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06 Sep 19. Development of Multinational Helicopter Training Centre moves ahead. The EDA Steering Board approved end of August the way ahead for the new Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC) to be established in Sintra, Portugal. The European Defence (EDA) together with 18 of its Member States will now develop the technical arrangement (TA) for the opening of this new advanced tactical helicopter training facility by the end of 2022.
Approval for the centre marks the latest milestone in a long line of important helicopter projects managed by the Agency since 2009. EDA currently hosts three collaborative helicopter programmes, which fill a helicopter training capability gap in Europe and are a key component of operational capacity building. The three programmes are aimed at improving European interoperability and increasing standardisation of helicopter aircrews through the adoption of common training activities and the use of common Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs). All tactics are developed refined and tested before being included in the Helicopter Exercise Programme Standard Operating Procedures (HEP SOP).
The Agency’s helicopter work includes a Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) and a Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course (HTIC). The first project focusses on improving the tactical ability of crews through an integrated training course of classroom and simulator instruction that is currently conducted at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in the United Kingdom. The HTC provides a solid foundation for whole crew training and was later developed into the Helicopter Tactics Instructors Course, which takes experienced aircrew and further develops their skills in a “Train the Trainer” course, delivering advanced helicopter tactics and the Helicopter Tactics Instructor (HTI) qualification. The HTIC includes a ground phase delivered in the UK, and a live flying element conducted in Sweden.
Helicopter Exercise Programme
The third element of EDA’s helicopter activities is the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP) which brings together multinational helicopter crews and an array of assets (fixed wing, Electronic Warfare, ground troops, Special Forces, etc) in an annual multinational training exercise covering the performance of complex missions in demanding environmental areas. The exercises are conducted under the BLADE banner. The next exercise will be SWIFT BLADE, to be delivered in Belgium and the Netherlands in April 2020.
However, EDA does not have the vocation to be a long-term training provider, but rather a catalyst for cooperative training. The Agency launches initiatives that can provide added value to Member States and when these are consolidated and have reached a sufficient level of maturity, the Agency encourages Member States or multinational organisations to take over the administrative and organisational responsibility of the activities, allowing the EDA to free-up resources and focus on developing new initiatives.
Multinational Helicopter Training Centre
EDA has been successfully managing the three helicopter programmes for over a decade, and during the next five year period, they will progressively be transferred outside EDA to the future Multinational Helicopter Training Centre (MHTC).
The MHTC will consist of office space for the technical, administrative and training delivery staff, simulator facilities and a dedicated accommodation block. In addition, it will also develop a more coordinated approach to European helicopter training and will try to harmonise national approaches and drive synergies with NATO doctrine.
The concept development phase of the project was concluded in January 2019 and has now gained ministerial approval to develop the legally binding Technical Arrangement (TA), which will define the objectives, benefits, roles and capabilities of the centre together with agreement on budget and manpower allocation. The first MHTC project team meeting will be held at EDA in September with the signature of the Technical Arrangement targeted for the end of 2020.
09 Sep 19. Australia and Japan airforces conduct combat exercise Bushido Guardian. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Japan Air Self-Defense Force will conduct their first bilateral air combat exercise, known as Bushido Guardian 2019. Exercise Bushido Guardian 2019 will take place between 11 September and 8 October. The exercise will involve the participation of up to 150 RAAF personnel.
Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds stated that the exercise will be a new chapter in the air-to-air and defence relationship between the two countries. She said, “This is the first exercise of this nature between our two countries which aims to increase our practical engagement with Japan, a key partner that shares Australia’s commitment to regional peace and security. Importantly, the exercise will offer all personnel involved the opportunity to build and maintain relationships, a vital contributor to the strength of the Australia-Japan Special Strategic Partnership.”
In a release, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said that the RAAF will be represented by seven F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet fighter aircraft. Australian support aircraft, including KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft, and a C-17A Globemaster and C-130J Hercules, will also be deployed. The MRTT will be used for personnel transport and air-to-air refuelling capability while the other two aircraft will be used for heavy airlift.
RAAF Air Commander Australia air vice-marshal Joe Lervasi said Bushido Guardian will provide an opportunity to improve mutual cooperation. Lervasi said: “Exercise Bushido Guardian 2019 will offer opportunities for Australia and Japan to not only test and evaluate existing interoperability, but also to increase mutual awareness on force generation requirements, including long-range deployment and sustainment practices.”
Last year, Bushido Guardian exercise between Australia and Japan was postponed due to the Hokkaido earthquake in Japan. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
10 Sep 19. Team iMAST sets out to provide a step-change for UK Royal Navy and Royal Marines Training. Three of the UK’s leading Maritime Defence companies – Babcock, QinetiQ and Thales – along with academic and industry partners have joined forces to create Team iMAST: intelligent Maritime Adaptive Synthetics and Training to bid to support the modernisation of the UK Royal Navy’s individual maritime training.
Down selected to bid earlier this year, the bespoke Team iMAST collaboration – led by Babcock and comprising, QinetiQ and Centerprise International along with the Universities of Portsmouth and Strathclyde – has recently been joined by Thales and Learning Technologies Group to further bolster its highly-experienced offering. And boasting its Innovation Ecosystem of more than 50 Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), Team iMAST is ready to deliver training to the Royal Navy when and where it is required, if selected.
Team iMAST and the Innovation Ecosystem will enable critical technology integration, backed by proven naval training resources, to drive future-ready training solutions for all elements of the Royal Navy. To launch this Ecosystem, two successful events have already been held with the most recent hosted by Team iMAST at the Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading agency for the early adoption of advanced digital technologies.
With its wealth of proven expertise, Team iMAST is uniquely placed to support this training outsource programme through its unrivalled industry know-how. The programme will provide an opportunity to help shape the future of Royal Navy training as a strategic partner and drive efficiencies and new technology.
Mark Graves, Managing Director, Babcock Marine Training said: “We have an opportunity to help shape the future for Royal Navy training and this excites every member of the iMAST team. We’ve brought together an agile and experienced collective for this bid that can meet the challenges from day one – and already understand how to support the Royal Navy to deliver successfully. Our mission is to transform education and training for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and to do this at a pace that can exceed the customers’ requirements.”
In addition to the provision of training, the winning bidder of the outsourcing project will be responsible for designing, procuring and managing the maintenance and repair of all associated training equipment. It will also support the delivery and procurement of the interior design, fit out and relocation to a new purpose built facility for submarine training based on the Clyde.
Team iMAST takes its inspiration from Babcock’s iSupport 360 concept which brings total insight to projects creating powerful new ways of optimising digital technology to uniquely deliver the complete picture of customer’s programmes.
Providing intelligent, connected insights and evaluation, iSupport 360 interprets and integrates technology and information to support the management of critical assets such as ships and submarines as well as facilities, infrastructure and training.
09 Sep 19. QinetiQ Launches Transonic Next-Generation Banshee Aerial Target. QinetiQ has announced today the launch of the Next-Generation Banshee, “Banshee NG”, the target that replicates fast flying jets and missiles, enabling test and evaluation and live fire training exercises.
Banshee NG was built to enable NATO and allied militaries to train against simulated higher speed aerial threats, preparing for the evolution in those threats that are being seen to emerge. As a fifth member of the Banshee family of targets – joining the Banshee Whirlwind, Jet 40, Jet 80 and Jet 80+ – customers buying the Banshee NG will own a new generation of transonic aerial target that travels at a faster speed (>250 metres per second), soars to a higher altitude (up to 12,000 metres), offers increased manoeuvrability (up to 9G, from typically 3G), offers lower sea skimming capabilities (three metres) and is less detectable due to a low radar cross section (RCS).
This further evolution in threat representation technology is a key part of QinetiQ’s strategy to lead and deliver world-class test and evaluation, training and mission rehearsal capabilities for governments around the world.
Peter Longstaff, Managing Director of QinetiQ Target Systems says, “Banshee NG is the next-step up in the Banshee family, for the live fire, test and evaluation community looking to buy an affordable target that represents even faster and more manoeuvrable aerial threats. Adding Banshee NG to QinetiQ’s Target Systems’ portfolio enables us to deliver an even more comprehensive end-to-end threat representation offering to customers. As with all our targets, we can either provide Banshee NG as a product sale or deploy to a customer’s site as part of a managed service for test or training purposes.”
An extra advantage to the Banshee NG is that it is operated using the infrastructure and accessories that QinetiQ’s Target Systems business offers for its other Banshee targets. This includes being launched with ground-based pneumatic air-launchers, being equipped with a range of payloads such as radar augmentation, miss distance indication and sophisticated electronic warfare capability and being operated using the command and control systems currently on offer by QinetiQ.
Once launched, Banshee NG is operated with a proprietary QinetiQ guidance system and range-certified flight termination system that enables full control at all times. It can be recovered using a parachute.
09 Sep 19. UMS SKELDAR develops innovative training initiatives as part of expansion strategy. UMS introduces range of innovative training initiatives as part of ongoing expansion strategy; adds to Swedish operation with new facility designed to enhance the Group’s software development capabilities.
Europe’s leading provider of Rotary Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms, UMS SKELDAR, is introducing a range of innovative training initiatives as part of its ongoing expansion strategy, with 2020 being labelled as the year of change for its training delivery programme. Alongside the Group’s new 450 square metre facility in Sweden, which will provide focus and additional capacity for its software operations and research and development, UMS has bolstered its operations ahead of what it expects to be its most successful year yet.
UMS SKELDAR, the joint venture partner between Saab and UMS AERO GROUP which operates from its headquarters in Switzerland and facility in Sweden, has had its most successful 18 months yet with new contracts including the German Navy and Royal Canadian Navy alongside a growth of 154% in terms of personnel across the two sites. The Group has also bolstered its partner network with organisations including QinetiQ, Nordic Unmanned and Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH (ESG) providing critical support to UMS’ global operations.
David Willems, Head of Business Development for UMS SKELDAR, explains: “It’s an exciting time for the company as we grow our product engineering facility in Sweden and continue to work closely with colleagues in Switzerland on prototyping and product testing and modification.
“As demand for our UAV platforms grows and we develop products more widely, there are a number of different contracts with diverse requirements which we must deliver in parallel, creating the need for customer support roles, as well as back-office functions including finance, planning co-ordination, project management, logistics and strategic sourcing. Our new capacity will help us to deliver in these capabilities.”
The company is also introducing a range of innovative training initiatives as part of its ongoing expansion strategy, starting with the requirements for the German Navy and Royal Canadian Navy which have recently commenced.
Willems continues: With new rules of engagement coming in the next 12 months in the Unmanned Aerial Systems’ (UAS) industry, the need for change in the way training is delivered has become a must. A vital part of any UAS campaign, UMS has overhauled the way its training strategies and courses are delivered as part of a wider programme of developing the highest quality UAV standards, all designed to pave the way for the impending regulations towards the end of this year.”
UMS SKELDAR began in its current form in March 2016 with just 36 employees. Operating with two key rotary vehicle platforms, including the pioneering SKELDAR V-200, UMS has positioned itself as Europe’s leading provider of Rotary Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the maritime space. With credentials including the industry-pioneering heavy-fuel engine which provides significantly unmatched time between overhauls (TBO); enhanced features including extended endurance, engine management system and payload capabilities; as well as being STANAG 4586 compliant, the SKELDAR V-200 is the prime UAV candidate for global NATO navies.
09 Sep 19. Thales supports Finnish Defence Forces for Leopard tank crew training. On 28th June, Thales signed a contract with the Finnish Defence Forces to upgrade their Leopard 2A6FIN main battle tank simulators. This is Thales’s first training & simulation contract for Finland’s land forces.
With the upgraded systems, the Finnish Army will have a state-of-the-art training solution incorporating the latest virtual and multilevel simulation technologies to provide both technical instruction for crewmembers and tactical training at platoon level. The instructor station is designed to supervise up to four exercises at the same time, with up to four vehicles taking part in each exercise. The simulation includes a high-fidelity turret with gunner and commander stations, a co-located driver position and a simulated ammunition loader function.
This contract is a success for Thales’s new AFV Core range of armoured fighting vehicle simulation solutions. AFV Core simulators feature an open, high-reliability, scalable architecture and synthetic environment compliant with the latest international standards.
Thales has solid expertise in simulation for land forces, having provided simulators for France’s Armoured Cavalry Arm and infantry fighting vehicles (Leclerc main battle tank, VBCIs, etc.), the British Army’s Scout armoured reconnaissance vehicle, and the Royal Netherlands Army’s largest military training platform (TACTIS).
This latest success is a further endorsement of Thales’s expertise and strengthens its position as a global player in digitised training solutions for land forces.
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/