Thursday, May 30, 2019

Australia preparing possible transfer of 2 Adelaide-class frigates to Chile

The Adelaide-class frigate HMAS Newcastle (FFG-06) of the RAN. Photo c/o Wikipedia.

Australia is said to be preparing for negotiations with the Chilean government on the possible transfer of the two remaining Adelaide-class frigates of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

The two ships, the HMAS Melbourne (FFG-05) and HMAS Newcastle (FFG-06) are retiring from RAN service soon. The Australian government is said to be interested in offers to transfer the ships to another navy.

The Chilean Navy (CN) plans to acquire the two RAN frigates to replace two of their Dutch-made frigates.

The two Adelaide-class frigates underwent extensive upgrades a decade ago, including the installation of a new combat management system.

The frigates are equipped with a Mk. 13 missile launcher and Mk.41 VLS launchers for SM-2MR Standard missiles and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM), as well as Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

Poland was said to have been interested in the ships but no actual formal request was made.

[1] Jane's Defence Weekly
[2] Poder Naval

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Thailand awards T-50TH Golden Eagle upgrade to KAI

A T-50TH Golden Eagle of the RTAF. Photo c/o Air Recognition.

South Korean aviation company Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) won a KRW62.3 billion (US$50.6 million) contract to "upgrade and modifiy" the T-50TH lead-in fighter trainer fleet of the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF). KAI announced this on 24 May 2019.

The upgrade program includes the installation of a radar system, Radar Warning Receivers (RWR), and a Counter Measure Dispenser System (CMDS).

The deal also includes support for spare parts, training, and provision of support equipment. 

The RTAF has so far received four (4) of the 12 units of T-50TH ordered from KAI, with deliveries expected to be completed by 2020.

[1] Jane's Defence Industry
[2] Air Recognition

Monday, May 27, 2019

Philippines prepares for delivery of Pohang-class corvette

The PN crew in South Korea, with the future BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39) behind them. Photo c/o Philippine Navy 

The Philippine Navy (PN) is preparing for the eventual transfer of a Pohang-class corvette provided by the South Korean government.

The PN confirmed that the ship is expected to be handed-over to them in June 2019, and the arriving in the Philippines by early July 2019. It would be serving with the PN's Offshore Combat Force.

The intended crew of the ship, which will be named BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39) once officially commissioned with the PN, are already undergoing shore and at sea training with the help of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN).

PN leaders led by its Flag Officer in Command Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad visited the ship and crew at ROKN's Busan Naval Base at the sidelines of the launching of the PN's future frigate in Ulsan, South Korea.

The ship, a Pohang-class Flight III combat corvette, was previously known in ROKN service as the ROKS Chungju (PCC-762).

It is currently armed with two (2) Oto Melara 76/62 Compact naval guns, two (2) Otobreda 40mm twin guns, two (2) triple lightweight torpedo launchers, several 12.7mm heavy machine guns, a two depth charge racks. 

It also has a space for a Simbad launcher for the MBDA Mistral or LIGNex1 Chiron VSHORAD missile system. The ROKN removed the Simbad launcher for use on other ships.

[1] GMA News
[2] CNN Philippines
[3] MaxDefense Philippines

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Malaysia denies report to close deal for light combat aircraft by yearend

The JF-17 Thunder from Pakistan, which is among those offered to the RMAF. Photo c/o Wikipedia.

The chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) denied reports that the service will be signing a contract to procure more than 30 light combat aircraft (LCA) before the end of 2019.

RMAF chief General Tan Sri Affendi Buang called the report "far fetched", while also calling the budget and total number of aircraft to be acquired as "ridiculous".

Instead of the earlier reported MYR36 billion budget for more than 30 aircraft, the figures are closer to MYR7 billion due to budget constraints within the Malaysian government.

Also, it requires time and further study to determine the aircraft to be acquired in lone with the RMAF's Capability Development 2055 (CAP 55).

Among those in consideration by the RMAF include the FA-50 by Korea Aerospace Industries of South Korea, Tejas by Hindustan Aeronautics of India, Yak-130 by Irkut Aerospace of Russia, JF-17 Thunder from Pakistan and the Alenia Aermacchi M-346FA Master from Italy.

It was also previously reported that Malaysia is only interested to pay using barter with palm oil, which limits the possible countries that will supply the aircraft due to their ability to accept such deal.

[1] New Straits Times

Friday, May 24, 2019

Philippine frigates reach launching, keel laying milestones

The PN frigate, the future BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150). Photo c/o MaxDefense Philippines.

South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) launched the first Jose Rizal-class frigate it is building for the Philippine Navy (PN), the future BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).

The ship was launched on 23 May 2019 at HHI's naval shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.

The frigate is scheduled for delivery to the PN by September 2020, 

HHI and the PN also held the Keel Laying Ceremony of the second ship of the class, the future BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), which was also held on 23 May 2019. Launching of the second frigate is expected to happen in a few months, and delivery planned by mid 2021.

The Jose Rizal-class frigates are the first frigates purpose-built to the requirements of the Philippine Navy 

It would be armed with an Oto Melara 76/62 main gun, an Aselsan Smash 30mm remote  gun system, four LIGNex1 SSM-700K C-Star anti-ship cruise missiles, two twin Simbad-RC launchers for MBDA Mistral VSHORAD system, and two triple torpedo launchers. 

Allocation was also made for a future Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) and an 8-cell Vertical Launching System (VLS).

HHI is also competing to supply two corvettes to the PN, which is expected to be awarded before end of 2019.

[2] GMA News
[3] MaxDefense Philippines

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Philippines eyeing P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft from US

A P-3C Orion MPA of the US Navy. Photo c/o Airpower World.

The Philippines Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that the defense department is interested in acquiring Lockheed P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft from the US. The aircraft would be most likely for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

Sec. Lorenzana mentioned that they are  looking at one or two aircraft from the US excess defense articles (EDA) since the US Navy has started retiring its P-3C Orions in favor of the new Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

He also mentioned that they are only after "fully kitted" aircraft which can conduct the maritime patrol role, and will not be interested in a stripped-down model.

The Philippines is lacking maritime surveillance platforms to cover its massive territorial and exclusive economic zones. 

The PAF has a pending acquisition program for 2 maritime patrol aircraft after a failed attempt to purchase the Airbus CASA C-295MPA Persuader due to insufficient funding.

The PAF currently has a C-130T Hercules fitted with the SABIR modular system, and two Cessna 208 Grand Caravan ISR aircraft as its primary surveillance assets. The Philippine Navy (PN) also has Beechcraft C-90 King Air provided by the Japanese government used for also for maritime patrols.

[1] GMA News
[2] Business Mirror

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

South Korea restarts tender for ASW naval helicopter acquisition

An AW159 Wildcat of the ROKN, with an Incheon-class frigate at the background. Photo c/o ROKN.

The South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has restarted the program to acquire a second batch of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters for the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN). 

DAPA released a new Request for Proposal (RFP) running until 16 August 2019 for twelve (12) new helicopters with an expected project cost worth KRW900 billion (US$804 million), with American helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft and Anglo-Italian firm Leonardo expected to be the frontrunners with their MH-60R Seahawk and AW159 Wildcat, respectively.

This is the third attempt at the project after DAPA issued two earlier RFPs for 12 helicopters, with only Leonardo responding. But Sikorsky made a separate pitch to sell the MH-60R Seahawk through US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.

The ROKN already operates eight (8) Leonardo AW159 Wildcats acquired in an earlier competition after outperforming the Sikorsky MH-60R, and the ROKN was said to be satisfied with the decision. The earlier competition also confirmed that the MH-60R Seahawk is twice more expensive than the AW159 Wildcat.

ROKN Wildcats are equipped with the Thales Compact FLASH dipping sonar, a Selex Seaspray 7000E AESA surface search radar, and are armed with the Rafael Spike NLOS missile and LIGNEx1 K745 Blue Shark anti-submarine torpedoes.

[1] The Diplomat
[2] Jane’s Defence Industry
[3] Korea Times

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Damen launches first 2,300-ton corvette for Pakistan

The first 2,300-ton corvette for the Pakistan Navy launched in Damen's facility in Romania. Photo c/o Pakistan Navy.

Dutch naval shipbuilder Damen launched the first 2,300-ton corvette built for the Pakistan Navy (PN) on 17 May 2019 in its facility in Galati, Romania.

The PN was represented by its Chief of Staff (Personnel) Vice Adm. Abdul Aleem, who underscored the importance of the corvettes to improve safeguarding maritime frontiers, and conduct Regional Maritime Security Patrols in the Indian Ocean region.

The ships were previously classified as Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), with the ship’s design based on Damen’s OPV2400 series. Pakistan signed the contract with Damen for two (2) ships in June 2017.

The first ship, which has not been named yet, is expected to be delivered to the PN by the end of 2019, while the second unnamed ship scheduled for delivery to the PN by mid-2020.

Both ships will have a helicopter landing deck, as well as a variety of surveillance and intelligence-gathering sensors.

[1] Naval Today
[2] International The News
[3] Jane’s Defence Weekly

Monday, May 20, 2019

ST Engineering reveals Vanguard series offered to Singapore

The ST Engineering Marine Vanguard 130. Photo c/o ST Engineering Marine.

Singapore’s ST Engineering has revealed its new Vanguard series of multi-mission naval ships, which are modular for different missions but uses a common hull design for efficiency and flexibility.

The Vanguard series design concept gives focus to “One Design” which can be applied to multiple classes with modular capabilities. It allows for commonality with a scalable hull form, machinery and equipment, system and layout designs, standards for outfitting and installation processes.

The highlight is on the Vanguard 130 Multi-role Combatant being a potential product for consideration by the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) to replace its ageing Victory-class missile corvettes by around 2030. The RSN has not released its requirements although information previously released by the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) gives an idea of what the RSN might be looking for.

The Vanguard 130 is described as a highly reliable platform with a length of 130 meters, a speed of 28 knots, and a displacement of 5,000 tons. It is optimized to allow unmanned vehicle operations, with large doors on both port and starboard sides allow easy access for launching and recovering remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV).

The ship can also be equipped with ST Engineering’s Launch and Recovery System (LARS) for rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), and a system for unmanned surface vessels (USV) know as the Q-LARS 2.0. 

The Vanguard 130 can accommodate a 15-ton helicopter or rotary-winged unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on the flight deck, and space in its mission bay and storage area for up to eight 20-foot containerized mission modules.

The ship uses a new ship management system including an integrated platform management system (NERVA), and integrated communications system (SupremeT), and an availability-based integrated management system (AIMS).

Weapons that can fit the Vanguard 130 include a forward 76mm naval gun, anti-ship missile launchers amidships, a vertical launching system (VLS) for anti-aircraft missiles behind the main gun, and remote controlled weapon stations (RCWS) at the bridge wings and other locations in the aft section. Torpedo tubes can also be fitted amidships.

[1] ST Engineering Marine
[2] Jane’s Navy International
[3] Naval News

China retires four Type 051D Luda-class destroyers

Retired Type 051D Luda-class destroyers of the PLAN. Photo c/o

As the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) continue to modernize, the service retired four (4) of its elder Type 051 Luda-class destroyers to give way to newer models built to replace them.

The ships, named Kaifeng (109), Dalian (110), Zunyi (134) and Guilin (164) were retired on 16 May 2019, and all have been in service with the PLAN for more than 30 years.

Due to difficulty in sustaining their steam propulsion, analysts believe that the ships are not likely to be sold or handed-over to another navy.

The PLAN still has two more Type 051s, the Zhangjiang (165) and Zhuhai (166), both of which are reaching 30 years in service. 

The Type 051 Luda-class were primarily designed for surface warfare, packing up to 16 YJ-83 (C-803) anti-ship missiles and a heavy gun armament. 

They are being replaced with the new Type Type 052D Luyang III-class guided missile destroyers that are larger and twice heavier than the ships they replace.

[1]  Jane’s Defence Weekly

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Australia plans to revive acquisition of self-propelled howitzers

The proposed AS-9 Aussie Thunder designed by Hanwha Defense Systems and proposed by Raytheon Australia. Photo c/o Adelaide Now News.

The Australian government has announced the revival of a previousl cancelled project which calls for the supply and delivery of 30 self-propelled howitzets for the Australian Army.

A previous project called the LAND 17 Phase 2 was cancelled in 2012 due to cuts in defense spending, although it was expected that the revived project would instead be called the LAND 8112 Protected Mobile Fire.

The Australian government wanted manufacturing and sustainment to be centered in Geelong, Victoria starting 2022-2023.

The project could be reset of the previous one, and may require a new set of requirements. It was noted though that an Australianized version of South Korea's K-9 Thunder from Hanwha Defense Systems was the leading contender in 2012 and offered through Raytheon Australia as the AS-9 Aussie Thunder.

Raytheon made a commitment to refresh their offer should the government restart the project.

The Australian Army currently has no self propelled howitzers in its arsenal.

[1] Australian Defence Magazine
[2] Geelong Advertiser

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Thailand to purchase refurbished M1126 Stryker armored vehicles from the US

The General Dynamics Land Systems M1126 Stryker ICV. Photo c/o Army Recognition.

The Royal Thai Army (RTA) announced that it will be getting a total of 60 refurbished former US Army M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) under a THB2.96 billion (US$93.85 million) deal.

The first batch are expected to be delivered to the RTA by late 2019.

37 units will be paid for by the RTA under a US Foreign Military Sales (FMS), while the US government will donate 23 units as part of US Military Assistance to Thailand. 

The deal also includes an undisclosed weapons and communications systems, logistics support, spare parts, training to support localized maintenance and repair, and the basing facilities.

Once delivered, Thailand will become the first country outside the US to operate the M1126 Stryker. 

It was believed that the RTA was trying to secure additional armored vehicles from China, but was able to struck a favourable deal with the US government and decided to pursue it instead.

Despite its success with the US Army, it has not found success in the export market, although derivatives of the Stryker like the MOWAG (now GDELS-Mowag) Piranha and GDLS-Canada LAV-III have met better export success.

[1] Bangkok Post
[2] Jane’s Defence Industry 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Indonesia selects Terma C-Series Combat Suite for KCR-60M fast missile boats

A KCR-60M fast missile boat of the TNI-AL.

Denmark’s Terma announced that they were awarded a contract to supply and deliver their C-Series Combat Suite for four (4) KCR-60M fast missile boats for the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL). Terma will also be the Combat Systems Integrator for the project.

The suite includes Terma’s C-Flex Combat Management System, SCANTER 4603 X-band radar, C-Guard Decoy Launching System, and the C-Fire Electro-Optical Fire Control System (EO FCR), plus full integration of shipborne sensors and effectors such as naval guns and missile systems.

The ships involved are two (2) existing KCR-60M fast attack crafts armed with Chinese-made systems and effectors, and two new vessels that will still be constructed by Indonesian state-owned shipyard PT PAL.

Terma’s products are already in use by Indonesian government agencies, with the TNI-AL already using the C-Guard decoy launching system in several ships, while the SCANTER radar family also in service with the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (BAKAMLA), Indonesian Sea and Coast Guard (KPLP), and others.

[1] Terma

[2] Jane’s Navy International

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

China launches its 19th and 20th Type 052D destroyers

Two Type 052D destroyers during their launch in Dalian, China. Photo c/o Southfront.

Chinese media and social media reported that shipbuilder Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC) launched the 19th and 20th Type 052D guided missile destroyers for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) on 10 May 2019 in their yard in Dalian, Northern China.

This is the latest addition to China’s growing naval fleet, which is growing faster than any navy in the world, with the first Type 052D entering service with the PLAN just in March 2014.

No mention was made on the names and hull numbers assigned for the new destroyers.

Aside from DSIC, other Type 052D destroyers were built in Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai.

The Type 052D guided missile destroyers are designed for multiple tasks including anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare operations. It is also designed to act as escorts for future carrier battle groups that the PLAN envisions to have in the next few years.

The ships are equipped with a 64-cell vertical launching system (VLS) capable of firing the YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missiles, HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles, CJ-10 land attack cruise missiles, and the CY-5 anti-submarine warfare rocket.

Its is also equipped with the Type 346A active electronic scanned array (AESA) radar, which is said to be China’s equivalent to the American AEGIS. It can also embark naval helicopter like the Harbin Z-20 in its hangar.

[1] South China Morning Post
[2] The Diplomat
[3] Jane’s Defence Weekly

Monday, May 13, 2019

Keel laying held for Australia’s first Arafura-class OPV

Keel laying of the first Arafura-class OPV. Photo c/o Linda Reynolds @ Twitter.

The first ship of the Arafura-class ordered by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) had its keel laying ceremonies on 10 May 2019 at Osbourne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide.

The RAN’s chief, Vice Adm. Michael Noonan led the ceremonies including the positioning of a coin to commemorate the laying of the keel of the first vessel to be named Arafura, after the Arafura Sea between Australia and Indonesia.

The ship is part of the RAN’s program to build 12 new Offshore Patrol Vessels under the SEA1180 program, to replace the Armidale-class patrol boats. 

German shipbuilder Lurssen was selected as the prime contractor of the project, using their OPV 80 design that is already in service with the Royal Brunei Navy (RBN). Lurssen’s subcontractor is ASC.

The shipbuilders started construction of the future HMAS Arafura on 15 November 2018, and is expected to launch the ship 2021. A second ship is also scheduled to be launched by 2022.

[1] Australia Department of Defence
[2] Australia Defence Magazine
[3] Jane’s Navy International

Philippines receives first batch of upgraded M113A2 APCs from Elbit

One of the upgraded M113A2 APCs disembarking from a navy ship. Photo c/o GMA News/Raffy Tima through MaxDefense Philippines.

The Philippine Army (PA) received the first batch of upgraded M113A2 tracked armored personnel carriers from Israel’s Elbit Systems Land & C4I, which are now equipped with Elbit’s Dragon Overhead Remote Controlled Weapon Station (ORCWS) with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun.

Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines confirmed that Elbit Systems delivered the first five (5) units last April 2019, out 44 vehicles to be upgraded with installation of the Dragon ORCWS and the Combat NG networked battlefield computers. This is part of the contract signed between Elbit and the Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) worth Php1.05 billion (US$20.5 million).

The project is part of the Revised AFP Modernization Program's 2nd List of Horizon 2 phase.

Part of the contract also involves converting five (5) M113A2 APCs into armored mortar carriers equipped with Elbit’s Soltam Cardom 81mm recoil mortar system.

The PA already has several units of M113A2 APCs equipped with the Dragon ORCWS, but the newly delivered models appear to be using the updated variant of the RCWS system, having a different body, and is said to have a better camera and improved sighting system.

The delivered units were immediately deployed to the southern Philippines to provide security on the upcoming mid-term national elections.

[1] MaxDefense Philippines
[2] GMA News
[3] MaxDefense Philippines

Friday, May 10, 2019

Philippines receives first batch of KAAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicles from South Korea

One of the KAAV7A1 delivered to the Philippines, with this example photographed before shipment. Photo c/o Korean defense page.

The first batch of four (4) Hanwha Defense Systems (HDS) KAAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicles ordered by the Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) for the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) were confirmed to have arrived in Manila's international port. 

Photos of the vehicles in a port holding area were posted by Philippine defense page MaxDefense Philippines, and it was later confirmed that they were shipped out to the headquarters of the PMC on 09 May 2019.

A total of eight (8) vehicles were ordered by the DND in 2016 from South Korean company Hanwha Techwiin in a deal worth around US$55.6 million. Hanwha holds a production license from BAE Systems to build the AAV7 amphibious assault vehicle.

The next batch of four (4) more KAAV7A1 is said to be for delivery by August 2019, and are in advanced stages of construction.

It was reported by South Korean media BizHankook that the first batch of AAVs for the Philippines were shipped on April 2019. It is believed that the vehicles arrived in Manila only recently.

The amphibious assault vehicles appears to be armed with the Up-Gunned Weapon Station (UGWS) for a 12.7mm heavy machine gun and 40mm automatic grenade launcher, and the Enhanced Applique Armor Kit (EAAK) similar to the BAE Systems AAV7A1 used by the US Marine Corps.

[1] MaxDefense Philippines @ Facebook
[2] BizHankook
[3] Shephard Media

Thursday, May 9, 2019

India plans to procure additional Kamov Ka-31 AEW&C helicopters

A Russian-made Kamov Ka-31 Helix AEW&C helicopter. Photo c/o Russuan Helicopters / Flight Global.

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recently approved the proposal by the Indian Navy (IN) to purchase up to ten (10) Kamov Ka-31 Helix airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) helicopters from Russia.

The cost of the procurement is expected to reach around INR36 billion (US$518 million).

The procurement of 10 Ka-31 AEW&C helicopters, used as airborne pickets by the IN, will allow them to improve their situational awareness at sea, and follow-on orders after India ordered 12 similar helicopters from Russia almost 2 decades ago.

Out of the 10 helicopters, 8 units are expected to be embarked aboard the upcoming Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356M) stealth frigates, which are currently under construction in India and Russia. The 2 other units will be embarked on the aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and the upcoming INS Vikrant.

The Ka-31 is equipped with a fuselage-mounted E-801M Oko electro-mechanically steered radar antenna, allowing 360 degrees coverage to provide targets to warships and aircraft.

[1] Shephard Media
[2] Flight Global
[3] Jane’s Defence Weekly

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

India launches fourth Scorpene / Kalvari-class submarine

The Kalvari-class submarine, the future ILS Vela, during its launch in MDL's yard in Mumbai. Photo c/o The Week.

The Indian shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL) in collaboration with French naval shipbuilder Naval Group (NG), launched the fourth Kalvari-class diesel electric attack submarine for the Indian Navy (IN) in ceremonies held on 6 May 2019 in MDL’s yard in Mumbai.

The ship was named Vela, is based on the Naval Group’s Scorpene-class design and was selected as part of a US$4.16 billion contract to build six new submarines under the IN’s Project 75. The future INS Vela will be undergoing more harbor tests and sea trials before it will be commissioned as part of the Indian Navy.

The Vela is expected to be commissioned by 2020. 

The submarine is powered by two 1,250kW MAN diesel engines, 360 battery cells and a permanenty magnetized propulsion motor allowing it to have an operational range of around 6,500 nautical miles. While not equipped with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, all ships of the class are designed to allow it to be installed in the future.

It would be armed with heavyweight torpedoes and the MBDA SM39 Exocet submarine-launched anti-ship cruise missile. 

Of the three Kalvari-class submarines launche before the Vela, only the first of class INS Kalvari is in service. Two others, the Khanderi and Karanj, are in advanced stages of trials, with the Khanderi expected to be commissioned with the Indian Navy in a few weeks, and Karanj undergoing final construction touches and is scheduled for commissioning within 2019.

The Indian Navy also have a previous submarine named ILS Vela, which was commissioned in 31 August 1973 and retired from service on 25 June 2010.

[1] The Week
[2] The Diplomat
[3] Financial Express

Bangladesh receives Metal Shark boats from US

US hands over 5 Metal Shark boats to Bangladesh Navy. Photo c/o US Embassy in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh Navy (BN) received five (5) coastal patrol boats built by Metal Shark from the US government. This is part of the US government’s commitment to help Bangladesh improve its ability to conduct anti-piracy and counter-terrorism.

The boats will be used by the BN’s Special Warfare Diving and Salvage (SWADS) Group.

US Navy Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific personally presented the boats to the BN leadership.

No mention was made on the exact variant of Metal Shark boat, but it was that they are capable of reaching speeds of up to 35 knots, and are large enough to operate in coastal areas in various conditions.

Bangladesh already operates a small fleet of Metal Shark-made boats, but are operated by the Bangladesh Coast Guard for use on maritime law enforcement and humanitarian assistance.

[1] Naval Today
[2] Jane’s Defence Weekly

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

India in talks with UK to use British design for future aircraft carrier

The Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier design is eyed by the Indian Navy for its future INS Vishal. Photo c/o The Warzone.

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is in talks with its British counterpart on the possibility of using British design and technology in building the Indian Navy’s future 65,000-ton aircraft carrier, the future INS Vishal, which is planned for construction starting 2022.

The design will be based on the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, with Indian officials already visited the Rosyth dockyard in Scotland where the Royal Navy carriers were built. The officials were also able to see the construction of the second ship of the class, the HMS Prince of Wales.

The Indian Navy aircraft carrier will be built in India as part of the “Make In India” program, but will allow UK companies to supply many of the parts needed.

Compared to the Queen Elizabeth-class, the Indian Navy requirement is to allow a heavier fighter aircraft than the Royal Navy’s Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, and would probably require a Catapult Assisted Take-off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) system rather than a Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) currently used in the Royal Navy ships.

Aside from the aircraft carrier proposal, the UK is also pushing to export a wide range of military equipment and capability, which were not identified.

The Queen Elizabeth-class was designed by UK’s BAE Systems and France’s Thales.

Should the Indian Navy proceed with the construction of the INS Vishal, they would have 3 aircraft carriers together with the older Soviet-based INS Vikramaditya, and the indigenously-produced INS Vikrant which is still under construction.

[1] The Economic Times India
[2] The Mirror UK
[3] The Drive - The Warzone

Monday, May 6, 2019

Leonardo AW159 Wildcat ASW naval helicopters for Philippines to arrive today

Two AW159 Wildcats for the PN are flown from Yeovil to Stansted in preparation for delivery to the Philippines. Photo c/o Kevin Wills / Scramble Magazine.

The two (2) Leonardo AW159 Mk. 220 Wildcat anti-submarine warfare naval helicopters ordered by the Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) for the Philippine Navy (PN) are expected to arrive in Manila on 06 May 2019.

The helicopters are being flown from London-Stansted Airport in the UK via a chartered civilian Antonov An-124 Ruslan heavy strategic airlifter. The helicopters will then be re-assembled in the Philippines and are expected to formally enter service during the Philippine Navy’s 121st anniversary ceremonies on 27 May 2019 under the Horizon 1 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

The AW159 Wildcat was selected by the Philippine Navy in 2015, and was contracted by the DND with Italian-Anglo aircraft manufacturer AgustaWestland (now part of Leonardo) in March 2016 under a Php5.36 billion (US$116.5 million) deal.

These would be the first helicopters of the PN that would have anti-submarine capability, and would be armed with anti-submarine torpedoes, short-range air-to-surface missiles, and machine guns. As part of the contract, the helicopters are reported to be armed with the LIGNex1 K745 Blue Shark anti-submarine torpedo, and Rafael Spike NLOS missile, supplied by Leonardo as part of the contact.

The helicopters are expected to be assigned with the PN’s Naval Air Group (NAG) Squadron MH-40, which is the unit’s main naval helicopter squadron. They helicopters will be used to complement the upcoming Jose Rizal-class frigates under construction in South Korea and are scheduled for delivery starting early 2020.

[1] Scramble Magazine
[2] Philippine News Agency
[3] MaxDefense Philippines