Saturday, August 31, 2019

Bangladesh received first surplus British C-130J

BAF C-130J Super Hercules taken in the UK on August 2019. Photo c/o UK Airshow Review.

The Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) received the first of five Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules it purchased from the UK Royal Air Force (RAF).

The aircraft arrived in Dhaka on 25 August 2019, and represents the most capable airlifter of the BAF.

The four other aircraft purchased by the BAF are arriving before yearend.

The C-130Js with short bodies, called C5 in RAF service, were released by the RAF as surplus aircraft after they were replaced with longer body models.

[1] Jane's Defence Weekly

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Singapore retires three Fearless-class patrol vessels

The RSS Dauntless (99). Photo c/o MINDEF Singapore.

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) retired three Fearless-class patrol vessels during ceremonies on Tuas Naval Base on 27 August 2019. 

The ships, RSS Fearless (94), RSS Brave (95), and RSS Dauntless (99) are all with the RSN’s 182nd Squadron, and will be replaced by the new Independence-class littoral missions vessels (LMV) which are more capable and larger platforms and will be in full service by 2020.

RSS Fearless and RSS Brave were both commissioned in October 1996, while RSS Dauntless entered service with the RSN on May 1997. The Fearless-class were built by Singapore Technologies Engineering, and were designed for littoral patrols, maritime law enforcement and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). 

With the retirement of these ships, the RSN only has 2 more Fearless-class patrol vessels left, the RSS Gallant (97) and RSS Freedom (86). No date has been made public yet on the retirement of these remaining ships of the class.

[1] Singapore Ministry of Defence
[2] Jane’s Defence Weekly

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Philippines negotiating transfer of more surplus Pohang-class corvettes from South Korea

Pohang-class corvettes of the ROKN. Photo c/o Wikipedia.

The Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) and the Philippine Navy (PN) confirmed that negotiations are ongoing for the transfer of two (2) additional retired Pohang-class corvettes from South Korea.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed this on 20 August 2019, adding that the South Korean government has also shown willingness to help the PN improve its capabilities, including providing excess defense articles and supplying new naval equipment.

The PN currently has one Pohang-class corvette it received recently, the BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39), which is the former ROKS Chungju.

PN chief Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad also confirmed on the same day that he also discussed with his South Korean counterparts on the possibility of acquring more Pohang-class corvettes on top of the two already under negotiations, in which he said the idea was well received.

South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) is building two light frigates for the PN, and is being considered by the PN to build two new corvettes.

Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines mentioned that the new corvettes could be a follow-on order of the frigates rather than being a new or derivative design. 

[1] GMA News
[2] Philippine Daily Inquirer
[3] MaxDefense Philippines

Monday, August 26, 2019

Sri Lanka commissions granted Jiangwei I-class frigate from China

The SLNS Parakramabahu (P625). Photo c/o SLN.

The Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) commissioned a Jiangwei I-class (Type 053H2G) frigate into service on 22 August 2019 in its main naval base in Colombo.

The ship, now known as the SLNS Parakramabahu (P625), was previously a frigate with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) known as Tongling (542) and was first commissioned in 1994. Based on the hull number, it appears that it is being classified as a patrol vessel in SLN service rather than a frigate. 

As reported previously by APDJ, the ship’s hand-over to the SLN was part of an US$18 million arms procurement deal signed between the Chinese and Sri Lankan governments in 2016.

The ship was handed over to the SLN on June 2019 after being refurbished in China and sailed for Sri Lanka on 14 June 2019. It arrived in Colombo on July 2019. It is now assigned with the Eastern Naval Command of the SLN.
The Jiangwei I-class frigate has a length of 111.7 meters, a beam of 12.4 meters, a full-load displacement of 2,300 tons, and a crew of 110 officers and sailors. Under SLN service, the crew requirements may have been reduced due to the removal of several combat systems.

Initial photos showed that the primary twin PJ33A 100mm naval gun and four Type 76A 37mm guns are present, although the 6-cell HQ-61 surface-to-air missile system, the 6-box launchers for the YJ-83 anti-ship missiles, and the Close-in Weapon System (CIWS) appears to have been removed.

[1] Jane’s Navy International
[2] Naval Technology
[3] Asia Pacific Defense Journal

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Philippines strongly considering South Korea’s new corvette offer

HHI's HDF-2500 frigate design, which is the basis of the PN's Jose Rizal-class frigates, and could be used also as basis for the PN's future corvettes. Photo c/o Wikimedia Commons.

The Philippines’ Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that the country would probably order two (2) brand new corvettes worth Php28 bilion (US$538 million) from South Korea.

Sec. Lorenzana mentioned that an offer made by South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) was among those approved by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in a command conference last May 2019, and negotiations are ongoing between the shipbuilder and the Department of National Defense (DND).

Also being negotiated is a financing option with the South Korean government, which would allow the DND to pay the corvettes in installments of up to more than 8 to 10 years.

According to Sec. Lorenzana, it was recommended by the Philippine Navy (PN) to acquire the corvettes from HHI since the shipbuilder is already building two new light frigates for the PN, which are expected for delivery starting early or mid 2020. This would allow commonality and compatibility in terms of equipment, logistics, training and maintenance.

Prior to this decision, HHI was competing with offers from French, German, Israeli, Indian, and Turkish shipbuilders.

Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines previously mentioned that the new corvettes are part of the Horizon 2 phase of the PN’s modernization program covering years 2019 to 2023, and are expected to be better equipped and armed than the upcoming Jose Rizal-class frigates. MaxDefense pointed out that compared to the Jose Rizal-class frigates, the new corvettes are expected to have a more powerfu AESA 3D air/surface surveillance radar, towed array sonar, and will come with a vertical launching system (VLS) and close-in weapon system (CIWS) already in place. It would also have a more anti-ship missiles, and will feature improvements learned from the construction of the Jose Rizal-class.

The ships are expected to be ordered within the year, and could be delivered to the Philippine Navy by 2023.

[1] Philippine Daily Inquirer 
[2] GMA News
[3] MaxDefense Philippines

Friday, August 23, 2019

Thailand opens military space operations centre

Officers operating the new Space Operations Center in Bangkok. Photo c/o Bangkok Post.

To prepare the Royal Thai Armed Forces on military space capabilities that are planned to be introduced in the future, a Space Operations Center has been opened on 17 August 2019 in Bangkok's Don Muang district.

Developed by the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), the center will serve as the country's main unit in preservation of national security in space, and will allow the military to meet increasing threats from space, as outlined in the country’s 20-year National Strategy development programme, according to the report from state-run National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT).

Among the capabilities eyed for the facility include satellite communications, data collection and interpretation, surveillance and monitoring of threats from outer space, and satellite maintenance.

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

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

First tranche of CM-34 Cloud Leopard IFV for delivery to Taiwan soon

The CM-34 Cloud Leopard IFV. Photo c/o Army Recognition.

The Republic of China Army (RoCA) is expected to receive the first batch of 32 units of the CM-34 Cloud Leopard infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) soon, officials confirmed during the Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE) 2019 held last 15 to 17 August 2019.

The vehicles are built by the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense (MND) Materiel Production Center (MPC), and designed by Ireland’s Timoney Technology Limited.

A total of 284 CM-34 IFVs were ordered by the RoCA, which will be delivered in several tranches over a few years.

The vehicle passed pre-mass production tests on October 2018, although minor adjustments have been made to fulfil secondary requirements.

The vehicles are based on the CM-32 Cloud Leopard 8x8 armored personnel carrier, and are armed with an Orbital ATK Mk. 44 Bushmaster 30mm autocannon, mounted on a two-man turret. Secondary weapons include a 7.62mm co-axial machine gun, and a roof-mounted T74 7.62mm machine gun, plus six smoke grenade launchers on the turret sides.

Compared to the standard CM-32 armored personnel carrier, the CM-34 weighs 2 tons more at 24 tons, and its engine output increased from 410hp to 450hp to compensate the added weight.

[1] Jane’s International Defence Review
[2] Army Recognition

Taiwan unveils updated Mobile Mortar System kit for CM-32 8x8 armored vehicle

The new Mobile Mortar System mounted on a CM-32 Cloud Leopard 8x8 armored vehicle. Photo c/o Army Recognition.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) Materiel Production Center (MPC) unveiled its 81/120mm Mobile Mortar System (MMS), which was updated to perform better and meet requirements for the Republic of China Army (RoCA). 

The updated MMS, developed by the MPC’s 202nd Arsenal, has an electro-mechanical turntable control system allowing the mounting of either an 81/ 120mm smoothbore mortar system that can fire both 81mm and 120mm mortar rounds. 

It also features a hydraulic buffer assembly to reduce recoil loads by up to 70%. It also allows launching mortar rounds through a locally-developed advanced firing computer module. These advantages allow the mortar to have better aiming stability and faster deployment.

Two variants are available, a vehicle mounted system mounted on the CM-32 Cloud Leopard 8x8 wheeled self-propelled mortar system, and a ground-installed system. 

[1] Taipei Times
[2] Army Recognition
[3] Jane’s International Defence Review

Monday, August 19, 2019

Taiwan's F-16 Block 70 Vipers sale gets informal approval from US government

Lockheed Martin F-16.

The US government is expected to green-light the sale of up to 66 Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 Viper fighter aircraft worth around US$8 billion to the Republic of China (Taiwan). This is after positive response from US Pres. Donald Trump’s administration on the proposed sale.

Key members of both chambers of the US Congress are also expected to fully support the deal as a show of strong ties with Taiwan.

Should it push through, the acquisition of the F-16’s latest variant would provide a huge boost the island country’s ageing fighter assets, as it prepares to retire some of its older Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II light combat aircraft from service.

The Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) is already an F-16 user since the early 1990s, with older F-16A/B Block 20 Fighting Falcons also in the process of being upgraded to near Block 70 Viper standards.

Despite the One China Policy officially adapted by the US government, it also has commitments to Taiwan’s security via the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act which allows them to provide defense articles and services to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.

As expected, China (People’s Republic of China) has shown strong disagreement on the impending sale, calling on the US to respect the One China Policy, and even calling the 

[1] Bloomberg
[2] Defense News
[3] The Diplomat

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Philippines expecting transfer of used K136 Kooryong MLRS from South Korea

The K136 Kooryong MLRS.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is negotiating with its South Korean counterparts for the transfer of four (4) batteries worth of surplus K136 Kooryong multiple launch rocket launchers (MLRS), related equipment and ammunition.

One battery can consist between four to six firing units.

Of the four batteries, three will be for the Philippine Army (PA) while one will be for the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC).

Both the PA and PMC do not operate any MLRS, and both services would gain new artillery capabilities. 

MaxDefense Philippines reported that this negotiation has been going on since 2018, with originally only involving three batteries of 18 MLRS firing units total.

The Philippines has acquired numerous weapon systems from South Korea in the past decade, including light combat aircraft, frigates, missiles, small arms and ammunition, and combat systems. It has also received grants from South Korea including surplus patrol boats, fighter aircraft, and recently a Pohang-class corvette.

The Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) is currently in the process of replacing the K136 Kooryong with the newer K239 Chunmoo which fires guided rockets.

[1] Philippine News Agency
[2] MaxDefense Philippines

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Philippines set to activate Army Aviation Regiment, acquire new aircraft

The Sikorsky HH-60M MEDEVAC Black Hawk, a priority asset the PA wanted to have. 

The Philippine Army (PA) Chief of Plans Col. Romulo Manuel confirmed this to local media on 14 August 2019.

Col. Manuel also confirmed that the PA will be acquiring an initial 4 to 8 helicopters for the new unit, and existing Army Aviation pilots are now undergoing re-training in preparation for these new assets. More helicopters will be acquired gradually to beef up the new unit.

The PA currently has an Army Aviation Battalion attached to its sole Mechanized Infantry Division, and currently operate light observation and liaison aircraft like the Cessna 206, Cessna 172 and Cessna 150. It previously has twin engine fixed wing aircraft but are now non-operational. It also has no helicopters in its fleet.

Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines confirmed to Asia Pacific Defense Journal in an online interview that the PA was interested in acquiring helicopters that can be used for combat utility, close air support, training, medical evacuation, and combat search and rescue to reduce reliance on air assets of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

According to MaxDefense, among those in the forefront of their wish list is the Sikorsky HH-60M MEDEVAC Black Hawk, which would be used to extract wounded troops from the battlefield to the nearest combat hospital. The PA is also interested in training helicopters based on the Robinson R-44 Raven, as well as a surveillance and reconnaissance fixed wing aircraft like the Cessna Grand Caravan ISR that is already in service with the PAF.

[1] Philippine News Agency
[2] MaxDefense Philippines

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

India approves procurement of next generation maritime mobile coastal batteries

Indian Army BrahMos land based missiles during an India Day parade. Photo c/o The Hindu.

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) disclosed on 8 August 2019 that they have approved the planned acquisition of two (2) batteries of the Next Generation Maritime Mobile Coastal Batteries (NGMMCB) worth INR13.5 billion (US190 million)  for the Indian Navy (IN).

The NGMMCB would be based on the indigenous BrahMos land-based supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, and will be paired with Terma’s Scanter naval surveillance radar license built in India by Tata Nova. The Scanter radar can provide maritime surface surveillance range of up to 170 kilometers.

Each BrahMos NGMMCB will comprise of a single command post, two radar units, two firing units each with 3 anti-ship missiles. Each battery will also be equipped with a reconnaissance vehicle, and two vehicles with Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) for short-range air defense.

According to INS Jane’s, the missile batteries will deployed at INS Trata naval base in Mumbai, which is tasked to defend the coastal areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The Indian military already operates the Block I ship and truck -launched anti-ship variants, the BrahMos-A air-launched anti-ship variant, as well as a land-based surface strike variant. BrahMos Aerospace Ltd, with assistance from the Indian government has been marketing their BrahMos anti-ship missile to several countries from Southeast Asia, Middle East, and South America, but has not yet receive a confirmed export order.

[1] India Today
[2] Jane’s Defence Weekly
[3] The Diplomat

Monday, August 12, 2019

Malaysia plans to upgrade, consolidate K200 and ACV-15 armored vehicles starting 2021

An ACV-15 Adnan command vehicle during a parade in Malaysia. Photo c/o Malaysia Defence.

The Malaysian Army (MA) plans to upgrade its fleet of M113-based tracked armored vehicles, namely the Korean-made Doosan (now Hanwha) K200 mechanized infantry fighting vehicle (MIFV) and the Turkish-made FNSS ACV-15 (locally known in Malaysia as the Adnan)  armored infantry fighting vehicle (AIFV) as part of the Eleventh Malaysia Plan starting 2021.

According to Malaysian defense page Malaysia Defence, the program was intended to standardize the two different variants of armored vehicles that actually have a common basic design. This would improve the logistical footprint, and lower operational costs.

Both the K200 and the ACV-15 Adnan will require life extension programmes as they are expected to be operated by the MA until 2035. 

Different companies are expected to provide their solutions, although it is expected that local defense contractor DefTech Malaysia could be involved in conducting the upgrade works. 

[1] Malaysia Defence

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Philippines to purchase more rocket propelled grenade launchers

An RPG-7 with optical sights and ammunition.

With the Philippine Army in the process of replacing their old 90mm recoilless rifles with 40mm RPG-7 type rocket propelled grenade launchers, the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) is following suit by also opening a Php514.8 million (US10.1 million) tender for more than 700 RPG launchers as part of its Squad Rocket Launcher Light project.

Also included together are 22,000 rounds of  high explosive fragmentation and anti-tank, as well as thermobaric ammunition. The project also includes RPG training launchers and training rounds, both of which use 7.62x39mm practice rounds.

Based on documents released by the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND), the RPGs should be delivered within the year from release of Notice to Proceed.

In an online interview by APDJ with Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines, it was mentioned that the Philippine Army already operates more than 1,000 RPG launchers including recently delivered Russian RPG-7V2, the mainstay Bulgarian ATGL-L, and a few Chinese made Type 69 launchers donated in 2018 by the Chinese government.

Some of the Type 69s may already be with the PMC for familiarization and training.

In addition, the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) which is the special operations unit of the country's police force, is also expecting the delivery this year of several dozens RPG-7 type launchers ordered from an Eastern European country. 

[1] Philippines Department of National Defense
[2] MaxDefense Philippines

Friday, August 9, 2019

Second batch of AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian attack helicopters for India arrives

Indian Air Force officials receiving the first AH-64E(I) in the US. Photo c/o IAF.

A second batch of four (4) Boeing AH-64E(I) Apache Guardian attack helicopters has arrived in India earlier than scheduled, Boeing confirmed with IHS Janes on 7 August 2019.

The helicopters arrived after being flown in from the United States by an Antonov An-124 Condor commercial airlifter, arriving at Hindon Air Force Station.

These would be assembled and flight tested at Hindon AFS and will be officially handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) by the end of August 2019. It is expected that this batch will be assigned at Pathankot AFS near the border with Pakistan by early September 2019.

India ordered 24 units in 2015 to arm two squadrons through a combined Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) and US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement with the US government.

Delivery of the rest of the order comprising 14 more units will be completed by 2020.

[1] Jane’s Defence Weekly

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Thailand awards contract to upgrade tanks and supply communication radios

The Elbit Systems E-Lynx SDR communication system. 

Israel’s Elbit Systems confirmed on 7 August 2019 that they won a US$80 million supply and upgrade contract from a Southeast Asian Army. 

Among those included in the contract is the supply of fire control systems and electric gun and turret drive to upgrade tanks, and supply of Elbit’s E-Lynx advanced communication systems in several configurations within a 32-month period.

While Elbit’s announcement did not announce the country, Asia Pacific Defense Journal received a response from an official of the Royal Thai Army (RTA) confirming that the contract with Elbit Systems is with Thailand’s Ministry of Defence (MOD).

The E-Lynx family of tactical communication solution uses Software-Defined Radio (SDR)  and Mobile Ad-Hoc Networking (MANET) technology that allows secured, continuous, and reliable voice and broadband data communications within the tactical network.

No confirmation was made on which tanks of the RTA will receive the fire control, and the gun and turret drive upgrade, although APDJ believes it may involve either the M60 Patton main battle tanks, or the Stingray light tanks.

[1] Reuters
[2] Monch Publishing Group

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Thailand launches second Krabi-class offshore patrol vessel

The second Krabi-class OPV Prachuap Khiri Khan. Photo c/o RTN.

Thai shipbuilder Bangkok Dock Limited launched the second Krabi-class offshore patrol vessel for the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), with ceremonies held in Chonburi on 2 August 2019.

Once it is delivered, the ship will be commissioned as the HTMS Prachuap Khiri Khan (OPV-552). 

The Krabi-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) was based on the River-class OPVs of the UK Royal Navy designed and built by BAE Systems, and was built under a technology transfer agreement signed with Bangkok Dock Ltd. 

The ship has a displacement of around 2,000 tons, an overall length of 90.5 meters, an overall beam of 13.5 meters, and a draught of 3.5 meters. It is powered by 2 diesel engines allowing a top speed of up to 25 knots, and a range of 3,500 nautical miles at 15 knots.

It will be fitted with combat, navigation, and communication suite from Thales, and will be armed with an Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid naval gun, two secondary 30mm guns, and two twin launchers for the Boeing Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

[1] Jane’s Navy International
[2] Naval Today
[3] Naval News

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Philippines commissions granted Pohang-class corvette from South Korea

The BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39). Photo c/o

The Philippine Navy (PN) commissioned its newly acquired Pohang-class corvette granted by the South Korean government, in ceremonies held on 5 August 2019 in Jinhae Naval Base in South Korea.

The former ROKN Chungju (PCC-762) of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) is now called the BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39) in PN service, and will be assigned with the Offshore Combat Force (OCF).

Senior officials from the Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND), South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense (MND), the PN and ROKN were present during the hand-over and commissioning ceremonies.

According to Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines, the corvette has been granted to the Philippines in 2017, but delays in funding for rehabilitation of the ship and training of PN personnel pushed the hand-over by more than a year. It was also mentioned that the ship underwent dock repairs with STX Shipyard in Busan, South Korea including refitting works and machinery repair.

The ship is armed with two Oto Melara 76mm naval guns, two Otobreda 40mm twin guns, two triple Mk.32 torpedo tubes, several 12.7 heavy machine guns, and two depth charge racks.

It was also mentioned that the PN is trying to negotiate for the transfer of at least two more Pohang-class corvettes, which they will use to replace World War 2 era ships that are lined up for retirement soon.

The BRP Conrado Yap will be sailing for Manila soon, and will be escorted by the PN’s landing platform dock BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602) which came from Vladivostok, Russia to attend the Russian Navy day anniversary last week.

[1] Philippine Daily Inquirer
[2] MaxDefense Philippines

Monday, August 5, 2019

Philippines starts tender for supply of 81mm mortars

The Philippine Navy has opened a tender for 81mm mortars for the Philippine Marines.
The Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) has released bid documents for the supply of 81mm mortars for the Philippine Navy (PN) as part of its modernization efforts to replace ageing equipment.

These new mortars will be issued to the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC), which is one of the major units of the PN, which needs to replace its existing inventory of Vietnam War-era M29 81mm mortars acquired in the 1960s from the US.

According to Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines, 30 units equivalent to 5 fire support batteries are required, together with 40 units of Ballistic Computers and 8 sets of Forward Observer System equipment with a budget of Php185.9 million (US$3.64 million), with delivery expected within 1 year from release of Notice to Proceed (NTP).

Aside from 81mm mortars, the Philippine Navy plans to acquire 60mm and 120mm mortars for the PMC, with the procurement process expected to happen within the year.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is currently in the process of a 15-year modernization program, with the 2nd 5-year phase called Horizon 2 current ongoing covering the years 2019 to 2023.

[1] Philippines Department of National Defense
[2] MaxDefense Philippines

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Thailand in talks with India on possible Brahmos anti-ship missile purchase

The BrahMos supersonic anti-ship missile from India. Photo c/o Business Express

Thailand was reported to be in talks with India on the possible acquisition of the BrahMos supersonic anti-ship missiles, and further military cooperation between the two countries.

This is as India is still looking for its first export customer of the BrahMos missile, despite several countries showing interest in it.

Negotiations were reported to have started  although any outcome might only be possible by 2020.

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has been interested in it for sometime but interest on it was boosted after RTN Chief Adm. Ruddit visited India last year.

Talks were also made on the possible repair and refurbishment of Dornier Do-228 maritime patrol aircraft by Indian companies, the possible entry of Indian shipbuilders in naval shipbuilding projects, and integration with the Indian coastal surveillance radar network.

[1] The Hindu
[2] Navy Recognition

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Philippines nears deal with Australia for 6 Offshore Patrol Vessels

Austal's OPV design for the Philippine Navy. Photo c/o Austal.

The Philippines' Department of National Defense (DND) confirmed that they are close to finalizing a Government to Government deal with Australia for the  acquisition of six (6) offshore patrol vessels (OPV).

Philippine Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana  visited Australian shipbuilder Austal's shipyard in the Philippines, where he confirmed that they are in advanced talks with the Australian government to acquire OPVs from Austal.

Should this push through, the ships will be built in Austal's Philippine shipyard, and would use an enlarged, improved version of the shipbuilder's Cape-class patrol vessels.

According to Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines, the DND has allocated Php30 billion (US$588 million) for six OPVs, which will replace legacy ships from World War 2 era that the Philippine Navy still use.

According to MaxDefense, it is expected that the OPVs will be at least 80 meters long, and armed with a 76mm Oto Melara naval gun, two secondary 25mm or 30mm guns, and has space for anti-ship missiles. It would also have a helideck for medium helicopters, a quick access system for rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB), and space for containerized mission modules including somar, mine countermeasures, and unmanned systems.

Austal alresdy released their OPV design for the PN during last year's ADAS 2018 defense exhibition in Manila, which appears to follow the description above.

[1] Philippine News Agency
[2] MaxDefense Philippines
[3] Austal

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Thailand pushes to fund acquisition of second S26T submarine

The S26T submarine based on the Chinese Type 039A Yuan-class. Photo c/o The Thaiger news.

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) is pushing ahead to request for funding to allow the order of a second submarine from China.

This will be needing parliament approval, which is already nearing of the country's 2020 fiscal budget bill. The plan for a second submarine is expected to be funded starting 2020.

The Thai government approved in-principle to acquire 3 submarines for the RTN in 2016. 

The RTN selected a derivative of the Type 039A Yuan-class diesel-electeic submarine used by China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) called the S26T. 

The first submarine was ordered from China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co. in May 2017 under a deal worth THB13.5 billion (US$390 million) and already under construction.

The first submarine is being paid in seven installment from 2017 to 2023. Should an order for a second and third submarines happen, these are expected also to be paid in a similar scheme.

The RTN has not acquired a submarine for more than 60 years, and believes that it is important to improve their naval defense capabilities.

[1] Bangkok Post