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30 Jan 20. US and Canada forces complete GFLR 20-03 exercise. GFLR allows the airforce to improve the joint relationship between mobility airforces and joint partners. Credit: US Air Force / Airman 1st Class Aaron Irvin.
Airmen from the US Air Force’s 34th Combat Training Squadron (CTS) and the US Army have completed the Green Flag Little Rock (GFLR) 20-03 exercise that was held.
The airmen and army collaborated with coalition forces from Canada during the joint forcible entry and airborne assault training at the Joint Readiness Training Center located at Fort Polk and Alexandria in Louisiana, US, from 11-21 January.
The joint live-training tactical GFLR 20-03 exercise was conducted in conjunction with the army’s final certification event, Joint Readiness Training Center 20-3.
GFLR 20-03’s focus was on combat airlift and airdrop operations, interoperability with the US Army’s joint and international partners, in addition to survival, evasion, resistance and escape.
US Air Force lieutenant colonel Phillip Newman said: “In the 34th CTS, our focus is on improving the joint relationship between the mobility airforces and our joint partners.
“We’re trying to give our crews combat-like experience before they deploy by increasing exposure to working with an external command and control agency.”
Other partners in this exercise are US Army 921st Contingency Response Squadron of Travis Air Force Base in California, 321st Contingency Response Squadron at McConnell AFB in Kansas, as well as six C-130J Super Hercules from the 41st and 61st Airlift Squadrons from Little Rock AFB in Arkansas.
Four C-17 Globemaster III’s from the 62nd Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, two C-17 Globemaster III’s from the 437th Airlift Wing at JB Charleston in South Carolina, in addition to two C-130J Super Hercules from the Royal Canadian Air Force are also involved.
The training was aimed at simulating an airfield assault, airfield opening and subsequent follow-on sustainment support.
Participants were trained together to ensure efficient interoperability for potential future operations.
The exercise promoted interoperability between the US Army, US Air Force and international partners and focused on the ability to operate cohesively in an austere environment.
Newman further added: “It allows the US Army users to become familiar with different regulations the US Air Force has on preparing cargo before it can be loaded on an aircraft.” (Source: army-technology.com)
30 Jan 20. US Army’s 41st Field Artillery Brigade conducts live-fire exercise. The US Army 41st Field Artillery Brigade’s 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment has conducted a live-fire exercise in Germany.
During the exercise, the unit used an M270A1 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) to fire a reduced range practice rocket. The firing was conducted at the Grafenwoehr Training Area on 27 January.
It is the regiment’s first live-fire exercise since its restart in September last year.
US Army 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment 1-6 FA Battalion commander lieutenant colonel Angel Llompart said: “This is the first live-fire of a European-based unit since 2004. It is a key milestone in our readiness that indicates that we can now transition to more collective training with our partners and allies.”
The live-fire follows months of training and testing by the unit’s soldiers.
This event demonstrates the capability of the unit and ensures readiness in safeguarding partners and allies across Europe.
Battalion command sergeant major David Cecil said: “This live-fire isn’t just a crew certification. It allows soldiers to demonstrate their ability to provide long-range precision fires within the European theatre.”
The MLRS M270A1 is a combat-proven, all-weather, lethal and responsive, tracked precision strike weapon system.
It includes a modified M993A1 Bradley Carrier mounted with the M269 Launcher Loader Module. Six Guided MLRS (GMLRS)/MLRS rockets or one Army Tactical Missile System missile are carried by MLRS’ two launch pods.
The live-fire exercise was performed under a heavy fog weather condition.
Llompart added: “No matter what obstacle we face, even if it is foggy with limited visibility like it is for this exercise, we will always complete the mission of the battalion.” (Source: army-technology.com)
29 Jan 20. Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2020 to begin next month. The US Navy is set to conduct Exercise Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain 2020 (CS-SC20) on all of its installations in the continental US (CONUS). The Commander of US Fleet Forces Command (USFFC) and Commander of Navy Installations Command (CNIC) will participate in the exercise, which will run from 3-14 February. The annual force protection exercise is a two-part drill that will be carried out back-to-back. Citadel Shield is a CNIC-led field training exercise (FTX) where participants will react to simulated threats. Led by USFFC, Solid Curtain is a command post exercise (CPX) portion that involves conducting command and communications between units using simulated events.
CNIC operations director Tim Alexander said: “The Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain Exercise enhances our ability to support the fleet, fighter and family. Our regions and installations continue honing their security skills through realistic scenarios, which maintain a peak level of readiness response for all potential security threats.”
The two exercises will cover a range of fields of the navy’s force protection programmes. It will improve the Naval Security Force personnel’s response to attacks.
Using realistic scenarios, it will train personnel to maintain a high level of readiness.
US Fleet Forces Command FP director captain Raymond Benedict said: “The safety and security of our people, equipment and facilities is a top priority.
“We train the way we fight, and exercising our personnel in response to varying realistic threats enhances our personal and force-wide readiness.”
Since 2007, the CS-SC20 exercise has been planned and conducted once a year. (Source: naval-technology.com)
30 Jan 20. World-class cyber security training facility opens in Perth. Edith Cowan University has officially opened the southern hemisphere’s biggest Security Operations Centre within a university. The cutting-edge, $3m SOC will offer Perth students first-hand experience in cyber operations and technology and responding to cyber security threats.
Included in the new facility is a 24-seat training lab, designed to familiarise students with the SOC environment and introduce students to open and closed source SOC and security information and event management (SIEM) platforms.
This space also has the ability to function as an Open Source Intelligence Centre (OSIC). With the soaring costs of cyber crime threatening Australian and global businesses, the cyber security industry is set to replace the mining sector as the next jobs boom in Australia.
“The SOC will give students unique training in monitoring, detecting and responding to cyber security incidents,” said Professor Andrew Woodward, executive dean, School of Science, Edith Cowan University. “There are only a handful of universities in the world that offer this capability.”
It is expected the global cyber security workforce shortage will reach upwards of 1.8 million cyber security professionals by 2022. “Edith Cowan University is committed to addressing the massive skills shortage facing the government and industry in this area,” explained ECU vice-chancellor Professor Steve Chapman.
“Our investment in this SOC ensures that ECU will give our students access to the necessary skills to be work-ready graduates. We are proud to be leading the field in training the cyber security leaders of the future,” he said.
The SOC will be opened on 29 January by Australia’s Home Affairs Deputy Secretary with responsibility for our national cyber security policy, Marc Ablong PSM.
“We need to encourage more students to undertake studies in cyber security and related courses,” said Deputy Secretary Ablong. The SOC opening is unique to the Asia-Pacific region and further cements ECU’s reputation as Australia’s foremost cyber university.
The inaugural opening coincides with the Cyber 2020 Forum being held at ECU in collaboration with the Department of Home Affairs. Approximately 60 of Australia’s thought leaders in the cyber security space will attend the opening.
The forum provides a unique opportunity to shape Australia’s future cyber security policy by continuing the national conversation started by the Department of Home Affairs on the development of the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy. (Source: Defence Connect)
29 Jan 20. RAAF welcomes first PC-21 trainer aircraft. Taking training to new heights, Air Force Number 4 Squadron based at RAAF Base Williamtown has welcomed its first three Pilatus PC-21 aircraft to their new home.
Regarded as “the world’s most advanced pilot training aircraft”, the PC-21’s arrival on Friday, 24 January, at 4SQN demonstrated the platform’s training versatility – with the aircraft being engaged and immersed in a different but still highly significant training role.
Commanding Officer No. 4 Squadron, Wing Commander Sean Jobson, said the PC-21 replaces the recently retired PC-9/A and will contribute to vital squadron training activities.
“The PC-21 will assist in preparing the next generation of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs), supporting Forward Air Control and Air Surface Integration across a broad spectrum of operations,” WGCDR Jobson said.
Air Force is currently transitioning to the PC-21 trainer as part of the most significant technological upgrade in Air Force’s 98-year history.
“No. 4 Squadron has a joint service responsibility for guiding the training and development of JTACs. The arrival of the new aircraft will ensure personnel have the opportunity to continue to execute kinetic effects in real-time scenarios,” explained WGCDR Jobson.
JTAC training includes the ability to plan, brief, control and report on aircraft to provide close air support in the battlefield.
“The PC-21 will ensure that No. 4 Squadron continues to deliver the highest standard of mission training so JTAC personnel are, and continue to remain, combat-ready,” WGCDR Jobson said.
The first three No. 4 Squadron PC-21 aircraft ferried from RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria, with remaining No. 4 Squadron aircraft expected to arrive at RAAF Base Williamtown in February 2020.
The Pilatus PC-21 is the world’s most advanced pilot training aircraft. As part of the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System project, the PC-21 will replace Air Force’s current PC-9/A. It will be based at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria and RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia.
Although the PC-21 is a key element of the AIR 5428 project, it is only one part of the story. The new Pilot Training System will be able to train more people faster and to a higher standard, with an:
- advanced aircraft;
- state of the art simulation; and
- an electronic learning environment.
The system will ensure undergraduate pilots develop the necessary knowledge and skills prior to progressing onto advanced military aircraft such as the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, and MRH-90 helicopter.
It is capable of sustained, low-level speeds over 320 knots, and hydraulically-assisted ailerons and roll spoilers can produce fighter-like rates of roll in excess of 200 degrees per second.
A digital power management system and automatic yaw compensation makes the PC-21 easy to fly in the circuit while still providing the performance required for advanced training. (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Jan 20. British Army Mercian Regiment receives inflatable wall training system. British Army’s Wiltshire-based 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment has received a new Inflatable Walls Training System (IWTS). This IWTS training system is designed to replicate complex urban structures and helps improve combat training for military and law enforcement. Using the system, users can design, plan, build temporary urban structures and train in any terrain, and in any location. The completely portable structure can be moved rapidly. It was launched by Survitec to the European market last year.
An exclusive licensing agreement for IWTS was reached between Survitec and Battlefield Sim in early 2018.
In the US, the product is already in use with contracts received recently from the US Air Force. They are also in use with British Royal Air Force, Australian Army and Austrian Army.
Unlike stable and steady structures, the inflatable walls of this training system can build a temporary structure according to the needs of the training session.
Additionally, it allows the soldiers to quickly adapt to surroundings.
Additionally, IWTS is compatible and certified to be used with non-lethal training ammunition company, Simunition.
Simunition augments training opportunities by allowing the integration of training aids such as IWTS systems.
The inflatable training area has been combined and tested with Simunition at the regiment’s barracks in Bulford.
A low-level urban skill training was conducted by junior commanders using the combination.
The Salisbury-based unit, which specialises in urban warfare, along with three other affiliated regiments were initially intended to use IWTS.
However, the successful demonstration of the product has resulted in IWTS being rolled out across the Field Army. (Source: army-technology.com)
27 Jan 20. HMS Queen Elizabeth to conduct F-35 flight trials in UK waters. HMS Queen Elizabeth has sailed from its home port of Portsmouth.
The British Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is set to commence trials with the newly-built F-35 Lightning II fighter jets in UK waters for the first time. HMS Queen Elizabeth has already sailed from its Portsmouth homeport for testing. It is being carried out by 207 Squadron, a joint Royal Navy and Royal Air Force (RAF) Lightning Force Training unit.
The fast jet trials will include to and fro, day and night flights from the carrier’s deck. The aircraft will take-off from the RAF Marham base.
Six pilots from the British Navy and RAF will participate in the aircraft carrier qualifications.
These flights will allow the pilots to familiarise themselves with the landing process on the carrier’s 4.5-acre deck under different conditions.
With the vessel specifically built to fly the jet, the flight demonstrations will also test HMS Queen Elizabeth’s crew and systems.
HMS Queen Elizabeth commanding officer captain Angus Essenhigh said: “It is a real honour for me to be taking HMS Queen Elizabeth to sea for the first time as her new commanding officer.
“This period at sea will build on the successes of the Westlant 19 deployment, providing a fantastic opportunity for the ship to further its generation towards carrier strike, and will train and qualify UK F-35 pilots in UK waters for the very first time.”
The first maritime flight tests were conducted by the UK Lightning Force last year. In 2018 and 2019, trials of the 65,000t vessel with the jets were limited to the Atlantic.
HMS Queen Elizabeth flight deck officer lieutenant commander Richard Turrell said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to further integrate and qualify UK F-35 pilots, ground crews and aircraft onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth in UK waters.
“My team is excited to get to see and continue the development of our ship to air wing partnership throughout 2020 and beyond to deploying with full carrier strike capability in 2021.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, was commissioned into the fleet in December. (Source: naval-technology.com)
24 Jan 20. US Army Targeting Goggles, VR Training May Use JEDI Cloud. The Army’s building a detailed VR map of the planet and the service’s CIO sees JEDI as the logical place to host such a massive database. In what could be an important sign of confidence in the future of the Pentagon’s controversial cloud computing initiative, JEDI, the Army’s new augmented reality training system may rely on it.
We’re “looking at STE and IVAS as our initial offerings when it comes to JEDI,” the Army CIO, Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, told an AFCEA conference here this week. All the services, he added, are now looking for potential “early adopters” in time for the initial launch of JEDI’s unclassified capability in early February.
“The Cloud Computing Program Office” – which reports to the Pentagon CIO, Dana Deasy – “has coordinated with both the Synthetic Training Environment (STE) and Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) Cross Functional Teams [in the army],” a Pentagon CIO spokesperson confirmed to Breaking Defense. “While both teams are interested in leveraging the commercial cloud technologies that the JEDI Cloud contract will offer, the CCPO does not have a timeline on STE and IVAS use of JEDI Cloud. The CCPO, nevertheless, looks forward to supporting the US Army’s efforts.”
So while there’s no set date – not yet – there is definite interest from both the Army and the joint world.
What the Army Needs
The Integrated Visual Augmentation System, developed by the Army’s Soldier Lethality team, is basically a militarized version of the Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality goggles. By displaying digital data over the wearer’s field of view – without blinding them to the tactical reality around them – IVAS can show the soldier anything from the direction to their objective, to exactly where their next shot will go, to virtual adversaries with realistic tactics they can fight against in training simulations. It’s basically the equivalent of a fighter pilot’s heads-up display, miniaturized and ruggedized for the grunts.
In combat mode, IVAS will display real-world intelligence from the Army’s tactical network. But in training mode, the goggles will link the soldier into the new Synthetic Training Environment. STE is one of the Army’s Big Six modernization priorities: a massive effort to replace TKs of incompatible, clunky simulators for different weapons systems with cutting-edge, videogame-inspired training systems for aircraft, ground vehicles, and foot troops that let all combat arms train together.
The foundation of the Synthetic Training Environment will be a 3D digital model of the surface of the earth, known as One World Terrain. This mega-map draws on everything from the National Geospatial Imagery Agency’s intelligence database, which has details so fine you can distinguish different species of trees.
Army and Navy special operators are already using an early, limited version of One World Terrain to plan missions, but to cover the world you need a staggering amount of data. An individual soldier’s IVAS goggles, or even a command post server, can’t store it all, and they don’t need to, because they only require detailed maps of their actual area of operations. But where do you put the motherlode of data so everyone can download what they need?
“It’s got to be stored somewhere,” Lt. Gen. Crawford said. In the Army, he said, “we operate data centers, but we’re working to move them onto the cloud.”
“Cloud computing will allow the STE to store full resolution One World Terrain data, enable the performance of artificial intelligence and machine learning tasks, and distribute training to the point of need,” the Pentagon CIO spokesperson said.
The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure – JEDI – is the leading candidate to be that cloud. Lots of Defense Department organizations already have their own specialized cloud contracts, and JEDI won’t replace them all, but it is meant to provide a new default, easy-mode cloud-computing option for the whole Department, allowing compatibility across organizations and economies of scale.
“I’m not saying those capabilities don’t exist hither and yon, but for the very first time, this was the effort to deliver that capability across all of the services and the Department,” Crawford said, “at the unclass[ified], secret, and TS [Top Secret] levels.
“I’m asked this question many times, is there an interest from the Army in this capability?” he said. “Absolutely. Absolutely.”
That’s assuming the launch is allowed to go ahead. In October, after months of delays, reviews, protests, and public comments by the president, the Defense Department awarded the JEDI contract – potentially worth $10bn – to Microsoft Azure. That shocked presumptive favorite Amazon Web Services, which swiftly filed suit. Because Amazon bypassed the traditional GAO protest process and went straight to court, there wasn’t an automatic stop-work order. Now the company has asked the court to issue one.
“AWS’s initial decision to allow DoD to proceed with the initial JEDI activities, and not seek to enjoin them, was an accommodation made at DoD’s request,” runs an Amazon email to reporters, “[but] on January 22nd, AWS filed a motion to stop further contract performance until the Court decides the protest.”
Whatever happens with JEDI, however, the Army will need more cloud. In the Army alone, “we’re going to spend about $730m between now and FY 23 on the data cloud,” Crawford noted. Crawford came out with a new data strategy for the service last year, and since then, he said, “an execution order [is going to] every four-star headquarters, every three-star headquarters across the Army.”
Cloud is essential not just to the Army, he said, and not just to non-combat functions like training, but to the all-service effort to conduct multi-domain operations across land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace.
“If you don’t remember anything else that I say about data and our cloud efforts, remember what I say about the operational imperative: it’s all about enabling the multi-domain force,” Crawford told the AFCEA conference.
Multi-domain ops require a network to share targeting data and other tactical intelligence with “near-real time access for any sensor, any shooter, any command node. That’s a monumental task,” he said. “We can’t do that without harvesting our data, divesting legacy applications, and then moving the data that’s most important and authoritative in a cloud-hosted environment.”
That has to be a joint effort, he said, not just an Army one. But, I asked, what unique needs does the Army have that require Army-specific solutions? “I think it would be a mistake to start the discussion of delivering…a contribution to the joint fight, with an Army-only solution, or a Navy-only solution, or an Air Force-only solution,” Crawford replied.
Across the services, “we have as close a relationship in terms of collaboration that I’ve [ever] seen,” he said. “When it comes the migration of our data, the divestiture of our legacy applications, and the move to a cloud-hosting environment so we can really leverage what the Joint AI Center is doing … I think you’re seeing unprecedented collaboration across the joint community.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
24 Jan 20. French Navy pilots complete Dauphin N3 conversion training. The first full-scale conversion course of five French Navy helicopter pilots graduated on 17 January at Lanvéoc-Poulmic Air Base in a ceremony that confirms that the fleet of four leased Airbus Helicopters Dauphin N3s is now fully up to speed.
The four helicopters, owned by NHV France, have been introduced to temporarily replace the outdated Aerospatiale Alouette IIIs in service with 22 Squadron until the Airbus Helicopters H160M Guépard enters service in 2028.
“In 2019 the four Dauphins have flown more than 2,000 hours,” Rear-Admiral Guillaume Goutay, commander of the French Navy’s air arm, Aéronavale, told Jane’s.
“A trial course of two pilots had already graduated in 2019 but the ceremony held last week clearly shows that the Dauphins are now firmly in service. They clearly push us into modernity: they are fitted with state-of-the-art instrument panels with multifunction displays and are fitted with two turbines, like all [other] helicopters in [French naval] frontline service,” he said.
“Another obvious advantage is that they are very similar to the other Dauphins and Panthers in service with Flottille 35F and 36F. This means that the young pilots coming out of training will be fully operational on their new mount in a shorter amount of time, without a requirement for a conversion course.”
The French Navy has decided to further expand the number of Dauphins in service by leasing an extra 12 aircraft from Héli-Union, Rear Adm Goutay noted. The additional aircraft will enable the service to retire the Alouette III and operate a more modern type offering better payload and range.
“The contract was signed in December 2019 and the first helicopter will be delivered in late 2020/early 2021 to Flottille 35F, in Hyères,” he said. “The 12 Dauphins are planned to be equally spread between 35F and 34F, based in Lanvéoc-Poulmic. (Source: Jane’s)
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