Why ASEAN matters - in the era of great power competition

OPSSG

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte calls on ASEAN countries not to choose sides between China and the United States, all while pursuing his 'independent foreign policy' which involves the Philippines' pivot to China. See: Duterte in ASEAN: Let's exercise 'self-restraint' in South China Sea

The rise of the China choice block within ASEAN has occurred with Malaysia and Philippines being prominent members that have shifted and aligned themselves with Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar as 5 states beholden to China. As many know and I mentioned before politicians like Duterte and Dr M are for sale and China has them in their pocket.

For China, the view is that current situation in the South China Sea is improving towards greater stability by 2020. This stability is attributed to the common efforts of the countries in the region to make progress on the ASEAN and China code of conduct (COC) to manage the South China Sea maritime and territorial disputes. Under the erratic Trump administration, both Brunei and Thailand are countries that are keen to maintain good trade ties with China. This means that within the ASEAN 10, despite the understanding of ASEAN leaders of the need for ASEAN centrality, there are 7 votes to ensure that China’s interests are always considered, leaving Viet Nam increasingly isolated as a voice of concern as an involved party. See: Chinese ship leaves Vietnam's waters after disputed South China Sea surveys

Chinese vessels are patrolling Luconia, Second Thomas, and Scarborough most often belong to the Shucha II and Zhaolai classes. These vessels are largely unarmed, except for water cannons and small arms, but are much larger than the law enforcement or most navy ships of their neighbors. This makes them ideal for operations that might involve threatening collisions and, if necessary, shouldering other vessels to drive them away without using lethal force. See: Signaling Sovereignty: Chinese Patrols at Contested Reefs | Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative

Meanwhile, a Liberia-flagged, Greek-owned crude oil tanker Green Aura was transiting from Nongyao, Thailand, on its way to Longkou, China, when it was hailed by a Chinese warship near the Scarborough Shoal. On freedom of navigation and collision risk with China’s maritime militia issues see: EXCLUSIVE: Chinese ‘naval warship’ harasses Filipino-crewed ship near Scarborough Shoal and Seeking Clues in the Case of the Yuemaobinyu 42212 | Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative
 

Ananda

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The rise of the pro-China block within ASEAN has occurred with Malaysia and Philippines being prominent members within that have shifted and aligned themselves with Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar as 5 states beholden to China
OPSSG if I may, I do believe Malaysia being 'friendlier' to China due to other International Investors being bit reluctant recently to Malaysia after 1MB fiasco. However I still not see that Malaysia will be in same league with likes of Myanmar, Cambodia or Laos which are much more depending with China.

I see the way Philippines and Malaysia tendencies on China policies more to 'oportunistics' behavior, rather than shifting paradigm. There are still too many different 'signs' domestically within Malaysia and Philippines.

https://amp-scmp-com.cdn.ampproject...ncerned-about-indonesias-new-defence-minister

This is just as example for Indonesia, which are much less dependency to China compared to Malaysia..still too many opposing sides that make any Policies to China more as 'balancing' between Chinese and Japan/US. After all Japan is still the biggest Investor and despite recent China increase in trade and Investment.. Indonesia still have 'choice' to balance.

The problem for many SEA nation's, they don't have 'balance' toward China in trade and Investment.
 

OPSSG

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I would say that Indonesia and Singapore are friendly to China but retain an ability to act in a sovereign manner. Less so with Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines or Malaysia — who do not have enough bargaining power to get really good deals. IMO, real defence capability or capacity gives a country real bargaining power. In ASEAN there are 4 countries that are developing increased defence capabilities and capacity to cope with change — Indonesia, Thailand, Viet Nam, and Singapore.

Without capability, a country can easily become a client state with less scope for freedom of action. Under the Trump Administration with an ‘America First’ policy that rejects the TTP, ASEAN members can no longer hope even for American leadership from the back (of the prior administration).
OPSSG if I may, I do believe Malaysia being 'friendlier' to China due to other International Investors being bit reluctant recently to Malaysia after 1MB fiasco. However I still not see that Malaysia will be in same league with likes of Myanmar, Cambodia or Laos which are much more depending with China.

I see the way Philippines and Malaysia tendencies on China policies more to 'oportunistics' behavior, rather than shifting paradigm. There are still too many different 'signs' domestically within Malaysia and Philippines.
I waited about half a year before I was willing to say Malaysia is ‘beholden to China’ and having ‘shifted’ (viz a viz Western countries and the US in general) but I also accept your perspective. Your prediction may be more accurate in 2019, but my prediction will be more accurate by 2022 to 2026, as this is a long term trend. Unlike Indonesia with a huge domestic market, Malaysia is an exporter in a middle income trap and losing ground as FDI destination of choice when compared to Viet Nam or Indonesia. Dr M needs China’s investments to fight his domestic enemies and be seen as delivering growth, at any price, as a long term trend. See:
11 projects that show China’s influence over Malaysia

IMHO, Dr M is also asking and getting price reductions for Najib’s deals but asking for unimportant concessions, to deliver a quick political win. For example:
  • China and Malaysia resumed construction of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project in peninsula Malaysia on 25 Jul 2019 after a year-long suspension and following a rare agreement to cut its cost by nearly a third to about US$11 billion; and
  • the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link, headlines say RM1.77 billion or 36 per cent less,
when the concessions are all made by Malaysian parties. The headlines say Malaysia gets a better deal but the reality is small changes in the margin for both China and Singapore. Behind these headlines are deals to reduce the level of Malaysian corruption or profits. Malaysians have to ask themselves, how much Chinese and Singaporean investments were held back for the period of renegotiations with the Malaysian Government, just for the Malaysians to sort out their internal disagreements for their cut of the deal.

In late Sep 2019, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in front of the UN General Assembly that India has now “invaded and occupied” Kashmir and Jammu. In response to Mahathir’s comments, on October 21, a major trading body in India called for its members to stop purchasing palm oil from Malaysia. The decision from Indian palm industry leaders to shroud a fundamentally economic debate in nationalist rhetoric is a clear example of using nationalism to promote a trade agenda and sets a dangerous precedent that threatens any leader who might call out an economic superpower for violations of international law. In the case of Palm oil, China is the only viable export alternative for Malaysia (to India).


In Jan 2019, a H-6K operated by the PLANAF buzzed a Malaysian operated oil platform off Sarawak. See blog post here. As a result during Ops Iring Malaysian Hawks made a low flypast to indicate their presence and to boost the morale of those on KD Lekiu and PFLNG 2.

Dr M knows that Chinese ships are parked in Malaysia’s disputed EEZ. See my prior post, where he is quoted as saying Malaysia has to be subservient: “... we have to accept the fact that China is a big power... We don’t go around trying to be aggressive when we don’t have the capacity... In the past we use to send to China gold and silver flowers every year as a symbol of our being practically, well, subservient to them.”
BN: ASEAN and China have been talking about a code of conduct in the South China Sea for two decades, and now Malaysia and China, as we recently reported, have agreed to a bilateral mechanism to resolve sea disputes. Are ASEAN states abandoning the multilateral approach?
Dr M: No. We are still wanting to work together but our response depends on how much we are exposed. When we find that we ourselves singled out by China for some action, I don’t think the other ASEAN countries have the capacity to put a stop to it. So like it or not, we have to deal with China by ourselves. The same applies to the Philippines. Because although ASEAN wants to work together, there are things that it’s not able to do. So because of that, well, even working together without any violence, that’s possible, we can have a firm stand on something, but if the Chinese take action, we are not in a position to resist or to act against them.
BN: I hear you speaking very pragmatically and fatalistically, that you cannot speak out against China if it’s a moral wrong, or if it has to do with territory; that economic matters and the sheer might of China make that impossible.
Dr M: Yeah, we have to accept the fact that China is a big power. You know, the Malay states have existed near China for the past 2,000 years. We have survived because we know how to conduct ourselves. We don’t go around trying to be aggressive when we don’t have the capacity, so we use other means. In the past we use to send to China gold and silver flowers every year as a symbol of our being practically, well, subservient to them.
BN: Another question about China. Chinese survey ships that reportedly conduct research related to oil and gas exploration have been sighted in Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone north of Borneo. Do they have your government’s permission to operate in Malaysian waters?
Dr M: No. They don’t have. And well, we watch what they are doing, we report what they are doing, but we do not chase them away or try to be aggressive.
Some background on one of the factors behind Malaysia’s swing towards China — as an alternative to Europe or the West (in general). I note that the EU passed an act earlier in 2019 to phase out palm oil from renewable fuel by 2030 due to deforestation concerns. While demand for palm oil used in EU biodiesel accounts for a fraction of global supply, palm oil producers in Malaysia and Indonesia, who produce 85% of the world supply worry that the law could spur calls for regulation of the oil's usage in food. Malaysia has led the public-relations offensive since the EU began working on the law, as it is far more reliant on exports than larger rival Indonesia. Malaysia ships about 85 percent of the palm oil it produces overseas annually. Malaysian Prime Minister Dr M has said the EU law was "grossly unfair" and was an attempt to protect alternative oils that Europe produced itself.

It was also reported that Duterte stands by China, doubts own Fishermen in Sea Collision (see: Bloomberg - Philippine’s Duterte to stand by China). As many know, politicians like Duterte and Dr M are for sale and China has them in their pocket.
The littoral mission ship deal, signed in 2017 at a revised contract price of RM1.047 billion (US$254 million), has underscored China’s rising status as a key player in the arms market in Southeast Asia. After some negotiations, China is supplying Malaysia with warships with a ‘price reduction’ (but it is via cutting out the Malaysian middle man). China’s arms sales to ASEAN members will grow — giving them even more influence. This is a clear trend with Thailand buying VT-4 tanks, VN-1 armoured vehicles, an S-26T submarine and a Type 071E landing platform dock too. See: Thailand to acquire amphibious ship from China
 

StingrayOZ

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Dr M and Duterte have different priorities, the see China as a potential for change or at least support.
I worry about Thailand. The situation is difficult.
 

OPSSG

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Easy to understand why the Malaysians and Pinoys have chosen Dr M and Duterte at the ballot box but they have to be prepared for the consequences. These two are in the politics of looking for scape goats to look good before their domestic audience. Once these two were elected, their need for China’s support naturally arises due to their domestic politics. Given their lack of desire to properly raise, train and sustain their respective armed forces and that magnifying disputes in the South China Sea is not in their interest, their ‘shift’ towards China is expected. Without the proper naval capability, they also lack options and have to accommodate China in a manner that makes outsiders wonder about their capability or capacity to defend their sovereignty.

For Thailand, we just have to wait and see — how the Chinese arms sales translate into influence.
 

OPSSG

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The PN was trained by the US Coast Guard to fix hydraulic leaks as a safely hazard to guard against. USCG press release - reproduced in full to demonstrate PN incompetence in naval operations — despite the training and assistance provided by the Americans.

Nov. 27, 2019
U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
Contact: Coast Guard Pacific Area Public Affairs
Office: (510) 437-3319
After Hours: (510) 333-6297
[email protected]
Pacific Area online newsroom

Return to the 378’: USCGC Stratton engineers collaborate with Philippine navy aboard cutter in common

When Coast Guard Cmdr. Matthew Gans learned about a unique opportunity for he and a team of his of engineers to work aboard a Philippine navy ship for a few days, his eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas.

This was a chance to share knowledge with the crew aboard BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS 17), formerly USCGC Boutwell (WHEC 719), a 378-foot High Endurance Cutter.

Gans knew that the United States had decommissioned the ship in early 2016 and the Philippines acquired it under the Excess Defense Articles and the Foreign Assistance Act.

As the current engineer officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Stratton (WMSL 752), a National Security Cutter out of Alameda, California, Gans was eager to call upon his 13 years of engineering experience aboard 378s.

Now in Puerto Princesa, Philippines, Stratton’s crew would work with Philippine navy and coast guard members the week of October 14-21, 2019, during Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama. The military exercise, now in its third year, is designed to promote regional security cooperation, strengthen partnerships and enhance maritime interoperability.

Over the course of four days, Gans and his team of 15 Stratton engineers worked side by side with their Philippine counterparts, troubleshooting mechanical issues long common to the 378 fleet.

Electricians and machinery technicians resolved issues preventing the main gas turbines from starting, corrected hydraulic leaks, and chased down and corrected various complications with the main diesel engine. They demonstrated proper maintenance procedures and made recommendations to their Filipino counterparts based on Gans’ extensive experience.

“It was a pleasure to watch my crew systematically approach troubleshooting to identify and correct the long list of casualties,” said Gans. He said it was nice for some of his younger crew members to finally get to see what it was like to work on an older Coast Guard cutter.

“My crew used to poke fun at me for always relating my experiences back to 378-foot cutter life,” said Gans. “But since this experience they’ve been telling their peers how valuable the opportunity was and how much fun they had working on the Bonifacio.”

Stratton damage control members restored five out of six inoperable dewatering and fire pumps aboard the Bonifacio, which required a complete rebuild of two engines. They also provided extensive maintenance and firefighting training and tested firefighting systems aboard the cutter.

“This experience justified for me my insatiable desire to continue to return to sea, even after all these years,” said Gans. “Our friends in the Philippine navy who now own and operate the cutter are an amazing group of people and were the most gracious of hosts. They are extremely proud to have the Bonifacio in their inventory and have done their very best to continue to maintain and operate the ship. I hope we continue to have a strong Coast Guard presence in future exercises with the Philippines, and would enthusiastically advocate for a greater emphasis on these opportunities for sharing our engineering knowledge.”

The collaborative effort of the Bonifacio crew and Gans’ team from Stratton made up the Engineering Symposium component of the larger training exercise.

“Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama built on a decade’s long relationship between the United States and Philippines maritime services,” said Capt. Bob Little, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton. “During Sama Sama, we exchanged knowledge that enhanced our skills and ability to work together. The engineering work aboard the Andres Bonifacio was only one component of the larger exercise, but perhaps the best opportunity for building strong personal relationships.”

The U.S. Coast Guard has an enduring role in the Indo-Pacific, going back more than 150 years. The service’s ongoing deployment of resources to the region directly supports U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives.

“The United States is a Pacific nation,” said Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area commander. “We have deep and long-standing ties with our partners in the region, and more importantly, we share a strong commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, governed by a rules-based international system that promotes peace, security, prosperity and sovereignty of all nations.”

As Gans and his crew hosted Andres Bonifacio crew members for a farewell visit and tour aboard cutter Stratton Oct. 20, he mentioned that this experience would have lasting impressions on Stratton’s engineers.

As he said goodbye and shook hands with his new Filipino friends that afternoon, it was clear Gans had made some impressions of his own.

-USCG-
 

swerve

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Sadly, the Philippines seems to suffer from a lack of seriousness in its governance, & this shows up strongly in its navy. It looks as if three years after being handed over as a fully functional ship Andres Bonifacio (ex USCGC Boutwell) had been allowed to decay into a near derelict. Had any maintenance been done in those three years?
 

ASSAIL

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Sadly, the Philippines seems to suffer from a lack of seriousness in its governance, & this shows up strongly in its navy. It looks as if three years after being handed over as a fully functional ship Andres Bonifacio (ex USCGC Boutwell) had been allowed to decay into a near derelict. Had any maintenance been done in those three years?
If the maintenance has been neglected it would be unusual for Philippines trained marine engineers who are widely dispersed through the merchant fleets of the world.
My own experience in employing these engineers in a large pearling operation has been a hugely positive one. After trying to recruit local Class 2 and 3 Engineers with no success we employed them on 457 visas. They were competent and conscientious which seems the same experience as that of USCG Cmdr Matthew Gans above.
 

OPSSG

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BZ to the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force (IAF) for rendering assistance to the injured sailor from BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16), as they transfer him to better medical facilities in India via an IAF An-32 transport aircraft.
Sadly, the Philippines seems to suffer from a lack of seriousness in its governance, & this shows up strongly in its navy. It looks as if three years after being handed over as a fully functional ship Andres Bonifacio (ex USCGC Boutwell) had been allowed to decay into a near derelict.
Agreed.

The Philippine Navy (PN) was gifted with 3 Hamilton-class cutters (known as the Del Pilar-class in the PN) but I suspect that only 1 of the 3 cutters remain operational. And is the Andres Bonifacio is the only ship that remains operational? If it is operational part of it is thanks to the 2019 efforts of the US Coast Guard.

The PN flagship BRP Gregorio Del Pilar after running aground in the Spratly Islands August 2018 is still not repaired and will not be back at sea till the 2nd quarter of 2021. One of the ship's two variable pitch propellers was damaged along with its propeller hub following its grounding off Hasa-Hasa Shoal in August 2018. A replacement propeller hub was ordered from the US to replace the one damaged in the grounding is expected to arrive in July 2020; and they seem to have no urgency and insufficient maintenance and operating budget allocated to keep their Del Pilar-class operational to conduct the necessary patrols.

BZ to the PN.
 

swerve

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If the maintenance has been neglected it would be unusual for Philippines trained marine engineers who are widely dispersed through the merchant fleets of the world.
My own experience in employing these engineers in a large pearling operation has been a hugely positive one. After trying to recruit local Class 2 and 3 Engineers with no success we employed them on 457 visas. They were competent and conscientious which seems the same experience as that of USCG Cmdr Matthew Gans above.
Indeed. The Philippines produces large numbers of determined, hard-working & talented people, but its dysfunctional politics makes it hard for many of them to apply their talents in their home country.
 

OPSSG

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According to a Pinoy blogger, the acceptance of the Jose Rizal “may also be tied to other projects that the Philippine Navy (PN) is trying to close with the South Korean government.

One is obtaining soft loans to support the Corvette Acquisition Project which the DND and PN are pushing to be awarded to a Korean shipbuilder (most likely HHI).

The other is obtaining excess defense articles from the South Korean Ministry of Defense, which may include a second or even a third decommissioned Pohang-class corvette formerly used by the Republic of Korea Navy.

Allowing [Jose Rizal] to be accepted without too much question will give the DND and PN more bargaining power with the South Korean government for both proposed projects.”
BRP Jose Rizal... the Philippine Navy’s first ever guided missiles frigate, but its still not yet equipped with any missiles, its still in the FFBNW-conviguration, so only armed with some guns.
Minor correction. While Jose Rizal has missiles, it is the wrong type of counter-air-missile for a proper missile armed frigate or corvette.

These under armed Pinoy vessels are equipped with the Mistral VSHORAD Missile. IMO, the wrong type of missile to defend against anti-ship missiles and only effective against helicopters or other slow movers.
The 107.5m long ship is FFBNW for the MICA VL missile system. BRP Jose Rizal has empty space allocated to install a VL system— but it may take half a decade or more before the Pinoys get around to buying and installing a proper anti-ship missile defence capability on their BRP Jose Rizal class of corvettes.
Both Indonesia’s 105.11m long SIGMA 10514 Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) and Singapore’s 80m long Independence class vessels were launched without their respective VL MICA systems (as FFBNW) but both countries had these systems installed later (in a timely manner).
Hopefully this almost toothless advanced modern fregat will soon be completed with all the missing weaponsystems: one or two chinese anti-ship missiles, and its over.
The PN's Jose Rizal is wired and integrated with South Korea's SSM-700 Haeseong anti-ship cruise missile. The Pinoys just have to pay for the SSM-700 missiles.
It is also unlikely that the Pinoys will buy a Chinese anti-ship missile.
 

Blackshoe

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Minor correction. While BRP Jose Rizal has missiles, it is the wrong type of counter-air-missile for a proper missile armed frigate or corvette.

These under armed Pinoy vessels are equipped with the Mistral VSHORAD Missile. IMO, the wrong type of missile to defend against anti-ship missiles and only effective against helicopters or other slow movers.
This is almost as bad as when the ROCs bought the LaFayette class FFs and could only put the near-useless Chaparral launchers on them.
 

Ananda

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Yes, I also have read that claim on MBDA sites and if not mistaken on one of MBDA press release on Mistral "NG". Seems this is part of MBDA possitioning Mistral as RIM-116 competitors.

However, haven't seen any trial of Mistral that shown capabilities as anti missile environment.
 

OPSSG

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Post 1 of 2: Singapore’s Peacetime Operations

1. The RSAF is on 24/7 standby, ready to:
(a) respond swiftly to life-saving missions with its Rescue 10. This helicopter is often scrambled to evacuate patients from civilian vessels in the vicinity of Singapore, who need immediate medical attention. Rescue 10 followed SOPs smoothly despite having to don masks and PPE, and brought the patient to a hospital in Singapore; and​
(b) conduct patrols to protect our SLOCs with its Fokker 50 MPA.​
2. I hope to see the new H225Ms being delivered in Rescue 10 livery by 2021.
 
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OPSSG

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MBDA claims that Mistral has at least some capability against anti-ship missiles.
1. Yes. Agreed and it is well suited as a retro-fit to the Tarlac class for the Philippine Navy. But I doubt they will be given the required funds to arm the Tarlac class during the remaining term of the Duterte administration — the Pinoys are buying the right systems but installing it on the wrong ships.
In contrast to Qartar’s Navy procurement activity (see: Qatar’s Navy), the Pinoys and their pie in the sky plans can’t be taken seriously.
Yes, I also have read that claim on MBDA sites and if not mistaken on one of MBDA press release on Mistral "NG". Seems this is part of MBDA possitioning Mistral as RIM-116 competitors.
2. Not really. RIM 116 is intended as an inner layer defence in a saturation attack by a sophisticated enemy — capable of multiple-threat engagement (more than 4 threats) in a fleet defence scenario. Whereas the French system has only 2 missiles before reload (as point defence against a rebel group, shooting 1 or 2 missiles indiscriminately).
  • The Block 2 RIM 116 missile provides kinematic and guidance improvements for countering maneuvering and low probability of intercept threats to regain battlespace. It features a Control Section upgrade (4 canards vs. 2 for Block 1A), a Propulsion Section upgrade (a larger, composite case rocket motor) and an Evolved Radio Frequency (ERF) receiver. RAM Block 2 IOC was achieved in May 2015.
  • In June 2019, the US Navy successfully tested the RIM-116C RAM in the Block 2A version, which paved the way for the first deliveries in late 2019. The Block 2A is the first of two versions of RAM Block 2’s capability enhancement programme launched in FY2016. The programme aims to improve system performance against a stream raid threat scenario.
  • The RIM-116C Block II Missile has a length of 2.88 meters, a diameter of 159 millimeters and weighs 91 kg. The RAM Block II Missile is claimed to have a maximum operational range of 7.5 nm, maximum speed of Mach 2.80 at sea level and can accelerate at +60G’s.
3. USS Mason’s intercept of the anti-ship missiles was part of its and USS Nitze duties in escorting USS Ponce and USS San Antonio (which was armed with RIM-116) through the waters around the Mandeb Strait illustrates the risk— which in this case, the RIM-116 was not used. USS Mason launched two SM-2s and a single ESSM on 9 Oct 2016, to intercept two inbound missiles over a 60-minute period around the Mandeb Strait while off-the-coast of Yemen.
However, haven't seen any trial of Mistral that shown capabilities as anti missile environment.
4. As part of MBDA’s systems testing, they must have done some limited testing in the past 5,000 firings of the missile. And even the French see the SIMBAD system as one for patrol vessels or a support ship (not a first line combatant). The baseline SIMBAD-RC architecture is centred on up two light-weight, gyro-stabilised launchers equipped with two ‘lock-on before launch’ (LOBL) MISTRAL infrared-homing missiles and a Safran MATIS SP mid-waveband thermal camera with a large field-of-view day camera, all managed by a compact terminal known as SMU-RC and interfaced with the ship’s combat system or surveillance sensors.

5. They have also developed a drop in module for ships taken from trade (i.e. to arm civilian ships, like the Atlantic Conveyor that sunk in an Exocet missile attack in 1982).

6. During IDEX 2019, MBDA unveiled the Self–Protection Integrated MISTRAL Module, a self-contained short-range air-defence system for all-type of ships, centred on a 10’ ISO standard module with two command and control operator consoles and an on-top SIMBAB-RC launcher with two missile and reserve rounds. Gulf states are interested and looking at these systems as retro-fits after the loss in Oct 2016 of HSV-2 Swift that was operated by the United Arab Emirates.
 
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Sandhi Yudha

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Thanks for sharing!
Looks nice this improved RC-launcher, but still, the Mistral is like the Stinger, Strela and Igla: just a cheap VSHORAD/MANPADS.
I mean, CIWS like the Signaal Goalkeeper has proven in live-fire exercises to be able to take down multiple sea-skimmer attacks from Harpoons and Exocets. The manufacturer claims that the improved Mistral can do the same, but ive never seen videos or other proofs for that claim.
 

swerve

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... Whereas the French system has only 2 missiles before reload (as point defence against a rebel group, shooting 1 or 2 missiles indiscriminately).
.
Simbad has only two, but Mistral is also available in the Tetral (4) & Sadral (6 ready to fire) remote controlled configurations. Apparently three of the five La Fayette light frigates are having their Crotale launcher replaced by two Sadrals.
 

Sandhi Yudha

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Simbad has only two, but Mistral is also available in the Tetral (4) & Sadral (6 ready to fire) remote controlled configurations. Apparently three of the five La Fayette light frigates are having their Crotale launcher replaced by two Sadrals.
Crotales (mach 3,5 - 13-15 km) replaced by the Mistral (Mach 2,5 - 6 km).... smart move .

But yes, like the Tetral launchers on the SIGMA 9113 corvettes, a 4-missile launcher. Very usable for helicopters and other low flying aircraft which is smart enough to come inside the 6 km radius of the warship....
 

Todjaeger

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Crotales (mach 3,5 - 13-15 km) replaced by the Mistral (Mach 2,5 - 6 km).... smart move .

But yes, like the Tetral launchers on the SIGMA 9113 corvettes, a 4-missile launcher. Very usable for helicopters and other low flying aircraft which is smart enough to come inside the 6 km radius of the warship....
Mistral is also a much lighter missile, being ~a quarter the weight of a Crotale missile. In terms of size, capabilities and weight, Crotale is more in the class of RIM-116 RAM or Sea Ceptor. Where the Crotale is a bit different is in the guidance, with the Crotale using SARH and then terminal IR guidance. This in turn means that Crotale requires either a fire control radar or illuminator to guide the missiles to their targets. Switching to an IR-guided missile means that a fire control radar or illuminator is no longer required for close in defence.
 

OPSSG

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Simbad has only two
7. You raise good points. But let me reset the context of this discussion. We are in a PN discussion thread and the chronically cost constrained Pinoys acquired the Simbad RC which is a two missile system for the 2 Jose Rizal-class vessels (and not a 4 or a 6 missile launcher).
(i) In the era of great power competition, the lightly armed Jose Rizal-class vessels that are to be deployed to the highly contested South China Sea do not even deserve to be called corvettes, when compared to the Doha class corvettes of Qatar (or even to the Victory class corvettes of Singapore).​
(ii) The Jose Rizal-class vessels are good platforms with crap weapons/sensors (until the Pinoys fund and install the MICA NG, for air defence and a towed array sonar, for ASW).​
Seems this is part of MBDA positioning Mistral as RIM-116 competitors.
Mistral is also available in the Tetral (4) & Sadral (6 ready to fire) remote controlled configurations.
8. Ananda was comparing the French Simbad RC system to the American RIM 116 system, which is installed in 11 missile or 21 missile launchers.

9. No matter how you slice it, in any comparison, the American made RIM 116 system is more expensive, has more top-side weight and is capable of marginally longer ranged interception. My apologies for not being clear in post 1 of 2 on the context of this discussion.

10. The attraction of the French system as either an inner layer defence or for use in a support ship, like a Pinoy LPD, is its affordability, along with the fact that is can be a standalone installation in the case of the Self–Protection Integrated MISTRAL Module.
Apparently three of the five La Fayette light frigates are having their Crotale launcher replaced by two Sadrals.
Crotales (mach 3,5 - 13-15 km) replaced by the Mistral (Mach 2,5 - 6 km).... smart move
11. Good point but we are not talking about the French Navy and it’s concept of operations for the La Fayette class in a medium to low threat environment — the far more appropriate replacement for the Crotales is the MICA NG.

12. This makes the La Fayette class as toothless as the Taiwanese Kang Ding class. The Kang Ding class is an example of a good platform with crap weapons.

13. Pinoys in their concept of operations is prepared to sent an unarmed BRP Davao del Sur LPD, escorted by a poorly armed BRP Ramon Alcaraz OPV (without the AN/SPS-77 Sea Giraffe AMB 3D air/surface search radar installed — which was given to them 2 years ago by the Americans) into dangerous waters in the Middle East to conduct a non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) after Iran had fired missiles into Iraqi. In addition:
(i) it is documented that 2 anti-ship missiles was launched against the USN on 9 Oct 2016; and​
(ii) the BRP Ramon Alcaraz was so poorly maintained it caught fire due to a lube oil leakage on the way back to the Philippines and the Indians had to help them with their injured.​

14. I am simply saying that the PN should consider installing at least a main gun and a Simbad RC to cover the stern sector as an affordable system (and in use in their navy) on their 2 unarmed Tarlac class LPDs for ship self defence. That way the PN don’t have too much logistics complexity to handle.

15. The last thing you want to see is BRP Davao del Sur LPD conducting a NEO, laden with civilians and hit by an anti-ship missile. UAE who was operating the HSV-2 Swift lost the ship to a rebel fired anti-ship missile. The Pinoys, as a Navy are so cheap, they don’t even have ESM systems or decoys installed in their navy ships. Yet, they persist in deploying them to conflict waters where there is an anti-ship missile threat. Are their leaders blind to the need for risk mitigation?

16. Lacking the proper equipment like chaff and decoys or even a 76mm main gun, the BRP Davao del Sur was sent for the NEO from the Middle East that took 5 months, and a fire resulting in 2 injured in the BRP Ramon Alcaraz to complete. It is self evident that the Pinoys are not trained to fight the unarmed LPD in a medium threat naval environment (like what they could face in the Persian Gulf, if shooting had started between the US and Iran). Yet they persist in sending their navy there without proper preparations or coordination with the Americans.

17. See paragraphs 18 to 21 below on what it means to train and be prepared for a mid to high end war fighting contingency, should the need arise. In every deployment, like Operation Blue Orchid (deploying the well armed Endurance class LPDs to Iraq in support of coalition efforts) or Operation Blue Sapphire (deploying frigates or LPDs to protect merchant shipping from pirates in the Gulf of Aden), the Singapore Navy conducts tough and progressive training for the various threat scenarios, before these maritime security deployments to mitigate the risk.

18. Having observed their prior poor performance at ADMM Plus Maritime exercises, other navies are certain that the Pinoys do not train like they need to fight. In contrast, the Singapore Navy’s frigates have been training in Guam, to fight as a combined task unit, in Exercise Pacific Griffin 2017 and in Exercise Pacific Griffin 2019. These realistic bi-annual bilateral exercises simulate the defence and protection by frigates and destroyers of high value units (like a LPD), going into harm’s way, should the need arise. In the 2017 edition of the exercise, RSN’s 2 frigates, RSS Stalwart and RSS Supreme, protected the LPD, RSS Endurance (acting as the high value unit in the exercise).

19. In the 2019 iteration that ran from Sep. 27 through Oct. 10, the two navies covered a broad range of naval operations, including live-fire drills, and tactical ship maneuvers, aimed at enhancing combined proficiency at sea while strengthening relationships.

20. For an idea of the complexity of Exercise Pacific Griffin 2019, participating:
(a) naval assets included the littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Momsen (DDG 92), Los Angeles-class submarine USS Key West (SSN 722), Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6), and Singapore’s frigates RSS Formidable (FFS 68) and RSS Intrepid (FFS 69); and​
(b) air assets included MH-60S helicopters from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 and 25, MH-60R helicopters from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35, maritime patrol aircraft from Patrol Squadrons (VP) 1, 5 and 47, and B-52s Stratofortress bombers from U.S. Air Forces' Expeditionary 69th Bomb Squadron.​

21. Additionally, both navies successfully executed a sinking exercise (SINKEX) of former USS Ford. “Our planners have worked very closely with one another and established very strong working relationship, and more importantly trust between us,” said Republic of Singapore Navy Commander First Flotilla and Commanding Officer of 185 Squadron, Colonel Lim Yu Chuan.
 
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