14 June 21. Leonardo’s Naval Systems Demos Technology Leadership at Exercise Formidable Shield 2021.
- Formidable Shield, NATO’s main air defence and anti-missile exercise, saw the involvement of naval, air and land assets from 10 countries
- Several Leonardo technologies were trialled including the Kronos MFRA radar, multi data link communications system and Mode-5-capable Identification Friend/Foe system
- Leonardo’s Combat Management System facilitated the coordination of operations, processing data from sensors and presenting a real-time picture of the scenario to aid decision making and interventions
Leonardo’s naval systems have been put through their paces in a recent NATO exercise, demonstrating their advanced technology and operational effectiveness. The range of systems, which included detection, tracking, communication, command and control capabilities, were on show between the 15th and 30th May at the MOD Hebrides Range in Scotland, UK as part of At Sea Demonstration / Formidable Shield 2021 (ASD / FS21), NATO’s main air defence and anti-missile exercise.
The realistic scenario saw live and simulated engagements against subsonic, supersonic and ballistic missiles in the skies. Naval vessels, aircraft and land vehicles from 10 nations tested their information exchange and interoperability capabilities as part of a simulated coalition-level response.
A number of Leonardo technologies were on-board the Italian Navy’s Antonio Marceglia, the eighth frigate to be delivered under the FREMM (European multi-purpose frigate) programme. This included the Kronos MFRA (Multi-Function Radar Active) 3D radar that can locate, classify and track targets within a 250km radius. The Kronos MFRA was able to locate ballistic missiles in flight as they reached speeds of over 1,800m/s and accelerated at over 6G, and continued tracking the missiles over 200km.
At the trial, the frigate also made use of its MDLP-EVO (Multi Data Link Processor) communication system to exchange tactical data, while its IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system, updated to the NATO Mode-5 standard, helped distinguish between allies and potential threats.
The brain of the ship, its Combat Management System (CMS), coordinated the frigate’s air defence and anti-missile operations, processing data from the ship’s various sensors and presenting a real-time tactical picture of the scenario to the frigate crew and other units, supporting decisions and interventions at a coalition level.
Leonardo’s weapon systems also saw positive results during the trial. The Super Rapido naval gun with 76mm DART guided ammunition demonstrated its ability to protected its host ship from even the most sophisticated threats. Meanwhile, the Aster 30 missile from MBDA, a European joint venture in which Leonardo has a 25% share, proved its ability to intercept incoming missiles. (Source: ASD Network)
23 June 21. Apache helicopters complete training on HMS Prince of Wales. During the training, the 656 Squadron operating Apache helicopters shared flight deck with RAF Chinooks and Royal Navy Merlins. Three Apache helicopters have completed a two-week training on the British Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.
The training was part of a task that involved preparing the aircraft carrier personnel in handling these attack helicopters, as well as familiarising the air crew with operations at sea.
The three helicopters from the Army Air Corps’ maritime Apache squadron, 656, landed onboard HMS Prince of Wales before it sailed for a series of trials and training programmes in the English and Bristol Channels.
During the fortnight long training, the Army Air Corps fliers landed and took off 161 times.
One new pilot is now qualified for maritime operations by day/night, while another eight members regained or maintained their capabilities.
The two-week exercise saw the 656 Squadron sharing the flight deck with RAF Chinooks and Royal Navy Merlins.
F-35 Lightning jets also recently landed on HMS Prince of Wales for the first time.
Apache pilot major Tony Thompson, who instructed the air crew, said: “HMS Prince of Wales is a much larger ship to land on, but she’s also much darker.
“It’s quite intimidating, it’s not until you are right next to the ship they you can make out enough detail on her to land.”
These aircraft from 656 Squadron have modified gunships equipped with floatation devices, while the remaining capabilities are similar to its counterparts that operate over land.
The Apache helicopters feature a chain gun capable of firing 600 rounds a minute, CRV rockets to destroy buildings and Hellfire anti-tank missiles.
Separately, the Royal Navy announced that the F-35 jets have joined their first combat missions from HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The stealth jets carried out operational sorties in support of Operation Shader and US Operation Inherent Resolve. (Source: naval-technology.com)
24 June 21. Paratroopers conduct joint exercise in Jordan in support of Carrier Strike Group. British Army soldiers airdropped into Jordan as part of a Joint Theatre Entry (JTE) parachuting exercise as the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) continues its operations in the Eastern Mediterranean. More than 150 personnel from 16 Air Assault Brigade conducted the low altitude insert from C-130 Hercules aircraft which took off from Cyprus. The Brigade, based in Colchester, is the most deployable and ready formation in the British Army, standing as a core component of the UK’s Global Response Force. Once in Jordan, British troops joined a tactical exercise with elite paratroopers from the Jordanian Special Forces Group.
The exercise coincides with the CSG as it transitions from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Both deployments showcase the capability and professionalism of the UK Armed Forces and their ability to be more agile and competitive against changing global threats. CSG’s world-class air and maritime support will maximise potential of 16 Air Assault Brigade, part of the British Army’s ‘Future Soldier’ concept, whereby UK Armed Forces will be more integrated, more expeditionary, and ready for future challenges.
Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey said, “The UK Armed Forces stand with Jordan against shared threats in the region.
The joint exercise is a showcase of the Global Response Force’s impressive ability to operate across multiple domains and in harsh environments. They are the soldiers of the future, ready to tackle changing threats around the world.
Jordan is a key partner for the UK in the region. The joint exercise demonstrates the UK’s commitment Jordan and to regional stability, with the exercise taking place in Jordan’s centenary yea In the lead up to the exercise a number of mission rehearsals also took place in Cyprus, where UK Defence has bases which maintain a permanent military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, helping to support regional security.”
Brigadier James Martin, Commander 16 Air Assault Brigade, said, “16 Air Assault Brigade are the British Army’s specialist in Joint Theatre Entry. We are trained specifically in the techniques of air manoeuvre. It is a demanding role and the Brigade places a premium on being expeditionary and integrated with the other domains – critical for the Army’s Future Soldier concept.”
The UK has strong, historic bilateral ties in the Middle East and North Africa region, which are vital to UK prosperity and security. The UK Armed Forces will play a role as we look to deepen these links. The Pathfinders, trained in specialist airborne insertion techniques and capable of conducting offensive action tasks at very short notice, are the advance force for 16 Brigade and also played a part in the exercise. Their key role was identifying drop zones and landing zones where the main body of troops parachuted in. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
23 Jun 21. Boeing begins Phase 2 of Red Hawk flight trials. Boeing has begun the second phase of flight trials of the T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft it has co-developed with Saab for the US Air Force (USAF).
The prime contractor announced on 22 June that Phase 2 flight testing had begun with three sorties being flown on the same day out of its St Louis production facility in Missouri.
As noted by Boeing, this new phase will see the aircraft’s “fighter-like performance and digital capabilities” evaluated for future USAF fighter and bomber pilots.
Boeing is in the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of its T-X Advanced Pilot Training Program (ATP) contract with the USAF to build 351 Red Hawk aircraft to replace the service’s ageing Northrop T-38 Talon. To date, two production-representative jets (PRJs) have been built and flown, while EMD will see a further five aircraft added to the test fleet.
With Saab having delivered its first aft-fuselage to St Louis in April, Boeing told Janes that the first EMD flight was slated for September. However, it emerged earlier in June that a ‘wing rock’ problem, whereby the aircraft was experiencing some wing stall during high angle-of-attack manoeuvres, had been discovered during flight trials. It is not known to what degree, if any, this will delay the first EMD flight, although the USAF has said that it will put back the Milestone C full-rate production delay by about four months, with that event now set to happen in October or November 2022. (Source: Jane’s)
22 Jun 21. Malaysia issues tender for RMAF’s LCA/FLIT programme. Malaysia’s Ministry of Defence (MinDef) announced on 22 June that it has launched a tender for the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF’s) Light Combat Aircraft/Fighter Lead-In-Trainer (LCA/FLIT) programme. Published on the ministry’s website, the brief announcement said the service aims to acquire an initial 18 aircraft, adding that the request for bids will close on 22 September.
No further details were provided, but industry sources told Janes that the RMAF wants eight of these platforms to be primarily configured for lead-in-fighter training, while the remaining 10 would be LCAs.
The programme is part of the RMAF’s ‘Capability 55′ plan. Launched in 2018 the plan calls for the procurement of 36 LCA/FLIT platforms in two phases, with 18 aircraft set to be purchased from 2021 and the rest from 2025. The 36 aircraft are intended to equip one LIFT and two LCA squadrons. The FLITs are meant to replace the service’s currently grounded fleet of seven Aermacchi MB-339CM jet trainers, while the LCAs will replace the 18 BAE Systems Hawk Mk 108 twin-seat and Mk 208 single-seat LCAs in service. (Source: Jane’s)
22 June 21. India and EU conduct joint naval exercise in Gulf of Aden.
In the two-day exercise, a total of five ships participated in a series of naval activities off the coast of Somalia.
India and the EU have carried out a joint naval drill in the Gulf of Aden to improve operational interoperability among the forces.
A total of five ships participated in the two-day exercise between the Indian Navy and the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia.
The vessels were Indian frigate INS Trikand, Italian frigate Carabiniere, Spanish frigate Navarra, French frigate Surcouf and French amphibious assault helicopter carrier Tonnerre.
During the drill, the naval activities were based on the scenario of an anti-piracy operation and involved live firing, cross-deck helicopter landings and complex tactical evolutions at sea.
The participating vessels also conducted a night-time joint patrol and a naval parade in the high seas off the coast of Somalia.
The Indian Ministry of Defence said in a statement: “The EU and India are committed to a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, democracy, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, and peaceful resolution of disputes.
“They reaffirm the primacy of international law, including the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”
Notably, India and the EU agreed to deepen their dialogue and cooperation on maritime security in January 2021.
The Indian Navy has been escorting World Food Programme chartered vessels that are coordinated by EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation Atalanta.
In April, the Indian Navy conducted a three-day naval exercise in the Arabian Sea with the French Navy. (Source: naval-technology.com)
21 June 21. The 15th Hot Blade exercise, organised by the European Defence Agency’s (EDA) Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP), is currently under way running from 16-30 June at Beja airbase in Portugal and hosted by the Portuguese Air Force. Having attended this exercise several times, it is designed to increase coordination and understanding of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) between national assets that could potentially be called to operate together in a Composite Air Operation (COMAO). In such a case the components would use common helicopter Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) that will be practiced during the Hot Blade exercise.
According to the EDA, there are 15 helicopters and eight fixed wing aircraft together with 550 personnel involved from five countries – Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Portugal. Italy, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland and several international organisations are also sending observers.
As has become standard over the years, a range of COMAO missions will be flown during the day and night, to include Air Assault (AA), Special Operations Aviation (SOA), Combat Service Support (CSS), Close Air Support (CAS) including Urban CAS and Emergency CAS, Convoy/helicopter escorts, Reconnaissance and Surveillance, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Personnel Recovery (PR), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC).
A mentoring team comprising eight instructors from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden trained in EDA’s Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course (HTIC) will help to guide the course. (Source: Armada)
21 June 21. ADF launches UN peacekeeping training initiative online. The Department of Defence has launched a new digital training platform to support training and engagement for Australian and regional peacekeepers.
The Peace Operations Training Environment Partnership is a new online learning platform designed to provide relevant, contemporary learning activities to support delivery of United Nations core and specialised training, according to Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester.
“This digital training will ensure those looking at undertaking peacekeeping will be able to do it in a time and location that is convenient to them — something of particular importance as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic — and will ensure they are appropriately equipped,” Minister Chester said.
“The United Nations intervenes in environments which are often dangerous and volatile and it is critical that all peacekeepers are equipped with insights and training, developed through decades of operational experience.”
At present, 27 Australian Defence Force personnel are currently deployed on UN missions.
Australia has contributed to more than 50 multinational peacekeeping operations over 70 years. Australian military personnel, police and civilians have made a significant contribution to worldwide peacekeeping operations.
“A significant feature of this online platform is that it offers our UN partners free access to an open training resource, which allows each contributing nation to tailor it for their own training requirements,” Minister Chester said.
“I congratulate the Australian Defence Force Peace Operations Training Centre for coming up with this fantastic training resource.” (Source: Defence Connect)
18 June 21. Saab to deliver next-generation Live MCTIS Training System for USMC. The new system will replace the existing Instrumentation and Tactical Engagement Simulation System (ITESS) equipment.
The US Marine Corps (USMC) Training Systems Programme Manager has awarded a single award task order contract (SATOC) to Saab for next-generation live training systems.
Under the undefinitised contract, Saab will provide the Force-on-Force Training Systems – Next (FoFTS-Next) to the USMC.
The contract has a cumulative face value of $127.9m and the framework agreement has future task orders.
FoFTS-Next is the next-generation of instrumented – tactical engagement simulation system (I-TESS).
Saab noted that the FoFTS-Next SATOC will include USMC Training Instrumentation Systems (MCTIS) equipment, logistics, as well as training exercise support.
The contract will see Saab provide a full turnkey live training capability that will include equipment deliveries for individual marine weapons, buildings and vehicles.
It will also provide logistics and maintenance support, as well as training exercise support at all major USMC installations worldwide.
The FoFTS-Next Increment 1 also includes the command and control (C2) and network systems required to transport, process as well as display data from the instrumentation.
Saab US president and CEO Erik Smith said: “The Saab Live MCTIS Training System is a proven solution that will provide interoperability training to prepare our US Marines for combat effectiveness across multi-domain operations.”
According to Saab, the company’s next-generation Live MCTIS Training System will replace the USMC’s current ITESS equipment.
Saab provides solutions for live training, live fire training, virtual training, as well as training services.
In April, Saab secured a low-rate initial production (LRIP) option from the US Navy for delivery of its AN/SPN-50(V)1 shipboard air traffic radar. (Source: naval-technology.com)
18 June 21. Australian soldiers join war fighting exercise in the US.
Army soldiers from Brisbane’s 7th Combat Brigade have joined partner forces from the US Army, British Army and Canadian Army for Joint Warfighting Assessment 2021 at Fort Carson, in Colorado.
The aim of the exercise is to assess the readiness of each military to integrate with its multinational partners.
The annual command post-style exercise will simulate combat operations by a combined divisional-size force within a fictitious scenario.
The exercise is designed to show how the Australian Army can integrate with and work alongside the partner forces, according to Brigadier Jason Blain, Commander of the 7th Combat Brigade.
“Ultimately, we will learn about ourselves and our allies, and understand how we can best work together on operations,” BRIG Blain said.
“This exercise provides us with an opportunity to work with the United States Army, British Army, and the Canadian Army in a multinational division construct to learn how they operate.
“The exercise is also important for maintaining our warfighting competency.”
Joint Warfighting Assessment 2021 (JWA 21) also presents the 7th Combat Brigade team with an opportunity to digitally employ future capabilities, including weapons and vehicles, that the Australian Army plans to introduce in the near future.
“We will also test and adjust how we can best employ new equipment and technology being delivered to the Australian Army over the coming years,” BRIG Blain said.
Around 140 Australian soldiers will participate in the exercise that is expected to run for a week. (Source: Defence Connect)
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