Archive for June 2009

Global defence update

June 24, 2009

Taiwan’s AIDC confident of securing IDF upgrade contract

Taiwan’s state-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) is expecting to sign a contract with the government shortly to upgrade around 70 F-CK-1 Indigenous Defence Fighters (IDF), the company revealed to Jane’s on 18 June. An AIDC official said the upgrade would be based on two twin-seater IDF-2 prototypes that were delivered to the Taiwan air force in 2007 under a TWD7 billion project known as the Hsing Shing (Soaring Upgrade) programme

Details of Turkey’s Project ‘J’ revealed

Details have emerged of the Turkish Land Forces Command’s (TLFC) little-known 150 km-range precision strike tactical ballistic missile system. It is known variously as Project ‘J’ (J-600T Yildirum – Thunderbolt), or Project ‘Kasirga’, and is understood to have been developed by Turkey’s Roketsan with some foreign assistance from an undisclosed source

Paris Air Show: MBDA engages in missile study

MBDA is currently engaged in an internal study with regard to simplifying customer operations and support services for its new range of Marte anti-surface warfare (ASuW) missiles. Speaking at the Paris Air Show on 15 June, the managing director of MBDA Italy, Antonio Perfetti, said that the company is itself funding the study to show the customer its “robustness of intent and strong commitment” to supporting the new Marte Mk 2/S, Mk 2S-A and ER (Extended Range) fixed- and rotary-wing launched missiles

USAF remains confident on post-2010 GPS performance

Claims in recent newspaper reports that the quality of service provided by the US Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation system was likely to degrade from 2010 onwards have been denied by the US Air Force (USAF).. On a tweet forum held on 20 May, Colonel Dave Buckman, Air Force Space Command lead for position, navigation and timing, stated: “GPS will not go down”

Paris Air Show: US shifts missile defence focus

President Barack Obama’s administration in the US is shifting its missile defence focus away from the strategic and towards tactical and deployable systems that can be used to protect its allies and its troops on the ground, according to an industry representative. Speaking at the Paris Air Show on 15 June, Dr Taylor Lawrence, President of Raytheon Missile Systems, said this shift in emphasis towards tactical protection will only increase in coming years: “Over the next five to 10 years the centre of mass [with regards to missile defence systems] will change to be more tactical and less strategic.” As part of this move, Lawrence said there is currently a major emphasis on deploying proven technologies that have already been demonstrated to be sound, such as the US Army’s Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and the sea-launched SM-3 ballistic missile interceptors and their associated infrastructure

Germany plans LFTAS retrofit to F123 frigates

The German Navy’s four F123 Brandenburg-class frigates are all to receive a new low-frequency towed active sonar (LFTAS) following successful trials of a pre-series production system on board FGS Bayern . Officials from the Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) and the German Navy confirmed to Jane’s that funding had been earmarked for each of the F123 ships to be retrofitted with the DSQS-30A LFTAS

Pakistan set to receive Type 730B close-in weapon system

The Pakistan Navy is to become the first customer for a new version of the Chinese-developed Type 730 close-in weapon system (CIWS). Known as Type 730B, the modified system being fitted on board the navy’s four new F-22P Sword-class (modified Type 053H3 ‘Jiangwei II’) frigates has been re-engineered to use off-mount target-tracking sensors rather than the on-mount configuration adopted in its original form

Chilean OPV completes first sea trials

The second of four offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Chilean Navy’s coastguard branch has completed its first set of sea trials, the service announced on 12 June. The 1,728-ton Comandante Policarpo Toro completed four days of trials that tested the ship’s endurance and manoeuvrability and verified its operational systems


Global defence update

June 13, 2009

Moscow and US to consider joint BMD project


Moscow has said it will consider co-operating with the US over its European ballistic missile defence (BMD) plans by building anti-missile radars in Russia for use by both countries. Responding to an earlier statement from US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said that he would not rule the option out, Colonel General Aleksandr Kolmakov, Russia’s First Deputy Defence Minister, said on 10 June that “whenever the offers arrive, we are prepared to consider them”




US urged to approve Taiwan’s purchase of 66 F-16C/D Block 52 multirole fighters
A member of the US Senate’s Armed Services Committee has called on Washington to approve Taiwan’s request to purchase 66 F-16C/D Block 52 multirole fighters. Speaking at a conference on 9 June organised by a Washington think-tank, the Heritage Foundation, Joe Wilson, a Republican Congressman memberof the House Foreign Affairs Committee,said the reaffirmation of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) earlier this year demonstrates that the US is willing to support Taiwan’s military modernisation





US unveils new JAB and ABV tracked vehicles
The US Army and US Marine Corps (USMC) have officially rolled out two new tracked vehicles based on an Abrams tank chassis. The Joint Assault Bridge (JAB) and the Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV) were unveiled as new production programmes during a ceremony in May at Anniston Army Depot in Alabama. Designed by the USMC, both vehicles are based on excess M1 Abrams main battle tank chassis and they leverage work already done at Anniston Army Depot, according to Michael Burke, the facility’s general manager of production operations




South Korea deploys fast attack craft to maritime border

South Korea has taken steps to safeguard against a possible North Korean attack, as tensions on the peninsula remained high in the wake of Pyongyang’s nuclear test on 25 May. With South Korean concerns centring on the two countries’ western maritime border in the Yellow Sea, Seoul deployed Yoon Yung-ha , its first Gumdoksuri-class (PKX) fast attack craft, to the area, the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) announced on 2 June






EEZ claim drives Brazilian ship procurement programmes


The Brazilian Navy has unveiled plans to establish a second fleet – operating from a new base on or near the Amazon River – and procure a new class of 1,800-ton offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). Meanwhile, proposals for the acquisition of additional 54 m Navio Patrulha (NAPA 500) patrol ships have also emerged as the navy accelerates efforts to modernise its surface fleet




Royal Navy to get 12-month reprieve in Iraq

UK Royal Navy (RN) ships and personnel could remain in the Gulf until mid-2010 under a new agreement between the British and Iraqi governments. A spokeswoman for the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) told Jane’s on 4 June: “The text the [Iraqi] Council of Ministers has endorsed asks British forces to stay on in Iraq for a year.” The text is being reviewed by Iraq’s Council of Representatives and the CMF hopes it will be ratified soon, the spokeswoman added







German Navy takes IDAS into production


The German Navy has earmarked funding to take the IDAS (Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines) submerged-launched precision weapon into production for retrofit to its Type 212A submarines, according to industry and navy officials speaking at the UDT Europe 2009 conference and exhibition. Talks are meanwhile continuing with Norway regarding its participation in the IDAS full-scale development programme





Source: Jane’s Defence Journal

Jihad goes intercontinental

June 4, 2009

By Walid Phares in Asia Times
Since the deadly attacks in Mumbai last November, counter-terrorism experts worldwide, particularly those based in democracies in the crosshairs, have been drawing long-term conclusions as to the forthcoming type of operations which may hit cities and interests on more than one continent.

Today, we are in the post-Mumbai era where the expectation of recidivism and copycats is eerily high. Indeed, the jihadis who seized a few buildings in India’s financial center, wreaked havoc at several locations in the city and killed nearly 220 people have brought to the attention of national security analysts a concept for the future: Urban jihad.

I had predicted these scenarios of mayhem perpetrated by
determined terrorists in chapter 13 of my first post-September 11, 2001 book, Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against the West, published in 2005.

My projection of al-Qaeda and other jihadi tactics was based on a patient and thorough observation of their literature and actions for decades. By now, the public realizes that such scenarios are not just possible but highly likely in the future. In all countries where jihadi cells and forces have left bloody traces over the past eight years, at least counter-terrorism agencies have been put on notice: it can happen there as well.

But the Mumbai ghazwa (raid) reveals a more sinister shadow hovering over the entire sub-continent, if not also Central Asia. Although a press release was issued by the so-called “Indian Mujahideen”, many traces were left – almost on purpose – to show Pakistani involvement, or to be more precise, a link to forces operating within Pakistan, one of them at least being Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Other suppositions left investigators in the region with the suspicion that elements within the intelligence service in Pakistan were involved, even if the cabinet wasn’t aware of it. This strong probability, if anything, gave rise to much wider speculation since this attack took place in the midst of dramatic regional and international developments.

In the United States, the Barack Obama administration is gearing up to redeploy from Iraq and send additional divisions to Afghanistan where the Taliban forces have been escalating their terror campaign. In a counter move, the jihadi web inside Pakistan has been waging both terror and political offensives. In Waziristan and the Swat Valley, just prior to the latest attempts to strike deals with local warlords, Pakistani units were compelled to retreat.

A few weeks later, Islamabad authorized the provincial administrators to sign the so-called Malakand agreement with the “Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad’s Sharia Law”, headed by Sufi Mohammad, in which local Taliban would enact religious laws instead of the national secular code.

Across Afghanistan, Pakistan and India it has become clear that the jihadis are acting as an overarching regional force. In short, while Kabul, Islamabad and New Delhi are consumed with domestic challenges such as ethnic and territorial crises, the nebulous beginning with al-Qaeda and stretching to the local jihadi groups across the land is acting ironically as one, though with many faces, tongues and scenarios.

The jihadis have become continental, while the region’s governments were forced into tensions among each other and with their own societies. Hence, exploring the regional strategies of the jihadis is now a must.

Pre-9/11 strategies
In the post-Cold War era, a web of jihadi organizations came together throughout the Indian sub-continent from Kandahar to the Bay of Bengal. The nebulous was as vast as the spread of Islamist movements that took root in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

The cobweb is extremely diverse and not entirely coordinated. In many cases, striking competitions and splinters characterize its intra-Islamist politics. But from political parties to student unions to jihadi guerrillas, the main cement of the plethora has been a solidly grounded ideology, inspired by local Deobandism and West Asian-generated Wahhabism and Salafism.

The “jihadi causes” reflect a variety of claims, from political and sharia to ethnic territorial. However, all these platforms end in the necessity of establishing local “emirates”, which eventually are building blocks towards the creation of the caliphate-to-come.

Inside Pakistan, the Islamists fight secularism, impose religious laws and crave an all-out “Islamist” – not just “Islamic” – nation. From this country, a number of jihadi groups have been waging a war on India for the secession of Kashmir, but in order to establish a Taliban-like state. The Pakistan-based “Kashmiri jihadis” have connected with their India-based counterparts who in turn have bridges with jihadis operating across India through various networks, including the Islamic Student Union and later the “Indian Mujahideen”. The “web” stretches east to Dhaka and south all the way to Malaysia and Indonesia.

Unfortunately, Western and non-Western scholarship in the field didn’t recognize the regional dimension of the jihadi threat on the sub-continent before the 2001 strikes in America and the subsequent attacks in Europe and beyond. Jihadism in South Asia has always been conventionally linked to local claims and foreign policies, while in reality the movement has developed a regional war room; even before the US intervention in Afghanistan, the jihadis had been seeking transnational achievements.

The post-Soviet grand design of al-Qaeda was to incite the “national” jihadi entities to act in concert with one another, even if their propaganda machines would intoxicate their foes with different narratives. Based in Kabul since the takeover by the Taliban in 1996, the initial plan was to grow stronger inside Afghanistan, make it a “perfect emirate” model to follow and from there expand in all directions. Evidently, the first space to penetrate was Pakistan, starting with the northwestern regions.

In the book Future Jihad, I have argued that one of the long-range goals of the 9/11 attacks was to provoke massive jihadi uprisings in many Muslim countries, especially in Pakistan, with help from insiders and the armed forces.

The pre-9/11 plan was to infiltrate Islamabad from Kabul and thereafter to penetrate Kashmir and back a massive jihadi campaign inside India. The enormity of developments was supposed to enflame Bangladesh as well. In short, the plan was to “Talibanize” the region from Kabul to the Gulf, slicing many enclaves in northern India with it. Obviously, plan A collapsed as US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces crumbled the Taliban regime and dispersed al-Qaeda.