11 Nov 21. USS Essex and HMS Queen Elizabeth conduct interoperability training. The operations showcased the strategic advantage of the UK’s carrier strike group and F-35Bs integration. The US Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) and British Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth have conducted bilateral interoperability training. Carried out in the Gulf of Oman, the training also saw the participation of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211. VMFA 211 cross-decked F-35B Lightning IIs from HMS Queen Elizabeth to USS Essex on 8 November. The training showcased the strategic advantage of the UK’s carrier strike group (CSG) and F-35Bs integration. VMFA-211’s F-35B standard take-off and vertical landing (SVOTL) capabilities enable the squadron to support distributed maritime operations.
Amphibious Squadron One (CPR 1) commodore captain DeWayne Sanders said: “We are privileged to have had this opportunity to train alongside a longstanding Nato ally in the Middle East. Our integrated aircraft training with HMS Queen Elizabeth has helped demonstrate our efficacy in the region and our commitment to maritime security and stability world-wide.”
Simultaneously, cross-deck landings on HMS Queen Elizabeth were conducted by UH-1Y Venoms and MV-22B Ospreys, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 165 (Reinforced), 11th MEU.
UK CSG commander commodore Steve Moorhouse said: “The force development work we have been undertaking with the US Navy has been ground-breaking. We are all comfortable with helicopters lilly-padding from one deck to another but doing it with fixed-wing aircraft is a whole new game. This level of interoperability goes far beyond anything we have exercised before with any partner and offers a degree of flexibility and agility that commanders have long dreamt of.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
09 Nov 21. USAF B-1B bombers link up with RAAF in Top End. The heavy bombers have engaged in interoperability exercises with the Royal Australian Air Force in the Northern Territory. Two US Air Force (USAF) B-1B Lancer bombers recently arrived in the Top End following a 6,000-kilometre journey from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The strategic bombers joined Royal Australian Air Force crews for emergency diversion familiarisation training at RAAF Base Darwin. The B-1B aircraft linked up with P-8A Poseidon and KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft, rendezvousing with crew from Number 33 Squadron over the Timor Sea. Crews from the KC-30A aircraft leveraged their Advanced Refuelling Boom System to ‘plug in’ with the B-1B’s nose-mounted fuel receptacle at an altitude of 30,000 feet.The air-to-air refuelling exercise, helping to maintain the B-1B bomber’s global reach capability. The training forms part of a broader effort to bolster interop ability between Australian and US forces, building on the renewed AUSMIN 2021 commitment. The exercises coincided with the 10-year anniversary of the first US Force Posture Initiatives (USFPI) in Australia, including the Marine Rotational Force Darwin (MRF-D) and Enhanced Air Cooperation, and 70 years of the ANZUS Treaty.
Air Commodore Stephen Chappell, Director General Air and Space Operations Centre, said crews rehearsed multiple combat mission profiles.
“This mission provided RAAF and USAF aviators with an important opportunity to demonstrate their professional mastery, and exercise their interoperability in challenging and realistic conditions,” AIRCDRE Chappell said. “It also gave personnel assigned to RAAF and PACAF Air Operations Centres (AOCs) an opportunity to enhance our interoperability to co-ordinate, plan, and oversee the execution of these missions from headquarters over 8,000 kilometres apart.”
The B-1B Lancer — nicknamed ‘the Bone’ —is a long-range bomber, capable of carrying a conventional payload of up to 34 tonnes of guided and unguided ordnance.
RAAF personnel trained with USAF B-1B crews during the 2020 Regional Presence Deployment to Guam, and as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation program in Australia since 2017.
“While we have conducted similar long-range training activities together in the past, this activity differed in the multiple interoperable mission sets being rehearsed,” AIRCDRE Chappell added. “The allied crews executed important training and air-air refuelling mission sets over several hours and many thousands of square kilometres.” (Source: Defence Connect)
09 Nov 21. US NYNG’s 27th IBCT trains on new squad designated marksman rifle. Manufactured by Heckler & Koch Defense, the weapon closes the gap between the rifleman and a sniper. New York Army National Guard (NYNG) soldiers assigned to the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) have trained on the US Army’s new M110 A1 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (SDMR). The new rifle has been designed to close the gap between the rifleman and the highly trained sniper, according to NYNG major Avery Schneider. A total of 30 IBCT soldiers from New York and Massachusetts participated in a two-day new equipment training. The event provided an opportunity for the participants to learn how to operate and maintain the new rifle while honing their combat skills. Soldiers also spent a day on the sniper range at New York’s Fort Drum, a US Army military reservation, and a census-designated place (CDP). Skills learned were put into practice against paper and steel targets. Developed by Heckler & Koch Defense, the 7.62mm SDMR rifle is fitted with a Sig Sauer Tango6 optic, as well as a special buttstock and suppressor. US Army Tank Automotive Armaments Command training specialist and new equipment training lead instructor David Beesley said: “[The SDMR] was developed to fill the gap between the rifleman and a sniper.
“The rifleman shoots out to 300m effectively. We needed something to get between that three and 600m gap so that we don’t necessarily have to rely on a sniper for those long shots.”
The US Army noted that the weapon has been fielded in the active-duty army for a few years. It has been deployed with only a few of the US states and territory National Guard commands. Competing in the Red Bull Air Race is not for the faint of heart. The elite group of pilots must maneuver a treacherous course of inflatable pylons just feet above the ground in the fastest time possible, reaching speeds of up to 400 knots and enduring forces of 10G. This stomach-turning display of high-speed, low-altitude flying requires skill, precision and a pilot who is brave – or crazy – enough to take part. For Mike Goulian, a champion aerobatic aviator who competed in the Red Bull Air Race World Series as part of Team 99, success comes with channeling these heightened senses. (Source: army-technology.com)
08 Nov 21. Airbus unveils jet trainer with eyes on Spain. By the end of this decade, the Spanish Air Force will replace its half-century-old fighter trainers with data-centric aircraft to train its pilots to fly fifth- and sixth-generation jets. And even though a contract isn’t yet on the horizon, Airbus is ready to start building. The aerospace company’s Spanish subsidiary presented its Advanced Fighter Jet Trainer concept last week during the biennial FEINDEF conference in Madrid, Spain. If selected, the AFJT would replace the Spanish Air Force’s Northrop F-5M and CASA C-101 Aviojet aircraft, which prepare airmen to fly EF-18A Hornets and Eurofighter Typhoons. The AFJT is a clean-sheet design based on the Spanish Air Force’s operational requirements, Abel Nin, the company’s program lead, told Defense News on the sidelines of FEINDEF on Friday. Currently, the aircraft is designed to measure about 46 feet from nose to tail, with a nearly 33-foot wingspan. The metal airframe will be damage-tolerant, resistant to corrosion and easy to repair, per Airbus. Nin expects a prototype could fly four years after the program is formally launched. While the Air Force plans to buy at least 20 Eurofighter Typhoons to replace its oldest EF-18As, it may opt to buy more Typhoons or Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to replace its full Hornet fleet.
The AFJT will be capable of training pilots to fly EF-18As, Typhoons, F-35s and the Future Combat Air System’s sixth-generation fighter jet, Nin said.
The proposed integrated trainer system will feature live-virtual-constructive technology, and Indra is partnering with Airbus to develop simulators, Nin said.
While Madrid is Airbus’ main prospective customer, the AFJT could serve other countries. Representatives from the Mexican Air Force attended Friday’s panel discussion at FEINDEF, and company officials previously highlighted France and Finland as possible customers.
“The main purpose here is to initiate the project,” Nin said.
The Spanish Air Force submitted the operational requirements document for a new jet trainer in 2020, said Lt. Col. Jesus Gutierrez Gallego, who works with the service’s program planning division. The service doesn’t recommend a specific vendor, and now it’s up to the Defence Ministry to deliberate and decide whether Airbus will receive the contract, he told Defense News.
“We need it before the current system starts its sundown,” he said.
Air Force officials said the F-5M is expected to begin retiring from service between 2027 and 2030.
Ministry officials at the conference could not say when a decision on the trainer jet contract might be made, nor did they say whether any other companies submitted proposals for the F-5M replacement.
The F-5M has been in service for more than 50 years, said Lt. Col. Miguel Angel Marazuela Martinez, chief of the service’s 23rd Instruction and Attack Wing at Talavera la Real Air Base.
“The [training] system that we have currently is quite solid, and it’s been evolving for many, many years, but we have to help it out,” he said during the panel. “And we are going to do it with this new plane.”
The service is also investing in advanced technologies, including biometrics, artificial intelligence and data fusion, to more accurately train its pilots, Marazuela Martinez said.
Helmets equipped with cutting-edge sensors and biometric watches will help instructors define “what is the best learning curve of every single student in a personalized way,” he added. (Source: Defense News)
05 Nov 21. FEINDEF 2021: SCR converts target drone into UAV. Sistemas de Control Remoto (SCR) is to start selling a version of its SCRAB target drone converted into an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system, which it presented at the International Defence and Security Fair (FEINDEF) being held in Madrid on 3–5 November. The company’s managing director, José Antonio Ceballos Peláez, told Janes on 4 November the SCRAB was especially apt for producing a fast flying UAV that can reach speeds of up to 360 km/h, compared with 160 km/h for a normal remote aircraft. “It is a very versatile platform thanks to its modular design,” he said. Research and development work has already been carried out over the past two years on the original SCRAB I, but the transformation process will also be suitable for the larger and later II and III versions, he added. The SCRAB I is powered by a turboprop that SCR says gives it a speed and ceiling that cannot be achieved with traditional internal combustion engines, with its low weight making it easily deployable along with its components. The idea is to adapt it for monitoring work, with the modular design making the nose easily adaptable for mounting a camera, said Ceballos. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Nov 21. Indra revolutionises military training with its new Virtual Reality-based Víctrix simulator, exhibited at the FEINDEF 2021 expo in Madrid. Indra, one of the leading global technology and consulting companies, is raising military training to the next level with the new version of the Víctrix simulator, immersing soldiers in a virtual urban environment in which they can prepare their missions with a huge degree of detail and accuracy until they achieve perfect execution. Six soldiers put on their virtual reality goggles in the simulation room. They immediately move with their own real weapon to an urban tactical scenario, which replicates the mission they are preparing for. They’re connected to their colleagues at another base hundreds of miles away. The Víctrix system allows them to share a virtual scenario and train together. Both groups advance through different streets until they meet at the agreed point to advance together, and they are able to interact with each other. Indra’s spokesman explained that “the number of rooms that can join the exercise is practically unlimited, eliminating any geographical barriers preventing the training”. The new Víctrix VR combines the use of 3D rendering and optical positioning technologies that can locate and track objects with millimetre precision and low latency. Each soldier wears sensors on his body so that the simulator detects his position and replicates virtually all his movements. “They can move forward, duck, take cover from snipers or signal to their comrades,” the company explains. The solution allows the operation to be repeated as many times as necessary until perfect coordination is achieved. The participating units can analyse the risks they face, study different tactics and anticipate the adversary’s potential response. “The system is the closest thing to real training, achieving a degree of realism similar to a laser duel but with the benefits of being able to introduce all kinds of synthetic elements, such as tanks and helicopters, and configuring other parameters, such as the city in which the action takes place, the number of adversaries, the means at their disposal, the degree of resistance they offer, the time of day, the visibility and so on”, the spokesman pointed out.
This is next-generation training. Designed to train soldiers facing increasingly complex missions involving hybrid warfare techniques that make it very difficult to differentiate the enemy from the civilian population. In many cases, it’s also an advanced adversary that makes use of the latest technologies having received extensive training. The new Víctrix VR measures the performance of each soldier. The instructors can review each movement to remedy any errors. The zenithal view provides them with complete understanding of the position of the whole group so as to improve its coordination. As the soldiers complete the exercises, their progress is noted. “Preparing the soldiers of the future requires measuring their skills on an ongoing basis. No factor can be left to chance”, the spokesman stressed.
The new Víctrix constitutes a huge technological leap compared to the first version, from projecting the scenario onto a screen to generating a virtual scenario in which the soldiers can move around freely. The initial version of the Víctrix is currently installed at more than 40 military bases belonging to the Spanish Armed Forces. This experience has now enabled Indra to develop a much more advanced solution, one that’s been created with a technological maturity far superior to that of any other system in existence on the market. The Víctrix system also facilitates training adapted to each phase of instruction, taking the soldier from training in the handling of the weapon to preparation for the most demanding tactical operations. (Source: www.joint-forcescom)
05 Nov 21. RAN, US Navy conclude mine warfare training. Australia and the US have wrapped up an interoperability exercise off the coast of Western Australia. Royal Australian Navy HMA Ships Gascoyne and Yarra — joined by Australian Clearance Diving Teams One and Four, the Maritime Geospatial Unit and specialist mine warfare personnel — have teamed up with the US Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Five as part of Exercise Dugong 2021. Over the past three weeks, the mine warfare units trained in a simulated scenario, tasked with keeping the Port of Fremantle and Indian Ocean accesses open in the event of a hostile action against Australia. Personnel tested their interoperability, integrating emerging and legacy mine warfare systems, technologies and practices.
Assistant Minister for Defence Andrew Hastie noted the value of Exercise Dugong, particularly in the current geostrategic environment.
“We live in a region that is at the centre of great power competition, our Indian Ocean approaches are vital sea lanes, and we must be ready to meet our changing strategic circumstances,” he said.
“Navy’s mine warfare and countermeasure practices are evolving to meet both current and emerging threats.
“As new weapons and technologies advance, the Royal Australian Navy is working with Industry and coalition partners to test new systems in autonomous and artificial intelligence realms.”
Hastie stressed the importance of preserving freedom of movement through sea lanes and ports in fostering prosperity and security.
“Keeping Australia’s maritime environment safe in a dynamic strategic environment is critical,” he added.
The exercises were conducted in accordance with COVID-19 protocols, with personnel subject to all WA state government public health requirements. (Source: Defence Connect)
02 Nov 21. US Navy Conducts Annual Live Fire Missile Exercise in Arabian Gulf. U.S. Navy patrol coastal ships conducted a live-fire exercise with the MK-60 Griffin guided-missile system in the Arabian Gulf, Nov. 4-6, to test crew proficiency and system functionality. U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) conducted a previous Griffin guided-missile system live fire exercise in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in December 2019. The system was installed on all forward-deployed patrol coastal ships in 2013. Exercise participants included patrol coastal ships USS Firebolt (PC 10), USS Thunderbolt (PC 12), USS Tempest (PC 2), USS Chinook (PC 9), USS Hurricane (PC 3), USS Whirlwind (PC 11), expeditionary mobile base platform ship USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) and guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 115). Some ships also conducted live fire exercises with crew-served weapons to maintain operator proficiency and readiness for future missions. The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 m square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The region also includes 21 countries and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen. (Source: ASD Network/USN)
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InVeris Training Solutions combines an agile approach with an unmatched expertise in training technology to design and deliver customized, cutting-edge, first-rate training solutions that keep military, law enforcement and commercial range customers safe, prepared and ready to serve – Because Seconds Matter™. With a portfolio of technology-enabled training solutions, and a team of 400 employees driven to innovate, InVeris Training Solutions is the global leader in integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training solutions. With its legacy companies, FATS® and Caswell, InVeris Training Solutions has fielded over 15,500 live-fire ranges and 7,500 virtual systems globally during its 95-year history. The Company is headquartered in Suwanee, Georgia and partners with clients in the US and around the world from facilities on five continents.