Update: 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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Russian Project 885M submarine Krasnoyarsk starts sea trials

by Tony Roper

Imagery of Severodvinsk harbour in the Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia, dated 24 June, shows the Project 885M Severodvinsk (Yasen)-class SSGN Krasnoyarsk (centre) being prepared to commence sea trials on 26 June. Krasnoyarsk is flanked by the Project 885M submarine Novosibirsk (right) and the Project 955A Dolgorukiy (Borey)-class SSBN Generalissimus Suvorov (left). (©CNES 2002, Distribution AIRBUSDS/SkyWatch Space Applications Inc/Tony Roper)

The Project 885M Severodvinsk (Yasen)-class nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine (SSGN) Krasnoyarsk (K 571) has departed Severodvinsk for its first set of sea trials in the White Sea.

Photographs on social media showing Krasnoyarsk leaving the harbour area confirms the submarine's departure on 26 June.

Krasnoyarsk is the fourth Project 885 (and the third 885M) submarine under construction at Sevmash Shipyard and is predicted to join the Pacific Fleet, joining the SSGN fleet comprised of mostly Project 949A Oscar II-class boats.

Krasnoyarsk had been captured on satellite imagery the week prior to heading out to sea being degaussed in the harbour area. Other imagery shows the submarine undergoing final preparations alongside another Project 885M – likely to be Novosibirsk


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Australia to assess potential defects of Guardian-class patrol boats

by Julian Kerr

Australia's DoD said it will assess potential defects of Guardian-class patrol vessels donated to Pacific Island countries. Ted Diro (pictured above) is the first of four vessels for Papua New Guinea. (Austal)

Australia's Department of Defence (DoD) and shipbuilder Austal are flying specialists to several Pacific Island countries to assess possible technical defects of Guardian-class patrol boats designed, built, and donated by Canberra, the DoD disclosed on 1 July.

The DoD said in a statement that the primary issue involved a potential fault in the vessels' exhaust systems. It said other issues that had emerged during the past 16 months included cracking in the coupling between the engine and the gearbox, and sickbay ventilation.

“Austal and [DoD] representatives will soon travel to Pacific Island nations to assess all vessels and work with Pacific Island countries on temporary rectification measures ahead of a longer-term solution,” the DoD statement said. Each country would make its own decision whether to operate its vessels or pause operations, it added.


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Lockheed Martin, US Navy seek to develop operational concepts for ship-board laser

by Michael Fabey

HELIOS is being installed on the guided-missile destroyer USS Preble . (Lockheed Martin)

As the US Navy (USN) and Lockheed Martin work through the installation of the company's High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS) on guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88), the service and the company are also working on integration and developing concepts of operations (CONOPS) for the new weapon system.

“What does integration mean,” Tyler Griffin, director of Lockheed Martin advanced product solutions strategy and business development, asked on 29 June during a roundtable update of the company's laser programmes.

“It's a question we are working on with the navy on how to efficiently train and develop CONOPS,” Griffin said.

The company and navy are working on how to optimise the new system, which is integrated with the Aegis Combat System, and works with other systems aboard the ship, he said. “That's the area we see us moving [towards] next.”

He spoke about where HELIOS could be developed, especially in the future. “The reason for those discussions is that this [HELIOS] is now the first [navy] tactically integrated laser weapon system,” he said.


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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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