Rabu, November 30, 2011

New Maritime Security System Debuts at Exercise Northstar

SOTF troopers storming the hijacked MV Avatar after rappelling from a Super Puma helicopter.

It looked like any ordinary commercial ship approaching Singapore's shores, but the seemingly innocuous merchant ship was on a sinister mission.

Initially bound for Port Klang, the merchant vessel MV Avatar was hijacked in the South China Sea.
Armed with explosives, the hijackers demanded the release of some detained terrorists. Failing which, they would sail the MV Avatar into Jurong Island and detonate the ship.

This was the scenario participants at Exercise Northstar VIII were faced with on 25 Nov. The exercise, which simulated multiple terrorist attacks at various locations in Singapore, was held from 10 to 25 Nov to test the whole-of-government approach in handling such emergencies.

In response to the hijacking simulation at sea, exercise participants despatched two patrol vessels from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Police Coast Guard (PCG) to flank the MV Avatar while they negotiated with the hijackers.

When negotiations stalled and the MV Avatar proceeded at full speed towards Jurong Island, the Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) moved in. The SOTF troopers approached via two Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) and a Super Puma helicopter, and proceeded to board and storm the ship while the another helicopter provided air cover.

The hijackers were subdued and control of the ship was gained four nautical miles (approximately 7.4 km) away from Jurong Island.

This successful operation was made possible through a well-oiled National Maritime Security System (NMSS). Involving various maritime security agencies, the new framework enables the early detection of maritime threats and provides a timely and coordinated response to these threats.

It comprises a National Maritime Sense-making Centre (NMSC), which collates and analyses maritime information round-the-clock, and a National Maritime Operations Group (NMOG), which carries out operations to neutralise maritime threats.

Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean, who visited the final day of Exercise Northstar, also officially launched the Singapore Maritime Security Centre in Changi Naval Base.

After observing how the NMSS was tested through the simulated hijacking incident, he commented on the importance of the NMSS: "There's so much traffic in the maritime domain going on around us; we're one of the busiest ports in the world, so to be able to detect, sense-make and understand the threats developing and to pre-empt them before they occur is a very important first step.

"The second step is to be able to respond and interdict any such threats, and the final step... is to mitigate these threats if they do develop," he added.

Besides the sea simulation, Exercise Northstar also featured a chlorine leak simulation followed by blasts caused by vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Jurong Island on the same day. This simulation saw the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) containing the crisis, evacuating and treating casualties together with personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Ministry of Health.

Speaking to local media after observing the successful completion of the exercise, Mr Teo said: "This year's Exercise Northstar has tested our resilience in both the maritime and land domains... Exercises such as this are useful as they help all participating parties to be better prepared for any eventuality that may arise."

He also cautioned against complacency, saying: "We can never be too ready, so we always have to keep on practising. We must understand that the threats are unpredictable, so we cannot just be training for a specific threat, but we must have the flexibility to respond as the threats evolve."

This year's Exercise Northstar - the eighth in the series since it was started in 1997 - involved about 700 personnel from 18 agencies, including the SAF, SCDF, Singapore Police Force, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Customs.

Besides Mr Teo, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Defence and National Development Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman and senior officials from various ministries were also present to witness the exercise.

New Cutting Edge Missile Defence System for ANZAC Ships

All eight of the Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac Class frigates will be upgraded with an advanced Anti-Ship Missile Defence system, total cost is $650 million, including the funds already spent upgrading HMAS Perth.

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Government has approved the upgrade of all eight of the Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac Class frigates with an advanced Anti-Ship Missile Defence system.

The total project cost is in excess of $650 million, including the funds already spent upgrading HMAS Perth.

The ANZAC Class Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) project has also been removed from the Projects of Concern list.

The 2009 Defence White Paper outlined the Government’s intent to put all of the ANZAC Class ships through an ASMD upgrade program, subject to the successful outcome of at-sea trials on the first ship.

The upgrade of HMAS Perth as the lead ship for the ASMD program was successfully completed earlier this year.

Following exhaustive testing, including in theUnited States, the Chief of Navy agreed to the operational release of the system in July 2011.

Government has now approved the installation of the system on the remaining seven ships of the ANZAC class by 2017.

Minister Smith said this was the latest weapon in Navy’s arsenal and meant the Navy’s ANZAC frigates would be a lot more capable.

At the moment our ANZAC frigates can track and destroy one target at a time.

The new system is able to identify, track and guide missiles to multiple targets at the same time.
Minister Clare said the project was a great Australian success story – cutting edge technology developed right here inAustraliaby CEA Technologies.

The remaining upgrade installation and integration work will be undertaken by the ANZAC Ship Integrated Materiel Support Program Alliance, comprising SAAB Systems, BAE Systems and the Defence Materiel Organisation.

Minister Clare said that the ASMD upgrade program is a good demonstration of how the Projects of Concern process can effectively manage difficult projects and deliver successful national security outcomes for Australia.

Rabu, November 09, 2011

Malaysia Requests AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Missiles

AIM-9X2 air-to-air missile

WASHINGTON – The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress today of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Malaysia for 20 AIM-9X-2 SIDEWINDER Block II All-Up-Round Missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $52 million.

The Government of Malaysia has requested a possible sale of 20 AIM-9X-2 SIDEWINDER Block II All-Up-Round Missiles, 8 CATM-9X-2 Captive Air Training Missiles, 4 CATM-9X-2 Block II Missile Guidance Units, 2 AIM-9X-2 Block II Tactical Guidance Units, 2 Dummy Air Training Missiles, containers, missile support and test equipment, provisioning, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and other related logistics support. The estimated cost is $52 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in East Asia.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force is modernizing its fighter aircraft to better support its own air defense needs.

The proposed sale of AIM-9X-2 missiles will enhance Malaysia’s interoperability with the U.S. and among other South East Asian nations, making it a more valuable partner in an increasingly important area of the world.The proposed sale of this weapon system will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems Company in Tucson, Arizona. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require travel of U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Malaysia on a temporary basis for program technical support and management oversight.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

Selasa, November 08, 2011


The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is conducting a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) live-firing exercise, code-named Daring Warrior, from 21 October to 7 November 2011, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, USA. The exercise involved 234 personnel from the Headquarters, Singapore Artillery, Headquarters 3rd Division Artillery and 23rd Battalion, Singapore Artillery as well as the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

In conjunction with Exercise Daring Warrior, the SAF and the US Army conducted a bilateral air-land integrated live-firing exercise, involving US personnel from the 214th Fires Brigade Headquarters, as well as 1-14th and 2-5th Field Artillery. The two-day bilateral exercise, which ended today, involved the SAF's HIMARS and Apache AH-64Ds helicopters. The US also participated with their HIMARS, F-16 and F-18 fighter aircraft, as well as Ground Liaison and Targeting teams.

The Commander of the SAF Training and Doctrine Command Brigadier-General (BG) Lim Hock Yu and the Commanding General of the US Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill Major-General (MG) David Halverson were present to witness the exercise. Highlighting the value of Exercise Daring Warrior, BG Lim said, "Exercise Daring Warrior provides an excellent opportunity for the SAF to maintain the operational capabilities of its HIMARS and to conduct air-land integration training. It also opens up a channel for professional and operational exchanges between the SAF and the US Army." Likewise, MG Halverson added that "the exercise was a great environment for the soldiers to operate in a joint training situation". In addition, he said, "As we train together to develop proficiencies and certifications, we are also working to take the training to the next level. We have a great coalition team with the military forces of Singapore."

Exercise Daring Warrior 2011 is the second HIMARS live-firing exercise conducted since the SAF took delivery of the HIMARS in July 2010. The SAF and the US Army also conducted a joint live-firing exercise during the previous Exercise Daring Warrior, in November 2010. Training in the US enables the SAF to build up its operational capabilities and readiness. It also facilitates sharing of knowledge between the two armed forces. The US' support for the SAF's training in the US reflects the long-standing and excellent defence relationship between the two countries.

LM develops MH-60R variant

The MH-60R for the RAN is being developed without a dipping sonar but with increased range and a reconfigured cabin.

Lockheed Martin is developing a cheaper variant of the MH-60R naval combat helicopter ordered for the RAN without a dipping sonar but with increased range and a reconfigured cabin.

George Barton, the company’s director of naval helicopter programs, mission systems and sensors division, told ADM’s Julian Kerr in Owego, New York State last week that Denmark had been briefed on the project and a number of other countries were interested.

These are understood to include Qatar.

Barton said the US Navy, which has now taken delivery of 108 of an eventual 300 MH-60R, was not involved in the project which was being self-funded by Lockheed Martin.

The new variant would retain its air to surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); and search and rescue capabilities.

The dipping sonar and associated equipment could be retrofitted if required.

Removal from the cabin of the dipping sonar, the sonobuoy launcher and the acoustic processor rack would increase to 10 the number of passengers able to be carried compared to three with the sonar equipment in position, and eight with just the dipping sonar body temporarily removed.

Barton confirmed the proposed variant, now in the concept design stage, would be cheaper than the current production model, for which Australia is the first international customer.

Although range depended on a number of factors, an increase of about 20 per cent was likely on a typical mission out to 120 nautical mile, requiring an on-station time of 1 hour 45 minutes. - Julian Kerr Owego, NY

Senin, November 07, 2011

General Dynamics Awarded $1 Billion to Upgrade Canadian LAV III Vehicles

A Canadian LAV III at a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Afghanistan

EDMONTON, Alberta and LONDON, Ontario – The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, and the Honourable Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence, announced today that the Government of Canada has awarded a contract valued at C$1.064 billion (US$1.052 billion) to General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada to incorporate a comprehensive upgrade package into the Canadian Army's fleet of LAV III combat vehicles.

The LAV III Upgrade Project will modernize 550 vehicles, significantly enhancing their survivability, mobility and firepower and extending the fleet's lifecycle to 2035.

Survivability upgrades will include the introduction of double-V-hull technology, an innovative enhancement developed by General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada engineers, as well as add-on armour protection and energy-attenuating seats. Together, these improvements will provide crew members greater protection against mine blasts, IEDs and other threats.

The upgrades represent the latest armoured-vehicle technologies developed by General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada's engineers and its Canada-wide supplier base. Significant work will be performed at General Dynamics' facilities in London, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta, as well as the company's nationwide network of over 400 Canadian suppliers. All regions of Canada will benefit from this work, which is expected to be completed in 2017.

"Canadian soldiers need the best tools for the job and deserve the best protection we can give them," said Danny Deep, vice president of General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada. "This contract will enhance the LAV III fleet's survivability, operational capability and long-term performance through the addition of cutting-edge technologies. It will also provide much-needed job stability throughout Canada's high-value defence sector."

The LAV III's automotive performance, handling characteristics and payload capacity will be optimized by the addition of mobility system upgrades such as a more powerful engine, more robust driveline and suspension, and a height management system (HMS). The 25mm turret's crew ergonomics will be improved by incorporating larger hatches, and its capabilities will be enhanced by the addition of the latest technologies, including improved fire control, thermal, day and low-light sights, and data displays.