, a new force structure that will help the navy meet the broad range of diverse maritime challenges that Malaysia faces.

The Royal Malaysian Navy, Royal Malaysian Navy's missile corvette KD Laksamana Muhammad Amin, front, and Royal Malaysian Navy's offshore patrol vessel KD Selangor.

Philippines DND Evaluating Russian Offer of Diesel-Electric Submarines

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MANILA, -- Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the country is now evaluating Russia's offer to sell the Philippines some of its advanced diesel-electric submarines.

The DND chief, in a press briefing Thursday, said they are now determining on whether these specialized ships are essential for the modernization needs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and whether the country can afford to acquire and maintain such an expensive weapons platform.

However, Lorenzana said Russia diesel-electrics submarines are considered to be one of the best in the world.

Six variants of the Russian-made Kilo-class submarines are now being operated by Vietnam People's Navy.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is expected to acquire its own diesel-electric class submarines during the 2nd Horizon of the AFP Modernization Program which is expected to begin this 2018 and end on 2022.

Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines are mainly intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations in relatively shallow waters.

The Russian Navy Project 636 Varshavyanka Improved Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine.

India showcases indigenous weaponry at Republic Day parade

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NEW DELHI, -- India showcased an assortment of its indigenously developed weapon systems for the first time at its 68th Republic Day parade in New Delhi on 26 January.

The displayed systems included the Mk 1 variant of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), three of which participated in an 35-aircraft fly-past, which also featured the HAL Dhruv advanced light helicopter and the HAL Rudra light combat helicopter.

Three of the 20 LCA Mk 1s ordered in 2005 have entered service with the Indian Air Force.

An order for 83 upgraded LCA Ms 1As was approved by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in November 2016.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk 1 variant.

Armed Forces of the Philippine to Maintain FA-50PHs with PHP23.7-M

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MANILA, -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is allocating some PHP23,706,000 for the acquisition of spare parts and components needed for the unscheduled maintenance of one of its four Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI)-made FA-50PH "Fighting Eagle" jet fighters.

Pre-bid conference is scheduled on Jan. 26, at 9 a.m. at the Philippine Air Force Procurement Center Conference Roon, Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.

While bid opening is on Feb. 8, at 9 a.m. at the same venue.

The PAF currently has four FA-50PHs in its inventory. Another eight are scheduled to be deliver this year and the next.

The 12-plane order from KAI is worth PHP18.9 billion.

The FA-50PHs has a top speed of Mach 1.5 or one and a half times the speed of sound and is capable of being fitted air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles aside from light automatic cannons.

It will act as the country's interim fighter until the Philippines get enough experience of operating fast jet assets and money to fund the acquisition of more capable fighter aircraft.

The FA-50PH design is largely derived from the F-16 "Fighting Falcon", and they have many similarities: use of a single engine, speed, size, cost, and the range of weapons.

KAI's previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for the development of the FA-50PHs.

The aircraft can carry two pilots in tandem seating. The high-mounted canopy developed by Hankuk Fiber is applied with stretched acrylic, providing the pilots with good visibility, and has been tested to offer the canopy with ballistic protection against four-pound objects impacting at 400 knots.

The altitude limit is 14,600 meters (48,000 feet), and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.

There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 liters (701 US gallons), five in the fuselage and two in the wings.

An additional 1,710 liters (452 US gallons) of fuel can be carried in the three external fuel tanks.

Trainer variants have a paint scheme of white and red, and aerobatic variants white, black, and yellow.

The FA-50PHs uses a single General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine license-produced by Samsung Techwin, upgraded with a full authority digital engine control system jointly developed by General Electric and KAI.

The engine consists of three-staged fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner.

Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) of thrust with afterburner.

Four FA-50s parked at the ramp in-front of the Haribon Hangar, Air Force City, Clark Air Base.

China's North Sea Fleet receives first Type 052D destroyer

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BEIJING, -- China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned its fifth Luyang III-class (Type 052D) destroyer on 22 January.

Named Xining (with pennant number 117), the vessel is the first Type 052D to be assigned to the PLAN's North Sea Fleet, with the other four ships allocated to the South Sea Fleet. The commissioning ceremony took place at the Guzhenkou naval base south of Qingdao and was conducted by Rear Admiral Zhang Wendan, the newly appointed commander of the North Sea Fleet.

The 7,500-tonne Type 052Ds have two vertical-launch system (VLS) grids each containing 32 cells: one forward of the bridge and the other forward of the hangar. The VLS supports the HHQ-9A long-range surface-to-air missile, giving the ship an area air-defence capability. The VLS is also thought to be capable of firing land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles.

The Type 052Ds are also equipped with the Type 346A multifunction phased array radar (commonly known as Dragon Eye).

Evidence recently emerged that the Type 052D destroyers are also fitted with variable depth and towed array sonars, which give them considerably greater anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities than the PLAN's previous classes of destroyer. The VLS may also be equipped with a stand-off ASW torpedo-carrying missile.

The vessels' twin hangars are capable of embarking either Harbin Z-9 or Kamov Ka-28 anti-submarine helicopters or Kamov Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopters.

The People's Liberation Army Navy North Sea Fleet commissioned its first Luyang III-class (Type 052D) destroyer on 22 January.

Japan launches first military communications satellite

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TOKYO, -- Japan's first dedicated military communications satellite was launched on 24 January from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tanegashima Space Center in the country's southwest, according to the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo.

The Kirameki-2 satellite (also known as DSN-2) will be operated by the DSN Corporation - a joint venture between the SKY Perfect JSAT Group, NEC and NTT Communications - under contract to the MoD, as part of Tokyo's efforts to upgrade the Japan Self-Defense Forces' (JSDF's) communications network.

The satellite was developed by NEC and built by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. It was launched using an H-IIA rocket built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The Kirameki-2 satellite on board an H-2A rocket.

Ukrainian BTR-4M Successfully Tested in Indonesia

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JAKARTA, -- Ukrainian BTR-4M have been successfully tested in a tropical climate in Indonesia. It is reported by the press service of "Spetstehnoeksport" .

Five Ukrainian military vehicles were delivered to Marine Corps Indonesia in the framework of the contract signed in early 2014 between the Ministry of Defense of Indonesia and SE "Spetstehnoeksport", part of the GC "Ukroboronprom". Produced this technique on SE "Kharkiv Machine Building Design Bureau. Morozov ", a member of the Group.

Performance of the contract took place after delivery of the BTR-4, the major parties for the needs of the Ukrainian army, as part of reloading production capacity Ukrainian defense industry.

During the tests, in the presence of Ukrainian specialists were tested armored amphibious capabilities at sea, conducted fire tests in the highlands and proven running performance Ukrainian military vehicles on the road and on difficult terrain.

Director "Spetstehnoeksport" Paul Barbula noted that the tests carried out Ukrainian art commission, which included representatives of various departments of the Ministry of Defence of Indonesia. The realization of this contract was made possible by the effective interaction Ukrainian defense industry enterprises and the Ukrainian Embassy in Indonesia.

Immediately move the test elaborated on the correspondent of the Indonesian edition of Angkasa Ario Nugroho, who described in detail all the stages of testing Ukrainian armored vehicles, which took place January 19, 2017.

Marsh 100 km long started during the night, when the column with the BTR-4M on its course motorways left the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, to the coast of the Java Sea. And at dawn armored amphibious tested its properties by the sea.

"Combat vehicles stably and smoothly behave in the water," - says the Indonesian edition. BTR-4 have the wheel formula 8 × 8, equipped with Deutz engines and transmissions the Allison, which correspond to NATO standards. These engines are characterized by their reliability, efficiency and capacity.

After water test, a column of armored personnel carriers 4M went to the place of shooting. Despite the fact that the road to the shooting range has been eroded powerful rains, Ukrainian fighting vehicles have successfully completed sea trials. As the newspaper notes Angkasa, the Indonesian military even specially prepared tracked vehicles for towing without waiting for such powerful running properties BTR-4M.

The place of fire tests have been chosen canyon, which allows you to test the ability of the main Ukrainian armament combat vehicle.

Each of the five BTR-4M, who took part in the shooting, has successfully hit the target conditional on certain distances, increasing the accuracy of the Ukrainian weapons. Indonesian journalists were frankly amazed at the power of military unit "Sail", which is installed on BTR-4M, and modern digital sighting system.

The Ukroboronprom BTR-4M during tested by Korps Marinir.

THHE Destini Secures RM738.8mTHHE Destini Secures RM738.8m Offshore Patrol Vessels Contract

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KUALA LUMPUR, -- THHE Destini Sdn Bhd has secured a RM738.9 million contract for the supply, delivery, testing and commissioning of three units of offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency. 

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia today, THHE Destini said, the contract, for 42 months, was expected to contribute positively to its earnings and net assets per share for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2017 to Dec 31, 2020. 

THHE Destini is a joint-venture company between TH Heavy Engineering Bhd's (THHE) unit, THHE Fabricators Sdn Bhd, and Destini Shipbuilding and Engineering Sdn Bhd. 

The Damen 1800 OPV, the likely design for the MMEA OPV requirement.


RSAF Sharpens its Air Defence Capabilities at Flaming Arrow Challenge 2017

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SINGAPORE, -- Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman visited the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s Flaming Arrow Challenge 2017 (FAC17) at the SAFTI Live Firing Area this morning. During his visit, Dr Maliki was briefed on how the RSAF conducts its air defence operations to keep Singapore's skies safe, gained first-hand experience operating a Ground-Based Air Defence (GBAD) system, and interacted with Operationally-Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) who participated in FAC17.

He also experienced, from an RSAF Super Puma helicopter, how helicopters execute flight manoeuvres to evade GBAD missiles, simulated in the aircraft engagement event of the challenge.

FAC17, held from 9 to 20 January 2017, allows the RSAF to sharpen its air defence capabilities and hones the competency of the GBAD units in air defence operations. This year's challenge involves 132 personnel from eight RSAF units. The GBAD systems deployed during this challenge are the Agile Multiple Beam (AMB) Radar, Improved Homing All the Way Killer (I-HAWK), Surface-to-Air Python-5 and DERby (SPYDER) and RBS-70.

FAC17 is one of seven RSAF Command Challenges organised annually by the RSAF's Operational Commands that stretch and test the capabilities and proficiencies of our servicemen and women locally. The other six Command Challenges are the Air Warrior Challenge, Bigshot Challenge, Eagle Challenge, Top Ace Challenge, Top Guardian Challenge and Top Notch Challenge. These challenges aim to create a competitive environment for the RSAF's servicemen and women to pit their skills against each other while strengthening their operational standards, and also forge stronger camaraderie within the RSAF.

The RSAF Surface-to-Air Python-5 and DERby (SPYDER) deployed during the Flaming Arrow Challenge 2017.