01 Jul 21. Global firms eye Indian trainer aircraft deal. India has received “tremendous” response from international companies to its request for information (RFI) to lease at least 20 basic trainer aircraft for training rookie pilots of the country’s air force.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is facing a critical shortage of basic and intermediate trainer aircraft (BTA).
“We have received adequate number of submissions from international air-framers and lessors. Now we will shortlist them in consultations with the Indian Air Force and Ministry of Defence,” a senior official at the IAF informed, without naming any company.
Though the RFI to vendors specified that preference would be given to Indian companies for the contract, global entities were also invited to participate in the bidding process.
India has only Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) that makes aircraft and the state-owned company is busy with the serial production of the indigenously designed Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 or HTT-40 trainer aircraft.
Observers say it would be paradoxical for HAL to lease trainers to the IAF, while gearing up to supply 106 BTA, whose acquisition was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council in August 2020.
“Options are open, we will have a final call on whether to go with an Indian company or to import the aircraft once the entire process is complete,” the official added.
According to sources, the IAF is looking at trainer aircraft such as the L-39NG, built by the Czech Aero Vodochody, and there were also some suggestions of interest in the T-50TH Golden Eagle trainer/light combat jets made by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).
Recently, the central European aerospace company, and SkyTech, a leading provider of military aviation services and funding solutions, had signed a binding agreement for making available the L-39NG fleet for any customer either in the area of training flight hours, or short, mid and long-term leasing.
The L-39NG fleet agreement includes a set of state-of-the-art simulators and debriefing devices for effective training and learning process.
The RFI specified that the air force would need a trainer that could undertake four to six sorties a day for intensive training of pilots.
The selected company will maintain the aircraft during the duration of service and provide a simulator for pilots as well. The BTA will be used for imparting ab-initio training to pilots in IAF. The aircraft will be operated for military training purpose from an IAF base, and will be for an initial period of three to four years extendable in batches of two years.
In three to four year the indigenous HTT 40 basic trainer is expected to join service. The IAF has already issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 70 basic trainer jets from the state-owned aircraft maker. Earlier plans were to order additional PC 7s, but that was shelved after Pilatus got embroiled in alleged corruption charges. Currently, the Swiss company is blacklisted in India.
According to HAL, the HTT-40 is currently undergoing a string of elaborate tests to demonstrate that it is safe for rookie pilots and meets IAF’s exacting standards for trainer aircraft.
The proposal to lease aircraft to meet immediate requirements arise as the current fleet of Pilatus PC 7 basic trainer aircraft are facing serviceability issues. This is the first time that IAF has opted for leasing aircraft for training as it helps surpass long procurement process that moves at a snails pace.
The IAF is also leasing one Airbus 330 MRTT for training purpose while eyeing further lease of five more refuellers currently with France through the proper acquisition route. India has also decided to lease two Predator MQ9 drones before acquiring 30 of these armed UAVs, 10 each for three services.
“While the leasing process allows the armed forces to train on a platform that it plans to acquire, it also short-circuits the labyrinth of acquisition process like acceptance of necessity, request for information, request for proposal, defence acquisition committee, finance ministry approvals and finally the Cabinet Committee of Security,” a defence ministry official said.
The Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 defines leasing as a ‘means to possess and operate asset without owning the asset’ and says it provides a useful way ‘to substitute huge initial capital outlays with periodical rental payments’. DAP 2020 permits leasing in two categories: Lease (Indian), the preferred category, where the lessor is an Indian entity and owns the asset; and lease (global), which refers to lease of equipment from foreign or Indian lessor.
The Indian Air Force currently operates approximately 260 trainer aircraft, which include Pilatus PC-7 Mk-II, Kiran MkI/IA, and Hawk Mk-132 advanced jet trainer, according to the Defense Ministry.
Rookie pilots in IAF go through a three-stage training involving the Pilatus PC-7 MkII aircraft, Kiran trainers and finally the Hawk advanced jet trainers before they can fly fighter jets. As the Kirans are approaching the end of their service life, some amount of Stage II training is being done on the PC-7.
The Indian Air Force is also facing an acute shortage of pilots. Recently, the government contended that the number of pilots in the Indian Air Force at present is 3,834 as against the sanctioned strength of 4,239, a shortage of 405 pilots.
According to Junior Defence Minister Shripad Naik 260 aircraft are being used for training pilots in the force.
The induction of more trainer aircraft is expected to increase the efficiency in pilot training and better operational capabilities for the IAF, he added. (Source: Arabian Aerospace.com)
29 Jun 21. Australian Army expands protected mobility training capability. The Protected Mobility Tactical Trainer (PMTT) developed by Applied Virtual Simulation (AVS) is one of the latest innovations embraced by Army and is helping to achieve the aim of being a future-ready force.
The PMTT system allows the Army to train its soldiers to operate its fleet of protected mobility vehicles in a variety of tactical conditions and operational environments. It does this by providing realistic physical simulations of motion and an immersive experience for drivers, vehicle commanders and gunners.
Wade Meacham, AVS field service representative in the Northern Territory, has been working with units from the 1st Brigade to help them get the most out of the new simulator.
“The interest in the PMTT has been huge and a lot of the units have been keen to come down and try it out,” Meacham said.
“We’re looking forward to running some courses so that people can become more familiar with the PMTT, which we hope will lead them to develop their own training outcomes from the use of the facility.”
The system, which consists of five vehicle platforms, an after-action review station and an admin station, is designed around the training of junior mounted leaders and the development of teams, and can train up to 15 soldiers at any given time.
According to Meacham, like Defence’s Weapons Training Simulation System (WTSS), one of the main benefits of the PMTT was its ease of access.
“Soldiers can come in and use the facility quickly, without the need for permits and other administration, or worrying about the maintenance of training areas and ranges and whether the vehicles they have in their hangars have been serviced and are up to date,” Meacham added.
First established at the Army School of Transport at Tobruk Barracks, Puckapunyal, the PMTT capability has expanded, to 1st Brigade, Darwin this year.
With a third system already in place in Brisbane, AVS is aiming to make the PMTT just as accessible as the WTSS by fielding more systems across the country to meet the Army’s needs. (Source: Defence Connect)
24 Jun 21. Realistic Air Combat Training for Korean Hawk. Royal NLR and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands have delivered the final software package for the Embedded Combat Training System to LIG Nex1 for integration in the new Korean fighter aircraft KF-21 Boramae. The delivery completes the Embedded Training application, which enables the fighter pilots to perform cost efficient and realistic air combat training.
After three and a half years of development Royal NLR – Netherlands Aerospace Centre and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands have delivered the final Embedded Combat Training System (E-CATS) to South Korean LIG Nex1. This aerospace manufacturer is responsible for the development of the Embedded Training (ET) unit for the new Korean fighter KF-X. This twin-engine jet, which is developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), was unveiled at the KAI headquarters and officially named KF-21 Boramae (‘Hawk’) last April.
Following the first delivery of the ET application last year, this final software package is a major extension to the ET functionality. It comprises a simulation module that simulates Tactical Data Link (TDL) messages. These messages are used to exchange Command & Control information between team members (pilots) in the formation and the Control & Reporting Centres (CRC). The messages have an effect on the tactical behaviour and operation of platforms and weapon systems which is key for realistic air combat training.
The Embedded Combat Aircraft Training System (E-CATS) is an innovative product, developed by Royal NLR and Airbus DS NL, which provides live mission training for fighter pilots against simulated adversaries (constructive threats). The constructive threats are realistically displayed on the aircraft sensors with realistic performance characteristics. Pilots are able to train individually (single ship ET) or as a formation in the multi-ship configuration.
“We are very pleased with this successful delivery”, states Arjan Lemmers of NLR as project leader. “But we are not done yet. Royal NLR and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands will continue to support our customer integrating the embedded training application in the following years”. Harry van Hulten, Business Development Manager Defence at Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands, fully agrees: “This important milestone enables the KF-21 pilots to join the 4.5th Generation Air Forces by training full up Live-Constructive scenarios.”
The first operational aircraft are expected in 2026. The two Dutch parties are actively seeking to support the end-customer the ROKAF (Republic of Korea Air Force) with introduction and support to the use and best training practices with the application and the development of operational tactical scenarios. (Source: ASD Network)
28 Jun 21. British Army Field Hospital Tested To Ensure Five-Day Global Deployment Time. Exercise Chiron Certify in Hampshire has been putting 22 Field Hospital to the test. The British Army has been putting one of its mobile field hospitals through its paces to ensure it is capable of deploying anywhere in the world within five days.
During Exercise Chiron Certify, 22 Field Hospital have had to prove it is capable of taking on the mantle of the Army’s High Readiness Hospital.
This means being able to set up a hospital within 24 hours and be fully operational within two to four days.
Once the structure is up it’s then about the provision of care.
Sergeant Suzzi Bipond, Field Surgical Team, told Forces News the exercise, which takes place every two years, lasting four weeks and involving 300 personnel, is “very realistic”.
“We have… casualty simulation and we have these ‘real-life’ dummies that we take through as well that can be operated on and they can simulate breathing and they can talk as well,” she said.
Inside the hospital, there are two emergency bays, one operating theatre, two intensive care units and a 12-bed ward – meaning military personnel patients are provided with an NHS standard of care anywhere in the world.
This year’s exercise has also seen the trialling of a smaller medical facility capable of receiving its first patient within 60 minutes.
Anaesthetist Lieutenant Colonel Paul Davies told Forces News the training is “extremely important”.
“We all work in NHS practices for the most part so any opportunity we can to do military-specific training is very important to our ability to effectively deliver on operations,” he said.
This year’s exercise has also seen the trialling of a veterinary hospital attached to the field hospital, as well as a smaller medical facility being certified.
The smaller facility can be set up quickly, capable of receiving its first patient within 60 minutes and being fully operational within two hours.
This means it is perfect for supporting peace operations, or as an early-entry capability, and is an essential facility with teams currently on operations in the Middle East and Africa.
Captain Rupert Milward-Wiffen, Commander Ground Manoeuvre Surgical Group, said the facility has a smaller team, with each individual expected to take on up to “five different roles”.
“Compared to the bigger field hospital, which has got a couple of hundred people in it, we’re a team anywhere between about 13 and 17 people,” he said.
“So the dynamic changes a lot more and generally the smaller the team, the more roles you’re expected to take on.” (Source: forces.net)
24 Jun 21. WANG’s 1041st unit annual training exercise in Montana. The training is the largest in two years and follows nearly eight months of planning and preparation. Transportation specialists from the Washington Army National Guard’s (WANG) 1041st Transportation Company have conducted an annual training exercise in Fort Harrison, Montana. Fort Harrison serves as the home of Special Forces for the Montana National Guard.
Annual training for the Montesano and Spokane based unit began with a 670-mile drive from Fairchild AFB to Fort Harrison.
In Montana, the unit members underwent rigorous counter-improvised explosive device training and conducted battlefield logistics patrols for three days. During this training that ‘simulated’ explosions and casualties, guard members responded to direct and indirect fire.
The unit took eight months to plan and prepare the training, which is said to be the largest exercise in two years.
US Army 1041st Transportation Company commander captain Luis Torres said: “This was a huge undertaking after Covid-19 forced units to conduct virtual drills.
“As a unit, we rolled the dice and began planning last October on a challenging and engaging annual training to get our soldiers pumped up and ready to get back to training.”
To adapt to the new requirements, guard members conducted an Army Combat Fitness Test alongside the military speciality training.
They also used the virtual convoy trainer and an engagement skills trainer with the new qualification tables.
Torres added: “Waking up early to do physical fitness training and long days of training kept the Soldiers engaged.
“This was a very successful annual training that Soldiers really enjoyed, and this is why they joined the National Guard, to learn new things, explore new places and have fun and be engaged.” (Source: army-technology.com)
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