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31 août 2011 3 31 /08 /août /2011 11:35



Aug 31, 2011 ASDNews Source : Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)

By Spc. Tobey White, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division


Khowst Province, Afghanistan - "We have reports of the Afghan National Army sitting on an improvised explosive device at this location," says a voice over the radio in a cramped control shelter Aug 25. "Can you give me an ETA?"


"Roger," replies one of the unmanned aerial system, or UAS, operators listening in. "We're 22 kilometers out. It'll be 10 mikes."


That conversation wouldn't be out of place in a fast paced spy thriller. But for the UAS Platoon of Company B, Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, a conversation such as this, between UAS operators and their crew chief, happens on a regular basis at Forward Operating Base Sharana.


The UAS Shadow is a remotely controlled aircraft with a camera attached that provides commanders with reconnaissance and surveillance without putting any Soldiers in harm's way, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Percell Hunter, the UAS platoon leader for Company B, STB.


In addition to its reconnaissance capabilities, the system can also point out targets to ground troops with a laser, and carry a communications relay package that allows two groups who are out of line-of-sight from each other to communicate, an ability of great importance in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, where Task Force Duke is operating. It does this by flying between the two groups and bouncing the transmission from group one group to the Shadow to the other group, Hunter said.


"It [also] gives commanders a chance to see what they normally can't," said Staff Sgt. Michael Mikrut, the UAS platoon sergeant. "The UAS Shadow provides them with a situational awareness they would not normally have."


Being part of the UAS crew means having to juggle a lot of different tasks. For that reason, operators have to be able to multitask, explained Sgt. Alex Keehn, a UAS operator with the Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard.


"There is so much you have to be aware of when you fly a UAS," Keehn said. "You have to be aware of wind speed, temperature, humidity and other aircraft in the area."


Keehn's unit deployed in July to augment the TF Duke UAS team, he said.


Communication plays a big part in the completion of successful UAS missions, said Sgt. Bill Parris, a UAS maintainer with Company B, STB.


UAS maintainers are responsible for performing maintenance and pre-flight checks on the aircraft, and help the operators when the UAS is airborne.


"You have to have situational awareness of air traffic or changes in wind speed because the UAS operators can't see everything," he explained.


For Parris, the conversation between operator and maintainer is like a ping pong game.


With helicopters and other aircraft using the same air space, the maintainer-operator conversation isn't the only important one, said Mikrut.


"There are a lot of airspace communications," Mikrut said. "Sometimes the airspace you are flying in gets taken away because another aircraft needs it more. You have to be quick to respond in those situations."


To prepare for deployment, the UAS team undertook several flight operations training exercises, Hunter said. In these operations they endeavored to prepare their maintainers, who work on the aircraft, and operators, who fly the aircraft, to do their job without needing someone looking over their shoulder.


The training they received at their home-base of Fort Knox has benefited them in Afghanistan, Parris said. However, they have received several new soldiers, since arriving in country, who did not have the chance to train with the unit.


"It's kind of a trial by fire [when new soldiers arrive during deployment,]" Parris said. "They just have to get in there and do it. While deployed they have plenty of opportunity to train and learn their job."


The environment of eastern Afghanistan has many differences compared to Fort Knox that the crew has to be aware of when flying, Mikrut said. For starters, they are at an altitude of 7,300 feet and the air density is different than it would be at sea level, or even Fort Knox. This makes take-offs and landings more complicated.


Being aware of these differences is important and knowing what to do in any conditions can mean the difference between landing a bird safely or losing it, Mikrut said.

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30 août 2011 2 30 /08 /août /2011 16:45



Captain Rob Durling, 79 (Kirkee) Battery, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, utilises satellite technology to establish out-of-line-of-sight communications to request air support in his role as a Forward Air Controller attached to D Squadron, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

Picture: Corporal Andy Reddy RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011


30 Aug 11 UK MOD - An Equipment and Logistics news article


UK troops in Afghanistan have begun operating a satellite secured from NATO at no extra cost to the MOD which is providing extra communications channels for commanders on the front line.


The NATO satellite will be used to provide two extra Ultra High Frequency (UHF) tactical communications channels that can be used in Afghanistan. This additional satellite adds to the MOD's three existing Skynet 5 series satellites which provide a worldwide satellite communications service.


Satellite technology gives commanders on the ground an efficient and secure means of communication, including with operations centres that co-ordinate vital air support, as well as with other units.


Flight Lieutenant Damien Handley is a Joint Tactical Air Controller in Afghanistan. He uses satellite communications on the front line in his role co-ordinating air support for ground troops. He said:


    "I can use these satellite communications to talk from Afghanistan directly to operations centres and headquarters around the world. They are vital in the fight against insurgents, particularly to task aircraft in support of our front line troops. In the thick of battle we rely on good communications and more satellite channels will be a great boost."



A tactical satellite communications handset and aerial

[Picture: Corporal Andy Reddy RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]


Following an agreement with NATO, the MOD's Defence Equipment and Support organisation secured ownership of the satellite earlier this year at no extra cost to the MOD. Control of the satellite and running of the two UHF channels has been incorporated into the MOD's Skynet 5 Private Finance Initiative contract and is managed by communications company Paradigm.


Commander Andy Titcomb, from the MOD's Defence Equipment and Support organisation, explained:


    "Ultra High Frequency satellite communications are a valuable resource and when it became known that NATO was about to fire this satellite into a graveyard orbit, we jumped at the chance to see whether we could take ownership of this valuable asset and use it to support our troops in Afghanistan."


He concluded:


    "This is an example of MOD personnel identifying and seizing an opportunity to deliver an additional vital resource to our troops on the ground at zero capital cost."

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30 août 2011 2 30 /08 /août /2011 05:40



August 29, 2011 Source: Carolina Unmanned Vehicles SHEPARD GROUP


Carolina Unmanned Vehicles, Inc. (CUV), Raleigh North Carolina, announces an order for a new version of their Lightweight Aerostat System (LAS). The new LAS, being procured by Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) in support of the US Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF), will become part of an Aerostat Deception System (ADS) that simulates an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance capability for small tactical units in Afghanistan and other locations.


The REF mission is to rapidly provide urgent capabilities to the US Army forces employed globally by harnessing current and emerging technologies in order to improve operational effectiveness. The LAS-ADS consists of an ISR deception payload attached under a small specially designed tethered blimp, called a Helikite, and a trailer Carrier that stores the Helikite and the required winch, sensors and helium tanks. CUV will provide the aerostats and all ground operating equipment while GTRI will develop the deception payloads. The LAS-ADS blimp can fly at 1000 feet for low cost, long term coverage for 24 hours a day for a week or more without maintenance or downtime. LAS-ADS will be tested by GTRI and the Army, and if found suitable, will be deployed to Afghanistan for further operational evaluation.


Traditional aerostats cannot operate in high winds unless fairly large, typically with 200 Lb of lift or more. This large size makes them unsuitable for deployment to small isolated bases. LAS uses the patented Helikite lifting aerostat from Allsopp Helikites of Great Britain. Helikites have lifting surfaces that generate aerodynamic lift to support the blimp in winds which would drive traditional designs into the ground. With the Helikite LAS can be smaller and more mobile than traditional aerostat systems yet still operate in high winds. The LAS-ADS will be able to fly in 70 knot wind. With superior mobility, mission utility and adverse weather capability, LAS still requires only two people for all operations. Versions of LAS are suitable for surveillance / security, communications relay and research for Defense and Homeland Security missions. It operates for weeks at a time at a fraction of the cost of comparable aircraft or Unmanned Air Vehicles. CUV has previously developed versions of LAS for the USAF, Sandia National Laboratories, and a large defense contractor.

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29 août 2011 1 29 /08 /août /2011 11:55


source soldiersystems.net


Aug 29, 2011 ASDNews Source : MoD Australia


A specialist team of combat experienced soldiers, scientists and engineers are part of a new team called Diggerworks delivering new equipment to better protect Australian troops.


Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare said Diggerworks has been established to respond to the changing needs of soldiers in the field.


Diggerworks comprises Defence agencies responsible for developing combat solider capability and is similar to the United States Marine Corps' Gruntworks.


It is headed by Colonel Jason Blain who commanded Mentoring Taskforce 1 in Afghanistan in 2010.


The latest example of their work is the acquisition of a new pelvic protection system to soldiers currently operating in Afghanistan.


The system includes a protective under garment to prevent fine dirt and shrapnel particles that result from explosions causing infection in any wounds sustained.


This garment is expected to be provided to Australian troops on patrol in Afghanistan from November this year.


Defence will also trial a soft armour ballistic groin protector worn over the combat uniform designed to provide increased protection against larger shrapnel.


This decision has been made based on the experience of the British Army whose soldiers have suffered an increasing number of pelvic injuries in Afghanistan.


"This system will provide another layer of protection for Australian soldiers against infection and injury in the field," Mr Clare said.


"The work Diggerworks is doing is very important.


"It's about soldiers who have been in Afghanistan using their experience to help soldiers in the field.


Diggerworks is also responsible for developing the new lighter combat body armour called TBAS which has just been rolled out to our troops in Afghanistan.


TBAS has been designed based on feedback from our troops in Afghanistan that the existing body armour was too heavy and made it difficult to do their jobs.


TBAS is lighter, fits better, is more comfortable and makes it easier for soldiers to get into a firing position.


"I was in Afghanistan last month and spoke to our soldiers about their new body armour," Mr Clare said.


"The feedback I got was extremely positive.


"Soldiers told me it made it easier for them to do their job."


Diggerworks will also work on a $20 million research project with Defence industry, the Defence Material Technology Centre, the University of Wollongong and RMIT to enhance the protective equipment worn by soldiers to combat a range of existing and evolving threats like Improvised Explosive Devices.


This is in addition to the package of initiatives worth $1.6 billion the Government committed to following the 2009 Force Protection Review.


Measures that have been delivered as part of this package include:


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

-- Equipping Bushmasters with heavier calibre weapons;

-- 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 in Australia; and

-- The Counter Rocket Mortar and Artillery early warning system.

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26 août 2011 5 26 /08 /août /2011 12:20



August 26, 2011 By: Captain Susan Magill - Canadian Armed Forces – SHEPARD GROUP


One after another, three CH-147 Chinook transport helicopters and five CH-146 Griffon tactical helicopters from Task Force Freedom (also known as the Canadian Helicopter Force Afghanistan or CFHA) touched down and completed their final mission in Afghanistan.


This final flight, conducted July 27, 2011, was both an operational mission in support of the consolidation of personnel and material and a training mission as crew members took advantage of the last time the Canadian Chinooks and Griffons would fly together in Afghanistan. The air crew are expected to leave Kandahar Airfield in early August as the Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) Air Wing commences its final drawdown.


“It’s the last time that we’ll fly three Chinooks at the same time, and it has been the only time on this tour that we’ve actually flown the three Chinooks in tactical formation,” said Major Colin Coakwell, who commands the Chinook squadron.


In January 2009, a CH-147 Chinook made its debut flight in theatre shortly after Canada received the aircraft from the U.S. Army. With the CH-147D Chinook, the JTF-Afg Air Wing gained one of the world’s most powerful workhorse helicopters for moving troops and supplies in theatre.


A twin-engine medium-to-heavy-lift helicopter capable of carrying large quantities of cargo and soldiers, the CH-147 Chinook allowed the Air Wing to conduct missions that included troop movements and the transportation of equipment and supplies.


The CH-146 Griffon utility tactical transport helicopter provided the larger Chinook with escort and overwatch support. The Griffon also provided ground forces in the area of operations with command and liaison, reconnaissance and surveillance, and armed overwatch.


“Tremendous assets, both the Griffon and the Chinook, but the Chinook was particularly valuable in moving personnel and cargo and minimizing troops traveling on the road,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Derry, commanding officer of Task Force Freedom. Together, they increased the protection available to troops travelling both by transport helicopter and in road convoys.


The in-theatre air capacity of Task Force Freedom helped save the lives of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops and Afghan soldiers and police by reducing their exposure to ambushes, landmines and improvised explosive devices when travelling on the ground. By decreasing the risk to troops, the helicopters also reduced the danger level for Afghan civilians.


After disembarking from one of the freshly landed Griffon helicopters, LCol Derry explained, “We’re taking the opportunity to refine a lot of our tactics, techniques and procedures before we leave theatre because, after we leave here, we won’t have an opportunity to fly with Chinooks for probably a number of years.”


“The completion of the last operational mission for CFHA marks the end of an incredible 30-month journey for Canadian tactical aviation in Afghanistan,” said Colonel Al Meinzinger, commander of the Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing. “I am proud of their accomplishments. They have supported combat operations with professionalism and purpose.”

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24 août 2011 3 24 /08 /août /2011 16:40


An RAF Hercules C-130J taxis at Camp Bastion

[Picture: Sergeant Ross Tilly RAF, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]


24 Aug 11 UK MoD A People In Defence news article


Engineers from 33 (Engineering) Squadron have been recognised for the work they do supporting the RAF's C-130J Hercules fleet at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.


The small detachment of deployed engineers is responsible for the maintenance of all RAF C-130J Hercules aircraft operating in Afghanistan and the Middle East from 904 Expeditionary Air Wing at Kandahar Airfield.


Due to the operational tempo in June 2011, the C-130J fleet experienced a number of technical issues that potentially could have grounded the vital tactical air transport assets, seriously affecting the transport of troops and cargo, and aeromedical evacuations.


The detachment faced an engineering challenge that tested their management and technical expertise in the harsh conditions of the Afghan summer.


Commanding Officer of 904 Expeditionary Air Wing, Group Captain David Bentley, said:


    "The 33 (Engineering) Squadron detachment has far exceeded the capability expected of it, and has demonstrated the highest possible standards of service and commitment expected for a unit on deployed operations."



From left: Squadron Leader Martin Shaw, Group Captain David Bentley, Flight Lieutenant Roger Thrower and Warrant Officer Nick Walker, all of 33 (Engineering) Squadron

[Picture: Sergeant Ross Tilly RAF, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]


The detachment had no prospect of receiving a replacement aircraft from the UK and faced the additional complexity of the C-130J Force's move from RAF Lyneham to RAF Brize Norton, plus the unrelenting pressure of the continuous operational tempo.


The engineering team wasted no time in implementing a gruelling work regime to prevent mission failure.


The engineers worked tirelessly in the Afghan dust and heat to complete the aircraft repairs; temperatures on the flight line soared to a blistering 51 degrees Celsius but at no point did the C-130J fleet fail to complete a planned mission, ensuring critical support was provided to the coalition campaign.


Despite the challenges faced, the team also provided assistance to coalition partners with less experience on the C-130J.


Group Captain Bentley officially recognised 33 (Engineering) Squadron's efforts by awarding the team a Commanding Officer's Commendation at a small ceremony on the C-130J flight line at Kandahar Airfield. He added:


    "The exemplary conduct of the engineering team has elevated the standing of the RAF's C-130J Force across Afghanistan."

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24 août 2011 3 24 /08 /août /2011 12:00


photo koldo hormaza from madrid, españa


August 24, 2011 By Capt. Jamie Humphries - 438th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs – SHEPARD GROUP


Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan, increased its capacity recently when officials opened a new rotary wing apron with a goal of increasing capability to stage rotary wing aircraft.


Approximately 112,000 meters in size, the apron has the ability to park 18 UH-60 Blackhawks, 14 CH-47 Chinooks and 10 AH-64 Apache helicopters.


The apron will be used as a staging and servicing area for units belonging to Task Force Spearhead, which also operate out of Shindand.


The project started in September and was completed four months ahead of schedule, officials said.


"The opening of the apron is just one of many construction projects taking place here at Shindand," said Col. John Hokaj, the commander of the 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group. "It is a critical milestone in moving forces to the Far East Expansion and the building of a new training runway."


Agencies contributing to the project included the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tetra Tech Incorporated, Yuksel Incorporated and members of the 838th AEAG. The private contractors employed more than 230 employees to help finish the project early.


Although the apron is not currently slated to be a staging area for medical evacuations, it will eventually be handed over to the Afghan air force for their use in facilitation of operational missions.


"We continue to work hard in developing Shindand with a goal of the base becoming the crown jewel of the Afghan air force," Hokaj said. "This project is the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort put forth by different organizations, and I'm glad to be associated with the outcome."


In July, construction projects expanded Shindand to nearly three times its original size, making it the second largest airfield throughout Afghanistan. The ultimate goal of the expansion is to make room for a new 1.3-mile NATO training runway; construction is scheduled to begin early 2012.

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24 août 2011 3 24 /08 /août /2011 11:50



Aug 24, 2011 ASDNews Source : Air Mobility Command

by Senior Airman David Carbajal 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan - For the first time in history, a U.S. cargo aircraft transported a U.S. fighter jet back to the United States after sustaining damage to its fuselage.


The 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron aerial port flight assisted the C-5 Galaxy's loadmaster crew in successfully loading an F/A-18 Super Hornet into the Galaxy's cargo bay Aug. 18, 2011, on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.


In March, while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, the Hornet experienced malfunctions which caused it to divert and land at Kandahar Airfield. Upon landing, the aircraft experienced hot brakes and upon stopping, both brakes were engulfed in flames. The Kandahar, Fire and Rescue extinguished the fire, but the right fuselage was severely damaged.


Charles Miller, the F/A-18 deputy program manager, and a team of four Defense Department civilians have been preparing to recover the aircraft in order to bring it back to the U.S. to Fleet Readiness Center Southwest to perform the necessary repairs since July. The preparation included coordinating with senior leadership at the Navy's Commander of Naval Air Forces and the Air Force's Air Mobility Command in order to obtain the required certification to transport the aircraft back on a C-5 to Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, Calif.


"Typically, an aircraft would be flown back to the states if the damage was minor," said Miller. "But this F/A-18 sustained substantial damage which our engineering support team determined to be critical and unflyable."


"Having it transported back to the States and repaired will most likely cost a third of what a new aircraft would cost," said Miller. The production cost of a new Super Hornet is about $65 million.


Since this transportation task had never been attempted before, the plan to load the aircraft was not taken lightly.


"Being that this is the first time we've ever done anything like this, the coordination and extensive planning to get the aircraft loaded and transported has been ongoing since March," said Miller.


Once the plan was approved, the C-5 aircrew was eager for the opportunity.


"We're willing to help any of our sister services who need it," said Air Force Maj. Steven Hertenstein, the pilot of the C-5 who is deployed from Travis Air Force Base, Calif. "Carrying cargo is what this aircraft was designed to do, and we're glad to be a part this."


Even before the crews began the upload, Hertenstein was confident that it would be successful.


"These loadmasters will get it done. They have the skills to take different loads and find a way to get it on the aircraft safely and effectively," said Hertenstein.


The load crew and aerial port weren't the only units to contribute to this successful load.


"Units from all across the base came together to make this happen," said Miller. The Air Force's RED HORSE unit built the tiered wooden ramps called "shoring" which were used to get the fuselage up the C-5's ramp. The Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 40, Detachment Bravo, assisted Miller and his team with the necessary support equipment in order to disassemble of the aircraft. The NATO Base Operations Command provided hangar space in the Kilo Ramp which allowed them to perform the task out of the elements.


"I want to thank all the units that contributed to this mission," said Miller. "We couldn't have done this without them."

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24 août 2011 3 24 /08 /août /2011 11:40



DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY INC. AFGHAN SOLDIERS Afghan Soldiers Graduate from Mi-17 Maintenance Training - DTI photo. (PRNewsFoto/Defense Technology Inc.)


KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire


Defense Technology Inc. announced today that they completed teaching one year of Mi-17 intermediate level maintenance training for the Afghan Air Force.  Over thirty Afghan soldiers have now graduated from the class and are ready to lead maintenance teams in the field.


Under the leadership of the USAF 440th Air Expeditionary Squadron, these classes were designed to provide experienced maintenance personnel with a refresher of OEM maintenance techniques and added theory to assist with trouble shooting. 


The senior Afghan maintainers have a strong level of experience, but most have not had OEM-type training in 20 years.  The commander of the Afghan Aviation Maintenance Group, Colonel Abdul Shafi, said that, "These courses have helped increase the knowledge of our Mi-17 maintainers and will improve the maintenance posture of our (Afghan) Air Force in general." He also noted that, "Graduates must apply what they have learned in the course to their responsibilities in maintaining the helicopters on the flight line."


The DTI training team, led by Bryon Kreck, received letters of appreciation from Afghan Air Force Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab for their exceptional service in support of this program.

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23 août 2011 2 23 /08 /août /2011 16:40
Mastiff protects engineer team from Helmand IED blast

A huge Mastiff armoured vehicle overshadows a young Afghan boy, on his way to fetch water from the village well, in the Shahzad region of Helmand province - [Picture: Staff Sergeant Mark Jones, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]


23 Aug 11 UK MoD - A Military Operations news article


A group of soldiers whose task it is to clear routes in Helmand province of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) recently emerged from their Mastiff armoured vehicle unscathed when a device exploded underneath it.


31 Armoured Engineer Squadron (31 AES), 32 Engineer Regiment, normally based in Hohne in northern Germany, are currently part of the Task Force Helmand Engineer Group.


They are the leading route proving and clearance squadron and their job is to travel across the UK's area of operations in their Mastiff armoured vehicles to make sure routes are safe from IEDs and bombs.


On one of their many patrols recently, the team were clearing one of the main routes through Helmand when their vehicle struck an IED. Sapper Gareth Addy said immediately they knew what it was:


"There was a massive explosion that seriously rocked the vehicle. It was the biggest I've ever experienced. Immediately afterwards it went very quiet and then you start to realise what's happened and worry if everyone is OK."


The team quickly began their drills to assess the situation and check whether there were any injuries. Despite the size of the bomb and the force of the blast, none of the people in the Mastiff were hurt.


The vehicle sustained some damage, but, thanks to the armour and design of the Mastiff, it was only minor, and after a further assessment by the team of the route, the patrol continued with their journey.




Mastiff protects engineer team from Helmand IED blast

Sapper Gareth Addy, 31 Armoured Engineer Squadron, ready to go out on patrol in his team's Mastiff vehicle - [Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]


Sapper Addy, aged 31 from Bridlington, who is a Mastiff driver and gunner, said it was only when they returned to Camp Bastion some hours later they realised how lucky they had been:


"The vehicles we use really do work and everyone now knows that, should the worst happen, they will do a good job of protecting us. In a strange way, that incident increased everyone's morale and confidence for the remainder of the tour."


The Mastiff is a heavily armoured, 6x6 wheel-drive protected patrol vehicle which carries eight people, plus two crew. It is used in Afghanistan to transport troops and protect large convoys as well as directly engaging the Taliban with its advanced weapons systems.


Although heavily armoured, these wheeled patrol vehicles have a less intimidating profile than tracked vehicles and give commanders on the ground in Afghanistan more options to deal with the threats they are facing.


Part of the Mastiff's resilience towards mine explosions comes from the fact that its hull is V-shaped, as opposed to flat, which pushes the force of any explosion outwards.


During Operation HERRICK 14, the engineers from 31 AES have played an important part in enabling both troops and locals to move more freely from one area to another and with greater confidence in their security.


31 AES is part of the Task Force Helmand Engineer Group, made up of Royal Engineers from both 32 Engineer Regiment based in Hohne, Germany, and 24 Commando Engineer Regiment based in Barnstaple, North Devon.

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22 août 2011 1 22 /08 /août /2011 19:00



22/08/2011 Armée de Terre


Depuis le Tadjikistan, un équipage du 1er  régiment du train parachutiste (1er  RTP) assure en permanence le soutien logistique par voie aérienne des unités de la Task Force La Fayette, en Afghanistan.

Largage d'une P4 sur palette à partir d'un Transall C160


Un détachement du 1 er  régiment du train parachutiste  (1er  RTP) de Toulouse est projeté en permanence au sein du détachement aérien de Douchanbé, au Tadjikistan.  Sa mission : assurer, par voie aérienne, le ravitaillement  en vivres, munitions, carburant et matériels divers des unités de la Task Force La Fayette  déployées en Afghanistan.


Le largage est effectué à haute altitude : entre 5300 et 7200 m , par un détachement parachutiste  composé de 2 chefs largueurs à très grande hauteur, un spécialiste matériel à très grande hauteur, et 2 arrimeurs largueurs. Les méthodes de largage utilisées permettent une livraison discrète et précise,  tout en restant hors de portée des troupes insurgées au sol.


Ces livraisons par air permettent aux unités de se déployer avec un minimum de soutien logistique, et ainsi d’alléger le fantassin.  Un soutien indispensable en particulier durant les fortes chaleurs de l’été, alors que chaque soldat peut consommer jusqu’à 9 litres d’eau par jour.

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22 août 2011 1 22 /08 /août /2011 16:45



August 22, 2011 Tony Osborne, SHEPARD GROUP


London - The Canada Joint Task Afghanistan Air Wing officially ended its operations from Kandahar airfield on 19 August.


The disbandment of the air wing, which includes personnel and aircraft from the Canadian helicopter community, comes on the heels of the end of the Canadian Force's combat mission in the country in July.


The air wing, called Task Force Silver Dart, is made of up three components: TF Erebus flying the Heron UAVs; TF Canuck flying the CC-130 Hercules transport aircraft; and TF Freedom, the Canadian Helicopter Force Afghanistan (CHFA), flying the CH-146 Griffon and the CH-147 Chinooks purchased under the Interim Medium-Lift Capability (IMLC).


'This is a significant day, as we close down the Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing after 32 months of first-class support to combat operations,’ said air wing commander, Col Al Meinzinger.


'Everyone who served with the Air Wing displayed great flexibility and agility in working with our many mission partners. Over the last five months, all three units of the Air Wing surged to unprecedented levels to support operations.


The JTF-Afg Air Wing stood up at Kandahar Airfield on December 6, 2008 with 200 personnel and quickly grew to its final operating strength of 450 personnel. The CC-130 Hercules deployed in Kandahar Province will continue to fly in support of the MTTF until the end of 2011.


Over the three years of operations, the JTF-Afg Air Wing achieved the following milestones:


CH-146 Griffon: 2,294 passengers | 16,343 hours flown | 20,615 lb cargo


CH-147 Chinook: 89,314 passengers | 7,085 hours flown | 7,090,889 lb cargo


CH-146 and CH-147 (combined): 91,608 passengers | 23,428 hours flown | 7,111,504 lb cargo


Mi-8 chartered cargo helicopter: 11,000 hours flown | 16,000,000 lb cargo


You can read more about the operations of the Canadian Helicopter Force Afghanistan (CHFA) by reading the latest edition of Defence Helicopter magazine, by clicking HERE

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22 août 2011 1 22 /08 /août /2011 16:30



22/08/11 By Craig Hoyle SOURCE:Flight International


Despite this being a time of intense budget pressure, one of the UK armed forces' main equipment areas has escaped with next to no spending cuts, due to the vital role that military rotorcraft play in current operations.


While swingeing reductions have eliminated seemingly essential assets, like the BAE Systems Harrier GR9 ground-attack aircraft and Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol aircraft, plans to buy additional Boeing CH-47 Chinooks and upgrade Eurocopter Puma transport helicopters both survived the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). Long-standing commitments in Afghanistan - and also more recently over Libya - have resulted in the SDSR leaving the rotorcraft communities of the Army Air Corps (AAC), Royal Air Force and Royal Navy largely unscathed.


This has been welcome news for the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) organisation, which is tasked with overseeing the operational activities of their multiple aircraft types.


The UK's main focus for several years has been on Afghanistan, where it now has between 30 and 35 helicopters deployed in support of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.


Assigned to the UK's Joint Helicopter Force Afghanistan, or JHF(A), these span at least five types: the AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin HC3 and upgraded Lynx AH9A, Chinook HC2, Westland Sea King and Westland/Boeing Apache AH1 attack helicopter.


Their number also includes several aircraft being flown in support of UK special forces personnel, although the JHC declines to provide further public details of this capability.


The UK's helicopter operations are fully coordinated with the US Marine Corps' 2 Marine Aircraft Wing, at the combined Camp Bastion/Camp Leatherneck site in Helmand province, with their activities managed using the latter's air combat element structure.


The partners' contributions total around 3,900 and 580 personnel, respectively.


While the USMC also has a much larger air component of roughly 110 aircraft, ranging from the Bell AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter to the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor, Boeing AV-8B Harrier II and unmanned air vehicles, JHC officials say the UK offers key capabilities to the combined Task Force Jaguar. "When we go out on operations in central Helmand, it is frequently with [RAF] Chinooks being escorted by Cobras, and with our Apaches escorting [Sikorsky CH-53] Sea Stallions, and with any combination that you need to make a right fit for that particular mission," says British Army Col Neil Sexton, assistant director operations at the JHC. "We are fighting a joint fight. We are fully entwined, and it's a great way of doing business."


Sexton notes that despite the UK's smaller numerical contribution, "pro rata-wise, we fly a significantly greater number of hours per aircraft than they do. We don't have as many assets, but we work them harder."


Around one-third of the aircraft currently available to JHF(A) are Chinooks, with 11 providing the backbone of the UK's support helicopter presence. These are joined by RAF Merlin HC3s, Sea King HC4s from the navy's Commando Helicopter Force and recently upgraded army Lynx AH9As in delivering "lift" services. All the types are equipped with defensive aids system equipment and crew-served machine guns, in order for them to meet the UK's theatre-entry standard for use in the country.


Since arriving in Afghanistan after their withdrawal from Iraq, Merlins from the RAF's 28 and 78 squadrons transported over 750 tonnes of freight in their first year in Afghanistan, according to the JHC.


Their long-term use is yet to be fully determined, although current plans call for the service's HC3/3As to be transferred to the navy, to replace its Commando Helicopter Force's Sea King HC4s and support future amphibious and deployed operations.


Now equipped with LHTEC T800 engines - which will also power the UK's next-generation Lynx Wildcat aircraft - and flown in Afghanistan since early 2010, the AH9As also employ their L-3 Wescam MX-15 electro-optical/infrared sensors to support surveillance, or "find" requirements.


Apaches also use their targeting sensors and mast-mounted Hellfire fire control radar for this purpose, while the arrival of the navy's Sea King 7 airborne surveillance and control (ASaC) aircraft in May 2009 added a valuable and expanded capability.


Nicknamed "Baggers", the Searchwater radar-equipped Sea Kings had, by late July, completed 1,000 operational missions in Afghanistan, gathering "pattern of life" information with their synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indication sensor.


They also are used to provide a near real-time wide-area surveillance capability in ­support of land forces, for example by tracking suspect vehicle movements, and have been instrumental in the recovery of more than 6,000kg (13,200lb) of explosives within the last few months, according to the Ministry of Defence.


The RN's 854 and 857 naval air squadrons have each supported one-year detachments in Afghanistan, with at least three of the helicopters currently in use.


In the "strike" category, the Lynx AH9A has been employed in some instances against ground threats, enabling Apache AH1s to be used elsewhere.


Involved in Afghanistan since 2007, the latter provide JHF(A) with its most potent offensive capability, carrying a 30mm cannon, unguided rockets and Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.

"The Hellfire missile has shown itself to be the weapon of choice for Apache attack helicopter operations, proving to be an accurate and reliable weapon system and providing airborne fire support to ground forces," says Peter Luff, UK minister for defence equipment, support and technology.


UK Apaches fired more than 550 Hellfires in combat and training exercises between January 2008 and May 2011, he revealed in response to a recent parliamentary question.


British Apaches are also currently involved in NATO's operation Unified Protector campaign, to protect Libyan civilians from attack by forces loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi. The Hellfire has again proved a popular option since strikes commenced on 3 June. In one mission, conducted in early August, attack helicopters operating from the deck of HMS Ocean damaged or destroyed multiple regime targets around 64km (35nm) inland from Zuwarah.


"Hellfire missiles and cannon fire accounted for one headquarters and 12 military vehicles, including at least one armed with surface-to-air missiles, with another four vehicles left seriously damaged," the MoD said in a post-mission briefing.


Apache missions in Libya are conducted using intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data collated by other assets, including Sea King ASaC aircraft also deployed aboard HMS Ocean, and RAF Raytheon Systems Sentinel R1 airborne standoff radar aircraft flown from Akrotiri, Cyprus.


Since the start of multinational operations against pro-Gaddafi forces on 19 March, UK assets have damaged or destroyed more than 850 regime targets.


Although decisions on the UK's continued equipment contribution to the Libyan ­operation - including whether to extend the availability of HMS Ocean and its deployed aircraft - are yet to be taken, meeting the demands of the Afghanistan mission remains JHC's top priority.


Reflecting this, roughly 440 of the command's personnel took part in a major pre-deployment exercise on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, in support of the British Army's 20 Armoured Brigade.


Split into three nine-day phases run from Netheravon airfield, the four-week exercise concluded on 21 August.

About 16 aircraft were flown each day, including the Apache, Chinook, Lynx, Merlin, Eurocopter Puma and Sea King.

AAC BN-2 Islander intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft and Lockheed Desert Hawk III unmanned air vehicles also took part. JHC assets had logged roughly 1,500 flight hours in support of the activity by mid-August.

Based in Germany, 20 Armoured Brigade began training for its Afghan deployment around nine months ago.


"We put JHC officers into the brigade headquarters to train them up in the use of helicopters," says Sexton. "Not just getting into and out of the back, not just controlling Apache fires, but the intellectual process that goes to using aviation in a sensible way in Afghanistan."


Each exercise phase trained two battle groups of around 700 to 1,000 personnel, for example by inserting and extracting brigade reconnaissance teams using Chinooks.


Roughly 300 JHC staff who will also go to Afghanistan in the coming months also received training, while the readiness of its headquarters and joint operations centre personnel was validated.


As with a previous exercise conducted in January, the JHC's activities also included so-called "judgemental training", where the actions of air crew can be measured against recent real-life scenarios involving Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.


"We give the crews an opportunity to relive the sort of scenarios that they'll face when they get deployed on operations. So if they are going to make a mistake they'll make it here," says exercise coordinator Lt Col Phil Cooke.


Although not part of the exercise scenario, 1 Regt AAC commanding officer Lt Col James Anderson, who will assume command of JHF(A) in late September, says growing emphasis is being placed on operating in conjunction with the Afghan military. This relationship will strengthen as the UK moves towards a planned withdrawal of its combat forces from the country in 2015, with control of its districts and provinces to progressively be transferred to local authorities. "We will be working more closely with the Afghan air force's [Mil] Mi-17s," Anderson says.


With the planned transfer of its Merlins to the Commando Helicopter Force, the RAF's support helicopter capability will eventually settle with its soon to-be expanded fleet of Chinooks and the upgraded Puma HC2.


The Chinook force will eventually total 46 glass cockpit-equipped HC4s and 14 new-build examples, with the type expected to remain in use until at least 2040.


At least 28 Pumas should be brought up to the improved HC2 standard, with Eurocopter having flown the first of these in late June. With more powerful Turbomeca Makila 1A1 engines, a digital flight control system and enhanced navigation and communications equipment, the type should reach full operating capability in 2014, and fly on until 2025.


"In the Strategic Defence and Security Review we set out our plans to deliver the helicopter capability to support 'Future Force 2020' through a mix of Apache, Chinook, Merlin, Lynx Wildcat and Puma helicopters," under-secretary of state for defence Lord Astor said, in response to a recent parliamentary question about potential UK military interest in Eurocopter's X3 high-speed demonstrator.

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22 août 2011 1 22 /08 /août /2011 11:30



August 22nd, 2011 By British Forces Broadcasting, DEFENCE TALK


The military supply chain responsible for getting vital equipment to British forces on operations in Afghanistan and Libya is at "critical risk of failure", MPs have warned.


The Commons Public Accounts Committee says troops fighting on the front line could be hit by shortages within 30 days if the system broke down.


In a highly critical report, the committee said the Ministry of Defence accepted the IT systems used to manage the complex supply chain were "not adequate for the task".


As a result, the risk of failure of these warehouse inventory systems was considered "extremely high" - and was recently rated as "critical" by the MoD's Defence Logistics Board.


"If these systems fail, then the result could be shortages at the front line within as little as 30 days," the report said.


The committee said the MoD had spent £75 million upgrading the systems considered to be at the highest risk.


However, an £800 million programme to overhaul the entire warehouse inventory management system - known as the Future Logistics Information Services project - will not be complete until 2014.


In the meantime, the committee expressed concern that funding for the programme could be affected by cuts to the defence budget.


"We are very concerned that, until the systems are fully rolled out in 2014, the high risk of system failure will remain in systems that are critical to supporting front line troops," it said.


Committee chairman Margaret Hodge expressed exasperation at the continuing failure of the MoD to get to grips with problems which, she said, had dogged the supply chain for a quarter of a century.


"The Ministry of Defence has a duty to make sure that our troops serving on the front line get the supplies they need, when they need them and in the most cost-effective way," she said.


"For 25 years, the department has promised this committee that it would resolve the long-standing problems associated with its supply chain: late deliveries, missed targets and inadequate cost information. Yet these problems persist."


Defence equipment minister Peter Luff said the Government was investing £800 million in the supply chain to ensure it was "as efficient and cost effective as possible".


"Ensuring our armed forces on the frontline have all they need is a top priority and there are no shortages in Afghanistan," he said.


"The complexity of supplying a conflict zone should not be underestimated and we have successfully kept our troops supplied, overcoming major challenges like the Icelandic ash cloud and disruption to overland supply routes in Afghanistan."

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19 août 2011 5 19 /08 /août /2011 16:45



19/08/11 By Stephen Trimble SOURCE:Flight Daily News


An initial analysis may absolve the AAI RQ-7 Shadow of blame for a mid-air collision with a Lockheed Martin C-130 over Afghanistan on August 15, according to sources familiar with the investigation.


Rather than colliding with the manned aircraft, the unmanned RQ-7 was overtaken from behind by the C-130, sources said.


Images of the damage to the C-130 posted on the Internet show the aircraft struck the left wing between the two engine nacelles. The damage appeared limited to the leading-edge structures, as well as the tips of some of the C-130's propellers.


Although the RQ-7 was not apparently at fault, several news headlines implied that the unmanned aircraft collided with the manned aircraft and not vice versa. For example, highly popular technology blog Gizmodo's headline declared: "Here's what it looks like when a drone crashes into a C-130."


In reality, neither a manned or unmanned aircraft can sense and avoid a collision from behind in the absence of a cue from ground-based radar or other offboard warning systems.


The highly publicized incident came at a particularly sensitive time for the small-UAS industry. The US FAA is close to publishing new standards for allowing small UAS into the national airspace on a relatively unrestricted basis.


UAS of all sizes have compiled millions of flight hours in Afghanistan and Iraq, but with a mixed safety record. No fatalities have yet been recorded from a collision between a manned and unmanned aircraft, although there have been several reports of hits and near-misses.

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19 août 2011 5 19 /08 /août /2011 12:20


British Army Lynx Helicopter in Afghanistan,

Crown Copyright/Cpl Barry Lloyd


19/08/11 By Craig Hoyle SOURCE:Flight International


One of the UK's major successes of the past year has been the performance of its upgraded AgustaWestland Lynx AH9A utility helicopters in Afghanistan.


"Hot and high" environmental conditions in the country had meant the Lynx was not operationally effective during the summer months. However, a modernisation programme has equipped the Army Air Corps' former 22 Lynx AH9s with more powerful LHTEC T800 engines and new avionics, and transformed the type into a valuable, year-round asset. Since April 2010, enhanced AH9As have been able to perform all three mission tasks required in Afghanistan - lift, find and strike.


The aircraft can carry between two and four passengers, depending on the time of year, and be equipped with an L-3 Wescam MX-15 electro-optical/infrared sensor and a 12.7mm door gun. But the imminent use of the smaller and lighter-weight MX-10 payload will enable the type to instead carry an M3M 0.50cal machine gun. This will enable the Lynx to perform more strike duties and free-up capacity on the army's deployed Westland/Boeing Apache AH1 attack helicopters.


Other uses for the Lynx AH9A in the past 16 months have included its employment as an airborne command and control post, and as an armed escort for Afghan air force Mil Mi-17 transport helicopters flying resupply missions.

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18 août 2011 4 18 /08 /août /2011 12:50


des soldats afghans sur M-113


18/08/2011 Armée de Terre


Pris en charge durant 6 mois par des conseillers militaires français, le 1er  bataillon afghan formé à l’école afghane des blindés achèvera son instruction en août 2011.


Inaugurée en janvier 2011, l’école afghane des blindés, prise en charge par la France, a terminé en août sa 1re  action de formation : la conversion du kandak 2 (bataillon afghan) sur blindés M-113.


La trentaine de conseillers militaires français, initialement chargée de former les unités blindées de l’armée nationale afghane (ANA), a rapidement vu ses missions se réorienter vers la formation des futures unités de réaction rapide. Objectif : former et conseiller l’encadrement afghan, réaliser l’instruction sur M-113, T-62 et bientôt sur blindés légers, et planifier les exercices.


De janvier 2012 à 2014, via des stages de 14 semaines, la France transformera 7 bataillons d’infanterie légère en bataillons de réaction rapide. Chaque corps d’armée afghan disposera ainsi d’un bataillon entraîné. Pour l’ANA, qui sera ainsi capable de remplir les missions d’intervention d’urgence, il s’agit d’un pas de plus vers l’autonomie.

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15 août 2011 1 15 /08 /août /2011 05:45


Image copyright Lockheed Martin Photo


08/08/2011 Posted by Armed Forces International's Defence Correspondent


Three months of field trials in Afghanistan await Lockheed Martin's new Squad Mission Support System design.


As detailed in a recent LM press release, four of the SMSS vehicles will be deployed in total, for formal MUA (Military Utility Assessment) purposes.


This latest phase of the unmanned ground vehicle's testing programme follows earlier assessments carried out in the US. Once in Afghanistan, the four Lockheed Martin SMSSs will rack up a new military world first - never before have ground vehicles, with external operating controls, worked alongside US Army troops in the field.

Afghan SMSS Unmanned Vehicle Trials


The Afghan SMSS unmanned vehicle trials will see all participating assets work to establish whether, in real-life combat scenarios, the SMSSs really can make a difference in terms of reducing the weight of equipment typically carried by soldiers (especially bearing in mind that one troop might typically carry equipment weighing over 45 kilograms).


The deployment will involve the Block 1 version of the Squad Mission Support System, with a 125 mile operating range. Other features, compared to the earlier SMSS Block O, include aspects designed to cover its profile on the battlefield, like noise-suppressed hydraulics and exhaust insulation. There's also a sensor package that locks onto individual troops or provides autonomous, GPS-based navigation.

Afghan Squad Mission Support System Deployment


No specific date has been given for the Afghan Squad Mission Support System deployment but, broadly speaking, it should take place in late 2011. The SMSS doesn't presently feature armament but, according to Lockheed Martin, this should be integrated into future variants. Next generation SMSSs are also set to boast boosted surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities.


"SMSS is the result of more than a decade of robotic technology development, and we welcome the opportunity to demonstrate this capability in theater, where it can have an immediate impact at the squad level", Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Controls ground vehicles vice president, Scott Greene, explained in a company press release.


"The Army has tested the system's capabilities in three domestic user assessments, and SMSS has been deemed ready to deploy."


"An in-theater assessment is the next logical step in the process of informing the requirements for the Army's future squad-sized UGV developments."

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14 août 2011 7 14 /08 /août /2011 05:40


Navisatr 7000 MV in Afganistan


08.08.2011 Navistar - army-guide.com


WARRENVILLE, Ill. -- Navistar Defense, LLC today announced that it received both a contract extension and a delivery order to support Afghanistan Security Forces. The $28 million order from the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command calls for 194 general troop transport vehicles.


The contract extension runs through December 2011 and has a ceiling of $83 million to allow for additional vehicle orders and support packages.


“Supporting the Afghanistan Security Forces has been one of our initiatives since 2005 and it is essential for our nation’s success,” said Archie Massicotte, president, Navistar Defense. “Today we have nearly 12,000 Navistar vehicles serving in security and rebuilding missions with Afghan forces. All of those vehicles leverage our current commercial platforms and we’ll continue to support those units throughout their 15-20 year lifecycles.”


Under the delivery order, Navistar will provide general troop transport vehicles based on the International® 7000-MV, or WorkStar®, platform as well as parts. Other variants currently serving in Afghanistan include wreckers, water tankers and fuel trucks.



“Providing vehicles to allied forces continues to be one piece of our business strategy,” said Massicotte. “While we are always pursuing new sales, providing sustainment services to our fleet of more than 32,000 vehicles also keeps us on track with our goal to maintain a $1.5 to $2 billion revenue base.”


Production will occur at the company’s Garland, Texas, and West Point, Miss., assembly facilities.


Navistar International Corporation is a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates produce International® brand commercial and military trucks, MaxxForce® brand diesel engines, IC Bus™ brand school and commercial buses, Monaco® RV brands of recreational vehicles, and Workhorse® brand chassis for motor homes and step vans. It also is a private-label designer and manufacturer of diesel engines for the pickup truck, van and SUV markets. The company also provides truck and diesel engine service parts

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5 août 2011 5 05 /08 /août /2011 18:40



Aug 5, 2011 ASDNews Source : Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)


A state-of-the-art new shot detection system called Boomerang III has been introduced in patrol bases and checkpoints on the front line of Helmand province to alert troops immediately to the source of incoming fire.


The acoustic shot detection system detects shots fired at bases, and using a high tech display indicates the location of the enemy firing point, allowing troops to rapidly return accurate fire or move to safety.


Lance Bombardier Dyron Yard, from 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, has been using the Boomerang device at his patrol base in Helmand province. He said:


"It triangulates the point where the enemy is firing from. It gives you a range and bearing so that you can put accurate fire on that target and neutralise it."


Captain George Shipman, from 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, has also been using Boomerang in Afghanistan. He said:


"We've had it here for about a month and already we've used it on a number of occasions where checkpoints have been engaged, and it's helped us to identify exactly where that firing point was.


"Usually it would take us maybe ten seconds to identify a firing point using optics, but the Boomerang speeds that up considerably."


After examining emerging technologies to counter the small arms threat, the MOD's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory conducted extensive trials with the Infantry Trials and Development Unit and in theatre, and identified Boomerang III as the preferred solution.


Scientists then made recommendations to industry on how to improve the system and develop it into a capability to save lives on the front line.


Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff, said:


"Boomerang III is an innovative piece of kit which is already proving invaluable to those on the front line. We are committed to researching, developing and delivering the very latest in technology that will give our forces the winning edge."


Bernard Gray, Chief of Defence Materiel, said:


"From concept through to delivery, the procurement of Boomerang has been a team effort across the Department and industry and I am pleased that this important capability is now in theatre helping to protect our troops."


Hundreds of the Boomerang systems have been bought under a pound20m contract with Essex-based company Maxord Ballistics Limited (MBL), which is the UK distributor for Raytheon BBN Technologies who make the system.


Mike Stephens, Technical Director for Maxord Ballistics Limited, who are based in Nazeing, said:


"We are very pleased to be part of a strong team effort that has enabled Boomerang to be delivered to British troops on the front line as quickly as possible.


"MBL and Raytheon BBN Technologies are committed to providing the best support for Boomerang to ensure that our forces have this life-saving capability available night and day and in all the conditions in which they find themselves confronting the enemy."

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5 août 2011 5 05 /08 /août /2011 18:15



05 August 2011 by defenseWeb


Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks have reached an all-time high in Afghanistan and Pakistan as militants gain more experience using the weapons, which account for the most casualties amongst coalition forces.


Senior US military officials quoted by the National Journal say that there were more than 1 600 IED strikes in June, which was 25% higher than the monthly average for the conflict. In May, by contrast, there were 1 250 IED attacks.


IEDs are the main cause of coalition casualties in Afghanistan. This year they have accounted for 158 of the coalition’s 283 battlefield deaths whilst causing 1 248 casualties between April and June – a 15% increase over the same period last year.


Lieutenant General Michael Barbero, head of the Joint IED Defeat Organisation, said that the increase in IED attacks is because of explosives coming from Pakistan.


The number of attacks from improvised explosive devices in neighbouring Pakistan has also increased, growing by more than 145% in the last four years, as expertise in the crude bombs has flowed from militants in Iraq to Afghanistan and eventually to Pakistan.


"Where this expertise is coming from, probably initially it came from Iraq, and then from Afghanistan and now it's here," a Pakistani intelligence official told Reuters.


He said there had been a dip in suicide bombings in Pakistan with a correspondent increase in IED attacks, which are increasingly the weapon of choice for Pakistan insurgents.


"It's a lethal weapon," Interior Minister Rehman Malik said at the beginning of last month, vowing to equip security forces with better detection equipment.


According to figures provided by the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's powerful spy agency, the number of IED attacks on Pakistani troops and security forces soared from 413 in 2007 to 1,015 in 2010, an increase of 145 percent.


But unlike in Iraq, where caches of munitions hidden by Saddam Hussein's regime were the main source of explosive material, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, most IEDs are made using ammonium nitrate, a common fertilizer in Pakistan.


In March last year, Pakistani authorities seized more than 6,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate hidden in a market in Lahore. Zulfiqar Hameed, a senior police official, said three men arrested had links with militants.


In an interview with the National Journal, Barbero said that 84% of the bombs in Afghanistan use calcium ammonium nitrate fertilizer produced at a pair of large factories inside Pakistan. He said US officials had visited the facilities recently as part of a broad push to persuade Islamabad to “put some controls on the flow of this stuff,” but he noted that militants in Pakistan continue to send bomb components to their compatriots over the border in Afghanistan. “The overwhelming majority of it comes from Pakistan … and somehow makes its way into Afghanistan,” Barbero said.


"Explosives are very easily available," said a senior police official in Peshawar, who requested anonymity to speak to the press. "If somebody wants to buy explosive material for mining or other work he can get it through legal ways, but then there is no check or tracking whether it's used properly."


Manuals for making IEDs are available on the internet, he said. "It is not a rocket science and it doesn't require such a huge installation or factory to manufacture it."


IEDs also take a heavy toll on Afghan civilians. A United Nations report released last month found that 1,462 Afghan civilians had been killed from January to June, nearly one-third by insurgent IEDs. The UN found that civilian deaths from IEDs were up 17% compared to the same period a year earlier, making the bombs the “single largest killer of Afghan civilians in the first half of 2011.”


Earlier this year, the US Army began sending “double-V hull” Stryker armoured personnel carriers to Afghanistan in hopes the new design will better protect troops against deadly roadside bombs.

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4 août 2011 4 04 /08 /août /2011 22:13



MOSCOU, 4 août - RIA Novosti


Les dix premiers lots d'équipements étrangers pour les hélicoptères russes Mi-17V5 destinés à l'armée afghane arriveront à l'usine de Kazan d'ici deux mois, a annoncé jeudi à Moscou Viatcheslav Dzirkaln, directeur adjoint du Service fédéral russe pour la coopération militaire et technique (FSVTS).


"Les deux premiers lots seront acheminés à Kazan fin août, les huit autres en septembre" conformément au contrat russo-américain sur la livraison de 21 hélicoptères de transport militaire Mi-17V5 à l'Afghanistan, a indiqué M.Dzirkaln devant les journalistes, démentant ainsi les informations selon lesquelles la réalisation du contrat posait des problèmes.


Le contrat d'un montant de 367,5 millions de dollars, selon les médias, a été conclu en mai dernier par le commandement de l'Armée de terre des Etats-Unis et l'agence russe d'exportation d'armements "Rosoboronexport". Le premier lot d'hélicoptères sera livré à l'Armée de l'air afghane en octobre 2011. Les autres appareils seront remis à l'Afghanistan en 2012.

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29 juillet 2011 5 29 /07 /juillet /2011 06:55



28 Jul 2011 By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent THE TELEGRAPH


Britain has spent more than £18 billion on the war in Afghanistan and significantly underestimated the cost of the campaign in Libya, it emerged yesterday.


The five-year conflict in Helmand is officially estimated to have cost about £4 billion a year, according to Ministry of Defence figures published in a Commons defence committee report.


But the panel of MPs accused the MoD of hiding the true cost of the war by refusing to disclose millions of unseen expenses.


The report added that the bombing campaign in Libya is projected at £260 million if it lasts six months – significantly higher than forecasts made by George Osborne, the Chancellor, in March.


When the first attacks on Col Gaddafi’s forces commenced four months ago, the Chancellor claimed that the cost to Britain would be “in the order of tens of millions of pounds, not hundreds of millions”.


The news comes at a time when the MoD is cutting 28,000 troops and equipment programmes to resolve a £38 billion black hole in its funding.


James Arbuthnot, the chairman of the defence committee, said he was “frustrated” that the MoD “appears to be unable or unwilling to provide the kind of detailed information we ask for, notably in respect of the total cost of military operations and the detail of savings proposed”.


Mr Arbuthnot added that this prevented “proper parliamentary scrutiny”.


Despite providing the committee with a memorandum that showed the £4 billion costs for the 10,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, the MoD did not disclose “core costs” such as wear and tear to equipment and lost training days.


The report suggested that these could amount to £400 million a year.


The figures only covered the cost of operations and failed to accurately reflect the real cost of Britain’s military commitment in Afghanistan, the committee said.


The MPs added: “While it is true that personnel would be paid and equipment procured and used (largely for training purposes), even if the Armed Forces


were not engaged in operations, their deployment brings with it additional costs in terms of training opportunities cancelled or deferred and equipment wear and tear that will eventually have to be met.”


The committee criticised a number of other areas where “insufficient information was provided”, particularly in the breakdown of equipment written-off. This amounted to £4 billion, including the Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft and Harrier jump jet.


Responding to a report in The Daily Telegraph that showed hundreds of the Army’s best officers were applying for redundancy the report also called on the MoD to “show how it will ensure that the voluntary redundancy process does not impact on the future leadership capability and effectiveness of the Armed Services”.


The report also disclosed that the cost of making 11,000 service personnel redundant over the years would amount to an estimated £700 million.

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29 juillet 2011 5 29 /07 /juillet /2011 05:30



DALLAS, TX, July 28th, 2011 -- Lockheed Martin


The U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force, through the Robotics Technology Consortium, selected the Lockheed Martin [NYSE:LMT] Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) to deploy to Afghanistan for a first-of-its-kind military assessment. SMSS will deploy as the winner of the Project Workhorse Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) competition sponsored by the Army.


The largest autonomous vehicle ever to be deployed with infantry, the 11-foot-long SMSS can carry more than half-a-ton of a squad’s equipment on rugged terrain, easing the individual soldier’s burden, which can often exceed 100 pounds.


“SMSS is the result of more than a decade of robotic technology development, and we welcome the opportunity to demonstrate this capability in theater, where it can have an immediate impact at the squad level,” said Scott Greene, vice president of ground vehicles in Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business. “The Army has tested the system’s capabilities in three domestic user assessments, and SMSS has been deemed ready to deploy.”


As part of the three-month Military Utility Assessment (MUA), four vehicles and a field service representative will support light infantry in theater as the service evaluates how autonomous vehicles can support or ease the equipment burden for deployed troops. A fifth vehicle and an engineering team will remain in the U.S. for analysis and additional support. The Army plans to begin the Afghanistan assessment late this year, after a period of evaluations and training.


“An in-theater assessment is the next logical step in the process of informing the requirements for the Army’s future squad-sized UGV developments,” Greene said.


A fully-loaded SMSS is internally transportable on board CH-47 and CH-53 helicopters, providing new logistics capability to light and early-entry forces. The SMSS Block I variant, which will be deployed, has a range of 125 miles and features three control options: supervised autonomy, tele-operation or manually driven. The SMSS sensor suite allows it to lock on and follow any person by recognizing their digital 3-D profile (captured by the onboard sensors), and it can also navigate terrain on its own following a trail of GPS waypoints.


In addition to a month-long MUA at Fort Benning, Ga., in 2009, SMSS has been selected for further evaluation as part of the Army’s Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) Spiral G in November this year. While SMSS has already demonstrated its ability to reduce soldier loads and provide portable power, the November experiment will evaluate its ability to field a reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition mission equipment package.

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28 juillet 2011 4 28 /07 /juillet /2011 17:55


Private Scott Littleton, 2 Mercian Regiment,

wearing the new protective clothing

[Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]


28 Jul 2011 UK MoD - An Equipment and Logistics news article


The final phase of the MOD's pelvic protection system will be issued to troops on the front line in Afghanistan in the next few months along with a new Personal Clothing System.


The Pelvic Protection System is designed to mitigate the effects of explosions on the front line. With Tiers One and Two already in use, the third and final phase of the system will provide additional support to balance personnel's personal safety with the necessary comfort and manoeuvrability they need to undertake operations.


Tier One is worn as underwear, manufactured from scientifically-tested ballistic silk that provides an initial level of protection to mitigate against the effects of blasts, including shrapnel.


Tier Two is a second layer of detachable pelvic body armour, worn by troops when carrying out higher risk tasks outside the wire.


The final tier of the system consists of ballistic knee-length shorts, designed for use by troops whose roles demand greater levels of protection on patrol - such as those operating the lead metal detector in teams searching for Improvised Explosive Devices.


All three tiers integrate with the rest of troops' personal kit, which has now been redesigned specifically to be worn with body armour.


Troops deploying to Afghanistan in October 2011 are to be amongst the first to benefit from this new Personal Clothing System - a tougher, more comfortable and efficient combat uniform that can be easily adapted to suit the many different environments troops face on the frontline.


The different layers include a T-shirt, thermal shirt and windproof thermal smock and take advantage of developments in material technology to provide both thermal insulation and sweat wicking.


On the Multi Terrain Pattern camouflage outer layers, buttons have been replaced with Velcro for greater comfort under body armour. Additional panels reduce wear and tear and pockets are positioned for efficient use even when troops are wearing body armour.


Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff MP, said:


    "Troops on operations already have world-renowned body armour but we continually seek to improve the personal protection available to them.

    "I'm delighted that the final phase of this pelvic protection system - already proving very effective on operations - has now been delivered. Along with the new Personal Clothing System, this will afford our troops greater protection, versatility and comfort on operations.

    "This investment in cutting edge science and technology will benefit the long term welfare of our troops, demonstrating our commitment to providing them with the best possible kit on the front line."


In addition, troops in Afghanistan are to be issued with bacteria repellent socks - which are completely waterproof.


The knee-length socks will help to keep troops feet dry when they are wading through ditches and streams. To keep feet hygienic, they have antimicrobial properties similar to those found in medical dressings.


They are also superior to conventional socks, keeping feet warmer during the winter months. They will also be issued to troops deploying to Afghanistan in October 2011.



Tier Three of the Pelvic Protection System

[Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]



Tier two of the pelvic protection system

[Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

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