30 Aug 22. USAF’s Eglin EOD personnel start training with new T7 robot systems. The new T7 robot has been designed to replace the USAF’s F6A, which is nearing the end of its lifecycle. The US Air Force’s (USAF) 96th Test Wing’s explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) flight has started training with its new EOD robotic system, called T7. The EOD flight, based at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), and the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field are the first two units to receive the T7 robot for training.
Built by L3Harris Technologies, the new robot has been designed to replace the 20-year-old F6A system.
Starting last week, the training is being conducted by L3Harris as a combined course for both flights on the T7 robot, along with classroom and hands-on instructions.
In September last year, the USAF awarded a contract to L3Harris to procure 170 T7 robotic systems for its EOD units worldwide to counter home-station emergencies.
Eglin EOD flight’s new systems are the first T7s delivered to EOD airmen for field use.
The newly purchased systems will remotely carry out EOD operations, minimising dangers for EOD personnel.
The T7 will allow operators to manage larger hazardous devices in less time.
In comparison to the F6A system, the new robot will have twice as many cameras with increased resolution; vertical and horizontal reach; battery life; climbing ability; and operating speed, as well as an arm with five times more lifting capabilities.
96th Civil Engineer Squadron senior airman Shae Barnard said: “It combines the capabilities of a lot of the various robots we have into one usable platform.
“In situations that we deploy our robots into, we want to interrupt our environment as little as possible while trying to achieve the objective.
“When you have a robot this well designed and capable, it makes our job easier and safer.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
29 Aug 22. Bilateral Thai-China Exercise Falcon Strike Returns After Covid. An annual joint fighter jets exercise between Thailand and China resumed this month after being put on hold for two years during the pandemic, according to the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF).
The Falcon Strike exercise has taken place four times since 2015 and began a run of 11 days from 14 August at a base in northeastern Udon Thani that was home to United States (US) forces during the Vietnam War.
The drills, the dates for which were decided in June, take place in a month when China has been holding major exercises in the sea and airspace around Taiwan, in a show of military power following US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island, which Beijing regards as its own.
Thailand is the oldest US ally in Asia but ties were complicated by a 2014 military coup. Thailand has sought to strengthen its relations with China and has made several defence procurements from the country.
The RTAF, one of the best equipped air forces in the region, has historically used US aircraft and is seeking to procure F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin to replace some of its ageing F-16 aircraft.
According to an air force source, the RTAF will not deploy its F-16s for the exercises with China but will deploy five Saab Gripen aircraft, three Dassault/Dornier Alphajet attack aircraft and a Saab 340 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.
China is expected to send a fleet of six J-10C/S fighter aircraft, a JH-7AI fighter-bomber and a Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to take part in the exercise. Key training courses such as air support, strikes on ground targets, and small- and large-scale troop deployment will be included. (Source: AMR)
29 Aug 22. China and Russia join forces for Vostok military exercises. Kremlin keen to display ‘business as usual’ image and underline ability to bolster ties with allies such as India. Russia and China will embark on a series of military exercises this week, a sign of Moscow’s deepening ties with Beijing and of the Kremlin’s desire to project a “business as usual” image despite the mounting costs of its war in Ukraine. The Vostok war games, which begin on Tuesday, are held every four years in Russia’s far east. A reported 300,000 of its troops drilled alongside those from China and Mongolia during the last exercises in 2018, with this year’s manoeuvres given added symbolism by the fighting in Ukraine, which is now into its seventh month. Western officials and defence analysts say they illustrate the “friendship without limits” that was pledged just before war broke out by presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. The war games also underline the Kremlin’s ability to maintain ties with other non-western allies including Belarus and India, which will join the exercises. Beijing has stressed that its participation in the Vostok exercises is “unrelated to the current international and regional situation”. Russia and China last held joint military exercises in China last year, and Washington has said it does not read any new significance into the latest drills. Still, “the fact that Vostok means ‘east’ tells you everything you need to know”, said a western defence adviser, pointing to Moscow’s support for Beijing when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, which China views as a renegade province. Putin described Pelosi’s trip as a “carefully planned provocation”. (Source: FT.com)
26 Aug 22. Multilateral ten-day SEACAT 2022 exercise concludes. This exercise enhanced collaboration among 21 Indo-Pacific partners.
SEACAT 2022 participants from partner maritime forces and non-military, international. The 21st annual Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), a multilateral exercise to enhance cooperation among Southeast Asian countries, has completed after ten days of in-person and at-sea engagements.
With a focus on shared maritime security challenges of the region, this exercise enhanced collaboration among 21 Indo-Pacific partners.
Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 commodore Captain Tom Ogden said: “These past two weeks have reiterated what we already knew, our nations and maritime forces are smarter and stronger when we share information and work together.
US Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team (USCG MSRT) embarked the ship and aided in participants’ interdictions and boardings, in turn building on the skills practiced during Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) workshop held under the shore phase.
Operating simultaneously with the sea phase, a command post exercise at Singapore’s Information Fusion Center acted as a centralised hub for information sharing in the monitoring of the contracted merchant ship simulating suspicious vessels in seas across the Southeast Asian region.
The US Navy participants featured staff from DESRON 7, P-8A Poseidon aircraft designated to Task Force 72, and personnel from Task Force 76, US 7th Fleet, and US Pacific Fleet.
The non-military participants featured members of International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), EU Critical Maritime Route Wider Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO), Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University Singapore (LKYSPP NUS), The Pew Charitable Trusts, Risk Intelligence, Stable Seas, United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). Last year, SEACAT was held virtually in Singapore. (Source: naval-technology.com)
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