Tag Archives: Raytheon

Taiwan to replace Navy with all domestic production

Clearly alarmed by China’s increasingly assertive irredentism in the South and East China Seas, the surrounding Asia-Pacific countries are beefing up their military. (See “China threatens war in South and East China Seas“)

According to naval analysts at AMI International, the Asian-Pacific region is currently the No. 2 market for naval arms sales globally. AMI estimates that Asian and Pacific nations will build upwards of 1,100 warships during the next 20 years, and spend $200 billion building them.

More interesting than the new Asian-Pacific arms race is the fact that, instead of purchasing them from the United States, some countries are seeking to build their own arms — a commentary on their perception that Washington is unreliable and undependable. (See “U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Locklear says China is eclipsing U.S. in Asia”)

As an example, Japan is considering building its own fighter jets.

Now, it is Taiwan.

Taiwan StraitMilitary experts say that the Taiwanese Navy, once the island nation’s most neglected military service, has lately come to be viewed as “the most important” arm of the Taiwanese military because the Navy holds the power to save Taiwan from an invasion by mainland China. Accordingly, the Navy is now the focus of Taiwanese military investment.

Last month, Taiwan’s government released preliminary details on a new 20-year plan to modernize its Navy. Currently composed primarily of hand-me-down U.S. and French warships (Perry-, Knox-, and La Fayette-class frigates, and Kidd-class destroyers) and domestically-built supporting Kuang Hua 6 fast-attack missile boats and Ching Chiang-class missile patrol boats.

Taiwan plans to replace this current fleet with one that’s entirely domestically built, by relying on the combined efforts of its Ocean Industries Research and Development Center for design, the Taiwanese military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) for systems and integration, and the Taiwan-based China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. for construction.

Producing them in Taiwan creates jobs and skills, reduces reliance on restrictive US government export policies, and reduces corruption, the Navy official said. US and European defense companies have a history of hiring local agents with ties to organized crime and Beijing’s intelligence apparatus.

Taiwan’s plan is to spend the next 5 to 10 years designing:

  • a new 10,000-ton destroyer
  • a 3,000-ton catamaran-like frigate
  • an amphibious transport dock (often dubbed an “LPD” or “landing platform/dock”)
  • a new 1,200-3,000-ton diesel submarine.

After that, Taiwan will spend the succeeding 10-15 years building:

  • 4 destroyers
  • 10 to 15 frigates
  • perhaps 11 LPDs
  • 4 to 8 submarines

Details of Taiwan’s naval modernization program will be released in November, but Navy officials provided some information about the scope of the massive build plan during the live-fire field training event during the annual Han Kuang exercises off the east coast of Taiwan on Sept. 17.

The fact that Taiwan wants to invest in developing its homegrown defense industry, and build these ships entirely at home, means there’s precious little opportunity for foreign defense contractors such as General Dynamics and Huntington Ingalls — America’s two biggest military shipbuilders — to participate in the project. The loss in revenues to U.S. defense contractors is estimated to be $6.9 billion — about a year’s worth of business for General Dynamics’ Marine Systems unit, or a year’s worth of revenues for all of Huntington Ingalls.

All is not lost.

While they might not get a chance to build Taiwan’s ships, they might very well be able to play a role in building the weapons and electronics systems that go into those ships.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense is still open to the idea of hiring foreign defense contractors to provide “assistance on various components and systems” that will be installed in its new navy. Taiwan has shown particular interest, for example, in acquiring RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 anti-aircraft missiles built by Raytheon, to replace the Standard Missile 2s that currently outfit its Kidd-class destroyers (now dubbed “Kee Lung-class” destroyers).

The Taiwanese navy’s modernization program will face hurdles from budget declines in coming years. The military’s finances will also be put to the test as it reduces personnel and implements an all-volunteer force. (See “Taiwan military to be downsized and all-volunteer“)

Sources: Defense News; The Motley Fool

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Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield intercepts 90% of Hamas’ rockets

West Bank & Gaza A year after Hamas’ seizure of power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the Palestinian State was split between Fatah in the West Bank, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

In the present renewed military conflict between Israel and the Hamas Palestinian terrorists (1) of the Gaza Strip, Hamas has not had much success with its rockets fired toward Tel Aviv and other major population centers in Israel. According to the Israeli Army, 90% of the rockets have been intercepted and shot down.



(1) Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by Israel and a number of Western and non-Western governments, including the United States, Canada, the European Union, Jordan, Egypt and Japan


According to Barbara Ordman, who lives in Ma’ale Adumim on the West Bank, “one of the terrorists from Gaza was reported to say when asked why they couldn’t aim their rockets more effectively: ‘We do aim them, but their God changes their path in mid-air.’”

Rather than God changing the path of those rockets “in mid-air,” the credit should be given to the impressive success of Israel’s 5 “Iron Dome” antimissile batteries:

Iron Dome is a mobile all-weather air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, with generous U.S. funding. (The U.S. has “contributed” more than $1 billion to Iron Dome.) The system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 2.5 to 43 miles away.

Iron DomeThe “Iron Dome” in action, launching an interceptor at an incoming missile

In spite of U.S. defense officials’ cautioning that an Israeli short-range antimissile system would be “doomed to fail,” Iron Dome was operational and first deployed on March 27, 2011 near Beersheba. 11 days later, on April 7, 2011, the system for the first time successfully intercepted a Grad rocket launched from Gaza. By November 2012, Israeli officials said Iron Dome had intercepted and shot down 90% or 400+ rockets launched from Gaza, which would have landed in populated areas. That led defense reporter Mark Thompson to call Iron Dome “the most-effective, most-tested missile shield the world has ever seen.”

Go here for a dissenting view that Iron Dome works just a small fraction of the time, according to a detailed analysis carried out by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Iron Dome’s manufacturer claims the air-defense system will operate day and night, under adverse weather conditions, and can respond to multiple threats simultaneously. Iron Dome has three central components:

  • A detection and tracking radar system built by Israeli defense company Elta and the IDF (Israel Defense Forces).
  • A battle management and weapon control (BMC) center built by Israeli software company mPrest Systems.
  • A missile firing unit built by Rafael which launches the Tamir interceptor missile, equipped with electro-optic sensors and several steering fins for high maneuverability. The missile is built by Rafael.

On January 17, 2014, Barack Obama signed the fiscal year 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act that includes $235 million for Israel’s Iron Dome system, with an agreement by the Israeli government to spend more than half of the $235 million in the United States. In July 2014 it was announced that Raytheon will be the major U.S. partner in co-production of major components for the Iron Dome’s Tamir intercepting missile.

Iron Dome does have its detractors.

Writing in The Washington Post on July 14, 2014, Yoav Fromer, who teaches politics and history at Tel Aviv University, cautions:

…over time, Iron Dome may do them more harm than good. What looks like a tactical miracle may, accidentally, help engender a grave strategic blunder. Technology can mislead us by providing a false sense of security. But it cannot – and must not – become a substitute for effective diplomacy. And Iron Dome’s ability to protect Israelis from periodic rocket attacks so far will never remove the strife and discontent that has produced the motivation to ruthlessly fire them in the first place.

Iron Dome was originally engineered to defend Israelis from rockets launched in Lebanon and Gaza. But what was once a tactical defense mechanism to temporarily protect the civilian population has become a strategy unto itself. In that way, it may actually undermine Israel’s long-term security. By temporarily minimizing the dangers posed by Hamas and Hezbollah, it distracts us from seeking a broader regional political solution that could finally incapacitate these terror networks and make systems such as Iron Dome moot.

Amir Peretz, Israeli defense minister from 2006 to 2007 and widely seen as the godfather of Iron Dome, echoes Fromer’s view. As reported by The Washington Post on July 14, 2014, Peretz recognizes that Iron Dome is no more than a stopgap measure, for “In the end, the only thing that will bring true quiet is a diplomatic solution.”

That being said, one wonders, however, how there can be “a diplomatic solution” when Hamas consistently and continues to call for nothing less than the obliteration of the State of Israel from the face of the earth.