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20 septembre 2011 2 20 /09 /septembre /2011 16:30

http://www.defense.gouv.fr/var/dicod/storage/images/base-de-medias/images/operations/afghanistan/110919-afghanistan-le-bataillon-logistique-en-soutien-des-forces-de-securite-afghanes/le-bataillon-logistique-en-soutien-des-forces-de-securite-afghanes-12/1375770-2-fre-FR/le-bataillon-logistique-en-soutien-des-forces-de-securite-afghanes-1.jpg

photo defense.gouv.fr

 

19/09/2011 Sources : EMA

 

Dans la nuit du 13 septembre 2011, le bataillon logistique français (BATLOG), en alerte sur le camp de Warehouse à Kaboul depuis le début de l’après-midi, a été engagé en soutien des forces de sécurité afghanes (ANSF).

 

Depuis le début de l’après-midi, le centre ville de Kaboul était le théâtre d’affrontements entre quelques éléments terroristes et les forces afghanes, appuyées par la coalition. Vers deux heures du matin, il restait une demi-douzaine d’insurgés retranchés dans un bâtiment en construction.

Toute la nuit, les unités du bataillon logistique ont apporté un soutien précieux à nos alliés afghans, assurant notamment l’évacuation de plusieurs blessés vers l’hôpital militaire français de l’aéroport de Kaboul. La BATLOG a également ravitaillé en munitions et vivres les unités engagées dans les combats.

Une nouvelle fois, les forces de sécurité afghanes ont démontré leur réactivité et leur mordant. En début de matinée, le dernier élément terroriste était neutralisé, sans avoir pu atteindre aucun de ses objectifs, et les rues de  Kaboul avaient retrouvé leur calme.

Heureux d’avoir, le temps d’une nuit, soutenu leurs frères d’armes afghans à Kaboul, les hommes du BATLOG ont pu se consacrer à nouveau à leurs missions de soutien national.

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20 septembre 2011 2 20 /09 /septembre /2011 12:55

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Sep 20, 2011 by Capt. Jonathon Waller / 444th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron - Source : US Air Force ASDNews

 

Shindand, Afghanistan - The first three aircraft slated as initial trainers for the Afghan air force undergraduate pilot training program arrived here Sept. 18, marking a milestone for the Afghan Flight School.

 

Three Cessna 182 Turbos are the first of six to be used as initial flight-training aircraft, with six additional Cessna 208B Caravans scheduled to arrive later as fixed-wing, follow-on trainers.

 

In addition to the fixed-wing program, there will be six MD 530 helicopters delivered later this year, officials said. These aircraft, along with six Mi-17 helicopters, will be used for advanced follow-on training. The initial training program instructor cadre is staffed by Air Force, coalition and Afghan instructors.

 

In 2009, Afghanistan Ministry of Defense officials selected its first group of pilot candidates, officials said. Without training resources or facilities of their own, the future pilots were sent to the U.S. where they were enrolled in language immersion training, followed by Air Force undergraduate pilot training.

 

"Six years ago, we had nothing, and today, we are receiving our first three training aircraft," said Maj. Gen. Abdul Wahab Wardak, the Afghan air force commander. "I once looked out to see our air force scattered across Afghanistan; today, we have brought our air force back together here at Shindand (Air Base) -- the only air force training base in Afghanistan."

 

Shindand AB will not only be the center for pilot training but will eventually serve as the training center for much of the AAF, officials said. Included in the training center will be maintenance, language and professional military education, as well as training and support functions for nearly 1,400 Shindand Air Wing airmen.

 

"This is a huge task, developing an entire UPT program from the ground-up, to include infrastructure, aircraft, maintenance and personnel," said Lt. Col. James Mueller, the 444th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron commander. "It is of the utmost importance to ensure it is done right in order to establish long-term sustainment of the AAF. One of the most obvious signs of the importance of the mission and the long-term impact it will have on the AAF is the international coalition support you see here (in Shindand). The U.S., Italian and Hungarian air forces, as well as the U.S. Army and civilians, are working hand-in-hand with our Afghan counterparts to ensure the future success of Shindand AB."

 

During the ceremony, Col. John Hokaj, the 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group commander, reminded attendees of Afghanistan's history and the commitment of the coalition forces.

 

"Throughout history, Afghanistan has seen many external powers come with the purpose of gaining access to resources, trade routes and markets," Hokaj said. "The mission of NATO and (its) coalition partners is vastly different. Our objective is to set the conditions for irreversible transition to full Afghan security responsibility and leadership."

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20 septembre 2011 2 20 /09 /septembre /2011 06:40

http://resources0.news.com.au/images/2010/06/22/1225882/588868-afghanistan-trucking-probe.jpg

source theaustralian.com.au

 

September 19, 2011 SHEPARD GROUP Source: Vanquish

 

Vanquish Worldwide, LLC, an international company providing worldwide support services to the US Government and the commercial market sector, has been awarded a prime contract by the US Central Command for National Afghan Trucking (NAT). Vanquish Worldwide will be distributing reconstruction material, security equipment, fuel, miscellaneous dry cargo, and life support assets throughout Afghanistan.

 

This mission- critical contract directly supports US troops in the war zone by providing necessities to Forward Operating Bases to provide the US Military with the supplies they need to successfully execute their mission Afghanistan wide. Vanquish Worldwide provides all management and logistics support resources necessary to pick up material and equipment at origin and deliver material and equipment at destination. Vanquish, along with their local national transportation and security teaming partners, will travel to some of the most dangerous parts of the country. To help ensure their employees and cargo arrive safely, each mission will have an assigned convoy security team and will be tracked by the Vanquish Tactical Operations Center (TOC) professionals utilizing a multi-million dollar state of the art GPS tracking system.

 

Vanquish's local partners are vetted and experienced in the secure movement of materials around Afghanistan. They currently conduct more than 1200 truck movements per month to all parts of the country. Their Afghan partners have experienced, well trained, and well equipped convoy teams with knowledge of the terrain and roads for which they travel on a daily basis.

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19 septembre 2011 1 19 /09 /septembre /2011 05:45

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KABOUL, 18 septembre - RIA Novosti

 

Le ministre allemand de la Défense, Thomas de Maizière a visité dimanche des unités de troupes allemandes déployées dans les provinces nord de l'Afghanistan pour préparer leur retrait qui doit s'achever d'ici 2014, a annoncé la chaîne de télévision allemande ARD.

 

Selon la chaîne, le ministre, arrivé à Mazar-i-Sharif (nord), doit s'entretenir avec les responsables de l'état-major régional de la Force internationale d'assistance à la sécurité (ISAF) en Afghanistan pour discuter de la situation au nord de l'Afghanistan, où le contingent allemand est majoritaire.

 

Le ministre est en train de préparer un retrait progressif des troupes allemandes, la décision définitive devant toutefois être prise après consultations avec les alliés.

 

"La décision doit être politiquent équilibrée, responsable et prise à la suite des consultations avec les alliés", a déclaré le ministre, cité par la chaîne.

 

Le nombre de soldats allemands devant quitter le sol afghan lors de la première étape, sera décidé début octobre, lors d'une rencontre des ministres de la Défense des pays membres de l'Otan, qui se déroulera à Bruxelles.

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18 septembre 2011 7 18 /09 /septembre /2011 12:30

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7d/Pakistan_and_Waziristan.PNG/639px-Pakistan_and_Waziristan.PNG

crédits Narayanese

 

18.09.2011 Liberation - (Source AFP)

 

L'appareil sans pilote s'est écrasé dans le Sud-Waziristan, considéré par Washington comme le principal sanctuaire d'Al-Qaeda dans le monde.

 

Un drone américain s'est écrasé dimanche dans une zone tribale du Pakistan source de tensions récurrentes entre Islamabad et Washington, dont les relations restent minées par le raid contre Ben Laden et la présence de talibans sur le sol pakistanais, aux portes de l'Afghanistan.

 

Selon des sources sécuritaires pakistanaises, l'appareil sans pilote s'est écrasé dans le Sud-Waziristan, l'un des deux districts de la région administrative du Waziristan, considérée par Washington comme le principal sanctuaire d'Al-Qaeda dans le monde.

 

Le drone est tombé sur la commune de Zangara, à environ 80 km au nord de Wana, la principale localité du district. Deux sources du renseignement pakistanais à Wana ont confirmé le crash.

 

L'incident serait dû à "un problème technique", a indiqué un responsable sécuritaire à Peshawar. Mais l'aéronef s'est écrasé dans une région sensible où, de surcroît, des chefs tribaux avaient affirmé avoir abattu un drone américain en septembre 2008.

 

Accident ou perte de guerre, l'épisode survient à un moment délicat des relations entre les Etats-Unis et le Pakistan, alliés dans la lutte contre le terrorisme mais qui se vouent une méfiance réciproque et tenace.

 

Les Américains accusent de duplicité Islamabad, qui refuse, selon eux, de "nettoyer" le Waziristan, base arrière de certains groupes de talibans afghans, en particulier le réseau Haqqani, considéré par Washington comme l'ennemi numéro un des Etats-Unis dans l'est de l'Afghanistan.

 

Ce réseau est tenu responsable des attaques spectaculaires contre le QG de l'Otan et l'ambassade américaine la semaine dernière à Kaboul.

 

Entrevue

 

De son côté, Islamabad reproche à Washington de ne pas l'avoir informé à l'avance du raid lancé le 2 mai par un commando héliporté contre Oussama Ben Laden à Abbottabad, une ville-garnison pakistanaise où il se terrait, à deux heures au nord d'Islamabad.

 

Pour tenter d'apaiser ces tensions, les deux plus hauts gradés des armées américaine et pakistanaise, le chef d'état-major interarmées américain, l'amiral Mike Mullen, et son homologue pakistanais, le général Ashfaq Kayani, se sont entretenus vendredi à Séville (Espagne) en marge d'une conférence de l'Otan.

 

Les deux hommes, qui se rencontraient pour la première fois depuis la mort de Ben Laden, "sont tombés d'accord sur le fait que les relations entre les deux pays demeurent vitales pour la région" et ont reconnu "des gestes positifs" des deux côtés pour améliorer leurs relations.

 

Cette entrevue s'est tenue quelques jours après les attaques suicide spectaculaires lancées par plusieurs assaillants, dont certains appartenaient au réseau Haqqani, contre le QG de l'Otan et l'ambassade américain à Kaboul, et qui ont fait 15 morts, dont les kamikaze.

 

Le secrétaire américain à la Défense, Leon Panetta, a pressé mercredi le Pakistan d'agir contre ce réseau. "Nous n'allons pas laisser ce type d'attaques se reproduire", a-t-il prévenu.

 

L'ambassadeur américain au Pakistan, Cameron Munter, a même affirmé sur les ondes de Radio Pakistan que Washington possédait les "preuves" de liens entre le gouvernement pakistanais et le réseau, sans autre précision.

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16 septembre 2011 5 16 /09 /septembre /2011 11:00

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16.09.2011 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense

 

L'AFP a mis en ligne ce matin un excellent reportage de Dominique Chabrol qui a rencontré sur la FOB Tora les soldats français qui combattent dans la zone verte de la vallée de Tagab. Là, la densité de la végétation estivale donne aux insurgés un couvert qui pénalise l'action des forces de l'ISAF. Ce qui ressort des propos des militaires qui témoignent, c'est l'âpreté des combats, l'agressivité des insurgés et l'imbrication des combattants dans les jardins, ruelles et compounds de la zone verte. Voici donc cette dépêche dans son intégralité.

 

BASE DE TORA (Afghanistan), 16 sept 2011 (AFP) - Combats à très courte distance, à l'arme automatique ou à la grenade : les soldats français en Afghanistan affrontent quotidiennement les insurgés en "zone verte", une bande végétale le long de la vallée de Tagab où l'insurrection accentue sa pression.

 

En trois mois, les hommes du sous-groupement "Saphir" sont devenus des spécialistes. Depuis leur déploiement début juin dans cette zone du sud de la Kapisa (est), ils ont déjà affronté les rebelles une trentaine de fois.

 

"Des accrochages de 30 minutes à sept ou huit heures d'affilée", précise Laurent, le capitaine qui commande l'unité. Des combats à quelques mètres seulement de l'adversaire, au milieu des habitations.

 

Rocailleuse et pelée l'hiver, la vallée de Tagab se couvre d'une épaisse couverture végétale l'été et offre des conditions idéales aux insurgés. Un rideau de buissons à hauteur d'homme, de champs de maïs et d'arbres fruitiers, de quelques dizaines de mètres à un kilomètre de largeur.

 

"Très vite, on a senti une présence plus importante des insurgés dans la zone. C'est une bande continue, avec des habitations en chapelet, ça s'apparente à une zone urbaine", relève le jeune capitaine.

 

Les rebelles peuvent s'y cacher, s'y ravitailler, et harcèlent les soldats de l'Otan qui multiplient les opérations conjointes avec l'armée nationale afghane (ANA) dans le secteur, à la recherche de caches d'armes.

 

"On a eu des combats qui se sont déroulés à deux mètres, dans des ruelles très étroites", confirme le colonel Lionel Jeand'heur, qui commande le contingent d'un millier de soldats français sur la base de Tora.

 

Le 14 août, un chef de section de "Saphir" a été tué par un tir direct lors d'une mission d'appui à l'armée afghane.

 

Le groupe compte 182 hommes équipés d'une trentaine de véhicules. Mais les blindés n'entrent pas en "zone verte" où les soldats combattent à pied.

 

"Localement, c'est du un contre un", souligne le capitaine Assad, un officier aguerri d'une trentaine d'années, habitué des missions en Afghanistan. Fin juin, il a mené une contre-attaque à la grenade pour soutenir une section de soldats français isolée dans un "compound", une habitation fortifiée, que des rebelles tentaient d'encercler.

 

Les insurgés agissent par petits groupes de quatre ou cinq, équipés de Kalachnikov ou de lance-roquettes.

 

"En Kapisa, l'insurrection est une organisation hiérarchisée, avec des capacités de manoeuvrer, de se ravitailler, de se renforcer", note un autre colonel, le "chef opérations" du GTIA, groupe tactique interarmes français formé majoritairement des soldats du 152e régiment d'infanterie de Colmar.

 

En cas d'accrochage, les hommes au sol peuvent compter sur le soutien des hélicoptères Tigre et Gazelle basés à Kaboul, capables d'intervenir en quelques minutes. Avec pour les pilotes la hantise du tir fratricide et des dégâts collatéraux, dans une zone ou les insurgés et la population sont imbriqués.

 

"L'hiver, on pourrait croire qu'on se bat quelque part en Europe. L'été, c'est du combat en zone urbaine, au milieu de la jungle, sous un climat tropical, à 1.600 mètres d'altitude", résume le colonel Jeand'heur.

 

Casque sur la tête et gilet pare-balles, les soldats doivent "encaisser la chaleur", avec des température de près de 45 degrés au plus fort de l'été.

 

"Ca fait de la charge en plus", dit le capitaine Assad. Avec le fusil, les munitions et les réserves d'eau pour tenir le coup, ils partent affronter les talibans sur leur terrain avec une cinquantaine de kilos sur le dos.

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16 septembre 2011 5 16 /09 /septembre /2011 07:10

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Sep 15, 2011 defenseindustrydaily.com

 

In September 2011, small business qualifier The Machine Lab in Wellington, CO receives an $11.9 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for MMP-30 robots and spare parts repair kits, which combines purchases for the US Navy (24%), and the government of Afghanistan (76%) via the official Foreign Military Sales process.

 

The purchase arose out of a Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technical Division requirement for a tracked mobile robot system with wireless control, multiple audio/video capability, and replacement parts. The USA already fields MTRS robots for EOD roles, which fit these criteria: the QinetiQ TALON is heavier, but iRobot’s Packbot is in the same 50 pound class as the MMP-30…

 

TML’s work with the US military began in July of 2007, via a request by the US Army to design 3 new man-portable EOD robot systems with a 4-axis arms, video display OCU, multiple cameras, swappable batteries and chargers, all of which had to weigh under 35 pounds. Those MMP-15 systems were finalized and shipped by the end of October 2007, and saw use in Iraq.

 

In August of 2009 The Machine Lab received a $2.4 million dollar contract to build over 100 of their larger MMP-30-EOD units, for delivery to Afghanistan by 2011. In In July of 2010, another US Navy contract added 90 more back-packable MMP-30s. The September 2011 contract does not specify, but based on past orders, it would appear to involve several hundred EOD robots.

 

TML’s MMP-30 does tout itself as a “bare bones simple but rugged machine.” That might be a strong selling point for a country like Afghanistan, with few technical support and repair resources. It also appears to be cheaper than the MTRS robots, which boast more versatility thanks a wider range of add-ons. Even so, the purchase rationale for the US Navy is less obvious, since it already has similar robot designs with fielded support resources.

 

Work will be performed in Wellington, CO, and is expected to be complete by September 2016. This requirement was synopsized via Federal Business Opportunities as a sole-source procurement, and was not competitively procured by the The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division in Indian Head, MD (N00174-11-D-0014). If they were acting in the typical FMS role as agents for the Afghan government’s choice, that is not unusual.

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16 septembre 2011 5 16 /09 /septembre /2011 06:40

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September 15, 2011 defpro.com

 

Saab’s multi-mission radar Giraffe AMB is in operational service with the Australian Army protecting the troops on deployment in Afghanistan. The system provides early detection of attacks from insurgent rockets, artillery and mortars keeping the troops safe.

 

As the vital part of the Australian Defence Force’s Counter-Rocket Artillery and Mortar system (C-RAM) the Giraffe AMB has continued to prove its force protection capabilities. The early warning provided greatly enhances the survivability of Australian and other ISAF forces, providing increased warning of an imminent attack to enable them to take appropriate shelter.

 

"We are providing our troops with the equipment they need. That includes the CRAM Counter-rocket radar system. There has been some great work done by Saab to deliver this capability – on budget and five months ahead of schedule. And I congratulate them for it. It has been operating at Tarin Kot since December and has already been activated 10 times, providing an early warning against rocket and mortar attacks." Stated the Minister for Defence Materiel, The Hon Jason Clare on 29 June 2011.

 

A later incident was a night attack when three rockets were fired at the Tarin Kot base on 19 July. Deputy Commander Colonel David Smith praised the fact that there were no casualties.

 

“C-RAM proved effective in providing personnel with an early warning of the incoming threat, giving those outside suitable time to take cover.”

 

Furthermore, the C-RAM project which delivered the Giraffe AMB to the Australian Army has won a prestigious award from the Australian Institute of Project Management which encourages excellence through professionalism in project management. The C-RAM project won the defence and aerospace category and also the project of the year in the state of Victoria.

 

Giraffe AMB is a flexible series of modular surveillance systems. Fully fitted, the system includes capabilities for simultaneous air defence, air and sea surveillance, air/land integration, military air traffic control and rocket, artillery and mortar alert.

 

The system is part of Saab's continuously evolving radar program and provides the highest performance for critical targets and proven reliability. Giraffe has become the radar of choice for armed forces worldwide, whether part of vital point protection or area air defence solutions. The Giraffe is in current production and in use with the armed forces of Sweden, France, Estonia and the UK amongst others.

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16 septembre 2011 5 16 /09 /septembre /2011 06:05

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/5CD0D6A4-FF05-4543-B611-6CC2B26E33B0/0/FU1100560165.jpg 

 

The Scimitar Mark 2 Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) has gone operational on Operation HERRICK 14 and is currently being used by the 9th/12th Royal Lancers in Lash Durai Junction, Helmand province. Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Hamish Burke, MOD 2011

 

15 Sep 11 UK MoD - An Equipment and Logistics news article

 

The first of the enhanced Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) [CVR(T)] fleet is now operational on the front line in Afghanistan.

 

The up-armoured vehicles are giving extra protection to the soldiers of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, as they provide security in the Nahr-e Saraj (North) district of Helmand province.

 

The main task of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers is to overwatch the battlespace either side of Highways 1 and 611, the two main supply routes that run through the Task Force Helmand area of operations.

 

BAE Systems has upgraded the armour on all five vehicles that make up the CVR(T) family - Scimitar, Spartan, Samson, Sultan and Samaritan - through an Urgent Operational Requirement process worth around £30m. CVR(T) is on display in the UK for the first time this week at the DSEi defence and security equipment show, currently taking place in London.

 

As part of the contract, the vehicles have been re-hulled to give better mine-blast protection for troops, and improved armour added for enhanced resistance to blasts and ballistics, as well as new mine-blast protection seating in every position in every variant. Other enhancements include repositioned foot controls and a revamped fuel system.

 

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/504A6846-EC24-4CF1-B4BD-3B5FF8EDE536/0/FU1100560269.jpg

 

The Scimitar Mark 2 has been re-hulled and up-armoured for improved protection from blasts and projectiles, with repositioned foot controls and a revamped fuel system for a better driving experience. Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Hamish Burke, MOD 2011

 

Scimitar Mark 2 builds on a number of upgrades that have previously been made to the CVR(T), which address the problems experienced while operating in the harsh Afghan environment. These previous upgrades have included improved power output, new gearboxes and transmissions, air-conditioning, improved communications, air filters and night-vision systems.

 

The Scimitar Mark 2s are proving a hit with the troops. Sergeant Matthew Pook, aged 31, from Hinckley in Leicestershire, has served on operations in Kosovo, Iraq and Bosnia and has seen previous versions of the vehicle in action. He said:

 

    "Significant progress has been made with the vehicle since I first used it. It makes you feel more confident when out on the ground. The old ones needed regular maintenance and fixing, which is hard work at the end of a day."

 

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/00145CC3-8AFD-4A24-97A0-2D42CEE78D97/0/FU1100560127.jpg

 

Scimitar Mark 2 Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) in action in southern Afghanistan

-Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Hamish Burke, MOD 2011

 

Trooper Ashley Doyle, aged 21, from Plymouth, praised the changes to the vehicle. He said:

 

    "Where we operate, it's a lot safer to move around in vehicles because they act as a deterrent against the insurgents. This new vehicle can cope with all the terrain in the Green Zone, even irrigation ditches, because of the new suspension."

 

9th/12th Royal Lancers' tour has been varied but they have used the CVR(T) in its classic reconnaissance role, providing security in convoy support.

 

Lieutenant Ed Aitken, aged 25, from London, is Troop Leader of 1st Troop, Formation Reconnaissance Squadron:

 

    "Our area of operation is 250 square kilometres so the mobility the CVR(T) has allows us to have an effect on the area that we wouldn't otherwise achieve," he said. "The Highway is an arterial supply route so security is essential. Without vehicles such as this, it wouldn't be possible."

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15 septembre 2011 4 15 /09 /septembre /2011 12:10

http://www.defpro.com/data/gfx/news/674c6432722a874f066bf21c227bd3e3f56b94bd_big.jpg 

British Marines fire 51mm light mortars after receiving

incoming fire from Taliban. (Photo: UK MoD)

 

September 15, 2011 By Anthony H. Cordesman / Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) – defpro.com

 

There is a growing tendency to cover the war in Afghanistan by chasing the headlines from event to event. The kind of coverage turns a tragic helicopter crash into a crisis, and does the same for a largely symbolic attack on the ISAF and Embassy compound in Kabul. At the same time, it is fueled by a lack of honest ISAF and US official reporting, and the almost inevitable media reaction to spin and good reporting from the US government that increasingly is taking on the character of the daily press follies in Vietnam. Official briefings that merit nothing but distrust earn distrust.

 

Unfortunately, there has been a steady decline in the quality and transparency of the reporting in the war, and this makes it hard to bring the war into perspective. Some things do, however, seem clear:

 

ISAF, THE US, AND ANSF ARE MAKING TACTICAL PROGRESS

 

ISAF, the US and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are making important military gains in Southern Afghanistan and in attacking the leadership and key cadres of the insurgents:

 

• The surge in US forces, and buildup of the Afghan Army has led to far more intense fighting. This produces more US, ISAF, ANSF and insurgent casualties, makes it harder to limit civilian casualties, and collateral damage, and raises the number of security incidents caused by ISAF. It also, however, is scoring major tactical gains in the south.

 

• ISAF is able to hold help the Afghan government and forces build up the ability to secure many areas in the south formally dominated by the Taliban. In the areas, the Afghan government is more popular, ISAF military action has more popular acceptance, and there are better prospects for transition to meaningful Afghan control and the hold and build phase that secure the civilian populace.

 

• The number of Taliban, Haqqani, Hekmatyer, and other insurgent initiated attacks is down. Large numbers of insurgent arms caches have been seized, many as the result of tip from the local Afghan populace.

 

• Afghan security forces continue to grow significantly in numbers, have better training and equipment, have better pay with less corruption in the payment process, and have better trained leadership cadres.

 

• A combination of US special forces, CIA, military, and UCAV attacks has hit hard at the leadership and key cadres of Al Qaida, the Taliban, Haqqani, Hekmatyer, and other insurgent groups. They may reach the point of fragmenting the leadership of Al Qaeda in Pakistan, making AQAP. AQIM, and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb the key centers of Al Qaeda activity.

 

• No combination of intelligence and security forces can ever prevent a limited number of attacks from occurring in a city or in rural areas where normal freedom of movement occurs. As long as there is an organized insurgent or terrorist presence in the country or area – and sanctuaries in Pakistan -- they will always find ways to carry out bombings, attacks from a distance, infiltrate some attackers, carry out assassinations, and intimidate and coerce local populations.

 

Taking every major burst of casualties, and new attack of any kind, out of this broader context may grab headlines or airtime, but it fails to put the war in perspective. It can also lead to an almost constant stream of such stories over the next 12-18 months even if the war is successful. The current campaign plan calls for intense fighting through at least the end of 2012, and where ISAF and the ANSF still have to show they can fully secure Kandahar and move forces into the East and defeat the insurgents there.

 

BUT, THIS TACTICAL PROGRESS REALLY IS FRAGILE AND UNCERTAIN

 

In fairness to the media, however, every action by a public affairs officer follows the laws of Newtonian physic: It produces an equal and opposition reaction. ISAF, the US Embassy, the Departments of State and Defense, and the White House are spinning far too much of the war and providing far too little data and balanced perspective. The level of realism that took place in official reporting during the initial period when the new strategy was adopted has been replaced by Vietnam era business as usual.

• No combination of intelligence and security forces can ever prevent a limited number of attacks from occurring in a city or in rural areas where normal freedom of movement occurs. As long as there is an organized insurgent or terrorist presence in the country or area – and sanctuaries in Pakistan -- they will always find ways to carry out bombings, attacks from a distance, infiltrate some attackers, carry out assassinations, and intimidate and coerce local populations.

 

• It is unclear that ISAF and the ANSFR can scale up their current victories in the South or hold on to those victories and move east. The surge in US forces, and buildup of the Afghan Army, does not offer a clear capability to exercise the campaign plan issued early this year. US and allied troop cuts will now take place at a rate this sharply increases the risks in establishing the planned levels of security in the East and the rest of Afghanistan by 2014.

 

• ISAF and the US have deliberately ignored this risk and have not provided any public set of goals for establishing security and going from the clear and hold to the hold and build phases. They have failed to show that the current level of tactical successes can credibly be scaled up and sustained on the basis required secure and transfer even the 81 critical districts, and 41 other districts, that are the focus of the campaign plan. It is all too clear from the past, however, that any local power vacuum --or corrupt, ineffective local government – opens up areas in which the Taliban and other insurgents can exert influence or control.

 

• The Taliban and other insurgents are adapting. They are moving to other areas, making more use of sanctuaries in Pakistan. They are avoiding conflict with ISAF and the ANSF, and focusing on assassinations and intimidation to prevent or undermined Afghan government control. They are focusing on high profile attacks designed to show ISAF countries the war is not won or winnable, undermine support for the Afghan government, and possibly push the Afghan government and ISAF into the kind of political settlement and accommodation that will split the country or give the Taliban the ability to gradually take control of the government.

 

• While the leadership and key cadres of Al Qaida, the Taliban, Haqqani, Hekmatyer, and other insurgent groups have suffered, it is far from clear that even Al Qaeda will really be defeated on a lasting basis, and the Afghan groups may well be able to outwait the US and ISAF in Pakistan. Reporting that some cadres are “tired” does not mean that the Taliban perceives itself as being defeated on a political and strategic level.

 

• Afghan security forces are getting larger and are improving, but it is far from clear that the Army is creating sustainable and affordable forces, or forces of the quality, that that will permit transition. There are serious problems with ethnic factions, attrition, and ties to powerbrokers in creating the new capabilities necessary for a force that must operate independently and sustain itself. The key training command – NTM-A is being rushed into far quicker force development plans as a result of the new speed of transition that must take place by 2014, and is being pressed hard to make massive cuts in projected aid funding. Negative data on the operational capabilities of actual units in the field is largely unreported.

 

• The police continue to present massive problems in quality, corruption, leadership, divided loyalties, attrition, and ties to power brokers and narcotrafficers that are not addressed in official reporting or readiness issues. Their inability to function properly in the many areas where the Afghan government does not provide services or a meaningful presence, where the formal justice system does not really operate, and where jails and detention centers either do not exist or are centers of human rights abuses are not meaningfully addressed in official reporting.

 

• The slow progress in creating anything like the originally planned levels of Afghan governance and government services in the field seems to have led to deleting many of these details from official reporting. Similarly, 10 years into the war, there still is no credible reporting on the effectiveness of aid activity as distinguished from spending data and broad – often unverifiable or statistically incredible –claims of success. The uncertain ability to scale tactical success in the “clear and hold” phase is compounded by a much broader uncertainty about the ability to carry out “hold and build” and transition areas and district to meaningful Afghan government control.

 

• No one seems to want to address the lack of capability in many aspects of the Afghan civil government, the lack of a functioning relationship between the President and the Legislature, and the complications holding yet another Presidential election in 2014 – the year of military transition and a probably deep financial crisis.

 

• There is no accepted transition plan for funding and advising the ANF, and where will not be one, until the US and its allies can reach critical budget and manpower decisions that will probably be deferred in the US until Congress acts on the current budget crisis and the plans that are finally funded in the FY2013 budget – which could easily be late 2012.

 

• This applies to civil aid and the governance and economic phases of transition as well. ISAF, US, and Allied officials can use the word transition, and talk about transition plans, but they lack the basis for planning and managing this key aspect of the war. And, ultimate acceptance, decision-making and implementation of any transition effort must come from the Afghan government.

 

• The US, allies, and groups like the World Bank are only beginning to address the economic impact of the massive cuts in military and aid spending that will occur in 2012-2014, and beyond. There is no public reporting on the estimates of just how serious cutting outside spending will be a country where it currently is well over 25 times the government’s total internal revenues, and where the poverty and un and underemployment levels probably already exceed 30%. So far, such studies do not address the massive impact of narcotic trafficker, and related criminal networks, on the Afghan economy.

 

• Discussion about the formal transfer of responsibility to the Afghan government border on the ludicrous. Exactly the same pattern was followed in Iraq as an exercise in political symbolism and at a time the government lacked to capability and forces to really carry out the mission. Such transfers were tried in Basra, for example, but leadership there was so weak and poorly tied to the central government that the Iraqi government forces – with massive US support – had to effectively invade the province several months later. Meaningful transfer will take years of continued aid, US and ISAF back up, and major further improvements in Afghan forces and governance.

 

• As Iraq illustrates all too clearly, even more real world transfer of responsibility can be unstable and involve a serious level of continuing violence. Effective host country control of the security efforts does not mean there will not be continuing bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations indefinitely into the future. Similarly, Iraq shows that ethnic and sectarian conflicts and tensions remain a risk after such transfer. In the Afghan case, no one seems to want to address the risk of a split between Pashtuns and other ethnic groups.

 

• No one ties transition and progress in Afghanistan to the lack of progress in Pakistan, and the slow growth of instability in that country. The future of a major nuclear and military power, which is the scene of key sanctuaries in the Afghan War and intelligence ties to key Afghan insurgent groups, is only analyzed in public at a token level.

 

TACTICAL VICTORY AND STRATEGIC FAILURE

 

This list of risks and challenges does not mean the US, ISAF, or Afghan government will lose the war. It does, however, illustrate the need for far more convincing reporting on the war, on transition, and on the risks that even sustained tactical success could lead to strategic failure if the Taliban and other insurgent groups simply outwait the coming cuts in US and allied forces and spending.

 

It is also all too clear that this prospect will become a reality if the US government cannot do a far better job of winning back American public support for the war, carrying out realistic transition planning as distinguish from finding a cover for an exit, and get Congressional support for the continued funding and manpower necessary to make transition work. Even success in these areas also cannot address the problem of Pakistan, which is strategically far more important than Afghanistan.

 

These are the areas that the Administration, the Congress, the public and the media should concentrate on, and not symbolic attacks in Kabul or a single tragic downing of a helicopter.

 

____

* Anthony H. Cordesman is the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

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15 septembre 2011 4 15 /09 /septembre /2011 11:30

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source baesystems.com

 

15 Sep 2011 | Ref. 184/2011 BAE Systems

 

TELFORD, United Kingdom – BAE Systems has delivered improved versions of the Scimitar recce vehicle family with tougher new hulls and a range of other upgrades. The first vehicles are now providing improved crew protection for British Army crews in Afghanistan.

 

Five variants of the CVR(T) (Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance –Tracked) family are being upgraded to the Mk 2 standard as part of  this fast-moving and cost-effective Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) programme. In addition to the Scimitar Mk 2 reconnaissance vehicle, the supporting Spartan troop carrier, Samson repair & recovery, Sultan command post and Samaritan ambulance are being re-hulled at a total cost of less than £30m.

 

The new Telford design, based on the Spartan hull, is fabricated from aluminium at BAE Systems’ Wolverhampton site and incorporates a range of design changes to improve mine blast protection, improve vehicle maintainability and reduce support costs while minimising weight growth.

 

A major safety feature is the improved driver egress. 

 

“In addition to the change in material, the new hull for the Scimitar Mk 2 is based on the Spartan variant,” explains project manager Pete Hallows. “This change gives vital extra headroom within the driver’s area to fit a blast attenuation seat, while providing an additional escape route through the new rear door.

 

Hallows adds: “The modern alloy also enhances corrosion resistance, which means reduced maintenance and therefore reduced through-life costs.”

 

News of the upgrade follows a programme announced in June called Warrior Theatre Entry Standard (HERRICK), also known as TES(H), which has similarly boosted protection and mobility on Warrior infantry fighting vehicles in Afghanistan. Engineers on the two programmes shared feedback from the front line and testing to optimise design solutions in areas such as protection, suspension and seating.

 

The Mk 2 follows earlier upgrades which gave CVR(T) a new engine, add-on armour and better engine cooling and air filtration to cope with operation in hot, dusty climates.

 

More than two thousand CVR(T)s are in service with non-UK customers and BAE Systems is marketing the CVR(T) Mk 2 and earlier upgrade technology to them.

 

Notes to Editors

CVR(T) Mk 2 changes include:

• new mine-blast protection seating in every position in every variant

• redesigned and repositioned driver foot controls to reduce lower limb mine blast injuries

• improved appliqué armour to improve blast and ballistic protection

• upgraded torsion-bar suspension to improve vehicle mobility

• revamped fuel system and tanks

• a heavier-duty winch on the Samson variant, and many other minor changes.

 

A new power distribution system, including a new rotary base junction, provides improved power management between chassis and turret and will enable further systems upgrades in the future. An ongoing non-UOR brake upgrade programme will result in a retrofit to the vehicles next year.

 

Contract award for CVR(T) Mk 2 was in December 2010, following an earlier risk mitigation programme. The upgrade was developed, tested and managed by the Vehicles Military & Technical Services team at BAE Systems’ Telford site. The team also co-ordinated vehicle build at the nearby DSG (Defence Support Group), Donnington facility. All 50 vehicles will be delivered by early 2012.

 

UK sub-contractors on the programme include Jankel (Weybridge, Surrey), Allen Vanguard (Tewskbury), MTL (Sheffield), ACGB (Kettering), Tinsley Bridge (Sheffield), Horstman (Bath), Moog (Reading), Friction Hydraulics (Telford), W A Lewis (Shrewsbury), Park Precision (Weymouth, Dorset), ABEC (Birmingham), Permali (Gloucester) Park Sheet Metal (Coventry), AB Connectors (Mountain Ash, Wales) and Thales (Glasgow).

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15 septembre 2011 4 15 /09 /septembre /2011 07:05

http://www.aviationweek.com/media/images/defense_images/UAVs/Heron1-Rheinmetall.jpg 

Photo: Rheinmetall

 

Sep 14, 2011 By Nicholas Fiorenza - defense technology international

 

Bad Godesberg, Germany -  The Luftwaffe’s Heron 1 medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been operating over Afghanistan for 18 months, and has been fully operational since May. Since the takeoff of the first Heron 1 from Mazar-e-Sharif on March 17, 2010, this UAV and two others have flown more than 5,000 hr. over Afghanistan.

 

One-fifth of those hours were racked up between May 14 and July 11, an average of 17 hr. a day. This reflects high demand for the UAV, which is being leased by Germany until October 2012. Typical missions last 16 hr. but have stretched to 28.5 hr.

 

Heron 1 provides the German-led Regional Command North of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force with surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition and identification, and escorts convoys and patrols. Thanks to satellite communications, it covers the command’s entire area of responsibility.

 

Heron 1 flew its first operational mission using satellite data links in January, allowing the Luftwaffe to declare the system’s initial operational capability on Feb. 18. Operation had been restricted to the area around Mazar-e-Sharif as communications were limited to 200 km (125 mi.), with high-altitude missions beyond this range if weather permitted. Satellite communications allow Heron 1 to operate behind mountains or at low altitudes, says Dirk F., one of Rheinmetall’s four air vehicle operators. (Rules do not allow his full name to be disclosed.)

 

The system is operated under a lease with Rheinmetall and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The Israeli company supplied the Heron 1 with electro-optical sensors, synthetic aperture radar and documentation, and trained Rheinmetall and Luftwaffe operators. Two shifts of 19 Rheinmetall employees operate the system 24/7. The availability rate is more than 90%, which translates to 480 flying hr. a month. The employees are responsible for maintenance, inspections and running a service center around the clock. Four employees with pilot qualifications (three are former Luftwaffe F-4F pilots) control Heron 1 during most takeoffs, landings and all technical check flights. Luftwaffe personnel operate the system during missions.

 

Dirk F. emphasizes the system’s role in detecting improvised explosive devices (IED). Other uses include persistent observation; support of ground operations; reconnaissance, identification and verification of targets; checking routes and monitoring territory, convoys and patrol escorts; object protection; and support of security forces, police and civil emergency responders.

 

Flight planning starts the day before a mission and continues into the early hours of the mission day, says Dirk F. Takeoff is at 0500, with Heron 1 arriving over its operational area an hour later for persistent observation of movement patterns and for mapping, checking routes and convoy escort. Likely interruptions include ad hoc tasking to help secure an accident site or support troops in contact. After being relieved by a second UAV at 2200, Heron 1 flies back to Mazar-e-Sharif, supporting object protection forces at Camp Mamal on the way and landing automatically at midnight. Just after landing, the UAV is inspected by Rheinmetall technicians and prepared for the next flight.

 

Flying at 15,000-20,000 ft. with its engine in fuel-saving mode—high and quiet enough not to be heard—Heron 1 observes behavior patterns that help determine whether Afghans are digging for agricultural purposes or planting IEDs. Observation of movement patterns and mapping is done by synthetic aperture radar or day/night camera. Imagery can be seen in control stations in Mazar-e-Sharif and displayed on the laptops of troops in combat, who can be talked through a situation—for example, by being told where insurgents are. Dirk F. reports positive feedback from troops after they return to camp and tells of dangerous missions being canceled if Heron support is unavailable.

 

Jurgen Michel, head of sales and airborne systems at Rheinmetall Defense, expects an extension of the Heron 1 lease beyond October 2012. The contract was signed in 2009 after a procurement tender for the UAV was canceled due to the Luftwaffe’s Urgent Operational Requirement for a MALE reconnaissance capability in Afghanistan. The first Heron 1 took off less than five months after the contract was signed with Rheinmetall.

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14 septembre 2011 3 14 /09 /septembre /2011 17:25

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The first of these firing, using a complete weapon system, was carried out on 21st November 2010 at Vidsel, Sweden to demonstrate system integration, launch, stable flight, waypoint navigation and data-link function which supports the maturation of the munition and its control. The munition flew for several tens of kilometres and its trajectory included a number of manoeuvres, such as a loitering pattern. Photo: MBDA

 

14.09.2011 DEFENSE UPDATE

 

The Fire Shadow loitering weapon system is maturing toward a planned initial deployment in Afghanistan with the British Army next year. MBDA has performed several successful tests recently, the latest system-wide trial was conducted in Sweden in May 2011. According to MBDA, the demonstration trials and firings tests pave the way for a planned entry into service next year with the British Army. The Army plans to deploy the new weapon in Afghanistan, significantly extending the reach, coverage and persistent of current artillery fires.

 

The first of these firing tests, using a complete weapon system, was carried out on 21st November 2010 at Vidsel, Sweden to demonstrate system integration, launch, stable flight, waypoint navigation and data-link function which supports the maturation of the munition and its control. The munition flew for several tens of kilometres and its trajectory included a number of manoeuvres, such as a loitering pattern. A second test followed a year later, on May 13th 2011 at the same location, employing a more complex trial scenario, exercising the ‘Man-In-The-Loop’ functionality. Throughout the flight the operator was able to select and successfully engage a representative target.

 

The Fire Shadow loitering weapon performed demonstrated a full system firing test on May 13th 2011 at Vidsel, Sweden, employing a complex firing scenario exercising 'Man-In-The-Loop' functionality, operators demonstrated how targets can be detected, acquires and engaged in flight. Photo: MBDA/Vidsel Test Range RFN

 

“Fire Shadow fills a gap in the capabilities needed by the Armed Forces“ says Steve Wadey, Executive Group Director Technical and MBDA UK Managing Director, “The system’s potential is such that it lends itself to new roles and has been designed to adapt and evolve to ensure that weapon provides an operational edge now and for the future.“ he added saying the new capability will be ready for delivery to the UK early 2012.

British Army personnel also had a chance to experience the new weapon “hands-on” at the MBDA integration lab at Filton and Bedford, tailored to provide the “look and feel” of the system. The lab enables the military to refine Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) and prepare for formal training later in 2010. The system was also demonstrated to operate seamlessly within a modern battlespace HQ context at the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration event.

 

Loitering weapons captured the imagination of the UK MOD in the 1990 after an operational analys examining artillery fires capabilities concluded that the artillery required greater precision at range. Better responsiveness and persistent capability to attack individual and groups of manoeuvring and mobile land targets in cluttered environment was required, as an element of the future Indirect Fire Precision Attack (IFPA) programme. Following many iterations, the analysis recommended the loitering munition capability as a key element of any IFPA mix of weapon systems. After more than a decade, this revolutionary concept has matured into the Fire Shadow weapon system, a concept offering the land component an organic, flexible fires effects capable of timely, precisely and persistently support at appropriate ranges, allowing simultaneous attack in deep, close and rear operations throughout the spectrum of conflict.

Fire Shadow provides a precision capability to engage high value targets in complex scenarios. Surface launched, the munitions have a range of about 100 km and can conduct a direct transit to target or be positioned to loiter in the airspace for a significant time (about 6 hours). A Man-In-The-Loop decision then enables a precise and rapid attack against a selected target.

 

Fire Shadow can be targeted by a range of ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) systems, for example a forward observer with binoculars or a sophisticated system such as a UAV. If required, the Fire Shadow could loiter in the target area for about 6 hours and will be particularly effective in complex environments such as urban areas. After launch, Fire Shadow may receive real-time target information from a range of sources in a potentially networked environment.

 

British Army personnel also had a chance to experience the new weapon “hands-on” at the MBDA integration lab at Filton and Bedford, tailored to provide the “look and feel” of the system. The lab enables the military to refine Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) and prepare for formal training later in 2010. Fire Shadow can be targeted by a range of ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) systems, for example a forward observer with binoculars or a sophisticated system such as a UAV. If required, the Fire Shadow could loiter in the target area for about 6 hours and will be particularly effective in complex environments such as urban areas. After launch, Fire Shadow may receive real-time target information from a range of sources in a potentially networked environment. Photo: MBDA

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14 septembre 2011 3 14 /09 /septembre /2011 16:55

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1c/Afghan_National_Army_emblem.png/600px-Afghan_National_Army_emblem.png

 

September 14, 2011 defpro.com

 

ATK Has Multi-Year NSA Contract to Sustain Allied Security Forces

 

Minneapolis | ATK has received a $30 million order to supply non-standard (non-NATO) ammunition to the security forces of Afghanistan via the U.S. Army’s Product Director, Non-Standard Ammunition, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

 

To date, ATK has supplied more than 200 million non-standard ammunition items under an existing multi-year contract; and has consistently performed ahead of delivery schedule. ATK performs technical oversight, quality assurance, and supply chain management for a variety of non-standard small, medium, and large caliber ammunition, aviation rockets, rocket propelled grenades and mortars.

 

“ATK is focused on international expansion and continuing our outstanding performance on supply chain management. We are a leader in the non-standard ammunition marketplace and this latest award supports our core strategic priorities” said ATK Small Caliber Systems Vice President and General Manager Mark Hissong.

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14 septembre 2011 3 14 /09 /septembre /2011 11:30

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September 14, 2011: STRATEGY PAGE

 

During the May 2nd raid into Pakistan, to kill Osama bin Laden, several new electronic techniques were used. Planning the entry route, to evade Pakistani radars and other sensors, was plotted using detailed 3-D aerial photos and electronic surveillance of the area between bin Laden’s hideout and the Afghan border. Using optimization software, the stealthiest route was calculated. This technique has been around for a while, but this was the first combat use in a while, and the latest stuff is much more capable than the earliest 1990s versions.

 

Once the mission was underway, two RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs were used to take video of the operation but, more importantly, serve as a communications satellite substitute. This allowed two-way, real-time voice and video communications with the assault team.

 

This is part of a trend in which military satellites are getting priced out of the market by cheaper manned aircraft and UAV alternatives. Even small, quickly launched micro-satellites, cost ten times more, per hour over the battlefield, than do alternatives. These now include things like weather balloons carrying satellite grade communications or sensors.

 

While the air force is concerned about satellite security, the U.S. Department of Defense has to confront the fact that it cannot afford sufficient satellites to meet the growing demand for communications satellites. The commsats cost at least $250 million each, and even the much touted micro-sats still cost about ten percent of that.

 

The air force believes that it has the answer, by using alternatives like weather balloons equipped with satellite commo or intel gear. The high altitude "satellite replacement" balloons are based on existing weather balloon designs, but carrying communications, surveillance or GPS gear instead of weather sensors. As long as you can pick up and broadcast the same kind of signals satellites handle, you can put the equipment in a high altitude (up to 30 kilometers/100,000 feet) balloon, or even a bomber or tanker that spends hours circling the battlefield. This is particularly useful for communications. Much of the satellite communications needed by combat troops is with other people in the same general area. So the commsat replacement (a balloon, UAV, KC-135 tanker or B-52) can do the job, passing off the long distance stuff to the real commsat.

 

 The major cause of more commsat demand is live video being generated by the increasing number of vidcams on the battlefield. These vids are being exchanged by the units cooperating in an operation. Since that's all local, a "satellite substitute" will work. To that end, it was decided to put the comm gear in UAVs, including special UAVs that just fly circles high in the sky, acting as satellite substitutes. These substitutes cost less than ten percent, per hour in use, of what satellites cost.

 

 The satcomm shortage problem began during the 1990s, when the U.S. armed forces moved to satellite communications in a big way. This made sense, especially where troops often have to set up shop in out of the way places and need a reliable way to keep in touch with nearby forces on land and sea as well as bases and headquarters back in the United States. The major consumer of bandwidth is the live video. But without the GPS birds, the UAV video won't be necessary, because many targets won't be as vulnerable, and worth attacking. Although there is a backup (inertial guidance) system in smart bombs, the backup is much less accurate.

 

The May 2nd raid into Pakistan needed reliable communications, and the specially equipped Global Hawks provided that, as well as some of the radar and video coverage.

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14 septembre 2011 3 14 /09 /septembre /2011 05:35

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-aUytsX6Oy-c/Tm7dhzGQRuI/AAAAAAAAKaI/VdGET9SuxZ0/s400/20110912adfPicture3.jpg

 

Buffalo mine resistant ambush protected (photo : Aus DoD)

 

13.09.2011 DEFENSE STUDIES

 

Canada will loan two Canadian systems for additional protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for Australian soldiers operating in Afghanistan.

The arrangement was announced by Minister for DefenceStephenSmith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare following their meeting with the Canadian Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay in Canberra today.

The two systems comprise of:
- two HUSKY protected mobility vehicles fitted with ground penetrating radar (GPR); and
- one BUFFALO mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle fitted with an interrogation arm
and mast mounted Gyrocam camera.

The vehicles will be used by Australian Army engineers to detect explosive hazards, including mines and IEDs, to create a safe pathway for troops as they patrol Uruzgan province in Afghanistan.

 

Husky protected mobility vehicle (photo : Aus DoD)

The HUSKY mounted GPR provides the ability to detect explosive hazard threats from within an armoured vehicle.

It will protect our troops by allowing them to detect IEDs that other detection equipment might not be able to find, especially devices with low or no metal content.

The interrogation arm is a safer way of confirming that an IED has been found. It allows our troops to make this confirmation remotely from a safe distance under armour from inside the BUFFALO vehicle. Currently, Sappers have to manually examine any suspected IED.

The high definition Gyrocam camera is mounted on a mast 8 to 10 metres above the vehicle to give a 360 degree view of the terrain. It has a thermal imagery capability and high quality zoom to detect IED indicators from a distance.

The vehicles will be on loan for around 12 months from 2012. In the meantime, work is underway to assess the possible aquisition of a permanent system.

The systems were used by Canada in Kandahar and will become available following the draw down of Canadian Forces, which will be completed by the end of the year.

These additional measures come on top of other initiatives put in place to protect Australian soldiers against IEDs.

Measures that have been delivered as part of the $1.6 billion package the Government committed to following the 2009 Force Protection Review include:
- Upgrading our Bushmaster vehicles to provide better protection for troops inside;
- Equipping Bushmasters with heavier calibre weapons;
- Rolled out new lighter TBAS combat body armour;
- Attaching mine rollers to the front of Bushmasters to roll ahead of the vehicle to take the impact of an IED explosion;
- Purchasing new handheld mine detectors;
- Improving counter IED training here inAustralia; and
- Delivering the Counter Rocket Mortar and Artillery early warning system.

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12 septembre 2011 1 12 /09 /septembre /2011 12:40

http://www.asdnews.com/data_news/ID38032_600.jpg

 

Sep 12, 2011 ASDNews Source : MoD Australia

 

Canada will loan two Canadian systems for additional protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for Australian soldiers operating in Afghanistan.

 

The arrangement was announced by Minister for DefenceStephenSmith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare following their meeting with the Canadian Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay in Canberra today.

 

The two systems comprise of:

 

-- two HUSKY protected mobility vehicles fitted with ground penetrating radar (GPR); and

-- one BUFFALO mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle fitted with an interrogation arm and mast mounted Gyrocam camera.

 

The vehicles will be used by Australian Army engineers to detect explosive hazards, including mines and IEDs, to create a safe pathway for troops as they patrol Uruzgan province in Afghanistan.

 

The HUSKY mounted GPR provides the ability to detect explosive hazard threats from within an armoured vehicle.

 

It will protect our troops by allowing them to detect IEDs that other detection equipment might not be able to find, especially devices with low or no metal content.

 

The interrogation arm is a safer way of confirming that an IED has been found. It allows our troops to make this confirmation remotely from a safe distance under armour from inside the BUFFALO vehicle. Currently, Sappers have to manually examine any suspected IED.

 

The high definition Gyrocam camera is mounted on a mast 8 to 10 metres above the vehicle to give a 360 degree view of the terrain. It has a thermal imagery capability and high quality zoom to detect IED indicators from a distance.

 

The vehicles will be on loan for around 12 months from 2012. In the meantime, work is underway to assess the possible aquisition of a permanent system.

 

The systems were used by Canada in Kandahar and will become available following the draw down of Canadian Forces, which will be completed by the end of the year.

 

These additional measures come on top of other initiatives put in place to protect Australian soldiers against IEDs.

 

Measures that have been delivered as part of the $1.6 billion package the Government committed to following the 2009 Force Protection Review include:

 

-- Upgrading our Bushmaster vehicles to provide better protection for troops inside;

-- Equipping Bushmasters with heavier calibre weapons;

--Rolled out new lighter TBAS combat body armour;

--Attaching mine rollers to the front of Bushmasters to roll ahead of the vehicle to take the impact of an IED explosion;

--, Purchasing new handheld mine detectors;

-- Improving counter IED training here inAustralia; and

-- Delivering the Counter Rocket Mortar and Artillery early warning system.

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9 septembre 2011 5 09 /09 /septembre /2011 17:25

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9a/Flag_of_Afghanistan.svg/600px-Flag_of_Afghanistan.svg.png

 

Sept. 9, 2011 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Rand Corporation; issued Sept. 8, 2011)

 

Security force assistance (SFA) is a central pillar of the counterinsurgency campaign being waged by U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The outcome of the campaign hinges, in large measure, on the effectiveness of the assistance given to the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and other security forces, assistance that the International Security Force must provide while fighting the insurgents.

 

Yet senior U.S. military and civilian officials have posed many questions about the effectiveness of SFA in Afghanistan, and no empirically rigorous assessments exist to help answer these questions.

 

This monograph analyzes SFA efforts in Afghanistan over time and documents U.S. and international approaches to building the Afghan National Security Forces from 2001 to 2009.

 

Finally, it provides observations and recommendations that emerged from extensive fieldwork in Afghanistan in 2009 and their implications for the U.S Army.

 

 

Click here for the full report (161 pages in PDF format) on the Rand website.

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8 septembre 2011 4 08 /09 /septembre /2011 17:05

http://www.sldinfo.com/fr/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/medevac.jpg

 

Crédit photo : Army Medevac in Afghanistan, Justin Sullivan, Getty Images, The Sacramento Bee, 24 juin 2010

 

08.09.2011  Par Murielle Delaporte sldinfo.com

 

Si le taux de survie des blessés de guerre continue de s’améliorer – il est de quatre-vingt quinze pour cent pour les forces armées américaines -, l’US Army espère sauver une partie des cinq pour cent restant en renforçant la formation du personnel médical en charge des blessés pendant les évacuations aériennes couvrant la distance du champs de bataille aux formations chirurgicales de l’avant. C’est dans cette phase que les hémorragies ou les états de choc trop importants constituent un point de non retour sauf si les soins prodigués sont appropriés. Le personnel médical embarqué (flight paramedics) de l’armée de terre américaine ne reçoit qu’une formation de base, sauf les réservistes de la Garde nationale qui sont aussi des urgentistes civils. En raison des distances couvertes en Afghanistan, les statistiques ont démontré au fil des années que le taux de survie des patients soignés par ces unités était de soixante six pour cent supérieur à celui des personnels d’active. D’où la décision prise par l’armée de terre de former mille deux cent “paramedics” (techniciens ambulanciers) aux techniques permettant de repousser encore la frontière de la mort notamment en augmentant les capacités respiratoires des blessés. Cette formation ne se limitera plus à quatre semaines, mais sera réalisée sur une période de six à huit mois pour un coût de 53 millions de dollars. Lorsque l’on se souvient que plus de 2600 soldats de la coalition, dont 1741 Américains sont tombés sur le sol afghan, chaque centime de cet investissement est plus que justifié.


Sources :

  • Gregg Zorroya, Army To Boost Flight Medics, USA Today, 7 septembre 2011, page 1A.


*** Voir aussi notre dossier sur le soutien santé dans le magazine Soutien, Logistique, Défense >> http://www.sldmag.com/fr/archives/issue/4/sld-numero-4-hiver-2011



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7 septembre 2011 3 07 /09 /septembre /2011 14:28

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07.09.2011 Présidence de la République

 

C'est avec une très grande tristesse que le président de la République a appris la mort ce matin d'un lieutenant du 17ème Régiment du Génie Parachutiste de Montauban, en Afghanistan. Au cours d'une mission d'appui à l'armée nationale afghane, engagée dans une opération en Kapisa, un tir d'insurgé l'a mortellement touché.

 

Le président de la République présente à sa famille et à ses proches ses plus sincères condoléances et s'associe à leur douleur.

 

Le chef de l'État exprime, à nouveau, la détermination de la France à continuer d'œuvrer au sein de la Force Internationale d'Assistance à la Sécurité pour rétablir paix et stabilité dans ce pays et contribuer à son développement.

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7 septembre 2011 3 07 /09 /septembre /2011 11:45

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2011-09-S-009 ISAF Joint Command - Afghanistan

 

For Immediate Release

 

KABUL, Afghanistan (Sep. 7, 2011) – A combined Afghan and coalition security force killed two insurgents, detained numerous suspected insurgents and seized multiple weapons while searching for a Taliban leader in Sayyidabad Abad district, Wardak province, yesterday.

 

The leader is responsible for planning attacks the district, and providing logistical supplies to fellow leaders.

 

While conducting the operation, the security force encountered two armed insurgents. Responding to the threat, the security force engaged both individuals, killing them. One individual was armed with a pistol and the other with an AK-47 assault rifle.

 

The patrol seized a machine gun, grenades and ammunition.

 

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:

 

North

 

An Afghan and coalition combined security force detained multiple suspected insurgents while searching for a Taliban leader in Aliabad district, Kunduz province, yesterday. The leader facilitates the distribution of weapons for Taliban insurgents within the district.

 

South

 

In Kandahar district, Kandahar province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force detained a Taliban facilitator and several of his associates during an operation, yesterday.

 

The facilitator assisted the Taliban in roadside bomb attacks throughout the area.

 

A combined Afghan and coalition security force detained numerous suspected insurgents while searching for a senior Taliban leader in the Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province, yesterday.

 

East

 

In Sabari district, Khost province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force detained multiple suspected insurgents while searching for a Haqqani network leader, yesterday. The leader coordinates the movement of mines, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bomb-making materials in the region. In addition, the security force seized several RPGs, one fragmentation grenade and AK-47 assault rifles during the operation.

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6 septembre 2011 2 06 /09 /septembre /2011 17:55

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September 06, 2011 SHEPARD GROUP Source: Thales

 

Thales UK’s Hermes 450 unmanned air system (UAS) fleet has reached a major milestone, having now flown more than 50,000 operational flying hours in support of UK operations. After more than 4,000 sorties, the Hermes 450 system continues to deliver crucial battle-winning capability, providing the lion’s share of airborne ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) in Afghanistan.

 

Thales’s innovative ISTAR service-provision contract began in June 2007 in response to an urgent operational requirement (UOR) issued by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). The ISTAR service is delivered by Thales UK, working closely with the Thales / Elbit joint venture, U-TacS, and the UK MoD operational team, particularly 32 and 47 regiments of the Royal Artillery. The Hermes 450 system continues to relay real-time electro optical / infrared (EO / IR) imagery to the ground control stations and remote viewing terminals, providing key intelligence for commanders. The operational experience of the Hermes 450 system as a key ISTAR asset within the battlespace has paved the way for the future Watchkeeper system soon to enter service with the UK MoD as the new generation tactical UAS.

 

Watchkeeper will provide a dual payload, enhanced image and exploitation capability, including EO / IR imaging, and synthetic aperture radar / ground moving target indicator (SAR / GMTI) capabilities. Flight and systems trials continue in the UK, at Parc Aberporth in West Wales, with collective training to start at Boscombe Down flying over Salisbury plain.

 

Colonel Mark Thornhill, Commander of 1st Artillery Brigade, the organisation responsible for providing the people from 32 and 47 Regiments and their equipment to operations, says: "We have now achieved 50,000 operational hours of Hermes 450, helping to meet the significant number of intelligence requirements that TFH [Task Force Helmand] generates each day.

 

"The capability has been absolutely key to many of the TFH operations. The Hermes 450 system is flown from and maintained in Afghanistan. This enables close liaison between flight crews and the end-user that they support."

 

He adds: “This major milestone in the life of Hermes 450 has been possible as a result of an unrelenting determination by many personnel, both military and civilian, including from the UAS team in the MoD’s Defence Equipment & Support organisation, contractor Thales UK and the soldiers of 1st Artillery Brigade.”

 

Victor Chavez, Chief Executive of Thales UK, says: “The Hermes 450 UAS fleet has proved to be a vital ISTAR capability to the British Armed Forces in Afghanistan, undoubtedly saving lives in the course of its missions. Building on lessons learnt on current operations, Watchkeeper will also soon be an invaluable asset for commanders on the ground.”

 

Thales UK is the prime contractor for the MoD’s two tactical UAS programmes: the Hermes 450 fleet, which Thales UK owns and leases to the MoD under an innovative ‘ISTAR-by-thehour’ contract; and the more capable Watchkeeper system that will be MoD owned and operated.

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5 septembre 2011 1 05 /09 /septembre /2011 11:50

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6b/M1117_Armored_Security_Vehicle.jpg/800px-M1117_Armored_Security_Vehicle.jpg

 

September 3, 2011: STRATEGY PAGE

 

Afghan commanders were so impressed with the American M1117 ASVs (Armored Security Vehicles) that the U.S. has agreed to supply over 500 of them to the Afghan Army. These will be used, as American Army M1117s are, mainly for security duties. M1117s are basically scout and patrol vehicles, carrying only four troops. These vehicles can mount either 12.7mm machine-guns or Mk19 40mm automatic grenade launchers in their turrets. The vehicles cost about one million dollars each. One thing about the M1117 that appeals to the Afghans is that the vehicle can withstand hits by RPG rockets. The RPG is the favorite Taliban anti-vehicle weapon. The ASV is also smaller than the MRAPs favored by NATO troops, and more nimble.

 

The ASV was, in effect, one of the first MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) to get to Iraq (although it no longer qualifies as a proper MRAP). Originally developed in the 1990s for use by MPs in combat zones, only a few were bought initially. It was found that for Balkan peacekeeping, existing armored vehicles were adequate, and that in the narrow streets of Balkan towns, the ASV was too wide to be very maneuverable. Then came Iraq, and suddenly, the ASV was very popular. The army got lots more because military police like these vehicles a lot. The MPs originally wanted 2,000 ASVs, but before Iraq, were told they would be lucky to get a hundred. After 2003, the MPs got all they wanted. The M1117 soon became popular in Afghanistan as well.

 

The ASV is a 15 ton 4x4 armored car that is built to handle the kind of combat damage encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ASVs are, unlike armored hummers, built from the ground up as an armored truck. ASVs are 6.5 meters (20 feet) long and 2.75 meters (8.5 feet) wide, making them a bit larger than hummers. The ASV is heavy enough to survive most roadside bombs and keep going. The ASV is bullet, and RPG proof. The turret is the same one used on the U.S. Marine Corps LAV. When the marines went shopping for armored trucks, however, they passed on the ASV. This is believed to be mainly because most armored trucks have more room inside. The ASV normally carries a crew of three. Over 2,300 have been delivered (some to foreign customers) so far. Bulgaria, for example, has some M1117s in Afghanistan. U.S. troops have hundreds of ASVs in Afghanistan.

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2 septembre 2011 5 02 /09 /septembre /2011 12:00

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Sep 2, 2011 By Joan F. Kibler ASDNews Source : US Army

Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan - They come from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds. They're driven by the call to serve and willingly put their lives on the line every day.

They range in age from their 20s to their 40s. They're National Guardsmen and reservists who volunteer to be combat Soldiers.

They protect members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who go "outside the wire" to project sites. Without them, the Afghanistan Engineer District-South couldn't carry out its mission to design and build projects that are a critical component of creating the conditions for stability and security in Afghanistan.

They're a cohesive group of Soldiers known simply as the MRAP team. In military parlance, they function as a personal security detachment, or PSD, on ground movements.

MRAP -- or mine-resistant, ambush-protected -- vehicles offer protection from roadside bombs and other explosives. The vehicle, fielded by the Defense Department in recent years, is renowned for its mobility and protection in dangerous environments. Its crew must not only possess the skill and knowledge to operate the vehicle and its weaponry but must also maintain an awareness of the local conditions and decide when to engage with the enemy.

USACE MRAP crews have a singular mission -- to bring people back safely from their missions.

In the past year, the South District's MRAP capabilities have expanded beyond being Kandahar-centric. Now, MRAP teams are also located at the Qalat Resident Office in Zabul province and at the Helmand Area Office in Helmand province. A team is planned for deployment to Herat as well.

"With a billion dollar program this fiscal year alone, district personnel must get to project sites to work with customers to plan upcoming projects or to provide construction quality oversight," said Air Force Col. Benjamin Wham, commander, South District. "Our PSDs provide the security we need to deliver this massive construction program to the Afghan people. These Soldiers are a critical component of our team."

MRAP teams are comprised of volunteer Soldiers and contractor personnel.

"The MRAP mission is purely defensive," said Lt. Col. Philip Bernier, "but our Soldiers have the capability to lay down overwhelming firepower on the enemy if needed." Bernier served as director of Operations and Security (J3) for the South District until he redeployed in August.

GETTING TRAINED

All MRAP Soldiers report to the Kandahar area initially and are stationed at Forward Operating Base Lindsey near Kandahar Airfield.

New team members progress through a structured training program, according to Sgt. 1st Class Ramon Curiel, noncommissioned officer, or NCO, in charge of the MRAP program. "We teach them how to act and how to react. We teach them how to perform the duties of all the MRAP positions. If they can't perform proficiently, they will be sent home.

"Our Soldiers depend on each other," Curiel said. "They have to pick up the responsibilities of another Soldier if something bad happens. Their job is to protect their passengers and each other."

Positions include truck commander, gunner, driver, medic, communications specialist, mechanic and engineer.

MRAP team members are not required to have a combat Military Occupational Specialty, or MOS, "because we will make them combat Soldiers," Curiel said. Many are military police officers or combat engineers in their reservist or National Guard positions. Some have infantry experience.

Curiel said it takes 30-60 days to train new Soldiers to be combat ready.

"We teach them how to drive the MRAPs, how to shoot all the weapons, how to react in case of an ambush, and how to react if there's a rollover," said Staff Sgt. Robert Moss, assistant NCO in charge, Kandahar team. They also get counter-improvised-explosive device, or IED, training, the combat life saver course, night driving, and radio training, Moss added.

It's an orchestrated process carried out by the training NCO, Spec. Travis Richmond, who keeps track of every Soldier's training needs. "I coordinate for slots and availability for courses like driving an MRAP vehicle and combat life saver, which are week-long courses," he said. "Some courses require recertification, so I keep records of when Soldiers are due their refresher training. Training gives points toward their next promotion as well.

"We teach weapons familiarization, including how to break them down and clean them," Richmond continued. "We will not let a Soldier get behind a weapon to go on a mission until we are completely comfortable with the Soldier's proficiency on that weapon."

With an emphasis on weapons proficiency, MRAP Soldiers drill continuously. They go to the rifle range at least three times a month. New members initially focus on zeroing the weapon to make sure the sights are aligned properly; other training may focus on close quarters marksmanship.

USACE's MRAP Soldiers train in close quarters marksmanship in southern Afghanistan. They may find themselves drilling at almost any time.

Recently, while on site visits, Lt. Col. Douglas Hoenig, officer in charge of the Kandahar Area Office who is also in charge of the MRAP teams in Kandahar and Qalat, announced that he was a "casualty" with severe injuries who needed medical evacuation. The MRAP team kicked into high gear to save him.

"For training purposes, they treated me as though I had a sucking chest wound and was a double amputee. Within two minutes, they had applied two tourniquets and bandaged my chest. They ripped open my T-shirt and would have cut off my new uniform, but I let them forego that part of the drill," he said with a smile.

"These sorts of drills are important so that we never become complacent," Hoenig said.

DOUBLE DUTY -- AND THEN SOME

Getting trained is just the beginning. Everyone has double duty to ensure that the unit is self-sufficient, Curiel said.

In addition to preparing for and going on missions, Soldiers are designated in other positions such as training NCO, assistant NCO in charge, maintenance NCO, and supply NCO.

MRAP team members are also responsible for the vehicles and weapons systems. "They prepare the vehicle when going on a mission and take care of routine maintenance," Bernier said, "and they also install and maintain the weapons systems."

The unseen component of their jobs is the liaison and coordination that it takes to move, a critical process involving several commands that may take several days.

"When it's time to move, they understand the requirements of each specific mission before they go out," Bernier said. "They conduct battle drills or rehearsals before each movement. They plan what to do for certain scenarios -- what they'll do if 'this' happens, their order of movement, and what actions they'll take on contact. They know the rules of engagement and what to do if escalation of force is required. If they must defend themselves and their passengers, they will.

"They know they are entrusted with the care of their passengers," Bernier added.

Whether transporting generals or colonels or USACE civilians, the NCO in charge is responsible for bringing passengers back safely, Bernier said. "The general will put himself in that E-7's care and follows his orders during a movement."

Once the MRAP team has transported its passengers to the project location, the team secures the area. The NCO in charge issues specific instructions to USACE employees about movement in the area, and then the team, both mounted and dismounted, carries out its protocols for maintaining security. Throughout, they ensure redundant communications while conducting the mission.

"The MRAP NCO in charge also maintains situational awareness of the security of the entire team so that they're ready to pull out on a moment's notice if necessary," Bernier said.

"The job is rigorous," Moss said. "Everyone who comes here to serve on the MRAP team volunteers for this job. When there are problems, they come up with solutions. This is not the place for anyone who wants an easy ride. These Soldiers know that. Without exception, they are motivated when they're on missions."

With uncompromising mission requirements, "MRAP team members must be in good physical shape," Curiel said. "We must carry 100 pounds of equipment as we do our jobs. The schedule is full, day in and day out."

ALWAYS ON ALERT

No mission is without risk.

"Our Soldiers literally put their lives on the line every day," Curiel said. "The insurgents are out there. We have to stay a step ahead of them."

Curiel's intensity about the mission is reflected in his regimented approach whether conducting a mission or drilling his Soldiers on the rifle range. He barks orders with precision. It's obvious that his mind is always racing. He cares about the mission: "our first job is to protect our passengers" -- and he cares about his Soldiers, calling them his "extended family."

In Helmand Capt. John Shelton is the officer in charge of the MRAP team, with assistance from Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Burd and Staff Sgt. Christopher Binder. In Qalat, Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Allen leads the team, assisted by Staff Sgt. Alberto Garcia, Staff Sgt. Ronald Stidham and Staff Sgt. Tony Bean.

The teams travel in convoys using three types of MRAPs: the M-ATV all-terrain version known for its mobility, the Cougar and the MaxxPro. The vehicles are fully equipped with the latest communications equipment and sophisticated weaponry.

Team members use their individual weapons plus crew-served weapons. Crew-served weapons require more than one person to operate them due to their complexity or size; these weapons include machine guns and grenade launchers.

"If we have to, we are prepared to engage," Curiel said. "Most of us have fought the enemy in other assignments."

Curiel is on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan. His previous assignments include serving as a mentor for the Afghan National Army and Police; a tour with Task Force Paladin, a unit formed by ISAF in 2006 to combat the threat of IEDs; and a tour with a PSD for Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. He also served as a machine gunner in Iraq. Before joining the Army Reserves, he fought in Somalia as a U.S. Marine.

Moss is on his third deployment to Afghanistan. His assignments included route reconnaissance from Bagram Air Base, detainee operations at Bagram and Kandahar, and combat patrols and village assessments with the 10th Mountain Division at Ghosni. He also served in Iraq as part of the police transition team.

Practically all the MRAP Soldiers have seen prior combat experience, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"You always have to be prepared for the worst," said Spec. Marcus Gross. "A Soldier must always be ready to deploy, engage and destroy. When you serve overseas, in an environment like this, you never look at a (U.S.) flag the same way."

In his nine months as the J3 director, Bernier was impressed with the quality of volunteers for the MRAP teams. "Even though they come from varied backgrounds, these individuals are Soldiers first, and they come here serious about what they want to do.

They want this professional experience. Some of them want to build their careers in this field. Some want to be back with a military unit. They want to contribute to the organization."

MRAP team members find fulfillment doing their part for the United States' mission in Afghanistan.

"I like what I do here to provide security for the USACE employees who are going to jobsites," said Staff Sgt. Michael Conner. "I know this work is making a difference, and I'm proud to be part of this team."

"I like my job," Moss said. "I like to help the new guys. I can pass along lessons learned to make them better able to perform their jobs."

Staff Sgt. Tony Bean said that this job gets him back to a military environment.

"I was in the Marine Corps for more than 13 years, spent four years as a civilian, and then joined the North Carolina National Guard. This job helps me work toward a military retirement while working on my master's degree," Bean explained. "Most of all, it gives me the opportunity to serve -- to make sure that with every mission everyone comes back safe."

"I admire the courage and level of respect that these Soldiers have for their jobs and for each other," Bernier said. "They demonstrate this cohesiveness all the time."

Without them, USACE couldn't deliver construction projects.

 

 

Sep 2, 2011 By Joan F. Kibler ASDNews Source : US Army

 

Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan - They come from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds. They're driven by the call to serve and willingly put their lives on the line every day.

 

They range in age from their 20s to their 40s. They're National Guardsmen and reservists who volunteer to be combat Soldiers.

 

They protect members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who go "outside the wire" to project sites. Without them, the Afghanistan Engineer District-South couldn't carry out its mission to design and build projects that are a critical component of creating the conditions for stability and security in Afghanistan.

 

They're a cohesive group of Soldiers known simply as the MRAP team. In military parlance, they function as a personal security detachment, or PSD, on ground movements.

 

MRAP -- or mine-resistant, ambush-protected -- vehicles offer protection from roadside bombs and other explosives. The vehicle, fielded by the Defense Department in recent years, is renowned for its mobility and protection in dangerous environments. Its crew must not only possess the skill and knowledge to operate the vehicle and its weaponry but must also maintain an awareness of the local conditions and decide when to engage with the enemy.

 

USACE MRAP crews have a singular mission -- to bring people back safely from their missions.

In the past year, the South District's MRAP capabilities have expanded beyond being Kandahar-centric. Now, MRAP teams are also located at the Qalat Resident Office in Zabul province and at the Helmand Area Office in Helmand province. A team is planned for deployment to Herat as well.

 

"With a billion dollar program this fiscal year alone, district personnel must get to project sites to work with customers to plan upcoming projects or to provide construction quality oversight," said Air Force Col. Benjamin Wham, commander, South District. "Our PSDs provide the security we need to deliver this massive construction program to the Afghan people. These Soldiers are a critical component of our team."

 

MRAP teams are comprised of volunteer Soldiers and contractor personnel.

 

"The MRAP mission is purely defensive," said Lt. Col. Philip Bernier, "but our Soldiers have the capability to lay down overwhelming firepower on the enemy if needed." Bernier served as director of Operations and Security (J3) for the South District until he redeployed in August.

 

GETTING TRAINED

 

All MRAP Soldiers report to the Kandahar area initially and are stationed at Forward Operating Base Lindsey near Kandahar Airfield.

 

New team members progress through a structured training program, according to Sgt. 1st Class Ramon Curiel, noncommissioned officer, or NCO, in charge of the MRAP program. "We teach them how to act and how to react. We teach them how to perform the duties of all the MRAP positions. If they can't perform proficiently, they will be sent home.

 

"Our Soldiers depend on each other," Curiel said. "They have to pick up the responsibilities of another Soldier if something bad happens. Their job is to protect their passengers and each other."

 

Positions include truck commander, gunner, driver, medic, communications specialist, mechanic and engineer.

 

MRAP team members are not required to have a combat Military Occupational Specialty, or MOS, "because we will make them combat Soldiers," Curiel said. Many are military police officers or combat engineers in their reservist or National Guard positions. Some have infantry experience.

 

Curiel said it takes 30-60 days to train new Soldiers to be combat ready.

 

"We teach them how to drive the MRAPs, how to shoot all the weapons, how to react in case of an ambush, and how to react if there's a rollover," said Staff Sgt. Robert Moss, assistant NCO in charge, Kandahar team. They also get counter-improvised-explosive device, or IED, training, the combat life saver course, night driving, and radio training, Moss added.

 

It's an orchestrated process carried out by the training NCO, Spec. Travis Richmond, who keeps track of every Soldier's training needs. "I coordinate for slots and availability for courses like driving an MRAP vehicle and combat life saver, which are week-long courses," he said. "Some courses require recertification, so I keep records of when Soldiers are due their refresher training. Training gives points toward their next promotion as well.

 

"We teach weapons familiarization, including how to break them down and clean them," Richmond continued. "We will not let a Soldier get behind a weapon to go on a mission until we are completely comfortable with the Soldier's proficiency on that weapon."

 

With an emphasis on weapons proficiency, MRAP Soldiers drill continuously. They go to the rifle range at least three times a month. New members initially focus on zeroing the weapon to make sure the sights are aligned properly; other training may focus on close quarters marksmanship.

USACE's MRAP Soldiers train in close quarters marksmanship in southern Afghanistan. They may find themselves drilling at almost any time.

 

Recently, while on site visits, Lt. Col. Douglas Hoenig, officer in charge of the Kandahar Area Office who is also in charge of the MRAP teams in Kandahar and Qalat, announced that he was a "casualty" with severe injuries who needed medical evacuation. The MRAP team kicked into high gear to save him.

 

"For training purposes, they treated me as though I had a sucking chest wound and was a double amputee. Within two minutes, they had applied two tourniquets and bandaged my chest. They ripped open my T-shirt and would have cut off my new uniform, but I let them forego that part of the drill," he said with a smile.

 

"These sorts of drills are important so that we never become complacent," Hoenig said.

 

DOUBLE DUTY -- AND THEN SOME

 

Getting trained is just the beginning. Everyone has double duty to ensure that the unit is self-sufficient, Curiel said.

 

In addition to preparing for and going on missions, Soldiers are designated in other positions such as training NCO, assistant NCO in charge, maintenance NCO, and supply NCO.

 

MRAP team members are also responsible for the vehicles and weapons systems. "They prepare the vehicle when going on a mission and take care of routine maintenance," Bernier said, "and they also install and maintain the weapons systems."

 

The unseen component of their jobs is the liaison and coordination that it takes to move, a critical process involving several commands that may take several days.

 

"When it's time to move, they understand the requirements of each specific mission before they go out," Bernier said. "They conduct battle drills or rehearsals before each movement. They plan what to do for certain scenarios -- what they'll do if 'this' happens, their order of movement, and what actions they'll take on contact. They know the rules of engagement and what to do if escalation of force is required. If they must defend themselves and their passengers, they will.

 

"They know they are entrusted with the care of their passengers," Bernier added.

 

Whether transporting generals or colonels or USACE civilians, the NCO in charge is responsible for bringing passengers back safely, Bernier said. "The general will put himself in that E-7's care and follows his orders during a movement."

 

Once the MRAP team has transported its passengers to the project location, the team secures the area. The NCO in charge issues specific instructions to USACE employees about movement in the area, and then the team, both mounted and dismounted, carries out its protocols for maintaining security. Throughout, they ensure redundant communications while conducting the mission.

 

"The MRAP NCO in charge also maintains situational awareness of the security of the entire team so that they're ready to pull out on a moment's notice if necessary," Bernier said.

 

"The job is rigorous," Moss said. "Everyone who comes here to serve on the MRAP team volunteers for this job. When there are problems, they come up with solutions. This is not the place for anyone who wants an easy ride. These Soldiers know that. Without exception, they are motivated when they're on missions."

 

With uncompromising mission requirements, "MRAP team members must be in good physical shape," Curiel said. "We must carry 100 pounds of equipment as we do our jobs. The schedule is full, day in and day out."

 

ALWAYS ON ALERT

 

No mission is without risk.

 

"Our Soldiers literally put their lives on the line every day," Curiel said. "The insurgents are out there. We have to stay a step ahead of them."

 

Curiel's intensity about the mission is reflected in his regimented approach whether conducting a mission or drilling his Soldiers on the rifle range. He barks orders with precision. It's obvious that his mind is always racing. He cares about the mission: "our first job is to protect our passengers" -- and he cares about his Soldiers, calling them his "extended family."

 

In Helmand Capt. John Shelton is the officer in charge of the MRAP team, with assistance from Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Burd and Staff Sgt. Christopher Binder. In Qalat, Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Allen leads the team, assisted by Staff Sgt. Alberto Garcia, Staff Sgt. Ronald Stidham and Staff Sgt. Tony Bean.

 

The teams travel in convoys using three types of MRAPs: the M-ATV all-terrain version known for its mobility, the Cougar and the MaxxPro. The vehicles are fully equipped with the latest communications equipment and sophisticated weaponry.

 

Team members use their individual weapons plus crew-served weapons. Crew-served weapons require more than one person to operate them due to their complexity or size; these weapons include machine guns and grenade launchers.

 

"If we have to, we are prepared to engage," Curiel said. "Most of us have fought the enemy in other assignments."

 

Curiel is on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan. His previous assignments include serving as a mentor for the Afghan National Army and Police; a tour with Task Force Paladin, a unit formed by ISAF in 2006 to combat the threat of IEDs; and a tour with a PSD for Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. He also served as a machine gunner in Iraq. Before joining the Army Reserves, he fought in Somalia as a U.S. Marine.

 

Moss is on his third deployment to Afghanistan. His assignments included route reconnaissance from Bagram Air Base, detainee operations at Bagram and Kandahar, and combat patrols and village assessments with the 10th Mountain Division at Ghosni. He also served in Iraq as part of the police transition team.

 

Practically all the MRAP Soldiers have seen prior combat experience, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

"You always have to be prepared for the worst," said Spec. Marcus Gross. "A Soldier must always be ready to deploy, engage and destroy. When you serve overseas, in an environment like this, you never look at a (U.S.) flag the same way."

 

In his nine months as the J3 director, Bernier was impressed with the quality of volunteers for the MRAP teams. "Even though they come from varied backgrounds, these individuals are Soldiers first, and they come here serious about what they want to do.

 

They want this professional experience. Some of them want to build their careers in this field. Some want to be back with a military unit. They want to contribute to the organization."

 

MRAP team members find fulfillment doing their part for the United States' mission in Afghanistan.

 

"I like what I do here to provide security for the USACE employees who are going to jobsites," said Staff Sgt. Michael Conner. "I know this work is making a difference, and I'm proud to be part of this team."

 

"I like my job," Moss said. "I like to help the new guys. I can pass along lessons learned to make them better able to perform their jobs."

 

Staff Sgt. Tony Bean said that this job gets him back to a military environment.

 

"I was in the Marine Corps for more than 13 years, spent four years as a civilian, and then joined the North Carolina National Guard. This job helps me work toward a military retirement while working on my master's degree," Bean explained. "Most of all, it gives me the opportunity to serve -- to make sure that with every mission everyone comes back safe."

 

"I admire the courage and level of respect that these Soldiers have for their jobs and for each other," Bernier said. "They demonstrate this cohesiveness all the time."

 

Without them, USACE couldn't deliver construction projects.

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1 septembre 2011 4 01 /09 /septembre /2011 06:40

Ligne de defense P Chapleau

 

31.08.2011 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense

 

http://lignesdedefense.blogs.ouest-france.fr/media/00/01/1073170659.jpg

 

Un communiqué diffusé ce mercredi par l'EMA (cliquer ici pour y accéder) annonce que le 29 août 2011, l'opération Green Stork  7 menée par le Battle Group Quinze-Deux a permis de transférer aux forces afghanes la responsabilité des postes de contrôle situés le long de la route Vermont, en vallée de Tagab: "Dans le cadre de la transition progressive de la zone de responsabilité française, le Battle Group  Quinze Deux s'est désengagé de trois postes situés le long de la route Vermont , l'axe principal de la vallée de Tagab. Ces postes, maintenant sous responsabilité des forces de sécurité nationales afghanes permettent de contrôler cette route, ainsi que la « zone verte » (à forte densité de végétation) qui la borde".

 

Ce transfert annonce le transfert de l'ensemble de la responsabilité du district de Surobi (situé au sud de la province de Kapisa) aux forces afghanes.

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