Three US navy ships arrived off the southern Philippines on Wednesday for joint military exercises in an area threatened by Muslim militants, officials said.
More than a thousand US serviceman are taking part in the exercise in Zamboanga and the nearby island of Basilan where the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic militant group linked to the Al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden, is active.
The ships arrived ahead of the opening on Thursday of the week-long Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise between the United States and Southeast Asian countries.
A recent test showed the U.S. Navy on track to turning its SeaSparrow missile into a defensive weapon against small boats like the one that hit the USS Cole.
Engineers from the Navy and Raytheon launched Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles from two different launchers mounted aboard the Self Defense Test Ship based in Ventura County, Calif.
Raytheon officials in Tucson said in a statement Wednesday that the missiles were launched against a high-speed inflatable boat to demonstrate its capabilities against surface threats.
The SeaSparrow was originally designed to shoot down airborne threats, including cruise missiles. Adapting it to surface targets is being achieved through a rewrite of the missile’s software package.
“With this software-based upgrade, Evolved SeaSparrow Missile can now more effectively counter the threat posed by fast surface craft before their weapons get in range,” said Raytheon Vice President Frank Wyatt.
Final factory testing is underway on a multi-million pound deepwater rescue system for European naval forces, in part designed by Royston-based G3 Systems.
Aimed at holding up to 72 submariners at once and able to be deployed anywhere in the world within 72 hours, the £47 million NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) is one of the world’s most advanced submarine rapid rescue solutions.
Designed to be flown by military aircraft to an optimal dockside location and mounted to the deck of a suitable ship – of which 170 have been identified worldwide – the system will replace existing submarine rescue systems as they near the end of their design life.
Visiting South Korean Defence Minister, Kim Jang Soon today offered India investments and assistance in upgrading and expanding its defence and civilian shipyards when he met his Indian counterpart A K Antony here. Kim is the first ever South Korean Defence Minister to visit India.
The offer is significant as Indian naval and civilian shipyards are unable to meet the expanding demands for warships and civil vessels, with Government often forced to hire foreign shipyards for production of some of the frontline battle ships.
The turnaround of Indian Defence shipyards is extremely slow and often the delivery schedule for warships is delayed. Antony, who recently toured the leading dockyards, was told of an urgent need to upgrade the yards and the need to set up more units.
The offer of help by Korea could not have been more timely as it could lead to setting up of joint ventures in Naval warship building.
India and South Korea had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2005 on defence logistics and supplies.