Much to China’s ire, Japan’s regional influence is becoming the norm

Defense News – Japan is continuing to enhance its security presence in Asia and the western Pacific, as the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to continue defense posture reforms and counter China’s military activities in the region.

Testing the waters: China’s maritime militia challenges foreign forces at sea

Defense News – China’s so-called maritime militia is believed to be behind a series of laser attacks against an Australian naval helicopter over the South China Sea, soon after a U.S. admiral warned that the paramilitary force could be treated as combatants.

Navy to Field High-Energy Laser Weapon, Laser Dazzler on Ships This Year as Development Continues

USNI News – The Navy will field versions of both its highest-power laser weapon and its low-end non-lethal laser dazzler later this year, gaining operational experience with directed energy weapons that will continue to focus engineers’ efforts building out the Navy Laser Family of Systems (NLFoS).

Aussie navy pilots hit by Chinese lasers

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.

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Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Expanding as Tokyo Takes New Approach to Maritime Security

USNI News – When President Donald Trump visited Japan this month, he was taken on board JS Kaga, one of a pair of new Izumo-class helicopter carriers built for the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) set to be retrofitted to fly the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter. The carriers represent a new approach to maritime security that is shifting to a more forward defense posture.

Is The U.S. Navy Missing The Boat By Not Including The Type 26 In Its Frigate Competition?

War Zone – As the U.S. Navy gets closer to issuing the final request for proposals for its future frigate competition, or FFG(X), one particularly notable design, BAE System’s Type 26, has largely been absent from the discussion. It seems particularly curious given that the British-designed ship is well on its way to becoming one of the most popular warships in its class among some of America’s closest allies, with 32 examples in various configurations on order for the U.K. Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, and the Royal Canadian Navy.

Will Trump Fire SecNav? Super Carrier USS Ford Suffers New Setback

Breaking Defense – Just days after Trump again ripped the program, the Navy says the over-budget, and overdue, carrier remains beset with problems.

Tightening the Chain: Implementing a Strategy of Maritime Pressure in the Western Pacific

Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments – In this report, the authors propose a strategy of maritime pressure to erode the Chinese leadership’s confidence in its ability to present the United States and its allies with a fait accompli. The strategy, implemented in a new operational concept dubbed “Inside-Out,” entails fielding precision-strike networks – particularly land-based anti-ship and anti-air capabilities – along the First Island Chain inside China’s anti-access/area denial network, supported by air and naval forces outside it.

Multiple F/A-18 Pilots Disclose Recent UFOs Encounters, New Radar Tech Key In Detection

War Zone – A major upgrade in fighter jet radar tech seems to have been key in detecting and tracking bizarre objects flying in military training airspace.

Murmansk gets Russia’s biggest dry dock

Barents Observer – The Zvezdochka shipyard now confirms that a replacement for the PD-50 dry dock that last October vanished into the sea is soon in the making. The new dry dock will be based on two existing dry docks located in yard No 35 in Roslyakovo and will be used to do work on the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.

Lockheed Martin Won’t Submit Freedom LCS Design for FFG(X) Contest

USNI News – Lockheed Martin won’t submit a bid to compete in the design of the Navy’s next-generation guided-missile (FFG(X)) frigate competition.

From Engagement to Rivalry: Tools to Compete with China

Texas National Security Review – To arrive at a new consensus, the United States needs to address the weaknesses in Americans’ knowledge of China while rethinking the connections between the ways China is analyzed and how policy is made.

Developing A Black Sea Strategy

USNI Blog – The Black Sea is a challenging operational environment for the U.S. military because of its confining geographical features, Russia’s established military dominance in the region, and the restrictions placed on the U.S. Navy as a non-Black Sea nation by the Montreux Convention of 1936. Overcoming these challenges and developing a strategy to deter and, if required, defeat, Russia in this region requires a new approach to U.S. thinking about naval strategy.

Introducing China’s Other Aircraft Carrier Program

National Interest – The PLA Navy’s very first large helicopter carrier, the Type 075, will further tilt an already starkly lopsided imbalance across the Taiwan Strait.

Russia launches new nuclear-powered icebreaker in bid to open up Arctic

Guardian – Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday, part of an ambitious programme to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.

Netherlands is Heading Back to High Seas

International Policy Digest – The end of an era has come, as the Netherlands send their 4 attack submarines off to a well-deserved retirement. With the replacement fleet, the Netherlands will reinforce its leading position, both within Europe and NATO, as one of the few truly sovereign high-sea fleets. But before positioning once again as the submarine experts of the continent, the Netherlands need new submarines.

Taiwan’s Next Batch Of Stealthy Catamarans Will Have Serious Mine-Laying Capabilities

War Zone – Taiwan says it has started construction of a trio of stealthy missile corvettes with what appear to be racks for naval mines on the stern, as well as four dedicated minelayers.

Jonathan Roper, Traveling Consultant

Modern War Institute – The Army Mad Scientist team executed its 2019 Science Fiction Writing Contest to glean insights about the future fight with a near-peer competitor in 2030. The following story was one of four finalists.

China’s Multifaceted Arctic Strategy

War on the Rocks – At the recent Arctic Council ministerial meeting in Finland, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proclaimed that the Arctic “has become an arena for power and for competition.” He singled out China, saying, “China’s words and actions raise doubts about its intentions” in the region.

When it comes to missile-killing lasers, the US Navy is ready to burn its ships

Defense News – The U.S. Navy’s Director of Surface Warfare is ready to bet the farm on using lasers to shoot down missiles.

Navy Has No Plans Develop Lethal Carrier UAV Before MQ-25A Hits Flight Decks

USNI News – The Navy won’t pursue the development of a lethal carrier-based unmanned aircraft before it fields its unmanned MQ-25A Stingray tanker sometime in the 2020s.

The Deadly Evolution of Abu Sayyaf and the Sea

CIMSEC – Illicit maritime activities are at the root of Abu Sayyaf Group funding and operations, and ensuring the group’s defeat will require focused government efforts to improve maritime security in its area of operations.