World defense briefing
Singapore commissions first Formidable-class frigate
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) formally commissioned RSS Formidable into service on 5 May in a ceremony at Changi Naval Base.The commissioning of the first of six Formidable-class frigates coincided with celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Singapore’s naval force.At 114 m in length, displacing 3,200 tons and incorporating radar signature reduction features previously proven in the French Navy’s La Fayette frigate, the Formidable-class affords a step change in capability for the RSN.
UNDERWATER NETWORKS – Building the web: navies chart paths to underwater networking
As navies around the world plan to proliferate numbers of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) there is a growing clamour for groups of UUVs and sensors to be networked together to revolutionise the underwater battlespace. Just as network-centric and network-enabled operations have become de rigeur above the water, so naval analysts and planners would like to push the benefits and technology below the surface.However, the imminent reality is a little more prosaic.
UK’s DESO examines potential for warship-building in Southeast Asia
Senior officials from the UK’s Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) are exploring options for building hulls for future UK Royal Navy (RN) warships in Southeast Asia.Representatives of the UK government’s military sales arm are attending the International Maritime Defence Exhibition in Singapore (15-18 May 2007) to seek export opportunities for UK defence companies.
South Korea nears Aegis-equipped destroyer launch
Hyundai Heavy Industries is about to launch two more vessels – a KDX-3-class destroyer and a KSS-2-class submarine – for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN).Meanwhile, with final preparations underway at the company’s Ulsan shipyard, a senior manager told Jane’s that officials from South Korea and Germany are still discussing plans to build six more of the modified German-designed submarines.The 13,500-ton destroyer, named King Sejong, will become the RoKN’s first warship equipped with the Aegis combat data system.
Navies ready for WPNS wargames
Eighteen ships are gearing up for the second round of multinational wargames being staged by the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) off Singapore. The event coincides with the IMDEX defence exhibition being held in the country.A seminar on maritime security information exchange has already been held, giving the 18 navies and six partner countries of the WPNS an opportunity to share perspectives on security threats such as piracy, smuggling and human trafficking.
UK RN stands up Future Submarine IPT
The UK has stood up a new project team to develop the concept design for a new class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN). The Future Submarine Integrated Project Team (FSM IPT), set up by the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation, will also co-ordinate associated work to deliver a successor nuclear deterrent.This follows a vote in the House of Commons on 14 March that endorsed the UK government’s plans to retain and renew its strategic nuclear deterrent by replacing the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) four existing Vanguard-class SSBNs and buying into the US Navy’s Trident D5 Life Extension programme
Past and present: could UK Royal Navy replicate previous battle performance?
The UK Royal Navy (RN) has seen a seismic shift in both roles and capabilities since it spearheaded the operation to capture the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) from the Argentine armed forces 25 years ago.In that intervening period, the strategic context has been transformed. While the government in Buenos -Aires maintains its claim to the -islands, the UK and Argentina today enjoy a cordial relationship
Russia keeps watch on new holdings’ R&D spend
Russia has declared that it will keep a closer eye on research-and-development (R&D) spending within recently proposed radio electronics and space holding companies.State-owned news service RIA Novosti reported that “unlike other defence industry segments, the large vertically integrated holding companies will maintain a different relationship with the state. For instance, the government will monitor their R&D spending more closely”.
US seeks to bolster missile-defence integration with Israel
The US House of Representatives has approved additional funding for “research, development, test and evaluation” to bolster US ballistic missile-defence integration with Israel.Part of a USD504 billion defence spending bill for Fiscal Year 2008 passed on 17 May, the authorisation calls for USD205 million in US Department of Defense (DoD) funding to be allocated towards projects already in development or being considered to improve Israel’s missile-defence system.
UK MoD moves to merge army and aviation repair units
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced its decision to merge the Army Base Repair Organisation (ABRO) and the Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) to form a new, in-house defence support group.The new group will formally merge by April 2008 and, according to the MoD, “will focus on providing a cost competitive, in-house maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade capability in support of the armed forces, operating where appropriate in partnership with industry”.A spokesperson for the MoD told Jane’s: “It’s about a clear strategy that recognises ABRO and DARA’s role in the Defence Industrial Strategy [DIS]. They are two very successful organisations.
NATO air-land integration in Afghanistan still needs work
Close air support for NATO troops in Afghanistan is still not being used to maximum effect, according to a recent commander of the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Harrier detachment deployed to that country.Wing Commander Andy Lewis, officer commanding 1 (Fighter) Squadron, told the recent Royal United Services Institute Air Power conference, held in London on 17 May, that better links needed to be forged between fixed-wing aircraft squadrons and specific International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) ground units to maximise the potential of NATO airpower deployed in Afghanistan.
NATO exercises facilitate preparation for NRF rotation
NATO forces took part in three closely linked exercises from 14 to 24 May designed to work up forces for the ninth and 10th rotations of the NATO Response Force (NRF), which will begin on 1 July 2007 and 1 January 2008 respectively.The manoeuvres took place simultaneously in an area encompassing the North Sea, Kattegat, Danish Straits and southern Baltic Sea, including adjacent Danish, German, Swedish and Polish waters, airspace and land.
USN plans AIM-9X datalink and AOTD variant
US Navy (USN) plans to provide the Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder with a lofted-trajectory mode that would require lock-on late in flight might help to explain the rationale behind the addition of a datalink as part of the Block II standard, writes Seymour Johnson. The new variant will enter production with ‘Lot 8’, with deliveries in 2009
Sighting of road-mobile Chinese ICBM emerges
A large wheeled vehicle seen travelling through a city in China was carrying what appeared to be an incomplete mockup of the container/launcher for a new Chinese road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), writes Seymour Johnson. The vehicle, based on a new Chinese eight-axle wheeled chassis, was carrying a canister with a diameter of more than 2 m
US hypersonic engine test points way ahead
The US Air Force conducted a hypersonic engine test in late April that marks a breakthrough in the development of an engine that may eventually propel cruise missiles hundreds of nautical miles in a matter of minutes.Air Force chief scientist Mark Lewis told Jane’s on 3 May that his team ran a scramjet hydrocarbon-fuelledaengine for 50 seconds in a wind tunnel at NASA’s Langley Research Center in late April.
US estimates Iran capable of striking US by 2015
Iran could acquire a long-range ballistic missile capable of striking Europe and the US in less than eight years, a senior US official said on 3 May.John Rood, State Department Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, told a Congressional hearing: “Our intelligence estimates are based on projections of when Iran could acquire this capability on its own, perhaps with some foreign assistance. A key determinant to how rapidly Iran might progress, of course, would be that foreign assistance.
Source: Jane’s defense journal