Archive for the ‘Naval’ Category

Naval Shps from Around The Globe Watch For Pirates. Where is China?

December 4, 2008

Among the naval forces of the world on guard against Somali pirates, China is conspicuously absent.  Today, a Chinese general asks “If China wants to be a world power, how come we are poweless so often?”


A Chinese general has called for the country’s navy to join the fight against Somali pirates, saying the mission would boost China’s international stature and give its sailors valuable experience in fighting open ocean combat operations far from their home ports.

Chinese ships have been among those seized in a wave of pirate attacks this year, including the fishing vessel Tianyu No. 8, seized in mid-November.

International warships from NATO and countries including Russia patrol the Gulf of Aden and have created a security corridor in the area under a U.S.-led initiative, but attacks have not abated.

Russia says it will send more ships to patrol the area off the coast of Somalia.
Russian Navy warship passes through the Suez canal and goes toward pirate patrol….

“Piracy doesn’t just interfere in our country’s navigational safety, it also impedes our development and interests,” Major General Jin Yinan told state radio.

“I think our navy should send ships to the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy duties,” Jin said, according to a transcript of the interview posted Thursday on the Web site of the official China News Service. The date of the interview was not given.

In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, ... 
In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, Indian warship INS Tabar, right, escorts the MV Jag Arnav ship to safety after rescuing it from a hijack attempt by Somali pirates. The Indian navy says the INS Tabar dedicated to fighting pirates has successfully fought off an attempted pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden, sparking explosions and a fire on the suspected pirate ship late Tuesday, Nov. 18.(AP Photo/Indian Navy, HO, File)

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has little experience operating at long-range, its primary mission being coastal patrol. However, the service is believed to have major ambitions, possibly including the eventual deployment of an aircraft carrier.

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The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf ... 
The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.(AFP/Eric Cabanis)

US maintaining naval-air-marine might in Arabian Sea opposite India, Pakistan, Iran

December 1, 2008

Three US aircraft carriers with strike groups, task forces and nuclear submarines have piled up in the waters of the Arabian Sea opposite the shores of India, Pakistan and Iran, and in the Persian Gulf.

DEBKAfile‘s military sources report that the US began massing this formidable array of floating firepower at the outset of the Islamist terrorist attack on the Indian city of Mumbai last Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Tehran responded typically with a threat of retaliation should the Americans decide to use the Mumbai terrorist attack to hit Iran.

It is more likely, according to our military sources, that the Americans are on the ready in case the rising tensions between India and Pakistan over the New Delhi’s charge of Pakistani involvement in the Mumbai atrocity explodes into an armed clash on their border.

This is indicated by the units now deployed:

1. the USS John C. Stennis, which carries 80 fighter-bombers and 3,200 sailors and airmen and leads a strike group..

This carrier joins two already there, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which patrols the northern Arabian Sea, part of whose strike group cruises opposite Iran’s southern coast; and the USS Iwo Jima, which carries a large marine contingent on board.

2. New to these waters, according to DEBKAfile‘s military sources, is the Destroyer Squadron 50/CTF 55, which has two task forces: Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA) for strikes against warships and the rapid deployment of marines to flashpoint arenas; and Mine Countermeasures Division 31, which stands ready to prevent New Delhi or Islamabad from mining the Arabian Sea routes connecting their ports. Those routes are vital waterways for US marine traffic supporting the war in Afghanistan.

3. To manage this armada, the command and control vessel, USS Mount Whitney, has been brought over from the Mediterranean.

4. Four nuclear submarines.

The arrival of the southwest Asian marine patrol carrier Stennis and the Mount Whitney to the Arabian Sea opposite Iran’s shores set alarm bells ringing in Tehran. Our Iranian sources note that the Islamic republic’s rulers remember that after al Qaeda’s attack on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, the Americans did not only invade Afghanistan, but also Iraq and they fear a similar sideswipe.

The Iranian chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Ataoallah Salehi sounded a warning when he stated Sunday, Nov. 30: The “heavy weight” of enemy warships provides the Iranian side with an ideal opportunity for launching successful counter-attacks.

Iran Holds Military Games Near Hormuz Strait

Above: U.S. Navy operates at sea with allies…

U.S. Navy cruisers carry long range cruise missiles.  Seen here: USS Gettysburg

See the DEPKA file:

Venezuela, Russia to start naval exercises Monday

November 30, 2008

Venezuela‘s state news agency says three days of joint naval exercises with Russia will kick off in Venezuelan waters on Monday.

The state-run Bolivarian News Agency says the operation involving 11 Venezuelan and four Russian ships has been christened Venrus 2008.

Saturday’s report said exercises will include anti-aircraft defense and tactics to combat terrorism and drug trafficking. Some will involve helicopters and planes.

The Russian squadron arrived in Venezuela on Tuesday, led by the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great — the first deployment of its kind since the Cold War.

It’s widely seen as a demonstration of Kremlin anger over aid delivered by U.S. warships to Georgia after its fighting with Russia. Russian officials deny that.

–Associated Press

Peter the Great

Ukraine turns down Russia fleet base offer

October 23, 2008

KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine has turned down a Russian proposal to extend the lease for the naval base used by Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Russia wants the fleet to remain in the Crimean port of Sevastopol beyond 2017. The Kremlin is eager to maintain its strategic foothold on the Crimean Peninsula, which was ceded to Ukraine in 1954 when both Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union.

Ships from Black Sea Fleet
The Black Sea Fleet has been in Sevastopol for over 200 years

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday that the issue “cannot be a subject of discussion.” It said that Russian ships will have to leave Ukrainian waters in 2017.

Russia has said it wants to negotiate new terms when 2017 draws closer. Moscow hopes pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko will be out of power by then.


Russia-Venezuela military exercises and drills set

October 14, 2008

By Martin Arostegui
The Washington Times
A Russian fleet sailing toward the Caribbean for military exercises with Venezuela‘s navy next month reflects a chill in Russia-U.S. relations, though analysts are divided on whether the drill represents a threat to U.S. interests or is merely a demonstration to embarrass Washington.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says the drill seals Venezuela’s “strategic alliance with Russia,” which he announced during a recent visit to Moscow, in which he signed billions of dollars worth of arms deals.

The exercises, led by flagship Peter the Great, will mark Russia’s largest naval deployment to the Caribbean in more than 20 years.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES A Russian warship bound for Venezuela docks at the Libyan port of Tripoli on Saturday. Russian fleets training with Venezuela

Above: A Russian warship bound for Venezuela docks at the Libyan port of Tripoli on Saturday. Russian fleets training with Venezuela’s navy will mark Russia’s largest deployment to the Caribbean in more than 20 years. Photo: AFP/Getty

Like Cuba’s Fidel Castro, much of Mr. Chavez’s political career has been based on his opposition to the United States.

On Russia’s end, many analysts see the move as a face-saving payback for U.S. naval deployments around the Black Sea to show support for Georgia in its conflict with Moscow that led to a brief war in August.

U.S. Navy ships were used to bring food, medicine and other relief supplies to Georgia while keeping their distance from the Russian fleet.

The Pyotr Velikiy, Peter the Great, Russian nuclear-powered ...
The Pyotr Velikiy, Peter the Great, Russian nuclear-powered missile cruiser seen in the Barents Sea, Russia, , Russia, in this July, 2004, file photo. The Peter the Great cruiser accompanied by three other ships of Russia’s Northern Fleet was to sail from their base in Severomorsk Sunday on a cruise which will include a joint exercise with the Venezuelan Navy, Russian Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said on Vesti 24 television.(AP Photo/File)

Still, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned that Russia would respond to the deployment in an unspecified manner and with “calm.”

U.S. officials have dismissed the Russian maneuvers as insignificant….

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America’s Naval Supremacy Slipping

March 18, 2008

During a recent trip to China with Adm. Timothy Keating, American reporters asked General Chen Bingde, chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army, “Should the United States have anything to fear from China’s military buildup?”

The general responded: “That’s impossible. Isn’t it? There’s such a big gap between our military and the American military. If you say you are afraid, it means you don’t have enough courage.”
Courage or not, China’s rapid and massive military buildup (particularly in terms of its expanding submarine force and progressive aircraft-carrier R&D program) has analysts concerned. And the U.S. Navy — the first line of defense against any Chinese expansionism in the Pacific — continues to struggle with the combined effects of Clinton-era downsizing, a post –9/11 upsurge in America’s sealift and global defense requirements, and exponentially rising costs of recapitalization and modernization of the Navy’s surface and submarine fleet, aircraft, and related weapons systems. 
A warplane takes off from the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier ... 
F/A-18 takes off from the U.S. Navy
Aircraft Carrier USS John C. Stennis.

Currently, America maintains a 280-ship Navy (including 112 ships currently underway) responsible for a wide range of seagoing operations, as well as air and land missions, conventional and unconventional. 
The fleet is small — a dwarf fleet compared to the nearly 600-ship Navy under President Ronald Reagan — but its responsibilities aren’t.
Among them are defense of the U.S. homeland and American territories and interests abroad.
Keeping the sea lanes open and safe from terrorism, piracy, and weapons smuggling. Maintaining air superiority above the Navy’s areas of operation. Maintaining sea-basing and amphibious landing and landing-support capabilities (this includes the Marine Corps, which technically and traditionally falls under the Department of the Navy). Maintaining light, fast forces capable of operating in rivers and along the coastal shallows (littorals). Maintaining a strategic nuclear capability (through its ballistic missile submarine force). Maintaining superior information and intelligence collection and counterintelligence capabilities. And maintaining its ability to engage in direct action — like the recent cruise-missile strike against Al Qaeda targets in Somalia — and providing support for special operations worldwide. 

USS Greeneville off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Navy’s enemies and potential enemies include everyone from global terrorists like Al Qaeda to previous Cold War adversaries China and Russia.
And not only is the Navy fleet small, it is rapidly aging, and gradually losing the depth and flexibility needed to accomplish all of its current missions and strategic requirements.
The Navy currently maintains 11 aircraft carriers. The USS Enterprise is slated to retire in 2012, but the under-construction USS Gerald R. Ford could be delivered by 2015.The fleet is also comprised of an array of cruisers, destroyers, frigates, attack and ballistic missile submarines, amphibious assault and sealift-capable ships, support vessels of all kinds, and a variety of special warfare craft.
USS Wasp LHD-1.jpg
USS Wasp
Sounds formidable, and in 2008 it is. But the Navy is not even close to where it needs to be if it hopes to match, deter, or outfight the emerging sea powers that will continue to grow over the next 10, 20, or 30 years.
“Even though we obviously have a strong eye toward what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan for our ground forces, we still must have a balanced force that can deal with a range of threats,” says Peter Brookes, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs. “China is going to be a major conventional threat in the coming years. So we need the capability of projecting naval power across the Pacific to maintain peace and stability in that region.”
According to Brookes, the Navy needs to focus on — among other things — regaining much of its anti-submarine warfare capability (undersea, surface, and airborne) that has been neglected since the end of the Cold War.
USS Kitty Hawk CV-63.jpg
USS Kitty Hawk.  This aircraft carrier calls Japan “homeport.”  She was ordered to the vicinity of Taiwan on or about 18 March 2008 to provide security for the Taiwanese elections.  Photo from the U.S. Navy.
Hoping to remedy its overall shortfall, the Navy has proposed a 313-ship fleet – an increase of 33 surface ships and submarines — able to be deployed according to Navy officials by 2019.
Among the Navy’s new additions would be the Littoral Combat Ship — a small, swift-moving surface vessel capable of operating in both blue water and the coastal shallows — a nuclear-powered guided-missile destroyer, a next-generation guided-missile cruiser, a new class of attack submarine, a new carrier with an electromagnetic aircraft launching system (replacing the steam-driven catapult system), and ultimately a new fleet of jets like the F-35 Lightning II (the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter).
USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000).jpg
USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000)
All of the newly developed ships and airplanes would have multi-roles, and would be able to go head-to-head with a wide range of conventional and unconventional threats. Problem is, developing new ships and weapons systems take time, are often technically problematic in the developmental stages, and increasingly hyper-expensive. Additionally, new ships and systems are being designed, developed, and built at the same time the Navy is having to spend money on manpower and costly, aging ships, aircraft, and weapons systems just to stay afloat and fighting.

single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) launches from the U.S. Navy AEGIS cruiser USS Lake Erie
This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows an SM-3 missile being launched from the USS Lake Erie warship on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2008. The Pentagon says the missile successfully intercepted a wayward U.S. spy satellite orbiting the earth at 17,000 miles per hour, about 133 nautical miles over the Pacific ocean. (AP Photo/US Navy)
Of the proposed  $515 billion U.S. Defense budget for Fiscal Year 2009, the Navy is asking for $149.3 billion — 29 percent of the budget — which includes the Marine Corps’ piece of the pie (As its current recap/mod needs are similar to the Army’s, we will address Corps issues in our forthcoming piece on ground forces.), and that requested figure will almost certainly, and necessarily, increase over subsequent years.
Nevertheless, experts contend we are kidding ourselves if we believe the Navy will crack the 300 mark under the current plan.

This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd ...
Our sailors make our Navy the most capable in the world. This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd Class John Whitby operating the radar system control during a ballistic missile defense drill on February 16 aboard the USS Lake Erie. The US warship is moving into position to try to shoot down a defunct US spy satellite as early as Wednesday before it tumbles into the Earth’s atmosphere, Pentagon officials said.
(AFP/US Navy-HO/Michael Hight)
“This is the dirty secret inside the Beltway,” says Mackenzie Eaglen, a senior policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation. “If you crunch the actual shipbuilding numbers — year-to-year for the next 10 to 20 years — a 313-ship Navy is a pipe dream.”
According to Eaglen, the budget requests for shipbuilding submitted to Congress between FY 03 and FY 07, averaged just over $9.5 billion per year. “What’s needed is at least $15 billion per year,” she says. “What’s worse is that I see Defense spending dropping.”
Cynthia Brown, president of the American Shipbuilding Association, believes money slated for new ship construction needs to be at least $22 billion per year.
“Of the proposed $149.3 billion, only $12 billion is slated for new ship construction in FY 09,” says Brown. “Since 2001, the Defense Department has increased its spending by 80.8 percent, excluding war supplementals, but shipbuilding has only increased 12.2 percent.”
Costs of recapitalizing and modernizing our Navy will continue to rise, as will the conventional and unconventional threats our sailors must be trained and equipped to fight. And considering the make-up of Congress — and who may be moving into the White House in 2009 — the nation’s primary power-projection force may find it near impossible to avoid becoming, as Eaglen says, “a mere shadow of its former self.”

U.S. commander presses China on military intentions

February 16, 2008

By Richard Halloran
The Washington Times
February 16, 2008  

HONOLULU — The commander of U.S. forces in Asia says he pressed Chinese leaders on a recent visit to explain the intentions behind their expanding military power, thus injecting a fresh element into security relations between the two countries.

Until now, U.S. political and military leaders have insisted that Chinese leaders be more “transparent” in their military activity — disclosing what weapons and equipment they have acquired, how much they have spent on their armed forces and the state of training and readiness of those forces.

But Adm. Timothy Keating said in an interview that transparency “is not enough

“We don’t want just transparency, we want to understand their intentions. There’s a big difference,” he said. “That’s a much more aggressive position for us to ask of them.”

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U.S. military officials wary of China’s expanding fleet of submarines

February 7, 2008

By David Lague
International Herald Tribune
February 7, 2008

For a procession of senior U.S. military commanders who have visited China in recent years, the complaint has become almost routine.

As part of a sustained military buildup, they say, China is investing heavily in so-called area-denial weapons without explaining why it needs them.

The term area-denial weapons refers to a combination of armaments, technology and tactics that could be used to dominate a specific area or keep opposing forces at bay in a conflict. And one of the most formidable examples U.S. commanders identify is the Chinese Navy’s rapidly expanding fleet of nuclear and conventional submarines.

“I would say that the U.S. feels a strong threat from Chinese submarines,” said Andrei Chang, an expert on Chinese and Taiwan military forces and editor in chief of the magazine Kanwa Defence Review.

Read the rest:


Google Earth captured an image of the new Chinese ballistic-missile submarine, docked at the Xiaopingdao base south of Dalian. U.S. officials say the new submarines may increase Beijing´s strategic arsenal.

Understanding China’s Hunger for Oil

January 28, 2008

China’s search to gain and maintain access to energy sources is increasingly influencing China’s foreign policy.  China is discussing options for a Persian Gulf naval base and is embroiled in an increasingly ugly dispute with Vietnam over oil reserves beneath the sea floor.

We have two reports at our flagship “Peace and Freedom” website.  See:

Military balance tilting toward China

January 25, 2008

By Toshinao Ishii
Yomiuri Shimbun
January 25, 2008

The military balance between China and Taiwan is turning in China’s favor due to its huge defense spending that showed double-digit growth for the nine consecutive years from 1989.

Taiwan is said to have superiority over China in maritime and air force strength. But China has built up its naval force remarkably in recent years.

According to the defense white paper for 2007, China possesses 70 frigates and destroyers as against 30 held by Taiwan. China overwhelms Taiwan in the possession of submarines 60 to four. China’s marine research vessels and submarines are stepping up their activities in the waters off eastern Taiwan.

China’s air force also has been active in the airspace above the Taiwan Strait.

“Chinese warplanes have been flying into the airspace over the Taiwan Strait frequently and their flight technique has improved,” a high-ranking Taiwan Air Force officer said.

Taiwan has deployed F-16 and Mirage aircraft as its mainstay fighter jets. China, on the other hand, announced last January a plan to deploy self-developed J-10 fighter jets, which are said to have capabilities matching those of F-16s.

China has deployed 1,328 ballistic missiles targeted at Taiwan, about seven times more than in 2000, when the administration of President Chen Sui-ban was inaugurated in Taiwan. Taiwan, on the other hand, has deployed only three sets of Patriot surface-to-air guided missiles (PAC-2) in the surburbs of Taipei and elsewhere. China successfully conducted an anti-satellite test last year, destroying a satellite with a missile .

As a counterbalance to China’s military arsenal, Taiwan’s military wants to possess PAC-3 missiles, P-3C antisubmarine patrol planes and diesel-powered submarines, which the U.S. administration of President George W. Bush decided to sell to Taiwan in 2001.

But the deals did not make any progress because deliberations on budgetary appropriations made little headway in Taiwan’s parliament due to dissent by opposition parties. Appropriations for the purchase of P-3Cs and submarine research costs were approved by the parliament in June. Taipei has sought to purchase 66 modified F-16s, but Washington has not complied with the request as it has grown increasingly distrustful of the Chen administration.

As a deterrent to China, Taiwan has secretly developed a Hsiung Feng [Brave Wind] 2-E cruise missile with a range that covers Shanghai and Hong Kong. But Taipei has refrained from disclosing its deployment “probably due to the pressure from Washington, which does not want to provoke Beijing because it is an offensive-type weapon,” an expert on military affairs said.

A crisis occurred in the Taiwan Strait just before the 1996 presidential election in Taiwan, when China test-fired missiles in waters near Taiwan and the United States responded by swiftly dispatching two aircraft carriers to the Taiwan Strait.

With Taiwan’s presidential election set for March, however, China has not shown any sign of military threats against Taiwan in recent months. This is because Beijing learned a lesson from the previous experience that such a provocation will draw criticism from voters in Taiwan and backfire in the election.

Taiwan’s former Defense Vice Minister Lin Chong-pin ruled out the possibility of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait, saying, “Military tension will not heighten as Beijing and Washington have close contacts.”