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19 décembre 2015 6 19 /12 /décembre /2015 12:50
Helicopter Tactical Procedures on the agenda

 

Budapest - 17 December, 2015 European Defence Agency

 

Hungary hosted the sixth Helicopter Tactics Symposium of the European Defence Agency (EDA) Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP). Held in Budapest on 7-9 December 2015, the event continues to be a major venue for European helicopter crews to discuss and share experience in helicopter tactical procedures. 

 

Over sixty helicopter tactics instructors and experts coming from ten countries, as well as representatives of the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC), Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC), Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC), and NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ), gathered at this annual HEP event to bring the common tactical knowledge base up-to-date.

Briefings and discussions covered the latest tactical lessons from the helicopter operations in Iraq, Syria, Mali and Afghanistan. The panel discussions, divided between attack and support helicopter operators and planners, brought an insight to the latest developments in night vision goggles (NVG) training, Electronic Warfare (EW), tactics used to land on different types of landing zones, use of sensors and technologies applied in Degraded Visual Environment (DVE) and helicopter self-defence aids used by the Member States. Reflecting on several comments coming out of discussions, new proposals to update the HEP Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the capstone tactics manual for multinational helicopter operations, were submitted.

The aims and objectives of the upcoming HEP exercises were briefed in detail, including Cold Blade 2016 (Finland, environmental training in extreme conditions), Black Blade 2016 (Belgium, Special Operations Forces exercise) and Fire Blade 2017 (Hungary, live-fire, urban operations).

The HEP Member States fully realise that the multinational dimension is key to the development of the helicopter capabilities of European countries. Therefore, the well-established HEP community calls for a wider extension of proven exchanges of operational experience, such as the ones conducted during the Helicopter Tactics Symposiums. 

 

More information: 

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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 12:50
photo NATO

photo NATO

 

12/11/2015 DCSSA

 

Le service de santé des armées et le centre d’excellence pour la médecine militaire (MILMED COE) de Budapest en Hongrie coopèrent depuis 2011 dans les domaines de la surveillance épidémiologique et de la formation. Une rencontre a eu lieu dans la perspective de renforcer cette coopération.

 

Le MGI Patrick Godart, directeur central adjoint du SSA, a effectué une visite au MILMED CoE de Budapest en Hongrie, les 14 et 15 octobre 2015. Il a rencontré le directeur, le Brigadier Général Stefan Kowitz (DEU), ainsi que les responsables des départements RETEX, formation et interopérabilité.

 

Le Centre d’excellence et le SSA travaillent ensemble pour le développement du système ASTER (surveillance épidémiologique en temps réel) au sein du centre de surveillance épidémiologique de l’OTAN à Munich. Dans le domaine de l’enseignement, la coopération se fait pour l’évaluation des capacités médicales, avec l’École du Val-de-Grâce, et des cours de surveillance épidémiologique, destinés aux personnels médicaux appelés à être projetés dans des Rôles 1 à 3, sont assurés par le CESPA depuis fin 2013.

 

Le SSA et le Centre d’excellence accompagnent un projet de Trauma Registry, dont l’expérimentation est en cours, au profit de l’OTAN. Enfin, le Mil Med CoE coordonne la préparation des exercices médicaux internationaux Vigorous Warrior, organisés tous les 2 ans depuis 2011.

 

Le Mil Med CoE est l’un des 16 centres d’excellence militaire en Europe. Il est le seul dans le domaine de la santé. Le Mil Med CoE fonctionne depuis septembre 2009 et a obtenu la certification OTAN en octobre de la même année. Il s’est vu conférer le statut d’organisation internationale, et non plus de structure nationale hongroise à vocation multinationale, peu avant son inauguration officielle fin 2009. L’adhésion de la France a été officialisée le 12 octobre 2011.

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5 novembre 2015 4 05 /11 /novembre /2015 11:55
Capture of the walls of Le Quesnoy by George Edmund Butler, 1920

Capture of the walls of Le Quesnoy by George Edmund Butler, 1920

 

04.11.2015 source SHD

 

4 novembre 1576 : sac d’Anvers (Provinces-Unies, actuelle Belgique). N’étant plus soldée depuis des mois par l’Espagne, une unité de Tercios espagnols en garnison à Anvers se mutine et pille la très prospère ville marchande. L’épisode sanglant (au moins 7000 morts) est aussi connu sous le nom de furie d’Anvers. Il a contribué à accélérer l’union des provinces contre la domination de l’occupant espagnol. Les provinces du Nord formeront les actuels Pays-Bas (1579). Celles du Sud, la Belgique beaucoup plus tard.

 

4 novembre 1806 : prise de Wismar par Schulmeister (Campagne de Prusse). Entré au service de Napoléon en 1804 grâce au général Savary , le célèbre espion de l'empereur a alterné les fonctions dans l'armée impériale : hussard, policier, espion. Dans la nuit du 4 novembre 1806, il s'empare de la ville de Wismar avec quelques hommes. Coutumier de ces coups de mains où la ruse l'emporte sur la violence, Schulmeister a réussi de nombreuses missions dont l'intoxication du Maréchal autrichien Mack permettant les victoires de Michelsberg et Ulm.

 

4 novembre 1862 :  Gatling dépose le brevet de la mitrailleuse (Etats-Unis).

 

4 novembre 1892 : prise d’assaut de Cana (ancien Dahomey, actuel Bénin). Le colonel Alfred Dodds, prend la ville défendue par 1500 guerriers Fons du roi Béhanzin.

 

4 novembre 1904 : l'affaire des fiches éclate. Le général André, du gouvernement Emile Combes, est giflé par le député Syveton en pleine séance de la Chambre des députés à la suite de la révélation de l'affaire des fiches (enquête confiée clandestinement à la loge du Grand-Orient de France sur les pratiques religieuses des officiers supérieurs, en vue de favoriser l'avancement des officiers anticléricaux ou au moins républicains). L'incident attise le conflit entre le gouvernement républicain et l'Église. André est poussé à la démission, précédant de peu la chute d'Emile Combes dont le remplacement par Maurice Rouvier à la présidence du Conseil conduira à la loi de séparation de l'Eglise et de l'Etat.

 

4 novembre 1918 : assaut de la forteresse du Quesnoy (Nord Pas-de-Calais). L'offensive dite "de la victoire" se poursuit sur tout le front de l'Ouest. Dans les Flandres, les troupes britanniques piétinent devant les anciennes places fortes de Vauban. La ville fortifiée du Quesnoy est finalement prise d’assaut comme au Moyen-âge à l'aide de simples échelles, par des éléments néo-zélandais de l'ANZAC....

4 novembre 1935 : première promotion de l’Ecole de l’Air (Versailles). Créée par décret le 3 juin 1933, l’Ecole de l’Air reçoit sa première promotion à la caserne des Petites Ecuries. Elle déménage en 1937 à Salon de Provence.

Note RP Defense:

voir Biographies résumées des parrains des promotions de l'Ecole de l'air (EA) 1935-1964

voir Biographies résumées des parrains des promotions de l'Ecole de l'air (EA) 1965-1994

voir numéro hors série 1 /1969 (pages 151 à 167) de la Revue Historique des Armées

 

4 novembre 1956 : l'armée soviétique matte la tentative de révolution hongroise (Budapest). Cherchant à s'échapper de l'emprise soviétique, les Hongrois font pression sur leur nouveau chef du gouvernement, Nagy. Ils réclament plus de liberté et obtiennent même la sortie du pacte de Varsovie. C'en est trop pour Moscou qui envoi 2000 chars rétablir l'ordre chahuté depuis le 23 octobre. La répression fait de nombreux morts (2 à 3000) dans la capitale et en province. Nagy est fusillé en 1958. L'Occident proteste mais n'intervient pas : la guerre froide bat son plein. (cf. 23/10).

 

4 novembre 1970 : Concorde passe Mach 2. Pendant 53 minutes, le supersonique franco-britannique vole à 2469 km/h. Les premiers vols supersoniques ont débuté en 1969. Le record de vitesse est atteint à Mach 2,23 (2753 km/h) en mars 1974. Le Concorde était le seul avion commercial capable de faire traverser l’Atlantique à 100 passagers en 3 heures.

 

4 novembre 1979 : prise d’assaut de l’ambassade américaine de Téhéran (Iran). Les Iraniens séquestrent jusqu’en 1981 les 52 américains de l’ambassade.

 

4 novembre 1982 : Volkoff, prix de l’Académie française (Paris). Vladimir Volkoff reçoit le Grand prix du roman de l’Académie française pour Le montage. Le roman décrit les mécanismes de l’infiltration soviétique dans le monde de la presse occidentale.

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3 novembre 2015 2 03 /11 /novembre /2015 12:50
Merkel met en garde contre un conflit entre pays des Balkans

Illegal immigration city hubs and routes  - Credits Europol

 

03.11.2015 Romandie.com (ats)

 

Angela Merkel met en garde contre de possibles affrontements armés entre pays des Balkans, par où transitent la plupart des réfugiés, dans l'hypothèse où l'Allemagne fermerait sa frontière avec l'Autriche. La crise migratoire continue d'alimenter le débat outre-Rhin.

Il y a déjà dans les pays de l'ouest des Balkans des tensions et "je ne veux pas qu'on en arrive à des affrontements militaires là-bas", a déclaré lundi soir Mme Merkel lors d'un rassemblement de la CDU, son parti, à Darmstadt, dans l'ouest de l'Allemagne, selon des propos rapportés mardi par des médias allemands.

De nombreux experts ont mis en garde sur le fait que, si l'Allemagne, principale destination des migrants fuyant notamment la guerre en Syrie, venait à fermer sa frontière avec l'Autriche, les pays des Balkans par lesquels transitent migrants et réfugiés en feraient de même.

L'Union européenne a annoncé fin octobre la création de 100'000 places d'accueil pour les réfugiés en Grèce et dans les Balkans afin de juguler la crise migratoire alors que des tensions ont déjà surgi entre la Slovénie, la Croatie, la Serbie et la Hongrie ces derniers mois autour du transit de dizaines de milliers de migrants.

 

"Zones de transit"

Sur le front intérieur, la question des réfugiés continue de diviser la coalition conservateurs/sociaux-démocrates au pouvoir en Allemagne. Dimanche, les deux courants ont échoué à s'entendre lors d'une réunion. Les conservateurs bavarois de la CSU réclament que l'Allemagne accepte moins de réfugiés sur son territoire alors qu'elle en attend entre 800'000 et un million cette année.

Un nouveau round de négociations est prévu jeudi, notamment autour de la création, voulue par les conservateurs, de "zones de transit" à la frontière germano-autrichienne pour accélérer l'examen des dossiers et les expulsions. Mais cette idée est rejetée en l'état par le parti social-démocrate SPD (gauche).

Si cette nouvelle réunion ne devait donner aucun résultat, "nous continuerons à négocier", a souligné Angela Merkel. "Ce n'est pas la première fois que nous devrons convaincre les sociaux-démocrates de la justesse de certaines choses", a-t-elle ajouté.

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23 octobre 2015 5 23 /10 /octobre /2015 10:55
Chronique culturelle 23 Octobre 2015 - SHD

 

23.10.2015 source JFP - SHD

 

23 octobre : fête des aumôniers militaires. L’évêché aux armées a choisi Saint Jean Capistran (1386–1456) pour saint patron des aumôniers militaires catholiques.

 

23 octobre 1812 : le général de Malet rate son coup d’Etat contre Napoléon (Paris). Profitant de l’absence de l’empereur (campagne de Russie), le général Malet s’échappe de la résidence surveillée où il est incarcéré pour tentative de putsch. Il fait croire à la mort de Napoléon puis tente d’imposer un gouvernement provisoire. La tentative échoue lorsque le général Hulin, commandant la place de Paris, demande des ordres écrits. Malet panique, tire sur Hulin et est arrêté. Il est exécuté le 29 octobre. Napoléon, apprenant le 6 novembre qu’il avait failli être renversé, sera surtout surpris que personne n’aie crié : « Napoléon 1er est mort, vive Napoléon 2 ! »

 

23 octobre 1917 : bataille de la Malmaison (Aisne). « Bataille école des offensives à objectif limité voulues par Pétain. Les objectifs assignés sont presque tous atteints dans la journée et l’offensive cesse dès le 25 après avoir atteint le canal de l’Oise ». LCL Rémy Porte (EMAT).

 

23 octobre 1942 : contre-attaque britannique (El Alamein). L’Afrikakorps entame une retraite définitive face à la VIIIème armée de Montgomery. C’est le premier revers significatif du Reich depuis le début de la guerre. Cette victoire d’El Alamein est en partie due à la résistance héroïque et inattendue de la brigade Koenig à Bir Hakeim en mai et juin. Le répits ainsi donné aux britanniques leur a permis de préparer leurs lignes de défense pour recevoir l’Afrikakorps.

 

23 octobre 1944 : bataille aéronavale de Leyte (golfe de Leyte – Philippines). Plus grande bataille aéronavale de l’histoire qui voit la neutralisation de la flotte japonaise par l’US Navy. C’est aussi la première apparition des Kamikazes.

 

23 octobre 1954 : création de l’U.E.O (Paris). Lors de la signature des accords de Paris, l’Union de l’Europe Occidentale est créée (F, GB, RFA, It, Benelux). Ils mettent aussi officiellement fin à l’état de guerre entre ces pays. L’U.E.O est née de l’échec de la C.E.D (communauté européenne de Défense), projet mort-né.  Dissolution de l’U.E.O en 2011. 

 

23 octobre 1956 : début de l’insurrection de Budapest (Hongrie).La mort de Staline (1953) ayant entraîné un relâchement relatif de la pression soviétique sur l’Europe de l’Est, 20 000 étudiants hongrois provoquent la démission du gouvernement pro-Moscou lors d’une manifestation qui dégénère. L’URSS intervient  le 4 novembre avec 17 divisions et écrase la révolte en moins d’une semaine.

 

23 octobre 1983 : attentat contre le Drakkar (Beyrouth – Liban). A quelques minutes d’intervalle, les PC américain (aéroport) et français (bâtiment Drakkar) explosent dans un attentat au camion piégé. Les explosions tuent 241 américains et 58 français (du 1er et 9ème RCP) appartenant à la Force multinationale de sécurité de Beyrouth.

Note RP Defense: voir Imad Mougnieh, l'homme du Drakkar a été tué

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28 septembre 2015 1 28 /09 /septembre /2015 17:50
Décollage de la force européenne pour une mission de Personnel Recovery

Décollage de la force européenne pour une mission de Personnel Recovery

 

21/09/2015 Ltn C. Hingant - Armée de l'air

 

Les experts européens de la recherche et sauvetage au combat se retrouvent actuellement sur la base aérienne de Pápa, en Hongrie, à l’occasion de l’édition 2015 de CJPRSC (Combined Joint Personnel Recovery Standardization Course – stage interallié et interarmées de standardisation à la récupération de personnel). Cet exercice annuel vise à perfectionner les opérations de Personnel Recovery dans un environnement hostile et dans un contexte international.

 

Depuis le 9 septembre, près de 390 participants de treize pays différents s’entraînent à extraire des membres d’organisations non gouvernementales en difficulté, des pilotes éjectés ou des soldats isolés. Parmi eux, des équipages et mécaniciens de l’escadron d’hélicoptères 1/67 « Pyrénées » et un détachement du commando parachutiste de l’air (CPA) n°30, deux entités expertes de la CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue – recherche et sauvetage au combat) implantées respectivement sur les bases aériennes 120 de Cazaux et 106 de Bordeaux-Mérignac.

 

Rompus aux techniques de récupération de personnel, les aviateurs français évoluent à bord de deux Puma, aux côtés de leurs homologues espagnols, belges ou italiens ; ils entretiennent ainsi leurs qualifications de Rescue Mission Commander.

 

En salle de briefing comme dans les airs, après une semaine de formation commune, les équipages et commandos planchent sur des missions complexes, allant crescendo au fil du temps. Alors qu’un ou deux hélicoptères se posent et débarquent des commandos au sol pour récupérer le survivor, d’autres voilures tournantes armées surveillent les alentours à l’affût de la menace ennemie.

 

« En fonction du scénario, on peut également disposer d’avions de chasse qui assurent la protection air-sol ou air-air, explique le lieutenant-colonel Yves-Henri, officier projet de l’exercice. Sans oublier la présence d’un avion de type Awacs pour coordonner l’ensemble du dispositif aérien. Le tout en mixant les équipes commandos/équipages afin de permettre à chacun de travailler avec l’ensemble des moyens et militaires déployés. » Au cours de cette dernière semaine d’exercice, les participants seront confrontés à une difficulté supplémentaire : récupérer du personnel de nuit, en territoire permissif, et donc sous jumelles à vision nocturne.

 

Les experts européens de la recherche et sauvetage au combat rassemblés en Hongrie pour s'entraînerLes experts européens de la recherche et sauvetage au combat rassemblés en Hongrie pour s'entraînerLes experts européens de la recherche et sauvetage au combat rassemblés en Hongrie pour s'entraîner
Les experts européens de la recherche et sauvetage au combat rassemblés en Hongrie pour s'entraîner

CJPRSC 2015 entre les mains d’un nouveau commandement

 

Nouveauté cette année, l’exercice CJPRSC est organisé sous la direction de l’EPRC (European Personnel Recovery Centre), créé le 8 juillet 2015 sur la base aérienne de Poggio Renatico (Italie), conformément à la volonté du groupement aérien européen (GAE). Pôle d’excellence européen, ce centre vise à standardiser les procédures en matières de CSAR pour permettre aux différents participants de mener conjointement des missions de récupération de personnel.

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25 juin 2015 4 25 /06 /juin /2015 11:50
EDA tests Sharing of Spare Parts project during multinational exercise


Veszprém, Hungary - 24 June, 2015 by European Defence Agency
 

Earlier this month, at the Bakony Combat Training Centre in Hungary, the European Defence Agency attended exercise Capable Logistician 15. The event was coordinated by the Multinational Logistic Coordination Centre (MLCC) and supported by Hungary as host nation. Capable Logistician 15 provided the EDA with an opportunity to test its Sharing of Spare Parts (SoSP) mechanism and to prove the effectiveness of its operational procedures.

 

Sharing of Spare Parts (SoSP) is an initiative aimed at establishing a multinational framework for the request and provision of Mutual Logistic Support (MLS) in peacetime and during the execution of operations. MLS focuses on unforeseen and temporary shortages of common supplies as well as on in-service support for standard or specific equipment.

In this respect, Capable Logistician 15 offered a realistic scenario in which to simulate the lack of an appropriate level of logistic support - which in turn may have affected the operational effectiveness of a unit in the field. The unavailability of spare parts (in this simulated event, a transmission gear for land vehicles) has often caused serious problems in operations, especially where there is a particularly long logistic chain, where there are security considerations, or where similar collaborative solutions are not feasible or convenient.

The simulated application of the SoSP scheme allowed the exchange of spare parts between two units in the field which were using the same land vehicles.

 

More information

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15 juin 2015 1 15 /06 /juin /2015 05:20
Un char américain Abrams débarque dans le port de Riga, en Lettonie, le 9 mars 2015. (photo US DoD)

Un char américain Abrams débarque dans le port de Riga, en Lettonie, le 9 mars 2015. (photo US DoD)

 

15 juin 2015 45eNord.ca (AFP)

 

Les États-Unis sont en passe d’entreposer des armes lourdes, y compris des chars, et jusqu’à 5.000 hommes, dans plusieurs pays baltes et d’Europe de l’Est pour contrer une éventuelle agression russe, affirme ce week-end le New York Times.

 

Si la proposition du Pentagone est acceptée par l’exécutif américain, les États-Unis entreposeront pour la première fois des armes lourdes dans ces pays qui ont récemment adhéré à l’OTAN et qui, avant la chute du mur de Berlin, appartenaient à la sphère d’influence de l’Union soviétique, affirme le quotidien qui cite des sources américaines et alliées anonymes.

 

Il s’agit de rassurer les pays baltes et d’autres pays d’Europe de l’Est qui sont très inquiets depuis l’annexion de la Crimée et les combats en Ukraine, où des séparatistes pro-russes contestent l’autorité de Kiev dans l’est du pays.

 

Kiev et les Occidentaux accusent la Russie d’armer les séparatistes et d’avoir déployé des troupes régulières pour les aider.

 

Selon le New York Times, la proposition doit encore recevoir l’aval du secrétaire américain à la Défense, Ashton Carter, et de la Maison Blanche. Le quotidien souligne que certains alliés de l’OTAN s’inquiètent de la réaction de la Russie.

 

Un porte-parole du Pentagone cité par le quotidien souligne qu’aucune décision n’a encore été prise.

 

Les responsables qui ont parlé au quotidien estiment que le Pentagone devrait avoir le feu vert avant une réunion des ministres de la Défense de l’OTAN, ce mois-ci à Bruxelles.

 

En l’état actuel des plans du Pentagone, de l’équipement pour quelque 150 hommes (une compagnie dans l’armée américaine) serait stocké dans chacun des trois pays baltes.

 

De l’équipement pour une compagnie ou un bataillon (750 militaires environ) serait entreposé en Pologne, Roumanie, Bulgarie et peut-être en Hongrie, ont précisé ces sources.

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30 avril 2015 4 30 /04 /avril /2015 10:50
Chief Executive meets Hungarian Minister of Defence

 

Budapest - 23 April, 2015 by European Defence Agency

 

On 21 April Jorge Domecq, EDA Chief Executive, met with Hungarian Minister of Defence, Csaba Hende to exchange views about the preparation of the European Council in June 2015 and Hungary’s participation in EDA projects. 



"The role and efforts of EDA in facilitating defence cooperation in Europe are of outstanding importance in filling capability gaps. Even more so in the light of new security challenges Europe faces", the Hungarian Minister of Defence, Csaba Hende pointed out during his discussion with the Chief Executive of EDA. The Minister expressed his appreciation that the Agency pays attention to the specificities of the Central- and Eastern-European defence industry and places a special emphasis on offering solutions for SMEs to get better market access and benefit from EU funds.

“The European Defence Agency is an instrument at the service of Member States. Its flexible approach allows nations to pick and choose the projects they are interested in. The Agency can facilitate bilateral, regional or European-wide defence cooperation depending on the priorities of Member States. Hungary’s active involvement in the Agency’s work on helicopter training, C-IED and personnel recovery is much appreciated. It demonstrates the range of topics covered by the Agency to best support its Member States”, said Jorge Domecq during his visit in Budapest. 

The visit in Hungary also allowed for meetings with other high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Defence and representatives of the Ministry of National Economy. It is part of a series of visits by Mr. Domecq to all EDA Member States following his appointment as EDA Chief Executive and ahead of the Ministerial Steering Board on 18 May 2015. So far, Mr. Domecq visited Spain, Lithuania, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, Ireland, France, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary and Greece. Today he visits Cyprus.

 

More information:

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30 mars 2015 1 30 /03 /mars /2015 07:50
photo DCSSA

photo DCSSA

 

27/03/2015 Sources : État-major des armées

 

Du 9 au 13 février 2015, deux officiers du service de santé des armées (SSA) ont participé à la session de formation semestrielle de l’OTAN visant à renforcer le partage de procédure conjointe dans le domaine de l’évaluation médicale (MEDEVAL Course).

 

Organisé au sein du NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine à Budapest, en Hongrie, cette formation était destinée à une trentaine d’officiers des pays membres et partenaires de l’OTAN et se déroule chaque année à l’automne et au printemps.

 

Le SSA participe au MEDEVAL Course depuis 2010 à raison d’une équipe médicale composée d’un médecin (chirurgien) et de deux élèves-stagiaires (médecin-réanimateur et médecin issu des forces). Pour la session de février 2015, une évolution dans le profil des candidatures a été initiée avec la participation de deux cadres de santé, permettant ainsi une diversification déjà observée chez les partenaires.

 

Pendant ces quatre jours, les Français leurs homologues allemands, américains, anglais, belges, hongrois, luxembourgeois, néerlandais, norvégiens, polonais, suédois et tchèques se sont concentrés sur la sécurité et la stabilité des modules sanitaires engagés en opérations.

 

Cette formation, encadrée par l’OTAN, vise à acquérir des standards communs et certifiés dans le domaine de l’évaluation sanitaire en opération. Adossée au manuel d’évaluation des capacités médicales (MEM), elle fixe un socle de procédures et de pratiques partagé, afin de renforcer l’interopérabilité dans le cadre d’engagement conjoints interalliés.

 

Élément moteur à la mise en place de ce manuel et de cette certification, la France démontre sa volonté de partager les enseignements opérationnels et de mettre en œuvre des processus communs éprouvés. Axé sur l’ouverture, cet investissement s’inscrit dans l’esprit du modèle « SSA 2020 » et contribue à un soutien médical apporté aux armées toujours plus efficient.

 

photos DCSSAphotos DCSSA

photos DCSSA

Repère

Initialement rédigé en 2010 par la France puis amendé par l'ensemble des pays membres de l'OTAN, le MEM ne cesse d’évoluer. Il est aujourd’hui la référence sanitaire et médicale commune à tous les Etats membres de l’Alliance. Son élaboration permet de définir un cadre médical interallié qui rend possible une plus grande interopérabilité des forces et une meilleure efficacité des soins apportés.

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19 mars 2015 4 19 /03 /mars /2015 15:45
Mission accomplished for the French Contingent of EUFOR RCA and for the representatives of Netherlands and Hungary

 

12/03/2015 EUFOR-RCA

 

With a simple but exciting farewell ceremony held in camp Ucatex, ended the mission for the French contingent and for the representatives of Netherlands and Hungary.

 

The French contingent, composed of Army and Gendarmerie has been the largest contribution to EUFOR RCA.

 

The tour of duty of the ‘black stork’ – the nickname of the Régiment de Marche du Tchad– was marked by a number of successful achievements in terms of improvement of the security in the 3rd and 5th Districts of the Central African Capital.

 

The establishment of a steady presence at the border between these sensitive areas has triggered an increase of freedom of movement and trade, while a number of dialogue initiatives were launched in order to foster inter-community reconciliation and the return of Internal Displaced Persons.

 

The cooperation with the EUFOR’s Integrated Police Unit on the one hand and the UN Forces on the other, was certainly one of the distinctive marks of the Multinational Battalion, whose core was formed by the ‘Black Storks’, side by side with Georgian’s Army troops.

 

The French gendarmerie served in the framework of the Integrated Police Unit (IPU) of the European Gendarmerie Force, alongside Polish, Spanish and Lithuanian comrades; they took effectively part in all operations aiming to ensure freedom of movement and a safe environment in the 3rd and 5th Districts of Bangui, where they became a reassuring and popular presence for the population, as witnessed in the local media as well.

Mission accomplished for the French Contingent of EUFOR RCA and for the representatives of Netherlands and Hungary
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8 mars 2015 7 08 /03 /mars /2015 17:50
Successful personnel recovery course held in Sweden

 

Karlsborg, Sweden - 06 March, 2015 European Defence Agency

 

The third edition of the EU Personnel Recovery Controller and Planner Course (PRCPC), a project initiated by EDA, was held from 23 February to 6 March 2015. Organised and hosted by Sweden in Karlsborg, the exercise gathered 23 students from 12 countries.

 

Instructors from France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden as well as Canada shared their knowledge and experience of personnel recovery (PR) matters with a group of students coming from Belgium, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland. PR is usually defined as the sum of efforts needed to recover isolated civilian or military personnel.

The main focus of the course was to train staff officers to support their commanders on PR-related issues. It is intended for personnel who will be manning a personnel recovery position in a tactical operation centre (TOC), a personnel recovery coordination cell (PRCC) or a joint personnel recovery cell (JPRC). This may be within an EU, NATO or national staff as part of exercises or deployed operations.

 During the first week of the course, students were briefed on the four main elements of the PR system (preparation, planning, execution and adaptation) and learned how to control and oversee PR operations. Most of the students also attended the second week of the course to learn how to properly plan PR operations and to develop a PR annex to an operations plan. Training involved classroom lessons as well as work in study groups where participants faced a variety of PR challenges.

 

Next stop: Hungary

The next EU PRCPC will take place from 25 May to 5 June 2015 in Hungary. The newly-developed Personnel Recovery Functional Area Service Advanced Technology Demonstrator (PR FAS ATD) will be tested. This system is designed to provide headquarters-level PR staff with a planning tool to manage PR missions in a PRCC or JPRC. It has been developed as part of EDA’s work to improve interoperability amongst European armed forces in the field of personnel recovery.

The EU PRCPC project was established on 30 May 2013 as an EDA Category B project, under the lead of Sweden. As of today, it gathers six contributing EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden. EDA has already initiated a process to extend the project and allow a smooth handover of the course to a suitable entity. The European Personnel Recovery Centre (EPRC), established in Italy, is a potential candidate.

 

More information

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27 février 2015 5 27 /02 /février /2015 12:50
Six pays membres de l’Otan réduisent leurs dépenses militaires en 2015 - photo Shape

Six pays membres de l’Otan réduisent leurs dépenses militaires en 2015 - photo Shape

 

26/2/15 François d’Alançon – LaCroix.com

 

La diminution des budgets de défense contredit l’engagement pris lors du dernier sommet de l’Alliance atlantique.

 

Les pays membres de l’Otan – hors États-Unis qui représentent 75 % du budget –, ne tiennent pas l’engagement pris lors du dernier sommet de l’Alliance atlantique, en septembre 2014 au Pays de Galles, de mettre fin à la réduction de leurs dépenses militaires pour atteindre 2 % du Produit intérieur brut (PIB) en 2024.

 

Suite de l’article

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9 juillet 2014 3 09 /07 /juillet /2014 11:50
Successful Completion of Second EU Personnel Recovery Course in Hungary

 

Veszprém - 07 July, 2014 European Defence Agency

 

A total of 22 participants from ten nations (Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, United Kingdom and Sweden plus Norway and the United States) attended the 2nd Personnel Recovery Controller and Planner Course (PRCPC) from 23 June to 4 July 2014 in Veszprém, Hungary.

 

This intensive two-week course - held for the first time at the Hungarian Air Force Air Command and Control Centre (ACCC) - aims at enabling participants to prepare, plan and execute Personnel Recovery Operations. Previous course participants and indeed all of the instructors have gained operational Personnel Recovery experience in various operations such as in ISAF in Afghanistan, Operation Unified Protector (OUP) in Libya and Operation SERVAL in Mali. “This course is indeed very helpful for our operational planning. The instructors are very experienced and motivated”, said course participant Captain Gábor Krenács from the Hungarian Air Force.

As well as the Hungarian staff instructors, a multi-national instruction team from Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, France, Sweden and the United States deployed to Veszprém in order to support the training and to evaluate the 2nd PRCPC. Staff were also sent from NATO associated entities and the European Personnel Recovery Centre (EPRC).

Major Tor Cavalli-Björkman, a Swedish instructor and the main initiator of this European project, is convinced: “Since we started, first with a series of four pilot courses in 2011 and then with the establishment of a CAT B project in 2013, we have all benefited tremendously from this multi-national training and information exchange.” The contributing Member States at the moment are Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands under the lead of Sweden. The first course under the Cat B arrangement was conducted in February/March this year in Karlsborg, Sweden. Major Cavalli-Björkman also stressed that “this initiative increases the number of trained personnel available to support on-going operations as well as the EU Battle Group and national staffs.”

 

Standardise Personnel Recovery Training in Europe

The initiative to standardise Personnel Recovery training emerged from the Project Team Personnel Recovery (PT PR) in EDA at the end of November 2010. Peter Round, Capability, Armament & Technology Director at EDA, stated: “I am most grateful that Hungary agreed to offer this opportunity and hosted it so successfully at its Air Command and Control Centre’s facilities. This initiative has made a significant contribution to Personnel Recovery capabilities in Europe.”

Major Konrad Ertl from the German Air Operations Command in Kalkar and Chairman of the PT PR said “We all, students as well as instructors, are deeply impressed of the tremendous effort the HDF and the Hungarian Air Force has put in to setting-up this course. The facilities at the ACCC in Veszprém are very suitable for this course. Also the professionalism and the very high dedication of the Hungarian Hosts to this course was amazing. Finally, we all benefitted from an outstanding learning experience while enjoying the great hospitality in Hungary. Overall this made it very easy for us to do what we do, so ‘that others may live – and return with honour’. ‘Köszönöm szépen’ (many Thanks) to the Host nation!”

An officer from the ACCC said: “It was not an easy job to organise and run the course, but with the unselfish help of our colleagues and with one of the best instructor teams I have ever seen we accomplished the mission.”

 

Mitigating the risk of isolation, capture, and exploitation

Personnel Recovery is aimed at mitigating and reacting to the risk of isolation, capture, and exploitation of military or civilian personnel for instance during a Crisis Management Operation (CMO). The Personnel Recovery Course, held regularly by various host nations, is one of several results of the respective Project Team at EDA. Other initiatives include a Personnel Recovery Concept, a Personnel Recovery Functional Area Service to be connected to command & control systems in tactical and operational Headquarters for planners and controllers, a personnel registration tool and the preparation of a Personnel Recovery Baseline Training Tool.

 

More Information

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10 avril 2014 4 10 /04 /avril /2014 11:50
photo Hungarocontrol

photo Hungarocontrol

 

09.04.2014 Emilie Drab journal-aviation.com

 

Depuis le 3 avril, les avions civils peuvent de nouveau survoler le Kosovo, après que l’OTAN a donné son accord. Le trafic aérien sera contrôlé par l’agence hongroise Hungarocontrol, alors que l’espace aérien restera sous contrôle de l’agence internationale.

 

Cela va permettre aux compagnies de la région d’emprunter des routes plus directes, leur faisant réaliser des économies et améliorant leur rentabilité. L’OTAN estime que 180 000 vols annuels seront affectés par la décision.

 

Le survol du Kosovo par des avions civils était interdit depuis 1999, lorsque l’organisation a pris le contrôle de son espace aérien. Des vols étaient toutefois autorisés vers Pristina.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 07:40
Hungary Buys Mi-8 Helos, Eyes $470M Aircraft Procurement

Hungary is acquiring Mi-8 transport helicopters as part of an effort to improve its airlift capabilities. Here, a Croatian Mi-8 participates in a NATO exercise. (NATO)

 

Apr. 7, 2014 - By JAROSLAW ADAMOWSKI – Defense News

 

WARSAW — The Hungarian Ministry of Defense has acquired three Mil Mi-8 transport helicopters produced by Russia’s state-run Rosoboronprom and imported by a Hungarian defense firm.

 

Meanwhile, the country’s armed forces are planning to purchase new helos and transport aircraft under a 105 billion forint (US $470 million) modernization program, of which 100 billion forints are to be spent on helicopters and 5 billion forints on planes.

 

Last year, Defense Minister Csaba Hende said Hungary was planning to significantly strengthen its airlift capability by 2016.

 

The Mi-8 purchase is estimated to be worth about 2 billion forints, reported local daily Magyar Nemzet. The helos were transported to the Kecskemét air base onboard an Antonov An-124 plane.

 

The Hungarian government has postponed the launch of the aircraft acquisition program due to the April 6 parliamentary elections. With the ruling Fidesz Party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban securing a comfortable majority in the vote, the country’s Defense Ministry is expected to go ahead with the much-awaited program.

 

In 2013, Hungary had a defense budget of 241.37 billion forints

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 07:40
Ciel ouvert: vol d'inspection canadien et hongrois en Russie

 

MOSCOU, 7 avril - RIA Novosti

 

Des inspecteurs canadiens et hongrois survoleront la Russie dans le cadre du traité international Ciel ouvert du 7 au 12 avril, a annoncé lundi à Moscou le directeur du Centre national pour la diminution de la menace nucléaire Sergueï Ryjkov.

 

"Une mission d'inspection conjointe du Canada et de la Hongrie survolera la Russie à bord d'un avion hongrois Antonov An-26 du 7 au 12 avril dans le cadre du Traité international Ciel ouvert", a indiqué M.Ryjkov.

 

Des spécialistes russes participeront au vol d'inspection pour contrôler le respect des paramètres du vol.

 

L'avion An-26 n'est pas destiné pour être équipé d'armements. L'avion et ses équipements de photo aérienne ont été certifiés au niveau international, avec la participation de la Russie, ce qui garantit l'absence de moyens techniques interdits à son bord.

 

Signé le 24 mars 1992 à Helsinki, le Traité Ciel ouvert est appliqué depuis le 1er janvier 2002. Le document vise à accroître la transparence et la confiance entre les Etats signataires dans le domaine des activités militaires et du contrôle des armements. Il instaure un régime de libre survol des territoires des différents Etats parties au Traité.

 

Le traité a été signé par 34 Etats d'Europe et d'Amérique du Nord, membres de l'Organisation pour la sécurité et la coopération en Europe (OSCE). La Russie y a adhéré le 26 mai 2001.

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4 décembre 2013 3 04 /12 /décembre /2013 18:50
MaxxPro Plus with Frag Kit 6

MaxxPro Plus with Frag Kit 6

 

 

BUDAPEST, Hungary, Dec. 4 (UPI)

 

The United States has lent a dozen MaxxPro Plus Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicles to Hungary for military training.

 

The MRAPS, manufactured by Navistar International, were used by the U.S. European Command and were delivered to the Hungarian armed forces by a U.S. Embassy official in Budapest late last month.

 

"Due to the significant deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan in 2010 the most modern assets capable to provide service members with the highest level of survivability had been requested from the U.S. government," Defense Minister Csaba Hende said at a handover ceremony. "In the areas of operations, Hungarian military personnel have been using similar vehicles for years and such assets have greatly contributed to the minimization of losses."

 

About 200 Hungarian troops are currently deployed to Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. The MRAPs, which are used in Afghanistan, are needed for training of Hungarian personnel in their use.

 

The vehicles will be used at Hungary's Bakony Combat Training Center and the Szentendre NCO Academy.

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1 juillet 2013 1 01 /07 /juillet /2013 18:50
Hungary To Sell Soviet Military Hardware

Jul. 1, 2013 – Defense News (AFP)

 

BUDAPEST — Hungary announced Monday plans to sell off its old Soviet-made tanks and fighter planes, saying they were in “very good condition” but expensive to maintain.

 

Zoltan Borbiro, state secretary for the defense ministry, said MIG 29 fighter jets and T-72 tanks, military equipment and clothing would all be up for sale later this year.

 

“Since Hungary’s transition from communism in 1990, the army has been organized on a professional and modern basis, and a part of our military inventory is no longer compatible with NATO requirements,” he said.

 

“It won’t be an easy sale,” he admitted.

 

Hungary scrapped conscription in 2004 and now maintains an army of some 19,000 soldiers, down from around 140,000 during the Warsaw Pact era.

 

Hungary sold 77 of its stock of 180 T-72 tanks to the newly formed Iraqi army in 2005.

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1 juillet 2013 1 01 /07 /juillet /2013 18:50
Hungary To Sell Soviet Military Hardware

Jul. 1, 2013 – Defense News (AFP)

 

BUDAPEST — Hungary announced Monday plans to sell off its old Soviet-made tanks and fighter planes, saying they were in “very good condition” but expensive to maintain.

 

Zoltan Borbiro, state secretary for the defense ministry, said MIG 29 fighter jets and T-72 tanks, military equipment and clothing would all be up for sale later this year.

 

“Since Hungary’s transition from communism in 1990, the army has been organized on a professional and modern basis, and a part of our military inventory is no longer compatible with NATO requirements,” he said.

 

“It won’t be an easy sale,” he admitted.

 

Hungary scrapped conscription in 2004 and now maintains an army of some 19,000 soldiers, down from around 140,000 during the Warsaw Pact era.

 

Hungary sold 77 of its stock of 180 T-72 tanks to the newly formed Iraqi army in 2005.

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29 mai 2013 3 29 /05 /mai /2013 09:50
First European Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course Delivered Successfully

Brussels | May 29, 2013 European Defence Agency

 

Fourteen students from Germany and Sweden together with four observers from Austria and Hungary participated in the first European Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (EHTIC) which was successfully organised in two parts. The classroom and simulator phase took place from 08 - 28 April in the UK (RAF Linton-on-Ouse) and the life flying phase was hosted and located by Sweden at the Vidsel Test Range (06 – 24 May) 2013. The complete course is part of the EDA Helicopter Training Programme (HTP). 

 

The aim of course is to give selected European helicopter aircrew tactical depth and expertise, leading to an enhanced awareness of helicopter tactics and employment and multi-national integration.  At the end of the course graduates are adept at imparting tactical instruction during training and on operations and are also competent in providing helicopter tactical advice at one star level, as well as leading multi-platform complex Composite Air Operations (COMAOs).

 

Classroom and simulator phase

The classroom and simulator phase was executed in the simulator assets of the Helicopter Tactics Course (HTC) and followed the syllabus of the UK QHTI (Qualified Helicopter Tactics Instructor) course as the baseline. Fourteen instructors of the UK instructor team of the ROWETU (Rotary-Wing Operational Evaluation and Trials Unit) ran the course which allowed a ratio of one instructor per student. This allowed a very individual and supportive training with a high-value output.

The focus of the course is to not only train the pilots, but the rear crew (chiefs and door-gunners) as well. Not only the “Pitchers” (German nickname for the front crew) had to prepare the missions or give related briefings, the “Mixers” (German nickname for the crew chiefs) and the door-gunners where challenged as well.

 

Life flying phase

For the life flying phase, one CH-53 (Germany), one AS332 (Sweden, Super Puma) and two UH-1D (Germany) were available.The life flying phase was executed in cooperation with the UK 100 Squadron which deployed their two HAWK fast jets as red air for the evasion training phase. Swedish GRIPPEN jets were involved in this part of the course as well.

The following topics are integral parts of the course:

  • Electronic Warfare Training (EW)
  • Evasion Training (ET)
  • Airspace Battle Management (ATO, ACO, SPINS)
  • Manpads/SA
  • Helo Escort Techniques
  • Other Operations (Wells, Tac-3D Manoeuvres, Vehicle Interdiction, Mutual Support)
  • Tac Formations
  • Mission Preparation & Planning
  • COMAO Mission Planning
  • Multinational, English language, three building-block phases

 

Excellent support was provided by the Swedish Ministry of Defence organisation, FMV, which is running the Vidsel Test Range and which provided all necessary organisational requirements for the live flying phase in Sweden.

 

Results and way forward

The EHTI course delivers an outstanding opportunity to expose helicopter crews to the training methodology and tactical knowledge of another Member State. “An extremely challenging course, delivered by highly professional instructors, we have to keep this going”, said Major Sascha Pink from the German Army Aviation. It is also the first step in delivering a sustainable European course where successful graduates can be awarded a qualification recognised by all pMS. Additionally, on returning home, these graduates can pass on the common understanding and methodologies to their own crews and can interact as mentors vis-à-vis other helicopter programmes.

During the HOT BLADE Exercise of the Helicopter Exercise Progamme (HEP) in Portugal this July, many of the freshly trained instructors will meet together with UK instructors at OVAR Airbase and form together the first Mentor Team for an HEP Exercise, ready to support the multinational crews in preparation and execution of the challenging COMAO missions.

This year’s students will become next year’s instructors.  This will allow the gradual build-up of expertise and create a self-sustaining course using European Qualified Helicopter Tactics Instructors.   

 

More information:

  • For more information on the Agency's helicopter activities, please visit the project page
  • Pictures from the course are available on Flickr
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28 mai 2013 2 28 /05 /mai /2013 12:40
No Sale For MiGs

May 28, 2013: Strategy Page

 

Hungary has been trying to sell of its fleet of 24 MiG-29s for the last two years, without much success. Now it will try auctioning them off, along with 21 replacement engines, for a minimum price of $43 million. Bids must arrive by June 14th and if no one offers the minimum it will try again with an even lower price. An earlier effort to find a buyer went nowhere and the obstacle was believed to be price. At less than $2 million each the MiGs appear to be a real bargain. Appearances can be deceiving.

 

Hungary received 28 MiG-29s in 1993, in payment of $800 million Russia owned Hungary. That came out to about $29 million per aircraft, each with about 14 years of service left in them. But Hungary found the aircraft expensive to maintain. Despite that, half of them were refurbished to extend their service life. In the meantime, two aircraft crashed, and now those that were not refurbished are being cannibalized for spare parts. Hungary has taken its MiG-29s out of service and bought Swedish Gripens. This is a superior fighter and easier and cheaper to operate.

 

But not everyone is fed up with the MiG-29. Although many nations (Algeria, Hungary, Malaysia, Lebanon) are refusing, or retiring, MiG-29s, Syria has been eager to get them. That's because Syria is broke, and patron Iran is becoming less generous (because of its own economic problems, including more sanctions) with subsidies for military equipment. In 2010 Russia announced that it was selling another 24 (or more) MiG-29s to Syria (which already has about fifty of them). Syria would also like to get its existing MiG-29s upgraded, but may not be able to afford that. That sale and upgrades are on hold until the current civil war in Syria is over.

 

Other nations are backing away from MiG-29s because of reliability and durability problems. Several times in the last year, Russia has had MiG-29s grounded because of crashes, and suspicion that there might be some kind of fundamental design flaw. All aircraft were eventually returned to flight status. This has not helped sales, and most export customers prefer the larger Su-27 (and its derivatives like the Su-30).

 

The MiG-29 entered Russian service in 1983, as the answer to the American F-16. Some 1,600 MiG-29s have been produced so far, with most (about 900) exported. The biggest customer, India, received its first MiG-29s in 1986, with deliveries continuing into the 1990s. The 22 ton aircraft is, indeed, roughly comparable to the F-16, but it depends a lot on which version of either aircraft you are talking about. Then there are the notorious reliability problems. Compared to Western aircraft, like the F-16, the MiG-29 is available for action about two thirds as often.

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26 avril 2013 5 26 /04 /avril /2013 07:40
Hungarian Air Force’s Antonov An-26

Hungarian Air Force’s Antonov An-26

 

MOSCOW, April 26 (RIA Novosti)

 

Military inspectors from Canada and Hungary will carry out a joint monitoring mission over the Russian territory under the international Open Skies Treaty on April 26-30, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

 

The NATO experts will fly on board a Hungarian Air Force’s Antonov An-26 plane using surveillance equipment certified internationally and approved by the Russian side.

 

“Russian officials on board the plane will monitor the implementation of agreements on the use of technical equipment for the observation,” the ministry said in a statement.

 

Under the treaty, each aircraft flying under the Open Skies program is fitted with a sensor suite including optical panoramic and framing cameras, video cameras with real-time display, thermal infrared imaging sensors, and imaging radar.

 

The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 35 member states to promote openness and the transparency of military forces and activities. Russia ratified the deal in May 2001.

 

The image data recorded during the observation flights can be shared among all signatories to support the monitoring of compliance with existing or future arms control treaties.

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20 mai 2011 5 20 /05 /mai /2011 22:00
Visegrad – a new European military force

20 May 2011 by Stratfor's George Friedman

 

With the Palestinians demonstrating and the International Monetary Fund in turmoil, it would seem odd to focus this week on something called the Visegrad Group. But this is not a frivolous choice.

 

What the Visegrad Group decided to do last week will, I think, resonate for years, long after the alleged attempted rape by Dominique Strauss-Kahn is forgotten and long before the Israeli-Palestinian issue is resolved. The obscurity of the decision to most people outside the region should not be allowed to obscure its importance.

 

The region is Europe -- more precisely, the states that had been dominated by the Soviet Union. The Visegrad Group, or V4, consists of four countries -- Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary -- and is named after two 14th century meetings held in Visegrad Castle in present-day Hungary of leaders of the medieval kingdoms of Poland, Hungary and Bohemia. The group was reconstituted in 1991 in post-Cold War Europe as the Visegrad Three (at that time, Slovakia and the Czech Republic were one). The goal was to create a regional framework after the fall of Communism. This week the group took an interesting new turn.

 

On May 12, the Visegrad Group announced the formation of a "battle group" under the command of Poland. The battle group would be in place by 2016 as an independent force and would not be part of NATO command. In addition, starting in 2013, the four countries would begin military exercises together under the auspices of the NATO Response Force.

 

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the primary focus of all of the Visegrad nations had been membership in the European Union and NATO. Their evaluation of their strategic position was threefold. First, they felt that the Russian threat had declined if not dissipated following the fall of the Soviet Union. Second, they felt that their economic future was with the European Union. Third, they believed that membership in NATO, with strong U.S. involvement, would protect their strategic interests. Of late, their analysis has clearly been shifting.

 

First, Russia has changed dramatically since the Yeltsin years. It has increased its power in the former Soviet sphere of influence substantially, and in 2008 it carried out an effective campaign against Georgia. Since then it has also extended its influence in other former Soviet states. The Visegrad members' underlying fear of Russia, built on powerful historical recollection, has become more intense. They are both the front line to the former Soviet Union and the countries that have the least confidence that the Cold War is simply an old memory.

 

Second, the infatuation with Europe, while not gone, has frayed. The ongoing economic crisis, now focused again on Greece, has raised two questions: whether Europe as an entity is viable and whether the reforms proposed to stabilize Europe represent a solution for them or primarily for the Germans. It is not, by any means, that they have given up the desire to be Europeans, nor that they have completely lost faith in the European Union as an institution and an idea. Nevertheless, it would be unreasonable to expect that these countries would not be uneasy about the direction that Europe was taking. If one wants evidence, look no further than the unease with which Warsaw and Prague are deflecting questions about the eventual date of their entry into the Eurozone. Both are the strongest economies in Central Europe, and neither is enthusiastic about the euro.

 

Finally, there are severe questions as to whether NATO provides a genuine umbrella of security to the region and its members. The NATO strategic concept, which was drawn up in November 2010, generated substantial concern on two scores. First, there was the question of the degree of American commitment to the region, considering that the document sought to expand the alliance's role in non-European theaters of operation. For example, the Americans pledged a total of one brigade to the defense of Poland in the event of a conflict, far below what Poland thought necessary to protect the North European Plain. Second, the general weakness of European militaries meant that, willingness aside, the ability of the Europeans to participate in defending the region was questionable. Certainly, events in Libya, where NATO had neither a singular political will nor the military participation of most of its members, had to raise doubts. It was not so much the wisdom of going to war but the inability to create a coherent strategy and deploy adequate resources that raised questions of whether NATO would be any more effective in protecting the Visegrad nations.

 

There is another consideration. Germany's commitment to both NATO and the EU has been fraying. The Germans and the French split on the Libya question, with Germany finally conceding politically but unwilling to send forces. Libya might well be remembered less for the fate of Moammar Gadhafi than for the fact that this was the first significant strategic break between Germany and France in decades. German national strategy has been to remain closely aligned with France in order to create European solidarity and to avoid Franco-German tensions that had roiled Europe since 1871. This had been a centerpiece of German foreign policy, and it was suspended, at least temporarily.

 

The Germans obviously are struggling to shore up the European Union and questioning precisely how far they are prepared to go in doing so. There are strong political forces in Germany questioning the value of the EU to Germany, and with every new wave of financial crises requiring German money, that sentiment becomes stronger. In the meantime, German relations with Russia have become more important to Germany. Apart from German dependence on Russian energy, Germany has investment opportunities in Russia. The relationship with Russia is becoming more attractive to Germany at the same time that the relationship to NATO and the EU has become more problematic.

 

For all of the Visegrad countries, any sense of a growing German alienation from Europe and of a growing German-Russian economic relationship generates warning bells. Before the  Belarusian elections there was hope in Poland that pro-Western elements would defeat the least unreformed regime in the former Soviet Union. This didn't happen. Moreover, pro-Western elements have done nothing to solidify in Moldova or break the now pro-Russian government in Ukraine. Uncertainty about European institutions and NATO, coupled with uncertainty about Germany's attention, has caused a strategic reconsideration -- not to abandon NATO or the EU, of course, nor to confront the Russians, but to prepare for all eventualities.

 

It is in this context that the decision to form a Visegradian battle group must be viewed. Such an independent force, a concept generated by the European Union as a European defense plan, has not generated much enthusiasm or been widely implemented. The only truly robust example of an effective battle group is the Nordic Battle Group, but then that is not surprising. The Nordic countries share the same concerns as the Visegrad countries -- the future course of Russian power, the cohesiveness of Europe and the commitment of the United States.

 

In the past, the Visegrad countries would have been loath to undertake anything that felt like a unilateral defense policy. Therefore, the decision to do this is significant in and of itself. It represents a sense of how these countries evaluate the status of NATO, the U.S. attention span, European coherence and Russian power. It is not the battle group itself that is significant but the strategic decision of these powers to form a sub-alliance, if you will, and begin taking responsibility for their own national security. It is not what they expected or wanted to do, but it is significant that they felt compelled to begin moving in this direction.

 

Just as significant is the willingness of Poland to lead this military formation and to take the lead in the grouping as a whole. Poland is the largest of these countries by far and in the least advantageous geographical position. The Poles are trapped between the Germans and the Russians. Historically, when Germany gets close to Russia, Poland tends to suffer. It is not at that extreme point yet, but the Poles do understand the possibilities. In July, the Poles will be assuming the EU presidency in one of the union's six-month rotations. The Poles have made clear that one of their main priorities will be Europe's military power. Obviously, little can happen in Europe in six months, but this clearly indicates where Poland's focus is.

 

The militarization of the V4 runs counter to its original intent but is in keeping with the geopolitical trends in the region. Some will say this is over-reading on my part or an overreaction on the part of the V4, but it is neither. For the V4, the battle group is a modest response to emerging patterns in the region, which STRATFOR had outlined in its 2011 Annual Forecast. As for my reading, I regard the new patterns not as a minor diversion from the main pattern but as a definitive break in the patterns of the post-Cold War world. In my view, the post-Cold War world ended in 2008, with the financial crisis and the Russo-Georgian war. We are in a new era, as yet unnamed, and we are seeing the first breaks in the post-Cold War pattern.

 

I have argued in previous articles and books that there is a divergent interest between the European countries on the periphery of Russia and those farther west, particularly Germany. For the countries on the periphery, there is a perpetual sense of insecurity, generated not only by Russian power compared to their own but also by uncertainty as to whether the rest of Europe would be prepared to defend them in the event of Russian actions. The V4 and the other countries south of them are not as sanguine about Russian intentions as others farther away are. Perhaps they should be, but geopolitical realities drive consciousness and insecurity and distrust defines this region.

 

I had also argued that an alliance only of the four northernmost countries is insufficient. I used the concept "Intermarium," which had first been raised after World War I by a Polish leader, Joseph Pilsudski, who understood that Germany and the Soviet Union would not be permanently weak and that Poland and the countries liberated from the Hapsburg Empire would have to be able to defend themselves and not have to rely on France or Britain.

 

Pilsudski proposed an alliance stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and encompassing the countries to the west of the Carpathians -- Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. In some formulations, this would include Yugoslavia, Finland and the Baltics. The point was that Poland had to have allies, that no one could predict German and Soviet strength and intentions, and that the French and English were too far away to help. The only help Poland could have would be an alliance of geography -- countries with no choice.

 

It follows from this that the logical evolution here is the extension of the Visegrad coalition. At the May 12 defense ministers' meeting, there was discussion of inviting Ukraine to join in. Twenty or even 10 years ago, that would have been a viable option. Ukraine had room to maneuver. But the very thing that makes the V4 battle group necessary -- Russian power -- limits what Ukraine can do. The Russians are prepared to give Ukraine substantial freedom to maneuver, but that does not include a military alliance with the Visegrad countries.

 

An alliance with Ukraine would provide significant strategic depth. It is unlikely to happen. That means that the alliance must stretch south, to include Romania and Bulgaria. The low-level tension between Hungary and Romania over the status of Hungarians in Romania makes that difficult, but if the Hungarians can live with the Slovaks, they can live with the Romanians. Ultimately, the interesting question is whether Turkey can be persuaded to participate in this, but that is a question far removed from Turkish thinking now. History will have to evolve quite a bit for this to take place. For now, the question is Romania and Bulgaria.

 

But the decision of the V4 to even propose a battle group commanded by Poles is one of those small events that I think will be regarded as a significant turning point. However we might try to trivialize it and place it in a familiar context, it doesn't fit. It represents a new level of concern over an evolving reality -- the power of Russia, the weakness of Europe and the fragmentation of NATO. This is the last thing the Visegrad countries wanted to do, but they have now done the last thing they wanted to do. That is what is significant.

 

Events in the Middle East and Europe's economy are significant and of immediate importance. However, sometimes it is necessary to recognize things that are not significant yet but will be in 10 years. I believe this is one of those events. It is a punctuation mark in European history.

 

This report republished with the permission of Stratfor, www.stratfor.com

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