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The Tofino Times
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Thursday, November 21st, 2019
VOL. XXXII .. Num. 6320 | In the News: Naval Standoff
NAVY SENDS TWO SHIPS TO PATROL OUTSIDE XIOMERAN WATER TERRITORY
President Sakzi Says the Ships Will Not Breach Boundary, But Will Remain On High Alert
The Zamastanian Navy is strengthening its presence in the Southern Xiomeran Sea by deploying two Jarrus-class ships specializing in near-shore operations. This deployment of the littoral combat ships suggested that the Zamastanian strategy had switched from reconnaissance and deterrence to increasing its attack capability, a Tofino-based think tank said.
The ZMS Gideon Line left Kelowna's Lauri naval base on a mission on November 15, according to ship tracking information, while the ZMS Tomery conducted a joint operation with two other Zamastanian warships that were already in the region.
Both ships were active in the waterways east of Xiomera and Eiria, one of the world's busiest shipping routes, where Xiomera's claims over the waters conflicted with Zamastan earlier this week in an incident involving near-collisions and flyby's of naval jets. Zamastan has been condemned by many nations internationally for what was deemed a hostile breach of territory, while politicians on both sides of thought in Zamastan support President Sakzi's assertion that the navy did nothing wrong.
The increase of naval presence comes right after Xiomera deployed several new anti-ship variants of the XM-350 intermediate-range ballistic missile. The missiles were announced earlier this month as part of the Xiomeran "Defense 2020" plan. The XM-350-M is based on mobile launchers that can be hidden in locations which make it harder for opposing forces to locate and counter-attack. It is unknown whether the two Zamastanian vessels is in response to the missile systems.
Zamastan has frequently sent warships past the Xiomeran waters in what it describes as "freedom of navigation" operations for decades, though Monday's breach was the first time in several years that the warships of the two differing navies interacted.
Secretary of Defense Curtis Fondaden said on Thursday that Zamastan was conducting more patrols in the Southern Xiomeran Sea to send a signal to Xiomera.
Zamastan "rejects attempts by any nation to use coercion or intimidation to advance international interests at the expense of others," he said during a visit to the 2nd Fleet, which has anchored at the Holish Islands, the only Zamastanian controlled territory overseas.
He also urged nations with territory near Xiomera to assert their sovereign rights to put Xiomera "on the right path."
"The clear signal that we're trying to send is not that we oppose Xiomera per se, but that we all stand for international rules and international laws and that we think Xiomera should abide by them as well," Fondaden said.
Most vessels used in previous freedom of navigation missions were guided-missile destroyers or cruisers.
But littoral combat ships have unique advantages in the region, according to a report by the Southern Xiomeran Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative, a think tank affiliated with Zamastan Southwest University's Institute of Ocean Research.
The report said the ships' low draught gave them better access to shallow waters, which would help the effort to carry out reconnaissance missions in the scattered reefs of the Xiomeran waters. Their fast speed — up to 50 knots — was also an advantage in freedom of navigation missions, the report said.
Thanks to their modular design, the ships can also quickly switch to carrying out combat missions or anti-mine and anti-submarine operations.
Above: ZMS Gideon Line fires a Naval Strike Missile during routine tests
At the start of October, the ships being deployed test-fired naval strike missiles, each with a range of over 100 nautical miles (185 km or 115 miles) — the first test of the stealth missile in the region.
The ships' deployment represented a subtle change in the Navy's strategy in the Southern Xiomeran Sea, suggesting that commanders were starting to focus on practical ways to improve their strike capability in the region by "proactively seeking military deterrence and preparing for potential military conflicts," the report said.
See full article here: https://zkcastor.wixsite.com/thetofinotimes