Archive for ‘Defence’

05/03/2015

China 2015 defense budget to grow 10.1 pct, lowest in 5 years – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China on Thursday announced a 10.1-percent rise in its national defense budget in 2015, the lowest growth in five years as the country confronts mounting pressure in the face of an economic slowdown.

According to a budget report released shortly before the country’s top legislature starts its annual session, the government plans to raise defense budget to 886.9 billion yuan (about 144.2 billion U.S. dollars).

That would make China the second largest military spender in the world following the U.S., whose defense budget amounted to 600.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2013.

Nonetheless, the 10.1-percent rise represented the lowest expansion in China since 2010, when the defense budget was set to grow by 7.5 percent.

The figure has thereon been riding on a multi-year run of double-digit increases, expanding 12.2 percent last year.

Thursday’s budget report did not explain the rationale behind this year’s abated growth, but a government work report to be presented by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang may offer some clues.

According to the report, national defense development would be coordinated with the country’s economic growth.

The Chinese economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014, registering the weakest annual expansion in more than two decades. The government set this year’s growth target to approximately 7 percent, brewing new concerns that the world’s economic powerhouse is losing steam.

But the report played down such concerns, stressing that China is now in a “new normal” state, where a balance ought to be stricken between growth and structural optimization.

via China 2015 defense budget to grow 10.1 pct, lowest in 5 years – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

20/02/2015

Turkey eyes deal with China on missile defense despite NATO concern | Reuters

Turkey‘s defense minister said on Thursday the country does not plan to integrate a new missile defense system with NATO infrastructure and officials said a $3.4 billion deal with China was still under consideration.

NATO member Turkey chose China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp as a preferred bidder in 2013, prompting U.S. and Western concern about security and the compatibility of the weaponry with NATO systems.

Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, in a written response to a parliamentary question, indicated Ankara planned to go ahead with the Chinese system, saying the evaluation of bids had been completed and no new offers received.

“The system in question will be integrated with the national system for Turkey’s defense and will be used without integrating with NATO,” Yilmaz said.

However, other government officials later made clear that did not mean a final decision had yet been reached.

“We are continuing discussions with all the bidders,” the undersecretariat for defense industries said in a statement.

via Turkey eyes deal with China on missile defense despite NATO concern | Reuters.

20/02/2015

India’s ailing air force at risk in tough neighbourhood | Reuters

India’s air force risks a major capability gap opening up with China and Pakistan without new western warplanes or if local defence contractors can’t produce what the military needs in a timely manner.

Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter aircraft jets fly past during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

A 2012 agreement to buy 126 Rafale fighters from France’s Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA) has stalled due to a dispute over the assembly of the aircraft in India.

India’s first homegrown fighter, the Tejas light combat aircraft, will finally be delivered next month, 30 years after it was conceived. But senior air force officers privately said they were unimpressed, with one former officer, an ex-fighter pilot, saying the plane was “so late it is obsolete”.

While the navy is undergoing an accelerated modernisation drive, experts said India was vulnerable in the skies because of its reliance on a disparate fleet of ageing Russian-made MiG and French Mirage fighters, along with more modern Russian Sukhoi Su-30s. Half of India’s fighters are due to retire beginning this year until 2024.

“It could lead to humiliation at the hands of our neighbours,” AK Sachdev, a retired air force officer, wrote last year in the Indian Defence Review journal.

A coordinated attack by China an

via India’s ailing air force at risk in tough neighbourhood | Reuters.

18/02/2015

Modi wants more technology transfer from global defence firms | Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked global defence contractors to transfer more technology to India as part of the lucrative deals that they win to modernise its armed forces.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends an event organised by the Christian community to celebrate the beatification of two Indians by Pope Francis late last year, in New Delhi February 17, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

The country’s offsets policy, which requires contractors to invest a percentage of the value of the deal in India, will be tweaked to encourage more technology transfer, and less simple assembly or production, Modi said at the opening ceremony of the Aero India airshow at Yelahanka air base in Bengaluru.

“We have the reputation as the largest importer of defence equipment. This may be music to the ears of some of you. But this is an area where we do not want to be number one,” Modi said before an air display of Indian military planes.

“It will no longer be enough to buy equipment and simply assemble here.”

India is forecast to spend $250 billion over the next decade to upgrade its military, which still largely relies on Russian equipment it bought from the 1960s to the 1980s, and catch up with strategic rivals like China.

via Modi wants more technology transfer from global defence firms | Reuters.

17/01/2015

IAF gets first light combat aircraft – The Hindu

Thirty—two years after the project was sanctioned, the first indigenously—built Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was handed over by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to the IAF on Saturday, a red letter day for the Indian defence and aerospace sector.

A file photo of the Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' at the Yelahanka Air Base in Bengaluru.

The handover signals the start of a process of induction of the fighters being built at home under a project which has already cost the exchequer nearly Rs. 8,000 crore.

The entire project by the DRDO and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is estimated to cost over Rs. 30,000 crore.

The aircraft that has been handed over has got Initial Operational Clearance—II, which signifies that Tejas is airworthy in different conditions, sources said. The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) is expected by the year—end.

This version of the aircraft lacks the latest electronic warfare suite, which was integrated into one of the LCAs two weeks ago, mid—air refuelling and long—range missiles capabilities, among other things that the FOC—configuration aircraft will have.

The IOC—I was granted to the aircraft, being built by state—owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), in January 2011.

via IAF gets first light combat aircraft – The Hindu.

02/12/2014

India and France to push ahead with Rafale jet deal | Reuters

The French and Indian defence ministers agreed on Monday to overcome any differences and finalise the sale of 126 fighter jets to India in a deal worth an estimated $15 billion, the Indian defence ministry said.

A Rafale jet fighter is seen on the assembly line in the factory of French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Merignac near Bordeaux, southwestern France, January 10, 2014. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Files

France’s Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA) has been trying to clinch a deal to sell India its Rafale jets since New Delhi chose the company over other foreign plane manufacturers in 2012. But disagreements over cost and work-sharing have slowed talks, while India’s weak economy has stretched government finances.

On Monday, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar, who was appointed defence minister last month.

“Both sides agreed to take forward the strategic co-operation between the two countries. They discussed all issues including Rafale. It was decided that whatever differences still existed would be resolved in a fast-track manner,” said Indian defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar.

Under the deal, which would provide a major boost to French domestic defence manufacturing, the first 18 planes will be made in France and shipped to India, while the remaining 108 will be produced by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (IPO-HIAE.NS).

The final phase of exclusive negotiations on the contract should conclude within India’s current budget year ending in March 2015, Dassault Chief Executive Eric Trappier said last month.

via India and France to push ahead with Rafale jet deal | Reuters.

22/08/2014

India to Unveil First Warship to Deter Chinese Submarines – Businessweek

India will unveil its first home-built anti-submarine warship tomorrow in a move to deter China from conducting underwater patrols near its shores.

CHINA-MILITARY-NAVY-ANNIVER

Defense Minister Arun Jaitley will commission the 3,300-ton INS Kamorta at the southeastern Vishakapatnam port. The move comes a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the largest indigenously built guided-missile destroyer and vowed to bolster the country’s defenses so “no one dares to cast an evil glance at India.”

India is playing catch-up to China, which built 20 such warships in the past two years and sent a nuclear submarine to the Indian Ocean in December for a two-month anti-piracy patrol. The waters are home to shipping lanes carrying about 80 percent of the world’s seaborne oil, mostly headed to China and Japan.

“As China grows into a naval, maritime power, it will be more and more active in the Indian Ocean,” Taylor Fravel, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies China’s ties with its neighbors, said by phone. “Of course, it will not be due to some hostility or targeted at India, but because of its economic interests in the Indian Ocean, as a lot of trade passes through. Such a presence will certainly raise questions in India, but it need not necessarily be a cause of major conflict.”

Warship Plans

India has lacked anti-submarine corvettes in its 135-warship fleet for more than a decade now, with the decommissioning of the last of the 10-ship Petya-class of 1960s-vintage Soviet corvettes in December 2003. It plans to build 42 more warships, including three more anti-submarine corvettes, over the next decade, according to Rear Admiral A.B. Singh, an Indian navy official.

About 90 percent of Kamorta’s components are local, with the hull developed by Steel Authority of India Ltd., medium-range guns by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) and torpedo launchers by Larsen & Toubro Ltd, India’s largest engineering company. The ship is two years behind schedule, according to Commodore B.B. Nagpal, the navy’s principal director for naval design.

via India to Unveil First Warship to Deter Chinese Submarines – Businessweek.

01/07/2014

Army chief Bikram Singh to begin rare China visit tomorrow – The Times of India

Chief of the Army Staff General Bikram Singh r...

Chief of the Army Staff General Bikram Singh received by Director for General Staff Duties Sanjeev Chopra (Photo credit: UN Women Asia & the Pacific)

Operationalisation of a new border defence agreement to deal with recurring troop incursions along the LAC besides improving defence ties, is expected to top the agenda of General Bikram Singh as he starts a rare visit by an Indian Army chief to China from tomorrow.

“Currently India and China maintain exchanges and cooperation at various levels. This is very significant for the two countries,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said here today.

“The visit you mentioned will be an important event in military to military exchanges between China and India,” he said commenting on Singh’s visit at a media briefing.

“We wish full success of this visit so that the mutual trust between the two armies can be enhanced,” he said.

To deal with tensions arising out of the incursions by both sides, India and China signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) last year.

Singh’s visit was aimed at implementing a number of steps incorporated by BDCA on the ground, officials said.

The Indian Army chief’s four-day visit is taking place after a gap of nine years.

via Army chief Bikram Singh to begin rare China visit tomorrow – The Times of India.

17/06/2014

China Seeks Shorter, ‘More Portly’ Troops With Brainpower – Bloomberg

China’s military has relaxed its height, eyesight and weight requirements for soldiers in an effort to attract more educated personnel, the state-owned China Daily newspaper said today.

Male recruits can now be 1.6 meters tall (5 foot 2 inches), down from 1.62 meters, while the minimum height for women will reduced by the same margin to 1.58 meters, the paper said, citing the Ministry of Defense’s recruitment office. The upper weight limit for male enlistees was also relaxed to “allow more portly young men” into the military, it said.

Eyesight standards were also lowered because nearly 70 percent of high school and university students in China are short-sighted, it said. Mental illnesses including schizophrenia, dissociative disorder, depression and bipolar disorder has also been removed from a list of conditions barring candidates from enlisting, according to the paper.

The looser requirements come as President Xi Jinping tries to hone the world’s largest army by headcount into a professional fighting force capable of winning wars. Efforts by China’s military to attract better-educated recruits to match its modern weaponry has been hampered by a decline in the health of candidates. According to Beijing’s army recruitment office, some 60 percent of college students fail the physical fitness examination, with most graduates being overweight, the China Daily reported in August.

via China Seeks Shorter, ‘More Portly’ Troops With Brainpower – Bloomberg.

13/06/2014

Japan denies brush with Chinese planes, demands China withdraws footage | Reuters

I sincerely hope China and Japan are NOT sleep walking into a major war.

“Japan on Friday denied Beijing’s claims that its Self-Defence Force planes came “dangerously close” to Chinese aircraft in an incident over the East China Sea on Wednesday, demanding China takes down the footage allegedly showing the incident.

A Chinese SU-27 fighter flies over the East China Sea, in this handout photo taken May 24, 2014 and released by the Defense Ministry of Japan May 25, 2014. REUTERS/Defense Ministry of Japan/Handout via Reuters

The tit-for-tat accusations and denials are part of a long-running territorial dispute between Asia’s largest economies. They follow a similar incident on May 24, when Japan said Chinese aircraft came within a few dozen metres of its warplanes. China, where bitter memories of Japan’s wartime militarism run deep, lays claim to Japanese-administered islets in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. China declared its air defence zone covering most of the East China Sea last year despite protests by Japan and the United States.

On Thursday, China said two Japanese F-15 planes followed a Chinese Tu-154 aircraft and came as close as 30 metres, “seriously affecting China’s flight safety”. It posted a video allegedly showing that incident on the defence ministry website.

“We believe there is no truth in China’s assertions that Japanese fighter planes came within 30 meters of a Chinese plane and severely affected the flight’s safety,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

“The planes (in the video) are different,” he said in response to a reporter’s question about the rationale behind Japan’s assertion, adding Japan lodged a protest late on Thursday and demanded that Beijing take down the footage.

China responded by calling on Tokyo to “immediately stop all its provocative words and acts”.”

via Japan denies brush with Chinese planes, demands China withdraws footage | Reuters.

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