14 Jul 22. The first MQ-9B SkyGuardian® Mission Trainer has been delivered to the Flight Test and Training Center (FTTC), a facility in Grand Forks, ND owned and operated by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI). The new Mission Trainer is designed and delivered by CAE to provide realistic synthetic mission training for both pilot and sensor operator aircrews on the GA-ASI SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). The SkyGuardian Mission Trainer will be used to train the initial UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Protector crews at Grand Forks. The RAF, in partnership with GA-ASI, will conduct training at the FTTC to learn how to operate the next generation Protector RPA system. Protector is the RAF’s version of MQ-9B.
“We’re thrilled to get this new mission trainer in place at the FTTC to support our customers’ training needs,” said Dean Gorder, director of GA-ASI’s FTTC. “In addition to our customers, we’ll also use the simulator to train operators for GA-ASI and affiliate companies.”
The introduction of the SkyGuardian Mission Trainer, developed by GA-ASI’s long-time training and simulation partner CAE, increases the FTTC’s capacity by adding another organic simulator to its catalog of offerings, while reducing training costs for both internal and external customers. It features CAE’s high-fidelity sensor simulation, fully interactive tactical environment and Open Geospatial Consortium Common Database architecture for interoperable and networked training capabilities. These state-of-the-art features enable GA-ASI to update its curricula and training via advanced simulation while reducing potential airspace and weather impacts.
“This Mission Trainer allows operators to maintain mission systems proficiency in a realistic and secure environment,” says Lenny Genna, vice president of Mission Systems for CAE Defense & Security. “Leveraging simulation means crews continue effective training while MQ-9B aircraft assets remain mission-ready for deployment.”
14 Jul 22. Hadean Awarded British Army Contract To Build Cloud Distributed. Simulation Pathfinder. Deep tech start-up, Hadean, have been awarded a contract to help build and scale a cloud distributed simulation demonstrator for the British Army.
This Pathfinder agreement marks Hadean’s first direct commitment with military end-users and sets the scene for the wider introduction and application of cloud-based computing in the MOD’s Defence Synthetic Environment Platform (DSEP), and Collective Training Transformation Programme (CTTP).
Harnessing Hadean’s Web 3.0 technology, the project will blend different 2D, 3D and Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) elements of training environments for land warfare into one immersive simulation, capable of running larger scenarios for remotely located physical and virtual users, without compromising on fidelity or complexity.
The demonstrator’s learning and development outcomes will support the objectives set for Multi-Domain Integration by the UK Ministry of Defence, enabling the British Army to explore new areas of collective training where combat teams in geographically disparate live environments can operate remotely alongside troops exercising in the virtual world.
Additionally, the project will highlight the significance of partnerships in government innovation and digital transformation. The digital world’s assets and entities will be built using Bohemia Interactive’s VBS4, whilst live simulation system data will be drawn from a suite of leading defence training organisations.
Hadean CEO, Craig Beddis said: “This is a significant milestone for Hadean and an opportunity for us to contribute to the British Army’s vision of large-scale, collective training. It is a great honour to be part of this programme, which will equip British warfighters with the necessary computing power to conduct live and synthetic training with their peers and help drive performance improvements. The technology demonstrated here will also help enable greater degrees of multi-national Live, Virtual and Constructive collective training.”
Senior Responsible Owner (SRO), CTTP, UK Ministry of Defence, Mike Cooper, said: “The Collective Training Transformation Programme (CTTP) is working with Army Innovation and Hadean to exploit new technology in the Future Collective Training System. This demonstration will deliver outputs that showcase how the technology from the commercial games industry could support transformation of training with the introduction of a Synthetic Environment Platform.”
The programme will kick-off this summer and is expected to be completed by spring 2023.The Pathfinder will also be supplemented by an Independent Technical Evaluation which will validate the findings of the demonstration and suggest areas of future investigation.
Founded in 2015, Hadean are a venture backed startup, reimagining distributed, spatial and scalable computing for web 3.0 and the metaverse. The distributed cloud platform provides the foundations of web 3.0 applications for the metaverse, enterprise organisations and the defence sector. To date, Hadean have worked with organisations such as CAE, BAE Systems, the UK MOD, Microsoft, Minecraft, Epic Games and Cervus. Visit: hadean.com
12 Jul 22. US NAVCENT and LAF commence exercise Resolute Union 2022.
The exercise includes MCM, explosive ordnance disposal and maritime security operations. The US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have commenced a bilateral maritime exercise Resolute Union 2022.
The two-week long annual exercise is taking place in Lebanon from 12 July.
Resolute Union exercise primarily includes mine countermeasures (MCM), maritime security operations and explosive ordnance disposal.
The exercise aims to enhance interoperability and mutual capabilities between Lebanon and the US forces.
NAVCENT, US Fifth Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) commander vice admiral Brad Cooper said: “This is an excellent opportunity to work with our highly capable Lebanese partners and strengthen our relationship.
“Working together enhances regional security and stability.”
The latest iteration of the exercise involves participation of approximately 60 personnel from the US forces including the Marine Corps (USMC), Navy, Army and Coast Guard (USCG).
US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea said: “For 22 years, the Resolute Union exercises have built collaboration between our armed forces and ensured the LAF are prepared to carry out their mission.
“Despite all the challenges facing the LAF this year in the context of Lebanon’s economic crisis, they have shown extraordinary commitment and the US will continue to offer our full support to all their efforts.”
The previous iteration of Resolute Union was carried out in the Mediterranean Sea and in Lebanon from 17 to 28 May 2021.
Headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, NAVCENT comprises of the US Fifth Fleet and CMF, which operate together to maintain maritime security and stability in the region. (Source: naval-technology.com)
12 Jul 22. 14 nations sign technical arrangement for MHTC in Portugal.
Once open, MHTC is expected to provide around 37 weeks of helicopter tactics training annually. The European Defence Agency (EDA) has revealed that 14 founding nations have signed a technical arrangement (TA) to establish the multinational helicopter training centre (MHTC).
The signing marks the beginning of the technical and logistical build-up of the centre at Sintra Airbase in Portugal.
The TA, signed on 28 June, defines the organisation, missions and responsibilities of the MHTC.
The 14 nations are Belgium, Cyprus, Austria, Greece, the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland, Serbia and the Netherlands.
Following the latest signing, EDA will build up the infrastructure in Sintra and establish a contract with a service provider for the training simulator and instructor capacities provision to support the MHTC’s activities.
According to the EDA, the centre will become a reference for multinational military helicopter training and will manage EDA’s three existing training programmes for an initial duration of 15 years.
The programmes include Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC), Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP) and Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC).
The centre will have a fully renewed infrastructure and will be established at the same location as the existing EDA’s training centre.
It will be permanently manned with a team of ten international staff, under the supervision of MHTC Steering Board.
Once open, the MHTC is expected to provide at least 37 weeks of helicopter tactics training a year.
The MHTC project was launched in August 2019 and it is expected to achieve initial operational capability (IOC) by the end of next year.
Before the IOC is achieved, EDA will gradually transfer the supervision role to Portugal, which is the MHTC host nation. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
11 Jul 22. ADF, US Marines team up in Top End. Australian and US military personnel have commenced a joint warfighting exercise in the Northern Territory.
US Marines of the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) are combining with Australian Defence Force personnel from Australian Army’s 1st and 13th Brigade, and Royal Australian Air Force’s 36th, 37th and 75th Squadrons as part of Exercise Koolendong.
Defence training areas in the Northern Territory and for the first time, in Western Australia, will host the exercise over the next three weeks.
Exercise Koolendong — which comes off the back of Exercises Southern Jackaroo and Crocodile Response — aims to test a joint military response to a simulated regional security crisis.
“This annual exercise allows the ADF to rehearse with the US Marines in a combined arms littoral combat scenario,” Australian Army Colonel Marcus Constable, Commander Headquarters Northern Command, explained.
“Koolendong strengthens the US-Australian relationship, advances and validates USMC-ADF interoperability and demonstrates preparedness to respond to a regional crisis.”
US Marine Colonel Christopher Steele, MRF-D’s Commanding Officer, said Exercise Koolendong would further build on the strength of the Australia-US military partnership.
“We are deploying significant forces by land, air and sea to training areas in both WA and the NT including Mount Bundy Training Area, RAAF Base Curtin and Yampi Sound Training Area,” Colonel Steele said.
“This mid-intensity warfighting exercise replicates elements of a combined joint littoral combat operation supported by capabilities from the US Army and US Air Force.
“The Australia-US Alliance has never been more important as we look ahead to our regional strategic challenges.”
The MRF-D deployment in the Top End forms part of the United States Force Posture Initiatives, which aims to improve interoperability between Australia and the United States across the Indo-Pacific.
The commencement of Exercise Koolendong comes ahead of Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles’ trip to the United States to discuss a range of joint defence initiatives, including the AUKUS agreement. (Source: Defence Connect)
11 Jul 22. RAF fighter aircraft deploy to Finland and Sweden for joint training. The Royal Air Force has deployed Typhoon FGR4 and F-35B Lightning jets to Finland, and Typhoon FGR4 jets to Sweden, for integrated fighter aircraft training as part of an increased presence in the region.
The deployments, which took place over the last month at the request of the host nations, allowed the partner air forces to develop their joint tactics and strengthen their ability to operate alongside each other.
Two F-35Bs and four Typhoons conducted high-end warfighting training with Finnish F-18 Hornets and Swedish Gripen aircraft, underlining the UK’s commitment to strengthening our collective defence capabilities.
The deployments are a practical demonstration of the mutual security assurance declarations that the UK signed with these nations in May, as they progress their respective applications to join NATO. All three nations already work together through the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, which is a coalition of 10 member nations who cooperate to maintain the security of Northern Europe.
Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, said: “Finland and Sweden are important defence partners and we welcome their applications to join NATO, which will make the alliance stronger as we face a renewed threat in Europe. These deployments highlight our determination to enhance that partnership and ensure our forces can work together seamlessly.”
The F-35 deployment to Finland was only the second time that the aircraft type has landed in the country, after two US F-35A visited for an air show in June. The F-35B’s arrival was of particular interest to the Finns as they recently announced that they will purchase F-35 aircraft. The UK Lightning Force will continue to develop their partnership with the Finnish Air Force as they integrate their new aircraft.
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said: “The Joint Expeditionary Force contributes to regional security and stability. Joint exercises, like the one here in Såtenäs, strengthen our ability to operate together in response to a crisis in our neighbourhood. This is particularly important in today’s challenging security environment.
The fighter jets were supported by teams of specialists from RAF Marham and RAF Lossiemouth. A Voyager aircraft from RAF Brize Norton also provided air-to-air refuelling to extend the duration of the combat sorties and an A400M Atlas deployed the support team to Sweden.”
Working with similarly advanced air forces such as the Finnish and Swedish also provides an opportunity to learn from each other and identify areas of mutual benefit. The deployed teams spent time further integrating their systems, so that they can share information quickly on the exercise and in the future.
These exercises are part of a series of bilateral and Joint Expeditionary Force exercises planned this year at Finland and Sweden’s request. Later this month the UK will deploy the F-35B to Norway for further integration training with the Norwegian Air Force.
The Typhoon Force also deployed aircraft to Konya in Türkiye for similar integrated fighter training with the Turkish Air Force, flying alongside Turkish, Pakistani, Jordanian and Azerbaijani aircraft in simulated combat scenarios. The Typhoons forward deployed from Romania where they are currently supporting the NATO Air Policing mission.
08 Jul 22. USAF deploys F-35s for Nato’s Air Shielding mission.
The Air Shielding mission combines surface-based and air-based allied air and missile defence units into Nato’s IAMD system. The US Air Force (USAF) has forward deployed its F-35 fighter jets to support Nato’s Air Shielding mission on the eastern flank.
The USAF’s F-35 fighter Lightning II aircraft were based at Spangdahlem, Germany.
The fighter jets flew from Spangdahlem to join the fighter jets from Belgium and France at Ämari Air Base in Estonia on 6 June.
The Belgian and French fighter jets are currently deployed to support Nato’s Air Policing mission and to carry out air patrols over the Baltic Sea region.
The air policing mission aims to enhance the vigilance over Nato’s airspace to ensure that the allied territory is secure.
Such activities also contribute to the deterrence and defence of the Euro-Atlantic region.
Nato Allied Air Command (ACC) deputy commander lieutenant general Pascal Delerce said: “The F-35 is an incredibly capable and versatile aircraft.
“Operating alongside the other allied nations in the Baltics they are maintaining the integrity of the European airspace and directly contributing to the Nato Air Shielding Mission.”
“In support of the Nato Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) system, Air Shielding offers an agile solution, although currently focused on Nato’s eastern flank it retains the flexibility to orientate towards any emerging threat.”
According to Nato ACC, the air shielding mission combines surface-based and air-based allied air and missile defence units into Nato’s IAMD system, as part of the Nato command and control.
Together, the integrated units provide a strong shield from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea region.
It ensures that the Nato allied nations are capable to protect alliance territory, populations and forces from various air and missile threats.
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