January 23, 2021
New amphibious vessels would each displace 1,000 to 8,000 tons and measure around 100 meters in length (image : ASPI Strategis)
US Navy and Marine Corps reimagine their future amphibious force, high-level discussions have focused on an innovative Australian-designed vessel to land troops and their equipment on unprepared beaches.
Gold Coast – based Sea Transport Solutions' stern landing vessel is one of several contenders vying for the US Navy's light amphibious warship program. The stern landing design overcomes problems of conventional landing craft, which features a large ramp in the bow that makes for poor handling in rough seas, reduces speed and obstructs visibility. Stern landing vessels are a mature capability and have been used extensively in Australia's mining industry.
After years of US marines waging granting counterinsurgency campaigns inland, Marine Corps Commandant General David Berger's 2019 planning guidance refocuses on 'exploiting positional advantage and defending key maritime terrain'. He encourages naval expeditionary forces to look to ‘unmanned platforms, stern landing vessels, other ocean-going connectors, and smaller more lethal and more risk-worthy platforms” when reconceiving the amphibious fleet.
Large US landing ships displace up to 45,000 tons and are intended to stand off a shoreline and launch their own bevy of landing craft from an internal well deck. The new amphibious vessels would each displace 1,000 to 8,000 tons and measure around 100 meters in length. With a range of 3,500 nautical miles and the ability to operate within a fleet or independently, they could serve as 'lilypads' for dispersing and relocating marine littoral regiments among western Pacific islands or along the Baltic coastline, for example.
Lieutenant General Eric Smith points out that such a light amphibious warship is 'much more able to hide in plain sight, much more affordable, much more numerous because of its cost'. Offloaded platoons could fire anti-ship cruise missiles at Chinese naval forces in a conflict scenario, or conduct other missions such as forward refueling and rearming of friendly aircraft, coastal surveillance and radar early warning or air defense.
The total planned buy of 28 to 30 ships, at US $ 100–130 million apiece, will be competitively awarded, but Sea Transport Solutions is considered to be in with a strong chance. The Department of the Navy's 2021 budget request explicitly calls for 'a stern landing vessel to support amphibious ship-to-shore operations', according to naval reporter Megan Eckstein, and the US Congressional Research Service indicates that the marines want the program expedited to ensure the vessels are operational by 2026.One option would be for the Australian company to partner with an American yard for construction of the vessels in the US. For instance, West Australia-based company Austal has such a shipyard in Alabama where it builds the Independence-class littoral combat ship and the expeditionary fast transport.
If that plays out, US marines could find themselves aboard fresh, Australian-designed amphibious vessels.
Three Black Hawk S-70i helicopters landed at Tactical Operations Group (TOG) 2 in Cuayan, Isabela, 92.9 Brigada News Cauayan City reported January 19.
TOG 2 is a Philippine Air Force (PAF) unit operating under Tactical Operations Wing (TOW) Northern Luzon.
Earlier this month, Black Hawk helicopters also landed at Loakan Airport in Baguio City for proficiency training and familiarization of landing zone for pilots. The said Black Hawk S-70i helicopters are part of the first six helicopters delivered under the 16-helicopter order from Polish company PZL Mielec.
Remaining helicopters are expected to be delivered this year.
“The purchase of 16 S-70i combat-utility helicopters manufactured by the Polish Aviation Works-Mielec (PZL-Mielec) is an excellent example of cooperation between our two countries,” said Jarosław Szczepankiewicz, chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Manila.The Polish embassy noted that 16 Black Hawks were ordered under PAF’s Combat Utility Helicopter (Phase 3) Acquisition Project, which is a Horizon 2 phase priority project under the current Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Project.
January 22, 2021
This year, an ASEAN nation will receive the first FTC-2000G supplied from China. According to the news report, the deliveries will be completed within two years, or 2021-2023, no specific number of aircrafts. But there is a current news that it is likely to supply 6 aircrafts.
It is highly likely that it means Cambodia. It was previously revealed that the pilot was sent to train in China. Starting to study as a student of aviation and lately, China has been a big arms supporter of Cambodia.
We do not yet know the details of the equipment to be installed on this Cambodian aircraft. But overall, the FTC-2000G can be equipped with an AESA radar like the LKF-601E and can be used in conjunction with the PL-12 medium-range air-to-air (SD-10) rocket carrying 2-4 rounds or, however, if not be necessary cheaper version radar can be chosen, either the MSA or PESA, which is the same model installed in the L-15B trainer.
The fear of the FTC-2000G lies in a wide variety of air-to-ground weapons, such as the CM-102 anti-radar rocket for use in destroying ground-to-air missile bases, as well as the US AGM-88 HARM. The C-704KD, an infrared-guided missile with a range of about 30 km, is capable of destroying armored vehicles or structures. This includes the C-705KD surface anti-ship missile with a range of more than 100 km and several FT family of missile/glide bombs.
The FTC-2000G is a light fighter (LCA) comparable to FA-50PH (Philippines), T-50TH (Thailand), F-5TH (Thailand), T-50i (Indonesia), Yak-130 (Myanmar and Laos), or the Hawk 200 (Malaysia and Indonesia). In ASEAN countries together, the FTC-2000G is one of the top performers in ASEAN when considering the radar system with the highest performance radar option of all light fighter jets if selected LKF-601E radar set, offers a wide variety of weapons and inexpensive but has a weakness in electronic warfare.