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28 Dec 18. China flies DART-450-derived military basic trainer aircraft. China has flown a new military trainer aircraft derived from the Diamond DART-450 single-engined turboprop, state media disclosed in late 2018. The flight of the tandem two-seat trainer developed by China Electronics Technology Corporation (CETC) Wuhu Diamond Aircraft Manufacturing Company, was reported to have taken place at the company’s facility in Jiangsu Province on 6 November. Designated the TA-20, the new aircraft is a product of a joint venture (JV) between the CETC and the Wuhu Municipal Government, which builds aircraft on licence from Austria-based Diamond Aircraft Industries. Jane’ s first reported in October 2017 that the Diamond Aircraft Reconnaissance Trainer (DART)-450 was being lined up as a possible candidate for development into a military basic trainer aircraft for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). The DART-450 on which the TA-20 is based was developed rapidly by Diamond, with first drawings to first flight taking just one year (the maiden flight was recorded on 17 May 2016). The all-carbon fibre tandem two-seat civilian and military trainer features a sidestick and pneumatic ejection seats. The aircraft has a top-speed of 230kt, a service ceiling of 23,000ft (7,010m), and a maximum endurance of eight hours plus reserve. While the baseline DART-450 features Garmin G3000 avionics, the TA-20 has been equipped with the Smart-210 system developed indigenously by Chengdu Hermes Technology Company Limited. Imagery posted by the company shows both cockpits to be fitted with a single large-area display touchscreen, suitable for training pilots for fifth-generation platforms such as the J-20. The aircraft’s side-stick control column is also similar to that fitted to the J-20. The PLAAF is engaged in an extensive modernisation and recapitalisation programme that is seeing new combat aircraft introduced in large numbers. Running parallel to this expansion in combat capabilities is an expansion in trainer capabilities, with the GAIC JL-9 Shanying and HAIG JL-10 advanced jet trainers having been received by the PLAAF over recent years. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Dec 18. Japan, US, UK navies enhance ASW interoperability in first-ever trilateral naval drills. The navies of Japan, the US, and the UK have taken a significant step towards enhancing interoperability by conducting the first-ever trilateral maritime drills between the three services. The exercise, which focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations, was held from 21 to 22 December in waters south of Japan in the Philippine Sea. Taking part in the operation were the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force’s (JMSDF’s) helicopter carrier JS Izumo (183), the Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, HMS Argyll (F231), and a US Navy (USN) submarine. Argyll is currently in the region on a nine-month deployment. A P-8A maritime patrol aircraft from the USN’s Patrol Squadron (VP) 16 also participated in the drills. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Dec 18. How DIA can recreate the stress of learning in a foreign country. How can the Defense Intelligence Agency ensure its staff members can effectively communicate in the everyday environments of far-flung places without sending them into potentially risky situations? Agency leaders are hoping the answer to improve foreign language training is just a computer away.
In a sources sought notice issued in late December, the agency said virtual, augmented and mixed reality provides a safer means for trainees to be fully immersed in areas where they might one day be sent on assignment but that are too dangerous to visit for training purposes.
“The risk of traveling overseas is always a main concern when considering the safety of intelligence officers, especially those who have language skills or specialize in regions of high risk,” the notice reads.
“The use of VR for language training would allow these DIA employees to enter a VR scenario in which they, for example, would practice their language skills (e.g., Russian, Chinese, Arabic, etc.) without having to actually travel to these high-risk environments. By using VR as a language training tool, DIA can offer its officers an immersive language experiences while also maintaining their safety.”
These scenarios will be relevant to the curricula in multiple languages and could help improve language learning and cultural sensitivity. The potential contractor will initially develop scenarios in Russian with Chinese and Egyptian Arabic as options.
Additionally, the contractor must develop an environment that includes interaction in a large apartment, a small grocery store, a café, a small park with vendor kiosks, community markets, realistic historical locations and a 4×4 block section of a city environment.
In-country immersions will also have to be incorporated. The user will face situations that include social pressures such as making friends, avoiding embarrassment or offending others, as well as real-world noise, such as background conversations or street sounds, exposure to a variety of accents and slang. The agency’s hope is that users will get a better understanding of the stress of the situation and the experience of being bombarded by foreign language at speed. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
18 Dec 18. USMC look for IBM Watson-like artificial intelligence to plan large-scale wargames. The Marines are looking to big data analysis and potentially an IBM Watson-like machine or software to help conduct complex wargaming and plan for future battles in an immersive environment. The Corps’ Program Manager for Wargaming Capability, Col. Ross Monta, told Marine Corps Times that a recent program announcement seeks to “bring advanced analytics, visualization, models and simulation together to create an environment that enables senior leaders” to make a host of decisions. Those range from capabilities for the future force and ways to test operational plans, develop concepts of operations and help provide information to prioritize resources. The announcement is the service’s second round of information gathering in four technology areas that include modeling and simulation, wargame design, data services and visualization. The Marines are reviewing white papers submitted from industry in January, February, March and July. They’re aiming to have testing begin as early as October.
At the 2017 Modern Day Marine Military Expo, then-Lt. Col. Monta spoke on how the Corps was developing a three- to five-year plan for a wargaming center at Marine Corps Base Quantico that would allow planners to conduct 20 wargames a year, including two large-scale, 250-participant exercises.
The simulation they sought at the time would provide, “accurate representation of future operating environments, simulate friendly and enemy capabilities” and perform “rapid, in-depth analysis of game-derived data or insights.”
The then-head of Marine Corps Systems Command, Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader, said that wargaming had to get beyond “moving yellow stickies on a map.”
At that time the center was capable of conducting about 11 wargame scenarios a year, Monta said.
They were looking at partnering advanced simulation capabilities, such as the one they’re seeking in the fbo.gov posting, with flesh and blood experts from the Ellis Group think tank to better see high-order, long-term warfighting needs.
The head of training systems command, Col. Walt Yates, told Marine Corps Times that the aim was to have ways of using artificial intelligence to run simulations as many as 1,000 times.
With those numbers, planners can learn probabilities of victory, casualty expectations and the logistics required to accomplish the mission.
Simulation capabilities would allow commanders to run scenarios against future threats to gauge what equipment and tactics are most needed to succeed.
These factors would inform planning for everything from buying the next piece of combat gear to how best to deploy forces, Yates said.
The big data analysis is just one of a list of items the Corps has been working in recent years to push their wargaming from squad to Marine Expeditionary Force-level, leveraging advances in computing, data analytics, virtual reality, augmented reality and gaming.
Beginning this past year, Marines at each of the Corps 24 infantry battalions began fielding Tactical Decision Kits, a combination of laptop, VR goggles and drones that allow small unit leaders to map battle spaces and then run operations plans in VR to rehearse missions.
Earlier this year, MARCORSYSCOM officials sought industry input on pushing weapons simulations for live training, force-on-force shooting past the decades old laser technology still in use today.
They want shooting systems that more realistically replicate how bullets and other projectiles move and the types of damage they cause.
The system that would be able to simulate all weapons and vehicles typically seen in a battalion, which would include at least: M4/M16; M9 or sidearm, the M27 Infantry Automatic Weapon; hand grenades; rocket propelled grenades; Light Anti-Tank Weapon; 60mm mortars; 81mm mortars; Claymore antipersonnel mine; Mk-19 grenade launcher; Russian machine gun; AK-47 variants; M41 TOW; Javelin missile and the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle.
It would also allow for immediate after-action review so that trainers and commanders could see where their Marines were aiming, when and how much they fired to strike a target and what damage their opponents caused. (Source: Marine Corps Times)
Meggitt Training Systems, makers of FATS® and Caswell technologies, a division of Meggitt PLC, is the leading supplier of integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training systems. Following the acquisition of FATS® virtual training systems and Caswell International’s live-fire ranges and services, Meggitt Training Systems continues to grow its capabilities based on the legacy of these two industry leaders. Over 13,600 Meggitt live-fire ranges and 5,100 virtual systems are fielded internationally, providing judgmental, situational awareness and marksmanship training to the armed forces, law enforcement and security organizations. Meggitt Training Systems employs more than 400 people at its headquarters in Atlanta and at facilities in Orlando, Canada, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, UAE, Australia and Singapore. It can deploy service personnel anywhere in the world for instructor training, system installation and maintenance. Learn more at https://meggitttrainingsystems.com/