Defense and Security Update: July 3, 2019

Defense and Security Update: July 3, 2019
Authors: Riley Smith, Jack Myint and Elizabeth Rickert
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

July 8-9: Cambodia Business Mission 

July 22: SME Workshop in Kuala Lumpur

July 24: Roundtable with Incoming Senior Commercial Officer, US Embassy Jakarta

July 26: ASEAN Presidents' Luncheon Series

August 14-16: Thailand Business Mission 

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam Receive Unarmed Surveillance Drones from United States  

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Pentagon announced in its list of contracts for May 31 (here) that the United States is selling 34 ScanEagle drones to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam for a total of US$47 million. Malaysia received 12 of the unarmed drones, Indonesia and the Philippines eight each, and Vietnam six. Officials from these countries announced that the drones will be used for surveillance of local waterways, including the disputed South China Sea.   

The sale of the drones, made possible through Foreign Military Sales funds, is intended to support the United States Maritime Security Initiative (MSI), which aims to build up the capacity of American partner nations in the South China Sea region, especially in areas such as Maritime Domain Awareness. MSI prioritizes five countries for assistance and training – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The drone sale includes spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools, training and technical services. It will be completed incrementally and is expected to be finished by March 2022. According to Defense News, the drone sale is the first time that the United States has transferred military equipment to Vietnam since the end of the U.S. arms embargo in 2016. On the other hand, the drones going to Manila follow the delivery of six unmanned aircraft in March 2018 that were part of the United States’ assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines in their efforts to drive Islamic State-linked fighters from the southern city of Marawi. 

Announcement of the sale came on the same day that the DOD released its Indo-Pacific Strategy Report (you can read more about the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report in the last Defense and Security Update here) alongside a speech by then-Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan at this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue. In his speech, then-Acting Secretary Shanahan commented that Washington would no longer tiptoe around Chinese behavior in Asia, and that he was concerned about “actors” destabilizing the region.  

Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines Expand Trilateral Cooperative Agreement to Include Ground Exercises 

At this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Indonesia’s Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu announced that Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines would hold a month-long joint land exercise in North Kalimantan in August as part of the Trilateral Cooperative Agreement (TCA). The three countries created the TCA in 2017 following a series of kidnappings of nationals by militant groups the previous year. Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines use TCA as an anti-terrorism organization, running maritime and air patrols, with a focus on the Sulu Sea. The countries have also set up of TCA operations hubs in each country.  Officials from all three TCA countries have said that they believe there has been a reduction in cross-border crime as the scope of TCA activities has gradually increased.  

While Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have cooperated in the maritime and air domains through TCA activities, the countries had not yet added a ground component to their activities, though they hinted at doing so over the course of last year. In comments on June 12, an Indonesian Ministry of Defense spokesman expanded on Ryacudu’s comments from the Shangri-La Dialogue, offering more details on what the ground exercise would entail. According to the spokesman, each country would deploy a company of troops and several observers, and that the troops participating in the drill would engage in training on shooting and close-range combat. The spokesman added that the purpose of the exercise is for each of the three countries to become familiar with the capabilities of their TCA partners. The ground exercise is also meant to boost joint collaboration in land border areas, with a particular focus on counter-terrorism operations.  

 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

Indonesia
Jokowi’s Global Maritime Fulcrum: 5 More Years?
At least 12,000 in Indonesian military 'back hard-line Islam'
Viking signs sales agreement for next generation CL-515 aerial firefighter
Russia sanctions putting strain on US relationship with Indonesia
Marine Exercise Highlights US-Indonesia Defense Cooperation
What’s Next for the Indonesia-Russia Fighter Jet Deal in 2019? 
Domestic submarine new milestone for Indonesia’s defense industry
What’s Next for the Indonesia-Philippines Boundary Pact?
RI--UK Partnership Forum asserts strategic partnership commitment
Susi to sink 30 more ships after Idul Fitri

Laos
Russian, Laotian servicemen to hold joint tank drills in December

Malaysia
Malaysia’s Defense Corruption Challenge in the Spotlight
What Should Be In Malaysia’s Coming White Paper On Defence
Mindef lodges report with MACC over purchase of helicopters
Malaysian Defense Ministry Plans to Add MPA, MALE UAV Capability Post-2020
Malaysia to resume maritime boundary negotiations with Singapore
All Eyes on Malaysia's Defense White Paper: A Blueprint For a New Era - With or Without Dr. Mahathir
Defence Ministry: US govt paid for drones

Myanmar
Myanmar denies staging joint Ops
Myanmar Military Officials’ Presence at Israeli Arms Expo Raises Eyebrows
Why Are Old Myanmar-Israel Military Links Under New Scrutiny?

Philippines
Security Consultations Put Russia-Philippines Military Ties into Focus
DND sets bidding for acquisition of more PH Navy vessels
What's in the First Israel-Philippines Counterterrorism Training Engagement?
Philippine Naval Modernization Under Duterte in the Spotlight with Anniversary Celebrations
Philippine Security Adviser Says Not Ruling Out Pressure From US Over Buying Russian Arms
Israeli defense team to train Philippines soldiers in counterterror
Elbit nears $180m Philippines drone deal
PHL joins Moscow security meet, boosts ties with Russia
PAF jets to be fitted with Sidewinder missiles
Duterte OK of defense deals with US ‘to hasten AFP upgrade’
Air Force to get missiles this year

Singapore
What’s in the New US-Singapore Artificial Intelligence Defense Partnership?
What can Singapore do to counter rogue drones and airport incursions?
King Abdullah of Jordan on two-day state visit to S'pore
NDP 2019 to feature new aircraft, F-15SG fighter jet displays and 2,600-strong parade
What’s in Singapore’s New Armored Fighting Vehicle?
Singapore Plans $296 Million for Next-Gen Army Training Facility
Singapore, France reaffirm commitment to strengthening bilateral defence cooperation
Hun Manet in Singapore to boost military ties

Thailand
Airbus and TAI extend aftersales helicopter support for military and governmental fleets
New Fighter Jet Deal Puts Thailand-South Korea Military Ties into Focus
Vietnam-Thailand Maritime Ties in the Headlines With Navy Commander Visit
Thailand Signs Up for Rolls T56 Engine Upgrade
Military courts set for overhaul
Govt pushes 'economic zones' for defence

Vietnam
Defense Dialogue Puts Vietnam-South Korea Military Ties into Focus
What’s Next for Germany-Vietnam Military Cooperation?
Vietnam, Japan Conduct Naval Exercise
Defense Dialogue Puts Vietnam-Singapore Security Ties into Focus
Vietnam has a new partner in its old rivalry with China – the US
Vietnam, Germany seek to expand defence ties
Cross-border service providers must comply with local law: Minister
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

What’s Behind the First Sulu Sea Trilateral Land Exercise? The Diplomat 24th Jun 2019
Last week, Indonesia’s defense minister said that Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines planned on holding a joint land patrol exercise next month. The development, which has been a long-mulled step within trilateral collaboration between the three countries which has taken shape in recent years, deserves emphasis as part of ongoing minilateral security collaboration in Southeast Asia.

2019 Shangri-La Dialogue: US-China Divide Lingers Amid Asia’s Anxiety The Diplomat 20th Jun 2019
As had been expected, the 2019 iteration of the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) that took place this weekend in Singapore was dominated by the subject of heightening U.S.-China competition, which has been a source of deep regional anxiety in the Asia-Pacific over the past few months. While SLD 2019 spotlighted some of the dynamics within the U.S.-China relationship, it unsurprisingly did not provide much in the way of reassurance about the future trajectory of the relationship and only reinforced the sense that competition between the two powers is likely to linger thereafter.

After 17 Years, China, Southeast Asia Aim to Sign Initial Deal for Disputed Sea within Months Voice of America 26th Jun 2019
China and a group of Southeast Asian countries, long at odds over control of the sea between them, aim to finish phase one of a maritime code of conduct within months after 17 years of trying to resolve Asia’s widest-reaching sovereignty dispute.

US State Dept Confirms Drone Package For Southeast Asian Nations Eurasia Review 13th Jun 2019
Washington is supplying four Southeast Asian countries with 34 aerial drones through security assistance funds from the U.S. government, State Department officials have confirmed. The United States is sending a U.S. $47.9 million package of ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicles to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, with officials in Manila and Kuala Lumpur saying the drones will be used for surveillance of local waterways, including the disputed South China Sea.

How US Allies Can Keep An Electronic Eye On China Breaking Defense 12th Jun 2019
As it seeks to contain a rising China, America’s great advantage is its larger network of Asian friends and allies. Not all of these nations have the combat power to deter Chinese aggression, let alone fight alongside the US in the nightmare scenario of war. But even our smaller allies can play a vital role as what President Kennedy called “watchmen on the walls of world freedom” by using radar, drones and long-range networks to monitor Chinese moves.

Indonesian, Malaysian and Philippine Troops to Train for Possible Regional Ground Force BenarNews 12th Jun 2019
After starting coordinated air and sea patrols in recent years, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines will launch joint ground exercises in August, in a counter-terrorism initiative that could see a regional force deployed in the southern Philippines one day, Indonesian officials said Wednesday. The Indomalphi 2019 exercise will take place on Tarakan island in Indonesia’s North Kalimantan province and include trainings on shooting techniques and close-range combat, Indonesian military spokesman Maj. Gen. Sisriadi told BenarNews.

Military spending is soaring in the Asia-Pacific region. Here’s why latimes.com 7th Jun 2019
The Asia-Pacific region is one of the fastest-growing markets for arms dealers. Economic growth, territorial disputes and long-sought military modernizations there propelled a 52% increase in defense spending over the last decade to $392 billion in 2018, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Brunei

UK-Brunei Security Ties in the Headlines With Jungle Warfare Symposium The Diplomat 1st Jul 2019
Last week, the 2019 iteration of a recently developed defense engagement focused on jungle warfare kicked off in Brunei. The interaction spotlighted a significant instance of ongoing collaboration between the Southeast Asian state and the United Kingdom with respect to Brunei’s role in wider regional security in the Asia-Pacific.

Defence strategy needs to be updated to reflect new threats: HM The Scoop 30th Jun 2019
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah on Sunday called on the country’s defence institutions to create a “more holistic defence strategy” to reflect new strategic challenges in the region. Speaking at the annual parade that marks the Royal Brunei Armed Forces’s (RBAF) 58th anniversary, the monarch said the new Defence White Paper — set for release in 2021 — should be drafted through a “whole of government approach” to address any gaps in military and security capacity. He added that the complexities of transnational crimes such as radicalism, marine and cybersecurity issues have become more difficult to tackle.

Defense Dialogue Highlights Singapore-Brunei Security Ties The Diplomat 1st Jul 2019
Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who also holds the defense minister portfolio, seen here in a past photo with other officials and personnel including Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen. The holding of the seventh iteration of the dialogue spotlighted the state of defense relations between the two Southeast Asian states.

Cambodia

Cambodian military officers visit Binh Phuoc province vietnamplus.vn 20th Jun 2019
Binh Phuoc (VNA) – More than 100 senior military officers of Cambodia visited Vietnam’s southern province of Binh Phuoc on June 20 to mark 42 years of “the path to overthrow the Pol Pot genocidal regime”.  The delegation, led by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Gen. Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh, was welcomed by deputy head of the General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People’s Army Lt. Gen. Tran Quang Phuong, Commander of Military Region 7 Lt. Gen. Vo Minh Luong, along with Binh Phuoc senior officials.

Thai Army assists with removal of Cambodian border mines The Thaiger 19th Jun 2019
The Royal Thai Army has helped its Cambodian counterparts clear landmines along the Sa Kaew border in Thailand’s east. Together they’ve cleared around 1.72 million square metres in the past financial year. Lt Gen Sitthipol Nimnual, director of the Thailand Mine Action Centre visited the border at Sa Kaew’s Ta Phraya district where the TMAC-Cambodian Mine Action Centre project has been carried out.

Cambodian army commander meets DPM Heng, Ng Eng Hen The Cambodia Daily 14th Jun 2019
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen met Lieutenant-General Hun Manet, commander of the Army of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces yesterday, the second day of his visit here.

Cambodian army chief in Singapore The Straits Times 12th Jun 2019
Lieutenant-General Hun Manet, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ deputy commander-in-chief and commander of army, met Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean (right) and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday.

Indonesia

Jokowi’s Global Maritime Fulcrum: 5 More Years? The Diplomat 24th Jun 2019
Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is set to assume office for another half-decade, giving a sigh of relief to patrons counting on the continuity of his policies... On the military side, the GMF concept has brought minimal changes to the Navy’s role within the Indonesian Military (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, TNI), an institution that has been dominated by the Army almost throughout its history. While the 2016 Defense White Paper did mention the GMF, there is very limited information on how and whether the TNI will put more focus on the Navy. Instead, the white paper elaborates at length on internal security issues as the main threats for the country. This narrative puts the emphasis on inter-group conflicts, radical ideologies and infiltration of foreign ideologies and cultures, which comfortably highlight the relevance of the Army as the dominant force once again.

At least 12,000 in Indonesian military 'back hard-line Islam' ucanews.com 24th Jun 2019
At least 12,000 members of Indonesia’s armed forces support radical Islamic ideology to some degree, according to the country’s defense minister. Revealing the results of a recent internal survey on June 19, defense minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said at least 3 percent, or 12,000 men admitted to being sympathetic to hard-line views on Islam. The Indonesian armed forces have more than 400,000 active servicemen within their ranks. Ryacudu said the results of the survey came as a shock and posed a serious threat to the country’s secular ideology of Pancasila. Pancasila, or five principles or five principles, is the belief in only the one God and upholding humanity, unity, democracy, and social justice or five principles, is the belief in only the one God and upholding humanity, unity, democracy, and social justice.

Viking signs sales agreement for next generation CL-515 aerial firefighter Skies Mag 18th Jun 2019
Longview Aviation Capital and its subsidiary Viking Air Limited announced a seven aircraft sales contract for six new-production CL-515 aircraft and one CL-415EAF.... The Republic of Indonesia’s Ministry of Defense has agreed to purchase six all-new CL-515 aircraft, four of which will be delivered in “first responder” multi-mission configuration, and two delivered in optimized aerial firefighter configuration.

Russia sanctions putting strain on US relationship with Indonesia The Strategist 17th Jun 2019
For months, the biggest subject of cable traffic back home from the Indonesian embassy in Washington was a US law placing sanctions on any country that breached comprehensive US sanctions on Russia. Then either late last year or early this year, Indonesia quietly backed away from plans to buy Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35, or ‘Flanker-E’, multi-role fighters. Views over whether the purchase has been abandoned, or simply delayed pending a better moment, vary depending on who one speaks to. But, for now, the threat of sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) seems to have had the desired effect.

Marine Exercise Highlights US-Indonesia Defense Cooperation The Diplomat 14th Jun 2019
This week, the United States and Indonesia concluded the latest iteration of ongoing exercises between their marine corps. While the interaction was just one among many between the two sides and follows similar engagements in previous years on this front as well, it nonetheless highlighted some of the ongoing activity within their defense relationship.

What’s Next for the Indonesia-Russia Fighter Jet Deal in 2019?  The Diplomat 14th Jun 2019
Earlier this month, Russian media quoted Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu as saying that the operationalization of a long-mulled deal involving Russian fighter jets would commence by the end of the year. The comments once again put the spotlight on the status of the agreement between the two countries as part of their ongoing defense collaboration amid lingering challenges and uncertainties.

Domestic submarine new milestone for Indonesia’s defense industry The Jakarta Post 10th Jun 2019
The recent completion and launch of the KRI Alugoro 405 submarine, the third to join the country’s naval fleet, has marked a milestone for Indonesia in its dream of empowering the country’s domestic defense industry amid demand for modernization of its primary weaponry defense system, locally known by the acronym alutsista. The brand new submarine, the first to be domestically assembled, was realized through a US$1.1 billion contract sealed in December 2011 between state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL and South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) as part of a technology transfer program.

What’s Next for the Indonesia-Philippines Boundary Pact? The Diplomat 10th Jun 2019
Over the weekend, the leaders of Indonesia and the Philippines both took stock of a historic maritime boundary agreement between them as part of a summit meeting. The move spotlighted the landmark 2014 pact between the two Southeast Asian states and ongoing efforts that they are trying to make further inroads on it within their wider bilateral ties.

RI--UK Partnership Forum asserts strategic partnership commitment Antara News 19th Jun 2019
The Republic of Indonesia (RI)-UK Partnership Forum avouched both nations' commitment to boosting bilateral relations in future, Foreign Minister Retno L. P. Marsudi stated at the Indonesia-UK Partnership Forum held in London, Monday (June 17). At the forum, Foreign Minister Marsudi and Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy deliberated along with British Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington and British Asia-Pacific Affairs Minister Mark Field...

Susi to sink 30 more ships after Idul Fitri The Jakarta Post 7th Jun 2019
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti plans to sink 30 foreign ships intercepted for illegally fishing in Indonesian waters. “In one month, maybe 30 [ships] will be [sunk],” Susi said as quoted by tempo.co on Thursday. Susi said the ships were now located in Pontianak in West Kalimantan, Natuna and Tarempa in Riau Islands and Bitung in North Sulawesi. A court has deemed the 30 ships as illegal.

Laos

Russian, Laotian servicemen to hold joint tank drills in December TASS 11th Jun 2019
The first Russian-Laotian military tank drills "Laros-2019" will be held in Laos in December, spokesman for the Russian Eastern Military District Alexander Gordeyev said on Tuesday. More than 2,000 Russian servicemen take part in joint drills in Abkhazia Gordeyev said that the militaries of the two countries held a conference on organizing and holding the military exercise.

Malaysia

Malaysia’s Defense Corruption Challenge in the Spotlight The Diplomat 20th Jun 2019
Last week, Malaysia’s defense ministry lodged a report with the country’s anti-graft agency over a previous non-delivery of helicopters. While the helicopter scandal is just one of several of such cases that the Southeast Asian state has exposed, it has once again put the spotlight on the future of Malaysia’s defense policy under the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, which took power following a shock election outcome last May.

What Should Be In Malaysia’s Coming White Paper On Defence Eurasia Review 19th Jun 2019
Malaysia’s first ever white paper on defence is scheduled to be presented to parliament later this year. Currently in preparation within the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the paper is being developed in consultation with civil servants, military personnel, think tanks, academics, industry representatives, and NGOs.

Mindef lodges report with MACC over purchase of helicopters The Star Online 13th Jun 2019
The Defence Ministry has lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the purchase of six helicopters worth more than RM300mil in 2015, which has yet to be received by the Malaysian Armed Forces to date.

Malaysian Defense Ministry Plans to Add MPA, MALE UAV Capability Post-2020 Defense Security Monitor 13th Jun 2019
Malaysia’s Defense Ministry plans to procure two maritime patrol aircraft (MPAs) and three medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) during the upcoming five-year government spending period referred to as the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK12).  This period will run from 2021 through 2025.

Malaysia to resume maritime boundary negotiations with Singapore New Straits Times 2nd Jul 2019
Malaysia and Singapore will resume negotiations on the maritime boundary in the area of Pulau Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca), Batuan Tengah (Middle Rocks) and Tubir Selatan (South Ledge), the Dewan Rakyat was told today. Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya said Malaysia will host the eighth meeting of the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Technical Committee (MSJTC) which is expected to take place in October. The two countries established the MSJTC to implement the 2008 judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the matter of sovereignty over Pulau Batu Puteh, Batuan Tengah and Tubir Selatan. “To date, seven MSJTC meetings have been held in the process of negotiating the maritime border demarcation in the area of Pulau Batu Puteh and Batuan Tengah.

All Eyes on Malaysia's Defense White Paper: A Blueprint For a New Era - With or Without Dr. Mahathir Malaysia Chronicle 18th Jun 2019
Over the past 40 years Malaysia has been able to solve most regional security issues through diplomacy. The country has also been able to maintain a balance between competing China and the US through a pseudo-non-alignment where it has cooperated with each superpower when its interests are best suited. Putra Jaya’s bilateral relations with its immediate neighbors have been relatively good as well over the past two decades. The ASEAN philosophy of non-interference has suited Malaysia well. However, this era of relative international peace has lured successive governments into a sense of complacency about defense matters, with rampant corruption and the Royal Malaysian Air Force in particular allowed to run down substantially.

Defence Ministry: US govt paid for drones The Star Online 7th Jun 2019
The Malaysian government is not incurring any cost in the acquisition of 12 surveillance drones worth almost RM80mil from the United States, says the Defence Ministry. The Ministry said the cost was borne by the United States as part of its Maritime Security Initiative (MSI) programme. The MSI programme provides assistance in terms of capability (assets) and capacity (training) to countries including Malaysia to help increase the Maritime Domain Awareness in South-East Asia. "The programme is funded entirely by the US and the Malaysian government is not incurring any cost.

Myanmar

Myanmar denies staging joint Ops NagalandPost 20th Jun 2019
The Myanmar military or Tatmadaw has denied reports by Indian news agencies that the armed forces of the two countries have been conducting joint military operations against rebel groups fighting the Indian government from bases along the border.

Myanmar Military Officials’ Presence at Israeli Arms Expo Raises Eyebrows The Irrawaddy 7th Jun 2019
The appearance of several Myanmar military officials at an Israeli military arms expo in Tel Aviv has international human rights groups alarmed, and raises questions about the Israeli military’s denial of selling weapons to the Myanmar military, a pariah in the international community.

Why Are Old Myanmar-Israel Military Links Under New Scrutiny? The Diplomat 11th Jun 2019
Last week, media reports surfaced that Myanmar military officials had attended an Israeli military expo, in spite of human rights issues that had led Israel to restrict aspects of security collaboration between the two countries. While the specifics remain unclear, the reports have nonetheless contributed to yet another round of scrutiny on the defense aspect of Israel-Myanmar cooperation. The idea of Israel-Myanmar security cooperation is not a new one. There have been reports that trace intelligence cooperation back to the 1950s, and training and arms sales from the 1990s onwards, in spite of occasional denials by Israeli authorities.

Philippines

Security Consultations Put Russia-Philippines Military Ties into Focus The Diplomat 2nd Jul 2019
Last month, the Philippines and Russia held another round of consultations between their national security establishments. The consultations spotlighted the ongoing status of a mechanism that is one of several that have emerged amid the boost for ties under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s foreign policy.

DND sets bidding for acquisition of more PH Navy vessels Manila Bulletin News 24th Jun 2019
The Department of National Defense-Armed Forces of the Philippines (DND-AFP) is set to acquire two brand new landing dock vessels, an amphibious warfare ship with a well dock to transport and launch landing craft and amphibious vehicles, for the Philippine Navy (PN).

What's in the First Israel-Philippines Counterterrorism Training Engagement? The Diplomat 21st Jun 2019
This month, Israel and the Philippines look set to make progress on kicking off the first publicly-disclosed instance of counterterrorism training between the two sides held in the Philippines. The interaction is just one sign of a broader effort by both sides to deepen their defense ties in spite of the challenges that remain for wider ties.

Philippine Naval Modernization Under Duterte in the Spotlight with Anniversary Celebrations The Diplomat 21st Jun 2019
On June 17, the Philippine navy held another iteration of celebrations tied to its annual founding anniversary. The engagement once again highlighted the mix of opportunities and challenges that remain for the Philippines’ naval modernization under President Rodrigo Duterte.

Philippine Security Adviser Says Not Ruling Out Pressure From US Over Buying Russian Arms Sputnik 21st Jun 2019
Philippine National Security Adviser Gen. Hermogenes C. Esperon told Sputnik that he did not rule out that the United States might pressure the Philippines not to buy Russian arms, but stressed that Manila was striving to procure armament for its military modernisation program from various sources while avoiding a monopoly by a certain supplier.

Israeli defense team to train Philippines soldiers in counterterror philstar.com 19th Jun 2019
A team of Israeli anti-terrorism experts is in the country to train Filipino troops on counterterrorism operations, the Philippine Army said yesterday. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said troops from the Israel Defense Force (IDF) would conduct Counter-Terrorism Trainers’ Training (CTTT) from June 26 to July 4.

Elbit nears $180m Philippines drone deal Globes 13th Jun 2019
Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) is nearing a $180 million deal with the Philippines army, sources inform "Globes." Defense sources predict that the deal for supplying various types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Philippines army units would be signed in the coming weeks.

PHL joins Moscow security meet, boosts ties with Russia BusinessMirror 13th Jun 2019
MOSCOW—The Philippines participated in the eighth Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) in April 2019...Among the topics discussed were modern military challenges and threats; countering terrorist threats; peacekeeping; military-to-military engagements; regional security in Asia, Africa and Latin America; and the situation in the Middle East—specifically the implications of defeating the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq or ISIS—as well as efforts in stabilizing the region.

PAF jets to be fitted with Sidewinder missiles philstar.com 13th Jun 2019
The Department of National Defense (DND) reported yesterday that the delivery of AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles would start within the year and would be fitted onto the Philippine Air Force (PAF)’s new supersonic jets FA50 Fighting Eagles. The air-to-air missiles were procured from Diehl Raytheon of Germany for P1,016,734,088 as the PAF transitions from rockets and bombs to missile fighting capabilities.

Duterte OK of defense deals with US ‘to hasten AFP upgrade’ BusinessMirror 10th Jun 2019
THE Department of National Defense (DND) said President Duterte’s decision to reconsider his earlier order for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to avoid procuring military equipment from the United States will hasten the system and the delivery of much needed US-made equipment. DND Spokesman Arsenio Andolong said the Chief Executive’s decision will also provide the military with options and widen its choices for its source of assets and equipment in line with its ongoing capability upgrade program.

Air Force to get missiles this year The Manila Times Online 13th Jun 2019
The Philippine Air Force will get missiles this year with the expected delivery of a number of air-to-air missiles from Germany, the Department of National Defense (DND) said on Wednesday. DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong said the AIM-9 “Sidewinders” will be the primary armament for the Air Force’s FA-50 fighter jets. The missiles, with a cost of P1 billion, will give the Air Force more “fangs” in protecting the country’s airspace, he added.

Singapore

What’s in the New US-Singapore Artificial Intelligence Defense Partnership? The Diplomat 1st Jul 2019
Last week, the United States and Singapore held an engagement that represented the first step by both countries to officially operationalize a defense partnership in the area of artificial intelligence (AI). Beyond its individual significance, the engagement also highlighted ongoing efforts by the two countries to strengthen cooperation in new areas of the security aspect of their bilateral ties.

What can Singapore do to counter rogue drones and airport incursions? TODAYonline 24th Jun 2019
The rapid proliferation of consumer drones poses a serious threat to commercial aviation. This point was driven home when several unauthorised drones intruded into restricted airspace around Singapore’s Changi Airport and disrupted its operation for about 10 hours on June 18 and 19...So what can be done to stop these rogue consumer drones? First, there is an assortment of counter-drone systems in the market now and they can be broadly categorised into kinetic and non-kinetic systems.

King Abdullah of Jordan on two-day state visit to S'pore The Straits Times 20th Jun 2019
Jordan's King Abdullah II is in Singapore for a two-day state visit at the invitation of President Halimah Yacob, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said...The King, a former special forces commander, was briefed on the operational roles and capabilities of the commandos. He and Prince Hashim also received a weapons familiarisation brief and a hands-on practice session before participating in an urban operations exercise with the commandos.

NDP 2019 to feature new aircraft, F-15SG fighter jet displays and 2,600-strong parade CNA 15th Jun 2019
Soaring over the Padang at this year's National Day Parade (NDP) will be the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) A330 Tanker Transport aircraft, which is set to make its debut, accompanied by two F-15SG fighter jets.

What’s in Singapore’s New Armored Fighting Vehicle? The Diplomat 14th Jun 2019
This week, Singapore officially commissioned its new armored fighting vehicle. The commissioning, which occurred as scheduled amid an anniversary parade, spotlighted one aspect of the country’s wider ongoing efforts to modernize its military capabilities. Singapore, one of the more capable militaries in the Asia-Pacific, has continued to modernize its military in recent years, with the goal of equipping the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) with new assets and technologies to become a next generation force.

Singapore Plans $296 Million for Next-Gen Army Training Facility Bloomberg.com 30th Jun 2019
Singapore will spend around S$400 million ($296 million) to build what it calls a next-generation smart training facility for its armed forces. The new training area, dubbed SAFTI City, will replicate urban areas and feature configurable buildings, battlefield simulators, targets with shoot-back capabilities and data analytics, Singapore’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement. The project’s first phase will be completed in 2023 and house more than 70 buildings, including three 12-story blocks, simulated underground facilities and urban training structures. Phase 2 will see the construction of an industrial complex for training, according to the statement.

Singapore, France reaffirm commitment to strengthening bilateral defence cooperation The Straits Times 18th Jun 2019
Singapore and France reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening bilateral defence cooperation on Tuesday (June 18), on the sidelines of the 53rd International Paris Air Show. The commitment applies to areas such as defence technology, counter-terrorism, as well as air force and navy cooperation, said a Ministry of Defence (Mindef) statement.

Hun Manet in Singapore to boost military ties Khmer Times 12th Jun 2019
Lieutenant General Hun Manet, Royal Cambodia Armed Forces deputy commander-in-chief, on Tuesday met with Singapore’s national security and foreign ministers to strengthen military ties and mutual cooperation between both countries.

Thailand

Airbus and TAI extend aftersales helicopter support for military and governmental fleets Vertical Magazine 24th Jun 2019
Airbus Helicopters and Thai Aviation Industries (TAI) have declared their common intention to extend the aftersales support of all Airbus helicopters operated by Thailand’s military and government agencies. Under this agreement, TAI will continue to be Airbus’s approved provider of HCare support and services for Thailand’s military and government helicopter fleets.

New Fighter Jet Deal Puts Thailand-South Korea Military Ties into Focus The Diplomat 20th Jun 2019
On May 24, a South Korean firm announced a new deal it had reached with Thailand’s military related to fighter jets. The development highlighted the ongoing defense ties between the two countries, which they have been looking to continue to develop in recent years.

Vietnam-Thailand Maritime Ties in the Headlines With Navy Commander Visit The Diplomat 20th Jun 2019
Last week, Thailand’s navy chief was in Vietnam for a visit. The pre-arranged trip spotlighted some of the ongoing activity within the maritime aspect of the relationship between the two Southeast Asian states, amid wider developments in their domestic and foreign policy.

Thailand Signs Up for Rolls T56 Engine Upgrade Aviation International News 19th Jun 2019
Thailand has become the first international customer for the Rolls-Royce T56 Series 3.5 upgrade, which will be applied to the Royal Thai Air Force’s C-130H Hercules fleet. The first phase of the program encompasses 20 engines from the overall RTAF fleet of 58, to be upgraded over the next three years.

Military courts set for overhaul Bangkok Post 26th Jun 2019
The Defence Ministry has launched a project to upgrade military courts nationwide to boost public confidence in them. The project was initiated by Gen Nat Intaracharoen, permanent secretary for defence, and is in line with the national reform plan and Thailand's 20-year national strategy, a source at the Defence Ministry said. At a meeting of military court judges on Oct 24, last year, Gen Nat stressed the need to improve public trust in military courts, the source said. It was agreed that an initial batch of 23 military courts in various regions of the country, including the Bangkok Military Court, will serve as models for other military courts nationwide to follow.

Govt pushes 'economic zones' for defence Bangkok Post 26th Jun 2019
The government is planning new “special economic zones” aimed at better supporting Thailand's defence technology industry. The plan, backed by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon who on Wednesday chaired the Defence Council meeting, will be carried out under the 2019 Defence Technology Act. Defence spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich said a panel would be set up to oversee the zones, but gave few other details. Gen Prawit, also defence minister, wants all armed forces and agencies under the Defence Ministry to work with the Defence Technology Institute to drive the plan.

Vietnam

Defense Dialogue Puts Vietnam-South Korea Military Ties into Focus The Diplomat 1st Jul 2019
Last week, Vietnam and South Korea held the latest iteration of their defense dialogue. The engagement offered some insight into both the ongoing collaboration between the two countries as well as what they have their eye on for the future as well in terms of areas for expansion.

What’s Next for Germany-Vietnam Military Cooperation? The Diplomat 24th Jun 2019
Last week, a high-ranking Vietnamese defense delegation paid a scheduled visit to Germany. While the trip was one among many interactions between the two countries, it highlighted some of the future opportunities for collaboration that both sides have been exploring in spite of the past challenges that their ties have encountered in recent years.

Vietnam, Japan Conduct Naval Exercise The Diplomat 24th Jun 2019
The Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) held a joint naval exercise off the southeastern coast of Vietnam on June 17, the JMSDF said in a recent statement. The exercise involved tactical maneuvers, search-and-rescue drills, and communications training, according to the JMSDF, which dubbed the bilateral engagement a “goodwill exercise.” The aim of the bilateral drill was to improve the “tactical skills” of both navies and to strengthen the bilateral partnership.

Defense Dialogue Puts Vietnam-Singapore Security Ties into Focus The Diplomat 21st Jun 2019
Earlier this week, Vietnam and Singapore held the tenth iteration of their annual defense policy dialogue as scheduled. The holding of the interaction once again put the spotlight on the development of bilateral defense ties between the two Southeast Asian states.

Vietnam has a new partner in its old rivalry with China – the US South China Morning Post 19th Jun 2019
When Dang Duc Toai completed the Aviation Leadership Programme at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi last month, he became a trailblazer among pilots from his native Vietnam. Dang, a captain in the Vietnam People’s Air Force, was the first of his countrymen to graduate from the program... The milestone was just the latest example of deepening military cooperation between Washington and Hanoi – once bitter enemies who are increasingly united in their mutual suspicion of China’s rising clout in the region, particularly in the South China Sea.

Vietnam, Germany seek to expand defence ties vietnamplus.vn 14th Jun 2019
Deputy Defence Minister, Sen. Lt. General Nguyen Chi Vinh, who led a Vietnamese high-ranking military delegation to pay a working visit to Germany from June 10-15, has held talks with Germany’s Defense State Secretary Peter Tauber. During the talks on June 13, the two sides shared their views on global and regional issues of shared concern, and informed each other about security situation in Europe and Asia Pacific. They reviewed results of defence cooperation between the two countries in recent times, especially in training, military medicine and UN peacekeeping.

Cross-border service providers must comply with local law: Minister VietNamNet 26th Jun 2019
All foreign firms, especially cross-border service providers such as Google, YouTube, Facebook and the like, must comply with Vietnamese law while operating in the country, stated Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung. At a meeting to control advertisements on cross-border platforms between the Ministry of Information and Communications and enterprises on June 25, Minister Hung said that these firms should be responsible for the prosperity of the countries in which they do business, which also helps ensure their sustainable development. The minister said that the Vietnamese Government will continue to employ solutions to force Google, Facebook and the like to comply with the local law. Vietnam will not welcome cross-border firms that do not comply with Vietnamese law.

What’s in the New Indonesia-Vietnam Defense Dialogue? The Diplomat 1st Jul 2019
This week, Indonesia and Vietnam finally held the first iteration of their new defense dialogue. The dialogue, which has been discussed by the two countries for years, signifies the efforts by both sides to further institutionalize and strengthen the security aspect of ties despite lingering challenges.