23 Aug 23. Positive Armed Forces training experience marred by ageing and sometimes unsafe facilities. Ofsted has today published its 15th annual report on the effectiveness of care and welfare arrangements for recruits, trainees and officer cadets (OCdts). Ten Armed Forces establishments, along with 6 Royal Air Force (RAF) University Service Units (USUs) and their headquarters, have been graded good for their initial training. However, significant problems with ageing infrastructure as well as poorly-fitting uniform and equipment threaten the overall experience of recruits, trainees and OCdts.
Read the ‘Effectiveness of care and welfare arrangements for recruits, trainees and OCdts in Armed Forces initial training’ report.
The report draws on evidence from 11 inspections of initial training establishments for Regular Service personnel as well as a combined inspection of 6 USUs and the University Air Station (UAS) headquarters operated by the RAF. This was the first time that inspectors had graded a combined unit and headquarters in a single inspection.
All establishments were found to be providing good-quality training as well as effective care and welfare arrangements. Soldiers, sailors and aviators at each establishment benefit from a wide range of opportunities and engaging activities, leaving them well prepared to become skilled and knowledgeable members of the Armed Forces.
However, as we reported last year, long-standing failures in facilities, infrastructure and resources remain. Inspectors observed buildings in poor condition at 4 establishments and several UAS units. At one establishment, Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC), inspectors noted examples of rotting infrastructure as the worst they have ever seen.
Despite concerns raised in last year’s report, problems also persist with uniform and equipment standards. Too many recruits, particularly smaller and female recruits, are not given suitable, properly fitting uniforms, body-armour and backpacks. This is affecting recruits’ morale and posing injury risks.
Ofsted has issued several recommendations for all training establishments including:
- Urgently improve the condition of training establishment infrastructure, accommodation and welfare and training facilities. This includes areas that are out of bounds to personnel because they are unsafe to use.
- Give commanding officers the support, guidance and funding they need to properly manage and maintain their failing infrastructure to make sure recruits, trainees, OCdts and staff can live and train in acceptable conditions.
- Give recruits, trainees and OCdts military equipment and clothing at the appropriate time and make sure that items fit properly. In particular, give female personnel correctly fitting uniform and specialist equipment such as rucksacks and body armour.
His Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, said: “Senior commanders and their teams should be proud of their inspection results that reflect the high-quality training and support they are providing to such a valuable group of people. However, we have yet again reported evidence of sub-standard and sometimes unsafe buildings and facilities, within which our recruits are expected to complete their training. I urge senior colleagues in the MoD to take urgent action to provide our young Services personnel with the facilities, infrastructure and resources they need to flourish and work safely.”
All inspections were carried out between October 2022 and May 2023.
23 Aug 23. Dstl leads the Army’s largest ever force development war game.
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has led the Army’s largest ever force development war game and collaboration.
Army Wargame 23 (AWG23) tested a new UK Army approach to future operations. Known as the ‘Land Operating Concept’, it looked at redesigning combat power with an aim to protect and advance UK and international interests.
The 9-week war game involved more than 250 participants. It created a diverse team of experts including international partners, industry and academics, and was viewed by senior Ministry of Defence (MOD) officials.
4 fictitious mission scenarios were exercised which examined a variety of force structures in order to help the Army understand aspects critical to delivering a battle-winning operating concept.
Senior Army officials made a special visit to the event which included Major General James Bowder (Director Futures, Army HQ) who hosted Chief of the General Staff (CGS) General Sir Patrick Sanders.
General Bowder said: “This event shows evidence of the great work that has been going on ‘behind the scenes’ and the compelling insights and results achieved. I am very proud of the work and the relationship we have with Dstl.”
Addressing attendees General Sir Patrick Sanders commented: “These are the most useful and evidenced insights I have ever seen from war gaming. The collaboration with international partners has led to the success of AWG23. The UK armed forces very rarely go into operations entirely alone, and so international involvement and contribution has been crucial to understand how allies will operate together in the future.”
Sarah Knight, a Senior Principal Operational Research analyst for Dstl, said: “International contribution enables us to use their areas of expertise which gives us a richer picture of how we can operate together in the future. Together we have looked at multi domain integration relating to different technologies we all share – and that has been extremely valuable.”
The US provided a number of personnel which looked at deep shaping for a UK division involved in close combat.
Colonel Matthew Olson from US Army Futures Command said: “The ability to share new ideas with our UK colleagues is very valuable to us; the environment, techniques and the exchange of information has been second to none. Having the ability to overlay our concepts with UK concepts, specifically seeing how to conduct and improve joint operations and each other’s perspectives with our close allies is invaluable.”
19 Aug 23. Red Cat Names Tough Stump Technologies as DoD Training Provider. Red Cat Holdings, Inc., a drone technology company integrating robotic hardware and software for military, government and commercial operations, today announces Tough Stump Technologies as its primary training provider for customers including the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
Tough Stump, a situational awareness systems company, will also consult on ATAK app integration for Red Cat systems, and on testing and evaluation of new product capabilities. In addition, Red Cat will support Tough Stump in further expanding the Tough Stump Rodeo, an innovative trade show and conference where mission-technology solutions are demonstrated in the field, instead of a convention center.
“Tough Stump is a trusted partner for Red Cat because it’s a veteran-owned business with more than 150 years of combined experience across all branches of the U.S. military,” said George Matus, CEO of Red Cat subsidiary Teal Drones. “Red Cat’s new military-grade drone, the Teal 2, is the smartest choice for sUAS missions, and Tough Stump has the testing and training expertise to prepare our customers for mission success.”
DoD-approved as Blue UAS and now available to purchase through the U.S. government’s GSA Advantage website, the Teal 2 is designed to Dominate the Night™ as the world’s leading sUAS for night operations. The Teal 2 is the first sUAS to be equipped with Teledyne FLIR’s new Hadron 640R sensor, providing end users with the highest resolution thermal imaging in a small form factor. The Teal 2 also offers the latest intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technology.
At the 2023 Tough Stump Rodeo, held in remote Montana in June, Tough Stump worked with Red Cat to integrate the Teal 2 into the ATAK app, command and control the drone using the UAS Tool within ATAK, and disseminate intelligence test data to 12 countries around the world.
The Tough Stump Rodeo is designed for military and government professionals seeking technology solutions to increase mission effectiveness while improving the safety of personnel. The event’s location, near Alder, Montana, simulates challenging mission environments over a 40-mile area, and has limited internet access, which provides opportunities for testing radio communication systems.
“Tough Stump Rodeo is a first-of-its-kind trade show where solutions are stress-tested in real-world conditions and there are no salespeople because the technology has to sell itself,” said Tough Stump Co-Founder and COO Ben Brown. “Attendees tell us the rodeo sets the standard for what a trade show should be, and Tough Stump looks forward to working with Red Cat to continue growing the event in 2024.”
The fourth annual Tough Stump Rodeo will be held in June 2024. (Source: UAS VISION)
18 Aug 23. Indian Navy strengthens maritime ties through exercise with UAE Navy. INS Visakhapatnam and INS Trikand will participate in a joint naval partnership exercise in Dubai.
The Indian Navy’s INS Visakhapatnam and INS Trikand have embarked on a collaborative maritime partnership exercise with the UAE Navy, bolstering interoperability and cooperative efforts between the two nations in addressing everyday challenges such as piracy, smuggling, and humanitarian relief operations.
In a display of bilateral naval cooperation, two Indian Naval Ships, INS Visakhapatnam and INS Trikand, arrived at Port Rashid, Dubai, to participate in a planned bilateral Naval Maritime Partnership Exercise alongside the UAE Navy.
Rear Admiral Vineet McCarty, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, led the joint effort to enhance the synergy and professionalism of both naval forces.
The exercise, which took place after two days of planning, aimed to bolster the tactical, technical, and procedural cross-training between the two naval powers.
This joint venture seeks to solidify the foundation of mutual understanding and collaboration, paving the way for shared strategies and tactics. Moreover, it aims to foster stronger professional bonds, ultimately contributing to greater regional maritime security.
During his visit, Rear Admiral McCarty engaged with Brigadier Abdullah Farj Al Mehairbi, the UAE Naval Forces Deputy Commander at Abu Dhabi Naval Command. The two naval forces expressed their commitment to joint humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, demonstrating their readiness to respond to critical situations.
Highlighting the strategic significance of this partnership, Rear Admiral McCarty also met with H.E. Shri Sunjay Sudhir, the Ambassador of India to the UAE. The admiral discussed the roadmap of Navy-to-Navy cooperation between India and the UAE, emphasising the growth of defence relations guided by the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership shared between the two nations.
Constructed by the Mazagaon Docks Limited, INS Visakhapatnam stands as one of the largest operational destroyers in the Indian Navy, representing a feat of indigenous engineering and design. Meanwhile, INS Trikand, commissioned in 2013, showcases advanced stealth technology.
This joint naval exercise is a testament to the growing cooperation and synergy between the Indian Navy and the UAE Navy. Both nations join forces to address shared maritime challenges and pave the way for a more secure and stable regional environment.
The exercise is a step toward strengthening ties and enhancing maritime security for the mutual benefit of India and the UAE. (Source: naval-technology.com)