26 Nov 20. L M to Build New Training Center for Binational French, German C-130J Squadron. French and German C-130J® Super Hercules aircrews and maintainers will train in a facility located in France, built and equipped by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) for the countries’ binational C-130J Super Hercules Squadron. Lockheed Martin will provide training devices, the learning management system, courseware and options for five years of training services under the terms of a new direct commercial sale (DCS) contract, allowing for in-country learning.
Lockheed Martin will break ground on the training center in 2021 and aircrew and maintainers will begin training in the center in 2024.
The training center will be located in Évreux-Fauville Air Base in the Normandy region of France and will provide training for both C-130J-30 airlifter and KC-130J tanker aircraft under a first-of-its-kind partnership in the entire scope of 65 years of Hercules history where the countries share the aircraft, which are used for aerial refueling, air drop and cargo missions.
“The French/German C-130J Binational Training Center will allow both countries to train pilots and maintainers on the full capability of these proven aircraft,” said Tom Gordon, Lockheed Martin, vice president of Training and Simulation Solutions. “Lockheed Martin is honored to support this historic partnership and proud to work directly with our customers in establishing a first-of-its kind resource that will benefit Super Hercules crew members for decades to come.”
The French and German binational squadron consists of a combined 10 Super Hercules aircraft. In 2018, Germany announced the acquisition of six Super Hercules aircraft (three C-130J-30s and three KC-130J fleets) to be operated in partnership with France. France has received a total of four Super Hercules aircraft through a Foreign Military Sale with the U.S. government. France’s Super Hercules are operated in conjunction with its existing C-130H fleet.
Lockheed Martin is the leading global provider of C-130J training and has experience creating “turn-key” training facilities for the aircraft. Lockheed Martin’s own Hercules Training Center (HTC) is located in Marietta, Georgia, adjacent to the Super Hercules production line. The HTC is a combined academic and simulator facility purpose-built for training efficiency on the C-130J fleet. The HTC trains C-130J crews as needed and will be used to train France and Germany’s initial instructor cadre of pilots and maintainers during the construction of the new facility.
The C-130J Super Hercules is the current production model of the legendary C-130 Hercules mid-size tactical airlifter, offering superior performance and enhanced capabilities with the range and versatility for every theater of operations and evolving requirements. To date, the Super Hercules fleet counts 24 operators in 21 nations around the world and has surpassed 2 million flight hours.
As the preeminent tactical aerial refueling tanker, the KC-130J is a battle-tested solution that takes full advantage of the tremendous technological and performance improvements inherent in the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. A true force multiplier, the KC-130J refuels both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft as well as conducts rapid ground refueling. (Source: ASD Network)
25 Nov 20. Cubic’s SPEAR Demonstrates Operational Capabilities at Checkered Flag 21-1 Exercise. Cubic Mission and Performance Solutions’ Simplified, Planning, Execution, Analysis, Reconstruction (SPEAR) software suite improves training effectiveness for aircrew.
Cubic Corporation (NYSE:CUB) today announced its Cubic Mission and Performance Solutions (CMPS) business division’s Simplified, Planning, Execution, Analysis, Reconstruction (SPEAR) software suite was successfully operational at the Checkered Flag 21-1 exercise. Revolutionizing the world’s most complex and advanced Air-to-Air exercise, SPEAR is Cubic’s follow-on solution to its Individual Combat Aircrew Display System (ICADS), that has been the combat air forces’ live monitor and debrief system for two decades.
Checkered Flag brings deployed aircrew to Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) to train with aircrew stationed at Tyndall and the surrounding Gulf Coast bases. This Checkered Flag included Joint and Coalition aircrew from the United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy (USN) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), flying fifth and fourth generation fighters, acting as both blue forces and adversaries.
“Building on our extensive multi-domain experience, Cubic now also delivers to the warfighter a Common Data Model (CDM) for multi-domain data, in a game-changing common operational picture,” said Mike Knowles, president of CMPS. “For the entire exercise, every Checkered Flag 21-1 mission used SPEAR for both live monitoring and debrief.”
SPEAR delivered both technical and operational ease for the Range Training Officers (RTOs) and site administrators through a streamlined user experience that enabled over 75 aircraft to train and fight at once. The Air Force’s SPEAR hardware was installed in the course of a single day, highlighting the ease of setup and networking with modern software code while adhering to local security requirements. With only two hours of training, the Tyndall site admins and white force were able to ingest data, create a mission in SPEAR, manage their mission archive, operate the SPEAR server and provide training to USAF RTOs.
“As demonstrated by results at Checkered Flag and Red Flag, we are seeing increased demand for the ability to effectively assess and adjudicate kinetic and non-kinetic effects, especially when we look at the importance of multi-domain operations,” said Jonas Furukrona, vice president and general manager of LVC Training, CMPS. “We have already secured a sale to a coalition partner for this capability and believe SPEAR will set a new standard in ensuring operator readiness.”
SPEAR improved training effectiveness by collating and displaying kinetic and non-kinetic effects in a coherent way using predictive and proactive real-time analysis, which is incorporated into the common data model. Additionally, the RTO’s ability to adjudicate events and effects with SPEAR accurately, with 75 aircraft in the air simultaneously and hundreds of weapons fly outs, significantly reduced the shot validation time post flight. Upon landing, aircrew were able to review and correct their weapons data to 100 percent, directly on a SPEAR client at the same time as others, due to unlimited independent “channels” in each mission.
According to Captain “Bullet” Gedman, a Checkered Flag RTO and F-22 pilot stationed at Tyndall, “With that capability, SPEAR produced a complete and effective playback of when, how and what happened, leaving the majority of the debrief time to figure out why it happened. In fact, SPEAR reduced the average debrief time by 90 minutes.”
Checkered Flag missions produced terabytes of valid, operational, enriched SPEAR data consisting of objective data, subjective data, kinetic data and non-kinetic effects, for a holistic post mission analysis. The enriched data set can now be used to evaluate Checkered Flag training effectiveness, design future exercises and provide exercise staff with important evidence for future upgrades. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
25 Nov 20. Budget Up, French Army Preps For Major Wargames With US. After decades fighting guerrillas and terrorists, France is refocusing on Russia and China with increased budgets, intensified training, stronger divisions, and new armored vehicles — much like the US. But the French approach is still very different.
The French and US armies have exchanged general officers to coordinate preparations for the Warfighter 21-04 exercise beginning next April. France is increasing its defense budget for the first time after decades of decline, and it’s eager to collaborate with the US against both Russian and Chinese threats. But that doesn’t mean buying US weapons, copying US doctrine, or embracing America’s obsession with high technology.
“The French army has maybe a less technophile approach than other armies,” said Maj. Gen. Michel Delion, who heads the French Army’s Center for Doctrine & Command Teaching (CDEC). Yes, working together with the US requires interoperability, Delion told an Association of the US Army webinar this morning. But even more important, he argued, is the human dimension, which requires ramping up officer exchanges.
A French one-star general is now deputy commander of the US Army 3rd Division, and since January, an American two-star has served as deputy commander of France’s 3rd Division, which will operate as a subordinate unit to the US Army III Corps in Warfighter 21-04. (Warfighter exercises are all-out stress-tests for command posts, not live field exercises for rank-and-file troops, whose participation is largely simulated).
“Our challenge is not technical,” agreed the US two-star, Maj. Gen. Todd Wasmund. “Most of our challenges have to do with our policies,” he said, which often prevent the two armies from sharing information – particularly intelligence data – even when their technologies are technically capable of exchanging it.
That said, there’s still plenty of technical nitty-gritty to work out. But the French see the solution in implanting common technical standards, not in buying the same hardware. It’s better to pursue “compatibility of standards” than to buy “standardized equipment,” Delion said. Future threats and crises will be diverse, he argued, so the allied nations need to maintain a diversity of different approaches to match, rather than attempt to clone the US.
Sure, the two industrialized democracies are adopting broadly similar approaches to similar threats. Both are struggling to implement new strategies focused on deterring conflict with great powers even as they remain enmired in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism commitments around the globe. “For 2019 alone, we’ve suffered 23 killed in action and more than 500 wounded,” Delion said. (The US lost 22 killed in Afghanistan in 2019, 12 in Iraq, and five in Syria).
Both armies have combat forces in Eastern Europe to deter the Russians: 300 French soldiers with dozens of armored vehicles have deployed to Lithuania. Both are increasingly anxious about China. The French army chief, Gen. Thierry Burkhard, is publicly concerned for French territories in Polynesia and New Caledonia, which make France a Pacific power.
Both armies are deemphasizing rehearsals for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism deployments and refocusing on exercises for high-intensity state-on-state conflict. Both are deemphasizing independent operations by brigades and strengthening higher-level formations like the division and corps, which are the focus of the Warfighter exercise upcoming in April. Both countries are investing in artificial intelligence, space, cyber/electronic warfare, and wireless command-and-control networks, and both are embarking on major modernizations of their armored forces.
But the details are very different. Take that modernization, for instance. The French armored vehicles are farther along, are less technically ambitious and are significantly lighter than the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, weighing up to 50 tons, that the US is planning to replace the M2 Bradley. That reflects France’s longstanding love affair with lightweight wheeled armor, which is not only cheaper to build and operate, but also easier to deploy and operate in distant territories with poor ports and flimsy bridges, like Mali or New Caledonia.
Now, France and Germany are studying a new Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) to replace their existing Main Battle Tanks, the German Leopard II and the French LeClerc. But the timeline to deliver an actual vehicle is 15 years, plenty of time for the project to get derailed like so many ambitious inter-European efforts.
What France is actually buying here and now is the domestically produced SCORPION program, estimated at $6.8bn. SCORPION includes upgrades to 200 LeClercs, but focuses on lighter, wheeled armor. (Just to prove the US military has no monopoly on awkwardly contrived acronyms, the formal name of the French effort is Synergie du COntact Renforcé par la Polyvalence et l’Info valorisatION). The current plan calls for purchasing:
* 1,872 6×6 Griffons, a new multi-purpose wheeled armored vehicle roughly similar to the US Army’s Stryker. Griffon weighs about 25 metric tons (almost 28 US tons), with variants ranging from troop transports to armored ambulances to mortar carriers. The French army already has 105 of the vehicles and has begun field-testing them in desert conditions in Djibouti. Belgium has agreed to buy 382 Griffons as well.
* 300 6×6 Jaguars, a turreted recon vehicle armed with a 40mm autocannon, built on the Griffon chassis and also weighing about 25 tons. Belgium will buy 60. Jaguar deliveries are set to begin next year.
* 2,038 4×4 Servals, 17-ton armored trucks able to carry a crew of two and six passengers. Delivery will begin in 2022.
* 1,000 4×4 VBLs (Véhicules Blindés Légers), a three-plus-ton armored truck roughly comparable to American JLTVs and uparmored Humvees. Unlike the new Griffon, Jaguar, and Serval, the VBL entered service in the 1980s.
The SCORPION program will gradually build up to “a complete overhaul of major equipment by 2030-2032,” Delion said today. The near-term plan, he said, calls for “a SCORPION battle group [i.e. battalion] in 2021, then a SCORPION brigade in 2023.”
After that, “we want to think again how to conduct large scale combat operations at the corps and division level,” Delion said. France is planning a live-fire division-scale exercise in 2023 and would love to have US participation, he said. By 2025, they want to do an exercise with a US division subordinate to a French corps. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
23 Nov 20. DIO delivers world class submarine simulator to HMNB Clyde. The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has delivered a £34m submarine escape, rescue, abandonment and survival (SMERAS) training building for the Navy at HMNB Clyde in Faslane. The SMERAS is a unique and modern facility which will give the Navy the capability to carry out essential on shore training for personnel in vital escape, rescue, abandonment and survival techniques using a unique, controllable training environment.
The Navy has funded the SMERAS facility as a significant investment in the training of its personnel. DIO delivered the project, working with its contractor Kier Graham Defence Ltd.
The building will house a simulator in which trainees can experience a range of realistic weather conditions and sea states including wind, rain and storms, so that they can practise in a safe and low risk environment before they board a real submarine.
An internationally-renowned training resource, the simulator, will replace the Submarine Escape Training Tank at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport, and has been recognised by Navies throughout the world for its cutting-edge technology and equipment.
The construction work was completed pre-Covid-19.
Charles Hoskins, DIO Programme Director, said, “DIO is proud to have delivered this world-class facility to the Royal Navy. The SMERAS demonstrates DIO’s expertise in completing complex and one-of-a-kind projects to enable our Navy to access the most modern training available. It also affirms our commitment to support HMNB Clyde in becoming a centre of excellence for submariners.”
John Thomson, Royal Navy Command Assistant Head of Infrastructure, said, “The Royal Navy was proud to provide the funding for this excellent facility delivered by DIO and their contractors. The purpose-built SMERAS training facility at HMNB Clyde provides a critical and world leading experiential training facility for the Royal Navy and replaces the Submarine Escape Training Tank at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport. The facility provides class specific high-fidelity escape towers and escape compartments, a training pool capable of replicating the environmental conditions that submarine escapes may need to be carried out in and supporting classrooms, offices, workshops, plant rooms and changing areas.”
SMERAS is a key element in the development of HM Naval Base Clyde as the Royal Navy Submarine Centre of Specialisation and base port for all UK submarines.
Cdr D McClement RN, Fleet Operational Sea Training (Submarines), HMNB Clyde, said, “The SMERAS Training Facility is a fantastic new and world-leading escape and surface abandonment capability that enhances the training benefit for Royal Navy submariners. The Royal Navy, as the customer for this new facility, is justifiably proud that we are delivering high-levels of experiential training to our submarine personnel and on track to reach Full Operating Capability in March 2021. The facility fulfils a significant gap for the Royal Navy in delivering realistic experiential training for surface abandonment in addition to submarine escape. The Royal Navy’s reputation for submarine escape training has been significantly enhanced by this impressive capability that combines both escape and surface abandonment training.”
Gary Holmes, Managing Director Building North at John Graham Construction Ltd, said, “We’re proud to have delivered this critical facility for the Clyde Naval Base on behalf of the Kier Graham Defence Ltd joint venture.
After three years of design and construction, working collaboratively with the Royal Navy and DIO, we’re proud to provide this new purpose-built environment which will play a vital role in improving the skills of submariners, ensuring their ongoing support and training can be conducted within this highly realistic, scenario-based training facility. As part of the UK, Scotland benefits from billions of pounds of MOD contracts placed directly and indirectly with hundreds of companies, which sustain thousands of jobs. The UK government is firmly committed to the future of defence in Scotland and of Scotland’s continued vital role in defence. The major investment in the future of HMNB Clyde is a testament to this.”
DIO is investing £1.6bin in total to develop infrastructure at HMNB Clyde to make it a centre of excellence for submariners.
Further information on the new submarine training building at HMNB Clyde can be viewed on YouTube.
Text in the video reads as follows:
- DIO has delivered the £34m submarine escape, rescue, abandonment and survival (SMERAS) training building at HMNB Clyde in Faslane
- SMERAS is a unique and modern facility which allows the Navy to carry out essential on shore training for personnel in escape, rescue, abandonment and survival techniques
- the building houses a realistic submarine escape training experience where trainees can experience a range of weather conditions and sea states including wind, rain and storms
- the facility is an internationally renowned training resource, it has been recognised by Navies throughout the world for it’s cutting-edge technology and equipment. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
20 Nov 20. Kratos delivers 100th production BQM-177A SSAT system to NAVAIR. Kratos has delivered the 100th production BQM-177A Subsonic Aerial Target (SSAT) system to the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). Kratos has delivered the 100th production BQM-177A Subsonic Aerial Target (SSAT) system to the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
The company also nears the completion of its third and final Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract by achieving the delivery milestone.
Aerial Targets Program (PMA-208) program manager captain Molly Boron said: “The government-industry team of PMA-208 and Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems (KUAS) has worked hard to deliver this capable target on time and on budget. 2020 has been a successful year despite Covid-19 challenges.
“We are completing LRIP III deliveries, have awarded the $29.2m Full Rate Production (FRP) Lot 1 contract on 29 September for 35 more BQM-177A SSATs, and are currently activating the operational site at Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai, Hawaii.
“The combined PMA-208 and KUAS team is positioned to successfully achieve Full Operational Capability this fiscal year. We are delivering targets and support equipment to Atlantic Target & Marine Operations at Dam Neck, Virginia in anticipation of their transition to the BQM-177A this winter.”
The BQM-177A is designed to provide highly-dynamic, sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missile threat emulation. The SSAT is also capable of providing threat emulation for air-to-air engagements.
The aircraft is capable of travelling at speeds of more than 0.95 Mach and a sea-skimming altitude as low as 6.6ft.
It can be used for different missions such as proximity scoring, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), passive and active RF augmentation, electronic counter-measures, infrared (IR) augmentation (plume pods), chaff and flare dispensers among others.
Kratos Unmanned Systems Division president Steve Fendley said: “The delivery of this 100th aircraft represents the very hard work of many dedicated navy and KUAS engineering, production, program, logistics, financial, and supply chain professionals.
“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our navy customers as we activate additional sites and operationalise this capability around the world.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
About InVeris Training Solutions
InVeris Training Solutions combines an agile approach with an unmatched expertise in training technology to design and deliver customized, cutting-edge, first-rate training solutions that keep military, law enforcement, private and commercial range clients safe, prepared and ready to serve – Because Seconds Matter™. With a portfolio of technology-enabled training solutions, and a team of more than 400 employees driven to innovate, InVeris Training Solutions is the global leader in integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training solutions. With its legacy companies, FATS® and Caswell, InVeris Training Solutions has fielded over 15,000 live-fire ranges and 5,100 virtual systems globally during its 90-year history. The Company is headquartered in Suwanee, Georgia and partners with clients in the US and around the world from facilities on five continents.