11 May 12. Saudi special forces focus on mountain and media warfare. Saudi Arabia is to open a mountain warfare school soon, according to Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the major general who commands the kingdom’s airborne brigade and its three attached special forces companies. Prince Fahd told Saudi Arabia’s Al-Jazirah newspaper that the Prince Salman Special Warfare Centre was sited between Al-Taif and Al-Bahah in an area he described as having appropriate terrain, a reference to the Asir mountains that run down the west coast of Saudi Arabia into Yemen. (Source: Jane’s, JDW)
11 May 12. China offers to build coastal surveillance system for Indonesia. China is offering to install a maritime surveillance system worth CNY1bn (USD158m) in Indonesia, sources have told IHS Jane’s . China’s offer comes only a few months after the United States handed over the Integrated Maritime Surveillance System (IMSS) to the Indonesian Navy. (Source: Jane’s, JDW)
22 May 12. Successor Submarines: Contracts Placed. The Defence Equipment Minister announced (22 May 12) that the MoD has signed contracts worth approximately £350m for the first 18 months of work on the Assessment Phase of the Successor (SSBN) submarine programme to replace the Vanguard Class boats. Design contracts have been placed with BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines (some £328m); Babcock (some £15m for design aspects of in-service support) and Rolls-Royce (some £4m for reactor design). BAE Systems forecasts that the first of the new Class of SSBN should be delivered in 2028. (See: BATTLESPACE ALERT Vol.14 ISSUE 07, 22 May 2012, CONTRACTS FOR DESIGN OF FUTURE UK NUCLEAR DETERRENT SUBMARINES)
Comment: On 18 May 11 the then Defence Secretary announced Initial Gate approval and the start of an Assessment Phase costing some £3,000m for the programme. The above contracts are part of the forecast £3,000m, which covers the design of the Successor boats but not the missiles with which they will be armed. Although widely used by the MoD and Industry, the programme name of ‘Successor’ is not official (!). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/21, 28 May 12)
24 May 12. Type 26 Frigates: Number Confirmed. The Defence Equipment Minister confirmed (24 May 12) that the “current planning assumption” is for the construction of 13 Type 26 frigates and that the programme is in the Assessment Phase. No decision has been made on the base porting of the new frigates.
Comment: The Minister would not be drawn on a possible in-service date for the new Class, but the specialist media calculates that the Type 26 will start to replace the Type 23 on a one-for-one basis from 2021. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/21, 28 May 12)
21 May 12. Navy Secretary Hosts USS Hudner Naming Ceremony. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus hosted a ship naming ceremony in honor of the USS Thomas Hudner on Tuesday, May 22, 2012, at 11 a.m. EDT on board the USS Constitution at Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, Mass. Thomas J. Hudner Jr., a naval aviator who retired as a captain, received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for displaying uncommon valor during an attack on his wingman, the first African American naval aviator to fly in combat, Ensign Jesse L. Brown. During the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War, anti-aircraft fire hit Brown’s aircraft, damaging a fuel line and causing him to crash. After it became clear Brown was seriously injured and unable to free himself, Hudner proceeded to purposefully crash his own aircraft to join Brown and provide aid. Hudner injured his own back during his crash landing, but he stayed with Brown until a rescue helicopter arrived. Hudner and the rescue pilot worked in the sub-zero, snow-laden area in an unsuccessful attempt to free Brown from the smoking wreckage. Hudner is the last living Navy recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Korean War.
16 May 12. Indian Coast Guard orders si