Archive for March, 2008

  Naval News Today

Posted by Yankee Sailor on 31Mar08.

US Navy Secretary expects Chinese Navy to show greater transparency

Secretary of the US Navy Donald Winter has said that the US would like the Chinese Navy to be more transparent and engage with world community in appropriate and commercial manner.

Winter, who is on a three-day visit to India, said the US will continue to watch both developments in the Chinese fleet and its deployment with lot of interest. He hoped that China would join the community of free countries and engage in seas in an appropriate and commercial manner.

“Our desire is to have greater degree of transparency with China. Our concerns are simply that in many cases where we know what they are doing in terms of making significant investments in their naval fleet, we are not sure, and do not understand why they are doing it. And without that understanding why they are doing it, it becomes very difficult for us to know exactly how to interpret and how to deal with whatever consequences might come from it,” Winter said in a news conference here on Friday.

‘U.S. sailor told friend about murder’

Police will soon question a U.S. sailor in connection with the murder of a Tokyo taxi driver as they discovered Sunday that the seaman had hinted at his involvement in the killing during a phone call to an acquaintance from near the crime scene immediately after the incident, sources said.

The special investigation team of Yokosuka Police Station plans to officially request that U.S. military authorities cooperate in the investigation into the murder based on the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement.

According to the police, the sailor, a U.S. citizen of Nigerian origin, told U.S. Navy investigators that he called a Nigerian friend and told him that he did it, apparently referring to the killing. He also told navy investigators that he told the acquaintance that he stabbed someone.

DOJ asks high court review on Navy sonar

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court decision limiting the Navy’s use of sonar off the Southern California coast because of potential harm to dolphins and whales.

The Justice Department petition argues that the decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco jeopardizes the Navy’s ability to train sailors and Marines for service in wartime.

The agency also contends that national security interests can trump those of marine mammals, and that its use of mid-frequency sonar in training exercises hasn’t caused any documented harm to dolphins or beaked whales in the waters where they’re conducted.

“We believe that this is an issue that is absolutely essential to national security and that a Supreme Court review of this case is warranted,” said Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a Navy spokesman. He said sonar was the only way to detect quiet diesel electric submarines used by potential adversaries. The Navy has argued the restrictions could possibly prevent certification of some naval strike groups preparing to deploy to the Persian Gulf.

Navy committed to Gulf presence: Fitzgibbon

Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon says the Government has no intention of withdrawing the Royal Australian Navy from the Persian Gulf.

The Anzac class frigate HMAS Stuart is leaving Sydney this morning on a six-month deployment to the region.

Its 185-strong crew will be involved in Operation Catalyst, protecting sea lanes and oil platforms in the Gulf as well as training the Iraqi Navy.

Mr Fitzgibbon says the Government believes Australian combat troops are no longer needed in southern Iraq but an Australian naval presence is needed in the Gulf.

“We have a long-term commitment to Iraq and the Iraqi people, that means playing a part in international efforts in the Gulf and elsewhere for as long as it takes to bed down democracy in Iraq,” he said.

No strings attached to sale of ship: U.S. official

United States Navy Secretary Donald Winter on Friday denied that the sale of USS Trenton (now INS Jalashwa) to the Indian Navy was accompanied by a ban on its use for offensive operations.

While maintaining that the sale of the ship was neither unique nor had terms associated with its transfer, he said the U.S. did not limit the use of warships sold to other countries in support of their national defence objectives.

Mr. Winter was speaking to newspersons here on the second day of his visit to India.

Singapore and Indian navies conduct military exercise

India and Singapore’s navies conducted a 14-day exercise, which included combined surface-to-air missile live firing for the first time, Singapore’s defence ministry said Saturday.

Held in the Bay of Bengal from March 17 to March 29, the event has been held annually since 1994 and started with anti-submarine warfare exercises.

The Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (Simbex) “has grown in scope and complexity, evolving to advanced naval water exercises covering the air, surface and sub-surface dimensions,” a statement said.

Guns for hire? No, but there are warships for rent

In the film The Hunt for Red October, loosely based on real events, Sean Connery plays a Russian nuclear submarine captain who decides to defect to the US during the Cold War by sailing to New York. But first he must kill the vessel’s political officer to make sure the Soviet regime does not get wind of his plan and stop him.

Fast forward to reality and the South Atlantic. There VT Group, the famous shipbuilder and services group formerly known as Vosper Thornycroft, has leased to the Royal Navy the warship HMS Clyde, which is armed with 30mm guns. Permanently stationed in the South Atlantic, the vessel’s job is to patrol the area around the Falkland Islands. On board the ship is a VT manager to liaise between the ship’s owner – the company – and its customer, the Royal Navy. If war ever broke out again in the Falklands, VT would find itself on the front line.

Of course, the VT manager on board HMS Clyde is nothing like the Soviet political commissars stationed on Russian ships during the Cold War. VT would not try to overrule the captain of its boat. But the increasing outsourcing of military operations – even those potentially on the front line – to the private sector raises similar issues. Where do contractors fit into the military chain of command? And if the armed forces does not own some of the equipment it uses, is its independence – and effectiveness – threatened?

  Monday Open Post

Posted by Yankee Sailor on 31Mar08.

  Naval News Today

Posted by Yankee Sailor on 28Mar08.

Navy completes draft impact study of adding ships to Mayport

The draft of the Navy’s environmental impact study for the possibility of homeporting additional ships at Naval Station Mayport indicates no unmanageable impacts associated with stationing a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, as well as other ships, at Mayport.

U.S. Sens. Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw briefed a small gathering Friday at the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, saying the study shifts the focus to senior Navy leaders to decide how many and what types of ships should be transferred to Mayport.

The study evaluated the effect of 13 alternatives on earth, water, biological and cultural resources, as well as land use, air quality, noise, traffic, socioeconomics, utilities, health and safety. The alternatives included adding various types of ships individually and in various combinations, including destroyers, amphibious ships and a nuclear-powered carrier.

The Navy has not identified which option is its preferred alternative, and it’s unclear what the timeline is for deciding. Nelson noted, however, that senior Navy officers have said in Senate hearings that dispersing nuclear-powered carriers — all East Coast carriers are nuclear-powered and all are based in Norfolk, Va. — is strategically preferable.

The legislators said that if the Navy decides moving a carrier to Mayport is best for national security, Congress will find a way to fund the construction needed to accommodate it. The draft study estimates the construction costs to homeport a nuclear-powered carrier at nearly $402 million. The construction costs for the most expensive option — bringing a carrier, destroyers and amphibious ships to Mayport — is $488 million.

U.S. sailor denies taking taxi of murdered cabbie

A U.S. sailor whose credit card was discovered inside the taxi of a driver found fatally stabbed in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, on March 19, told the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) that he was never in the taxi, it has been learned.

According to the sources, the 22-year-old seaman stationed at the Yokosuka Naval Base denied his involvement in the incident to the NCIS.

The special investigation headquarters at Yokosuka Police Station, which had been provided the sailor’s fingerprints and other information by the U.S. Navy through Wednesday, are verifying the credibility of the sailor’s statements by comparing his fingerprints with those found on the knife and inside the car and studying surveillance camera footage.

  Weekend Open Post

Posted by Yankee Sailor on 28Mar08.

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