Thursday, June 13, 2013

Japan Joins US Dawn Blitz 2013 Amphibious Exercises - What's in it for the Philippines?

On the 31st of May 2013, a Japan Self Defense Force (JSDF) group of about 1,000 servicemen, 3 warships and several combat helicopters arrived in California in preparation to its participation on a large amphibious operation exercise called "DAWN BLITZ 2013", which will be held from June 11 to 28. Together with Japan will be forces from the US Navy and Marine Corps, Canada and New Zealand. The exercise involves amphibious assault exercises on the San Clemente Island off Los Angeles in California, and according to US Navy, involves "fictional countries and virtual opposing forces with no basis on any current geopolitical situation".


The JMSDF amphibious assault ship JDS Shimokita underway at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Photo taken from US Navy website.


Dawn Blitz 2013 is part of a series of amphibious training exercises which provide realistic and relevant training for the US Marine Corps and its foreign participants. Japan's contingent include the flat-deck landing ship JDS Shimokita (LST-4002), the Aegis missile destroyer JDS Atago (DDG-177) and the helicopter destroyer cum helicopter carrier JDS Hyuga (DDH-181). Also scheduled in the exercises is the landing for the first time in a Japanese warship of the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, planning and execution of amphibious landing operations, live fire exercises, and exercises on logistics and command, control and communications.


The JDS Atago, an AEGIS missile destroyer of the JMSDF.
Photo taken from Royal Canadian Navy website.


Although it seems to be just another military exercise, this is actually an unprecedented move by Japan and its main ally the United States. It is the first time that Japan will send a large contingent to the US, and the first time that Japan will be involved in a large scale amphibious assault exercise since the formation of the Japanese Self Defense Forces in the 1950s. The fleet sent by the JMSDF alone includes their largest of most powerful ships, as the JDS Hyuga is actually one of their 2 helicopter carriers intentionally understated by the Japanese as a helicopter destroyer.


The helicopter destroyer / carrier JDS Hyuga of the JMSDF.

Although officially not directed at a specific country, the exercises is timely with the ongoing tensions between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands and possibly the Okinawa archipelago. China earlier made statements of claims to the Senkakus and contesting the sovereignty of Japan over Okinawa, both of which Japan considers as an integral part of its territory. 

The exercises is a testament that the Americans will be backing-up the Japanese on this issue, and this also enforces their own announcement of shifting its sights more to the Asia-Pacific region. It also shows that Japan is serious on dealing with the security threats it faces, and that it is willing to accept a bigger responsibility in Asia's security stability by letting go of the policies it implements since their loss in World War 2 and American occupation in 1945.


The Senkaku Islands, shown with the overlapping EEZs of China, Japan and Taiwan.
Photo taken from defensenews.com

So what's in it for the Philippines?

Actually nothing much on the outside. There might be trickles of benefits from a stronger and more capable Japan like assistance or political support, but nothing really major. But if the Philippine government dig deeper into what the Japanese are up to, the gem is actually on the inside.

Like Japan, the Philippines is a major US treaty ally, and have a common threat which is China. Both countries are locked against China on control of contested islands, and both are tied up to limitations to maximize its defense capabilities on one way or another. But that's were the similarities ends, because after that, both have different ways to meet their ineffectiveness.


A Japan Coast Guard (JCG) and China Maritime Surveillance (MSA) large patrol vessels matching-up on each other. This is a normal scene nowadays around the Senkaku Islands, with the usual participation of Taiwanese Coast Guard Administration (CGA) ships.
Unlike Japan, who makes strides to increase defense spending and capabilities despite hard times on the economic front, who plans and painfully but is ready and willing to amend its "peace" constitution to keep up with the present security threats and give its armed forces the teeth it needs to meet its defense requirements, and stride hard to keep its territories intact and its people united; the Philippines is not making such hard choices.


Mischief Reef in 1995, 2005 and 2012 for comparison. Note the changes.
Photo taken from Korea News Online.
The Philippines already lost possession of the Mischief Reef (Panganiban Reef) to China in 1994, and lost control of Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal) in 2012, again to China. For 2013, Second Thomas Shoal (Ayungin Shoal) is being threatened of being taken over by China. Taiwan also started its posturing in the north, trying to take a huge slice on the Philippines' EEZ and fishing rights.

Is it already too late to do make the changes on how the government prioritizes the defense of the Philippines, improving its foreign relations and foreign policy, strengthening and modernizing the armed forces, and increasing its ties with its allies? MaxDefense believes it is too late. But being late is always better than doing nothing at all.

Is the Philippines willing to make painful but worthwhile changes to face the threats around her? MaxDefense leaves this question to ponder.



28 comments:

  1. fictional yet an obvious and timely exercise on an eminent threat.sadly, the philippines isnt nowhere near alarmed or decisive enough on procuring modernization assets to counter. take for instance the Maestrale deal, took 2 years to study and discarded just the same.that same time, wouldve been enough for a new built frigate to be comissioned.by the time assets sufficient to make dent on monitoring and patrolling will come,there will not be much to defend

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    1. Day late and a dollar short..

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  2. The Philippines is like a deer caught in the headlights with these territorial disputes.

    So now Pnoy should not send mix messages. I wonder what he'll do with the potential deportation of chinese fishermen that crashed onto tubbataha reef. Or the NBI recommendations against the coast guard.

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  3. This is why we need to upgrade fast.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gff1JDMULJE

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  4. simple... we are the most stupid country in the world and the gates thru hell..lollllllllll

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  5. The problem is, that the Filipinos have ignored what was going around in the neighborhood and are now caught in a deer with a headlight. Now that China is pushing it's weight around, The Philippines are starting to realize that their military is very weak in the face of China pushing it's weight and power around. Just wait until China starts sailing their Aircraft Carrier the Liaoning around the Philippines EEZ. That alone should scare the crap out of you guys into a massive military buying spree. Even Vietnam knew about it and brought Russia Kilo SSK submarines to defend against it. Even every Asian pacific Navy knew in the back of their minds, that China would eventually get into the Aircraft carrier game. That's why you Philippines are a decade late and a billion dollar short on building a creditable national defense. Sad to say your political corruption is going to be your downfall and the reason why China will be able to use their military to bully you guys. Even the US Military knows you guys don't stand a chance to China.

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  6. I agree with MaxDefense I believe that is too late, one reason is that PH wasted 9yrs with the corrupt previous administration that did not prioritize the modernization of AFP and the Spratly and other disputed island, another is if the PH renewed its basing agreement with the US in the 90's we would not have this problem, and the US is short changing the PH in support, what's the use of US designating the Philippines as a "Major Non-Nato Ally" when benefits of being designated a Major Non-Nato Ally is being attain by the Philippines like "priority delivery of military surplus" while they only thing they are offering us are the ill equipped Hamilton cutters and where's "possession of War Reserve Stocks of DoD-owned equipment that are kept outside of American military bases"?

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    1. It's why the PH wasted so many years on corrupt administrations that they only have themselves to blame. Now that China is growing more bolder with their military, PH is starting to realize that their Military is so weak and so broken down that it can't even defend it's own EEZ or Airspace. Ya are living in a pipedream or fantasy. IMO, it's going to take the PH a decade for them to rebuild the PH Military in the face of China. They simply need to Fire all the Corrupt leaders and put in the ones who will defend and modernize the PH military. Simply buying US is not good enough because the US is simply giving you hand me downs. I have suggested going to Russia and India for Ships, Aircraft, Submarines and weapons. They are quick to grab and quick to bring up. People in PH still want US gear when they are giving you hand me downs, shows that you really don't care about defending your own EEZ or Airspace. If you really cared, you could have gone to Russia for a used Multi role fighters such MIG-29, Su-27 or India's LCA. For ships, ya could have gotten a good Frigate, Corvette and Submarine from Russia and South Korea. Even an LPD from Singapore as well. Sad to say, the PH Military is the worse military on earth and doesn't have the capability to defend it's Airspace and EEZ.

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    2. @ Nicky June, I agree with your comment, PH is pushing for they're so called "minimum defense posture" yet I have not heard them buying anti-air and anti-ship land base missile, they should really consider buying equipment from other countries like Russia and try buy there S-300 or S-400 Anti Air Missile which is a very potent weapon place it somewhere like Palawan I'm the Chinese jets will have second though of flying close to PH shores.

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    3. What PH wants, they will never get in a decade. They want a creditable National defense, but the way China is buying and spending on Military hardware. Makes you wonder why PH doesn't give a damn about their Military. Even your close neighbors such as Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia have Militaries that can at least stand up to China. Look at Vietnam for instance, they are getting Russian Kilo SSKs and brand new Frigates. Taiwan has the Kidd class DDG's that can withstand China. Indonesia has brand new submarines. What dose PH has, Nothing, but hand me downs from America, that will never stand up to China. What the PH has is the worlds broken military and a corrupt political system. I have often said this, the PH need to suck it up and go to Russia to buy military hardware. Even a MIG-29 or MIG-35 would give the PH a creditable Air Defense and a multi role fighter to defend the Airspace.For AEW, I would go for a Saab 340 AEW&C for Airborne control. A Russian S-300 or S-400 would give the PH a viable Air defence umbrella. On top of that a good frigate from Russia such as the one they built for India such as the Talwar class frigate, or the Gepard class Frigate. Even for Corvettes, the Russian Steregushchy-class corvette would be a viable choice for you guys. For Submarines, I would look to Russia for Kilo Class SSK. Even for Patrol boats, See if you can get a used Island class Patrol boats from the USCG. For Amphibious, look at buying the Endurance class LPD in the same configuration that the Royal Thai navy has. For helicopters, look at getting an MI-17 and Mi-24 or MI-35. Even for CAS, ya should be replacing your OV-10's with A-29 Super Tucano's. The fact that you guys a decade late and a billion dollar short when it comes to building a creditable military to stand up to China. By the time China has a fully functioning and sailing Aircraft carrier & carrier battle group, it will be too late for PH to defend themselves and by then it will be GAME over. Taiwan knows this, Vietnam knows this, Japan knows this and even South Korea knows this. Which is why they are building up to defend against China, while you guys play fantasy to corrupt politicians.

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  7. Shoot all poachers

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  8. sell the Philippines to the highest bidder is the best solution, or let Japan or the US manage the country and armed forces. Filipinos are inept and corrupt.

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    1. or better yet ask the US if they can join the US as a state or territory

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    2. US doesn't have money right now..would you like to sell it to China?

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  9. That's why we need frigates NOW and fighter aircrafts NOW. Yes it's more costly to maintain second hand frigates, but i think that is the price of delaying the modernization of our fleet. If we delay more we might not have any island to defend! We need to put more money now and buy those frigates, submarines, fighter aircrafts and air defense system TODAY! Then let's see if those chinese vessels comes back tomorrow. - jamz.

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    1. Jamz, yes we need them now, but don't expect the Chinese to stop coming. That's why the coast guard also need support, increased budget and manpower, and more large 'bumper boats' (patrol vessels) to play with China's civilian patrol vessels and celebrate 'Fiesta ng San Juan' with them once in a while.

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    2. Max, i read the editorial of philnews suggesting that we should not have withdrawn brp del pilar from panatag shoal, given our disadvantage we can't play white-on-white and gray-on-gray all the time. Maybe we are still at standoff in panatag this time or the chinese already decimated brp del pilar. Why not paint all this ships with white for now? Are we allowed to do that? -jamz

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  10. The best thing to do is to do nothing... International Law is the law of the jungle where predator and prey relationship exists. On this situation China is the predator and Philippines is the prey. Philippines might be liken to a water buffalo to Lion China. It can put a fight but will succumb to death eventually. Now, a lone buffalo cannot withstand to a mighty lion BUT 3 of more buffalos will make the lion re-think its plan. The Philippines should be able to influence other countries who have territorial dispute with China like South Korea, Japan, & Vietnam. If not.... it's best to do nothing to preserve lives. War is costly, yet open minds exhibits maturity.

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    1. Who ever wrote the message above is stupid, I hope you read first before you post such stupid statements. "Do nothing?" is that meant as a joke, or are you saying you are a joke? in any case you are stupid and I do know what you will reply to me, o yeah nothing, because you do not want to do anything, for you doing nothing is better.

      Maybe you are a Philippine politician, you know, talk more do nothing about it. A typical waste of tax payers money.

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  11. it should be both is the best strategy.. maintain close relationships with enemies of china like India, Japan, and Vietnam and other players like the US, Australia, Singapore but we also need a credible defense to be able to patrol and prevent more intrusions. Besides with shooting starts, at least with a credible defense we can delay the invading forces and inflict heavy casualties on them. to totally depend on our allies for our defense is not to smart because they may not help for all we know.

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  12. But the problem is...even our own leader once said are we really going to war for a fishing territory...how can we defend our territory without firmness manifested by our leader...how can we immediately modernize our Armed Forces without firmness on our leadership...everything would materialize if he would act once an for all as THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF...so that our soldiers can stand proud and defend OUR TERRITORY...and they wont have to rely on the line.. "it is almost a done deal!"
    as nikki would say "By the time China has a fully functioning and sailing Aircraft carrier & carrier battle group, it will be too late for PH to defend themselves and by then it will be GAME over." its so sad to see our men willing to defend our territory but THESE PEOPLE FROM THE DND seems they don't give a damn!!!

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  13. How can we afford to wait several years more...China is not interested of our land..what they are after is our territorial
    waters!!! rich in resources.....rich in O I L !
    We simply need to Fire all the Corrupt leaders and put in the ones who will defend and modernize the PH military. as what nikki suggests along with millions of other patriotic filipinos!
    GET SOMEBODY WHO CAN REALLY ACCOMPLISH THE MODERNIZATION OF OUR ARMED FORCES!!!

    LET US DEMAND FOR IMMEDIATE RESULTS.
    FELLOW COUNTRYMEN LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD...SPEAK UP.

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  14. Modernize Our Armed Forces Now!

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  15. Yes, its all too late for PH to even start thingking of modernizing and upgrading its military. It should have done a decade ago or maybe marcos shouldnt have stepped down its throne. Its all regrets when chinas shells taps our houses roofs. An iminent danger is ahead of us thats why we need to unite. All filipinos stand against china dead or alive , we are filipinos and we will never surrender our motherland. We fight to the very last man standing. War is very near, doomsday soon follows, but theres s0mething i want to share with u guys, there a pr0phecy that says at the last few years of the world , a day will come all country will be at war. They will try a takeover 0n ph. but ph with all her might, the land of adam and eve will stood still and all neighbors and kingdoms bow before her. God bless PH , im glad i could die for my country :) . Philippines , pearl of the orient seas.

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  16. and here comes the news that several countries interested on the purchase of these maestrale ships.......WTF! Gazmin, Manalo, Velez, pipeline! done deal!!!!! FIT FOR THE POSITION? WHO?!!!

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  17. ...bkit pa ba ksi bibili ng mga 2nd hand na warships kung pwde nmang brand new kahit mahal, atleast mas mababa ang maintenance cost nito in the long run.. hay.. dami.2 niyong budget, taas ng tax, ax d2 tax doon, PERO bakit d makabli ng isng brand new frigate!! dami niu ksi arte.. kung maka.asta ng dnd eh sapat na ang knilang assets.. noon yun pero ngayun di na..

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  18. to fend the Chinese off our waters we need a lot of strike fighters, never mind the ships just strike fighters... Palawan is so close to those disputed isles and islands that it serves as our own immovable aircraft carrier... It would be air power that would win us that day if push comes to shove in this game... Chinese ships wont stand a chance if swarmed by numerous fighters firing anti ship missiles at them and they don't have the airpower to linger in that area... IT'S JUST TO FAR AWAY FROM THEM... so never mind the ships, we have to develop air power to blow them out of the water, our advantage is that we are closer to those islands than them... we have to concentrate our efforts, energies and finances in acquiring long range combat aircraft like the F18 and F15... The F18 for striking their ships and the F15 for air domination in the area of conflict... a minimum of 5 squadrons of F18 super hornets and 2 squadrons of F15 would be credible enough to make them think twice of venturing in our waters... it would be painful for our pockets but it is a pain we have to endure... AIR POWER is the answer to a sea problem if you are closer to the problem than your adversary...

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