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06 Aug 20. RAN commences exercises with warships from Singapore, Brunei. Part of a Royal Australian Navy contingent has begun multilateral exercises with warships from Singapore, Brunei and the US, while sailing to Hawaii to participate in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020.
In recent weeks, a Joint Task Force sailed out of Darwin on the ADF’s largest deployment of the year, comprising about 1,500 ADF personnel aboard HMA Ships Arunta, Sirius, Stuart, Hobart and Canberra.
Commander of the Joint Task Group, Commodore Michael Harris, said the three-month Regional Presence Deployment 2020 was an opportunity to engage with partners and support the stability and security of the Indo-Pacific region.
“This deployment demonstrates our ability to conduct sustained operations as a joint force and to continue increasing the capability of the ADF,” CDRE Harris said.
Defence has revealed that two of the ships, HMA Ships Stuart and Sirius, are exercising with RSS Supreme of the Republic of Singapore Navy, KDB Darulehsan of the Royal Brunei Navy, and USS Rafael Peralta of the US Navy, as they make their way to RIMPAC, which is scheduled to kick off on 17 August.
CDRE Harris said the exercises would enhance interoperability, and prepare participants for Rim of the Pacific.
“RAN’s relationships with Brunei, Singapore and the United States are defined through strong personal and professional connections that are built from the ground up,” CDRE Harris said.
“To work with each other is to understand each other, not just professionally but also culturally and personally. The exercise reflects Australia’s commitment to working with our neighbours, and the region.”
The activity comes as part of the Regional Presence Deployment 2020, which will see exercises conducted across south-east Asia and Hawaii in order to demonstrate Australia’s enduring commitment to the Indo-Pacific. (Source: Defence Connect)
05 Aug 20. US Navy and LAF conduct virtual military exercise amid Covid-19 crisis. The US Navy and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) are conducting a virtual military exercise amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The Resolute Union (RU) 20 is an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and maritime security operations bilateral military exercise serving as the culmination of a series of exercises between the two armed forces.
The exercise aims to boost interoperability between the two forces through cooperative training and improve mutual capabilities.
Commander of Combined Task Force (CTF) 56 Captain Stephen Jackson said: “RU20 provides our team a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience with our LAF counterparts, while enhancing our mutual EOD and maritime security capabilities.
“Conducting the exercise virtually allows us to continue taking advantage of those opportunities with our LAF counterparts while mitigating exposure and the spread of Covid-19.”
The previous exercises were conducted in Lebanon.
The virtual exercise, which involves LAF personnel in Lebanon and US naval forces in Bahrain, was planned to provide a continuity to the programme while restricting Covid-19 contagion risks.
The scope of activities includes EOD, dive, and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations.
Combined Maritime Forces Commander of US Naval Forces Central Command in the US 5th Fleet Vice Admiral Jim Malloy said: “The use of virtual exchanges allows us to leverage established relationships and connectivity, and strengthen interoperability with our regional partners.
“RU20 is an example of innovative solutions allowing the US Navy to deepen our relationship with the superb Lebanese Armed Forces navy and marine corps, and continue building interoperability with this capable force, ensuring we fight through and overcome challenges together.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
30 Jul 20. UK Troops Reach Training Milestone Ahead of UN Peacekeeping Deployment to Mali. UK troops deploying to the United Nations Peacekeeping operation in Mali have reached a significant training milestone in preparation for their mission, which starts in December 2020. Over 14 days, soldiers from the Light Dragoons and 2 Royal Anglian joined together for the first time on Salisbury Plain to begin their mission specific training. It is the start on months of preparation where they will be honing skills around reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, patrols and medical evacuation.
The unit will act as the Long-Range Reconnaissance Task Group to the UN peacekeeping operation MINUSMA. Part of their non-combat role will be to conduct patrols in Jackal vehicles to provide situational awareness and intelligence that will help the UN mission to protect civilians and progress towards a sustainable peace in Mali.
Commander Officer of the Light Dragoons, Lt Col Thomas Robinson said:
“This exercise is part of an intensive training package. Over recent months we have been honing our specialist skills and now we have brought all aspects of the Task Group together to operate as a highly professional and effective peacekeeping force.”
Terrorist violence and conflict is sharply on the rise in Mali and the wider region. Marked by chronic poverty, instability, high levels of gender inequality, and one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to the effects of climate change, the Sahel remains one of Africa’s most fragile regions.
The deployment also supports UK engagement in the Sahel under HMG’s new strategic approach to Africa, which includes support and training to Commonwealth partners. We are bringing top-class British expertise to the areas of greatest need in UN peacekeeping missions.
The new operation follows a successful three-year commitment to the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, where British engineers and medics built and repaired much-needed hospitals and military bases. It also forms part of a wider offering in West Africa, where the UK is working with regional partners across defence, diplomacy and aid to contain the spread of instability from the Sahel to other parts of West Africa and the world. (Source: ASD Network)
04 Aug 20. First QF-16 Aerial Target from Boeing’s Modification Line in Arizona. A team from Boeing and the U.S. Air Force completed the first QF-16 Full-Scale Aerial Target to undergo conversion from a modification line in Arizona. The aircraft was flown last month to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, where it will be used autonomously in future weapons training operations.
The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) located at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson teamed with Boeing under a public-private partnership to create a second modification line to supplement ongoing QF-16 work at Boeing’s Cecil Field site in Jacksonville, Florida.
“The delivery of this first AMARG modified QF-16 aerial target drone is a testimony of the cooperative, synergistic relationship we had hoped for when we created the private-public partnership with Boeing,” said Col. Jennifer Barnard, Commander of the 309th AMARG. “Though the installation of the drone conversion package is a relatively new venture for us, our hope is to leverage cost efficiencies and proficiencies benefiting both partners.”
Conversion of the F-16 A/C aircraft to the unmanned QF-16 configuration requires modification of the airframe and installation of major components. The QF-16 performs both autonomous maneuvers through autopilot and controlled maneuvers through ground stations.
“The partnership between Boeing and AMARG is crucial to expediting capability to the warfighters,” said Craig DeMeester, Boeing QF-16 program manager. “It’s an example of great teamwork, and completing this first jet is just the beginning as we have more deliveries planned this year and well into next year.”
Boeing began converting retired F-16s into QF-16s in 2015. More than 120 aircraft are on contract to be modified, with over 40 percent delivered to date. (Source: UAS VISION)
04 Aug 20. Unique Anglo German Air Exercise in Lithuania has ended. A unique exercise that has seen a German Eurofighter detachment join the Royal Air Force detachment currently deployed in Lithuania as part of the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission, has ended.
The exercise was a first, as this is the first time a German Eurofighter detachment has been embedded within an operational RAF Expeditionary Air Wing to allow a sustained period of interoperability training to be carried out. Both Air Forces regularly carry out NATO Air Policing missions and also train together on a regular basis, but this is the first time that the training has been conducted in an operational setting.
The next stage in this training process will be a repeat exercise, but with the roles reversed later in the year. This next exercise will see RAF Typhoons embedded with a German Air Force detachment, when they next conduct Baltic Air Policing.
“It’s been an interesting and rewarding exercise working closely with our Luftwaffe colleagues while deployed to Lithuania.
“We have demonstrated a high degree of interoperability with our Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, while highlighting areas of potential for the future. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve learned a lot from each other on a professional basis and made new friends as part of a combined UK-German Team; it’s been one of the many highlights of the deployment so far.” Wing Commander Stu Gwinnutt, Commander, 135 Expeditionary Air Wing
The interoperability training has involved the pilots from RAF Lossiemouth based 6 Squadron RAF flying for nearly two weeks with the pilots from the German Tactical Fighter Wing 71 “Richthofen”. During the exercise, the pilots carried out an intensive package of sorties, with one German and one RAF aircraft, flying as pairs to conduct practice intercepts and what is known as basic fighter manoeuvres.
The pilots then moved on to include ‘scramble starts’ and Quick Reaction Alert take-offs to then carry out further practice intercepts. These practice intercepts were conducted against one of the other 6 Squadron Typhoons which acted as the target aircraft.
“It is always very interesting to take part in a multinational mission or exercise. To prove the plug & fight concept has been an even more exciting task because we knew we would have to form a binational team in just two weeks to be able to achieve our goals.
“I am feeling very privileged and honoured to have had the opportunity to lead the Luftwaffe detachment for this challenging project.”
Lieutenant Colonel Andy Beckmann, German Detachment Commanding Officer.
Reflecting on what has been a first for both the RAF and the German Air Force, Lt Col Beckmann also said, “Besides the great hospitality and support of our Lithuanian friends, the biggest memories are the strong team spirit which has been developed between us over the past two weeks and the high motivation each RAF and Luftwaffe soldier showed to build up trust and made things work. (Source: Warfare.Today)
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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.