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19 Mar 19. UK cancels ASDOT aggressor programme. The UK has cancelled its effort to provide air combat training for its pilots using private contractors, with a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson telling Jane’s that it is re-examining its options.
The decision to cancel the Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) project, which was first reported by the Telegraph and confirmed to Jane’s on 20 March, comes about six months after a contract was due to be awarded and less than 12 months before the programme was set to begin.
“We received a number of industry proposals in response to the Air Support to Defence Operational Training Invitation to Negotiation. We will now re-assess the parameters for the programme,” the MoD told Jane’s.
The ASDOT programme was meant to cover the provision of contractor-owned and operated (COCO) aircraft to meet MoD training requirements for air-to-air combat; air-to-surface combat; Joint Terminal Attack Controller/Forward Air Controller (Airborne); electronic warfare (EW); air traffic control, ground-based air defence, and airspace battle management; and live gunnery. It was a tri-service effort involving the Royal Air Force (RAF), Fleet Air Arm (FAA), and Army Air Corps (AAC).
In terms of industry proposals, the MoD had received submissions from teams led by Babcock Aerospace, Cobham Aviation Services, Leonardo, and Thales UK. An initial 10-year contract valued at about USD1.5bn was expected in September 2018, with the programme set to formally begin in January 2020. Jane’s understands that the effort has been cancelled as all of the bids exceeded the estimates for the programme. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
20 Mar 19. India and Africa begin joint field training exercise AFINDEX-19. The Indian Army has commenced the joint field training exercise with 17 African nations held at Aundh Military Station, Pune. Dubbed as Africa-India Field Training Exercise-2019 (AFINDEX-19), training began with an opening ceremony held on 18 March. It is scheduled to conclude on 27 March. Maratha Light Infantry contingent is representing India for the first edition of this training exercise. The 17 African nations are Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The aim of the AFINDEX-19 exercise is to support the participating nations in planning and conducting humanitarian mine assistance (HMA) and peacekeeping operations (PKO) as described under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
“It has become imperative to share best practices in the fields of humanitarian mine assistance and peacekeeping operations to ensure overall peace in the region.”
During the exercise, participants will focus on team building and tactical level operations in accordance with the UN’s mandated tasks.
They will carry out tasks such as the formation of a new mission, siting of a UN headquarters for PKO, siting of military observer sites during the PKO, civilian protection, the establishment of standing combat deployment, convoy protection, patrolling and aspects related to HMA.
India is one of the major contributors to peacekeeping in Africa and has participated in several UN missions in the continent.
Golden Katar Division general officer commanding major General Sanjeev Sharma was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying: “Our world is facing a serious challenge wherein various belligerent groups are affecting society across nations. Towards this end, it has become imperative to share best practices in the fields of humanitarian mine assistance and peacekeeping operations to ensure overall peace in the region.” (Source: army-technology.com) (See: FEATURES ‘Of ASDOT Programme Postponement’ By Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.
19 Mar 19. Canada extends Iraq, Ukraine military training missions. Canada’s defence and foreign ministers jointly announced on 18 March 2019 the extensions of military training missions in Iraq and Ukraine. Both had been slated to wrap up at the end of March, but security concerns persist. In Iraq, Canada will keep 250 special forces troops advising and training Iraqi security forces, plus several attack helicopters, as part of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State mission until the end of March 2021. The number of troops deployed could ramp up to 850, if needed, and they will also help neighbouring Jordan and Lebanon build their respective security capabilities, said officials.
Complementing those efforts, Canada last November assumed command of a new NATO mission. It has been contributing air power, medical support and help in training Iraqi forces since 2014.
‘We have made significant and lasting progress, but we recognize that more work is needed. Now we must ensure that Daesh can never rebuild and threaten the safety of Iraq,’ Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told a press conference, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
In Ukraine, some 200 Canadian troops will continue to provide arms, military engineering, logistics, military policing, and medical training until the end of March 2022. Since 2015, Canada has so far trained nearly 11,000 Ukrainian soldiers. Canada will also host a third Ukraine reform conference in Toronto on July 2-4.
‘Ukraine can continue to count on Canada’s unwavering support,’ Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said. ‘It’s very important to send a strong message to Ukraine, to the people of Ukraine, and to the international community that the invasion of Crimea and the annexation of Crimea are a grave breach of international law,’ she added. (Source: Shephard)
19 Mar 19. USAF deploys B-52 bomber aircraft to Europe for training. The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft to the US European Command area of operations to take part in theatre integration and flying training. The bomber task force includes airmen and support equipment from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, US. The aircraft will operate out of RAF Fairford, UK.
According to the USAF, the deployment will help ‘exercise RAF Fairford as USAF in Europe’s forward operating location for bombers’. Aircraft and personnel will participate in joint and allied training in the US European Command theatre to enhance bomber interoperability.
In a statement, the USAF said: “Training with joint partners, allied nations and other USAF units contributes to our ready and postured forces and enables us to build enduring and strategic relationships necessary to confront a broad range of global challenges.”
According to the service, the missions are held in different geographic locations to familiarise aircrew with bases and operations in different geographic combatant commands.
According to media sources, the contingent includes up to six B-52 bombers. Meanwhile, reports also suggested that two B-52 bombers were sighted near disputed islands in the South China Sea.
A US Pacific Air Forces spokesperson was quoted by media sources as saying: “Two B-52H Stratofortress bombers took off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and conducted routine training in the vicinity of the South China Sea March 13, 2019 (HST), before returning to base.
“US aircraft regularly operate in the South China Sea in support of allies, partners, and a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The incident marks the second time the US has sent the bomber aircraft to the disputed region this month. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
19 Mar 19. Australia’s SWBTA expansion anticipated to bring $4m into economy. The expansion of Australia’s Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) is anticipated to bring up to $4m into the local economy. The SWBTA project is part of the Australia-Singapore military training initiative (ASMTI), which aims to deliver enhanced training areas in central and north Queensland that will benefit the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Australia Defence Assistant Minister Senator David Fawcett said that the expansion has already started generating economic growth prospects for central Queensland’s local businesses. In 2017, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced plans to expand the SWBTA and appointed Laing O’Rourke as the managing contractor in September.
Expansion plans were designed in consultation with local businesses, representative groups, landholders and the local community.
Under the initiative, Singapore will invest nearly A$2bn ($1.42bn) for the design, development and construction of a military training area through the SWBTA expansion.
Fawcett said: “Defence is committed to providing economic benefits and opportunities for local industry across the life of the ASMTI. The Singapore Government’s investment of around $2bn in purchasing land and developing and enhancing the training areas in central and north Queensland will meet the future needs of the Australian Defence Force and an increased presence of Singapore Armed Forces personnel.”
Construction work will begin by the end of this year and is expected to create a number of new jobs. During the construction phase, an estimated $50m will be spent annually. Once completed, up to 14,000 Singapore Armed Forces personnel will be able to conduct training in central and north Queensland over 18 weeks annually for 25 years. (Source: army-technology.com)
18 Mar 19. German MoD introduces Elettronica’s EW/Radar scenario simulator for naval application. The German Ministry of Defence (MoD) has purchased Elettronica GmbH’s self-contained integrated solution for validating, testing, and calibrating radar and electronic warfare (EW) systems, including operator training. The container-based system forms the basis of a tailored solution to be provided for NATO’s Joint Electronic Warfare Core Staff (JEWCS) upgrade programme. The German MoD is operating Elettronica Group’s radar/EW scenario simulator for naval applications, after having completed acceptance trials in December 2018. Elettronica GmbH was awarded a contract for that system in August 2014, according to a BAAINBw award bulletin.
“The ELT A62’s wide range of operational capabilities is provided though a fully integrated system, where all sensors, signal processing equipment, and the two operator posts are accommodated in an ultra-light composite-made 20 [ft (6 m)] ISO container,” Marcello Mariucci, managing director of Elettronica GmbH, told Jane’s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Mar 19. Norway says it proved Russian GPS interference during NATO exercises. Norway has electronic proof that Russian forces disrupted global positioning system (GPS) signals during recent NATO war games, and has demanded an explanation from its eastern neighbour, the Nordic country’s defence minister said on Monday. Both Finland and Norway said in November that Russia may have intentionally disrupted GPS signals before and during Western military exercises, which also affected the navigation of civilian air traffic in the Arctic. Both Norway and Finland protested to Russia, which dismissed those allegations when they were first made.
“Russia asked (us) to give proof. We gave them the proof,” Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told reporters, adding that this consisted of measurements showing signals had been jammed.
“Russia said ‘thank you, we will come back when our experts review that’. To have such an answer from Russia is a positive thing,” he said.“To be a neighbour of Russia you need to be patient.”
Asked whether Russia could have targeted Norway intentionally, the minister said: “They were exercising very close to the border and they knew this will affect areas on the other side.”
Finland is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation but took part last year as an ally in NATO’s largest exercise in decades, involving forces from 31 countries in an area stretching from the Baltic Sea to Iceland. (Source: Reuters)
18 Mar 19. US Army Starts Manned-Unmanned Training Programme. The US Army launched a manned-unmanned aircraft teaming demonstration programme on 14 March which is intended to help rotorcraft pilots better coordinate with autonomous drones in combat. Called the Advanced Teaming Demonstration Programme (A-Team), manned-unmanned teaming systems that are engineered could be installed on the service’s new Future Vertical Lift aircraft. Those aircraft include the US Army’s proposed new scout rotorcraft, called Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA); a new medium-lift utility rotorcraft, called Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA); and a new drone, called the Advanced Unmanned Aircraft System (AUAS), the service says in an online notice. The US Army also is interested in retrofitting its legacy fleet of helicopters with the manned-unmanned technology.
“The objective of the A-Team programme is to develop and demonstrate advanced teaming of manned and unmanned aviation assets to execute tactical missions with minimal human intervention, while operating as part of a combined arms team in a complex operating environment,” says the US Army. “An equally important objective of the programme is to develop and integrate technologies for advanced teaming using an open systems approach.”
The US Army anticipates programme participants will begin with technologies at varying Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) and mature many of them to TRL 6 or 7 with potential to transition into advanced component development and prototypes. The service defines TRL 7 as a prototype near or at a planned operational state, which has been demonstrated in an operational environment such as an aircraft, vehicle or space. For example, testing the prototype in a test bed aircraft.
The service plans to award funding in June 2019 for manned-unmanned enabling systems which include human machine interfaces, operations management, platform resource capability management and situational awareness management technologies. Proposals are due no later than 29April 2019. The programme is planned to last from FY2019 to FY2023. (Source: UAS VISION/Flight Global)
18 Mar 19. UK to host international military exercise Joint Warrior. The UK will host a major international military exercise named Joint Warrior to improve interoperability among key Nato allies. The two-week exercise will start on 30 March and conclude on 11 April.
A total of 10,300 armed forces personnel from 13 countries are set to take part in Exercise Joint Warrior, including 6,500 personnel at sea, 3,000 operating on land and 800 from helicopters and aircraft. In addition to the UK, other participating nations include Canada, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Spain, and the US. The countries will also deploy 35 warships, five submarines, and 59 aircraft and helicopters to participate in the event, which is closely aligned to Nato training aims. The exercise will enable the British Armed Forces and their allies to conduct joint operations against a range of current and future threats. It will involve different forces and units.
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The UK Military is a partner of choice for its major international allies and a resolute force for peace around the world. The UK will not waver in continuing to work with its allies to protect our mutual interests.
“Led by the UK, Joint Warrior allows key Nato allies to tackle complex warfare scenarios to ensure that the international community stands fit and ready to work to face any threat together.”
Joint Warrior will be controlled and directed from the Maritime Operations Centre at the HM Naval Base Clyde in Scotland.
The personnel and assets will rehearse air, surface, sub-surface, sea control and maritime security roles off the west coast of Scotland.
During the exercise, air units will work in coordination with maritime and land forces to exercise intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), air defence, air mobility, and attack.
The Royal Marines will perform amphibious landings at the Ministry of Defence’s Castlemartin Range in Wales. (Source: naval-technology.com)
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