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05 Mar 20. Covid-19 outbreak: Indian Navy postpones ‘Milan 2020’ exercise. The Indian Navy has postponed the Milan 2020 exercise in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak that has affected 84 countries and has killed more than 3,200 people. The multilateral exercise was scheduled to be held from 18 to 28 March this year. The drill was poised to become one of the biggest maritime exercises organised by the Indian Navy involving naval forces from around 30 countries.
Naval spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal told The Times of India: “Milan 2020, which was to be held from March 18 to 28, has been postponed, taking into consideration the safety of all participants and travel restrictions imposed by the spread of Covid-19.
“Milan had generated a very enthusiastic response, with navies around the world having expressed their desire to participate. The Indian Navy looks forward toward scheduling Milan at a later convenient date.”
With the theme of ‘Synergy Across the Seas’, MILAN 2020 was devised to improve professional interaction among friendly foreign navies.
The exercise was also intended to help the naval forces leverage each other’s strengths to hone their skills. It would have also provided an opportunity for the forces to interact with each other in areas of mutual interest.
Recently, India signed an agreement with the US to procure MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopters for the navy.
The $2.12bn deal involves the delivery of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. Deliveries are slated to begin next year. (Source: naval-technology.com)
05 Mar 20. Singapore to increase training footprint in Australia. Singapore’s Defence Minister has updated plans to increase the nation’s training footprint in Australia under the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) signed in 2015, citing a $2.25bn investment in Australia under the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI) program.
Work is underway at two major training areas in Queensland that will be complete later this decade. Speaking in Singapore’s Parliament during a budget debate, Dr Ng Eng Hen said Australia “will be a key node for the best of class training facilities”, adding that “significant progress has been made” on the efforts to prepare the training areas under the Australia-Singapore CSP.
The CSP outlines a long-term vision to enhance Australia and Singapore’s strategic trade, economic, Defence and people-to-people links, as well as deepen collaboration between the two countries.
The ASMTI provides a unique opportunity to develop and enhance advanced military training areas in central and north Queensland and further strengthen Australia and Singapore’s defence partnership.
Minister Ng said that an ammunition storage building in Australia was completed last year, while work on the training areas will continue, with construction at Shoalwater Bay in central Queensland to be completed by 2024 and Greenvale in northern Queensland to be completed by 2028.
The plans are to include a combined arms air-land a range for Singapores Army and Air Force to be able to conduct training with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, drones, artillery and other platforms and will be complemented by urban operations live firing facilities in a realistic environment.
The ranges will be set in an area 10 times the size of Singapore and will allow its military to be able to conduct integrated training across all three services involving up to 14,000 personnel annually, and over a span of up to 18 weeks as set out under the ASMTI, which Minister Ng described as a “significant asset for our defence capabilities”.
Previously Singapore has only been able to send out 4,000 troops a a year as part of field training exercises in Shoalwater bay. The Republic of Singapore Air Force also currently has training operations in Australia with a detachment of PC-21 trainers at RAAF Base Pearce in WA and a helicopter detachment with the Australian Army Aviation Centre in Oakey, Queensland.
The RSAF’s Oakey detachment was recently involved in bushfire relief operations alongside the ADF. Two Chinooks and 71 personnel operated out of RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria and ferried over 400 passengers, more than seven cargo pallets along with 1,600 litres of fuel over a four-week period in January and February, notching up 150 flying hours in the process. (Source: Defence Connect)
04 Mar 20. US and French aircraft carriers conduct cross-deck exercises. The US and French nuclear-powered aircraft carriers have successfully conducted cross-deck inter-operability exercises in the Mediterranean Sea. Both Nimitz-class USS Dwight D Eisenhower (Ike) (CVN 69) and the FS Charles de Gaulle (R91) saw the F/A-18E Super Hornet, the French Rafale and an E-2C Hawkeye land and launch from their flight decks. Two US naval aviators and four French pilots participated in the exercises. The exercises included touch-and-go and one trap, as well as recovery on each of the carriers.
Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32 lieutenant commander Nick Smith said: “It was an honour to participate in the first-ever F/A-18E Super Hornet recovery aboard the FS Charles de Gaulle.
“The seamless integration of French and US systems and operators shows not only the compatibility of our practices and procedures but also the strength of our alliance.”
This exercise highlights the efforts of both countries to operate side-by-side, demonstrating their power at sea. Task Force 473 commander rear admiral Marc Aussedat said: “The dual-carrier operation represents a high-end interoperability showcase for our two navies.
“It is a concrete way to enhance our know-how to operate together, amongst which a swift ability to plug, to share tactical information, to catch and catapult aircraft indifferently on either aircraft carrier and to couple our fighting spirits in a complex maritime environment for a wide range of actions alongside.”
The two carriers have earlier worked together in support of Operation Inherent Resolve from the Mediterranean Sea in 2016. (Source: naval-technology.com)
04 Mar 20. Ravenswood to support British troops training in Kenya. Ravenswood Solutions has been awarded a contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide turnkey exercise support and instrumentation training services. Under the five-year contract, Ravenswood will provide the British Army with tactical engagement simulation in Kenya (TESIK).
Ravenswood Solutions will partner with three other companies to train British troops in Kenya and other locations.
The companies include Swiss-based laser system provider RUAG, logistics provider Agility and UK-based technical services corporation QinetiQ.
The TESIK contract is the first major contract for Ravenswood awarded by the UK MoD.
Ravenswood CEO Dan Donoghue said: “Team Ravenswood is thrilled to begin building a strong, trust-based partnership with our new client, the UK Ministry of Defence.
“We tailored our best-in-industry capabilities to meet the British Army’s training needs, and we are honoured that they have put their trust and confidence in us. We look forward to helping the MoD achieve their future needs.” (Source: army-technology.com)
04 Mar 20. Kabul military academy receives ADF-designed facility. Australia has designed and delivered a new amenities centre to the Afghan National Army’s Officer Academy (ANAOA) in Kabul. Also known as ‘Sandhurst in the Sand’, the ANAOA is located at Camp Qargha on the outskirts of Kabul, and has graduated out a total of 4,936 ANA officers since establishment. The Australian-designed facility will provide recreational relief to Afghan security forces training at Qargha, during low-tempo intervals in training.
The centre’s construction began in February 2019, and was underwritten by Norway through the NATO ANA Trust Fund Organisation. Commanding Officer of the Australian Mentoring Team at ANAOA, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Smith, said the centre was designed by an Australian Project Management Team (PMT) in collaboration with ANAOA staff, Australian advisers, and the Afghan Garrison Support Unit.
“The amenities centre provides an area for cadets to relax … – enjoy a movie, play table tennis, get a haircut or buy a coffee/chai from the centre’s cafe,” LTCOL Smith continued.
“The PMT provided oversight of the construction team and conducted final assurance testing prior to the handover of the building to the Afghan Garrison Support Unit.”
After handover to the ANA, Afghan officials are now responsible for the ongoing maintenance and operation of the centre. The move comes as part of ongoing support provided to the ANAOA by senior ADF and coalition staff since 2014. In recent years, these advisers have pivoted towards curriculum design, sequencing, headquarters functions, and logistics mentoring; as opposed to directly overseeing ANA cadets and instructors.
Project engineer Lieutenant Dawson Courtneya, of Joint Task Force 633’s Project Management Team B (PMT-B), oversaw the final stages of the centre’s construction.
“As engineers we are incredibly fortunate to be able to deliver a project like this and leave behind a physical asset for future use,” LT Courneya said.
The official opening was attended by senior ANA representatives from the Marshal Fahim National Defence University, alongside representatives from Australia, New Zealand and the UK. (Source: Defence Connect)
03 Mar 20. Africom’s Exercise Flintlock 2020 Strengthens Partnerships, Security. More than 1,600 service members from 30 African and Western nations celebrated the accomplishments of Exercise Flintlock 2020 in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
The African-led exercise is designed to strengthen the ability of key partner nations in the region to counter violent extremist organizations, protect their borders and provide security for their people.
- Clarke Cooper, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, called the exercise the sign of healthy partnerships. Cooper spoke in Mauritania at the ceremony concluding the exercise.
The annual exercise is the U.S. Africa Command’s premier and largest annual special operations forces exercise. Most of the exercise occurred in Mauritania and Senegal.
The exercise looks to enhance capabilities in counterterrorism. It also looks to strengthen civil-military relations within the nations of the region and interoperability regionally and with Western allies. “But more than being an opportunity for us each to improve individually, Flintlock is an opportunity for all our nations to grow together, in a healthy partnership,” Cooper said.
“Not all partnerships are healthy,” he continued. “But the one we celebrate here today is. How can I tell? Simple: Because it is a partnership based on mutual respect and shared values, not self-interest and exploitation. Because partnership contributes to self-sufficiency — not lasting dependency — and to sustainable capability — not burdensome debt. Partnership is not just a means to an end, but a path which we value for the friendships it creates, and the lessons we all learn, side-by-side.”
That West African nations face challenges is nothing new. Boko Haram is a major terrorist group that poses threats across the region. The infrastructure within the region is inadequate to support the growing population. Desertification, drought, illiteracy and other issues make progress slow and complicate the security picture.
But that security underpins progress. “Today our forces are engaged in the defeat of violent extremism from the shores of the Red Sea to the coast of the Atlantic,” Cooper said. “Together, we are combating piracy and countering illicit trafficking from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Guinea; across the Sahel. We are cementing security, and pursuing peace.”
Flintlock is an example to the continent, Cooper said. The fact that 30 nations can work in partnership to address problems greater than any one nation can handle gives hope to the region and world for stability, security and lasting peace.
“The United States has an unwavering and longstanding commitment to Africa,” Cooper said. “We support good governance, security, the rule of law, opportunities for economic growth and anti-corruption efforts.”
The U.S. works along many paths with African allies opening markets, providing aid money, even helping combat the Ebola outbreak. “Our relationship is one of cooperation, mutual respect and transparency, and today no other nation can match the United States’ commitment to the continent,” Cooper said.
This is because a secure, prosperous and stable African continent is an enduring global interest.
Participating African nations include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cabo Verde, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal. Western partners include Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. (Source: US DoD)
02 Mar 20. Griffon Aerospace Gets $50m US Army Order for Targets. U.S. Army fire-control experts needed two kinds of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) targets to help ground forces train to attack and defeat enemy UAVs. They found their solution from Griffon Aerospace Inc. in Madison, Alabama. Officials of the Army Contracting Command in Orlando, Fla., announced a $50m contract to Griffon Aerospace on Monday for MQM-170 Outlaw remotely piloted vehicle targets, and MQM-171 Broadsword unmanned aerial targets.
The MQM-170 Outlaw comes in two versions — the MQM-170C Outlaw G2, and the MQM-170 G1. The Outlaw G1 weighs 120 pounds gross weight, and was designed in 2004 as a low-cost UAV target. The UAV also is for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and UAV flight training.
This legacy UAV target has a low radar cross section, and available sensor payload bays, which can be configured interchangeably for fuel or sensors. It typically launches from a pneumatic launcher and then it is recovered by skid landing.
The Outlaw G2 is the successor to the Outlaw G1, and is the basic UAV for U.S. military UAV targets. It integrates the G1 engine, radio, autopilot control, and servos into a larger, and more aerodynamically efficient fuselage. The G2 uses an inexpensive pneumatic launcher, and offers enhanced visual signature and increased hit area. Operators also can use it as an inexpensive payload development platform.
The Broadsword UAV target is a larger derivative of the MQM-170A. It weighs 400 to 500 pounds, and is designed as an aerial target, and to evaluate new sensors, payloads, propulsion systems and other UAV components.
The Broadsword uses a large pneumatic launcher and then is recovered by skid landing. It also can have an optional landing gear for sensitive payloads.
The Army contract includes depot repair and maintenance; storage; base operations; field operations; qualification training; and inventory support. (Source: UAS VISION/Military & Aerospace Electronics)
02 Mar 20. Malaysia confirms delivery, training schedule for light attack helicopters. Malaysia’s Army chief confirmed the country will receive the first of six light attack helicopters this year, with Malaysian personnel bound for training in the United States.
Gen. Ahmad Hasbullah Mohd Nawawi also told local media during a news conference that the remaining MD Helicopters-built MD 530G armed reconnaissance/attack helicopters will be delivered in stages through 2021. He added that a technical team from Malaysia will go to the U.S. to obtain certification from the manufacturer.
“Once that is done, we will send the pilots for conversion training, followed by the maintenance crew to equip themselves with the know-how for the helicopters’ upkeep,” he said in remarks carried by Malaysia’s New Straits Times newspaper.
Malaysia ordered the MD 530Gs in early 2016 under a contract estimated to be worth $76.4m. Local company Halaman Optima was originally selected as the intermediary between the Malaysian government and MD Helicopters, although Halaman Optima was later acquired by Destini Berhad, which is now executing the contract.
The company confirmed to local news outlet Malaysiakini that the Malaysian government had given approval to Destini Berhad to continue fulfilling the remaining obligations for the acquisition, including ensuring all six helicopters are “ready for delivery.”
The MD 530Gs were originally slated to be delivered in two batches — the first two by July 2017, with the other four scheduled to arrive by December 2018. But the delivery dates have repeatedly been pushed back over “technical” and other issues.
The helicopters will be based in the state of Sabah in eastern Malaysia, which has in recent years encountered security challenges related to ongoing insurgencies and general lawlessness in the southern Philippines. Smuggling and piracy have spilled over into the eastern Malaysian waters, along with gangs from the Philippines crossing the sea on occasion to raid Sabah’s popular beach resorts, sometimes kidnapping tourists for ransom. (Source: Defense News)
27 Feb 20. Babcock to Provide Helicopters and Support for the French Navy. In a contract led by the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) for the French Navy, Babcock, will work in partnership with Airbus Helicopters (AH) and Safran Helicopter Engines (SHE) to provide four H160 helicopters, helicopter modifications and through-life support.
The H160 is a part of the interim fleet which will replace the Alouette III before the Guépard’s entry into service. The aircraft will be used by the French Navy on demanding Search and Rescue (SAR) missions and will be based at two locations in North and West France. Babcock is the global launch customer for the H160 helicopter.
This 10-year contact commences operations in 2022 and represents a milestone in the French MOD procurement process as it is the first time that a contract includes both hire and purchase of a brand new aircraft and its global support.
This contract marks a significant step in Babcock France’s deepening collaboration with French military forces after the Jet Fighters Modernized Training Programme (FOMEDEC) signed in 2016 for the French Air Force. It confirms Babcock’s military air expertise and commitment to support France’s armed forces.
Military Aviation Director for Babcock France, Pierre Basquin said: “We are very proud to be part of this innovative project with our partners. All together, we will provide both the H160 to the French Navy with a high level of availability and allow the DGA to prepare for the entry into service of the Guépard.”
Working closely with the DGA, Navy, AH and SHE stakeholders, Babcock is now driving forward with mobilisation activities. With a strong framework already in place, we will ensure the customer’s faith in our trusted to deliver culture is well placed. (Source: ASD Network)
29 Feb 20. Chief of Air Staff names new helicopter training facility. A state-of-the-art training facility has been formally named today at RAF Shawbury by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Wigston. The building was named in honour of The Duke of Cambridge, who completed advanced flying training at the Defence Helicopter Flying School and was awarded his aircrew flying badge in January 2010.
The Duke of Cambridge Building is part of the UK Military Flying Training System and houses advanced Flying Training Devices. This is where the next generation of aircrew learn many of their skills before getting airborne in the modern fleet of 29 Juno (H135) and 3 Jupiter (H145) helicopters.
The Duke of Cambridge said: “I have very happy memories of learning to fly at RAF Shawbury and I am sure that the future generation of rotary aircrew will benefit greatly from these world-class facilities.”
After formally naming the Duke of Cambridge Building Air Chief Marshal Wigston said: “This is a very proud moment for RAF Shawbury. I am delighted to see that the new training system and facilities housed in the Duke of Cambridge building are state-of-the-art, world-leading and will better prepare our tri-Service personnel for the front-line. This important milestone represents years of committed and dedicated work by Defence and Ascent Flight Training that everybody should be rightly very proud of.”
After the opening of the Duke of Cambridge Building, Air Chief Marshal Wigston unveiled a plaque to commemorate the rebadging of the Defence Helicopter Flying School to No 1 Flying Training School.
He said: “The rebadging to No 1 Flying Training School will ensure that the RAF’s oldest training School is retained in service. The School has a long, proud and illustrious history and today we celebrate both the School’s past achievements and its bright future as part of the UK Military Flying Training System.” (Source: Warfare.Today/RAF)
28 Feb 20. Boeing progresses Red Hawk flight trials. Boeing has progressed flight trials of the T-7A Red Hawk jet trainer out of its St Louis facility in Missouri, with an in-flight engine restart announced by the company on 27 February. The test of the single-engined aircraft that the company has developed with Saab saw the General Electric F404 powerplant shutdown for 48 seconds at 20,000 ft, before being restarted. As noted by Boeing, this is a critical safety feature in the event that a pilot has to shut the engine down in an emergency and power it back-up again.
”The test was the latest success for a programme that’s meeting all its critical development milestones,” Boeing said in a statement, adding that more than 160 developmental test flights have been flown to date. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Mar 20. Defence signs multimillion-dollar contract for JATTS. Defence has signed a $330m contract with Raytheon Australia to deliver Joint Adversarial Training and Testing Services (JATTS) to the Australian Defence Force for a period of eight years.
The JATTS contract consolidates three existing contracts that form the ability to support ADF exercises with ‘enemy’ airborne force aircraft, aerial targets and electronic warfare capabilities across a range of ADF platforms, including:
- the Air Force‘s Joint Strike Fighter, Super Hornet, Growler, Wedgetail airborne early warning and control capabilities and ground-based aircraft control units;
- Navy’s helicopter frigate and guided missile destroyer capabilities; and
- Army’s ground-based air defence capabilities.
The critical services to be delivered by the JATTS contract include aerial opposing force effects, manned and unmanned targets and sophisticated electronic attack.
The contract also introduces two new additional capabilities: the testing, training and certification of ADF Identification Friend or Foe Mode 5 interrogation systems; and advanced airborne threat simulations.
The JATTS contract is designed evolve over the term of the contract to ensure it remains contemporary and continually satisfies the ADF’s requirements during a time of significant Defence capability expansion.
Consisting of over 94 per cent Australian industry cContribution, the JATTS contract secures the ongoing employment of about 88 Raytheon Australia and sub-contractor personnel, predominantly based in the Nowra region of NSW. Defence Connect has reached out to Raytheon for further comment. (Source: Defence Connect)
Meggitt introduces the next generation of immersive training — the FATS® 180MIL.
Delivering 180° high definition projection and 5.1 surround sound, the FATS 180MIL increases training realism, heightening awareness and proper use of force responses. Three borderless screens fit into almost any space with at least a 10’ tall ceiling, providing a 150” X 84” (16:9 aspect ratio) borderless projection surface. It also includes:
- Military Validation – The same high-fidelity ballistic engine validated by the US Army, USMC and other military customers.
o Provides accurate ballistic characteristics in flight.
o Supports and enforces the proper fundamentals of marksmanship.
- Immersive Training – Supports both 3D Marksmanship and Judgmental training.
- Courseware – Delivered with full array of training courseware.
- Hit Detection System – Three digital cameras interface directly with Off-CPU real-time (OCR) processor used by FATS® 100 system for easy upgrade path.
- Projectors – Ultra short throw projectors provide freedom of movement, displaying stunning visuals in 180°environment.
- Low-Light Subsystem (optional) – Practice in simulated low-light conditions with hand-held and weapon-mounted flashlights.
- Rack – Uses same transportable rack as the FATS 100 system.
- Realistic Sounds – Self-powered audio system plays scenarios in 5.1 surround sound. Using directional sound effects board, the instructor can incorporate unsettling sounds from any direction, including barking dog, crying baby, gunshots and more to elevate situational awareness.
- Supports up to 60 simulated weapons, including FATS weapons and ammunition types. Up to 4 simulated weapons can be assigned to a single user.
With the FATS 180MIL, users feel they’re in the action, facing decision-making pressures while maintaining situational awareness.