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14 octobre 2011 5 14 /10 /octobre /2011 12:00

http://s2.lemde.fr/image/2011/10/14/540x270/1587634_3_257b_barack-obama-a-annonce-le-retrait-d-ici-la-fin.jpg

 

Barack Obama a annoncé le retrait d'ici la fin de l'année de 10 000 hommes, suivi du retrait d'ici la fin de l'été 2012 du reste des renforts envoyés fin 2009 en Afghanistan, soit 23 000 soldats.AP/David Goldman

 

14.10.11 LEMONDE.FR

 

La plupart des renforts américains envoyés par Barack Obama en Afghanistan vont rester sur place jusqu'à la "saison des combats" de 2012, a indiqué jeudi le chef du pentagone, Leon Panetta.

 

Le secrétaire à la défense a déclaré devant une commission de la Chambre des représentants que 10 000 soldats américains auront été retirés d'Afghanistan d'ici à la fin de l'année, comme prévu, et que les 23 000 autres soldats envoyés en renfort par Barack Obama seraient laissés sur le terrain jusqu'à l'été 2012. "Nous retirerons le reste l'année prochaine, à la fin de la saison des combats", a-t-il déclaré.

 

Les Etats-Unis sont les principaux contributeurs de la coalition militaire internationale en Afghanistan, arrivée dans le pays à la fin 2001 et forte aujourd'hui de quelque 150 000 soldats. Le président américain a annoncé le retrait d'ici à la fin de l'année de 10 000 hommes, suivi du retrait d'ici à la fin de l'été 2012 du reste des renforts envoyés fin 2009 en Afghanistan, soit 23 000 soldats. Le retrait complet des troupes américaines est prévu pour décembre 2014.

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14 octobre 2011 5 14 /10 /octobre /2011 07:55

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Le colonel Quddos-Ghani devant l'école de Cavalerie de Puli Charki, le 25 septembre 2011 à Kaboul, Afghanistan.FACELLY ALBERT/Pour Le Monde

 

13.10.2011 Reportage par Nathalie Guibert – LEMONDE

 

Kaboul Envoyée spéciale - Le colonel A. Qudooz Ghani aime, en cette fin d'été, prendre le thé devant le vaste chantier en cours sur la base de Pol-e-Sharki, à la sortie de Kaboul. Sous ses yeux, l'école des blindés de l'armée nationale afghane (ANA) émerge d'une étendue poussiéreuse, un terrain sur lequel rouillaient des déchets militaires depuis l'occupation soviétique. En mars 2012, des locaux d'instruction accueilleront 900 hommes. Pour eux, les Américains ont déboursé 650 millions de dollars (470 millions d'euros). Ils produisent spécialement 500 véhicules.

 

Le colonel Qudooz a débuté comme chef de peloton. Ce Pachtoun a combattu avec les Russes contre les moudjahidine. Il a passé quatre ans en URSS. Cet officier élégant, à la moustache poivre et sel bien taillée, a quitté le palais présidentiel du président Hamid Karzaï, dont il assurait la sécurité, pour se consacrer à la formation des nouveaux officiers de l'ANA. Il s'en réjouit : "Ce qui n'était pas possible pour nous il y a vingt ans le devient. Nous essayons de construire une armée complète."

 

La feuille de route est écrite par l'OTAN. La coalition a annoncé qu'en 2014 elle aurait transféré la sécurité du pays aux Afghans. Une armée de 195 000 hommes doit être prête à l'été 2012. Dix ans après le début de leur intervention dans le pays, les Américains assument l'essentiel de cet effort, soldes comprises. A l'école des blindés, les instructeurs, Français et Roumains - spécialistes des chars russes T 62 -, ont quatorze semaines pour former un premier bataillon. Il y en aura sept. "C'est un programme du volume de l'armée française, qu'il nous faudrait vingt ans pour mener à bien à nos standards", note le lieutenant-colonel Stéphane T., adjoint du colonel Qudooz.

 

Paris, engagé depuis plusieurs années dans cette mission, a même commencé à former des sous-officiers sur ses bases aux Emirats arabes unis : 900 Afghans en sortiront en 2012. "L'Afghanistan connaît ce que la France a vécu à la Révolution, quand on a pris les premiers venus pour créer les maréchaux d'Empire. Le problème, c'est le rythme", note le colonel Philippe Lejeune, chef de la mission de formation française.

 

Avec les autres forces de sécurité - commandos, services de renseignement, milices, polices nationale et locales -, l'Afghanistan et ses 30 millions d'habitants vont bientôt compter 350 000 hommes en armes. La moitié d'entre eux auront été instruits en trois ans. Jamais aucune armée au monde n'a bénéficié d'un soutien aussi considérable. La démesure de l'effort se jauge à la question que tous, ici, se posent : dans la durée, qui en assumera le coût, sachant que le pays ne couvre qu'un tiers de ses dépenses civiles et militaires ?

 

Dans cette course, l'OTAN a d'abord jeté au feu des talibans des bataillons d'infanterie dégrossis en à peine quelques semaines. "Jusqu'ici, on a fait de la quantité. On commence à faire de la qualité", explique un officier français. A partir de mi-2012, la formation d'application des officiers afghans s'allongera de quatre mois à douze.

 

Les capitaines français qui l'encadrent sur le terrain sont d'accord : cette nouvelle armée est courageuse, combative, réactive. Elle progresse indéniablement. Elle commence à planifier seule ses opérations. En Kapisa, à l'est de Kaboul, l'ANA a "bien tenu" lors des rudes combats de l'été contre les insurgés. "Nous faisons de grands progrès, les choses s'accélèrent", estime le colonel Adbullah Faqir Zaak, qui observe des cadets à l'exercice au Kaboul Military Training Center. "Car nous avons l'énergie pour aller de l'avant." Mais cet officier convient qu'il manque encore de nombreux moyens au regard de l'ambition affichée. Lui voudrait que les Occidentaux restent le plus longtemps possible : "Le jour où les Français nous quittent, nous serons en danger."

 

D'immenses difficultés demeurent. Hormis les unités d'élite, que les experts occidentaux jugent au niveau, les forces afghanes souffrent de graves lacunes : analphabétisme, paies insuffisantes, encadrement intermédiaire défectueux, désertions, tensions ethniques. Les infiltrations talibanes sont une crainte majeure. "Notre problème principal consiste à identifier les bonnes personnes, à avoir confiance dans nos recrues", confirme le colonel Qudooz.

 

L'ANA n'a toujours pas d'appui. Le colonel Abdullah veut "des armes lourdes, ce serait bon pour le moral". L'armée ne dispose d'aucun des moyens qui lui permettraient de tenir dans la durée : ni génie, ni artillerie, ni aviation (la flotte d'hélicoptères devrait être prête en 2016). Ni même la logistique, gangrenée par la corruption : "Les Afghans ont du matériel américain mais, en six mois, nous n'avons pas vu un bidon d'huile arriver pour le faire fonctionner", témoigne un gradé français.

 

La faiblesse du leadership politique de Kaboul pèse sur l'avenir de la jeune ANA. Le président Karzaï ne s'est pas approprié ce nouvel outil militaire, constatent les experts. Après 2014, le risque est grand de voir l'armée éclater, et, faute de coordination, les diverses forces afghanes s'entre-déchirer. Une inconnue demeure : les Etats-Unis vont-ils, comme en Irak, garder en main les fonctions d'appui des forces du pays ? Les contours du partenariat stratégique de long terme actuellement négocié avec le pays seront déterminants.

 

A la question de savoir quel ennemi la nouvelle armée combattra dans les années qui viennent, le colonel Adbullah répond en balayant le ciel de Kaboul du regard : "Il y a beaucoup d'ennemis en Afghanistan."

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14 octobre 2011 5 14 /10 /octobre /2011 06:35

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crédits : ROYAL NAVY

 

14/10/2011 MER et MARINE

 

Après quatre ans d'opérations et 12.500 heures de vol, les hélicoptères Sea King Mk4 de la Royal Navy ont quitté l'Afghanistan, leur ultime théâtre d'opération. Ces vétérans de l'aéronavale britannique, entrés en service en 1979, vont regagner la base de Yeovilton, où leurs équipages vont basculer sur des hélicoptères plus modernes, les AW-101 Merlin Mk3. Le détachement de Sea King déployé en Afghanistan a réalisé son dernier vol au profit de la Joint Helicopter Force le 30 septembre, l'ensemble des machines ayant réalisé en Afghanistan, depuis 2007, quelques 3800 missions. Les hélicoptères britanniques des NAS (Naval Air Squadrons) 845 et 846 ont acheminé, sur cette période, 700 tonnes de munitions, de vivres et de matériel, à destination des différentes bases de la coalition. Ils ont aussi transporté 80.000 hommes, notamment des commandos et des unités de combat déposées et récupérées en plein territoire ennemi.


Sea King Mk4 en Afghanistan (© : ROYAL NAVY)

Le déploiement des Sea King a nécessité, techniquement, d'adapter les rotors et les turbines aux conditions climatiques locales, tout en les dotant de moyens d'autodéfense contre les tirs adverses. Ingénieurs, techniciens, personnel de maintenance... Le soutien technique a été très important puisque chaque heure de vol nécessitait 7 heures de maintenance mais, selon la Royal Navy, la simplicité et la robustesse de l'appareil l'a, finalement, rendu relativement facile à réparer.


Affichant une masse de 9.5 tonnes en charge, le Sea King Mk4, dédié au transport et aux assaut héliportés, compte un équipage de 3 hommes et peut transporter 17 passagers ou 2.7 tonnes de fret.


Sea King Mk4 en Afghanistan (© : ROYAL NAVY)

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14 octobre 2011 5 14 /10 /octobre /2011 05:35

nato

 

13 Oct 2011 DefenseNews AFP

 

KABUL - The U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan may be exaggerating successes of raids designed to kill or capture insurgent leaders, a flagship strategy in the 10-year war, a report warned Oct. 13.

 

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) hails the raids as one of the most effective tactics against the insurgency, but the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) says data from December 2009 to September 2011 is inconsistent.

 

"The lack of transparency is particularly apparent in the case of the insurgent leaders that were reportedly being killed and captured; there is no way to properly evaluate these claims," said the AAN report on its website.

 

But ISAF slammed the report as "disingenuous" for making false comparisons of data that "inevitably lead to faulty conclusions on mission progress."

 

Two days ago, the military said the number of Taliban attacks had declined for the first time and that the Taliban has failed in recent months to seize back territory lost in U.S.-led offensives in the south.

 

Basing its data on 3,771 press releases announcing the deaths of at least 3,873 people and the detentions of another 7,146, AAN said ISAF often interchanges the terms "facilitator" and "leader" without explaining why.

 

It also said statistics in press releases did not tally with more grandiose figures released separately by ISAF to media outlets.

 

Although it was unclear to what extent this was intentional, "it should make policy-makers and analysts evaluating ISAFs progress think twice about accepting these body-count figures without more serious scrutiny," AAN said.

 

On Sept. 3, an ISAF release said security forces had captured or killed more than 40 al-Qaida insurgents in eastern Afghanistan this year.

 

But a tally of previous releases add up to 22 killed and 10 captured, many of which, AAN points out, are simply noted as having had "suspected ties."

 

AAN concedes that the press releases themselves do not represent a complete figure, given that there may have been unreported operations, and more deaths and detentions per incident than counted.

 

But ISAF said it was wrong to compare figures from its press releases with broader statistics as regular updates are "not" an authoritative database of all ISAF operations, "or even a representative sample from them."

 

"Hence any analysis based on them which draws broader conclusions on ISAF operations overall is flawed," said spokesman Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings.

 

ISAF also defended its terminology, saying that leaders in charge of other insurgents can also be classified as facilitators who assist operations "much in the same manner as the authors of this report label themselves as researchers, writers, commentators and editors".

 

Last month, ISAF also disputed U.N. statistics showing a 39 percent increase in violence in the war-torn country.

 

NATO allies, under pressure from voters in the West increasingly fed up with the long and costly war, are scheduled to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

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13 octobre 2011 4 13 /10 /octobre /2011 11:55

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Oct 13, 2011 ASDNews Source : Frasca International

 

Six Frasca flight simulators installed in portable trailers have been delivered to the Shindand Air Force Base in Afghanistan for use by the Afghanistan National Army Air Corps for training. As part of a contract with Cessna Aircraft, Frasca completed and delivered the simulators to the USAF/Afghan Air Force.

 

The flight simulators include two Cessna 208B Caravan Level 5 FTDs, two Cessna T182T Skylane Level 5 FTDs and two Cessna T182T Skylane BATDs, each housed in their own portable trainer complete with TruVision(tm) visual systems with customized databases including several areas of Afghanistan as well as instructor operator and debriefing stations. Final acceptance of the devices is scheduled to take place the last week in September and ready for training on schedule starting on Monday October 3rd.

 

Frasca also supplied FTDs to Iraq in 2008. Nine units are installed at the Kirkuk Air Base in Iraq for use by the US Air Force in training the Iraqi Air Force. The FTDs are being used for training pilots for both helicopter and fixed wing aircraft and include three Cessna 172 FTDs, two Bell 206 helicopter FTDs, two Cessna Caravan FTDs and two Huey Helicopter FTDs.

 

Frasca is very active in the military flight simulation market and continues to supply a wide range of flight simulation products to military organizations worldwide.

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13 octobre 2011 4 13 /10 /octobre /2011 06:50

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UN, October 12 (RIA Novosti)

 

The UN Security Council extended its authorization of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for one year.

 

The Security Council called on the ISAF to continue its work in preparation of Afghan security services in order to train the national police and other Afghan forces.

 

Some 170,000 people serve in the Afghan National Army and 135,000 people in the national police forces. The process of transferring security to the Afghan Security Forces will be accomplished by the end of 2014.

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13 octobre 2011 4 13 /10 /octobre /2011 06:45

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Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3 currently operates RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aerial vehicles in southwestern Afghanistan. (USMC photo)

 

Oct. 10, 2011 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: US Marine Corps; issued Oct. 10, 2011)

 

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --- Marine Unmanned Aerial Squadron 3’s Shadows operate out of multiple sites in Helmand province, allowing the drones to survey virtually every corner of the southwestern region under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

 

“Mission after mission we were exposed to a barrage of small arms fire, medium machine gun, heavy machine gun and sniper fire in addition to [roadside bombs]and [rocket and mortar attacks],” wrote 1st Lt. Marcos Garcia in a letter to Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3. “We were forced to take similar routes due to their trafficability and the enemy exploited this.”

 

Garcia served as a convoy commander with 2nd Marine Logistics Group in Helmand province, Afghanistan for seven months.

 

According to his letter, his convoy suffered eight IED strikes, three artillery and rocket attacks, 10 small-arms-fire engagements and three complex ambushes while moving fuel trucks throughout southwestern Afghanistan. That was until Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3 got involved, using their RQ-7B Shadow drones to provide invaluable aerial surveillance and reconnaissance for Garcia and his Marines.

 

“The turn in events truly took place as soon as the Shadow supported our convoys,” wrote Garcia. “The Shadow is a remarkable asset that should be employed by any convoy traveling in a highly kinetic environment.”

 

Marine Unmanned Aerial Squadron 3’s Shadows operate out of multiple sites in Helmand province, allowing the drones to surveil virtually every corner of the southwestern region under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

 

“Our primary goal is to provide information needed to make operations successful,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jarrad Demster, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3’s Camp Leatherneck detachment.

 

According to Demster, a native of Boise, Idaho, the survey footage collected by the Shadow is utilized by both ground and aerial forces to plan their actions and ensure they are conducted safely and intelligently.

 

Improvised explosive devices present a serious threat to ground forces that travel throughout southwestern Afghanistan. For Garcia and his Marines, the presence of the Shadow allowed them to mitigate the threat posed by roadside bombs.

 

“We can watch areas for strange behavior and use our camera to scan for signs of [improvised explosive devices],” said Demster. “This allows us to ensure convoy routes are safe for travel before the vehicles in the convoy even start their engines.”

 

On Aug. 28, Garcia and his Marines were attacked by more than 35 insurgents. The Shadow offered Garcia and joint tactical air controllers the information needed to place precise fire on enemy fighting positions.

 

Four Hellfire missiles and a 500-pound, laser-guided bomb quickly put a stop to the enemy assault.

 

“We aid attack aircraft and artillery assets to deliver more effective fire on targets,” said Demster. “We can also keep eyes on the target to ensure the success of the strike.”

 

Garcia wrote that he owes his life to the Shadow and the Marines of Marine Unmanned Vehicle Squadron 3.

 

“The Shadow has proven reliable, effective and … devastating against enemy forces,” wrote Garcia. “I’m convinced that lives were saved [by this asset].”

 

“It feels great to be reminded how important our work is,” said Demster of Garcia’s letter. “My Marines got to hear the tangible result of their efforts and feel a sense of accomplishment.”

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12 octobre 2011 3 12 /10 /octobre /2011 17:05

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photo raytheon.com

 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire

 

Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) successfully fired nine rounds in U.S. Army lot acceptance tests, which means the Excalibur Ia-2 precision-guided projectile is ready for U.S. Army and Marine Corps use in Afghanistan.

 

Building on the proven technology of the Excalibur Ia-1, the Excalibur Ia-2 includes upgrades designed to meet the projected threat environment, while maintaining true precision and accuracy of better than a 6-meter circular error probable. Excalibur Ia-2 also extends the range of Excalibur Ia-1 from 24 to 37.5 kilometers, which is 50 percent farther than conventional artillery. Excalibur's first-round precision enables it to defeat fleeting and persistent targets.

 

"The precision Excalibur provides is essential to the missions our warfighters are conducting in urban and surrounding environments. It protects structures, the population and our warfighters," said Lt. Col. Mike Milner, U.S. Army Excalibur Product Manager. "The Excalibur Ia-2 rounds going into theater will give the warfighter the ability to accurately defeat targets before the target can run and hide."

 

The Excalibur precision-guided projectile is available regardless of time of day or environment, giving warfighters life-saving options. Excalibur complements air-delivered precision when close air support is unavailable or not the best option. With more than 500 rounds fired to date, Excalibur has made its mark on the battlefield.

 

"Raytheon developed and fielded the world's first extended-range GPS guided precision artillery rounds," said Michelle Lohmeier, vice president of Raytheon Land Combat Systems for Raytheon Missile Systems. "We continue to build upon our legacy as the world's experts in precision munitions as we deliver Excalibur Ia-2 to our warfighters."

 

About Excalibur

 

Excalibur is a 155-mm precision guided artillery round now with extended range. Successfully fielded in 2007, Excalibur Ia-1 has a 24 kilometers range from U.S. howitzers (Paladin and LW 155). Using GPS precision guidance technology, Excalibur has proven invaluable to widely dispersed units engaged in operations close to the population and in the surrounding fields, valleys and mountainous terrain of Afghanistan.

 

    * Consistently lands within 6 meters of its target

    * More than 500 rounds fired in theater to date

    * Precision capability reduces collateral damage

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12 octobre 2011 3 12 /10 /octobre /2011 12:10

USAF logo

 

October 12, 2011 Senior Airman David Carbajal - 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs / AFNS – defpro.com

 

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan | In desolate areas of Afghanistan, where few roads can be found, C-130 Hercules and C-27 Spartans land on dirt runways to transport personnel and cargo to remote forward operating bases.

 

Fly Away Security Team members provide security for those flights where they seldom have the luxury of a secured flight line.

 

"FAST really isn't much different than security forces at a stateside location," said Staff Sgt. Adamo Merlo, a 451st Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron FAST member. "The only difference is we go where the plane goes."

 

The fly away teams consist of two security forces members who are equipped with an M-4 and an M-9. They support an average of 4 to 5 flights per day to FOBs such as Qalat, Tirin Kot and several others throughout the country.

 

"We're treated just like aircrew," Merlo said. "We blend in with the flight crew. We wear flight suits without nametags. The only difference is we wear (individual body armor) and carry two weapons instead of one."

 

Prior to flight, the FAST members attend an intelligence briefing to understand the potential threats during the mission, Merlo said.

 

"It's not uncommon for local nationals to be on the airfield when we arrive to a location," said Master Sgt. Brian Algeo, the FAST NCO in charge. "So, while the crew is busy checking instruments and unloading cargo, we have to be vigilant to keep everyone safe. In some cases, we can be the last line of defense for the aircrew and the aircraft."

 

The security team is also responsible for the flight's security while in the air.

 

"As a FAST member, we're not only responsible for maintaining the security of the aircraft while it's on the ground, but also maintaining order on the aircraft during flight," Merlo said.

 

Occasionally, the security teams supports flights that are transporting high-profile passengers throughout the area of responsibility.

 

"If a passenger gets out of hand, we have to detain them to ensure the security of the aircraft," said Merlo.

 

Most security team members attend a three-day course to gain new skills like hand-to-hand combat and anti-hijacking training at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

 

"We always have to be vigilant and be on guard because you never know what's going to happen," Merlo said.

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12 octobre 2011 3 12 /10 /octobre /2011 11:55

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photo Polish Ministry of National Defence

 

WARSAW, October 12 (RIA Novosti)

 

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski extended on Wednesday the mandate for the country's peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan until April 13, 2012, the Polish press agency said.

 

The decision was made upon a proposal from the government, led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

 

Poland currently maintains a 2,600-troop contingent in the war-torn Central Asian country as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

 

In line with Wednesday’s decision, Poland will have 2,500 troops deployed in Afghanistan.

 

The Polish authorities plan to gradually decrease the number of troops and completely withdraw its military contingent from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

 

Twenty nine Polish soldiers have been killed and hundreds wounded since Poland sent its troops to fight Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in the country in 2002.

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12 octobre 2011 3 12 /10 /octobre /2011 11:50

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source Defencetalk

 

October 11, 2011: STRATEGY PAGE

 

Although Britain has spent a lot of money developing, leasing and buying larger UAVs like Reaper, Hermes and Watchkeeper, the UAVs British troop's use the most in Afghanistan are tiny the Desert Hawk III. This UAV is most frequently found overhead during actual combat operations, in addition to the U.S. Army's favorite, the Raven micro (2 kg/4.3 pound) UAV. Britain began buying the 3.2 kg (7 pound) Desert Hawk mini-UAV four years, for base protection. But the UAV soon proved itself superior for combat operations. Now there are 14 British DH3 (Desert Hawk III) detachments in Helmand province.

 

A Desert Hawk "detachment" consists of two sergeants and 236 kg (520 pounds) of waterproof carrying cases containing six UAVs, a laptop computer, hand held controllers, communications equipment and a spare parts and repair kit. The DH3 now uses an Xbox like controller, which most troops are already familiar with. The UAV, once the parts are snapped together, has a 1.4 meter (54 inch) wingspan and is 92 cm (36 inches) long. New operators can be trained, on the job, in about a week.

 

The Desert Hawk has several advantages over the Raven. Desert Hawk is quieter, more stable (because it is heavier and larger) and mounts a camera that can move independently of the aircraft. The British infantry have found these advantages sufficient to select the Desert Hawk III over the Raven. Battery powered, the Desert Hawk can stay in the air for up to 90 minutes, flying a route specified by the operator and using onboard GPS and flight software for guidance. The Desert Hawk III UAV can be equipped with daylight or night (heat imaging) cameras. Everything seen on each flight is recorded, and simultaneously transmitted back to the operator, who views the video on a handheld controller or laptop computer. The UAV cruises at about 80 kilometers an hour and at an altitude of 100-160 meters (300-500 feet). The UAV can operate up to 15 kilometers from its base station. The UAV is launched using a large elastic rope (a bungee cord, basically) and lands by just coming in low and turning off its motor. The Desert Hawk can also be hand launched like the Raven, but a strong arm is required.

 

The DH3 is made of plastic. The operators do not fly the Desert Hawk, but they can change its flight pattern while it's flying a mission, or command it to just circle a location. An onboard computer handles all the details of flying correctly and not spinning out of control. After one mission, the operator can put in a fresh set of batteries and launch it again.

 

The DH3 is used for route security (from roadside bombs and ambush), base security and in support of raids and patrols. Captured Taliban are united in their hatred of the DH3, because it makes it difficult to remain hidden, and get away safely from British troops and smart bombs.

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12 octobre 2011 3 12 /10 /octobre /2011 05:40

http://www.aviationweek.com/media/images/defense_images/Fighters/AT-6s-JimHaseltine.jpg

Photo: Jim Haseltine

 

Oct 11, 2011 By David A. Fulghum aerospace daily and defense report

 

The Hawker Beechcraft AT-6 light attack and armed reconnaissance aircraft, designed to meet the U.S. Air Force’s Building Partnership Capacity needs including those of the Afghanistan air force, continues to move through its end-to-end weapons validation testing with the launch of four 500-lb. GBU-12 Paveway II precision-guided bombs last week, says Derek Hess, director of the AT-6 program for Hawker Beechcraft.

 

All weapons were scored as valid hits by the combined USAF-Hawker Beechcraft assessment team. The tests are part of an Air National Guard-sponsored project conducted at the ANG/Air Force Reserve Command Test Center in Tucson, Ariz. The program also includes completion of computer-aided weapons delivery-mode testing. The current competition between light attack aircraft for the Afghan contract is expected to end with a contract award on Oct. 31.

 

Validation testing of the AT-6 is continuing with employment of 250-lb. Raytheon Paveway II bombs and captive carry of the Raytheon 2.75-in. Talon laser-guided rocket. Follow-up testing will be conducted with laser-guided rockets, Lockheed-Martin’s AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Raytheon’s Griffin 35-lb. GPS/laser-guided bomb. Researchers are beginning to understand and define the applicability of small, smart rockets, Hess says.

 

In addition to the Talon, other competing 2.75-in. smart-rocket designs include the ATK guided advanced tactical rocket, BAE Systems’ advanced precision weapons system and the Lockheed Martin DAGR.

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11 octobre 2011 2 11 /10 /octobre /2011 16:30

lockheed-martin-logo2

 

Washington, D.C., October 11th, 2011 Lockheed Martin

 

Command Web Brings Operational Battlefield Data to Soldiers in the Field

 

Active Army units have been testing a Lockheed Martin web-based system that combines the power of Google Earth, Command and Control web applications and existing tactical communications systems to deliver a common operating picture of the battlefield to any network user with a laptop. Command Web provides users with a web-based view of the mission command picture to both the commander in the tactical operating center as well as warfighters in the battlespace.

 

“Command Web extends the collaborative capabilities of mission command systems for those who don't have the real deal," said Lt. Col. Thomas Bentzel, the Army's product manager for Tactical Mission Command. “It's got great potential for expansion and convergence with other systems.”

 

The Command Web system is being tested by soldiers in theater to validate the system’s architecture, requirements and user interface design. Both the Army and Lockheed Martin are using feedback from the testing to refine requirements and prioritize ongoing development for future system rollouts that will continue to expand, ultimately providing as much as 80 percent of current mission command functionality via the web environment.

 

“Command Web brings the big picture down to the company level,” said Jim Quinn, vice president with C4ISR Systems for Lockheed Martin IS&GS-Defense. “It also provides any user with access to the Army's tactical network with actionable data to support their missions”

 

Designed with a standard Army Battle Command Systems interface, Command Web mimics the functionality, naming conventions and other attributes of the Army’s primary common operational picture viewer that is used in all theaters. With its web-base capability, Command Web significantly reduces the logistical support footprint for the operational user. The system’s software developer's kit enables rapid third-party development of new warfighting capabilities.

 

Basing the system on the National Security Agency's Ozone framework offers a non-proprietary, government-owned solution that allows for maximum interoperability. Since the Ozone framework is also used by the web version of the Distributed Common Ground System – Army (DCGS-A), the Army’s ISR enterprise, it lays the groundwork for future interoperability across the intelligence and operations communities.

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11 octobre 2011 2 11 /10 /octobre /2011 07:50

http://www.meretmarine.com/objets/500/37035.jpg

 

Le drone K-MAX

crédits : LOCKHEED MARTIN

 

11/10/2011 MER et MARINE

 

A l'issue d'une évaluation en urgence menée en 5 jours seulement, l'US Navy et l'US Marine Corps ont sélectionné le K-MAX, de Lockheed Martin et Kaman, pour un déploiement en Afghanistan dans les prochains mois. L'engin va, ainsi, devenir le premier drone cargo de la marine américaine à être déployé sur un théâtre d'opération. Après avoir récemment conduit une campagne d'entrainement, comprenant différents essais en vol, le K-MAX va donc rallier prochainement l'Afghanistan, où il pourra fournir un soutien logistique aux troupes engagées contre les talibans, réduisant les risques pris, pour ce type de missions, par des appareils pilotés.


Version dronisée de l'hélicoptère K-MAX, certifié en 1999, l'engin vole en mode autonome depuis 2007. Sa capacité d'emport est de 2.7 tonnes.

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10 octobre 2011 1 10 /10 /octobre /2011 12:35

http://www.defense.gouv.fr/var/dicod/storage/images/base-de-medias/images/terre/terre-images/breves/des-gendarmes-sur-un-parcours-piege-par-le-31e-rg/1399225-1-fre-FR/des-gendarmes-sur-un-parcours-piege-par-le-31e-rg.jpg

photo Sirpa Terre

 

10/10/2011 Armée de Terre

 

Des soldats du 31e  régiment du génie (31e  RG) de Castelsarrasin ont sensibilisé aux engins explosifs improvisés (EEI) des gendarmes prêts à partir pour l’Afghanistan.

 

Du 3 au 7 octobre 2011 sur le camp de La Courtine, 120 gendarmes ont suivi leur mise en condition avant projection (MCP) en Afghanistan en tant que « police operational mentoring and liaison teams » (POMLT). Les éléments opérationnels de déminage (EOD) du 31e  RG  sont intervenus pour sensibiliser ces équipes de liaison et de tutorat opérationnel auprès de la police nationale afghane.

 

Après une présentation des différents types de mines, d’EEI et systèmes de déclenchement, chaque section est passée à la pratique sur un itinéraire ultra piégé de 4km. Le but : mettre en pratique les procédures de sécurité et adopter les bons réflexes face à tout le panel d’EEI présent en Afghanistan.

 

Les spécialistes du génie sont revenus sur chaque incident pour conseiller et apporter un maximum d’éléments concrets aux POMLT.

 

« Dans notre métier, nous ne sommes pas sensibilisés à ces risques du terrain. Les spécialistes du 31e  RG nous apportent les techniques et la pratique. Nous avons beaucoup appris à leur contact », assure le chef de section des gendarmes.

 

Droits : Armée de Terre 2011

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10 octobre 2011 1 10 /10 /octobre /2011 12:05

http://www.rfi.fr/sites/filesrfi/imagecache/rfi_43_large/sites/images.rfi.fr/files/aef_image/deville-et-son-maitre-l-adjudant-loiseau-du-132e-bataillon-cynophile-de-l-armee-de-terre_0.jpg

 

Le flair d’un chien reste encore le meilleur instrument pour déceler l’adversaire et dénicher les explosifs. Photo SIRPA Terre/ADJ J-R. Drahi

 

09 octobre 2011 Par Olivier Fourt RFI

 

Direction l’Afghanistan ou l’armée française, utilise des chiens spécialisés pour tenter de repérer l’ennemi. A l’heure du « tout technologique » le flair d’un chien reste encore le meilleur « capteur » (ou instrument), pour déceler l’adversaire et dénicher les explosifs posés par les talibans.

Les équipes cynotechniques de l’armée française en Afghanistan
(03:02)
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10 octobre 2011 1 10 /10 /octobre /2011 05:50

nato

 

09.10.2011 Source: xinhua

 

Les 49 pays contribuant à la Force internationale d'assistance à la sécurité en Afghanistan ( Isaf) ont réaffirmé leur engagement vis-à-vis du pays pour le soutenir tout au long du processus de transition et bien au-delà, indique un communiqué publié vendredi au terme de la réunion des ministres de la Défense de l'OTAN tenue mercredi et jeudi à Bruxelles.

 

Les hauts responsables de la défense de ces pays ont analysé l' évolution du processus de transition en Afghanistan et ont fait observer que les forces de sécurité nationales afghanes sont de plus en plus capables de faire face aux insurgés, selon le communiqué.

 

Ils ont souligné que transition ne signifie pas abandon, et que l'OTAN continuera au contraire de soutenir l'Afghanistan après 2014.

 

Les ministres de la Défense ont également échangé des vues sur le soutien que l'Isaf peut apporter aux autorités afghanes à mesure que le processus de transition se poursuit.

 

Le communiqué indique que les ministres ont décidé de définir concrètement la manière dont l' alliance Atlantique continuera de soutenir l'Afghanistan après 2014, au sommet de l'OTAN prévu à Chicago (Etats-Unis) en mai prochain.

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9 octobre 2011 7 09 /10 /octobre /2011 18:05

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b4/Flag_of_Turkey.svg/800px-Flag_of_Turkey.svg.png

 

7 Oct 2011 DefenseNews AFP

 

ANKARA - Turkey has agreed to extend by one year its command of NATO peacekeepers in the Afghan capital of Kabul, the foreign ministry said on Oct. 7.

 

Turkey had taken over the Kabul regional command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for one year on Nov. 1, 2009 after an eight-month stint in 2007.

 

"Turkey has decided that the Turkish Armed Forces will continue its leadership of the Kabul Regional Command for one more year, until Nov. 1, 2012," the ministry said in a written statement.

 

"This decision constitutes yet another important example of the contributions made by Turkey, first and foremost in the training of Afghan security forces, to create conditions conducive to sustainable security and stability in this friendly and brotherly country," it added.

 

Turkey, NATOs sole Muslim member, which has the second largest standing army in the alliance, currently has 1,800 soldiers serving in ISAF.

 

Unlike other European members of ISAF, Turkey's mission is limited to patrols and its troops do not take part in combat operations.

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7 octobre 2011 5 07 /10 /octobre /2011 16:35

http://static.lexpress.fr/medias/1439/737007_forces-fran-aises-en-afghanistan.jpg

 

"La victoire est improbable en Afghanistan car les soldats

occidentaux sont désormais perçus par trop d'Afghans

comme des troupes d'occupation", selon Pascal Boniface,

directeur de l'Iris.

 

07/10/2011 Par JP Guilloteau/L'Express.fr

 

 

L'Otan et les forces afghanes, qui sont censées prendre le relais des troupes occidentales à la fin 2014, ne sont pas parvenus à stabiliser le pays au terme d'une décennie qui a fait près de 34 000 morts. 

Ce n'est pas en grande pompe que l'Afghanistan franchit ce vendredi le cap des dix ans de guerre depuis l'invasion menée par les Etats-Unis pour chasser les talibans du pouvoir. Cette opération a pris avec le temps des allures de bourbier pour les Occidentaux.

 

C'est le 7 octobre 2001, moins d'un mois après les attentats du 11 septembre que les forces américaines et britanniques commencent l'opération "liberté immuable", une série de frappes massives contre des installations stratégiques du régime des talibans. 

 

La guerre a fait près de 34 000 morts en dix ans

 

Si les forces occidentales et leurs alliés de l'Alliance du Nord ont rapidement écarté les talibans du pouvoir, ils n'ont jamais réussi à stabiliser complètement le pays, et repliés dans le sud du pays, les talibans ont rapidement repris leurs attaques contre le régime du président Karzaï. Les talibans ont regagné du terrain à partir de 2005, enlisant Kaboul et ses alliés dans un nouveau sanglant conflit, après l'insurrection contre les Soviétiques dans les années 1980 puis la guerre civile jusqu'à la prise du pouvoir par les talibans en 1996. 

 

Les violences ont redoublé à partir de 2007, chaque année devenant de plus en plus meurtrière pour les soldats étrangers (70 tués en 2002, 711 en 2010) et les civils. Selon une étude de l'université américaine Brown, la guerre a fait 33.877 morts depuis le 7 octobre 2001, civils, insurgés, soldats afghans et étrangers. 

 

Aveu d'impuissance

 

"La victoire est improbable", expliquait Pascal Boniface dans sa préface au livre de Dominique Lagarde consacré à la guerre paru en 2010; "car les soldats occidentaux sont désormais perçus par trop d'Afghans comme des troupes d'occupation". C'est cette impossibilité de la victoire qui a amené les occidentaux à décider de retirer leur troupes, d'ici 2014. 

 

Les talibans sont plus menaçant que jamais, leurs opérations toujours plus audacieuses que jamais comme l'ont montré une attaque menée en plein Kaboul et l'assassinat en septembre de l'ancien président Burhanuddin Rabbani, chargé de négocier la paix avec eux. Ces actions ont souligné la fragilité du gouvernement afghan, porté à bout de bras par quelque 140.000 soldats de l'Otan.  

 

Le temps joue pour les talibans

 

Dans le reste du pays, l'Otan et les forces afghanes, qui sont censées prendre le relais des troupes occidentales à la fin 2014, poursuivent d'ici là leurs opérations contre une rébellion pour tenter de l'affaiblir avant de négocier avec elle. 

Mais les talibans ont l'avantage du temps. Dans Newsweek cette semaine, l'un d'eux dit au journaliste américain Ron Moreau : "Vous avez les montres, nous avons le temps." Et la rébellion refuse jusqu'ici de négocier avec le gouvernement tant que tous les soldats étrangers n'auront pas quitté le pays. 

 

Le futur retrait occidental ouvre la possibilité d'un retour des talibans au pouvoir, une perspective qui effraie ceux des Afghans qui ont profité de l'ouverture du pays consécutive à l'invasion occidentale, que l'on retrouve notamment dans les villes. Mais une autre partie de la population, lassée d'un conflit sanglant, réclame avant tout la paix, dont peu imaginent qu'elle est possible sans un accord avec des talibans en position de force. 

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7 octobre 2011 5 07 /10 /octobre /2011 16:30

http://lignesdedefense.blogs.ouest-france.fr/media/00/00/1497187317.jpg

 

07.10.2011 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense

 

Humeur. Ce que j'aime chez certains chefs militaires, c'est leur soudain franc-parler et leur encore plus soudaine lucidité une fois qu'ils ont quitté le service actif. Les exemples, en France, en Europe et aux Etats-Unis, ne manquent pas. Le "devoir de réserve" a bon dos; c'est plutôt l'instinct carriériste qui mène ces officiers empressés d'abord de plaire au politique puis de démarrer une seconde carrière dans le privé une fois qu'ils ont quitté le service actif.

 

Dernier en date, Stanley McChrystal dont les commentaires subtils lui avaient valu une mise à l'écart forcée en juin 2010 et une retraite prématurée .  Invité, jeudi soir, par le Council on Foreign Relations à exprimer ses vues sur l'Afghanistan (10e anniversaire du début des opérations oblige), McChrystal a admis 1) que la coalition n'a pas encore réalisé la moitié de ce qu'elle aurait dû réussir, 2) que les chefs de cette coalition ont une compréhension affreusement simpliste de l'Afghanistan, 3) que l'invasion de l'Irak a dérivé les énergies et mis en péril la réussite de l'opération afghane (cliquer ici pour lire l'article que lui consacre CBS sur son site).

 

McChrystal a créé, après son départ de l'armée US, le McChrystal Group (cliquer ici pour accéder à son site) avec un quarteron d'anciens officiers supérieurs; il propose désormais des "leadership solutions". Je lui accorde, certes, un certain franc-parler (ses honnêtes commentaires de 2009 sur les avancées des talibans avaient froissé les partisans de la politique de l'autruche) mais il avait si bien su se couler dans le moule rhétorique ambiant et se faire complaisemment l'écho de la doctrine acceptable.... Qu'on en juge avec cet extrait d'une de ses présentations PowerPoint:

 

coin mcchrystal.jpg

 

Comprenne qui pourra. Fumigène... Finalement, je préfère le McChrystal d'aujourd'hui. Le convaincu de la dernière heure, comme on dit. Celui qui retourne sa veste de treillis et la met, enfin, à l'endroit.

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7 octobre 2011 5 07 /10 /octobre /2011 11:35

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fa/Bushmasters_Afghanistan_2010.jpg/800px-Bushmasters_Afghanistan_2010.jpg

 

6 October 2011 Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare

 

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that Bushmaster vehicles in Afghanistan have been upgraded to provide soldiers with better protection against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

 

The upgrade was completed in Afghanistan in August 2011.

 

Upgrades to the vehicles include the installation of new seating and flooring in the cabin to provide additional protection for commanders, drivers and the troops being transported.

 

“The upgrades will help protect troops travelling in the vehicle by absorbing more of the blast impact,” Mr Clare said.

 

“Bushmasters are a great Australian success story. They are creating jobs in Australia and saving lives in Afghanistan.

 

“We are constantly looking for ways to make them even safer.

 

“The threat of roadside bombs is always present and always changing. That’s why we have to be always working to improve the protection we give our troops in Afghanistan.”

 

Expert Defence and industry engineers from Thales and Stratos Seating developed the upgrades based on data from damaged Bushmaster vehicles hit by improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and blast trials conducted in Australia.

 

In May the Government also announced that it would purchase an additional 101 Bushmasters to support current and future Australian operations.

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7 octobre 2011 5 07 /10 /octobre /2011 07:00

http://www.aviationweek.com/media/images/defense_images/UAVs/T-Hawk-CrownCopyright.jpg 

Photo: Crown Copyright

 

Oct 6, 2011 By Angus Batey - defense technology international

 

Camp Bastion, Afghanistan - Although the technology focus remains on the transition from Hermes 450 to Watchkeeper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), it is the subtler changes to platforms and operational concepts that deliver increased performance to the British Army. And while the tactical UAV continues to provide vital intelligence, it is the lower-tech, less glamorous platforms that are gaining in popularity with the troops whose missions they support.

 

The army’s UAV battery is based here, where a fleet of leased Hermes 450 aircraft is flown and maintained. But the battery, from 32 Regt. Royal Artillery, is also responsible for two other UAVs that deliver full-motion video (FMV) from forward locations. These are the hand-launched Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk III (DH3), and T‑Hawk, Honeywell’s vertical-takeoff-and-landing UAV, which is part of the Royal Engineers’ Talisman route-clearance system (DTI September 2010, p. 19).

 

Complementary to these are PGSS (Persistent Ground Surveillance System) aerostats, seven of which are deployed above bases in the British area of operations. These are operated and maintained by contractors, with support from 5 Regt. Royal Artillery liaison officers. The PGSS payload contains electro-optical and infrared sensors, which feed data into the Cortez network, permitting drag-and-drop viewing of multiple intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (Istar) sources for a location.

 

“The good thing about [Cortez] is it enables our cross-cueing piece,” says Capt. Alex Gray, operations officer of the UAV battery. “It could be that a base Istar asset picks something up then cross-cues a Hermes 450 onto it. It’s a useful and powerful tool.” Cross-cueing of layered assets generates detailed intelligence, showing information such as route obstructions and the type and size of structures, doors and windows.

 

DH3 also feeds FMV into Cortez. Eight of the battery’s 12 DH3 detachments are at bases across Helmand. Two more are on hand as a surge capability and to back-fill during deployment changeovers, while two others are mobile—one with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, the other with the Warthog group.

 

“The key with DH3 is it’s quick into action,” says Gray. “It can get into the air in 5-8 min., and we’ve flown almost 2,000 flights on Herrick 14,” the U.K.’s Afghanistan deployment, which began in April.

 

The aircraft is programmed to return to a given position using GPS. It flies a U‑shaped profile on its way in, enabling it to assess local wind conditions and minimize impact on landing. The modular airframe disperses impact forces by breaking apart.

 

The new assisted trim landing (ATL) system gives greater control to the user during recovery, including the ability to manually flare for a gentler touchdown. The system was fielded in July.

 

“With [ATL], we can use the Xbox 360 control pad, which is usually used to control camera movement, and land the UAV,” says Sgt. Matthew Trigg, a DH3 operator. “We’re getting a lot of good reports [from the detachments] and the attrition rate has started to go down.”

 

Improvements to the T-Hawk are restricted to operational concepts rather than hardware, but the results are impressive. The controversial platform had seemed something of an afterthought in Talisman, but transferring control from the Royal Engineers to 32 Regt. helped it find a niche.

 

“We overtook the amount of flights the engineers had done in our first month here flying it,” says Chris Darker, a bombardier and member of 32 Regt.’s two-man T-Hawk crews now embedded within Talisman squadrons. “The guys flying it had other jobs within the squadron—they could have been a Talon operator or a searcher—and were doing T-Hawk as a secondary job. But the more we use it, the more they want to use it. They’re adamant now that they want to bring two systems with them every time they’re out.”

 

Two of the aircraft’s perceived disadvantages—noise and the airflow generated in hover—are now considered pluses. When flown near the ground, it can be used to blow dust away from possible improvised explosive devices to aid visual checks, and the noise has a potent deterrent effect.

 

The platform’s FMV is considered superior to that provided by DH3, and its utility for Talisman’s route-proving task is undoubted. Darker, who has used Hermes, DH3 and T-Hawk, says: “I’ve probably enjoyed flying [T-Hawk] the most. I flew this 14 times on one op where we cleared a route in [the Nahr-e-Saraj district, Helmand Province], and that route is still being used.”

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6 octobre 2011 4 06 /10 /octobre /2011 17:00

http://www.baesystems.com/static/bae_cimg_rg33socom_latestReleased_bae_cimg_rg33socom_Web.jpg

 

The SOCOM MRAP is based on the RG33 family of vehicles

 

06 Oct 2011 | Ref. 198/2011 BAE Systems

 

ARLINGTON, Virginia – BAE Systems received a $21.9 million contract award from the U.S. Marine Corps for ongoing maintenance, updates and repairs to Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. The award will be used to expand the universal MRAP maintenance workforce in Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

 

“Protecting the lives of our brave young men and women is something we take very seriously and expanding our labor force will aid in soldiers’ and Marines’ safety and success abroad,” said Robert Houston, vice president of Support and Technical Services at BAE Systems.

 

This contract allows BAE Systems to provide a staff of 48 personnel in Afghanistan, working on upgrading, repairing and maintaining all MRAP vehicles. The workforce will ensure troops have ongoing, sustained field support with the latest safety technology.

 

“This contract allows us to continue the important work of supporting our troops overseas. We consider their mission to be our mission,” said Chris Chambers, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ Tactical Wheeled Vehicles product line.

 

BAE Systems will perform all work on this contract in Afghanistan, with completion expected by December 2012.

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6 octobre 2011 4 06 /10 /octobre /2011 16:40

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/32C182BE-A30B-45AF-9B63-D222F98E5C17/0/59609apacheshelicopter.JPG

An Apache attack helicopter flies over the desert in Helmand

province, Afghanistan - Picture: MOD 2009

 

6 Oct 11 UK MoD - A History and Honour news article

 

An Army officer is to receive the Air Force Cross for his 'selflessness and extraordinary professionalism' in piloting his Apache helicopter in dangerous situations to assist casualty rescue missions in Afghanistan.

 

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/2C59781A-40A9-4D67-A3DF-99B87094CA88/0/Capt_Steven_Jones.jpg

Apache pilot Captain Steven Jones, Army Air Corps, is to receive the Air Force Cross for his actions during a deployment in Afghanistan - Picture: Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC, MOD 2011

 

Captain Steven Jones, aged 32, an Apache pilot with the Army Air Corps, was flying his helicopter back to base after a day providing protective air cover for ground troops in Afghanistan in December 2010 when he heard a radio call for assistance.

 

An infantry patrol had been caught in an IED blast, which had killed one soldier and seriously wounded several others. The explosion's blast had also disabled the soldiers' radios - except the one that communicates with aircraft.

 

Only helicopters in the air on the right frequency would have been able to hear the soldiers' transmissions. To be of assistance to the wounded soldiers, Captain Jones needed to keep his Apache in the air and relay their messages for urgent help.

 

Captain Jones' helicopter was dangerously low on fuel - the reason why he was returning to base. But, he said, the decision was an easy one to make:

 

    "You can never leave a man behind. Yes, we were low on fuel, but that doesn't matter where there are lives at risk. On a balance of risk I worked out that we could try and get away with staying in the air for as long as we could.

    "You would never normally do it - there are manageable levels set for a reason or you risk the engine stopping for example - but I couldn't not respond."

 

Captain Jones, on his third deployment to Afghanistan, kept the Apache in the air, and was thus able to keep in touch with the soldiers on the ground until an emergency response helicopter could reach the injured personnel and another helicopter could be raised to take over his watch.

 

When he eventually landed his helicopter, the fuel gauge was registering the lowest the Apache craft had ever run on, dangerously below the safe levels for flight.

 

Captain Jones' citation reads:

 

    "This single act enabled a swift response to a situation that would otherwise have been delayed, demonstrating his selfless dedication to the support of ground forces."

 

This was not the only incident when Captain Jones literally flew to the aid of wounded soldiers. Two weeks previously he had been called to assist in a daring night casualty evacuation of a critically wounded soldier.

 

Low visibility on a dusty December night in Afghanistan meant the casualty evacuation Chinook helicopter was unable to navigate its own path to the soldier, requiring the Apache's superior sensors to escort them both safely through the mission.

 

Neither helicopter pilot could see where they were flying, but Captain Jones, using his helicopter's radars and infra-red sensors, was able to map a path for both helicopters to safely navigate the terrain.

 

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/5FBFB981-EFCB-4727-9BEF-5D15A0F19808/0/45151531.jpg

A British Army Apache helicopter on the helicopter operating area at Camp Bastion in Helmand province

Picture: Corporal Steve Bain RAF, MOD 2011

 

Captain Jones guided the Chinook to within 50ft (15m) of the landing site, with his citation noting that:

 

    "Jones very rarely operates the Apache helicopter into such an immediate, ultra low level environment, least of all at night in zero ambient illumination.

    "Without his shepherding of the Chinook through atrocious weather conditions ... the casualty would not have been recovered and would have lost his sight."

 

Captain Jones, who flew a further 20 missions that month, said:

 

    "You don't think about it at the time. It's not that it isn't significant because everything is significant out there because everything impacts on someone else's life, but you have to put it in your backpack and move on to the next day.

    "The Apache goes out on every casualty mission to make sure the Chinook can get in and out safely, and we frequently go out above ground patrols providing eyes from above for them.

    "The Apache is an amazing force multiplier - it is a huge deterrent to enemy attacks on ground troops, and we are able to offer rapid reactions to anything that does happen. Our purpose is to save lives."

 

Captain Jones is one of only two military personnel to receive the Air Force Cross in the latest Operational Honours and Awards List, which includes 140 personnel. The awards are for actions during the period 1 October 2010 to March 31 2011 in the UK and overseas.

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6 octobre 2011 4 06 /10 /octobre /2011 16:35

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fa/Bushmasters_Afghanistan_2010.jpg/800px-Bushmasters_Afghanistan_2010.jpg

Photo courtesy Australian Government Department of Defence

 

Oct 6, 2011 ASDNews Source : MoD Australia

 

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that Bushmaster vehicles in Afghanistan have been upgraded to provide soldiers with better protection against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

 

The upgrade was completed in Afghanistan in August 2011.

 

Upgrades to the vehicles include the installation of new seating and flooring in the cabin to provide additional protection for commanders, drivers and the troops being transported.

 

"The upgrades will help protect troops travelling in the vehicle by absorbing more of the blast impact," Mr Clare said.

 

"Bushmasters are a great Australian success story. They are creating jobs in Australia and saving lives in Afghanistan.

 

"We are constantly looking for ways to make them even safer.

 

"The threat of roadside bombs is always present and always changing. That's why we have to be always working to improve the protection we give our troops in Afghanistan."

 

Expert Defence and industry engineers from Thales and Stratos Seating developed the upgrades based on data from damaged Bushmaster vehicles hit by improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and blast trials conducted in Australia.

 

In May the Government also announced that it would purchase an additional 101 Bushmasters to support current and future Australian operations.

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