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5 décembre 2013 4 05 /12 /décembre /2013 08:50
F-35B Lightning II aircraft in formation (library image) [Picture: © 2013 Lockheed Martin Corporation]

F-35B Lightning II aircraft in formation (library image) [Picture: © 2013 Lockheed Martin Corporation]

 

 

4 December 2013  Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

As training with the F-35 Lightning II steps up in Florida, a Royal Air Force pilot shares his impressions of the advanced stealth jet.

 

Flight Lieutenant Hugh Nichols completed his first sortie in the next-generation stealth fighter at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in November.

The Lightning II aircraft, together with the Typhoon FGR4, will provide the RAF combat air component essential to UK defence.

Flight Lieutenant Hugh Nichols

Flight Lieutenant Hugh Nichols [Picture: Staff Sergeant Nicholas Egebrecht, United States Air Force]

Flight Lieutenant Nichols, the first RAF Number 1 Group pilot to fly the aircraft, said:

This is a notable step in the Lightning II story and one that marks a real shift in emphasis from development to employment.

We’re also just starting to train the first Number 1 Group engineers here at Eglin, which is another important milestone in the development of the UK aspect of the programme.

Lightning II’s advanced mission system sensors have done nothing but impress me so far and I have no doubt that this aircraft will deliver strategic, game-changing capabilities in future defence scenarios.

To be the first Number 1 Group operational pilot is both an honour and a privilege and I look forward to helping stand up Number 617 (The Dambusters) Squadron in 2016 and bringing the jet back to the UK in 2018.

An F-35B Lightning II at Eglin Air Force Base

An F-35B Lightning II on the tarmac at Eglin Air Force Base [Picture: © 2013 Lockheed Martin Corporation]

Three UK pilots and 13 engineers from the RAF and Royal Navy are learning to operate the aircraft at Eglin under a partnering agreement with the United States Marine Corps as part of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501).

Another 12 engineers recently arrived at Eglin for 5 months of trade training at the Lightning Academic Training Centre prior to being posted to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort in South Carolina and Edwards Air Force Base in California in mid-2014.

Lightning II will be the UK’s fifth-generation short take-off and vertical landing joint strike asset. The multi-role supersonic stealth aircraft is planned to achieve initial operating capability in a land-based role from RAF Marham in 2018 and, alongside the Royal Navy, aboard the future HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in 2020.

F-35B Lightning II aircraft in flight

F-35B Lightning II aircraft in flight (library image) [Picture: © 2013 Lockheed Martin Corporation]

 

Flight Lieutenant Hugh Nichols

Flight Lieutenant Nichols, who is 35 and was born in Epsom, Surrey, joined the RAF in April 2000 and has flown Hawk and Harrier GR9 aircraft as well as flying the F-16CJ on exchange with the US Air Force.

He will go on to qualify as an F-35B instructor pilot and will remain on VMFAT-501 until the UK stands up its first squadron at MCAS Beaufort in 2016.

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4 décembre 2013 3 04 /12 /décembre /2013 18:35
Handover of UK headquarters team in Afghanistan

Joint Force Support flag-changing ceremony at Camp Bastion, southern Afghanistan [Picture: Sergeant Dan Bardsley, Crown copyright]

 

2 December 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

A new headquarters team has arrived at Joint Force Support (Afghanistan) in Camp Bastion, Helmand province.

 

In a short transfer of authority ceremony, in front of sailors, soldiers, airmen and civilians, outgoing Commander Joint Force Support (Afghanistan), Air Commodore John Bessell, handed over to Brigadier Martin Moore. The handover marks the start of another crucial chapter in the UK’s military drawdown in Afghanistan.

Brigadier Moore is taking command of the seventeenth rotation of Joint Force Support, which works in parallel with Task Force Helmand to provide logistical and technical support for UK Armed Forces across Afghanistan.

The span of responsibility of the headquarters is vast, ranging from personnel policy and logistics to infrastructure, training and commercial support.

As well as providing specialist expertise, Joint Force Support commands a range of force elements comprising thousands of military personnel, UK civil servants and military-supported contractors.

One of the key tasks of the staff has been the co-ordination of redeployment, which involves recovering aircraft, vehicles, weapons and surveillance equipment back to the UK in good order.

Speaking after the weekend handover, Air Commodore Bessell reflected on the successes of his 6-month tenure. A mark of the progress is that a third of the materiel has been returned home safely.

More than 1,300 vehicles and items of major equipment and the equivalent of 1,800 shipping containers of materiel have been redeployed from Afghanistan.

Air Commodore John Bessell with Brigadier Martin Moore
Air Commodore John Bessell (left) hands over the command of Joint Force Support to Brigadier Martin Moore at Camp Bastion [Picture: Sergeant Dan Bardsley, Crown copyright]

Air Commodore Bessell said:

Redeployment is a challenging problem, but resourceful people have made redeployment a reality.

In our time we have made a significant inroad into redeploying the future of the British military’s protected mobility fleet.

At the same time we have redeployed the Merlin helicopter and seen the C-17 aircraft come of age in delivering the fly and sail of equipment to the UK.

Brigadier Moore said:

This marks the change of the core of the headquarters, but it doesn’t change the direction of travel for Joint Force Support (Afghanistan).

The next 6 months will be crucial in positioning Operation Herrick for the conclusion of the campaign. The main focus will be sustaining current and future operations in order to see transition through into 2014.

In the margins, we will strive to build on the outstanding work of our predecessors to energise the redeployment effort so that the UK, working side-by-side with Regional Command (South West), can recover from Helmand on time and in good order.

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2 décembre 2013 1 02 /12 /décembre /2013 17:50
F-35B Lightning II Impresses RAF Pilot as Training continues in USA

 

December 2nd, 2013 By UK Ministry of Defence - defencetalk.com

 

As training with the new F-35B Lightning II stealth aircraft continues in Florida, USA, a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot has described how impressed he is with the ‘game-changing’ jet.

 

Flight Lieutenant Hugh Nichols completed his first sortie in the next-generation stealth fighter at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, United States earlier this month.

 

The Lightning II aircraft, together with the Typhoon FGR4, will provide the RAF combat air component essential to UK defence.

 

Flt Lt Nichols,the first RAF Number 1 Group pilot to fly the aircraft, said: “This is a notable step in the Lightning II story and one that marks a real shift in emphasis from development to employment.

 

“We’re also just starting to train the first No. 1 Group engineers here at Eglin, which is another important milestone in the development of the UK aspect of the programme.

 

“Lightning II’s advanced mission system sensors have done nothing but impress me so far and I have no doubt that this aircraft will deliver strategic, game-changing capabilities in future defence scenarios.

 

“To be the first No. 1 Group operational pilot is both an honour and a privilege and I look forward to helping stand up No. 617 (The Dambusters) Sqn in 2016 and bringing the jet back to the UK in 2018.”

 

Three UK pilots and 13 engineers from the RAF and Royal Navy are learning to operate the aircraft at Eglin under a partnering agreement with the United States Marine Corps, as part of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501.Another 12 engineers recently arrived at Eglin for five months of trade training at the Lightning Academic Training Centre prior to being posted to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, South Carolina, and Edwards Air Force Base, California, in mid-2014.

 

Lightning II will be the UK’s 5th generation short take-off and vertical landing Joint Strike Asset. The multi-role supersonic stealth aircraft is planned to achieve initial operating capability in a land-based role from RAF Marham in 2018 and, alongside the Royal Navy, aboard the future HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in 2020.

 

Flt Lt Nichols, who is 35 and was born in Epsom, Surrey, joined the RAF in April 2000 and has flown the Hawk and Harrier GR9 aircraft, as well as flying the F-16CJ on exchange with the U.S. Air Force.

 

He will go on to qualify as an F35B Instructor Pilot and will remain on VMFAT-501 Sqn until the UK stands up its first squadron at MCAS Beaufort in 2016.

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2 décembre 2013 1 02 /12 /décembre /2013 08:50
photo Diliff

photo Diliff

 

21 November 2013 by Hajnalka Vincze

 

(sur la base d’un court entretien accordé à BBC Radio, l’émission 5 Live Drive, le 20 novembre 2013)

 

En quoi la posture antinucléaire du SNP (Scottish National Party) devrait-elle constituer un problème pour une Ecosse indépendante mais soucieuse de garder sa carte de membre à l’OTAN ?* En pas grand-chose, pour faire bref. Le fait d’exiger le retrait des armes nucléaires UK de son territoire et de se proclamer Etat non nucléaire n’est pas a priori en contradiction avec le statut de membre de l’OTAN. Pour rappel : à présent 20 pays membres sur les 28 ne possèdent ni n’hébergent d’armes atomiques sur leur sol.

 

Par ailleurs, la distinction (entre possession et hébergement) a tout lieu d’être. Alors que seuls trois pays membres sont des puissances nucléaires reconnues comme telles (les Etats-Unis, la France et le Royaume-Uni), cinq autres (l’Italie, l’Allemagne, la Turquie, les Pays-Bas et la Belgique) laissent stationner sur leur territoire des armes nucléaires américaines (quoique de manière de plus en plus controversée, certes).

Source: www.cagle.com

Par contre, faire partie de l’OTAN implique mécaniquement de participer au soi-disant partage nucléaire au sein de l’Alliance. Lequel est censé faire croire que la politique nucléaire de l’OTAN est un travail d’équipe. Dans cet esprit, les Etats membres non nucléaires deviennent eux-mêmes mouillés à plus d’un titre : à travers les concepts et les exercices, ils sont priés de contribuer, par le biais de leurs capacités conventionnelles (comme le ravitaillement en vol par exemple), au bon déroulement des éventuelles opérations nucléaires de l’Alliance.

 

En réalité, ce n’est qu’une mascarade. Malgré toutes les structures et procédures qui y sont consacrées pour entretenir l’illusion, la pratique du « partage » nucléaire de l’OTAN reste soumise, in fine, au bon-vouloir de Washington. Autrement dit, à l’humeur du jour dans la capitale des Etats-Unis. Inutile de préciser que la crédibilité de tels arrangements est nulle. Les Etats membres mouillés deviennent effectivement complices de la politique nucléaire de l’Amérique, mais sans avoir le moindre droit (à la consultation, à l’influence) garanti.

 

Pour illustration, cet incident survenu en 1973 avec, comme figurant principal, le Premier ministre britannique Edward Heath. Imaginons la scène. Le chef du gouvernement du Royaume-Uni débat tranquillement à la Chambre des Communes lorsqu’il apprend, par la voie d’une dépêche d’agence de presse, que son grand allié US vient de déclarer l’alerte nucléaire globale. C’est la douche froide. Loin d’avoir été consulté auparavant, le fidèle britannique n’a même pas été informé correctement.

 

Tous les arrangements et discours sur le « partage » dans l’OTAN n’ont donc été que des usines à gaz et des paroles en l’air. L’Amérique n’en faisait, en n’en fera, qu’à sa tête. S’agissant de ses bombes à elle, c’est d’ailleurs le minimum qu’elle doit à ses propres citoyens.

 

*Les Ecossais seront appelés aux urnes pour décider de leur séparation (ou pas) du "rUK" (reste du Royaume-Uni) lors d'un « référendum sur l'indépendance » le 18 septembre 2014. Dans cette perspective, le SNP avait changé sa position traditionnelle anti-OTAN lors de son Congrès en octobre 2012 (avec une courte majorité de 394 contre 365 votes des délégués), et propose maintenant qu'une Ecosse indépendante reste dans l'Alliance.

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1 décembre 2013 7 01 /12 /décembre /2013 12:45
Un sommet sur la Centrafrique à Paris

 

1 décembre, 2013 – BBC Afrique

 

Les participants à ce sommet de Paris sur la Centrafrique seront une dizaine, et ils étudieront l'application de la résolution de l'ONU.

 

Le sommet se tiendra dans la capitale française le 7 décembre.

 

Le "mini-sommet", comme on l'appelle, est une initiative de la France.

 

Il interviendra après une résolution des Nations-Unies qui doit autoriser le déploiement en Centrafrique de troupes africaines soutenues par la France.

 

Le Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies Ban Ki Moon, les chefs d'Etat des pays voisins de la Centrafrique et le premier ministre centrafricain Nicolas Tiangaye sont notamment attendus à Paris.

 

Au cours de la réunion, les participants étudieront la mise en oeuvre de la résolution de l'ONU, attendue pour le tout début décembre à New York.

 

Ce sommet se fera également dans le sillage d'une autre rencontre, le sommet sur la sécurité et la paix en Afrique, également initié par Paris

 

La force africaine en Centrafrique compte pour l'instant 2500 hommes, venus du Gabon, du Congo, du Tchad et du Cameroun.Leur effectif devrait atteindre 3600 hommes.

 

La France de son côté envisage de déployer un millier de soldats.

 

La Grande-Bretagne a promis 16 millions de dollars comme contribution aux efforts humanitaires dans le pays.

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29 novembre 2013 5 29 /11 /novembre /2013 17:50
HMS Queen Elizabeth being fitted with main radar. Photo Aircraft Carrier Alliance

HMS Queen Elizabeth being fitted with main radar. Photo Aircraft Carrier Alliance

 

29 November 2013 naval-technology.com

 

The UK Royal Navy's new Queen Elizabeth-class (QE) aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has been fitted with large long range radar.

 

With the installation of main radar antenna onto the forward island, the aircraft carrier's main structure blocks are now in place.

 

Designed to provide a three dimensional and long-range picture, the radar can track up to 1,000 contacts up to a range of 400km away from the vessel.

 

Recently, HMS Queen Elizabeth has been fitted with final ramp section of the flight deck, at the Rosyth shipyard, Scotland.

 

The 64m-long and 13m-wide ramp section, which will allow jet aircraft to take off from the ship, is the final exterior piece of the aircraft carrier to be integrated.

 

Queen Elizabeth-class carriers will have a full-load displacement capacity of 65,000t, an operational range of 10,000nm and can carry up to 40 aircraft.

"The radar can track up to 1,000 contacts up to a range of 400km away."

 

Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), a joint venture between Babcock Thales, BAE Systems and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), is constructing these two new aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince Of Wales.

 

Powered by two Rolls-Royce Marine 36MW MT30 gas turbine alternators, the carriers can accommodate a crew of 1,200, including an aircrew of 600.

 

Expected to be structurally complete next year, HMS Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to commence sea trials in 2017, followed by Lightning II aircraft flight trials in 2018.

 

HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince Of Wales are expected to be operational with the Royal Navy in 2016 and 2018 respectively, replacing the Invincible-class vessels.

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29 novembre 2013 5 29 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
BAE Wins Top Award from UK MoD

 

 

Nov 28, 2013 ASDNews Source : BAE Systems PLC

 

BAE Systems has today been awarded one of the highest accolades from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for its part in the conversion of two BAe 146-200QC (Quick Change) aircraft that were converted from commercial to military aircraft configuration for use by the Royal Air Force.

 

Known as the Minister (DEST) Acquisition Award 2013, it is the highest accolade within the MoD that an individual or team can receive for acquisition excellence. This award was given to both the industrial team, led by BAE Systems Regional Aircraft, and its principal sub- contractor Marshall Aviation Services, and the teams within the MoD that masterminded the procurement, military certification, operational aspects and entry into service of the aircraft.

 

Mark Taylor, Business Director Engineering of BAE Systems Regional Aircraft at Prestwick, and Jason Davies, General Manager of Marshall Aviation Services received their awards from Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology (Min DEST) at a ceremony in the MoD Main Building Memorial Courtyard.

 

Mark Taylor said:” The success of this extensive conversion programme, which was carried out on time and on budget, is due to the excellent teamwork from all parties which meant the aircraft entered service on the due date. It is now on active duty in Afghanistan and is proving to be reliable, efficient, flexible and popular.”

 

Known in RAF service as the BAe 146 C Mk.3, the two aircraft were converted under an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) contract awarded to BAE Systems Regional Aircraft for use in the extraction phase of the current Afghanistan campaign – Operation Herrick.

 

BAE Systems was responsible for the design and integration of the equipment to be fitted to the aircraft, the sourcing of the equipment and management of the supply chain and overall management of the conversion programme. The actual conversion was carried out at the Marshall Aviation Services (formerly Hawker Beechcraft Ltd) facility at Broughton in North Wales under sub-contract to BAE Systems.

 

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29 novembre 2013 5 29 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
The EAP at its new home at the RAF Museum in Cosford, Shropshire

The EAP at its new home at the RAF Museum in Cosford, Shropshire

 

28 November 2013 baesystems.com

 

The aircraft which pioneered the technology behind Typhoon has gone on show to the public for the first time

 

The Experimental Aircraft Programme (EAP) technology demonstrator airframe, built by us in the 1980s, has been donated by the company to the RAF Museum in Cosford, Shropshire.

 

It remains the most advanced fighter design ever built solely by a UK manufacturer.

 

Military Air and Information managing director Chris Boardman said: "The EAP was fundamental in developing many of the ground breaking design characteristics and capabilities that we now see in today's Eurofighter Typhoon.

 

“It is only fitting that it should now reside alongside other historic aircraft including Tornado P.02, the Jaguar ACT Demonstrator and TSR2 that have all helped keep Britain at the forefront of military aviation."

 

Curator Nick Sturgess said the museum was “thrilled” to add the EAP among its collection of research and development aircraft.

 

He added: “Only one EAP was ever built and its importance in aviation cannot be understated.

 

“During its flying career as a proof of concept demonstrator it contributed much to computer controls, advanced aerodynamics and new methods of construction.”

 

The EAP was rolled out at British Aerospace at Warton in April 1986 and did its first flight in August  when test pilot Dave Eagles, the company’s then executive director of flight operations, took it to Mach 1.1, faster than the speed of sound.

 

Following its final flight at Warton in May 1991, the airframe was stored at the site having made 259 test sorties, totalling 195.21 flying hours, during which it had reached speeds in excess of Mach 2.0 and angles of attack of over 35 degrees in controlled flight.

 

In June 1996, it was taken to Loughborough University, Leicestershire, where it was used by undergraduate students to carry out design appreciation exercises, before making the move to Cosford in March 2012.

 

It went on display at there this month, for further details visit www.rafmuseum.org.uk/cosford

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29 novembre 2013 5 29 /11 /novembre /2013 08:45
photo Royal Navy

photo Royal Navy

 

28 November 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

HMS Bulwark has visited the Libyan port of Tripoli in support of a ministerial visit from the UK.

 

The ship, which is part of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group (RFTG) and has been taking part in the Cougar 13 deployment, called in to Tripoli to support a visit by UK Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Francois and provided the platform for a UK Trade and Industry event.

Twelve British firms presented a range of services – including border security systems, explosive ordnance disposal, legal advice and services and specialist advice on education – to visitors from the Libyan Prime Minister’s office as well as representatives from the Libyan Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defence.

Talking about his visit to the defence security and industry event hosted on HMS Bulwark, Mr Francois said:

I would like to reiterate the British government’s support for the Libyan authorities in rebuilding its security structures. Well-equipped and well-trained personnel are vital to deal with today’s security challenges.

Co-operation between Libya and the UK in this field is a growing element of our increasingly close bilateral relationship.

While in Libya, Commodore Paddy McAlpine, Commander United Kingdom Task Group, and Captain Andrew Burns, commanding officer of HMS Bulwark, took the opportunity to visit the Chief of Staff of the Libyan Navy and the commanding officer of Tripoli Naval Base.

Michael Aron and Mark Francois are shown around HMS Bulwark
His Excellency Mr Michael Aron and Mark Francois are shown around HMS Bulwark by Captain Andrew Burns [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Arron Hoare, Crown copyright]

Commodore McAlpine said:

We have been very warmly welcomed during this important visit to Tripoli in support of the Minister for the Armed Forces. Our presence here reaffirmed the Royal Navy’s commitment to Libya’s transition to a stable and lasting democracy.

Our connection with the Libyan Navy stretches back to the 1960s and I am confident we will continue to be trusted and close maritime partners.

Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Libya, His Excellency Mr Michael Aron, hosted a reception on board HMS Bulwark for a number of senior government and military leaders including the Minister for Defence, Chief of Joint Operations of the Libyan Armed Forces, Chief of Staff of the Libyan Navy and Chief of Staff of the Libyan Army.

HMS Bulwark has been deployed since August and has conducted maritime and amphibious exercises with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and recently visited Karachi in Pakistan.

The Cougar 13 deployment has been operating in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Gulf, and around the Horn of Africa.

It involves exercising with partner nations and shows the UK Armed Forces’ capacity to project an effective maritime component anywhere in the world as part of the RFTG.

The RFTG is the UK’s high readiness maritime force, comprising ships, submarines, aircraft and a landing force of Royal Marines held at short notice to act in response to any contingency tasking if required.

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29 novembre 2013 5 29 /11 /novembre /2013 08:20
La Marine américaine rompt avec un sous-traitant soupçonné de surfacturation

 

WASHINGTON, 28 nov 2013 marine-oceans.com (AFP)

 

La Marine américaine a annoncé jeudi qu'elle n'aurait dorénavant plus recours aux services d'un sous-traitant spécialisé dans l'avitaillement qu'elle soupçonne de gonfler ses factures, quelques semaines après qu'une affaire similaire a éclaboussé la Navy.

 

Pointant "une intégrité commerciale douteuse", le contre-amiral John Kirby, directeur de la communication de la Marine, a précisé que les contrats en cours avec la société Inchcape Shipping Services iront à leur terme, mais que l'US Navy ne compte à l'avenir ni renouveler, ni signer de contrats avec la firme.

 

Le porte-parole n'a donné aucun détail sur les soupçons de surfacturation dont Inchcape se serait rendue coupable.

 

La société est basée en Grande-Bretagne et fournit des navires américains en Méditerranée et au Proche-Orient.

 

Cette nouvelle affaire intervient après que la Marine s'est vue forcée il y a deux semaines de mettre fin à ses liens commerciaux avec une autre société spécialisée dans l'avitaillement des navires dans les ports asiatiques, à la suite de soupçons de corruption impliquant plusieurs officiers.

 

Au centre de cette affaire se trouve le patron de la société GDMA, Leonard Francis, accusé par la justice américaine d'avoir soudoyé des officiers américains chargés de la logistique afin de privilégier sa société.

 

Les deux affaires ne sont pas liées, selon des responsables du Pentagone.

 

Inchcape appartient à Istithmar World, la branche d'investissement de Dubai World, un conglomérat basé aux Emirats arabes unis.

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28 novembre 2013 4 28 /11 /novembre /2013 08:55
photo Marine nationale

photo Marine nationale

 

27/11/2013 Marine nationale

 

Après trois mois de d'opérations en Méditerranée orientale, puis dans le Golfe arabo-persique, c’est l’heure du retour à Toulon pour la frégate (FLF) Aconit.

 

D’août à septembre, l’Aconit a conduit des opérations de contrôle d'espaces aéro-maritimes en Méditerranée orientale : information sur les transits dans la zone, actions maritimes des pays côtiers, flux migratoires, mais aussi trafic de drogue et d’armes ...  Pour ce faire, le commandant mobilise nécessairement tous les senseurs de la frégate, central opérations, équipe passerelle évidemment, mais aussi son hélicoptère embarqué, le Panther. Sans relâche dès les premières semaines de mer, l’équipage redouble d’efforts, grâce à des "drills" permanents, pour être au meilleur niveau possible.

 

Cap sur l’océan Indien

 

À partir du 20 septembre, l’Aconit a été engagée dans l’opération multinationale de lutte anti-terroriste « Enduring Freedom » en l’océan Indien dans le golfe arabo persique (GAP) au sein des Task Forces 150 et 152, qui consiste à contrôler les mouvements maritimes suspects qui pourraient se fondre dans le flux marchand normal. Cette opération a été lancée immédiatement après les attentats du 11 septembre 2001.

 

Intégrée au groupe du porte-avions américain Harry Truman , l’Aconit a assuré les taches de commandement de l'escorte de protection. Par ailleurs, comme par exemple au Yémen, la frégate a conduit des taches de formation comme et contribué à la protection des approches maritimes en contrôlant des boutres suspects. Elle a enfin organisé plusieurs interactions avec le groupe britannique Cougar 13.

 

Un équipage inlassablement mobilisé

 

La force première de la frégate, celle lui permet d’accomplir avec succès ses missions, c’est son équipage : 170 marins, de spécialités et de parcours différents, tous unis pour la mener vers le succès. Malgré un rythme opérationnel sans répit, une dynamique de succès a régné sur la frégate pendant ces trois mois.

 

Des salles des machines où les mécaniciens ont su faire face aux inévitables aléas techniques, en passant par le commissariat dont les marins ont redoublé d’efforts pour améliorer l’ordinaire, jusqu’évidemment à la passerelle où les équipes de n'ont pas une fois baissé la garde, en passant par le central opérations cœur battant de la mission l’ensemble de l’équipage a été au delà des objectifs.

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26 novembre 2013 2 26 /11 /novembre /2013 19:50
Top départ pour l'exercice SERPENTEX 2013

 

26/11/2013 CFA – Armée de l’Air

 

Du lundi 25 novembre jusqu’au 13 décembre 2013, la base aérienne 126 de Solenzara en Corse accueille l’édition 2013 de SERPENTEX, exercice interarmées et interalliés majeur organisé par le commandement des Forces aériennes.

 

Dédié originellement à la mise en condition opérationnelle du personnel projeté sur le théâtre Afghan, cet exercice a pour objectif principal d’entraîner, dans un environnement tactique complexe, les unités aériennes et les équipes de contrôleurs aériens avancés (FAC, Forward Air Controller) aux missions d’appui feu.

 

Si ce SERPENTEX 2013 reste construit sur le socle « appui aérien », son contenu évolue cette année pour prendre notamment en compte les enseignements des dernières opérations (Lybie, Mali) et mettre en œuvre de nouveaux modes d’action. Aussi, l’édition 2013 est marquée par l’introduction de missions type SCAR (Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance) et le développement de l’emploi des outils de liaisons de données de type DACAS (Digital Aided Close Air Support), initié lors du précédent SERPENTEX.

 

Les objectifs principaux de cet exercice seront d’entraîner, dans le relief montagneux corse :

 

        les unités aériennes Chasse aux missions d’appui-feu avec FAC (CAS) ou sans FAC (SCAR), aux missions de Dynamic Tagerting et Time Sensitive Target,

        les FAC et les CTA (Contrôleur Tactique Air – experts de la coordination 3D) au guidage de jour et de nuit,

        les unités de transport tactique aux missions d’appui transport dont le largage de petits colis avec les FAC.

 

Préparation opérationnelle de grande ampleur, cet exercice réunira cette année, au plus fort de son activité près de 800 militaires. Huit nations étrangères (Canada, Royaume-Uni, Etats-unis, Espagne, Italie, Belgique, République Tchèque, Slovénie) seront représentées aux côtés des militaires français.

 

Pour le volet aérien, une trentaine d’avions de chasse (Rafale et Mirage 2000 D, CF-18 canadiens, F18 MLU espagnols), un CP-140 canadien, des avions de transport français (CN235 et C160), des hélicoptères Gazelle de l’aviation légère de l’armée de terre (ALAT) seront déployés ainsi qu’un drone Reaper italien.

 

Pour le volet sol, des équipes de contrôleurs aériens avancés de l’armée de l’air (CPA), de l’armée de terre ainsi que des 8 nations présentes participeront à SERPENTEX.

 

Parmi tous ces moyens, il est à souligner que le Canada déploiera un dispositif conséquent de quelques 200 personnes et 7 aéronefs.

 

L’édition 2013 de SERPENTEX verra également pour la première fois, la participation d’un drone italien Reaper depuis sa base de déploiement nationale.

Top départ pour l'exercice SERPENTEX 2013
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26 novembre 2013 2 26 /11 /novembre /2013 17:50
Upgraded RAF Puma takes to the skies

Puma Mk2 helicopters at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire [Picture: Senior Aircraftman James Goff, Crown copyright]

 

26 November 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Equipment and Support

 

The RAF has begun training on the Puma Mk2 helicopter following a multi-million pound upgrade programme.

Crews from the RAF’s 33 and 230 Squadrons are carrying out training flights on the upgraded aircraft from their base at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire.

The £260 million upgrade means that the helicopters benefit from new engines which give them 35% more power and improved fuel efficiency to allow them to fly faster and twice as far as the Puma Mk1. They also have highly advanced digitised glass cockpits and upgraded liquid-crystal display instruments.

The Puma Mk2 can fit into a C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft, which means that it can be transported anywhere in the world and, crucially, can be ready to deploy in support of both combat and humanitarian missions in just 4 hours.

The aircraft, with improved ballistic protection, is capable of carrying up to 16 fully-equipped troops. Twin cargo doors and low rotor downwash make it ideal for transporting personnel and equipment in and out of confined urban environments.

Puma helicopter deploys personnel
Assets and personnel are deployed from RAF Benson to the Stanford Training Area in a newly-upgraded Puma helicopter [Picture: Senior Aircraftman Tommy Axford, Crown copyright]

The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said:

With its greater range, endurance and payload the Puma Mk2 helicopter will give the Royal Air Force significantly enhanced, agile capability in support of combat and humanitarian operations in even the most austere conditions.

In 2012 we committed to spending £12.1 billion to ensure our helicopter capability remains up to date. The delivery of the Puma Mk2 will further strengthen our world class helicopter fleet, which recently saw the introduction of the upgraded Merlin Mk2 and upgraded Chinook Mk4s.

Outperforming expectations

Puma Force Commander, Group Captain Nigel Colman, said:

The Puma is a remarkable aircraft and its ability to operate in urban and harsh conditions will see it play a key role in any future deployments. Needless to say the Puma Force are really enjoying getting to grips with the aircraft and are reporting that it is outperforming expectations.

Seven of the RAF’s fleet of 24 Puma Mk2s have so far been delivered to RAF Benson and the remainder will be handed over during the next 2 years ahead of the helicopters entering service in 2015.

A Puma Mk2 helicopter takes off
A Puma Mk2 helicopter takes off from RAF Benson [Picture: Corporal Phil Major RAF, Crown copyright]

Almost a third of the upgrade carried out by Eurocopter UK has taken place in the UK, with companies in Oxford, Oldham, Redditch, Gloucester, Boscombe Down, Basildon, Surrey, Marlow, Cheltenham and Reading contributing to the work. The remainder has taken place in Eurocopter UK’s plants in France and Romania.

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25 novembre 2013 1 25 /11 /novembre /2013 17:50
Les Commandos passent le test

 

25/11/13 Johan Lievens – MIL.be

 

Quelque six cents militaires belges s'entraînent à Otterburn, à la frontière écossaise, depuis le 18 novembre 2013. Le 2e Bataillon de Commandos (2 Bn Cdo) s'y exerce aux techniques offensives et défensives avec les bataillons 12/13e de Ligne et Artillerie.

 

Photos Daniel Orban >>

 

Dans le somptueux paysage de la ville britannique d'Otterburn, un peloton du 2e  Bataillon de Commandos se prépare à l'attaque. Du sommet d'une colline, les mitrailleurs ouvrent le feu dans un grondement sourd. La première cible est tombée. Derrière une butte à la lisière d'un bois, un chef de section donne ses derniers ordres : « Go ! » Chacun prend position entre les arbres.

 

« Cet exercice est parfait pour tester les capacités de nos chefs de section et de peloton », explique le lieutenant-colonel Vincent Pierard, chef de corps du 2 Bn Cdo. « On est loin de la table de billard où toutes les cibles se démarquent». Les chefs doivent observer attentivement le terrain pendant leur attaque. Ils adaptent leur tactique à chaque menace.

 

Ce n'est pas un hasard si nos commandos se rendent à la frontière écossaise pour cet exercice de grande envergure. « Otterburn est le nid des commandos », précise le caporal Anthonny Eyckerman. « Le 2e Bataillon de Commandos s'entraîne ici depuis 2005 et, à chaque fois, c'est extraordinaire ». Le camp offre toutes les conditions permettant de s'exercer aux manœuvres d'infanterie légère. Ses 242km² de superficie abritent également le plus grand stand de tir de Grande-Bretagne.

 

Vidéo : Erwin Ceuppens

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25 novembre 2013 1 25 /11 /novembre /2013 17:50
Une triplette d’espions américains au service de sa Majesté

 

22 novembre 2013 Aerobuzz.fr

 

Deux ans après avoir mis au rencard ses vénérables quadrimoteurs « Nimrod R1 » spécialisés dans le renseignement aéroporté, Londres met en service son premier avion espion « RC 135 Rivet joint ». Un avion au nom aussi énigmatique que ses missions, et qui a le mauvais gout d’être de conception 100% américaine. Shocking or not shocking ? Telle est la question. !

 

N’en déplaise à Mr Snowden, grand pourfendeur des Big Brother en tous genres, le business du renseignement se porte plutôt bien. Dernier épisode en date, l’arrivée le 12 novembre dernier sur la base anglaise de Waddington du premier des trois RC-135 commandés par sa très gracieuse majesté au terme d’un contrat de 1 Md$ au moins désigné « Airseeker » .

 

Cet appareil fraichement arrivé dans la Royal Air force n’est pourtant pas vraiment de première jeunesse. C’est un lointain dérivé du ravitailleur KC-135, lui même dérivé du Boeing 707… en 1964 ! Mais ne vous y trompez pas, malgré son âge supérieur à celui de votre serviteur, la cellule, la voilure et les moteurs ont totalement été revisités aux USA pour donner à ce joyeux papy des airs, trente années supplémentaires de service au moins !

 

Extérieurement l’appareil se différencie d’un ravitailleur KC-135 par ses nombreuses antennes, ses « joues » sur les côtés du fuselage et son nez allongé façon Pinocchio.

Apparue à la fin des années 60 aux USA, la famille des avions de renseignement « Rivet joint » était initialement destinée à surveiller les forces armées de l’union soviétique et de ses pays satellites. Ses missions d’espionnage classées « Top Secret », de 10 et 20 heures, étaient poliment appelées SIGINT « Signal Intelligence ». Ennuyeuses parfois, passionnantes souvent et généralement dangereuses, elles sont toujours payantes au bout du compte ! La preuve ? Depuis la fin de la guerre froide, les USA n’ont cessé de moderniser leurs 14 appareils de ce type au gré des évolutions des systèmes électroniques et des systèmes d’arme.

 

Dans un monde multipolaire plein d’incertitudes, l’information est la clé du pouvoir ou de la survie. Il s’agit donc de connaître, par exemple, l’état de préparation des forces du pays surveillé, la structure de ses réseaux de commandement, les fréquences de ses moyens de défense, ou encore les types de matériels en service. Les espions ont un jargon pour cela : ils parlent de reconstitution de l’ordre de bataille électronique. Avec ces données, les stratèges peuvent notamment déterminer les failles dans les systèmes de défense adverses ou encore mettre au point des contremesures efficaces pour leurs avions de combat. Des données stratégiques indispensables pour tout chef militaire qui se respecte.

 

Pour ce faire, le RC 135 est bourré de récepteurs en tous genres pour intercepter, démoduler, localiser, analyser et enregistrer les signaux radio et radar à 400 KM aux alentours. Il dispose de deux antennes HF (10KHz-30MHZ), une filaire de plusieurs centaines de mètres qu’il déploie pendant son vol, et une fixe sur la dérive. A cela s’ajoutent des antennes V/UHF tout le long du fuselage au dessus et en dessous, ainsi qu’une antenne satellite près de la base de la dérive. Les joues abritent des antennes et des récepteurs ELINT spécialisés dans le traitement des signaux radars. Ainsi équipé l’appareil peut écouter tous les signaux entre 0 et 40 GHZ. En clair et sans décodeur : oui ! Même votre téléphone portable ne peut échapper aux grandes oreilles du RC-135 !

 

A bord de l’appareil en plus des pilotes, se trouve une quinzaine d’opérateurs aux fonctions variées, attablés derrière leurs consoles multifonctions. Certains gèrent le système, mais la grande majorité est composée d’opérateurs linguistes, chargés d’écouter et de traduire les conversations dans plusieurs langues alors que d’autres sont des « pros » des signaux radars. Pour compléter la distribution, un ou deux analystes consolident les données collectées et dressent ainsi le tableau des forces en présence. Véritables atouts dans la manche des militaires, ces avions sont plus souples d’emploi que les satellites et plus performants que les drones. Ils peuvent détecter les menaces les mieux dissimulées et alerter en temps réel les avions radar Awacs ou les forces alliées présentes dans le secteur.

 

Est-t-il utile de préciser qu’à ce prix (1Md$ pour trois avions), Boeing a installé des toilettes et une cuisine équipée ? En revanche aucune hôtesse n’est prévue dans le service. Avec cette commande, la RAF dispose des mêmes avions espions que l’oncle Sam. Mieux : les avions de la Royal Air Force seront remis à niveau tous les deux ans avec les moyens les plus modernes pour garantir leur crédibilité technique. Pendant ce temps, les équipages anglais seront formés aux côtés de leurs homologues américains issus de la NSA et de l’US Air Force. On se dirige là vers une parfaite interopérabilité en matière de renseignement. Mais à quel prix ? Londres, qui est membre du réseau d’espionnage américain mondial Echelon, dénoncé par Mr Snowden, renonce de fait à son indépendance en matière de développement de moyens de renseignement nationaux au profit d’une énième dépendance technique et militaire envers Washington.

 

Quant à la France, elle ne dispose plus de cette capacité de renseignement stratégique depuis le retrait du bon vieux DC8 Sarigue et du fiasco lié à son remplacement. La France compte sur deux vénérables Transall Gabriel et son bon vieux système D. Mais jusqu’à quand cela suffira t-il ?

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24 novembre 2013 7 24 /11 /novembre /2013 12:55
3 lynxs anglais de la Royal Navy arrivent sur la base de l'aéronautique Navale de Lanvéoc

3 lynxs anglais de la Royal Navy arrivent sur la base de l'aéronautique Navale de Lanvéoc

22/11/2013 Marine nationale

 

Du lundi 18 novembre au vendredi 22 novembre 2013, un détachement d’hélicoptères Britanniques du 702 squadron de la RNAS YEOVILTON a opéré sur la base de l’aéronautique navale de Lanvéoc-Poulmic. Composé de trois Lynx MK 8, de quatre équipages et d’un échelon de soutien technique, le détachement de la Royal Navy a effectué des vols de navigation, sur terre et sur mer, ainsi que des missions d’entraînement élémentaire de lutte anti-surface. Avant son départ en patrouille avec l’un des Lynx, un AW 159 WILDCAT de l’escadron d’expérimentation 700W squadron a atterri sur la plateforme de la base de l’aéronautique navale de Lanvéoc-Poulmic le vendredi 22 novembre. Il y a effectué un ravitaillement rotor tournant. Cette manipulation est très technique, puisque l’aéronef reste avec ses moteurs et équipements allumés pendant toute l’opération.

 

Ce «landaway», déploiement extérieur de la force,  concourt à la formation initiale de 3 équipages avant l’obtention de leur qualification opérationnelle pour de potentiels déploiements.

L'unité était composée de trois Lynx MK 8, de quatre équipages et d’un échelon de soutien technique

L'unité était composée de trois Lynx MK 8, de quatre équipages et d’un échelon de soutien technique

Cet entrainement opérationnel permet de former les jeunes pilotes de la Navy

Cet entrainement opérationnel permet de former les jeunes pilotes de la Navy

Un détachement britannique sur la BAN de Lanvéoc-Poulmic

Un détachement britannique sur la BAN de Lanvéoc-Poulmic

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22 novembre 2013 5 22 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
UK MoD orders Type 23 CESM system from Babcock

The UK Royal Navy's type 23 frigate HMS Richmond during an exercise. Photo Gaz Weatherston.

 

21 November 2013 naval-technology.com

 

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to Babcock for delivery of an off-the-shelf communications electronic support measures (CESM) system for installation on the Royal Navy's Type 23 Duke-class ships.

 

Working in collaboration with principal subcontractor Argon, the company will supply a high technology readiness level (TRL) system for rapid replacement of the ships' existing obsolete Lighthouse CESM system.

 

The system, delivered under the seven-year contract, will provide the vessels with an enhanced electronic surveillance capability.

 

Babcock Integrated System and Support Group director, Charles John, said the high-technology readiness, low-risk solution will provide MoD the maximum value for money.

 

''We will also be delivering through-life supportability and upgradeability through the planned project life to 2021 and beyond,'' John said.

 

''This programme will enable the MoD to drive coherency across the capability and derive significant benefit.''

 

Also called as Hammerhead, Babcock's Type 23 CESM system is designed to offer a low risk, mature solution tailored to Type 23 requirements and surveillance capability, which supports both tactical indicators and warnings, as well as other tasked requirements.

 

The system exhibits commonality with Lighthouse CESMs, which provide the opportunity for common spares, training and operator flexibility, enabling the MoD to address current requirements within the specified budget.

 

In addition, the system's modular design block approach provides potential for enhancement or life extension in future, if funding is available, to help the ministry also address changes in operational requirements.

 

Manufactured by Yarrow Shipbuilders and Swan Hunter, the Type 23 frigates were originally designed for anti-submarine warfare, but have proven their versatility in warfighting, peace-keeping and maritime security missions worldwide.

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22 novembre 2013 5 22 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
AR4 Light Ray unmanned air system  - photo Tekever Group

AR4 Light Ray unmanned air system - photo Tekever Group

 

Nov. 21, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG

 

Dubai - Multinational collaboration was the key to Tekever’s pitch at the Dubai air show, with the Portuguese company’s new UK unit inviting discussion with Gulf-based industry.

 

“We’re looking for a local partner for production and support,” says business development director Robert Whitehouse, who showcased the firm’s AR4 Light Ray unmanned air system on the UK Trade & Investment stand.

 

Now used by the Portuguese police, the hand-launched design has a 2h flight endurance and an operating range of 10.8nm (20km). “It’s a very intuitive system, and can be controlled from an iPad, PC laptop or Android phone,” says Whitehouse. Applications range from traffic and infrastructure monitoring to supporting disaster relief activities, with its 5kg (11lb) maximum take-off weight including a payload of 2kg.

 

"Attendance at the Dubai air show is central to Tekever's strategy in developing its presence and partnerships in the United Arab Emirates and Middle East," the company says. "The engagement opportunity will allow new relationships to be formed between Tekever and local partners."

 

Whitehouse says this ambition has been met, with strong local interest having been shown in the Evolution-version AR4 Light Ray UAS positioned on the stand. “People have asked us to come back and fly,” he says, identifying one potential customer as being in the UAE.

 

Should it reach a local agreement, Whitehouse says Tekever would seek to maintain responsibility for the system's datalink and flight control software, with an in-country partner to produce the air vehicles and deliver in-service support.

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22 novembre 2013 5 22 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
NSA: la Grande-Bretagne a accepté l'espionnage de ses citoyens

 

21/11/2013 Par Hélène Pillon - lexpress.fr (AFP)

 

Au Royaume-Uni comme dans d'autres pays, la NSA a collecté des données sur des citoyens innocents. Oui, mais cet espionnage a été possible grâce à l'autorisation des autorités britanniques en 2007.

 

Nouveau rebondissement dans le feuilleton de la NSA. Les autorités britanniques ont joué un rôle crucial dans l'activité de l'agence américaine au Royaume-Uni, ont révélé le Guardian et Channel 4, mercredi. La NSA a pu espionner des citoyens de sa Majesté grâce à un accord secret avec les services de renseignements anglo-saxons, selon des documents communiqués aux médias par Edward Snowden

Cette annonce fait écho aux révélations du Monde sur les informations fournies par le renseignement français à la NSA, mais reste surprenante. En effet la convention des "five eyes" signée par la Grande-Bretagne, les Etats-Unis, l'Australie, la Nouvelle-Zélande et le Canada, est censée protéger les citoyens de ces états d'éventuelles mesures de surveillance menées par les autres nations contractantes. 

 

"Travailler ensemble"

Cependant, un mémo de mai 2007 sur l'espionnage électronique révélé par le Guardian et Channel 4 indique que les autorités britanniques et américaines ont conclu un accord allant à l'encontre de cette convention. Alors que Tony Blair était toujours Premier ministre, le bureau de liaison à Washington des services britanniques d'espionnage électronique et la NSA ont décidé "de travailler ensemble pour mettre en oeuvre une nouvelle politique étendant l'utilisation des informations britanniques interceptées incidemment" décrit le document. 

"A présent, les analystes du SID (le service d'espionnage électronique de la NSA) peuvent exploiter toutes les données britanniques collectées incidemment concernant les identifiants des contacts, y compris les adresses IP et les adresses e-mail, les numéros de fax et de téléphone" de personnes non-suspectées de terrorisme, précise le mémo. 

 

Besoin de réponses

Les autorités américaines n'ont pas réagi à la publication de ces nouvelles informations. En revanche, outre-Manche ce nouveau scandale fait grand bruit et de nombreux responsables demandent des explications.  

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, le président de la commission parlementaire sur la sécurité et les renseignements, a d'ores et déjà affirmé au Guardian qu'il exigeait un rapport des services de renseignements électroniques du gouvernement britannique sur ces activités d'espionnage. Un besoin de réponses partagé par Nick Clegg, vice-président du Royaume-Uni, qui s'inquiète quant à lui de l'effritement du soutien de la population pour le travail des agences de renseignements après ces dernières révélations

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21 novembre 2013 4 21 /11 /novembre /2013 19:50
Army reservists conduct live firing exercise

A white-hot round is fired from a Challenger 2 tank's gun [Picture: Sergeant Russ Nolan, Crown copyright]

 

21 November 2013 Ministry of Defence and Defence Infrastructure Organisation

 

Reservists of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry have trained alongside former regular soldiers in a live firing exercise on Lulworth Ranges, Dorset.

 

Normally based at squadrons in Bovington, Salisbury, Cirencester, Barnstaple and Paignton, the reservists spent their weekend being rigorously tested at Five Tips Range – one of the premier firing ranges in western Europe – to make sure they are ready to become reserve crewmen on the Challenger 2 main battle tank, and to carry out important support roles such as medics in the future British Army.

By this time next year, the Royal Wessex Yeomanry will formally become the only armoured reinforcement unit in Britain and will be working towards fully integrating with the British Army’s 3 regular armoured units: the Queen’s Royal Hussars, the King’s Royal Hussars and the Royal Tank Regiment.

As a result, the Royal Wessex Yeomanry will also become one of only a handful of reserve units to be a part of the British Army’s reaction forces; ready to deploy anywhere around the world to protect Britain’s interests and national security.

 
Army reservists conduct live firing exercise
A Challenger 2 main battle tank races across the Five Tips Range, near Lulworth in Dorset [Picture: Sergeant Russ Nolan, Crown copyright]

This challenging and exciting new role was bestowed upon the Royal Wessex Yeomanry following the publication of the government white paper ‘Reserves in the Future Force 2020’ earlier this summer, detailing the future structure of the British Army and how it will operate. It also outlined the creation of a well-trained, well-funded, well-equipped and fully integrated reserve force.

In all, 4 tanks were involved in the exercise, each one crewed entirely by reservists and commanded by a former regular soldier. Everyone in the crew from the commander to the gunner, loader and driver were continuously tested by regular soldiers from one of the units that the Royal Wessex Yeomanry will be paired with in the future.

The teams worked together in the cramped and intense atmosphere inside the hull of the Challenger 2 tank to fire the weapon’s main armaments, the 120-millimetre (mm) gun and the 7.62mm coaxial machine gun – engaging and destroying multiple targets whilst travelling at more than 25 miles per hour across difficult terrain.

 
Army reservists conduct live firing exercise
A reservist passes an armour-piercing round through the hatch of a Challenger 2 main battle tank [Picture: Sergeant Russ Nolan, Crown copyright]

Commanding Officer of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry, Lieutenant Colonel Chris MacGregor, said:

The capability of a tank comes through its crew. It’s not the individuals inside it. So, one of the things they’ll be practising is that interaction and integration and, in many ways, what you’ll find inside a Challenger tank is the microcosm of all the changes we’re making to the Army in that we have integrated crewmen.

In some of the tanks there may be a regular, and you’ve got reservists who are normally a civilian in some other occupation, and they are having to come together to work in absolutely harmonised ways to get the effects that you’ve seen today to reach that military capability.

 
Army reservists conduct live firing exercise
Army reservists take aim with a Challenger 2 main battle tank [Picture: Sergeant Russ Nolan, Crown copyright]

One of the Challenger 2 tank gunners was Lance Corporal Rob Stiff, a senior IT project manager. Lance Corporal Stiff is a former regular soldier with 7 years in the infantry with the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment behind him.

Now Lance Corporal Stiff is a reservist serving with C Squadron, Royal Wessex Yeomanry. On returning to the military as a reserve he said:

I missed the camaraderie, I missed the guys and I missed doing something that fulfilled me completely. The Army always gave me that. I didn’t leave the Army because I’d fallen out of love with it; I wanted to start a new career before I was too old, and this gives me that fix.

I get to be with guys and girls of the completely same mindset. We’re all here for the same reason; good banter, good laugh, work hard, play hard, and we’ve got a really worthwhile role now in the Army going forwards.

Army reservists conduct live firing exercise
The shape of a Challenger 2 main battle tank emerges from the smoke and mist on the Five Tips Range, near Lulworth in Dorset [Picture: Sergeant Russ Nolan, Crown copyright]

Months of hard graft over countless weekends have been put in by the reservists in sophisticated simulators to earn the prerequisite qualifications to enable them to operate to the best of their ability inside the Challenger 2 tank.

The Army Reserve aims to recruit up to its full manning of 30,000 trained soldiers, with up to an additional 8,000 soldiers in training, to provide an integrated and trained Army by 2018.

Army reservists conduct live firing exercise

British Army reservists stand atop a Challenger 2 main battle tank [Picture: Sergeant Russ Nolan, Crown copyright]

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21 novembre 2013 4 21 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
USAF Comments Rivet Joint Delivery to UK

November 19, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: US Air Force; issued Nov. 19, 2013)

 

First Rivet Joint Delivered to the Royal Air Force

 

RAF WADDINGTON, England --- The first of three RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft was officially delivered to the U.K. during a special ceremony at Royal Air Force Waddington, England, Nov. 12.

 

The historic occasion is the culmination of a 2010 agreement between the Department of Defense and the U.K. Ministry of Defense for the RAF to purchase three RJs.

 

This first aircraft is scheduled to enter service with the 51st Squadron after it reaches full operational capability in late 2014.

 

"This is a fantastic day for 51st Squadron and marks the start of a new era in our long and illustrious history," said RAF Wing Commander Tom Talbot, the 51st Squadron commander.

 

As the sole provider of Rivet Joint initial qualification training, the 55th Wing has trained more than 140 aircrew and ground maintenance personnel from the RAF since the programs initiation in 2010.

 

"Following three years of training and preparation with our U.S. Air Force brethren, the Rivet Joint brings with it a step change in airborne signals intelligence capability for the U.K.," Talbot said.

 

Upon graduation, RAF aircrews are allowed to fly on U.S. Rivet Joints as part of a co-manning agreement. They flew their first operational mission June 21, 2011, and since then RAF crews have flown more than more than 1,800 sorties and achieved in excess of 32,000 flying hours with the 55th Wing.

 

"Everyone is aware of the special relationship our two countries have and it's been an absolute honor for the wing to have RAF Airmen here training with us," said Col. Gregory Guillot, the 55th Wing commander. "The end result is an increase in our ISR capabilities and we are looking forward to continuing this relationship for years to come."

 

Known as project AIRSEEKER, the U.K.'s procurement of three Rivet Joints will provide the U.K. with world class airborne signals intelligence capability. Once in service, the aircraft will provide real time on-scene intelligence, collection, surveillance and analysis to coalition forces in the air and on the ground.

 

"I am delighted that the first RJ aircraft has been delivered to the U.K., an important milestone in the procurement pathway for the future AIRSEEKER signals intelligence capability for U.K. Defence," said RAF Air Vice-Marshal Peter Ewen, the director air support at Defence Equipment & Support, who are responsible for the procurement of the aircraft.

 

"A testament to the ongoing and highly effective U.K. and U.S. co-operation in the procurement program, support and RAF aircrew training, this first of three aircraft, will form a vital component of the nation's future ISTAR capabilities," he added.

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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 20:50
Gibraltar demande des moyens supplémentaires à la marine britannique

 

 

LONDRES, 20 nov 2013 marine-oceans.com (AFP)

 

Le chef du gouvernement de Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, a appelé mercredi la marine britannique à déployer des moyens supplémentaires au large du rocher pour dissuader l'incursion de bateaux espagnols dans ses eaux territoriales.

 

"Je suis favorable à tout ce qui peut avoir un effet dissuasif", a affirmé M. Picardo à la BBC, évoquant la "mise à disposition par la Royal Navy de moyens supplémentaires pour le commandant des forces britanniques à Gibraltar".

 

M. Picardo a prévenu que des bateaux espagnols pourraient être pris pour des cibles "terroristes" s'il n'était pas possible de les identifier immédiatement comme appartenant à une "nation amie".

 

Ces déclarations interviennent au lendemain d'un nouvel incident ayant ravivé les tensions entre Londres et Madrid lorsque un navire océanographique espagnol a été accusé d'avoir pénétré "les eaux territoriales britanniques" au large de Gibraltar.

 

Selon la version de Londres, le Ramon Margalef, a procédé pendant plus de 20 heures, les 18 et 19 novembre, à des relevés dans les eaux de Gibraltar, territoire britannique depuis 1713 et revendiqué en vain par l'Espagne depuis des décennies.

 

Un porte-parole du ministère de la défense a dénoncé "une violation de la convention des Nations unies sur le droit de la mer" et l'ambassadeur de l'Espagne au Royaume-Uni, Federico Trillon, a été convoqué au Foreign Office.

 

"Convoquer un ambassadeur est un acte grave, surtout lorsqu'il concerne l'ambassadeur d'un partenaire européen et allié de l'OTAN, et l'Espagne doit en avoir conscience", a souligné M. Picardo, à la tête de ce petit territoire de 6,7 km2.

 

Le différend bilatéral vieux de trois siècles entre les deux États membres de l'Union européenne a été à l'origine de frictions diplomatiques tout l'été.

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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 17:50
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards badge on a Challenger 2 tank's tompion [Picture: Corporal Mark Webster RLC, Crown copyright]

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards badge on a Challenger 2 tank's tompion [Picture: Corporal Mark Webster RLC, Crown copyright]

 

20 November 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards have bid farewell to the Challenger 2 main battle tank and welcomed in the Jackal armoured vehicle.


 

With 60% of the regiment deployed on operations in Afghanistan, the Rear Operations Group in Bad Fallingbostel, northern Germany, led by Officer Commanding Major Steve Walters, formed up to pipe the last of the tanks out of the barracks that have been their home for nearly 30 years.

This is one of the first significant steps of the Army 2020 programme which sees the formation of the Adaptive and Reactive Forces.

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards are currently serving as part of 7th Armoured Brigade, the Desert Rats, but under reroling and a move to Leuchars in 2015, the regiment will become part of 51 (Scottish) Brigade.

The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ben Cattermole, spoke to his soldiers in Kabul with fond sadness at the departure of the Challenger 2 main battle tank but also of the great opportunities that will come as they rerole to light cavalry.

A Challenger 2 main battle tank (left) and a Jackal armoured vehicle
The Challenger 2 main battle tank (left) is being replaced by the Jackal armoured vehicle [Picture: Corporal Mark Webster RLC, Crown copyright]

Lieutenant Colonel Cattermole said:

Today marks a historic day in our 335-year history as our 3 remaining Challenger 2 tanks leave Wessex Barracks in Bad Fallingbostel.

Since our last deployment on Challenger 2 in 2008, the regiment has continued to conduct armoured training but has frequently reroled to fulfil counter-insurgency and training operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, today, 75 years from when our predecessors first took to tank soldiering we will hand over our tanks and focus entirely on our future as Britain’s leading light cavalry regiment.

We will integrate fully with the new Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry and shall stand together as Scotland’s Cavalry.

The last of the Challenger 2 main battle tanks is piped out of Wessex Barracks
The last of the Challenger 2 main battle tanks is piped out of Wessex Barracks in Bad Fallingbostel [Picture: Corporal Mark Webster RLC, Crown copyright]

Corporal Stevie Barrett, who has qualified as a Challenger 2 driver, operator, gunner and most recently a crew commander, said:

It’s a sad day for the regiment to be fair, as the tanks have been around for a very long time, but it’ll be good to go onto something new and a new role. The regiment is very capable of doing that and so it will be good to step up and move on.

I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead and doing something new will keep the guys interested. As part of the Rear Operations Group we will be doing instructors’ courses and commanders’ courses so that when the guys come back we can teach them.

Corporal Andy Stewart drove the first Jackal into Wessex Barracks to mark the regiment’s new start. He said:

This is a big part of the regiment’s history; it’s a big part of my history. When I came I started on tanks and I have been on operations in the Challenger 2 as well.

However, it’s quite exciting to be part of this whole new transition to working on a new platform (vehicle) and being here on the day when the regiment will move into the future.

I’ve had good times with the Jackal on operations and in my training. It is one of the few vehicles in the Army that genuinely put a smile on my face when I got to drive it. People think it looks vulnerable, but it’s really quick and really effective.

It is a really reliable piece of kit and you can tell a lot of money and preparation has been put into it to make sure the vehicle is ready for us. We’re moving on and everybody likes a challenge – that’s why you join the Army.

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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 08:50
Developing joint doctrine handbook

19 November 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

A guide to the processes and procedures for developing Joint Doctrine Notes (JDN) and Publications (JDP) and how to prepare and distribute.

 

Detail

The handbook provides guidance on the processes and procedures for developing Joint Doctrine Notes (JDN) and Joint Doctrine Publications (JDP). It is essential reading for those producing joint doctrine and a useful primer for anyone else.

 

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19 novembre 2013 2 19 /11 /novembre /2013 17:45
Sniper training during Exercise Jebel Sahara [Picture: Corporal Scott Robertson RAF, Crown copyright]

Sniper training during Exercise Jebel Sahara [Picture: Corporal Scott Robertson RAF, Crown copyright]

18 November 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

Soldiers from the Royal Gibraltar Regiment are strengthening ties with the Moroccan Army by taking part in Exercise Jebel Sahara.

 

Now in its thirteenth year, the month-long exercise is based a few miles north of Marrakech and involves 161 members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment (RG) augmented by 49 soldiers from the UK and 200 from the Moroccan Deuxieme Brigade d’Infanterie Parachutiste (2BIP).

The embassy in Rabat recently celebrated the 800th anniversary of diplomatic contacts between the UK and Morocco, and the importance of the relationship was underlined with a visit to the exercise by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, Mr Clive Alderton, and Defence Attaché Lieutenant Colonel Simon Barnett.

Lieutenant Colonel Barnett said:

The bond between the 2 militaries is obviously strong at all levels, and at the very highest levels of the Moroccan armed forces they are keen to deepen this bond with the United Kingdom.

The Royal Gibraltar Regiment understands how the Moroccan military work, which is why their input is central to negotiations for any exercise planning in the region.

The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, also visited the exercise for a tour of a mock-up of a forward operating base, followed by a trip to the training ground, where he took part in some sniper training and witnessed a joint training demonstration.

The Commander British Forces Gibraltar joins soldiers in a lookout tower
Commodore John Clink, Commander British Forces Gibraltar, joins soldiers in a lookout tower during Exercise Jebel Sahara [Picture: Corporal Scott Robertson RAF, Crown copyright]

He was impressed with the obvious depth of planning that had gone into the exercise and how well the 2 nations worked together to achieve their training objectives.

Another visitor, the Commander British Forces Gibraltar, Commodore John Clink, witnessed the RG defending a patrol base. Afterwards, he said:

Jebel Sahara is a fantastic opportunity for the Royal Gibraltar Regiment to be able to exercise in wider areas than what is obviously available in Gibraltar.

This essential training opportunity is only achieved because of the excellent relationship the RG have with 2BIP which stretches over 13 years.

I am struck by the enthusiasm of the soldiers from both countries and the way in which those in the regiment with operational experience were sharing their knowledge with their colleagues and Moroccan counterparts; a great team effort.

Commodore John Clink with Lieutenant Colonel Ivor Lopez
Commodore John Clink joins Lieutenant Colonel Ivor Lopez, Commanding Officer of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, in the exercise headquarters [Picture: Corporal Scott Robertson RAF, Crown copyright]

The relationship is nourished by even the most inexperienced soldiers; Private Karim Atto has only been with the RG for a couple of months and is straight out of infantry training at Catterick.

Private Atto was born and raised in Gibraltar and both his parents are Moroccan, so he not only speaks fluent Arabic but also understands the culture well and can translate between junior soldiers.

He said:

It’s great to be in Morocco for this exercise and, having always wanted to join the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, the training has exceeded my expectations. It has been exciting, especially the live firing, and I’ve enjoyed working with the Moroccan Army.

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