– Navy Times – A witness says Australian navy helicopter pilots were hit by lasers while exercising in the South China Sea, forcing them to land as a precaution.
– Defense News – The Royal Australian Navy has managed to integrate the Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk naval helicopter with a range of vessels that were not included in the original plans when Australia decided to acquire the type.
– Breaking Defense – France and Australia must resolve major differences over the Aussie’ new submarine program before a new Australian government is elected next year, and the most obvious alternative is Japan.
– USNI News – The Royal Australian Navy has set out its force structure for the next 40 years with decisions taken on construction programs for new submarines, frigates and smaller offshore patrol vessels.
– USNI News – Australia’s amphibious force was a breakout star of the Rim of the Pacific 2018 exercise, being thrust into visible leadership role when the U.S. Navy’s amphibious assault ship suffered mechanical failures and remained pierside for most of the at-sea exercise.
– Breaking Defense – As the Chinese challenge grows, Australia is clearly concerned about expanded Chinese influence within Australia and with regard to Chinese efforts to reshape the external environment to expand the influence and power of the Chinese authoritarian state. Clearly the United States remains Australia’s core ally in dealing with the Chinese challenge, but as Australia modernizes its forces, it is broadening its working relationships with other key allies as well.
– Defense News – Australia will acquire nine high-end anti-submarine warfare frigates from the end of the next decade under a deal with BAE Systems worth AU$35 billion (U.S. $26 billion).
– Defense News – In a move that could send shock waves through the global frigate market, Australia appears poised to announce that it has selected BAE Systems’ Type 26 design for its new future frigate design.
– War Zone – The long-range, high-flying unmanned aircraft will patrol the country’s large maritime borders and keep tabs on Chinese developments in the Pacific.
– AP – Australia’s prime minister said his country has a “perfect right” to traverse the South China Sea after a media report Friday that the Chinese navy challenged three Australian warships in the hotly contested waterway.
– CIMSEC – It was revealing that Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017 was explained by the Australian Department of Defence as enhancing military cooperation with some of Australia’s “key regional partners”; specifically named as Brunei, Cambodia, the Federated States of Micronesia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. Politically the absence of China as a partner was deliberate but accurate, and in which the range of other countries represented a degree of tacit external balancing on the part of Australia.
– Defense News – A lack of Australian confidence in Japan’s defense industry sank an offer from Tokyo in the AUD$50 billion (U.S. $38 billion) tender for attack submarines, while greater stealth and advanced propulsion technology buoyed a rival French bid, said Sam Bateman, a research fellow at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security.
– USNI News – The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is nearing full operational capability of its amphibious force, after a six-year effort to turn an Army battalion into the heart of a joint-service expeditionary capability akin to the U.S. Marine Corps.
– The Australian – Washington was rebuffed by the Australian government when it tried to convey strategic concerns about the $150 billion new submarine project. Washington was “not able to have a serious alliance discussion” with the Turnbull government about the Americans’ preference for Japan to build the navy’s new submarines to strengthen Australia-US-Japan ties in the face of a rising China.
– Sydney Morning Herald – Propulsion problems on two new amphibious warships which cost taxpayers $3 billion could be the consequence of fundamental design flaws, navy chiefs have revealed, as they confirmed at least one of the vessels will miss major drills with the US next month.
– US Naval War College Review – While the Australian Defense Force and New Zealand Defense Force maintain a relatively high level of interoperability, further enhancements in the area of amphibious capability could be achieved through greater integration, specifically through emulating the model adopted by the United Kingdom / Netherlands Amphibious Force (UKNLAF).
– ABC – Australia’s “largest maritime operation” in peacetime history will involve up to a dozen patrol boats and a supporting naval warship, as well as an offshore patrol vessel from the Australian Border Force (ABF), to create a so-called “ring of steel” to block future people-smuggling ventures.
– Second Line of Defense – Rear Admiral Mead is the Navy’s joint capability manager and is clearly focused on the cross-cutting dynamics of maritime modernization within the context of the overall evolution of the ADF.
– Breaking Defense – The Australian military is shaping a transformed military force, one built around new platforms but ones that operate in a joint manner in an extended battlespace. The goal is to extend the defense perimeter of Australia and create, in effect, their own version of an Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) strategy.
– USNI News – The Rim of the Pacific 2016 exercise has given the Australian landing force a well-timed opportunity: soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR) played a central role in three-ship Amphibious Ready Group operations off Hawaii ahead of conducting ARG operations on their own for the first time ever next year.
– Breaking Defense – America’s Pacific partners are building up their amphibious forces, but they can’t storm a beach against a high-tech adversary like China. Even the most advanced allies — Australia, Japan, and South Korea — would need US support for a raid against a well-armed terrorist group, especially in command & control, logistics, and helicopters.
– The Conversation – France will be awarded the contract to partner with Australia to build the next generation of submarines to replace the Collins-class…But what was at stake in this A$50 billion program? What were the real technological differences between the submarines on offer?
– BBC – France has won a A$50bn (€34bn; £27bn) contract to build 12 submarines for the Australian Navy, beating bids from Japan and Germany.
– War is Boring – HMAS ‘Canberra’ rushes aid to storm-stricken Fiji.
– USNI News – Australia has placed significant emphasis on enhancing its maritime capabilities in its long-delayed 2016 Defence White Paper amidst an overall surge in the country’s defense spending, while warning that China’s policies and actions will have a major impact on the stability of the Indo-Pacific in the coming decades.