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19 septembre 2013 4 19 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
The First Royal Tank Regiment conducting live firing

18 September 2013 by UK MoD - Image of the Day

 

The First Royal Tank Regiment recently conducted live firing at Castlemartin Ranges in Pembrokeshire for the last time before amalgamation with the Second Royal Tank Regiment in August 2014. The live firing was the culmination of a challenging return-to-role training progression that sees the regiment perfectly poised for the forthcoming challenges of Exercise Prairie Storm 4 at the British Army Training Unit Suffield in Canada in October. Pictured, D Squadron conduct a systems performance check prior to beginning live fire exercises.

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19 septembre 2013 4 19 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Elbit-KBR Team Tapped for UK Trainer Competition

The Beechcraft T-6C trainer is part of a bid package by Elbit and KBR to supply the UK with military trainers. (Beechcraft)

 

Sep. 18, 2013 - By ANDREW CHUTER – Defense News

 

LONDON — Three fixed-wing aircraft types — including the Beechcraft T-6C — are set to train British military pilots following the selection of a team involving Elbit Systems and KBR to supply and support the platforms, according to executives familiar with the competition.

 

The executives said the team, known as Affinity, has emerged as the winning bidder and has been selected for further negotiations by Ascent, the Lockheed Martin-Babcock partnership running a 30-year deal with the British Defence Ministry, to manage pilot and crew training for the armed forces.

 

Ascent referred questions to the MoD. Ministry officials were unable to respond at press time. The Affinity consortium members also declined to comment.

 

The Affinity bid included Beechcraft’s T-6C turboprop basic trainer, a modified Embraer Phenom 100 light business jet for multi-enginetraining and the Grob 120TP elementary trainer, executives said.

 

Under the 15-year availability deal, Affinity will provide and support the fixed-wing flying training element of the UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS) program.

 

The contract is expected to be worth more than £500 million (US $795 million) to Affinity. It is not clear whether the decision has to be ratified by the MoD and others in government.

 

Contract signature is scheduled to take place by 2015, assuming Affinity and Ascent successfully conclude negotiations.

 

If Affinity sticks to the timescale laid out by Ascent, introduction of the new aircraft types could get underway in 2017 with the Grob 120TP, followed a year later by the Phenom 100 and then the T-6C.

 

Conclusion of the deal will likely spell the end of the road for the Embraer Tucano and Grob G-115 aircraft used by the British to train military crews.

 

Advanced jet training will continue to be provided by government-furnished BAE Hawker T2 jets.

 

The combination of Elbit and KBR faced off against rival bids from a BAE Systems-led team that includes Babcock, Gama Aviation and Pilatus, and a proposal from Cassidian.

 

Elbit already provides flying training services for the Israeli military with the G-120 and the T-6, and KBR has an extensive footprint in the UK supporting the armed forces locally and in hot spots like Afghanistan.

 

Ascent signed the public-private partnership deal with the MoD to run the MFTS program in 2008.

 

Originally estimated to be worth around £6 billion over the life of the program, MFTS has been impacted by reduced crew requirements in the wake of defense budget cuts by the British government.

 

The system replaces separate flying fixed-wing and rotary training programs for the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and Army Air Corps.

 

Ascent reported mid-year that the first Air Force fast-jet students had graduated under the plan.

 

The system is already delivering Royal Navy observer training using Grob 115 and King Air 350 platforms, along with synthetic training.

 

A similar plan to provide helicopters and support for rotor-wing training has been on ice but is now starting to gather pace

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 17:45
Multi-national training to rebuild Libyan Army

18 September 2013 by Oscar Nkala - defenceWeb

 

The Bulgarian and United States governments have signed an agreement paving the way for joint training of up to 8 000 Libyan Army soldiers, on a rotational basis, at two Bulgarian military bases run by the two nations as international efforts to rebuild Libya’s post-war army intensify.

 

The agreement comes two weeks after Britain, Italy, Turkey and France agreed to provide professional military training for up to 7 000 more Libyan soldiers, bringing the number of soldiers earmarked for training abroad over the next eight years to 15 000.

 

 

Bulgarian Defence minister Angel Nayednov told local media in the capital Sofia batches of between 150 and 200 Libyan soldiers will be trained on a rotational basis in the US-Bulgarian bases at Novo Selo and Graf Ignatievo.

 

Naydenov said although his government approved the US request for the hosting and training of Libyan troops, the two countries still have to work out the finer details of the programme.

 

“This is a bilateral proposal which is also being discussed within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and could be expected to become part of NATO’s mission for post-war reconstruction of Libya,” said the minister.

 

In terms of the initial proposal, US and Bulgarian instructors will train between 150 and 200 Libyan soldiers on a rotational basis over the next five to eight years. This agreement follows those entered into by Italy, Turkey and Britain to train a further 7 000 Libyan Army soldiers in their respective countries.

 

A spokesman for Libyan Army Chief of Staff Colonel Ali Sheikhi told local media up to 360 soldiers will be sent in batches for training abroad as part of an international military assistance plan for rebuilding the Libyan armed forces.

 

He said the details of the programme were initially negotiated between Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and representatives of the three European governments in June. “It has been agreed with Italy, Turkey, France and Britain to train ground army units for three months for each group,” the spokesman said.

 

The programme is expected to start shortly with the first batch of 360 Libyan Army soldiers headed for training in Italy on September 27 where they will attend professional military courses for up to three months. The army said the soldiers would be trained in basic infantry skills and military leadership at a British Army location in Cambridgeshire.

Britain has agreed to train a total of 2 000 Libyan soldiers while France, Italy and Turkey will share the remaining 5 000 soldiers earmarked for EU training. Sheikhi said the Libyan government is currently engaged in discussions with the governments of Turkey, Italy and Britain to increase the number of trainees and the length of their courses.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
Babcock Contracted to Address Obsolescence in External Comms System on T-class Subs

Sep 18, 2013 ASDNews Source : Babcock International

 

Babcock has been contracted by the UK Ministry of Defence to design and develop the first stage of an obsolescence update to the Communications Coherency for Submarines (CCSM) system on Trafalgar class submarines.

 

CCSM, developed by Babcock, was first installed on T-class submarines in 2005, providing the submarines with increased capacity and capability to handle existing and future levels of message traffic and information, including the ability to use and share information efficiently as part of joint or coalition task force.  The system consolidated previously independent autonomous systems into a single Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) based system architecture, covering communications across the frequency spectrum from VLF to EHF.  It also provided improved processes to enable rapid technology insertion for maximum efficiency and cost benefits, and to overcome inherent space constraints.

 

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
Thales offers new vision of targeting and surveillance with SOPHIE Lite

10 September 2013 Thales UK

 

Thales UK today launched a new lightweight multifunction surveillance and target locator system, SOPHIE Lite. Weighing in at class-leading, fully-operational weight of only 1.6kg, SOPHIE Lite can be deployed in a variety of operational scenarios by both military and civil users.

The new ultra-compact system has a fully-integrated suite of sensors, including an uncooled thermal imager, TV/Near Infra-Red (NIR) sensor, high-performance eyesafe laser rangefinder, digital compass and GPS.  Operational roles for SOPHIE Lite include force protection, forward observation, forward air control, covert surveillance, asset protection and homeland security.

SOPHIE Lite is the latest addition to Thales’s family of combat-proven SOPHIE cameras, which collectively offer the widest range of capabilities to meet any operational requirement for hand-held surveillance and targeting.  Thousands of Sophie cameras are in operation with armed forces, including the British Army, and security teams around the world.

“Since the launch of SOPHIE UF in 2009, Thales has worked continually to evolve the product in line with customer needs, reducing the weight from 3.5kg then to 1.6kg today,” said Gil Michielin, Vice President of Thales’s optronics business.

"To reduce the weight by nearly 2kg, without compromising even 1 per cent of the performance, is a significant achievement and of enormous value to the soldiers and security personnel who carry the camera as part of their standard kit.

“SOPHIE Lite is light, small and affordable. Switching from standard optical to digital technologies has reduced the weight and enhanced the image delivered to the user. We believe that the combination of functionality and specification will extend the appeal of SOPHIE Lite to a broader user base, including security teams and mobile perimeter guards; SOPHIE Lite is small enough to fit in the glove compartment of even a standard saloon car, for instance.

“This is an exciting evolution of our popular SOPHIE offering. We have paid serious attention to feedback from our customers, and indeed potential customers, to ensure that SOPHIE Lite hits the mark with its performance, functionality and ease of use.”

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
RAF space monitoring station reaches milestone

50th anniversary group shot of RAF Fylingdales station personnel (Picture Senior Aircraftman Mark Parkinson, UK MoD)

 

17 September 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

RAF Fylingdales has reached 50 years of service in the fields of space surveillance and missile early warning operations.
 

The station in Yorkshire, famous during the Cold War for its golf-ball-shaped radar installations, is an integral part of the broader space surveillance network and ballistic missile early warning system. RAF Fylingdales, a joint enterprise between the US and UK governments, was first declared operational on 17 September 1963.

Employees past and present joined family members to witness the launch of a new visitor’s centre today, 17 September, aimed at documenting the work carried out throughout the Cold War and beyond.

The golf-ball-shaped radar installations at RAF Fylingdales in 1963
The golf-ball-shaped radar installations of the ballistic missile early warning system at RAF Fylingdales, 16 September 1963 (library image) [Picture: Crown copyright - IWM (HU 69120)]

Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said:

Space matters to our defence and broader national security interests. RAF Fylingdales delivers some of our nation’s most important strategic missions, such as ballistic missile early warning and space surveillance.

The station helps the Ministry of Defence to understand the space environment and has successfully delivered 50 years of coalition operations with our most important ally, the United States of America. We should be proud of this achievement from both sides of the Atlantic.

Station Commander at RAF Fylingdales, Wing Commander Rayna Owens, said:

RAF Fylingdales is an excellent example of a small but exceptionally professional specialist RAF unit that delivers an output to defence and more broadly in the space domain. The importance of this mission endures and some would say is even more important in a world with uncertainty.

She added:

RAF Fylingdales is the epitome of the RAF’s vision for the ‘whole force concept’ with a broad range of personnel including serving Air Force and reservists, civil servants, defence fire, MOD Police, MOD Guard Service and contractors; they work closely as one team to deliver the operational mission.

Duncan Mackison, Serco’s Managing Director for Defence, said:

The past 50 years have witnessed huge technological advances and innovations, but, from the early days of the Cold War to today, what has remained constant is the dedication to maintaining the very highest standards of service.

Serco is incredibly proud to have been part of the Fylingdales family from the very beginning. This was our first-ever contract and we look forward to continuing to support the RAF for many years to come.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 12:30
Syrie/attaque chimique: pas de preuve de l'implication du régime (experts)

LONDRES, 18 septembre - RIA Novosti

 

Des experts britanniques qui ont examiné le récent rapport des inspecteurs de l'Onu coïncident pour affirmer que rien ne prouve l'implication du régime de Bachar el-Assad dans l'attaque chimique perpétrée le 21 août dernier près de Damas.  

 

"De ce que je comprends des résultats de l'enquête, ils prouvent qu'une quantité importante de gaz de sarin de haute qualité a été employée en Syrie. Personnellement, je ne vois aucune donnée convaincante qui prouverait sans équivoque qui s'est servi de ces armes. Certaines circonstances semblent indiquer que ce serait le régime, mais du point de vue juridique on ne sait pas précisément qui a fabriqué puis utilisé ces armes", a annoncé à RIA Novosti Nick Brown, rédacteur en chef de la Jane's International Defence Review.

 

L'expert a souligné que le rapport ne contenait que des preuves indirectes et insuffisantes de l'implication de Damas dans l'attaque. 

 

"L'interception de communications ou d'ordres directs d'employer des armes chimiques (…) aurait pu éclaircir les choses, mais ces données dépassent le cadre de l'enquête de l'Onu", a ajouté M.Brown.  

 

Firas Abi Ali, spécialiste du Proche-Orient et de l'Afrique du Nord chez IHS, partage son avis.  

 

"Le rapport prouve que des armes chimiques ont été utilisées sur plusieurs sites. Toutefois, le mandat des inspecteurs ne consistait pas à établir qui a mené cette attaque, si bien que leur rapport ne contient pas de telles données. Dans le même temps, rien ne dit que l'opposition a les moyens d'effectuer simultanément plusieurs attaques chimiques à l'est et à l'ouest de Damas", a expliqué l'expert. 

 

D'après M.Brown, des fragments d'une inscription en cyrillique retrouvés par les inspecteurs sur le propulseur d'une roquette ne prouvent pas l'implication de Damas dans l'attaque.

 

"En raison de la nature fortement changeante du conflit syrien, il est extrêmement difficile d'émettre un commentaire univoque concernant les armes. Par exemple, dans bien des cas, les rebelles ont envahi des entrepôts d'armes (…), si bien qu'ils utilisent pratiquement les mêmes armements que l'armée du régime", a explicité M.Brown.  

 

Lundi, les enquêteurs onusiens dirigés par le professeur suédois Ake Sellstrom ont soumis à l'Onu un rapport confirmant le recours au gaz sarin dans la banlieue de Damas le 21 août. Le secrétaire général des Nations unies Ban Ki-moon a déclaré que le rapport des enquêteurs ne permettait pas de déterminer les responsables de l'attaque à l'arme chimique et qu'une nouvelle enquête était nécessaire pour établir les coupables.  

 

Toutefois, une série d'hommes politiques ont déjà rejeté la responsabilité sur Damas: les Etats-Unis et la France ont repéré dans ce document des preuves de l'implication de l'armée gouvernementale dans l'attaque chimique en question.  

 

La Russie, à qui le régime syrien a remis des preuves  incriminant l'opposition, prône de son côté le retour immédiat des experts de l'Onu en Syrie.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 11:55
Note de veille no 2 de l’IRSEM - Armement & économie de défense

17 septembre 2013 ieim.uqam.ca

 

L’actualité stratégique et politico-économique mondiale soulève aujourd’hui beaucoup d’intérêt pour les questions d’économie de défense, que ce soit sous ses aspects budgétaires, industriels et technologiques. C’est pourquoi dans le cadre des activités du domaine d’études Armement et économie de défense, l’idée de faire une note de veille Armement et économie de défense (AED) a fait son chemin. L’objectif de cette publication est double : d’abord, elle se veut informative sur quelques dossiers qui ont mobilisé l’attention du monde de l’économie de défense au moment de sa réalisation. Dans cette optique, le choix des sujets et des articles ne prétend surtout pas être
exhaustif ; il cherche plutôt à présenter des débats ou à mettre en évidence des articles au contenu plus originaux et/ou très riches en données et en informations sur un sujet intéressant ou d’actualité. Ensuite, la note AED souhaite donner de la visibilité aux problématiques propres au champ d’études en accordant une place à quelques articles publiés dans des revues à comité de lecture, lorsqu’ils se présentent, le rythme des parutions limitant toutefois la possibilité de les traiter à chaque livraison.Les notes de veille paraissent tous les deux mois.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 11:35
Training Afghanistan's future military leaders

16 September 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

British soldiers are bringing the Sandhurst ethos to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul. Report by Ian Carr.

 

Summer in Kabul. A gunmetal grey sky threatens yet more rain, perhaps even another sudden hailstorm like the one that pounded the city yesterday. Although it is August, there are still patches of snow along the mountain range that forms the rim of the bowl in which Kabul sits. It is a dramatic landscape.

A meaningful place

We have come to Qargha, roughly 14km to the west of the city and 1,900 metres above sea level, to visit the Afghan National Army’s Officer Academy. As we drive up the track inside the 17.2-kilometre-long perimeter fence to a place where we can look down on the new build, we pass the wreckage of previous conflicts. Tangled Soviet tanks rust in heaps as testament to decades of fighting. Here, many great Afghan leaders have planned and fought foreign foes. With this military provenance, it seems right to build the academy here.

Qargha has tremendous historical significance for the Afghans,” said Lieutenant Colonel Grahame Hyland, the 1st Kandak Commander’s mentor.

There has always been an Afghan Army based here since before the Soviet invasion of 1979. It is a very meaningful place.

A Sandhurst General
General Sher Mohammad Karimi
General Sher Mohammad Karimi, the head of the Afghan National Army (library image) [Picture: Richard Watt, Crown copyright]

When the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan committed to building an academy to produce ethical and professional young warrior leaders, General Karimi, the Afghan Chief of the General Staff, became the driving force behind the project.

Being himself a product of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the General needed no convincing that the famous British institution was the model they needed to follow to identify and develop their own talented young officers.

He likes the way the Brits go about their business,” said Colonel Hyland.

He appreciates the importance of the constant theme of leadership running throughout the 42-week course. He likes the way we use senior non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and warrant officers to instruct our young officers. He sees the benefit of that and how it will help them to become a more professional army to face the challenges of the future.

For more than a year the UK has led the NATO Training Mission to support the Afghan National Army to develop their academy. From establishing how they will identify and select potential officers for the course, to what the syllabus content will be and how the training will be delivered.

Afghan junior and senior officers and politicians have paid many visits to the UK to see for themselves why we have become internationally recognised in the field of army officer training.

Cultural relevance
Life in Kabul during a vehicle patrol back
Life in Kabul during a vehicle patrol back to Camp Souter from Qharga [Picture: Corporal Jamie Peters, Crown copyright]

Of course it is nice to be admired, but the purpose of these trips was to help the Afghans to develop their own kind of academy. To produce the quality junior leaders they needed in a way that would make sense to them using methods and examples that would be Afghan-led. Colonel Hyland offered an illustration of what this means:

For example, when the students are looking at defensive battles in the war studies part of the course, they will be learning about the Afghans’ defence of Herat. When it comes to studying the elements of attacking battles they could look at the Battle of Maiwand and identify what tactics their predecessors employed that helped them to annihilate us.

This, explains Colonel Hyland, is how Dr Duncan Anderson, a war studies expert from Sandhurst, is mentoring his own Afghan counterpart to teach the young officers. He continues:

Instead of looking at Wellington’s leadership qualities – what relevance has he to an Afghan cadet? They could look at Shah Massoud’s leadership credentials: How did he manage to hold the Panjshir Valley against the Russians? What better example can there be to set for junior officers?

Along the way, British troops have been mentoring their Afghan counterparts, advising them on manpower, selecting the best candidates, building up kit, developing the course and mastering the coaching and mentoring skills that they will need to teach it, and how they will assess the students.

On a personal level mentoring is a tricky thing to explain,” said Colonel Hyland. “It is unique to the person you are mentoring and to the mentors themselves.

For me it’s about making sure that the kandak commander understands the ramifications of every decision he makes. It’s about helping him to see the broader picture, not just the minutiae of delivering the first kandak through the academy but also how it is going to affect the Afghan Army in future. But it is also about humility and understanding that, just because you do something in a certain way, it isn’t necessarily the only way it can be done.

Choosing the best
Captain Aaron Florence talks with Ian Carr
Captain Aaron Florence talks with Ian Carr [Picture: Corporal Jamie Peters, Crown copyright]

Another academy mentor is Captain Aaron Florence. His tour has been all about bedding in the Afghan Army’s officer selection process to recruit the best intake of students for the academy. He said:

We trained the selectors up to the first board, which was on 22 June. Altogether there will be 22 selection boards, each of which is 3 days long. We will select 272 from 998 candidates.

It’s a revolutionary concept for the Afghans, but it is one that they have embraced. So how does this crucial stage work?

Candidates who want to become an officer go to an Afghan equivalent of a recruiting office, where they are sifted, checked against criminal records and biometrically tested. Those who pass through this filter are then sent to the academy to undergo the selection boards.

We put them through a number of tests,” said Captain Florence. “They have to complete an obstacle course, and a physical fitness test – press-ups, a mile-and-a-half run, sit-ups, as many as they can do in 2 minutes.

They also have to face a general knowledge test – answering questions such as, who was the first Afghan in space? Which countries border Afghanistan? And they are quizzed on simple current affairs. Other tests include a board interview, writing a short essay and delivering a short talk on something of their choosing – usually something about their village or their province. But because the point is to produce seed corn second lieutenants, a weighting is put on the importance of passing the physical.

Captain Florence said:

This academy is about producing young leaders. It’s no use if they are not physically capable of leading men into battle.

Performance over posh shirts

When the candidates arrive they are given a name and a number. For the next 48 hours this will be their identity. This is done to make as sure as possible that when the selectors make their judgements they are based on merit rather than on the possibility that it is a general’s son or daughter that is standing in front of them. A smart appearance is not one of the criteria that will necessarily sway the board. Performance rather than a posh shirt is what matters.

We do give advice on what sort of clothing candidates should bring, such as don’t forget your trainers for example,” said Captain Florence, “things that we might take for granted, but in fact some candidates just might not have things like that. We’ve had some guys that have come along with just the clothes they stand up in, and then they’ve done the physical test and smashed it. One guy, Red 3, I’ll always remember him, only had flip flops, so he ran his physical fitness test barefoot – and he came first.

Since the selections began, Captain Florence has been increasingly able to lift his hand off the tiller. At first he used to be there all the time, now he need only be there at the beginning of the day to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Training the trainers

Working with those who will be responsible for instilling the basic soldiering skills that a young officer needs to master has been Warrant Officer Peter Witkawski of 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Warrant Officer Peter Witkawski
Warrant Officer Peter Witkawski talks with Ian Carr [Picture: Corporal Jamie Peters, Crown copyright]

As well as helping his opposite numbers work out how they are going to get the drills and skills inside the heads of their students, Warrant Officer Witkawski has had the tough job of developing the instructors’ skills. It is a challenge that has taken the British Army generations to perfect. No where else in the world will you find an NCO who can bark at a young officer and deliver the epithet “Sir” like a cosh to the back of the head. Warrant Officer Witkawski sees it as no joke:

It’s a very embryonic stage for them. Their NCO-equivalents are not held in the same regard as in our structure.

If I say something I tend to be listened to; our structures in the British Army are set up that way. There is an emphasis on the NCO providing the officer cadet with instruction. The Afghan officer corps has to learn to hand over that responsibility. It’s a big ask.

When at full strength, each intake will have 350 students. But, for the first 2, there will be just 270 to allow room to develop the course and manage any initial teething troubles. By September next year each intake will also have a cadre of 90 females. As the date for the first course nears the team are hoping for good weather.

We were lucky this winter, it was quite mild. But we can get snow here from November through to March. Inevitably that would have an impact on the training,” said Colonel Hyland. “But we’ll cope, they’ll still be able to train because they will be issued the kit they need.

Good news indeed for candidate Red 3.

 

This report by Ian Carr is published in the September 2013 issue of Defence Focus - the magazine for everyone in Defence.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 07:30
Saudi-British Green Flag Exercise

September 17th, 2013 By UK Ministry of Defence - defencetalk.com

 

Aircraft, crews and supporting personnel from the Royal Saudi Air Force, (RSAF) have been operating alongside their allies from the Royal Air Force as Exercise Saudi-British Green Flag took place at RAF Coningsby.

 

RSAF Typhoons from the 10th Sqn, based at King Fahad Air Base, Taif were flown into the Lincolnshire base alongside Tornados from the 75th Sqn, King Abdul Aziz Air Base, Dhahran. No 3 (Fighter) Squadron supplied the RAF Typhoon element, alongside a composite Tornado GR4 force from RAF Marham. The ten day exercise saw the Saudi and RAF crews fly in a series of training flights of gradually increasing complexity, during which the crews gained a wider knowledge of how the other force works and also how to use the relative strengths of their aircraft to generate greater overall effects.

 

Group Captain Johnny Stringer, RAF Coningsby Station Commander said, “For Coningsby and for the RAF this is a hugely significant exercise, an opportunity to fly the same aircraft types with our RSAF friends, to share our tactical thinking on how we employ our platforms, and for us as a station to support a detachment at significant range from a fellow air force.

 

He continued, “At the end of the exercise we will get to the point where success for us, and I think I can speak for the RSAF as well, is that our pilots, navigators, engineers, fighter controllers – all of the people who the RSAF has brought across that we are hosting both at Coningsby and more broadly in the UK – not only understand and know each other a little bit better, but if we ever have to go and fly and fight alongside each other for real then we will have the confidence in each other that we are able to do that.

 

Brigadier-General Mohammed Al-Shahrani, the RSAF Detachment Commander said, “One very important objective we have is to make sure that our people, from aircrew, to engineers, to staff, to fighter control and all the other roles, work side by side with the RAF; to be ready if we ever need to operate together.

 

Gp Capt Stringer,” In terms of what the exercise looks like, you are obviously drawn to Coningsby because it’s where the Tornados and Typhoons are operating, but we also have embedded RSAF personnel with our GCI personnel up at RAF Boulmer, and elsewhere, and we have them supporting the exercise directing staff. You can see from that breadth that this is more than just flying some aircraft together — this is a significant engagement.

 

Cooperation and greater understanding of how each air force works was a very clear objective for the exercise. This was not just limited to the pilots; engineers and other support staff on both sides also benefited. One example of the variety of roles that air force personnel provided during the exercise is that of No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron. Personnel from the squadron deployed to Coningsby to provide catering facilities to exercise personnel. Sgt Maxine Booth, “We are a mobile catering squadron, so our job is to pitch up in a tent somewhere and supply food. The big difference this time is that where we are usually in another country taking a piece of the UK to our forces, this time we are in the UK hoping to bring part of Saudi Arabia here. It has been a massively rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. We have some Saudi chefs with us and it has been fascinating to observe and learn different cooking techniques, for example with something as basic as rice. On a personal level, we are spending time with the Saudi’s, we are working with them and eating with them, it is great to learn about their culture and their language.

 

From the Saudi perspective, two aspects of the deployment stand out as significant. The exercise is the first significant deployment of the Typhoon outside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is also the first time that the MRTT aircraft, (called Voyager by the RAF) has been used to “trail” aircraft operationally by any air force, a source of great pride for the RSAF. (A trail is when air-to-air refuelling aircraft are used to allow swift deployment; in this case the Typhoons flew directly from Saudi Arabia to the UK, refuelling en-route)

 

Brig-Gen Shahrani, “It is the first time we have deployed Typhoons for a long period of time outside our Kingdom so that means we are reaching out our logistic support to about 3,000 miles; it is very important for us to test that. Also it is the first time that we have used the Airbus MRTT for trailing from Saudi Arabia to here, which has proven successful.

 

Several of the Saudi pilots and engineers have been to Coningsby before as they undertook their Typhoon training at the Lincolnshire base, Brig-Gen Shahrani being the first pilot to do so in 2008.

 

Gp Capt Stringer, “The Saudis have been our friends and allies for a long time, and on an individual level it is wonderful to see friends such as Brigadier-General Shahrani back here”, Brigadier-General Shahrani echoed Group Captain Stringer’s comments, “When you operate as allies, knowing the other person, being able to pick up the telephone and talk to someone you already know, is very valuable.”

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 18:45
Libya wants UK help to halt Syria arms smuggling

17 September 2013 BBC Africa

 

Libya's prime minister has appealed for British help to remove weapons from the country amid fears of increased arms smuggling to Syria.

 

Ali Zeidan met British PM David Cameron earlier and said weapons left after the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in 2011 were an "international" problem.

 

On Monday the UN was told a "worrying" amount of weapons were leaving Libya.

 

Mr Cameron said the country faced "huge challenges" and Britain was determined to help.

 

At the meeting in Downing Street on Tuesday, Mr Zeidan said he wanted to co-operate with Britain, "especially in the field of removing weapons from Libya".

 

He said: "It is now an international matter and we do need assistance in order to perform this task because we are now facing a battle with international terrorism that extends from Afghanistan to Mali."

 

Mr Cameron told Mr Zeidan: "We recognise the huge challenges you face in terms of security and governance, putting in place the capacity that Libya needs for a good and strong government.

 

"We are doing everything we can to help."

 

Specific details of the proposed help have not yet emerged.

 

'Deep' commitment

 

Speaking before the meeting, Mr Cameron said talks would include "legacy issues" such as an ongoing investigation into the murder of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984 and the north African country's supply of arms to the IRA.

 

The UN Security Council heard on Monday from its committee on Libyan sanctions, which said more arms and ammunition were being smuggled out of Libya.

 

The committee said there was "an increasing number of reported cases of trafficking in such materiel to Syria".

 

Weapons from Libya were used by Islamist militants who laid siege to a BP gas plant in Algeria in January, killing at least 40 foreign workers including six Britons.

 

Tarek Mitri, UN envoy to Libya, said elections after the fall of Gaddafi "raised more expectations than what the political institutions and forces have been capable of meeting".

 

Security problems, political disagreements and disruption to oil exports had contributed to public scepticism and even "rejection" of the process, he said.

 

He added: "But this should not be mistaken for a loss of faith in national unity, democracy and the rule of law.

 

"Their commitment to the principles for which they fought their revolution remains deep."

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 17:50
Seconds-out for Cassius UAV

Sept. 17, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG

 

London - Cranfield Aerospace and Raytheon UK are testing a new lightweight unmanned air system, which is now being promoted to potential buyers.

 

Aimed at the military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance market, but also potentially suitable for a range of civilian applications, Cassius features a high level of autonomy, says Cranfield business adviser Keith Marshall.

 

"The operator just has to check if the weather conditions are within launch tolerance and find the wind direction, then after launch all they have to do is 'fly' the sensor," Marshall says.

 

First flown around two months ago and exhibited for the first time at the 10-13 September DSEi show in London, Cassius has a maximum take-off weight of 8.75kg (19.3lb), including a Raytheon-sourced electro-optical/infrared sensor payload. Flight endurance is in excess of 3h, and service ceiling above 5,000ft (1,520m).

 

"We have had a lot of interest, including with international customers," Marshall says. Civilian applications could include performing border or environmental monitoring tasks, he adds.

 

Flight-testing with the system is continuing, with the partners seeking to complete an initial 50h of activity.

 

"In the not too distant future there will be more UAS," says Phil Nettleship, chief of engineering at Raytheon UK's Airborne Solutions unit. "As a group, we have an interest in this sector."

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
Rolls-Royce Boosts Power for V-22 Engines

Rolls-Royce says it has increased the power of the engine it supplies for US V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft by 17 percent. (photo USMC)

 

Sep. 16, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA – Defense News

 

WASHINGTON — Engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce has increased the power output of its V-22 Osprey engine by 17 percent, a significant jump that should boost the reliability of the tilt-rotor aircraft in high-altitude, high-heat conditions, according to a company official.

 

“We’ve been upgrading the [AE family] of engines to provide more thrust as more challenging requirements came up in the commercial market, so we knew there was more power available” said Tom Hartmann, the company’s senior vice president of defense. “Now that we’re through the hurdles of wrestling and working the time-on-wing improvements, we recognize there is additional capability we haven’t taken advantage of that could provide high power to the Pentagon for their particular missions.”

 

The engine improvements came from three relatively small changes. First, the company added a new turbine to the engine, known as the Block 3 turbine. That design is based on a commercial product Rolls-Royce has used.

 

Some of those turbines are already in the field; the company has been installing them into all new-production models since July 2012, and began upgrading older turbines during regular maintenance two months later.

 

The other modifications included an increase in the flow capacity of the fuel valve and a software update, which allow the engines to deliver the higher power when needed.

 

Each V-22 Osprey is powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce AE 1107C engines. The US Air Force’s fleet of CV-22s are used for special operations missions. The US Marine Corps’ MV-22 has two variants, the B and C models, which are used in the transportation of troops and equipment.

 

Most of the time, the V-22 won’t need the extra power. It’s really designed for use at higher altitudes — the 6,000-8,000-foot range — where the V-22 has struggled.

 

“Without flight tests, it’s hard to say the real-world impact” of the improvements, Hartmann said. But Rolls aims to give US military operators full engine capability at 6,000 feet with an air temperature of 95 degrees, a challenge that he said Air Force officials asked the company to look at.

 

“Right now, they are limited on what load they can carry at 6,000 feet and 95 degrees.” Hartmann said. “The plan is to provide that full capability in the near term, and then, in a future upgrade, give enhanced capability at 8,000 feet and 95 degrees.”

 

The company will begin tests of its upgraded engine in the fall, beginning the Federal Aviation Administration review process. Hartmann expects kits for the improved engines to arrive late 2014.

 

Rolls also is keeping an eye on a more comprehensive Block 4 upgrade, which should increase power by 26 percent over the current baseline, allowing the engines to hit close to 10,000 horsepower. It also could improve fuel consumption, which the company expects to be key as the Pentagon focuses more on the Asia-Pacific region.

 

“You have the ‘tyranny of distance’ in the Pacific, so better fuel consumption is obviously a benefit in that region,” Hartmann said.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Saudi-British Green Flag

September 17, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Royal Air Force News; published Sept. 16, 2013)

 

Aircraft, crews and supporting personnel from the Royal Saudi Air Force, (RSAF) have been operating alongside their allies from the Royal Air Force as Exercise Saudi-British Green Flag took place at RAF Coningsby.

 

RSAF Typhoons from the 10th Sqn, based at King Fahad Air Base, Taif were flown into the Lincolnshire base alongside Tornados from the 75th Sqn, King Abdul Aziz Air Base, Dhahran. No 3 (Fighter) Squadron supplied the RAF Typhoon element, alongside a composite Tornado GR4 force from RAF Marham. The ten day exercise saw the Saudi and RAF crews fly in a series of training flights of gradually increasing complexity, during which the crews gained a wider knowledge of how the other force works and also how to use the relative strengths of their aircraft to generate greater overall effects.

 

Group Captain Johnny Stringer, RAF Coningsby Station Commander said, “For Coningsby and for the RAF this is a hugely significant exercise, an opportunity to fly the same aircraft types with our RSAF friends, to share our tactical thinking on how we employ our platforms, and for us as a station to support a detachment at significant range from a fellow air force.

 

He continued, “At the end of the exercise we will get to the point where success for us, and I think I can speak for the RSAF as well, is that our pilots, navigators, engineers, fighter controllers - all of the people who the RSAF has brought across that we are hosting both at Coningsby and more broadly in the UK - not only understand and know each other a little bit better, but if we ever have to go and fly and fight alongside each other for real then we will have the confidence in each other that we are able to do that.

 

Brigadier-General Mohammed Al-Shahrani, the RSAF Detachment Commander said, “One very important objective we have is to make sure that our people, from aircrew, to engineers, to staff, to fighter control and all the other roles, work side by side with the RAF; to be ready if we ever need to operate together.

 

Gp Capt Stringer,” In terms of what the exercise looks like, you are obviously drawn to Coningsby because it’s where the Tornados and Typhoons are operating, but we also have embedded RSAF personnel with our GCI personnel up at RAF Boulmer, and elsewhere, and we have them supporting the exercise directing staff. You can see from that breadth that this is more than just flying some aircraft together — this is a significant engagement.

 

Cooperation and greater understanding of how each air force works was a very clear objective for the exercise. This was not just limited to the pilots; engineers and other support staff on both sides also benefited. One example of the variety of roles that air force personnel provided during the exercise is that of No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron. Personnel from the squadron deployed to Coningsby to provide catering facilities to exercise personnel. Sgt Maxine Booth, “We are a mobile catering squadron, so our job is to pitch up in a tent somewhere and supply food. The big difference this time is that where we are usually in another country taking a piece of the UK to our forces, this time we are in the UK hoping to bring part of Saudi Arabia here. It has been a massively rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. We have some Saudi chefs with us and it has been fascinating to observe and learn different cooking techniques, for example with something as basic as rice. On a personal level, we are spending time with the Saudi’s, we are working with them and eating with them, it is great to learn about their culture and their language.

 

From the Saudi perspective, two aspects of the deployment stand out as significant. The exercise is the first significant deployment of the Typhoon outside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is also the first time that the MRTT aircraft, (called Voyager by the RAF) has been used to "trail" aircraft operationally by any air force, a source of great pride for the RSAF. (A trail is when air-to-air refuelling aircraft are used to allow swift deployment; in this case the Typhoons flew directly from Saudi Arabia to the UK, refuelling en-route)

 

Brig-Gen Shahrani, “It is the first time we have deployed Typhoons for a long period of time outside our Kingdom so that means we are reaching out our logistic support to about 3,000 miles; it is very important for us to test that. Also it is the first time that we have used the Airbus MRTT for trailing from Saudi Arabia to here, which has proven successful.

 

Several of the Saudi pilots and engineers have been to Coningsby before as they undertook their Typhoon training at the Lincolnshire base, Brig-Gen Shahrani being the first pilot to do so in 2008.

 

Gp Capt Stringer, "The Saudis have been our friends and allies for a long time, and on an individual level it is wonderful to see friends such as Brigadier-General Shahrani back here", Brigadier-General Shahrani echoed Group Captain Stringer’s comments, "When you operate as allies, knowing the other person, being able to pick up the telephone and talk to someone you already know, is very valuable."

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16 septembre 2013 1 16 /09 /septembre /2013 22:50
F-35 Weekly Update: 16th September 2013

09/16/2013 Defence IQ Press

 

 

Canada's aerospace industry could lose about $10.5 billion worth of contracts over several decades if the federal government ultimately decides not to purchase the controversial F-35 Stealth Fighter, says a senior executive at Lockheed Martin.

Orlando Carvalho, executive vice-president of the U.S. defence giant, says Lockheed will honour $500 million worth of business already awarded to Canadian partners but that other work would be in jeopardy without a Canadian jet order.

"If in fact the Canadian government were to decide not to select the F-35 we will certainly honour the contracts that we have here with the Canadian industry but our approach in the future would be to try to do business with the industries that are in the countries that are buying the airplane," he said in an interview after officially opening its new engine overhaul facility in Montreal.

Carvalho said Lockheed estimates that Canadian industry could potentially receive $11 billion of contracts over 25 to 40 years as its builds 3,000 planes for air forces around the world.

About 72 Canadian companies have secured work on the F-35 project. Industry Canada has estimated that the potential value could be US$9.8 billion, including the amount of contracts already awarded.

Gilles Labbe, the former head of aerospace cluster Aero Montreal and CEO of F-35 supplier Heroux-Devtek (TSX:HRX), last year warned that thousands of jobs would be at risk if lead manufacturers Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman remove work destined to be completed in Canada by members of the global supply chain. [Huffington Post Canada]

 

 

Thirteen British companies and the U.K. Minister of Defence Equipment, Support and Technology participated in a Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] Industry Recognition Event during the DSEI tradeshow today. Over the next 40 years, British industry will continue to play a vital role in the F-35’s global production, follow-on development and sustainment, bringing strong economic benefits to the kingdom.

“The F-35 is the largest defence programme in the world,” said U.K. Minister of Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne. “The U.K.’s involvement will generate billions of pounds and tens of thousands of jobs for the British economy for decades to come, with over 500 suppliers across the U.K. already contributing to the production of the F-35. Backed by this government's strategic vision for U.K. aerospace, the F-35 programme allows us to continue to build on the strengths of our nations avionics, systems and sensors industry.”

Steve O’Bryan, vice president, F-35 Business Development, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics added, “Our suppliers here in the U.K. are essential to the success of this program. Together, they will produce 15 percent of each one of the more than 3,100 F-35s planned for the global fleet. We are leveraging their proud legacy of innovation in aerospace to deliver this unprecedented capability to the warfighter.”

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Three distinct variants of the F-35 will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force, the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least ten other countries. [Your Industry News]

 

 

Northrop Grumman has begun company-funded development of a Directed Infrared Countermeasures (Dircm) system for fast jets, anticipating a requirement to protect the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from heat-seeking air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.

“We believe the requirement is there, and coming quickly, and that the first opportunity will be on the F-35,” says Jeff Palombo, senior vice president and general manager of Northrop’s land and self-protection systems division.

Northrop plans to begin testing a prototype of the Threat Nullification Defensive Resource (ThNDR) system in its system-integration laboratory by year’s end, he revealed at a briefing in Washington Sept. 12.

The timing for development of a laser missile jammer to equip the F-35 “is still in question,” Palombo says, “but we want to get out in front of the requirement.”

Northrop has supplied more than 3.000 Dircms to protect large aircraft and helicopters against heat-seeking missiles by directing a modulated laser beam into the seeker head to confuse its guidance.

A Dircm is not part of the requirements for the initial, Block 3-standard F-35 now in development. But draft requirements already exist and Northrop says a laser jammer is now expected to be part of the scheduled Block 5 update.

The system must meet low-observability (LO) requirements and be packaged to fit in a restricted space available inside the F-35. But it will have a smaller, more-powerful laser than current Dircm systems and require liquid cooling, Palombo says.

The ThNDR, which includes the laser, beam steering and LO window, is packaged to fit inside volume available alongside sensors for the F-35’s distributed aperture system (DAS). There would be two jam heads, one on top and one underneath the aircraft to provide spherical coverage with minimal change to the outer mold line.

The DAS, which has six infrared sensors located to provide a 360-deg. view around the aircraft, would provide missile warning, detecting and declaring incoming threats and cueing the pointer/tracker, or jam head. [Aviation Week]

 

The Pentagon’s top officer overseeing the F-35 program put Lockheed Martin, the lead contractor, on notice last year with some unexpected straight talk about his views of the program saying the relationship between Lockheed and the Pentagon’s Joint Program Office is the “worst I’ve ever seen.”

A year later, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan is set to return to the Air Force Association’s annual conference, but the same fireworks are not expected as the F-35 Joint Program Office and Congress has seen progress in the F-35 program.

Air Force leaders have said publicly they are confident the A-model of the F-35 – the Air Force’s version — will achieve initial operational capability by 2016.

Initial operational capability, or IOC, is the target date each service sets for fielding an initial combat capable force. The IOC dates for the different F-35s have changed several times, starting with 2010–2012, according to a March 2013 report on the program by the Government Accountability Office.

Currently, there are 78 F-35s flying today amongst the services to include the Marine Corps, according to Lockheed Martin.  The contractor expects to have 90 by the end of the 2013 and by the end of 2016 the military will have 200 F-35s in the air, and more than 50 percent of them by the Air Force, said Mike Rein, a Lockheed Martin spokesman.

The Defense Department next year plans to spend $8.4 billion to buy 29 F-35s, including 19 for the Air Force, six for the Marine Corps, and four for the Navy. The funding includes $6.4 billion in procurement, $1.9 billion in research and development, and $187 million in spare parts.

The missed deadlines and cost overruns of the F-35 Lightning II, the most expensive weapons system in U.S. military history, have been well documented. But there are some critics who have begun to offer praise to the program. [Air Force Times]

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16 septembre 2013 1 16 /09 /septembre /2013 17:50
 	Securing Prosperity: A Strategic Vision for the UK Defence Sector

Sept. 13, 2013 defense-aerospace.com


The British government launched a new, joint government and industry vision for growth in the UK Defence sector on the opening day of the DSEi exhibition in London.

“Securing Prosperity – a strategic vision for the UK Defence Sector” identifies the sector’s core strengths and sets out how government and industry will work together to maximise the UK’s competitive advantage to boost British jobs, trade and growth.

This strategic vision for the Defence sector has been developed by the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP) – a forum set up by the Prime Minister in 2012 in which the government, the UK’s top Defence companies, the sector trade association and SMEs are working together for growth.

The Defence Growth Partnership currently involves: Babcock, BAE Systems,Cobham, EADS, Finmeccanica, General Dynamics, Hewllet-Packard, Lockheed Martin, Marshall, MBDA, Qinetiq, Raytheon, Rolls Royce, Serco, Thales, Trade Association ADS, The Department for Business Innovation and Skills, The Ministry of Defence.

The government's economic policy objective is to achieve 'strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.'

It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:
-- to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
-- to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
-- to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
-- to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

 

Full text

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16 septembre 2013 1 16 /09 /septembre /2013 17:45
Rifles battalion takes over UK element in Mali

Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles training ahead of their deployment to provide training and mentoring for the Malian Army (Photo Corporal Steve Blake, UK MoD)

 

16 September 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES) have assumed responsibility for the UK's contribution to the EU mission in Mali.


 

The riflemen take over from 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment (1 R IRISH), which deployed 6 months ago in support of the ongoing EU Training Mission as part of wider efforts to build long-term stability in Mali.

1 R IRISH officially handed over responsibility to 1 RIFLES on 14 September.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles training ahead of their deployment
Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles training ahead of their deployment to provide training and mentoring for the Malian Army [Picture: Corporal Steve Blake, Crown copyright]

Major Sam Cates, officer commanding the 1 RIFLES deployment, said:

The team is currently busy integrating themselves into the EU Training Mission after arriving a week ago. Some of the team have already been in the field supporting the final test exercise of the second Malian battle group who recently completed their training.

The battalion was well trained and effective and it is clear that the Royal Irish have set the bar high. We look forward to meeting that challenge by continuing to deliver effective training.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles training ahead of their deployment
Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles training ahead of their deployment to provide training and mentoring for the Malian Army [Picture: Corporal Steve Blake, Crown copyright]

Commanding Officer of 1 R IRISH, Lieutenant Colonel Ivor Gardiner, said:

1 RIFLES, who are deploying to Mali to take up the role, will assume responsibility for the mission, delivering intensive 10-week training slots to Malian units designed to develop skills and tactics from individual to battle group level. The training also gives the Malians a clear practical understanding of the standards of ethical conduct required of troops engaged in combat and counter-insurgency operations.

The Rifles will be deployed for 6 months and will draw upon experience of similar missions in Afghanistan, where they mentored and trained local forces 2 years ago. The 21 volunteers have also prepared with extensive pre-deployment training including cross-country driving, close-quarter marksmanship, foreign weapon handling, mentoring and French language lessons.

Royal Irish in Mali
UK trainer gives Malian soldiers fire control orders
A Royal Marine from 45 Commando RM gives Malian soldiers fire control orders (library image) [Picture: Corporal Lu Scott, Crown copyright]

During their tour, the soldiers of 1 R IRISH trained 2 full companies of the Malian Army in combat and counter-insurgency operations. These Malian units will play a key role in combating insurgents in the country going forward.

Based at Koulikoro Training Camp, 40 miles from the capital Bamako, the regiment was supported by personnel from 45 Commando Royal Marines and 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, as well as troops from the Republic of Ireland’s Defence Forces.

In addition to military personnel, the UK also deployed civilian trainers from the ‘preventing sexual violence initiative’ to train troops in the protection of civilians and international humanitarian law. The 40-man team was a significant element of the EU effort which consists of 500 staff from 22 EU member states.

A tremendous job
Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles training ahead of their deployment
Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles training ahead of their deployment to provide training and mentoring for the Malian Army [Picture: Corporal Steve Blake, Crown copyright]

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

The soldiers from 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment have done a tremendous job at the forefront of the UK’s contribution to the training mission, setting the groundwork for the rebuilding of the Malian Army into a force capable of restoring order in the country.

I have every confidence that 1st Battalion The Rifles will build on their efforts and successes as the UK continues to support Mali’s move forward on the path towards long-term stability and development.

Lieutenant Colonel Gardiner added:

In addition to intensive instructional output this deployment has also demanded deft diplomacy from the team.

Undeterred by the unique challenges of the training environment they have deployed energy, initiative and constant engagement and helped to build self-confident, motivated Malian units that are ready to take on responsibility for securing their own country.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles training ahead of their deployment
Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Rifles training ahead of their deployment to provide training and mentoring for the Malian Army [Picture: Corporal Steve Blake, Crown copyright]
UK support to Mali mission

The 1 RIFLES deployment with the EU Training Mission follows initial UK military support to the efforts of French and African Union troops who went into Mali in January 2013 to help halt the advance of Islamist extremists and to stabilise the country. The UK contribution included C-17 transport aircraft, Sentinel surveillance aircraft and the transportation of French military supplies on board a roll-on, roll-off ferry.

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15 septembre 2013 7 15 /09 /septembre /2013 12:49
BAE Selects 4 Firms for Type 26 Frigate Program

Sep. 11, 2013 - By ANDREW CHUTER – Defense News

 

LONDON — BAE Systems began selecting key systems suppliers for the Royal Navy Type 26 frigate program now on the drawing board.

 

Rolls-Royce, MTU, David Brown Gear Systems and Rohde & Schwarz were unveiled as suppliers on the second day of the DSEi defense show in London Sept 11.

 

The awards will see Rolls-Royce supply its MT30 gas turbine, with MTU responsible for the diesel engines and David Brown the gear box. Rohde & Schwarz will provide the ships integrated communications system.

 

The Rolls-Royce MT30 is the same engine as the one that will power the Royal Navy’s two 65,000 ton aircraft carriers now under construction.

 

BAE’s program director, Geoff Searle, said the suppliers were the first of between 30 to 40 companies expected to be selected for major systems deals on Type 26 by the end of the year.

 

There are about 70 competitions for Type 26 systems. Final supplier selection for major items will be completed in 2014.

 

The Type 26 program has been in the assessment phase since 2010 and BAE is now refining the design of the warship.

 

The Royal Navy is planning to buy 13 Type 26’s with the first of the new warships expected to start replacing the current Type 23 fleet in the early 2020s.

 

It will be the maritime industry’s single biggest surface warship program once the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers are completed late in the decade.

 

Searle said the Type 26 program is expected to continue through to the 2030s. The warship has primarily a utility role with a bias toward anti-submarine capabilities.

 

Aside from the firming up of the supply chain, BAE revealed a number of design changes to the 6,000-ton warship. The most significant of those was a switch of the mission bay from the stern of the vessel to a position just behind the helicopter hangar.

 

The hangar can house a variety of containerised modules of equipment or facilities ranging from mine counter measures to fast intercept craft.

 

Searle said that moving the mission bay back gave the Royal Navy greater flexibility including possible extension of the hangar space to handle unmanned air vehicles when required.

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15 septembre 2013 7 15 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
BMT Venator-110 multi-mission reconfigurable warship concept. Photo BMT Group Ltd.

BMT Venator-110 multi-mission reconfigurable warship concept. Photo BMT Group Ltd.

 

 

12 September 2013 naval-technology.com

 

BMT Defence Services (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group, has introduced a BMT Venator-110 multi-mission reconfigurable warship and the Vidar-7 small modern SSK submarine design concepts at the Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI) 2013 exhibition being held in London, UK.

 

Developed to offer maximum capability, flexibility and longevity within the limitations of current fiscal constraints, the two platforms will provide maximum whole-life effectiveness and value for money by balancing production, survivability and performance.

 

In order to map capability and assess the equipment, function and capability trade-offs impact on design parametrers and operational effectiveness, BMT utilised systems engineering approach to design the whole ship.

 

The BMT Venator-110 multi-mission reconfigurable warship can be used to support maritime security, international engagement and warfighting missions.

 

In addition to providing capability enhancement options for added future flexibility, the warship features a hullform, developed for open ocean performance and to support reconfigurable top side arrangements, as well as modular mission systems.

"Capable of conducting a range of covert roles in the current challenging economic conditions, the submarine features an affordable design with commercial and military off-the-shelf technologies."

 

The missions systems can be reconfigured based on the ship's role requirements and the need to dynamic maritime threats.

The BMT Vidar-7 Small Modern SSK concept has a surfaced displacement capacity of 700t and provides sovereign capability at an affordable whole-life cost.

 

Capable of conducting a range of covert roles in the current challenging economic conditions, the submarine features an affordable design with commercial and military off-the-shelf technologies.

 

In addition to maximising availability, radius of operation, mission endurance, flexibility, payload capacity and stealth, the new submarine concept will enhance survivability and resilience to weapon effects as well as provides target echo strength reduction.

 

The BMT Vidar can support missions ranging from anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance and special forces, to training, coastguard, anti-piracy and land strike operation.

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15 septembre 2013 7 15 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Apache Attack Helicopter Army Air Corps - photo UK MoD

Apache Attack Helicopter Army Air Corps - photo UK MoD

Sep 11, 2013 ASDNews Source : Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)

 

    The MOD has awarded a GBP367 million contract to provide engine maintenance for 2 of the UK's military helicopter fleets.

 

The 6-year agreement with Rolls-Royce Turbomeca will deliver essential support for the Army’s Apaches and the Merlin helicopters used by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. The new contract will deliver savings of more than £300 million compared to previous arrangements.

 

Both the Apaches and the Merlins, which operate around the world and have had extensive service in Afghanistan, are powered by the same RTM322 engines.

 

By simplifying the supply chain, improving technical support and increasing the availability of spare parts, the new contract will help to reduce the numbers of major repairs needed on the airframes, keeping them in the air for longer.

 

Work will be carried out at 4 bases where the Apaches and Merlins operate - RAF Benson, Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, Army Air Corps airfields at Wattisham and Middle Wallop and at Rolls-Royce and Turbomeca sites in the UK and France.

 

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said: “This contract will provide important support for our Merlin and Apache fleets, which play an vital role defending this country’s interests around the world. This includes defending the UK and protecting our personnel on operations in Afghanistan.

“By improving the way we work with industry to maintain our helicopters with contracts like these, we can keep Apache and Merlin helicopters in the air for longer, which also ensures best value for money, saving for the taxpayer £300 million over 6 years compared with the previous support arrangements.”

 

Air Commodore Mark Sibley, who is responsible for the maintenance of Apaches and Chinooks, said: “Merlins and Apaches have been used extensively in Afghanistan and are 2 key capabilities for our Armed Forces. This contract has a number of benefits for our Apache and Merlin crews, principally improving engine availability and reliability, while reducing costs.”

Merlin Mk2 helicopter

Merlin Mk2 helicopter

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14 septembre 2013 6 14 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate HMS Argyll

Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate HMS Argyll

Sep 12, 2013 ASDNews Source : Selex ES

 

Selex ES, a Finmeccanica company, has been awarded a €14.1M (£12.2M) contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide in-service support for the Royal Navy’s GSA8/GPEOD gunfire control system used on Type 23 frigates. The contract, which will last for 10 years, will see Selex ES providing a managed support arrangement for the GSA8/GPEOD which includes background support activities, a number of repairs and the administration of obsolescence issues.

 

“Over the past few years, the team here at Selex ES in Basildon has been successful in delivering difficult repairs and innovative system improvements for the GSA8/GPEOD” said Norman Bone, UK Managing Director at Selex ES. “We’re pleased that the MoD has recognised our team’s dedication and chosen Selex ES to support this equipment going forward”.

 

The GSA8/GPEOD is the gunfire control system for the 4.5” Mk8 Gun fitted to the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. The system calculates a ballistic solution (where a shell will land) and moves the gun to the appropriate angle for an accurate shot. The General Purpose Electro-Optics Director (GPEOD) is the main optical sensor for naval gunfire support and anti-surface warfare and also provides a general surveillance capability for the frigates.

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13 septembre 2013 5 13 /09 /septembre /2013 16:20
Rolls-Royce Joins BAE Hawk AJTS Team to Pursue USAF T-X Contract

Sep 13, 2013 ASDNews Source : BAE Systems PLC

 

    Rolls-Royce will lead the support and integration of the Adour Mk951 engine on the Hawk AJTS aircraft

 

BAE Systems, Inc. and Rolls-Royce today announced that Rolls-Royce is joining the Hawk Advanced Jet Training System (AJTS) team as an exclusive partner to compete for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X program. As the engine supplier to BAE Systems on this pursuit, Rolls-Royce will lead the support and integration of the Adour Mk951 engine on the Hawk AJTS aircraft.

 

“Rolls-Royce’s extensive propulsion expertise, coupled with their lengthy relationship with the U.S. Air Force, makes them the perfect choice to integrate their Adour Mk951 engine in the Hawk AJTS aircraft,” said Robert Wood, vice president of BAE Systems’ Hawk Advanced Jet Training System team. “The selection of Rolls-Royce rounds out the Hawk AJTS team as we pursue the T-X program win.”

 

Rolls-Royce joins BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, and L-3 Link Simulation & Training as the fourth member of the Hawk AJTS team. The team plans to offer the Hawk AJTS as the replacement of the T-38 trainer. The Hawk AJTS is uniquely tailored to meet the training needs of the U.S. Air Force and will be manufactured in the United States with the involvement of a strong U.S. supply chain.

 

“We are delighted to join the Hawk AJTS team and bring our decades of experience to the program,” said Tom Hartmann, senior vice president of Customer Business at Rolls-Royce Defense. “The Rolls-Royce Adour engine has demonstrated success with 8.6 million flying hours and 200 engines already in service within the U.S. Department of Defense, plus hundreds of others in service around the world. The Hawk AJTS is the affordable, low-risk option, offering proven performance to the U.S. Air Force.”

 

The Hawk AJTS effectively integrates live and synthetic air- and ground-based elements to successfully train pilots for 5th generation fighters such as the F-35 Lightning II and the F-22 Raptor. It is the world’s only fully-integrated, off-the-shelf system in service today that is ready now to train U.S. Air Force combat pilots. More than just an aircraft, the Hawk AJTS teaches student pilots how to address the critical flow of information, learn to interpret it correctly, and make the right decisions to maintain operational advantage.

 

Almost 1,000 Hawk aircraft have been sold across the globe, helping produce highly trained pilots in 18 countries for newest-generation aircraft such as Typhoon, F-35 Lightning II, and JAS 39 Gripen. The Hawk aircraft, which is in active production around the world, is the future lead-in trainer for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35, and for militaries in the U.K., Canada, and Australia.

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13 septembre 2013 5 13 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
MBDA & LM co-operation achieves 1st missile launch from a MK 41 launcher using ExLS

Sep 13, 2013 ASDNews Source : MBDA

 

MBDA and Lockheed Martin demonstrated the first launch of a Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) from Lockheed Martin’s MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) launcher using the host variant of the Extensible Launching System (ExLS).

 

This is the first test by MBDA and Lockheed Martin since the May 2013 announcement of cooperation between the two companies to offer MBDA missile systems for use with the MK 41 and ExLS family of launchers. The test used MBDA’s soft vertical launch technology to eject the CAMM from its canister and position the missile for main motor ignition. The trial is the first in a series to demonstrate that the CAMM can be installed using ExLS in vessels that use the MK 41 launcher or on the 3-cell stand-alone ExLS CAMM launcher.

 

Announcing the result of the trial, Paul Mead, Business Development Director for MBDA said, “This first CAMM trial is an example of how MBDA and Lockheed Martin are offering the global MK 41 customer base a real choice in which missile they use. The missile offers a wide range of benefits, not least its active seeker, as well as low impact of installation on-board due to the soft vertical launch method. This is the start of what we hope will be a wider range of MBDA missile systems available to Lockheed Martin vertical launcher users.”

 

“The multi-missile MK 41 VLS has fundamentally changed the way world navies think about sea-launched weapons by providing the flexibility to respond to numerous threats," said George Barton, vice president of business development of Ship & Aviation Systems for Lockheed Martin's Mission System and Training business. "Our partnership with MBDA allows us to grow the MK 41 multi-missile capability and offer our customers an outstanding VLS launcher alternative.”

 

Lockheed Martin, in collaboration with MBDA, is developing a 3-cell stand-alone ExLS CAMM launcher for those navies whose ships cannot accommodate the larger MK 41 VLS but desire the superior missile packing density, survivability and reliability that the 8-cell MK 41 launcher has been offering for over 30 years to 13 navies worldwide.

 

The trial was carried out on the 10th of September near Bedford, England, using a MK 41 launcher outfitted with a host ExLS.

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13 septembre 2013 5 13 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Selex ES and Ultra CCS chosen for British Army Warrior situational awareness

Sep 12, 2013 ASDNews Source : Selex ES

 

Selex ES, a Finmeccanica company, and partner Ultra Electronics Command & Control Systems have been awarded a contract by prime contractor Lockheed Martin UK – Ampthill for the supply of driver’s and local situational awareness cameras for the Demonstration phase of the British Army’s Warrior vehicle upgrades.

 

As part of the £1 billion Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP) to upgrade the Warrior vehicle, the new driver’s and local situational awareness cameras will provide the Warrior’s crew with an under armour capability to see 360 degrees around the vehicle and drive by indirect view under both day and night conditions.

 

The camera solution consists of a combination of the Selex ES Driver’s Night Vision System 4 (DNVS4) sensor and the Ultra CCS HUBE cameras fitted around the vehicle. The capability of the DNVS4 ensures that the vehicle can be safely and effectively manoeuvred during both day and night while the small and robust HUBE cameras provide full 360 degree peripheral coverage, improving the situational awareness of the driver and crew. Ongoing production programmes associated with both products has enabled Selex ES and Ultra CCS to meet the tight schedule requirements associated with the Demonstration phase.

 

Compliance of the Selex ES DNVS4 with the UK’s Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA) ensures that the solution is future proofed against any further capability enhancements that may be required for the vehicle through its life.

 

Initially, the camera solution will be supplied for up to 13 Warrior vehicles. Following a successful Demonstration phase, a manufacturing contract is expected in 2016 which will see the camera system fitted to several hundred Warrior vehicles.

 

“Selex ES has previously provided night vision and vehicle situational awareness cameras for a majority of British Army vehicles including Viking, Challenger II, Mastiff, Ridgback, Wolfhound and Warthog”, said Mike Gilbert, SVP Optronics UK at Selex ES, adding: “Building on this heritage, our collaboration with Ultra CCS brings the best of both companies together to provide an exceptional visual capability for the Warrior crews”.

 

”Ultra CCS is proud to be involved on the Warrior Programme”, said Mike Williams, Managing Director at Ultra CCS. “The collaboration between Selex ES and Ultra CCS is a great example of two British companies working together and using their combined knowledge and experience to provide the optimum camera solution”.

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13 septembre 2013 5 13 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Building defence capabilities in Europe

Foreign Secretary William Hague and Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond with Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski and Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak

 

12 September 2013 Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence

 

Foreign Secretary & Defence Secretary host joint meeting with Poland’s Foreign & Defence Ministers to discuss EU common security interests.

 

Europe is facing a number of complex and inter-connected challenges. Threats are diverse and emanate from many sources, making international security unpredictable. Despite signs of economic growth, many national defence budgets will remain under severe strain in the near future. At the same time, the US has signalled that it is looking to work more in partnership with European Allies.

 

Poland and the United Kingdom agree that European nations must assume greater responsibility for their own security interests. European nations continue to lack many capabilities necessary for the full spectrum of NATO and EU missions. So if we are to shoulder fully our common security responsibilities, we must commit to building our defence capabilities and make them available to NATO and the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

 

In December, EU Heads of State and Government will meet to discuss defence issues, taking decisions that will set the course of CSDP in the years to come. The December European Council therefore provides a timely opportunity to address the EU’s defence capability. Poland and the UK believe that agreement on three concrete actions would help deliver progress on this. All are in line with existing collective commitments.

 

First, Member States should use the Council as a platform to articulate clearly to European audiences, the need to continue to invest in defence. Threats to European Security are diverse and in many cases unpredictable. Both CSDP and NATO remain central to Europe being both willing and able to confront these challenges wherever they arise.

 

Second, the Council should reiterate the importance of NATO and the EU playing a complementary and mutually reinforcing role in supporting international security. As active NATO and EU members, Poland and the UK believe both organisations should improve coordination and practical cooperation. It is also essential that European nations work together to tackle prioritised capability shortfalls to meet common EU and NATO requirements. Member States should therefore pledge to work more in partnership to deliver Europe’s capability needs, coordinating capability development and avoiding duplication. For example, by ensuring the EU’s Pooling and Sharing and NATO’s Smart Defence initiatives do not overlap or duplicate each other.

 

Third, Member States should commit to reinvigorate the EU Battlegroup concept – the EU’s rapid response force, agreeing specific measures enabling it to be deployed more flexibly as part of the EU’s comprehensive approach, tackling conflict through using a combination of civilian-military tools.

 

Poland and the UK are already making significant contributions to the development of defence capability in Europe. We remain two of Europe’s leading investors in defence. In addition, we continue to make our defence capabilities available to protect our common security interests. Our Armed Forces are deployed in Afghanistan and have recently deployed to Mali and we will continue to look for areas for cooperation and issues where we can assist each other to develop our defence and security capabilities, whether through mechanisms such as joint military Exercises, learning lessons from our experiences in Afghanistan or through collaboration on issues such as cyber security.

 

Poland and the UK are fully committed to using December’s European Council on defence and the planned NATO Summit in 2014 to ensure that European nations are collectively ready to assume more responsibility for protecting our common security interests.

 
Further information

Follow the Foreign Secretary on twitter @WilliamJHague

Follow the Foreign Office on twitter @foreignoffice

Follow the Foreign Office on facebook and Google+

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