China's Liaoning sorties more than 100 aircraft near Japan, Taiwan

by Akhil Kadidal

A PLAN J-15 fighter aircraft takes off from China's Liaoning aircraft carrier in the East China Sea in May 2022. CAIG Z-18 ASW helicopters can also been seen on the deck of the carrier. (Japan Ministry of Defence)

The aircraft carrier Liaoning of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) navy flew more than 100 sorties in six days in a series of drills near Japan and Taiwan.

In a press conference on 11 May, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said that the drills involved flights by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation J-15 fighter jets of the PLA navy plus helicopters conducting anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations.

The drills, spanning a week from May 3 to 9, took place about 160 to 230 km southwest of Okidaito Island in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture and about 160 km south of Japan's Ishigaki Island. Drills south of Ishigaki Island took place about 335 km east of Taiwan.

“The activities of the Chinese military this time may be aimed at improving the carrier's operational capability and enhance its ability to carry out operations at more distant littoral and aerial ranges,” Kishi said.


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Indonesia begins contract negotiations for two Scorpene Evolved submarines

by Ridzwan Rahmat

An Indian Navy Scorpene submarine. Indonesia has begun negotiations to procure the Scorpene Evolved variant of the boat, which will be equipped with lithium ion batteries. (Naval Group)

Representatives from French shipbuilder Naval Group have arrived in Jakarta to begin contract negotiations for two lithium ion batteries-equipped Scorpene Evolved diesel-electric submarines (SSKs).

Separate sources have confirmed to Janes that negotiations for the possible contract began at the Indonesian Ministry of Defense's (MoD's) office on Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat on 26 February. A major point of the discussions included how the programme would be financed should a contract materialise.

As part of its offer, Naval Group has partnered with the French government's Directorate General of the Treasury to fully fund the programme via three sources of loans, Janes has been informed.

These include a credit facility with France's Banque publique d'investissement and a direct loan from the Directorate General of the Treasury, which would fund up to 85% of Naval Group's portion of the contract.


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German frigate successfully intercepts Houthi attack UAVs in Red Sea

by Kate Tringham & Alex Pape

Hessen is pictured departing Wilhelmshaven naval base on 8 February to join the EU's new maritime security mission to protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea. (Bundeswehr/Julia Kelm)

The German Navy's Type 124 Sachsen-class air-defence frigate FGS Hessen (F 221) successfully repelled two one-way attack unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the Red Sea launched by Yemen-based Ansar Allah (commonly known as the Houthis) militants on 27 February.

Briefing media at a German government press conference on 28 February, German Federal Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson Michael Stempfle confirmed that the UAVs were launched in two separate attacks on the evening of 27 February.

The first UAV was detected by Hessen at 2000 h local time and was successfully intercepted shortly after using the ship's onboard 76 mm gun. The second UAV was detected 20 minutes later and was successfully engaged using the ship's RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) short-range defence system, he said.

“They were detected by the radar system and were at different distances,” he said. “That's why there were two different weapons that were used.”


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Spanish Navy deploys counter-UAV system on Santa María-class frigate for the first time

by Neil Dee

The Santa María-class frigate Canarias with the now-removed Meroka CIWS above the hangar. The frigate has embarked a counter-UAV system for the first time. (Spanish Ministry of Defence)

The Spanish Navy has deployed a counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system on the Santa María-class frigate Canarias (F 86) for the first time ahead of the frigate's deployment to European Union Naval Force's (EU NAVFOR's) Operation ‘Atalanta' in the Indian Ocean.

Announcing the frigate's departure from Rota on 15 February the navy said that “in this deployment, and for the first time, the ship will operate specifically designed defence assets to counter the new unmanned air threats”. The addition of the counter-UAV system is likely a response to the increased threat profile in the region as a result of the attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah (commonly known as Houthis).


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The aircraft carrier Liaoning of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) navy flew more than 100 sort...

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