Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Japan commissions fifth Mogami-class multi-mission frigate


The JS Yahagi (FFM-5). Photo c/o MilitaryPorn @ Reddit.

Japanese naval shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has formally handed over the fifth Mogami-class multi-mission frigate to the  Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) on 21 May 2024.

This was immediately followed by the ship’s commissioning with the JMSDF as the JS Yahagi (FFM-5), and was assigned with the Escort Division 14 based in Maizuru Naval Base in Kyoto Prefecture.

The JS Yahagi was launched by MHI’s Nagasaki Shipyard on 23 June 2022, and was named after the Yahagi River in Central Japan.

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 Asagiri-class destroyers and Abukuma-class destroyer escorts, both of which have been in service since the late 1980s.

[1] Naval News

[2] Baird Maritime

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Malaysia provides insight on revised naval “15 to 5” Transformation Roadmap


A screenshot of the RMN's revised 15-to-5 Transformation Roadmap. Photo c/o Malaysian Defence.

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) released information providing an insight on its planned revision of its “15 to 5” Transformation Roadmap.

The original program was meant to reduce the number of ship types in the RMN’s fleet from 15 types to just 5 types, which was envisioned to provide improved efficiency in sustaining the ships, and reduced cost and simplifying maintenance.

The new plan, which is now called the RMN Organizational Restructuring 2024 or Re-Org24 not only includes changes in their asset procurement plans but also in re-organizing  and overhaul of existing units, establishment of new units including  the RMN Warfare and Doctrine Centre, among other changes.

This will allow the RMN to maintain strong maritime defense and deterrence capabilities and be at par with its regional peers.

Re-Org24 also coincides with the 90th founding anniversary of the RMN, which unfortunately was jolted by the loss of two naval helicopters and 10 personnel in a fatal accident in the skies above the RMN’s Lumut Naval Base.

Based on the information graphics displayed by the RMN at DSA 2024, the RMN plans to maintain 20,000 uniformed personnel, and maintain a fleet of 12 Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) or light frigates, 18 Littoral Missions Ships(LMS) or corvettes, 18 Patrol Vessels (PV), 4 Submarines, 3 Multi-Role Support Ships (MRSS), as well as a variety of force multipliers including naval helicopters, land and ship-based drones, and small coastal patrol boats.

The plan also includes maintaining a fleet of 4 Mine Counter-Measures Vessels (MCMV) and 2 Hydrographic ships, both of which were not originally part of the original 15-to-5 Transformation Roadmap. It was previously indicated that mine warfare and hydrographic missions will be conducted by the Patrol Vessels using containerized mission modules that can be removed or installed from the ships when needed.

The Littoral Combat Ships will be Anti-Surface Warfare (AsuW), Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Electronic Warfare (EW) capability, as well as capability for land attack. Meanwhile the Littoral Missions Ships would have ASuW and EW capabilities only. 

The Multi-Role Support Ships will have amphibious capabilities and could be used for strategic sealift and Humanitarian and Disaster Relief operations. The ships will  have hangar and landing deck space for 2 helicopters, and well as a floodable well deck for 2 landing crafts, as well as cargo space for 20 combat vehicles.

So far, the RMN has recently continued the construction of the first batch of Littoral Combat Ships based on an upsized variant of Naval Group’s Gowind-class corvette, although the number was reduced from 6 to 5. 

It has also selected Turkey’s Ada-class corvette as the basis for its second batch of Littoral Missions Ship , with negotiations ongoing between Malaysian and Turkish authorities.

[1] Malaysian Defence

[2] The Sun

Philippines adds last two T129B ATAK attack helicopters into service


Ceremonial pouring of champagne on one of the new T129Bs of the PAF. Photo c/o 15th Strike Wing. 

The Philippine Air Force’s 15th Strike Wing has formally inducted the last batch of two T129B ATAK attack helicopters, as part of an acquisition of six units from Turkish Aerospace Industries.

A simple ceremony was held last 17 May 2024 at the PAF’s Maj. Danilo Atienza Air Base in Sangley Point, Cavite, and attended by the PAF Air Combat Command chief Major General Araus Robert Musico and 15th Strike Wing commander Brigadier General Juliano Llanares.

The two attack helicopters with tail numbers  1505 and 1506 were delivered to the Philippines on December 2023, but underwent post-delivery testing and were used for further training of pilots at Clark Air Base prior to formal induction.

The T129Bs  are expected to provide enhanced combat capabilities for the PAF, including  addressing capability gaps identified in urban warfare.

The Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) awarded the PHP13.728 billion (US$284.8 million) contract for the Attack Helicopter Acquisition Project to Turkish Aerospace Industries in 2020, which calls for the delivery of six T129B ATAK attack helicopters.

The first batch of two helicopters were delivered on September 2021, and were operated together with older McDonnell Douglas MD-520MG Defender and Leonardo AW109E Power light armed helicopters of the unit.

The PAF has made an indication to acquire additional units to fill a complete squadron, with TAI confirming back in 2023 that talks have started between them and the DND.

[1] 15th Strike Wing, Philippine Air Force

[2] MaxDefense Philippines

[3] Philippine Defense Resource

Monday, May 20, 2024

Thailand to recommend continuing stalled submarine project with China

A Type 039 submarine, which will be used as basis for the S26T submarine for Thailand. Photo x/o Military and Commercial Technology.

The defense ministries of both Thailand and China have reached an agreement to continue with the stalled acquisition of the S26T diesel-electric attack submarine for the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) after reaching an agreement to use Chinese-made diesel engines.

This is after China failed to secure the use of marine diesel engines from German manufacturer MTU for use on Chinese Type 039A-derived S26T submarine bound for Thailand.

Due to this failure by shipbuilder China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) to meet contractual obligations, the Royal Thai Navy recommended to scrap the submarine deal and instead offset it by instead procuring a Chinese-made frigate.

The latest agreement, which was reportedly reached last 14 May 2024 in a meeting held at the Thai Defense Ministry, means the project will proceed instead of replacing the project with the acquisition of a Chinese-made frigate.

According to reports from Thailand, negotiators on the Thai side led by General Somsak Rungsita from the Thai Ministry of Defense, while the Chinese side includes representatives from the CSSC, the Bureau of Military Equipment and Technology Cooperation, and the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

Both parties agreed that replacing the S26T submarine with a frigate does not benefit the Royal Thai Navy, while also confirming that China cannot entirely return the payments already made by the Thai Government for the submarine due to expenses already incurred for its design and acquisition of parts and materials.

The two parties also mentioned that maintaining very good bilateral ties between the two countries was also a reason for continuing with the submarine deal, and instead the Chinese negotiators will recommend an offset package worth hundreds of millions of Baht by providing additional support systems including a training simulator for the RTN, as well as insurance and training for the RTN’s personnel, and China purchasing Thai agricultural products as part of payments for the submarine.

The Thai defense ministry will submit the recommendation to the Thai Cabinet to amend the original contract, which will include allowing the use of the Chinese-made CHD620 marine diesel engine, as well as extending the delivery period for another 1,200 days.

[1] The Nation Thailand

[2] Naval News

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Malaysia receives US approval for potential sale of Sniper Targeting Pods


Sniper ATP targeting pod installed on an F/A-18 Super Hornet. Photo c/o EDR Magazine.

(Press release by Defense Security Cooperation Agency)

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2024 - The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Malaysia of Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods and related equipment for an estimated cost of $80 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

The Government of Malaysia has requested to buy ten (10) AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods. Also included are technical data and publications; personnel training; software and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated total cost is $80 million.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a key partner that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific region.

The proposed sale will improve Malaysia’s capability to meet current and future threats by modernizing its current F/A-18D platform with a common targeting pod. This proposed sale will also mitigate future obsolescence concerns and allow the Royal Malaysian Air Force to meet future operational requirements. Malaysia will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Corporation, located in Orlando, FL, and The Boeing Company, located in St. Louis, MO. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Malaysia.

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

The description and dollar value are for the highest estimated quantity and dollar value based on initial requirements. Actual dollar value will be lower depending on final requirements, budget authority, and signed sales agreement(s), if and when concluded.

All questions regarding this proposed Foreign Military Sale should be directed to the State Department's Bureau of Political Military-Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs,

[1] US Defense Security Cooperation Agency

Monday, May 13, 2024

China conducts first sea trials of new Type 003 aircraft carrier Fujian


The Fujian during sea trials. Photo c/o The Aviationist.

China has commenced the initial sea trials for its new Type 003 aircraft carrier last 01 May 2024, as reported by Chinese state-owned media outlet Xinhua.

The aircraft carrier, which was named Fujian (18) after the Chinese southern province, left the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shangai around 8:00am local time, with the sea trials meant to test the reliability and stability of the ship’s propulsion and electrical systems.

The aircraft carrier would become the most capable in the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fleet once it is commissioned, and will feature a Catapult Assisted Take-off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) system employing Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) which is a first for the service.

The ship was launched on June 2022, and is undergoing a series of dockside testing prior to the initial sea trials. 

The ship is reported to have a length of around 316 meters and a full load displacement of around 80,000 tonnes, and is expected to be home to Chinese-made carrier-based fighter aircraft like the J-15 Flanker and J-35 Gyrfalcon.

[1] CNN

[2] South China Morning Post

[3] The War Zone