dimecres, 29 d’octubre de 2014

Chinese nuclear submarine base

China has secretly built a major underground nuclear submarine base that could threaten Asian countries and challenge American power in the region, it can be disclosed.

Satellite imagery, passed to The Daily Telegraph, shows that a substantial harbour has been built which could house a score of nuclear ballistic missile submarines and a host of aircraft carriers.

In what will be a significant challenge to US Navy dominance and to countries ringing the South China Sea, one photograph shows China’s latest 094 nuclear submarine at the base just a few hundred miles from its neighbours.

Other images show numerous warships moored to long jettys and a network of underground tunnels at the Sanya base on the southern tip of Hainan island.

Of even greater concern to the Pentagon are massive tunnel entrances, estimated to be 60ft high, built into hillsides around the base. Sources fear they could lead to caverns capable of hiding up to 20 nuclear submarines from spy satellites.

The US Department of Defence has estimated that China will have five 094 nuclear submarines operational by 2010 with each capable of carrying 12 JL-2 nuclear missiles.

The images were obtained by Janes Intelligence Review after the periodical was given access to imagery from the commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe.

Analysts for the respected military magazine suggest that the base could be used for "expeditionary as well as defensive operations" and would allow the submarines to "break out to launch locations closer to the US".

It would now be "difficult to ignore" that China was building a major naval base where it could house its nuclear forces and increase it "strategic capability considerably further afield".

The development so close to the sea lanes vital to Asian economies "can only cause concern far beyond these straits".

Military analysts believe that China’s substantial build up of its forces is gaining pace put has remained hidden from the world in the build-up to the Olympics.

China has diverted much of its resources from the huge Peoples Liberation Army to the navy, air force and missile development.

An old Russian aircraft carrier, bought by Beijing for "leisure activities" has been picked over by naval architects who hope to "reverse engineer" the ship.

Within the next five to 10 years the People's Liberation Navy is expected to build up to six carriers which will also coincide with the Royal Navy’s construction of two major carriers.

The location of the base off Hainan will also give the submarines access to very deep water exceeding 5,000 metres within a few miles, making them even harder to detect.

Britain’s Trident submarines have to remain on the surface when they leave Faslane in north east Scotland and cannot dive to depth until outside the Irish Sea.

While it has been known that China might be developing an underground base at Sanya, the pictures provide the first proof of the base’s existence and the rapid progress made.

Two 950 metre piers and three smaller ones would be enough to accommodate two carrier strike groups or amphibious assault ships.

Christian Le Miere, editor for Jane's Intelligence Review, said the complex underlined Beijing’s plan “to assert tighter control over this region".

"This is a challenge to any hegemonic power, particularly the US which still remains dominant in the region."

So far China has offered no public explanation for its building at Sanya.

* Notícia publicada al Telegraph. Compartim aquest article per l'interés que té per totes aquelles persones que segueixen el creixement xinès que, com es pot veure, avança a pas ferm.

dijous, 23 d’octubre de 2014

Visby Class, Sweden*

The Visby Class of stealth corvettes were built for the Swedish Navy by the Swedish company Kockums (a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems of Germany).

Construction began in 1996 at Kockums' Kalrskrona yard. The lead ship of the class, Visby (K31), was launched in June 2000 and was delivered to the FMV (the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration) in June 2002 for fitting with weapons and combat systems. The second, HMS Helsingborg (K32), was launched in June 2003 and delivered in April 2006. Harnosand (K33) was launched in December 2004. HMS Visby and Harnosand were officially delivered to the FMV in June 2006.

The other hulls are: Nykoping (K34), launched in August 2005 and delivered in September 2006, and Karlstad (K35), launched in August 2006.

Two corvettes, HMS Helsingborg and Harnosand, were delivered to the Swedish Navy in December 2009. The Swedish Navy has cancelled an option on a sixth vessel (Uddevalla K36).

The first four Visby corvettes for the Swedish Navy are for mine countermeasures (MCM) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). The last vessel will be primarily for the attack and anti-surface warfare role.

A helicopter, such as the AgustaWestland A109M selected by Sweden, can land, take off, and refuel on the upper deck.


The design of the Visby aims to minimise the optical and infrared signature, above water acoustic and hydroacoustic signature, underwater electrical potential and magnetic signature, pressure signature, radar cross section and actively emitted signals.

A stealth corvette of the YS 2000 design has a detection range of 13km in rough seas and 22km in calm sea without jamming. In a jammed environment, the Visby would be detected at a range of 8km in rough sea and 11km in calm sea.

The hull material is a sandwich construction comprising a PVC core with a carbon fibre and vinyl laminate. The material provides high strength and rigidity, low weight, good shock resistance, low radar and magnetic signature.

Command and control
The vessel's CETRIS C3 (command, control and communications) system consists of the Saab Systems 9LV mk3E combat management system, the MAST decision support aid and the integrated communications system.

The 9LV mk3 is based on open system architecture and uses the Windows NT operating system.

The SaabTech CEROS 200 radar and optronic fire control system has been ordered for the Visby and will be fully integrated into the combat management system.

The communications system has a high-capacity digital communications switch, developed by Danish company Maersk Data Defence (formerly Infocom) together with Karlskrona, which interconnects the voice and data communications channels. The system provides internal communications or open conference lines and access to external communications with various radio links and land-based networks.


Visby vessels were not initially fitted with an air defence missile system, but could later be equipped with one. It has been reported that the Swedish government has selected the Umkhonto surface-to-air missile system, produced by Denel of South Africa. Umkhonto has infrared guidance, range of 12km and ceiling of 10,000m. The system is capable of engaging up to eight targets.

The corvettes are equipped with eight Saab Bofors Dynamics RBS 15 mk2 anti-ship missiles. The RBS 15 mk2 uses active Ku-band radar homing and has a range of more than 200km. The missile has a high subsonic speed, Mach 0.9, and is armed with a 200kg warhead. The missiles will be installed below deck and be fired through special hatches to maintain the vessel's stealth. The missiles' exhaust plumes will be managed in separate canals.
Anti-submarine warfare

The Visby is equipped with a suite of ASW 127mm rocket-powered grenade launchers, depth charges and torpedoes. There are three fixed 400mm torpedo tubes for Saab Underwater Systems Tp 45 anti-submarine homing torpedoes.


The Visby is equipped with a Bofors 57mm 70 SAK mkIII general purpose gun. The gun has a fully automatic loading system containing 120 rounds of ready-to-fire ammunition. The gun fires up to 220 rounds a minute to a maximum range of 17,000m.
Mine countermeasures (MCM)

The Visby carries Saab Bofors Underwater system ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) for mine hunting and the Atlas Elektronik Seafox ROV for mine disposal. The minehunting ROVs are a development of the Double Eagle mkIII.

The Visby corvettes are fitted with the Hydra multisonar suite from General Dynamics Canada (formerly Computing Devices Canada), which integrates data from a Hydroscience Technologies passive towed array sonar, C-Tech CVDS-26 dual-frequency active Variable Depth Sonar (VDS), C-Tech CHMS-90 hull-mounted sonar and data from the ROVs.


Saab Microwave Systems (formerly Ericsson) Sea Giraffe AMB 3D C-band multi-role radar provides air and surface surveillance and tracking and target indication to weapon systems. It features 3D agile multi-beam technology and can handle multiple threats up to 20,000m (65,000ft) at elevations up to 70°.

ECCM (electronic counter countermeasures) capabilities include ultra-low antenna sidelobes and both frequency and code agility. The antenna has a rotation rate of 30rpm for surveillance and 60rpm for air defence.

There is also an I-band surface search and I/J-band fire control radar.


The CS-3701 tactical radar surveillance system (TRSS) from EDO Reconnaissance & Surveillance Systems provides electronic support measures (ESM) and radar warning receiver (RWR) functions.

Visby Class vessels are equipped with the MASS (multi-ammuntion softkill) decoy system from Rheinmetall Waffe Munition (formerly Buck Neue Technologien) of Germany.

MASS can launch up to 32 omni-spectral projectiles in a time-staggered configuration against anti-ship missiles and guided projectiles. The MASS decoy covers radar, infrared, electro-optic, laser and ultraviolet wavebands.


The Visby is equipped with a combined diesel and gas (CODAG) turbine arrangement. Four TF 50 A gas turbines from Honeywell and two MTU 16V 2000 N90 diesel motors are connected to two gearboxes which run two Kamewa waterjet propulsors.

The motors provide a maximum speed of 15kt for long duration and 35kt for short duration. The ship has rudders and bowthrusters for harbour manoeuvring.

* Article publicat a Naval Technology. Compartim aquest article per ampliar la informació, sobre les corbetes Visby, molt vistes els darrers dies als nostres mitjans, i de les quals se'n comença a parlar a casa nostra per la futura Força Naval Catalana.

dimarts, 21 d’octubre de 2014

Why would a Russian submarine enter Swedish waters?*

If the Swedish navy’s hunt for a missing “Russian submarine”sounds like a throw-back to the Cold War, it is no coincidence.

Diplomats in Moscow and western capitals may deny that we are seeing the beginning of “Cold War Two,” but the truth is relations are at their lowest point since the end of the Soviet Union.

And the “missing submarine” is most likely guilty of typical Cold War behaviour: spying, or deliberately testing Western reaction.


Sweden may not be a member of Nato, the dark alliance that Moscow’s defence chiefs have identified as Russia’s number one enemy. But it has always taken defence of its “neutrality” extremely seriously.

Its shoreline is still dotted with Cold-War era artillery batteries, and to this day it has one of the most advanced navies in the world - its new Visby class corvettes are widely billed as “the world’s first stealth ships.”

In the relatively small Baltic Sea, that makes Sweden something of a naval super-power, and a neighbour that Russia - which has Baltic ports at St Petersburg and Kaliningrad - would naturally keep a very close eye on.

It might be embarrassing to get caught, but it would be far from surprising to find a Russian submarine servicing underwater spy equipment, perhaps installed during the Cold War, or possibly shadowing Swedish navy exercises.

Testing the Waters

Another explanation is that the Russians actually wanted the submarine to be caught.

With the West and Russia at loggerheads over the annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s proxy war in eastern Ukraine, tensions in the Baltic Sea are higher than at any time in recent history.

Nato has held a series of exercises in the region to let Russia know any attempt to repeat the adventure in Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania will be met with force.

And Russia has sent its own signals via the crude diplomatic telegraph of “training exercises.”

Last month, the Swedish airforce scrambled jets to see off an incursion by two Russian fighters flying out of Kaliningrad.

Their mission appeared simply to see how far they could get into Swedish airspace before being turned back - part of a Cold War era practice designed to probe a neighbour’s defences and signal that the Russian military is back in business.

Western militaries say such flights have become worryingly frequent, with Britain, the United States, and Japan all scrambling fighters to see off Russian aircraft from their airspace in the past few months.

Sending a submarine to skulk off the Swedish coast may be the Russian navy’s way of keeping up with the airforce - and letting the West know that Russia will not be intimidated in this strategically vital sea.

Spy extraction

Then again, as everyone one knows, the best role of a submarine in any Cold War drama is to deliver or extract spies from hostile shores in the dead of night.

Following that logic, the vessel in question almost certainly ran into trouble while delivering a Russian agent to a remote Baltic island to do something swashbuckling and nefarious.

Exactly what such a spy might be up to is anyone’s guess.

After all, Russia and Sweden are not at war, and Aeroflot flies Moscow to Stockholm twice daily (from a very reasonable £73, according to the airline’s website).

So unless Moscow’s spy agencies have lost the ability to travel incognito, there would have to be a good reason to take such a risky and laborious travel option.

Probably the kind of reason that would make a decent airport paperback.

If a Russian submarine really has been stranded off the coast of Sweden, it raises the question - what could it have been getting up to? Roland Oliphant explains

Menacing the West with nuclear weapons

On Sunday, a rumour appeared on Ukrainian Twitter accounts naming the missing submarine as the Dmitry Donskoi - a ballistic missile submarine of Russia’s northern fleet equipped with Russia’s brand-new nuclear-tipped Bulava missiles.

One of the largest submarines ever built, it was implied, had suffered some catastrophic failure and was now stranded somewhere on the Baltic Sea bed, unable to contact Moscow and threatening Scandinavia with a kind of maritime Chernobyl.

The rumour played on memories of the Kursk disaster, when a submarine was lost with all hands in the Barents Sea in 2000.

But it is almost certainly fantasy.

At 175 meters, the Donskoi is almost the size of an aircraft carrier and, in the shallow waters of the Baltic, about as easy to hide.

Whatever is lurking amongst the islands of the Stockholm archipelago, it is not a missile submarine.


* Noticia publicada a The Telegraph. Més enllà dels esdeveniments diaris, cal plantejar hipotesis plausibles, i la del Telegraph ho és bastant.

dilluns, 20 d’octubre de 2014

Catalunya i el model nòrdic: implicacions del concepte‏*

Com és ben sabut, al nostre país es parla molt del "Model Nòrdic", per part de persones i organitzacions de diferents ideologies, i amb referències creixents a mida que ens acostem a la recuperació de la sobirania.

Res a objectar. Ara sí, és necessari que entenguem tot el que implica, no solament els aspectes més simpàtics.

Aquests dies les Forces Armades de Suècia estan duent a terme una cacera d'un submarí rus, sembla ser que avariat, a aigües properes a la capital. Això és possible perquè, com s'esdevé amb països com Noruega, Dinamarca, i Finlàndia, compta amb unes forces armades modernes i ben equipades i entrenades.

Per tant, quan parlem d'una Catalunya "nòrdica", parlem també d'una Catalunya capaç de dur a terme operacions similars en situacions similars. Per tant d'una Catalunya que disposi també, com ho fa Suècia, d'unes forces armades modernes, ben equipades, i ben entrenades. 

I si hi ha algú que encara cregui que no ens trobarem en casos similars, que pregunti a Gibraltar.


Svenska Dagbladet

Could be a damaged russian submarine

The Telegraph

Swedish navy sends 200 people to hunt for 'foreign underwater activity'

Defence News

Sweden Hunts Suspected Foreign Submarine Off Stockholm Coast


Sweden steps up hunt for "foreign underwater activity"

Societat d'Estudis Militars

Anàlisi de la política de defensa dels països nòrdics

* Article publicat al bloc de la Societat d'Estudis Militars. Compartim aquest article perquè enllaça perfectament amb els nostres plantejaments: si volem ser una nació adulta cal assumir-ne tots els aspectes. Recomanem especialment consultar el darrer dels enllaços.

divendres, 17 d’octubre de 2014

Coast Guards in the Arctic – Troubles Ahead?*

Coast guards are the maritime workhorses of coastal states, intent on protecting their sovereign rights to fisheries and petroleum resources, while also safeguarding lives and the environment. In an Arctic Klondike, this institution – which often operates in the shadow of national navies – does the heavy lifting. Yet, striking the right balance on fleet structure, investments, and Arctic presence in times of budget austerity is no easy task for Arctic coastal states.

Waking up to a New Reality
Maritime activity levels in the Arctic are increasing, compared to low levels throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. It is not the number of trans-arctic voyages, but the number of ships with a destination in the Arctic itself that has predominately increased. This comes as a result of an increase in the transport of goods to and from the Arctic, and from an increase in cruise ship tourism offering “Arctic Cruises” [1]. Similarly, exploratory drilling in Greenlandic, Alaskan or North Norwegian waters, and record yielding fish stocks in the Barents Sea and North Sea, contribute to this trend [2].

Coast Guard Prerogatives
As activity increases, the need for an active management of the maritime domain increases as well. When fisheries grow in volume, so does the need for fisheries inspections and research to determine the sustainable yield of the stocks. When more vessels operate further north, search and rescue incidents grow in numbers, and as the number of exploratory drillings rises, the potential for accidents related to oil exploration similarly increases. The pressure on coast guards to provide aid to navigation is also increasing, sometimes demanding an ice breaking capacity that requires relatively costly investments in icebreakers [3]. Consequently, this large relative growth in activity spurs demand for a number of coast guard tasks in the Arctic, as depicted below.
The coast guard institutional structure in one Arctic state is very different from the next, ranging from a civilian model without a law enforcing mandate (Canada), to military structures separated from (USA, Russia), or part of (Norway, Denmark), national navies [4]. Yet, as the amount of tasks in northern waters increases, all of the various Arctic coast guards find themselves in a similar position, weighing priorities and resources [5]. In particular, they encounter challenges concerning budget restraints, aging equipment and large areas of operation.

Solving problems together?
Investments in coast guards, on the other hand, in particular in the North American side of the Arctic, are pending. This is mainly a consequence of limited public investments in an area where the return rate of such investments – at least in according to strict economic calculations – can be questioned. In the context of low temperatures and remote operating areas, however, the consequences of a cruise ship accident or an oil spill is likely to become more fatal in the Arctic, than in more densely populated areas further south.
In 2011, Arctic states responded to this challenge by creating a legally binding search and rescue agreement under the auspices of the Arctic Council, dividing the Arctic into areas of responsibility (see map) [6]. In 2013, another agreement was signed on oil pollution, preparedness and response, implementing the same mechanisms for oil spill response [7]. Forming alliances and initiating collaboration across borders with partners in similar situations provides a practical solution to a fiscal challenge. It is also an easier and less expensive remedy than building up domestic assets in isolation.
However, agreeing on zones of responsibility does not inherently enhance maritime capabilities in the Arctic, which ultimately fall under the prerogatives of the various national coast guards. Operational collaboration across borders is also not necessarily an adequate response to new maritime challenges in the Arctic. The share distance between the Arctic maritime zones and the differences in coast guard structures provide barriers to effective collaboration. Additionally, coast guard tasks are often closely linked to the protection of sovereign rights and enforcing national law. Such tasks are not easily transferred or outsourced.

Planning for the future
Working across Arctic maritime borders with your neighbor is undoubtedly beneficial, if not crucial, to jointly manage natural resources and protect the environment. The establishment of an Arctic Coast Guard Forum – building off the already well-functioning North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum – is one such measure.  
Such collaboration will not, however, disband the need for national and local investments in future Arctic capabilities. The processes of coast guard procurement and capacity building are additionally costly and lengthy. Showcasing this challenge, the US Coast Guard has been calling out for more investment in District 17 (Alaska) for almost a decade, while in Canada the acquisition of a much-needed new Coast Guard icebreaker is delayed [8].

Littoral states in the Arctic have to carefully contemplate future investments and needs to avoid finding themselves in a situation where the former and the latter do not match. Arriving in 2030 in a direr state than today will be detrimental to any Arctic development. Preventing disaster is of interest to all littoral states as they determine the future potential of their Arctic maritime areas.

[1] Steinicke, S., & Albrecht, S. (2012). Search and Rescue in the Arctic Working Paper (Vol. 2012/05). Berlin: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik. & Brigham, L. W. (2013). The Fast-Changing Maritime Arctic. In B. S. e. Zellen (Ed.), The fast-changing Arctic: rethinking Arctic security for a warmer world (pp. 1-17). Calgary: Calgary Unversity Press.
[2] Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. (2014). Greenland & Arctic Cruises. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from http://www.fredolsencruises.com/places-we-visit/region/arctic-greenland-cruises & Østhagen, A. (2013a). Arctic oil and gas. The role of regions. In IFS (Ed.), (Vol. September 2). Oslo: Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS).
[3] Brigham, L. W. (2013). The Fast-Changing Maritime Arctic. In B. S. e. Zellen (Ed.), The fast-changing Arctic: rethinking Arctic security for a warmer world (pp. 1-17). Calgary: Calgary Unversity Press. & Mitchell, J. R. (2013). The Canadian Coast Guard in Perspective: A paper prepared for Action Canada (Vol. August). Ottawa: Action Canada.
[4] Andreas Østhagen (2014). "Coast Guard Collaboration in the Arctic: Canada and Greenland (Denmark)", Toronto: Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program.
[5] Terjesen, B., Kristiansen, T., & Gjelsten, R. (2010). Sjøforsvaret i krig og fred: Langs kysten og på havet gjennom 200 år. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.
[7] Arctic Council. Agreement on cooperation on marine oil pollution, preparedness and response in the Arctic Final - Formatted version. http://www.arctic-council.org/index.php/en/document-archive/category/425-main-documents-from-kiruna-ministerial-meeting
[8] http://www.adn.com/article/20140916/us-icebreaker-fleet-will-need-makeover-about-2020-coast-guard-says & Byers, M. (2012, March 27). You can’t replace real icebreakers, The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://byers.typepad.com/arctic/2012/03/you-cant-replace-real-icebreakers.html

* Article publicat per The Artic Institute. No és el primer cop que parlem de guardacostes i l'Àrtic. Recomanem una lectura reflexiva d'aquest article així com les seves fonts documentals.

dijous, 16 d’octubre de 2014

Russia to build military Arctic environmental center*

Russia’s Ministry of Defense wants to enhance ecological monitoring in the Arctic and plans to establish a regional environmental center operated by the Northern Fleet.

Russia’s military presence in the Arctic is not to harm the region’s ecology, Deputy Defence Minister General Dmitry Bulgakov told reporters on Saturday.

“To control the ecology of the Russian Arctic zone, a regional environmental center of the Northern Fleet is to be created in the near future, which will carry out ecological monitoring and control compliance with Russian and international environmental legislation,” Bulgakov said according to Portnews.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has worked out a road-map on ecology security in the Arctic, Bulgakov said. According to the road map, military specialists are analyzing the ecology situation in places the Armed Forces have been located in the Arctic, including territories that were used in the Soviet times. “We plan to remove within the next few years old and destroyed buildings and to re-cultivate the territory - this means we shall remove the debris, fundaments, metal parts and so forth.”

According to Bulgakov, Russian forces have removed ten tons of garbage from Wrangel Island this summer.


* Notícia publicada a The Barents Observer. Rússia segueix consolidant posicions, també a l'Àrtic; aquesta peça n'és una nova constatació.

dimarts, 14 d’octubre de 2014

PLA looks to add more Type 052D destroyers

The People's Liberation Army will soon be adding more of the highly-touted Type 052D destroyer to its naval fleet, reports the Canada-based Kanwa Defense Review.

After completing six Type 052C destroyers, the Jiangnan shipyard in Shanghai is said to have shifted its focus to the Type 052D destroyer, which comes with several key improvements including its radar and engine systems.

The Type 052D has reportedly ditched the old Ukraine-made DA80 gas turbines used in the first two of the Type 052C vessels and has domestically upgraded the QC-280 gas turbine engines used in latter four Type 052C vessels to reduce weight and increase power. The DA80s were not ideal for the Type 052C given their considerable weight and fuel consumption, which is why they have not been considered for use in the Russian and Indian navies, the report said.

The Type 052D also features the PLA Navy's first ever vertical launching system for anti-ship missiles, which can travel at both subsonic and supersonic speeds and with a range of about 220 kilometers.

Altogether six vessels of this class are now fitting out or under construction, with a further four on order or planned. The Kunming is currently the only active Type 052D destroyer in the PLA Navy, while the Changsha is still undergoing sea trials.

Each of the Type 052D vessels has a displacement nearing 10,000 tonnes. As of now, China only has one type of vessel at that level, namely the Type 071 amphibious transport dock, which has a displacement of 20,000 tonnes. China currently has three of the Yuzhao-class amphibious warfare ships and reportedly has plans to acquire three more for the PLA's East Sea Fleet.

* Notícia publicada per Want China Times. Ja hem dit diverses vegades que la transformació de la Marina de l'Exèrcit Popular d'Alliberament (PLAN) en una flota oceànica ha de ser mesurada en el seu conjunt i no només en si té portaavions. Vet aquí un pas més. A la inversa, la US Navy hauria de començar a "alliberar" Arleigh Burkes de tasques d'escorta de portaavions i començar a ampliar ens seus DESRONs (Destroyer Squadrons), si realment vol mantenir l'hegemonia al Pacífic.

dissabte, 11 d’octubre de 2014

Australia receives first Canberra-class LHD

The Australian government has accepted the first of its two Canberra-class landing helicopter docks (LHDs) from BAE Systems, the vessel's prime contractor said in a statement on 8 October.

The ship will remain at BAE Systems' Williamstown shipyard in Melbourne before its commissioning at Sydney later in 2014, the statement added. It is due for delivery to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) on 28 November.

Canberra , which is based on Navantia's Juan Carlos I aircraft carrier design, completed its final contractor sea trials in late August.

Work is progressing on second ship Adelaide , which arrived in Australia for outfitting in Bé bé ja tu after being transported from Navantia's Ferrol yard in Spain. Adelaide is scheduled to begin sea trials in the second quarter of 2015, with delivery expected in 2016.

Meanwhile, Australia has begun the process of exercising an option on two more Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifters in addition to the six operated by 36 Squadron out of RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland.

Defence Minister David Johnston said in a statement that, if exercised, the two extra Globemasters would "significantly enhance the Royal Australian Air Force's [RAAF's] capacity for operational tasks, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance in our region and around the world".

"The ability to rapidly react and move large elements of Australia's support systems over long distances during these times has highlighted the need for us to have a good sized fleet," he added.

Australia initially purchased four C-17s under Project AIR 8000 Phase 3 using the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, with the first aircraft delivered in December 2006. The last of the six in service was delivered to the RAAF in 2012.

* Notícia publicada per Jane's Information Group. Austràlia continua ampliant la seva capacitat de projecció de força, consolidant-se com a element estabilitzador al Pacífic i l'Índic