– USNI News – The Marine Corps released its 2017 Marine Aviation Plan today, outlining its upcoming aircraft acquisition and upgrade plans and providing a glimpse of how those new capabilities will come together in various operational scenarios.
– USNI News – Naval leaders from the U.K., France and the U.S. have signed a trilateral cooperation agreement that will allow the three navies to work more closely together – especially in the realms of submarine warfare and carrier operations.
– Breaking Defense – For the first time, an important United States military base, one where a great deal of highly classified communications, intelligence and operations occur, sits within a few miles of a military competitor. Where? Djibouti.
– CIMSEC – The first of a three-part conclusion on the maritime militia of Hainan Province.
– USNI News – The Navy has completed testing on potential solutions to solve a ‘must fix’ catapult launch problem on the carrier version of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter,
– Nation – It’s finally Chinese submarines for Thailand. But the government would pay for only two as the third one was “a free gift”, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha revealed at his weekly press briefing yesterday.
– Asahi Shimbun – The Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Kaga helicopter carrier, its joint-largest warship, was commissioned here on March 22.
– CIMSEC – A conversation examining the competition between A2/AD technology and the Air-Sea Battle concept in the Western Pacific.
– USNI News – The president of Taiwan announced the start of a domestic submarine program. Taiwan estimates the process will take ten years for the first attack boat to be ready – four for design, four for construction and two additional years of testing.
– CIMSEC – According to the 2016 Marine Corps Operating Concept (MOC), the greatest risk to the Marine Corps is that it becomes unbalanced in its development as a force that is at once naval, expeditionary, agile, and lethal.1 Four decades of institutional neglect of naval surface fire support (NSFS) has led to precisely that: the Corps is over-reliant on aviation and cruise missiles to provide fires in a non-permissive maritime domain. Without investment in NSFS solutions that balance capability and capacity, the Marine Corps will be constrained in its ability to maneuver at sea, leaving Marines ill-equipped to fight and win in the future operating environments the MOC predicts.
– Reuters – In a display of military power aimed at China, France will dispatch one of its powerful Mistral amphibious carriers to lead drills on and around Tinian island in the western Pacific, with Japanese and U.S. personnel and two troop-carrying helicopters sent by Britain.
– China Brief – Part 1 of this series discussed Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong’s background, meteoric rise, and recent promotion to PLAN Commander. However, his appointment raises a number of questions about his role in the PLA Navy’s modernization, his promotion’s implication for China’s promotion system, and about his predecessor’s continued presence on the Central Military Commission. Part 2 will explore these important factors in depth and suggest possible conclusions and implications.
– Reuters – U.S. President Donald Trump says he wants to build dozens of new warships in one of the biggest peace-time expansions of the U.S. Navy. But interviews with ship-builders, unions and a review of public and internal documents show major obstacles to that plan.
– National Interest – Russia is set to launch its second Yasen-class nuclear-powered attack submarine on March 30. Called Kazan, the new vessel is an upgraded Project 885M design that is in many ways much more capable than the lead ship of the class, K-560 Severodvinsk.
– China Brief – A new leader has just taken the helm of the world’s largest navy. Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong (沈金龙) reportedly replaced Admiral Wu Shengli (吴胜利) as PLAN Commander on January 17, 2017. Authoritative state media reports have offered few details on Shen, making it important to analyze a broad array of Chinese-language sources to distill what his elevation may mean for China as a maritime power.
– Second Line of Defense – The USN is approaching the P-8/Triton combat partnership, which is the integration of manned, and unmanned systems, or what are now commonly called “remotes”. The Navy looked at the USAF experience and intentionally decided to not build a Triton “remote” operational combat team that is stovepiped away from their P-8 Squadrons. The teams at Navy Jax and Pax River are building a common Maritime Domain Awareness and Maritime Combat Culture and treats the platforms as partner applications of the evolving combat theory.
– Reuters – China has started fresh construction work in the disputed South China Sea, new satellite images show, a sign that Beijing is continuing to strengthen its military reach across the vital trade waterway.
– CIMSEC – Late Monday, crew on the Emirati-owned oil tanker Aris13 activated a distress call indicating they were being pursued by pirates off the coast of Somalia. The subsequent hijacking, once confirmed, would mark the first successful Somali act of piracy since 2012. This of course begs the question: Is Somali piracy back?
– USNI News – International forces are set to assess the situation of an oil tanker allegedly seized by Somali pirates.
– Defense News – The luster is off a bit for the Virginia-class submarine building program, long considered a model US Navy construction effort that routinely brings down the building time and cost for each successive sub. One submarine has just missed its contract delivery date — pushed back even more when sea trials were halted to return to port — and shipbuilders are working harder to keep construction on schedule.
– USNI News – Russia will start construction on a planned five-year expansion of its naval base in Syria this spring, officials said in Russian state media.
– Reuters – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the navy to put up “structures” to assert sovereignty over a stretch of water east of the country, where Manila has reported a Chinese survey ship was casing the area last year.
– BBC – An oil tanker has been hijacked by suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, the first such hijacking in the region in five years.
– Breaking Defense – The usefulness of the aircraft carrier, long the centerpiece of American naval power in the world, was in serious question, one year ago. Chronic underfunding, poor strategic assumptions and bad acquisition decisions had left the carrier defensively unprotected and offensively underpowered as its airwing both shrank in size and striking range. President Trump’s election and his public commitment to a 350-ship Navy as well as his explicit call for a twelfth carrier, effectively truncates these concerns, bringing the promise of additional capabilities that will ensure the safety and effectiveness of the carrier.
– Reuters – Japan plans to dispatch its largest warship, the helicopter carrier Izumo, on a three-month tour through the South China Sea beginning in May, in its biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two.