Thursday, April 17, 2014

DSA 2014 - Hmmmmm Humbug?

I initially did not want to attend the show this year as I suspected that there is nothing much new that will be on show. Nonetheless a relative asked me to attend as he wanted to ask me for assistance in business networking so I relented and attended on the third day, the first time doing so. It was as I suspected but since it was already at the tail end of the show, nothing much was being announced when I was there.Therefore this time I will just make a pictorial of what captured my attention the most during my brief visit.

The star of the show would surely be the AV8s on show where both the AFV-30 and IFV-25 variant is on show. I was informed that 11 units are now ready to be inducted into the army in the near future as the first delivery.

And from the DEFTECH representative that I met that was premiering their AV6 or actually the rebadged PARS 6x6, I was informed that there will finally be a field testing of 6x6 armoured vehicles in order to fulfil the UNIFIL requirements. No wonder there was a lot 6x6 units being displayed except for a particular brand from a neighbouring country that previously claimed the contract was already awarded to them. Hopefully this will be a nucleus order for the full replacement of the Condor fleet of battle taxis.

The AV6 is currently displayed with the proposed weapon,

25 mm STOP Remote Controlled Stabilized Naval Gun System

The emblem although different from PARS belies its origins, mayhaps now in the form of an ODE to Proton?
Deftech also took the opportunity to showcase their HMMWV in partnership with AM General which a friend informed me was trialed in the north sometime last year.

Also in association with Bell Helicopters, an USMC UH-1Y 'Huey" made an appearance as the solo static helicopter being openly displayed to public although an AW139 was in one of the booths. The Huey was flown all the way from Afghanistan in a C5 and assembled in Subang before being flown in to the PWTC open carpark where it was displayed.

And now lets continue to the eye candies shall we. The local agent for Rotinor's divescooter for use by the Malaysian Special Forces creative costuming of their promoters certainly attracted a lot of visitors to their booth. Hopefully it is accepted into service soon.

It was claimed that the use of the leash would allow a team of 6 to be transported by a single scooter. Interesting right?
And finally don't forget to YUK visit Indo Defence 2014.

Monday, April 14, 2014

And Yet Some Asks Our Navy To Use Prahus To Patrol

An interesting read on how the MH370 incident and subsequent SAR efforts has revealed the capability gaps of the nations' military involved, in this case in particular the China's maritime capabilities.However China's booming military spending as detailed in this other article may rectify the gaps in the long run.

China-Japan Military Balance
Yes China will learn from this incident but pity Malaysia's own military. I personally do not think that our military will get what they need even though their shortfalls are now plain to see with only a single navy frigate and three C-130H involved in the SAR efforts in the Indian Ocean even though we are the primary nation affected. Nonetheless the DSA 2014 has just started today and hopefully we can get some good news on military procurement despite the odds.

Published: Sunday April 13, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday April 13, 2014 MYT 8:36:56 AM

China’s tech gap exposed in MH370 search mission 

Ability in doubt: Chinese patrol ship 'Haixun 01' picked up electronic pulsing signals in the Indian Ocean on April 4 and again on April 5. But some foreign experts are sceptical about whether China's equipment is advanced enough to obtain signals from as deep as 4,500m under the sea. - EPA
BEIJING: China has the ability to detect signals sent from deep in the sea, but the month-long hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has exposed technological drawbacks in China’s maritime search and rescue outfit, experts said.

Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 picked up electronic pulsing signals in the Indian Ocean on April 4 and again on April 5. But some foreign experts are sceptical about whether China’s equipment is advanced enough to obtain signals from as deep as 4,500m under the sea.

The ship is equipped with maritime detection equipment, including one black box sonar detector and two underwater robots, said Wang Liangyu, head of maritime survey at the Donghai Navigation Safety Administration under the Transport Ministry.

“All of them were imported,” he said. “The black box detector, which was made by the same company that produces black boxes, has a maximum detection range of 5,000m.”

The adoption of such advanced technologies has enabled China to catch “ping” signals from the black boxes, he told Shanghai newspaper Jiefang Daily.

However, searchers need more time to analyse and verify the signals to see whether they are consistent with the black boxes – the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.

Many Chinese applauded Haixun 01’s findings, but say China still lags behind other nations when it comes to maritime search and rescue equipment.

“I’m proud that it was our ship that first detected the (suspected) signals,” said an Internet user who goes under the name biedong1925, “but it is a pity that none of the equipment used was made in China”.

Some experts said more resources and investment should be allocated to China’s maritime search and rescue outfit development.

“There are a lot of things that China should do to upgrade its equipment used in maritime search and rescue operations,” said Cui Yiliang, an expert on ships and naval armament in Beijing.

“We must speed up the research and development of autonomous underwater vehicles, or AUVs,” he said. 

“High-tech underwater vehicles such as the Bluefin-21 play an irreplaceable role in deep-sea detection and retrieval operations, but I haven’t read any reports about similar equipment developed in China.”

The Australian navy vessel Ocean Shield is carrying a Bluefin-21 in its current search and will use the sub to scan for wreckage once the black box is located.

AUV played a critical role in locating a lost Air France jet in 2011, two years after it crashed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. A team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the United States used an AUV equipped with side-scan sonar to locate the aircraft about 3,900m underwater. In China, the AUV is still in its infancy and far from being operational, Cui said.

In November, the Qianlong-1 unmanned autonomous underwater vehicle completed its first application test in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Co-developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Harbin Engineering University, it can travel to a depth of 6,000m, and is tasked to explore the seabed and collect hydrological data. The vehicle is on a trial run and marks the first time a Chinese AUV has been used for a scientific expedition, according to the academy.

Meanwhile, a military observer said the Chinese navy should improve its use of sea-based air platforms in maritime search and rescue operations.

The PLA navy’s missile destroyer Haikou, replenishment ship Qiandaohu, and amphibian landing craft Kunlunshan and Jinggangshan are taking part in the search mission led by Australia in a remote part of the Indian Ocean.

However, the fleet “apparently failed to bring enough helicopters”, said the observer in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, who declined to be named.

The two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers of the US Navy that had participated in the early search for MH370, the USS Pinckney and USS Kidd, each carried two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, which flew sorties from dawn to dusk.

“Each Arleigh Burke-class destroyer can carry up to four helicopters, which means it has a strong capability to search on the sea,” the observer said, adding Chinese destroyers and frigates can carry only one helicopter.

The amphibian landing craft Kunlunshan and Jinggangshan can each embark up to four helicopters, he said. 

“But judging from news reports, they didn’t bring that number of helicopters. The only guess I can make is that our navy still needs to learn from the US Navy in the use of sea-based air platforms.”

Friday, April 4, 2014

Littoral Combat Ship - Finally ?

I myself cannot remember when was supposed to be the actual launch date :-)
Published: Friday April 4, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday April 4, 2014 MYT 7:27:55 AM

BHIC to build first littoral combat ship in 2015 

KUALA LUMPUR: Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd (BHIC) expects to build the first littoral combat ship (LCS) early next year, under a RM9bil contract awarded to its associate company.
This, coupled with the group’s growing maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) business, will help the company improve its financial performance in the current financial year ending Dec 31, 2014.

“We are confident of doing much better this year. BHIC’s order book for shipbuilding and MRO for this year is more than RM500mil,” managing director Tan Sri Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor told reporters after the company’s AGM yesterday.

He said the LCS programme was ahead of schedule and that actual work at the group’s shipyard in Lumut, Perak was expected to commence once the LCS project contract was finalised.

“We are already more or less at 35%. A lot of pre-planning is being done,” he said. Project revisions and cost overuns related to the LCS project hit the group last year as its associate company Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd reported loss of RM23.2mil in the financial year of 2013.

Ahmad Ramli said the revisions took into consideration the negotiated scope of work with various stakeholders, including the navy and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). He added that 80% of contracts with the OEMs was already in place.

The building of the ships required a lot of imported high-end equipment, something which the company was wary about, he said, adding that the projected cost could vary with the value of the ringgit fluctuating against major currencies.

“We purchased a lot of equipment from overseas. So the movements of the ringgit do have a big impact on our shipbuilding business. But the project is on track and will start in the first quarter of next year,” chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin said.

According to The Edge Financial Daily on this matter, 35% of the project has already been completed as follows ;

On the RM9 billion littoral combat ship contract from the Defence Ministry, Ahmad Ramli said Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd, an associate of BHIC, has progressed around 35% of the project, mostly on the aspects of the design work, training of manpower and improvement of infrastructure.

“The actual work itself will start in Lumut in the first quarter of next year,” he added.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Yup Now It Is A Real Submarine, But...

Yes ladies and gentlemen, a full fledged submarine has finally joined the Task Force for SAR MH370 as reported below. Nonetheless before you start asking why our own submarines are not joining, do take note that The Trafalgar Class HMS Tireless is a nuclear attack submarine that is far more capable than our own diesel submarine as you can read here. So unless you allow Malaysia to follow Brunei footsteps and increase our defence budget to record of more than 10% of our national budget, please hold your tongue as this incident has clearly shown our defence capabilities shortfalls due to petty sniping of our defence spending prior to this. Anyway Malaysia even if we can afford it will never be allowed to join the nuclear submarine navy club so let's be clear about that shall we. But who knows, maybe our own Perdana class SSK diesel submarines are actually steaming towards the SAR area as it is their nature to announce their journey before arriving at their destination, exactly as HMS Tireless has done when her arrival was only announced upon arrival around a week after being ordered to move from an operational tasking to the search area. See how much details are left out even the this article gives much more information than article posted here.

Published: Wednesday April 2, 2014 MYT 8:30:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday April 2, 2014 MYT 8:32:19 AM 

MH370 search: Sub joins hunt ahead of Najib’s visit to Perth 

PERTH: The protracted search for missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 was boosted Wednesday by the arrival of a British submarine in the Indian Ocean ahead of a visit to Australia by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The personal jet of Oscar-winning New Zealand movie director Peter Jackson is also now reportedly being used in the multinational hunt for the plane that vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board.

Despite extensive scouring of remote Indian Ocean waters by planes and ships southwest of Perth where Malaysia believes the plane went down, nothing has been found so far that would indicate a crash site.

“No significant developments to report,” the Australian Maritime Safety Authority tweeted after 10 planes returned from flying sorties on Tuesday evening in a now familiar update on drawing a blank.

But in a boost to the search effort, Britain’s Royal Navy said submarine HMS Tireless has arrived in the area and “with her advanced underwater search capability will be able to contribute to the attempts to locate the missing plane”.

While planes, ships and helicopters have all been deployed, it is the first submarine to be drafted in.
Britain’s HMS Echo is also due in the search zone shortly to assist Australia's Ocean Shield naval vessel, which is fitted with a US-supplied black box detector and is expected to arrive on Friday.

The battery-powered signal from the black box – which records flight data and cockpit voice communications that could indicate what happened to the plane – usually lasts only about 30 days, with time fast running out to find it.

Australia has warned against expectations of quick success in the difficult task of recovering the black box from the deep and vast seas.

Retired Australian air chief marshal Angus Houston, who is heading a new coordination centre in Perth, reiterated Wednesday that the odds were stacked against them.

“The reality is it’s the most complex and challenging search and recovery operation I’ve ever seen,” he told national radio.

“If we don’t find anything on the surface, we’ll have to think about what we do next.” 

Prime Minister Najib is due in Perth on Wednesday evening to tour the air base being used as a staging post and meet with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott, as well as Houston. – AFP