16 June 21. Technical Problems Push T-7A Production Decision Back At Least One Year. The Air Force is requesting limited funding for its T-7A Red Hawk next-generation trainer because of technical issues uncovered in testing, which have pushed back the full-rate production decision on the aircraft by at least a year.
The 2022 budget request calls for $188.9 million in research, development, test, and evaluation funding for the T-7. This is below the $206.4 million projected for fiscal 2022 in the 2021 budget request’s future year defense program. The Air Force is not releasing FYDP information this year. The 2022 budget also requests just $10.4 million in advance procurement funding for the T-7.
The Air Force, in a statement, said multiple issues are inhibiting the Red Hawk’s progress toward production. For example, the Milestone C decision, or full-rate production, slipped from 2022 to 2023 because of supplier-side critical parts shortages, initial design delays, and the need for more testing after the “discovery of aircraft wing rock,” which means the T-7 can be unstable in the roll axis when flying at high angles of attack.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. reassured members of the House Armed Services Committee on June 16 that despite the decrease in funding, the service remains committed to replacing its aging T-38s with the T-7.
“Our focus and commitment to the T-7 has not waned,” Brown said. “We want to make sure the money aligns with where the program is.”
The Air Force has touted the use of digital engineering for the T-7, with then-Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett announced in September 2020 that Boeing’s Red Hawk trainer jet would be the first plane to earn an “e” designation, as the eT-7A, signifying it was designed and tested using digital engineering. Digital engineering uses advanced computer modeling and simulation, and technology like virtual and augmented reality, to quickly draw up hardware blueprints and vet how various configurations would work in the real world without building a physical prototype.
However, officials told Air Force Magazine on June 16 there is an “inherent schedule risk because of the aggressive nature of the program’s schedule.”
The T-7 APT program office is “continuously analyzing methods to improve schedule” and is working with Boeing with the goal of a Milestone C production decision in fiscal 2023. Previous acquisition reports projected the decision to be made in 2022.
Boeing said in February that the first production aircraft will roll out in early 2022. The first airworthy T-7 will be delivered in 2023, and the first squadron is expected to be operational in 2024, with full operational capability in 2034. The company wants to build up to five deliveries per month, with the Air Force planning to buy 351 T-7As.
The Air Force, in an April acquisition report, said the aircraft had flown more than 250 test sorties, and it was expected to enter Phase 2 of developmental testing in 2021. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://www.airforcemag.com/)
16 June 21. 100 Somali National Army personnel graduate from British led training exercise. Today’s graduation brings the number of Somali National Army personnel trained by the British Army to over 2300 forces over the last four years. One hundred (100) Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers graduated today from British-led Company Collective Training in Baidoa, the capital of South West State in Somalia.
This is the sixth iteration of an eight-week training programme aimed at improving the SNA’s ability to combat the threats posed by al-Shabaab. The training involved a mix of theory and practice, covering defensive operations, basic command and control, dealing with improvised explosive devices, first aid, safe weapon handling, shooting, tactics, communications, first aid and human rights.
Soldiers were trained at the British Security Training Centre (BSTC) in Baidoa. Today’s graduation brings the number of Somali National Army personnel trained by the British Army to over 2300 forces over the last four years.
This latest cohort is a step toward transferring security responsibilities to the Somali National Armed Forces and building a security and defence force that is professional and accountable to the Somali people.
Ahead of the graduation ceremony, the students demonstrated the skills they acquired during their training that will help them to better perform their duties once back to their units.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony, British Ambassador Kate Foster, said, “I want to congratulate you for successfully completing your training. You have proved your ability to march on, shoulder to shoulder, and I admire your dedication and application. Over the last year, Somalia has made real progress towards building its future army and in conducting operations. We’re delighted the UK has played a role in this, especially in Baidoa which is a vital location in the fight against Al Shabaab. It is also good that the training which were tailored for the demands of working in Somalia have continued despite the coronavirus pandemic, albeit with strict precautions.”
South West State President Abdiaziz Mohamed ‘Laftagareen’ thanked the UK government for the training.
The more sweat on the ground during training, the less blood on the battle field and more victories for Somalia. Training is the best gift to any army and we are grateful to the UK government for helping our army.
The graduation ceremony was presided over by the British Ambassador to Somalia Kate Foster and attended by South West State President Abdiaziz Mohamed ‘Laftagareen’, Somalia’s Minister of Defence Hassan Hussein Haji and senior civilian and military officials from the Federal Government and Southwest State. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
16 June 21. Georgia ANG soldiers complete live-fire training during African Lion 21. African Lion 2021 is US Africa Command’s joint, multi-national exercise, hosted by Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal. Georgia Army National Guard (ANG) soldiers have participated in night-time multinational live-fire training alongside the Moroccan infantry.
The training was conducted during exercise African Lion 21, which started on 7 June and will run until 18 June. It is hosted by Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal.
African Lion exercise was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than 7,000 troops from nine nations and Nato are taking part in the exercise to train and improve readiness for forces of US and allied nations.
US and Moroccan forward observers started the live-fire training. Moroccan heavy military ranged weapons opened fire with high explosive rounds.
Following the Moroccan firing, M109A6 Paladin howitzers assigned to Georgia ANG’s 1st Battalion, 214th Field Artillery, 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade launched illumination rounds using M485.
Georgia ANG’s 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, 48th IBCT, formed the ‘infantry force manoeuvring on the ground’.
Post completion of the training under visible illumination, the Granite Battalion Paladins fired M1066 infrared (IR) illuminating projectiles.
15 June 21. Second Poseidon simulator delivered to RAF Lossiemouth. The trainer is part of a £470m UK Government investment to provide specialist training for RAF pilots. The British Royal Air Force (RAF) has received a new Operational Flight Trainer (OFT) to support training for RAF pilots who will operate the Poseidon MRA Mk1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft fleet.
The second simulator arrived on an Antonov AN-124 cargo plane at Glasgow Prestwick Airport. It will head to RAF Lossiemouth, the home to UK’s submarine-hunting Poseidon fleet.
The systems are part of approximately $663m (£470m) of UK Government investment.
The first simulator was delivered in August last year.
Weighing about 9.5t, the Poseidon simulators are being installed in a £100m facility built by Boeing Defence UK and Scottish business Robertson Construction.
DE&S Poseidon delivery team Training project manager Mark Corden said: “The simulators will provide specialist training for RAF pilots who will be flying the Poseidon MRA Mk 1.
“They are exact replicas of the aircraft cockpit and will incorporate very high-definition visual display systems to enhance the training benefit. They are also designed to link up with the mission simulators used by the rear crew, allowing them to train together.”
According to RAF, the simulators and facility are managed by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S).
Originally manufactured by CAE, the OFT simulator is 4.39m wide, 7.26m long and 3.71m high.
The OFTs and two rear-crew simulators will be installed in the new facility at RAF Lossiemouth, alongside part-task mission crew trainers, virtual maintenance trainers as well as electronic classrooms.
Corden added: “It’s an essential part of making sure that the aircrew are fully prepared to operate the growing fleet of aircraft. Although this is the second Poseidon simulator to be delivered to the UK, it is still very exciting to see it arrive in Prestwick on the Antonov.
“Its size makes it too big to be transported by any RAF aircraft. The Antonov is one of only a few aircraft in the world large enough to carry it.”
In November 2019, Boeing delivered the first of nine P-8A Poseidon MRA Mk.1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft to RAF. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
14 June 21. UK to sell E-3D to US Navy as ‘Doomsday’ trainer aircraft. The UK is to sell one of its soon-to-be-retired Boeing E-3D Sentry Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) to the US Navy (USN) as a surrogate trainer for the Boeing E-6B Mercury long-endurance command, control, and communications (C3) aircraft. The anticipated sale was identified in the USN’s fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget proposal released earlier in June, and comes some eight months after Janes first reported the navy’s plan to purchase an E-3D to act as a flight trainer for the E-6B to reduce fatigue on the C3 fleet of 16 aircraft, dubbed ‘Doomsday’ on account of their nuclear control mission.
“The United Kingdom has identified a suitable and representative aircraft for the USN to procure,” the budget proposal said. “FY 2021 funds will be used for the procurement of one in-flight trainer, which will be dedicated to required pilot training on the ageing operational E-6B aircraft.” While no timeline for the deal was disclosed, its value was given as USD16m. Both the E-6B and the E-3D share the same Boeing 707-320 airframe. Being fitted with the same flight controls and systems and engines would enable all non-mission-related training to be conducted on the cheaper and non-operational surplus E-3D instead. (Source: Jane’s)
11 June 21. Exercise Sea Explorer tests ADF’s amphibious capabilities. Army, Navy and the Air Force conduct amphibious operation in North Queensland as part of Exercise Sea Explorer.
The Australian Army, Navy and Air Force are undertaking Exercise Sea Explorer in north Queensland in order to develop the ADF’s amphibious landing and mobilisation capabilities, Defence has confirmed.
Nearly 1,600 members of the services are taking part in Exercise Sea Explorer, which trains members on the movement of defence equipment and personnel to shore, with the Navy deploying HMA Ships Canberra and Choules for the exercise.
The exercise comes a month after Exercise Sea Horizon, and comes in the lead up to the amphibious element of Talisman Sabre, dubbed Sea Raider. Sea Raider is expected to include elements of the US Marines, UK Royal Marine Commandos as well as the Japanese Amphibious Ready Deployment Brigade.
It is expected that the exercise will train in the amphibious dismount of vehicles and members from all services.
Captain Leif Maxfield, Commander Amphibious Task Force, welcomed Exercise Sea Explorer’s training.
“There is certainly a lot going on,” CAPT Maxfield said.
“Sea Explorer is our opportunity to bring our amphibious forces together to achieve initial training goals while ensuring we operate to the highest standards of safety before we pick up the pace on Exercise Sea Raider.
“I am continually very proud of the hard work and professional approach of the embarked amphibious forces and crews of Canberra and Choules.” (Source: Defence Connect)
12 June 21. Kratos Provides Ballistic and Airborne Targets for Formidable Shield 21 Campaign. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq:KTOS), a leading National Security Solutions provider, announced today that its Space & Missile Defense Systems Business Unit, a part of Kratos’ Defense & Rocket Support Services Division supported the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet, NATO’s Naval Striking and Support Forces (STRIKFORNATO) and the Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum (MTMD-F) in the successful execution of Exercise At-Sea Demonstration/Formidable Shield 2021 at the U.K. Ministry of Defence’s Hebrides Range in Scotland. The Exercise included two Kratos medium range ballistic missile targets presented at the same time as the Kratos MQM-178 Firejet aerial target drones, from Kratos’ Unmanned Systems Division. The multi-national exercise featured 16 ships, several aircraft and approximately 3,300 personnel from 10 countries.
Kratos has supported the biennial Formidable Shield Exercise since its inception in 2017, providing NATO forces the opportunity to improve interoperability in the integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) environment. This year’s exercise included ships from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, participating in a range of live-fire and simulated missile engagements against aerial and ballistic missile targets.
Kratos, along with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division’s White Sands Detachment (NSWC PHD WSD), provided and launched two advanced ballistic missile targets for the exercise featuring Kratos’ Oriole Rocket System. The ballistic missile targets met all test objectives and were engaged by Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors on May 26 and May 30, 2021 off the USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117). Data gathered during Exercise Formidable Shield 2021 will be used to refine the design and capabilities of subscale BMD targets for future exercises. These two launches surpassed the prior record held by Kratos and NSWC PHD WSD for the highest launch within the United Kingdom.
Dave Carter, President of the Kratos Defense & Rocket Support Services (KDRSS) Division, said, “Kratos is tremendously proud of its team of professionals who work diligently and passionately to make events like Formidable Shield a continual success for users around the world. Despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic, they have continued to deliver affordable, responsive and reliable targets to our Government customers and their allies.” (Source: ASD Network)
10 June 21. Ten Nato-member nations sign MoU for pilot training programme. The defence ministers of the ten countries agreed to create a network of European pilot training centres. A total of ten European Nato-member countries have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a pilot training programme.
The participating nations are Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Spain, and Turkey.
The defence ministers of the ten nations agreed to create a network of training centres for fighter jet, helicopter and drone pilots as part of Nato’s Flight Training Europe programme (NTFE).
The initiative seeks to leverage new technologies such as virtual reality to enable adaptable pilot training across Europe.
It will lead to the development of a network of campuses across Europe to cover different aspects and types of aircrew training.
This will provide the participating nations with access to a wider range of training opportunities and reduce the need for sending pilots to the US for training.
It is also expected to improve interoperability among participating airforces and reduce training costs.
Nato deputy secretary-general Mircea Geoană said: “Nato troops operate and deploy together. So it makes sense that they also systematically prepare and train together.
“Most importantly, by continually investing in high-quality training for our aircrews, NFTE is helping the alliance to maintain its technological and military edge.”
Notably, NFTE was officially launched by 11 Allies in June 2020 with the signing of a letter of intent (LoI) last year. Subsequently, Belgium joined the programme as the 12th participant. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
10 June 21. In the Voronezh region Russian military personnel of the Western Military District are preparing for the joint strategic exercises WEST-2021. In the Voronezh region, the military personnel of the Western Military District are preparing for the joint strategic exercises WEST-2021. In the Voronezh region, at the Pogonovo and Krinitsa training grounds, servicemen of the Vislensky Motorised Rifle Division of the combined arms army of the Western Military District (ZVO – ЗВО) began intensive combat training for the upcoming large-scale joint strategic Russian-Belarusian exercises WEST-2021. During the first week, firing of motorised rifle squads will take place, during which servicemen will work out a full list of actions in the offensive and defense, including work in pairs, passing mine-explosive obstacles and overcoming various obstacles by driver mechanics. Particular attention is paid to the training of gunners-operators, who must provide cover for personnel and destroy targets at a distance of about 1200 metres. It is planned that the servicemen will undergo a full course of combat training, starting with the formation of squads and ending with large-scale regimental exercises.
Over 90% of the personnel of the motorised rifle division of the combined arms army of the Western Military District will take part in the joint strategic Russian-Belarusian exercises WEST-2021. (Source: joint-forces.com)
11 Jun 21. US Navy receives first of anticipated 130 TH-73A training helos. The US Navy (USN) has received the first of up to 130 Leonardo TH-73A training helicopters that are expected to be contracted over the coming months, the manufacturer announced on 10 June.
The first USN-specific variant of the AW119Kx was delivered to the service during a ceremony at Leonardo’s AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corporation facility in Pennsylvania, which was attended by senior company and navy leadership.
Having secured the TH-XX requirement to replace the USN’s ageing fleet of Bell Jet Ranger-derived TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopters, Leonardo has to date been contracted to deliver 68 TH-73As through to the end of 2022. All 130 helicopters are expected to be delivered by the end of 2024, to be used for the advanced training of USN, US Marine Corps (USMC), and US Coast Guard (USCG) undergraduate helicopter pilots. The TH-57 is set to be fully withdrawn from service by 2023.
In securing the TH-XX requirement, Leonardo beat off competition from Airbus Helicopters, which was offering the H135, and from Bell, which was offering the 429 GlobalRanger and the 407GXi. When it submitted its offer earlier in 2019, Leonardo noted that its TH-119 was the only single-engined Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)-certified helicopter in production.
As well as delivering its helicopter, Leonardo will also open a 100,000 sq ft (9,290 sq m) centre in Milton, Florida, to provide customer support and maintenance services at Whiting Aviation Park, located directly across the airfield from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field where the TH-73 fleet will operate. The groundbreaking ceremony of this facility is scheduled for December 2021. (Source: Jane’s)
10 June 21. US Navy’s NSWCDD develop Post Intercept Debris Simulation tool. PIDS will help US Navy to understand the consequences of debris created as an interceptor missile engages a threat missile.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) of the US Navy has developed a new modelling and simulation tool called the Post Intercept Debris Simulation (PIDS).
The tool is particularly designed to ensure that combat systems are effective in a pervasive environment of debris generated as an interceptor engages a threat missile.
PIDS entered development phase to provide US Department of Defense (DoD) and navy testbeds with a representation of post-intercept debris for specific engagements.
The simulation will help in determining the limitations of a combat system in an operational environment.
The presence of debris also significantly curtails the capabilities of radar and other sensors. An accurate modelling of the debris can help the Navy to overcome this limitation.
PIDS project lead Meagan Parker said: “We are currently on schedule to deliver PIDS as promised in July 2021.
“This is a really rewarding project to work on because ultimately the goal is to reduce the risk to our warfighters in our deployed systems. We are empowering and allowing the navy to study and analyse performance in the presence of post intercept debris.”
Although still under development, the PIDS is currently capable of providing the required debris scene to predict how a weapon system or an intercept missile will respond to the presence of debris.
This may help in validating key performance parameters.
The team is particularly developing a post-intercept debris model for navy surface ship Combat System Testbeds. However, it can be modified to fit other navy or DoD modelling and simulation applications.
The final PIDS product will be delivered to the navy’s Combat System Testbed. Another copy will be submitted to the project’s DoD sponsor, the Test Resource Management Center. (Source: naval-technology.com)
11 June 21. USAF Ellsworth AFB to host first operational B-21s and training unit. The selection process follows a thorough environmental impact analysis (EIA) that aligns with the NEPA.
South Dakota’s Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB) has been officially chosen as home for the first operational US Air Force B-21 Raider bombers.
Announced by the US Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), the base will also host the formal training unit.
The selection process follows a thorough environmental impact analysis (EIA) that aligns with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
USAF 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center (J-GSOC) commander major general Mark Weatherington said: “Since its humble beginnings as Rapid City Army Air Base in 1942 with a mission of training B-17 Flying Fortresses for missions in the European theatre, Ellsworth has continuously evolved into its current role of providing combat airpower, anytime, anywhere around the globe.
“Now home to three of the four original squadrons that participated in the historic Doolittle Raid, the rich heritage continues today with Ellsworth’s selection as the first main operating base for the B-21 ‘Raider’ bomber.”
The B-21 Raider was designed to replace USAF’s replace B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit aircraft as a ‘long-range, highly-survivable bomber’ that can carry mixed-conventional and nuclear payloads, and strike any global target.
The B-1 Lancers will simultaneously continue their mission at Ellsworth AFB until the B-21 bombers achieve full operational capacity.
They will continue to provide long-range bomber support to the USAF.
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