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The US, Japan, Australia, and India have for the first time a "quad" meeting on shared security issues for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

 

 

 

Australia has taken part in a four-way meeting with the United States, India and Japan regarded as a first step towards deeper co-operation to balance China's strategic expansion.

Senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs met with counterparts on Sunday in the Philippines "to discuss a shared vision for increased prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific region and to work together to ensure it remains free and open", a statement from the department read.

Deeper co-operation between the four major democracies, known as the "quadrilateral security dialogue", has been a contentious issue because China has interpreted it as an effort to contain its rise.

The department's statement - and those by the other three nations - did not mention China. But the Australian statement said the "shared challenges" under discussions included "upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and respect for international law, freedom of navigation and overflight".

This is typically shorthand for China's maritime activities such as building artificial islands and using them to claim control over surrounding waters. Such behaviour has been rejected by an international panel in The Hague and remains one of the top concerns of China's neighbours.

The officials also discussed North Korea, counter-terrorism, maritime security and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Crucially the statement said "the participants committed to continuing quadrilateral discussions and deepening co-operation on the basis of shared values and principles".

"It's a calculated first step," said Rory Medcalf, head of the Australian National University's National Security College. "I wouldn't say it's experimental. There's a clear determination among these four countries to have a closer strategic solidarity."

The meeting showed the countries would "confidently share their strategic assessments amongst each other regardless of what China says", giving the four countries a much better understanding of how one another saw the region.

Since Labor under Kevin Rudd's prime ministership pulled out of the previous iteration of the quadrilateral dialogue, the case for it had only grown, Professor Medcalf said.

"What's changed in the last 10 years is China. It' s become far more assertive, far more insensitive to the security anxieties of others," he said.

Professor Medcalf said the co-operation could eventually progress to a leaders' summit but probably more importantly to practical co-operation such as four-way maritime naval drills, maritime surveillance information-sharing and disaster relief exercises.

Senior US officials including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser HR McMaster have recently taken to referring to the Asia-Pacific region as the Indo-Pacific, elevating India's role and foreshadowing greater four-way co-operation between the democracies.

But President Donald Trump and his team have so far on the President's extensive Asia tour avoided specifically referring to the quadrilateral dialogue. Sunday's meeting was quietly announced through short statements on the four countries' foreign ministry websites, suggesting an acknowledgement of Beijing's sensitivity.

Professor Medcalf said bipartisanship on Australia's part was important for the balancing act to be managed effectively.

Labor defence spokesman Richard Marles said on Sunday that while the opposition was still discussing its position, "I do think that there is a strategic opportunity for Australia right now to be comparing notes with, to be working with, countries that share the same strategic circumstances that we share".

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/hedging-china-australia-joins-security-dialogue-with-us-japan-india-20171113-gzk2qv.html

 

 

Two F-15Js and two F-2s from the JASDF trained with three F/A-18s from USS Nimitz on November 13th over the Sea of Japan.

f15f2f18.jpg

http://www.mod.go.jp/asdf/news/houdou/H29/291113.pdf

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USN and JMSDF large scale joint-training from Nov 16th to 26th.

YOKOSUKA, Japan -- The 2017 edition of Annual Exercise, a bilateral maritime field training exercise involving the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and U.S. Navy (USN), will be conducted Nov. 16-26.

Approximately 14,000 U.S. personnel will participate, from units including the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) with embarked Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW-5), Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the guided-missile destroyers USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Chafee (DDG 90), USS Mustin (DDG 89), and a maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadron.

Annual Exercise, the premier training event between USN and JMSDF, is designed to increase the defensive readiness and interoperability of Japanese and American forces through training in air and sea operations. The training will take place in the waters surrounding Okinawa. The exercise follows more than a week of scenario-based training ashore.

Questions regarding JMSDF participation, training and personnel should be referred to the Japan Maritime Staff Office Public Affairs Office.

http://www.c7f.navy.mil/Media/News/Display/Article/1373461/us-navy-japan-maritime-self-defense-force-to-conduct-annual-exercise/

 

About 25 Japanese warships and about 60 aircraft are to participate. A Canadian warship will also participate. Training involves anti-sub, anti-surface ship, and anti-air warfare. There is a portion of only Japanese training which started on November 10. It runs through to November 16th and then to November 26th with the USN ships described above.

http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/formal/info/news/201711/20171107-02.pdf

 

The Japanese ships gathering on the 15th for the training near Okinawa.

OKINAWA, Japan (Nov. 15, 2017) Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyers gather at White Beach at the start of Annual Exercise 2017 (ANNUALEX). ANNUALEX is a bilateral training exercise between the U.S. Navy and JMSDF designed to increase the defensive readiness and interoperability of Japanese and American forces through training in air and sea operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Alex T. Mabini/Released)

jmsdfgathers.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/7thfleet/photos/a.10150655218142402.416898.54808967401/10155887925807402/?type=1&theater

A couple of more in spoiler

 

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In August this year, a US B-52 and JASDF F-15Js conducted joint-training over the Sea of Japan.

According to government officials, it became known on the 19th that in August a nuclear capable USAF B-52 strategic bomber flew over the Japanese archipelago and conducted joint-training with JASDF F-15s in the airspace over the Sea of Japan. It is the first time that JASDF aircraft over the Sea of Japan trained with a B-52.

 

According to government officials, on the basis of the "three non-nuclear principles", the government made sure that there were no nuclear weapons loaded before the training. In August, the B-52 flew from the Pacific side passing through the north eastern skies westward, and carried out the joint-training with the F-15s over the Sea of Japan. It's said they conducted things like checking formation flight procedures.

 

Some of the frequent joint-training between the JASDF and US aircraft such as B-1 strategic bombers and the advanced F-35 stealth fighter around Kyushu is being made public. The joint-training between the B-52 and JASDF was not made public and a government official said that "It is not OK to make all of the joint-training public. North Korea would receive strong pressure if it was known that a nuclear capable B-52 went nearby.

 

 

核兵器の搭載が可能な米空軍のB52戦略爆撃機が8月、日本列島上空を横断し、航空自衛隊のF15戦闘機と日本海上空で共同訓練をしていたことが19日、政府関係者への取材で分かった。日本海上空での空自戦闘機とB52との訓練が公になるのは初。

 

 政府関係者によると、日本政府は「非核三原則」を踏まえ、訓練前に核を搭載しないことを確認した。B52は8月、太平洋側から東北付近の上空を西に横断し、日本海でF15と共同訓練を実施。編隊で飛行する手順の確認などをしたという。

 

 空自戦闘機と米軍のB1戦略爆撃機、F35最新鋭ステルス戦闘機などは九州周辺で頻繁に共同訓練をしており、一部は公表されている。B52と空自戦闘機との訓練は公表しておらず、政府関係者は「訓練全てを公表すればいいというものではない。核兵器が搭載できるB52が接近したことが分かれば、北朝鮮は強いプレッシャーを受ける」と話している。

 

http://www.sankei.com/world/news/171119/wor1711190020-n1.html

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Two Australian patrol boats for joint-training in the Philippines for a few days as part of "Combined Philippine Navy-Royal Australian Navy Maritime Security Engagement" which goes from Nov 10th to Dec 1st.

AUSpatrolboatsPH.jpg

 

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Armidale-class patrol vessels Her Majesty Australian Ship (HMAS) Larrakia and HMAS Maitland conducted a visit to Philippine Navy Naval Forces Central in Cebu on November 22.

 

The visit was for logistic fill up and crew respite before resuming joint patrols with Philippine Navy assets in Sulu Sea, Naval Forces Central said.

 

The Australian warships departed Naval Forces Central on November 26.

 

The said Australian warships are in the Philippines for Combined Philippine Navy-Royal Australian Navy Maritime Security Engagement which started November 10 and scheduled to end December 1.

 

Activities for the said engagement include series of meeting procedures and planning/coordination for the conduct of the combined patrols in Philippine Navys Naval Forces Western Mindanao Area of Responsibility.

 

It supports the anti-terrorism and piracy campaign of Philippine government.

 

Aside from enhancing the maritime cooperation with other regional navies, the training activity with RAN to secure the vast maritime domain of the Sulu Sea proves that the Philippine Navy particularly the Naval Forces Western Mindanao does not work alone in protecting and maintaining the peace, order and stability in its area of responsibility. This upholds to a strong relationship of the PN and RAN when it comes to maritime patrol and security, NFWM said.

https://www.update.ph/2017/11/australian-warships-visit-cebu/22983

 

 

Japan to build 4 radars for the Philippine Coast Guard on islands in the Sulu Celebes Seas.

Japan will build four coastguard radar stations on islands in the Sulu Celebes Seas separating the Philippines and Indonesia to help Manila counter a surge in piracy by Islamic insurgents, sources said.

 

An agreement to fund the facilities and provide training to local coastguard personnel may be signed as early as next week by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, both sources confirmed.

 

The seas in that area are an important waterway for merchant ships travelling to Japanese ports, one of the two people with knowledge of the plan said. Both asked not to be identified because they are not authorised to talk to the media.

 

Of 30 acts of piracy reported in the first half of 2017, six involved the use of guns and three of those were crew abductions from ships travelling in the Sulu Celebes Seas, according to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia. Four attempted abductions in the waters were also logged.

 

Japan will fund construction of the radar stations through its Overseas Development Aid (ODA) budget, the sources said.

 

Japan is aware of the need to counter piracy in the region and is keen to help, but we cant discuss individual projects, said an official at Japans Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which overseas ODA spending.

 

The radar stations are part of a wider aid package that include helicopter parts for the Philippines military, financing for infrastructure projects such as rail lines and help to rebuild southern Marawi city, which was devastated by five months of military operations against Islamic State rebels.

 

By providing such aid, Tokyo is aiming to deepen economic and security ties with Manila as it looks to contain Chinas growing power. Japan sees the Philippines, which lies on the eastern side of the South China Sea, as a key ally in helping prevent Beijings influence spreading into the western Pacific.

 

Abe will travel to the Philippines on Monday following a two-day gathering of regional leaders at an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam.

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2119343/japan-build-four-radar-stations-philippines-counter-surge

The agreement reportedly made on November 14th.

...

[Japan-Philippines related] In addition to the contributions of coastal patrol boats and high speed boats currently ongoing, an agreement for new coastal observation radar facilities was made. In order to improve the security of the southern parts of the Philippines as well as the Sulu Celebes Seas, it was announced that a scale of about 15 billion yen will be provided over 2 years. Japan would like to continue to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region that Japan advocates for. Japan will continue to further strengthen cooperation with the Philippines for International Public Goods [iPG's] that make for security and prosperity for both countries.

 

 

...

【日フィリピン関係】すでに実施中のフィリピン沿岸警備隊に対する巡視船や高速艇の供与に加え、新たに沿岸監視レーダーの施設を決定した。フィリピン南部とスールー・セレベス海の治安改善のため、年間で約150億円規模の支援を発表した。我が国が提唱する自由で開かれたインド太平洋戦略を推進していきたい。いずれの国にも安全と繁栄をもたらす国際公共財とするため、フィリピンとの協力を一層強化していく。

https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXMZO23483800U7A111C1000000/

 

 

JS Oonami makes a visit to Manila making it the 3rd occasion that the Philippines has been visited by Japanese destroyers this year, other times were Jan and June.

OonamiPH.jpg

https://www.update.ph/2017/11/photos-japanese-destroyer-welcomed-by-philippine-navy/22989

An anti-submarine destroyer from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Navy is in the Philippines for a two-day goodwill visit, demonstrating a strengthening of military relations between the country and Japan.

 

Capt. Lued Lincuna, Philippine Navy spokesman, said aside from the goodwill visit to the Philippines, the JS Onami will also replenish its supply after coming from a mission in the Asean International Fleet Review. Asean is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

 

The Japanese destroyer arrived on Sunday and docked at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila. Its visit will end Tuesday.

 

In January, the JS Inazuma and JS Suzutsuki arrived in Subic Bay, Zambales for a six-day goodwill visit. On June 4, the Japanese helicopter carrier the JS Izumo and the guided missile destroyer JS Sazanami arrived also in Subic Bay for a four-day goodwill visit.

 

[Philippine Navy] representatives accorded the visiting navy a welcome ceremony upon arrival followed by a port briefing related to health and security aboard JS Onami, Lincuna said.

http://www.manilatimes.net/japanese-warship-manila-goodwill-visit/365347/

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India and Singapore sign a naval pact for expanding maritime cooperation.

 

 

 

NEW DELHI: India and Singapore on Wednesday inked a naval pact to majorly crank up their maritime security cooperation with access to each other's bases, while reiterating the need expansionist behavior in the Asia Pacific region.

The naval cooperation agreement to bolster maritime security, joint exercises, "temporary deployments from each other's naval facilities" and mutual logistics support was inked after the delegation-level talks between defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Singapore counterpart Dr Ng Eng Hen here in the morning.

Easy access to the Singapore port, with refueling and berthing facilities, will serve to enhance the operational reach of Indian warships and aircraft east of the Malacca Strait, which is a critical choke point for China's ever-expanding energy supplies. It fits into India's overall "Act East" policy to deepen military ties with ASEAN countries like Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia as a counter to China.

India, in turn, will provide naval practice and logistics facilities to Singapore, which will include live firing drills in the Andaman Sea, to add to similar services already being provided to the army and air force of the city-state for the last 10 years, as was reported by TOI+ on Tuesday.

Appreciating India's "leading role" in the Indian Ocean Region, Dr Ng said Singapore would "encourage" more Indian warships to come its shores, help in further securing the sea lanes of communication towards the Andaman Sea and the Strait of Malacca, expand and institutionalize maritime exercises with like-minded regional and ASEAN partners.

"We want to see more participation, cooperation and activity in both the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Sea," said Dr Ng, adding that it was crucial to join forces against terrorism, chemical, biological and radiological threats.

Sitharaman, in turn, said the two countries had decided to expand overall defence ties and were "strongly committed" to boosting cooperation in tackling transnational security threats, especially terrorism.

Sitharaman, in turn, said the two countries had decided to expand overall defence ties and were "strongly committed" to boosting cooperation in tackling transnational security threats, especially terrorism.

The two countries also decided to renew the bilateral army pact, under which facilities are provided to Singapore for exercises of mechanized forces at Babina and artillery at Deolali ranges, when it ends next year. The bilateral air force one, under which F-16 fighters from Singapore regularly exercise at the Kalaikunda airbase in West Bengal, was renewed for another five years in January this year.

Singapore's proposal to expand the "Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea" to all ADMM-Plus (ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus) countries as well as to establish guidelines for air encounters between military aircraft in order to reduce the risk of miscalculations also figured in the discussions.

On regional security, the two countries reiterated the importance of maintaining maritime freedom of navigation in international waters, right of passage and overflight, unimpeded commerce and access to resources in accordance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/eye-on-china-india-and-singapore-ink-naval-pact/articleshow/61852056.cms

 

 

JS Oonami with BRP Miguel Malvar on November 28th in Philippine territorial waters.

OonamiMiguelMalvar.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/JMSDF.PAO.fp/photos/pcb.1643767212351657/1643766685685043/?type=3

http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/formal/info/news/201711/20171129-01.pdf

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India, Japan, and Australia will have a trilateral meeting, the fourth of its kind starting in 2015, next month on the theme of an "open and free" Indo-Pacific.

 

 

 

NEW DELHI: India, Japan and Australia, close on the heels of the Quadrilateral meet, are expected to hold the fourth edition of their trilateral meet at the foreign secretary-level in New Delhi on December 12 to maintain the momentum of partnership between like-minded countries to ensure an “open and free” Indo-Pacific stance amid China’s expansionist agenda in the region.

The three countries, during the last three editions of the trilateral meet, have been focussing on developing joint initiatives and concretising joint maritime projects, including security, naval cooperation and disaster relief operations, according to persons familiar with the matter.

The trilateral is expected to review the prevailing situation in the region, including challenges from seaborne terror, dangers of nuclear proliferation, the North Korea issue and maritime territorial disputes in the Indo-Pacific region.

Interestingly, the trilateral is being held exactly a month after the Quadrilateral meet in Manila where India, the US, Japan and Australia decided to uphold the rule of law and commit to a free and open Indo-Pacific region — an exercise viewed as a hedging bet vis-à-vis Chinese ambitions.

According to Ministry of External Affairs, the four countries agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world.

The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity. Experts point out that the Quadrilateral hopes to make China’s approach in the Indo-Pacific region inclusive instead of exclusive in an increasingly inter-connected region.

India, Japan and Australia held their maiden trilateral in Delhi in 2015, which was followed by a second round in Japan, and the last round was in Canberra (April 2017). This trilateral is being preceded by the Russia, India, China ministerial-level trilateral here on December 11.

India and Australia are expected to hold their maiden ‘two-plus-two’ dialogue (Foreign & Defence Secretary) to expand their strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific region.

Japan and India are part of another trilateral, involving the US.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/australia-japan-and-india-trilateral-in-delhi-on-december-12/articleshow/61840323.cms

 

Australia's foreign policy white paper published a week or 2 ago:

https://www.fpwhitepaper.gov.au/foreign-policy-white-paper

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Two B-1B bombers arrived at Amberley Base in Australia for joint-training with RAAF.

B-1BAmberley.jpg

Two United States Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers have arrived at Amberley for exercises with the RAAF.

The jets, from the 37th Expeditionary Bomber Squadron based at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, touched down at Amberley on Monday, and are participating in the RAAF’s Exercise Lightning Focus.

Lightning Focus concludes on December 2 and is providing air-to-air training for pilots, weapons system officers and air battle managers.

The USAF’s participation in the exercise is part of the United States Force Posture Initiatives Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) program. The same initiative saw 12 F-22 Raptors deploy to Australia earlier this year.

http://australianaviation.com.au/2017/11/usaf-b-1bs-touch-down-at-amberley/

 

 

Two F-2s from Tsuiki, two F-15Js from Naha, two F/A-18s from Iwakuni, and two F-35As from Kadena conducted joint-training on December 4th in the waters around Okinawa and over the Sea of Japan.

4by4usjpn.jpg

 

f15jf35a.jpg

http://www.mod.go.jp/asdf/news/houdou/H29/291204_4.pdf

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Yama Sakura 73 - US Military and JGSDF Joint Army Command Post Exercise.

37990966385_a78fd513f6_b.jpg

CAMP SENDAI, Japan (Dec. 5, 2017) - Army Lt. Gen. Gary J. Volesky, commander, Army I Corps, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and Lt. Gen. Tetsur Yamanoue, commanding general of the Northeastern Army, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), salute their troops during the opening ceremony of Yama Sakura. Yama Sakura is an annual bilateral command post exercise involving the U.S. Military and the JGSDF. the purpose of the exercise is to enhance U.S. and Japanese combat readiness and interoperability while strengthening bilateral relationships and demonstrating U.S. resolve to support the security interests of allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. During the exercise, U.S. military members and JGSDF members exchange ideas, tactics, techniques, military experiences, and culture. (U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Matthew R. Cole) 171205-A-ZZ999-694

https://www.flickr.com/photos/us-pacific-command/37990966385/in/photostream/

The opening ceremony for the US Military and JGSDF joint army command post exercise "Yama Sakura" was held on December 5th at JGSDF Camp Sendai (Miyago Prefecture, Sendai City).

 

Without imagine any specific enemy country, the aim was to maintain and enhance joint abilities and countermeasures via computers towards various kinds of attacks such as land invasion, ballistic missiles, and cyber.

 

At the opening ceremony, JGSDF North Eastern superintendent-general, General Tetsuro Yamanoue instructed with the North Korea problem in mind "Yama Sakura happening at this time is the perfect chance to show that the US and Japan are 100% together."

 

The exercise goes until December 13th. On the Japanese side is about 5,000 personnel centered on the JGSDF North Eastern Army and from the US side, about 1,600 personnel from the US Army and others are participating.

 

Yama Sakura started in 1982 with this time's exercise being the 73rd time.

 

陸上自衛隊と米軍による日米共同方面隊指揮所演習「ヤマサクラ」の開始式が5日、陸自仙台駐屯地(宮城県仙台市)で行われた。

 

 具体的な敵国は想定せず、着上陸侵攻や弾道ミサイル、サイバーなど複合的な攻撃への共同対処にコンピューター上で取り組み、能力の維持向上を図る。

 

 開始式で陸自東北方面総監の山之上哲郎陸将は北朝鮮問題を念頭に「この時期に行うヤマサクラは日米が100%共にあることを示す絶好の機会だ」と訓示した。

 

 演習は13日まで。日本側は陸自東北方面隊を中心とした約5千人、米側は陸軍などの約1600人が参加する。

 

ヤマサクラは昭和57年に始まり、今回で73回目。

 

http://www.sankei.com/politics/news/171206/plt1712060015-n1.html

 

Below is a no sound video of a joint army command post exercise in 2015 that also went up to December 13th in that year. Probably an earlier Yama Sakura.

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Russian Pacific Fleet receives T-80BV tanks

Russian military Pacific Fleet marines have received new T-80BV tanks as part of Russia's Rearmament Plan of the Pacific Fleet Costal Troops programme, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced on 6 December.

 

The tanks were received in the Kamchatka region, where personnel have already undergone training on the vehicles. Live-fire exercises for the new vehicles are currently underway at the Radygino training ground.

 

The tanks have been upgraded wth new Relikt reactive armour protection in place of the obsolete Kontakt-1. The engine compartment and the rear of the turret have been improved with slat armour protection. The tank is equipped with the new Sosna-U sight.

 

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Russian Pacific Fleet receives T-80BV tanks

 

Russian military Pacific Fleet marines have received new T-80BV tanks as part of Russia's Rearmament Plan of the Pacific Fleet Costal Troops programme, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced on 6 December.

 

The tanks were received in the Kamchatka region, where personnel have already undergone training on the vehicles. Live-fire exercises for the new vehicles are currently underway at the Radygino training ground.

 

The tanks have been upgraded wth new Relikt reactive armour protection in place of the obsolete Kontakt-1. The engine compartment and the rear of the turret have been improved with slat armour protection. The tank is equipped with the new Sosna-U sight.

 

It's an interesting development. I think there is some difficulty in posting updates on Russian activities in the Far East and Pacific region. Some update posts went into the "China's Peaceful Rise" thread and some have went into the "Cold War, the reimagined series". And now one here :)

 

So there is some disorganization about this. I think the Cold War thread is most appropriate but China's rise is OK now given the creation of new Chinese military equipment related threads to keep things better organized. So then the China's rise thread can morph into a China and Russia activity thread. But might be nice to give it a new title by making a new thread. But regardless of that, I really would like to keep this thread clean with only joint activities within the US-led group :)

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On December 12th aircraft from the USAF, USMC, and JASDF conducted formation flight joint training in airspace around Okinawa.

From the US - four F-35As and one KC-135 from Kadena, two B-1Bs from Guam, and four F/A-18s from Iwakuni.

From Japan - four F-15Js and one E-2C from Naha.

gettingbiggerusjpnair.jpg

http://www.mod.go.jp/asdf/news/houdou/H29/291212_2.pdf

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Jason thanks for your good posts on an area of the world I don't pay much attention too. IMO, I believe China wants a large military for prestige. It cannot win a physical invasion and especially physically occupy any of its neighboring countries except at great cost. From my limited knowledge, China is not scoring points on the diplomatic front and is causing some countries around China to increase their military budgets. That leaves economic leverage, which for now China seems to be good at. What the future holds though,...?

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Jason thanks for your good posts on an area of the world I don't pay much attention too. IMO, I believe China wants a large military for prestige. It cannot win a physical invasion and especially physically occupy any of its neighboring countries except at great cost. From my limited knowledge, China is not scoring points on the diplomatic front and is causing some countries around China to increase their military budgets. That leaves economic leverage, which for now China seems to be good at. What the future holds though,...?

 

I think prestige is a factor but I think there is more to China's growing military capacity. They have not reached their full potential yet. They are playing the long term game. They will use military force to intimidate surrounding countries to bend towards China's strategic interest of expanding a China dominated sphere beyond the Chinese mainland coast. I think that because of the construction of the very large military bases in the South China Sea, which one of the very large baes is within the EEZ of the Philippines, thus not only expanding military presence far beyond China's mainland coastline but also grossly violating UNCLOS. I think that because of Chinese coast guard ships going as far as Malaysia waters to do patrols. I think that because of Duterte leading the Philippines to strike a compromise position in foreign relations and economics between the US and Japan on one side and China on the other side in order to placate China so that China doesn't begin island land reclamation at Scarborough shoal. I think that because of China's never ending threats towards Taiwan when China really has no legitimate claim on Taiwan if taking honest history and common sense into account, threats that include a BM attack of 1,000 missiles, a developing amphibious capabilities with actual assault on Taiwan in mind, and having constructed mock buildings including the Taiwanese capital building and conducting training on its capture in the mock city. I think that because of illegitimate claim that China puts on Japan's Senkaku islands and how they send Coast Guard ships to sail within the territorial waters of those islands at a rate of about 33 times a year. And I think that because of the increasing number of times Chinese military aircraft fly through the Japanese islands around Okinawa on training and such and passing around and encircling Taiwan. These flight missions have grown in frequency and degree of sophistication. I could back up all these points with pictures and and such but that would take me a long time but they all have been posted among several threads. But thanks for your giving thanks again.

 

I'll put up one that shows the number of times Japan has scrambled fighters in response to approaching Chinese aircraft. Last year, Japan scrambled fighters more than it has ever done, including any time during the cold war, roughly three times a day on average. Because of the rapid raise in the number of times that call for a scramble, Japan in early 2016 doubled the number of 15Js stationed in Naha, Okinawa in order to keep up, going from 20 aircraft to 40 aircraft. If Japan did not respond to such an increase of Chinese aircraft flying nearby, the danger would be a slow and passive transition and a new norm of acceptance the that airspace belongs to China's area of influence and consequentially, from the basis of that new norm, diplomatic negotiations and business activities would slowly realign to the new norm, effectively conceding areas to the influence of China. If there is a moral argument to let that happen, I haven't heard one yet. Outright appeasement is what it would be. So if China wants to compete to try and transition areas of influence to themselves, I see nothing wrong in competing to prevent that and an glad that Japan is stepping up rather then kow-towing. But it is more than just about provoking Japan to scramble, it is about developing a Chinese military presence. If the force level of that Chinese presence continues to raise, then it'll challenge the strength of the US and Japanese presence based in Okinawa. If the balance of power around Okinawa tips to China, it can cause a change in the strategic situation for many things. Not only to Okinawa, but also the ability for the US and Japan to help defend Taiwan or US capacity in maintaining a relevant force connected to ROK. Or at least I think so.

 

Anyway to the data, the number of scrambles for each year. So in 2016, Japan scrambled fighters over 1100 times, easily beating the previous record in 1984. I edited in the years.

scramblestotalperyear.jpg

 

 

Here is the break down as to whose aircraft the scrambles were in response to. Translations are mine. Very high number of Russia related scrambles in 2014. That was in response to Japan's support for the sanctions over the Ukraine, so Russia jacked up flights coming near Japanese airspace as a response. Still out done by the Chinese in 2016 though.

sramblebreakdown.jpg

 

Here is a map image showing the paths of the various flights that caused a scramble in 2016. I edited in the names of Senkaku and Okinawa and their location on the map. Red paths are China's and orange paths are Russia's.

scramblemap.jpg

 

 

Here is the document about the srambles where these images are coming from.

http://www.mod.go.jp/js/Press/press2017/press_pdf/p20170413_01.pdf

 

Here is a JASDF video with a part on the scrambles starting at 4:51, well the first part near the beginning of the video is about radars and detection that enable scrambles. It was made in June 2016, but in some ways already kind of old considering the even greater increase of scrambles by the end of 2016 (scrmable report is in fiscal years as in April-Mar)

 

 

Here are more reports on individual Chinese military flight formations that not just come near Japanese airspace and provoking a scramble but pass through the Okinawan islands and enter the wider Pacific Ocean.

Dec 12th http://www.mod.go.jp/js/Press/press2017/press_pdf/p20171211_01.pdf

Dec 9th http://www.mod.go.jp/js/Press/press2017/press_pdf/p20171209_01.pdf

Dec 7th http://www.mod.go.jp/js/Press/press2017/press_pdf/p20171207_02.pdf

Nov 23rd http://www.mod.go.jp/js/Press/press2017/press_pdf/p20171123_01.pdf

Nov 19th http://www.mod.go.jp/js/Press/press2017/press_pdf/p20171119_01.pdf

Nov 18th http://www.mod.go.jp/js/Press/press2017/press_pdf/p20171118_01.pdf

 

It would also be worth noting that Japan is developing defense on other islands near Okinawa to strengthen the overall area and to better safe guard the Senkaku islands.

http://www.tank-net.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=40923&page=7&do=findComment&comment=1234065

http://www.tank-net.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=40923&page=7&do=findComment&comment=1234592

Edited by JasonJ
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Russian Pacific Fleet receives T-80BV tanks

 

Russian military Pacific Fleet marines have received new T-80BV tanks as part of Russia's Rearmament Plan of the Pacific Fleet Costal Troops programme, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced on 6 December.

 

The tanks were received in the Kamchatka region, where personnel have already undergone training on the vehicles. Live-fire exercises for the new vehicles are currently underway at the Radygino training ground.

 

The tanks have been upgraded wth new Relikt reactive armour protection in place of the obsolete Kontakt-1. The engine compartment and the rear of the turret have been improved with slat armour protection. The tank is equipped with the new Sosna-U sight.

It's an interesting development. I think there is some difficulty in posting updates on Russian activities in the Far East and Pacific region. Some update posts went into the "China's Peaceful Rise" thread and some have went into the "Cold War, the reimagined series". And now one here :)

 

So there is some disorganization about this. I think the Cold War thread is most appropriate but China's rise is OK now given the creation of new Chinese military equipment related threads to keep things better organized. So then the China's rise thread can morph into a China and Russia activity thread. But might be nice to give it a new title by making a new thread. But regardless of that, I really would like to keep this thread clean with only joint activities within the US-led group :)

 

 

I understand and I'll do as you ask.

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It appears to me that it is China does not have any allies such as the U.S. has in this area. Is this correct?

Pretty much. At various levels, there are a few countries that are more or less are geopolitically aligned with a China and thus generally geopolitically against the US. Most notable is Russia. Others are Pakistan, Cambodia, Laos, and maybe a few others like perhaps South Africa recently. North Korea has traditionally been one too, I would say still is, but it's just that right now, the US is applying lots of pressure on China to apply pressure DPRK.

 

Another batch of countries would be more or less balancing the US and China against each other such as Singapore, Malaysia, and recently, Thailand.

 

With that dynamic in mind, there's been a notable adjustment of a step away from the US and a step towards China within both the Philippines and ROK, but both those countries are still, basically put, in the US camp.

 

Some steps going closer to the US recently were in Vietnam and Taiwan.

 

Japan has it's own tugs that are not similar to what the US can draw in a few cases. While the US is still like much in the Philippines, Japan saw a major increase there. AFAIK, Japan does better as far as sentiment goes in Vietnam and Indonesia than the US as well, but of course, putting aside sentiment, the US offers things (raw power) that Japan can't. And Japan does poorly in ROK overall.

 

It's all quite fluid. Some changes could be just short term temporary adjustments for geopolitical maneuvering such as the recent small dip for the US and the some gains for China in the Philippines. Once the Philippines develops it's economy and gets nicer military kit, they'll be able to stand up against China better. But that is a future scenerio. Who knows, if the US and Japan don't play their cards well, China may actually make more sense to partner with.

Edited by JasonJ
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Disappointing, but not unexpected, to see that the vast majority of interceptions of Chinese aircraft are occurring over Senkaku, which Beijing and the Nationalist Chinese/Taiwanese claim jointly.

 

I would like to see the number of sorties definable as air defense intercepts by Beijing against Japanese and U.S. aircraft over the same area, for context.

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I saw those pictures a little while ago and were nice pictures to see and certainly don't mind seeing them again :)

MoD has one of those typical style reports for the training. It was carried out on December 1st in the western part of the Gulf of Aden and involved two JMSDF P-3Cs and one P-3C from the German Navy. The stated aim of the training was to improve the JMSDF tactical skills in countermeasures to piracy and to strengthen cooperation with and to deepen mutual understanding with the EU (German Navy).

http://www.mod.go.jp/js/Press/press2017/press_pdf/p20171204_01.pdf

 

A couple of more pictures.

jpnde01.jpg

 

jpnde02.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/jointstaffpa/photos/pcb.533455533686406/533455287019764/?type=3

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JMSDF and the Canadian Navy conducted joint training in anti-submarine warfare, etc., in the waters south of Honshu island on December 19th. From Canada was HMCS Chicoutimi, and noted as additional information, it's the same sub that came to visit Yokosuka on October 18th and trained with both the US and Japan, perhaps in this exercise. From the JMSDF were JS Izumo, JS Murasame, JS Ikazuchi, JS Hatakaze, and one P-1.

CanJPNsub01.jpg

 

CanJPNsub02.jpg

http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/formal/info/news/201712/20171220-01.pdf

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Japan to buy Aegis Ashore missile defense systems

 

KUKUSAJWJVAQ5BFFJJ3XMPHPGE.jpg

The U.S. anti-missile station Aegis Ashore is pictured at the military base in Deveselu, Romania, on May 12, 2016. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP via Getty Images)

TOKYO — Japan’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved a plan to purchase a set of costly land-based U.S. missile combat systems to increase the country’s defense capabilities amid escalating threats from North Korea.

The approval will allow the Defense Ministry to buy two Aegis Ashore systems to add to Japan’s current two-step missile defense consisting of Patriot batteries and Aegis-equipped destroyers.

“North Korea’s nuclear and missile development has become a greater and more imminent threat for Japan’s national security, and we need to drastically improve our ballistic missile defense capability to protect Japan continuously and sustainably,” a statement issued by the Cabinet said.

The deployment will add to growing defense costs in Japan as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government pushes to allow the military a greater international role and boost its missile combat capability.

Defense officials say two Aegis Ashore units can cover Japan entirely by using advanced missile interceptors such as the SM-3 Block IIA, which was jointly developed by Japan and the U.S. and would cost about 200 billion yen (U.S. $1.8 billion), though they have not released exact figures.

Officials say they hope the systems are ready for operation by 2023.

Officials refused to disclose cost details until a planned release of a 2018 budget, in which defense spending is expected to rise to a record.

Abe has said he fully backs U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy of keeping all options on the table, including possible military actions, against North Korea. Abe has vowed to bolster Japan’s security cooperation and increase the use of advanced U.S. missile defense equipment.

 

Defense officials declined to give details about potential sites for Aegis Ashore deployment, while Japanese reports cited Self-Defense Force bases in Akita, northern Japan, and Yamaguchi, in southwestern Japan.

Defense officials said they chose Aegis Ashore over an option of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, because of its cheaper cost and versatility. Typically, a THAAD setup comes with 48 missiles and nine mobile launch pads, priced about $1.1 billion, and Japan would need at least six of those to defend the country, officials said.

The deployment of THAAD in South Korea triggered protests from China, as Beijing considers it a security threat.

Aegis Ashore can be compatible with the ship-based Aegis systems that are on four Japanese destroyers and also could work with SM-6 interceptors capable of shooting down cruise missiles, defense officials said. Japan plans to add four more Aegis-equipped destroyers in the coming years.

The U.S. has installed the land-fixed Aegis in Romania and Poland, and Japan will be a third to host the system.

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A bit on BMD missile procurement in the 2018 defense budget requests from both the US and Japan, the US's is requesting about 1.6 billion USD for 34 SM3 Blk1B and 6 SM3 Blk2A along with some integration costs and BMD system development (page 4-2). Japan's is asking for about 570 million USD (about 65 billion yen) to procure both SM3 Blk1B and Blk2A although it doesn't say how many for each (page 13).

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