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10 Sep 20. Pentagon plans AI dogfight competition with full-scale aircraft starting in late 2022.

The Pentagon plans to hold a dogfight competition involving artificial intelligence (AI)-operated, full-scale tactical aircraft starting in October 2022.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) spokesman Jared Adams said on 9 September that the first full-scale airborne events will feature tactical fighter-class aircraft. These are slated to be Aero L-39s, but could end up being Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons, with safety pilots on board playing a role in experimentation and to lend assistance if something goes wrong.

Pilots, Adams said, will be given higher cognitive level battle management tasks while their aircraft fly dogfights, and there will be human factors sensors measuring attention and stress to gauge how well the human pilots trust the AI. These AI-operated dogfights are a continuation of DARPA’s Air Combat Evolution (ACE) effort, which seeks to increase trust in combat autonomy by using human-machine collaborative dogfighting as its challenge problem.

Adams said the current schedule is 1v1 live airborne dogfights in January-March 2023, 2v1 in July-September 2023, and 2v2 in October-December 2024. The test series will feature both symmetrical and asymmetrical matchups.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on 9 September that the AI algorithm’s recent victory in the AlphaDogfight Trials over a human US Air Force (USAF) F-16 pilot demonstrated the ability of advanced algorithms to outperform humans in virtual dogfights. An AI algorithm created by Heron Systems defeated the USAF weapons school-trained pilot on 20 August. (Source: Jane’s)

11 Sep 20. Exercise Koolendong wraps up in Northern Territory. Australian Army personnel and US Marines from Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) have completed Exercise Koolendong, a high-end live-fire warfighting exercise in the Northern Territory.

Exercise Koolendong has enhanced the ability of the Australian Defence Force and MRF-D to work together to rapidly respond to crises and assist partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds observed the high-end bilateral training during her week-long visit to the Northern Territory. Minister Reynolds was accompanied by US ambassador to Australia Arthur Culvahouse jnr for the visit.

Both agreed the exercise reflected the enduring partnership and interoperability that exists between Australia and the US.

MRF-D Commanding Officer, Colonel David Banning, said Koolendong was designed to build proficiency and interoperability between the Marines and the ADF to better respond to security challenges in the region.

“The exercise provided the long-anticipated opportunity for the US Marines, currently deployed to Darwin, to engage with our Australian counterparts and build upon the long history of military co-operation between our two nations,” COL Banning said.

Culvahouse said during a doorstop, “We saw the Alliance in action and in important respects, the presence of the Marines would not have happened if it weren’t for the courageous support of the federal government and the Northern Territory government, in getting the Marines here, the leadership of the Marines and the ADF in making sure that they complied with all the COVID protocols, and that they were able to do some important training that was really quite creative.

“It’s not only military training but also preparatory training for disaster assistance, humanitarian assistance in the region, not only in Australia but throughout the region.”

Just over 1,000 US Marines from MRF-D partnered with approximately 400 Australian Army personnel from 1st Brigade and 1st Aviation Regiment, to conduct infantry manoeuvres supported by aviation, logistics and indirect fire support.

Commander Headquarters Northern Command, Group Captain Stewart Dowrie, said this year was the most complex scenario ever attempted, with highly defined interoperability objectives and a deeper focus on exercise design.

“Koolendong had enhanced collective readiness and prepared the ADF and US Marines extremely well in the lead-up to the MRF-D 2021 rotation and next year’s Exercise Talisman Sabre,” GPCAPT Dowrie said.

The safe conduct of Exercise Koolendong reinforces the ADF’s ability to continue operating in a COVID-19 environment.

Exercise Koolendong was conducted at the Mount Bundey Training Area from 1 to 11 September 2020. (Source: Defence Connect)

10 Sep 20. RSAF to conduct air combat exercises in Australia’s Northern Territory. Australia’s Northern Territory is set to host the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) air combat training exercise.

Australia’s Northern Territory is set to host the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) air combat training exercise. A Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Fighter Detachment will arrive this month.

The exercises will be carried out at the Bradshaw Field Training Grounds and Delamere Air Force Weapons Test Site.

After a period of strict quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic, approximately 200 RSAF employees will conduct flight training at the Australian military training ground, including training in the use of live weapons from 7 October to 11 December.

Singapore’s No 149 Squadron flying F-15SG aircraft, No 112 Squadron with a multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft and No 111 Squadron with a G550 Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft will participate in the training.

Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “After careful planning and preparations undertaken by both Australia and Singapore to minimise any potential Covid-19 risks to the Northern Territory, I am pleased we will be able to welcome the detachment from Singapore.

“The arrival of the RSAF’s Fighter Detachment to conduct training in the Northern Territory underlines the strength of the Australia-Singapore partnership and our shared commitment to regional security.

“Singapore’s military training in Australia is an important element of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. It supports Singapore’s ability to generate a force that provides strategic weight and supports stability in our region.

“The training exercises will see RSAF personnel frequenting businesses in the local community, providing welcome economic opportunities for the Top End.”

All of the arriving RSAF members will have to undergo seven-day isolation and undertake a Covid-19 test 48 hours before they arrive in the country.

After arrival, they will undertake another 14-day quarantine at hotel accommodation in the Darwin area, which is managed by the Australian Defence Force. After the completion of the quarantine period, RSAF personnel will be tested again. In February, RSAF’s A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft received automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) capability. (Source: airforce-technology.com)

09 Sep 20. AI To Fly In Dogfight Tests By 2024: SecDef. Defense Secretary Mark Esper used the Pentagon first AI conference to issue a challenge to China and Russia. The US, he vowed, will lead the world on the military use of artificial intelligence – including testing an AI pilot in a fighter by 2024. But, he said, America’s AI will be governed by ethics that its great power rivals lack, and it will be coordinated with nearly a dozen democratic allies in a new “AI Partnership for Defense.”

An AI beat a veteran human pilot 5-0 in DARPA’s virtual AlphaDogfight trials this summer. That program, called Air Combat Evolution (ACE), will now advance to testing in actual fighter aircraft, Esper announced this morning. But, he emphasized, the US military does not seek to replace human judgment and control in combat operations, only to augment them.

DARPA plans to hand Air Combat Evolution over to the Air Force in 2024, but don’t be surprised if the Navy and Marine Corps now get involved as well.

ACE will hold “live field experiments,” a DARPA spokesperson told us in an email. But they declined to describe the events as a “competition” between humans and AI, instead emphasizing “human-machine teaming” where the organic and the digital work as partners: “The pilots will be given higher cognitive level battle management tasks while their aircraft fly dogfights, and there will be human factors sensors measuring their attention and stress to gauge how well they trust the AI.”

“Full-scale airborne events start in FY23 [fiscal year 2023],” DARPA said. “They will be using tactical fighter-class aircraft with safety pilots in them in case something goes wrong…Current schedule has 1v1 live airborne dogfights in Q2FY23, 2v1 in Q4FY23, and 2v2 in Q1FY24.”

Some flight tests will put human-machine teams against humans without AI assistance; others will pit two AI-human teams against each other.

In this summer’s trials, “the AI agent’s resounding victory demonstrated the ability of advanced algorithms to out-perform humans in virtual dogfights,” Esper told today’s conference, hosted by the Pentagon’s two-year-old Joint AI Center. “These simulations will culminate in a real-world competition involving full-scale tactical aircraft in 2024.”

In his very next breath, Esper went on to reassure a world increasingly nervous about armed automatons: “To be clear, AI’s role in our lethality is to support human decision-makers, not replace them. We see AI as a tool to free up resources, time, and manpower so our people can focus on higher priority tasks, and arrive at the decision point, whether in a lab or on the battlefield, faster and more precise than the competition.”

That’s not how rival powers are approaching AI, Esper warned. “At this moment, Chinese weapons manufacturers are selling autonomous drones they claim can conduct lethal targeted strikes,” he said. “As we speak, the PRC is deploying and honing its AI surveillance apparatus to support the targeted repression of its Muslim Uighur population. Likewise, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong are being identified, seized, imprisoned, or worse, by the CCP’s digital police state – unencumbered by privacy laws or ethical governing principles. As China scales this technology, we fully expect it to sell these capabilities abroad, enabling other autocratic governments to move toward a new era of digital authoritarianism.”

As for Russia, “Moscow has announced the development of AI-enabled autonomous systems across ground vehicles, aircraft, nuclear submarines, and command and control,” Esper said. “We expect them to deploy these capabilities in future combat zones.”

By contrast, the US is moving as quickly as it can without endangering “individual liberty, democracy, human rights, and respect for the rule of law,” Esper argued. “In February, we became the first military in the world to adopt ethical principles for the use of AI, based on core values such as transparency, reliability, and governability.”

Those AI ethics principles lack the force of law, a major concern for those fearful of robotic weapons and algorithmic infringements of civil rights. Nevertheless, the Defense Department is taking steps to implement the principles in practical ways, including as non-binding language in an $800m contract for “warfighting” AI.

As part of that implementation drive, Esper today touted multiple efforts to train DoD personnel on AI in general and the principles in particular. “We are designing a comprehensive strategy to train and educate all DoD personnel, from AI developers to end-users,” he said. “The Department has stood up a Responsible AI Committee that brings together leaders from across the enterprise to foster a culture of AI ethics within their organizations. In addition, the JAIC has launched the Responsible AI Champions program, a nine-week training course for DoD personnel directly involved in the AI delivery pipeline; we plan to scale this program to all DoD components over the coming year.

Further, the JAIC, working with the Defense Acquisition University and the Naval Postgraduate School, will launch an intensive six-week pilot course next month to train over 80 defense acquisition professionals of all ranks and grades…. With the support of Congress, the department plans to request additional funding for the Services to grow this effort over time.”

The Joint AI Center is also leading the way on outreach to allies. “Next week, the JAIC will launch the first-ever AI Partnership for Defense, to engage military and defense organizations from more than 10 nations, with a focus on incorporating ethical principles into the AI delivery pipeline,” Esper said. “Over the coming year, we expect to expand this initiative to include even more countries, as we create new frameworks and tools for data sharing, cooperative development, and strengthened interoperability.”

“We must stay ahead of our near-peer rivals, namely China and Russia,” Esper said. “Together with our allies and partners, we will defend the international rules and norms that have secured our rights and our homeland for generations….We cannot afford to cede the high ground to revisionist powers intent on bending, breaking, or reshaping international rules and norms in their favor.”

Esper’s internationalist rhetoric, with its emphasis on collaboration with other countries and ethical limits on US action, probably won’t help his position with President Trump. Esper has already publicly, if politely, contradicted the president’s statements on everything from the Beirut explosion to withdrawing forces from Germany to deploying active-duty troops against protesters, and there are persistent rumors he would not keep his job in a second Trump term. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)

08 Sep 20. Royal Australian Navy’s ships conduct simulated sea combat. Two Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships have carried out high-end simulated sea combat on opposing coasts as part of Exercise VIKING RAIDER.

Two Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships have carried out high-end simulated sea combat on opposing coasts as part of Exercise VIKING RAIDER.

The two ships, HMA Ships Brisbane and Anzac, used operation room simulators to fight together in a real-time maritime warfare scenario in New South Wales and Western Australia, respectively.

HMAS Brisbane personnel used the Air Warfare Destroyer Simulator at HMAS Watson to implement the advanced multi-layer offensive and defence capabilities of Hobart-class ships.

Simultaneously, HMAS Anzac personnel used the frigate simulator at HMAS Stirling to increase long-range air, ground and underground capabilities to defend important targets against enemies.

Royal Navy exchange officer, Lieutenant Edwin Smith, is the chief warfare officer of Anzac and stated that the exercise tested the operations of the ship in a multi-ship environment and improved their team skills.

Smith said: “My job is to bring all the information from our internal sensors as well as the external information feeds together to give us a coherent picture, and piece that together with the law and rules of engagement in order to make recommendations to the Captain.

“As an ops room crew, we are looking to take away our own internal procedures and the drills experience we need in order to be able to work effectively as part of a task force.

“The beauty of using a simulator is that it gives us opportunities to conduct the drills as if it were for real. We can act as if we are in a full wartime environment.”

In May this year, the Australian Government announced plans to invest in a programme for the production of six new Cape-class patrol boats for the RAN. (Source: naval-technology.com)

08 Sep 20. Turkey develops AI-based simulator for light fighter jet. Turkish Aerospace Industries says it has developed Turkey’s first artificial intelligence-based simulator, which will be used in the design and development phases of Hurjet, a locally designed light assault aircraft.

TAI said the engineering simulator, Hurjet 270, is designed to collect feedback from test pilots to make the design of Hurjet “better, more solid and more efficient.” The simulator is also meant to detect design faults at the development stage. Company officials said the simulator will feature “human eye-level resolution.”

Atilla Dogan, TAI’s deputy general manager for aircraft design, told the state news agency Anadolu that Hurjet 270 will help engineers improve designing flight control algorithms and avionics software based on feedback from test pilots.

The armed trainer Hurjet is a jet engine version of the turboprop Hurkus, Turkey’s first indigenous basic trainer aircraft. TAI launched the Hurjet program in 2018, with a target of having the aircraft’s maiden flight in 2022.

The Hurjet will have a maximum speed of Mach 1.2 and can fly at a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet. The aircraft will have a maximum payload of 3,000 kilograms, including ammunition, radar and camera.

Hurkus-C, the armed version of the base variant of Hurkus, features locally developed ammunition including CIRIT, TEBER, HGK and LGK. It can also use INS/GPS-guided bombs, conventional bombs, non-guided rockets and machine guns.

Hurkus-C also features armored body parts, a self-protection system, a data link, laser tacking, an electro-optical and infrared pod, an external fuel tank, and advanced avionics.

With a 1,500-kilogram payload that can be used through seven external hardpoints, the Hurkus-C can perform light-attack and armed reconnaissance missions. (Source: Defense News)

09 Sep 20. Regional Queensland to benefit from increased ASMTI infrastructure investment. Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price has announced the expansion of Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) under the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI) has reached a significant milestone with the start of major construction works.

The works will provide a significant economic boost for regional Queensland, with more subcontracts set to come down the pipeline to local businesses.

They will include the construction of urban operations training facilities, information and communication technology infrastructure, waste management and medical facilities across the expanded SWBTA.

The project’s construction workforce is expected to peak at 450 people. The managing contractor for SWBTA, Laing O’Rourke, has already committed to sourcing close to 80 per cent of the value of the subcontracted works from the central Queensland region.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the investment through the ASMTI was a major milestone.

“Singapore is a close defence partner with a shared commitment to regional stability, having conducted military training in Australia for almost 30 years. The training initiative is already delivering significant economic benefits for Queensland, with 23 businesses based in the Rockhampton and Livingstone Shire regions sharing close to $79m of work,” Minister Price said.

Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, said she was delighted to see the start of civil works on the Shoalwater Bay Training Area site.

“It’s fantastic to see such development in central Queensland. This is more good news for local businesses, some of whom I hope will stand to benefit from the numerous packages to be released to market in the future,” Landry said.

Expanding on the opportunity provided by the ASMTI investment program, Landry added, “Just recently, two more contracts worth more than $10m were awarded for works on site, including Bellequip Pty Ltd, which has been awarded in the order of $6m to deliver construction works at SWBTA.

“Indigenous-endorsed company, On Country Workforce Solutions, has won a $3.9m contract for labour hire, providing logistical and site maintenance services on site.”

Minister Price said the government was committed to maximising economic benefits for communities from its $270bn investment in Defence capability.

It is also committed to increasing the opportunities for local industry in central Queensland across the life of the ASMTI.

“This milestone brings optimism and opportunities for the local and national economy during a period of economic uncertainty brought on by COVID-19,” Minister Price said.

The Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI) is an opportunity for Australia to build Defence capability and enhance its bilateral relationship with Singapore, while providing enduring economic benefits to central and north Queensland.

Under the ASMTI, Singapore will invest around $2.25bn for Australia to develop and enhance training areas to meet the future needs of the Australian Defence Force and facilitate an increased presence of Singapore Armed Forces personnel.

The existing Shoalwater Bay Training Area in central Queensland is being expanded and a new training area is being established near Greenvale in north Queensland. These training areas will be owned and managed by the Australian government.

When the ASMTI reaches maturity, up to 14,000 Singapore Armed Forces personnel will conduct training in central and north Queensland over 18 weeks each year. (Source: Defence Connect)

03 Sep 20. The USMC Is Pumping Millions into a High-Tech Wargaming Center. Here’s Why. The Marine Corps is building a new state-of-the-art facility where it will run classified wargaming scenarios in preparation for a fight with a high-tech enemy.

A new Marine Corps Wargaming and Analysis Center is expected to be up and running in Quantico, Virginia, by 2024. The 100,000-square foot center, which will be built on the Marine Corps University campus, will host more than a dozen wargames every year — including two large-scale, 250-person exercises, a new announcement on the center states.

“Simulations will offer a realistic representation of future operating environments,” the notice adds.

Read Next: Army Set to Receive First Armored Vehicles to Replace Vietnam-Era M113

Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, the head of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, told Military.com earlier this year that the wargaming center will have sophisticated modeling and simulation tools.

“You can change one or two variables and run that thing hundreds of times,” he said.

That will include seeing the results of adding or removing personnel on a simulated battlefield, Smith added, or testing the effect of an enemy missile traveling further than originally thought. The wargames will lead to better real-world experiments with Marines, he said.

“The wargaming center will also allow us to work at all levels of security, meaning from unclassified all the way up to the highest levels of security for specific programs that are very closely held,” Smith said.

Leaders currently travel to the Naval War College in Rhode Island to run classified-level wargames.

The future two-story building at Marine Corps Base Quantico will include an auditorium, gaming classrooms and a graphics production room, according to a May solicitation. The construction on the building is slated to cost less than $50m, but the Marine Corps asked for $143m to fund the center in its 2020 budget request.

BAE Systems, which announced last month it won a $19m contract to build a prototype for the new wargaming center, said it will include artificial intelligence, machine learning, game theory, multi-domain modeling and simulation and predictive data analytics.

The Marine Corps is in the midst of a force-wide overhaul that is reorganizing the service to face off against a sophisticated enemy. It’s getting rid of tank battalions and bridging companies, and cutting thousands of personnel. Commandant Gen. David Berger has said the Marine Corps must be able to travel light as it preps for more time at sea and sends small teams ashore in hotly contested spots.

Berger’s plan, called Force Design 2030, puts a big emphasis on wargaming. Leaders will use it to analyze whether they’re getting the changes to the force right, the plan states.

“Our adversaries studied us, and they believe that our vulnerabilities are command and control and our reliance on networks and logistics,” Berger told reporters this spring. “So, if you want to fight America, if you want to take on America, you better go after those two things.

“Well, that should be now higher on the list for our wargames.”

The Marine Corps plans to break ground on the new wargaming center in the next fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1. It’s expected to reach initial operating capability in 2024 and be fully operational in 2025. (Source: glstrade.com/military.com)

08 Sep 20. NSW SME to provide mobile weapons training simulation system. Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price has announced NSW-based InVeris Training Solutions will supply Defence with a mobile weapons training simulator to help Australian sailors and soldiers maintain their weapons skills wherever they are in the world.

InVeris Training Solutions, based in Albury in southern NSW, is delivering and supporting a fully digitised mobile weapons training simulation system (MWTSS).

The company will now help hone the skills of those using the Australian-made EF-88 assault rifle and a range of other weapon systems operated by Australian Defence personnel.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price welcomed the announcement, saying the $4.1m contract would deliver 14 simulators by July 2021.

“The contract includes the simulation system, associated training and systems which are compatible with in-service weapons, and then converted to laser-based simulators,” Minister Price said.

The Australian Army will receive nine of the simulation systems, of which seven will support Army Reserve units throughout regional and remote Australia.

The other two will support deployable units such as the Amphibious Ready Group and 2/30th Training Group in Butterworth, Malaysia.

Minister Price added, “This is another example of the Morrison government’s continued commitment to invest in local companies to ensure we build Australia’s capability to equip and sustain the ADF in its defence of Australia and our national interests.”

“The system provides an efficient and cost-effective mobile small arms training and skills maintenance capability for Australia’s regionally based Army units, as well as Royal Australian Navy personnel in remote areas.

“Navy will also receive five systems, which will be issued to key naval bases for delivery of training while on-shore and at sea.”

Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said InVeris Training Solutions has an outstanding track record in designing and developing live fire and weapons simulation training systems for military, law enforcement and commercial range customers since the late 1990s.

“The company employs over 50 staff and right now boosting or retaining jobs in the border region is absolutely vital. This new contract is another real vote of confidence for our local defence industries,” Ley said. (Source: Defence Connect)

07 Sep 20. US B-52s train with Ukrainian aircraft near Crimea. US Air Force (USAF) B-52s last week flew alongside Ukrainian fighter jets during a patrol that saw the bombers skirt Russian-controlled territory.

The strategic mission saw three B-52s fly sorties near Russian-controlled Crimea after departing from RAF Fairford in the UK.

In a press release, US European Command (EUCOM) said: “Friday’s strategic bomber mission is part of the long-planned deployment of six B-52s to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England. The mission provided partners with valuable mid-air training.

“In addition, the mission demonstrated how forward-located aircraft and crews, such as those in the B-52 units, enable collective defence capabilities and provide the US, NATO allies and partners strategic and operational breadth to deter Russia and assure allies and partners.”

The Crimean Peninsula is still claimed by Ukraine but was annexed by Russia in 2014.

While the US B-52s were on station, two RC-135V/W Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft were also operating in the area, as well as aircraft from the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Since its inception two years ago the US Bomber Task Force in Europe has flown over 200 sorties. The three B-52 that participated in the Ukraine operation make up half of a total of six B-52s based at RAF Fairford.

The deployment follows another show of strength in late August that saw B-52s fly over all 30 NATO-allied countries. The flight over the NATO allies was interrupted at one point by what the USAF called an ‘unprofessional’ intercept as B-52s transited the Black Sea.

During the exercise, called ‘Allied Sky’, two Russian Su-27 Flanker pilots intercepted a B-52, coming within 100 feet of the nose of the aircraft causing turbulence.

Commenting on the unsafe intercept, USAF in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander General Jeff Harrigian said: “Actions like these increase the potential for mid-air collisions, are unnecessary, and inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules.

“While the Russian aircraft were operating in international airspace, they jeopardized the safety of flight of the aircraft involved. We expect them to operate within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent accidents.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)

07 Sep 20. USAF aircraft participate in USMC-ADF joint exercise. Aircraft B-2 Spirits and B-1 Lancers have taken part in a joint US Marine Corps (USMC) and Australian Defence Forces (ADF) exercise in the Northern Territory of Australia.

The aircraft provided long-distance air strikes as part of a joint task force with the ADF and Marine Rotational Force-Darwin.

The 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron’s (EBS) B-2s were deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to Naval Support Facility, Diego Garcia in the British Indian Territory. The USAF B-1B Lancers were deployed to Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base.

Furthermore, KC-135s squadron from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron at Japan’s Kadena Air Base flew to Darwin to aid the bombers.

The joint exercise focused on the ability of the small expeditionary fleet to deploy quickly in a controversial environment, integrate with allies, coordinate raids, and require close air support for targets.

During this period, the MRF-D and ADF Joint Terminal Air Controller (JTAC) coordinated raids with the aircraft and handed over the same aircraft to a tactical unit for dynamic targeting.

Australian Army Sgt Aaron Costes said: “It’s imperative that the US Marine Corps and Australian Army work together.

“It’s such a feat that we can infill and have an aircraft come in from such long distances.”

USAF Bomber Task Force commander Lt Col Christopher Conant said: “Airman and marines integrate seamlessly together because we speak the same language.

“We both understand how to manoeuvre cognitively and physically to achieve an objective.”

In June, the first group of approximately 200 US Marines with the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) arrived at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin. (Source: naval-technology.com)

04 Sep 20. Industry gets more time to offer F-16 simulators for Poland. Poland is extending the deadline for industry to propose solutions for a requirement for F-16C/D Block 52+ tactical flight simulators.

The Polish MoD Armament Inspectorate published a tender with a 15 September deadline for submissions; this has now been moved to 6 October.

The MoD is seeking four simulators; detailed requirements will be made available to any contractor invited to submit an initial offer.

Shephard Defence Insight notes there are 48 F-16C/D Block 52+ aircraft in service with the Polish Air Force, with an estimated retirement date of 2038. These were delivered between 2006 and 2009 under the Peace Sky FMS programme. (Source: Shephard)

04 Sep 20. US to move troops to Lithuania for military exercise. The US is set to move a larger military unit to Lithuania for an exercise amid political turmoil and protests in neighbouring Belarus.

The unit is expected to include 500 American troops and 40 vehicles, Reuters reported citing a Lithuanian army spokesperson.

The US detachment is expected to contain Abrams tanks and Bradley armoured troop carriers.

Lithuania is scheduled to conduct an annual exercise this month where contingents from France, Germany, Italy, Poland and other countries are expected to participate.

However, the US deployment will continue until November. Lithuania did not clarify if units of other nations will also stay beyond 25 September, when the exercise ends.

Protests in Belarus erupted following a disputed presidential election held last month.

The incumbent Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, who was declared the winner in the election, dismissed reports of electoral fraud and accused Nato of a military build-up near the borders, the news agency added.

He also warned of accepting Russian help, if required, further fuelling tensions in the region.

Lithuania, a Nato member, said that the US troop deployment is not directed towards any neighbour.

Earlier this year, Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace announced that it will deliver Protector Remote Weapon Station (RWS) to the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The sale was being carried out as part of the US foreign military sales programme.

The RWS system will be integrated on Oshkosh Defense joint light tactical vehicles (JLTV). (Source: army-technology.com)


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.


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