26 Jan 23. Largest U.S.-Israeli Exercise in History Concludes.
Today marks the conclusion of exercise Juniper Oak 23.2.
This exercise was the largest U.S-Israel partnered exercise in history, said Deputy Pentagon Spokesperson Sabrina Singh, who held a news conference today.
Juniper Oak integrated U.S. and Israeli fifth-generation fighter assets, which are the most advanced and capable, she said.
The USS George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, which participated in the exercise, involved command and control elements, rescue and refueling aircraft and live fire exercises with more than 140 aircraft, and roughly 6,400 U.S. troops alongside more than 1,500 Israeli troops.
Today, the U.S.-Israel military partnership is stronger than it ever has been, and it continues to grow, stated Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command in a news release, while aboard the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier today.
“I’ve observed our forces alongside Israeli troops firing HIMARS and MLRS rockets, conducting maritime operations, executing highly complex flight operations, coordinating close air support, operating together on land, at sea and in the air,” Kurilla said, referring to the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and Multiple Launch Rocket System.
Juniper Oak 23.2 integrated unmanned aerial vehicles, strategic bombers, jet fighters and precision fires. U.S. and Israeli forces conducted long-range strikes, suppression of enemy air defense, electronic attacks, offensive counter and air interdiction, and air operations in the maritime domain. In four days, these troops dropped more than 180,000 pounds of live munitions, Kurilla said.
Logistical support and the command nodes involving the two nations were superb, he added.
“It’s remarkable that Israel’s transition to and partnership with U.S. Central Command is less than 18 months old. Our shared achievement is a testament to the leadership of the Israel Defense Forces and the enduring commitment of the Department of Defense’s most senior leaders to increase military cooperation. Only through a firm commitment to this partnership are we able to plan and organize such an incredibly complex high-end operation across such a large geographic area integrating all aspects of warfighting, some of which are seen and some of which are not,” Kurilla said.
Separately, Singh said that this week, the Marine Corps will reactivate Camp Blaz in Guam, part of an agreement with the Japanese government to reposition Marines from Okinawa, as well as contribute to the overall integrity of integrated deterrence and bolster U.S. operational security in the Indo-Pacific region. Camp Blaz will serve as a strategic hub and training area for joint forces, allies and partners in the region. “The Marine Corps has a deep history in Guam, and we are committed to continuing that strong relationship,” she added. (Source: US DoD)
26 Jan 23. QinetiQ GmbH Makes Strategic Investments by Enlarging its Fleet with DA62 and PC-9 B Aircraft. 24 January 2023: QinetiQ GmbH has recently enlarged its fleet with two new Diamond DA62 and nine PC-9 B aircraft, to support the delivery of Aerial Threat Representation capability for our German and wider European customers. The two Diamond DA62 aircraft have been configured for Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Built to specification to deliver critical customer capability, the DA62 ISR system, which provides airborne data acquisition on land and at sea, has been integrated into the two DA62MPP by QinetiQ and Hensoldt for use as an ISR or training platform by national and international customers.
In addition to the two DA62 MPP, nine Pilatus PC-9 B join the existing fleet. This brings QinetiQ’s fleet of owned Pilatus aircraft to a total of twelve PC-9 and two PC-12, further enhancing the provision of Aerial Training Services (ATS), specialized Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) and Close Air Support (CAS) training to the German Armed Forces and other international customers.
Graham Ollis, Managing Director at QinetiQ GmbH said “Germany and NATO forces need to maximise their defence capability and be fully prepared for all potential military engagements that can occur around the globe. Thanks to the strategic acquisition of these new aircraft, QinetiQ is able to deliver even more value to its customers. Equipped with some of the most highly technical equipment, these new aircraft are ready for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. This is an important step for us.”
The fleet of PC-9 and PC-12 aircraft, flown by highly skilled, military-trained pilots, deliver a range of services including target towing, close-air support, maritime air operations, ground control intercept training and air traffic control training. QinetiQ is the leading provider of operational live aerial training services to the German Bundeswehr. Over the past 20 years, QinetiQ has carried out more than 75,000 flight hours to support troops and considers itself a vital piece of the puzzle in protecting soldiers, through the delivery of this high-quality training.
25 Jan 23. Nigeria to locally manufacture Magnus light aircraft.
Nigeria’s government has allocated $5m towards the local assembly of Magnus light aircraft at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, while the Nigerian Air Force will be getting armed surveillance aircraft from Magnus Aircraft.
This was revealed by Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on 18 January. “I am happy to announce today is the reality; we will indeed assemble the Magnus aircraft and will continue to do so and not too distant future by God’s grace; the industry of civil aviation will begin to manufacture right here in the country aircraft,” Sirika is reported by Voice of Nigeria as saying.
The Hungarian-based Magnus will “very soon” begin assembling the aircraft, to be used for training in Nigeria. The timeframe for the 2.3bn Naira project is 18 months.
“I think the Nigerian Air Force and the air forces around the region will be interested and excited by this development; we are taking the lead in civil aviation,” Sirika said.
The first two aircraft are planned to be completed by May at the site in Zaria, Kaduna State. Nigeria will assemble Magnus’s Sentinel locally while Magnus will supply dozens of its aerobatic Fusion UL training aircraft.
The agreement for the assembly and sale of Fusion UL aircraft with the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology was signed in May 2022, Business Day reports. The College flies Diamond, Socata, and Beech aircraft. Established in 1964, it is funded by the Civil Aviation Department in the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Aviation.
A month ago, Magnus Aircraft reported that it had flown a Fusion aircraft (HA-XCN) from Hungary to Nigeria over nine days, covering 7 680 km. “The exciting flight took place for a very important reason: the Magnus test aircraft is now flight testing specially in the African climate. Thanks to the first Nigerian aircraft, our presence in West Africa is now tangible,” the company said.
The deal with Magnus has roots to 2021, when the company expressed its willingness to work with Nigeria in advancing its aviation goals. In August that year a Nigerian delegation visited the Magnus Aircraft facility in Hungary.
The Nigerian Air Force, meanwhile, will be getting three Magnus MF 212 surveillance attack aircraft, with 2.7 bn Naira ($6 m) listed in the 2023 budget proposal for these aircraft.
Belarussian company BVST (Belspetsvneshtechnika) has developed the Fusion into the MF 212 armed aircraft ideal for homeland security, surveillance and patrol tasks. It can apparently be fitted with an iSKY-30 HD electro-optical gimbal, and R-60-NT-L or R-60-NT-T-2 missiles. Although BVST has not provided any detail on its development of the aircraft, Greek company International Armour lists the BVST MF 212 in its sale catalogue. BVST has previously worked with the Nigerian Air Force, providing maintenance for Mi-35 helicopters as well as training. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
23 Jan 23. U.S., Israel launch week of major military exercises. The United States and Israel on Monday launched what one U.S. official described as the allies’ most significant joint military exercise to date, involving thousands of forces, a dozen ships and 142 aircraft, including nuclear-capable bombers.
The “Juniper Oak” drills, which will run through Friday, are meant to demonstrate and deepen integration between the U.S. and Israeli militaries, the senior U.S. defense official said, and come at a time of growing tension over Iran’s nuclear program.
Although the drills will likely draw interest from Tehran, the U.S. official said there would be no mockups of Iranian targets and that the exercises weren’t oriented around any particular adversary.
“I do think that the scale of the exercise is relevant to a whole range of scenarios, and Iran may draw certain inferences from that,” the official acknowledged.
“It’s really meant mostly to kick the tires on our ability to do things at this scale with the Israelis against a whole range of different threats.”
The exercises will include live-fire exercises and involve 6,400 U.S. forces, many of which will be aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush strike group. Some 450 troops on the ground in Israel, the official said.
Beyond B-52 bombers, the U.S. aircraft will include F-35s, F-15s, F-16s and F-18s. Drills will take place over large distances, involving land, sea, air and space, the official said.
The planning for the exercises began only a couple of months ago, before conservative Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regained top office on Dec. 29.
Israel has opposed U.S. President Joe Biden’s attempts to revive the Iran nuclear deal, concerned that it would not stop Tehran’s development of a nuclear weapon.
But those negotiating efforts have been set aside for now while Washington pressures Iran to stop providing drones to Russia for use in its war against Ukraine and seeks to stop a crackdown on Iranian demonstrators.
The senior U.S. official said America’s commitment to Israel’s security was “ironclad.”
“We have Israeli governments of one flavor or the other. They come and go. But what doesn’t change is our ironclad commitment to Israel’s security,” the official said.
“So this is a sign that we continue to have Israel’s back at a time where there’s a lot of turbulence and instability across the region.”
The Iranian nuclear program remains a concern.
“I think it’s fair to say Iran’s nuclear program is more advanced now than it’s ever been. Their breakout time lines are more compressed. Their knowledge and know-how has gone up,” the official said. “So the challenge has gone up.”
The official said the drills would show how the United States could effectively surge large numbers of battle-ready forces into the Middle East, even as Washington focuses on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and intensifying competition with China.
“As our adversaries and competitors are sizing up the U.S. military, I suspect they will take note of our ability to do this because, frankly, no other military on Earth could do this,” the official said. “Not while they’re doing everything else that we’re doing around the globe.” (Source: Reuters)
23 Jan 23. Russian warship armed with hypersonic missiles to join drills with China, S. Africa. A Russian warship armed with new-generation hypersonic cruise weapons will participate in joint exercises with the navies of China and South Africa in February, the Russian state agency, TASS, said on Monday.
It was the first official mention of the participation by the frigate, “Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov,” which is armed with Zircon missiles.
The missiles fly at nine times the speed of sound, with a range of more than 1,000 km (620 miles), Russia says. They form the centrepiece of its hypersonic arsenal, along with the Avangard glide vehicle that entered combat duty in 2019.
“‘Admiral Gorshkov’ … will go to the logistic support point in Syria’s Tartus, and then take part in joint naval exercises with the Chinese and South African navies,” the agency said, citing an unidentified defence source.
On Thursday, the South African National Defense Force said the drills, to run from Feb. 17 to Feb. 27 near the port city of Durban and Richards Bay, aim “to strengthen the already flourishing relations between South Africa, Russia and China.”
The exercise will be the second involving the three countries in South Africa, after a drill in 2019, the defence force added in its statement.
The “Gorshkov” held exercises in the Norwegian Sea this month after President Vladimir Putin sent it to the Atlantic Ocean in a signal to the West that Russia would not back down over the war in Ukraine.
Russia sees the weapons as a way to pierce increasingly sophisticated U.S. missile defences that Putin has warned could one day shoot down its nuclear missiles. (Source: Reuters)
19 Jan 23. Indra develops the third NH90 helicopter simulator for the Spanish Air and Space Force to join the two previously delivered. Indra has been awarded the contract for the development and supply of a new FMS (Full Mission Simulator) for the most advanced helicopter of the Armed Forces, the NH90, for the Spanish Air and Space Force, for an amount of 19.2 m Euros.
This is the third simulator of these characteristics that the company is developing, intended for the Cuatro Vientos air base in Madrid, on this occasion, and it will join the two already operating at CESIHEL, one of the most advanced helicopter simulation centres in Europe, implemented by Indra for the Spanish Army Airmobile Force at the Agoncillo base (La Rioja).
One of the important features of this state-of-the-art NH90 simulator architecture is that it is based on the use of real on-board avionics equipment, which provides the greatest realism during training and ensures that future aircraft evolutions are easily replicable in the FMS. Thanks to its fidelity to the aircraft and its behaviour, the simulator will reduce the number of real flight hours required to ensure the best training and education of pilots by 40%, as well as advanced tactical training crews need to take on missions with the utmost safety and efficiency, interoperating with a multitude of systems, just as in the real world.
This is made possible by the simulator’s ability to replicate scenarios with all types of threats within any imaginable training condition, thus avoiding putting people and the aircraft at risk, and allowing pilots and crew to practise complex manoeuvres and manage stress in emergency situations. The simulator also faithfully reproduces all possible weather conditions, both day and night, and allows the use of the helicopter’s actual image intensifier tubes (IITs) for flight simulation using night vision goggles (NVG).
Another functionality of the FMS system is a networked simulation architecture, based on the HLA (High Level Architecture) standard, which provides for joint tactical training in a mission from several simulators simultaneously, located at different bases and with a range of aircraft models and platforms. In this way, NH90 helicopter pilots can train on the same mission from different bases, which the Cuatro Vientos base in Madrid will be able to join thanks to the new simulator.
“Beyond instructing in the proper handling of an aircraft, joint tactical training is becoming increasingly important, allowing professionals to prepare for mission fulfilment in a real-world-like environment, interacting with other crews and becoming familiar with the increasingly numerous and complex systems that make up the combat cloud. Thanks to the Ministry of Defence’s commitment to incorporating the latest technologies in helicopter simulation for the Armed Forces, the NH90 simulator has already proven its effectiveness in this regard,” explains Rafael Junco, Indra’s Director of Simulation. (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
20 Jan 23. RAF deploys personnel and aircraft for exercise Red Flag in US. The exercise will allow participating forces to enhance their capabilities to operate in a high-threat battlespace.
Personnel and air assets from the UK Royal Air Force (Raf) have been deployed to take part in a large-scale exercise in the US.
The Red Flag training exercise aims to assess and validate the capabilities of the participating forces to operate in a complex air combat environment.
The UK RAF has deployed a large detachment of around 300 personnel, including RAF Lossiemouth-based No. II Army Co-operation Squadron and their Typhoon fighter jets, as well as RAF Brize Norton-based No. 10 and 101 Squadron with their Voyager aircraft.
The deployed troops also include the RAF ground support personnel.
Exercise Red Flag’s latest iteration will be conducted from the USAF’s Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, US, and will continue until mid-February.
UK RAF detachment commander group captain Roger Elliott said: “After months of build-up and preparation by the Squadrons and Air A7, Exercise Red Flag is underway.
“This is the most rigorous training that the Royal Air Force participates in. Everyone deployed to Nellis will learn how to do their job under the most testing conditions, in the world’s best combat training environment; this is an enormous opportunity to prepare for the most difficult operations with our US and Australian allies.”
During the exercise, the RAF’s Typhoon jets will be joined by the fighter aircraft from the US and Australian forces from the US Air Force (USAF), Navy and Marine Corps, as well as the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The exercise will allow all the participating combat aircraft and forces to operate with simulated ground-based air defence systems and other aggressor aircraft, which will replicate various planned cyber-based and space-based adversaries and peer threats. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
20 Jan 23. US and Sri Lanka commence CARAT/MAREX Sri Lanka 2023.
The exercise is designed to boost regional security cooperation and maritime partnerships between the US and Sri Lanka.
Naval forces of the US and Sri Lanka have officially commenced the bilateral exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Carat)/Marine Exercise (MAREX) Sri Lanka 2023.
The exercise, which is currently underway, commenced on 19 January in Sri Lanka’s capital city Colombo.
It was marked by an opening ceremony led by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) deputy chief of staff and Operations director general rear admiral Pradeep Rathnayake and US Navy Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 deputy commodore captain Sean Lewis.
Lewis said: “CARAT/MAREX Sri Lanka is designed to exchange ideas as well as tactics.
“We will practice interoperability and strengthen our interpersonal relationships — both at sea and in port.”
This year’s exercise will continue to take place ashore in Colombo and from SLN’s bases in Trincomalee and Mullikulam. However, the sea phase exercise will take place in Laccadive Sea.
CARAT/MAREX Sri Lanka 2023 will involve participation of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Maldives National Defence Force, the US Navy and Marine Corps as well as the SLN and Sri Lanka Air Force.
It is the 28th iteration of the CARAT series, which has been designed to strengthen the collaborative capabilities of the two nations to address various maritime security threats in the Indo-Pacific region.
Among the participating assets from the SLN are offshore patrol vessels SLNS Gajabahu (P 626) and SLNS Vijayabahu (P 627).
Meanwhile, the US has deployed its 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), aboard San Antonio-class ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23), P-8A Poseidon aircraft and personnel from DESRON 7, Amphibious Squadron 7, Seventh Fleet and Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72, 73, 76/3.
The two forces will undertake several air defence drills, small boat operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.