19 Jan 22. Top Aces completes first flight of its F-16 Advanced Aggressor Fighter. Top Aces Corp., a leading provider of advanced adversary training, today announced the successful initial test flight of its F-16 Advanced Aggressor Fighter (F-16 AAF) equipped with its proprietary Advanced Aggressor Mission System (AAMS). This sophisticated technology enables Top Aces’ aircraft to replicate the most advanced capabilities of contemporary air-to-air combat opponents. With the completion of the first test flight, the F-16 AAF will now execute a series of robust operational test activities in preparation for its entry into service with the United States Air Force.
Powered by an open system architecture, AAMS permits the rapid integration of sensors and functions that a customer wishes to use to improve their air combat readiness. For example, today the system is fielded with:
- Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) air-to-air radar;
- Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (HMCS);
- Tactical datalink communications between aircraft and other entities;
- Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems;
- High Fidelity Weapon Simulation allowing accurate replication of adversary tactics;
- Advanced Electronic Attack pod employment and passive RF detection capabilities; and
- An array of tactical functions coordinating the above systems to provide a spectrum of realistic adversary effects.
The AAMS represents four years of research and development work by Top Aces engineers and technology partner Coherent Technical Services, Inc. (CTSi) of Lexington Park, MD. Last year, the AAMS was certified for use on Top Aces’ fleet of A-4N Skyhawks and is currently in service with the German Armed Forces and other European customers for advanced airborne training. Now this same federated mission system has been installed on Top Aces’ F-16A aircraft by M7 Aerospace of San Antonio, TX, an Elbit Systems of America company experienced in aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO).
Top Aces plans to upgrade the majority of its F-16 fleet with the ground-breaking AAMS technology within the next year.
“When you combine the power and avionics of the F-16 with the AAMS, it provides the most realistic and cost-effective training solution available to pilots flying fifth-generation fighters, such as the F-22 or F-35”, says Russ Quinn, President, Top Aces Corp., a 26-year USAF veteran and former Aggressor pilot with more than 3,300 F-16 flight hours.
“Due to the plug-and-play nature of our AAMS, it also allows for the addition of new and emerging sensors well into the future, which provides the flexibility to upgrade our F-16s and meet the needs of the Air Force for years to come,” adds Mr. Quinn.
About Top Aces
Top Aces provides advanced adversary (“red air”) and joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) training to the world’s leading air forces. It has the largest fleet of commercially operated fighter aircraft in active service and is the first company in the world to acquire the supersonic F-16. Top Aces’ mission-critical training enhances the operational readiness of combat forces by providing real-world experience, while creating significant cost efficiencies and extending the lifecycle of military fleets. (Source: PR Newswire)
20 Jan 22. Deakin University to develop naval firefighting training system for ADF. The Australian Government has contracted Deakin University to continue with the development of a training system for naval firefighting . The contract value stands at $3.71m (A$5.13m).
Australian Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said: “Deakin University’s new system will provide the ADF with a more diverse and realistic range of naval firefighting and training options that could significantly improve learning outcomes and safety.
“This investment highlights the innovative research and development that Australia’s sovereign industry is capable of producing and exporting.”
This immersive naval firefighting training capability for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will be designed by integrating augmented reality and virtual reality with artificial intelligence.
The effort will see Deakin’s researchers work in collaboration with technology firms Kellogg, Brown & Root and Flaim.
18 Jan 22. Anadrone Systems to deliver aerial targets for Indian Army. The first contract under the Make II category is a major step towards the AtmaNirbhar initiative. The Indian Army has signed a contract, worth $12.88m (Rs960m), with Anadrone Systems for the manoeuvrable expendable aerial target (MEAT). The contract to procure the aerial target systems is the first to be signed by the army under the Make-II category. It also represents a significant step towards the ‘AtmaNirbhar’ initiative, which is aimed at making India a self-reliant nation. The industry funded projects that fall under the ‘Make-II’ category include prototype development of equipment and their upgrades and sub-systems. The government does not provide funding for prototype development under this category.
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Defence Production India tweeted: “A significant step towards Atmanirbhar Defence. The first success story of Make-II Projects Indian Army has signed the first contract today under Make-II for Manoeuvrable Expendable Aerial Target with M/s Anadrone Systems Pvt Ltd worth Rs96 Cr, for Army Air Defence and Indian Air Force.”
The Indian Army sanctioned the prototype development of MEAT in 2018.
On 13 July 2020, the Indian Directorate General of Army Air Defence issued a request to buy 125 aerial targets.
The Indian Army Air Defence operates a variety of missiles for different ranges and gun systems. The aerial target systems will provide realistic training to the crews in operating the weapon platforms during the annual field firing exercises. Anadrone Systems manufactures aerial target systems in partnership with UK defence firm QinetiQ Target Systems.
Last year, the Indian Army opened its new Quantum Laboratory in Madhya Pradesh. (Source: army-technology.com)
20 Jan 22. Iran to host joint naval exercises with Russia, China. Russian Navy ships are visiting Iran to prepare joint maritime exercises between the two countries and China. Russia’s Pacific Fleet on Tuesday said a missile cruiser, anti-submarine warfare ship and a tanker anchored offshore at the port of Chabahar in southeastern Iran. The ships departed Vladivostok last month. The exercises follow previous naval exercises between Russia and Iran last February. The two countries have at least twice held joint naval drills with China in Middle Eastern waters in recent years.
Preparations for the latest maneuvers came as Iran’s President Ibrahim Raisi called for “permanent and strategic” cooperation with the Kremlin to counter the United States’ influence during a meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday.
The US has spearheaded a regional effort to isolate Tehran and its proxies in the region following Washington’s abrupt withdrawal from the landmark 2015 multinational agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear capabilities in 2018.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday said “some progress” is being made in negotiations in Vienna over reviving the deal, but so far his administration has struggled to fulfill its promise to do so.
The US has faced hard bargaining from Tehran over sanctions relief and demands that future American administrations don’t abandon the pact.
Likewise, US economic and diplomatic pressure on Moscow dramatically increased in 2014 following Russia’s incursion into Ukraine and annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
Meanwhile, senior policymakers in Washington are attempting to redirect their focus to China, which may be poised to overtake the US in global economic power in the coming decades.
Putin is also expected to meet China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing next month during the Winter Olympics. Beijing and Moscow held joint naval drills in the Pacific in October, as well as groundbreaking land-based exercises in northwest China amid the US withdrawal from Afghanistan a month prior.
The latest joint naval exercise comes amid searing tensions between Russia and NATO over a massive buildup of Russian military forces on Ukraine’s border.
The United States has not signaled it will send forces to defend Ukraine, but the Biden administration has said it will enact unprecedented economic sanctions on Russia if it invades.
President Biden on Wednesday told reporters he expects Russia will launch some sort of incursion on Ukraine, if not a full invasion. (Source: News Now/https://www.al-monitor.com/)
18 Jan 22. AIM Defence selected by Next Generation Technologies Fund to progress ‘hybrid-twin’ virtual test environment. High-power laser developer AIM Defence has been selected to partner with the Defence Science & Technology Group (DSTG) for 16-months to progress AIM’s ‘hybrid-twin’ virtual testing arena, designed to improve the tracking accuracy and precision of AIM’s drone destroying lasers. AIM was selected to partner with DSTG as part of the Industry Competitive Evaluation Research Agreement (ICERA) funded via the Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF), with 21 other companies also successful in the evaluation process.
The testing will occur over 16 months, with the novel hybrid-twin capability expected to enable the testing of autonomous platforms at a lower price of traditional outdoor test procedures. AIM notes that this method utilises physical testing in symbiosis with digital augmentation within the test environment.
“The funding provided under the ICERA program to extend AIM’s in-house technology is a validation of the work the team has been doing to build better testing environments for safer, faster iteration of both software and hardware in the defence sector,” Jessica Glenn, co-founder of AIM Defence, said.
Already the testing site has already been utilised to expedite concept testing and iteration cycles of the site’s high-precision laser tracking systems.
AIM Defence has confirmed that the site is currently undergoing a retrofit to support the future testing and evaluation of autonomous unmanned vehicles.
“We’re excited to leverage this state-of-the-art digital environment in a new way for Defence and help close the loop in testing what are increasingly complex autonomous platforms,” Jae Daniel, co-founder of AIM Defence, said.
According to AIM Defence, the partnership follows several previous research projects between the company and the DSTG. (Source: Defence Connect)
18 Jan 22. Ex Good Hope is back. Years of inactivity for joint exercises come to an end for the maritime and airborne services of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) at month-end. The eighth iteration of the longstanding joint exercise Good Hope starts on 31 January in the Saldanha area of the Cape West Coast and, according to Lieutenant Sibongile Khuzwayo, will finish on 13 February. The most recent Good Hope exercise was put on hold by the Coronavirus pandemic. According to Khuzwayo, Good Hope is held every two years with South Africa again, as always, the host nation.
“The aim of the exercise is to strengthen the bond of friendship between the SANDF and Germany. It is intended to promote existing military ties between the armed forces of both countries by maintaining and building on previous operational and tactical co-operation between South African and German Armed Forces. It focuses on testing and developing joint and combined doctrine as well as enhancing joint and combined inter-operability,” the SA Navy (SAN) Lieutenant reported.
The 2019/20 edition of Good Hope was scheduled for February/March 2020 with then Director: Corporate Communication of the SANDF, Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, telling defenceWeb some months ahead of the planned exercise there was “constant liaison” between senior officers in both the German and South African defence forces. Ultimately, the joint exercise did not happen. Ex Good Hope in 2015 had as an over-arching aim to achieve and maintain levels of readiness required for the respective navies to be able to fulfil allotted and allocated maritime tasks. Previous exercises Good Hope started with harbour training, in all probability to be conducted at Saldanha this time around, followed by specific serials. These comprised force integration and combat enhancement training including helicopter cross deck operations, officer of the watch training, gunnery exercises and anti-submarine exercises as well as a multi-threat exercise. No details of SAN or Deutsche Marine platforms, equipment and personnel earmarked for Good Hope 2022 were available at the time of publishing. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
18 Jan 22. The Air Force of the Ivory Coast acquires an ALSIM ALX simulator. ALSIM is pleased to announce the sale of an ALX to AFRICAT Group, based in the Ivory Coast. The ALSIM ALX provides up to 4 classes of aircraft–from single engine piston, twin engine piston, twin turbine up to medium category twin jet. The device is designed and approved for ATPL, CPL, MCC in compliance with all current regulatory standards. The ALX offers advanced technology simulation equipment tailored to all specific training requirements. In addition, it has a proven track record for cost-effectiveness and helps save numerous aircraft hours.
Alexandre Haloin, Chief Executive Officer of AFRICAT Group, explains: “We have chosen ALSIM as ALSIM is a major player in developing and manufacturing flight simulators. Besides, the ALSIM ALX simulator has multiple configurations (represents several, different types of aircraft) and it meets all our strategic needs.”
On Friday 10 December 2021, the Ivory Coast inaugurated the first simulator in West Africa in a military environment.
The simulator will be used in a military setting for the pilots and future pilots of the Air Force, it will be a major training tool for flight and operation of aircrafts. The objective for The Air Force of the Ivory Coast will be to gain autonomy in the trainings and specifically, in training armed personnel.
Ms. Anna LEZORAY, ALSIM’s Sales Account Manager, commented: “We believe that the ALX with its flexibility, and reliability is the right tool to keep raising the quality of the training through efficiency and safety. We are extremely happy and proud to welcome AFRICAT and The Air Force of the Ivory Coast among our customers and would like to thank them for their confidence.”
17 Jan 22. Carl Vinson CSG and ESX ARG conclude joint ESF training operations. It is part of routine interoperability training operations in the Indo-Pacific region. The US Navy’s Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG) and Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ESX ARG) have concluded joint expeditionary strike force (ESF) training operations.
Conducted in the South China Sea, the operations included integrated maritime strike missions, maritime interdiction operations, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and replenishment-at-sea.
It is part of continuing and routine interoperability training operations in the Indo-Pacific region.
Formation manoeuvring and navigation operations were also included in the training.
These operations are the latest events aimed at enhancing naval readiness and interoperability within the Indo-Pacific region.
Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 commander rear admiral Dan Martin said: “Our ability to quickly and effectively integrate with an amphibious ready group, such as ESX ARG, demonstrates a diverse level of naval lethality that is unlike any other naval force.
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“The long-range strike capability of the Vinson Strike Group combined with the Essex ARG’s potential to deliver a payload of Marines to any maritime region greatly contributes to the US strategic ability to continue defending a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
According to the US Navy, the ESX ARG is the first amphibious group to operate alongside the advanced Air Wing of the Future (CVW 2), which is currently stationed onboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).
The CVW 2 brought capabilities such as the F-35C Lightning II and the CMV-22B Osprey. (Source: naval-technology.com)
14 Jan 22. F-15Es from 335th FS and 4th MSG airmen take part in ACE exercise. The exercise was conducted at Kinston Regional Jetport on 11 January. Four F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 4th Fighter Wing taxi prior to takeoff as a part of a lead wing and ACE exercise from
The US Air Force (USAF) 335th Fighter Squadron’s (FS) eight F-15E Strike Eagles have participated in a lead wing and agile combat employment (ACE) exercise.
The ACE exercise also saw the participation of airmen from the 4th Mission Support Group (MSG) and 4th Maintenance Group attached to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (AFB).
The exercise took place at Kinston Regional Jetport on 11 January.
Air Combat Command (ACC) commander-general Mark Kelly said: “Lead wings are essentially an aggregation of capabilities across our Air Force in a construct that can lead and go into any location on the globe – arriving as a previously trained and certified team and then fighting as a previously certified team.”
According to the USAF, the 4th Fighter Wing (FW) is designated as a lead wing and creates deployed teams comprising a different range of Air Force operational capabilities.
These teams include a wing headquarters command and control force element, and one or more mission generation force elements. An air base squadron force element is also included.
Seymour Johnson AFB also exercised ACE elements, besides exercising the lead wing structure.
The ACE elements enable 4th FW units to forward deploy as teams into several non-traditionally used locations.
4th FW commander colonel Kurt Helphinstine said: “The ability for the 4th FW to operate from different locations with varying levels of capacity and support ensures airmen and aircrews are postured to respond across the spectrum of military operations.
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“Exercising ACE ensures our aircraft and airmen are ready to protect and defend the United States when called upon.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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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.