Sponsored by Meggitt Training Systems
28 May 20. Meggitt Training Systems wins Australian Defence Force contract for additional wireless virtual weapons. Meggitt Training Systems announced today it has been awarded a US $1.8m contract for 73 additional BlueFire® EF88 assault rifle wireless virtual weapons to be used by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) on its Weapon Training Simulation Systems (WTSS), also delivered by the company as a program of record. These latest EF88 weapon simulators will be used at several ADF bases throughout the country with all deliveries to take place in the first half of 2021.
“BlueFire wireless simulators provide the highest level of realism by maintaining form, fit and function of the original weapon,” said Andrea Czop, vice president of strategy, sales and marketing at Meggitt Training Systems. “Like all our simulators, this version of the EF88 reinforces marksmanship training by providing sensor feedback on a variety of fundamental parameters.”
The development and ongoing delivery of 533 BlueFire EF88 simulators has allowed the ADF to continue to train and qualify soldiers on its new rifle using the WTSS. BlueFire EF88s are manufactured at Meggitt Training Systems in Suwanee, Georgia, with service and maintenance conducted in Australia under the Operations & Maintenance Support Services (OMSS) contract, which has been held by Meggitt Training Systems Australia (MTSA) since 1999.
“This order builds on the original EF88 contract awarded in 2018 to Meggitt Training Systems Australia and further proves the value of BlueFire weapons for soldier readiness,” said Kevin McNaughton, managing director of MTSA. “As the Australian Army transitions from the F88 to the EF88 as its primary frontline assault rifle, its BlueFire equivalent paired with upgraded WTSS units being delivered by Meggitt this year will significantly improve ADF weapon training capabilities.”
BlueFire EF88 simulators bring a substantial improvement in capability to the ADF over the tethered F88, including the use of commercial wireless technology to communicate with WTSS and other FATS 100MIL-based virtual training systems. This provides the same control as tethered weapons, but with full range of movement. For enhanced, more realistic visuals, Meggitt’s BlueFire weapon simulators feature a 3D marksmanship training environment. The after-action review allows engagement and shot assessment in a 3D virtual environment, while providing detailed trainee diagnostics for skill reinforcement or correction.
27 May 20. US Navy seeks multi-engine trainer aircraft. The US Navy (USN) is seeking a new aircraft to train multi-engine students for itself, the US Marine Corps (USMC), and US Coast Guard (USCG).
Having flown the T-44 Pegasus (pictured) since 1980, the US Navy is now looking for a new multi-engine trainer to instruct its own student pilots, as well as those of the US Marine Corps and US Coast Guard.
A request for information (RFI) for the Multi-Engine Training Aircraft (META) requirement called for a commercially available aircraft to replace the Beechcraft T-44 Pegasus variant of the King Air 90 that the service has used for the role since 1980.
“This Performance Based Specification (PBS) establishes the overall system capabilities, functionality, and equipage for the commercial airplane that is part of Multi Engine Training System (METS)”, the solicitation posted on the beta.sam.gov website on 26 May said.
The RFI laid out some required performance parameters for the candidate aircraft, including a cruise speed of no less than 195 kt, a service ceiling no less than 20,000 ft, and endurance no less than 3.5 hours (while performing certain stated flight profiles). Other specifications included passenger seating numbers, baggage carrying loads, and other items.
While the solicitation made no mention of anticipated aircraft numbers, Janes World Navies lists the USN as currently having 54 T-44s in its inventory. Operational multi-engine types flown by the USN, USMC, and USCG include the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye, Boeing P-8A Poseidon, Boeing C-41 Clipper, Airbus HC-144A Ocean Sentry, and Leonardo HC-27J. Responses to the RFI are due no later than 16:30 h EDT, 10 July. (Source: Jane’s)
26 May 20. HMS Queen Elizabeth completes first stages of operational sea training. HMS Queen Elizabeth, an aircraft carrier developed for the British Royal Navy, has completed the first stages of operational sea training. Over the last few weeks, the capabilities of the ship were tested with simulated fires, floods and its response to battle damage.
The aircraft carrier also conducted warfare training and mission rehearsals.
During the training exercise, Chinook, Merlin and Wildcat helicopters landed and took off from the ship’s four-and-half-acre flight deck.
Since late last month, HMS Queen Elizabeth has been at sea to carry out training exercises.
HMS Queen Elizabeth second in command Commander Charlie Guy said: “This is the first Basic Sea Training period for a Queen Elizabeth-class carrier.
“It is a chance for us to put to the test everything we have learnt over the last two years and show our FOST assessors we are ready for anything.”
The successful completion of the training exercise is expected to further the plans of its maiden operational deployment next year.
It also enables the next step of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s programme, which involves deploying operational F35 Lightning jets on the aircraft carrier.
The ship is expected to return to its naval base in Portsmouth to procure essential stores and kit necessary to operate the jets at sea.
During this procurement, engineers and equipment from 617 Squadron will also join the carrier.
According to the Royal Navy, all appropriate measures have been undertaken to ensure the safety of the crew amid the Covid-19 crisis.
The next stage will involve more qualifying training for UK F35 Lightning fighter jet crews. (Source: naval-technology.com)
18 May 20. US Navy and USMC conduct integrated operations. The US Navy and US Marine Corps (USMC) have collaborated to conduct integrated operations at sea to support the regional security and stability in the US 7th Fleet area of operations.
These operations focus on interoperability to continue the development of warfighting concepts.
Additionally, they will improve distributed maritime missions and enable real-time proficiency and readiness.
US Destroyer Squadron 15 commodore Captain Steven De Moss said: “Our forward-deployed naval forces at sea are spread from the Sea of Japan to operations in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean.
Operations include the III Marine Expeditionary Force, amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), guided-missile destroyers USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Mustin (DDG 89), USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), and USS Russell (DDG 59).
Other vessels participating in the operations are combat logistics force ships USNS Alan Sheppard (T-AKE 3), USNS Pecos (T-AO 197), and maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
The integrated operations conducted by US Navy and USMC are protecting the defence interests of the US and its allies.
Military Sealift Command Far East Commander Captain Robert Williams said: “Every day, our CLF Mariners sail alongside our sailors and marines ensuring the readiness and resiliency of our forward-deployed naval forces.”
The integrated efforts enhance the US’ ability to deal any contingency. It also prepares forces for mission readiness.
The mission is expected to stabilise the Indo-Pacific, promoting peace and prosperity for nations in the region. (Source: naval-technology.com)
26 May 20. Basic military training to start at Keesler AFB in June. US Air Force (USAF) officials have announced that basic military training (BMT) will continue to be held at Keesler Air Force Base’s (AFB) secondary location beginning 2 June until the end of Covid-19 surge operations.
The decision to stand up BMT’s initial operating capability at the AFB under Detachment 5 of the 37th Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland comes following successful proof of concept trial run at the base that started last month.
Every week, 60 new recruits from across the Total Force are set to arrive for six weeks of BMT until the need for surge operations diminishes.
USAF 2nd Air Force commander Major General Andrea Tullos said: “This capability was a deliberately developed option to disperse the delivery of BMT during contingencies to provide surge capacity and introduce agility in the training pipeline construct.
“This move also helps ensure the health and safety of our trainees and instructors by allowing proper safety controls, like physical distancing and deep cleaning.”
Furthermore, the move will provide relief to JBSA-Lackland’s training infrastructure.
Members of the 81st Training Wing and its detachments already perform more than 160 career field specialty training courses due to which Keesler was also selected for the training.
Tullos added: “Having trainees finish BMT and head across the base to begin technical training eliminates the need to transport trainees to another location after graduation. Limiting movement effectively limits the number of times our Airmen could potentially be exposed to Covid-19.”
Keesler BMT has been designed to be sustainable for longer periods if required.
No other plans are in place to continue BMT at multiple locations following the Covid-19 pandemic. Keesler AFB is located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and is home to the 81st TRW, 2nd Air Force, the US Air Force Reserve’s 403rd Wing. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
27 May 20. Defence to streamline learning through VR, gaming technologies. The Australian Defence Force is looking to capitalise on trends within the gaming and entertainment sector in order to refine and build on its education strategies.
As part of the recently-released Defence Enterprise Learning Strategy (DELS) 2035 publication, the ADF plans to “exploit virtual reality [VR] and gaming technologies, machine learning and artificial intelligence across Defence to enhance learning”. According to the DELS, the Commander ADC and Service Training Authorities will be responsible for achieving this strategic focal priority, in consultation with the Chief Defence Scientist.
It is hoped that the provision of content in a more meaningful and engaging manner will track with younger generations.
“Previously the emphasis was on the learner to maintain their attention and engagement, however, increasingly the emphasis is now on the education and training provider to provide content in a way that is more engaging,” said Defence in a statement.
“Technology offers opportunities to better engage learners, reach a much wider audience, and allows for remote learning. Learners are also now able to interact with others through digital technology, including their peers, educators, social networks and Defence communities of practice.”
Moreover, another key strategic focus announced in the DELS report is the development of an Online Academy to “build capability in future focused learning”. While it is as yet unclear which topics might be targeted by such an agency, it is clear that Defence is embracing adaptive learning strategies, which will likely shape the course of recruitment and training in the years to come.
The news builds on plans announced in recent months by the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD); which in early March flagged a move towards VR training for its armed forces centred on the same platform as the popular game Fortnite. To that end, the MoD has invested £300,000 with SimCentric, a veteran-run software company, to develop and roll out training prototypes.
At the time, SimCentric indicated that the technology would contain a fully-immersive simulated “sandbox” environment, allowing users to crouch, crawl and run appropriately.
“This new simulator is just one way we are bringing training into the next generation, using technology drawn from the world of gaming to support our troops in training,” said Professor Dame Angela McLean, chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 May 20. SPMAGTF-SC still preparing for Central American deployment. US Marines and sailors are continuing to train and prepare for their upcoming deployment with a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Southern Command [SPMAGTF-SC] across Central America despite the ongoing global pandemic.
As of 21 May, about 300 US troops were still set to deploy south to work alongside allies and partners during the hurricane season, roughly June through November, according to Captain Jose Negrete, the public affairs director of US Marine Corps (USMC) Forces, South.
“In terms of what countries they deploy to and what partner nations join us, that is going to be situation dependent and will vary country by country,” he told Janes. “As you know, the situation is very fluid, and we continue to monitor it closely as it evolves for any adjustments we may have to make.”
As the command finalises deployment plans, SPMAGTF-SC Marines and sailors have continued training, which has been “assessed and adjusted” to align with Department of Defense, senior leaders, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Capt Negrete added.
For example, service members wear cloth face coverings when they are unable to maintain 6 ft of distance from people in public areas and work centres during certification exercises, according to an 8 May press release. The medical team’s navy corpsmen also held a ‘sick-call’ every morning to screen service members for Covid-19.
Over the past several years, the SPMAGTF-SC deployment has become an annual event with troops sent to Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras for military-to-military training events, to assist with community projects, and help with potential disaster relief efforts, such as in 2018 when the Fuego volcano erupted outside of Guatemala’s capital. (Source: Jane’s)
22 May 20. Nato joins Swedish naval exercise in Baltic Sea. Standing Nato Maritime Group One (SNMG1) has participated in the Swedish naval exercise (SWENEX), conducted from 11 to 21 May off the southern coast of Sweden, in the waters of Skagerak and the Baltic Sea. SNMG1, along with the flagship HNoMS Otto Sverdrup and FGS Rhon, took part in the exercise with the Swedish naval forces. The training was aimed at helping the country defend its territory from intruders and other potential threats.
The exercise saw the participation of 15 ships, 80 small boats and 2,000 sailors together with helicopters and small airplanes from the Swedish Navy.
During the exercise, Sweden and Nato used secure sea lines of communication. The two groups share a mutual interest of peace and stability in the Baltic.
SNMG1 Commander Commodore Yngve Skoglund said: “Even though Sweden is not a Nato nation, we train and exercise together.
“Sweden and Nato share the same interest of peace and stability in the Baltic, with safe and secure sea lines of communication for all.
“Knowing each other’s capacities, procedures and ways of communicating is important for us to be able to work together in a possible situation that demands common effort from both Nato and Sweden.”
Following the cancellations and reductions of several exercises after the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, SWENEX provided multiple training opportunities.
It offered the air defences a platform to exercise in surface and subsurface scenarios.
The exercise will be followed by another major exercise in the Baltic Sea, with the commencement of the annual BALTOPS next month.
Participating Nato groups will include SNMG1 and Standing Nato Mine Countermeasures Group One. The exercise will be led by Naval Striking and Support Forces Nato (STRIKFORNATO). (Source: naval-technology.com)
20 May 20. Saab Signs Support Agreement for SK60. Saab has extended its support and maintenance agreement with the Swedish Armed Forces regarding the SK60 trainer aircraft, which is used for pilot training. The contract is valid from 1 July 2020 up to 2025, with 2026 as an optional year. The initial order value amounts to MSEK 875.
The extended support agreement means that Saab will continue to serve as primary supplier, and is responsible for the operation, maintenance, and availability of all SK60 aircraft at the Swedish Armed Forces. The commitment calls for Saab to ensure that the system is airworthy and readily available for Swedish Air Force Wings as per the Swedish Armed Forces’ requirements. The agreement is a continuation of a similar contract signed in 2015.
“This contract ensures that the Swedish fighter pilots continue to get really good training, due to the Air Force’s SK60 fleet being available for several years to come,” says Ellen Molin, Head of Saab’s Support and Services business area.
SK60 is the Swedish military designation for Saab 105, a twin-engine jet aircraft which undertook its maiden flight in 1963 and which has been used in the Swedish Armed Forces, primarily for training purposes, since 1967. (Source: ASD Network)
22 May 20. Land Forces Training Digital Conference.
- October 27-28, 2020
- Online Event, Your Computer
The Bridge Between Combat Doctrine & Training Transformation
As land power doctrine re-orientates towards multi-domain operations there is a need to invest in new training capabilities that will develop adaptive and innovative soldiers, capable of fighting against skilled enemies and winning in complex, changing battlespaces.
View 2020 Digital Conference Agenda
This change is part of a broader strategic modernisation initiative reshaping army thinking today, driven largely by two key factors: technology and a vision of the future operating environment.
Land Forces Training Digital will provide a platform for experts from both industry and military to build meaningful consensus across coalitions and industry partnerships on the training needs of the future warfighter – providing a forum for discussion on what skills will be required to fight and win in 2050. During challenging times characterised by decreased opportunities for engagement within the Defence community and particularly the training community, Land Forces Training Digital can sustain and progress these important discussions between international partners.
7 reasons to register for Land Forces Training Online:
- Modernise your land forces training by adopting modern, progressive doctrine that assures your preparedness for multi-domain operations and the future threat context
- Provide a more realistic, immersive collective training experience to the next generation of warfighters through the leveraging of commercial off-the-shelf synthetics and virtual, mixed and augmented reality technologies
- Create warfighters with greater situational awareness, tactical mobility and assault support knowledge
- Optimise training output and demonstrate training effectiveness through the use of advanced big data capture and exploitation technologies
- Maximise the effectiveness of your training delivery by establishing lasting relationships with military and industry training partners and debriefing joint training exercises to improve interoperability
- Utilise live and simulated training within a joint, international framework to provide realistic training and produce versatile personnel
- Start building readiness at the individual to collective levels for large scale ground conflict
- Lieutenant General (Retd) James Bashall, -, British Army
- Lieutenant General Slawomir Wojciechowski PhD, Commanding General, NATO Multinational Corps Northeast
- Major General Karl Engelbrektson, Commander, Army of Sweden
- Major General Michael Lollesgaard, Chief of Army Command, Danish Armed Forces
- Major General Iulian Berdila, Chief of Land Forces Staff, Romanian Ministry of National Defence
- Major General James Illingworth, Director, Land Warfare, British Army
- Major General Marek Sokolowski, Training Inspector, General Command, Polish Armed Forces
- Brigadier Glenn Ryan, Director General, Training and Doctrine, Australian Army
- Brigadier General David Dignam, General Officer Commanding, Defence Forces Training Centre, Irish Defence Forces
- Brigadier General Prof.Eng. Ghita Barsan PhD, Commandant, Nicolae Balcescu Land Forces Academy, Romanian Land Forces
- Brigadier General Mariano Bianchi, Head of Simulation Technologies for Training Office, Italian Army Headquarters
- Colonel Enno Mots, Commandant, Military Academy, Estonian Defence Forces
- Confirmed representative, -, Finnish Army (Source: ASD Network)
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.