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04 Oct 19. Images suggest WZ-8 UAV in service with China’s Eastern Theatre Command. Photographs have recently emerged indicating that China’s recently paraded WZ-8 high-speed, high-altitude reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been assigned to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s (PLAAF’s) 30th Air Regiment, which operates from Luhe-Ma’an air base near Nanjing: the capital of China’s eastern Jiangsu Province.
The images, which were published by Chinese state media during rehearsals for the 1 October parade in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, showed two examples of the triangular-shaped UAV bearing serial numbers 21311 and 21312.
Five-digit serial numbers adhering to the format 21x1x indicate that the platforms bearing them, including some H-6M strategic bombers, are operated by the 10th Bomber Division (30th Air Regiment) within the Eastern Theatre Command, which faces Taiwan and Japan.
For the 1 October parade, however, the serial numbers on these two WZ-8 UAVs were either removed or at least covered.
The WZ-8, which was paraded on flatbed lorries, is powered by two engines but the absence of any air intakes indicates that it is not air breathing. Securing arrangements on top of the fuselage show that it is designed to be carried aloft by a host aircraft, most likely the H-6, and it is fitted with conventional landing gear, as Jane’s reported.
The H-6N features a modified section under its fuselage and there had been some speculation that in the fly-past it would carry an air-launched ballistic missile. This was not the case and it may be that the modification is to enable carriage of the WZ-8, although no confirmation of this has emerged. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
04 Oct 19. Iran displays guidance upgrade for artillery rockets. The Iranian Army unveiled what appeared to be a new guidance upgrade called the Labeik that converts existing artillery rockets into surface-to-surface missiles on 3 October.
Several Labeik units were displayed in an event attended by General Mohammad Hossein Dadras, the deputy commander of the regular military, and Brigadier General Kioumars Heidar, the commander of its ground forces.
The system looked similar to the guidance units used with the Fateh-110 family of solid-propellent missiles, although its four triangular control surfaces were inverted. As with the Fateh-110 family, these would be attached between the rocket motor and warhead to steer the projectile. They appeared to be compatible with the 610 mm diameter of the Zelzal heavy artillery rocket.
Iranian television showed footage of what was presented as the Labeik being tested, although one of the projectiles seen being launched appeared to be a member of the Fateh-110 family, probably a Hormuz anti-radiation variant.
The Labeik was one of several developments unveiled during the event, the others being the Rouin-Tan light armoured vehicle, the Heider-1 unmanned ground vehicle, the Farpod hand-launched unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and a mobile jamming system.
The Rouin-Tan that was displayed had a double-cab, pick-up configuration. An interior shot showed the dashboard of a Toyota Land Cruiser 70, but this might be a local copy produced for Iran’s Aras tactical vehicle.
Iranian television aired footage that appeared to show the composite armour used to protect the vehicle being successfully tested against 12.7 mm rounds and a high-explosive anti-tank round projectile. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Oct 19. India targets Turkish shipyard over ties with Pakistan. For the first time, India is taking punitive action against an overseas defense company that could see Turkish firm Anadolu Shipyard banned from doing defense-related business in India.
The Turkish company’s defense ties with Indian rival Pakistan have grown recently, and the latest move could impact the Indian Navy’s $2bn fleet support ships program, for which state-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited has chosen Anadolu Shipyard as its technology partner.
An Indian Ministry of Defence official said the punitive action would bar Anadolu from carrying out any business with Hindustan because such a partnership could have grave consequences for India’s security.
Last week Anadolu launched the first of four anti-submarine corvettes for the Pakistan Navy, and the shipyard is expected to officially ink a partnership agreement with Hindustan under which would be built five fleet support ships for the Indian Navy.
“Involvement of [the] Turkish defense company will include overseeing construction, detailed manufacturing, engineering, selecting equipment, quality assurance, etc. This would mean a permanent presence of Turkish people at HSL yard. That is a big security risk,” a senior Indian Navy official said.
India’s Navy will direct Hindustan to immediately end ties with Anadolu, the official added.
Diplomats at the Pakistani Embassy in India were unavailable for comment, and Anadolu Shipyard executives declined to discuss the subject.
Anadolu was selected by Hindustan in January to provide the design and other technical assistance for building five fleet support ships. Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea was not selected because it reportedly refused to guarantee the ships would be built in India, a Hindustan executive explained.
The 45,000-ton fleet support ship’s would carry armaments, stores and other essential equipment to support other warships in naval operations, and therefore the designer would possess sensitive details of what the ship would carry, another Indian Navy official said.
Said a Ministry of External Affairs official: “India is cautious with any kind of [strategic] alliance with Turkey because [the latter] has very close ties with Pakistan.”
India has not formalized defense cooperation with Turkey despite more than 70 years of diplomatic ties. (Source: Defense News)
02 Oct 19. North Korea says it successfully tested new submarine-launched ballistic missile. North Korea said on Thursday it had successfully test-fired a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from the sea to contain external threats and bolster self-defence, ahead of fresh nuclear talks with the United States.
The launch on Wednesday was the most provocative by North Korea since it resumed dialogue with the United States in 2018 and a reminder by Pyongyang of the weapons capability it has been aggressively developing, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, analysts said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “sent warm congratulations” to the defence scientists who conducted the test, state news agency KCNA said, indicating he did not attend the launch as he has at previous tests of new weapons systems.
The new type of SLBM, called Pukguksong-3, was “fired in vertical mode” in the waters off the eastern city of Wonsan, KCNA said, confirming an assessment by South Korea’s military on Wednesday that the missile was launched on a lofted trajectory.
“The successful new-type SLBM test-firing comes to be of great significance as it ushered in a new phase in containing the outside forces’ threat to the DPRK and further bolstering its military muscle for self-defence,” KCNA said.
DPRK is short for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The test “had no adverse impact on the security of neighbouring countries,” KCNA said but gave no other details about the launch.
Photos released in the North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, whose front two pages featured the test, showed a black-and-white painted missile clearing the surface of the water, then the rocket engine igniting to propel it into the sky.
A State Department spokeswoman called on Pyongyang to “refrain from provocations” and to remain committed to nuclear negotiations.
South Korea expressed strong concern and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the launch, saying it was a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. North Korea rejects U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technology, saying they are an infringement of its right to self-defence.
Talks aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes have been stalled since a second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam in February broke down in disagreement over nuclear disarmament.
North Korea fired the missile hours after announcing it would resume talks with the United States by holding working-level negotiations on Oct. 5.
North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator, Kim Myong Gil, arrived at the Beijing airport on Thursday with other North Korean officials and booked flights to Stockholm, Sweden, Yonhap reported, citing an airport official.
“We’re going for the DPRK-U.S. working-level negotiations,” the negotiator Kim told reporters in Beijing, according to Yonhap. “There’s been a new signal from the U.S. side, so we’re going with great expectations and optimism about the outcome.”
The Pukguksong-3 appeared to be a new design that has enhanced range and stability compared with a version tested in 2016, three analysts said.
It was probably launched from a test platform and not a submarine, which would be the final stage of testing, said Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul. State news agency KCNA released photos and a report in July of leader Kim Jong Un inspecting a large, newly built submarine, but an unnamed South Korean military source said on Thursday that the submarine appears to be still incomplete, Yonhap news agency reported.
Leader Kim Jong Un’s absence at the test is “extremely unusual,” Kyungnam University’s Kim said, probably meant to contain the political fallout that could result in the upcoming talks falling apart before they even start.
On Wednesday, South Korea’s military said the missile flew 450km (280 miles) and reached an altitude of 910 km (565 miles). It was likely a Pukguksong-class weapon, as the North’s earlier submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) under development were known.
South Korean Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said the Pukguksong, or Pole Star in Korean, would have had a range of about 1,300 km (910 miles) on a standard trajectory. North Korea had been developing SLBM technology before it suspended long-range missile and nuclear tests and began talks with the United States that led to the first summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore in June 2018.
The latest version of the Pukguksong may be the longest-range North Korean missile that uses solid fuel and the first nuclear-capable missile to be tested since November 2017, Ankit Panda of the U.S.-based Federation of American Scientists said.
North Korea has been developing rocket engines that burn solid fuel, which has advantages in military use compared with liquid fuel because it is stable and versatile, allowing it to be stored in missiles until they are ready for launch. (Source: Reuters)
02 Oct 19. Middle East invests in air defence as instability continues. According to the newly published Defence Insight report on the artillery and air defence market the Middle East has seen substantial procurement activity in recent years. There has been particular demand for air defence systems driven by long-standing conflicts in Syria and Yemen, along with fears about Iran and frictions among the GCC states, and with investment in long, medium and short-range capabilities all in evidence.
The full Artillery and Air Defence Market Report and Forecast 2019-2029 covers the global market for the systems over the next decade.
‘Total spending is expected to be around £28bn over the next 10 years, but the vast majority of this is already committed through to the middle of the 2020s, said Matt Smith, director of analysis. ‘There are very few new programmes visible in the later years of the decade, which is likely to be due to funding being shifted into upgrading and sustaining the capabilities that have been acquired.’
This surge in activity is particularly evident in Saudi Arabia, which is by far the largest market in the region with total estimated spending of $17bn over the next 10 years. A key concern within Saudi Arabia is protection against missile and drone strikes from Houthi rebels in Yemen and longer-range attacks from Iran.
These concerns have been borne out by high-profile attacks in 2017 and 2019 and have led to procurement of new systems and the deployment of additional air-defence capabilities into the country by the US.
‘The country’s procurement spending in air defence is dominated by its biggest programme: procurement of Terminal High Altitude Air Defence (THAAD), which could eventually be worth $15bn,’ Smith continued. The most recent increment of the deal saw Lockheed Martin awarded a $1.5bn contract for THAAD interceptors in April 2019. The whole programme is expected to be completed by 2026.
For its medium-range capability Saudi Arabia operates 22 Patriot fire batteries, comprising 21 systems acquired between 2014 and 2017 for $1.7bn and rebuilt to PAC-3 configuration, plus one additional battery acquired in 2017. It is also negotiating for the sale the S-400 long-range air defence system from Russia, worth an estimated $2bn.
The UAE also fields both THAAD and Patriot, taking delivery of nine PAC-3 batteries between 2012 and 2014, with two THAAD batteries acquired in the same time frame under a $2.5bn deal.
Its future requirements are more focussed on short-range capabilities, with a replacement for the Hawk short/medium-range GBAD system expected. Lockheed Martin, Diehl Defence, and Saab are expected to offer their new jointly developed Falcon system.
Another country looking to diversify its defence supplier base is Qatar. In 2014, Qatar ordered ten Patriot PAC-3 batteries under a $7.6bn deal, with delivery scheduled by the end of 2019, however Qatar has reportedly also expressed an interest in acquiring the S-400. For its short-range needs Qatar has turned to NASAMS, provided by Raytheon and Kongsberg.
Israel has one of the most sophisticated and modern layered land-based air defence networks, due to both traditional and asymmetric threats from neighbouring territories. This network includes ten Iron Dome fire batteries (operational since 2010), seven Patriot systems, and Arrow, Barak 8 and David’s Sling batteries. The US contributed financially to the development of the latter, and there are two systems deployed, enough to cover all of the country, in service with the Israel Defence Force since 2016. The land-based variant of Barak 8 also became operational in 2017, but Israel is moving to the indigenous Barak MX variant, developed by IAI based on the Barak family, which incorporates three different interceptors and offers flexibility according to customer needs. (Source: Shephard)
01 Oct 19. China unveils drones, missiles and hypersonic glide vehicle at military parade. China has showcased new types of missiles and unmanned platforms for the first time at a military parade in its capital on Oct. 1 to mark the 70th anniversary of its founding. The unmanned technologies included a large unmanned underwater vehicle, along with a high-speed unmanned aircraft believed to be capable of supersonic flight.
However, it was the missiles that took center stage — unsurprisingly given that the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, or PLARF, will be a central player in any future conflict involving China.
As previously reported by Defense News, the road-mobile DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile and the JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile each made their debut at the parade in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, representing the survivability of China’s nuclear deterrence.
China’s state-run news agency Xinhua said the 16 DF-41 transporter-erector-launchers at the parade came from two PLARF brigades, while the 12 JL-2 truck-mounted canisters at the parade represented the striking power of each of China’s projected force of six Jin-class ballistic missile submarines.
The biggest surprise at the parade was the appearance of the DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle, or HGV. The DF-17 consists of a standard ballistic missile booster for its first stage. The second stage is a low-flying projectile used to attack a target following the first stage’s ballistic reentry.
Reports citing U.S. government sources have said China has carried out several tests of HGVs, including the DF-17, since 2014. The DF-17 is the first system of its type known to be operational in the world, although several other nations including the U.S. are developing similar systems.
Also making their respective debuts at the parade were a pair of Chinese unmanned aircraft systems. The first of these was the Sharp Sword low-observable combat UAV. The example displayed at the parade featured a new stealthy engine intake and engine nozzles, in contrast to earlier photos showing a more conventional and less stealthy equivalents.
The other drone making its debut is believed to be a high-speed platform. Believed to be capable of attaining supersonic flight, the type, which has been referred to as the WZ-8, reportedly made its first flight in 2015 and is suspected in some quarters to be capable of launching from another aircraft such as the Xi’an H-6N bomber.
Photos from the parade confirm that this UAS is powered by a pair of rockets instead of an air-breathing engine, and suggests that speed is the priority for the design, possibly for reconnaissance missions or for attacking a high-value target. The parade also saw the debut of the HSU001 large unmanned underwater vehicle, with two systems mounted on trailers. Each vehicle is powered by two propellers and appear to be able to mount a variety of payloads including mast-mounted optics, although little else is known. (Source: Defense News)
01 Oct 19. China showcases fearsome new missiles to counter U.S. at military parade. China’s military on Tuesday showed off new equipment at a parade in central Beijing to mark 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic, including hypersonic-glide missiles that experts say could be difficult for the United States to counter. In a speech at the start of the nearly three-hour, highly choreographed spectacle, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that his country would stay on the path of “peaceful development,” but that the military would resolutely safeguard the country’s sovereignty and security.
China says the parade, the country’s most important political event of the year, which featured more than 15,000 troops marching through part of Tiananmen Square as jet fighters trailing coloured smoke soared overhead, is not meant to intimidate any specific country.
But defence experts see it as a message to the world that China’s military prowess is growing rapidly, even as it faces mounting challenges, including months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong and a slowing economy.
As expected, China unveiled new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and showcased its advancing intercontinental and hypersonic missiles, designed to attack the aircraft carriers and bases that undergird U.S. military strength in Asia.
A state television announcer called the missile arsenal a “force for realising the dream of a strong nation and strong military.”
Among the weapons were the “carrier killer” Dongfeng-21D (DF-21D), unveiled at military parade in 2015, designed to hit warships at sea at a range of up to 1,500 kilometres, and the DF-26 intermediate range missile, dubbed “Guam killer” in reference to the U.S. Pacific island base.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) also rolled out a hypersonic missile, known as the DF-17, which theoretically can manoeuvre sharply at many times the speed of sound, making it extremely difficult to counter.
Nozomu Yoshitomi, professor at Japan’s Nihon University and a retired major general in Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Force, said the DF-17 posed serious questions about the effectiveness of the regional missile defence system the United States and Japan are building.
“There is a possibility that if we do not acquire a more sophisticated ballistic missile defence system, it will become impossible for both the United States and Japan to respond,” Yoshitomi said.
Bringing up the rear of the ground parade were 16 upgraded launchers carrying DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are the backbone of China’s nuclear deterrent, capable of reaching the United States with multiple nuclear warheads.
State media said 40% of the arms shown in the parade were appearing in public for the first time. Such hardware included new and revamped versions of missiles, such as the long-range submarine-launched and ship-based YJ-18A anti-ship cruise missiles, the official Xinhua news agency said.
China has a practice of only displaying systems in parades it says have entered some form of service, though analysts have cautioned that some of the new equipment could be experimental or prototypes.
For instance, the Gongji-11, described by the state-controlled Global Times as an attack drone and the “final version” of the Sharp Sword drone that first flew in 2013, was displayed for the first time on the back of a truck.
China showed jets in aerial refuelling formation, and the Z-20 medium lift helicopter, similar to a U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk, also made its public debut, Xinhua said.
Many modern Western militaries eschew elaborate, large-scale military parades as costly extravagances and argue such events have almost no value for war beyond a possible boost to morale.
Still, governments around the region and foreign military experts watched the parade closely for signals about China’s military achievements, looking for clues about weapon capabilities and evidence of new systems.
The government of the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, said in response to the parade that China was a serious threat to peace and democracy.
As a part of what Chinese military officials said would be a focus on command structure reforms under Xi’s ambitious military reorganisation, hundreds of personnel from the PLA’s new Joint Logistics Support Force, Strategic Support Force, and Rocket Force marched in their national day parade debuts.
Xinhua also said there were two female major generals participating in the parade for the first time.
Analysts see progress in combined operations between branches of the military and in mechanising its forces as a shift in priorities from defending Chinese borders toward having expeditionary forces able to defend the country’s far-flung commercial and diplomatic interests. Many said the show of force was a reminder to the United States and its allies at how far the PLA has come.
Sam Roggeveen, the director of the Sydney-based Lowy Institute’s International Security Program, said the pace of China’s military technological development was “breathtaking” and that with defence spending thought to be around 2% of GDP, “they’re not breaking a sweat.”
“The message is pretty blunt. It dramatically erodes the U.S. military edge is Asia, and over the long-term, America’s military primacy in Asia is clearly under threat,” Roggeveen said. (Source: Reuters)
27 Sep 19. Joint high-level committee to enhance Australia-Malaysia strategic partnership. Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has hosted her Malaysian counterpart, Defence Minister Mohamad bin Sabu, in Canberra for the second Malaysia-Australia High Level Committee. Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds and Malaysian Minister of Defence Mohamad bin Sabu, held the second Malaysia-Australia High Level Committee in Canberra, Australia, on 25 September 2019. The meeting’s wide-ranging and open discussion reflected the strength and breadth of the relationship, and the spirit of friendship and shared interest in addressing the region’s security challenges. Both Ministers sought to focus on a number of key focus areas of mutual interest for both nations, namely:
A firm commitment to regional security cooperation: Minister Reynolds and Minister Mohamad welcomed the opportunity to exchange views on the complex defence and security challenges in the region.
As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) first dialogue partner, Minister Reynolds emphasised Australia’s strong and longstanding support for ASEAN and its central role in support of regional security, including through its convening of the region’s most important strategic forums.
Both Ministers agreed that ASEAN principles of openness, transparency, inclusivity and respect for international law, as set out in ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, were essential ingredients of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific.
Five Power Defence Arrangements: The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), which they viewed as an integral part of the region’s security architecture, and of particular relevance in light of the 50th anniversary of the FPDA in 2021.
The FPDA has built trust and enhanced interoperability among the militaries of member nations, and contributed to peace and security in the region. The Ministers agreed to continue to enhance the operational value of the exercises, including incorporating maritime security and counterterrorism elements.
Organisational reform in a Defence context: Both Ministers agreed that the challenges associated with Defence reform offered scope for further cooperation, particularly in the areas of governance and procurement, and also in respect of Defence industry and capability life cycle development.
Building on these individual factors, Minister Reynolds and Minister Mohamad sought to identify on a series of critical initiatives to “further strengthen the relationship” between the two longstanding strategic partners:
- Both Ministers recognised that, as close regional partners, Australia and Malaysia would increase collaboration on defence industry.
- Ministers agreed to expand Australia and Malaysia’s Defence industry cooperation, through the establishment of a Defence Industry and Innovation Working Group under the Malaysia-Australia Joint Defence Program Dialogue framework.
- Ministers supported the negotiation of a government-to-government agreement, which will enable coordination and support in aircraft capability cooperation. The Royal Malaysian Air Force-Royal Australian Air Force agreement will increase F-18 Hornet sustainment and maintenance cooperation.
- Ministers recognised that people-to-people ties were critical to developing a mutually beneficial relationship between our countries. The Ministers were pleased to see the continuation of reciprocal instructor exchanges, including at each country’s respective staff colleges, peacekeeping centres and language schools.
- Ministers agreed to increase the number of Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) members seconded into the Australian Defence Force (ADF) from 12 to 14; and the number of ADF members seconded to the MAF from seven to eight.
- They also welcomed the creation of a new seconded officer position of a senior Royal Malaysian Air Force officer to undertake a 12 month fellowship at the Australian Air Power Development Centre, to commence in 2020.
- A senior Royal Malaysian Navy officer will also be offered a three month fellowship at the Australian Sea Power Centre, starting in 2020.
- The Ministers agreed that reciprocal training and education activities continue to strengthen the people-to-people links and foundations of trust that underpin the relationship. Around 140 Malaysian military personnel and civilians train and study at Australian institutions and universities each year. Reciprocally, roughly 50 Australian Defence Force members attend training and education courses in Malaysia each year, including at the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College. Minister Reynolds announced two additional Defence scholarships for Malaysia, including a new civilian scholarship. Combined with the increase in scholarships agreed at the 2018 Malaysia-Australia High Level Committee, this represents a doubling in scholarships for Malaysia since release of the 2016 Defence White Paper. (Source: Defence Connect)
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