10 Oct 22. RAF turns to US to help as more than 300 held up in its training programme. Two hundred and eighty personnel are held between RAF Military Flying Training System (MFTS) courses. Pilots are being sent to the USA for training as more than 300 personnel are held up in the RAF flying training pipeline, according to the government.
Defence minister James Heappey says additional slots on the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training in America are being requested, in response to a question from Defence Select Committee Chair Tobias Ellwood about steps the Ministry of Defence is taking to increase RAF training capacity.
He explained: “The RAF constantly reviews its training pipeline and introduces measures as and when required in order to strike the best balance between pipeline supply and the frontline demand for new pilots.
“Such measures currently include a small number of pilots being trained on the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training programme in the USA as part of a 5-year commitment completing in FY 2024/25, with additional training capacity being requested through this programme.
“Other measures to increase capacity include reducing the length of Operational Conversion Unit syllabuses and making greater use of synthetic training. We are also working with allies and partners to examine whether UK pilots could be trained overseas, or where we might pool our resources to mutual benefit.”
Around 280 personnel are being held between Military Flying Training System (MFTS) courses. (Source: forces.net)
07 Oct 22. US, UK hold drone drill in Persian Gulf after Iran seizures.
The U.S. Navy held a joint drone drill with the United Kingdom on Friday in the Persian Gulf, testing the same unmanned surveillance ships that Iran twice has seized in recent months in the Middle East.
The exercise comes as the U.S. Navy separately told commercial shippers in the wider Mideast that it would continue using drones in the region and warned against interfering with their operations.
The drone drill — and the American pledge to keep sailing them — also comes as tensions between the U.S. and Iran on the seas remain high amid stalled negotiations over its tattered nuclear deal with world powers and as protests sweep the Islamic Republic.
Friday’s drill involved two American and two British warships in the Persian Gulf, as well as three Saildrone Explorers, said Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, a spokesman for the Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet.
The drones searched for a target on the seas, then sent the still images its cameras captured back to both the warships and the 5th Fleet’s command center in the island kingdom of Bahrain. There, an artificial intelligence system worked through the photos.
The 5th Fleet launched its unmanned Task Force 59 last year. Drones used by the Navy include ultra-endurance aerial surveillance drones, surface ships like the Sea Hawk and the Sea Hunter and smaller underwater drones that resemble torpedoes.
But of particular interest for the Navy has been the Saildrone Explorer, a commercially available drone that can stay at sea for long periods of time. That’s crucial for a region that has some 5,000 miles of coastline from the Suez Canal, down the Red Sea to the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz and into the Persian Gulf.
It’s a vast territory that stretches the reach of the Navy and its allies and has seen a series of attacks amid the atomic accord’s collapse. It also remains crucial to global shipping and energy supplies, as a fifth of all oil traded passes through the Strait of Hormuz.
“No matter what forces you have, you can’t cover all that,” Hawkins told The Associated Press. “You have to do that in a partnered way and an innovative way.”
But Iran, which long has equated America’s presence in the region to it patrolling the Gulf of Mexico, views the drones with suspicion. In August and September, Iranian regular and paramilitary forces seized Saildrones in both the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, alleging without providing evidence that the drones posed a danger to nearby ships.
Iran ultimately released the drones after the U.S. Navy arrived to the sites. Cameras on the Saildrones involved in the Red Sea incident went missing.
Iranian state-run media did not acknowledge the drill Friday. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Recent events notwithstanding, we have been operating these systems safely, responsibly and in accordance with international law and will continue to do so,” Hawkins said.
The Navy underscored its plan to keep operating the drones in notices sent to shippers and sailors in the region beginning Thursday. It said that the drones would continue to broadcast their location via their Automatic Identification System trackers.
Ships are supposed to keep their AIS trackers on, but Iranian vessels routinely turn theirs off to mask their movements as Tehran faces international sanctions over its nuclear program and human rights abuses.
“U.S. Navy (drones) are U.S. government property and will lawfully operate in international waters and through straits in accordance with internationally recognized rights and freedoms,” the Navy said in the notice. “Any interference with U.S. Navy (drones) will be considered a violation of the norms of international maritime law.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/AP)
11 Oct 22. Indo-Pacific Exercise Offers Effective Deterrence. The 16th annual Garuda Shield exercise started Aug. 3, this year expanding from a bilateral training event between the Indonesian and U.S. militaries to 14 participant nations, making it one of the largest multinational exercises in the Indo-Pacific region.
Garuda Shield is a great example of integrated deterrence where allies and partners work together to deter aggression from China and Russia, Mara E. Karlin, assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities, said during a panel on “Landpower and Integrated Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific” at the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army.
“Partners in regions across the world want to collaborate, want to work together. And we just see this in spades. It brings a comparative advantage as we deal with challenges,” she said.
“The National Defense Strategy is really premised on this urgent need to sustain and strengthen deterrence with the focus on the People’s Republic of China,” she said.
Besides working with allies and partners, integrated deterrence also means integrating with interagency partners, she said.
“We are most successful as a U.S. government when we’re all focused on our comparative advantages; when our diplomats are focused on delivering in their world; when our treasury colleagues are focused on just sanctioning the heck out of our adversaries; when all of us are showing up across the interagency doing what we do best,” she said.
A third type of integrated deterrence is having a credible combat force able to maneuver at speed and scale across theaters and across spectrums of conflict using capabilities in all domains — air, land, sea, space and cyber, she said.
The spectrums of conflict refer to gray zone, hybrid and conventional warfare, each at a different level of intensity and strategy.
Regarding integrated deterrence, Karlin said the force must be resilient and have a “good feedback loop,” to understand what adversaries are thinking.
“How does the adversary perceive what’s going on, and are we having the impact we think we are having? That’s a hard conversation because there’s often resources and attention put toward an issue. But we really have to be rigorous. We have to be comfortable looking and saying, ‘We have tried to do X or Y. Did it work?’ And then really being able to learn,” she said. (Source: US DoD)
12 Oct 22. New Denel aerial target drone. Denel Dynamics has for the first time publicly revealed a new aerial target drone, which was displayed at the recent Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2022 exhibition in Pretoria.
Denel Dynamics has for a number of years been developing the low-cost target drone demonstrator for the South African Department of Defence (DoD) under Project Loki.
A mock-up of the high-speed recoverable vehicle on display at Air Force Base Waterkloof in late September revealed the drone weighs 180 kg, has a wingspan of 2.45 metres and length of 3.2 metres.
It has an endurance of 45-70 minutes depending on flight profile and is powered by two TJ40-G1 turbojet engines developing 40 kg of thrust each, giving a top speed of 630 km/h and a maximum altitude of 8 000 metres with 38 kg payload. Its control range is 60 km, but could be increased with the use of a communications relay station.
The drone is designed to simulate high-speed threats, and can be fitted with a couple of infrared emitters on the wings, a Luneburg lens on the nose to enhance its radar cross-section, or strobe light or smoke trail devices. It can be fitted with chaff or flares, a radar or air traffic transponder, or radar altimeter for low flying.
Launch is via a hydro-pneumatic launcher designed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) while recovery is via a parachute.
Denel told defenceWeb the ground control system comprises a laptop computer, UPS power supply, ground communications equipment and a user interface panel. The ground control system can be deployed in an office, control room, ISO container or any other container available.
The drone’s mission can be pre-planned or downloaded before takeoff, with automatic return home in case communication is lost. “The target drone provides a realistic target for a wide array of weapon systems; these can be ground based, airborne or ship based,” Denel said.
Two prototypes are under construction, with a first flight scheduled for March 2023 at the Denel Overberg Test Range, Janes reported.
Denel Dynamics has previously manufactured the Skua target drone for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which has operated it since 1992. The Skua is a high-speed target drone, designed to simulate high-speed attack aircraft during land, sea and air combat training exercises and weapon development. The complete system consists of four to eight target drones, a zero-length launcher, a mobile ground control station (GCS) and ground support equipment.
The Skua has a wingspan of 3.57 metres and length of 6 metres. The drone is further fitted with wing hard-points to carry tow-targets and signature augmentation equipment weighing up to 160 kg. An internal bay can house a payload of up to 70 kg. It has a maximum speed of Mach 0.86 at 10 000 m and has a controllable range of 200 km (line of sight). Endurance is 85 minutes at 10 000 m at Mach 0.75. At the end of a flight, the Skua returns to the ground by parachute and is landed upside down on pneumatic landing bags.
The Skua has been used in the development of the A-Darter, MAA-1 Piranha and Umkhonto missiles, amongst others.
As far back as 2006 Denel was planning the development of a new generation medium tactical target drone as a long-term replacement for its existing Skua series. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
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