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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 18:35
Artillery: For Those Who Insist On The Best

 

November 20, 2013: Strategy Page

 

Singapore recently ordered another 528  American GMLRS GPS guided 227mm rockets (packaged six each in 88 pods). That comes to about $182,000 per rocket. In 2007 Singapore ordered 18 U.S. truck mounted MLRS (HIMARS) rocket launchers. This system carries only one six rocket container pod (instead of two in the original MLRS), but the 12 ton truck can fit into a C-130 transport (unlike the 22 ton tracked MLRS vehicle).  The first of the 900 HIMARS vehicles were issued to American combat units in 2004. The U.S. Army is using most of the HIMARS, with the marines getting the rest. Singapore is one of several export customers. Singapore is also bought 192 GMRS rockers (32 pods) with that HIMARS purchase.

 

The 309 kg (680 pound) GMLRS (guided multiple launch rocket system) is a 227mm GPS guided rocket. It was first used in 2004. It has a range of 70 kilometers and the ability to land within meters of its intended target at any range. This is because of the GPS, plus a less accurate back up inertial guidance system, to find its target. Singapore is getting the rockets equipped with an 82 kg (180 pound) high explosive warhead. The U.S. Army has bought over 100,000 GMLRS rockets and this weapons has been used with great success in Iraq and Afghanistan. The guided rocket is much more effective than the older, unguided, version, and has replaced it.

 

Singapore apparently needs its GMLRS battalion in case there is war with Malaysia, with whom there are several disputes still unresolved. Singapore is one of the smallest nations in the world, occupying only 633 square kilometers of land. It spends $8 billion a year on defense. The island nation has a population of 5 million, and armed forces of 72,000 active duty troops. On a per-capita basis, Singapore spends more on the military, and has more people in uniform, than the United States. The Singapore military is one of the best equipped, trained and led in the region. Singapore also sits astride the most important shipping channel (the Malacca Straits) in the world. Singapore has the best educated and most affluent population in the region. With so much worth defending, Singapore is ready to take on any hostile neighbors (mainly Malaysia, which Singapore used to be part of.)

 

But there's more to the story. Singapore’s population is 75 percent Chinese, the descendants of ambitious emigrants who left China over the past two centuries looking to make a better life as "overseas Chinese." None have done better than the Chinese who ended up in Singapore. The city of Singapore was founded by the British in 1819, on an island at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. The British considered the local Malays rather too laid back and brought in thousands of Chinese and Indians to work the booming port city. Within six years, the population exploded from a few hundred, to over 10,000. Two years later Chinese became the most numerous ethnic group. They eventually came to dominate the rich port of Singapore, providing administrators, as well as traders and laborers. The British kept the key jobs, but otherwise ran a meritocracy. When Malaysia, which Singapore was a part of, became independent in 1963, many Chinese in Singapore protested being ruled by the Malay majority. The Malays also resented the more entrepreneurial and economically successful Chinese. Although most Singapore residents wanted to be part of Malaysia, it didn't work out. In 1965, Malaysia basically expelled Singapore, which become a separate, mainly Chinese, country. Over the next three decades, the Singaporean economy grew an average of nine percent a year, and Singapore became the wealthiest, on a per-capita basis, nation in the region.

 

With so much to defend, the Singaporeans developed, early on, a strong military. This was prompted by Britain withdrawing its garrison in 1971 and, in effect, telling the Singaporeans they had to defend themselves. Singapore asked Israel to help it develop a force similar to the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces). That is, a large reserve force, with a small active force to handle training and any immediate military needs. The two countries have been close allies ever since.

 

Thus Singapore has an active duty force of 60,000, most of them reservists undergoing training. There are only about 20,000 full time, professional troops. In wartime, there are 320,000 trained reserves who can be mobilized, plus nearly has many who have had military training, but are no longer in reserve units. Like Israel, Singapore can mobilize a force, armed with the most modern weapons and capable of defeating any of its neighbors.

 

The main criticisms of Singapore’s armed forces have to do with training, promotion and retirement policies. Singapore’s troops are the best trained in the region. All personnel train regularly, much like American troops do. But Singapore is also very safety conscious, and this limits many of the things troops can do. The reason for this caution is the low birth rate in Singapore (a universal side effect of prosperity), and the popular outrage every time a soldier is killed or seriously injured during training. The promotion policies are criticized because they emphasize test taking over practical experience. The retirement policies force every soldier to leave active service by age 45. This is done to keep the military leadership young, and provide a supply of experienced military commanders for management jobs in government and the civilian economy. Other criticisms knocked ethnic Chinese dominating the military and sundry administrative policies. Singaporeans accept all these criticisms as true, but not worth addressing. The end result has been a military force that is the best in the region. Troops from other nations, who train with the Singaporeans, come away impressed. The attitude seems to be, if it ain't broke, why fix it.

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15 octobre 2013 2 15 /10 /octobre /2013 12:30
Iranian Smugglers Slowed But Not Stopped

 

October 15, 2013: Strategy Page

 

A U.S. court recently sentenced two Singapore men to prison (for 34 and 37 months) after convicting them of illegally shipping American electronic items to Iran. This ended several years of investigations and legal proceedings. The case first became public in 2011 when American criminal investigators, in cooperation with their counterparts in Singapore tracked down and arrested five Singaporeans who had arranged for 6,000 American made radio frequency modules (RFMs) to be diverted to Iran. This was illegal, and was orchestrated by an Iranian citizen who was never arrested. Between 2008 and 2010 sixteen of these RFMs were found in unexploded roadside bombs in Iraq. It was eventually found that the RFMs, and other components of the bombs, had been smuggled into Iraq from Iran. Four companies were used to deceive American export controls so that the RFMs could be redirected to Iran. Singapore eventually agreed to extradite two of the men to the United States for prosecution. The other three were found not guilty (or not guilty enough) in Singapore.

 

The war on Iranian arms smuggling has been intensifying in the last decade. Most countries cooperate, but not all. While Turkey has been getting cozy with Iran, the Turks still enforce international trade sanctions against Iran. But as Turkey encourages its companies to do more business with Iran, there are more opportunities to smuggle forbidden goods to assist Iranian nuclear weapons and ballistic missile projects. Iran takes advantage of this whenever possible.

 

Germany was once a favorite place for Iran to buy equipment for their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs but over five years ago the Germans began cracking down. For example, in 2008, a German citizen was prosecuted for running a weapons related smuggling operation. The defendant shipped 16 tons of high-grade graphite, used for making rocket nozzles, to Iran in 2005-7. The defendant mislabeled the graphite as low-grade, which was legal to sell to Iran. Another ten tons of the high-grade graphite was caught by Turkish customs officials. Germany adopted stricter export rules for Iran three years ago, and promptly began seeking out and prosecuting those who ignored the ban. This did not stop the Iranians from using Germany as a source of forbidden goods. In response Germany have been prosecuting people for exporting special metals and manufacturing equipment needed for ballistic missile warheads. All this slows down the Iranians but has not stopped them.

 

Ever since the U.S. embargo was imposed in 1979 (after Iran broke diplomatic protocol by seizing the American embassy), Iran has sought, with some success, to offer big money to smugglers who can beat the embargo and get needed industrial and military equipment. This is a risky business, and American and European prisons are full of Iranians, and other nationals, who tried and failed to procure forbidden goods. The smuggling operations are currently under more scrutiny, and attack, because of Iran's growing nuclear weapons program. But the Iranians simply offer more money, and more smugglers step up to keep the goodies coming.

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30 septembre 2013 1 30 /09 /septembre /2013 12:45
FAZSOI : interception de deux bâtiments par le Nivôse

30/09/2013 Sources : EMA

 

Le 9 septembre 2013, la frégate de surveillance Nivôse des forces armées en zone sud de l’océan Indien (FAZSOI) a intercepté deux bâtiments dans la zone économique exclusive (ZEE) d’Europa, une des îles éparses françaises du canal du Mozambique.

 

De retour de l’exercice « OXIDE 2013 » mené du 30 août au 6 septembre 2013 avec les marines sud-africaine et mozambicaine, la frégate a détecté deux bâtiments évoluant dans la ZEE sans autorisation des autorités françaises. Un navire de recherche scientifique battant pavillon singapourien, le Pacific Falcon effectuait des sondages sismiques à des fins de prospection pétrolière, le second, le Storm West, un chalutier battant pavillon norvégien, assurait la sécurité du plan d’eau.

 

Le bâtiment de sondage a été intercepté et l’équipe de visite du Nivôse a procédé à son inspection. Les deux navires se sont vu intimer l’ordre de cesser toute activité de prospection et de quitter au plus vite et par le plus court chemin la ZEE française du canal du Mozambique. Les bâtiments ont immédiatement exécuté l’ordre, sous la surveillance ostensible et ferme du Nivôse.

 

L’équipe de visite, hélitreuillée en fin d’après-midi sur le Pacific Falcon, a rapporté à bord du Nivôse des éléments qui permettront au délégué du gouvernement pour l’action de l’Etat en mer, le Préfet de la Réunion, de poursuivre les démarches administratives à l’encontre de ces navires. Au cours du contrôle, le capitaine du navire n’a pas été en mesure de présenter, les titres l’autorisant à effectuer des travaux de recherche par réflexion sismique « au large des côtes mozambicaines ».

 

Les FAZSOI ont pour mission de protéger le territoire national, les installations stratégiques et contribuer au maintien de la sécurité ; d’assurer la prévention et la préservation des intérêts de la France dans la zone de responsabilité contre toute forme d’agression extérieure ; de soutenir l’action de l’Etat et contribuer aux conditions de stabilité et de développement des collectivités territoriales par la mise en œuvre de moyens militaires ;  d’affirmer la souveraineté française. En cas de crise, elles sont en mesure de conduire ou participer à une opération militaire et/ou de mener des opérations de secours d’urgence (assistance humanitaire, catastrophes naturelles).

FAZSOI : interception de deux bâtiments par le Nivôse
FAZSOI : interception de deux bâtiments par le Nivôse
FAZSOI : interception de deux bâtiments par le Nivôse
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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 17:35
Multilateral SEACAT 2013 naval exercise concludes

Sailors from the Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training (MCAST) team exchange best practices with a Royal Malaysian Navy boarding team as part of SEACAT 2013 drill. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo.

 

17 September 2013 naval-technology.com

 

Navies from the US, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore have conducted their annual Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEACAT) 2013 exercise from 2-12 September 2013.

 

During the exercise, the participating navies performed planning exercises at the Changi command and control (C2) centre at Changi Naval Base, Singapore.

 

The US Navy's Freedom-variant of the littoral combat ships (LCS), USS Freedom's (LCS 1) boarding team carried out a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercise with the Indonesian Navy, during the at-sea training event.

 

Freedom's commanding officer commander, Pat Thien, said: "We did exactly what the ship was built to do: we operated in a near-shore environment, in littoral waters, with other ships similar in size and we were successful."

 

In addition, the drill involved both command post exercise at Singapore's Changi Naval Base and a field training exercise in several regional locations at sea.

 

The allied navies also conducted other drills such as tracking of ships, and the boarding of a merchant vessel simulating to be engaged in terrorist-related activities at sea.

 

First conducted in 2002, the SEACAT exercise aims to improve sea-based information-sharing and the coordination of maritime security responses in the region.

 

The exercise has witnessed patrol vessels from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), accompanying sea security teams, patrol boats from the Singapore police coastguard and maritime patrol aircraft from the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

 

In addition to enhancing dialogue and practical cooperation during realistic scenarios, the drill provides hands-on practice for participating navies in maritime security operations, while highlighting information sharing and multilateral cooperation in scenarios.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 12:35
Zycraft’s Vigilant-class IUSV completes phase 1 development

Vigilant-class unmanned vessel undergoing testing at sea. Photo: courtesy of Zycraft.

 

16 September 2013 naval-technology.com

 

Zycraft has successfully completed the phase one development of the Vigilant-class independent unmanned surface vessel (IUSV), LongRunner.

 

During the development phase, the LongRunner vessel has successfully completed in-water testing off Singapore waters and travelled a total of 2000nm over 24 months.

 

The IUSV has also undergone several fleet battle experiments and validated continuous unmanned operations, exceeding 48 hours.

 

Remotely commanded and controlled from Zycraft's headquarters ashore using satellite communications, the unmanned vessel travelled 100nm into the South China Sea during the phase one development period.

 

Capable of being operated from base to base and independent of a mother ship, the 16.5m-long IUSV features Arovex advanced composite material and allows more payload and fuel for enhanced range and operational capabilities.

 

Zycraft's president, James Soon, said that the Vigilant IUSV has been designed to be very effective in above-water maritime surveillance and could be the nexus for widespread USV employment.

 

"The IUSV is also capable of collision avoidance and can certainly take care of itself," Soon said.

 

In order to provide enhanced situational awareness to a shore base, the unmanned system is fitted with radar, electronic support measures (ESM), and electro-optic sensors as well as automated identification system (AIS).

 

"Several of these IUSVs can effectively cover hundreds of miles of coastline for border protection," Soon continued.

 

With an endurance capacity exceeding 1200nm, the IUSV can be used to conduct missions including coastal security, search and rescue, and maritime logistics for nations with large exclusive economic zone.

 

Navies with the IUSV concept do not need to construct bigger ships to carry small USVs, but instead can depend on the size of the bigger IUSV to have high endurance and carry the needed payloads, according to Zycraft.

 

Currently, Zycraft is working with several vendor partners to develop sensor technologies to further enhance the ability of the IUSV roles.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 07:35
Aster-30 missile launch photo MBDA  Michel Hans

Aster-30 missile launch photo MBDA Michel Hans

16/09/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter

 

The Republic of Singapore Air Force should soon be equipped with Aster-30 surface to air missile systems, according to Singapore's defence minister, Ng Eng Hen.

 

Addressing Singaporean MPs on 16 September 2013, Dr Ng described how the air arm is implementing a hi-tech air defence shield, comprised of several layers. This multilayered shield is intended to defend Singapore against all conceivable airborne threats.

 

Right now, Singaporean air defence is supplied by an arsenal of 12 MIM-23B I-Hawk launchers and circa 500 missiles. Now over 40 years old, this technology has since been superseded by more modern systems, such as the Aster-30.

 

Aster-30 Missile Systems

 

Equipped with Aster-30 missile systems, the Republic of Singapore Air Force would gain a simultaneous extended-range multi-target engagement capability.

 

In line with the Aster-30's introduction, the Republic of Singapore Air Force would also have its Lockheed Martin F-16C and -D Fighting Falcons upgraded, extending their service lives.

 

Developed during the 1960s, the MIM-23B I-Hawk missile boasts a 74 kilogram warhead and has a range of up to 40 kilometres.

 

Singaporean Air Defence

 

"Superior air defence and strike capabilities have been built up through prudent and steady investments of resources and land allocation for our defence needs", Dr Ng explained. "And over the years, we have acquired, adapted and developed advanced technologies and state-of-art platforms to provide more accurate and timely early warning and situational awareness of potential threats. We will continue to invest in these capabilities."

 

The Aster missile series was introduced in 2001. Vertically-launched, the Aster-15 and Aster-30 missiles take their name from Asterion - the 'ruler of the stars' in Greek mythology.

 

Produced by the MBDA-Thales Eurosam consortium, the Aster-30 has a maximum range of 120 kilometres, reaches flight altitudes of up to 30 kilometres and travels at Mach 4.5. Aster missiles presently equip the French Air Force and the French, Italian, Singaporean and Saudi Arabian navies, amongst other operators.

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 17:35
The RSN’s Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Ng Chee Peng (right) exchanging a handshake with the Commander-in-Chief of Vietnam People's Navy Admiral Nguyen Van Hien after the signing ceremony onboard the RSN’s submarine rescue and support vessel, MV Swift Rescue

The RSN’s Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Ng Chee Peng (right) exchanging a handshake with the Commander-in-Chief of Vietnam People's Navy Admiral Nguyen Van Hien after the signing ceremony onboard the RSN’s submarine rescue and support vessel, MV Swift Rescue

08/09/2013 VietnamPlus

 

La Marine populaire du Vietnam et la Marine de Singapour ont récemment conclu un accord de coopération en matière de sauvetage de sous-marins.

 

Le document a été signé lors d'une visite à Singapour du vice-ministre de la Défense et commandant de la Marine populaire du Vietnam, l'amiral Nguyen Van Hien, débutée le 6 septembre.

 

Lors sa visite de trois jours, l'amiral Nguyen Van Hien a rencontré le contre-amiral Ng Chee Peng, commandant de la Marine singapourienne. Ils ont également signé un mémorandum sur l'échange d'informations concernant les activités maritimes non militaires des Marines vietnamienne et singapourienne.

 

La signature de ces documents traduisent les bonnes relations bilatérales entre les deux pays dans la défense. Actuellement, les forces armées des deux pays effectuent régulièrement des visites de hautes délégations et des échanges d'informations. -VNA

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8 juin 2013 6 08 /06 /juin /2013 11:35
Chief of Defence Staff of the French Armed Forces Admiral (ADM) Edouard Guillaud calling on Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen. (Photo MINDEF)

Chief of Defence Staff of the French Armed Forces Admiral (ADM) Edouard Guillaud calling on Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen. (Photo MINDEF)

 

 

07/06/2013 Sources : EMA

 

Technology and doctrine are 2 faces of the same coin and they mutually interfere: doctrine is the seed for development of new technologies and technology sets conditions for what can be done, therefore influencing doctrine.

 

These 2 domains are in constant evolution: any technological or doctrinal reluctance to change leads to failure; the winner is the one who anticipates, who puts his opponent off guard and adapts himself faster to ever changing conditions.

 

This is a constant challenge for defence and security leaders, whether in America, in Europe or Asia, as long as they are committed in international security and stability.

 

In my short brief, I will begin with generic considerations, then set a French perspective, followed by the challenges as I see them, ending with what future we have to address.

 

***

 

The generic considerations will be seen through 3 acknowledgements which are universally shared.

 

The 1st acknowledgement is about technology. It is that military equipment is increasingly complex and hopefully increasingly efficient. Of course, this has positive and negative consequences.

 

The 1st positive consequence is that, through technology, any assessment is quicker, more accurate and safer; this relates to environment, communication and action. In Libya, for instance, thanks to tactical and satellite-based links, the combined action of our aircraft, helicopters, UAVs, ships and submarines was coordinated in real time – meaning a complete loop within a few seconds, not minutes.

 

The 2nd benefit of technology is the increased efficiency of any force. This allows a reduced volume of deployed forces. In Mali, just a few thousand well-equipped and mobile soldiers were enough to reconquer the northern part of the country – of course, they had good combat support and combat service support. Another example: on 13th January 2013, 4 Rafale combat aircraft taking off from mainland France stroke 21 targets from a stand-off distance, with 21 hits.

 

But technology has its negative consequences.

 

The cost of military equipment is sky-rocketing, which implies downsizing of the armed forces: affordability and sustainability are at stake in the long run! And yet, quality does not always replace quantity: to seize or control a town, you still need to deploy thousands of soldiers (remember Fallujah 2004). There is a threshold between quality and quantity, which cannot be defined once and for all.

 

The second negative consequence is that complexity implies a difficulty in fully mastering any new equipment. In addition, fleet reduction creates new constraints on training.

 

The life cycle of armament programs should not be counted in years, but in dozens of years: in the 50s, the life span of a jet fighter was 15 to 25 years; the life span of the Rafale will be twice as much. Today, most of our major pieces of equipment have been designed during the Cold War, for high-intensity combat; almost none of them have actually been used to fulfill the very mission they had been designed for. This is the time when doctrine finds its full significance, to support this necessary adaptation to real life and to real use.

 

Doctrine is my 2nd acknowledgement. As we know, on a regular basis, doctrines are challenged by new technologies. Missile defence versus nuclear deterrence is the perfect example of this.

 

Moreover, a single item can be read in different ways. This is, for instance, the case for RPAs, the use of which is also linked to legal and ethical factors. For the same reason, the cyberwar is faced to the same challenge with one more difficulty: a complete porosity between civilian and military environments.

 

By the end of the day, the challenge mainly lies into the multiple aspects and consequences of new technologies. This requires understanding the risks and the threats, but also shaping the answers, through a systemic analysis.

 

My 3rd acknowledgement is the linkage between the two: relevant technologies and doctrines are 2 necessary prerequisites for military success, but they are not sufficient by themselves.

 

One example: in order to reach the desired military end state, the full life cycle of any ammunition must be coherent from the correct storage facility to the successful delivery on target, through the adequate launcher system correctly manned.

 

All this implies to have adapted combat and support capabilities, but also intelligence and command capabilities: the role of the individual is of paramount importance at all levels.

 

As a consequence, we need to have an efficient operational and logistic organisation and, what is even most important, we need to have enough personnel, both in terms of quantity and quality. They need to be well-recruited, well-educated and well-trained. All these aspects of a military capability need to be taken into account: with given equipment and doctrine, they make the difference.

 

Moreover, technology-minded does not mean technology-addict. In other words, we need to be cold-blooded towards technology. Seeing everything and knowing everything is not achievable through technology only. It is true of intelligence and systemic analysis, where only individuals can go to contact, perceive and feel. Robots, although useful, will not replace totally existing equipment; the man in the loop will always be the ultimate factor. In my personal view, this is good news!

 

***

 

A country’s capability approach is determined by its military culture and by the level of ambition it has for its defence.

 

It is our legacy that France is overseas and on all oceans. We have Defence and Co-operation agreements with many countries. As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, France is both one of the major stakeholders and shareholders of international security.

 

Our armed forces must be able to act on various theatres, often at the same time, to carry out missions over the entire spectrum, all the way from high-intensity to peace-keeping.

 

Our ambition is to conduct operations sometimes autonomously, most of the time within a coalition, but always abiding by international laws. As a founding member of NATO and the European Union, France plays a leading role in both organisations. This position is key in terms of interoperability: intelligence, command, combat capabilities, support, logistics, individual and collective training.

 

The technical and doctrinal consequences are quite obvious and have been made clear through our latest White Paper: we have chosen a full-fledged, expeditionary military tool, and we want to master most necessary techniques and technologies to have a sustainable range of capacities and capabilities.

 

What are the current challenges?

 

Many armed forces used to have versatile capabilities leading to a “high-end” only vision of operations, to face all situations and threats with the required level of reactivity. The basic idea was “he who can do the most can do the less”. But today, this vision is barely sustainable, financially wise.

 

Moreover, the “versatile” items or equipment are either too powerful or powerless when faced in irregular courses as terrorism or guerrilla warfare. In asymmetrical or hybrid conflicts – which should be the dominant type of future engagements – the increasingly “transverse” nature of risks and threats require that we find “transverse” answers to them. No one can do that alone, because of the range of the needed competences, and costs.

 

The military assets on which to put emphasis are reactivity for command structures and intelligence gathering, agility and flexibility of forces and mastering, and control of the military effects, such as accuracy and lethality.

 

 ***

 

The idea of “exact technological requirement” has become of paramount importance; the point is to elaborate our doctrines through a seamless and constantly evolving process.

 

There are three domains in which I consider that progress can be made:

 

To better anticipate the requirements, we need to increase our efforts on prospective thinking: we need to be more open-minded to other disciplines, working in hubs that associate doctrinal centres, ops experts, armament engineers, industrialists and so on.

 

To adapt more quickly, we have to reinforce our reactive adaptation processes in the industrial, doctrinal and budget fields. Shortening the lessons learned loop is also part of it.

We have to rethink the way we launch our procurement programs. The real issue is: should technologies be guaranteed nationally or shared with others? It is a major stake and a real responsibility for any country and moreover for a nuclear and space power.

 

 

To conclude, in an ever changing world, facing ever more complex situations, we have to adapt ourselves ever more faster. This implies that we know better how to use the linkage between new technologies and evolving doctrines. This is not only “best value for money” but also “best potential for money”…

 

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2 juin 2013 7 02 /06 /juin /2013 17:35
Electronics Technician 1st Class Rachel Preston, left, assigned to USS Freedom (LCS 1) talks with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on June 2 during his trip to Singapore for the 2013 Shangri-La Dialogue. Freedom is in Singapore as part of a deployment to Southeast Asia. (MCS 1st Class Cassandra Thompson/Navy)

Electronics Technician 1st Class Rachel Preston, left, assigned to USS Freedom (LCS 1) talks with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on June 2 during his trip to Singapore for the 2013 Shangri-La Dialogue. Freedom is in Singapore as part of a deployment to Southeast Asia. (MCS 1st Class Cassandra Thompson/Navy)

Jun. 2, 2013 - By MATHIEU RABECHAULT – Defense News (AFP)

 

ABOARD USS FREEDOM, SINGAPORE — US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Sunday visited the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship deployed in Singapore, a symbol of Washington’s strategic “pivot” towards Asia.

 

The LCS is designed as the Navy’s ultimate multitasking vessel despite significant development problems.

 

The USS Freedom, the first of 52 LCS vessels which the Navy plans to build at a total cost of $37 billion, arrived in mid-April in Singapore for its first deployment.

 

Four LCS, which are designed to operate close to shore, will eventually be forward-deployed at the city-state’s Changi naval base as part of Washington’s military “rebalancing” towards the Asia-Pacific.

 

The aim is to increase the US military presence in the region by avoiding a two-week voyage from the US West Coast before deployment.

 

Hagel gave the deployment his strong backing in remarks to the crew from the Freedom’s bridge.

 

“You’re making history out here,” he told them. “What you represent to our partnerships in the Asia-Pacific can’t be overstated.”

 

The 120-meter (396-foot) USS Freedom is a whole new type of ship. Like a Lego model, it can be adapted for specific missions through a system of interchangeable modules and crew.

 

“We see it as like a truck, you can put different things inside,” said its captain, Lt. Cmdr. Clayton Doss.

 

The ship currently has a “surface combat” module including a helicopter, two 30 mm cannon and two powerful Zodiac speedboats for its Southeast Asian role.

 

The deployment of the USS Freedom came at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and as China publicly flexed its naval muscle in the South China Sea, where it has competing territorial claims with some Southeast Asian states.

 

There are also still cases of piracy in the Strait of Malacca.

 

Out of the hundred-strong crew, 38 of them are dedicated to the surface combat module. They will be replaced by others if the ship is reconfigured for an anti-submarine or anti-mine role, said Doss. Replacing one module with another takes no longer than 96 hours, he said.

 

The aim of the design is to keep the ship light and speedy — the LCS can sail at more than 40 knots — and avoid having to carry equipment and crew to perform different tasks.

 

“The other reason that modularity is so helpful is that it’s very hard to know what types of combat systems you need to deal with the challenges in the future,” Doss said.

 

“We have three mission packages now, it doesn’t mean those are the only three, we’ll continue to create new ones.”

 

The US Navy believes so strongly in the concept that the LCS ships, of two different classes, will eventually make up almost 20 percent of its entire fleet.

 

Apart from the four to be berthed in Singapore, eight others are expected to be based in Bahrain.

 

But the programme has suffered some troubling teething problems.

 

“The LCS program has become controversial due to cost inflation, design and construction issues with the lead ships built to each design, concerns over the ships’ ability to withstand battle damage, and concerns over whether the ships are sufficiently armed,” said a Congressional Research Service report in April.

 

After about 30 months of operations, the Navy discovered cracks in the superstructure and hull of one ship along with corrosion.

 

Doss said the problems were being solved.

 

“We will come across problems and we will make discoveries before it (LCS) enters the fleet in full operational capability,” Vice Adm. Allen Myers, deputy Chief of Naval Operations, said last month.

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1 juin 2013 6 01 /06 /juin /2013 21:29
USA: Hagel Discusses Partnership With Indonesian Counterpart

01 June 2013 American Forces Press Service - Pacific Sentinel

 

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2013 – In a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart during the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel discussed closer ties between the United States and Indonesia, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
 
"The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of deepening ties in support of the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership, an initiative of Presidents Barack Obama and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, calling for closer ties between our two governments and societies,” Little said in a statement summarizing the meeting. “They reviewed progress made in recent years to increase exercises and training, as well as regular defense policy dialogues.”
 
The secretary and Yusgiantoro also discussed American support for Indonesia's military modernization, including through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales Program, Little said, and Hagel underscored the importance of human rights accountability for sustaining the momentum in the U.S.-Indonesian defense relationship.
 
Hagel said he looks forward to hosting Yusgiantoro in Washington as soon as his schedule allows, Little added.
 
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31 mai 2013 5 31 /05 /mai /2013 07:35
Asia-Pacific Defense Leaders Meet in Singapore; Hagel to Attend

May. 30, 2013 - By WENDELL MINNICK  - Defense News

 

SINGAPORE — The UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) is set for its biggest Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) since its inception in 2002.

 

Scheduled for May 31 to June 2 at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, it will involve defense ministers, military chiefs and senior government officials from 31 countries. Known officially as the 12th Asia Security Summit, this SLD will be US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s first, and expectations are high that the Vietnam War veteran will bring a unique perspective.

 

Hagel’s participation takes place against a backdrop of fiscal battles and furloughs in the Pentagon, an ambiguous Asia Pivot strategy, and unanswered questions over the AirSea Battle strategy that is making some Asia-Pacific allies and friends nervous.

 

“More than ever this year, there will be ample opportunities to discuss and debate ‘hard security’ concerns, such as the implications of maritime disputes, military modernization programs and missile defense against the backdrop of the contentions in the South China Sea, East China Sea, Korean Peninsula, and over Taiwan,” said Tim Huxley, executive director, IISS-Asia, Singapore.

 

“We think it is important to provide a dialogue platform where these key security issues of the day can be discussed openly between key representatives of Asia-Pacific states’ defense and security establishments, extra-regional states with major interests in the region’s security, and high-level non-governmental experts,” Huxley said.

 

Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnam’s prime minister, will deliver the keynote opening dinner address at the SLD.

 

“The Vietnamese prime minister’s participation indicates the crucial role the dialogue plays in inter-governmental discussions about defense and security in the Asia-Pacific region,” said John Chipman, IISS CEO and director-general.

 

Deputy Defense Minister Senior Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, who will also give a speech during the regular session of the SLD, will lead the Vietnamese military delegation.

 

China has improved its representation this year, Huxley said, with its delegation being led again by a three-star deputy chief of the General Staff (DCGS) of the People’s Liberation Army, “as it was in 2007, ’08, ’09, ’10. In 2011 it was the defense minister; 2012 it was a relatively low-ranking officer from the academy of military sciences.”

 

This year, DCGS Lt. Gen. Qi Jianguo will speak in a plenary session on June 2, “and is supported by a strong PLA delegation, members of which will be speaking in some of the special sessions on Saturday afternoon,” Huxley said.

 

“This year will also see a large European delegation: The European Union representative for foreign affairs and security policy, chair of the EU Military Committee, chair of the NATO Military Committee, and the Swedish foreign minister,” Huxley said.

 

Huxley called this evidence of a “European pivot to Asia … something we haven’t seen before at the Shangri-La Dialogue.”

 

IISS will launch two Adelphi Books during the SLD on maritime security issues. Sarah Raine, IISS consulting fellow for Chinese Foreign and Security Policy, and Christian Le Mière, IISS senior fellow for Naval Forces and Maritime Security, authored “Regional Disorder: The South China Sea Disputes,” and Geoffrey Till, director of the Corbett Centre for Maritime Policy Studies, authored “Asia’s Naval Expansion: An Arms Race in the Making?”

 

The SLD will include six plenary sessions on the US approach to regional security; defending national interests and preventing conflict; military modernization and strategic transparency; China’s role in global security; global and regional institutions and Asian security; and advancing defense cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

 

There will also be six simultaneous special sessions, including avoiding incidents at sea; the Afghan drawdown and regional security; missile defense in the Asia-Pacific; new military technologies and doctrines; defense diplomacy and conflict prevention; and the cyber dimension to Asian security, which is an “IISS expert special subject.”

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16 mai 2013 4 16 /05 /mai /2013 11:35
AUS: Navies sign Submarine Rescue Arrangement
15 may 2013 Pacific Sentinel
 
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) today signed an arrangement with the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) during the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) in Singapore this week.
 
Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Ray Griggs who signed the agreement with his Singaporean counterpart Rear Admiral Ng Chee Peng, said the Submarine Rescue Support and Cooperation Arrangement was developed between the RAN and RSN to enhance submarine rescue system availability between both navies.
 
“Having the arrangement in place will assist in facilitating an Australian request to Singapore for support if ever required in areas within the reach of the Singaporean submarine rescue system,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
 
The arrangement also allows for familiarisation visits between the two Navies to ensure interoperability of these important systems.
 
“This will ensure the compatibility of our systems, procedures and documentation, and establishes a framework for the conduct of future submarine rescue exercises at sea,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
 
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14 mai 2013 2 14 /05 /mai /2013 12:35
RSS Resilience - Fearless class patrol vessel source defpro.com

RSS Resilience - Fearless class patrol vessel source defpro.com

14.05.2013 Defense Studies

Sagem (Safran) has signed a contract with the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) of Singapore to develop and produce a new Gun Fire-Control System (GFCS) for eight Littoral Mission Vessels ordered by the Republic of Singapore Navy.

Sagem’s new GFCS is a centralized system located at the ship’s operations center that integrates several functions: main and secondary guns, radar, optronics and navigation systems. Capable of operating from several multifunction consoles concurrently, Sagem’s GFCS will also be interfaced with the combat management system. It’s open architecture not only allows for easy integration but also ensures flexibility and scalability for future upgrades and enhancement.

A long-standing partner to the Singapore Navy, Sagem has also supplied the GFCS for the six Formidable class frigates, and four Endurance class LSTs.

The new GFCS will be developed by Sagem at its Massy R&D center near Paris. Through this program Sagem provides further proof of its capabilities as systems integrator for combat systems, sensors and decentralized information on military platforms.

(Safran Sagem)

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13 mai 2013 1 13 /05 /mai /2013 18:35
source navyrecognition.com

source navyrecognition.com

Salon IMDEX Asia, Singapour, le 14 mai 2013. - safran-group.com

 

Sagem (Safran) vient de signer avec l’agence de défense et de technologie DSTA de Singapour un contrat portant sur le développement et la production du nouveau système de combat GFCS - Gun Fire Control System - destiné aux huit Littoral Mission Vessels commandés par la marine de la République de Singapour (1).

 

Le système Gun Fire Control System de Sagem est un système central qui intégrera depuis le centre opérations des bâtiments plusieurs fonctions : artillerie principale et secondaire, radars, systèmes optroniques et système de navigation. Opéré depuis ses consoles multifonctions, le GFCS s’interfacera avec le système de combat principal. Son architecture ouverte permettra une intégration aisée, et sa flexibilité d’agréger ultérieurement d’autres capacités.

 

Partenaire de longue date de la marine de Singapour, Sagem a produit les systèmes GFCS des six frégates de la classe Formidable et celui des quatre bâtiments amphibies LST de la classe Endurance.

 

Le nouveau GFCS sera développé dans le centre R&D de Sagem à Massy.

 

A travers ce programme, Sagem démontre sa capacité d’intégrateur de systèmes de combat, de capteurs et de systèmes d’information décentralisés pour plates-formes militaires.

 

(1) - La future classe de bâtiments de mission littorale de la marine Singapourienne comprendra huit bâtiments lance-missiles de 1200 t. Conduit sous la maitrise d’œuvre de ST Marine, ce programme doit remplacer les actuels patrouilleurs de la classe Fearless.

****

 

Sagem, société de haute technologie de Safran, est un leader mondial de solutions et de services en optronique, avionique, électronique et logiciels critiques, pour les marchés civils et de défense. N°1 européen et n°3 mondial des systèmes de navigation inertielle pour les applications aéronautiques, marines et terrestres, Sagem est également n°1 mondial des commandes de vol pour hélicoptères et n°1 européen des systèmes optroniques et des systèmes de drones tactiques. Présents sur tous les continents via le réseau international du groupe Safran, Sagem et ses filiales emploient 7 500 personnes en Europe, en Asie du Sud-est et Amérique du Nord. Sagem est le nom commercial de la société Sagem Défense Sécurité.

Pour plus d’informations : www.sagem-ds.com

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8 mai 2013 3 08 /05 /mai /2013 07:35
US shift to Asia on track despite budget cuts: admiral

May 8th, 2013 defencetalk.com (AFP)

 

Plans to expand the American naval presence in the Pacific with new ships and hi-tech weaponry will go ahead despite steep budget cuts, the US Navy chief said before a trip to the region.

 

Admiral Jonathan Greenert told AFP in an interview he will seek to “reassure” partners during a nine-day trip to Japan, Singapore and South Korea that mounting pressure on military spending will not derail Washington’s much-publicized shift towards Asia.

 

Of the navy’s current fleet of 283 ships, 101 are deployed and 52 are in Pacific waters, with plans to increase the US presence in the region to 62 ships by 2020, he said.

 

“We’re going to grow. There’s no question about the next seven to eight years,” said the admiral, who departs Wednesday on his tour.

 

Greenert, who will meet counterparts at the IMDEX maritime security conference in Singapore, said during his talks he would outline a steadily expanding naval presence, particularly in Southeast Asia.

 

“I’ll talk to them on deployments and how we’re going to sustain our presence out there through this 2013-14 period,” he said.

 

Under automatic budget cuts, the Pentagon faces a reduction of $41 billion this fiscal year and possibly up to $500 billion over the next nine years if US lawmakers fail to break a political impasse.

 

Military leaders have warned that flight hours, ship maintenance and some exercises will be scaled back due to the belt tightening, even as China and other Asian powers pursue an arms buildup.

 

Greenert acknowledged the cuts could slow down the arrival of some new weapons, and if funding were slashed over several years, ship-building plans would suffer.

 

But he said there were 47 ships under construction or under contract that would not be affected by any budget slashing.

 

“Shipyards won’t go empty. There’s no plan to break the contracts.”

 

For the Pacific, he touted efforts to strengthen the navy’s role in the region, from more joint drills to “more grey hulls” in the western Pacific.

 

The strategic “re-balance” is illustrated by what Greenert calls operating “forward,” with 42 of the 52 vessels patrolling the Pacific permanently stationed in regional ports.

 

The approach paid off amid recent tensions with North Korea, he said, when two US destroyers were ordered to the coast off the Korean peninsula.

 

The warships were close at hand in Japan at the naval base in Yokosuka, instead of having to travel a vast distance from the US West Coast.

 

“They are where it matters, when it matters,” he said.

 

The military also plans to send the latest cutting-edge hardware to Asia, with the first squadron of the new P-8 Poseidon aircraft to arrive in Japan later this year, he said.

 

The new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) will have a prominent role in the Pacific, he said, which would free up bigger amphibious ships and destroyers for duties elsewhere.

 

The first LCS, the Freedom, arrived in Singapore last month for its inaugural mission, with four of the ships due to use the port through 2017.

 

The Pentagon believes the smaller LCS vessels are more compatible with similar-sized ships used by other navies in the region, and more suited to an area plagued by territorial disputes.

 

Given tensions over territorial rights in the South China Sea and beyond, Greenert said he would use his trip to discuss “protocols” at sea with partners to prevent crises.

 

“We’ll talk about protocols — how we want to operate together at sea and, when together, how would we operate and conduct ourselves if challenged, say in the South China Sea or East China Sea?” he said.

 

China is often at odds with its neighbors over territorial rights and a Pentagon report issued Monday accused Beijing of cyber espionage against the US government.

 

But Greenert said he did not view the Asian power as threat.

 

Instead, relations with China represented an “opportunity,” which if not handled correctly “could turn into a potential adversary.”

 

Washington was focused on how to “understand each other and develop a meaningful dialogue.”

 

The four-star admiral, who travels to Seoul after his stop in Singapore, said North Korea remained the biggest threat in the region, but that tensions had receded after Pyongyang toned down its bellicose language in recent weeks.

 

North Korea still had the ability to launch missiles but “the likelihood has gone down,” he said. “The rhetoric has lowered.”

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7 mai 2013 2 07 /05 /mai /2013 16:30
OEF / CTF 150 – CTF 151 : rencontre en mer

07/05/2013 Sources : EMA

 

Le 30 avril 2013, profitant de leur croisement au large de l’Arabie, le bâtiment de commandement et de ravitaillement (BCR) Somme, déployé dans le cadre de la CTF 150 depuis le 14 avril, et la frégate Port Victoria, bâtiment amiral de la CTF 151, ont effectué une rencontre à la mer.

 

A l’invitation du capitaine de vaisseau Jean-Michel Martinet commandant la CTF 150, le contre-amiral singapourien, Hock Koon Giam, commandant la CTF 151, a rejoint le bord du BCR pour discuter des modalités concrètes d’une coopération entre les deux TF lors de patrouilles effectuées dans la même région maritime. A cette occasion, les deux COM TF ont également pu échanger des informations sur la zone traversée.

OEF / CTF 150 – CTF 151 : rencontre en mer

Composante maritime de l’opération Enduring freedom (OEF), la TF 150 contribue à améliorer la connaissance des mouvements maritimes de cette zone sensible afin de lutter contre le terrorisme et ses réseaux de soutien dans la région du golfe d’Adenet de l’océan Indien. Au moins un bâtiment français participe en permanence à ses actions de surveillance, de collecte de renseignement sur les trafics et d’interdictions maritime.

OEF / CTF 150 – CTF 151 : rencontre en mer

De son côté, avec la force européenne Atalante (TF 465) et la force déployée par l’OTAN dans le cadre de l’opération Ocean Shield (TF 508), la TF 151 fait partie des trois forces internationales de lutte contre la piraterie opérant au large de la Somalie. Formée par une coalition emmenée par les Etats-Unis, la TF 151 assure la sécurisation de l’International Recommanded Transit Corridor (IRTC) dans le golfe d’Aden.

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25 avril 2013 4 25 /04 /avril /2013 07:50

25 April 2013 Defense Studies

 

Eight of the SAF's Leopard 2SG MBTs and four of the Bundeswehr's Leopard 2A6 MBTs were involved in the joint live-firing exercise at the NATO-Bergen Training Area, Germany  (all photos : Sing Mindef)

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen visited the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) troops participating in Exercise Panzer Strike at the NATO-Bergen Training Area, Germany, on 23 April 2013.

During his visit, Dr Ng was briefed on the conduct of the exercise and witnessed a successful bilateral live-firing involving the 2nd Company of the 48th Battalion of the Singapore Armoured Regiment and their German counterparts from the Bundeswehr's 33rd Panzer Battalion. Both armies had been engaged in rigorous training and exchange of pointers in the lead-up to the joint exercise, which involved the execution of tactical manoeuvres.
 


Speaking to the servicemen at the visit, Dr Ng emphasised the importance of overseas training in providing realistic and challenging training opportunities for the SAF to hone its operational readiness and extended his appreciation to them for their professionalism and dedication. Giving his thoughts on the exercise, Dr Ng said, "I think all servicemen recognise and realise that they have to optimise these very precious training resources. It makes a big difference for them, they know that that once they have done this, they are very confident that they can fire accurately on the move and they are confident as a crew. I think that is something they have achieved that cannot be taken away from them - that they feel very confident of themselves."

 


Exercise Panzer Strike is the fifth in the series and has included a bilateral live-firing component for the second consecutive year. It will involve more than 1300 armour personnel, 14 Leopard 2SG Main Battle Tanks and 11 Bionix I Infantry Fighting Vehicles. These training opportunities in Germany have helped build up the professionalism and capabilities of the SAF Armour. Due to a recent agreement, SAF Armour will now be able to double their training time in Germany.

(Sing Mindef)

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24 avril 2013 3 24 /04 /avril /2013 07:35
Singapore Armor Trains in Germany

April 24th, 2013 By SingaporeMoD - defencetalk.com

 

BERGEN, Germany: One-up, two-up, echelon left, echelon right and bounding-over-watch. These are fighting formations that the 48th Battalion, Singapore Armored Regiment (48 SAR) has executed with Leopard 2SG Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) at Exercise Panzer Strike in Germany.

 

Held on the undulating plains of Bergen-NATO training area – whose live-firing ranges provide three times the maximum firing distance of ranges in Singapore – the armour troopers’ progressive training will conclude with a company live-firing exercise involving 13 Leopard 2SG MBTs operating together and providing fire support for one another.

 

The fifth in the series since it started in 2009, Exercise Panzer Strike is being held from 8 Apr to 21 May this year. “Panzer” is German for armour.

 

From this year, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will be able to train in Germany twice a year as part of a recent agreement between Singapore and Germany.

 

During his introductory visit to Germany from 22 to 24 Apr, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen met with his counterpart Dr Thomas de Maizière in Berlin. Both parties reaffirmed the warm and growing bilateral relations between Singapore and Germany, and expressed commitment to further strengthen and expand bilateral defence cooperation. Dr Ng also conveyed Singapore’s appreciation of the German government’s support for the SAF’s armour training in Germany.

 

Singapore and Germany signed a Defence Cooperation Agreement in September 2005 to formalise their defence interactions. Both countries interact regularly in a range of defence interactions, such as visits, military exchanges, professional courses, policy dialogues and technology collaboration. Dr de Maizière will also be participating in this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue, which will be held in June in Singapore.

 

As part of his visit to Germany, Dr Ng will visit the SAF troops at Exercise Panzer Strike later today.

 

For 48 SAR’s 2nd Company, this annual exercise is an important milestone in ensuring that they are ready to perform operational duties, said the battalion’s commanding officer Major (MAJ) Lim Han Yong. “In Singapore, 800m is the maximum range at which we can engage the targets. Over here, we can engage targets that are as far as 2,500m away.”

 

Another benefit of the large training area in Germany is being able to have moving tanks fire at moving targets, a configuration that is not possible in Singapore because of space limitations. “This enhances the realism (of the exercise) and the training competencies of our crewmen,” added MAJ Lim.

 

Another highlight of training there is the opportunity to fire the 120mm live round from the Leopard 2SG MBT. Lance Corporal (LCP) Chad Augustin, who is in charge of loading these rounds, described his experience as “fantastic”.

 

Speaking with a newfound confidence after having successfully completed several platoon-level live-firing exercises on the Leopard 2SG MBT as part of a four-man crew, the 19-year-old noted: “Training in Singapore is about honing your drills whereas here, it’s about experiencing the live-firing. If you’d asked me just two weeks ago, I’d probably tell you I’ll never make it (as a loader). But now, I feel like I can do anything.”

 

Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Lim Siang Yam, Wing Commander of the School of Armour’s Specialist Training Wing, was also at Exercise Panzer Strike with 158 Armour Infantry (AI) instructors and trainees, a large majority of whom had just graduated from the 05/12 Specialist Cadet Course.

 

This is the first time AI troopers are at Exercise Panzer Strike, and the three-week live-firing exercise in Germany will cap off their training as specialists in the armour formation.

 

Back home, AI troopers practise their skills on the Armour Gunnery Training Simulator. While the simulator helps the troopers sharpen their gunnery skills, MWO Lim pointed out that it required a lot more to accurately take down both stationary and moving targets during a live-firing exercise.

 

“The fatigue level and mental stress is very different as they have a lot more preparation prior to the live-firing,” said the 48-year-old.

 

AI trainee 3SG Jeevan S/O Mahendran said that after his live-firing exercise, he was more confident of the voice procedures when operating the BIONIX Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) as well as of the different roles that being a vehicle commander, a gunner and a trooper entailed. “I feel more confident to take care of and lead my men in the future.”

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20 avril 2013 6 20 /04 /avril /2013 16:35
AUS: Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD concludes
 
 
Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD 2013 was conducted on the South China Sea, Singapore and the Malaysian Peninsula between 8-18 April.  
 
Australia was the only nation to deploy a submarine in support of Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD 13.  
 
Commanding Officer of HMAS Dechaineux Commander Glen Miles said operating as the enemy or “Red Force”, HMAS Dechaineux’s role in the exercise was to test the responses from participating nations’ navy vessels. 
 
“We operated in shallow waters amongst high concentrations of fishing vessels conducting simulated attacks on surface ships from Malaysian, Singaporean and New Zealand Navies,” Commander Miles said. 
 
“For the crew of HMAS Dechaineux, Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD 13 provided a fantastic opportunity to practice the ‘hide and seek’ of submarine warfare in busy waterways.” 
 
Throughout the exercise the submarine was “hunted” by two AP-3C Orion aircraft from Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) 92 Wing, based at RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia. 
 
The AP-3C Orion aircraft flew a total of seven sorties in support of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA)-led exercise, allowing the AP-3C crews to hone their skills in a complex multinational exercise environment involving naval and air forces.  
 

 

The Five Power Defence Arrangements is the longest standing multilateral arrangement in South East Asia and has maintained relevance in the contemporary security environment.

 

The Australian Defence Force was a founding member of the Five Power Defence Arrangements and this year marks the 42nd anniversary of our involvement in these exercises.

 
Exercises such as BERSAMA SHIELD 2013 continue to reinforce the relevance of this long-term relationship to the regional strategic environment. 
 
92 Wing Exercise Detachment Commander Squadron Leader Jesse Laroche said “Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD further enhances the strength of the FPDA relationship, the aircraft and support personnel operated from Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth. 
 
“The squadron regarded the AP-3C participation as a great success, testing exercise interoperability, capability expansion and communication between the Five Power Defence Arrangements Nations,” Squadron Leader Laroche said. 
 
In addition to the AP-3C Orions and HMAS Dechaineux, the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force provided liaison officers who deployed to Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth.
 
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18 avril 2013 4 18 /04 /avril /2013 17:35
The littoral combat ship USS Freedom - photo U.S. Embassy Singapore

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom - photo U.S. Embassy Singapore

Apr. 18, 2013 - By Christopher P. Cavas – Defense News

USS Freedom, the U.S. Navy’s first littoral combat ship, arrived in Singapore on Thursday, just over six weeks after leaving San Diego for the type’s first major overseas deployment, the U.S. Navy announced.

“Freedom has met every milestone of this deployment on time and with the professionalism you would expect of U.S. Navy Sailors,” Cmdr. Timothy Wilke, commanding officer of the ship’s Gold Crew, said in a press release. “I’m proud of Freedom’s accomplishments to date, but I’m also looking forward to putting the ship through its paces over the next several months while deployed more than 8,000 miles from homeport.”

U.S. Navy officials said the ship arrived at Changi Naval Base around 11:00 a.m. (0300 GMT) in Singapore, a long-standing U.S. ally that is providing assistance supporting the Freedom’s deployment.

The Freedom’s arrival in Singapore is a major milestone in the development of the LCS, a new type of warship the Navy is counting on to execute several key missions, including anti-mine and anti-submarine warfare. For the planned 10-month mission to the southwest Pacific, the Freedom is equipped with a surface warfare module, including two 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats, two 30mm remote-controlled gun mounts, and an MH-60R helicopter.

“We plan on spending most of our time here in Southeast Asia. This will be Freedom’s neighborhood for the next eight months,” Wilke said. “We are eager to get out and about, work with other regional navies and share best practices during exercises, port visits and maritime security operations.”

In May, the ship will take part in the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference in Singapore. Operating with the U.S. Seventh Fleet over the spring and summer, the Freedom will take part in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) and Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercises with international partner navies. Both series of exercises have multiple phases.

The 378-foot-long, 3,300-ton Freedom is considerably smaller than the U.S. Navy’s next-larger surface combatants, 9,500-ton destroyers of the Arleigh Burke class. The U.S. has been looking forward to having the LCS operate with comparably-sized ships of other nations, which are far more typical of many navies in the western Pacific.

Midway through the deployment, the ship will conduct a crew swap, and the Blue Crew commanded by Cmdr. Patrick Thien will take over.

Commissioned in November 2008, the LCS has spent the past four years training, being modified and refitted. She left San Diego on March 1 and called at Guam and Manila, Philippines before reaching Singapore.

After the Freedom returns to San Diego early in 2014, the U.S. expects to base four more LCSs in Singapore.

U.S. officials have said another eight LCSs are to be based in Bahrain by 2020. All told, the Navy plans to buy 52 of the high-speed craft.

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18 avril 2013 4 18 /04 /avril /2013 11:29
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3 juin 2012 7 03 /06 /juin /2012 07:30

PLA-Navy-s-New-Type-056-warship.jpg

PLA Navy's New Type 056 warship

 

June 2, 2012  china-defense-mashup.com

 

In the absence of a formal defence alliance like Nato, the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore has become the pre-eminent annual security gathering in the Asia-Pacific region.

 

According to Dr John Chipman, the director-general and chief executive of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, who organise the gathering, “the Shangri-La Dialogue is now commonly referred to as the ‘indispensable forum’ for Asian defence diplomacy.”

 

This year defence ministers and senior officials from some 27 countries are gathering in Singapore.

 

The US defence secretary is a regular participant as too are senior officials from China, Australia, Japan, Canada, India, Indonesia and a host of smaller Asian countries.

 

One of the great benefits of this gathering is that unlike a formal summit there is no communiqué to be worked on.

 

The plenary sessions are often used by ministers to launch trial balloons or make new policy pronouncements and, John Chipman asserts, “the event as a whole allows the defence establishments to ‘take the pulse’ of the prevailing mood in the region”.

China factor

 

This may be the most dynamic part of the world in economic terms but it is also one of major security challenges.

 

To old disputes like the tensions between China and Taiwan or those between North and South Korea can be added a host of new problems, many of them focused on the competition for natural resources in the South China Sea.

 

Recent weeks, for example, have seen serious tensions between China and the Philippines.

 

Living with a rising and sometimes more assertive China is a perennial theme at these gatherings. But, as Dr Chipman said, this year events in China itself give the discussion an added dimension.

 

“Given the leadership transition in China, it is hard to predict how other ministers will address the China question during this summit. There is bound to be a great deal of discussion about the South China Sea,” he said.

 

The bubbling Korean crisis too is bound to figure. The North has stepped up its rhetorical assaults on the South and has threatened to conduct a new, third, nuclear test.

 

Dr Chipman notes that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is so delicate now that most of the debate on this at the dialogue will be in private rather than in public.

 

Of course strong economies combined with the perception of growing threats mean that more money is being spent on weaponry and defence equipment.

 

China itself has deployed its first trial aircraft carrier, it has developed a stealth fighter, it is expanding both its navy and its civilian maritime patrol force and it has begun to deploy a ballistic missile capable, potentially, of striking at US aircraft carriers far out at sea.

 

Other countries are responding by beefing up their own air and maritime forces – submarines and maritime patrol aircraft are a popular option.

 

India is modernising its air force and developing a capability to launch ballistic missiles from submarines.

 

There are also hopes in some quarters that the US will begin to deploy new naval assets of its own to bases in the region, like the ultra-modern Littoral Combat Ships.

‘Multipolar Asia’

 

Inevitably, says Dr Chipman, this is all going to colour much of the discussion in Singapore.

 

“With defence expenditure in Asia rising above that in Europe this year there is bound to be a debate about whether this is all about modernisation or significantly about competition.”

 

“Most Asians are keen on a multipolar Asia, and fear that China likes multipolarity on the global level but is less keen on it in the region,” he said.

 

“Equally, many are worried that if the US gets the tone and content of its policy wrong then there could be unnecessary US-China tensions.”

 

“The net effect is to impose on Asian middle and rising powers more responsibility for themselves shaping the debate.”

 

“Look to Indonesia, Australia and others to try to define the terms of the security debate more forcefully at this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue,” he said.

 

Two key speeches are likely to set the tone at this year’s gathering.

 

The meeting will be opened by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. How will he frame the policy challenges in the region and situate Indonesia in the multipolar Asia that is emerging?

 

Equally, the US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s speech will be closely watched. As the draw-down in Afghanistan begins the Obama administration has announced a US “pivot” back towards Asia.

 

What exactly does this mean in defence terms?

 

Mr Panetta’s speech is entitled “US Defence Policy in an Era of Austerity”. Does the US have the resources to maintain its interests in the Middle East and elsewhere whilst reaffirming its role as an Asian power?

 

Dr Chipman will be listening as closely as the rest.

 

How, he asks, will Mr Panetta balance reassurance to allies, outreach to new, potential partners and the need for a pragmatic, if hard-headed, defence relationship with China? Watch this space.

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12 mars 2012 1 12 /03 /mars /2012 21:35
Extension du 150e escadron de l’armée de l’air singapourienne à Cazaux

 

12/03/2012 Sources : Armée de l'air

 

Le jeudi 8 mars 2012, le général Huat Sern Wong, chef  de l’état-major « air » des forces aériennes singapouriennes et le général Jean-Luc Crochard, délégué aux relations extérieures de l’armée de l’air française ont présidé la cérémonie de «la première pelletée de terre» symbolisant la prochaine construction du centre d’instruction au sol des pilotes de la Republic of Singapore Air Forces , sur la base aérienne 120 de Cazaux.

 

« La première pelletée de terre » symbolisant la prochaine construction du centre d’instruction au sol singapourien

 

La société Singapore Technologies Aerospace  a été mandatée pour superviser l’ensemble du projet destiné à assurer la formation des pilotes sur les douze avions d’entraînement avancé M346 qui équiperont le futur centre d’instruction.

 

Le bâtiment comprendra deux étages et abritera des simulateurs de vol, des équipements et matériels d’instruction, des salles de classes interactives et des salles de briefing. Ces outils contribueront à parfaire les compétences au combat aérien des élèves-pilotes singapouriens.

 

En partenariat avec l’armée de l’air, la première phase des travaux de construction débutera prochainement et le site devrait voir le jour fin 2013, consolidant ainsi les liens d’amitié et de coopération franco-singapouriens.

 

Installé à Cazaux depuis plus de douze ans, le 150e  escadron assure la formation d’une douzaine de pilotes chaque année. Avec l’arrivée des M346, c’est une nouvelle ère qui commence!

 

Le général Huat Sern Wong et le général Jean-Luc Crochard ont présidé l'inauguration du futur bâtiment singapourien

Le général Huat Sern Wong et le général Jean-Luc Crochard ont présidé l'inauguration du futur bâtiment singapourien

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10 février 2012 5 10 /02 /février /2012 13:05
Comment l'industrie aéronautique et de défense française s'est imposée en Malaisie

photo Airbus Military

 

10/02/2012  Michel Cabirol, à Kuala Lumpur –  LaTribune.fr

 

Les industriels français arrivent au salon aéronautique de Singapour, le « Singapore Airshow », qui ouvre ses portes le 14 février, auréolés de leurs succès en Malaisie. Une exception dans le sud-est asiatique.

 

Qui pourrait croire que la Malaisie à plus de 10.000 km de Paris est aujourd’hui le pays le plus francophile de la région du sud-est asiatique en matière d’achats de de matériels aéronautiques et de défense… Et pourtant, Paris est bien le plus gros exportateur d’armements de Kuala Lumpur, loin devant les Etats-Unis, un rouleau compresseur dans cette zone véritable chasse gardée de l’administration américaine, qui grogne et tempête contre des Malaisiens beaucoup trop friands à leur goût des technologies françaises. C’est la pépite des industriels tricolores dans la région avec l’Inde. « Sinon nous avons une position médiocre dans cette région. Où est l’eldorado ? C’est un mythe et c’est la triste réalité », explique-t-on à La Tribune.

 

Le 5ème client français

 

En dépit de la pression américaine, la Malaisie, qui dispose bon an, mal an d’un budget pour les équipements militaires de 900 millions d’euros, se classe au cinquième rang des clients de l’industrie de défense française derrière les deux poids lourds du Golfe (Arabie saoudite et Emirats Arabes Unis) et les leaders des Brics (Brésil et Inde). « C’est l’une des plus belles réussites de la France même si ce succès reste très discret », regrette le président d’EADS en Malaisie et à Brunei, Bruno Navet. Ces dix dernières années, l’industrie française de défense a réussi de très jolis coups : deux sous-marins à propulsion classique Scorpène (DCNS) en 2002, quatre avions de transport de troupes A400M (Airbus Military) en 2005, douze hélicoptères de transport tactique EC725 (Eurocopter) en 2010 et bientôt six corvettes Gowind de DCNS en 2012. Sans compter les armements de MBDA (37,5 % EADS, 37,5% BAE Systems et 25 % l’italien Finmeccanica).

 

Razzia d'Airbus

 

Le civil n’est pas en reste. Airbus fait une razzia en Malaisie, notamment chez AirAsia, qui possède une flotte 100 % Airbus. La low cost à succès du Sud-Est asiatique disposera à terme du plus grand nombre d’A320 au monde (375 commandes fermes, dont 200 Neo). En outre, le tonitruant patron d’AirAsia, Tony Fernandez, s’est également offert l’A350 (15 exemplaires) et fait voler une flotte de neuf A330-300 (+ cinq A330-200 en commande). Chez Malaysia Airlines (MAS), qui disposera quant à elle de six A380, possède une flotte de onze A330-300 (13 sont encore à livrer) et de trois A330-200. La filiale hélicoptériste d’EADS, Eurocopter, vend quant à elle en moyenne une dizaine de machines. L’avionneur régional ATR (50 % EADS, 50 % Finmeccanica) a vendu en 2007 une vingtaine d’ATR 72-500 à deux filiales de la compagnie aérienne MAS. Enfin, Astrium (groupe EADS) a été sélectionné en juin 2011 par l’opérateur de télécoms Measat, jusqu’ici plutôt favorable à Boieng, pour fabriquer le satellite de télécoms Measat-3B.

 

French touch

 

Pourquoi un tel engouement pour les matériels français ? La Malaisie (28,7 millions d’habitants début 2012), comme toute la région Asie-Pacifique, connaît une forte croissance de son trafic passager (+ 6,7 % en 2011). En outre, MAS et AirAsia veulent jouer dans la cours des grandes compagnies. D’où la volonté de s’armer pour devenir des compagnies incontournables au niveau régional et international même si aujourd’hui MAS connaît quelques difficultés et doit se restructurer. Au-delà d’une conjoncture favorable à des investissements aéroportuaires et en appareils, la Malaisie, d’un pays acheteur, veut devenir un pays producteur. Une volonté politique incarnée par le Premier ministre, Najib Razak, anciennement ministre de la Défense de 1999 à 2004 et qui connait, de fait, très bien la qualité des matériels français, notamment l’hélicoptère de combat Tigre dans lequel il a volé. « La Malaisie (7 % de croissance par an en moyenne depuis 50 ans) a l’ambition de passer du statut de pays en développement à celui de pays à haut revenu en l’espace de trois générations », précise-t-on à l’ambassade de France à Kuala Lumpur.

 

A armes égales avec les Etats-Unis

 

Et ça, les industriels français, pour pouvoir exporter, savent faire depuis très longtemps. A savoir concevoir et organiser des coopérations industrielles avec des transferts de technologies, ce qui leur permet de jouer de temps en temps à armes égales ou presque avec la puissance de feu des Etats-Unis. C’est notamment le cas en Malaisie. En témoigne la coopération gagnante entre DCNS et le conglomérat Boustead. Sa filiale Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), qui a choisi le design du groupe naval tricolore, a obtenu un contrat d’un montant de 2,14 milliards d’euros pour livrer à la Malaisie 6 corvettes de la gamme Gowind, qui seront fabriquées localement par BNS.

Installé depuis 2002 en Malaisie, Eurocopter est le plus bel exemple de cette coopération industrielle. Sa filiale Eurocopter Malaysia, qui a réalisé un chiffre d’affaires de 105 millions d’euros (+ 20 %), est devenue un centre de maintenance et de support pour tous les hélicoptères de la région du Sud-Est asiatique (Malaisie, Thaïlande, Indonésie et Philippines). Son patron, Pierre Nardelli a signé en 2011 une coopération, dans le cadre des offsets (contreparties industrielles) garantis par le contrat EC 725, avec le groupe malaisien CTRM (Composites Technology Research Malaysia), qui est désormais le seul industriel au monde à fournir le fenestron de l’EC 130, jusqu’ici fabriqué en France. Soit un marché pour 40 machines par an. CTRM, qui travaille également avec Airbus, dispose d’un carnet de commandes de 1,5 milliard d’euros, dont l’essentiel est généré par l’avionneur toulousain : notamment 1 million d’euros de chiffre d’affaires par A400M livré, 1 million par A350 livré, entre 700.000 et 800.000 euros par A320 livrés et 500.000 euros par A380 livré.

 

Tensions régionales

 

Dans le domaine de la défense, les industriels ne peuvent plus déroger aux offsets en Malaisie, qui s’est dotée d’une politique ambitieuse en la matière pour constituer à terme son industrie aéronautique. Ces contreparties sont passées de 50 % en 2010 à 100 % en 2011 pour la durée du contrat et à partir d’un appel d’offre d’une valeur de 10 millions d’euros. « Les offsets ne sont plus basés sur l’échange d’achat de biens (huile de palme par exemple) mais sur l’investissement dans le pays, explique un industriel tricolore. L’accent est mis fortement sur la formation ». Ils peuvent être directs ou indirects, le plus souvent avec des transferts de technologies.

Enfin, baignée par la Mer de Chine au du nord du pays, la Malaisie, comme la plupart des pays de la région, s’arme pour disposer d’une défense crédible face à la puissance de la Chine, génératrice de tensions dans cette région. Tout comme les iles Spratleys, riches en hydrocarbures, les îles Parcels sont revendiquées, elles aussi, par plusieurs pays outre la Chine et le Vietnam et notamment le Brunei, la Malaisie, Taiwan et les Philippines. Du coup, la Malaisie cherche à accroître ses capacités militaires navales (sous-marins, corvettes…). Comme la plupart de ses voisins qui se dotent de sous-marins nécessaires pour assurer leur souveraineté au large de leurs côtes. Car la Chine, elle, compte à ce jour 63 sous-marins, dont huit à propulsion nucléaire et 31 modernes et opérationnels.

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