Saturday, December 31, 2022

South Korea decommissions two Ulsan-class frigates, two Pohang-class corvettes, four Chamsuri-class patrol boats


The Ulsan-class frigate ROKS Jeju (FF-958). Photo c/o News1 Korea

The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) has decommissioned several of its warships just before the end of the year.

The decommissioned ships are composed of two Ulsan-class frigates, two Pohang-class corvettes, and four Chamsuri-class patrol boats, all of which were retired from service on 30 December 2022 at the ROKN's Changwon Naval Base.

The ships that were decommissioned include the Ulsan-class frigates ROKS Jeonnam (FF-957) and ROKS Jeju (FF-958); the Pohang-class corvettes ROKS Sokcho (PCC-778) and ROKS Yeongju (PCC-779), and the Chamsuri-class patrol boats with hull numbers 321, 322, 323, and 325.

All ships were built indigenously by South Korea in the 1980s and early 1990s, and are being replaced with new ships as the ROKN continues to embark on a modernization drive to increase combat capabilities in line with the country's defense policies.

The Ulsan-class and Pohang-class ships are being replaced by the Incheon-class and Daegu-class frigates, while the Chamsuri-class patrol boats are being replaced by the Gumdoksuri-class patrol vessels.

The ROKS Jeonnam (FF-957) took part in the first Battle of Yeonpyeong on 15 June 1999 against the Korean People's Navy (North Korean Navy) off the island of Yeonpyeong.

Meanwhile the Chamsuri-class patrol boat 325 also took part in the first Battle of Yeonpyeong, and also taking part in the Battle of Daecheong on 10 November 2009, a skirmish against the Korean People's Navy off the island of Daecheong.

The final disposition of these ships are still unclear, although they will be held in reserve and used as training ships.

The Pohang-class corvettes are believed to be of interest to certain navies that already operate the type, including Colombia, Peru, the Philippines and Vietnam.

[1] Naver News
[2] News 1 Korea

Japan commissions third, launches sixth Mogami-class multi-purpose frigates


The JS Noshiro (FFM-3) as it leaves MHI Nagasaki Shipyard after being commissioned with the JMSDF. Photo c/o Naval News.

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) has commissioned its third Mogami-class multipurpose frigate.

The ship, which was commissioned as the JS Noshiro (FFM-3), was commissioned with the JMSDF on 15 December 2022 during ceremonies held at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki Shipyard.

The commissioning also marks its final departure from the Nagasaki Shipyard to its assignment 

The ship, which was named after the Noshiro River and shares a name with a World War II light cruiser and a Cold War-era destroyer escort, had its keel laying on 15 July 2020, and was launched on 22 June 2021.

Meanwhile, MHI Nagasaki Shipyard also launched the sixth Mogami-class frigate on 21 December 2022, with the ship named "Agano" (FFM-6). 

The ship was named after the Agano River, which originates from the Fukushima Prefecture and flows through the Niigata Prefecture to the Sea of Japan.

It also shares the same name as the lead ship of the Agano-class light cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The new Mogami-class frigates were designed with efficiency and high level of automation in mind, together with a more compact design for reduced construction cost, and stealthy hull and superstructure design for reduced cross-section against radar detection.

It has a length of 132.5 meters, a width of 16.3 meters, and has a crew of 90 officers and sailors.

The ship has a maximum speed of more than 30 knots, and powered by a Combined Diesel and Gas (CODAG) propulsion configuration with two MAN 12V28/33D STC diesel engines and a Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine engine.

It is armed with a BAE Systems Mk.45 Mod 4 127mm naval gun, two Japan Steel Works RCWS for 12.7mm machine guns, a 16-cell Mk. 41 VLS, an 11-cell Raytheon SeaRAM CIWS, and two quadruple launchers for MHI Type 17 anti-ship missiles.

The Mogami-class are to replace the JMSDF's ageing fleet of Abukuma-class destroyer escorts that have been in service since the late 1980s.

[1] Naval News
[2] Naval Today
[3] Japan Maritime Self Defense Force

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

South Korea to build third KDX-III Batch II Jeongjo the Great-class AEGIS destroyer


A CGI of a KDX-III Batch II destroyer. Photo c/o Naval News.

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition and Program Administration (DAPA) has awarded a contract to build the third KDX-III Batch II Jeongjo the Great-class guided missile destroyer to Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

The contract, worth KRW670 billion (US$515 million) was signed between DAPA and HHI on 13 December 2022, with HHI becoming the only shipbuilder to build all three ships of the class.

Prior to the awarding the HHI, observers predicted that the contract would be signed with the South Korean naval shipbuilder as it was the only competing company when the project was being offered.

So far, HHI has launched the first ship of the class, the ROKS Jeongjo the Great last July 2022, and is still pending commissioning with the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN).

A second ship of the class is still under construction by HHI and is expected to be launched by 2024.

Once in service, the Jeongjo the Great-class will be the ROKN’s largest and most capable surface combatant, and will bring the total number of AEGIS-equipped ships in the service to six, together with the three KDX-III Batch I Sejong the Great-class destroyers.

Naval News

Monday, December 19, 2022

Philippines receives first batch of ASCOD Sabrah light tanks


One of the ASCOD Sabrah light tanks delivered to the Philippine Army. Photo c/o MaxDefense Philippines.

Reports from several defense and social media pages from the Philippines confirmed that the Philippine Army has received the first two units of ASCOD Sabrah light tanks it ordered from Israel's Elbit Systems.

Photos posted by several pages show the tanks delivered with the tracked armored vehicle and turrets separate from each other, and were installed in the Philippines by technicians from the Philippine Army and Elbit Systems.

Philippine defense page MaxDefense Philippines confirmed that two tanks arrived within December 2022, allowing Elbit Systems to meet its contractual obligations to deliver the initial batch by 2022, despite Elbit Systems requesting for time extension for the delivery deadline.

The tanks were said to have undergone firing tests 

It was reported that the tanks were delivered just in time to participate in the upcoming parade on 19 December 2022 to celebrate the 87th founding anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 

The ASCOD Sabrah light tank is a combination of two systems. The ASCOD Pizarro II tracked armored vehicle built by Santa Barbara Sistemas of Spain which is division of General Dynamics European Land Systems; and the Sabrah turret and combat system made by Israel's Elbit Systems.

The ASCOD Pizarro II is the Spanish variant's latest version of the ASCOD, with the Spanish Army receiving the Castor sappers vehicle which appears to be externally similar to the ones delivered to the Philippine Army.

The Sabrah combat system combines a turret developed by the Israel Defense Force's Ordnance Corps MANTAK, which also designed the turret system on the Merkava main battle tank, with several subsystems from Elbit Systems including the 105mm/52 cailber tank cannon, autoloader system, panoramic sight system with day and night-capable electro-optical sensors, fire control system, battlefield command and control system, and communications systems.

The Philippines is expected to receive 18 ASCOD Sabrah light tanks, 10 Pandur II Sabrah wheeled tanks, and a few command and recovery vehicles based on the ASCOD Pizarro II platform.

The entire delivery is expected to be completed by 2023, with the tanks to be assigned with the Philippine Army's sole Armored Division.

The Philippine Army remains one of the few countries in Asia without proper tanks, although the need for tanks was among the lessons learned during urban combat operations when it fought ISIS-inspired terrorists to liberate Marawi City in 2017.

[1] MaxDefense Philippines
[2] Philippine Defense Resource

Thailand's Ratanakosin-class corvette HTMS Sukhothai sinks, 31 crew missing


Corvette HTMS Sukhothai as it sinks. Photo c/o FleetMon.

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) confirmed that one of its Ratanakosin-class corvette, the HTMS Sukhothai (FS-442) has sunk in the Gulf of Thailand.

The sinking happened around 11:30pm of 18 December 2022, after the ship suffered water entry after encountering strong waves, listing the ship heavily to starboard and made it unable to recover.

The ship was unable to ump the water out after a power blackout simultaneously happened after the water leak shorted the ship’s electrical systems.

31 of the ship’s crew were reportedly missing as the RTN frigate HTMS Kraburi (FFG-457) rushed to the site to move the distressed crew. Search for the missing crew has been ongoing since the ship sank.

The HTMS Sukhothai is one of seven corvettes in service with the RTN, and is the second ship of the Ratanakosin-class.

It was built in the United States by Tacoma Boatbuilding in Washington, was launched on 20 July 1986, and commissioned with the RTN on 19 February 1987.

The ship is armed with a 76mm/62 caliber Oto Melara gun, a 40mm/70 caliber Bofors twin-barrel cannons, two 20mm Oerlikon guns, eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles, an Albatross octuple surface-to-air missile launcher for the MBDA Aspide missile, and six torpedo tubes for lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes.

Atlas News
[2] Maritime Bulletin
[3] FleetMon

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Two Type 218SG Invincible-class diesel-electric attack submarines for Singapore launched


The Type 218SG submarine "Illustrious" during its launch at TKMS yard in Kiel, Germany. Photo c/o Chen Chuanren.

German naval shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has launched two Type 218SG diesel-electric attack submarines being built for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

The ceremonies were held at the TKMS shipyard in Kiel, Germany on 13 December 2022, with a high calibre guest list of 350 people including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Singapore Minister of Defence Dr. Ng Eng Hen, and several senior representatives from Singapore and Germany.

The two submarines were named "Impeccable" and "Illustrious", which are second and third ships of the Invincible-class.

A total of four submarines were ordered by Singapore, shared between two contracts of two submarines each. 

The Type 218SG Invincible-class are considered as one of the most modern diesel-electric submarines in the world, and features several new technology and solutions that are customized for the Republic of Singapore Navy.

This includes a high level of automation that allows for a reduced crew, low acoustic signature, an enlarged payload capacity compared to the submarines it would be replacing, enhanced underwater endurance with the use of Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) module, and the use of an X-shaped stern rudder for improved performance in coastal and shallow waters.

The Invincible-class are the largest submarines built by TKMS at around 70 meters long, and a displacement of  around 2,000 tons, and are based on an enlarged Type 214 design with changes to suit Singapore's requirements.

The 4 new submarines will replace Singapore's existing fleet, which consists of two remaining Challenger-class (ex-Sjoormen-class) and two Archer-class (ex-Vastergotland-class) submarines, both classes of which were formerly from the Swedish Navy.

Each submarine has eight 533 millimetre (21 inch) and two 650 millimetre (26 inch) forward-firing torpedo tubes that can be used to fire heavyweight torpedoes, submarine-launched anti-ship missiles, and naval mines.

Aside from the launching, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems also signed a partnership agreement with Singapore's ST Engineering which allows for a long-term cooperation between the two companies and allow warranty servicing and in-house support for the Type 218SG Invincible-class submarines, which would allow improved sustainability during the course of their operational lifespan.

[1] Naval News
[2] Channel News Asia
[3] Mothership SG

Saturday, December 17, 2022

New Zealand receives first P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft


The first P=8A Poseidon MPA for the RNZAF during acceptance ceremony on 07 December 2022. Photo c/o Boeing.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) received its first P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft from American aviation giant Boeing.

The aircraft was formally received by the RNZAF during ceremonies held on 07 December 2022 at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. 

The aircraft arrived in Ohakea Air Force base in Manawatii, New Zealand on 13 December 2022, and is expected to start operations by January 2023.

New Zealand signed up to acquire four P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to replace the six P-3K2 Orion, which have been in service since the 1960s.

Of the six, three aircraft have already been retired while the last three are scheduled to be retired from service by the end of January 2023.

The P-8A Poseidon was evaluated to be the lowest cost and lowest risk option for New Zealand after competing with several other maritime patrol aircraft models, and will be used for meeting the country's commitment and obligations in the Pacific region.

The aircraft will conduct maritime patrol and be involved in protecting New Zealand's interest in the Southern Pacific, conduct Search and Rescue, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Environmental Monitoring, and participation in international task groups.

While the aircraft is operated by the RNZAF, it will also be supporting other government departments including the Ministry of Primary Industries, New Zealand Customs Service, the National Emergency Management Agency, the Rescue Coordination Centre, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The remaining three aircraft will be delivered to the RNZAF by May 2023.

[1] Naval News
[2] Royal New Zealand Air Force
[3] Radio New Zealand

Friday, December 16, 2022

Myanmar receives six FTC-2000G light combat aircraft from China


An FTC-2000G Mountain Eagle LCA in Myanmar Air Force colors. Photo c/o The Irrawaddy.

The Myanmar Air Force has reportedly received the first batch of Guizhou FTC-2000G Mountain Eagle light combat aircraft from China.

The delivery of the aircraft was made on November 2022, and reported to be undergoing inspection and testing at the Meikttila Air Base in Mandalay region, prior to formal induction and deployment to the Namhsan Air Base in Shan state.

The FTC-2000G, developed by Guizhou Aviation Industries Corporation (GAIC), are believed to be replacing the older Chinese-Pakistani Karakorum K-8 light attack aircraft, with the new aircraft expected to perform better than the aircraft it is replacing.

The FTC-2000G Mountain Eagle was derived from the Guizhou JL-9 advanced jet trainer used by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) since 2015 and 2014, respectively.

Myanmar is the first export market for the FTC-2000G light combat aircraft variant, although Sudan has been operating the FTC-2000 trainer aircraft, which is the export designation of the JL-9.

Chinese sources claim that the FTC-2000G Mountain Eagle is the most affordable jet-powered combat aircraft in the global market, with a unit cost of around US$8.5 million.

[1] The Irrawaddy

[2] Asia Pacific Defense Journal

Thailand’s upcoming Type 071E landing platform dock completes sea trials in China


The Type 071E LPD for the RTN during sea trials. Photo c/o Weibo.

Chinese shipbuilder Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding based in Shanghai, has completed conducting the sea trials for the Type 071E landing platform dock bound for the Royal Thai Navy (RTN).

The ship, which will be named HTMS Chang (LPD-792) once commissioned with the RTN, was seen in a footage already at sea as of 11 November 2022, with RTN personnel also undergoing training and familiarization on the ship.

The landing platform dock was ordered on September 2019 under a THB 6.1 billion (US$200 million) contract between the RTN and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), and is scheduled to be delivered to the RTN by April 2023.

The Type 071E is based on the Type 071 built for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), with Thailand being the first export customer of the class.

The Type 071 is around 210 meters long and 28 meters wide, has a full load displacement of around 25,000 tonnes, and was designed to carry around 800 marines and 20 amphibious vehicles.

The ship also has a well-deck capable of handling two Type 726 / Type 726A landing craft air cushioned (LCAC), and two hangars and a flight deck to accommodate medium-sized transport helicopters.

Once in service, the HTMS Chang will be the largest ship in the Royal Thai Navy’s fleet, even larger than its small aircraft carrier HTMS Chakri Naruebet (CVH-911) which is 183 meters long, and is also the largest ship with any navy in Southeast Asia.

Naval News
[2] AAG Thai Defence Page
[3] Global Times

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Indonesian contract for two Airbus A400M Atlas transport aircraft takes effect


CGI of Airbus A400M in TNI-AU markings. Photo c/o Airbus Defence.

European defense company Airbus Defence has confirmed in a social media post that the contract signed with the Indonesian Government in 2021 for the acquisition of two A400M Atlas heavy transport aircraft has taken effect.

This officially makes Indonesia a confirmed buyer of the A400M Atlas, which is Airbus’ premier military transport aircraft offering to the global market.

The contract between Airbus Defence and Indonesia was signed in 2021 as part of the International Defence Exhibition & Conference 2021 (IDEX 2021) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and includes an option for four more aircraft.

According to the Indonesian Air Force’s (TNI-AU) previous statements, the A400M Atlas will be configured as a Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft and will replace the service’s ageing Lockheed KC-130B Hercules in the same role.

The A400M will also become the largest military transport aircraft in the TNI-AU, allowing transport of heavy loads at tactical and strategic distances, as well as for dropping paratroopers and conducting other missions.

Indonesia will become the A400M’s second user in Southeast Asia after the Royal Malaysian Air Force, and the 10th user globally.

Airbus Defence
[2] Asia Pacific Defense Journal

Monday, December 12, 2022

Brunei signs contract for acquisition of Airbus C-295MW transport aircraft


Contract signing on acquisition of C-295MW aircraft from Airbus. Photo c/o Brunei Darussalam MINDEF.

The Brunei Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has signed a contract with European defense company Airbus Defence and Spain S.A.U. Spain for the acquisition of C-295MW tactical transport aircraft for the Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF).

The contract signing took place at the Officers' Mess, Bolkiah Garrison on 02 December 2022, with Yang Mulia Colonel Norsuriati binti Haji Sharbini (ret), Permanent Secretary for Policy, Finance and Administration, and Jose Juan Corcia Palomo, Head of Southeast Asia, Airbus Singapore Pte Ltd on behalf of Airbus Defence and Space.

Also in attendance were Deputy Minister of Defence Yang Mulia Brigadier General (ret) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Abdul Razak bin Haji Abd. Kadir, Commander Royal Brunei Armed Forces Yang Mulia Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Muhammad Haszaimi bin Bol Hassan, and other officials of the RBAF and MINDEF.

The C-295MW aircraft, which will be delivered in two batches, will be replacing the RBAirF's sole Indonesian Aerospace CN-2350-110M transport aircraft, which has been in operation since 1997. 

British defense outlet Janes reported that the contract is for three aircraft.

The new aircraft would be used for a variety of missions including airlift, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, and Search and Rescue.

The C-295 is one of the most prolific small tactical transport aircraft in the world, and is also operated by a number of countries in the Southeast Asian region including Indonesian Air Force and the Indonesian National Police, the Philippine Air Force, the Royal Thai Army, and the Vietnam People's Air Force.

[1] Brunei Darussalam Ministry of Defence
[2] Janes
[3] Aviation Week

Singapore commissions new locally-developed Hunter armored vehicle-launched bridge system


The Hunter Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge (HT-AVLB) on display. Photo c/o Singapore Army.

Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) released information on their social media on 09 November 2022 the unveiling and commissioning of the Hunter Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge (HT-AVLB) with the Singapore Army's 55th Combat Engineers.

This coincides with the 55th Combat Engieers' 55th Anniversary 

The vehicle was developed by tbe DSTA and Singapore Army, and built by ST Engineering, and uses the new Hunter tracked armored vehicle as its platform, but without the additional side armor panels found on the armored fighting vehicle variant.

The removal of the side armor panels reduces the weight of the HT-AVLB platform to compensate for the weight of the bridging system.

Also included in the system is a Mixed-Reality Simulator which allows for the improved training and competency of the HT-AVLB's operators.

The vehicle has been designed to operate with high degree of safety for its crew, which allows the vehicle to be operated with all hatches closed, and uses several cameras to provide high level of situational awareness for its operators.

DSTA claims that the HT-AVLB can deploy its bridge within seven minutes, and is networked with other Hunter armored vehicles platforms, most likely using the newly-developed Army Tactical Engagement and Information System (ARTEMIS) battlefield command and communication system first found on the Hunter AFV.

The HT-AVLB was designed to replace the ageing AMX-13 SM1 AVLB, which appears to be the only variant of the AMX-13 that is still in service with the Singapore Army, and will primarily used to support mechanized units.

[1] Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen
[2] Army Recognition
[3] Asian Military Review

Friday, December 9, 2022

Philippines receives second batch of 2 T129B ATAK attack helicopters


Two T129B ATAK helicopters unloaded from Turkish Air Gorce A400M transport aircraft at Clark Air Base. Photo c/o MaxDefense Philippines.

Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has delivered the second batch of two T129B ATAK attack helicopters for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

This brings the total delivery to 4, with the last batch of two more T129B helicopters expected to be completed and delivered by 2023.

The helicopters were delivered by two A400M Atlas transport aircraft of the Turkish Air Force and arrived at Clark Air Base, north of Manila, on 25 November 2022.

The new helicopters will complete assembly locally with supervision from TAI, and will be undergoing localized testing and inspections before formally accepted and inducted with the PAF.

The T129s will be joining earlier examples delivered early this year, as well as other attack helicopters of the PAF including the Bell AH-1S Cobra, AgustaWestland AW-109E Power and McDonnell Douglas MD-520MG Defender with the 15th Strike Wing.

Philippine defense page MaxDefense Philippines said that Turkish Aerospace Industries is trying to fast-track the deliveries of the T129B helicopters, as deliveries should have been completed by 2021 if not for the political conflict between Turkey and United States over Ankara’s decision to procure S-400 air defense missiles from Russia, which halted American approval to export helicopter engines to Turkey.

Based on the what the PAF has displayed before, the T129B ATAK attack helicopters were delivered together with the ROKETSAN Cirit 70mm guided missile, 19-round rocket launchers for 70mm unguided rockets, as well as the built-in M197 20mm 3-barrel rotary cannon.

The T129 can also be optionally armed with the ROKETSAN UMTAS anti-tank missile, and Air-to-Air Stinger short-range air-to-air missile, which the PAF has yet to acquire.

MaxDefense Philippines