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19 Jan 17. Israel opened its first ever office at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Ynet reported. IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan was in town for meetings with senior NATO officials, and Roni Leshno Yaar became the first Israeli representative to NATO. NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Goettemoeller said, “here in NATO, we understand that Israel shares our values, and is an active and beneficial partner for Mediterranean dialogue.” Golan met with the head of the Turkish Armed Forces, Gen. Hulusi Akar. Several high-ranking Arab officials were also at the meeting, including from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, and Tunisia, and spoke with Golan on the sidelines of the meeting. More than 100 officials participated in the meeting, including high-ranking NATO figures. While Israel is not formally a member of NATO, the United States considers Israel to be a “major non-NATO ally.” When Israel confirmed that it would be upgrading its ties with NATO last May, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I think that this is also an important expression of Israel’s standing in the world. The countries of the world are looking to cooperate with us due to – inter alia – our determined fight against terrorism, our technological know-how and our intelligence services.” (Source: theisraelproject.org)
19 Jan 17. PLAN commissions 31st Jiangdao-class corvette. The 31st Jiangdao-class (Type 056) corvette to join China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) was commissioned into the East Sea Fleet on 18 January. Ezhou (513) was built at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai and launched on 25 December 2015. Equipped with towed and variable depth sonars for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), it is one of nine ASW variants (Type 056A) now in service. It carries four containerised missile launchers for YJ-83 anti-ship missiles. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Jan 17. Mexican Navy launches new coastal patrol vessel. The Mexican Navy (SEMAR) launched a new coastal patrol vessel (CPV), ARMBonampak (PC 339), at Naval Shipyard N1 (ASTIMAR N1) in Tampico, Tamaulipas, on 12 January. The vessel, based on the Damen Stan Patrol 4207 series and known as the Tenochtitlan class in Mexico, is the ninth of the type to be built by the SEMAR since 2012 and is part of a planned total of 20 such ships to be produced in the 2013-18 timeframe. According to the SEMAR, Bonampak ‘s missions are to include surveillance, dissuasion, search-and-rescue, and interdiction operations.
Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz, secretary of navy, presided the launching ceremony and said that since 2013 the SEMAR has produced a total 11 new vessels as part of its programme for replacing surface units, while another 10 vessels were built for state-run petroleum company PEMEX as part of a joint agreement. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Jan 17. Malaysia to establish three designated submarine exercise areas in South China Sea. Key Points:
• Malaysia will establish three permanent submarine exercise areas in the South China Sea
• The move is being undertaken to enhance submarine operating safety in the region, said the Royal Malaysian Navy
The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) is in the midst of finalising three permanent submarine exercise areas within Malaysian territorial waters in the South China Sea, a senior service official disclosed on 17 January.
The demarcations, which will be known as the Malaysia Submarine Exercise Area (MSEA) 1, 2, and 3 respectively, are being established as part of the country’s efforts to enhance submarine operating safety in the region, said Rear Admiral Abdul Rahman Ayub, Submarin