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Posted on 01 October 2012

South Asia

South Asia

General Liang, China’s Defence Minister visited Indian for five days to discuss bilateral security ties, the first time China’s defence minister has visited the country for seven years. The issue however that got the greatest coverage was his decision to tip the two Indian Air Force pilots who had flown him and his delegation from Mumbai to new Delhi Rs. 50,000 each and the diplomatic awkwardness that resulted. The Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Regina visited Kochi on its way to joining the anti-piracy Combined Task Force 150 off the Horn of Africa.

The Indian press have quoted senior Russian source saying the France and India had failed to reach terms on technology transfer and costs for the Dassault Rafale to meet its 126 Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) requirement and suggested that the $11 billion programme may be rebid.

Saab and Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Co Ltd signed Memorandum of Understanding as the precursors to a capital investment in the Indian company with the two having previously worked closely on naval combat management system design and architectures for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.

The contract for the research and development phase the T-50 fighter by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. and Sukhoi Design Bureau of Russia is reported to be close to signature. This will follow on from the Design Phase for the project due to complete later this year. The reports suggest that

the first prototype will be in Indian hands by 2014 for testing at Ojhar Air Force Station in Maharashtra, Western India. Additional prototypes will be transferred in 2017 and 2019. The aircraft is planned to be completed in 2022. India has a requirement for 250 of the contract which will replace the Indian Air Force’s MiG-29s and Sukhoi Su-30MKI.

The first EMB-145 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft has been transferred from Brazil, arriving Bengalaru at the end of August. The Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Centre for Airborne Systems will now integrate the AEW&C mission systems with flight trails. Three aircraft are ordered with the second due to arrive in December.

India’s Cabinet Committee on Security is due to give the go ahead for funding the purchase of 216 air launched Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles for use on 42 Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft beginning with two aircraft converted for trials. India is to station six refuelling aircraft at its recently reactivated Panagarh air base in West Bengal. The move is seen as increasing the strike range of SU-30 MKIs’ based in Assam against potential targets in China.

Minister of Defence AK Antony has confirmed that all 75 PC-7 Mk II Basic Trainer Aircraft selected for the Indian Air Force will be delivered from 2013-15 and supported over the thirty year planned service life by Pilatus and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is said to be moving towards final operational service clearance, due to be completed after the aircraft’s participation in Exercise ‘Iron Feast’  exercise to be held at Pokhran, in Rajasthan, in February next year. The Indian Air Force plans to induct six LCA squadrons over the next decade with the first two squadrons or forty aircraft have been ordered from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

The Indian Air Force’s Lakshya-1 target drone was a successfully test flown for 35 minutes at the  Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur. Boeing is in the final stretch of negotiations in the $1.4 billion deal for 22 AH-64D attack helicopters for the Indian Air Force. The US helicopter beat Russia’s Mi-28N Night Hunter in the competition. A mid air collision between two Indian Air Force Mi-17 helicopters claimed the lives of nine personnel. The crash took place shortly after the two aircraft took off from Jamnagar Air Force base in Gujarat.

Russia and India have signed a framework document to enable the joint production facility for modern rocket and artillery munitions for the Indian Army. The Indian Army’s Strategic Forces Command successfully test fired a nuclear capable, 350km range Prithvi-II missile at its Integrated Test Range, Chandipur. Boeing has officially begun flight testing of the Indian Navy’s first P-8I Neptune long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. Deliveries are on schedule for 2013.The Indian Army has kicked off its competition for 56 light utility helicopters to replace its HAL Chetak helicopters with the issuing an international request for proposal. The $1 billion programme is due to see the first aircraft fielded in 2016.

Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie and 25 staff spent five days in Sri Lanka developing ties between the two countries with the delegation visiting military sites in the North of the country amid reports of a deal for $100 million of defence aid in the near future.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), attacked the Pakistani Air Force base at Minhas near Islamabad on August 16th. The nine man group attacked at two points and conducted a gun battle for five hours before being eliminated. They killed twelve air force personnel and damaged one aircraft. All Pakistan’s Saab 2000 aircraft equipped with the the ERIEYE Airborne Early Warning system at stationed at the base.


South East Asia

The RSS Formidable visited Japan on its way home from RIMPAC 2012 © DoD

The first of twelve Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Alenia Aermacchi  M-346 advanced jet trainers has been completed and rolled out at a ceremony in Italy. Production will continues and first deliveries will begin by the end of 20120. RSAF pilots are currently being trained on the type at the Italian Air Force’s own training centre. When complete, the aircraft will take over from the  A/TA-4SU Skyhawk aircraft at Cazaux in France. The Republic of Singapore Navy ship, RSS Formidable visited the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Yokosuka Naval Base on its way back from the Rim of the Pacific 2012 exercise in Hawaii.

The Indonesian government have received backing for their plans for universal conscription into the armed forces from a parliamentary commission studying the proposal. The plan will be discussed after the the current National Security Bill completes its passage. A new regional counter-terrorism unit has been established in western Aceh province focused on radical Islamist groups.

Indonesia is seeking to acquire Raytheon’s Maverick missiles comprising 18 AGM-65K2 Maverick all-up-round missiles; 36 TGM-65K2 captive air training missiles and three TGM-65D maintenance training missiles together with training and support worth $25 million to operate with Indonesia’s ten existing F-16A/B and a further 24 F-16C/D aircraft ordered last year. Indonesia is also considering expanding its F-16 buy after being offered the aircraft during a visit by Vice Marshal Eris Herryanto to Washington.

Indonesia has received the first four of sixteen EMB-314/A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft from Embraer at ceremony in Brazil.

Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro has announced his country’s intention to procure a further twelve submarines by 2024 in co-operation with South Korea in a joint-production programme. This figures includes an order for three Type 209/1400 design boats signed with Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering (DSME) in September 2011 in conjunction with PT PAL.

The Indonesian Navy is to build a new base for submarines in Palu Bay in Central Sulawesi.

The Philippines is planing to acquire two former Italian navy Maestrale-class frigates. A contract is expected in January 2013 with delivery in November of that year. The Philippines deployed four in the Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) drills taking place in  the Malacca Strait, Sulu Sea and Subic Bay. The exercises covered tasks such as surveillance operations and well as boarding and search and seizure.

Thailand’s Defence Minster Sukumpol Suwanatat has called for other agencies to help the Army conduct security operations in the south of the country, saying that the Service is becoming over burdened as a result. Thailand has signalled its intent to acquire nine RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles together with associated equipment from Raytheon Missile Systems and BAE Systems with a value of $18million.

Russia’s Admiralteiskie Verfi Yard has launched the first of six Kilo-class Project 636 diesel-electric submarines ordered by Vietnam. The boat will be delivered later this year with the remainder entering Vietnam’s hands by 2016.

Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie also took time to visit Laos as the third leg of his visit across the region.


East Asia

South Korea is reported to be considering Rafael’s Iron Dome system to protect key sites around Seoul from artillery and rocket fire from the North © Rafael

South Korea has undertaken it bi-annual military exercise near the Dokdo islands, which are contested by Japan. It follows South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s unprecedented visit to the islands on August 10th. The exercise held jointly by Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard will test their ability to expel vessels entering territorial waters.

South Korea is considering acquiring the Iron Dome missile defence system from Rafael to defend key sites around Seoul which is close to the border with North and within artillery range. A test of a new South Korean antisubmarine torpedo, the Hongsangeo or Red Shark has failed to hit a target 60m below the surface when launched from a ROKN destroyer. In development since 2000, production was approved in 2009 and the programme is scheduled to enter service next year.

China has sent a delegation to Pyongyang to meet Kim Jong Un led by Wang Jiarui, head of China’s International Liaison Dept.

China’s Haixun 31 maritime patrol vessel, its maritime agency’s largest ship to enter service travelled to Hawaii to undertaken a joint exercise with the US Coast Guard in the area of joint search-and-rescue. An academic study has determined that the Republic of Korea Navy Ship Cheonan was sunk not by a North Korean torpedo but by a discarded South Korea mine or mines.

China has signed an agreement with Russia to acquire 55 Mi-171E helicopters with a value of approximately $600 million.

The first of a predicted initial ten Type 052D destroyers has been launched at a China State

Shipbuilding’s Jiangnan Changxing shipyard near Shanghai where a second hull is being completed. The Anti-air Warfare destroyers are equipped with two 32-cell vertical launch systems, a Type 346 active phased-array radar and a Type 518 L-band long-range radar.

China’s Second Artillery Corps has conducted a test fire of its new Dongfeng-41 intercontinental ballistic missile. The DF-41 has a range of 14,000km and can carry ten warheads.

Taiwan has begun work on two new sites to host Patriot PAC-3 missile batteries in the Taichung and Kaohsiung regions.

Taiwan has received the two former US Navy Osprey class minehunters USS Oriole and USS Falcon in August with a formal cermony in Kaohsiung in the South of the country.


All the RAAF’s 24 FA-18F Super Hornets were deployed for Exercise Pitch Black © Commonwealth of Australia

‘Pitch Black”, Australia’s largest and most important air exercise has concluded. Held in the north of the country saw a number of recent acquisitions deploy, notably the Wedgetail AEW aircraft, KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport and the F/A-18F Super Hornet. The event saw a number of countries participate including Indonesian Su-27SKM and Su-30MK2 aircraft and Singaporean F-15SG fighters and a G550 AEW&C aircraft.

The Australian government has publicly said no to the possibility of a US aircraft carrier and its naval support being moved from the US West Coast to the HMAS Stirling base in Perth. The plan was formed by Washington Think Tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies as part of Pentagon funded plan looking at how the US could deploy more naval power into the Asian Pacific region by 2020 and was submitted in June. Australia’s Defence Minister Stephen Smith has travelled to Vietnam to conduct  bilateral and regional security with his counterpart Gen. Phung Quang Thanh. Indonesia has signed an agreement with Australia to increase co-operation in the area of humanitarian operations. One notable area cited by Indonesian Defense Minister

Purnomo Yusgiantoro was dealing with the issue of illegal immigration in the Timor Sea.

Australia is to equip 12 of its 24 F/A-18F  24 Super Hornet aircraft with the US Growler electronic warfare systems worth A$1.5 Billion. In May 2009, the Government announced its decision to wire 12 of 24 Super Hornets for later conversion to the Growler configuration at a cost of $35 million.

The hull of the Royal Australian Navy’s first Canberra class LHD has left Spain for Melbourne, being transported on a heavy lift ship. In Australia it will be fitted out and is due to enter service in 2014. The cost of repairs to HMAS Choules will be $1 million but the amphibious support ship will not return to operational service with the Royal Australian Navy until December.  Australia’s firm Forgacs’ Newcastle shipyard will deliver the first hull blocks for the Royal Australian A$8 billion Navy’s Air Warfare Destroyer project programme in September.

Following the deaths of two New Zealand servicemen in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan province, the country’s Prime Minister has rejected calls to return New Zealand SAS person

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