Sunday, May 31, 2015

4th Russian-built submarine set to arrive in Vietnam in June

Thanh Nien News
31 May 2015
The fourth of the six Kilo-class submarines that Vietnam has contracted to buy from Russia is scheduled to arrive in Vietnam next month.
The submarine codenamed HQ-185 Da Nang is currently carried by the Dutch-registered cargo ship Rolldock Storm which is on its way to Vietnam.
It is docking at a port in the Canary Islands off the southern coast of Morocco for fuel filling.
The submarine is scheduled to be delivered to Cam Ranh Port in late June.
Meanwhile, the fifth submarine codenamed HQ-186 Khanh Hoa completed a two-week trial run and returned to Svetly Shipyard (Kaliningrad) on Thursday, according to Russian media.
The first three submarines named after Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong, arrived in Vietnam in 2014 and early 2015.
The delivery of the sixth and last one, HQ-187 Ba Ria-Vung Tau, is scheduled for next year.
The six submarines are built under a US$2-billion deal signed during a Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's visit to Russia in 2009.
Russia will deliver all by 2016, train Vietnamese crews, and supply necessary spare parts.

German U-boat joins NATO effort in Baltic Sea

Sputnik International
31 May 2015
The German submarine U34 has joined the Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) and Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group ONE (SNMCMG1) in the Baltic Sea to support NATO operations in the area.
The submarine will be operating in the Baltic under operational control of Commander Submarine Forces NATO (COMSUBNATO), Rear Admiral Matt Zirkle (USA N), who travelled to Tallinn to meet with the submarine and its crew, the alliance said it its statement.
The U34, commanded by Commander (j.g.) Stephan Pfeiffer (DEU N) will conduct operations in support of SNMG2 in the Baltic Sea.
In addition to meeting with the U34’s crew, Rear Admiral Zirkle is set to meet with Estonian Navy officials and the US Ambassador to Estonia.
“Allied submarines have a critically important role in [the] collective defense of NATO member states, and this visit demonstrates NATO’s commitment to that defense,” Rear Admiral Zirkle said in the statement.
“Submarines such as U34 perform a variety of missions, from anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, to support of special operations forces (SOF) to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR).  I am happy to be able to meet with the crew and discuss their upcoming operations, as well as to meet with my Estonian Navy colleagues during our visit to this beautiful city.”

Submarine-style cargo airship gets patent


The invention is "a system for providing lift to an air vehicle with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities," according to the patent.
The system was developed for the Aeroscraft, an airship that uses helium, like a blimp, to take off and fly. To land, onboard pumps compress the helium into tanks, allowing outside air to fill the hull. The air acts as ballast the same way water is used to allow a submarine to dive.
Igor Pasternak, Aeros CEO and ballast system designer, says his invention allows blimp-like airships to carry giant loads of cargo for the first time without needing ground support.
"Large capacity airships have long been a dream for cargo logistics flexibility, but impracticable," he said.
For a blimp to carry 100 tons of cargo, it would need to pick up 100 tons of ballast every time it unloaded, Pasternak said.
"If you off-loaded 100 tons, your helium-filled aircraft will float away," he said. "This is why airships never transitioned into cargo airships."
The patented system will allow airships to load and unload cargo anywhere on the globe without needing a runway, help from ground crews or ballast, Aeros officials maintain.
The Aeroscraft prototype flew outside the Tustin hangar in the summer and fall of 2013 while crew members held tethers to help control it. But before it could stage its first untethered flight, the hangar's roof collapsed in a windstorm, sending a shower of debris onto the ship's Mylar-like hull.
The airship was damaged beyond repair and had to be dismantled, said Aeroscraft spokesman John Kiehle.
However, the company is in the process of planning construction of its first commercial vehicle, which will be able to haul 66 tons of cargo, Kiehle said. It hasn't been announced yet where that ship will be built.
The company eventually hopes to build a 250-ton version of Aeroscraft.

Read more here:

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Russian subs 'spying on Trident' since axing of flying patrol fleet

HMS Vanguard Royal Navy Trident missile submarine quality image
Submarine: A lack of maritime patrol surveillance has prompted concerns.
30 May 2015
Russian submarines are likely to have gathered "valuable intelligence" on Britain's nuclear deterrent since the Government scrapped maritime patrol aircraft, senior RAF figures have warned.
The UK's lack of submarine-hunting planes following the decision to axe the Nimrod fleet has given opportunities for "intruders" which could "prejudice the security and effectiveness" of Trident, they said.
In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, the five retired senior officers wrote: "The need to reintroduce Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) into the British frontline is now widely recognised.
"With so few naval escorts available, this will be vital if future aircraft carriers are not to be put severely at risk.
"We know that Russian submarines are monitoring the area from which our nuclear missile submarines emerge from the Clyde.
"Without maritime patrol aircraft surveillance, opportunities for intelligence-gathering by such 'intruders' can only prejudice the security and effectiveness of our strategic deterrent.
"Indeed, it would be surprising if valuable intelligence had not already been acquired by the Russian Navy since the Nimrod force was grounded in March 2010."
The letter is signed by Air Marshall Sir John Harris, Air-Vice Marshall George Chesworth, Air-Vice Marshall David Emmerson, Air-Vice Marshall Andrew Roberts and Air Commodore Andrew Neal.
The Nimrod MRA4 was cancelled in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, as ministers attempted to fill a £38 billion black hole in the Ministry of Defence budget.
The project, designed to replace the Nimrod MR2, was already years late and hundreds of millions of pounds over budget.
In March, the Commons Defence Committee said the lack of a maritime patrol aircraft had opened up a "crucial gap" in UK defences.
The committee warned that more aircraft, warships, tanks and missiles were needed to provide a convincing deterrent to further aggression by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
In recent months there have been a string of approaches to Britain by Russian planes and ships.
Two Typhoon fighter jets were launched from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland to intercept Russian bombers heading towards the UK earlier this month.
Meanwhile, in April, Typhoons out of Lossiemouth again intercepted Bear bombers flying near UK airspace, hours after HMS Argyll was deployed to monitor a destroyer and two other ships from the country as they passed through the English Channel.

Carter visits for ceremony on namesake submarine

BANGOR — Former president Jimmy Carter visited Kitsap County on Friday to participate in a change-of-command ceremony for his namesake submarine at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
The 39th president and 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner is the only U.S. president to graduate from the Naval Academy and the only one to qualify on submarines.
"What makes me so proud is to have been the only submariner to have served as commander in chief and also to have a submarine named after me," said Carter, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1946 and served in the Navy until 1953.
"Of all the honors I have ever received, I've never had anything of greater honor than the chance to be the namesake of USS Jimmy Carter."
The 90-year-old Carter, one of six living people with ships named after them, has been actively interested in the ship over the course of its life, previously visiting during its christening and commissioning. He was joined Friday by wife Rosalynn, the ship's sponsor.
The last sitting president to visit Kitsap County was Bill Clinton, in 1993. He brought together leaders from Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation countries on Blake Island.
Cmdr. Melvin Smith relieved Cmdr. Brian Elkowitz as commanding officer of the Seawolf-class attack submarine. The one-of-a-kind vessel has all the capabilities of a Seawolf-class submarine, plus a 100-foot-long extension known as the multi-mission platform to test new generations of weapons and support Navy SEAL operations. It's the heir to the Navy's most decorated vessel, the USS Parche, which also was based at Bangor during its final years.
During Elkowitz's tour, which began in March 2012, USS Jimmy Carter completed five missions vital to national security and underwent a 17-month-long maintenance period.
"I could not have asked for a better ship, crew and supporting cast," Elkowitz said. "I am incredibly lucky to have been part of such an extremely talented team, a team that has accomplished so much for the Navy and our nation. We have done things that we can never tell others about, and must be content with the knowledge we carry within that what we did has made a difference. "
Jimmy Carter earned the Battle Efficiency Award, or Battle "E", for 2012 and 2013, and was honored with the Presidential Unit Commendation and the Navy Unit Commendation.
Elkowitz's next assignment will be to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Smith's previous post was with Navy Personnel Command, where he was the submarine assignments branch head and executive officer detailer.

Friday, May 29, 2015

U.S. Navy awards Groton company $46 million to overhaul damaged USS Montpelier

The Montpelier after being rammed by Navy cruiser.

GROTON — A Groton manufacturer has been awarded a $46 million contract to overhaul the 24-year-old USS Montpelier.
The  Los Angeles-class attack submarine suffered extensive damage when it collided with a Navy cruiser in 2012 during a training exercise, according to the Navy Times.
According to Electric Boat, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, up to 600 employees will be involved in the new submarine construction project and the work is scheduled to be completed by early 2018.
“Submarine overhaul and repair work like this is vital not only to ensuring stability in Electric Boat’s workforce in the near term, but also leverages the unmatched skill and talent of our region’s workforce in ensuring that our submarine fleet is properly maintained,” said Congressman Joe Courtney, who is the Ranking Member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.
“With the fleet only able to meet just over half of the demand for attack submarine capabilities, it is more important than ever that we get our submarines overhauled and back to sea as soon as possible,” Courtney said.
The money comes under a contract with a potential value of $259.6 million, if all options are exercised, according to Electric Boat.
Electric Boat President Jeffrey Geiger was set to speak Friday at a manufacturing meeting in Trumbull to discuss how his company is preparing for the Ohio replacement submarine program and what it means for manufacturing in the state, local suppliers and Connecticut’s economy.

Russia eyes massive nuke submarine deal with India

Initial pact would be worth $15.67 billion.

Zachary Keck/The National Interest
29 May 2015
Russia may help India build nuclear submarines and stealth warships, according to Indian media reports.
Last week India’s Economic Times  reported that the Indian conglomerate Reliance Infrastructure—which owns stakes in numerous Indian defense companies—is seeking Russian assistance for programs to locally produce nuclear submarines and other stealth warships.
According to the report, top Reliance executives were in Moscow last week to meet with Russian defense officials about finding a partner for a joint venture between a Russian defense company and Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering, India’s largest defense shipyard, which Reliance has an 18 percent stake in. Specifically, Reliance is looking for a Russian partner with the “requisite technology expertise for manufacturing warships in India.”
As the Economic Times points out, the meetings come on the heels of India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approving a plan for an Indian company to locally manufacture six nuclear submarines and seven stealth warships. The initial investment outlay for the project was set at Rs 1 trillion ($15.67 billion.)
Although the Russian government refused to specifically confirm the report, it did sound receptive to such a possibility.
"The Russian side is open to negotiations with Indian partners on various projects, including cooperation and JV [joint ventures] to manufacture modern defense equipment," a Russian official at the embassy in Delhi told ET in response to a query.
For its part, a Reliance official told the Indian newspaper, “We are deeply committed to investments in the defence sector and the PM's Make In India program,” referring to Indian Prime Minister Modi.
Besides the Make in India program, the prospective joint venture would likely take advantage of the amendments Modi approved in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) laws last year. FDI is now allowed to make up 49 percent of defense sector projects, up from 26 percent before Modi approved the changes.
Russia would arguably be the most sensible foreign partner for India as the two countries have an extensive defense technology relationship that dates back to the Soviet Union days. This has most certainly included submarines. In the 1960s and 1970s, for example, the Soviet Union sold India eight Foxtrot-class submarines, which India operated as Vela-class submarines.
India also currently operates a number of Kilo-class submarines, which are designated as Sindhughosh-class submarines by the Indian Navy.
Near the end of the Cold War, India also briefly leased a nuclear-powered submarine from the Soviet Union. More recently, in 2011 India began operating an Akula II nuclear attack submarine under a ten-year lease from Russia. That lease was valued at $970 million.
Despite Modi’s Make in India program, as well as the plan to build six indigenous nuclear-powered submarines, there have been indications that India may lease a second nuclear-powered submarine from Russia. During a trip to Delhi in December of last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would gladly supply India with more nuclear-powered submarines.
“If India decides to have more contracts to lease nuclear submarines, we are ready to supply,” Putin said at the time.
Later, Indian news outlets reported that negotiations are underway for a second Akula II SSN, which would enter into service with the Indian Navy in 2018.
Besides the nuclear submarines, India is also looking for foreign partners to help it build at least six stealth diesel-electric submarines. Competition for that contract is stiff.
As The National Interest  noted back in January, Japan has expressed interest in helping India build Air-Independent Propulsion-equipped submarines. Just this week, the German Defense Minister was in Delhi lobbying for a German company to get the contract.
Other countries reportedly in the mix for that contract include France, Sweden Spain and, of course, Russia.

3rd sailor pleads guilty in shower video scandal aboard U.S. submarine

A Navy sailor has admitted that he failed to tell his superiors about secretly recorded cellphone videos of female officers and student trainees undressing for showers aboard a submarine.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon McGarity was sentenced by a court-martial Friday to 15 days in a Navy brig, a two-grade reduction in rank and forfeiture of two-thirds of a month's pay. McGarity pleaded guilty to failing to tell superiors last year that he knew other sailors possessed videos of topless female midshipmen.
Seven sailors have been charged after the Navy discovered videos of women undressing were filmed and traded aboard the USS Wyoming, a submarine based in coastal Georgia. Two sailors pleaded guilty earlier this week in a case that's tarnished the Navy's integration of women into its submarine fleet.

Philippine Navy needs a submarine, says Navy chief

29 May 2015

The Philippines needs to have a submarine capability for external defense and for the protection of maritime resources in view of China’s growing belligerence in the West Philippine Sea.
Philippine Navy flag officer in command, Vice Admiral Jesus C. Millan said developing a submarine arm was already being considered under the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
He said the AFP has acknowledged the importance of such capability for future requirements.
“This is a great challenge to all of us so it is important that we learn the concept,” Millan said.
“Our initial step in the Navy is to establish an office, the unit and start learning about this discipline,” he added.
The Navy chief acknowledged that acquiring such capability cannot happen overnight and may take some time.
However, he said the Navy is now preparing its men who will be involved in the development of such capability.
Millan said a submarine can perform nontraditional roles, including search-and-rescue operations and things beyond the capabilities of surface assets.
AFP Chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang has said that the Philippines would need at least three submarines to boost the country’s maritime defense.
The Department of National Defense was considering the acquisition of diesel-electric submarines using torpedoes, missiles or nuclear weapons.
According to reports, a brand-new diesel-powered submarine unit costs between $200 million to $500 million while a nuclear-run submarine costs $2 billion each.
In peacetime, submarines can perform intelligence gathering to closely monitor hostile activities in disputed areas.
Millan likewise said that the Navy has already established coast watch stations, which the Navy called maritime situational awareness platforms, in partnership with other agencies. These stations are now strategically located in Luzon, particularly in Palawan, and in Mindanao.
Millan said these stations were started in the Zamboanga peninsula and Sulu and Tawi-tawi in the south, and in Mindoro in the west.
He said the Navy also plans to build naval base in Oyster Bay for mission essential facilities, such as supporting the deployed assets of the fleet as well as the Marines.
“If we develop this facility or naval station, it can save us in terms of resources that will be expended by ships that will be deployed,” he said.

North Korea deploys new generation of fast warships

Very Slender Vessels designed to infiltrate saboteurs or agents into South Korea

Julian Ryall, London Telegraph
28 May 2015

TOKYO – North Korea has deployed a new generation of high-speed, radar-evading warship designed to infiltrate special forces into South Korean territory. 
The Very Slender Vessel sits low in the water and is designed to pierce waves instead of riding over them. 
Capable of travelling at nearly 60 mph, the craft are armed with heavy machine guns and torpedoes, with the JoongAng Ilbo quoting South Korean military officials as saying the ships pose a "new threat" to its security.
South Korea first learned that its neighbour was developing VSVs late last year when satellites caught images of early tests with the new technology in the East Sea. 
Intelligence officials in Seoul now estimate that at least seven of the vessels have been put into service on the west coast of the peninsula, with one of the craft recently sighted off Yongmae Island. 
The island is just seven miles from the South's Yeonpyeong Island, which North Korean artillery batteries bombarded in November 2012, killing two civilian residents and two military personnel.
Yongmae is also about three miles from the disputed sea border between the two Koreas, although Pyongyang refuses to accept the frontier line. The area has been the scene of repeated clashes between the two nations' navies. 
"The North appears to have decided to deploy the VSVs at its Yellow Sea Fleet Command in order to strengthen its capabilities in western waters and to infiltrate the South's Baeknyeong Island in times of emergency", a government official told the JoongAng Ilbo.
Deployment of the VSVs coincides with the North carrying out extensive fortification work on the nearby island of Gal, with analysts suggesting that new weapons emplacements are designed to house rocket launchers. 
North Korea has previously used midget submarines to infiltrate agents into South Korean territory, while Pyongyang has invested heavily on a fleet of large hovercraft designed to deliver assault troops to beaches.

The cooperative strategy: A view from Germany

Sebastian Bruns, Center For International Maritime Security
27 May 2015

In mid-March 2015, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard published its new strategy “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower: Forward, Engaged, Ready.” This article looks at the new strategy through the prism of Germany, one of the leading industrial powers in the world and a country dependent on unhindered maritime trade routes.
As much as for any other nation, the American sea services remain a benchmark for Germany in terms of operations, standardization, and for combined operations. After all, the United States fields the single global force projection navy: It is the qualitatively largest naval force and the only one that is forward-present or rotating in areas of strategic interest. In addition, the U.S. Navy (and, to a lesser degree, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard) is frequently and proactively used as a foreign policy tool. In short, U.S. sea power helps shape the international security environment for better or for worse. German security policy must heed the political and military implications of where U.S. naval power is being projected (and in some cases, where there is a divergence) in order to play an accordingly responsible and reliable role. As the smallest of the three German military branches, it has often been under the radar of policy-makers and the public. In contrast to the U.S. Navy, for instance, the German Navy has until recently not been understood as a tool of statecraft. Accordingly, German naval operations were, for a long time, more reactive than proactive (which is, certainly, a function of cautious leaders aware of German history as well as of the dynamics of force structure and deployments).
German expeditionary military operations (and by implication, its strategy) by law must be integrated in systems of collective defense or collective security. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) firmly bounds Germany and the United States together in a military alliance that is
fundamentally maritime in character, although it has been focusing heavily on ground operations for the past decades. Since 1990, Germany’s small navy, grouped around larger frigates and smaller coastal combatants as well as a few state-of-the-art conventionally-powered submarines, has continuously been operating in maritime focus areas as diverse as the Central and Eastern Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa, the Persian Gulf, the Adriatic Sea, and obviously the Baltic Sea and North Sea. It transformed from an escort navy of Cold War days to an increasingly expeditionary navy, as the German military historian Bernard Chiari has characterized it.
In all of these regions and in various naval operations, cooperation with U.S. naval forces was the norm rather than the exception. European waters moved to the periphery of American geopolitical thinking. Consequently, U.S. naval forward presence in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility diminished significantly after the end of the Cold War. Aircraft carriers, for instances, were often only seen in the Mediterranean when they transited to or from the Persian Gulf. Northern European waters, which saw extended U.S.-led naval presence since “The Maritime Strategy” of the 1980s, were almost completely empty of U.S. Navy surface warships (with the notable exception of the annual U.S. BALTOPS exercise in the Baltic Sea, and on-and-off port visits and exercises in between). Together with the changing security environment in Central Europe, in principle this offered new opportunities for the German Navy, which at the time transformed from protecting to projecting force – in doctrine, not in the composition of the fleet.
CS-21 (2007)
To understand the implications for Germany from CS-21R, it is instructive to briefly review the impact of that document’s predecessor, CS-21 (2007). The strategy, which appeared on the eve of the global financial crisis, featured a systemic approach, that is: it emphasized the cooperative nature of naval forces working together to build maritime security regimes in order to protect the globalized system of the exchange of goods, services, and information. Such an approach – highly uncommon for most maritime, much less naval strategies – fared well in principle with Germany. It did so for several reasons: First, it appeared to overcome the unilaterlist notions of the era of President George W. Bush. Second, it emphasized the need to protect the global commons from harm and hardship, and by extension safeguard the sea lanes on which Germany’s industrial power is very dependent. Third, the cooperative nature was in line with German security policy thinking, which has a marked uneasiness towards employing military means and much rather focuses on ‘civilian-military cooperation’, ‘comprehensive approaches’, and a primate of soft power politics (as if sensible sea power would not offer the vast variety of policy measures on the spectrum of conflict). Fourth, the open spirit of CS-21, its deliberately glossy format, and the non-militaristic lingo had potential to appeal to makers and shapers of policy. It is no coincidence that CS-21, not CS-21R or any other U.S. Navy capstone document, remains the yardstick for naval strategy planning and thinking in Germany for the time being.
Operationally, maritime counter-terrorism operations (such as Operation Enduring Freedom’s TF 150 off the Horn of Africa, in which Germany actively participated since 2002), maritime capacity-building measures (such as UNIFIL’s maritime task force off the Lebanese coast since 2006) and counter-piracy efforts (with EU NAVFOR Atalanta being stood up in December 2008) appeared to be the dominating naval missions of the period, along with the occasional disaster relief and humanitarian assistance operations which CS-21 had elevated to a strategic objective. Such a view fared well in Berlin, and for the navy, it meant a boost in public relevance.
In this view, CS-21 was a very fitting document for the German Navy, which to date does not have a unique capstone document of its own. The systemic maritime strategy published in Washington emphasized seemingly softer naval missions at the perceived expense of warfighting, deterrence, or amphibious landings. Implicitly, in the view of Germany, the U.S. and some other allies would probably still do these things, but the focus clearly was elsewhere.
While the narrative about the role of naval forces now was increasingly clear to the German public – after all, fighting pirates and other bad guys at sea has a long tradition in Germany, dating back to the days of the Hanseatic League – a severe intellectual disconnect that had developed since 1990 finally surfaced. More than ever, maritime security operations (MSO), although but one of any balanced navy’s many missions, became the key raison d’être for the German Navy. Stripped of the word ‘operations’, ‘maritime security’ (or Maritime Sicherheit in German) increasingly turned into a catch-all term in German policy and military circles to legitimize the current fleet. The paradox consequence: The securitization of the maritime sphere, as Christian Bueger has characterized it, led to an increasingly diluted understanding of risks and naval countermeasures while at the same time producing an unjustified, mind cuffs-like emphasis on MSOs as the sole rationale for German sea power. The consequence could be observed in the 2011 NATO campaign against Libya: For political reasons that reached to the German foreign minister, the frigate Niedersachsen (F 208) was quickly detached from the NATO force which prepared to strike targets in Libya. The change in government after the 2013 general election in Germany set the stage for a slightly different approach.
CS-21R (2015)
CS-21R, the revised version of CS-21, is being phased in a radically changing security environment. The return of geopolitics over the Ukraine-Russia crises, the rise of the “Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq, the outbreak of Ebola in Africa, failing states in the Southern Mediterranean region, increasing tensions in the South-East Asian littorals, the challenging dynamics of an Iranian quest for a nuclear program, the fallout of the currency and debt crisis in Europe, and many more factors provide ample evidence that the world has not turned into a notably more stable, peaceful, and serene place. Germany is slowly, albeit steadily adopting a more robust posture to address such threats and dynamics. Still, until 2014, the Army-focused operations in Afghanistan dominated the German strategic thinking about the use of military force. With the end of combat operations, the German military establishment and parts of the public and the policy elite are reconsidering their country’s role in the international arena. A new “White Book” is currently in development (the first since 2006, and only the third since the end of the Cold War). This
process was recently kicked off with a public forum in order to be as inclusive for stakeholders, analysts, and the public alike. For German terms, an open discussion about defense issues is rather revolutionary. Thus, the orchestrated speeches by President Joachim Gauck, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Secretary of Defense Ursula von der Leyen at the 2014 Munich Security Conference – calling for more robust German engagement, including military means – were remarkable in every way. A 2013 think tank report was outspoken in a similar manner, declaring that Germany’s new power meant a new degree of international responsibility. The 2010 abolition of conscription and (yet another) new organization and orientation of the Bundeswehr by then-Secretary of Defense Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg have proven to be a fundamental challenge for the service. It has also been demonstrated that against the backdrop of an increasingly violent world, the military is an integral part of German power, and must be treated, organized, funded, and employed accordingly. All of this is important to understand the environment in which CS-21R is made public.
It is still too early to call the shots on the true effects and consequences of CS-21R on Germany and the German Navy. CS-21R has received little attention in the media (with the exception of the trade press), and even the handful of German military blogs have remained silent so far. There are at least three aspects that have a direct relevance for Germany.
First, a closer look at the document reveals the inclusion of fiscal dynamics into U.S. naval planning. It is likely that the trend of less U.S. naval presence in Germany’s maritime focus areas has very real implications for what the German Navy may be asked to do. This would, in turn, yield the need to invest better in the Deutsche Marine and raise the budget accordingly in line with established overarching defense requirements. A second, potentially contentious point is the absence of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) as a core strategic capability of the sea services in the new U.S. document. Whereas navies are certainly not built for such operations, as Samuel Huntington already cautioned in his landmark 1954 Proceedings article, such missions provide an opportunity for quick political gains. A response to the on-going migration waves from Northern Africa to Southern Europe using military vessels for search and rescue could be such a measure, even though Germany’s possible participation in would be conditional once again on an international mandate and with the clear understanding that the European littoral states would also shoulder their operational responsibility. Third, CS-21R’s regional approach is centered on the Indo-Asian-Pacific region. These are hardly traditional operating areas for the German Navy, even if the maritime discourse in Germany has been shaped by anti-piracy patrols. Within the framework of “responsibility,” it is conceivable to argue that other nations (and the U.S.) are more responsible for that region, although Germany would potentially be willing to play its part and contribute forces along defined missions (such as in Operation Atalanta or in one of NATO’s four standing naval forces, should the situation require it). The flipside of such an argument is that Germany would have to play a more assertive role in its “home waters” such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, and by extension the waters surrounding Europe. As for the Baltic Sea, the first few steps are on the horizon, at least in terms of re-focusing strategically and operationally, and taking leadership through collective security management. Whether the capabilities and the political will can follow along, however, remains to be seen. Still, CS-21R and the environment in which it has been published, provides an opportunity for Germany to focus on the value of navies in international security. A stand-alone strategic capstone document would help explain this new role to its allies as well as to the public and to many policy-makers alike.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Taiwan pushes for new weapons on all fronts

Wendell Minnick, Defense News
27 May 2015

TAIPEI – China's steady acquisition of advanced weaponry has driven ambitious Taiwanese requirements, including plans to procure stealth fighters, advanced jet trainers, long-range unmanned reconnaissance aircraft and main battle tanks.
Some requirements are awaiting sale notification to the U.S. Congress or are still working through the Ministry of National Defense's internal programming process. Those include:
• MH-60R naval helicopters.
• Aircraft-deployed mines, such as the Quickstrike series.
• Shipboard electronic warfare system upgrades, such as the SLQ-32.
• Phalanx close-in weapon systems.
• Tactical datalink systems as part of a follow-on to the Po Sheng C4ISR upgrade program, now more commonly referred to as "Shyun An" or "Xun An."
Among the Chinese programs spurring Taiwan's response are Su-35 fighter aircraft and long-range S-400 surface-to-air missile systems. Chinese efforts in the South China Sea have also driven requirements for more ships and submarines, though these will be largely indigenous build programs.
Arguably the most important defense issue is what the U.S. government decides to do about Taiwan's long-pending submarine requirement. First approved by the George W. Bush administration in 2001, the program has been stalled for 14 years by political, budgetary and technological woes. U.S. support remains vital if Taiwan is to replace its fleet of obsolete World War II-era Guppy II boats and rapidly aging Dutch-built Zwaardvis Mk 2 boats acquired in the 1980s.
While Taiwan is still awaiting a U.S. government decision to proceed with Phase 1, concept definition and source selection of the Taiwan submarine program, it has embarked on an effort to build new submarines in-country.
Called the Indigenous Defensive Submarine (IDS) program, the budget for the three-year contract design phase starts in 2016. The IDS program would heavily utilize Taiwanese industrial capabilities, including pressure hull fabrication, main motor, batteries and air-independent propulsion options, as well as foreign technical assistance, where available.
"The Obama administration is expected to render a decision on the submarine program as part of the upcoming congressional notification," said a Taiwan defense analyst. "Not only would U.S. support greatly reduce risks, time and cost for any Taiwan submarine acquisition effort, it could also afford the U.S. government a measure of control over the type and extent of submarine capability that Taiwan ultimately manages to acquire."
A credible Taiwan undersea warfare capability also could aid the U.S. strategic rebalance in Asia by contributing to the deterrent against rapidly growing Chinese naval capabilities, he said.
As part of this notification, the U.S. government could either authorize support for technical assistance by U.S. defense firms for Taiwan's IDS project or approve the long-delayed U.S.-led Taiwan submarine program, he said.
Taiwan also has the option of upgrading its two Dutch--built Hai Lung (Sea Dragon) diesel submarines acquired in the 1980s. Both Lockheed and Raytheon have expressed an interest in competing for the upgrade.
Land Warfare
The Taiwan Army has a requirement for two to four battalions of surplus U.S. Army M1A1/M1A2 main battle tanks, but this is still in programming stages. The M1s are needed to replace 50-ton M48/M60 Patton tanks, but tanks are not given a high priority with Taiwan's mountainous interior and low coastal wetlands. Bridges are also a problem as many in the rural areas are too weak after years of earthquakes to handle the 60-ton M1 tank.
In addition, the military continually gives up more land for commercial and civilian use. The Army has only one
artillery range in operation and politicians are being pressured to shut it down. For these reason, the acquisition of M1s could face resistance in Taiwan's legislature.
Defense sources indicate Taiwan is interested in acquiring an additional AH-64E Apache attack helicopter, presumably as replacement for the unit lost in a training accident in 2014.
The Army also needs additional anti-tank munitions for ground forces, including BGM-71 tube-launched optically tracked wire-guided missiles and FGM-148 Javelins.
Taiwan's Marine Corps plans to procure additional surplus AAV-7A1 amphibious assault vehicles. Taiwan acquired 54 rebuilt AAV-7A1s in 2006 from the United States. United Defense LP Ground Systems won a $156 million contract in 2003 to supply the AAV-7s to Taiwan.
U.S. Marines, dressed as civilians, were deployed to Kaohsiung to assist in training Taiwan Marines on operating the vehicles.
Air Force
Taiwan's program to upgrade its 45 F-16A/B fighter aircraft with new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, avionics and mission modular computer is also proceeding,
Taiwan has yet to decide on the types and quantities of air-launched weapons to arm the F-16s, although the Air Force is generally expected to opt for models currently used by the U.S. Air Force, a U.S. defense industry source said.
Due to funding limitations, it was decided to split out these munitions from the F-16A/B upgrade budget and to fund their purchase under separate Foreign Military Sales programs. Choices include several versions of joint direct-attack munitions, Paveways and sensor-fuzed weapons.
Taiwan's Air Force also needs a variety of air-to-air, air-to-ground, anti-radiation and anti-ship missiles.
"The necessity of these munitions, as well as their justifiability as 'defensive in nature,' has become significantly more supportable in light of sustained, aggressive expansion of offensive Chinese capabilities," one industry source said. That includes the Chinese Navy's area anti-air warfare destroyers and the deployment of the ground-based S-300 PMU2/HQ-9, plus pending acquisition of the S-400 series of long-range SAM systems.
These could "seriously threaten even purely defensive operations by Taiwan's air assets over or near Taiwan," the source said.
The Air Force also has not yet decided on how to upgrade the ALQ-184(V) electronic warfare (EW) pods currently used on Taiwan's F-16A/B fighters. The decision has been complicated by significant cost differences between the available options and issues such as the uncertain availability of surplus U.S. Air Force EW pods that would be required by some of the solutions being proposed.
Taiwan's Air Force wants the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing fighter, but they can't afford new F-16sC/D fighters so it is highly unlikely they will be able to pay for an advanced warplane like a stealth fighter, said Erich Shih, a Taiwan-based defense expert.
This is a common problem, Shih said. "If you can't afford $1 stuff and you keep asking the Americans for $5 stuff, in the end you just can't buy it." Everyone becomes frustrated, he said, especially the Americans.
Taiwan needs to start replacing its fighter trainers in the next few years, but the Air Force has not announced a selection process for new trainers to replace aging F-5 fighters and AT-3 attack trainers, though plans for a tentative budget have been announced by Air Force officials for 2017.
The Air Force uses its F-5E/F fighters and AT-3 jet trainers for training before moving forward to one of three fighters: F-16A/Bs, Mirage 2000-5s or indigenous defense fighters.
The AT-3s were built locally by state-run Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. in the 1980s and are based at the Kangshan Air Force Academy in Kaohsiung. The AT-3s make up the Fighter Training Group and the Thunder Tiger Demonstration Team.
The Air Force has said it wants to procure 68 advanced jet trainers for advanced training, lead-in and operations transitioning training, Shih said.
At present, there are three candidates: the U.S. Air Force's T-X program, which is still under development; the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master; and the T-50 Golden Eagle built by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Lockheed Martin.
KAI officials told Defense News that since 2009 the Taiwan Air Force has approached them to discuss procuring the basic T-50, but political pressure from Beijing might block the sale.
The Philippines did procure 12 T-50PH aircraft in 2014, but KAI officials played down the offensive capabilities the aircraft could provide in an effort to placate China.
One KAI official did confirm that the T-50PH was an export variant of the FA-50 Fighting Eagle deployed with the South Korean Air Force and dubbed the "Mini F-16." The issue is sensitive due to intense territorial disputes in the South China Sea between Beijing and Manila.
Taiwan's Air Force also has a requirement to replace aging single-engine propeller-driven Beechcraft T-34C Turbo Mentor trainers procured from the U.S. in the 1980s. The T-34 squadron has suffered numerous fatal accidents over the past several years. The Beechcraft AT-6 is the most likely candidate, Shih said, though no announcement to replace the T-34 has been made by the Air Force.
Taiwan defense industry sources indicate the Air Force also has long-standing requirements for an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft.
Taiwan's Air Force has a requirement for tactical UAVs to monitor sea lanes, coastal areas, disaster areas and to conduct battlefield reconnaissance. Military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) has developed a variety of UAVs, but has been unable to fulfill an Air Force requirement for an advanced, extended-range, multipurpose UAV.
Taiwan also has been pursuing a procurement for six C-27J Spartan medium-transport aircraft, along with an indigenous training and maintenance package, to replace the Air Force's Fokker 50 VIP aircraft. The U.S. government has released the C-27J for Taiwan, but the Air Force is awaiting financing, which has been hampered by the cost of recent
upgrades to its indigenous defense fighters and upcoming upgrades to its F-16A/B fighter fleet.
Tangled Web Of Requirements
Taiwan's defense requirements can be confusing and political. For many reasons, most arms procurements are intended not to build a genuine defense against China but to buy insurance from the U.S. to protect them when that day arrives, defense analysts and industry sources say.
According to various Taipei defense sources, Taiwan's arms procurement system is motivated by eight conflicting factors:
• There are things they want, but cannot afford. This would include the F-35 stealth fighter and Aegis-equipped Arleigh Burke destroyers.
• There is equipment they do not want but the U.S. wants to sell to them, such as the Kidd-class destroyers. "We did not want it. It was a white elephant. It could not even fit into our harbor," said a former Taiwan navy official.
• There are things they can afford, but the U.S. refuses to sell, such as F-16C/D fighter aircraft.
• There are weapon systems they can afford but it would take two decades or more to acquire, such as submarines.
• There are things they can afford, but cannot operate, such as the early warning radar on Leshan Mountain on Taiwan's west coast facing China. Sources indicate it is the most powerful phased array radar in the world, but U.S. personnel under contract operate and maintain the facility. Taiwanese personnel are unable to operate the complex system.
• There are things Taiwan can get quickly, such as the recent transfer of two U.S. Navy Perry-class frigates, that are procured only to make certain politicians look good during ribbon cutting ceremonies.
• Corruption is a factor in all arms sales, said a U.S. defense analyst. Members of the legislature's defense committee get the lion share of kickbacks. This applies even to legislative defense committee members who have business interests in China. It is not unusual for legislative aides to also serve as local agents for U.S. defense companies, sub rosa. Foreign arms deals provide more cash than domestic build programs, and this has stunted Taiwan's defense industrial capabilities.
• Pressure from Washington is a serious factor. Taiwan's procurement of Patriot PAC-3 air defense missile systems lowered the price for the U.S. military's later procurement. This is also true for the sale of the AH-64E Apache Longbow attack helicopters to Taiwan. The midlife upgrade for Taiwan's F-16A/B fighter aircraft will lower the price for the U.S. Air Force's now stalled Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite program after Taiwan pays for the non-recurring engineering costs.
Washington's Complaints
When the U.S. government or a U.S. think tank complains that the Taiwanese are not spending enough on defense, they are talking about dollar value, not quality, said Ching Chang, research fellow for the conservative ROC Society for Strategic Studies.
"Value is subjective," he said. "How can you decide what kind of weapons you need when you do not know what size of military force you will have in 10 years? Do you prepare to fight China based on force levels of the past, with 300,000 troops? This would be very different from the current 170,000 troops. What about a reduced force of 100,000? How can the U.S. define the value of Taiwan's budget numbers based solely on how much U.S. weapons they procure?"
When the American Institute in Taiwan (the de facto U.S. Embassy in Taipei) complains about Taiwan's level of defense spending it is making a subjective statement, he said. Arms procurement for Taiwan has a value that is not the same as a price tag.
"Buying U.S. weapons is the same as buying insurance. It is a political decision. That is why Taiwan does not complain about spending more than other countries for the same weapons," he said. "Nor does it complain about being pushed to buy things it does not need, such as the Kidd-class destroyers. Taiwan expects the U.S. to protect them in a war with China."
Other defense analysts and sources have compared it to paying protection money to the mafia. Taiwan is buying U.S. protection, not arms, they say. Taiwan also provides money to U.S. think tanks in Washington with a focus on helping individuals who will be in the next White House administration.
This is a bit of a guessing game, but the Taiwanese believe this gives them additional protection after their person gets inside, these sources said. Then when they get out, Taiwan provides contracts for them if they go into the consultancy business or grants if they go into a think tank.

Japan's defense buildup raises questions about technology, expense

Paul Kallender-Umezu, Defense News
27 May 2015

TOKYO – Japan's defense buildup, while designed to give the nation's planners a platform to meet emerging threats over the next decade, faces questions about technology integration and how it can afford tomorrow's weapon systems.
However, there are signs that Japan is finally reaching a partial solution to its perennial procurement problems.
For decades, the Defense Ministry's plans have been driven by two conflicting systems: 10-year National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPGs) divided into two five-year Mid-Term Defense Programs. These provide a degree of strategic planning and annual budgeting that forces small-lot procurement – thereby driving up costs – which in turn pressures decision-makers as weapons platform prices continue to climb.
Following Japan's December National Security Strategy, the MoD's current NDPG has budgeted ¥23.97 trillion (U.S. $199.5 billion) over the next five years to fund military expansion and create a more flexible "Dynamic Joint Defense Force," which is no longer aimed at deterring a Soviet invasion from the north.
With this strategy, and looking to defend its southeastern island chain, Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) will slash its main battle tank fleet from 740 to 300 and replace them with up to 300 lighter maneuver combat vehicles (MCVs), while adding 52 AAV-7 amphibious landing vehicles, seven Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and CH-47JA transport helicopters.
"In the medium term [up until 2020] I think we will see some focus on enhancing Japan's amphibious capabilities. Japan has already made the first institutional moves to setting up a Japanese 'marines' in the form of the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, and is acquiring/looking to acquire Ospreys and AAVs," said Corey Wallace, a Japan security policy expert at New Zealand's University of Auckland.
On top of the latest Izumo-class helicopter carrier, capable of carrying seven Mitsubishi-built SH-60K antisubmarine warfare (ASW) helicopters and seven AgustaWestland MCM-101 mine countermeasure helicopters or seven F-35B STOVL variant joint strike fighters and up to 400 troops, the Marine Self-Defense Forces will receive five destroyers, five submarines and 23 P-1 aircraft, and two more Aegis cruisers will be a major improvement for Japan's ballistic missile defenses.
Grant Newsham, a senior research fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, called the Izumo "a big step in the right direction" toward creating a better-integrated joint-service flexible force for the post-2020 era.
"The next generation just might get things right. Japan should finally build amphibious ships designed specifically for amphibious operations – instead of erstwhile amphibious ships that are disguised as something else, such as anti-submarine helicopter carriers – and lack important capabilities. Japan also needs more amphibious ships," he said.
"Speaking of amphibious capabilities, Japan needs to invest more in ship-to-shore connectors beyond the [air-cushioned landing craft] and the old-model AAVs currently being procured from the United States," Newsham said.
"Once Japan's amphibious force is operational and JSDF starts operating farther afield, it will find it needs more ships given wear and tear and operational requirements. One would like to see a joint-development effort between Japanese and U.S. companies for next-generation advanced amphibious assault vehicles. Following the [Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle] fiasco, the U.S. Marines in particular could benefit from Japanese propulsion technologies and design and manufacturing capabilities," Newsham said.
Meanwhile, the Air Self-Defense Forces are receiving better patrol, surveillance and transport capabilities by acquiring four early warning aircraft, 28 F-35As, and three aerial refueling and transport aircraft. Not least, three Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs and long-range surveillance planes will be acquired to patrol the East China Sea.
"The fighter gap needs to be addressed and more money spent on upgrading more F-15s to cover the period between now and when F-35s are available," Newsham said.
"And even then, Japan should combine 4th and 5th generation fighters rather than relying exclusively on F-35s to sweep the skies clean. Hopefully, Japan is not putting all its eggs in one basket when the F-35 enters service," he added.
Narushige Michishita, professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, said the current NDPG have been designed to give Japan a large "menu" of technology platforms and choices from which planners can make decisions on new pathways for the middle of the next decade. The problem, he said, was budgets, which are severely limiting choices for larger platforms.
For example, according to AMI International estimates, Japan is spending about $12 billion on its maritime forces, centered on flexible big-deck aviation and amphibious ships, a world-class submarine force, and Aegis-equipped destroyers, but can afford little more without adopting a U.S. style offset strategy, according to AMI Affiliate Consultant Bob Nugent.
But new technological paths are creating possible opportunities, along with procurement reform. The MoD is looking at a range of UAVs and UUV options to provide more cost-effective replacements to manned systems.
"With unmanned systems potentially playing a greater part in Japan's defense beyond 2020, then this might mix things and make the acquisition of a large tonnage explicit naval aviation platform not so pressing," Wallace said.
MoD also is planning to establish a new Defense Procurement Agency (DPA) before April 2016. The DPA will first aim to decrease procurement stovepiping among the three services and encourage domestic industry to seek co-development alliances with international partners. It also will take aim at Japan's small-lot procurement bottleneck.
"Japan's defense procurement scheme manages to cover the waterfront in terms of what's necessary, but unless the JSDF services learn to operate jointly, Japan will only get a fraction of the benefit in terms of overall defense capability.
"The Japanese defense budget is too small so Japan ends up buying a few of many things, but generally not enough of any one thing," Newsham said.
But the MoD has started to purchase major programs in large lots. While it was unable to do this with the F-35, the MoD is going to procure 20 P-1 patrol aircraft for 2022 delivery in one lot for a total cost of around ¥339.6 billion, saving nearly ¥41.7 billion, according to MoD figures.
"Japan needs a defense industrial policy. A key part of this policy would be a systematic effort to improve capabilities and the industrial base in specific areas, such as cybersecurity, command and control, surveillance, electronics, and unmanned vehicles, via overseas mergers and acquisitions and buying targeted intellectual property. The government will need to play a leading role in this effort," Newsham said.

Chinese admiral to defend island reclamation push at regional security summit

Minnie Chan, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)
28 May 2015

For the first time, Beijing is sending an admiral to the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore and appears to be well-prepared to assert the legitimacy of its extensive land reclamation in the South China Sea, analysts said.
Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army's General Staff, will lead the 29-member Chinese team of officials and observers at the regional security summit on Friday and Sunday, organisers said. China sent 25 delegates last year.
William Choong, the Shangri-La Dialogue's senior fellow of Asia-Pacific security, said the South China Sea issue was likely to be "the most explosive topic" among the three themes of terrorism, trade and territorial to be discussed this year.
Last year, sparks flew between United States and China over Beijing's claims over the South China Sea.
"We saw what happened last year when then U.S. defence secretary Chuck Hagel said that China's assertiveness in the South China Sea and its unilateral actions were destabilising to the region," said Choong.
He added that the U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter is expected to make a similar claim.
The tension has mounted in recent weeks after U.S. broadcaster CNN reported warnings from the Chinese navy against a U.S. reconnaissance flight over the area and U.S. accusations that China tried to electronically jam one of its drones.
"The Chinese military is very well-prepared [for the meeting]. Sun is graduate from the PLA navy's submarine school," Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said.
"Sun is well-versed in international maritime law and China's long-term maritime strategy, which will help him to explain China's island expansion project in the South China Sea and Chinese navy's future missions on the high seas to his foreign counterparts."
Sun, 63, a native of Hebei province, was captain the PLA submarine Long March III in 1985 when it set a world record of 90 days underwater for a nuclear submarine.
China has sent military delegates to the summit since 2007, but it only sent a defence minister in 2011. Last year, it sent another deputy chief of the general staff, Lieutenant General Wang Guanzhong, from the Second Artillery Corps, the army's strategic missile force.
Choong revealed that even last year, China's military delegation "burned the midnight oil and called room service" to hone carefully-crafted responses to U.S. and Japanese presentations the day before at the summit.
"Wang comments that Sunday morning were very clear and particular. He had ready answers to justify China's actions in the South China Sea," Choong said.
As the Sino-U.S. relationship remains otherwise strong, Choong said U.S. military delegates to the meeting always had a realistic approach of "valuing cooperation with their Chinese counterparts" and he expected both sides would "debate carefully" this time, as usual.
Defence ministers from nearly 30 countries will attend this year's summit, which was set up in 2002, said the organiser, the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies.

U.S. rebukes China for its "wall of sand" in South China Sea

Defense Secretary Ash Carter Says U.S.Will ‘Fly, Sail and Operate Wherever International Law Allows’

Gordon Lubold, Wall Street Journal

28 May 2015
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – China has isolated itself by pursuing development of a chain of artificial islands in the South China Sea, Defense Secretary Ash Cartersaid, in Washington’s most forceful rebuke yet of Beijing’s attempts to assert its territorial rights in international waters.
“There should be no mistake: the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do all around the world,” Mr. Carter said at a ceremony here to recognize a change of commanders at U.S. Pacific Command.
His remarks came a day after China laid out a strategy to shift its armed forces’ focus toward maritime warfare and prevent foreign powers from “meddling” in the South China Sea.
Beijing has defended its actions as legally proper and within the scope of its sovereignty.
The U.S. wants to resolve the international dispute over the islands peacefully, Mr. Carter said, but also wants “an immediate and lasting halt” to land reclamation by China and other claimants, which include the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan.
“With its actions in the South China Sea, China is out of step with both international norms that underscore the Asia-Pacific’s security architecture,” Mr. Carter said.
The escalating rhetoric over the disputed territory has set the stage for a confrontation between senior Chinese and U.S. officials, including Mr. Carter, at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, an international security conference, this weekend.
Beijing rejected Mr. Carter’s rebuke.
“China’s determination to safeguard its own sovereignty and territorial integrity is rock-hard and unquestionable. The activities that China carries out are well within the scope of its sovereignty and are beyond reproach, said Zhu Haiquan, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. “We urge the U.S. side to honor its commitment of not taking sides on issues relating to sovereignty, stop irresponsible and provocative words and deeds, and make no attempts to play up the tension in the region.”
The U.S. defense secretary has sought to persuade Beijing to stop its construction of the islands, which consist of submerged reefs augmented by dredged materials. China has created a total of 2,000 acres of new land mass across seven islands, according to Pentagon officials. About 1,500 acres of those islands were built since January. Satellite images of the expanding land masses show China has built an airstrip on one of the islands that is large enough for fighter jets, transport planes and surveillance aircraft, significantly enhancing Beijing’s capability to patrol the skies in the area.
While pressing his criticism of Beijing, Mr. Carter hasn’t announced a change in U.S. posture over the islands. Earlier this month, Mr. Carter asked his staff to recommend options to address the issue, including flying aircraft and sailing vessels to within 12 nautical miles of the islands to reassert the right of navigational freedom.
For natural land structures, the 12-nautical mile limit is considered restricted area. Last week, a Navy surveillance plane flew near the islands and was given a warning by Chinese officials to keep back. But the flight didn’t cross the 12-mile threshold, which would have signaled a more dramatic shift in U.S. policy.
Beijing’s determination to expand the islands, which are among a group known as the Spratlys, about 800 miles off mainland China’s shoreline, is bringing the countries of the region together “in new ways” and those countries are demanding more American engagement in the Asia-Pacific, Mr. Carter said at Wednesday’s ceremony. The U.S. has sought to put greater emphasis on the region as part of a rebalancing of strategic focus.
The Philippines contests some of China’s claims in the South China Sea, but lacks modern military equipment needed to defend its maritime territory. Vietnam, another rival claimant, has invested in advanced capabilities such as modern fighter jets, submarines and land-attack cruise missiles, all from Russia. But even after these new weapon systems are in place several years from now, Beijing would enjoy overwhelming superiority in any confrontation with Hanoi.
The same couldn’t be said for a confrontation with the U.S., however.
The People’s Liberation Army has approximately 2,100 fighter or bomber aircraft in its hangars, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. But only a few hundred of those are considered modern aircraft.
China’s only aircraft carrier – while a huge leap forward for its navy – is still seen mainly as a practice platform for a future carrier fleet. A recent Pentagon review of China’s military modernization said Beijing is “investing in capabilities designed to defeat adversary power projection and counter third-party – including U.S. – intervention during a crisis or conflict.” In practice, that means hundreds of ballistic and cruise missiles positioned near the coast to deter Japanese or American warships from coming anywhere near Chinese territory. China has a substantial submarine fleet as well, piling on more risk for enemy ships.
Beijing’s release of the military white paper came with a small courtesy: When President Barack Obama visited China last year, the two countries agreed on some “confidence-building measures” to enhance their relationship. As a result, Beijing notified Washington in advance that it would be releasing the white paper, just as the U.S. told China that the Pentagon would release its own analysis of Chinese military power earlier this month.

Navy Secretary foresees women becoming Navy SEALs

Meghann Myers, Navy Times
27 May 2015

The Defense Department is scheduled to open all operational billets to women on Jan. 1, 2016, unless individual services provide pressing reasons against it or lawmakers intervene.
For the Navy, that means that the storied SEAL brotherhood could be welcoming women early next year — a momentous cultural shift that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus
One of the main concerns around integration is whether qualification standards will be changed to accommodate women, who have higher body fat levels and different fitness standards in the fleet.
The special operations community has a much tougher PRT, and it could change with integration.
"In all cases, I personally believe we ought to have one standard for both sexes, a standard that matches the demands of the job, and if you pass, you pass," Mabus said in a May 13 speech at the Naval Academy.
The Navy is studying current standards to see if they're directly related to doing the job, he said, and will revise them if necessary.
But when asked by a midshipman whether the qualifications would be lowered
"Keep the standards," he said. "Do not lower standards in any regard."
Mabus said the Navy Department will make recommendations about how to integrate women as Navy special operators, the last jobs closed to them, to President Obama and Defense Secretary Ash Carter later this year.
This would also affect the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, infantry and other combat jobs
still closed to women, as well as the corpsmen and other sailors assigned to these units.
Though he would not elaborate on how standards could change once women are allowed to attend Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training, he alluded to the idea that the special operator fitness standards as they exist are about to change.
"First we're going to make sure there are standards, second that they're gender-neutral and third that they have something to do with the job," Mabus told Navy Times.
The SEALs would be the latest, and the last, of the traditionally male-only branches to open to women during Mabus' tenure.
In 2011, the first female officers reported to ballistic missile submarines, and early this year several more reported to Virginia-class attack subs. Enlisted women are on track to join them next year and the service is already recruiting enlisted women off the streets to enter submarine ratings.
And in 2012, riverine training opened to women, making way for the go-ahead to assign them to billets and deploy them last year.
But what's not clear is how many women would even attempt to be SEALs, even if the career were open to them as the number of women in similar ratings and communities to special warfare are very low.
Both the Navy Diver and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist ratings have been open to women for the better part of 30 years. In those ratings open to women, they rank first and second with the fewest women in their ranks.
Out an end strength of 1,153, there are only seven female ND's — just .61 percent of the force. In EOD as a whole, there's 1,094 sailors of which women make up .91 percent with 10 in the ranks.
In the officer ranks, Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers fill officer billets at both EOD and fleet diver commands — billets that have also been open to women for decades — just 2.79 percent of women in that community are women.
But what Navy officials say they are committed to is that women have the opportunity to serve where they want. Since January 2013, when the Combat Exclusion was ended for good, the Navy first conducted a thorough review of all billets closed to women and since then opened 17,000 of them to women, according to Cmdr. Renee Squier, head of enlisted plans for the chief of naval personnel.
"The Department of Defense will announce final decisions to integrate the remaining closed positions and occupations and any approved exceptions to policy on or about January 1, 2016," Squier said. "Navy foresees no insurmountable obstacles to integration."

SSN 765 Drydocking worth potential $266 million to Electric Boat

28 May 2015

General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp., Groton, CT, is being awarded a $46,428,897 cost-plus-fixed-fee, delivery-incentive-fee contract to perform planning efforts needed to conduct maintenance, upgrades, and modernization efforts on the Los Angeles class submarine USS Montpelier (SSN 765)  during its interim drydocking period. 
This scope of work encompasses planning efforts necessary to maintain full unrestricted operation of the submarine, as well as upgrades and modernization efforts required to ensure the submarine is operating at full technical capability. This contract includes options that, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $259,634,339. 
Work will be performed in Groton and is expected to be completed by February 2018. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $20,000,000 will be obligated at the time of award. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. 
This contract was competitively procured with two proposals solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with two offers received.
The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00024-15-C-4300).

Court testimony: Devastating impact of shower videos on female officers on USS Wyoming

Johna Strickland Rush, The Tribune & Georgian
28 May 2015

A USS Wyoming sailor who pleaded guilty Tuesday to filming female officers referred to the videos as "Pokémon, gotta catch them all," said he had "captured some Pokémon" and traded the videos to another sailor for two energy drinks.
"The accused has dehumanized these officers, made them objects to be collected," Navy prosecutor Lt. Cmdr. Lee Marsh said Tuesday during the court martial. "This is how he has objectified these women. These were his officers and he treated them like possessions."
Missile Technician 2nd Class Charles Greaves was the first Wyoming sailor to face a court martial, which was held at Mayport Naval Station. He was represented by his assigned military attorney, Lt. Kevin Larson, and two Kingsland attorneys, Miles Hendrix and Jim Stein. The Navy provides a military attorney at no expense to the accused but the defendant must pay for private counsel.
Greaves pleaded guilty to four felonies: disrespecting superior commissioned officers, using the camera function on a cell phone while at sea, recording the private areas of four female officers and distributing those videos. 
The videos show female officers undressing and showering on the USS Wyoming, which is homeported at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Submarine Group 10. Navy officials learned of the videos in November 2014 and launched an investigation, finding that about 12 male enlisted sailors were implicated and the videos were recorded during patrols in 2013 and 2014.
Military judge Capt. Robert Blazewick sentenced Greaves to four years in a military prison, a reduction in rank to E-2, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge. Greaves will only serve two years in prison per his pre-trial agreement. Prior to hearing testimony, Blazewick knew Greaves had an agreement but did not know the jail time. If Blazewick had sentenced Greaves to less time than agreed upon, then that would have become his sentence. The agreement supersedes a greater sentence though.
The maximum sentence was 28 years in prison, a reduction in rank to E-1, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge. E-1 is the lowest enlisted rank. Greaves is an E-5.
Greaves may have to register as a sex offender depending on the laws of the state where he resides.
A second sailor, Electronics Technician 2nd Class Joseph Bradley, was convicted Wednesday in special court martial proceedings. He was charged with distributing the videos and impeding an investigation.
Bradley was sentenced to 30 days in jail, a reduction in rank to E-3 and forfeiting two months pay.
A special court martial conviction is similar to a misdemeanor conviction in a civilian court, according to the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps. The maximum punishment that can result from a special court martial is 12 months of jail time, forfeiting two-thirds of pay each month for 12 months,   reduction in rank and a bad conduct discharge. The Wyoming was one of the first submarines to integrate female officers in late 2011. Navy-wide, there are 59 women serving aboard seven submarines, including the Wyoming, USS Georgia and USS Florida at Kings Bay.
The charges Sailors standing watch would notice when the women finished working out, then notify Greaves or two other sailors that they were headed to shower, Greaves said in answer to Blazewick's questions about the guilty charges. "When I knew that they were in the shower, I'd go back there with my cell phone and record them while they were undressing and showering," Greaves said.
Greaves - wrapping his cell phone in black cloth and electrical tape to conceal his actions, according to Marsh - manipulated the camera into a gap between the piping and paneling in a storage area behind the showers. Greaves said he violated Navy policy by using the camera function on his cell phone while at sea. The Navy allows sailors to take personal electronic devices on submarine patrols but prohibits the use of recording features. 
The prosecution's testimony
Marsh called the four victims, a victim's husband and Wyoming gold commanding officer Cmdr. Kenneth Curtin to testify about the impact of the crimes on the women's lives. The victims talked about being shocked, angry and upset when they learned about the videos in mid-November, two weeks before a patrol. They were all visibly shaken, Curtin said. "We thought about the possibility of something happening. This was my worst nightmare," the second victim who testified said. ".(Then) how could I have been so stupid to trust these people? . I felt like my life had been pulled out from under me."
At work the next day, the first victim who testified wondered if the person standing next to her had been involved. The Navy removed the accused sailors from the ship once an investigation was opened. "I went back because I wanted the opportunity that I had earned and I didn't want anyone to take that away from me," she said, noting that she went on the patrol.
The second victim said she put her heart and soul into the Wyoming and expected that her trust and respect would be returned. "I never questioned it," she said. ". They were my brothers." She decided not to make her final patrol because she felt that she couldn't trust anyone and wondered if they had seen the videos.
"(The patrol) was kind of a culmination of everything I loved on the boat," she said, crying. ". I couldn't go to sea at 50 percent."
She talked about the impact on her life, even now that she has moved to a new duty station. "I was a really good submarine officer," she said. ". All they remember is that I was recorded in the shower."
The third victim talked about the trust between shipmates and how she now wonders about other bathrooms and changing rooms. "It's something that follows you," she said.
The fourth victim testified that privacy was expected in the bathroom once the sign had been flipped to notify officers that a female was using it. "You thought that you were alone, that nobody was looking," she said. She decided not to go on the patrol. "It wasn't what I wanted to do but it's what I felt like I had to do," she said. ". It was like everything that we had done had been taken away."
The crime has followed her too. She is hesitant to mention the Wyoming in talking about her career. "I don't want them to feel sorry for me," she said. ". I don't want the chance of them making that connection." But people do and ask over and over again: "Oh, were you on that ship?" "It happens no matter where you go," she said.
The defense's testimony
The defense called Senior Chief Jeff Coat, who worked with Greaves on the Wyoming and now Trident Training Facility at Kings Bay. Coat said Greaves is an average to above average missile technician. He recommended
Greaves to be an instructor at the training facility where Greaves has been on limited duty since the investigation began. He is performing administrative tasks instead of teaching.
Stein then questioned Greaves in unsworn testimony. Greaves said an instructor in his Navy C school told the class there was a viewing point in the officer's head. Years later, he and two other sailors discussed the possibility of a peephole. "We had talked about it when we were on watch," he said. ". We had the bright idea to record it."
A chief observed them talking about the videos in the missile control center and he asked what they were doing, Greaves said. They told him and he asked to see the videos. "He said, 'Good job,'" Greaves said of the chief's response. A first class petty officer also saw the videos. "He thanked me," Greaves said.
Feeling that he needed to do something to make up for his actions, Greaves has offered to testify against other sailors without the offer of a reduced sentence, he said. "I knew what I had done was wrong," he said. Marsh clarified that the two sides were talking about a possible deal. Larson countered that a promise or deal was not in place at the time. Greaves apologized to the victims, saying he was remorseful and sorry for betraying their trust.
"I never intended to cause any pain or turmoil by my actions," he said. He said that he told the Navy how the videos were made to bring closure and show the victims how they were recorded. "They deserve to know," he said. Greaves did these things to help the Navy and victims reach closure, Stein said.
Closing arguments
Marsh said Greaves had dehumanized and objectified the officers and violated their privacy while operating a video camera in area that has classified materials. He also robbed the women of being known for their accomplishments and his actions have impacted their daily lives, Marsh said.
"This accused has left them looking for holes," he said. "'Is somebody looking at me? Is somebody recording me?'"
Hendrix made the closing statement for the defense. He said violations of the personal electronic device policy were widespread and that Greaves has taken responsibility for his actions.
"Mr. Greaves did not have to come forward when he did," Hendrix said. He told the Navy everything and, without his statement, Navy officials might not have found out who else was involved, Hendrix said. He told Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents how the videos were made and the techniques they used to conceal their actions. This is valuable information the Navy can use to protect sailors, Hendrix said.

2nd submariner guilty of sharing videos of women officers

Jason Dearen, Associated Press
27 May 2015

MAYPORT NAVAL STATION, Fla. – A second submariner pleaded guilty Wednesday to sharing videos of female officers undressing for a shower, continuing a case that a prosecutor calls a "black eye" for the Navy's integration of women into the nation's sub fleet.
Electronics technician Joseph Bradley entered his guilty pleas in a court-martial trial and was sentenced to 30 days' confinement and a reduction in rank.
Bradley received the videos after they were secretly recorded by another sailor aboard the USS Wyoming nuclear submarine based at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia, prosecutors say.
Bradley admitted in a plea agreement to sharing the images with other sailors.
"This is a betrayal of trust and a violation of that brotherhood and that sisterhood of submariners," Navy prosecuting attorney Lt. Cmdr. Lee Marsh said.
"This accused furthered what has become a black eye to the Navy."
On Tuesday, missile technician Charles Greaves received two years in prison and a dishonorable discharge for making the videos. Greaves worked with lookouts on the sub who notified him when the female officers were done working out and were headed to the showers, prosecutors say. Greaves covered his cellphone in tape and stuck it between a gap in pipes that had a view of the sub's shower area.
The case has been a blight on the Navy's integration of women into the submarine force, which it started in 2011.
The women officers videotaped were among the first wave to serve on nuclear submarines. They all said they felt proud to be trailblazers and honored to qualify as submariners, a grueling task that requires mastery of the ship's complicated systems.
Now, the four women officers say the videos have ruined or derailed their careers.
On Wednesday, three of the officers testified about how devastating it has been. They said knowing the videos were shared among the male sailors they led as officers eroded their abilities to do their jobs.
"After this happened, I lost the trust of everybody," one woman said. "I couldn't look anyone in the eye and know if they had seen me."
Others said the incident has left them paranoid about using restrooms at the gym or in public.
Five more male sailors face charges in the case. The next related court-martial is scheduled on Friday at Kings Bay, and will be a closed proceeding.
Bradley received a more lenient sentence because he was the sailor who ultimately provided the illicit videos to Navy criminal investigators.
Bradley faced the women in the courtroom and offered an apology. The women stared back at him as he spoke, stone-faced.
"I don't expect you to accept my apology, but I needed to tell you guys," he said.

Why British Columbia residents should pay attention to Trident nuke sub scandal in Britain

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  • The USS Ohio was one of several Trident vessels converted into a guided-missile submarines in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.Wendy Hallmark / U.S. Navy
The Georgia Strait
28 May 2015
For decades, B.C. peace activists have been raising an alarm about nuclear-weapons-carrying submarines travelling through Georgia Strait.
When Jean Chrétien was prime minister, Nanoose Conversion Campaign worker Norm Abbey alleged that the Nanoose Bay naval base near Nanaimo had become a "branch plant" of the U.S. Navy's undersea-warfare operations.
Abbey noted that at least three Trident vessels fitted with "targeted nuclear warheads" had visited the base.
"U.S. submarines have been using Nanoose Bay since 1965, when they moved north from the more densely populated waters of Puget Sound," wrote Abbey in Peace Magazine. "Residents of urban centers like Seattle didn't want the nuclear safety hazards, and Ottawa obliged by signing the 'Canada-U.S. Nanoose Agreement' in 1965."
Trident nuclear-weapon-armed submarines are back in the news after a British whistleblower wrote an alarming 18-page report citing many safety risks.
"We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public," wrote seaman William McNeilly, who is now in custody.
This week, his brother Aaron told STV News that his family supports McNeilly's efforts to alert the public. "I'm very proud of my brother for what he has done."
He also insisted that his brother is not a liar.
William McNeilly turned himself into authorities after revealing secrets about Trident subs.
In 1995, the Straight reported that under a series of 10-year agreements, the U.S. pays to operate a torpedo test range on Winchelsea Island in Nanoose Bay. Canada covers the salaries of Canadian civilian staff.
In 1999, Ottawa expropriated the nearby provincially owned seabed so that testing could continue. This came after an NDP government had threatened to cancel the lease if ships carrying nuclear weapons entered the area.
The expropriation was challenged in court by the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation. It won the first round in the Federal Court of Canada but in 2003, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the expropriation.
Since then, no B.C. premier or Canadian prime minister has publicly questioned the wisdom of U.S. submarines entering B.C. waters carrying nuclear weapons.
Nanoose Bay is in the Nanaimo Regional District.

Finns can't confirm suspected sub intrusion in April

Finnish Border Guard boats patrol the waters near Helsinki on April 28, 2015. The Finnish Border Guard said on Thursday, May 28, that it had not been able to confirm the presence of a suspected submarine near Helsinki last month. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HELSINKI (REUTERS) - The Finnish Border Guard said on Thursday it had not been able to confirm the presence of a suspected submarine near Helsinki last month.
In a rare incident, the military in April fired handheld underwater depth charges as a warning against what it suspected was a submarine in waters near the capital.
The Border Guard completed its investigation on Thursday by saying that part of the detected underwater sounds had a natural explanation, but the presence of a submarine or other underwater activity could not be completely excluded.
Finland, which shares an 1,340 km border with Russia, has been increasingly worried about its powerful neighbour after a year of Russian air force sorties and military border exercises.

Why China's submarine force still lags behind

Franz-Stefan Gady/The Diplomat
28 May 2015
China is fielding an impressive fleet of conventional and nuclear submarines. According to the Pentagon’s Office of Naval Intellligence, the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) underwater force consists of five nuclear attack submarines (SSN), four nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), and 53 diesel attack submarines (SS/SSP).
The Pentagon in its annual reportto the U.S. Congress on Chinese military developments estimated that by 2020 this force will likely grow to between 69 and 78 submarines.
The bulk of China’s conventional sub armada consists of 13 Song-class (Type 039) diesel-attack subs and 13 Yuan-class (Type 039A) air independent-powered (AIP) attack submarines with an additional 20 Yuan-class vessels planned for production.
The submarine force’s main mission remains anti-surface warfare (ASUW) along major sea lines of communication (SLOC). Weaknesses in anti-submarine warfare and land-attack capabilities persist in the PLAN’s submarine fleet, according to a recently published report by the RAND Corporation.
One of the major structural weaknesses of the force is Chinese propulsion engineering, or the lack thereof, since the majority of engines used in Chinese subs are imported foreign technology, often license-built in the country.
A recent U.S. conference on the Chinese Navy’s capabilities at the U.S. Naval War College elaborated on this issue, as Defense News reported this week.
According to the conference host and Naval War College professor Andrew Erickson, propulsion engineering remains a work in progress in the PLAN’s underwater force:
 Here’s where things become more demanding for them (…) They’re going to want to be able to build a significant number of [attack submarines] whose reactors are efficient, long-lasting, reliable, and quiet enough. There’s no way to compensate for quietness if you don’t have it.
 Diesel-electric subs are usually significantly stealthier than their nuclear counterparts, mostly due to diesel engines that are specifically designed to minimize vibration and noise in order to evade sonar detection. For example, both the Song- and Yuan-class attack submarines are equipped with German-made state-of-the-art diesel engines — the 396 SE84 series — designed by MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH of Friedrichshafen, Germany.
“They are the world’s leading submarine diesel engines,” according to an experienced submarine engineer. Each Song- and Yuan-class vessel is equipped with three such engines, which have been built under license by Chinese defense contractors since 1986. The Yuan-class is also said to have incorporated quieting technology from Russian-designed subs and to be equipped with Stirling air-independent propulsion technology.
“They want the ability to be quiet and not to have to surface to charge the batteries. They have achieved that with a Stirling capability in the Yuan class. But technology is always moving ahead. And in AIP, even if you’ve mastered it, is a highly complex system,” Erickson explained.
China has also been experimenting with lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries, power sources that offer much higher energy density and longer dive times. “Chinese researchers clearly see Li-Ion batteries as the wave of the future for conventional submarine propulsion. They’re not there yet, but they are determined to get there,” Erickson noted. Erickson said China was discussing putting Li-Ion batteries “on a new generation of conventional subs sometime between now and 2020, but there is no indicator as yet of the type of submarine that might be.”
Chinese submarine technology is still generally considered to be a generation behind the West. For example, the much talked about new Type 095 nuclear-attack submarine SSN will, in all likelihood, be more on par with 1980s NATO nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines (i.e. roughly three decades behind current Western sub technology), rather than with the new U.S. Virginia-class vessels. Overall, Erickson emphasized that the PLAN’s modernization efforts will not immediately translate into increased capabilities:
 A lot of activity is occurring, there’s a lot of effort, they’re making achievements, but in this complex and difficult field it takes a lot of achievement to be accrued before that translates to a major increase in actual capability. They are far from hopeless, they are moving ahead, but it is a long and rocky road.