05 Nov 20. Australian Army Helicopter Crews Train for Ship Landings. Army helicopter crews flying three different aircraft types have been training to land on the deck of HMAS Adelaide right in time for summer and the potential for natural disasters.
The landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship Adelaide is the Navy’s high-readiness vessel and is available to support humanitarian and disaster-relief operations domestically and in the region.
A CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter, an MRH-90 Taipan and an ARH Tiger operated concurrently on Adelaide’s flight deck during the training exercises conducted off the coast of Townsville at the end of October as part of Exercise Sea Wader.
Major Sacheen Gallop, air operations officer in Adelaide, said the deck landings and joint training were essential for aircrew to maintain their skills and competency requirements.
“Army aviation teams have most recently worked alongside their Navy counterparts in Operation Bushfire Assist and, as we move into the high-risk weather season, the deck-landing qualifications will allow for more aviation assets to operate off Adelaide,” Major Gallop said.
Crews from Army’s 1st Aviation Regiment, based in Darwin, and 5th Aviation Regiment, from Townsville, took part in the training, maintaining their qualifications to land on Navy’s largest warship.
Commanding Officer 5th Aviation Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Martin said the training enabled the helicopter crews to be ready for any operations in the region or to respond to disasters.
Lieutenant Commander Adam Wells, of Adelaide, said the deck landings provided a valuable opportunity for the ship’s aviation support team.
“We have a lot of trainees at the moment, so they were able to be exposed to new types of aircraft that they don’t always see,” he said.
The latest deck-landing training on Adelaide with Army followed a similar exercise with Republic of Singapore Air Force CH-47 crews, which also successfully qualified their aircrew over two days of flight training off the coast of Townsville.
Singapore’s CH-47 aircraft worked alongside Army’s 5th Aviation Regiment during the bushfire emergency in Victoria earlier this year.
Adelaide is hosting the Australian Amphibious Task Group in Far North Queensland as part of Exercise Sea Wader, which began on October 24 and ends on November 8. (Source: ASD Network/MoD Australia)
04 Nov 20. UK receives additional Texan II trainer aircraft. The United Kingdom has received a further four Beechcraft T-6C Texan II trainer aircraft to add to the 10 already operated under the UK Military Flight Training System (UKMFTS) programme.
The additional aircraft arrived at Royal Air Force (RAF) Valley on the Welsh island of Anglesey on 3 November, from where they will be used by Affinity Flying Services Limited to deliver the Fixed-Wing portion of the UKMFTS programme for RAF and Royal Navy (RN) pilots. Affinity is a 50/50 joint venture of Elbit Systems UK and Kellogg Brown and Root Limited.
News of the new arrivals came nearly three years after the first of the original 10 aircraft were delivered to RAF Valley under Affinity’s GBP500m (USD721m at the time of the contract signature in February 2016) award to provide fixed-wing pilot training to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and its Ascent Flight Training partner.
The Texan II forms the second in a three-node training system that sees students perform their primary flight training on Grob 120TP Prefect piston-engined platforms before progressing onto the Texan II and then the BAE Systems Hawk T2. (Source: Jane’s)
04 Nov 20. Royal Marines train with cutting-edge autonomous technology in Cyprus. The UK’s Littoral Strike Group has demonstrated the Royal Navy’s readiness to defend against the most advanced and novel threats of today as part of their deployment to the Mediterranean. Off the coast of Cyprus, the Royal Navy’s Littoral Strike Group has showcased the battlefield of tomorrow with trials of innovative and experimental equipment including drones, autonomous systems, quad bikes, jet skis and new communications systems.
The Littoral Strike Group (Experimentation) [LRGX] features the deployment of the Royal Navy’s high readiness Littoral Strike forces on a three-month deployment to the Mediterranean and Black Sea region. During the exercise, the Royal Navy has tested innovative tactics and kit including the Future Command Force (FCF) – the evolution of the Royal Marines into a hi-tech raiding and strike force.
The FCF is a bold modernisation project, which will overhaul how the Royal Marines operate in a 21st century context. Commando Forces will be used for Littoral Strike capability, which is the use of Commando Forces from a sea-base to attack targets or influence events in high risk, demanding or politically delicate areas. This will give the UK a more agile and lethal capability, ready for missions anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice, whether that’s for war-fighting, specific combat missions such as commando raids, or providing humanitarian assistance.
In Cyprus, commando teams experimented with Malloy T-150 quadcopter drones carrying resupplies weighing more than 60kg of ammunition, military jet ski-style vehicles that can secretly drop small teams and supplies ashore and state of the art communications technology providing live imagery to those on the ground.
Commodore Rob Pedre, COMLSG, said, “Royal Navy Flagship HMS Albion’s hosting of the Capability Demonstration in Cyprus has been a highlight of the LRG(X) deployment. The demonstration by our Sailors and Marines was superb, and showcased the quality of our Armed Forces, whilst providing an insight into how the Royal Navy is integrating future technology and new concepts. The event was also an important expression of the UK’s steadfast commitment to our allies and partners, as we work together to support regional stability within the Eastern Mediterranean.”
The LRGX deployment includes the headquarters and staff of Commodore Rob Pedre, the Commander Littoral Strike Group, flagship HMS Albion, destroyer HMS Dragon and amphibious support ship RFA Lyme Bay. Royal Marines on the deployment make up a FCF from the specialist raiding units of 47 Commando, Marines of 42 and 40 Commando and the intelligence experts of 30 Commando Information Group. Also deployed are Wildcat helicopters from the Commando Helicopter Force at RNAS Yeovilton.
Last month the force conducted a series of exercises along the North African shoreline, before joining NATO partners on the French-led exercise Dynamic Mariner, demonstrating the UK’s commitment to NATO’s southern and eastern flank. The Strike Group has now moved on from Cyprus to Egypt, where Defence Minister James Heappey will visit the ship and crew, demonstrating the UK’s commitment to regional security and an opportunity to exercise with the Egyptian Armed Forces.
Sergeant Adam Sperry of 30 Commando said, “The marines have had to swiftly learn how to use the new equipment and integrate it. That kit has included state of the art communications technology and autonomous resupply aircraft, totally transforming the battle space.”
* Malloy T-150 quadcopter drones – capable of carrying loads of more than 60kg over distances as much as 70 kilometres from ships or land bases directly to the front line – were used extensively to drop ammunition, food and personal supplies to the men of 40 Commando as they fought their way through ancient ruins. (Source: Royal Navy)
05 Oct 20. RMAF Operates Rheinmetall’s A400M Cargo Hold Simulator. Rheinmetall and Airbus Defense & Space continue their successful cooperation in training systems for the A400M transport aircraft. The new turnkey A400M Cargo Hold Part Task Trainer (CPTT) for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has been used for training since February 2020.
The A400M CPTT, an A400M Cargo Hold Trainer with controls that are exactly reproduced in the original scale, is used to provide realistic training for the Load Masters and Ground Personnel in accordance with the requirements of the RMAF. The CPTT can be used to train the mission-specific configurable conversion of the Cargo Hold, the preparation of the load, loading and unloading, procedures during the flight and on the ground, and the cooperation of the air crews. The system is suitable for initial as well as advanced as well as repetition and deployment training. Even complex scenarios and emergency situations can be practiced safely since no original aircraft is required.
The new Cargo Hold Part Task Trainer complements the existing simulation and training systems of the A400M Training Center at the Kuala Lumpur site (Malaysia). The targeted expansion of Rheinmetall’s comprehensive cargo product line by the CPTT enables the entire spectrum of cargo training resources to be adapted for other platforms.
In addition to the CPTT, Rheinmetall has delivered further training equipment such as the Airbus Load Master Work Station Trainer (LMWST) as well as the Airbus Cargo Hold Trainer Enhanced (CHT-E) to various A400M user nations.
The CHT-E can be classified one level higher than the CPTT. In almost every detail, it is the exact replica of the loading space, including all operating elements, control stations, electronics and equipment true to the original. With this all training contents can be trained for which a real flight is not necessary. The CHT-E was delivered to the ITC of Airbus in Seville, the Royal Air Force in Brize Norton, the German Air Force in Wunstorf and the French Paratroopers (Army) in Toulouse.
A LMWST is in use at Airbus’ International Training Center (ITC) in Seville, the A400M French National Training Center in Orléans and the Royal Air Force National Training Center in Brize Norton. (Source: ASD Network)
02 Nov 20. US Navy Aviators Train MQ-25 Operations. U.S. Navy aviators are already learning how to “fly” the MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueller before the first air vehicle comes off the production line. Four Navy air vehicle operators (AVOs) from VX-23, the Navy’s developmental test squadron, and VX-1, the operational test squadron, recently traveled to Boeing’s St. Louis facility for an immersive three-day simulation designed to train them to operate a flight from start-up to shut-down from the ground control station (GCS) – the MQ-25’s terrestrial or CVN-based “cockpit.”
This course was possible due to the experience gained by flying T1, the Boeing-owned MQ-25 test asset developed prior to the Navy awarding Boeing the MQ-25 Engineering, Manufacturing and Development contract in August 2018. T1 first flew in September 2019 and to date has accumulated nearly 30 flight hours during its initial phase of testing. T1 recently underwent a planned modification to integrate an aerial refuelling store (ARS) and is currently in ground testing prior to resuming flight testing. Navy AVOs will have the opportunity to serve in the co-pilot role, AVO No. 2, when flights resume.
Lt. Venus Savage, the VX-1 MQ-25 assistant operational test director, said the training was a unique opportunity to learn about the command and control processes used to interface with and operate the MQ-25 long before the first aircraft is delivered to the Navy.
“Especially for operational test, we’re lucky to be involved this early in the program,” Savage said. “It helps when you get that side information from an experienced AVO that adds to what’s in the documentation. We were able to ask detailed questions and get clarification on what the checklists and commands are and they let us know what to expect from the air vehicle. It helps ingrain it in your memory because it’s more than just book learning.”
The ongoing dialogue between Navy and Boeing AVOs helps shape the final system delivered to the Fleet, which is a win for the Navy, Boeing and ultimately the warfighters that will use the system.
Savage explained that the combined experience of the Navy and Boeing team differentiates MQ-25 from other programs. “While there are still changes to be made, like with all developmental programs, we’re working together to create a better finished product,” Savage said. “The collaboration is awesome. It’s a great team to work with.” (Source: UAS VISION/Navair Press Release)
03 Nov 20. Grollo Aerospace helps prepare ADF to face supersonic weapons systems. Melbourne-based Grollo Aerospace has developed the world’s first low-cost, supersonic training missile, the EVADER, which for the first time allows ADF personnel to practice life-saving skills against a realistic high-speed target.
The EVADER’s innovative, supersonic ramjet engine and its rugged airframe and autonomous control system have been developed entirely in-house by Moorabbin-based Grollo Aerospace.
The company in July submitted a proposal for a $2.85m Defence Innovation Hub contract that would complete EVADER’s development, help protect RAN ships and personnel and open up a hitherto-untapped global market for high-speed aerial training targets.
Founder and Chief Technology Officer Mark Grollo, who designed EVADER’s low cost ram jet engine, explained, “Sailors currently don’t have a representative target they can practice on. All ships are vulnerable to high-speed, sea-skimming missiles, and these are proliferating: they’re getting faster and more agile, and there are more of them.”
To train its combat system operators, the Navy currently simulates missile attacks by flying manned or unmanned aircraft towards them, but these are too slow, they have to fly unrepresentative flight profiles for safety reasons and have much too big a radar cross-section.
EVADER has even resorted in the past to firing artillery shells near ships, but these have the wrong altitude and trajectory. Air-launched from over the horizon EVADER, which is 4.2 metres long and weighs about 90 kilograms, can accurately replicate the flight path and trajectory of a genuine, seaskimming anti-ship missile, including some terminal manoeuvres.
The platform’s training value for ships’ combat systems and their operators in realistically simulating such threats is incalculable.
As a sovereign capability, EVADER can be changed and upgraded at short notice to respond to new threats without the ADF having to ask an overseas ally for help, or wait for a foreign contractor, which means that Australia’s own threat intelligence remains under its own control.
The company reflects current defence industry policy through its development of a unique, high-technology Australian industry capability based on the company’s own R&D and expertise in robotics, autonomous systems and ram jet technology. Furthermore, Grollo Aerospace now has an Australian supply chain of 80 companies.
EVADER is the product of seven years of self-funded R&D by Grollo Aerospace and recent cooperation with DST that’s designed to deliver an operational ADF capability as well as a sustainable commercial outcome; it’s an outstanding example of R&D collaboration between Grollo Aerospace, DST and the ADF, adds Grollo.
With further development EVADER will be able to replicate the even higher speeds of enemy attacking missiles. This would enhance still further its training value to the ADF and its allies as well as enable the development of new tactics to counter this emerging threat.
At just $250,000 each, EVADER will be less than one sixteenth of the cost of the existing standard US Navy test missile, the Orbital Dynamics GQM-163 Coyote, which costs about US$4m ($5.7m) each, says Grollo.
At present, the RAN can only use the ground-launched Coyote at the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii to test and prove its ships’ anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems.
Coyote is mainly a test and evaluation (T&E) missile; neither Navy has a cheaper system it can use for routine training, said former RAAF Air Commander and Test Pilot Air-Vice Marshal (Ret’d) Peter Nicholson.
Nicholson, whose technology consulting firm aadi Defence is supporting Grollo Aerospace, adds that the Australian Army is also interested in EVADER.
The ADF has invested heavily through projects such as LAND19 Phase 7B in ground-based radars and missiles to protect its troops and defend key assets; but it is still unable to simulate and train against the growing threat from high-speed cruise and hypersonic missiles.
Grollo Aerospace funded EVADER development for seven years using its own money before winning a$1.75m Defence Innovation Hub contract in 2017.
This funded a series of trials at Woomera in 2018, which proved the missile design, the autonomous control system, the vital ram jet engine, and the fact that EVADER can be re-used more than 10 times.
The unique feature of EVADER is its stainless steel, solid-state ram jet engine, designed by Mr Grollo, which enables supersonic flight using standard JP1 jet fuel, without requiring a rocket motor or any exotic and expensive alloys in its construction.
Other autonomous target systems use turbojet engines which can’t attain supersonic speeds while EVADER can do so, repeatedly. Grollo Aerospace has now submitted a proposal for a second Defence Innovation Hub contract worth $2.85m, which is designed to confirm to the Australian and US navies EVADER’s supersonic performance and the integrity of its ‘fail safe’ mode when used to simulate high-speed incoming attacking missiles.
This would take EVADER across the ‘valley of death’ for high-technology projects, said Dr Bill Schofield, CEO of aadi Defence and a former deputy chief defence scientist: “We’ll have reached Technology Readiness Level 7 – demonstrating a prototype of the entire system in an operational environment. That will confirm we’ve got an initial supersonic air target capability that we can offer to the ADF.”
It will also open up an export market among trusted allies, he adds: there is nothing like EVADER anywhere else in the world. The US Coyote missile costing US$4m each is only operated in Hawaii, making it unaffordable to visit for all but a few vital proving trials.
EVADER can be air-launched for training purposes into any suitable military sea or land-based range. The US Navy has expressed a strong interest in EVADER and trusts Australian-developed technology, said Dr Schofield: two of Australia’s biggest defence export earners, the Nulka anti-missile decoy and the vectored thrust rocket nozzle of the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), are in fleet-wide US Navy service – both were both developed in Australia while he was head of DST’s Aeronautical Research Laboratory.
Grollo Aerospace expects to hear the result of its application later this calendar year, explained Dr Schofield. (Source: Defence Connect)
30 Oct 20. On Wednesday 28 October NATO launched its main Quick Reaction Force (QRF) annual exercise, Brilliant Jump II, in Lithuania. The exercise tests the organisation’s ability to deploy its Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) quickly to an area if a crisis arises.
Brilliant Jump II 2020 has two parts: the first maritime phase lasts from 28 September to 2 October and is primarily maritime. The second is the land deployment phase from 28 October to 6 November.
The land phase will comprise 2,500 troops and around 600 vehicles of NATO’s VJTF. They will deploy using land, sea and air means to rush into the country and deploy. Once there they will stay to participate in Lithuania’s Iron Wolf exercise before returning to their home bases.
NATO members rotate their leadership of this Task Force, which can call on between 5,000-8,000 soldiers. According to a NATO statement, “The core of this year’s land high reaction force is Poland’s 21st Podhale Riflemen Brigade, supported by units from the country’s 12th Mechanised Division, the 3rd Transport Aviation Wing, military police, as well as logistics experts and counter-chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialists. Additional support will be provided by Spanish and Czech units.” (Source: Armada)
27 Oct 20. US, Japanese militaries kick off exercise Keen Sword. US Indo-Pacific Command forces and units from the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) began exercise Keen Sword 21 (KS21) at military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa prefecture, and its surrounding territorial waters.
Keen Sword 21 is a biennial, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, US Indo-Pacific Command-scheduled, and US Pacific Fleet-sponsored field training exercise (FTX). The joint/bilateral FTX runs through to 5 November 2020. KS21 is designed to enhance Japan-US combat readiness and interoperability while strengthening bilateral relationships and demonstrating US resolve to support the security interests of allies and partners in the region.
Lieutenant General Kevin Schneider, commander, US Forces Japan, explained, “As we develop new and better ways to operate and integrate, exercises like this clearly demonstrate the growing strength of the US-Japan Alliance. In spite of the immense global impact from COVID, the US-Japan Alliance did not falter and we have remained ready to fight and win.”
An estimated 9,000 personnel from the US Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps will participate, including ships from the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and more than 100 aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, USS Ashland (LSD 48), HMCS Winnipeg (FFH 338), Commander Task Force 72 and 5th Air Force.
Units from the US military and their JSDF counterparts will train in a comprehensive scenario designed to exercise the critical capabilities required to support the defence of Japan and respond to a crisis or contingency in the Indo-Pacific region.
US training will focus on maritime, ground and air events. Because of the bilateral nature of this exercise, JSDF training will be similar and will exercise a wide range of warfighting capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility and capability of the US and Japanese militaries.
In co-ordination with public health and military medical personnel, every aspect of Keen Sword is continually being assessed to ensure appropriate COVID-19 mitigation measures are taken – the planning focus of mitigation measures was to protect service members and their families; prevent the spread of the virus to US forces, local residents and allies; and ensure warfighting readiness in order to accomplish assigned missions in a COVID-constrained environment.
This joint capability development builds on statements made by US Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite, who recently made visits to the US Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility, where he visited stops in Japan, Singapore, Guam, and the Republic of Palau. Secretary Braithwaite also met with Sailors and Marines providing forward presence, and local government and Defence officials.
While in Japan, Secretary Braithwaite visited Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, where he met with the ship’s crew and observed morning colours aboard the Arleigh Burke Class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) in dry dock at the US Naval Ship Repair Facility Japan Regional Maintenance Centre – the facility employs both US military and civilian personnel, as well as over 2,000 full-time Japanese nationals.
Secretary Braithwaite explained the continued importance of the continued development of interoperability and strategic partnerships, explaining, “Strengthening these relationships through enhancing interoperability and executing maritime security and awareness operations are vital to maintaining a competitive advantage in this complex global security environment.
“None of this would be feasible without the forward-deployed Sailors, Marines and civilians whose efforts of which I could not be more proud.”
More than 30,000 US Sailors and Marines and most of the Department of the Navy’s regional forward-deployed forces reside in Japan, and the JMSDF participates in numerous US bilateral and multilateral exercises, which increase interoperability between the two navies. In August, the JMSDF participated in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020, which provided a unique training opportunity designed to foster and sustain co-operative relationships that are critical in the region. (Source: Defence Connect)
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