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12 mars 2013 2 12 /03 /mars /2013 15:57

http://www.defense.gouv.fr/var/dicod/storage/images/base-de-medias/images/operations/afghanistan/130312-depart-dethelico/afghanistan-depart-des-deux-derniers-helicopteres-5/2221486-2-fre-FR/afghanistan-depart-des-deux-derniers-helicopteres-5.jpg

 

12.03.2013 Sources : EMA

 

Le 12 mars 2013, les deux derniers hélicoptères de manœuvre du DETHELICO ont quitté l’Afghanistan. Ils avaient effectué leur dernier vol le 24 février dernier.

 

De 2006 à 2013, les hélicoptères français ont eu pour zone d’action Kaboul, les régions de Surobi et de Kapisa, Bagram et l’école de formation de la police afghane dans le Wardak. En 7 années, les 1 300 hommes du bataillon d’hélicoptères ont effectué plus de 5 000 missions dont près de 4 500 consacrées au combat ou au transport tactique. Pas moins de 23 000 obus de 30 mm, 870 roquettes et 60 missiles ont été consommés dans les opérations conduites ou pour détruire des véhicules suicides et des caches d’armes.

 

http://www.defense.gouv.fr/var/dicod/storage/images/base-de-medias/images/operations/afghanistan/130312-depart-dethelico/afghanistan-depart-des-deux-derniers-helicopteres-6/2221491-2-fre-FR/afghanistan-depart-des-deux-derniers-helicopteres-6.jpg

 

Pour appuyer l’opération Pamir et son déploiement, le bataillon aura pu compter jusqu’à 14 machines entre juillet 2009 et octobre 2012. Ainsi, au plus fort de la période d’engagement de la France en Afghanistan, ce sont 5 Tigre, 5 Gazelle et 4 hélicoptères de manœuvre Cougar et Caracal qui ont été déployé. Le bataillon comptabilise ainsi plus de 16 500 heures de vol et près de 80 000 heures de maintenance.

 

http://www.defense.gouv.fr/var/dicod/storage/images/base-de-medias/images/operations/afghanistan/130312-depart-dethelico/afghanistan-depart-des-deux-derniers-helicopteres-4/2221481-2-fre-FR/afghanistan-depart-des-deux-derniers-helicopteres-4.jpg

Initialement baptisé détachement hélicoptère de la force Pamir, il est devenu bataillon d’hélicoptère en juillet 2009. En novembre 2009, il passe sous le commandement de la Task Force La Fayette (TFLF) stationnée à Nijrab, devenant le troisième bataillon de la TFLF. Redevenu détachement d’hélicoptères à la dissolution de la TFLF, en novembre 2012, le détachement a officiellement été dissous lors d’une cérémonie sur le tarmac de l’aéroport de KAIA, en présence du général Soriano, commandant de la force Pamir, le 25 février 2013. Le DETHELICO Pamir avait effectué le 24 février son dernier vol opérationnel pour conduire une opération d’évacuation au profit de soldats georgiens.

 

http://www.defense.gouv.fr/var/dicod/storage/images/base-de-medias/images/operations/afghanistan/130312-depart-dethelico/afghanistan-depart-des-deux-derniers-helicopteres-3/2221476-1-fre-FR/afghanistan-depart-des-deux-derniers-helicopteres-3.jpg

 

Consultez le slideshow retrospectif de la mission du bataillon d'hélicoptères en Afghanistan:

 

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12 mars 2013 2 12 /03 /mars /2013 12:35

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March 12, 2013: Strategy page

 

Despite Afghan president Karzai demanding that American Special Forces cease operations in Wardak province (is west of the capital) last month, the U.S. is still there and investigating the Karzai accusations that the Special Forces were responsible for mistreatment (kidnapping, torture and murder) of Afghan civilians there. The Afghan government is demanding the investigations be completed in a few days but the Americans refuse to rush it. The Americans have already demonstrated that Afghan soldiers and police, which the Americans do not directly control, are often responsible for what Western media call atrocities but are the sort of nasty stuff Afghans have been doing to each other for thousands of years. There’s definitely a culture clash going on here. Karzai has admitted as much with recent public calls for Afghan troops and police to handle civilians more gently and not go old-school on them so frequently.

 

The Wardak accusations (and similar ones) appear to be a Taliban Information War effort, in collusion with senior Afghan officials (including Karzai himself) to use false accusations of atrocities to generate media and diplomatic pressure to force American troops out of areas where the Taliban is taking a beating. This use of media manipulation and corrupt Afghan officials is one of the Taliban’s most promising tactics. The Taliban is trying this despite the fact that it’s widely known that 80 percent of civilian casualties and nearly all the acts that could be described as atrocities are carried out by the Taliban. This latest effort, involving president Karzai himself, is one of the boldest ever. In response the Americans are collecting lots of evidence of who did what to whom. Karzai can (and may well) declare all of the American evidence lies. After that the Taliban Information War offensive will continue.

 

This incident is just one of many showing how much influence the drug gangs have in the government. Many senior members of the government have gotten rich off the drug trade, either via bribes or direct involvement. Karzai is also being loyal to the Pushtun tribes he came from and the drug gangs that have made the Karzai clan rich. This is not unusual behavior in Afghanistan, where getting ahead has often meant doing whatever you had to do. Tribal leaders will readily lie, cheat and steal when dealing with outsiders (as in outside the tribe, not just outside Afghanistan).

 

Despite all this most tribal leaders (including Pushtun ones) see the Afghan government, and their NATO allies, as a better deal than the Taliban and the drug gangs. The Taliban imposes seemingly random lifestyle rules on locals, and even forces families to surrender daughters as wives for Taliban fighters (this built loyalty in the groom, but perpetual hostility from his new in-laws.) The Taliban often acts like bandits while t he drug gangs were always gangsters, and acted like it. The gangs have too much money, too much power and have corrupted their young recruits with a gangster lifestyle, and over a million Afghans are now drug addicts (usually opium). While some of the locals were getting rich off the drug trade, the majority want it gone.

 

The Taliban has long used the heroin trade as a source of income, especially during the 1990s. The Taliban deny this when pressed but the facts on the ground say otherwise. While mass media like to portray the Taliban as religious rebels seeking to free Afghanistan from foreign interference, the reality is more mundane. While many Taliban are religious conservatives or zealots, what motivates most of them is money and power. The drug gangs provide enough money to keep the Taliban going, but that gives these religious gangsters the opportunity to steal or extort more. Religion is one thing, but more important to Afghans is doing right by their family and tribe and that means bringing home cash and power. If using a religious angle to get that done works, then so be it.

 

Karzai’s antics are a reflection of this tribal loyalty. The official position is that Karzai’s remarks about Wardak are a good sign that the Afghans are being more assertive and taking charge. Unofficially this is seen as another example of how the corrupt Karzai family is bought and paid for by the Taliban, which is putting more pressure on the Karzai clan to ease the NATO and Afghan security forces pressure on Taliban and drug gang operations. Karzai has done things like this before, and American threats to cut aid or take a closer look at Karzai family finances usually get him to back off. Some believe that the recent Karzai demands about Special Forces in Wardak and no NATO air strikes for Afghan forces are actually bargaining chips in an Afghan effort to keep the aid money coming directly to the government (where it can be stolen). Karzai likes the foreign aid, but the providers of that aid do not threaten him and his family with death or injury if cooperation is not forthcoming like the Taliban. Karzai can play games with the foreign donors without getting killed, but the Taliban get more attention. Karzai is taking the long view, knowing that he cannot depend on the foreign troops in the long run. He must maintain good relationships with the other Pushtun tribes and warlords. The most powerful warlords tend to have a piece of the drug trade. The whole point of being a warlord is to have a cut of anything going on in your territory.

 

There has been a lot going on in Wardak lately, most of it going badly for the Taliban. The Islamic radicals are fighting back as best they can. For example, last month there was an explosion in a Wardak province mosque that left seven people dead. Locals blamed the Americans, who had been in the area a few hours earlier with a larger number of Afghan troops to capture a Taliban leader who was hiding out in the village. The Afghan soldiers got their man, after a brief firefight and left. Locals are unsure what caused the explosion and the U.S. insists there was no artillery fire or air attacks in the area. It may have been a bomb the Taliban were assembling. Mosques are often used by the Taliban for storing weapons and assembling bombs and almost always accuse the Americans of causing any unexplained deaths. Because of incidents like this the Taliban has been taking a beating in Wardak, mainly because of the American Special Forces and their Afghan counterparts.

 

Getting Special Forces out of Wardak would be a great victory for the Taliban, but what they really want help with is the growing American use of missile armed UAVs to hunt down and kill Taliban leaders. Last year such attacks went up 72 percent in Afghanistan (to about 500 missiles fired).

 

March 11, 2013: In Wardak province a man in an Afghan policeman opened fire with a machine-gun on a meeting between U.S. Special Forces and Afghan soldiers and police killing two Americans and five Afghans. The Taliban took responsibility for the attack.

 

March 10, 2013: In Kabul president Karzai met with the visiting American Secretary of Defense. Before that he openly accused the United States of collaborating with the Taliban to create more mayhem and persuade more Afghans to agree to allow more American troops to remain in Afghanistan after next year. Karzai also stated that he believed the U.S. was cooperating with the Taliban to overthrow the Afghan government. The American official cancelled a public event where he would meet with Karzai, but still men with Karzai in private.

 

March 5, 2013: In the northern province of Badakhstan 17 Afghan soldiers were found dead, executed by the Taliban after being taken prisoner at a checkpoint three days earlier.

 

Under enormous pressure from Western donor nations, Afghan courts have tried and convicted two senior bank managers of the Kabul Bank. The two were sentenced to five years in jail for stealing over $800 million. Late last year after a long (over a year) international investigation the trial of some of the guilty got underway. This proved embarrassing for many senior officials. Most of the stolen money went to a few dozen people. Members of president Karzai’s family were named as participants in the looting of the bank. When asked about that, Karzai is evasive. He won’t talk about the process whereby he will find a way to keep his kin out of jail either. Already, Karzai’s brother has surrendered millions in stolen funds, but it trying to hold on to a lot of it. Only two of the senior officials are headed for jail and most Afghans believe they will somehow avoid that. The investigation concluded that the fraud was carried out with the help of auditors from the Pakistani branch of a Western accounting firm (PricewaterhouseCooper). The Pakistani auditors are considered criminally liable, and this is likely to turn into an international legal crises. Foreign aid donors have been increasingly angry at the blatant theft of foreign aid and the government corruption that abets it. The donor nations are demanding less stealing, or there will be less aid. Some countries are unable to halt the stealing and corruption, and have sharply cut their aid for Afghanistan.

 

Two years ago foreign donors worked out yet another deal that allowed the resumption of much foreign aid after one of these halts. Money was being withheld because so much aid was being blatantly stolen by senior officials. The immediate cause of the aid freeze two years ago was the looting of the Kabul Bank. Three years ago it was discovered that Kabul Bank (a major financial institution) had been looted of a billion dollars. Only about ten percent of that billion has been recovered. Even threats to withhold aid have not persuaded the government to look for the rest of the missing money, and those who ended up with it. This sort of corruption is widely regarded as a perfectly acceptable way to get rich. Just wait the foreigners out and keep taking their money. Life is good. In this case, the Afghans blinked. But it was not a complete surrender to the donor nations, although Afghans were forced to allow more controls over the aid cash. This makes the money more difficult to steal, and the thieves easier to identify and punish (which is more likely only if the guilty parties travel to the West).

 

February 28, 2013: The Taliban are concentrating on scaring Afghan soldiers and police into inaction. This is being done using threats against the soldiers and policemen themselves as well as against their families. Most attention is directed at commanders, at least those who will not take a bribe.

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11 mars 2013 1 11 /03 /mars /2013 16:35

MFSV Mobile Strike Force Vehicle photo US Army

 

March 11, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

 (Source: Textron Inc.; issued March 7, 2013)

 

Textron Marine & Land Systems to Build 135 Additional Mobile Strike Force Vehicles for the Afghan National Army

 

Textron Marine & Land Systems announced today that it has been awarded a $113.4 million firm-fixed-price contract from the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., to produce an additional 135 Mobile Strike Force Vehicles (MSFV) for the Afghan National Army (ANA). The vehicles are being contracted through the U.S. Army Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process.

Work will be performed at Textron Marine & Land Systems' facilities in the New Orleans area, with vehicle deliveries scheduled through February 2014. Three armored vehicle variants are being produced: MSFV with enclosed turret; MSFV with Objective Gunner's Protection Kit; and an MSFV ambulance.

TM&LS was awarded a contract for Mobile Strike Force Vehicle full-rate production in May 2011. Since then, the company has been fulfilling contract orders for a total of 499 vehicles. More than 300 of these vehicles have been delivered, and are either in operations with ANA kandaks (battalions) or being fielded as part of a comprehensive in-country vehicle logistics support and operator training program.

"Several kandaks are fully trained and beginning to stand up Afghanistan's quick reaction force capability," explained Tom Walmsley, TM&LS senior vice president and general manager. "These vehicles deliver a combination of lethality, survivability, mobility and sustainability crucial to the Army's ability to effectively respond to security threats and maintain the peace."

General Sher Mohammad Karimi, chief of general staff of the ANA, speaking February 6 at the International Armoured Vehicles Conference in Farnborough, UK, said high-end armored capabilities are "critical to the survival of the state to develop capabilities to fight insurgents."

General Karimi also commented that the MSFV has been "significantly upgraded from the original design to make it more survivable in the IED environment."

Part of the TM&LS Commando Select line of armored vehicles, the MSFV is derived from the combat-proven M1117 Armored Security Vehicle (ASV). All MSFVs are configured with Enhanced Survivability (ES) capability, which increases blast protection to mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) levels. The ES-equipped vehicles continue to possess the ASV's original, all-important V-shaped hull design, in addition to innovative protection design features that enable them to meet MRAP blast protection standards.

Rigorously tested and proven in the toughest environments, the Commando™ family of vehicles offers a range of protection levels, unmatched on-road/off-road mobility and superior firepower. TM&LS produces four lines of Commando four-wheeled vehicles - Commando Utility, Commando Advanced, Commando Select and Commando Elite.

As an end-to-end armored vehicle provider, TM&LS also offers its customers fielding, training, maintenance and logistics support throughout each Commando vehicle's life cycle.

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11 mars 2013 1 11 /03 /mars /2013 16:35

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/71/Hamid_Karzai_in_August_2009_cropped.jpg/426px-Hamid_Karzai_in_August_2009_cropped.jpg

 

11.03.2013 par: Romain Mielcarek

 

Hamid Karzaï accusent Américains et talibans d’entretenir un dialogue en marge des instances nationales. Il estime de plus que les attentats perpétrés par ces derniers servent la présence américaine en Afghanistan. Des déclarations qui sèment un peu plus le trouble dans la relation entre les deux pays.


Les relations entre Kaboul et Washington sont actuellement tout sauf bonnes. Dimanche, le président afghan lançait une nouvelle réflexion assassine au sujet de la présence américaine dans son pays. « Les talibans et l’Amérique sont en contact quotidiennement, croit savoir Hamid Karzaï. Les bombes qui ont explosé à Kaboul et à Khost hier n’ont pas démontrer une quelconque puissance, mais sert au contraire l’Amérique. C’était un service rendu aux étrangers qui ne veulent pas quitter l’Afghanistan.« 

 

Une déclaration assassine qui fait référence à deux attentats suicides, contre le ministère de la Défense à Kaboul et dans l’est de la province de Khost, ayant coûté la vie à au moins 18 civils. Une déclaration qui aura surtout mis les choses au clair juste avant que le président afghan ne rencontre le Secrétaire à la Défense Chuck Hagel, qui effectuait ce week-end sa première visite à ce poste sur ce théâtre. Une déclaration, enfin, qui vient couronner une série d’accusations particulièrement hostiles contre les Américains ces dernières semaines.

 

Sans surprise, ces propos ont été très mal pris côté américain. Ils auraient donné lieu à des échanges très tendus entre le chef de l’Etat afghan, Chuck Hagel et les principaux responsables militaires lors d’un dîner dimanche soir.

« J’ai dis au président qu’il n’était pas vrai que les Etats-Unis travaillaient unilatéralement avec les talibans« , a précisé le Secrétaire à la Défense. Le patron des troupes de l’OTAN, le général Joseph Dunford, a exprimé très clairement sa position : « nous avons fait beaucoup trop pour aider les forces afghanes à grandir au cours des 12 dernières années pour qu’il soit pensable que nous ayons un quelconque intérêt à voir l’instabilité ou la violence perdurer ».

 

L’enjeu des tensions entre Kaboul et Washington


Si les relations étaient initialement plutôt bonnes entre Hamid Karzaï et les Etats-Unis, elles ne font qu’empirer depuis 2009. Le président afghan était déjà connu pour ses sorties médiatiques. Cette fois-ci, il a justifié cette affirmation en évoquant le cas d’un étudiant afghan en ingénierie, arrêté à l’université de Kandahar par une milice soupçonnée de travailler au profit de la CIA. L’agence fédérale américaine a refusé de commenter. Kaboul dénonce cet exemple comme l’illustration des entraves à la souveraineté nationale que multiplieraient les Américains.

 

Cette déclaration, tout comme la rencontre avec Chuck Hagel, surviennent alors que Washington et Kaboul négocient l’après 2014. Alors que les militaires américains devraient avoir achevé leur retrait à cette date, les Etats-Unis espèrent convaincre l’Afghanistan d’accepter la présence d’un détachement de 10 000 hommes sur place en renfort des forces afghanes. Exigence de Washington : ces derniers doivent avoir l’immunité judiciaire. D’autres discussion sont en cours en parallèle avec l’OTAN pour maintenir un contingent multinational de 8 à 14 000 soldats.

 

La sortie de Hamid Karzaï pourrait aussi être interprétée sur le plan de la politique nationale. Pour beaucoup de politiciens afghans, l’avenir est aujourd’hui national, plus que multinational, et la dénonciation de la présence étrangère fait bon ton. Dénoncer un dialogue Etats-Unis / talibans de cette manière pourrait aussi être un moyen de renvoyer, au vu de l’opinion publique, deux acteurs majeurs du conflit dos-à-dos en les rendant responsables collectivement des violences qui continuent de secouer le pays. En effet, si 2014 est l’échéance du retrait des forces étrangères … elle est aussi celle de la prochaine élection présidentielle.

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11 mars 2013 1 11 /03 /mars /2013 13:35

AT-6 formation over New Mexico. (Image Hawker Beechcraft)

AT-6B Texan II

 

08.03.2013 Aerobuzz.fr

 

Alors qu’il avait annoncé qu’il ne contesterait pas le contrat passé entre l’US Air Force et Embraer (associé à SNC) portant sur 20 A-29 Super Tucano, Beechcraft, grand perdant dans cette affaire, vient de changer d’avis. Le constructeur américain dont l’AT-6B Texan II n’a pas été retenu par l’USAF, à deux reprises, veut faire casser le contrat pour la deuxième fois. La première tentative qui s’est soldée par un échec a eu pour effet de retarder l’arrivée du nouvel avion au sein de l’USAF. Dans ce bras de fer, les seuls gagnants risquent d’être une nouvelle fois, les juristes.

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11 mars 2013 1 11 /03 /mars /2013 08:35

AT-6 formation over New Mexico. (Image Hawker Beechcraft)

 

8 Mar 2013 By Stephen Trimble - FG

 

Washington DC - Beechcraft will protest a $427 million contract award to a Sierra Nevada/Embraer team for a contract awarded by the US Air Force last week to supply light attack aircraft to Afghanistan's military.

 

The protest filed with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) will put the light air support (LAS) programme back in the legal crosshairs. The same contract was awarded to the Sierra Nevada/Embraer team a year ago, but was "set aside" after the USAF discovered irregularities in the acquisition process.

 

Now, Beechcraft wants to know why the USAF selected the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano despite the aircraft costing 40% more than a bid based on the AT-6 Texan II.

 

Bill Boisture, Beechcraft chief executive, says he remains concerned about "significant errors" in the USAF evaluation process, but did not elaborate.

 

"The air force needs to make the right decision for the nation and our future allies," Boisture says.

 

Embraer was not immediately available to comment on Beechcraft's decision.

 

The contract was considered a strategic award for both companies. For Embraer, it represents a rare chance to break in to the supply chain for the US Department of Defense, albeit through a pass-through contract to support Afghan forces. Beechcraft, meanwhile, labeled the AT-6 award "critical" to the company's plan to emerge successfully from bankruptcy protection last month.

 

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is backing Beechcraft's protest, claiming that the Brazilian-designed aircraft would cause a loss of aerospace jobs in the US.

 

We should be very concerned whenever U.S. taxpayer dollars are used to create hundreds of jobs in any foreign country,” says IAM president Tom Buffenbarger. “We should be outraged when the loss of those jobs also threatens vital U.S. economic and national security interests.

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10 mars 2013 7 10 /03 /mars /2013 22:35

ORD APKWS Firing AT-6BC HBC lg

 

Mar. 8, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA  - Defense News

 

Beechcraft again will challenge the U.S. Air Force’s decision to award the Light Air Support (LAS) contract to Embraer and Sierra Nevada Corp., the company announced Friday.

 

The Air Force awarded the contract to supply Afghanistan with 20 planes on Feb. 27.

 

“Following our debrief with the Air Force earlier this week, we are very perplexed by this decision,” Bill Boisture, CEO of Beechcraft, wrote in a statement. “Our belief that we have the best aircraft was confirmed by the Air Force rating our aircraft ‘exceptional’ and the fact that we are the lower cost solution was confirmed by the USAF’s public award announcement.”

 

This is the second time in a year that the Air Force decided to award the contract to the SNC/Embraer pairing, who put forth their A-29 Super Tucano, and the second time that Beechcraft has challenged the decision.

 

The Air Force selected the plane early last year but was forced to recompete the program after Hawker Beechcraft lodged a formal complaint with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and filed a lawsuit in federal court.

 

The Air Force relaunched the competition last April, although the Super Tucano and the AT-6 were the only competitors. The relaunching of the contract nullified the lawsuit from Hawker.

 

“We simply don’t understand how the Air Force can justify spending over 40 percent more — over $125 million more — for what we consider to be less capable aircraft,” said Boisture in his Friday statement. “Given our experience of last year and our continued strong concern that there are again significant errors in the process and evaluation in this competition, we are left with no recourse other than to file a protest with the GAO. The Air Force needs to make the right decision for the nation and our future allies.”

 

Beechcraft’s announcement was followed shortly by a statement of support from The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

 

“I don’t know why the U.S. government is bending over backwards to accommodate Brazil in the midst of sequestration, but this is a real blow to American workers and taxpayers,” IAM President Tom Buffenbarger wrote in the statement. “The claim by Embraer that most of their plane would be ‘built in the USA’ adds insult to the injury of the 1,400 jobs that will be destroyed here at home.”

 

The Brazil-based Embraer has said they plan to fulfill the LAS contract with planes manufactured in a new plant located in Jacksonville, Fla. Embraer estimates the new facility will support 100 suppliers across 20 states and result in roughly 1,400 American jobs.

 

“Beechcraft has the right to protest the award determination in accordance with the [Federal Acquisition Regulation],” Ed Gulick, Air Force spokesman, wrote in an email. “Offerors were debriefed on March 4, 2013 and the 10-day GAO protest period began on that day.”

 

Embraer and SNC released a joint statement Friday evening.

 

"In evaluating the competitors, the U.S. Air Force looked at three criteria, in priority order: mission capability, past performance and pricing in order to determine overall best value," read the statement.

 

"The A-29 received an exceptional rating on technical capability and low-risk in all other categories. Only the A-29 Super Tucano is operational and performing light air support missions today. Its capabilities and long track record are fully known and demonstrated. The past performances of SNC and Embraer are equally strong and proven. Based on these factors we are confident the Air Force selected the A-29 as the lowest risk solution for the U.S. and its partner nations and overall best value.

 

We look forward to another rapid Government Accounting Office decision on Beechcraft’s protest. "

 

During the period the contract was recompeted, Hawker Beechcraft went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, now rebranded with just the Beechcraft name, announced its restructuring in mid-February.

 

At the time, Boisture praised the USAF for how it was handling the competition. The process “proceeded with a great deal of urgency, and yet care. Our interactions with the Air Force on this round of competition have been very professional.”

 

“I guess it’s the triumph of hope over experience,” Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, said about the protest. “I don’t really know what they’re hoping to accomplish.”

 

“I’m just not sure what the grounds [for protest] would be,” he added. “The AT-6 is good, but the Super Tucano is heavier and more capable, and that’s obviously a key part of the selection criteria.”

 

“If Beechcraft is just waiting for political pressure to weigh in, the delay could just be a few months,” Aboulafia said about the protest. “But given the way things are going in terms of Afghan military requirement, it might scuttle the whole deal if requirements change or if the picture changes.”

 

A GAO official confirmed that the agency received the official challenge Friday, meaning GAO must issue a ruling 100 calendar days from today – on June 7th, if not sooner. During the protest, an automatic stay is put in place on the contract, although that can be overridden if it is decided the contract fulfills the best interests of the U.S.

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10 mars 2013 7 10 /03 /mars /2013 21:47

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10 mars 2013 Nicolas Ropert correspondant à Kaboul - RFI

 

Le climat était tendu, lors de la conférence de presse commune donnée dimanche matin par le secrétaire américain à la Défense et le président afghan, au lendemain d’une série d'attentats dans le pays. Les négociations sont toujours en cours au sujet du retrait des troupes étrangères. Et ce dimanche soir, à minuit, les forces spéciales américaines devront avoir quitté la province du Wardak, suite à l’ultimatum lancé par le chef de l'Etat afghan.

 

Lors de la conférence de presse commune organisée dimanche 10 mars à Kaboul, l'ambiance était électrique.

 

Hamid Karzaï en a profité pour rappeler que les Afghans n'étaient pas inquiets du départ des armées étrangères, prévu pour l'an prochain. « Les attentats commis par les talibans servent les Américains, qui veulent faire croire que le peuple afghan sera éliminé après 2014 », a lancé le président afghan.

 

Avec toute la diplomatie de circonstance, Chuck Hagel a, de son côté, assuré que les Américains étaient toujours en guerre contre les talibans. Il a refusé de confirmer que des discussions sont actuellement en cours avec les insurgés.

 

Wardak : l'ultimatum expire dimanche soir

 

Mais le problème le plus urgent n'a pas encore trouvé de solution, c'est ce qu'a admis le secrétaire américain à la Défense. Suite à l'ultimatum imposé par les autorités afghanes, les forces spéciales américaines doivent avoir quitté la province instable du Wardak ce dimanche 10 mars à minuit. Les troupes américaines sont en effet accusées de mauvais traitements sur des villageois dans cette région située au sud-ouest de Kaboul.

 

Des accusations formellement réfutées par la coalition internationale. Chuck Hagel espère encore arracher un accord qui permettrait à cette province sensible et proche de la capitale de ne pas tomber entièrement entre les mains des talibans.

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10 mars 2013 7 10 /03 /mars /2013 12:35

MFSV Mobile Strike Force Vehicle photo US Army

 

08.03.2013 Sergyi Way- army-guide.com

 

Textron Marine & Land Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. company, announced today that it has been awarded a $113.4 million firm-fixed-price contract from the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., to produce an additional 135 Mobile Strike Force Vehicles (MSFV) for the Afghan National Army (ANA). The vehicles are being contracted through the U.S. Army Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process.

 

Work will be performed at Textron Marine & Land Systems' facilities in the New Orleans area, with vehicle deliveries scheduled through February 2014. Three armored vehicle variants are being produced: MSFV with enclosed turret; MSFV with Objective Gunner's Protection Kit; and an MSFV ambulance.

 

TM&LS was awarded a contract for Mobile Strike Force Vehicle full-rate production in May 2011. Since then, the company has been fulfilling contract orders for a total of 499 vehicles. More than 300 of these vehicles have been delivered, and are either in operations with ANA kandaks (battalions) or being fielded as part of a comprehensive in-country vehicle logistics support and operator training program.

 

"Several kandaks are fully trained and beginning to stand up Afghanistan's quick reaction force capability," explained Tom Walmsley, TM&LS senior vice president and general manager. "These vehicles deliver a combination of lethality, survivability, mobility and sustainability crucial to the Army's ability to effectively respond to security threats and maintain the peace."

 

General Sher Mohammad Karimi, chief of general staff of the ANA, speaking February 6 at the International Armoured Vehicles Conference in Farnborough, UK, said high-end armored capabilities are "critical to the survival of the state to develop capabilities to fight insurgents."

 

General Karimi also commented that the MSFV has been "significantly upgraded from the original design to make it more survivable in the IED environment."

 

Part of the TM&LS COMMANDO Select line of armored vehicles, the MSFV is derived from the combat-proven M1117 Armored Security Vehicle (ASV). All MSFVs are configured with Enhanced Survivability (ES) capability, which increases blast protection to mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) levels. The ES-equipped vehicles continue to possess the ASV's original, all-important V-shaped hull design, in addition to innovative protection design features that enable them to meet MRAP blast protection standards.

 

Rigorously tested and proven in the toughest environments, the COMMANDO™ family of vehicles offers a range of protection levels, unmatched on-road/off-road mobility and superior firepower. TM&LS produces four lines of COMMANDO four-wheeled vehicles - COMMANDO Utility, COMMANDO Advanced, COMMANDO Select and COMMANDO Elite.

 

As an end-to-end armored vehicle provider, TM&LS also offers its customers fielding, training, maintenance and logistics support throughout each COMMANDO vehicle's life cycle.

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28 février 2013 4 28 /02 /février /2013 13:35

A-29 Super Tucano - Photo Embraer

A-29 Super Tucano has won again the USAF LAS

contract to supply 20 light attack aircraft to the Afghan Air Force.

 

February 28, 2013 by Tamir Eshel - defense-update.com/

 

US based Sierra Nevada Corp. and Brazilian Embraer Defense and Security will deliver 20 A-29 Super Tucano turboprop powered light air support aircraft to the Afghan Afghan Air Force, under a contract worth US$427 million awarded yesterday by the USAF. The contract also covers associated maintenance and training for the Afghan air force.

 

Under this contract, 20 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to operational air bases in Afghanistan beginning in the summer of 2014. Deliveries will continue through 2015 at a rate of two aircraft per month. The A-29 will be equipped for light attack missions, to conduct advanced flight training, surveillance, close air support and air interdiction missions.

 

The contract requirements called for a known, predominantly stable design due to austere conditions, the possibility for immediate combat needs and the substantial learning curve of the potential partner nation pilots. Only two aircraft models were considered – the A-29 Super Tucano and AT-6 from Hawker Beechcraft.

 

In December 2011 the USAF awarded this contract worth over $355 to Sierra Nevada Corp; however, the Air Force issued a stop-work order in February 2012 and terminated the contract in March 2012 during the Hawker Beechcraft Court of Federal Claims protest and after an internal Air Force investigation turned up documentation deficiencies in the source selection paperwork. As part of the Air Force’s corrective action, a new LAS source selection team was appointed, source selection training was reinforced across the Air Force acquisition community, and oversight alignment and effectiveness was improved. This action has cost the taxpayer extra $72 million. (DEW line has more analysis here)

 

The Air Force restarted the LAS acquisition as quickly as possible in order to be responsive to the Afghan requirement and issued an amended request for proposals in May 2012. Apparently, with competitor Hawker Beechcraft crippled under Chapter 11 (from which it emerged earlier this month), Sierra Nevada could have a better understanding of the competitor’s offer thus it could safely up its offer without risking loosing the bid.

 

One of the stronger points for Hawker Beechcraft in promoting the AT6 was the positioning of their product as US made. The Brazilian designed aircraft will be built in Jacksonville, Florida. The LAS contract will support more than 1,400 American jobs, reflecting both the large U.S. supplier base – more than 100 companies will supply parts and services for the A-29 Super Tucano – and new jobs that will be created by SNC and Embraer.  Embraer will create new high-tech jobs at its production facility in Jacksonville, adding to the 1,200 people Embraer currently employs in the United States, and new jobs at SNC will add to its U.S. workforce of 2,500 people.

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28 février 2013 4 28 /02 /février /2013 12:35

A-29-Super-Tucano---Photo-Embraer.jpg

 

Feb. 28, 2013 by Dave Majumdar – FG

 

Washington DC - The US Air Force has awarded Sierra Nevada and partner Embraer a $427 million firm fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to supply the Afghan air force with 20 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft. The award brings to a close a long-running battle between Sierra Nevada/Embraer and Beechcraft to secure the Light Air Support tender.

 

"The A-29 Super Tucano with its proven track record is exactly what's needed for the LAS program where the mission is critical and time is short. We will deliver a superior product, on-time and on-budget," says Taco Gilbert, vice president of integrated tactical solutions for Sierra Nevada's intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance business.

 

Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president of Embraer Defense and Security, whose company has been trying to secure a foothold in the lucrative US defense-aerospace market, pledges to increase the company's presence inside the United States. "Through this contract with SNC [Sierra Nevada Corporation], we will increase our investment in the United States by creating new jobs and supporting American businesses," he says.

 

Beechcraft, which bid an AT-6 attack version of its Texan II turboprop trainer, expressed its disappointment at the loss and did not rule out once again protesting the award. Beechcraft, which lost out to Embraer during the original LAS contract award at the end of 2011, had previously sued the US government over that award. Ultimately, the USAF was forced to rerun the tender, but once again the Super Tucano has come out ahead of the AT-6.

 

"We are disappointed that our proposal was not chosen. We will meet with the USAF for a full debrief of the award and determine our next steps forward at that time," Beechcraft says. "Although the US Air Force did not select the AT-6 Light Attack Aircraft for the Light Air Support program, Beechcraft is committed to advancing the aircraft's capabilities and continues to pursue additional close air support opportunities."

 

The contract loss comes at a critical time for the Wichita-based airframer. Beechcraft emerged from bankruptcy protection only a week ago, and cited winning the LAS programme as a critical near-term goal.

 

According, to Sierra Nevada and Embraer, the Super Tucano will be built in Jacksonville, Florida. Embraer's facility at the Jacksonville airport is already being readied for the aircraft's assembly line. "The LAS contract will support more than 1,400 American jobs, reflecting the large US supplier base," the companies say in a joint statement.

 

Under the terms of the contract, the two companies will supply 20 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, one basic aviation training device, one flight training device, six mission planning stations, and six mission debrief systems for the first delivery order. The companies will also have to provide long lead spares parts, flight certification to USAF military type certification standards, and data rights. "The maximum amount that can be ordered under this contract is $950,000,000," the Pentagon contract award reads.

 

The USAF wants deliveries of these first 20 aircraft completed by April 2015, but follow work could run through 26 February, 2019.

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28 février 2013 4 28 /02 /février /2013 12:35

http://fr.rian.ru/images/19637/80/196378062.jpg

 

MOSCOU, 28 février - RIA Novosti

 

Le président français François Hollande, en visite de travail à Moscou, envisage de demander l'aide de la Russie lors du retrait des forces françaises d'Afghanistan.

 

"Pour ma part, je demanderai d'aider les forces françaises à organiser leur retrait d'Afghanistan, ainsi qu'à assurer le retrait des équipements", a déclaré le dirigeant français dans une interview à la radio Echo de Moscou (propos retraduits du russe).

 

Selon M.Hollande, la France a déjà évoqué ce problème avec d'autres pays géographiquement proches de l'Afghanistan.

 

Le président français est à Moscou pour une visite de travail de deux jours à l'invitation de son homologue russe Vladimir Poutine. Selon le service de presse du Kremlin, les négociations entre les deux dirigeants porteront sur les aspects clés de la coopération bilatérale, notamment dans les domaines du commerce, de l'énergie, des investissements, de la coproduction industrielle en matière d'innovations et de hautes technologies, ainsi que dans la sphère culturelle. Le dossier syrien sera également au menu.

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28 février 2013 4 28 /02 /février /2013 12:35

http://defense.blogs.lavoixdunord.fr/media/02/01/2326968657.JPG

 

27/02/2013 Par Olivier Berger, grand reporter à La Voix du Nord - Défense globale

 

Les rapporteurs de la mission d'information de l'Assemblée nationale sur le retrait des forces françaises d'Afghanistan, Philippe Meunier (UMP) et Philippe Nauche (PS), évaluent l'engagement militaire national depuis 2001 à près de 3 milliards d'euros. " A l'échéance 2014, le surcoût total lié à l'opération devrait avoisiner les 3,5 milliards. "

Leur critique se masse en priorité sur le désengagement, " manœuvre réussie ", mais très coûteuse (ici un hélicoptère Cougar français embarquant dans un Antonov russe à l'aéroport de Kaboul, photo La Voix du Nord)...

 

Devant la commission de la Défense de l'AN, les députés Meunier et Nauche se félicitent de la réussite globale de la manœuvre de désengagement (1 500 hommes aujourd'hui contre 3 600 en juin 2012). A ce stade, deux tiers du matériel sont désengagés avec une légère avance sur le calendrier pour le DETIA, le détachement qui gère ce flux gigantesque à KAIA, l'aéroport de Kaboul.

 

Seulement, le coût de l'opération est colossal puisque le retrait se déroule par avion dans 10 % des cas (par Antonov, Illiouchine 76 ou Boeing 747 affrétés) et 80 % par voie mixte, c'est-à-dire par les airs de Kaboul jusqu'à Al-Dhafra aux Emirats arabes unis, puis par voie maritime jusqu'en France. Les députés estiment " un manque de célérité des autorités françaises, diplomatiques et militaires, à négocier en amont avec les pays limitrophes l'utilisation des voies terrestres ".

La volonté politique d'accélération du mouvement de retrait, de Nicolas Sarkozy d'abord (fin 2013), François Hollande (fin 2012), n'y est bien sûr pas étrangère. Mais les discussions auraient été " trop tardives ".

 

Les chiffres sont en tout cas impressionnants : le coût du transport d'un conteneur par la route du nord jusqu'en Ouzbékistan, puis par le train jusqu'en Lettonie est évalué à 7 000 €, tandis qu'une voie aérienne directe d'Afghanistan en France coûte environ 40 000 € par avion direct ou 30 000 par voie mixte. D'ici juin, la France aura désengagé au total 1 200 véhicules et autant de conteneurs. Faites vos petits calculs... Mais avec les hommes, on ne sera pas loin des 500 millions d'euros.

 

Les rapporteurs ont fait consciencieusement leur travail. Il n'empêche qu'un convoi test français, qui tente d'emprunter la voie nord, est immobilisé depuis plus d'un mois à la frontière afghane. Et les formalités administratives sont loin d'être réglées. Il n'est jamais simple et gratuit de quitter un théâtre...

 

En lien, notre album photo sur le désengagement français réalisé début décembre : Bye bye Kaboul.

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28 février 2013 4 28 /02 /février /2013 07:48

Super Tucano Embraer – photo Embraer

 

Feb. 27, 2013 - by AARON MEHTA – Defense news

 

WASHINGTON — The Afghan military will receive 20 of the A-29 Super Tucano as their new light air support vehicle, the U.S. Defense Department announced.

 

The Super Tucano, a joint program from U.S. firm Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) and Brazil’s Embraer, has been awarded the contract, beating out competitor Beechcraft and its ATS.

 

The firm-fixed-price contract is worth $427,459,708, and has a maximum amount $950 million that can be ordered under the contract. Work will be completed by Feb. 26, 2019, and the first delivery order is expected to be complete by April 2015.

 

In addition to the 20 planes, SNC and Embraer will provide “one computer based trainer, one basic aviation training device, one flight training device, six mission planning stations, six mission debrief systems, long lead spares for interim contractor support, outside the continental United States base activation, site surveys, flight certification to U.S. Air Force military type certification standards, and data.”

 

The award marks the second time in a year that the A-29 has won this contract. The Air Force picked the plane early last year as its choice for the contract, but were forced to recompete the program after Hawker Beechcraft lodged a formal complaint with the Government Accountability Office and filed a lawsuit in federal court.

 

The Air Force relaunched the competition last April, although the Super Tucano and the AT-6 were the only competitors. (The relaunching of the contract nullified the lawsuit from Hawker.)

 

“The Light Air Support program is essential to the United States’ objectives in Afghanistan and to our national security. It is a great honor to serve our country by providing the aircraft, training and support for this program,” Taco Gilbert, vice president of Integrated Tactical Solutions for SNC’s Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance business area, wrote in a statement sent out minutes after the contract was announced.

 

“The A-29 Super Tucano, with its proven track record, is exactly what’s needed for the LAS program where the mission is critical and time is short. We will deliver a superior product, on-time and on-budget.

 

“We are glad to provide the U.S. government with the best aircraft for the LAS program and to aid American warfighters and partners in successfully concluding their mission in Afghanistan,” Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president and CEO of Embraer Defense and Security, wrote in the same statement.

 

“Through this contract with SNC, we will increase our investment in the United States by creating new jobs and supporting American businesses.”

 

“Although the U.S. Air Force did not select the AT-6 Light Attack Aircraft for the Light Air Support program, Beechcraft is committed to advancing the aircraft’s capabilities and continues to pursue additional close air support opportunities,” Nicole Alexander, Beechcraft spokeswoman, wrote in a statement.

 

“We are disappointed that our proposal was not chosen. We will meet with the USAF for a full debrief of the award and determine our next steps forward at that time.”

 

‘A Proven System’

 

During a recent interview, Gilbert expressed confidence that the Super Tucano would once again win the contract.

 

“It is a proven system” Gilbert said, citing over 28,000 hours of combat flying time logged across nine countries. “What you see if what you get, and we’re confident we get that low-risk capability. It certainly meets all the requirements that are out there for the LAS program.”

 

Previous models of the A-29 were built in Brazil, but the planes for the LAS contract will be created at a facility located near Jacksonville International Airport in Jacksonville, Fla. Embraer estimates the new facility will support 100 suppliers across 20 states and result in roughly 1,400 American jobs.

 

The facility is not designed for this contract alone.

 

“We see a huge market” for expansion, Gilbert said. “We see great growth potential. As the war on terror continues to spread across the globe, one of the lessons learned is that these 4th and 5th generation fighters are very capable but this isn’t necessarily a great mission for them.”

 

Gilbert said the companies are prepared to hit the ground running “day one” after winning the contract. “We’re ready right now to start ordering long-lead items and start working the hiring down in Jacksonville,” he said.

 

A former USAF general, Gilbert stressed that his company was aware of the condensed timetable facing the program, a result of the extra year required to bid the program and by the Obama administration’s decision to remove troops from Afghanistan at an acerbated pace.

 

“This is just too important, both from the mission they have and for the need to bring Americans home,” Gilbert said. “This program has to be successful.”

 

Disappointment for Beechcraft

 

While the Super Tucano team is celebrating, the contract loss hit hard for the competition.

 

During the period the contract was recompeted, Hawker Beechcraft went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, now rebranded with just the Beechcraft name, announced its restructuring last week.

 

Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture said in a recent interview that his company is positioned strongly in the market, even if the LAS deal went to the Embraer/SNC duo.

 

“We have the financial strength and stability as a result of this restructuring to compete vigorously on competitions like this and we’ll go in search of a launch customer if this [LAS] contract is not the vehicle we can use for that,” Boisture said. “We have an expectation that the future growth and profitability of the company will definitely involve the AT-6.”

 

He also said the second competition “proceeded with a great deal of urgency, and yet care. Our interactions with the Air Force on this round of competition have been very professional.”

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27 février 2013 3 27 /02 /février /2013 17:35

http://assets.digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/image_data/file/6737/s300_1X_BRF_boarding_a_Chinook_to_insert_by_helicopter_onto_an_insurgent_compound_FTX_Salisbury_Plain_18_Feb_13.JPG

Members of the 1st Mechanized BRF board a Chinook

helicopter on Salisbury Plain [Picture: Crown copyright]

 

27 February 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

Soldiers from the 1st Mechanized Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) have conducted their final training exercise on Salisbury Plain.

 

The completion of their pre-deployment training leaves the men and women of the BRF well-prepared to deploy to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 18 over the coming weeks.

 

The core of the BRF is formed from soldiers of the Household Cavalry and 4th Battalion The Rifles, along with specialists from the Royal Military Police, the Royal Artillery, the Intelligence Corps, the Royal Corps of Signals and the Corps of Royal Engineers.

 

The BRF also has its own Desert Hawk and light electronic warfare teams.

Soldiers firing mortars at night
Members of the 1st Mechanized Brigade Reconnaissance Force firing 60mm mortars during a night exercise on Salisbury Plain [Picture: Crown copyright]

The exercise is the culmination of 6 months of arduous and comprehensive training undertaken by the BRF all over the UK. This preparation has included surveillance, reconnaissance and specialist weapon training.

 

The 10-day exercise has seen the BRF deploy both in their Jackal vehicles and by Chinook helicopter to conduct search missions to clear compounds filled with Afghan actors.

 

During Herrick 18 the BRF will be working to support the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), helping them to deliver security in Helmand.

 

Major Tom Armitage, Officer Commanding the BRF, said:

The final training exercise was an excellent culmination to our training and has proved the BRF to be ready to operate in Helmand supporting the ANSF. We are all looking forward to deploying in the next few weeks.

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27 février 2013 3 27 /02 /février /2013 14:35

http://assets.digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/image_data/file/6728/s300_LOND-2013-024-105.jpg

Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi meeting officer cadets at the Royal Military

Academy Sandhurst [Picture: Sergeant Adrian Harlen, Crown copyright]

 

27 February 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

Afghanistan's Defence Minister has visited the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to see how it can influence officer training plans in his country.

 

On his visit to Sandhurst, His Excellency General Bismillah Mohammadi saw the world-class training delivered to officer cadets, including Afghan personnel, and was able to discuss developing plans for the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, which will be modelled on the British institution.

 

The Afghan Academy, which is now under construction, will be situated at Qargha, near Kabul, and will involve a significant number of British military advisors, supported by allies. It will also form a major part of the UK’s post-2014 commitment to Afghanistan and once fully operational will have the capacity to train up to 1,350 male students and 150 female students every year.

Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi (second left) is briefed by an instructor
Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi (second left) is briefed by an instructor at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst [Picture: Mike Smith, Crown copyright]

Across Afghanistan, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) already lead more than 80% of conventional operations and now carry out 90% of their own training.

 

On the first day of his three-day visit to the UK, Minister Mohammadi also visited the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards at Victoria Barracks, Windsor, where he witnessed medical training, another capability which is being developed amongst the Afghan forces.

 

Yesterday, Tuesday 26 February, the minister met with the UK Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary William Hague, Armed Forces Minister Andrew Robathan and Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards, amongst others.

Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi (right) is greeted by General Sir Nicholas Houghton
Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi (right) is greeted by Vice Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nicholas Houghton [Picture: Harland Quarrington, Crown copyright]

Minister Mohammadi said:

I am very pleased to be here at the invitation of the Secretary of State of Defence. I hope to focus on the continued professional development of the Afghan National Army (ANA), in particular through the UK’s leadership of the ANA Officer Academy project.

 

I welcomed the opportunity to visit the prestigious Sandhurst, where the design of the ANA Officer Academy is being matured, and meet those involved as well as the ANA cadets under training at the college.  

 

I am here to discuss the continued commitment of the UK as the ISAF(International Security Assistance Force) mission draws down and the new post-2014 mission becomes more defined, and understand the UK’s future involvement in the enduring partnership with Afghanistan.

The minister also paid tribute to the sacrifices of the UK Armed Forces in Afghanistan and on behalf of the government thanked the UK for its support. He said:

I thank the UK government and people for the blood and treasure spent on our behalf - it will not be in vain. The work of your forces in Helmand province will endure as the Afghan forces continue to take the lead in operations and maintain the peace and security of the nation, allowing the country to develop and grow in prosperity.

Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi meeting Philip Hammond
Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi meeting the UK Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond [Picture: Harland Quarrington, Crown copyright]

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

I am delighted to welcome Minister Mohammadi to the UK and have discussed with him many of the complex challenges facing Afghanistan, including the ongoing transition of security to Afghan control.

 

Today, the ANSF has lead security responsibility in areas that are home to three-quarters of the population, including each of the provincial capitals and all 3 districts that make up the UK’s area of operations.

 

Our combat mission is drawing to a close, but our commitment to Afghanistan will last for many years. The Afghan National Army Officer Academy will be a key pillar of that and will ensure that officers and those training them will be of the highest quality.

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27 février 2013 3 27 /02 /février /2013 13:55

afghanistan-rapatriement-de-materiels-lourds-vers-la-france

 

27.02.2013 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense

 

Le rapport d'information sur le retrait d’Afghanistan a été discuté, mardi, en commission. Ce rapport a été présenté par Philippe Meunier et Philippe Nauche, les rapporteurs.

 

On cliquera ici pour voir la vidéo de cette réunion.

 

Quelques chiffres méritent d'être sortis de ce rapport:
- le surcoût cumulé des opérations en afghanistan "avoisine les 3 milliards d'euros"
- le coût du transport du fret vers la France, par UAT (unité à transporter) va de 5 000€ à 40 000€:
              - 40 000 € pour le tranprt par air entre Kaboul et la France
              - 30 000€ pour le transport multimodal (air et mer
              - coûts estimés du transport routier par la voie sud (Pakistan): 5 000 €
              - coûts estimés du transport par la voie nord (vers la Baltique): 7 000€

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27 février 2013 3 27 /02 /février /2013 12:35

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

 

27 février 2013 11h48 Romandie.com (AFP)

 

KABOUL - Au moins 16 personnes, incluant dix policiers, ont été tuées lors d'une attaque perpétrés par les talibans dans la province afghane de Ghazni (centre), ont indiqué mercredi des responsables locaux.

 

Les insurgés ont tué dix policiers et sept civils à un point de contrôle dans le district local d'Andar, a dit à l'AFP Musa Khan Akbarzada, le gouverneur de la province. Un autre haut responsable afghan a confirmé l'attaque, mais a fait état de 16 morts.

 

Nous ne savons pas encore comment ces policiers et ces civils ont été tués. Nous avons dépêché sur place une délégation afin de faire la lumière sur cet incident, a ajouté le gouverneur.

 

Les talibans afghans ont revendiqué cette nouvelle attaque contre les forces de sécurité afghanes, appelées à prendre le relais des soldats occidentaux au terme de la mission de l'Otan à la fin de 2014.

 

Un attentat suicide revendiqué par les talibans contre un autobus militaire à Kaboul a aussi fait dix blessés mercredi, selon un nouveau bilan des autorités locales.

 

Malgré onze années de présence internationale et plus de 130.000 soldats étrangers sur le terrain au plus fort de l'engagement, l'insurrection menée par les talibans n'a toujours pas été matée en Afghanistan.

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26 février 2013 2 26 /02 /février /2013 17:35

navistar_mtv.jpg

 

20.02.2013 Navistar - army-guide.com

 

LISLE, Ill. -- Navistar Defense, LLC, already a key supplier to the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP), has received an urgent delivery order from the U.S. Army (TACOM LCMC) to retrofit 205 armored cabs onto Navistar Medium Tactical Vehicles (MTV) currently designated for service with the Afghan National Security Forces.

 

The award, for $23 million, will involve replacing the current commercial cab with a specially designed armored cab— providing savings by re-using the original components of the MTV to protect the ANA and ANP from ballistic and blast threats in the theater of operations. The order also includes enhancing additional vehicle elements for improved survivability to provide Afghan National Security Forces with the capability to conduct route clearance missions with mine roller applications.

 

"This order reflects Navistar's strong partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense in providing high quality vehicles on very aggressive schedules in support of protecting the soldier on the ground," said Archie Massicotte, president, Navistar Defense. "We are proud to continue to support the vehicle fleet that we have provided to the Afghan National Security Forces and deliver on our commitments to the U.S. military and allies on this very important project and program."

 

The Navistar MTV is an extremely flexible platform that is already in service in Afghanistan in a variety of key missions including general troop transport, water tankers, fuel trucks, recovery vehicles and cargo trucks. Since 2004, Navistar has provided nearly 9,000 MTVs to the ANA and ANP. There are another 14,000 Navistar MTVs in service with military units around the world.

 

The vehicles will be upgraded at the Navistar Defense facility in West Point, Miss. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in April with completion scheduled for July.

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25 février 2013 1 25 /02 /février /2013 16:35

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c2/Hamid_Karzai_2006-09-26.jpg

 

24/02/2013 Par LEXPRESS.fr

 

Le président afghan dénonce des actes de torture et des meurtres commis dans le Wardak par des "groupes armés illégaux" liés à l'armée des Etats-Unis.

 

Le président afghan Hamid Karzaï exige le retrait des forces spéciales américaines de la province instable du Wardak, les accusant d'avoir créé des "groupes armés illégaux" coupables d'actes de torture et de meurtres, a annoncé la présidence ce dimanche.

 

Le Wardak, qui se situe à la frontière sud-ouest de Kaboul, est un repaire de l'insurrection talibane, où les forces de sécurité afghanes peinent à s'imposer.

 

"Le président Karzaï a ordonné au ministre de la Défense de faire partir les forces spéciales américaines de la province du Wardak dans les deux semaines à venir", a déclaré Aimal Faizi, le porte-parole du chef de l'Etat lors d'une conférence de presse.

 

"Les forces spéciales américaines et des groupes armés illégaux qu'elles ont créés génèrent de l'insécurité, de l'instabilité, et harcèlent les habitants" dans cette province, a-t-il poursuivi. Ces groupes "torturent et tuent des gens", a affirmé un communiqué de la présidence.

 

"Par exemple, neuf habitants de cette province ont été capturés durant une opération (...) et on ne sait plus rien d'eux. Un étudiant a également été pris chez lui. Deux jours plus tard, son corps égorgé a été retrouvé sous un pont", énumère ce texte. "Les Américains nient ces opérations et disent que leurs forces ne sont pas responsables", affirme le communiqué.

 

"Nous prenons ces allégations de mauvaise conduite au sérieux. Nous nous employons assidûment à déterminer les faits y étant liés", a répondu par écrit un porte-parole des forces américaines, interrogé par l'AFP. "Nous ne ferons pas de commentaire jusqu'à ce que nous puissions parler de cette question avec des représentants de haut niveau du gouvernement afghan", a-t-il poursuivi.

 

Retrait dans moins de deux ans

 

La décision présidentielle a été prise à la suite d'une enquête après que des habitants du Wardak furent venus se plaindre à Kaboul, a précisé Aimal Faizi.

 

Les relations entre Kaboul et Washington se tendent à moins de deux années du retrait du pays de l'essentiel des troupes de l'Otan, que dirigent les Etats-Unis. Le président Karzaï se plaint régulièrement des bombardements américains sur son territoire lorsque ceux-ci frappent des civils.

 

Le Wardak est un territoire clé de par sa proximité avec la capitale Kaboul. La présence d'insurgés dans cette zone rend difficile le transport par la route en direction de Kandahar et des provinces du sud.

 

Malgré onze années de présence et jusqu'à 130.000 soldats étrangers mobilisés, la coalition, qui soutient un fragile gouvernement afghan et a formé à marche forcée 352.000 soldats et policiers, n'a jamais pu mater les rebelles, encore très actifs via des opérations de guérilla.

 

Nombre d'Afghans, peu convaincus par leurs forces de sécurité, craignent un nouvel embrasement du pays après 2014. L'Afghanistan est en guerre depuis plus de trois décennies.

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25 février 2013 1 25 /02 /février /2013 13:35

nato-emblem-300-dark-blue-lg

 

MOSCOU, 22 février - RIA Novosti

 

Après son retrait d'Afghanistan en 2014, l'Otan pourrait laisser 8.000 à 12.000 militaires dans ce pays, ont annoncé des agences d'information occidentales, citant le porte-parole du Pentagone George Little.

 

Plus tôt vendredi, le ministre allemand de la Défense Thomas de Maizière avait fait savoir aux journalistes que lors d'une rencontre des ministres de la Défense de l'Otan, son homologue américain Léon Panetta avait annoncé l'intention des Etats-Unis de laisser 8.000 à 12.000 militaires en Afghanistan après 2014.

 

M. Little a confirmé cette information en déclarant que les participants à la rencontre avaient en effet examiné la possibilité de "déployer dans le cadre de la future mission 8.000 à 12.000 soldats", le contingent américain y compris. Le porte-parole du Pentagone a dans le même temps souligné qu'aucune décision n'avait encore été adoptée concernant l'importance des effectifs des Etats-Unis et de l'Otan en Afghanistan après 2014.

 

"Le président [Barack Obama, ndlr] étudie toujours différentes options et n'a pas encore pris de décision concernant l'importance de la présence américaine après 2014. Nous continuerons à examiner avec nos alliés et avec les Afghans ce qu'il faudra faire pour remplir deux missions principales: d'une part combattre les restes d'Al-Qaïda et de ses complices et d'autre part former et équiper les troupes afghanes", a indiqué M. Little.

 

En 2014, la responsabilité de la sécurité en Afghanistan sera entièrement transférée aux forces afghanes. Le chef de la diplomatie russe a déclaré à cette occasion que Moscou souhaitait obtenir toutes les précisions concernant les missions du contingent de l'Alliance qui restera après cette date.

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25 février 2013 1 25 /02 /février /2013 12:35

Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle

 

DOUCHANBE, 22 février - RIA Novosti

 

Le Tadjikistan est prêt à autoriser à la Force internationale d'assistance à la sécurité (ISAF), y compris à la Grande-Bretagne, le transit via son territoire de troupes et de frets depuis l'Afghanistan, a annoncé vendredi Davlati Nazriev, porte-parole de la diplomatie tadjike.

 

"Le Tadjikistan est prêt à permettre le transit sur son territoire de frets de l'ISAF, en n'y voyant aucun problème ni obstacle", a déclaré le diplomate.

 

Et d'ajouter que Londres avait soumis à Douchanbe un projet d'accord intergouvernemental en ce sens.

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25 février 2013 1 25 /02 /février /2013 11:36

ISAF-Logo

 

MOSCOU, 22 février - RIA Novosti

 

La Douma (chambre basse du parlement russe) a ratifié vendredi un accord entre la Russie et l'Italie sur le transit ferroviaire - via le territoire russe - de personnels, d'armements, de munitions et de matériels de guerre acheminés vers l'Afghanistan.

 

Cet accord a été signé le 3 décembre 2010 à Sotchi entre les gouvernements russe et italien.

 

La nécessité de conclure un tel document a été dictée par la participation de troupes italiennes aux efforts internationaux visant à stabiliser la situation en Afghanistan. Selon les termes de l'accord, le transit sera effectué conformément à une autorisation générale ou spéciale délivrée par la partie russe à la demande de la partie italienne. Cette autorisation sera annulée d'office en cas de résiliation de l'accord.

 

La partie russe aura le droit de refuser l'autorisation si elle établit qu'un matériel ou un personnel sont acheminés à des fins contraires à l'accord et que leur déplacement constitue une menace pour la sécurité nationale de la Russie. Moscou se réserve également le droit de retirer l'autorisation précédemment délivrée.

 

Lors du transit via le territoire russe, les effectifs militaires et les personnes accompagnant les armes et les matériels de guerre seront tenus de respecter la législation de la Fédération de Russie. Les militaires en transit seront autorisés à porter l'uniforme, mais pas à être en possession d'armes et de munitions. Les personnels traversant le territoire russe seront soumis à la législation du pays d'accueil.

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23 février 2013 6 23 /02 /février /2013 12:35

http://assets.digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/image_data/file/6638/s300_20130222ansfGOV01.jpg

A newly-qualified Afghan explosives expert is congratulated

by his British mentor

[Picture: Leading Airman Rhys O'Leary, Crown copyright]

 

22 February 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

The Afghan National Security Forces' (ANSF) newest explosive experts have marked the completion of their training with a ceremony at their base in Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand province.

 

The explosive hazard reduction experts, who come from both the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan Uniform Police (AUP), will allow the ANSF the freedom of movement to provide increased security for the local population. Their role will be to find and destroy improvised explosive devices (IEDs) throughout Nahr-e Saraj.

Newly-qualified Afghan explosives experts graduate from their training
Newly-qualified Afghan explosives experts graduate from their training [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Rhys O'Leary, Crown copyright]

The 4-week course was run by International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) experts from the EOD and Search Task Force and held at Main Operating Base Price, 40 Commando Royal Marines’ base in central Helmand province.

 

Sergeant Kev Clark, an ISAF instructor from 11 EOD Regiment, said:

The course provides the ANA and AUP with safe ways to search for and find IEDs and the procedures to blow them up in place instead of what they had been doing, which is unsafe procedures basically.

 

We teach them how to use search equipment and ground sign awareness. They are very good at ground sign. For guys that are, in the main, illiterate, they picked up the procedures extremely well and asked a lot of good questions.

The course certificates were presented by Captain Alex Nixon, Adjutant of 40 Commando Royal Marines. He said:

To be able to present these certificates to the latest explosive hazard reduction course members was a fantastic opportunity. The men from both the ANA and AUP will assist in providing security and peace in Nahr-e Saraj and they provide a significant capability for the ANSF.

 

They have performed well during their training and are now capable of dealing with many of the threats posed by those who attempt to destabilise GIRoA (Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) and undermine the success that Afghan forces are having.

Newly-qualified Afghan explosives experts with their certificates and mentors
Newly-qualified Afghan explosives experts with their certificates and mentors [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Rhys O'Leary, Crown copyright]

The newly-trained explosives experts will now go back to their respective units where, together with the ANSF’s highly-trained EOD experts, they will provide the backbone of the ANSF’s future EOD capability.

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Nato 03

 

February 22, 2013 By Matthias Gebauer in Brussels - spiegel.de

 

NATO has long said it wouldn't abandon Afghanistan following the conclusion of combat operations at the end of 2014. But the alliance is having trouble agreeing on just what that means. Now, planning for the future training mission has run into trouble.

 

When NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen steps before the press at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, he normally has good news. Phrases such as "on track" and "in time" have become indispensable elements of his press conferences.

 

But this week, Ramussen was forced to strike a different tone when commenting on Afghanistan. At the two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers on Thursday and Friday, the alliance had hoped to agree on the training mission envisioned for the country once the multi-national International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) withdraws at the end of 2014. It was not to be, though. Instead, Rasmussen was forced to admit that "we still have some time to go."

"We are in the process of planning and I would expect final decisions on the size and scope of the future NATO-led training mission to be taken within the coming months," he added.

 

The delay reflects difficult behind-the-scenes discussions relating to the post-2014 training mission in Afghanistan. At the NATO summit in Chicago last May, alliance leaders pledged not to abandon Afghanistan following the withdrawal. Since then, however, the ongoing debate among alliance members as to just what that means has been intense.

 

The current concept calls for nations involved to contribute to a small force focused on training the fledgling Afghan military and security personnel. None of the participants want to see that mission mutate into a mini-version of the costly ISAF mission. Nor do they want to commit more trainers than absolutely necessary.

 

'Difficult Questions'


German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière offered a candid assessment prior to this week's meeting. Before planning for the mission can continue, he said, many "difficult questions" must be answered. That, he added, is why the "first operation plans that had been prepared" were frozen. De Maizière said that policymakers must first reach agreement on the goals before military leaders can begin to develop concrete plans.

 

It is an unwelcome delay. While it may seem as though there is plenty of time before the post-2014 mission begins, military planners would prefer to have more than the 20 months now remaining.

 

Much of the tension is the result of the United States' intention to keep its own participation as limited as possible. SPIEGEL ONLINE learned this week that Douglas Lute, special assistant to the US president on Pakistan and Afghanistan, gave a confidential briefing in Brussels earlier this month in which he outlined Washington's vision for its post-2014 involvement in Afghanistan. He made clear that the American force would be a maximum of 10,000 troops, only half of which would be earmarked for the training mission. The other half is to focus on counter-terrorism operations. Additionly, Lute indicated that the US would no longer support the international mission with Medevac helicopters, presenting a difficult challenge to Germany and other NATO allies.

 

No one in Brussels was willing to comment on the Lute briefing at the foreign ministers' meeting this week. But its content was foremost in their minds. A contingent of just 5,000 US troops for the training mission means that other NATO members will have to make greater contributions than anticipated to achieve the targeted mission size of between 10,000 and 15,000 troops. That could put Berlin in a bind, given that Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has been promising a withdrawal from Afghanistan for years.

 

In his confidential presentation, Lute also noted that Washington had concrete expectations of Berlin. While the post-2014 training mission, known as "Resolute Support," is to be coordinated from Kabul, each quadrant of the country is to have its own independent training center. The US hopes that Germany will take on the camp in northern Afghanistan, Lute said. Under ISAF, Germany has been in charge of Regional Command North and currently has 4,400 troops stationed there.

 

Boosting the Afghan Army


Such details were likely not up for debate in Brussels this week. The alliance is set to focus on Afghanistan during meetings on Friday, to be sure. But because the appointment of incoming Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has not yet been confirmed by the Senate, his predecessor Leon Panetta flew to Brussels instead. When it comes to planning for an Afghanistan mission that will start almost two months after he steps down, it seems likely that Panetta will practice diplomatic reserve.

 

A further US announcement caused additional confusion on Thursday, one which could impact the planning and budget for the future training mission. Thus far, the alliance had envisioned a post-2014 Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) of 280,000 troops -- and has worked hard toward meeting that number in recent years.

 

 

This week, however, a US official announced in Brussels that Washington now aims for a force of 350,000 soldiers. The boost likely means that the planned budget of $4 billion per year will have to be increased. Given the difficult negotiations that preceded previous budget talks, combined with falling defense spending across the alliance, such an increase could present challenges. On Thursday evening, NATO head Rasmussen merely said he was "confident that we will be able to finance Afghan security forces of that size."

Given the difficult questions facing the alliance, NATO is considering calling an Afghanistan summit this summer to coincide with US President Barack Obama's trip to Europe.

 

But one decision was made this week. With the current ISAF commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, having withdrawn his name from consideration for the post of NATO's supreme commander, US General Phil Breedlove has been tapped for the position. Obama must first signal his agreement, though.

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