23 Jul 21. UK Carrier Strike Group in the Indo-Pacific. On 24th July, HMS Richmond will enter Thailand’s territorial waters to conduct a maritime military exercise with the Royal Thai Navy. This will be first engagement of the UK Carrier Strike Group with an ASEAN nation.
On 24th July, HMS Richmond will enter Thailand’s territorial waters to conduct a maritime military exercise with the Royal Thai Navy. This will be the first visit of a Royal Navy ship to Thailand since HMS Daring visited in 2014, and the first engagement of the UK Carrier Strike Group with an ASEAN nation.
HMS Richmond is part of the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group, the greatest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation. Led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest and most powerful surface vessel in the Royal Navy’s history on her first operational deployment, the Group consists of 9 ships, 32 aircraft, and 3700 personnel. Whilst strong on our own, we are stronger with allies. The Carrier Strike Group will lead several NATO exercises and two of our oldest and closest partners in the US and the Netherlands will be fully integrated into the deployment.
The Carrier Strike Group is a demonstration of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s vision of a ‘Global Britain’. As articulated in this year’s Integrated Review of foreign policy, defence and development, the UK is a problem-solving and burden-sharing nation with a global perspective, playing a leading international role in collective security, multilateral governance, tackling climate change and health risks, conflict resolution and poverty reduction. However, to be open we must be secure. As a maritime trading nation championing the free flow of trade, capital, data, innovation and ideas, the Group’s deployment demonstrates the UK’s strategic flexibility and global reach. Benefitting from an impressive array of the UK’s world-leading defence capabilities, the Group is capable of operating independently to counter state and non-state threats as well as contribute to humanitarian and disaster relief missions.
When the Carrier Strike Group left Portsmouth in May, it embarked on a truly global journey. Returning to the UK in December, it will have travelled over 26,000 nautical miles, from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, from the Gulf of Aden to the Arabian Sea, and from the Indian Ocean to the Philippine Sea and back. It will have interacted with 40 nations during its tour and undertaken over 70 engagements, exercises and operations with allies and partners.
Between July and October, the Carrier Strike Group will deploy to the Indo-Pacific region, transiting through the Asia the Malacca Straits on its way to Japan. While the major stops in the region for HMS Queen Elizabeth are Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and India her escort ships, such as HMS Richmond, will engage with regional and ASEAN partners as part of the UK’s commitment to be a persistent, credible and reliable presence in the Indo-Pacific. In the region, the Group will contribute with allies to the US-led ‘Large Scale Global Exercise’, to UN mandated sanctions enforcement and to a Five Powers Defence Arrangement exercise, the FPDA being Southeast Asia’s only collective security arrangement. For Thailand, our maritime engagement will contribute to our strengthened defence relationship, which will deliver more shared professional military education activity, and increased co-operation on a range of areas of mutual concern from international peace operations and counter terrorism to military medicine and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The Carrier Strike Group’s visit to the region is also evidence of the UK’s so-called Indo-Pacific Tilt’. This region matters to the UK: it is critical to our economy, our security and our commitment to support open societies. At least 1.7 million British citizens live across the region, with 50,000 in Thailand alone, and our trading relationships continue to grow. In the decades to come the region will be the crucible for many of the most pressing global challenges – from climate and biodiversity to maritime security and geopolitical competition linked to rules and norms. Therefore, over the next decade we will deepen our engagement with the Indo-Pacific region, establishing a greater and more persistent presence in the region than any other European country, as seen by our application to become an ASEAN Dialogue Partner and also to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP.
Here in Thailand, our bilateral relationship has strong foundations, close connections between our citizens and a comprehensive agenda of practical collaboration on shared priorities such as health, economic recovery, climate change, security and defence. We welcome the proximity of the Carrier Strike Group to Thailand as a symbol of our mutual commitment to a free and open Asia Pacific with all the benefits that affords to shared regional and global security and prosperity. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
22 Jul 21. Indonesia will buy more KAI trainer jets. Indonesia has signed a contract to buy more KAI T-50 jet trainers, as Thailand indicated its desire to add to its inventory of the jets, marking continued success for the South Korean aircraft. Korea Aerospace Industries made a filing to the Seoul stock exchange on July 20 announcing the sale of six more T-50i jet trainers to Indonesia, listing a contract value of $240m.
This would bring Indonesia’s fleet of T-50i advanced trainers to 20 aircraft, with 16 acquired in 2012 to replace its older BAE Systems Hawk 53 trainers dating from the 1980s that are currently operating in the advanced and lead-in fighter training role. Deliveries of the T-50i began in 2014 and were completed in 2018, but two have subsequently been involved in accidents in 2015 and last August. The T-50i trainers were originally delivered without radars or armament, but the southeast Asian country signed a contract with KAI in 2018 to retrofit radars and 20mm cannons to the fleet, with work due to complete sometime this year. The Indonesian Air Force is likely to use the new aircraft to progressively replace its fleet of BAE Hawk 109/209 trainers and light attack aircraft, which have been in service since the 1990s. KAI has secured a number of export successes with its T-50 family of trainer and light combat aircraft, with the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand also operating the type in the region. The latter country has also announced it is seeking to bolster its T-50 fleet, with the Royal Thai Air Force or RTAF Directorate of Operations looking to buy two more T-50TH trainers.
Thailand already has 12 T-50TH in service or on order with KAI. The type is progressively replacing the RTAF’s Aero-Vodochody L-39 Albatross trainer, and Thailand has subsequently signed a contract with KAI in 2019 to upgrade the fleet’s radars and electronic warfare system.
Malaysia is also said to be considering the T-50 for its own Light Combat Aircraft program. The type had been a contender for the U.S. Air Force T-X trainer program that was subsequently won by Boeing’s T-7 Red Hawk.
(Source: Defense News)
22 Jul 21. UK Carrier Strike Group starts maritime exercise with Indian Navy. The UK’s Carrier Strike Group 2021, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth has met up with the Indian Navy in the Bay of Bengal, for 3 days of complex maritime interactions. The maritime partnership exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy will see the two navies conducting a range of multi-ship, air, sea and sub-surface maritime evolutions, as well as, close quarter manoeuvring. This enables both forces to advance their interoperability and cooperation ahead of further exercises when the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) returns to the Indian Ocean in the autumn. The combined forces equate to 10 ships, two submarines, approximately 20 aircraft and almost 4,000 personnel.
Both the UK and India are in the midst of a carrier renaissance, with the CSG spearheading the UK’s Joint Expeditionary capability. The joint endeavour provides tangible security to our friends and a credible deterrence to those who seek to undermine global security. An Indian warship will also exercise with the Royal Navy off the coast of the UK in August.
First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said, “This is a month that will see the Royal Navy and Indian Navy meet and work together in two oceans – beginning in the Indian Ocean as the UK Carrier Strike Group arrives for the first of multiple UK-India exercises and events. Later this summer, both will participate in a separate exercise in the Atlantic Ocean. The deployment is proof of the strength, energy and significance of the growing relationship between our navies.”
Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key said, “The UK and India are key defence partners and the Carrier Strike Group’s deployment is a symbol of Global Britain in action, showcasing our commitment to India, the Indo-Pacific region, and confronting threats to international order.”
Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, said, “As HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group cross the Indian Ocean, it is only natural that we should exercise with the Indian Navy. At the strategic level, the exercise is a muscular expression of the closer defence partnership that Prime Ministers Johnson and Modi envisaged when they agreed the UK-India Roadmap 2030 earlier this year.”
The joint exercises between the Carrier Strike Group and the Indian Navy are being conducted in the Bay of Bengal from 21-23 July.
As part of its maiden operational deployment, the CSG will sail over 26,000 nautical miles, engaging with 40 countries from the Mediterranean to the Indo-Pacific and back again.
The fifth generation HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier, at 65,000 tonnes, is the largest surface vessel ever constructed in the UK. Taller than Niagara Falls, her propellers generate the power of 50 high-speed trains. She leads six Royal Navy ships, a Royal Navy submarine, a US Navy destroyer and a frigate from the Netherlands in the largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation. It is equipped with the fifth generation F-35B Lightning multi-role aircrafts. They are being jointly crewed by the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and the US Marine Corps.
From defending democratic values and tackling shared threats, to seizing new trade opportunities through engagements with Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan, India and others, the deployment marks a step-change in UK engagement in the region. The UK is already investing significantly in the region by seeking ASEAN Dialogue Partner status, kicking off negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and rapidly progressing trade talks with Australia, New Zealand and India. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
21 Jul 21. Russia deploys tanks near Afghan border ahead of military drills. The tanks marched 200km to Kharb-Maydon training ground in Tajikistan near the Afghanistan border. T-72B tanks. Credit: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. Russia has moved its tanks to a training ground near the Afghanistan border as part of its preparations for a military drill scheduled next month. According to a Russian Ministry of Defence statement, tank crews from the 201st military base stationed in Tajikistan travelled 200km from the Lyaur training ground to the Kharb-Maydon training ground near the Afghanistan border. During the deployment, the T-72 tank crew engaged in different activities, which included protecting convoys of military vehicles and repelling mock enemy attacks. The joint military drill will be held on 5-10 August in the Khatlon region of the Republic of Tajikistan at the Kharb-Maydo training ground. Military contingents from Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan will participate in the exercise.
The statement added: “The basis of the Russian military contingent will be the units of the 201st military base, including mountain motorised rifle, tank, artillery units, as well as groups of a special separate special purpose unit of the central military district.
“In addition, specialists of the NBC protection and mobile electronic warfare groups will be involved in the exercise.”
Separately, Russian troops will also conduct a joint exercise with the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan in the Surkhandarya region.
The exercise will be held from 30 July to 10 August and will involve 1,500 servicemen and 200 units of military equipment, including aircraft.
Recently, Russia’s Rostec announced plans to conduct firing trials of the Sprut-SDM1 light amphibious tank on the Black Sea. (Source: army-technology.com)
08 Jun 21. Italian, British F-35B jets train together for first time, all thanks to the pandemic. The Italian Air Force is getting its money’s worth out of its single F-35B jet. The jet made a short landing Tuesday on the Italian island of Pantelleria to join a British Royal Air Force F-35B. The two Joint Strike Fighters practiced fast ground refueling from a parked C-130J, marking the first time F-35Bs from Italy and the U.K. have trained together. The British jet had flown in from the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is steaming past the island on a flag-flying mission to the Asia-Pacific region. The Italian F-35B arrived on Pantelleria, a tiny speck in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, for the second time as it tests Italy’s plan to deploy the type to advance bases with very short runways.
And it is all thanks to COVID-19.
After rolling off Italy’s F-35 final assembly line, the Air Force’s first and so far only “B” model was due to fly to the U.S. for pilot training in February 2020, but was stuck in Italy because of pandemic-related restrictions. According to officials, things have worked out just fine.
“Because of the pandemic … it stayed in Italy, and in a year we have acquired notable experience, including on maintenance, qualifying technicians, and achieved a series of certifications allowing activities like today,” said Gen. Gianni Candotti, the Italian Air Force’s operational commander. “Partnering is absolutely important in Europe where we and the British use the F-35B, and we exploring [additional] opportunities to exercise together.”
Joint training made sense since the two air forces were likely to join forces in operations, he added. “The aircraft we have — and this is also the case for our partners — are insufficient to mount daily sorties that NATO or other organizations require. It is necessary to pool forces with partners. In 30 years in the Air Force I have never worked alone. We have always worked with other allies that share objectives and values.”
Britain’s participation was enabled by the proximity of the Queen Elizabeth, which is also hosting 10 U.S. Marine Corp F-35s on its eastward trip. One of the American jets was due in Pantelleria on Tuesday, but its visit was canceled after a Marine F35B flying from the ship suffered a malfunction and was forced to land on the Spanish island of Ibiza.
Meanwhile, the Royal Air Force jet arriving on Pantelleria was joined by a Royal Navy Merlin helicopter carrying a British crew to assist with refueling. That drill on the island’s small Italian air base was part of a wider exercise currently taking place in Italy. Falcon Strike, which involves F-35As from the U.S., Israel and Italy, marks the first visit to Italy by Israeli F-35s. Italy currently operates 10 “A” models, with three more undertaking training in the United States.
Additionally, the Italian Navy has taken delivery of two F-35Bs, also training in the United States. And in March, the service qualified its aircraft carrier Cavour to host the fighter after sea trials with American jets.
But when it comes to joint training and operations, the fate of F-35Bs is in question: Both the Navy and Air Force are due to receive 15 of the jets — a small number amount, which could justify joint management. However, no decision has been made amid jockeying between the services to keep sovereign control over their respective jets, and it has yet to be decided who gets Italy’s fourth “B” model when it is delivered.
As a sign that some sort of integrated Italian F-35B force is in the works, a Defence Ministry document issued this year contained objectives for 2022, among them a “STOVL Joint Force,” using an acronym for short takeoff and vertical landing. That could involve Air Force F-35Bs flying off the Cavour, but Candotti said that “is not our immediate objective.”
Instead, the Air Force would focus on preparing to land its F-35Bs on short and rough runways, with Afghanistan serving as a lesson. “In Afghanistan, only after a year and lots of money spent and risks taken, we were able to lengthen the runway at the base used by Italians to use our Tornados,” he said, referring to another military aircraft.
However, he did not rule out some form of eventual joint command for Italy’s Navy and Air Force F-35Bs. “Everything is possible. Our British colleagues did it with the Harrier and continue with the F-35B. There are various ways to integrate from minimum collaboration to full integration. It is being studied.” (Source: Defense News)
19 Jul 21. Weapons Unleashed in Powerful Demonstration. At sea, the five-inch guns of HMAS Ballarat and USS Rafael Peralta unleashed a further barrage of rounds, beginning the Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021 firepower demonstration. The bombardment didn’t relent as HMAS Parramatta and Japanese destroyer JS Makinami opened fire with guns of their own.
Further inland, a US Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter launched 20mm rockets towards Mount Phipps, accompanied by a UH-1Y Venom helicopter. They also moved to Townshend Island where the Venom attacked with its minigun, fast-firing .50-calibre rounds and rockets.
Not to be outdone, two ARH Tigers fired 30mm rockets before dropping flares and unleashing a stream of .30-calibre rounds.
They also launched Hellfire missiles over the water at Townshend Island.
A 1000-pound bomb that exploded by the base of Mount Phipps announced an attack run by two F/A-18A/B Hornets.
They tore through the sky above Shoalwater and loud “burrrrrrrrr” sounds resonated though the area as they strafed with 25mm cannons.
Ground-shaking booms erupted as nine US and Australian M777 Howitzers opened fire, before crews raced each other to launch their remaining nine, high-explosive rounds.
Commanding an M777 was Bombardier Dean Russell, 105th Battery of the 1st Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, barking orders as his crew reloaded and fired their gun.
“Not much would survive at the other end,” he said.
“There would be a lot of trees splintering and shrapnel flying around. You’d be wanting to get low if you were there.”
Back at Townshend Island, American F-35 Lightning IIs attacked with bombs and multiple 25mm cannon strafing runs.
US Army and Marine Corps High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) emerged from a hide and together fired a stream of about 20 rockets beyond Mount Phipps.
Task Force Fires commander US Marine Lieutenant Colonel Roe Lemons controlled the system, and said it could hide for months before emerging to deliver long-range precision fires.
“It’s wheeled, it can go anywhere. It’s very easy to hide,” Lieutenant Colonel Lemons said.
“It has the same effects we typically see from aviation, but it can provide that from a ground-based platform.
“We can transport it in anything from a C-130 and up.
“We fly can in, we shoot that mission, then we get out of the area.”
It was the first time in his six-year career that Bombardier Russell had seen HIMARS fire and fast jets attack over the gun line.
“Some of the new guys in the detachment had ear-to-ear grins,” he said.
“It’s amazing to imagine how far HIMARS can shoot and how much ground it can cover on the other end.”
A host of international representatives viewed the demonstration along with Minister for Defence Peter Dutton.
His remarks reminded everyone of the strength of Australia’s 70-year alliance with the US.
“It sends a clear message to anybody who would want to do harm to Australia,” Mr Dutton said.
The demonstration and Talisman Sabre also show that Australia can operate on a world-class level with America, according to Minister Dutton.
“Our region has changed significantly in recent years and we need to make sure we have the greatest investment in our people and our equipment,” he said.
“We maximise our capacity to keep Australia safe through a deepening of our relationship with the United States, our Five Eyes partners and others who are contributing to Talisman Sabre.” (Source: ASD Network/MoD Australia)
16 Jul 21. US to debut Patriot missiles at TS21. The Raytheon-built surface-to-air missiles will be deployed for interopability exercises between Australia and the US for the first time.
A pair of MIM-104 Patriot missiles have been loaded for transport to a launcher at Shoalwater Bay Training Area for Exercise Talisman Sabre 21 (TS21), marking the first time the missiles will be fired in the southern hemisphere.
The units have been stored at an ammunition point commanded by Captain Barend Nieuwoudt, of the 10th Force Support Battalion.
“There were a lot of checks and balances done to get these weapons and a lot of research to get the technical data we require,” CAPT Nieuwoudt said.
The system was first developed in the 1980s, designed to respond to aircraft threats and provide cover for NATO forces during the Cold War.
The Patriot missiles were later enhanced to intercept ballistic missiles, and have since been deployed in a number of operations in the Middle East.
The US Army operates three different variants of the system, with the PAC-2 Patriot missiles to be deployed during TS21.
“Metal balls inside the missile shoot out and impact the warhead that’s coming in,” Staff Sergeant Brendon Street said.
The missiles are expected to track target drones more than 20 kilometres away at speeds of up to Mach 4.
M777 Howitzers and the US High Mobility Artillery Rocket System vehicle-based rocket artillery will also be deployed during the exercise, along with the advanced field artillery tactical data system, which will coordinate fires between Australia and US artillery, also for the first time.
F/A-18s and naval gunfire from Australian, Japanese and American ships will also be deployed.
Exercise Talisman Sabre is the largest bilateral combined training activity between the ADF and US military, involving approximately 17,000 personnel.
TS21 is expected to involve a field training exercise incorporating force preparation (logistic) activities, amphibious landings, ground force manoeuvre, urban operations, air combat and maritime operations.
Other nations joining the exercise include the UK, Canada and New Zealand, and observer nations France and India.
Most of the international forces will take part exclusively offshore, with 5,000 personnel participating as part of a United States Navy Expeditionary Strike Group. Defence bases and a range of training areas across central and northeast Queensland will host the exercises. TS21 will run over the coming weeks, wrapping up on 31 July. (Source: Defence Connect)
16 Jul 21. US deploys B-52 bombers to Indo-Pacific region for BTF missions. BTF missions showcase the strategic credibility and tactical flexibility of US forces across the globe.
The US has deployed US Air Force (USAF) B-52 bombers to the Indo-Pacific region to support Pacific Air Forces’ Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions.
The deployment includes a group of US Air Force (USAF) 5th Bomb Wing (BW) B-52 Stratofortress aircraft, airmen and support equipment at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
In a statement, USAF’s Air Force Global Strike Command said that BTF missions demonstrate the commitment of the US to allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region while proving USAF Global Strike Command’s capabilities.
These missions also provide opportunities to improve combat readiness by providing necessary training to respond to any global potential challenges.
Additionally, BTF missions showcase the strategic credibility and tactical flexibility of US troops worldwide.
The latest deployment will also support training efforts with allies and partners during exercise Talisman Sabre 2021, a bilateral exercise with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) which is held every two years in Australia.
This exercise, which started on 14 July and runs until 31 July, is designed to enhance interoperability with US allies and partners. It also strengthens the joint ability to support a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The USAF press statement noted: “In line with the National Defense Strategy’s objective of being strategically predictable and operationally unpredictable, the BTF empowers various strategic bomber platforms to operate anytime, anywhere.”
In March, three USAF 509th Bomb Wing (BW) B-2 Spirit aircraft arrived at Lajes Field in Portugal for BTF missions. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
19 Jul 21. Russia starts aerial refuelling exercise in Eastern Siberia. The exercise will involve around 30 MiG-31BM, Su-34, Su-24MR aircraft and an Il-78 tanker. The Russian Ministry of Defence has announced that a major aerial refuelling exercise involving different military aircraft has commenced in eastern Siberia. The exercise includes around 30 MiG-31BM interceptor fighters, Su-34 fighter-bombers and Su-24MR reconnaissance aircraft of the aviation division of the Central Military District and an Il-78 refuelling tanker.
More than 300 military personnel from the flight, engineering and technical personnel, flight control and support groups will be involved in the aerial refuelling drill.
The fighter aviation regiment’s MiG-31BM fighter-interceptors pilots have already started refuelling in the air as part of the drill.
The tactical flight exercise will continue until the end of this week. It will also include flight training at an altitude of up to 8,000m.
In another development, Russia is reportedly planning to unveil a new fighter jet at a Moscow air show, which opens this week.
According to an Associated Press report, a new aircraft hidden under a tarpaulin was seen to be moved to a parking spot across an airfield in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow.
Local reports indicate that the new fighter jet is developed by the Sukhoi aircraft maker under a light tactical fighter development programme.
It features one engine and is smaller compared to the latest Su-57 two-engine stealth fighter. Other details or specifications are not readily available. Earlier this year, Russian state-run corporation Rostec announced that the fifth-generation Su-57 multirole fighter jet’s cockpit received maximum automation. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
21 Jul 21. RAF Typhoons completes tactical refuelling exercise in Norway. RAF Typhoon jets from RAF Lossiemouth flew to Bodø Main Air Station in Norway for refuelling. Typhoons being refuelled from the ground. Credit: Royal Air Force. RAF Typhoon fighter jets have completed a proof of concept exercise in Norway that involved testing refuelling capabilities from the ground. During the exercise, RAF Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth flew to Bodø Main Air Station in Norway. The fighter jets were supported by a RAF A400M and Voyager transport aircraft, from RAF Brize Norton.
The ground refuelling capability at a foreign location will help the Typhoons to conduct air operations at short notice and away from its main operating base in Scotland.
This capability will further enhance interoperability and enable the RAF to work with Nato allies from multiple dispersed locations.
Norwegian Defence Attaché UK colonel John Olsen said: “This bilateral training improves the speed at which highly capable airforces, across the Nato partnership, can deliver decisive air power from several dispersed locations. Therefore, enforcing a more agile, and integrated, approach with our allies.
“The joint training conducted by both the Royal Norwegian Air Force and the RAF strengthens the effectiveness of Nato air power.”
After refuelling, the RAF Typhoons participated in a joint training exercise over the Norwegian Sea with two Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16 fighters.
Air Vice-Marshal Ian Duguid, who is in command of No 11 Group RAF, said: “This was an excellent opportunity for the RAF to operate alongside one of our Nato partners.
“This integrated activity demonstrated our ability to deploy, integrate and recover our assets in an agile, short notice manner. This small footprint strengthens the flexible employment of air power across the Nato partnership.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
16 Jul 21. Collins Aerospace and RNLAF establish F-35 pilot readiness centre. The centre will help RNLAF and its international customers improve fleet and pilot readiness. The centre will be used to provide helmet fitting, calibration, centrifuge, flight simulators and altitude chamber training. Credit: © 2021 Collins Aerospace.
Collins Aerospace and the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) have established an F-35 pilot readiness centre in the Netherlands.
RNLAF’s Center for Man in Aviation in Soesterberg is the first of its kind outside the US.
The dedicated in-region facility will be used to provide helmet fitting, calibration, centrifuge, flight simulators and altitude chamber training. This will help RNLAF and its international customers maintain and improve fleet and pilot readiness.
Collins Aerospace Avionics service and support vice-president and general manager Lisa Steffen said: “As F-35 fleets continue to grow across the globe, in-region support to assure mission readiness is an absolute necessity.
“Helmet fitting coupled with extensive training provides a unique opportunity to gain insight into physiological dynamics that will drive innovation and ultimately will bring benefits for the entire F-35 community.”
The centre will now support the RNLAF’s ten F-35s that are in active service. It is expected to reach initial operating capability later this year.
RNLAF commander lieutenant general JD Luyt said: “The Royal Netherlands Air Force has a long history of providing pilot training excellence for airforces around the world.
“The F-35 pilot readiness centre is a natural evolution of our state-of-the-art facilities in the Netherlands, ready to support the fifth-generation warfighter for its recurring training, helmet fitting and calibration needs.”
A unit of Raytheon Technologies, Collins Aerospace Systems focuses on providing technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defence industry.
In 2019, the company signed an agreement to support RNLAF’s F-35 and CH-47F aircraft fleet. The establishment of the F-35 global pilot readiness centre was part of the agreement. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
19 Jul 21. UK Carrier Strike Group to exercise with Indo-Pacific partners. The Strike Group will undertake a series of exercises with forces from the US, Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand and Korea in the Philippine Sea in August.
On a visit to US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) in Hawaii, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace met with the Commander Admiral John C Aquilino and announced that the UK Carrier Strike Group will undertake a series of multinational exercises with global allies in the Philippine Sea this August.
Operating alongside Naval and Air Forces from the United States, Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea, the UK Carrier Strike Group will undertake a number of integration exercises designed to build interoperability between like-minded international partners in this globally significant region of the world. The HMS Queen Elizabeth led Strike Group will operate with a US Carrier Strike Group, which combined, will be the largest concentration of F-35 jets anywhere in the world.
Complex exercises like these will enable 617 Squadron to develop F-35 Lightning interoperability with partner nations, building a core of valuable Royal Air Force and Royal Navy experience in operating this cutting-edge technology. These air exercises will build upon the capability development that 617 Squadron achieved through the combat missions mounted from the Carrier in the East Mediterranean, during a dedicated period in support of Operation Shader, the UK mission to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
The Carrier Strike Group will also undertake Anti-Submarine exercises with US Pacific Fleet with allied submarines, helicopters and P8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
Overall these events represent a crucial milestone in the regeneration of the UK Carrier Strike capability that will contribute to collective defence and security for decades to come. Carrier Strike Group 21 embodies the Prime Minister’s vision for the UK as an outward facing, modern and responsible international actor who also takes its global defence and security responsibilities seriously and invests in them accordingly.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “As we witness a tilt in power towards the Indo-Pacific region, we are committed to working with our partners here to defend democratic values, tackle shared threats and keep our nations safe. The involvement of the UK’s fifth generation Carrier Strike Group in this significant series of exercises right across the Indo-Pacific region highlights the renewed importance we place on the UK’s long-standing defence and security relationships with our valued partners and allies in the region.”
As announced in the Integrated Review of Defence, Security and Foreign Policy earlier in the year, the UK is committed to a more persistent presence in the Indo-Pacific.
First Sea Lord Tony Radakin said, “2021 marks the UK’s return to Carrier Strike with the first operational deployment of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the world’s first carrier designed around fifth generation aircraft. She is deployed with UK and US F35-B jets, accompanied by Royal Navy, US Navy and Royal Netherlands Navy ships as they travel 26,000 nautical miles to the Indo-Pacific. The Integrated Review and the uplift to the Defence budget provided by the Government enables us to have two aircraft carriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales. This provides us with the platform and ability to operate globally, supporting and working with our partners and friends.”
Following on from the strike group’s inaugural deployment, the UK will permanently assign two Offshore Patrol Vessels to the region from later this year as well as contributing a Littoral Response Group (LRG) in the coming years. HMS Spey and HMS Tamar will deploy to the Indo-Pacific at the end of August 2021 and will be supported by partners during their operations, including Australia, Japan and Singapore. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
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