16 Juli 2019

Vietnam Quietly Builds Up 10 Islands in South China Sea

16 Juli 2019

An aerial view of Southwest Cay, also known as Pugad Island, controlled by Vietnam and part of the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea, April 21, 2017 (photo : VOA)

Both China and Vietnam are building up small islands in the South China Sea, a waterway known in Vietnam as the East Sea.

China has received a lot of criticism for its actions there. But Vietnam receives very little international criticism. In fact, the country even gets some support because the speed of its island-building project is slower and widely seen as defensive.

There are several differences between the ways the countries are operating in the South China Sea. First, Vietnam has held its islands for many years. In addition, the areas where work takes place are close to the Vietnamese mainland. The country avoids military projects that might appear offensive. Lastly, Vietnam belongs to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). That organization is known for helping its members work out any differences.

Alan Chong is an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. He explains that Vietnam and neighboring ASEAN nations have kept to the areas near their borders around the sea.

"They've never had, I think, a standoff with any other country," Chong said. He added that within ASEAN, members do not want to cause each other trouble "so as to present a common front towards China."

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said in a report on April 8 that Vietnam has "slowly" added buildings on some of its 10 islands since 2017. The initiative is a project of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a research group based in the United States.

The report also noted new communications equipment, a sports field and the extension of an airport runway on Vietnam’s largest property in the Spratly Islands.

See full article VOA

Highly Mobile Rocket Systems to Stay in Australia after Talisman Sabre Ends

16 Juli 2019

HIMARS of the USMC in Talisman Sabre 2019 (photos : Aus DoD)

High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS, will train with Marines in Darwin, Australia, after participating in this month’s Talisman Sabre exercise Down Under, according to the Marine Corps.

A platoon from the Okinawa-based 12th Marine Regiment brought three HIMARS launchers to Australia for the monthlong, biennial drills involving 34,000 U.S. and Australian troops.

“The HIMARS is a highly mobile artillery rocket system,” 12th Marines commander Col. Mike Roach said in a phone interview from Australia on Thursday. “It’s light and it’s air transportable but it’s all-weather capable and provides a range up to [186 miles].”

On Monday, 50 Marines teamed up with the Air Force, Australian army and Royal Australian Air Force to practice inserting the launchers into an expeditionary air base before conducting live-fire drills in coordination with ground and amphibious forces, Roach said.

Air Force C-130J cargo planes out of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and KC-130s out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in mainland Japan flew the launchers into Williamson Airfield in the Australian state of Queensland.

The launchers conducted live-fire training with reduced-range practice rounds, but the capability of the HIMARS wasn’t lost on Australian troops who watched them in action, Roach said.

“All the folks out there were very impressed at what it can do,” he said.

The rocket artillery has participated in Talisman Sabre in past years. It has also seen service in Afghanistan and Iraq, where it struck insurgents up to 50 miles from where launchers were based, Roach said.

In an area as large as the Pacific, the rocket artillery provides commanders with the range to go after time-sensitive targets, he said.

After the exercise, the launchers will move to Australia’s Northern Territory, where 2,500 Marines are training over summer as part of Marine Rotational Force — Darwin, Roach said.

“The HIMARS are taking advantage of the opportunity that Australia provides,” he said.

The sparsely-populated continent with its massive military training areas is a contrast to the Marines’ home on Okinawa, where military bases take up much of the island, causing friction with some locals.

The HIMARS will conduct training in Darwin in August, Roach said.

(Stars and Stripes)

HTMS Prachuap Khiri Khan (OPV 552) Ready to Tested

16 Juli 2019

HTMS Prachuap Khiri Khan 552 OPV (all photos : Navy for Life)

Royal boat, Prachuap Khiri Khan 552 move again into the dry dock at Mahidol Adulyadej Naval Dockyard to make a Ship Stability Test and preparing to test the ship in the part of the hull and the propulsion system in the next week

The Royal Ship Prachuap Khiri Khan is a type of Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), the number of ships 552, which is affiliated with the 1st ship division Battle Squadron.

Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) will be named seaside provinces such as HMS Prachuap Khiri Khan etc. In the past, when there was no Long-range surveillance ship the Navy used to use the province name.

(Navy for Life)

15 Juli 2019

Indonesian Aerospace Hesitates to Take NC212i Order

15 Juli 2019

NC212i aircraft (image : PTDI)

KUALA LUMPUR—Indonesian Aerospace is temporarily declining to accept a Philippine order for six NC212i transports while it considers whether it can deliver them on time. 

Philippines Air Force (PAF) Chief Air Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez said the aircraft should be received in 2020, but the manufacturer would not confirm when asked by Aerospace Daily. 

“We need to synchronize the aircraft production line to ensure that we can meet the delivery schedule before the contract"

(Aviation Week Aerospace Daily)

RMAF’s Bomb Evolutions

15 Juli 2019

An LGB and JDAM inert units displayed with an F/A-18 Hornet at LIMA 2017 (photo : Malaysian Defence)

The introduction of McDonnell Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk fighter bombers in 1984 brought along new capabilities in the fight against Communist Terrorists (CT) hiding deep in the jungles of Peninsular Malaysia.

Previously, two of Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) strike aircraft namely the Canadair CL-41G-5 Tebuan light strike/jet trainer and Northrop F-5E Tiger II supersonic interceptor were employed to drop Mk 80 iron bombs over suspected CT camps often with mixed results.

The Malaysians managed to get unspecified numbers of Mark 14 Tail Retarding Device (TRD) kits to be installed on Mk 80 family bombs. In Snake Eye configuration, the extended fins increases tail drag and slows down front speed thus enabling the low flying aircraft to pass through bombing area safely without the risk of hitting its own bomb shrapnel and fragments.

In 1997, with the delivery of McDonnell Douglas F/A-18D+ NiteStrike Hornet to the RMAF’s No 18 Skn, a more precise delivery capability has been obtained in the form of GBU-16 Paveway II laser guided bomb (LGB). The Paveway II essentially is kitted together with Mk 82 bombs. It is believed that the Hornet is also able to dispense Snake Eye bombs but with the acceptance of Paveway II smart bombs, the Snake Eye has essentially becomes obsolete and eventually being withdrawn from use.

Su-30MKM with Paveway II (GBU-12 bomb) (photo : MMP)

The effectiveness of Paveway II bombs in combat could be seen during Ops Daulat in 2013 as around five rounds were dispensed with devastating effect on the enemy’s positions. Paveway becomes the Air Force weapon of choice so much so they integrate the system with the KNAAPO built Sukhoi Su-30MKM (NATO Reporting Name: Flanker), the only country that have mated Russian made aircraft with US made weapon system.

During the Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace (LIMA) 2017 show, the Air Force took the opportunity to showcase its Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs now equipping the upgraded Boeing F/A-18D Mod 25X Hornet. Unlike Paveway bombs which needs their targets to be painted by special forces on the ground, Mk 82 bombs equipped with JDAM kits only need GPS coordinates of target being keyed in. Malaysian JDAM have yet to see combat.

Tubitak Sage KGK bomb (photo : sondakika)

The next evolution of bomb that yet to be acquired by the RMAF is glide bombs. Turkish TUBITAK Sage has come up with Kanatlı Güdüm Kiti (KGK) precision guidance wing kit that converts Mark 82 bombs into long range fire and forget smart weapons. The KGK would give the RMAF’s strike fighters especially the Hornets and the Sukhoi a stand off strike capability.

Owing strong relationship with Turkish defence industries and strategic value, KGK should be considered as a priority procurement.


Vietnam Seeks for Bigger Surface Combatans

15 Juli 2019

Delegation of the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam visited the frigate Admiral Kasatonov - Project 22350 Admiral Gorshokov class at IDMS Exhibition 2019, which has length of 120m and 5.400 tonnes in weight (photo : BaoDatViet)

Missile defense ship Project 22356 is the commercial version of Admiral Gorshokov - Project 22350, Russia was officially launched at IDMS 2019.

Currently, Vietnam is actively looking for a new class of battleships with higher combat capability than the first 4 3.9 Gepard missile defense ships that have entered service.

There has been an assumption that we will order 2 more Gepard 3.9 with a more powerful weapon configuration but unfortunately, the upgraded version design has not yet been completed by Russia but only in the form of a demonstration model.

The image of the warship appearing on the screen is the fringe of Project 11356 (photo : BaoDatViet)

Before this situation, at the two international military exhibitions, Army 2019 and especially IDMS 2019, noted the move of the Vietnamese military delegation.

Russian media recently posted a meeting of Vietnam's high-level military delegation to attend IDMS 2019 Exhibition with the Russian state-owned Rosoboronexport State Import-Export Corporation. During the meeting, the image of the missile defense ship Project 11356 appeared, showing our interest.

But the Vietnamese delegation not only paid attention to the frigate Project 11356 but also directly visited and evaluated missile defense ship Admiral Kasatonov - Project 22350, second Admiral Admiral Gorshkov class. This vessel is rated as a more advanced design when placed next to Project 11356.

Multi-purpose frigate model Project 22356 is displayed by Russia at IDMS Exhibition 2019 (photo : BaoDatViet)

Project 22356 frigate is designed to destroy all targets of air, on and in the sea surface of the enemy, with the ability to attack the ground very strong through a powerful missile array.

The ship is 135 meters long; width 16.4 m; water draft 4.53 m; load of full load of 4,550 tons; maximum speed of 29.5 knots / h; range of 4,500 nautical miles; The time for continuous sea fishing is 30 days.

Russia has pre-engineered a number of basic configurations for customers to choose from, when the electronic system can include Fregat-M2EM or Fregat-MAE-3 air reconnaissance radar, fire control radar is Mineral-ME, Sigma-E22356 or Trebovanie-M combat management system, with electronic countermeasures TK-25E or KT-308-05.

Project 11356 Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate has a length of 124.8m and 4.075 tonnes (photo : Naval Today)

The ship's armament is notable, customers can choose to configure 16 Yakhont supersonic anti-ship missiles or 16 Kalibr-NKE missiles, but the second option is superior to the Kalibr-combination. NKE deployed both anti-submarine missiles and ground-based cruise missiles via UKSK multi-purpose launchers.

Air defenses are also available in two options: carrying Shtil-1 medium-range missile combos with 36 9M317ME interceptors 50 km long, or Rif-M system (naval version of S-300F lift level) with 32 long range 48N6E2 missiles of 195 km, creating a room that is not extremely reliable.

In addition, there was a single 130 mm gunboat and 2 30 mm rapid-firing guns, flight deck and stern carrier that allowed carrying a Ka-28 underground helicopter or warning helicopter. early air Ka-31.

Both 22356 and 11356 Project frigates are extremely powerful ships, if Vietnam chooses any class of ships, it will take naval forces to a new level.


RAAF Begins Annual Training with F-22 Raptors

15 Juli 2019

USAF F-22 Raptor with the F/A-18F Super Hornet (photo : Aus DoD)

The RAAF has started flying alongside USAF F-22 Raptor stealth fighter aircraft as part of an Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) activity for Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019.
The aim of Enhanced Air Cooperation is to strengthen the ability of Australia and the US to work together as well as regional partners.

Group Captain Stephen Chappell, Commander of the Amberley based Australian-US task unit for the exercise, said training with the stealth fighter aircraft honed Australian fifth-generation integration and provided valuable training.

“Talisman Sabre builds on the regular exercises we do at Amberley, in the United States and the key training programs and exchanges with USAF and US Navy that we use to develop our tactics, techniques and procedures,” Group Captain Chappell said.

“Integration with the fifth-generation platforms like F-22 and F-35 are key to how we will do our job both now and in the future.

“We train with Raptors annually, and this is a continuation of the journey and the ongoing pursuit and maintenance of full air combat integration.

“For Talisman Sabre, we will be focusing on how we operate and train on our F/A-18 Classic Hornet, F/A-18F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and E-7A Wedgetail in the same theatre as this advanced F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet.”

Colonel Barley Baldwin, Amberley USAF Group Commander, 13th Expeditionary Air Force said his personnel were looking forward to the opportunity to exercise in Australia.

“Exercises and training opportunities like Talisman Sabre 19 foster stronger relationships and increase interoperability with our Australian allies, as well as enable our aircrew and support personnel to become familiar with conducting operations out of Royal Australian air bases,” Colonel Baldwin said.

“I am excited for the 90th Fighter Squadron to return to Queensland where the squadron first established its long term relationship in with the Australians in 1942.

“During Talisman Sabre 2019, RAAF and USAF Airmen will train for high-end, modern combat as we continue to build upon our 70-plus year relationship.”

The USAF have deployed F-22 Raptors from 90th Fighter Squadron, the E-3C Sentry from the 962nd AACS, the KC-10 Extender from the 6th Air Refuelling Squadron, and a B-52 Stratofortress from the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron to support Talisman Sabre.