Sunday, January 23, 2011

Taiwan Tests Missiles As Hu Visits U.S.

Defense News


Taiwan Tests Missiles As Hu Visits U.S.


JIUPENG, Taiwan - Taiwan military officials are denying that a series of missile tests it conducted is a political move connected to Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington.

Taiwan test-fired missiles of 11 different types during an exercise on Jan. 18 at the Jiupeng Missile Test Range in Pingtung County on Taiwan's southeast coast. The tests coincided with Hu's visit to Washington to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama.

A Taiwan military official denied the tests were an attempt to send a political message to Beijing or Washington. He said the tests were scheduled long before the announcement of Hu's visit.

The tests also come on the heels of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' visit to Beijing and China's unveiling of the J-20 stealth fighter.

"The Taiwanese government has to take the J-20 test flight seriously," said Arthur Ding, a cross-strait military affairs expert at Taiwan's National Chengchi University. However, the missile tests are "more of a political posture for the domestic audience."

Whether or not the tests were meant to send a political message to China or the U.S., it appears to have backfired when six of the 19 missiles fired failed to strike their targets.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou expressed disappointment and called for the military to better prepare itself in the future. A Taiwan military official expressed concern over Ma's remarks and described the test as a complex exercise involving different elements of the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps from around the island.

The tests were a rare event that included virtually every air-to-air and surface-to-air missile in Taiwan's arsenal minus the AIM-120 AMRAAM and Patriot PAC-2 missile systems, said another military official. The last public missile test at Jiupeng was in 2002 and was of a much smaller scale, he said.

Surface-to-air missiles launched during the exercise included the Tien Kung 2 (Sky Bow), MIM-23 Hawk and Sparrow. Air-to-air missiles included AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles launched from F-16 fighters, French-built Mica and R550 Magic II launched from Mirage 2000 fighters, and the locally developed Tien Chien 2 (Sky Sword) launched by the Indigenous Defense Fighter. The Army also fired AIM-9 missiles from AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters.

The Mica, AIM-7 and Tien Chien 2 were among the six that failed to strike their targets. The military is investigating the reason, said military officials.

A tri-service military exercise scheduled for Jan. 20-21 does not appear to be connected to the missile exercise nor to Hu's visit to Washington. Military officials have stated the exercise is part of a traditional year-end drill held before Chinese New Year to recognize outstanding military units.

Sino-U.S. Ties Back on Track, But for How Long?

Defense News


Sino-U.S. Ties Back on Track, But for How Long?


TAIPEI — Sino-U.S. military relations appear to be back on track after a Jan. 9-12 visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, but analysts wonder how long the honeymoon will last with the pending U.S. release of a retrofit package for Taiwan’s aging F-16A/B fighter jets.

In meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and the country’s minister of national defense, Gen. Liang Guanglie, Gates encouraged Chinese leaders to participate in a strategic security dialogue that would cover nuclear, missile defense, space and cyber issues.

Gates also visited the Second Artillery Corps, which operates China’s strategic missile arsenal, at the invitation of Gen. Jiang Zhiyuan. Gates reciprocated by inviting Jiang to visit the U.S. Strategic Command.

“There was a discussion of nuclear strategy and their overall approach to conflict,” Gates said during a press conference on Jan. 12. “We talked about their no-first-use policy. We talked about command and control.”

Those hoping China will participate in arms control negotiations, similar to the Russian-U.S. Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, might be disappointed.

“Gates said clearly that we are not seeking to have arms control negotiations with China,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “That could come five years down the road, perhaps after another U.S.-Russia cut in forces, but not now.

“In the near term, it is possible that the two sides could, through parallel efforts at transparency, reduce each other’s concerns,” Glaser said.

These efforts could include more information about U.S. missile defense capabilities, while the Chinese could explain what they are doing in their land-based and sea-based nuclear force modernization plans.

Skeptics in the U.S. believe the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was “compelled to participate” in discussions with Gates to “avoid disrupting President Hu Jintao’s state visit to Washington later this month,” said Andrew Erickson, a China defense specialist at the U.S. Naval War College. “They believe that the PLA’s senior leadership has no intention of actually following through with substantive initiatives” after Hu’s visit.

Other Obstacles 

There are plenty of land mines that could disrupt further engagement. These include territorial disputes over China’s claims in the South China Sea, demands that the U.S. Navy stop survey and intelligence missions in China’s Exclusive Economic Zone, and U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

Improved relations are “still fragile” due to continued U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, said Di Dongsheng, general secretary of the Beijing-based Renmin Center for Foreign Strategy Studies at Renmin University. Taiwan’s request for new F-16C/D fighter sales “would inevitably hurt this momentum.

“Therefore, personally, I am not optimistic about what will happen in 2011,” Di said.

The Pentagon is preparing to release price and availability data for a retrofit of Taiwan’s F-16A/B fighters, expected to include new avionics and engines.

The release is expected in “the next few weeks,” and congressional notifications up to a year away, said Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the Washington-based U.S.-Taiwan Business Council.

There have been concerns in Taiwan the U.S. will forgo new F-16C/D sales in a further attempt to placate China.

“I’m not optimistic for new F-16s,” said Arthur Ding, a cross-strait military affairs expert at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University. The White House is pushing for closer ties with China, and new arms for Taiwan will likely suffer as a consequence, he said.

Dean Cheng, a China defense expert at the Heritage Foundation, said discontinuing arms sales to Taiwan would be “calamitous and ill-considered.” It also could be illegal, he added, as continued support of Taiwan’s defense is guaranteed in the Taiwan Relations Act.

A Taiwan defense official said there are concerns the U.S. will ignore the Act and instead “honor and implement” the 1982 Sino-U.S. Joint Communiqué, which states that the U.S. will not carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan.

J-20 Turns and Burns 

Gates’ trip was somewhat up­staged by news that China conducted a flight test of the J-20 Black Eagle, dubbed China’s first fifth-generation stealth fighter jet.

Questions remain over how truly stealthy and advanced the J-20 is, yet its unveiling represents an “important marker in the accelerating development of China’s defense science, technology and innovation capabilities,” said Tai Ming Cheung, author of “Fortifying China: The Struggle to Build a Modern Defense Economy.” “It will likely take another five to 10 years before the aircraft is ready for serial production,” he said.

“While the Chinese aviation industry has made some important progress” in composite materials, avionics and sensors, “these technological capabilities and standards remain considerably short of world­class standards,” Cheung said.

The surprise unveiling of the J-20 forced Gates to question the ability of the U.S. intelligence community to keep track of China’s development of combat aircraft.

The defense secretary told reporters Jan. 8 that China “may be somewhat further ahead in the development of the aircraft than our intelligence had earlier indicated.”

China Conducts First Flight Test of J-20

Defense News


China Conducts First Flight Test of J-20


TAIPEI - China has conducted its first flight test of the Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle stealth fighter, according to Chinese media reports. The reports come during a high-level visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

According to Chinese-language news reports, a twin-engine J-20 prototype flew for 18 minutes on Jan. 11 from the "Plant 132 aerodrome" in Chengdu in southwest China. "Plant 132" is the designation for the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group. A Chengdu J-10S Vigorous Dragon twin-seat fighter served as the chase plane.

Photographs of the flight test can be found on the and websites.

A scheduled flight test for Jan. 7 was reportedly canceled due to bad weather. In late December photographs emerged of what appeared to be a taxi runway test of the J-20, then last week a video was released of the same runway test.

The Jan. 11 flight test will no doubt surprise many analysts. Gates told reporters on Jan. 8 that China "may be somewhat further ahead in the development of the aircraft than our intelligence had earlier indicated." The comments were made at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland en route to visit Beijing.

Gates also clarified previous comments he made on whether China would be able to field a fifth-generation fighter by 2020. "What I said was that in 2020 or 2025 that there would still be a vast disparity in the number of deployed fifth-generation aircraft that the United States had compared to anybody else in the world."

China's development of a stealth fighter will no doubt renew calls for the U.S. to release 66 F-16C/D fighters requested by Taiwan, now on hold since 2006 due to Chinese pressure.

China has been adamant that continued U.S. arms sales to Taiwan would damage Sino-U.S. ties. China canceled military ties with the U.S. after Washington released a $6.4 billion arms package to Taiwan last January.

"On that, China's position has been clear and consistent - we are against it," said Chinese Minister for National Defense Gen. Liang Guanglie during a joint news conference with Gates on Jan. 10 in Beijing.

"Because United States arms sales to Taiwan seriously damaged China's core interests and we do not want to see that happen again, neither do we hope that the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan will again and further disrupt our bilateral and military-to-military relationship," Liang said.

Though new F-16s seem unlikely, the U.S. does appear ready to release price and availability data for a retrofit for Taiwan's older F-16A/B Block 20s, most likely after Chinese president Hu Jintao visits the U.S. later this month.

Taiwan has 145 F-16A/Bs, 126 Indigenous Defense Fighters, 56 Mirage 2000-5s, and 60 F-5E/Fs.

Over the past three years, the U.S. has released a variety of new aircraft and missile systems to Taiwan, including P-3C Orion anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft, UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters, AH-64 Apache Longbow attack helicopters, and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) air defense missile systems.

Taiwan Rolls Out Multiple Launch Rocket System

Defense News


Taiwan Rolls Out Multiple Launch Rocket System


TAIPEI — Taiwan has begun production of a new multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) designed to “counter an amphibious assault” by China, said a Ministry of National Defense (MND) source.

China continues to threaten to invade the self-ruled island of 23 million should it declare independence.

Production of the Ray Ting (RT-2000 or Thunder 2000), about five years behind schedule, began in 2010 and is set for 50 systems, the MND source said. MND has denied recent local media reports that the military plans to deploy the Thunder 2000 on the outlying island of Kinmen, the site of intense artillery duels between China and Taiwan during the Cold War.

The primary objective of the new MLRS is to derail an amphibious landing by Chinese troops by targeting landing ships at sea and troops coming ashore, MND sources said.

Taiwan military exercises are largely geared toward thwarting an invasion. Anti-amphibious and anti­airborne drills are a common staple of their war games. Because Taiwan has little strategic depth because of the mountains, it must inflict maximum damage on an invading force before it comes ashore.

Developed by the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST), the system can fire three types of highly accurate free-flight solid-propellant rockets: 117mm Mk15 (20 rockets per box); 180mm Mk30 (nine rockets per box); and 230mm Mk45 (six rockets per box).

The Mk designation indicates the range in kilometers. The rockets can be armed with dual-purpose, anti-personnel and anti-materiel submunitions and high-explosive warheads that can cover a 200-square-meter area with shrapnel.

The system is outfitted on an eight-wheel-drive Oshkosh Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, which is self-supporting with its own GPS fire control system. According to information provided by CSIST, the Thunder 2000 has an “onboard position and attitude determining system.”

CSIST conducted the first public live-fire demonstration of the Thunder 2000 during the Han Kuang 17 exercise in April 2001 in Pingtung County, along Taiwan’s western coast. The rockets successfully struck a decommissioned ship.

Subsequent live-fire exercises in 2002 and 2003 were less successful. In 2002, a Thunder 2000 caught fire, but the problem was later fixed. Then in 2003, local fishermen operating off the coast of Ilan County, along Taiwan’s northeastern coast, discovered unexploded bombs from a live-fire test during Han Kuang 19. These problems were also fixed, according to sources.

The military had considered procuring the Lockheed Martin M270 MLRS but opted for an indigenous design instead. The military did have a requirement for 150 MLRS, but it has been scaled back to 50.

There have been unconfirmed reports that Taiwan has been attempting to market the Thunder 2000 to the Middle East, including potential customers attending the 2003 International Defense Exhibition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

CSIST has successfully developed a variety of indigenous MLRSs in the past, including the 126mm Kung Feng-3/4 and the 117mm KF-6. CSIST has developed an assortment of advanced missile systems, including the Hsiung Feng (Brave Wind) anti-ship missile and Tien Kung (Sky Bow) air defense missile, and is working on a land attack cruise missile, the HF-2E, and a short-range ballistic missile.

Gates Hopeful on Trip to China 


Defense News


Gates Hopeful on Trip to China 



TAIPEI — Sino-U.S. military relations might be on the mend as U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates meets with China’s minister of national defense, Gen. Liang Guanglie, in Beijing Jan. 9-12.

The year 2010 was a rough one for military relations between China and the U.S. In January, China canceled military-to-military exchanges after the U.S. released a $6.4 billion arms package to Taiwan. Then in March, Chinese officials proclaimed the South China Sea a “core nation­al interest” on par with China’s claims over Taiwan and Tibet.

During a Jan. 6 Pentagon press conference, Gates said he was “eager to explore” ways to “develop and deepen” dialogue on a number of issues of “mutual concern” that included Iran and North Korea.

“We might be able to do more in a military-to-military sense together, as partners,” he said.

Areas of cooperation include training and exercising for humanitarian and disaster relief, and counterpiracy missions.

“There are a variety of areas where actually our interests coincide and where I think we can explore working together as equal partners and develop the relationship further,” Gates said.

There appears to be new openness in China for improved military ties. A well-known Chinese critic of U.S. policy said some goodwill should come out of the meeting.

“I believe his visit to China will help to improve mil-to-mil ties between the two countries,” said Maj. Gen. “Tiger” Zhu Chenghu, director­general of the National Defense University. However, Zhu cautioned, “I do not think that his single visit will solve all the problems; some problems will remain.”

There are “mines still in the road” for better relations, warned Da Wei, deputy director of the Beijing-based China Institutes of Contemporary International Affairs. Though the visit is a sign that military relations are “back on track,” Da asks what will happen after the visit. “I have not seen the signs that these problems can be solved in a short run.”

Obstacles include U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, U.S. military surveillance missions in and near China’s Exclusive Economic Zones, and U.S. concerns about China’s military modernization, said Larry Wortzel, a senior member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Gates most likely will try to shift the discussion away from Taiwan issues and focus on space, cyber, nuclear and missile issues, he said, but China is “likely to refuse to discuss them.” A U.S. analyst close to the Pentagon said Gates has asked for a visit to the Second Artillery Corps, responsible for China’s strategic missile force, but a Pentagon spokesperson denied there was a base visit request.

Despite Gates’ best efforts to build relations with China, the most difficult challenge will be China’s insistence that the U.S. discontinue arms sales to Taiwan.

“It has become so politicized for both the Chinese and Americans,” Da said.

Da could be right. Efforts to improve military-to-military ties with China could easily be derailed by continued arms sales to Taiwan. Gates could face tough questions by Beijing officials over preparations by the Pentagon to release price and availability (P&A) data for a retrofit of Taiwan’s 146 F-16A/B fighters.

The P&A data release is expected in the “next few weeks,” but U.S. congressional notifications could be up to a year away, said Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the Washington-based U.S.-Taiwan Business Council. The retrofit is expected to include new avionics and engines.

“The timing of the congressional notification will be somewhat determined by how willing [Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou’s] government is to reverse the significant decline in defense spending and support future programs. This will be an expensive program,” he said. “If Taiwan can put together a program, it should be ready for congressional notification at the end of 2011.”

Continued arms sales to Taiwan will no doubt anger China.

“The old question of military sales to Taiwan” will continue to dominate the dialogue, said Zhuang Jianzhong, vice director of Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Center for National Strategy Studies. Zhuang said Gates should do what is necessary to “reassure” Chinese officials the issue will be resolved.

U.S. policy guidelines formulated under the Taiwan Relations Act require the U.S. to continue supporting Taiwan’s defense needs, and recent revelations that China is developing a wide range of new weapons, including an aircraft carrier, the J-20 stealth fighter and the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (dubbed the “aircraft carrier killer”), will make it hard for Washington to justify ending arms sales to Taiwan.

Taiwan’s request for 66 F-16C/D fighters could be buoyed by the pending release of a classified Pentagon report to Congress on Taiwan’s air power capabilities. The report will be released after Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington later this month.

Taiwan’s request for the new fighter jets has been on hold since 2006 due to political pressure from Beijing.


January: U.S. releases a $6.4 billion arms deal to Taiwan. China cancels military-to-military relations.

March: China begins referring to the South China Sea as a “core national interest” on par with China’s claim over Taiwan and Tibet.

June 30-July 5: China’s East Sea Fleet conducts a live-fire naval exercise that includes 12 ships and 10 warplanes in the East China Sea.

July 23: The U.S. and other regional members attending the 17th Association of Southeast Asia Nations Regional Forum in Hanoi browbeat China over its policies in the South China Sea.

July 24-27: China conducts its largest naval exercise to date in the South China Sea. 

July 24-27: The U.S. and South Korea conduct a joint naval exercise in the Yellow Sea. After China protests, the aircraft carrier USS George Washington does not enter the Yellow Sea.

Oct. 8: The White House sends a letter to the U.S. Congress to allow for exports of C-130 aircraft to China during oil-spill operations.

Oct. 12: Gates and Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie meet on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers Meeting Plus Eight, or ADMM+8, in Hanoi.

Dec. 10: The U.S. and China hold the 11th round of the U.S.-China Defense Consultative Talks in Washington.

Gates Clarifies China's Stealth Capabilities

Defense News


Gates Clarifies China's Stealth Capabilities


TAIPEI – U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates clarified Pentagon concerns over recent revelations China was developing a stealthy fifth-generation fighter, the J-20, during a press conference Jan. 8 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland en route to visit Beijing, China.

During the press conference Gates said China "may be somewhat further ahead in the development of the aircraft than our intelligence had earlier predicted."

Photographs of the J-20 appeared on websites throughout China in late December in what many analysts believe was a taxi runway test. Though there had been grainy photographs of the fighter appearing on various Chinese defense blogs in the past, the new photographs revealed details not seen before. This past week a video of the J-20 taxiing on the runway was released.

Gates clarified previous comments he made on whether China would field a fifth generation fighter by 2020. "What I said was that in 2020 or 2025 that there would still be a vast disparity in the number of deployed fifth generation aircraft that the United States had compared to anybody else in the world."

Many of China's new weapon systems are part of a larger effort to develop anti-access area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities that will discourage U.S. military forces from intervening in a conflict over Taiwan.

Gates called China's investment in A2/AD capabilities high priority areas. "They clearly have the potential to put some of our capabilities at risk and we have to pay attention to them, we have to respond appropriately with our own programs," he said.

Another area of concern is China's development of the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), dubbed the "aircraft carrier killer" by many analysts. Gates could not recall whether the DF-21D had reached initial operational capability (IOC), but did say China was "fairly far along" in the development of an operational ASBM.

In December, U.S. Pacific Commander Robert Willard was quoted by the Japanese media as confirming the DF-21D had reached IOC status.

The Dong Feng (East Wind) ballistic missile family comes in short-range (DF-11/15), medium-range (DF-21) and long-range (DF-31) variants. The new road-mobile DF-31A is capable of striking Washington, D.C. with a nuclear tipped missile.

China has about 1,300 short-range DF-11/15 SRBMs targeting Taiwan. During the 1995/96 Taiwan Strait Missile Crisis the Chinese fired ten DF-15 SRBMs into the waters south and north of Taiwan in an attempt to intimidate Taipei.

Taiwan responded by procuring Patriot PAC-2 air defense missile systems. These systems are now being upgraded and newer PAC-3 systems are being added. Taiwan has also constructed a new early warning radar system along the central west coast facing China. There also efforts to field a new indigenous air defense missile system, the Tien Kung 3 (Sky Bow), capable of intercepting both aircraft and missiles.

Lockheed Wins Taiwan P-3 Avionics Contract

Defense News


Lockheed Wins Taiwan P-3 Avionics Contract


TAIPEI - Lockheed Martin will supply mission system spares to outfit new avionics components for 12 P-3C Orion anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft ordered by Taiwan under a $47.5 million contract, according to a Pentagon announcement Jan. 6.

Work on the firm, fixed-price contract under the Pentagon's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program will be performed in the U.S. and is expected to be completed in December 2012. The U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division was the contracting activity.

The award follows a Dec. 23 FMS announcement of a $10 million contract awarded to Pacific Propeller International, based in Kent, Wash., for refurbishing 56 P-3C HS54H60-77 propeller assemblies for Taiwan's P-3Cs. Work is expected to be completed in August 2014.

The U.S. approved the export for 12 P-3s in 2001, but Taiwan was unable to secure funds for the sale until 2007 due to internal political infighting. Delivery was also stalled by a late bid from L-3 Communications to compete against Lockheed Martin. In September 2007, the U.S. notified the U.S. Congress of a contract award to Lockheed worth $1.96 billion. Lockheed is expected to complete delivery of all 12 aircraft by 2015.

The P-3s will replace aging Grumman S-2T Turbo Tracker ASW aircraft acquired during the 1980s after a conversion of Taiwan's older S-2E/G to T standards. Sources have indicated only a handful are still operational and that none are mission capable. Taiwan's Navy operates a number of operational ASW helicopters, including 500MD Defender and the S-70C(M)-1/2 helicopters.

China's submarine capabilities continue to grow with new builds of nuclear-powered and diesel-electric submarines, now numbering about 60. Taiwan has only two conventional Dutch-built diesel-electric attack submarines and two World War II-era U.S.-built Guppy-class submarines used for training.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Photos of Chinese 5th-Generation Fighter Revealed

Defense News


Photos of Chinese 5th-Generation Fighter Revealed


TAIPEI - China's fifth-generation stealth fighter program took a noticeable step forward this week when the first high-resolution photographs appeared on Chinese non-governmental websites of a prototype of the Chengdu J-20 fighter being built for the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

In the photos, the J-20 appears to be conducting a high-speed taxi test. There have been suggestions the photographs are fake, including questions over the unusually large Chinese red star painted on the tail. PLAAF red star insignias are normally smaller with parallel adjacent red bands.

In the past, due largely to grainy photos taken by cell phones, the existence of the J-20 was treated with some skepticism by many observers.

However, the newest photos are "the real deal," said Richard Fisher, an Asia military affairs analyst at the Washington-based International Assessment and Strategy Center.

The photos reveal the J-20 has a canard-delta twin-engine configuration, diverter-less supersonic intakes, and a shaped nose consistent with the use of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

The J-20 design is similar to the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and the Sukhoi T-50 fighters. Sources indicate the twin-engine J-20 prototype could be using the Russian-built Saturn 117S (AL-41F1A) engine, the same being used in the T-50 and Su-35 prototypes. China has expressed interest in procuring large quantities of the Saturn 117S from Russia and rumors at the recent Zhuhai Airshow in China indicate a J-20 prototype had been outfitted with the 117S.

There is also the possibility the prototype is being outfitted with the Chinese-built Shenyang WS-10 or WS-15 engine.

"At first glance this fighter has the potential to be competitive with the F-22 and to be an efficient F-35 killer," Fisher said. Fisher is the author of the new book, "China's Military Modernization."

The release of the J-20 photos follows comments made last week by U.S. Pacific Commander Robert Willard in the Japanese media that China had reached the "initial operational capability" of its first anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), the Dong Feng 21D. The DF-21D has been dubbed the "aircraft carrier killer" in China, a reference to China's overall anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) strategy.

China's ability to undermine two critical pillars of U.S. deterrence in Asia, with the ASBM and now with the advent of its first 5th generation fighter, "points to a real crisis in U.S. political-military leadership" in Asia, Fisher said.

Taiwan P-3s to Get Fresh Propellers

Defense News


Taiwan P-3s to Get Fresh Propellers


TAIPEI - The U.S. Department of Defense awarded a $10 million contract to Pacific Propeller International, based in Kent, Wash., for refurbishing 56 P-3C HS54H60-77 propeller assemblies for the Taiwan Navy's 12 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

The Dec. 23 announcement was made under terms and conditions of the Foreign Military Sales program managed by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). Work is expected to be completed in August 2014.

The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command was the contractor, a DSCA contract announcement said. The U.S. Congress was notified of the sale of 12 P-3Cs to Taiwan in 2007 after a delay dating back to 2001 when the U.S. government first offered the aircraft to Taiwan. Political bickering in Taipei over the defense budget caused the delays. The aircraft will replace the aging Grumman S-2T Turbo Tracker anti-submarine aircraft acquired during the 1980s after a conversion of Taiwan's older S-2E/G to T standards.

Taiwan has operated a variety of S-2 models since the late 1960s. Today, sources indicate only a handful are still operational and that none are mission capable.

Taiwan is facing a growing threat by Chinese submarines. China has roughly 60 conventional attack and ballistic missile submarines. Taiwan has only two conventional Dutch-built attack submarines and two World War II-era U.S.-built Guppy-class training submarines.

ST Engineering Wins Contracts

Defense News


ST Engineering Wins Contracts

By Wendell Minnick

TAIPEI - Singapore Technologies (ST) Engineering announced contract awards worth $84 million in defense and commercial deals in a Dec. 20 press release.

ST Engineering is Singapore's leading defense equipment developer and manufacturer and is divided into four sectors: ST Aerospace, ST Electronics, ST Kinetics (Land Systems) and ST Marine.

ST Kinetics will supply the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense with low- and high-velocity 40mm ammunition for use in operations and training. Delivery will begin in the second quarter of 2011 and will be completed in the first quarter of 2012. Details of quantities and costs were not disclosed.

ST Marine secured ship upgrade and modification contracts for both naval and commercial customers, including its first contract with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to convert the 18,000-ton HMAS Success, a combat logistics vessel, to a double hull. This is part a RAN effort to meet the International Maritime Organization's standards for environmental protection against oil spills, said an ST Engineering news release.

"HMAS Success is designed to supply naval combat units with fuel, ammunition, food and stores whilst underway at sea," the release said. "Work is scheduled to commence before the end of this year when the tanker is deployed in the region and will be re-delivered by the first half of 2011."

The company indicated these contracts would not have any "material impact on the consolidated net tangible assets per share and earnings per share of ST Engineering for the current financial year."