Sabtu, 22 November 2014

[World Article] Aboard Danish Frigate, Clean Lines and Room To Grow

The basic design is a Maersk design, with a hull similar to a container ship Everything Shipshape: The Nils Juel, above, cruises Chesapeake Bay after taking part in exercises with the US Navy. The ship was handed over to the Danish Navy in August. The frigate's spacious bridge, left, spans almost the full width of the ship. (Christopher P. Cavas/ / staff)

It is striking how the now-familiar smooth, angled architecture of today’s warships, intended to reduce visual, heat and other signatures, is also somehow inherently Danish-modern. And the first thing one notices after boarding this ship is how clean and spotless everything is — almost relentlessly clean.

“We clean the ship every day,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Jensen, the ship’s operations officer. “It’s easier to keep a clean ship clean than to clean a dirty ship.”

The Nils Juel is the Danish Navy’s newest warship, handed over only in August. It’s the third and last of the Iver Huitfeldt class of large frigates which, along with two similar Absalon-class combat support ships, will make up Denmark’s primary naval force for the next three decades.

They could also be the last significant naval ships built in Denmark, as the Odense Shipyard that built them closed with the delivery of Nils Juel. But the team that designed the ship — a combination of Maersk Shipping, Odense and the Danish Navy — has established itself as Odense Maritime Technology (OMT), marketing its exper­tise in producing spacious, logical, efficient designs that can be bought for a fraction of the cost of similar warships built elsewhere.

The Danes claim Nils Juel and its sister ships were built for US $325 million apiece — an impressive accomplishment for a ship displacing more than 6,600 tons, fitted with a sophisticated combat and communications suite, armed with Standard, Evolved Sea Sparrow and Harpoon missiles, 76mm and 35mm guns, torpedoes and a helicopter, able to cut the waters at 30 knots and travel more than 9,000 nautical miles without refueling.

The price tag is often compared with the $440 million per-unit cost of the smaller US Navy littoral combat ship, which rises to well over $600 million apiece when the average cost of the LCS mission modules is factored in. And, proponents point out, the Danish ships carry a far heavier permanently installed armament.

But the Danish approach is quite different from that of the US Navy. To start with, most of the ship’s lower decks were designed by Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, with a focus on efficient, robust designs that are easy to maintain.

“The basic design is a Maersk design, with a hull similar to a container ship,” said Cmdr. Christian Horsted, the ship’s executive officer. “Things are very orderly, very well-arranged. It looks like the people who designed the ships have designed a lot of ships.”

Horsted pointed to the bridge and machinery room arrangements, which leave room to add improvements. “Things are really set up right,” he said, looking up at half-filled overhead wire ways. “The cabling runs leave lots of room for extra wiring for more sensors whenever they’re added.”

As an economy measure, the ship also features a number of used items. The 76mm guns, and launchers for Evolved Sea Sparrow and Harpoon missiles, for example, are refurbished fittings from decommissioned ships.

The sophisticated combat suite, however, is all-new, featuring Thales Smart-L and APAR radars, other sensors and fire-control equipment nearly identical to Dutch De Zeven Provincien-class and German Sachsen-class frigates.

Yet while Nils Juel is operational — this reporter’s visit took place just after the ship completed several weeks taking part in a major exercise with the US Navy along the eastern seaboard — the ship remains, in some ways, incomplete.

The two 76mm guns, for example, are essentially temporary fittings. The forward mounting is sized to take a US Mark 45 5-inch gun, but no funds have been allocated to purchase the $50 million weapons. The second gun position also is intended to mount another close-in weapon system, yet to be purchased.

Amidships, the 32-cell Mark 41 vertical launch system is unused, awaiting not just operational certification, but also the purchase of additional components and Standard surface-to-air missiles.

Aft, atop the hangar, what appeared to be a 35mm Oerlikon Contraves Millenium gun was actually a dummy. The weapon is still being certified but, to keep the flight deck’s air worthiness certifications, a fake gun was installed to maintain wind current features.

The ship also is hiring more crew members. The original crew size of 100 was found to be “too lean,” Jensen said, and 17 more slots have opened, about half in the engineering department. But even with 117 crew members, the Danes will have a crew smaller than similar warships.

“We try to do the same things the Dutch and Germans do, but with fewer people,” Jensen said, explaining that the ship features a high degree of automation, as well as 50 cameras placed throughout to monitor spaces such as the engine rooms, hangar and missile decks.

The three frigates are manned with two and a half crews, allowing for one ship to be training, another to be deployed, with the half-manned ship undergoing maintenance. About half the crew aboard Nils Juel, including Jensen, returned this year from a deployment aboard the Iver Huitfeldt, and joined this ship a few months before the cruise to the US.

The ships also are being brought up to higher war-fighting standards, Horsted said, and are being certified by the British Royal Navy’s Flag Officer Sea Training organization. Among other things, that means improving damage control fittings and adding some internal features.

Improvements also need to be installed in the engineering control center, said Lt. Christian Jens, the ship’s electro officer. “We still need a secondary steering control installation and navigational equipment,” he said.

Nils Juel left Denmark in mid-October to take part in Exercise Bold Alligator, which ended in early November. The frigate will head home after visits to Baltimore and Halifax, Nova Scotia.■


Indonesia aims for world-class military technology

Aiming for world-class military technology, the Republic of Indonesia is committed to advancing the countrys defense industry by promoting joint cooperation between local and overseas defense firms.

Through such cooperation, the local defense companies can gain essential knowledge and experience that will eventually help them to independently produce state-of-the-art armaments for the National Defense Forces (TNI).

Indonesia needs a transfer of technology, and the United States (US) was ready to lend support to the country in the form of world-class military technology.

Speaking at a public lecture Wednesday at the University of Indonesia campus in Depok, West Java, US Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Orris Blake remarked that his country will cooperate with the TNI to strengthen international defense.

"We will work together with the Indonesian National Defense Forces to step up and strengthen international defense and maritime security," Blake stated.

The US will assist Indonesia in modernizing its military equipment and help the TNI in implementing advanced and world-class American technological systems, he affirmed.

"We will also assist Indonesia in the modernization of its military by providing American military technological system," Blake remarked.

His institution was prioritizing local military weapons through a transfer-of-technology system to improve national defense competency, TNI Chief General Moeldoko said.

"We cannot ignore local products of our national defense systems because they are our priority. We cannot overlook the high technology either. Thus, we need a transfer of technology," Moeldoko stated here recently.

The weapons that are utilized by Indonesian soldiers are costly. Hence, the Indonesian Military should follow up the latest advances in technology so as not to fall behind other countries, according to the general.

"The TNI weapons are not cheap. However, we need to follow the latest technologies to balance power and attain the strength to face other countries," Moeldoko remarked.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 2014 IndoDefense Expo and Forum early this month, Vice President Jusuf Kalla affirmed that Indonesias military technology should be world class.

The vice president lauded the development milestones achieved by Indonesia in the field of military technology and hoped that it will be able to compete with foreign producers in manufacturing state-of-the-art military weaponry system.

"Military technology is not something easy because it requires meticulous research, high costs, and strong cooperation. But, Indonesia has adequate experience in the field of technology," the vice president stated.

Anoa-armored vehicles were very good and capable of competing with similar vehicles manufactured in other countries, Kalla noted.

Although defense equipment requires highly sophisticated technology, the industry should be able to provide benefits to the community in addition to being able to defend the country from outside attacks, the vice president emphasized.

One of Indonesias military capabilities is the national armys proficiency in intercepting foreign aircraft trespassing into its waters or the national territory, he pointed out.

"We can intercept foreign aircraft, and that means we have great ability," the vice president remarked.

His country was also ready to provide increased security in Indonesian waters using the resources from the US military forces, the US ambassador further stated.

The aid can be in the form of specialized military training and equipment assistance to strengthen Indonesias maritime defense capabilities, Blake explained.

"This is to ensure security of the Indonesian waters and to prevent illegal fishing by foreign vessels," he remarked.

Securing the Indonesian waters was essential, since geographically, it is surrounded by oceans, Blake noted.

The US and Indonesia will increasingly cooperate in the area of security and defense, he said.

"We are working with the Indonesian military to improve its maritime security and to strengthen its international defense capabilities," he noted.

America was keen to improve Indonesias maritime defense capabilities to complement its vision of becoming a world maritime power, Blake emphasized.

"We stand ready to boost maritime collaboration to complement the vision of President Jokowi," he remarked.

Boosting maritime security is aimed at improving Indonesias maritime defense capabilities and providing assistance to curtail illegal fishing in its waters.

US President Barack Obama praised Indonesia for its multi-pronged approach to combat terrorism, Blake also noted.

The US was partnering with Indonesia on addressing global security challenges such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, he said.

"Last week, when President Obama met President Jokowi on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in China, President Obama said he wanted to thank Indonesia for the efforts it had taken in isolating extremism," Blake remarked.

Obama had thanked Indonesia for its joint counter-terrorism efforts with other countries, the US envoy also revealed.

The bilateral defense and security cooperation have been very sound and his government stands ready to bolster maritime security cooperation to complement President Jokowis vision, Blake said.

"We are also pleased to play a role in supporting Indonesias military modernization, including through provision of world-class American military systems and technology," he stated.(T.O001/INE/KR-BSR/B003)


200 Malaysians arrested in Indonesian waters for illegal fishing

"There's no need to detain them - just sink their boats. 10 to 20 boats at the bottom of the sea will make them think twice. Just remember to rescue the crewmembers," Jokowi said in Jakarta yesterday, as reported by Utusan Malaysia's Saharuddin Musthafa.

Indonesia's Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto told Reuters in an interview that curbing illegal fishing was imperative to his government, as the practice was costing Indonesia upwards of USD25 billion every year.

"The President has stressed that Indonesia's maritime sector is in a state of emergency, and drastic measures need to be taken to adress it. Therefore, Indonesia condemns all acts of illegal fishing, and severe action will be taken on offenders.

"We hope our enforcement will send a clear message to our neighbours, such as Malaysia and China, that such actions on our part are not the norm," Andi said in the interview.

Andi added that in the coming days, an additional 300 fishermen are expected to be arrested on similar charges.

The Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia, Zahrain Mohammed Hashim, has said in response that his staff would monitor developments in the case, and are in communication with the Indonesian Foreign Ministry to receive confirmation on details.

"As of now, the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta is awaiting a response from the Foreign Ministry of Indonesia on the allegations linked to the arrests," he said.

Zahrain added that should the offence of the 200 detained Malaysian fishermen be proven, his staff would be on hand to offer the approriate assistance and consultation to the accused.


[World Article] Sayonara F-5, It was Nice Knowing You

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri told Parliament on Nov 18 that the services of the Mig-29N and the F-5 fighter jets in the Royal Malaysian Air Force will end by the end of 2015 and 2014, respectively.

Speaking during the session which was supposed to debate the Defence Ministry’s proposed 2015 budget – instead of asking the right questions, our politicians were instead grand standing with one even asking why we do not conduct exercise with Turkey’s military – Abdul Rahim also said although there were plans to replace both aircraft, funds have yet to be allocated (MRCA programme).

The deputy minister did not say it but his statement meant that RMAF will lose half of its fighter force within a 12 month period from the 60-odd in service at the moment with no replacement for the immediate future.

The retirement of both aircraft are not surprising as their end service dates had been made public previously. For the F-5 – RMAF’s first supersonic fighter – this will be the second retirement as it was first deactivated on Nov 10, 2000. In 2003, at least ten F-5s – four F-5Es, four F-5Fs and two RF-5Es were reactivated and reconstituted as the 12th Squadron.

The squadron was originally activated in 1975 to operate the F-5Es and F-5Bs as the country’s first supersonic air defence unit before it was deactivated in 2000.

When reactivated in 2003 – the 12th Sqdn was redesignated as the Tactical Air Reconnaissance Squadron with the two RF-5Es playing the main role with the single seaters serving as escort while the twin-seaters qualified new pilots.

In 2007, the two RF-5Es originally procured in 1993 were upgraded with a digital camera system and a digital display system. The fleet soldiered on almost anonymously as the F-5 was largely eclipsed by RMAF’s newer fighter jets.

The F-5 made the headlines again in 2008 after two of the jet’s engines were stolen while stored at the Kuala Lumpur Air Base, a year earlier.

12th Sqdn was also thrust into the limelight in 2013, when its 24th commander, Mej Zaidi Ahmad lodged a police report over the indelible ink issue during the 13th General Election. Zaidi is undergoing court martial accused of circulating information on the ineffectiveness of the indelible ink used in the 13th general election.

It is unclear whether RMAF will hold a grand send-off for the F-5 next month. Perhaps it will not as they might changed their mind and pressed the fleet back into service just like they did in 2003! Hopefully they will be loved in retirement as in during service. Sadly the example displayed at RMAF’s museum is already looking like a rusting hulk.

Goodbye, F5, it was nice knowing you.

— Malaysian Defence


★ PT PINDAD-SAAB kerja sama Sistem Pertahanan Udara

Memasarkan dan memperpanjang usia pakai sistem peluru kendali RBS70 Ujicoba rudal RBS 70

ivisi Pertahanan dan Keamanan SAAB, Swedia, menandatangani kerja sama dengan PT PINDAD untuk memasarkan Sistem Pertahanan Darat Berbasis Udara (GBAD), menyusul kesepakatan memperpanjang usia pakai sistem peluru kendali darat-ke-udara RBS70 TNI.

Kesepakatan itu mengikat dalam jangka waktu panjang, dengan tujuan memenangi bisnis pertahanan udara nasional di Indonesia. Disepakati pengembangannya dilakukan secara bertahap.

Kepala Komunikasi SAAB Asia Pasifik, Susanne Dalskog, dari Swedia, Jumat, menyatakan, kesepakatan itu juga mencakup transfer teknologi dari SAAB untuk meningkatkan kinerja sistem RBS70 yang telah berada di Indonesia sejak dasawarsa ’80-an.

Pada tahap awal, fokus diarahkan pada peningkatan usia operasional peluru kendali RBS70 Mark II, yang melibatkan mitra Indonesia, yaitu PT PINDAD. Oleh SAAB, ditawarkan juga sistem RBS70 NG.

“Kesepakatan ini memungkinkan kedua pihak memiliki kesempatan terbaik untuk berkolaborasi hingga di tingkat praktik. Bersama-sama, kami akan menjawab tantangan memenangi persyaratan pengadaan sistem peluru kendali utama GBAD. PT PINDAD adalah mitra paling tepat bagi SAAB,” kata VP dan Kepala SAAB Indonesia, Peter Carlqvist.

Sistem GBAD yang dimiliki SAAB, yang telah beroperasi sekitar 30 tahun, telah dikembangkan menuju rancangan sistem lebih canggih, tingkat kegagalan rendah, dan fungsi dukungan perawatan.

Semuanya dinyatakan menjamin konsumen mendapat nilai paling maksimal dari dana yang telah dikeluarkan, dihadapkan dengan performansi, kelenturan taktis, biaya operasional, ketersediaan, dan biaya pakai lain.

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