19 May 22. ADF links up with US Marines, Japanese forces.
Australian troops have teamed up with international counterparts in an effort to further strengthen interoperability.
Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel have commenced a warfighting exercise alongside US Marines and troops from the Japanese Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF) as part of Exercise Southern Jackaroo 2022.
The trilateral training activity, scheduled to wrap up on 27 May, aims to enhance warfighting interoperability to improve combat readiness.
The exercise, which is expected to include infantry live fire and tank integration, involves approximately 400 ADF troops, 190 personnel from the MRF-D, and 70 from the JGSDF.
“Exercise Southern Jackaroo is a great example of how our regional partners integrate with Australian forces to conduct realistic combat team training for combat operations,” Commander of the 7th Brigade, Brigadier Michael Say said.
“Our combined capability to coordinate ground forces demonstrates adaptability and interoperability that can be applied to disaster relief or warfighting operations.”
Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) Commanding Officer, Colonel Christopher Steele. welcomed the opportunity to strengthen relationship with international partners.
“MRF-D is excited to continue the outstanding tradition of Southern Jackaroo alongside our trusted Australian and Japanese allies,” COL Steele said.
“We are looking forward to enhancing our combined interoperability and developing our relationships.”
JGSDF Training Unit Commander Lieutenant Colonel Ryozo Asano also noted the importance of the trilateral training activity.
“Considering the current world situation, the trilateral exercise is very significant, and it is very useful for improving the capability of units and all soldiers,” Lieutenant Colonel Asano said.
Exercise Southern Jackaroo is one of a number of multinational exercises set to take place this year, with up to 2,200 MRF-D personnel expected to conduct combined training with the ADF in 2022.
The MRF-D forms part of the United States Force Posture Initiatives, which also includes Enhanced Air Cooperation between the Royal Australian Air Force and US Air Force.
Earlier this year, preliminary work to construct a new fuel storage facility in Darwin was commissioned, expected to hold up to 300 m litres of fuel to support the transfer, management and storage of military specification jet fuels used by US forces.
A US delegation, led by US Indo-Pacific Command’s Director for Logistics and Engineering, Brigadier General Jered Helwig, also visited bases and facilities in Australia to advance commitments announced following the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2021.
These commitments included the establishment of combined logistics, sustainment, and maintenance enterprise to support high-end warfighting and combined military operations in the region. (Source: Defence Connect)
19 May 22. Nato conducts execution phase NESH 22 of Project Neptune.
NESH22 allows participants to strengthen relationships with allies in the region. The US Navy along with multi-domain forces from other allied and partner nations have commenced Nato’s vigilance activity, Neptune Shield 2022 (NESH 22).
NESH 22 will take place between 17 to 31 May in the Baltic Sea, Adriatic Sea and Mediterranean Sea regions.
Other participating nations include Croatia, Denmark, the UK, Greece, Italy, Albania, Germany, Latvia, France, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey and Bulgaria.
The NESH 22 is the execution phase of Project Neptune which was conceptualised in 2020.
The project is a long series of activities carried out in support of Allied Joint Force Command Naples and Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum.
Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum commander general Jörg Vollmer said: “NESH22 is an excellent opportunity for improving the capacity to coordinate with Allies in continuing vigilance in order to train for Nato multi-domain and joint operations.
“Nato’s commitment to promoting peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic area is clearly expressed by the integration of our forces’ capability to rapidly respond in a time of crisis.”
Vigilance activities are conducted across the Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s Area of Responsibility in all domains.
The normal daily activities ensure strategic awareness and force readiness to maintain peace.
NESH 22 will involve the handover of command and control of the Combined Task Force 61/2 (CTF 61/2) and USS Harry S Truman Carrier Strike Group (CSG).
The US Sixth Fleet CTF 61/2 includes the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). (Source: naval-technology.com)
12 May 22. Major updates coming for Army driver training. After a scathing government watchdog probe into tactical vehicle rollovers, Army leaders are working to overhaul the service’s driver training program, according to the Army’s top safety official. Any changes should roll out in about a year, he told Army Times.
The Government Accountability Office report “really resonated with both the Army and the Marine Corps…it told us what we needed to hear,” said Brig. Gen. Andrew Hilmes in a Monday afternoon interview.
Hilmes commands the Army Combat Readiness Center, which oversees service-wide safety efforts and investigations. He also serves as the service’s top safety officer advising the chief of staff.
One of the GAO’s findings faulted the Army’s decentralized driver training model, saying that local master drivers and company-level license instructors and examiners were not able to consistently implement the training program, which was “vulnerable to competing” with other priorities and frequently condensed.
Those problems were due in part to a lack of “performance criteria and measurable standards” for licensing and training beyond an initial road test designed to certify daytime driving on flat terrain.
In response, Hilmes revealed, a Pentagon planning group has been working to completely overhaul the way the Army trains its drivers. Previously, the service’s only publicly acknowledged change to driver training was to improve program oversight by establishing a centralized course for master drivers and delineating roles and responsibilities for troops involved in executing the training.
“I think you’ll see something in the next year,” said Hilmes, who added that the working group has been developing the new program since last summer.
The reasons for the update go beyond the GAO report, too, explained Hilmes.
“When it comes to driving…tactical vehicles, the goalposts are kind of moving on us a little bit,” the general said. “Right now, one in five soldiers entering the Army doesn’t have a civilian driver’s license…20 years ago, it was 10%.”
What changes may be coming?
Hilmes said the core of the upcoming driver training changes will be “clearly delineated” tasks, conditions and standards that drivers must complete for each vehicle they operate.
There will likely be different sets of standards for different driving environments, too, he said. That will be a major shift in philosophy. The current program certifies troops to simply drive during the day on flat surfaces, and other skills, like nighttime driving, are left to individual units.
“It’s going to be a lot more prescriptive,” Hilmes explained. The forthcoming program will likely include a structured progression model for ground drivers that mirrors those that develop aviators.
Hilmes hinted that the service is leaning towards creating proficiency levels for drivers that would signify a soldier’s experience with a specific vehicle. When someone passes the initial road test for a vehicle, they are a “basic driver” under this concept.
“I think where they’re going is after you accumulate so many hours accident-free, maybe now you are considered an intermediate driver,” he said, suggesting that certain missions may require vehicle drivers to have a certain level of certification. “I think that’s the direction where we’re headed.”
The updates to the program will likely include more defined training scenarios for each vehicle, Hilmes added, though those details won’t be available until the new program is unveiled.
The general also believes that the shift will force units to better track how experienced their drivers are, which will help commanders better pair experienced drivers with inexperienced ones to mitigate risks during training.
“We stink at logging miles for drivers,” Hilmes said. Many accident investigations find that units haven’t properly tracked mileage for their drivers following their initial road tests.
Hilmes also hopes that the updated standards, whatever their final form may be, will force units to be more intentional about how they conduct training.
“We haven’t investigated a tactical vehicle accident [since 2019]…where [the unit] had a to-standard driver’s training program. It is a problem,” he said. “It’s not sexy. But, man, it’s foundational.”
Army master drivers echoed that sentiment in the GAO report, with one telling investigators that “driver’s training is not a high priority for the units, and it’s never an issue until it becomes an issue.”
09 May 22. Elements of the UK’s 16 Air Assault Brigade have deployed alongside US 1st Air Cavalry Brigade on SWIFT RESPONSE 2022 in North Macedonia. The Public Affairs branch of the US 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, has issued images of soldiers assigned to the 16th Air Assault Brigade Combat Team loading onto 1st Air Cavalry Brigade UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters in preparation for an air assault training mission during SWIFT RESPONSE 2022, at the Krivolak Military Training Centre in North Macedonia on May 8th 2022.
SWIFT RESPONSE exercises US Army Europe and Africa’s ability to rapidly deploy beside European multi-national airborne forces with little to no warning across the globe. The purpose is to present combat credible Army forces in Europe and Africa and enhance readiness by building airborne interoperability with Allies and partners and the integration of joint service partnership.
An A-10C Thunderbolt II Warthog aircraft from the 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard also yesterday conducted a fly-over during an air static display for SWIFT RESPONSE 2022 (SR22) at Stenkovec in North Macedonia. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
16 May 22. Allen-Vanguard Consortium delivers Explosive Threat Reduction Training to Somalia National Security Forces.
Allen-Vanguard, a global leader in providing customized solutions for defeating Radio Frequency based terrorist and extremist threats, has delivered Explosive Threat Reduction Team (ETRT) training courses to Somalia security forces personnel. The innovative courses are designed to enhance Somalia’s indigenous capability to detect and destroy Explosive Ordnance (EO) and conduct Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD).
The consortium consisting of Allen-Vanguard (prime contractor), SKA International (logistics) and Artios Global Ltd (training) has delivered two ETRT courses to the Somali National Army and Somali Police Force to create the capacity for them to detect and destroy items of EO and safely mitigate the IEDD threat.
The course design followed international best practice for training and learning, employed a detailed training management plan and met the necessary high-level training objectives to ensure full compliance with United Nations Mine Action Services (UNMAS) IEDD standards; they also aligned with potential future UNMAS IEDD training requirements. The comprehensive training package included detailed theory, individual foundation skills, integrated team training, scenario-based exercises and summative assessments. So far, numerous Somali security force personnel have successfully passed the training, creating sufficient capability to generate multiple ETRTs; each with specialists trained in specific roles for search (detect) and explosive ordnance disposal (destroy) culminating in an operational capability that will be put to great use.
Bobby Strawbridge, Director Business Development said “our consortia are delighted with the outcome of this ground-breaking capability development within the Somali Security Forces. Through a number of channels, we have been working closely with Somalia Security Forces for some time to help detect, protect and defeat the considerable explosive threats they face. We are traditionally known for our world class ECM hardware and software solutions. However, this venture demonstrates Allen-Vanguard’s agility, experience and expertise to create innovative solutions to defeat a wider range of explosive threats, and our ability to successfully partner with other high-quality organisations to meet our customers’ needs.”
The course was exceptionally well received both by the Somali security personnel and the international military personnel overseeing the training. Cam Baldry, the Artios PM leading the delivery summarized the training with “the Somali security forces are fully aware of the security environment they face and were eager to learn and adopt this new capability. They were extremely well motivated and keen to learn. We were impressed at their professionalism and diligence and are confident that they’ll implement these new skills and techniques to great operational effect”.
16 May 22. Royal Australian Navy commences Exercise Autonomous Warrior 2022. The two-week exercise, which will test new technologies, will conclude on 27 May. Around 300 personnel from the UK, Australia and the US have commenced the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)-led maritime exercise, Autonomous Warrior 2022 (AW22).
AW22 will be conducted at RAN’s establishment HMAS Creswell in the waters of Jervis Bay, Australia and in the nearby East Australian exercise area.
The exercise aims to test various robotic, uncrewed and autonomous systems to meet the requirements of future maritime security threats.
During the two-week exercise, nearly 40 organisations from across the three countries will evaluate around 40 new technologies and systems in a series of tests.
The planned simulations or tests will involve operations in all the domains, including air, littoral, maritime and land.
The tests will validate various capabilities of the participating autonomous vessels, vehicles and aircraft.
The capabilities include undersea warfare, intelligence gathering, mine countermeasures, force protection, survey, surveillance, reconnaissance, interoperability and interchangeability.
Furthermore, AW22 will also evaluate the command and control (C2) technologies.
RAN Warfare Innovation director general commodore Darron Kavanagh said: “AW22 is an exciting opportunity to showcase the utility and advantages of uncrewed systems in a variety of warfare domains in collaboration with our allies, partners and industry.
“It demonstrates our commitment to ongoing collaboration, transformation and adaptation to meet strategic requirements.
“Throughout the exercise, we will be mindful of the importance of protecting the safety, environment and heritage values of the Jervis Bay area.”
The exercise will also improve collaboration between Australia’s industry and forces with its counterparts from allied and partner nations, to develop, demonstrate and acquire robotic, uncrewed and autonomous capabilities. (Source: naval-technology.com)
16 May 22. Finland to deploy six F/A-18 Hornets to Exercise Luftförsvarsövning 22. The Swedish Air Force’s LFÖ 22 will witness the participation of around 2,500 personnel. Around 80 airmen and seven aircraft from the Finnish Air Force are set to participate in the Swedish Air Force’s exercise, Luftförsvarsövning 22 (LFÖ 22). The exercise will take place in southern and central Sweden from 18 to 25 May.
Among the seven Finnish Air Force’s aircraft are six F/A-18 Hornet multi-role combat aircraft and one Pilatus PC-12NG multipurpose liaison aircraft.
The Finnish F/A-18 Hornet detachment is assigned to Lapland Air Command, which is responsible for the protection of northern Finland’s airspace.
The exercise will also involve the participation of the Finnish Air Force’s fighter controllers and liaison officers.
It will allow the Finnish Air Force to plan and execute various air and base operations along with improving control and reporting centre capabilities in coordination with the Swedish Air Force.
During the exercise, the F/A-18 Hornet detachment, along with the Swedish Air Force’s JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft, will operate from the Såtenäs Air Base in Sweden to carry out air operations of the defending forces.
Lapland Air Command F/A-18 Hornet detachment commander major Markus Paukkeri said: “In the Luftförsvarsövning 22 exercise, we will operate as part of the Swedish air defence.
“In addition to air operations, we will train receiving host nation support from the Skaraborg Air Wing and integrating into the functions of Såtenäs Air Base.”
The Finnish Air Force’s participation in the exercise has been approved by the Finnish Ministry of Defence under the international training and exercise activity for this year.
The two nations have been coordinating with each other for various exercises since 2016, to strengthen the security in the Baltic Sea region and enhance the defence capabilities of the forces. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
16 May 22. British Army on Manoeuvres in North Macedonia.
- More than 2,000 members of the British Army’s Global Response Force have demonstrated their ability to react to global crises during an exercise with NATO allies.
Some 3,000 personnel from eight NATO countries are training together in North Macedonia on Exercise Swift Response, under the command of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team (BCT).
The UK contingent is made up of the 2 PARA Battlegroup, built around the airborne infantry of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment. They have been supported by artillery, engineers, logisticians, medics, and signallers from 16 Air Assault BCT; and Aviation Task Force 1 with Apache attack helicopters and Chinook support helicopters.
Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey MP said:
“Exercise Swift Response shows how the British Army is transforming to become more lethal, agile, and expeditionary. Exercises alongside our partners and Allies are necessary to maintain our advantage in a complex and ever-changing world.”
“I remain proud of our Armed Forces who continue to serve their country on postings around the world, providing leadership in uncertain times.”
Travelling by road, rail, sea and air to North Macedonia – NATO’s newest member since joining in 2020 – troops carried out joint training to build their capabilities and relationships. The soldiers then deployed onto the rugged Krivolak training range by parachute and helicopter to secure and defend a foothold in simulated hostile territory, and then take the offensive.
Commander of 16 Air Assault BCT Brigadier Nick Cowley said:
“On Exercise Swift Response, 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, alongside multiple Army and RAF units, has truly demonstrated the lethality, agility and expeditionary capabilities of the Global Response Force. We have deployed thousands of miles across Europe to link up with our NATO allies to conduct arduous training in a challenging environment to make sure that we are ready to deploy on the most demanding missions, at short notice.”
“I have been hugely impressed by the quality of our soldiers and their ability to integrate with NATO allies. This exercise has absolutely showed me that we are ready for anything.”
The manoeuvres in North Macedonia are one element of Exercise Swift Response, which will see multinational forces under the direction of US Army Europe and Africa conducting simultaneous training across Europe – from the High North to the Balkans – to practice how airborne units can rapidly project force in response to developing crises. (Source: ASD Network)
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