Wednesday, 31 July 2019

The Royal Thai Navy presses for 2nd Chinese sub

Type 039B - East Pendulum

Navy presses for 2nd Chinese sub

The Royal Thai Navy will press ahead with its plan to buy a second submarine worth 12 billion baht from China, according to a navy source.

The navy is waiting for parliament to approve the government's 2020 fiscal budget bill which is expected to be submitted for deliberation before the purchase can be made, the source said.

Under the previous coup-installed government, the cabinet agreed in principle with the navy's plan to buy three submarines from China as part of a 36-billion-baht procurement plan.

The scheme was put before the cabinet on Oct 25, 2016, and required a budget over 11 years.

This was in line with a regulation which indicates that a proposal for a committed budget running for more than five years must be sought from the cabinet within 60 days of the fiscal budget being adopted.

On April 18, 2017, the cabinet approved the first purchase of a Yuan Class S26T submarine worth 13.5 billion baht from China.

The navy and China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co signed the procurement contract in China on May 4, 2017.

Payment for the first submarine is divided into seven instalments.

The navy committed to paying 700 million in the first instalment in 2017 and then two billion baht annually from 2018 until 2023.

Construction began on Sept 7 last year in China, and it is expected to be finished and delivered to the navy in the middle of 2023, the source said.

Plans to acquire submarines have gained new life since the 2014 coup after the navy struggled for years to persuade governments to purchase six second-hand submarines from Germany.

There have been no submarine purchases for more than 60 years and the navy says Thailand needs modern submarines to protect its maritime territorial interests.

They will be stationed in both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.

In 2011, the navy wanted to buy six German-made second-hand submarines at a cost of 7.7 billion baht, but the plan was shot down by the then Yingluck Shinawatra government.

Former defence minister Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa also disagreed with the purchase, questioning its cost-effectiveness and transparency.

However, things improved for the navy after the 2014 coup.

In 2015, a source quoted then defence minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon as saying that if submarines were not bought under that government, they might never be bought at all.

The source added that the navy also plans to buy a new landing platform dock ship worth about 4 billion baht from China to help ease the burden on HTMS Angthong, the navy's only existing amphibious transport dock, which has undertaken numerous missions.

The ship was built in Singapore at a cost of 4.9 billion baht.

The source said that the navy wants to buy the second landing platform dock ship from China because it will cost less than HTMS Angthong.

The source also said that after the 2019 law on protecting marine security was enacted, the navy will set up 12 more agencies as part of a restructure to prepare for the wider scope of its task.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will today start working at the Defence Ministry.

The source said Gen Prayut, who succeeds former defence minister Prawit, will hold "unofficial talks" with armed forces chiefs about the reshuffle, which is scheduled to be finished by the middle of next month.

Sub deal with Thailand shows China’s naval capability
China’s first air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarine recently broke a number of records
Steel cutting ceremony for the Royal Thai Navy’s (RTN’s) first S26T submarine

Yuan Type 039A / Type 041 submarine: Details

Bulgarian parliament clears F-16V buy for second time

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon from Eielson Air Force Base maneuvers over the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, July 18, 2019. (Photo: U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. James Richardson) Via Cropped

Bulgarian parliament clears F-16V buy for second time

Bulgaria's on-off acquisition of the Lockheed Martin F-16V appears to be proceeding again after the country's parliament overturned a presidential veto of the $1.26 billion deal.

On 23 July, President Rumen Radev stopped the procurement – the country's largest since the fall of Communism – arguing that there was no "consensus" over the eight-aircraft purchase and that the process had been rushed through parliament.

But barely 24h later, a parliamentary defence committee had vetoed Radev's veto and resubmitted the procurement law to the national assembly. That was passed on 26 July, with the bill signed into law by Radev and then published in Bulgaria's state gazette three days later.

The F-16s are intended to replace the Bulgarian air force's fleet of RAC MiG-29s. Four aircraft are due to be delivered in 2023, with the remainder to arrive the following year.

Sofia is also acquiring a maintenance and support package, Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and communications equipment.

Bulgaria’s president walks away from $1.26 billion deal for F-16 jets
Bulgaria’s F16-deal: Defence Minister rejects President’s claim of ‘hidden billion’ cost
Bulgarian Air Force may switch to Typhoon or Gripen because of  F-16V’s high price

Bulgarian Prime Minister Considers the U.S. F-16 Offer “Significantly Better”, SAAB Optimizes its Bid Immediately

Russia test launches Topol intercontinental missile from Kapustin Yar range


Russia test launches Topol intercontinental missile from Kapustin Yar range:

Russia’s strategic missile forces have test launched a Topol intercontinental ballistic missile from the Kapustin Yar practice range, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Friday.

“On July 26, 2019, a combat unit of the strategic missile forces conducted a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile of the Topol mobile ground-based missile system from the Kapustin Yar state central practice range in the Astrakhan region,” the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the missile engaged the target accurately. “The missile’s exercise head hit the target at the Sary-Shagan range in Kazakhstan to the specified accuracy. The tasks of the launch were executed in full,” the ministry concluded.

Source: TASS


Published on Sep 27, 2017

Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile system features SS-27 “Sickle B” (RT-2PM2 Topol-M): Details

Sunday, 28 July 2019

China deploys J-20 stealth fighter ‘to keep tabs on Taiwan’

China deploys J-20 stealth fighter ‘to keep tabs on Taiwan’ | South China Morning Post

  • Aircraft could also be used to counterbalance Japanese and US military activities in the region, analysts say

China’s J-20 stealth fighter has been officially deployed to the country’s Eastern Theatre Command, suggesting it will be focused on the Taiwan Strait and military activities between Japan and the United States, observers said.

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force posted a photo on its social media account this week showing the fifth-generation fighter tagged with the number 62001, designating the aircraft as part of a frontline unit.

Chinese media reported that the stealth fighter had entered the Eastern Theatre Command, which encompasses Taiwan.

Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said the aircraft appeared to have two missions.

“The unit turning operational in Eastern Theatre Command is precisely aimed at Taiwan,” Koh said.

“And to challenge US military activities in Taiwan Strait, besides posing a threat to the median line that Taiwan’s air force patrols along.”

The photo’s release came as China issued a defence white paper, highlighting the risks from “separatist forces”.

In the document, the military said it faced challenges from pro-independence forces in Taiwan but would always defeat those fighting for the island’s independence. It also said there were risks from separatists in the autonomous regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.

A day after the paper was released, an American warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait.

The J-20 is expected to enter mass production this year. If the aircraft was declared ready to go into active operations, it would signal China was a “greater threat” and had “greater capability” in the Pacific, General Charles Brown, the US Air Force’s Pacific commander, said in May.

Brown said US efforts to counter those developments included increasing deployments of next-generation F-35 jets and continuing overflights of strategic areas such as the South China Sea.

According to the US Defence Intelligence Agency, fielding the J-20 would add to what was already the region’s biggest air force and world’s third-largest.

China had more than 2,500 aircraft, including 1,700 combat fighters, strategic bombers, tactical bombers and multi-mission tactical and attack aircraft, in service, the agency said in a report earlier this year.

China’s J-20 fighter was part of a modernisation effort that had been “closing the gap with Western air forces across a broad spectrum of capabilities, such as aircraft performance, command and control and electronic warfare”, the report said.

Macau-based military expert Antony Wong Dong said that in addition to Taiwan, the J-20 fighter could also be used to counterbalance military activities by the United States and Japan.

But Wong added that the Chinese military was still exploring how best the fighter could be used.

“It will take a few years for the aircraft to be fully deployed and to mature. Right now, it’s still in the exploration stage,” he said.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: J-20 Fighter deployed in Taiwan area

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J-20 is now ready for aerial refueling operations

Chengdu J-20: Details

The State Department has approved a possible FMS to Thailand of 60 Stryker infantry carrier vehicles

U.S. Army photo

Thailand – Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles | The Official Home of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency

Media/Public Contact:
Transmittal No:
WASHINGTON, July 26, 2019 - The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Thailand of 60 Stryker infantry carrier vehicles with equipment and support for an estimated cost of $175 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on July 26, 2019.

The Government of Thailand has requested to buy sixty (60) Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles (ICV); and sixty (60) M2 Flex .50 cal machine guns. Also included are spare parts, Basic Issue Items (BII), Components of End Items (COEI), Additional Authorized List (AAL) (specific items for operations and maintenance), Special Tools and Test Equipment (STTE), technical manuals, OCONUS Deprocessing Service, M6 smoke grenade launchers (4 per vehicle) and associated spares, AN/VAS-5 Driver's Vision Enhancer (DVE), AN/VIC-3 vehicle intercommunications system, contractor provided training and Field Service Representatives (FSR), and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated program cost is $175 million.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve security of a Major Non-NATO ally in INDO-PACOM, which is an important force for political stability and economic progress in the region.

The Stryker vehicles will increase Thailand's capability to defend its sovereign territory against traditional and non-traditional threats by filling the capability void between light infantry soldiers and heavy mechanized units. Thailand will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor for the Stryker vehicle is General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, MI. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any permanent additional U.S. Government or Contractor representatives to Thailand.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

All questions regarding this proposed Foreign Military Sale should be directed to the State Department's Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs,

US-Thailand Alliance in the Spotlight with New Combat Vehicle Deal
M1126 Stryker Combat Vehicle: Details

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Turkish armored vehicle 'Hızır' scores first exports

Turkish armored vehicle 'Hızır' scores first exports - Latest News:

The first orders for a new Turkish armored combat vehicle have been received from Africa, said the company making the vehicle, Katmerciler.

The exports of the armored vehicle ''Hızır'' in 2019-2020 are worth $20.7 million (€18.60 million), said the company in a statement. The company did not supply the name of the country making the orders.

The Hızır's first order was received following the vehicle's initial use by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in protecting Turkish borders.

The vehicle was launched in November 2016 by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the 3rd High-Tech Port expo of Turkey’s Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD).

Turkish engineering product Hızır has the highest motor power in its class -- the tactical wheeled armored vehicles -- with its high maneuvering capability, 400-horsepower engine, resistance to mine and explosives, added the company.

The vehicle was developed according to NATO standards and approved by a foreign independent test institution after passing all performance and explosion tests.

It is sophisticated, low-cost and also has maintainability providing commanding control in several configurations including CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) defense, weapon carrier, ambulance, and scout.

Furkan Katmerci, Katmerciler's CEO, said: “Our contacts continue with many potential clients. We are determined to spread our brand to the world defense industry with Hızır's contribution.” 

Katmerciler, founded in 1985, produces nearly 30 different types of equipment such as fire trucks, environmental vehicles and defense industry-specific vehicles.

Katmerciler A.S
Published on Jan 24, 2018

Friday, 26 July 2019

Turkey has received 400 orders for TF-X fighter jet - pro-gov’t newspaper

Paolo Valpolini Via

Turkey has received 400 orders for TF-X fighter jet - pro-gov’t newspaper | Ahval

A total of 400 orders have been placed for Turkey’s yet to be produced next-generation indigenous TF-X fighter jet, pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper said, citing officials.

There has been heightened interest in the aircraft following a display of its mock-up at the Paris Air Show in June and subsequent international meetings, the newspaper said.

Turkey’s TF-X project, a $13 billion effort to offer a fifth-generation fighter to the international market, is aiming for first flight in 2025 and to enter service in 2028. 

The full-scale mock-up of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) jet was officially unveiled at the Paris Air Show on June 17th. 

Ankara was looking to use U.S. General Electric F110 for its first TF-X aircraft, however, this plan hit a snag following  the  decision by the United States to expel Turkey from the F-35 programme over its procurement of the Russian S-400 air defence system.

The project is facing a challenge in the transfer of technology for an engine to power the national fighter.

“Turkey’s ejection from the F-35 programme is a development that will speed up the production of its indigenous fighter jet,’’ Yeni Şafak said, adding that the investment made for the F-35 fighter programme was being “transferred’’ to the TF-X.

Ukroboronprom sends to Thailand first set of BTR-3KSh for licensed assembly in this country


Ukroboronprom sends to Thailand first set of BTR-3KSh for licensed assembly in this country – Bukin

Ukroboronprom state concern has sent the first set of BTR-3KSh (command and staff) armored vehicle to Thailand for licensed assembly in this country, director general of the concern Pavlo Bukin has said.

"We view this export supply as a marker of deepening our cooperation with Thailand - a strategic partner of Ukraine in Southeast Asia. Ukraine has serious prospects in this direction and should use them in its national interests," Bukin said.

According to him, several years ago a framework agreement was signed with the authorized enterprise of the Ministry of Defense of Thailand for the production of BTR-3E1 armored vehicles, various modifications and vehicles based on it, as well as to provide service in the kingdom.

"The BTR-3KSh command-staff armored vehicle based on the BTR-3 is a joint project of Kyiv Armored Plant, which is part of Ukroboronprom, other concern enterprises and private companies, developed on the order of the Royal Thai Armored Forces in cooperation with the Defense Technology Institute of the Ministry of Defense of Thailand," the head of the concern said.

According to him, in the current conditions, the expansion of export supplies is the only way to ensure the innovative development of Ukroboronprom enterprises.

"Cooperation with Thailand allowed Ukraine to expand the BTR-3 line and launch the mass production of an absolutely new world-class combat vehicle," he said.

BTR-3KSh (command and staff) armored vehicle


The Ukrainian manufacturer KBZ, Kievskiy Bronetankovyi Zavod - Kiev Armored Factory, part of the Ukroboronprom state consortium, presented the PC vehicle, Command Post, BTR-3KSh, developed from the VBTT, armored personnel carrier, wheeled 8 × 8 BTR-3.


     The internal volume of the BTR-3KSh is increased to accommodate different equipment and improve the ergonomics of the vehicle. The tank can accommodate up to nine people. The vehicle is presented with the IVA-M teleoperated turret armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun and equipped with diurnal and thermal glasses.


     The BTR-3KSh can receive an automated command system, the tactical terminal of the digitized battle space and the data transmission system. The BTR-3KSh can receive information from various sensors, including unmanned aircraft. It was presented with the Puma drone designed by the state-owned company GKB AON.  Source:

Thursday, 25 July 2019

USAF F-35As gain safety feature seven years early

USAF F-35As gain safety feature seven years early

Lockheed Martin F-35As operated by the US Air Force have started to receive a ground collision avoidance system seven years ahead of schedule.

Integration of the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto-GCAS) onto A-model aircraft has begun, the F-35 Joint Program Office has confirmed.

"This is a great day for the warfighter as the Auto-GCAS is a proven system that is long overdue," says Lieutenant General Eric Fick, F-35 programme executive officer.

Estimates suggest that the technology will prevent more than 26 ground collisions over the stealthy fighter's service life.

Originally developed for the Lockheed F-16 in partnership with NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory, Auto-GCAS uses terrain mapping, geolocation and automation to detect and avoid potential ground collisions.

When an impact is diagnosed as imminent, Auto-GCAS will prompt the pilot to take action. If the pilot fails to respond the system will assume temporary control to divert the aircraft to safety.

Auto-GCAS has been operating on F-16s for more than five years and is credited with saving the lives of eight pilots.

Integration of Auto-GCAS onto the F-35 was originally scheduled for 2026. However, under an accelerated process, including evaluation by the USAF's 412th Test Wing at Edwards AFB, that timeline has been advanced.

USAF F-35As will be first to receive Auto-GCAS, with the system then rolled out across the F-35B and F-35C variants operated by the US Marine Corps and US Navy, respectively.

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Bulgaria’s president walks away from $1.26 billion deal for F-16 jets

Bruce Smith

Bulgaria’s president walks away from $1.26 billion deal for F-16 jets

WASHINGTON — Bulgarian President Rumen Radev vetoed a $1.26 billion deal to buy eight new Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets on Tuesday, according to a Reuters report.

The veto follows a debate in parliament on Friday that revealed divisions on the contract terms.

“The commitment of Republic of Bulgaria to obligations, for years to come, without a national consensus and conviction in the mutually acceptable conditions of the treaty, is extremely worrying,” Radev said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Bulgaria has been working to acquire fighter jets since 2017 to replace its outdated Soviet-era Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter jets. They have considered buying secondhand F-16s from Portugal, Eurofighter Typhoons from Italy and Saab JAS Gripens from Sweden.

Negotiations heated up in May after it looked like Bulgaria would walk away from buying F-16s in exchange for either Typhoons or Gripens. But in June, the U.S. State Department approved the $1.67 billion sale, putting the American aircraft back in the running for a deal with Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian Council of Ministers then followed up by approving four draft agreements for the eight F-16s for a total of almost $1.3 billion in July. However, the agreement had to be approved by the Bulgarian parliament and U.S. Congress.

It’s now unclear what the NATO member will seek to replace its MiG-29 fleet.

Bulgaria’s F16-deal: Defence Minister rejects President’s claim of ‘hidden billion’ cost
Bulgarian Air Force may switch to Typhoon or Gripen because of  F-16V’s high price

Bulgarian Prime Minister Considers the U.S. F-16 Offer “Significantly Better”, SAAB Optimizes its Bid Immediately