Sponsored by Meggitt Training Systems
12 Dec 19. India and Russia begin Indra 2019 joint tri-services exercise. The Indian and Russian Armed Forces have commenced the Indra 2019 joint exercise designed to improve interoperability and the relationship between the two nations. The countries began the tri-services exercise with an opening ceremony at Babina, Uttar Pradesh on 11 December.
Three naval vessels from the Russian Navy arrived in the Indian state of Goa to participate in the exercise. Indra 2019 is the second edition of the joint exercise between the armed forces of India and Russia. It will be conducted simultaneously at Pune, Babina and Goa. Goa will host the naval phase of the exercise until 19 December. The Russian Navy is represented by Viktor Konetsky, Yaroslav Mudry and Elyna ships.
The Indian naval assets taking part in the exercise include guided missile frigate INS Tarkash, fleet support ship INS Aditya, MIG 29 K fighter aircraft, and Dornier 228 and P8I maritime patrol aircraft.
The naval component will comprise two phases. The first harbour phase will be held until 15 December, with the sea phase taking place on 16-19 December. The sea phase in the Arabian Sea will include air defence drills, visits, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations, surface firings and underway replenishment.
India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement: “The aim of (the) exercise is joint training of troops in counter-terrorism operations under the United Nations mandate. Exercise INDRA-2019 will further cement the long-standing strategic ties between India and Russia.”
As part of the tri-services exercise, India will conduct lectures, conferences, drills and demonstrations focused on anti-terrorism operations.
The two countries will share expertise and experience in the domain.
The MoD added: “The exercise will culminate with a 72-hour validation phase, which will test the skills of soldiers, sailors and airmen in conducting joint operations in a counter-terrorism scenario.”
The validation phase will involve the Indian Army’s Ghatak Platoon. The Indian Air Force will field Mi 17 helicopters, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, and Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft. (Source: naval-technology.com)
12 Dec 19. RAAF concludes classic Hornet training as F-35 beckons. Pilots from the Royal Australian Air Force’s Number 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU) have conducted their final flight in the Classic F/A-19A/B Hornet as the unit transitions to the support of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter.
The historic flight acknowledges the conclusion of Classic Hornet pilot conversion training, marking the end of an era. The aircraft will fly along coastal communities of the unit’s hometown of RAAF Base Williamtown, north over Tomaree to Sugarloaf Point coastal areas, up the Port and south to Redhead Beach.
Commanding Officer 2OCU, Wing Commander Scott Woodland, said that 2OCU’s final Classic Hornet mission is a fitting tribute to this significant milestone in Air Force history.
“2OCU’s critical role in preparing generations of Classic Hornet fighter aircrew with the skills and competency to engage in fighter combat has laid the very foundations of RAAF Air Power capability since the introduction of the platform in 1985,” WGCDR Woodland said.
“Operational conversion has been at the cornerstone of the strength of the Classic Hornet platform’s contribution – taking graduate Hawk 127 Lead-in Fighter pilots and testing and challenging them under the most gruelling of conditions and toughest air combat scenarios.”
The future of fast-jet aircrew training at 2OCU is now focused on supporting fifth-generation capabilities, with the arrival and operational sustainment of the F-35A Lightning II.
WGCDR Woodland said, “We welcome the commencement of the next phase of pilot conversion training for the F-35A. This represents a fundamental shift for 2OCU; one which we are fully equipped and ready to continue to deliver a superior war-fighting capability – supported by highly professional, highly skilled aircrew – performing with strength and focus when called upon by government.”
The RAAF F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet platform is planned to be withdrawn from service in December 2021, with the RAAF’s fleet of Classic Hornets currently being replaced by the F-35A Lighting II.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is billed as a catalyst for the fifth-generation revolution, changing the face and capability of the RAAF and the wider Australian Defence Force.
For the RAAF, the F-35A’s combination of full-spectrum, low-observable stealth coatings and materials, advanced radar-dispersing shaping, network-centric sensor and communications suites – combined with a lethal strike capability – means the aircraft will be the ultimate force multiplying, air-combat platform.
The F-35A – the variant chosen by the RAAF – will have with a projected life of 30 years in service.
More than 340 F-35s are operating today with partner nations, more than 700 pilots and 6,500 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 170,000 cumulative flight hours.
Over the coming years, Australia will purchase 72 of the advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft as part of the $17bn AIR 6000 Phase 2A/B program – which is aimed at replacing the ageing F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets that have been in service with the RAAF since 1985. (Source: Defence Connect)
10 Dec 19. Quantadyn reveals training solutions for UK’s JFST. Quantadyn showcased some of the solutions it has developed for the UK’s Joint Fires Synthetic Trainer (JFST), the five-year, GPB41.1m contract awarded to Elbit Systems UK, at the 2019 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando in December.
Elbit Systems UK, as the prime contractor, partnered with Quantadyn on the programme in August 2019.
The contract covers the provision of immersive, portable, and desktop equipment at up to 15 locations. The new QFires PT-150 will be the portable variant, which was displayed at I/ITSEC for the first time. The system consists of a laptop that acts as the image generator and a range of emulated equipment, making up a student station. It can be packed into a single case. A second system is used as an instructor station, and multiple systems can be networked together.
The JFST portable variant will be deployed on the HMS Queen Elizabeth class carriers, amongst other locations, to provide continuation training for any embarked joint terminal attack controllers (JTAC).
The new QFires Curve CP-400 – a variable, articulated display wall made up of a series of LCD panels from Barco, which will provide some of the immersive JFST installations – was also on display at I/ITSEC. The gap (bezel) between tiles in conventional LCD video walls can make it difficult to distribute content over multiple tiles, according to Quantadyn, which said that Barco UniSee’s NoGap technology provides a “virtually seamless” solution.
The configuration on display was a 5×1 (five tiles in a single row), 10° articulation with a 45⁰ horizontal field of view (HFOV). The full solution will be a 15×2, 19° articulation, 4 m wide, 285⁰ HFOV configuration. The JFST will use the Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) Virtual Battlespace Blue image generator and SimCentric’s SAF-FIRES software. (Source: Jane’s)
11 Dec 19. Collins Aerospace showcases expanded ERV system. Collins Aerospace showcased its recently expanded Enhanced Reality Vision (ERV) system at the 2019 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando in December.
Eileen Leonhardy, associate director, mission systems, optronics for Collins, told Jane’s that the ERV system was based on optical wave guide technology derived from the F35 pilot helmet, which had been developed in partnership with Elbit Systems of America. It provides a situational awareness display projected into the wearer’s field of view (FoV) on a clear polycarbonate lens.
Designed principally for use by dismounted troops to provide essential tactical information while continuing to view their surroundings, it is similar in fashion to a pilot’s head-up display.
The wave guide is a polymer sandwiched between two pieces of polycarbonate, providing a diffraction grating that directs and channels light, creating a daylight-visible display.
The ERV-30, which is a helmet-mounted monocular display with a 30° FoV, was the first member of the ERV family. The latest version is the Crystal-50, which is like a pair of glasses. This has a 50° FoV with the display projected onto one of the lenses. The device also includes a camera for transmitting imagery mounted to one side and a small loudspeaker on the other.
Leonhardy said that the ERV system was being incorporated into “a couple of army programmes of record”, although she was unable to specify which ones. The Australian Defence Force and the US Marine Corps have also expressed interest and the former has procured a limited number for trials and testing. The Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK), which is a tactical battle management system, had been integrated with the ERV, Leonhardy said. (Source: Jane’s)
10 Dec 19. Saab reveals non line-of-sight laser to simulate indirect fires. Saab has showcased new capabilities to blend live and virtual environments to enhance live training, as well as announced new live training contracts, at the 2019 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando, Florida, in December.
Björn Linderö, Saab director of live training, told Jane’s that while laser-based direct fire in a tactical engagement simulation system (TESS) will accurately replicate true ballistics for larger weapon systems, lasers cannot simulate indirect non line-of-sight (NLOS) weapons. Saab’s new system to simulate NLOS anti-tank guided weapons (ATGWs) within instrumented TESS, based on the Spike long-range (LR) missile and the French MMR, claims to overcome this, while keeping an operator in the
The system uses the virtual One World Terrain, developed by Vricon for the US Army’s Synthetic Training environment (STE), which is injected into an emulated weapon sight. The weapon is then integrated into the TESS via the communications system, so its position is known by the system. The locations of other live players are similarly injected into the sight picture. When the missile is ‘fired’ the operator can switch to the target seeker head view, enabling the virtual missile to be flown over the virtual terrain.
When the gunner locates the target – a live player displayed in the virtual environment – the missile can be locked on to it or flown in. On impact, the effect is transmitted through the instrumentation system to the target. Unlike some indirect fire simulations, exercise control cannot provide this effect because the gunner is in the loop, Linderö noted, adding that the same capability could be used to simulate a live video stream from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). (Source: Jane’s)
10 Dec 19. Cold War redux? U.S. to hold largest Europe exercises in 25 years. The United States will send 20,000 troops to Europe next April and May in its biggest military exercises on European soil since the Cold War to underscore Washington’s commitment to NATO, a senior allied commander said on Tuesday. Days after a NATO summit in London at which U.S. President Donald Trump called low-spending European allies “delinquent”, U.S. Major General Barre Seguin said the exercises, centred on Germany, will be the largest of their kind in 25 years.
“This really demonstrates transatlantic unity and the U.S. commitment to NATO,” Seguin, who oversees allied operations from NATO’s military headquarters in Belgium, told Reuters.
Eager to deter Russia from any repeat of its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, the U.S. Army will test its ability to transport the soldiers across the Atlantic to Belgium and the Netherlands and then move quickly east through Germany into Poland and along NATO’s eastern flank.
The soldiers will join U.S. personnel stationed across the continent, as well as militaries from 18 NATO allies, to mass around 37,000 troops, before returning to the United States, in an echo of the ‘Return of Forces to Germany’, or ‘REFORGER’ manoeuvres, of the 1980s.
“We have not demonstrated this ability to rapidly reinforce, from a transatlantic perspective … for 25 years or so,” said Seguin, saying he recalled the REFORGER manoeuvres as a boy in school in Germany.
NATO has already sent battalions to the Baltics and Poland to deter potential Russian incursions but now aims to be able to sustain any military operations. European governments are also spending more on making troops combat-ready. Russia says it has no intention of attacking NATO and accuses the alliance of destabilising Europe. While French President Emmanuel Macron has questioned the U.S. commitment to NATO because of Trump’s unrelenting criticism of allies, the U.S. president has also confounded Europeans by strengthening America’s military presence in Europe.
Seventy years since its Cold War-era founding as an alliance focused on Moscow, Russia’s efforts to undermine Western democracies through cyber attacks, disinformation campaigns and covert operations have given NATO a renewed sense of purpose.
The U.S. military has also put countering China and Russia at the centre of national defence strategy, shifting priorities after focusing on the fight against Islamist militants.
“We’re going into an era of strategic competition in peacetime,” Seguin said. “The alliance has reorientated.” (Source: Reuters)
10 Dec 19. U.S. grounds Saudi pilots, halts military training after base shooting. The Pentagon announced on Tuesday it was halting operational training of all Saudi Arabian military personnel in the United States until further notice after a Saudi Air Force lieutenant shot and killed three people last week at a base in Florida.
The decision will have far-reaching impacts on visiting Saudi personnel, including grounding more than 300 Saudi Arabian military aviation students as part of a “safety stand-down,” first reported by Reuters earlier on Tuesday.
The Pentagon later confirmed the Reuters report about aviation students and added the move would also affect infantry personnel and all other Saudi training, other than classroom training. Such coursework, which includes English-language classes, will continue.
A senior U.S. defence official, briefing Pentagon reporters on the decision, said the move was intended to allow for a broader review of security procedures that would eventually apply to all of some 5,000 international military students in the United States.
Still, the safety standdown only applied to the some 850 visiting students from Saudi Arabia. The defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the shooting “suggested that there could be a particular improvement with that (nation’s) population.”
“I don’t have any evidence to suggest that there is a larger ring or larger conspiracy,” the official said, when asked what was driving the safety-standdown.
The FBI has said U.S. investigators believe Saudi Air Force Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21, acted alone when he attacked a U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday, before he was fatally shot by a deputy sheriff.
The shootings have again raised questions about the U.S. military relationship with Saudi Arabia, which has come under heightened scrutiny in Congress over the war in Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi last year.
Still, U.S. military leaders have sought to portray this as a localized issue which would not affect the overall U.S.-Saudi relationship.
Navy spokeswoman Lieutenant Andriana Genualdi said the safety standdown and operational pause began on Monday for Saudi Arabian aviation students. She said the grounding included three different military facilities: Naval Air Station Pensacola, Naval Air Station Whiting Field and Naval Air Station Mayport, all in Florida.
The Air Force said its groundings of Saudi aviation students also applied to additional U.S. bases.
“Given the traumatic events, we feel it is best to keep the Royal Saudi Air Force students off the flying schedule for a short time,” the Air Force spokeswoman said.
Alshamrani was on the base as part of a U.S. Navy training program designed to foster links with foreign allies. He had started training in the United States in 2017 and had been in the Pensacola area for the past 18 months, authorities said.
A group that tracks online extremism has said Alshamrani appeared to have posted criticism of U.S. wars in predominantly Muslim countries and quoted slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on Twitter hours before the shooting spree.
The attack comes as President Donald Trump’s administration has maintained warm ties with Riyadh amid high tensions with Middle East rival Iran.
U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper has dismissed suggestions that the shootings might make him more reluctant about new U.S. deployments to Saudi Arabia, which were announced in October and first reported by Reuters.
“Saudi Arabia is a longstanding partner of ours in the region. We share mutual security interests,” Esper said over the weekend.
Esper said he had instructed the armed forces to review both security at military bases and screening for foreign soldiers who come to the United States for training after the shooting. In the wake of the shootings, the U.S. Northern Command immediately ordered all military installations to review force protection measures and to increase “random security measures.”
A Northern Command spokesman said local commanders in the United States also had the authority to “add further countermeasures as needed,” without elaborating as to which, if any, bases did so. (Source: Reuters)
10 Dec 19. Ethiopia to order more Grob trainers. H3 Grob Aircraft expects to complete a second deal with the Ethiopian Air force (EAF) for an additional six G 120TP turboprop training aircraft before the end of the year, the German company has told Jane’s.
Once the deal is finalised, deliveries will commence almost immediately and double the Ethiopian G 120TP fleet to 12 after a first batch was delivered earlier this year.
“We signed the initial contract in June 2019, and deliveries started in August and were completed in September,” said Ishan Sahgal, who has been Grob’s chief operating officer since July.
The G 120TPs are replacing the 30-year-old SF 260TPs based at Dire Dawa Air Base, where the EAF’s training facility is located. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Dec 19. SIG SAUER, Inc. adds 300BLK to its Elite Performance line of full metal jacket (FMJ) rifle ammunition for training. SIG FMJ ammunition is ideal for those seeking cost-efficient, high-quality training rounds. The 125gr 300BLK load has muzzle velocity of 2,145 fps.
09 Dec 19. Bohemia Interactive Simulations unveil latest version of virtual training tool. Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) unveiled the first customers for the latest version of its virtual training environment, Virtual Battlespace 4 (VBS4), at the 2019 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando in December.
The Swedish Armed Forces are the initial military launch customer, after it awarded BISim a multi-year enterprise licence contract that will upgrade its VBS3 tactical training software to VBS4. Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace has acquired a new portfolio of BISim technology products for its Advanced Research and Development Laboratories and plans to upgrade to VBS4. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Dec 19. USAF prepares to stand-up MH-139A testing unit. The US Air Force (USAF) is to stand-up its first testing unit for the Boeing MH-139A helicopter, ahead of the type’s arrival later in December.
Detachment 7 will be formally created at Duke Field, Florida, later in the month, before relocating to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, to perform additional testing and evaluation of the aircraft.
As the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) announced on 6 December, Detachment 7 will work closely with Air Force Materiel Command’s 413th Flight Test Squadron – the USAF’s only dedicated helicopter test unit – as the service begins the process of transitioning its Bell UH-1N Huey forces over to the MH-139A.
With the first of 84 MH-139As (a US-built variant of the AgustaWestland AW139) being delivered to Detachment 7 in the coming days, the second aircraft will arrive in mid-January 2020. The third and fourth aircraft are scheduled to arrive in February 2020. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Dec 19. Kratos Defence demonstrates Virtual Collective Training System. US-based Kratos Defense & Security Solutions is demonstrating a new Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Training System (RVCTS) at I/ITSEC in Orlando, Florida, US. RVCTS is easy to deploy and meets the military’s need for a cost-effective, reconfigurable, multi-platform, immersive training environment. The RVCTS incorporates the latest technology in an open architecture framework. The RVCTS-air (RVCTS-A) configuration is designed to achieve aircrew and collective training capability by reconfiguring into the required rotary-wing platforms.
The RVCTS-A demo supports three rotary-wing platform configurations UH-60M, CH-47F and AH-64D and has been designed to reconfigure from one to another in as little as 30 minutes.
Kratos said that RVCTS-A can also perform collective training by deploying multiple aircraft platform configurations, reducing lifecycle costs and increasing training value.
The RVCTS-A can perform aircrew training under a single aircraft platform, as it deploys the cockpit module, the aerial gunner’s module and the hoist or cargo module in the Synthetic Training Environment (STE).
This flexibility allows the operation of the RVCTS-A in a single aircrew environment or a collective, multi-platform environment.
The reconfigurable RVCTS-A training system incorporates the latest mixed reality technology to deliver the highest immersive fidelity of any collective training system.
Kratos claimed that the system introduces increased portability, ease of reconfiguration and can be delivered to the point of need (PoN).
Kratos training senior vice-president Jose Diaz said: “We have partnered with industry leaders to develop the most innovative and mission-focused Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Training System currently available.
“This innovative Kratos system is comprised of Bugeye Technologies’ high fidelity cockpit components, VSS’ ‘real cable’ hoist product and AVT’s Combined Aircrew Mission Task Trainer (CAMTT) simulation baseline.
“Our partners’ agility and leading technology focus coupled with Kratos’ immersive simulation technology, years of simulation experience and vision have resulted in the RVCTS-A, a truly technologically advanced, highly immersive collective training system with the right level of fidelity to achieve the target mission training.
“RVCTS-A is the right solution for collective training needs as it delivers outcomes that enable the warfighter to conduct representative, multi echelon training at the point of need (PoN).” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
09 Dec 19. RAN’s ships return home from East Asia deployment. Three Royal Australian Navy ships have concluded their three-month East Asia deployment. Air warfare destroyer HMA Ships Hobart (DDG 39), Stuart (FFH 53) and Parramatta (FFH 54) have returned to their home base of Garden Island, Sydney. The ships were the lead element of a Navy Task Group comprising a total of 11 vessels.
During the course of the deployment, the ships took part in bilateral and multinational exercises and contributed to strengthening the relationship with Australia’s partner nations. This included participating in the Pacific Vanguard maritime exercise off the coast of Guam.
The deployment began in September and marked the first operational deployment for HMAS Hobart, the lead ship of the Hobart class of AWDs.
Task Group commander captain Andrew Quinn said: “Over the past several months, our navy people have generated presence in the East Asian region and conducted complex exercises with our partners.
“This has built on our respective operational skillsets and furthered our ability to work together to help keep the region secure.
“HMAS Hobart served as the host ship for the embarked Maritime Task Group Command team at sea, demonstrating the new RAN Destroyers capability to fulfil this role.”
The Task Group’s ships participated in activities in the US, Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea and Indonesia.
HMAS Hobart Commanding Officer commander Ryan Gaskin said: “This deployment has been a real test of our preparation for and readiness to deliver destroyer capability and is the culmination of two years of hard work.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
09 Dec 19. French Navy CSG focuses on international co-operation in ‘PEAN 2019.’ France’s Charles de Gaulle carrier strike group (CSG) has concluded a major exercise off the southern coast of France, called ‘PEAN 2019’, which featured international participation for the first time.
The French-led maritime exercise, which was carried out from 25 November to 6 December, was designed to enhance the operational capability of the French CSG, also known as Task Force 473, as well as strengthening interoperability and partnerships between participating navies.
Twelve French Navy vessels took part in the exercise in addition to three foreign vessels that included the US Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Ross, Spanish Navy Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate SPS Blas de Lezo, and the Italian Navy Bergamini-class frigate ITS Luigi Rizzo. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Dec 19. RAAF takes final deliveries of PC-21 trainer. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has taken delivery of all 49 Pilatus PC-21 basic trainers ordered under a 2015 deal with a training consortium comprising Lockheed Martin, Pilatus, and Hawker Pacific.
The aircraft are based at RAAF East Sale in Victoria and RAAF Peirce in Western Australia, says a defence ministry statement. They were acquired under the A$1.5bn AIR5428 project to replace the legacy fleet of PC-9/As, which Canberra has operated for three decades.
“Undergraduate pilots at RAAF Bases East Sale and Pearce will now be able to use the best equipment along with a new tailored Pilot Training System, which will meet their needs and those of future recruits,” says Darren Chester, minister for veterans and defence personnel.
“The new system can train more people faster and to a higher standard and will ensure undergraduate pilots develop the necessary skills before moving to more advanced military aircraft.”
The aircraft will also be used at RAAF Edinburgh for flight test and evaluation, and at RAAF Edinburgh for forward air control. (Source: News Now/FlightGlobal)
09 Dec 19. US, Singapore sign MOU on RSAF fighter training detachment on Guam. The United States and Singapore signed on 7 December a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the establishment of a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) fighter training detachment at Andersen Air Force Base (AAFB) on the US island territory of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean.
The agreement, which was signed on 7 December by US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Singapore’s Defence Minister, Ng Eng Hen, lays out the framework for the RSAFʼs detachment in Guam, covering the deployment of the service’s F-15SG and F-16 fighter aircraft and other supporting assets such as the Gulfstream 550 airborne early warning aircraft to AAFB for training. (Source: Jane’s)
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/.