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10 Jan 19. LOM Praha to procure L-39NG. Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody spokesperson Tobias Tvrdik announced to Czech media on 4 January that the state-owned LOM Praha had agreed to buy four L-39NG next generation jet training aircraft in 2020 for CZK1.1bn (USD49.2m). The LOM Praha military aircraft maintenance, repair, overhaul (MRO), and training provider, which is 100% owned by the Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD), will be the launch customer for the L-39NG and has an option to buy two additional aircraft.
In addition to MRO activities for aircraft operated by the Army of the Czech Republic (ACR) as well as foreign militaries, LOM Praha provides pilot training services to the ACR and students of the Czech National Defence University. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Jan 19. Why national security depends on thorough pentesting training. Earlier this fall, the Government Accountability Office released a report on the cybersecurity of the Department of Defense’s weapon systems. The findings revealed chronic challenges in protecting weapon systems from advanced cyberthreats, largely due to their computerized nature, the department’s late start in prioritizing their cybersecurity and relatively elementary knowledge concerning the development of more secure weapon systems. Even more concerning, the report noted that DOD weapon systems are more software dependent and networked than ever before, with automation and connectivity serving not only as fundamental enablers of modern military capabilities, but also as severe cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
In response to the GAO report, DOD expanded its “Hack the Pentagon” bug bounty program, which since its establishment in 2016 has challenged white-hat hackers to find vulnerabilities within the Pentagon’s public websites and predetermined department systems. The recently expanded program now allows hackers to identify security gaps within more sensitive systems at the Pentagon, including hardware and physical systems required for defense missions. DOD has also been issuing and revising related security policies to further protect its critical systems. Despite these attempts to improve security, the cybersecurity workforce shortages and difficulties sharing information about vulnerabilities are still impeding the department’s efforts.
The immeasurable value of in-house pentesting
To effectively secure its next generation of weapons systems in an ever-evolving cyber risk environment, DOD must prioritize penetration testing initiatives. Despite the negative press generated by the GAO report, DOD has actually made significant progress in pentesting in recent years. But to build on its momentum, the department must invest further in pentesting training. Bug bounty programs are a step in the right direction, but there’s no substitute for a formal, comprehensive and ongoing software assessment process that occurs before a systems goes live and continues as long as the software is in use.
Designed to simulate cyberattacks against systems and scan for exploitable vulnerabilities, pentesting not only enables a more proactive approach to cybersecurity, it also allows internal IT teams to expand their skill sets. This is precisely why DOD must double down on pentesting training: In an age where cybersecurity job shortages are estimated to hit 3.5 million by 2021, agencies must stop relying on contracting for increasingly hard-to-find outside talent. Rather than continuing to assume contractors will be available to hunt for time-sensitive vulnerabilities, DOD should look inward and invest in the pentesting training of its existing IT staff to build out the department’s own capabilities.
Hands-on, goal-oriented training programs are key
The truth is, it’s impossible to adopt an active approach to cybersecurity without an ample investment in pentesting. It’s simple: agencies need people to hunt for vulnerabilities, and if there isn’t sufficient pentesting talent available, the hunting can’t occur. To effectively defend itself from attacks going forward, DOD must look to hands-on, practical training programs to further develop its internal pentesting skill set. Such programs don’t necessarily need to focus on actual hacking, either. Reading tool outputs along with implementing, automating and writing reports can educate internal IT teams on the real work and sheer persistence required for pentesting rather than perpetuating the false notion that ethical hacking is just a game.
Equally important in any pentesting training program is taking a step back to clearly establish the larger goals of the agency’s cybersecurity efforts. For instance, for some agencies the point of pentesting might be to identify vulnerabilities so that they can be remedied. For others, the goal may be to demonstrate worst-case scenarios in the event that the agency comes under targeted attack. How these questions are answered will define the level and amount of work required in pentesting training programs, so it’s imperative that they’re given careful consideration and communicated clearly to everyone involved.
DOD security requires an internal pentesting army
Considering it houses some of the most sensitive assets on the planet, DOD can’t sit back and wait for incoming security alerts. It also can’t afford to fall victim to the dire and unrelenting cybersecurity talent shortage we all find ourselves in. To build upon the positive steps it has taken so far and to prevent future national security crises, DOD must proactively and continually seek out potential threats by establishing an in-house army of pentesters whose sole responsibility is to search for vulnerabilities. In doing so, DOD will stand a far better chance of protecting its critical infrastructure and weapons systems and eliminating debilitating threats. (Source: Defense Systems)
08 Jan 19. Singapore abandons F-15SG training plans in New Zealand. Singapore has abandoned plans to open a pilot training centre in New Zealand, with the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) announcing on 7 January that both nations have mutually concluded that the proposal will not go ahead. The MINDEF first disclosed that is was looking to use the relatively uncongested airspace of New Zealand to train Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) crews on the Boeing F-15SG Eagle combat aircraft in early 2017.
“As a small country with limited airspace, Singapore will always need overseas training space to maintain our operational readiness,” the MINDEF said at the time.
A site at the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) base in Ohakea was assessed, and while no reason was provided for the project being abandoned there had been media reports that local inhabitants had objected to the effects of the base being used for fast jet operations. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Jan 19. Serbia resumes G-4 Super Galeb upgrade. Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin told media on 29 December that work has resumed on the upgrade of the Soko G-4 Super Galeb single-engine advanced training and light attack aircraft. No further details were provided. In March 2018 the Serbian Ministry of Defence (MoD) presented the G-4 upgrade at the second Southeast Europe Aviation Summit (SEAS) in Belgrade. The upgraded Super Galeb, designated ‘G-4MD’, will feature updated avionics and an integrated navigation/attack system, which, in combination with an increased payload capacity, will allow the integration of more versatile weapons, including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles. In addition to reducing pilot workload, the upgrade will focus on advanced training features, including mission planning, debriefing, and virtual training. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Jan 19. Kratos receives follow-on order to support Royal Saudi Naval Forces. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has received a follow-on task order (TO) for the provision of training-related products and services in multiple disciplines to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF).
Valued at $17.25m, the contract was awarded by the US Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) against a US foreign military sales (FMS) sole-source, three-year, single award indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) agreement.
With the latest order, the total contract funding has increased to $80m. The potential value to Kratos is expected to be $99.3m, depending on the number of task orders issued and anticipated contract modifications under the FMS agreement.
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions training business senior vice-president Jose Diaz said: “This award is another example of the rapid and successful international expansion of our training services in support of the US and its allies’ efforts to meet the training challenges of increasingly sophisticated weaponry, tactics and readiness needs.
“Kratos integrates the latest in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) technology with its state-of-the-art simulation systems and instructional design approaches to address a broad spectrum of military training requirements.”
Under the follow-on TO, the company will continue the delivery of military-focused training and instructional services for air, ground and sea platforms to support RSNF.
Kratos develops technology, platforms and systems for US National Security-related customers, allies and commercial enterprises.
The company specialises in unmanned systems, satellite communications, cybersecurity/warfare, microwave electronics, missile defence, hypersonic systems, training and combat solutions. (Source: naval-technology.com)
04 Jan 19. US Air Force expects to expand vertical fight training with T-X. Maj Gen Doherty (left), 19th Air Force commander, taxies out to the flightline with a Boeing pilot for a T-X trainer familiarisation sortie in St Louis on 27 November 2018.
- The USAF will expand its vertical fight training now that it has Boeing under contract to deliver the T-X trainer
- The service performed its first sortie after awarding Boeing the contract
The US Air Force (USAF) will expand its vertical fight training now that it has Boeing under contract to deliver its T-X advanced pilot training programme, according to a key officer.
Major General Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, on 27 November flew the USAF’s first official sortie in a T-X aircraft. The service awarded Boeing its contract in late September to build the aircraft that will eventually replace its fleet of Northrop T-38C Talon trainers.
David Deptula, dean of the Air Force Association’s (AFA’s) Mitchell Institute and a retired fighter pilot and USAF commander, told Jane’s on 4 January that vertical fight training is the ability of a pilot to perform basic fighter manoeuvres. While the T-38C can perform these basic fighter manoeuvres, it is limited because it has such a small wing with huge turn ratios. He said the T-38C, at altitude, tends to lose airspeed very quickly in high speed turns.
“[The T-38C is a high-performing aircraft, but in the context of fighter aviation capability and skills that are necessary to be learned to succeed in fighter manoeuvres, the T-X might be a better performing aircraft,” Deptula said.
Maj Gen Doherty told Jane’s on 18 December that the aircraft, flown in St Louis, Missouri, had a great thrust-to-weight ratio and that the T-X felt similar to a combination of a mini-Boeing F/A-18 Hornet and a mini-Lockheed Martin F-16V Viper.
“I thought it met all my expectations of what we were looking for as an air force and Air Education and Training Command for a fifth-generation platform for the future,” Maj Gen Doherty said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
04 Jan 19. Maritime security training on USS Chung-Hoon destroyer concludes. US Navy sailors on the Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) have concluded a combined forces maritime security operations training exercise in the Gulf of Aden. Chung-Hoon’s latest round of drills began last month. Personnel who took part in the programme were trained by US Coast Guardsmen and US Army soldiers in new techniques and tactics.
US Coast Guard maritime enforcement specialist first class Michael Walden said: “Training’s going excellent. They’re very willing to learn. They’re actually grasping a lot.
“We’ve done medical training, and we’ve also gone over boarding procedures regarding specific vessels that they will encounter out here. Medical training is very important as it can save your life during a boarding.”
The instructors highlighted the need to ensure greater cooperation among the different military branches in global areas of operations.
US Army sergeant first class Alan Bland said: “Clearly, the army is more of a ground force. However, we are trying to build networks, in and around the area of responsibility (AOR), from the sea, for the land.”
The training covered multiple areas, including boarding a vessel, and close-quarters combat and survival.
USS Chung-Hoon was named in honour of rear admiral Gordon Pai’ea Chung-Hoon. Built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. The vessel was commissioned in 2004. The vessel can achieve a speed of 30k. It is deployed to the US 5th Fleet area of operations to protect the country’s maritime interests in the Pacific region. (Source: naval-technology.com)
Meggitt Training Systems, makers of FATS® and Caswell technologies, a division of Meggitt PLC, is the leading supplier of integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training systems. Following the acquisition of FATS® virtual training systems and Caswell International’s live-fire ranges and services, Meggitt Training Systems continues to grow its capabilities based on the legacy of these two industry leaders. Over 13,600 Meggitt live-fire ranges and 5,100 virtual systems are fielded internationally, providing judgmental, situational awareness and marksmanship training to the armed forces, law enforcement and security organizations. Meggitt Training Systems employs more than 400 people at its headquarters in Atlanta and at facilities in Orlando, Canada, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, UAE, Australia and Singapore. It can deploy service personnel anywhere in the world for instructor training, system installation and maintenance. Learn more at https://meggitttrainingsystems.com/