Thursday, 14 May 2015

MAST Asia 2015

MAST Rises, Exhibitors Say

YOKOHAMA, 14 May 2015 - Defence industry representatives participating in the MAST Asia exhibition say that this event offers invaluable benefits for them to enter into more in-depth discussions over possible industrial cooperation. Japanese firms actively pursuing closer ties with defence equipment manufacturers from North America and Europe note that one effect of the new policy by the government in Tokyo has been that some of the country's biggest and most innovative enterprises are investing more money in the commercialisation of defence equipment in the region. Some exhibitors expect that trading could reach valuations usually associated with high-growth sectors.
One project, Australia's "Collins" class submarine replacement programme, could be the biggest contributor. NAVAL FORCES was told that "there is still a realistic chance to receive a contract [from the Australian government] to build up to 12 submarines [based on the "Soryu" class design built for the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force]." Besides Japan, only France' DCNS and Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) are bidding for Australia's submarine programme.
Another big contributor, Japan's NEC Corporation, has identified new business opportunities in the fields of harbour monitoring network systems and electro-optics, with the latter including the AEROEYE II infrared (IR) imaging camera designed for shipboard and airborne applications. NEC's EO Systems Department Manager Hiroaki Ono told NAVAL FORCES that the system also attracted the interest by non-military organisations; "Our [thermal imaging] products enhance their missions in the fields of SAR [Search and Rescue], firefighting, and law enforcement."

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

MAST Asia 2015

Cooperation With Japanese Partners Enhances Business Opportunities

YOKOHAMA, 14 May 2015 - UK-based company Drumgrange Ltd. discovered a unique opportunity to team with a partner in Japan - Marubun Corporation - to offer its high-end security products for immediate requirements in the country and in the region. In Yokohama, Drumgrange showcased a fully "marinised" Acoustic Hailing Device (AHD) that was selected for fitment aboard Japan Coast Guard vessels. Seventy-two devices have been delivered to fill in a capability gap. According to the company, the AHD is designed to send hailing and warning messages at ranges of hundreds of metres. NAVAL FORCES learned that this is provided by a combination of adequate power, reduced distortion amplifiers, and focused beams. Drumgrange developed the AHD for intelligible speech at distances up to 1,500m and for siren/alarm tone at distances up to 2,000m both on land and at sea. According to the company, it is a standardised mounting that enables fast deployment in a number of configurations aboard a ship, including tripod and monopole. Two versions are on offer: a single dual horn and a double dual horn. The AHD-5-12Z single dual horn variant shown in Yokohama achieves an effective communication range over loud background noise up to 1,000m, depending on ambient conditions. The device reaches a sound pressure level (peak) of 146dB @ 1m at 1kHz, with a frequency range of 300 to 7.5kHz +/- 3dB. Its larger cousin, the AHD-9-14Z double dual horn achieves 152dB peak @ 1m at 1kHz at a frequency range of 300 to 7.5kHz for +/- 10dB or 400 to 7.5kHz for +/- 3dB. Their flexible mounting allows for integration of auxiliary equipment like a night vision sight, camera or searchlight. The company describes its AHD as the "ideal communicator" for naval applications, commercial security, counter-CBRN, merchant shipping, emergency services, oil and gas platforms, and port and border protection. According to Suzanne Coop, the company's Business Development Manager, marketing the AHD from Japan will provide the company with the ability to reach potential customers in the entire region, including Taiwan.

MAST Asia 2015

Japanese Defence Manufacturers Show Their Flag

YOKOHAMA, 13 May 2015
The large number of Japanese defence equipment manufacturers showcasing their products at MAST Asia 2015 is testament of a new era of Japan's commitment to international cooperation in the field of security. As learned from the community, developers and manufacturers of defence equipment had a different approach in entering international markets; some companies were successful in developing partnerships with fully independent, globally active suppliers like FLIR Systems or Drumgrange Ltd. The latter company is specialising in the development, system engineering, integration, and through life support of military electronic equipment, and has identified Japanese partners to market the Acoustic Hailing Device (AHD) in Japan. Seventy-two devices were recently ordered to equip Japan Coast Guard vessels. A completely different approach is ShinMaywa Industries, Ltd., which seeks to accomplish an agreement with Indian partners over the licence production of its famous US-2 STOL search and rescue amphibian offered for an immediate Indian requirement. However, the talks with Indian partners faced delays in recent months, but the Japanese manufacturer is keen to find a viable solution, said Sushi Kasai, Manager, Amphibious Aircraft Export Project. 
This scheme also includes large shipbuilding companies like Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., but their main focus will be to support domestic customers like the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Coast Guard. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

New Tensions in the World's Most Pirated Waters

After the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines plane on 8 March 2014 started an investigation assisted by eight countries – Malaysia, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It was a tragedy. Nonetheless the immoderate, international support was not accounted by established relations of Malaysia, but rather self-motivated trough remarkable oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea. Of course, all efforts were dedicated to the detection, however, it is reasonable to assume that additional research took place. Usually, any research in the South China Sea is prohibited due to unsettled boundaries and ongoing disputes over the Paracel and Spratly Islands.
From a business standpoint, the interest makes a lot of sense regarding to estimated oil reserves of 28 billion barrels and 266 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Moreover, a third of global shipping moves through the Strait of Malacca and Singapore every year and nearly all transportations of crude oil from the Persian Gulf to the Asian economies like South Korea, China, and Japan.

Maps: US Energy Information Administration, International Hydrographic Organization
Furthermore, the strategically important region provides 10% of global fisheries catch. All these developments led to an increasing number of attacks. There were 125 reported pirate attacks in the South China Sea in 2013, which triple the number of 2009. For comparison, the attacks over the same period around the Horn of Africa decreased from 197 to 13. Generally speaking, the competing territorial claims over the South China Sea is a dispute between China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, and Malaysia. It is a number of countries with different claims and obviously a fertile soil for serious trouble. On 1 May 2014, tensions between China and Vietnam heated up to an exaggerated battle with water cannons by naval and Cost Guard vessels. Thousands of Vietnamese protesters went to the street and burned factories, which presented any connection to China. The main reason was China's deployment of an oil rig and escorting ships in the South China Sea to maintain the claim of the 'nine-dash line' that is by far the largest part, covering 90% of the territory.
The latest series of pictures released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C. show Beijing's seriousness through new installed supply platforms and docking facilities on artificial land formations, aptly called Mischief reef. Considering several photographs over weeks, indicating the island is growing bigger. A special image from 1 February 2015 pointed out a Chinese amphibious transport vessel is only some hundred metres from the reef entrance and close to the Philippines. CSIS stated such a ship is capable of carrying around 800 troops or 20 armoured vehicles.
So, China sends a message, which assumes that nobody will take action against it. But those actions violate the “United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea” and the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea” from 2002 in collaboration with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). But nevertheless, the stronghold of China's firepower suppresses the main opponents from Vietnam and the Philippines and provokes ASEAN's restraint and could result in international interventions.
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter as well as Admiral Harry B. Harris accused China and mentioned concerns for prospective diplomatic solutions.
By Tim Lenke, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia