Archive for the ‘ships’ Category

Pentagon Rethinking Strategy, Planning, Budgeting and Weapons-Buying

March 14, 2009

The protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are forcing the Obama administration to rethink what for more than two decades has been a central premise of American strategy: that the nation need only prepare to fight two major wars at a time.

By Thom Shanker
New York Times
For more than six years now, the United States has in fact been fighting two wars, with more than 170,000 troops now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The military has openly acknowledged that the wars have left troops and equipment severely strained, and has said that it would be difficult to carry out any kind of significant operation elsewhere.

To some extent, fears have faded that the United States may actually have to fight, say, Russia and North Korea, or China and Iran, at the same time. But if Iraq and Afghanistan were never formidable foes in conventional terms, they have already tied up the American military for a period longer than World War II.

A senior Defense Department official involved in a strategy review now under way said the Pentagon was absorbing the lesson that the kinds of counterinsurgency campaigns likely to be part of some future wars would require more staying power than in past conflicts, like the first Iraq war in 1991 or the invasions of Grenada and Panama.

In an interview with National Public Radio last week, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made it clear that the Pentagon was beginning to reconsider whether the old two-wars assumption “makes any sense in the 21st century” as a guide to planning, budgeting and weapons-buying.

The discussion is being prompted by a top-to-bottom strategy review that the Pentagon conducts every four years, as required by Congress and officially called the Quadrennial Defense Review. One question on the table for Pentagon planners is whether there is a way to reshape the armed forces to provide for more flexibility in tackling a wide range of conflicts.

Among other questions are the extent to which planning for conflicts should focus primarily on counterinsurgency wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what focus remains on well-equipped conventional adversaries like China and Iran, with which Navy vessels have clashed at sea.

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China’s Naval Task Force Departs For Historic Near Africa Mission; International Hopes

December 26, 2008

Three Chinese warships departed their homeland today a seemingly minor and some say symbolic anti-piracy mission near Somalia.

But the “out of area” deployment of Naval Warships from China is really the first such adventure in hundreds of years.

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a ceremony ... 
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a ceremony is held before a Chinese naval fleet sets sail from a port in Sanya city of China’s southernmost island province of Hainan on Friday, Dec. 26, 2008. Chinese warships, armed with special forces, guided missiles and helicopters, set sail Friday for anti-piracy duty off Somalia, the first time the communist nation has sent ships on a mission that could involve fighting so far beyond its territorial waters.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Zha Chunming)

The three ships are the Guided Missile Destroyers Wuhan (DDG-169)  and Haikou (DDG-171), and the supply ship Weishanhu. The ships have about 800 crewmen and 70 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Special Forces soldiers embarked. 

China hopes this naval mission will be the first in many to foster cooperation and respect between Chinese forces and the naval forces of the international community.

Ships participating in the anti-piracy mission come from Britain, India, Iran, the United States, France and Germany.

On Wednesday, Japan said it was considering joining the coalition.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese ... 
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese naval fleet including two destroyers and a supply ship from the South China Sea Fleet set off from Sanya, a coastal city of South China’s Hainan Province on Friday, Dec. 26, 2008. Chinese warships, armed with special forces, guided missiles and helicopters, set sail Friday for anti-piracy duty off Somalia, the first time the communist nation has sent ships on a mission that could involve fighting so far beyond its territorial waters.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Zha Chunming)

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Japan Readies Naval Mission to Fight Pirates

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, soldiers ...
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, soldiers of Chinese navy special force carry out an anti pirate drill on the deck of DDG-171 Haikou destroyer in Sanya, capital of South China’s Hainan Province Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008. On Friday, warships armed with special forces, missiles and helicopters sailed for anti-piracy duty off Somalia, the first time the communist nation has sent ships on a mission that could involve fighting so far beyond its territorial waters.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Zha Chunming)


The Chinese naval fleet set sail at 1:50 p.m. on Friday from a port here in the southernmost island province of Hainan for Somalia. The ships will take part in an escort mission against piracy.

The warships of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, decorated by colored ribbons and flowers, were unmoored at the military port by crew members in white naval uniforms who saluted the crowds who saw them off.

China Daily and Xinhua

Two destroyers, DDG-169 Wuhan and DDG-171 Haikou, and the supply ship Weishanhu from the South Sea Fleet will cruise for about 10 days to arrive in the Gulf of Aden, joining the multinational patrol in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes where surging piracy endangers international shipping.

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Above: Missile Destroyer Haikou 171 of the PLA Navy’s South China Sea Fleet.  She departed with two other Chinese warships on a mission to the Gulf of Aden near Somali on anti-pirate patrol on Friday.  Many in the West see this as a sign of renewed cooperation between China and other military powers.


A Chinese naval task force departed from Sanya, a port in the nation’s southernmost province of Hainan, to fight pirates in waters off Somalia, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The ships sailed about 1:50 p.m. local time today, Xinhua reported. China is sending two destroyers and one supply ship supported by two helicopters, Senior Colonel Huang Xueping said on Dec. 23.

In the first 11 months of this year, 1,265 Chinese commercial ships passed through Somali waters, a fifth of which were assaulted by pirates, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Dec. 18.

Pirates operate along Somalia’s Indian Ocean coast, as well as in the Gulf of Aden, a transit point for the 20,000 ships a year using the Suez Canal.

By James Peng: Bloomberg

 China Says It Needs an Aircraft Carrier for “Comprehensive Power”
China Tells Somalia Pirates It Will Use Force if Necessary
China Anti-Pirate Mission Another Step in International Engagement

U.S. admiral wants China military ties resumed

Japan Considers Ships To Fight Pirates

December 24, 2008

Japan is considering sending military ships to fight pirates off the coast of Somalia, officials said Wednesday.

“We have to do something against pirates. We are considering various options, including sending Self-Defense Force ships or patrol vessels,” said Foreign Ministry official Mitsuhiro Kobayashi. The Japanese military is known as the Self-Defense Force.

Associated Press

JDS Kirishima - Kongou class destroyer.JPEG
Japan has a modern, capable navy.  Here JDS Kirishima.

Japan is considering the deployment of military ships after the U.N. Security Council in early December extended for another year its authorization for countries to enter Somalia’s territorial waters, with advance notice, and use “all necessary means” to stop acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, Kobayashi said.

Piracy has taken an increasing toll on international shipping, especially in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest sea lanes. Pirates have made an estimated $30 million hijacking ships for ransom this year, seizing more than 40 vessels off Somalia’s 1,880-mile coastline.

Japan’s government said no Japanese ships have been hijacked this year, but pirates fired at three Japanese vessels. No one was injured.

Japanese sailors during an international fleet review near the ... 
Japanese sailors during an international fleet review near the coast of South Korea. Japan has said it is considering dispatching a destroyer to waters off Somalia to guard against pirates who are inflicting a costly toll on the shipping industry.(AFP/File/Kim Jae-Hwan)

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Somalia Pirates Mark Nation Near Collapse

December 20, 2008

The Bush administration inherited a mess in strategic Somalia and may be leaving President-elect Barack Obama with a worse one.

The explosion of piracy off Somalia’s coast is an attention-grabbing product of internal chaos in the Horn of Africa country, and a problem that will outlast the administration’s success this past week in winning U.N. backing for possible pirate-hunting raids on Somali territory.

“We have a framework in place now to deal with this issue, but it’s not going to be a very easy one,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Military Writer

FILE---Dutch cargo ships the MV Stolt Innovation, in the foreground, ...

Wood meant that there is more to do to combat piracy, and indeed Somali gunmen seized two more ships the day the Security Council voted unanimously to authorize nations to conduct land and air attacks on pirate bases on Somali coast.

Bandits are taking over more and larger ships and ranging farther from land to do it. Last month they seized a Saudi oil tanker carrying $100 million worth of crude.

The larger problem, however, is the hollowness of nearly every institution that makes a working country, despite more than 15 years of international help. The Somali pirates may be bandits and thugs, but they also are entrepreneurs making do in a place without a functioning government, laws or normal commerce.

RNPS IMAGES OF THE YEAR 2008  The Liberian-flagged oil tanker ...
The Liberian-flagged oil tanker MV Sirius Star is shown at anchor on November 19, 2008, off the coast of Somalia. The Saudi supertanker was hijacked by Somali pirates November 15, was seized 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya, and forced to proceed to anchorage near Harardhere, Somalia. REUTERS/Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class William S. Stevens-US Navy/Handout

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China Launching First Long-Range Naval Mission Since 15th Century

December 18, 2008

China is considering sending ships to fight pirates off the Horn of Africa in what would be the country’s first significant long-range naval combat mission since the 15th century.

Senior Colonel Huang Xueping, spokesman for China’s ministry of national defence, told the FT an anti-piracy mission was “still in the consideration stage”. But he said: “There will be an announcement very soon.”

The Saudi oil tanker Sirius Star is anchored off the coast of ... 
The Saudi oil tanker Sirius Star is anchored off the coast of Somalia in November 2008. Somalia’s insurgent Islamist leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys on Tuesday urged pirates to release a giant Saudi oil tanker and other foreign vessels being held in Somali waters.(AFP/US Navy)
Since late October, more than 30 ships have been attacked by pirates based in Somalia and up to 19 vessels captured. These include a Chinese fishing vessel with 30 crew seized off the coast of Yemen on Tuesday.

It was freed on Wednesday by a “multilateral force”, according to Xinhua, the official news agency.

The UN Security Council on Tuesday authorised states to conduct land and air attacks on pirate bases in Somalia. This follows the sending by Nato of ships to accompany World Food Programme vessels. The European Union, India, Russia and the US have also sent ships and helicopters on anti-piracy missions to the area.

By Kathrin Hille

Beijing in recent years has tried to placate foreign fears over its military expansion by claiming it is pursing a “peaceful rise” as a power. Other than for a 2002 global tour and a handful of port calls to the US and Europe over the past decade, China’s navy has not ventured far out to sea since the 15th century voyages around the world undertaken by Zheng He, the country’s most famous explorer. But the country is increasing military spending at 15-20 per cent a year and the US and Japan believe it is developing a blue-water navy.

Chinese guided missile destroyer Qingdao
China has an extensive navy

A senior defence official told the FT in November that China wanted eventually to be able to add aircraft carriers to its navy, although he emphasised Beijing would “not use [an aircraft carrier] to pursue global deployment or global reach”.

Any Chinese anti-piracy operation is expected to be small and observers doubt Beijing would be comfortable taking part in a bigger international operation if it carried a significant risk of combat, even under a UN mandate.

China Says Navy Force to Fight Somali Pirates

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French marine commandos carry out an anti-piracy drill. Somali ... 
French marine commandos carry out an anti-piracy drill. Somali pirates have freed a Yemeni cargo ship captured 10 days ago, a minister in the country’s breakaway Puntland region said Wednesday.(AFP/File/Gerard Julien)

Japan urges Chinese ships to leave disputed waters

December 8, 2008

Japan’s coast guard urged Chinese survey ships to leave waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea on Monday, and the government lodged a protest with Beijing, officials said.

The two maritime survey ships entered waters surrounding the Japan-held islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, earlier in the day, the coast guard said.

“Despite repeated warnings issued by radio from our patrol boat, the Chinese ships are still within our waters,” said coast guard official Kazuya Ono.

Japan also lodged a protest with China over the entry, but Beijing responded by saying it was checking facts, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.

The islands are held by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan, and the territorial dispute is one of many that have strained ties between Tokyo and Beijing.

It was unclear what the Chinese ships were doing in the waters, which Japan watches closely for intrusions by outside ships.

In June, a Taiwanese fishing boat sank near the islands after a collision with a Japanese coast guard ship. Taiwan accused the Japanese of ramming the boat; Japan contended the Taiwanese captain was responsible for the collision.

Japanese authorities recently agreed to give the sunken ship‘s owner 10 million New Taiwan dollars ($300,000) in compensation.

Japan annexed the island chain in 1895, saying no nation exercised a formal claim over them. The islands, lying roughly midway between Okinawa and Taiwan, were administered by the United States after World War II until they were returned to Tokyo in 1972.

China says the islands have been part of its territory since ancient times.

By SHINO YUASA, Associated Press Writer

China has been aggressively researching the world’s oceans for exploitable oil.  Vietnam routinely protests China’s
presence near the Spratly Islands.