diumenge, 25 d’agost de 2013

Israeli Navy To Buy New Fast Patrol Craft*


TEL AVIV — The Israeli Navy plans to buy new Super Dvora Mk-III fast patrol craft for counter-terror and interdiction missions in coastal waters along its northern border with Lebanon.

Built by the Ramta division of state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI), the Mk-III craft will join at least six Mk-III boats purchased in late 2004 and deployed primarily in Israel’s southern Mediterranean waters near the Gaza Strip. Once inducted into the Israeli Navy inventory, the newer-model patrol craft will replace or supplement Mk-I and Mk-II patrol craft now deployed in Israel’s northern theater.

An item posted Aug. 21 on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) website noted that the pending procurement is one of the efficiency measures undertaken by the Israeli Navy through retirement of older Sa’ar 4 warships in exchange for smaller and more operationally cost-effective patrol craft.

A commander identified only by his rank — lieutenant colonel — and first initial was quoted by the IDF website as saying Super Dvora operators are charged with patrolling coastal waters, identifying all irregular events and arriving at suspected sites “within mere minutes.” He described the new patrol craft planned for deployment along the Israel-Lebanon sea border as “a force multiplier.”

According to IAI, the Super Dvora Mk-III measures 27.4 meters long, some 5.74 meters across with displacements ranging from 58 to 72 tons. Powered by two US-built diesel engines, the patrol craft are designed to operate in very shallow waters for breaching operations by naval commandos, to offload medical or humanitarian supplies and to evacuate injured persons.

* Notícia publicada a Defence News. Com sempre, Israel s'ha sabut adaptar a entorns de conflicte canviants. Les patrulleres Dvora III són una bona resposta.


http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130822/DEFREG04/308220012/Israeli-Navy-Buy-New-Fast-Patrol-Craft


dissabte, 24 d’agost de 2013

Guardia Civil incursion near concrete blocks*

Author: GBC
Date: 23 August 2013 at 08:50

There’s been an incursion by Guardia Civil divers this afternoon, who have measured the concrete blocks sunk by the runway. The incident has been reported to London and Madrid for consideration of the appropriate follow-up action.

Video evidence of the incident has been posted on the Europa Press website with experts confirming that the blocks do appear to be those in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.

The Royal Gibraltar Police, which later on this afternoon sent its own divers down to investigate, says the Guardia Civil launches left when asked to do so. The Gibraltar Squadron was also in the area with officers seemingly

The Convent has pointed out the reef, which it calls the North/West Artificial Reef System, was created by the Gibraltar Government in compliance with EU Legislation and International Conventions.

The Governor says the act of diving itself constitutes a serious violation of British Sovereignty but that the apparent interference with the Reef is a new and worrying aspect. Sir Adrian Johns says this is a blatant attempt to exercise jurisdiction inside British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and, in the light of the conciliatory position taken by the Gibraltar Government, a particularly unhelpful development at a time when all parties should be seeking to ease the current tensions.

The Convent says the incident was reported immediately to London and Madrid.

* Notícia publicada a GBC. Lluny d'aturar-se, continuen les provocacions contra Gibraltar.

http://www.gbc.gi/news/2294/guardia-civil-incursion-near-concrete-blocks




dimecres, 21 d’agost de 2013

Protector Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV), Israel*

The Protector USV is an unmanned integrated naval combat system developed and produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It is a highly independent remotely controlled vehicle. The USV is capable of performing several mission critical operations without revealing its identity to hostile source.

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) acquired several Protector USVs from Rafael in 2004. The USV is also in service with the Israeli navy and several other navies across the world.

Rafael demonstrated the Protector USV to the US Navy in 2006 in association with its American marketing collaborators, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems.

The Protector USV plays a prominent role in minimising safety risk to the sailors and armed forces by avoiding them to be directly in contract with the potentially mission critical operations.

Rafael launched the fifth generation 11m Protector USV variant in October 2012 during the Euronaval exhibition in Paris.
Protector USV 11m variant details

The newly developed 11m version of the Protector USV is installed with an enhanced remotely controlled water canon system for non-lethal and fire fighting capabilities. The water canon installed onboard can fire 4,000l of water per minute.

The new variant is equipped with a spotlight-N multi-sensor electro-optical (EO) image system. Spike LR missiles are also installed on the weapon station of the USV.
Protector USV design and features

The Protector USV is based on rigid hull inflatable boat. The flexible design of the USV supports the installation of various plug-and-play equipments to perform a range of missions. The reconfigurable design allows the operator to integrate versatile mission modules to perform anti-terror/force protection (AT/FP), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), naval warfare, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), mine countermeasures, electronic warfare (EW), and maritime as well as harbour security missions.
The base Protector USV variant has a length of 9.5m, width of 3.5m, and an overall height of 4.5m. The vehicle has a design displacement of 4t. It can cruise at speeds of more than 30kt.

Protector USV payloads

The Protector USV is equipped with several sub-systems including a radar, an electro-optical director (EOD), and a 360º panoramic camera. The EOD along with the search radar is used for effective detection, identification and targeting. The system enables precise observation and tracking of targets both manually and automatically during day and night.
The EOD integrates a third generation forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor, colour charge-coupled device (CCD) camera, an eye-safe laser range-finder (LRF), and an advanced correlation tracker for effectively gathering the targeted intelligence in asymmetric scenarios.

A range of equipment and systems are fitted on the Protector USV, such as comprehensive command and control system, non-line of sight (NLOS) communication, advanced stabilisation, public address (PA) system, and light projector.
Weapon systems aboard Protector USV

The Protector is equipped with a Mini-Typhoon remotely controlled integrated weapon station. The highly stabilised and accurate weapon station can be mounted with various small calibre guns. The high preciseness and fire control capabilities of Mini-Typhoon provide the operator with a high target hit and kill probability.
The weapon system is integrated with a Toplight electro-optic system to detect and target the threats.
The Mini-Typhoon aboard the Protector USV can be armed with a Browning .50 calibre machine gun, a 7.62mm general-purpose machine gun, a GAU-17 Gatling gun, and a 40mm grenade launcher.
Engine and performance of Protector USV

The 9m version of the Protector USV is equipped with a single diesel engine and water jet propulsion.
The new 11m variant of the USV is equipped with two Caterpillar C7 diesel engines, for greater endurance and superior speed. The twin-engines avoid failures in navigation and sailing functions.

* Article publicat a Naval Technology. Els sistemes no tripulats fa temps que són una realitat, no només en el camp aeri, sinó també en el Naval. Israel és un dels màxims referents, i un exemple de con un país petit pot fer-se un lloc al Món am sol•lucions imaginatives i adaptades als nous escenaris dw conflicte.

http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/protector-unmanned-surface-vehicle/


diumenge, 18 d’agost de 2013

South Korea goes "all in" on submarines*

This week South Korea launched its fourth Type 214 submarine at a ceremony off the Coast of Geoje Island that was attended by President Park Geun-hye.

The ceremony, like the new submarine itself, was tinged with references to Imperial Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula, and Seoul’s emergence as a power that will never again be forced to submit to such humiliation.

For instance, the submarine has been named Kim Jwa-jin, after a famous Korean independence fighter. Notably, the last submarine South Korea launched, the Ahn Jung-geun, was also named after a famous independence fighter.

In speaking at the ceremony, President Park declared “The Kim Jwa-jin submarine will not only contribute greatly to safeguarding our maritime sovereignty, but also become a symbol to promote our country’s defense science and technology.”

“I will not tolerate any kind of attempts at damaging our national interests and maritime sovereignty,” the ROK president vowed.

Indeed, the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) already operates 12 submarines and Seoul has ambitious plans for its underwater future.

Nine of the ROKN’s current submarines are Chang Bogo class diesel-electric attack vessels that are the export versions of the German Type 209 class submarines. Seoul first ordered three of the Type 209 class submarines from the German company, Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), in 1987. They were launched between 1992 and 1993 and commissioned between 1993 and 1995. The first one was built in Germany while the other two were manufactured in South Korea by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME). In 1989 and 1994 South Korea ordered a total of six more Type 209 submarines, all of which were built by Daewoo with HDW assistance.

According to Naval Technology, the Chang Bogo class submarine displaces over 1,200 tons, has a single hull and “a length of 56 m, a beam of 6.2 m and a draft of 5.5 m.” In terms of weaponry, the Chang Bogo class vessel boasts eight 533 mm tubes and 14 Surface and Underwater Target (SUT) Mod 2 torpedoes, each of which has a range of 28 km. Some of them can also fire Harpoon cruise missiles and all can hold mines instead of torpedoes. Their diesel-electric propulsion system enables them to travel at a maximum speed of 22 knots when submerged, with a range of 595km.

The ROK Navy’s (ROKN) underwater capabilities strengthened significantly between 2007 and 2009, when it began commissioning the three initial Son Won-Il class Type 214 submarines it ordered from HDW in 2000.

The three 1,800 ton Won-il Class vessels, which were built by the South Korean company Hyundai Heavy Industries, have a number of advantages over the ROKN’s existing Type 209 submarines.

For one thing, the Type 214 submarines are equipped with Air Independent Propulsion (AIP), which allows them to stay submerged for two weeks at a time. They also have a diving depth of 400 meters, although their underwater speed is reportedly only about 20 knots. Their ISUS 90 submarine combat systems allow the Type 214 vessels to engage 300 targets simultaneously.

The Kim Jwa-jin submarine launched earlier this week is the first of six Type 214 submarines the ROK ordered back in 2009. The second batch of Type 214 submarines are being built by Daewoo instead of Hyundai Heavy Industries. This batch will come with a number of improvements over the first batch, including a better AIP system.

According to Xinhua News, the second batch of Type 214 submarines “operate various missions such as anti-ship, anti-air and anti- submarine warfare as well as ship-to-land precision strikes with cruise missiles.” Xinhua also claims they can make a round-trip from South Korea to Hawaii without refueling.

The contracts for the Type 209 and Type 214 submarines included technology transfers from HDW. In many ways, these are simply the precursors to what will be the ROKN’s more formidable domestically developed underwater vessels.

Already Seoul has announced it will build three domestically-designed 3,000-ton submarines beginning in 2018. They will be diesel-powered and are rumored to include vertical launch missile capabilities, which will dramatically improve ROKN’s long-range, underwater precision strike capabilities.

A Yonhap report earlier this month quoted an unnamed military source as saying the ROKN expects to actually commission at least nine of these 3,000-ton submarines by 2030.

The same source told Yonhap, “The 1,800-ton submarines have an underwater time about 10 times longer than the 1,200-ton submarines,” referring to the Type 214 and Type 209 submarines respectively. The source added: “Compared to the 1,800-ton subs, the 3,000-ton subs probably won't have an underwater time that is 10 times longer, but it will still be much longer.”

As Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) has noted, the details emerging about the 3,000-ton vessels suggest that they are being designed with China’s burgeoning Navy in mind. Notably, South Korea is also building a naval base on Jeju Island, which many believe is designed to better position the ROKN to counter China.

Previously, the ROK submarine fleet was interpreted as being directed primarily at North Korea, which has some 70 or 80 low quality submarines that have periodically posed challenges to South Korea’s Navy. Most recently, in March 2010 a torpedo from a North Korean submarine sank the ROKN corvette, Cheonan.

“As a result” of the Cheonan incident, NTI notes, “ROKN officials have recently placed greater emphasis on the significant role of submarines in sea denial to hostile forces and anti-submarine warfare, rather than the longer-term goal of a blue-water navy.”  

ROKN planners may also have Japan in mind in building up their underwater capabilities. Japan long operated eighteen submarines (including two trainers) but decided in 2010 to increase this figure to over twenty, according to the South Korean media. South Korea and Japan have a territorial dispute over the Liancourt Rocks (also called Dokdo by South Korea and Takeshima by Japan). 

* Notícia publicada a The Diplomat. L'ampliació i modernització de la Marina de la República de Corea, i especialment en la seva arma submarina, no s'ha de perdre de vista. Sense ser un estat amb ambicions expansionistes, tampoc pensa deixar-se esclafar. No és, de cap manera, un afer menor.

dissabte, 17 d’agost de 2013

The Sinking of the INS Sindhurakshak Strains Russo-Indian Military-Technical Cooperation*

By: Pavel Felgenhauer
 
A series of explosions and a deadly fire ravaged the Kilo-type (project 877EKM or Varshavyanka) 3,000-ton submarine INS Sindhurakshak on August 14 as it was moored in Mumbai harbor and preparing to sail the next day, on August 15—India’s Independence Day. Eighteen sailors are feared to have perished in the disaster. The nose of the submarine was ripped open by an explosion: It sank but did not capsize, and its “sail” or fin is still rising above the water. A sister Kilo submarine, the INS Sindhuranta, moored alongside the INS Sindhurakshak, reportedly sustained some damage as a result of the massive explosion. The Sindhurakshak was built in St. Petersburg in the late 1990s. From 2010 to 2013, the Sindhurakshak was repaired and modernized in Russia in the Zvezdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk. The Sindhurakshak sailed from Severodvinsk last January and arrived in Mumbai last April, going more than ten nautical miles using its own diesel engines (Kommersant, August 15).
 
A team of Russian specialists from the Zvezdochka shipyard was in Mumbai to service the Sindhurakshak, but none were onboard when the vessel exploded and sank. Russia is ready to help the Indians investigate the cause of the catastrophe, but, reportedly, the Indians have refused to allow Russians specialists on the scene. The Sindhurakshak sank in relatively shallow waters and can be salvaged, though the severity of the sustained damage means it will most likely go to scrap anyway (Interfax, August 15).
 
In Severodvinsk, the Sindhurakshak was refitted with new batteries, new electronic communications equipment, sonar and, most importantly, Russian-made Klub-S (SS-N-27A) cruise missiles, giving the submarine important additional capabilities to strike enemy ships and land targets at ranges of up to 300 kilometers. The refitting of the Sindhurakshak cost India some $90 million (Kommersant, August 15). According to Indian sources, the price tag of the Sindhurakshak refitting was much higher—$156 million (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/At-156m-refit-expenses-on-INS-Sindhurakshak-exceeded-original-cost/articleshow_b2/21829702.cms?prtpage=1). Four other Indian-operated Kilo-class submarines have been refitted with Klub-S cruise missiles in Russia, including the INS Sindhuranta, which was reportedly somewhat damaged by the August 14 explosion. The loss of the Sindhurakshak is a severe blow to the Indian Navy. The Indians currently have 14 submarines, including a nuclear-powered K-152 Nerpa attack submarine (INS Chakra), leased from Russia. But apparently only half of those are ready for combat at any given time.
 
The Russian press and specialists are blaming the Indian sailors for “making grave mistakes,” which sank the Sindhurakshak, a diesel-electric submarine that uses either a snorkel to suck in air, or powerful batteries to propel it while underwater. During charging, the batteries emit hydrogen, which may ignite or explode. The INS Sindhurakshak had inbuilt safety precautions to control the hydrogen problem, but Russian experts and the press stress the Sindhurakshak’s Russian-made batteries were replaced in Severodvinsk during refitting with Indian-made Exide batteries. The makers of the Klub-S missiles—the Novator Design Bureau—told Kommersant their warheads “are absolutely safe and cannot detonate accidentally because of fire or anything.” The Zvezdochka shipyard told journalists the Sindhurakshak was in good order, the renovation was fine and the shipyard had done nothing possibly wrong that could have caused the disaster (Kommersant, August 15).
 
The blame shifting in the disaster between Moscow and New Delhi may seriously strain Russo-Indian military-technical cooperation, which has already been under pressure in recent years. During the Cold War, India was a staunch Soviet ally, while its archenemies Pakistan and China were allied to the United States. India received large amounts of Russian weapons, and the shipments continued after the Soviet collapse in 1991; the overall strategic balance in Asia slowly shifted, however, with Russia becoming increasingly close to China, while, in turn, the US became friendlier with India as its ties with Beijing and Islamabad withered. Since 1989, China is forbidden to import US or European Union military hardware. Whereas, India is free to buy from any Western source, including the US. The Russian share of India’s overall arms imports declined from 75 to 40–45 percent, but the volume of import of Russian arms has stayed constant. Indian military personnel often complain about outdated Russian equipment. “The Sindhurakshak disaster may cause some hostile articles in the Indian press, but they [the criticism in the media] are anyway bankrolled by the French,” says a leading Russian expert Sergei Lunev, “This wave will recede, and the Indians will continue to buy Russian since they are often themselves to blame for disasters with military hardware” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 15).
 
In the past the delivery of Russian-made ships and submarines to the Indian navy was delayed because of technical mishaps. The former Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov was initially planned to be delivered to India in 2008, but is still today in Severodvinsk. The price of the Gorshkov refurbishing has increased from the initial $1 billion contract signed in 2004 to $2.33 billion. Last year the Gorshkov’s main engine went bust during trials in the Barents Sea (see EDM, November 30, December 7, 2012), and today Russia is hoping to finally deliver it before the end of 2013 (Kommersant, August 15).
 
India is building French-designed Scorpene submarines, equipped with air-independent propulsion systems in Mumbai to eventually replace the diesel-electric Kilos. Russia has still not mastered the production of non-nuclear air-independent propulsion submarines or torpedoes, but the assembly of the Indian Scorpenes is years behind schedule. At present New Delhi is negotiating with Moscow the possible purchase (lease) of one more nuclear submarine to add to the Nerpa (RIA Novosti, August 15).
 
The most ambitious and costly Russo-Indian military project is to build a stealth fifth generation fighter aircraft or FGFA: only on R&D India must spend some $6 billion before 2020, with Russia adding another $6 billion. India plans to procure 144 FGFA jets, for an additional $15 billion or more (RIA Novosti, October 16, 2012). The Sukhoy Corporation boasts it already has four prototype T-50 FGFAs doing fly tests and that in 2016 the T-50 will go into serial production (Interfax, March 28). But Russia still does not have the new-generation jet engines, radars or weapons to fit the hull compartments of the T-50 (RIA Novosti, April 25). Acrimony over the Sindhurakshak disaster and other Indo-Russian military-technical mishaps may undermine the Indians’ will to spend billions on the unproven FGFA; and if this project stalls, relations could further sour.

* Notícia publicada a l'Eurasia Daily Monitor de la Jamestown Foundation. Compartim aquest anàlisi per reforçar la informació sobre l'accident del INS Sindhurakshak.

dijous, 15 d’agost de 2013

Russia distances itself from India sub disaster*

Russia on Wednesday sought to guard its reputation as a supplier of military hardware by distancing itself from a deadly accident on an Indian submarine that its manufacturers had built and recently repaired.

The 2,300-tonne diesel-powered INS Sindhurakshak exploded and caught fire while docked in Mumbai early on Wednesday on the eve of India's Independence Day holiday.
The fully-loaded boat partially sank with 18 seamen on board. India's defence minister said a still-unknown number of personnel had "lost their lives in service of the country."

The incident deals a powerful blow not only to India's burgeoning naval ambitions but also to Russia's own flagging military prestige.

Moscow remains New Delhi's biggest defence partner and is keen to preserve a market it has nurtured with great care since Soviet times.

Official statistics show that eight of the 11 Project 877 submarines such as the INS Sindhurakshak Russia has built for export since the 1980s have been delivered to India.

"I do not believe that this incident will have a negative impact on Russia's military cooperation with India," the state-run RIA Novosti news agency quoted Moscow's Global Arms Trade Centre expert Igor Korotchenko as saying.

But Indian officials have voiced growing displeasure with their old partner's service - particularly concerning the cost-overruns and delays involved in the refit of a Russian aircraft carrier that now bears the name INS Vikramaditya.

Analysts believe that India is forced to continue purchasing Russian military parts because it still operates so many Soviet-era warplanes and vessels.

But New Delhi has also sought to expand its military trade ties with Washington in the past decade after remaining for so long under Moscow's care.

The US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies estimates that cumulative defence sales between New Delhi and Washington had grown "from virtually zero" 10 years ago to more than $8 billion today.

That trend has unnerved Russian officials who have already suffered humiliations from two deadly post-Soviet submarine disasters and a raft of other military and space setbacks.

The Kursk nuclear submarine tragedy claimed 118 lives when it sank in August 2008 while the Nerpa sub - eventually commissioned by India -- killed 20 Russian sailors when it caught fire while conducting exercises in November 2008.

The INS Sindhurakshak was under a Russian warranty until January 2014.

The Russian-built boat - commissioned in 1997 - underwent a refit lasting more than two years after it had caught fire in 2010 and had only left its Barents Sea repair dock at the end of January.

Russian officials were quick to report that India had voiced no complaints after receiving the submarine in April.

"There have been no claims or technical complaints," the United Shipbuilding Corporation's spokesman Alexei Kravchenko told Russian state television.

The Russian firm that refitted the submarine also stressed that the craft was fully operational when returned to India.

A spokesman for the Russian Zvyozdochka ship repair company told RIA Novosti that "certain issues" had been raised when the INS Sindhurakshak was inspected by experts at the Severodvinsk port on the Barents Sea.

The unnamed spokesman did not give further details about the nature of the issues but said they were part of the "normal working process".
 
Russia's Interfax news agency also carried a report citing an unnamed "military-diplomatic source" who claimed that the INS Sindhurakshak could have been the target of a terror plot.

"We cannot exclude the possibility that someone was trying to ruin the Indian people's main holiday - Independence Day - which is celebrated on August 14," the Russian official told the news agency.

The official speculated that the boat could not have suffered an accident while in its dock because most of its main systems would have been probably switched off. However no further evidence was given to back up the claim.

* Notícia publicada al Hindustan Times. Tot i que encara ens movem en el terreny de l'especulació ( i amb el respecte degut als mariners morts i llurs famílies), no hem de perdre de vista el progressiu realineament de l'Índia pel que fa al proveïment de material de defensa. És impossible per ara que trenqui amb Rússia com a proveïdor, però l'avenç de la recerca i les empreses índies, i la predisposició de Washington a substituïr Moscou van aplanant el camí.

Vietnam’s third Varshavyanka-class submarine to be floated out this month*

Russia's Admiralty Shipyards will float out the Vietnamese Navy's third of six Varshavyanka-class submarines, Stary Oskol, later this month, Admiralty Shipyards announced.
In December 2009, Vietnam's Defence Ministry awarded a $2bn contract to Russia to deliver a total of six submarines to strengthen its naval capabilities and better defend the country, according to RIA Novosti.

Under the contract, Russia will also provide training for the Vietnamese submarine crews, while deliveries of the submarines are scheduled to be complete by 2016.
The Varshavyanka-class boats are integrated with advanced stealth technology to provide strike land, surface and underwater targets at extended combat ranges.

Equipped with 533mm torpedo tubes, the boats are also armed with torpedoes, mines and Kalibr 3M54 cruise missiles to support anti-shipping and anti-submarine missions in shallow waters.


The 3,100t submarines are capable of accommodating a crew of 52 and are currently under construction at the Admiralteiskie Verfi shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Capable of cruising at a speed of 20k, the submarines can also conduct missions such as coastal defence, mine laying, general reconnaissance and patrol operations, according to USNI News.
In August 2010, the first Varshavyanka-class submarine Novorossiisk was laid down and also successfully completed 100-day sea trials last month.
Earlier, Admiralty Shipyards in a statement, said: "The vessel showed excellent maneuverability and reliable work of all mechanisms during the trials."

Novorossiisk is scheduled to be delivered to the Vietnamese Navy in November 2013 while the construction on the second vessel Rostov-on-Don began in November 2011.
Admiralty Shipyards said the Russian Black Sea Fleet's first of another six Varshavyanka-class diesel-electric submarines will also be floated out in November 2013.

*Notícia publicada a Naval Technology. La Marina del Vietnam continua endavant amb el seu programa d'adquisició de submarins. Caldrà veure si seran prou dissuasoris per la Xina.

dimecres, 14 d’agost de 2013

Reaffirming India’s South China Sea Credentials*


By Chietigj Bajpaee


This week, India unveiled its firstindigenously developed aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, just days after the reactor of the country’s first indigenous nuclear submarine, the INS Arihant, achieved criticality. The milestones continue India’s rapid naval modernization, as its strategic relevance in Asia is increasingly determined by its maritime role.
“Maritime Asia” has emerged as a new geopolitical frame of reference in recent years as the nations of Asia evolve into major trading and resource-consuming powers with economic growth contingent on seaborne trade. India is no exception, with 95 percent of its total external trade by volume and 75 percent by value now conducted by sea, and with more than 70 percent of its oil imports transiting the maritime domain. To protect these burgeoning maritime interests, the Indian government has expressed lofty ambitions to establish “a brand new multi-dimensional Navy” with “reach and sustainability.” The country has the world’s fifth-largest navy with plans to build a 160-plus-ship navy, comprising three aircraft carrier battle groups by 2022.
Contested maritime role
However, India’s maritime ambitions are being challenged by the fact that the country’s maritime position is often regarded as contested. Take, for instance, the South China Sea: although almost 55 per cent of India’s trade passes through the Strait of Malacca, some countries continue to oppose allowing it to play a prominent role.
Notably, China has voiced displeasure at the growing Indian naval presence in the region. This was evidenced by reports in July 2011 that an Indian Navy vessel received radio contact from the Chinese Navy demanding that it depart disputed waters in the South China Sea after completing a port call in Vietnam. This was followed by the less belligerent but nonetheless provocative gesture of an Indian naval vessel receiving a Chinese naval escort while on its way from the Philippines to South Korea in June 2012. Beijing has also opposed Vietnam granting exploration rights to Indian company ONGC Videsh in offshore blocks located in disputed waters.
Well-entrenched maritime interests
Despite the fact that India does not share a contiguous maritime border with the South China Sea, itsmaritime interests in the region are well established. While not as vocal as the United States, which declared maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea a “national interest” in 2010, New Delhi has nonetheless echoed the U.S. position of calling for a peaceful resolution and continued freedom of navigation. India has also pursued deepening maritime relations with several claimant states, notably Vietnam, with the Indian Navy gaining permanent berthing rights at Nha Trang port and offering the Vietnamese training in submarine warfare.
Since its first deployment to the South China Sea in 2000, the Indian Navy has also been involved in several high-profile maritime operations in the region, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, joint naval exercises, and port calls. This includes its prominent role in relief operations following the Asian tsunami of 2004 and the cyclone that struck Myanmar (Burma) in 2008. The Indian Navy also escorted U.S. naval vessels transiting the Strait of Malacca as part of ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ in 2002.

Supporting India’s growing maritime interests in the South China Sea is the tri-services Andaman and Nicobar (Southern) Command, which was established at the mouth of the Strait of Malacca in 2001. The command was expanded with the establishment of Campbell Bay (INS Baaz), a deep-water maritime facility at the southernmost point in the Andaman Islands in July 2012. This complements the Eastern Command headquartered in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, which has received a growing proportion of the Navy’s resources, correcting for the Navy’s traditional bias in favor of the Indian Ocean and Gulf regions. Interestingly these facilities were initially developed and expanded to strengthen India’s sea-denial capabilities in response to the threat posed by the United States following its deployment of the Seventh Fleet into the Bay of Bengal during the India-Pakistan war of 1971. Now, however, they are increasingly relevant to maintaining the freedom of navigation in the region.
Preventing “spill-over” into the Indian Ocean
Beyond accessing offshore energy resources and ensuring the safe passage of its vessels through the Strait of Malacca, India also has broader interests in the South China Sea: ensuring that China’s increasingly assertive position over maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea China is not repeated in the Indian Ocean. Notably, recent events in the South China Sea could be a harbinger of China’s potential behavior in the Indian Ocean, especially if China elevates the protection of sea-lines of communication to a “core interest” (hexin liyi) on par with its sovereignty interests in resolving maritime and continental territorial disputes and reunification with Taiwan.
Moreover, an expanded Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean could result in a role reversal of its position in the South China Sea; whereas China is the coastal state and India the external maritime power in the South China Sea, the tables are turned in the Indian Ocean. This could entail China intervening in disputes over the demarcation of maritime boundaries that India has with its neighbors (namely Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka), and intelligence gathering and exploitation of maritime resources close to India’s coastline. The fact that China secured a permit to engage in deep seabed mining in the southwest Indian Ocean in July 2011 demonstrates the potential for such a scenario.
In this context, China’s nascent naval presence in the Indian Ocean, including the PLA Navy’s ongoing anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean, have been viewed by some with suspicion. Reports that an Indian submarine and Chinese naval unit were “locked in a tense stand-off” near the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait in the Gulf of Aden in January 2009 illustrates the potential for the Indian Ocean Region to emerge as a new theater of competition between China and India. This strengthens the case for India to engage in the South China Sea so as to deter China’s increasingly aggressive maritime behavior from repeating itself in the Indian Ocean.
Toward a new regional architecture
Finally, India’s growing interest in the South China Sea comes amid the United States’ “forward-deployed diplomacy” towards the Indo-Pacific region. However, the United States is both “pivoting” towards the region and “re-balancing” within it. In other words, Washington is both reiterating its commitment towards the region, as well as calling on its allies to share the burdens of regional security. Evidence of this is seen in Japan’s increasingly proactive role in forging bilateral and multilateral regional security partnerships, such as Prime Minister Shinto Abe’s proposal for a “security diamond,” which would “safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific.”
While the United States may not yet be following in the footsteps of the British withdrawal East of Suez in the middle of the last century, it nonetheless is reducing its global military footprint amid the operational fatigue of two consecutive land wars and the pressures of fiscal austerity. Further, the U.S. quest for energy independence fuelled by its own shale gas revolution and energy efficiency gains across OECD countries could act as a further catalyst for a loss of interest in protecting global energy transit corridors, including vital sea-lines of communication. In 2011, the United States imported 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil from the Middle East, accounting for 26 per cent of its global imports. This is projected to fall to 100,000 bpd or 3 per cent of its oil imports by 2035.

In this context, the Asian maritime domain is likely to emerge as an increasingly active theater of inter-state rivalries, given concerns of a strategic void created by a more “hands-off” approach by the U.S., as well as the growing interest of major regional powers to protect their burgeoning seaborne trade and access offshore energy resources. This is already evident in the shifting focal point of regional conflict from the continental to maritime domain, as noted by the contrast between the land wars that dominated Asia during the Cold War – the Korean War (1950-53), Sino-Indian War (1962), Vietnam War (1968-75), Sino-Russian border conflict (1969) and Sino-Vietnamese border conflict (1979)) – and the plethora of maritime territorial disputes that have flared in the post-Cold War period. These include the Sino-Japanese dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands and China’s claim to the “nine-dash line” around the South China Sea, which conflicts with Vietnam’s claim to the Paracel Islands and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei’s claims to portions of the Spratly Islands.
This demonstrates the need for a new maritime architecture led by the region’s major powers. For instance, Indian National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon has proposed a “Maritime Concert” in which the region’s major maritime powers would have collective responsibility to protect the domain. There have already been several demonstrations of this kind of cooperation, including China, India and Japan coordinating their anti-piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean within the framework of the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) mechanism, and the establishment of an Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) in 2012.
An expanded maritime role for India is prudent if it is to defend its growing maritime interests amid the country’s emergence as a major trading and resource-consuming power. However, it is also pivotal forprotecting the global commons from the growth of inter-state security threats rooted in concerns over China’s rise as a maritime power and an erosion of the United States’ role as the region’s “sea-based balancer,” as well as the proliferation of transnational security threats, including maritime piracy, illicit trafficking, and the latent threat of maritime terrorism. As evidenced by its maritime behavior in the South China Sea, India’s strategic significance in East Asia will be increasingly contingent on its ability to play a constructive maritime role in the region.
Chietigj Bajpaee is a doctoral candidate in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London and a visiting fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation, a New Delhi-based public policy think-tank.
* Notícia publicada a The Diplomat. Una interessant perspectiva per comprendre el replantejament de Nova Delhi, cada cop més coïncident amb el "pivot to the Pacific" de Washington.

The INS Vikrant: A 37,500-tonne defence statement*



Why is the Vikrant important?
It is India's first ever indigenous aircraft carrier, and signifies a degree of self-reliance in this field. Currently under construction in Kochi, it will be the largest ever warship built in India. It will make the country the fifth that is capable of constructing aircraft carriers this size, the others being the US, Russia, France and the UK. The Vikrant is a STOBAR carrier — short takeoff but arrested recovery — which means aircraft will take off on their own power from a ski jump but will be hooked in by an arrester wire when they come in to land.

Since when has the project been planned?
As per the original plan, work was to start in 2008 and the ship expected to join service by 2014. The idea was to induct it within a few years of the commissioning of the Russian-origin Vikramaditya or Gorshkov so that the Navy would have two operational carriers, one each for the west and east coasts. However, the project saw delays in terms of government approvals as well as technology blocks. Actual work started in 2009 with the kneel-laying ceremony. Phase 1 of the project, which culminated in Monday's ceremony, is believed to have cost over Rs 15,000 crore. No official figures have been revealed. 

What is the ceremony in Kochi about?

Monday's function was the launching ceremony. What this means is that the structure, fabricated in a dry dock, has been floated out into the sea and anchored next to the yard. In warship production, a certain part is constructed in a dry dock that is slowly filled with water as the weight of the structure increases, but after a certain tonnage has been reached the dry dock cannot accommodate the weight any more. The Vikrant is currently over 15,000 tonnes and will weigh 37,500 tonnes when complete.India's aircraft carrier INS Vikrant raises hackles in China
What comes next?
Work will now start to add on the bridge aboard the flight deck, as well as extend the ship's breadth outside the confines of the dock. Extensive cabling and integration of all systems remain. Over 75 per cent of the structure has been erected, and the engines and generators housed inside their compartments.

When will the ship be inducted?
As per current plans, the ship should be ready to steam under its own power and go for the first round of trials by 2016-end. The trials are expected to last almost two years as all systems will be tested and faults rectified. Deck landing and takeoff trials will also take place. The ship is expected to be fit for formal induction in the Navy by the end of 2018.

What are the ship's capabilities?
The 37,500-tonne carrier has been designed to attain speeds in excess of 28 knots, and to carry 36 aircraft, 17 in the hangars and 19 on deck. It is powered by four LM 2500 gas turbines that will generate over 80 MW — enough to light a small city. It is designed to sail for over 8,000 nautical miles in a service period over three decades. Its main weapon will be its fighter aircraft.

What fighters will it carry?
A mix of MiG 29 Ks and later Light Combat Aircraft (Naval), besides KA 31 early warning and anti-submarine choppers and Advanced Light Helicopters for utility missions. It will be protected against air attacks by the long-range surface-to-air missile system being developed with Israel and will have AK 630 close-in-weapon systems. The carrier will act basically as an Indian air strike base that can be transported virtually across the world.

How does it compare with other ships?
At 37,500 tonnes, the Vikrant is in a class similar to that of the INS Vikramaditya (erstwhile Gorshkov) that is currently undergoing trials in the Barents Sea and is expected to join service by December 15. It is larger than India's sole serving carrier, the INS Virat that weights 28,000 tonnes and can carry less than 30 aircraft. The Vikrant will be the fourth carrier to be operated by India when it joins in 2018. The first was the original Vikrant (20,000 tonnes, retired in 1997) after which it has been named, the second is the 28,000-tonne Virat and the third will be the 44,000 tonne Vikramaditya. The US operates super-carriers that weigh over 90,000 tonnes and can carry over 80 aircraft. The UK, France and Russia operate carriers in the 40-60,000-tonne range. China's carrier (hull acquired from Ukraine but refurbished and completed in China) is currently undergoing trials in the Yellow Sea; it has a displacement of over 60,000 tonnes.

* Notícia publicada a The Indian Express. Una fita més en l'expansió del conjunt de l'Indian Navy, cada cop més capaç de produïr el seu propi "hardware".

divendres, 9 d’agost de 2013

Wide-mouthed frog*

IF IT’S as big as an aircraft-carrier and looks like an aircraft-carrier, chances are that it is an aircraft-carrier—or can readily be turned into one. In Yokohama on August 6th Japan unveiled its biggest warship since the second world war. Officially, the Izumo is a destroyer; when it enters service in 2015 it will come with a complement of up to 14 helicopters that will be used for anti-submarine warfare and border-surveillance missions. The ship, with a displacement of 27,000 tonnes fully loaded, is half as big again as anything else in the Japanese fleet. It will also be able to ferry lots of people and equipment to disaster-relief sites.

For the moment, at least, the Izumo does nothing to challenge Japan’s pacifist constitution, drawn up after the war, which forbids the country to project force abroad—with strike carriers, for instance. However, speculation is rife that the Izumo, with a flight deck of 248 metres (814 feet), could be used to launch fixed-wing aircraft, should the constitution or circumstances change. The vessel is similar in size to the French and Italian carriers, the Charles de Gaulle and the Cavour. It is nearly 40 metres longer than the Invincible-class carriers from which Britain operated Harrier jump-jets. Although the Izumo lacks “cats and traps” (catapults for take-off, arrester cables for landing) or a “ski-jump” bow, it would not take much modification to fly the short take-off version of America’s stealthy new Joint Strike Fighter. The Chinese, who already have a (converted Soviet) carrier and are building at least two more of a similar design, have angrily called the Izumo an “aircraft-carrier in disguise”. They have a point.

* Notícia publicada a The economist. La botadura del Izumo és molt significativa, tant per la data escollida ( 6 d'Agost, Hiroshima...) com per la fita que representa en el canvi de la doctrina de defensa japonesa.

British navy warships to visit Gibraltar amid diplomatic row*

Exclusive: Britain has said a rapid reaction force of warships will visit Gibraltar on its way to naval exercises in the Mediterranean, even as the fierce diplomatic row over the disputed territory looked set to continue.


The Navy’s force led by HMS Illustrious and including two frigates will sail for the Mediterranean on Monday at the start of a four-month deployment.
Three ships including the frigate HMS Westminster are due to stop later this month in the port amid a standoff with Madrid over punitive border checks for visitors to Gibraltar.
The visit was announced two days after Gibraltar’s chief minister demanded that warships be sent to stop Spanish incursions into the Rock's territorial waters. On Thursday, Fabian Picardo told The Telegraph the territory would be delighted to welcome the Royal Navy.

Naval chiefs stressed the visit by the nine-vessel Response Force Task Group was part of a long-planned exercise, and not in response to the diplomatic row.
But it was announced as the dispute over the territory continued despite attempts by the nations’ leaders to de-escalate the situation.

The force of four Royal Navy warships supported by five ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary is led by the helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious. It will consist of thousands of sailors and Royal Marines.
The deployment, called Cougar 13, will see the force sail through the Mediterranean and on to The Gulf and Horn of Africa, holding joint exercises with navies along the way.
David Cameron earlier this week said he was “seriously concerned” about escalating tensions over the border between Spain and Gibraltar.
Spain has warned it is ready to impose a border tax, close its airspace to planes using the British overseas territory's airport, and investigate the affairs of Gibraltarians with Spanish economic interests.
The escalation between Spain and the British territory began last month after Gibraltar began building an artificial reef it said would improve fish stocks depleted by incursions by Spanish fishermen.
Downing Street’s claims that Spain had agreed to ease punitive border delays after a call between David Cameron and Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish Prime Minister, appeared premature after Spanish police quickly re-imposed them.
Those entering the Rock quickly found themselves in queues of up to four hours in the hottest part of the day.
Gibraltar’s chief minister, who earlier in the week likened Spain’s stance to “that of North Korea”, said the latest behaviour was just another example of Spanish “duplicity”.
“It’s about time the UK government saw the face of Spain that we see constantly. In Gibraltar we are not so surprised that there was an element of duplicity in the way Spain is going about this,” Mr Picardo said on Thursday.
Following the call between Prime Ministers, Downing Street briefed that Spain had conceded to reduce measures at the border while agreeing the Gibraltar issue should “not become an obstacle in bilateral relations” and that there was a “need to find a way to de-escalate”
However, the Spanish government issued a statement in which it made no reference to any concessions to reduce delays at the border and claimed instead that Mr Rajoy had held his ground over the matter.
“From the two such diametrically opposed briefings from two capitals, it seemed that two entirely different conversations were held,” commented Gibraltar’s Chief Minister.
The front pages of Spanish newspapers on Thursday carried headlines on the “stand-off”.
“There is an obvious defiance displayed on front pages of all the Spanish newspapers today,” said Mr Picardo. “It remains to be seen whether we are going to see that defiance played out on the ground or whether in fact they will talk tough but deliver on de-escalation that the prime minister has sought.”
He commented that perhaps it suited Spain’s ruling Popular Party to keep Gibraltar in the headlines for a few more days yet.
“There is certainly a smoke screen element to all this and the best way for Spanish government to play out August is to have Gibraltar on the front pages and not the scandals that are afflicting them.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said the annual Cougar deployment was “long-planned and well-established”.
He said: “Gibraltar is a strategic base for UK Defence and as such Royal Navy ships visit its waters throughout the year as part of a range of regular and routine deployments.
“Elements of last year’s Cougar ’12 deployment visited Gibraltar and the forthcoming visit by ships making up Cougar ’13, including HMS Westminster and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships Lyme Bay and Mounts Bay, are business as usual. At the same time, other elements of the Task Force will be visiting Spanish ports as part of the exercises.
“The same phase of the deployment will also see port visits in Portugal and throughout the Mediterranean to Spain, Turkey and Malta before onward transit to the Middle East.”

* Notícia publicada a The Telegraph. Com dèiem fa poc, Espanya hauria de saber a què juga.

Warships Must Be Built Under Unified Contracts – Russian Deputy PM*



MOSCOW, August 7 (RIA Novosti) – Construction of warships must be carried out under unified contracts including the cost of their weapons systems to ensure their prompt delivery on budget to the Russian Navy, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Wednesday. Russian shipbuilders have been harshly criticized recently by President Vladimir Putin and Rogozin over delays in delivery of warships to the navy and inefficient use of the defense budget for the ambitious rearmament program until 2020.“In order to prevent further delays in the delivery of warships, it is necessary to ensure they are built under unified, single, contracts that include provision of core weapons systems to be installed on these ships,” Rogozin said at a meeting of Russia’s Military-Industrial Commission. Rogozin claimed the delays to the naval shipbuilding program had been caused by poor collaboration between the Defense Ministry and defense contractors, sparking a series of disputes over pricing and the quality of weaponry built for the Navy.Recent audits of contracts signed by Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), which builds most of the navy’s ships, has revealed a shortage of funds needed for the construction of vessels in 2013-2015, he added.“Audits of the contracts signed by USC have revealed violations in the implementation of some commercial deals closed by the corporation in 2011-2012,” Rogozin said, adding that these violations should be investigated by prosecutors.USC, established in 2007, is Russia’s largest shipbuilding and ship repair company, comprising nine design bureaus and 39 shipyards. USC currently accounts for 70 percent of the domestic shipbuilding industry, according to its website. The corporation is wholly owned by the state.The Russian Navy is expected to receive 24 submarines and 54 surface warships of various classes by 2020, according to the Defense Ministry.The Russian government has allocated five trillion rubles ($166 billion) or a quarter of the entire defense procurement budget until 2020 for this purpose.


* Notícia publicada a RIA Novosti. Sembla que els constants retards en les entregues per part de les drassanes russes, han acabat passant factura.

dilluns, 5 d’agost de 2013

China's naval strategy-from sea denial to sea contro?

Attention has often focused on China’s undersea fleet of conventional and nuclear-powered submarines, as an integral component of an anti-access and area-denial (A2/AD) complex that also includes shore-based aircraft, land-attack and anti-ship missiles, integrated air defences, an extensive sea mining capability, and enabling assets. More recently, observers point to China’s recently commissioned Liaoning aircraft carrier—currently undergoing sea trials and landing exercises—as a move in a different direction towards a blue-water fleet.It is therefore refreshing to see Sam Roggeveen’s recent posts in The Interpreter that brings some needed attention to China’s fleet of advanced frigates and destroyers, now being produced in greater numbers even as its submarine inventory has apparently plateaued. He offers the provocative argument that Beijing is turning away from A2/AD (and in a purely maritime context, sea denial) for the more ambitious objective of sea control—or perhaps that it simply sees its existing anti-access capabilities as ‘good enough’.But it’s premature to think that China has moved decisively away from A2/AD. The People Liberation Army’s Navy (PLAN) has slowed its production of conventional submarines, while its nuclear subs are beset by problems. But one shouldn’t underestimate the marked improvements of its conventional subs. For example, the Yuan-class is fitted with an air-independent propulsion system to permit battery recharging without snorkeling, which reduces their vulnerability and extends their submerged range. The US Department of Defense also projects production of up to 20 of the Yuan submarines (PDF). Reports of a slowdown in the PLAN’s undersea ambitions might be greatly exaggerated.Irrespective of the future of this fleet, China has also shown little inclination to limit its shore-based missile force, including long-range (‘long sword’) cruise missiles for anti-ship and land-attacks. Particularly worrisome is China’s DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), which has a potential capability to take out major surface combatants (and possibly even US supercarriers) at a range of at least 1,500 kilometers–and the potential for follow-up systems of even greater range. Of course, the ASBM has yet to be fully tested and doubts remain as to whether it has the terminal guidance and other supporting technologies to maneuver against a relatively small moving target at sea. Yet, if there’s a slowdown in PLAN submarine acquisitions, it could mean greater reliance and confidence in alternative A2/AD assets like the ASBM.Admittedly, the PLAN has focused on expanding its surface warship fleet, with several classes launched in recent years. But even this fact doesn’t automatically mean a decision to forgo a capacity for A2/AD. Yes, a strong surface fleet might be necessary for a naval posture aimed at sea control. But it isn’t sufficient. As Hugh White reminds us, sea control represents an extension of sea denial, which includes not only the latter’s emphasis on offensive capabilities to deny the use of the maritime domain but also defensivecapabilities to ensure actual control is maintained.Notably, much of the PLAN’s surface combatants are armed with anti-ship cruise missiles(PDF), similar to the anti-ship weapons arming many of China’s other military platforms, from its undersea submarine fleet to its Hubei missile patrol catamarans, and even its shore-based aircraft. Many of these surface ships are also equipped to undertake mine warfare. In that sense, the China’s naval strategy is still heavily geared towards providing an offensive anti-ship capability for sea denial missions, very much in keeping with an A2/AD-oriented strategic posture.That said, many of the PLAN’s newer classes of vessels—such as the Luyang II and Luyang III destroyers and Jiangkei II frigates—also feature advanced design elements similar to the US Aegis system, including phased-array radars and vertical launch systems. As such, these warships seem aimed at providing an area-air defence (AAD) capability, necessary for fleet protection when operating beyond the range of China’s shore-based defensives. The Luyang III represents an especially important step in that direction, as it reportedly comes with a multi-purpose vertical launch system (PDF) which can be fitted with both offensive and defensive weapons.There’s some evidence then to support the notion that the PLAN is looking beyond a strictly sea denial posture towards achieving some form of sea control—not only within its immediate littoral zone where it already enjoys air cover from the mainland, but potentially for naval operations within the second island chain. A PLAN surface fleet with a capability for both offensive and defensive missions is an important first step in that process. Such vessels would also provide a protective escort for its otherwise potentially vulnerable aircraft carrier, and any future carriers that might be under construction.Yet AAD alone isn’t enough to achieve sea control. Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability would be necessary to provide a surface fleet some protection against an adversary’s hunter-killer submarines. Just as important is a capacity for anti-mine countermeasures. Otherwise, the PLAN could find their ability to safely traverse beyond the near seas curtailed by deployed mines and ASW barriers along possible chokepoints (e.g. the Luzon strait).On both scores, the PLAN’s ASW and anti-mine capabilities are notably weak. This is especially true given its absence of robust organic air assets for such missions. Additional aircraft carriers could change this equation. However, much depends on whether these vessels are designed for offensive power projection missions or are used in a more defensive ASW and AAD capacity—as even future PLAN carriers are unlikely to have the size and deck space of US supercarriers able to undertake both types of missions simultaneously.

David S. McDonough is a SSHRC post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science, University of British Colombia and a research fellow in the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie University. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

* Article publicat al bloc del Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

dissabte, 3 d’agost de 2013

Bantay SPRATLY : News Update Pilipinas

Bantay SPRATLY : News Update Pilipinas Bantay SPRATLY : News Update Pilipinas
China tells US Senate to respect facts on map claiming entire seas

BEIJING - China said on Thursday it had lodged a formal complaint with the United States after the U.S. Senate passed a resolution expressing concern about Chinese actions in the disputed East and South China Seas.

The U.S. resolution, passed on Monday, listed several examples of worrying Chinese behavior, including China's issuing of an official map defining the contested South China Sea as within its national border and of Chinese surveillance ships entering waters disputed with Japan in the East China Sea.

China has repeatedly urged the United States not to get involved in either dispute.

"The above resolution proposed by a minority of senators took heed of neither history nor facts, unjustifiably blaming China and sending the wrong message," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"China expresses its strong opposition, and has already made stern representations with the U.S. side. We urge the relevant senators to respect the facts and correct their mistakes in order to avoid further complicating the issue and the regional situation," it added.

Territorial claims by Japan and China over uninhabited islets and the resource-rich waters in the East China Sea, as well as China's claims over the South China Sea, rank as some of Asia's biggest security risks.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Politburo on Wednesday the country wanted to resolve its maritime territorial disputes peacefully and through talks, but would not compromise on sovereignty and had to step up its defensive capabilities.

Tension over the East China Sea has escalated this year, with China and Japan scrambling fighter jets and ordering patrol ships to shadow each other, raising fear that a miscalculation could lead to a broader clash.

The Philippines and Vietnam have also accused Beijing of becoming more aggressive in their disputes with China in the strategically located and energy-rich South China Sea. – Reuters
China tells US Senate to respect facts on map claiming entire seas

BEIJING - China said on Thursday it had lodged a formal complaint with the United States after the U.S. Senate passed a resolution expressing concern about Chinese actions in the disputed East and South China Seas.

The U.S. resolution, passed on Monday, listed several examples of worrying Chinese behavior, including China's issuing of an official map defining the contested South China Sea as within its national border and of Chinese surveillance ships entering waters disputed with Japan in the East China Sea.

China has repeatedly urged the United States not to get involved in either dispute.

"The above resolution proposed by a minority of senators took heed of neither history nor facts, unjustifiably blaming China and sending the wrong message," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"China expresses its strong opposition, and has already made stern representations with the U.S. side. We urge the relevant senators to respect the facts and correct their mistakes in order to avoid further complicating the issue and the regional situation," it added.

Territorial claims by Japan and China over uninhabited islets and the resource-rich waters in the East China Sea, as well as China's claims over the South China Sea, rank as some of Asia's biggest security risks.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Politburo on Wednesday the country wanted to resolve its maritime territorial disputes peacefully and through talks, but would not compromise on sovereignty and had to step up its defensive capabilities.

Tension over the East China Sea has escalated this year, with China and Japan scrambling fighter jets and ordering patrol ships to shadow each other, raising fear that a miscalculation could lead to a broader clash.

The Philippines and Vietnam have also accused Beijing of becoming more aggressive in their disputes with China in the strategically located and energy-rich South China Sea. – Reuters.

Notícia publicada al lloc facebook de Bantay Spratly.

divendres, 2 d’agost de 2013

El submarí científic ICTINEU 3 busca la persona que trencarà l’ampolla el dia del seu bateig al mar*

Es crea una campanya de micromecenatge com a últim recurs per acabar el projecte català

L’equip del submarí català ICTINEU 3 ha impulsat una campanya de micromecenatge o crowdfunding, a través de la plataforma Verkami (http://vkm.is/Ictineu3), com a últim recurs per aconseguir els 60.000€ necessaris per poder finalitzar el projecte i posar el submarí sota l’aigua el proper mes de setembre. Fins ara, s’han recaptat més de 17.000 euros gràcies al nombrós suport de gairebé 300 mecenes, però això no és suficient per assolir el repte i Ictineu Submarins fa una crida a empreses i institucions perquè també hi participin. S’han establert contraprestacions especials per a aquelles empreses que patrocinin entre 1.000 i 20.000€. Una de les recompenses més originals és l'oportunitat, per a un sol mecenes (particular o empresa), de trencar l'ampolla de cava durant l'avarada, el “bateig” del submarí.

L'equip de l'ICTINEU 3 també cerca l'empresa de begudes que vulgui patrocinar el “bateig” del submarí utilitzant la seva marca de cava, vi o qualsevol altra beguda. Aquest patrocinador tindrà una visibilitat destacada i els drets a utilitzar el submarí per a la seva publicitat o per a una edició especial de la beguda.

A hores d'ara ja hi ha 11 empreses que han esponsoritzat l'ICTINEU 3. En aquests últims dies, empreses internacionals del sector de la tecnologia submarina estan donant el seu suport al projecte en forma de suport econòmic i d'esponsorització en equips i serveis. A banda, totes aquelles empreses que patrocinin l'ICTINEU 3 tindran una visibilitat destacada al carenat del submarí, al seu web i en propers esdeveniments. A més, comptarà amb descomptes i immersions gratuïtes. Es pot participar a la campanya a partir de 10€ i a partir de 50€ els mecenes entren en el sorteig d'una immersió. Al lloc web de la campanya es pot visualitzar en detall: http://vkm.is/Ictineu3

Després de 150 anys, l’empresa Ictineu Submarins, constructora del submarí científic, vol recuperar el llegat de Narcís Monturiol i tornar a situar al país al capdavant de l'exploració submarina construint l'ICTINEU 3, un dels submarins més potents del món, el 9è que podrà baixar a més profunditat i que convertirà Catalunya en 6a potència mundial en capacitat d’immersió tripulada. Ara el país no pot deixar perdre altre cop un projecte d'aquesta envergadura. És una qüestió de tecnologia estratègica que donarà l'accés a la porció del Planeta Terra més gran: el 70% que està coberta per mar.

Després d'haver-s’hi invertit 2,5 milions d'euros i 10 anys de recerca i desenvolupament, ara el projecte necessita una darrera empenta econòmica un cop esgotades totes les vies habituals de finançament per a un projecte de R+D+I. L'esforç per acabar el submarí científic es traduirà en grans beneficis per a la societat ja que Catalunya disposarà d'una potent eina d'intervenció i investigació submarina. El termini per aconseguir-ho és de 40 dies i aquesta és la segona campanya catalana de Verkami on es fa una crida a recollir una major aportació després del projecte de micromecenatge del documental “L'Endemà” d’Isona Passola.

Aquest projecte ha pogut créixer en part gràcies a les col·laboracions desinteressades de molta gent. Ara, les noves aportacions recollides serviran per comprar l’equipament imprescindible que encara falta al submarí, per pagar l’estructura i personal necessaris per a les últimes setmanes de muntatge, per les proves de taller i per poder fer les primeres proves de mar de l’ICTINEU 3.

L’ICTINEU 3, un projecte català reconegut internacionalment

Aquest submarí ha estat reconegut com a projecte de R+D+I per les diferents administracions catalanes i estatals. També a nivell internacional el submarí ha rebut elogis en els més prestigiosos congressos de tecnologia submarina, com el nord-americà Underwater Intervention, així com el reconeixement d’organitzacions del sector de primer nivell, com és el cas del centre francès IFREMER, que ha mostrat interès en les prestacions del pioner sistema de bateries d’ió-liti-polímer desenvolupat per l’equip del submarí. Malgrat tot, el finançament públic mai no ha estat suficient per dur a terme un projecte d’aquesta envergadura.

Els beneficis de l’ICTINEU 3

Aquest 2013 Catalunya pot disposar d'una potent eina d'intervenció i investigació submarina, i el país es convertirà en la sisena potència mundial en capacitat per a baixar a més profunditat, fins a 1.200 metres. L’ICTINEU 3 estarà al servei dels qui gestionen els recursos marins i el patrimoni, dels científics, arqueòlegs, universitats, entitats, i tots aquells que volen conèixer millor els nostres mars i oceans. És un projecte nascut amb vocació de servei públic i amb un gran pes estratègic, tal com li correspon a un país amb vocació d'estar a l'avantguarda mundial. En paral·lel, la tecnologia submarina, amb un fort creixement a nivell internacional, pot ser un gran generador de llocs de treball qualificats, de riquesa i coneixement, un factor que segur que contribuirà a fer sortir el país d'aquesta crisi. En aquest sentit, cal destacar que, segons els primers estudis del Pla Estratègic del Sector de la Tecnologia Submarina a Catalunya que estan realitzant a l'Associació Institut ICTINEU Centre Català de Recerca Submarina, en un horitzó de 10 anys, aquest sector podria donar feina d'alta qualificació a més de 5.000 persones i generar un volum de negoci de més de 2.500 milions d'euros anuals. De tot aquest volum de negoci, l'exportació en representaria més del 70%.

IMATGES: http://bit.ly/12osKVE + www.ictineu.net/premsa/Imatges
MÉS informació útil per a premsa: www.ictineu.net/premsa

* Nota de premsa publicada per l'equip de premsa del Projecte Ictineu. Us animem a fer-ne molta difusió i, en funció de les vostres possibilitats, hi feu contribucions econòmiques. És una oportunitat històrica.

dijous, 1 d’agost de 2013

Send us gunboats*

BRITAIN must send Royal Navy warships to Gibraltar or risk the “consequences” of an increasingly aggressive Spain, the Rock’s chief minister warned last night.

 

Rocks-of-ages-It-is-now-300-years-since-the-Treaty-of-Utrecht-gave-Gibraltar-to-Britain





Fabian Picardo told the Sunday Express: “We all recall how Argentina took the absence of the right sort of Royal Navy vessels in the South Atlantic in the Eighties as encouragement to invade.
“I don’t believe Spain will invade, but I am seeing Spain becoming much more assertive in these waters as a result of the absence of the right size of naval presence. This could have consequences to British sovereignty which we are all careful to avoid.”
“I believe we need a much greater Royal Naval presence in our waters,”
His plea comes just days after the Rock celebrated the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht, which established Gibraltar as a British territory.
Spanish aggression has increased sharply since the country’s Popular Party headed by prime minster Mariano Rajoywas elected in 2011 on a manifesto that included ending talks between Spain, Gibraltar and the UK. Like Argentine president Cristina Kirchner, Mr Rajoy is thought to have deliberately inflamed tensions as a way of distracting voters from the nation’s economic woes.
While Spain has 40 per cent unemployment, Gibraltar’s economy grew by eight per cent last year, bolstered by its buoyant financial services industry and online gaming. About 10,000 Spaniards rely on Gibraltar for their livelihoods and the Rock is home to the world’s top 26 online betting companies.
In February a Royal Navy patrol boat found itself in a standoff with a Spanish warship after repeated requests to leave British waters were ignored and Minister for Europe David Lidington was forced to protest again after a Spanish police boat sailed into British waters and fired at a British jet-skier. Spanish fishermen are frequently defended during their illegal fishing of British waters by Spanish police boats.
In 2011 Madrid laid claim to an area of British waters as a nature reserve. Gibraltar lost its appeal to the European Court of Justice, and subsequently discovered one of the court’s judges was formerly Spain’s chief legal officer.

It is now 300 years since the Treaty of Utrecht gave Gibraltar to Britain 
Prince Charles meets the Royal Navy Cadets: Navy's presence is needed

Two weeks ago Gibraltar’s parliament voted to ask Britain for a greater Royal Navy presence and Mr Picardo said the two small, lightly armed patrol boats based in Gibraltar were not enough to deter Spanish aggression.
He added: “Spain wants to assert that these are Spanish waters. It is causing huge concern. Somebody needs to wake up and realise that we should assert British sovereignty.
“We need to drive the message home that these are very clearly British Gibraltar territorial waters.
“The Royal Navy uses Gibraltar as a rest and recreational base, and as a forward mounting base. Now we are saying please don’t just use us, come to our aid at this difficult time.”
Last night Commander John Muxworthy, of the armed forces pressure group UK National Defence Association, said: “This situation is becoming more aggressive by the day, and yet we have only two small patrol boats to stand up for Gibraltar and the UK.”
A Defence Ministry spokesman said: “The Royal Navy currently has sufficient assets to challenge unlawful incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters by Spanish state vessels and remains committed to challenging any actions by Spanish state vessels which are unlawful.”
One of the Royal Navy’s nuclear powered submarines, HMS Tireless, is currently in Gibraltar for a short visit on its way to operations east of Suez.

* Notícia publicada a The Express. L'assetjament de l'Estat espanyol a Gibraltar continua, quelcom que li pot acabar passant factura. Només cal conèixer mínimament el Regne Unit per imaginar com acabarà aquest afer.