Thursday, February 28, 2013

Raytheon Delivers First SM-6 From State-of-the-Art Missile Plant


Raytheon’s new, state-of-the-art missile factory in Huntsville, Ala. has delivered its first Standard Missile-6, a ship defense weapon that will soon be able to attack ballistic missiles as well.

The U.S. Navy took ownership of the SM-6 round at a ceremony on Thursday at the new $75 million, 70,000-square foot facility in Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal.
The Standard Missile-6  defends naval vessels against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles.  By 2015 Raytheon plans to upgrade the SM-6 to also provide protection against ballistic missiles in their final phase of flight, making it the only missile capable of enhanced anti-air warfare, over-the-horizon interception and ballistic missile defense.
The first SM-6 missile to be assembled at new state-of-the-art factory in Huntsville, AL is prepared for delivery to the U.S. Navy.
The weapon is a game changer for naval warfighters when it comes to defending the fleet, said Dr. Taylor Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems.
“Our state-of-the-art production facility in Huntsville will play a significant role in delivering this asset to the U.S. Navy on time and on budget for years to come,” said Lawrence.
Raytheon used the occasion to honor another group of warriors—teachers. Kevin Byrnes, vice president and center executive, Raytheon Huntsville, handed over a $30,000 check to the Free 2 Teach non-profit that helps stock teachers’ classrooms with much-needed supplies at zero cost.
Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence signs the replica DD250 form symbolizing the final sale of the SM-6 to the U.S. Navy.
“You can’t have rocket scientists without great teachers,” said Byrnes. “We want to grow the world’s next-generation of engineers. Supporting this charity is one great way we can help make that possible.”
The missile-making business has already brought more than 100 jobs to Alabama’s Aviation and Aerospace Corridor and will continue to bring 200 more over the next couple of years. 
The facility will also produce the Standard Missile-3, a defensive weapon used to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. SM-3 deliveries will begin later in the year.

Capabilities and Missions of the Zumwalt Class Destroyers


Over the next several years, a series of new, Zumwalt-class destroyers will join the Navy. In a recent interview, Capt. Jim Downey, DDG-1000 program manager at Naval Sea Systems Command, discussed the capabilities of these new warships and how they will help the Navy fulfill its goal of being where it matters, when it matters.

Navy Live:  Could you explain the main mission DDG-1000?
Capt. Downey:  DDG-1000 is actually a multi-mission destroyer.  It covers surface, sub-surface, as well as air warfare areas.  Its real focus is in the littorals, providing volume fire support in the littorals, as well as support to our special operations areas.
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Navy Live:  What’s the volume fire support?
Capt. Downey:  Volume fire support comes from our significant gun systems on the ship and that’s to provide support right to our ground forces and precise targets ashore to help the Navy and those ground forces in that type of combat area.

Navy Live:  How does the mission differ from previous DDGs, like the Arleigh Burke?
Capt. Downey:  There are several differences of significance in this ship.  In addition to providing major new technologies, the ship itself is designed significantly differently.  It’s designed with a significant radar cross-section reduction, a 50-fold reduction from our current surface combatants.  That allows it to get in closer to land and be less detectable.  That aids in its littoral dominance capability.  That’s one area that’s different.  The ship is designed significantly differently to support that mission area.
The ship is also designed in power and propulsion and in manning significantly differently.  The power and propulsion is the integrated power system, and that’s designed with a 78 megawatt system.  That is a difference where the main propulsion, auxiliary propulsion, and the advance induction motors actually provide all of the power for the ship.  In addition to typical ships today where the generators, those main generators support movement of the ship and other generators support the combat system and the ship systems, this is an integrated system of power, and that one system which is redundant throughout the ship supports all those mission areas as well as propulsion.
The benefit of that is to not have to upgrade the ship in the future to provide more power capability if more power is needed for combat systems.  So that’s one major difference in the ship.
Another major difference from past ships is this ship is designed…for less crew.  Specifically, the ship is designed around the concept where there’s less operational spaces on the ship but more capability in those spaces that are provided. An example is, there’s no engineering control space on the ship.  The typical CIC or Combat Information Center is combined with engineering control and damage control into one ship’s mission center allowing less people to operate across a variety of equipment.  That gives them more capability.
So you have control over power and control over combat systems in the same space to take advantage of that integrated power system.
The launching systems on the ship are significantly different also, in two ways.  They were designed for future missiles, longer missiles, heavier missiles, wider missiles.  That’s the MK 57, the launching system.  And they’re designed on the periphery of the ship instead of center line.  That is specifically to protect the ship if there were ever damage control events related to those launchers.

Navy Live:  As far as the actual mission of the DDG-1000, what would you say is the primary difference between the older class, not the systems on board, but the actual mission support that they’ll be given?
Capt. Downey:  The main area difference is the littoral dominance capability.  So it’s a multi-mission ship, it’s globally deployable and supports many mission areas.  But the key difference in the ship, other than the power and the missiles that I talked about, is it’s much harder to detect the ship.  The ship is specifically designed with a 50-fold radar cross section reduction from our prior ships.  That is to allow it to get closer to land for closer, to more closely project power ashore as it moves closer to land.  There’s other systems aboard that support that in addition to the hull design.  It has an in-stride mine avoidance for operating in hazardous waters, all designed to allow the ship to get closer to a hostile area and then to project power ashore.
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Navy Live:  So how, besides the obvious, how is it more effective than the earlier class ships?
Capt. Downey:  There’s significantly more power available to the ship to operate the ship and to use the power as needed for those operations.  It also allows for the system to have less overhaul time in the future.  You won’t have to add power to the ship.  That’s a big difference.
Another difference is this ship, our largest destroyer we’ve built, is a 15,000 ton ship with about 120 crew.  The ship was actually designed for an optimally sized crew.  Regarding the space consolidation that I talked about, the living accommodations of the crew, there’s no general birthing on the ship.  There’s staterooms on the ship.  The staterooms range from one to four people would actually live in the staterooms.  Nothing larger than a four person stateroom.  All of the staterooms have integrated heads in the stateroom so there’s no general birthing, and there’s very few general heads.  They’re all aligned directly in the staterooms.
So with that, the systems are designed for a smaller crew; there’s much more automation in the damage control of the ship; and there’s more automation and capturing the aviation assets, the helos, the Fire Scout capability on the ship.  All designed to reduce the work load for the crew.

Navy Live:  Can you tell me real quick about the automated damage control system?
Capt. Downey:  Sure.  There are multiple sensors in the ship, throughout the ship, monitoring the equipment, monitoring fluid levels, monitoring the boundaries of the ship for multiple purposes.  That’s integrated into the control system of the ship and the crew can see that information.
With that, there’s several different capabilities than we have today, much more advanced.  In firefighting, there’s a fire suppression system, much more significant automated fire capability, allowing the damage control crews to be smaller.  There’s tele-robotic fire nozzles out to fight the fire on the flight deck, so personnel are not out there on the flight deck.
Then on the power side, the power is designed with a unique capability that’s referred to as Integrated Fight-Through Power or IFTP.  The automation related to IFTP for damage control is an automatic reconfiguration of the power for the ship as needed based upon the damage control situation of the ship.  Those are some of the biggest features for the automation of the damage control.
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Navy Live:  What are the ship’s aerial and aircraft capabilities?
Capt. Downey:  There’s multiple aviation assets that can support.  It can house two helos at a time, principally H-60s, but it can land a wide variety of helicopters.  In addition to the two helos it can support three VTUAVs or Fire Scouts at a time.  It has a capture system for the VTUAVs on the flight deck.  It’s a much larger flight deck than typical destroyers.  It’s almost double the size.  It’s a 150 foot flight deck out there.  Then we have an assist system for the helicopters that does not include personnel to capture the helicopter.  So as the helicopter lands on the flight deck it triggers the assist system and the assist system mechanically captures the helicopter.  That system moves the helicopter into the hangar, out of the hangar, and turns the helicopter as needed prior to launch.

Navy Live:  So how long do we expect to see this ship in service?  How long do you expect it to be in service?
Capt. Downey:  Sure.  It’s designed for a service of 30 years and beyond, so that’s built right into the service life of the ship.  The first ship will deliver here from the hull mechanical electrical standpoint in 2014 and then it will receive its combat systems activation and commissioning in 2015.  Then the first of the class goes through a series of operational testing to declare that it’s met its initial operational capability, and that will occur in 2016.  Then each ship is designed for 30-plus years. 

National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy update



Ottawa, ONTARIO, February 27, 2013 – Today, the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) Secretariat held a technical briefing for media to provide an update on progress made since the signing of the umbrella agreements one year ago this month.
The Strategy was developed and is being implemented using the following five-phased approach:
  • Developing the strategy—Launched in summer 2009 with a Shipbuilding Forum, this phase involved industry consultations. It led to the announcement of the Strategy in June 2010;
  • Selecting the shipyards—A competitive process was launched in summer 2010 and completed on October 19, 2011;
  • Establishing the relationship—This phase is ongoing, but it achieved a major milestone with the signing of umbrella agreements with the shipyards in February 2012;
  • Preparing the yards and finalizing the designs—This is where we are today. The shipyards are undertaking the work required to be able to build Canada’s ships efficiently; and
  • Constructing the ships.
The NSPS is now in its fourth phase, with the designs for the first ships to be built being finalized. A “design-then-build” approach is being followed to ensure that the design work is completed before proceeding with construction. This lower-risk approach will improve the efficiency of the shipbuilding process. These two phases (design and construction) will be repeated throughout the duration of the Strategy.
To date, Canada has negotiated and awarded a number of contracts with the shipyards and progress continues.
  • The selection process for the design services for the polar icebreaker concluded on November 17, 2011, with the announcement of a $10.8-million contract to STX Canada Marine Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • In July 2012, a preliminary $9.3-million contract was awarded to Irving Shipbuilding Inc. to conduct a review of the existing Arctic/offshore patrol ships (AOPS) design and specifications and create an execution strategy for the AOPS project.
  • On August 20, 2012, the Government tested a scale model of its future polar icebreaker, the CCGS John G. Diefenbaker, in the world’s longest ice tank. This unique testing facility is located at the National Research Council’s Institute for Ocean Technology in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • On February 21, 2013, the Government of Canada announced a $360-million investment to extend the life of the Canadian Coast Guard fleet, which will benefit the Canadian shipbuilding industry across the country and build on the Government’s commitment to supporting jobs and growth.
  • On February 22, 2013, a $13.2-million design definition contract for the new offshore fisheries science vessels (OFSV) was awarded to Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. The contract is one of a series leading to the delivery of new ships for the Canadian Coast Guard, starting with the construction of the OFSVs in 2014.
  • Two other contracts with Vancouver Shipyards were also announced on February 22, 2013—an initial agreement valued at $1.4 million for the Royal Canadian Navy’s joint support ships, and a $1.1-million contract for the review of the polar icebreaker design.
  • Both Vancouver Shipyards and Irving Shipbuilding are undertaking significant infrastructure upgrades valued at almost $200 million and $300 million respectively. These upgrades are at no cost to the Government of Canada.
The Government is following through on its commitment to build ships in Canada. TheNSPS will mean long-term jobs and economic growth for the country, stability for the industry, and vital equipment for our men and women in the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard.

February 27, 2013: Statement from Irving Shipbuilding Regarding Federal National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy Update


Today’s briefing by Canada reaffirms that the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) process continues to move forward.  Our focus is on meeting the current federal schedule to cut steel on the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships in 2015 which was confirmed again today, while at the same time completing our estimated $300 million shipyard investment to realize the long-term, generational  opportunity that NSPS provides.

We look forward to an announcement regarding the Definition Contract for the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) in the very near future.
The infrastructure upgrade at Halifax Shipyard is underway with first tasks involving the work on Piers 6 and 7 that will result in new docking and launching capability.  Detailed plans for shipyard modernization are still being finalized and construction is expected to begin in the Spring.  Within the next several months we expect to be placing contracts for goods and services required as part of the infrastructure upgrade and will be sharing our plans in more detail once they are finalized.

Navy to Christen First Mobile Landing Platform


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The Navy will christen the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) Montford Point March 2, during a 10 a.m. PST ceremony in San Diego, Calif. 
The Commandant of the Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Jim Amos will deliver the ceremony's principal address.  Alexis "Jackie" Bolden, the wife of current NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will serve as the ship's sponsor.  
USNS Montford Point (T-MLP 1) is named for the approximately 20,000 African-American Marine Corps recruits who trained at the North Carolina facility from 1942 to 1949.  Their exceptional service prompted President Truman to sign an executive order in 1948 disallowing segregation in the Marine Corps.  These 20,000 Marines were recently recognized with our nation's highest civilian honor for distinguished achievement, the Congressional Gold Medal. 
"I chose to name the department's new MLP Montford Point as a way to give some long-overdue recognition to these proud Americans who gave so much in the defense of our nation," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.  "The courage shown by these Marines helped forge the Corps into the most formidable expeditionary force in the world."  
The MLP is a highly flexible platform that will provide capability for large-scale logistics movements such as the transfer of vehicles and equipment from sea to shore.  It will significantly reduce dependency on foreign ports and provide support in the absence of any port, making an MLP especially useful during disaster response and for supporting Marines once they are ashore.  
The ship will leverage float-on/float-off technology, allowing Montford Point to partially submerge, facilitating easy movement of cargo and craft.  Additionally, the ship's size allows for 25,000 square feet of vehicle and equipment stowage space and 380,000 gallons of JP-5 fuel storage. 
With this set of capabilities, the ship is able to easily transfer personnel and vehicles from other vessels such as the large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships (LMSRs) onto landing craft air cushioned (LCAC) vehicles and transport them ashore.  The platform with its open, reconfigurable mission deck will serve as an important flexible and transformational asset to the Navy as it can be reconfigured to support a wide variety of future operations. 
MLPs will have a maximum speed of 15 knots and range of 9,500 nautical miles.  At 785 feet long, MLPs displace more than 80,000 tons when fully loaded.  MLPs will operate with a crew of 34 Military Sealift Command personnel. 
MLP 1 was constructed by General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., (NASSCO) in San Diego, Calif.  Owned and operated by Military Sealift Command, Montford Point will be the first ship in its class.  The ship is expected to be delivered to the Navy in fiscal 2013 and be operational in fiscal 2015. 
The christening ceremony will be carried live via the U.S. Navy's Livestream channel at www.livestream.com/usnavy.  

General Dynamics Awarded Submarine Safety and Maintenance Contract



The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a contract to perform submarine safety program (SUBSAFE) and intermediate submarine maintenance work for submarines.  This five-year, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract has a potential value of $215.5 million.  Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics.
Electric Boat will provide technical management, administrative and technical services, tools, equipment and facilities and required support to accomplish installation, repair and maintenance of weapons, hull, mechanical and electrical equipment.
Electric Boat has performed SUBSAFE work for the Navy for more than four decades and is a proven provider of intermediate-level maintenance and modernization activities.

Conventional (AIP) Submarine - a Weapon of Choice for the 21st Century, Says Frost & Sullivan


Feb. 28, 2013 - The modern non-nuclear, conventional diesel-electric submarine (SSK) with air-independent propulsion systems (AIP) is a complex, multi-role and extremely powerful weapon system. The submarine is able to deploy a wide range of weapons and conducting various missions ranging from anti-submarine, anti-surface vessels warfare to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
According to Frost & Sullivan, despite the implementation of austerity measures and defence budget reductions in many countries, the demand for conventional submarines, mainly with AIP on board, will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.8 per cent globally during 2013-2022 and present revenue opportunities of up to USD 34.80 billion.
"The naval operations environment has changed significantly; operations at sea have moved from the ´blue water´ open ocean to the ´brown water´ shallow costal environment, " noted Frost & Sullivan Aerospace, Defence & Security Industry Analyst, Dominik Kimla. "The importance of smaller and quieter conventional submarines, rather than larger, nuclear-powered, has increased significantly."
However, the submerge endurance of AIP SSK cannot as yet be compared with that of nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN). Nevertheless, AIP technology is evolving rapidly with more reliable and powerful AIP solutions expected within a decade. The AIP system is seen as a must-have capability for newly procured SSKs. Moreover, the through-life cost of SSK AIP, in comparison to SSN, is three to four times lower, not to mention the high cost related to the deactivation of SSN.
Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Europe appear to be the two most attractive markets at present. Frost & Sullivan forecasts that the SSK market in APAC will grow at a CAGR of 2.1 per cent and account for 47.2 per cent of the global demand for conventional submarines (2013-2022). "APAC countries are in the process of expanding their underwater capabilities with stealthy SSK, " added Mr. Kimla. "All major Navies in the region are implementing submarine programmes."
Europe, with a CAGR of 1.5 per cent and a 22.4 per cent global market share, will retain its status as the second largest SSK market over the forecast period. The most prominent ongoing SSK projects are underway in Germany and Italy (type-212), Greece and Turkey (type-214) and Spain (S-80). Additionally, Sweden has been developing its new submarine - A26 project, Norway is looking to replace its Ula class SSK while Poland wants to enter two modern AIP submarines into service by 2022.
"Navies are increasingly looking at modern SSK due to its multi-role capacities and semi-strategic potential. Consequently, modern conventional submarines present significant market opportunities for the submarine sector to sell new boats as well as to retrofit standard SSK with AIP plug in section, " summarised Mr. Kimla. "The Pacific region has experienced the most heavy sea-lane traffic in the world, which needs to be constantly secured. It therefore offers considerable business growth prospects for submarine solutions providers."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

This Week in Naval History


28 Feb 1893: First true US Navy battleship, USS Indiana launched

On 28 February 1893, the first true US Navy battleship, USS Indiana (BB 1), was launched. During the Spanish-American War, she operated in the Caribbean and participated in the Battle of Santiago, Cuba. During WWI, Indiana served as a training ship. Decommissioned in January 1919 and with a name change to Coast Battleship #1, she was used for ordnance tests and sunk in November 1920. To read more about USS Indiana, please click here: http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/i1/indiana-i.htm

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1 March 1942: VP-82 Hudson bomber sank German Submarine U-656

1 March 1942, Ensign William Tepuni, USNR, piloting a Lockheed Hudson, PBO, of VP-82 based at Argentia, Newfoundland, attacked and sank the U 656 southwest of Newfoundland—the first German submarine sunk by U.S. forces in World War II. Before being sunk, U 656 served on two war patrols but didn’t sink any Allied vessels.
To read more about Naval Aviation during this period, please click here:
http://www.history.navy.mil/download/history/part05.pdf


2 March 1973: 1st 4 Women began US Navy flight training

On 2 March 1973, the first four women began US Navy flight training to become Naval Aviators. The women were: Lieutenant Junior Grade Barbara A. Allen (Rainey); Lieutenant Junior Grade Judith A. Neuffer; Ensign Jane M. Skiles, and Ensign Kathleen L. McNary.

William S. Benson

3 Mar 1915: Chief of Naval Operations Rank Established

On 3 March 1915, the Office of Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) was established by Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy, the CNO is charged with the operations of the fleet and with the preparation and readiness of plans for its use in war. Admiral William S. Benson was the first CNO. Currently serving as the 30th CNO is Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert.

4 Mar 1825: US Navy captured Caribbean Pirates

On 4 March 1825, the schooner Grampus, commanded by Lieutenant Francis H. Gregory, captured a pirate sloop off the southern coast of Puerto Rico. Also on this date, Lieutenant Junior Grade G. Pendergast, sailing in a prize sloop with 26 men, engaged a pirate sloop in a 40-minute action. The sloop was captured after much loss of life. Some of the pirates escaped ashore to Boca del Inferno, West Indies, where they were imprisoned by the Spanish.

5 Mar 1942: Seabees name and insignia authorized

On 5 March 1942, the "Seabees" name and insignia were officially authorized. Rear Admiral Ben Moreell personally furnished them with their official motto: Construimus, Batuimus -- "We Build, We Fight."

6 Mar 1822: USS Enterprise captured 4 pirate ships

On 6 March 1822, the schooner Enterprise captured four pirate ships in Gulf of Mexico. During her time in the Gulf, Enterprise took 13 vessels while suppressing pirates, smugglers, and slaves.

NORAD Promotes Maritime Awareness to Protect Homeland

North American Aerospace Defense Command's maritime domain awareness mission helps to provide the information and intelligence required to increase the security of U.S. and Canadian waterways and ports. Pictured here are four newly operational supersized container cranes on a new 50-foot deep container berth at the Port of Baltimore, one of only two East Coast ports able to accommodate some of the world's largest container vessels. Maryland Port Administration Photo by Bill McAllen, courtesy of the Maryland Port Administration

Drive around any American city and you're likely to see tractor-trailers hauling huge containers that arrived from overseas at any of 361 major U.S. ports dotting some 95,000 miles of U.S. coastline.

The United States is the world leader in maritime trading, Navy Capt. Martin Beck, chief of North American Air Defense Command's maritime division, told American Forces Press Service. Twenty percent of all global trade passes through its extensive maritime transportation system, and 80 percent of all foreign trade entering the United States and Canada arrives by sea.
Unfortunately, these same waterways expose an unintended Achilles' heel to bad actors intent on using them for illegal, or even diabolical, activities.
"The threats are varied to the extent of your imagination," Beck explained. "They include state and nonstate actors, narco-smuggling, human traffickers, weapons traffickers, proliferators [and] foreign intelligence collectors. That is the gross macro spectrum of what we could encounter in the maritime domain."
The consequences, if left undetected, could be severe to the United States and Canada, Beck said. "We want to prevent a potential 9/11 in the maritime domain," he said.
To shore up these vulnerabilities, the United States and Canada amended the NORAD agreement in 2006 to add maritime warning to its mission. The two countries agreed to increase information and intelligence sharing to give their national leaders a clearer picture of the maritime approaches to their shores -- and, in the event of an inbound threat, vital time to act.
"The intent of the agreement was to increase the security of North America using a proven command infrastructure to increase bi-national cooperation in the maritime domain," Beck said. "We've got 55 years of experience here at NORAD in the defense of both Canada and the United States. So we are leveraging the state-of-the-art operations center and information-sharing protocols to ensure both countries have an accurate, timely and comprehensive picture of the maritime domain."
Since adopting the expanded mission almost seven years ago, NORAD processes, assesses and disseminates intelligence and information about the movements of hundreds of thousands of ships around the globe that ultimately will arrive at U.S. or Canadian shores.
This responsibility, which covers both countries' maritime areas, internal waterways and maritime approaches, requires extensive partnerships with U.S. Northern Command and its sister combatant commands. It also includes other partners in the U.S. and Canadian militaries, law enforcement, intelligence and commercial maritime communities.
Beck called these partnerships and the processes they have developed to make collaboration faster and more effective the strength of NORAD's maritime mission. Together, NORAD and its partners provide the myriad elements that, considered together, provide the most complete situational awareness, he said.
"The biggest challenge is the sheer volume of information that we have to sort through, and then collaborate on and share with our partners," Beck said. "This sharing and collaboration is essential to our success in the maritime domain and in exercising our maritime warning mission."
When the intelligence raises a red flag, NORAD issues an advisory to alert national decision-makers, or, in the event of a confirmed threat, a maritime warning.
Both are relatively rare. During the last 18 months, NORAD has issued just seven advisories and two warnings, none of which Beck can describe because the details are classified. But he said past responses have proven the effectiveness of the processes.
"To us, this shows that the process is working exactly as it was intended," he said.
The success of the mission, Beck said, can't be measured in warnings issued or interceptions made. Rather, he said he looks at the big picture, and the fact that neither the United States nor Canada has suffered a major maritime incident.
NORAD is committed to maintaining this track record to protect the U.S. and Canadian homelands, Beck said.
"We have the watch, and what we do is a no-fail mission," he said.

Coast Guard responds to allision, oil spill southwest of Port Sulphur

The Coast Guard is responding to an oil spill about nine miles southwest of Port Sulphur, La., Feb. 27, 2013. The Coast Guard is working with federal, state and local agencies as well as the responsible party, Swift Energy, in response to this incident to secure the well and contain and cleanup any oil that is leaking. U.S. Coast Guard photo.


NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard is responding to a report of an allision between a vessel and an inactive wellhead about nine miles southwest of Port Sulphur, Wednesday.
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a report that the 42-foot crewboat Sea Raider allided with a wellhead owned by Swift Energy at around 8 p.m., Tuesday. The platform is discharging an oily-water mixture, but the amount is unknown at this time.
Swift Energy reports the wellhead was shut down and became inactive in December 2007.
The Coast Guard is working with federal, state and local agencies as well as the responsible party, Swift Energy, in response to this incident to secure the well and contain and clean up any oil that is leaking.
The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

USS Warrior to Deploy to Japan, Replace USS Guardian

Mine countermeasures ship USS Warrior (MCM 10) transits the Arabian Gulf.

The U.S. Navy announced Feb. 26 (Japan Standard Time) that USS Warrior (MCM 10) will deploy to U.S. 7th Fleet Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) in Sasebo, Japan, to replace USS Guardian (MCM 5).
Guardian, which ran aground on Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines Jan. 17, is beyond economical repair and will be dismantled.
Guardian was administratively decommissioned and stricken from the naval registry Feb. 15. Guardian's crew will conduct a formal ceremony to honor the ship's service and achievements in Sasebo at a date to be determined.
An Avenger class mine countermeasures ship, the 23-year old Guardian will be dismantled while minimizing damage to the surrounding marine environment. Although there are likely to be deviations in the dismantling plan due to changing conditions, the Navy expects the operation to take more than one month as a team of salvage experts work to remove Guardian from the reef as quickly as safety, weather, and environmental protection allows. 
Due to the professional response by Guardian's crew, no one was injured during the grounding. No longer needed for the salvage operations, all 79 Guardian Sailors have returned to Sasebo to be reunited with their families. 
Warrior recently completed a deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. Also an Avenger-class ship capable of detecting and neutralizing mines, Warrior will be transported from Bahrain by a heavy-lift transport ship on March 2 and delivered to Sasebo sometime in late March. The majority of the Warrior's crew will return to their home port of San Diego from Bahrain while the remaining Sailors will accompany the ship to Sasebo. At a date yet to be determined, Warrior's crew will relinquish command of the ship to Guardian's crew during a ceremony in Sasebo.
Increasing FDNF capability supports the United States' commitment to the defense of Japan and the security and stability of the vital Asia-Pacific region. 

E-9A unique flying mission provides sea surveillance, telemetry

The E-9A "Widget" prepares for takeoff Jan. 29. There are only two E-9A Widgets in the Defense Department inventory and both are housed at the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron. They are used in the weapons evaluation program primarily as a surveillance platform to ensure the Gulf Coast waters are clear of civilian boaters and aircraft during live missile launches and other hazardous military activities. (USAF photo by Master Sgt. J. Scott Wilcox)


Tyndall AFB - It may not be as loud as a fighter nor as fast, but the E-9A "Widget" is an essential asset to the mission of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group and the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron.

The aircraft itself was originally a twin turboprop Bombardier de Havilland Canada Dash 8 commuter aircraft used in short- to medium-range transport and capable of carrying up to 32 passengers -- that was before the Air Force acquired two of them.

The Air Force's only two E-9A aircraft are highly-modified versions of the Dash 8 and are used primarily as a sea surveillance platform. As such, the aircraft is used to ensure that the Gulf of Mexico waters remain clear of boat traffic during live weapons launches and drops as well as other potentially hazardous military activities.

The E-9A provides 360-degree radar coverage and datalink relay of approximately 200 surface contacts, but sea surveillance only scratches the surface of what the E-9A is capable of accomplishing.

"Though the aircraft is primarily used to monitor the water's surface for boaters during live-fire events, these aircraft also provide telemetry relay assistance to support the evaluation of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapon systems," said Garry Acree, 82nd ATRS E-9A pilot. "After patrolling the area for surface contacts, the aircraft is used to collect telemetry information yielding weaponry performance data from the fighter jets missiles or bombs and tracking scoring from the drone."

For the telemetry aspect of the mission, the aircraft is equipped with a phased-array antenna on the right side of its fuselage that simultaneously receives, records, and downlinks five spatially-separated telemetry sources. The E-9A is capable of sending this information to either Tyndall or to Eglin AFB range. The E-9A also provides an over-the-horizon ultra-high-frequency command initiate and destruct relay system as well as
increased telemetry receive and record data rates.

"Telemetry is the technology of being able to collect performance data from a distance on weaponry which could be a missile or a bomb," Acree said. "The fighter jet's missile systems are also equipped with telemetry packs and those radio signals are picked up by the E-9A. The aircraft then records the data and relays the signals to analysts on the ground to see what is happening with the jet's missiles. Scoring data received from the drones is also relayed."

Acree further explained that the data collected and analyzed ensures that "the warfighter has the utmost confidence in the capability of his or her weapon system."

Acree also mentioned another capability of the E-9A, which is UHF radio relay.

"This capability allows us to act as an antenna in the sky to relay ultra-high-frequency radio transmissions to a controlling agency from a low-flying aircraft, a vessel on the water's surface, or even a downed
crewmember, as long as we are within radio range and the entity has an operable UHF radio," Acree said. "This is absolutely necessary for some missions which begin in the Atlantic Ocean, transit the Gulf of Mexico, and terminate on the Eglin AFB range."

Gene Miller, 82nd ATRS quality manager and deputy program manager of Aero Tech Service Associates Inc. (ATSA), explained that maintenance on the E-9A is an efficient use of resources.

"There are approximately 17 contractors that maintain the aircraft," said Miller. "They perform system and aircraft specific maintenance. The contractors are responsible for pre-flight and post-flight inspections."

The team spends roughly three hours of maintenance per flying hour. With that investment, the Widget delivers a 92 percent scheduling effectiveness rate, 80 percent mission-capable rate, and a telemetry effectiveness rate of 90 percent.

"The E-9A is a viable asset because of its cost and its practicality," Acree added. "It is cheaper to maintain and more effective to fly the E-9A compared to sending up fighter jets to survey the area. On average, the E-9A flies approximately three to five hours per sortie, but is capable of flying up to six hours plus per sortie. With only two aircraft in the inventory, we stay very busy."

The 82nd ATRS commander, Lt. Col. Lance Wilkins, stated that his squadron's vision is directly supported by the E-9A program.

"The squadron's long-range vision focuses on safety, stewardship, and superiority," said Wilkins. "The E-9A is the most effective and efficient way to ensure the safety of boaters and commercial vessels within the Gulf
of Mexico. Simultaneously, the Widget ensures that we fully test and evaluate every single weapon system to ensure the taxpayer is getting the appropriate return on their investment. Finally, ruling the skies is the
ultimate goal and the E-9A is vital to ensuring additional decades of American air superiority. The 82nd ATRS operates the Defense Department's only full-scale aerial targets program, maintaining more than 70 full-scale QF-4 aircraft as well as approximately 30 reuseable subscale targets on a regular basis."

The drones provide target support for the US Air Force, US Navy, US Marines, and US Army for developmental and operational tests. They also provide target support for the Air Force Weapon System Evaluation Program, the Air Force Weapons Instructor Course and William Tell. The capabilities of the E-9A can also be used by other DOD entities, such as the Navy and Army, which will often deploy units to Tyndall for weapon system testing.

Tyndall also hosts dozens of American units annually as well as Joint, Coalition, and Allied nations.

Office of Secretary of Defense awards Rockwell Collins contract to continue GPS cost savings program



MicroGRAM is a stamp-sized GPS receiver used for micro-embedded applications such as handheld tactical radios, soldier systems and micro unmanned air vehicles.


Feb. 26, 2013 – The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy’s Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III Program Office has awarded Rockwell Collins a $3.2 million Technology Investment Agreement to continue the next phase of a joint investment agreement for the Low Cost Military GPS program.
Previous phases of the program aided Rockwell Collins in developing the next generation military GPS SAASM (Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module). This device, which allows decryption of precision GPS coordinates, is the smallest, lightest weight and lowest power-consuming SAASM device available today. It enables the creation of GPS receivers that provide significant size, weight and power reduction for military systems in use around the world. Among these military GPS receivers is the Rockwell Collins MicroGRAM, a stamp-sized GPS receiver used for micro-embedded applications such as handheld tactical radios, soldier systems and micro unmanned air vehicles. Other applications include the Rockwell Collins NavFireTM, the smallest, lowest power, G-hardened military GPS receiver for artillery and the Rockwell Collins MicroDAGR, the smallest, lowest power secure handheld GPS receiver in the world.
“Rockwell Collins has been a leader in the development of GPS receiver technology for nearly 30 years having produced more than 50 GPS products and delivered more than 1 million receivers for commercial avionics and government applications,” said Bob Haag, vice president and general manager of Communication and Navigation Products for Rockwell Collins. “The DPA Title III Program has supported us in making smaller, lower cost GPS receiver technology available for a broad range of important Department of Defense programs.”
The DPA Title III Program directly supports the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Better Buying Power Initiative to deliver better value to the taxpayer and warfighter by improving the way the DoD does business. In particular, the “low-cost GPS program” successfully reduced the size, weight, power and cost of GPS devices, embracing the objectives of the DoD’s Better Buying Power efforts. To date, the program has saved the government an estimated $100 million and it is estimated that the DoD will realize more than $300 million in additional cost savings and cost avoidance over the next five years.




Thales awarded sonar contracts for 6th and 7th Astute Class boats


130225 2076 Array PR

Thales UK has been awarded contracts to supply the Sonar 2076 fully-integrated search and attack submarine sonar system for the UK Royal Navy’s sixth and seventh Astute Class submarines.
Thales will supply the sonar system to BAE Systems Maritime - Submarines, the prime contractor for the Astute Class build, to be fitted to the submarines at its shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness.
These sonars deliver world-beating capabilities that…”
The complete sonar system supplied by Thales will comprise both inboard and outboard of the bow, fin, intercept and flank arrays, and the associated inboard processing. Thales has now been contracted to supply Sonar 2076 for all seven Astute Class boats.
The Astute Class platform is also fitted with a significant number of other Thales sensors and systems, including two non-hull penetrating CM010 optronic masts that, together with Sonar 2076, effectively provide the submarine with its ‘eyes and ears’.
Thales also supplies the electronic support measures (ESM) system, which has two multifunction antenna arrays mounted on the masts. These are designed to monitor the electronic environment around the submarine to provide situational awareness of other platforms equipped with radar systems operating in the area.
Other Thales equipment onboard includes the ECB680 communications and SEEPIRB emergency beacon buoys and an ultra-high frequency satellite communications antenna.
Ian Hawkes, Head of Combat Systems, BAE Systems Maritime - Submarines, said:“BAE Systems is pleased to award Thales UK these important contracts for the sonar systems for the sixth and seventh Astute Class submarines. Placing these contracts not only continues a well-established and enduring relationship with Thales UK, it also helps the submarine enterprise to meet the submarine program affordability challenge, by obtaining economy of scale through batch procuring the sonar.”
Phil Naybour, head of Thales UK’s naval business, said: “Thales is proud to be supplying Sonar 2076 for all seven Astute Class submarines. This successful program reflects the skill and dedication of our teams in Cheadle and Templecombe, and also the close support and cooperation we have received from BAE Systems and the Ministry of Defence.”
Captain Martyn Williams, Submarines Combat Systems Team Leader for the MOD’s Defence, Equipment and Support Organisation, said: “With advanced stealth technology, the Astute Class has been designed to be quieter than any of her predecessors and is very hard to detect. These sonars deliver world-beating capabilities that, together with the other sensors, ensure that these submarines can operate in the most challenging environments and against the most challenging of threats.”

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lockheed Martin Completes 400th MH-60 Digital Cockpit for Installation on First Australian Romeo Helicopter


MH-60R-03-460x300
AVALON, Australia, Feb. 25, 2013 -- Lockheed Martin has completed the 400th Common CockpitTM avionics suite for the U.S. Navy's MH-60 Seahawk helicopter program. The digital cockpit will be installed aboard the first of 24 MH-60R (Romeo) anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopters to be acquired by the Royal Australian Navy via the U.S. Government's Foreign Military Sales program.
"The Common Cockpit avionics suite has proved to be a highly effective flight and mission systems hub during more than 600,000 flight hours aboard the U.S. Navy's fleet of 360 MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters built and delivered to date," said Capt. James Glass, program manager for H-60 Multi-Mission Helicopters. "A digital, all glass cockpit that's common to both platforms and operationally proven will enable critical interoperability between MH-60 aircraft operated by both the Australian and U.S. navies."
"The MH-60R is a proven capability with the Common Cockpit at its core," said Capt Scott Lockey, who is the Project Director for the Australian MH-60R program. "The Australian acquisition of 24 multi-mission Romeo helicopters means that we will have the capacity to provide at least eight warships with a combat helicopter at the same time, and we can rely on the Common Cockpit to successfully network and communicate with our fleet."
The Common Cockpit avionics suite features four large, flat-panel, multi-function, night-vision-compatible, color displays. The suite processes and manages communications and sensor data streaming into MH-60 multi-mission helicopters, presenting to the crew of three actionable information that significantly reduces workload while increasing situational awareness.

Friday, February 22, 2013

First Littoral Combat Ship to Deploy in March

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) departs San Diego on its way to conduct sea trials following a month-long dry dock availability.
SAN DIEGO (Feb. 21, 2013) The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) departs San Diego on its way to conduct sea trials following a month-long dry dock availability. Freedom, the lead ship of the Freedom variant of LCS, is expected to deploy to southeast Asia this spring. (U.S. Navy photo by Command Master Chief Chris Kotz/Released)
During a media availability Feb. 21, Navy officials announced the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) is on track to begin its first deployment March 1.

This milestone was announced by the LCS Council, a group established by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert Aug. 22, to oversee continued fleet testing and the introduction of the LCS.

"Addressing challenges identified by these studies, on the timeline we require, necessitates the establishment of an empowered council to drive the action across acquisition, requirements and fleet enterprises of the Navy," said Greenert.

The output of the council is intended to assist in maximizing the expansive potential capabilities of LCS and its associated mission packages in global fleet operations for the joint warfighter. 

"I am confident we are on a path of success for LCS," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "This council will continue to unify our efforts to implement operational lessons learned from our research and development ships to further ensure successful fleet integration." 

LCS ships are designed to employ mission packages that address capability gaps in the areas of surface warfare, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare. Due to its modular design, each LCS ship can be reconfigured to perform one of those three distinct missions in a short period of time.

Freedom's deployment will demonstrate her operational capabilities, and allow the LCS Council to evaluate crew rotation and maintenance plans. 

The ship will operate forward from Singapore and spend eight months in theater conducting maritime security operations, participate in international exhibitions and exercises to highlight U.S. strategic intent in the region, and reassure U.S. partners through bilateral and multilateral interoperability.

This Week From NAVAIR



MEDIA ADVISORY: CPRG, P-8A provides program update at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility Washington, Md. on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 at 10 a.m.

‎Wednesday, ‎February ‎20, ‎2013, ‏‎4:38:00 AM
U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon to make stop at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility Washington as part of first P-8A fleet squadron’s training evolution Static display available for local media Media Advisory Only – Not for publication WHAT: A U.S. Navy's P-8A Poseidon...

NACRA Testbed executes corrosion sensor technology project

‎Tuesday, ‎February ‎19, ‎2013, ‏‎3:14:00 AM
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — Naval Aviation Center for Rotorcraft Advancement (NACRA) Technology Demonstration and Development teams have joined industry partner Luna Innovations, Inc., to test and demonstrate integrated corrosion sensing technology. “We estimate 90 percent of an...

PMA-276 and defense industry partner welcome production of 100th H-1 Helicopter

‎Friday, ‎February ‎15, ‎2013, ‏‎8:18:00 AM
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, MD. — Marking a key development for U.S. Marine Corps aviation, Bell Helicopter the manufacturer of the service’s H-1 Helicopter, delivered the 100th UH-1Y model to the U.S. government Jan. 16. The aircraft was the...

China Military Mashup


Chinese Plan to Kill Myanmar Drug Lord With Drone Bombing

‎Wednesday, ‎February ‎20, ‎2013, ‏‎8:03:44 PM | admin
BEIJING — China considered using a drone strike in a mountainous region of Southeast Asia to kill a Myanmar drug lord wanted in the murders of 13 Chinese sailors, but decided instead to capture him alive, according to an influential state-run newspaper.
The plan to use a drone, described to the Global Times newspaper by a senior public security official, highlights China’s increasing advances in unmanned aerial warfare, a technology dominated by the United States and used widely by the Obama administration for the targeted killing of terrorists.
Liu Yuejin, the director of the Ministry of Public Security’s antidrug bureau, told the newspaper in an article published online on Tuesday that the plan called for using a drone carrying explosives to bomb the outlaw’s hide-out in the opium-growing area of Myanmar, in the Golden Triangle at the intersection of Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
China’s law enforcement officials were under pressure from an outraged public to take action after 13 Chinese sailors on two cargo ships laden with narcotics were killed in October 2011 on the Mekong River. Photos of the dead sailors, their bodies gagged and blindfolded and some with head wounds suggesting execution-style killings, circulated on China’s Internet.
It was one of the most brutal assaults on Chinese citizens abroad in recent years. Naw Kham, a member of Myanmar’s ethnic Shan minority and a major drug trafficker, was suspected in the murders.
A manhunt by the Chinese police in the jungles of the Golden Triangle produced no results, and security officials turned to a drone strike as a possible solution.
Dennis M. Gormley, an expert on unmanned aircraft at the University of Pittsburgh, said of the reported Chinese deliberations, “Separating fact from fiction here is difficult.” But he added, “Given the gruesome nature of the 2011 killings and the Chinese public’s outcry for action, it’s not at all surprising to imagine China employing an armed drone over Myanmar’s territory.”
Mr. Gormley said the decision not to carry out a drone strike might reflect a lack of confidence in untested Chinese craft, control systems or drone pilots. “I think China’s still not ready for prime time using armed drones, but they surely will be with a few more years of determined practice,” he said. “And they surely will have America’s armed drone practice as a convenient cover for legitimating their own practice.”
China’s global navigation system, Beidou, would have been used to guide the drones to the target, Mr. Liu said. China’s goal is for the Beidou system to compete with the United States’ Global Positioning System, Russia’s Glonass and the European Union’s Galileo, Chinese experts say.

North Korea’s nuclear test gives Beijing a reason to confront Kim

‎Wednesday, ‎February ‎20, ‎2013, ‏‎7:44:50 PM | admin
2013-02-21 — Stop whatever you were doing! Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, demands your attention. He just set off a nuclear bomb in order to get it. It would be easy to dismiss Kim as Asia’s resident megalomaniac – to mock him as a totalitarian goofball who doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. He certainly doesn’t look intimidating, chubby and callow as he is, seemingly more into mushrooms than mushroom clouds.
But that would be a mistake: Kim might just be the most dangerous man in Asia.
Last week, he ordered his country’s third nuclear weapons test, its first in several years; he is reported to have told the Chinese government that there will soon be more nuclear blasts in an unprecedented acceleration of Pyongyang’s testing programme.
This all comes two months after the North successfully test-fired a ballistic missile, the eventual delivery mechanism for Kim’s nuclear warheads. North Korea’s nuclear weapons are probably not yet operational, but at the current rate of progress they soon will be.
Like his father and grandfather before him, Kim Jong-un is more mafia don than president, his regime more crime syndicate than legitimate government. The main difference is that Kim III is young and untested, and has a lot to prove to the hardliners in his own inner circle – something that makes him all the more dangerous and unpredictable.
Kim isn’t making idle threats. He’s pointing his nuclear missiles straight at you, whether you’re in Seoul, Tokyo or Hong Kong. As ransom, Kim demands your food and your money, and your respect, in return for which he will refrain from vaporising you in a 10-million-degree Celsius fireball – but definitely not give up his nukes, because in a couple of years’ time he plans to go through the whole routine again. Not so funny now, is he?
And yet, as perverse as it may seem, Kim’s nuclear test may just have done us all a favour. He wanted our attention, and he got it. He forced us to notice, at nuclear gunpoint, the extreme threat that exists right on our doorstep. In doing so, he put the region’s other security problems into proper perspective. China and Japan, in particular, have been tying themselves up in knots over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, tiny nowhere-places suddenly made to look important by bureaucratic missteps and reckless official grandstanding. Now, thanks to Kim, they have a real security problem to worry about.
Moreover, thanks to the nuclear-armed crime lord, China and Japan have suddenly found some common purpose. A senior Japanese diplomat has arrived in Beijing, reportedly to discuss a collective approach to Pyongyang’s provocative actions. These talks can only help prepare the ground for the top-level negotiations over the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute that both Shinzo Abe and Xi Jinping , the leaders of Japan and China, say they want to happen soon.

China’s 14th escort fleet sails for Somali

‎Wednesday, ‎February ‎20, ‎2013, ‏‎7:16:17 PM | admin
2013-02-21 — Missile destroyer Harbin (R) sail close to the supply ship Weishanhu at South China Sea, Feb. 20, 2013. The supply ship Weishanhu reinforced the missile destroyer Harbin and the frigate Mianyang on Wednesday with fuel, fresh water and other materials. The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Saturday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions. The fleet comprises three ships — the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu — carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop. (Xinhua)
Missile destroyer Harbin (R) sail close to the supply ship Weishanhu at South China Sea, Feb. 20, 2013. The supply ship Weishanhu reinforced the missile destroyer Harbin and the frigate Mianyang on Wednesday with fuel, fresh water and other materials. The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Saturday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions. The fleet comprises three ships -- the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu -- carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop. (Xinhua/Rao Rao)
 Supply ship Weishanhu (R) tranport fuel and other materials to Missile destroyer Harbin at the South China Sea, Feb. 20, 2013. The supply ship Weishanhu reinforced the missile destroyer Harbin and the frigate Mianyang on Wednesday with fuel, fresh water and other materials. The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Saturday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions. The fleet comprises three ships -- the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu -- carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop. (Xinhua/Rao Rao)
Supply ship Weishanhu (R) tranport fuel and other materials to Missile destroyer Harbin at the South China Sea, Feb. 20, 2013. The supply ship Weishanhu reinforced the missile destroyer Harbin and the frigate Mianyang on Wednesday with fuel, fresh water and other materials. The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Saturday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions. The fleet comprises three ships — the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu — carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop. (Xinhua)
 Supply ship Weishanhu (Top) tranport fuel and other materials to Missle destroyer Harbin at the South China Sea, Feb. 20, 2013. The supply ship Weishanhu reinforced the missile destroyer Harbin and the frigate Mianyang on Wednesday with fuel, fresh water and other materials. The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Saturday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions. The fleet comprises three ships -- the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu -- carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop. (Xinhua/Rao Rao)
Supply ship Weishanhu (Top) tranport fuel and other materials to Missle destroyer Harbin at the South China Sea, Feb. 20, 2013. The supply ship Weishanhu reinforced the missile destroyer Harbin and the frigate Mianyang on Wednesday with fuel, fresh water and other materials. The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Saturday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions. The fleet comprises three ships — the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu — carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop. (Xinhua)
 Crew members onboard missIle destroyer Harbin adjust the fuel pipe from the supply ship Weishanhu at South China Sea, Feb. 20, 2013. The supply ship Weishanhu reinforced the missile destroyer Harbin and the frigate Mianyang on Wednesday with fuel, fresh water and other materials. The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Saturday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions. The fleet comprises three ships -- the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu -- carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop. (Xinhua/Rao Rao)
Crew members onboard missIle destroyer Harbin adjust the fuel pipe from the supply ship Weishanhu at South China Sea, Feb. 20, 2013. The supply ship Weishanhu reinforced the missile destroyer Harbin and the frigate Mianyang on Wednesday with fuel, fresh water and other materials. The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Saturday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions. The fleet comprises three ships — the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu — carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop. (Xinhua)
 Crew members onboard missile destroyer Harbin stand as the supply ship Weishanhu tranport fuel and other materials at South China Sea, Feb. 20, 2013. The supply ship Weishanhu reinforced the missile destroyer Harbin and the frigate Mianyang on Wednesday with fuel, fresh water and other materials. The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Saturday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions. The fleet comprises three ships -- the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu -- carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop. (Xinhua/Rao Rao)
Crew members onboard missile destroyer Harbin stand as the supply ship Weishanhu tranport fuel and other materials at South China Sea, Feb. 20, 2013. The supply ship Weishanhu reinforced the missile destroyer Harbin and the frigate Mianyang on Wednesday with fuel, fresh water and other materials. The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Saturday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions. The fleet comprises three ships — the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu — carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop. (Xinhua)

China’s defence ministry rejects hacking allegations

‎Wednesday, ‎February ‎20, ‎2013, ‏‎7:12:45 PM | admin
2013-02-21 — China’s defence ministry Wednesday rebuffed a report linking its People’s Liberation Army to sophisticated cyberattacks on US firms, saying there was no internationally agreed definition of hacking.
The 74-page analysis by the American Internet security firm Mandiant provided one of the most detailed accounts of large-scale hacking operations that many Western experts have long believed receive official Chinese support.
Security was stepped up at the 12-storey office building in Shanghai identified by Mandiant as the headquarters of the military cyberspying Unit 61398, with officers temporarily detaining journalists in the area.
Defence ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in a statement that Mandiant’s claims had “no factual basis” and insisted there was no consensus on what qualified as hacking.
“There has been no clear internationally agreed definition for ‘cyber attacks’,” he said, adding that the report “subjectively deduced” that online activities amounted to cyberspying.
He reiterated previous arguments by Beijing officials that attacks traced to Chinese IP addresses did not necessarily originate in the country.
“Cyberattacks are by nature transnational, anonymous and deceptive, and the origin of attacks is highly uncertain,” he said.
“It’s widely known that using stolen IP addresses to carry out hacking attacks is happening practically every day.”
In its report, Mandiant alleged the hacking group “APT1″ — from the initials “Advanced Persistent Threat” — was a branch of Unit 61398 and had stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organisations across 20 industries.
The US said in response to the document that it regularly raises hacking concerns with China, with State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland saying it comes up “in virtually every meeting we have with Chinese officials”.
At a regular press briefing on Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei did not respond directly to a question about whether Washington had discussed the issue with Beijing.
He said instead that both sides “have maintained communication” and referred reporters to the defence ministry statement.
Security outside the building in Shanghai’s northern suburb of Gaoqiao that was said to house the military-led hacking group was tightened Wednesday after it became the object of media attention.
An AFP photographer was detained for half an hour while shooting video outside the complex, while another international news agency photographer was also briefly held.
Six Chinese soldiers in uniform pulled the AFP photographer out of a car and brought him to the guardhouse, where they searched his bag and seized his camera’s memory card before allowing him to leave with a warning.
Speaking in English, the apparent leader of the group told him no photography was allowed since it was a military installation.

US says China’s Military controls hacking attacks

‎Tuesday, ‎February ‎19, ‎2013, ‏‎5:02:04 PM | admin
2013-02-20 — As public evidence mounts that the Chinese military is responsible for stealing massive amounts of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets, the Obama administration is eyeing fines and other trade actions it may take against Beijing or any other country guilty of cyberespionage.
According to officials familiar with the plans, the White House will lay out a new report Wednesday that suggests initial, more-aggressive steps the U.S. would take in response to what top authorities say has been an unrelenting campaign of cyberstealing linked to the Chinese government. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the threatened action.
The White House plans come after a Virginia-based cybersecurity firm released a torrent of details Monday that tied a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai to years of cyberattacks against U.S. companies. After analyzing breaches that compromised more than 140 companies, Mandiant has concluded that they can be linked to the People’s Liberation Army’s Unit 61398.
Military experts believe the unit is part of the People’s Liberation Army’s cyber-command, which is under the direct authority of the General Staff Department, China’s version of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As such, its activities would be likely to be authorized at the highest levels of China’s military.

The building of People’s Liberation Army’s Unit 61398, or PLA cyber-command, which is under the direct authority of the General Staff Department, China’s version of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The release of Mandiant’s report, complete with details on three of the alleged hackers and photographs of one of the military unit’s buildings in Shanghai, makes public what U.S. authorities have said less publicly for years. But it also increases the pressure on the U.S. to take more forceful action against the Chinese for what experts say has been years of systematic espionage.
“If the Chinese government flew planes into our airspace, our planes would escort them away. If it happened two, three or four times, the president would be on the phone and there would be threats of retaliation,” said former FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry. “This is happening thousands of times a day. There needs to be some definition of where the red line is and what the repercussions would be.”
Henry, now president of the security firm CrowdStrike, said that rather than tell companies to increase their cybersecurity the government needs to focus more on how to deter the hackers and the nations that are backing them.
James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that in the past year the White House has been taking a serious look at responding to China, adding that “this will be the year they will put more pressure on, even while realizing it will be hard for the Chinese to change. There’s not an on-off switch.”
The Chinese government, meanwhile, has denied involvement in the cyber-attacks tracked by Mandiant. Instead, the Foreign Ministry said that China, too, is a victim of hacking, some of it traced to the U.S. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei cited a report by an agency under the Ministry of Information Technology and Industry that said in 2012 alone that foreign hackers used viruses and other malicious software to seize control of 1,400 computers in China and 38,000 websites.
“Among the above attacks, those from the U.S. numbered the most,” Hong said at a daily media briefing, lodging the most specific allegations the Chinese government has made about foreign hacking.
Cybersecurity experts say U.S. authorities do not conduct similar attacks or steal data from Chinese companies, but acknowledge that intelligence agencies routinely spy on other countries.

Australia can not provoke a thin-skinned China

‎Monday, ‎February ‎18, ‎2013, ‏‎12:19:54 AM | admin
2013-02-18 (China Military article by Ramesh Thakur and from canberratimes.com.au) — There is increasing discussion in the international press of uneasy parallels – with some pointing to similarities and others highlighting major differences – to the developing situation in east Asia today and the Balkans tinderbox 100 years ago. Even former prime minister Kevin Rudd has joined the debate (“A Maritime Balkans of the 21st century?”, Foreign Policy, January 30). At the heart of the conversation is China’s parallel with a rising Germany a century ago.
Australia today is experiencing tensions between its historical origins, cultural roots and political antecedents in Europe, and its geographical location and trading interests in Asia. At the heart of the policy tussle is the challenge of managing the bilateral relationship with China.
China is the dominant political and economic power in the region and the new centre of geopolitical gravity in the world. In the past three years it has recklessly squandered much of the goodwill patiently accumulated over three decades by an aggressive regional posture in dealings with several neighbours.
What to many Westerners is a new world disorder appears to many non-Western observers as a shifting global order. Where the sun never set on the British empire in the 19th century, it is rising once again in the east in this century. The Pax Britannica was built on territorial control through legal colonialism that allowed Britain to extract, process, move and use or sell ownership of vast natural resources around the globe.
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The Pax Americana was built on control of resources through market access-guaranteeing regimes that ensured a worldwide flow of capital, goods and technology to underpin US prosperity and security. By building global markets, not a global empire, Washington escaped legal responsibility for the security and welfare of its neo-colonial dependants. It succeeded by persuading others that “global public goods” were dependent on, if not synonymous with, the order guaranteed by US dominance.
As China expands its power and influence by buying goods and access and underwriting and building infrastructure in Asia, Africa and Latin America to cement geopolitical ties, boost trade and create energy corridors, it seems indifferent to the importance of conflating regional and global public goods with Chinese national interests. Against that backdrop, as legacy disputes are dusted off the history shelf by an increasingly assertive China, four propositions are worth recording.
First, unlike the European powers, China has no historical, philosophical or literary tradition or discourse of acting as a great power in a system of great powers. Rather, its inheritance is that of the Middle Kingdom, with tributaries accepting its suzerainty and paying tribute in return for not being attacked.
For the first time in history, China is a truly global power. Both Beijing and the rest of the world are having to adjust to this dramatic new reality. Previously, a triumphalist West had written the rules and made all the big decisions on the international economy, trade and security. Western ideas gained global ascendancy not because they were intrinsically superior but behind bombers, battleships, and aircraft carriers. Today there is a significant economic, geopolitical and even moral rebalancing in train in global norms, institutions and practices.
Second, also for the first time in history, two bilateral relationships are experiencing relative geopolitical rise and decline simultaneously: China-US globally, and India-China in Asia. Washington has been more generous in adjusting to China’s rise compared with Beijing’s tardiness in accommodating India’s rising profile.

PLA navy to take part in multinational exercise in Pakistan

‎Monday, ‎February ‎18, ‎2013, ‏‎12:09:26 AM | admin
2013-02-18 — A Chinese naval fleet heading for piracy-hit Somali waters for escort missions will take part in a multinational exercise in Pakistan in March, official media here reported.
The “Exercise Aman (Peace)-13″ is scheduled to start in the North Arabian Sea on March 4.
According to Pakistan Navy, Exercise AMAN-13 is scheduled to be held in North Arabian Sea from March 4 to 8.
Navies of 50 countries have been invited to participate, according to statement posted on Pakistan Navy’s website.
It is the 4th such exercise of AMAN series, which began in 2007.
The fleet, sent by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed yesterday from a port in Qingdao of east China’s Shandong Province to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions.
The 14th convoy fleet comprises three ships — the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu — carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop, all from the North China Sea Fleet under the PLA Navy, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The Chinese navy has sent 14 fleets to the waters of the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters to escort 5,046 Chinese and foreign ships since the mission was authorised by the United Nations in 2008.
More than 50 Chinese and foreign ships have been rescued or assisted during the missions, the report said.

Iranian warships will visit China in future

‎Monday, ‎February ‎18, ‎2013, ‏‎12:06:19 AM | admin
2013-02-18 — Iran Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says a fleet of Iranian warships will be docking at the Strait of Malacca and China in the near future.
In line with guidelines from the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to sail international waters and assert Iran’s maritime authority, Iranian naval forces have been sent to the high seas, said Sayyari Sunday.
The Iranian naval commander added that the presence of Iranian warships in international waters does not pose a threat to other countries, stressing that based on international law Tehran has the right to sail the high seas.
He stated that Iran’s oil tankers and merchant vessels — which used to fall prey to pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait in the past — can now safely cruise in high seas, thanks to the protection offered by Iranian naval forces.
Sayyari said the Iranian Navy plans to station warships in the Strait of Malacca — a narrow 805-kilometer (500-mile) stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra – in the near future.
Iran’s Navy commander concluded that Iranian ships have been conducting anti-piracy missions in the northern Indian Ocean over the past three years, and have docked at ports in Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Djibouti.
Iranian warships will soon dock in Chinese ports, Sayyari concluded.

Eight female naval officers join PLA Navy Escort Missions

‎Monday, ‎February ‎18, ‎2013, ‏‎12:03:23 AM | admin
2013-02-18 — Eight female naval officers of a Chinese convoy sailed to the Gulf of Aden for escort missions on February 17, 2013, marking the first time that China has officially enlisted female sailors in combat crew positions.
The eight female sailors pose for a group photo. [Chinanews]
The eight female sailors pose for a group photo.
The oldest of the eight women is 24 years old and the youngest is 21 years old. Among them, seven are college graduates. They have received training in sailing, damage management, battlefield ambulance work, telegraph and radio operations and other relevant areas.
Female Chinese naval officers have joined escort missions to the Gulf of Aden several times since December 2008, working in medical treatment, translation and cultural work. The Chinese navy first launched a pilot program to expand the scope of female sailors’ duties on the ‘Harbin’, recruiting 12 female sailors to serve on the naval ship.

China Fires its First Nuclear Power Plant after the Fukushima crisis

‎Monday, ‎February ‎18, ‎2013, ‏‎12:01:08 AM | admin
2013-02-18 — China has fired up its first nuclear power plant after the destructive 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, near Wafangdian in Liaoning province at its northeast portion.
The $8.02 billion Hongyanhe nuclear power station started operations on Sunday following Beijing’s approval in October 2012 of a nuclear power safety and a development schedule. The approval lifted a self-imposed two-year ban on existing and new nuclear projects following the crisis set off by the earthquake that crippled the Japan Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011.
The Hongyanhe nuclear power station is composed of four power generation units. It began construction in 2007 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
Once fully completed, the four units will generate 30 billion kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electricity per year, which will be 16 per cent of the total electricity consumption in Liaoning Province, Yang Xiaofeng, the general manager of Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Co Ltd, told state-run Xinhua news agency.
Following the operation of the new plant, China now has 16 working reactors with total generating capacity of more than 12 gigawatts of. The country targets to boost its nuclear capacity to 58 gigawatts by 2020.
According to a government white paper on energy policy released in October 2012, China still has another 26 nuclear reactors being constructed to add another 29.24 GW.
The plant is located near the town of Wafangdian, 68 miles from the port of Dalian.
Mr Yang said more than 80 per cent of the parts and components of the plant were sourced locally. He added it is likewise the first Chinese nuclear power plant to be utilising seawater desalination technology to provide cooling water.

China monitoring radiation levels after NK nuclear tests

‎Sunday, ‎February ‎17, ‎2013, ‏‎12:46:13 AM | admin
2013-02-17 — Chinese authorities are closely monitoring radiation levels in areas that border the site in North Korea where the isolated Communist regime carried out its third nuclear test earlier this week.
North Korea conducted the nuclear test on Tuesday in Kilju County, North Hamkyung province, less than 100 kilometers from the Chinese border, triggering an artificial earthquake of 4.9 magnitude.
Though no panic reaction has been reported from China’s Jilin province, geographically closest to the test site, residents, according to the state media, have raised environment and health concerns following the blast.
Residents in the Hunchun area of Jilin province, according to the Global Times newspaper, felt the ground beneath their feet tremble at the time North Korea conducted the test; the tremor lasted for about a minute.
“We heard the news of the nuclear test in North Korea, but people are living their lives normally here,” Xu Liang, a resident from Yanji in Jilin Province, told the Global Times. He added that local residents were paying close attention to the results of monitoring by China’s environmental watchdog.
Following the test – China was informed about the test ahead of the blast – Beijing put in place an emergency monitoring plan. At least 150 monitoring stations nation-wide are now working around the clock to collect air samples.
Experts were dispatched to northeast China, to study and analyse radiation levels. According to environmental departments, results so far show no signs of radiation in the region.
“No signs of artificial radioactivity were detected in Northeast China as of 11am on Friday, according to the ministry’s Friday statement, and real-time monitoring results from more than 150 radiation monitoring stations across China also showed radiation at a normal level,” news agency Xinhua reported.
The South Korean Yonhap news agency quoted statistics released from Germany’s Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources as saying that the equivalent of 40 thousand tons of TNT had been released by the DPRK’s third nuclear test.
The Institute said isotopes usually can be detected several hours or days after a nuclear blast, but this time, the detection may take several days or even weeks.

Pakistan Gwadar port integral to China maritime expansion

‎Sunday, ‎February ‎17, ‎2013, ‏‎12:45:10 AM | admin
2013-02-17 — China’s acquisition of a strategic port in Pakistan is the latest addition to its drive to secure energy and maritime routes and gives it a potential naval base in the Arabian Sea, unsettling India.
The Pakistani cabinet on January 30 approved the transfer of port, a commercial failure cut off from the national road network, from Singapore’s PSA International to the state-owned China Overseas Port Holdings Limited.
The Pakistanis pitched the deal as an energy and trade corridor that would connect China to the Arabian Sea and Strait of Hormuz, a gateway for a third of the world’s traded oil, overland through an expanded Karakoram Highway.
Experts say it would slash thousands of kilometres off the distance oil and gas imports from Africa and the Middle East have to be transported to reach China, making Gwadar a potentially vital link in its supply chain.
China paid about 75 per cent of the initial $250 million used to build the port, but in 2007 PSA International won a 40-year lease with then-ruler Pervez Musharraf who was reportedly unwilling to upset Washington by giving it to the Chinese.
Although it may take up to a year for the deal to be signed, Gwadar would be the most westerly in a string of Chinese-funded ports encircling its big regional rival, India, which was quick to express concern over the impending transfer.
In Nepal, China is building a $14 million “dry port” at Larcha, near the Tibet border, along with five other ports and and is upgrading transport links with an eye to the huge Indian market.
In Bangladesh, China is one of four countries, including India, Japan and the United States, interested in building a $5-billion deep-sea port at Sonadia island in the Bay of Bengal, according to the shipping ministry.
Sri Lanka in June 2012 opened a new $450 million deep-sea port at Hambantota, close to the vital east-west sea route used by around 300 ships a day, built with Chinese loans and construction expertise.
Although China has no equity stake in Hambantota, they have taken up an 85 per cent slice of Colombo International Container Terminals Limited, which is building a new container port adjoining the existing Colombo harbour.
Beijing is also a key backer of a port and energy pipeline in Myanmar that will transport gas pumped offshore and oil shipped from Africa and the Middle East to China’s Yunnan province, due to be finished by the end of May.
The ports were dubbed China’s “string of pearls”, or potential naval bases similar to those of the United States, in a 2004 report for the Pentagon.

Taiwan to deploy more anti-ship missiles to counter China’s navy

‎Sunday, ‎February ‎17, ‎2013, ‏‎12:41:25 AM | admin
2013-02-17 — Faced with the growing power of China’s navy, the deployment of Taiwan’s self-developed Hsiung Feng III missiles will be expanded to its Lafayette-class and Knox-class frigates.
The supersonic anti-ship missile, designed by the military-run Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology after nearly two decades of research and development, is already in service on the Navy’s Perry-class frigate, the Chinchiang-class corvette and the Kuang Hua VI fast-attack missile craft.
A military source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the military is planning to deploy the missiles on the Lafayettes and Knoxes between this and next year.
In addition, two Perry-class frigates to be bought from the U.S. could also be equipped with the missiles.
The speed and range of Hsiung Feng III missile tops all of the Hsiung Feng series of missiles.
With the introduction of the Hsiung Feng III missile, Taiwan became the third country in the world to produce supersonic anti-ship missiles, after Russia and India.
According to media reports, the possible speed of the Hsiung Feng III missile is mach 2.5-3.0, with a maximum range estimated at 150 km-200 km, although official specifications have not been released.
Compared with the Hsiung Feng I missiles of the 1970s and the Hsiung Feng II missiles of the 1980s, the Hsiung Feng III missiles are more accurate and have better defensive capabilities.

PLA Navy 14th escort fleet departs for Somali

‎Sunday, ‎February ‎17, ‎2013, ‏‎12:18:31 AM | admin
2013-02-17 — The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed Saturday from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions.
The squad, which set sail from a port in Qingdao of east China’s Shandong Province, will succeed the 13th escort fleet currently conducting missions in Somali waters.
The 14th convoy fleet comprises three ships — the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu — carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop, all from the North China Sea Fleet under the PLA Navy.
It is the first time the destroyer and the frigate are conducting escort missions.
Since December 2008, authorized by the United Nations, the Chinese navy has organized 14 fleets to the waters of the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters to escort 5,046 Chinese and foreign ships. More than 50 Chinese and foreign ships have been rescued or assisted during the missions.
At Saturday’s farewell ceremony, Ding Yiping, deputy commander of the PLA Navy, said it will be more challenging for the Chinese and foreign navies to track pirates and rescue kidnapped hostages as activities in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters become more deceptive and violent.
Ding urged the squad, with Yuan Yubai, chief of staff of the PLA Navy’s North China Sea Fleet as commander, to draw on the experience from previous missions to enhance its capability and effectiveness during the escort mission.

China military aircraft exporter planning maintenance expansion

‎Sunday, ‎February ‎17, ‎2013, ‏‎12:15:49 AM | admin
2013-02-17 — According to a report published Saturday on China’s Sina website, the Beijing-based China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp., an exporter of aviation products, is expanding its maintenance market overseas.
Zeng Wen, vice president of the aviation company, noted in the report that since its founding in 1979, the company has exported nearly 1,700 military planes, 719 of which are currently in service in 31 countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas.
Zeng said aircraft maintenance has become a major source of profit for the aviation manufacturing industry, adding that the maintenance service for a military plane costs as much as 10-30 percent of the price of a new plane.
The company has built 27 maintenance sites in different countries to provide services and reduce maintenance cost for its clients, he said.
He said that current outgoing shipments by the company are made up of manned aircraft and drones, while in the past, the majority of the military planes exported by the company were manned aircraft.