Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Indonesian shipbuilder lays keel of first “Red and White” Arrowhead 140 frigate


The first section forming part of the keel of the first Merah Lutih Arrowhead 140 frigate being built for the Indonesian Navy. Photo c/o PT PAL Indonesia 

The “Merah Putih” (Red and White) frigate program of the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) has reached a new milestone as Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL Indonesia held the Keel Laying Ceremony for the first of two frigates.

The ceremony was held last 25 August 2023 at PT PAL Indonesia’s shipyard in Surabaya, with senior officials from the Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Indonesian Navy and PT PAL Indonesia present to witness the event.

Indonesian MoD Secretary of the Defence Facilities Agency Brigadier General Heru Sudarminto was honoured to place a coin on the ship’s block holder, which marks the start of the keel laying, which was followed by the lowering of the first ship block and welding the connections.

The “Mearah Putih” Frigate Project uses the Arrowhead 140 general purpose frigate design from British defense consultant Babcock International, which itself is a derivative of the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate of the Royal Danish Navy.

The frigate is around 140 meters long and displaces at around 6,000 tons, which makes this the largest and most advanced surface combatant ever constructed in Indonesia and the entire Southeast Asia region. 

In constructing the Merah Putih frigates, PT PAL Indonesia is leveraging its previous experience in building under license the SIGMA 10514 frigate from Dutch shipbuilder Damen, as it improved its naval construction capabilities over the last decade.

The Merah Putih frigates are expected to be equipped with up to  16 anti-ship missiles, a 24-cell vertical launching system (VLS) for medium-range surface-to-air missiles and a 32-cell VLS for long range SAMs. It would also have two 76mm Oto Melara naval guns.

The new frigates are expected to replace some of the Indonesian Navy’s ageing Ahmad Yani-class frigates, previously known as Van Speijk-class frigates acquired second hand from the Royal Netherlands Navy in the 1980s. Five ships are still in service and in need of replacements soon.

[1] PT PAL Indonesia

[2] Naval News

Thailand inducts 12 new Beechcraft T-6TH Texan II trainer aircraft into service


All 12 T-6TH Texan II trainer aircraft of the RTAF during induction ceremony. Photo c/o AAG_Th Thai Defense Page.

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has inducted 12 new Beechcraft T-6TH Texan II trainer aircraft into service as it modernizes its training capabilities.

The ceremony was held at the RTAF’s Flying School Kamphaeng Saen in Nakhon Pathom province on 22 August 2023 and were assigned with the Advanced Training Squadron, Flight Training Division and will be replacing the RTAF’s Pilatus PC-9 trainer aircraft that have been in service since 1991.

The new aircraft, which were ordered under a US$162 million deal signed on October 2020, included an agreement to assemble 10 of the 12 aircraft in Thailand through the Thai Aviation Industries Co. Ltd. The first two units were flown to Thailand from Textron Aviation Defense’s facility in the United States.

In addition to new aircraft, the RTAF also opened a new Flight Simulator Training facility at the RTAF Flying School, which is patterned after the Beechcraft T-6C Texan II, which will be working together with the actual aircraft to increase training efficiency and safety especially for newer pilots.

The RTAF is also scheduled to receive 8 Beechcraft AT-6TH Wolverine armed trainers, which are capable of dropping bombs and rockets for close air support and light attack roles.

[1] AAG_TH Thai Defence Page

[2] Asia Pacific Defense Journal

Monday, August 28, 2023

Philippines receives offer for new S80 Isaac Peral-class submarine from Spain’s Navantia


The first ship of the Isaac Peral-class built for the Spanish Armada. Photo c/o H. I. Sutton.

Spanish naval shipbuilder Navantia has confirmed to the press that it has pitched an offer to sell submarines and build a submarine base and training center for the Philippine Navy (PN).

Navantia’s Commercial Manager for Asia Mr. Guillermo Zamarripa confirmed that it has offered a “complete solution to the Philippine Navy which includes the supply of two S80 Isaac Peral-class diesel-electric submarines, together with the design and construction of a new submarine base and submarine training center, and providing training which are to become the foundation of the country’s Submarine Force.

The submarines are designed and built in Navantia’s shipyard in Cartagena, Spain, and is considered a long range conventional attack submarine equipped with Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) system, which enables the submarine to stay underwater for three weeks without surfacing. This is an advantage compared to submarines without AIP system which can only stay underwater for a few days before surfacing to recharge its batteries.

Despite the use for defensive and deterrence against foreign aggression, the S80 Isaac Peral-class can be armed with Harpoon submarine-launched anti-ship missile and Tomahawk submarine-launched land attack cruise missiles, subject to US Government approval.

Navantia also proposed to build a new submarine base complete with infrastructure, a training facility, and logistics support in Ormoc, Leyte province, which is said to be an ideal site due to its geographic location that helps protect it from extreme weather, low seismic risk, its proximity to an existing city, airport and port facilities.

Financing will also be provided by the Spanish Government, which is offering a sovereign guarantee for a loan worth 100% of the total contract cost, payable to start only once the first submarine is delivered to the Philippine Navy.

Navantia is competing against France’s Naval Group which offered the Scorpene-class submarine similar to Brazil’s Riachuelo-class, and South Korea’s Hanwha Ocean (formerly Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineeriing) with a variant of the Type 219-1400 dubbed the DSME 1400PN.

Both offers also include a package for 2 submarines, the design and construction of a submarine base and training facility, logistics support package and a soft loan package from their respective governments.


[1] Inquirer.net

[2] MaxDefense Philippines

[3] Philippine Defense Resource

Australia to procure Tomahawk, AARGM-ER, Spike LR2 missiles


A Tomahawk cruise missile launched from a US Navy deateoyer. Photo c/o ASPI.

The Australian Government has confirmed that it would be procuring 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States in a deal expected to be worth around A$1.3 billion (US$850 million), which are expected to be one of the most powerful and technologically advanced weapon system ever fielded by the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The Tomahawk missiles will be deployed aboard the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart-class destroyers and would allow for striking land targets at long ranges with its effective range of 1,500 kilometers.

Should deliveries push through, Australia will be the only third country to have the Tomahawk cruise missile alongside the United States and United Kingdon.

Aside from the Tomahawk missile, the Australian Government has also confirmed that it would be acquiring more than 60 Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile  - Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missiles also from the United States, under a deal expected to be worth around A$431 million (US$290 million).

These missiles would be used to target enemy radar and air defense systems, and would be deployed on the F-35A Lightning II, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EF-18G Growler attack aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Meanwhile the Australian Department of Defence has selected Rafael Australia to supply the Australian Army with the Spike Long Range 2 (LR2) anti-tank missiles under a deal worth more than A$50 million (US$32 million).

These missiles would be arming the Australian Army’s Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles to enhance their combat capability and ability to destroy tanks and other armored vehicles.

[1] Australian Department of Defence

[2] Rafael Australia

[3] Reuters

Thailand and Indonesia commissions new naval tugboats


HTMS Tachai of the Royal Thai Navy. Photo c/o AAG-Th Thai Defense Page.

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has commissioned its third Panyee-class medium-sized tugboat, which it named the HTMS Tachai during ceremonies held on 21 August 2023 at Laem Thian Port in Sattahip, Thailand.

The tugboat was based on the Ramparts 3200SD tugboat design from Robert Allan Limited of Canada, and was built in Thailand by Asian Marine Services in Samut Prakan province, where it was launched last 25 January 2023.

The new tugboat will serve with the RTN’s Amphibious and Combat Support Service Squadron, and will join two other sisterships – the HTMS Panyee (857) commissioned on 27 March 2017, and HTMS Lipe (858) commissioned on 23 January 2020.

The RTN has several tugboats that are scheduled for decommissioning soon, with the Panyee-class expected to replace them gradually.

Meanwhile the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) also received and commissioned two new harbour tugboats during ceremonies held in Jakarta, Indonesia on 21 August 2023 and led by the TNI-AL’s Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Adm. Ahmadi Heri Purwono.

The boats were named TD Umsini and TD Irau, and were built by PT Noahtu Shipyard in Jakarta, and will be assigned with Fleet Armada (KOARMADA) III based at the XIV Sorong Naval Base in West Papua.

The new boats will be assisting Indonesian Navy ships in  port manoeuvring, increasing efficiency and effectiveness, as well as safety of navigation within TNI-AL naval bases including firefighting. They will also be used for oil clearing and clearing pollution at sea, being equipped with oil dispersant system with a capacity of 3 cubic meters an hour to separate oil from water.

Both tugboats are 30 meters long, has a width of 12 meters and a maximum speed of 12 knots, an endurance of 5 days, and a crew of 10 personnel. They are designed to push ships displacing 5,000 tons

[1] AAG_Th Thai Defense Page

[2] Indonesian Navy

[3] VOI News

Friday, August 25, 2023

Indonesia commits to acquire 24 Boeing F-15EX Eagle 2 fighters

Indonesian and Boeing officials with the F-15EX Eagle 2 in the abckground. Photo c/o Boeing.

The Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MOD) and American aviation giant Boeing has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 21 August 2023, which will support the planned acquisition of 24 F-15EX Eagle 2 fighter aircraft for the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU).

The MoU signing by Indonesia MoD Head of Defense Facilities Agency Air Vice Marshal Yusuf Jauhari and Boeing Fighters Vice President and Program Manager Mark Sears was held at Boeing’s St. Louis facility and was also witnessed by Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto.

The potential sale was already by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency last year although will still require a formal approval by the US Government.

The F-15EX Eagle 2 is the most advanced variant of the F-15 fighter, and is equipped with a digital fly-by-wire flight controls, latest mission systems and software, a new electronic warfare system, an all-glass cockpit, and increased munitions carrying capacity.

Should the sale push through, Indonesia would be the first export market for the F-15EX, which would be designated as the F-15IDN.

Aside from the F-15EX, the Indonesian MoD also has an ongoing contract to procure the Dassault Rafale from France, and has also committed to procure the KAI KF-21 Boramae fighter where Indonesia is also a development partner. It also recently signed an agreement to procure 2nd hand Mirage 2000 fighters from Middle Eastern countries.

[1] Boeing

[2] Defence Connect

[3] The Aviationist

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Vietnam completes upgrade works on Petya II-class light frigates


The 2 newly upgraded Petya II-class frigates togrther with a Pohang-class corvette of the VPN. Photo c/o Vietnam Defence.

Photos of the two recently-upgraded Project 159 Petya II-class light frigates of the Vietnam People’s Navy has surfaced online, which confirms that the rehabilitation and repair works for both ships that have been ongoing since 2020 has been completed.

Both ships, the HQ-09 and HQ-17, underwent rehabilitation and upgrade works at the state-owned shipbuilder Song Thu Corporation in Da Nang.

Among the changes noted include the ship’s superstructure including the bridge which have been remodelled and modernized, now sporting a sleeker design.

Also expected to have been improved are the ship’s electrical and mechanical systems, to replace some of the Soviet-era systems with more modern and easily-available components.

Weapons configuration appear to remain the same, although it is expected that these were also repaired.

While not reported, the ship’s electronics and sensors suite may have receive some improvement as well, which may include the navigation and radar systems, communications and bridge systems.

The two ships are being used by the Vietnam People’s Navy for anti-submarine warfare and naval patrol missions. Both ships were formerly VPN’s frontline warships until the naval service received more modern warships in the past decade. Include Gepard-class guided missile frigates from Russia and refurbished Pohang-class corvettes from South Korea.

[1] Vietnam Defence

[2] VietDefense

Monday, August 21, 2023

Indonesia confirms 2nd tranche order for 18 Rafale omni role fighters


The Dassault Rafale. Photo c/o Dassault Aviation.

French aerospace company Dassault Aviation has confirmed on 10 August 2023 that it will be manufacturing and supplying Indonesia with a second tranche of Rafale fighters worth 18 aircraft.

This is part of a contract signed between the French and Indonesian defense ministries on February 2022 for the acquisition of a total of 42 Rafale fighters.

The order follows a first tranche of 6 Rafale fighters that was confirmed on September 2022, bringing the total number of aircraft ordered to date to 24 units.

According to Dassault Aviation, the acquisition of the Rafale for the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) includes a turnkey solution, and will also benefit the Indonesian aerospace sector as it will be receiving substantial industrial return that includes the support technical training and improvement of aeronautical technology.

Dassault Aviation also said that the new order represents the growing partnership between France and Indonesia.

The introduction of the Rafale fighter marks the expansion of the TNI-AU’s combat capabilities, as the new fighters not only replace older models like the retired Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II, but also represents the expansion of the combat fleet in terms of numbers. 

For the past decades, the TNI-AU only maintains a small fighter fleet compared to the country’s size, but improvement of the Indonesian economy as well as growing regional threats have pushed the country to increase its investment in defense.

[1] Dassault Aviation

[2] Defence Connect

[3] Flight Global

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Indonesia commissions two new German-made Pulau Fani-class mine countermeasures vessels


The KRI Pulau Fani. Photo c/o TNI-AL.

The Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) has inaugurated and commissioned two new mine countermeasures vessels that were made and recently-delivered from Germany.

The ships are KRI Pulau Fani (731) and KRI Pulau Fanildo (732) were inaugurated on 14 August 2023 during ceremonies held at the Madura Pier of the Indonesian Navy’s base in Surabaya, with Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and Indonesian Navy Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Ali leading the event.

The event also confirmed the assignment of Lt. Col. (P) Murfianto Machfud and Lt. Col (P) Slamet Ariyadi as the commanding officers of KRI Pulau Fani and KRI Pulau Fanilodo, respectively.

Both ships will be assigned with the TNI-AL’s Fleet Command II (KOARMADA II) based in Surabaya, which covers the naval operations in the country’s central area. They will replace two previous mine hunting vessels, the KRI Pulau Rengat (711) and KRI Pulal Rupat (712).

The Pulau Fani-class mine countermeasures vessels were built by German shipbuilder Abeking & Rasmussen, and are based on the shipbuilder’s MHV-60 design, which in turn was derived from the Frankenthal-class mine hunting vessels used by the German Navy.

Both ships were ordered under a US$204 million contract on January 2019, and are equipped with the Synapsis NX navigation and bridge system, an integrated SYNTACS command and control system, as well as modern mine-hunting sonar and unmanned vehicles.

The ships are propelled by a MAN hybrid propulsion package system combining two MAN 12V175D-MM diesel engines with an AKA hybrid PTI system for silent operations while conducting manhunting operations.

[1] Indonesian Navy KOARMADA II

[2] Asia Pacific Defense Journal

[3] Kompas

First new landing platform dock for Philippines starts construction


PT PAL Indonesia and Philippine Navy officials during Steel Cutting Ceremony last 10 August 2023. Photo c/o PT PAL.

Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL Indonesia held the First Steel Cutting Ceremony for the first of two new 123-meter Landing Platform Docks it is constructing for the Philippine Navy.

The ceremony was held on 10 August 2023 at PT PAL’s shipbuilding facility in Surabaya, with Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci and PT PAL Indonesia CEO Mr. Kaharuddin Djenod witnessing the event together with other senior officials from PT PAL Indonesia, Philippine Navy and the Indonesian National Armed Forces.

The ship is expected to be laid up by early 2024, while the second ship of the class is also expected to have its First Steel Cutting ceremony by early 2024.

Two ships have been ordered by the Philippine Navy in a Php5.56 billion (US$102 million) contract signed in June 2022  based on PT PAL’s 123-meter Improved  Strategic Sealift Vessel design, which in turn was derived from the revised Makassar-class LPD design.

The ship is expected to displace at around 7,200 tons full load, is powered by 2 diesel engines allowing a maximum speed of at least 16 knots and a maximum range of 9,360 nautical miles at 13 knots cruising speed.

The ship has space for 500 fully-equipped troops, and could accommodate up to 8 AAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles and other light armored vehicles and trucks. It also has a helicopter landing deck for 2 10-ton class helicopters and VTOL unmanned aerial vehicles, and a hangar for one helicopter.

The ships will be initially armed with 6 to 8 manually-operated 12.7mm heavy machine guns but are fitted for future installation of a 76mm Oto Melara Super Rapid naval gun, two Aselsan SMASH 30mm secondary guns, and a close-in weapon station either using the Rheinmetall Millenium Gun or Aslesan GOKDENIZ.

it also has facilities to support smaller missile-equipped interdiction boats in a mothership role.

[1] PT PAL Indonesia

[2] Naval News

[3] Philippine Defense Resource

Indonesia receives Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles for UN missions


TNI Bushmaster PMVs in UN White paint scheme. Photo c/o TNI.

The Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) has received 15 Thales Bushmaster mobility protected vehicles donated by the Australian Government, which will be used for United Nations peacekeeping missions overseas.

The formal handover ceremonies of the vehicles was held on 09 August 2023, with Australian Defence Policy Counsellor for the Australian Embassy in Indonesia Mr. Chris McIlwain and TNI Deputy Commander for Logistics Maj. Gen. Yustinus Agus Peristiwanto.

The vehicles donated are refurbished units that were committed by Australia in 2021, and consists of 13 troop carrier variants, a command vehicle variant and an armored ambulance variant. 

According to Maj. Gen. Peristiwanto, the TNI is “proud and happy” in receiving the Australian grant of 15 Bushmaster PMVs including spare parts, which is a proof of good relations between the Australian and Indonesian governments. 

The Bushmaster PMVs are expected to provide the TNI with increased operational capabilities in supporting global Peacekeeping Operations, enabling troops to be protected from IED and mine blasts that are typical threats to UN peacekeeping missions in high-risk and conflict areas.

The TNI sent a contingent to train with the vehicle in Darwin last June 2023, which covered aspects of sustaining the vehicle including operation and maintenance.

The Indonesian Army already operates a limited number of Bushmaster PMVs used by its Special Operations Command “Kopassus”.

[1] TNI

[2] Australia Defence Magazine

Friday, August 11, 2023

Australia receives first batch of 3 UH-60M Black Hawk multi-role helicopters


Australuan Army personnel aboard a US Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during Balikatan Exercises 2023 in the Philippines. Photo c/o DVIDS.

The Australian Army has received the first batch of three UH-60M Black Hawk multi-role helicopters, which is part of an deal between Australia and the United States announced last January 2023.

The delivery was made in two separate flights, with the first 2 units arriving at RAAF Base Richmond on 30 July 2023 and 1 unit arriving on 04 August 2023. On both occasions, the delivery was made using a C-17 Globemaster aircraft of the US Air Force.

The Australian Army intends to replace its troubled MRH-90 Taipan helicopters, one of which was involved in a fatal crash that killed 4 Australian Army personnel just days before the arrival of the first two Black Hawk helicopters.

40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters are being acquired under a deal worth around A$2.79 billion (US$1.82 billion). The ”M” variant is the latest utility variant in production by Sikorsky Aircraft and is also being delivered to the US Army.

The Australian Army, and prior to that the Royal Australian Air Force, already had prior experience in maintaining and operating the Black Hawk helicopters, as it previously had 39 S-70A-9 Black Hawks  that has been in operation since 1987 as replacements for the Vietnam War-era Bell UH-1 Huey,. 

The S-70A-9 helicopters, together with other ageing helicopters like the Royal Australian Navy’s Westland Sea King and other remaining Bell UH-1 Huey helicopters were replaced by the MRH-90 Taipan starting in 2007. But the helicopter was proven to be problematic in Australian service, with poor serviceability and was involved in several crashes over its 15 years of service.

Sikorsky is expected to deliver more helicopters in the coming months, with the Australian Army’s 5th Aviation Regiment based in Oakey, and the 8th Aviation Regiment based in Holsworthy.

Aside from the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Navy operates the Black Hawk-based MH-60R Seahawk naval helicopters, which allows maximizing the utilization of support from Sikorsky Australia.

[1] Australia Defence Magazine

[2] Janes

Malaysia to receive 178 indigenous Tarantula 4x4 high mobility armored vehicles


The Tarantula 4x4 high mobility armored vehicle. Photo c/o Bernama.

Malaysian defense company Mildef International Technologies has confirmed that it would be supplying 178 units of their indigenously made Tarantula 4x4 high mobility armored vehicles for the Malaysian Army.

This was confirmed by Mildef to British defense media outlet Janes on 07 August 2023, which also confirmed that deliveries are expected to start by 2024.

It is not yet determined if the deal would involve outright purchase or lease option, as Janes previously reported in 2022 that the Malaysian Armed Forces is looking to lease the Tarantula 4x4 armored vehicles based on statements from Mildef’s representatives present during DSA 2022 defense exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

The Tarantula 4x4 armored vehicles are expected to replace the Malaysian Army’s ageing fleet of Condor 4x4 armored personnel carriers, which the Malaysian Army has been eyeing to replace with a new vehicle.

The Tarantula weighs 14 tons unloaded and 16 tons fully loaded, a length of 6.3 meters, and width of 2.5 meters, and a height of 3 meters.

It is powered by a Caterpillar-sourced  7.2-liter diesel engine capable of producing 330 horsepower and allowing a maximum road speed of 110 kilometers per hour. 

The vehicle could carry 10 personnel including a driver and commander and can be armed with 12.7mm heavy machine guns using a remote-controlled weapon station. The prototype of the vehicle was equipped with South African-made Reutech Rogue RCWS, which also equips the Gempita 8x8 armored vehicles of the Malaysian Army.

Armored protection is rated at STANAG Level 2, while bottom protection is rated at STANAG Level 2B, and hull at STANAG Level 2A. The vehicle is also fitted with mine blast attenuating seats to protect its passengers.

[1] Janes

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Philippines nearing contract award for acquisition of Bell 412 combat utility helicopters


Bell 412EP combat utility helicopters of the PAF. Photo c/o PAF.

The Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) is preparing to finalize a deal for the acquisition of 8 Bell 412 utility helicopters for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

This is after the country’s Department of Budget and Management has released the initial funding worth Php958.9 million (US$17.4 million) last 03 August 2023 for the project to proceed to contracting phase.

It is still undetermined which company will supply the helicopters or what variant of the Bell 412 will be procured, but it is highly expected to be Bell Helicopters, possibly through the Canadian Commercial Corporation which already supplied the Philippine Air Force with Bell 412EP helicopters between 2013 to 2015.

It is also expected that the Bell 412EPI or the more advanced Bell 412EPX variant will be delivered.

According to Philippine Defense Resource, the Bell 412 fleet is being expanded to provide the PAF with an alternative fleet of combat utility helicopters to operate beside the larger Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk which has become the PAF’s standard model for such roles.

This will allow the PAF to have redundancy in case the Black Hawk fleet gets grounded due to incidents, while also providing a smaller platform when mission does not require the Black Hawk’s capacity.

The Bell 412 was originally eyed as the eventual successor to the venerable UH-1 Huey, but a second batch order in 2018 was cancelled after former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte found it unacceptable for Canadian officials to limit the Bell 412 helicopter’s use against counter-insurgency and anti-narcotics operations

Since then, the Philippine DND acquired 16 Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters through its Polish subsidiary PZL Mielec, while placing another order for 32 more units in 2020.

The PAF currently has 5 Bell 412EP used as combat utility helicopters, and 8 Bell 412HP and EP variants in VVIP roles. Philippine defense page MaxDefense Philippines reported that the PAF plans to repurpose some if not all of the VVIP Bell 412s to combat utility helicopters as it plans to order a new fleet of VVIP/Command & Control helicopters to replace them.

[1] Philippine Defense Resource

[2] MaxDefense Philippines

Friday, August 4, 2023

Singapore formally accepts its first new Invincible-class attack submarine


The Invincible-class (Type 218SG) submarine Impeccable approaching RSS Singapura Changi Naval Base. Photo c/o Singapore MINDEF.

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) formally received its first of four Invincible-class (Type 218SG) diesel-electric attack submarine last 20 July 2023.

The submarine, named Impeccable, was received in a homecoming ceremony held at the RSN’s RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base after arriving from Germany aboard a chartered cargo vessel. The RSN’s Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Sean Wat and other senior RSN officers and submariners were present during the ceremony.

The Impeccable was launched by German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in its shipyard in Kiel, Germany on 13 December 2022. 

The Invincible class were built using the Type 218SG platform that was custom designed and built for Singapore to meet its requirements of operating in shallow and busy tropical waters while attaining high level of automation, have significant payload capacity, improved underwater endurance, and ergonomics optimised for Asian physique. 

The Impeccable is yet to be commissioned, and will first undergo a series of localised sea trials and testing as well as training of its crew, before achieving full operationalisation.

While the Impeccable was the first of the class to be delivered in Singapore, the lead ship Invincible remains in Germany to support the training of RSN submariners that will be assigned with the ships of the class.

Two other sisterships are under construction and are in different stages of work.

[1] Singapore Ministry of Defence


Australia to procure 20 new C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft


A C-130J-30 Super Hercules of the RAAF. Photo c/o RAAF.

The Australian Government has confirmed that it would be procuring a total of 20 new C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and is expected to cost around A$9.8 billion (US$6.45 billion).

These new aircraft are being procured under the Department of Defence’s AIR 7404 Phase 1 Medium Air Mobility Replacement Project, and will be replacing an existing fleet of 12 C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft that have been in service with the RAAF since 1999.

The Australian Department of Defence previously mentioned that it has selected to procure new C-130J Super Hercules after evaluating other tactical transport aircraft models. It was found that staying with the C-130J Super Hercules will assure reduced cost, schedule and capability risk due to the RAAF’s experience in operating the maintaining the type for the last 24 years.

The RAAF relies on the C-130J Super Hercules for the deployment of personnel, equipment and humanitarian supplies, and is also used for other missions including search and rescue, disaster relief and medical evacuation.

The increase of quantity of aircraft from 12 to 20 will allow Australia to perform more missions within Australia and across the Indo-Pacific region, as well as providing more opportunity for the local industry to sustain the fleet.

The new aircraft will be operated by the RAAF’s No. 37 Squadron based at RAAF Base Richmond in the New South Wales, and is expected to have seamless transition to the new aircraft.

Infrastructure improvements at the base are also expected to accommodate the increased number of aircraft, and modernization of facilities to sustain them.

[1] Australian Department of Defence

[2] Asia Pacific Defense Journal

Thursday, August 3, 2023

South Korea’s Hanwha Defence wins Australian IFV competition


The AS21 Redback IFV during trials in Australia. Photo c/o Australian DOD.

The Australian Government announced that it has selected an offer from South Korean defense company Hanwha Defence  Australia for the supply of Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) for the Australian Army under the LAND 400 Phase 3 project.

The offer involves the local manufacture and delivery of 129 units of AS21 Redback infantry fighting vehicle, which will be built in Hanwha’s existing facility in Geelong, Victoria.

Hanwha Defence Australia competed against another shortlisted company, Germany’s Rheinmetall Defence Australia which offered its KF41 Lynx IFV. The selection of the AS21 Redback is a milestone for the South Korean company, as this marks the first export market for its armored vehicle derived from the K21 tracked IFV.

Hanwha Defence Australia is expected to deliver the first vehicle by early 2027, with the final vehicle delivered by late 2028.

The LAND 400 Phase 3 project originally involved the acquisition of more than 400 IFVs for the Australian Army to replace its ageing fleet of M113 tracked armored personnel carriers, but this was reduced to its current quantity as part of the Australian Department of Defence Strategic Review in 2023, where the Australian Army will be transformed to perform littoral manoeuvre operations.

The Australian Department of Defence will be finalising the deal with Hanwha Defence Australia before a final approval and contract can be realised.

The AS21 Redback was derived from the K21 tracked IFV used by the Republic of Korea Army, and was tailored to suit the requirements of the Australian Army. This includes an improved armor, the use of a 30mm Bushmaster autocannon, inclusion of a missile launcher for Israeli-made Spike LR anti-tank missile, and use of one-piece rubber tracks.

[1] Australian Department of Defence

[2] European Security and Defence

[3] Defence Connect