January 31, 2014

Five countries will compete in the Russian "tank biathlon" in their tanks

Military departments of five states have declared their intention to participate in the World Championships in the "tank Biathlon 2014" on their tanks, chief of the main department of combat training of the Armed Forces Ivan Buvaltsev. Previously, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu sent official invitations to participate in the championship for 41 States. Fifteen states have confirmed their participation and said that will compete at the Russian equipment - tanks T-72B. "Five states declared their intention to participate in the" tank Biathlon 2014 "on its technology. This Ukraine, Greece, Czech Republic, Italy and China," - he said during a meeting with foreign military attaches in Moscow.

Chinese PLAAF fighters in Tibetan plateau

January 30, 2014

Vietnamese homemade mini-submarine passed first trials successfully

Vietnamese homemade mini-submarine passed first trials successfully

After one week on trial, a private mini-submarine made by a Vietnamese mechanic can now work perfectly with its full functions. Nguyen Quoc Hoa, the one who performed the mini-submarine production, said on Local Lao Dong (Labor) online newspaper Thursday that machinery parts inside the mini-submarine operates well as originally designed.

"Successful tests have been carried out with internal engines of the mini-vessel, including generator system, oxygen supply system, air filter and radar system," said Hoa.
Specifically, the submarine managed to apply the advanced Air Independent Propulsion technology while diving, Hoa added.

Hoa, a director of an engineering company in Vietnam's northern Thai Binh province, some 110 km southeast from capital Hanoi, started to produce a mini-submarine in early 2013.
According to Hoa's design, the submarine has a 12-ton displacement, and is able to operate at a maximum depth of 50 meters and at a range of 800 km for 15 hours.
The testing mini-submarine is designed to work at estuaries or shallow water level for civilian purposes of marine natural resources research, and environmental protection, said Hoa.

Indian Navy Sea Harriers still going strong

January 29, 2014

Is Burma(Myanmar) really buying submarines?

For the past six months, there have been intermittent reports in the news media and on specialist websites stating that Burma (Myanmar) is developing a submarine capability. If this is true, it has important implications not only for Burma and the region, but also for the wider international community. However, equally dramatic stories about Burma have emerged in the past, only to prove misleading or false.

This is not the first time Burma has been linked to a submarine sale. In 2003, it was claimed that the military government had held discussions with North Korea on the purchase of one or two small submarines. The 110-ton Yugo and 370-ton Sang-O classes were mentioned. Despite the limitations of both designs, Burma's interest in these boats was said to reflect a wish to police its territorial waters and help deter an invasion.According to Jane's Defence Weekly (JDW), Burma eventually opted to purchase one Sang-O class submarine, but was forced to abandon the deal in late 2002. It was suggested that the project had been scuppered by the cost of the boat, and perhaps belated recognition by the country's military leadership of the technical difficulties of keeping it fully operational.

These reports were never confirmed, but other developments gave them some credibility. For example, after the 1988 uprising, Burma's new military government launched an ambitious plan to modernise and expand the armed forces. This included a naval rearmament program. In 1999, it was reported that Burmese naval officers had undergone unspecified 'submarine training' in Pakistan.

Also relevant was the fact that in the 1990s Burma started to expand its defence ties with North Korea. If the generals were interested in acquiring other weapons from Pyongyang, possibly including ballistic missiles, so the logic went, why not a few submarines? If Korea was prepared to sell Yugo-class boats to Vietnam (which it did in 1997), why not to Burma?Over the next decade, Burma's navy acquired several new ships, some armed with anti-submarine weapon systems, but the emphasis was clearly on surface warfare. Claims by an activist group in 2010 that India had provided training for Burma on a Foxtrot class submarine, and that Naypyidaw was considering the purchase of two Foxtrot boats from Russia, could not be verified.

During a visit to Russia in June 2013, however, Burmese Commander in Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing reportedly opened discussions for the purchase of two 3000-ton Kilo-class diesel submarines (pictured). It was also claimed that he secretly visited the St Petersburg naval dockyard. A number of commentators have stated that Burma hopes to create a submarine force by 2015.
Burma was said to have chosen the Russian Kilos over Pakistan's ageing Agosta-70 boats. Also, in April 2013 about 20 Burmese naval officers and ratings reportedly began basic submarine familiarisation and training in Pakistan, probably at the Submarine Training Centre, PNS Bahadur. This prompted JDW to suggest that 'Myanmar is finally taking concrete steps towards developing a subsurface capability'.

These reports raise a number of issues that need to be considered.Firstly, no official announcement has been made, either by Russia or Burma, about a possible Kilo sale. This is not unusual, but it leaves the field to unconfirmed reports in the news media and on activist websites. Most of these outlets have simply recycled earlier claims without giving sources or providing any firm evidence. Indeed, it is difficult to determine where the story originated.Secondly, there does not appear to have been any response to these reports from other countries, which again raises questions about their accuracy. In normal circumstances, it might be expected that Burma’s possible acquisition of submarines would prompt comments from its neighbours at least, let alone interested powers such as the UK and US.

Thirdly, Burma’s armed forces are much larger, more balanced, better equipped and more capable than they were in 1988. They have also developed a better grasp of conventional warfare doctrines. Yet they still have serious problems, and it is difficult to see Burma being able to develop a viable submarine force in the foreseeable future, let alone by 2015.Two major obstacles will be a lack of resources and expertise. Defence gets about 14% of official expenditures, but this allocation is likely to be reduced. Even if it were not, a submarine force would put an enormous strain on Burma's military budget. Also, subsurface warfare is highly specialised, requiring advanced technology, customised support facilities and trained personnel. There have been no signs that this infrastructure has been developed.

Other countries can help in some of these areas, but even modern navies in developed states have found such challenges difficult to overcome.This issue also raises questions about the government's priorities and the relationship between the president and his Commander in Chief, Min Aung Hlaing, who has emphasised Burma’s need for ‘strong, powerful, modernized and patriotic’ armed forces. President Thein Sein agrees, but the defence sector still has to compete for scarce resources against the demands of the government's wide-ranging reform program and the pressing needs of other portfolios.

The purchase of a submarine or two would also have implications for Burma's external relations.
Several Southeast Asian navies have acquired or are acquiring conventional submarines. After a recent maritime dispute with Burma, Bangladesh intends to buy two Chinese boats. Talk of an 'underwater arms race' may be premature, but these developments have doubtless attracted Naypyidaw's attention. Burma's strategic environment is changing. The US and UK are tentatively developing military-to-military ties with Burma. Australia has just posted a Defence Attache to Rangoon, and the RAN has made its first port visit since 1959. Despite Burma's recent naval diplomacy, these and other countries are unlikely to welcome reports that Naypyidaw is acquiring an expensive and potentially destabilising power projection capability.

Strategic analysts often find Burma difficult to read. For example, it was once an accepted fact that China had a large military base in Burma. This later proved to be incorrect. Similarly, it was widely reported that Burma was on track to have a nuclear weapon by 2014. That was never a realistic prospect. Rumours that Naypyidaw was seeking to acquire ballistic missiles aroused scepticism at first, but now appear to be confirmed. With all these factors in mind, reports of a secret submarine sale need to be treated carefully. Burma has always had the ability to surprise observers, but until there is conclusive evidence of an active subsurface warfare program, or corroboration of a submarine purchase from a reputable official source, a degree of caution seems warranted.

India close to buying Japan-made military aircraft - ShinMaywa US-2 Amphibious Planes

India is set to become the first country since World War Two to buy a military aircraft from Japan, helping Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dismantle a ban on weapons exports that has kept his country's defence contractors out of foreign markets.The two countries are in broad agreement on a deal for the ShinMaywa Industries (7224.T) amphibious aircraft, which could amount to as much as $1.65 billion, Indian officials said on Tuesday.

However, several details need to be worked out and negotiations will resume in March on joint production of the plane in India and other issues.New Delhi is likely to buy at least 15 of the planes, which are priced at about $110 million each, the officials said.

"Its a strategic imperative for both sides, and it has been cleared at the highest levels of the two governments," said an Indian military source.

For the moment, a stripped-down civilian version of the US-2i plane is being offered to India, to get around Japan's self-imposed ban on arms exports. A friend or foe identification system will be removed from the aircraft, another defence official said.The two countries are discussing assembling the aircraft in India, giving India access to Japanese military technology, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said.

The plane has a range of over 4,500 km (2,800 miles), which will give it reach far into Southeast Asia from the base where the aircraft are likely to be located, in the Andaman and Nicobar island chain that is near the western tip of Indonesia.

The navy plans to use the Japanese-built plane to support ships on long range missions, the military source said, a role that is increasing as it steps up its profile across the Indian Ocean to counter rival China."You are sailing further and further away, and ships break down at sea. You can either wait for reinforcements to arrive by sea or bring in an amphibian right next to the stricken ship," the source said.

The two governments have set up a joint working group that will meet in March to consider plans to either set up a plant in India to assemble it under licence by an Indian state manufacturer.The plan is to deliver two aircraft and then assemble the rest of the planes with an Indian partner, the military source said.The deal lays the ground for a broader Japanese thrust into India, the world's biggest arms market dominated for long by Russia but now also buying hardware from Israel and the United States.

"There is a whole amount of defence-related cooperation, between India and Japan," said Gautam Bambawale, an Indian foreign ministry official responsible for East Asia."We want Japanese technology, we want Japanese capital investment into India."

Obrum ADVANCED STEALTH Main Battle Tank

January 27, 2014

India unveils new local-made Arjun Mk-II main battle tank at the Republic Day Military Parade 2014

The Arjun Mk.II MBT (Main Battle Tank) was unveiled for the first time to the public at India's 65th Republic Day Military Parade, January 26, 2014. Thle latest version of Arjun MBT is aimed at exemplifying DRDO’s strength in the area of defence technology – design and development, leading to the production of state of the art weapon systems for India’s armed forces.

World's Deadliest Helicopter

January 25, 2014

DRDO showcases the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system at the Baharin International Airshow

An Embraer R-99 aircraft fitted with Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) System developed by India at the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) prepares to take off at Sakir airbase during the Bahrain International Air Show, south of Manama, January 17, 2014

India showcased its state-of-the-art airborne platforms and associated sensors & communication systems designed and developed by DRDO (Defence Research & Development Organization, Ministry of Defence, Govt of India) during the Bahrain International Airshow. DRDO, along with some of its production partners is displaying India’s strength and expertise in design, development and leading to production at the ‘Bahrain International Airshow’ being held at Sakhir Airbase, Bahrain from 16 – 18 Jan 2014, with the aim of exploring the potential of exporting these advanced systems to friendly countries in the region.

Training artillery exercise for Singapore armed forces with Primus 155mm self-propelled howitzer - Exercise Thunder Warrior concludes today with New Zealand

The Singapore 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer, Primus, participating in a live-firing exercise during Exercise Thunder Warrior
Second Minister for Defence Mr Chan Chun Sing visited Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) troops training in an artillery exercise, codenamed Thunder Warrior, at the Waiouru Training Area in New Zealand today. During his visit, Mr Chan witnessed a battalion live-firing exercise involving the Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer (SSPH), Primus, and interacted with SAF troops participating in the exercise.

The exercise, conducted from 13 to 25 January 2014, involves about 400 personnel from the 21st and 24th Battalions, Singapore Artillery (SA). In addition, Gunners from the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery, New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) had joined the Singapore Artillery in a bilateral segment of the exercise to operate and fire the SSPH.

Exercise Thunder Warrior has been conducted annually in New Zealand since 1997, and underscores the close and long-standing defence relations between Singapore and New Zealand. The SAF and the NZDF interact extensively through a wide range of bilateral and multilateral training exercises, professional exchanges, visits and courses.

Both armed forces also interact regularly under the ambit of the Five Power Defence Arrangements and the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus. These interactions have helped enhance the interoperability and mutual understanding among the personnel of the two armed forces.

January 24, 2014

US Navy Rail Gun Showing Promise

US Navy developers are moving into a second phase of testing for an electromagnetic rail gun that US Navy leaders hope to mount to surface ships in the future, service officials said Wednesday at the Navy Surface Warfare Association Annual Symposium.

The rail gun is a long-range, high-energy, multi-mission weapon able to fire high-velocity projectiles three times as far as most existing Navy guns. “We’ve gone through prototype phase 1 and had two industry gun systems. We’re now on phase two which will give us multiple rounds per minute,” said Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, Chief of Naval Research.Klunder expressed enthusiasm that the rail gun successfully went 8-for-8 in a recent test firing at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
“It went exactly where we told it to go with good telemetry,” he explained.

The rail gun, which can hit ranges of 100 miles or more, uses electricity stored on the ship to generate a high-speed electromagnetic pulse sufficient to propel a kinetic energy warhead. The result is an inexpensive, high-impact and long-range offensive weapon, service officials said.The Navy, which has been testing the rail gun at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va., plans to integrate it aboard a ship by 2016, service officials said.

The 23-pound hyper-velocity projectile can be fired from a rail gun as well as from Navy 5-inch guns and even 155mm artillery weapons, Klunder added. The round currently has what’s called command guidance but may be engineered for self-guidance in the future.
In addition to range and lethality advantages, the rail gun is also much less expensive than other weapons in the Navy arsenal to operate — the rounds cost about $25,000 each, he added.

The gun is high-heat and high-energy so cooling technologies are required, Klunder said.
“There are multiple designs that we are evaluating. Obviously it is not just the gun but a lot of the systems that go behind that,” said Don McCormack, Surface Warfare Center Director.

C-295 Only Eligible Bid for PAF's Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft Acquisition Program

A C-295 in MPA form used by the Chilean Navy. With the C-295 choice of the PAF, the C-295 bid for the LRMPA project

A C-295 transport aircraft delivered to the Mexican Air Force.

Airbus Military's C-295 transport aircraft, as used by the Spanish Air Force.

The CN-235 offered by PT DI was disqualified for failing to meet payload and space requirements.

The bid submission and opening for the Philippine Air Force's requirement for 3 Medium Lift Fixed Wing Aircraft has seen Airbus Military (EADS-CASA) and PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI) joining the tender. They are offering the C-295 and the CN-235, respectively. Noted was the absence of another expected bidder, Alenia Aermacchi with its C-27J Spartan aircraft. It appears that Airbus Military's C-295 is the lowest eligible bid, with a quote of Php 5.289 billion, or a little lower than the Php 5.3 billion budget allocated by the PAF and DND.

It is expected that the post qualification process will start soon, and may involve DND and PAF personnel to check EADS-CASA-Airbus Military's facilities and C-295 production in Spain, where the C-295 is produced. No word though if PT DI will be involved in any way as they are also a licensed assembler of the C-295 for the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI). If everything goes as planned, it is expected that the planes will be available to the PAF after 26 months after opening of letter of credit, which will be in 2016. The PAF would be luckier if Airbus Military can deliver earlier as their production of the C-295 is still in full blast.

With the choice of the C-295, it would be interesting to see next what would be the PAF's choice on the future Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft (LRMPA) acquisition project, wherein the a modified C-295 is said to be one of the contenders as well. Although it was confirmed by the DND and PAF sources that the LRMPA project might be US-sourced, it is still possible for the C-295 to steal the show as everything is not yet final on that project.

January 22, 2014

Vietnam accepts the second 636 SSK submarine - Ho Chi Minh and officially commissions the first one - "Hà Nôi"

2nd submarine Ho Chi Minh to arrive in early March 2014

On the morning of January 15, 2014 in the Vietnamese naval base in Cam Ranh Bay , took place the commissioning ceremony of the Vietnamese Navy large diesel - electric submarine (SSK) HQ-182 "Hà Nôi" (Project 636 Kilo/Varshavyanka class). It is the first unit of six SSK built in Russia by JSC "Admiralty Shipyards" under a 2009 contract. In a ceremony attended by Navy Commander of the Vietnam People's Navy (VNA), Vietnam Deputy Defence Minister Admiral Nguyen Van Hien and Deputy Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral VNA Pham Ngoc Minh.

The first unit, HQ-182 "Hà Nôi", keel was laid at JSC "Admiralty Shipyards" in St. Petersburg on August 24, 2010, launched on 28 August 2012 and set sail for sea trials in December 2012. The submarine was transfered to the Vietnamese Navy on November 7, 2013. On November 15 the SSK was loaded in St. Petersburg on the Dutch cargo ship Rolldock Sea for delivery to Vietnam. Rolldock Sea arrived in the Vietnamese naval base at Cam Ranh on December 31, 2013.
On January 16, 2014 at "Admiralty Shipyards" in St. Petersburg took place the signing of technical acceptance between Vietnamese Navy and the shipyard for the second submaine HQ-183 "Ho Chi Minh". "Ho Chi Minh" was laid on September 28, 2011 , launched on 28 December 2012 and started builder's sea trials in the summer of 2013.

It is reported that on January 19 submarine Ho Chi Minh sailed from St. Petersburg to Kaliningrad to be loaded onto a transport vessel for subsequent delivery to Vietnam. It is expected to arrive in Vietnam in early March 2014.

According to Rosoboronexport, Project 636 proved highly effective while operated by naval forces of several countries.

Unparalleled in her technical and operational specifications, the ship is designed to conduct effective anti-sub warfare along with the capability to engage surface ships and coastal targets of potential adversary striking operations both independently or as part of a larger task force. Increased output of the main propulsion plant allowed to enhance significantly her submerged speed alongside with endurance range up to 7500 miles. Furthermore, she is one of the world’s quietest diesel-electric submarines providing guaranteed early enemy detection and long-range attack as well as evasive maneuverability and concealment.

Outstanding fighting efficiency of the project 636 submarine is supported by the Club-S missile system, intended for engaging all types of surface, submerged and coastal targets with unrivalled 3M-54E cruise missiles in the background of active electronic and firing counter effort. Capable of striking targets 275 km away, the system considerably strengthens combat stability of the DE submarine when facing enemy countermeasures. Wide use of the Club-S cruise missile system may result in drastic change of the entire sea battle nature in favor of the owner.

January 21, 2014

UK Ministry of Defence amasses £4BILLION fleet of 657 military drones for use in deadly warzones

It includes 10 Reaper MQ-9s, which are armed with Hellfire ­missiles plus laser-guided 500lb bombs and can hover 20,000ft above targets for more than 20 hours. Britain has amassed a force of 657 military drones, the Sunday People can reveal.The £4billion fleet of unmanned ­aircraft built to probe deep into the deadliest warzones is one of the largest in the world.

And they include 10 Reaper MQ-9s, which are armed with Hellfire ­missiles plus laser-guided 500lb bombs and can hover 20,000ft above targets for more than 20 hours.Drones have been blamed for a series of civilian deaths in Afghanistan in recent years – but top brass claim they have also saved the lives of scores of British troops lives by killing hundreds of Taliban insurgents.

The Afghanistan Reapers are ­piloted by a two-man crew sitting 3,500 miles away at RAF Waddington, Lincs.But most drones aren’t armed – they just spy or fly recce missions.A Freedom of Information request found the biggest number of UK drones are the 324 Black Hornet Nano micro-helicopters, ­only four inches long and an inch wide (100x25mm). They fly over insurgent ­strongholds to film and take pictures.

Then there are 222 Desert Hawks, plastic spy-drones with a 4ft 3in ­wingspan (1.3m). David Cameron held one on a visit to Afghanistan last June.For tougher operations, 54 Watchkeepers can stay aloft for 17 hours.Nine more are due in service soon to ­replace ­ageing Hermes 450s. By ­contrast 30 Tarantula Hawks weigh just 20lbs apiece and are used as recce aides by bomb-disposal teams in Afghanistan.

Lastly there are eight ScanEagles, a specialist drone being used in the ­campaign against Somali pirates.Drones are likely to make up a third of all RAF working aircraft by 2030 but human rights groups fear they could be used to spy on the innocent public. The MoD declined to comment.

Guided Tour Inside the E-4B NAOC Doomsday Plane

January 20, 2014

Indonesian Defense Ministry looking to replace aging F-5 tiger fighter aircraft

The Indonesian Defense Ministry announced its plan to replace the F-5 Tiger fighter aircraft with the latest generation of jet fighters such as the Russian Sukhoi Su-35."We have received proposals from several jet fighter manufacturers for replacing the F-5 Tiger fighter aircraft. We are in the process of evaluating which jet fighter will best suit our requirements, whether the aircraft is from Russia, USA, or other countries," stated Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro.

Purnomo spoke about the plan after holding a meeting with Indonesian Military Commander General Moeldoko and Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff Marshall Ida Bagus Putu Dunia.The minister pointed out that they have at least 5 to 6 options of jet fighters to replace the aging F-5 Tiger fighter aircraft, which has been in service for over three decades.He urged several officers to weigh all their available options to zero down upon which jet fighter meets the specifications to replace the "Tiger".
The minister hoped that the officers can arrive at a decision soon, so that the requisition plan can be included in Indonesias Strategic Plan II 2015 to 2020.

Meanwhile, General Moeldoko remarked that the Indonesian Air Force has conducted a study on several jet fighters such as the Russian Sukhoi Su-35, the American F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon, and the Swedish Fighter SAAB JAS 39 Gripen."We are still evaluating the options. It depends on Indonesias financial position," Moeldoko stated.Ida noted that the Indonesian Air Force is willing to have a squadron of 16 new jet fighters to replace the aging F-5 Tiger.

January 19, 2014

USS Zumwalt Launch

Vietnam unveils its new own design 105mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer

Vietnam has designed and manufactured its own wheeled self-propelled gun based on a military truck chassis fitted with a 105 mm M101 towed gun. Recently, a Vietnamese army newspaper published some pictures take during first firing test with the new self-propelled howitzer. 

Oman to Sharply Increase its Defense Budget to keep pace with neighbors - Iran, UAE and Bahrain

The Royal Army of Oman Western Frontier Regiment training in UK

Oman is currently in the middle of a military modernization phase, with an aim to keep pace with its neighbors such as the UAE and Bahrain. Assisted by oil revenues, the Middle East has been an attractive market for defense suppliers during the past four years and is expected to remain so to 2018.

One of the main factors driving the Omani defense budget is the arms race with countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, combined with a perceived threat from Iran. To be on par with its neighbors, Oman increased its military budget sharply over the last couple of years to value US$9.3 billion in 2013, registering a growth rate of 23.10% since 2009.The sharp rise in the defense budget in 2012-2013 was made possible by increasing oil prices, which generated additional revenue for the government and was directed towards strengthening its defense and security. By 2018 the country’s defense and security expenditure is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate CAGR of 6.76% to reach US$13 billion by 2018, owing to the procurement of advanced military equipment and regional dynamics.

Various deals with the US to get hold of F-16 aircraft, air missile defense systems, and other arms imports have fuelled the growth of the capital budget allocation during 2012 and 2013. The country is expected to continue to buy advanced weapons in order to achieve its purpose of becoming a substantial military force in the region.Oman is projected to allocate an average of 19.5% of its defense and security budget towards related capital expenditure by 2018.

Oman’s defense imports witnessed a decline in 2010 and 2011, but increased sharply in 2012 due to new procurement deals signed during 2011-2012. In the past, Oman has sourced the majority of its defense imports from companies based in the UK, such as BAE Systems.However during 2009, France and the US dominated by fulfilling 61.3% and 31.4% of Oman’s arms imports. Aircraft accounted for more than 75% of Oman’s arms imports during this period. With missiles, armored vehicles, and air defense systems being other major categories procured from foreign suppliers.

Air defense capabilities such as fighter aircraft, surface to air missiles, and radars are expected to be an area of focus for the Omani Ministry of Defense (MoD) during 2018. The government is also expected to focus on protecting its oil maritime trade routes and strengthening its maritime borders with the procurement of patrol vessels and frigates. Additionally, these procurements can help improve security in the country’s international borders.Oman allows foreign investment in its domestic defense industry but limits it to 49%, which has to be approved by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. However, Oman does not disclose information about direct offset obligations but does give preference to companies offering indirect offsets ranging from supply of foods to investment in non-defense sectors in the country.

The Sultanate maintains strong relations with the UK and US and prefers to buy from the defense suppliers based in these two countries. Dominance of these companies could poses as a barrier for the foreign equipment supplier to enter into the Omani defense market. Lack of skilled labor may also prove to be deterrent for new entrants.

January 18, 2014

Russia forms helicopter squadron for Armenian base

The Russian military has formed a helicopter squadron to strengthen its air contingent at the Erebuni air base in Armenia, the press service of Russia’s Southern Military District said Friday, RIA Novosti reports.Russia’s 3624th Air Base at the Erebuni airport in Yerevan currently hosts at least 16 MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets operating under the framework of air defense agreements concluded between the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

“The Russian air contingent [in Armenia] will be strengthened with Mi-24P attack helicopters, Mi-8MT and Mi-8SMV military transport helicopters, which will be used for ground support and transportation of the [Russian] troops deployed in Armenia,” the press service said in a statement.
The Mi-24P (Hind-F) is a gunship version of the famed Russian attack helicopter armed with a side-mounted 30-mm GSh-30K twin-barrel cannon, while the Mi-8SMV (Hip-J) is an airborne jamming platform with “Smalta-V” system, designed to protect ground attack aircraft from enemy air defenses.

The personnel of the squadron are undergoing specific training at an airbase in Rostov-on-Don.The helicopters will be gradually deployed at the Erebuni base through 2014, the press service said.
Armenian Deputy Defense Minister Ara Nazaryan said in November last year that the Russian squadron at the Erebuni base would comprise 18 helicopters.The Erebuni air base is part of Russia’s 102nd military base located in Gyumri, near Armenia’s border with Turkey.

The 102nd base has been deployed in Gyumri since 1995 under a bilateral treaty that was extended in 2010 from 25 to 49 years, ensuring a Russian military presence in Armenia through 2044.

DRDO to unveil a new 130mm self-propelled gun based on Arjun MBT chassis at Defexpo in New Delhi

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)of India is all set to unveil a 130 mm self-propelled gun system, built based on the Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT) MK-1 chassis. Developed by the DRDO lab Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), the Arjun Catapult Gun System is likely to be displayed in public for the first time during the Defexpo India-2014, to be held in Delhi from February 6-9.

Izumo could serve as Japan's command center in Diaoyutai conflict

The Izumo, Japan's new helicopter carrier, could be used as a command center to coordinate the ground, air and maritime forces of the nation in a potential conflict with China over the disputed Diaoyutai islands (called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China) in the East China Sea, reports the Tokyo-based Kyodo News.

In an article for the paper, Makoto Yamasaki, a retired vice admiral of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), stressed that the primary mission of the Izumo is to serve as a flagship with intelligence command capabilities. Equipped with an electronic conference room that can give commands to individual units and an advanced communications system, Japanese military magazine Ships of the World indicated that the Izumo is capable of strengthening the integrated operations of Japan's military as a frontline headquarters.

Military experts said that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's E-767, E-2C early warning aircraft, F-15J fighters, the JMSDF's P-3C patrol aircraft, destroyers, as well as the Ground Self-Defense Force's anti-aircraft and anti-ship units can all be coordinated on the battlefield once this 248-meter-long vessel with a standard displacement of 19,500 tonnes becomes a frontline HQ.

The Kyodo News also reported that the Izumo may be redesigned as an aircraft carrier when the F-35 fighters begin to arrive in Japan. The Japanese defense ministry, meanwhile, plans to purchase 17 MV-22 Ospreys from the United States to operate from the flight deck of the Izumo by 2018.

In addition to combating the People's Liberation Army Navy in a potential conflict over remote islands in the East China Sea, the ship may also be used in the the event of major natural disasters, Kyodo News said. It is capable of accommodating some 450 people, excluding crew members, and is equipped with a surgery room and beds for medical treatment.

Japan's ground and maritime forces have learned valuable lessons about fighting amphibious warfare through joint exercises with the United States Navy and Marine Corps. However, the Izumo still lacks a well deck like other dedicated amphibious assault ships, the paper said, adding that the carrier as a command center may become the first and an easy target for the PLA Navy is a conflict over the region were to occur.

January 17, 2014

Austal Launches USNS Fall River JHSV 4

JHSV is Joint High Speed Vessel 

On January 16, 2014, Austal USA successfully completed the launch process of the USNS Fall River (JHSV 4). Recently christened, this 103-meter high-speed catamaran represents the U.S. Department of Defense’s next generation multi-use platform. It is part of a 10-ship program, the funds for all of which have been appropriated, worth over US$1.6 billion. On January 16, 2014, Austal USA successfully completed the launch process of the USNS Fall River (JHSV 4). Recently christened, this 103-meter high-speed catamaran represents the U.S. Department of Defense’s next generation multi-use platform. It is part of a 10-ship program, the funds for all of which have been appropriated, worth over US$1.6 billion.

The launch of USNS Fall River was conducted in a multi-step process that involved having Berard Transportation transfer the ship from Assembly Bay 3 onto a deck barge, which was then towed to BAE Systems Southeast Shipyard.  The next day, Fall River was transferred onto BAE’s dry dock Alabama; it was floated then returned to Austal’s facility where it will undergo final outfitting and activation before sea trials and delivery to the Navy later this year.

JHSV 4 is now one of four Austal-built Navy ships moored in the Mobile River, joining USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3), Coronado (LCS 4), and Jackson (LCS 6).

Philippines Department of Defense to purchase 28 armoured infantry fighting vehicles from Israel

The Department of National Defense has signed a P882-million contract with an Israel-based firm for the purchase of 28 armored infantry fighting vehicles.DND Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez said in an interview on Thursday that the deal was signed last week with Elbit Systems Land and C4L for the "very capable" vehicles.

Velez declined to divulged the vehicles' specifications citing security reasons.He said that four of the 28 armored vehicles are recovery models to be used to tow damaged units and those incapacitated in the battlefield.Fourteen of the new acquisitions, meanwhile, will be used as fire support vehicles equipped with 76mm cannons taken from decommissioned vehicles.

The delivery of the vehicles are expected to be completed by January 2015.The Philippine Army is so far equipped with 343 armored fighting vehicles for its 10 infantry divisions.

The 28 armored infantry fighting vehicles are among the the department's planned acquisitions this year for the Army. The list includes a shore-launched anti-ship missile system, various grenade launchers, 155mm Towed Howitzers and a few other trucks.

GoPros mounted on MiG-31s

January 16, 2014

Singapore to Equip F-16s with AESA Radar

The Black Knights have recently been re-formed, and will perform at the upcoming Singapore Airshow, to be held at the Changi Exhibition Centre from 11-16 February 2014. Photo: Republic of Singapore Air Force/Photo by Katsushiko Tokunaga (DACT
Singapore Ministry of Defence

 Singapore is planning to equip 60 of its F-16 Block 52 aircraft with Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars, as part of a $2.43 billion upgrading program. The provider of the new radar, being the main element in the modernization process, has yet to be selected yet.

Both Raytheon and Northrop Grumman are offering AESA radars for F-16s. Raytheon’s radar has recently been selected for a major upgrade in South Korea, to be performed by BAE Systems. Northrop Grumman is providing the radar for a similar upgrade for the US Air Force and for Taiwan, both programs to be delivered by Lockheed Martin.

According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) the upgrade package will also include LN-260 Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (GPS/INS), APX-125 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Combined Interrogator Transponders and Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS). Other equipment included in the upgrade comprise Modular Mission Computers, cockpit multifunction displays, radios, secure communications, video recorders and Mission Planning Systems. The package also includes integration of a number of guided weapons, including AIM-9X Block II air/air missiles, TGM-65G Maverick, GBU-50 and 38 JDAMs, GBU-12 and 49 laser guided bombs and CBU-105 sensor fused weapon dispensers.

Singapore currently operates 60 F-16C/D fighter planes in interceptor (F-16C) and two-seater strike (F-16D Block 52) configurations. Under the upgrade plan both variants will be upgraded to the latest configuration. At the Singapore Airshow 2012 Lockheed Martin launched the F-16V, the latest upgraded or new-manufactured model of the F-16. Singapore has not announced the schedule of the planned upgrade, but the first of the new fighters are expected to be re-introduced to service in 2015.

Marine Nationale (French Navy) and US Navy joint Aircraft Carriers deployment

Pictures of USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group combined operations with the French navy's Task Force 473 (with the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier) in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. 

The French Navy likely named the Operation “Bois Belleau” (Belleau Wood, a famous WWI battle that took place in France and involved the US Army and US Marine Corps) because some major joint Marine Nationale (French Navy) – U.S. Navy maneuvers and exercises are planned. According to the French Navy, operation Bois Belleau will enable the French and US navies to reach the highest level of cooperation to date. The U.S. Carrier Battle Group formed around the Nimitz class Aircraft Carrier USS Harry S. Truman, will be present in the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf at the same time. There will be a joint deployment and close cooperation for five weeks between the two CVBGs. France and the United States are leading strategic partners and the only nations to deploy nuclear-powered aircraft carriers capable of projecting massive fire-power.

The presence of the Charles de Gaulle will also be an opportunity for the French Navy to conduct high-level cooperation with partner countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Best of GGK (Malaysia Special Force)

January 15, 2014

Eighteen F-4E Phantom aircraft stage Elephant Walk in South Korea

18 F-4E belonging to the 17th Fighter Wing based at Cheongju airbase, about 100 km to the southeast of Seoul, taxing along the runway in rows of three Phantoms.

The reason is that these kind of training activities, with several planes taxiing in close sequence or formation along the runway, is conduct with a dual purpose: first, to test squadrons readiness to war time operations; second, as a show of force, to impress the threatening neighbour North Korea.

Image credit: ROKAF

Philippine Army to get 400 brand-new light rocket launchers

The Philippine Army still uses the M68 90mm recoilless rifle together with a few dozen of the smaller and older M18 57mm recoilless rifles. A new requirement for rocket launchers to replace them is in the pipeline.

The PA also uses the Armbrust rocket launcher, but this is a disposable one-shot system. The PA is looking for a reuseable system which is more cheaper in the long run.

In line with its modernization program, the Philippine Army (PA) on Friday announced that it will be getting 400 units of LRRs (light rocket launcher anti-tank weapons) before the end of 2014.Capt. Anthony Bacus, Army spokesperson, said that these weapons are meant to replace the 186 units of 90-mm and 26 pieces of 57-mm recoilless rifles currently in service.

He added the decision to acquire the 400 units of LRRs was done as the recilless rifles were too heavy to be carried by a single soldier alone."One of the downside aspect for these old weapons is that they are too heavy to be carried by an individual soldier, that most instances, it impedes the movement of maneuvering troops," Bacus stressed.

Aside from these LRRs, the PA also has 12 units of 76-mm guns and 300 25-mm cannons for its anti-armor role.Anti-armor capability refers to the ability to destroy or disable enemy armor in the battlefield.PA anti-armor weapons are issued to elite and special operations units and the newly-created mechanized infantry companies which consist of 14 armored vehicles each.
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