Saturday, July 11, 2009
JULY 10 — Singapore's recent acquisition of submarines with air-independent propulsion is being matched by similar purchases by other regional navies.
While such submarines do not necessarily upset regional military balances, they are part of a larger trend in regional naval expansion which could have far-reaching repercussions.
Recent reports about the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) acquisition of two used but refurbished Archer-class submarines from Sweden were not particularly newsworthy. The well-publicised purchase was consummated four years ago.
There was, however, one noteworthy admission by the RSN that was nearly buried in the news. These submarines have been outfitted with special engines for air-independent propulsion.
This is a means of powering conventional diesel-electric submarines without using their batteries or having to surface to recharge. It permits the sub to remain submerged for much longer periods, two to three weeks, as opposed to just a few days on battery power.
What is particularly astonishing about this disclosure is that these RSN submarines were not originally outfitted with such a capability. So, the RSN did not simply acquire these engines by happenstance of purchase.
Obviously, the Singaporean navy paid the Swedish submarine builder Kockums to do a retrofit, which involves literally cutting the hull in half and inserting these engines — no small feat.
In other words, this was a conscious effort by the RSN to get the most advanced conventional submarine they could. Singapore, therefore, has become the first country in the southern Asia-Pacific to acquire submarines with this capability.
There are basically three kinds of air-independent propulsion technologies. First, the Swede-designed Stirling engine which uses a closed-cycle engine — meaning no exhaust — based on heat exchange.
Second, the French-developed Module d'Energie Sous-Marine Autonome (Mesma) system using a steam turbine power plant to generate heat that runs generators to power the engine.
Third, the German fuel cells system that uses proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity.
By no means, however, will the RSN's acquisition be the only one in the region. Other Asian-Pacific navies are also acquiring similarly capable submarines.
Japan is currently building the new Soryu-class of diesel-electric submarines, which are outfitted, like the RSN Archer, with the Stirling engine. At least four boats in this class are envisioned.
South Korea is constructing, under licence from Germany, three fuel cell-equipped Type-214 submarines, with options on six more.
India recently signed an agreement to acquire six Scorpene-class submarines, which will be constructed under licence at the country's Mazagon Docks shipyard. The last three subs in this buy will have the Mesma module installed.
Not to be outdone, Pakistan has ordered three Type-214 submarines from Germany as well.
Australia, which plans to double its submarine fleet from six to 12 boats by 2030, will likely acquire the technology, probably the Stirling engine, given its long-standing association with Kockums of Sweden.
Finally, rumours abound that China may soon acquire the technology for its new Yuan-class diesel-electric subs. Which engine the Chinese will employ is still unknown, however, but it will probably be a variant on the Stirling engine.
The coming “mini-proliferation” in such submarines could have an impact on the way subs are employed regionally. In and of themselves, such submarines do not disturb the overall military balance in the Asia-Pacific.
True, they do extend the operational endurance and range of conventional diesel-electric submarines. However, all air-independent propulsion systems are only auxiliary power sources, intended to supplement normal diesel-electric propulsion. They do not have the speed of an electric motor or the endurance of a nuclear-powered submarine, which can remain submerged almost indefinitely.
It is, therefore, probably best suited for long-endurance silent running, hiding from threats and hunting prey. This gives the subs expanded capacities for operations like anti-submarine warfare or trailing surface ships.
They are also more capable of projecting power farther out into the open ocean. Consequently, they can do a better job patrolling sea lanes of communication or protecting exclusive economic zones.
At the very least, air-independent propulsion greatly expands the range of options and opportunities for the submarine forces of regional navies. At the moment, the number of such submarines, current or planned, does not appear to threaten a new mini-arms race.
Malaysia, which is acquiring two Scorpene submarines, has not bought the Mesma-equipped version (although after the Archer deal, future Malaysian sub purchases, if any, could include this option).
Indonesia had once considered acquiring several Russian submarines, but this deal fell apart over infrastructure financing: Jakarta had wanted to use Russian export credits to build a sub base, which Moscow refused to fund.
Still, there is always concern about the impact of injecting new capabilities into regional military balances. These new submarine acquisitions are part of an overall trend in qualitative improvements to regional navies.
Such upgrades will result in increased capacities in long-range force projection, stealth, amphibious operations and precision-strike.
All these trends add up to something much more than the “mere” modernisation of naval forces. Depending on how these forces are utilised, they could have far-reaching repercussions on regional peace and stability. As such, these developments need to be studied for possibly negative consequences as well. — The Straits Times
Friday, July 10, 2009
But, Tok Guru only. Tambah Shafie lagi. Shafie dan saya dulu sama sama tinggal di asrama 5, U Malaya semasa menuntut. Apa yang ingin saya ketengahkan ialah, di luar PAS, rata rata hanya Tuan Guru Nik Aziz sahaja yang mendapat respect daripada orang lain. Selain daripada itu, tidak ada individu PAS yang berjaya mendapatkan respect di kalangan rakyat luar daripada selimut PAS.
Dalam politik, untuk mendapat respect adalah tidak susah, sekiranya anda menang pilihanraya, maka anda akan terima respect daripada orang lain. Untuk memenangi pilihanraya itulah yang susah. Oleh itu, kalau PAS ingin mendapat respect daripada orang lain, maka ia perlu memenangi banyak lagi kerusi dalam pilihanraya.
Kes yang timbul di Kedah adalah satu petunjuk kepada keadaan ini. Dengan hanya 1 kerusi dalam DUN Kedah, DAP, dan ADUN tunggalnya berani membuat keputusan untuk menarik diri dari PR, sementara ADUNnya sanggup menjadi ADUN bebas. Ini menunjukkan PAS masih belum mendapat respect daripada rakan sendiri. Apatah lagi daripada lawan.
Saya rasa ini adalah satu perkara yang diterlepas pandang oleh PAS, terutamanya PAS Kedah. Mungkin PAS , juga PAS Kedah merasakan diri mereka dipandang dengan respect oleh rakan, dan dengan sebab itu, ada beberapa tindakan yang dilakukan mungkin tidak begitu teliti mengenai sensitiviti rakan politik dan rakyat daripada kaum lain. Oleh itu, apabila sesuatu tindakan dilakukan, maka mereka berasa tindakan tersebut tidak melintas garis panas yang boleh menggelegakkan pihak pihak lain. Sekarang, dengan isu keluarnyaDAP Kedah daripada PR, PAS, serta PAS Kedah belajar satu pengalaman yang pahit.
Ustaz Azizan lah yang akan menentukan prestasi PAS dalam pilihanraya 13 nanti. Prestasi yang ditunjukkannya akan menjadi kayu pengukur tentang kepercayaan pengundi kepada PAS, tentang keyakinan pengundi kepada PAS dan tentang respect rakyat kepada PAS. Saya sangat yakin dengan kemampuan ustaz Azizan mengemudi PAS ke mercu yang lebih tinggi lagi, tetapi beliau mestilah cermat dan tactful dalam statecraft.
Syukurlah isu keluarnya DAP Kedah daripada PR telah diselesaikan dengan rundingan, tetapi ia mengajar kita satu perkara yang sangat penting. PAS masih lagi belum mendapat respect dari pada hati rakyat di luar selimutnya.
Kita perlu ingat. Respect has to be earned.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
he Federal Court today granted Nizar
Leave was granted without objections from Zambry and the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail but no date has been fixed yet for the appeal proper to be heard.
Malaysia kalah kepada Thailand. Kalah kepada Korea Selatan. Kalah Kepada Indonesia. Kalah kepada India. Kalah kepada Jepun. Kalah dan kalah.
Mana tak kalah, main takraw guna tangan!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Hujah yang dikemukakan oleh Al-Brangi di sini sepatutnya diambil perhatian oleh semua orang , terutamanya perdana menteri.
Masa Nizar selesaikan hal tanah, UMNO/BN hantam habis habisan.
Sekarang perdana menteri kata hal tanah urusan kerajaan negeri.
itu belum menteri perdana bersabda lagi tu!
Ada yang ceramah pakai kopiah putih, yang dulunya labelkan sebagai identiti lebai kampung yang serba tidak mengetahui perkembangan dunia semasa. Ada yang mengatakan Tuan Guru Nik Aziz amalkan kaedah pemerintahan pecah dan perintah. Ada yang memuji Tuan Guru Haji Hadi Awang dan Nasharudin Mat Isa.
Tertunggu tunggu juga laungan memanggil hujan bergema di Manek Urai. Biasanya katak lah yang berjerih memanggil hujan.
Bila nak dengar nama nama orang Malaysia menang acara profesional peringkat antara bangsa selain badminton, squash, bowling.
Johan baling profesional antarabangsa orang Malaysia tak mampu ke?
Monday, July 6, 2009
Bertambah berkesan lagi apabila beliau bergabung dengan Khir Toyo, Marsum Paing (ADUN Dengkil), Mohamad Idris Abu Bakar (ADUN Hulu Bernam), and Isa Abdul Kasim (Batang Kali) untuk menyaman Dewan Undangan Negeri Selangor kerana mereka telah digantung daripada menghadhiri sidang DUN Selangor selama setahun.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Umno’s election heads have scoffed at Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s influence in the state, stating that Umno leaders are far more capable than the influential cleric.
Coming on the eve of nominations for the Manek Urai by-election, the show of confidence appears designed to break the psychological grip that the PAS spiritual leader has on the mostly Malay Muslim state.
“Nik Aziz is only influential in Kelantan whereas Tok Pa has, among other things, been a minister,” said Umno information chief Ahmad Maslan, referring to Umno Kelantan chief Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, who is the party’s election director for the July 14 vote. Both Umno leaders rejected the idea that Nik Aziz’s iconic status among Muslims would be the defining factor for the Malay electorate who make up over 99 per cent of the 12,300 voters.
“An icon is someone who can contribute to Kelantan and also outside of the state,” Ahmad, who is also Pontian MP added.
“I feel I am also an icon,” Mustapa stated.
“Tok Guru might have his strengths, but I also contribute to society, so let the people judge,” the International Trade and Industry Minister said when comparing himself to Nik Aziz.
He added that Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak was also an icon as “our prime minister has a broad vision and capable of bringing change.”
Mustapa added that Umno would bring Najib’s 1 Malaysia concept to the ground and also explain his economic liberalisation properly.
The move appears targeted to ensure that Barisan Nasional would not experience a fallout from Najib’s move to reduce Bumiputera quota requirements from Malay voters here.