22 Jan 21. Insitu Pacific launches virtual classroom for Defence. The first Royal Australian Navy personnel to undertake training through Insitu Pacific’s new remote training and simulation capabilities have successfully gained their ScanEagle unmanned aerial system (UAS) pilot and maintainer qualifications.
The remote training delivers elements of the ScanEagle UAS course virtually, and complements conventional onsite instruction at Insitu Pacific’s training and simulation facility in Brisbane, as well as at the home of Navy’s 822X Squadron at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW.
Andrew Duggan, managing director of Insitu Pacific, said that remote simulation and training had been in the advanced planning stage, but that the impacts of COVID-19 meant the project was prioritised to ensure effective, rapid fielding of training across a number of courses.
“The completion of our first remote course elements for RAN achieved great results, with all students successfully passing the course, and remote instruction remaining at the same high quality as onsite course delivery. Our virtual training design builds on 10 years of expertise in providing quality Australian-based training to the RAN and the Australian Army, and offers flexibility for Navy in the future to conduct standard training courses at bases around Australia or overseas,” Duggan explained.
Remote classroom theory lessons, flight simulation training and virtual equipment demonstrations have all been made possible through the use of multimedia technology.
Remote training will also open new opportunities to conduct shorter, cost effective training and simulation based activities, including re-certification and scenario-specific courses in virtual environments prior to operational deployments, or even during deployments as required.
Commander Philip Woodward, Commanding Officer 822X Squadron, said, “The combination of virtual and onsite training has delivered an effective outcome for the RAN. It not only addressed the challenges posed by COVID-19, but also reduced the time away from home for some trainees and some of the instructors. There is significant potential to deliver flexible and cost effective training.”
Duggan added, “Our comprehensive training approach delivers the theory, flight simulation and practical experience that our advanced UAS require. We’re embracing remote training methods in virtual classrooms to provide flexible options for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to reduce costs and the need for ADF members to be away from their home locations for lengthy periods.”
All Insitu Pacific training is delivered by highly qualified instructors, many of whom are ADF veterans with operational experience abroad.
The new remote learning course builds on a decade of training with over 600 defence customers, including from Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, gaining qualifications on Insitu Pacific UAS in land and maritime environments.
Located in Brisbane, Insitu Pacific was established in 2009 as a division of Insitu Inc and serves defence customers across the Asia-Pacific region and global commercial customers.
Insitu utilises expert in-house knowledge and skills to deliver trusted and proven UAS and end-to-end solutions for collecting, processing and managing sensor data. To date, Insitu systems have accumulated more than 1.3 million flight hours. Insitu Pacific is a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing. (Source: Defence Connect)
21 Jan 21. CAE Partners With the LOSA Collaborative to Enhance Pilot Training and Aviation Safety. CAE announced today a partnership with The LOSA Collaborative to enhance its evidence-based training offering. Through an exclusive service agreement, The LOSA Collaborative will perform Line Operations Safety Audits (LOSA) of CAE customer-operators. The insights and data gleaned from the safety audits, combined with CAE’s training data, will allow CAE to offer tailored pilot training programs and benchmarked operational and training performance insights to operators.
“We are thrilled to continue to shape the future of pilot training with partnerships like the one we now have with The LOSA Collaborative. This partnership brings safety auditing expertise to our customers and will also reinforce our CAE Rise Training System™,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE’s Group President, Civil Aviation Training Solutions. “Collecting data and insights from line operations and training is key to the development and assessment of pilot competencies. We are bringing pilot training full circle by closing the loop between operations and training data. This enables us to further build a robust data-driven training ecosystem that will support continuous improvement, provide a true measure of the effectiveness of training, and have a positive impact on aviation safety worldwide.”
“The LOSA Collaborative’s audit findings from 85 airlines, helicopter, and military operators around the world combined with CAE’s training data will allow operators, instructional systems designers, safety and quality practitioners to focus their work on data driven threats to aviation safety,” said Dr. James Klinect, the Founder and CEO of The LOSA Collaborative. “With our partnership with CAE, we are formally bridging the gap between proactive safety data and training solutions. There is nothing else like it in the aviation industry.” (Source: ASD Network)
20 Jan 21. US DOT&E reveals loss of 5GAT target prototype. The first prototype Fifth-Generation Aerial Target (5GAT) built for the US Department of Defense (DoD) was destroyed during a flight test in October 2020, the Pentagon’s Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) has revealed in its annual report to Congress.
A full-scale, low-observable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sponsored by DOT&E, the 5GAT target is designed to enable platform and weapons test and evaluation (air-to-air and surface-to-air), pilot and ground-force training, and the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures against a stealthy fifth-generation threat.
Sierra Technical Services (STS) was awarded a prime contract by the US Army Corp of Engineers Contracting Office in March 2017 to design, manufacture, assemble, integrate, and ground/flight test the 5GAT demonstrator. Similar in dimensions and mass to the T-38 trainer aircraft, the 5GAT vehicle is powered by a pair of General Electric J85 engines harvested from retired T-38 trainers.
STS has built the 5GAT airframe from composites using soft tooling to reduce cost, while Fast Optimal Engineering has taken responsibility for major subsystems, including flight control actuation, electrical power, hydraulics, landing gear, and steering. Another subcontractor, 5D Systems, has developed the software suite. (Source: Jane’s)
19 Jan 21. Facing Cuts, US Army Chief Touts Pacific Role. Upcoming Pacific Defender wargames will held showcase Army’s investments in long-range missiles, missile defense, logistics, and information warfare, said Gen. James McConville, the Army Chief of Staff.. With COVID budget cuts looming – especially for the ground force – the Army Chief of Staff is emphasizing his service’s role in the Pacific, traditionally thought of as a Navy and Air Force theater.
Gen. James McConville, who became chief in August 2019, isn’t nearly as blunt as his predecessor Gen. Mark Milley, who went on to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and last month prophesied a budgetary “bloodletting” of ground forces to fund naval capabilities versus China. But in McConville’s cautious remarks this afternoon to a friendly audience, the Association of the US Army, he emphasized the Army’s contributions to the Pacific more than any other theater. Those contributions range from traditional boots-on-the-ground partnerships with friendly armies to high-flying missiles striking ships and ground targets over the vast distances of the Pacific.
“In the Indo-Pacific, we see the Army playing a critical role in working with our allies and partners in posturing critical capabilities,” McConville declared. “In the last 18 months, I have traveled to the theater three times, visited multiple countries, and I have two more trips projected in the near future.”
Later this year, the Chief of Staff continued, the Army will lead a major international exercise, Defender Pacific 21, a sequel to 2020’s Defender Europe wargames cut short by COVID.
Defender 21 is specifically focused on “the southwest Pacific,” McConville said. That’s a vast area, and he didn’t specify countries or island chains. But the southwest Pacific includes key treaty allies like Australia and the Philippines, non-treaty partners such as Singapore, a neutral in Indonesia, and the increasingly contested South China Sea, where Beijing has turned blown up coral reefs in disputed waters to turn them into fortified artificial islands.
For Defender Pacific 21, McConville said, the Army will break out equipment from one or more of its global caches, known as Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS), which are essential to rapid deployment of heavy forces that can’t easily be flown in by air.
- exercise its fleet of Army watercraft, which range from small boats to large ships – and which service leaders at one point discussed disbanding; and
- deploy one of its new Multi-Domain Task Forces, experimental units built around long-range missile launchers augmented with expertise in use of space assets, cyber/electronic warfare, and information operations.
In peacetime “great power competition” with China, McConville emphasized, the Multi-Domain Task Force can create “long-range effects” without the use of lethal force, for example using cyber and electronic warfare. In open “conflict,” he went on, the Task Force would provide “long-range precision fires” – i.e. missiles – to help take apart the layered defenses known as Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) systems. (While McConville didn’t say so aloud, many in the Army are concerned that Chinese and Russian A2/AD will include enough anti-aircraft defenses to keep US airpower at bay until land-based and sea-launched missiles can blast open a path).
McConville also noted the service’s recently released Arctic strategy, which calls for focusing a Multi-Domain Task Force, a two-star operational HQ, and an “Arctic-capable brigade” on the far north. (While Russia is the traditional threat in the Arctic, China has become much more active there in recent years). His mentions of the Mideast and Europe were, by contrast, merely in passing.
McConville also hailed the Army’s ambitious modernization program, one of whose main objectives is to arm the new Multi-Domain units. He particularly emphasized the high-speed Future Vertical Lift aircraft to replace existing helicopters – he’s a chopper pilot himself – and the service’s array of new long-range precision weapons, from hypersonics to ship-killing missiles to long-barreled howitzers.
“I’m amazed at how quickly Futures Command, with ASAALT, with industry, is developing their systems,” he said. “By way of example, hypersonic missile capability– we’ve tested that successfully already. That is a game-changing capability and we’ll be fielding the first batteries in 2023.”
But how will the Army pay for all this, especially amidst the coming budget crunch?
“We don’t have a dollar to waste with the budget environment we’re going into,” McConville acknowledged. One way to avoid waste, he said, is that “we’ve taken a different approach now, working very, very closely with the industry,” with the Army setting broad “characteristics” and giving companies freedom to innovate, rather than prescribing rigid technical requirements that may not be feasible at any reasonable price. (The Army’s reboot of its Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle to replace the Bradley is the service’s biggest bet on this new approach).
“We believe we’re going to save a lot of money,” he said, “It’s much more efficient.”
The other crucial economy, he argued, is to stop buying traditional technologies and start retiring them. (The poster child here is the Chinook helicopter, whose earliest versions served in Vietnam; the Army tried to cut purchases of the latest model, the CH-47F Block II, but Congress overruled them and added more funding instead).
“We can’t buy old ‘new stuff,’” McConville said. “A lot of people are very comfortable, they want to buy … really 40-, 50-, 60-year old capabilities. And those are wonderful systems, but we can’t afford both” them and the cutting edge systems.
“We have to invest in the new systems,” he said. “That means we have to divest legacy systems.”
That’s an uphill battle because Congress is historically much more comfortable buying more of the same, while cutting cutting-edge tech that hasn’t yet turned into jobs for their constituents. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
19 Jan 21. Rheinmetall to supply digital classroom for the German Navy’s new NH90 NTH Sea Lion multipurpose helicopter at Nordholz Naval Air Base. The German Navy is once again counting on simulation expertise from Rheinmetall when it comes to training its NH90 NTH Sea Lion helicopter crews. In December 2020 the European NH90 procurement and management organization, NAHEMA, awarded the company an order for an Asterion classroom solution destined for Naval Air Wing 3 at Nordholz on the North Sea coast. Delivery will take place later this year. The digital Asterion classroom will be used to train maintenance personnel for the NH90 NTH Sea Lion naval transport helicopter. Among other things, the system features a soft panel cockpit in which the instruments are depicted by touchscreens, coupled with a mission control console necessary for naval helicopter training. The package also includes Asterion software, desktop hardware and tablets. Asterion is a modern, integrated, holistic training concept for all phases of training. It accurately simulates the behaviour of the helicopter’s full panoply of functions, including its hydraulic, electric and tactical systems.
Due to ship in late summer, the digital Asterion classroom marks another milestone in Rheinmetall’s longstanding partnership with the German Bundeswehr. A similar form of Asterion simulation software has already been integrated into the functional cockpit of the NH90 NTH Maintenance Training Rig, which is used to train maintenance personnel assigned to Naval Air Wing 5. The German Army also uses Asterion simulation technology in its ground crew training systems at the International Helicopter Training Centre at Faßberg in Lower Saxony. Here, Army Aviation maintenance and repair specialists are trained in operational and maintenance procedures in Rheinmetall-made cockpits, each a perfect replica of the ground forces version of the NH90.
The NH90 programme is considered to be Europe’s largest military helicopter programme, for which Rheinmetall is now supplying additional training resources. In the meantime, moreover, Asterion simulation technology is listed with the NH90 procurement and management organization NAHEMA, meaning that it can now be procured by any NH90 user nation, a number of which have already announced serious interest in the concept.
Meanwhile, the German Navy has taken delivery of the first NH90 NTH Sea Lion multipurpose helicopters, whose maintenance crews will soon be undergoing comprehensive training in Rheinmetall simulators. Particularly in the initial phase, training and retraining of personnel to repair and maintain this highly sophisticated new helicopter is a top priority.
18 Jan 21. Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group Conducts Bilateral Exercise with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. The exercise, which focused on increasing combat readiness and warfighting excellence, included USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), USS John Finn (DDG 113), JS Kongo (DDG 173), and JS Asahi (DD 119).
“Carrier Strike Group Nine is grateful for the opportunity to work with our partners in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force to increase our proficiency and interoperability,” said Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, commander, Carrier Strike Group Nine. “The longstanding relationship between our two great nations is critical to maintaining security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. It is only alongside allies and partners that we can maintain the rules-based order that has allowed continued prosperity around the world.”
Working together provided both countries the opportunity to continue to build their capabilities while practicing for the high-end fight.
This is the first bilateral exercise between the U.S. and Japan of 2021.
“It is a great honor for me to conduct the first bilateral exercise in 2021 with CSG-9, USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Bunker Hill, and USS John Finn as the senior officer of the JMSDF participants”, said CAPT Masaru Fujisaki, Kongo’s commanding officer. “This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Operation Tomodachi, which proved the importance of close cooperation between the JMSDF and the U.S. Navy. I would like to express my gratitude to our friends who have worked day and night to strengthen the relationship between us, and I am confident that our ties are an enduring pillar to safeguard the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”
The bilateral exercise supported the U.S. Navy and JMSDF mission to develop regional capabilities that provide layered defensive options to protect each nation’s interests and those of their allies and partners. The participating forces exercised a wide range of capabilities, from maritime security operations to more complex air defense exercises, which demonstrated the inherent flexibility of the two combined forces.
The TRCSG is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to build partnerships that foster maritime security and to conduct a wide range of operations that support humanitarian efforts and freedom of the seas.
The TRCSG consists of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Destroyer Squadron 23, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Russell (DDG 59) and USS John Finn (DDG 113).
Theodore Roosevelt’s embarked air wing consists of the “Tomcatters” of Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 31, “Golden Warriors” of VFA-87, “Blue Diamonds” of VFA-146, “Black Knights” of VFA-154, “Liberty Bells” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 115, “The Gray Wolves” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142, “Wolf Pack” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75, “Eightballers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 and “Providers” of Fleet Logistic Support Squadron (VRC) 30 Detachment 3. Theodore Roosevelt departed San Diego for a scheduled deployment to the Indo-Pacific on December 23. (Source: ASD Network)
20 Jan 21. RAN Navy destroyers flex warfighting capability. HMA Ships Hobart, Brisbane and Sydney have participated in their first ever joint naval exercise against training targets deployed by Air Affairs Australia. Engineering and services company Air Affairs Australia has participated in a large Naval exercise within the Eastern Exercise Area, completing the inaugural dual Phoenix target presentation.
The operation provided a double low level threat emulation against three of the Royal Australian Navy’s fighting ships, air warfare destroyers, HMA Ships Hobart, Brisbane and Sydney, which exercised together for the first time.
The exercise — witnessed by Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price — enabled the ships to test their Aegis Combat Systems, which provide them with advanced layered offensive and defensive capabilities to counter conventional and asymmetrical threats.
Targets commenced their ‘attack’ within 10 seconds of each other, at low altitude and a speed of 300 knots.
The targets initially attacked two of the ships, with one target commanded by a four-person flight crew to break away and switch its attack profile to threaten the third ship and test the combat system response of all three destroyers.
In response, HMAS Hobart and HMAS Brisbane each fired a Standard Missile 2 against the attacking Phoenix targets.
The Navy was pleased with the outcome of the training exercise, recognising the effectiveness of Air Affairs’ execution of the operation.
Air Affairs also thanked Navy personnel for their participation in the operation.
“This is a tremendous achievement for our very first dual target mission,” an Air Affairs spokesperson said. (Source: Defence Connect)
19 Jan 21. Indian and French airforces to conduct Exercise Desert Knight-21. The Indian Air Force (IAF) and French Air and Space Force are set to participate in Exercise Desert Knight-21.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) and French Air and Space Force are set to participate in Exercise Desert Knight-21.
The bilateral air exercise will be held at Jodhpur Air Force station in Rajasthan, India, from 20 to 24 January.
Exercise Desert Knight-21 aims to improve interoperability between the forces while exchanging ‘ideas and best practices’ gained from operational experience.
Platforms such as Rafale, Airbus A-330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT), A-400M tactical transport aircraft and about 175 personnel from the French Air and Space Force will take part in the military drill.
According to the Indian Ministry of Defence, the exercise will see the deployment of Rafale aircraft by both countries.
IAF assets participating in the exercise will also include Mirage 2000, Su-30 MKI, IL-78 flight refuelling aircraft, AWACS and AEW&C aircraft.
The joint drill marks a significant milestone ‘in the series of engagements’ between the two nations.
Under the Indo-French defence cooperation, IAF and French Air and Space Force have conducted six editions of air exercises named ‘Garuda’. The latest of these was held last year at Mont-de-Marsan AFB in France.
The airforces of the two countries ‘have been gainfully utilising’ available options to hold ‘hop-exercises’ to further strengthen the existing defence ties.
Currently, the French detachment for Ex Desert Knight-21 is deployed in Asia as part of their ‘Skyros Deployment’. In June 2019, the IAF took part in a two-week bilateral exercise with the French Air Force. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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