DE FAAKTO ANALYSIS-Modernizing Navies-OSINT Study

Modernizing Navies-An Open Source Intelligence Study


Countries Modernizing & the Drivers for Navel Modernization

Modern navel power is essential to any nation’s domestic and international security, commerce, trade, and geopolitical influence. Navel forces are vital to,
• Securing international waterways,
• Countering terrorism, piracy, illicit narcotics, human trafficking
• Peacekeeping, humanitarian aid distribution & disaster relief
• A strong navy provides strategic options for any multitude of national security affairs

Why is a modern Navy Vital?
“A strong navy, used in concert with allied nations and backed up by a vigorous economy, is a potent deterrent to conflict and enables diplomacy. It convinces adversaries that war is either unwinnable or too costly to wage.” (CIMSEC, 2017)

“Influence of Sea Power upon History by Alfred Thayer Mahan, examined the factors that decided how Great Britain was able to rise to its near global dominance. Mr. Mahan factored in geography, population, and government. He defined a strong sea power as a nation with a strong navy and commercial fleet. Mahan also promotes the belief that any army would succumb to a strong naval blockade.”

“In simple terms; Control of the oceans can be a primary factor that tips the scale, in wartime and peacetime, when looking at economic, political and military scenarios around the planet.”
(Medium, 2016)

What is causing this shift to navel modernization?

Annexation of Crimea-Black Sea Region
• Russia’s annexation of Crimea by military force has sounded the alarm for countries in the region, as well as NATO and western democracies

Baltic Sea Region
• The Baltic Sea region is a zone of heightened tensions between Moscow and the West, Russia has increased its military capability in its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad
• “We see an aggressive Russia that is building up its forces, renewing its materials, having new missiles in Kaliningrad … That is the new picture in our part of the world,” (Danish Defence Minister)
(Business Insider, 2017)

South China Sea
• Chinas aggressive reclamation and militarization of the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands has caused a regional shift in military power

• China has tactically and strategically extended its military “range and influence” with navel bases, airstrips, radar, communications, missile installations and shelters

• The South China Seas are strategically important, 30% of the worlds shipping trade filter through the region and there are 5 other countries (Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines & Brunei) that have claims to the area

• The South China Sea is rich in natural resources. There are an estimated 11 billion barrels of oil, 109 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 10% of the world’s fisheries (Small Wars Journal, 2018)

Freedom of Navigation Operations
• The U.S. Navy has conducted multiple FONOPS in the South China Sea within close proximity of Chinese reclamation islands. Australia has sailed FONOPS in 2018 and the U.K. & France have made commitments to future joint FONOPS in South China Sea asserting freedom of navigation rights
• Recently the U.S. Navy conducted FONOPS missions via the Taiwan Strait in July & October of 2018

Nations Modernizing their Navies

United States Navy

From Defense News,

U.S. Navy 30 Year Ship Building Plan
• 308 ships by 2020
• 326 ships by the end of the five year future-year defense planning projections, and building 10 more ships
• Modernization of 17 of its 22 cruisers past their 35-year service life
• The Navy is currently upgrading its newest 11 cruisers through a phased modernization plan
• Adding nearly 17,000 sailors, over the next 5 years to support new ships
(Defense News, 2018)

Why does the USA need a strong navy?
• “The Navy is central to U.S. national and global security. Waterways, especially sea lanes, are vital to transportation and commerce. Nearly half of U.S. foreign trade is seaborne. Communications (underwater cables), energy (transoceanic pipelines), smuggling (including human), piracy, anti-terrorism, humanitarian aid, and even the environment are all within the scope of maritime missions. In light of this, one thing is clear: Every major national-security strategy under consideration today requires significant naval presence.” (U.S. Naval Institute, 2013)

Royal British Navy

“To deter you must have a credible force”-Captain Simon Petitt, Senior Naval Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth (Express, 2018)

Why does the United Kingdom need a strong modern navy?
• “BRITAIN is set to enter a new era of maritime power, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said. New ships and aircraft would give us “an ability to project force globally that we haven’t had for decades”
• It comes as tensions with Russia mount, with a Royal Navy nuclear submarine forced once again to track two Russian spy subs as they prowled deep waters off Scotland”
• “We are investing billions in growing the Royal Navy for the first time in a generation –projecting Britain’s influence globally and delivering security at home”
(Express, 2018)

Royal British Navy Upgrades
• Hunter-killer submarine HMS Triumph was equipped with new tracking equipment that allows British submarines to shadow Russian predators with secret new “non-acoustic detection”
• Cutting edge developments were placing Britain’s submarines at the forefront of the Royal Navy’s continuing efforts to detect and track Russian submarines
• New vessels and surveillance helicopters that will make the Royal Navy the most balanced service in the world, and the only one capable of fulfilling every ask required of a maritime force
• “Britain’s new carriers, frigates, aircraft and submarines begin a new era for the UK, providing unprecedented firepower”
• At the forefront is Britain’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth & HMS Prince of Wales (operational 2020)
• The summer (2017) will see steel cut on the first of eight Type 26 frigates in Glasgow
• Britain will see a fourth Astute Class submarine hit the water, while the keel for the seventh and final submarine of this class will be laid in 2017
• HMS Forth, the first of five revamped River Class patrol vessels equipped with 30mm main guns, a 16-tonne crane for two sea boats and an extended flight deck to operate Merlin or Wildcat helicopters, will also begin sea trials
(Express, 2018)

Chinese Navy

• China is in the midst of a particularly large naval build up using their extensive industrial base and newfound wealth to rapidly increase the quality and quantity of their naval forces. (CIMSEC, 2017)

Observers believe China’s naval modernization effort is oriented toward developing capabilities
for doing the following:
• Addressing the situation with Taiwan militarily, if need be;
• Asserting and defending China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea
• Achieving a greater degree of control or domination over the SCS
• Enforcing China’s view that it has the right to regulate foreign military activities in its 200-mile maritime exclusive economic zone
• Defending China’s commercial sea lines of communication particularly those linking China to the Persian Gulf
• Displacing U.S. influence in the Western Pacific; and asserting China’s status as a leading regional power and major world power (CRS, 2018)

Why does China want a strong navy?
Defending the country’s sovereignty and maritime interests,
• A coastline of 18,000 kilometres
• More than 6,500 islands, and about 3 million square kilometres of maritime area
• China needs a strong and modern navy to prevent any violation of its territory, sovereignty over the islands and maritime interests in its waters (China Daily, 2012)

China has to protect its interests on the high seas too,
• The country became the world’s largest exporter in 2009 and imported 63 percent of its iron ore and 55 percent of its crude oil needs in 2010
• The safety of China’s personnel, assets and shipping lanes is very important for its economy, to guarantee this it needs a strong navy (China Daily, 2012)

Russian Navy

Russia’s Efforts to Modernize its Navy
• Russian has strong intentions to modernize its navy
• While Russia is plagued with modernization challenges ranging from trade embargoes to the unreliability of ship building yards
• Russia somehow is managing to bring some new vessels into service and upgrade older platforms in the Black Sea Fleet
• Between 2014-2018 Russia has added 11 new ships Black Sea Fleet, 6 of the 11 ships are Kilo class submarines

On paper the fleet that Russia is constructing seems formidable. However, there are still doubts whether Russia will be able to actually acquire all these new platforms in sufficient numbers. (CIMSEC, 2017)

Finland Navy

From Defense News,

• The increasingly strategic value of the Baltic Sea as a potential theatre of military conflict between Russia and NATO is triggering fresh steps by Finland to modernize its naval forces
• Strengthening its presence in the Baltic Sea and protecting its 838-mile-long border with Russia remain two of the core pillars of Finland’s national defense strategy
• The country’s new vision for naval power aims to bolster Finland’s open sea surface warfare and anti-submarine capability in its primary territorial Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia areas
• Reinforcement of Finland’s naval strength in the Baltic Sea is being carried out under the $1.5 billion Squadron 2020 Program
• Acquisition of four multirole, ice-breaking submarine-hunter corvettes with requisite weapons and control systems
• The Ministry of Defence has given the Finnish Defence Forces the green light to request final tenders for the Squadron 2020’s ship and combat system
• Saab, Atlas Electronik and Lockheed Martin Canada — have been short-listed as potential suppliers of onboard weapons systems (Defense News, 2018)

Swedish Navy

From Defense News,

• Sweden, one of the only non-NATO aligned nations on the Baltic Sea, is developing a range of naval assets, the chief of its navy said
• The acquisitions come as Sweden seeks to revitalize its “total defense” concept — to defend against an unnamed neighboring adversary
• Sweden has similar plans during the Cold War, but allowed them to expire as its relationship with Russia improved
• The nation’s sea force must be focused on high end and “grey zone” threats on the Baltic Sea — and be ready for any regional conflicts (Defense News, 2018)

Swedish Navel Goals,
• Midlife upgrades to the fleet’s Visby-class corvettes in the mid-2020s
• Boosting the numbers of amphibious battalions to place more marines along the Swedish coastlines Increasing submarines to six
• Plans include two next-generation A26 submarines, which are being built Kockums, Saab’s shipyard in Malmö
• Mid-life upgrade on the Gotland-class submarines such that its equipment nearly matches the A26 (Defense News, 2018)

Canadian Navy

From CBC News Canada,

• An emboldened Russia is a threat to it neighbours in the Arctic and Canada must be ready to respond to any Russian incursions in the region (Stephen Harper-former prime minister Canada-2014)
• Defence giant Lockheed Martin has been selected as the preferred designer for Canada’s next generation of warships (CBC, 2018)
• BAE Type 26 design won the design competition represents a significant step forward for the long-anticipated $60-billion program to replace the navy’s aging fleet of frigates
• These ships will form the backbone of our Royal Canadian Navy and will be Canada’s major surface component of maritime combat power for decades to come
• The importance of this order should not be underestimated, as the new ships will provide the navy with the bulk of its ocean-going fleet — vessels that can be used in war, to protect trade routes or to deliver humanitarian aid
• They can basically do anything the government wants them to do (CBC, 2018)

Philippine Navy

From Defense News & Times of Israel,

• The Philippines faces a myriad security challenges ranging from disputes with China and other southeast Asian countries over the ownership of islands and features in the South China Sea, to ongoing insurgencies with communist guerrillas and Muslim separatists that includes Islamic State-linked militants
• Philippines Navy’s priority will be the acquisition of two corvettes and a similar number of multi-role offshore patrol vessels
• Other items on its wish list include more anti-submarine helicopters and amphibious assault vehicles, the latter for the country’s Marine Corps
• The Navy wants to acquire an unspecified number of submarines
• This could prove difficult under a limited budget and because the country’s has no experience operating and sustaining a submarine capability (Defense News, 2018)
• The navy also plans to acquire torpedoes, submarines and other major defense equipment under a modernization program to bolster the security of an archipelago with one of the world’s longest coastlines and to combat piracy and other cross-border crimes (Times of Israel, 2018)

Summary & Analysis
Naval modernization trends are emerging as the result of direct actions by Russia & China in the South China Sea & Black Sea (Crimea) regions. Other tensions are clear in the Baltic Sea and Arctic regions. Western nations and NATO alliances are modernizing navel resources for discernible reasons. Russian annexation of Crimea & Chinas reclamation of islands in the South China Sea through force and occupation, are driving nations at risk to invest in navel power and influence. No longer can disputed territories be taken for granted. Nations must claim territories & maritime waters, occupy them, garrison military forces, improve infrastructure and provide security through sovereignty patrols. Nations must exercise freedom of navigation operations in vital regions in order to secure trade and commerce. Nations that fail to secure territories, and strategic resources with military force and navel deterrence are no longer protected by international law and condemnation. Nations with dynamic navel assets can deter opportunistic territorial incursions and benefit from the added influence and value a navy provides in the fields of anti-piracy, disaster relief, peacekeeping and humanitarian aid missions.




The Importance of Naval Dominance-Medium (2016)

Nordic countries are boosting their defense cooperation out of concern about Russian military activity-Business Insider-Reuters (2017)

SWJ Factsheet: Chinas Territorial Stratagem – Extending Military Range & Influence through Reclamation & Occupation of the Spratly Waters, South China Sea-Small Wars Journal (2018)

US Navy to add 46 ships in five years, but 355 ships won’t come for a long time-Defense News (2018)

A Champion for the 21st Century Navy-U.S. Navy Institute (2013)

New ships for Royal Navy as Britain welcomes new era of maritime power-Express (2017)

China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress-Congressional Research Service (2018)

Strong navy protects interests-China Daily (2012)


Finland moves to boost its naval power in the Baltic Sea hotspot-Defense News (2018)

Stephen Harper raises spectre of Russian threat in Arctic speech to troops-CBC News (2014)

Lockheed Martin selected as preferred designer for Canada’s next generation of warships-CBC (2018)

Here’s the Philippine military’s wish list for it’s newly approved modernization phase-Defense News (2018)

With Israeli missiles, Philippine navy takes step toward modernization-The Times of Israel (2018)