12 Oct 23. UK agrees to send a reinforcement brigade to Estonia for 2025 exercise. On the fringes of the latest Nato defence ministers’ meeting, the UK and Estonian Defence Ministers agreed to build on their existing military co-operation.
According to an 11 October press release, the Estonian Ministry of Defence announced that it will build on its existing defence ties with the UK by allocating a British brigade to Estonia that will also participate in a military exercise due to take place in 2025.
On the sidelines of the latest Nato defence ministers’ meeting the UK Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps, and the Estonian Defence Minister, Hanno Pevkur, signed a long-term agreement that will integrate their forces according to Nato regional plans.
Britain’s presence in the EDF structure
“Already now, the British forces have been integrated into the Estonian Defence Forces [EDF] within the eFP [Enhanced Forward Presence] battlegroup, which is part of the EDF 1st infantry brigade (present in Estonia since 2017),” a spokesperson from the Estonian Ministry of Defence told Army Technology.
About 900 British personnel rotate on a continuous basis alongside Danish, French, and host nation Estonian forces.
Meanwhile the EDF is tasked with uniting the battles of the territorial defence forces, brigades and units from other commands and acts as a link between the allies and their military capabilities.
“In Vilnius, the decision was taken that the UK will embed British staff officers to the Estonian Division HQ and also support the development of the Estonian Division. (Source: army-technology.com)
12 Oct 23. China, Saudi Arabia Launch Joint Naval Special Operations Exercise. China and Saudi Arabia on Monday kicked off a joint naval special operations exercise in South China, with experts saying on Tuesday that the two countries have made such joint drills routine in a move to boost military cooperation as well as safeguard peace and stability.
The Blue Sword-2023 exercise was launched with an opening ceremony at a camp in Zhanjiang, South China’s Guangdong Province, on Monday, as hundreds of troops from both sides lined up and prepared for the joint drill, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy said in a press release on the day.
The goal of the exercise is to boost the mutual trust and friendly relations between the Chinese and the Saudi Arabian navies, enhance the participants’ capabilities in naval combat and comprehensively improve the joint operational capabilities of overseas armed rescue units, according to the press release.
Set under a scenario in which a commercial ship is hijacked, the exercise will task a China-Saudi Arabia joint naval special operations unit to conduct maritime assault and rescue, the PLA Daily reported on Tuesday.
The three-week joint exercise will be split into a basic training phase, a professional training phase and a comprehensive drill phase that features more than 20 training subjects, including live-fire shooting, fast roping from helicopters, cabins searches, underwater reconnaissance, sniping-on-command, and underwater explosives disarming, according to the PLA Navy press release and the PLA Daily report.
This is the second edition of the Blue Sword series joint exercise and the first one held in China. The first edition, Blue Sword-2019, was held in 2019 in Saudi Arabia.
The holding of the second Blue Sword exercise indicates that China and Saudi Arabia have made this exercise routine, and through the drills, both countries’ navies can learn from each other’s strengths, analysts said, noting that Saudi Arabia follows a Western training doctrine, while China’s unique training system also has its own advantages.
Both Chinese and Saudi Arabian navies hold escort and anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia, and the joint naval special operations exercise can enhance the two navies’ level of combat training and further deepen pragmatic, friendly cooperation, Zhang Junshe, a Chinese naval expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
As training for overseas counter-terrorism operations, the drill will boost the two countries’ capabilities in safeguarding global maritime security and carrying out international obligations, which is conducive to peace and stability in the world, Zhang said.
“China has many overseas interests, including investments, cooperation projects and overseas nationals. Sea routes connecting the Middle East to China are also vital to China’s trade and fuel imports,” another Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Tuesday.
China is making concrete efforts to cooperate with related countries to build a safe and peaceful region that benefits all relevant parties, the expert said. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Global Times)
09 Oct 23. RAF Typhoon squadron partner in Malaysian for FPDA air defence. UK Typhoons have flown 7000 miles to Malaysia to participate in exercises with the Five Power Defence Arrangement partners. UK Typhoons have flown 7000 miles to participate in air defence scenarios with partner nations from the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore, it was announced by the Royal Air Force (RAF) on 7 October.
Over 2,300 military personnel from the FPDA are collecting in Malaysia for the Bersama Lima 2023 (BL23) Exercise from October 2 – 20. The field training exercise intends to train the FPDA defence countries in organising at the combined joint task force level.
The FPDA exists to proved an inter-connected approach to exercises in conventional war fighting and to strengthen coordination between allies, according to a statement from the Malaysian Ministry of Defence, as well as to allow a route to provide guidance and improve the capabilities of the armed forces from Malaysia and Singapore.
In August, the new British envoy to Malaysia identified opportunities to strengthen the defence partnership with Malaysia through the FPDA, first established in 1971 – the world’s second oldest military arrangement.
In a defence minister’s joint statement in 2020, the five partners of the FPDA reaffirmed their commitment to the series of agreements, welcoming the ‘growth in scope’ that has introduced elements of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as maritime security and counter-terrorism.
Defence agreements with Indo-Pacific partners are critical to the UK defence policy regarding the region, ensuring support for future joint operations. Under the terms of the FPDA, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) are co-tenants of Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Butterworth, an active air force station in Penang that hosts the Headquarters of the Integrated Area Defence System (HQIADS), the cornerstone of the FPDA, where a number of UK personnel are also stationed.
The UK’s only vitiable permanent commitment to the FPDA is the British Defence Singapore Security Unit that manage the wharf as Sembawang and the Senoko Oil Fuel Depot. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
12 Sep 23. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and Serco announced a strategic teaming agreement to advance the live, virtual and constructive (LVC) collective training solutions for the British Army’s Collective Training Transformation Programme (CTTP).
- Northrop Grumman coordinates and delivers complex, collective training exercise events that the British Army has participated in for over a decade, with 1,500 British servicemen and women joining in this year’s event.
- Northrop Grumman enables advanced networked training by seamlessly linking immersive training environments that mimic real-world scenarios, allowing military personnel to sharpen their skills in a safe yet realistic setting.
- Serco delivers training, engineering and infrastructure solutions; provides infrastructure support services for airport, port and military base operations; and enables world-class, whole lifecycle training for the armed forces.
Nick Chaffey, chief executive, U.K., Northrop Grumman: “We have long been a leader and pioneer in collective training capabilities, with many British servicemen and women already participating in Northrop Grumman-led exercises with the U.S. military. With Serco’s in-depth defence services expertise across the British Armed Forces, our team is uniquely capable of delivering solutions that will best prepare British military personnel for the challenges of the future.”
Doug Umbers, managing director, Serco’s U.K. defence business: “Serco has a long track record of partnering with the U.K. Ministry of Defence to deliver high quality services. Our dedicated people support the defence enterprise from back office to frontline operations. We are working with Northrop Grumman to fully understand the British Army’s requirements and deliver a solution based on our expertise and collective capabilities.”
Details on Collective Training Transformation Programme:
Using synthetic training environments, advanced data and connectivity solutions, CTTP will deliver a new technology-enabled training system — the Army Collective Training System (ACTS). Through ACTS, the British Army will train military personnel for the complex warfare scenarios of the future battlespace.
The collaboration between Northrop Grumman and Serco will bring together Northrop Grumman’s extensive experience in delivering cutting-edge training technologies, such as advanced LVC training and complex systems integration, and Serco’s capability to integrate services, including infrastructure management, real-life support and logistics. Together, the companies will develop innovative large-scale, soldier-centric training solutions to transform the British Army’s mission readiness.