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Air Cav is back in vogue — new units, class waitlists and more
By Davis Winkie
May 24, 05:55 AM

FORT RUCKER, Ala. — Air Cav is back.

Aviation leaders were quick to remind Army Times that it technically never left, but throughout the Global War on Terror, the massed deep reconnaissance missions and raids that featured in air cavalry’s early years were largely relegated to Vietnam movies, set to Wagner.

But as the Army continues reworking its force structure and doctrine in preparation for a potential large-scale conflict with an adversary like Russia, China or Iran, air cavalry doctrine and units are coming back into vogue.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also demonstrated the potential utility of deep penetration by helicopter-borne forces.

Russian airborne forces successfully took the strategic Antonov Airport, located near Kyiv and about 50 miles south of the Ukraine-Belarus border, in a daylight heliborne assault on Feb. 24. However, Russia ultimately failed to take Ukraine’s capital.

Then on April 1, a pair of Ukrainian attack helicopters made a daring raid into Russia, destroying an oil depot in the southern city of Belgorod. U.S. officials told CBS News that Ukraine carried out the attack, despite Kyiv’s reluctance to officially confirm it.

While the Army’s doctrine updates and changes to force structure have been years in the making, there’s been a sudden jump in interest, said Maj. Matt Clawson, who directs the Air Cavalry Leaders Course at Fort Rucker. The senior major, who has completed three company-level commands and received the Distinguished Flying Cross for a 2009 engagement in Afghanistan, spoke with Army Times in his office earlier this month.

Across the hallway, ACLC class 22-501 was underway — with an unprecedented wrinkle. The 1st Combat Aviation Brigade had booked all twenty seats in the class and picked up the training bill, because the commander believed in ACLC’s training and wanted his troops to jump the course’s lengthy waitlist.

ACLC was started in 2015 with the Army’s next war in mind, explained Clawson. The course’s sometimes-irreverent Facebook page makes light of its daunting mission — the Army used its Apache gunships as mobile fire support platforms rather than maneuver reconnaissance assets, and many senior aviators have never known any different.

Clawson wants to change that mindset and get back to the fundamentals of planning for reconnaissance and security missions supporting brigade- or division-level ground forces.

“In the past, in [counterinsurgency], up to receive your operations intelligence brief that lasts for 30-45 minutes, do a pre-flight [inspection], check-in and go take off,” said Clawson. “Here, [the students] are doing 15 to 20 hours of planning in order to execute that one-hour mission. The [approach] has kind of gone back to the future, where it was during the invasion [of Iraq] in ‘03, or even Desert Storm.”

Students at the two-week course are tested on doctrine before they plan a series of air cavalry missions that they see from “cradle to grave,” as Clawson put it. They produce squadron-level plans and orders, wargame them all the way down to the platoon level, and then climb into aircraft simulators next door to execute their plans.

The course is intended for mid-career officers, senior warrant officers, and experienced unmanned aerial surveillance operators, said Clawson.

He said that one of the biggest shifts he’s seen since the outbreak of full-scale war in Ukraine is an increased “level of respect” for the course material from students for whom the course was previously just an exercise in doctrinal techniques that the Army hasn’t executed in decades.

“[Now] it’s not just us saying, ‘In theory these things would happen, as per these doctrinal references.’ Now they can watch live on TV,” Clawson added.

And as more officers trained at ACLC continue to advance in their careers, the Army itself is restructuring how and where it will employ air cavalry.

IAI to supply EO/IR for Philippine Navy's patrol vessels
18 May 2022
by Oishee Majumdar & Kasthurica Panigrahy

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has secured a contract to supply its MiniPOP electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) systems for the Philippine Navy's patrol vessels, the company announced in a media release on 16 May.

This particular MiniPOP system that is focused on maritime applications has been developed by IAI's Tamam Division, and is “designed to operate during both day and night, and meet harsh environmental conditions such as shock, vibration from waves, and extreme temperatures”, the company said.

“The payload provides real-time imaging, automatic video tracking, and precise target geolocation capabilities that can be used as a standalone EO/IR observation system on small and medium-sized vessels,” IAI added.

IAI declined to provide further details in response to a Janes request for comment on the value of the contract and the number of MiniPOP systems IAI plans to deliver to the Philippines Navy under the contract.

According to company specifications and Janes C4ISR & Mission Systems: Air, the MiniPOP is an EO/IR system, which can integrate four sensors in a single optical payload. It is gyrostabilised with a single line-replaceable unit (LRU). The payloads include a medium-wave infrared (MWIR) thermal imager with an XBn detector, a high-definition complementary metal oxide semiconductor (HD-CMOS) day colour camera with continuous zoom, a laser rangefinder, and an IR laser pointer.

The laser rangefinder (LRF) has a range of 20 km. The system has an open architecture and weighs 13 kg. The features include automatic TV tracking with multiple modes such as track, adjust, offset, and search.

IAI Sea MiniPOP (website)

Another aircraft donation.

AFP gets Beechcraft Hawker transport aircraft from SMC
By Priam Nepomuceno
May 6, 2022, 1:31 pm

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday formally turned over a Beechcraft Hawker 800XP transport aircraft donated by conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC), to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to be used for their command-and-control and transport missions.

"A formal acceptance, turnover, and blessing ceremony was presided over by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. He was joined by SMC Chief Executive Officer, Ramon Ang," AFP public affairs office chief Col. Jorry Baclor said in a statement Friday.

The Beechcraft Hawker 800XP is a mid-size twinjet corporate aircraft acquired by SMC in 2022. It was donated to the Department of National Defense (DND) and turned over to the AFP.

A ceremonial champagne pouring and turnover of documents to the AFP highlighted the activity. AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Andres Centino received the documents on behalf of the Armed Forces.

Also present during the ceremony were PAF chief Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony Canlas, Air Logistics Command head Maj. Gen. Florante Amano and Air Mobility Command commander Brig. Gen. Joannis Leonardi Dimaano.

"The PAF will utilize the (Beechcraft) Hawker 800XP as a Command and Control Aircraft. It will work in tandem or as an alternative system to the Gulfstream G280 acquired by the AFP in 2020," Baclor said.

The aircraft will likewise be operated by the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing. (PNA)

General Discussion / Reactivation of 1st Tank Battalion
« on: April 26, 2022, 09:28:35 AM »
Reactivation of 1st Tank Battalion boosts Army’s firepower
By Priam Nepomuceno
April 22, 2022, 9:33 am

MANILA – The Philippine Army reactivated Thursday its Armor Division's 1st Tank Battalion, further boosting its capability to deal with current and emerging security threats.

“Looking at the future operational landscape, the PA has reactivated the 1st Tank Battalion to provide our infantry and mechanized infantry forces with advanced firepower capability and enhance the standards of protection, especially in conducting contingency missions and combined arms and joint operations in the country,” Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said in a statement Thursday.

The reactivation of the 1st Tank Battalion at Camp O'Donnell in Capas, Tarlac will bolster the armor units’ operational capability in ground operations, he added.

PA spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said the 1st Tank Battalion, seen to play a key role in the defense of the country’s land domain, would be composed of newly acquired and upcoming assets such as 18 Sabrah ASCOD light tanks, 10 Pandur 8x8 wheeled light tanks, a command vehicle, a recovery vehicle, and a tank gunnery simulator acquired under the Armed Forces of the Philippines Revised Modernization program’s Horizon 2.

He earlier said the Sabrah ASCOD light tanks are expected to be delivered within this year while the Pandur 8x8 wheeled tanks are set for delivery next year.

The contract for these light tanks is worth around PHP9.4 billion and was acquired through government-to-government mode.

Following the activation of the 1st Tank Battalion, the 8th Cavalry Company was deactivated to provide the nucleus of the new unit which will be commanded by Lt. Col. Don Frivaldo.

The deactivated 8th Cavalry Company was formerly attached to the 103rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division whose area of operations covers Lanao del Sur and parts of Lanao Del Norte.

The 8th Cavalry Company played a vital role in the military’s victory against ISIS-inspired terrorists that attacked Marawi City in 2017.

The 1st Tank Battalion traces its roots to the organization of the 1st Cavalry Regiment under the PA’s 1st Infantry Division in 1935.

The Philippine Army officially activated its first tank battalion in September 1958 with assets that included US M-4 Sherman tanks.

The original tank battalion was deactivated three years later due to the high cost of maintenance. (PNA)

General Discussion / Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector
« on: April 09, 2022, 08:23:27 PM »
Army receives new mine/IED search and detection vehicles
April 9, 2022

FORT BONIFACIO, Metro Manila – The Philippine Army’s has received its new Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector (VMMD) that will be utilized by its 525th Engineer Combat Battalion, the humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) unit of the 51st Engineer Brigade.

The up-armored and modified tractors will be deployed to conduct mine detection and clearing operations. The new assets, which are acquired through a government-to-government deal between the Philippines and the U.K., are part of the Horizon 2 (2018 to 2022) projects under the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

Among the other recently acquired big-ticket projects for the Philippine Army under Horizon 2 are the Armor Division’s armored mortar carriers and the Artillery Regiment’s ATMOS 155mm self-propelled howitzer.

The Philippine Army is set to receive two more VMMD on July 2023.

Unmanned Vehicles / Drone War and Turkish Delight
« on: April 01, 2022, 03:23:03 PM »
Drone War and Turkish Delight
The conflict in Ukraine has confirmed Turkey’s status as a drone superpower.
April 1, 2022
James Jeffrey

First in Ethiopia and now Ukraine: Turkish-made armed drones that helped turn the tide in Ethiopia’s conflict are adding to the Russian military’s many headaches in Ukraine.

Weighing an eighth of the U.S.’s high-tech Reaper drone, the relatively small and low-tech Bayraktar TB2 drone can cruise for about 24 hours with its payload of four small laser-guided munitions. And just as it did in Ethiopia and other lesser-known conflicts before, the low-key design is proving itself during the war in Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian air force has been effective at detecting and rapidly exploiting the gaps in Russian forces’ air defense and electronic warfare coverage with its [TB2] drones,” Justin Bronk wrote at the Spectator. “The surprising inability of the Russian Air Force to destroy Ukraine’s own mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems and establish air superiority has meant its fighters have not been able to hunt the TB2s down at medium and high altitudes.”

Of the more than 1,200 Russian vehicles and heavy weapons confirmed to have been destroyed, the TB2s have reportedly accounted for the destruction of 18 armored vehicles, 24 trucks, and two fuel resupply trains. That small proportion doesn’t account for how, as in Ethiopia, the threat of attack from a quiet and unseen menace will take a psychological toll on the Russian soldiery, whose morale is already badly knocked. That threat will also impinge on the tactics and freedom of movement of Russian forces.

With more time the Russian military may well improve air-defense coverage and its electronic-warfare capabilities, limiting the TB2’s effectiveness, Bronk notes. Regardless of how the rest of the war goes, the TB2’s deployment in Ukraine so soon after the weapon’s success in Ethiopia has shone further light on the scale and sophistication of Turkey’s drone program. For years, as most looked the other way, Turkey has honed the craft of drone warfare.

The U.S. remains the world’s preeminent force in military drones, both in terms of numbers, capability, and spending. After all, the U.S. was there at the beginning, spearheading drone development during the Afghanistan war, and it has far more resources to draw on than Turkey. But Turkey is doing well with what it has: The TB2 can be bought for around $5 million—a bargain compared to the $32 million Reaper, and one of the reasons it has proved so popular a purchase among participants in the world’s conflicts. Turkey is pulling ahead of most other Western militaries in terms of its own armed-drone capability; its army reportedly operates more than 140 TB2s. Compare that to the U.K., which has a drone fleet of just ten U.S.-made Reapers that are two decades old.

The emergence of the TB2 over the Ukraine battlefield also highlights the strained-frenemy relationship between Turkey and Russia, in which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin maintain a dialogue despite having found themselves on opposite ends of various conflicts. Those were initially distant proxy wars but have inched ever closer to Russia’s home turf, as Nicholas Velazquez recently observed. The TB2 was used to strike at Russian-backed forces in the Libyan and Syrian civil wars. This was followed by highly successful usage of the drone by the Azeri forces in the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in Azerbaijan.

“Turkey effectively concluded one of the ‘frozen conflicts’ of the former Soviet Union through the simple export of a fleet of drones,” Velazquez wrote.

The conflict in Azerbaijan had Turkey competing with Russia in the “near abroad”: those post-Soviet states, of which Ukraine is one, that Russia counts within its sphere of influence.

In 2019 Ukraine bought at least six TB2s from Turkey, according to Breaking Defense, a digital magazine on defense strategy, politics, and technology. That October, the drone was used for the first time by the Ukrainian military in combat: against Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. Last year, Ukraine struck a deal with Turkey to co-produce the TB2 domestically. The Ukrainian government indicated it wanted to buy 24 additional TB2 drones.

Turkey is working on its new Akinci drone, which is supposed to be much more sophisticated. The company making it claims it will be “the most powerful and combat-capable armed UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] in its class in the world.” That will give Russian military strategists—as well as strategists in other countries—something to think about. So will Turkey’s continuing development of drone-swarm technology, and its tactic of linking up large numbers of UAVs for coordinated attacks. It employed this strategy in the skies above Nagorno-Karabakh to such a devastating degree, some claim, that it could be considered a revolution in military affairs, heralding the direction of future warfare and leaving even the U.S. drone program playing catch-up.

12 more BIFF fighters yield in Maguindanao
By Edwin Fernandez
March 31, 2022, 4:20 pm

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – A dozen Moro extremists have decided to surrender and hand over their high-powered firearms to authorities following the series of military campaigns in Maguindanao.

In a statement Thursday, Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, said the 12 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, including two sub-leaders, surrendered to the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion (40IB) in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

The rebels, who surrendered Wednesday afternoon, were led by Anwar Pegas, a sub-leader of the BIFF-Karialan faction, and his deputy, Zukarno Sailila.

Lt. Colonel Edwin Alburo, the 40IB commander, said the rebels brought with them two M14 rifles, two M16 rifles, a Carbine rifle, two .50-caliber Barret sniper rifles, two 9mm submachine guns, a 40mm rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher, two M79 grenade launchers, and a 40mm RPG ammunition.

Alburo said the former combatants experienced hardships and starvation while evading the military operations in the forests and the marshland of Maguindanao.

Alburo, in his report to the 6ID, said the rebels admitted they were lured to join a "false ideology that made them abandon their families."

Uy said the number of BIFF surrenderers rose in recent weeks, indicating that the BIFF has weakened in Central Mindanao.

"We remain optimistic that these groups, including the BIFF-Karialan faction, are nearing its end," Uy said.

Since January, almost 100 BIFFs have surrendered to the Army-led Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) under the stewardship of the 6ID commander.

Uy said more than 90 firearms have also been turned in by the surrenderers. (PNA)

[Video] 2 pinuno at 10 miyembro ng BIFF sa Maguindanao, sumuko dahil sa gutom @ UNTV

General Discussion / Philippine Army showcases latest defense assets
« on: March 28, 2022, 10:58:07 PM »
Philippine Army showcases latest defense assets

The Philippine Army showcased its latest military hardware at a static display held at the Hunters ROTC Parade Grounds, Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila on March 21, 2022.

Philippine Army Major Units (PAMUs) such as the Artillery Regiment, Armor Division, the 51st Engineer Brigade, and Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) displayed newly acquired military hardware during the event which is part of the month-long commemoration of the 125th founding anniversary of the Philippine Army.

The Artillery Regiment displayed its brand new Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzer System (ATMOS) 155 mm and towed howitzers while the Armor Division showcased its armored mortar carrier equipped with 120mm mounted mortar systems.

The 525th Engineer Combat Battalion, the humanitarian assistance and disaster response unit of the 51st Engineer Brigade, displayed water search-and-rescue (WASAR) and collapsed structure search-and-rescue (CSSR) equipment donated by the Japanese government last year. Meanwhile, the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) showcased latest high-powered firearms that will bolster the capability of ground units.

“These new weapon systems can be used not just for internal security operations but also for territorial defense operations,” Commanding General Philippine Army Lt. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner, Jr., remarked. “We are developing not just our internal security operations capability but also our capability to defend our territory from external aggressors,” he said.

Photos: Sgt Cesar P Lopez/ Pvt Divino Lozano

An article shared by an Indian acquaintance:

Ukraine war must teach India’s ‘bygone’ Army to use same military model to stalemate China
Lt Gen H S Panag (retd)   17 March, 2022

After three weeks of war, it is clear that the Russian offensive has been stalemated by Ukraine. With its existing forces, it has probably been forced to reach its culmination point prematurely. The probability of an absolute victory is very low. However, after major regrouping and induction of additional forces, Russia may still force a face-saving victory.

There are many lessons to be learnt from the war in Ukraine. India has a relative capability differential in China’s favour along its northern borders and in its own favour in the west with Pakistan. The challenge for India would be to successfully utilise the Ukraine model to stalemate China without substantial loss of territory and to defeat the same model when it’s adopted by Pakistan. The exploitation of nuclear brinkmanship would also have to be factored in.

Ethical review of capabilities

It is obvious that Russia overestimated its military capability and underestimated that of Ukraine. In a totalitarian democracy, a delusional military functions in a cocoon without any oversight. The intervention in Syria was incorrectly viewed as a model for success. Russia’s military hierarchy has failed to give honest and objective advice to President Vladimir Putin.

Being a parliamentary democracy, we do have the traditional oversight mechanism, however, it has remained dysfunctional. We have been cavalier with respect to assessing our own and our adversaries’ military capabilities and carrying out reforms. Politically, our approach to national security is driven by emotional rhetoric. Rather than giving dispassionate advice, the military hierarchy has joined the politicians to mislead the nation. Failures are explained away by bombast. We do not even have a formal national security strategy.

Nuclear weapons do not allow a major war in the subcontinent and safeguard us from a decisive defeat and major territorial losses. Below the nuclear threshold, for any form of conflict, we do not have the technological military capability to defeat Pakistan or avoid a military embarrassment by China. India must carry out an ethical strategic review to evolve a formal national security strategy and transform its military, and until we do so, it would be prudent to rely upon diplomacy.

Caveat for Aatmanirbharta

As a principle, Aatmanirbharta in defence can not be challenged. The effect of the war between Russia and Ukraine — two of our principal suppliers of 60 to 70 per cent of weapon systems and spares — and the sanctions on the former have created a serious void in our capability. It would be a test for our diplomacy to get the waivers from the US. But what use is Aatmanirbharta if we do not produce state-of-the-art weapons and support systems?

Ukraine has a better defence industrial base than India by all yardsticks. Yet, its success story to blunt the Russian mechanised forces and airpower is built on imported and donated, man-portable second/third generation anti-tank and air defence guided missile systems like NLAW (Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon), the Javelin, the Stinger and armed drones like the Bayraktar TB2. The induction of Switchblades drones is on the cards.

It would take a decade before Aatmanirbharta comes of age. In the interim period, selective import of high-end military technology is inescapable.

‘Man behind the gun’

Poor leadership and quality of soldiers have been the bane for the Russian military in Ukraine. Despite the best technology available, its largely-conscripted soldiers lack the discipline, motivation, and quality training to perform in battle. Ukraine has made better use of a similar system with higher motivation and better training.

Russian higher military planning violated the cardinal principles of concentration, economy of force, and logistics. It also fell victim to its very own ‘Rasputitsa’ or ‘General Mud’. Operating on exterior lines on four axes, it failed to concentrate requisite forces on any single axis for a decisive victory.

The Indian military must not be in a hurry to implement ‘the three-year duty’ concept to save on pensions. Short Service Commission for officers and Short Service Engagement for soldiers of 5 years (extendable up to 10 years) without pension but duly covered by a contributory pension scheme, gratuity, and an ex-serviceman status are more pragmatic methods. The intake through this model must be restricted to 50 per cent of the total strength.

We also need to relook at the professional military education and training of our officers and soldiers. They are tailored for the wars of a bygone era. The intellectual military education of the officers requires a radical revamp. Concepts of rapid response and cold start are contingent on the high quality of human resource.


“An army marches on its stomach”, said Napoleon, vehicles move on fuel, and weapon systems are useless without ammunition, shells, and missiles. After 72 hours of battle, the Russian army was woefully short of food, fuel, and ammunition. Logistics failed to keep pace with the battle. On restructuring its divisions into combined arms brigades and battalion tactical groups, the centralised resources of the Combined Arms Army became too meagre and lacked inherent protection. The Russian army also failed to protect its vulnerable tail from Ukrainian formations operating from the flanks and the actions of special forces and partisans.

As our armed forces restructure into Integrated Battle Groups, we must not make the same mistake. Rear area protection is as important as the battle. In the mountains and in high-altitude areas, our logistic installations and lines of communications are extremely vulnerable to cruise missiles, air and special forces actions. Logistic installations must go underground or tunnel into mountains. There is a need for multiple roads with tunnels to the borders. The protection of bridges from ground and air action and the development of alternate routes is extremely important. The logistics of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are equally vulnerable to similar action, and we must exploit it to the hilt. Special Forces, Scout Battalions based on local population and Special Frontier Force can do to the PLA exactly what Ukraine did to the Russian army.

High-end military technology

Out of the plethora of videos and photographs of the Ukraine war, there is a conspicuous absence of close combat. Attacking forces have been destroyed from stand-off ranges with high-technology weapon systems. Fixed defences invite destruction by precision guided munitions (PGMs). Small mobile teams with state-of-the-art weapon systems have destroyed the larger forces arrayed for battle.

Close combat is passé; the future is with agile units making imaginative use of high-end kinetic and information warfare technology. The PLA is already having such capabilities, and Pakistan is bound to imbibe this lesson. The Army needs to review its tactics and induct state-of-the-art weapon systems. Our tactics are attritionist, positional and focused on close combat. A radical shift is required in the way we fight.

Fighting in built-up area

Until now, our experience has been restricted to fighting in small villages as they existed 50 years ago. I do not visualise major city battles in our context. However, if the Ukraine war is anything to go by, in the next war, villages that have transformed into semi-urban areas will be developed into ‘porcupine defences’ with mobile elements operating in the flanks.

We should also exploit the defence potential of villages and urban areas close to the border. Imaginative defence works must be created in peacetime with the cooperation of the population. We must also refine our tactics to tackle such defences.

Information Warfare

Information warfare — including cyber, electronic, and psychological warfare — has played a major role in Ukraine. The nation won the battle of perception by allowing free access to the media and exploiting it to its advantage. Its psychological warfare campaign has been excellent. Contrast it with our experience of airstrikes/air battle following the Pulwama terrorist attack and the border friction/skirmishes in eastern Ladakh. Internationally, we lost the perception battle, and even at home, to the discerning eye our false narratives looked comical at best.

The biggest lesson is how Ukraine defeated the superior information warfare capability of Russia. Ukraine’s political and military command and control largely remained intact, and so did its public electronic communications. The details are not known, but it is likely that in the last eight years, it has laid out an elaborate optical fibre cable network and proofed its communications and weapon systems against cyber and electronic attacks with the help of the US. We need to follow suit. Our information warfare units lack cohesion and do not have the requisite capability. The sooner we remedy this, the better it will be.

Militaries that prepare for the last war invariably come to grief. Sadly, we have been busy doing just that. The Narendra Modi government and the military must study the Ukraine war in detail and re-energise our national security and transformation.

DFA summons Chinese envoy over ‘illegal incursion’ of navy ship in Sulu Sea
Published Mar 14, 2022


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 14) – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday summoned Chinese ambassador Huang Xilian over the "illegal incursion” and “lingering presence” of a Chinese navy vessel in the Sulu Sea.

In a statement, the DFA announced that acting Undersecretary Ma.Theresa Lazaro summoned Huang after an unauthorized People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) electronic reconnaissance ship, with bow number 792, entered the Philippine waters from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1.

The Philippine Navy challenged the PLAN vessel, which claimed it was merely exercising innocent passage, according to the DFA.

“However, the actions of PLAN 792 did not constitute innocent passage and violated Philippine sovereignty,” the department said.

It noted that the movements of the Chinese navy ship “did not follow a track that can be considered as continuous and expeditious” as it lingered in the Sulu Sea for three days. The ship also reportedly continued its activities in Philippine waters despite being repeatedly directed by the Philippine Navy to leave immediately.

“In response to the incident, Acting Undersecretary Lazaro demanded that China respect Philippine territory and maritime jurisdiction, and to comply with its obligations under international law, particularly UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), and direct its vessels to desist from entering Philippine waters uninvited and without permission,” the statement read.

The Chinese embassy in Manila said it will issue a proper response on the matter.

Chinese Amb. Huang Xilian, ipinatawag ng DFA dahil sa iligal na pagpasok ng Chinese Navy Ship @ PTV

US, PH fighter jets to join air combat maneuver drills
By Priam Nepomuceno March 14, 2022

MANILA – Philippine Air Force (PAF) FA-50PH jet fighter pilots will have the opportunity to practice "air combat maneuvering" (ACM) tactics with American F-16 fighter pilots during the "Bilateral Air Contingent Exchange (BACE)-Philippines which will be held March 14 to 25.

PAF spokesperson Col. Maynard Mariano made this remark when asked by the Philippine News Agency Monday whether the two-week maneuvers will feature "ACM" between the Mach 1.5 capable FA-50PHs and the participating F-16s from the United States Air Force 13th Squadron.

"Yes, but this time it's going to be a large force against a large force," he said.

Asked to clarify how many PAF and USAF aircraft will be participating in these ACM drills, Mariano said that it will be four FA-50PHs versus four F-16s.

"Four on four. This is to stimulate a large force and for safety reasons," he added.

Previous iterations of the BACE-P have previously conducted three similar maneuvers but on a smaller scale.

Twelve US F-16s will be participating in this year's BACE-P while 10 FA-50PHs from the PAF's 5th Fighter Wing.

The American aircraft arrived in the country last March 12.

ACM refers to the "tactical art of moving, turning and/or situating one's fighter aircraft in order to attain a position from which an attack can be made on another aircraft."

It relies on offensive and defensive basic fighter maneuvering to gain an advantage over an aerial opponent.

Mariano said that the exercise will also allow or feature "simulated guns and missile kills" among opposing American and Filipino aircraft.

He added that the ACM drills will be conducted over the northwestern part of Central Luzon.

"It will be held in Intensive Military Training Area 1 and 2 (and this is over) northwest of Central Luzon," the PAF spokesperson said.

Also, Mariano said this year's BACE-P will feature Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) on how to use and defend against surface-to-air missiles (SAM) systems.

"This will be a SMEE -- more on a lecture type and procedures on what to do on how to defend against, (and) also to employ (SAM systems)," he added.

Earlier, the PAF said it will be participating in the 10th iteration of the BACE-P which that will be executed at Basa Air Base, Floridablanca, Pampanga; Clark Air Base, Mabalacat City, Pampanga; Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base, Capas, Tarlac; and in Wallace Air Station in San Fernando La Union.

The exercise will focus on a wide range of mission sets such as air-to-air engagement, base defense; air traffic navigations and integration coordination; air battle management, air defense command, and control operations; radar and radio operations; and surface-to air-missile operation and deployment planning. (PNA)

Israeli officials say Russia-Ukraine ceasefire talks at critical point
Barak Ravid

The ceasefire talks between Russia and Ukraine are at a critical juncture, Israeli officials said today.

Why it matters: Israel, which has good relations with both Ukraine and Russia, is in a unique situation mediating between the countries.

Driving the news: Israeli officials with direct information about the talks coordinated by Israel said they feel there is a softening of positions on both sides in the last 24 hours, with the Russians saying they only want to demilitarize the Donbas region and Zelensky telling ABC news he has “cooled down” about joining NATO.

    Israeli officials said they hope these are signs that more progress toward a diplomatic solution might be possible.

Catch up quick: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visited Moscow on Saturday and met with Putin. Since then, he's been engaged in a flurry of phone calls with Putin, Zelensky, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

    On Tuesday, Bennett spoke again to Zelensky about the ceasefire efforts and then called Putin to pass on a message from the Ukrainian president.
    The Kremlin said Putin briefed Bennett on the results of the third round of talks between Russia and Ukraine in Belarus.

Behind the scenes: Two Israeli officials said Bennett isn't presenting Putin and Zelensky with any plan or framework and is only passing messages between the leaders.

    In the meeting with Putin, Bennett relayed ideas that came up from Ukraine and other countries, including France and Germany, in order to get Putin’s reaction and assess whether he is flexible or not on his current conditions for a ceasefire, Israeli officials said.
    Bennett and his aides briefed Ukraine, the Biden administration, France and Germany about the meeting with Putin in detail and also about the phone call that followed.

Israeli officials are crediting their talks with Putin for crystallizing the situation for Zelensky and also contributing to western knowledge about the Russian president’s positions.

    Israel relayed to the U.S., France and Germany the details of Putin’s proposal to Zelensky, which wasn’t fully known in Washington, Paris and Berlin, Israeli officials said.
    According to Israeli officials, Putin’s proposal is difficult for Zelensky to accept but not as extreme as they anticipated. They said the proposal doesn’t include regime change in Kyiv and allows Ukraine to keep its sovereignty.

What they're saying: A senior Israeli official said Zelensky is at a crossroads and has to choose between two options:

    Accept the Russian proposal, which is very tough, but preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty and stop the war.
    Reject the proposal and risk a serious escalation in the Russian attack that could end in a catastrophe for Zelensky and for Ukraine.

What’s next: Israeli officials said Israel and other western countries are not going to press Ukraine to choose a particular path.

    But they expressed concern that if the talks fail, the war will enter a new and more violent phase, Putin's proposal will be taken off the table and a return to negotiations will be impossible.

General Discussion / A primer on Statistical Armor (aka Cage Armor)
« on: March 09, 2022, 10:11:29 PM »
Primer: Statistical Armour
Jon Hawkes   Feb 27

Bar. Cage. Slat. Mesh. Net. Chain. It has many names, but all belong to a family of armour – statistical armours. Designed to defeat RPGs, it has become a normal sight on every class of vehicle from logistics trucks to main battle tanks. But how does it actually work, and why do you almost certainly think it does some things it doesn’t?

What is it?

As the name suggests, statistical armour is designed to defeat its target threats by use of statistical probability. Where conventional armour seeks to just cover a vehicle in protection from any axis, statistical armour plays a numbers game to provide good (everything is relative) levels of protection whilst keeping weight and volume down and visibility up.

Let’s get this one out the way up front and centre:

    Statistical armour is exclusively for defeat of shaped charge munitions using a double-skinned nose as conductive path for a piezoelectric-based fuzing system.

That refers mainly to the RPG family, including systems in the RPG-7/PG-9/PG-15/SPG-9 families. Why have I written that in a patronisingly bold stand out manner? Because the pervasive misunderstanding of statistical armour is what it can and can’t do, and why it exists. Even professionals in the field of AFVs, weapons and armour commonly hold a flawed understanding of what this armour does.

First, how does it work?


Going back to our statistical armour, it forms a big grid, where a majority of it is actually open space, with rigid elements dividing it into up. This means we now have a statistical likelihood that if an RPG is fired at the grid, its nose will go through a gap rather than hit something. The grid has been designed at such dimensions that it is slightly smaller than the anticipated warhead (generally 65-95 mm for something like a PG-7) and as a result after the sensitive tip has passed without incident, the main body of the warhead collides with the grid and is deformed, making the outer and inner skins of the RPG contact one another internally.

This has now short circuited the fuzing system, even if the tip does now impact something and send an electric charge, it will not reach the fuze at the rear and the charge cannot detonate.

Given the velocities involved the warhead is more often than not critically damaged, breaking it apart and destroying it, or catching it in the grid without impacting the vehicle itself. We are dealing with explosives, so whilst a detonation cannot occur and thus a shaped charge jet cannot be formed, the charge can deflagrate or burn (see my primer on Insensitive Munitions (IM) for some more detail on the varying grades of energetic reaction) and so a defeat is not always without some fanfare, but the key mechanism of attack via shaped charge jet has been thwarted.

Even in an ideal defeat where the RPG sticks in the bars and never impacts the hull of the vehicle at all, a degree of fragmentation and debris will still project from the RPG onto the vehicle. In a suboptimal defeat there will be deflagration with accompanying fragmentation. In any case the vehicle being defended by statistical armour needs some form of passive ballistic armour to protect it from the consequences of the defeat mechanism, and 'no effect' is an outcome that will never be recorded in a defeat scenario.

A secondary risk is that in the event of a defeat there may be a grenade trapped on the side of the vehicle that needs to be removed, though more often than not the warhead breaks up sufficiently from interaction with the bars/mesh to render the risk relatively low.

China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank freezes Russia lending
March 3, 2022

LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said on Thursday it has put all activities relating to Russia and Belarus on hold and under review in the wake of the current conflict in Ukraine.

The Beijing headquarted AIIB said in a statement that its management would do its utmost to safeguard the financial integrity of AIIB, against the backdrop of the evolving economic and financial situation.

"Under these circumstances, and in the best interests of the Bank, Management has decided that all activities relating to Russia and Belarus are on hold and under review."

China is the largest shareholder in the development bank holding 26.5% of its voting power.

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