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11 Jun 20. DOD Announces $250m to Ukraine for Training. The Department of Defense announced today its plans for $250m in Fiscal Year 2020 Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s capacity to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression.
This reaffirms the long-standing defense relationship between the United States and Ukraine – a critical partner on the front line of strategic competition with Russia. The United States remains steadfast in its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
The USAI funds – $125m of which was conditional on Ukraine’s progress on defense reforms – will provide equipment to support ongoing training programs and operational needs. This includes capabilities to enhance Ukraine’s defensive lethal capabilities and situational awareness in the maritime domain, air surveillance systems to monitor sovereign airspace, command and control and survivability of Ukraine’s Land and Special Operations Forces through the provision of counter-artillery radars and tactical equipment, military medical treatment and combat evacuation procedures, and cyber defense and strategic communications to counter Russian cyber offensive operations and misinformation.
These efforts are complemented by increased security assistance support from key NATO Allies and partners. The United States continues to urge all allies and partners to enhance their support for Ukraine’s security and defense sector. The United States also welcomes recent Ukrainian investments in U.S. defense articles that further strengthen our strategic partnership.
These security cooperation programs are made possible by Ukraine’s continued progress on key defense institutional and anti-corruption reforms. Over the past year, Ukraine has taken considerable steps to: strengthen civilian control of the military; reform military command and control structures; transition to a Western-style human resources management system; introduce measures to promote increased transparency and competition in defense procurement and the defense industrial sector; and tighten internal controls to reduce corruption.
The United States remains committed to assisting Ukraine with the implementation of defense and anti-corruption reforms in line with Euro-Atlantic principles. These reforms will bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity in support of a secure, prosperous, democratic, and free Ukraine. (Source: US DoD)
09 Jun 20. Royal Navy frigate joins Nato allies on BALTOPS exercise. The Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Kent has joined forces with 19 Nato ally nations on the US-led BALTOPS exercise conducted in the Baltic Sea region. Credit: Archive photo from BALTOPS2019/ North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Kent has joined 19 Nato ally nations with around 3,000 personnel to take part on the US-led Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise that started in the Baltic Sea.
During the 49th exercise, which will run until 16 June, HMS Kent and minehunter HMS Ramsey will sail alongside 26 other vessels and 29 aircraft.
The personnel will strengthen their combined maritime capabilities while demonstrating their collective resolve to safeguard security in the Baltic Sea Region.
As part of the five-week deployment, HMS Ramsey will join the exercise with the Nato Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1.
The Nato force focuses on eliminating the threat of historic mines in northern Europe’s waters.
Furthermore, it will practise dealing with modern mines while promoting the alliance and freedom of the seas.
During the BALTOPS exercise, allies will conduct combined training exercises that will include air defence, anti-submarine warfare, and mine-hunting.
It will provide support to deter sea, sky and land threats and maintain the region’s security.
The exercise is being commanded ashore by Naval Striking and Support Forces Nato (STRIKFORNATO) from its headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal.
Currently, more than 800 British Army personnel are deployed in Estonia as part of Nato’s enhanced Forward Presence.
UK HMS Kent commanding officer Commander Matt Sykes said: “My ship’s company are eager to take part in the exercise and up for the challenge, focussing on our ability to operate seamlessly with our Nato and partner nations.
“In these turbulent times, it is also vitally important that we demonstrate our commitment to the region and to upholding the principles of freedom of access to the Baltic Sea.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
11 Jun 20. Taiwan’s Brave Eagle trainer conducts first flight. The Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) T-5 Brave Eagle advanced jet trainer has conducted its maiden flight from Ching Chuan Kang air base near the city of Taichung, Taiwan.
The flight involved the aircraft registered 11001 and occurred on the morning of 10 June, according to a brief statement posted by Taiwan’s Military News Agency. During the 20min sortie the aircraft did not raise its landing gear, according to media reports from Taiwan. Preliminary flight testing will continue until an “official” first flight on 22 June, with Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen in attendance. The T-5 was unveiled by Tsai at a September 2019 ceremony. At the time plans called for a first flight in June 2020. A joint programme between state-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, the Republic of China Air Force, and AIDC, the T-5 is based on the twin-seat version of the F-CK-1 Indigenous Defence Fighter, but 80% of its components are new. Key changes include greater use of composites, more fuel capacity, a wing optimised for slower, more stable low-level flight, and the removal of the gun. The T-5 is powered by a non-afterburning Honeywell/TEC F124-200TW. (Source: News Now/Flight Global)
10 Jun 20. Safety Standards Uncompromised as Navy Restarts SEAL Training.
“Hooyah!” and other screams of motivation pierced the crisp Coronado, California, air in the early hours of May Naval Special Warfare Center. The compound’s normally serene night was now a raucous scene, as nearly 180 Navy SEAL candidates rushed to their set of Frogman flippers checkered in white paint across the field of blacktop that is the dreaded BUD/S 1st Phase Grinder.
Instructors shouting through megaphones, a light rain falling from hoses and good, old-fashioned adrenaline fueled prospective special operators through the traditional predawn physical training session that signifies the start of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, or BUD/S.
Class 342’s induction marked the resumption of training for three classes put on pause March 16 due to COVID-19.
“We took a conservative approach to properly assess our student population and establish protocols in order to minimize risk to them during training,” said Navy Capt. Bart Randall, the commodore of the Naval Special Warfare Center.
The decision to restart BUD/S 1st and 2nd Phases, and Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman Basic Crewman Selection was based on mitigation efforts put in place that follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations and Defense Department medical professional guidance, Randall said.
Instructors now wear face masks and gloves, when necessary, and classes are seeing an increased emphasis on practicing social distancing to the greatest extent possible. This includes limiting the number of students in a classroom and putting methods in place during group training events such as class runs and swims, to ensure adequate physical separation.
Also critical to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 is keeping SEAL and SWCC students in a “closed ecosystem,” Randall said.
This starts for most students when candidates enter the Navy at Recruit Training Command, where they are quarantined for two weeks prior to starting boot camp. The protective bubble carries over to Naval Special Warfare Prep, where students transit to another part of Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, for the two-month training phase. Those who qualify for the orientation phase in Coronado are then flown on military aircraft to a military base to protect students from outside exposure.
“I want our students, instructors and staff to have the safest environment possible,” Randall said. As students continue through their respective pipelines at Naval Special Warfare Center, so do the mitigation policies. Classes perform daily COVID-19 screenings; get to-go meals from the base galley, eating only with their classmates; and sanitize their water bottles daily.
And how do these mitigation efforts affect NSW’s exceptionally high standards? “We are not going to change the training we have established throughout the history of NSW,” Randall said.
There is “total buy-in” on the importance of COVID-19 mitigation efforts from leadership down to the instructors standing on the berm, he said. “The instructors are a few steps back now, they can stand off 10 feet, and the students have no problem hearing them.”
Training cadre members also understand the importance of maintaining standards.
“They know they are here to create their future teammates,” Randall said. “Our instructors will rotate from here right back to a SEAL platoon, and these young operators will be next to them in formation, downrange, defending our way of life.”
Not compromising NSW Center’s high-caliber of training requires balancing the risk to the mission with the risk to the force.
The nature of many SEAL and SWCC training evolutions means students are going to be close to each other, Randall said. Physical proximity not only is needed for students to complete events, but also is essential in developing tight bonds among classmates, he explained.
“The relationships developed are like that of a family member,” he said. “They help you get to graduation and are later critical to the success of a SEAL or Special Boat Team.”
Still, the health, safety and welfare of everyone involved in the training process is paramount, Randall emphasized.
“If any student shows signs of illness, we will pull them from training to be evaluated by medical professionals,” Randall said. “We will take care of them and make sure they are healthy before getting them back in the fight.” (Source: US DoD)
07 Jun 20. Indonesia Using Virtual Reality for M3 Training. In order to train operators for its 18 M3 Amphibious Bridge Devices, the Indonesian Army has started using Virtual Reality (VR), allowing the trainee to immerse themselves in the real environment with illusory stimulation (immersion), enabling intensive and effective practical training. To start with, participants learn the theoretical basics of operation by means of an e-learning programme, then they drive the amphibious vehicles in the simulation individually on land and in the water, followed by training for the transition from land to water and vice versa. In virtual team training, the interaction of several amphibious vehicles for the construction of ferries and bridges is taught with the ferry driver, who is in charge of the entire operation and equipped with a VR headset, giving commands with the help of hand signals that are transmitted via VR in real time.
The de-briefing room is used to debrief the exercise, during which, the following group in the simulator room is already conducting the next exercise. Only when the participants have shown in VR that they can operate the vehicle safely and build ferries as a team, are they allowed to move to the real 28-ton vehicles.
The manufacturer of the VR Team Trainer for Indonesia (VTTI) is Szenaris, which has developed and installed numerous applications for e-learning and handling training with simulation in armed forces, government agencies and industry. The M3 is produced by General Dynamics European Land Systems-Germany, and was introduced to the German Armed Forces in 1996 as the first user, after which it has been sold to five others (Brazil, the UK, Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan). It is a two-axle, all-wheel drive and all-wheel-steered floating wheeled vehicle that can be coupled to form a floating bridge or operated as a ferry. During the NATO Exercise Anaconda in 2016, German and British engineers built a 350 m long floating bridge with the M3, a world record. (Source: ASD Network)
09 Jun 20. Buchanan & Edwards wins USAF contract for data governance training. Buchanan & Edwards has secured a new contract with the USAF Office of the CDO to provide public sector data governance training and certification services.
Buchanan & Edwards has secured a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) Office of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) to provide public sector data governance training and certification services.
Buchanan & Edwards’ wholly owned subsidiary R2C has partnered with the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) to provide the training and certification to USAF data stewards across the country.
The training certification has been tailored according to the needs of public sector organisations.
Buchanan & Edwards CEO Eric Olson said: “It is an honour to be able to support the USAF with training that will further enhance its ability to treat its data as the critical organisational asset it is.
“We are looking forward to a long-term relationship that will benefit the USAF CDO, her dedicated staff, and all of the USAF.”
The training is aimed at preparing the entire cadre of USAF data stewards for the ICCP Public Sector Data Governance Professional certification.
The initiative will demonstrate a consistent standard of knowledge, skills and abilities for USAF data professionals.
Buchanan & Edwards Data Governance Lead Kathy Rondon said: “Through this ambitious training and certification effort, USAF CDO Eileen Vidrine is advancing the data governance maturity of her organisation in a deliberate manner.
“We are excited to be part of her efforts to accelerate her data governance programme.”
Last week, USAF in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) conducted the first large force exercise (LFE) to enhance combat readiness and increase tactical proficiency amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
09 Jun 20. Mission Accomplished: Taji training mission formally concluded. Defence has announced that Australia has successfully completed its training mission at Taji Military Complex in Iraq. Since 2015, Australia has trained more than 47,000 members of the Iraqi security forces through the joint Australia-New Zealand Building Partner Capacity Program.
Australian support at Taji has helped Iraqi security forces to deliver on the country’s capacity to deliver training and conduct independent operations. Defence said that this has been vital in Iraq’s ongoing battle to defeat Islamic State factions present in the Middle Eastern nation.
Task Group Taji was first deployed to Iraq back in April 2015 in order to assist with training regular Iraqi security forces. The force is part of Joint Task Force 633 in the Middle East, which originally fell under the purview of Major General Craig Orme.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds commended the Australian Defence Force for its contribution to Task Group Taji.
“The ADF has been at the very forefront of the work at Taji,” said Minister Reynolds.
“Last year, I saw first-hand the incredible contribution our personnel have made at Taji, and had the opportunity to thank them for their significant efforts.
“The substantial progress made against Daesh and the increased capacity of the Iraqi security forces means that our training mission at Taji has reached logical and natural conclusion.”
In November 2019, Australia’s in-country partner, the Iraqi School of Infantry, was the first Coalition facility to declare full independent operating capability, enabling training responsibilities to be handed back to the Iraqi government.
Australia will continue to play a key role in the Global Counter Daesh Coalition and provide support to Iraq through contributions to the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, Coalition air capabilities and Coalition headquarters. (Source: Defence Connect)
08 Jun 20. Bulgaria to begin F-16V pilot training. Bulgaria is to shortly despatch to the United States its first cadre of pilots to train on the Lockheed Martin F-16V Block 70 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft, the country’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 5 June.
Bulgaria is to receive eight F-16V aircraft from 2023 to 2027. The first four pilots are to shortly begin their training in the United States.
The first four pilots were announced during a reception with Bulgarian Defence Minister, Krassimir Karakachanov, ahead of their departure to train on the new multirole combat aircraft that is set to replace the country’s ageing Warsaw Pact-era MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ fighters.
“This is the future of Bulgarian aviation,” the minister said. “With all due respect and with the best feelings for the MiG-29 aircraft and our other combat equipment, our future is different and we are already betting on a new type of combat aircraft.”
The pilots, dubbed “The Magnificent Four” by Bulgarian media, are Major Stoyan Petkov, Captain Alexander Velinov, Captain Todor Todorov, and Senior Lieutenant Simeon Georgiev. Once in the United States, they will undertake a specialist English-language course (they each already speak English), before going through the full US Air Force training pipeline for the F-16, starting on the Beechcraft T-6C Texan II, before progressing on to the Northrop T-38C Talon and then onto the F-16 itself. This will take place at various locations in the US, and will last for three years and four months.
In April, Lockheed Martin was contracted to build and deliver eight F-16V aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Force (BuAF). The USD512m Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract will see the aircraft delivered from 2023 through to the end of January 2027, with a further USD800m expected to be earmarked for support, services, and equipment. (Source: Jane’s)
08 Jun 20. First British Army recruits pass training after lockdown – National Guard supports testing sites. The first batch of soldiers at the British Army Training Regiment, Winchester (ATR(W)) have successfully completed training after the Covid-19 lockdown. Training for the 60 recruits to become soldiers began in January this year. They also undertook a virtual training regime via online video conferencing and used exercise apps for physical training. After being called back to barracks, each of the recruits were taught new practices and procedures to help minimise the risk of the virus spread.
The US National Guard is supporting two separate community-based Covid-19 collection sites in rural Lincoln County, Nevada. The collection sites are located in Alamo and Lincoln High School. Task Force (TF) 17 soldiers are leading the efforts. 15 soldiers with the 17th and five with TF Med were deployed out of Vegas to support the mission. The guard members helped the patients with their registration process, sample collection and sealing it into the test kit bag. The deployment was in response to request from the Lincoln County Health Department’s Emergency Management Office.
Nurses from the 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron stationed at Dobbins Air Reserve Base (ARB) in Georgia have returned to the base. They successfully completed their deployment to the Covid-19 frontlines in New York City as part of the government response to the pandemic. Several medical personnel from Air Force Reserve Command have been working for the last few months to support the state and local governments across the continental US in their efforts to contain the spread of the virus. They are working together with their military and civilian counterparts in the US Army North-led Joint Forces Land Component Command (JFLCC). (Source: army-technology.com)
05 Jun 20. USAFE-AFAFRICA conducts large force exercise in North Sea airspace. USAFE-AFAFRICA has conducted the first large force exercise (LFE) to enhance combat readiness and increase tactical proficiency amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The large force exercise, which was conducted within the North Sea airspace on 27 May, had seen the participation of the USAF F-15 Strike Eagles attached to the 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath; F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy; F-16s assigned to the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem AB, Germany; KC-135 Stratotankers attached to the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall; and NATO E-3 Sentry, or AWACS, from Geilenkirchen AB, Germany.
During the exercise, a Dissimilar Air Combat Training was conducted, which will help in maintaining a capable and ready force that can ensure the collective defence of the Nato alliance to counter threats in the area of responsibility.
USAF a 493rd Fighter Squadron pilot and 48th FW chief of weapons Captain Nathan Hartoin said: “Large-force exercises allow us to validate and enforce important tactics that are tested at many of the major exercises that occur around Europe and the US.
“The North Sea airspace allows fourth-to-fourth generation fighter integration on a large scale and is one of the best around for simulated air-to-air engagements.
“The aerial refuelling provided by the 100th ARW was vital in showing the capability to execute long-range defensive counter-air. With this in mind, the tanker plan was the primary detail that was constantly adapted all the way through execution.”
Last month, the USAFE provided a C-130J Super Hercules from Ramstein Air Force Base (AFB), Germany, for the transportation of medical and other relief supplies between supply hubs in Milan and Rome in Italy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Italian Government was supported by the USAF 86th Airlift Wing for the mission, which was the first in a planned series of USAFE mobility support operations to Italy. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
05 Jun 20. Warships mass in the Baltic Sea for a coronavirus-conscious battle drill. Navies from 19 NATO members and partners are slated to kick off the 2020 iteration of the “Baltic Operations” exercise on Friday, which this year excludes any amphibious drills to avoid the risk of spreading the coronavirus between ships and land.
Hosted by the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet, the ten-day exercise features live training events related to air defense, anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction and mine countermeasure operations, the German navy wrote in a statement.
Officials at Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO will command the proceedings from their new headquarters roughly 2,000 miles away, in Lisbon, Portugal.
The drill’s 3,000 participants hail from the countries bordering the Baltic Sea, Scandinavia, the Mediterranean NATO nations, Canada, the U.K, and the Netherlands. Almost 30 ships and aircraft each are expected to be in use.
were on the rise in 2019, especially in the naval sector.
“BALTOPS provides the opportunity for NATO and partner nations to operate together, sharing best practices to improve real-world operations,” Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, who commands Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO and U.S. 6th Fleet, was quoted as saying in a statement. “Although we’ll conduct this year’s event entirely at sea, BALTOPS 2020 will demonstrate our continuous commitment to regional security and reinforce the inherent flexibility of our combined naval force to operate together under any circumstances.”
Restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic are forcing sailors to remain afloat and do their best to implement distancing rules in tight quarters. The captain of Germany’s Lübeck frigate, for example, was quoted as saying his crew would attempt to stay 1.5 m apart from one another wherever possible.
The global pandemic has taken a toll on the size and scope of the exercise, but the fact that it is still taking place at all is an attempt to project strength even now, according to Julian Pawlak and Sebastian Bruns, two naval analysts at the University of Kiel. That is especially the case for Germany, which is eager to “send a message” by bringing its equipment, said Pawlak.
As for the strategic context, “The idea is to demonstrate that the Baltic Sea isn’t anyone’s front yard, but that freedom-of-navigation principles apply just the same here,” said Bruns.
What is unlikely to change is complaining by Baltic Sea neighbor Russia about the Western assembly of warship so close to its borders. “But that’s part of it,” Pawlak said, adding that Russian vessels usually take every opportunity to observe the drill from a distance. (Source: Defense News)
04 Jun 20. Rheinmetall and Lockheed Martin join forces in bid to win Canadian Army Land Vehicle Crew Training System program. Rheinmetall is teaming up with Lockheed Martin in pursuit of the Canadian Army’s Land Vehicle Crew Training System (LVCTS) project. Rheinmetall Canada will take the lead in a partnership that includes Lockheed Martin Canada, Rheinmetall Electronics of Bremen, Germany, and Lockheed Martin Training and Logistics Solutions in Orlando, Florida. In cooperation with its partners, Rheinmetall Canada will offer the Canadian Army a solution for the LVTCS project that is mature, modular, and cost effective, while ensuring high-value economic benefits to Canada.
The LVCTS solution will enable the Canadian Army to conduct progressive training at the individual, crew, platoon, and higher echelon levels using high- to medium-fidelity reconfigurable trainers, as well as standard trainee workstations combined with a robust virtual environment and a comprehensive instructional system. The software will be common to all levels of training and designed to generate increasingly challenging situations, including the ability to realistically simulate various terrain types, weather conditions, capabilities, and tactics. The instructional system will score crews to a doctrinal standard at all levels of complexity. Individual Crew Training Systems (CTSs) will be linked through the Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) protocol and High-Level Architecture (HLA) gateways to provide section, platoon, or higher echelon training. The system will also include a learning management system that allows for customization of training scenarios, monitoring of trainee progress, and after-action review.
As Pietro Mazzei, Vice-president, Rheinmetall Canada, notes, “This partnership combines two of the world’s leading providers of military training solutions in order to supply the Canadian Army with the most advanced modular system. Rheinmetall and Lockheed Martin have strong global track records when it comes to supplying and supporting leading-edge systems for precision gunnery and crew task training. We look forward to bringing this expertise to the Canadian Army.”
“Lockheed Martin Canada is proud to partner with Rheinmetall on an LVCTS solution for the Canadian Army”, says Lorraine Ben, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Canada. “Building on 80 years of support to the Canadian Armed Forces, we look forward to leveraging our team’s skills and experience, including in world-class simulation and training systems. This partnership connects industry-leading technology with Canadian expertise for a critical land training capability in Canada for decades to come.”
Lockheed Martin Training and Logistics Solutions is a leading provider of Army training solutions worldwide including the world’s two largest virtual collective training systems—the U.S. Army’s Close Combat Tactical Trainer (CCTT) and the UK Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (UK CATT).
About Rheinmetall Canada
Rheinmetall Canada is the Canadian arm of Germany’s Rheinmetall Group, Europe’s largest supplier of systems and equipment for armed forces and security services. With employees at locations in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Québec and Ottawa in Ontario, Rheinmetall Canada has accumulated over three decades of expertise in system integration, real-time command and control software development, and communication solutions. Serving as prime contractor, Rheinmetall Canada has also managed several major Canadian Army programs such as the Leopard 2 repair and overhaul, medium range radar, integrated soldier system, and satellite communications on the move.
About Lockheed Martin Canada
Headquartered in Ottawa, Lockheed Martin Canada is the Canadian unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation, a global security and aerospace company that employs some 110 000 people worldwide. Lockheed Martin Canada has been Canada’s trusted defence partner for 80 years, specializing in the development, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The company has around 1000 employees at major facilities in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Calgary, and Victoria, working on a wide range of major programs spanning the aerospace, defence, and commercial sectors.
About Rheinmetall Electronics
Rheinmetall Electronics GmbH supplies mission systems and simulation solutions to military, governmental, and commercial customers. Its simulation and training solutions range from fundamental e-learning and basic part-task training all the way up to fully network-enabled training systems or complex training centres to ensure excellent performance of soldiers, airmen, and sailors in their future missions. Rheinmetall Electronics has delivered customized solutions to global customers including the Mechanized Training Centre in Thun, Switzerland, and the Leopard 2 Gunnery Skills Trainer and Driving Simulator in Canada and Indonesia. Its portfolio encompasses reconnaissance, fire control, soldier, and command systems, guided weapon platforms, as well as training, learning, and engineering applications for individuals, teams, and entire customer organizations. Customers in more than 40 countries rely on technology from Rheinmetall Electronics.
02 Jun 20. US Navy Completes Joint and Combined Exercise Vigilant Osprey. U.S. Naval Forces Northern Command (NAVNORTH) units completed U.S. Northern Command-led exercise Vigilant Osprey, a major service-integrated homeland defense exercise aimed to strengthen operational partnerships with allied nations, May 31.
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG), as well as Atlantic-based Navy submarines and aircraft, alongside forces from Canada, Denmark, and the U.S. Air Force were able to learn from the other services and combatant commanders while advancing tactical and operational proficiency in high-end warfare.
“Exercise Vigilant Osprey provided the framework to operate alongside our partners in the Atlantic. Any opportunity we get to integrate and synchronize capabilities and capacities at-sea in today’s complex, multi-domain, and contested environment is invaluable training,” said Adm. Christopher Grady, NAVNORTH commander. “While any navy can surge forces, none of us can surge trust. This week we were able to further strengthen our strong partner ties knowing that we will not fight alone.”
Elements of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) joined with HSTCSG to conduct a bi-national, multi-domain exercise in the Atlantic Ocean. The RCN provided afloat logistics support to the CSG, HMCS Ville de Quebec (VDQ) participated in a bi-lateral anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and air defense exercise with HSTCSG, while CP-140 Aurora Long-Range Patrol aircraft conducted multiple overflights and participated in ASW events.
“This was an excellent advanced readiness opportunity for Canadian and American maritime forces,” explained Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT). “The scenarios utilized during these events enable our mutual ability to operate in a multi-threat environment, in which coordination and integration are absolutely critical for our success in responding to any crisis in our waters or internationally.”
Commander, U.S 2nd Fleet (C2F), as NAVNORTH’s Maritime Command Element-East (MCE-E), and Joint Arctic Command (JACO) HQ in Nuuk, Greenland exercised tactical and operational information sharing in order to improve mutual situational awareness. The exercise between these headquarters ensured both classified and unclassified information could be shared in real time.
“The Atlantic is a contested environment, and our partnerships strengthen our advantage and complicate potential adversary decision making,” said Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet and Maritime Command Element- East. “Operating with multiple combatant commands, other services, and learning from our Canadian and Danish Allies in the North Atlantic enhances our collective capabilities. We are stronger together.”
Exercise participants utilized Link 16, a tactical data link system that enhances tactical capabilities by allowing players to share real-time situational awareness and command and control data.
“Danish Joint Arctic Command is responsible for the defence and security of the Arctic regions of the Danish Kingdom, including Greenland and the Faroe Islands,” said Major General Kim Jesper Jørgensen, commander Danish Joint Arctic Command. “The command values the opportunity to exercise with our friends and allies in U.S. 2nd Fleet and the Truman Carrier Strike Group. Exercises like this improve our ability to maintain peace and stability in the Arctic. I look forward to increasing the operational cooperation between U.S. 2nd Fleet and Danish Joint Arctic Command.”
While operating alongside supporting assets from the Northern American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), and the newly formed U.S. Space Command (SPACECOM), the strike group demonstrated their role in the National Defense Strategy as a flexible and lethal asset ready to defend the homeland.
The naming for exercise Vigilant Osprey is in homage to the people and geographic location in which it was conducted. Vigilant is typically used in NORTHCOM exercises, and Osprey, Nova Scotia’s provincial bird, is a tribute to the Canadian participants. The naming of the exercise is to honor the victims of the mass shooting which occurred in Nova Scotia several weeks ago, the loss of six aircrew and sailors in a military helicopter crash, and to Capt. Jennifer Casey, the Canadian Forces Snowbird’s Public Affairs Officer who was killed in a jet crash this month.
The HSTCSG is comprised of the flagship aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and the embarked squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 28, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), and USS Farragut (DDG 99).
The strike group recently operated under the command of U.S. 5th and 6th Fleets, and the deployment serves as another example of how our Naval forces continue to be the most inherently flexible & available assets in times of crisis, providing presence & capabilities when needed. HSTCSG remains at sea in the Atlantic, conducting operations and is ready for tasking, while protecting the crew from the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. (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.