27 May 2017

USA: Nimitz Strike Group ships set to depart Pacific Northwest on deployment

From USS Nimitz Public Affairs

In this file photo, ships of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group steam together during training in March. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Craig Z. Rodarte) >>

BREMERTON, Wash. USS Nimitz (CVN 68), USS Kidd (DDG 100), and USS Shoup (DDG 86) are scheduled to depart their homeports of Naval Station Kitsap-Bremerton and Naval Station Everett, respectively, June 1, for a regularly scheduled deployment.

Nimitz, the flagship of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11, Kidd and Shoup will make a brief stop at Naval Air Station North Island to meet up with the other ships and units of CSG 11.

Strike Group units have spent most of the past seven months underway preparing for deployment. Nimitz participated in a series of pre-deployment inspections and training evolutions, including Board of Inspection and Survey and a Composite Training Unit Exercise that certified them ready for deployment.

News Report: Newly Opened Bridge Provides Indian Troops Swift Access to Chinese Border

India-China Border in Arunachal Pradesh highlighted by the Box
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India's longest bridge, the 9.15-km-long Dhola Sadiya bridge over the Brahmaputra River in Assam State, on Thursday. The bridge will reduce travel time from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh by some six hours and by 165 kilometers in distance.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The bridge cost some $310 million to build and is made up of approximately 33,000 tons of steel. The aerial distance from the bridge to the Chinese border is less than 100 km. It is designed to facilitate the quick movement of troops and artillery from army bases in eastern India.

"This bridge enhances connectivity between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and opens the door for economic development on a big scale," Modi said at the opening. 

News Report: Chinese Fighter Jets Intercept US Navy Aircraft Over S China Sea - Reports

A US Navy P-3 Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft (File Photo)
Chinese fighter jets came within 100 feet of US anti-submarine and maritime surveillance P-3 Orion aircraft over the South China Sea, ABC News reported citing US officials on Friday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The incident involving the two nations' aircraft took place on Thursday, the media outlet said.

On Thursday, China's defense ministry accused Washington of militarizing the South China Sea region, following the sailing of an US Navy destroyer near the disputed Spratly Islands chain.

The USS Dewey sailed within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of Mischief Reef in the Spratly archipelago. Chinese frigates tracked the destroyer and issued a warning, urging the vessel to leave the area, according to media reports.

China and several US allies in the region — namely Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines — have competing claims to the maritime borders and responsibility areas in the South China and East China seas.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: Indian Experts Say Russian Defense Firms Have Advantage in Make in India Scheme

The Narendra Modi government’s decision to take the strategic partnership policy route with foreign companies to promote Make in India initiative in defense manufacturing will be to the advantage of Russian companies which already have solid ties in the sector, said experts.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Unveiling the policy, India’s Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, who also holds the finance portfolio, categorically said the policy is aimed at “encouraging Make in India in relation to defense manufacturing.” The policy will allow Indian private sector companies to form joint ventures with global defense firms.

“The capacity building of the private sector in defense manufacturing will begin now,” PTI quoted Jaitley as saying after the Cabinet meeting.

Experts agreed the new policy will be contrary to the government’s attempts to build a military-industrial complex to boost job creation and spur innovation.

News Report: US Destroyer in S China Sea Not the Last Episode in Washington-Beijing Standoff

China's Artificial Island built on Mischief Reef
(Click Image to Enlarge)
The USS Dewey, a United States Navy guided-missile destroyer conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea designed to challenge Beijing’s maritime claims, media reported Thursday, citing unnamed officials.

The ship sailed around Mischief Reef, in the Spratly Island chain. The reef was seized by China from the Philippines in 1995. In 1995, China launched large-scale construction works on the Mischief Reef, turning it from a water-covered coral island into an artificial islet.

Currently, the islet houses four large hangars for bombers, 24 small hangars for jet fighters, four anti-aircraft systems, two radars, a cement factory and piers.

The Mischief Reef is located less than 150 kilometers from Philippines-controlled Palawan Island and is part of the Philippine exclusive economic zone. However, Beijing claims that the reef is China’s territory with 12-mile territorial waters.

News Report: Taliban Assault on Afghan Military Base Kills 16 Soldiers

Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — The Taliban has attacked security outposts around a military base in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 16 government soldiers and wounding many others, officials said Friday.

The overnight attack in the Shah Wali Kot district in Kandahar province triggered intense clashes, killing at least 27 insurgents, police spokesman Zia Durani told VOA.

He also confirmed that at least four Afghan soldiers were taken hostage by the Taliban and retreating insurgents did not retrieve bodies of their fighters from the battlefield.

A spokesman for the Islamist insurgency took responsibility for the raid, claiming the fighting left 35 soldiers dead while another eight were captured. It was not possible to independently verify the insurgent toll.

Both sides are known for releasing inflated figures.

News Story: US plans first test of ICBM intercept, with North Korea on mind

By: Robert Burns

WASHINGTON — In reaction to North Korea's growing missile capabilities, the Pentagon will try to shoot down an intercontinental-range missile for the first time in a test next week. The goal is to more closely simulate a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile aimed at the U.S. homeland, officials said Friday 

The American interceptor has a spotty track record, succeeding in nine of 17 attempts since 1999. The most recent test, in June 2014, was a success, but that followed three straight failures. The system has evolved from the multibillion-dollar effort triggered by President Ronald Reagan's 1983 push for a "Star Wars" solution to ballistic missile threats during the Cold War — when the Soviet Union was the only major worry. 

North Korea is now the focus of U.S. efforts because its leader, Kim Jong Un, has vowed to field a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching American territory. He has yet to test an ICBM, but Pentagon officials believe he is speeding in that direction. 

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said this week that "left unchecked," Kim will eventually succeed. 

The Pentagon has a variety of missile defense systems, but the one designed with a potential North Korean ICBM in mind is perhaps the most technologically challenging. Critics say it also is the least reliable. 

The basic defensive idea is to fire a rocket into space upon warning of a hostile missile launch. The rocket releases a 5-foot-long device called a "kill vehicle" that uses internal guidance systems to steer into the path of the oncoming missile's warhead, destroying it by force of impact. Officially known as the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, the Pentagon likens it to hitting a bullet with a bullet. 

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Roadside bomb kills 10 civilians in W. Afghanistan - local media

KABUL, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Ten civilians were killed and six others wounded in an explosion in Afghanistan's western province of Herat on Friday, reported local media Tolo News.

The incident occurred when a moving vehicle ran over an Improvised Explosive Device in Adraskan District of the province, 640 km west of national capital of Kabul, according to the report.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: China willing to assist India in searching missing pilots

Indian Air Force Su-30MKI Flanker Fighter (File Photo)
BEIJING, May 26 (Xinhua) -- China is willing to provide assistance to India in searching for two missing Indian Air Force pilots, said a Foreign Ministry spokesman on Friday.

It is reported that the wreckage of the fighter jet that went missing on May 23 was found in the forest near the China-India border.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: China changes student enrollment policies for army

BEIJING, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will no longer recruit senior high school graduates and college students for reserve officers, the Ministry of National Defence (MOD) said Friday.

Instead, the PLA will select and recruit college graduates, with new policies to be put in place to support the change, according to the MOD.

The changes are scheduled to take effect this year, as most college students graduate in June and July.

Read the full story at Xinhua