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06 Feb 20. Royal Marines Commandos are confronting the challenges posed by ever-evolving threats through demanding training missions in the Arctic Circle.
Elite marines have deployed to northern Norway in their largest numbers for many years, underlining a continued commitment to security in the region by the UK.
Battling limited daylight and temperatures as low as -30C, more than a thousand commandos are testing new kit and themselves in the dramatic landscape of the Arctic.
The Green Berets are mastering Arctic survival, movement and combat skills ahead of challenging winter exercises alongside NATO allies and partner nations, which will involve more than 15,000 troops.
Royal Navy ships are also soon moving north for the Norwegian-led exercises, called Cold Response 2020, later this month and into March.
During the exercise, commandos will use their cold weather skills to carry out amphibious raids from the assembled task group of ships off the rugged Norwegian coastline.
They will work in small teams designed to covertly disrupt enemy infrastructure and their ability to fight.
This is all part of amphibious combat training, in which Royal Marines will focus on their ability to attack coastlines incisively with devastating consequences to any potential foe.
“As we’ve seen in recent conflicts, confronting an adversary with access to modern technology means that commando forces have to deal with new challenges,” Major Jonathon Boucher Royal Marines said.
“They could have the ability to deny our communications and navigation systems. As a result, our commando forces need to be able to operate autonomously, insert at range and deal the enemy a bloody nose before quickly blending back into the environment.
“Ironically, utilising technology to dominate the battlespace means that commando forces need to firstly master the ‘analogue’ skills of soldiering before tackling the digital – in the modern battlefield, a map and compass is still an essential skill when GPS systems can quickly be denied or disrupted.
“The transition to a Future Commando Force ensures that we remain at the cutting edge of warfare while firmly re-establishing our commando roots.
“As our time in Norway has shown, our ability to operate in any environment, in inhospitable terrain, makes us a complicated problem for our most professional of adversaries.”
Among those deployed to the high north are 45 Commando, the elite mountain and cold weather warfare specialists based in Arbroath, Scotland, who are held at high readiness to deploy anywhere in the world.
45 Commando are a potent force in the UK’s arsenal and are trained in operating in extreme climates around the world, from the searing temperatures of the deserts to the extreme humidity of the jungles of Belize.
This latest deployment is a statement of the UK’s commitment to the high north region in the face of increasing strategic competition.
Winter deployments to Norway have been commonplace since the Cold War, but 2020’s exercise will see land, sea and air capabilities work together to test the UK’s relationship with regional allies.
The changes to the way commandos operate is reminiscent of Churchill’s deadly strike and raiding groups of the Second World War, which were raised in response to the Nazi occupation of Norway.
These raiding groups have now been re-imagined to combat new threats on the modern battlefield. The frozen Arctic landscape is the ideal proving ground to test these tactics, known as the Future Commando Force concept. (Source: Royal Navy)
06 Feb 20. Elbit Systems launches the Aircrew Mobile Simulation and Training Field (AMSTF), an Electronic Warfare (EW) system enabling effective and efficient EW Training and Simulation (T&S) for pilots against realistic EW threats.
Edgar Maimon, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Elbit Systems EW and SIGINT – Elisra, commented: “As EW readiness becomes paramount to mission success and survivability, Air forces increasingly seek efficient EW training capabilities beyond the synthetic.”
Housed in a standard mobile container, the AMSTF system incorporates a range of transmitters, sensors, communications, command and control as well as analytical systems to enable full spectrum coverage including Radio Frequency, Infra-Red and Electro-optics providing aircrews with the opportunity to conduct airborne training in a real life, multi-threat EW arena. The system records the entire session for debriefing and analysis. Positioning several AMSTF units within the training area enables to conduct squadron and fleet training. Designed as an open architecture system the new AMSTF trainer enables programmable and configurable operation for maximum user independence.
“Integrating our operational experience in the area of EW with the company’s unique T&S capabilities enables us to put forward a solution that enables Air Forces to improve readiness while reducing costs.”, concluded Mr. Maimon.
03 Feb 20. HMAS Watson to be redeveloped. The Australian Navy’s HMAS Watson is set to be redeveloped under a $389m project. The contract for the management of the work has been awarded to Lendlease Building, with works to begin in February. The upgrade will deliver new and improved training facilities at HMAS Watson, which is the navy’s principal warfare and navigation training establishment.
Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, said: ‘This investment ensures HMAS Watson will support training for over 1300 students each year. A new training precinct, new living-in accommodation for at least 236 trainees, a medical clinic, and upgrades to existing water, electrical and communication services, base security and galleys are all part of the project.
‘Around 360 construction personnel will be employed at the site when construction reaches its peak, and it is expected that another 10,000 personnel from the local manufacturing and transport industries will benefit.’
The project will be complete by mid-2026. (Source: Defence Connect)
03 Feb 20. US Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center looks to expand live-fire training. The US Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) wants to expand its live-fire training events to better mimic real-life scenarios, Rear Admiral Scott Robertson, the SMWDC’s commander told Jane’s.
“We’re looking to add additional realism into those events,” Rear Adm Robertson said on 16 January during an interview at the annual Surface Warfare Association National Symposium.
Previous training has had to sacrifice realism to reduce risk.
“For safety reasons, we tend to operate ships at reduced speeds, but that’s not the real world,” he said. “That’s not a realistic expectation.”
He noted every ship command officer, when fired upon or defending a ship, will most likely increase speed, manoeuvre and try to reduce their electronic footprint – something that’s not possible with the current training ranges. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Feb 20. US Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Command to integrate unmanned platform for SWATT. The US Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) will soon integrate unmanned platforms for the first time during Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT), Rear Admiral Scott Robertson, the SMWDC commander told Jane’s.
“We are getting CRUDES (cruisers and destroyers) comfortable operating with unmanned [platforms] in the same space to meet a particular mission,” Rear Adm Robertson said on 16 January during an interview at the annual Surface Warfare Association National Symposium.
“We’ll go in with an initial concept of operations that supports preliminary tactics,” he said. “We design an event with a number of ships, in conjunction with a UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] – or in this case, Sea Hunter. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Feb 20. Rheinmetall to supply laser duel simulators for the Puma infantry fighting vehicle, making an important contribution to the combat readiness of German mechanized infantry units. Rheinmetall will soon be supplying the German Bundeswehr with simulation technology that will enable highly realistic training of mechanized infantry units equipped with the Puma IFV. The total of the contract could be as high as €142m, including value added tax. At the end of 2019, Rheinmetall received order to this effect from the consortium responsible for the Puma for the AGDUS duel simulator, which had in turn been awarded the contract by the Bundeswehr on 20 December. To begin with, a pre-series of six systems will be developed and integrated. For Rheinmetall, the order value (booked in January 2020) comes to €54m with VAT. Once the system is ready for full-scale serial production, an option exists for equipping 252 infantry fighting vehicles. This would result in an additional order for Rheinmetall worth around €88m, including VAT, bringing the total value of the AGDUS contract to around €142m, once again including VAT. Each AGDUS set consists of laser detectors arrayed around the vehicle as well as eye-safe lasers capable of simulating the effects of the Puma’s principal weapon systems, i.e. the automatic cannon, machinegun and MELLS antitank guided missile. The laser algorithms are programmed to assure ballistically exact simulation of shots and hits. The AGDUS also enables simulation of the Puma IFV’s turret-independent secondary weapon system, or TSWA, as well as the vehicle’s self-defence systems. As a result, extremely realistic exercises can be conducted and evaluated at the German Army Combat Training Centre and other training facilities.
Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems and Electronics Solutions divisions will bring their respective expertise to bear in completing this order, with most of the work being performed at Group locations in Bremen and Unterlüß.
True to the motto “Train as you fight!”, the AGDUS-equipped Puma IFV will significantly enhance the combat readiness of Germany’s mechanized infantry corps.
03 Feb 20. Pilatus commits to deliver 24 PC-21 aircraft for Spanish Air Force. Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus has signed a contract with the Spanish Dirección General de Armamento y Material (DGAM) for the PC-21 aircraft. The signing comes after the deal was first announced on Plataforma de Contratacion del Sector Publico (PCSP) procurement website in November last year. With the signing of the €200m ($220m) contract, the Spanish Air Force, Ejército del Aire, has become the third in Europe to operate the PC-21 single-engine turboprop training aircraft.
Under the contract, a total of 24 next-generation trainers will be purchased along with an integrated training system, simulators, spare parts and logistics support.
The aircraft will replace the Casa C-101 jet trainers, which have been in use with the Spanish service since 1980.
Following the delivery of the aircraft, pilots will undergo advanced training with a cost-effective platform in 2021.
Pilatus chairman Oscar J Schwenk said: “As a small Swiss aircraft manufacturer I’m delighted at our repeated success in winning through over large, international competitors.
“This result is proof that, with our PC-21, we can deliver the very best training system in the world. I’m delighted to see us win a new airforce to add to our existing customer portfolio. We shall provide Ejército del Aire with the first-class customer service they are entitled to expect from Pilatus.”
This platform uses 50% less fuel than other jet trainers, making it more economically viable for training purposes. It is also designed to meet the current airforce requirements.
To date, Pilatus has sold more than 235 PC-21s to the airforces of Singapore, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, France, Australia and Spain.
Last month, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) took delivery of its final Pilatus PC-21 pilot training aircraft. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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/.