27 July 2017

AUS: Successful conclusion to Exercise Talisman Saber 2017

Talisman Saber 2017, Australia’s largest combined military exercise, concluded in Brisbane yesterday after meeting a number of key milestones and achievements.

Mr Luke Howarth MP, Federal Member for Petrie representing Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, was joined by the United States Consul General, Ms Valerie Fowler; Commander US Pacific Fleet, Admiral Scott Swift; and Commanding General, US Army Pacific, General Robert Brown, at the closing ceremony aboard the carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said the exercise, now in its seventh iteration, had been the most complex, challenging and fulfilling Talisman Saber to date.

“Cooperation between the ADF, other government agencies and the forces of the United States and other international participants has been exceptional,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.

USA: ‘Up-Gunned ESG’ concept moves forward in Talisman Saber exercise

From Expeditionary Strike Group 7 Public Affairs

Ships of the Bonhomme Richard ESG form up with Royal Australian Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy ships during Talisman Saber, July 22. (Royal Australian Navy/LSIS Helen Frank) >>

CORAL SEA - Flanked by a U.S. destroyer and four Australian frigates, the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group successfully executed elements of the ‘Up-Gunned ESG’ concept while participating in more than two weeks of live action training as part of Talisman Saber 2017.

The field training exercise (FTX) component of TS17 tested a combined and joint forces’ ability to respond to a crisis situation. Amphibious forces played a critical role in seizing objectives ashore that allowed a land force led by Australian Army’s 3rd Brigade to further deliver stability.

Throughout the exercise, the combined U.S.-Australia-New Zealand amphibious force defended against opposing exercise forces in the air, surface, and undersea domains while delivering combat power against both those forces and opposing forces ashore. The scenarios allowed the ESG to flex its sensors, weapons, and maneuver capability to attain sea control and project power ashore.

USA: U.S.-Australia team up for TS17 command and control from Bonhomme Richard

By MC2 Cameron McCulloch, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs

Royal Australian Navy Sailor Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Samuel Perkins communicates with ships of the U.S.-Australia expeditionary strike group from the combat information center aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during Talisman Saber 17, July 7. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Cameron McCulloch) >>

CORAL SEA - Through a locked door painted with a mural depicting the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), various aircraft, and the words “In God we trust, all others we track,” is one of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) nerve centers. Here, information on allied and adversarial surface and air contacts is gathered and disseminated throughout the ESG. The space, thus, is suitably named the Combat Information Center (CIC).

Locked with a cipher lock and only accessed by those outside of the “need-to-know” via buzzer and a secret clearance, this dark room with little headroom contains the equipment and communications systems to be the eyes, ears and voice of the ship. Consoles made up of monitors in a variety of shapes and sizes display information using the ship’s radar and tracking software. The information displayed glows from the screens in tones of green and orange. These glowing screens illuminate the faces of their operators; Sailors using such precise finger-to-keyboard movements and disciplined voice communications that an interruption of their work feels like it could be considered an act of sabotage, like a wrench thrown into gears.

USA: Navy Regions to Test Security Forces Readiness at Exercise Citadel Pacific

Navy News Service

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2017 — Exercise Citadel Pacific 2017 will be conducted on Navy installations at Joint Region Marianas, Navy Region Japan, Navy Region Hawaii and Singapore Area Coordinator from July 31 to Aug. 4.

This annual exercise is designed to enhance the training, readiness and capability of Navy security forces to respond to threats to Navy installations and units, officials said, emphasizing that Citadel Pacific is not in response to any specific threat, but is a regularly scheduled exercise.

Measures have been taken to minimize disruptions to normal base operations, officials said, increased traffic around bases or delays in base access are possible. Area residents also may see increased security activity associated with the exercise, they added.

Navy Installations Command is responsible for providing support services for the fleet, fighterand family, with more than 52,000 military and civilian personnel serving in 11 regions at 71 installations worldwide.

News Report: Iran to Anchor China’s Global One Belt, One Road Ambitions

Tehran will be a key player in Beijing’s multibillion-dollar One Belt, One Road initiative to resurrect the ancient Silk Road with massive international land and sea trade and transit investments.

Ground transportation infrastructure flanking Iran’s east and west border as a result of Chinese investment, in addition to access points at the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Caspian Sea, combine to make Iran “the centerpiece,” of the massive project, Axios reported Wednesday.

“In the same way that Britain ruled its 19th century empire through a far-flung navy, and the US has done so through its trade deals and its own big naval ships, Beijing is preparing for the day years from now when it may be the premier global power,” the Virginia-based news agency said.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Jon Alterman said OBOR was envisioned as a mechanism “to secure China from a [potential] American-led blockade” against the fast-growing economy. Furthermore, Alterman suggested that Beijing views a strategic partnership with Iran as a “great hedge against American hegemony.”

To Tehran’s west, railroads will link Turkey and Iran. From there, Turkey will serve as the “spoke” for traded goods to funnel into Europe. On the other side of the compass dial, ground transportation routes will connect Tehran with Central Asian countries, Afghanistan and western China. 

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: Beijing’s ‘Sphere of Influence’ to Expand if US Navy Fails to Grow

If the US Navy’s 275-ship fleet does not reach the Pentagon’s goal of 355 vessels, Washington is "more or less incentivizing the [Chinese Navy] into thinking they could achieve a sphere of influence," Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi said Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump vowed on the campaign trail to grow the US fleet to 350 ships—a target in line with the Congressional Research Service’s 2016 conclusion that 355 ships are required to meet national security strategy goals.

But financing fleet growth and doing so in a timely manner constitute major obstacles to achieving that aim. At current construction rates, the Navy will not possess a 350-ship force until at least 2035, the Congressional Budget Office’s Eric Labs told the US Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower on Tuesday.

Naval expert Jerry Hendrix from the Center for a New American Security League stressed to the Senate panel that major investments in the US shipbuilding industry would be essential for sending a message to other global powers not to mess with the US at sea.

News Report: Chinese Navy Expands Submarine Detection Testing in the South China Sea

The Chinese navy will conduct a massive experiment with underwater drones equipped with "real-time data transmission technology," in hopes of building up Beijing’s capacity to detect hostile submarines in the South China Sea.

Beijing wants to accelerate the development of underwater monitoring technology, the South China Morning Post report said, in response to US President Donald Trump’s sanctioning the US Navy to conduct more freedom-of-navigation operations.

Twelve undersea "gliders" positioned in undisclosed locations in the South China Sea will transmit data back to control centers, SCMP noted. The unmanned sea drones will cruise around for a month to gather data on water temperature, salinity, cleanliness, oxygen levels and sea current velocity, a Chinese Academy of Sciences official told the Post.

News Report: N Korea Threatens to ‘Wipe US From the Face of the Earth’ With Nuclear Strike

North Korea has threatened to deliver a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the US. The threat came on the eve of the 64th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, North Korean agency KCNA reported.

The North Korean Minister of Armed Forces Pak Yong-sik warned Washington on Wednesday not to “misjudge” Pyongyang, amid growing speculations of additional missile provocations.

“If the enemies follow a dangerous path of a pre-emptive nuclear attack and continue to underestimate the strategic position of the DPRK, the undefeated Revolutionary Army, … without any warning, will carry out the most fundamental pre-emptive nuclear strike in the heart of the American empire, wiping it from the face of the Earth and will finish till the end the historic reunification of the homeland,” Yong-sik said.

The minister also said that the US is plotting its own preventive nuclear strike against the DPRK, fearing the growth of the military power of this country.

News Report: Amid Ammo Shortage, Indian General Seeks More Funds to Counter China

Stressing for more defense expenditure in the backdrop of China’s expansionist approach, India’s top army general has said Delhi has to be prepared for the threat from Beijing in the coming years.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Lieutenant General Sarath Chand, the vice-chief of the Indian Army, said a large part of Chinese defense expenditure is not included in account books, which means China spends much more than what it declares.

"China is expanding its influence across the Himalayas into our neighborhood despite being an economy five times the size of India, with such a large standing army, and despite having the Himalayas between us, it is bound to be a threat for us in the years ahead," Chand said.

News Report: India Launches Two Naval Patrol Vessels Built by Private Indian Defense Company

For the first time, the Indian Navy has launched two naval offshore patrol vessels (NOPVs) built by a private Indian defense company. The NOPVs were built by the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited at its Pipavav shipyard in the western state of Gujarat.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The two NOPVs are part of five ships under the P-21 project being constructed for the Indian Navy by RDEL at a cost worth $375 million. The two ships will be known as Shachi and Shruti in the Indian Navy.

"The launch is a significant and milestone event as these two NOPVs are the first warships to be launched by a private sector shipyard in India," Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command said.