New Zealand could Host Singapore's Fighter Jets at Ohakea

11:43:00 PM Add Comment
SINGAPORE, -- Singapore is eying Ohakea air base in Manawatu as a potential base for one of its own Air Force squadrons of F15 fighter jets.

Up to 500 people would be stationed in or near the base in the region.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee confirmed that the Singapore Government in undertaking a feasibility study to determine what the move would entail, including housing and education needs of family.

That study needed to be completed before any proposal could be put before the Singapore or New Zealand Governments.

Brownlee said that Singapore's position in Southeast Asia so close to Malaysia and near Indoesia meant that air space was very tight.

"New Zealand doesn't have the same congestion so the opportunity to fly more freely clearly exists at Ohakea."

The Singapore Air Force has other overseas bases, in France, the United States and in Western Australia's Pearce Air Base where a squadron is based.

Brownlee suggested the benefits to New Zealand would be strategic and economic.

"It would mean there would be up to 500 people based out of Ohakea in the Manawatu region so that has a big economic effect on the local community," he told the Weekend Herald.

"But the benefit of strengthening the strategic alliance with Singapore is the most important aspect."

Brownlee said there was deadline by which the proposal needed to be considered by but he expected that it was approved, could take a couple of years to establish.

Singapore and New Zealand have a longstanding defence relationship. The New Zealand Army stationed a battalion in Singapore for 20 years until 1989. And both are members of the Five Power Defence Arrangement along with Britain, Australia and Malaysia.

New Zealand's combat arm of the Ari Force was axed in 2001 by the Helen Clark-led Labour Government.

Asked if the Singapore proposal might be a way for New Zealand to re-establish a combat arm, Brownlee said "definitely not."

"It would be a Singapore operation entirely but based at Ohakea."

He did not know how many aircraft would be involved but a squadron is usually between 12 and 24 aircraft.

Singapore has F15s in New Zealand at present to take part in an Air Force Tattoo at Ohakea this weekend.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force F-15SG Strike Eagle All-Weather Multirole Strike Fighter Aircraft.


Philippine Navy Second SSV Nears Completion, Sea Trials by March

11:28:00 PM Add Comment
MANILA, -- The country's second strategic sealift vessel (SSV), tentatively known as the BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602), is almost completed and will start dock and sea trials by March.

This was confirmed by Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna in a interview with the Philippine News Agency.

"LD-602 is more than 95 percent complete. By March (she) will have a series of dock and sea trials to test her systems, machineries and equipment," he added.

At the moment, PT PAL (Persero) shipbuilders in Surabaya, Indonesia are now installing navigational, deck and engineering equipment on the PN's second SSV.

The BRP Davao Del Sur was launched last Sept. 29. She is the sister ship of the BRP Tarlac (LD-601), currently the largest Filipino warship in commissioned.

BRP Tarlac was commissioned during short ceremonies at Pier 13, Manila South Harbor last June 1.

She arrived in the Philippines last May 14 after a five-day journey from PT PAL shipyard in Surabaya which started on May 9.

BRP Davao Del Sur is also a Makassar-class landing platform dock like her sister ship BRP Tarlac.

Its delivery to the Philippines, is tentatively scheduled this coming May, will complete the two-unit SSV procurement project with an approved budget contract of PHP4 billion sourced from the AFP Modernization Act Trust Fund.

Just like the BRP Tarlac, the PN's latest SSV will serve as a floating command-and-control ship especially in the conduct of humanitarian assistance and disaster response and will also serve as a military sealift and transport vessel.

The ship has an overall length of 120 meters,breadth of 21 meters, draft of five meters and can carry a payload of 2,800 tons.

She has a cruising speed of 13 knots and maximum speed of 16 knots and a minimum operating range of 7,500 nautical miles.

BRP Davao Del Sur can carry 500 troops, two rigid-hull inflatable boats, two landing craft units and three helicopters.

The Philippine Navy BRP Gavao Del Sur (602) second Strategic Sealift Vessel.


Australia Tests LAND 400 Armoured Vehicles on HMAS Canberra

11:40:00 PM Add Comment

CANBERRA, -- HMAS Canberra was introduced to the next generation of armoured fighting vehicles late last year, as part of Project Land 400 phase two trials.

The project will acquire and support the next generation of armoured fighting vehicles with the firepower, protection and mobility to defeat increasingly lethal and adaptive adversaries well into the future.

Phase two of the project seeks to identify a vehicle to provide a mounted combat reconnaissance capability, a replacement for the Australian light armoured vehicle.

The combat reconnaissance vehicle will be required to perform up to seven different combat roles, comprising reconnaissance, command and control, joint fires, surveillance, ambulance, battlefield repair and recovery.

Rheinmetall Defence has offered the Boxer multi-role armoured vehicle for test and evaluation. This vehicle is currently in production, with 300 already delivered to other customers in six variants.

BAE Systems Australia has teamed with Patria of Finland to offer the Patria armoured modular vehicle as a contender. This vehicle is in service with eight nations with more than 1500 vehicles delivered.

These two vehicles were loaded over Canberra’s side ramps into the heavy vehicle deck during the trial, where they were positioned to drive on board the ship’s landing craft.

The Project Manager Test and Evaluation of Land 400, Lieutenant Colonel Chris McKendry, said the trial was a success.

“The trial was conducted in order to meet some of the objectives of the phase two user evaluation,” he said.

“Specifically, this was to determine if the tendered vehicles can be deployed to all designated theatres.

“There is now the potential for some follow-on work with the amphibious assault ships in 2017 to confirm loads on the landing craft.”

Lieutenant Colonel McKendry said working with the crew of Canberra was very enjoyable.

“Maintaining regular communications with the ship’s amphibious department meant it all slipped into place on the day,” he said.

“These ships will provide the new combat vehicles with the ability to deploy into any theatre of operations the Australian Defence Force enters, providing a significant capability for deployed forces.”

The project will now continue the vehicle performance assessment at Monegeetta in Victoria before heading to Puckapunyal.

Royal Australian Armoured Corps soldiers will be trained on the operation of each vehicle in order to commence a four-month user evaluation.

Transportability testing for other strategic lift assets such as the Royal Australian Air Force’s C-17 is due to commence in mid-2017.

After all testing and evaluation, Defence will undertake a final evaluation of the tenderers’ proposals to develop the business cases for consideration by the government.

A Rheinmetall Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle prior to being loaded onto the heavy vehicle deck of the Royal Australian Navy amphibious ship HMAS Canberra during a series of trials at Fleet Base East in Sydney.