U.S.-Singapore Hosts Largest Joint Military Exercise

Defense Update | December 20, 2017
Authors: Matt Solomon and Jack Myint
 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

U.S.-Singapore Hosts Largest Joint Military Exercise
On December 13, the United States and Singapore concluded the sixth iteration of a key integrated, live-firing exercise known as the XFS17. The exercise saw the largest participation of troops and assets used among a strong of regular exercises between the United States and Singapore – it hosted about 750 personnel involved from the Singapore Air Force (SAF) and the Singapore Army, the deployment of assets such as the F-15SG and F-16C/D multi-role fighter aircraft, AH-64D Apache and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). According to Singapore’s defense ministry, the XFS 17 is intended to enhance the ability of the Singapore Air force to repel air and land attacks through an integrated response mechanism that entails the following three steps approach: “1) “Out-Sense” – using sensors like UAVs, Strike ObserveRs Mission (STORM) teams, and Commando detachments, which support target acquisition for laser-guided precision munitions and multi-role fighter aircraft; 2) “Out-Smart”: using the information from SAF sensors on enemy targets that are transmitted back to the Command Post to maintain awareness of the battlefield and make quick and informed decisions; 3) “Out-Shoot”: employing a full range of assets and weapons to destroy enemy forces, such as tanks, multiple launch rocket systems, and missiles and bombs from fighter jets and helicopters.” The United States has long been a key partner of the Singaporean military, providing key technological and training support that ranges from air and maritime security to counterterrorism and humanitarian aid and disaster relief. The continued strengthening of military-to-military cooperation was a key talking point in Singapore Prime Minister’s engagement with U.S. President Donald Trump in October and remains a priority topic of discussion for when Trump visits Singapore next year when it claims chairmanship of ASEAN.

Philippines Extends Martial Law on Southern Mindanao
On December 13, the Philippines’ Congress voted 240-27 in support of extending martial law on the southern island of Mindanao. The move extends martial law until December 31, 2018, making it the longest period of martial law since the 1970s. Islamic State-affiliated fighters occupied Marawi City for five months this year, until fighting ceased in October, after more than 1,000 people were dead. President Duterte has warned that the fighters were regrouping, thus the need for an extension of martial law. In response to questions as to whether Duterte would declare nationwide martial law, he responded, “It depends on the enemies of the state.” 

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
ASEAN
ASEAN Army Ties in the Spotlight in Singapore
D&S 2017: Honeywell sees growth in upgrades in ASEAN market
Defence & Security 2017: Japan lays groundwork for defence sales in Southeast Asia
ASEAN Needs a United Front on Terrorism
ASEAN’s First Naval Exercise in Perspective

Brunei
Singapore, Brunei Conclude Military Exercise
US, Brunei Launch Maritime Exercise
US Navy to deploy T-EPF-3 vessel to Brunei for CARAT exercises

Cambodia
Joint Patrols Put Vietnam-Cambodia Military Ties in the Headlines
What’s With the New Philippines-Cambodia Military Pact?
Bangladesh PM seeks Cambodia’s support to resolve Rohingya crisis
What’s Behind the Russian Warship Visit to Cambodia?

Indonesia
What’s in the New Singapore-Indonesia Counterterrorism Exercise?
What Does Indonesia’s New Military Chief Nomination Mean?

Malaysia
Singapore, Malaysia Agree New Army Talks After Military Exercise
US, Malaysia Hold Military Exercise Tiger Strike 2017
Malaysia Grounds MiG-29s and Rethinks Future Fighter
Malaysia Seeking Light Combat Aircraft Options
Malaysia says army is ‘ready’ for signal on Jerusalem

Myanmar
New Military Exercise Highlights India-Myanmar Defense Relations
Myanmar military denies atrocities against Rohingya, replaces general
Russia delivers six Yak-130 combat trainers to Myanmar

Philippines
US-Philippines Coast Guard Cooperation in the Spotlight with Coast Watch Center Visit
PNP to thwart NPA attempts to expand terrorist activities
Singapore-Philippines Urban Warfare Training Kicks Off
NDF calls for more frequent attacks
AFP: Maute remnants regrouping in Lanao
What’s Next for the Philippines as Duterte Ends Communist Peace Talks?
Continuity Amid Uncertainty: Philippines-US Security Relations Under the Duterte-Trump Administrations
Philippines: Fresh Clashes in Marawi as Military Fights IS-Linked Stragglers
Duterte asks Congress to extend martial law for 1 more year
Philippines Military Modernization Gets Delayed Boost With Attack Aircraft Deal
PH Navy to get first missile system by Christmas
Japan officially donates 5 aircraft to Philippines
PH to monitor movements of China's new 'island-maker'
Philippines hunts for 'new Islamic State emir' in SE Asia

Singapore
Singapore’s Defence Tech Agency Develops Command and Control System
Singapore, Thailand to strengthen defense ties
Singapore, Thailand to step up maritime cooperation and counter-terrorism efforts
Littoral combat ship USS Coronado departs Singapore after 14-month deployment
Singapore-Thailand Defense Relations in the Spotlight With Ng Visit
Singapore’s defence ministry starts bug bounty programme
Biggest US-Singapore Forging Saber Military Exercise Now Underway
India, Singapore set to sign naval cooperation pact tomorrow
Singapore Launches Two New Warships

Thailand
PACAF, Thai Air Forces strengthen relationship
The Isoc solution
Isoc defends new internal security move
Thailand plans joint arms factory with China
Anti-coup elements in the crosshairs
Thales and Thailand’s DTI to jointly develop military technologies
Defence & Security 2017: BAE Systems positions Type 31 frigate for Thailand
Defence & Security 2017: Thailand unveils locally developed amphibious APC
Prawit orders five Thai-made amphibious carriers

Vietnam
International cooperation strengthened for East Sea peace, stability
Vietnam, China to conduct joint patrol in Tonkin Gulf
Vietnam concerned about DPRK’s missile test
​Malaysian royal naval vessels visit Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam, India look to strengthen defence relations
Hanoi, Washington underline open access to East Vietnam Sea; expect aircraft carrier visit  
Vietnam, Australia hold first defence policy dialogue
Beijing says it peacefully resolved a South China Sea dispute with Vietnam
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

ASEAN Army Ties in the Spotlight in Singapore The Diplomat 28th Nov 2017
In November, Singapore hosted this year’s iteration of a series of regular ASEAN meetings focused on promoting greater interactions and confidence-building between Southeast Asian armies. The events put ongoing developments within this service in the spotlight amid the wide range of transnational challenges that regional states continue to face. As I have noted before, Southeast Asian states have a variety of defense engagements between them within the ASEAN framework, including the annual gatherings of the chiefs of ASEAN police forces (ASEANAPOL), ASEAN chiefs of defense forces (ACDFIM), and the ASEAN navy chiefs (ANCM). The navy side has been in the spotlight in the ASEAN context this month, with a series of interactions held in Thailand including the holding of the first-ever ASEAN multilateral naval exercise (AMNEX) in addition to an International Fleet Review (IFR) and this year’s iteration of the regular ANCM (See: “ASEAN’s First Naval Exercise in Perspective”).

D&S 2017: Honeywell sees growth in upgrades in ASEAN market Shephard Media 14th Nov 2017
Honeywell sees increased investment in the ASEAN defence market across the board, said Ronald Lopez, Honeywell’s Asia-Pacific Defence senior director of sales and business development, at the Defence & Security 2017 expo in Bangkok from 6-9 November. Investment in replacing and upgrading ageing platforms and equipment is occurring, and Honeywell has an eye on potential and current upgrades of C-130 transport aircraft in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, and F-16 fighters in Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

Defence & Security 2017: Japan lays groundwork for defence sales in Southeast Asia Jane's 360 8th Nov 2017
Japan is laying the groundwork for defence and security sales across Southeast Asia through efforts to secure inter-government defence equipment and technology agreements with regional countries, a senior official from the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency (ATLA) told Jane’s on 8 November.

ASEAN Needs a United Front on Terrorism International Policy Digest 12th Nov 2017
In 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was created to develop strong economies, curb the rise of regional communist expansion, and encourage social progress. In this political context, nations put aside their differences to commit to principles of regional compromise, consensus, personal diplomacy, and solidarity; commonly referred to as the “ASEAN Way.” ASEAN’s political stability and commitment to free trade has made the bloc an economic powerhouse. However, ASEAN’s very strengths make it exceptionally vulnerable to security breaches. ASEAN is now conducting multiple defense forums which will play a key role in maintaining stability beyond its borders.

ASEAN’s First Naval Exercise in Perspective The Diplomat 9th Nov 2017
We are heading into a busy next few days for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with the usual set of meetings for the grouping coupled with a number of other engagements tied to the 50th anniversary of its founding hosted by the Philippines. On the defense side, one of the highlights in this regard will be the holding of the first-ever ASEAN multilateral naval exercise. As the grouping gears up for this, it is worth taking a closer look at the broader context for this engagement.

Brunei

Singapore, Brunei Conclude Military Exercise The Diplomat 13th Nov 2017
From November 10 to November 13, Singapore and Brunei concluded another iteration of their flagship naval exercise, Exercise Pelican. The interaction put the focus on the bilateral defense relationship between the two Southeast Asian states.

US, Brunei Launch Maritime Exercise The Diplomat 8th Nov 2017
This week, the United States and Brunei kicked off this year’s iteration of an annual maritime exercise at Muara Naval Base. The engagement reflects the continuing emphasis of both sides on developing their defense ties as well as a broader, ongoing U.S. effort to further expand its bilateral and multilateral exercises in the Asia-Pacific more generally, in spite of the challenges inherent in this process.

US Navy to deploy T-EPF-3 vessel to Brunei for CARAT exercises Borneo Bulletin Online 7th Nov 2017
THE US Navy will be deploying its USNS Millinocket (T-EPF-3) high-speed transporter vessel for the second time to Brunei as part of the upcoming Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) bilateral military exercises this year.

Cambodia

Joint Patrols Put Vietnam-Cambodia Military Ties in the Headlines The Diplomat 13th Dec 2017
Last week, representatives from the navies of both Vietnam and Cambodia met for another iteration of their ongoing meeting to discuss what both sides have designated as joint patrols. The interaction offered a glimpse into one manifestation of defense realm of the relationship as both sides commemorate their 50th anniversary this year. Vietnam-Cambodia ties are longstanding and Hanoi continues to factor prominently in Phnom Penh’s foreign relations today; one rhetorical manifestation of this being the continued references in official statements to Hanoi’s role in overthrowing the Khmer Rouge in 1979 which paved the way for  the current regime led by Prime Minister Hun Sen in 1979 (albeit with a more positive spin focused on saving Cambodia from the genocidal Pol Pot regime). Ties are maintained not only at the national level, but also between local authorities and groups in managing more sensitive areas of the relationship such as resolving outstanding border issues.

What’s With the New Philippines-Cambodia Military Pact? The Diplomat 8th Dec 2017
This week, the Philippine and Cambodian governments announced that they had concluded a new defense pact following the second iteration of a joint commission set up to advance bilateral cooperation. Though details are still quite sparse, the development nonetheless highlighted the ongoing collaboration between the two countries since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power last year. Though the historical ties between the Philippines and Cambodia stretch back centuries, the formal establishment of contemporary ties began in 1957 and continued despite the turbulence that the Vietnam War and the rise and fall of the Khmer Rouge generated. While agreements had been signed on various issues in the post-Cold War period, the countries more recently decided to set up a Joint Commission for Bilateral Consultations (JCBC), which would be a forum for both sides to review past agreements and undertake new areas of cooperation as well.

Bangladesh PM seeks Cambodia’s support to resolve Rohingya crisis Dhaka Tribune 4th Dec 2017
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought support from Cambodia for a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis as it threatens the peace and stability of this region. “As we continue our bilateral negotiations with Myanmar for Rohingyas’ safe return to their homeland, I requested Prime Minister Hun Sen for his support for a durable solution to the crisis,” she said. Sheikh Hasina was delivering her joint press statement with the Cambodian prime minister at the Peace Palace on Monday after the official talks between the two countries.

What’s Behind the Russian Warship Visit to Cambodia? The Diplomat 8th Nov 2017
On Tuesday, a squadron from Russia’s Pacific Fleet arrived in Cambodia for what officials termed an unofficial visit. The engagement brought into focus both the defense ties between the two countries as well as Moscow’s role in Southeast Asia more broadly. Russian ship visits around the region in general and in Cambodia in particular are nothing new. Russia and Cambodia have had diplomatic relations for decades. The defense side of ties had been slower to develop, relatively speaking. That said, there have been a number exchanges, dialogues, and visits, including ship visits. Indeed, in April last year, the Russian Pacific Fleet paid a four-day visit to Sihanoukville Autonomous Port at Preah Sihanouk province.

Indonesia

What’s in the New Singapore-Indonesia Counterterrorism Exercise? The Diplomat 8th Dec 2017
Last week, Singapore and Indonesia carried out a new exercise in counterterrorism, an area of growing concern for the two sides. The interaction highlighted the ongoing collaboration by the two countries in the defense realm in spite of the lingering challenges they continue to face in managing their broader relationship.

What Does Indonesia’s New Military Chief Nomination Mean? The Diplomat 6th Dec 2017
On Monday, the Indonesian government confirmed that Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had nominated the country’s air force chief, Hadi Tjahjanto, as its next military chief. The nomination confirms months of speculation about his likely ascension to the post in a move that holds significance within the context of the evolution of Indonesia’s military as well as the country’s politics. As I have noted before, Tjahjanto, who was just sworn in as air force chief earlier this year, had served previously as the Indonesian Defense Ministry’s inspector-general and, prior to that, he also served as military secretary, the National Search and Rescue Agency’s director for operations and training, spokesman for the Air Force, and the commander of an airport in Malang, East Java (See: “What Does Indonesia’s New Air Force Chief Pick Mean?”).

Malaysia

Singapore, Malaysia Agree New Army Talks After Military Exercise The Diplomat 25th Nov 2017
On November 25, the armies of Singapore and Malaysia carried out this year’s iteration of their flagship exercise. Apart from the usual components of the drills, this edition also saw the start of new army-to-army talks between the services in a boost for military cooperation. As I have noted before in these pages, though Malaysia and Singapore have had a rather prickly relationship in the past and problems do arise in ties from time to time, their militaries interact regularly through various bilateral exchanges and exercises as well as under multilateral arrangements, from Exercise Malapura to the Eyes-in-the-Sky combined air patrols to enhance maritime security in the Straits of Malacca.

US, Malaysia Hold Military Exercise Tiger Strike 2017 The Diplomat 22nd Nov 2017
Over the weekend, the United States and Malaysia kicked off another iteration of a key bilateral exercise focused on amphibious operations. The holding of the drills was yet another demonstration of continued cooperation on the defense side under the new U.S. administration led by President Donald Trump.

Malaysia Grounds MiG-29s and Rethinks Future Fighter Aviation International News 9th Nov 2017
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is no longer seeking a multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) and is evaluating light combat aircraft (LCA) instead. In another change of policy, the service has grounded its remaining airworthy MiG-29s instead of upgrading them, although the government has not made a final decision about their future. The RMAF is also now seeking four-to-six new maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).

Malaysia Seeking Light Combat Aircraft Options Defense World 8th Nov 2017
Malaysia is seeking lightweight multi-role fighter options to complement its fleet of twin-engine medium and heavyweight fighters, an air force official said. “The Royal Malaysian Air Force [RMAF] is looking at its capabilities for the next 15-years-or-so, and how best we can suit our requirements,” the official was quoted as saying by IHS Jane's, adding that the new Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) procurement programme is looking to have some air-to-air and a full air-to-ground capability.

Malaysia says army is ‘ready’ for signal on Jerusalem Channel NewsAsia 10th Dec 2017
The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) are always ready for the signal and directives from the top leadership and head of state on the issue of Jerusalem. Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the country should be prepared to face any eventuality. "As the Defence Minister, I am confident that we will carry out any order from the supreme commander of the Malaysian Armed Forces, Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V. "Armed Forces chief (General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor) and the MAF are definitely ready," Mr Hishammuddin, who is also UMNO vice-president, said when winding up the debate at the UMNO General Assembly 2017 on Saturday (Dec 9). Mr Hishammuddin said the United States’ plan to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel was a slap in the face for the entire Muslim world.

Myanmar

New Military Exercise Highlights India-Myanmar Defense Relations The Diplomat 23rd Nov 2017
This week, India and Myanmar kicked off a new military exercise between them that focuses on peacekeeping operations. The drills once again placed the spotlight on a budding defense relationship between the two neighboring states as part of their broader foreign policy objectives. As I have noted before in these pages, India and Myanmar have looked to strengthen their defense ties over the past few years. Seen from a broader perspective, this is part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Act East” policy – a more action-oriented variation on the “Look East” policy first formulated under then-premier Narasimha Rao in the 1990s, which seeks to strengthen relationships with Southeast Asia specifically and East Asia more generally (See: “Modi Unveils India’s Act East Policy to ASEAN in Myanmar”).

Myanmar military denies atrocities against Rohingya, replaces general Reuters 13th Nov 2017
Myanmar’s army released a report on Monday denying all allegations of rape and killings by security forces, having days earlier replaced the general in charge of the operation that drove more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh. No reason was given for Major General Maung Maung Soe being transferred from his post as the head of Western Command in Rakhine state, where Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, launched a sweeping counter-insurgency operation in August.

Russia delivers six Yak-130 combat trainers to Myanmar TASS 13th Nov 2017
Russia has delivered six Yakovlev Yak-130 combat training aircraft to Myanmar under the 2015 contract and expects to supply an additional batch in 2018, Deputy Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation Mikhail Petukhov told TASS on Wednesday. The defense official is heading the Russian delegation at the Defense & Security 2017 arms show in Bangkok.

Philippines

US-Philippines Coast Guard Cooperation in the Spotlight with Coast Watch Center Visit The Diplomat 12th Dec 2017
This week, a key coast guard facility in the Philippines was in the headlines due to the visit of a U.S. coast guard official. The interaction put the spotlight on a facility that continues to play an important role within wider U.S.-Philippine defense cooperation in the maritime security space as the two treaty allies continue to build out their ties under Presidents Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump.

PNP to thwart NPA attempts to expand terrorist activities BusinessMirror 10th Dec 2017
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is beefing up its internal security operations by intensifying its intelligence works against the New People’s Army (NPA), which has threatened to carry more attacks against the government after President Duterte declared it as a terrorist group, along with its political arm, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). PNP Spokesman Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos said last Sunday the intensified intelligence operations is part of the police’s proactive efforts in thwarting attempts by the rebels to expand their “terrorist activities” in the countryside. The President, through Presidential Proclamation 374, has declared the NPA and the CPP as terrorist organizations.

Singapore-Philippines Urban Warfare Training Kicks Off The Diplomat 5th Dec 2017
On Monday, Singapore announced that a new program to help build Philippine military expertise in urban warfare had officially kicked off. The launch of the initiative, first announced as part of the city-state’s assistance to Manila to combat the terror threat posed by the Islamic State and its affiliates, is yet another manifestation of ongoing indigenous efforts among Southeast Asian states to build regional capacity on this front.

NDF calls for more frequent attacks philstar.com 1st Dec 2017
Communist rebels warned yesterday of “more frequent and more intensified attacks” against the government once President Duterte formally tags the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist groups. The National Democratic Front (NDF), the umbrella organization representing the CPP-NPA in peace negotiations with the government, threatened to wage war if Duterte continues to ignore the peace efforts and officially classifies the rebels as terrorists. Duterte on Wednesday said he has ordered security forces to shoot communist rebels bearing firearms. He revealed an executive order is being prepared to declare the NPA as a terrorist group.

AFP: Maute remnants regrouping in Lanao Philippine Daily Inquirer 30th Nov 2017
The top aide of slain terror leader Omarkhayam Maute has reportedly been recruiting residents, especially young men, in Lanao del Sur province as the Maute terror group tries to rebuild its forces after its defeat following a five-month battle in this provincial capital, a military official said. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., deputy commander of the military’s Joint Task Force Ranao, said one Abu Dar was among the Maute group’s “second line” leaders who escaped the war and was now trying to reorganize the Islamic State (IS)-inspired group that laid siege to Marawi on May 23. “The [reported] recruitment efforts for training of new fighters of IS-Maute terrorist group were monitored in the towns of Piagapo, Lumbacaunayan and Sultan Domalondong,” said Brawner, noting that he received the information from locals. He said Abu Dar, who carried a P3-million bounty on his head, had been using images of Marawi’s devastation to win recruits.

What’s Next for the Philippines as Duterte Ends Communist Peace Talks? The Diplomat 25th Nov 2017
This week, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed a proclamation terminating the peace process with the communist-led National Democratic Front (NDF). Though it is still too early to determine exactly what this means for one of Asia’s longest insurgencies, the development bears careful watching in the context of the Duterte administration’s evolving governance of the Philippines. Though there have been previous pronouncements which have simply suspended peace talks, Duterte’s proclamation signed on November 23 is different because it formally closes the door for now to the resumption of negotiations. In that sense, it represents an end to the peace process for the first time since 1999, when former President Joseph Estrada issued a similar directive and launched an all-out war campaign against communist rebels belonging to the New People’s Army (NPA).

Continuity Amid Uncertainty: Philippines-US Security Relations Under the Duterte-Trump Administrations The Diplomat 14th Nov 2017
As President Rodrigo Duterte and President Donald Trump met for the 31st ASEAN Summit, the 5th ASEAN-U.S. Summit, and a Philippines-U.S. bilateral meeting in Manila, questions on the future of Philippines-U.S. security relations resurfaced within domestic and international policy circles. Indeed, the foreign policies of Duterte and Trump have raised some concerns regarding the stability of the Philippines-U.S. military alliance as well as the steadfastness of U.S. security commitments in East Asia. Amid an evolving regional security landscape characterized by China’s assertiveness, Japan’s strategic horizon expansion, North Korea’s nuclear provocations, as well as the resurgence of terrorism in Southeast Asia, the Duterte and Trump administrations have departed from the foreign policies of their predecessors by emphasizing the value of maximizing economic gains in foreign relations.P.

Philippines: Fresh Clashes in Marawi as Military Fights IS-Linked Stragglers BenarNews 2nd Nov 2017
Fresh fighting erupted Thursday between government forces and more than three dozen militant stragglers in the southern Philippine city of Marawi, officials said, 10 days after the Philippines declared an end to a five-month battle there with pro-Islamic State gunmen. Officials on Thursday played down the threat, saying enemy combatants no longer were capable of mounting a massive assault. The reports of new clashes came a day after officials announced the capture of Mohammad Ilham Syahputra, an Indonesian militant, after he allegedly swam a lake as he tried to flee the ruined city. Kuala Lumpur contributed to this story.

Duterte asks Congress to extend martial law for 1 more year PhilStar 11th Dec 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress to extend martial law for one more year citing the continuing threats of ISIS-inspired terrorists, local terrorist groups and the New People's Army. In a letter to Congress dated December 8, the president noted that the surviving members of the ISIS-inspired Maute group and their allies have been recruiting members in Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sulu and Basilan. The letter was shared to reporters on Monday, December 11.

Philippines Military Modernization Gets Delayed Boost With Attack Aircraft Deal The Diplomat 5th Dec 2017
Last week, Philippine officials confirmed that the defense department had finally awarded Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer a key, longstanding contract to supply its air force with new close air support aircraft. The development marks some much-needed progress by the Southeast Asian state in a key item for its air force modernization after repeated delays.

PH Navy to get first missile system by Christmas Manila Times 21st Nov 2017
THE Philippine Navy announced on Monday said it would mount its first missile system on three of its brand new multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) by Christmas time.Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado, the Philippine Navy chief, said there would be a pre-delivery inspection of the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.’s Spike ER (extended range) missile systems from Israel on the Philippine Navy’s MPACs. “A pre-delivery inspection is already scheduled. Then a [Philippine] Air Force plane will go to Israel to transport the missiles to the Philippines. All expenses paid by the proponent,” Mercado told reporters in a text message.He added that the tentative fitting of the missile system would be in December. The missile system is capable of penetrating 1,000 millimeters or 39 inches of rolled homogeneous armor and has a maximum range of five miles. Its missile weapons are on anti-ship mode, which means it can engage surface-level targets. It was purchased by the government for P270 million.

Japan officially donates 5 aircraft to Philippines Update Philippines 14th Nov 2017
Department of National Defense (DND) Undersecretary for Finance, Ammunitions, Installations and Materials Raymundo Elefante and Japan Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) Commissioner Yoshiyuki Suzuki signed the Amended Letter of Arrangement on the transfer of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force trainer aircraft TC-90s. The signing was witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their bilateral meeting on November 13 at the sidelines of ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

PH to monitor movements of China's new 'island-maker' Rappler 7th Nov 2017
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Philippines will monitor the movements of China's "magical island-maker," a massive dredging ship capable of building artificial islands similar to what Beijing has already built in the South China Sea. "We have reports that they launched their big dredger but we don't know where it is going. We are constantly monitoring the movement of this ship," Lorenzana said on Monday, November 6.

Philippines hunts for 'new Islamic State emir' in SE Asia Bangkok Post 6th Nov 2017
Philippine authorities were on the lookout on Monday for a Malaysian who could be the new leader of pro-Islamic State groups in Southeast Asia, security chiefs said, following the deaths of several high-profile regional extremists. The army terminated combat operations in southern Marawi two weeks ago after killing what it believed were the last remnants of a rebel alliance that held parts of the lakeside city for five months.

Singapore

Singapore’s Defence Tech Agency Develops Command and Control System Defense World 6th Dec 2017
Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) has developed a command and control (C2) system which integrates video feeds from the Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) into an augmented reality display. Acting as the nerve centre of the Command Post, the C2 system gives commanders an integrated battlefield picture, and enables the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to shorten the overall sensor-to-shooter cycle. Prior to incorporating this system, information and operations were largely conducted using disparate sources, a Singapore MoD release said Tuesday.

Singapore, Thailand to strengthen defense ties Inquirer 7th Nov 2017
Singapore and Thailand plan to strengthen defense cooperation and expand maritime cooperation and counter-terrorism efforts, Singapore’s Ministry of Defense (Mindef) said in a statement Monday. This came after Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen met Thai premier Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan. Dr Ng, who is on a three-day visit to Thailand, met General Prayut at the Government House in Bangkok on Monday.

Singapore, Thailand to step up maritime cooperation and counter-terrorism efforts Channel NewsAsia 6th Nov 2017
Singapore and Thailand has vowed to work together in areas of mutual interest such as maritime security, counter-terrorism and cybersecurity, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said in a news release on Monday (Nov 6). This comes during Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen's three-day working visit to Thailand, where he called on Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha on Monday afternoon.  "Both sides reiterated the close bilateral relationship, and how both countries could work together in areas of mutual interest, such as maritime security, counter-terrorism and cybersecurity," MINDEF said.

Littoral combat ship USS Coronado departs Singapore after 14-month deployment Stars and Stripes 6th Nov 2017
The Navy’s only overseas littoral combat ship is heading home after a 14-month rotational deployment to Southeast Asia. The San Diego-based USS Coronado departed Singapore Saturday after participating in 11 exercises and conducting 10 port visits in the region, a Navy statement said. The Coronado — the third LCS to conduct a rotational deployment to Southeast Asia — used Singapore’s Changi Naval Base as a maintenance and logistics hub.

Singapore-Thailand Defense Relations in the Spotlight With Ng Visit The Diplomat 6th Nov 2017
This week, Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen is in Thailand for a three-day working visit. Ng’s trip has put the Singapore-Thailand defense relationship in the spotlight from a bilateral as well as a broader regional perspective.

Singapore’s defence ministry starts bug bounty programme ComputerWeekly 13th Dec 2017
Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (Mindef) is getting white hat hackers to identify loopholes in its internet-facing IT systems in the country’s first government-led bug bounty programme to combat growing cyber threats. Some 300 selected white hat hackers from around the world will test such systems for vulnerabilities or bugs, and will receive bounties from S$150 (US$111) to around S$20,000, based on past programmes organised by HackerOne, the bug bounty facilitator that Mindef has engaged to run the programme.

Biggest US-Singapore Forging Saber Military Exercise Now Underway The Diplomat 7th Dec 2017
On November 28, the United States and Singapore began carrying out the sixth iteration of a key integrated, live-firing exercise. The drills, which will last until December 13, were an illustration of the longstanding defense ties between the two sides and the importance of these interactions for the strengthening of the city-state’s defense capabilities given its own space constraints at home.

India, Singapore set to sign naval cooperation pact tomorrow Outlook India 28th Nov 2017
ndia and Singapore are set to sign a key pact tomorrow to boost naval cooperation, even as the city-state's defence minister expressed reservation over the proposed quadrilateral coalition among India, the US, Japan and Australia for pursuing common interests in the Indo-Pacific region. India's Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Singaporen counterpart Ng Eng Hen will hold wide-ranging talks tomorrow after which both sides are likely to ink an agreement providing for logistic support and live firing exercises to Singapore Navy in the Andamans, officials said.

Singapore Launches Two New Warships The Diplomat 14th Nov 2017
On Tuesday, Singapore commissioned two more of its new locally built and designed warships. The vessels, which were unveiled at a high profile ceremony, represent another step in the country’s naval modernization, which has been in the spotlight as the Republic of Singapore Navy marks its fiftieth anniversary this year.

Thailand

PACAF, Thai Air Forces strengthen relationship Hickam News 1st Dec 2017
Commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy hosted the Commander in Chief of Royal Thai Air Forces Air Chief Marshal Johm Rungswag at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), Nov. 17 to discuss ways to further strengthen the alliance between the two air forces. The Kingdom of Thailand is the United States’ oldest treaty ally in Asia, with ties between the two nations dating more than 180 years. For the last 60 years, the two nations have also been committed to mutual defense cooperation by treaty. “Real partnerships between nations begin with real partnerships between people,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Our ability to come together to discuss challenges in candid conversation is grounded in the friendship and trust that has been established over time and is critical to ensuring stability and security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.”

The Isoc solution Bangkok Post 26th Nov 2017
Two weeks ago, the general prime minister warned "anti-coup elements" he was on to them. Last week, he told the media to stop annoying him. Two days later, he showed brand new fangs. When Gen Prayut and underlings announced with straight faces the huge threats to his government from foreign and domestic critics, the proper response seemed to be either derision or cynicism at a new excuse for delaying elections. Or both. Since May 22, 2014, lashing out at the media has been pretty much another way of saying "it must be Tuesday". Last week, the targets were those semi-subversives and smart-mouths at Voice TV.

Isoc defends new internal security move Bangkok Post 24th Nov 2017
The Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) on Thursday denied its decision to set up provincial internal security administration committees was politically motivated. Isoc spokesman Peerawach Saengthong said the move has nothing to do with the upcoming general election slated for next November, insisting it is part of a long-term security management plan to better handle domestic threats.

Thailand plans joint arms factory with China Reuters 16th Nov 2017
Thailand’s defense technology agency plans to set up a joint center with China to produce and maintain military equipment in the latest sign of the strengthening security relationship since a 2014 coup. The plans to establish the facility - and discussions on a Chinese naval center to serve submarines Thailand ordered this year - point to a growing Chinese security presence in the oldest U.S. ally in the region as elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The Thai government’s Defence Technology Institute (DTI) will set up Thailand’s first commercial joint defense facility with China in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen in July, a defense ministry spokesman said.

Anti-coup elements in the crosshairs Bangkok Post 16th Nov 2017
The government has been keeping a close eye on anti-coup elements as reports have emerged that several are planning to sow discord and instigate disturbances, it said Wednesday. The move comes ahead of a looming cabinet reshuffle. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has already submitted the reshuffle list for royal endorsement, according to reports. Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Deputy Defence Minister Udomdej Sitabutr said Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has ordered security agencies to closely monitor high-risk political elements.

Thales and Thailand’s DTI to jointly develop military technologies Jane's 360 6th Nov 2017
Thales and Thailand’s Defence Technology Institute (DTI), the research and development (R&D) agency of the Thai Ministry of Defence (MoD), signed an agreement on 6 November to collaborate on defence R&D. The memorandum of understanding (MOU), which was signed at the Defence & Security 2017 exhibition in Bangkok, is focused on joint R&D in areas including radars, air defence, digital communications, and command and control systems.

Defence & Security 2017: BAE Systems positions Type 31 frigate for Thailand Jane's 360 6th Nov 2017
BAE Systems is positioning its Type 31 multipurpose frigate to meet potential opportunities in the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) for additional surface combatants. A spokesperson for the company told Jane’s on 6 November at the Defence & Security 2017 show in Bangkok that, if selected to fulfil requirements, BAE Systems would offer to build the Type 31 frigate in partnership with local industry.

Defence & Security 2017: Thailand unveils locally developed amphibious APC Jane's 360 6th Nov 2017
Thailand’s Defence Technology Institute (DTI) has unveiled a prototype of a newly developed 8x8 Amphibious Armoured Personnel Carrier (AAPC) intended for the Royal Thai Marine Corps (RTMC). The DTI, a research and development (R&D) agency under the Thai Ministry of Defence (MOD), said on 6 November at the Defence & Security 2017 show in Bangkok that the AAPC prototype has been developed and produced in collaboration with local company Cho Thavee.

Prawit orders five Thai-made amphibious carriers Bangkok Post 6th Nov 2017
Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has ordered five 100-million-baht Thai-made amphibious armoured personnel carriers (AAPC) for use by the marine. Gen Prawit, who is also a deputy prime minister, presided over the opening of the Defense and Security 2017 fair at Impact Muang Thong Thani on Monday. The event was attended by Thai military chiefs and international military personnel.

Vietnam

International cooperation strengthened for East Sea peace, stability VOV 2nd Dec 2017
An international conference in Ho Chi Minh City has called for comprehensive, lasting, and sustainable solutions and trust building to turn the East Sea into an area of peace, stability, and development. VOV correspondent Huy Son reports on the outcomes of the 9th international conference on the East Sea. Themed "Cooperation for regional security and development," the 2-day conference concluded on November 29 in Ho Chi Minh City with candid, unbiased, and scientific principles.

Vietnam, China to conduct joint patrol in Tonkin Gulf VOV 1st Dec 2017
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy and the Vietnam People’s Navy will conduct a joint patrol in the Gulf of Tonkin in December, announced spokesperson of the National Defence Ministry of China Wu Qian. Speaking at the regular press conference of the National Defence Ministry of China on November 30, Wu said the two sides will launch communication and joint rescue drills during the patrol. The spokesperson also reiterated that China highly values military relations with Vietnam and is willing to maintain stability and order in the Gulf of Tonkin and the shared fishing waters, as well as develop healthy and stable bilateral military cooperation.

Vietnam concerned about DPRK’s missile test VOV 30th Nov 2017
Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang on November 30 responded to reporters’ questions regarding Vietnam’s reaction to Pyongyang’s missile test on November 29. Vietnam is deeply concerned about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s continued intercontinental ballistic missile test on November 29, which seriously violated relevant UN Security Council resolutions and increased tension in the region. The country strongly supports every effort to promote dialogue and maintain peace, stability on the Korean peninsula and calls on all involved parties to strictly abide by UN Security Council resolutions and take constructive actions to contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world as well as for public interest, Hang said.

​Malaysian royal naval vessels visit Ho Chi Minh City Tuoi Tre News 26th Nov 2017
Royal Malaysian Navy ships KD LEKIU and KL GAGAH SAMUDERA are in Ho Chi Minh City to join activities aimed at strengthening bilateral military cooperation. The Malaysian vessels arrived at Cat Lai Port in the southern hub on Saturday morning to commence the operational visit as part of an agreement reached by bilateral naval task forces. Representatives from Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of External Affairs, the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense, and local military commands were among members of the welcome team. After a welcome ceremony, the naval forces participated in activities that highlighted the history of both navies.

Vietnam, India look to strengthen defence relations VOV 15th Nov 2017
Director of the General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People’s Army Luong Cuong met Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy Admiral Sunil Dhanoa, and received Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa and Army Chief General Bipin Rawat in New Delhi, on November 14. Speaking at the meetings, Cuong affirmed that the Vietnamese Party, State, People’s Army and people always bear in mind the support of India for the country’s struggle for national liberation in the past and for its current nation building cause. He said the regular exchange of high-level army delegations has proved effective, suggesting the Indian Armed Forces’ units, especially the Navy, Air Force and Army, intensify cooperation with the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA), with the focus on personnel training, exchanges of young officers, and coordination in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Hanoi, Washington underline open access to East Vietnam Sea; expect aircraft carrier visit   Tuoi Tre News 13th Nov 2017
Hanoi and Washington have agreed over a free and open East Vietnam Sea for the international community, looking forward to a plan that a U.S. aircraft carrier will visit Vietnam for the first time next year. U.S. President Donald Trump paid a state visit to Vietnam on Saturday and Sunday. At the end of this visit, the two sides issued a joint statement, in which they emphasized the importance of free and open access to the East Vietnam Sea, as well as “freedom of navigation and over-flight” in the maritime area. China now claims most of the East Vietnam Sea without providing any legal ground.

Vietnam, Australia hold first defence policy dialogue VOV 3rd Nov 2017
Vietnam and Australia held the first national defence policy dialogue in the Australian capital city of Canberra on November 3. The dialogue was chaired by Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh and First Assistant Secretary of the Department of Defence of Australia Marc Ablong. Vinh underscored the significance of the dialogue which took place for the first time since the establishment of bilateral defence ties in 1998 and in the context of the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties. He affirmed that Vietnam highly treasures its defence ties with Australia. Over the past nearly two decades, the two countries have reached consensus on practical cooperative areas and created mutual trust.

Beijing says it peacefully resolved a South China Sea dispute with Vietnam CNBC 3rd Nov 2017
China and Vietnam have reached an agreement on managing their dispute in the South China Sea through friendly talks, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Friday, following an ugly spat over the summer between the two communist neighbors. The countries have long been at loggerheads over the strategic waterway, through which more than $3 trillion in cargo passes every year, with Vietnam having emerged as the most vocal opponent of China's claims to the majority of the regional sea.