Sponsored by Meggitt Training Systems
08 Jul 20. Royal Navy’s HMS Defender undergoes training for next deployment. The British Royal Navy’s Type 45 air-defence destroyer, HMS Defender, is conducting a second set of trials and training.
The trials follow its post-deployment maintenance and will prepared its 190 crew personnel for future carrier strike operations.
HMS Defender will also be put through Fleet Operational Sea Training, which will be held this summer.
During the training, the crew will create scenarios involving the destroyer’s machinery, fire-fighting training, and sea boat drills. It will also include an air-defence exercise and weapons tests.
On completion of the training, the ship will be deployed for its next mission the following year.
HMS Defender previously joined other Royal Navy vessels in the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz.
Commanding officer commander Vince Owen said: “It has been fantastic to take HMS Defender back to sea after a busy maintenance period following our return in March from seven months deployed in the Middle East.
“The focus for us has now shifted to preparing for our next deployment and the new challenges and opportunities that will present us.
“The next step on this exciting journey starts in July as we commence our Operational Sea Training package, this training will provide the perfect opportunity to integrate the new crew members into our team and enhance our maritime skills before we focus on carrier task group training later this year.”
In May last year, the Royal Navy’s HMS Defender tested its Sea Viper missile system off the coast of Scotland. (Source: naval-technology.com)
09 Jul 20. The 315th Civil Engineer Flight’s explosive ordnance disposal team held a live-explosives demolition training at the EOD range near the Naval Weapons Station Charleston, South Carolina. Training evolutions like the live-explosives demolition help the reservists with the 315th CEF maintain mission readiness while gaining training time imperative to mission and unit proficiency, giving them the ability to answer the nation’s call when needed — even during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“This demo will help the EOD team to protect others in the event that an explosive runs the risk of detonating,” Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brendan Mcavey, the explosive ordnance technician team lead with the 315th CEF, said. “Our technicians can accomplish a myriad of assignments, so these demolition exercises are crucial to learning how explosives work and how to perform the mission.”
With a vision to be integrated, experienced and relevant, the 315th CEF conducts monthly explosives training to remain proficient in tackling any task, domestic or abroad. The tasks can range from defusing Civil War- era relics to safely disposing of improvised explosive devices.
The variety of experience held by these EOD reservists range from every day skills to the unique expertise to be able to determine the required safety distance from an explosive if it should detonate.
“Due to the nature of the work, there is no way to train our airmen virtually to properly dispose of explosives,” Air Force Master Sgt. Mark Johnson, the EOD program manager with the 315th CEF, said. “The live-contact approach provides them important time using the tools needed to do the job, ensuring that they stay on the leading edge of what they do.”
This proficiency demolition training used a remote detonation barrel to pinpoint a mock IED to sharpen the reservists’ skills. This is a hands-on irreplaceable skill to the EOD team. Many of these skills strengthen the EOD airman both on and off of duty, Johnson said.
“The professionalism from EOD, and the discipline from the military, help me to stay focused on our goals during COVID in my civilian life working cybersecurity at Bank of America,” Air Force Senior Airman Alexander Keskinen, an explosive ordnance technician with the 315th CEF, said.
Keskinen not only sharpens his skills with the 315th CEF, but also transfers them to his rotational master’s degree program. Keskinen explained that in cybersecurity, staying on the cutting edge and sharpening his skills as much as possible makes all of the difference when the pressure is on. He uses this discipline to strengthen the 315th CEF EOD team as well.
“I appreciate having the opportunity to train through such crazy times and remain qualified,” Keskinen said. “Plus, I love blowing stuff up.” (Source: US DoD)
09 Jul 20. Serco certifies 37 RAN officers under Bridge Warfare course. A recent ceremony at HMAS Watson marks completion of the Bridge Warfare Certificate course, administered by Serco Defence. Thirty-seven Maritime Warfare Officers were awarded the certificate, which caps off two years of intensive training under the Maritime Warfare Office Course (MWOC).
The MWOC transforms junior RAN officers into fully-fledged Maritime Warfare Officers able to manage conflict operations on Australia’s fleet of warships.
Phase 4 of the training comprises of a 28-week shore interval conducted at HMAS Watson, which covers:
- Navy Officer Leadership Course;
- Warfare theory training; and
- Bridge Warfare Certificate (BWC) – 18 weeks practical training in a virtual bridge simulator.
Serco said that during this phase, officers are taught complex navigation, bridge management and mariner skills. Using the bridge simulator, the specialist trainers assess officers’ actions and reactions in high-pressure emergency, tactical and warfare situations. The simulator enables total manipulation of maritime conditions at any time of the day or night, providing an ultra-realistic training environment.
In completing the simulator component, the Officers will be awarded their Primary Qualification (PQ), and achieve one of the most coveted roles in the ADF – Officer of the Watch on a Navy warship.
Serco has been involved in the administration of the MWOC since 2012, and over this time has supported hundreds of Navy officers through the course. Company personnel based at HMAS Watson are all former service men and women who have served with either the RAN, the RNZN, or the British Royal Navy.
Serco Defence managing director Clint Thomas, AM, CSC, said he is proud of the HMAS Watson team who were able to respond quickly and continue to deliver this course during a global emergency.
“The first course of 2020 presented some additional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite restrictions imposed by government and national health guidelines, Serco continued to provide high quality training and technical support to the Royal Australian Navy uninterrupted, with some innovative changes to delivery methods both locally and remotely,” said Thomas.
“Our rapid response to the COVID-19 emergency has further strengthened Serco’s long-standing partnership with Defence and we look forward to welcoming the next intake of students.”
This year also saw the debut of Serco’s ‘On Watch’ Award. Thomas presented the award to the Dux of Phase 4 Simulator Training Sub Lieutenant Jackson Breer.
SBLT Breer will deploy to one of the RAN’s newest guided missile destroyers, the HMAS Hobart. (Source: Defence Connect)
06 Jul 20. Lebanon to sell outdated aircraft as Air Force eyes new trainers. The Lebanese government plans to sell five outdated Air Force Hawker Hunter fighter jets and three Sikorsky S-61 helicopters in an attempt to reallocate the service’s resources, a government source has confirmed to Defense News.
“Lebanon has been in negotiations with many suppliers to procure primary training aircraft, on top of which Pakistan might supply Super Mushshak trainers to the Air Force, but the deal hasn’t been sealed yet,” a Lebanese official told Defense News on condition of anonymity.
Lebanon has seven aging Hawker Hunters, five of which have been nonoperational since 1990, and the other two out of service since 2011. Repairing them has proven difficult due to a lack of spare parts. Furthermore, the aircraft are equipped with outdated weapons systems that have poor accuracy when compared other technology in service with the Air Force, such as the Super Tucano and its advanced precision kill weapon system.
“Based on good management and investment of available equipment, the Air Force developed a plan to replace five Hawker Hunter planes with their spare with two primary training flights. This step also comes in the context of a plan to replace the existing Bulldog aircraft, which are specialized for primary flight training, and which are expected to be stopped from flying in the next five years,” the source said.
However, the Lebanese Air Force will keep two Hawker Hunters (one with double seats and the other with a single seat) with some spare parts in hopes they can be fixed up for future air shows.
Former Commander of the Lebanese Air Force Brig. Gen. Mahmoud Mattar told Defense News that the country’s limited economic resources are behind its decision to sell aircraft.
“The scarce economic resources prevent LAF from refurbishing and re-operating the Hawker Hunter fighters and the Sikorsky. Though, the technical capabilities to replace the spare parts and bring Hawker Hunter back to service and particularly for ground-attack missions are available,” Mattar said.
The aircraft are expected to be sold in a public bidding this year, the Lebanese source noted. The official added that interested parties will likely be “small companies or private clubs.”
In 2009, the Lebanese Army received three Sikorsky S-70 helos as donations from Lebanese associations, companies and individuals for firefighting missions. Their operational capabilities have deteriorated due to lack of maintenance and spare parts.
“The refurbishment of Sikorsky helicopters will cost more than 70 percent of their initial price, which is a very high number from a technical evaluation point of view,” the source explained. “Adding to that, the cost of each flying hour has exceeded the threshold of $5,000 recently, which is also high compared to the cost of flying hours for firefighting missions carried out on the [Huey II helicopters].
“LAF won’t stop these [firefighting] missions, even after selling the nonoperational [aircraft]. It is replacing Huey choppers with Huey II for this reason, and has been refurbishing the AB 212 helicopters for such missions.”
The LAF has refurbished an Agusta-Bell AB 212 helicopter as part of a proof of concept, and will now begin a five-year project to revive the fleet with five operational helicopters.
The source noted that the decision to sell the jets and helos is not due to the state of Lebanon’s economy. “This is a project the Lebanese Army has been working on since 2018.”
Lebanon is experiencing an economic crisis that started at the end of 2019. The country has seen protests through major cities that began in October 2019, and the value of the national currency has deteriorated amid a rise in commodity prices.
The Army primarily depends on military aid to maintain its operational capability, and the official source insisted that the selling process won’t harm that. (Source: Defense News)
05 Jul 20. A B-52 Exercises Dynamic Force Employment with Joint Partners in Indo-Pacific. One B-52 Stratofortress bomber from the 96th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, took off from home station and participated in a maritime integration exercise with the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike groups in the South China Sea before landing at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
The B-52 flew the 28-hour mission to demonstrate U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s commitment to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.
This was part of a bomber task force dynamic force employment used by U.S. Strategic Command to conduct training with and in support of Geographic Combatant Commands efforts to help maintain global stability and security. This type of missions support the National Defense Strategy’s objectives of strategic predictability and operational unpredictability.
“Bomber Task Force demonstrates U.S. capability to rapidly deploy to a forward operating base and execute long-range strike missions,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Duff, 96th Bomb Squadron commander. “This sortie demonstrates our ability to reach out from home station, fly anywhere in the world and execute those missions, rapidly regenerate from a forward operating base and continue operations.”
During the mission, the B-52 aircrew tested and assessed command and control capabilities to inform the development of contested and degraded communication tactics, techniques and procedures to ensure seamless joint interoperability.
“As we operate throughout the Indo-Pacific theater, our Fleet units continue to seek out every opportunity to strengthen our capabilities and proficiency at conducting joint, combined, all-domain operations with our partner teams,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Joshua Fagan, Task Force 70 Air Operations officer. “Some of the recent events bringing Air Force B-52s and B-1s, Navy aircraft, and our ships at sea together on shared networks in support of integrated missions have been good opportunities for us to exercise the joint mission planning and coordination processes that we depend on to operate safely and effectively out here.”
U.S. Strategic Command’s bomber forces regularly conduct combined theater security cooperation engagements with allies and partners, demonstrating U.S. capability to command, control and conduct bomber missions around the world. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Pacific Air Forces)
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.