China’s Long March toward Global Naval Presence Symbolized in New Carrier

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Chinese Carrier Liaoning. PLAN Photo.

With the April 26 launch of its first indigenous aircraft carrier, China has signaled its resolve to build a first-rate navy with a global reach.  China’s long-term goal of building a blue-water navy capable of extending its maritime presence beyond its immediate region continues to bear fruit. That process took a step forward with the launching in the northeastern port city of Dalian of the locally built ship.    Continue reading

Western Sanctions Impact Russian Frigate Sale to India

by Derek Bisaccio, Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Russian Frigate Admiral Grigorovich. Source: Russian Ministry of Defense

Russia is moving forward with export plans for two of its Admiral Grigorovich class frigates (Project 11356M). Under an agreement inked last year, Moscow will export the Admiral Butakov and Admiral Istomin  to India, and assist India in producing two more locally. While both sides seem to be working on implementing the contract, Western sanctions have created complications. Continue reading

Japan Opts for More Small Ships – and a Faster Build Rate

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Faced with a growing People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) naval capacity and maritime presence in waters of the East China Sea, Japan’s government plans to accelerate, alter and expand a warship building project. Rather than continuing with a build rate of one new 5,000-ton destroyer per year, a decision was reached to shift to construction of two smaller 3,000-ton destroyers per year beginning with the launch of the fiscal year in April 2018. This will allow for an expansion of the class from four to eight ships, thus providing the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) with greater fleet capacity with which to counter the growing naval arm of the PLAN. Continue reading

India Launches Second Scorpene Submarine, but Capacity Pressures Still Haunt Navy

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Scorpene class submarine

With India’s submarine capacity dwindling, small rays of sunshine are beginning to appear in the distance. The launching on January 12 of the second in a six-boat class of French-designed Project 75 Scorpene attack submarines (SSKs) marks another small, slow step in building up a capable submarine arm that has dangerously atrophied over the years. During the 1980s, the Indian Navy submarine inventory numbered 21 vessels, while today it features just 13 conventional submarines, plus one indigenous nuclear-powered ballistic missile (SSBN) submarine, the Arihant. Another boat, the Russian Akula-class Chakra, is leased and used only for training purposes. Continue reading

Malaysia Plans to Buy Ships from China as Beijing Courts Southeast Asia

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

By 樱井千一 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26092295

Type 056 (Jiangdao class) corvette.  Source: 樱井千一 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Marking a new step in military cooperation between China and Malaysia, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak has announced that his country will be purchasing “at least” four naval ships from China tailored for missions in littoral waters. Continue reading

Was the LHA-6 a Good Idea?

by Stuart Slade, Senior Naval Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

LHA 6 America

LHA 6 America

Replacing the five original LHAs was an urgent requirement; the ships were old, had been worked hard, and had reached the end of their operational lives.  When the first of the replacement ships was designed, a number of key decisions that seemed logical at the time have since become questionable.  Of these, the most controversial has been the deletion of the well deck and the resulting reliance on aircraft to carry out the ships’ missions.  In reality, the new ships were LPHs rather than LHAs. Continue reading

We Should Never Have . . .

by Stuart Slade, Senior Naval Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

CVN-78 aircraft carrier

USS Gerald R Ford is the latest U.S. aircraft carrier Source: U.S. Navy

Sea-Air-Space Symposium, Washington One of the topics that invariably comes up at a meeting of naval-oriented people concerns the iniquities of the past wherein ships that were supposedly the perfect solutions to the requirements of the time were scrapped, allegedly to “save money.”  Those of the aviation persuasion add in their pleas on behalf of aircraft that were once in service but are now relegated to museums.  So, why were these alleged paragons of virtue removed from service and scrapped? Continue reading

Australia Opts for French Design in Future Submarine Competition

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Shortfin Barracuda. Source: DCNS

Shortfin Barracuda. Source: DCNS

In a highly anticipated decision, Australia’s center-right government opted for a French design to meet its Sea 1000 Future Submarine requirement. The project involves the construction of 12 submarines that will serve as a successor class to the Royal Australian Navy’s current Collins class fleet.  French shipbuilder DCNS offered up a diesel-electric variant – the Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A – of its nuclear-powered Barracuda attack submarine built for the French Navy. Continue reading

Australians Go French for New Submarine

by Stuart Slade, Senior Naval Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Shortfin Barracuda. Source: DCNS

Shortfin Barracuda. Source: DCNS

The French DCNS Group has beaten competitors from Germany and Japan to secure the contract to build Australia’s next fleet of submarines.  DCNS offered the Shortfin Barracuda, which is a modified version of the French Navy’s nuclear submarine.  The much anticipated $38.5 billion contract ensures that the 12 new submarines will be built at Adelaide’s Osborne shipyards.

Continue reading

Fifth and Sixth Improved Kilo Class Submarines to Enter Russian Service

By Derek Bisaccio, Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Improved Kilo. Source: Russian MoD

Improved Kilo. Source: Russian MoD

By the end of May of this year, two more Project 636.3 submarines are due to be in service with the Russian Navy. On March 2, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the fifth diesel-electric submarine, called Veliky Novgorod, will be launched on March 18. The submarine will be floated out in Saint Petersburg on the 110th anniversary of the Russian Navy’s underwater forces.[i] Continue reading