17 June 22. US and Indonesian air forces commence exercise Cope West 22.
The latest iteration of the exercise is being conducted at Abdulrachman Saleh Air Force Base (AFB) in Malang, Indonesia. The US Air Force (USAF) and the Indonesian Air Force have commenced a bilateral tactical airlift exercise called Cope West 22 (CW22) in Indonesia. The exercise is being conducted at Abdulrachman Saleh Air Force Base (AFB) in Malang and will run from 17 to 24 June. Around 70 service members from the USAF’s 374th Airlift Wing (AW) from Yokota AFB in Japan will be participating in this exercise. The USAF’s two C-130 Hercules aircraft from Yokota AFB along with two C-130s from the Indonesian Air Force will also be a part of the latest iteration. 36th Airlift Squadron commander lieutenant colonel Kira Coffey said: “Cope West allows us to strengthen our partnership with one of our most valuable partners in South-East Asia. “This year, we are focused on developing and expanding our combined airlift capabilities with the Indonesian Air Force.”
US and Indonesian contingents will participate in personnel and equipment airdrop, rigging, formation, all-weather and night flight operations, among other capabilities integral to a variety of bilateral missions.
Coffey added: “The tactics, techniques, and procedures we exchange with the Indonesian Air Force in Cope West help prepare us for a real-life event in which we will have to work together to secure common interests.
“We are going to ‘practise how we would play’ and be stronger as a result.”
Cope West was first conducted in 1989, and this is the ninth time that the tactical airlift exercise is being hosted in Indonesia.
02 June 22. Tabletop Exercise to explore future military capabilities. In the framework of the EU’s Capability Development Plan (CDP), EDA organised a Tabletop Exercise in Helsinki on 1/2 June 2022, hosted by the Finnish Ministry of Defence. The aim of the exercise, which gathered about 40 experts and defence capability planners from EDA participating Member States, was to identify the long-term capability trends and needs beyond 2040 based on potential future generic conflict scenarios and impact of expected technological innovation suitable for military capabilities at this timeframe. The findings and conclusions of the exercise will nourish the so-called ‘Strand B’ (long-term) input for the CDP revision. The focus was on assessing the long-term capabilities trends and requirements expressed according to the Generic Military Task List (GMTL) organised in six main capabilities areas which structures the CDP.
For this purpose, the Tabletop Exercise (TTX) was conducted based on a specific scenario designed to address the full spectrum of conventional military capabilities. The scenario was based on a general context derived from official Foresight Analyses, and on specific military trends, taking into account the technological impact on future warfare, in particular the Emerging Disruptive Technologies (EDT) and innovative warfare. This fictitious environment took place in the year 2040+ and referred to a generic EU Member State having to face external and hostile actions which, eventually, escalated to a full-scale armed conflict. The scope of the state and non-state actors, the geographic background and the specific events were to highlight the capabilities needed in the timeframe of 20 years + ahead to face such a threat, both from a material and non-material perspective.
The TTX stretched over two full working days and involved the participation of Member States’ representatives, EDA subject matter experts and other experts from EU defence and security entities. The audience represented a mix of defence planners, technology/innovation experts, and foresight analysts, enhancing the integrated approach needed to balance the “Capability Pull” and the “Technology Push” of military capability development. Furthermore, NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) also attended the TTX, as observers. The exercise entailed both plenary sessions as well as split sessions in which 3 different groups of experts addressed specific capability areas. Moreover, they discussed the implications of the possible future threats, encompassing all military domains, and considering, among others, the impact of the hybrid warfare and the cognitive dimension. All the findings of the working sessions and the trends identified will be considered to assess the level of importance of the generic military tasks (GMTL), in order to anticipate and prioritise the future military requirements.
The EU Capability Development Priorities derived from the Capability Development Plan (CDP) provide a key reference for Member States’ capability development endeavours and EU defence initiatives such as the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). These priorities are based on the input from the four strands of the CDP:
- Strand A – CSDP military capability shortfalls derived from the EU Headline Goal Process;
- Strand B – Long-term capability development trends;
- Strand C – Member States’ defence plans and programmes;
- Strand D – Lessons learned from missions and operations.
Strand B identifies future capability requirement based on key strategic factors, and expected technological innovation, that may be relevant to support the development of defence and security capabilities in the timeframe of 20+ years ahead. The aim of Strand B is not to predict the future, but to anticipate defence capability needs, and related development, resulting from an assessment of various possible factors, including best use of technological progress, when it will be available. Subsequently, the CDP Strand B informs R&T work and long-term capability activities in the EDA framework and facilitates the linkage of the R&T activities to capability development. The resulting Strand B long-term capability assessment, with the impact of technology on future military requirements, will feed the CDP prioritisation mechanism, providing future level of importance of military tasks in the timeframe of 20+ years ahead.
The Strand B work is benefiting from the EDA Technology Foresight Exercise 2021, which provides technology trends with an outlook to 2040+, and from the Technology Themes assessment updated with the contribution of EDA’s Capability and Technology Groups (CapTechs). (Source: EDA)
07 June 22. FIRE BLADE 2022 helicopter exercise kicks off in Hungary. FIRE BLADE 2022, the 16th helicopter exercise organised under the umbrella of the European Defence Agency’s Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP), kicked off today at Pápa airbase in Hungary. It will last until 24 June. A total of 25 air assets (20 helicopters + 5 aircrafts) and some 550 military personnel from five countries – Austria, Belgium, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary – will participate in this exercise hosted by the Hungarian Defence Forces. In addition, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, and several international organisations will participate with exercise observers.
The exercise’s main focus will be on enhancing interoperability at the tactical level between helicopter units by using the Composite Air Operations (COMAO) concept in a joint, combined, realistic and challenging environment, in order to enable proper preparation for future international deployed operations.
The objectives of Fire Blade 2022 are manifold, notably:
- enhance standardisation and improve tactical interoperability between helicopter units from the participating countries by using the COMAO concept and to learn and practice common helicopter Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs).
- train and practise TTPs with and against fighter jets and electronic warfare threats;
- improve interoperability in training and operational tasks with ground forces involvement during day and night in a live and full spectrum environment.
Participating crews will fly diverse day and night COMAO missions and execute, among others, Air Assault (AA), Special Operations Aviation (SOA), Combat Service Support (CSS), Close Air Support (CAS) including Urban CAS and Emergency CAS, Convoy/helicopter escorts, Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S), Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Personnel Recovery (PR), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC). This will include live firing drills.
It will also provide opportunities for attack operations, Special Operation Forces (SOF) training, and the possibility to train special procedures like fast rope and abseiling techniques, Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction (SPIE), pick-up and drop off procedures and air-to-surface live firing (helicopter door gunnery and sniper training). Finally, the European Air Group (EAG) will deliver a Forward Arming Refuelling Point (FARP) Force Integration Training.
FIRE BLADE 2022 will also provide opportunities to practice multinational and national formation and training with SOF units and to enhance crews’ skills in using the HEP Standard Operating Procedures (HEP SOP) and COMAO planning procedures in the conduct of flight planning and operations, also supported by the ATP-49.
Distinguished Visitors Day
A Distinguished Visitors Day (DVD) is planned for 21 June 2022 when representatives from EDA participating Member States as well as Switzerland and Slovakia will attend and observe a live training session. The Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC), the NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ) and the European Air Group (EAG) are also invited to the DVD.
The Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP) is part of EDA’s wider helicopter portfolio aimed at providing Member States with a joint European framework to develop, consolidate and share best practices to meet the challenges of flying helicopters in a modern operational environment. Other components of this portfolio are the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) programme, the Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC) programme and the future Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC) which is currently being established at Sintra Airbase in Portugal. (Source: EDA)
09 June 22. EDA launches project to improve PNT testing. The European Defence Agency (EDA) has recently kicked off a new R&T project which aims to improve the testing of military Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) equipment in Europe through enhanced cooperation and information-sharing.
The cat B. “Resilient PNT Testing for Defence (RIPTIDE)” project officially started on 16 May 2022 with the kick-off meeting in Rome (Italy), at the Secretariat General of Defence and National Armaments Directorate premises. The following EDA Member States are participating in the RIPTIDE project: Italy (lead), Austria, France, Germany, and Spain. Norway, which has signed an Administrative Arrangement with the Agency, is also participating.
Defence systems, platforms and personnel engaged in military operations heavily rely on PNT information to support mobility, command and control (C2) as well as situational awareness. It is therefore key for military forces to have reliable and resilient PNT at their disposal. However, PNT sources and services can be hampered at any time by different hazards or even become totally unavailable in particularly adverse operational environments, for example subsurface. To be able to anticipate such situations, Armed Forces must evaluate the performance of PNT services available to them during an operation, as well as the potential threats which may arise and jeopardise those services. This allows them to assess the risks in advance and to take mitigating actions to avoid PNT failure.
Against this backdrop, several EDA Member States have been performing or are planning to perform PNT tests in different operational conditions and threat scenarios. To date, such tests are primarily done at a national level, with limited interaction of information-sharing between the different Ministries of Defence.
Increasing the joint knowledge
The purpose of the new EDA R&T project is to improve the PNT testing procedures through more cooperation, information-sharing and joint experiments. In concrete terms, it is notably foreseen that participating Member States define, organise and conduct common events (tests, demonstrations, exercises, etc.) in the field of PNT superiority testing and awareness for defence users, by making different test ranges, test equipment, and test platforms available to other participating countries. The objective is also to develop a common forum for the dissemination and awareness of PNT threats and PNT superiority related tests. The project provides the participating industry consortium with an opportunity to consolidate PNT testing tools which could be used in the RIPTIDE events.
The main rationale behind this project is that a coordinated and cooperative organisation of PNT superiority testing activities will help Member States to acquire and increase their respective knowledge about PNT threats and their impact on operations, but also about PNT technologies, tactics and procedures at EU level. The improved expertise and know-how could also be used in the future to verify and, if necessary, improve countermeasures and develop new doctrines, methods and technologies for the advancement and implementation of PNT superiority at national and EU level.
The RIPTIDE project is one of several R&T activities under the CapTech ‘Guidance, Navigation and Control’, which is the agency’s forum for a vast number of international experts discussing technological challenges in PNT. It also interlinks with the Agency’s Defence Test and Evaluation Base (DTEB) and the Project Team PNT. (Source: EDA)
15 June 22. Divers join NATO allies in bomb and mine disposal exercises. Royal Navy divers joined NATO allies in Lithuania for a two-week workout dealing with the latest bomb and mine threats.
Delta Diving Unit from the Diving & Threat Exploitation Group (DTXG) based on Horsea Island in Portsmouth, taught and practised identifying – and neutralising – a range of explosive devices in the water and ashore.
Alongside their Canadian, Lithuanian, US, Dutch and Estonian counterparts, the divers were put through their paces in a number of real-world scenarios.
Both on land and at sea, they trained in responding to and disarming improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and conducting explosive ordnance disposal safely.
They also scoured ports for historic ordnance from previous conflicts. The Baltic coastline was the scene of intense fighting in both World Wars, but especially in 1944-45.
Able Seaman (Diver) Alex Bonato worked closely with personnel from Canada and Lithuania during several exercises both in forests and lakes near Klaipeda.
He said: “The way we operate is pretty similar to our NATO allies, but working with them has taught me things and I have been able to share our techniques with them too.
“I have worked alongside them and other allies in a number of scenarios from multiple IEDs hidden along a forest path to floating mines located near ports.
“With current threats around the world, this work is really important. It is about getting used to working with our partners and learning from each other.
“Seeing how they set up devices, it being different to how we would, expands our knowledge and ensures we’re prepared for anything. It has been really useful.”
Delta Diving Unit split their time in Lithuania for Exercise Open Spirit from land-based threats to sub-surface and on the water threats. They used robots and autonomous vessels to aid with their operations including Remus – a torpedo-shaped submersible which can survey and map possible ordnance.
The exercises were conducted as real-to-life as possible with IEDs made using everyday materials – reflecting what the divers could face on operations – then planted at possible places of interest around Klaipeda.
For the divers, Exercise Open Spirit gave them a range of experiences and a chance to showcase their skills.
Leading Diver Paul Rimmer and Petty Officer Alex Talbot enjoyed the range of tasking they faced.
“We have had IED tasking every day but the Lithuanians have also asked us to clear jetties and ports of historical ordnance,” said PO Talbot.
“There has been a nice variety and it’s been good interacting with other nations and seeing how they do things.”
Leading Diver Rimmer added: “It’s been good for the young lads, some of whom are on their first multi-national deployment. It’s really useful for them to see some of the IEDs and mines that have been set up and to get the chance to dive in unfamiliar waters.”
The Diving & Threat Exploitation Group have undergone a recent change to their way of operating and their training in Lithuania will ensure they are prepared for future missions.
Commander Sean Heaton, commanding officer of DTXG, said: “The relevance of what the Royal Navy and our NATO partners have been doing here in Lithuania, could not be clearer.
“Putting Royal Navy Bomb and Mine Disposal Divers from the Diving & Threat Exploitation Group, through these challenging scenarios ensures we are operationally prepared, and able to respond with agility to any threat to UK and NATO interests.” (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
13 June 22. LM, KAI Sign Teaming Agreement for Future T-50 Opportunities. Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) have signed a teaming agreement for future T-50 opportunities, the newest partnership in the decades-long relationship between the companies.
“Lockheed Martin is an air power solutions leader, delivering capabilities across the entire spectrum of training and combat aircraft,” says Aimee Burnett, vice president, Integrated Fighter Group Business Development at Lockheed Martin. “We are proud to continue to partner with KAI on the T-50 to leverage our collective experiences to train the next generation of pilots to fly, fight and win.”
She says the T-50 is a proven aircraft program that reduces the learning curve for new pilots and gets them flying operational sorties faster – even in fifth-generation aircraft like the F-35. That’s important as air forces around the world need to get their pilots up to speed faster than ever before, whether that’s to fill a gap in personnel or due to increased frequency of combat missions.
“That’s where the benefits of the proven T-50 program really come into play,” she says. “The seamless training experience with the T-50 gives student pilots an additional edge and fully prepares them – in less time than in the past – to fly any combat mission.”
The program has reduced the number of required flights for Korean pilots learning in the KF-16 to only nine sorties. Feedback from many of the 2,500 pilots who have been trained in the T-50 across 3,750 test flights says it’s easy to fly and offers controls similar to other Lockheed Martin aircraft like the F-16 and F-35. This allows student pilots to focus their airmanship skills on improved aero performance, digital flight controls and next-generation air traffic management systems.
Additionally, a ground-based training system contains an array of innovative technologies to provide options for training in a simulation environment.
Digital Advances in Production, Sustainment
At any given time, around the world, Lockheed Martin is working side-by-side with those in uniform to keep fleets ready to fly at a moment’s notice.
“We are focused on readiness for the fleets and customers we support and bringing new digital tools to enable new capabilities,” Aimee says. “And we’re seeing success. As an example, with the T-50, the mission capable rate is holding strong at 90% across 300,000 flight hours – an outstanding result that demonstrates our focus.”
And from a production standpoint, T-50 components can be shipped to a single location and produced with minimal space with maximum ease. That’s because aircraft components would be shipped in two containers and ready upon arrival in their home destination, for final assembly and check-out.
Additional T-50 Facts
The T-50 program was originally developed by KAI in partnership with Lockheed Martin, and took its maiden flight in 2002 and its first production flight in 2005. Since then, 208 have been produced with an additional 28 on order across a number of aerobatic and combat variants including the T-50A, T-50B, TA-50, and FA-50. (Source: ASD Network)
13 June 22. US Army and SAF take part in 41st edition of Exercise Tiger Balm. The annual bilateral military event is aimed at strengthening security ties between the two nations. The US Army and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel are taking part in Exercise Tiger Balm to strengthen their security ties. The two sides held an opening ceremony for the exercise in Singapore. The event marks the 41st edition of the exercise, which was launched in 1981. An annual bilateral military exercise, Tiger Balm showcases the regional security partnership between the US and Singapore. The exercise aims to strengthen combat readiness, professional ties, and interoperability between the two nations.
It also demonstrates mutual respect and trust between the two sides.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, SAF Training and Doctrine Command commander and SAF brigadier general Andrew Lim Heng Tiew said: “I’m confident that Tiger Balm will continue to grow from strength to strength.”
US Army Pacific Command (USARPAC) deputy commanding general and US Army major general Matthew McFarlane added: “We build readiness, [strengthening] our interoperability between Singapore and United States Army.”
The officers also elaborated on the previous exercises conducted by the two countries and the various struggles they addressed together.
As part of the exercise, the generals inspected the troops and approved their professionalism.
Participating personnel were also given an orientation through music videos and other means. This was intended to educate US soldiers about Singaporean history and culture.
In May 2021, the armies of Singapore and the US took part in the 40th edition of Tiger Balm. During the brigade-level exercise, held virtually in Singapore and O’ahu, US, the armies launched a new Exercise Tiger Balm logo. (Source: army-technology.com)
13 June 22. BISim to deliver DVS2 solution for UK military training.
The company will provide VBS4 and VBS Blue IG products as the solution for tactical training. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) agency Defence, Equipment and Support (DE&S) has awarded a contract to Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) to provide the Defence Virtual Simulation 2 (DVS2) solution.
As per the terms of the £7.2m contract, BISim will deliver its VBS4 and VBS Blue image generator (IG) tools as part of the DVS2 solution.
A common virtual simulation software of the Ministry of Defence, DVS2 provides interoperable and accessible virtual simulations.
Under DVS2, personnel of the armed forces can access training with a range of equipment across different terrains, irrespective of their location.
DVS2 provides multiple training scenarios that include piloting a fast jet, parachuting into a warzone, offering humanitarian aid from aircraft carriers, and operating weapons and vehicles.
The software has flexible networking options that provide immersive battlegroup-level training to frontline commands.
The virtual training can be customised using the Editor tool to help personnel experiment in challenging scenarios such as vehicle recognition training, among others.
The software enables UK military personnel to train with peers and other armed forces in a secure network.
As many as 60 countries, including 14 Nato allies, are currently using similar technologies to train their personnel.
DE&S Solider, Training and Special Projects head Nick Taylor said: “As our armed forces evolve so does the nature of the equipment and technology that we provide to them.
“This virtual training capability will allow for additional, accessible training, outside of the more traditional physical operations that our military personnel regularly undertake.”
As the prime contractor, BISim will deliver DVS2 as a managed service to the MoD with frequent software updates.
The fourth generation VBS4 tool allows users to create various training scenarios for land, air, and sea. It is a whole-earth virtual and constructive desktop trainer and simulation host.
The company’s VBS Blue IG is a whole-earth image generator software. It uses video-game technologies to provide day, dusk, and night scenes.
A subsidiary of BAE Systems, BISim previously delivered DVS1 using its VBS3 tool. (Source: army-technology.com)
13 June 22. Thales launches an AI-based Tactical Training and Simulation.
- The Artificial Intelligence used for training and analysis purpose only allows the instructor to get objective data collection per trainee and a precise behaviour and group interaction analysis, at a level never achieved before.
- This new training solution meets the procedural and tactical needs of Law Enforcement Agencies and Special Forces.
- As a scalable and portable solution, Tactical Engagement Analysis suits training needs from self-paced individual training to large group training analysis and is independent of weapons from airsoft guns to firearms carried on the job.
Co-designed with end users and experts, Thales is launching the next-generation tactical training and shooting analysis at Eurosatory, an innovative solution that brings unrivalled added value to instructors and trainees, guarantees the safety of the training sessions and improves efficiency and generates significant cost savings.
In the context of unstable international environment, Law Enforcement Agencies and Special Forces need to intensify the training of their teams, on weapons handling, on how to operate collaboratively and perform tactical missions and, maintain skills over time. Today, training is carried out in shooting ranges with live ammunitions over a limited number of sessions per year.
Thales solution is a portable analysis and debriefing tool, which records events and parameters, including shots, weapon data, videos and positions, which occur during the training session. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI) optimized low latency algorithms, the analysis aid generates indicators, scorecards and qualitative reports in real time. Thus, the instructor benefits from an objective data collection per trainee and is able to perform a precise behaviour and group interaction analysis, at a level never achieved before.
Thales scalable analysis aid fits training needs from self-paced individual training to large group analysis; it works with all types of firearms and ammunitions.
“With the Tactical Engagement Analysis solution, you can easily multiply the number of training sessions because you can train whenever you want, wherever you are, as often you like, in every condition for better trained forces, improved security, at lower cost.”Marco Zender, Product Line Manager, Training & Simulation, Thales.
About InVeris Training Solutions
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.