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28 Aug 19. A new US Army network could also help training. The U.S. Army is undergoing a major technology shift affecting how soldiers prepare for battle. Core to the Army’s modernization effort is the implementation of a Synthetic Training Environment (STE) combining many different performance-demanding components, including virtual reality and training simulation software.

The STE’s One World Terrain (OWT) concept is comprised of five different phases from the initial point of data collection to final application. During phase four, data is delivered to wherever soldiers are training (for example, the Fort Irwin National Training Center). Raw data is used to automatically replicate digital 3D terrains so soldiers can experience potential combat situations in virtual reality through the Army’s OWT platform before setting foot on a battlefield.

Often, this information needs to be delivered quickly in advance of upcoming missions, and instructors need to be able to take comfort in the fact that the information is complete and accurate. In short, they need the system to perform consistently and reliably.

Unfortunately, that’s not a given, especially with a system this resource- and bandwidth-intensive. The massive amounts of data being transmitted would heavily tax any network, but the challenge becomes compounded when the effort is overlaid on top of an already complex network such as the Army’s.

Making One World Terrain work

For the STE to work as expected, the Army’s IT team should consider implementing an advanced form of network monitoring focused specifically on bandwidth optimization. The Army’s objective with OWT is to provide soldiers with as accurate a representation of actual terrain as possible, right down to extremely lifelike road structures and vegetation. Transmitting that amount of information can create network performance issues and bottlenecks. IT managers must be able to continually track performance and usage patterns to ensure their networks can handle the traffic.

With this practice administrators may discover areas that can be optimized to accommodate the rising bandwidth needs presented by the OWT. For example, their monitoring may uncover other applications, outside of those used by the STE, unnecessarily using large amounts of bandwidth. They can shut those down, limit access, or perform other tasks to increase their bandwidth allocation, relieve congestion, and improve network performance, not just regarding STE resources but across the board.

Delivering a consistent user experience

One of the Army’s primary objectives is to deliver a consistent user experience to STE participants. A soldier navigating a VR terrain from Fort Irwin should be able to see the same rock formations, buildings, and other landmarks as someone based out of the 4th Infantry Division in Fort Carson, Colorado.

But every complex IT infrastructure has potential hidden components that could play havoc with the network’s ability to deliver the desired user experience. There might be multiple tactical or common ally networks, ISPs, agencies, and more, all competing for resources and putting strain on the system. Byzantine application stacks can include solutions from multiple vendors, not all of which may play nice with each other. Each of these can create their own problems, from server errors to application failures, that can directly affect the information that is provided to soldiers in training.

To ensure a consistent and reliable experience, administrators should take a deep dive into their infrastructure. Monitoring database performance is a good starting point because it allows teams to identify and resolve issues that can cause suboptimal performance. Server monitoring is also ideal, especially if it can monitor servers across multiple environments, including private, public, and hybrid clouds.

These practices should be complemented with detailed application monitoring that provides a clear view of all the applications within the Army’s stack. Stacks tend to be complicated and sprawling, and when one application fails, the others are affected. Gaining unfettered insight into the performance of the entire stack can ward off problems that may adversely affect the training environment.

Through training and beyond

These recommendations can help well beyond the STE. The Army is clearly a long way from the days of just using bugle calls, flags, and radios for communication and intelligence. Troops now have access to a wealth of information to help them be more intelligent, efficient, and tactical, but they need reliable network operations to receive that information. As such, advanced network monitoring can help them prepare for what awaits them in battle—but it can also support them once they get there. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

29 Aug 19. Australia, China and US military forces begin Exercise KOWARI 2019. Australia, China and the US have started an annual trilateral military exercise, KOWARI, in North Queensland, Australia.

Originally beginning in 2014, Exercise KOWARI is now in its sixth edition. This is the third time the Australian Army’s 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment (51 FNQR) is hosting the exercise.

The survival training exercise involves a series of training activities such as hiking, sea kayaking, mountaineering and canyoneering.

Running from 28 August until 5 September, the exercise will help build mutual understanding and trust among personnel belonging to the militaries of the three participating countries.

Australian Army chief lieutenant general Rick Burr said: “The Australian Army is committed to working cooperatively with our international partners.

“Exercise KOWARI will enable important people-to-people connections between counterparts as they work together to complete a series of physically and mentally challenging training activities.

“By holding exercises such as KOWARI, we promote friendship and cooperation between Australia, the US and China, enhancing the security of our region.”

During the exercise, forces are provided training in the basic principles, techniques and equipment to improve survival prospects in challenging conditions.

Last year’s iteration of exercise KOWARI saw soldiers and marines from the Australian Army, the Chinese Marine Corps, the US Army and the US Marine Corps participate in joint exercises in Cairns, Australia.

Exercise KOWARI 2019 closely follows Hari’i Hamutuk multilateral exercise that began recently in Timor-Leste.

More than 220 troops are taking part in the four-nation Hari’i Hamutuk exercise. Australia, the US, Timor-Leste, and Japan are the participating countries.

The exercise will involve construction and maintenance projects to boost Timor-Leste’s defence capability. (Source: army-technology.com)

28 Aug 19. Royal Navy warships to form ‘ring of steel’ as F-35s make debut. HMS Northumberland left Plymouth yesterday to take part in Cutlass Fury 2019 sub hunt – before joining HMS Dragon and Plymouth Royal Marines on HMS Queen Elizabeth guard duty. The Royal Navy is preparing a ‘ring of steel’ to protect its £3.1bn pound aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as she embarks British F-35 Lightning stealth fighters for the first time.

Plymouth-based Type 23 frigate HMS Northumberland and Portsmouth based Type 45 Destroyer HMS Dragon – along with Royal Marines  from Plymouth, helicopters from RNAS Culdrose and RNAS Yeovilton and huge new tanker RFA Tideforce – will all join the future flagship as she conducts training off the coast of the USA on her Westlant 19 deployment.

A Royal Navy spokesperson said: “It’s the first duty of Northumberland to shield the carrier task force from the prying eyes of hostile submarines as Queen Elizabeth embarks British front-line F-35 Lightning stealth fighters for the first time.

“Joining her in the ring of steel around the 65,000-tonne carrier will be Type 45 air defence destroyer HMS Dragon, Merlin helicopters from RNAS Culdrose and RNAS Yeovilton, as well as Wildcats from 815 Naval Air Squadron.

“RFA Tideforce will provide tanker support – fuel, stores, food and fresh water if necessary – and Lima Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, based in Plymouth and a medical team will also be embarked in the carrier.”

However, before joining HMS Queen Elizabeth,  HMS Northumberland – which sailed from Plymouth yesterday –  is heading for Halifax to take part in the biggest sub hunt in the North Atlantic this year.

The frigate faces a 3,000-mile journey to Nova Scotia to join forces with other like-minded warships taking part in Cutlass Fury 2019.

A Royal  Navy spokesperson said: “Every few years the Canadian Atlantic Fleet invites NATO navies to hunt submarines in the challenging waters – busy, cold, deep, prone to fog and, in the spring and early summer, icebergs – off their Eastern Seaboard

“Cutlass Fury 2019 is the largest such workout since the mid-1990s with 22 warships from Canada, the USA, UK, Spain, France and Germany committed to the 11-day exercise, alongside jets, helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft.

“The exercise will focus on tactical training – the nitty-gritty of a submarine hunt – meshing different practices, equipment and ideas so that all participants can work seamlessly together.

“And to ensure that Cutlass Fury is not all one-way traffic, some of the surface ships will become the hunted as the submarine crews hone their skills.

“For good measure, air defence, board and search and amphibious operations are also included to test personnel on and above the waves, as well as beneath them.

“Cutlass Fury leads into Northumberland’s principal mission of the autumn, taking her place in HMS Queen Elizabeth’s carrier strike group as the future flagship conducts training off the coast of the USA on her Westlant 19 deployment.”

Commander Alexandra Pollard, HMS Northumberland’s Commanding Officer, said: “Everyone on board HMS Northumberland is very keen to be going on this deployment.

“I have some very junior sailors, and this will be their first time away, as well as many seasoned hands on board It’s an exciting time and it’s what we joined the Royal Navy to do.

“Working as part of the Carrier Strike Group for the first time and alongside the other UK units is a real privilege. I spent a lot of my time on the old Type 42 destroyers working with Harriers and to witness that progression to the F-35s is a real honour for me.”

Commodore Rob Bellfield, Commander Devonport Flotilla, said: “HMS Northumberland joining the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike task group is a key milestone in developing the integrated task group capability that will be the centrepiece of Royal Navy operations for the future.” (Source: News Now/https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/)

29 Aug 19. Aussie SME GaardTech reveals destroyable robotic tank target. Brisbane-based GaardTech has officially revealed its 3D robotic tank target, which is capable of 30 kilometres of cross country movement and can be operated remotely or autonomously as part of a larger enemy formation.

GaardTech will be exhibiting as part of Team Defence Australia at MSPO, DSEI and AUSA to showcase Australian made advanced training systems to Europe and the US, where they aim to partner expand in the coming years.

“The constant push to innovate and advance our target offering as been challenging but very pleasing, and return ADF customers have been impressed after attending robotic tank target demonstration days at our Brisbane factory,” Steen Bisgaard, founding director of GaardTech commented.

“This is a sign that we are truly enabling advanced training design and as a small firm, are leading the market in terms of cost-effective design and end-user understanding.”

Bisgaard explained the growing importance of highly capable and adaptable targets, saying, “Militaries no longer need expensive and borderline relic infrastructure training systems to run basic live-fire training scenarios. Furthermore, as was demonstrated on the RAAF’s Diamond Storm 19 and the Australian Army/USMC Talisman Sabre HIMARS shoot, more than just AFV’s and tanks benefit from GaardTech’s offering.”

“This year we have seen ARH-Tiger, F-18s, HIMARS, M777 and a number of surveillance systems gain exposure to GaardTech’s 2D and 3D targets,” Bisgaard added.

GaardTech is an Australian-owned, veteran founded defence innovation company. Its product offerings range from full size, highly detailed metal 2D tank and AFV targets to full-size metal 3D robotic military targets, which all contain active thermal cells.

What makes these metal military targets so innovative is their flat-packed transportation and shipping method, which sees 10 T-80 full-size tank targets packed into one 20-foot intermodal container. Finally, they are able to be hand-assembled with no specialist tooling or lift equipment, enabling simple range set up and disassembly.

They have been proven to withstand the punishment of the 120mm cannon, and provide training value and training design opportunities as they do not require fixed range infrastructure.

Defence Connect spoke with Steen Bisgaard of GaardTech in 2018 to discuss the role of the company’s target training systems in enhancing the combat capabilities of the ADF. (Source: Defence Connect)

28 Aug 19. The USS Gravely took part in PASSEX with Denmark’s HMDS Absalon for a passing exercise in the Arctic circle.  The Arleigh Burke-class USS Gravely and command and support ship HMDS Absalon completed the PASSEX passing exercise off the coast of Greenland. The operation tests cooperation, communication, and interoperability between international navies.

The ship’s crews were given the opportunity to increase knowledge and shared tactics as well as practising advanced manoeuvring. It also allowed the US Navy and Royal Danish Navy to explore methods of dealing with operations in Arctic waters.

Commanding Officer of the USS Gravely, Commander Michael O’Reilley, said: “This exercise was a unique opportunity for Gravely to conduct training with the Danish navy and to demonstrate interoperability in strategically important waters.”

“As our navies share many common tactics, techniques and procedures, it was great to see how quickly we were able to establish communications and exercise our combined warfighting and seamanship skills. Events like today’s passing exercise not only deepen the relationship between our two countries but also strengthen our maritime security capabilities in the North Atlantic.”

The exercise started with a rendezvous of the ships and the Danish MH-60R helicopter landing on the deck of the USS Gravely. The ships then practised four pre-planned manoeuvres, coming within 250 yards of each other. The crew from the USS Gravely were able to learn from the Danish navy’s experience of Arctic waters. The ship is in the region conducting operations for an eight-month deployment to increase the US Navy’s capabilities in an Arctic environment. (Source: Defence Online)

28 Aug 19. US and Jordan begin multinational training exercise Eager Lion 2019. The US and Jordan have commenced the Eager Lion multinational military training exercise at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center in Jordan. Exercise Eager Lion 2019 (EL19) involves more than 8,000 troops from 30 participating countries. This is the ninth iteration of the exercise, which is regarded as the region’s largest training exercise. EL19 will focus on interoperability on land, in the air and sea among the nations taking part in the exercise.

US Central Command exercises director airforce major general Bradley Swanson said: “Conducting such a large and complex security event demonstrates our commitment to partnerships and maintaining a ready and responsive joint force operating in a complex environment where there are no easy victories or quick wins.”

During the exercise, the forces will train in scenarios focused on regional security challenges at the operational level.

The scenarios are designed to enable multilateral training ‘in a low-threat but demanding environment’.

This year’s exercise will involve a global strike mission and a combined land exercise.

Swanson added: “We’ve developed new ideas and scenarios to improve participating nations’ ability to outsmart and outmanoeuvre our near-peer adversaries, particularly in the areas of counter unmanned aerial vehicles, cybersecurity and expanded roles from elements of Jordan’s Quick Reaction Force, which includes the female engagement team and British paratroopers.”

The US contingent consists of around 3,700 personnel.

The countries will be able to share tactics, techniques and procedures used on the battlefield.

EL19 will also test capabilities to organise and operate in a multilateral operating environment.

Eager Lion co-director Jordan Armed Forces brigadier general Mohammad Al-Thalji said: “Joint efforts, coordination and the exchange of expertise here help us to meet threats regionally and globally.

“It is only through cooperation that we will be ready for operational challenges and remain ever vigilant.”

Jordan is a key partner of the central command in the Levant sub-region. (Source: army-technology.com)

27 Aug 19. Cubic to Showcase Industry-leading Training Capabilities at Australasian Simulation Congress. Cubic Global Defense’s multi-domain, live, virtual and constructive solutions deliver improved performance-based training. Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB) today announced Cubic Defence Australia, which operates within its Cubic Global Defense business division, will showcase its leading defense simulation and training solutions at the Australasian Simulation Congress 2019 (ASimC). Taking place on the Gold Coast from September 2-5, ASimC brings together industry professionals and customers to demonstrate the latest simulation technologies, research and practice.

“We are constantly innovating and enhancing our training capabilities to meet the needs of our customers and enable a realistic, modern training experience,” said Miles Macdonald, general manager, Cubic Defence Australia. “Through solutions such as Synthetic Wrap, we augment the live training environment with virtual and constructive simulation, allowing soldiers to train with platforms and deliver effects that would otherwise be prohibited by cost, scarcity or safety.”

Synthetic Wrap will be among the capabilities Cubic demonstrates at booth #34 at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. Cubic will also showcase:

  • Integrated Training Environment (ITE): The ITE provides instrumentation for the Integrated Soldier System and the Land Combat Vehicle System in home station and high-end collective training, across force-on-force, live fire and force-on-target activities. The architecture is open with interoperable standards and enables live, virtual and constructive (LVC) blending to address training requirements at multiple training levels. The ITE is also suitable for amphibious and aviation operating environments. A synthetic wrap delivers joint synthetic effects securely down to an individual soldier and platform and in the field.
  • Exercise Control (EXCON) and After Action Review (AAR): Cubic’s CATS MetrixTM is a sophisticated software product for EXCON and AAR used by operators and instructors to plan, conduct, control, monitor, record, debrief and evaluate live force-on-force training from squad to brigade level. CATS Metrix provides automated operator support to evaluate defined goals, doctrines and tactics during a live exercise, resulting in an AAR with feedback to the exercise unit.
  • Nexus Analytics: NEXUS Analytics is a modular system that collects and synthesizes data from existing systems. NEXUS Analytics provides a data-backed understanding of soldier/unit readiness enabling forces to conduct short, medium and long-term learning to enhance their combat capabilities.

Cubic is also a proud sponsor of the Simulation Australasia Awards Dinner taking place Wednesday, September 4. Through its sponsorship, Cubic is supporting Legacy Week. Funds raised during Sim Congress will support the Legacy Brisbane Family Assist program, which helps families of veterans who have a serious service-related illness. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)

27 Aug 19. US Marines aircraft cause a stir in the Highlands. Two of the US military’s most unusual aircraft have been carrying out training over the Highlands. The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey has rotors at the end of each wing allowing it to take-off and land vertically. The two US Marine Corps Ospreys were spotted on Monday over Inverness, Westhill and Newtonmore. The aircraft landed briefly at Inverness Airport before taking off vertically. (Source: News Now/BBC)

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Meggitt Training Systems, makers of FATS® and Caswell technologies, a division of Meggitt PLC, is the leading supplier of integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training systems. Meggitt Training Systems continues to grow its capabilities based on the legacy of these two industry leaders.

Over 13,600 Meggitt live-fire ranges and 5,100 virtual systems are fielded internationally, providing judgmental, situational awareness and marksmanship training to the armed forces, law enforcement and security organizations. Meggitt Training Systems employs more than 400 people at its headquarters in Atlanta and at facilities in Orlando, Canada, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, UAE, Australia and Singapore. It can deploy service personnel anywhere in the world for instructor training, system installation and maintenance. Learn more at https://meggitttrainingsystems.com/.

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