May 28, 2020
May 27, 2020
Navy Plans 50-Ship Maritime Force To Strengthen Claims On Disputed Seas
According to a Philippine Navy source, “we are not competing with anyone” but only trying to “regain some respect from other countries in the region, show the flag and protect our own interests in the South China Sea.”
The Philippines plans to spend an initial P75 billion to build a 50-ship maritime force, including short-range missile-capable smaller and faster vessels to protect the country’s security interests in the disputed South China Sea, a senior naval commander said.
About 100 other support vessels and more than 30 fixed-wing and rotary aircraft are also being considered in the Philippine Navy’s force mix that could cost the government more than P100 billion in the long term.
“These are modest upgrades to build a credible force to catch up with other neighbors in Southeast Asia,” a flag officer, who requested anonymity, said.
“We are not competing with anyone. We are only trying to regain some respect from other countries in the region, show the flag and protect our own interests in the South China Sea,” he stressed.
The South China Sea is being claimed in whole or in part by China, the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague awarded the Philippines sovereign rights over several features within its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea. The PCA also invalidated China’s “nine-dash-line” claim over nearly the entire sea.
But China, which has built artificial islands in the South China Sea, including those claimed by the Philippines and other countries, has refused to recognize the arbitral ruling.
The Navy flag officer disclosed that at least four big-ticket items are in the pipeline under the military modernization program’s second horizon until 2023, to buy two corvettes, six offshore patrol vessels, two landing platform docks and eight fast attack interdiction craft.
“We have started the process of procurement and have identified specific supplies under government-to-government deals, which are faster because we need to play catch-up with the rest. We belong to a few countries that do not have missile-capable ships as well as anti-submarine warfare, mine sweeping and anti-air capability,” the officer said.
The Navy’s force mix plan will address these deficiencies, the flag officer says, adding that the acquisition will allow the Navy to retire its legacy ships, many of which are World War II-era vessels donated by the United States at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
The rest of the surface combat vessels will be acquired in the third horizon until 2028, excluding electric-diesel submarines that are very expensive.
“We have not abandoned the plan to acquire two to four submarines, but it will take time to train people who will man these vessels as well as build a base suitable for these sub-surface vessels,” the flag officer said, adding that they are looking at the experiences of Southeast Asian countries that operate submarines such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore.
Australia's new fighter jets could be delayed after a US company foreshadowed a "slowdown" in production (photo : newcastleairport)
A parliamentary committee has been told a key milestone on the Future Submarine program has been pushed back, and the eventual cost of building the new fleet could reach $90 billion.
Meanwhile, Australia's next batch of Joint Strike Fighter aircraft could also be delayed after US defence company Lockheed Martin foreshadowed a production slowdown for three months due to the coronavirus impact.
"In response to COVID-19 F-35 supplier delays, Lockheed Martin is taking proactive measures to mitigate impacts and position the program for the fastest possible recovery," a company spokesperson told the ABC.
"The corporation is tapering its production rate over a three-month period, temporarily adjusting the work schedules for the F-35 production workforce in Fort Worth, Texas, and continuing to accelerate payments to small and vulnerable suppliers".
Australia is due to accept another 15 F-35s in 2021, as part of a $17 billion deal to eventually acquire 72 Joint Strike Fighters.
"A small number of Australian aircraft could potentially be delayed in the region of one to two months," the Defence Department told the ABC.
The department insisted that Australia's "full operational capability planned for 2023 is not expected to be impacted", despite the production delays in the United States.
Defence officials appearing before a parliamentary committee also warned the COVID-19 pandemic could further delay Australia's troubled $90 billion future submarine program.
A Preliminary Design Review originally due to be completed March 2020 is now expected to be finished in January 2021, despite a Systems Requirements Review also being months overdue.
The Defence Department's general manager of submarines, Greg Sammut, told the hearing that despite the impact of the coronavirus, he is relatively confident already missed deadlines can still be recovered.
"If I was to take into account the impact of COVID-19 and how that might play, and not to appear naive about the depth of that impact, we maintain a medium level of confidence that we can recover schedule by January 2021," Mr Sammut said.
The expected cost of building 12 new French-designed submarines has also blown out by a further $10 billion on top of the already expanded $80 billion price tag.
Defence and naval heads overseeing the project pointed to foreign exchange rates and inflation for the now estimated $89.7 billion cost to taxpayers.
Tony Dalton, the Defence Department's deputy secretary in charge of national shipbuilding, told the inquiry the future submarine project was exposed to the euro, US dollar and British pound.
"It could go higher or it could go lower depending on foreign exchange rate variations … I don't have a crystal ball," he said.
Following the hearings, Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick expressed scepticism that Defence would be able to catch up on delays.
"At every step they have been late but promised to make up time," Mr Patrick told the ABC.
ement, anti illegal immigrants and human smuggling operations during the Movement Control Order (MCO) dubbed Ops Benteng.
KD Gagah Samudera, a Samudera class training ship was deployed to the Straits of Melaka to serve as mothership for various patrol boats operated by the coast guards as well as the Marine Police.
Similar to the coast guard, these smaller patrol boats will rely on the ship’s long range radar detection as well as inputs from the patrolling aircraft above.
Adopting mothership concept during Ops Benteng will provide deterrent to stop the entry of illegal immigrant into the country as there has been concern that these illegal immigrants were infected by the coronavirus from China and that they could cause a resurgence of infection at times when data is showing a steady decline in domestic infection cases.
The operation also shows the flexibility of Samudera class training ship built jointly by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and Malaysia’s NGV Tech. While their main role is for training of naval cadets, recruits and young naval officers, their systems on board allow them to perform patrol duties as Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV).
All of the ships of the cf lass are equipped with a single MSI DS30M 30mm cannon and two M2HB Browning 12.7mm machine gun. The design of the ships features “fitted for but not with” concept similar to the Kedah class New Generation Patrol Vessel (NGPV) allowing the future installation of missiles and torpedo such as RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile(RAM) Surface to Air Missile (SAM) ,Exocet MM40 Block 2 Anti Ship Missile (AShM) and triple torpedo launcher. For the aviation facilities, both ship are able to accommodate one medium size helicopter for anti surface (ASuW) and anti submarine Warfare (ASW).
The RMN had high hopes for the South Korean design ships. In 2014, DSME receives contract worth RM1. 2 billion to build 6 Missile Surface Corvette (MSC) for the RMN. Utilising similar design of the Samudera class training ships, the MSC would augment the Kasturi and Laksamana class corvettes as well as replacing the Fast Attack Craft (Missile) boats.
The MSC will be equipped with Hyundai Wia K76L/62 76mm naval gun, two MSI DS30M 30mm gun, 4 units of Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM), two S&T Motiv K6 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG), torpedo launcher and Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) missile system.
Just like the Samudera class training ship, it has a heli deck that could receive a medium size helicopter. There are two cranes that could able to Deploy the ships’ Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB).
3 MSC will be built in South Korea while the rest will be built in Sijangkang, Selangor by NGV Tech. The first of the ship should be delivered to RMN by 2018.
NGV Tech was also supposedly build mini Dokdo class Landing Platform Dock (LPD) for the RMN but everything goes into disarray as NGV Tech enters into insolvency.
This caused significant delays of the completion and delivery into service of the two training ships.
Vietnam has unveiled a new variant of its KCT-15 cruise missile which is a licensed copy of the Russian Kh-35.
A report by Korean Herald says Indonesia has failed to make its annual payment for the development of the KF-X fighter. The country was suppose to pay $405 million last month.