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28 mai 2011 6 28 /05 /mai /2011 06:00



27 mai 2011 par Édouard Maire INFO-AVIATION



Le 26 mai, Cessna Aircraft a reçu une commande d’un montant de 88,5 millions de dollars pour fournir à l’Afghanistan des avions d’entraînement.

La commande porte sur 6 Cessna T-182T, 26 Cessna 208Bs, 6 dispositifs de formation des équipages, plus le soutien en Afghanistan, et la formation de conseillers.


En Irak, des C-208B Caravans ont été équipés de tourelles de surveillance, et certains d’entre eux ont même été armés de missiles Hellfire sous la désignation « AC-208B Combat Caravans ». De son côté, l’Afghanistan a opté pour le Cessna 182 Skylane Turbo, alors que l’Irak a opté pour le Cessna 172 Skyhawks. Le Skyhawk est un avion d’entraînement très populaire dans le monde, mais l’Afghanistan est un pays à haute altitude avec un air très chaud qui nécessite un moteur puissant. Le moteur Turbo Skylane du Lycoming TIO-540-AK1A réunit toutes ces qualités dans un avion très similaire au Skyhawk, et offrant une pleine puissance à une altitude maximale de 20.000 pieds.

Les avions « Bird Dogs » ont intégré la force aérienne de l’Irak à base de Cessna 172 et 208Bs. Ces avions d’entraînement assurent aussi des missions de surveillance et même d’attaque grâce à des variantes. L’Afghanistan suit le même processus, avec des besoins en formation de nouveaux pilotes très importants.


Ce n’est pas la première fois que des avions civils sont reconvertis en avions militaires. Cette doctrine a très bien fonctionné durant la seconde guerre mondiale, en Corée et au Vietnam. La nécessité pour un pays de s’équiper d’avions de combat à bas prix, et dotés d’une faible technologie tout en affichant des taux d’accidents inférieur à celui des drones font le succès des Cessna « armés » en Afghanistan et en Irak.




Un Cessna AC-208B irakien tirant un missile Hellfire

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27 mai 2011 5 27 /05 /mai /2011 20:00



May 27, 2011 Tony Skinner, SHEPARD GROUP


Berlin - NATO is making moves to adapt coalition UAVs for electronic warfare (EW) roles in Afghanistan, taking advantage of the heavy use of unmanned assets in the theatre.


Speaking at the Electronic Warfare 2011 conference in Berlin, Lt Gen Friedrich Ploeger, deputy commander of HQ Allied Air Command, said unmanned airborne assets were currently employed primarily for ISR purposes but should be adapted for the counter-IED role as well.


‘The exploitation of new technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, offers us opportunities to enhance the capability and contribution of electronic warfare systems,’ Ploeger said.


‘From the air side, we provide the critical ISR, that is the main focus of our role and provides that to the people on the ground so they know when the probability of an IED is very high and can take proper countermeasures.


‘But the use of airborne systems against IEDs is relatively modest. Our main airborne electronic warfare systems are employed to deny use of communications systems by the other side.’


Ploeger told Shephard that with UAVs in heavy use in Afghanistan, EW proponents could take advantage of the persistent, loitering nature of such systems to employ EW systems to detonate IEDs at a time of their choosing.


He said as well as the integration of EW equipment with UAV systems, this would require the inclusion of EW specialists in the UAV’s mission control room.


One counter-point that was raised separately during the conference was that as the technology behind small, potentially swarming, UAVs become more prevalent, NATO chiefs are considering the EW capabilities that will be needed to counter such threats.


With no opposing air force in Afghanistan and against a relatively low-tech opponent, coalition EW assets have been principally employed for electronic attack, communications herding, information operations broadcast and pre-detonation of IED by ground-based systems.


‘However, this is a counter insurgency operation and we need to remain cautious about the use of the electromagnetic spectrum in order not to disturb the civilian life and our own operations,’ Ploeger said.


He said the ISAF mission had highlighted the perennial problem that there were never enough EW assets to satisfy the demand and there was still a major reliance on US capabilities.

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27 mai 2011 5 27 /05 /mai /2011 17:00



19 May 2011 army-technology.com


Following successful trials at home, the Swedish Armed Forces have just deployed Systematic Defence products, SitaWare Headquarters and SitaWare WebCOP, as a part of their ISAF C2-platform.


The Swedish Armed Forces participate in the Afghanistan mission as part of Regional Command North situated in Mazar-e Sharif, with a current troop contribution of 500 soldiers. The build-up for deployment of the Swedish C2-system in Afghanistan started back mid 2010, with early planning, followed by intense tests and initial deployment in April 2011.


The initial installation of SitaWare Headquarters 4.9 will provide the Swedish Armed Forces with MIP interoperability, an essential part of ISAF technical requirements, as well as COP and planning capability. SitaWare WebCOP is used for track distribution, including NFFI presentation in SitaWare Headquarters.


Systematic is immensely proud of being able to provide the Swedish Armed Forces with just a tiny piece of their mission in Afghanistan, a piece which will hopefully increase situational awareness and communication capability amongst the many participating ISAF nations.

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27 mai 2011 5 27 /05 /mai /2011 11:30



May 27, 2011 Tony Osborne, SHEPARD GROUP


Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan - Experience garnered from Canada's urgent buy of Chinooks for use in Afghanistan is helping to pave the way for the country's CH-147F purchase.


For nearly three decades, the Canadians have been an 'on and off' user of Boeing's heavylift helicopter.


The armed forces had previously operated Chinooks up until 1992 when the type was retired and the aircraft were sold to the Netherlands.


Then in 2008, as the country planned for new operations in Afghanistan, Canada purchased six CH-47D Chinooks from the US Army for use in the transport role under the Interim Medium-Lift Capability (IMLC) project.


Today these aircraft are being operated by Task Force Freedom, the Canadian helicopter force in Afghanistan, and since they have been introduced, Ottawa has ordered 15 new Chinooks as part of a wide-ranging re-capitalisation of the Canadian armed forces.


With Canadian combat operations in Afghanistan coming to an end, the remaining five aircraft are now being sold off, and the Canadian Forces are optimistic of finding a buyer.


'There is a disposal plan for the aircraft, they will not return to Canada, they have never physically been to Canada and our material organisation is working on a disposal plan for them,' said Lt Col Brian Derry, Task Force Freedom commander.


'The US Army doesn't want our D-models back. There should be interest out there, we are well-known for the TLC for our vehicles and so on in terms of maintenance, people will be getting very good pieces of equipment.'


The Canadians will therefore be losing Chinook capability for around 18 months, but the experience gained from using the aircraft in Afghanistan is being retained and crews, satisfied from their operational experience, are looking forward to getting their hands on the new machine.


'The majority of the initial cadre of pilots [for the F-model] will come from the D-model Chinooks, but there will also be some new pilots that have never flown the Chinook before,' said Major Colin Coakwell, commander of the Chinook flight at TF Freedom.



The introduction of the Chinooks for use in Afghanistan was an extremely challenging one, with the buying of aircraft, training of maintainers and crews, and then the introduction of the aircraft to theatre in just 10 months. Some crews were sent into theatre with just 30-40 hours of flying the type under their belts.


'There was a tremendous amount of risk in the aggressive approach we took, but it's paid off because you could not have had the capability any other way,' added Derry.


The CF have actually used seven Chinooks, designated CH-147D in Afghanistan; the seventh aircraft was leased in after the loss of one of the aircraft in August 2010. A second aircraft was lost just days before Shephard's visit and an investigation into the cause of that incident is underway.


There will be further coverage on Task Force Freedom in an upcoming edition of Defence Helicopter.

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26 mai 2011 4 26 /05 /mai /2011 18:21



May 26, 2011: STRATEGY PAGE


France is sending its new SOUVIM 2 mine clearing system to Afghanistan, to give it a chance to succeed under combat conditions. This makes it much easier to sell to export customers. More importantly, France has thousands of troops in Afghanistan, and if SOUVIM 2 works as advertised, it will save French lives. It will may also generate some sales to other NATO nations with troops in Afghanistan. To that end, SOUVIM 2 was designed to work with current MRAP vehicles used for mine clearing. SOUVIM 2 can clear 150 kilometers of road a day, at the rate of 10 kilometers an hour.


SOUVIM 2 consists of a tow vehicle, with a V shaped undercarriage and large, low pressure tires that impart too little pressure on dirt roads to trigger most anti-vehicle mines. The tow vehicle only carries one operator, whose cab is completely armored. This vehicle carries electronic mine detectors in front, and pulls two trailers that carry additional gear for detecting or triggering mines.


SOUVIM 2 is designed to detect or trigger a wide variety of mine designs, including some very old ones. A major source of sales is expected to be peacekeeping operations and civilian relief operations. Because of that, the equipment is designed for ease of use, and capable of being used by civilians after brief training.

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26 mai 2011 4 26 /05 /mai /2011 17:30


26.05.2011 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense


Le dernier Cahier de l'Irsem (cliquer ici pour accéder au texte) s'intitule "Kapisa, kalachnikovs et korrigan". Ces 54 pages sur les "trois K" d'Afghanistan méritent que l'on y consacre un peu de temps.


Rédigé par Guillaume Lasconjarias, le texte permet de mieux comprendre l'action du 3e Rima de Vannes lors de son séjour en Kapisa en 2009. On lira ainsi avec attention la 2e partie : "Le 3e RIMa en Kapisa : contre-rébellion, théorie et pratique ?"

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25 mai 2011 3 25 /05 /mai /2011 18:00



May 25, 2011 defpro.com


BETHESDA, MD. | DRS Technical Services, Inc., a DRS Defense Solutions line of business, announced that its Global Enterprise Solutions (GES) business unit has been awarded two task orders to provide X-band satellite connectivity and terrestrial transport services to U.S. Forces serving in Southwest Asia.


The awards, which are valued at more than $48 million, were made by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) under Defense Information System Network (DISN) Satellite Transmission Services - Global (DSTS-G) task orders 691 and 692. These task orders ensure that DRS Defense Solutions will continue to provide in-theater support to the Department of Defense.


The terms of the award call for DRS Defense Solutions and its suppliers - Intelsat General Corporation, Paradigm Secure Communications, Ltd., and Xtar, LLC - to provide a package of managed services which include: remote terminals, high-speed modems with advanced coding, ground stations, fiber connectivity and terrestrial equipment for high data-rate X-band links, including a total throughput of 620 Mbps satellite links.


DRS Technical Services will also be providing operations and maintenance support services for the remote terminals.


“These awards underscore the importance of our work in Southwest Asia,” notes Dr. Mitchell Rambler, president of DRS Technical Services, Inc. “Our strong presence in theater allows DRS to provide a broad range of communications services to our nation’s warfighters, directly contributing to their safety and mission success.”

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25 mai 2011 3 25 /05 /mai /2011 18:00



AV-8B Harriers with Marine Attack Squadron 513, deployed out of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., rest at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, following their arrival, May 20. VMA-513, which was the first Marine Corps Harrier squadron to deploy to Afghanistan, recently returned after more than a decade. "There is nothing impossible for the Marines of the squadron," said Sgt. Maj. Scott E. Cooper, the VMA-513 squadron sergeant major, and native of Huntington Beach, Calif. "Their hearts are in the right places, they are focused on their missions and they want to be here." U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Sean T. Dennison


2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward)

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -One of the first Marine Corps Harrier squadrons to see action in Afghanistan has returned after nearly a decade.

Marine Attack Squadron 513, which first deployed to Afghanistan in 2002, will also be the first Marine Corps Harrier squadron to fully operate in Afghanistan since the departure of VMA-231 in 2010.
“We were the first deployed out here, and now my Marines are ready, trained, equipped and motivated to get moving on this deployment,” said Sgt. Maj. Scott E. Cooper, the VMA-513 sergeant major, and a native of Huntington Beach, Calif. “I have complete faith in them for success.”

The AV-8B Harrier is a short take-off, vertical landing aircraft the Marine Corps has used since 1985. 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) employs the Harrier as a close air support aircraft for Marine, Afghan and coalition troops on the ground in southwestern Afghanistan.

Beginning May 24, the AV-8B Harriers of VMA-513 will provide close air support for Marines and their Afghan and coalition partners operating in southwestern Afghanistan, as the F/A-18 Hornets of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 prepare to return home to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.

“I am proud of my Marines and what they have accomplished out here during the deployment,” Lt. Col. John A. Bolt, the VMFA-122 commanding officer, and a native of Tavares, Fla. “These Marines are the future of the Marine Corps and it gives me hope for the future of Marine Corps aviation.”

 The Marines and sailors of VMFA-122 spent seven months at Afghanistan’s Kandahar Airfield, from which they provided close air support for U.S. Marines, and Afghan, British, Georgian and other combined team forces operating in Nimroz and Helmand provinces. 

“The Marines are going to be able to slow down for a couple months, recuperate and regenerate,” said Sgt. Maj. David A. Cadd, the VMFA-122 sergeant major. “They are true warriors. They worked tirelessly and lived up to their missions. Their mission was to ensure those ground troops were protected as best as possible and they accomplished that.”

According to Bolt, VMFA-122 was the first Marine Corps squadron deployed to Afghanistan to use the GBU-54 Joint Direct Attack Munition, a laser-guided bomb kit that allows for traditionally unguided weapons to be used in precision strikes.

“That was a success for us,” said Bolt. “It allowed us to engage multiple targets and better support the ground troops.”

Cooper, VMA-513’s senior enlisted Marine, said that this is the first deployment for many of the Marines in his squadron, but he believes the Marines are well trained, capable and ready.

“There is nothing impossible for the Marines of the squadron,” said Cooper. “Their hearts are in the right places, they are focused on their missions and they want to be here.”

“I’m excited to be out here on a combat deployment,” said Cpl. Brandon W. Keilers, a fixed-wing aircraft mechanic with VMA-513, and a native of Tomball, Texas. “This is what I’ve wanted to do since I joined and now I’m finally here doing what I love.”
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25 mai 2011 3 25 /05 /mai /2011 12:45



May 25, 2011 defpro.com


NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen met with President Karzai today to discuss NATO's long-term commitment to Afghanistan and the implementation of the Transition process.


As Transition is implemented, Afghans will take an increasing lead for security over the coming months, with the aim of reaching full responsibility for security throughout the country by the end of 2014. During this time, ISAF troops will move into a supporting role and continue their training and mentoring role.


General David Petraeus, the Commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Ambassador Simon Gass, NATO's Senior Civilian Representative, were also in attendence.


During his meeting with President Karzai, the Secretary General emphasised, "Those who threaten Afghanistan’s future should be under no illusion – NATO is and remains committed to Afghanistan."


Following the meeting at a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Mr. Rasmussen said, “My message to the enemies of Afghanistan is clear. If you continue on the road of violence, you will find no victory, only defeat. Now is the time to follow the road of peace. Cut ties to Al Qaeda and other terror networks; renounce violence; abide by Afghanistan's constitution.”


President Karzai also addressed those Afghans who are fighting with the Taliban, saying "The Afghan people will give them a chance to return to their homes and to participate in the stability and peace building and the reconstruction of Afghanistan."

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25 mai 2011 3 25 /05 /mai /2011 11:15



25 mai 2011 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense


191 gendarmes en Afghanistan! "Allez, on arrondit à 200", plaisante leur patron, le colonel Didier Quenelle. Dispersés sur 9 sites, ils sont chargés de quatre (voire cinq) missions. Petite revue de détails d'un contingent un peu ignoré, mais pourtant bien ancré dans le dispositif français, voire otanesque puisque lors de ma visite à Kaboul en novembre, le général Caldwell, patron du NTMA, avait chaudement loué leur action.


- Les centres de formation initiale. L'un est situé à Wardak (secteur US, avec 40 gendarmes), l'autre à Mazar-e-Charif (secteur allemand, avec 27 gendarmes). Soit un total de 67 formateurs qui contribuent à la fromation d'une "police professionnelle et autonome", pour citer Didier Quenelle (un officier bientôt sur le retour en métropole, après un an en Afghanistan). Désormais, les formateurs français se placent "en retrait" après avoir formé des instructeurs afghans.


- Les POMLT (Police Operational Mentoring ans Liaison Teams): les équipes de mentoring (de conseil et d'appui) sont déployées en Kapisa et en Surobi depuis novembre 2009 (voir la photo de l'EMA-ECPAD ci-dessus). Actuellement, ces équipes sont constituées de gendarmes mobiles de Bouliac (près de Bordeaux) et de Marmande. 89 gendarmes y opèrent dans le même esprit que celui de leurs camarades des centres de formation initiale: en retrait. Arrivés début mai, après un stage in situ sur les IED, la perception de l'armement et une information sur le contexte local, ces gendarmes sont désormais opérationnels. Ils fournissent des cours de topographie, de secourisme, de police judiciaire, de logistique, de maintenance, de contacts avec la population..., à des policiers déjà en poste mais inégalement formés. 


prévôt.jpg- Les prévôts: ils sont sept. Deux par GTIA (Kapisa et Surobi) et trois à Kaboul (merci à eux, d'ailleurs, de m'avoir véhiculé jusqu'à Bagram sur une piste digne d'un rallye africain). "Il s'agit d'une mission classique de police aux armées".


- Les WIT (weapons intelligence teams): six gendarmes, spécialisés dans la criminalistique, sont répartis entre les deux GTIA et le laboratoire de recherches américain de Bagram. Ce sont, comme on le dit sur place, les "experts": des techniciens en investigation criminelle qui s'occupent particulièrement des IED. Un autre gendarme va rejoindre le futur TEL (pour lire le post que j'ai consacré à ce laboratoire multinational, cliquer ici).


Pour que le compte soit bon... Les chiffres transmis avec bonne volonté et célérité par le Sirpa-Gendarmerie seraient tout à fait complets, si le total annoncé (191) coïncidait avec le détail: mais 67+89+7+6= 169. Ajoutons le colonel Quenelle et son état-major. Peut-être des insérés individuels au sein d'Epidote... Disons qu'on arrive à 180. 

C'est sans compter sur dix gendarmes du GIGN déployés dans l'est du pays et rattachés à la brigade La Fayette. Des hommes discrets (le hasard, seul, m'a permis de croiser leur route), rassemblés au sein d'une STU, une unité de recherche et de renseignement des forces spéciales déployée en Kapisa et en Surobi. Leur mission: infiltration et observation.

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24 mai 2011 2 24 /05 /mai /2011 20:30



24 mai 2011 Par TF1 News (d'après agence)


Selon le communiqué de l'armée française, le crash du Mirage 2000 a eu une origine accidentelle. Les deux pilotes ont pu s'éjecter.


Un Mirage 2000-D français s'est écrasé accidentellement mardi en Afghanistan, a annoncé l'armée française à Kaboul, précisant que l'équipage avait pu s'éjecter.


Selon le porte-parole de l'armée française en Afghanistan, le lieutenant-colonel Eric de Lapresle, l'accident s'est produit "à 5 km à l'ouest de Farah", dans l'ouest du pays.  Evoquant une "extinction de réacteur", il a exclu qu'un tir des insurgés soit à l'origine du crash, le premier d'un appareil militaire français depuis le début de l'engagement de la France en Afghanistan, fin 2001. "L'équipage est en bonne santé et a été récupéré", a ajouté le lieutenant-colonel de Lapresle.


Six avions de combat français déployés en Afghanistan


L'appareil, issu du détachement français d'avions de combat basé à Kandahar, intervenait en appui de troupes italiennes prises à partie par des insurgés, quand l'équipage a dû s'éjecter, a précisé l'armée française. Il est l'un des six avions de combat français - trois Mirage 2000-D et trois Mirage F1 - actuellement déployés en Afghanistan. Le Mirage 2000 accidenté appartenait à l'escadron Navarre basé à Nancy.


Début février, un hélicoptère français de combat Tigre avait été détruit et ses deux pilotes légèrement blessés lors d'un atterrissage d'urgence à l'est de Kaboul. L'armée française avait là aussi exclu un tir insurgé.

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24 mai 2011 2 24 /05 /mai /2011 11:00


24 Mai 2011 par Jean-Dominique Merchet 


 Un Mirage 2000D, basé à Kandahar, s'est écrasé aujourd'hui à la suite d'un problème technique dans l'ouest de l'Afghanistan. L'équipage de deux hommes s'est éjecté et a été récupéré sain et sauf une heure plus tard par un hélicoptère américain.


Le Mirage 2000D était en patrouille avec un Mirage F1CR. Six avions de combat français sont en permanence basés en Afghanistan : actuellement trois 2000D et trois F1CR.


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22 mai 2011 7 22 /05 /mai /2011 12:30



May 21 2011 David Pugliese - Defence Watch


As you may know the Taliban have started using Twitter. Post Media's Matthew Fisher reports that the Canadian Forces are reacting:


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The chief of staff to the general commanding Canada's combat forces in Afghanistan has emphatically denied a tweet sent out by the Taliban this week that said, "Land mine in Boldak obliterates Canadian invaders (sic) tank."


"Task Force Kandahar does not have forces or equipment in the Spin Boldak region," Lt.-Col. Doug Claggett said Friday. "The announcement that a Canadian tank was destroyed in the Spin Boldak region highlights the lies and propaganda published on the insurgents' website and Twitter page."


In fact, no Canadian armoured forces have operated in Spin Boldak, which borders Pakistan, for several years. The Van Doo battle group, which closes out Canada's combat operations in Kandahar in July, is concentrated in two districts about 100 kilometres to the west of Spin Boldak.


The Taliban has for years made outrageous claims on the web of battlefield triumphs against Canadian and other coalition forces. However, it apparently only began using Twitter earlier this month.


Tuesday's tweet, which was written by someone calling himself Mostafa Ahmedi, linked to a longer item credited to Qari Yousuf Ahmadi on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan's Voice of Jihad website.


"Reports from Boldak district's Dona area say that a Canadin invaders tanak was obliterated this morning at 08:00 am when a land mine ripped through it as the invaders military convoy was passing through the mentioned area," read the Voice of Jihad entry, which contained typos.


While not commenting on how closely Canada monitors the Taliban's use of the web to spread what is usually disinformation, "we are certainly aware of the insurgents' use of the Internet to spread their propaganda," Claggett said. "The absence of relevancy with the population and their failed acts of aggression force the insurgents to spread falsehoods and grandiose claims of victory across the Internet.


"The insurgents' claims are evidence that they are accountable to no one and actively spread lies to advance their cause. Insurgent claims run counter to the truth on the ground and actually demonstrates desperation. We place no value in the unsubstantiated claims of the insurgents."

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19 mai 2011 4 19 /05 /mai /2011 07:00



18.05.2011 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense


Une petite formation multinationale va s'installer à Kaboul au cours de l'été. Il s'agit du TEL pour Theater Exploitation Laboratory. L'information a été confirmée dans les milieux militaires de l'UE.

Cette unité de recherche aura pour mission d'exploiter les éléments recueillis par les Weapon Intelligence Teams (ou WIT) des équipes EOD équipées d'Aravis (voir la photo ci-contre) et d'alimenter une base de données de théâtre sur les explosifs artisanaux utilisés par les insurgés afghans (qu'on appelle souvent les Douchmane ou Dushman, pour "ennemis"). Pour l'heure, les données des WIT remonte vers un labo US.


Cette unité couvrira le Regional Command Centre ou RC-C, mais pas le RC-Est où sont pourtant basés les deux GTIA français et où l'activité IED est en hausse. Elle aura un premier mandat de 18 mois et sera d'abord commandée, semble-t-il, par un officier français.


La décision politique de créer cette unité a été prise le 26 avril 2010, lors d'un sommet des ministres de la Défense de l'UE; l'Agence européenne de défense (EDA, dont Jim Blackburn dirige les projets liés aux IED) a ensuite été chargée de lancer le projet qui associe des états de l'UE membres ou non de l'Otan. Un document de l'EDA (cliquer ici pour y accéder) consacré à la R&T précise le rôle de la "lead nation" qui est la France: Paris devra en particulier fournir des effectifs et un commandant à l'unité.

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19 mai 2011 4 19 /05 /mai /2011 06:00



18 May 2011 By KATE BRANNEN DefenseNews


A shutdown of the supply routes that run through Pakistan would pose problems for the U.S. military but would not halt Afghan operations, according to the Army's chief logistics officer.


"We would overcome it," Army Lt. Gen. Mitchell Stevenson, deputy chief of staff for logistics, told the Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee during a May 18 hearing. "It would not stop Afghanistan operations, but it would be a challenge."


Several lawmakers have voiced concern about the U.S. relationship with Pakistan following the capture of Osama bin Laden. A key part of that relationship is Pakistan's permission for the U.S. to move supplies for Afghanistan through the country. If those supply routes were shut down for any reason, lawmakers wanted to know what would happen.


The Army keeps 45 days worth of fuel on the ground in Afghanistan so that operations can withstand severe disruptions to its supply lines, Stevenson said.


If the southern routes were shut down, the U.S. would increase its use of airdrops and flow more in from the north. However, that route takes much longer and is more expensive, Stevenson said.


Smaller disruptions already frequently delay the delivery of supplies. For example, a sit-down strike in Karachi is keeping supply trucks from getting to the port, Stevenson said. He expects the strike to last a couple of days.


Of the supplies it delivers by land, the U.S. brings in 60 percent to Afghanistan from the north through Central Asia and the Baltic states and 40 percent from the south through Pakistan. There, supplies arrive in the port of Karachi and travel over land by contractor-driven trucks.


The goal is to increase supplies coming in from the north to 75 percent, Stevenson said. "We're not there yet."


The U.S. relies on airlift for all of its "sensitive" and "high-tech" equipment, Stevenson said. This is due to restrictions placed on the U.S. by countries along the northern route, as well as frequent attacks on supply trucks.


To keep supplies off the roads, the U.S. also relies on a large pool of "theater-provided" equipment. The challenge there is that the equipment requires major overhaul and refurbishment about every two years. The capability to do that in Afghanistan is now available, the three-star said.


The Army is also experimenting with shipping more supplies to a nearby "friendly country" and then flying them into Afghanistan using C-17s. The Army is examining whether this route is cheaper in the long run because it avoids pilferage and other kinds of attacks, Stevenson said.


The general did not name the country. However, Stars and Stripes reported last spring that Bahrain served as a staging area to ship MRAP all-terrain vehicles into Afghanistan. The new vehicles were transported by ship to Bahrain and then flown to theater.

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18 mai 2011 3 18 /05 /mai /2011 22:00



May 18, 2011 DEFENSETECH


And here we go, U.S. intelligence officials are starting to acknowledge that the stealthy RQ-170 Sentinel drone was indeed used to provide ISR support for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad this month.


We’ve long figured that the “Beast of Kandahar” had to have been the UAV that Pentagon officials said supported the Navy SEALs and other commandos who carried out the raid using stealth helicopters to avoid Pakistani air defenses. It only makes sense that if the raid was sensitive enough to use at least two stealth choppers to ferry in the initial assault team of 24 SEALs (and a dog named Cairo), the other aircraft involved would have to be low-observable, also.


The Sentinel did several key variety of tasks during the raid such as providing real-time imagery of the compound to the President and other authorities in DC to monitoring Pakistani military communications, all while orbiting overhead undetected, according to the Washington Post.


It could also have jammed Pakistani radars and beamed its footage of the compound to the SEALs in their inbound choppers.


The Post is quotes several “current and former” intelligence officials as acknowledging that the CIA used the Air Force’s RQ-170 in Pakistan for months to monitor bin Laden’s house which lies within Pakistan’s air defense intercept zone that surrounds the capitol city of Islamabad.

Using unmanned planes designed to evade radar detection and operate at high altitudes, the agency conducted clandestine flights over the compound for months before the May 2 assault in an effort to capture high-resolution video that satellites could not provide.

The aircraft allowed the CIA to glide undetected beyond the boundaries that Pakistan has long imposed on other U.S. drones, including the Predators and Reapers that routinely carry out strikes against militants near the border with Afghanistan.

All this paints a picture of a raid that was indeed carried out without Pakistani knowledge (or, to give Islamabad plausible deniability with regard to the raid, for you skeptics). The remaining question is; were there really only two stealth helos used in the operation? Why use a stealth drone and two stealth helicopters and then send in two-to-three MH-47s that can be detected by radar deep into Pakistan to retrieve the SEALs and collect evidence? How did they do that without being detected?

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16 mai 2011 1 16 /05 /mai /2011 12:30



May 15, 2011 by WOTN Editor


Afghans progress in developing sustainable EOD capability


ANA EOD KABUL, Afghanistan – As improvised explosive devices remain the weapon of choice for insurgents, a critical Afghan National Army capability requirement recognized by coalition forces is the need to develop and maintain a sustainable Afghan led Explosive Ordnance Disposal capability.


The growth of this capability will allow ANA to maintain their freedom of movement and protect Afghan civilians from this threat. Significant progress has been made across the country with an extensive recruiting campaign to find individuals who understand the risks associated with this field.


Once recruited and placed into a unit, the Afghan soldiers must complete lengthy training to qualify as an EOD operator. After completing the training courses, soldiers become part of an ANA EOD team and commence further training and mentorship with coalition forces to become better prepared to conduct independent operations.


The Task Force Kandahar EOD Squadron, along with other coalition partners, has transitioned its duties from training to training and validation, which is primarily conducted outside of their compound. Aside from their duties of disposing IEDs, the coalition EOD teams are relied upon to mentor the ANA EOD teams to ensure that their tactical and technical skills are to an acceptable standard in one of the most dangerous parts of the country.


Currently in Regional Command South, the Task Force Kandahar EOD Squadron is the only organizations actively conducting mentorship and partnership with ANA EOD teams and just recently validated the first ANA EOD team in Afghanistan to conduct independent operations.

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16 mai 2011 1 16 /05 /mai /2011 11:30



15 Mai 2011 ARMEE DU FUTUR Source : Gizmag


En mars 2011, l’armée américaine a fourni à son personnel en Afghanistan des mortiers de 120 mm à guidage GPS avec une portée de 6 300 m.

ces mortiers sont le résultat du programme Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative (APMI) lancé après une demande urgente du commandement en Afghanistan de février 2009 de pouvoir cibler avec une grande précision. Le GPS a été préféré au guidage laser, peu pratique lorsque les cibles se cachent derrière des ponts ou des affleurement rocheux.


Les mortiers actuels ont une précision de 136 mètres environ avec erreur circulaire probable (Circular Error Probability, CEP), ce qui signifie qu’environ 50% des obus arriveront dans un rayon de 136 m de la cible, 43 % entre 136 m et 272 m, et 7 % entre 272 m et 408 m, et moins de 0,2% des obus arrivent encore plus loin.


Le nouveau mortier de 120 mm, qui a subi des essais en 2010, a montré une CEP de moins de 10 m à des distances supérieures à 6 500 m : 50 % des obus tombent à moins de 10 m de la cible, 43 % entre 10 m et 20 m et 7 % entre 20 m et 30 m.


Ce mortier peut être utilisé contre des snipers dans un bâtiment, des ennemis dans un bunker ou une tranchée. Avec un mortier conventionnel, il faudrait 8 à 10 obus pour supprimer la cible ; avec APMI, un ou deux obus devraient suffire.


Le contrat a été attribué début 2010 à ATK. Son Mortar Guidance Kit (MGK) convertit le mortier M934 en mortier de précision en remplaçant les détonateurs standards par d’autres détonateurs contenant un système de guidage par GPS et une capacité de navigation.


Les obus APMI ne vont pas remplacer tous les obus conventionnels sur le théâtre, utilisés pour délivrer des feux de suppression, par exemple. Il est prévu de fournir un total de 5 480 obus APMI en Afghanistan. S’ils montrent satisfaction au combat, ces obus pourraient connaître d’autres théâtres.

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16 mai 2011 1 16 /05 /mai /2011 06:00



May 14 2011 By David Pugliese Defence Watch


From the U.S. Army:

Washington - The U.S. Army is acquiring and sustaining Russian-built Mi-17 helicopters for Iraqi and Afghan forces so they can further stand up their respective militaries and enable more U.S. forces to return home, service officials said.

"We're buying those systems because our (servicemembers) don't get to come home until (Iraqi and Afghan militaries) take over the mission and are trained to do it," said Maj. Gen. Tim Crosby, who serves as program executive officer for aviation. "There's incentive for us right now."

 The aircraft purchases are at the request of both the Department of State and the Department of Defense.

The U.S. Army's Non-Standard Rotary Wing program office plans to acquire 21 new Mi-17s for Afghanistan. The office has already bought 22 of the aircraft for Iraq, of which 14 have been delivered, said Col. Norbert Vergez, who heads up the project.

In addition, U.S.-based Northrop Grumman is performing maintenance and sustainment on 52 existing Mi-17s in Afghanistan, Vergez said.

"The primary consideration was based on a desire by the customer, in the case of Afghanistan, to have a platform that they were familiar with and that was simple and easy to operate," Vergez said. "They wanted something that was immediately available for them to assimilate into their armed forces."

The Mi-17 was originally designed by the Russians in the 1970s. The helicopter was used by the then Soviet Army in the war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan. It is well suited for operating in that environment. Since that time, the Afghan military has used the Mi-17 and become familiar with the aircraft's operation.

Vergez said the high-altitude-capable, troop and supply-carrying Mi-17 is considered a national asset by the Afghans.

"It is an extension of the sovereign Afghan government beyond Kabul," Vergez noted. "For example, during a series of recent floods in the mountains, the Afghan government launched two of its recently acquired Mi-17's to help the people."

Vergez said that over a five day period, using the Mi-17, the Afghans were able to rescue over 1,000 people from the floods.

"That builds good will," he said. "Afghanistan is tribal, so when the central government comes in with that kind of power, it really goes a long way."

Vergez said delivery of the Mi-17s, which fly at altitude up to 19,860 feet, mean the Afghan military will gain further independence and that means fewer U.S. military will need to be in Afghanistan.

"There is no air support for Afghanistan other than the Americans as we establish this capability for Afghanistan," Vergez said. "With every one of these deliveries we are able to bring Americans home."

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13 mai 2011 5 13 /05 /mai /2011 16:30



May 13, 2011 Beth Stevenson SHEPARD GROUP


London  - Control of the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Reaper MQ-9 UAVs based in Afghanistan is to move to the UK, with the announcement that a new squadron for the aircraft is to be formed at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.


ACM Stephen Dalton made the announcement on 13 May, the same day Number XIII Tornado Squadron was disbanded at RAF Marham. A second Reaper squadron, to be created next year, will adopt the Tornado squadron’s number.


The MALE aircraft, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), will continue to be based in Afghanistan, but control will transfer from the 39 squadron crews that managed it at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, US, to the UK.


‘This transition will see us bring Reaper mission control to the UK, make more efficient and effective use of our resources in exploiting this growing capability, and enable the operation of significantly more combat intelligence surveillance target acquisition and reconnaissance aircraft over Afghanistan 24 hours a day,’ Dalton commented.


Liam Fox, UK defence secretary, added: ‘The formation of this new squadron follows our doubling of the Reaper capability to ten aircraft, which represents an increased investment of £135 million’.


The approval for the doubling of the capability was announced by the Prime Minister David Cameron in December 2010. The investment will see the armed ISR coverage provided by the Reaper increase from 36 to 72 hours of persistent coverage per day by 2015.


For the provision of this extra coverage, an additional five Reapers, and four Reaper ground controls stations are to be acquired from the US government.

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12 mai 2011 4 12 /05 /mai /2011 19:00



UH-60M Photo: Sikorsky


May 12, 2011 By Bill Sweetman AviationWeek.com


The stealthier H-60 Black Hawk helicopters used in the May 1 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound may have been modified at Sikorsky’s Hawk Works facilities near Elmira, N.Y. That is where the United Technologies Corp. helicopter company has completed specialized, low-volume Black Hawk variants and has conducted prototyping activities, such as the construction of the X2 demonstrator.


One indicator of the current sensitivity of the Hawk Works facilities may be that attempts have been made to alter images of them in Google Earth, the leading public portal for aerial and satellite imagery. The Elmira Corning Regional Airport has been blurred out of images supplied by government agencies to Google Earth.


Sikorsky’s Elmira activities build on a legacy that includes low-noise aircraft built for the CIA and other agencies and overseas governments via the 2004 acquisition of Schweizer Aircraft Co. The manufacturer of the 300/330-series helicopters, Schweizer produced a family of ultra-quiet reconnaissance aircraft based on its sailplane designs, including the single-engine SA 2-37B (military designation RG-8A), the tandem-twin-engine SA-38A and its turbine-powered derivative, the SA-38B, designated RU-38A/B.


In fact, the Schweizer acquisition was directed by Paul Martin, former Sikorsky senior vice president for advanced development programs, who joined Sikorsky in 2000 from Lockheed Martin, where he had been executive vice president of its Skunk Works. Martin demurred when asked to comment.


Martin left Sikorsky in 2007 and is now president of California-based management consultancy Humphreys & Associates. Martin’s biography at Humphreys notes that at Sikorsky he was “responsible for all ongoing military production and advanced development programs at Sikorsky. These programs included ... several classified programs.”


From a program viewpoint, a stealth-modified Black Hawk program could have been integrated into the MH-60 Modernization Program for U.S. Army special operations units, which started in 2005 and is delivering 73 MH-60M helicopters to replace the current MH-60K/L force. The first MH-60Ms were delivered to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) in Fort Campbell, Ky., in February 2011.


Budgeted at $1.07 billion through fiscal 2016, the program delivers common-standard helicopters based on the Army UH-60M, but with more powerful General Electric YT706 engines (equivalent to the commercial CT7-8) and added communications, situational awareness and survivability equipment. This includes the Raytheon Silent Knight radar, designed to provide in-weather terrain-following and avoidance while operating in a low-probability-of-intercept mode. The Special Operations Forces Supply Activity facility in Richmond, Ky., is performing the modifications on new UH-60Ms.


Sikorsky is making no comments and refers all questions about the helicopters used in the bin Laden operation to U.S. Special Operations Command.


The Elmira unit was originally dubbed the HawkWorks and formally known as the Rapid Prototyping and Military Derivatives Completion Center (RPMDCC). In 2006, the company broke ground on a new 100,000-sq.-ft. HawkWorks facility at Elmira, across the airfield from the larger Schweizer factory. It was announced that “Black Hawk derivative helicopters requiring customized configurations for a range of specialized missions will be manufactured at Sikorsky’s Connecticut facilities and then transported to the RPMDCC for completion.”


On Google Earth, the entire Elmira airport is covered by imagery dated April 2006 and one of Sikorsky’s facilities (built in 2006-07) is missing. The area within the airport perimeter has been blurred to the equivalent of multiple-meter resolution and a 200 X 40-yd. area on the main ramp has been overpainted. Most Google Earth imagery is 1-3 years old.

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12 mai 2011 4 12 /05 /mai /2011 17:02



12.05.2011 MoD Australia – army-guide


The Australian Government has approved the purchase of an additional 101 Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles to support Australian Defence Force (ADF) operations in Afghanistan.


Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare announced the purchase today.


The Bushmaster has proven to be a most effective combat vehicle, providing Australian troops with mobility and protection, including against Improvised Explosive Devices.


It has unquestionably saved lives in Afghanistan.


The purchase provides for operational attrition.


31 Bushmasters have been damaged beyond repair in recent years and their replacement with a further 70 vehicles will support current and future operations.


Defence will also evaluate a range of enhancements to the Bushmaster vehicle to increase the level of protection it provides to ADF personnel.


If these enhancements are viable they may be applied to the 101 vehicles.


The purchase of the Bushmasters is subject to the satisfactory negotiation of a contract with acceptable terms and conditions including in relation to performance, cost and schedule.


Details of costs will be released on finalisation of contract details.


Under standing arrangements, Defence will be supplemented for the cost of Bushmasters damaged on operations, with the remainder to be funded from the Defence Capability Plan.

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10 mai 2011 2 10 /05 /mai /2011 12:00


May 10, 2011 by 438th Air Expedtionary Wing Public Affairs / AFNS – defpro.com


SHINDAND AB, Afghanistan | Seven Afghan Mi-17 instructors graduated from the first Mi-17 "Train the Trainer" upgrade course May 4 taught by AAF and U.S. Air Force instructors at the Afghanistan Premier Flight Training Center here.


"Afghan aircrew instructors are pivotal to growing independent combat flying forces, ultimately leading to a self sustaining air force," said Maj. Sam Kraemer, who is assigned to the 444th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron. "These students are the first wave of the train the trainer program at Shindand Air Base, designed to help transition the training of the AAF from coalition forces to Afghan control."


The AAF Mi-17 class 90-01 certified four pilots, two flying crew chiefs and a flight engineer for instructor duties. The students were evaluated on emergency procedures, remote-area operations, tactical formation flying and aerial gunnery.


"I still love to fly at this point, and look forward to teaching students back at Kandahar," said Afghan air force 1st Lt. Abdul Wahid, a graduating instructor flight engineer who has been flying for 25 years.


The course goal is for instructor pilots who graduate to be able to utilize their training to build a professional, fully independent, and operationally capable Afghan air force. The graduates' briefing skills are on track to meet this goal, said Maj. Drew Grigson, a 444th AEAS pilot adviser.


"During this class, we borrowed a train-the-trainer concept we use back home," he said. "This provides AAF instructors with the skills and knowledge of training professional aircrew and future instructor candidates."


Also graduating from class 90-01, were two Afghan Mi-17 flying crew chiefs. Sergeants Qari and Norallah from Kandahar Airfield, completed the course, which included defensive fire training at local ranges. During their graduation sortie, they also directed combat on-load and off-load operations with Afghan National Army forces as part of an infiltration exercise. The exercises help provide combat-ready flying crew chiefs to their operational units.


"The AAF Mi-17 instructors and flying crew chiefs are excited to return to their operational units at Kabul or Kandahar (Airfield) and get back in the fight for a stable and free Afghanistan," Major Kraemer said. "After the graduation ceremony, Shindand instructors provided the new graduates advice, handshakes and contact information for around-the-clock help to truly stay 'Shona ba shone ... ooga pa ooga' (shoulder to shoulder)."

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8 mai 2011 7 08 /05 /mai /2011 17:30





May 8 2011 by David Pugliese - Defence Watch


What makes the experts think the aircraft that crashed during the bin Laden raid was a secret "stealth helicopter?"

Gareth Jennings, the aviation desk editor for Jane's Defence Weekly, outlined to CNN that the first thing that stood out was the color scheme. “Whereas most Black Hawk Army helicopters are painted olive green, this particular one is gray. Not just any gray; it's infrared-suppressant gray, and the purpose of the IR gray, as it's known, is to help reduce the vulnerability of the helicopter to ground-launched heat-seeking missile systems," Jennings told CNN.


Here is more of CNN’s analysis on that:


• Photos from Abbottabad show that the chopper had a five-bladed tail rotor. "On a conventional Black Hawk, you have four blades. The addition of the extra rotor blades on the tail rotor hub reduces the acoustic signature of the helicopter there by making it hard to hear, giving the SEALs that extra few minutes to get over the compound before anyone on the ground quite knows what's going on," according to Jennings.


• Those five tail rotor blades are partially covered by a disk-like object that Jennings called a "hub-mounted vibration suppression system." He believes it provides more noise suppression and some possible protection for the tail rotor from bullets of shrapnel. And it's not typical on military helicopters. "No, I've never seen that on an operational helicopter before," Jennings said. But he added that a similar system was part of the Comanche helicopter design.


• The blades on that tail rotor also appear to be shorter and thinner than typical Black Hawk helicopter's blades. One former Army Black Hawk pilot, who asked not to be identified, said, "More blades and shorter blades means the helicopter would make less noise in flight”. It's not just the tail rotor blades that are different. "On the main rotor assembly that was actually destroyed by the SEAL team on the ground the blades themselves are threaded, which signify that these are carbon composite rotor blades as opposed to conventional metal rotor blades, which again signifies aspects of stealth technology that have been incorporated into this particular helicopter," Jennings said.


• Some photos show parts of the helicopter appear similar to non-secret stealth aircraft. "What's left of the tail section of that helicopter, the shape of the fuselage, it's canted. It's angled. It's a shape that's synonymous with fixed-wing stealth fighters such as the F-22, the F-35. Essentially, it's designed to defeat radar. If you eliminate right angles in an aircraft design, radar waves can't bounce back," Jennings said.

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8 mai 2011 7 08 /05 /mai /2011 17:30





May 7 2011 by David Pugliese - Defence Watch


The UAVs supplied by MacDonald Dettwiler, based in Richmond, BC, to Australian forces in Kandahar are being used at a high rate, according to the Australian military.


More from the Australian Defence Department:


The fourth rotation (ROT 4) of Australia's Heron Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Detachment in Kandahar, Afghanistan, has set a unit record for monthly flying hours. Commanding Officer Heron RPA Detachment - ROT 4 Wing Commander Greg Wells said his personnel had achieved 475 hours during April. "This exceeds the efforts of previous Heron rotations and means we have reached a point where we are able to achieve a significant amount of time on station providing an all-important 'eye in the sky' for our troops," Wing Commander Wells said. "One of the advantages of Heron is it can stay airborne for a very long time. We deliver enhanced situational awareness to our soldiers, which is vital in helping them achieve their mission on the ground." "The success of Heron is a combination of both smart technology and people. A typical Heron mission involves a lot of work from a very small team of specialists, ranging from engineers to intelligence officers, imagery analysts and pilots." The Heron team comprises 28 Australian and New Zealand Defence Force personnel. The tri-service unit has logged more than 4600 total flight hours since beginning operations in January last year. Dubbed 'Bluey' by the Australians, the Heron can fly for up to 24 hours and is a key asset in the conduct of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in the Afghanistan theatre of operations. It helps to protect Australian and Coalition forces, as well as Afghan civilians, from insurgent activity, including the laying of improvised explosive devices. Information collected by the Heron is analysed and processed in real time. This means the commander has the benefit of having eyes on a target to build a more accurate picture of the battlespace. Heron are operated from a ground base, controlled by trained pilots and can withstand a range of weather conditions. "Every suspicious activity we investigate and every improvised explosive device activity we identify is potentially a life saved," Wing Commander Wells said. "We are very proud of the record-breaking milestone the team has achieved this month, and we will continue to push our performance to exceed this in the future." Heron ROT 4 currently operates three airframes forming part of a larger International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) RPA capability in Afghanistan. The Australian Heron RPAs are unarmed.

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