13 Nov 23. New Uncrewed Undersea Capabilities Strengthen AUKUS Partnership. The UK, US and Australia have strengthened their maritime forces, introducing new uncrewed undersea vessels to extend the range and lethality of their warfare capabilities.
As part of the AUKUS partnership, the nations have taken part in a joint exercise off the east coast of Australia to test new equipment that will increase the protection of critical underwater infrastructure. During the exercise, Australia’s new Undersea Support Vessel, Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Guidance, hosted a range of undersea capabilities while they were tested at sea.
A recent addition to the Australian fleet, the ADV Guidance’s primary role is to support undersea and surveillance systems trials and includes the ability to host a small team of sailors as well as on-board and off-board systems, with both crewed and uncrewed capability. Earlier this month, Lieutenant General Rob Magowan, the UK’s Deputy Chief of Defence Staff for Military Capability, joined international representatives to witness the showcase of a range of advanced undersea capabilities deployed from ADV Guidance.
The UK’s Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Tamar, which is on a 5-year deployment to the Indo-Pacific, also played a key role in the exercise. HMS Tamar used a combination of divers and autonomous underwater vehicles to conduct mine countermeasure operations, and monitor critical infrastructure, including pipelines and communication cables.
Last week, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key visited Australia to address the Australian Sea Power Conference, discussing the UK’s commitment to the collective security of the region.
Key said: “The recent AUKUS trials and exercise demonstrate the advances being made possible by our tri-lateral collaboration under the partnership. It is hugely exciting to see the strength of our three nations, coming together through the AUKUS partnership to successfully develop and demonstrate a range of underwater capabilities that are crucial to ensuring safety and security in the region and more broadly.
AUKUS is a landmark security and defence partnership between Australia, the UK, and the US to support a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening regional global security. This exercise is a significant step forward for delivery of the undersea warfare capabilities work stream under the second pillar of AUKUS.
AUKUS Pillar 2 seeks to strengthen trilateral capabilities in cutting-edge military technologies, increase interoperability, and drive knowledge-sharing and innovation. AUKUS partners are developing a suite of advanced capabilities including autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, and other key technologies for the three AUKUS nations. Pillar 2 complements trilateral efforts under AUKUS Pillar 1 to deliver a conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarine capability to Australia.”
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AO, Royal Australian Navy, said:
“Submarines are critical to the defence of Australia. Our submarines, and other military assets, will increasingly work with autonomous systems below and on the surface of the ocean to extend range and lethality.
AUKUS Pillar Two is about delivering advanced capabilities, including through technologies that extend reach and range.
As we have seen in the Ukraine conflict, scalable autonomous and semi-autonomous systems have the capacity to transform warfighting. The Defence Strategic Review (DSR) identified asymmetric capabilities like these as critical in the defence and protection of the nation.
These technologies originate from a range of industries, like the off-shore oil and gas and communications industries. They have been modified to carry a military payload to become force multipliers, working in concert with our ships, submarines and aircraft, and to serve as a key deterrent.
What we get by working with industry in this way is speed, what we get by doing it together under the AUKUS partnership is scale, where the sum of the whole is greater than its parts.”
Admiral Samuel Paparo, U.S. Navy, the Commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, said:
“These exercises accelerate our combined development of advanced military capabilities. In a dynamic strategic environment and the escalation of competitors’ coercive activities, AUKUS is not just about the exchange of submarines and capabilities, it is an expansion of our continued trust in and commitment to our allies.
We are prioritizing capabilities that improve our warfighter’s ability to see, understand, decide and act – then work together to bolster integrated deterrence.
Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States are developing and fielding joint advanced military capabilities to promote security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The strategic alignment of our national defense strategies anchored by shared values is driving unprecedented collaboration in advanced technologies.
Our trilateral exercises develop and deliver interoperable, threat-informed capabilities key to the warfighter, and contribute to sustained defense industrial-based collaboration. Meanwhile, the AUKUS partners are investing in trilateral projects that are enhancing our scientific and technological capacity to build enduring advantages for the future.”
Earlier this month, the Australian Deputy Prime Minister joined the UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps on a visit to Rolls Royce in Derby – the location where the nuclear reactors will be built for the SSN-AUKUS submarines under the AUKUS collaboration. (Source: U.S. DoD)
13 Nov 23. China, Pakistan Hold Largest-Ever Joint Naval Drills. The largest-ever joint exercise between the Chinese and Pakistani navies began in Pakistan on Saturday as the two countries continue to enhance their capabilities in jointly safeguarding strategic sea lanes as well as regional peace and stability, experts said on Sunday.
The Sea Guardian-3 joint maritime exercise kicked off with an opening ceremony at the Karachi Naval Dockyard on Saturday morning, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on the day.
Participating forces from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy include the Type 052D guided missile destroyer Zibo, the Type 054A guided missile destroyers Jingzhou and Linyi, according to the CCTV report , with Pakistani media reporting that a conventional attack submarine and a submarine support ship along with a marines corps detachment from the PLA Navy are also involved.
Under the common aim of jointly responding to maritime security threats, the nine-day exercise in the waters and airspace of the northern Arabian Sea will organize training courses including formation maneuvering, VBSS (visit, board, search and seizure), helicopter cross-deck landing, joint search and rescue, joint anti-submarine and main gun shooting, plus professional exchanges and mutual visits.
It is the third and the largest edition of the Sea Guardian exercises, CCTV said. The first edition was held in 2020 in the northern Arabian Sea waters, and the second edition was held in 2022 in waters off Shanghai.
“The exercise is dedicated to enhance the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, boost defense cooperation and deepen professional cooperation,” said Rear Admiral Liang Yang, commander at a PLA Navy base and the general director of the exercise from the Chinese side, said at the opening ceremony.
Liang said he hopes the two navies can further enhance their joint operational capabilities in dealing with maritime security threats and safeguard maritime peace.
Admiral M Amjad Khan Niazi, chief of the naval staff of the Pakistan Navy, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview earlier this year that the Sea Guardian exercises serve the objectives of fostering interoperability and sharing professional experiences to deal with contemporary traditional and non-traditional security threats.
Wei Dongxu, a Chinese military expert, told the Global Times that China and Pakistan have common interests in jointly safeguarding strategic sea lanes in regions like the Indian Ocean, where piracy, terrorism and other dangerous activities pose threats to the maritime transport of energy and goods.
Joint drills like these also safeguard the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an important part of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, and comprehensively contribute to the peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region, an expert familiar with China-Pakistan military cooperation, told the Global Times under the condition of anonymity.
Outside of joint drills, China-Pakistan naval cooperation also includes high-level visits, expert talks, training exchanges and equipment cooperation.
In May, China wrapped up delivery of all four Type 054A/P guided missile frigates to the Pakistani Navy, with the Hangor-class submarines being built simultaneously in China and Pakistan.
Observers expect further in-depth cooperation between the PLA Navy and the Pakistan Navy in the future. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Global Times;)
03 Nov 23. In November 2023, under the name ADAPTIVE HUSSARS 2023, the Hungarian Defence Forces are going to hold a multinational domestic military exercise with the participation of NATO forces in order to test the defence capabilities of the country. “In the coming weeks, the Hungarian Defence Forces will be carrying out military operations on several spots around the country, with the objective of strengthening cooperation between the HDF and the civilian public administration”, announced Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky.
The minister pointed out that “we live in an era of dangers, when Europe is stricken with war, illegal migration and, alongside it, the threat of terrorism. To the government of Hungary, the most important things are to preserve peace and guarantee the security of Hungary and the Hungarian people. This can be achieved with the well-trained Hungarian Defence Forces, and for this reason, together with General Dr. Gábor Böröndi, Chief of HDF General Staff, we have ordered a military exercise under the name ADAPTIVE HUSSARS 2023 that will be more comprehensive than the earlier ones.”
The population must be advised that in the framework of this multinational exercise, increased military traffic will be moving on major and minor roads at several places in Hungary between 2 and 26 November. The Hungarian Defence Forces request all motor vehicle drivers to exercise due caution while approaching the military vehicles, because their size and speed, as well as the length of the convoys and their mode of travel differ from those usual in everyday public road traffic. No civilian cars are allowed to enter the closed march column, and therefore a number of escort vehicles will be used to ensure safe travel.
We request those travelling on the above-mentioned route to take into consideration current road conditions as well as weather and visibility conditions while driving in the proximity of military march columns in all cases. The Ministry of Defence will be informing the population about the process of the military exercise. We kindly request and appreciate the population’s understanding and patience for possible traffic-related and other inconveniences caused by the military exercise. (Source: www.joint-forcescom)
10 Nov 23. First-off-the-line T-7A Red Hawk jet arrives with USAF.
T-7A Red Hawk Jet known as APT-2, intended to replace the T-38, arrived at Edwards Air Force Base for testing. The First Boeing T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer arrived at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California, it was announced on 8 November 2023, to begin a developmental flight test campaign in the next phase of testing, aimed at replacing the 1960’s era Northrop T-38 Talon.
The T-7A is set to replace the T-38 aircraft, which has been in service since the 1960s. It will offer enhanced pilot training capabilities for aviators who are learning to fly both tactical and bomber aircraft.
This jet was the first production representative aircraft from the assembly line, and was delivered – following stops at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico., and Luke AFB, Arizona – by a joint team of Air Force and Boeing aircrew on 15 September.
“This is a pivotal moment for the T-7 program,” said Evelyn Moore, vice president and program manager, T-7 programs. “Bringing the T-7A Red Hawk to the heart of the U.S. Air Force’s test community at Edwards for dynamic flight testing will prove the jet’s performance as an agile and safe trainer for future pilots.”
In 2018, the Air Force granted Boeing a contract valued at $9.2bn for the procurement of 351 T-7A advanced trainers, along with 46 simulators and associated support.
“This arrival marks an exciting transition into the next phase of developmental flight” noted Maj. Jonathan Aronoff, T-7A test pilot. “The T-7A gives immense capability updates that will allow the Air Force to train the next generation of combat aviators. Success of first delivery is truly a testament to the joint USAF-industry team we have in place,” added Aronoff.
Once Air Force test pilots have gained a thorough understanding of the aircraft, they will gradually explore the flight envelope, beginning with flutter testing. Two additional Red Hawks will be joining the testing programme to further evaluate a range of flight attributes and systems, as part of our comprehensive testing process.
The T-7A team has been effectively utilising digital transformation through Distributed Test Operations since 2019 to enable a smooth networked capability between Boeing’s facilities in St. Louis and mission control rooms at Edwards. The T-7A Integrated Test Force is a part of the Airpower Foundations Combined Test Force at Edwards, working with the 416th Flight Test Squadron.
The test pilots have been preparing for their missions by practising through simulation. They will quickly commence flying up to three times a day, starting with APT-2 for envelope expansion testing before progressing to mission systems. The T-7A ITF will leverage a combination of Air Force and contractor-owned aircraft to efficiently introduce advanced capabilities for training the next generation of warfighters.
“Like most test programs, we’ll have discovery and we’ll overcome it quickly,” said Col. Kirt Cassell, division chief, U.S. Air Force, T-7A Red Hawk program. “This is the right team to go after any challenges we find.”
The Boeing T-7A Red hawk completed its first flight for the US Air Force in June this year. The name “Red Hawk” is a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen and their iconic red-tailed aircraft from World War II.
10 Nov 23. RAF, US and French Jets Practise Dispersal and Response to Simulated Attack to Base. Royal Air Force Typhoons working with French Rafale and US F-35 jets practised responding to an attack on their main operating bases.
The fighter aircraft were conducting missions together as part of Exercise Atlantic Trident when they were informed mid-air that their home bases had been denied and they were to disperse and relocate to RAF Leeming, Yorkshire.
“We deployed here at very short notice, without any preparation. We hadn’t planned how we were going to get here, where we’d be stationed or where our logistical support would be. This is now the new way of doing it, in order to face the peer threats that we are having at the moment,” said Lt Col Veuille, Commanding Officer of the French detachment.
After successfully relocating to a remote corner of the airbase, they established secure communications with HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Diamond to activate UK F-35s to provide support, and connected with Command and Control Centres on the ground and in the air to receive tasking orders; including counter-air missions to protect the Carrier Support Group.
“To ensure we are prepared for all scenarios, such as bases being denied or under threat, the RAF needs to be able to relocate our capabilities from their home bases to other locations. This joint UK/French exercise has been a huge success and has surpassed all expectations,” said Air Marshal Harv Smyth, Air and Space Commander.
Typhoons and F-35Bs showed their adaptability, with Typhoons switching their role mid-air from air-to-air patrol to air-to-surface attack.
The UK’s F-35s stayed on mission for 4 hours by ‘hot-pitting’ on the carrier – to refuel and simulate rearming with engines running. Jets remained airborne by being air-to-air refuelled by French MRTT, US KC-135 and RAF Voyager aircraft. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/RAF)