01 Dec 22. USMC and Royal Thai Military begin joint EOD training in Thailand. The training is part of DoD’s HMA programme that aims to assist partner nations’ forces in safe disposal of landmines. The US Marine Corps (USMC ) and Royal Thai Military have begun the humanitarian mine action (HMA) Levels 1 and 2 explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) training.
The training started on 14 November in Ratchaburi, Thailand.
It involved the participation of marines from the 3rd EOD Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group and Thailand Mine Action Centre (TMAC) students.
The joint effort is part of the US Department of Defense ’s HMA programme, which aims to assist and train the partner nations’ forces in the safe disposal of explosive remnants of war and landmines.
The ongoing HMA initiative includes various courses that combine classroom lectures on basic to intermediate EOD techniques, detailed ordnance classes, along with activities to implement the learned skills practically on the field.
As part of the latest activity, the 3rd EOD Company personnel were deployed to train a total of 28 TMAC students on how to eliminate landmines and unexploded ordinances.
3rd EOD Company HMA Thailand team leader and USMC gunnery sergeant Jeramie Pawloski said: “This level 1 and 2 is going to be challenging, but I’m confident that this is going to be the best one we’ve had so far.
“We are transitioning now. Marine Forces Pacific EOD is taking a smaller role and the TMAC Demining Training Center instructors are playing a bigger role – taking control of the classes, schedule and training.”
The US-Thailand HMA programme is active since 2013 and plays a crucial role in advancing common security interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
TMAC director general Supathat Narindarabhakdi said: “I hope that everyone will receive knowledge from Thai and US instructors and use all this knowledge to make them more proficient in their work.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
28 Nov 22. Dutch, US and Italian air forces conclude Falcon Strike exercise in Italy. The exercise allowed the forces to conduct various air combat operations with nearly 50 different types of aircraft.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) has completed a two-week-long trilateral air defence exercise, called Falcon Strike, in Italy.
This was announced by the Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a media release.
Concluded on 25 November, the exercise involved the participation of the RNLAF, the Italian Air Force, and the US Air Force (USAF).
It was primarily carried out at Amendola Air Force Base in southeastern Italy.
A part of the exercise was also conducted from five more Italian Air Force bases, a Sardinian shooting range and an Italian Navy ship.
The latest iteration of the exercise involved the participation of around 1,000 personnel from the US, Italy and the Netherlands.
The deployed forces carried out a series of operations with nearly 50 different types of aircraft to practise and hone their techniques, tactics and procedures.
The aircraft included F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets from the USAF, F-35 Lightning II aircraft from all three nations, and Italian Air Force’s tactical transport aircraft, helicopters and tanker aircraft.
RNLAF detachment commander major Mirko van Meerlant said: “Falcon Strike prepares our F-35 pilots to carry out missions against current and future threats worldwide.
“It was the first time Dutch F-35 jets participated in the annual Italian-led exercise. We look forward to practising more often with our Italian and US partners.”
According to the Dutch MoD, the recent activity allowed multinational forces to perform high-quality combat training with fifth-generation aircraft, including the F-35s.
It further allowed participants to train and operate together to strengthen the alliance.
Apart from the exercise, the Amendola base also hosted a strategic forum meeting of F-35 air chiefs last week, where the F-35 user nations discussed opportunities/challenges of fifth-generation aircraft in current combat scenarios. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
28 Nov 22. Elbit Systems UK’s ICAVS(D) delivers deployable and flexible synthetic training to British Army on exercise. Elbit Systems UK’s Interim Combined Arms Virtual Simulation (Deployable) (ICAVS(D)) has proved its agility and highly deployable capabilities on British Army exercises in Germany and Estonia after 8 months in service.
ICAVS(D) was deployed as part of Exercise CERBERUS 22 in November, one of the largest Field Army exercises in Europe for over a decade. The flexibility and immersion provided by ICAVS(D) provides extensive mission rehearsal in complex environments for both mounted and dismounted operations. ICAVS(D) is currently in use by British troops in Estonia as part of Operation CABRIT, where it is bolstering operational readiness in contribution to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence.
In April this year, ICAVS(D) came into service, providing a solution that is highly mobile and can be rapidly deployed by troops on exercise with systems configured to maximise soldiers’ use of physical space, allowing them to capitalise on precious live-fire training opportunities. Selected as a pathfinder project for the British Army’s Collective Training and Transformation Programme (CTTP), ICAVS(D) reached Full Operational Capability to schedule at the system’s 25th training event at Tidworth on Salisbury Plain in the summer.
ICAVS(D) uses the latest high-specification hardware and Defence Virtual Simulation Software to deliver immersive virtual tactical training in the Army’s Battlecraft Syllabus, enabling regular and reserve units to get the most out of subsequent live field training exercises.
Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK said: “The success of ICAVS(D) over the past 8 months is not only due to the rich and immersive training it facilitates, but also due to its rapid deployment and ease of configuration. By allowing troops to make the most of the time available to them, ICAVS(D) is a direct contributor to the preparedness of British Army personnel, having delivered 45 training events across 30 locations in the UK and Europe.”
28 Nov 22. QinetiQ, KBR and PA Consulting to work together on Programme to Deliver Transformative Next-Generation Collective Training to the British Army. QinetiQ, KBR and PA Consulting have formed Team Paladin to compete for the British Army’s upcoming Collective Training Transformation Programme (CTTP). CTTP is designed to deliver an integrated, expeditionary and digitalised Future Collective Training System (FCTS), allowing the Army to train globally where and when it needs. The system will be underpinned by a mutually beneficial relationship with a strategic training partner from industry.
Team Paladin is well positioned to work with the British Army and broader industry to prepare for FCTS. By drawing on the team’s collective expertise and experience in delivering programmes of global scale and complexity, designing and integrating collective training capability, and implementing digital and data-driven transformative solutions for defence customers, Team Paladin is looking to bring together the best of industry to transform the British Army’s collective training enterprise, improve the experience of soldiers and commanders, and adapt training at the speed of relevance to address global demands.
Christina Balis, Global Campaign Director for Training & Mission Rehearsal at QinetiQ said, “Building a long-term trusted relationship with the British Army starts with forming a strong, cohesive industry team that combines the right capabilities, collaborative behaviours and long-term commitment to the programme. We are delighted to be joining forces with KBR and PA as we look to jointly build the future Army-Industry team that will deliver greater flexibility, adaptability and innovation in land collective training.”
Geoff Maple, Strategic Development Director for the Land Environment at KBR said, “Alongside the British Army, KBR is proud to be developing the future of collective training by bringing the best capability to bear together with QinetiQ and PA. In support of the British Army, our joint team will deliver the most collaborative solutions that industry can offer. Building on our joint global scale, experience of the Front Line, dedicated collective training and data-driven approaches, we will offer soldier-focused support to the future of the British Army’s collective training.”
Paul Finley, Public Sector Defence Lead for PA Consulting said, “Supporting the ongoing modernisation of defence is at the heart of PA’s commitment to securing a positive human future. Collective training is a crucial element of ensuring military readiness to counter the threats of the future, and we are delighted to join QinetiQ and KBR to support modernisation and transformation of collective training. We are excited by the opportunity to bring end-to-end innovation, a wealth of sector expertise and our disruptive digital and data capabilities, in support of the British Army’s vision of future collective training needs.”
The Strategic Training Partner for the programme is expected to be in place in 2025. During the next two years, Team Paladin, in collaboration with broader industry, will refine and tailor their offering to meet the ever-evolving requirements of the British Army for a flexible and data-driven collective training capability.
25 Nov 22. Indian Air Force set to host joint HADR exercise Samanvay 22.
The exercise will see participation of multiple Indian organisations and ASEAN member nations.
The Indian Air force (IAF) is set to conduct the annual joint humanitarian and disaster relief exercise (HADR), called Samanvay 2022.
Announced by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), the latest iteration of Samanvay will be held at Air Force Station Agra, India, between 28 and 30 November.
It will involve the participation of stakeholders from various organisations across the country, along with representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member nations.
Apart from the Indian Armed Forces, the exercise will see the participation of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the National Disaster Management Authority, the National Institute of Disaster Management and the National Disaster Response Force.
Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, India Meteorological Department, Border Roads Organisation and other Civil Administration units will also take part in the drills.
According to the Indian MoD, the exercise will assess and hone the efficiency of contingency measures and institutional disaster management structures.
The exercise will provide a platform for the participants to exchange domain knowledge, practices and expertise with each other.
As part of this three-day engagement, the IAF will hold a seminar on disaster management, called ‘multi-agency exercise’, which will involve static and flying representations of the country’s several HADR air assets.
Other drills include a ‘tabletop exercise’ and a ‘capability demonstration event’, that will be held on 29 November in the presence of Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The MoD said that this activity will further promote the evolution of institutional frameworks and will enhance several skill sets, such as effective communication, cooperation, interoperability and implementation of all HADR procedures on the ground.
The MoD added in a statement: “Samanvay 2022 will promote a synergistic approach towards HADR by various national and regional stakeholders involved in disaster management.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
25 Nov 22. Largest SA Army exercise in decades wraps up.
More than 13 000 troops have taken part in the South African Army’s Exercise Vuk’uhlome at the Combat Training Centre in the Northern Cape, with the landmark exercise showcasing the capabilities of the five newly formed Modern Brigades. The military’s new camouflage uniform was also revealed for the first time.
The weeks-long exercise culminated in a mock battle and capability demonstrations coinciding with a Distinguished Visitors’ Day on 24 November, which was attended by Defence Minister Thandi Modise, senior Southern African Development Community defence force leaders, military attaches, members of the local defence industry, and other guests.
The South African Army said the divisional exercise is the largest executed since 1999 and showcased the capabilities of the newly formed Motorised, Mechanised, Airborne, Light, and Reserve Modern Brigades. The new brigade formations are designed and set up to respond to modern threats such as asymmetric warfare and were established in response to the current security situation. The modern brigade concept is cognisant of asymmetric and terrorism threats to South Africa.
Vuk’uhlome (‘rise and arm yourself’ in Zulu) tested the capability and status of readiness of the landward force, supported by SA Special Forces, the SA Air Force (SAAF), SA Military Health Service (SAMHS), Military Police Division, and Legal Services Division. Numerous capabilities were demonstrated during the exercise’s Distinguished Visitors’ Day, ranging from dealing with civil unrest to dropping airborne forces by parachute, precision rocket and artillery attacks, counter-insurgency operations, infantry attacks etc. The Special Forces and their weapons and vehicles played an important role in the simulated battle, which witnessed the involvement of armoured vehicles including Olifant main battle tanks.
The SA Air Force supported the exercise with Cessna Caravan and C212 transport aircraft along with Oryx and A109 transport/utility helicopters and a Rooivalk attack helicopter. The latter did not fire its weapons, but two Hawk Mk 120 lead-in fighter-trainers dropped bombs on the Lohatla range.
The exercise culminated in the handing over of the SA Army’s state of combat readiness by Army Chief Lawrence Mbatha to the Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
Addressing SANDF members and invited guests, Modise said that Exercise Vuk’uhlome is an indication of the preparedness and readiness of the military to protect South Africa. She said the Department of Defence intends to rejuvenate the SANDF and remove obstacles that inhibit its progress. This includes ensuring equipment is in good condition and that discipline prevails.
The SANDF is badly affected by massive underfunding compounded by a growing list of duties, as well as ageing equipment – it is not clear when it will be receiving its new Badger infantry fighting vehicles from Denel, but the SA Army has acquired some new hardware in recent years, some of which was on display during Exercise Vuk’uhlome. Recent acquisitions include sniper rifles from Truvelo, 40 mm grenade launchers from Milkor, Carl Gustaf recoilless rifles from Saab, Land Cruiser-mounted ZSU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun vehicles, and Scorpion 60/80 mm mortar vehicles.
Another new addition was the SANDF’s new camouflage uniform, which was officially launched during Exercise Vuk’uhlome. Designed to replace the ‘old fashioned’ uniform that does not cater for African or female body profiles, it was developed in conjunction with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Mbatha said the new uniform would help soldiers better blend in with their surroundings on deployments and that the new uniform will be rolled out across the defence force in stages.
Commenting on the capability and equipment of the South African National Defence Force, Modise told her audience on Thursday that, “I am confident we are doing everything in our power to ensure prime equipment is restored and upgraded…Those who think the Army is in decline are wrong. I have every confidence the SANDF can protect South Africa and its economy.”
The minister added that the Department of Defence is looking to reinvigorate the local defence industry. A sizeable defence industry exhibition formed part of Exercise Vuk’uhlome, with more than half a dozen companies exhibiting their wares. This included Reutech (radars and weapons turrets), Canvas and Tent (field accommodation), Rheinmetall Denel Munition (green energy), Global Command and Control Technologies (command and control solutions), Dinkwanyana Aerospace (unmanned aerial vehicles), OTT Solutions (armoured vehicles, including their Ratel Service Life Extension demonstrator) and Denel. The latter showcased its Badger and RG41 infantry fighting vehicles, RG21 and RG31 armoured personnel carriers and T5-52 self-propelled howitzer. SVI Engineering brought two of its armoured vehicles to the exhibition area (Max 3 and Max 9). The company has also supplied Scorpion mortar vehicles to the SANDF, but these were not used in the exercise.
Another highlight of the Exercise Vuk’uhlome Distinguished Visitor’s Day was the launch of a new publication showcasing the role of the SA Army, its recent achievements, and its structure and organisation. The 178-page coffee table publication is entitled ‘South African Army 2022-2022: Maintaining Momentum Despite Adversity.’ (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
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