April 15, 2021

Vietnam Launches Second Indian High Speed Patrol Boat


One more high-speed patrol vessel built with Indian assistance launched

The Ministry of National Defense Monday launched one high-speed patrol boat built with India technical and financial assistance and held the keel-laying ceremony for another.Using a $100-million line of credit extended to Vietnam in October 2014 by India, five vessels are being built at the Larsen & Toubro shipyard in Chennai, India, and seven at the Hong Ha Shipyard in Hai Phong under the company’s supervision.The 12 high-speed patrol vessels are meant for the Vietnam's Coast Guard.

Speaking at the launching ceremony on Monday, Indian ambassador to Vietnam, Pranay Verma, described the project "as an icon of India-Vietnam defense partnership" and reflecting India's commitment toward building the capacity of the Vietnamese military.He expressed confidence that the comprehensive strategic partnership and defense relations between the countries would continue to grow as an important factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region.The vessels are meant to strengthen security, detect illegal activities like smuggling and assist search and rescue.Despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the project has progressed at a rapid pace, the Indian embassy said.

In December last year India handed over the first of the 12 vessels to Vietnam.

HMAS Supply Welcomed to Fleet

HMAS Supply (II) was welcomed into Royal Australian Navy service on April 10 during a commissioning ceremony at Fleet Base East in Sydney.The first of two new Supply-class auxiliary oiler replenishment ships, Supply is a welcome boost to the fleet’s operational support capability.

Commanding Officer Captain Ben Hissink said the 173 crew members were proud to serve on such a strategically important new platform.“We celebrated the commissioning of a critical support capability that will help extend the endurance of our task groups and Navy’s ability to protect all Australians,” Captain Hissink said.“We follow in the footsteps of Supply (I) that fuelled our seafarers with good oil in good spirit, but now we do so again with additional logistics and combat capabilities.”

Supply and her incoming sister ship, NUSHIP Stalwart, will carry fuel, water, food, parts and dry cargo for the replenishment of Australian and regional partner ships while under way at sea, and to aid in humanitarian and disaster relief when called upon.They also have a combat management system, advancing capability over the previous support ships, HMA Ships Success and Sirius.Supply’s youngest crew member Seaman Claire Lissimore, who cut the commissioning cake with Captain Hissink, said she was excited to serve in Navy’s most contemporary ship.“I feel proud to have been an active part of the ceremony and to be posted to a first-of-class ship,” Seaman Lissimore said. 

“Experiencing the commissioning process with a progressive crew has been very exciting, especially coming straight out of a small town high school to join the Navy and subsequently Supply just last year.”At the ceremony, Captain Hissink said the valiant effort of the crew to bring together Navy and Australian histories had progressed a culture of confidence that would ensure they effectively met the needs of those they serve. “This commissioning day signifies a joining of history and our vision of ‘one ship many stories’,” Captain Hissink said.“Connecting Supply (I)’s legacy with the stories and history of our First Nation's people has prepared our crew to take on our duties as drifting protectors – providing for and protecting our families, our community and our nation.

“As we face our first-of-class sea trials we take these histories on: the Navy traditions that ground us, and the community and protection ideals instilled through our ship’s Indigenous artwork and main passageway, The Bundian Way.“These two legacies, combined with the power of our new capabilities, strengthens us in all we do and creates a bright future to move together into.”

Now commissioned, Supply will begin the next phase of first-of-class sea trials and integration into the fleet. 


North Korea’s new target ship

Now that we are all looking at Sinpo for signs of further activity involving the TULP (Towed Underwater Launch Platform) and the collocated floating drydock at the semi-refurbished construction hall, I wanted to bring your attention to an interesting vessel I have been following for a few months.  Its purpose is not entirely understood and it has been moving between at least three different naval bases on North Korea’s east coast since September 2020. While this is a bit speculative, I think we might be looking at a target ship for future cruise missile testing.The ship has been moving around over the past year.  The earliest I pinned the ship on satellite imagery was between September and October 2020 at the Chaho Naval base just north of Sinpo.  It was near this location where Kim Jong Un observed an SLBM test in April 2016, and at the naval base where he received the submariners after the test. Sometime before November 20th, 2020, the ship moved to the Yoho-ri Naval Base. Then it stayed until it was caught in a Planet Labs SkySat image on December 22nd being brought to the shipyard at Mayang-do, opposite the Sinpo South Naval Shipyard. Tarao Goo has identified the construction location at Chongjin, where the vessel was modified sometime after May 1st 2020.

Taiwan has achieved a major breakthrough in developing its own Vertical Launching System (VLS) for arming naval warships

Biden administration set to approve F-35 sale to UAE

  U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has told Congress it is proceeding with more than $23 billion in weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates, including advanced F-35 aircraft, armed drones and other equipment, congressional aides said on Tuesday.A State Department spokesperson said the administration would move forward with the proposed sales to the UAE, “even as we continue reviewing details and consulting with Emirati officials” related to the use of the weapons.

The Democratic president’s administration had paused the deals agreed to by former Republican President Donald Trump in order to review them. The sales to the Gulf nation were finalized right before Trump left office.The Trump administration told Congress in November it had approved the U.S. sale to the UAE as a side deal to the Abraham Accords, a U.S.-brokered agreement in September in which the UAE agreed to normalize relations with Israel.

In the last months of the Trump administration, Israel reached deals with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco as part of the accords.

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April 14, 2021

RAN Conducted Combat System Exercise in Southern California

 HMAS Sydney conducted a passage exercise with USS John Finn in the waters off the coast of Southern California in early April.Sydney has deployed to San Diego to conduct combat system sea qualifications trials on its Aegis weapons system with the US Navy.

Conducting live fire missile events will provide the data required for Navy senior leadership to assess Sydney for final operational capability, allowing all three of Australia's guided missile destroyers to be operationally deployed.Sydney arrived in Pearl Harbor on March 25 for a logistics port visit to replenish fuel and supplies, and provide her crew with respite ahead of transiting to the Southern California Exercise Area. 

John Finn was deployed as an integral part of a US carrier strike group in the north-east Indian Ocean before joining Sydney.The exercise improved interoperability between the two navies and enhanced the ability to plan, communicate and conduct complex maritime operations efficiently and effectively.

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Indonesia Receives First Batch of Chinese-Made AR-2 Missiles for its CH-4 UAVs

 The Indonesian military has received its first batch of Chinese-made AR-2 air-to-surface, precision-guided missiles (photo : Primasarana, Janes)

Information and images provided to Janes indicate that the weapons, which will be deployed on the Indonesian Air Force’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU’s) CH-4 medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), arrived at the service’s main ammunition depot on the Iswahyudi Air Force Base on 8 April.

These images also indicate that the missiles, which were packed in crates of two projectiles each, were delivered in a shipping container that also included an undisclosed number of pylons and rail launchers.The AR-2 relies on its inertial guidance system for mid-course updates and on its semi-active laser (SAL) seeker for terminal homing. The weapon can carry a 5 kg armour-piercing warhead and has a maximum range of about 8 km.The TNI-AU currently operates a fleet of six CH-4 UAVs, the first two of which made their public debut in October 2019. The CH-4 variant supplied to Indonesia has an operating radius of between 1,500 km and 2,000 km and can be operated via satellite link.

The TNI-AU’s CH-4s were also seen armed with the larger AR-1 missiles during a 2019 exercise in East Java, Indonesia.

Pilot error likely cause for B-17G crash

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has published a new report into the fatal crash of a B-17G warbird at Bradley International Airport on Oct. 2, 2019.

April 13, 2021

R Singapore AF Fighter Joint Training with F-35B USMC

 On 8 Apr 21, two of our fighter aircraft participated in a joint training with F-35B Joint Strike Fighter aircraft from the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The joint training was conducted in the southern reaches of the South China Sea within international waters. The USMC F-35Bs were deployed off the USS Makin Island, which is transiting through the Singapore Strait.The RSAF welcomes such interaction opportunities with the USMC, which are testament to the trust and cooperation between our Forces, as well as the excellent and long-standing defence relationship between Singapore and the US.

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) expects to take delivery of four F-35B fighter aircraft around 2026 and they will be deployed in continental US for training and in-depth evaluation.

Thales Australia Exports Over $30m in Munitions

 The prime processed munitions export orders valued at over $30 million in 2020, the highest year on record.Thales has revealed that its subsidiary, Australian Munitions, has undergone a record year of sales with more than $30 million in orders to the US, New Zealand, Canada, Asia, and Europe over the course of 2020.

The orders included the sale of munitions, propellant, military explosives and sporting shooter munitions, produced in Australian Munitions’ facilities in Benalla, Victoria, and Mulwala, NSW.The milestone came despite COVID-induced disruptions to the supply chain, which according to Thales, demonstrates the “superiority of Australia’s sovereign munitions product”.

“The quantum of munitions export orders achieved in 2020 is testament to the world-class munitions products we manufacture in Australia, and the capacity of our manufacturing industry to support the strategic supply lines of our allied partners,” Dion Habner, managing director of Australian Munitions, said.“The strong international demand for our products helps ensure we can continue to invest in new jobs and equipment to maintain and grow this vital sovereign capability for the Australian Defence Force."Thales’ Australian Munitions business exports to 17 countries around the world, employing approximately 650 staff operating out of its facilities in Victoria and NSW.

Greece to sign agreement on deploying Patriot missile to Saudi Arabia on Apr. 20

Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and National Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos will travel to Riyadh on Apr. 20 to sign an agreement for the deployment of a Greek PAC-3 air defense missile system to the kingdom.

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April 12, 2021

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Wants to develop 5th Generation Fighter Jets and UAVs, Pakistan visits Turkish Aerospace Industry

Turkey Blocks Leonardo Helicopter Purchase after Italian PM Calls Erdogan

 Turkey has reportedly frozen an $83 million deal to buy Leonardo helicopters after Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “dictator.”

According to La Repubblica and Il Fatto Quotidiano, Turkish authorities have started to send "threatening signals" since there is no reaction from Rome.The contract for Leonardo’s training helicopters was expected to be signed in the coming days.In addition, at least three Italian companies operating in Turkey have also received a notice from the Turkish government, including energy company Ansaldo Energia that builds power plants in Turkey.

On Thursday, Draghi called the Turkish leader a "dictator" and upbraided his "inappropriate behaviour" during a recent visit of top European Union officials to Turkey. The comment added fuel to a dispute over a perceived seating snub involving European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.Draghi said Erdogan’s behavior was inappropriate and that he was sorry for the “humiliation” von der Leyen had suffered.Turkey has strongly rejected the allegation that the top EU official was snubbed and insisted it followed the EU’s own protocols in making the seating arrangements. Von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel traveled to Ankara for talks on Turkey-EU relations. Only two chairs were set out in front of the EU and Turkish flags for the three leaders.

The Turkey-EU meeting was supposed to improve relations after months of wrangling over everything from women’s rights to drilling for gas in disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean.Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu slammed Draghi's remarks as "unacceptable populist rhetoric." Italy's ambassador to Ankara was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry over the situation.

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Iran: Natanz nuclear facility hit by terrorist act

April 11, 2021

Taiwan’s PAC-3 unit can deployed in 25 minutes

Taiwan recently held a combat readiness exercise and the Ministry of National Defense’s Military News Agency has produce a video of the exercise. In the video, an officer in charge of a PAC-3 battery describe how his unit can be deployed for combat in 25 minutes and the battery is operational in 70 minutes.

S Korean KF-X is now officially the KF-21 Boramae

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Elbit’s video shows airborne laser weapon on Hermes 900 with canards

 Elbit was awarded a contract by the Israeli Ministry of Defense last year to pursue a program to develop an airborne laser weapon system. A new video posted by Elbit shows the laser mounted on a Hermes 900 unmanned air vehicle. The aircraft has been modified with canards, probably due to the increase weight on the nose to house the laser turret or to improve pitch stability in order to have a stable beam.

USS Mustin shadows Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning

 PHILIPPINE SEA (April 4, 2021) Cmdr. Robert J. Briggs and Cmdr. Richard D. Slye monitor surface contacts from the pilothouse of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin. Mustin is assigned to Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Arthur Rosen)

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April 10, 2021

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S. Korea unveils the prototype of its first indigenous fighter jet 'KF-X'


Vietnam Frigate Performs Combat Drills at Spratly Archipelago


A Vietnamese frigate has performed combat drills along with an anti-submarine helicopter near the Spratly Islands.016 Quang Trung, equipped with rockets and stealth capabilities, is used to combat submarines and other warships, Vietnam Television said on Sunday.

Ka-28 helicopters carried out emergency landing drills."On the Spratly Islands, combat preparations are at the highest levels," the national broadcaster added.016 Quang Trung, commissioned in 2018, carries a lot of modern Russian weaponry and camouflage technologies like radar-absorbing paint.Its main weaponry includes eight 3M24E rockets with a 130-km range, an AK-176MA gun and other rocket-gun combinations.It is also capable of carrying a Ka-28 helicopter for anti-submarine warfare.

PH Navy Keen on Acquiring US Cyclone-Patrol Vessels


The Philippine Navy (PN) has expressed its interest to acquire the newly-decommissioned Cyclone-class patrol vessels of the United States (US) Navy.

"The PN has manifested its interest in the decommissioned Cyclone-class patrol vessels (CCPVs) of the US Navy as a stop-gap to the decommissioned legacy PN ships. As to how many, that depends on the seaworthiness and efficiency of the CCPVs that will be offered, and this will be determined by the PN Joint Visual Inspection Team," PN chief, Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said in a message to the Philippine News Agency Thursday night.Bacordo said he will be happy if the PN acquires at least five of these Cyclone-class patrol vessels which will be a boost to its fleet.

At present, the PN has one Cyclone-class patrol vessel in its service, the BRP General Mariano Alvarez (PS-38), formerly the ex-USS Cyclone, which was transferred to the PN in 2004."We have manifested our interest with JUSMAG (Joint US Military Assistance Group) and US INDOPACOM (Indo-Pacific Command)," he added.

The Cyclone-class patrol ships are a class of US Navy coastal patrol boats consisting of some 14 ships.These vessels weigh around 328.5 long tons and have a length of 179 feet, a beam of 25 feet, and a draft of 7.5 feet.Their maximum speed is placed at 35 knots and they have a range of between 2,000 to 2,500 nautical miles.Cyclone-class patrol vessels are armed with two 25mm autocannons and several high-powered machine guns. 

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April 8, 2021

Media reports from South Korea says Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) will roll out the first KF-X prototype on Apr. 9

Iranian ship thought to be used as military base attacked, says Tehran


The Iranian foreign ministry has confirmed that an Iranian cargo ship believed to be covertly deployed for military use off the coast of Yemen has been attacked, in an incident that threatens to inflame a proxy war between Iran and Israel.

Officials in Tehran said on Wednesday that the MV Saviz had been targeted in the Red Sea, a day after media reports said the ship had suffered damage after being hit by limpet mines. Images broadcast by Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency showed parts of the ship on fire. Tasnim said an explosion had targeted the hull.In a state TV report, an anchor cited a New York Times story, which quoted an anonymous US official telling the newspaper that Israel had informed the US it attacked the vessel on Tuesday morning.

The strike on the vessel came as Iran and world powers sat down in Vienna for a first round of talks about the US potentially rejoining the nuclear deal. Israel is bitterly opposed to a return to the agreement.Asked by reporters on Wednesday if Israel, Iran’s arch foe, was involved in the attack, the country’s defence minister, Benny Gantz, twice refused to comment on it specifically.

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Cyprus Tor M1 in joint training with Israeli F-15s and F-35s

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April 7, 2021

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April 4, 2021

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RTAF Decommissioning F-16A/B and L-39ZA/ART Aircraft

 Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) was formal decommissioning ceremony for two Lockheed Martin F-16B Block 15 OCU serial 10321 of 103rd Squadron and F-16A Block 15 ADF serial 10207 of 102nd Squadron, Wing 1 Korat in 30 March 2021 (photo : RTAF)

Royal Thai Air Force has performed the decommissioning ceremony of fighter aircraft and training, Aero Vodochody L-39ZA/ART Albatros, Squadron 41, Wing 41, Chiang Mai, the last 5 aircraft on March 31, 2021.One day before in addition, there was a ceremony for the withrawal of fighter planes F-16B Block 15, No. 10321 Squadron 103 and Fighter Aircraft F-16A ADF No. 10207, Squadron 102 , which is likely to be the first set of the two batch to withdrawal.

According to the plan of the White Paper Book of the Royal Thai Air Force 2020 there is a need for new fighter jets, 12 substitutes for part 102 squadrons and 12 substitutes for part 103 squadrons, which should begin in a year 2023 if there is no postponement.

Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) team to visit India for evaluation of Tejas

 A Malaysian Air Force team is expected to visit India soon to assess the suitability of the light combat aircraft (LCA), a locally developed system that has recently been ordered in large numbers by the Indian Air Force (IAF), as the force looks to acquire aline of new fighter jets.

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April 3, 2021

US Special Forces Obliterate Taliban Compound With C4


Thai Marines Bring Howitzers to Participate in the 2021 Navy Training


ATMG (Autonomous Truck Mounted Gun) 155mm/52caliber wheeled self-propelled howitzer 6x6, GHN-45A1 155mm towed howitzers and Type 74 twin barrel 37mm anti-aircraft artillery of RTMC (all photos : Third Naval Area Command)

Marine Corps Command of the Royal Thai Navy has received wheeled artillery ATMG (Autonomous Truck Mounted Gun) 6x6, size 155mm/52caliber, 6 systems or one artillery company in July 2020.By being deployed to the 4th Artillery Battalion, Artillery Regiment of  Marine Corps according to the supply contract signed in the year 2018, the amount of approximately 865 million baht ($ 26 million), which the Thai Marines also plan to supply an additional 12 guns to complete 18 or one artillery battalions.

Wheeled SPG 155mm/52cal ATMG are based on the self-propelled artillery system ATMOS (Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System) of Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd. Israel.Wheeled ATMG are built in Thailand through technology transfer by the WPC: Weapon Production Center, DIEC: Defense Industry and Energy Center, Ministry of Defense, Thailand.

WPC has completed the production and delivery of 18 ATMG systems to the Royal Thai Army in 2019 by being imported stationed in No. 721 Artillery Battalion Corps.The Royal Thai Army is in the process of ordering an ATMG from the WPC, an additional 18 systems for one artillery battalion. Divided into the first phase, one artillery company, 6 systems, the amount of approximately 886 million baht ($ 28.5 million), making the number of ATMGs that will be produced in Thailand will be up to 54 systems.

The introduction of the ATMG, the first self-propelled artillery of the Thai Marines from the original stationed but towed artillery participate in the Annual Naval Training 2021 in the Andaman Sea during 24-25 March 2021, likely to be one of the first field shooting exercises for this artillery system.Meanwhile, the Royal Thai Naval Air Command and the Royal Thai Navy, while retaining the 155mm GHN-45A1 towed artillery and the 37mm Type 74 towed anti-aircraft gun, will be transformed into several new self-propelled systems in the future.

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Warfare is going autonomous and robotic

 Military powers are racing to develop robotic weapon systems that can operate autonomously while lobbying groups are trying to pre-emptively set up a treaty banning it. 

USAF F-22s operating alongside JASDF F-35As

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