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6 juillet 2011 3 06 /07 /juillet /2011 07:55

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05.07.2011 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense

 

L'EMAT envisage une "Félinisation complète du théâtre afghan".

 

Il va falloir faire vite puisque le chef de l'Etat a annoncé le retrait que quelques centaines d'hommes au cours des mois qui viennent et que personne pour l'instant ne remet en cause la date butoir de 2014 pour un retrait de la composante "combat" française, seule la composante "formation" étant appelée à demeurer sur le territoire afghan.

 

Quoi qu'il en soit, la projection du système FELIN se précise. Le 1er régiment d'infanterie de Sarrebourg (déjà déployé au cours du premier semestre 2009) va gagner l'Afghanistan à partir de novembre prochain. Cette unité a été équipée du système FELIN en octobre 2010; elle suit actuellement un cycle de mise en condition avant projection (MCP).

Le déploiement des soldats du 1er RI vise la validation au combat du système d'armes pendant la phase hivernale de la campagne; une autre unité équipée du FELIN validera l'équipement pendant l'été 2012.

 

Des enseignements tactiques ont déjà montré que le FELIN répond aux besoins de protection individuelle et confère de meilleures capacités de communication; mais le poids du gilet de protection balistique reste problématique et des projets d'allégement seraient à l'étude.

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6 juillet 2011 3 06 /07 /juillet /2011 05:40

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July 5, 2011 Ma Sum Ghar, Afghanistan (AFP) spacewar.com

 

After nine years, 157 troop deaths and over US$11 billion spent, Canada's combat mission in Afghanistan finally comes to an end this week.

 

With popular support for the war sapped at home, some of the nearly 3,000 Canadian troops, based mainly in the dangerous battleground of Kandahar, have already started returning from Afghanistan, and the rest will follow soon.

 

In recent days and weeks they have been completing their final patrols, packing up dusty outposts and gathering at the giant Kandahar airfield military base to debrief before starting to catch their flights home.

 

The official end of Canada's hard-fought mission, which began in early 2002, a few months after the US-led invasion of the country, comes on Thursday.

 

Other countries have also announced partial troop withdrawals as Western voters tire of nearly a decade of war, but the Canadians are the first major troop contributor to start sending forces home this year.

 

On Tuesday, Canadian troops handed over control of their last district in a flag-lowering ceremony, a key symbolic step in the drawdown process, although the Americans have already been in place for weeks.

 

The ceremony at Forward Operating Base Ma Sum Ghar, a rocky outpost surrounded by snipers in Kandahar's Panjwayi district, saw US forces formally take control from Canada's 1st Battalion Royal 22nd Regiment.

 

Last month, US President Barack Obama announced that he would withdraw 33,000 US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, while France, Belgium and Britain have also said they will soon bring some troops home.

 

All foreign combat forces are due to leave by the end of 2014 and hand security to Afghan forces.

 

Canadian commanders insist they have made strong gains since they moved into Kandahar, the Taliban's birthplace and one of the war's fiercest hotspots.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Michel-Henri St Louis, the battlegroup commander who represented Canada at the handover ceremony, said the mission began in Kandahar in 2006 with some severe fighting.

 

"Then since those very difficult engagements, this has served as a centre point for command and control and logistics in south Afghanistan," he said.

 

"Ma Sum Ghar is really symbolic of that effort, it has been at the centre of our deployment."

 

Brigadier General Ahmad Habibi, Afghan commander in the area, paid tribute to the Canadians, part of whose role has been to help build up his forces.

 

"You have all earned a great name in the heart of people in Afghanistan and please take that with pride to your homes," he told the ceremony.

 

But question marks remain over controversial claims that Canada transferred Afghan prisoners to Afghan custody knowing they could face torture.

 

The Canadian government insists that top-secret files released last month show the allegations are not credible.

 

Public opposition to the war in Canada is growing, with a poll earlier this year by Vision Critical/Angus Reid indicating that 63 percent of Canadians opposed it, compared to 47 percent in 2010.

 

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper first pledged in 2008 that troops would leave this year.

 

After US forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May, he said he believed Afghanistan was "no longer a source of global terrorism."

 

While many troops say they feel elated to be going home to their families, commanders insist they will stay focused on the job right up until the end.

 

A separate Canadian training mission involving 950 troops will work in Kabul with Afghan security forces as locals take an increasing role in protecting their own country, despite lingering questions about their capabilities.

 

Canada will also continue to give aid to Afghanistan, and its overall involvement between now and the end of 2014 is expected to cost around US$700 million a year.

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4 juillet 2011 1 04 /07 /juillet /2011 17:55

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Simulation shed: air-conditioned units containing vehicle simulators

in the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer - Picture: Lockheed Martin

 

4 Jul 11 UK MoD - A Training and Adventure news article

 

A huge virtual reality training facility in Sennelager, Germany, which uses the latest 3D gaming technology, is helping British forces, from individuals to entire battle groups, prepare for operations in southern Afghanistan. Report by Sharon Kean - report first published in the July 2011 issue of Soldier - magazine of the British Army.

 

Two years ago, PlayStation-style war games helped soldiers of 5th Battalion The Rifles (5 RIFLES) get ready for their tour of Iraq.

 

Before departing for theatre, troops spent hours in simulators and replica operations rooms at the Sennelager Training Centre in Germany, driving virtual vehicles and commanding computer-generated ground patrols.

 

Many of those soldiers are now gearing up for Op HERRICK 15 and once again the early stages of their pre-deployment preparation took place in cyberspace.

 

Major Jim Faux of The Rifles oversees mission-specific training at the Sennelager facility. He said the aim was to give personnel a full picture of southern Afghanistan:

 

    "We replicate Helmand as closely as we can without getting the real people - it's not immersion, it's teaching theatre tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as command and staff drills," he said.

     "The simulation is absolutely critical to what we do because there is nowhere else we can exercise like this without putting hundreds of soldiers and vehicles out on the ground.

     "It's not quite 'Call of Duty' [a popular computer war game] but it's getting there," he continued. "We're seeing the guys go out the door and do very similar missions.

     "On HERRICK 12, [1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment] carried out an air strike they had rehearsed here, and it was a huge success. 42 Commando [Royal Marines] have also just undertaken an aviation insert with a ground link-up in Nahr-e Saraj district that was similar to one they practised."

 

Two different training units use the gaming-influenced technology.

 

The Combined Arms Staff Trainer allows headquarters personnel to fight on-screen battles during a week-long exercise which tests commanders' plans and the performance of operations room staff.

 

A separate five-day course at the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) sees drivers and ground forces drafted in to digital missions, using vehicle simulators to increase the level of tactical complexity.

 

Lifelike imagery from theatre is beamed onto flatscreens and backed up by real Afghan actors who are on hand to role-play situations with the exercising troops.

 

Vehicle Commander Lance Corporal Saul Brunt, 5 RIFLES, said he was impressed with the CATT facility:

 

    "I will be working in Mastiff and Husky armoured vehicles in Helmand, and these exercises are exactly what we will be doing on operations," he said.

     "It's good being able to look in-depth on the ground and the zoom is amazing - I can see details such as groups of civilians and herds of goats, and also where IEDs [improvised explosive devices] have been laid.

     "It's a bit odd when someone knocks on the simulator door and I have to pull out my best Pashtu, but it's good because it's another thing to think about," he added.

 

Mastering new weapons and vehicles such as the Sharpshooter rifle and Mastiff remains a key part of pre-deployment training, but modern warfare skills, such as language and cultural awareness, are playing an increasingly important role:

 

    "We are checking that these young boys - corporals and riflemen - have the ability to talk to someone through an interpreter and show themselves to be professional and in command of a situation," said Warrant Officer Class 2 James Byrne, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, who oversees the simulator-based learning in the tactical trainer.

     "The Afghans will not speak to him if he doesn't appear confident and starts asking them stupid questions.

     "I look to see whether they are using the language they have learnt correctly and how they interact with people because that's a big part of being a vehicle commander."

     "In the Army today you need to be able to communicate as well as fire a weapon," he added.

 

Every effort is made to ensure the simulated experience is as close to reality as possible so troops get maximum benefit from the real-life mission rehearsal exercises that follow:

 

    "We had the Close Support Logistics Regiment in here a few weeks ago replicating their communication kit, weapons systems, and spacing drills for vehicles," said WO2 Byrne.

     "They were all sorted out before they got behind the wheel. It's excellent preparation for them."

 

Perfecting their drills in Helmand-themed simulations will stand personnel from 5 RIFLES in good stead for their battle group role.

 

The next lesson for the infantry unit will be in using their cyber-honed skills on the proving grounds of the Stanford Training Area and Salisbury Plain, but they will have to wait until the autumn to see the true benefit of the virtual training, when it is put to the test in southern Afghanistan.

 

Meanwhile, HERRICK-bound headquarters personnel get a taste of computerised conflict during a week-long course at the impressive Combined Arms Staff Trainer (CAST).

 

The focus is on taking a problem and turning it into a set of military orders, with soldiers working in a brigade or company command setting.

 

Operations rooms are set up to replicate those found in the forward operating bases in theatre, which instruct Combined Forces responsible for specific areas such as Lashkar Gah or Nad 'Ali.

 

All major units deploying to Afghanistan will pass through the CAST at either Sennelager in Germany or Catterick and Warminster in the UK.

 

The trainers see between 100 and 120 personnel coming together for the first time to form a mission control hub:

 

    "We start them off with the basic stuff for day-to-day living on operations, such as patrols, leader engagement and moving food, water and ammo," said Lieutenant Colonel Nick Channer of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, responsible for running the course at the Sennelager site.

     "We build up the complexity by giving them a number of intelligence feeds that lead them to an objective, which they will plan to strike."

 

Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) detail from Afghanistan has been added to simulations, and those deploying on Op HERRICK 15 will be the first to benefit:

 

    "It's as realistic as it can be," Lt Col Channer said. "A commander will come in and sit with an Xbox controller and take his patrol out on the ground, and headquarters will see their men moving around on the screens."

 

Lockheed Martin's Combined Arms Tactical Trainer is the world's largest virtual reality training system, allowing up to 400 war-fighters to train together in an immersive computer-generated environment.

 

More than 140 mock vehicle cabs, turrets and firing points are housed in metal containers in a huge warehouse-like space that is roughly the same size as a football pitch.

 

Troops under training fight digital foes, with on-screen operations viewed through a simulator's periscopes or weapon sights.

 

An adjacent room contains a headquarters from where commanders and intelligence officers can plan and view missions as they unfold.

 

Entire battle groups can be connected in cyberspace through a local area network that hooks up hundreds of control stations and allows their actions to interact and contribute to synthetic serials.

 

Personnel are routinely immersed in virtual wars for hours - and the level of reality is such that some will experience 'simulation sickness' similar to the effect of a roller coaster.

 

As well as lifelike graphics, realistic terrain and sound effects, small details - such as engines overheating if left idle for too long - are played out:

 

    "The level of detail is fantastic," said Major Edward Whishaw of the Corps of Royal Engineers, in charge of the £330m facility, which boasts one the largest air-conditioning units in the world to prevent the mass of computer equipment from overheating.

     "We used to have stick men running around on screen, but now we have game-quality features with 3D lifelike human figures," he continued.

     "It's a modern gaming environment that, hopefully, a young 18- or 19-year-old soldier will appreciate; replicating theatre with a carbon copy of reality, and getting vehicle crews and multiples to come together and train.

     "It doesn't replace the real thing, but it complements it by making sure troops are prepared to get the most out of field exercises that follow."

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4 juillet 2011 1 04 /07 /juillet /2011 12:25

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Jul 4, 2011 ASDNews Source : Kazi Investment Group, LLC

 

Arlington, Virginia - Kazi Investment Group, LLC (KIG), today announced that it has been selected by the U. S. Army RDECOM Contracting, Natick Contracting Division on behalf of the U.S. Army / Joint Program Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, Force Protection Systems as a prime contractor on RDECOM's ECP3/NIIS (Entry Control Point Phase 3 / Non-Intrusion Inspection System) contract.

 

Awarded on June 23, 2011, the multiple-award, indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract is for a period of three years plus two 1-year options and an initial total value of $248,512,500. The IDIQ requires the procurement, installation and integration of, and related training on, various force protection surveillance and inspection equipment, including personnel/vehicle/cargo scanners & inspection systems, daytime and infrared surveillance systems, integrated C2 systems (command & control), and biometric systems, as well as related construction and installation of security entry point and perimeter protection systems.

 

"KIG is honored to have the opportunity to serve the U.S. Army on task orders awarded under this contract and we look forward to supporting this important program," said Bash Kazi, KIG's President. "KIG professionals have many years of dedicated experience to the US Government on counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan and around the world, and we very much look forward to leveraging our strengths and areas of expertise in support of the US warfighter in Afghanistan."

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4 juillet 2011 1 04 /07 /juillet /2011 12:15

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4 Jul 2011 UK MoD


A Royal Navy rating recently found herself, rifle in hand, defending a small checkpoint in Helmand province, as a Royal Marines patrol under attack from insurgents was returning to safety.

Just as the sun was setting on Checkpoint (CP) Salaang in Helmand province, machine gun fire was heard coming from a neighbouring compound.

 

Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES) were brewing tea and preparing their evening meal when they heard the sound of an AK-47 assault rifle being fired. They immediately grabbed their rifles and body armour, then moved to take up positions along the walls of CP Salaang.

 

Already sitting on top of the barrier with her rifle aimed and ready to fire was Able Seaman (AB) Heidi Telford:

"The lads told me to get on the wall," she said. "I didn't know what was going on at first. The only thought that was going through my head was 'don't come near me!'"

The 21-year-old from Plymouth is serving on Operation HERRICK 14 as part of the Female Engagement Team (FET) in Nahr-e Saraj (South) [NES(S)]. In many parts of Afghanistan women are not permitted to talk to or associate with men outside of their immediate family. This hinders male troops from engaging with half of the country's population. AB Telford, along with other FET members, works to bridge these cultural divides.

 

Two years ago, while attending college and serving as a waitress at Her Majesty's Naval Base Devonport, AB Telford decided she wanted to travel the world and meet different people. So, following in the footsteps of her father, who had served in the Royal Navy for 23 years, she signed up.

 

 

 

AB Telford was formally trained to be a chef aboard ship. During her first deployment she served in the galley on board HMS Portland. It was during this deployment that her commanding officer recommended AB Telford for assignment to the next Female Engagement Team going to Afghanistan.

 

That is how she found herself on top of a HESCO wall defending the small checkpoint alongside soldiers from 1 RIFLES as Royal Marines from 45 Commando, who had come under attack from insurgents hiding in a compound 300m away, tried to make it back to safety.

 

Recently, Royal Engineers from the Task Force Helmand Engineer Group built a bridge across the Nahr-e Bughra canal to help improve trade and freedom of movement for the local Afghan community there. AB Telford now spends several hours each day on the southern side of the bridge working with Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers, known as warriors, to screen any females who might be smuggling drugs or weapons into the protected community.

 

Major Paul Kyte, Officer Commanding Support Company, 1 RIFLES, said:

"Able Seaman Telford has provided us with an ability to engage with females. She's done a cracking job in liaison with the ANA warriors in separating the females travelling in vehicles and being able to search them, but, more importantly, to search the vehicles in which they're travelling. It's a sensitive issue in Afghanistan. We've got to be aware of the cultural sensitivities involved."

AB Telford says she enjoys being able to greet local Afghan women, and does her best to assure them she means no harm:

"They're quite scared at first, but, once they see me and see that I'm a female, they start smiling."

AB Telford lives and works alongside the men of 1 RIFLES. Like them, she carries a rifle, goes on patrols, fills sandbags, and mans a sentry post for several hours while wearing body armour and enduring temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius.

 

Sergeant Alex Miller, who works with the Military Stabilisation Support Team in NES(S), said:

"She just mucks in with everyone else. She wants to do an excellent job out here. She's very enthusiastic about doing it."

AB Telford admits the lifestyle she is now embracing is quite different from the one she was used to when she was serving at sea:

"I find it very hot and stressful. It's different sleeping on the ground and tasting dust in my mouth. But, even though it's hard, having the guys around really helps! They're good and look out for me. I'd be lost without them."

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4 juillet 2011 1 04 /07 /juillet /2011 06:55

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Militaires britanniques en patrouille dans une rue de Kaboul. Selon le Sunday Times, la Grande-Bretagne doit annoncer la semaine prochaine son intention de retirer 500 à 800 soldats d'Afghanistan de février à décembre 2012. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani)

 

03/07/2011 L’Express.fr - Reuters

 

La Grande-Bretagne doit annoncer la semaine prochaine son intention de retirer 500 à 800 soldats d'Afghanistan de février à décembre 2012, écrit le Sunday Times.

 

Cette décision fait suite à celle, annoncée en juin, du retrait de milliers de soldats américains dans les mois à venir.

 

"Le Premier ministre (David Cameron) a dit clairement qu'il n'y aurait plus de troupes britanniques en situation de combat en Afghanistan en 2015, et il est bon que nous rapatrions des troupes prochainement, là où l'amélioration de la situation le permet, et en prenant en compte l'avis des militaires", a déclaré un porte-parole du ministère britannique de la Défense.

 

Le gouvernement britannique avait annoncé en mai qu'il retirerait 400 hommes d'Afghanistan dans les neuf mois suivants, ramenant les effectifs britanniques à 9.500 soldats.

 

Le Sunday Times dit croire que Cameron annoncera mercredi un retrait de 500 à 800 hommes supplémentaires entre février et décembre 2012.

 

La Grande-Bretagne a le deuxième contingent étranger le plus important d'Afghanistan, et la majeure partie de ses troupes se trouvent dans le Helmand, une province du sud du pays.

 

Michael Holden, Eric Faye pour le service français

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4 juillet 2011 1 04 /07 /juillet /2011 06:15

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3 Jul 2011 DefenseNews AFP

 

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military is expanding its Central Asian supply routes to the war in Afghanistan, fearing that the routes going through Pakistan could be endangered by deteriorating U.S.-Pakistani relations, The Washington Post reported late on July 2.

 

Citing unnamed Pentagon officials, the newspaper said that in 2009, the United States moved 90 percent of its military surface cargo through the Pakistani port of Karachi and then through mountain passes into Afghanistan.

 

Now almost 40 percent of surface cargo arrives in Afghanistan from the north, along a patchwork of Central Asian rail and road routes that the Pentagon calls the Northern Distribution Network, the report said.

 

The military is pushing to raise the northern network's share to as much as 75 percent by the end of this year, the paper said.

 

In addition, the U.S. government is negotiating expanded agreements with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other countries that would allow for delivery of additional supplies to the Afghan war zone, The Post said.

 

The United States also wants permission to withdraw vehicles and other equipment from Afghanistan as the U.S. military prepares to pull out one-third of its forces by September 2012, the paper noted.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama announced last month that 10,000 troops would leave this year and all 33,000 personnel sent as part of a surge ordered in late 2009 would be home by next summer, leaving a U.S. force of some 65,000.

 

There are currently up to 150,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, including about 99,000 from the United States. Obama has indicated a series of drawdowns until Afghan forces assume security responsibility in 2014.

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3 juillet 2011 7 03 /07 /juillet /2011 11:30

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The number of British troops in Afghanistan will fall below 9,000 Photo: PA

 

02 Jul 2011 By Sean Rayment, and Patrick Hennessy THE TELEGRAPH

 

David Cameron is to order the withdrawal of an additional 500 British troops from Afghanistan in a move which is set to anger defence chiefs.

 

The troops, some of whom will be front-line soldiers, will be withdrawn next summer. It is the first time fighting troops are to be brought home.

 

The decision goes against the advice given to the Prime Minister earlier this year by commanders.

 

They warned that cutting troop numbers, which currently stand at 9,500, should not be done too quickly or too deeply and said that it could reverse hard-won gains made by the Army since 2006.

 

It also coincides with a dispute in Whitehall over supplying 12 more Chinook helicopters to forces in Helmand, with Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, facing resistance over the order of the new aircraft from the Treasury.

 

The withdrawal of 500 servicemen follows the announcement last month that 450 British troops will be brought home in the first reduction in strength, which is expected this autumn.

 

It is intended to correspond with American "surge" forces being withdrawn under orders from President Barack Obama to expedite a departure from Afghanistan.

 

All 33,000 US surge troops will be removed from Afghanistan by the end of next year, with the first 5,000 returning in July.

 

Significantly, it will mean that the number of British troops in the country will fall below 9,000. While General Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff, "volunteered" the withdrawal of the original 450 British troops, he is known to be deeply concerned about pulling out more soldiers and Royal Marines.

 

One defence source said reducing the size of the British force too quickly would send the wrong message to the Taliban, undermine morale and potentially further endanger the lives of servicemen.

 

Details of the Prime Minister’s decision came as defence sources said that Britain would no longer take part in major military offensives in Afghanistan such as Operation Moshtarak, which saw insurgents cleared from central Helmand in February last year.

 

A source said: "All major operations will be led by the Afghans and we will offer support. If we have to return to planning and conducting major operations against the Taliban then something has gone seriously wrong.

 

"We will retain the capability to conduct major operations but the days of British troops being involved in full-scale battles are over."

 

All British combat operations in Afghanistan will cease by 2015, the year of the next general election. The pledge has raised military suspicions that political concerns are driving defence policy.

 

"General Sir Peter Wall, the head of the Army, suggested last month that the 2015 timetable could slip if conditions on the ground deteriorated.

 

One senior source said: "As far as the Prime Minister is concerned Afghanistan is finished — the message is we are getting out at the end of 2014, or beginning of 2015 come what may.

 

"But the view of the chiefs is that conditions on the ground must be the deciding factor.

 

Pulling troops out now is a real risk. The surge is ending right at the time when it is having its maximum effect. We have the Taliban on the run and now we are easing off on the pressure."

 

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "UK force levels in Afghanistan are kept under constant review.

 

"The Prime Minister has been clear that there will be no UK troops in combat roles in Afghanistan by 2015 and it is right that we bring troops home sooner where progress allows and taking account of military advice."

 

Separately, there are fears that the 12 Chinooks pledged by Mr Cameron last year could be scaled back or scrapped.

 

Last night sources close to Dr Fox claimed the helicopters would be provide, even though a formal order has yet to be received by Boeing eight months after the Prime Minister made the pledge.

 

"We need these helicopters and we will have them," a leading Ministry of Defence source said.

 

Some MPs fear the order will fall foul of the "rotary wing capability study", an MoD review of helicopter requirements that will report in the autumn.

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1 juillet 2011 5 01 /07 /juillet /2011 12:20

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Jul 1, 2011 ASDNews Source : Thales Group

 

London, UK - Thales UK's Searchwater 2000 airborne early warning (AEW) radar, fitted as part of the Cerberus mission system in the Royal Navy (RN) Sea King Mk7s currently deployed in Afghanistan, has been playing a critical role in helping crews combat Taliban operations with its state-of-the-art surveillance capability.

 

During recent operations, deployed Sea King crews have described the radar as 'unique' and both British and coalition partners have stated that it is a 'key contributory factor' in protecting civilians and military personnel from the insurgents, providing the essential 'eyes' for the land force commander.

 

Use of the Searchwater radar over land demonstrates the inherent flexibility of the system that was originally designed to provide airborne force protection for RN task groups at sea.

 

Operating out of Camp Bastion, the Sea King crews are tasked with land surveillance, supporting ground troops and collecting invaluable data, which is then analysed further to build a picture of the pattern of life in Helmand Province. The Sea King detachment is shared on a rotational basis between 854 and 857 Naval Air Squadrons, normally based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall.

 

Speaking of the ongoing tempo of current operations, Commander Pat Douglas, Sea King Force Commander, says: "Having now been operating in Afghanistan for two years, the Mark 7 Sea King has become central to the ongoing fight against the insurgents. Daily involved in the battle to stem the flow of improvised explosive devices, drugs and people who aim to harm both our forces and the Afghanistan nationals, I am very proud of the contribution the RN is able to make, even though we are a long, long way from the sea."

 

Thales has been involved in providing the RN's rotary wing AEW capability since the early 1980s when a force protection capability gap was graphically identified during the 1982 Falklands War when a number of surface ships were sunk by enemy aircraft. The Sea King AEW Mk2 was rushed into service to fill this gap carrying a modified Searchwater radar transferred from the Royal Air Force's Nimrod MR aircraft.

 

After winning the contract for a system mid-life update in 1997, Thales delivered an upgraded and enhanced Searchwater 2000 AEW radar as part of the Cerberus mission system. The upgraded aircraft was re-designated the Sea King Mk7.

 

As well as the Searchwater radar, Cerberus also has the benefit of a fully integrated Link 16 data link, integrated automatic identification system, secure communications and inertial navigation/GPS navigation to provide a comprehensive airborne sur-veillance and control (ASaC) capability. Thales was the prime contractor for the Sea King Mk7 programme and delivered the first aircraft in 2002 on time and to budget.

 

Further enhancements to the Cerberus mission system have allowed the RN to develop the aircraft's overland capability such that it can now make a significant con-tribution to intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) in the land battle while still retaining ASaC and maritime force protection capabilities.

 

This is not the first time that these helicopters have been tested in the heat of battle: Shortly after the Mk7 entered RN service, it was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation 'Telic' for maritime force protection, fighter control and increasingly for developing situation awareness in the littoral and overland in support of ground forces. In both theatres it has proved its worth, providing a flexible, reactive and unique ISTAR capability, able to operate equally well from land or sea.

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1 juillet 2011 5 01 /07 /juillet /2011 12:00

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July 1, 2011: STRATEGY PAGE

 

Four years ago, Canada donated 2,500 C-7 assault rifles to the Afghan Army. The C-7s are variants of the U.S. M-16. Recently, the Afghans returned the gift. Most of it, as hundreds of the donated C-7s had been lost (to battle, theft or whatever). The problem here was that the Afghans had subsequently decided to standardize on the M-16, and the C-7 is just different enough (and has several parts that are not interchangeable with the M-16) to be unsuitable.

 

On the plus side, the 2,500 C-7s were due to be destroyed anyway (they had been in service since the 1980s), and the gift came with training on how to use the C-7s. This was not wasted, as it takes very little time and effort to switch from C-7 to M-16. Canada also included seven million rounds of 5.56mm ammo, which works equally well in the C-7 or M-16.

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1 juillet 2011 5 01 /07 /juillet /2011 06:30

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KABOUL, 28 juin - RIA Novosti

 

Un drone de l'Otan s'est écrasé en Afghanistan, le troisième en deux jours, rapporte mardi le correspondant de RIA Novosti à Kaboul.

Selon le ministère afghan de la Défense, le dernier crash d'un appareil sans pilote à bord s'est produit dans la province de Kunar (est). Lundi, deux drones s'étaient écrasés dans les provinces de Kapissa et d'Herat.

Dans les trois cas, le service de presse de la Force internationale d'assistance à la sécurité (ISAF) n'a rien rapporté sur les causes des crashs et les endroits des incidents, en prétendant toutefois qu'il n'y avait pas eu de tirs sur les appareils depuis le sol.

Néanmoins, le porte-parole des talibans Zabihullah Mujahed affirme que tous les trois drones ont été abattus par le feu depuis la terre.

Annonçant en mai dernier l'offensive de printemps baptisée Badar, la direction du mouvement Taliban avait promis d'employer de nouvelles armes modernes contre les occupants étrangers.

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30 juin 2011 4 30 /06 /juin /2011 17:50

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photo lockheedmartin.com

 

AKRON, Ohio, June 30 (UPI)

 

Lockheed Martin in Ohio is beginning work on more persistent threat detection systems for the U.S. Army for use in Afghanistan.

 

The undefinitized contract action is for 29 of the tethered, lighter-than-air systems and is worth $184.3 million.

 

Lockheed delivered 28 PTDS in 2010 for use in theater, bringing the total number of systems provided to the U.S. Army to date to 37.

 

The PTDS is a highly effective, combat-proven, aerostat-based intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications system in support of force-protection and counter-IED missions. Used by the Army since 2004, the systems provide around-the-clock coverage of broad geographic areas for weeks at a time with multi-mission sensors.

 

"Over the past several years, the Department of Defense has placed an increased emphasis on delivering affordable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to the warfighter," said Colleen Arthur, director of Lockheed Martin's Integrated Defense Technologies business. "PTDS has been doing just that in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

"By providing timely and actionable intelligence, PTDS helps protect our troops from IEDs and other types of threats."

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30 juin 2011 4 30 /06 /juin /2011 06:10

http://www.lefigaro.fr/medias/2011/06/29/7e6093a0-a286-11e0-8a2c-c68f93e3c27c.jpg

 

29/06/2011 Par Thierry Portes – LeFigaro.fr

 

C'est au cœur du dispositif militaire français en Afghanistan qu'ont été enlevés, le 30 décembre 2009, Hervé Ghesquière et Stéphane Taponier. Les deux journalistes de France 3 avaient commencé leur reportage au sein des forces tricolores. Ils les avaient ensuite quittées pour s'enfoncer, avec trois accompagnateurs afghans, sur la route reliant la province de Kapissa à celle de Surobi. Parti à l'aube, le groupe, qui espère interviewer des habitants hors de toute présence militaire, téléphone une dernière fois à 11 heures. Quelques heures plus tard, l'ambassade de France prévient la direction de France 3 de leur disparition, dans la localité d'Omarkheil, à 50 km de la capitale afghane.

 

Les deux provinces de Kapissa et Surobi, au nord-est de Kaboul, se trouvent sur l'axe historique reliant la capitale afghane à la grande ville pakistanaise de Peshawar. De tout temps, cette route a soutenu les échanges pakistano-afghans. Des camions bariolés et surchargés continuent bien d'y circuler, mais, au fil de plus de trente années de guerre, les combattants et les armes ont remplacé les commerçants et les fruits et légumes. En se moquant de la ligne de frontière, d'une vallée encaissée à l'autre passent à pied ou à dos de mulets des groupes armés de talibans et des chargements illicites.

 

4000 soldats français

 

Au début de leur mission, en 2001, les soldats français positionnés en Kapissa et Surobi dépendaient de deux zones de commandement militaire des forces internationales, celle de Kaboul et celle de l'est de l'Afghanistan. L'armée française s'est ensuite désinvestie de Kaboul pour prendre, à compter de 2008, le contrôle opérationnel des deux provinces. Environ 4 000 soldats français, qui effectuent des rotations tous les six mois, y sont en permanence déployés.

 

Les accrochages avec les talibans sont fréquents. Le printemps, quand la végétation couvre le fond des vallées le long des ruisseaux, est propice aux déplacements des rebelles et aux embuscades. Les engins explosifs improvisés (IED) sont la plus grande menace pour les convois de véhicules blindés. Les hommes du génie sont fréquemment attaqués lorsqu'ils recherchent ou désamorcent un IED. Le 25 juin dernier, le 63e soldat français tombé sous les balles des insurgés assurait en bordure d'une route de Kapissa la protection d'éléments du génie.

 

Depuis qu'elle s'est engagée plus fermement dans le contrôle de la Kapissa, l'armée française est devenue la cible des talibans et de leurs alliés d'al-Qaida. Cette zone de Kapissa, plus difficile à tenir que celle de Surobi, est sous l'influence de plusieurs groupes armés, notamment de celui du Hezb-e-Islami, dirigé par le commandant moudjahid historique Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Les deux otages auraient sans doute pu être rapidement libérés s'il avait été possible de trouver un accord avec le groupe de talibans locaux qui les avait capturés. Mais il semble que des émissaires de la «choura de Quetta» (ville du Pakistan où les talibans sous les ordres du mollah Omar ont trouvé refuge) ont fait monter les enchères.

 

Le 31 décembre 2009, les militaires français localisent Hervé Ghesquière et Stéphane Taponier dans une maison de la vallée d'Alasay, où ne s'étaient pas risquées les troupes soviétiques stationnées, comme les forces françaises, près du village de Tagab. Mais les otages sont sans cesse déplacés. Des agents de la DGSE établissent des contacts avec les hommes de Qari Baryal, l'un des chefs talibans locaux. L'armée française, elle, bloque toute exfiltration hors de la Kapissa. Le passage des otages vers le Pakistan voisin aurait sans doute rendu plus difficile encore la libération des deux journalistes.

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29 juin 2011 3 29 /06 /juin /2011 11:45

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Britain did not have enough troops and helicopters in Afghanistan until last year, according to a senior US general.

 

29 Jun 2011 By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent THE TELEGRAPH

 

American concerns over the effectiveness of the British force in Helmand led US commanders to deploy more forces there, effectively bailing out the struggling British mission.

 

Gen Dan McNeill, a former Nato commander in Afghanistan, said it was only in 2010 that the British operation was given the troops, equipment and support needed to be effective.

 

His assessment came as David Cameron prepared to start cutting the 9,500-strong British force, with hundreds of troops due to leave later this year. It was likely to fuel the debate about a withdrawal, with some senior British officers concerned that the Prime Minister is moving too quickly.

 

In a BBC interview to be broadcast tonight, Gen McNeill said the British mission in Helmand was given the resources it required only after he raised concerns about its capability with the US government. "The British force in Helmand was under-resourced, make no mistake, but I will leave that to the British leadership, both military and civilian, to decide how much it was under-resourced," Gen McNeill said.

 

"It actually began with me. I began to express to the leadership in the United States of America that this was an under-resourced force – in manoeuvre forces, flying machines and intelligence. That did not change until, I'd say, 2010."

 

In the BBC documentary, Afghanistan: The Battle for Helmand, senior military figures voice serious concerns about the way Britain began a major military operation in Helmand in 2006.

 

Air Chief Marshal Lord Stirrup, who was until last year the head of Britain's Armed Forces, told the programme that without US support, Britain might have had to withdraw from the province. "We had got to about the limit of our sustainable deployed force," he said. "It wasn't sufficient even for Helmand let alone more widely across the south. We may have had to withdraw; we would certainly have had to take a different approach."

 

Britain's limitations in Helmand initially led commanders to adopt a "platoon house" strategy, with troops confined to isolated posts that were frequently attacked by the Taliban.

 

Brigadier Ed Butler, a former infantry commander in Afghanistan, said the approach led to excessive violence and undermined efforts to win support among Afghans. "There was more destruction than construction going on in the places we were trying to help," he said.

 

Gen Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff who commanded Nato forces in Afghanistan, insisted that there had been a "staggering improvement" in security in Helmand since 2006. "It looks to me as if we can be cautiously optimistic," he said.

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28 juin 2011 2 28 /06 /juin /2011 18:00

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A Tethered aerostat surveillance system. Credit: Lockheed Martin.

 

June 28, 2011 SHEPARD GROUP Source: Lockheed Martin

 

Lockheed Martin recently received a $184.3 million undefinitized contract action from the US Army to begin production of 29 additional Persistent Threat Detection Systems (PTDS) to support coalition forces in Afghanistan.

 

In 2010, Lockheed Martin delivered 28 PTDS for use in theater, bringing the total number of systems provided to the US Army to 37.

 

PTDS is a highly effective, combat-proven, aerostat-based intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications system in support of force-protection and counter-IED (improvised explosive devices) missions. Used by the Army since 2004, the systems provide around-the-clock coverage of broad geographic areas for weeks at a time with multi-mission sensors.

 

"Over the past several years, the Department of Defense has placed an increased emphasis on delivering affordable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to the warfighter," said Colleen Arthur, director of Lockheed Martin's Integrated Defense Technologies business. "PTDS has been doing just that in Iraq and Afghanistan. By providing timely and actionable intelligence, PTDS helps protect our troops from IEDs and other types of threats."

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28 juin 2011 2 28 /06 /juin /2011 17:10

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/96/US-TRANSCOM-Emblem.svg/600px-US-TRANSCOM-Emblem.svg.png

 

Largest commercial airlift provider supporting U.S. operations in Afghanistan lands bid to provide additional support

 

WOOD DALE, Ill., June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire

 

AAR  announced today that it has been awarded a task order from the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) to provide airlift support for U.S. Department of Defense operations in Afghanistan. The task order has an initial base period that runs through May 31, 2012 and three one-year renewal options with an estimated total value of $240 million.  AAR was awarded all the work that it bid for this multi-year program.

 

The task order calls for the renewal of 10 fixed-wing aircraft that the Company currently operates in the region and the addition of two aircraft, scheduled to enter into service October 1, 2011. On Friday, June 24, USTRANSCOM issued an announcement that included funding for the initial base period of approximately $49 million for the 12 aircraft.

 

"This award reflects the U.S. Transportation Command's confidence in AAR's transportation and logistics capabilities and we are extremely proud to help mobilize and support operations in a variety of austere and challenging environments," said David P. Storch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AAR CORP.

 

AAR's Airlift Group provides expeditionary airlift services and performs specialized aircraft modifications in support of national defense, security and humanitarian relief operations. Under current contracts, the Company provides airlift for the Department of Defense in three regions around the world, using both fixed-wing aircraft and rotary-wing aircraft to transport personnel, supplies and mail over land and at sea.

 

AAR is a leading provider of products and value-added services to the worldwide aerospace and government and defense industries. With facilities and sales locations around the world, AAR uses its close-to-the-customer business model to serve aviation, government and defense customers through four operating segments: Aviation Supply Chain; Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul; Structures and Systems; and Government and Defense Services. More information can be found at www.aarcorp.com.

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28 juin 2011 2 28 /06 /juin /2011 11:40

http://ukforcesafghanistan.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/tesh-9-trevor-sheehan.jpg

 

June 28, 2011 Think Defence

 

Although they have been in Afghanistan for some time, 70 Warriors have received a range of modifications called Theatre Entry Standard (Herrick) or TES(H). The total upgrade package has cost £30m and obtained under an Urgen Operational Requirement. BAE Systems has previously developed and produced over 70 UOR (Urgent Operational Requirement) modifications for Warrior to prepare them for operations in Kosovo, Iraq and now Afghanistan. These were designed mainly to enhance protection to the vehicle crews and to better meet local environmental conditions.

 

TES(H) updates and brings these together in a single package;

 

    A flexible modular armour system that can be adapted to meet changing threats and reduce vehicle weight

 

    Enhanced seating design and cushioning to further improve mine protection and comfort

 

    An improved driver vision system with an increase from one to three periscopes, providing a wider field of vision and a night-vision capability

 

    Increased low-speed mobility and climbing performance, enabling the vehicle to tackle tough terrain and get closer to a target or destination

 

    Motorsport-derived carbon fibre brakes, providing significantly reduced stopping distance

 

    Improved air conditioning for troop comfort in hot and harsh environments

 

    Wire cutters to protect the driver, commander and equipment on the vehicle from obstacles.

 

The roll-call of British sub-contractors on the programme includes Allen Vanguard (Tewkesbury), Astrum, Remown (both Co Durham), Caterpillar Defence Products (Shrewsbury), Dana Spicer (Birmingham), GKN Driveline (Telford), Icon Plymer (Nottingham), MTL (Rotherham) Thales Optronics (Glasgow), Thyssen Krupp (Birmingham), Tinsley Bridge (Sheffield) and W A Lewis (Shrewsbury)

 

The additional weight of the upgrades puts the Warrior into the 40 tonne plus bracket so many of the modifications are designed to improve reliability and mobility.

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28 juin 2011 2 28 /06 /juin /2011 11:15

http://www.bruxelles2.eu/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/CouvAfghanistan2011-2014AndeBeyond.gif

 

28 juin 2011 par Nicolas Gros-Verheyde (BRUXELLES2)

 

La priorité donnée par l’ISAF de doubler la taille des Forces de sécurité nationale afghanes (FSNA) est « erronée » et peut « même compromettre l’avenir les progrès démocratiques en Afghanistan » souligne une étude de l’institut de sécurité de l’Union européenne qui vient d’être publiée. A contre-courant des idées dominantes développées actuellement par l’OTAN, les Européens et les Etats-Unis en Afghanistan, ce rapport est sévère mais se fonde sur plusieurs arguments, fondamentaux : financier, stratégique et philosophique.

 

Tout d’abord, le format des forces de sécurité «représente un fardeau supplémentaire sur le pays dans un contexte probable d’une réduction des ressources internationales ». Ensuite, le résultat ne risque pas d’être au rendez-vous. « Non seulement la qualité de la formation et l’équipement jusqu’à présent été négligée, mais également le concept fondamental de la police civile ». A terme, le développement à outrance d’une force armée de cette taille pose un problème majeur. « L’émergence d’une capacité militaire émergents dans le vide peut même menacer la démocratie. L’Etat afghan doit être capable de contrôler ses forces de sécurité ». Ce qui ne semble pas être le cas actuellement.

 

Télécharger l’étude : Afghanistan 2011-2014 and beyond : from support operations to sustainable peace

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28 juin 2011 2 28 /06 /juin /2011 07:25

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Le 1er janvier 2012, la moitié des soldats belges présents en Afghanistan quitteront le pays. C'est ce qu'a annoncé le ministre de la Défense Pieter De Crem. Il était l'invité de Matin première ce lundi. Selon lui, la guerre en Afghanistan n'est pas finie mais on entre dans une nouvelle phase, celle de l'"afghanisation", une forme de responsabilisation des forces locales.

 

Le retrait de la moitié des troupes belges en Afghanistan n'est pas à prendre comme "la guerre est finie, on quitte l'Afghanistan" tel qu'annoncé par le président des Etats-Unis Barack Obama. "Bien sûr que ce n'est pas le cas", réagit Pieter De Crem dans le studio de Matin première. Selon le ministre, il s'agit d'un acte logique pour tendre vers une "afghanisation" telle que décidée au sommet de l'OTAN à Lisbonne, c'est-à-dire "qu'on rend aux Afghans autant que possible une partie de la responsabilité". 
Le timing d'un tel retrait peut sembler étonnant au regard de l'actualité, tant les attaques des Afghans contre les soldats sont de plus en plus fréquentes. Pieter De Crem tient à préciser qu'"on n'est pas parti". "Les Belges restent, mais on s'inscrit dans cette logique d'afghanisation", rappelle-t-il. "Il y a des parties du territoire afghan qui sont sécurisées", comme Kaboul. C'est donc là que la plupart des soldats belges seront rapatriés. "L'objectif a été atteint". "Mais le territoire reste toujours instable et c'est pour cette raison qu'il reste une présence militaire considérable", dit-il.
Il reste beaucoup de travail de stabilisation

Dans ce principe d'"afghanisation", c'est au gouvernement Karzaï d'assurer tout doucement la sécurité. Pourtant, des analystes relèvent le caractère improbable de la réussite d'une telle mission. Des analystes qui parlent de gouvernement corrompu, incapable de prendre des responsabilités. Le ministre de la Défense admet qu'il reste beaucoup de travail de stabilisation, mais "il y a eu pas mal de progrès", dit-il. Et c'est pour cette raison que les militaires resteront dans le nord, notamment à Kunduz ainsi que dans le sud pour un travail de formation des services de sécurité locaux. 
Jusqu'à présent, Pieter De Crem parle d'un "succès modéré" pour cette mission de formation. Il refuse de parler d'échec, constat pourtant dressé par bon nombre d'observateurs. "Nous sommes là jusqu'en 2014", précise le ministre de la Défense à Bertrand Henne. 
Pas de vases communicants entre Kaboul et Tripoli

Dès janvier, des troupes vont donc quitter l'Afghanistan. La Belgique va de ce fait retrouver des moyens militaires supplémentaires. Va-t-on retrouver ces militaires en Libye ? "Il n'y a pas de demande en ce moment, pas d'agenda caché", explique Pieter De Crem. Néanmoins, le ministre s'exclut pas le fait d'intervenir dans une phase ultérieure de stabilisation, un fois l'opération terminée en Libye. "Une présence belge en l'état actuel du conflit, c'est exclu", prévient Pieter De Crem. 
"Pieter De Crem reste dans une logique de guerre"

Le ministre de la Défense Pieter De Crem "reste dans la logique de la guerre", a affirmé lundi le député Dirk Van der Maelen (sp.a), au lendemain de l'annonce d'une réduction de moitié, à partir de 2012, des effectifs militaires belges en Afghanistan.
"On continue à opter pour une option militaire. Je plaide pour une option diplomatique en politique", a-t-il déclaré à la VRT-radio.
Dirk Van der Maelen s'est réjoui de la décision du ministre de la Défense, qu'il a qualifiée de "bonne chose". Selon lui, c'est une "guerre stupide et chère" qui est menée en Afghanistan et elle manque sa cible.
Le député socialiste à reproché à Pieter De Crem de rester dans une "logique de la guerre" en voulant maintenir quelque 300 hommes et six F-16 en Afghanistan. 
"La guerre dure depuis dix ans et les talibans n'en sont devenus que plus forts. Cette guerre a coûté à la Belgique plus de 100 millions d'euros par an au cours des dernières années et les Américains ont dépensé plus de 1500 milliards de dollars. C'est de la folie", a-t-il souligné.
Dirk Van der Maelen a suggéré d'abandonner l'option militaire au profit d'une solution passant par des concertations diplomatiques et politiques.
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28 juin 2011 2 28 /06 /juin /2011 06:05

http://www.aviationweek.com/media/images/defense_images/Satellites/ORS1-GoodrichConcept.jpg 

ORS-1 photo: ATK

 

Jun 27, 2011 By Frank Morring, Jr.-  AviationWeek.com

 

The first Operationally Responsive Space (ORS-1) mission is in final preparation for a June 28 launch from Wallops Island, Va., only 30 months after the contract was signed.

 

Intended to give U.S. Central Command forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere in Central Asia another means for targeting overhead reconnaissance, the spacecraft is scheduled to be launched by an Orbital Sciences Corp. Minotaur 1 in a 3-hr. window that opens at 8:28 p.m. EDT. The launch from the barrier island east of Chesapeake Bay may be visible along the U.S. East Coast from New York to North Carolina, and as far west as West Virginia.

 

Developed under a Pentagon initiative to build spacecraft designed for specific purposes quickly, the Minotaur 1 will carry a version of the Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System (Syers) 2A that flies on the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. Goodrich builds the Syers 2A sensor and integrated it onto an ATK satellite bus at its Danbury, Conn., facility. The contract was signed 17 days after the Air Force secretary issued authority to proceed, Wegner says. Critical design review came eight months later.

 

“[Syers 2A] looks very much like an airborne sensor to the operators in Central Command,” said Peter Wegner, director of the Defense Department Operational Responsive Space Office, in a pre-launch teleconference June 24. “The very same computer software system that is used to task airborne ISR assets, airborne imagery systems, they will use those exact same assets to task this spacecraft.”

 

ORS-1 is bound for a 400-km (250-mi.) orbit at a 40-deg. inclination, and will be available to the U.S. Air Force 1st Space Operations Sqdn. after a 30-day checkout period, according to mission director Col. Carole Welsch

 

The ORS-1 launch will be the 10th for a Minotaur 1 and fourth on that vehicle from Wallops Island. Because of similarities with the fairing mechanism on Orbital’s Taurus I vehicle, which has twice failed to orbit NASA satellites from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., due to fairing-separation failure, the ORS-1 launch vehicle has received extra scrutiny.

 

The review found “no evidence” that previous Minotaur flights experienced the same issues that were blamed in the Taurus I failures, according to Lou Amorosi, vice president for orbital/suborbital programs at Orbital Sciences. “However, to be absolutely safe, we recommended, and the Air Force and the ORS office accepted, a couple of minor modifications” to the launch vehicle, one mechanical and one in the software, Amorosi says.

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27 juin 2011 1 27 /06 /juin /2011 16:30

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/BFFD2D45-01BB-494B-9228-E8B56594535B/0/201104143MERCIAN_Op_HERRICK_14697.jpg

 

27 Jun 11 UK MoD An Equipment and Logistics news article

 

Newly-upgraded Warrior vehicles have saved the lives of British soldiers within weeks of arriving in Afghanistan.

 

Warrior is the only British tracked infantry vehicle in theatre, able to get to places that wheeled vehicles cannot. This enables the infantry to engage the enemy more effectively in difficult terrain.

 

Just a short time after receiving their modified Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, troops from 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (3 MERCIAN), on patrol in the Durai East region of Afghanistan's Helmand province, survived a serious improvised explosive device (IED) blast, thanks to the vehicle's improved protection.

 

Lance Corporal Matt Ryder, from 3 MERCIAN, said:

 

    "The patrol started off like any other; with no insurgent radio chatter or anything. About half-an-hour in, an IED was triggered by the Fire Support Team vehicle. The force of the blast knocked the Warrior onto its right-hand side.

 

    "When the blast went off, soldiers from the second Warrior confirmed people were OK and talking inside the vehicle. At the same time the dismounted troops made best speed over, using the metal detectors in order to avoid any secondary devices.

 

    "As it turned out, all the crew were conscious and not suffering from any serious injury. Whilst this was happening, the Quick Reaction Force was deployed from the patrol base, and assisted in providing protection.

 

    "The minor casualties were eventually extracted by Chinook helicopter back to the field hospital to be checked over, and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers recovered the vehicle back to Lash Durai [the patrol base].

 

    "The insurgents claimed they had killed seven of us, and that the bodies were extracted by a fast jet - which shows just how inaccurate they are with their reporting, and the propaganda they use to spread misinformation."

 

Over 70 vehicles have been modified for the British Army by BAE Systems as part of an Urgent Operational Requirement. The tracked vehicles have been given around 30 new improvements under the Warrior Theatre Entry Standard (HERRICK) [TES (H)] programme worth around £40m, including:

 

• a flexible modular armour system that can be adapted to meet changing threats and reduce vehicle weight

 

• enhanced seating design and cushioning to further improve mine protection and comfort

 

• an improved driver vision system with an increase from one to three periscopes, providing a wider field of vision and a night-vision capability

 

• increased low-speed mobility and climbing performance, enabling the vehicle to tackle tough terrain and get closer to a target or destination

 

• motorsport-derived carbon fibre brakes, providing significantly reduced stopping distance

 

• improved air conditioning for troop comfort in hot and harsh environments

 

• wire cutters to protect the driver, commander and equipment on the vehicle from obstacles.

 

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

 

    "Warrior vehicles are doing a tremendous job in Afghanistan, and these numerous improvements are already proving their worth in theatre. This vehicle is extremely versatile, packing a punch with firepower, offering good mobility and high levels of protection for its crew. It also allows troops to get out into communities safely, maintain areas, and provide reassurance to the local population."

 

Bernard Gray, Chief of Defence Materiel, said:

 

    "This programme reflects the close and effective work between industry and the MOD to improve equipment for the front line at pace. TES (H) has brought significant enhancements to the Warrior capability and troops are now reaping the benefits in theatre."

 

TES (H) was developed, tested and managed by the Vehicles Readiness and Sustainment Team at BAE Systems' Telford site.

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27 juin 2011 1 27 /06 /juin /2011 12:20

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6f/ScanEagle_UAV_catapult_launcher_2005-04-16.jpg

 

BINGEN, Wash., June 24 (UPI)

 

The U.S.-made ScanEagle unmanned aerial system has reached 25,000 operational hours with Australian forces in Afghanistan.

 

Insitu Pacific, the Australia subsidiary of Insitu Inc., said the Australian Defense Force has used ScanEagle heavily since June 2007, with the aircraft notching up about 880 flight hours and 150 flights per month.

 

Insitu Pacific personnel work alongside Australian Army personnel in theater to provide 24/7 specialist support.

 

"Insitu Pacific is committed to supporting ADF operations to the highest standard," said Insitu Pacific Managing Director Andrew Duggan. "The past four years and 25,000 flight hours in Afghanistan have clearly demonstrated that commitment."

 

This high standard was recognized at the Australian Defense Magazine congress earlier this year, when Insitu Pacific received the "Team of the Year Award" for ADM's 2010 best "Defense Materiel Organization / Small to Medium Enterprise Team."

 

Insitu Pacific won the award in concert with the Army Aviation Systems Program Office Unmanned Air Vehicle Management Unit for their collaborative efforts delivering ScanEagle UAS services to the Australian Army in Australia and Afghanistan.

 

The ScanEagle UAS provides tactical aerial reconnaissance support to land forces in Afghanistan, protecting approximately 1,500 ADF personnel.

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27 juin 2011 1 27 /06 /juin /2011 11:45

http://www.spiegel.de/images/image-165009-galleryV9-hexk.jpg

 

06/27/2011 SPIEGEL 

 

Worries Grow in Berlin about US Afghanistan Pull-Out


The German government is concerned about the US plan, announced by President Obama last week, to reduce its presence in Afghanistan. The German military relies heavily on US helicopters in the northern part of the country. Leaders in Berlin fear a reduction in their number could put German soldiers at greater risk.



On the one hand, there are plenty in Germany who are pleased with the recent announcement by US President Barack Obama that the United States intends to begin reducing its presence in Afghanistan. On the other, however, the government in Berlin is concerned that a partial US forces pullout could endanger German troops in northern Afghanistan .

 

 

The problem is that, while the US and Germany have some 5,000 troops posted in the northern part of the country, the Bundeswehr does not possess enough helicopters. The German troops must often rely on US aircraft to airlift wounded German soldiers in the region. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel is attempting to ensure that the US troop reduction does not have too great an effect on the American presence in Regional Command North.

 

Obama announced last week that he intends to withdraw some 33,000 US troops from Afghanistan by 2012, a number representing roughly a third of the American contingent in the country. The move essentially brings to an end the so-called "Surge" that Obama ordered soon after taking office. US forces make up more than two-thirds of the 132,500 NATO troops currently stationed in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

 

Many in the US military are not convinced of the wisdom of Obama's move given the still fragile nature of the security situation in Afghanistan. But after a decade of involvement, war-weariness has set in among the 48 countries with troops stationed in Afghanistan. Concerns about the cost of the war have also been growing rapidly in recent weeks in the US.

 

'Necessary for Years to Come'


The announcement of US troop reductions has also triggered a similar discussion in several NATO countries . Canada had already announced its intention to pull out. By the end of the year, the country's presence of 2,900 troops in Afghanistan is to be reduced by two-thirds. On the heels of the Obama announcement, France announced plans for a similar reduction, likely meaning that 1,000 French troops will depart by the next summer. Britain is also planning a marginal reduction this year.

 

It seems likely that Germany will also join the exodus. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle spent valuable political capital last year by insisting that the government pledge to withdraw some of the 5,000 German troops from Afghanistan by this winter should the situation allow. The parliamentary mandate for Germany's presence in Afghanistan is up for renewal in early 2012.

 

 

According to German government sources, Berlin has yet to receive any concrete information regarding the degree to which Obama's draw down might affect northern Afghanistan. Washington has, however, indicated that the US presence in the region will remain stable at least until the end of this year.

 

An ISAF spokesman in Afghanistan, German General Josef Blotz, said that, despite the withdrawal discussions, a NATO presence in Afghanistan will be necessary for years to come.

 

"There will have to be a NATO force made up of military advisors and trainers -- even if it is much smaller than today -- in Afghanistan even beyond 2014," he said. "We cannot make the same mistake made by the Russians following their withdrawal in 1989, that of losing interest in Afghanistan and the region. We will have to remain present in the country and in the region."


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27 juin 2011 1 27 /06 /juin /2011 05:51

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 25 juin 2011 Vincent Desportes - Le Figaro.fr

 

L’ancien commandant de l’école de guerre, actuel conseiller du président de Panhard General Defense, analyse la portée des décisions américaine et française de retrait du pays des talibans.

 

Le retrait revient à reconnaître que la logique d’accroissement des moyens depuis dix ans n’a conduit ni à la mise en place d’un pouvoir acceptable à Kaboul, ni à une situation sécuritaire satisfaisante

 

La décision de retirer près de 30 000 hommes et d’engager ce processus dès l’été est peutêtre une demi-mesure, parce qu’elle ne satisfait ni les militaires, ni les faucons, ni les colombes. Mais elle n’en est pas moins une décision de rupture. Rupture politique, d’abord. Le président américain reprend la main sur ses généraux pour revenir à ses promesses électorales. On sait qu’il n’avait accepté qu’avec forte réticence de doubler puis de tripler les effectifs, pour les porter à 100 000 hommes. On se souvient aussi que la date de 2014 pour le début de retrait lui avait été presque imposée, lors du sommet de Lisbonne, par le général Petraeus. Ce dernier a été mis hors-jeu, élégamment nommé à la tête de la CIA. En amorçant ce retrait, le président revient sur sa ligne initiale en termes quantitatifs comme de calendrier. Il reprend l’initiative au moment où cela devient politiquement vital : la société américaine, fatiguée des guerres lointaines, préoccupée de questions intérieures, est traversée par un fort courant isolationniste que ne peut ignorer le futur candidat à sa réélection.

 

Refus de l’escalade et rupture stratégique, ensuite. Ni victoire, ni défaite, le retrait revient à reconnaître que la logique d’accroissement des moyens qui prévalait depuis dix ans - avec une accélération nette depuis 2009 - n’a conduit ni à la mise en place d’un pouvoir acceptable à Kaboul, ni à une situation sécuritaire satisfaisante. Le spectre du Vietnam commençait à flotter sur l’Hindu Kush, avec sa logique perdante de renforcement perpétuel des moyens pour faire plier l’adversaire puis se présenter en position de force à la table de négociation. Il fallait penser autrement. D’autant que les théories de la contreinsurrection s’essoufflent, avec, selon un récent rapport du Congrès, « des programmes de stabilisation qui encouragent dépendance et corruption… et n’ont pas fait la preuve qu’ils entraînaient la stabilité ».

 

C’est un fait : les États-Unis n’ont plus les moyens de l’escalade. Leurs moyens militaires globaux sont insuffisants ; les forces supplétives européennes quittant une à une le théâtre, ils sont certains de ne jamais parvenir - même avec le renfort de forces locales à l’efficacité discutable - au ratio nécessaire pour avoir une chance de l’emporter : 20 soldats ou policiers pour 1 000 locaux. Leurs moyens financiers s’évaporent, avec 130 milliards de dollars annuels engloutis désormais dans ce gouffre – une fortune, pour un budget fédéral qui s’affiche en large déficit – et l’économie en croissance molle, alors même que les programmes nationaux manquent de financement. Leurs réserves en temps et en patience s’amenuisent également, avec des résultats qui tardent à se concrétiser, une échéance électorale proche et une population majoritairement en faveur du retrait, cette proportion ayant d’ailleurs fait un bond sensible depuis la neutralisation de Ben Laden. Impossible de rester longtemps sur une voie imposée progressivement par la rationalité opérationnelle, mais qui affaiblit l’Amérique.

 

Le bon sens politique exigeait donc de ne pas rester enfermé dans cette « stratégie de tactiques », toujours plus gourmande en moyens et dont les effets, pour exister, demeurent locaux et limités. Il fallait changer de logique, se redonner de l’air, retrouver une liberté d’action politique et stratégique, une capacité d’action mondiale, très affectées par les déploiements militaires en Irak et en Afghanistan. Il fallait le faire brutalement.

 

Mais qu’on ne s’y trompe pas : pour sortir « sans perdre la face », en laissant une certaine stabilité au pouvoir central, il reste à jouer un difficile exercice d’équilibriste. D’où l’importance des combats de cet été ; ils devront convaincre une large majorité des talibans qu’il vaut mieux négocier qu’attendre. D’où l’importance aussi de la démarche politique : il faudra qu’elle conduise non seulement les talibans, mais aussi les multiples factions, autour de la table de négociation, afin de définir un nouvel ordre politique respectueux des traditions décentralisatrices afghanes, des légitimités ethniques… et des intérêts divergents de New Delhi et d’Islamabad.

 

Un retrait dans de bonnes conditions aurait demandé des forces locales solides, des talibans très affaiblis, l’assurance d’une bonne gouvernance pour Kaboul. Nous en serons probablement encore loin à l’été 2012. La manoeuvre va donc être délicate, mais son succès est absolument nécessaire si l’on veut parvenir enfin à soigner « l’homme malade », le Pakistan, véritable enjeu et vraie poudrière de la région.

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27 juin 2011 1 27 /06 /juin /2011 05:45

http://www.armyrecognition.com/images/stories/north_america/canada/heavy_armoured/leopard_2A6/pictures/Leopard_2A6_in_Afghanistan_Canadian_army_Canada_main_battle_tank_Combat_camera_copyright_003.jpg

 

Leopard 2A6M Main Battle Tank from The Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) and part of the 1st Battalion (15 october 2010) Combat Camera Canadian army Copyright

 

June 16, 2011, armyrecognition.com

 

Canadian main battle tanks have begun withdrawing from the fields of Kandahar. The first echelon of Leopard 2A6M battle tanks rolled through the gates of Kandahar Airfield today and more will follow over the next few days before the July end of combat deadline.

 

Canadian main battle tank Leopard 2A6M were first rushed to battlefield in late 2006 after troops found other weapons and had a tough time punching through thick mud wall compounds that the Taliban had turned into fortified positions.

 

Afghanistan and other recent conflicts have demonstrated the importance of a main battle tank and its heavily protected direct fire capability. The Canadian Forces’ tanks in Afghanistan have deterred insurgent attacks and have allowed Canada’s soldiers to safely access insurgent positions over terrain impassable for wheeled vehicles.

 

The sheer size and firepower of the Leopard 2A6M Main Battle Tank makes it a formidable force and a huge deterrent to enemy insurgents.

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