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3 juillet 2014 4 03 /07 /juillet /2014 21:35
More RAF Reapers Take To The Skies


03 July 2014 Royal Air Force


The RAF’s newest Reaper remotely piloted aircraft have begun operations in Afghanistan.


Pictures released today show additional Reaper aircraft flying from Kandahar Airfield to gather vital intelligence in support of Afghan, UK and ISAF coalition forces on the ground.


The deployment of five new Reapers means there are now twice as many in Afghanistan operating alongside the Army’s Hermes 450. These aircraft provide real-time, life-saving video to ground commanders, which will continue to be vital to allied efforts to secure internal security in Afghanistan as we draw down allied forces from the country this year.


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24 juin 2014 2 24 /06 /juin /2014 11:50
La graduation ceremony de l'École de l'air britannique de Cornwell

La graduation ceremony de l'École de l'air britannique de Cornwell


24/06/2014 Armée de l'air


Le général Denis Mercier, chef de l’état-major de l’armée de l’air (CEMAA), s’est rendu le 19 juin 2014, à l’École de l’air britannique de Cranwell pour présider la graduation ceremony, équivalente à celle de la remise des poignards dans l’armée de l’air.


La présence du CEMAA fait suite à l’invitation de son homologue britannique, Sir Andy Pulford. Il est à noter que le général Mercier a été à la tête de l’École de l’air de Salon-de-Provence, de 2008 à 2010 et que son prédécesseur, le général Jean-Paul Paloméros a été nommé en 2007, reviewing officer, distinction hautement honorifique.

Un défilé aérien de la patrouille des Red Arrows a clôturé cette cérémonie.

Équivalent à l’École de l’air, le Royal Air Force (RAF) College de Cranwell forme les officiers et le personnel navigant britanniques. Créée en 1920, elle est la première académie dédiée à l’aviation militaire dans le monde.

Le CEMAA et les élèves officiers de l'École de l'air britannique de Cornwell

Le CEMAA et les élèves officiers de l'École de l'air britannique de Cornwell

Le défilé aérien des Red Arrows au dessus de l'École de l'air britannique de Cornwell

Le défilé aérien des Red Arrows au dessus de l'École de l'air britannique de Cornwell

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24 juin 2014 2 24 /06 /juin /2014 10:50
Typhoon Intercept


June 24, 2014 by Think Defence


Another day, another intercept


    RAF Typhoons were yesterday (Tuesday 17 June) scrambled to intercept multiple Russian aircraft as part of NATO’s ongoing mission to police Baltic airspace.


    The Typhoon aircraft, from 3 (Fighter) Squadron, were launched after four separate groups of aircraft were detected by NATO air defences in international airspace near to the Baltic States.


    Once airborne, the British jets identified the aircraft as a Russian Tupolev Tu22 ‘Backfire’ bomber, four Sukhoi Su27 ‘Flanker’ fighters, one Beriev A50 ‘Mainstay’ early warning aircraft and an Antonov An26 ‘Curl’ transport aircraft who appeared to be carrying out a variety of routine training. The Russian aircraft were monitored by the RAF Typhoons and escorted on their way.


    The Typhoon pilots involved in the operation were Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Mark Long of 29 (Reserve) Squadron (the Typhoon operational training unit) and a French Air Force exchange pilot Commandant Marc-antoine Gerrard who is currently attached to 1(Fighter) Squadron.


Pictures : here

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21 juin 2014 6 21 /06 /juin /2014 11:30
Exercise Anatolian Eagle: Konya, Turkey


20.06.2014 Royal Air Force


Overview of Exercise Anatolian Eagle by Detachment Commander and Officer Commanding XI Squadron Chris Layden #ExAE

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18 juin 2014 3 18 /06 /juin /2014 16:50
Royal Air Force B-2 exchange pilot



18 June 2014 Royal Air Force


Royal Air Force personnel exchange places with overseas counterparts to improve relationships and integration. Here Tornado GR4 pilot Flt Lt Ian Hart talks about the B-2A Spirit stealth bomber which he is currently flying in the USA.

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16 juin 2014 1 16 /06 /juin /2014 16:50
RAF flying high in new Chinook helicopters

An RAF Mark 6 Chinook helicopter at RAF Odiham [Picture: UK MoD]


16 June 2014 Ministry of Defence, Defence Equipment and Support and The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP


The first of 14 new RAF Chinook helicopters has been unveiled today by the Defence Secretary following their entry into service on time.


During a visit to RAF Odiham in Hampshire, the home of the Chinook Force, Philip Hammond also announced a new £115 million agreement with Boeing Defence UK to maintain the engines of the RAF’s increased fleet of 60 Chinooks; a move that will replace 5 existing support contracts with one arrangement, saving the taxpayer over £20 million.

The first of 14 Chinook Mark 6 helicopters, which were ordered in 2011 as part of a £1 billion programme, have now achieved their entry into service on time, and 3 of the new aircraft have been delivered to the RAF, who have commenced training in the UK.

The Defence Secretary and the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, who himself is a Chinook pilot, were given a tour of one of the brand new aircraft and shown the upgraded capabilities that the helicopters provide to pilots and crew.

Benefiting from a new digital automatic flight control system that provides improved handling qualities and aircraft stability, offering increased safety, the Mark 6 is the most advanced heavy-lift helicopter ever operated by the RAF.

An RAF Mark 6 Chinook helicopter in flight
An RAF Mark 6 Chinook helicopter in flight [Picture: Crown copyright]

Philip Hammond said:

These state-of-the-art aircraft will provide a significant uplift in helicopter capability, operating as the battlefield workhorse of the RAF, supporting the army on the front line for decades to come. The 14 new Chinooks will boost our fleet to 60, already the largest in Europe.

The new aircraft are part of an £11 billion investment to update, replace and support all of MOD’s helicopter capability over the next decade that will sustain truly world-class rotary wing capabilities for the UK armed forces.

Air Chief Marshal Pulford said:

The Chinook Mark 6 represents the pinnacle of the RAF’s heavy-lift capability and is the most advanced Chinook helicopter we have ever operated.

Chinook has proved itself time and again on operations, most recently in Afghanistan. The new Mark 6 variant will ensure the Chinook fleet is able to continue to play a key role in future operations, wherever they may be.

MOD’s Director of Helicopters, Adrian Baguley, who was responsible for delivering the Mark 6 and the engine support contract, said:

The Chinook Mark 6 has been delivered into service on time less than 3 years after MOD signed the main contract with Boeing, which is a truly outstanding achievement.

This has been achieved through the excellent work of Defence Equipment and Support working together with our industry suppliers, Boeing and the front line to deliver this exceptional new heavy-lift helicopter capability for UK defence.

All 14 new aircraft will be delivered to MOD before the end of 2015 and are on track to be fully operational by early 2017.

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13 juin 2014 5 13 /06 /juin /2014 16:50
UK armed forces to undergo further 1,060 job cuts



12 June 2014 BBC


The government plans to reduce the size of the armed forces by 2018


The Ministry of Defence has announced 1,060 armed forces redundancies in its fourth and final round of cuts.


As a result, 995 service personnel will leave the Army, 10 will go from the Royal Navy and 55 from the RAF.


Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the cuts - part of the government's Strategic Defence and Security Review, called Army 2020 - "were unavoidable".


The National Audit Office has warned that plans to cut the Army and increase reservists have "significant risks".


Mr Hammond said the announcement "marks the end to a period of uncertainty and doubt for our personnel" and will address the "blackhole" in 2010's defence budget.


He said the announcement will allow "greater certainty for armed forces personnel going forward".



"It is with great regret that we have had to make redundancies to reduce the size of the armed forces, but unfortunately they were unavoidable," he added.


General Sir Nicholas Haughton, chief of the defence staff, said the cuts would present "opportunities and challenges" and vowed to support military personnel who will leave the armed forces.


Read Analysis By Caroline Wyatt

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11 juin 2014 3 11 /06 /juin /2014 12:50
UK Defence Organisation – Levene and Army 2020

A post from a new contributor, MartinR


The Levene Report on changes to the MOD sensibly pulled a number of defence organisations into one central joint forces command. However it also appeared to push the three armed services into deeper silos than before, each with their own budgets, etc.

I believe that an opportunity was missed to bring the three armed services together at the operational level. I would like to discuss this.

Annex I is a rough sketch of how I suggest that HM Armed Forces should be organised. It does not show everything, as I do not know everything, but it provides a framework. I have not included training organisations, establishments or units.

I suggest reducing the number of 4 star officers to four, as the numbers of service personnel do not, in my view, warrant more. Each 4 star officer should be a member of the Defence Staff, rather than the Naval, General or Air Staffs.

The 4 star officers should each command elements of all three armed services and the civil services to achieve their shared aim of defending the United Kingdom’s people, territories and interests.

I consider that the three armed services should remain separate entities. However they must always be looked on as parts of the whole; rather than as independent services that cooperate when necessary but otherwise go their separate ways.

Each armed service should be headed by a 3 star officer, who is the head of his service, and who concentrates on his service to ensure that it is always ready to play its part in defending the nation. However he must be subordinate to the CDS & VCDS.

The present system resembles a battalion where all the company commanders are lieutenant colonels, rather than majors, who consider that they can do as they wish, with just a nod to the CO & 2IC every now and then.

If the Navy complain that the RN cannot possibly be headed by a Vice-Admiral they should be reminded that Lord Nelson was a Vice-Admiral and if that rank was good enough for him…..


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27 mai 2014 2 27 /05 /mai /2014 12:50
RAF's new surveillance aircraft takes to the skies

A Rivet Joint RC-135W aircraft at RAF Waddington [Picture: Sergeant Si Pugsley RAF, Crown copyright]


27 May 2014 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support


A Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft has been flown in UK airspace by an RAF aircrew for the first time.


Pictures released by MOD show a UK Rivet Joint RC-135W signals intelligence aircraft taking off from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. The aircraft is one of 3 that MOD is buying from the US which, as part of the Airseeker programme, will provide the UK with a world class real-time signals intelligence and surveillance capability for forces in the air and on the ground.

The aircraft not only gathers data and vital intelligence using advanced sensor technology, but it is also able to carry out onboard analysis and distribute the information to be exploited by assets on the ground via its high-tech communications suite.

Since 2011, members of the RAF’s 51 Squadron have been operating United States Air Force Rivet Joint aircraft and ground stations to familiarise themselves with the aircraft and its capability.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

These highly specialised aircraft and their supporting ground systems, bought off-the-shelf, provide Britain with a first-class intelligence-gathering capability that is value for money and another key part of our ability to interoperate with the US.

Having jointly operated US aircraft with British and American personnel for 3 years, this proven strategic intelligence and surveillance capability will be an excellent addition to the RAF’s fleet.

A Rivet Joint RC-135W aircraft in flight over RAF Waddington
A Rivet Joint RC-135W aircraft in flight over RAF Waddington [Picture: Sergeant Si Pugsley RAF, Crown copyright]

The 3 aircraft, converted by L-3IS in Greenville, Texas, from a Boeing KC-135 tanker, have been bought directly from the US government at a cost of around £650 million.

The MOD’s Chief of Materiel (Air), Air Marshal Simon Bollom, who oversaw the procurement of the aircraft, said:

The first flight of the UK’s Rivet Joint RC-135W aircraft, as part of the Airseeker programme with an RAF crew, is a proud moment for all in the Defence Equipment and Support team who have worked, and continue to work, so hard to deliver this outstanding capability to the front line.

We have procured an aircraft with a proven track record which has been successfully operated by the United States Air Force, with RAF crews under co-manning arrangements, for a number of years.

We have worked very closely with our colleagues in the US on this project and today’s first flight signifies the commencement of a new and potent air ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) capability in the RAF inventory.


The Airseeker capability, comprising all 3 UK Rivet Joint RC-135W aircraft and ground exploitation systems, operated by their highly skilled aircrews, ground crews and analysts, is due to be fully operational by mid-2017.

Airseeker joins the RAF’s ISTAR Force, which includes Sentry, Shadow, Sentinel and Reaper as well as the reconnaissance capabilities of our fighter aircraft.

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25 mai 2014 7 25 /05 /mai /2014 11:50
photo UK MoD

photo UK MoD


25 avr. 2014 royalairforce


Watch this video to go behind the scenes at Airbus Defence and Space, to see the progress being made on the A400M programme.

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25 mai 2014 7 25 /05 /mai /2014 11:50
photo UK MoD

photo UK MoD


25 avr. 2014 royalairforce


Watch this video to go behind the scenes at Airbus Defence and Space, to see the progress being made on the A400M programme.

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15 mai 2014 4 15 /05 /mai /2014 12:50
Des «Pipins» marchent pour la Royal Air Force


15/05/2014 Armée de l'air


Cinq élèves de l’Ecole des pupilles de l’air (EPA 749) de Grenoble ont participé à une marche collective appelée «Royal Air Force Two Day March», à Cosfrod (Royaume-Uni), les 26 et 27 avril 2014.


Organisé par la Royal Air Force Walking and Road Marching Association (RAFWARMA), cet événement a pour but de promouvoir la marche au sein de la Royal Air Force (RAF). Ouverte à tous les participants, militaires ou civils, cette épreuve annuelle se réalise sur une distance de plus de 80 km sur deux jours, quelles que soient les conditions météorologiques.


Accompagnés de leurs éducateurs, les élèves de l’École des pupilles de l’air, également appelés «Pipins», ont relevé ensemble ce défi sportif avec succès. Cette réussite fait suite à celle de 2013, puisqu’un groupe de Pipins et d’éducateurs avaient participé à la marche de Nimègue (Pays-Bas) qui s’était déroulée du 16 au 19 juillet 2013. Organisée durant quatre jours, cette épreuve d’endurance de 160 km est considérée comme le championnat du monde de marche.

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6 mai 2014 2 06 /05 /mai /2014 16:50
Defence Secretary visits Typhoons in Lithuania

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond at Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania [Picture: Corporal Neil Bryden RAF, Crown copyright]


6 May 2014 Ministry of Defence


Philip Hammond has visited Royal Air Force personnel deployed to Lithuania as part of the Nato Baltic air policing mission.


The detachment of 4 Typhoon multi-role fighter aircraft arrived at Siauliai Air Base on 28 April, ahead of a 4-month deployment alongside the Polish Air Force, providing reassurance to Nato allies in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

During his visit, Mr Hammond met with Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas, before touring the RAF detachment and speaking with RAF personnel.

Mr Hammond and Mr Olekas then witnessed a practice scramble with pilots and ground crew sprinting to launch a pair of live-armed Typhoons.

Defence Secretary visits Typhoons in Lithuania
Typhoon aircraft practise a scramble during the Defence Secretary's visit to Siauliai Air Base [Picture: Corporal Neil Bryden RAF, Crown copyright]

Mr Hammond said:

We want to make very clear that we stand by our commitments to our Nato allies.

The deployment of these state-of-the art Typhoon jets to reinforce the Baltic air policing mission, and the extra British troops to exercises in Estonia, underlines our commitment to our partners in the region.

The UK, alongside our international partners, remains steadfast in our condemnation of Russia’s behaviour and we urge the Russian government to take the appropriate steps to de-escalate the crisis.

The Baltic air policing standing defensive mission is undertaken by rotations of aircraft from contributing nations on a 4-month cycle.

NATO members such as the Baltic states, who do not have their own air policing assets, are assisted by others.

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29 avril 2014 2 29 /04 /avril /2014 11:50
A watchful eye on UK sea and airspace


24 April 2014 Ministry of Defence


HMS Dragon and RAF Typhoons have been in contact with their Russian counterparts this week.


The Royal Navy’s fleet ready escort tracked and met up with the Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov as it transited past the UK.

HMS Dragon, a Type 45 destroyer, pinpointed and monitored the movement of the Russian vessel as she approached British waters in a well-established and standard response to such events.

Dragon deployed from Portsmouth last week to pre-position well north of Scotland in good time to respond to the Udaloy Class destroyer’s deployment. She made contact with the Kulakov and is now keeping an eye on the Russian ship’s transit south.

The commanding officer of HMS Dragon, Captain Iain Lower, said:

For a mission like this, it is not about sending any ship; we need speed, we need endurance, and, as the weather can be atrocious, sea-keeping is all-important.

The Russian Navy is a very capable force and it is right that the Royal Navy sends a ship that is credible, and none are more so than the Type 45 destroyer. With the world’s best air defence radars, Dragon’s sensors are able to monitor UK airspace and sea lanes of communication at very long range.

In the air
Typhoon aircraft Photo Senior Aircraftman Graham Taylor UK MoD

Typhoon aircraft Photo Senior Aircraftman Graham Taylor UK MoD

The Royal Air Force was also involved recently with its Russian counterparts when RAF Typhoon Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) aircraft were launched from RAF Leuchars to determine the identity of unknown aircraft that were approaching the Nato air policing area north of Scotland.

The aircraft were identified as Russian military aircraft carrying out a routine training sortie in international airspace.

RAF QRA aircraft are launched to intercept unidentified aircraft when they cannot be identified by any other means. This means that the aircraft is not talking to civilian or military air traffic control, has not filed a flight plan, and is not transmitting a recognisable secondary surveillance radar code.

The Typhoon mission was a routine part of the RAF’s air defence role protecting the UK and its airspace. High readiness RAF fighter aircraft are available around the clock, 365-days-a-year, and can be scrambled to identify and intercept any unidentified aircraft approaching our shores.

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29 avril 2014 2 29 /04 /avril /2014 10:50
photo EMA

photo EMA


28 avril 2014 Romandie.com (AFP)


Paris - Quatre avions de combat français sont arrivés lundi en Pologne tandis que quatre britanniques ont rejoint la Lituanie dans le cadre d'une mission de l'Otan de surveillance de l'espace aérien des pays baltes, selon des sources officielles à Paris et Londres.


Les quatre Rafale français ont rejoint lundi matin la base de Malbrok, dans le nord de la Pologne, a-t-on appris à Paris auprès de la Défense.


Ce renfort fait partie des mesures de réassurance de l'Alliance atlantique en faveur des pays de l'Est de l'Europe, inquiets de l'attitude de Moscou dans la crise ukrainienne, a précisé cette source.


Environ 70 militaires français ont été déployés à Malbrok, selon le porte-parole de l'état-major de l'armée française, le colonel Gilles Jaron. Ce détachement participera à des entraînements à la police du ciel au profit de l'armée polonaise, et à des missions de surveillance aérienne.


Du côté de Londres, le ministère de la Défense a indiqué que quatre jet Typhoon britanniques étaient arrivés en Lituanie et allaient survoler les espaces aériens estonien, lettonien et lituanien dans le cadre de mesures prises par l'Otan pour soutenir et rassurer les Etats membres de l'Est.


La France avait proposé mi-mars aux Etats baltes et à la Pologne de mettre quatre Rafale à leur disposition pour renforcer cette mission de surveillance aérienne que l'Otan assure depuis 2004. Jusqu'en mai, ce sont les Etats-Unis qui conduisent cette mission. La Pologne, membre de l'Otan, prendra ensuite la relève.


Depuis le 1er avril, un avion radar Awacs français assure par ailleurs plusieurs fois par semaine des missions de surveillance au-dessus de la Pologne et de la Roumanie. Un autre avion radar Awacs, britannique celui-là, a également été déployé en mars pour les mêmes missions.


L'Otan a annoncé mi-avril le renforcement de la défense des pays d'Europe orientale et multiplie les sorties de ses avions au-dessus des pays baltes. Des navires doivent être déployés dans la mer Baltique et en Méditerranée orientale.


Washington a également annoncé la semaine dernière le déploiement de quatre compagnies de parachutistes, soit 600 soldats, pour des exercices en Pologne et dans les pays Baltes.

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15 avril 2014 2 15 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
Puma HC2 Life Extension Programme

Puma HC2 Life Extension Programme

It is perhaps quite easy to forget just how long the Puma helicopter has been in service with the RAF. After over 40 years of service (since 1971) the Puma 2 or HC2 upgrade programme (Puma Life Extension Programme) will deliver 24 upgraded airframes and a range of supporting services.

The programme cost is £260m with £78m being carried out in the UK, Vector Aerospace supporting the integration of the defence aids systems for example, the balance by Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) in France and Romania.

An assessment contract was let to Eurocopter in 2007 with the upgrade contract coming a couple of years later in September 2009.

The contract was originally for 28 aircraft but this has since reduced to 24 (in 2012), from a total original fleet size of 33.


Read full article

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 11:50
Joint Warrior tests British Army's ability to react

A paratrooper from 16 Air Assault Brigade takes up a defensive position on arrival at the Kinloss airfield [Picture: Senior Aircraftwoman Tracey Dobson, Crown copyright]


8 April 2014 Ministry of Defence


The British Army has demonstrated its specialist air manoeuvre capabilities on the biggest military exercise in Europe.


An aviation assault to capture the airfield at Kinloss Barracks marked 16 Air Assault Brigade’s arrival on Exercise Joint Warrior.

Troops from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment battle group landed at Kinloss in Chinook, Merlin and Puma helicopters, protected by Apache attack helicopters, to assault the airfield. Once secured, more troops and heavier equipment were delivered across the day by C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

Airfield capture is a key skill required for the brigade’s role as the Air Assault Task Force, which is ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice to conduct the full range of military operations from non-combatant evacuation to war-fighting.

Paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade
Paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade are inserted into Kinloss airfield by Puma helicopter [Picture: Mark Owens, Crown copyright]

Brigadier Nick Borton, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said:

Joint Warrior provides an excellent opportunity for 16 Air Assault Brigade to work alongside the Royal Navy and RAF in its role as the British Army’s very high-readiness formation for contingency operations.

This is realistic and well-resourced training that reflects the type of operations that the brigade could be called on to do, both in terms of the tactical challenges and their expeditionary nature.

The mission we have achieved in a short space of time, and what we will go on to do across the exercise, is a powerful demonstration of the unique flexibility, reach and agility of airborne and air assault troops.

Paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade
A paratrooper from 16 Air Assault Brigade takes aim as a Danish Air Force C-130 Hercules takes off from Kinloss airfield [Picture: Mark Owens, Crown copyright]

Exercise Joint Warrior involves 13,000 military personnel from 8 countries, more than 30 warships and 25 different types of aircraft. Taking place twice a year, the training aims to test how the Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air Force work together and with allied forces.

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7 avril 2014 1 07 /04 /avril /2014 12:50
Europe's largest military exercise impresses minister

Mark Francois at the Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters at RAF Halton during Exercise Joint Warrior [Picture: Corporal Obi Igbo, Crown copyright]


7 April 2014 Ministry of Defence


Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois has witnessed first-hand how Europe's largest military exercise is co-ordinated.


Joint Warrior, a multinational exercise currently taking place off the coast of Scotland, incorporates all 3 of the UK armed services; the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. Over the course of 3 weeks it will engage more than 35 warships, 25 different types of aircraft, and a total of nearly 13,000 personnel from the various participating nations.

Last week, Mr Francois visited RAF Halton, which is acting as headquarters for the exercise, where he received a detailed update. While there the minister learned more about those participating, and the scope, complexities and massive scale of the exercise.

Mr Francois said:

Exercise Joint Warrior represents a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the vast range of capabilities available for contingency operations and provides excellent training to test the high readiness of our armed forces.

This exercise sees us working with many of our international allies and this year will be the largest live, tactically-focused exercise held in Europe.

The level of management and co-ordination required is formidable and I was extremely impressed by what I witnessed at Joint Warrior’s headquarters at RAF Halton.

Joint Warrior sees ships, submarines, aircraft and ground troops from the UK, United States, the Netherlands, France, Turkey and other Nato allies battling each other at sea, in the air and on land in an area which stretches from the Irish Sea, north to Cape Wrath and east to the Moray Firth.

The Royal Navy has 12 ships taking part in the exercise, ranging from amphibious vessels, destroyers and frigates to mine countermeasures vessels. The crews involved will use the exercise to prepare for their imminent deployments to the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Middle East.

There are also around 1,300 commandos from 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, including force elements from 24 Commando Engineer Regiment and 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, embedded across the ships.

The Royal Air Force is providing fast jet aircraft in the form of Hawks, Tornados and Typhoons, simulating enemy aircraft and missiles as well as providing conventional air warfare capability.

The British Army is represented on the exercise by members of 16 Air Assault Brigade. They are supported by rotary assets from all 3 services, with Apache, Chinook, Sea King, Lynx, Merlin and Puma helicopters providing critical attack support and reconnaissance capabilities.

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 12:50
RAF completes first Voyager three-point tanking flight


Apr 3, 2014 Cobham  Air Tanker


RAF Voyager has today (31/3/14) carried out its’ first flight with RAF crews as a three-point tanker, completing an air-to-air refuelling sortie over the Cornish Coast.


The flight follows the Release to Service awarded to Voyager from the Ministry of Defence on 29/3/14, which cleared Voyager to refuel the C-130 Hercules, the first approval on the Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU).


This latest achievement for the Voyager programme follows the wing-pod approvals already given by the MOD to begin air-to-air refuelling (AAR) operations with Tornado and Typhoon in summer last year.


Phill Blundell, CEO, AirTanker, which was appointed in 2008 to deliver the Future Strategic Tanker Transport Aircraft (FSTA) programme, said clearance on the FRU represented another significant step forward.


He said: “Clearance with the C-130 on the centerline hose is another important achievement, nudging us just that little bit closer to full operational capability. “We will continue to work alongside the RAF in supporting refinement of these systems as we move towards our air-to-air refuelling in service date in the summer.”


AirTanker, the consortium behind Voyager, is made up of leading aerospace, defence and facilities management specialists, Cobham, EADS, Rolls-Royce, Thales and Babcock. They also form its primary supply chain.


Since receiving the go-ahead to refuel the Tornado GR4 and Typhoon, Voyager has completed more than 215 air-to-air refuelling sorties, giving away in excess of 3,300 tonnes of fuel.


A fully certified and militarily-converted Airbus A330-200, multi role tanker transport MRTT, Voyager has a total fuel capacity of 111 tonnes. This is delivered using standard A330-200 fuel tanks without adaptation of its cargo hold to accommodate additional capacity.


In addition to its air-to-air refuelling role Voyager also has capacity to carry up to 291 passengers with a cargo capability of up to 8 NATO pallets or up to 43 tonnes. The aircraft can also be configured to accommodate a 40 stretcher aeromedical evacuation capability including critical care.


In all seven aircraft have now been delivered to the programme. The latest arrival, ZZ337, which was delivered at the end of January, brings the total number of aircraft flying on the MAR to six, (2x two-point tankers and 4x three-point capable tankers).


Since the start of air transport operations in April 2012, these military aircraft have together clocked more than 7,200 hours, flying more than 1,940 sectors, carrying more than 125,300 passengers and 8,100 tonnes plus of freight. This includes the start of flights in and out of Camp Bastion in support of the Afghanistan air-bridge in December last year.


Voyager 02, which flies on the Civilian Aircraft Register, has flown more than 2,700 hours and 490 sectors, carrying over 55,600 passengers and more than 3,400 tonnes of freight, since the start of AirTanker’s civilian airline operation at the beginning of 2013 Blundell added: “As with any programme of this scale, we have faced challenges but in partnership with the RAF, they have been overcome. They have not impacted on the programme. Our effort and the pace of progress has been relentless and we remain on budget and on time.


“Most importantly we have remained flexible, adapting to the changing needs of the programme and the RAF and the MOD as customer. We will continue to work alongside them to ensure that needs of the RAF and UK Armed Forces continue to be met.”

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 10:50
Tonnerre Lighting: nouvel exercice trilatéral


03/04/2014 CDAOA / Armée de l'air


Vendredi 28 mars 2014, un exercice aérien trilatéral regroupant Américains, Britanniques et Français s’est déroulé au large des côtes de la Grande-Bretagne.


Premier exercice de ce type, Tonnerre Lighting avait pour vocation de planifier de manière conjointe, puis de conduire une opération aérienne pour faire face à une menace imminente venant d’un pays agresseur. Cet entraînement a constitué l’occasion pour les trois nations participantes de poursuivre leurs progrès en termes d’intégration, d’interopérabilité et de sécurisation des communications dans un milieu interallié.Des F15 et un avion ravitailleur américains étaient engagés, tout comme des Typhoon britanniques, ainsi que des Rafale, des Mirage 2000-5 et un E-3F français.


F15 américain ravitaillé par un C135 français

F15 américain ravitaillé par un C135 français


Placée sous la direction d’un officier de l’US Air Force situé à Ramstein (Allemagne), Tonnerre Lighting a permis de mettre sur pied une planification robuste et un dispositif de conduite synchronisés par le 603rd Air and Operations Center (unité basée à Ramstein), le Joint Forces Air Component Command (JFACC- commandement de la composante air des forces interarmées) britannique de High Wycombe et le JFACC français de Lyon Mont-Verdun.Tonnerre Lighting visait à consolider la mise en œuvre des procédures interalliées lors des opérations aériennes. Récemment, la Grande-Bretagne, les États-Unis et la France ont en effet été engagés ensemble au sein de dispositifs aériens d’envergure. En 2011, les trois nations ont fait partie de la coalition engagée lors de l’opération Harmattan au-dessus de la Lybie. Plus récemment, les États-Unis ont également apporté un soutien logistique à la France lors des crises malienne (opération Serval) et centrafricaine (opération Sangaris).Cet exercice a nécessité plusieurs mois de préparation et un second volet de même ampleur, conduit depuis le JFACC permanent de Lyon Mont-Verdun, doit avoir lieu avant la fin de l’année.

Typhoon britannique

Typhoon britannique

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
Escape Trainers for Puma and Merlin Helicopters to Be Supplied to the RAF


Apr 2, 2014 ASDNews Source : Lutra Associates Ltd


    First Major MOD Production order for team formed around Lutra Associates


Training in embarking, disembarkation and escape drills on the Puma and Merlin helicopter is to be provided on two simulators to be supplied by Lutra Associates, in partnership with Oxford Specialist Coachbuilders. This £200,000 plus contract has been placed by the UK MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support Commercial team at Army HQ following a competitive tender.


The two units, which will be housed in modified ISO containers, have been designed to be easily moved to wherever the training is required. This will result in the Joint Helicopter Command and the Royal Air Force saving money and being able to re-allocate aircraft to more operational uses whilst at the same time providing improved skill levels for the troops being trained.


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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
photo AirTanker

photo AirTanker


01.04.2014 Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com


Le consortium AirTanker annonce que la première opération de ravitaillement en vol d’un C-130 Hercules de la RAF par un A330 MRTT a eu lieu le 31 mars. Cette manœuvre fait suite à la certification complémentaire accordée par le ministère de la Défense le 29 mars.


Les MRTT britanniques réalisent des opérations de ravitaillement en vol des Tornado GR4 et des Eurofighter depuis l’été 2013 et ont à ce jour effectué plus de 215 vols de ce type.


La Royal Air Force possède actuellement sept exemplaires des A330-200 modifiés par Airbus Defence & Space, sur les quatorze commandés.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
RAF retires two Tornado squadrons


31 Mar 2014 By: Craig Hoyle – FG


London - A phased reduction of the UK Royal Air Force’s fleet of Panavia Tornado GR4 strike aircraft has taken its latest step, with two frontline units having been stood down on 28 March.


The service’s 12 and 617 squadrons ceased operations with a disbandment ceremony conducted at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, which from mid-2014 will instead become home to its Eurofighter Typhoon-equipped 1 and 6 squadrons, which are to be relocated from RAF Leuchars.


“Both squadrons have delivered precision air power around the world, whether that be in air-to-air combat, air-to-ground attack or in the intelligence-gathering role. We are proud of our heritage but we look to the future,” says AVM Stuart Atha, Air Officer Commanding the RAF’s 1 Group.


Known as “The Dambusters”, 617 Sqn will be reformed in 2018 as the UK’s first frontline unit to operate the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II. Some personnel from 12 Sqn, meanwhile, will be retained at Lossiemouth to support operations with the Typhoon.


The latest unit retirements leave the RAF with operational Tornado GR4 squadrons only at its Marham base in Norfolk. Its 15 Sqn operational conversion unit for the type will remain at Lossiemouth until 2018, with its last examples currently expected to leave use during 2019.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 19:50
UK Armed Forces participate in Exercise Joint Warrior 2014

UK Army personnel patrolling with Scimitar vehicles during a previous Exercise Joint Warrior. Photo: Mark Owens, Crown copyright.


1 April 2014 army-technology.com


The UK Armed Forces is participating in Europe's biggest tri-service military exercise, code-named Joint Warrior 2014, off the coast of Scotland.


The exercise, which started on 25 March, involves more than 35 warships, 25 different types of aircraft, and approximately 13,000 personnel from the various nations taking part, including Turkey, Germany, Belgium, France, Holland, Denmark, and the US.


All participating ships, submarines, aircraft and ground troops from the UK, US and other allies are battling each other at sea, in the air and on land in an area that stretches from the Irish Sea, north to Cape Wrath and east to the Moray Firth.


UK International Security Strategy Minister Dr Andrew Murrison said Joint Warrior continues to provide realistic training platforms for the UK Armed Forces, testing the vast capabilities of all three services.


"This exercise sees us working with our international allies, including the US, Netherlands, France, Turkey, Norway and Nato, and will be the largest live, tactically-focused exercise held in Europe this year," Murrison said.


The Royal Navy has deployed 12 ships, including amphibious vessels, destroyers, frigates and mine countermeasures vessels, which will be used by the crews to prepare for their imminent deployments to the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Middle East.


The UK Army is represented by 16 Air Assault Brigade personnel, who will be joined by the Royal Air Force (RAF), army and Commando Helicopter Forces, as well as Apache, Chinook, Sea King, Lynx, Merlin and Puma helicopters for the provision of critical attack support and reconnaissance capabilities.


As well as supplying fast jet aircraft such as Hawks, Tornados and Typhoons, the RAF will also simulate enemy aircraft and missiles, and provide conventional air warfare capability.


In addition to this, RAF surveillance aircraft will provide a detailed picture of enemy movements and positions to the Royal Navy, while the Tactical Supply Wing will supply logistic support to air assets.


Joint Warrior provides a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the range of capabilities available for contingency operations, while providing excellent training that tests the high-readiness capabilities of the armed forces.

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1 avril 2014 2 01 /04 /avril /2014 07:50
Making the Most of The F35 B


One of the fundamental changes in SDSR 2010 was to select the F35C over the F35B. The rational for this was that the F35C could also replace the Tornado and cover the RAF’s Future Offensive Air System requirement as well as the Joint Combat Aircraft requirement designed to replace the Harrier. However once it became clear that the cost of converting the aircraft carriers would be in the £ 5 billion pound range the decision was taken to revert back to the B model. However despite the decision to revert back to the B model no decision was taken to replace the Tornado with something else. The F35B will now have to serve as both a Harrier replacement and a Tornado replacement.


Having F35B as a replacement for the Harrier will give us capabilities light years ahead of what we had. Despite the criticisms of the B model in comparison to the Harrier it is a major capability improvement. However as a replacement for the Tornado the F35B does have limitations. I believe there are some relatively simple fixes that the UK can use to overcome the limitations of the B model so that it can serve as an effective replacement for the Tornado.


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