Thursday, June 24, 2010

DTN News: Boeing Receives Contract To Upgrade US Air Force KC-10 Cockpits

Defense News: DTN News: Boeing Receives Contract To Upgrade US Air Force KC-10 Cockpits
Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, - June 24, 2010: Boeing [NYSE: BA] yesterday June 23, announced that it has received a $216 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to upgrade the service's 59-jet KC-10 tanker fleet with a new communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management (CNS/ATM) system.The KC-10 upgrade will enable the fleet to comply with the forecasted 2015 CNS/ATM Federal Aviation Administration/International Civil Aviation Organization standards, which allow shared access within both civil and military airspace, enabling tanker refueling operations worldwide.
"As air traffic continues to increase, modern CNS/ATM systems become essential for communicating precise flight data and obtaining the most direct routing," said Mike Harris, Boeing vice president of Weapon Systems Modernization. "This upgrade is critical to the Air Force for pilots' safety, mission effectiveness and lower operational costs."
The five-year contract draws on design and development work performed by Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The contract will be managed at the Boeing Long Beach, Calif., facility. The first airplane will be modified and flight-tested in 2012 at the company's San Antonio facility. Boeing will complete and deliver the final KC-10 modification in 2015.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.
Jennifer HoganMaintenance, Modifications and Upgrades
Mobile: 405-818-7859

DTN News: UN Chief Says Israeli Plan For East Jerusalem Is Illegal

Defense News: DTN News: UN Chief Says Israeli Plan For East Jerusalem Is Illegal
Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) UNITED NATIONS - June 24, 2010: UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday voicedconcern that an Israeli plan to raze 22 Arab homes to make way for an archaeological park in annexed east Jerusalem is "unhelpful" and against international law.
Ban "is deeply concerned about the decision by the Jerusalem Municipality to advance planning for house demolitions and further settlement activity in the area of Silwan in East Jerusalem," the secretary general's spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement.
"The planned moves are contrary to international law, and to the wishes of Palestinian residents," the statement said.
Ban "reminds the Israeli Government of its responsibility to ensure provocative steps are not taken which would heighten tensions in the city. The current moves are unhelpful, coming at a time when the goal must be to build trust to support political negotiations," the statement added. The park, which is planned for a crumbling Arab neighborhood just outside the walls of the Old City, was approved by Jerusalem city council on Monday in a move that drew criticism both at home and abroad.
The plan was put before the city's planning and building committee on Monday, which approved Gan Hamelech, the Hebrew name for an area outside the Old City known as Al-Bustan to its mostly Arab residents.
Under the plan, 22 homes would be razed, while another 66 would be legalized. The 88 homes all had been slated for demolition because they were built without Israeli permits.
The issue is all the more sensitive as most of the international community does not recognize Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem since June 1967.

DTN News: 'No Excuses Acceptable In S-300 Case' Iran To Russia

Defense News: DTN News: 'No Excuses Acceptable In S-300 Case' Iran To Russia
* Iran says Russia should live up to its commitments to deliver S-300 defense missiles to Tehran.
Source: DTN News / Press TV
(NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN, Iran - June 24, 2010: Amid Russia's ambiguity over delivery of S-300 defense system to Iran, an Iranian lawmaker insists that the dispatch of the missiles is Russia's definite obligation.
"The delivery of S-300 missile defense system to Iran is part of Moscow's definite obligation and no excuse to dodge the responsibility is acceptable," Head of Iran-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Committee, Mehdi Sanai, told Mehr news agency on Tuesday.
The Iranian lawmaker elaborated on the agreement between the two countries, signed in 2005, arguing that Russia's delay in the delivery of the S-300 air-defense missiles to Tehran is resulted from outside pressure.
"Moscow's failure to deliver the air-defense missile system to Tehran would not only hinder cooperation between the two states, but also damage the country's status in finding new partners in the region," Sanai maintained.
His remarks came on the same day when Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the Russian officials would be responsible for the "damages" caused by their failure to deliver the air-defense system Iran.
Vahidi's remarks came in reaction to the comments of Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Denisov, who announced last week that Russia had decided to freeze the delivery of the missiles to Iran, as it was against the new round of UN sanctions on Tehran approved on June 9.
"Moscow believes that the sanctions resolution clearly forbids the sale of the S-300 system to Iran," Denisov said.
According the deal between the two countries, Russia is obliged to provide Iran with at least five of the systems, but the Kremlin has since oscillated between delivering the systems to Tehran and US and Israel's demands for the deal to be scrapped altogether.

DTN News: US Afghan Commander Stanley McChrystal Fired By Obama

Defense News: DTN News: US Afghan Commander Stanley McChrystal Fired By Obama
Source: DTN News / BBC News
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - June 23, 2010: The top US military commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, has been dismissed by President Barack Obama over comments made in a magazine.
He will be replaced by Gen David Petraeus, who led the "surge" in Iraq. Mr Obama insisted it was "a change in personnel but not a change in policy".
In a statement, Gen McChrystal said he was leaving because of a "desire to see the mission succeed".
He agreed that his statements in Rolling Stone showed "poor judgement".
The announcement that Gen McChrystal was standing down came after he had met Mr Obama at the White House on Wednesday.
Mr Obama said he had made the decision as Gen McChrystal had failed to "meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general".
He insisted: "I don't make this decision based on any difference in policy with General McChrystal, nor on any personal insult."'Poor judgement'
Afghan President Hamid Karzai had indicated he did not want Gen McChrystal replaced, with a spokesman describing him as the best commander in nine years of US military operations in Afghanistan.
Gen McChrystal quickly apologised for the magazine article, The Runaway General, written by Michael Hastings and due out on Friday, extending his "sincerest apology" and saying it showed a lack of integrity.
The wide-ranging article quoted Gen McChrystal and his aides openly criticising senior members of the Obama administration."It was a mistake reflecting poor judgement and should never have happened," he said.
At the White House on Wednesday, Gen McChrystal was due to face those he and his aides had criticised at the administration's monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan on Wednesday.
The officials included:
**Joe Biden. Gen McChrystal had mocked the vice-president when asked a question about him. "Are you asking about Vice-President Biden? Who's that?"
**Karl Eikenberry. Gen McChrystal said he felt "betrayed" by the US ambassador to Kabul during the long 2009 White House debate on troop requests for Afghanistan
**James Jones. One of Gen McChrystal's aides says the national security adviser is a "clown... stuck in 1985"
**Richard Holbrooke. Gen McChrystal says of an e-mail from the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan: "Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke... I don't even want to open it"

DTN News: Asia-Pacific Millionaires 'Richer Than Europeans'

Defense News: DTN News: Asia-Pacific Millionaires 'Richer Than Europeans'
Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) SINGAPORE - June 23, 2010: Asia-Pacific millionaires are collectively worth more than their European counterparts for the first time, with the rich in China and India leading the way, a study said Wednesday.
Chairman of India's Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani, seen ...
Wed Jun 23, 6:57 AM

Chairman of India's Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani, seen here in Mumbai on June 17, is one of the richest men in Asia and the world. Asia-Pacific millionaires are collectively worth more than their European counterparts for the first time, with the rich in China and India leading the way, a study has said.

Photo:Punit Paranjpe/AFP

The report on high-net worth individuals (HNWIs) -- defined as anyone with investible assets of at least one million US dollars -- was issued by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and consultancy firm Capgemini.More millionaires are expected to be minted in a region that has produced some of the world's richest people, including Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing and India's Mukesh Ambani, as Asia leads the recovery from the global recession.

The world's population of HNWIs returned to 10 million in 2009 after the global slump, with the largest concentrations still found in the United States, Japan and Germany.

"The Asia-Pacific HNWI population rose 25.8 percent overall to three million, catching up with Europe for the first time, after falling 14.2 percent in 2008," the World Wealth Report said.

They saw their total wealth grow nearly a third to 9.7 trillion dollars, more than erasing 2008 losses and surpassing the 9.5 trillion dollars held by their European counterparts, it said.

The super-rich, or those with investible assets of 30 million dollars or more, represented only 0.9 percent of the global HNWI population, but accounted for more than a third of the wealth, the report said.

These "ultra-HNWI's" raised their collective wealth by 21.5 percent, after seeing an aggregate decline of 24 percent in 2008.

North America had the highest concentration of mega-rich individuals with over 36,000, compared with Europe's 20,700 and 19,600 from the Asia-Pacific region.

In 2009, eight of the 10 economies with the highest growth in HNWI population were from the Asia-Pacific region, led by Hong Kong where their numbers doubled as the stock exchange climbed 73.5 percent, the report said.

The other Asia-Pacific economies on the global top 10 growth list were India, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam, in that order.

Israel, the third highest gainer globally, and Norway, which was in ninth place, were the only countries outside the region on the top 10 growth list.

Ong Yeng Fang, a managing director at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, told reporters the number of Asia-Pacific millionaires was likely to rise further, given expectations for robust economic growth.

In a separate study by Forbes Magazine, China has passed India in having the most billionaires in Asia, but India remains home to the region's wealthiest individuals.

Ten of Asia's top 25 billionaires are from India, led by oil and gas tycoon Ambani with an estimated wealth of 29 billion dollars and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal with 28.7 billion dollars.

Hong Kong, led by rags-to-riches tycoon Li Ka-shing, has five billionaires in the Forbes top 25 list -- the same number as Japan.

Mainland China has only one -- beverage king Zong Qinghou, who is worth seven billion dollars. But overall, it leads Asia with 64 billionaires.

The World Wealth Report said the rich have nearly recouped the losses of 2008 and total assets are now approaching levels last seen in 2007, before a US housing crisis triggered the global slump.

"The rebound has been, and will continue to be, driven by emerging markets -- especially India and China, as well as Brazil," said Bertrand Lavayssiere, managing director for global financial services at Capgemini.

Following massive losses during the 2008-2009 crisis, the world's rich have become more cautious and are taking a more hands-on role in their investments, the report said.

"However, their investment decisions are driven much more from emotional than intellectual factors," said Foong Lai Kiun, Asia-Pacific director for financial services at Capgemini.

The world's rich favoured luxury collectibles like private jets, supercars and yachts as "passion investments", she said.

DTN News: EADS Pitches A400M, C-295 To Australia

Defense News: DTN News: EADS Pitches A400M, C-295 To Australia
Source: DTN News / Flight International By Leithen Francis
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - June 23, 2010: EADS, which is preparing to start deliveries of air tankers to the Royal Australian Air Force, has also been busy promoting its Airbus Military A400M and C-295 in Australia.The A400M would be useful to Australia because "it is twice the size of the Lockheed Martin C-130 and carries twice the weight", says EADS corporate vice-president of international development for Asia Pacific and South America Christian Duhain.
"It is a stronger aircraft and can take off from rugged airfields," he adds.
EADS has also been putting forward the C-295 to meet the military's requirement for fixed-wing short take-off and landing aircraft. The requirement has come about because late last year the air force retired its last de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou transports.
Some of the Caribou's roles will be fulfilled by utility helicopters, but the Australian Defence Force has said publicly that it will also need fixed-wing aircraft.
This procurement will come under the Department of Defence's Project 8000 phase two, which calls for "first pass" approval in the 2010-11 to 2011-12 fiscal year and a decision in either 2012-13 or 2014-15.
As an interim solution, the service has been relying on Beechcraft King Air 350s.
While EADS may be hoping Australia can become the A400M's second export customer outside Europe, it is continuing to work to deliver five Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transports to the air force.
Duhain says the programme's first two aircraft are supporting test activities in Spain, and will be delivered by the end of the year. These were modified by Airbus Military andQantas Defence Services, respectively, with the latter to also prepare the remaining three examples.
"We are trying to make Australia part of our global supply chain," says Duhain, who notes that EADS's Eurocopter subsidiary also owns Australian Aerospace in Brisbane. The company assembles the Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter for the Australian Army.
"Our approach is not about offsets: rather our approach is long term," he says.
Duhain confirms that there may be an opportunity for Australian Aerospace to make helicopters for export customers.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:

DTN News: 'Angry' Obama Summons McChrystal Over Scathing Interview

Defense News: DTN News: 'Angry' Obama Summons McChrystal Over Scathing Interview
Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - June 22, 2010: The future of the US military commander in Afghanistan hung in the balance Tuesday over a damaging interview in which he and top aides mocked and criticized the Obama administration.
General Stanley McChrystal was summoned to the White House on Wednesday to explain himself as President Barack Obama weighed two difficult options, firing a general at a critical moment or tolerating defiance from a top commander.
The unflattering article in Rolling Stone magazine brought to the surface lingering tensions between McChrystal and the White House just as the US deploys 30,000 more troops to the war now in its ninth year.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama was "angry" when he read the article late Monday, and refused to rule out that the commander-in-chief would sack McChrystal for what amounted to insubordination.
"General McChrystal has fought bravely on behalf of this country for a long time. Nobody could or should take that away from him, and nobody will," Gibbs said.
"But there has clearly been an enormous mistake in judgment to which he's going to have to answer to."
After issuing a groveling apology, McChrystal planned to rush back from Kabul to attend in person Wednesday's monthly war briefing -- normally a video-conference that he hooks up to from his Kabul headquarters.
"I have recalled General McChrystal to Washington to discuss this in person," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates in a terse statement. "I believe that General McChrystal made a significant mistake and exercised poor judgment in this case."
In the profile entitled "The Runaway General," McChrystal aides mock Vice President Jose Biden, call the president's national security adviser "a clown," and say the general was "disappointed" by his first meeting with Obama.
McChrystal himself is quoted as saying he felt "betrayed" by US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, a former commander in Afghanistan who raised pointed objections to his onetime subordinate's war strategy.
An unnamed McChrystal adviser says in the article that the general came away unimpressed after meeting with Obama in the Oval Office a year ago.
"It was a 10-minute photo op," the general's adviser says. "Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was... he didn't seem very engaged."
Leaving McChrystal with yet more explaining to do when he meets Obama face-to-face on Wednesday, the article quotes unnamed sources saying he thought the president looked "uncomfortable and intimidated" at an initial meeting with top brass.
McChrystal issued a statement late Monday apologizing for his remarks and one of his media officers, a civilian, has already resigned over the episode, but the fallout is unlikely to stop there.
"The magnitude and graveness of this mistake are profound," said Gibbs.
Three leading hawks in Congress condemned the general's remarks, with Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham, along with independent Joe Lieberman, saying McChrystal's comments were "inconsistent with the traditional relationship between commander-in-chief and the military."
But the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, said the article pointed to personality differences and "do not reflect differences in policy on prosecuting the war."
Prompting concerns about strains in civilian-military relations, McChrystal already received a dressing down from Obama last year over his remarks at a London conference in which he appeared to reject Biden's argument in favor of fewer troops in Afghanistan.
In the article McChrystal pretended to rehearse an answer to questions referring to the vice president.
"'Are you asking about Vice President Biden?' McChrystal says with a laugh. 'Who's that?'" the article quotes him as saying.
"'Biden?' suggests a top adviser. 'Did you say: Bite Me?'"
In Kabul, Eikenberry said through a spokeswoman that he remains "fully committed" to working with McChrystal, despite the scathing criticism.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also backed McChrystal, with his spokesman saying: "The Rolling Stone article is rather unfortunate, but it is just an article.
"We are in the middle of a very real conflict, and the Secretary General has full confidence in General McChrystal as the NATO commander, and in his strategy."

DTN News: What Lies Beneath The South China Sea: Sub Texts

Defense News: DTN News: What Lies Beneath The South China Sea: Sub Texts
*Southeast Asia's governments, having stocked up on surface weaponry, now want undersea boats
Source: DTN News / Asia Sentinel
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - June 22, 2010: The governments of Southeast Asia, already fertile ground for defence companies, have embarked on a round of buying submarines, the utility, safety and strategic value of which looks doubtful. In fact, they may actually increase tensions in the region as their lurking menace could swiftly turn a naval encounter from an incident into a crisis. Singapore started it in 1995 by buying a surplus Swedish navy boat, with a further three ordered in 1997, perhaps with designs to manufacture them on license rather than for defense. The first was commissioned in mid-2000 and further orders have since been made as the original boats have been retired.
Malaysia ordered two new Scorpene-class submarines from the Franco-Spanish DCNS/ Navantia consortium in 2002, with the first just having arrived in the country this year.
In late 2009 Vietnam ordered six Kilo-class submarines from a Russian yard, with the first delivery due by 2012. The governments of Indonesia and Thailand are also both considering acquiring new submarines.
However, the growing use of unmanned underwater vehicles, in line with the better-known unmanned aerial 'drones,' is eroding the submarines' raison d'être – particularly as defense budgets are squeezed and technology offers less costly but comparable results.
The economic and technical metrics of operating manned submarines make them among the most expensive weapon in any national arsenal. There are no accurate figures tabulating the capital and recurring costs of submarine programs in Singapore, Malaysia and now Vietnam, including bases and crew training. But in order to keep one submarine operational a minimum of two boats, but preferably three, are needed. Each boat requires two full crews – plus support personnel and facilities.
Rough figures for the three navies make acquisition costs alone well in excess of US$3 billion, with combined annual running costs unlikely to fall much below US$1 billion by 2015, to marginally enhance deterrence of an enemy that is unlikely to materialize.
The cost-benefit value of conventional submarines – against the perceived value of boats that carry the nuclear deterrence of major powers - is also questionable. Since the end ofWorld War II, Russia, France, the US, Britain, China and Israel together have lost at least 17 submarines in peacetime accidents. Only two have been recorded as being lost in conflicts. Over the same period just three vessels are acknowledged to have been sunk by submarines – the Indian frigate Khukri during the 1971 war with Pakistan, the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano by a British boat during the 1982 Falklands conflict and the South Korean corvette Cheonan in an attack by a North Korean mini-submarine in 2010.
Even as the Southeast Asians embark on their buying spree, many countries are reducing the size of their submarine fleets - notably Germany - or have scrapped them altogether, like Denmark. Other European powers are set to cancel or delay new building programs based on economic and strategic assessments.
The attraction of submarines to defense planners lies in their stealth, flexibility and deterrence. A conventional diesel-electric submarine armed with torpedoes, mines and anti-ship missiles and equipped with modern air-independent propulsion systems is a formidable weapon that the most advanced navies have to respect.
Their principal weakness is their high acquisition and running cost, the demands placed on an often limited skill base and their vulnerability within confined or shallow waters. These factors have led most Southeast Asian navies to concentrate their resources on developing surface forces rather than invest in submarines that offered doubtful strategic or even tactical benefits. Run silent...
All countries bordering the South China Sea are members of Asean. While many have unresolved maritime boundary or territorial issues with neighbors or Asean partners, the likelihood that any of these disputes would move beyond rhetoric and military posturing is highly improbable.
The threat from external powers seeking to exert influence in the region is a more realistic scenario, with China and the US able to readily deploy naval forces into the region. But it is inconceivable any regional state would seek to challenge either country to a naval encounter. ...but not deep
Further, while large areas of maritime Southeast Asia may offer submarines the security of depth and maneuver room, few of them are near main ports, cities or other natural targets for attack or observation. The region's key straits – Malacca, Sunda, Karimata, Lombok, Makassar, Palawan, Balabac, Mindoro, Balintang and Luzon – are either deep but narrow or broad and shallow. They are also unavoidable and therefore dangerous for submarines to transit in the event of hostilities. At least 33 Allied and Axis submarines were lost in the region's seas and straits during WWII. Of the 52 submarines lost by the US Navy during the war, 25 percent were sunk in the South China Sea and Indonesian archipelago. Most were sunk by mines rather than depth-charge attacks.
Modern anti-submarine technology and weapons have rendered shallow and confined seas exceptionally dangerous. The ability to peer into the depths is forcing submarines into ever deeper waters and reducing their effectiveness in many of their conventional roles. The absence of any clear combat role for the region's submarine forces means they risk being used on operations that can increase tensions among neighbors and notional allies.
For example, protecting sovereignty is far better served by the transparent deployment of surface vessels that can literally fly the flag and negotiate with their opposite numbers – as occurred between Malaysian and Indonesian patrol boats off Sabah in 2005 and 2009 over a contested oil block. The potential presence of submarines on either side would have further increased tensions and added to the likelihood of dangerous misunderstanding.
Intelligence-gathering and surveillance operations by submarines in shallow littoral waters are also diplomatically fraught. The stranding of a then Soviet submarine close to Sweden's Karlskrona naval base in 1981 proved embarrassing – a similar incident in Southeast Asia could create far deeper problems. Conducting such operations also requires a level of skill and experience unlikely to be mastered by local crews for years.
Special forces operations are also unlikely to offer a serious rationale within the ASEAN context. The ability to discreetly damage an opponent's capabilities – such as severing key undersea communications links (a feat achieved by British mini-submarines in July 1945 when they cut the telegraph cables between Saigon and Hong Kong with Japan in order to force Tokyo to issues orders by radio that could intercepted and decoded) – may be useful but it is difficult to imagine a situation within the Southeast Asian context when it could used.
Dive stations
While Singapore's size, wealth and ethnic composition has been employed to engender a national sense of encirclement requiring modern arms to provide 'total' defence, other motives may have also driven the decision to acquire submarines, probably to build them for other people. Singapore's security won't be enhanced markedly by the deployment of submarines – the country's large and highly competent air force can readily deal with any potential incoming threat and the navy's modern surface fleet is capable of keeping any regional opponent at bay. Instead, the acquisition of submarines may fit into the country's industrial strategy of upgrading manufacturing capabilities, particularly in the defence equipment sector.
Singapore's decision to purchase ageing surplus boats from Sweden enabled the navy and the government-controlled Singapore Technologies Engineering to undertake detailed operational and technical studies of them. The skills and knowledge acquired will have been enhanced as newer classes of submarines were ordered. Singapore's shipbuilding industries would be able to build submarines under license within the present decade if the government saw the investment as economically viable.
Malaysia's motive for acquiring submarines is more contentious. The operational rationale for the two Scorpene-class boats is questionable given the difficult operating conditions for submarines in the shallow waters around the Spratlys and off eastern Sabah. Apart from seeking to match Singapore's naval capabilities, the Malaysian position is that the boats will be used to protect the country's contested maritime boundaries and claims. A major naval base has been built at Sepanngar, near Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, to support them.
Another explanation is that the two submarines were acquired with public funds in order to facilitate the payment of huge bribes to a close associate of then defence minister and now Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. (see Asia Sentinel: Malaysia's Submarine Scandal Surfaces in France, 16 April 2010).
Vietnam's order for six Kilo-class submarines and fighter aircraft from Russia in late 2009 has been variously interpreted as show of strength against China and a tightening of bonds with Moscow.
Another view is that the leadership in Hanoi, accused of sacrificing Vietnam's long-term economic interests by opening key sectors of the economy to Chinese commercial interests, may be seeking to defend its own position behind the mask of national security. The arms deals, which coincided with the 65th anniversary of the foundation the Vietnam's armed forces and ahead of the 11th Communist Party Congress in 2011, may serve to placate military and nationalist sentiment rather than serve as a realistic deterrent against China's 'hegemonic' ambitions in the South China Sea.
During President Sukarno's turbulent rule, which ended in chaos in 1965, Indonesia received more than 20 submarines from the Soviet Union, far beyond the country's ability to crew or service. Many never put sea and all were scrapped by the early 1970s. Indonesia has operated two German-built Cakra-class submarines since the early 1980s. One was refurbished in 2006, but the hulls are now nearing the end of their operational lives and they have little strategic or tactical value.
The navy has been calling for at least two new boats, but financial constraints and other naval priorities – notably patrol boats able to monitor the country's territorial waters – are likely to ensure any additional acquisitions are stalled by the government.
Thailand acquired four submarines from Japan before the Second World War that remained in service until 1951. The navy has been seeking to revive its submarine force over the past decade, to date without success. This partly reflects the army's strong grip on the budget, and possibly the navy's failure to utilise a Spanish-built aircraft carrier commissioned in 1997 but that has since barely left port.
Thailand also faces the problem of having two coastlines separated by the Malay Peninsula. A decision would have to be taken whether sufficient boats would have to be acquired that could operate in both the Andaman Sea to the west and the Gulf of Thailand to the east, requiring duplicated support bases and associated infrastructure of both coasts. The cost would prohibitive and any military gains, particularly in the Gulf, would be minimal if not negative.
**G.M. Greenwood is an Associate with Allan & Associates, a Hong Kong-based political and security risk consultancy.
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact: