Archive for November, 2007
The U.S. military plans to delay its purchase of 11 warships now under development by Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Dynamics Corp.
The Navy planned to buy 32 of the new Littoral Combat Ships over the next five years and now will buy only 21, according to an unpublished Nov. 19 directive from Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England that spells out changes in the Pentagon’s fiscal 2009-2013 plan. The savings from buying the vessels after 2013 could be as much as $5 billion, an analyst said.
The delay is the latest indication of disarray in the Navy’s plan to develop and field the new class of low-cost vessels designed to operate close to shore. The Navy already canceled two of four vessels on contract with Lockheed and General Dynamics.
General Dynamics, the Navy’s second-largest shipbuilder, and Lockheed, the world’s biggest defense company by sales, are building competing versions of the new ship. Costs for developing the vessel have increased as much as 70 percent, Navy officials have said.
A Chinese warship dropped anchor off Tokyo on Wednesday in the communist nation’s first military visit to Japan since World War II, symbolizing improving ties between the two Asian giants.
The port call by the guided missile destroyer Shenzhen, with about 350 crew on board, was part of an exchange that will bring a Japanese warship on a visit to China at a later date. It was the first visit ever to Japan by communist China’s People’s Liberation Army.
The visit took place amid concerns in Japan over surging defense spending in China, but the commanding officer assured his Japanese hosts that Tokyo has nothing to fear from Chinese military might.
More international focus on the High North and increased Russian Navy activities in the region has made the Norwegian Defence move more subs towards the Barents Sea. In a televised reportage from NRK, Norwegian submarine crew members now tell about intelligence operations against Russian vessels.
Russian vessels have the last months on several occasions operated outside the Norwegian coast, and Norwegian authorities have now requested an explanation from Russia.
After a decade of low activities in the Barents Sea, the area is now again becoming the playground for navy interests. In a reportage from Norwegian broadcaster NRK today, Norwegian Navy officials confirm that Russian war ships the last months have stepped up activities along the Norwegian coast, and that sonar has been used against Norwegian submarines.
Sources in the Norwegian Armed Forces confirm that Russian submarines have intensified training activities in areas outside the Norwegian coast. Orion aircrafts have dropped listening equipment to find the vessel.
Meanwhile, it is likely that also Norwegian subs have have stepped up intelligence against facilities on the Russian side of the border.
According to Aftenposten, the Norwegian Armed Forces do not want to comment on the information. However, Deputy Defence Minister Espen Barth Eide confirms that Russia has stepped up military activities in the North both in the air and under water. He also confirms that the Russian subs have operated in “sensitive areas” along the coast. He does still not want to dramatize the situation. –They are not doing anything illegal. They want to signal that they are interested in important areas and that they have military capacities, he says.
The submarine activities come amid a surge in Russian military flying in the area. According to Aftenposten, the Norwegian Air Force has identified 74 Russian aircrafts the last half year.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report the Iranian Navy is in the process of deploying two submarine fleets – mini-subs in Persian Gulf waters for attacks on US shipping and Gulf oil facilities, and the long-range Kilo class sub of Russian, Chinese and home manufacture, for long-range targets in the Mediterranean, such as the US Sixth Fleet and Israel coastal towns, primarily Tel Aviv.
Iran’s defense minister Mostafa Najiar announced Tuesday, Nov. 27, that a new Iranian-built submarine would be delivered to the navy Wednesday. He offered no details of the new item. However, two days earlier, Iran’s navy chief. Adm. Habibollah Sayyari disclosed that the new submarine would operate in Persian Gulf waters in the Strait of Hormuz area. He also declared that Tehran has no intention of blocking the Strait in a flare-up with the US military.
DEBKAfile’s military sources note that Iran’s strategic thinking has undergone a change. Hitherto, the rulers of Tehran viewed the blockage of the narrow waterway to shipping that carries one-third of the world’s oil needs, as its most effective reprisal for a military attack. They have revised their thinking for two reasons: First, Iran has made great strides in expanding its influence in Gulf oil states and an assault on their sole source of revenue would win more enemies than friends.
Second, as DEBKA-Net-Weekly 326 revealed Nov. 16, Tehran has developed a new capability to deploy in the Mediterranean Kilo class submarines armed with the Russian-made “Sizzler” Klub-S (3M54) missile. This missile can be shot from underwater at a range of 300 kilometers and has a powerful 450-kilogram warhead. It is launched from the submarine’s 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tubes.
This possibility was outlined by an authoritative Iranian security figure, the spokesman-cum-commentator at Iran’s defense ministry, Gen. Reza Naghdi, on Nov. 12. He said that if Iran were attacked, its navy – and its submarine fleet in particular – could come close enough to “reach an Israeli coastal target” from the sea.
Thousands of schoolchildren have watched the launch of the Royal Navy’s newest destroyer on the River Clyde.
HMS Diamond is the third of the new Type 45s to be built and launched at the BAE Systems shipyard on the Clyde as part of a £6bn programme.
The Type 45 will replace the Navy’s ageing fleet of Type 42 destroyers.
Invitation to prospective bidders for the procurement of a patrol boat system for the operational boat squadron of the SA Navy to be deployed outside the borders of the RSA.