Saturday, October 24, 2009

UAVs Dominate Seoul Air Show

Defense News


UAVs Dominate Seoul Air Show

By Wendell Minnick and Jung Sung-ki

SEOUL - Unmanned aerial vehicles have dominated the 7th Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX), with both foreign and local companies displaying a variety of models. The trade show began Tuesday and runs through Sunday at the Seoul Airport.

Israel's Elbit Systems displayed models of the Hermes 90, 450 and 900 UAVs, along with the Skylark I.

"There is a lot of interest here in Korea for UAVs," said an Elbit representative.

South Korea is looking at intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms for the time being, and "our platforms can handle that requirement," the representative said. "We are very flexible about integrating indigenous systems built for the customer."

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) displayed two unmanned systems: the Heron medium-range long endurance (MALE) UAV system for strategic and tactical missions and the HAROP Loitering Weapon System.

"Local companies are looking at partnerships for a local build, and IAI is interested in working with them," a company official said. "However, a local UAV program could take 10 years to develop, and IAI is interested in providing an interim solution until they have their own capabilities."

South Korea has expressed interest in the HAROP, which is "basically a flying bomb" with an eight-hour loitering time, the official said. Unlike the anti-radiation HARPY, which seeks out radar installations, the HAROP uses an electro-optical payload and is used against high-value targets.

Northrop Grumman came with a mockup of the Global Hawk high-altitude, long-range UAV. Thomas Twomey, the company's director of Global Hawk business development, said with a maximum operational altitude of 60,000 feet, the Global Hawk system would meet all of South Korea's ISR requirements with only two to four aircraft.

"The Global Hawk is designed to replace the U-2 spy plane when it retires in 2012. It has a 98.8 percent effective time on station and is 91 percent mission capable," Twomey said. "Currently, the U.S. and [South] Korean governments are in negotiations on the release of the Global Hawk, and there is a lot of support from both sides for a release."

South Korea also is interested in Northrop's MQ-8 Fire Scout vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) UAV for both land-based and ship-based ISR missions.

Other foreign companies displaying models and giving briefings on UAV programs include EADS; the pan-European company has displayed its Talarion unmanned aerial system. Meanwhile, Saab of Sweden has displayed its Skeldar VTOL helicopter for sea-based missions.


South Korean companies have come out strong with a variety of unmanned aerial systems:

* Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is showcasing a lightweight tactical UAV that uses a parachute recovery system. The Night Intruder NI-100N, a modified variant of the NI-100 (which uses a net recovery system), has undergone successful test trials and is waiting on more upgrades, said Koo Chung-seo, senior research engineer with KAI's UAV system integration section.

The Night Intruder could possibly meet the requirements of the South Korean Army, Koo said. The Army plans to deploy division-level tactical UAVs in the next few years, in an effort to boost its ISR capability for the 2012 transition of wartime operational control from the U.S. military to South Korean commanders.

"With its compact size and lightweight air vehicle and ground control station equipped with data link, launcher [and] parachute/airbag recovery system, the NI-100N is an optimum UAV solution for the [Army's] ISR needs," Koo said.

The NI-100N is retrieved by soft landing, with the assistance of a parafoil and inflatable airbag. By using the parachute recovery system and a lighter launcher, troops can conduct missions in almost all field environments and weather conditions with mobility, as it allows air vehicle recovery on unprepared terrain, KAI officials said.

The 2.5-meter-long UAV has a service ceiling of 3 kilometers and a mission radius of 60 kilometers. It can operate for up to six hours and has a speed of 90 to 180 kilometers. Its maximum takeoff weight is 100 kilograms.

* In addition, KAI unveiled the concept of the Korean Combat Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (K-CUAV). The stealthy attack variant now under development would be able to carry out air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, as well as ISR missions, said a KAI source.

The K-CUAV is to feature a low-observable design, including internal weapon carriage, an electro-optical/infrared targeting system and fly-by-wire digital control system.

The 8.4-meter-long UAV will have a wingspan of 9.1 meters and cruise at a top speed of Mach 0.86. It will have a service ceiling of 12 kilometers and five hours of operational endurance, as well as a combat radius of 280 kilometers.

* The Kyung An Cable Co. unveiled the VTOL Urban Star UAV. Company representatives said South Korea's military and the Turkish government have expressed interest in the Urban Star. The UAV's payload ranges from 3 to 5 kilograms, with a mission endurance of 30 to 90 minutes.

The company also displayed the RAT-1J aerial high-speed target system for advanced air defense training. Pakistan has expressed interest in the system.

Two relatively unknown domestic companies, Oneseen Skytech and Ucon Systems, displayed smaller but impressive unmanned systems.

* Ucon Systems showed off the RemoEye-002, -006 and -015 fixed-wing unmanned aerial systems and the RemoH-C100 and M100 VTOL UAVs. Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates have expressed interest in the aircraft, and South Korea's military is looking at the RemoEye-006.

* Oneseen Skytech displayed its line of VTOL UAVs, which are relatively small, with a maximum payload of 30 kilograms and a flight time of 90 to 120 minutes.

They can be equipped with surveillance and reconnaissance sensors and operated in semi- or full automatic modes. Since 2008, the company has exported the systems to China, France and Turkey.

S. Korea's Defense Industry Shows Progress at Show

Defense News


S. Korea's Defense Industry Shows Progress at Show

By Wendell Minnick and Jung Sung-ki

SEOUL - The South Korean defense industry demonstrated both domestic and export prowess at the 7th Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX), from Oct. 20 to Oct. 25 at the Seoul Airport.

South Korean companies showing their wares and services included Doosan DST, Hanwha, Huneed Technologies, Hyundai-Rotem, Hyundai Wia, Kia Motors, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), LIG Nex1, Oneseen Skytech, Poongsan, S&T Dynamics and Samsung Techwin.

KAI showed off its new T-50 Golden Eagle advanced trainer jet, KT-1 basic trainer and Surion utility helicopter. The South Korean Air Force's Black Eagles aerobatics team debuted at the show with the T-50, and performed with the U.S. Air Force's Thunderbirds for the first time.

A KAI official said the company is in discussions with Taiwan for the T-50 to replace its aging AT-3 Tzu Chung fighter trainers, produced during the 1980s by Taiwan's state-run Aerospace Industrial Development Corp.

KAI also displayed its new Surion Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH), which will replace aging UH-1H and 500MD utility helicopters. The aircraft has been in development since 2006, and KAI officials expect its completion by 2012. The program is managed by South Korea's Agency for Defense Development and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. KAI is leading the KUH's development with the help of Eurocopter.

KAI displayed for the first time four

new helicopter concept models based on the Surion. Two were variants for the Korean Attack Helicopter (KAH) requirement. The first was the "Full Development for Attack Configuration," sharing 60 percent of its components with the KUH, and the second was the "KUH Tandem Cockpit," a "reconstructed attack helicopter modification" that mates the KUH cockpit with an attack helicopter's weapons system. The concept model has a 70 percent component-sharing rate with the KUH.

"The KAHs are currently not operational, no prototypes," said a KAI representative. "We are going to offer both to the government. The tandem cockpit is cheaper but has less capabilities, and the full-attack configuration has more capabilities, but [is] more expensive."

A decision by the South Korean government is expected in 2010 on the exact requirements, and only then will a prototype be developed. "It will take six to eight years to develop and deliver a working prototype," the KAI representative said.

The two other concept models were the KUH-Medevac, with a 91 percent commonality with the KUH; and a KUH-Amphibious Helicopter for South Korea Marine Corps that has a 96 percent commonality rate. The amphibious variant will be both land- and sea-based.


Lockheed Martin clearly showed confidence that its F-35 Lightning II will win the third phase of South Korea's F-X competition, providing a full-scale mockup of the next-generation fighter jet for the show.

Lockheed's Steve O'Brian, vice president for F-35 business development, said South Korea would be able to procure the aircraft, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, and "there are slots in 2014 for international delivery."

However, Boeing plans to challenge Lockheed with the new F-15 Silent Eagle, a stealthy variant of the standard F-15 Eagle fighter.

Boeing's Greg Laxton, vice president, Integrated Defense Systems, said the company looks forward to the competition and is "currently in the process of developing an advanced F-15, which we hope will fulfill Korea's defense capabilities and needs for many years to come."

Boeing is providing 40 F-15K fighters to South Korea's Air Force under a contract awarded in 2002. The South Korean government ordered a second lot of F-15Ks last year to fill its F-X II requirement, according to Boeing.

"We are committed to building on the success of the F-15K next fighter I and II programs, by working with our Korean industry partners to continue to strengthen Korea's aerospace industry," Laxton said.

Joe Song, vice president of Asia-Pacific international business development with Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems, said his company would offer a key option to transfer advanced fighter development technologies to South Korea for a homegrown fighter under the new "KF-X" project.

"We're considering connecting the third phase F-X deal to the KF-X program if necessary, given that packaging some related programs, in general, creates a synergy effect," he said.

In the KF-X program, South Korea aims to develop and produce between 120 and 250 F-16-class fighters beginning in 2013, with technology support from foreign aerospace companies. The aircraft are to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of F-4 and F-5 fighters.

Song added that there is a tentative plan to integrate Israel-based Elbit's three-dimensional sensor fusion/data display system into the Silent Eagle.


The South Korean military has a requirement for eight-wheeled and six-wheeled armored vehicles. Doosan, Hyundai-Rotem and Samsung Techwin are competing for the $1 billion contract, expected to total 1,000 vehicles. A request for proposals is expected next year.

* Samsung Techwin displayed a prototype of its six-wheeled Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) at the show.

"Our vehicle passed evaluation tests in 2007 for two months at Algeria's Army proving grounds in desert and urban combat conditions," a company representative said.

Algeria, along with unnamed countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America, has expressed interest in buying the six-wheel-drive vehicle. "However, the problem with exporting the vehicle is they have not yet been fielded by the military and not yet proven," the representative said.

* Doosan exhibited the eight-wheel-drive Black Fox Armored Wheeled Vehicle (AWV) as its entry into the competition. A company representative said there was already export interest from Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq and Malaysia.

* Hyundai-Rotem displayed the six-wheel-drive AMV KW-1 prototype at its booth.

"The [eight-wheel] KW and KW-2 were solely designed by our company without outside assistance; the same is true with the new K2 main battle tank," a company official said.

The vehicle will come in several variants, including armored combat, anti-air gun vehicle, mortar carrier and troop transport.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Korea Aerospace Conference Sets ADEX in Motion

Korea Air Show

Defense News


Korea Aerospace Conference Sets ADEX in Motion

By Wendell Minnick

SEOUL - Korea's efforts to push into space, develop better cyberwarfare capabilities and improve on UAVs for the battlefield was the focus of the 16th International Aerospace Symposium held here on Oct. 19.

The conference helped kick start the Seoul air show, officially known as the 7th Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX 2009), which will be held Oct. 20-25 at the Seoul Airport.

This year's conference and ADEX coincide with the 60th anniversary of South Korea's Air Force.

The conference theme was, "The Direction of Aerospace Power for Leading the Future Battlespace," with speeches by South Korea's National Defense Minister Kim Tae Young Kim; Gen. Kae Hoon Lee, South Korean Air Force chief of staff; and Gen. Jeffrey Remington, commander of the U.S. Air Force's 7th Air Force.

Lee said he was "proud to say that the largest aerospace exhibition in the Asia-Pacific region" was now ADEX.

Lee said South Korea was expanding its space programs with combined efforts by the National Space Committee, the Korean Aerospace Research Institute, the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute and the Air Force, who are "striving toward establishing the foundations for a strong aerospace force."

Korea has been making strides in both space launch vehicles and satellites. In a speech about the country's space development policy initiatives, Moon Hae Joo, minister of education, science and technology said that South Korea is at the stage where it can "partially develop satellites and partially launch space launch vehicles." It cannot yet "independently develop satellites," but would soon have that capability.

South Korea has developed seven science and Earth observations satellites and launched four communications and broadcasting commercial satellites over the past 10 years. Currently, the country is developing launch vehicles that can handle larger payloads, including the Korean Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-I), launched in August 2009 a second launch planned for 2010.

The conference was not all about outer space, but in some cases, inner space. Tai Myung Jung, professor at Sung Kyun Kwan University, gave an insightful description of recent cyber attacks in a speech about ways to counter them. Scenarios for the future include continued data eavesdropping, sniffing, spoofing, impersonation, computer hijacking, data fabrication and isolation by communication interruption. Jung said the best way to deal with cyber attacks is to raise the professional level of information technology operators, organize a cybersecurity branch, establish a cooperative scheme with private and public sectors, and establish professional computer security.

UAVs also played an important role in this year's conference. Dubi Lavi, director of the UAV Program Executive Office at Israel's Ministry of Defense, gave a history of Israel's UAV development beginning with the Chukar and Firebee and ending with today's Heron and Hermes 900.

There are a variety of UAVs on display at ADEX this year, including European, Israeli, South Korean and U.S. models.

On Oct. 22, ADEX hosts the Unmanned Systems East Asia 2009 Conference, with the theme "Developing Unmanned Systems Industries." Speakers include Kyle Snyder of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International; Sam Ok Koo of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, here; Itai Toren of Israeli company Elbit Systems; Joost Hakkaart of the Netherlands' National Aerospace Laboratory; and Dae Jin Baek of South Korean defense firm LIG Nex1.

ADEX has become the largest aerospace and defense show in East Asia, rivaling the Singapore Airshow. This year, there will be 273 exhibiting companies from 27 countries with expectations of 300,000 visitors.

Korea Set for ADEX 2009

Defense News


Korea Set for ADEX 2009


TAIPEI — The 7th Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX 2009), to run from Oct. 20-25, has become the largest defense and aerospace show in East Asia and is expecting 273 exhibiting companies from 27 countries and 300,000 visitors this year, Defense News will cover the event from Seoul for the first time.

Eighty overseas delegations from 46 countries will attend the show which coincides with the 60th anniversary of the South Korean Air Force. Foreign delegations will visit the Army Total Maintenance Depot, watch demonstrations of ground equipment and participate in conferences.

ADEX is sponsored and organized by the Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Korea Aerospace Industries Association and Korea Defense Industry Association.

“By bringing together [participants] from Korea and overseas, this year’s event promises to play an active role in military diplomacy and actual business in aerospace and defense markets,” an ADEX press release said.

“Meanwhile, more than twice as many key delegations from various countries will take part in the show, compared with the last exhibition. It is expected that the exhibition will be the best marketplace for aerospace and defense industries, as well as promoting national prestige though military cooperation,” the statement said.

Seventy-five aircraft and 63 mod­els will be on exhibit, including the Korean-built KT-1 basic trainer, the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle advance trainer and the KAI Surion utility helicopter. Foreign aircraft will include the F-15K Slam Eagle, C-17 Globemaster, C-130J Hercules, AH­64 Apache attack helicopter, A-380 Airbus and a mock-up of the Global Hawk UAV.

Land-warfare systems will include 34 models, with the K2 Black Panther main battle tank, K9 self-propelled howitzer, K10 ammunition re­supply vehicle, K21 infantry fighting vehicle, K-SAM Chunma (Pegasus) surface-to-air missile system and the K30 Biho (Flying Tigers) 30mm AA twin-gun system on display.

The Korean Air Force Black Eagles acrobatics team will debut its new T-50 aircraft and perform with the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds for the first time. Formed in 1994, the Black Eagles have performed in more than 500 air shows and special demonstrations for the public. The Black Eagles replaced the aging Cessna A-37B Dragonfly with the T-50 after the 2007 Seoul air show.

There will be several seminars during the show, including the Aerospace Symposium, International Defense Acquisition Conference, Aerospace Weapon System Seminar, Ground Weapons Systems Symposium and Unmanned Systems East­Asia 2009. ■

Lacking Boats, Taiwan Sub Office in U.S. May Shut Down; Country’s Spending Cut Raises Questions About Office’s Value

Defense News


Lacking Boats, Taiwan Sub Office in U.S. May Shut Down; Country’s Spending Cut Raises Questions About Office’s Value


TAIPEI — Officials here are considering the closure of a key office in Washington in a move that could signal the death knell for Taiwan’s efforts to procure submarines from the United States.

Taiwan has been paying roughly $2 million a year to support the workplace in the U.S. Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Submarines (PEOSubs) office. But with dwindling chances that the vessels will be built, officials are discussing its closure to save money. The Cabinet recently approved a 6 percent cut in defense spending for 2010.

“Senior [Taiwan] civilian leaders are in­deed questioning the cost-effectiveness of the submarine program, and have held at least five conferences on the issue over the last year,” a defense industry source said.

Sources in Washington did not dispute reports that the office could close.

In 2001, the administration of President George W. Bush offered to build Taiwan eight diesel-electric submarines. However, the United States has not been able to carry out that deal because it no longer builds non-nuclear submarines, and third-country manufacturers have been reluctant to anger China by selling subs to Taiwan. The sale has been in limbo ever since.

The last gasp for the program came in late 2008, when it was hoped that, during the last weeks of the Bush administration, Washington would allow the submarine effort to go forward. The U.S. government did release $6.5 billion in arms to Taiwan last October, but no subs were included.

A Taiwan defense official said the country’s Navy still hopes the submarines will be released despite talk of closing the office. But a U.S. government official said the comments were nothing more than “lip service” and there is no serious support for new arms sales.

A former U.S. defense official insists the submarine deal is not dead yet, but conceded there is little or no chance the program will go forward.

“When someone, either on the Taiwan or U.S. side, makes a conscious decision to stop the program and the PEOSub office shuts down, then the program could be con­sidered ‘dead,’” the former official said. “As for now, the office is still open.” Part of the problem has been decreased tension across the Taiwan Strait and efforts by the U.S. government to improve relations with China. Beijing canceled military-to-military exchanges with the United States after the October 2008 arms release to Taiwan. There is no evidence the new U.S. administration plans to repeat that step.

A U.S. decision to cancel the program unilaterally would send a signal to China that efforts to stop arms sales to Taiwan were working. It also would hurt morale in Taiwan’s military.

If Taiwan made the announcement first, then critics would interpret the decision as evidence that Taiwan is not serious about defense.

The decision to close the PEOSubs office will be difficult, but sources here indicate someone should make a final decision soon. “The problem is that no one on the Taiwan side has pulled the trigger,” and until they do, it might linger on indefinitely, the former U.S. defense official said. 

No European Options 

There also appears to be no evidence Taiwan will buy German submarines, despite recent local media reports that Taiwan was negotiating to procure the four Type 214­class diesel-electric subs originally contracted by Kiel-based shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems for the Greek Navy. Athens in September rejected the four sub­marines due to contractual disputes.

Sources in Taiwan also argue that Ger­many would never risk angering China over an arms sale to Taiwan. Europe has sold no arms to Taiwan since the early 1990s, when France sold six Lafayette frigates and 60 Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets to the self-governing island.

Those purchases were the last French arms sales granted to Taiwan before France succumbed to Chinese pressure in 1994 and agreed to prohibit future arms sales. The United States is now the sole provider of foreign arms to Taiwan.

An effort to build the submarines locally was met with skepticism here and in the United States. Taiwan’s only shipbuilder, China Shipbuilding Corp. (CSBC), proposed an indigenous project in 2001.

The first stage was the Hidden Dragon Project, a design feasibility study. This later evolved into the Indigenous Defense Submarine program in 2003 with a concept design based on Norway’s Ula class (Type 210) and the Argentinean TR-1700-class subs. CSBC finally gave up on the effort after losing support from the Taiwan Navy.

A Taiwan government official said CSBC lacked the technical capability to build a complex platform such as a submarine. CSBC has built Perry-class frigates under license from the U.S. government, but never a submarine. It currently focuses on container and cargo ship construction and repair.

However, CSBC will have an opportunity to work on the midlife upgrades for Taiwan’s two operational Dutch-built Hai Lung­class (Sea Dragon) subs, scheduled for 2010 or 2011. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are competing for part of that contract. ■ 

Japanese Defense Chief Comments Leave U.S. Forces in Japan Uneasy; New Government May Try To Change Basing Policy

Defense News


Japanese Defense Chief Comments Leave U.S. Forces in Japan Uneasy; New Government May Try To Change Basing Policy


TAIPEI — Comments made by new Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa about American troops living in Japan are raising red flags for U.S. forces based in Okinawa and potentially the rest of Japan.

Kitazawa on Oct. 15 criticized the basing of U.S. forces in Japan and said he planned to discuss renegotiating a 2006 agreement on restructuring U.S. forces on Okinawa with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates during his visit to Tokyo on Oct. 20. Gates also will meet with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Foreign Affairs Minister Katsuya Okada.

“Kitazawa is reiterating the party position in advance of the highest-level meetings and preparing some negotiating room,” said Peter Woolley, a defense specialist on Japan issues. “Japan still needs the U.S. strategically, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any bargaining room.”

The 2006 agreement will move 8,000 U.S. troops to Guam, but the Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma will be moved only to another location on Okinawa.

“The DPJ [Democratic Party of Japan] and its coalition partners have pledged to relocate Futenma outside Okinawa or even outside Japan itself,” said Christopher Hughes, author of the new book “Japan’s Remilitarisation.”

The defense minister called the presence of U.S. forces on Okinawa “humiliating” to the Japanese citizens on the island. The U.S. government has already indicated it expects the new administration in Tokyo to honor the 2006 agreement on the MCAS move.

“The U.S. does not want to see a whole new agreement on Futenma, nowhere else in Japan really wants Futenma,” Hughes said, “and I think moving it elsewhere or outside would just be too costly, hard to find a location and probably too damaging to the alliance.” He said moving the base to Kadena Air Base on the island had already been rejected by Tokyo. 

Renegotiating SOFA 

The comments extinguished hopes that the new administration under the DPJ would rachet down its anti-U.S. military rhetoric. In August, the DPJ won both the prime minister and parliamentary elections.

Hatoyama and other DPJ members made radical statements during the election, calling for the removal of U.S. forces and canceling the 1960 U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

After the election, the DPJ toned down much of its rhetoric, but the recent comments by Kitazawa set off alarm bells in many quarters.

Kitazawa said the Japan-U.S. SOFA was also “humiliating,” and the issue of renegotiating the agreement would be raised with Gates as well.

The base “issue will drag on and not be good for the alliance,” but will not be an “alliance breaker,” said Hughes, adding that the comments will provoke a “mini­crisis” in the short term but likely no major damage beyond that. Rewriting SOFA eventually will become the central issue, he said. 

Looking Elsewhere for Arms 

U.S. arms deals also appear to be under threat. Japan has largely been dependent over the years on U.S. arms for its defense, but Kitazawa suggested the next fighter jet purchase might not be American. Under the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Japan pushed hard for the release of the F-22 Raptor, but there have also been discussions about the F-15 and the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as options.

“Japan doesn’t necessarily have to fill its defense shopping cart with items made in [the] USA,” Woolley said. European options include the Eurofighter Typhoon, but it would be the first-ever non­U.S.-made fighter chosen.

Japan also announced on Oct. 13 the end of refueling operations in January for coalition naval forces in the Indian Ocean that are participating in military support operations in Afghanistan. The move was expected and part of the DPJ’s campaign promises.

“The party can hardly afford to backpedal on its pre-election positions. They can soften their positions. But they can’t be seen by the public to become simply another version of the unpopular LDP,” said Woolley, author of the book “Geography and Japan’s Strategic Choices.” Woolley said the United States needs to understand there have been generational changes in Japan that have altered its perspective on world issues.

“War veterans are retired or retiring. Much of the Japanese public sees the world through post­Cold War eyes, not through post­World War II eyes,” he said. “One consequence of the generational change, seen in Okinawa and elsewhere, is that economic development and quality-of-life issues trump defense issues.”

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thai Navy Buys Embraer Jet

Defense News


Thai Navy Buys Embraer Jet

By Wendell Minnick

Taipei - The Royal Thai Navy has signed a contract with Embraer to buy its second ERJ 135 jet. Added to the other two orders made by the Royal Thai Army, this is the fourth aircraft acquired by the Thai government in less than two years; all of the aircraft are the long-range version.

"This acquisition is included in Embraer's firm order backlog for the third quarter of 2009," Embraer said in a news release.

The first deal between Embraer and the Thai government was announced in November 2007 and involved two aircraft, one each for the Thai Army and Navy. Both were delivered in late 2008. Early this year, Embraer announced the acquisition of a second ERJ 135 by the Thai Army.

"As in the previous contracts, this new contract with the Navy includes a logistical package and provisions for a Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) installation kit."

Thailand is the first military operator in Southeast Asia to use the ERJ 135, which is largely a civilian aircraft but has been modified for the military.

"In the defense segment, this platform has efficiently performed government transportation and medical evacuation missions for Belgium, Brazil, Greece, India and Nigeria," the news release said.

"We are honored by the choice of the Royal Thai Navy to acquire a second ERJ 135 jet, confirming the suitability of this aircraft model to the needs of Thailand's armed forces, and shows the confidence that they have in Embraer's products in the official transportation segment," said Acir Padilha, Embraer vice president, Marketing and Sales - Defense Market.

"As a result, we are gradually increasing and consolidating our presence in Thailand."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Taiwan Inaugurates Think Tank

Defense News

October 15, 2009

Taiwan Inaugurates Think Tank

By Wendell Minnick

TAIPEI - Taiwan and U.S. government officials participated in an Oct. 15 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new MacArthur Center for Security Studies (MCSS) at the Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University.

During the ceremony, Liu Fu-kuo, executive director of the MCSS, said the think tank will focus on Taiwan security studies and the establishment of a "peace mechanism" across the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China.

"In the next three years, the project will approach the subject from a cross-strait perspective, establish a dialogue platform for related experts and researchers, and further propel a cross-strait peace framework," he said.

The think tank is a result of a three-year, $555,000 grant from the U.S.-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

"On a larger scale, MCSS hopes that its research can be integrated into MacArthur Foundation's 'Asia Security Initiative,'" Liu said.

The MacArthur Foundation has invested $68 million over seven years into the new Asia Security Initiative. The effort is designed to strengthen Asian policy research institutions in their capacity to work with their counterparts around the world.

Three other regional research institutions also have received grant money under the initiative, including Peking University's Center for International and Strategic Studies; South Korea's East Asia Institute; and Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

In Taiwan, Liu said, MCSS would be responsible for four academic programs, including national security, defense, nontraditional security and cross-strait peace.

"As China's influence in the world increases, traditional confrontation policies need to be revised in order to adapt effectively to a new global and regional landscape," he said. "This program focuses on studying new ways of creating peaceful co-existence in the region."

The ceremony included a roundtable titled "Taiwan Security and Implication of Cross-Strait Progress for Regional Security." Speakers included Lin Bih-jaw, vice president, National Chengchi University; Cheng Tuan-yao, director, Institute of International Relations; Lin Cheng-yi, research fellow, Academia Sinica; Peter Enav, Taipei bureau chief, The Associated Press; and J. Michael Cole, editor, Taipei Times.

Cole spoke on expanded opportunities for Chinese espionage in Taiwan due to increased interaction across the Taiwan Strait. Lin gave a presentation on Taiwan's national defense and cross-strait relations; Cheng discussed the security role of the United States in cross-strait relations; and Enav addressed the role of foreign media on cross-strait relations and national security.

Monday, October 12, 2009

N. Korea’s Army No Paper Tiger

Defense News


N. Korea’s Army No Paper Tiger


TAIPEI — Over the past decade, North Korea has reorganized and upgraded its conventional and asymmetrical military capability, making it a greater threat to South Korea.

Despite international efforts to denuclearize the North, there are no similar efforts to force Pyongyang to lower tensions along the demilitarized zone (DMZ), where the North Korean military has massed chemical and biological arms, long-range artillery and short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), and stationed the largest special forces contingent in the world.

According to Bruce Bechtol, author of the book “Red Rogue: The Persistent Challenge of North Korea,” the Korean People’s Army (KPA) has shifted a large number of troops from the Chinese border to the DMZ.

In 1981, 40 percent of its equipment and troops were based near the DMZ, with 30 percent near the Chinese border. Now, 70 percent of the KPA’s troops are near the DMZ with only 5 percent near China.

Most of these organizational and deployment changes occurred during the 1990s, “despite resource constraints,” Bechtol said.

Resources have not been a significant problem for the military, despite periodic famines in North Korea, Bechtol said. Many might assume the military starves right along with the population, but the “opposite is true” — resources are diverted from the general population to the military.

Since 2000, the KPA has undertaken a number of organizational changes within its ground forces units, said Joseph Bermudez, author of the book “North Korean Special Forces.” These efforts have been pursued to enhance offensive capabilities and respond to changing economic conditions, such as the continued shortage of fuel.

Since 2006, the KPA has restructured two mechanized corps, one tank corps and one artillery corps into divisions.

“At least some, and possibly all, of the light infantry battalions within divisions deployed along the DMZ were expanded to regiment size,” Bermudez said, “while light infantry regiments in the same corps were expanded to brigades.

Some infantry or mechanized infantry divisions were converted into mechanized light infantry.

“Among the more significant changes was the restructuring of several corps and the reorganization of special operations forces,” he said.

Some of the mechanized brigades subordinate to the four mechanized corps were reorganized into mechanized river-crossing brigades to enhance their ability to rapidly exploit any breakthroughs in a future war, Bermudez said.

“This organizational development was apparently achieved by subordinating independent engineer river-crossing units — for example, engineer bridge and tracked amphibian — formerly subordinate to the Engineer Bureau to forward­area, formerly mechanized brigades,” he said. “Engineer road construction units may have also been subordinated to the newly reorganized units. The number of units having undergone this reorganization is presently unclear.”

Since the 1990s, North Korea not only has made improvements in its armor and mechanized capabilities, but has also expanded its asymmetric forces, said Bechtol, a professor at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

Asymmetric elements fielded near the DMZ now include long-range artillery units, such as 170mm guns and 240mm multiple rocket launchers, and short-range ballistic missiles, including around 200 No Dongs and 600 Scud SRBMs with ranges of 300 to 850 kilometers. North Korea has also added the KN­02 SRBM, an indigenous variant of the old Soviet SS-21 system with a range of 120 kilometers.

These artillery and missile components will be used in tandem, Bechtol said. The potential damage from artillery alone could be as high as 200,000 casualties during the first day of an attack.

The hands-on element of the asymmetrical threat is the 180,000 special operations forces North Korea fields, Bechtol said. They are expected to infiltrate behind the lines by aircraft, through tunnels along the DMZ and by boat along the coast.

U.S. Indictment Underscores China’s Spy Ops

Defense News


U.S. Indictment Underscores China’s Spy Ops


TAIPEI — The recent indictment of three Chinese nationals for alleged export violations of defense articles highlights China’s extensive industrial spying campaign and the vague, ineffective nature of U.S. control efforts, analysts say.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) announced the 38-count indictment Oct. 8, accusing the three Chinese nationals working for a company based in Shenzhen, China, with export violations of defense articles, money laundering and filing false tax reports.

From July 2005 to December 2008, Boston-based employees of Chitron Electronics filed “hundreds of false Shipper’s Export Declarations” for restricted “defense items” banned by the United States, according to the Oct. 8 indictment. The company is owned by Shenzhen Chi-Chuang Electronics.

Yufeng “Annie” Wei, Bo “Eric” Li and Chitron founder Zhenzhou “Alex” Wu were indicted for violating Executive Order 13222 and Export Administration Regulations, said the DoJ.

“China is clearly engaged in a massive campaign of industrial espionage aimed at stealing American technology and intellectual property,” said Loren Thompson of the Arlington, Va.-based Lexington Institute.

The indictments call into question whether the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) adequately protects the export of sensitive items to China that are identified as dual-use.

“While the U.S. has adequate controls in overtly military technologies, dual-use items are harder to control or even classify,” Thompson said. “While state-directed theft is a serious issue, it is dwarfed by the volume of new technology that China acquires through legitimate commercial channels.”

The DoJ identified Chitron’s main customer as the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), which conducts research, development and manufacturing of missiles and rockets. It is also on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Entity List, a watch list of “entities subject to license requirements,” said the BIS Web site. There are 22 Chinese and 23 Hong Kong “entities” on the list.

The indictment states Chitron’s Web site promoted itself as a “company that could procure military products.” It further said that by 2007, “Chinese military-related institutions (including research institutes) in electronics and aerospace comprised 25 percent of Chitron­Shenzhen’s customers.”

The Hong Kong office served as a “transshipment point or shipping office; it was set up to act as a freight forwarder — to receive shipments from Chitron-US and reship or transship them to Mainland China thereby circumventing U.S. export laws and license requirements,” said DoJ.

A U.S. intelligence source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “This is a standard behavior we see from China’s Intelligence Services as well as their military-industrial complex.”

According to the Chitron Web site, the company was founded in 1996 by Wu, a “Harvard M.A. graduate,” in Shenzhen, China. Besides Boston, it has offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Mianyang, Shanghai and Xi’an. In 2007-8, the company posted revenues of $25 million, with 10,000 line items with a value of more than $40 million.

Its Web site said it had a channel of 5,000 suppliers of semi­conductors and integrated circuits in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Greg Suchan, senior associate at Commonwealth Consulting, Wash­ington, said if the allegations against Chitron are true, “it is further evidence that we have stuff that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] wants and knows it can’t get through the export control system, and there are Chinese who will attempt to circumvent our laws to get that stuff.”

To make matters worse, the U.S. government “can’t even come up with a definition of what kind of microchip should not be exported to Chinese missile development institutes,” said John Tkacik, a former U.S. State Department official who served in China.

He said managing export controls of defense items to China has been a “charade” and a “fool’s errand for more than two decades.” The main reasons are that commercial exporters “complain that it hampers their profits” and “diplomats at the State Department complain that it annoys China.”

Tkacik said this has made “export control regulations too vague and outdated to be relevant, puts rival government agencies in the mix, fighting for rival priorities, and the real nail in the export-control coffin is ... underfunded export control management.”

The 2007 Authorization Validated End-User (VEU) program under the U.S. Commerce Department’s BIS helped loosen exports to pre-approved Chinese firms. In January, the BIS signed an agreement with China for the full implementation of the VEU program, making it even easier for Chinese companies to access dual-use technologies that have potential military applications.

BIS efforts to control exports to China have been a disaster, Tkacik said. “The U.S. Embassy in Beijing had a backlog of over 1,200 cases … [in March 2008], and their single Commerce Department export control investigator … could only close 12 cases a month. Commerce later said they had ‘doubled’ their investigators in China, meaning, going from one to two, which is still only two thumbs in a crumbling dike.”

The VEU program in China was “never intended to discover open flagrant violations,” but violations have been uncovered, said another former U.S. State Department official.