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05 Apr 11. Uruzgan’s newest Afghan National Security Force Patrol Base opens. Afghan National Security Forces have established a new patrol base near the village of Heydar on the eastern edge of the Mirabad Valley in Uruzgan province, which will allow the expansion of security and governance into the area. A successful security operation over the past six weeks has facilitated the construction of the patrol base by Afghan National Army engineers under Australian guidance on an important insurgent infiltration route. The Commanding Officer of Mentoring Task Force-Two, Lieutenant Colonel Darren Huxley, said insurgent activity in the area had previously denied the Afghan people access to important government services and infrastructure development. “The patrol base connects the people of this area with the Afghan National Army who are the Afghan Government’s security representatives. It gives them a visible symbol of the growing power and reach of their government,” Lieutenant Colonel Huxley said. “We don’t have to let the enemy divide the people of Mirabad. We can protect the people by bringing security to them,” the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Kandak, 4th Brigade of the 205th Corps, Lieutenant Colonel Sayed Sera Judin, said.
Lieutenant Colonel Sayed Sera Judin’s Australian mentor, Major B.J. Pearce, said the permanent patrol base offered more than just security to the locals. “This operation will enable a more secure lifestyle for the local nationals throughout the valley while also providing the Afghan government with a solid foundation upon which it can bring development into the area,” Major Pearce said.
Patrol Base Mohammed was officially opened last month by Brigadier General Zafar, Commander 4th Infantry Brigade, 205 Hero Corps, and Afghan National Army. The ceremony was also attended by local key leaders, and Afghan and coalition force representatives. The patrol base is named after a fallen Afghan National Army soldier. The transfer of security responsibilities for the patrol base to the 3rd Kandak, demonstrates their increasing tactical capability.
31 Mar 11. Warship handling and anti-piracy training capabilities boost for RAN. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) opened its recently upgraded ship’s bridge simulator training facility at HMAS Watson in Sydney on 25th March 2011. Featuring a host of new full mission and desktop simulators from Kongsberg Maritime, the new facility represents one of the most advanced naval training centres in the world and will be used by RAN cadets to learn to pilot the next generation of warships, alongside a wide range of critical training applications, including anti-piracy. The contract for the HMAS Watson upgrade was awarded in January 2010, with several key requirements in addition to the short timescale to completion combining to create a challenging project; all systems had to be compatible with the existing simulator installation and scope of supply creep was not permitted. The RAN and Kongsberg Maritime teams were able to stay within these requirements and as such, the facility upgrade has already been awarded the Navy Minor Project Award by Australian Defence Magazine (ADM). The HMAS Watson upgraded ship’s bridge simulator system was delivered in two phases. It comprises two state-of-the-art full mission simulators, four part-task simulators, ten desktop systems, instructor and debrief stations and extensive visual systems, based on the latest iteration of Kongsberg Maritime’s SeaView software. As an integrated system, the simulators will provide RAN with the capability to train cadets in scenarios ranging from simple tasks, such as passage planning, ocean pass