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16 Apr 19. Head of British Army Meets IDF Counterpart in Israel, Hails Cooperation. British Armed Forces Chief of the Defense Staff General Sir Nick Carter arrived in Israel on Sunday to promote cooperation between the two countries.
General Carter was greeted by an honor guard headed by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi at the IDF’s Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv. Following the reception, the British army chief held several meetings with senior Israeli officials and toured Israel’s Northern border with 91st Division Commander Brig. Gen. Raffi Milo.
On Monday, General Carter met with the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, Maj.-Gen. Tamir Heyman, and laid a wreath in a ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum as part of his tour in Jerusalem.
“His visit emphasizes the developing qualitative engagement between the IDF and the British military,” the IDF said in a statement.
Israel Ambassador to the Britain, Mark Regev, took to Twitter to herald the visit, saying: “Great to see Ministry of Defence Chief of Defence Staff Gen Sir Nick Carter visiting Israel. This important security cooperation is making our nations stronger and our peoples safer.”
During his visit, General Carter also participated in the “Arrow of Generations” cornerstone-laying ceremony at the Ramat David AFB. The project fosters the close partnership between the IDF and militaries around the world.
Every two years, the Israeli Air Force hosts “Blue Flag,” an international exercise in which air forces from other nations travel to the Jewish State to practice their aeronautic skills. Much like the American-hosted “Red Flag” drills, the exercise aims to forge bonds between multi-national allies.
In a sign of intensified military and defense relations, a team of Israeli combat pilots last year held a joint training seminar with the RAF Typhoon aircrew at a base in Lossiemouth in Scotland. In January, the Jewish Chronicle reported that Israel’s air force is to take part in its first-ever joint exercise with the Royal Airforce in the annual Cobra Warrior exercise at Coningsby airbase in Lincolnshire in September. (Source: theisraelproject.org)
16 Apr 19. UK, India renew defence collaboration pledge. Key Points:
- India and the UK aim to ‘redouble efforts’ to pursue opportunities related to defence equipment and defence industrial collaboration
- BAE Systems confirms it has started talks with India about possible collaboration on Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier
India and the UK have signed a renewed defence accord through which the two countries have agreed to “redouble efforts” to identify mutual defence requirements and collaborate on solutions, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.
An MoD statement on 15 April said the renewed memorandum of understanding (MOU) “marks a step change” in the defence relationship between India and the UK, with emphasis on collaboration on defence procurement and industrial co-operation.
“By collaborating and exploiting procurement opportunities together both nations will be able to benefit from technological and manufacturing capabilities and support long-term co-operation between their defence and security industries,” the UK MoD said.
The MoD also indicated that a focus of the agreement will be to explore opportunities in naval systems. The MoD also pointed out that the MOU was signed following a visit by Indian Navy (IN) chief Admiral Sunil Lanba to the UK Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in Portsmouth in March and exercises undertaken by the two navies in late 2018.
One possible area of UK-India collaboration is the UK’s Queen Elizabeth-class (QEC) aircraft carrier. Constructor BAE Systems confirmed to Jane’s on 16 April that the company has held talks with India about a potential joint programme. The QEC design is seen as a possible contender to meet the IN’s requirement for a second indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-2).
The IN’s first aircraft carrier (IAC-1) – named INS Vikrant – is being built by Cochin Shipyard Limited in southern India and is scheduled to enter service in the early 2020s. The IN envisages IAC-2 entering service in the early 2030s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Apr 19. Don’t delay buying fighter jets, Putrajaya told. A news commentary on Malaysia’s ageing air force fleet has prompted a former scholar in defence studies to call for the expeditious purchase of new fighter jets. Aruna Gopinath, a former professor from Universiti Pertahanan Nasional’s Centre for Defence and International Security Studies, noted that Malaysia faced a number of challenges in maintaining its maritime security.
Speaking to FMT, she said the challenges included those coming from international criminals operating in the Sulu Sea and those posed by countries making territorial claims in the South China Sea.
She also noted that Vietnam and Indonesia were better equipped than Malaysia in air power.
“There’s always a need to be prepared for combat,” she added.
In a recent article for Singapore’s Channel NewsAsia, defence commentator Mike Yeo said Malaysia’s frontline air fighters, while still reasonably modern and capable, might become obsolete within a decade. He said the country risked creating “capability gaps” for itself if it didn’t make concrete decisions on the procurement of fighter jets in the coming few years. He was commenting on remarks Dr Mahathir Mohamad made last month to the effect that Malaysia had yet to decide to buy new combat aircraft. “We find the aircraft we bought some time back still can perform well,” the prime minister told reporters covering the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition. He was referring to the Sukhoi Su-30MKM. Reuters previously reported that Malaysia’s budget constraints were continuing to delay its procurement of new defence assets. Aruna said the country could buy light combat aircraft if the multi-role types were too costly. It has been reported that the air force has contacted manufacturers of light combat aircraft for information on their products.
Defence analyst Lam Choong Wah, a former fellow of Refsa (Research for Social Advancement), said Malaysia would do better to improve its capabilities to fight terrorism and other unconventional threats than to spend money boosting its defences against imagined external threats.
“Countering unconventional threats does not require expensive state-of-the-art weapons, but intelligence gathering and rapid-reaction capabilities,” he said.
Lam also said there were more pressing domestic issues which needed bigger financial investments and he mentioned healthcare, education and public transport systems. He nevertheless acknowledged the need to streamline and enhance defence capabilities and to do so in accordance with the government’s financial capability.
“A majority of threats are coming from the sea,” he said. “So we need to shift from overemphasising on the army to making our navy as the frontline deterring force.” (Source: Google/https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/)
15 Apr 19. Final Royal Navy helicopter returns from Oman after 10 years of operations. The last Royal Navy helicopter to fly on maritime security operations in Oman has returned to the UK after a ten-year mission.
Operation Chobdahar has seen Royal Navy helicopter crews support Oman’s maritime security since 2001 as part of Kipion – the code name for the long-standing UK maritime presence which secures Britain’s economic interests in the Gulf.
As part of the operation, UK aircraft including Nimrod, Merlin and most recently Wildcat helicopters from 815 Naval Air Squadron have flown more than 17,000 hours on joint operations.
815 NAS will now redeploy Wildcat to support other operational tasking as they are no longer needed in Oman, having achieved huge successes against illicit smuggling and other criminal activity.
Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral Ben Key, said: “I pay tribute to all those personnel who have contributed to the success of Operation Chobdahar. They have helped deliver security in the Gulf region, strengthened the UK-Oman relationship, and demonstrated the UK’s ability to deploy and sustain effective capabilities overseas.”
The Defence relationship between the UK and Oman dates back hundreds of years and is now strengthened further by the recent signing of the Joint Defence Agreement.
This will deliver new training, operational, and mutual security opportunities for years to come. Notable examples already this year include exercises in the Musandam Peninsular and on the new joint training area at Ras Madrakah, and the naval exercise Khanjar Hadd.
Lieutenant Commander Anthony Johnson, the 815 NAS Wildcat detachment commander overseeing the final helicopter deployment, said: “We have made a real difference flying these maritime security missions, helping tackle the scourge of illicit smuggling and other criminal activity.
“The hundreds of men and women who have supported these operations over the last 10 years can be justifiably proud of their contribution to security in this vital part of the world.”
The Royal Air Force’s 902 Expeditionary Air Wing will continue to provide operational support in the Gulf region as they did during the hugely successful UK-Oman Exercise Saif Sareea 3 in 2018, alongside colleagues from the Royal Navy and Army. The Royal Navy continues to have a significant presence in the Middle East, ensuring the security of some of the world’s most vital shipping lanes. Warship HMS Montrose this month became the first Type 23 frigate to be stationed for three years at the UK’s naval support facility in Bahrain. She joins four of the Royal Navy’s fleet of minehunters to support peace and stability in the region. (Source: U.K. MoD)
12 Apr 19. Senegal military parade reveals new acquisitions. New Arquus Bastion armoured personnel carriers (APCs) were seen during a military parade marking Senegal’s 59th anniversary of independence on 4 April.
A total of 29 Bastions took part in the event and were described by an official military commentator as being new acquisitions, bought with the support of Saudi Arabia. A previous batch of nine Bastions, including two PATSAS variants, was separately acquired by the Senegalese Gendarmerie in 2017, probably using its own funds. According to the French publication Intelligence Online, 36 Bastions were procured by Senegal for its army in 2018 using a USD30m grant from Riyadh, with French company Sofema acting as the purchasing entity for Dakar.
A Sofema executive declined to comment when asked by Jane’s to confirm this information, saying the matter is confidential. However, a French industry source told Jane’s that Sofema did purchase the vehicles.
It is unclear which unit is operating the Bastions. They were paraded as part of the Armoured Battalion contingent: a unit that does not need APCs as it has no mechanised infantry component and uses Norinco WZ551 variants to support its WMA 301 tank destroyers.
APCs are normally operated by Senegal’s four Reconnaissance and Support Battalions (BRA), which are combined arms formations consisting of a cavalry element with Eland armoured cars, a fire-support component armed with mortars, and mechanised infantry companies.
A Senegalese military source told Jane’s that the Armoured Battalion could also field APCs in the future and that the army is looking to use its armoured platforms more flexibly.
The military parade also included the participation of 10 white-painted OTT M36 Mk5 Puma mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles and a single 6×6 M36 recovery vehicle, which the parade announcer said were also new acquisitions for peacekeeping operations. Senegal already fielded the M36, which appeared in previous military parades with the standard Senegalese Army camouflage pattern. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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